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SC rule bars review of demurrer appeals

12:01 AM July 26, 2016

SECTION 23, Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, promulgated by the Supreme Court, provides: “The order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself shall not be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before judgment” (emphasis supplied).

In plain language, no court, not even the Supreme Court, should interfere with the trial court’s determination of the sufficiency or insufficiency of evidence on a mere demurrer (a pleading meant to show that after the prosecution has rested its case, no proof beyond reasonable doubt has been established thereby warranting the outright dismissal of the case).

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In the plunder case against former president Gloria Arroyo, the Supreme Court blatantly disregarded its own rule, accepted the petition for review against the Sandiganbayan’s order denying Arroyo’s plea for leave to file a demurrer, and stopped the latter court  from further conducting trial (“SC stops Arroyo plunder trial,” News, 10/21/15).

On July 19, 2016, the Supreme Court was reported to have rendered a judgment finding “insufficiency of evidence” against Arroyo, dismissing the case and ordering her immediate release. Ano ang ibig sabihin nito?  The Supreme Court has a different mind frame if the accused and his/her lawyer (like Estelito Mendoza) are powerful?

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In this country, there is one kind of “justice” for the rich and powerful, and another kind for the poor and the powerless. If Arroyo and Mendoza were nobodies, the Supreme Court would have automatically applied its Rule 119 and thrown away the petition.

—ANNALEE LAUDER, [email protected]

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TAGS: arroyo, Gloria Arroyo, justice, letter, Letter to the Editor, opinion, plunder, SC, Supreme Court
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