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ODON PECHO, petitioner, vs.

SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE


PHILIPPINES, respondents.
G.R. No. 111399 November 14, 1994, EN BANC (DAVIDE, JR., J.)

FACTS:
On or about March 16, 1989, ODON PECHO, a public officer being then the
Customs Guard, Miscellaneous Bonded Warehouse Division, Bureau of
Customs, taking advantage of his official position and conspiring with JOSE
CATRE representing himself to be a representative of Eversun Commercial
Trading of Cotabato City, pretend and feign to be agents or representatives of
Eversun Commercial Trading in the importation of 5 x 20 foot containers STC
agricultural disc blades and irrigation water pumps
They also engage, solicit and contract the services of one Constantino Calica of
Labatique, a CPA Customs Broker for the release of said shipment and/or
preparation of the necessary import entry with the two (2) accused, furnishing,
presenting and producing the necessary shipping documents such as packing
list, commercial invoice, bill of lading and import entry declaration, which led
and prompted said Customs Broker to file BOC import entry with the
computed taxes and duties amounting to P53,164.00 declaring the shipment
as five (5) containers STC agricultural disc blades and irrigation water pumps.
However, contrary to the entry declaration, the subject shipment before its
release, upon examination was found and/or discovered to contain 300 units
diesel engines and the correct taxes and duties is P1,080,485.00, to the damage
and prejudice of the government in the amount of P1,027,321.00

The investigating prosecutor made the following certification in the


information:

This is to certify that a preliminary investigation has been conducted in this


case; that there is a reasonable ground to engender a well-founded belief that a
crime has been committed and that the accused are probably guilty thereof.

They were charged with the violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 (Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and subsequently found by the Second
Division of the Sandiganbayan guilty as charged.
ISSUE:
W/N the information filed by the prosecutor is insufficient for failing failure to
state therein that the accused was informed of the complaint and of the
evidence submitted against him and that he was given an opportunity to
submit controverting evidence.
HELD:
NO, certification of the investigating Prosecutor in the information is
sufficient.
When the Prosecutor stated under oath that, inter alia, "a preliminary
investigation has been conducted in this case," he gave the solemn assurance
that such preliminary investigation conformed with the requirements set forth
in Sections 3 and 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.
The absence of a certification as to the holding of a preliminary investigation
does not invalidate an information because such certification is not an essential
part of the information itself. Sec. 3 of Rule 110 defines an information as
nothing more than "an accusation in writing charging a person with an offense
subscribed by the fiscal and filed with the court." Thus, it is obvious that such
certification is not an essential part of the information itself and its absence
cannot vitiate it as such (People vs.Marquez )
If the absence of a certification would not even invalidate the information, then
its presence, although deficient because of some missing clauses or phrases
required under Section 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, can do nothing worse
than the former.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED; however, the judgment of the


Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 14844 is modified, and, as modified,
the petitioner is hereby declared guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex
crime of attempted estafa through falsification of official and commercial
documents and, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, is hereby sentenced
to suffer an imprisonment penalty ranging from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4)
MONTHS, and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional medium as minimum to
TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor maximum as maximum,
with the accessories thereof and to pay a fine of Two Thousand Pesos
(P2,000.00).