Filadams Pharma v.

CA
Criminal Procedure; Pleadings and Practice; A person whose
complaint is dismissed by the Assistant Prosecutor could
appeal to the Secretary of Justice, and from a dismissal of
his appeal and denial of his motion for reconsideration, he
could file a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals on
the ground of grave abuse of discretion.-
—With our ruling in Bautista that the Office of the Prosecutor
was not covered by the appellate process under Rule 43 of
the Rules of Court, what then was petitioner’s remedy from
the resolution of the Assistant Prosecutor dismissing his
complaint? Based on the 1993 Revised Rules on Appeals
from Resolutions in Preliminary Investigations or
Reinvestigations—now the 2000 NPS Rule on Appeals—the
petitioner could appeal to the Secretary of Justice. In this
case, the petitioner did appeal to the Secretary of Justice but
his appeal was dismissed. His motion for reconsideration
was also dismissed. Since there was no more appeal or
other remedy available in the ordinary course of law, the
petitioner correctly filed a petition for certiorari with the Court
of Appeals on the ground of grave abuse of discretion.
2. Same; Same; Same; Same; Where it is clear from the
records that a prima facie case for estafa exists, the
dismissal of the complaint-affidavit was a patent error
constituting grave abuse of discretion.-
—From the records, it is clear to us that a prima facie case
for estafa exists. The dismissal of petitioner’s complaint-
affidavit and the DOJ’s affirmance thereof on appeal was a
patent error constituting grave abuse of discretion within the
ambit of exception no. 4 above.
3. Same; Same; Criminal Procedure; Preliminary
Investigations; It is the Supreme Court’s general policy not to
interfere in the conduct of preliminary investigations, leaving
the investigating officers sufficient discretion to determine
probable cause; Exceptions.-
—While it is this Court’s general policy not to interfere in the
conduct of preliminary investigations, leaving the
investigating officers sufficient discretion to determine
probable cause, we have nonetheless made some
exceptions to the general rule, such as: 1. when necessary to
afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the
accused; 2. when necessary for the orderly administration of
justice or to avoid oppression or multiplicity of actions; 3.
when there is a prejudicial question which is subjudice; 4.
when the acts of the officer are without or in excess of
authority; 5. where the prosecution is under an invalid law,
ordinance or regulation; 6. when double jeopardy is clearly
apparent; 7. where the court has no jurisdiction over the
offense; 8. where it is a case of persecution rather than
prosecution; 9. where the charges are manifestly false and
motivated by the lust for vengeance; 10. when there is clearly
no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to
quash on that ground has been denied.
Osorio v. Disierto
Criminal Procedure; Ombudsman; Appeals; In Estrada v.
Desierto, 445 SCRA 655 (2004), the Supreme Court held
that the remedy of aggrieved parties from resolutions of the
Office of the Ombudsman finding probable cause in criminal
cases or non-administrative cases, when tainted with grave
abuse of discretion, is to file an original action for certiorari
with the Supreme Court and not with the Court of Appeals.-
In Estrada v. Desierto, we held that the remedy of aggrieved
parties from resolutions of the Office of the Ombudsman
finding probable cause in criminal cases or non-
administrative cases, when tainted with grave abuse of
discretion, is to file an original action for certiorari with this
Court and not with the Court of Appeals. By availing of the
wrong remedy, the petition should be dismissed outright.
Nevertheless, we will consider the present petition as one
filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court since a perusal of
the contents reveals that petitioner is imputing grave abuse
of discretion on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman
when it issued the Resolution dated 12 January 2001 and the
Order dated 17 July 2001, finding probable cause for the
filing of Informations against petitioner and co-accused
Robles.
Castillo v. Villaluz
Criminal Procedure; Preliminary Investigation; Fiscals and
Judges; Judges of Regional Trial Courts no longer have
authority to conduct preliminary investigations.-
Judges of Regional Trial Courts (formerly Courts of First
Instance) no longer have authority to conduct preliminary
investigations. That authority, at one time reposed in them
under Sections 13, 14 and 16, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court
of 1964, was removed from them by the 1985 Rules on
Criminal Procedure, effective on January 1, 1985, which
deleted all provisions granting that power to said Judges. We
had occasion to point this out in Salta v. Court of Appeals,
143 SCRA 228, and to stress as well certain other basic
propositions, namely: (1) that the conduct of a preliminary
investigation is “not a judicial function, x x (but) part of the
prosecution’s job, a function of the executive;” (2) that
wherever “there are enough fiscals or prosecutors to conduct
preliminary investigations, courts are counseled to leave this
job which is essentially executive to them,” and the fact “that
a certain power is granted does not necessarily mean that it
should be indiscriminately exercised.
2. Criminal Procedure; Preliminary Investigation; Fiscals and
Judges; The amendments to the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure did not restore that authority to Judges of
Regional Trial Courts.+
3. Criminal Procedure; Preliminary Investigation; Fiscals and
Judges; RTC Judges however has the power to make a
preliminary examination for the purpose of determining
whether probable cause exists to justify the issuance of a
warrant of arrest (or search warrant).-
This is not to say, however, that somewhere along the line
RTC Judges also lost the power to make a preliminary
examination for the purpose of determining whether probable
cause exists to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest (or
search warrant). Such a power—indeed, it is as much a duty
as it is a power—has been and remains vested in every
judge by the provision in the Bill of Rights in the 1935, the
1973 and the present (1987) Constitutions securing the
people against unreasonable searches and seizures, thereby
placing it beyond the competence of mere Court rule or
statute to revoke. The distinction must, therefore, be made
clear: while an RTC Judge may no longer conduct
preliminary investigations to ascertain whether there is
sufficient ground for the filing of a criminal complaint or
information, he retains the authority, when such a pleading is
filed with his court, to determine whether there is probable
cause justifying the issuance of a warrant of arrest. It might
be added that this distinction accords, rather than conflicts,
with the rationale of Salta because both law and rule, in
restricting to judges the authority to order arrest, recognize
that function to be judicial in nature.
4. Criminal Procedure; Preliminary Investigation; Fiscals and
Judges; The conclusions derived by a judge from his own
investigation cannot be superior to and conclusively binding
on the fiscal or public prosecutor.-
It is the fiscal who is given by law “direction and control” of all
criminal actions. It is he who initiates all prosecutions in the
name of the People of the Philippines, by information or
complaint, against all persons who appear to be responsible
for the offense involved. It is he (or other public prosecutor),
therefore, who is primarily responsible for ascertaining,
through a preliminary inquiry or proceeding “whether there is
reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been
committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof.” That
function, to repeat, is not judicial but executive. When a
preliminary investigation is conducted by a judge, the judge
performs a non-judicial function, as an exception to his usual
judicial duties. The assignment of that function to judges of
inferior courts and to a very limited extent to courts of first
instance was dictated by “necessity and practical
considerations,” and the consequent policy, as we said in
Salta, was that “wherever there were enough fiscals or
prosecutors to conduct preliminary investigations, courts
were to leave that job which is essentially executive to them.”
It follows that the conclusions derived by a judge from his
own investigation cannot be superior to and conclusively
binding on the fiscal or public prosecutor, in whom that
function is principally and more logically lodged.
5. Criminal Procedure; Preliminary Investigation; Fiscals and
Judges; In case of disagreement with the findings of
probable cause, the fiscal’s ruling shall prevail but once an
information is filed with the court and the latter acquires
jurisdiction over the case, the case may not be dismissed at
the fiscal’s instance except only by consent of the court.-
It may not be amiss to point out, in this connection, that the
1988 Amendments to the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure
(Sec. 5, Rule 112) explicitly provide inter alia that “(s)hould
the provincial or city fiscal disagree with the findings of the
investigating judge on the existence of probable cause, the
fiscal’s ruling shall prevail.” Be it noted, however, that once
the fiscal files an information with the Court and the Court
thereby acquires jurisdiction over the case, the case may not
be dismissed at the fiscal’s instance except only by consent
of the Court, which may grant or withhold in its discretion.
6. Criminal Procedure; Preliminary Investigation; Fiscals and
Judges; His Honor committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction in foreclosing the fiscal’s
prerogative to conduct his own preliminary investigation.-
It was therefore grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
of jurisdiction on His Honor’s part to seek to foreclose the
petitioner fiscal’s prerogative to conduct his own preliminary
investigation to determine for himself the existence or non-
existence of probable cause, and to require him to show
cause for not filing the information within twenty-four (24)
hours, on the sole basis of the Judge’s conclusions. The
fiscal was not bound to a blind, uncritical and unavoidable
acceptance of those conclusions. He had the duty to satisfy
himself of the existence of probable cause, and could not
shirk or be made to evade it by an unreasoning and
indiscriminate reliance on the judge’s investigation.
P. v. Inting
Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; Arrest;
Determination of probable cause is a function of the Judge.-
The determination of probable cause is a function of the
Judge. It is not for the Provincial Fiscal or Prosecutor nor for
the Election Supervisor to ascertain. Only the Judge and the
Judge alone makes this determination.
2. Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; Arrest; The
preliminary inquiry made by a Prosecutor does not bind the
judge.-
The preliminary inquiry made by a Prosecutor does not bind
the Judge. It merely assists him to make the determination of
probable cause. The Judge does not have to follow what the
Prosecutor presents to him. By itself, the Prosecutor’s
certification of probable cause is ineffectual. It is the report,
the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any),
and all other supporting documents behind the Prosecutor’s
certification which are material in assisting the Judge to
make his determination.
3. Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; Arrest;
Determination of probable cause for the warrant of arrest is
made by the Judge; The preliminary investigation proper is
the function of the Prosecutor.-
Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the
preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary
investigation proper which ascertains whether the offender
should be held for trial or released. Even if the two inquiries
are conducted in the course of one and the same
proceeding, there should be no confusion about the
objectives. The determination of probable cause for the
warrant of arrest is made by the Judge. The preliminary
investigation proper—whether or not there is reasonable
ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense
charged and, therefore, whether or not he should be
subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of
trial_is the function of the Prosecutor.
4. Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; Judges of
Regional Trial Courts no longer have authority to conduct
preliminary investigations.+
5. Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; 1988
Amendments to the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure did
not restore that authority to Judges of Regional Trial Courts.+
6. Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; RTC Judges
still have the power to make a preliminary examination for
the purpose of determining whether probable cause exists to
justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest.+
7. Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; Comelec is
empowered to conduct preliminary investigations in cases
involving election offenses for the purpose of helping the
Judge determine probable cause and for filing an information
in Court.-
In effect the 1987 Constitution mandates the COMELEC not
only to investigate but also to prosecute cases of violation of
election laws. This means that the COMELEC is empowered
to conduct pre- liminary investigations in cases involving
election offenses for the purpose of helping the Judge
determine probable cause and for filing an information in
court. This power is exclusive with COMELEC.
8. Constitutional Law; Preliminary Investigation; The
Provincial Fiscal as such assumes no role in the prosecution
of election cases.-
Hence, the Provincial Fiscal, as such, assumes no role in the
prosecution of election offenses. If the Fiscal or Prosecutor
files an information charging an election offense or
prosecutes a violation of election law, it is because he has
been deputized by the COMELEC. He does not do so under
the sole authority of his office.