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Caliwan v Ocampo G.R. No.

183270 February 13, 2009

Coverage: Revised Rules on Summary Procedure

FACTS: In 2004, petitioner Rufina L. Caliwan filed a complaint for attempted murder, multiple
serious physical injuries, slander by deed, grave threats, and grave oral defamation against respondents
SPO4 Mario Ocampo, Ofelia Ocampo, and Rhodora Pasilona before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office. As
counter-charges, respondents filed complaints for grave threats, oral defamation, alarms and scandals,
and physical injuries and oral defamation against petitioner.

In its February 24, 2005 Resolution, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasay City,
recommended the dismissal of the complaint for lack of evidence, and recommended that petitioner be
charged with light threats and slight physical injuries. Petitioner appealed to the DOJ which issued a
Resolution (March 2, 2006) finding a prima facie case and/or probable cause for the offenses against
respondents, and ordered the filing of corresponding informations against them. The DOJ also ordered
the dismissal of the rest of the charges, as well as the withdrawal of the Informations for light threats
and slight physical injuries against petitioner.

A Motion for Withdrawal of Information was filed seeking the withdrawal of the Informations
charging petitioner with light threats and slight physical injuries. However, the motion was DENIED by
the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 47 (June 2006). Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari
before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City which GRANTED the petition and set aside the decision of
the MTC. The Motions for Withdrawal were granted by the RTC. Respondents thus appealed to the
Court of Appeals, which REVERSED the decision of the Regional Trial Court and REINSTATED the June 6,
2006 Order of the Metropolitan Trial Court DENYING the motion to withdraw Information. (Emphasis
mine)

Petitioner moved for reconsideration, however it was DENIED.

Note: The private prosecutor correctly pointed, that the instant motions failed to comply with
the three-day notice rule provided for under Sections 4 and 5 (Rule 15) of the Rules of Court.

ISSUES:

a. WON the CA erred in reversing the decision of the RTC and upholding the decision of the MTC
b. WON the MTC erred in denying the motion for withdrawal of the information on the ground
that the motion filed was defective

RULING:

A. No, CA did not err. The decision of the CA is AFFIRMED

The charges against petitioner are light threats and slight physical injuries, to which the applicable rule is
the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure. Section 19 thereof provides:

SEC. 19. Prohibited pleadings and motions. – The following pleadings, motions, or petitions shall not be
allowed in the cases covered by this Rule:

(g) Petition for certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by the court;

The order of the MTC was interlocutory, it does not finally dispose of the case nor does it determine the
rights and liabilities of the parties as regards each other. Hence, the case fall under the Rules on
Summary Procedure, the RTC erred in taking cognizance of the petition for certiorari despite the clear
prohibition in Section 19.

B.
We need not discuss whether the Metropolitan Trial Court erred in denying the Motion for Withdrawal
of Information because to entertain said issue would, in effect, give due course to the prohibited
petition for certiorari. Suffice it to say that although the institution of criminal actions depends on the
sound discretion of the fiscal, once a case is filed in court, it can no longer be withdrawn or dismissed
without the court’s approval. Moreover, while the Secretary of Justice has the power to alter or modify
the resolution of his subordinate and thereafter direct the withdrawal of the case, he cannot, however,
impose his will on the court.

Benito Salazar vs Tomas Romaquin


GR. 151068, May 21, 2004

FACTS: IssueProvincial Prosecutor of Aklan filed an Information in the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo,
Aklan, charging the petitioner with murder. The Provincial Prosecutor recommended no bail in this case.
Provincial Prosecutor filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Issuance of Warrant of Arrest
On May 12, 2001, Executive Judge Sheila Martelino-Cortes issued an Order granting the
motion.[4] On the same day, the trial court issued a warrant for the petitioner's arrest.[5] However, the
petitioner was nowhere to be found, and as... such, the police officers failed to serve the warrant on
him.
The case was later raffled to Branch 2 of the court, presided by Judge Tomas R. Romaquin.
On May 15, 2001, the petitioner received a copy of the Joint Resolution of the Investigating
Prosecutor finding probable cause for murder against him which formed the basis for the filing of the
Information.
On May 16, 2001, the petitioner filed in the RTC an Urgent Motion to Suspend Proceedings and
to Lift Warrant of Arrest. The petitioner alleged, inter alia, that he had filed a petition for review of the
Joint Resolution of the Investigating Prosecutor finding probable cause for murder against him in the
Office of the Secretary of Justice.
The provincial prosecutor opposed the motion, contending that the filing of a petition for review
of the investigating prosecutor's resolution in the Office of the Secretary of Justice was not a justification
for the suspension of the enforcement of the warrant of arrest issued by the court.
On August 10, 2001, Judge Tomas R. Romaquin, who presided over Branch 2 of the court, issued
an Order granting the petitioner's motion to suspend the proceedings. However, the petitioner's motion
to lift warrant of arrest was denied. The petitioner filed a motion for partial reconsideration of the
order, but the court denied the same. The trial court declared that the issues raised by the petitioner
had become moot and academic since the Secretary of Justice had denied his petition for review and
affirmed the joint resolution of the investigating prosecutor finding probable cause against him.
The petitioner forthwith filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals on November 5, 2001,
assailing the orders of the RTC. However, the petitioner failed to submit proof of service of copies of his
petition on the respondent RTC, the People of the Philippines and Jodel Rentillo. The Court of Appeals
issued a Resolution denying due course and dismissing the petition, on the ground that the petitioner
failed to show proof of service of the petition on the respondents, as mandated by Rule 46, Section 3 in
relation to Rules 65 and 13... of the 1997 Rules of Court, as amended.
On December 13, 2001, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution denying the said motion, on
the ground that the petitioner failed to serve a copy of his petition on the Solicitor General, the counsel
of the respondent People of the Philippines.
The petitioner avers that the exclusive authority of the Solicitor General to represent the People
of the Philippines in the Court of Appeals and in the Supreme Court under Section 35(1), Chapter 12,
Title III, Book IV of the 1987 Revised Administrative Code, comes into being only when the appellate
court has already acquired jurisdiction over the case which, in turn, takes place only upon the service on
the State of the order or resolution of the appellate court indicating its initial action on the petition, or
by the respondent's voluntary submission to such jurisdiction as provided for in Rule 46, Section 4 of the
Rules of Court, as amended, which reads:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction over the person of respondent, how acquired. The court shall acquire jurisdiction
over the person of the respondent by the service on him of its order or resolution indicating its initial
action on the petition or by his voluntary... submission to such jurisdiction.
Before then, the petitioner submits, service of a copy of his petition on the respondent People of the
Philippines may be effected through the Provincial Prosecutor who appeared as its counsel in the trial
court, conformably to Rule 13, Section 2 of the Rules of Court, as amended.

Issue: Whether or not the authority of the Provincial Prosecutor to appear for and represent the People
of the Philippines is confined only to the proceedings before the trial court.

Held: Yes. The authority of the Provincial Prosecutor to appear for and represent the respondent People
of the Philippines is confined only to the proceedings before the trial court. This is based on Section 5,
Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides, viz.: SEC. 5. Who must prosecute
criminal actions.—All criminal actions commenced by a complaint or information shall be prosecuted
under the direction and control of the prosecutor. However, in Municipal Trial Courts or Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts when the prosecutor assigned thereto or to the case is not available, the offended
party, any peace officer, or public officer charged with the enforcement of the law violated may
prosecute the case. This authority shall cease upon actual intervention of the prosecutor or upon
elevation of the case to the Regional Trial Court. The pleadings of the accused and copies of the orders
or resolutions of the trial court are served on the People of the Philippines through the Provincial
Prosecutor. However, in appeals before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court either (a) by writ of
error; (b) via petition for review; (c) on automatic appeal; or, (d) in special civil actions where the People
of the Philippines is a party, the general rule is that the Office of the Solicitor General is the sole
representative of the People of the Philippines. This is provided for in Section 35 (1) Chapter 12, Title III
of Book IV of the 1987 Administrative Code, viz.: (1) Represent the Government in the Supreme Court
and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings; represent the Government and its officers in the
Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special
proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a party.
A copy of the petition in such action must be served on the People of the Philippines as
mandated by Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, through the Office of the Solicitor General. The
service of a copy of the petition on the People of the Philippines, through the Provincial Prosecutor
would be inefficacious. The petitioner’s failure to have a copy of his petition served on the respondent,
through the Office of the Solicitor General, shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition as
provided in the last paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court. Unless and until copies of the
petition are duly served on the respondent, the appellate court has no other recourse but to dismiss the
petition. The purpose of the service of a copy of the petition on the respondent in an original action in
the appellate court prior to the acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the respondent is to apprise
the latter of the filing of the petition and the averments contained therein and, thus, enable the
respondent to file any appropriate pleading thereon even before the appellate court can act on the said
petition, or to file his comment thereon if so ordered by the appellate court. But if a copy of the petition
is served on the Provincial Prosecutor who is not authorized to represent the People of the Philippines in
the appellate court, any pleading filed by the said Prosecutor for and in behalf of the People of the
Philippines is unauthorized, and may be expunged from the records.

People vs Fitzgerald

Facts: An Information filed with the RTC, Branch 75, Olongapo City charged Fitzgerald, an Australian
citizen, with Violation of Art. III, Section 5, paragraph (a), subparagraph (5) of R.A. No. 7610, for allegedly
inducing complainant AAA, a minor, 13 years old, through the use of drugs (vitamins) to engage in
prostitution and then and there showering said AAA with gifts, clothes and food and thereafter having
carnal knowledge of her, i.e. he allegedly raped her. He was found guilty and after he serves his
sentence he was to be immediately deported.

He filed for bail pending appeal. RTC denied. He appealed to the CA. CA affirmed decision of
RTC. He filed a motion for new trial, which was granted, then filed for a motion to fix bail, which was
denied. CA: In the case at bar, the maximum imposable penalty in the Special Protection of Children
against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act is reclusion perpetua. As it is, the evidence of
guilt is strong, hence, We hold that his motion for bail cannot be granted at this point. With regard to his
alleged physical condition, let it be stressed that accused-appellant is not precluded from seeking
medical attention if the need arises provided the necessary representations with the proper authorities
are made. However, his subsequent motion for bail was granted by the CA, stating that “While We
maintain that, as it is, the evidence of guilt is strong, We have taken a second look at appellants plea
for temporary liberty considering primarily the fact that appellant is already of old age and is not in the
best of health. Thus, it is this Courts view that appellant be GRANTED temporary liberty premised not on
the grounds stated in his Motion for Bail but in the higher interest of substantial justice and considering
the new trial granted in this case.”

Petitioner argues that the CA erred in granting respondent Fitzgeralds Motion for Bail despite
the fact that the latter was charged with a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua and the evidence of
his guilt is strong. It also questions the jurisdiction of the CA to act on said Motion, considering that the
case had been remanded to the RTC for new trial.

Issue:

1. WON the CA has jurisdiction to act on the motion for bail.


2. WON the CA erred in granting the motion for bail.

Ruling:

1. Yes. When the SC grants a new trial, it vacates both the judgment of the trial court convicting the
accused and the judgment of the CA affirming it, and remands the case to the trial court for reception of
newly-discovered evidence and promulgation of a new judgment, at times with instruction to the trial
court to promptly report the outcome. The Court itself does not conduct the new trial for it is no trier of
facts.
Unlike this Court, the CA may decide questions of fact and mixed questions of fact and law.
Thus, when it grants a new trial under Sec. 14, Rule 124, it may either (a) directly receive the purported
newly-discovered evidence under Sec. 12, or (b) refer the case to the court of origin for reception of
such evidence under Sec. 15. In either case, it does not relinquish to the trial court jurisdiction over the
case; it retains sufficient authority to resolve incidents in the case and decide its merits. CA retained
appellate jurisdiction over the case, even as it delegated to the RTC the function of receiving the
respondents newly-discovered evidence. The CA therefore retained its authority to act on respondents
bail application. Moreso that the the original records of the case had yet to be transmitted to the RTC
when respondent filed his bail application and the CA acted on it.

2. Yes. The unanimous findings of the CA and RTC of the strong evidence of guilt of the respondent were
not overturned when the CA granted a new trial. Under Section 6 (b), Rule 121, the grant of a new trial
allows for reception of newly-discovered evidence but maintains evidence already presented or on
record. And if there has been a finding that evidence is strong and sufficient to bar bail, that too subsists
unless.

The circumstances of the case are such, that for respondent, bail was not a matter of right but a
mere privilege subject to the discretion of the CA to be exercised in accordance with the stringent
requirements of Sec. 5, Rule 114. And Sec. 5 directs the denial or revocation of bail upon evidence of the
existence of any of the circumstances enumerated therein such as those indicating probability of flight if
released on bail or undue risk that the accused may commit another crime during the pendency of the
appeal.

However, the CA’s grant of the bail is based, xxx not on the grounds stated in his Motion for Bail
xxx, but xxx primarily [on] the fact that [he] is already of old age and is not in the best of health xxx, and
notwithstanding its finding that xxx as it is, the evidence of guilt is strong xxx. The Resolution
disregarded substantive and procedural requirements on bail.

It is bad enough that the CA granted bail on grounds other than those stated in the Motion filed
by respondent; it is worse that it granted bail on the mere claim of the latters illness. Bail is not a sick
pass for an ailing or aged detainee or prisoner needing medical care outside the prison facility. A mere
claim of illness is not a ground for bail. It may be that the trend now is for courts to permit bail for
prisoners who are seriously sick. In this particular case, the CA made no specific finding that respondent
suffers from an ailment of such gravity that his continued confinement during trial will permanently
impair his health or put his life in danger. It merely declared respondent not in the best of health even
when the only evidence on record as to the latters state of health is an unverified medical certificate
stating that, as of August 30, 2000, respondents condition required him to xxx be confined in a more
sterile area xxx. That medical recommendation was even rebuffed by the CA itself when it held that the
physical condition of respondent does not prevent him from seeking medical attention while confined in
prison. Moreover, there is a finding of record on the potential risk of respondent committing a similar
offense.

TE VS BREVA 765 SCRA 40; August 5, 2015

FACTS
Respondent Presiding Judge issued a search warrant against the petitioner upon the application of
respondent special investigaton of the NBI on the basis of his finding of probable cause of hoarding large
quantities of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in steel cylinders belonging to respondent Pryce Gases, Inc.

Petitioner presented his Omnibus Motion to Quash Warrant and/or Suppress Evidence and to Order
Return of Seized Items, raising therein the lack of probable cause, failure to specify the single offense
committed, illegality search, improper application of the plain view doctrine, and inclusion of other
offenses.

Respondent Presiding Judge denied the petitioner's motion.

On appeal, the petitioner assailed on certiorari, mainly positing that respondent Presiding Judge had
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction by ruling that the search
warrant was issued based on the existence of probable even if the same was served starting at
nighttime.

However, the CA promulgated the first assailed order dismissing the petition for certiorari for failure to
implead the People of the Philippines as respondents.

The petitioner moved for reconsideration, arguing that impleading the People of the Philippines as
respondents was premature because no criminal case had yet been filed against him with only the
application for the issuance of the search warrant having been made.

ISSUE
Whether the People of the Philippines should be impleaded as respondents in the petition
for certiorari filed in the Court of Appeals (CA) to annul and set aside the order of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) denying the petitioner's motion to quash the search warrant issued against him.

RULING YES
Impleading the People of the Philippines in the petition for certiorari did not depend on whether or
not an actual criminal action had already been commenced in court against the petitioner. It cannot
be denied that the search warrant in question had been issued in the name of the People of the
Philippines, and that fact rendered the People of the Philippines indispensable parties in the special civil
action for certioraribrought to nullify the questioned orders of respondent Presiding Judge.

The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient
ground for the dismissal of the petition. Accordingly, the omission of the People of the Philippines from
the petition was fatal. The requirement that the search warrant be issued in the name of the People of
the Philippines is imposed by Section 1, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, to wit: “Section 1. Search warrant
defined.—A search warrant is an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines…”

Every search warrant is applied for and issued by and under the authority of the State, regardless of
who initiates its application or causes its issuance. The search warrant is not similar to a criminal action
but is rather a legal process that may be likened to a writ of discovery employed by no less than the
State to procure relevant evidence of a crime. In that respect, it is an instrument or tool, issued under
the State’s police power, and this is the reason why it must issue in the name of the People of the
Philippines. Equally clear is that the sworn application for the search warrant and the search warrant
itself were upon the behest of the People of the Philippines. It defies logic and common sense for the
petitioner to contend, therefore, that the application against him was not made by the People of the
Philippines but by the interested party or parties. The immutable truth is that every search warrant is
applied for and issued by and under the authority of the State, regardless of who initiates its application
or causes its issuance.

PEOPLE vs ROMY LIM, GR No. 231989, September 4, 2018

FACTS: On appeal is the Decision of the CA, which affirmed the decision of RTC of Cagayan de Oro City,
finding accused-appellant Romy Lim y Miranda (Lim) guilty of violating Sections 11 and 5, respectively, of
Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act o/2002.

In an Information dated October 21, 2010, Lim was charged with illegal possession of shabu. On same
date, Lim, together with his stepson, Eldie Gorres y Nave (Gorres), was also indicted for illegal sale of
shabu.

In their arraignment, Lim and Gorres pleaded not guilty. They were detained in the city jail during the
joint trial of the cases.

After trial, the RTC handed a guilty verdict on Lim for illegal possession and sale of shabu and acquitted
Gorres for lack of sufficient evidence linking him as a conspirator.

In so far as Gorres is concerned, the RTC opined that the evidence presented were not strong enough to
support the claim that there was conspiracy between him and Lim because it was insufficiently shown
that he knew what the box contained. It also noted in the Chemistry Report that Gorres was "NEGATIVE"
of the presence of any illicit drug based on his urine sample.

On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC Decision. It agreed with the finding of the trial court that the
prosecution adequately established all the elements of illegal sale of a dangerous drug as the collective
evidence presented during the trial showed that a valid buy-bust operation was conducted. Likewise, all
the elements of illegal possession of a dangerous drug was proven. Lim resorted to denial and could not
present any proof or justification that he was fully authorized by law to possess the same. The CA was
unconvinced with his contention that the prosecution failed to prove the identity and integrity of the
seized prohibited drugs. For the appellate court, it was able to demonstrate that the integrity and
evidentiary value of the confiscated drugs were not compromised. The witnesses for the prosecution
were also able to testify on every link in the chain of custody.

However, Lim maintains that the case records are bereft of evidence showing that the buy-bust team
followed the procedure mandated in Section 21(1), Article II of R.A. No. 9165.

ISSUE: W/N the CA erred in its ruling

RULING: YES. At the time of the commission of the crimes, the law applicable is R.A. No. 9165. Section l
(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002, which implements the law and defines
chain of custody. The chain of custody rule is but a variation of the principle that real evidence must be
authenticated prior to its admission into evidence. To establish a chain of custody sufficient to make
evidence admissible, the proponent needs only to prove a rational basis from which to conclude that the
evidence is what the party claims it to be. In other words, in a criminal case, the prosecution must offer
sufficient evidence from which the trier of fact could reasonably believe that an item still is what the
government claims it to be.

Thus, the links in the chain of custody that must be established are: (1) the seizure and marking, if
practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; (2) the turnover
of the seized illegal drug by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; (3) the turnover of the
illegal drug by the investigating officer to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and ( 4) the
turnover and submission of the illegal drug from the forensic chemist to the court.

On July 15, 2014, R.A. No. 10640 was approved to amend R.A. No. 9165. Among other modifications, it
essentially incorporated the saving clause contained in the IRR, thus:

The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the dangerous drugs, controlled
precursors and essential chemicals, instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment
shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, conduct a physical inventory of the seized items
and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items
were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, with an elected public
official and a representative of the National Prosecution Service or the media who shall be
required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, That the
physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is
served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team,
whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures: Provided, finally, That noncompliance of
these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value
of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render
void and invalid such seizures and custody over said items.

We have held that the immediate physical inventory and photograph of the confiscated items at the
place of arrest may be excused in instances when the safety and security of the apprehending officers
and the witnesses required by law or of the items seized are threatened by immediate or extreme
danger such as retaliatory action of those who have the resources and capability to mount a counter-
assault. The present case is not one of those.

Evident, however, is the absence of an elected public official and representatives of the DOJ and the
media to witness the physical inventory and photograph of the seized items. In fact, their signatures do
not appear in the Inventory Receipt.

The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses also failed to establish the details of an earnest effort to
coordinate with and secure presence of the required witnesses.

In case of non-observance of the provision, the apprehending/seizing officers must state the justification
or explanation therefor as well as the steps they have taken in order to preserve the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized/ confiscated items.

If there is no justification or explanation expressly declared in the sworn statements or affidavits, the
investigating fiscal must not immediately file the case before the court. Instead, he or she must refer the
case for further preliminary investigation in order to determine the (non) existence of probable cause.

If the investigating fiscal filed the case despite such absence, the court may exercise its discretion to
either refuse to issue a commitment order (or warrant of arrest) or dismiss the case outright for lack of
probable cause in accordance with Section 5, Rule 112, Rules of Court.

ROMY LIM WAS ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt.