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Matias Pangilinan Bamsale Tan Feliz Alberto Hernal Buazon & Associates
1. BERNADETTE MONDEJAR, complainant, vs. JUDGE MARINO Law Offices for petitioners.
S. BUBAN, MTCC, Tacloban City Branch 1, respondent.
SYNOPSIS Petitioners herein are public officials; Antonio is a municipal mayor, while
Respondent MTCC Judge issued a "hold departure order" against Mark Anthony is a barangay captain. Acting on various charges filed against
complainant charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 pending them, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman issued a resolution
with his sala. This became the basis of an administrative complaint against recommending petitioners' indictment, and thereafter, proper Informations
him for gross ignorance of the law, partiality, serious irregularity and grave were filed against them in the Sandiganbayan. Petitioners assailed in a
misconduct in violation of Supreme Court Circular No. 39-97. AcICHD petition for certiorari the resolution of the Ombudsman and the jurisdiction
MTCC, a first level court, under Circular No. 39-97, has no authority to of the Sandiganbayan cDICaS
issue hold-departure orders in criminal cases, the same being lodged within Petitioners alleged grave abuse of discretion by the Ombudsman for failure
the jurisdiction of regional trial courts, second level courts. to consider exculpatory evidence in their favor. The Court ruled that it
would not ordinarily interfere with the Ombudsman's exercise of
SYLLABUS investigatory and prosecutory powers without compelling reasons, as in the
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SUPREME COURT; CIRCULAR case at bar. The exculpatory evidence alleged is best to be passed upon in
NO. 39-79; REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS, WITH EXCLUSIVE trial. Hence, certiorari is not the proper remedy. On the issue of jurisdiction,
JURISDICTION TO ISSUE "HOLD DEPARTURE ORDERS"; FIRST the position of municipal mayor which is within the jurisdiction of the
LEVEL COURTS LIKE MTCC, WITHOUT AUTHORITY. — Circular Sandiganbayan is carried over to his co-accused, the Barangay Captain.
No. 39-97 limits the authority to issue hold-departure orders to criminal
cases within the jurisdiction of second level courts. Paragraph No. 1 of the SYLLABUS
said circular specifically provides that "hold-departure orders shall be issued 1. POLITICAL LAW; CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; OMBUDSMAN;
only in criminal cases within the exclusive jurisdiction of the regional trial INVESTIGATORY AND PROSECUTORY POWERS; WILL NOT BE
courts." Clearly then, criminal cases within the exclusive jurisdiction of first ORDINARILY INTERFERED WITH BY THE SUPREME COURT. —
level courts do not fall within the ambit of the circular, and it was an error The Ombudsman is empowered to determine whether there exists
on the part of respondent judge to have issued one in the instant case. reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding
C. JURISDICTION DETERMINED BY THE ALLEGATIONS OF information with the appropriate courts. Settled is the rule that the Supreme
THE COMPLAINT Court will not ordinarily interfere with the Ombudsman's exercise of his
investigatory and prosecutory powers without good and compelling reasons
1. FOZ v PEOPLE to indicate otherwise. Said exercise of powers is based upon his
constitutional mandate and the courts will not interfere in its exercise. The (italics supplied) are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade '27'
rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory and prosecutory or higher" that "exclusive original jurisdiction shall be vested in the proper
powers granted by the Constitution to the Office of the Ombudsman, but regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and
upon practicality as well. Otherwise, innumerable petitions seeking municipal circuit court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective
dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by the Ombudsman will jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended." Note
grievously hamper the functions of the office and the courts, in much the that under the 1991 Local Government Code, Mayor Esquivel has a salary
same way that courts will be swamped if they had to review the exercise of grade of 27. Since Barangay Captain Esquivel is the co-accused in Criminal
discretion on the part of public prosecutors each time they decided to file an Case No. 24777 of Mayor Esquivel, whose position falls under salary grade
information or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant. Thus, in 27, the Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion in assuming
Rodrigo, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan, we held that: This Court, moreover, has jurisdiction over said criminal case, as well as over Criminal Case No.
maintained a consistent policy of non-interference in the determination of 24778, involving both of them. Hence, the writ of certiorari cannot issue in
the Ombudsman regarding the existence of probable cause, provided there petitioners' favor. IEHDAT
is no grave abuse in the exercise of such discretion. CaDSHE
EVIDENCE. — The admission that petitioners brand as incontrovertible is
but a matter of evidence best addressed to the public respondents' 1. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, through SECRETARY
appreciation. It is evidentiary in nature and its probative value can be best HERNANDO PEREZ, THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits. Given these INVESTIGATION through DIRECTOR REYNALDO WYCOCO,
circumstances, certiorari is not the proper remedy. As previously held, but STATE PROSECUTORS LEO B. DACERA III, MISAEL M.
now bears stressing: . . . [t]his Court is not a trier of facts and it is not its LADAGA AND MARY JOSEPHINE P. LAZARO, petitioners, vs.
function to examine and evaluate the probative value of all evidence HON. HERMOGENES R. LIWAG, in his capacity as Presiding Judge,
presented to the concerned tribunal which formed the basis of its impugned Branch 55, Regional Trial Court, Manila, PANFILO M. LACSON,
decision, resolution or order. MICHAEL RAY B. AQUINO, respondents.
The Solicitor General for petitioners.
3. POLITICAL LAW; SANDIGANBAYAN; JURISDICTION; Fortun Narvasa & Salazar for P. Lacson and M.R.B. Aquino.
SANDIGANBAYAN. — Petitioners would have this Court review the SYLLABUS
Sandiganbayan's exercise of jurisdiction over Criminal Cases Nos. 24777- 2. POLITICAL LAW; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; THE
78. Petitioners theorize that the latter has no jurisdiction over their persons DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ); AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT
as they hold positions excluded in Republic Act No. 7975. As the positions PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION. — The authority of the DOJ to
of municipal mayors and barangay captains are not mentioned therein, they conduct a preliminary investigation is based on the provisions of the 1987
claim they are not covered by said law under the principle of expressio Administrative Code under Chapter I, Title III, Book IV, governing the
unius est exclusio alterius. Petitioners' claim lacks merit. In Rodrigo, Jr. vs. DOJ, which states: Section 1. Declaration of policy. — It is the declared
Sandiganbayan, Binay vs. Sandiganbayan, and Layus vs. Sandiganbayan, policy of the State to provide the government with a principal law agency
we already held that municipal mayors fall under the original and exclusive which shall be both its legal counsel and prosecution arm; administer the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Nor can Barangay Captain Mark criminal justice system in accordance with the accepted processes thereof
Anthony Esquivel claim that since he is not a municipal mayor, he is consisting in the investigation of the crimes, prosecution of offenders and
outside the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction. R.A. 7975, as amended by R.A. administration of the correctional system; . . . Section 3. Powers and
No. 8249, provides that it is only in cases where "none of the accused Functions. — To accomplish its mandate, the Department shall have the
following powers and functions: . . . (2) Investigate the commission of office. They were given a fixed term of seven years, without reappointment.
crimes, prosecute offenders and administer the probation and correction Upon their cessation from office, they are prohibited from running for any
system; . . . Furthermore, Section 1 of the Presidential Decree 1275, elective office in the immediately succeeding election. Finally, unlike other
effective April 11, 1978, provides: Section 1. Creation of the National investigative bodies, the Constitution granted the Office of the Ombudsman
Prosecution Service; Supervision and Control of the Secretary of Justice. — fiscal autonomy. Clearly, all these measures are intended to enhance the
There is hereby created and established a National Prosecution Service independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the
under the supervision and control of the Secretary of Justice, to be Ombudsman was likewise envisioned by the Constitution to serve as the
composed of the Prosecution Staff in the Office of the Secretary of Justice principal and primary complaints and action center for the aggrieved
and such number of Regional State Prosecution Offices, and Provincial and layman baffled by the bureaucratic maze of procedures. For this purpose, it
City Fiscal's Offices as are hereinafter provided, which shall be primarily was granted more than the usual powers given to prosecutors. It was vested
responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all cases involving with the power to investigate complaints against a public office or officer on
violations of penal laws. its own initiative, even without a formal complaint lodged before it. It can
inquire into acts of government agencies and public servants based on
3. ID.; ID.; OMBUDSMAN ACT OF 1989; POWERS, FUNCTIONS reports in the media and those which come to his attention through sources
AND DUTIES. — Section 15, Republic Act No. 6640, known as the other than a complaint. The method of filing a complaint with the
Ombudsman Act of 1989, provides: Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. Ombudsman is direct, informal, speedy and inexpensive. All that may be
— The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, required from a complainant is sufficient information detailing the illegal or
functions and duties: (1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on improper acts complained of. The ordinary citizen, who has become
complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or increasingly dependent on public agencies, is put to minimal expense and
employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, difficulty in getting his complaint acted on by the Office of the
unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases Ombudsman. Vis-à-vis other prosecutors, the exercise by the Ombudsman
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this primary of its power to investigate public officials is given preference over other
jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of bodies.
Government, the investigation of such cases; . . . . AHCaED
OMBUDSMAN; DISCUSSED. — Section 13, Article XI of the OF THE DOJ, ELABORATED. — Congress itself acknowledged the
Constitution specifically vests in the Office of the Ombudsman the plenary significant role played by the Office of Ombudsman when it enacted
power to investigate any malfeasance, misfeasance or non-feasance of Republic Act No. 6770. Section 15 (1) of said law gives the Ombudsman
public officers or employees. To discharge its duty effectively, the primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and
Constitution endowed the Office of the Ombudsman with special features authorizes him to take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency, the
which puts it a notch above other grievance-handling, investigate bodies. investigation of such cases. This power to take over a case at any time is not
First and foremost, it extended independence to the Ombudsman and given to other investigative bodies. All this means that the power of the
insulated it from the intrusions of partisan politics. Thus, the Constitution Ombudsman to investigate cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan is not
provided for stringent qualification requirements for the selection of the co-equal with other investigative bodies, such as the DOJ. The Ombudsman
Ombudsman and his deputies, i.e., they should be natural-born citizens, of can delegate the power but the delegate cannot claim equal power. While
recognized probity and independence and must not have been candidates for the DOJ has general jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation of
any elective office in the immediately preceding election. The Ombudsman cases involving violations of the Revised Penal Code, this general
and his deputies were given the rank and salary equal to that of the jurisdiction cannot diminish the plenary power and primary jurisdiction of
Chairman and Members, respectively, of the Constitutional Commissions, the Ombudsman to investigate complaints specifically directed against
with a prohibition for any decrease in their salary during their term of public officers and employees. The Office of the Ombudsman is a
constitutional creation. In contrast, the DOJ is an extension of the executive F. REVIEW OF THE DECISIONS OF THE OMBUDSMAN
department, bereft of the constitutional independence granted to the
Ombudsman. Petitioners cannot seek sanctuary in the doctrine of concurrent 1. ANTONINO v DESIERTO
jurisdiction. While the doctrine of concurrent jurisdiction means equal 2. DOJ v. LIWAG
jurisdiction to deal with the same subject matter, the settled rule is that the
body or agency that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise G. PROCEDURE BEFORE OMBUDSMAN
jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others. Thus, assuming there is
concurrent jurisdiction between the Ombudsman and the DOJ in the 1. PETER L. SESBREÑO, complainant, vs. JUDGE GLORIA B.
conduct of preliminary investigation, this concurrence is not to be taken as AGLUGUB, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 2, San Pedro, Laguna,
an unrestrained freedom to file the same case before both bodies or be respondent.
viewed as a contest between these bodies as to which will first complete the
investigation. In the present case, it is the Ombudsman before whom the SYLLABUS
complaint was initially filed. Hence, it has the authority to proceed with the 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PRELIMINARY
preliminary investigation to the exclusion of the DOJ. The subsequent INVESTIGATION; WHEN REQUIRED. — A preliminary investigation is
assumption of jurisdiction by the DOJ in the conduct of preliminary required before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense where
investigation over the cases filed against the respondents would not promote the penalty prescribed by law is at least four (4) years, two (2) months and
an orderly administration of justice. Although a preliminary investigation is one (1) day without regard to the fine. Thus, a preliminary investigation is
not a trial, it is not a casual affair either. A preliminary investigation is an not required nor was one conducted for the charge of violation of Art. 177
inquiry or proceeding for the purpose of determining whether there is of the Revised Penal Code which is punishable by prision correccional in its
sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been minimum and medium periods or from six (6) months and one (1) day to
committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held four (4) years and two (2) months.
for trial. When one is hailed before an investigative body on specific
charges, the very act of filing said complaint for preliminary investigation 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; IF A COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION IS FILED
immediately exposes the respondent and his family to anxiety, humiliation DIRECTLY WITH THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, IT IS MERELY
and expense. To allow the same complaint to be filed successively before DISCRETIONARY UPON THE INVESTIGATING JUDGE TO ISSUE A
two or more investigative bodies would promote multiplicity of WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF THE ACCUSED EVEN AFTER
proceedings. It would also cause undue difficulties to the respondent who HAVING PERSONALLY EXAMINED THE COMPLAINANT AND HIS
would have to appear and defend his position before every agency or body WITNESSES FOR THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER PROBABLE
where the same complaint was filed. This would leave hapless litigants at a CAUSE EXISTS. — [I]f a complaint or information is filed directly with
loss as to where to appear and plead their cause or defense. There is yet the Municipal Trial Court, the procedure laid down in Sec. 3 (a), Rule 112
another undesirable consequence. There is the distinct possibility that the of the Rules shall be observed. If the judge finds no sufficient ground to
two bodies exercising jurisdiction at the same time would come up with hold the respondent for trial, he shall dismiss the complaint or information.
conflicting resolutions regarding the guilt of the respondents. Finally, the Otherwise, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the
second investigation would entail an unnecessary expenditure of public accused had already been arrested, and hold the latter for trial. However, the
funds, and the use of valuable and limited resources of Government, in a judge is given the discretion to merely issue summons instead of a warrant
duplication of proceedings already started with the Ombudsman. of arrest if he does not find it necessary to place the accused under custody.
It is thus not obligatory but merely discretionary upon the investigating
2. LAZATIN v DESIERTO judge to issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused even after having
3. PRESIDENTIAL ADHOC v. DESIERTO personally examined the complainant and his witnesses in the form of
4. CASTRO v. DELORIA searching questions for the determination of whether probable cause exists.
Whether it is necessary to place the accused in custody in order not to
frustrate the ends of justice is left to the judge's sound judgment. Moreover, statements would cast dishonor, discredit or contempt upon him.
the judge is not required to transmit the records of the case to the prosecutor Respondents Dela Peña and Cagara separately appealed to the Department
for review. of Justice. Then Justice Secretary Artemio Tuquero issued a Resolution
modifying the Joint Resolution of the Assistant City Prosecutor by ordering,
4. ID.; ID.; PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION; DEPUTY among others — (1) that the charge of Grave Oral Defamation against
OMBUDSMAN; SHALL TAKE APPROPRIATE FINAL ACTION ON Rosalinda Punzalan be downgraded to Slight Oral Defamation; (2) that the
THE RESOLUTIONS IN OMBUDSMAN CASES AGAINST PUBLIC charge of Attempted Murder against Rainier, Randall and 14 others be
OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES PREPARED BY A DEPUTIZED downgraded to Attempted Homicide. Petitioners, Rosalinda, Rainier and
ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR. — "[R]esolutions in Ombudsman cases Randall Punzalan, together with their co-respondents, filed separate motions
against public officers and employees prepared by a deputized assistant for reconsideration. The Secretary of Justice directed the withdrawal of the
prosecutor shall be submitted to the Provincial or City Prosecutor concerned Informations against the movants. Respondents filed a motion for
who shall, in turn, forward the same to the Deputy Ombudsman of the area reconsideration of the Resolution, but the same was denied. Respondents
with his recommendation for the approval or disapproval thereof. The then filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. The Court of
Deputy Ombudsman shall take appropriate final action thereon, including Appeals rendered judgment granting the petition and set aside the order of
the approval of its filing in the proper regular court or the dismissal of the the Secretary of Justice directing the withdrawal of informations for slight
complaint, if the crime charged is punishable by prision correccional or oral defamation against Rosalinda Punzalan and attempted homicide against
lower, or fine of not more than P6,000.00 or both. Resolutions involving the respondents. Petitioners moved for reconsideration, but was denied.
offenses falling within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan shall be Hence, the instant petition. cHaADC
forwarded by the Deputy Ombudsman with his recommendation thereon to The Supreme Court granted the petition and set aside the decision of the
the Office of the Ombudsman." Court of Appeals and reinstated the Resolution of the Secretary of Justice
directing the withdrawal of the informations for slight oral defamation and
H. POWER OF THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE OVER attempted homicide against the petitioners. Under the Revised
PROSECUTORS Administrative Code, the Secretary of Justice exercises the power of direct
control and supervision over the decisions or resolutions of the prosecutors.
1. ROSALINDA PUNZALAN, RANDALL PUNZALAN and RAINIER "Supervision and control" includes the authority to act directly whenever a
PUNZALAN, petitioners, vs. DENCIO DELA PEÑA and ROBERT specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; to direct
CAGARA, respondents. the performance of duty; and to approve, revise or modify acts and decision
Perlas De Guzman Antonio & Herbosa Law Firm for petitioners. of subordinate officials or units. Thus, the question of whether or not to
Prudente M. Soller, Jr. for respondents. dismiss a complaint is within the purview of the functions of the prosecutor
and, ultimately, that of the Secretary of Justice. The Secretary of Justice
SYNOPSIS then did not commit grave abuse of discretion contrary to the finding of the
Respondent Robert Cagara filed a complaint for Grave Oral Defamation Court of Appeals. The Court reiterated the settled rule that it will not
against petitioner Rosalinda Punzalan, mother of petitioner Rainier interfere in the conduct of preliminary investigations or reinvestigations and
Punzalan, alleging that on October 16, 1997 at the Office of the Prosecutor leave to the investigating prosecutor sufficient latitude of discretion in the
of Mandaluyong City, Rosalinda approached him, and within hearing exercise of determination of what constitutes sufficient evidence as will
distance of other people, told him, "Hoy Robert, magkanong ibinigay ng establish probable cause for the filing of information against an offender.
mga Plata sa iyo sa pagtestigo? Dodoblehin ko at ipapasok pa kita ng Moreover, the findings of the Secretary of Justice are not subject to review
trabaho." In her defense, Rosalinda denied having uttered the alleged unless shown to have been made with grave abuse. DTEAHI
defamatory statements. The Assistant City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City
dismissed the complaint for Grave Oral Defamation against Rosalinda SYLLABUS
Punzalan, holding that Cagara failed to show that the alleged defamatory
1. POLITICAL LAW; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; REVISED judge's findings and conclusions or to cure erroneous conclusions of law
ADMINISTRATIVE CODE; THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE and fact, appeal is the remedy. Lack of jurisdiction and excess of
EXERCISES POWER OF DIRECT CONTROL AND SUPERVISION jurisdiction are distinguished thus: the respondent acts without jurisdiction
OVER DECISIONS OR RESOLUTIONS OF PROSECUTORS; if he does not have the legal power to determine the case; where the
QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT TO DISMISS A COMPLAINT IS respondent, being clothed with the power to determine the case, oversteps
WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE PROSECUTOR his authority as determined by law, he is performing a function in excess of
AND, ULTIMATELY, THAT OF THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE. — his jurisdiction. In the case of Meat Packing Corp. v. Sandiganbayan, it was
Under the Revised Administrative Code, the Secretary of Justice exercises held that grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical
the power of direct control and supervision over the decisions or resolutions exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, when the
of the prosecutors. "Supervision and control" includes the authority to act power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion
directly whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a or personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an
subordinate; to direct the performance of duty; and to approve, revise or evasion of positive duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. It
modify acts and decision of subordinate officials or units. In the case of is not sufficient that a tribunal, in the exercise of its power, abused its
People v. Peralta, we reiterated the rule that the right to prosecute vests the discretion; such abuse must be grave.
prosecutor with a wide range of discretion — the discretion of whether,
what and whom to charge, the exercise of which depends on a variety of 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; FINDINGS OF THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE
factors which are best appreciated by prosecutors. Likewise, in the case of ARE NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW UNLESS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN
Hegerty v. Court of Appeals, we declared that: A public prosecutor, by the MADE WITH GRAVE ABUSE. — The Secretary of Justice did not commit
nature of his office, is under no compulsion to file a criminal information grave abuse of discretion contrary to the finding of the Court of Appeals. It
where no clear legal justification has been shown, and no sufficient is well-settled in the recent case of Samson, et al. v. Guingona that the Court
evidence of guilt nor prima facie case has been presented by the petitioner. will not interfere in the conduct of preliminary investigations or
We need only to stress that the determination of probable cause during a reinvestigations and leave to the investigating prosecutor sufficient latitude
preliminary investigation or reinvestigation is recognized as an executive of discretion in the exercise of determination of what constitutes sufficient
function exclusively of the prosecutor. An investigating prosecutor is under evidence as will establish probable cause for the filing of information
no obligation to file a criminal action where he is not convinced that he has against an offender. Moreover, his findings are not subject to review unless
the quantum of evidence at hand to support the averments. Prosecuting shown to have been made with grave abuse. SaAcHE
officers have equally the duty not to prosecute when after investigation or
reinvestigation they are convinced that the evidence adduced was not PART II
sufficient to establish a prima facie case. Thus, the determination of the COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION (RULE 110)
persons to be prosecuted rests primarily with the prosecutor who is vested
with discretion in the discharge of this function. Thus, the question of A. SUFFICIENCY OF THE COMPLAINT
whether or not to dismiss a complaint is within the purview of the functions
of the prosecutor and, ultimately, that of the Secretary of Justice. cDCHaS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. EDGARDO
DIMAANO, appellant.
2. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; The Solicitor General for appellee.
DISTINGUISHED. — A petition for certiorari is the proper remedy when
any tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions SYLLABUS
has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of 6. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; COMPLAINT OR
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and there is no appeal, INFORMATION; WHEN SUFFICIENT; CASE AT BAR. — However, we
nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy at law. Where the error is in the acquit appellant in Criminal Case No. 96-151 for the crime of attempted
rape for failure to allege in the complaint the specific acts constitutive of 1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI;
attempted rape. For a complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state IMPROPER REMEDY TO ASSAIL DENIAL OF A MOTION TO QUASH
the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; AN INFORMATION; PETITIONERS SHOULD HAVE GONE TO TRIAL
the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of AND REITERATE THE SPECIAL DEFENSES CONTAINED IN THEIR
the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the offense, MOTION TO QUASH. — The Court has consistently held that a special
and the place wherein the offense was committed. What is controlling is not civil action for certiorari is not the proper remedy to assail the denial of a
the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged or the motion to quash an information. The proper procedure in such a case is for
particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere the accused to enter a plea, go to trial without prejudice on his part to
conclusions of law made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime present the special defenses he had invoked in his motion to quash and, if
charged and the particular facts therein recited. The acts or omissions after trial on the merits, an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom
complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a in the manner authorized by law. Thus, petitioners should not have
person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be forthwith filed a special civil action for certiorari with the CA and instead,
charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No they should have gone to trial and reiterate the special defenses contained in
information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and their motion to quash. There are no special or exceptional circumstances in
clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. Every element of the the present case such that immediate resort to a filing of a petition for
offense must be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are certiorari should be permitted. Clearly, the CA did not commit any grave
necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the abuse of discretion in dismissing the petition.
definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of
alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused 2. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; MOTION TO QUASH;
of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably ALLEGED DEFECT IN THE COMPLAINT FILED BEFORE THE
prepare his defense. The presumption is that the accused has no independent FISCAL AND THE COMPLAINANT'S CAPACITY TO SUE
knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense. Notably, the complaint PETITIONERS ARE NOT GROUNDS FOR A MOTION TO QUASH. —
upon which the appellant was arraigned does not allege specific acts or The Court does not find any justification for the quashal of the Information
omission constituting the elements of the crime of rape. Neither does it filed against petitioners. For one, while petitioners raise in their motion to
constitute sufficient allegation of elements for crimes other than rape, i.e., quash the grounds that the facts charged do not constitute an offense and
Acts of Lasciviousness. The allegation therein that the appellant "tr[ied] and that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the offense charged or the person
attempt[ed] to rape" the complainant does not satisfy the test of sufficiency of the accused, their arguments focused on an alleged defect in the
of a complaint or information, but is merely a conclusion of law by the one complaint filed before the fiscal, complainant's capacity to sue and
who drafted the complaint. This insufficiency therefore prevents this Court petitioners' exculpatory defenses against the crime of unfair competition.
from rendering a judgment of conviction; otherwise we would be violating Section 3, Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, which was
the right of the appellant to be informed of the nature of the accusation then in force at the time the alleged criminal acts were committed,
against him. cDEHIC enumerates the grounds for quashing an information, . . . Nowhere in the
provision is there any mention of the defect in the complaint filed before the
MELBAROSE R. SASOT AND ALLANDALE R. SASOT, petitioners, fiscal and the complainant's capacity to sue as grounds for a motion to
Branch 1, Manila, respondents. 3. ID.; ID.; ABSENCE OF OATH IN THE COMPLAINT DOES
The Solicitor General for respondents. MERE DEFECT OF FORM, WHICH DOES NOT AFFECT THE
SYLLABUS For another, under Section 3, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
Procedure, a complaint is substantially sufficient if it states the known the accused of the nature of the charge against them, is reasonably complied
address of the respondent, it is accompanied by complainant's affidavit and with.
his witnesses and supporting documents, and the affidavits are sworn to
before any fiscal, state prosecutor or government official authorized to 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CANNOT BE AMENDED AFTER THE
administer oath, or in their absence or unavailability, a notary public who JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION HAS ATTAINED FINALITY. — In
must certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he is satisfied Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines v. People, the Court affirming the finality of a
that they voluntarily executed and understood their affidavits. All these have decision in a criminal case, citing Section 7, Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules on
been duly satisfied in the complaint filed before Prosecution Attorney Criminal Procedure, stated: A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of
Aileen Marie S. Gutierrez. It must be noted that even the absence of an oath the accused, be modified or set aside before it becomes final or before
in the complaint does not necessarily render it invalid. Want of oath is a appeal is perfected. Except where the death penalty is imposed a judgment
mere defect of form, which does not affect the substantial rights of the [of conviction] becomes final after the lapse of the period for perfecting an
defendant on the merits. appeal, or when the sentence has been partially or totally satisfied or served,
or when the accused has waived in writing his right to appeal, or has applied
MARCELO LASOY and FELIX BANISA, petitioners, vs. HON. for probation. Indeed, the belated move on the part of the prosecution to
MONINA A. ZENAROSA, PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC, BR. 76, have the information amended defies procedural rules, the decision having
QUEZON CITY, and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, attained finality after the accused applied for probation and the fact that
respondents. amendment is no longer allowed at that stage.
Public Attorney's Office for petitioners.
The Solicitor General for respondents. 4. POLITICAL LAW; CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF
invoke the defense of double jeopardy, the following requisites must be III, Section 21, mandates that no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of
present: (1) a valid complaint or information; (2) the court has jurisdiction punishment for the same offense. In this case, it bears repeating that the
to try the case; (3) the accused has pleaded to the charge; and (4) he has accused had been arraigned and convicted. In fact, they were already in the
been convicted or acquitted or the case against him dismissed or otherwise stage where they were applying for probation. It is too late in the day for the
terminated without his express consent. SEHTAC prosecution to ask for the amendment of the information and seek to try
again accused for the same offense without violating their rights guaranteed
2. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PROSECUTION under the Constitution. There is, therefore, no question that the amendment
OF OFFENSES; INFORMATION; WHEN VALID; CASE AT BAR. — An of an information by motion of the prosecution and at the time when the
information is valid as long as it distinctly states the statutory designation of accused had already been convicted is contrary to procedural rules and
the offense and the acts or omissions constitutive thereof. In other words, if violative of the rights of the accused. DSAICa
the offense is stated in such a way that a person of ordinary intelligence may
immediately know what is meant, and the court can decide the matter B. SUBSTITUTION OF INFORMATION
according to law, the inevitable conclusion is that the information is valid. It SALUDGA v SANDIGANBAYAN
is not necessary to follow the language of the statute in the information. The
information will be sufficient if it describes the crime defined by law. C. AMENDED INFORMATION
Applying the foregoing, the inescapable conclusion is that the first BONIFACIO v RTC
information is valid inasmuch as it sufficiently alleges the manner by which
the crime was committed. Verily the purpose of the law, that is, to apprise
D. FILING OF INFORMATION IF THERE IS A PENDING MOTION them to file either a motion to dismiss the case or an information against the
FOR RECONSIDERATION accused. In short, the secretary of justice, who has the power of supervision
RAMSICAL v SANDIGANBAYAN and control over prosecuting officers, is the ultimate authority who decides
which of the conflicting theories of the complainants and the respondents
E. PRESCRIPTION should be believed. The provincial or city prosecutor has neither the
PANAGUITON v. DOJ personality nor the legal authority to review or overrule the decision of the
secretary. This principle is elementary. ATcIAS
— Consistent with this administrative superior-subordinate relationship
A. RULE IN CIVIL LIABILITY ARISING FROM DELICT between them, Section 7 of Department Order No. 223 (the rules governing
TIONG v BALBOA appeals from resolutions in preliminary investigations or reinvestigations)
provides: Sec. 7. Motion for Reinvestigation. — At any time after the
B. INDEPENDENT CIVIL ACTION appeal has been perfected and before the resolution thereof, the appellant
C. DEATH OF THE ACCUSED may file a motion for reinvestigation on the ground that new and material
D. ACQUITTAL evidence has been discovered which appellant could not with reasonable
E. SUBSTITUTION diligence have discovered during the preliminary investigation and which if
F. PREJUDICIAL QUESTION produced and admitted would probably change the resolution. From the
JOSE v. SUAREZ above-quoted provision, a motion for reinvestigation on the ground of
newly discovered evidence must be filed before the justice secretary rules
PELIMINARY INVESTIGATION on an appeal from a resolution in a preliminary investigation.

B. TALAVERA, Regional Trial Court (Branch 28), Cabanatuan City, EXHAUSTIVE DISPLAY OF THE PARTIES' EVIDENCE. — It must be
Nueva Ecija, respondent. stressed here that a preliminary investigation is essentially prefatory and
inquisitorial. It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose
2. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PRELIMINARY except to determine whether a crime has been committed, and whether there
INVESTIGATION; ACTIONS OF PROSECUTORS ARE SUBJECT TO is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty of that crime. A
REVIEW BY THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE. — Inasmuch as the preliminary investigation is not the occasion for a full and exhaustive
Resolution of the provincial prosecutor has been affirmed by the secretary display of the parties' evidence, which needs to be presented only to
of justice, the existence of probable cause to hold the accused for trial may engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been committed, and
be deemed to be the finding of the secretary himself, not merely of the that the accused is probably guilty thereof.
prosecutor who had first investigated the case. Therefore, what the
prosecutor reviewed and overruled in the reinvestigation was not the 6. ID.; ID.; MOTION TO DISMISS; GRANT THEREOF RESTS
actuation and resolution of his predecessor, but of the secretary of justice no SOLELY WITH THE COURT. — Settled is the legal doctrine that the
less. . . . The actions of prosecutors are not unlimited; they are subject to discretion to accede to a Motion to Dismiss filed by the prosecutor rests
review by the secretary of justice who may affirm, nullify, reverse or solely with the court. Mere approval of the position taken by the
modify their actions or opinions. Consequently the secretary may direct prosecution is not equivalent to the discretion required in cases like this.
The trial judge must be convinced that there was indeed no sufficient prevail, the scales must balance; justice is not to be dispensed for the
evidence against the accused. Such a conclusion can be arrived at only after accused alone. The interests of society and the offended parties which have
a thorough assessment of the prosecution evidence. For a valid and proper been wronged must be equally considered. Verily, a verdict of conviction is
exercise of judicial discretion, accepting the prosecution's word that the not necessarily a denial of justice; and an acquittal is not necessarily a
evidence is insufficient is not enough; strictly required of the order triumph of justice, for, to the society offended and the party wronged, it
disposing of the motion is the trial judge's own evaluation of such evidence. could also mean injustice. Justice then must be rendered even-handedly to
Once a complaint or an information is filed in court, the judge — not the both the accused, on one hand, and the State and the offended party, on the
prosecutor — assumes full control of the controversy. Thus, a grant of the other."
motion to dismiss is equivalent to a disposition of the case itself, a subject
clearly within the court's exclusive jurisdiction and competence. ASTcEa SERAG v CA
PROCEEDINGS; ELUCIDATED. — In criminal proceedings, the word
"party" is held to mean not only the government and the accused, but also TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE, petitioner, vs. HON. PEDRO DE
other persons who may be affected by the orders issued and/or judgment LEON GUTIERREZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of RTC, Pasay
rendered therein. City, Branch 119; PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; and CECILIA
MARUYAMA, respondents.
10. ID.; ID.; ID.; COMPLAINANT HAD AN INTEREST IN THE Jesus M. Bautista for petitioner.
MAINTENANCE OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTION; CASE AT BAR. — Aristotle T. Dominguez for private respondents.
Undoubtedly, complainant had an interest in the maintenance of the SYNOPSIS
criminal prosecution. Its right to intervene therein was practically beyond Cecilia Maruyama filed a complaint charging petitioner with estafa. Finding
question, as it neither instituted a separate civil action nor reserved or probable cause, the investigating prosecutor filed an Information against
waived the right to do so. Thus, as the party injured by the crime, it had the petitioner. The trial court thereafter issued a warrant for her arrest.
right to be heard on a motion that was derogatory to its interest in the civil Petitioner, however, alleged that respondent judge could not have
aspect of the case. Due process necessitates that it be afforded this determined the existence of probable cause for her arrest solely on the
opportunity, especially because of a conflict between the positions of the resolution of the investigating prosecutor and the undated affidavit-
public prosecutor and of the offended party. HSDaTC complaint of Maruyama. She posited that respondent judge acted with grave
abuse of discretion in denying her motion for a determination of a probable
11. ID.; ID.; DUE PROCESS MUST BE ACCORDED NOT ONLY cause in her arrest. Further, she argued that she did not waive her right to
TO THE ACCUSED BUT ALSO TO THE OFFENDED PARTY. — assail the infirmities in the issuance of the warrant when she posted a
Respondent judge does not deny that no notice was given to complainant. personal bail bond. IECcaA
Neither was a hearing conducted before the issuance of the subject Orders. The Court affirmed the contention of petitioner. Under Section 26 of Rule
By such failure of notice and hearing, he effectively deprived complainant 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, applicable in case at bar,
of the opportunity to appear and to oppose the said Motions. That the bail is not a bar to objections on illegal arrest. Thus, the Court ruled,
offended party, not only the accused, must be accorded due process was respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
explained by the Court in Dimatulac v. Villon, which ruled thus: ". . . jurisdiction when it found probable cause for petitioner's arrest absent
Although the determination of a criminal case before a judge lies within his copies of pertinent documents and evidence adduced during preliminary
exclusive jurisdiction and competence, his discretion is not unfettered, but investigation before the investigating prosecutor.
rather must be exercised within reasonable confines. The judge's action
must not impair the substantial rights of the accused, nor the right of the SYLLABUS
State and offended party to due process of law. "Indeed, for justice to
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; BAIL; NOT A of, an intent to voluntarily and unequivocally relinquish the particular right
BAR TO OBJECTIONS ON ILLEGAL ARREST, LACK OF OR that no other explanation of his conduct is possible.
CASE AT BAR. — We agree with the contention of the petitioner that the 4. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PRELIMINARY
appellate court erred in not applying Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised INVESTIGATION; WHEN WARRANT OF ARREST MAY ISSUE;
Rules on Criminal Procedure, viz.: SEC. 26. Bail not a bar to objections on PERSONAL DETERMINATION OF JUDGE ON THE EXISTENCE OF
illegal arrest, lack of or irregular preliminary investigation. — An PROBABLE CAUSE. — Before the RTC judge issues a warrant of arrest
application for or admission to bail shall not bar the accused from under Section 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 2,
challenging the validity of his arrest or the legality of the warrant issued Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the judge must make a personal
therefor, or from assailing the regularity or questioning the absence of a determination of the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the
preliminary investigation of the charge against him, provided that he raises arrest of the accused. The duty to make such determination is personal and
them before entering his plea. The court shall resolve the matter as early as exclusive to the issuing judge. He cannot abdicate his duty and rely on the
practicable but not later than the start of the trial of the case. It bears certification of the investigating prosecutor that he had conducted a
stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal preliminary investigation in accordance with law and the Rules of Court, as
Procedure is a new one, intended to modify previous rulings of this Court amended, and found probable cause for the filing of the Information. If the
that an application for bail or the admission to bail by the accused shall be judge is able to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause
considered as a waiver of his right to assail the warrant issued for his arrest on the basis of the records submitted by the investigating prosecutor, there
on the legalities or irregularities thereon. The new rule has reverted to the would no longer be a need to order the elevation of the rest of the records of
ruling of this Court in People v. Red. The new rule is curative in nature the case. However, if the judge finds the records and/or evidence submitted
because precisely, it was designed to supply defects and curb evils in by the investigating prosecutor to be insufficient, he may order the dismissal
procedural rules. Hence, the rules governing curative statutes are applicable. of the case, or direct the investigating prosecutor either to submit more
Curative statutes are by their essence retroactive in application. Besides, evidence or to submit the entire records of the preliminary investigation, to
procedural rules as a general rule operate retroactively, even without enable him to discharge his duty. The judge may even call the complainant
express provisions to that effect, to cases pending at the time of their and his witness to themselves answer the court's probing question to
effectivity, in other words to actions yet undetermined at the time of their determine the existence of probable cause. The rulings of this Court in
effectivity. Before the appellate court rendered its decision on January 31, Soliven v. Makasiar and Lim v. Felix are now embodied in Section 6, Rule
2001, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure was already in effect. It 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, with modifications.
behooved the appellate court to have applied the same in resolving the AaHDSI
petitioner's petition for certiorari and her motion for partial reconsideration.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; WAIVER OF RIGHT TO QUESTION PROBABLE OF ACCUSED. — Under Section 1, Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal
CAUSE REQUIRES SUFFICIENT PROOF OF INTENTION. — Procedure, the investigating prosecutor, in conducting a preliminary
Considering the conduct of the petitioner after posting her personal bail investigation of a case cognizable by the RTC, is tasked to determine
bond, it cannot be argued that she waived her right to question the finding whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a
of probable cause and to assail the warrant of arrest issued against her by crime has been committed and the respondent therein is probably guilty
the respondent judge. There must be clear and convincing proof that the thereof and should be held for trial. A preliminary investigation is for the
petitioner had an actual intention to relinquish her right to question the purpose of securing the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive
existence of probable cause. When the only proof of intention rests on what prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of a
a party does, his act should be so manifestly consistent with and indicative crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial. If the
investigating prosecutor finds probable cause for the filing of the
Information against the respondent, he executes a certification at the bottom an Information or complaint filed in court shall be supported by the
of the Information that from the evidence presented, there is a reasonable affidavits and counter-affidavits of the parties and their witnesses, together
ground to believe that the offense charged has been committed and that the with the other supporting evidence of the resolution. TECcHA
accused is probably guilty thereof. Such certification of the investigating
prosecutor is, by itself, ineffective. It is not binding on the trial court. Nor
may the RTC rely on the said certification as basis for a finding of the
existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.


ARREST OF ACCUSED; ELUCIDATED. — 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. Probable cause is meant such set of facts and circumstances
which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that the
offense charged in the Information or any offense included therein has been
committed by the person sought to be arrested. In determining probable
cause, the average man weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to
the calibrations of the rules of evidence of which he has no technical
knowledge. He relies on common sense. A finding of probable cause needs
only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been
committed and that it was committed by the accused. Probable cause
demands more than bare suspicion, it requires less than evidence which
would justify conviction. The purpose of the mandate of the judge to first
determine probable cause for the arrest of the accused is to insulate from the
very start those falsely charged of crimes from the tribulations, expenses
and anxiety of a public trial. In determining the existence or non-existence
of probable cause for the arrest of the accused, the RTC judge may rely on
the findings and conclusions in the resolution of the investigating
prosecutor finding probable cause for the filing of the Information. After all,
as the Court held in Webb v. De Leon, the judge just personally reviews the
initial determination of the investigating prosecutor finding a probable
cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence. However, in
determining the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest
of the accused, the judge should not rely solely on the said report. The judge
should consider not only the report of the investigating prosecutor but also
the affidavit/affidavits and the documentary evidence of the parties, the
counter-affidavit of the accused and his witnesses, as well as the transcript
of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation, if any,
submitted to the court by the investigating prosecutor upon the filing of the
Information. The rulings of this Court are now embedded in Section 8 (a),
Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides that