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is involved; 9) when the subject of the proceeding is private


land; 10) in quo warranto proceedings; and 11) where the
facts show that there was a violation of due process.
(Diokno vs. Cacdac, 526 SCRA 440 [2007])
Section 47 of P.D. 198 must be deemed void ab initio for
being irreconcilable with Article XIV, Section 5 of the 1973
Constitution which was ratified on 17 January 1973·the
constitution in force when P.D. 198 was issued on 25 May
1973·which prohibits against exclusive franchises.
(Metropolitan Cebu Water District [MCWD] vs. Adala, 526
SCRA 465 [2007)

··o0o··

G.R. Nos. 168578-79. September 30, 2008.*

NIETO A. RACHO, petitioner, vs. HON. PRIMO C. MIRO,


in his capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas,
HON. VIRGINIA PALANCA-SANTIAGO, in her capacity
as Ombudsman Director, and HON. ANTONIO T.
ECHAVEZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the
Regional Trial Court-Cebu City, Branch 8, respondents.

Ombudsman; Ombudsman Act of 1989 (R.A. No. 6770); Public


Officers; The discretion of the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) is
freed from legislative, executive or judicial intervention to ensure
that the OMB is insulated from any outside pressure and improper
influence·the only ground upon which a plea for review of the
OMBÊs resolution may be entertained is an alleged grave abuse of
discretion.·The prosecution of offenses committed by public officers
is vested primarily in the OMB. For this purpose, the OMB has
been given a wide latitude of investigatory and prosecutory powers
under the Constitution and Republic Act No. 6770 (The
Ombudsman Act of 1989). Its discretion is freed from legislative,

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executive or judicial intervention to ensure that the OMB is


insulated from any outside

_______________

* SECOND DIVISION.

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pressure and improper influence. Hence, unless there are good and
compelling reasons to do so, the Court will refrain from interfering
with the exercise of the OmbudsmanÊs powers, and will respect the
initiative and independence inherent in the latter who, beholden to
no one, acts as the champion of the people and the guardian of the
integrity of the public service. The Ombudsman is empowered to
determine whether there exists reasonable grounds to believe that a
crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty
thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding information with
the appropriate courts. Such finding of probable cause is a finding
of fact which is generally not reviewable by this Court. The only
ground upon which a plea for review of the OMBÊs resolution may
be entertained is an alleged grave abuse of discretion. By that
phrase is meant the capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment
equivalent to an excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of
discretion must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an
evasion of a positive duty; or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty
enjoined by law; or to act at all in contemplation of law, as when the
power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of
passion or hostility.
Same; Preliminary Investigation; The determination of probable
cause need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt,
neither on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt.·The
determination of probable cause need not be based on clear and
convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing
absolute certainty of guilt. It is enough that it is believed that the
act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. The
trial of a case is conducted precisely for the reception of evidence of

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the prosecution in support of the charge. A finding of probable cause


merely binds the suspect to stand trial. It is not a pronouncement of
guilt.
Same; Same; Motions for Reinvestigation; Due Process; A
clarificatory hearing is not required during preliminary
investigation·rather than being mandatory, a clarificatory hearing
is optional on the part of the investigating officer as evidenced by the
use of the term „may‰ in Section 3(e) of Rule 112·and this rule
applies equally to a motion for reinvestigation.·We are unable to
agree with petitionerÊs contention that he was denied due process
when no hearing was conducted on his motion for reinvestigation.
In De Ocampo v. Secretary of Justice, 480 SCRA 71 (2006), we ruled
that a clarificatory hearing is not required during preliminary
investigation. Rather

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Racho vs. Miro

than being mandatory, a clarificatory hearing is optional on the part


of the investigating officer as evidenced by the use of the term
„may‰ in Section 3(e) of Rule 112, thus: (e) If the investigating
officer believes that there are matters to be clarified, he may set a
hearing to propound clarificatory questions to the parties or their
witnesses, during which the parties shall be afforded an
opportunity to be present but without the right to examine or cross-
examine. This rule applies equally to a motion for reinvestigation.
As stated, the Office of the Ombudsman has been granted virtually
plenary investigatory powers by the Constitution and by law. As a
rule, the Office of the Ombudsman may, for every particular
investigation, whether instigated by a complaint or on its own
initiative, decide how best to pursue such investigation. In the
present case, the OMB found it unnecessary to hold additional
clarificatory hearings. Notably, we note that a hearing was
conducted during preliminary investigation where petitioner
invoked his right to remain silent and confront witnesses who may
be presented against him, although there was none presented.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Under the Rules of Procedure of the
Office of the Ombudsman (Administrative Order No. 07),

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particularly Rule II, Section 7(a), in relation to Section 4(f), a


complainantÊs active participation is no longer a matter of right
during reinvestigation; It is settled that administrative due process
cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense.·
Under the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman
(Administrative Order No. 07), particularly Rule II, Section 7(a), in
relation to Section 4(f), a complainantÊs active participation is no
longer a matter of right during reinvestigation. Admittedly,
technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied in
administrative proceedings. Thus, it is settled that administrative
due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict
judicial sense.
Same; Same; Same; Even if a preliminary investigation resembles a
realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case, public
prosecutors could not decide whether there is evidence beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the person charged; To ask
prosecutors to recuse themselves on reinvestigation upon every
unfavorable ruling in a case would cause unwarranted delays in the
prosecution of actions.·There was no manifest abuse of discretion
on the part of Director Palanca-Santiago for her refusal to inhibit
herself in the

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reinvestigation. Even if a preliminary investigation resembles a


realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case, public
prosecutors could not decide whether there is evidence beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the person charged. They are not
considered judges, by the nature of their functions, but merely
quasi-judicial officers. Worth-stressing, one adverse ruling by itself
would not prove bias and prejudice against a party sufficient to
disqualify even a judge. Hence, absent proven allegations of specific
conduct showing prejudice and hostility, we cannot impute grave
abuse of discretion here on respondent director. To ask prosecutors
to recuse themselves on reinvestigation upon every unfavorable
ruling in a case would cause unwarranted delays in the prosecution
of actions.

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Certiorari; Pleadings and Practice; The requirement of


providing appellate courts with certified true copies of the judgments
or final orders that are the subjects of review is indispensable to aid
them in resolving whether or not to give due course to petitions.·We
note that petitioner failed to attach a certified true copy of the
assailed Resolution in OMB-C-C-03-0729-L in disregard of
paragraph 2 of Section 1, Rule 65 on certiorari. As previously ruled,
the requirement of providing appellate courts with certified true
copies of the judgments or final orders that are the subjects of
review is indispensable to aid them in resolving whether or not to
give due course to petitions. This necessary requirement cannot be
perfunctorily ignored, much less violated. In view, however, of the
serious matters dealt with in this case, we opted to tackle the
substantial merits hereof with least regard to technicalities.

SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION in the Supreme Court.


Certiorari and Mandamus.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
A. Tan, Zoleta & Partners Law Firm for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for public respondents.
Renato L. De La Fuente for private respondent Enrique
Zobel.
Arsenio R. Reyes for intervenors Heirs of Guillermo
Mercado.

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QUISUMBING, J.:
This petition for certiorari and mandamus under Rule
65 of the Rules of Court seeks the annulment of the Joint
Order1 dated April 1, 2005 of the Office of the Ombudsman
(OMB) in the Visayas. The OMB had denied
reconsideration of its Reinvestigation Report2 in OMB-V-C-
02-0240-E and its Resolution in OMB-C-C-03-0729-L, both
dated January 10, 2005. Petitioner herein also assails both
issuances of the OMB.
The factual antecedents of this case are as follows.
On November 9, 2001, DYHP Balita Action Team

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(DYHP) of the Radio Mindanao Network, Inc. addressed a


letter3 on behalf of an anonymous complainant to Deputy
Ombudsman for the Visayas Primo C. Miro. The letter
accused Nieto A. Racho, an employee of the Bureau of
Internal Revenue (BIR)-Cebu, of having accumulated
wealth disproportionate to his income. Photocopied bank
certifications disclosed that Racho had a total deposit of
P5,793,881.39 with three banks.
Pio R. Dargantes, the Graft Investigation Officer I (GIO)
assigned to investigate the complaint, directed DYHP to
submit a sworn statement of its witnesses. Instead, the
latter filed a Manifestation4 dated October 16, 2002
withdrawing its complaint for lack of witnesses.
Consequently, GIO Dargantes dismissed the case. He ruled
that the photocopied bank certifications did not constitute
substantial evidence required in administrative
5
proceedings.
Then, in two separate Memoranda dated May 30, 2003,6
Ombudsman Director Virginia Palanca-Santiago
disapproved GIO DargantesÊs Resolution. In OMB-V-A-02-
0214-E, Director

_______________

1 Rollo, pp. 32-37.


2 Id., at pp. 55-71.
3 Records, p. 4.
4 Id., at p. 41.
5 Id., at pp. 59-61.
6 Rollo, pp. 90-97 and 98-105.

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Palanca-Santiago held Racho administratively liable for


falsification and dishonesty, and meted on him the penalty
of dismissal from service with forfeiture of all benefits and
perpetual disqualification to hold office.7 In OMB-V-C-02-
0240-E, Director Palanca-Santiago found probable cause to
charge Racho with falsification of public document under

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Article 171(4)8 of the Revised Penal Code.9 The latter


moved for reconsideration but it was denied by the Deputy
Ombudsman.
On May 30, 2003, Racho was charged with falsification
of public document, docketed as Criminal Case No. CBU-
66458 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City,
Branch 8. The Information alleged:

„That on or about the 7th day of February, 2000, and for


sometime subsequent thereto, at Cebu City, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused
NIETO A. RACHO, a public officer, being the Chief, Special
Investigation Division, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Regional
Office No. 13, Cebu City, in such capacity and committing the
offense in relation to [his] office, with deliberate intent, with intent
to falsify, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
falsify a public document, consisting of his Statement of Assets,
Liabilities and Networth, Disclosure of Business Interest and
Financial Connections; and Identification of Relatives In The
Government Service, as of December 31, 1999, by stating therein
that his cash in bank is only FIFTEEN THOUSAND PESOS
(P15,000.00), Philippine Currency and that his assets minus his
liabilities amounted only to TWO HUNDRED THREE THOUSAND
SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY EIGHT

_______________

7 Id., at p. 97.
8 ART. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic
minister.·The penalty of prisión mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos
shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking
advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of
the following acts:
xxxx
4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
xxxx
9 Rollo, pp. 104-105.

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PESOS (P203,758.00), Philippine Currency, when in truth and in


fact, said accused has BANK DEPOSITS or cash in banks
amounting to FIVE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY
THREE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED ONE PESOS and 39/100
(P5,793,801.39),10 Philippine Currency, as herein shown:
1) Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company – Cebu, Tabunok
Branch:
Unisa No. Amount
3-172-941-10 P1,983,554.45
3-172-941-11 949,341.82
    Total - P2,932,896.27
2) Philippine Commercial International Bank – Magallanes
Branch, Cebu City:
Account No. Amount
Equalizer – 29449-29456 P1,000,000.00
PCC Fund – 99-0095-0-0020-clf.b 200,000.00
Optimum Savings – 00-8953-06860-9 28,702.53
     Total - P1,228,702.53
3) Bank of the Philippine Islands – Cebu (Mango) Branch, Gen.
Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City:
Account No. Amount
Gold Savings – 1023-2036-49 P1,632,282.59
thus deliberately failed to disclose an important fact of which he
has the legal obligation to do so as specifically mandated under
Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6713 (The Norms of Conduct and
Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) and Section 7
of Republic Act No. 3019, As Amended (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act), thereby making untruthful statement in a narration
of facts.
CONTRARY TO LAW.‰11

Racho appealed the administrative case and filed a


petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the Court of
Appeals to

_______________

10 The total amount should be five million seven hundred ninety three
thousand eight hundred eighty one pesos (P5,793,881.39).
11 Records, pp. 71-72.

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question the ruling in OMB-V-C-02-0240-E. In a Decision12


dated January 26, 2004, the appellate court annulled both
Memoranda and ordered a reinvestigation of the cases
against petitioner. Thereafter, petitioner filed a Motion to
Dismiss13 dated July 21, 2004. The same was denied for
lack of merit in an Order14 dated August 24, 2004.
On reinvestigation, petitioner submitted a Comment15
dated January 4, 2005 along with supporting documents.
On January 10, 2005, the OMB issued the assailed
Reinvestigation Report, the dispositive portion of which
states:

„With all the foregoing, undersigned finds no basis to change,


modify nor reverse her previous findings that there is probable
cause for the crime of FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT,
defined and penalized under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code,
against respondent Nieto A. Racho for making untruthful
statements in a narration of facts in his SALN. As there are
additional facts established during the reinvestigation, re: failure of
Mr. Racho to reflect his business connections, then the Information
filed against him should be amended to include the same. Let this
Amended Information be returned to the court for further
proceedings.
SO RESOLVED.‰16

Petitioner sought reconsideration but was denied by the


OMB in the Joint Order dated April 1, 2005. It decreed:

„The Motion for Reconsideration of respondent did not adduce


any new evidence, which would warrant a reversal of our findings;
neither did it present proof of errors of law or irregularities being
committed.

_______________

12 Rollo, pp. 73-79. Penned by Associate Justice Arsenio J. Magpale, with


Associate Justices Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and Bienvenido L. Reyes
concurring.
13 Records, pp. 82-83.
14 Id., at p. 94.

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15 Id., at pp. 110-112.


16 Rollo, p. 71.

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This being so, this Motion for Reconsideration of respondent is


hereby DENIED. The findings of this Office as contained in the two
(2) REINVESTIGATION REPORTS (in OMB-V-C-02-0240-E and
OMB-V-A-02-0214-E) and RESOLUTION (in OMB-C-C-03-0729-L)
stand.
SO ORDERED.‰17

In the instant petition, Racho cites the following issues:

I.
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT OMBUDSMAN DIRECTOR,
AS WELL AS RESPONDENT DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR THE
VISAYAS WHO SANCTIONED HER DEED, COMMITTED GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION EQUIVALENT TO LACK OR IN
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN SHE REFUSED OR FAILED
TO INHIBIT HERSELF FROM CONDUCTING THE SUPPOSED
„REINVESTIGATION‰;
II.
WHETHER OR NOT HEREIN PETITION[ER] WAS DENIED DUE
PROCESS OF LAW IN THE SUPPOSED „REINVESTIGATION‰;
III.
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT OMBUDSMAN DIRECTOR,
AS WELL AS RESPONDENT DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR THE
VISAYAS WHO SANCTIONED HER DEED, COMMITTED GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION EQUIVALENT TO LACK OR IN
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN SHE HELD THAT
PETITIONERÊS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION DID NOT
ADDUCE PROOF OF ANY IRREGULARITY IN THE
„REINVESTIGATION‰; AND
IV.
WHETHER OR NOT BY REASON OF THIS HONORABLE
COURTÊS INHERENT POWER TO DO ALL THINGS
REASONABLY NECESSARY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF
JUSTICE, EVEN IF NOT PRAYED FOR IN THE INSTANT
PETITION, THE

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_______________

17 Id., at pp. 36-37.

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Racho vs. Miro

SUBJECT OMBUDSMAN CASES OMB-V-C-02-0240-E AND OMB-


C-C-03-0729-L CAN BE DISMISSED.18

Stated simply, the issues now for determination are as


follows: (1) Whether Ombudsman Director Palanca-
Santiago gravely abused her discretion when she did not
inhibit herself in the reinvestigation; (2) Whether
petitioner was denied due process of law on reinvestigation;
and (3) Whether there was probable cause to hold
petitioner liable for falsification under Article 171(4) of the
Revised Penal Code.
Petitioner ascribes grave abuse of discretion on the part
of Ombudsman Director Palanca-Santiago since she did not
inhibit herself in the reinvestigation. He claims a denial of
due process because of the fact that Director Palanca-
Santiago handled the preliminary investigation as well as
the reinvestigation of the cases. In both instances, the
latter found probable cause to indict petitioner for
falsification. For this reason, petitioner believes that
Director Palanca-Santiago has turned hostile to him. He
insists that respondent director had lost the cold neutrality
of an impartial judge when she found probable cause
against him on preliminary investigation. Petitioner
penultimately questions the haste with which the
reinvestigation was concluded and the lack of hearing
thereon. In essence, he insists on the dismissal of his cases
before the OMB.
On November 6, 2006, the OMB thru the Office of the
Special Prosecutor (OSP) filed a Memorandum19 dated
October 23, 2006 for respondents. The OSP avers that the
instant petition stated no cause of action since it did not
implead the Hon. Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo as a
respondent. That Director Palanca-Santiago resolved the
investigation adverse to petitioner, the OSP contends, did

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not necessarily indicate partiality. The OSP explains that


the Reinvestigation Report was merely recommendatory
and the finding of probable

_______________

18 Id., at pp. 223-224.


19 Id., at pp. 247-266.

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cause was done in line with official duty. It points out


further that petitioner failed to cite specific acts by which
Director Palanca-Santiago showed hostility towards him.
Finally, the OSP charges petitioner with forum shopping
since he had already raised the issue of respondent
directorÊs impartiality in his petition assailing the
Memorandum dated May 30, 2003, before the Court of
Appeals.
After considering the contentions and submissions of the
parties, we are in agreement that the instant petition lacks
merit.
The prosecution of offenses committed by public officers
is vested primarily in the OMB. For this purpose, the OMB
has been given a wide latitude of investigatory and
prosecutory powers under the Constitution and Republic
Act No. 677020 (The Ombudsman Act of 1989). Its
discretion is freed from legislative, executive or judicial
intervention to ensure that the OMB is insulated from any
outside pressure and improper influence.21 Hence, unless
there are good and compelling reasons to do so, the Court
will refrain from interfering with the exercise of the
OmbudsmanÊs powers, and will respect the initiative and
independence inherent in the latter who, beholden to no
one, acts as the champion of the people and the guardian of
the integrity of the public service.22
The Ombudsman is empowered to determine whether
there exists reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has
been committed and that the accused is probably guilty

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thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding


information with the appropriate courts.23 Such finding of
probable cause is a find-

_______________

20 An Act Providing for the Functional and Structural Organization of


the Office of the Ombudsman, and for Other Purposes, approved on
December 13, 1989.
21 Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) v. Desierto,
G.R. No. 139675, July 21, 2006, 496 SCRA 112, 121.
22 Id.
23 Id.

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Racho vs. Miro

ing of fact which is generally not reviewable by this


Court.24 The only ground upon which a plea for review of
the OMBÊs resolution may be entertained is an alleged
grave abuse of discretion. By that phrase is meant the
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent
to an excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion
must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion
of a positive duty; or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty
enjoined by law; or to act at all in contemplation of law, as
when the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic
manner by reason of passion or hostility.25
Considering the facts and circumstances of this case, we
find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of
respondents. As already well-stated, as long as substantial
evidence supports the OmbudsmanÊs ruling, his decision
will not be overturned.26 Here, the finding of the
Ombudsman that there was probable cause to hold
petitioner liable for falsification by making untruthful
statements in a narration of facts rests on substantial
evidence.
The OMB evaluated petitionerÊs Statement of Assets,
Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for the year 199927
against certified true copies of his bank deposits during the

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same year. In his SALN, petitioner declared P15,000 cash


in bank as of December 31, 1999. The bank certifications of
petitionerÊs deposits, however, confirmed that he had an
aggregate balance of P5,793,881.39 in his accounts with
three banks. Original certifications dated June 17, 1999
issued by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)28 and
Equitable PCI

_______________

24 Galario v. Office of the Ombudsman (Mindanao), G.R. No. 166797,


July 10, 2007, 527 SCRA 190, 205.
25 Peralta v. Desierto, G.R. No. 153152, October 19, 2005, 473 SCRA
322, 337.
26 Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) v. Desierto,
supra note 21, at p. 122.
27 Records, p. 12.
28 Id., at p. 7.

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Bank (Equitable PCIB)29 revealed accounts for


P1,632,282.59 and P1,228,702.53, respectively. A
photocopied certification dated June 16, 1999 from
Metrobank30 indicated a deposit of P2,932,896.27.
The OMB did not accord weight to the Joint Affidavit31
submitted by petitioner. In said Affidavit, Vieto and Dean
Racho, petitionerÊs brothers, stated that they entrusted to
petitioner P1,390,000 and P1,950,000 respectively. On the
other hand, petitionerÊs nephew, Henry Racho, claimed that
he delivered the amount of P1,400,000 to petitioner. These
sums were purportedly their contribution as stockholders
of Angelsons Lending and Investors, Inc. (Angelsons) and
Nal Pay Phone Services (NPPS) - businesses managed by
the spouses Racho. Ironically, Dean Racho was not listed as
a stockholder of the lending company. Moreover, the
Articles of Incorporation32 of Angelsons reflected that Vieto,
Henry and the spouses Racho individually paid only
P12,500 of the subscribed shares of P50,000 each.

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Petitioner did not present proofs of succeeding


contributions made and their amounts. Curiously, affiants
allegedly tendered their additional contributions during
family reunions.33 Neither did the affiants describe the
extent of their interest in NPPS. Petitioner merely
presented NPPSÊ Certificate of Registration of Business
Name34 secured by his wife Lourdes B. Racho. Yet, said
certificate did not operate as a license to engage in any
kind of business, much more a proof of its establishment
and operation. Even assuming that said businesses exist,
petitioner should have similarly reported his interests
therein in his SALN.

_______________

29 Id., at p. 6.
30 Id., at p. 5.
31 Id., at pp. 113-115.
32 Id., at pp. 117-123.
33 Id., at p. 114.
34 Id., at p. 133.

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Petitioner argues that his culpability should not be


ascertained on the basis of photocopied bank certifications.
Apparent from the records, however, is the Order35 dated
August 27, 2004 of the OMB which required petitioner to
comment on the certified true copies of bank certifications
issued by BPI and Equitable PCIB. All the same, even if we
exclude his deposit in Metrobank, a significant disparity
between his declared cash on hand of P15,000 and cash in
bank of P2,860,985.12 subsists when compared to his total
bank deposits duly certified for the same year.
Indeed, the determination of probable cause need not be
based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on
evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt.36 It is
enough that it is believed that the act or omission
complained of constitutes the offense charged. The trial of a

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case is conducted precisely for the reception of evidence of


the prosecution in support of the charge.37 A finding of
probable cause merely binds the suspect to stand trial. It is
not a pronouncement of guilt.38
Moreover, we are unable to agree with petitionerÊs
contention that he was denied due process when no hearing
was conducted on his motion for reinvestigation. In De
Ocampo v. Secretary of Justice,39 we ruled that a
clarificatory hearing is not required during preliminary
investigation. Rather than being mandatory, a clarificatory
hearing is optional on the part of the investigating officer
as evidenced by the use of the term „may‰ in Section 3(e) of
Rule 112, thus:

_______________

35 Id., at p. 95.
36 Galario v. Office of the Ombudsman (Mindanao), supra note 24, at
p. 204.
37 Raro v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 108431, July 14, 2000, 335 SCRA
581, 605.
38 Galario v. Office of the Ombudsman (Mindanao), supra note 36.
39 G.R. No. 147932, January 25, 2006, 480 SCRA 71.

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Racho vs. Miro

„(e) If the investigating officer believes that there are matters


to be clarified, he may set a hearing to propound clarificatory
questions to the parties or their witnesses, during which the parties
shall be afforded an opportunity to be present but without the right
to examine or cross-examine.‰40

This rule applies equally to a motion for reinvestigation.


As stated, the Office of the Ombudsman has been granted
virtually plenary investigatory powers by the Constitution
and by law. As a rule, the Office of the Ombudsman may,
for every particular investigation, whether instigated by a
complaint or on its own initiative, decide how best to
pursue such investigation.41 In the present case, the OMB

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found it unnecessary to hold additional clarificatory


hearings. Notably, we note that a hearing was conducted
during preliminary investigation where petitioner invoked
his right to remain silent and confront witnesses who may
be presented against him, although there was none
presented.
Besides, under the Rules of Procedure of the Office of
the Ombudsman (Administrative Order No. 07),
particularly Rule II, Section 7(a),42 in relation to Section
4(f),43 a complainantÊs

_______________

40 Id., at p. 80.
41 Dimayuga v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 129099, July 20,
2006, 495 SCRA 461, 469.
42 Sec. 7. Motion for reconsideration.·
a) Only one motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation of an
approved order or resolution shall be allowed, the same to be filed
within five (5) days from notice thereof with the Office of the
Ombudsman, or the proper Deputy Ombudsman as the case may
be, with corresponding leave of court in cases where the
information has already been filed in court. (As amended by
Administrative Order No. 15 entitled „Re: Amendment of Section
7, Rule II of Administrative Order No. 07,‰ signed by Tanodbayan
Aniano A. Desierto on February 16, 2001.)
xxxx
43 Sec. 4. Procedure.·The preliminary investigation of cases falling
under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and Regional

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Racho vs. Miro

active participation is no longer a matter of right during


reinvestigation. Admittedly, technical rules of procedure
and evidence are not strictly applied in administrative
proceedings. Thus, it is settled that administrative due
process cannot be fully equated with due process in its
strict judicial sense.44
Petitioner complains of how quickly the reinvestigation

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proceedings were terminated. The OMB issued the


Reinvestigation Report on January 10, 2005, barely a week
after petitioner filed his Comment dated January 4, 2005.
Thus, the latter surmises that no reinvestigation was
actually made. However, a review of the facts would reveal
that after the Court of Appeals directed a reinvestigation of
the case, the OMB issued an Order dated August 27, 2004
requiring petitioner to submit a comment within 10 days
from receipt. The latter failed to comply. On December 1,
2004, petitioner filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File
Comment45 of 30 days; the OMB granted the same for 15
days. On December 17,

_______________

Trial Courts shall be conducted in the manner prescribed in Section 3,


Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, subject to the following provisions:

xxxx
f) If, after the filing of the requisite affidavits and their
supporting evidences, there are facts material to the case which
the investigating officer may need to be clarified on, he may
conduct a clarificatory hearing during which the parties shall be
afforded the opportunity to be present but without the right to
examine or cross-examine the witness being questioned. Where
the appearance of the parties or witnesses is impracticable, the
clarificatory questioning may be, conducted in writing, whereby
the questions desired to be asked by the investigating officer or a
party shall be reduced into writing and served on the witness
concerned who shall be required to answer the same in writing
and under oath.
xxxx
44 Espinosa v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 135775, October 19,
2000, 343 SCRA 744, 753.
45 Records, pp. 96-98.

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2004, petitioner asked for another extension of 30 days

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reckoned from December 19, 2004 within which to submit a


comment; the OMB gave him up to December 28, 2004. On
December 28, 2004, petitioner moved for a third extension.
Then, without waiting for the OMBÊs resolution of his latest
motion, petitioner filed his Comment on January 4, 2005.
But with his repeated motions for extensions, he already
contributed to palpable delay in the completion of the
reinvestigation.
Clearly, the requirements of due process have been
substantially satisfied in the instant case.46 In its Order47
dated December 22, 2004, the OMB warned petitioner that
no further extension will be given such that if he fails to
file a comment on December 28, 2004, the cases against
him will be submitted for resolution. Even so, the OMB
considered petitionerÊs belatedly-filed Comment and the
documents attached therewith in its Reinvestigation
Report. In our view, petitioner cannot successfully invoke
deprivation of due process in this case, where as a party he
was given the chance to be heard, with ample opportunity
to present his side.48
Equally clear to us, there was no manifest abuse of
discretion on the part of Director Palanca-Santiago for her
refusal to inhibit herself in the reinvestigation. Even if a
preliminary investigation resembles a realistic judicial
appraisal of the merits of the case,49 public prosecutors
could not decide whether there is evidence beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the person charged.50 They
are not considered judges, by the nature of their functions,
but merely quasi-judicial

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46 Filipino v. Macabuhay, G.R. No. 158960, November 24, 2006, 508


SCRA 50, 59.
47 Records, pp. 100-101.
48 Filipino v. Macabuhay, supra note 46, at p. 58.
49 Sales v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 143802, November 16, 2001, 369
SCRA 293, 301.
50 Gallardo v. People, G.R. No. 142030, April 21, 2005, 456 SCRA 494,
507.

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officers.51 Worth-stressing, one adverse ruling by itself


would not prove bias and prejudice against a party
sufficient to disqualify even a judge.52 Hence, absent
proven allegations of specific conduct showing prejudice
and hostility, we cannot impute grave abuse of discretion
here on respondent director. To ask prosecutors to recuse
themselves on reinvestigation upon every unfavorable
ruling in a case would cause unwarranted delays in the
prosecution of actions.
Finally, we note that petitioner failed to attach a
certified true copy of the assailed Resolution in OMB-C-C-
03-0729-L in disregard of paragraph 253 of Section 1, Rule
65 on certiorari. As previously ruled, the requirement of
providing appellate courts with certified true copies of the
judgments or final orders that are the subjects of review is
indispensable to aid them in resolving whether or not to
give due course to petitions. This necessary requirement
cannot be perfunctorily ignored, much less violated.54 In
view, however, of the serious matters dealt with in this
case, we opted to tackle the substantial merits hereof with
least regard to technicalities.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for
lack of merit. The Regional Trial Court of Cebu City,
Branch 8 is hereby ORDERED to proceed with the trial of
Criminal Case No. CBU-66458 against petitioner.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

_______________

51 Sales v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 49, at p. 302.


52 Republic v. Gingoyon, G.R. No. 166429, December 19, 2005, 478
SCRA 474, 543.
53 SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari.·⁄.
The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the
judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, copies of all
pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a
sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third
paragraph of section 3, Rule 46.

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54 Go v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 163745, August 24, 2007, 531


SCRA 158, 166.

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