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Cabador v. People
Accused petitioner Antonio Cabador was charged of murder. After presenting only five witnesses over five years of intermittent trial and failure of the prosecution to present witnesses, Petitioner Cabador filed a motion to dismiss the case invoking his right to a speedy trial. Unknown to petitioner, however, four days earlier, the prosecution asked the RTC for another extension of the period for its formal offer, which offer it eventually made on August 1, 2006, the day Cabador filed his motion to dismiss. The RTC issued an Order treating petitioner Cabador's motion to dismiss as a demurrer to evidence. And, since he filed his motion without leave of court, the RTC declared him to have waived his right to present evidence in his defense. Cabador filed a motion for reconsideration of this Order but the RTC denied it. Cabador questioned the RTC's actions before the CA, denied.
Whether or not petitioner Cabador's motion to dismiss before the trial court was in fact a demurrer to evidence filed without leave of court.
No. Cabador filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of violation of his right to speedy trial, not a demurrer to evidence. He cannot be declared to have waived his right to present evidence in his defense. The fact is that Cabador did not even bother to do what is so fundamental in any demurrer. He did not state what evidence the prosecution had presented against him to show in what respects such evidence failed to meet the elements of the crime charged. His so-called "demurrer" did not touch on any particular testimony of even one witness. He cited no documentary exhibit. A demurrer to evidence assumes that the prosecution has already rested its case pursuant to Section 23, Rule 119 of the which reads: ”After the prosecution rests its case, the court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.” Here, after the prosecution filed its formal offer of exhibits on August 1, 2006, the same day Cabador filed his motion to dismiss, the trial court still needed to give him an opportunity to object to the admission of those exhibits.