You are on page 1of 1


Facts: Certiorari and mandamus to compel respondent judge to issue warrants of arrest. The
City Fiscal of Butuan City and his assistants filed in the City Court of Butuan several
informations. Said informations were certified by the respective investigating Fiscals as having
probable cause after they have conducted the requisite examination of the complainant and his
witnesses. 4 of the informations were found to have established a prima facie case (upon
directive of the Minis-ter of Justice or City Fiscal). Judge then after receiving said informations
issued an order setting the hearing in order to determine if warrants of arrest should issue.
Afterwhich, Judge Villanueva issued orders requiring petitioners to submit to the court the
affidavits of the prosecution wit-nesses and other documentary evidence in support of the
informations to aid him in the exercise of his power of judicial review of the findings of probable
cause by petitioners (Fiscals). Petition-ers filed MRs contending that they are authorized to
determine the existence of a probable cause in a preliminary examination/investigation, and that
their findings as to the existence thereof con-stitute sufficient basis for the issuance of warrants
of arrest by the court. Judge Villanueva de-nied the same and reiterated his orders. Hence this
Meanwhile, Judge Villanueva received the Court’s resolution requiring him to comment on the
petition, which he interpreted as a denial of said petition, so the next day he issued an Omnibus
Order directing petitioners to submit immediately the supporting affidavits and other evidence.
Petitioners failed to secure a reconsideration so they finally submitted. Still, however, Judge Villanueva refused to issue warrants of arrest respecting some of the criminal cases (but he did
issue warrants of arrest), and instead ordered the records thereof remanded to the City Fiscal
“for fur-ther preliminary investigation or reinvestigation,” for on the bases of said affidavits,
respondent found no prima facie case against the accused.
Then petitioners filed a motion with SC to restrain respondent from enforcing the orders subject
of the main petition and to compel him to accept, and take cognizance of, all the informations
filed in his court. They contend that the fiscal's certification in the information of the existence of
probable cause constitutes sufficient justification for the judge to issue a warrant of arrest; and
that such certification binds the judge, it being supported by the presumption that the investigating fiscal had performed his duties regularly and completely. On the other hand, Judge Villanueva justifies his order as an exercise of his judicial power to review the fiscal's findings of
probable cause. He further maintains that the failure of petitioners to file the required affidavits
destroys the presumption of regularity in the performance of petitioners' official duties,
particularly in the light of the long standing practice of the City Fiscal of attaching to the
informations filed with the court the affidavits of prosecution witnesses and other documentary
evidence presented dur-ing the preliminary investigation.
Issue: Whether Villanueva (a judge) may, for the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest, compel
the fiscal to submit to the court the supporting affidavits and other documentary evidence presented during the preliminary investigation.
Held: Yes. The primary requirement for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is the existence of
probable cause (Sec. 3, Art. IV, 1973 CONST. which is basically similar to the provision in the
present CONST. in Art. III, Sec. 2). PD 911 authorizes the fiscal or state prosecutor to determine
the existence of probable cause. The judge therefore may rely upon the fiscal's certification of
the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest. But such
certifica-tion does not bind the judge to automatically issue a warrant of arrest. The issuance of a
warrant is not a mere ministerial function; it calls for the exercise of judicial discretion on the part
of the issuing magistrate (Sec. 6, Rule 112: “Warrant of arrest, when issued. If the judge be
satisfied from the preliminary examination conducted by him or by the investigating officer that
the of-fense complained of has been committed and that there is reasonable ground to believe

that the accused has committed it, he must issue a warrant or order for his arrest.”). This section
provides that the judge must satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause before issuing, a
warrant or order of arrest. If on the face of the information the judge finds no probable cause, he
may disre-gard the fiscal’s certification and require the submission of the affidavits of witnesses
to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of a probable cause.
Even the Rule on Summary Procedure in Special Cases requires the submission of affidavits of
witnesses (mandatory), together with the complaint or information. The obvious purpose of requiring the submission of affidavits of the complainant and of his witnesses is to enable the court
to determine whether to dismiss the case outright or to require further proceedings. Also, Judge
Villanueva’s remanding of some of the criminal cases to the City Fiscal for further preliminary
investigation or reinvestigation cannot be questioned. He acted fully within his authority.

187 SCRA 788
Facts: Mrs. Editha Barba filed a letter-complaint against OIC-Mayor Dominador Regalado of
Tanjay, Negros Oriental with the COMELEC for allegedly transferring her, a permanent Nursing
Attendant, Grade I, in the office of the Municipal Mayor to a very remote barangay and without
obtaining prior permission or clearance from COMELEC as required by law.
After a preliminary investigation of Barba’s complaint, Atty. Lituanas found a prima facie case.
Hence, on September 26, 1988, he filed with the respondent trial court a criminal case for
violation of section 261, Par. (h), Omnibus Election Code against the OIC-Mayor. In an Order
dated September 30, 1988, the respondent court issued a warrant of arrest against the accused
OIC Mayor.
However, in an order dated October 3, 1988 and before the accused could be arrested, the trial
court set aside its September 30, 1988 order on the ground that Atty. Lituanas is not authorized
to determine probable cause pursuant to Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The trial
court later on quashed the information. Hence, this petition.
Issue: Does a preliminary investigation conducted by a Provincial Election Supervisor involving
election offenses have to be coursed through the Provincial Prosecutor, before the Regional Trial
Court may take cognizance of the investigation and determine whether or not probable cause
Held: The 1987 Constitution empowers the COMELEC 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. This power is exclusive with COMELEC. The evident
constitutional intendment in bestowing this power to the COMELEC is to insure the free, orderly
and honest conduct of elections, failure of which would result in the frustration of the true will of
the people and make a mere idle ceremony of the sacred right and duty of every qualified citizen
to vote. To divest the COMELEC of the authority to investigate and prosecute offenses
committed by public officials in relation to their office would thus seriously impair its effectiveness
in achieving this clear constitutional mandate. Bearing these principles in mind, it is apparent
that the respondent trial court misconstrued the constitutional provision when it quashed the
information filed by the Provincial Election Supervisor.