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In 2008, Alexander Olpindo was indicted for allegedly raping a minor. In 2016, he was convicted and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The RTC forwarded the case to the Court of Appeals on automatic appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not the automatic appeal is valid.
HELD: No. The rule on automatic review of death penalty cases under Rule 122 of the Rules of Court was rendered ineffective by the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibited the imposition of death penalty. While R.A. No. 9346 is in effect, no criminal case may be elevated motu proprio by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) or the Court of Appeals (CA) for automatic review. The Accused may appeal via Notice of Appeal instead.
But may a case elevated on automatic review by the trial court be dismissed?
No. It was not the fault of the Accused if the court erroneously elevated the case to the Court of Appeals on automatic review. Here, the CA still reviewed the merit of the case and affirmed the conviction.