G.R. No. L-53373 June 30, 1987 MARIO FL. CRESPO, petitioner, vs. HON. LEODEGARIO L. MOG L, P!

e"#$#n% Ju$%e, CIRC I& CRIMINAL CO R& OF L CENA CI&', 9() Ju$#*#+, D#"(., &HE PEOPLE OF &HE PHILIPPINES, !e-!e"en(e$ ./ ()e SOLICI&OR GENERAL, RICARDO 0A &IS&A, E& AL., respondents.

GANCA'CO, J.: The issue raised in this ease is whether the trial court acting on a motion to dismiss a criminal case filed by the Provincial Fiscal upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice to whom the case was elevated for review, may refuse to grant the motion and insist on the arraignment and trial on the merits. On April !, "## Assistant Fiscal Proceso $. de %ala with the approval of the Provincial Fiscal filed an information for estafa against &ario Fl. 'respo in the 'ircuit 'riminal 'ourt of (ucena 'ity which was doc)eted as 'riminal 'ase *o. '''+,-./ 01ue2on3 4##.1 5hen the case was set for arraigment the accused filed a motion to defer arraignment on the
ground that there was a pending petition for review filed with the Secretary of Justice of the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal for

A motion for reconsideration of the order was denied in the order of August ., "## but the arraignment was deferred to August !, "## to afford nine for petitioner to elevate the matter to the appellate court. 3
the filing of the information. +n an order of August , "##, the presiding 6udge, 7is 7onor, (eodegario (. &ogul, denied the motion.

1

A petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a preliminary writ of in6unction was filed by the accused in the 'ourt of Appeals that was doc)eted as 'A-%.8. SP *o. 9:"#!. 2 +n an order of August #, "## the 'ourt of Appeals restrained Judge
&ogul from proceeding with the arraignment of the accused until further orders of the 'ourt. 5 +n a comment that was filed by the Solicitor %eneral he recommended that the petition be given due course. 3 On &ay ., "#! a decision was rendered by the 'ourt of Appeals granting the writ and perpetually restraining the 6udge from enforcing his threat to compel the arraignment of the accused in the case until the ;epartment of Justice shall have finally resolved the petition for review. 7

On &arch //, "#! then <ndersecretary of Justice, 7on.'atalino &acaraig, Jr., resolving the petition for review reversed the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and directed the fiscal to move for immediate dismissal of the information filed against the accused. 8 A motion to dismiss for insufficiency of evidence was
filed by the Provincial Fiscal dated April 9, "#! with the trial court, 9 attaching thereto a copy of the letter of <ndersecretary &acaraig, Jr. +n an order of August /, "#! the private prosecutor was given time to file an opposition thereto. 10 On *ovember /=, "#! the Judge denied the motion and set the arraigniment stating>

O8;?8

ivision of this 'ourt resolved to transfer this case to the 'ourt En Banc. prohibition and mandamus with petition for the issuance of preliminary writ of prohibition andCor temporary restraining order in the 'ourt of Appeals that was doc)eted as 'A-%.For resolution is a motion to dismiss this rase filed by the procuting fiscal premised on insufficiency of evidence. SO O8. "#! at ">99 o4cloc) in the moming.?8?. the 'ourt En Banc resolved to give due course to the petition. Private respondent through counsel filed his reply to the comment and a separate conunent to the petition as)ing that the petition be dismissed. evident from Anne@ AAA of the motion wherein.ivision of this 'ourt without giving due course to the petition reBuired the respondents to comment to the petition. "!9. "#". the motion is considered as without merit and therefore hereby . +n the resolution of February /:. 11 The accused then filed a petition for certiorari. declaring the information filed not valid and of no legal force and effect. 11 On January /D. "!9. "! . the Second . . 13 +n a decision of October /. not to file a motiod to dismiss.?*+?. within ten 0 93 days from notice. and declaring the obligation of petitioner as purely civil.ecember !. respondent 6udge be perpetually en6oined from enforcing his threat to proceed with the arraignment and trial of petitioner in said criminal case. "#" the 'ourt of Appeals dismissed the petition and lifted the restraining order of January /D. The motion4s thrust being to induce this 'ourt to resolve the innocence of the accused on evidence not before it but on that adduced before the <ndersecretary of Justice. the Second . among other things... 13 +n a resolution of &ay ". 57?8?FO8?. SP9!###. as suggested by the <ndersecretary of Justice. *o. 15 7ence this petition for review of said decision was filed by accused whereby petitioner prays that said decision be reversed and set aside. +n the comment filed by the Solicitor %eneral he recommends that the petition be given due course. "#" a restraining order was issued by the 'ourt of Appeals against the threatened act of arraignment of the accused until further orders from the 'ourt. 12 A motion for reconsideration of said decision filed by the accused was denied in a resolution of February ".. "! .. a matter that not only disregards the reBuirements of due process but also erodes the 'ourt4s independence and integrity. it being meritorious. the Fiscal is urged to move for dismissal for the reason that the chec) involved having been issued for the payment of a pre-e@isting obligation the 7ability of the drawer can only be civil and not criminal. as it is hereby set for . ordering respondent Judge to dismiss the said case.8. +n the resolution of February . let the arraignment be.

follow or not fonow that presented by the offended party. 31 5hen after the filing of the complaint or information a warrant for the arrest of the accused is issued by the trial court and the accused either voluntarily submited himself to the 'ourt or was duly arrested. and 'ourts that grant the same commit no error. if he finds that the evidence relied upon by him is insufficient for conviction. not only have the authority but also the duty of prosecuting persons who. The 'ourt thereby acBuires 6urisdiction over the case. that an information be filed in 'ourt. 13 The fiscal may re-investigate a case and subseBuently move for the dismissal should the re-investigation show either that the defendant is innocent or that his guilt may not be established beyond reasonable doubt. The same is sub6ect to the approval of the provincial or city fiscal or the chief state prosecutor as the case maybe and it maybe elevated for review to the Secretary of Justice who has the power to affirm. 31 The filing of a complaint or information in 'ourt initiates a criminal action. according to whether the evidence in his opinion. 15 Thus.Petitioner and private respondent filed their respective briefs while the Solicitor %eneral filed a &anifestation in lieu of brief reiterating that the decision of the respondent 'ourt of Appeals be reversed and that respondent Judge be ordered to dismiss the information. 33 . a fiscal who as)s for the dismissal of the case for insufficiency of evidence has authority to do so. modify or reverse the action or opinion of the fiscal. 10 +t is through the conduct of a preliminary investigation 13 that the fiscal determines the e@istence of a puma facie case that would warrant the prosecution of a case. 11 complainant. 12 *either has the 'ourt any power to order the fiscal to prosecute or file an information within a certain period of time. 18 On the other hand. 'onseBuently the Secretary of Justice may direct that a motion to dismiss the rase be filed in 'ourt or otherwise. 17 The institution of a criminal action depends upon the sound discretion of the fiscal. 7e may or may not file the complaint or information. are shown to be guilty of a crime committed within the 6urisdiction of their office. 17 +n a clash of views between the 6udge who did not investigate and the fiscal who did. neither an in6unction. +t is not prudent or even permissible for a 'ourt to compel the fiscal to prosecute a proceeding originally initiated by him on an information. 30 7owever. preliminary or final nor a writ of prohibition may be issued by the courts to restrain a criminal prosecution 19 e@cept in the e@treme case where it is necessary for the 'ourts to do so for the orderly administration of 6ustice or to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an op pressive and vindictive manner. +t is a cardinal principle that an criminal actions either commenced by complaint or by information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal. the 'ourt thereby acBuired 6urisdiction over the person of the accused. 18 The reason for placing the criminal prosecution under the direction and control of the fiscal is to prevent malicious or unfounded prosecution by private persons. those of the Fiscal4s should normally prevail. which is the authority to hear and determine the case. the action of the fiscal or prosecutor is not without any limitation or control. according to the evidence received from the complainant. 11 They have eBually the legal duty not to prosecute when after an investigation they become convinced that the evidence adduced is not sufficient to establish a prima facie case. since this would interfere with the fiscal4s discretion and control of criminal prosecutions. 19 +t cannot be controlled by the Prosecuting officers under the power vested in them by law. or between the fiscal and the offended party or the defendant. The 'ourts cannot interfere with the fiscal4s discretion and control of the criminal prosecution. is sufficient or not to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

at such stage. Although the . as above stated. 38 The rule therefore in this 6urisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed in 'ourt any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acBuittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the 'ourt. once the case had already been brought to 'ourt whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should be proper in the rase thereafter should be addressed for the consideration of the 'ourt. the permission of the 'ourt must be secured. 35 The only Bualification is that the action of the 'ourt must not impair the substantial rights of the accused. 37 The least that the fiscal should do is to continue to appear for the prosecution although he may turn over the presentation of the evidence to the private prosecutor but still under his direction and control.The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the purpose of determining whether a prima facie case e@ists warranting the prosecution of the accused is terminated upon the filing of the information in the proper court. Should the fiscal find it proper to conduct a reinvestigation of the case. The answer is simple. it is the duty of the fiscal to proceed with the presentation of evidence of the prosecution to the 'ourt to enable the 'ourt to arrive at its own independent 6udgment as to whether the accused should be convicted or acBuitted. The role of the fiscal or prosecutor as 5e all )now is to see that 6ustice is done and not necessarily to secure the conviction of the person accused before the 'ourts. 32 5hile it is true that the fiscal has the quasi judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court or not. 33 or the right of the People to due process of law. +n turn. 33+ 5hether the accused had been arraigned or not and whether it was due to a reinvestigation by the fiscal or a review by the Secretary of Justice whereby a motion to dismiss was submitted to the 'ourt. The fiscal should not shir) from the responsibility of appearing for the People of the Philippines even under such circumstances much less should he abandon the prosecution of the case leaving it to the hands of a private prosecutor for then the entire proceedings will be null and void. in spite of his opinion to the contrary. Thus. 7owever. one may as). if the trial court refuses to grant the motion to dismiss filed by the fiscal upon the directive of the Secretary of Justice will there not be a vacuum in the prosecutionE A state prosecutor to handle the case cannot possibly be designated by the Secretary of Justice who does not believe that there is a basis for prosecution nor can the fiscal be e@pected to handle the prosecution of the case thereby defying the superior order of the Secretary of Justice. After such reinvestigation the finding and recommendations of the fiscal should be submitted to the 'ourt for appropriate action. the 'ourt in the e@ercise of its discretion may grant the motion or deny it and reBuire that the trial on the merits proceed for the proper determination of the case. the filing of said information sets in motion the criminal action against the accused in 'ourt.

JJ . SO O8. for lac) of merit without pronouncement as to costs. concur $ee%an&ee. #armiento and !ortes. The matter should be left entirely for the determination of the 'ourt. Fernan. +t does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the accused or that the motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the investigation. Yap.fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already in 'ourt he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. Narvasa.+S&+SS?. as far as practicable. ! J . Melencio-Herrera. +n order therefor to avoid such a situation whereby the opinion of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the action of the fiscal may be disregarded by the trial court. the petition is . 57?8?FO8?. too& no part . Feliciano. Bidin. Jr . A motion to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal should be addressed to the 'ourt who has the option to grant or deny the same. refrain from entertaining a petition for review or appeal from the action of the fiscal. "adilla. "aras.?8?.. The determination of the case is within its e@clusive 6urisdiction and competence. the Secretary of Justice should. Gutierrez. !ruz. when the complaint or information has already been filed in 'ourt. The 'ourt is the best and sole 6udge on what to do with the case before it.