Demurrer to evidence (Rule 119, Sec. 23)

Section 23. Demurrer to evidence. — After the prosecution rests its case, the court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence (1) on its own initiative after giving the prosecution the opportunity to be heard or (2) upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court.

If the court denies the demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court, the accused may adduce evidence in his defense. When the demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the accused waives the right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution. (15a)

The motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be filed within a non-extendible period of five (5) days after the prosecution rests its case. The prosecution may oppose the motion within a non-extendible period of five (5) days from its receipt.

If leave of court is granted, the accused shall file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice. The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a similar period from its receipt.

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. (n)


DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE
- It is an objection by one of the parties in an action, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law, whether true or not, to make out a case or sustain the issue.

After The Prosecution Shall Have Rested Its Case, The Case May Be Dismissed In Any Of The Following Manner:
a. Court on its own initiative can dismiss the case after giving prosecution opportunity to be heard
b. Accused files demurrer with or without leave of court
c. If the demurrer is denied:
- With leave of court, accused can present his evidence
- Without leave of court, accused waives right to present evidence

With or Without Leave of Court
a) With leave
- if the motion is denied, he can still present evidence.
- The motion must be filed within a non-extendible period of 5 days after the prosecution rests its case.
- If leave is granted, the accused shall file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice of the grant of leave of court.
- The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt of the demurrer.

b) Without leave
- if the motion is denied, he loses the right to present evidence and the case will be deemed submitted for decision

If there are two or more accused and only one of them presents a demurrer to evidence, without leave of court, the trial court may defer resolution thereof until the decision is rendered on the other
accused.

An order denying the motion for leave of court to file a demurer shall NOT be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before judgment. This is because demurrer is merely interlocutory. However, if there
was grave abuse of discretion, then certiorari may apply.

If the court denies the demurrer to evidence without leave of court, the accused is deemed to have waived his right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution.

Bar Exam Question (2003)

Actions; BP22; Demurrer to Evidence (2003)

In an action for violation of Batas Pambansa Big. 22, the court granted the accused’s demurrer to evidence which he filed without leave of court. Although he was acquitted of the crime charged, he, however, was required by the court to pay the private complainant the face value of the check. The accused filed a Motion of Reconsideration regarding the order to pay the face value of the check on the following grounds: 
a) the demurrer to evidence applied only too the criminal aspect of the case; and 
b) at the very least, he was entitled to adduce controverting evidence on the civil liability. Resolve the Motion for Reconsideration. 

Suggested Answer;

(a) The Motion for Reconsideration should be denied. The ground that the demurrer to evidence applied only to the criminal aspect of the case was not correct because the criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 included the corresponding civil action. (Sec. 1(b) of Rule 111).
(b) The accused was not entitled to adduce controverting evidence on the civil liability, because he filed his demurrer to evidence without leave of court. (Sec. 23 of Rule 119).



Section 24. Reopening

At any time before finality of judgment of conviction, judge may, motu proprio or upon motion, with hearing in either case reopen to avoid miscarriage of justice.