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[G.R. No. 158177. January 28, 2008.

] Now before the Court for resolution is the Amended Petition filed under Rule 45
of the Rules of Court, questioning the CA Decision dated November 20, 2002 and
Resolution dated April 21, 2003, on the lone ground that:
SPOUSES BENITO LO BUN TIONG and CAROLINE SIOK
CHING TENG, petitioners, vs. VICENTE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ACTED
BALBOA, respondent. WITHOUT JURISDICTION AND WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION IN ALLOWING PRIVATE RESPONDENT TO
RECOVER TWICE FOR THE SAME OBLIGATION ON
ACCOUNT OF THE SAID PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J p:
DELIBERATE FAILURE AND REFUSAL TO INFORM THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT THAT THE CIVIL OBLIGATION
The spouses Benito Lo Bun Tiong and Caroline Siok Ching Teng (petitioners) BEING SUED UPON IS THE SUBJECT OF CRIMINAL
charge Vicente Balboa (respondent) with forum shopping. COMPLAINTS WITH THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT,
AND FOR WHICH THE CIVIL OBLIGATION WAS
On February 24, 1997, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
SUBSEQUENTLY ADJUDGED. 9
Manila (Branch 34), Civil Case No. 97-82225 for Collection of Sum of Money
against petitioners. The amount sought covers three post-dated checks issued Petitioners contend that the assailed CA Decision and Resolution should be
by petitioner Caroline Siok Ching Teng (Caroline), as follows: Asia Trust Check reconsidered and the RTC Decision dated August 11, 1998 dismissed as
No. BNDO57546 dated December 30, 1996 for P2,000,000.00; Asia Trust Check respondent's act of filing Civil Case No. 97-82225 and Criminal Cases Nos.
No. BNDO57547 dated January 15, 1997 for P1,200,000.00; and Asia Trust Check 277576 to 78 constitutes forum shopping.
No. BNDO57548 dated January 31, 1997 for P1,975,250.00 — or a total of
P5,175,250.00. 1 Forum shopping is the institution of two or more actions or proceedings
grounded on the same cause, on the supposition that one or the other court
On July 21, 1997, separate criminal complaints for violation of Batas Pambansa would render a favorable disposition. It is usually resorted to by a party against
Blg. 22 (B.P. No. 22) were filed against Caroline before the Municipal Trial Court whom an adverse judgment or order has been issued in one forum, in an
(MTC) of Manila (Branch 10), covering the said three checks. These cases were attempt to seek and possibly to get a favorable opinion in another forum, other
docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 277576 to 78. 2 than by an appeal or a special civil action for certiorari. 10
On August 11, 1998, the RTC rendered its Decision in Civil Case No. 97-82225 There is forum shopping when the following elements concur: (1) identity of the
finding petitioners liable, as follows: parties or, at least, of the parties who represent the same interest in both
actions; (2) identity of the rights asserted and relief prayed for, as the latter is
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
founded on the same set of facts; and (3) identity of the two preceding
the plaintiff and against the defendants ordering the
latter: particulars, such that any judgment rendered in the other action will amount
to res judicata in the action under consideration or will constitutelitis
1. To play the plaintiff the sum of pendentia. 11
P5,175,250.00 plus 6% interest
In Hyatt Industrial Manufacturing Corp. v. Asia Dynamic Electrix Corp., 12 the
per annum until full payment;
Court ruled that there is identity of parties and causes of action between a civil
2. To pay the plaintiff the sum of case for the recovery of sum of money as a result of the issuance of bouncing
P100,000.00 as and for attorney's checks, and a criminal case for the prosecution of a B.P. No. 22 violation. Thus, it
fees. ordered the dismissal of the civil action so as to prevent double payment of the
claim. The Court stated:
3. To pay the cost of suit.
. . . The prime purpose of the criminal action is to
The counterclaim is hereby dismissed for lack of merit. punish the offender to deter him and others from
committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him
SO ORDERED. 3 from society, reform or rehabilitate him or, in general,
to maintain social order. The purpose, meanwhile, of
Thereafter, in a Decision dated December 5, 2001 rendered in Criminal Case
the civil action is for the restitution, reparation or
Nos. 277576 to 78, the MTC acquitted Caroline of the offenses charged for
indemnification of the private offended party for the
failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The MTC,
damage or injury he sustained by reason of the
however, found Caroline civilly liable in favor of respondent for the amounts
delictual or felonious act of the accused. Hence, the
covered by these checks, to wit:
relief sought in the civil aspect of I.S. No. 00-01-00304
WHEREFORE, accused Caroline Siok Ching Teng is and I.S. No. 00-01-00300 is the same as that sought in
acquitted of the charge for violation of BP Blg. 22 for Civil Case No. MC 01-1493, that is, the recovery of the
failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond amount of the checks, which, according to petitioner,
reasonable doubt. The accused is ordered civilly liable represents the amount to be paid by respondent for its
to the offended party for the amounts of the checks purchases. . . .
subject of the three informations
This was reiterated in Silangan Textile Manufacturing Corp. v.
herein, i.e., P1,200,000.00, P1,975,250.00 and
Demetria, 13 where the civil case for the recovery of the amount covered by the
P2,000,000.00.
bouncing checks was also ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED. 4
In Hyatt and Silangan, the Court applied Supreme Court Circular No. 57-97
Petitioner sought partial reconsideration of the MTC Decision praying for the effective September 16, 1997, which provides:
deletion of the award of civil indemnity, but it was denied by the MTC per Order
1. The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa
dated April 12, 2002. Thus, Caroline appealed to the RTC, which docketed the
Blg. 22 shall be deemed to necessarily include the
case as Criminal Case Nos. 02-204544-46.
corresponding civil action, and no reservation to file
In the meantime, petitioners brought to the Court of Appeals (CA) on appeal the such action separately shall be allowed or recognized.
RTC Decision in Civil Case No. 97-82225, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 61457. In
This was later adopted as Rule 111 (b) of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal
the assailed Decision dated November 20, 2002, the CA 5dismissed the appeal
Procedure, to wit:
for lack of merit and affirmed the RTC Decision in toto. The dispositive portion of
the assailed CA Decision reads: (b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22 shall be deemed to include the corresponding
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing and finding no
civil action. No reservation to file such civil action
reversible error in the appealed Decision dated August
separately shall be allowed.
11, 1998 of Branch 34 of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila in Civil Case No. 97-82225, the instant appeal is Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil
DISMISSED for lack of merit, and said Decision is actions, the offended party shall pay in full the filing
affirmed in toto. fees based on the amount of the check involved, which
shall be considered as the actual damages claimed.
SO ORDERED. 6
Where the complaint or information also seeks to
Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the CA Decision, but this was denied recover liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or
per Resolution dated April 21, 2003. 7 exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay the
filing fees based on the amounts alleged therein. If the
On May 8, 2003, the RTC as an appellate court, rendered its Decision in Criminal amounts are not so alleged but any of these damages
Case No. 02-204544-46, modifying the MTC Decision by deleting the award of are subsequently awarded by the court, the filing fees
civil damages. 8 based on the amount awarded shall constitute a first
lien on the judgment.
1
Where the civil action has been filed separately and SO ORDERED.
trial thereof has not yet commenced, it may be
consolidated with the criminal action upon application [G.R. No. 163818. October 20, 2005.]
with the court trying the latter case. If the application is
granted, the trial of both actions shall proceed in
accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing SEBASTIAN SERAG, LINO NAPAO, THOMIX
consolidation of the civil and criminal actions. SEGUMALIAN, JOSE OLIVER SEGUMALIAN, RODOLFO
TALANQUINES, ROQUE SANMILLAN, EDGAR STA.
The foregoing, however, are not applicable to the present case. It is worth CRUZ, ELEAZAR SAÑOL, NEMESIO PANUGOT,
noting that Civil Case No. 97-82225 was filed on February 24, 1997, and Criminal TEODORICO DELA CRUZ, VICENTE DELA CRUZ,
Cases Nos. 277576 to 78 on July 21, 1997, prior to the adoption of Supreme ABRAHAM DELA CRUZ and MARILYN
Court Circular No. 57-97 on September 16, 1997. Thus, at the time of filing of SILFAVAN, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and MA.
Civil Case No. 97-82225 and Criminal Cases Nos. 277576 to 78, the governing DAISY SIBYA, respondents.
rule is Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules of Court, to wit:

SEC. 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. — When


CALLEJO, SR., J p:
a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the
recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the
criminal action, unless the offended party waives the In the wee hours of May 11, 2001, Atty. Jesus Sibya, Jr., a mayoralty candidate in
civil action, reserves his right to institute it San Joaquin, Iloilo during the 2001 elections, was shot to death in front of his
separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the residence. His driver, Norberto Salamat III, was also wounded. The Criminal
criminal action. Investigation and Detection Group in Iloilo City filed a criminal complaint for
murder and attempted murder against Lino Napao, then incumbent mayor of
Such civil action includes the recovery of indemnity San Joaquin, and Sebastian Serag. 1 In a Joint Resolution dated May 26, 2001,
under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under the Provincial Prosecutor filed two Informations with the Regional Trial Court
Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the (RTC) of Guimbal, Iloilo: (1) for Murder with the Use of Unlicensed Firearms, and
Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the (2) Attempted Murder with the Use of Unlicensed Firearms against Serag and
accused. Napao and seven unidentified persons. 2 The cases were docketed as Criminal
Case Nos. 925 and 926.
xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied)
On May 28, 2001, Norberto Salamat III and Ma. Daisy Sibya, the widow of the
Under the foregoing rule, an action for the recovery of civil liability arising from deceased, filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor a Supplemental
an offense charged is necessarily included in the criminal proceedings, unless (1) Complaint for murder, frustrated murder and violation of Presidential Decree
there is an express waiver of the civil action, or (2) there is a reservation to No. 1866 against Serag, Lino Napao, 16 others, and three other unidentified
institute a separate one, or (3) the civil action was filed prior to the criminal persons. 3 On July 26, 2001, the Provincial Prosecutor issued a Joint Resolution
complaint. 14 Since respondent instituted the civil action prior to the criminal finding probable cause for murder and attempted murder with the use of
action, then Civil Case No. 97-82225 may proceed independently of Criminal unlicensed firearms against Serag, Lino Napao, Juan Napao and 14 other
Cases Nos. 277576 to 78, and there is no forum shopping to speak of. accused, including those whose identities were earlier unknown. 4 The
Provincial Prosecutor filed, in the RTC of Guimbal, Iloilo, an Amended
Information for Murder 5 and an Amended Information for Attempted Murder
with the use of unlicensed firearm against the said accused.
Even under the amended rules, a separate proceeding for the recovery of civil
liability in cases of violations of B.P. No. 22 is allowed when the civil case is filed Accused Juan Napao and the 14 other additional accused filed on August 16,
ahead of the criminal case. Thus, in the Hyatt case, the Court noted, viz.: 2002, a petition for review of the July 26, 2001 Joint Resolution of the Provincial
Prosecutor before the Department of Justice (DOJ). 6
. . . This rule [Rule 111(b) of the 2000 Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure] was enacted to help declog court The trial court found probable cause for murder and attempted murder against
dockets which are filled with B.P. 22 cases as creditors the accused. Consequently, the court issued an Order 7 on September 27, 2001,
actually use the courts as collectors. Because ordinarily for the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused who were still at large.
no filing fee is charged in criminal cases for actual
damages, the payee uses the intimidating effect of a Pending the resolution by the Secretary of Justice of the said petition for review,
criminal charge to collect his credit gratis and the proceedings were suspended. Subsequently, however, the arraignment of
sometimes, upon being paid, the trial court is not even the accused was set on May 21, 2002. It was, thereafter, reset to June 6, 2002
informed thereof. The inclusion of the civil action in the which, by agreement of the prosecution and the defense, was "intransferrable"
criminal case is expected to significantly lower the in character. 8 It turned out that the day before (May 20, 2002), the Secretary of
number of cases filed before the courts for collection Justice had issued Resolution No. 258 affirming with modification, the Joint
based on dishonored checks. It is also expected to Resolution of the Provincial Prosecutor, downgrading the charges from Murder
expedite the disposition of these cases. Instead of to Homicide, and from Attempted Murder to Attempted Homicide, respectively,
instituting two separate cases, one for criminal and except as to four of the accused. The Provincial Prosecutor was likewise ordered
another for civil, only a single suit shall be filed and to amend the Amended Informations accordingly. 9 The RTC received a copy of
tried. It should be stressed that the policy laid down by the Resolution on May 27, 2002.
the Rules is to discourage the separate filing of the civil
action. The Rules even prohibit the reservation of a Ma. Daisy Sibya, likewise, received, on May 27, 2002, a copy of the said
separate civil action, which means that one can no Resolution. She filed a motion for the reconsideration of the said resolution on
longer file a separate civil case after the criminal June 4, 2002, serving copies thereof on the RTC and the accused-petitioners by
complaint is filed in court. The only instance when registered mail.
separate proceedings are allowed is when the civil
action is filed ahead of the criminal case. Even then, In compliance with Resolution No. 258 of the Secretary of Justice, the Provincial
the Rules encourage the consolidation of the civil and Prosecutor filed before the RTC on June 5, 2002 a Motion for Leave to File a
criminal cases. We have previously observed that a Second Amended Information for homicide and attempted homicide in the two
separate civil action for the purpose of recovering the cases, and for the court to admit the said second Amended Informations. 10 The
amount of the dishonored checks would only prove to motion was set for hearing at 2:00 p.m. of June 6, 2002. During the said hearing,
be costly, burdensome and time-consuming for both the private prosecutors opposed the motion and moved for deferment,
parties and would further delay the final disposition of contending that the private complainant had earlier filed a motion for
the case. This multiplicity of suits must be avoided. reconsideration of Resolution No. 258, and that it would be premature for the
Where petitioners' rights may be fully adjudicated in Provincial Prosecutor to file a motion for the admission of the Second Amended
the proceedings before the trial court, resort to a Information and for the court to admit the same. 11 The Provincial Prosecutor
separate action to recover civil liability is clearly joined the motion of the private prosecutors. IEcaHS
unwarranted. (Emphasis supplied)
However, the RTC verbally granted the motion of the Provincial Prosecutor, and
Moreover, the RTC, in its Decision in Criminal Case Nos. 02-204544-46, already admitted the Second Amended Information for Homicide. 12 Criminal Case No.
deleted the award of civil damages. Records do not disclose that appeal had 926 for the attempted homicide was, likewise, dismissed on the ground that it
been taken therefrom. There is, therefore, no double recovery of the amounts had no jurisdiction over the said case. The RTC further declared that it had not
covered by the checks or unjust enrichment on the part of respondent. been served with a copy of the private complainant's motion for
reconsideration. The court forthwith arraigned the accused for homicide, who
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.
November 20, 2002 and Resolution dated April 21, 2003 of the Court of Appeals
are AFFIRMED. On June 6, 2002, the RTC issued its Order 13 granting the motion of the
Provincial Prosecutor for the admission of the Second Amended Information for
Costs against petitioners. Homicide, and ordered the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 926 without prejudice

2
to its re-filing in the Municipal Trial Court (MTC). Accordingly, the Information Orders of the trial court and the arraignment of the accused therein on June 6,
was re-filed in the MTC, docketed as Criminal Case No. 1604. The accused were 2002 are nullified. 25 The private respondents therein opposed the motion on
arraigned for the said cases. 14 Taking into account the finding of the Secretary the ground that the petitioner was estopped from assailing their arraignment.
of Justice, the court held that the finding of probable cause for murder against
the accused did not bar it from admitting the Second Amended Information for On November 10, 2003, the CA issued a Resolution 26 granting the motion of
Homicide. Likewise, the pendency of the private complainant's motion for the the petitioner in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035 and consequently nullifying the June 6
reconsideration of the May 20, 2002 Resolution of the Secretary of Justice was and July 26, 2002 Orders of the trial court, as well as the arraignment of the
not a valid reason for the deferment of the arraignment of the accused for private respondents therein on June 6, 2002.
homicide. On June 19, 2002, the private prosecutors moved for the
On June 21, 2004, Sebastian Serag, et al. filed a Petition for review
reconsideration of the order of the trial court which, however, denied the
on certiorari with this Court assailing the November 10, 2003 Resolution of the
motion in an Order 15 dated July 26, 2002.
CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035. The case was docketed as G.R. No. 163818. The
The private complainant forthwith assailed the orders of the trial court and the petitioners alleged that the CA acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction or
arraignment of the accused on June 6, 2002 via a petition for certiorari in the with grave abuse of discretion amounting to either lack or excess of jurisdiction
Court of Appeals (CA). The case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 73035. She in nullifying the June 6, 2002 and July 26, 2002 Orders of the RTC and their
insisted that the admission by the RTC of the Second Amended Information arraignment on June 6, 2002 instead of dismissing the petition for being moot
downgrading the crime charged therein to Homicide and the arraignment of the and academic. 27
accused therein on June 6, 2002 were premature since the Secretary of Justice
The petitioners insist that by virtue of the Secretary of Justice's November 18,
had not yet resolved her motion for reconsideration of the May 20, 2002
2002 Resolution, reverting to the original charges of murder and attempted
Resolution.
murder, the private respondent's petition in the CA had been mooted. They note
On November 22, 2002, the CA issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining that the relief prayed for by the petitioner therein (private respondent Sibya) for
the RTC from proceeding with Criminal Case Nos. 925 and 926. 16 the retention of the original charges was granted by the Secretary of Justice.
They maintain that the CA was correct in dismissing the petition for being moot
In the meantime, the Secretary of Justice issued a Resolution 17 on November and academic in its Resolution of December 16, 2002. The private complainant
18, 2002, granting the motion for reconsideration of the private complainant, should have filed the appropriate pleading in the trial court for the
setting aside Resolution No. 258. Consequently, the May 26, 2001 and July 26, implementation of the November 18, 2002 Resolution of the Secretary of
2001 Resolutions of the Provincial Prosecutor were reinstated. The Secretary of Justice, instead of insisting that her petition be resolved on its merits. By its
Justice opined that the killing of the deceased was, after all, qualified by November 10, 2003 Resolution nullifying the assailed Orders of the RTC and the
treachery. He further declared that he was not proscribed from taking arraignment of the petitioners on June 6, 2002, the CA thereby deprived the RTC
cognizance of and resolving the private complainant's motion for of its jurisdiction to act on all pending motions of the Provincial Prosecutor, that
reconsideration notwithstanding the arraignment of the accused. He directed is, for the withdrawal of the Second Amended Information for homicide and the
the Provincial Prosecutor to withdraw the Second Amended Information for reinstatement of the Amended Information for murder. The petitioners insist
Homicide and Attempted Homicide and to file, in lieu thereof, separate that the RTC had the authority to delve into and resolve the merits of the
Informations for Murder and Attempted Murder, respectively, against the said Provincial Prosecutor's motion for the withdrawal of the Second Amended
accused. Information for homicide and the reinstatement of the Amended Information
for murder. After all, the trial court has complete control of the case; any
On December 5, 2002, the accused-petitioners filed a motion for the disposition therein is subject to its sound discretion and it is not bound by the
reconsideration of the said Resolution. 18 They argued that, with their findings and recommendations of the Secretary of Justice.
arraignment in the RTC and the MTC, the Secretary of Justice should have
denied the private complainant's motion for reconsideration, conformably with The petitioners further claim that their arraignment on June 6, 2002 was on the
Section 7(2) of DOJ Circular No. 70. However, the Secretary of Justice denied the insistence of the prosecutors, making the setting "intransferrable" whether or
said motion. not the Secretary of Justice would resolve their petition for review. Thus, the
RTC had no other alternative but to proceed with their arraignment. Moreover,
Juan Napao and the other petitioners in the Department of Justice filed a the private complainant failed to serve them and the RTC with copies of her
petition for certiorari with the CA assailing the November 18, 2002 Resolution of motion for reconsideration in the DOJ on or before the said date. The private
the Secretary of Justice, and praying for the reinstatement of Resolution No. prosecutors' service of the said motion for reconsideration on them (petitioners)
258. The case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 77759. and the RTC by registered mail was anomalous, considering the proximity of the
law office of the private prosecutors, the defense counsel and the RTC.
In a Resolution 19 dated July 18, 2003, the CA dismissed the petition for failure
of the petitioners therein to comply with Section 2, Rule 42 and Section 5, Rule 7 Finally, the petitioners emphasize that the private respondent failed to append
of the Rules of Court, as only one of the petitioners had executed the requisite to her petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035 certified true copies of the assailed
certificate of non-forum shopping. The petitioners therein filed a motion for the orders; hence, the appellate court abused its discretion in not dismissing the
reconsideration of the CA resolution, but the appellate court denied the motion said petition outright.
for lack of merit. 20
In her comment on the petition, the private respondent averred that the instant
On June 3, 2004, Sebastian Serag, et al. filed a petition for review petition had been mooted by this Court's dismissal of the petitioners' petition in
on certiorari with this Court, assailing the Resolutions of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. G.R. No. 163557.
77759. The case was docketed as G.R. No. 163557. In a Resolution dated June
23, 2004, this Court denied the petition for the petitioners' failure to show that In reply, the petitioners contend that the subject matter of their petition in CA-
the appellate court committed any reversible error. The said resolution became G.R. SP No. 77759 was the November 18, 2002 Resolution of the Secretary of
final and executory, and entry of judgment was made of record on August 23, Justice, while the subject matter of CA-G.R. SP No. 73035 were the June 6, 2002
2004. and July 26, 2002 Orders of the RTC, as well as the petitioners' arraignment on
June 6, 2002.
Meanwhile, on November 22, 2002, the CA issued a Resolution 21 in CA-G.R. SP
No. 73035 directing the respondents to file their comment on the petition within The threshold issues for resolution are the following: (a) whether the petition at
10 days from notice thereof. bench is barred by the resolution of this Court in G.R. No. 163557 denying due
course and dismissing the petition for review on certiorari; and (b) whether the
On November 27, 2002, petitioner Ma. Daisy Sibya filed an Urgent Manifestation CA committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of
and Motion 22 with the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035, praying that the appellate jurisdiction in nullifying the June 6, 2002 and July 26, 2002 Orders of the RTC and
court resolve her petition on its merits in light of the November 18, 2002 their arraignment on June 6, 2002 instead of dismissing the petition in CA-G.R.
Resolution of the Secretary of Justice and to set aside the June 6, 2002 SP No. 73035 for being moot and academic.
arraignment of the private respondents in the trial court. The private
respondents opposed the motion on the ground that they had filed a Joint On the first issue, we find the contention of the private respondent to be barren
motion for reconsideration of the November 18, 2002 Resolution of the of merit. A motion is considered moot when it no longer presents a justiciable
Secretary of Justice, who had yet to resolve the same. 23 controversy because the issues involved have become academic or
dead. 28 Courts will not determine a moot question in which no practical relief
On December 4, 2002, the Provincial Prosecutor filed a Motion with the trial can be granted. 29 However, the Court will decide a question otherwise moot
court for the withdrawal of the Second Amended Information for homicide and and academic if it is capable of repetition, yet evading review. 30
for the reinstatement of the Amended Information for murder. However, in view
of the temporary restraining order issued by the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035, the In the present case, the issues posed by the petitioner in CA-G.R. SP No. 77759
trial court suspended the proceedings. are as follows:

I. RESPONDENT SECRETARY OF JUSTICE GRAVELY


ABUSED HIS DISCRETION WHEN HE ACTED ON THE
On December 16, 2002, the CA issued a Resolution 24 in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035 MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF PRIVATE
dismissing the petition on the ground that it had become moot and academic in COMPLAINANTS AND IN ISSUING THE ASSAILED
light of the November 18, 2002 Resolution of the Secretary of Justice. Private RESOLUTION OF NOVEMBER 18, 2002, COMPLETELY
complainant Ma. Daisy Sibya filed a motion for reconsideration of the said REVERSING HIS RESOLUTION 258 OF MAY 20, 2002 IN
Resolution on the ground that the November 18, 2002 Resolution of the
Secretary of Justice could not be implemented unless and until the assailed
3
VIOLATION OF SECTIONS 12(e) AND SEC. 7, PAR. 2 OF Accordingly, we rule that the trial court in a criminal
ITS OWN DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR NO. 70. ICDSca case which takes cognizance of an accused's motion for
review of the resolution of the investigating prosecutor
II. IT WAS GRAVE ERROR FOR RESPONDENT SECRETARY or for reinvestigation and defers the arraignment until
OF JUSTICE TO ACT ON THE MOTION FOR resolution of the said motion must act on the
RECONSIDERATION OF PRIVATE COMPLAINANTS WHEN resolution reversing the investigating prosecutor's
HE WAS ALREADY INFORMED THAT THE ACCUSED HAVE finding or on a motion to dismiss based thereon only
ALREADY BEEN ARRAIGNED ON THE SECOND AMENDED upon proof that such resolution is already final in that
INFORMATION BASED ON HIS RESOLUTION 258 OF no appeal was taken therefrom to the Department of
MAY 20, 2002; DOUBLE JEOPARDY ALREADY Justice.
ATTACHES. 31
Admittedly, the private prosecutors failed to serve the RTC with a copy of their
The Court notes that the CA failed to resolve the said issues on their merits, and motion for reconsideration by personal delivery, and failed to file a formal
instead dismissed the said petition for the petitioners' failure to comply with motion for the deferment of the hearing of the Provincial Prosecutor's motion
Section 2, Rule 43 and Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. The said ruling was for the admission of the Second Amended Information for homicide and the
affirmed by this Court. On the other hand, the issue raised by the private arraignment of the petitioners before June 6, 2002. However, the private
respondent in her petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035 was whether the RTC prosecutors explained that due to time constraints, owing to the ten-day period
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction for filing such motion for reconsideration, such motion had to be hand-carried to
in nullifying the June 6, 2002 and July 26, 2002 Orders of the RTC, and the the DOJ on June 4, 2002, while copies meant for the RTC and to the accused
arraignment of the petitioners herein on June 6, 2002. Thus, the dismissal by this were sent by registered mail. Furthermore, the RTC was not precluded from
Court of the petition in G.R. No. 163557 and the consequent affirmance of the taking cognizance of and resolving the oral motion of the private prosecutors for
November 18, 2002 Resolution of the Secretary of Justice did not render the the deferment of the hearing on the Provincial Prosecutor's motion for the
issues raised in this case moot and academic. This Court has to delve into and admission of the Second Amended Information for homicide. After all, under
resolve the issue of whether the RTC abused its discretion amounting to excess Rule 15, Section 2 of the Rules of Court, motions may be made in open court or
or lack of jurisdiction in granting the Provincial Prosecutor's motion for the in the course of a hearing or trial in the presence of the other party who has the
admission of the Second Amended Information and in proceeding with the opportunity to object thereto.
petitioners' arraignment for homicide. The Secretary of Justice could not have
resolved the said issues, as only the CA and this Court on appeal under Rule 45 In fine, the RTC acted with inordinate and precipitate haste when it granted the
of the Rules of Court are competent to do so. Thus, the appellate court cannot Provincial Prosecutor's motion for the admission of the Second Amended
likewise be blamed for not dismissing the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 73035 filed Information for homicide, ordered the withdrawal of Criminal Case No. 926 for
by the private respondent for being moot and academic when the Secretary of attempted homicide based on Resolution No. 258 of the DOJ Secretary, and
Justice issued his November 18, 2002 Resolution reversing Resolution No. 258. arraigned the accused therein for homicide.

The appellate court's nullification of the June 6, 2002 and July 26, 2002 Orders of As the appellate court correctly pointed out in its November 10, 2003
the RTC and the arraignment of the petitioners on June 6, 2002 are well- Resolution:
founded. Section 13 of DOJ Circular No. 70 reads:
Public respondent also erroneously found that the
SECTION 13. Motion for reconsideration. — The pendency of the motion for reconsideration, and the
aggrieved party may file a motion for reconsideration other reasons given, not compelling for the court to
within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from defer its action on the motion to admit. Public
receipt of the resolution on appeal, furnishing the respondent also questioned the personality of the
adverse party and the Prosecution Office concerned petitioner, as the private offended party, in actively
with copies thereof and submitting proof of such participating in the criminal prosecution.
service. No second or further motion for
reconsideration shall be entertained. As earlier stated, Department Circular No. 70 places the
duty upon the appellant and the trial prosecutor to see
The private respondent, on May 27, 2002, received a copy of Resolution No. 258 to it that, pending resolution of the appeal, the
of the Secretary of Justice downgrading the charges from murder and attempted proceedings in court are held in abeyance.
murder to homicide and attempted homicide. She had the right to file a motion
for reconsideration of the aforesaid resolution on or before June 6, 2002. Therefore, the pendency of an appeal before the DOJ is
Indeed, she filed such motion, through the private prosecutors, by personal enough reason for the deferment of any proceedings in
delivery to the DOJ on June 4, 2002. Thereafter, it behooved the RTC to suspend the trial court and petitioner, through the private
the proceedings until after the Secretary of Justice had resolved such motion prosecutors, correctly moved for the deferment of the
with finality, including the consideration of the motion of the Provincial admission of the second amended informations for
Prosecutor for the admission of the Second Amended Information for homicide, homicide and attempted homicide. It should be
the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 926, and the arraignment of the petitioners considered that the motion to defer was even with the
for homicide. It was, in fact, premature for the Provincial Prosecutor to file such conformity of the public prosecutor and the
motion for the admission of the Second Amended Information since the appearance of the private prosecutors is pursuant to
Secretary of Justice had not yet resolved the said motion; after all, he may still Section 16, Rule 110 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal
reconsider Resolution No. 258, which he did on November 18, 2002, effectively Procedure, to wit:
reversing his previous ruling affirming the assailed Resolutions of the Provincial
Intervention of the offended party in criminal
Prosecutor on May 26, 2001 and July 26, 2001, and thus reverting to the original
action. — Where the civil action for recovery
charges of murder and attempted murder. As this Court declared in Marcelo v.
of civil liability is instituted in the criminal
Court of Appeals: 32
action pursuant to Rule 111, the offended
Consequently, the 5 December 1991 Manifestation and party may intervene by counsel in the
Motion of the petitioners praying for the dismissal of prosecution of the offense. jurcd06
the case and the 10 December 1991 motion of Assistant
Besides the oral recitation in open court by the private
City Prosecutor Jamolin asking for the withdrawal of
prosecutors of the grounds cited in the motion to defer
the information were prematurely filed, because as to
the admission of the second amended informations for
the first, the period of the offended party to appeal
homicide and attempted homicide, which the public
from the resolution to the Secretary of Justice had not
respondent found unprocedural, petitioner was not
yet lapsed or even begun, there being no showing of
really given the opportunity to oppose the motion to
the date the offended party received a copy thereof;
admit the same informations.
and, as to the second, an appeal had in fact been filed
on 10 December 1991. Prudence, if not wisdom or at All these facts taken together, there appears to be an
the very least respect for the authority of the undue haste on the part of the public respondent in
prosecution agency to which the Bersamin court admitting the second amended informations for
deferred, dictated against a favorable action on the homicide and attempted homicide and ordering the
Review Committee's resolution until the denial of the arraignment of the private respondents to the said
appeal or the affirmance of the resolution by the informations. This is considering that no word of
Secretary of Justice. The Bersamin court acted then protestation was heard from the petitioner when she
with precipitate or undue haste in issuing the 13 waited for nine (9) months for the DOJ to resolve the
December 1991 Order granting the petitioners' motion private respondents' petition for review.
to dismiss and Prosecutor Jamolin's motion to
withdraw the information in Criminal Case No. Q-91- As a result of the assailed Orders issued by public
21285. respondent, the private respondents were arraigned
for homicide and attempted homicide. 33

4
The petitioners' contention that the RTC was deprived of its authority to act on Acting on the letter-request and its annexes, State Prosecutor Albert R. Fonacier
and resolve the motion of the Provincial Prosecutor for the withdrawal of the proceeded with the preliminary investigation. He issued a subpoena with the
Second Amended Information for homicide and the retention of the Amended witnesses' affidavits and supporting documents attached, and required
Information for murder and attempted murder is not correct. Indeed, the petitioner to file his counter-affidavit. In due course, the investigating officer
Provincial Prosecutor filed a motion in the RTC for the withdrawal of the Second issued a Resolution finding probable cause and correspondingly filed two
Amended Information for homicide and for the reinstatement of the Amended separate informations against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Information for murder on December 4, 2002. Were it not for the temporary Malolos, Bulacan. 13
restraining order issued by the CA in CA-G.R. No. 73035, the RTC would have
resolved the same one way or the other. The first Information, 14 dated November 14, 2000 and docketed as Criminal
Case No. 237-M-2001, was for estafa through falsification of commercial
The People of the Philippines was not estopped by the Prosecutor's insistence documents, under Article 315, paragraph 1 (b), of the Revised Penal Code (RPC),
on May 21, 2002 that the petitioners and the other accused be arraigned on in relation to Article 172 of the RPC and PD 1689. It basically alleged that
June 6, 2002 despite the pending petition for review of petitioners Juan petitioner and his co-accused, in abuse of the confidence reposed in them as
Napao, et al. and the motion for reconsideration of the private respondent RBSM officers, caused the falsification of a number of loan documents, making it
before the Secretary of Justice. The fact of the matter is that during the hearing appear that one Enrico Carlos filled up the same, and thereby succeeded in
of June 6, 2002, the Prosecutors moved for the deferment of the consideration securing a loan and converting the loan proceeds for their personal gain and
of the Provincial Prosecutor's motion for the withdrawal of the Second Amended benefit. 15 The information reads:
Information for homicide because, in the meantime, the private complainant
had filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Justice Secretary's Resolution That in or about the month of April, 1997, and
No. 258. The latter cannot be stripped of his authority to act on and resolve the thereafter, in San Miguel, Bulacan, and within the
aforesaid motion of the private complainant on the Prosecutor's insistence that jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
the accused be arraigned on June 6, 2002. Indeed, under Section 7 of DOJ accused HILARIO P. SORIANO and ROSALINDA ILAGAN,
Circular No. 70, the Secretary of Justice may resolve the said motion despite the as principals by direct participation, with unfaithfulness
arraignment of the petitioners: or abuse of confidence and taking advantage of their
position as President of the Rural Bank of San Miguel
SECTION 7. Action on the petition. — The Secretary of (Bulacan), Inc. and Branch Manager of the Rural Bank of
Justice may dismiss the petition outright if he finds the San Miguel-San Miguel Branch [sic], a duly organized
same to be patently without merit or manifestly banking institution under Philippine Laws, conspiring
intended for delay, or when the issues raised therein confederating and mutually helping one another, did
are too unsubstantial to require consideration. then and there, willfully and feloniously falsify loan
documents consisting of undated loan
If an information has been filed in court pursuant to the application/information sheet, credit proposal dated
appealed resolution, the petition shall not be given due April l4, 1997, credit proposal dated April 22, 1997,
course if the accused had already been arraigned. Any credit investigation report dated April 15, 1997,
arraignment made after the filing of the petition shall promissory note dated April 23, 1997, disclosure
not bar the Secretary of Justice from exercising his statement on loan/credit transaction dated April 23,
power of review. 1997, and other related documents, by making it
appear that one Enrico Carlos filled up the
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
application/information sheet and filed the
SO ORDERED. aforementioned loan documents when in truth and in
fact Enrico Carlos did not participate in the execution of
[G.R. No. 162336. February 1, 2010.] said loan documents and that by virtue of said
falsification and with deceit and intent to cause
damage, the accused succeeded in securing a loan in
HILARIO P. SORIANO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE the amount of eight million pesos (PhP8,000,000.00)
PHILIPPINES, BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS (BSP), from the Rural Bank of San Miguel-San Ildefonso
PHILIPPINE DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION branch in the name of Enrico Carlos which amount of
(PDIC), PUBLIC PROSECUTOR ANTONIO C. BUAN, and PhP8 million representing the loan proceeds the
STATE PROSECUTOR ALBERTO R. accused thereafter converted the same amount to their
FONACIER, respondents. 1 own personal gain and benefit, to the damage and
prejudice of the Rural Bank of San Miguel-San Ildefonso
branch, its creditors, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,
DEL CASTILLO, J p: and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation.

CONTRARY TO LAW. 16
A bank officer violates the DOSRI 2 law when he acquires bank funds for his
personal benefit, even if such acquisition was facilitated by a fraudulent loan The other Information 17 dated November 10, 2000 and docketed as Criminal
application. Directors, officers, stockholders, and their related interests cannot Case No. 238-M-2001, was for violation of Section 83 of RA 337, as amended
be allowed to interpose the fraudulent nature of the loan as a defense to escape by PD 1795. The said provision refers to the prohibition against the so-called
culpability for their circumvention of Section 83 of Republic Act (RA) No. 337. 3 DOSRI loans. The information alleged that, in his capacity as President of RBSM,
petitioner indirectly secured an P8 million loan with RBSM, for his personal use
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari 4 under Rule 45 of the Rules of and benefit, without the written consent and approval of the bank's Board of
Court, assailing the September 26, 2003 Decision 5 and the February 5, 2004 Directors, without entering the said transaction in the bank's records, and
Resolution 6 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 67657. The without transmitting a copy of the transaction to the supervising department of
challenged Decision disposed as follows: the bank. His ruse was facilitated by placing the loan in the name of an
unsuspecting RBSM depositor, one Enrico Carlos. 18 The information reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition
for certiorari is hereby DENIED. 7 That in or about the month of April, 1997, and
thereafter, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Factual Antecedents
Court, the said accused, in his capacity as President of
Sometime in 2000, the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) of the Bangko Sentral the Rural Bank of San Miguel (Bulacan), Inc., did then
ng Pilipinas (BSP), through its officers, 8 transmitted a letter 9 dated March 27, and there, willfully and feloniously indirectly borrow or
2000 to Jovencito Zuño, Chief State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice secure a loan with the Rural Bank of San Miguel-San
(DOJ). The letter attached as annexes five affidavits, 10 which would allegedly Ildefonso branch, a domestic rural banking institution
serve as bases for filing criminal charges for Estafa thru Falsification of created, organized and existing under Philippine laws,
Commercial Documents, in relation to Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1689, 11 and amounting to eight million pesos (PhP8,000,000.00),
for Violation of Section 83 of RA 337, as amended by PD 1795, 12 against, inter knowing fully well that the same has been done by him
alia, petitioner herein Hilario P. Soriano. These five affidavits, along with other without the written consent and approval of the
documents, stated that spouses Enrico and Amalia Carlos appeared to have an majority of the board of directors of the said bank, and
outstanding loan of P8 million with the Rural Bank of San Miguel (Bulacan), Inc. which consent and approval the said accused
(RBSM), but had never applied for nor received such loan; that it was petitioner, deliberately failed to obtain and enter the same upon
who was then president of RBSM, who had ordered, facilitated, and received the the records of said banking institution and to transmit a
proceeds of the loan; and that the P8 million loan had never been authorized by copy thereof to the supervising department of the said
RBSM's Board of Directors and no report thereof had ever been submitted to the bank, as required by the General Banking Act, by using
Department of Rural Banks, Supervision and Examination Sector of the BSP. The the name of one depositor Enrico Carlos of San Miguel,
letter of the OSI, which was not subscribed under oath, ended with a request Bulacan, the latter having no knowledge of the said
that a preliminary investigation be conducted and the corresponding criminal loan, and one in possession of the said amount of eight
charges be filed against petitioner at his last known address. AECacT million pesos (PhP8,000,000.00), accused converted the

5
same to his own personal use and benefit, in flagrant Hence, this petition.
violation of the said law. DIAcTE
Issues
CONTRARY TO LAW. 19
Restated, petitioner raises the following issues 34 for our consideration: aCSHDI
Both cases were raffled to Branch 79 of the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan. 20
I
On June 8, 2001, petitioner moved to quash 21 these informations on two
Whether the complaint complied with the mandatory
grounds: that the court had no jurisdiction over the offense charged, and that
requirements provided under Section 3(a), Rule 112 of
the facts charged do not constitute an offense.
the Rules of Court and Section 18, paragraphs (c) and
On the first ground, petitioner argued that the letter transmitted by the BSP to (d) of RA 7653.
the DOJ constituted the complaint and hence was defective for failure to comply
II
with the mandatory requirements of Section 3 (a), Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court, such as the statement of address of petitioner and oath and Whether a loan transaction within the ambit of the
subscription. 22 Moreover, petitioner argued that the officers of OSI, who were DOSRI law (violation of Section 83 of RA 337, as
the signatories to the "letter-complaint," were not authorized by the BSP amended) could also be the subject of Estafa under
Governor, much less by the Monetary Board, to file the complaint. According to Article 315 (1) (b) of the Revised Penal Code.
petitioner, this alleged fatal oversight violated Section 18, pars. (c) and (d) of the
New Central Bank Act (RA 7653). III

On the second ground, petitioner contended that the commission of estafa Is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 the proper
under paragraph 1 (b) of Article 315 of the RPC is inherently incompatible with remedy against an Order denying a Motion to Quash?
the violation of DOSRI law (as set out in Section 83 23 of RA 337, as amended
by PD 1795), 24 hence a person cannot be charged for both offenses. He argued IV
that a violation of DOSRI law requires the offender to obtain a loan from his
Whether petitioner is entitled to a writ of injunction.
bank, without complying with procedural, reportorial, or ceiling requirements.
On the other hand, estafa under par. 1 (b), Article 315 of the RPC requires the Our Ruling
offender to misappropriate or convert something that he holds in trust, or on
commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the The petition lacks merit.
duty to return the same. 25
First Issue:
Essentially, the petitioner theorized that the characterization of possession is Whether the complaint complied with the mandatory
different in the two offenses. If petitioner acquired the loan as DOSRI, he owned requirements provided under Section 3 (a), Rule 112 of the Rules
the loaned money and therefore, cannot misappropriate or convert it as of Court and Section 18, paragraphs (c) and (d) of
contemplated in the offense of estafa. Conversely, if petitioner committed Republic Act No. 7653
estafa, then he merely held the money in trust for someone else and therefore,
did not acquire a loan in violation of DOSRI rules. Petitioner moved to withdraw the
first issue from the instant petition
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On March 5, 2007, the Court noted 35 petitioner's Manifestation and Motion for
In an Order 26 dated August 8, 2001, the trial court denied petitioner's Motion Partial Withdrawal of the Petition 36 dated February 7, 2007. In the said motion,
to Quash for lack of merit. The lower court agreed with the prosecution that the petitioner informed the Court of the promulgation of a Decision entitled Soriano
assailed OSI letter was not the complaint-affidavit itself; thus, it need not comply v. Hon. Casanova, 37 which also involved petitioner and similar BSP letters to the
with the requirements under the Rules of Court. The trial court held that the DOJ. According to petitioner, the said Decision allegedly ruled squarely on the
affidavits, which were attached to the OSI letter, comprised the complaint- nature of the BSP letters and the validity of the sworn affidavits attached
affidavit in the case. Since these affidavits were duly subscribed and sworn to thereto. For this reason, petitioner moved for the partial withdrawal of the
before a notary public, there was adequate compliance with the Rules. The trial instant petition insofar as it involved the issue of "whether or not a court can
court further held that the two offenses were separate and distinct violations, legally acquire jurisdiction over a complaint which failed to comply with the
hence the prosecution of one did not pose a bar to the other. 27 HITEaS mandatory requirements provided under Section 3 (a), Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court and Section 18, paragraphs (c) and (d) of RA 7653". 38 ACETIa
Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied in an Order dated
September 5, 2001. 28 Given that the case had already been submitted for resolution of the Court
when petitioner filed his latest motion, and that all respondents had presented
Aggrieved, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari 29 with the CA, reiterating his their positions and arguments on the first issue, the Court deems it proper to
arguments before the trial court. rule on the same.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals In Soriano v. Hon. Casanova, the
The CA denied the petition on both issues presented by petitioner. Court held that the affidavits
attached to the BSP transmittal
On the first issue, the CA determined that the BSP letter, which petitioner letter complied with the
characterized to be a fatally infirm complaint, was not actually a complaint, but a mandatory requirements under
transmittal or cover letter only. This transmittal letter merely contained a the Rules of Court.
summary of the affidavits which were attached to it. It did not contain any
To be sure, the BSP letters involved in Soriano v. Hon. Casanova 39 are not the
averment of personal knowledge of the events and transactions that constitute
same as the BSP letter involved in the instant case. However, the BSP letters
the elements of the offenses charged. Being a mere transmittal letter, it need
not comply with the requirements of Section 3 (a) of Rule 112 of the Rules of in Soriano v. Hon. Casanova and the BSP letter subject of this case are similar in
Court. 30 the sense that they are all signed by the OSI officers of the BSP, they were not
sworn to by the said officers, they all contained summaries of their attached
The CA further determined that the five affidavits attached to the transmittal affidavits, and they all requested the conduct of a preliminary investigation and
letter should be considered as the complaint-affidavits that charged petitioner the filing of corresponding criminal charges against petitioner Soriano. Thus, the
with violation of Section 83 of RA 337 and for Estafa thru Falsification of principle of stare decisis dictates that the ruling in Soriano v. Hon. Casanova be
Commercial Documents. These complaint-affidavits complied with the applied in the instant case — once a question of law has been examined and
mandatory requirements set out in the Rules of Court — they were subscribed decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further argument. 40
and sworn to before a notary public and subsequently certified by State
We held in Soriano v. Hon. Casanova, after a close scrutiny of the letters
Prosecutor Fonacier, who personally examined the affiants and was convinced
that the affiants fully understood their sworn statements. 31 transmitted by the BSP to the DOJ, that these were not intended to be the
complaint, as envisioned under the Rules. They did not contain averments of
Anent the second ground, the CA found no merit in petitioner's argument that personal knowledge of the events and transactions constitutive of any offense.
the violation of the DOSRI law and the commission of estafa thru falsification of The letters merely transmitted for preliminary investigation the affidavits of
commercial documents are inherently inconsistent with each other. It explained people who had personal knowledge of the acts of petitioner. We ruled that
that the test in considering a motion to quash on the ground that the facts these affidavits, not the letters transmitting them, initiated the preliminary
charged do not constitute an offense, is whether the facts alleged, when investigation. Since these affidavits were subscribed under oath by the
hypothetically admitted, constitute the elements of the offense charged. The witnesses who executed them before a notary public, then there was substantial
appellate court held that this test was sufficiently met because the allegations in compliance with Section 3 (a), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.
the assailed informations, when hypothetically admitted, clearly constitute the
Anent the contention that there was no authority from the BSP Governor or the
elements of Estafa thru Falsification of Commercial Documents and Violation of
DOSRI law. 32 Monetary Board to file a criminal case against Soriano, we held that the
requirements of Section 18, paragraphs (c) and (d) of RA 7653 did not apply
Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration 33 was likewise denied for lack of merit. because the BSP did not institute the complaint but merely transmitted the
affidavits of the complainants to the DOJ.

6
We further held that since the offenses for which Soriano was charged were Following the foregoing rulings in Soriano v. Hon. Casanova and Santos-Concio v.
public crimes, authority holds that it can be initiated by "any competent person" Department of Justice, we hold that the BSP letter, taken together with the
with personal knowledge of the acts committed by the offender. Thus, the affidavits attached thereto, comply with the requirements provided under
witnesses who executed the affidavits clearly fell within the purview of "any Section 3 (a), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court and Section 18, paragraphs (c) and
competent person" who may institute the complaint for a public crime. ESTDIA (d) of RA 7653.

The ruling in Soriano v. Hon. Casanova has been adopted and elaborated upon in Second Issue:
the recent case of Santos-Concio v. Department of Justice. 41 Instead of a
Whether a loan transaction within the ambit of the DOSRI law
transmittal letter from the BSP, the Court in Santos-Concio was faced with an
(violation of Section 83 of RA 337, as amended) could be the
NBI-NCR Report, likewise with affidavits of witnesses as attachments. Ruling on
subject of Estafa under Article 315 (1) (b) of the
the validity of the witnesses' sworn affidavits as bases for a preliminary
Revised Penal Code
investigation, we held:
The second issue was raised by petitioner in the context of his Motion to Quash
The Court is not unaware of the practice of Information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an
incorporating all allegations in one document offense. 43 It is settled that in considering a motion to quash on such ground,
denominated as "complaint-affidavit." It does not the test is "whether the facts alleged, if hypothetically admitted, would establish
pronounce strict adherence to only one approach, the essential elements of the offense charged as defined by law. The trial court
however, for there are cases where the extent of one's may not consider a situation contrary to that set forth in the criminal complaint
personal knowledge may not cover the entire gamut of or information. Facts that constitute the defense of the petitioner[s] against the
details material to the alleged offense. The private charge under the information must be proved by [him] during trial. Such facts or
offended party or relative of the deceased may not circumstances do not constitute proper grounds for a motion to quash the
even have witnessed the fatality, in which case the information on the ground that the material averments do not constitute the
peace officer or law enforcer has to rely chiefly on offense". 44
affidavits of witnesses. The Rules do not in fact
preclude the attachment of a referral or transmittal We have examined the two informations against petitioner and we find that
letter similar to that of the NBI-NCR. Thus, in Soriano v. they contain allegations which, if hypothetically admitted, would establish the
Casanova, the Court held: essential elements of the crime of DOSRI violation and estafa thru falsification of
commercial documents.
A close scrutiny of the letters transmitted by
the BSP and PDIC to the DOJ shows that In Criminal Case No. 238-M-2001 for violation of DOSRI rules, the information
these were not intended to be the complaint alleged that petitioner Soriano was the president of RBSM; that he was able to
envisioned under the Rules. It may be clearly indirectly obtain a loan from RBSM by putting the loan in the name of depositor
inferred from the tenor of the letters that Enrico Carlos; and that he did this without complying with the requisite board
the officers merely intended to transmit the approval, reportorial, and ceiling requirements.
affidavits of the bank employees to the DOJ.
Nowhere in the transmittal letters is there In Criminal Case No. 237-M-2001 for estafa thru falsification of commercial
any averment on the part of the BSP and documents, the information alleged that petitioner, by taking advantage of his
PDIC officers of personal knowledge of the position as president of RBSM, falsified various loan documents to make it
events and transactions constitutive of the appear that an Enrico Carlos secured a loan of P8 million from RBSM; that
criminal violations alleged to have been petitioner succeeded in obtaining the loan proceeds; that he later converted the
made by the accused. In fact, the letters loan proceeds to his own personal gain and benefit; and that his action caused
clearly stated that what the OSI of the BSP damage and prejudice to RBSM, its creditors, the BSP, and the PDIC. TEHIaD
and the LIS of the PDIC did was to
Significantly, this is not the first occasion that we adjudge the sufficiency of
respectfully transmit to the DOJ for
similarly worded informations. In Soriano v. People, 45 involving the same
preliminary investigation the affidavits and
petitioner in this case (but different transactions), we also reviewed the
personal knowledge of the acts of the
sufficiency of informations for DOSRI violation and estafa thru falsification of
petitioner. These affidavits were subscribed
commercial documents, which were almost identical, mutatis mutandis, with the
under oath by the witnesses who executed
subject informations herein. We held in Soriano v. People that there is no basis
them before a notary public. Since
for the quashal of the informations as "they contain material allegations
theaffidavits, not the letters transmitting
charging Soriano with violation of DOSRI rules and estafa thru falsification of
them, were intended to initiate the
commercial documents".
preliminary investigation, we hold that
Section 3(a), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court Petitioner raises the theory that he could not possibly be held liable for estafa in
was substantially complied with. concurrence with the charge for DOSRI violation. According to him, the DOSRI
charge presupposes that he acquired a loan, which would make the loan
Citing the ruling of this Court in Ebarle v.
proceeds his own money and which he could neither possibly misappropriate
Sucaldito, the Court of Appeals correctly
nor convert to the prejudice of another, as required by the statutory definition
held that a complaint for purposes of
of estafa. 46 On the other hand, if petitioner did not acquire any loan, there can
preliminary investigation by the fiscal need
be no DOSRI violation to speak of. Thus, petitioner posits that the two offenses
not be filed by the offended party. The rule
cannot co-exist. This theory does not persuade us.
has been that,unless the offense subject
thereof is one that cannot be prosecuted de Petitioner's theory is based on the false premises that the loan was extended to
oficio, the same may be filed, for preliminary him by the bank in his own name, and that he became the owner of the loan
investigation purposes, by any competent proceeds. Both premises are wrong.
person. The crime of estafa is a public crime
which can be initiated by "any competent The bank money (amounting to P8 million) which came to the possession of
person." The witnesses who executed the petitioner was money held in trust or administration by him for the bank, in his
affidavits based on their personal knowledge fiduciary capacity as the President of said bank. 47 It is not accurate to say that
of the acts committed by the petitioner fall petitioner became the owner of the P8 million because it was the proceeds of a
within the purview of "any competent loan. That would have been correct if the bank knowingly extended the loan to
person" who may institute the complaint for petitioner himself. But that is not the case here. According to the information for
a public crime. . . . (Emphasis and italics estafa, the loan was supposed to be for another person, a certain "Enrico
supplied) Carlos"; petitioner, through falsification, made it appear that said "Enrico Carlos"
applied for the loan when in fact he ("Enrico Carlos") did not. Through such
A preliminary investigation can thus validly proceed on fraudulent device, petitioner obtained the loan proceeds and converted the
the basis of an affidavit of any competent person, same. Under these circumstances, it cannot be said that petitioner became
without the referral document, like the NBI-NCR the legal owner of the P8 million. Thus, petitioner remained the bank's fiduciary
Report, having been sworn to by the law enforcer as with respect to that money, which makes it capable of misappropriation or
the nominal complainant. To require otherwise is a conversion in his hands.
needless exercise. The cited case of Oporto, Jr. v. Judge
Monserate does not appear to dent this proposition. The next question is whether there can also be, at the same time, a charge for
After all, what is required is to reduce the evidence DOSRI violation in such a situation wherein the accused bank officer
into affidavits, for while reports and even raw did not secure a loan in his own name, but was alleged to have used the name of
information may justify the initiation of an another person in order to indirectly secure a loan from the bank. We answer
investigation, the preliminary investigation stage can be this in the affirmative. Section 83 of RA 337 reads: EAcIST
held only after sufficient evidence has been gathered
and evaluated which may warrant the eventual Section 83. No director or officer of any banking
prosecution of the case in court. 42 ETDaIC institution shall, either directly or indirectly, for himself
or as the representative or agent of others, borrow any
7
of the deposits of funds of such bank, nor shall he contained in their motion to quash. There are no
become a guarantor, indorser, or surety for loans from special or exceptional circumstances in the present case
such bank to others, or in any manner be an obligor for that would justify immediate resort to a filing of a
moneys borrowed from the bank or loaned by it, except petition for certiorari. Clearly, the CA did not commit
with the written approval of the majority of the any reversible error, much less, grave abuse of
directors of the bank, excluding the director concerned. discretion in dismissing the petition. 56
Any such approval shall be entered upon the records of
the corporation and a copy of such entry shall be Fourth Issue:
transmitted forthwith to the Superintendent of Banks. Whether petitioner is entitled to a writ of injunction
The office of any director or officer of a bank who
violates the provisions of this section shall immediately The requisites to justify an injunctive relief are: (1) the right of the complainant
become vacant and the director or officer shall be is clear and unmistakable; (2) the invasion of the right sought to be protected is
punished by imprisonment of not less than one year material and substantial; and (3) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for
nor more than ten years and by a fine of not less than the writ to prevent serious damage. A clear legal right means one clearly
one thousand nor more than ten thousand pesos. . . . founded in or granted by law or is "enforceable as a matter of law." Absent any
clear and unquestioned legal right, the issuance of an injunctive writ would
The prohibition in Section 83 is broad enough to cover various modes of constitute grave abuse of discretion. 57 Caution and prudence must, at all times,
borrowing. 48 It covers loans by a bank director or officer (like herein petitioner) attend the issuance of an injunctive writ because it effectively disposes of the
which are made either: (1) directly, (2) indirectly, (3) for himself, (4) or as the main case without trial and/or due process. 58 In Olalia v. Hizon, 59 the Court
representative or agent of others. It applies even if the director or officer is a held as follows: CTEacH
mere guarantor, indorser or surety for someone else's loan or is in any manner
an obligor for money borrowed from the bank or loaned by it. The covered It has been consistently held that there is no power the
transactions are prohibited unless the approval, exercise of which is more delicate, which requires
reportorial and ceiling requirements under Section 83 are complied with. The greater caution, deliberation and sound discretion, or
prohibition is intended to protect the public, especially the depositors, 49 from more dangerous in a doubtful case, than the issuance
the overborrowing of bank funds by bank officers, directors, stockholders and of an injunction. It is the strong arm of equity that
related interests, as such overborrowing may lead to bank failures. 50 It has should never be extended unless to cases of great
been said that "banking institutions are not created for the benefit of the injury, where courts of law cannot afford an adequate
directors [or officers]. While directors have great powers as directors, they have or commensurate remedy in damages.
no special privileges as individuals. They cannot use the assets of the bank for
Every court should remember that an injunction is a
their own benefit except as permitted by law. Stringent restrictions are placed
limitation upon the freedom of action of the
about them so that when acting both for the bank and for one of themselves at
[complaint] and should not be granted lightly or
the same time, they must keep within certain prescribed lines regarded by the
precipitately. It should be granted only when the court
legislature as essential to safety in the banking business". 51
is fully satisfied that the law permits it and the
A direct borrowing is obviously one that is made in the name of the DOSRI emergency demands it.
himself or where the DOSRI is a named party, while an indirect borrowing
Given this Court's findings in the earlier issues of the instant case, we find no
includes one that is made by a third party, but the DOSRI has a stake in the
compelling reason to grant the injunctive relief sought by petitioner.
transaction. 52 The latter type — indirect borrowing — applies here. The
information in Criminal Case 238-M-2001 alleges that petitioner "in his capacity WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed September 26, 2003 Decision
as President of Rural Bank of San Miguel-San Ildefonso branch . . . as well as the February 5, 2004 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
indirectly borrow[ed] or secure[d] a loan with [RBSM] . . . knowing fully well that No. 67657 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
the same has been done by him without the written consent and approval of the
majority of the board of directors . . ., and which consent and approval the said SO ORDERED.
accused deliberately failed to obtain and enter the same upon the records of
said banking institution and to transmit a copy thereof to the supervising [G.R. No. 164673. January 15, 2010.]
department of the said bank . . . by using the name of one depositor Enrico
Carlos . . ., the latter having no knowledge of the said loan, and once in
possession of the said amount of eight million pesos (P8 million), [petitioner] SAMUEL U. LEE and MAYBELLE LEE LIM, petitioners, vs.
converted the same to his own personal use and benefit". 53 KBC BANK N.V., respondent.

The foregoing information describes the manner of securing the loan as indirect;
names petitioner as the benefactor of the indirect loan; and states that the CARPIO, J p:
requirements of the law were not complied with. It contains all the required
elements 54 for a violation of Section 83, even if petitioner did not secure the
The Case
loan in his own name. CDHAcI
This is a petition 1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
The broad interpretation of the prohibition in Section 83 is justified by the fact The petition challenges the 10 February 2004 Decision 2 and 27 July 2004
that it evenexpressly covers loans to third parties where the third parties are Resolution 3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 78004. The Court of
aware of the transaction (such as principals represented by the DOSRI), and Appeals set aside the 26 March 2003 Order 4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
where the DOSRI's interest does not appear to be beneficial but even National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 58, Makati City, in Criminal Case Nos.
burdensome (such as in cases when the DOSRI acts as a mere guarantor or 02-344-45. acEHCD
surety). If the law finds it necessary to protect the bank and the banking system
in such situations, it will surely be illogical for it to exclude a case like this where The Facts
the DOSRI acted for his own benefit, using the name of an unsuspecting person.
Midas Diversified Export Corporation (MDEC) obtained a $1,400,000 loan from
A contrary interpretation will effectively allow a DOSRI to use dummies to
KBC Bank N.V. (KBC Bank). KBC Bank is a Belgian corporation licensed to do
circumvent the requirements of the law.
business in the Philippines. On 12 August 1997, Samuel U. Lee (Lee), assistant
In sum, the informations filed against petitioner do not negate each other. treasurer and director of MDEC, executed a promissory note in favor of KBC
Bank and a deed of assignment transferring all of MDEC's rights over
Third Issue: Confirmed Purchase Order No. MTC-548 to KBC Bank. Confirmed Purchase
Order No. MTC-548 was allegedly dated 15 July 1997, issued by Otto Versand,
Is a Rule 65 petition for certiorari the proper remedy against
a company based in Germany, and covered a shipment of girl's basic denim
an Order denying a Motion to Quash?
jeans amounting to $1,863,050.
This issue may be speedily resolved by adopting our ruling in Soriano v.
People, 55 where we held: MDEC obtained another loan, amounting to $65,000, from KBC Bank. On 14
November 1997, Maybelle L. Lim (Lim), treasurer and assistant secretary of
In fine, the Court has consistently held that a special MDEC, executed a promissory note in favor of KBC Bank and a deed of
civil action for certiorari is not the proper remedy to assignment transferring all of MDEC's rights over Confirmed Purchase Order No.
assail the denial of a motion to quash an information. WC-128 to KBC Bank. Confirmed Purchase Order No. WC-128 was allegedly
The proper procedure in such a case is for the accused dated 1 October 1997, issued by Otto Versand, and covered a shipment of boy's
to enter a plea, go to trial without prejudice on his part bermuda jeans amounting to $841,500.
to present the special defenses he had invoked in his
motion to quash and if after trial on the merits, an On 23 December 1997, Lim renewed the 12 August 1997 promissory note and
adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in issued a notice of renewal and drawdown certificate to KBC Bank. On 29
the manner authorized by law. Thus, petitioners should December 1997, Lim executed an amended deed of assignment transferring all
not have forthwith filed a special civil action of MDEC's rights over Confirmed Purchase Order No. MTC-548 to KBC Bank.
for certiorari with the CA and instead, they should have
MDEC was considered in default in paying the $65,000 loan on 30 January 1998.
gone to trial and reiterated the special defenses
Under a facility agreement between KBC Bank and MDEC, any default in
8
payment of any obligation under the agreement would render MDEC in default officer of Otto Versand presented to attest to the
with regard to the $65,000 loan — MDEC defaulted in paying two other allegation that the subject purchase orders were
obligations under the agreement. MDEC also failed to pay the $1,400,000 loan fake. Since Ms. Pajarillo did not have personal
when it became due on 9 February 1998. knowledge of the fact that the subject purchase
orders were in fact fake, her testimony cannot be the
On 17 March 1998, KBC Bank sent a letter to Otto Versand verifying the validity basis for finding probable cause against respondents.
of Confirmed Purchase Order Nos. MTC-548 and WC-128. On 19 March 1998, Ms. Pajarillo can testify only to those facts that she
Otto Versand sent a facsimile message to KBC Bank stating that (1) it did not knew of her personal knowledge. Admittedly, she
issue the purchase orders, (2) it did not order or receive the items covered by derived knowledge of the supposed spurious
the purchase orders, and (3) it would not pay MDEC any amount. character of the purchase orders from a mere fax copy
of a message that [KBC Bank] received from a certain
In a complaint-affidavit 5 dated 21 April 1998, Liza M. Pajarillo, manager of the
representative of Otto Versand in Germany, someone
corporate division of KBC Bank, charged Lee and Lim of estafa. In his
who she did not even know personally. Unfortunately,
Resolution 6 dated 27 November 2001, State Prosecutor Josefino A. Subia (State
this fax copy is hearsay evidence and therefore,
Prosecutor Subia) found the existence of probable cause and recommended that
inadmissible to prove the truth of what it
two counts of estafa be filed against Lee and Lim. State Prosecutor Subia stated
contains (Pastor vs. Gaspar, 2 Phil 592). 11 (Emphasis
that:
supplied)
After a careful evaluation of the evidence presented by
KBC Bank filed a motion 12 for reconsideration dated 2 August 2002 with the
the Bank, as well as of the respondents, we find the
Department of Justice.
existence of a probable cause to indict respondents
Samuel Lee and Maybelle Lee Lim. Lee and Lim had not been arraigned. In a motion 13 dated 18 October 2002 and
filed with the RTC, Assistant City Prosecutor Nora C. Sibucao (Assistant City
It is an established fact that the confirmed purchase
Prosecutor Sibucao) prayed for the withdrawal of the informations filed against
order nos. MTC-548 and WC-128 presented with the
Lee and Lim. Assistant City Prosecutor Sibucao stated that:
Bank by the Midas thru respondents Samuel Lee and
Maybelle Lee Lim were false and spurious, having been The Prosecution, through the undersigned Trial
unequivocably repudiated and/or disowned by Otto Prosecutor, unto the Honorable Court, most
Versand, Germany, the foreign buyer who allegedly respectfully moves and prays for the withdrawal of
issued the same, as evidenced by a telefax message Information filed in the above-entitled cases in view of
sent to the Bank by Otto Versand. Evidently, the resolution of the Department of Justice
respondent Samuel Lee signed the following promulgated on July 12, 2002 reversing the resolution
documents, to wit: the "conforme" portion of the of the City Prosecutor of Makati City. 14
US$2.0 million short-term trade facility, the promissory
note and the corresponding deed of assignment both The RTC's Ruling
dated August 12, 1997, covering the confirmed
In his one-page Order 15 dated 26 March 2003, Judge Dumayas granted
purchase order no[.] MTC-548, while respondent
Assistant City Prosecutor Sibucao's motion to withdraw the informations against
Maybelle Lee Lim signed in the promissory note and the
Lee and Lim. Judge Dumayas held that:
corresponding deed of assignment both dated Nov. 14,
1997, the renewed promissory note and the notice of This Court, after an in-depth scrutiny of the arguments
renewal and drawdown certificate both dated Dec. 23, raised by the prosecution and private complainant,
1997. Respondents Samuel Lee and Maybelle Lee Lim, finds the contentions of the prosecution to be sufficient
thus cannot escape indictment, aside from signing and meritorious.
those relevant loan documents, as they also clearly
helped one another in fraudulently representing to the Accordingly, the Motion to Withdraw Information filed
Bank that indeed said confirmed two (2) purchased [sic] by the Prosecution is hereby granted and the two (2)
orders does [sic] exists [sic] and that Midas have [sic] informations for the crime of Estafa penalized under
their [sic] rights, titles and interests thereto. With their par. 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code are hereby
fraudulent representation, they were able to entice or withdrawn from the docket of this court. 16
induce the Bank to extend [to] them the loan of
USD$1.4 million and USD$ 65,000 under the short-term KBC Bank filed with the Court a petition 17 for review on certiorari under Rule 45
trade facility previously granted to them. 7 of the Rules of Court. KBC Bank claimed that:

Accordingly, two informations for estafa against Lee and Lim were filed with the I.
RTC. After finding probable cause, Judge Winlove M. Dumayas (Judge Dumayas)
of the RTC issued warrants of arrest against Lee and Lim. The court a quo committed reversible error in issuing
the questioned Order without specifying its legal basis.
Lee and Lim filed a petition 8 for review dated 26 April 2002 with the
II.
Department of Justice. Lee and Lim challenged State Prosecutor Subia's 27
November 2001 Resolution and 17 April 2002 Order denying their motion for The court a quo committed reversible error in
reconsideration. They claimed that: prematurely acting upon the Makati Prosecutor's
Motion to Withdraw of * Information.
I. THE RESOLUTIONS OF 27 NOVEMBER 2001 AND 17
APRIL 2002 MERELY RELIED ON HEARSAY III.
EVIDENCE WHICH CANNOT BE THE BASIS
FOR A FINDING OF A PROBABLE CAUSE. The court a quo committed reversible error in finding
that no probable cause exists to hold respondents for
II. THE ASSAILED RESOLUTIONS WERE ISSUED BASED trial for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) and in
ONLY ON THE UNCORROBORATED granting the Makati Prosecutor's Motion to Withdraw
ALLEGATIONS OF PAJARILLO THAT LEE AND Information. 18
LIM MADE FRAUDULENT REPRESENTATIONS
TO [KBC BANK]. IcHTCS In a Resolution 19 dated 23 June 2003, the Court referred the petition to the
Court of Appeals pursuant to Section 6, 20 Rule 56 of the Rules of Court. In his
III. THE ASSAILED RESOLUTIONS ERRED IN HOLDING LEE Resolution 21 dated 19 November 2003, Secretary Simeon A. Datumanong
AND LIM TO BE CRIMINALLY LIABLE DESPITE denied KBC Bank's 2 August 2002 motion for reconsideration.
THE TWO LOANS CREATING MERELY CIVIL
LIABILITY ON THE PART OF MIDAS. 9 The Court of Appeals' Ruling

In his Resolution 10 dated 12 July 2002, Secretary Hernando B. Perez (Secretary In its 10 February 2004 Decision, the Court of Appeals set aside Judge Dumayas'
Perez) directed the withdrawal of the informations filed against Lee and Lim. 26 March 2003 Order. The Court of Appeals held that: DHEaTS
Secretary Perez held that the facsimile message constituted hearsay evidence:
It has long been established that the filing of a
The twin charges of estafa are primarily anchored on complaint or information in Court initiates a criminal
respondents' alleged fraudulent representations to action. The Court thereby acquires jurisdiction over the
[KBC Bank] that the two purchase orders were fake or case, which is the authority to hear and determine the
sham. To prove this point, Ms. Pajarillo of [KBC Bank] case. When after the filing of the complaint or
claims that she received a fax message from a information, a warrant for the arrest of the accused is
representative of Otto Versand, stating that the latter issued by the trial court and the accused either
company did not issue the purchase orders mentioned. voluntarily submitted himself to the Court or was duly
There was no sworn statement from a responsible

9
arrested, the Court thereby acquired jurisdiction over determine a prima facie case in blatant
the person of the accused. violation of the Court's pronouncement
in Crespo vs. Mogul."
xxx xxx xxx
When the trial judge issued its Order of February 14,
The trial judge practically concurred with the findings of the Secretary of Justice 2002 directing the issuance of warrants of arrest
that the "fax copy is hearsay evidence and therefore, inadmissible to prove the against the respondents, he clearly found probable
truth that it contains", contrary to the well-reasoned findings of the investigating cause to sustain the filing of criminal complaints against
prosecutor. It is emphasized that a preliminary investigation is not the occasion the latter. The issuance of a warrant of arrest is not a
for the full and exhaustive display of the parties' evidence; it is for the ministerial function of the court — it calls for the
presentation of such evidence only as may engender a well-grounded belief that exercise of judicial discretion on the part of the issuing
an offense has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. magistrate.
The issue of admissibility or inadmissibility of evidence is a matter of defense If the trial court judge finds it appropriate to dismiss the
that is best ventilated in a full-blown trial; preliminary investigation is not the Informations, the same should be based upon his own
occasion for the exhaustive display of presentation of evidence. 22 personal individual conviction that there is no case
against the accused/respondents. To rely solely on the
Hence, the present petition.
recommendation of the Secretary of Justice, to say the
The Issues least, is an abdication of the judge[']s duty and
jurisdiction to determine a prima facie case. What was
In their petition, Lee and Lim raised as issues that: imperatively required was the trial judge's own
assessment of just evidence, it not being sufficient for
I
the valid and proper exercise of judicial discretion
THE COURT EXCEEDED ITS AUTHORITY IN PASSING merely to accept the prosecution's word for its
UPON THE ISSUE OF WHETHER OR NOT THERE WAS supposed insufficiency. 25
PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF ESTAFA AGAINST THE
Lee and Lim claim that the Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that the
PETITIONERS, AN ISSUE THAT WAS PENDING BEFORE
admissibility of the facsimile message is a matter best ventilated in a full-blown
THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE
trial. They stated that:
xxx xxx xxx
At any rate, the Court of Appeals also said in its
II decision that the issue of admissibility of evidence
assailed as hearsay is a matter of defense to be
QUESTION IS NOT ONE OF ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE ventilated in a full blown trial. It held that preliminary
BUT THE NEED IN PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION FOR investigation is not the occasion for exhaustive display
EVIDENCE OF VALUE TO ESTABLISH PROBABLE CAUSE of evidence and the issue of admissibility or
inadmissibility of evidence is a matter of defense to be
xxx xxx xxx ventilated at the trial.

III But the Secretary of Justice's rejection of the "fax copy"


of Otto Versand's letter as hearsay evidence merely
RESPONDENT COURT DID NOT PREMATURELY ALLOW affirmed petitioners' right to due process in a
THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE INFORMATIONS preliminary investigation. . . .
xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx
IV Ms. Pajarillo authenticated it by stating under oath that
she received it. The cause for its rejection is the fact
THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ABDICATE ITS DUTY TO
that its contents are purely hearsay since Ms. Pajarillo
DETERMINE THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE PROSECUTION'S
who testified about them had no personal knowledge
REASON FOR WITHDRAWING THE INFORMATIONS. 23
of the fact that the purchase orders were false. The
The Court's Ruling author of the fax message did not swear under oath to
the truth of the statement in the document contrary to
The petition is unmeritorious. what section 3 (e) of Rule 112 mandates.
Lee and Lim claim that the Court of Appeals erred when it reviewed the findings The Office of the Solicitor General agreed with the
of Secretary Perez. They stated that: petitioners. In the comment dated October 28, 2003
that it filed with the Court of Appeals, it said:
[T]he Court of Appeals cannot indirectly review the
findings of the Secretary under the pretext of correcting xxx xxx xxx
the actuation of the trial court. . . .
20. In this case, the Secretary of Justice's
[T]he only ruling before the Court of Appeals is the realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of
ruling of the trial court . . . . petitioner's complaint-affidavit show that its
evidence of estafa is insufficient for lack of
But the Court of Appeals ignored the fact that the case
proof of the requisite element of deceit. So
before it is not one for the review of the final order of
much so that if the case were tried, the trial
the Secretary of Justice, acting as a quasi-judicial
court would be bound to order an
officer, which is governed by Rule 43 of the Rules of
acquittal. 26
Court. The actual case filed with it was rather a petition
for review on certiorari of the dismissal order of the The Court is not impressed. Whether the facsimile message is admissible in
trial court under Rule 45. 24 evidence and whether the element of deceit in the crime of estafa is present are
matters best ventilated in a full-blown trial, not in the preliminary investigation.
The Court is not impressed. The Court of Appeals reviewed Judge Dumayas' 26
In Andres v. Justice Secretary Cuevas, 27 the Court held that:
March 2003 Order, not Secretary Perez's 12 July 2002 Resolution. The Court of
Appeals held that Judge Dumayas erred when he failed to make his own [A preliminary investigation] is not the occasion for the
evaluation and merely relied on Secretary Perez's recommendation that there full and exhaustive display of [the prosecution's]
was no probable cause. The Court of Appeals stated that: EAIaHD evidence. The presence or absence of the elements of
the crime is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of
In a more recent case, the Supreme Court ruled that:
defense that may be passed upon after a full-blown
"A judge acts with grave abuse of discretion trial on the merits.
when he grants a prosecutor's motion to
In fine, the validity and merits of a party's defense or
dismiss the criminal charges against an
accusation, as well as the admissibility of testimonies
accused on the basis solely of the
and evidence, are better ventilated during trial proper
recommendation of the Secretary of Justice
than at the preliminary investigation
— his reliance on the prosecutor's averment
level. 28 (Emphasis supplied)
that the Secretary of Justice had
recommended the dismissal of the case Lee and Lim claim that the Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that Judge
against the petitioner is an abdication of the Dumayas failed to make his own evaluation and merely relied on Secretary
trial court's duty and jurisdiction to Perez's recommendation that there was no probable cause. They stated that:
10
Contrary to the Court of Appeals['] ruling, the trial court DROPPED JAIME FROM THE CHARGES. THIS
made an effort to evaluate the merit of the RESOLUTION PROMPTED THE CITY PROSECUTOR TO
prosecution's motion to withdraw the informations. It FILE A MANIFESTATION AND MOTION FOR THE
evaluated the merits of both the prosecution's motion WITHDRAWAL OF THE INFORMATIONS FOR MURDER
and respondent bank's opposition to the motion. . . AND FRUSTRATED MURDER AND FOR THE ADMISSION
. HCITAS OF NEW INFORMATIONS FOR HOMICIDE AND
FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE AGAINST JOVITO ONLY, WHICH
Clearly, it cannot be said that the trial court abandoned WAS GRANTED BY JUDGE CRUZ IN HIS ORDER DATED 18
its responsibility of making an independent assessment NOVEMBER 1997. JUDGE CRUZ, HOWEVER, FAILED TO
of the sufficiency of the prosecution motion [sic]. MAKE AN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT OF THE MERITS
Indeed, it scrutinized the arguments of respondent OF THE CASES AND THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD OR IN
bank just as it did the arguments of the prosecution in THE POSSESSION OF THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR. IN
order to determine for itself whether or not the GRANTING THE MOTION OF THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
withdrawal of the informations was warranted. 29 TO WITHDRAW THE INFORMATIONS, THE TRIAL COURT
NEVER MADE ANY ASSESSMENT WHETHER THE
The Court is not impressed. Judge Dumayas failed to make his own evaluation in
CONCLUSIONS ARRIVED AT BY THE SECRETARY OF
granting the motion to withdraw the informations. Judge Dumayas' 26 March
JUSTICE WAS SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. IT DID NOT
2003 Order states in full:
EVEN TAKE A LOOK AT THE BASES ON WHICH THE
This Court, after an in-depth scrutiny of the arguments JUSTICE SECRETARY DOWNGRADED THE CHARGES
raised by the prosecution and private complainant, AGAINST JOVITO AND EXCLUDED JAIME
finds the contentions of the prosecution to be sufficient THEREFROM. 32(EMPHASIS SUPPLIED)
and meritorious.
IN ARK TRAVEL EXPRESS V. THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF MAKATI, 33 THE COURT
Accordingly, the Motion to Withdraw Information filed by the Prosecution is HELD THAT: STIcaE
hereby granted and the two (2) informations for the crime of Estafa penalized
IT IS SETTLED THAT WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A
under par. 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code are hereby withdrawn from the
MOTION TO WITHDRAW AN INFORMATION ON THE
docket of this court.
GROUND OF LACK OF PROBABLE CAUSE BASED ON A
In Co v. Lim, 30 the Court held that: RESOLUTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT
OF JUSTICE, THE BOUNDEN DUTY OF THE TRIAL COURT
Once a case is filed with the court, any disposition of it IS TO MAKE AN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT OF THE
rests on the sound discretion of the court. The trial MERITS OF SUCH MOTION. HAVING ACQUIRED
court is not bound to adopt the resolution of the JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE, THE TRIAL COURT IS
Secretary of Justice, since it is mandated to NOT BOUND BY SUCH RESOLUTION BUT IS REQUIRED
independently evaluate or assess the merits of the TO EVALUATE IT BEFORE PROCEEDING FURTHER WITH
case. Reliance on the resolution of the Secretary of THE TRIAL AND SHOULD EMBODY SUCH ASSESSMENT
Justice alone would be an abdication of its duty and IN THE ORDER DISPOSING THE MOTION.
jurisdiction to determine a prima facie case. The trial
court may make an independent assessment of the THE SUBJECT MTC ORDERS DO NOT SHOW THAT THE
merits of the case based on the affidavits and counter- MTC MADE AN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT OF THE
affidavits, documents, or evidence appended to the MERITS OF THE MOTION TO WITHDRAW
Information; the records of the public prosecutor, INFORMATIONS. . . .
which the court may order the latter to produce before
THE MTC SHOULD HAVE MADE AN INDEPENDENT
the court; or any evidence already adduced before the
EVALUATION AND EMBODIED ITS ASSESSMENT IN AT
court by the accused at the time the motion is filed by
LEAST ONE OF ITS ASSAILED ORDERS. 34 (EMPHASIS
the public prosecutor.
SUPPLIED)
xxx xxx xxx
IN LEDESMA V. COURT OF APPEALS, 35 THE COURT HELD THAT:
[T]HE TRIAL JUDGE DID NOT POSITIVELY STATE THAT
ONCE A COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION IS FILED IN
THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED AGAINST THE
COURT, ANY DISPOSITION OF THE CASE SUCH AS ITS
RESPONDENTS WAS INSUFFICIENT FOR A PRIMA FACIE
DISMISSAL OR ITS CONTINUATION RESTS ON THE
CASE, NOR DID THE AFOREQUOTED ORDER INCLUDE A
SOUND DISCRETION OF THE COURT. TRIAL JUDGES ARE
DISCUSSION OF THE MERITS OF THE CASE BASED ON
THUS REQUIRED TO MAKE THEIR OWN ASSESSMENT OF
AN EVALUATION OR ASSESSMENT OF THE EVIDENCE
WHETHER THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE COMMITTED
ON RECORD. IN OTHER WORDS, THE DISMISSAL OF THE
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN GRANTING OR
CASE WAS BASED UPON CONSIDERATIONS OTHER
DENYING THE APPEAL, SEPARATELY AND
THAN THE JUDGE'S OWN PERSONAL INDIVIDUAL
INDEPENDENTLY OF THE PROSECUTION'S OR THE
CONVICTION THAT THERE WAS NO CASE AGAINST THE
SECRETARY'S EVALUATION THAT SUCH EVIDENCE IS
RESPONDENTS. THUS, THE TRIAL JUDGE IMPROPERLY
INSUFFICIENT OR THAT NO PROBABLE CAUSE TO HOLD
RELINQUISHED THE DISCRETION THAT HE WAS BOUND
THE ACCUSED FOR TRIAL EXISTS. THEY SHOULD
TO EXERCISE, AND THE ORDERS DATED 11 FEBRUARY
EMBODY SUCH ASSESSMENT IN THEIR WRITTEN
2004 AND 29 JUNE 2004 ARE INVALID FOR HAVING
ORDER DISPOSING OF THE MOTION.
BEEN ISSUED IN GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION.
(EMPHASIS SUPPLIED) xxx xxx xxx
In BALTAZAR V. CHUA, 31 THE COURT HELD THAT: THE TRIAL COURT'S ORDER IS INCONSISTENT WITH OUR
REPETITIVE CALLS FOR AN INDEPENDENT AND
CONSIDERING THAT THE TRIAL COURT HAS THE POWER
COMPETENT ASSESSMENT OF THE ISSUE(S) PRESENTED
AND DUTY TO LOOK INTO THE PROPRIETY OF THE
IN THE MOTION TO DISMISS. THE TRIAL JUDGE WAS
PROSECUTION'S MOTION TO DISMISS, WITH MUCH
TASKED TO EVALUATE THE SECRETARY'S
MORE REASON IS IT FOR THE TRIAL COURT TO
RECOMMENDATION FINDING THE ABSENCE OF
EVALUATE AND TO MAKE ITS OWN APPRECIATION AND
PROBABLE CAUSE TO HOLD PETITIONER CRIMINALLY
CONCLUSION, WHETHER THE MODIFICATION OF THE
LIABLE FOR LIBEL. HE FAILED TO DO SO. HE MERELY
CHARGES AND THE DROPPING OF ONE OF THE
RULED TO PROCEED WITH THE TRIALWITHOUT
ACCUSED IN THE INFORMATION, AS RECOMMENDED
STATING HIS REASONS FOR DISREGARDING THE
BY THE JUSTICE SECRETARY, IS SUBSTANTIATED BY
SECRETARY'S RECOMMENDATION. 36 (EMPHASIS
EVIDENCE. THIS SHOULD BE THE STATE OF AFFAIRS,
SUPPLIED)
SINCE THE DISPOSITION OF THE CASE — SUCH AS ITS
CONTINUATION OR DISMISSAL OR EXCLUSION OF AN IN THE PRESENT CASE, JUDGE DUMAYAS, IN HIS 26 MARCH 2003 ORDER, DID
ACCUSED — IS REPOSED IN THE SOUND DISCRETION OF NOT (1) POSITIVELY STATE THAT THE EVIDENCE AGAINST LEE AND LIM IS
THE TRIAL COURT. INSUFFICIENT, (2) INCLUDE A DISCUSSION OF THE MERITS OF THE CASE, (3)
ASSESS WHETHER SECRETARY PEREZ'S CONCLUSION IS SUPPORTED BY
IN THE CASE UNDER CONSIDERATION, THE CITY
EVIDENCE, (4) LOOK AT THE BASIS OF SECRETARY PEREZ'S RECOMMENDATION,
PROSECUTOR INDICTED JAIME AND JOVITO FOR THE
(5) EMBODY HIS ASSESSMENT IN THE ORDER, AND (6) STATE HIS REASONS FOR
CRIMES OF MURDER AND FRUSTRATED MURDER.
GRANTING THE MOTION TO WITHDRAW THE INFORMATIONS.
HOWEVER, UPON REVIEW, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE
DOWNGRADED THE CHARGES TO HOMICIDE AND JUDGE DUMAYAS' FAILURE TO MAKE HIS OWN EVALUATION OF THE MERITS OF
FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE. THE SECRETARY ALSO THE CASE VIOLATES KBC BANK'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND CONSTITUTES
11
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. JUDGE DUMAYAS' 26 MARCH 2003 ORDER Reconsideration with Opposition/Comment to the
GRANTING THE MOTION TO WITHDRAW THE INFORMATIONS IS VOID. 37 Motion to Dismiss and Omnibus Motion for the
Reinstatement of the Criminal Information and for the
WHEREFORE, THE PETITION IS DENIED. THE COURT AFFIRMS THE 10 FEBRUARY Recall of Order for Release.
2004 DECISION AND 27 JULY 2004 RESOLUTION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS IN
CA-G.R. SP NO. 78004. THE CASE IS REMANDED TO THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, "Respondent denied the afore-mentioned Motion of
NATIONAL CAPITAL JUDICIAL REGION, BRANCH 58, MAKATI CITY FOR the Bank for lack of merit on 23 March 2001. Thus, the
EVALUATION ON WHETHER PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS TO HOLD THE ACCUSED Bank filed a Petition for Review under Rule 65 of the
FOR TRIAL. EATCcI Revised Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals.

SO ORDERED. "In view of the foregoing, Ms. Samson argued that


respondent transgressed Sections 2, 5 and 6 of Rule 15
||| [A.M. No. RTJ-05-1909. April 6, 2005.] of the Revised Rules of Court, when he granted the
Motion for Reinvestigation of the accused and Assistant
Provincial Prosecutor Caballero's Motion to Dismiss
COMMUNITY RURAL BANK OF GUIMBA (N. E.), INC., without notice and hearing in favor of the Bank or its
Represented by OLGA M. SAMSON, complainant, vs. counsel. Furthermore, the granting by respondent of
Judge TOMAS B. TALAVERA, Regional Trial Court the Motion to Dismiss based solely on the Resolution
(Branch 28), Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija,respondent. issued by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Caballero,
without making his own independent findings of the
merits of the case, is repugnant to the principle laid
PANGANIBAN, J p: down in Crespo vs. Mogul (151 SCRA 462 [30 June
1987]) which held that once a complaint or information
The Constitution expects judges to be embodiments of competence, integrity, is filed in court any disposition or the conviction or
probity and independence. They must personify four ins; namely, integrity, acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of
independence, industry and intelligence. 1 Their judgments must be the court.
characterized by excellence, their conduct by ethics, and their outlook by
"2. COMMENT/OPPOSITION WITH MOTION TO DISMISS
eternity. They are not common individuals whose gross errors "men forgive and
dated 11 August 2003 of Respondent Judge Tomas B.
time forgets."
Talavera where he refutes the foregoing Complaint-
The Case and the Facts Affidavit as follows:

In a Complaint-Affidavit dated June 24, 2003, the Community Rural Bank of "There was no need to set the Motion for
Guimba (N. E.), Inc. — through its chief operating officer, Olga M. Samson — Reinvestigation for hearing because the Office of the
charged Judge Tomas B. Talavera of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 28) of Provincial Prosecutor — who has direct control and
Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, with (1) serious misconduct and/or gross supervision of all criminal cases — was furnished a copy
inefficiency and (2) violation of Rules 1.01, 2 3.01 3 and 3.02 4 of the Code of of said motion. Furthermore, it should be noted that, in
Judicial Conduct. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) summarized the the Motion for Reinvestigation filed before the court,
factual antecedents as follows: the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor through the
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor signified his intention
"In September 1997, the Bank lodged a complaint with not to object to the Motion for Reinvestigation as can
the City Prosecutor's Office of Cabanatuan charging be seen from his handwritten note and signature
several persons (the accused, for brevity) with the appearing on said motion. Hence, setting the same for
offense of Estafa in relation to P.D. Nos. 818 and 1689. hearing would be an exercise in futility and it could just
After a preliminary investigation, the Investigating delay the immediate disposition of the case.
Fiscal recommended the filing — of six (6) Informations
for Estafa against the accused. These were docketed as "The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, after the
Criminal Case Nos. 8760 to 8765 and were raffled to reinvestigation, issued a Joint Resolution dated 28
Branches 25, 26, 28, and 86 of RTC, Cabanatuan City. December 2000 through Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
Respondent was the presiding judge of Branch 28 to Virgilio Caballero recommending the dismissal of the
whom Criminal Case Nos. 8761 and 8763 were raffled. criminal case. On the basis of said Joint Resolution, a
Motion to Dismiss was filed by Assistant Provincial
"On 28 December 1998, the accused appealed the Prosecutor Caballero, which was granted by
findings of the Investigating Fiscal to the Department of respondent on 29 December 2003.
Justice (DOJ, for brevity). On 19 November 1999, the
DOJ denied the petition of the accused. Then, the "The Motion to Dismiss was not set anymore for
accused filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was hearing because it was filed by the public prosecutor
denied by the DOJ through a resolution, dated 15 who conducted the reinvestigation. Since the Motion to
August 2000. Hence, respondent issued a Warrant of Dismiss was filed by prosecutor and the same was not
Arrest fixing no bail against the accused. prejudicial to the adverse party (the accused), it is just
proper for the court to treat the said motion as non-
"On 20 November 2000, the accused filed a Motion for litigious.
Reinvestigation and to Lift the Issuance of Warrant of
Arrest (Motion for Reinvestigation, for brevity). "The private prosecutor filed a petition
However, neither the Bank nor its counsel was for certiorari before the Court of Appeals seeking to
furnished a copy of said Motion. There was also no amend and set aside the Order dated 23 March 2003 of
hearing on the said motion to afford the Bank an Respondent Judge which denied the Motion for
opportunity to oppose the same. TEAICc Reconsideration of the private complainant. The said
petition is still pending before the Court of Appeals. The
"On 4 December 2000, respondent granted the Motion grounds used by the private complainant in her petition
for Reinvestigation without any hearing thereon. Thus, for certiorari are the same grounds in the
a reinvestigation proceeding was conducted by administrative complaint. Hence, the administrative
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Virgilio Caballero. Again, complaint filed by the private complainant is a violation
the Bank was not notified of said proceedings. of the principle on sub judice. CSDcTA
"Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Caballero, in his Joint "3. REPLY dated 15 September 2003 of the Bank
Resolution dated 28 December 2000, reversed the through its legal counsel stating the following
earlier findings of the previous Investigating Fiscal. arguments:
Thus, on the same day, a Motion to Dismiss was filed by
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Caballero. Neither the "The reasoning of respondent in allowing the Motion
bank nor its counsel was notified about the said Motion for Reinvestigation without notice to private counsel
and no hearing thereon was held to afford the Bank an and hearing is erroneous. The said motion is litigious.
opportunity to oppose the same. Therefore, sound judicial discretion should have
prompted the respondent to treat said motion as a
"Respondent granted the Motion to Dismiss and mere scrap of paper for violating the general rules on
ordered the release of the accused on 29 December motions under Sections 2, 5 and 6 of Rule 15 of the
2000. Rules of Court and in view of the principles enunciated
in Brizuela vs. Judge Mendiola(A.M. No. RTJ-00-1560
"On 11 January 2001, the Bank, arguing that it had been
dated 5 July 2000) and Bajet vs. Judge Areola (A.M.
deprived of due process, filed a Motion for
No. RTJ-01-1615 dated 19 June 2001).
12
In Brizuela and Bajet, the Supreme Court held that Offices. The scope of his power of supervision and
failure to serve notice on the adverse party rendered a control is delineated in Section 38, paragraph 1,
litigious motion a mere scrap of paper. Chapter 7, Book IV of the Code:

"Furthermore, the rule on sub judice was not violated '(1) Supervision and Control. — Supervision
by complainant. The cause of action and reliefs prayed and control shall include authority to act
for in the instant administrative complaint are different directly whenever a specific function is
from the petition filed by the Bank before the Court of entrusted by law or regulation to a
Appeals. The petition filed before the Court of Appeals subordinate; direct the performance of duty;
was filed on the ground of "grave abuse of discretion restrain the commission of acts; review,
amounting to lack of jurisdiction, there being no other approve, reverse or modify acts and
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary decisions of subordinate officials or units; . .
course of law, seeking to annul and set aside" .'
respondent's Order dated 23 March 2001 denying
complainant Bank's Motion for Reconsideration of an xxx xxx xxx
earlier Order dated 29 December 2000 granting
"'Supervision' and 'control' of a department head over
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Caballero's Motion to
his subordinates have been defined in administrative
Dismiss. On the other hand, the administrative
law as follows:
complaint filed by the Bank aims to subject respondent
to the appropriate administrative sanctions." 5 'In administrative law, supervision means
overseeing or the power or authority of an
In a Resolution dated October 20, 2004, 6 this Court resolved to re-docket the
officer to see that subordinate officers
Complaint as a regular administrative matter.
perform their duties. If the latter fail or
Evaluation and Recommendation of the OCA neglect to fulfill them, the former may take
such action or step as prescribed by law to
The OCA opined that by dismissing the criminal case without giving complainant make them perform such duties. Control, on
the opportunity to object to the Motion for Reinvestigation and Motion to the other hand, means the power of an
Dismiss, respondent showed gross ignorance of the law, for which he should be officer to alter or modify or nullify or set
sanctioned. The OCA added that the presence of the offended party was aside what a subordinate officer had done in
required in the hearing of a motion to dismiss as much as in the arraignment. the performance of his duties and to
The dismissal of the criminal cases covered the litigation's civil aspect (recovery substitute the judgment of the former for
of damages by the offended party), which was deemed included in the that of the latter.'
Information.
"Review as an act of supervision and control by the
Pursuant to Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, the OCA recommended that justice secretary over the fiscals and prosecutors finds
respondent judge be fined in the amount of P21,000. basis in the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies which holds that mistakes, abuses or
On the other hand, the OCA recommended that the charge of gross misconduct
negligence committed in the initial steps of an
be dismissed for lack of substantial evidence. It found no clear proof of malice or
administrative activity or by an administrative agency
wrongful intent on the part of respondent.
should be corrected by higher administrative
The Court's Ruling authorities, and not directly by courts. . . ."

We agree with the findings and recommendations of the OCA. The actions of prosecutors are not unlimited; they are subject to review by the
secretary of justice who may affirm, nullify, reverse or modify their actions or
Administrative Liability opinions. 17 Consequently the secretary may direct them to file either a motion
Courts exist to dispense and promote justice. Judges are the visible to dismiss the case or an information against the accused. 18
representations of law and justice. 7 One of their principal duties is to have an
In short, the secretary of justice, who has the power of supervision and control
adequate grasp of the Constitution, the law and jurisprudence. Indeed, they
over prosecuting officers, is the ultimate authority who decides which of the
must be the embodiments of competence, integrity and independence. 8 They
conflicting theories of the complainants and the respondents should be
owe it to the dignity of the court over which they preside, to the public who
believed. 19 The provincial or city prosecutor has neither the personality nor the
depend on them, and to the legal profession to which they belong, to know the
legal authority to review or overrule the decision of the secretary. 20 This
very law they are supposed to interpret and apply. 9 Party litigants will have
principle is elementary. TIaCcD
great faith in the administration of justice only if judges can demonstrate their
grasp of legal principles. 10 Consistent with this administrative superior-subordinate relationship between
them, Section 7 of Department Order No. 223 21 (the rules governing appeals
from resolutions in preliminary investigations or reinvestigations) provides:
In the present case, the gross ignorance of respondent judge and his notorious
Sec. 7. Motion for Reinvestigation. — At any time after
violation of simple legal precepts were clearly shown by his issuance of the
the appeal has been perfected and before the
Orders dated December 4, 2000 granting the Motion for Reinvestigation of the
resolution thereof, the appellant may file a motion for
accused and December 29, 2000 granting the prosecutor's Motion to
reinvestigation on the ground that new and material
Dismiss. AacDHE
evidence has been discovered which appellant could
First, respondent should not have entertained the Motion for Reinvestigation not with reasonable diligence have discovered during
filed by the accused. The former was fully aware that the latter had appealed the preliminary investigation and which if produced and
the unfavorable ruling of the investigating prosecutor to the Department of admitted would probably change the resolution.
Justice (DOJ). Respondent judge must have in fact taken that appeal into
From the above-quoted provision, a motion for reinvestigation on the ground of
consideration when he issued a warrant of arrest against all the accused only on
newly discovered evidence must be filed before the justice secretary rules on an
September 19, 2000, 11 after Justice Secretary Serafin R. Cuevas had denied
appeal from a resolution in a preliminary investigation.
their Petition for Review and affirmed the presence of prima facie evidence
against them. 12 Subsequently, on August 15, 2000, the secretary also denied In the present case, the accused filed their Motion for Reinvestigation on
with finality the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the accused. 13 November 29, 2000, 22 about three months after the August 15, 2000
Resolution of the secretary denying with finality their Motion for
Inasmuch as the Resolution of the provincial prosecutor has been affirmed by
Reconsideration of the denial of their Petition for Review. Clearly, therefore, it
the secretary of justice, the existence of probable cause to hold the accused for
was grossly erroneous for respondent judge to order the reinvestigation of the
trial may be deemed to be the finding of the secretary himself, not merely of the
case by the prosecutor. This action enabled the latter to reprobate and reverse
prosecutor who had first investigated the case. 14 Therefore, what the
the secretary's Resolution. In granting the Motion for Reinvestigation,
prosecutor reviewed and overruled in the reinvestigation was not the actuation
respondent effectively demolished the DOJ's power of control and supervision
and resolution of his predecessor, but of the secretary of justice no less. 15
over prosecutors.
The justice secretary's superior authority in the prosecution of offenses was
Furthermore, the judge perfunctorily granted the Motion for Reinvestigation on
elucidated upon by this Court in Ledesma v. Court of Appeals, 16 which we
the basis of an alleged newly discovered evidence — a one-page Affidavit
quote:
executed by Ms Gloria Sacramento, one of the co-accused in the criminal case.
"Section 39, Chapter 8, Book IV in relation to Sections 5, The Affidavit, 23 dated October 29, 1997, was clearly not newly discovered; it
8, and 9, Chapter 2, Title III of the [Revised was already known to the accused even during the preliminary investigation.
Administrative] Code gives the secretary of justice There was no explanation whatsoever as to why this piece of evidence was
supervision and control over the Office of the Chief never presented during the preliminary investigation. Nonetheless, respondent
Prosecutor and the Provincial and City Prosecution hastily granted the Motion.

13
Considering that a prima facie case had been found to exist against the accused it neither instituted a separate civil action nor reserved or waived the right to do
during the preliminary investigation — a fact affirmed by the justice secretary — so. 45 Thus, as the party injured by the crime, it had the right to be heard on a
respondent judge should have exercised great restraint in granting a motion that was derogatory to its interest in the civil aspect of the case. Due
reinvestigation. 24 process 46 necessitates that it be afforded this opportunity, especially because
of a conflict between the positions of the public prosecutor and of the offended
It must be stressed here that a preliminary investigation is essentially prefatory party. TCIHSa
and inquisitorial. 25 It is not a trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose
except to determine whether a crime has been committed, and whether there is Respondent judge does not deny that no notice was given to complainant.
probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty of that crime. 26 A Neither was a hearing conducted before the issuance of the subject Orders. By
preliminary investigation is not the occasion for a full and exhaustive display of such failure of notice and hearing, he effectively deprived complainant of the
the parties' evidence, which needs to be presented only to engender a well- opportunity to appear and to oppose the said Motions. That the offended party,
grounded belief that an offense has been committed, and that the accused is not only the accused, must be accorded due process was explained by the Court
probably guilty thereof. 27 in Dimatulac v. Villon, which ruled thus:

Second, in granting the Motion to Dismiss, respondent relied solely on the ". . . Although the determination of a criminal case
Resolution of the prosecutor who had conducted the reinvestigation and before a judge lies within his exclusive jurisdiction and
recommended the dismissal of the case for alleged insufficiency of evidence. The competence, his discretion is not unfettered, but rather
December 29, 2000 Order 28 granting the Motion to Dismiss reads in full as must be exercised within reasonable confines. The
follows: judge's action must not impair the substantial rights of
the accused, nor the right of the State and offended
"Finding the Motion to Dismiss in these cases to be party to due process of law.
meritorious, the same is hereby granted, and Fernando
del Rosario and Flordeliza del Rosario, both accused in "Indeed, for justice to prevail, the scales must balance;
the above-entitled cases are hereby ordered released justice is not to be dispensed for the accused alone. The
unless they are being detained for some other lawful interests of society and the offended parties which
cause. have been wronged must be equally considered. Verily,
a verdict of conviction is not necessarily a denial of
"Cabanatuan City, December 29, 2000." justice; and an acquittal is not necessarily a triumph of
justice, for, to the society offended and the party
This perfunctory Order does not demonstrate an independent evaluation or
wronged, it could also mean injustice. Justice then must
assessment of the evidence (or the lack thereof) against the accused. In other
be rendered even-handedly to both the accused, on
words, the dismissal of the case was not shown to be based upon the judge's
one hand, and the State and the offended party, on the
own individual conviction that there was no viable case against them. IcDHaT
other." 47
This Court also observes that respondent acted with undue haste when he
All told, respondent showed his lack of understanding, not only of the basic and
granted the Motion on December 29, 2000, 29 only a day after the
established superior-subordinate relationship between the secretary of justice
reinvestigation was concluded on December 28, 2000. 30 Coupled with the
and the provincial prosecutors, but also of the functions and duties of the trial
absence of the required evaluation in the Resolution granting the dismissal of
court in "the proper scheme of things" in our criminal justice system. The judge
the case, this hasty action leads to the indubitable conclusion that the judge did
similarly failed to attach importance to the standard and fundamental procedure
not personally evaluate the parties' evidence before acting on the Motion.
mandated by the Rules of Court and the rudiments of due process. His actions
Settled is the legal doctrine that the discretion to accede to a Motion to Dismiss manifested a marked deficiency in his knowledge of the law. Where, as in this
filed by the prosecutor rests solely with the court. 31 Mere approval of the case, the legal principle involved is basic, simple and elementary, lack of
position taken by the prosecution is not equivalent to the discretion required in conversance therewith constitutes gross ignorance of the law. 48
cases like this. 32 The trial judge must be convinced that there was indeed no
Judges are expected to have more than just a modicum acquaintance with the
sufficient evidence against the accused. Such a conclusion can be arrived at only
statutes and procedural rules. 49 The Code of Judicial Ethics requires them to be
after a thorough assessment of the prosecution evidence. For a valid and proper
embodiments of, among other desirable characteristics, judicial
exercise of judicial discretion, accepting the prosecution's word that the
competence. 50 They are not common individuals whose gross errors "men
evidence is insufficient is not enough; 33 strictly required of the order disposing
forgive and time forgets." 51
of the motion is the trial judge's own evaluation of such evidence. 34 Once a
complaint or an information is filed in court, the judge — not the prosecutor — The OCA recommended the penalty of a fine in the amount of P21,000 for
assumes full control of the controversy. 35 Thus, a grant of the motion to respondent judge's gross ignorance of the law, which is classified by Rule 140 of
dismiss is equivalent to a disposition of the case itself, 36 a subject clearly within the Rules of Court as a serious charge. As to the complaint of serious
the court's exclusive jurisdiction and competence. 37 misconduct, we also adopt the findings of the OCA that no fraud, malice or
wrongful intent was imputed, or proved by complainant; hence, respondent
Furthermore, when respondent judge issued the warrants of arrest without bail
cannot be made liable therefor.
against all the accused, it is presumed that he had studied the Information and
the Resolution of the prosecutor and agreed with the latter's findings of WHEREFORE, Judge Tomas B. Talavera is found GUILTY of gross ignorance of the
probable cause. 38 Consequently, the grant of the Motion for Reinvestigation law and is FINED twenty one thousand pesos. He is hereby sternly warned that a
and of the Motion to Dismiss for alleged insufficiency of evidence posed a repetition of the same or similar infractions in the future shall be dealt with
serious contradiction of the earlier finding of probable cause. more severely.

SO ORDERED.
Third, respondent granted the Motions despite the obvious lack of notice to
complainant (the private offended party in the criminal case) and lack of
hearing. This lapse effectively deprived it of its day in court. [G.R. No. 150185. May 27, 2004.]
The Rules of Court require that, with the exception of motions that the court
may act upon without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, every written TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE, petitioner, vs. HON.
motion should be set for hearing by the movant. Sections 4, 5 and 6 of Rule 15 PEDRO DE LEON GUTIERREZ, in his capacity as
of the Rules of Court explicitly require that notices be sent at least three days Presiding Judge of RTC, Pasay City, Branch 119;
before the hearing and directed at the parties concerned; and that they state PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; and CECILIA
the time and place of hearing of the motion, with proper proof of notice thereof. MARUYAMA,respondents.
Without such proof, the motion is considered pro forma; thus, the court cannot
act upon it. 39

The purpose of the notice is to enable the adverse party to appear for its own CALLEJO, SR., J p:
protection and to contest the motion. 40 Elementary due process mandates that
the other party be notified of the adverse action of the opposing party, 41 so as Before us is a petition for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of
to avoid a capricious change of mind and to ensure impartiality of the Court, as amended, that part of the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
trial. 42 Here, the Motions for Reinvestigation and to Dismiss were fatally SP No. 60732 dismissing her petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
defective, as neither contained any proper notice of hearing. Respondent thus Court, as amended, for the nullification of the August 25 and 28, 2000 Orders of
grossly erred in taking cognizance of these Motions. the respondent judge in Criminal Case No. 00-0749.
In criminal proceedings, the word "party" is held to mean not only the The Antecedents
government and the accused, but also other persons who may be affected by
the orders issued and/or judgment rendered therein. 43 Cecilia Maruyama executed a fifteen-page affidavit-complaint 2 and filed the
same with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasay City, on December 29, 1999,
Undoubtedly, complainant had an interest in the maintenance of the criminal charging Lorna Tanghal and petitioner Teresita Tanghal Okabe, a.k.a. Shiela
prosecution. 44 Its right to intervene therein was practically beyond question, as Okabe, with estafa. In her affidavit, Maruyama alleged, inter alia, that on

14
December 11, 1998, she entrusted ¥11,410,000 with the peso equivalent of attempt on the part of the petitioner to depart from the Philippines. 10 For her
P3,993,500 to the petitioner, who was engaged in the business of “door-to-door part, the petitioner filed on July 17, 2000 a verified motion for judicial
delivery” from Japan to the Philippines. It was alleged that the petitioner failed determination of probable cause and to defer proceedings/arraignment, alleging
to deliver the money as agreed upon, and, at first, denied receiving the said that the only documents appended to the Information submitted by the
amount but later returned only US$1,000 through Lorna Tanghal. investigating prosecutor were respondent Maruyama's affidavit-complaint for
estafa and the resolution of the investigating prosecutor; the affidavits of the
During the preliminary investigation, the complainant, respondent Maruyama, witnesses of the complainant, the respondent’s counter-affidavit and the other
submitted the affidavit of her witnesses, namely, Hermogena Santiago, Wilma evidence adduced by the parties were not attached thereto. The petitioner
Setsu and Marilette G. Izumiya and other documentary evidence. In her further alleged that the documents submitted by the investigating prosecutor
affidavit, Setsu alleged that the money which was entrusted to the petitioner for were not enough on which the trial court could base a finding of probable cause
delivery to the Philippines belonged to her and her sister Annie Hashimoto, and for estafa against her. She further averred that conformably to the rulings of
their mother Hermogena Sanchez-Quicho, who joined respondent Maruyama in this Court in Lim v. Felix 11 and Roberts, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, 12 it behooved
her complaint against petitioner Okabe and Tanghal. Respondent Maruyama, the investigating prosecutor to submit the following to the trial court to enable
likewise, submitted a reply 3 to the petitioner’s counter-affidavit. After the it to determine the presence or absence of probable cause: (a) copies of the
requisite preliminary investigation, 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor Joselito J. affidavits of the witnesses of the complainant; (b) the counter-affidavit of Okabe
Vibandor came out with a resolution dated March 30, 2000, finding probable and those of her witnesses; (c) the transcripts of stenographic notes taken
cause for estafa against the petitioner. 4 Attached to the resolution, which was during the preliminary investigation; and, (d) other documents presented during
submitted to the city prosecutor for approval, was the Information 5 against the the said investigation.
petitioner and Maruyama's affidavit-complaint. The city prosecutor approved
the resolution and the Information dated March 30, 2000 attached thereto. 6 On July 19, 2000, the petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion To Lift/Recall Hold
Departure Order dated July 17, 2000 and/or allow her to regularly travel to
On May 15, 2000, an Information against the petitioner was filed in the Regional Japan alleging, thus:
Trial Court of Pasay City, docketed as Criminal Case No. 00-0749. The case was
raffled to Branch 119 of the court presided by Judge Pedro de Leon 3. Accused is (sic) widow and the legitimate mother of
Gutierrez. 7 The accusatory portion of the Information reads: three (3) children, two (2) of whom are still minors,
namely:
That on or about December 12, 1998 in Pasay City,
Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of 3.1. Okabe, Jeffrey - 18 years old born on 13
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused August 1981.
defrauded Cecilia Maruyama and Conchita Quicho,
complainant herein, in the following manner, to wit: 3.2. Okabe, Masatoshi - 14 years old and
said accused received in trust from Cecilia Maruyama born on 16 October 1985, 3rd year High
the amount of Japanese Yen 1141 (sic) with peso School student at Hoshikuki, Chiba City,
equivalent to P3,839,465.00 under obligation to deliver Matsugaoka, High School, residing at Chiba
the money to Conchita Quicho at the NAIA City, Chuo-Ku, Yahagi-cho, 205, Telephone
International Airport, Pasay City, immediately upon No. 043-224-5804.
accused arrival from Japan, but herein accused once in
3.3. Okabe, Tomoki - 13 years old and born
possession of the same, did, then and there willfully,
on 13 March 1986, 2nd year High School
unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate and convert
student at Hoshikuki, Chiba City,
to her own personal benefit the said amount, and
Matsugaoka, High School, residing at Chiba
despite demands accused failed and refused to do so,
City, Chuo-Ku, Yahagi-cho, 205, Telephone
to the damage and prejudice of the complainants in the
No. 043-224-5804.
aforesaid amount.
3.4. The accused has to attend the Parents
Contrary to law. 8
Teachers Association (PTA) at the Hoshikuki
Appended to the Information was the affidavit-complaint of respondent High School where her two (2) minor sons
Maruyama and the resolution of Investigating Prosecutor Vibandor. On May 19, aforesaid are presently enrolled and
2000, the trial court issued a warrant for the arrest of the petitioner with a studying because Okabe, Masatoshi's
recommended bond of P40,000. On June 15, 2000, the petitioner posted a graduation will take place on 26 July 2000.
personal bail bond in the said amount, duly approved by Judge Demetrio B.
3.5. The two (2) minor children of the
Macapagal, the Presiding Judge of Branch 79 of the RTC of Quezon City, who
accused absolutely depend their support
forthwith recalled the said warrant. The approved personal bail bond of the
(basic necessities) for foods, clothings,
petitioner was transmitted to the RTC of Pasig City on June 21, 2000. Upon her
medicines, rentals, schooling and all other
request, the petitioner was furnished with a certified copy of the Information,
expenses for their survival to their legitimate
the resolution and the criminal complaint which formed part of the records of
mother who is the accused herein.
the said case. The petitioner left the Philippines for Japan on June 17, 2000
without the trial court’s permission, and returned to the Philippines on June 28, 3.6. The issuance of the hold departure
2000. She left the Philippines anew on July 1, 2000, and returned on July 12, order (HDO) will impair the inherent
2000. custodial rights of the accused as the
legitimate mother over these two (2) minor
On July 14, 2000, the trial court issued an Order setting the petitioner’s
children which is repugnant to law. ADaEIH
arraignment and pre-trial at 2:00 p.m. of July 16, 2000. On the same day, the
private prosecutor filed an urgent ex parte motion for the issuance of the hold 3.7. The issuance of the hold departure
departure order, alleging as follows: order (HDO) will unduly restrict the accused
to her custodial rights and visitation over her
3. It has come to the knowledge of private complainant
aforesaid minor children who are
that there is an impending marriage within the
permanently living in Japan.
Philippines of either the son or daughter of the above-
named accused and that the above-named accused — 3.8. The issuance of the hold departure
who has businesses in Japan, and is presently in Japan order (HDO) will unduly deprived (sic) these
— will soon exit Japan and enter the Philippines to minor children to their right to obtain
precisely attend said wedding; education and survival.
4. Given [a] the bail was fixed at merely P40,000.00 and 4. Accused's only source of income and livelihood is
[b] the considerable financial capability of the accused, door-to-door delivery from Japan to the Philippines and
it is a foregone conclusion that the above-named vice versa which has been taking place for a very long
accused will, upon arrest, readily and immediately post period of time and in the process she has been
bond, and leave for Japan — thereby frustrating and constantly departing from the Philippines on a weekly
rendering inutile the administration of criminal justice basis and arriving in Japan on the same frequency, as
in our country. The speed with which accused Teresita evidenced by xerox copies of the pages of her
Sheila Tanghal Okabe can post bond and leave for Philippine Passports which are hereto attached as
Japan — effectively evading arraignment and plea — Annexes “A,” “A-1,” “A-2” up to “A-30,” respectively. To
thus necessitates the immediate issuance of a Hold deprive her of this only source of her livelihood to
Departure Order even before her arrival here in the which the aforesaid two (2) minor children are deriving
Philippines; 9 their very survival in a foreign land will (sic) tantamount
to oppression rather than prosecution and depriving
The trial court issued an order on the same day, granting the motion of the
the said minor sons of their right to live even before
private prosecutor for the issuance of a hold departure order and ordering the
trial on the merits of this case that will (sic) tantamount
Commission on Immigration and Deportation (CID) to hold and prevent any
15
to the destruction of the future of these minor On January 31, 2001, the CA rendered a Decision 19 partially granting the
children. 13 petition in that the assailed order of the trial court denying the petitioner’s
motion to lift/recall the hold departure order was set aside. However, the
petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the trial court’s decision was denied
and her petition for the nullification of the August 25, 2000 Order of the
The private prosecutor opposed the petitioner’s motions during the hearing on
respondent judge was dismissed. The CA ruled that by posting bail and praying
July 21, 2000 which was also the date set for her arraignment. The hearing of the
for reliefs from the trial court, the petitioner waived her right to assail the
motions as well as the arraignment was reset to 2:00 p.m. of July 26, 2000. On
respondent judge’s finding of the existence of probable cause. The appellate
the said date, the petitioner filed a manifestation objecting to her arraignment
court cited the ruling of this Court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan. 20 Thus,
prior to the resolution of her pending motions. She alleged that her arraignment
the appellate court affirmed the assailed order of the RTC, based on the
for the crime charged should not be made a condition for the granting of her
respondent judge’s personal examination of respondent Maruyama's affidavit-
motion to recall the hold departure order issued against her. The arraignment of
complaint, the resolution of the investigating prosecutor and the Information
the petitioner was again reset to 2:00 p.m. of August 28, 2000, pending the
approved by the city prosecutor, a finding of probable cause was in order.
resolution of her two motions. On August 25, 2000, the petitioner filed a motion
However, the appellate court allowed the petitioner to travel to Japan under the
for the postponement of her arraignment alleging that, in case the trial court
following conditions:
ruled adversely thereon, she would refuse to enter a plea and seek relief from
the appellate court. The court denied the petitioner’s motions on the following (1) That petitioner post a bond double the amount of
grounds: her alleged monetary liability under the
Information filed against her, as
(a) Based on its personal examination and consideration of the Information, the
recommended by the Office of the Solicitor
affidavit-complaint of respondent Maruyama and the resolution of the
General;
investigating prosecutor duly approved by the city prosecutor, the court found
probable cause for the petitioner’s arrest. Since the petitioner’s motion for a (2) That petitioner inform respondent Court of each
determination of probable cause was made after the court had already found and all of her travel itinerary prior to leaving
probable cause and issued a warrant for the petitioner’s arrest, and after the the country;
latter filed a personal bail bond for her provisional liberty, such motion was a
mere surplusage; (3) That petitioner make periodic reports with
respondent Court;
(b) When the petitioner posted a personal bail bond for her provisional liberty,
she thereby waived her right to question the court’s finding of the existence of (4) That petitioner furnish respondent Court with all the
probable cause for her arrest and submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the addresses of her possible place of residence,
court, more so when she filed the motion for the lifting of the hold departure both here and in Japan; and
order the court issued, and the motion to defer the proceedings and her
arraignment; and (5) Such other reasonable conditions which respondent
Court may deem appropriate under the
(c) The hold departure order issued by the trial court was in accord with circumstances. 21
Supreme Court Circular No. 39-97 dated June 19, 1997, as well as the ruling of
this Court in Manotoc, Jr. v. Court of Appeals. 14 The appellate court did not resolve the issue of whether the trial court had
prejudged the case and was partial to the prosecution. The decretal portion of
When the case was called for the petitioner’s arraignment at 2:00 p.m., on the decision of the CA reads:
August 28, 2000, she refused to plead. 15 Her counsel advised her, in open
court, not to enter a plea and, with leave of court, left the courtroom. The court WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant special
then entered a not guilty plea for the petitioner. 16 It also issued an order, on civil action for certiorari is hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED
the said date, setting the pre-trial and initial presentation of the evidence of the insofar as the denial of petitioner’s Motion to
prosecution at 8:30 a.m. of September 20, 2000. 17 Lift/Recall Hold Departure Order dated 14 July, 2000
and/or Allow the accused to Regularly Travel to Japan is
The petitioner then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under concerned. In all other respect, the same is hereby
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with a plea for a writ of preliminary injunction. The DENIED.
case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 60732. The petitioner ascribed the
following errors to the trial court: SO ORDERED. 22

I On March 6, 2001, the petitioner filed a motion for a partial reconsideration of


the decision of the CA contending that the appellate court erred in applying the
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT ISSUED ruling of this court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of Appeals 23 instead of Section 26,
WARRANT OF ARREST DESPITE OF (SIC) LACK OF Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. The petitioner posited that
PROBABLE CAUSE the said rule, which took effect on December 1, 2000, before the court rendered
its decision, had superseded the ruling of this Court in the Cojuangco case.
II However, the appellate court held that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules
on Criminal Procedure cannot be applied retroactively, because the petitioner
RESPONDENT COURT HAS VIOLATED THE RIGHT OF THE
had posted bail on June 15, 2000 before the Revised Rules on Criminal
PETITIONER TO DUE PROCESS
Procedure took effect.
III
Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari for the reversal of the
RESPONDENT COURT HAS ALREADY PRE-JUDGED THE decision and resolution of the CA and praying that after due proceedings,
CONVICTION OF THE PETITIONER FOR ESTAFA judgment be rendered in her favor, thus:

IV WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable


Supreme Court that after due proceedings judgment be
RESPONDENT COURT HAS EXHIBITED ITS APPARENT rendered in favor of the petitioner and against the
PARTIALITY TOWARDS THE PROSECUTION AND respondents as follows:
AGAINST THE PETITIONER
(a) GIVING DUE COURSE to the instant
V petition;

RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT DENIES (b) ORDERING the REVERSAL and PARTIALLY
(SIC) THE MOTION FOR JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF SETTING ASIDE of the Decision promulgated
PROBABLE CAUSE PURSUANT TO THE DOCTRINE OF on 31 January 2001 (Annex “A” hereof) of
ROBERTS, JR. the Honorable Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 60732 as well as its Resolution
VI promulgated on 27 September 2001 (Annex
“B” hereof);
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT DENIES
(SIC) THE LIFTING/RECALL OF THE HDO AND/OR (c) ORDERING the DISMISSAL of Crim. Case
ALLOWING THE PETITIONER TO TRAVEL TO JAPAN No. 00-0749 for lack of probable cause;
REGULARLY FOR HUMANITARIAN CONSIDERATION
(d) DECLARING the entire proceedings in
VII Crim. Case No. 00-0749 as null and void;
RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF (e) ORDERING the private respondents to
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION pay the petitioners the following amount:
WHEN IT ISSUED THE QUESTIONED ORDERS. . . . 18

16
(i) at least P1,000,000.00 as II
moral damages;
The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error
(ii) at least P1,000,000.00 as in ruling that the infirmity, if any, in the issuance by the
exemplary damages; respondent Judge of the warrant of arrest against
petitioner was cured when petitioner voluntarily
(iii) at least P500,000.00 as submitted to the trial court’s jurisdiction when she
attorney’s fees and for other posted bail and filed motions seeking for affirmative
expenses of litigation. reliefs from the trial court, such as the motion to
lift/recall Hold Departure Order (HDO) and to allow
(f) ORDERING the private respondent to pay
petitioner to travel regularly to Japan.
the costs of this suit.
III
(g) Petitioner further prays for such other
reliefs just and equitable under the The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error
premises. 24 in applying the ruling in the Cojuangco case.
The petitioner asserts that the CA committed the following reversible errors: IV
I The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error
in finding that respondent Judge complied with the
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A
constitutional requirements on the issuance of a
REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT COMPLETELY
warrant of arrest.
DISREGARDED THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 26, RULE
114 OF THE REVISED RULES ON CRIMINAL PROCEDURE V
WHICH TOOK EFFECT ON 01 DECEMBER 2000 WHICH IS
FAVORABLE TO THE PETITIONER/ACCUSED. The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error
when it did not rule on the partiality of the respondent
II Judge in handling Criminal Case No. 00-0749.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A VI
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT “WHATEVER
INFIRMITY THERE WAS IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE The Honorable Court of Appeals did not commit a
WARRANT OF ARREST, THE SAME WAS CURED WHEN reversible error when it did not rule on petitioner’s
PETITIONER VOLUNTARILY SUBMITTED TO THE claim of forum shopping. 26
RESPONDENT COURT’S JURISDICTION WHEN SHE
POSTED BAIL AND FILED MOTIONS SEEKING The Court shall resolve the assigned errors simultaneously as they are
AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF SUCH AS MOTION TO LIFT/RECALL interrelated.
HOLD DEPARTURE ORDER AND TO ALLOW PETITIONER
The petitioner asserts that the respondent judge could not have determined the
TO TRAVEL REGULARLY TO JAPAN (Last paragraph, Page
existence of probable cause for her arrest solely on the resolution of the
9 DECISION dated 31 January 2001).”
investigating prosecutor and the undated affidavit-complaint of respondent
III Maruyama. She posits that the respondent judge should have ordered the
investigating prosecutor to submit the affidavits of the witnesses of respondent
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A Maruyama and the latter's documentary evidence, as well as the counter-
REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RELIED UPON THE RULING affidavit of the petitioner and the transcripts of the stenographic notes, if any,
IN THE CASE OF COJUANGCO, JR. VS. SANDIGANBAYAN, taken during the preliminary investigation. The petitioner adds that the
[300 SCRA 367 (1998)] WHEN IN FACT SAID RULING IS respondent judge should have personally reviewed the said documents,
NOW OBSOLETE AND NO LONGER APPLICABLE. conformably to the rulings of this Court in Lim v. Felix, 27 Roberts, Jr. v. Court of
Appeals 28 and Ho v. People, 29 before determining the presence or absence of
IV probable cause. She posits that the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in denying her motion for a
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A
determination of probable cause, and the alternative motion for a dismissal of
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT
the case against her for lack of probable cause.
COURT COMPLIED WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL
REQUIREMENTS ON THE ISSUANCE OF WARRANT OF The petitioner further asserts that the appellate court erred in affirming the
ARREST WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE, WHEN THE ruling of the respondent judge that, by posting a personal bail bond for her
RESPONDENT COURT MERELY RELIED ON [THE] (i) provisional liability and by filing several motions for relief, she thereby
COMPLAINT-AFFIDAVIT OF CECILIA MARUYAMA; (ii) voluntarily submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the trial court and waived her
RESOLUTION OF THE INVESTIGATING PROSECUTOR; right to assail the infirmities that infected the trial court's issuance of the
AND (iii) CRIMINAL INFORMATION. warrant for her arrest. She avers that the appellate court’s reliance on the ruling
of this Court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan 30 is misplaced, and submits
V
that the appellate court should have applied Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A Rules of Court retroactively, as it rendered the ruling of this Court in the
REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT FAILED TO RULE ON THE Cojuangco, Jr. case obsolete.
PARTIALITY OF THE RESPONDENT JUDGE IN HANDLING
The Office of the Solicitor General, on the other hand, asserts that the
THE CASE BELOW WHICH IS VIOLATIVE OF THE
respondent judge did not commit any grave abuse of discretion when he found
PETITIONER’S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.
probable cause against the petitioner for estafa, and thereafter issued a warrant
VI for her arrest. It argues that the respondent judge personally determined the
existence of probable cause independently of the certification of the
THE FILING OF CRIM. CASE NO. 4297 (MTC, ANGAT, investigating prosecutor, and only after examining the Information, the
BULACAN) FOR ESTAFA ENTITLED “PEOPLE VS. SHEILA resolution of the investigating prosecutor, as well as the affidavit-complaint of
OKABE”; CIVIL CASE NO. 331-M-98 (RTC, MALOLOS, the private complainant. It asserts that such documents are sufficient on which
BULACAN) FOR SUM OF MONEY WITH PRELIMINARY to anchor a finding of probable cause. It insists that the appellate court correctly
ATTACHMENT ENTITLED “CONCHITA SANCHEZ-QUICHO applied the ruling of this Court in the Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of Appeals case, and
VS. SHEILA TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE”; AND CRIM. that the respondent judge complied with both the requirements of
CASE NO. 00-07-19 (RTC, PASAY CITY, BRANCH 119) the constitution and those set forth in the Rules of Court before issuing the said
ENTITLED “PEOPLE VS. TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE” warrant. 31
CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RULE ON NON-
FORUM SHOPPING. 25 We agree with the contention of the petitioner that the appellate court erred in
not applying Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure, viz: TcSHaD

By way of comment, the Office of the Solicitor General refuted the petitioner’s SEC. 26. Bail not a bar to objections on illegal arrest,
assigned errors, contending as follows: lack of or irregular preliminary investigation. — An
application for or admission to bail shall not bar the
I accused from challenging the validity of his arrest or
the legality of the warrant issued therefor, or from
The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error assailing the regularity or questioning the absence of a
in not applying Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised preliminary investigation of the charge against him,
Rules on Criminal Procedure.
17
provided that he raises them before entering his plea. The issue that now comes to fore is whether or not the respondent judge
The court shall resolve the matter as early as committed a grave abuse of his discretion amounting to excess or lack of
practicable but not later than the start of the trial of jurisdiction in issuing his August 25, 2000 Order. By grave abuse of discretion is
the case. meant such patent and gross abuse of discretion as to amount to an evasion of
positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at
It bears stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
Procedure is a new one, intended to modify previous rulings of this Court that an despotic manner by reasons of passion or personal hostility. 40 Hence, when the
application for bail or the admission to bail by the accused shall be considered as court has jurisdiction over the case, its questioned acts, even if its findings are
a waiver of his right to assail the warrant issued for his arrest on the legalities or not correct, would at most constitute errors of law and not abuse of discretion
irregularities thereon. 32 The new rule has reverted to the ruling of this Court in correctible by the extraordinary remedy of certiorari. 41
People v. Red. 33 The new rule is curative in nature because precisely, it was
designed to supply defects and curb evils in procedural rules. Hence, the rules We agree with the petitioner that before the RTC judge issues a warrant of
governing curative statutes are applicable. Curative statutes are by their essence arrest under Section 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court 42 in relation to Section 2,
retroactive in application. 34 Besides, procedural rules as a general rule operate Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the judge must make a personal
retroactively, even without express provisions to that effect, to cases pending at determination of the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest
the time of their effectivity, in other words to actions yet undetermined at the of the accused. The duty to make such determination is personal and exclusive
time of their effectivity.35 Before the appellate court rendered its decision on to the issuing judge. He cannot abdicate his duty and rely on the certification of
January 31, 2001, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure was already in effect. the investigating prosecutor that he had conducted a preliminary investigation
It behooved the appellate court to have applied the same in resolving the in accordance with law and the Rules of Court, as amended, and found probable
petitioner’s petition for certiorari and her motion for partial reconsideration. cause for the filing of the Information.

Moreover, considering the conduct of the petitioner after posting her personal Under Section 1, Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the investigating
bail bond, it cannot be argued that she waived her right to question the finding prosecutor, in conducting a preliminary investigation of a case cognizable by the
of probable cause and to assail the warrant of arrest issued against her by the RTC, is tasked to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a
respondent judge. There must be clear and convincing proof that the petitioner well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent
had an actual intention to relinquish her right to question the existence of therein is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. A preliminary
probable cause. 36 When the only proof of intention rests on what a party does, investigation is for the purpose of securing the innocent against hasty, malicious
his act should be so manifestly consistent with, and indicative of, an intent to and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public
voluntarily and unequivocally relinquish the particular right that no other accusation of a crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial. 43
explanation of his conduct is possible. 37 In this case, the records show that a
warrant was issued by the respondent judge in Pasay City for the arrest of the If the investigating prosecutor finds probable cause for the filing of the
petitioner, a resident of Guiguinto, Bulacan. When the petitioner learned of the Information against the respondent, he executes a certification at the bottom of
issuance of the said warrant, she posted a personal bail bond to avert her arrest the Information that from the evidence presented, there is a reasonable ground
and secure her provisional liberty. Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal of the RTC of to believe that the offense charged has been committed and that the accused is
Quezon City approved the bond and issued an order recalling the warrant of probably guilty thereof. Such certification of the investigating prosecutor is, by
arrest against the petitioner. Thus, the posting of a personal bail bond was a itself, ineffective. It is not binding on the trial court. Nor may the RTC rely on the
matter of imperative necessity to avert her incarceration; it should not be said certification as basis for a finding of the existence of probable cause for the
deemed as a waiver of her right to assail her arrest. So this Court ruled in People arrest of the accused. 44
v. Red: 38
In contrast, the task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the
. . . The present defendants were arrested towards the court is first and foremost to determine the existence or non-existence of
end of January, 1929, on the Island and Province of probable cause for the arrest of the accused. Probable cause is meant such set
Marinduque by order of the judge of the Court of First of facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent
Instance of Lucena, Tayabas, at a time when there were man to believe that the offense charged in the Information or any offense
no court sessions being held in Marinduque. In view of included therein has been committed by the person sought to be arrested. 45 In
these circumstances and the number of the accused, it determining probable cause, the average man weighs facts and circumstances
may properly be held that the furnishing of the bond without resorting to the calibrations of the rules of evidence of which he has no
was prompted by the sheer necessity of not remaining technical knowledge. He relies on common sense. 46 A finding of probable cause
in detention, and in no way implied their waiver of any needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has
right, such as the summary examination of the case been committed and that it was committed by the accused. Probable cause
before their detention. That they had no intention of demands more than bare suspicion, it requires less than evidence which would
waiving this right is clear from their motion of January justify conviction. 47
23, 1929, the same day on which they furnished a
The purpose of the mandate of the judge to first determine probable cause for
bond, and the fact that they renewed this petition on
the arrest of the accused is to insulate from the very start those falsely charged
February 23, 1929, praying for the stay of their arrest
of crimes from the tribulations, expenses and anxiety of a public trial:
for lack of the summary examination; the first motion
being denied by the court on January 24, 1929 (G.R. No. It must be stressed, however, that in these exceptional
33708, page 8), and the second remaining undecided, cases, the Court took the extraordinary step of
but with an order to have it presented in Boac, annulling findings of probable cause either to prevent
Marinduque. the misuse of the strong arm of the law or to protect
the orderly administration of justice. The constitutional
Therefore, the defendants herein cannot be said to
duty of this Court in criminal litigations is not only to
have waived the right granted to them by section 13,
acquit the innocent after trial but to insulate, from the
General Order No. 58, as amended by Act No. 3042. 39
start, the innocent from unfounded charges. For the
Moreover, the next day, or on June 16, 2000, the petitioner, through counsel, Court is aware of the strains of a criminal accusation
received certified true copies of the Information, the resolution of the and the stresses of litigation which should not be
investigating prosecutor, the affidavit-complaint of the private complainant, suffered by the clearly innocent. The filing of an
respondent Maruyama, and a certification from the branch clerk of court that unfounded criminal information in court exposes the
only the Information, resolution and affidavit-complaint formed part of the innocent to severe distress especially when the crime is
entire records of the case. The next day, June 17, 2000, the petitioner, through not bailable. Even an acquittal of the innocent will not
counsel, filed a verified motion for judicial determination of probable cause and fully bleach the dark and deep stains left by a baseless
to defer the proceedings and her arraignment. All the foregoing are inconsistent accusation for reputation once tarnished remains
with a waiver of her right to assail the validity of her arrest and to question the tarnished for a long length of time. The expense to
respondent judge’s determination of the existence of probable cause for her establish innocence may also be prohibitive and can be
arrest. more punishing especially to the poor and the
powerless. Innocence ought to be enough and the
Neither can the petitioner’s filing of a motion for the lifting of the hold business of this Court is to shield the innocent from
departure order and for leave to go to Japan be considered a waiver of her right senseless suits right from the start. 48
to assail the validity of the arrest warrant issued by the respondent judge. It
bears stressing that when the petitioner filed the motion to lift the hold In determining the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of
departure order issued against her by the respondent judge, her motion for a the accused, the RTC judge may rely on the findings and conclusions in the
determination of probable cause was still unresolved. She sought a lifting of the resolution of the investigating prosecutor finding probable cause for the filing of
hold departure order on July 14, 2000 and filed a motion for leave to go to the Information. After all, as the Court held in Webb v. De Leon, 49 the judge just
Japan, to give the respondent judge an opportunity to reconsider the said order, personally reviews the initial determination of the investigating prosecutor
preparatory to assailing the same in the appellate court in case her motion was finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial
denied. evidence. 50 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. 51 The judge should consider not only the report of the

18
investigating prosecutor but also the affidavit/affidavits and the documentary the respondent judge to properly determine the existence or non-existence of
evidence of the parties, the counter-affidavit of the accused and his witnesses, probable cause.
as well as the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary
investigation, if any, submitted to the court by the investigating prosecutor upon First. When respondent Maruyama handed the money to the petitioner, she did
the filing of the Information. 52 Indeed, in Ho v. People, 53 this Court held that: not require the latter to sign a document acknowledging receipt of the amount.
The petitioner avers that it is incredible that Maruyama would entrust
Lastly, it is not required that P3,993,500 in Japanese Yen to her without even requiring her to sign a receipt
the complete or entire records of the case during the therefor, especially since respondent Maruyama was not even the owner of the
preliminary investigation be submitted to and money;
examined by the judge. We do not intend to unduly
burden trial courts by obliging them to examine the Second. The affidavit of Hermogena Santiago, a witness of the respondent, is
complete records of every case all the time simply for unreliable, because it is based on information relayed to her by Lorna Tanghal
the purpose of ordering the arrest of an accused. What that she (Tanghal) saw the petitioner carrying a Louis Vuitton bag while on board
is required, rather, is that the judge must a Mitsubishi L300 van with the petitioner. It appears that Tanghal failed to
have sufficient supporting documents (such as the submit any counter-affidavit to the investigating prosecutor;
complaint, affidavits, counter-affidavits, sworn
Third. The affidavit of Marilette G. Izumiya, another witness of the respondent,
statements of witnesses or transcripts of stenographic
is also unreliable, as it was based on information relayed to her by Thelma
notes, if any) upon which to make his independent
Barbiran, who used to work for the petitioner as a housemaid, that she
judgment or, at the very least, upon which to verify the
(Barbiran) had in her possession a fax message from Lorna Tanghal, implicating
findings of the prosecutor as to the existence of
the petitioner in the crime charged. Barbiran did not execute any affidavit;
probable cause. The point is: he cannot rely solely and
entirely on the prosecutor’s recommendation, as Fourth. There is no indication in the resolution of the investigating prosecutor
Respondent Court did in this case. Although the that the petitioner received the fax message of Lorna Tanghal;
prosecutor enjoys the legal presumption of regularity in
the performance of his official duties and functions, Fifth. The private complainant claims that the petitioner tried to reimburse the
which in turn gives his report the presumption of P3,993,500 by remitting US$1,000 to her. However, the latter admitted in her
accuracy, the Constitution, we repeat, commands the affidavit-complaint that the document evidencing the remittance was signed by
judge to personally determine probable cause in the Lorna Tanghal, not by the petitioner. The petitioner claimed that Lorna Tanghal
issuance of warrants of arrest. This Court has had to remit US$1,000 to respondent Maruyama because the latter made it
consistently held that a judge fails in his bounden duty appear to Tanghal that the police authorities were about to arrest the
if he relies merely on the certification or the report of petitioner, and Tanghal was impelled to give the amount to respondent
the investigating officer. 54 Maruyama to avert her arrest and incarceration;

The rulings of this Court are now embedded in Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Sixth. In her counter-affidavit, the petitioner alleged that respondent Maruyama
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides that an Information or had no case against her because the crime charged in the latter's affidavit-
complaint filed in court shall be supported by the affidavits and counter- complaint was the same as that filed against her in the Metropolitan Trial Court
affidavits of the parties and their witnesses, together with the other supporting of Bulacan, which was withdrawn by the complainant herself;
evidence of the resolution:
Seventh. The investigating prosecutor stated in his resolution that the private
SEC. 8. Records. — (a) Records supporting the complainant established the element of deceit. However, the crime charged
information or complaint. An information or complaint against the petitioner as alleged in the Information is estafa with abuse of
filed in court shall be supported by the affidavits and confidence.
counter-affidavits of the parties and their witnesses,
together with the other supporting evidence and the In sum, then, we find and so declare that the respondent judge committed a
resolution on the case. grave abuse of his discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in
finding probable cause for the petitioner’s arrest in the absence of copies of the
If the judge is able to determine the existence or non-existence of probable affidavits of the witnesses of the private complainant and her reply affidavit, the
cause on the basis of the records submitted by the investigating prosecutor, counter-affidavit of the petitioner, and the evidence adduced during the
there would no longer be a need to order the elevation of the rest of the records preliminary investigation before the investigating prosecutor.
of the case. However, if the judge finds the records and/or evidence submitted
by the investigating prosecutor to be insufficient, he may order the dismissal of In view of the foregoing disquisitions, there is no more need to resolve the other
the case, or direct the investigating prosecutor either to submit more evidence issues raised by the petitioner.
or to submit the entire records of the preliminary investigation, to enable him to
discharge his duty. 55 The judge may even call the complainant and his witness IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed
to themselves answer the court’s probing questions to determine the existence decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The assailed Orders
of probable cause. 56 The rulings of this Court in Soliven v. Makasiar 57 and Lim dated August 25 and 28, 2000 and the Warrant of Arrest issued by the
v. Felix 58 are now embodied in Section 6, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on respondent judge in Criminal Case No. 00-0749 are SET ASIDE. The records are
Criminal Procedure, with modifications, viz: REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 119. The
respondent judge is hereby DIRECTED to determine the existence or non-
SEC. 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. — (a) By the existence of probable cause for the arrest of the petitioner based on the
Regional Trial Court. — Within ten (10) days from the complete records, as required under Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules
filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall on Criminal Procedure. acCITS
personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor
and its supporting evidence. He may immediately SO ORDERED.
dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails
to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause,
he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment [G.R. No. 128587. March 16, 2007.]
order if the accused has already been arrested pursuant
to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the
preliminary investigation or when the complaint or PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON.
information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., in his capacity as Presiding
In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the Judge, Branch 18, RTC, Manila, and LAWRENCE WANG
judge may order the prosecutor to present additional Y CHEN, respondents.
evidence within five (5) days from notice and the issue
must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days
from the filing of the complaint of information.
GARCIA, J p:

On pure questions of law, petitioner People of the Philippines has directly come
In this case, the investigating prosecutor submitted to the respondent judge only to this Court via this petition for review on certiorari to nullify and set aside the
his resolution after his preliminary investigation of the case and the affidavit- Resolution 1 dated 13 March 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch
complaint of the private complainant, and failed to include the affidavits of the 18, in Criminal Case Nos. 96-149990 to 96-149992, entitled People of the
witnesses of the private complainant, and the latter's reply affidavit, the Philippines v. Lawrence Wang y Chen, granting private respondent Lawrence C.
counter-affidavit of the petitioner, as well as the evidence adduced by the Wang's Demurrer to Evidence and acquitting him of the three (3) charges filed
private complainant as required by case law, and now by Section 8(a), Rule 112 against him, namely: (1) Criminal Case No. 96-149990 for Violation of Section 16,
of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. The aforecited affidavits, more Article III in relation to Section 2 (e) (2), Article I of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425
specifically the fax message of Lorna Tanghal and the document signed by her (Dangerous Drugs Act); (2) Criminal Case No. 96-149991 for Violation
covering the amount of US$1,000, are of vital importance, as they would enable of Presidential Decree No. 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms); and (3) Criminal

19
Case No. 96-149992 for Violation of Comelec Resolution No. 2828 in relation name and, upon hearing that he was Lawrence Wang, immediately frisked him
to R.A. No. 7166 (COMELEC Gun Ban). and asked him to open the back compartment of the BMW car. 7 When frisked,
there was found inside the front right pocket of Wang and confiscated from him
The three (3) separate Informations filed against Lawrence C. Wang in the court an unlicensed AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic Back-up Pistol loaded with
of origin respectively read: ammunitions. At the same time, the other members of the operatives searched
the BMW car and found inside it were the following items: (a) 32 transparent
Criminal Case No. 96-149990 (Violation of Dangerous Drugs Act):
plastic bags containing white crystalline substance with a total weight of 29.2941
That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City kilograms, which substance was later analyzed as positive for methamphetamine
of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and hydrochloride, a regulated drug locally known as shabu; (b) cash in the amount
there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his of P650,000.00; (c) one electronic and one mechanical scales; and (d) an
possession and under his custody and control a bulk of unlicensed Daewoo 9mm Pistol with magazine. Then and there, Wang resisted
white and yellowish crystalline substance known as the warrantless arrest and search. 8
SHABU contained in thirty-two (32) transparent plastic
On 6 December 1996, the prosecution rested its case and upon motion, accused
bags weighing approximately 29.2941 kilograms,
Wang was granted 25 days from said date within which to file his intended
containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a
Demurrer to Evidence. 9 On 19 December 1996, the prosecution filed
regulated drug, without the corresponding license or
a Manifestation 10 to the effect that it had rested its case only in so far as the
prescription therefor.
charge for Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in Criminal Case No. 96-
Contrary to law. 2 149990 is concerned, and not as regards the two cases for Illegal Possession of
Firearms (Crim. Case No. 96-149991) and Violation of the Comelec Gun Ban
Criminal Case No. 96-149991 (Illegal Possession of Firearms): (Crim. Case No. 96-149992). Accordingly, trial continued.

That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City On 9 January 1997, Wang filed his undated Demurrer to Evidence, 11 praying for
of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and his acquittal and the dismissal of the three (3) cases against him for lack of a
there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his valid arrest and search warrants and the inadmissibility of the prosecution's
possession and under his custody and control one (1) evidence against him. Considering that the prosecution has not yet filed its
DAEWOO Cal. 9mm, automatic pistol with one loaded Opposition to the demurrer, Wang filed an Amplification 12 to his Demurrer of
magazine and one AMT Cal. .380 9mm automatic Evidence on 20 January 1997. On 12 February 1997, the prosecution filed its
backup pistol with magazine loaded with ammunitions Opposition 13 alleging that the warrantless search was legal as an incident to the
without first having secured the necessary license or lawful arrest and that it has proven its case, so it is now time for the defense to
permit therefor from the proper authorities. present its evidence.

Contrary to law. 3 On 13 March 1997, the respondent judge, the Hon. Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr.,
issued the herein assailed Resolution 14 granting Wang's Demurrer to
Criminal Case No. 96-149992 (Violation of Comelec Gun Ban): Evidence and acquitting him of all charges for lack of evidence, thus:
That on or about the 17th day of May 1996, in the City WHEREFORE, the accused's undated Demurrer to
of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and Evidence is hereby granted; the accused is acquitted of
there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his the charges against him for the crimes of Violation of
possession and under his custody and control one (1) Section 16, Article III of the Dangerous Drugs Act, Illegal
DAEWOO Cal. 9mm automatic pistol with one loaded Possession of Firearms, and Violation of Comelec Gun
magazine and one (1) AMT Cal. 380 9mm automatic Ban, for lack of evidence; the 32 bags of shabu with a
backup pistol with magazine loaded with ammunitions, total weight of 29.2941 kilograms and the two
carrying the same along Maria Orosa St., Ermita, unlicensed pistols, one AMT Cal. .380 9mm and one
Manila, which is a public place, on the date which is Daewoo Cal. 9mm. are ordered confiscated in favor of
covered by an election period, without first securing the government and the branch clerk is directed to turn
the written permission or authority from the over the 32 bags of shabu to the Dangerous Drugs
Commission on Elections, as provided by the COMELEC Board in Intramuros, Manila, and the two firearms to
Resolution 2828 in relation to Republic Act 7166. the Firearms and Explosive Units, PNP, Camp Crame,
Quezon City, for proper disposition, and the officer-in-
Contrary to law. 4 charge of PARAC, Department of Interior and Local
During his arraignment, accused Wang refused to enter a plea to all the Government, is ordered to return the confiscated
Informations and instead interposed a continuing objection to the admissibility amount of P650,000.00 to the accused, and the
of the evidence obtained by the police operatives. Thus, the trial court ordered confiscated BMW car to its registered owner, David
that a plea of "Not Guilty" be entered for him. 5 Thereafter, joint trial of the Lee. No costs.
three (3) consolidated cases followed. SO ORDERED.
The pertinent facts are as follows: Hence, this petition 15 for review on certiorari by the People, submitting that
On 16 May 1996, at about 7:00 p.m., police operatives of the Public Assistance the trial court erred —
and Reaction Against Crime of the Department of Interior and Local I
Government, namely, Captain Margallo, Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and
SPO3 Reynaldo Cristobal, arrested SPO2 Vergel de Dios, Rogelio Anoble and a . . . IN HOLDING THAT THE UNDISPUTED FACTS AND
certain Arellano, for unlawful possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride, a CIRCUMSTANCES DID NOT CONSTITUTE PROBABLE
regulated drug popularly known as shabu. In the course of the investigation of CAUSE WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SECTION 2,
the three arrested persons, Redentor Teck, alias Frank, and Joseph Junio were ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION, AND IN HOLDING
identified as the source of the drug. An entrapment operation was then set after THAT SUCH FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES NEITHER
the three were prevailed upon to call their source and pretend to order another JUSTIFIED THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF ACCUSED'S
supply of shabu. VEHICLE AND THE SEIZURE OF THE CONTRABAND
THEREIN.
At around 11:00 p.m. that same date, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were
arrested while they were about to hand over another bag of shabu to SPO2 De II
Dios and company. Questioned, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio informed the
police operatives that they were working as talent manager and gymnast . . . IN HOLDING, IN EFFECT, THAT A WARRANTLESS
instructor, respectively, of Glamour Modeling Agency owned by Lawrence Wang. SEARCH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY ALLOWABLE AND CAN
Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio did not disclose their source of shabu but ONLY BE VALID AS AN INCIDENT TO A LAWFUL ARREST.
admitted that they were working for Wang. 6 They also disclosed that they knew
of a scheduled delivery of shabu early the following morning of 17 May 1996, III
and that their employer (Wang) could be found at the Maria Orosa Apartment in
. . . IN DECLARING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE
Malate, Manila. The police operatives decided to look for Wang to shed light on
ACCUSED AND THE SEARCH AND SEIZURE OF HIS
the illegal drug activities of Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio. Police Inspector
HANDGUNS UNLAWFUL.
Cielito Coronel and his men then proceeded to Maria Orosa Apartment and
placed the same under surveillance. TCacIE IV
Prosecution witness Police Inspector Cielito Coronel testified that at about 2:10 . . . IN NOT DECLARING THE ACCUSED AS HAVING
a.m. of 17 May 1996, Wang, who was described to the operatives by Teck, came WAIVED, AS A RESULT OF HIS SUBMISSION AND
out of the apartment and walked towards a parked BMW car. On nearing the FAILURE TO PROTEST THE SEARCH AND HIS ARREST, HIS
car, he (witness) together with Captain Margallo and two other police officers CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE
approached Wang, introduced themselves to him as police officers, asked his

20
SEARCH AND SEIZURE AND HIS OBJECTION TO THE remand and retrial of the cases herein ordered before a
ADMISSION OF THE EVIDENCE SEIZED. neutral and impartial court.

V The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial and


verdict and travesty of justice to stand unrectified. The
. . . IN NOT ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE EVIDENCE courts of the land under its aegis are courts of
SEIZED AND OFFERED BY THE PROSECUTION AND IN law and justice and equity. They would have no reason
NOT DENYING ACCUSED'S DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE. to exist if they were allowed to be used as mere tools of
injustice, deception and duplicity to subvert and
suppress the truth, instead of repositories of judicial
In its Resolution 16 of 9 July 1997, the Court, without giving due course to the power whose judges are sworn and committed to
petition, required the public and private respondents to comment thereon render impartial justice to all alike who seek the
within ten days from notice. Private respondent Wang filed his comment17 on enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention
18 August 1997. or redress of a wrong, without fear or favor and
removed from the pressures of politics and prejudice.
On 10 September 1997, the Court required the People to file a reply, 18 which More so, in the case at bar where the people and the
the Office of the Solicitor General did on 5 December 1997, after several world are entitled to know the truth, and the integrity
extensions. 19 of our judicial system is at stake. In life, as an accused
before the military tribunal Ninoy had pleaded in vain
On 20 October 2004, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and that as a civilian he was entitled to due process of law
required the parties to submit their respective memoranda, 20 which they did. and trial in the regular civil courts before an impartial
court with an unbiased prosecutor. In death, Ninoy, as
The case presents two main issues: (a) whether the prosecution may appeal the the victim of the "treacherous and vicious
trial court's resolution granting Wang's demurrer to evidence and acquitting him assassination" and the relatives and sovereign people
of all the charges against him without violating the constitutional proscription as the aggrieved parties plead once more for due
against double jeopardy; and (b) whether there was lawful arrest, search and process of law and a retrial before an impartial court
seizure by the police operatives in this case despite the absence of a warrant of with an unbiased prosecutor. The Court is constrained
arrest and/or a search warrant. to declare the sham trial a mock trial — the non-trial of
First off, it must be emphasized that the present case is an appeal filed directly the century — and that the predetermined judgment of
with this Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 in relation to acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio.
Rule 41, Section 2, paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court raising only pure 1. No double jeopardy. — It is settled doctrine that
questions of law, ordinary appeal by mere filing of a notice of appeal not being double jeopardy cannot be invoked against this Court's
allowed as a mode of appeal directly to this Court. Then, too, it bears stressing setting aside of the trial courts' judgment of dismissal
that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process, it or acquittal where the prosecution which represents
being merely a statutory privilege which may be exercised only in the manner the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due
provided for by law (Velasco v. Court of Appeals 21 ). Although Section 2, Rule process. As the Court stressed in the 1985 case
122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure states that any party may appeal, the of People vs. Bocar,
right of the People to appeal is, in the very same provision, expressly made
subject to the prohibition against putting the accused in double jeopardy. It also Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair
basic that appeal in criminal cases throws the whole records of the case wide opportunity to prosecute and prove its case,
open for review by the appellate court, that is why any appeal from a judgment its right to due process is thereby violated.
of acquittal necessarily puts the accused in double jeopardy. In effect, the very
same Section 2 of Rule 122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, disallows appeal The cardinal precept is that where there is a
by the People from judgments of acquittal. violation of basic constitutional rights, courts
An order granting an accused's demurrer to evidence is a resolution of the case are ousted of their jurisdiction. Thus, the
on the merits, and it amounts to an acquittal. Generally, any further prosecution violation of the State's right to due process
of the accused after an acquittal would violate the constitutional proscription on raises a serious jurisdictional issue
double jeopardy. To this general rule, however, the Court has previously made (Gumabon vs. Director of the Bureau of
some exceptions. Prisons, L-30026, 37 SCRA 420 [Jan. 30,
1971]) which cannot be glossed over or
The celebrated case of Galman v. Sandiganbayan 22 presents one exception to disregarded at will. Where the denial of the
the rule on double jeopardy, which is, when the prosecution is denied due fundamental right of due process is
process of law: apparent, a decision rendered in disregard
of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction
No court whose Presiding Justice has received "orders (Aducayen vs. Flores, L-30370 [May 25,
or suggestions" from the very President who by an 19731, 51 SCRA 78; Shell Co. vs. Enage, L-
amendatory decree (disclosed only at the hearing of 30111-12, 49 SCRA 416 Feb. 27, 1973]). Any
oral arguments on November 8, 1984 on a petition judgment or decision rendered
challenging the referral of the Aquino-Galman murder notwithstanding such violation may be
cases to the Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan instead of regarded as a "lawless thing, which can be
to a court martial, as mandatorily required by the treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or
known P.D. 1850 at the time providing for exclusive ignored wherever it exhibits its head"
jurisdiction of courts martial over criminal offenses (Aducayen vs. Flores, supra).
committed by military men) made it possible to refer
the cases to the Sandiganbayan, can be an impartial Respondent Judge's dismissal order dated
court, which is the very essence of due process of law. July 7, 1967 being null and void for lack of
As the writer then wrote, "jurisdiction over cases jurisdiction, the same does not constitute a
should be determined by law, and not proper basis for a claim of double jeopardy
by preselection of the Executive, which could be much (Serino vs. Zosa, supra).
too easily transformed into a means
of predetermining the outcome of individual cases." xxx xxx xxx
This criminal collusion as to the handling and treatment Legal jeopardy attaches only (a)
of the cases by public respondents at the secret upon a valid indictment, (b) before a
Malacañang conference (and revealed only after fifteen competent court, (c) after arraignment, (d) a
months by Justice Manuel Herrera) completely valid plea having been entered; and (e) the
disqualified respondent Sandiganbayan and voidedab case was dismissed or otherwise terminated
initio its verdict. This renders moot and irrelevant for without the express consent of the accused
now the extensive arguments of respondents accused, (People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851). The lower
particularly Generals Ver and Olivas and those court was not competent as it was ousted of
categorized as accessories, that there has been no its jurisdiction when it violated the right of
evidence or witness suppressed against them, that the the prosecution to due process.
erroneous conclusions of Olivas as police investigator
do not make him an accessory of the crimes he In effect, the first jeopardy was never
investigated and the appraisal and evaluation of the terminated, and the remand of the criminal
testimonies of the witnesses presented and case for further hearing and/or trial before
suppressed. There will be time and opportunity to the lower courts amounts merely to a
present all these arguments and considerations at the continuation of the first jeopardy, and does

21
not expose the accused to a second Under Rule 119, Section 23 of the Revised Rules of
jeopardy. Criminal Procedure, as amended, the trial court may
dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of
Another exception is when the trial court commits grave abuse of discretion in evidence upon a demurrer to evidence filed by the
dismissing a criminal case by granting the accused's demurrer to evidence. In accused with or without leave of court. In resolving
point is the fairly recent case of People v. Uy, 23 which involved the trial court's accused's demurrer to evidence, the court is merely
decision which granted the two separate demurrers to evidence filed by the two required to ascertain whether there is competent or
accused therein, both with leave of court, resulting in their acquittal of their sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment or support
respective charges of murder due to insufficiency of evidence. In resolving the a verdict of guilt.
petition for certiorari filed directly with this Court, we had the occasion to
explain: The grant or denial of a demurrer to evidence is left to
the sound discretion of the trial court and its ruling on
The general rule in this jurisdiction is that a judgment of the matter shall not be disturbed in the absence of a
acquittal is final and unappealable. People v. Court of grave abuse of discretion. Significantly, once the court
Appeals explains the rationale of this rule: grants the demurrer, such order amounts to an
acquittal and any further prosecution of the accused
In our jurisdiction, the finality-of-acquittal
would violate the constitutional proscription on double
doctrine as a safeguard against double
jeopardy. This constitutes an exception to the rule that
jeopardy faithfully adheres to the principle
the dismissal of a criminal case made with the express
first enunciated in Kepner v. United States.
consent of the accused or upon his own motion bars a
In this case, verdicts of acquittal are to be
plea of double jeopardy. The finality-of-acquittal rule
regarded as absolutely final and
was stressed thus in People v. Velasco:
irreviewable. The cases of United States v.
Yam Tung Way, People v. Bringas, Gandicela The fundamental philosophy highlighting the
v. Lutero, People v. Cabarles, People v. Bao, finality of an acquittal by the trial court cuts
to name a few, are illustrative cases. The deep into the "humanity of the laws and in
fundamental philosophy behind the jealous watchfulness over the rights of the
constitutional proscription against double citizens, when brought in unequal contest
jeopardy is to afford the defendant, who has with the State . . . . Thus Green expressed
been acquitted, final repose and safeguard the concern that "(t)he underlying idea, one
him from government oppression through that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-
the abuse of criminal processes. As American system of jurisprudence, is that
succinctly observed in Green v. United the State with all its resources and power
States "(t)he underlying idea, one that is should not be allowed to make repeated
deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo- attempts to convict an individual for an
American system of jurisprudence, is that alleged offense thereby subjecting him to
the State with all its resources and power embarrassment, expense and ordeal and
should not be allowed to make repeated compelling him to live in a continuing state
attempts to convict an individual for an of anxiety and insecurity, as well as
alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to enhancing the possibility that even though
embarrassment, expense and ordeal and innocent, he may be found guilty."
compelling him to live in a continuing state
of anxiety and insecurity, as well as It is axiomatic that on the basis of humanity,
enhancing the possibility that even though fairness and justice, an acquitted defendant
innocent, he may be found guilty." is entitled to the right of repose as a direct
(Underscoring supplied) consequence of the finality of his acquittal.
The philosophy underlying this rule
establishing the absolute nature of
acquittals is "part of the paramount
The same rule applies in criminal cases where a
importance criminal justice system attaches
demurrer to evidence is granted. As held in the case
to the protection of the innocent against
of People v. Sandiganbayan:
wrongful conviction." The interest in the
The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, finality-of-acquittal rule, confined exclusively
such as the one at bar, is " filed after the to verdicts of not guilty, is easy to
prosecution had rested its case," and when understand: it is a need for "repose", a
the same is granted, it calls "for an desire to know the exact extent of one's
appreciation of the evidence adduced by the liability. With this right of repose, the
prosecution and its sufficiency to warrant criminal justice system has built in a
conviction beyond reasonable doubt, protection to insure that the innocent, even
resulting in a dismissal of the case on the those whose innocence rests upon a jury's
merits, tantamount to an acquittal of the leniency, will not be found guilty in a
accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case subsequent proceeding.
by the grant of demurrer to evidence may
Given the far-reaching scope of an accused's right
not be appealed, for to do so would be to
against double jeopardy, even an appeal based on an
place the accused in double-jeopardy. The
alleged misappreciation of evidence will not lie. The
verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends
only instance when double jeopardy will not attach is
there. (Italics in the original)
when the trial court acted with grave abuse of
Like any other rule, however, the above-said rule is not discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,
absolute. By way of exception, a judgment of acquittal such as where the prosecution was denied the
in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition opportunity to present its case or where the trial was
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court upon a sham. However, while certiorari may be availed of to
a clear showing by the petitioner that the lower court, correct an erroneous acquittal, the petitioner in such
in acquitting the accused, committed not an extraordinary proceeding must clearly demonstrate
merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave that the trial court blatantly abused its authority to a
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of point so grave as to deprive it of its very power to
jurisdiction or a denial of due process, thus rendering dispense justice. (Emphasis supplied.)
the assailed judgment void. (Emphasis supplied.)
By this time, it is settled that the appellate court may review dismissal orders of
In Sanvicente v. People, 24 the Court allowed the review of a decision of the trial courts granting an accused's demurrer to evidence. This may be
Court of Appeals (CA) which reversed the accused's acquittal upon demurrer to done via the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 based on the
evidence filed by the accused with leave of court, the CA ruling that the trial ground of grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of
court committed grave abuse of discretion in preventing the prosecution from jurisdiction. Such dismissal order, being considered void judgment, does not
establishing the due execution and authenticity of certain letter marked therein result in jeopardy. Thus, when the order of dismissal is annulled or set aside by
as Exhibit "LL," which supposedly "positively identified therein petitioner as the an appellate court in an original special civil action via certiorari, the right of the
perpetrator of the crime charged." The Court, in a petition for certiorari, accused against double jeopardy is not violated.
sustained the CA's power to review the order granting the demurrer to
Unfortunately, what petitioner People of the Philippines, through then Secretary
evidence, explaining thus:
of Justice Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. and then Solicitor General Silvestre H. Bello,

22
III, filed with the Court in the present case is an appeal by way of a petition for As to the Need for a Motion for Reconsideration. A
review on certiorari under Rule 45 raising a pure question of law, which is motion for reconsideration is generally required prior
different from a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. to the filing of a petition for certiorari, in order to afford
the tribunal an opportunity to correct the alleged
In Madrigal Transport Inc. v. Lapanday Holdings Corporation, 25 we have errors. Note also that this motion is a plain and
enumerated the distinction between the two remedies/actions, to wit: adequate remedy expressly available under the law.
Such motion is not required before appealing a
Appeal and Certiorari Distinguished
judgment or final order. HAaScT
Between an appeal and a petition for certiorari, there
Also in Madrigal, we stressed that the special civil action of certiorari and appeal
are substantial distinctions which shall be explained
are two different remedies mutually exclusive; they are neither alternative nor
below.
successive. Where appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper. In the dismissal
As to the Purpose. Certiorari is a remedy designed for of a criminal case upon demurrer to evidence, appeal is not available as such an
the correction of errors of jurisdiction, not errors of appeal will put the accused in double jeopardy. Certiorari, however, is allowed.
judgment. In Pure Foods Corporation v. NLRC, we
For being the wrong remedy taken by petitioner People of the Philippines in this
explained the simple reason for the rule in this light:
case, this petition is outrightly dismissible. The Court cannot reverse the assailed
"When a court exercises its jurisdiction, an dismissal order of the trial court by appeal without violating private
error committed while so engaged does not respondent's right against double jeopardy.
deprive it of the jurisdiction being exercised
Even assuming that the Court may treat an "appeal" as a special civil action
when the error is committed. If it did, every
of certiorari, which definitely this Court has the power to do, when there is a
error committed by a court would deprive it
clear showing of grave abuse of discretion committed by the lower court, the
of its jurisdiction and every erroneous
instant petition will nevertheless fail on the merits as the succeeding discussion
judgment would be a void judgment. This
will show.
cannot be allowed. The administration of
justice would not survive such a rule. There are actually two (2) acts involved in this case, namely, the
Consequently, an error of judgment that the warrantless arrest and the warrantless search. There is no question that
court may commit in the exercise of its warrantless search may be conducted as an incident to a valid warrantless
jurisdiction is not correct[a]ble through the arrest. The law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be
original civil action of certiorari." made; the process cannot be reversed. 26 However, if there are valid reasons to
conduct lawful search and seizure which thereafter shows that the accused is
The supervisory jurisdiction of a court over the issuance
currently committing a crime, the accused may be lawfully arrested in flagrante
of a writ of certiorari cannot be exercised for the
delicto 27 without need for a warrant of arrest.
purpose of reviewing the intrinsic correctness of a
judgment of the lower court — on the basis either of Finding that the warrantless arrest preceded the warrantless search in the case
the law or the facts of the case, or of the wisdom or at bar, the trial court granted private respondent's demurrer to evidence and
legal soundness of the decision. Even if the findings of acquitted him of all the three charges for lack of evidence, because the unlawful
the court are incorrect, as long as it has jurisdiction arrest resulted in the inadmissibility of the evidence gathered from an invalid
over the case, such correction is normally beyond the warrantless search. The trial court's ratiocination is quoted as follows:
province of certiorari. Where the error is not one of
jurisdiction, but of an error of law or fact — a mistake The threshold issue raised by the accused in his
of judgment — appeal is the remedy. Demurrer to Evidence is whether his warrantless arrest
and search were lawful as argued by the prosecution,
As to the Manner of Filing. Over an appeal, the CA or unlawful as asserted by the defense.
exercises its appellate jurisdiction and power of review.
Over a certiorari, the higher court uses its original Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the New Rules of Court, a
jurisdiction in accordance with its power of control and peace officer may arrest a person without a warrant:
supervision over the proceedings of lower courts. An (a) when in his presence, the person to be arrested has
appeal is thus a continuation of the original suit, while a committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
petition for certiorari is an original and independent commit an offense; (b) when an offense has in fact just
action that was not part of the trial that had resulted in been committed, and he has personal knowledge of
the rendition of the judgment or order complained of. facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
The parties to an appeal are the original parties to the committed it, and (c) when the person to be arrested is
action. In contrast, the parties to a petition a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment
for certiorari are the aggrieved party (who thereby or place where he is serving final judgment or
becomes the petitioner) against the lower court or temporarily confined while being transferred from one
quasi-judicial agency, and the prevailing parties (the confinement to another. None of these circumstances
public and the private respondents, respectively). were present when the accused was arrested. The
accused was merely walking from the Maria Orosa
As to the Subject Matter. Only judgments or final Apartment and was about to enter the parked BMW
orders and those that the Rules of Court so declared car when the police officers arrested and frisked him
are appealable. Since the issue is jurisdiction, an and searched his car. The accused was not committing
original action for certiorari may be directed against an any visible offense at the time of his arrest. Neither was
interlocutory order of the lower court prior to an there an indication that he was about to commit a
appeal from the judgment; or where there is no appeal crime or that he had just committed an offense. The
or any plain, speedy or adequate remedy. unlicensed AMT Cal.380 9mm Automatic Back-up Pistol
that the accused had in his possession was concealed
As to the Period of Filing. Ordinary appeals should be
inside the right front pocket of his pants. And the
filed within fifteen days from the notice of judgment or
handgun was bantam and slim in size that it would not
final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is
give an outward indication of a concealed gun if placed
required, the appellant must file a notice of appeal and
inside the pant's side pocket as was done by the
a record on appeal within thirty days from the said
accused. The arresting officers had no information and
notice of judgment or final order. A petition for review
knowledge that the accused was carrying an unlicensed
should be filed and served within fifteen days from the
handgun, nor did they see him in possession thereof
notice of denial of the decision, or of the petitioner's
immediately prior to his arrest.
timely filed motion for new trial or motion for
reconsideration. In an appeal by certiorari, the petition Ditto on the 32 bags of shabu and the other unlicensed
should be filed also within fifteen days from the notice Daewoo Cal. 9mm Pistol with magazine that were
of judgment or final order, or of the denial of the found and seized from the car. The contraband items in
petitioner's motion for new trial or motion for the car were not in plain view. The 32 bags of shabu
reconsideration. were in the trunk compartment, and the Daewoo
handgun was underneath the driver's seat of the car.
On the other hand, a petition for certiorari should be
The police officers had no information, or knowledge
filed not later than sixty days from the notice of
that the banned articles were inside the car, or that the
judgment, order, or resolution. If a motion for new trial
accused had placed them there. The police officers
or motion for reconsideration was timely filed, the
searched the car on mere suspicion that there was
period shall be counted from the denial of the motion.
shabu therein.

23
On this matter, pertinent portions of the testimonies of Q. What about the suspected shabu that you
Police Inspector Cielito Coronel and SPO3 Reynaldo are recovered, what did you do with that?
hereunder quoted:
A. The suspected shabu that we recovered were
POLICE INSPECTOR CIELITO CORONEL'S TESTIMONY forwarded to the NBI for laboratory
examination.
"PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: Direct-Examination
Q. Did you come to know the results?
Q. Mr. Witness, what was your role or participation in
this case? A. It was found positive for methamphetamine
hydrochloride. (TSN, pp. 3-8, November 15,
A. I am one of those responsible for the arrest of the 1996).
accused.
ATTY. LOZANO TO WITNESS: CROSS
xxx xxx xxx
Q. You arrested Joseph Junio and Redentor Teck for
Q. Where did you make that arrest, Mr. Witness?
alleged transporting of shabu on May 16,
A. The apprehension was made in front of an 1996, at 11:00 p.m., is it not?
apartment along Maria Orosa Street, Ermita,
A. Yes, Sir.
Manila.
Q. You asked Redentor Teck where he is employed, is it
Q. What date was that when you arrested the accused?
not?
A. It was on May 17, 1996, at about 2:10 a.m.
A. Yes, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
Q. What was the reason why you together with other
Q. Redentor Teck told you that he is a talent manager
policemen effected the arrest of the
at the Glenmore Modeling Agency, is it not?
accused?
A. Yes, Sir.
A. We arrested him because of the information relayed
to us by one of those whom we have Q. The Glenmore Modeling Agency is owned by
previously apprehended in connection with Lawrence Wang, is it not?
the delivery of shabu somewhere also in
Ermita, Manila. A. I supposed, Sir.

xxx xxx xxx Q. And that is why immediately after Redentor Teck
told you that he is an employee of the
Q. When you established that he was somewhere at
Glenmore Modeling Agency owned by
Maria Orosa, what did you do?
Lawrence Wang, naturally, you and your
A. We waited for him. companions look for Lawrence Wang to
shed light on the transporting of shabu by
xxx xxx xxx Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio, is it not?
Q. You yourself, Mr. Witness, where did you position A. Yes, Sir.
yourself during that time?
Q. Thereafter, you spotted a person previously
A. I was inside a vehicle waiting for the accused to described by Redentor Teck as Lawrence
appear. Wang, is it not?
Q. What about your other companions where were A. Yes, Sir.
they?
Q. While you were arresting Lawrence Wang, your
A. They were position in strategic places within the companions at the same time searched the
area. BMW car described in your affidavit of
arrest, is it not?
Q. What happened when you and your companions
were positioned in that place? A. Yes, Sir.
A. That was when the accused arrived. xxx xxx xxx
Q. How many of your approached him. Q. Lawrence Wang was not inside the BMW car while
the same was searched, is it not?
A. Inspector Margallo, myself and two other operatives.
A. He was outside, Sir.
Q. What happened when you approached the accused,
Mr. Witness? Q. The driver of the car was inside the car when the
arrest and search were made, is it not?
A. We introduced ourselves as police officers and we
frisked him and we asked him to open the A. He was likewise outside, Sir.
back compartment of his car.
Q. Lawrence Wang did resist arrest and search is it not?
Q. You said you frisked him, what was the result of
that? A. Yes, Sir.

A. He was found in possession of one back-up pistol Q. When you effected the arrest, there was no warrant
with one loaded magazine and likewise of arrest, is it not?
when the compartment was opened several
A. Yes, Sir.
plastic bags containing white crystalline
substance suspected to be shabu (were Q. When the search was made on the BMW car, there
found). was no search warrant, is it not?
Q. What did you do when you found out Mr. Witness? A. Yes, none, Sir. (TSN, pp. 3-12, November 15, 1996)
A. When the car was further search we later found SPO3 REYNALDO CRISTOBAL'S TESTIMONY
another firearm, a Daewoo Pistol at the PROSECUTOR TO WITNESS: DIRECT EXAMINATION
place under the seat of the driver.
Q. What is you role or participation in this case?
Q. Then what happened?
A. I was one of the arresting officers and investigator,
A. He was brought to our headquarters at Mandaluyong Sir.
for further investigation.
xxx xxx xxx

24
Q. What kind of specific offense did the accused A. We asked them where we could find Lawrence Wang
allegedly do so that you arrested him, Mr. and Teck lead us to Maria Orosa Apartment
Witness? where we conducted a stake out which
lasted up to 2:00 a.m.
A. He was arrested on the basis of the recovered drugs
in his possession placed inside his car. xxx xxx xxx

xxx xxx xxx COURT: What happened during the stake out?

Q. Mr. witness, you said that you recovered drug from A. When the person of the accused was identified to us,
the car of the accused, please tell us the we saw him opening his car together with
antecedent circumstances which led you to his driver.
recover or confiscate these items?
COURT: So, he was about to leave when you saw him?
A. Earlier in the evening about 11:00 p.m. of May 16,
we arrested one Redentor Teck and Joseph A. Probably, Sir.
Junio.
COURT: What did you do?
COURT: Where did you arrest these people?
A. We saw him opened his car and we have a suspicion
A They were arrested in Metro Manila also. that there was a shabu inside the
compartment of the car.
COURT: The same date?
xxx xxx xxx
A. May 16, about 11:00 p.m. They were arrested and
COURT: All right, when you saw the accused opened his
when they were investigated, Teck
car, what did you do?
mentioned the name of Lawrence Wang as
his employer. cCHITA A. We approached him.

COURT: What happened when you approached him?


COURT: Why were these people, arrested? A. We suspected the shabu inside the compartment of
his car.
A. For violation of R.A. 6425.
COURT: And this shabu that you saw inside the
COURT: How were they arrested?
compartment of the car, what did you do
A. They were arrested while in the act of transporting with that?
shabu or handling shabu to another
A. Well, he was first arrested by Captain Margallo and
previously arrested person. It was a series of
Lt. Coronel while I was the one who
arrest.
inspected and opened the compartment of
COURT: So, this involved a series of operation? the car and saw the shabu. (TSN, pp. 15-24,
December 16, 1996).
A. Yes, Your Honor. About 11:00 p.m. of May 16, we
arrested three (3) persons, SPO2 Vergel de CLARIFICATORY QUESTIONING OF SPO3 CRISTOBAL BY
Dios, a certain Arellano and a certain Rogelio THE COURT
Noble. When they were arrested they
COURT: From your testimony and that of Police
divulged the name of the source.
Inspector Cielito Coronel, this Court has
COURT: They were arrested for what, for possession? gathered that prior to the arrest of the
accused there were three (3) men that your
A. Yes, Your Honor. For unlawful possession of shabu. team arrested. One of whom is a police
Then they divulged to us the name of the officer.
person from whom they get shabu.
A: Yes, Sir.
COURT: Whose name did they mention:
xxx xxx xxx
A. One Alias Frank, who turned out to be Redentor Teck
COURT: And on the occasion of the arrest of these
and Joseph Junio. We let them call Redentor
three men shabu were confiscated from
Teck and Joseph Junio thru the cellphone
them?
and pretend and to order another supply of
shabu. A: Yes, Sir.
COURT: So there was an entrapment? Q: And in the course of the investigation of these three
men, you were able to discover that
A. Yes, Your Honor.
Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio were the
COURT: So, these two (2) were arrested? source of the regulated drug that were
confiscated from the three men that you
A. While they were about to hand over another bag of have arrested?
shabu to Noble and company.
A: Yes, Sir.
COURT: And these two reveals (revealed) some
information to you as to the source of the Q: Now, thru entrapment base[d] on your testimony
shabu? you were able to apprehend also these two
men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio?
A. Yes, Your Honor.
A: Yes, Sir.
COURT: What was the information?
xxx xxx xxx
A. Teck told us that he is an employee of Lawrence
Q: These two men, Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio
Wang.
they were also investigated by your team?
COURT: What did you do when you were told about
A: Yes, Sir.
that?
Q: You were present while they were investigated?
A. They also told us that there was an ongoing delivery
of shabu on that morning. A: I was the one whom investigated them.
COURT: When? xxx xxx xxx
A. Of that date early morning of May 17, 1996. Q: Did you ask Redentor and Joseph the source of
shabu that you confiscated from them at the
COURT: At what place? time of the (their) arrest?

25
A: Yes, Sir. They refuse to say the source, however, they The conflicting versions as to whether the arrest preceded the search or vice
told me that they were working for the versa, is a matter of credibility of evidence. It entails appreciation of evidence,
accused. which may be done in an appeal of a criminal case because the entire case is
thrown open for review, but not in the case of a petition for certiorari where the
Q: You also testified that Redentor informed you that factual findings of the trial court are binding upon the Court. Since a dismissal
there was another delivery of shabu order consequent to a demurrer to evidence is not subject to appeal and
scheduled that morning of (stop) was it May reviewable only by certiorari, the factual finding that the arrest preceded the
16 or 17? The other delivery that is search is conclusive upon this Court. The only legal basis for this Court to
scheduled on? possibly reverse and set aside the dismissal order of the trial court upon
demurrer to evidence would be if the trial court committed grave abuse of
A: On the 17th.
discretion in excess of jurisdiction when it ruled that there was no legal basis to
xxx xxx xxx lawfully effect a warrantless arrest.

Q: Did he tell you who was to make the delivery? The pertinent provisions of Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure on
warrantless arrest provide:
A: No, Sir.
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace
xxx xxx xxx officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
Q: At that time when you decided to look for the arrest a person:
accused to ask him to shed light on the
a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
matter concerning the arrest of these two
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
employees in possession of shabu. Did you
commit an offense;
and did your team suspect the accused as
being involved in the transaction that lead b) When an offense has just been committed, and he
(led) to the arrest of Redentor and Joseph? has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to
A: Yes, Sir. We suspected that he was the source of the
be arrested has committed it; and
shabu.
c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who
xxx xxx xxx
has escaped from a penal establishment or place where
Q: When you saw the accused walking towards his car, he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined
did you know whether he was carrying a while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
gun? transferred from one confinement to another.

A: No, Sir. It cannot be seen. Section 5, above, provides three (3) instances when warrantless arrest may be
lawfully effected: (a) arrest of a suspect in flagrante delicto; (b) arrest of a
Q: It was concealed? suspect where, based on personal knowledge of the arresting officer, there is
probable cause that said suspect was the author of a crime which had just been
A: Yes, Sir. committed; (c) arrest of a prisoner who has escaped from custody serving final
Q: So, the only time that you and your team learned judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending.
that he was in possession of the gun is when For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante delicto under
he was bodily search? paragraph (a) of Section 5 to be valid, two requisites must concur: (1) the person
A: Yes, Sir. That is the only time that I came to know to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed,
about when Capt. Margallo handed to me is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act
the gun. is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. 29

Q: Other than walking towards his car, the accused was The facts and circumstances surrounding the present case did not manifest any
not doing anything else? suspicious behavior on the part of private respondent Lawrence Wang that
would reasonably invite the attention of the police. He was merely walking from
A: None, Sir. the Maria Orosa Apartment and was about to enter the parked BMW car when
the police operatives arrested him, frisked and searched his person and
Q: That would invite your suspicion or give indication commanded him to open the compartment of the car, which was later on found
that he was intending to do something to be owned by his friend, David Lee. He was not committing any visible offense
unlawful or illegal? then. Therefore, there can be no valid warrantless arrest in flagrante
delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5. It is settled that "reliable information"
A: No, Sir. alone, absent any overt act indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence
and within the view of the arresting officers, is not sufficient to constitute
Q: When you searched the car, did the accused protest
probable cause that would justify anin flagrante delicto arrest. 30
or try to prevent your team from searching
his car? Neither may the warrantless arrest be justified under paragraph (b) of Section 5.
What is clearly established from the testimonies of the arresting officers is that
A: No, Sir." (TSN pp. 3-16, Feb. 26, 1997)
Wang was arrested mainly on the information that he was the employer of
Clearly therefore, the warrantless arrest of the accused Redentor Teck and Joseph Junio who were previously arrested and charged for
and the search of his person and the car were without illegal transport of shabu. Teck and Junio did not even categorically identify
probable cause and could not be licit. The arrest of the Wang to be their source of the shabu they were caught with in flagrante delicto.
accused did not fall under any of the exception to the Upon the duo's declaration that there will be a delivery of shabu on the early
requirements of warrantless arrests, (Sec. 5, Rule 113, morning of the following day, May 17, which is only a few hours thereafter, and
Rules of Court) and is therefore, unlawful and that Wang may be found in Maria Orosa Apartment along Maria Orosa Street,
derogatory of his constitutional right of liberty. . . . the arresting officers conducted "surveillance" operation in front of said
apartment, hoping to find a person which will match the description of one
The trial court resolved the case on the basis of its findings that the arrest Lawrence Wang, the employer of Teck and Junio. These circumstances do not
preceded the search, and finding no basis to rule in favor of a lawful arrest, it sufficiently establish the existence of probable cause based on personal
ruled that the incidental search is likewise unlawful. Any and all pieces of knowledge as required in paragraph (b) of Section 5.
evidence acquired as a consequence thereof are inadmissible in evidence. Thus,
the trial court dismissed the case for lack of evidence. And doubtless, the warrantless arrest does not fall under paragraph (c) of
Section 5.
Contrary to its position at the trial court, the People, however, now posits that
"inasmuch as it has been shown in the present case that the seizure without The inevitable conclusion, as correctly made by the trial court, is that the
warrant of the regulated drugs and unlicensed firearms in the accused's warrantless arrest was illegal. Ipso jure, the warrantless search incidental to the
possession had been validly made upon probable cause and under exigent illegal arrest is likewise unlawful.
circumstances, then the warrantless arrest of the accused must necessarily have
In People v. Aminnudin, 31 the Court declared as inadmissible in evidence the
to be regarded as having been made on the occasion of the commission of the
marijuana found in appellant's possession during a search without a warrant,
crime in flagrante delicto, and therefore constitutionally and statutorily
because it had been illegally seized, in disregard of the Bill of Rights:
permissible and lawful." 28 In effect, the People now contends that the
warrantless search preceded the warrantless arrest. Since the case falls under an In the case at bar, the accused-appellant was not, at the
exception to the general rule requiring search warrant prior to a valid search and moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it
seizure, the police officers were justified in requiring the private respondent to shown that he was about to do so or that he had just
open his BMW car's trunk to see if he was carrying illegal drugs. done so. What he was doing was descending the
26
gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no During the trial, the parties agreed to stipulate on the testimonies of Engr.
outward indication that called for his arrest. To all Leonard Jabonillo, the Forensic Chemist, and Police Officer 1 (PO1) Oliver
appearances, he was like any of the other passengers Estrelles, the police investigator of these cases. The prosecution thereafter
innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only presented PO2 Noel Magcalayo as its witness. The defense, on the other hand,
when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the presented Rodante De Leon, the accused himself.
marijuana that he suddenly became a suspect and so
subject to apprehension. It was the fugitive finger that The trial court summarized the stipulation of Engr. Jabonillo, as follows:
triggered his arrest. The identification of the informer
. . . that he is a Forensic Chemist of the Philippine
was the probable cause as determined by the officer
National Police, that his Office received the request for
(and not a judge) that authorized them to pounce upon
laboratory examination marked as Annex "A"; that
Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.
together with the said request was a plastic sachet
The People's contention that Wang waived his right against unreasonable search marked as Exh. "B" which contained two (2) plastic
and seizure has no factual basis. While we agree in principle that consent will sachets marked as Exhibits "B-1" and "B-2"; that he
validate an otherwise illegal search, however, based on the evidence on record, conducted the requested laboratory examination and,
Wang resisted his arrest and the search on his person and belongings. 32 The in connection therewith he submitted a Chemistry
implied acquiescence to the search, if there was any, could not have been more Report marked as Exhibit "C", the finding thereon
than mere passive conformity given under intimidating or coercive showing the specimen positive for Methylamphetamine
circumstances and is thus considered no consent at all within the purview of the Hydrochloride was marked as Exhibit "C-1" and the
constitutional guarantee. 33 Moreover, the continuing objection to the validity signature of said police officer was marked as Exhibit
of the warrantless arrest made of record during the arraignment bolsters Wang's "C-2"; that he then issued a Certification marked as
claim that he resisted the warrantless arrest and search. Exhibits "D" and "D-1" and thereafter turned over the
specimen to the evidence custodian . . . . (Order dated
We cannot close this ponencia without a word of caution: those who are September 14, 2004). 5
supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the
individual in the name of order. Order is too high a price for the loss of liberty. Also, as regards PO1 Estrelles, the following was agreed upon:
As Justice Holmes once said, "I think it is less evil that some criminals should
. . . that he was the investigator of these cases and in
escape than that the government should play an ignoble part." It is simply not
connection with the investigation conducted by him, he
allowed in free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law
received the evidence, namely: the Joint Affidavit of
violated is the Constitution itself. 34
Apprehension executed by PO2 Noel Magcalayo and
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. HScCEa PO2 Cesar Collado marked as Exhibit "E" and "E-1"; that
likewise prepared the request for examination marked
SO ORDERED. as Exhibit "A" and submitted the specimen to the Crime
Laboratory and receive the Chemistry Report marked as
|[G.R. No. 186471. January 25, 2010.] Exhibit "C"; that he received the Pre-Operation Report
marked as Exhibit "E" as well as the buy bust money
marked as Exhibits "F" and "F-1", that he prepared the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. letter request to the City Prosecutor Office marked as
RODANTE DE LEON y DELA ROSA, accused-appellant. Exhibit "G"; and that Exhibit "A" contains
superimposition of the date thereof." (Order dated
September 14, 2004). 6
VELASCO, JR., J p:
The Prosecution's Version of Facts
The Case On November 9, 2003, at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, a confidential
informant arrived at the office of the Station Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation
This is an appeal from the April 4, 2008 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
Task Force at the Novaliches Police Station in Quezon City and reported the
CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01811 entitled People of the Philippines v. Rodante De Leon
illegal activities of a person named "Rodante De Leon."
y Dela Rosa which affirmed the December 20, 2005 Decision 2in Criminal Case
Nos. Q-03-122555-56 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 82 in Quezon Thereafter, Police Senior Inspector (P/SInsp.) Nilo Wong formed a team for a
City. The RTC found accused-appellant Rodante De Leon guilty of violation of buy-bust operation with PO2 Magcalayo as poseur-buyer and Senior Police
Sections 5 and 11, Article II of Republic Act No. (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Officer 3 (SPO3) Mario Concepcion, PO2 Fernando Salonga, PO2 Cesar Collado,
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. PO2 Edmund Paculdar, and PO1 Emeterio Mendoza as team members. A pre-
operation report was prepared. P/SInsp. Wong then handed to PO2 Magcalayo
The Facts
two (2) pieces of PhP100 bills as buy-bust money and on which PO2 Magcalayo
The charges against appellant stemmed from the following Informations: wrote his initials "NM." aAcHCT

Criminal Case No. Q-03-122555 At around 6:30 p.m. in the evening, the team proceeded to Sarmiento
St., Barangay Sta. Monica, Novaliches, Quezon City, where the confidential
(Violation of Section 5 [Sale], Article II of RA 9165) informant introduced PO2 Magcalayo to appellant as a buyer of shabu. PO2
Magcalayo then asked appellant if he had shabu and the latter answered in the
That on or about the 9th day of November, 2003, in the
affirmative and asked him how much he would buy. PO2 Magcalayo handed the
Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, not being
money and, in return, appellant handed him one (1) plastic sachet containing
authorized by law, to sell, dispense, deliver, transport
white crystalline substance. He then scratched his head, which was the pre-
or distribute of any dangerous drug, did, then and
arranged signal that the transaction was consummated, and thereafter arrested
there, wilfully and unlawfully sell, dispense, deliver,
appellant. He recovered the buy-bust money from appellant as PO2 Collado
transport, distribute or act as broker in the said
approached them and handcuffed appellant. Upon frisking appellant, PO2
transaction zero point sixteen (0.16) gram of
Collado discovered another plastic sachet on the person of appellant.
methamphetamine hydrochloride a dangerous drug.
Afterwards, appellant was brought to the police station for investigation. PO2
Contrary to law. 3
Collado then placed his initials on the sachet he found on appellant. The
Criminal Case No. Q-03-122556 evidence was subsequently turned over to the police investigator, PO1 Estrelles,
who prepared a request for its laboratory examination.
(Violation of Section 11 [Possession], Article II of RA
9165) PO2 Collado, PO1 Mendoza, PO2 Paculdar, and PO2 Magcalayo then brought the
transparent plastic sachets containing the white crystalline substance subject of
That on or about the 9th day of November, 2003, in the the buy-bust operation to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory,
Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, not being Eastern Police District on St. Francis Street, Mandaluyong City for examination.
authorized by law, to possess or use any dangerous Engr. Jabonillo, a Forensic Chemical Officer, conducted a qualitative examination
drug, did, then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and on the specimens, which yielded positive results for Methylamphetamine
knowingly have in his/her possession and control zero Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. He issued Chemistry Report No. D-1240-2003
point eighteen (0.18) gram of methamphetamine dated November 9, 2003, which showed the following results:
hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. cEDIAa
SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
Contrary to law. 4
Two (2) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets each
On February 16, 2004, appellant was arraigned and pleaded "not guilty" to the containing white crystalline substance having the
charge against him. After the pre-trial conference, trial on the merits ensued. following markings and recorded net weights:

A (NM) = 0.16 gm
27
B (CC) = 0.18 gm WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal
is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated 20
xxx xxx xxx December 2005 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 82 finding accused-appellant Rodante De
PURPOSE OF LABORATORY EXAMINATION:
Leon y Dela Rosa guilty beyond reasonable doubt
To determine the presence of dangerous drugs. in Criminal Case No. Q-03-122555 for violation of
Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and
xxx xxx xxx sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment and to pay a fine in the amount of
FINDINGS: P500,000.00, and in Criminal Case No. Q-03-122556 for
violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. No.
Qualitative examination conducted on the above-stated 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive
specimens gave POSITIVE result to the test for Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, sentencing him to suffer
Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. the indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years and one
... (1) day as minimum to fifteen (15) years and one (1)
CONCLUSION: day as maximum and to pay a fine in the amount of
P300,000.00, is AFFIRMED.
Specimen A and B contain Methylamphetamine
Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. . . . IEaCDH SO ORDERED. 8

Version of the Defense Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal of the decision of the CA.

On the other hand, appellant testified that, prior to his arrest, he was a police The Issues
officer of Station 7, Araneta, Cubao, Quezon City and had been connected with Appellant assigns the following errors:
the PNP for 10 years. On November 9, 2003, at around 3 o'clock in the
afternoon, he went to Sarmiento St., Barangay Sta. Monica, Novaliches, Quezon I.
City to look for a kumpadre from whom he intended to borrow money when
policemen accosted him and poked their guns at him. The people around him The trial court gravely erred in ignoring the fact that the
ran, and as he was the only one left on the scene, the policemen asked him to sit prosecution failed to prove the chain of custody of the
down. He told SPO3 Concepcion, whom he knew, that he was a police officer but alleged confiscated items from the accused-appellant.
he was told to shut up and to explain his side at the police station instead.
II.
Upon arrival at the police station in Novaliches, Quezon City, his wallet, with his
I.D. and police badge, were taken from him. PO2 Magcalayo told him that he had The trial court gravely erred in finding the accused-
a fake police I.D. When appellant tried to explain himself, PO2 Magcalayo appellant guilty of the crimes charged despite the
allegedly kicked him saying, "Hindi na uso ang pulis, sundalo na ang nakaupo failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond
ngayon." reasonable doubt.

The following night, he was presented on inquest during which he was charged Our Ruling
with violation of Secs. 5 and 11 of RA 9165. He denied all the charges against We sustain appellant's conviction.
him claiming that the alleged shabu marked as Exhibits "B-1" and "B-2" came
from the arresting police officers. He did not file a case against them, because he Guilt of Appellant Was Proved Beyond Reasonable Doubt
had no money and because he knew that he was not guilty.
Appellant assails his conviction by contending that the trial court failed to prove
On cross-examination, appellant further testified that he was a follow-up his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. According to him, the trial court erroneously
operative at the Station Investigation Division of Police Station 7. He admitted convicted him on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution despite a question
that he was separated from the service because he was absent without official of the legality of the buy-bust operation. Further, he asserts that the trial court
leave due to a business problem he had to attend to. He likewise said that he did relied on the disputable presumption of regularity in the performance of the
not know his arresting officers, whom he saw then for the first time, and that he police function, despite the police officers violated the rule on chain of custody
was not familiar with RA 9165. of the alleged confiscated items.

Ruling of the Trial Court The contentions are unmeritorious.

After trial, the RTC convicted appellant. The dispositive portion of its Decision It is a fundamental rule that findings of the trial court which are factual in nature
reads: and which involve the credibility of witnesses are accorded with respect, when
no glaring errors, gross misapprehension of facts, and speculative, arbitrary, and
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings. 9 The reason for
rendered as follows: this is that the trial court is in a better position to decide the credibility of
witnesses having heard their testimonies and observed their deportment and
Re: Criminal Case NO. Q-03-122555, the Court finds
manner of testifying during the trial. 10
accused RODANTE DE LEON y DELA
ROSA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a violation of After a thorough examination of the entire records of this case, this Court has
Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 otherwise known failed to identify any error committed by the trial court in its appreciation of the
as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, evidence presented before it and in the conclusion it reached.
and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment and to pay a fine in the amount of In the prosecution for the crime of illegal sale of prohibited drugs, the Court has
P500,000.00; reiterated the essential elements in People v. Pendatun, to wit: (1) the accused
sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another; and (2) he knew that what he
Re: Criminal Case NO. Q-03-122556, the Court finds had sold and delivered was a prohibited drug. 11 Therefore, what is material is
accused RODANTE DE LEON y DELA the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
ROSA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a violation of presentation in court of evidence of the corpus delicti. 12Corpus delicti is the
Section 11, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 otherwise known body or substance of the crime, and establishes the fact that a crime has actually
as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, been committed. It has two elements, namely: (1) proof of the occurrence of a
and hereby sentences him to suffer the indeterminate certain event; and (2) some person's criminal responsibility for the act. 13
penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day as
minimum to fifteen (15) years and one (1) day as In the instant case, the prosecution sufficiently established the elements of the
maximum and to pay a fine in the amount of crime. Appellant sold and delivered the shabu for PhP200 to PO2 Magcalayo
P300,000.00; TAEDcS posing as buyer; the said drug was seized and identified as a prohibited drug and
subsequently presented in evidence; there was actual exchange of the marked
SO ORDERED. 7 money and contraband; and finally, appellant was fully aware that he was selling
and delivering a prohibited drug. In fact, PO2 Magcalayo testified, thus:
On appeal to the CA, appellant disputed the trial court's decision finding him
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged. He argued that the Q: Mr. Witness, on November 9, 2003, did you report
alleged buy-bust operation conducted by the police officers was tainted with for duty?
irregularities and that the prosecution failed to prove the chain of custody of the
evidence. A: Yes, sir.

Ruling of the Appellate Court Q: What happened when you reported for duty? TaCDIc
On April 4, 2008, the CA affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The dispositive
portion of its Decision reads:

28
A: Our confidential informant personally appeared in A: We approached him and then our confidential
our station and reporting to us the alleged informant introduced me to him as a buyer
drug pushing activity of Rodante De Leon. of shabu.

Q: What time was that when this confidential informant COURT:


arrived at your office?
What?
A: Around 5:00 p.m., sir.
A: I was introduced to him by the confidential
Q: What happened when this confidential informant informant as a buyer of shabu.
relayed to you the information about this
Rodante De Leon? PROS. ANTERO:

A: Our Chief sir, formed a team for possible buy bust What happened thereafter?
operation.
A: He made transaction with us, sir.
COURT:
Q: What happened during the transaction?
Who formed?
A: I asked him sir if he has shabu and then he answered
A: P/Sr. Inspector Nilo Wong, your honor. yes and magkano.

PROS. ANTERO: Q: What did he tell you, if any?

Who composed this team? A: He asked me how much I would buy shabu.

A: Us, sir. SPO3 Mario Concepcion, PO2 Fernando Q: What did you tell, if any? aIAHcE
Salonga, PO2 Cesar Collado, PO2 Edmund
A: That was the time when I handed to him the money,
Paculdar and PO1 Emeterio Mendoza, your
sir.
Honor.
Q: What happened when you handed the money to
Q: What happened when this team was formed, Mr.
him?
Witness?
A: In return, sir, he handed to me one (1) plastic sachet
A: We proceeded to Sarmiento Street, sir, for buy bust
containing suspected shabu.
operation.
Q: One?
COURT:
A: Yes, sir.
Were you among the team?
Q: What happened after he handed to you one plastic
A: Yes, your Honor.
sachet?
PROS. ANTERO:
A: I gave pre-arranged signal to my back-up and
Prior to the dispatch to conduct that buy-bust immediately effected the arrest, sir.
operation, what happened, if any?
Q: What was the pre-arranged signal?
A: We prepared the pre-operation report and our Chief
A: By scratching my head, sir.
handed to me the two (2) pieces of P100.00
bills as buy bust money. Q: Scratching your head?
Q: What did you do with that two (2) P100.00 bills? A: Yes, sir.
A: Before we were dispatched, I put my initial on the Q: What happened when you made that pre-arranged
buy-bust money. signal?
Q: What initial? A: I effected the arrest, sir, and confiscated the buy
bust money from Rodante De Leon. 14
A: NM, sir.
Evidently, all the elements of the crime of illegal sale of prohibited drugs were
Q: What [does] NM stand for? cIHCST
proved in the instant case. The testimony cited above shows clearly that a sale
A: Noel Magcalayo, sir. occurred between appellant, as the seller, and PO2 Magcalayo, as the buyer, for
PhP200 worth of shabu. In addition, the said testimony illustrated the seizing of
Q: I am showing you these two (2) P100.00 bills, kindly the prohibited drug and the exchange of the marked money. As a matter of fact,
examine the same whether you know those the trial court, in disposing of the case, said:
P100.00 bills?
. . . Set against this legal yardstick, the evidence
A: These are the buy bust money that we used in the adduced by the prosecution have sufficiently
operation, sir. established the elements aforesaid. The prosecution
witnesses in the person of PO2 Noel Magcalayo, the
xxx xxx xxx one who acted as the poseur buyer in the buy bust
operation conducted by his team, described in detail
Q: What happened after you were given these buy bust
how the operation was commenced with the help of an
money?
informant, his introduction to the accused, the ensuing
A: We proceeded to Sarmiento Street, Barangay Sta. negotiation and consummation of the sale of shabu
Monica, Novaliches, Quezon City. which ended up in the exchange of the item as well as
the buy bust money. Accused was positively identified
Q: What time was that when you proceeded there? as the seller thereof and the source of the plastic
sachet which contained crystalline substance later on
A: At around 6:30 in the afternoon, sir. determined after laboratory examination as positive for
methylamphetamine, a dangerous drug. Said evidence
Q: What happened, Mr. Witness? was presented in court and properly identified as the
A: We were able to meet Rodante De Leon. subject of the buy bust and which was submitted for
examination by the Forensic Chemist. All told, all the
Q: How did you meet this Rodante De Leon? elements aforementioned are hereby present. 15 . .
. ISTDAH
A: By the help of our confidential informant, sir.
Further, the chain of custody was clearly established by the prosecution. It is
Q: Can you tell this Hon. Court how you made a contact elementary that, in every prosecution for the illegal sale of prohibited drugs, the
with this Rodante De Leon? presentation of the drug as evidence in court is material. 16 It is, therefore,
essential that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond doubt.
What is more, the fact that the substance bought during the buy-bust operation
29
is the same substance offered in court should be established. The chain of The arguments are specious. Such irregularities cannot overturn the finding of
custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary the presence in this case of the elements of violations of Secs. 5 and 11, Art. II
doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. 17 of RA 9165.

To ensure that the chain of custody is established, the Implementing Rules and A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment whereby ways and means are
Regulations of RA 9165 provide: resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreakers in the
execution of their criminal plan. 22 In this jurisdiction, the operation is legal and
SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, has been proved to be an effective method of apprehending drug peddlers,
Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant provided due regard to constitutional and legal safeguards is undertaken. 23
Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors
and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia In the case at bar, the evidence clearly shows that the buy-bust operation
and/or Laboratory Equipment. — The PDEA shall take conducted by the police officers, who made use of entrapment to capture
charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant appellant in the act of selling a dangerous drug, was valid and legal. Moreover,
sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and the defense has failed to show any evidence of ill motive on the part of the
essential chemicals, as well as police officers. Even appellant himself declared that it was the first time he met
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory the police officers during his cross-examination. There was, therefore, no motive
equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for the police officers to frame up appellant.
for proper disposition in the following manner:
Likewise, the identity of appellant as the person who sold the dangerous drugs
(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial to PO2 Magcalayo and the one in possession of the shabu cannot be doubted
custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately anymore. Such positive identification prevails over appellant's defenses of denial
after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and and alibi. These defenses have been invariably viewed by the Court with
photograph the same in the presence of the accused or disfavor, for they can easily be concocted but difficult to prove, and they are
the person/s from whom such items were confiscated common and standard defense ploys in most prosecutions arising from
and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. 24 EaISTD
representative from the media and the Department of
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall Absent any proof of motive to falsely accuse appellant of such a grave offense,
be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and the
given a copy thereof; Provided, that the physical findings of the trial court with respect to the credibility of witnesses shall prevail
inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the over appellant's bare allegation. 25
place where the search warrant is served; or at the
We, therefore, uphold the presumption of regularity in the performance of
nearest police station or at the nearest office of the
official duties and find that the prosecution has discharged its burden of proving
apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable,
the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that
non-compliance with these requirements under WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The CA's Decision in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No.
justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and 01811 finding appellant Rodante De Leon y Dela Rosa guilty of the crimes
evidentiary value of the seized items are properly charged is AFFIRMED.
preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not
render void and invalid such seizures of and custody SO ORDERED.
over said items . . . . (Emphasis supplied.)
||| [G.R. No. 170180. November 23, 2007.]
A close examination of the law reveals that it admits of certain exceptions. Thus,
contrary to the assertions of appellant, Sec. 21 of the foregoing law need not be
followed as an exact science. Non-compliance with Sec. 21 does not render an ARSENIO VERGARA VALDEZ, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF
accused's arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
inadmissible. 18 What is essential is "the preservation of the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused." 19 TINGA, J p:
In the instant case, there was substantial compliance with the law and the
integrity of the drugs seized from appellant was preserved. The chain of custody The sacred right against an arrest, search or seizure without valid warrant is not
of the drugs subject matter of the case was shown not to have been broken. The only ancient. It is also zealously safeguarded. The Constitution guarantees the
factual milieu of the case reveals that after PO2 Magcalayo seized and right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
confiscated the dangerous drugs, as well as the marked money, appellant was against unreasonable searches and seizures. 1 Any evidence obtained in
immediately arrested and brought to the police station for investigation, where violation of said right shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
the sachet of suspected shabu was marked with "NM." Immediately thereafter, Indeed, while the power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the
the confiscated substance, with a letter of request for examination, was public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law implemented without
submitted to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination to determine the contravening the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no
presence of any dangerous drug. Per Chemistry Report No. D-1240-2003 dated statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of
November 9, 2003, the specimen submitted contained methylamphetamine government. 2
hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. The examination was conducted by one Engr.
On appeal is the Decision 3 of the Court of Appeals dated 28 July 2005, affirming
Jabonillo, a Forensic Chemical Officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory, whose
the Judgment 4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 31, Agoo, La Union
stipulated testimony clearly established the chain of custody of the specimens
dated 31 March 2004 finding petitioner Arsenio Vergara Valdez guilty beyond
he received. Thus, it is without a doubt that there was an unbroken chain of
reasonable doubt of violating Section 11 of Republic Act No. 9165 (R.A. No.
custody of the illicit drug purchased from appellant. cITCAa
9165) 5 and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from
Likewise, the prosecution was able to prove that appellant is guilty of illegal eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor medium as minimum to fifteen
possession of dangerous drugs with moral certainty. In the prosecution for illegal (15) years of reclusion temporal medium as maximum and ordering him to pay a
possession of dangerous drugs, the following elements must be proved with fine of P350,000.00. 6
moral certainty: (1) that the accused is in possession of the object identified as a
I.
prohibited or regulatory drug; (2) that such possession is not authorized by law;
and (3) that the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. 20 On 26 June 2003, petitioner was charged with violation of Section 11, par. 2 (2)
of R.A. No. 9165 in an Information 7 which reads:
Here, appellant was caught in actual possession of the prohibited drugs without
showing any proof that he was duly authorized by law to possess them. Having That on or about the 17th day of March 2003, in the
been caught in flagrante delicto, there is prima facie evidence ofanimus Municipality of Aringay, Province of La Union,
possidendi on appellant's part. As held by this Court, the finding of a dangerous Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
drug in the house or within the premises of the house of the accused is prima Court, the above-named accused, did then and there
facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi and is enough to convict in willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his
the absence of a satisfactory explanation. 21 In the case at bar, appellant failed possession, control and custody dried marijuana leaves
to present any evidence to rebut his animus possidendi of the shabu found in his wrapped in a cellophane and newspaper page,
pocket during the buy-bust operation. weighing more or less twenty-five (25) grams, without
first securing the necessary permit, license or
Buy-Bust Operation Was Valid prescription from the proper government agency.
Appellant further argues that the buy-bust operation was full of irregularities,
CONTRARY TO LAW. 8
rendering it illegal. He notes that the Pre-Operation Report was full of
discrepancies and that the Joint Sworn Affidavit of Apprehension of PO2 On arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits
Magcalayo and PO2 Collado failed to mention that they placed their markings on ensued with the prosecution presenting the three (3) barangay tanods of San
the plastic sachets.

30
Benito Norte, Aringay, La Union namely, Rogelio Bautista (Bautista), Nestor marijuana leaves purportedly seized from him are inadmissible in evidence for
Aratas (Aratas) and Eduardo Ordoño (Ordoño), who arrested petitioner. aEHIDT being the fruit of a poisonous tree.

Bautista testified that at around 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. of 17 March 2003, he was Well-settled is the rule that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of
conducting the routine patrol along the National Highway in Barangay San witnesses and their testimonies are accorded great respect and weight, in the
Benito Norte, Aringay, La Union together with Aratas and Ordoño when they absence of any clear showing that some facts and circumstances of weight or
noticed petitioner, lugging a bag, alight from a mini-bus. The tanods observed substance which could have affected the result of the case have been
that petitioner, who appeared suspicious to them, seemed to be looking for overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied. 17
something. They thus approached him but the latter purportedly attempted to
run away. They chased him, put him under arrest and thereafter brought him to After meticulous examination of the records and evidence on hand, however,
the house of Barangay Captain Orencio Mercado (Mercado) where he, as the Court finds and so holds that a reversal of the decision a quo under review is
averred by Bautista, was ordered by Mercado to open his bag. Petitioner's bag in order.
allegedly contained a pair of denim pants, eighteen pieces of eggplant and dried
II.
marijuana leaves wrapped in newspaper and cellophane. It was then that
petitioner was taken to the police station for further investigation. 9 At the outset, we observe that nowhere in the records can we find any objection
by petitioner to the irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. Considering
Aratas and Ordoño corroborated Bautista's testimony on most material points. this and his active participation in the trial of the case, jurisprudence dictates
On cross-examination, however, Aratas admitted that he himself brought out that petitioner is deemed to have submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court,
the contents of petitioner's bag before petitioner was taken to the house of thereby curing any defect in his arrest. The legality of an arrest affects only the
Mercado. 10 Nonetheless, he claimed that at Mercado's house, it was petitioner jurisdiction of the court over his person. 18Petitioner's warrantless arrest
himself who brought out the contents of his bag upon orders from Mercado. For therefore cannot, in itself, be the basis of his acquittal.
his part, Ordoño testified that it was he who was ordered by Mercado to open
petitioner's bag and that it was then that they saw the purported contents However, to determine the admissibility of the seized drugs in evidence, it is
thereof. 11 indispensable to ascertain whether or not the search which yielded the alleged
contraband was lawful. The search, conducted as it was without a warrant, is
The prosecution likewise presented Police Inspector Valeriano Laya II (Laya), the justified only if it were incidental to a lawful arrest. 19 Evaluating the evidence
forensic chemist who conducted the examination of the marijuana allegedly on record in its totality, as earlier intimated, the reasonable conclusion is that
confiscated from petitioner. Laya maintained that the specimen submitted to the arrest of petitioner without a warrant is not lawful as well.
him for analysis, a sachet of the substance weighing 23.10 grams and contained
in a plastic bag, tested positive of marijuana. He disclosed on cross-examination, Petitioner maintains, in a nutshell, that after he was approached by
however, that he had knowledge neither of how the marijuana was taken from the tanod and asked to show the contents of his bag, he was simply herded
petitioner nor of how the said substance reached the police officers. Moreover, without explanation and taken to the house of the barangay captain. On their
he could not identify whose marking was on the inside of the cellophane way there, it was Aratas who carried his bag. He denies ownership over the
wrapping the marijuana leaves. 12 contraband allegedly found in his bag and asserts that he saw it for the first time
at the barangay captain's house.
The charges were denied by petitioner. As the defense's sole witness, he
testified that at around 8:30 p.m. on 17 March 2003, he arrived in Aringay from
his place in Curro-oy, Santol, La Union. After alighting from the bus, petitioner
claimed that he went to the house of a friend to drink water and then proceeded Even casting aside petitioner's version and basing the resolution of this case on
to walk to his brother's house. As he was walking, prosecution witness Ordoño, a the general thrust of the prosecution evidence, the unlawfulness of petitioner's
cousin of his brother's wife, allegedly approached him and asked where he was arrest stands out just the same.
going. Petitioner replied that he was going to his brother's house. Ordoño then
purportedly requested to see the contents of his bag and appellant acceded. It Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides the only
occasions on which a person may be arrested without a warrant, to wit:
was at this point that Bautista and Aratas joined them. After inspecting all the
contents of his bag, petitioner testified that he was restrained by the tanod and Section 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A
taken to the house of Mercado. It was Aratas who carried the bag until they peace officer or a private person may, without a
reached their destination.13 warrant, arrest a person:
Petitioner maintained that at Mercado's house, his bag was opened by (a) When, in his presence, the person to be
the tanod and Mercado himself. They took out an item wrapped in newspaper, arrested has committed, is
which later turned out to be marijuana leaves. Petitioner denied ownership actually committing, or is
thereof. He claimed to have been threatened with imprisonment by his arrestors attempting to commit an offense;
if he did not give the prohibited drugs to someone from the east in order for
them to apprehend such person. As petitioner declined, he was brought to the (b) When an offense has just been
police station and charged with the instant offense. Although petitioner divulged committed and he has probable
that it was he who opened and took out the contents of his bag at his friend's cause to believe based on
house, he averred that it was one of the tanod who did so at Mercado's house personal knowledge of facts or
and that it was only there that they saw the marijuana for the first time. 14 circumstances that the person to
be arrested has committed it;
Finding that the prosecution had proven petitioner's guilt beyond reasonable and
doubt, the RTC rendered judgment against him and sentenced him to suffer
indeterminate imprisonment ranging from eight (8) years and one (1) day (c) When the person to be arrested is a
of prision mayor medium as minimum to fifteen (15) years of reclusion prisoner who has escaped from a
temporal medium as maximum and ordered him to pay a fine of penal establishment or place
P350,000.00. 15 HAaDcS where he is serving final
judgment or temporarily
Aggrieved, petitioner appealed the decision of the RTC to the Court of Appeals. confined while his case is
On 28 July 2005, the appellate court affirmed the challenged decision. The Court pending, or has escaped while
of Appeals, finding no cogent reason to overturn the presumption of regularity being transferred from one
in favor of the barangay tanod in the absence of evidence of ill-motive on their confinement to another.
part, agreed with the trial court that there was probable cause to arrest
petitioner. It observed further: xxx xxx xxx

That the prosecution failed to establish the chain of It is obvious that based on the testimonies of the arresting barangay tanod, not
custody of the seized marijuana is of no moment. Such one of these circumstances was obtaining at the time petitioner was arrested.
circumstance finds prominence only when the By their own admission, petitioner was not committing an offense at the time he
existence of the seized prohibited drugs is denied. In alighted from the bus, nor did he appear to be then committing an
this case, accused-appellant himself testified that the offense. 20 The tanod did not have probable cause either to justify petitioner's
marijuana wrapped in a newspaper was taken from his warrantless arrest. cHaICD
bag. The corpus delicti of the crime, i.e.[,] the existence
of the marijuana and his possession thereof, was amply For the exception in Section 5 (a), Rule 113 to operate, this Court has ruled that
proven by accused-appellant Valdez's own two (2) elements must be present: (1) the person to be arrested must execute
testimony. 16 an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or
In this appeal, petitioner prays for his acquittal and asserts that his guilt of the within the view of the arresting officer. 21 Here, petitioner's act of looking
crime charged had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He argues, albeit around after getting off the bus was but natural as he was finding his way to his
for the first time on appeal, that the warrantless arrest effected against him by destination. That he purportedly attempted to run away as
the barangay tanod was unlawful and that the warrantless search of his bag that the tanod approached him is irrelevant and cannot by itself be construed as
followed was likewise contrary to law. Consequently, he maintains, the adequate to charge the tanod with personal knowledge that petitioner had just
engaged in, was actually engaging in or was attempting to engage in criminal
31
activity. More importantly, petitioner testified that he did not run away but in and positive testimony, that the necessary consent was
fact spoke with the barangay tanod when they approached him. obtained and that it was freely and voluntarily given. 32

Even taking the prosecution's version generally as the truth, in line with our In the case at bar, following the theory of the prosecution — albeit based on
assumption from the start, the conclusion will not be any different. It is not conflicting testimonies on when petitioner's bag was actually opened, it is
unreasonable to expect that petitioner, walking the street at night, after being apparent that petitioner was already under the coercive control of the public
closely observed and then later tailed by three unknown persons, would attempt officials who had custody of him when the search of his bag was demanded.
to flee at their approach. Flight per se is not synonymous with guilt and must not Moreover, the prosecution failed to prove any specific statement as to how the
always be attributed to one's consciousness of guilt. 22Of persuasion was the consent was asked and how it was given, nor the specific words spoken by
Michigan Supreme Court when it ruled in People v. Shabaz 23 that "[f]light alone petitioner indicating his alleged "consent." Even granting that petitioner
is not a reliable indicator of guilt without other circumstances because flight admitted to opening his bag when Ordoño asked to see its contents, his implied
alone is inherently ambiguous." Alone, and under the circumstances of this case, acquiescence, if at all, could not have been more than mere passive conformity
petitioner's flight lends itself just as easily to an innocent explanation as it does given under coercive or intimidating circumstances and hence, is considered no
to a nefarious one. consent at all within the contemplation of the constitutional guarantee. 33 As a
result, petitioner's lack of objection to the search and seizure is not tantamount
Moreover, as we pointed out in People v. Tudtud, 24 "[t]he phrase 'in his to a waiver of his constitutional right or a voluntary submission to the
presence' therein, connot[es] penal knowledge on the part of the arresting warrantless search and seizure. 34
officer. The right of the accused to be secure against any unreasonable searches
on and seizure of his own body and any deprivation of his liberty being a most III.
basic and fundamental one, the statute or rule that allows exception to the
Notably, the inadmissibility in evidence of the seized marijuana leaves for being
requirement of a warrant of arrest is strictly construed. Its application cannot be
the fruit of an unlawful search is not the lone cause that militates against the
extended beyond the cases specifically provided by law." 25
case of the prosecution. We likewise find that it has failed to convincingly
Indeed, the supposed acts of petitioner, even assuming that they appeared establish the identity of the marijuana leaves purportedly taken from
dubious, cannot be viewed as sufficient to incite suspicion of criminal activity petitioner's bag.
enough to validate his warrantless arrest. 26 If at all, the search most
In all prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, the following
permissible for the tanod to conduct under the prevailing backdrop of the case
elements must concur: (1) proof that the transaction took place; and (2)
was a stop-and-frisk to allay any suspicion they have been harboring based on
presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as evidence. 35 The
petitioner's behavior. However, a stop-and-frisk situation, following Terry v.
existence of dangerous drugs is a condition sine qua non for conviction for the
Ohio, 27 must precede a warrantless arrest, be limited to the person's outer
illegal sale of dangerous drugs, it being the very corpus delicti of the
clothing, and should be grounded upon a genuine reason, in light of the police
crime. 36 EHaASD
officer's experience and surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the
person detained has weapons concealed about him. 28 In a line of cases, we have ruled as fatal to the prosecution's case its failure to
prove that the specimen submitted for laboratory examination was the same
Accordingly, petitioner's waiver of his right to question his arrest
one allegedly seized from the accused. 37 There can be no crime of illegal
notwithstanding, the marijuana leaves allegedly taken during the search cannot
possession of a prohibited drug when nagging doubts persist on whether the
be admitted in evidence against him as they were seized during a warrantless
item confiscated was the same specimen examined and established to be the
search which was not lawful. 29 As we pronounced in People v. Bacla-an —
prohibited drug. 38 As we discussed in People v. Orteza, 39where we deemed
A waiver of an illegal warrantless arrest does not also the prosecution to have failed in establishing all the elements necessary for
mean a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence conviction of appellant for illegal sale of shabu —
seized during an illegal warrantless arrest. The
following searches and seizures are deemed
permissible by jurisprudence: (1) search of moving First, there appears nothing in the record showing that
vehicles (2) seizure in plain view (3) customs searches police officers complied with the proper procedure in
(4) waiver or consent searches (5) stop and frisk the custody of seized drugs as specified in People v.
situations (Terry Search) and (6) search incidental to a Lim, i.e., any apprehending team having initial control
lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless of said drugs and/or paraphernalia should, immediately
search and seizure pursuant to an equally valid after seizure or confiscation, have the same physically
warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is inventoried and photographed in the presence of the
considered legitimate if effected with a valid warrant of accused, if there be any, and or his representative, who
arrest, the Rules of Court recognize permissible shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and
warrantless arrests, to wit: (1) arrests in flagrante be given a copy thereof. The failure of the agents to
delicto, (2) arrests effected in hot pursuit, and, (3) comply with the requirement raises doubt whether
arrests of escaped prisoners. 30 HTCIcE what was submitted for laboratory examination and
presented in court was actually recovered from
When petitioner was arrested without a warrant, he was neither caught
appellant. It negates the presumption that official
in flagrante delicto committing a crime nor was the arrest effected in hot
duties have been regularly performed by the police
pursuit. Verily, it cannot therefore be reasonably argued that the warrantless
officers.
search conducted on petitioner was incidental to a lawful arrest.
In People v. Laxa, where the buy-bust team failed to
In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General posits that apart from the
mark the confiscated marijuana immediately after the
warrantless search being incidental to his lawful arrest, petitioner had
apprehension of the accused, the Court held that the
consented to the search. We are not convinced. As we explained in Caballes v.
deviation from the standard procedure in anti-narcotics
Court of Appeals 31 —
operations produced doubts as to the origins of the
Doubtless, the constitutional immunity against marijuana. Consequently, the Court concluded that the
unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right prosecution failed to establish the identity of
which may be waived. The consent must be voluntary the corpus delicti.
in order to validate an otherwise illegal detention and
The Court made a similar ruling in People v. Kimura,
search,i.e., the consent is unequivocal, specific, and
where the Narcom operatives failed to place markings
intelligently given, uncontaminated by any duress or
on the seized marijuana at the time the accused was
coercion. Hence, consent to a search is not to be lightly
arrested and to observe the procedure and take
inferred, but must be shown by clear and convincing
custody of the drug.
evidence. The question whether a consent to a search
was in fact voluntary is a question of fact to be More recently, in Zarraga v. People, the Court held that
determined from the totality of all the circumstances. the material inconsistencies with regard to when and
Relevant to this determination are the following where the markings on the shabu were made and the
characteristics of the person giving consent and the lack of inventory on the seized drugs created
environment in which consent is given: (1) the age of reasonable doubt as to the identity of the corpus
the defendant; (2) whether he was in a public or delicti. The Court thus acquitted the accused due to the
secluded location; (3) whether he objected to the prosecution's failure to indubitably show the identity of
search or passively looked on; (4) the education and the shabu.
intelligence of the defendant; (5) the presence of
coercive police procedures; (6) the defendant's belief In the case at bar, after the arrest of petitioner by the barangay tanod, the
that no incriminating evidence will be found; (7) the records only show that he was taken to the house of the barangay captain and
nature of the police questioning; (8) the environment in thereafter to the police station. The Joint Affidavit 40 executed by
which the questioning took place; and (9) the possibly thetanod merely states that they confiscated the marijuana leaves which they
vulnerable subjective state of the person consenting. It brought to the police station together with petitioner. Likewise, the
is the State which has the burden of proving, by clear
32
Receipt 41 issued by the Aringay Police Station merely acknowledged receipt of as an admonition to police officers and public officials alike to perform their
the suspected drugs supposedly confiscated from petitioner. mandated duties with commitment to the highest degree of diligence,
righteousness and respect for the law.
Not only did the three tanod contradict each other on the matter of when
petitioner's bag was opened, they also gave conflicting testimony on who WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner
actually opened the same. The prosecution, despite these material Arsenio Vergara Valdez is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt. The Director of the
inconsistencies, neglected to explain the discrepancies. Even more damning to Bureau of Corrections is directed to cause the immediate release of petitioner,
its cause was the admission by Laya, the forensic chemist, that he did not know unless the latter is being lawfully held for another cause; and to inform the Court
how the specimen was taken from petitioner, how it reached the police of the date of his release, or the reasons for his continued confinement, within
authorities or whose marking was on the cellophane wrapping of the marijuana. ten (10) days from notice. No costs.
The non-presentation, without justifiable reason, of the police officers who
conducted the inquest proceedings and marked the seized drugs, if such was the SO ORDERED.
case, is fatal to the case. Plainly, the prosecution neglected to establish the
[G.R. No. 101837. February 11, 1992.]
crucial link in the chain of custody of the seized marijuana leaves from the time
they were first allegedly discovered until they were brought for examination by
Laya. TcHCDI ROLITO GO y TAMBUNTING, petitioner, vs. THE COURT
The Court of Appeals found as irrelevant the failure of the prosecution to OF APPEALS; THE HON. BENJAMIN V. PELAYO,
establish the chain of custody over the seized marijuana as such "[f]inds Presiding Judge, Branch 168, Regional Trial Court,
prominence only when the existence of the seized prohibited drug is NCJR Pasig, M.M.; and PEOPLE OF THE
denied."42 We cannot agree. PHILIPPINES, respondents.

To buttress its ratiocination, the appellate court narrowed on petitioner's


testimony that the marijuana was taken from his bag, without taking the SYLLABUS
statement in full context. 43 Contrary to the Court of Appeals' findings, although
petitioner testified that the marijuana was taken from his bag, he consistently
denied ownership thereof. 44 Furthermore, it defies logic to require a denial of 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; WARRANTLESS ARREST UNDER SEC.
ownership of the seized drugs before the principle of chain of custody comes 5, RULE 113, NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. —We do not believe that the
into play. warrantless "arrest" or detention of petitioner in the instant case falls within the
terms of Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which
The onus of proving culpability in criminal indictment falls upon the State. In provides as follows: "Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace
conjunction with this, law enforcers and public officers alike have the corollary officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: (a) When, in
duty to preserve the chain of custody over the seized drugs. The chain of his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing,
evidence is constructed by proper exhibit handling, storage, labeling and or is attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has in fact just been
recording, and must exist from the time the evidence is found until the time it is committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to
offered in evidence. Each person who takes possession of the specimen is duty- be arrested has committed it; and (c) When the person to be arrested is a
bound to detail how it was cared for, safeguarded and preserved while in his or prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is
her control to prevent alteration or replacement while in custody. This serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has
guarantee of the integrity of the evidence to be used against an accused goes to escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. In cases
the very heart of his fundamental rights. falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a
warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he
The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty invoked by the
shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7." Petitioner's
prosecution and relied upon by the courts a quo cannot by itself overcome the
"arrest" took place six (6) days after the shooting of Maguan. The arresting
presumption of innocence nor constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable
officers obviously were not present, within the meaning of Section 5(a), at the
doubt. 45 Among the constitutional rights enjoyed by an accused, the most
time petitioner had allegedly shot Maguan. Neither could the "arrest" effected
primordial yet often disregarded is the presumption of innocence. This
six (6) days after the shooting be reasonably regarded as effected "when [the
elementary principle accords every accused the right to be presumed innocent
shooting had] in fact just been committed" within the meaning of Section 5 (b).
until the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, the burden of
Moreover, none of the "arresting" officers had any "personal knowledge" of
proving the guilt of the accused rests upon the prosecution. STaAcC
facts indicating that petitioner was the gunman who had shot Maguan. The
Concededly, the evidence of the defense is weak and uncorroborated. information upon which the police acted had been derived from statements
Nevertheless, this "[c]annot be used to advance the cause of the prosecution as made by alleged eyewitnesses to the shooting -- one stated that petitioner was
its evidence must stand or fall on its own weight and cannot be allowed to draw the gunman; another was able to take down the alleged gunman's car's plate
strength from the weakness of the defense." 46 Moreover, where the number which turned out to be registered in petitioner's wife's name. That
circumstances are shown to yield two or more inferences, one inconsistent with information did not, however, constitute "personal knowledge." It is thus clear
the presumption of innocence and the other compatible with the finding of guilt, to the Court that there was no lawful warrantless arrest of petitioner within the
the court must acquit the accused for the reason that the evidence does not meaning of Section 5 of Rule 113.
satisfy the test of moral certainty and is inadequate to support a judgment of
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ACCUSED ENTITLED TO A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WITHOUT
conviction. 47
ANY CONDITIONS. — Petitioner was not arrested at all. When he walked into the
Drug addiction has been invariably denounced as "an especially vicious San Juan Police Station, accompanied by two (2) lawyers, he in fact placed
crime," 48 and "one of the most pernicious evils that has ever crept into our himself at the disposal of the police authorities. He did not state that he was
society," 49 for those who become addicted to it "not only slide into the ranks of "surrendering" himself, in all probability to avoid the implication he was
the living dead, what is worse, they become a grave menace to the safety of law- admitting that he had slain Eldon Maguan or that he was otherwise guilty of a
abiding members of society," 50 whereas "peddlers of drugs are actually agents crime. When the police filed a complaint for frustrated homicide with the
of destruction." 51 Indeed, the havoc created by the ruinous effects of Prosecutor, the latter should have immediately scheduled a preliminary
prohibited drugs on the moral fiber of society cannot be underscored enough. investigation to determine whether there was probable cause for charging
However, in the rightfully vigorous campaign of the government to eradicate the petitioner in court for the killing of Eldon Maguan. Instead, as noted earlier, the
hazards of drug use and drug trafficking, it cannot be permitted to run Prosecutor proceeded under the erroneous supposition that Section 7 of Rule
roughshod over an accused's right to be presumed innocent until proven to the 112 was applicable and required petitioner to waive the provisions of Article 125
contrary and neither can it shirk from its corollary obligation to establish such of the Revised Penal Code as a condition for carrying out a preliminary
guilt beyond reasonable doubt. investigation. This was substantive error, for petitioner was entitled to a
preliminary investigation and that right should have been accorded him without
In this case, the totality of the evidence presented utterly fails to overcome the any conditions. Moreover, since petitioner had not been arrested, with or
presumption of innocence which petitioner enjoys. The failure of the without a warrant, he was also entitled to be released forthwith subject only to
prosecution to prove all the elements of the offense beyond reasonable doubt his appearing at the preliminary investigation.
must perforce result in petitioner's exoneration from criminal liability.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION; NO WAIVER THEREOF
IV. MADE IN CASE AT BAR. — Turning to the second issue of whether or not
petitioner had waived his right to preliminary investigation, we note that
A final word. We find it fitting to take this occasion to remind the courts to
petitioner had from the very beginning demanded that a preliminary
exercise the highest degree of diligence and prudence in deliberating upon the
investigation be conducted. As earlier pointed out, on the same day that the
guilt of accused persons brought before them, especially in light of the
information for murder was filed with the Regional Trial Court, petitioner filed
fundamental rights at stake. Here, we note that the courts a quo neglected to
with the Prosecutor an omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary
give more serious consideration to certain material issues in the determination
investigation. The Solicitor General contends that that omnibus motion should
of the merits of the case. We are not oblivious to the fact that in some instances,
have been filed with the trial court and not with the Prosecutor, and that
law enforcers resort to the practice of planting evidence to extract information
petitioner should accordingly be held to have waived his right to preliminary
or even harass civilians. Accordingly, courts are duty-bound to be "[e]xtra
investigation. We do not believe that waiver of petitioner's statutory right to
vigilant in trying drug cases lest an innocent person be made to suffer the
preliminary investigation may be predicated on such a slim basis. The
unusually severe penalties for drug offenses." 52 In the same vein, let this serve
preliminary investigation was to be conducted by the Prosecutor, not by the
33
Regional Trial Court. It is true that at the time of filing of petitioner's omnibus 8. ID.; ID.; RELIANCE ON THE CASE OF UMIL v. RAMOS, MISPLACED; OFFENSE
motion, the information for murder had already been filed with the Regional COMMITTED NOT CONSIDERED A "CONTINUING CRIME." — The reliance of both
Trial Court: it is not clear from the record whether petitioner was aware of this petitioner and the Solicitor General upon Umil v. Ramos (G.R. No. 81567,
fact at the time his omnibus motion was actually filed with the Prosecutor. promulgated 3 October 1991) is, in the circumstances of this case, misplaced.
Nonetheless, since petitioner in his omnibus motion was asking for preliminary In Umil v. Ramos, by an eight-to-six vote, the Court sustained the legality of the
investigation and not for a re-investigation and since the Prosecutor himself did warrantless arrests of petitioners made from one (1) to fourteen (14) days after
file with the trial court, on the 5th day after filing the information for murder, a the actual commission of the offenses, upon the ground that such offenses
motion for leave to conduct preliminary investigation (attaching to his motion a constituted "continuing crimes." Those offenses were subversion, membership
copy of petitioner's omnibus motion), we conclude that petitioner's omnibus in an outlawed organization like the New Peoples Army, etc. In the instant case,
motion was in effect filed with the trial court. What was crystal clear was that the offense for which petitioner was arrested was murder, an offense which was
petitioner did ask for a preliminary investigation on the very day that the obviously commenced and completed at one definite location in time and space.
information was filed without such preliminary investigation, and that the trial No one had pretended that the fatal shooting of Maguan was a "continuing
court was five (5) days later apprised of the desire of the petitioner for such crime."
preliminary investigation. Finally, the trial court did in fact grant the Prosecutor's
prayer for leave to conduct preliminary investigation. Thus, even on the 9. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; STATE SHOULD REAFFIRM ITS OBLIGATION TO
(mistaken) supposition apparently made by the Prosecutor that Section 7 of Rule RESPECT THE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES OF ITS CONSTITUENTS; TO ACCORD AN
112 of the Revised Court was applicable, the 5-day reglementary period in ACCUSED HIS RIGHT TO A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION AND TO BAIL IN CASE
Section 7, Rule 112 must be held to have been substantially complied with. We AT BAR, NOT AN IDLE CEREMONY. — To reach any other conclusion here, that is,
believe and so hold that petitioner did not waive his right to a preliminary to hold that petitioner's rights to a preliminary investigation and to bail were
investigation. The rule is that the right to preliminary investigation is waived effectively obliterated by evidence subsequently admitted into the record would
when the accused fails to invoke it before or at the time of entering a plea at be to legitimize the deprivation of due process and to permit the Government to
arraignment. In the instant case, petitioner Go had vigorously insisted on his benefit from its own wrong or culpable omission and effectively to dilute
right to preliminary investigation before his arraignment. We do not believe that important rights of accused persons well-nigh to the vanishing point. It may be
by posting bail, petitioner had waived his right to preliminary investigation. that to require the State to accord petitioner his rights to a preliminary
Petitioner Go asked for release on recognizance or on bail and for preliminary investigation and to bail at this point, could turn out ultimately to be largely a
investigation in one omnibus motion. He had thus claimed his right to ceremonial exercise. But the Court is not compelled to speculate. And, in any
preliminary investigation before respondent Judge approved the cash bond case, it would not be idle ceremony; rather it would be a celebration by the
posted by petitioner and ordered his release on 12 July 1991. Accordingly, we State of the rights and liberties of its own people and a re-affirmation of its
cannot reasonably imply waiver of preliminary investigation on the part of obligation and determination to respect those rights and liberties.
petitioner. In fact, when the Prosecutor filed a motion in court asking for leave
CRUZ, J., concurring:
to conduct preliminary investigation, he clearly if impliedly recognized that
petitioner's claim to preliminary investigation was a legitimate one. 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; STATUTORY RIGHTS OF ACCUSED TO
PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS VITIATED IN CASE AT BAR. — Petitioner had from
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; A SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT AND A COMPONENT PART OF DUE the start demanded a preliminary investigation and that his counsel has
PROCESS. — While the right to a preliminary investigation is statutory rather reluctantly participated in the trial only because the court threatened to replace
than constitutional in its fundament, since it has in fact been established by him with a counsel de oficio if he did not. Under these circumstances, I am
statute, it is a component part of due process in criminal justice. The right to convinced that there was no waiver. The petitioner was virtually compelled to go
have a preliminary investigation conducted before being bound over to trial for to trial. Such compulsion and the unjustified denial of a clear statutory right of
a criminal offense and hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other the petitioner vitiated the proceedings as violative of procedural due process.
penalty, is not a mere formal or technical right; it is a substantive right. The
accused in a criminal trial is inevitably exposed to prolonged anxiety, GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:
aggravation, humiliation, not to speak of expense; the right to an opportunity to
1. JUDICIAL ETHICS; COURTS; IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWING THE RULES
avoid a process painful to any one save, perhaps, to hardened criminals, is a
EMPHASIZED. — The need for a trial court to follow the Rules and to be fair,
valuable right. To deny petitioner's claim to a preliminary investigation would be
impartial, and persistent in getting the true facts of a case is present in all cases
to deprive him of the full measure of his right to due process.
but it is particularly important if the accused is indigent; more so, if he is one of
5. ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO ACCORD PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION DOES NOT IMPAIR those unfortunates who seem to spend more time behind bars than outside.
VALIDITY OF INFORMATION FILED. — Contrary to petitioner's contention the Unlike the accused in this case who enjoys the assistance of competent counsel,
failure to accord preliminary investigation, while constituting a denial of the a poor defendant convicted by wide and unfavorable media coverage may be
appropriate and full measure of the statutory process of criminal justice, did not presumed guilty before trial and be unable to defend himself properly. Hence,
impair the validity of the information for murder nor affect the jurisdiction of the importance of the court always following the Rules.
the trial court.
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J., dissenting:
6. ID.; ID.; ACCUSED ENTITLED TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION EVEN THOUGH 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, NO
TRIAL ON THE MERITS HAS ALREADY BEGAN. — We consider that petitioner LONGER NEEDED; RETURN OF CASE TO THE PROSECUTOR, SUPEREROGATORY.
remains entitled to a preliminary investigation although trial on the merits has — I do not believe that there is still need to conduct a preliminary investigation
already began. Trial on the merits should be suspended or held in abeyance and the sole purpose of which would be to ascertain if there is sufficient ground to
a preliminary investigation forthwith accorded to petitioner. The constitutional believe that a crime was committed (which the petitioner does not dispute) and
point is that petitioner was not accorded what he was entitled to by way of that he (the petitioner) is probably guilty thereof (which the prosecutor, by filing
procedural due process. Petitioner was forced to undergo arraignment and the information against him, presumably believed to be so). In the present stage
literally pushed to trial without preliminary investigation, with extraordinary of the presentation of the prosecution's evidence, to return the case to the
haste, to the applause from the audience that filled the courtroom. If he Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation under Rule 112 of the 1985
submitted to arraignment and trial, petitioner did so "kicking and screaming," in Rules on Criminal Procedure would be supererogatory.
a manner of speaking. During the proceedings held before the trial court on 23
August 1991, the date set for arraignment of petitioner, and just before 2. ID.; ID.; RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL
arraignment, counsel made very clear petitioner's vigorous protest and RIGHT. — It should be remembered that as important as is the right of the
objection to the arraignment precisely because of the denial of preliminary accused to a preliminary investigation, it is not a constitutional right. Its absence
investigation. is not a ground to quash the information (Doromal vs. Sandiganbayan, 177 SCRA
354). It does not affect the court's jurisdiction, nor impair the validity of the
7. ID.; ID.; ACCUSED ENTITLED TO BE RELEASED ON BAIL AS A MATTER OF RIGHT. information (Rodis vs. Sandiganbayan, 166 SCRA 618), nor constitute an
— In respect of the matter of bail, petitioner remains entitled to be released on infringement of the right of the accused to confront witnesses
bail as a matter of right. Should the evidence already of record concerning (Bustos vs. Lucero, 81 Phil. 640).
petitioner's guilt be, in the reasonable belief of the Prosecutor, strong, the
Prosecutor may move in the trial court for cancellation of petitioner's bail. It 3. ID.; ID.; HEARING OF APPLICATION FOR BAIL; SHOULD NOT BE SUSPENDED
would then be up to the trial court, after a careful and objective assessment of AND SHOULD NOT BE SUBORDINATED TO THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF
the evidence on record, to grant or deny the motion for cancellation of bail. It THE CHARGE. — The court's hearing of the application for bail should not be
must also be recalled that the Prosecutor had actually agreed that petitioner subordinated to the preliminary investigation of the charge. The hearing should
was entitled to bail. This was equivalent to an acknowledgment on the part of not be suspended, but should be allowed to proceed for it will accomplish a
the Prosecutor that the evidence of guilt then in his hands was not strong. double purpose. The parties will have an opportunity to show not only: (a)
Accordingly, we consider that the 17 July 1991 order of respondent Judge whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the petitioner killed Eldon
recalling his own order granting bail and requiring petitioner to surrender Maguan, but more importantly (b) whether or not the evidence of his guilt is
himself within forty-eight (48) hours from notice, was plainly arbitrary strong. The judge's determination that the evidence of his guilt is strong would
considering that no evidence at all — and certainly naturally foreclose the need for a preliminary investigation to ascertain the
no new or additional evidence — had been submitted to respondent Judge that probability of his guilt. The bail hearing may not be suspended because upon the
could have justified the recall of his order issued just five (5) days before. filing of an application for bail by one accused of a capital offense, "the judge
is under a legal obligation to receive evidence with the view of determining
whether evidence of guilt is so strong as to warrant denial of bond."

34
4. ID.; ID.; ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY DID NOT MAKE THE RIGHT TO BAIL On 12 July 1991, petitioner filed an urgent ex-parte motion for special raffle 5 in
ABSOLUTE; ACCUSED MAY NOT BE RELEASED PENDING HEARING OF PETITION order to expedite action on the Prosecutor's bail recommendation. The case was
FOR BAIL. — The abolition of the death penalty did not make the right to bail raffled to the sala of respondent Judge, who, on the same date, approved the
absolute, for persons charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua, cash bond 6 posted by petitioner and ordered his release. 7 Petitioner was in
when evidence of guilt is strong, are not bailable (Sec. 3, Art. III, 1987 fact released that same day.
Constitution). In People vs. Dacudao, 170 SCRA 489, we called down the trial
court for having granted the motion for bail in a murder case without any On 16 July 1991, the Prosecutor filed with the Regional Trial Court a motion for
hearing and without giving the prosecution an opportunity to comment or file leave to conduct preliminary investigation 8 and prayed that in the meantime all
objections thereto. Similarly, this Court held inPeople vs. Bocar, 27 SCRA 512: ". . proceedings in the court be suspended. He stated that petitioner had filed
. due process also demands that in the matter of bail the prosecution should be before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal an omnibus motion for
afforded full opportunity to present proof of the guilt of the accused. Thus, if it immediate release and preliminary investigation, which motion had been
were true that the prosecution in this case was deprived of the right to present granted by Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro, who also agreed to recommend
its evidence against the bail petition, or that the order granting such petition cash bail of P100,000.00. The Prosecutor attached to the motion for leave a copy
was issued upon incomplete evidence, then the issuance of the order would of petitioner's omnibus motion of 11 July 1991.
really constitute abuse of discretion that would call for the remedy of certiorari."
Also on 16 July 1991, the trial court issued an Order 9 granting leave to conduct
The petitioner may not be released pending the hearing of his petition for bail
preliminary investigation and cancelling the arraignment set for 15 August 1991
for it would be incongruous to grant bail to one who is not in the custody of the
until after the prosecution shall have concluded its preliminary investigation.
law (Feliciano vs. Pasicolan, 2 SCRA 888).
On 17 July 1991, however, respondent Judge motu proprio issued an
5. ID.; ID.; TERM "ARREST," CONSTRUED. — Arrest is the taking of a person into
Order, 10 embodying the following: (1) the 12 July 1991 Order which granted
custody in order that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an
bail was recalled; petitioner was given 48 hours from receipt of the Order to
offense (Sec. 1, Rule 113, Rules of Court). An arrest is made by an actual
surrender himself; (2) the 16 July 1991 Order which granted leave to the
restraint of the person to be arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the
prosecutor to conduct preliminary investigation was recalled and cancelled; (3)
person making the arrest (Sec. 2, Rule 113, Rules of Court). When Go walked
petitioner's omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary investigation
into the San Juan Police Station on July 8, 1991, and placed himself at the
dated 11 July 1991 was treated as a petition for bail and set for hearing on 23
disposal of the police authorities who clamped him in jail after he was identified
July 1991.
by an eyewitness as the person who shot Maguan, he was actually and
effectively arrested. His filing of a petition to be released on bail was a waiver of On 19 July 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and
any irregularity attending his arrest and estops him from questioning its validity mandamus before the Supreme Court assailing the 17 July 1991 Order,
(Callanta vs. Villanueva, 77 SCRA 377; Bagcal vs. Villaraza, 120 SCRA 525). contending that the information was null and void because no preliminary
investigation had been previously conducted, in violation of his right to due
FELICIANO, J p:
process. Petitioner also moved for suspension of all proceedings in the case
pending resolution by the Supreme Court of his petition; this motion was,
According to the findings of the San Juan Police in their Investigation however, denied by respondent Judge. LLphil
Report, 1 on 2 July 1991, Eldon Maguan was driving his car along Wilson St., San
Juan, Metro Manila, heading towards P. Guevarra St. Petitioner entered Wilson On 23 July 1991, petitioner surrendered to the police.
St., where it is a one-way street and started travelling in the opposite or "wrong"
direction. At the corner of Wilson and J. Abad Santos Sts., petitioner's and By a Resolution dated 24 July 1991, this Court remanded the petition
Maguan's cars nearly bumped each other. Petitioner alighted from his car, for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus to the Court of Appeals.
walked over and shot Maguan inside his car. Petitioner then boarded his car and
left the scene. A security guard at a nearby restaurant was able to take down On 16 August 1991, respondent Judge issued an order in open court setting the
petitioner's car plate number. The police arrived shortly thereafter at the scene arraignment of petitioner on 23 August 1991.
of the shooting and there retrieved an empty shell and one round of live On 19 August 1991, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion to
ammunition for a 9mm caliber pistol. Verification at the Land Transportation restrain his arraignment.
Office showed that the car was registered to one Elsa Ang Go.
On 23 August 1991, respondent judge issued a Commitment Order directing the
The following day, the police returned to the scene of the shooting to find out Provincial Warden of Rizal to admit petitioner into his custody at the Rizal
where the suspect had come from; they were informed that petitioner had Provincial Jail. On the same date, petitioner was arraigned. In view, however, of
dined at Cravings Bake Shop shortly before the shooting. The police obtained a his refusal to enter a plea, the trial court entered for him a plea of not guilty. The
facsimile or impression of the credit card used by petitioner from the cashier of trial court then set the criminal case for continuous hearings on 19, 24 and 26
the bake shop. The security guard of the bake shop was shown a picture of September; on 2, 3, 11 and 17 October; and on 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 November
petitioner and he positively identified him as the same person who had shot 1991. 11
Maguan. Having established that the assailant was probably the petitioner, the
police launched a manhunt for petitioner. On 27 August 1991, petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus 12 in the Court
of Appeals. He alleged that in view of public respondents' failure to join issues in
On 8 July 1991, petitioner presented himself before the San Juan Police Station the petition for certiorari earlier filed by him, after the lapse of more than a
to verify news reports that he was being hunted by the police; he was month, thus prolonging his detention, he was entitled to be released on habeas
accompanied by two (2) lawyers. The police forthwith detained him. An corpus.
eyewitness to the shooting, who was at the police station at that time, positively
identified petitioner as the gunman. That same day, the police promptly filed a On 30 August 1991, the Court of Appeals issued the writ of habeas
complaint for frustrated homicide 2 against petitioner with the Office of the corpus. 13 The petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, on the one
Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal. First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Dennis Villa hand, and the petition for habeas corpus, upon the other, were subsequently
Ignacio ("Prosecutor") informed petitioner, in the Presence of his lawyers, that consolidated in the Court of Appeals.
he could avail himself of his right to preliminary investigation but that he must
first sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. The Court of Appeals, on 2 September 1991, issued a resolution denying
Petitioner refused to execute any such waiver. petitioner's motion to restrain his arraignment on the ground that motion had
become moot and academic.
On 9 July 1991, while the complaint was still with the Prosecutor, and before an
information could be filed in court, the victim, Eldon Maguan, died of his On 19 September 1991, trial of the criminal case commenced and the
gunshot wound(s). prcd prosecution presented its first witness.

Accordingly, on 11 July 1991, the Prosecutor, instead of filing an information for On 23 September 1991, the Court of Appeals rendered a consolidated
frustrated homicide, filed an information for murder 3 before the Regional Trial decision 14 dismissing the two (2) petitions, on the following grounds:
Court. No bail was recommended. At the bottom of the information, the
Prosecutor certified that no preliminary investigation had been conducted a. Petitioner's warrantless arrest was valid because the
because the accused did not execute and sign a waiver of the provisions of offense for which he was arrested and charged had
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. been "freshly committed." His identity had been
established through investigation. At the time he
In the afternoon of the same day, 11 July 1991, counsel for petitioner filed with showed up at the police station, there had been an
the prosecutor an omnibus motion for immediate release and proper existing manhunt for him. During the confrontation at
preliminary investigation, 4 alleging that the warrantless arrest of petitioner was the San Juan Police Station, one witness positively
unlawful and that no preliminary investigation had been conducted before the identified petitioner as the culprit.
information was filed. Petitioner also prayed that he be released on
recognizance or on bail. Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro, acting on the b. Petitioner's act of posting bail constituted waiver of
omnibus motion, wrote on the last page of the motion itself that he interposed any irregularity attending his arrest. He waived his right
no objection to petitioner being granted provisional liberty on a cash bond of to preliminary investigation by not invoking it properly
P100,000.00. and seasonably under the Rules.

c. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it


issued the 17 July 1991 Order because the trial court
35
had the inherent power to amend and control its Petitioner's "arrest" took place six (6) days after the shooting of Maguan.
processes so as to make them conformable to law and The "arresting" officers obviously were not present, within the meaning of
justice. Section 5(a), at the time petitioner had allegedly shot Maguan. Neither
could the "arrest" effected six (6) days after the shooting be reasonably
d. Since there was a valid information for murder regarded as effected "when [the shooting had] in fact just been
against petitioner and a valid commitment order committed" within the meaning of Section 5 (b). Moreover, none of the
(issued by the trial judge after petitioner surrendered "arresting" officers had any "personal knowledge" of facts indicating that
to the authorities whereby petitioner was given to the petitioner was the gunman who had shot Maguan. The information upon
custody of the Provincial Warden), the petition which the police acted had been derived from statements made by alleged
for habeas corpus could not be granted. eyewitnesses to the shooting — one stated that petitioner was the
gunman; another was able to take down the alleged gunman's car's plate
On 3 October 1991, the prosecution presented three (3) more witnesses at the
number which turned out to be registered in petitioner's wife's name. That
trial. Counsel for petitioner also filed a "Withdrawal of Appearance" 15 with the
information did not, however, constitute "personal knowledge." 18
trial court, with petitioner's conformity.
It is thus clear to the Court that there was no lawful warrantless arrest of
On 4 October 1991, the present petition for Review on Certiorari was filed. On petitioner within the meaning of Section 5 of Rule 113. It is clear too that Section
14 October 1991, the Court issued a Resolution directing respondent Judge to 7 of Rule 112, which provides:
held in abeyance the hearing of the criminal case below until further orders from
this Court. "Sec. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without
warrant. — When a person is lawfully arrested without
In this Petition for Review, two (2) principal issues need to be addressed: first, a warrant for an offense cognizable by the Regional
whether or not a lawful warrantless arrest had been effected by the San Juan Trial Court the complaint or information may be filed by
Police in respect of petitioner Go; and second, whether petitioner had the offended party, peace officer or fiscal without a
effectively waived his right to preliminary investigation. We consider these preliminary investigation having been first conducted,
issues seriatim. LLphil on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or
arresting office or person.
In respect of the first issue, the Solicitor General argues that under the facts of
the case, petitioner had been validly arrested without warrant. Since petitioner's However, before the filing of such complaint or
identity as the gunman who had shot Eldon Maguan on 2 July 1991 had been information, the person arrested may ask for a
sufficiently established by police work, petitioner was validly arrested six (6) preliminary investigation by a proper officer in
days later at the San Juan Police Station. The Solicitor General invokes Nazareno accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a waiver of
v. Station Commander, etc., et al., 16 one of the seven (7) cases consolidated the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code,
with In the Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of Roberto Umil, etc. v. as amended, with the assistance of a lawyer and in case
Ramos et al., 17 where a majority of the Court upheld a warrantless arrest as of non-availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of
valid although effected fourteen (14) days after the killing in connection with his choice. Notwithstanding such waiver, he may apply
which Nazareno had been arrested. Accordingly, in the view of the Solicitor for bail as provided in the corresponding rule and the
General, the provisions of Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court were investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15)
applicable and because petitioner had declined to waive the provisions of Article days from its inception. Cdpr
125 of the Revised Penal Code, the Prosecutor was legally justified in filing the
information for murder even without preliminary investigation. If the case has been filed in court without a preliminary
investigation having been first conducted, the accused
On the other hand, petitioner argues that he was not lawfully arrested without may within five (5) days from the time he learns of the
warrant because he went to the police station six (6) days after the shooting filing of the information, ask for a preliminary
which he had allegedly perpetrated. Thus, petitioner argues, the crime had not investigation with the same right to adduce evidence in
been "just committed" at the time that he was arrested. Moreover, none of the his favor in the manner prescribed in this Rule."
police officers who arrested him had been an eyewitness to the shooting of (Underscoring supplied).
Maguan and accordingly none had the "personal knowledge" required for the
lawfulness of a warrantless arrest. Since there had been no lawful warrantless is also not applicable. Indeed, petitioner was not arrested at all. When he
arrest, Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court which establishes the only walked into the San Juan Police Station, accompanied by two (2) lawyers,
exception to the right to preliminary investigation, could not apply in respect of he in fact placed himself at the disposal of the police authorities. He did
petitioner. not state that he was "surrendering" himself, in all probability to avoid the
implication he was admitting that he had slain Eldon Maguan or that he
The reliance of both petitioner and the Solicitor General upon Umil v. Ramos is, was otherwise guilty of a crime. When the police filed a complaint for
in the circumstances of this case, misplaced. In Umil v. Ramos, by an eight-to-six frustrated homicide with the Prosecutor, the latter should have
vote, the Court sustained the legality of the warrantless arrests of petitioners immediately scheduled a preliminary investigation to determine whether
made from one (1) to fourteen (14) days after the actual commission of the there was probable cause for charging petitioner in court for the killing of
offenses, upon the ground that such offenses constituted "continuing crimes." Eldon Maguan. Instead, as noted earlier, the Prosecutor proceeded under
Those offenses were subversion, membership in an outlawed organization like the erroneous supposition that Section 7 of Rule 112 was applicable and
the New Peoples Army, etc. In the instant case, the offense for which petitioner required petitioner to waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised
was arrested was murder, an offense which was obviously commenced and Penal Code as a condition for carrying out a preliminary investigation. This
completed at one definite location in time and space. No one had pretended was substantive error, for petitioner was entitled to a preliminary
that the fatal shooting of Maguan was a "continuing crime." investigation and that right should have been accorded him without any
conditions. Moreover, since petitioner had not been arrested; with or
Secondly, we do not believe that the warrantless "arrest" or detention of
without a warrant, he was also entitled to be released forthwith subject
petitioner in the instant case falls within the terms of Section 5 of Rule 113 of
only to his appearing at the preliminary investigation.
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides as follows:
Turning to the second issue of whether or not petitioner had waived his right to
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a preliminary investigation, we note that petitioner had from the very beginning
private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: demanded that a preliminary investigation be conducted. As earlier pointed out,
on the same day that the information for murder was filed with the Regional
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be created has
Trial Court. Petitioner filed with the prosecutor an omnibus motion for
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
immediate release and preliminary investigation. The Solicitor General contends
commit an offense;
that omnibus motion should have been filed with the trial court and not with the
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, Prosecutor, and that petitioner should accordingly be held to have waived his
and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that right to preliminary investigation. We do not believe that waiver of petitioner's
the person to be arrested has committed it; and statutory right to preliminary investigation may be predicated on such a slim
basis. The preliminary investigation was to be conducted by the Prosecutor, not
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who by the Regional Trial Court. It is true that at the time of filing of petitioner's
has escaped from a penal establishment or place where omnibus motion, the information for murder had already been filed with the
he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined Regional Trial Court; it is not clear from the record whether petitioner was
while his case is pending, or has escaped while being aware of this fact at the time his omnibus motion was actually filed with the
transferred from one confinement to another. Prosecutor. In Crespo v. Mogul, 19 this Court held:

In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the "The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal
person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith for the purpose of determining whether a prima
delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he facie case exists warranting the prosecution of the
shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, accused is terminated upon the filing of the information
Section 7." in the proper court. In turn, as above stated, the filing
of said information sets in motion the criminal action
against the accused in Court. Should the fiscal find it
36
proper to conduct a reinvestigation of the case, at such It must also be recalled that the Prosecutor had actually agreed that petitioner
stage, the permission of the Court must be was entitled to bail. This was equivalent to an acknowledgment on the part of
secured. After such reinvestigation the finding and the prosecutor that the evidence of guilt then in his hands was not strong.
recommendations of the fiscal should be submitted to Accordingly, we consider that the 17 July 1991 order of respondent Judge
the Court for appropriate action. While it is true that recalling his own order granting bail and requiring petitioner to surrender
the fiscal has the quasi judicial discretion to determine himself within forty-eight (48) hours from notice, was plainly arbitrary
whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court considering that no evidence at all — and certainly
or not, once the case had already been brought to no new or additional evidence — had been submitted to respondent Judge that
Court whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should could have justified the recall of his order issued just five (5) days before. It
be proper in the case thereafter should be addressed follows that petitioner was entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right.
for the consideration of the Court. The only
qualification is that the action of the Court must not The final question which the Court must face is this: how does the fact that, in
impair the substantial rights of the accused, or the right the instant case, trial on the merits has already commenced, the Prosecutor
of the People to due process of law. having already presented four (4) witnesses, impact upon, firstly, petitioner's
right to a preliminary investigation and secondly, petitioner's right to be
xxx xxx xxx released on bail? Does he continue to be entitled to have a preliminary
investigation conducted in respect of the charge against him? Does petitioner
The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a
remain entitled to be released on bail?
complaint or information is filed in Court any
disposition of the case [such] as its dismissal or the Turning first to the matter of preliminary investigation, we consider that
conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound petitioner remains entitled to a preliminary investigation although trial on the
discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the merits has already began. Trial on the merits should be suspended or held in
direction and control of the prosecution of criminal abeyance and a preliminary investigation forthwith accorded to petitioner. 25 It
cases even while the case is already in Court he cannot is true that the prosecutor might, in view of the evidence that he may at this
impose his opinion on the trial court. The Court is the time have on hand, conclude that probable cause exists; upon the other hand,
best and sole judge on what to do with the case before the Prosecutor conceivably could reach the conclusion that the evidence on
it. . . ." 20 (Citations omitted, underscoring supplied). hand does not warrant a finding of probable cause. In any event, the
constitutional point is that petitioner was not accorded what he was entitled to
Nonetheless, since petitioner in his omnibus motion was asking for
by way of procedural due process. 26 Petitioner was forced to undergo
preliminary investigation and not for a reinvestigation (Crespo v.
arraignment and literally pushed to trial without preliminary investigation, with
Mogul involved a re-investigation), and since the Prosecutor himself did
extraordinary haste, to the applause from the audience that filled the
file with the trial court, on the 5th day after filing the information for
courtroom. If he submitted to arraignment and trial, petitioner did so "kicking
murder, a motion for leave to conduct preliminary investigation (attaching
and screaming," in a manner of speaking. During the proceedings held before
to his motion a copy of petitioner's omnibus motion), we conclude that
the trial court on 23 August 1991, the date set for arraignment of petitioner, and
petitioner's omnibus motion was in effect filed with the trial court. What
just before arraignment, counsel made very clear petitioner's vigorous protest
was crystal clear was that petitioner did ask for a preliminary investigation
and objection to the arraignment precisely because of the denial of preliminary
on the very day that the information was filed without such preliminary
investigation. 27 So energetic and determined were petitioner's counsel's
investigation, and that the trial court was five (5) days later apprised of the
protest and objection that an obviously angered court and prosecutor dared him
desire of the petitioner for such preliminary investigation. Finally, the trial
to withdraw or walkout, promising to replace him with counsel de oficio. During
court did in fact grant the Prosecutor's prayer for leave to conduct
the trial, just before the prosecution called its first witness, petitioner through
preliminary investigation. Thus, even on the (mistaken) supposition
counsel once again reiterated his objection to going to trial without preliminary
apparently made by the Prosecutor that Section 7 of Rule 112 of the
investigation; petitioner's counsel made or record his "continuing
Revised Court was applicable, the 5-day reglementary period in Section 7,
objection." 28 Petitioner had promptly gone to the appellate court
Rule 112 must be held to have been substantially complied with. LexLib
on certiorari and prohibition to challenge the lawfulness of the procedure he
We believe and so hold that petitioner did not waive his right to a preliminary was being forced to undergo and the lawfulness of his detention. 29 If he did not
investigation. While that right is statutory rather than constitutional in its walkout on the trial, and if he cross-examined the Prosecution's witnesses, it
fundament, since it has in fact been established by statute, it is a component was because he was extremely loath to be represented by counsel de
part of due process in criminal justice. 20 The right to have a preliminary oficio selected by the trial judge, and to run the risk of being held to have waived
investigation conducted before being bound over to trial for a criminal offense also his right to use what is frequently the only test of truth in the judicial
and hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other penalty, is not a mere process.
formal or technical right; it is a substantive right. The accused in a criminal trial is
inevitably exposed to prolonged anxiety, aggravation, humiliation, not to speak In respect of the matter of bail, we similarly believe and so hold that petitioner
of expense; the right to an opportunity to avoid a process painful to any one remains entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right. Should the evidence
save, perhaps, to hardened criminals, is a valuable right. To deny petitioner's already of record concerning petitioner's guilt be, in the reasonable belief of the
claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him of the full measure Prosecutor, strong, the Prosecutor may move in the trial court for cancellation of
of his right to due process. petitioner's bail. It would then be up to the trial court, after a careful and
objective assessment of the evidence on record, to grant or deny the motion for
The question may be raised whether petitioner still retains his right to a cancellation of bail.
preliminary investigation in the instant case considering that he was already
arraigned on 23 August 1991. The rule is that the right to preliminary To reach any other conclusion here, that is, to hold that petitioner's rights to a
investigation is waived when the accused fails to invoke it before or at the time preliminary investigation and to bail were effectively obliterated by evidence
of entering a plea at arraignment. 21 In the instant case, petitioner Go had subsequently admitted into the record would be to legitimize the deprivation of
vigorously insisted on his right to preliminary investigation before his due process and to permit the Government to benefit from its own wrong or
arraignment. At the time of his arraignment, petitioner was already before the culpable omission and effectively to dilute important rights of accused persons
Court of Appeals on certiorari, prohibition and mandamus precisely asking for a well-nigh to the vanishing point. It may be that to require the State to accord
preliminary investigation before being forced to stand trial. petitioner his rights to a preliminary investigation and to bail at this
point, could turn out ultimately to be largely a ceremonial exercise. But the
Again, in the circumstances of this case, we do not believe that by posting bail, Court is not compelled to speculate. And, in any case, it would not
petitioner had waived his right to preliminary investigation. In People v. be idle ceremony; rather it would be a celebration by the State of the rights and
Selfaison, 22 we did hold that appellants there had waived their right to liberties of its own people and a re-affirmation of its obligation and
preliminary investigation because immediately after their arrest, they filed bail determination to respect those rights and liberties. ACCORDINGLY, the Court
and proceeded to trial "without previously claiming that they did not have the Resolved to GRANT the Petition for Review on Certiorari. The Order of the trial
benefit of a preliminary investigation." 23 In the instant case, petitioner Go court dated 17 July 1991 is hereby SET ASIDE and NULLIFIED, and the Decision of
asked for release on recognizance or on bail and for preliminary investigation in the Court of Appeals dated 23 September 1991 hereby REVERSED. The Office of
one omnibus motion. He had thus claimed his right to preliminary the Provincial Prosecutor is hereby ORDERED to conduct forthwith a preliminary
investigation before respondent Judge approved the cash bond posted by investigation of the charge of murder against petitioner Go, and to complete
petitioner and ordered his release on 12 July 1991. Accordingly, we cannot such preliminary investigation within a period of fifteen (15) days from
reasonably imply waiver of preliminary investigation on the part of petitioner. In commencement thereof. The trial on the merits of the criminal case in the
fact, when the Prosecutor filed a motion in court asking for leave to conduct Regional Trial Court shall be SUSPENDED to await the conclusion of the
preliminary investigation, he clearly if impliedly recognized that petitioner's preliminary investigation. Meantime, petitioner is hereby ORDERED released
claim to preliminary investigation was a legitimate one. forthwith upon posting of a cash bail bond of One Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P100,000.00). This release shall be without prejudice to any lawful order that
We would clarify, however, that contrary to petitioner's contention the failure to the trial court may issue, should the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor move for
accord preliminary investigation, while constituting a denial of the appropriate cancellation of bail at the conclusion of the preliminary investigation.
and full measure of the statutory process of criminal justice, did not impair the
validity of the information for murder nor affect the jurisdiction of the trial No pronouncement as to costs. This Decision is immediately executory.
court. 24
SO ORDERED.Narvasa, C.J., Bidin, Medialdea, Romero and Nocon, JJ., concur.

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