In the case at bar, it is contended that the decision of the RTC should be annulled because it is based on an issue not made out during the trial.
This case of annulment of final judgment was dismissed by the CA. the CA held that petitioner could not validly file a petition for annulment of judgment without the approval of the Solicitor General; that the petition was an attempt to secure review of a final and executory decision of the trial court; and, that a review of the case would expose the accused to double jeopardy.
Can a petition to annul judgment violate double jeopardy?
Yes. The governing rule is stated, thus:
Under the present procedure, aside from the reliefs provided in these two sections (Secs. 1 & 2, Rule 38), there is no other means whereby the defeated party may procure final and executory judgment to be set aside with a view to the renewal of the litigation, unless (a) the judgment is void for want of jurisdiction or for lack of due process of law, or (b) it has been obtained by fraud.” (1 Moran’s Rules of Court 1950 Ed., p. 697, citing Anuran v. Aquino, 38 Phil. 29; Banco Español-Filipino v. Palanca, 37 Phil. 921). Reason of public policy which favors the stability of judicial decisions are mute in the presence of fraud which the law abhors (Garchitorena v. Sotelo, 74 Phil. 25).
The question raised by the petition for annulment of judgment is a factual question that cannot be reviewed not only because the decision of the trial court is now final but also because a review of such question at the instance of the prosecution would violate the right of the accused against being placed in double jeopardy of punishment for the same act.