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Leviste vs. Alameda 626 SCRA 575 Facts: Jose Antonio C.

Leviste (petitioner) was, by Information, charged with homicide for the death of Rafael de las Alas on January 12, 2007 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. Petitioner was placed under police custody while confined at the Makati Medical Center. After petitioner posted a bond which the trial court approved, he was released from detention, and his arraignment was set. The private complainants-heirs of De las Alas filed, with the conformity of the public prosecutor, an Urgent Omnibus Motion praying, inter alia, for the deferment of the proceedings to allow the public prosecutor to re-examine the evidence on record or to conduct a reinvestigation to determine the proper offense. The RTC thereafter issued the (1) Order of January 24, 2007 deferring petitioners arraignment and allowing the prosecution to conduct a reinvestigation to determine the proper offense and submit a recommendation within 30 days from its inception, inter alia; and (2) Order of January 31, 2007 denying reconsideration of the first order. Petitioner assailed these orders via certiorari and prohibition before the Court of Appeals. Petitioner posits that the prosecution has no right under the Rules to seek from the trial court an investigation or reevaluation of the case except through a petition for review before the Department of Justice (DOJ). In cases when an accused is arrested without a warrant, petitioner contends that the remedy of preliminary investigation belongs only to the accused. Issue: Whether or not private respondent has the right to cause the reinvestigation of the criminal case when the criminal information had already been filed with the lower court. Held: A preliminary investigation is required before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four years, two months and one day without regard to fine. As an exception, the rules provide that there is no need for a preliminary investigation in cases of a lawful arrest without a warrant involving such type of offense, so long as an inquest, where available, has been conducted. Inquest is defined as an informal and summary investigation conducted by a public prosecutor in criminal cases involving persons arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued by the court for the purpose of determining whether said persons should remain under custody and correspondingly be charged in court. The accelerated process of inquest, owing to its summary nature and the attendant risk of running against Article 125, ends with either the prompt filing of an information in court or the immediate release of the arrested person. Notably, the rules on inquest do not provide for a motion for reconsideration. Contrary to petitioners position that private complainant should have appealed to the DOJ Secretary, such remedy is not immediately available in cases subject of inquest. Noteworthy is the proviso that the appeal to the DOJ Secretary is by "petition by a proper party under such rules as the Department of Justice may prescribe."The rule referred to is the 2000 National Prosecution Service Rule on Appeal, Section 1 of which provides that the Rule shall "apply to appeals from

resolutions in cases subject of preliminary investigation/ reinvestigation." In cases subject of inquest, therefore, the private party should first avail of a preliminary investigation or reinvestigation, if any, before elevating the matter to the DOJ Secretary. In case the inquest proceedings yield no probable cause, the private complainant may pursue the case through the regular course of a preliminary investigation. ONCE A COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION IS FILED IN COURT, the rules yet provide the accused with another opportunity to ask for a preliminary investigation within five days from the time he learns of its filing. The Rules of Court and the New Rules on Inquest are silent, however, on whether the private complainant could invoke, as respondent heirs of the victim did in the present case, a similar right to ask for a reinvestigation. The Court holds that the private complainant can move for reinvestigation, subject to and in light of the ensuing disquisition.