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LLAMAS VS. CA - 601 SCRA 288
Petition is captioned as “Annulment of Judgment and Certiorari, with Preliminary Injunction”.
Petitioners were charged before the RTC with the crime of “Other Forms of Swindling”. The RTC convicted them of the crime charged. The CA affirmed the RTC’s decision.
This prompted the petitioner to appeal the decision to the SC. However, the SC denied the same for failure to state the material dates. Consequently, the judgment of conviction became final and executory. A warrant of arrest was issued against Carmelita and Francisco Llamas, but the latter was nowhere to be found.
Almost a year thereafter, petitioner Francisco Llamas moved for the lifting of the warrant of arrest, raising for the first time the issue that the RTC had no jurisdiciton over the offense charged. However, since no action was taken by the RTC on Francisco’s motion, petitioners instituted an action for the annulment of the judgment issued by the court.
Whether or not the remedy of annulment of judgment is proper.
No. The remedy of annulment of judgment cannot be availed of in criminal cases.
Section 1, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court, limits the scope of the remedy of annulment of judgment to the following:
Section 1. Coverage. — This Rule shall govern the annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or final orders and resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner.
The remedy cannot be resorted to when the RTC judgment being questioned was rendered in a criminal case. The 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure itself does not permit such recourse, for it excluded Rule 47 from the enumeration of the provisions of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure which have suppletory application to criminal cases. Section 18, Rule 124 thereof, provides:
Sec. 18. Application of certain rules in civil procedure to criminal cases. – The provisions of Rules 42, 44 to 46 and 48 to 56 relating to procedure in the Court of Appeals and in the Supreme Court in original and appealed civil cases shall be applied to criminal cases insofar as they are applicable and not inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.
There is no basis in law or the rules, therefore, to extend the scope of Rule 47 to criminal cases. As SC explained in Macalalag v. Ombudsman, when there is no law or rule providing for this remedy, recourse to it cannot be allowed.
Here, petitioners are invoking the remedy under Rule 47 to assail a decision in a criminal case. Following the aforementioned provisions, SC cannot allow such recourse, there being no basis in law or in the rules.