MANILA - Government prosecutors are now prohibited to appeal case dismissals or acquittals of defendants, according to an office circular issued on Monday by Ombudsman Samuel Martires.
Martires said that he is simply following the provisions of the Constitution regarding the principle of double jeopardy which prohibits appeals of cases wherein an accused was acquitted by a court.
“The law on double jeopardy has been there since time immemorial. Bawal mag-akyat ng kaso, bawal mag-apela ng kaso pag ang isang akusado ay napawalang-sala na. Napaka-basic,” Martires said in a press conference.
In his Office Circular No. 18, Martires revised the policy on actions taken by prosecutors in cases of dismissal of administrative cases and acquittal and dismissal of criminal cases.
“Consistent with the constitutional provision on double jeopardy, the office shall no longer challenge the dismissal of cases/quashal of information and judgments or acquittal, either through a motion to dismiss, a demurrer to evidence or by a decision, rendered by the trial courts of the Sandiganbayan,” Martires said in the circular.
Martires said the filing of motions for reconsideration and petitions for certiorari may be done but only on the grounds that the prosecution was deprived of due process or that there was a mistrial.
“The filing of motion for reconsideration or petition for certiorari in criminal cases shall be determined by the handling prosecutor and the supervising director, whose recommendation, together with the draft of the motion or the petition if they so recommend to file one shall be submitted to the Assistant Ombudsman and the Deputy Special Prosecutor concerned for concurrence,” Martires said.
After the recommendation, the Special Prosecutor will then review the case for the final approval of the Ombudsman.
“Bakit namin pasasakitin ulo namin sa isang bagay na ‘di naman dapat sumakit ulo namin, ‘di namin dapat pilitin ang isang mali. Sinabi na nga ng husgado, pinawalang sala ung tao, bakit namin ipipilit na may kasalanan ung taong iyan?” Martires said.