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ESTRADA V.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN Sevidal and directing him to comment thereon within a non-extendible
GR NO. 212140-41 ; JANUARY 21,2015 period of 5 days from the receipt of the order .
Facts: ➢ On the said period, Sen. Estrada had not filed a comment on the counter-
➢ On November 25 2013, the Ombudsman served upon Sen. Estrada a copy affidavits furnished to him.
of the complaint filed by the NBI and Atty. Baligod for Plunder. ➢ On June 4,2014, Ombudsman issued Joint Order denying Sen. Estrada’s
➢ On December 3 2013, the Ombudsman served upon Sen. Estrada another motion for reconsideration
complaint for the crime of plunder.
➢ 18 of Sen. Estrada’s co-respondents in the two complaints filed their Issues:
counter-affidavits between December 9 2013 and March 142014. 1) WON the Ombudsman acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or grave
➢ Sen. Estrada filed his request to be furnished with copies of counter abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and violated
affidavits of the other respondents, affidavits of new witnesses and other his right to constitutional due process.
filings. Sen. Estrada’s request was made "pursuant to the right of a 2) WON Estrada has no appeal, or any other plain, speedy and adequate
respondent ‘to examine the evidence submitted by the complainant remedy in the ordinary course of law than to file the petition for certiorari.
which he may not have been furnished’ and to ‘have access to the 3) Whether or not the filing of the petition for certiorari constitutes forum
evidence on record’ based on section 3[b], Rule 112 of the Rules of Court. shopping.
➢ The Ombudsman issued an assailed order denying the motion of Estrada in Ruling:
response to his request stating that under the Rules on Criminal Procedure First. There is no law or rule which requires the Ombudsman to furnish a
and Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, he is not entitled respondent with copies of the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents.
to be furnished of the copy of all the filings of the respondents. (IMPORTANT PROVISIONS MENTIONED AND INTERPRETED IN THIS
❖ It is to be noted that there is no provision under the Office’s Rules CASE)
of Procedure which entitles respondent to be furnished with all Sec 3 and Sec 4, Rule 112 of Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure
the filings by other parties. Section 3. Procedure. — The preliminary investigation shall be conducted in the
❖ Under the Rules of Court and the Rules of Procedure of the Office following manner:
of the Ombudsman, the respondents are only required to furnish
their counter-affidavits and controverting evidence to the (a) The complaint shall state the address of the respondent and shall be accompanied
complainant and not the other respondents. by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as well as other supporting
❖ The rights of respondent Estrada in the conduct of the preliminary documents to establish probable cause.
investigation depend on the rights granted to him by law and these
cannot be based on whatever rights he believes that he is entitled (b) Within ten (10) days after the filing of the complaint, the investigating officer shall
to or those that may be derived from the phrase "due process of either dismiss it if he finds no ground to continue with the investigation, or issue a
law." subpoena to the respondent attaching to it a copy of the complaint and its
➢ On March 28, 2014, the Ombudsman issued a Joint Resolution which found supporting affidavits and documents.
probable cause to indict Estrada and his co-respondents with one count of
plunder and 11 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019. Section 4. Resolution of investigating prosecutor and its review.— If the investigating
➢ Sen. Estrada filed a motion for reconsideration of the joint resolution dated prosecutor finds cause to hold the respondent for trial, he shall prepare the resolution
March 28 2014 and dated April 7 2014. and information. He shall certify under oath in the information that he, or as shown
❖ He prayed for the issuance of a new resolution dismissing the by the record, an authorized officer, has personally examined the complainant and his
charges against him. witnesses; that there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed
❖ Without filing a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsman’s and that the accused is probably guilty thereof; that the accused was informed of
March 2 2014 Order denying his request, Sen. Estrada filed the the complaint and of the evidence submitted against him;
present Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 and sought to annul
and set aside the 27 March 2014 Order. Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman Administrative Order No 7, Rule
➢ On May 7,2014, the Ombudsman issued a Joint Order furnishing II: Procedure in Criminal Cases
Sen.Estrada with the counter-affidavits of Tuason, Cunanan, Amata, Sec. 4. Procedure. — The preliminary investigation of cases falling under the
Relampagos, Franscisco Figuro, Gregoria Buenaventura and Alexis jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and Regional Trial Courts shall be conducted in the
manner prescribed in Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, subject to the 3. Sec 3(b) Rule 112 of the Criminal Procedure, the right to examine refers to
following provisions: the evidence submitted by the complainant
→ there is no requirement that the affidavits executed by the correspondent should be
a) If the complaint is not under oath or is based only on official reports, the furnished by the correpondents should be available to a respondent.
investigating officer shall require the complainant or supporting witnesses to
execute affidavits to substantiate the complaints. ● Justice Veloso’s dissent relies on an administrative case in which different
set of rules of procedure and standards apply.
b) After such affidavits have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an
REYES CASE PRESENT CASE
order, attaching thereto a copy of the affidavits and other supporting documents,
directing the respondent to submit, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, his Administrative case Criminal Case
counter-affidavits and controverting evidence with proof of service thereof on
the complainant. The complainant may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days Failure to furnish an affidavit Denial of request happened during the
after service of the counter-affidavits. happened in the preliminary investigation where the only
administrative proceeding on issue is the existence of probable cause
c) If the respondent does not file a counter-affidavit, the investigating officer may the merits
consider the comment filed by him, if any, as his answer to the complaint. In any
In administrative cases, In criminal actions, proof beyond
event, the respondent shall have access to the evidence on record.
substantial evidence is the reasonable doubt is required for conviction
basis for adjudication
DENIAL OF REQUEST FOR COUNTER AFFIDAVITS OFN CO-
RESPONDENTS DID NOT AMOUNT TO VIOLATION OF ESTRADA’S In administrative proceedings In criminal and civil actions, application of
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS BY however, technical rules of Rules of court is called for with more or
● He fails to specify a law or rule which states that it is a compulsory pleading and procedure and of less strictness
requirement of due process in a preliminary investigation for the evidence are not strictly
Ombudsman to furnish a respondent with the counter-affidavits of his co- adhered to
respondents.
● Neither Section 3(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
● It should be underscored that the conduct of a preliminary investigation is
nor Section 4(c), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
only for the determination of probable cause, and "probable cause merely
Ombudsman supports Sen. Estrada’s claim.
implies probability of guilt and should be determined in a summary manner.
● What the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman require is for
the Ombudsman to furnish the respondent with a copy of the complaint and ● A preliminary investigation is not a part of the trial and it is only in a
supporting affidavits and documents at the time of the order to submit trial where an accused can demand the full exercise of his rights, such
counter affidavit is issued. as the right to confront and cross-examine his accusers to establish his
innocence."
● At this point, there is no counter-affidavit submitted by any respondents.
● Thus, the rights of a respondent in a preliminary investigation are limited to
● Clearly, what Sec 4(b) refers to are affidavits of the complainants and
those granted by procedural law.
witnesses, not the affidavits of the correspondents. Obviously, the
● The quantum of evidence now required in the preliminary investigation is
counter-affidavits of the correspondents are not part of the supporting
such evidence sufficient to engender a well-founded belief as to the fact of
affidavits of the complainant.
commission of a crime and the respondent’s probable guilt thereof.
● Although Sec 4(c), Rule II of Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
● It is a fundamental principle that the accused in a preliminary investigation
Ombudsman provides that the respondent shall have access to the evidence
has no right to cross-examine the witnesses which the complainant may
on record, this provision should be construed in relation to Sec 4(a) and (b)
present. Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court expressly provides that
of the Same Rule as well as the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
1. The supporting witnesses in Sec 4(a) are witnesses of the complainant and the respondent shall only have the right to submit a counter-affidavit, to
examine all other evidence submitted by the complainant and, where the
does not refer to the respondents
fiscal sets a hearing to propound clarificatory questions to the parties or their
2. Affidavits referred in 4(b) are affidavits to be furnished to the residents are
affidavits of the complainant and his supporting witnesses.
witnesses, to be afforded an opportunity to be present but without the right he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or
to examine or cross-examine. circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
● We likewise take exception to Justice Brion’s assertion that “due process (4) In Section 4 of Rule 126: By the judge, to determine whether a search
standards that at the very least should be considered in the conduct of a warrant shall be issued, and only upon probable cause in connection with
preliminary investigation are those that this court first articulated in Ang one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after
Tibay v. CIR examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses
- Simply put, Ang Tibay guidelines for administrative cases do not apply to he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and
preliminary investigation in criminal cases the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.
In all these instances, the evidence necessary to establish probable cause is
ANG TIBAY PRESENT CASES
based only on the likelihood, or probability, of guilt.
Constitutional requirements Statutory ● Thus, probable cause can be established with hearsay evidence, as long as
of due process there is substantial basis for crediting the hearsay. Hearsay evidence is
admissible in determining probable cause in a preliminary investigation
Requirement of an impartial Purpose of Office of the Ombudsman in because such investigation is merely preliminary, and does not finally
tribunal conducting a preliminary investigation, after adjudicate rights and obligations of parties.
conducting its own finding investigation is to ● However, in administrative cases, where rights and obligations are finally
determine probable cause for filing an
adjudicated, what is required is "substantial evidence" which cannot rest
information and not to make final adjudication
to the rights and obligation of parties. entirely or even partially on hearsay evidence.
Prosecutor is hardly the impartial tribunal ● Substantial basis is not the same as substantial evidence because
substantial evidence excludes hearsay evidence while substantial basis can
Estrada, not yet an accused person and hence include hearsay evidence.
cannot demand the full exercise of rights of an HELD #2 :
accused person Sen. Estrada’s present petition for certiorari is premature
● Justice Velasco’s dissent prefers that Sen. Estrada not "be subjected to the
Substantial evidence More than bare suspicion or less than evidence rigors of a criminal prosecution in court” because there is "a pending
that would justify conviction question regarding the Ombudsman’s grave abuse of its discretion
● The purpose of probable cause is to make sure that the courts is not preceding the finding of a probable cause to indict him."
clogged with weak cases that will only be dismissed as well as to spare ● Ombudsman issued a Joint Order that furnished Sen. Estrada with the
a person from the travails of a needless prosecution. counter-affidavits his co-respondents and directed him to comment within
● In the Philippines, there are four instances in the Revised Rules of Criminal a non-extendible period of five days from receipt of said Order. Sen.
Procedure where probable cause is needed to be established: Estrada did not file any comment, as noted in the 4 June 2014 Joint Order
(1) In Sections 1 and 3 of Rule 112: By the investigating officer, to of the Ombudsman.
determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded ● We underscore Sen. Estrada’s procedural omission. Sen. Estrada did not
belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty file any pleading, much less a motion for reconsideration, to the 27 March
thereof, and should be held for trial. A preliminary investigation is required 2014 Order. Sen. Estrada immediately proceeded to file this Petition for
before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense where the Certiorari before this Court. Sen. Estrada’s resort to a petition for
penalty prescribed by law is at least four years, two months and one day certiorari before this Court stands in stark contrast to his filing of his 7
without regard to the fine; April 2014 Motion for Reconsideration of the 28 March 2014 Joint
(2) In Sections 6 and 9 of Rule 112: By the judge, to determine whether a Resolution finding probable cause.
warrant of arrest or a commitment order, if the accused has already been ● It is apparent that Sen. Estrada’s present petition for certiorari is premature
arrested, shall be issued and that there is a necessity of placing the for lack of filing of a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman
respondent under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of HELD # 3: Forum Shopping
justice; ● Sen. Estrada did not wait for the resolution of the Ombudsman and instead
(3) In Section 5(b) of Rule 113: By a peace officer or a private person proceeded to file the present Petition for Certiorari. The Ombudsman
making a warrantless arrest when an offense has just been committed, and issued a Joint Order on 4 June 2014 and specifically addressed the issue
that Sen. Estrada is raising in this Petition. Thus, Sen. Estrada's present
Petition for Certiorari is not only premature, it also constitutes forum
shopping.
against Racho, In fact, there were additional facts established during the
Racho v Miro reinvestigation, re: failure of Mr. Racho to reflect his business connections, and hence,
G.R. Nos. 168578-79 September 30, 2008 the Information filed against him should be amended to include the same.

Facts: In 2001, DYHP Balita Action Team of the Radio Mindanao Network, Inc. In the instant case, Racho assails the said Reinvestigation Report, claiming a denial
addressed a letter on behalf of an anonymous complainant to Deputy Ombudsman for of due process because of the fact that Director Palanca-Santiago handled the
the Visayas,Miro. preliminary investigation as well as the reinvestigation of the cases. In both instances,
· The letter accused Nieto A. Racho, an employee of the BIR-Cebu, of the latter found probable cause to indict petitioner for falsification. For this reason,
having accumulated wealth disproportionate to his income. Photocopied petitioner believes that Director Palanca-Santiago has turned hostile to him. Petitioner
bank certifications disclosed that Racho had a total deposit of penultimately questions the haste with which the reinvestigation was concluded and
P5,793,881.39 with three banks. the lack of hearing thereon.
· In essence, he insists on the dismissal of his cases before the OMB.
Graft Investigation Officer (GIO) Dargantes assigned to investigate the complaint,
directed DYHP to submit a sworn statement of its witnesses. Instead, the latter filed a Issue: WON the cases against Racho before the OMB should be dismissed
Manifestation withdrawing its complaint for lack of witnesses. Consequently, GIO
Dargantes dismissed the case. He ruled that the photocopied bank certifications did Held: NO.
not constitute substantial evidence required in administrative proceedings. The Ombudsman is empowered to determine whether there exists reasonable grounds
to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty
However, in two separate Memoranda, Ombudsman Director Palanca-Santiago thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding information with the appropriate
disapproved GIO Dargantess Resolution. courts.
· In the first memorandum, Director Palanca-Santiago held Racho · Such finding of probable cause is a finding of fact which is generally
administratively liable for falsification and dishonesty, and meted on him not reviewable by this Court. The only ground upon which a plea for
the penalty of dismissal from service with forfeiture of all benefits and review of the OMBs resolution may be entertained is an alleged grave
perpetual disqualification to hold office. abuse of discretion.
· In the second one, Director Palanca-Santiago found probable cause to · By that phrase is meant the capricious and whimsical exercise of
charge Racho with falsification of public document under Article 171(4) of judgment equivalent to an excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of
the RPC. discretion must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a
positive duty; or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law; or to
The MR of Racho having been denied by the Deputy Ombudsman, an Information for act at all in contemplation of law, as when the power is exercised in an
falsification of public document was accordingly filed before the RTC against Racho. arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.
· It was alleged therein that Racho was the Chief, Special Investigation
Division, of the BIR. Considering the facts and circumstances of this case, we find no grave abuse of
· In his 1999 SALN, Disclosure of Business Interest and Financial discretion on the part of respondents. The finding of the Ombudsman that there was
Connections; and Identification of Relatives In The Government Service, probable cause to hold petitioner liable for falsification by making untruthful
he stated that his cash in bank was merely P15,000.00 and his assets minus statements in a narration of facts rests on substantial evidence.
his liabilities amounted only to P203,758.00. · The OMB evaluated petitioner’s SALN for the year 1999 against
· However, the truth eas that he had bank deposits or cash in banks certified true copies of his bank deposits during the same year. In his SALN,
amounting to P5,793,801.39. This was deposited in various banks, namely petitioner declared P15,000 cash in bank as of December 31, 1999. The
Metrobank, Equitable PCIB, and BPI. bank certifications of petitioners deposits, however, confirmed that he had
an aggregate balance of P5,793,881.39 in his accounts with three banks.
Racho appealed the administrative case to the CA. The appellate court annulled both · The OMB did not accord weight to the Joint Affidavit submitted by
Memoranda and ordered a reinvestigation of the cases against petitioner. petitioner. In said Affidavit, Vieto and Dean Racho, petitioner’s brothers,
stated that they entrusted to petitioner P1,390,000 and P1,950,000
Thereafter, the OMB issued the assailed Reinvestigation Report which held that there respectively. On the other hand, petitioners nephew, Henry Racho, claimed
is no basis to reverse its previous findings that there is probable cause for the crime that he delivered the amount of P1,400,000 to petitioner. These sums were
purportedly their contribution as stockholders of Angelsons Lending and
Investors, Inc. (Angelsons) and Nal Pay Phone Services (NPPS) -
businesses managed by the spouses Racho.
· Even assuming that said businesses exist, petitioner should have
similarly reported his interests therein in his SALN.

Indeed, the determination of probable cause need not be based on clear and
convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing absolute certainty of
guilt. It is enough that it is believed that the act or omission complained of
constitutes the offense charged. The trial of a case is conducted precisely for the
reception of evidence of the prosecution in support of the charge. A finding of
probable cause merely binds the suspect to stand trial. It is not a pronouncement of
guilt.

RE: Contention that no hearing was conducted on his motion for reinvestigation
A clarificatory hearing is not required during preliminary investigation. Rather than
being mandatory, a clarificatory hearing is optional on the part of the investigating
officer as evidenced by the use of the term may in Section 3(e) of Rule 112.
This rule applies equally to a motion for reinvestigation. In the present case, the OMB
found it unnecessary to hold additional clarificatory hearings. Notably, we note that a
hearing was conducted during preliminary investigation where petitioner invoked his
right to remain silent and confront witnesses who may be presented against him,
although there was none presented.

Besides, under the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, a


complainants active participation is no longer a matter of right during reinvestigation.

RE: Refusal of Dir. Palanca-Santiago to inhibit herself


Even if a preliminary investigation resembles a realistic judicial appraisal of the merits
of the case, public prosecutors could not decide whether there is evidence beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the person charged. They are not considered judges,
by the nature of their functions, but merely quasi-judicial officers. Worth-stressing,
one adverse ruling by itself would not prove bias and prejudice against a party
sufficient to disqualify even a judge. To ask prosecutors to recuse themselves on
reinvestigation upon every unfavorable ruling in a case would cause unwarranted
delays in the prosecution of actions.
BALTAZAR v. PEOPLE ● Probable cause is defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances
as would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within
FACTS: the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the
● On October 21,2002 an information was filed by Asst. Provincial crime for which he was prosecuted.
Prosecutor Aagainst the private respondent Armando Bautista, accusing ● The term does not mean actual and positive cause nor does it import
him of the crime of murder absolute certainty. It is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief
● Acting on the said criminal case, Judge Concepcion issued an order for the ● The determination of probable cause is a function that belongs to the
issuance of arrest of the private respondent public prosecutor -- one that, as far as crimes cognizable by the RTC are
❖ finding that there is probable cause fully determined from a concerned, and notwithstanding that it involves an adjudicative process of
personal evaluation of the facts alleged in the information a sort, exclusively pertains, by law, to said executive officer, the public
and supporting documents prosecutor.
● Private respondent filed a motion for reinvestigation -DENIED ● This broad prosecutorial power is, however, not unfettered, because just as
● On May 23 2003, private respondent filed with DOJ a Petition for review public prosecutors are obliged to bring forth before the law those who
of the Resolution of the Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan finding probable have transgressed it, they are also constrained to be circumspect in filing
cause that he committed the murder of Erlinda Baltazar criminal charges against the innocent. Thus, for crimes cognizable by the
● About a year later, on the strength of the warrant of arrest issued by the regional trial courts, preliminary investigations are usually conducted.
RTC, private respondent was apprehended and detained pending trial ● Indeed, the Secretary of Justice may reverse or modify the resolution of
● Private respondent was set to be arraigned the prosecutor, after which he shall direct the prosecutor concerned either
● The arraignment was rescheduled, Bautista presented before the RTC a to file the corresponding information without conducting another
copy of the resolution of Acting DOJ Secretary Gutierrez reversing the preliminary investigation, or to dismiss or move for dismissal of the
findings of the Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan . complaint or information with notice to the partie
❖ It was concluded that death of the deceased was due to an ● (People v. Inting)
accident without any negligence on the part of the driver of the
automobile, there being no sufficient proof on record to establish
Judge Prosecutor
the latter’s negligence, there is no criminal liability (United v.
Tayongtong)
preliminary inquiry
● Pursuant to the DOJ resolution, a motion to withdraw information dated
which determines preliminary investigation proper which
July 28,2004 was filed by the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor with the
probable cause for the ascertains whether the offender should be
RTC which was granted by Judge Concepcion
issuance of a warrant held for trial or released
● A motion for reconsideration was filed by the private prosecutor--
of arrest
DENIED by Judge Concepcion
● Petitioner thus filed a petition for Certiorari in CA alleging GADLEJ determination of The preliminary investigation proper
(grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction) -- probable cause for the whether or not there is reasonable ground
DENIED warrant of arrest is to believe that the accused is guilty of the
● Petitioner contends that Judge Concepcion correctly found in his order made by the Judge offense charged and, therefore, whether
dated November 14, 2002 that based on facts obtaining from the record of or not he should be subjected to the
case, there is probable cause to justify issuance of warrant of arrest. While expense, rigors and embarrassment of
there had been a supervening event of a DOJ resolution reversing and trial is the function of the prosecutor.
setting aside the resolutuon of the provincial prosecutor of bulacan, Judge
Concepcion still was in full control of the case.
ISSUE: WON Judge Concepcion committed GADLEJ in allowing the withdrawal of
information against the private respondent ● Under Section 1, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Court, the investigating
prosecutor, in conducting a preliminary investigation of a case cognizable
HELD:NO by the RTC, is tasked to determine whether there is sufficient ground to
engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed, and that
the respondent therein is probably guilty thereof and should be held for
trial.
● The preliminary inquiry made by a Prosecutor does not bind the
Judge. It merely assists him in making the determination of probable
cause for issuance of the warrant of arrest
● . The Judge does not have to follow what the Prosecutor presents to him.
By itself, the Prosecutors certification of probable cause is ineffectual. It is
the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any), and
all other supporting documents behind the Prosecutors certification which
are material in assisting the Judge in making his determination
● The task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the
court is first and foremost to determine the existence or non-existence
of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.
● A closer scrutiny of the substance of Judge Concepcions Order dated 30
July 2004 would reveal that he reversed his earlier finding of probable
cause in issuing a warrant of arrest and allowed the withdrawal of the
Information against private respondent based on the following grounds:
(1) witnesses to the crime failed to categorically identify private
respondent as the culprit; (2) private respondents nephew, Joel Santos,
voluntarily admitted in his affidavit that he was the one driving the car,
which he borrowed from private respondent, and who accidentally hit the
pedicab which Erlinda Baltazar and Rolando Baltazar were riding; (3)
private respondent could not be held criminally liable for murder as there
was no malice or intent to cause injury (dolo) to Erlinda Baltazar; and (4)
this was just a simple case of criminal negligence or reckless imprudence
resulting in homicide or less serious physical injury.
● Given the foregoing, Judge Concepcions Order dated 30 July 2004
granting the withdrawal of the Information for murder against private
respondent was not issued with grave abuse of discretion. There was no
hint of whimsicality, nor of gross and patent abuse of discretion as would
amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a
duty enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of law on the part of
Judge Concepcion. To the contrary, Judge Concepcion came to the
conclusion that there was no probable cause for private respondent to
commit murder, by applying basic precepts of criminal law to the facts,
allegations, and evidence on record.
Chan v Secretary of Justice Thereafter, Chan filed a Petition for Certiorari before the CA. The CA dismissed the
G.R. No. 147065 March 14, 2008 petition.
Facts: · Noting that the RTC had already assumed jurisdiction over the case, it
In 1999, the Chief of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF), dismissed the case in accordance with the doctrine laid down in Crespo v.
then Police Director Panfilo M. Lacson, referred to the State Prosecutor for Mogul that once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition
appropriate action the evidence collected by the task force during a buy-bust operation of the case rests on the sound discretion of the court.
in against petitioner Juanito Chan, a Chinese citizen who was a resident of Binondo, In the instant case, Chan argues that:
Manila. 1. the CA erred in dismissing his petition based on Crespo and argues that the said
· The evidence consisted of: case had been superseded by Allan v Diokno which recognized the courts’ authority
1. self-sealing transparent plastic bag containing shabu to nullify findings of probable cause by the prosecutor or investigating judge when
2. Buy-bust money amounting to 6,000.00 placed inside a yellow paper bag with due process is violated.
markings "HAPPY BIRTHDAY." 2. the preliminary investigation was void for being violative of his right to due
3. one green Hyundai van used in transporting the confiscated SHABU process. He contends that State Prosecutor Formaran could not have been objective
· The PAOCTF also submitted the following documents to the State and impartial in conducting the preliminary investigation because the latter was a
Prosecutor: (1) the Joint Affidavit of Arrest executed by the police officers member of the PAOCTF, the agency that initiated the case against him.
who conducted the buy-bust operation; (2) booking sheet and arrest report; 3. He insists that the Justice Secretary committed grave abuse of discretion when he
(3) receipt for property seized; (4) request and results for laboratory affirmed the State Prosecutor’s finding of probable cause, which was based solely on
examination; (5) request and result for medical/physical examination; (7) the Joint Affidavit of Arrest.
request for drug dependency test; (8) receipt for buy-bust money; and (9) Issues:
photocopy of buy-bust money. 1. WON the CA erred in dismissing the petition based on Crespo
· Based from the Joint Affidavit of Arrest, the buy-bust operation was 2. WON the State Prosec committed grave abuse of discretion in finding
conducted between 05:-07:30am in front of Fuji Mart along Timog Ave., the existence of probable cause
QC.
Held:
Petitioner requested a preliminary investigation and waived his rights under Article Petition for Certiorari
125 of the Revised Penal Code. The CA erred in dismissing the petition based on Crespo. However, Chan’s
application of the Allado case is also erroneous.
Thereafter, Chan submitted his Counter-Affidavit denying the charges against him · Allado, which was punctuated by inordinate eagerness in the gathering
and claimed that he was the victim of a frame-up and extortion by the police officers. of evidence and in the preliminary investigation, serves as an exception and
may not be invoked unless similar circumstances are clearly shown to exist.
After preliminary investigation, State Prosecutor Formaran issued a Resolution No such circumstances were established in the present case.
recommending the filing of an Information against the petitioner.
· Prosecutor Formaran did not give credence to petitioner’s In Crespo, the Court laid down the rule that once an Information is filed in court, any
unsubstantiated claim of frame up and extortion. He said that the defenses disposition of the case rests on the sound discretion of the court. In subsequent cases,
and accusation of petitioner were matters of defense that should be threshed the Court clarified that Crespo does not bar the Justice Secretary from reviewing the
out in court. findings of the investigating prosecutor in the exercise of his power of control over
· The Senior State Prosec recommended the approval of the Resolution his subordinates. The Justice Secretary is merely advised, as far as practicable, to
and the Assistant Chief State Prosec on behalf of the Chief State Prosec refrain from entertaining a petition for review of the prosecutor’s finding when the
approved the recommendation. Information is already filed in court. While the ruling of the Justice Secretary is
persuasive, it is not binding on courts.
Accordingly, State Prosecutor Formaran filed a criminal Information against Chan
before the RTC. The general rule is that the courts do not interfere with the discretion of the public
· Chan then filed a petition for review with the Secretary of the Department prosecutor in determining the specificity and adequacy of the averments in a criminal
of Justice but it was denied. complaint. The determination of probable cause for the purpose of filing an
information in court is an executive function which pertains at the first instance to the
public prosecutor and then to the Secretary of Justice. The duty of the Court in
appropriate cases is merely to determine whether the executive determination was
done without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Resolutions RE: Frame-up and extortion defense
of the Secretary of Justice are not subject to review unless made with grave abuse. Petitioner’s allegation of frame-up and extortion is evidentiary in nature, and are
matters for his defense. Evidentiary matters must be presented and heard during the
Thus, the findings of the Justice Secretary may be reviewed through a petition for trial. They are best left for the trial court to evaluate and resolve after a full-blown
certiorari under Rule 65 based on the allegation that he acted with grave abuse of trial on the merits.
discretion. This remedy is available to the aggrieved party.
RE: Bail
In dismissing the petition for certiorari, the CA primarily anchored its decision on While the case was pending before this Court, petitioner was arraigned, and pleaded
Crespo, ratiocinating that it is without authority to restrain the lower court from not guilty. Thereafter, petitioner filed a motion for bail which was granted by the RTC
proceeding with the case since the latter had already assumed jurisdiction. Such Judge. The bail bond was fixed at ₱100,000.00 and he was released upon payment
concern is clearly of no moment. thereof.
Court here ruled that the it is glaring that the bail bond fixed by the RTC was
In the petition for certiorari, the CA is not being asked to cause the dismissal of the exceedingly low considering that the crime charged is illegal sale of prohibited drug
case in the trial court, but only to resolve the issue of whether the Justice Secretary punishable by reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from ₱500,000.00 to ₱10
acted with grave abuse of discretion in affirming the finding of probable cause by the milllion, with the risk of flight extremely high, the petitioner being a Chinese citizen.
investigating prosecutor. Should it determine that the Justice Secretary acted with However, upon verification from the Office of the Court Administrator, we found out
grave abuse of discretion, it could nullify his resolution and direct the State Prosecutor that Judge Leachon, Jr. had already retired on October 13, 2003; hence, he may no
to withdraw the Information by filing the appropriate motion with the trial court. But longer be called to account disciplinarily for this apparent transgression.
the rule stands — the decision whether to dismiss the case or not rests on the sound
discretion of the trial court where the Information was filed.

No grave abuse of discretion


Probable cause has been defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances as
would lead a person of ordinary caution and prudence to entertain an honest and strong
suspicion that the person charged is guilty of the crime subject of the investigation.
Being based merely on opinion and reasonable belief, it does not import absolute
certainty. Probable cause implies probability of guilt and requires more than bare
suspicion but less than evidence which would justify a conviction.

A successful prosecution of illegal sale of a prohibited drug requires the concurrence


of the following elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the
sale, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor.
To our mind, the documentary and object evidence submitted to the State Prosecutor,
particularly the Joint Affidavit of Arrest, the 935.80 grams of shabu, and the buy-bust
money sufficiently establish the existence of probable cause against petitioner for the
crime charged. After all, a finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence
showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed by the suspect.

RE: Impartiality of State Prosec Formaran


Allegation merely speculative. The mere fact that State Prosecutor Formaran was also
a member of the PAOCTF is insignificant. The now defunct PAOCTF was created to
investigate and prosecute all crime syndicates.
● It is a rule in statcon that the express mention of one person, thing, or
consequence implied the exclusion of all others
TOLENTINO V. PAQUEO, JR. ○ An examination of the functions of the Regional State Prosecutor
GR. NO. 150606, JUNE 7, 2007 does not include that of approving the Information filed or
AZCUNA, J. dismissed by the investigating prosecutor
Facts: ● As for the contention that the accused must move to quash at any time
● Petitioner State Prosecutor (SP) Romulo SJ Tolentino filed an Information before entry of plea
charging PR Benedict Dy Tecklo, owner proprietor of Qualistronic ○ The SC found that there is substantial compliance with the Rule
Builders, of violation of Sec. 22(a) of RA 8282 117, Sec. 1
○ for failure to remit premiums due for his employee to the SSS ● There is also no need to submit any evidence to support ground for quashing
despite demand the Information, since it was apparent and within judicial notice that
● The Information contains the certification that the filing of the same was petitioner was not the City or Provincial Prosecutor
with the prior authority and approval of the Regional State Prosecutor
● It was then raffled to a branch and set for arraignment
○ The counsel for PR moved to defer arraignment and requested
time to file a motion to quash the Information
■ This was granted
● On PR’s motion to quash, there was an allegation that SP Tolentino has no
legal personality nor is he clothed with authority to commence prosecution
by the filing of the Information and prosecute the case
○ BASIS: he is not the City not the Provincial Prosecutor
● SP Tolentino opposed the same stating that:
○ He is authorized to investigate, filed the necessary information
and prosecute the SSS cases since he was designated as SP for
SSS cases by the Regional SP
○ The Chief State Prosecutor confirmed such authority
○ As per Administrative Code of 1987, the Regional State
Prosecutor, as alter ego of the SOJ, is vested authority to
designate a Special Prosecutor
○ The City Prosec has been inhibited by the complainant from
investigating SSS Cases
● · RTC Quashed the information and dismissed the case (FOR Private
Resp)
○ BASIS: Lack of Legal personality
Issue:
· WON SP Tolentino had the authority to file the said Information without the
approval of the City Prosecutor?
Ruling:
● No. Sec. 4, Rule 112 provides:
○ No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an
investigating prosecutor without prior written authority or
approval of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state
prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy
● The 2000 revised rule is couched in negative terms importing that the act
shall not be done otherwise that designated, it is mandatory
VILLAFLOR V. VIVAR ○ The trial court, instead of dismissing the information, should hold
GR. NO. 134744, JAN. 16, 2001 in abeyance the proceedings and order the public prosecutor to
PANGANIBAN, J. conduct a preliminary investigation.
Facts: ● Hence, the RTC in this case erred when it dismissed the two criminal cases
● An information for slight physical injuries was filed against respondent for serious physical injuries (Criminal Case No. 23787) and grave threats
Dindo Vivar (Criminal Case No. 23728) on the ground that the public prosecutor had
● This case stemmed from the mauling of petitioner Gian Paulo Villaflor by failed to conduct a preliminary investigation.
the respondent ● Furthermore, we do not agree that a preliminary investigation was not
○ This was around 1 AM in Ayala Alabang Muntinlupa conducted.
○ Outside the Fat Tuesday Bar (know the small things daw) 😊 ○ a preliminary investigation for slight physical injuries was made
● After the severe beating, petitioner left together with his friend (who was at by the assistant city prosecutor of Muntinlupa City.
the CR at the time of the incident) ○ The said Information was, however, amended when petitioners
● While on the way out, petitioner again met the respondent who said “sa injuries turned out to be more serious and did not heal within the
susunod gagamitin ko na itong baril ko” period specified in the Revised Penal Code.
● Due to intervening circumstances, the charge of slight physical injuries was ● We believe that a new preliminary investigation cannot be demanded by
withdrawn and and Information for serious physical injuries was filed respondent.
● Another information for grave threats was also filed against respondent ● This is because the change made by the public prosecutor was only a formal
● Respondent then posted a cash bond amendment.
○ Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, he made a motion to quash ● The filing of the Amended Information, without a new preliminary
○ Contending that the threat was included in the serious physical investigation, did not violate the right of respondent to be protected from a
injuries case hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution; an open and public accusation
○ MTC DENIED MOTION TO QUASH of a crime; or from the trouble, the expenses and the anxiety of a public
● · RTC held that the motion to quash filed by the PR is prohibited under trial.
the rules on summary procedure ● The Amended Information could not have come as a surprise to him for the
○ This is because Sec. 51, par 3(a) of RA 7926 converting the simple and obvious reason that it charged essentially the same offense as
municipality of Muntinlupa to the city of Muntinlupa requires that that under the original Information.
the city prosecutor shall conduct preliminary investigations of all ● Moreover, if the original charge was related to the amended one, such that
crimes, even violations of city ordinances an inquiry would elicit substantially the same facts, then a new preliminary
Issue: investigation was not necessary.
● WON there can be a dismissal of 2 criminal cases for serious physical
injuries and grave threats on the ground that the public prosecutor failed to
conduct a PI?
Ruling:
● Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether
there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has
been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should
be held for trial.
● A component part of due process in criminal justice, preliminary
investigation is a statutory and substantive right accorded to the accused
before trial. To deny their claim to a preliminary investigation would be to
deprive them of the full measure of their right to due process.
● However, the absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the
validity of the information or otherwise render it defective.
○ o Neither does it affect the jurisdiction of the court or constitute
a ground for quashing the information.
Ladlad v Velasco The joint affidavit of Beltran’s arresting officers states that the officers arrested
Beltran, without a warrant, for Inciting to Sedition, and not for Rebellion. Thus, the
The case involves 3 consolidated petitions: The Beltran Petition, involving memebrs inquest prosecutor could only have conducted – as he did conduct – an inquest for
of the HoR representing various party-list groups, and The Maza and Ladlad Petitions, Inciting to Sedition and no other.
involving private individuals. Petitioners all face charges for Rebellion in two
criminal cases pending with the RTC Makati. Consequently, when another group of prosecutors subjected Beltran to a second
inquest proceeding for Rebellion, they overstepped their authority rendering the
The Beltran Petition second inquest void. None of Beltran’s arresting officers saw Beltran commit, in their
Facts: presence, the crime of Rebellion. Nor did they have personal knowledge of facts and
Following the issuance by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Presidential circumstances that Beltran had just committed Rebellion, sufficient to form probable
Proclamation No. 1017 on 24 February 2006 declaring a "State of National cause to believe that he had committed Rebellion. What these arresting officers
Emergency," police officers arrested Beltran on 25 February 2006, while he was en alleged in their affidavit is that they saw and heard Beltran make an allegedly seditious
route to Bulacan, and detained him in Camp Crame. speech.
Indeed, under DOJ Circular No. 61, the initial duty of the inquest officer is to
Beltran was arrested without a warrant and the arresting officers did not inform determine if the arrest of the detained person was made "in accordance with the
Beltran of the crime for which he was arrested. On that evening, Beltran was subjected provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5, Rule 113."
to an inquest for Inciting to Sedition based on a speech Beltran allegedly gave during
a rally in Quezon City on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the EDSA If the arrest was not properly effected, the inquest officer should proceed under
Revolution. Section 9 of Circular No. 61 which provides:

The inquest was based on the joint affidavit of Beltran’s arresting officers who Where Arrest Not Properly Effected.— Should the Inquest Officer find that the arrest
claimed to have been present at the rally. The inquest prosecutor indicted Beltran and was not made in accordance with the Rules, he shall:
filed the corresponding Information with the MeTC. a) recommend the release of the person arrested or detained;
b) note down the disposition on the referral document;
Thereafter, the authorities brought back Beltran to Camp Crame where he was c) prepare a brief memorandum indicating the reasons for the action taken; and
subjected to a second inquest for Rebellion. A panel of State prosecutors from the d) forward the same, together with the record of the case, to the City or Provincial
DOJ conducted this second inquest based on two letters of Acting Executive Officer Prosecutor for appropriate action.
of CIDG, Tanigue and Acting Deputy Director of the CIDG, Mendoza.
Where the recommendation for the release of the detained person is approved by the
The letters referred to the DOJ for appropriate action the results of the CIDG’s City or Provincial Prosecutor but the evidence on hand warrant the conduct of a
investigation implicating Beltran and several others as "leaders and promoters" of an regular preliminary investigation, the order of release shall be served on the officer
alleged foiled plot to overthrow the Arroyo government. having custody of said detainee and shall direct the said officer to serve upon the
detainee the subpoena or notice of preliminary investigation, together with the copies
The DOJ panel of prosecutors issued a Resolution finding probable cause to indict of the charge sheet or complaint, affidavit or sworn statements of the complainant and
Beltran and San Juan as "leaders/promoters" of Rebellion. The panel then filed an his witnesses and other supporting evidence.
Information with the RTC Makati.
For the failure of Beltran’s panel of inquest prosecutors to comply with Section 7,
Beltran moved that the RTC make a judicial determination of probable cause against Rule 112 in relation to Section 5, Rule 113 and DOJ Circular No. 61, we declare
him. The RTC sustained the finding of probable cause against Beltran. Beltran’s inquest void. Beltran would have been entitled to a preliminary investigation
had he not asked the trial court to make a judicial determination of probable cause,
Issue: whether the inquest proceeding against Beltran for Rebellion was valid which effectively took the place of such proceeding.

Held: NO. The Inquest Proceeding against Beltran for Rebellion is Void. The Maza and Ladlad Petitions
Inquest proceedings are proper only when the accused has been lawfully arrested Facts:
without warrant.
Based on Tanigue and Mendoza’s letters, the DOJ sent subpoenas to petitioners · Here, after receiving the CIDG letters, respondent prosecutors
requiring them to appear at the DOJ Office on 13 March 2006 "to get copies of the peremptorily issued subpoenas to petitioners requiring them to appear at the
complaint and its attachment." DOJ office on 13 March 2006 "to secure copies of the complaints and its
attachments."
During the preliminary investigation on the said date, the counsel for the CIDG · During the investigation, respondent prosecutors allowed the CIDG to
presented a masked man, later identified Fuentes, who claimed to be an eyewitness present a masked Fuentes who subscribed to an affidavit before respondent
against petitioners. prosecutor Velasco.
· Fuentes subscribed to his affidavit before respondent prosecutor · Velasco proceeded to distribute copies of Fuentes’ affidavit not to
Emmanuel Velasco who then gave copies of the affidavit to media members petitioners or their counsels but to members of the media who covered the
present during the proceedings. The panel of prosecutors gave petitioners proceedings.
10 days within which to file their counter-affidavits. Petitioners were · Respondent prosecutors then required petitioners to submit their counter-
furnished the complete copies of documents supporting the CIDG’s letters affidavits in 10 days. It was only four days later, on 17 March 2006, that
only on 17 March 2006. petitioners received the complete copy of the attachments to the CIDG
letters.1a\^/phi1.net
Petitioners moved for the inhibition of the members of the prosecution panel for lack
of impartiality and independence and the manner in which the prosecution panel Indeed, by peremptorily issuing the subpoenas to petitioners, tolerating the
conducted the preliminary investigation. The DOJ panel of prosecutors denied complainant’s antics during the investigation, and distributing copies of a witness’
petitioners’ motion. affidavit to members of the media knowing that petitioners have not had the
opportunity to examine the charges against them, respondent prosecutors not only
Issue: WON the preliminary investigation was tainted with irregularities trivialized the investigation but also lent credence to petitioners’ claim that the entire
Held: YES proceeding was a sham.
The procedure for preliminary investigation of offenses punishable by at least four
years, two months and one day is outlined in Section 3, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules RE: Respondent Prosecutors’ Lack of Impartiality
of Criminal Procedure. We find merit in petitioners’ doubt on respondent prosecutors’ impartiality.
Respondent Secretary of Justice, who exercises supervision and control over the panel
Instead of following this procedure scrupulously, so that the constitutional right to of prosecutors, stated in an interview on 13 March 2006, the day of the preliminary
liberty of a potential accused can be protected from any material damage, respondent investigation, that, "We the DOJ will just declare probable cause, then it’s up to the
prosecutors nonchalantly disregarded it. Court to decide x x x.". This clearly shows pre-judgment, a determination to file the
Information even in the absence of probable cause.
Respondent prosecutors failed to comply with Section 3(a) of Rule 112 which
provides that the complaint (which, with its attachment, must be of such number as
there are respondents) be accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and his
witnesses, subscribed and sworn to before any prosecutor or government official
authorized to administer oath, or, in their absence or unavailability, before a notary
public.
· Respondent prosecutors treated the unsubscribed letters of Tanigue and
Mendoza of the CIDG, PNP as complaints and accepted the affidavits
attached to the letters even though some of them were notarized by a notary
public without any showing that a prosecutor or qualified government
official was unavailable as required by Section 3(a) of Rule 112.

Further, Section 3(b) of Rule 112 mandates that the prosecutor, after receiving the
complaint, must determine if there are grounds to continue with the investigation. If
there is none, he shall dismiss the case, otherwise he shall "issue a subpoena to the
respondents."
Borlongan v. Peña - Kev HELD:
G.R. no. 143591 | November 23, 2007
Nachura, J. The penalty imposable for the crime charged against petitioner is arresto mayor in its
maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, or four (4) months
FACTS: and one (1) day to two (2) years and four (4) months. Clearly, the case is cognizable
by the Municipal Trial Court and preliminary investigation is not mandatory.
● Respondent Pena filed a civil case for recovery of agent’s compensation and
expenses, damages and atty.’s fees against Urban Bank and petitioners Records show that the prosecutor relied merely on the complaint-affidavit of the
Borlongan et al. before the RTC. respondent and did not require the petitioners to submit their counter-affidavits.
● In the civil case, Borlongan et al. attached 4 documents to support its motion The prosecutor should not be faulted for taking this course of action, because it
to dismiss — is sanctioned by the Rules.
● Letter by original owners (Isabela Sugar Co.[ICSI]) of subject
property To reiterate, upon the filing of the complaint and affidavit with respect to cases
● Letter by Bejasa (one of the petitioners) to Ong (kungsinokaman) cognizable by the MTCC, the prosecutor shall take the appropriate action based on
● Letter addressed to Borlongan signed by Ong the affidavits and other supporting documents submitted by the complainant.
● Memorandum from Montilla (kungsinokaman ulet)
● In view of the introduction of the above-mentioned documents, Peña filed It means that the prosecutor may either dismiss the complaint if he does not see
a complaint before the Office of the City Prosec of Bago City for 4 counts sufficient reason to proceed with the case, or file the information if he finds probable
of introduction of falsified document before a judicial proceeding against cause. The prosecutor is not mandated to require the submission of counter-
Borlongan et al. Peña claims that: affidavits. Probable cause may then be determined on the basis alone of the
● Documents were falsified because the alleged signatories did not affidavits and supporting documents of the complainant, without infringing on
actually affix signatures the constitutional rights of the petitioners.
● Signatories were neither stockholders nor officers and employees
of ISCI NOTE:
● Petitioners introduced said documents in court with knowledge of
its falsity SC ruled on WoN there is actually probable cause in the filing of the information,
● City prosec found probable cause, so an information was then filed before reasoning that although discretion is granted to the prosecutor, the court may set aside
the MTCC. Thereafter, Judge Blanca issued the warrants of arrest of the prosecutor’s conclusions when it is necessary to prevent the misuse of the strong
petitioners arm of the law, or to protect the orderly administration of justice.
● Petitioners filed an omnibus motion to quash, recall warrants and for
reinvestigation. There is lack of probable cause because(lol):
● They contend that they have been denied due process because the
proper procedure as provided in the rules was not observed, they ● What was in the complaint affidavit were mere assertions.
having been denied the right to submit their counter-affidavit ● That Ong and others did not actually affix signatures
● In turn, for that lack of counter-affidavit, reliance made by the ● That they were not really officers/stockholders of ISCI
judge in the issuance of warrant was misplaced, being merely ● That Montilla’s signature in the memo was forged
based on the complaint-affidavit ● Peña has no personal knowledge whatsoever on these accounts since
● MTCC denied the motion by petitioners ruling that preliminary nowhere in the complaint did he state that he was personally present at the
investigation is not available in the instant case. It also uphelp the validity execution of these documents, nor his familiarity with the aforementioned
of the warrant signatures
● CA affirmed ● His basis is personal belief, not personal knowledge
● Although the determination of probable cause requires less than evidence
ISSUE: WoN petitioners were deprived of their right to due process because of the which would justify conviction, it should at least be more than mere
denial of their right to preliminary investigation and to submit counter-affidavit - NO suspicion.
Crespo v. Mogul - Kev after an investigation they become convinced that the evidence adduced is not
G.R. No. L-53373 | June 30, 1987 sufficient to establish a prima facie case.
Gancayco, J.
It is through the conduct of a preliminary investigation that the fiscal determines the
existence of a prima facie case that would warrant the prosecution of a case. The
FACTS: Courts cannot interfere with the fiscal's discretion and control of the criminal
prosecution. It is not prudent or even permissible for a Court to compel the fiscal to
● Assistant Fiscal Proceso de Gala, with the approval of Provincial Fiscal, prosecute a proceeding originally initiated by him on an information, if he finds that
filed an estafa case against petitioner before the Circuit Criminal Court in the evidence relied upon by him is insufficient for conviction.
Lucena City
● When the case was set for arraignment, Crespo filed a motion to defer on However, The filing of a complaint or information in Court initiates a criminal action.
the ground that there was a pending petition for review filed with the The Court thereby acquires jurisdiction over the case, which is the authority to hear
Secretary of Justice and determine the case.In turn, as above stated, the filing of said information sets in
● Judge Mogul denied the motion, and subsequently the motion for motion the criminal action against the accused in Court. Should the fiscal find it proper
reconsideration to conduct a reinvestigation of the case, at such stage, the permission of the Court
● Crespo appealed before the CA which was granted, ordering Judge Mogul must be secured. After such reinvestigation the finding and recommendations of the
to restrain from enforcing threat to compel the arraignment of the accused fiscal should be submitted to the Court for appropriate action. While it is true that
until the DOJ shall have finally resolved the petition for review the fiscal has the quasi-judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal
● Undersecretary then moved for immediate dismissal of the information case should be filed in court or not, once the case had already been brought to
filed, prompting the fiscal to file a motion to dismiss for insufficiency of Court whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should be proper in the case
evidence thereafter should be addressed for the consideration of the Court. The only
● Attached in the motion was the letter of Undersecretary Macaraig, qualification is that the action of the Court must not impair the substantial rights of
Jr. the accused or the right of the People to due process of law.
● Judge Mogul denied the motion, reasoning that:
● Such motion erodes the independence and integrity of the court Whether the accused had been arraigned or not and whether it was due to a
by inducing the same court to resolve the innocence of the reinvestigation by the fiscal or a review by the Secretary of Justice whereby a motion
accused on evidence not before it, but before the Undersecretary to dismiss was submitted to the Court, the Court in the exercise of its discretion may
of Justice grant the motion or deny it and require that the trial on the merits proceed for the
● Crespo then appealed such order before the CA, which was dismissed. The proper determination of the case.
CA lifted the restraining order against the Judge
● Hence, this petition [Summary of Ratio]

ISSUE: Whether the trial court acting on a motion to dismiss a criminal case filed by The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed
the Provincial Fiscal upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice to whom the case in Court any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of
was elevated for review, may refuse to grant the motion and insist on the arraignment the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the
and trial on the merits - YES direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is
already in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The Court is the best
HELD: and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. The determination of the case is
within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to dismiss the case filed
It is a cardinal principle that all criminal actions either commenced by complaint or by the fiscal should be addressed to the Court who has the option to grant or deny the
by information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal. same. It does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the accused
Prosecuting officers under the power vested in them by law, not only have the or that the motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary
authority but also the duty of prosecuting persons who, according to the evidence of Justice who reviewed the records of the investigation.
received from the complainant, are shown to be guilty of a crime committed within
the jurisdiction of their office. They have equally the legal duty not to prosecute when NOTE:
The SC in this case gave a guide on the actions the prosecutor must undertake should
the court deny its motion for dismissal, as recommended by the SOJ:

The role of the fiscal or prosecutor as We all know is to see that justice is done and
not necessarily to secure the conviction of the person accused before the Courts. Thus,
in spite of his opinion to the contrary, it is the duty of the fiscal to proceed with the
presentation of evidence of the prosecution to the Court to enable the Court to arrive
at its own independent judgment as to whether the accused should be convicted or
acquitted. The fiscal should not shirk from the responsibility of appearing for the
People of the Philippines even under such circumstances much less should he abandon
the prosecution of the case leaving it to the hands of a private prosecutor for then the
entire proceedings will be null and void. The least that the fiscal should do is to
continue to appear for the prosecution although he may turn over the presentation of
the evidence to the private prosecutor but still under his direction and control.

In order therefor to avoid such a situation whereby the opinion of the Secretary of
Justice who reviewed the action of the fiscal may be disregarded by the trial court, the
Secretary of Justice should, as far as practicable, refrain from entertaining a petition
for review or appeal from the action of the fiscal, when the complaint or information
has already been filed in Court. The matter should be left entirely for the determination
of the Court
San Agustin v. People - Kev ● The CA on the previously mentioned appeal dismissed the same.
G.R. No. 158211 | August 31, 2004 ● Hence, this petition.
Callejo, Sr., J. ● PETITIONER’S CLAIMS:
● He was illegally arrested, hence he was entitled to a preliminary
FACTS: investigation, not merely an inquest investigation
● Since no preliminary investigation was conducted, the
● Luz Tan, wife of the offended party, filed a complaint against San Agustin information is void
for serious illegal detention before the NBI ● That the RTC should have granted his motion to quash and
● NBI issued a subpoena to San Agustin, requiring him to appear before said ordered NBI to refile complaint for him to be afforded the proper
office in order to give his evidence as regards the complaint and to bring preliminary investigation
with him the brgy. logbook ● That as regards the new info for arbitrary detention, no
● San Agustin complied with the subpoena, but then and there, he was placed preliminary investigation was also conducted, rendering the info
under arrest and prevented from going back home void
● NBI’s findings narrated the events that had transpired before the filing of ● OSG’s Comments:
the complaint. Thus: ● The petition has been rendered moot and academic by the
● Vicente Tan, with Geronimo, were selling their wares of kitchen withdrawal of the information from the RTC and filing of the new
utensils along Parañaque one in the MTC.
● Victim was mistaken as a snatcher and so was apprehended and ● That the inquest is valid because San Agustin refused to execute
turned over to San Agustin (petitioner) waiver
● Witness saw victim being beaten and locked-up at the Brgy. jail, ● That San Agustin is estopped from assailing the resolution of the
so he informed Luz Tan of what he saw ACP because he failed to submit his counter-affidavit
● Clerks and San Agustin denied having seen the whereabouts of
Vicente Tan, and to date, the victim’s whereabouts were still not ISSUES:
known
● The NBI stated that the basis of arrest was that he was ordered to appear 1. WoN San Agustin was entitled to a regular preliminary investigation,
before the said office to controvert the allegations against him. So San not merely an inquest investigation. - Yes
Agustin complied, but there was no record in the logbook that Vicente Tan
was arrested 2. WoN the pieces of information were void for lack of preliminary
● State Prosecutor Elizabeth Berdal then conducted an inquest proceeding, investigation - No
and subsequently found probable cause against petitioner
● Then, an information was filed before the RTC of Parañaque for 3. Should imposable penalty for the crime charged in the complaint filed
kidnapping/ serious illegal detention with the City or Provincial Prosecutor's Office be the basis whether or not
● Here, San Agustin filed a motion to quash the information due to denial of to conduct a preliminary investigation? - Yes
the right to a preliminary investigation, he being illegally arrested and
subjected to an inquest proceeding HELD:
● RTC ordered reinvestigation, to which San Agustin still appealed as he
contended that the prosecutor should conduct a regular preliminary 1. The SC first ruled on the validity of arrest, stating that in the instant case, the arrest
investigation since the inquest investigation was void. was illegal, not falling under the exeptions in Sec 5., Rule 113.
● San Agustin’s appeal pending before the CA, Assistant prosecutor issued a
resolution finding probable cause against him for arbitrary detention, Consequently, the petitioner is entitled to a preliminary investigation before an
prompting the same prosec to file a motion to withdraw the previous Information may be filed against him for said crime. The inquest investigation
information. The resolution was opposed to by the City Prosecutor. (dunno conducted by the State Prosecutor is void because under Rule 112, Section 7 of the
if relevant) Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, an inquest investigation is proper only when
● The withdrawal of the previous information and the filing of the new the suspect is lawfully arrested without a warrant.
information before the MeTC was successful
2. The absence of a preliminary investigation does not affect the jurisdiction of the
trial court but merely the regularity of the proceedings. It does not impair the validity
of the Information or otherwise render it defective. Neither is it a ground to quash the
Information or nullify the order of arrest issued against him or justify the release of
the accused from detention.However, the trial court should suspend proceedings and
order a preliminary investigation considering that the inquest investigation conducted
by the State Prosecutor is null and void. In sum, then, the RTC committed grave abuse
of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in ordering the City
Prosecutor to conduct a reinvestigation which is merely a review by the Prosecutor of
his records and evidence instead of a preliminary investigation as provided for in
Section 3, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.

3. Contrary to CA’s ruling that there was no need for the City Prosecutor to conduct
a preliminary investigation since the crime charged under the Information filed with
the MeTC was arbitrary detention under Article 124, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal
Code punishable by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in
its minimum period, which has a range of four months and one day to two years and
four months, whether or not there is a need for a preliminary investigation under
Section 1 in relation to Section 9 of Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure depends upon the imposable penalty for the crime charged in the
complaint filed with the City or Provincial Prosecutor's Office and not upon the
imposable penalty for the crime found to have been committed by the respondent
after a preliminary investigation. In this case, the crime charged in the complaint of
the NBI filed in the Department of Justice was kidnapping/serious illegal detention,
the imposable penalty for which is reclusion perpetua to death.