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JUDICIAL PROCEEDING THAT INTERRUPTS THE PRESCRIPTION OF CRIME PEOPLE V. MA. THERESA PANGILINAN G.R. No.

152662, June 13, 2012 Perez, J: FACTS: On 16 September 1997, Virginia C. Malolos filed an affidavit-complaint for estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 22 against Ma. Theresa Pangilinan (respondent) with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City. The complaint alleges that respondent issued nine (9) checks with an aggregate amount of Nine Million Six Hundred Fifty-Eight Thousand Five Hundred Ninety-Two Pesos (P9,658,592.00) in favor of private complainant which were dishonored upon presentment for payment. Consequently the case was modified, and only on February 3, 2000 that two counts for violation of BP Blg. 22 were filed against respondent Ma.Theresa Pangilinan in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City. On 17 June 2000, respondent filed an Omnibus Motion to Quash the Information and to Defer the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest before MeTC, Branch 31, Quezon City. She alleged that her criminal liability has been extinguished by reason of prescription. In defense of her claim, Pangilinan said that the prevailing law that governs the prescription of special penal law, B.P. 22, is Section 2 of Act No. 3326 (An Act To Establish Periods Of Prescription For Violations Penalized By Special Acts) where the right to file an action to a proper court and not to merely to prosecution office for B.P. 22, prescribes four (4) years from the commission of the crime. The imputed violation occurred sometime in 1995, and only on February 3, 2000 that a case was formally filed in the Metropolitan Trial Court, therefore the action already prescribes. RTC granted the motion. On the other hand, the complainant argued that the filing with the office of city prosecutor constitutes an interruption to the prescription. ISSUE: Is filing complaint to city prosecutor office considered a judicial proceeding that can interrupt prescription of crime under B.P. 22? HELD: YES. Following a catena of cases, the court held that, there is no more distinction between cases under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and those covered by special laws with respect to the interruption of the period of prescription; that the institution of proceedings for preliminary investigation in the office of prosecutor against accused interrupts the period of prescription. Following the factual finding the crime was committed sometime in 1995, the filing of complaint on September 1997, two (2) years from the commission of the crime

validly interrupts the running of prescription. Therefore the action against the respondent Pangilinan did not prescribe.