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Salibo vs Warden

G.R .197597, April 8 2015


Butukan S. Malang, one of the accused in the Maguindanao massacre, had a pending warrant of arrest
issued by the trial court inPeople vs Ampatuan Jr. et. al. When Datukan Malang Salibo learned that the
police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station in Maguindanao suspected him to be Butukan S. Malang, he
presented himself to clear his name. Salibo presented to the police pertinent portions of his passport,
boarding passes and other documents tending to prove that a certain Datukan Malang Salibo was in
Saudi Arabia when the massacre happened. The authorities, however, apprehended and detained him.
He questioned the legality of his detention via Urgent Petition for Habeas Corpus before the CA,
maintaining that he is not the accused Batukan S. Malang. The CA issued the writ, making it returnable
to the judge of RTC Taguig. After hearing of the Return, the trial court granted Salibo’s petition and
ordered his immediate release from detention.

On appeal by the Warden, the CA reversed the RTC ruling. The CA held that even assuming Salibo was
not the Batukan S. Malang named in the Alias Warrant of Arrest, orderly course of trial must be pursued
and the usual remedies exhausted before the writ of habeas corpus may be invoked. Salibo’s proper
remedy, according to the CA, should have been a motion to quash information and/or warrant of arrest.

On the other hand, Salibo believes that the Warden erred in appealing the RTC decision before the CA.
Salibo argued that although the CA delegated to the RTC the authority to hear the Warden’s Return, the
RTC’s ruling should be deemed as the CA ruling, and hence, it should have been appealed directly before
the SC.

Issue: W/N a motion to quash information and/or warrant of arrest is the proper remedy in cases where
a person with a mistaken identity is detained.

Held: No, the CA’s contention is not correct. Salibo’s proper remedy is not a Motion to Quash
Information and/or Warrant of Arrest. None of the grounds for filing a Motion to Quash Information
apply to him. Even if petitioner Salibo filed a Motion to Quash, the defect he alleged could not have
been cured by mere amendment of the Information and/or Warrant of Arrest. Changing the name of
the accused appearing in the Information and/or Warrant of Arrest from “Butukan S. Malang” to
“Datukan Malang Salibo” will not cure the lack of preliminary investigation in this case. Likewise, a
motion for reinvestigation will not cure the defect of lack of preliminary investigation