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Private respondent Jessie John P. Gimenez[3] (Gimenez) fled on October 18,
2005, on behalf of
the Yuchengco Family (in particular, former Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco and
Helen Y. Dee (Helen) and of the Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. (Malayan),[4] a criminal
complaint,[5] before the Makati City Prosecutors Office, for thirteen (13) counts of
libel under Article 355 in relation to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC)
against Philip Piccio, Mia Gatmaytan and Ma. Anabella Relova Santos, who are
oficers of Parents Enabling Parents Coalition, Inc. (PEPCI), John Joseph Gutierrez,
Jeselyn Upano, Jose Dizon, Rolanda Pareja, Wonina Bonifacio, Elvira Cruz, Cornelio
Zafra, Vicente Ortueste, Victoria Gomez Jacinto, Jurencio Pereche, Ricardo Loyares
and Peter Suchianco, who are trustees of PEPCI, Trennie Monsod, a member of PEPCI
(collectively, the accused), and a certain John Doe, the administrator of the website
PEPCI appears to have been formed by a large group of disgruntled
planholders of Pacific Plans,
Inc. (PPI) - a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Pacific Life Assurance Corporation,
also owned by the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC) - who had previously
purchased traditional pre-need educational decrying PPIs refusal/inability to honor
its obligations under the educational pre-need plans, PEPCI sought to provide a
forum by which the planholders could seek redress for their pecuniary loss under
their policies by maintaining a website on the internet under the address of
Gimenez alleged that PEPCI also owned, controlled and moderated on the
internet a blogspot[6] under the website,
as well as a yahoo e-group[7] at These websites
are easily accessible to the public or by anyone logged on to the internet.
Gimenez further alleged that upon accessing the above-stated websites in
Makati on various
dates from August 25 to October 2, 2005, he was appalled to read numerous
articles [numbering 13], maliciously and recklessly caused to be published by [the
accused] containing highly derogatory statements and false accusations,
relentlessly attacking the Yuchengco Family, YGC, and particularly, Malayan. The
Makati City Prosecutors Office, fnding probable cause to indict the accused,
fled thirteen (13) separate Informations[11] charging them with libel.
Several of the accused appealed the Makati City Prosecutors Resolution by a
petition for review to the Secretary of Justice who, by Resolution of June 20, 2007,
[13] reversed the fnding of probable cause and accordingly directed the withdrawal
of the Informations for libel fled in court. The Justice Secretary opined that the
crime of internet libel was non-existent; hence, the accused could not be charged
with libel under Article 353 of the RPC.
Petitioners, as co-accused, thereupon fled on June 6, 2006, before the public
respondent, a Motion to Quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 06-876 on the
grounds that it failed to vest jurisdiction on the Makati RTC; the acts complained

of in the Information are not punishable by law since internet libel is not covered
by Article 353 of the RPC; and the Information is fatally defective for failure to
designate the offense charged and the acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the ofense of libel.

By Order of October 3, 2006,[18] the public respondent, albeit fnding that

probable cause existed, quashed the Information, citing Agustin v. Pamintuan. It
found that the Information lacked any allegations that the offended parties were
actually residing in Makati at the time of the commission of the offense as in fact
they listed their address in the complaint-afidavit at Yuchengco Tower in Binondo,
Manila; or that the alleged libelous article was printed and frst published in Makati.
The prosecution moved to reconsider the quashal of the Information,[20]
insisting that the Information suffciently conferred jurisdiction on the public
respondent. It cited Banal III v. Panganiban[21] which held that the Information need
not allege verbatim that the libelous publication was printed and frst published
in the appropriate venue. And it pointed out that Malayan has an ofice in Makati
of which Helen is a resident. Moreover, the prosecution alleged that even assuming
that the Information was deficient, it merely needed a formal amendment
Petitioners opposed the prosecutions motion for reconsideration, contending,
inter alia, that since venue is jurisdictional in criminal cases, any defect in an
information for libel pertaining to jurisdiction is not a mere matter of form that may
be cured by amendment.[22]
By Order of March 8, 2007,[23] the public respondent granted the prosecutions
motion for reconsideration and accordingly ordered the public prosecutor to amend
the Information to cure the defect of want of venue.
Petitioners moved to quash the Amended Information which, they alleged,
still failed to vest jurisdiction upon the public respondent because it failed to
allege that the libelous articles were printed and frst published by the
accused in Makati; and the prosecution erroneously laid the venue of the case in
the place where the ofended party accessed the internet-published article. By
the assailed Order of April 22, 2008, the public respondent, applying Banal III, found
the Amended Information to be suffcient in form. Petitioners motion for
reconsideration having been denied by the public respondent by Joint Resolution of
August 12, 2008, they fled the present petition for Certiorari and Prohibition,
(1) whether petitioners violated the rule on hierarchy of courts to thus
render the petition dismissible; and
(2) whether grave abuse of discretion attended the public respondents
admission of the Amended
The established policy of strict observance of the judicial hierarchy of courts,
as a rule, requires that recourse must frst be made to the lower-ranked court
exercising concurrent jurisdiction with a higher court. A regard for judicial hierarchy
clearly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against frst
level courts should be fled in the RTC and those against the latter should be
fled in the Court of Appeals. The rule is not iron-clad, however, as it admits of
certain exceptions.
Thus, a strict application of the rule is unnecessary when cases brought
before the appellate courts do not involve factual but purely legal questions.

In the present case, a pure question of law is involved -jurisdiction in

criminal complaints for libel under Article 360 of the RPC whether the Amended
Information is suffcient to sustain a charge for written defamation in light of the
requirements under Article 360 of the RPC, as amended by Republic Act (RA) No.
4363, reading:
The criminal action and civil action for damages in cases of written
defamations, as provided for in this chapter shall be fled simultaneously or
separately with the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the
libelous article is printed and frst published or where any of the ofended
parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense: Provided,
however, That where one of the ofended parties is a public oficer whose ofice is in
the City of Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action shall be
fled in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila or of the city or province
where the libelous article is printed and frst published, and in case such public
oficer does not hold ofice in the City of Manila, the action shall be fled in the Court
of First Instance of the province or city where he held ofice at the time of the
commission of the ofense or where the libelous article is printed and frst
published and in case one of the offended parties is a private individual, the
action shall be fled in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he
actually resides at the time of the commission of the ofense or where the libelous
matter is printed and frst published.
Venue is jurisdictional in criminal actions such that the place where the crime
was committed determines not only the venue of the action but constitutes an
essential element of jurisdiction.[33] This principle acquires even greater import in
libel cases, given that Article 360, as amended, specifically provides for the possible
venues for the institution of the criminal and civil aspects of such cases.
It becomes clear that the venue of libel cases where the complainant is a
private individual is limited to only either of two places, namely: 1) where the
complainant actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense; or 2)
where the alleged defamatory article was printed and frst published. The Amended
Information in the present case opted to lay the venue by availing of the second.
Thus, it stated that the ofending article was frst published and accessed by the
private complainant in Makati City. In other words, it considered the phrase to be
equivalent to the requisite allegation of printing and frst publication.
Clearly, the evil sought to be prevented by the amendment to Article 360 was
the indiscriminate or arbitrary laying of the venue in libel cases in distant, isolated
or far-fung areas, meant to accomplish nothing more than harass or intimidate
an accused. The disparity or unevenness of the situation becomes even more
acute where the ofended party is a person of suffcient means or possesses
infuence, and is motivated by spite or the need for revenge.
If the circumstances as to where the libel was printed and frst published are
used by the ofended party as basis for the venue in the criminal action, the
Information must allege with particularity where the defamatory article was
printed and frst published, as evidenced or supported by, for instance, the
address of their editorial or business ofices in the case of newspapers, magazines
or serial publications. This pre-condition becomes necessary in order to forestall
any inclination to harass.
The same measure cannot be reasonably expected when it pertains to
defamatory material appearing on a website on the internet as there would be no
way of determining the situs of its printing and frst publication. To credit Gimenezs

premise of equating his frst access to the defamatory article on petitioners

website in Makati with printing and first publication would spawn the very ills that

amendment to Article 360 of the RPC sought to discourage and prevent. It

hardly requires much imagination to see the chaos that would ensue in situations
where the websites author or writer, a blogger or anyone who posts messages
therein could be sued for libel anywhere in the Philippines that the private
complainant may have allegedly accessed the offending website.
For the Court to hold that the Amended Information suficiently vested
jurisdiction in the courts of Makati simply because the defamatory article was
accessed therein would open the foodgates to the libel suit being fled in all other
locations where the pepcoalition website is likewise accessed or capable of being
IN FINE, the public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in
denying petitioners
motion to quash the Amended



Accused-appellant Jose Pepito D. Combate was charged of killing using a
frearm and with treachery Edmund Osabel and Leopoldo Guiro in Negros
Occidental. He stands convicted of the crime of Murder and Homicide, as defned
and penalized under Articles 248 and 249 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC),
respectively. He was sentenced to suffer the penalties of reclusion temporal
and reclusion perpetua by the RTC. The decision was afirmed by the CA. Hence a
petition before the court with the appellant contending the the RTC erroneously
rendered the judgment as it failed to consider the inconsistencies of the testimonies
of the witneses.

Whether or not the trial court erred in convicting the accused of the
crimes of homicide and murder despite the fact that his guilt was not
proved beyond reasonable doubt?

Time-tested is the doctrine that the trial courts assessment of the
credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight, sometimes even with fnality.
The Supreme Court will not interfere with that assessment, absent any indication
that the lower court has overlooked some material facts or gravely abused its
Complementing the above doctrine is the equally established rule that minor
and insignificant inconsistencies in the testimony tend to bolster, rather than
weaken, the credibility of witnesses, for they show that the testimony is not
contrived or rehearsed. As the Court put it in People v. Cristobal, Trivial
inconsistencies do not rock the pedestal upon which the credibility of the witness
rests, but enhances credibility as they manifest spontaneity and lack of scheming.
A careful review of the records shows that the RTC, as well as the CA,
committed no reversible error when it gave credence to the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses, as opposed to accused- appellants bare denials.
Moreover, the testimony of a witness must be considered in its entirety and
not merely on its truncated parts. The technique in deciphering a testimony is not to
consider only its isolated parts and anchor a conclusion on the basis of said
parts. In ascertaining the facts established by witnesses, everything stated by
them on direct, cross, and redirect examinations must be calibrated and
considered. It must be stressed in this regard that facts imperfectly or erroneously
stated in an answer to one question may be supplied or explained as qualifed by
the answer to other question. The principle falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not
strictly applied to this jurisdiction.
Defense of denial cannot prevail over positive identification
For his defense, accused-appellant wants this Court to believe his innocence
and ofers his version of the facts wherein he did not commit the crime. This Court is
not persuaded.
Categorical and consistent positive identifcation, absent any showing of ill
motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over the
defense of denial. Accused-appellant was positively and categorically identifed by
the witnesses. They have no reason to perjure and accused- appellant was unable

to prove that the prosecution witnesses were moved by any consideration other

than to see that justice is done. Thus, the presumption that their testimonies were
not moved by any ill will and bias stands, and, therefore, their testimonies are
entitled to full faith and credit.
Lest it be overlooked, accused-appellant fed to Victorias City, Negros
Occidental right after the
incident, an act that is evidence of his guilt. It is well-established that the
fight of an accused is competent evidence to indicate his guilt; and fight, when
unexplained, is a circumstance from which an inference of guilt may be drawn.
Indeed, the wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the innocent are as bold as lion.


Judge Felimon Abelita III (petitioner) fled a complaint for Damages under
Articles 32(4) and (9)
of the Civil Code against P/Supt. German B. Doria (P/Supt. Doria) and SPO3
Cesar Ramirez (SPO3
Ramirez). Petitioner alleged in his complaint that on 24 March 1996, at around 12
noon, he and his wife
were on their way to their house in Bagumbayan, Masbate, Masbate when
P/Supt. Doria and SPO3
Ramirez (respondents), accompanied by 10 unidentifed police oficers, requested
them to proceed to the Provincial PNP Headquarters at Camp Boni Serrano,
Masbate, Masbate. Petitioner was suspicious of the request and told respondents
that he would proceed to the PNP Headquarters after he had brought his wife home.
Petitioner alleged that when he parked his car in front of their house, SPO3 Ramirez
grabbed him, forcibly took the key to his Totoya Lite Ace van, barged into the
vehicle, and conducted a search without a warrant. The search resulted to the
seizure of a licensed shotgun. Petitioner presented the shotguns license to
respondents. Thereafter, SPO3 Ramirez continued his search and then produced a .
45 caliber pistol which he allegedly found inside the vehicle. Respondents arrested
petitioner and detained him, without any appropriate charge, at the PNP special
detention cell.
P/Supt. Doria alleged that his ofice received a telephone call from a relative
of Rosa Sia about a shooting incident in Barangay Nursery. He dispatched a team
headed by SPO3 Ramirez to investigate the incident. SPO3 Ramirez later reported
that a certain William Sia was wounded while petitioner, who was implicated in the
incident, and his wife just left the place of the incident. P/Supt. Doria looked for
petitioner and when he found him, he informed him of the incident report. P/Supt.
Doria requested petitioner to go with him to the police headquarters as he was
reported to be involved in the incident. Petitioner agreed but suddenly sped up his
vehicle and proceeded to his residence. P/Supt. Doria and his companions chased
petitioner. Upon reaching petitioners residence, they caught up with petitioner as
he was about to run towards his house. The police oficers saw a gun in the front
seat of the vehicle beside the drivers seat as petitioner opened the door. They
also saw a shotgun at the back of the drivers seat. The police offcers confscated
the frearms and arrested petitioner. P/Supt. Doria alleged that his men also
arrested other persons who were identifed to be with petitioner during the shooting
incident. Petitioner was charged with illegal possession of frearms and frustrated
murder. An administrative case was also fled against petitioner before this Court.
The RTC dismissed the petition of the petitioner. He fled a motion for
reconsideration which was also
denied. Hence
before the
1. Whether the warrantless arrest and warrantless search and seizure were
illegal under Section
5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal

2. Whether respondents are civilly liable for damages under Articles 32(4)
and (9) of the Civil
3. Whether the fndings in the administrative case against petitioner are
conclusive in this case.
The petition has no merit.
Petitioner alleges that for the warrantless arrest to be lawful, the arresting
offcer must have
personal knowledge of facts that the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is

attempting to commit an ofense. Petitioner alleges that the alleged shooting

incident was just relayed to the arresting oficers, and thus they have no personal
knowledge of facts as required by the Rules.
We do not agree.
Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure states:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace oficer or a private
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an ofense;
(b) When an ofense has in fact just been committed and he has personal
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a
penal establishment or place where he is serving fnal judgment or temporarily
confned while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from
one confnement to another.
For the warrantless arrest under this Rule to be valid, two requisites must
concur: (1) the ofender has just committed an offense; and (2) the arresting
peace oficer or private person has personal knowledge of facts indicating
that the person to be arrested has committed it. Section 5, Rule 113 of
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure does not require the arresting oficers to
personally witness the commission of the ofense with their own eyes. In this
case, P/Supt. Doria received a report about the alleged shooting incident. SPO3
Ramirez investigated the report and learned from witnesses that petitioner was
involved in the incident. They were able to track down petitioner, but when invited
to the police headquarters to shed light on the incident, petitioner initially agreed
then sped up his vehicle, prompting the police authorities to give chase. Petitioners
act of trying to get away, coupled with the incident report which they investigated,
is enough to raise a reasonable suspicion on the part of the police authorities as to
the existence of probable cause.
Plain View Doctrine
The seizure of the frearms was justified under the plain view doctrine.
Under the plain view doctrine, objects falling in the plain view of an oficer
who has a right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and
may be presented as evidence.[9] The plain view doctrine applies when the
following requisites concur: (1) the law enforcement oficer in search of the
evidence has a prior justifcation for an intrusion or is in a position from which he
can view a particular area; (2) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is
inadvertent; and (3) it is immediately apparent to the oficer that the item he
observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure.
In this case, the police authorities were in the area because that was where
they caught up with petitioner after the chase. They saw the frearms inside the
vehicle when petitioner opened the door. Since a shooting incident just took place
and it was reported that petitioner was involved in the incident, it was apparent to
the police oficers that the frearms may be evidence of a crime. Hence, they were
justifed in seizing the frearms.
In this case, it was established that petitioner was lawfully arrested without a
warrant and that frearms were validly seized from his possession. The trial court
found that petitioner was charged with illegal possession of frearms and
frustrated murder. We agree with the trial court in rejecting petitioners
allegation that he was merely framed-up. We also agree with the trial court
that respondents were presumed to be performing their duties in accordance with
law. Hence, respondents should not be held civilly liable for their actions.
For res judicata to apply, the following requisites must be present:
(a) the former judgment or order must be fnal;

(b) it must be a judgment or order on the merits, that is, it was

rendered after a consideration of the evidence or stipulations submitted by
the parties at the trial of the case;
(c) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the
subject matter
and the parties; and
(d) there must be, between the frst and second actions, identity of
parties, of subject matter, and of cause of action; this requisite is satisfed if
the two actions are substantially between the same parties.
While the present case and the administrative case are based on the same
essential facts and circumstances, the doctrine of res judicata will not apply. An
administrative case deals with the administrative liability which may be incurred by
the respondent for the commission of the acts complained of. The case before us
deals with the civil liability for damages of the police authorities. There is no
identity of causes of action in the cases. While identity of causes of action is not
required in the application of res judicata in the concept of conclusiveness of
judgment, it is required that there must always be identity of parties in the frst and
second cases.
There is no identity of parties between the present case and the
administrative case. The
administrative case was fled by Benjamin Sia Lao (Sia Lao) against petitioner. Sia
Lao is not a party to this case. Respondents in the present case were not parties to
the administrative case between Sia Lao and petitioner. In the present case,
petitioner is the complainant against respondents. Hence, while res judicata is not
a defense to petitioners complaint for damages, respondents nevertheless
cannot be held liable for damages as discussed above.


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 189122- March 17,
Facts: Charged with the murder of Rafael de las Alas, petitioner Jose Antonio
Leviste was convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Makati City for the lesser crime
of homicide and sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of six years and one
day of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal as
He appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals. Pending appeal, he fled an
urgent application for admission to bail pending appeal, citing his advanced
age and health condition, and claiming the absence of any risk or possibility of
fight on his part.
The Court of Appeals denied petitioners application for bail. It invoked the bedrock
principle in the matter of bail pending appeal, that the discretion to extend bail
during the course of appeal should be exercised with grave caution and only for
strong reasons.
Petitioners motion for reconsideration
was denied
Issue: Whether or not bail should automatically be granted absent any of the
circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules
of Court fled by an appellant pending appeal?
RULING: NO. Absent any of the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of
Section 5, Rule 114 means that a less stringent approach in granting bail only
subject to the discretion of the court to grant bail.
If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years,
the accused shall be denied bail, or his bail shall be cancelled upon a showing by
the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the following or other similar
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed
the crime aggravated
by the circumstance of
(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confnement, evaded sentence, or
violated the conditions of his bail without a valid justifcation;
(c) That he committed the ofense while under probation, parole, or
conditional pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of fight if
released on bail; or
(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the
pendency of the appeal.
Any application for bail pending appeal should be viewed from the perspective of
two stages: (1) the determination of discretion stage, where the appellate court
must determine whether any of the circumstances in the third paragraph of Section
5, Rule 114 is present; this will establish whether or not the appellate court will
exercise sound discretion or stringent discretion in resolving the application for bail

pending appeal and (2) the exercise of discretion stage where, assuming the
appellants case falls within the frst scenario allowing the exercise of sound
discretion, the appellate court may consider all relevant circumstances, other than
those mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114, including the
demands of equity and justice; on the basis thereof, it may either allow or disallow
On the other hand, if the appellants case falls within the second scenario,
the appellate courts
stringent discretion requires that the exercise thereof be primarily focused on the
determination of the

proof of the presence of any of the circumstances that are prejudicial to the
allowance of bail. This is so because the existence of any of those circumstances
is by itself suffcient to deny or revoke bail. Nonetheless, a fnding that none of
the said circumstances is present will not automatically result in the grant of bail.
Such finding will simply authorize the court to use the less stringent sound
discretion approach.

Quintin Saludaga and SPO2

Sandiganbayan and People
GR No. 184537, April
23, 2010




Facts: This is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of
the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order assailing the July 14, 2008
Resolution of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal, denying the Motion for Preliminary
Investigation filed by the petitioners who were charged with a violation of Section
3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019.
The petitioners were charged for violation of paragraph e section 3 of RA
3019. An information has been fled against them for causing undue injury to the
government. It was subsequently quashed for failure of the prosecution to allege
and prove the amount of actual damages caused the government, which is an
essential element of the crime charged.
The Ofice of the Special Prosecutor re-fled the information; this time by
giving unwarranted beneft to a private person, to the prejudice of the government.
The petitioners fled a motion for preliminary investigation which was strongly
opposed by the prosecution. Petitioners contend that the failure of the prosecution
to conduct a new preliminary investigation before the fling of the second
Information constituted a violation of the law because the latter charged a different
offensethat is, violation of Section 3(e) by giving unwarranted beneft to
private parties. Hence, there was a substitution of the frst Information. They
argue that assuming that no substitution took place, at the very least, there was a
substantial amendment in the new information and that its submission should have
been preceded by a new preliminary investigation. Further, they claim that newly
discovered evidence mandates re-examination of the fnding of a prima facie cause
to fle the case.
But the Sandiganbayan denied the petition contending that there
was no substantial amendment in the information that would warrant the conduct
of a new preliminary investigation. Petitioners fled a motion for reconsideration
which was subsequently denied. Hence the petition for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus with a prayer for the issuance of a write of preliminary injunction and
TRO before the court.

Whether or not the two (2) ways of violating section 3(e) of Republic Act
3019, namely: (a) by
causing undue injury to any party, including the Government; or (b) by giving any
private party any unwarranted beneft, advantage or preference constitute two

distinct and separate ofenses that would warrant a new or another preliminary

Contrary to the argument of petitioners, there is no substituted information.

The Information dated August 17, 2007 fled in Criminal Case No. SB-08 CRM 0263
charged the same offense, that is, violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019.
Only the mode of commission was modified. While jurisprudence, the most recent
being Talaga, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan,[17] provides that there are two (2) acts or
modes of committing the offense, thus: a) by causing any undue injury to any party,
including the government; or b) by giving any private party any unwarranted
beneft, advantage or preference, it does not mean that each act or mode
constitutes a distinct ofense. An accused may be charged under either mode[18] or
under both should both modes concur.[19]
Petitioners reliance on the Teehankee v. Madayag,[20] ruling that, in substitution
of information another preliminary investigation is entailed and that the accused
has to plead anew to the new information is not applicable to the present case
because, as already stated, there is no substitution of information there being no
change in the nature of the offense charged.
Consequently, petitioners cannot invoke the principle enunciated in Villafor v.
Vivar,[21] that failure to conduct a new preliminary investigation is tantamount to
a violation of their rights. While it is true that preliminary investigation is a
statutory and substantive right accorded to the accused before trial, the denial of
petitioners claim for a new investigation, however, did not deprive them of their
right to due process. An examination of the records of the case discloses that there
was a full-blown preliminary investigation wherein both petitioners actively
Anent the contention of petitioners that the information contained substantial
amendments warranting a new preliminary investigation, the same must likewise