After proceeding with the trial against respondent-accused for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and the crime of estafa, respondent judge dismissed the cases for lack of jurisdiction. The People filed a petition for certiorari challenging the dismissal of the two criminal cases.
Whether or not respondent-accused will be placed in double jeopardy if the dismissal will be set aside.
NO. The questioned judgment was not an adjudication on the merits. It was a dismissal upon respondent judge’s erroneous conclusion that his court had no “territorial jurisdiction” over the cases. The dismissal being null and void, the proceedings before the trial court may not be said to have been lawfully terminated. There is therefore no second proceeding which would subject the accused to double jeopardy.
Decision of respondent judge is SET ASIDE and he is ordered to REASSUME JURISDICTION over the criminal cases and to RENDER JUDGMENT of either conviction or acquittal.