MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) upheld a ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) that dismissed the government's criminal formation charges against businessman Dante Tan who controls Best World Resources Corp. (BWRC).
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, denied the petition for review filed by the Securities and Exchange Commision which sought to reverse the CA ruling issued on February 24, 2005.
The SC said the CA did not err when it affirmed the order issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC)of Pasig City, Branch 153, which granted Tan's demurrer on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.
A demurrer is a pleading in a lawsuit that objects to an earlier pleading filed by an opposing party.
Section 15, Rule 119 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure explains that a demurrer to evidence is "when after the prosecution has rested its case, the accused files a motion to dismiss the case on the ground of insufficiency of evidence, he waives the right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution.
Based on records of the case, the SC said that the prosecution or the Department of Justice (DOJ) was given all the opportunity to prove Tan's guilt.
"This Court finds that the RTC did not abuse its discretion in the manner it conducted the proceedings of the trial, as well as its grant of respondent's demurrer to evidence," the SC stressed.
Records showed that on behalf of the SEC, the DOJ filed on December 21, 2000, 2 informations for violation of the provisions of the Revised Securities Act (RSA) against Tan, a known ally of former President Estrada, before the Pasig RTC.
The SEC complained that Tan failed to file with the SEC and Philippine Stock Exchange a sworn statement disclosing the amount of all BWRC shares owned by him.
In the said complaints, the government claimed that Tan owned 159,030,000 BWRC shares.
On December 18, 2003, Tan file a motion to admit his demurrer to evidence which was granted by the Pasig RTC on March 16, 2004.
The DOJ questioned RTC's decision before the CA on June 14, 2004.