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THIRD DIVISION

CENITA M. CARIAGA,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 180010


Present:

- versus PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Respondent.

CARPIO MORALES,
BRION,
BERSAMIN,
ABAD,* and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
Promulgated:
July 30, 2010

x--------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
In issue in the present petition for review is one of jurisdiction.
By Resolutions of May 28, 2007 and September 27, 2007, the Court of
Appeals, in CA-G.R. CR No. 29514, People of the Philippines v. Cenita
Cariaga, dismissed the appeal of Cenita Cariaga (petitioner) for lack of jurisdiction
over the subject matter.
Petitioner, as the municipal treasurer of Cabatuan, Isabela with a Salary
Grade of 24, was charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cauayan City
in Isabela with three counts of malversation of public funds, defined under Article
217 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Information in the first case, Criminal Case No. 1293, reads:
That on or about the year 1993 or sometime prior or subsequent
thereto in the Municipality of Cabatuan, Province of Isabela, and within

the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,


[C]ENITA
M.
CARIAGA,
a
public
officer,
being
the Municipal Treasurer of Cabatuan, Isabela, and as such is accountable
for taxes, fees and monies collected and/or received by her by reason of
her position, acting in relation to her office and taking advantage of the
same, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take,
misappropriate and convert to her personal use the amount of TWO
THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE PESOS (P2,785.00)
representing the remittance of the Municipality of Cabatuan to the
Provincial Government of Isabela as the latters share in the real property
taxes collected, which amount was not received by the Provincial
Government of Isabela, to the damage and prejudice of the government
in the amount aforestated.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[1] (underscoring supplied)

The two other Informations in the second and third criminal cases, Nos.
1294 and 1295, contain the same allegations except the malversed amounts which
are P25,627.38 and P20,735.13, respectively.[2]

[3]

Branch 20 of the Cauayan RTC, by Joint Decision of June 22, 2004,


convicted petitioner in the three cases, disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused CENITA M. CARIAGA,
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MALVERSATION
for which she is charged in the three (3) separate informations and in the
absence of any mitigating circumstance, hereby sentences her to suffer:
1. In Crim. Case No. Br.20-1293, an indeterminate penalty of
from FOUR (4) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION
CORRECCIONAL as minimum to SEVEN (7) YEARS, FOUR (4)
MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION MAYOR as maximum and its
accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine of Two
Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty Five (P2,785.00) Pesos, without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Cost against the accused.
2. In Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1294, an indeterminate penalty of
from TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION MAYOR as
minimum to EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS and ONE
(1) DAY of RECLUSION TEMPORAL as maximum and to suffer the

accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification and to pay a fine


of Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Twenty Seven (P25,627.00)
Pesos. She is ordered to indemnify the Provincial Government of Isabela
Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Twenty Seven (P25,627.00) Pesos,
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Cost against the
accused.
3. In Crim. Case No. Br. 20-1295, an indeterminate penalty of
from TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of PRISION MAYOR as
minimum to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS and ONE
(1) DAY of RECLUSION TEMPORAL as maximum, and to suffer the
accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine of
Twenty Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty (P20,730.00) Pesos, without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. The bailbonds are
cancelled. Costs against the accused.
SO ORDERED.

Petitioner, through counsel, in time filed a Notice of Appeal, stating that he


intended to appeal the trial courts decision to the Court of Appeals.
By Resolution of May 28, 2007,[4] the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioners
appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that it is the Sandiganbayan which has
exclusive appellate jurisdiction thereon. Held the appellate court:
Concomitantly, jurisdiction over the offense is vested with the
Regional Trial Court considering that the position of Municipal
Treasurer corresponds to a salary grade below 27.Pursuant to Section 4
of [Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Republic Act No.
8249], it is the Sandiganbayan, to the exclusion of all others, which
enjoys appellate jurisdiction over the offense. Evidently, the appeal to
this Court of the conviction for malversation of public funds was
improperly and improvidently made. (emphasis and underscoring
supplied)

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied by Resolution of


September 27, 2007.[5] Hence, the present petition for review, petitioner defining
the issues as follows:
I.
WHETHER . . ., CONSIDERING THE CLEAR AND GRAVE
ERROR COMMITTED BY COUNSEL OF [PETITIONER] AND
OTHER
EXTRA-ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES,
THE
APPEAL OF [PETITIONER] WRONGFULLY DIRECTED TO
THE COURT OF APPEALS BE DISMISSED OUTRIGHTOR BE
ENDORSED
AND
TRANSMITTED
TO
THE
SANDIGANBAYAN WHERE THE APPEAL SHALL THEN
PROCEED IN DUE COURSE.
II.

WHETHER . . ., IN CONSIDERATION OF SUBSTANTIAL


JUSTICE IN A CRIMINAL CASE, NEW TRIAL BE GRANTED
TO THE PETITIONER TO BE UNDERTAKEN IN THE
SANDIGANBAYAN (ALTERNATIVELY IN THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT) SO THAT CRUCIAL EVIDENCE OF
PETITIONERBE ADMITTED.[6]

Petitioner, now admitting the procedural error committed by her former


counsel, implores the Court to relax the Rules to afford her an opportunity to fully
ventilate her appeal on the merits and requests the Court to endorse and transmit
the records of the cases to the Sandiganbayan in the interest of substantial justice.
Section 2 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 2. Dismissal of improper appeal to the Court of Appeals. x x
x.
An appeal erroneously taken to the Court of Appeals shall not
be transferred to the appropriate court but shall be dismissed
outright. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

That appellate jurisdiction in this case pertains to the Sandiganbayan is


clear. Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1606,[7] as amended by Republic Act
No. 8249, so directs:[8]

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original


jurisdiction in all cases involving:
xxxx
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions
corresponding to Salary Grade 27 or higher, as prescribed in the
said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned
above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the
proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial
court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant
to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg.
129, as amended.
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate
jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders of regional
trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction
or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided. x x x (emphasis,
italics and underscoring supplied).

Since the appeal involves criminal cases, and the possibility of a person
being deprived of liberty due to a procedural lapse militates against the Courts
dispensation of justice, the Court grants petitioners plea for a relaxation of the
Rules.
For rules of procedure must be viewed as tools to facilitate the attainment of
justice, such that any rigid and strict application thereof which results in
technicalities tending to frustrate substantial justice must always be avoided.[9]
In Ulep v. People,[10] the Court remanded the case to the Sandiganbayan
when it found that
x x x petitioners failure to designate the proper forum for her
appeal was inadvertent. The omission did not appear to be a dilatory
tactic on her part. Indeed, petitioner had more to lose had that been
the case as her appeal could be dismissed outright for lack of
jurisdiction which was exactly what happened in the CA.

The trial court, on the other hand, was duty bound to forward
the records of the case to the proper forum, the Sandiganbayan. It is
unfortunate that the RTC judge concerned ordered the pertinent records
to be forwarded to the wrong court, to the great prejudice of petitioner.
Cases involving government employees with a salary grade lower than
27 are fairly common, albeit regrettably so. The judge was expected to
know and should have known the law and the rules of procedure. He
should have known when appeals are to be taken to the CA and
when they should be forwarded to the Sandiganbayan. He should
have conscientiously and carefully observed this responsibility specially
in cases such as this where a persons liberty was at stake. (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

The slapdash work of petitioners former counsel and the trial courts apparent
ignorance of the law effectively conspired to deny petitioner the remedial measures
to question her conviction.[11]
While the negligence of counsel generally binds the client, the Court has
made exceptions thereto, especially in criminal cases where reckless or gross
negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law; when its
application will result in outright deprivation of the clients liberty or property; or
where the interests of justice so require. [12] It can not be gainsaid that the case of
petitioner can fall under any of these exceptions.
Moreover, a more thorough review and appreciation of the evidence for the
prosecution and defense as well as a proper application of the imposable penalties
in the present case by the Sandiganbayan would do well to assuage petitioner that
her appeal is decided scrupulously.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR No. 29514 are SET ASIDE. Let the records of the cases be
FORWARDED to the Sandiganbayan for proper disposition.

The Presiding Judge of Branch 20, Henedino P. Eduarte, of the Cauayan


City Regional Trial Court is WARNED against committing the same procedural
error, under pain of administrative sanction.
SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-46182 February 28, 1978
JAIME GAPOY, petitioner,
vs.
HON. MIDPANTAO L. ADIL, Presiding Judge, Branch II, Court of First Instance of Iloilo,
PURIFICACION GALVE and ANTONIO GUARANA, respondents.
German M. Lopez for petitioner.
Jocon Espino for private respondents.

GUERRERO, J.:
Petition for certiorari from the order of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo dismissing petitioner's case,
and the order of the same court denying the motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order of
dismissal.
In the Third Amended Complaint dated February 22, 1974 for "Reconveyance Ownership,
Possession and Damages," filed by petitioner. Jaime Gapoy against spouse Purificacion Galve and
Antonio Guarana, docketed as Civil Case No. 8371 in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, petitioner
claimed to be the lawful and absolute owner, of a parcel of land measuring 24,3752 hectares, which
he, together with his predecessor-in-interest had been in peaceful continuous, public and adverse
possession in the concept of owner since time homework causing them to declare the property in
their names for tax purposes.
The complaint alleged that sometime in 1973, Petitioner learned that a portion of the land containing
29,735 square meters was wrongfully registered in the names of defendants, the private
respondents herein, and an Original Certificate of Title was allegedly served by them through fraud
and with coupled with breach of trust; that by means of strategy and stealth, and taking advantage of
the illiteracy of petitioner, respondents took possession of the portion Covered by the title to the
exclusion of petitioner; that later in the same year, petitioner again learned that respondents
mortgaged the same portion to the Development Bank of the Philippines for the sum of P2,000.00;
and that by means of the alleged illegal acts and respondents' refusal to vacate and reconvey the
land after petitioner's demand, the latter was deprived of the right to enjoy and possess the property.

In their "Answer to Second Amended compensate dated December 7, 1973, respondents denied
petitioner's claim of ownership and stated that petitioner never came into posted decision of the
disputed property. Respondents exclusive ownership and possession of the property which was
originally registered and titled in their names in accordance with the Cadastral Act. As countered
they prayed for multiple award for attorney's fee, moral damages and for actual litigation expenses.
Trial was commenced on July 14, 1976. Continuation was set on October 14, 1976, but on this
designated date, petitioner who was due to testify on his own behalf failed to appear because he
became sick of diarrhea and severe abdominal pain as certified to by a Rural Health Midwife.
Petitioner's counsel who was, however, present verbally moved for postponement of the trial which
motion was not objected to by respondents. Consequently, respondent Presiding Judge Midpantao
L. Adil issued the following order:
The plaintiff in this case being absent despite due notice, this case is hereby
DISMISSED for failure to prosecute.
This dismissal should be set aside if the plaintiff can show that his sickness is of such
a nature, as evidenced by the proper medical certificate that it would have been
really impossible physically for him to attend the trial today.
SO ORDERED.
Iloilo City, October 14, 1976.
A verified motion for reconsideration of the above order was filed by petitioner but the same was
denied by respondent judge in the next quoted order:
This is to consider the second Motion for Reconsideration, dated December 3, 1976,
filed by the plaintiff and submitted for resolution today.
A of the motion shows that it is not accompanied by an affidavit of merit. An Affidavit
of Merit is required in a motion for bemuse it is based on the same ground as
available for new trial. There is no distinction between the two. (Fortune En Inc. vs.
Gen. Finance Corp., L-13259, May 19, 1958, p. 164 Edition). Such being the case, it
should follow the requirements for a motion for new trial A motion for new trial is
fatally defective if it is not supported by an affidavit of merit. (Castaeda vs. Ago, L14066; Chengay vs. La Guardian, L-20739, cited p. 162, Ibid).
THEREFORE, premisses considered, the motion for reconsideration is hereby
DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED
ILOILO CITY, December 7, 1976.

Hence, petitioner comes to Us assailing the inconsiderate of his action and praying for reinstatement
of the case for further proceedings.
For Our resolution is whether or not respondent judge had abused his discretion in dismissing the
case below. Obviously the order of is a judgment of nonsuit, or for failure to prosecute under section
3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court, predicated mainly on petitioner's failure to appear at the trial. The
rule provides:
Sec. 3. Failure to prosecute. If plaintiff fails to appear at the time of the trial, or to
prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time, or to comply with these rules
or any order of the court, the action may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant
or upon the court's own motion. This dismissal shall have the effect of an
adjudication upon the merits, unless otherwise provided by court.
It is a settled rule that the court can dismiss a case, even of its own accord, for failure of plaintiff to
appear at the time of trial or to prosecute his action. Such dismissal depends upon the sound
discretion of the judge, exercised with a view to the circumstances surrounding each particular
case, 1 not reversible on appeal in the absence of abuse of discretion. The burden of showing abuse is
upon the appellant since every presumption is in favor of the correctness of the court's action. 2
Notwithstanding the accepted basic principle, it is imperative to note that dismissal of actions under
section 3 of Rule 17 should be applied with extra care. The repressive or restraining effect of the
Rule amounting to adjudication upon the merits may cut short a case even before it is fully litigated.
Consequently, a judgment arrived thereat may forever bar a litigant from pursuing judicial refer under
the same cause of action. Hence, it becomes necessary that the sound discretion of the court must
extend to the vigilance of duly recognizing the circumstances surrounding the particular case to the
end that technicality shall not lord over substantial justice. This is but to keep alive the dictum
in Dayo, et al. v. Dayo, et al. 3 which enunciated that "... dismissals should be ordered not as penalty for
neglect of the petitioners, but only in the extreme cases where the termination of the proceeding by
dismissal is the only remedy consistent with equity and justice."
By no means is the Rule intended as instrument of haste as the brief order of dismissal swiftly
attests. The Rule is not a mechanical axe that automatically fans by plaintiff's mere failure to appear.
To constitute failure to prosecute, his nonappearance must be equated with unwillingness to proceed
with the trial as when both plaintiff and counsel made no appearance at all, or with the assumption
that plaintiff has already lost interest in prosecuting his action, 4in the same way that should the ground
for dismissal be delay, this delay or failure to proceed must be for an unreasonable length of time beyond
the reasonable allowance which by judicial leniency a litigant is normally entitled.
The data in the records show that the complaint was originally filed as early as October 6, 1970 and
defendants answered on November 11, 1970. As can be gleaned from the annexes to the petition,
the complaint was amended no less than three times, the last of which is dated February 22, 1974.
Pre- trial commenced on July 14, 1976 and on the same date plaintiff presented his first witness. In
the following trial on October 14, 1976, petitioner through his wife, informed his counsel that he could
not attend the trial due to illness, hence, counsel moved for the postponement of trial without
objection from respondents.

It would, indeed, appear that from October 6, 1970 up to the issuance of the order of dismissal on
October 14, 1976, is considerably so long a time in relation to the progress had in the proceedings.
Yet, We cannot be certain who is responsible for the delay or whether there had been real intention
to delay the case. Respondents did not even flied their comments on the petition when required by
Us. Nothing in the records shows that plaintiff had indulged in recurrent motions for postponement.
That the substantial rights of respondents have been affected is neither attested; for had there been
any, they themselves could have filed a motion to dismiss due to delay without having to wait for the
issuance of the October 14 order. On the other hand, had there been really a clear failure to
prosecute, respondent judge could have dismissed the case outright or at least terminated the same
without prejudice in accordance with the Rule. Strangely, the dismissal was only coupled with a
condition that it shall be set aside if petitioner can show that his sickness is of such a nature that it
would have been really impossible for him, physically, to attend the scheduled trial. We cannot say
that this is an order without prejudice as nothing therein allows the filing of the case anew if the
condition is not muffled At most, the order is prejudicial with reservation, since it in effect expresses
the desire of the respondent judge to continue hearing the case on the merits if the condition is
fulfilled.
Counsel for petitioner's quick rapport in asking for a postponement of the trial is a prima facie
contradiction of failing interest, at least on the part of the counsel of course, We do not overlook the
procedural requirements of a motion to postpone trial for illness of a party under section 5 of Rule 22
which provides that the motion "may be granted if it approved upon affidavit that the presence of
such party (or counsel) at the trial is indispensable and that the character of his illness is such as to
render his non-attendance excusable." But in construing this rule, liberality has always been the
guide when the request for postponement is reasonable rather than capricious. This liberality aims at
giving a litigant the day in court as due process demands, a better practice, which, even for the
highly commendable desire for the dispatch of should not be easily sacrificed. 5 There being no sign
that substantial rights have been eroded and an intention to delay not manifest, respondent judge should
have followed the liberal practice of allowing postponement. We have seen in this regard, that
postponements and continuances of trial are parts and parcels of our procedural system of dispensing
justice. 6
In the subsequent order denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, respondent judge implied
that the motion is fatally defective for lack of an affidavit of merits. The order predicated the necessity
of an affidavit of merits on the impression that the motion for reconsideration has the same ground
as that of a motion for now trial and that there is no distinction between the two. We do not
necessary share such a superficial view. There is, in a distinction and a reason to differentiate the
two. This, the Court cogently discussed in Lucero v. Dacayo; 7 thus:
In the first place, there was no in request that the affidavit of merits state the plaintiffs
cause of action, because that was already pleaded in the complaint filed in the same
court. Secondly, the provisions of Rule 37 on New Trial, do not govern all motions for
reconsideration based on fraud accident excusable negligence or dismissed they are
applicable only when a party, adversely affected by a judgment already rendered in a
case, seeks to have it set aside and a new trial held, in the hope that the aforesaid
judgment may be reversed or modified on account of the evidence that is to be
produced. For, if a new trial is indeed granted, the original decision shall be

vacated and the action is to stand for trial de novo. The procedure contemplated
under this Rule, therefore, involves a reopening of the case for hearing, after it was
already submitted for decision and a judgment thereon was actually reached. Since
the reopening would necessarily affect the party in whose favor the disputed
judgment was rendered, the Rule requires the movant to show the valid cause of
action or defense which he intends to prove at the new trial to prevent this remedy
from being put merely to delay termination of the proceedings. (Emphasis supplied)
It ought to be noted that in the case at bar, the motion for reconsideration flied does not have the
purpose of a new trial The trial proper never reached a consummate stage, in fact, it had barely
started. It is quite clear that the motion for reconsideration only sought for a continuation of the
heating to allow petitioner to testify on his own behalf by asking that the order of dismissal be set
aside. The motion manifested that petitioner has a meritorious cause probable by documents in his
on which he intended to offer in evidence had he been given the chance to testify. The motion having
been verified by petitioner himself and accompanied by a certificate, issued by a public midwife in
charge of the Rural Health Center where petitioner resides, confirming the latter's illness, We find
substantial proof to indicate that the cause of his non-appearance is not far from truth. It is not
practical to require petitioner to present a certification of a physician when he never consulted one,
as none resided nor practiced in the place where he was treated. In a recent reiteration , We held:
Time and time again WE have emphasized that the Rules of Court should not be
interpreted to sacrifice substantial rights of a litigant at the altar of technicalities to the
consequent impairment of the sacred principle of justice (Alonzo vs. Villamor, 16 Phil.
315; Case & Nantz vs. Jugo, 77 Phil. 517, 522). WE ruled that the Rules of Court
frown upon hair-splitting technicalities that do not square with their liberal tendency
and with the ends of justice (Case & Nantz vs. Jugo, supra). 8
For strictly adhering to legal technicalities and disregarding the standard of liberality set in our
jurisprudence, We find that respondent judge abused his discretion in dismissing the action.
WHEREFORE, the orders appealed from are hereby set aside and the case remanded to the lower
court for further proceedings. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Mayor Bayani Alonte vs Judge Maximo Savellano, NBI & People of the Philippines

Due Process in Criminal Proceedings Waiver of Right to Due Process


Alonte was accused of raping JuvieLyn Punongbayan with accomplice Buenaventura
Concepcion. It was alleged that Concepcion befriended Juvie and had later lured her into
Alonetes house who was then the mayor of Bian, Laguna. The case was brought before
RTC Bian. The counsel and the prosecutor later moved for a change of venue due to
alleged intimidation. While the change of venue was pending, Juvie executed an affidavit of
desistance. The prosecutor continued on with the case and the change of venue was done

notwithstanding opposition from Alonte. The case was raffled to the Manila RTC under J
Savellano. Savellano later found probable cause and had ordered the arrest of Alonte and
Concepcion. Thereafter, the prosecution presented Juvie and had attested the voluntariness
of her desistance the same being due to media pressure and that they would rather
establish new life elsewhere. Case was then submitted for decision and Savellano
sentenced both accused to reclusion perpetua. Savellano commented that Alonte waived
his right to due process when he did not cross examine Juvie when clarificatory questions
were raised about the details of the rape and on the voluntariness of her desistance.
ISSUE: Whether or not Alonte has been denied criminal due process.
HELD: The SC ruled that Savellano should inhibit himself from further deciding on the case
due to animosity between him and the parties. There is no showing that Alonte waived his
right. The standard of waiver requires that it not only must be voluntary, but must be
knowing, intelligent, and done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and
likely consequences. Mere silence of the holder of the right should not be so construed as
a waiver of right, and the courts must indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver.
Savellano has not shown impartiality by repeatedly not acting on numerous petitions filed by
Alonte. The case is remanded to the lower court for retrial and the decision earlier
promulgated is nullified.

JUDICIAL

REVIEW

The courts authority to examine executive or legislative act and invalidate that act if it is contrary to
constitutional principles.-

the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to

review, and possible invalidation, by the judiciary.-

A court's authority to examine an executive or

legislative

it

act

and

to

invalidate

that

act

if

is

contrary

to

constitutional

principles.

JURISDICTION
The practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to apolitical leader to deal with
and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined
area of responsibility. Authority to hear and determine cause of action. The geographic area over which
authority extends; legal authority; the authority to hear and determine causes of action
Herrera

Barretto 25

PHIL

245 9.10.13

F: The case at bar involves a motion for certiorari by the petitioner against Judge Barretto for allegedly
acting without jurisdiction on the case involving the cockpit license permit of Constancio Joaquin which
the petitioner, in his capacity of the Caloocan Municipal President revoked to operate. Respondent judge
apparently issued a provisional license upon the filing of Joaquin for a mandatory injunction without notice
to the petitioner. The petitioner now files a motion for certiorari before the higher court against the
respondent for acting in excess of jurisdiction for issuing the mandatory injunction of provisional license.
I:

WON

writ

of

certiorari

the

proper

action

on

the

case

at

bar.

R: No. A writ for certiorari is not issued unless it is established whether or not the court to which it is
directed acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. Once the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter
and parties in a case all decisions exercised within its jurisdiction, however erroneous or irregular, cannot
be corrected by certiorari. The court held that the CFI has the jurisdiction over the present case to resolve
all

matters

arising

in

question.Court

held

that

Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and determine a cause the right to act in a case. Since it is the
power to hear and determine, it does not depend either upon the regularity of the exercise of that power
or upon the rightfulness of the decisions made. Jurisdiction should therefore be distinguished from the
exercise of jurisdiction. The authority to decide a cause at all, and not the decision rendered therein, is
what

makes

up

jurisdiction.

Certiorari on one hand may not be used to correct errors committed within the jurisdiction of the court no
matter

how

People

irregular
v

or

erroneous

Mariano GR

it

is.

No.

L-40527

F: Accused, a liaison officer of the Province of Bulacan, is charged with estafa in the amount of less than
P6,000.00. He filed a motion to quash the information on the account that the court has no jurisdiction
over the case since the military commission already ruled on his malversation case involving the same
subject
I:

WON

matter.
the

court

has

jurisdiction

over

the

case

at

bar.

R: The court ruled that estafa and malversation constitute different offense. The CFI has original
jurisdiction over the case of estafa citing the Judicial Act of 1948 (CFI shall have original jurisdiction over
all criminal cases involving a penalty of imprisonment for more than 6 months or a fine of P200.00)

CRESPO VS MOGUL CASE DIGEST


FACTS:

Petitioner Mario Crespo was accused for Estafa in the Circuit Criminal Court of
Lucena City. When the case was set for arraignment, the accused filed a motion for
defer arraignment on the ground that there was a pending petition for review filed
with the Secretary of Justice. However, Justice Mogul denied the motion, but the
arraignment was deferred in a much later date to afford time for the petitioner to
elevate the mater to the appellate court.

The accused filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a
preliminary writ of injunction to the CA. The CA ordered the trial court to refrain
from proceeding with the arraignment until further orders of the Court.
Undersecretary of Justice, Hon. Catalino Macaraig Jr., resolved 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. Judge
Mogul denied the motion for dismissal of the case ad set the arraignment. The
accused then filed a petition for Certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with petition
for the issuance of preliminary writ of prohibition and/or temporary restraining order
in the CA. The CA dismissed the order and lifted the restraining order.

Issue: Whether the trial court may refuse to grant a motion to dismiss filed by the
Fiscal under orders fro, the Secretary of Justice and insists on arraignment and trial
on the merits.

HELD:
It is a cardinal principle that all criminal actions either commenced by complaint or
by information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal. 17
The institution of a criminal action depends upon the sound discretion of the fiscal.
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. 19 It
cannot be controlled by the complainant.

However, the action of the fiscal or prosecutor is not without any limitation or
control. The same is subject 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, modify or reverse the action or
opinion of the fiscal. Consequently the Secretary of Justice may direct that a motion
to dismiss the case be filed in Court or otherwise, that an information be filed in
Court.

The filing of a complaint or information in Court initiates a criminal action. The Court
thereby acquires jurisdiction over the case, which is the authority to hear and
determine the case. The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the
purpose of determining whether a prima facie case exists warranting the
prosecution of the accused is terminated upon the filing of the information in the
proper court.

The Crespo vs. Mogul Case


September 19, 2014 by The Lawyer's Post

Is the trial court bound by the Resolution of the Secretary of


Justice withdrawing the Information filed against the accused?
May the judge insist on the arraignment and trial on the merits
of the accused even after the motion to dismiss was filed by
the prosecutor?
This is the core issue for resolution in the case of Mario. An
information for Estafa was filed against him by the prosecutor
in the lower court in Lucena City. During the scheduled
arraignment, he moved to defer his arraignment on the ground
that there was a pending Petition for Review before the
Secretary of Justice of his case. The lower court denied the
motion, as well as the motion for reconsideration, but deferred
the arraignment so the accused can elevate his quandary to the
appellate court.
He elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals, to which the
Office of the Solicitor General sided with him. The Court of

Appeals restrained the lower court from proceeding with the


arraignment of the accused until such time that the Secretary
of Justice acted on the accuseds petition.
The then Undersecretaty of Justice reversed the Resolution filed
by the Provincial Prosecutor, thus the provincial fiscal filed a
motion to dismiss the information attaching thereto the letter of
the Undersecretary of Justice. The trial court denied the motion
to dismiss the information, citing among others that the motion
seeks to dismiss the case based on evidence not before it, and
the motion erodes the independence and integrity of the court.
The Court of Appeals initially restrained the lower court from
proceeding with the arraignment but later dismissed the
petition of Mario and lifted the restraining order.
Mario appealed the decision of the Court of Appeals to the
Supreme Court.
Is the trial court bound by the Resolution of the Secretary of
Justice withdrawing the Information filed against the accused?
May the judge insist on the arraignment and trial on the merits
of the accused even after the motion to dismiss was filed by the
prosecutor?
The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint
or information is filed in Court any disposition of the case as its
dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in
the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the
direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even
while the case is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion
on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what

to do with the case before it. The determination of the case is


within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to
dismiss the case filed by the fiscal should be addressed to the
Court who has the option to grant or deny the same. It 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.
In 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 Secretary of Justice
should, as far as practicable, refrain from entertaining a petition
for review or appeal from the action of the fiscal, when the
complaint or information has already been filed in Court. The
matter should be left entirely for the determination of the
Court.
G.R. No. L-53373 June 30, 1987, MARIO FL. CRESPO,
petitioner, vs.HON. LEODEGARIO L. MOGUL, Presiding Judge,
CIRCUIT CRIMINAL COURT OF LUCENA CITY, 9th Judicial Dist.,
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the
SOLICITOR GENERAL, RICARDO BAUTISTA, ET AL., respondents.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 113930. March 5, 1996]

PAUL G. ROBERTS, JR., RODOLFO C. SALAZAR, LUIS LORENZO, SR., LUIS LORENZO,
JR., AMAURY R. GUTIERREZ, BAYANI N. FABIC, JOSE YULO, JR., ESTEBAN B.
PALANNUAYAN, and WONG FONG FUI, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE
HON. MAXIMIANO ASUNCION, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of the Regional
Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 104, HON. APOLINARIO G. EXEVEA, HON. HENRICK
F. GINGOYON, and HON. PHILIP A. AGUINALDO, in their capacities as Members of the
Department of Judge 349 Committee, and the CITY PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY,
respondents.
ROBERTO DELGADO, petitioner-intervenor.
DECISION
DAVIDE, JR., J.:

We are urged in this petition to set aside (a) the decision of the Court of Appeals of
28 September 1993 in CA-G.R. SP No. 31226,[1] which dismissed the petition
therein on the ground that it has been mooted with the release by the Department
of Justice of its decision x x x dismissing petitioners petition for review; (b) the
resolution of the said court of 9 February 1994[2] denying the petitioners motion to
reconsider the decision; (c) the order of 17 May 1993[3] of respondent Judge
Maximiano C. Asuncion of Branch 104 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon
City in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 denying petitioners motion to suspend
proceedings and to hold in abeyance the issuance of the warrants of arrest and the
public prosecutors motion to defer arraignment; and (d) the resolution of 23 July
1993 and 3 February 1994[4] of the Department of Justice, (DOJ) dismissing
petitioners petition for the review of the Joint Resolution of the Assistant City
Prosecutor of Quezon City and denying the motion to reconsider the dismissal,
respectively.

The petitioners rely on the following grounds for the grant of the reliefs prayed for in
this petition:

Respondent Judge acted with grave abuse of discretion when he ordered the arrest
of the petitioners without examining the record of the preliminary investigation and
in determining for himself on the basis thereof the existence of probable cause.

II

The Department of Justice 349 Committee acted with grave abuse of discretion
when it refused to review the City Prosecutors Joint Resolution and dismissed
petitioners appeal therefrom.

III

The Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion when it upheld the
subject order directing the issuance of the warrants of arrest without assessing for
itself whether based on such records there is probable cause against petitioners.

IV

The facts on record do not establish prima facie probable cause and Criminal Case
No. Q-93-43198 should have been dismissed.[5]

The antecedents of this petition are not disputed.

Several thousand holders[6] of 349 Pepsi crowns in connection with the Pepsi Cola
Products Phils., Inc.s (PEPSIs) Number Fever Promotion[7] filed with the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Quezon City complaints against the petitioners in their respective
capacities as Presidents or Chief Executive Officers, Chairman of the Board, ViceChairman of the Board, and Directors of PEPSI, and also against other officials of
PEPSI. The complaints respectively accuse the petitioners and the other PEPSI
officials of the following crimes: (a) estafa; (b) violation of R.A. No. 7394, otherwise
known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines; (c) violation of E.O. No. 913;[8] and
(d) violation of Act No. 2333, entitled An Act Relative to Untrue, Deceptive and
Misleading Advertisements, as amended by Act No. 3740.[9]

After appropriate proceedings, the investigating prosecutor, Ramon M. Gerona,


released on 23 March 1993 a Joint Resolution[10] where he recommended the filing
of an information against the petitioners and others for the violation of Article 3 18
of the Revised Penal Code and the dismissal of the complaints for the violation of
Article 315, 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code; R.A. No. 7394; Act No. 2333, as
amended by Act No. 3740; and E.O. No. 913. The dispositive portion thereof reads
as follows:

In view of all the foregoing, it is recommended that:

1. The attached information be filed against respondents Paul G. Roberts, Jr., Rodolfo
C. Salazar, Rosemarie R. Vera, Luis F. Lorenzo, Sr., Luis P. Lorenzo, Jr., J. Roberto
Delgado, Amaury R. Gutierrez, Bayani N. Fabic, Jose Yulo, Jr., Esteban B.
Pacannuayan, Jr., Wong Fong Fui, Quintin J. Gomez, Jr. and Chito V. Gutierrez for
estafa under Article 318, Revised Penal Code, while the complaint for violation of
Article 315, 2(d), Revised Penal Code against same respondents Juanito R. Ignacio,
R. Sobong, R.O. Sinsuan, M.P. Zarsadias, L.G. Dabao, Jr., R.L. Domingo, N.N. Bacsal,
Jesus M. Manalastas, Janette P. Pio de Roda, Joaquin W. Sampaico, Winefreda 0.
Madarang, Jack Gravey, Les G. Ham, Corazon Pineda, Edward S. Serapio, Alex 0.
Caballes, Sandy Sytangco, Jorge W. Drysdale, Richard Blossom, Pablo de Borja,
Edmundo L. Tan, Joseph T. Cohen, Delfin Dator, Zosimo B. San Juan, Joaquin Franco,
Primitivo S. Javier, Jr., Luisito Guevarra, Asif H. Adil, Eugenio Muniosguren, James
Ditkoff and Timothy Lane be dismissed;

2. The complaints against all respondents for violation of R.A. 7394 otherwise known
as the Consumer Act of the Philippines and violation of Act 2333 as amended by Act
3740 and E 0. 913 be also dismissed for insufficiency of evidence, and

3. I.S. Nos. 92-7833; 92-8710 and 92-P-1065 involving Crowns Nos. 173; 401; and
117, 425, 703 and 373, respectively, alleged to be likewise winning ones be further
investigated to afford respondents a chance to submit their counter-evidence.[11]

On 6 April 1993, City Prosecutor Candido V. Rivera approved the recommendation


with the modification that Rosemarie Vera, Quintin Gomez, Jr., and Chito Gonzales
be excluded from the charge on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.[12]

The information for estafa attached to the Joint Resolution was approved (on 7 April
1993) by Ismael P. Casabar, Chief of the Prosecution Division, upon authority of the
City Prosecutor of Quezon City, and was filed with the RTC of Quezon City on 12
April 1993. It was docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198.[13] The information
reads as follows:

The undersigned 1st Assistant City Prosecutor accuses PAUL G. ROBERTS, JR.
RODOLFO C. SALAZAR, LUIS F. LORENZO, SR., LUIS P. LORENZO, JR., J. ROBERTO
DELGADO, AMAURY R. GUTIERREZ, BAYANI N. FABIC, JOSE YULO, JR., ESTEBAN B.
PACANNUAYAN, JR. and WONG FONG FUI, of the crime of ESTAFA, committed as
follows:

That in the month of February, 1992, in Quezon City, Philippines and for sometime
prior and subsequent thereto, the above-named accused -

Paul G. Roberts, Jr. ) being then the Presidents


Rodolfo G. Salazar and Executive Officers

Luis F. Lorenzo, Sr. ) being then the Chairman of the Board of Directors
Luis P. Lorenzo, Jr. ) being then the Vice Chairman of the Board
J. Roberto Delgado ) being then Members of the Board
Amaury R. Gutierrez )
Bayani N. Fabic )
Jose Yulo, Jr. )
Esteban B. Pacannuayan, Jr. and
Wong Fong Fui )

OF THE PEPSI COLA PRODUCTS PHILIPPINES, INC., CONSPIRING with one another,
with intent of gain, by means of deceit, fraudulent acts or false pretenses, executed
prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the private complainants whose names

with their prizes claimed appear in the attached lists marked as Annexes A to A-46;
B to -33; C to C-281; D to D-238; E to E-3O and F to F-244 in the following manner:
on the date and in the place aforementioned, said accused pursuant to their
conspiracy, launched the Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc. Number Fever
Promotion from February 17 to May 8, 1992 later extended to May 11-June 12, 1992
and announced and advertised in the media that all holders of crowns and/or caps
of Pepsi, Mirinda, Mountain Dew and Seven-Up bearing the winning 3-digit number
will win the full amount of the prize printed on the crowns/caps which are marked
with a seven-digit security code as a measure against tampering or faking of crowns
and each and every number has its own unique matching security code, enticing
the public to buy Pepsi softdrinks with aforestated alluring and attractive
advertisements to become millionaires, and by virtue of such representations made
by the accused, the said complainants bought Pepsi softdrinks, but, the said
accused after their TV announcement on May 25, 1992 that the winning number for
the next day was 349, in violation of their aforecited mechanics, refused as they still
refuse to redeem/pay the said Pepsi crowns and/or caps presented to them by the
complainants, who, among others, were able to buy Pepsi softdrinks with
crowns/caps bearing number 349 with security codes L-2560-FQ and L-3560-FQ,
despite repeated demands made by the complainants, to their damage and
prejudice to the extent of the amount of the prizes respectively due them from their
winning 349 crowns/caps, together with such other amounts they spent ingoing to
and from the Office of Pepsi to claim their prizes and such other amounts used in
buying Pepsi softdrinks which the complainants normally would not have done were
it not for the false, fraudulent and deceitful posters of Pepsi Cola Products, Inc.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

On 14 April 1993, the petitioners filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor a motion
for the reconsideration of the Joint Resolution[14] alleging therein that (a) there was
neither fraud in the Number Fever Promotion nor deviation from or modification of
the promotional rules approved by the Department of Trade and industry (DTI), for
from the start of the promotion, it had always been clearly explained to the public
that for one to be entitled to the cash prize his crown must bear both the winning
number and the correct security code as they appear in the DTI list; (b) the
complainants failed to allege, much less prove with prima facie evidence, the
specific overt criminal acts or ommissions purportedly committed by each of the
petitioners; (c) the compromise agreement entered into by PEPSI is not an
admission of guilt; and (d) the evidence establishes that the promo was carried out
with utmost good faith and without malicious intent.

On 15 April 1993, the petitioners filed with the DOJ a Petition for Review[15]
wherein, for the same grounds adduced in the aforementioned motion for
reconsideration, they prayed that the Joint Resolution be reversed and the
complaints dismissed. They further stated that the approval of the Joint Resolution
by the City prosecutor was not the result of a careful scrutiny and independent
evaluation of the relevant facts and the applicable law but of the grave threats,
intimidation, and actual violence which the complainants had inflicted on him and
his assistant prosecutors.

On that same date, the petitioners filed in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 Motions to
Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrants of Arrest on the
ground that they had filed the aforesaid Petition for Review.[16]

On 21 April 1993, acting on the Petition for Review, Chief State Prosecutor Zenon L.
De Guia issued a 1st Indorsement,[17] directing the City Prosecutor of Quezon City
to inform the DOJ whether the petitioners have already been arraigned, and if not,
to move in court for the deferment of further proceedings in the case and to elevate
to the DOJ the entire records of the case, for the case is being treated as an
exception pursuant to Section 4 of Department Circular No. 7 dated 25 January
1990.

On 22 April 1993, Criminal Case no. Q-93-41398 was raffled to Branch 104 of the
RTC of Quezon City.[18]

In the morning of 27 April 1993, private prosecutor Julio Contreras filed an Ex-Parte
Motion for Issuance of Warrants of Arrest.[19]

In the afternoon of that same day, petitioner Paul Roberts, Jr., filed a Supplemental
Urgent Motion to hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrant of Arrest and to Suspend
Proceedings.[20] He stressed that the DOJ had taken cognizance of the Petition for
Review by directing the City Prosecutor to elevate the records of I.S. No. P-4401 and
its related cases and asserted that the petition for review was an essential part of
the petitioners right to a preliminary investigation.

The next day, respondent Judge Asuncion, Presiding Judge of Branch 104 of the RTC
of Quezon City, issued an order advising the parties that his court would be guided

by the doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Crespo vs. Mogul,
151 SCRA 462 and not by the resolution of the Department of Justice on the petition
for review undertaken by the accused.[21]

On 30 April 1993, Assistant City Prosecutor Tirso M. Gavero filed with the trial court
a Motion to Defer Arraignment wherein he also prayed that further proceedings be
held in abeyance pending final disposition by the Department of Justice.[22]

On 4 May 1993, Gavero filed an Amended Information,[23] accompanied by a


corresponding motion[24] to admit it. The amendments merely consist in the
statement that the complainants therein were only among others who were
defrauded by the accused and that the damage or prejudice caused amounted to
several billions of pesos, representing the amounts due them from their winning 349
crowns/caps. The trial court admitted the amended information on the same date.
[25]

Later, the attorneys for the different private complainants filed, respectively, an
Opposition to Motion to Defer Arraignment,[26] and Objection and Opposition to
Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance the Issuance of Warrants of
Arrest.[27]

On 14 May 1993, the petitioners filed a Memorandum in support of their Motion to


Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance the Issuance of the Warrants of
Arrest.[28]

On 17 May 1993, respondent Judge Asuncion issued the challenged order (1)
denying the petitioners Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold In Abeyance
Issuance of Warrants of Arrest and the public prosecutors Motion to Defer
Arraignment and (2) directing the issuance of the warrants of arrest after 21 June
1993 and setting the arraignment on 28 June 1993.[29] Pertinent portions of the
order read as follows:

In the Motion filed by the accused, it is alleged that on April 15, 1993, they filed a
petition for review seeking the reversal of the resolution of the City Prosecutor of
Quezon City approving the filing of the case against the accused, claiming that:

1. The resolution constituting [sic] force and duress;

2. There was no fraud or deceit therefore there can be no estafa;

3. No criminal overt acts by respondents were proved;

4. Pepsi nor the accused herein made no admission of guilt before the Department
of Trade and Industry;

5. The evidence presented clearly showed no malicious intent on the part of the
accused.

Trial Prosecutor Tirso M. Gavero in his Motion to Defer Arraignment averred that
there is a pending petition for review with the Department of Justice filed by the
accused and the Office of the City Prosecutor was directed, among other things, to
cause for the deferment of further proceedings pending final disposition of said
petition by the Department of Justice.

The motions filed by the accused and the Trial Prosecutor are hereby DENIED.

This case is already pending in this Court for trial. To follow whatever opinion the
Secretary of Justice may have on the matter would undermine the independence
and integrity of this Court. This Court is still capable of administering justice.

The Supreme Court in the case of Crespo vs. Mogul (SCRA 151, pp. 471-472) stated
as follows:

In 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 Secretary of Justice should, as far as practicable, refrain from entertaining a

petition for review or appeal from the action of the fiscal, when the complaint or
information has already been filed in Court. The matter should be left entirely for
the determination of the Court.

WHEREFORE, let warrant of arrest be issued after June 21, 1993, and arraignment
be set on June 28, 1993, at 9:30 in the morning.

On 7 June 1993, the petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a special civil action
for certiorari and prohibition with application for a temporary restraining order,[30]
which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 31226. They contended therein that
respondent Judge Asuncion had acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion in issuing the aforementioned order of 17 May 1993
because

I. RESPONDENT JUDGE FAILED TO EXAMINE THE RECORD OF PRELIMINARY


INVESTIGATION BEFORE ORDERING THE ARREST OF PETITIONERS.

II. THERE IS NO PROBABLE CAUSE TO HOLD PETITIONERS CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR


ESTAFA, OTHER DECEITS, OR ANY OTHER OFFENSE.

III. THE PROCEEDINGS BELOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED TO AWAIT THE
SECRETARY OF JUSTICES RESOLUTION OF PETITIONERS APPEAL, AND

IV. THERE IS NO OTHER PLAIN, SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE REMEDY IN THE ORDINARY
COURSE OF LAW.

On 15 June 1993, the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order to


maintain the status quo.[31] In view thereof, respondent Judge Asuncion issued an
order on 28 June 1993[32] postponing indefinitely the arraignment of the petitioners
which was earlier scheduled on that date.

On 28 June 1993, the Court of Appeals heard the petitioners application for a writ of
preliminary injunction, granted the motion for leave to intervene filed by J. Roberto

Delgado, and directed the Branch Clerk of Court of the RTC of Quezon City to
elevate the original records of Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198[33]

Upon receipt of the original records of the criminal case, the Court of Appeals found
that a copy of the Joint Resolution had in fact been forwarded to, and received by,
the trial court on 22 April 1993, which fact belied the petitioners claim that the
respondent Judge had not the slightest basis at all for determining probable cause
when he ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest. It ruled that the Joint Resolution
was sufficient in itself to have been relied upon by respondent Judge in convincing
himself that probable cause indeed exists for the purpose of issuing the
corresponding warrants of arrest; and that the mere silence of the records or the
absence of any express declaration in the questioned order as to the basis of such
finding does not give rise to an adverse inference, for the respondent Judge enjoys
in his favor the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official duty. The
Court of Appeals then issued a resolution[34] denying the application for a writ of
preliminary injunction.

On 8 June 1993, the petitioners filed a motion to reconsider[35] the aforesaid


resolution. The Court of Appeals required the respondents therein to comment on
the said motion.[36]

On 3 August 1993, the counsel for the private complainants filed in CA-G.R. SP No.
31226 a Manifestation[37] informing the court that the petitioners petition for
review filed with the DOJ was dismissed in a resolution dated 23 July 1993. A
copy[38] of the resolution was attached to the Manifestation.

On 21 September 1993, the public respondents filed in CA-G.R. SP No. 31226 a


motion to dismiss the petition[39] on the ground that it has become moot and
academic in view of the dismissal by the DOJ of the petitioners petition to review the
Joint Resolution. The dismissal by the DOJ is founded on the following exposition:

You questioned the said order of the RTC before the Court of Appeals and prayed for
the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the Trial Judge from
issuing any warrant of arrest and from proceeding with the arraignment of the
accused. The appellate court in a resolution dated July 1, 1993, denied your petition.

In view of the said developments, it would be an exercise in futility to continue


reviewing the instant cases for any further action on the part of the Department
would depend on the sound discretion of the Trial Court. The denial by the said court
of the motion to defer arraignment filed at our instance was clearly an exercise of
its discretion. With the issuance of the order dated May 17, 1993, the Trial Court was
in effect sending a signal to this Department that the determination of the case is
within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. The rule is that x x x once a
complaint or information is filed in Court, any disposition of the case as to dismissal
or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the
Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of
criminal cases even while the case is already in Court, he cannot impose his opinion
on the trial court. The court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case
before it. x x x (Crespo vs. Mogul, 151 SCRA 462).[40]

On 28 September 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision[41] dismissing


the petition because it had been mooted with the release by the Department of
Justice of its decision x x x dismissing petitioners petition for review by inerrantly
upholding the criminal courts exclusive and unsupplantable authority to control the
entire course of the case brought against petitioners, reiterating with approval the
dictum laid down in the Crespo case.

The petitioners filed a motion to reconsider the DOJs dismissal of the petition citing
therein its resolutions in other similar cases which were favorable to the petitioners
and adverse to other 349 Pepsi crowns holders.

In its resolution of 3 February 1994, the DOJ, through its 349 Committee, denied the
motion and stated: The instant petition is different from the other petitions resolved
by this Department in similar cases from the provinces. In the latter petitions, the
complaints against herein respondents [sic][42] were dismissed inasmuch as the
informations have not yet been filed or even if already filed in court, the
proceedings have been suspended by the courts to await the outcome of the appeal
with this Department.[43]

The petitioners likewise filed a motion to reconsider[44] the aforesaid Court of


Appeals decision, which the said court denied in its resolution[45] of 9 February
1994. Hence, the instant petition.

The First Division of this Court denied due course to this petition in its resolution of
19 September 1994.[46]

On 7 October 1994, the petitioners filed a motion for the reconsideration[47] of the
aforesaid resolution. Acting thereon, the First Division required the respondents to
comment thereon.

Later, the petitioners filed a supplemental motion for reconsideration[48] and a


motion to refer this case to the Court en banc.[49] In its resolution of 14 November
1994,[50] the First Division granted the latter motion and required the respondents
to comment on the supplemental motion for reconsideration

In the resolution of 24 November 1994, the Court en banc accepted the referral.

On 10 October 1995, after deliberating on the motion for reconsideration and the
subsequent pleadings in relation thereto, the Court en banc granted the motion for
reconsideration; reconsidered and set aside the resolution of 19 September 1994;
and reinstated the petition. It then considered the case submitted for decision, since
the parties have exhaustively discussed the issues in their pleadings, the original
records of Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 and of CA-G.R. SP No. 31226 had been
elevated to this Court, and both the petitioners and the Office of the Solicitor
General pray, in effect, that this Court resolve the issue of probable cause On the
basis thereof.

The pleadings of the parties suggest for this Courts resolution the following key
issues:

1. Whether public respondent Judge Asuncion committed grave abuse of discretion


in denying, on the basis of Crespo vs. Mogul, the motions to suspend proceedings
and hold in abeyance the issuance of warrants of arrest and to defer arraignment
until after the petition for review filed with the DOJ shall have been resolved.

2. Whether public respondent Judge Asuncion committed grave abuse of discretion


in ordering the issuance of warrants of arrest without examining the records of the
preliminary investigation.

3. Whether the DOJ, through its 349 Committee, gravely abused its discretion in
dismissing the petition for review on the following bases: (a) the resolution of public
respondent Court of Appeals denying the application for a writ of preliminary
injunction and (b) of public respondent Asuncions denial of the abovementioned
motions.

4. Whether public respondent Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion


(a) in denying the motion for a writ of preliminary injunction solely on the ground
that public respondent Asuncion had already before him the Joint Resolution of the
investigating prosecutor when he ordered the issuance of the warrants of arrest,
and (b) in ultimately dismissing the petition on the ground of mootness since the
DOJ has dismissed the petition for review.

5. Whether this Court may determine in this proceedings the existence of probable
cause either for the issuance of warrants of arrest against the petitioners or for their
prosecution for the crime of estafa.

We resolve the first four issues in the affirmative and the fifth, in the negative.

I.

There is nothing in Crespo vs. Mogul[51] which bars the DOJ from taking cognizance
of an appeal, by way of a petition for review, by an accused in a criminal case from
an unfavorable ruling of the investigating prosecutor. It merely advised the DOJ to,
as far as practicable, refrain from entertaining a petition for review or appeal from
the action of the fiscal, when the complaint or information has already been filed in
Court. More specifically, it stated:

In order therefore 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 Secretary of Justice should, as far as practicable, refrain from entertaining a


petition for review or appeal from the action of the fiscal, when the complaint or
information has already been filed in Court. The matter should be left entirely for
the determination of the Court.[52]

In Marcelo vs. Court of Appeals,[53] this Court explicitly declared:

Nothing in the said ruling forecloses the power or authority of the Secretary of
Justice to review resolutions of his subordinates in criminal cases. The Secretary of
Justice is only enjoined to refrain as far as practicable from entertaining a petition
for review or appeal from the action of the prosecutor once a complaint or
information is filed in court. In any case, the grant of a motion to dismiss, which the
prosecution may file after the Secretary of Justice reverses an appealed resolution,
is subject to the discretion of the court.

Crespo could not have intended otherwise without doing violence to, or repealing,
the last paragraph of Section 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court[54] which recognizes
the authority of the Secretary of Justice to reverse the resolution of the provincial or
city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor upon petition by a proper party.

Pursuant to the said provision, the Secretary of Justice had promulgated the rules on
appeals from resolutions in preliminary investigation. At the time the petitioners
filed their petition for the review of the Joint Resolution of the investigating
prosecutor, the governing rule was Circular No. 7, dated 25 January 1990. Section 2
thereof provided that only resolutions dismissing a criminal complaint may be
appealed to the Secretary of Justice. Its Section 4,[55] however, provided an
exception, thus allowing, upon a showing of manifest error or grave abuse of
discretion, appeals from resolutions finding probable cause, provided that the
accused has not been arraigned.

The DOJ gave due course to the petitioners petition for review as an exception
pursuant to Section 4 of Circular No. 7.

Meanwhile, the DOJ promulgated on 30 June 1993 Department Order No. 223[56]
which superseded Circular No. 7. This Order, however, retained the provisions of

Section 1 of the Circular on appealable cases and Section 4 on the non-appealable


cases and the exceptions thereto.

There is nothing in Department Order No. 223 which would warrant a recall of the
previous action of the DOJ giving due course to the petitioners petition for review.
But whether the DOJ would affirm or reverse the challenged Joint Resolution is still a
matter of guesswork. Accordingly, it was premature for respondent Judge Asuncion
to deny the motions to suspend proceedings and to defer arraignment on the
following grounds:

This case is already pending in this Court for trial. To follow whatever opinion the
Secretary of Justice may have on the matter would undermine the independence
and integrity of this Court. This Court is still capable of administering justice.

The real and ultimate test of the independence and integrity of this court is not the
filing of the aforementioned motions at that stage of the proceedings but the filing
of a motion to dismiss or to withdraw the information on the basis of a resolution of
the petition for review reversing the Joint Resolution of the investigating prosecutor.
Before that time, the following pronouncement in Crespo did not yet truly become
relevant or applicable:

The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed
in Court any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of
the accused rests in the sound discretion of the court. Although the fiscal retains the
direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is
already in court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The court is the
best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. The determination of the
case is within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to dismiss the
case filed by the fiscal should be addressed to the Court who has the option to grant
or deny the same. It 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.[57]

However, once a motion to dismiss or withdraw the information is filed the trial
judge may grant or deny it, not out of subservience to the Secretary of Justice, but

in faithful exercise of judicial prerogative. This Court pertinently stated so in


Martinez vs. Court of Appeals:[58]

Whether to approve or disapprove the stand taken by the prosecution is not the
exercise of discretion required in cases like this. The trial judge must himself be
convinced that there was indeed no sufficient evidence against the accused, and
this conclusion can be arrived at only after an assessment of the evidence in the
possession of the prosecution. What was imperatively required was the trial judges
own assessment of such evidence, it not being sufficient for the valid and proper
exercise of judicial discretion merely to accept the prosecutions word for its
supposed insufficiency.

As aptly observed the Office of the Solicitor General, in failing to make an


independent finding of the merits of the case and merely anchoring the dismissal on
the revised position of the prosecution, the trial judge relinquished the discretion he
was duty bound to exercise. In effect, it was the prosecution, through the
Department of Justice which decided what to do and not the court which was
reduced to a mere rubber stamp in violation of the ruling in Crespo vs. Mogul.

II.

Section 2, Article III of the present Constitution provides that no search warrant or
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce.

Under existing laws, warrants of arrest may be issued (1) by the Metropolitan Trial
Courts (MeTCs) except those in the National Capital Region, Municipal Trial Courts
(MTCs), and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTCs) in cases falling within their
exclusive original jurisdiction;[59] in cases covered by the rule on summary
procedure where the accused fails to appear when required;[60] and in cases filed
with them which are cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs);[61] and (2) by
the Metropolitan Trial Courts in the National Capital Region (MeTCs-NCR) and the
RTCs in cases filed with them after appropriate preliminary investigations conducted
by officers authorized to do so other than judges of MeTCs, MTCs and MCTCs.[62]

As to the first, a warrant can issue only if the judge is satisfied after an examination
in writing and under oath of the complainant and the witnesses, in the form of
searching questions and answers, that a probable cause exists and that there is a
necessity of placing the respondent under immediate custody in order not to
frustrate the ends of justice.

As to the second, this Court held in Soliven vs. Makasiar[63] that the judge is not
required to personally examine the complainant and the witnesses, but

[f]ollowing established doctrine and procedure, he shall: (1) personally evaluate the
report and supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of
probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the
basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscals report and
require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at
a conclusion as to the existence of probable cause.[64]

Sound policy supports this procedure, otherwise judges would be unduly laden with
the preliminary examination and investigation of criminal complaints instead of
concentrating on hearing and deciding cases filed before their courts. It must be
emphasized that judges must not rely solely on the report or resolution of the fiscal
(now prosecutor); they must evaluate the report and the supporting documents. In
this sense, the aforementioned requirement has modified paragraph 4(a) of Circular
No. 12 issued by this Court on 30 June 1987 prescribing the Guidelines on Issuance
of Warrants of Arrest under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, which
provided in part as follows:

4. In satisfying himself of the existence of a probable cause for the issuance of a


warrant of arrest, the judge, following established doctrine and procedure, may
either:

(a) Rely upon the fiscals certification of the existence of probable cause whether or
not the case is cognizable only by the Regional Trial Court and on the basis thereof,
issue a warrant of arrest. x x x

This requirement of evaluation not only of the report or certification of the fiscal but
also of the supporting documents was further explained in People vs. Inting,[65]

where this Court specified what the documents may consist of, viz., the affidavits,
the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any), and all other supporting documents
behind the Prosecutors certification which are material in assisting the Judge to
make his determination of probable cause. Thus:

We emphasize the important features of the constitutional mandate that x x x no


search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined personally by the judge x x x (Article III, Section 2, Constitution).

First, the determination of probable cause is a function of the Judge. It is not for the
Provincial Fiscal or Prosecutor nor the Election Supervisor to ascertain. Only the
Judge and the Judge alone makes this determination.

Second, 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 Prosecutors
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 Prosecutors certification which are material in assisting the Judge to
make his determination.

In adverting to a statement in People vs. Delgado[66] that the judge may rely on
the resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to file the information by
the same token that it may rely on the certification made by the prosecutor who
conducted the preliminary investigation in the issuance of the warrant of arrest, this
Court stressed in Lim vs. Felix[67] that

Reliance on the COMELEC resolution or the Prosecutors certification presupposes


that the records of either the COMELEC or the Prosecutor have been submitted to
the Judge and he relies on the certification or resolution because the records of the
investigation sustain the recommendation. The warrant issues not on the strength
of the certification standing alone but because of the records which sustain it.

And noting that judges still suffer from the inertia of decisions and practice under
the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, this Court found it necessary to restate the rule in
greater detail and hopefully clearer terms. It then proceeded to do so, thus:

We reiterate the ruling in Soliven vs. Makasiar that the Judge does not have to
personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. The Prosecutor can perform
the same functions as a commissioner for the taking of the evidence. However,
there should be a report and necessary documents supporting the Fiscals bare
certification. All of these should be before the Judge.

The extent of the Judges personal examination of the report and its annexes
depends on the circumstances of each case. We cannot determine beforehand how
cursory or exhaustive the Judges examination should be. The Judge has to exercise
sound discretion for, after all, the personal determination is vested in the Judge by
the Constitution. It can be as brief as or detailed as the circumstances of each case
require. To be sure, the Judge must go beyond the Prosecutors certification and
investigation report whenever, necessary. He should call for the complainant and
witnesses themselves to answer the courts probing questions when the
circumstances of the case so require.

This Court then set aside for being null and void the challenged order of respondent
Judge Felix directing the issuance of the warrants of arrest against petitioners Lim,
et al., solely on the basis of the prosecutors certification in the informations that
there existed probable cause without having before him any other basis for his
personal determination of the existence of a probable cause.

In Allado vs. Diokno,[68] this Court also ruled that before issuing a warrant of arrest,
the judge must satisfy himself that based on the evidence submitted there is
sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that the person to be arrested
is probably guilty thereof.

In the recent case of Webb vs. De Leon,[69] this Court rejected the thesis of the
petitioners of absence probable cause and sustained the investigating panels and
the respondent Judges findings of probable cause. After quoting extensively from
Soliven vs. Makasiar,[70] this Court explicitly pointed out:

Clearly then, the Constitution, the Rules of Court, and our case law repudiate the
submission of petitioners that respondent judges should have conducted searching
examination of witnesses before issuing warrants of arrest against them. They also

reject petitioners contention that a judge must first issue an order of arrest before
issuing a warrant of arrest. There is no law or rule requiring the issuance of an Order
of Arrest prior to a warrant of arrest.

In the case at bar, the DOJ Panel submitted to the trial court its 26-page report, the
two (2) sworn statements of Alfaro and the sworn statements of Carlos Cristobal and
Lolita Birrer as well as the counter- affidavits of the petitioners. Apparently, the
painstaking recital and analysis of the parties evidence made in the DOJ Panel
Report satisfied both judges that there is probable cause to issue warrants of arrest
against petitioners. Again, we stress that before issuing warrants of arrest, judges
merely determine personally the probability, not the certainty of the guilt of an
accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo hearing to determine the
existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial determination of
the prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial
evidence. The sufficiency of the review process cannot be measured by merely
counting minutes and hours. The fact that it took the respondent judges a few hours
to review and affirm the Probable cause determination of the DOJ Panel does not
mean they made no personal evaluation of the evidence attached to the records of
the case. (italics supplied)

The teachings then of Soliven, Inting, Lim, Allado, and Webb reject the proposition
that the investigating prosecutors certification in an information or his resolution
which is made the basis for the filing of the information, or both, would suffice in the
judicial determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. In
Webb, this Court assumed that since the respondent Judges had before them not
only the 26-page resolution of the investigating panel but also the affidavits of the
prosecution witnesses and even the counter-affidavits of the respondents, they
(judges) made personal evaluation of the evidence attached to the records of the
case.

Unfortunately, in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198, nothing accompanied the


information upon its filing on 12 April 1993 with the trial court. As found by the
Court of Appeals in its resolution of 1 July 1993, a copy of the Joint Resolution was
forwarded to, and received by, the trial court only on 22 April 1993. And as revealed
by the certification[71] of Branch Clerk of Court Gibson Araula, Jr., no affidavits of
the witnesses, transcripts of stenographic notes of the proceedings during the
preliminary investigation, or other documents submitted in the course thereof were
found in the records of Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 as of 19 May 1993. Clearly,
when respondent Judge Asuncion issued the assailed order of 17 May 1993
directing, among other things, the issuance of warrants of arrest, he had only the

information, amended information, and Joint Resolution as bases thereof. He did not
have the records or evidence supporting the prosecutors finding of probable cause.
And strangely enough, he made no specific finding of probable cause; he merely
directed the issuance of warrants of arrest after June 21, 1993. It may, however, be
argued that the directive presupposes a finding of probable cause. But then
compliance with a constitutional requirement for the protection of individual liberty
cannot be left to presupposition, conjecture, or even convincing logic.

III.

As earlier stated, per its 1st Indorsement of 21 April 1993, the DOJ gave due course
to the petitioners petition for review pursuant to the exception provided for in
Section 4 of Circular No. 7, and directed the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon
City to forward to the Department the records of the cases and to file in court a
motion for the deferment of the proceedings. At the time it issued the indorsement,
the DOJ already knew that the information had been filed in court, for which reason
it directed the City Prosecutor to inform the Department whether the accused have
already been arraigned and if not yet arraigned, to move to defer further
proceedings. It must have been fully aware that, pursuant to Crespo vs. Mogul, a
motion to dismiss a case filed by the prosecution either as a consequence of a
reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice after a review of the
records of the investigation is addressed to the trial court, which has the option to
grant or to deny it. Also, it must have been still fresh in its mind that a few months
back it had dismissed for lack of probable cause other similar complaints of holders
of 349 Pepsi crowns.[72] Thus, its decision to give due course to the petition must
have been prompted by nothing less than an honest conviction that a review of the
Joint Resolution was necessary in the highest interest of justice in the light of the
special circumstances of the case. That decision was permissible within the as far as
practicable criterion in Crespo.

Hence, the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion when it executed on 23 July
1993 a unilateral volte-face, which was even unprovoked by a formal pleading to
accomplish the same end, by dismissing the petition for review. It dismissed the
petition simply because it thought that a review of the Joint Resolution would be an
exercise in futility in that any further action on the part of the Department would
depend on the sound discretion of the trial court, and that the latters denial of the
motion to defer arraignment filed at the instance of the DOJ was clearly an exercise
of that discretion or was, in effect, a signal to the Department that the
determination of the case is within the courts exclusive jurisdiction and
competence. This infirmity becomes more pronounced because the reason adduced

by the respondent Judge for his denial of the motions to suspend proceedings and
hold in abeyance issuance of warrants of arrest and to defer arraignment finds, as
yet, no support in Crespo.

IV.

If the only issue before the Court of Appeals were the denial of the petitioners
Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrants of
Arrest and the public prosecutors Motion to Defer Arraignment, which were both
based on the pendency before the DOJ of the petition for the review of the Joint
Resolution, the dismissal of CA-G.R. SP No. 31226 on the basis of the dismissal by
the DOJ of the petition for review might have been correct. However, the petition
likewise involved the issue of whether respondent Judge Asuncion gravely abused
his discretion in ordering the issuance of warrants of arrest despite want of basis.
The DOJs dismissal of the petition for review did not render moot and academic the
latter issue.

In denying in its resolution of 1 July 1993 the petitioners application for a writ of
preliminary injunction to restrain respondent Judge Asuncion from issuing warrants
of arrest, the Court of Appeals ,justified its action in this wise:

The Joint Resolution was sufficient in itself to have been relied upon by respondent
Judge in convincing himself that probable cause indeed exists for the purpose of
issuing the corresponding warrants of arrest. The mere silence of the records or the
absence of any express declaration in the questioned Order of May 17, 1993 as to
where the respondent Judge based his finding of probable cause does not give rise
to any adverse inference on his part. The fact remains that the Joint Resolution was
at respondent Judges disposal at the time he issued the Order for the issuance of
the warrants of arrest. After all, respondent Judge enjoys in his favor the
presumption of regularity in the performance of official actuations. And this
presumption prevails until it is overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the
contrary. Every reasonable intendment will be made in support of the presumption,
and in case of doubt as to an officers act being lawful or unlawful it should be
construed to be lawful. (31 C.J.S., 808-810. See also Mahilum, et al. vs. Court of
Appeals, 17 SCRA 482; People vs. Cortez, 21 SCRA 1228; Government of the P.I. vs.
Galarosa, 36 Phil. 338).

We are unable to agree with this disquisition, for it merely assumes at least two
things: (1) that respondent Judge Asuncion had read and relied on the Joint
Resolution and (2) he was convinced that probable cause exists for the issuance of
the warrants of arrest against the petitioners. Nothing in the records provides
reasonable basis for these assumptions. In his assailed order, the respondent Judge
made no mention of the Joint Resolution, which was attached to the records of
Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 on 22 April 1993. Neither did he state that he found
probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest. And, for an undivinable
reason, he directed the issuance of warrants of arrest only after June 21, 1993. If he
did read the Joint Resolution and, in so reading, found probable cause, there was
absolutely no reason at all to delay for more than one month the issuance of
warrants of arrest. The most probable explanation for such delay could be that the
respondent Judge had actually wanted to wait for a little while for the DOJ to resolve
the petition for review.

It is, nevertheless, contended in the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Reynato S.


Puno that whatever doubts may have lingered on the issue of probable cause was
dissolved when no less than the Court of Appeals sustained the finding of probable
cause made by the respondent Judge after an evaluation of the Joint Resolution. We
are not persuaded with that opinion. It is anchored on erroneous premises. In its 1
July 1993 resolution, the Court of Appeals does not at all state that it either
sustained respondent Judge Asuncions finding of probable cause, or found by itself
probable cause. As discussed above, it merely presumed that Judge Asuncion might
have read the Joint Resolution and found probable cause from a reading thereof.
Then too, that statement in the dissenting opinion erroneously assumes that the
Joint Resolution can validly serve as sufficient basis for determining probable cause.
As stated above, it is not.

V.

In criminal prosecutions, the determination of probable cause may either be an


executive or a judicial prerogative. In People vs. Inting,[73] this Court aptly stated:

And third, Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry
which determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from a
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.

xxx xxx xxx

We reiterate that preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to whether it


is an investigation for the determination of a sufficient ground for the filing of the
information or it is an investigation for the determination of a probable cause for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest. The first kind of preliminary investigation is
executive in nature. It is part of the prosecutions job. The second kind of preliminary
investigation which is more properly called preliminary examination is judicial in
nature and is lodged with the judge x x x.

Ordinarily, the determination of probable cause is not lodged with this Court. Its
duty in an appropriate case is confined to the issue of whether the executive or
judicial determination, as the case may be, of probable cause was done without or
in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to want of
jurisdiction. This is consistent with the general rule that criminal prosecutions may
not be restrained or stayed by injunction, preliminary or final. There are, however,
exceptions to this rule. Among the exceptions are enumerated in Brocka vs.
Enrile[74] as follows:

a. To afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused


(Hernandez vs. Albano, et al., L-19272, January 25, 1967, 19 SCRA 95);

b. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid oppression or


multiplicity of actions (Dimayuga, et al. vs. Fernandez, 43 Phil. 304; Hernandez vs.
Albano, supra; Fortun vs. Labang, et al., L-38383, May 27, 1981, 104 SCRA 607);

c. When there is a pre-judicial question which is sub judice (De Leon vs. Mabanag,
70 Phil. 202);

d. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority (Planas vs. Gil,
67 Phil. 62);

e. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation (Young vs.
Rafferty, 33 Phil. 556; Yu Cong Eng vs. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 385, 389);

f. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent (Sangalang vs. People and Avendia, 109
Phil. 1140);

g. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense (Lopez vs. City Judge, L25795, October 29, 1966, 18 SCRA 616);

h. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution (Rustia vs. Ocampo, CAG.R. No. 4760, March 25, 1960);

i. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance
(Recto vs. Castelo, 18 L.J., [1953], cited in Raoa vs. Alvendia, CA-G.R. No. 30720-R,
October 8, 1962; Cf. Guingona, et al. vs. City Fiscal, L-60033, April 4, 1984, 128
SCRA 577); and

j. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to
quash on that ground has been denied (Salonga vs. Pao, et al., L-59524, February
18, 1985, 134 SCRA 438).

7. Preliminary injunction has been issued by the Supreme Court to prevent the
threatened unlawful arrest of petitioners (Rodriguez vs. Castelo, L-6374, August 1,
1953). (cited in Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, p. 188, 1988 Ed.)

In these exceptional cases, this Court may ultimately resolve the existence or nonexistence of probable cause by examining the records of the preliminary
investigation, as it did in Salonga vs. Pao,[75] Allado, and Webb.

There can be no doubt that, in light of the several thousand private complainants in
Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 and several thousands more in different parts of the
country who are similarly situated as the former for being holders of 349 Pepsi
crowns, any affirmative holding of probable cause in the said case may cause or
provoke, as justly feared by the petitioners, the filing of several thousand cases in
various courts throughout the country. Inevitably, the petitioners would be exposed
to the harassments of warrants of arrest issued by such courts and to huge
expenditures for premiums on bailbonds and for travels from one court to another
throughout the length and breadth of the archipelago for their arraignments and
trials in such cases. Worse, the filing of these staggering number of cases would
necessarily affect the trial calendar of our overburdened judges and take much of
their attention, time, and energy, which they could devote to other equally, if not
more, important cases. Such a frightful scenario would seriously affect the orderly
administration of justice, or cause oppression or multiplicity of actions - a situation
already long conceded by this Court to be an exception to the general rule that
criminal prosecutions may not be restrained or stayed by injunction.[76]

We shall not, however, reevaluate the evidence to determine if indeed there is


probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest in Criminal Case No. Q-9343298. For, as earlier stated, the respondent Judge did not, in fact, find that
probable cause exists, and if he did he did not have the basis therefor as mandated
by Soliven, Inting, Lim, Allado, and even Webb. Moreover, the records of the
preliminary investigation in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 are not with this Court.
They were forwarded by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to the DOJ
in compliance with the latters 1st Indorsement of 21 April 1993. The trial court and
the DOJ must be required to perform their duty.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is granted and the following are hereby SET
ASIDE:

(a) Decision of 28 September 1993 and Resolution of 9 February 1994 of respondent


Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 31226;

(b) The Resolution of the 349 Committee of the Department of Justice of 23 July
1993 dismissing the petitioners petition for review and of 3 February 1994 denying
the motion to reconsider the dismissal; and

(c) The Order of respondent Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion of 17 May 1993 in


Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198.

The Department of Justice is DIRECTED to resolve on the merits, within sixty (60)
days from notice of this decision, the petitioners petition for the review of the Joint
Resolution of Investigating Prosecutor Ramon Gerona and thereafter to file the
appropriate motion or pleading in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198, which respondent
Judge Asuncion shall then resolve in light of Crespo vs. Mogul, Soliven vs. Makasiar,
People vs. Inting, Lim vs. Felix, Allado vs. Diokno, and Webb vs. De Leon.

In the meantime, respondent Judge Asuncion is DIRECTED to cease and desist from
further proceeding with Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 and to defer the issuance of
warrants of arrest against the petitioners.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-31028 June 29, 1972


GREGORIO TALUSAN, petitioner,
vs.
HON. PEDRO D. OFIANA, as Provinical Fiscal of Bulacan, Fiscal AMADO VICENTE, as
Assistant Fiscal of Bulacan, VENTURA BARTOLOME, RENATO VALDECANTOS, VALENTIN
VALDECANTOS, PITO VALDECANTOS and FRED VALDECANTOS, respondents.
David C. Canta for petitioner.
Salva, Carballo & Associates for private respondents.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:p

The herein petition seeks a review of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan (Fifth
Judicial District, Branch IV) dismissing Civil Case No. 68-B for Certiorari and Prohibition with
Preliminary Injunction, entitled "Gregorio Talusan vs. Fiscal Pedro Ofiana, et al.," for lack of merit.
The facts which are pertinent to this petition follow:
On 27 January 1969, a criminal complaint for frustrated murder was filed by the herein petitioner
(Talusan) against private respondents, namely, Ventura Bartolome, Renato Valdecantos, Alfredo
Valdecantos, Valentin Valdecantos, and Pito Valdecantos with the Municipal Court of San Rafael,
Bulacan, docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 1112. On the same date, a preliminary investigation
(first stage) was conducted ex-parte by the municipal court which accepted the complaint and issued
a warrant for the arrest of accused Ventura Bartolome and Alfredo Valdecantos, and also fixing their
bail for their provisional release in the amount of P10,000.00 each. Subsequently, the order was
reconsidered by a new judge of the same municipal court, who issued a warrant of arrest for Renato
Valdecantos and Pito Valdecantos as well, likewise fixing their bail at P10,000.00 each.
In a letter-complaint dated 3 March 1969, private respondents Valentin and Alfredo Valdecantos, as
complainants, filed two charges each for attempted murder against petitioner (I.S. Nos. 3607 and
3607-A) with the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan. The said charges arose out of the same
incident of 19 January 1969 which is also the basis of the complaint for frustrated murder filed by the
herein petitioner.
On 25 March 1969, the second stage of the preliminary investigation of Criminal Case No. 1112 was
called for hearing, but private respondents waived the same; instead, they prayed that the case be
remanded to the Court of First Instance of Bulacan (Baliwag), later docketed therein as Criminal
Case No. 50-B.
In a petition dated 31 March 1969 filed with the Office of the Provincial Fiscal, private respondents
asked for the reinvestigation of Criminal Case No. 50-B and its joint hearing with the preliminary
investigation of I.S. Nos. 3607 and 3607-A. The said petition for reinvestigation and joint hearing was
opposed by the herein petitioner. The petition, however, was granted, with respondent assistant
fiscal Ofiana scheduling the joint hearing of the aforesaid cases on 9 June 1969. However,
petitioner-accused did not appear at the said hearing, despite notice, but instead filed the subject
Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction (Civil Case No. 68-B, supra)
questioning respondent Provincial Fiscal and/or his assistant's authority to proceed with the
reinvestigation of Criminal Case No. 50-B jointly with the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 3607
and 3607-A.
Civil Case No. 68-B having been dismissed for lack of merit, Talusan filed the herein petition, praying
for a reversal of the said decision, among other things, alleging that the lower court erred in
I. Holding that the respondent Provincial Fiscal and/or his assistant can properly and
legally further reinvestigate Criminal Case No. 50-B vs. Ventura Bartolome, et al.;
II. Not finding that the accused are estopped to make the countercharges, I. S. Nos.
3607 and 3607-A vs. Gregorio Talusan, in the Office of the Provincial Fiscal because

(1) accused waived the regular preliminary investigation in the municipal court; (2)
the countercharges are their very defenses which should have been made and/or
filed in the municipal court; and (3) the municipal court had first acquired jurisdiction
over the case and the parties; and
III. Holding that the respondent Provincial Fiscal and/or his assistant can properly
and legally conduct a joint hearing of the reinvestigation in Crim. Case No. 50-B vs.
Ventura Bartolome, et al. and the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 3607 and
3607-A vs. Gregorio Talusan.
With respect to the first assigned error, this Court already held in the case of Assistant Fiscal,
Bataan vs. Dollete, etc. 1 that
... When a Fiscal or prosecuting attorney receives a criminal case, elevated to the
Court of First Instance by the Justice of the Peace Court which has conducted the
corresponding preliminary investigation, and on the ground that there was probable
cause, the said Fiscal has the right to conduct his own investigation to convince
himself of the sufficiency of said evidences for the prosecution. (Emphasis supplied)
This Court went further to state in the Dollete case, supra
... there is no question that a prosecuting attorney has the right to conduct his own
investigation. Because of said right, naturally, there is the corresponding duty or
obligation of the prosecution witness, specially the offended parties, to submit to
said investigation. Consequently, said offended parties and their legal counsel, the
private prosecutor, were not justified in refusing to submit to the same and to give
their testimony. Because of their refusal, the petitioner was in part justified in filing his
motion to dismiss on the ground that he was in no position, much less was he
convinced, that he could go on with the prosecution of the case. We say that
petitioner was in part justified, because he was not fully justified in asking for
dismissal. Full justification comes only after his investigation shall have convinced
him that the evidence available to him would not be sufficient to secure conviction.
(Emphasis supplied)
In its previous ruling in People vs. Ovilla 2 this Court ruled that
... it may be clearly inferred that after a criminal case has been remanded by the
justice of the peace to the Court of First Instance which has jurisdiction to try it on the
merits and before the provincial fiscal has filed the necessary information the
latter not only has the power but also the duty to investigate the facts upon which the
complaint filed in the justice of the peace was based, examine the evidence
submitted to the justice of the peace and such other evidences as the parties may
deem proper to submit on their own free will or on demand of the fiscal, for the
purpose of determining whether there is at least prima facie evidence establishing
the guilt of the accused and overcoming the presumption of innocence in his favor. If
after he has done all this and considering all the circumstances of the case, the fiscal

believes that the evidence is not sufficient to establish prima facie the guilt of the
accused, he should submit to the court before which the case is pending the
corresponding motion for dismissal. (Emphasis supplied)
The same principle was enunciated in the earlier cases of People vs. Ong Eng 3 and People vs.
Barredo. 4
The power of the provincial fiscal (or his assistant) to conduct his own investigation or reinvestigation
of a case already elevated to the Court of First Instance by a municipal judge or justice of the peace
who conducted a preliminary investigation thereon, in order to determine his own course of action as
prosecuting officer, is particularly true in the present case, since countercharges for attempted
murder have also been filed against herein petitioner (who earlier filed his own charge of frustrated
murder against private respondents) based on the same incident. The fiscal certainly could not be
expected to proceed without first satisfying himself who was the real aggressor, for the combatant
parties could not be simultaneously both aggressors and victims in the same event.
This Court in People vs. Ong Eng, ante, held:
... when the provincial fiscal, in view of the facts of the case, apprehends that it would
be an absurdity on his part to conduct both prosecutions, said officer, being
responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases (section 1681, Adm. Code, U.S. vs.
Reyes, 20 Phil. 510; and U.S. vs. Despabiladeras and Laxamana, 32 Phil. 442), has
a right to investigate the cases more thoroughly in order the better to conform his
action and attitude therein to the real facts and to the dictates and requirements of
justice and the public interest.
And in granting said motion of the provincial fiscal the court did no more than
recognize the great responsibility devolving on him and the rights it had in helping
him in the better performance of his duties.
The cases 5 cited by petitioner will not hold true in the instant case because the prohibition in the said
cases refers to "another preliminary investigation" contemplated under Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of
Court, and not to a clarificatory investigation or reinvestigation of the evidence, prior to filing the
information as in the case at bar.
Finally, section 4, Rule 110, of the Revised Rules of Court specifically provides that "All criminal
actions either commenced by complaint or by information shall be prosecuted under the direction
and control of the fiscal." Interpreting this provision, this Court held in the case of People vs.
Liggayu, et al., 6 that
... If the fiscal must have control of the prosecution of a criminal case, he must have
the ultimate power to decide which as between two conflicting testimonies should be
believed, otherwise said control would be subject to interference or dictation from the
offended party. (Emphasis supplied)
In view hereof, the first error assigned can not be sustained.

As regards the second assignment of error, that private respondents should be held in estoppel to
file countercharges against petitioner, it has been stated that "the doctrine of estoppel does not ...
apply as against the people in criminal prosecutions." 7 Attempted murder is a public offense, wherein it
is the social and public interest that demand the punishment of the offender, hence, criminal actions for
public offenses can not be waived or condoned, much less barred by the rules of estoppel.
Lastly, on the question of whether Criminal Case No. 50-B can be jointly reinvestigated together with
the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 3607 and 3607-A, We see no basic objection thereto.
Republic Act No. 5180, effective 8 September 1967, prescribing a uniform system of investigation by
provincial fiscals and their assistants, expressly grants to said officers the ought to conduct a
preliminary investigation of offenses cable by the Court of First Instance. The attempted murders
charged in I.S. Nos. 3607 and 3607-A are also cognizable by the Bulacan CFI and arose out of the
same incident which occurred in San Rafael, Bulacan. Since respondent fiscals can reinvestigate
Criminal Case No. 5O-B, there is no reason why the same can not be heard by the Fiscal jointly with
the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 3607 and 3607-A. The joint hearing will save the time of the
fiscal, of the parties and of their witnesses.
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the decision appealed from is affirmed. No special
pronouncement as to costs.

EN BANC
G.R. No. L-8224

October 31, 1955

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff,


vs.
BENJAMIN LIGGAYU, ET AL., defendants.
ROY FRANCO, defendant-appellee,
LEONCIO DYOGI, ET AL., complainants-appellants.
Ramon C. Aquino for appellants.
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and
Assistant Solicitor Ramon L. Avancea for plaintiff.
LABRADOR, J.:
This is an appeal by the offended parties from an order of dismissal of the case as against one of the
accused, Roy Franco.

The record discloses that the first complaint filed by a member of the police force in the Justice of
the Peace Court of Caloocan, Rizal charged Benjamin Liggayu y Sion with homicide through
reckless imprudence for having run over and caused the death of one Teresita Young de Dyogi. Two
weeks after the presentation of this complaint Leoncio Dyogi, husband of the deceased, and his nine
children filed another complaint charging not only Liggayu but also Roy Franco. The inclusion of Roy
Franco as an accused was supported by the allegation that after the car driven by Liggayu had run
over Teresita Young, Liggayu stopped the car and ordered his co-accused Franco to drive it forward,
and Franco did it so in such a negligent manner that the other wheel of the car hit Teresita Young
and aggravated her injuries. The justice of the peace of Caloocan, after a preliminary investigation,
remanded the case to the Court of First Instance for further proceedings. When the case reached
the Court of First Instance, the fiscal filed a motion to dismiss the case as against the accused Roy
Franco. The motion is worded as follows:
On investigation of this case preparatory to the filing of the information, the undersigned
believes that the accused Roy Franco has no criminal responsibility in the death of Teresita
Young de Dyogi. The accused Benjamin Liggayu y Sion admitted being solely responsible for
the incident and the undersigned believes he is. It appears from the evidence that at the time
the deceased was run over the accused Benjamin Liggayu was on the wheel.
The court granted the motion and dismissed the case as against Roy Franco and the bond filed by
him for his provisional release was cancelled. At the same time that the motion for dismissal was
filed, the fiscal filed an information accusing Benjamin Liggayu alone. The offended parties, husband
and children of the deceased, have appealed against the order of dismissal, alleging (1) that they
were not notified of the hearing conduced by the provincial fiscal or of the motion for dismissal, and
(2) that the court erred in not holding that a prima facie case exists against Roy Franco, and in
dismissing the case against him.
The argument supporting the first alleged error assigned by the appellant is based on the cases
of Gonzales vs. Court of First Instance of Bulacan, 63 Phil., 846 and People vs. Bataller, 66 Phil.,
442, to the effect that an offended party has the right to be heard at all stages of the case and can
appeal from any decision denying that right. The basis of the right is section 107 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, which provides:
SEC. 10. The privileges now secured by law to the person claiming to be injured by the
commission of an offense to take part in the prosecution of the offense and to recover
damages for the injury sustained by reason of the same shall not be held to be abridged by
the provisions of this order; but such person may appear and shall be heard either
individually or by attorney at all stages of the case, and the court upon conviction of the
accused may enter judgment against him for the damages occasioned by his wrongful act. It
shall, however, be the duty of the promotor fiscal to direct the prosecution, subject to the
right of the person injured to appeal from any decision of the court denying him a legal right.
The above provision is not carried in the revised Rules of Court. On the other hand, the new Rules
contain the following provisions:

SEC. 4. Who must prosecute criminal actions. All criminal actions either commenced by
complaint or by information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal.
(Rule 106)
SEC. 15. Intervention of the offended party in criminal action. Unless the offended party
has waived the civil action or expressly reserved the right to institute it after the termination
of the criminal case, and subject to the provisions of section 4 hereof, he may intervene,
personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the offense. (Id.)
There is no room for doubt that while General Orders No. 58 was in force, it was the right of the
offended party to be notified of the proceedings, including those on a motion of dismissal as to one
of the accused. To this effect are decisions of this Court in cases brought before the new Rules took
effect, like the case of People vs. Bataller, supra.
The situation seems to have been changed, however, because of the clear change in the law. The
right to appeal from an order of dismissal granted by the court on motion of the fiscal may now be
challenged under the theory that the right of an offended party to intervene is subject to the
fiscal's right of control. To permit an offended party to appeal from an order dismissing a criminal
case upon petition of the fiscal would be tantamount to giving said party as much right to the
direction and control of a criminal proceeding as that of the fiscal. Granting that the right of appeal is
recognized under the old law (Sec 107, Gen. Orders No. 58), it would seem that under the new law,
especially section 4 of Rule 106 which provides that the prosecution shall be "under the direction
and control of the fiscal," without the limitation imposed by section 107 of General Orders No. 58
subjecting the direction of the prosecution to the right "of the person injured to appeal from any
decision of the court denying him a legal right," said right to appeal by an offended party; from an
order of dismissal should no longer be recognized in the offended party. Under General Orders No.
58, the fiscal was merely to direct the prosecution and this direction is subject to the right of the
offended party; under the new Rules of Court, the fiscal has the direction and control of the
prosecution, without being subject to the right of intervention on the part of the offended party. Even
under the old Code of Criminal Procedure (Gen. Orders No. 58) this Court has held that if the
criminal action is dismissed by the court on motion of the provincial fiscal upon the ground of
insufficiency of the evidence, the offended party has no right to appeal, his remedy being a separate
civil action if the proper reservation is made therefor. (People vs.Joaquin Lipana, 72 Phil., 166.) To
the same effect is the case of People vs. Florendo, 73 Phil., 679, decided under the new Rules of
Court, wherein we said:
It is thus evident, in the light of the history of the enactment of section 107 of General Orders
No. 58, as reflected in the observations of one of its framers and the explanatory decisions of
this Court, that the offended party may, as of right, intervene in the prosecution of a criminal
action, but then only when, from the nature of the offense, he is entitled to indemnity and his
action therefor has not by him been waived or expressly reserved. This is the rule we have
now embodied in section 15 of Rule 106 of the new Rules of Court, elsewhere quoted. But,
as expressly provided in this same section, this right of intervention in appropriate cases is
subject to the provision of section 4 of the same Rule which reads as follows:

"All criminal actions either commenced by complaint or information shall be prosecuted


under the direction and control of the fiscal."
As a necessary corollary to this provision, we laid down the principle that even if the offense
is one where civil indemnity might rightly be claimed, if the criminal action is dismissed by the
court, on motion of the fiscal, on the ground of insufficiency of the evidence, the offended
party cannot appeal from the order of dismissal because otherwise the prosecution of the
offense would, in the last analysis, be thrown beyond the direction and control of the fiscal.
(Gonzales vs. Court of First Instance of
Bulacan, supra; People vs. Orais, supra;People vs. Moll, 40 Off. Gaz., 2d Supp., p. 231;
People vs. Lipana, 40 Off. Gaz., 3456.) In the cases cited, statements were, however, made
by this Court importing a grant of right to the offended party appeal upon a question of law.
We reaffirm these statements as a correct qualification of the rule, it being understood,
however, that such right to appeal upon a question of law presupposes the existence of a
rightful claim to civil indemnity and the offended party has neither waived nor reserved
expressly his action therefor.
In a post-liberation case decided by us, with the concurrence of three of the present members of the
Court, Justices Paras, Bengzon and Padilla and that of Chief Justice Moran, Justice Feria held:
Besides, even if the offended party has not instituted a separate civil action nor reversed his
right to do so, and has intervened in the prosecution of the criminal action, as his intervention
is subject to the direction and control of the fiscal, that is, the provincial fiscal or the Solicitor
General, the latter in the exercise of his authority to control the prosecution has the right to
move for the dismissal of the appeal interposed by the offended party, if such dismissal
would not affect the right of the offended party to civil indemnity. And in the present case the
dismissal of the information or the criminal action does not affect the right of the offended
party to institute or continue the civil action already instituted arising from the offense,
because such dismissal or extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction
of the civil one under section 1 (d), Rule 107, Rules of Court, . . .. (People vs. Veles, 77 Phil.,
1026, 1028.)
Although the abovementioned portion of the decision seems to be only an additional ground for the
judgment, not the ratio decidendi and, therefore, merely an obiter, it reflects the opinion that from the
adoption of section 4 of Rule 106, granting the fiscal "the direction and control of prosecution," the
right to appeal from an order of dismissal based on the motion of the fiscal, should be denied to the
offended party, because such right of appeal will curtail or limit the control that the fiscal exercises
over the prosecution of a criminal case, which control is now free from the old limitation contained in
section 107 of General Orders No. 58.
Let us now apply the principles adopted in the various decision cited above. The reason stated in the
motion for dismissal is that the fiscal was satisfied from the statement of the accused Benjamin
Liggayu that the latter alone was responsible for the crime. There may have been statements
contained in the affidavits of witnesses presented at the preliminary investigation to the effect that
accused Roy Franco was responsible in part for the offense in that he supposedly was asked by
Liggayu to drive the car after it had already run and passed over the body of the deceased.

Evidently, the fiscal refused to believe these statements and preferred to believe the frank
confession of Liggayu that it was he alone who drove the car. If the fiscal must have control of the
prosecution of a criminal case, he must have the ultimate power to decide which as between two
conflicting testimonies should be believed, otherwise said control would be subject to interference or
dictation from the offended party.
However, appellants' objection is not directed against the unreasonableness of the fiscal's decision
or opinion on the evidence, but against the supposed absence of notice to the offended party of the
motion for dismissal, a technical unsubstantial objection. As the fiscal made an actual investigation
and, thereafter, decided that there was no sufficient evidence against Roy Franco, notification of his
motion to dismiss to the offended party would have served no purpose and would be mere idle
ceremony, as the fiscal is supposed to have direct control. The decision of the fiscal that the
evidence against the other accused is insufficient is not appealable, under the doctrines pointed out
in the cases of People vs. Lipana and People vs. Florendo, supra, as inconsistent with the fiscal's
control of the criminal action.
The appeal is hereby dismissed, with costs against the appellants. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-83809 June 22, 1989


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
SAID SARIOL Y MUHAMADING, accused-appellant.
The Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Citizens Legal Assistance Office for accused-appellant.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


Said Sariol y Muhamading was charged with violation of Section 4, Article 11 of R.A. 6425 or the
Dangerous Drugs Act in an Information which alleged:
That on or about the 5th day of September, 1987, in the Municipality of San Juan,
Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, without having been authorized by law, did, then and there
willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously sell, deliver and give away to another 4.37 grams
of dried marijuana fruiting tops placed in a plastic bag contained in two (2) sealed
small plastic bags, a prohibited drug, in violation of the above-cited law. (Rollo, p. 7)

Upon arraignment on September 17, 1987, the accused pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.
Trial proceeded and the accused was convicted as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby sentences the accused, SAID SARIOL Y
MUHAMADING to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with all accessory
penalties, to pay a fine of P 20,000.00 and to pay the costs.
In the service of his sentence, the accused shall be credited in full with the period of
his preventive imprisonment.
The two (2) sealed small plastic bags containing 4.37 grams of dried marijuana
fruiting tops, subject of the offense charged, are hereby ordered turned over to the
Dangerous Drugs Board Custodian, NBI, to be disposed of according to law. (Rollo,
pp. 23-24)
The case is now before us on appeal. The accused-appellant specifically assigns the following as
errors committed by the trial court:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE HIGHLY
IMPROBABLE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES AND IN DISREGARDING
THE EVIDENCE FOR THE DEFENSE.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE OFFENSE OF
VIOLATION OF SECTION 4, ARTICLE II OF REPUBLIC ACT 6425, AS AMENDED, CONSIDERING
THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
(Rollo, p. 41)
The trial court summarized the factual scenario of the case in the following manner:
... On September 5, 1987, at about 2:00 p.m., a confidential informant came to the
office of the Narcotics Investigation Unit in Camp Crame, Quezon City and informed
Cpt. Benjamin de los Santos, the Commanding Officer, that a certain person with
alias 'Muslim' was engaged in the illegal trading of marijuana in the vicinity located at
Road 7, First West, Camp Crame, San Juan, Metro Manila. Upon receipt of said
information, Cpt. de los Santos organized a team composed of T/Sgt. Roberto
Angeles as team leader, Sgt. Ellecer Tuyay, Sgt. Elmer Feliciano, Pat. Pedro Tan and
Pat. Ronnie Campita, all NARCOM agents, and dispatched said team in the mission
area in order to conduct a 'buy bust' operation to apprehend the suspect who is the
herein accused. The group, all clad in civilian clothes, arrived at the place of
operation at around 2:45 p.m. of the same date. T/Sgt. Angeles designated at once
Pat. Campita to act as 'poseur-buyer'. He was furnished by Sgt. Tuyay with two (2)
five-peso bills previously marked with Serial Nos. FF 183869 and DD 445654 (Exhibit
'l') with which to buy marijuana from the accused alias 'Muslim'. At 3:00 p.m., Pat.
Campita and the confidential informant chanced upon the accused near Jennie's
Bakery along said area. They approached the accused and the informant introduced
Pat. Campita as a prospective buyer of marijuana. The accused left awhile and came

back shortly with one (1) small transparent plastic bag containing marijuana dried
leaves which he delivered to Pat. Campita. The latter in turn handed the 'buy-bust'
money (two (2) five-peso bills) to the accused. At this point, Pat. Campita made a
pre-arranged signal to his other teammates nearby who immediately rushed in and
placed the accused under arrest. Recovered from the accused after he consented to
a body search were the buy-bust 'money of two (2) five- peso bills and another small
transparent bag containing marijuana dried leaves, the latter being voluntarily
brought out by the accused after rigid interrogation.
The accused, together with the evidences confiscated from him, was brought to the
Office of the Narcotics Investigation Unit, NARCOM, Camp Crame, Quezon City and
there subjected to questioning. Upon showing an identification card, accused
revealed his name as SAID SARIOL Y MUHAMADING alias 'Muslim'. After the
accused was informed about the nature of the charges against him and about his
constitutional rights, accused verbally admitted that he was engaged in marijuana
trade as a means of livelihood but refused to reduce in writing his verbal admission.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Elmer Feliciano prepared the Booking Sheet and Arrest Report
(Exhibit 'C'), a receipt of the property seized (Exhibit 'A') and a Statement regarding
the constitutional rights of the accused (Exhibit 'D'), all of which were signed by the
accused. On the other hand, Patrolmen Campita and Tan executed a Joint Affidavit
dated September, 1987 (Exhibit 'J') concerning the surrounding circumstances for the
apprehension and arrest of the accused.
The two (2) small transparent bags containing suspected marijuana dried leaves
were submitted to the PC Crime Laboratory for examination upon request of P/Sgt.
Francisco Yraola through a letter-request dated September 5, 1987 (Exhibit 'F').
Witness Cpt. Nelly Cariaga, a Forensic Chemist of the PC Crime Laboratory,
conducted microscopic and chemical examinations on the said specimens and
submitted Chemistry Report No. D-899-87 (Exhibit 'H') where she categorically
stated therein that the subject specimens were positive for marijuana.
Upon the other hand, the defense of the accused consisted of a denial that he had
sold the dried marijuana leaves to the NARCOM agent. He related his version of the
incident as follows: On September 5, 1987 at about 3:00 p.m., he went to a bakery
along Road 7, First West, Camp Crame, Quezon City since he was asked by his
guardian to buy bread for merienda. After buying bread and while on his way home,
two (2) persons approached him and told him that he was selling marijuana.
Immediately, they held him (accused) and brought him to their service vehicle. While
inside the vehicle, he was frisked and was surprised that marijuana was found in his
pocket which he knew very well at that time that it (sic) contained no marijuana.
Thereafter, accused was brought to the office of the NARCOM agents in Camp
Crame where he was allegedly mauled, boxed and forced to admit that he was
selling marijuana. Since he refused to sign his admission in writing, he was brought
to a detention cell and was detained for ten (10) days. Subsequently, he was brought
to the Rizal Provincial Jail where he was detained up to the present.

On cross-examination, accused admitted having signed a receipt for the marijuana


and the marked money seized from him and also the Booking Sheet and Arrest
Report. He contended that the officers testified against him because they were able
to apprehend somebody who pointed to him as the one selling marijuana. He further
averred that although he was maltreated by the NARCOM agents, he nevertheless
did not file a complaint against them for fear of reprisal. (pp. 16-19, Rollo).
The issue raised in this appeal is whether or not the trial court erred in convicting the accused of the
crime charged.
The answer is in the negative as we find no reason to reverse the trial court's findings which resulted
in a judgment of conviction. The appellant has failed to show that the trial court committed an error in
convicting the accused considering that the testimonial as well as documentary evidence pointing to
the guilt of the accused- appellant has not been overcome or shown to be unreliable.
First, the accused-appellant was caught in flagrante delicto. He was apprehended and positively
identified by the prosecution witnesses while peddling marijuana stuff to one of the Narcom agents.
The circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime have been clearly and adequately
testified to by the prosecution witnesses who were the very police officers conducting the buy-bust
operation. Their testimonies were corroborated by the testimony of Forensic Chemist Nelly Cariaga
as well as by documentary evidence such as the receipt for marijuana, the marked money, and the
Booking Sheet and Arrest Report.
The main defense of the accused is denial. The appellant's bare denial cannot, however, prevail over
his positive identification by prosecution witnesses as actually engaged in the sale of the contraband
item. As held in several rulings of this Court, the unconvincing and bare denial of the accused that he
had not Committed the crime is not sufficient to overcome the positive testimonies of prosecution
witnesses (See People v. Pasco, Jr., 137 SCRA 137 [1985] and People v. Tuscano, 137 SCRA 203
[1985]). Such denials constitute self-serving negative evidence which cannot be accorded greater
evidentiary weight than the declarations of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters
(People v. Alcantara, G.R. No. 74737, July 29, 1988).
Aside from denying the charges, the appellant claims that he was set up, mauled, boxed and forced
to admit by the police officers who interrogated him. As aptly stated by the trial court, the accusedappellant's allegation of maltreatment is inconsequential for guilt or innocence considering that no
extrajudicial confession was extracted from him. His conviction was based on other evidence.
The appellant explains that the reason the officers testified against him is because his arrest was a
mere off-shoot of the apprehension of somebody else who pointed to him as the one selling
marijuana. He did not, however, present further evidence to corroborate this rather implausible
theory. Moreover, if it were true that the appellant suffered physical injuries he should have filed a
complaint for maltreatment. He excuses himself by explaining that he did not do so for fear of
reprisal. There is no need to go into this issue as the conviction is not based on any admission or
confession but on more reliable proof than that which comes from the accused's declarations
himself.

A careful consideration of the records shows that the prosecution evidence substantially and
convincingly proves the commission of the crime and the arrest of the accused.
The Narcom agents who conducted the buy-bust operation did not know the accused-appellant.
Their apprehension of the accused came about only as a result of the information given them by the
confidential informer. There is not the slightest showing of an evil or bad motive on their part. We see
no valid obstacle to the application of the ruling in People v. Capulong, (160 SCRA 533 [1988]) that
credence is accorded to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses who are law enforcers for it is
presumed that they have regularly performed their duty in the absence of convincing proof to the
contrary. The appellant has not shown that the prosecution witnesses were motivated by any
improper motive other than that of accomplishing their mission.
The accused-appellant likewise questions the non-presentation of the confidential informer. The
matter of presentation of its witnesses by the prosecution is not for the accused or, except in a
limited sense, for the trial court to control. Discretion belongs to the city or provincial fiscal as to how
the prosecution should present its case. He has the right to choose whom he should present as
witnesses. (People v. Campana, 124 SCRA 271 [1983]). Moreover, if the defense believes that there
are other witnesses who could have exculpated the accused, it should have called for them even by
compulsory process. (People v. Boholst, 152 SCRA 263 [1987])
It is evident that the appellant knew what he was going through during the custodial investigation
because he signed Exhibits A (Receipt of Property Seized), C (Booking and Arrest Report), and D
(Statement that accused was informed of his rights) and, at the same time, refused to have his
alleged verbal admission put into writing, aware that it could be unfavorable to him.
The appellant however, claims that the above documents were signed by him during custodial
investigation without the assistance of counsel and after being mauled. These documents, however,
are not evidence of guilt insofar as the crime charged is concerned. They refer to procedures which
are followed after an arrest is effected but are not material in determining the innocence or guilt of
the accused.
Said Sariol further argues that it is improbable that he would ply his illegal trade in broad daylight,
publicly, and not far from Camp Crame and for a measly sum of P 10.00. Obviously, what the
accused is trying to point out is that if the sale of marijuana was his only means of livelihood, he
would not risk discovery. This is a standard defense which under the circumstances of this and
similar cases has not been accorded much credence. Not a few drug trafficking cases brought
before the Supreme Court involved measly amounts of P l0, P 20, etc. and most of the accused were
found to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The amount involved has not proved material to the
existence of the trade considering the brisk turn over of profits and the fact that the volume of trade
varies from transaction to transaction.
In view of the above, we find no ground in this appeal to alter the trial court's findings and
appreciation of the evidence presented (People v. Claudia, 160 SCRA 646 [1988]). The trial court's
ruling on the credibility of prosecution witnesses is sustained. Imputation of improper motives on the
part of the witnesses has not been proved (People v. Panuelos, 136 SCRA 501 [1985]).

WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED.


SO ORDERED.

[G.R. Nos. 140576-99. December 13, 2004]

JOSE
S.
RAMISCAL,
JR., petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE
SANDIGANBAYAN (Fourth Division), ALBANO & ASSOCIATES
and the ASSOCIATION OF GENERALS & FLAG OFFICERS,
INC., respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised


Rules of Court, of the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan, dated June 9, 1999 in
Criminal Cases Nos. 25122 to 25145, and its Resolution dated October 22,
1999, denying the motion for reconsideration thereof.
The Antecedents
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefits
System (AFP-RSBS) was established in December 1973 and started its actual
operations in 1976. Created under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 361, as
amended, the AFP-RSBS was designed to establish a separate fund to
guarantee continuous financial support to the AFP military retirement system
as provided for in Republic Act No. 340. Under the decree, the AFP-RSBS
was to be funded from three principal sources: (a) congressional
appropriations and compulsory contributions from members of the AFP; (2)
donations, gifts, legacies, bequests and others to the system; and (3) all
earnings of the system which shall not be subject to any tax whatsoever.
AFP-RSBS is a government-owned or controlled corporation (GOCC) under
Rep. Act No. 9182, otherwise known as The Special Purpose Vehicle Act of
2002. It is administered by the Chief of Staff of the AFP through a Board of
Trustees and Management Group. Its funds are in the nature of public funds.
[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

On December 18, 1997, Luwalhati R. Antonino, then a member of the


House of Representatives representing the First District of the Province of
South Cotabato, filed a Complaint-Affidavit with the Office of the Ombudsman
for Mindanao. She alleged that anomalous real estate transactions involving
the Magsaysay Park at General Santos City and questionable payments of
transfer taxes prejudicial to the government had been entertained into
between certain parties. She then requested the Ombudsman to investigate
the petitioner, Retired Brig. Gen. Jose S. Ramiscal, Jr., then President of the
AFP-RSBS, together with twenty-seven (27) other persons for conspiracy in
misappropriating AFP-RSBS funds and in defrauding the government millions
of pesos in capital gains and documentary stamp taxes.
[5]

[6]

[7]

[8]

On January 28, 1999, after the requisite preliminary investigation, Special


Prosecutor Joy C. Rubillar-Arao filed twenty-four (24) separate Informations
with the Sandiganbayan against the petitioner and several other accused. The
filing of the Informations was duly approved by then Ombudsman Aniano A.
Desierto. The first twelve (12) Informations were for violation of Section 3(e) of
Rep. Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 25122 to 25133. All were similarly
worded, except for the names of the other accused, the dates of the
commission of the offense, and the property involved. Representative of the
said Informations is that filed in Criminal Case No. 25122, the inculpatory
portion of which reads:
[9]

That sometime on September 24, 1997, and prior, or subsequent thereto, in General
Santos City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused
JOSE RAMISCAL, JR., a high ranking public official being then the President, and
WILFREDO PABALAN, a low ranking public officer being the Project Director, both
of the AFP-RSBS, while in the performance of their official duties, taking advantage
of their official positions and committing the offense in relation to their offices,
conspiring together and confederating with NILO FLAVIANO and ALEX
GUAYBAR, both private individuals, did, there and then, willfully, unlawfully and
criminally execute and/or cause the execution of a falsified Deed of Sale covering
Lot-X-4, a real property located at General Santos City, by making it appear therein
that the purchase price of the said lot is only TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED
NINETY-SEVEN THOUSAND (P2,997,000.00) PESOS at P3,000.00 per square

meter, when in truth and in fact, as all the accused very well knew and, in fact, agreed,
that the same was sold for P10,500.00 per square meter or a total of TEN MILLION
FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-NINE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
(P10,489,500.00) PESOS, and use the said falsified Deed of Sale as basis for payment
of capital gains and documentary stamp taxes relative to the sale of the subject lot in
the amount of onlyP299,700.00 and P89,910.00, respectively, when the capital gains,
and documentary stamp and other taxes should have been P524,475.00
and P157,342.50, respectively, thereby short-changing and causing undue injury to the
government through evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the total amount of
TWO HUNDRED NINETY-TWO THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED SEVEN and
50/100 PESOS (P292,207.50), more or less.
CONTRARY TO LAW.

[10]

On the other hand, twelve (12) other separate Informations indicted the
accused for Falsification of Public Documents, defined and penalized under
paragraph 4, Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, docketed therein as
Criminal Cases Nos. 25134 to 25145. Save with respect to the names of the
other accused, the dates of the commission of the felonies, and the property
involved in each case, the Informations were, likewise, similarly worded,
representative of which is that in Criminal Case No. 25134. The accusatory
portion reads:
[11]

That on or about September 24, 1997, and sometime prior, or subsequent thereto, in
General Santos City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
accused JOSE RAMISCAL, JR., a high-ranking public official being then the
President, and WILFREDO PABALAN, a low-ranking public officer being the
Project Director, both of the AFP-RSBS, while in the performance of their duties,
taking advantage of their official positions and committing the offense in relation to
their offices, conspiring and confederating with each other and with accused NILO
FLAVIANO and JACK GUIWAN, both private individuals, acting with unfaithfulness
and with malicious intent, did, there and then, willfully, unlawfully and criminally
falsify a public document by executing and/or causing to be executed a Deed of Sale
for a 999-sq. m. property particularly identified as Lot-X-5 located at General Santos
City and stating therein a purchase price of only P3,000.00 per square meter or a total
of TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED NINETY-SEVEN THOUSAND
(P2,997,000.00) PESOS when in truth and in fact, as all the accused very well knew

and, in fact, agreed, the purchase price of said lot is P10,500.00 per square meter or a
total of TEN MILLION FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-NINE THOUSAND FIVE
HUNDRED (P10,489,500.00) PESOS, thereby perverting the truth.
CONTRARY TO LAW.

[12]

On February 2, 1999, the petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Dismiss the


Informations and to Defer the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest, alleging want of
jurisdiction. He, likewise, filed an Urgent Manifestation and Motion to
Suspend Proceedings on February 16, 1999, because of the pendency of his
motion for reinvestigation with the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the
Special Prosecutor opposed the said motions.
[13]

[14]

[15]

Meanwhile, pending resolution of the aforementioned motions, the law firm


of Albano & Associates filed a Notice of Appearance as private prosecutors
in all the aforementioned cases for the Association of Generals and Flag
Officers, Inc. (AGFOI) on March 9, 1999. The notice of appearance was
apparently made conformably to the letter-request of Retired Commodore
Ismael Aparri and Retired Brig. Gen. Pedro Navarro, who are members
thereof.
[16]

[17]

In a Resolution dated April 5, 1999, the Sandiganbayan denied the earlier


motions filed by the petitioner for lack of merit. Consequently, a warrant of
arrest against him was issued. He posted a cash bail bond for his provisional
liberty.
[18]

[19]

[20]

On April 6, 1999, the petitioner opposed the appearance of the law firm of
Albano & Associates as private prosecutors, contending that the charges
brought against him were purely public crimes which did not involve damage
or injury to any private party; thus, no civil liability had arisen. He argued that
under Section 16 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, an offended party may
be allowed to intervene through a special prosecutor only in those cases
where there is civil liability arising from the criminal offense charged. He
maintained that if the prosecution were to be allowed to prove damages, the
prosecution would thereby be proving another crime, in violation of his
constitutional right to be informed of the nature of the charge against him.
[21]

[22]

In its comment, the law firm contended that its clients, Commodore Aparri
and Brig. Gen. Navarro, were members of the AGFOI and contributors of AFPRSBS. It alleged that as such members-contributors, they have been
disadvantaged or deprived of their lawful investments and residual interest at
the AFP-RSBS through the criminal acts of the petitioner and his cohorts. It
posited that its clients, not having waived the civil aspect of the cases
involved, have all the right to intervene pursuant to Section 16, Rule 110 of the
Rules of Court. Moreover, the law firm averred that its appearance was in
collaboration with the Office of the Ombudsman, and that their intervention in
any event, was subject to the direction and control of the Office of the Special
Prosecutor.
[23]

Replying to the comment, the petitioner refuted the allegation of AGFOI


that he had civil interest in the criminal cases involved. He posited that AGFOI
was neither a member nor a beneficiary of the AFP-RSBS. Moreover,
considering that it was funded partly by the national government and
individual soldiers by way of salary deductions, the AGFOI never contributed a
single centavo to the funds of the AFP-RSBS. He further averred that AGFOI,
as an organization, has a distinct personality of its own, apart from the
individual members who compose it. Hence, it is of no moment if some
members of AGFOI are or have been members and beneficiaries of the AFPRSBS.
[24]

Meanwhile, on June 6, 1999, the petitioner filed a Motion for


Reinvestigation with the Sandiganbayan, mentioning therein his unresolved
motion for reconsideration with the Office of the Ombudsman. He prayed that
the proceeding be suspended and his arraignment deferred pending the
resolution of the reinvestigation.
[25]

The Sandiganbayan granted the motion in its Order dated June 11, 1999.
The fallo of the said resolution reads:
WHEREFORE, the prosecution is given 60 days from today within which to elevate
its evidence and to do whatever is appropriate on the Motion for Reconsideration
dated February 12, 1999 and supplemental motion thereof dated May 28, 1999 of
accused Jose Ramiscal, Jr. and to inform this Court within the said period as to its
findings and recommendations together with the action thereon of the Ombudsman.

As prayed for in open court by Pros. Monteroso, this authority from the Court for the
prosecution to evaluate its evidence and take such appropriate action as regards
accused Ramiscals subject motion shall also include the case regarding all the
accused.
SO ORDERED.

[26]

In the meantime, in a Resolution dated June 9, 1999, the Sandiganbayan


made short shrift of the petitioners opposition and denied his plea for the
denial of the appearance of the law firm. In justifying its resolution, the
Sandiganbayan declared as follows:
[27]

[28]

Considering that the offended parties are members of the AFP-RSBS, as represented
by the two (2) flag officers, and their right may be affected by the action of the Court
resolving the criminal and civil aspects of the cases, there appears a strong legal
presumption that their appearance should not be disturbed. After all, their appearance
is subject to the direct supervision and control of the public prosecutor.
[29]

The petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the Sandiganbayans


Resolution of June 9, 1999, which was opposed by the prosecution. The
Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying the same on October 22, 1999.
[30]

[31]

[32]

The petitioner filed the instant petition under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil
Procedure, for the nullification of the June 9, 1999 and October 22, 1999
Resolutions of the graft court, and raised the following issues:
I

WHETHER OR NOT, BY NATURE, THE SUBJECT CRIMINAL INDICTMENTS


FOR VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 3(E), REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019 AND ARTICLE
172, IN RELATION TO ARTICLE 171, OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE GIVE
RISE TO CIVIL LIABILITY IN FAVOR OF ANY PRIVATE PARTY.
II

WHETHER OR NOT AGFOI AS REPRESENTED BY ALBANO & ASSOCIATES


ARE PRIVATE INJURED PARTIES ENTITLED TO INTERVENE AS THE
PRIVATE PROSECUTOR IN THE SUBJECT CASES.
[33]

In support of his petition, the petitioner reiterated the same arguments he


put forth before the Sandiganbayan.
The Special Prosecutor, for his part, avers that the remedy resorted to by
the petitioner under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure was improper
since the assailed Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan are interlocutory in
nature and not final; hence, the remedy of the petitioner was to file a petition
for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. He also
argues that the petition is premature because the reinvestigation of the cases
had not yet been completed. On the merits of the petition, he posits that the
AGFOI is a member of the AFP-RSBS, and that its rights may be affected by
the outcome of the cases. He further alleged that the appearance of the
private prosecutor was subject to the direct supervision and control of the
public prosecutor.
The petitioner, however, asserts, by way of reply, that the assailed orders
of the Sandiganbayan are final orders; hence, his recourse under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Civil Procedure was proper.
The Ruling of the Court
The Assailed Resolutions
of the Sandiganbayan are
Interlocutory in Nature
The word interlocutory refers to something intervening between the
commencement and the end of a suit which decides some point or matter but
is not a final decision of the whole controversy. The Court distinguished a final
order or resolution from an interlocutory one in Investments, Inc. v. Court of
Appeals as follows:
[34]

A final judgment or order is one that finally disposes of a case, leaving nothing more
to be done by the Court in respect thereto, e.g., an adjudication on the merits which,
on the basis of the evidence presented at the trial, declares categorically what the
rights and obligations of the parties are and which party is in the right; or a judgment
or order that dismisses an action on the ground, for instance, of res adjudicata or

prescription. Once rendered, the task of the Court is ended, as far as deciding the
controversy or determining the rights and liabilities of the litigants is concerned.
Nothing more remains to be done by the Court except to await the parties next move
(which, among others, may consist of the filing of a motion for new trial or
reconsideration, or the taking of an appeal) and ultimately, of course, to cause the
execution of the judgment once it becomes final or, to use the established and more
distinctive term, final and executory.
[35]

Conversely, an order that does not finally disposes of the case, and does not end the
Courts task of adjudicating the parties contentions and determining their rights and
liabilities as regards each other, but obviously indicates that other things remain to be
done by the Court, is interlocutory, e.g., an order denying a motion to dismiss under
Rule 16 of the Rules, or granting a motion for extension of time to file a pleading, or
authorizing amendment thereof, or granting or denying applications for postponement,
or production or inspection of documents or things, etc. Unlike a final judgment or
order, which is appealable, as above pointed out, an interlocutory order may not be
questioned on appeal except only as part of an appeal that may eventually be taken
from the final judgment rendered in this case.
[36]

The rule is founded on considerations of orderly procedure, to forestall


useless appeals and avoid undue inconvenience to the appealing party by
having to assail orders as they are promulgated by the court, when all such
orders may be contested in a single appeal.
[37]

Under Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only final judgments,


orders or resolutions of the Court of Appeals or Sandiganbayan may be
assailed therein. The remedy is a mode of appeal on questions of law only.
[38]

In the present case, the Sandiganbayan merely resolved to allow the


appearance of the law firm of Albano & Associates as private prosecutors, on
its finding that the AGFOI, represented by Commodore Aparri and Brig. Gen.
Navarro who were, likewise, investors/members of the AFP-RSBS, is the
offended party whose rights may be affected by the prosecution of the criminal
and civil aspects of the cases and the outcome thereof. Furthermore, the
private prosecutor is subject to the direct supervision and control of the public
prosecutor. The Sandiganbayan did not dispose of the cases on their merits,
more specifically, the guilt or innocence of the petitioner or the civil liabilities

attendant to the commission of the crimes charged. Assuming that the


Ombudsman would maintain the finding of probable cause against the
petitioner after the reinvestigation of the cases, and, thereafter, the
Sandiganbayan would sustain the finding of probable cause against the
petitioner and issue warrants for his arrest, the graft court would then have to
proceed to trial, receive the evidence of the parties and render judgment on
the basis thereof. The petitioner would then have the following options: (a) to
proceed to trial, and, if convicted, file a petition for review under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court to this Court; or (b) to file a petition for certiorari, under Rule 65
of the Rules of Court, to nullify the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan on the
ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction
in issuing the said resolutions and decision.
Nevertheless, in the interest of substantial justice, we shall treat the
petition as one filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Dismissal of appeal
purely on technical grounds is frowned upon where the policy of the courts is
to encourage hearings of appeal on their merits. The rules of procedure ought
not to be applied in a very rigid technical sense, as they are used only to help
secure, not override substantial justice. If a technical and rigid enforcement of
the rules is made, their aim would be defeated. Consequently, in the interest
of justice, the instant petition for review may be treated as a special civil
action on certiorari. As we held in Salinas v. NLRC, a petition which should
have been brought under Rule 65 and not under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court, is not an inflexible rule. The strict application of procedural
technicalities should not hinder the speedy disposition of the case on the
merits.
[39]

[40]

[41]

Although there is no allegation in the petition at bar that the


Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess
or lack of jurisdiction, nonetheless, the petitioner made the following
averments: that the graft court arbitrarily declared the AGFOI to be the
offended party despite the plain language of the Informations and the nature
of the crimes charged; and that the graft court blatantly violated basic
procedural rules, thereby eschewing the speedy and orderly trial in the above
cases. He, likewise, averred that the Sandiganbayan had no authority to allow
the entry of a party, through a private prosecutor, which has no right to the civil

liabilities of the accused arising from the crimes charged, or where the
accused has no civil liabilities at all based on the nature of said crimes. The
petitioner also faulted the Sandiganbayan for rejecting his opposition thereto,
in gross violation of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Revised
Penal Code. Indeed, such allegations are sufficient to qualify the petition as
one under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. As we held inPeople v. Court of
Appeals:
[42]

The public respondent acts without jurisdiction if it does not have the legal power to
determine the case; there is excess of jurisdiction where the respondent, being clothed
with the power to determine the case, oversteps its authority as determined by law.
There is grave abuse of discretion where the public respondent acts in a capricious,
whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner in the exercise of its judgment as to be said to
be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
[43]

Besides, unless we resolve the present petition on its merits, other parties,
like the private respondents herein, may, likewise, enter their appearance as
offended parties and participate in criminal proceedings before the
Sandiganbayan.
The Appearance of
the Law Firm Albano
& Associates
The respondent law firm entered its appearance as private prosecutor for
AGFOI, purportedly upon the request of Commodore Aparri and Brig. Gen.
Navarro, quoted infra:
Atty. Antonio Albano
Practicing Lawyer
Albano-Irao Law Offices
Dear Atty. Albano:

We represent a number of Retired Generals and other Star Rank Officers who
rightfully claim to have been disadvantaged or deprived of our lawful investments and
residual interest at the Retirement Separation Benefit System, AFP because of alleged
plunder of the Systems Funds, Large Scale Estafa and Falsification of Public
Documents.
We are requesting that you appear in our behalf as private prosecutor of our case.
Thank you very much.
(Sgd.) COMMO. ISMAEL D. APARRI (RET)
(Sgd.) BGEN. PEDRO I. NAVARRO (RET)

[44]

As gleaned from the letter-request, the legal services of the respondent


law firm were not engaged by the AGFOI itself; it was Commodore Aparri and
Brig. Gen. Navarro who did so, for and in behalf of the other retired generals
and star rank officers claiming to have residual interests in or to be investors
of the AFP-RSBS, the vendee of the lots subject of the Informations against
the petitioner. Moreover, there is no showing in the records that the Board of
Directors of the AGFOI, authorized them to engage the services of the
respondent law firm to represent it as private prosecutor in the above cases.
Neither is there any resolution on record issued by the Board of Directors of
the AGFOI authorizing Commodore Aparri and Brig. Gen. Navarro to secure
the services of the respondent law firm to represent it as the private
prosecutor in said cases. If at all, the respondent law firm is the counsel of
Aparri and Navarro only.
The AGFOI and/or Commodore
Aparri and/or Brig. Gen.
Navarro Are Not the Offended
Parties in the Informations filed
Before the Sandiganbayan

The petitioner avers that the crimes charged are public offenses and, by
their very nature, do not give rise to criminal liabilities in favor of any private
party. He asserts that, as gleaned from the Informations in Criminal Cases
Nos. 25122 to 25133 for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, the
offended party is the government because based on the deeds of sale
executed in favor of the AFP-RSBS, as vendee, it was deprived of capital
gains and the documentary stamp taxes. He contends that the Informations in
Criminal Cases Nos. 25134 to 25145, for falsification of public document
under paragraph 4, Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, do not contain any
allegation that the AGFOI or any private party sustained any damage caused
by the said falsifications. The petitioner further argues that absent any civil
liability arising from the crimes charged in favor of AGFOI, the latter cannot be
considered the offended party entitled to participate in the proceedings before
the Sandiganbayan. According to the petitioner, this view conforms to Section
16, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reads:
SEC. 16. Intervention of the offended party in criminal action. Where the civil action
for recovery of civil liability is instituted in the criminal action pursuant to Rule 111,
the offended party may intervene by counsel in the prosecution of the offense.
The petitioner posits that the AGFOI is not a member, beneficiary or
contributor of the AFP-RSBS, and that even if it were so, it would not sustain a
direct and material damage by an adverse outcome of the cases. Allowing the
AGFOI to intervene would open the floodgates to any person similarly situated
to intervene in the proceedings and, thus, frustrate the speedy, efficient and
inexpensive disposition of the cases.
In his Comment, the Special Prosecutor avers that the AGFOI is entitled to
intervene in the proceedings in the Sandiganbayan because it is a member of
the AFP-RSBS, whose rights may be affected by the outcome of the cases.
The AGFOI and the respondent law firm contend that the latter has a right
to intervene, considering that such intervention would enable the members of
AGFOI to assert their rights to information and access to the official records,
documents, and papers, a right granted by no less than paragraph 7, Article IV
of the 1987 Constitution. Furthermore, the funds of the AFP-RSBS are
impressed with public character because the government provided for its

initial funds, augmented from time to time by the salary contributions of the
incumbent AFP soldiers and officers.
We agree with the contention of the petitioner that the AGFOI, and even
Commodore Aparri and Brig. Gen. Navarro, are not the offended parties
envisaged in Section 16, Rule 110, in relation to Section 1, Rule 111 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Under Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules, all criminal actions covered by a
complaint or information shall be prosecuted under the direct supervision and
control of the public prosecutor. Thus, even if the felonies or delictual acts of
the accused result in damage or injury to another, the civil action for the
recovery of civil liability based on the said criminal acts is impliedly
instituted and the offended party has not waived the civil action, reserved the
right to institute it separately or instituted the civil action prior to the criminal
action, the prosecution of the action inclusive of the civil action remains under
the control and supervision of the public prosecutor. The prosecution of
offenses is a public function. Under Section 16, Rule 110 of the Rules of
Criminal Procedure, the offended party may intervene in the criminal action
personally or by counsel, who will act as private prosecutor for the protection
of his interests and in the interest of the speedy and inexpensive
administration of justice. A separate action for the purpose would only prove to
be costly, burdensome and time-consuming for both parties and further delay
the final disposition of the case. The multiplicity of suits must be avoided.
With the implied institution of the civil action in the criminal action, the two
actions are merged into one composite proceeding, with the criminal action
predominating the civil. The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish
the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or
similar offense, to isolate him from society, reform and rehabilitate him or, in
general, to maintain social order.
[45]

[46]

[47]

[48]

[49]

On the other hand, the sole purpose of the civil action is for the resolution,
reparation or indemnification of the private offended party for the damage or
injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act of the accused.
Under Article 104 of the Revised Penal Code, the following are the civil
liabilities of the accused:
[50]

ART. 104. What is included in civil liability. The civil liability established in Articles
100, 101, 102 and 103 of this Code includes:
1. Restitution;
2. Reparation of the damage caused;
3. Indemnification for consequential damages.
Thus, when the offended party, through counsel, has asserted his right to
intervene in the proceedings, it is error to consider his appearance merely as
a matter of tolerance.
[51]

The offended party may be the State or any of its instrumentalities,


including local governments or government-owned or controlled corporations,
such as the AFP-RSBS, which, under substantive laws, are entitled to
restitution of their properties or funds, reparation, or indemnification. For
instance, in malversation of public funds or property under Article 217 of the
Revised Penal Code, frauds under Article 213 of the Revised Penal Code,
and violations of the Forestry Code of the Philippines, P.D. No. 705, as
amended, to mention a few, the government is the offended party entitled to
the civil liabilities of the accused. For violations of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No.
3019, any party, including the government, may be the offended party if such
party sustains undue injury caused by the delictual acts of the accused. In
such cases, the government is to be represented by the public prosecutor for
the recovery of the civil liability of the accused.
[52]

[53]

[54]

Under Section 16, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
the offended party may also be a private individual whose person, right,
house, liberty or property was actuallyor directly injured by the same
punishable act or omission of the accused, or that corporate entity which is
damaged or injured by the delictual acts complained of. Such party must be
one who has a legal right; a substantial interest in the subject matter of the
action as will entitle him to recourse under the substantive law, to recourse if
the evidence is sufficient or that he has the legal right to the demand and the
accused will be protected by the satisfaction of his civil liabilities. Such interest
must not be a mere expectancy, subordinate or inconsequential. The interest
[55]

of the party must be personal; and not one based on a desire to vindicate the
constitutional right of some third and unrelated party.
[56]

Hence, even if the members of AGFOI may also be members or


beneficiaries of the AFP-RSBS, the respondent AGFOI does not have a legal
right to intervene in the criminal cases merely and solely to enforce and/or
protect the constitutional right of such members to have access to the records
of AFP-RSBS. Neither are such members entitled to intervene therein simply
because the funds of the AFP-RSBS are public or government funds. It must
be stressed that any interest of the members of the AFP-RSBS over its funds
or property is merely inchoate and incidental. Such funds belong to the AFPRSBS which has a juridical personality separate and independent of its
members/beneficiaries.
As gleaned from the Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 25122 to 25133
for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, the offended party is the
government, which was allegedly deprived by the petitioner and the other
accused of the capital gains and documentary stamp taxes, based on the
actual and correct purchase price of the property stated therein in favor of the
AFP-RSBS. The AGFOI was not involved whatsoever in the sales subject of
the crimes charged; neither was it prejudiced by the said transactions, nor is it
entitled to the civil liability of the petitioner for said cases. Thus, it is not the
offended party in the said cases.
We agree with the petitioner that the AGFOI is not even the offended party
in Criminal Cases Nos. 25134 to 25145 for falsification of public documents
under paragraph 4, Sec. 1, Article 171, of the Revised Penal Code. It bears
stressing that in the felony of falsification of public document, the existence of
any prejudice caused to third person or the intent to cause damage, at the
very least, becomes immaterial. The controlling consideration is the public
character of a document and the violation of the public faith and the
destruction of truth therein solemnly proclaimed. The offender does not, in any
way, have civil liability to a third person.
[57]

However, if, in a deed of sale, the real property covered thereby is


underpriced by a public officer and his co-conspirators to conceal the correct
amount of capital gains and documentary stamp taxes due on the sale

causing undue injury to the government, the offenders thereby commit two
crimes (a) falsification of public document defined in paragraph 4, Article 171
of the Revised Penal Code; and (b) violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No.
3019, a special penal law. The offender incurs civil liability to the government
as the offended party for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, but
not for falsification of public document under paragraph 4, Article 171 of the
Revised Penal Code.
On the other hand, if, under the deed of sale, the AFP-RSBS was made
liable for the payment of the capital gains and documentary stamp taxes and,
thereafter, gave the correct amount thereof to the petitioner to be paid to the
government, and the petitioner and his co-accused pocketed the difference
between the correct amount of taxes and the amount entrusted for payment,
then the AFP-RSBS may be considered the offended party entitled to
intervene in the above criminal cases, through the Government Corporate
Counsel.
[58]

In fine, the AGFOI is not the offended party entitled to intervene in said
cases.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The
assailed Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

D. Freedom of Speech and of the Press


1. Libel
Jalandoni v. Drilon
327 SCRA 107
FACTS: Private respondents published a full-page advertisement in five major daily
newspapers. These ads contained allegations naming petitioner who was then a PCGG

Commissioner of having committed illegal and unauthorized acts. Petitioner filed a complaint
for the crime of libel.
HELD: In libel cases against public officials, for liability to arise, the alleged defamatory
statement must relate to official conduct, even if the defamatory statement is false, unless the
public official concerned proves that the statement was made with actual malice, that is, with
knowledge that it was false or not. Here, petitioner failed to prove actual malice on the part of
the private respondents. The statements embodied in the advertisement are covered by the
constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. This carries the right to criticize the action and
conduct of a public official.

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 115239-40. March 2, 2000]
MARIO C.V. JALANDONI, petitioner, vs. HON. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE
FRANKLYN M. DRILON, HONORABLE PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR OF
RIZAL, ROBERT COYIUTO, JR., JAIME LEDESMA, RAMON GARCIA,
ANTONIO OZAETA, AMPARO BARCELON and CARLOS
DYHONGPO, respondents.
DECISION
BUENA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari seeking to nullify and set aside the orders of the
Honorable Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon, to wit: DOJ Resolution No.
211 Series of 1994 dated March 15, 1994 and the letter-order dated April 20,
1994. DOJ Resolution No. 211 Series of 1994 instructed the Provincial
Prosecutor of Rizal to withdraw the informations in I.S. Nos. 93-6228 and 936422 while the letter-order denied the motion for reconsideration filed by
herein petitioner Mario C.V. Jalandoni. Miso
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
(a)......In I.S. No. 93-6228
On July 15, 1992, Jaime Ledesma, private respondent herein, filed an
administrative complaint for violation of the Revised Penal Code and the Anti-

Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against the petitioner with the Presidential
Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
On the two succeeding days, July 16 and July 17, 1992, news articles thereon
appeared in various daily newspapers.
[1]

A full-page paid advertisement was caused to be published on July 16, 1992


by private respondents Robert Coyiuto, Jr., Jaime Ledesma, Ramon Garcia,
Amparo Barcelon, Antonio Ozaeta, and Carlos Dyhongpo. The
advertisements were published in five (5) major daily newspapers, to wit: Manikx
1.......The Manila Chronicle
2.......Business World
3.......Malaya
4.......Philippine Daily Globe, and
5.......The Manila Times
Exactly a year thereafter or on July 16, 1993, petitioner Jalandoni filed a
complaint for the crime of libel before the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal
designated as I.S. No. 93-6228 against officials/directors of Oriental
Petroleum & Minerals Corporation (OPMC, for brevity), namely, Coyiuto, Jr.,
Ledesma, Garcia, Barcelon, Ozaeta, and Dyhongpo.
The publication in question was the July 16, 1992 full-page advertisements
simultaneously published in five major dailies. These advertisements
contained allegations naming herein petitioner who was then a PCGG
Commissioner of having committed illegal and unauthorized acts, and other
wrongdoings constituting graft and corruption, relative to the dacion en
pagofinancing arrangement entered into by Piedras Petroleum Co., Inc. with
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.
Quoted in full below is the said advertisement:
"My administration will prove that government is not avoidly
corrupt and that bureaucracy is not necessarily corrupt. Graft and
corruption, we will confront more with action than with words.

-- PRESIDENT FIDEL V. RAMOS, Inaugural Address, June 30,


1992
"AN URGENT APPEAL TO JUSTICE SECRETARY FRANKLIN
DRILON (and) PCGG CHAIRMAN MAGTANGGOL GUNIGUNDO
"Please stop the unauthorized and illegal acts of PCGG officials
led by former Chairman DAVID CASTRO and Commissioner
MARIO JALANDONI which will allow the attempt of hostile vested
interest groups to gain entry into the board of Oriental Petroleum
& Minerals Corporation.
"1. The PCGG openly defied Malacaang orders issued by former
Executive Secretary Franklin Drilon on the sale of Oriental
Petroleum shares.
"In spite of its claims that the disposal of OPMC shares held by
Piedras Petroleum was approved by the Office of the President,
documented proofs belie the PCGGs statements. Maniks
"No less than Justice Secretary Franklin Drilon, who was
Executive Secretary at the time PCGG Chairman David Castro
sought approval for the OPMC-Piedras Petroleum deal, thumbed
down Castros request. Clearly, the sale of OPMC shares held by
Piedras Petroleum to the RCBC-Yuchengco Group for P101
million was unauthorized and illegal.
"2. The PCGG officials involved in the unauthorized and illegal
sale of Oriental Petroleum shares committed grave abuse of
authority. Their acts defrauded government of better prices for
Oriental Petroleum shares which they undervalued and sold to
favored buyers Pacific Basin and RCBC, both identified with the
Yuchengco group.
"At the time the Piedras deal was closed the PCGG as evidenced
by the minutes of the Board Meeting of Piedras Petroleum on
October 31, 1991, with PCGG Commissioner Mario Jalandoni as
acting Chairman, the sale of 2.054 billion OPMC Class A shares
and 789.45 million B shares, OPMC shares were sold for the giveaway price of P0.035/share. This compares with prevailing market
price of P0.042 for A shares and P0.049 for the B shares. This

means that the RCBC-Yuchengco Group already earned P25


million at the time of the transaction.
"3. The PCGG proceeded without any legal authority to sell
Oriental Petroleum shares in total violation of the Public Bidding
Law and other government rules and regulations pertaining to the
disposal of government assets.
"The PCGG, particularly Commissioner Mario Jalandoni, should
be made to account for the PCGG-Piedras-RCBC transaction as it
was consummated without transparency, in violation of the Public
Bidding Law and without approval from the government.
"4. The PCGG last year illegally used Philcomsat cash dividends
to avail itself of an OPMC stock subscription to pay for the
subscription rights of JY Campos and Piedras Petroleum.
"Even before the PCGG transacted the questionable PiedrasRCBC deal, it was sued by a Philcomsat stockholder before the
Sandiganbayan for diverting P76 million in cash dividends. The
anti-graft court ordered the cash dividends deposited in an escrow
account in 1989. However, the funds were used by the PCGG to
pay for subscription rights for OPMC shares.
"This case is related to the Piedras deal because the additional
OPMC shares were part of those sold to the RCBC-Yuchengco
Group. Manikanx
"5. The PCGG diverted the proceeds on the authorized sale of
Oriental Petroleum shares in violation of the law requiring
proceeds of the sale of assets by the PCGG going to the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
"In addition to the litany of illegal transactions entered into by the
PCGG, the officials of the anti-graft body also violated provisions
of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, specifically
Section 63, which states that the following shall serve as source
of funding or appropriations for the implementation of the said law;
"b) All receipts from assets recovered and sales of ill-gotten
wealth recovered through the Presidential Commission on Good
Government."

"The Management & Board of Directors of Oriental Petroleum and


Minerals Corporation believe that the fruits of oil exploration and
development in the country must be shared by the largest
possible number of Filipinos. It urgently seeks the intervention of
the National Leadership to immediately step in and prevent a
large-scale take-over attempt on the Company by selfish and
hostile vested interest groups under highly-questionable,
unauthorized and illegal circumstances."
[2]

(b) In I.S. No. 93-6422


On July 22, 1993, petitioner filed a complaint for libel before the Provincial
Prosecutor of Rizal designated as I.S. No. 93-6422 against then OPMC
Chairman and President, private respondent Robert Coyiuto, Jr.
An open letter dated August 14, 1992 addressed to the stockholders of OPMC
is the subject of this case. Coyiuto, Jr., wrote it in his capacity as Chairman of
the Board and President of OPMC. The paragraph objected to is quoted
hereunder:
"Conclusion
"It has been suggested that this barrage of charges and press
releases against the Corporation, and myself, were really
intended to create a smokescreen to cover up the sweetheart deal
between Commissioner Mario Jalandoni of the Presidential
Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and Rizal
Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) to the prejudice of the
Government and/or that it is a part of a dubious proxy solicitation
strategy by these persons. It seems to me that there is more to
that transaction than meets the eye." Oldmiso
[3]

After the affidavits and counter-affidavits were filed, 3rd Assistant Prosecutor
Edgardo C. Bautista issued a Memorandum dated November 26, 1993 in I.S.
No. 93-6228, approved by Rizal Provincial Prosecutor Mauro M. Castro on
December 13, 1993, recommending the indictment of private respondents
Coyiuto, Jr., Ledesma, Garcia, Ozaeta, Barcelon and Dyhongpo in complicity
in the crime of libel. An information for the crime of libel docketed as Criminal
Case No. 93-10987 was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch
138.
[4]

A Memorandum in I.S. No. 93-6422 dated November 8, 1993 was issued by


3rd Assistant Prosecutor Bautista, approved by Rizal Provincial Prosecutor
Mauro M. Castro on December 13, 1993, recommending the indictment of
private respondent Coyiuto, Jr. An Information for libel docketed as Criminal
Case No. 93-10986 was filed thereafter with the Regional Trial Court of
Makati, Branch 137.
[5]

All of the respondents in the two aforementioned cases appealed to then


Secretary of Justice, Franklin M. Drilon.
[6]

On March 15, 1994, Secretary Drilon issued the questioned DOJ Resolution
No. 211, Series of 1994. The dispositive portion thereof reads as follows:
[7]

"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the questioned resolutions


are hereby SET ASIDE and the complaints DISMISSED. You are
hereby directed to immediately withdraw the informations filed in
court against respondents Robert Coyiuto, Jr., Jaime L. Ledesma,
Ramon Garcia, Amparo Barcelon, Antonio Ozaeta and Carlos
Dyhongpo. Report of action taken within ten (10) days from
receipt hereof is desired."
[8]

A motion for reconsideration was filed but the same was denied in a letterorder dated April 20, 1994.
[9]

[10]

Hence this petition.


The petition is without merit. Ncm
Section 4, Rule 112 of the New Rules on Criminal Procedure ruled that:
"Sec. 4. Duty of investigating fiscal. -- If the investigating fiscal
finds cause to hold the respondent for trial, he shall prepare the
resolution and corresponding information. He shall certify under
oath that he, or as shown by the record, an authorized officer, has
personally examined the complainant and his witnesses, that
there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been
committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof, that the
accused was informed of the complaint and of the evidence
submitted against him and that he was given an opportunity to
submit controverting evidence. Otherwise, he shall recommend
dismissal of the case.

"In either case, he shall forward the records of the case to the
provincial or city fiscal or chief state prosecutor within five (5) days
from his resolution. The latter shall take appropriate action
thereon within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, immediately
informing the parties of said action.
"No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an
investigating fiscal without the prior written authority or approval of
the provincial or city fiscal or chief state prosecutor.
"Where the investigating assistant fiscal recommends the
dismissal of the case but his findings are reversed by the
provincial or city fiscal or chief state prosecutor on the ground that
a probable cause exists, the latter may, by himself, file the
corresponding information against the respondent or direct any
other assistant fiscal or state prosecutor to do so, without
conducting another preliminary investigation.
"If upon petition by a proper party, the Secretary of Justice
reverses the resolution of the provincial or city fiscal or chief state
prosecutor, he shall direct the fiscal concerned to file the
corresponding information without conducting another preliminary
investigation or to dismiss or move for dismissal of the complaint
or information."
Section 1 (d) of P.D. No. 911 likewise empowers the Secretary of Justice,
where he finds that no prima facie case exists, to authorize and direct the
investigating fiscal concerned or any other fiscal or state prosecutor to cause
or move for the dismissal of the case, or, where he finds a prima facie case, to
cause the filing of an information in court against the respondent, based on
the same sworn statements of evidence submitted, without the necessity of
conducting another preliminary investigation. Ncmmis
"The power of supervision and control by the Minister of Justice over the
fiscals cannot be denied. As stated in Noblejas vs. Salas, 67 SCRA 47,
'Section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code defines the extent of a
department secretary's power. The power of control therein contemplated
"means the power (of the department head) to alter, modify or nullify or set
aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties
and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter." "The power
of control implies the right of the President (and, naturally, of his alter ego) to
interfere in the exercise of such discretion as may be vested by law in the

officers of the national government, as well as to act in lieu of such officers."'


For, while it is the duty of the fiscal to prosecute persons who, according to
evidence received from the complainant, are shown to be guilty of a crime, the
Minister of Justice is likewise bound by his oath of office to protect innocent
persons from groundless, false or serious prosecution. He would be
committing a serious dereliction of duty if he orders or sanctions the filing of
an information based upon a complaint where he is not convinced that the
evidence would warrant the filing of the action in court. As he has the power of
supervision and control over prosecuting officers, the Minister of Justice has
the ultimate power to decide which as between conflicting theories of the
complainant and the respondents should be believed."
[11]

It is a well-settled rule that the Secretary of Justice has the power to review
resolutions or decisions of provincial or city prosecutors or the Chief State
Prosecutor upon petition by a proper party. Under the Revised Administrative
Code, the secretary of justice exercises the power of direct control and
supervision over said prosecutors. He may thus affirm, nullify, reverse or
modify their rulings as he may deem fit.
Section 39, Chapter 8, Book IV in relation to Sections 5, 8, and 9, Chapter 2,
Title III of the Code gives the secretary of justice supervision and control over
the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor and the Provincial and City
Prosecution Offices. The scope of his power of supervision and control is
delineated in Section 38, paragraph 1, Chapter 7, Book IV of the Code:Scncm
"(1) Supervision and Control. -- Supervision and control shall
include authority to act directly whenever a specific function is
entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; direct the
performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review,
approve, reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate
officials or units; determine priorities in the execution of plans and
programs; and prescribe standards, guidelines, plans and
programs. Unless a different meaning is explicitly provided in the
specific law governing the relationship of particular agencies, the
word control shall encompass supervision and control as defined
in this paragraph."
In the case of Ledesma vs. Court of Appeals, it was held that:
[12]

"Supervision and control of a department head over his


subordinates have been defined in administrative law as follows:

"In administrative law, supervision means overseeing or the power


or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform
their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them, the former
may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them
perform such duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power
of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a
subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and
to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.
(Mondano vs. Silvosa, 97 Phil. 143, 148 (1955)
"Review as an act of supervision and control by the justice
secretary over the fiscals and prosecutors finds basis in the
doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies which holds that
mistakes, abuses or negligence committed in the initial steps of
an administrative activity or by an administrative agency should
be corrected by higher administrative authorities, and not directly
by courts. As a rule, only after administrative remedies are
exhausted may judicial recourse be allowed."
We have taken the liberty to review the "libelous" articles complained of. We
however do not find them to be such.
The questioned "conclusion" in the open letter addressed to the stockholders
of the OPMC merely stated the insinuations going on about the deal between
petitioner Jalandoni, in his capacity as PCGG Commissioner and RCBC and
the explanation for the press releases concerning the writer, respondent
Coyiuto, Jr. and the OPMC.
[13]

In the recent case of Vasquez vs. Court of Appeals, et. al., we ruled
that: Sdaamiso
[14]

"The question is whether from the fact that the statements were
defamatory, malice can be presumed so that it was incumbent
upon petitioner to overcome such presumption. Under Art. 361 of
the Revised Penal Code, if the defamatory statement is made
against a public official with respect to the discharge of is official
duties and functions and the truth of the allegation is shown, the
accused will be entitled to an acquittal even though he does not
prove that the imputation was published with good motives and for
justifiable ends."

Moreover, this Court has ruled in a plethora of cases that in libel cases
against public officials, for liability to arise, the alleged defamatory statement
must relate to official conduct, even if the defamatory statement is false,
unless the public official concerned proves that the statement was made with
actual malice, that is, with knowledge that it was false or not. Here petitioner
failed to prove actual malice on the part of the private respondents.
[15]

Nor are we of the opinion that the same was written to cast aspersion on the
good name of the petitioner. In our view, the paid advertisement merely
served as a vehicle to inform the stockholders of the going-ons in the
business world and only exposed the irregularities surrounding the PCGG and
RCBC deal and the parties involved.
[16]

The statements embodied in the advertisement and the open letter are
protected by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. This carries
the right to criticize the action and conduct of a public official. The extent of the
exercise of this right has been interpreted and defined in U.S. vs.
Bustos which held:
[17]

[18]

"The interest of society and the maintenance of good government


demand a full discussion of public affairs. Complete liberty to
comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of
free speech. The sharp incision of its probe relieves the
abscesses of officialdom. Men in public life may suffer under a
hostile and an unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged
with the balm of a clear conscience. A public officer must not be
too thin-skinned with reference to comment upon his official acts.
Only thus can the intelligence and dignity of the individual be
exalted. Of course, criticism does not authorize defamation.
Nevertheless, as the individual is less than the State, so must
expected criticism be born for the common good. Rising superior
to any official or set of officials, to the Chief Executive, to the
Legislature, to the Judiciary -- to any or all the agencies of
Government public opinion should be the constant source of
liberty and democracy." Sdaad
The extraordinary writ of certiorari is issued only when it is sufficiently shown
that "any tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial functions, has acted
without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion."
[19]

In the case of Building Care Corporation vs. National Labor Relations


Commission, it was held:
[20]

"The sole office of the writ of certiorari is the correction of errors of


jurisdiction including the commission of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction, and does not include correction
of public respondent's evaluation of the evidence and factual
findings based thereon."
Petitioner herein desires that we make a correction of the findings of the
Secretary of Justice. This we cannot do for we do not find it needing of any
correction.
A special civil action for certiorari will prosper only if a grave abuse of
discretion is manifested. And this is defined in the case of Republic vs.
Villarama, Jr. which held that for an abuse to be grave the power is exercised
in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility.
[21]

This petitioner failed to prove. Scsdaad


Moreover a petition for certiorari, in order to prosper, must be based on
jurisdictional grounds because, as long as the respondent acted with
jurisdiction, any error committed by him or it in the exercise thereof will
amount to nothing more than an error of judgment which may be reviewed or
corrected only by appeal. Even an abuse of discretion is not sufficient by itself
to justify the issuance of a writ of certiorari.
[22]

The petitioner failed to point out the specific instances where public
respondent had committed a grave abuse of discretion when the latter issued
the questioned orders. Failing this the petition for certiorari must fall.
Assuming arguendo that the extraordinary writ of certiorari must prosper, we
must point out to the petitioner the oft-cited ruling in the case of Crespo vs.
Mogul,
[23]

"Once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition


of the case such as its dismissal or its continuation rests on the
sound discretion of the court. Trial judges are thus required to
make their own assessment of whether the secretary of justice
committed grave abuse of discretion in granting or denying the
appeal, separately and independently of the prosecution's or the

secretary's evaluation that such evidence is insufficient or that no


probable cause to hold the accused for trial exists."
It is therefore imperative upon the trial judge to make an assessment of the
motion to withdraw before granting or denying the same for he is in the best
position to rule on the same.
Finally, we have to make the pronouncement that public respondent was not
remiss in his sworn duty to prosecute violators of the law and to keep the
innocent from behind bars.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby
DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED. olanov

.R. No. 128790. November 25, 1998]

EDUARDO
P.
PILAPIL, petitioner, vs.
HON.
FRANCIS
E.
GARCHITORENA, as Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan; HON. JOSE
S. BALAJADIA, HON. HARRIET O. DEMETRIOU, and HON.
ROBERTO M. LAGMAN, as Members of the Sandiganbayan, Second
Division; and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,respondents.
DECISION
DAVIDE, JR., J.:

This special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, with application for a
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, raises the following issues:
[1] May the Sandiganbayan try and decide Criminal Case No. 16672 where its
presiding justice, Hon. Francis E. Garchitorena, is a party thereto without
violating the impartiality requirement in the due process clause?
[2] May Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena assign said case to the
Second Division of the Sandiganbayan upon voluntary inhibition of Justice

Cipriano del Rosario of the Third Division where the case was originally
raffled, without violating R.A. [No.] 7975, which provides that when the
required quorum for a particular division cannot be had due to legal
disqualification of a justice the Presiding Justice may designate an Associate
Justice of the Court to be determined by strict rotation on the basis of the
reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said division?
[3] May respondent Second Division deny the motion to withdraw information
filed by the Ombudsman who found no prima facie case against petitioner
without any valid reason?
This case is a sequel to G.R. No. 101978, entitled Eduardo P. Pilapil v.
Sandiganbayan, which we decided on 7 April 1993.[1] We found therein as duly
established the following factual antecedents:
On October 16, 1987, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)
donated one ambulance (a Mitsubishi L-300) to the Municipality of Tigaon,
Camarines Sur. Petitioner, who [was] the Congressman of the 3rd District of
Camarines Sur, received the ambulance in behalf of the
municipality. However, he did not deliver the ambulance to said municipality.
Unaware of the donation, the Sangguniang Bayan of the municipality passed a
resolution (Resolution No. 16, Series of 1988) requesting PCSO for an
ambulance. Said request was reiterated in their Resolution No. 117, Series of
1988. The mayor of the municipality, Eleanor P. Lelis, thereafter sought the
intercession of Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, who
is from the said municipality, regarding said request. Thereafter, Justice
Garchitorena contacted the PCSO and learned about the ambulance previously
donated by the latter to Tigaon through petitioner. He accordingly informed
Mayor Lelis that the munipality's request [could not] be favorably acted upon
in view of the previous donation.
Mayor Lelis reiterated the municipality's request for an ambulance making
reference to the certification of the municipal treasurer that no vehicle from
the PCSO or from anyone has been received.
Upon verification of the whereabouts of the Mitsubishi L-300 by the PCSO
from the petitioner, the latter indicated his willingness to return the
ambulance. In a letter dated December 22, 1988, he requested that said vehicle
be donated instead to the Municipality of Tinambac, same province. Finally,
on December 26, 1988, he personally returned the ambulance, then already
painted to cover the logo of the PCSO and the other markings thereon.

With the return of the Mitsubishi L-300 to the PCSO, the Municipality of
Tigaon, through Mayor Lelis, finally received a brand new Besta Kia
Ambulance unit complete with all accessories.
On January 2, 1989, Justice Garchitorena wrote the then Chief Justice Marcelo
B. Fernan relating to him the whole story of the ambulance.
On January 25, 1989, Justice Garchitorena also sent Deputy Ombudsman Jose
C. Colayco a letter-complaint against petitioner regarding said
ambulance. Said letter-complaint was referred by Ombudsman Conrado M.
Vasquez to the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, Manuel C. Domingo, for
appropriate action. Thereupon, Deputy Ombudsman Domingo required Justice
Garchitorena to submit all relevant records and documents, as well as his
affidavit and those of his witnesses. Failing in this regard, Justice Garchitorena
was requested anew to comply. In his stead, Anthony D. Jamora, the Regional
manager of the Special Projects Department of the PCSO, and Mayor Lelis of
Tigaon, Camarines Sur, submitted their respective affidavits.
On October 3, 1990, Deputy Ombudsman Domingo issued an order requiring
petitioner to submit his counter-affidavit, affidavits of his witnesses and other
controverting evidence. This order was captioned as Case No. OMB-1-890168 for "Malversation of Public Property under Article 217 of the Revised
Penal Code."
On October 22, 1990, petitioner submitted his counter-affidavit denying the
imputation of said offense claiming that the vehicle was not equipped with any
medical attachments or facilities so he was constrained to request PAGCOR
for assistance to finance its conversion into a medical ambulance which is
evidenced by his letter dated November 15, 1987 to Mrs. Alice Reyes. He
claimed that it was only on April 28, 1988 that PAGCOR acted on his request,
but in lieu of financial assistance, said office donated accessories, which can
be installed at an estimated cost of P5,000.00. Thus, he allegedly made
personal representations with PAGCOR for the latter to shoulder the expenses
of the installation. While awaiting for the financial assistance, petitioner
claimed, in explanation why the logo of PCSO and the other markings on the
vehicle were removed, that he acceded to the suggestion of his staff to include
the name of PAGCOR on the sides of the ambulance in view of the substantial
contribution of the latter.
On December 5, 1990, Ombudsman Investigator Isaac D. Tolentino issued a
resolution finding no probable cause for malversation and recommended that
the case be dismissed, which recommendation was approved by Deputy
Ombudsman Domingo.

On January 5, 1991, Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo Aportadera, Jr.,


recommended the disapproval of the aforesaid resolution and instead,
suggested the filing of criminal information for violation of Article 217 of the
Revised Penal Code. This was followed by another resolution to the same
effect by Special Prosecution Officer Wilfredo Orencia dated February 14,
1991.
On April 1, 1991, Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez issued a resolution
sustaining the finding of Ombudsman Investigator Tolentino that there is no
malversation but found in the same resolution, aprima facie case for violation
of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019.
On April 3, 1991, an information for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act
No. 3019, docketed as Criminal Case No. 16672, against petitioner was filed.
On April 12, 1991, a warrant of arrest was issued against petitioner. On April
18, 1991, he was allowed to deposit the sum of P15,000.00 in court to be
considered as bail bond and the warrant of arrest was recalled.
On May 2, 1991, petitioner filed a motion to quash on the ground that
respondent Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over his person because the
information was filed without probable cause since there is absolutely no
proof adduced in the preliminary investigation of any of the elements of the
crime defined in Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019. On June 27, 1991,
respondent court denied the said motion to quash holding that the factual and
legal issues and/or questions raised are evidentiary in nature and are matters of
defense, the validity of which can be best passed upon after a full-blown trial
on the merits. On September 5, 1991, respondent court denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration of the said resolution and set the arraignment of
petitioner on October 21, 1991 at 8:30 a.m.
On October 12, 1991, petitioner filed the present petition [G.R. No. 101978]
and by reason of such filing, respondent court ordered that the arraignment be
held in abeyance.
In our decision in G.R. No. 101978, we found that respondent Sandiganbayan had
not acted in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in finding
probable cause against petitioner and, consequently, in denying the motion to quash
and motion for reconsideration. We dismissed as clearly unfounded the insinuations of
petitioner that Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena had used the influence of his
office in initiating the complaint against petitioner. Likewise, we agreed with the
Sandiganbayan that "the act of bringing to the attention of appropriate officials
possible transgression of the law is as much an obligation of the highest official of the
land as it is the responsibility of any private citizen."

After the finality of the aforementioned decision, petitioner filed a motion for
reinvestigation with the Third Division of the Sandiganbayan, to which the case was
originally raffled. That division granted the motion.
On 15 February 1995, after a reinvestigation was conducted, then Special
Prosecution Officer III Leonardo Tamayo and Special Prosecutor Aniano Desierto
recommended the dismissal of the case against petitioner. However, then Ombudsman
Conrado M. Vasquez disapproved the recommendation and, in a marginal note,
stated: "The allegations of the accused are matters of defense for him to prove in
Court."[2]
Acting on petitioner's motion for reconsideration, Special Prosecution Officer III
Reynaldo L. Mendoza issued a Memorandum [3] recommending the dismissal of the
case for lack of sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case for violation of
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. Leonardo P. Tamayo, then Deputy Special
Prosecutor and OIC of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, recommended the
approval of Mendoza's recommendation. [4] On 12 February 1996, Ombudsman Aniano
Desierto approved Mendoza's recommendation.
On 26 February 1996, Special Prosecution Officer II Humphrey T. Monteroso,
with the approval of Special Prosecutor Leonardo P. Tamayo, filed with the Third
Division of the Sandiganbayan a Motion to Withdraw Information. [5]
On 5 March 1996, Associate Justice Cipriano A. del Rosario, Chairman of the
Third Division, voluntarily inhibited [6] himself from resolving the Motion to Withdraw
Information and from further sitting in the case. On the same date the Third Division
promulgated a resolution[7] directing that in view of the inhibition of Justice del
Rosario, the case be returned to the Office of the Presiding Justice for re-raffle
pursuant to the rules and practice of the Sandiganbayan.
On 6 March 1996, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena issued Administrative
Order No. 79-96[8] assigning the case to the Second Division "[i]n view of the
inhibition of Hon. Cipriano A. del Rosario, Chairman, Third Division, and considering
that he, [the Presiding Justice and Chairman of the First Division, was] likewise the
complainant/relator in the case."
On 15 March 1996, the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan issued an order
giving the Presiding Justice ten days within which to comment on the Motion to
Withdraw Information and also giving the prosecution ten days to file a reply.[9]
On 18 March 1996, petitioner filed a Motion to Set Aside Administrative Order
No. 79-96[10] on the ground that it violated Section 1 of R.A. No. 7975, which
provides, inter alia, that when the required quorum for a division of the
Sandiganbayan cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or temporary disability
of a Justice or due to a vacancy occurring therein, the Presiding Justice may designate

an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan, to be determined by strict rotation on the


basis of the reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said
division. Petitioner further alleged that since the Presiding Justice was himself the
complainant or relator in the case, his administrative order would "not be free from
suspicion even if it [was] untainted with unfairness and partiality." Petitioner then
prayed that the case be referred to the Presiding Justice for him to act on the motion to
set aside the administrative order and thereafter to return the case to the Third
Division; and for the most Senior Associate Justice to designate an Associate Justice
to sit temporarily in the Third Division pursuant to Section 1 of R.A. No. 7975.
On 11 April 1996, the prosecution, through Special Prosecution Officer II
Monteroso, filed an opposition[11] to the Motion to Set Aside Administrative Order No.
79-96, alleging that said order was valid and legal, since it involved an administrative
matter which was within the prerogative of the Presiding Justice and the
Sandiganbayan.
On 16 April 1996, Presiding Justice Garchitorena, as complainant/ relator in the
case, filed the required comment[12] on the Motion to Withdraw Information.
On 29 May 1996, petitioner filed a Motion for Voluntary Inhibition [13] wherein he
prayed that the Justices of the Second Division, namely, herein public respondents
Balajadia, Demetriou, and Lagman, inhibit themselves from the case and recommend
to the President the designation of three Justices of the Court of Appeals to
temporarily sit in the case. He alleged that said Justices of the Second Division could
not be expected to act with independence or administer justice impartially for or
against a brother in the Court who was the complainant/relator in the case.
Petitioner also filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of 15 March
1996 and to Strike Out the Comment of the Presiding Justice on the ground that the
latter was not the offended party in the case. His personality as complainant/relator in
the case ceased when the case was elevated to the court upon the filing of the
information where the only parties were the People of the Philippines as plaintiff and
the petitioner as accused.
On 28 January 1997, the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan promulgated a
resolution[14] denying for lack of merit the motions (a) for the nullification of
Administrative Order No. 79-96, (b) for voluntary inhibition, (c) for reconsideration
of the resolution of 15 March 1996 and for the striking out of the comment of the
Presiding Justice, and (d) for the withdrawal of the Information. At the same time, it
set the arraignment of petitioner on 29 April 1997.
As to the Motion to Set Aside Administrative Order No. 79-96, the Second
Division ruled that the said order was supported by the last paragraph of Section 2,
Rule III of the Revised Rules of the Sandiganbayan, which reads: "Should the
Chairman of a Division decide to inhibit himself from trying a particular case or

cases, the case or cases shall be reassigned to any of the two other Divisions by
raffle." The Sandiganbayan had the authority to promulgate said rule pursuant to
Section 9 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended. The Presiding Justice then could not be
faulted for doing something which the law allowed him to do in the promotion of fair
and speedy administration of justice.
Anent the Motion for Voluntary Inhibition, the Second Division found as totally
baseless petitioner's apprehension that he would become a victim of injustice in the
Second Division, for as vanguards of justice the Justices' sacred duty is loyalty or
fealty not to the Presiding Justice but to the laws and the Constitution. Besides, there
was really no reason why the Presiding Justice would use his influence on any
member of the Division because his role as a relator was merely to bring to the
attention of the proper authorities the possible transgression of the law committed by
the petitioner. The Presiding Justice had no personal interest to protect and no
personal benefit to derive from in this case as so emphatically stated by him in his
comment.
In respect of the 15 March 1996 Resolution, the Second Division stressed that the
same was issued to clarify the position of the Presiding Justice as the relator of the
case and thus enhance the right of the people to due process. Its aim was to enable the
Division to render a sound judgment on the Motion to Withdraw
Information. Under Martinez v. Court of Appeals,[15] the Division had the duty or
prerogative to make an independent finding on the merits of the case before
consenting to the withdrawal of the information; it could not act as a mere rubber
stamp of the prosecution as regards the disposition of cases. Crespo v. Mogul[16] has
already settled the matter.
Finally, on the Motion to Withdraw the Information, the Second Division held:
The special reason given by Special Prosecution Officer III Reynaldo L.
Mendoza for the dismissal of the present case is contained in his resolution on
the preliminary investigation. To quote:
"Granting for the sake of argument that undue injury/damage was
caused to the Municipality because of the delayed delivery of the
vehicle, it would not still be sufficient to establish a prima facie case
against the accused for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, in the
absence of evident bad faith. The above observation and established
facts would show that we cannot attribute bad faith on the part of
accused. There was no clear and satisfactory breach of sworn duty
through the same motives or ill will of the accused (Lopez vs. Pan
American World Airways, March 30, 198, [sic] SCRA 43). On the
contrary, it was the complained act of accused that made the vehicle fit
to be used as an ambulance after its return.

While it may be true that the allegation of the accused are matters of
defense, it is likewise true that Prosecutors/Fiscals should protect the
innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution and also
protect the state from useless and expensive trials (Trocio vs. Mata, 118
SCRA 241)."
This is not the first time that the issue of the accused's supposed good faith has
been raised to support a reversal of an original indictment for violation of the
Anti-Graft Law. In fact, the Court had occasion to pass upon it for the first
time when it ruled on the accused's motion to quash. The Court's denial order
was subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court by decreeing a full-blown
trial on the evidentiary issues of good faith and other matters raised by the
accused in the said pleading. The Court has no authority, much less discretion,
to overturn or ignore this particular ruling of the Supreme Court.
On 18 February 1997, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration [17] of the
Resolution of 28 January 1997.
Then on 7 April 1997, petitioner filed a Motion to Hold in Abeyance
Arraignment[18] in view of the pendency of the Motion for Reconsideration.
On 18 April 1997, the Second Division denied [19] the Motion to Hold in Abeyance
the Arraignment. Believing that the denial of such motion was also an implied denial
of the motion for reconsideration, petitioner filed this petition on the ground that the
respondent Second Division had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack of jurisdiction in denying (1) the motion to set aside Administrative Order No.
79-96 dated 6 March 1996; (2) the motion for voluntary inhibition; (3) the motion for
reconsideration of the resolution dated 15 March 1996 and to strike out the comment
of respondent Garchitorena; and (4) the Ombudsman's motion to withdraw the
information.
The Court required the respondents to comment on the petition.
The Office of the Solicitor General begged off in light of Section 3 of R.A. No.
7975, which provides: "In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the
Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman through its
Special Prosecutor shall represent the People of the Philippines except in cases filed
pursuant to executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 14-1."
The Office of the Special Prosecutor manifested that it was not in a position to
comment on, much less oppose, the petition considering its previous stand and motion
to withdraw the information.
The Court thereafter required public respondents Francis Garchitorena, Jose
Balajadia, Harriet Demetriou and Roberto Lagman to file their comment on the

petition. Having failed to do so, the said respondents were deemed to have waived the
filing of their Comment. The Court then gave due course to the petition.
The foregoing antecedents show acts or events deliberately done in trickles to
unduly delay the proceedings below and, perforce, abuse judicial process and
successfully prevent for several years petitioner's arraignment, initially set on 21
October 1991.
First, no less than this Court in G.R. No. 101978 had sustained the finding of
probable cause against the petitioner. The motion for reinvestigation should not have
been given due course, neither should a reinvestigation been conducted. The
Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman should not have failed to see the dilatory
character of the motion. If indeed petitioner had new or additional evidence which if
presented would have altered the result of the earlier finding of probable cause, then
he could have asked for a reinvestigation or a reopening of the preliminary
investigation either before the filing of the motion to quash or even during the
pendency of G.R. No. 101978. Either of such moves would be consistent with his
vigorous claims of innocence and good faith. In any event, he has not convincingly
shown that some new or additional evidence could alter the finding of probable cause
and that such evidence could not have been produced during the preliminary
investigation or, at the latest, during the pendency of G.R. No. 101978. There being
no such evidence, this Court's decision in G.R. No. 101978 deserved utmost respect
by the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Ombudsman. That decision was the
best argument against any reinvestigation or review by any office or agency below
this Court. The Second Division of the Sandiganbayan then acted properly and
judiciously in denying the Motion to Withdraw the Information.
Settled is the rule that once a complaint or information is filed in court any
disposition of the case, as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused,
rests in the sound discretion of the court. [20] This rule does not foreclose a
reinvestigation or a review by a superior authority of the resolution finding probable
cause.[21] Nevertheless, once a motion to dismiss or withdraw information is thereafter
filed, the court may grant or deny it in faithful exercise of judicial prerogative, not out
of subservience to the prosecution arm, i.e., the Office of the Special Prosecutor or the
Ombudsman, or the Department of Justice, as the case may be. [22] This Court said so
in Martinez v. Court of Appeals;[23] thus:
Whether to approve or disapprove the stand taken by the prosecution is not the
exercise of discretion required in cases like this. The trial judge must himself
be convinced that there was indeed no sufficient evidence against the accused,
and this conclusion can be arrived at only after an assessment of the evidence
in the possession of the prosecution. What was imperatively required was the
trial judge's own assessment of such evidence, it not being sufficient for the

valid and proper exercise of judicial discretion merely to accept the


prosecution's word for its supposed insufficiency.
It has not been satisfactorily shown that the Second Division of the
Sandiganbayan denied arbitrarily or despotically the Motion to Withdraw the
Information. On the contrary, the Division made its own assessment of the evidence,
taking into account this Court's pronouncement in G.R. No. 101978.
Second, the Motion for Voluntary Inhibition filed only on 29 May 1996 could not
have been motivated by an honest belief on the incapacity of the Members of the
Second Division to be fair and impartial in this case. From the moment the
information was filed and even before that, petitioner was fully aware of the fact that
the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan was the complainant/relator in the case. If
indeed petitioner entertained any suspicion that the Presiding Justice might influence
one way or the other any of the Associate Justices of the Sandiganbayan, then his
grievance should have been raised as early as 3 April 1991 when the information was
filed or, at the latest, on 12 October 1991 when the action in G.R. No. 101978 was
instituted.
Third, the Motion for Voluntary Inhibition was another dilatory strategy. There
was no basis therefor other than the imagined fear of partiality for the Presiding
Justice.
The message conveyed by the foregoing is that petitioner has not come to this
Court with clean hands. It is settled that he who seeks the equitable relief of
injunction, which petitioner asks, must come with clean hands. Among the maxims of
equity are (1) he who seeks equity must do equity and (2) he who comes into equity
must come with clean hands. Thus, a litigant may be denied relief by a court of equity
on the ground that his conduct has been inequitable, unfair, dishonest, fraudulent, or
deceitful as to the controversy in issue. [24]
Now on the propriety or validity of Administrative Order No. 76-96. That order
was evidently issued pursuant to the last paragraph of Section 2, Rule III of the
Revised Rules of the Sandiganbayan as approved by this Court's en banc resolutions
of 16 July 1991 in A.M. No. 91-7-368-SB and of 3 September 1992 in A.M. No. 92-8418-SB. The Section reads in full as follows:
SEC. 2. Absence or Vacancy; How Filled. -- In case of any temporary absence
or permanent vacancy in the composition of a Division, the following rules
will apply:
a. If a temporary absence occurs in the position of Chairman of a
Division, the Senior Member of said Division shall act and
preside as Chairman, and in the absence of both the Chairman
and Senior Member of a Division, the Junior Member of said

Division shall act and preside as Chairman, notwithstanding the


seniority of the Special Member or Members designated to
complete the quorum of said Division.
b. If a temporary absence occurs in the position of a Senior or
Junior Member of a Division, the Presiding Justice may
designate any Associate Justice of the Court, to be determined
either by rotation on the basis of the reverse order of precedence
or as may otherwise be convenient, to sit as a Special Member of
said Division.
In both instances (a and b), the Acting Chairman or Special Member shall
enjoy the authority and prerogatives of a Chairman or Regular Member of said
Division, as the case may be, in the trial or determination of cases assigned
thereto.
c. If a permanent vacancy occurs in the position of a Chairman of a
Division, the Presiding Justice shall fill the vacancy with either
the Chairman of another Division or with the most senior Justice
of the Court.
d. Where a permanent vacancy occurs in the position of a Senior or
Junior Member in a Division, the new Justice appointed to fill
the vacancy shall be assigned to the Division where the vacancy
exists, without disturbing the composition of the other Divisions
and without prejudice to the consequential changes in the ranking
or seniority among Justices.
Should the Chairman of a Division decide to inhibit himself from trying a
particular case or cases, the case or cases shall be reassigned to any of the two
other Divisions by raffle.
The Rules was promulgated by the Sandiganbayan pursuant to its authority under
Section 9 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 4 of R.A. No. 7975. [25]
This Court is not persuaded by the argument of petitioner that Section 2 of Rule
III of the Revised Rules of the Sandiganbayan was repealed or modified by Section 3
of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 1 of R.A. No. 7975, which provides in part;
thus:
Three justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions in division: Provided,
That when the required quorum for the particular division cannot be had due
to the legal disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy
occurring therein, the Presiding Justice may designate an Associate Justice of
the Court, to be determined by strict rotation on the basis of the reverse order
of precedence, to sit as a special member of said division with all the rights

and prerogatives of a regular member of said division in the trial and


determination of a case or cases assigned thereto, unless the operation of the
court will be prejudiced thereby, in which case the President shall, upon the
recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice or Justices of
the Court of Appeals to sit temporarily therein.
Note that the aforequoted paragraph refers to instances where no quorum of a
Division can be had because of (a) a member's legal disqualification or temporary
disability, or (b) a vacancy occurring therein.On the other hand, Section 2 of Rule III
covers instances of (a) temporary absence of a chairman or member of a Division, (b)
permanent vacancy in a Division, and (c) inhibition of a chairman of a Division.
It is needless to argue that the inhibition of Chairman Del Rosario of the Third
Division was not covered by Section 3 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No.
7975. He inhibited himself in the exercise of his discretion for a "just and valid
reason" under, obviously, the second paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 137 of the Rules
of Court, not for any legal ground for disqualification under the first paragraph
thereof. The "legal disqualification" contemplated in Section 3 of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended, is the disqualification for any of the legal grounds provided for in the first
paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, which reads:
SECTION 1. Disqualification of judges. -- No judge or judicial officer shall sit
in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir,
legatee, creditor or otherwise, or in which he is related to either party within
the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the fourth
degree, computed according to the rules of the civil law, or in which he has
been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in which he has
presided in any inferior court when his ruling or decision is the subject of
review, without the written consent of all parties in interest, signed by them
and entered upon the record.
Consequently, the last paragraph of Section 2 of Rule III of the Revised Rules of
the Sandiganbayan was applicable. But since the case could not have been reassigned
by raffle to the First Division because the Presiding Justice was its Chairman, who
was also expected to inhibit himself for being the complainant/relator, the outright
reassignment to the Second Division was not only logical but proper as well.
The denial then of the Motion to Set Aside Administrative Order No. 79-76 was in
order.
Finally, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the resolution of 15 March 1996,
which required the Presiding Justice to comment on the Motion to Withdraw
Information. It must be stressed that at that stage of the proceedings, the State had lost
its representative and advocate, the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The latter had
moved for the withdrawal of the information because of its belief that no probable

cause existed against petitioner. Considering then that the Presiding Justice was
himself the complainant/relator, the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan had only
in mind giving the State due process before acting on the Motion to Withdraw
Information. It is a sound doctrine that the judge's action in criminal cases must not
impair the substantial rights of the accused or the right of the State and the
complainant to due process. [26] Justice must be rendered even-handedly to both the
accused, on the one hand, and the State and the complainant, on the other. It must be
noted that the Presiding Justice's role as complainant/relator in the case against the
petitioner met the approval of this Court in G.R. No. 101978; thus:
We agree with the respondent court that the act of bringing to the attention of
appropriate officials possible transgression of the law is as much an obligation
of the highest official of the land as it is the responsibility of any private
citizen.[27]
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. Public respondent
Sandiganbayan is DIRECTED to proceed with the arraignment of the petitioner and
trial of Criminal Case No. 16672 with reasonable dispatch.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 108871. November 19, 1996]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.


BALLABARE
and EDER BALLABARE, accused,
BALLABARE, accused-appellant.

GERRY
GERRY

DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:

This is an appeal brought by Gerry Ballabare from the Decision rendered


on May 14, 1992 in two Criminal Cases (Nos. 9067 and 9071) by the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 50,Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE AND IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS,
judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused Gerry Ballabare guilty
beyond reasonable doubt as principal in Criminal Case No. 9067 for the
murder of Juan and Leonardo both surnamed Tacadao, as the same is defined

and penalized under the Revised Penal Code, sentencing said accused to
suffer two penalties of reclusion perpetua as well as to pay the costs. He is
furthermore ordered to indemnify the heirs of the two deceased victims the
sum of One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos as and for their deaths
and the further sum of One Hundred Pesos (P100,000.00) as and for moral
damages.
Let the case against accused Eder Ballabare be as it is hereby ordered
archived to be reinstated in the docket of the Court as soon as he shall have
been arrested or surrendered himself to the jurisdiction of the Court.
In criminal Case No. 9071, judgment is hereby rendered finding said accused
Gerry Ballabare guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the Violation of
Presidential Decree 1866 sentencing said accused to suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment as well as to pay the costs.
The case arose from the killing of two brothers, Juan Tacadao and
Leonardo Tacadao, Jr., in the afternoon of September 16, 1990, at Sitio
Isumbo,
Barangay
Pulot
II, Municipality ofBrookes
Point, Province of Palawan. Accused-appellant Gerry Ballabare and his
brother, Eder Ballabare, were charged with double murder with the use of
illegally possessed firearms. The information alleged That on or about the 16th day of September 1990, in the afternoon, at Sitio
Isumbo, Barangay Pulot II, Municipality of Brookes Point, Province of
Palawan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping one
another, with evident premeditation and treachery, all armed with firearms and
with intent to kill, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and shoot with their firearms JUAN TACADAO and
LEONARDO TACADAO, JR., hitting them in the vital parts of their bodies
and inflicting upon them the following injuries, to wit: JUAN TACADAO
sustained gunshot wound on his head penetrating his brain and LEONARDO
TACADAO, JR. Suffered gunshot wound on his chest penetrating his heart,
all causing hemorrhage and shock which were the direct and immediate cause
of the instantaneous death of LEONARDO TACADAO, JR. and JUAN
TACADAO who died shortly thereafter at the Brookes Point District Hospital,
Brookes Point, Palawan.
CONTRARY TO LAW and committed with aggravating circumstances to
[sic] treachery, all the accused used their firearms, a means or form of
executing the crime to insure its execution without risk to themselves from the
defense the offended party may offer.

In a separate information, Gerry Ballabare was charged with violation of


P.D. No. 1866, 1, par. 2. In both cases accused-appellant Gerry Ballabare
pleaded not guilty and was therafter tried. His brother Eder Ballabare has not
been arrested and has remained at large.
Tessie Asenita was the sole eyewitness for the prosecution. She testified
that on September 16, 1990, while she was in the kitchen, she heard a
commotion outside.[1] When she stepped out to see what was going on, she
saw Edito Ballabare boxing Moreto Miason, a farmhand of her father. Edito
had companions, Antonio Ballabare, Henry Fabregas, a certain Wilson and
one Butsoy.[2] Moreto Miason also had some companions with him namely,
Juan and Leonardo Tacadao, who are brothers of this witness. Tessie Asenita
said that when her brother Juan Tacadao tried to stop Edito Ballabare from
beating up Miason, the group of Edito Ballabare ganged up on Juan
Tacadao. Tessies husband, Roque Asenita, came and his intervention enabled
Juan and Leonardo to run inside Tessies house. But Editos group, by now
numbering eleven (11),[3] including the accused Gerry Ballabare and Eder
Ballabare, pursued the two brothers and started hurling stones at Tessies
house.[4] When they entered the yard of the witness house and tried to attack
Roque Asenita with a bolo, the two brothers ran towards the back of the
house.[5] However, Eder Ballabare was able to catch up with Juan and shot
him twice, the first bullet hitting him in the right ear and the second in the
forehead.[6] On the other hand, Gerry Ballabare fired at Leonardo, hitting him
on the upper left chest.[7] Accused-appellant and his companions then fled.
Tessie Asenita claimed that she saw the shooting because it took place at
a place within her view two arms length away from her deceased brothers.[8]
Two other witnesses were presented by the prosecution, namely, Dr.
Narciso B. Leoncio, Rural Health Physician, who conducted the post mortem
examination on Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. and testified that the fatal wound
sustained by deceased was that inflicted on his left chest, [9] and Aida Veloria
Magsipoc, NBI forensic chemist, who testified that she examined the paraffin
cast of both hands of accused-appellant Gerry Ballabare and found the left
hand positive for gunpowder nitrates.[10] A certification[11] from the Firearms and
Explosive Unit inCamp Crame to the effect that accused Gerry Ballabare was
not authorized to carry a firearm was likewise submitted to the trial court.
Accused-appellants defense was alibi. He testified that at the time of the
incident, he was inside his yard playing basketball with some friends. [12] Evelyn
Alcantara, a resident of another sitio, corroborated accused-appellants claim.
[13]
In addition, the defense submitted to the court an Affidavit [14] for the
withdrawal of the testimony of eyewitness Tessie Asenita and the Affidavit of

Desistance[15] of Leonardo Tacadao, Sr., father of the victims. Roque Asenita,


husband of Tessie Asenita and brother-in-law of the victims, identified the
signatures on the affidavits and testified that accused-appellant had nothing to
do with the crime because he was not allegedly present at the shooting. [16] He
claimed that it was Eder Ballabare who shot the brothers, and that Gerry
Ballabare was implicated only because the family of the deceased wanted to
secure the conviction of two members of the Ballabare family to answer for
the loss of two of its members.[17]
The trial court found the testimony of Tessie Asenita credible. It rejected
accused-appellants alibi and dismissed the Affidavit for the withdrawal of
testimony of Tessie Asenita and the Affidavit of Desistance of the private
complainant as mere attempts to escape liability for the crime. It found
accused-appellant guilty of Illegal Possession of Firearm and two counts of
murder. Hence, this appeal.
Accused-appellant alleges:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN
NOT ACCORDING ACCUSED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT
TO BE PRESUMED INNOCENT AND TO AN IMPARTIAL
TRIBUNAL.
II. THE TRIAL COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN
PROCEEDING AGAINST ACCUSED FOR MURDER AND
ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARM IN VIOLATION OF HIS
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY.
The assignment of errors raise a number of issues which will be discussed
in the course of this decision.
The so-called Recantation and the Affidavit of Desistance

In his first assignment of error, accused-appellant contends that the trial


court erred in relying on the testimony of Tessie Asenita because the fact is
that this witness subsequently executed an Affidavit withdrawing her testimony
to which was attached an Affidavit of Desistance signed by Leonardo
Tacadao, Sr., father of the deceased. He argues that on the basis of these
affidavits he should have been acquitted.

The contention has no merit. To begin with, the Affidavit executed by


eyewitness Tessie Asenita is not a recantation. To recant a prior statement is
to renounce and withdraw it formally and publicly.[18] In her affidavit, Tessie
Asenita did not really recant what she had said during the trial. She only said
she wanted to withdraw her testimony because her father, Leonardo Tacadao,
Sr., was no longer interested in prosecuting the case against accusedappellant. Thus her affidavit stated:
3. That in as much as my father, Leonardo Tacadao, Sr., the complainants
therein, was no longer interested to prosecute the case as manifested
in the Sworn Affidavit of Desistance before the Provincial
Prosecutor, I do hereby WITHDRAW and/or REVOKE my
testimony of record to confirm [sic] with my fathers desire;
It is absurd to disregard a testimony that has undergone trial and scrutiny by
the court and the parties simply because an affidavit withdrawing the
testimony is subsequently presented by the defense. In the first place, any
recantation must be tested in a public trial with sufficient opportunity given to
the party adversely affected by it to cross-examine the recanting witness. In
this case, Tessie Asenita was not recalled to the witness stand to testify on her
affidavit. Her affidavit is thus hearsay. It was her husband, Roque Asenita,
who was presented and the matters he testified to did not even bear on the
substance of Tessies affidavit. He testified that accused-appellant was not
involved in the perpetration of the crime.
In the second place, to accept the new evidence uncritically would be to
make a solemn trial a mockery and place the investigation at the mercy of
unscrupulous witnesses.[19] For even assuming that Tessie Asenita had made
a retraction, this circumstance alone does not require the court to disregard
her original testimony. A retraction does not necessarily negate an earlier
declaration.[20] For this reason, courts look with disfavor upon retractions
because they can easily be obtained from witnesses usually through
intimidation or for monetary considerations.[21] Hence, when confronted with a
situation where a witness recants his testimony, courts must not automatically
exclude the original testimony sole on the basis of the recantation. They
should determine which testimony should be given credence through a
comparison of the original testimony and the new testimony, applying the
general rules of evidence.[22] In this case we think the trial court correctly ruled:
The accused in his vain and desperates [sic] bid to secure exculpation
presented Roque Asenita, husband of lone prosecution witness, Tessie
Asenita. From the testimony of the former, it would appear that the latter
executed an affidavit of desistance withdrawing her entire testimony given

before the Court. He further testified that it was only Eder Ballabare who was
the only one responsible for the killing of both the Tacadao brothers, Juan and
Leonardo and that Gerry Ballabare had nothing to do with the killing specially
of Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. It was further alleged that accused Gerry Ballabare
was held responsible for the killing due to the fact that since 2 members of the
Tacadaos were killed, it was decided in the family conference of the Tacadaos
that 2 members of the Ballabare should likewise be held responsible. This
proffered excuse or justification can be dismissed outright as a desperate
attempt to escape liability by Gerry Ballabare. There appeared to be no
plausible motive why he should be singled out and identified by Tessie
Asenita if he was not there and was in his yard all the time when his younger
brother Edito who initially started the melee was not pointed to as the one
responsible for the shooting of the two Tacadao brothers.
It should be added that the paraffin test by the NBI forensic chemist
showed that accused-appellants hand was positive for gunpowder.
Nor is the Affidavit of Desistance executed by Leonardo Tacadao, Sr. a
basis for dismissing these cases. Like Tessie Asenita, whose Affidavit
withdrawing her previous testimonies was presented, Leonardo Tacadao, Sr.
was not presented in court. His affidavit merely stated that in the interest of
neighborliness and for lack of interest, Leonardo Tacadao, Sr. was desisting
from prosecuting the cases against accused-appellant. Thus:
That I am the father of the deceased victims, Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. and Juan
Tacadao, and complainant against certain Jerry Ballabare and Eder Ballabare
for Double Murder under Criminal Case No. 9067 in Branch 50 of the
Regional Trial Court of Palawan, Puerto Princesa City;
That we are neighbors with the accused in Pulot II, Brookes Point, Palawan,
as such I would like to maintain our good relationship with them;
That in view of the foregoing, and all attributing circumstances not mentioned
herein, I totally lost my interest in prosecuting the case in Court, and I
therefore desist from prosecuting the same.
Accused-appellant quotes the following from our decision in Gomez v.
Intermediate Appellate Court:[23]
It is conceded that the State has the sovereign right to prosecute criminal
offenses under the full control of the fiscal and that the dismissal of criminal
cases by the execution of an affidavit of desistance by the complainant is not
looked upon with favor. However, it is also true than an affidavit of desistance
may create serious doubts as to the liability of the accused. At the very least, it
calls for a second hard look at the records of the case and the basis for the

judgment of conviction. Jurisprudence on the effect of desistance


notwithstanding, the affidavit should not be peremptorily dismissed as a
useless scrap of paper.
There is nothing in this excerpt which dictates a different conclusion from
that reached by the trial court, much less which entitles accused-appellant to a
finding of reasonable doubt. To the contrary it is the general rule rather than
the exception regarding affidavits of desistance being looked with disfavor
which applies in this case. As pointed out in People v. Lim,[24] which is also
cited by accused-appellant, an affidavit of desistance is merely an additional
ground to buttress the accuseds defenses, not the sole consideration that can
result in acquittal. There must be other circumstances which, when coupled
with the retraction or desistance, create doubts as to the truth of the testimony
given by the witnesses at the trial and accepted by the judge.[25] Here, there
are no such circumstances. For as already noted, the affidavit of desistance of
the complainant, like the alleged affidavit of retraction by Tessie Asenita, is not
a repudiation of the material points alleged in the information and proven at
the trial, but a mere expression of the lack of interest of private complainant to
pursue the case. Moreover, the trial court already had the opportunity of taking
a hard look at the records of the case, as accused-appellant urges, when it
resolved the motion for reconsideration filed by the appellant prior to the
elevation of the case on appeal before this Court, but the trial court found no
basis for altering its decision.
Evidence Against Accused-Appellant Overwhelming

This Court itself has carefully gone over the record of this case,
particularly the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimony of Tessie
Asenita, and after doing so finds no reason to reverse the decision of the trial
court, especially considering the result of the paraffin test showing accusedappellants left hand positive for gunpowder.
Much is made by accused-appellant of Tessie Asenitas admission that
from the kitchen, she could not see what was happening in front of her
house. Thus:[26]
COURT
Q : From the place where you were could you see what was happening outside your house?
A : It can be seen if you will go upstairs.
Q : From the kitchen where you were as you said can you see what was happening in front
of your house?

A : It cannot be seen if you are at the kitchen because our house consist [sic] of 2 doors.

This contention is misleading. Tessie Asenita testified that from the kitchen
she could not see what was happening in front of her house. But she said this
in reference to the mauling of Moreto Miason not to the shooting of Juan and
Leonardo Tacadao Jr. It was precisely because she could not see what was
happening after she heard a commotion that she said she went outside, at the
road,[27] where she saw Edito Ballabares group attacking Moreto Miason and
Juan Tacadao. The shooting took place later, near the kitchen not in front of
the house in full view of this witness. As Tessie Asenita explained:[28]
COURT
Q : At the time that the alleged rushing of the Ballabare was made by them, is it your
testimony that you went up the kitchen.
A : Yes sir.
Q : And that was the time that the firing occurred?
A : Yes sir.
Q : And you were up the kitchen?
A : I was up the kitchen.
Q : You did not therefore see the firing?
A : I saw sir. Because our house is also open and our yard is also clear as it is only planted
with sweet camote.
Q : But you said you were up the kitchen?
A : But it can be seen. Because they fired their guns near our kitchen also.

Nor is the fact that there was only one witness who testified on the
participation of the accused-appellant in the crime of any moment. It is settled
that the testimony of even a single witness, if positive and credible, is
sufficient for the purpose of obtaining a conviction.[29]
Accused-appellant insinuates that the prosecution presented false
testimony to exact a primitive kind of revenge against appellants family. He
cites the testimony of Roque Asenita that accused-appellant was being
prosecuted even though the latter did not take part in the commission of the
crime in order to make his family answer for the death of two members of the
Tacadao family. As the trial court points out, however, it would have been
more convenient for the prosecution to point to Edito Ballabare as the
perpetrator because he was after all the one who started the melee and he
was the most prominent protagonist.

Why Accused-Appellants Alibi Cannot Save Him

As already stated, accused-appellants defense is alibi. This defense


cannot stand in view of his positive identification by Tessie Asenita that he was
the one who had shot and killed Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. Considering that the
appellant had been known to Tessie Asenita for years as a neighbor,[30] in
addition to the fact that the incident occurred in the afternoon, in full view of
said witness, we see no reason to doubt her identification of the accusedappellant.
Indeed, the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of
the accused by the prosecution witness.[31] Especially is this so, in view of
accused-appellants claim that the place where he allegedly was at the time of
the incident is only 200 meters away (approximately three minutes walk) from
the place of the incident.[32] The defense of alibi requires an accused to prove
his presence in another place at the time of the perpetration of the offense
and to demonstrate that it would thus be physically impossible for him to be at
the scene of the crime.[33] Accused-appellant has not shown any of these
elements in the case at bar.
The Proof is, however, Insufficient to Show Conspiracy

Accused-appellants contention that there can be no finding of conspiracy


in this case is well taken. As already stated, accused-appellant was found
guilty as a direct participant in the shooting of Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. and as a
conspirator in the shooting of Juan Tacadao by Eder Ballabare.
In the case of People v. Arroyo,[34] this Court held:
A conspiracy in the statutory language exists when two or more persons come
to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit
it. The objective then on the part of the conspirators is to perform an act or
omission punishable by law. What is required is assent to the perpetration of
such misdeed. That must be their intent. There is a need for concurrence of
wills or unity of action or purpose, or common and joint purpose and
design. At times, reference is made to previous concert of the criminal
design. Its manifestation could be shown by united and concerted action. Thus,
a conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence. It may be deduced from
the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated. The conditions
attending its commission and the acts executed may be indicative of the
common design to accomplish a criminal purpose and objective. If there is a

chain of circumstances to that effect, then conspiracy has been established. If


such be the case then, the act of one is the act of all the others involved and
each is to be held to the same degree of liability as the others.
But although direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy, the existence
of conspiracy must nonetheless be established by positive and conclusive
evidence.[35] Here, the trial court found conspiracy between accused-appellant
and his brother, Eder Ballabare on the basis of the following:
From the narration of the events that occurred on that fateful afternoon as
disclosed by the sole witness for the prosecution, it appeared that the
participants to the killing in question numbering more or less 11 inclusive of
the 2 herein accused were animated by a desire to achieve a common purpose
which was to kill their quarry. This can very well be deduced from the fact that
prior to their entry into the yard, Juan Tacadao was already being mauled for
his intrusion in preventing the mauling of the native Palawano. Further, it may
be stated that one of the group armed with a long firearm identified as Rolando
Carandang positioned himself at or near the back of the house to prevent their
exit. Although he did not fire a shot, nonetheless his participation showed a
concurrence of will with his armed companions.
The foregoing findings are, in our opinion, insufficient to establish
conspiracy. The lone prosecution witness, Tessie Asenita, testified that
accused-appellant and Eder Ballabare werenot originally with Editos group
when they attacked Moreto Miason and Juan Tacadao. By her account
accused-appellant and Eder Ballabare arrived only after the fight between
Editos group, on the one hand, and the Tacadao brothers, on the other, had
begun. The accused-appellant may have simply joined in the melee without
necessarily any previous agreement to assault Juan and Leonardo Tacadao,
Jr. Even the trial court stated in its decision that it is more disposed to believe
that the encounter resulted in the accidental presence of the native Palawano,
Moreto Miason, in front of the house of Tessie Asenita, who was mauled by
the brother of Eder Ballabare regarding the disposal of almaciga gathered and
that if the incident eventually involved the Tacadao brothers, it was more
probable [that] the group of the accused resented the intervention of Juan
Tacadao in preventing further mauling of the native Palawano who was their
friend and companion. What was said in People v. Dorico[36] may, therefore, be
said in the case at bar:
The meeting of the victim by the accused was purely casual. No other evidence
was presented by the prosecution to show conspiracy, which, according to the
settled rule, must be proved as clearly and as convincingly as the commission
of the crime itself. In People vs. Portugueza, this Court ruled that although the

defendants are relatives and had acted with some degree of simultaneity in
attacking their victim, nevertheless, this fact alone does not prove conspiracy.
The same degree of proof necessary to prove crime is required to
establish conspiracy. For lack of sufficient evidence showing conspiracy
accused-appellant must be absolved from liability for the killing of Juan
Tacadao and held liable only for the killing of Leonardo Tacadao, Jr.
Accused-appellant not guilty of Murder but only of Homicide

The trial court also erred in finding that the killing of Leonardo Tacadao, Jr.
by the appellant was attended by treachery, thus, qualifying the offense to
murder. For treachery to be appreciated, two conditions must concur: (a) the
employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked no
opportunity to defend himself or retaliate and (b) the means of execution
employed was deliberately or consciously adopted.[37] In a number of cases,
[38]
we had occasion to discuss factual circumstances which negate the
existence of treachery. InPeople v. Nemeria,[39] we noted the following: (a) that
the incident occurred at about six oclock in the late afternoon, when people
could still be recognized at a distance; (b) that the victim was not totally
unaware of the attack; and (c) that accused has committed the crime in the
presence of other people who could have lent support to the victim.
In the case at bar, the fatal incident occurred at four in the afternoon, in
broad daylight. The victims could not have been taken by surprise as the
attack was preceded by stone-throwing and they had the opportunity of
arming themselves, as they were inside their sisters house and one of them in
fact had injured one of the attackers (Henry Fabregas). Considering the rule
that treachery cannot be inferred but must be proven as fully and convincingly
as the crime itself,[40] any doubt as to the existence of treachery in this case
must be resolved in favor of the accused-appellant.
The trial court also found that the aggravating circumstance of abuse of
superior strength had attended the commission of the offense by accusedappellant. The trial court correctly appreciated this aggravating
circumstance. The group of accused-appellant did not only enjoy superiority of
number but also of arms consisting of firearms, bolos, stones and pieces of
wood. The group of Moreto Miason, which included the two victims, were only
4 and were clearly no match for the group of Eder Ballabare which, including
accused-appellant, were 11 in all.[41] That accused-appellants group took
advantage of their superiority in number and arms to perpetrate the offense
charged is clear.

However, this aggravating circumstance cannot be considered as a


qualifying circumstance so as to make the killing murder. This circumstance
was not specifically alleged in the information and therefore it can only be
considered a generic aggravating circumstance for the purpose of increasing
the penalty. A qualifying circumstance, like abuse of superior strength, which
is not alleged, cannot be used to qualify the offense but may only be
appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance.[42]
In Addition, Accused-Appellant is liable for
Illegal Possession of Firearm

In his second assignment of error, accused-appellant contends that the


trial court gravely abused its discretion in finding him guilty of murder and
illegal possession of firearm. He points out that both offenses arose out of a
single incident and that as a result of the decision finding him guilty of
separate crimes, he was placed in double jeopardy. He cites the case
ofLazaro v. People,[43] in which it was held that conviction of Illegal Possession
of Unlicensed Firearm is a bar to another prosecution for Parricide committed
with the use of the unlicensed firearm under the rule on double jeopardy.
The argument has no merit. In the case of People v. Deunida,[44] the Court
declared Lazaro v. People no longer controlling in view of our decisions
in People v. Tac-an, [182 SCRA 601 (1991)], People v. Tiozon, [198 SCRA
368 (1991)], and People v. Caling [208 SCRA 821 (1992)] and held that Illegal
Possession of Firearms and Ammunition does not absorb the crime of
homicide or murder under the Revised Penal Code and therefore does not bar
the simultaneous or subsequent prosecution for the latter crime. It is true that
in the later case ofPeople v. Barros,[45] this Court again ruled that a person who
commits homicide or murder through the use of an illegally possessed firearm,
is liable solely for the aggravated form of illegal possession of a firearm as
defined in P.D. No. 1866, 1, par. 2. This decision, however, has since been
overruled by the Court en banc in People v. Quijada[46] in which it was held that
one who kills another with the use of an unlicensed firearm is guilty of two
separate offenses of (1) either homicide or murder under the Revised Penal
Code and (2) aggravated illegal possession of firearm under P.D. No. 1866, 1,
par. 2.
Other Errors in the Decision of the Trial Court

Furthermore, we hold that the trial court erred in imposing in this case the
penalty of life imprisonment for accused-appellants violation of P.D. No. 1866,
1. par. 2. The crime of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form is
punished by the penalty of death. Since the offense was committed on
September 16, 1990, at a time when the imposition of the death penalty was
prohibited, the penalty next lower in degree, i.e., reclusion perpetua, should
instead be imposed. This is not the equivalent of the penalty of life
imprisonment, as our cases have time and again explained.
While life imprisonment may appear to be the English translation of reclusion
perpetua, in reality, it goes deeper than that. First, life imprisonment is
invariably imposed for serious offenses penalized by special laws,
while reclusion perpetua is prescribed under The Revised Penal Code. Second,
life imprisonment, unlike reclusion perpetua, does not carry with it accessory
penalty.Third, life imprisonment does not appear to have any definite extent or
duration, while reclusion perpetua entails imprisonment for at least thirty (30)
years after which the convict becomes eligible for pardon, although the
maximum period thereof shall in no case exceed forty (40) years. [47]
Finally, the trial court erred in ordering accused-appellant to pay moral
damages because no evidence, testimonial or otherwise, was presented by
the prosecution to support such a finding.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is MODIFIED by finding
accused-appellant guilty of (1) homicide with one aggravating circumstance
and no mitigating circumstance and sentencing him to an indeterminate term
of 12 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to 20 years of reclusion temporal,
as maximum and (2) violation of P.D. No. 1866 and sentencing him
toreclusion perpetua; and by ordering him to pay the heirs of the deceased
Leonardo Tacadao, Jr. in the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-6410

November 24, 1954

JUAN Y. BELTRAN, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE EUSEBIO F. RAMOS, ETC., respondent.
Onofre M. Mendoza for petitioner.
Eusebio F. Ramos in his own behalf.

JUGO, J.:
The petitioner, Juan Y Beltran, was charged before the Court of First Instance of Occidental Mindoro
with the crime of malversation of public funds, alleged in the information to have been committed in
the municipality of San Jose, province of Occidental Mindoro, on or about July 6, and 12, 1951. The
trial commenced in all the municipalities of San Jose, Mamburao, and Lubang all of Occidental
Mindoro, on or about July 6, and 12, 1951. The trial commenced in the municipalities of San Jose,
Mamburao, and Lubang, all of Occidental Mindoro. The continuation of the trial was transferred to
the municipality of Calapan, province of Oriental Mindoro. The defendant Beltran, herein petitioner,
objected to the continuation of the trial in Calapan on the ground that it is outside of the territorial
boundaries of the province of Occidental Mindoro where the crime was committed. The trial court
overruled the objection and ordered the trial to proceed in Calapan. The petitioner filed in this Court
a petition for a writ of prohibition to enjoin the trial court from continuing the trial in Calapan.
The respondent contends that the provinces of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro constitute the Eight
Judicial District under the provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1948 (Republic Act NO. 296). There
being no separate court for the province of Occidental Mindoro, it is claimed that the judge of the
district may hold his sessions in either of the two provinces. This contention is untenable in the
present case for the reason that the Rules of Court expressly provide that a criminal case should be
instituted and tried in the municipality or province where the offense was committed or any of its
essential ingredients took place. This is fundamental principle, the purpose being not to compel the
defendant to move to, and appear in a different court from that of the province where the crime was
committed, as it would cause him great inconvenience in looking for his witnesses and other
evidence in another place. Although the judge of a district may hold the trial in any particular case
subject to the specific provisions, or section 14 (a), Rule 106, in order not to violate the Rules of
Court and disregard the fundamental rights of the accused. Sometimes a judicial district includes
provinces far distant from each other. Under the theory of the respondent, the accused may be
subjected to the great inconvenience of going to a far distant province with all his witnesses to attend
the trial there. This is prohibited by the Rules of Court as being unfair to the defendant.
There is no contradiction between the Judiciary Act and Rule 106, section 14 (a). They should,
therefore, be enforced together harmoniously.
In view of the foregoing, the respondent judge is enjoined from continuing the trial of the abovementioned case in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, without pronouncement to costs. So ordered.

\Subido
v.
Sandiganbayan
(G.R.
No.
122641;
January
20,
1997)Facts:
On
June
25,
1992,
andDeportation
Bayani
Subido
(BID)
Jr.,
and
then
Rene
aArbitrary
Commissioner
Parina,
aDetention
BID
special
ofcausing
Bureau
agent,
while
of
Immigration
the
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against
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of
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issued
and
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acase
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requiring
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for
was
aknowing
period
not
yet
of
final
43
days,
and
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him
Thisresulted
undue
injury.
to
the
Subido
and
124
ofthe
Revised
were
charged
Penal
Code.
with
For
their
part,
the
petitioners
defined
and
filed
punished
ain
Motion
by
Article
Quash,
contending
was
filed,
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thatthe
was
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nolonger
part
had
of
the
no
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and
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over
the
was
not
since
occupying
when
itto
position
Sandiganbayan
corresponding
had
jurisdiction
to
salary
over
grade27.
the
caseRuling:
Issue:
Whether
Yes.
The
or
Sandiganbayan
not
the
hada
4
jurisdiction
of Parina
P.D.
No.
over
1606Section
the
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by
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virtue
of
4fullywell
Section
of
P.D.
No.
2
ofthe
1606
R.A.
is
7975,
hereby
whichamended
further
amended
Section

Section
4: Jurisdiction
in
exercise
The
Sandiganbayan
original
jurisdiction
shall
all
cases
involving:
a.
Violations
ofamended,
Republic
Act
No.
otherwise
3019,
known
as
as the Act
Anti-Graft
Practices
Act,
and
Republic
Corrupt
No.
1379,
and
Chapter
II,
Section
2,
Title
VII
of
the
Revised
one
or
more
Penal
of
Code,
the
principal
where
accused
occupying
are
thethe
officials
following
positions
government,
in
whether
or
interim
in
capacity,
permanent,
at the
acting
time
of
the
commission
of
the
offense;
branch
positions
of
regional
classified
higher,
asofgrade
27 and
1)
Officials
the executive
Position
the occupying
Compensation
Classification
Act
and
of
1989
read as follows

including:
xxx
officials
27
and
classified
asPosition
Grade
Compensation
and
Classification
Act
of
5)
All
other
national
and
local
1989.
b.
committed
Other
offenses
by
the
or
public
felonies
officials
and
employees
mentioned
in
subsection
of
this
office.
section
in
relation
to (a)
the
c.
pursuant
Civil
and
to
criminal
and
in
connection
cases
filed
with
the
Executive
Order
Nos.where
1,2,
14,none
and 14-A.
In
the
cases
principal
accused
of
are
occupying
positions
corresponding
to
salary
grade
27
in
said
or
R.A.
higher,
6758,
as
or
prescribed
PNP
rank
officers
of
occupying
the
or
higher,
or
their
equivalent,
exclusive
jurisdiction
thereof
shall
Regional
besuperintendent
vested
Trial
Court,
n Trial
the
proper
Metropolitan
Trial
Trial
Court,
Court,
and
Municipal
Circuit
Court,
the
case
may
be,
pursuant
to
as
their
provided
respective
in Batas
jurisdiction
Blg.
129.
Contrary
to
claims
of
the
petitioners,
since
what
isthe
R.A.
considered
7975
applies
is
the
time
of
the
commission
of
the
crime,
was
still
during
Commissioner
which
Subido
of
BID.
Similarly,
although
Parina
was
holding
a
position
lower
with
salary
a classification
grade
27,
it
still than
applies
to
him
since
he
is
prosecuted
conspirator
as
of
Subido,
a
cothe
principal
accused.
Jurisdiction
is27.
only
vested
the
principal
other
accused
courts
if where
none
of
the
occupying
positions
corresponding
toon
salary
grade

Section 4: Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction inall


cases involving: a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise
known as theAnti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and
Chapter II,Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the
principalaccused are officials occupying the following positions in the
government,whether in permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the
commission ofthe offense;1) Officials of the executive branch occupying positions of
regionaldirector and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher,of the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989(R.A. 6758), specificially
including: xxx5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27
andhigher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of1989. b. Other
offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employeesmentioned in
subsection (a) of this section in relation to the office. c. Civil and criminal cases filed
pursuant to and in connection with the ExecutiveOrder Nos. 1,2, 14, and 14-A. In
cases where none of the principal accused are occupying
positionscorresponding to salary grade 27 or higher, as prescribed in said R.A.
6758, orPNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their
equivalent,exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested n the proper Regional Trial
Court,Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial
Court,as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as provided in
BatasBlg. 129. Contrary to the claims of the petitioners, R.A. 7975 applies since
what is considered is the time ofthe commission of the crime, during which
Subido was still Commissioner of BID. Similarly,although Parina was holding a
position with a classification lower than salary grade 27, it stillapplies to him
since he is prosecuted as a co-conspirator of Subido, the principal
accused.Jurisdiction is only vested on the other courts if none of the principal
accused where occupyingpositions corresponding to salary grade 27.

People vs. MarianoFacts: The office of the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan filed an Information accusing
Mariano of estafa. Mariano was the Liaison Officer of Mayor Nolasco and is authorized to receive and be
receipted for US excess property of USAID/NEC for the use and benefit of the municipality. The property

received were electric cables and cable powers amounting to P4,797.35 which he had a duty to deliver to
the Mayor. However he willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with grave abuse of confidence and deceit,
misappropriate, misapply and convert to his own personal use and benefit the items. Mariano filed a
motion to quash the Information claiming that the court had no jurisdiction. He claimed that the items
which were the subject matter of the Information against him were the same items for which Mayor
Nolasco was indicted by the Military Commission under a charge of malversation and found guilty. He
claimed that inasmuch as the case against Mayor Nolasco has already been decided by the Military
Tribunal, the CFI of Bulacan had lost jurisdiction over him. Respondent judge granted the motion to
quash stating that since the Military Commission had already taken cognizance of the malversation case
involving the same subject matter in its concurrent jurisdiction with the Court, the case for estafa has
already been heard and decided.Issue:Whether or not civil courts and military commissions exercise
concurrent jurisdiction over estafa and committed by a civilianHeld: there is no concurrent
jurisdictionRatio:The question of jurisdiction of respondent CFI is to be resolved on the basis of the law
or statute providing for or defining its jurisdiction. The Judiciary Act of 1948 in Section 44 (f) provides
the CFI shall have original jurisdiction in all criminal cases in which the penalty provided by law is
imprisonment for more than six months or fine of more than 200 pesos. Estafa falls under the original
jurisdiction of CFI.Jurisdiction of a court is determined by the statute in force at the time of the
commencement of the action. At the time the criminal case was filed on Dec 18, 1974, the law in force
vesting jurisdiction upon said court is the Judiciary Act of 1948. General Order No. 49 dated Oct 4, 1974,
redefines the jurisdiction of military tribunals over certain offenses, and estafa and malversation are not
enumerated therein. Therefore, the Military Commission is not vested with jurisdiction over the crime of
estafa.We do not have here a situation involving two tribunals with concurrent jurisdiction over a
particular crime so as to apply the rule that whoever takes cognizance first acquires jurisdiction exclusive
of the other. The Military Commission is without power or authority to hear and determine the crime of
estafa against Mariano hence there is no concurrent jurisdiction to speak of. Estafa falls within the sole
exclusive jurisdiction of civil courts.

REPUBLIC vs. SUNGAJune 20, 1988FACTS:An information for Attempted Homicide


was filed by the Provincial Fiscal of CamarinesSur against accused-private
respondents Rafael Anadilla, Ariston Anadilla and Jose Anadilla. Ahearing was set
but was postponed since Rafael Anadilla was not yet arrested by the authorities.The
court a quo issued an order for the arrest of said accused, and at the same time set
a newtrial date. However, 4 months before the trial date, the court a quo issued the
now assailed orderwhich reads: Considering that the offended party, Jose Dadis is
no longer interested in the furtherprosecution of this case and there being no
objection on the part of the accused Ariston Anadilla,Rafael Anadilla and Jose
Anadilla, this case is hereby DISMISSED with costs de oficio.Consequently, the
order of arrest issued by this Court against the accused RafaelAnadilla
dated March 11, 1974, is hereby ordered lifted and has no force and effect. The
bail bond posted for the provisional liberty of the accused is hereby
orderedcancelled.

In the case of Ariston Anadilla and Jose Anadilla, the Provincial Warden
is herebyordered to release said accused from their detention immediately upon
receipt of this order. SO ORDERED. The order was based on an AFFIDAVIT OF
DESISTANCE which was executed andnotarized by the victim and mentioned
that:a. he was no longer interested in the further prosecution of the caseb. he had
forgiven the accusedc. his material witnesses could not be located, and that without
their testimonies, theguilt of the accused could not be proven beyond reasonable
doubt.The provincial fiscal moved for reconsideration of the dismissal, but was also
denied.Hence the petition and issue of the case.ISSUE:Whether or not the court a
quo may dismiss a criminal case on the basis of an affidavit ofdesistance executed
by the offended party, but without a motion to dismiss filed by
theprosecuting fiscal. RATIO:The court cites a similar case Crespo v. Mogul in its
when it answered that the filing of acomplaint or information in Court initiates
a criminal action. The Court thereby acquiresjurisdiction over the case,
which is the authority to hear and determine the case. When after thefiling of the
complaint or information a warrant for the arrest of the accused is issued by the
trialcourt and the accused either voluntarily submitted himself to the Court or was
duly arrested, theCourt thereby acquired jurisdiction over the person of the
accused. The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the
purpose ofdetermining whether a prima facie case exists warranting the
prosecution of the accusedis terminated upon the filing of the information in the
proper court.The rule is that once a complaint is filed, the disposition of the accused
rests in the sounddiscretion of the court. The fiscal cannot impose his opinion on the
court when the case has beensubmitted to it as his jurisdiction ends in the direction
and control of the prosecution of the case.Only the court can decide what the best
direction is for the case, as it is within its exclusivejurisdiction.In this case, almost
10 years have elapsed since the date of the filing of the information,hence it was
not unusual that the victim could not find his witnesses, the testimonies of whom
areneeded to convict the accused. The fiscal still believed that he could convict the
accused withoutthee testimonies in his MR!Although the Crespo doctrine holds that
it is the courts duty to judge whether acase should be dismissed, any move
of the offended part to dismiss the case, evenwithout objection of the
accused, should first be submitted to the fiscal. It is only after thefiscals hearing
that the court should exercise its duty to continue or dismiss the case.Petition
dismissed.
Dela Cruz vs. MoyaFacts: -Dela Cruz is a Member of the Armed Forces Intelligence and Operations
Section- armed with a MISSION ORDER, DelaCruz proceeds to Maco, Davao del Norte to investigate
reports of illegal cockfighting being conducted- Delacruz and company catches operators of cockfighting,
including deceased Eusebio Cabito in flagrante-Delacruz and co.fails to arrest operators but confiscates
evidence of the crime (eg. Gaffs, fighting cocks, etc)-Delacruz and co. were followed by the cockfight
operators on their way back to the PC headquarters, fighting ensued wherein Delacruz shot CabitoAug 2,
1979 Delacruz is charged with homicide in the CFI of DavaoIssues: W/N CFI has jurisdiction over the
subject matterHeld: NO.Ratio: -Civil Procedure; Jurisdiction; One of the essential requisites of a valid

court proceeding is that the court hearing must have jurisdiction over of the subject matter of the case.
Determined by the statute at force at the time the action was commenced-at that time General Order.59
was operative giving military tribunals exclusive jurisdictionover all offenses committed by military
personnel while in the performance of their official duty-Delacruz was executing a Mission
Order=performing official duties-court records contain a copy of Mission Order; certificate from
secretary of DND is unnecessary -CFI was without jurisdiction to try the case
Reyes v. DiazFacts: Some election protest case (it didnt expound)

Doctrine:1) The issue of jurisdiction which confers appellate powers upon this Court in a given case is not
such question as is dependent exclusively upon minor matters of fact or upon a mere construction of the
pleadings, but that which has reference to the more important question of jurisdiction of the trial court
over the subject-matter as determined by law.2) Jurisdiction over the subject-matter is the power to hear
and determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question belong and is conferred by
the sovereign authority which organizes the court and defines its powers. The question of whether a court
has jurisdiction over the subject-matter, calls for interpretation and application of the law of jurisdiction
which distributes the judicial power among the different courts in the Philippines, and since the ruling on
the matter is of far-reaching consequences, affecting, as it may, the very life and structure of our judicial
system, the law has deemed it wise to place the power and authority to act thereon in the highest court of
the land.3) In order that a court may validly try and decide a case, it must have jurisdiction over the
persons of the parties. But in some instances it is said that the court should also have jurisdiction over the
issue meaning thereby that the issue being tried and decided by the court be within the issues raised in the
pleadings. But this kind of jurisdiction should be distinguished from jurisdiction over the subject-matter
the latter being conferred by law and the former by the pleadings. Jurisdiction over the issue, unlike
jurisdiction over the subject-matter, may be conferred by consent either express or implied of the parties.
Although an issue is not duly pleaded it may validly be tried and decided if no timely objection is made
thereto by the parties. This cannot be done when jurisdiction over the subject-matter is involved. In truth,
jurisdiction over the issue is an expression of a principle that is involved in jurisdiction over the persons
of the parties. Where, for instance, an issue is not duly pleaded in the complaint, the defendant cannot be
said to have been served with process as to that issue. At any rate, whether or not the court has
jurisdiction over a specific issue is a question that requires nothing except an examinationof the
pleadings, and this function is without such importance as call for the intervention of this Court
LACSON v. EXECUTIVE SECRETARYAdherence of Jurisdiction (Exceptions) & Action of the Court
when determined that it has no jurisdiction & Jurisdiction of the SB (Offense deemed committed in
relation to Public Office)Facts:11 persons believed to be members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang, an
organized crimesyndicate involved in bank robberies, were slain by elements of the Anti-Bank
Robbery andIntelligence Task Group (ABRITG). Petitioner Lacson and petitioners-intervenors Acop and
Zubiawere members of ABRITG.SPO2 de los Reyes exposed to the media that what actually happened
between themembers of the Kuratong Baleleng and the ABRITG was a summary execution (rub-out) and
nota shoot-out. Ombudsman Desierto formed a panel to investigate the incident. Upon investigation,all
the PNP officers and personnel allegedly involved in the incident were absolved from anycriminal

liability because it was a legitimate police operation. However, a review board modifiedthe panels ruling
and recommended the indictment for multiple murder against 26 respondents,including Lacson, Acop
and Zubia. The Ombudsman approved the recommendation and 11informations for murder were
filed against Lacson, as principal, Acop and Zubia as accessoriesbefore the Sandiganbayans Second
DivisioUpon motion by all the accused in the 11 informations, the SB allowed them to file amotion for
reconsideration of the Ombudsmans action. After a reinvestigation, the Ombudsmanfiled 11 amended
informations before the SB, wherein Lacson was charged only as an accessory.The accused filed separate
motions questioning the jurisdiction of the SB, asserting thatunder the amended informations, the cases
fall within the jurisdiction of the RTC pursuant toSection 2 of R.A. 7975. They said that the said law
limited the jurisdiction of the SB to caseswhere one or more of the principal accused are government
officials with Salary Grade 27 orhigher, or PNP officials with the rank of Chief Superintendent or higher.
They did not qualify underthe said requisites because the highest ranking principal has the rank of only a
Chief Inspectorand none has the equivalent of at least SG 27. Thus, the SB admitted the amended
informationand ordered the cases transferred to the QC RTC, which has original and exclusive
jurisdictionunder R.A. 7975.The Office of the Special Prosecutor moved for a reconsideration, insisting
the casesshould remain with the SB. Petitioner and some of the accused opposed.Pending the motions
for reconsideration, RA 8249 was approved amending thejurisdiction of the SB by deleting
the word principal from the phrase principal accused inSection 2 (a & c) of R.A. 7975. Even
before the issue of jurisdiction came up with the filing of theamended informations, the house bill for that
(1) WON Sections 4 & 7 of R.A. 8249 is unconstitutional.a. WON the statute violates the
petitioners right to due process and equalprotection clause because the provisions seemed to have
been designed for theSandiganbayan to continue to acquire jurisdiction over the case.b. WON the statute
is an ex-post facto law.(2) Whether the case falls within the Sandiganbayans or Regional Trial
Courtsjurisdiction.
a. WON the offense of multiply murder was committed in relation to the officeof the accused PNP
officers, making the case fall within theSandiganbayans jurisdiction.

HELD:(1) SECTIONS 4 AND 7 OF R.A. 8249 ARE CONSTITUTIONAL.The issue on due process and
equal protection is too shallow to deseve merit. Therewere no concrete evidence and convincing argument
presented. The classification made bythe law was reasonable and not arbitrary.There is nothing ex post
facto in the statute. Generally, ex post facto laws deal with theretroactive effect of penal laws and the said
R.A. is procedural in nature.(2) THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL
JURISDICTION OVERTHE CASES.For a case to be within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, it
must be shown thatthe offense charged in the information was committed in relation to the
office of theaccused.In People v. Montejo, the court held that an offense is said to have been committed
inrelation to the office if it is intimately connected with the office of the offender andperpetrated
while he was in the performance of his official functions. This intimacy mustbe alleged in the
information, which is what determines the jurisdiction of the court. Whatis controlling is the specific
factual allegations in the information that would show theclose intimacy between the discharge of the
accuseds official duties and the commissionof the offense charged. It does not even matter whether the
phrase committed in relationto his office appears in the information or not.In the case at bar, what the
amended information contains is a mere allegation that theoffense was committed by the accused public

officer in relation to his office and that is notsufficient. Such phrase is merely a conclusion of law. Since it
was not proven that thecrime of murder was committed in the discharge of their duties, the
Sandiganbayan doesnot have jurisdiction over the cases.

G.R. No. 167764 October 9, 2009Vicente Foz, Jr. and Danny G. Fajardo, Petitioners,Vs.People of the
Philippines, Respondent.Facts:Petitioners are accused of libel in this case because of an article printed in
a daily publication called Daily Panay. The article was supposedly libelous because it attacked a certain
Dr. Portigo, exposing him to public hatred, contempt and ridicule. The article spoke of Dr. Portigo
being an incompetent physician, taking advantage of the poor for his monetary gain. The article was
published July 5, 1994.On March 1, 1995, petitioners pleaded not guilty; thereafter trial ensued. On
December 4, 1997, the RTC of Iloilo finds petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced them
to 3 months 11 days of arresto mayor as minimum to 1 year eight months 21 days of prision correcional
as maximum and a fine of P1,000 each.Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration on February 20,
1998 but it was denied. Petitioners then filed an appeal to the CA; on November 24, 2004, the CA
affirmed in toto the RTC decision. The petitioners then filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied
in a resolution dated April 8, 2005. Petitioners then elevated the case to the Supreme Court, raising

for the first time the issue of whether or not the RTC of Iloilo City Branch 23 had jurisdiction
over the case.The Supreme Court said that the issue of jurisdiction can be raised anytime, even
on appeal or motions for reconsiderations, which leaves the case to one final issue.Issue:Whether
or not the RTC of Iloilo City, Branch 23 had jurisdiction to try the caseRuling:No, the RTC of
Iloilo. Branch 23 had no jurisdictionRatio:Libel cases can only be instituted in 4 places
according to the rules on venue in Article 360.1. Whether the offended party is a public official is
a public official or private person, the criminal action may be filed in the CFI of the province or
city where the libelous articleis printed and first published.2. If the offended party is a private
individual, the criminal action may also be filed in theCFI of the province where he actually
resided at the time of the commission of the offense.3. if the offended party is a public officer
whose office is in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in
the CFI of Manila.4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of Manila, the
action maybe filed in the CFI of the province where he hel d office at the time of the commission
of the offense.In the present case, Dr. Portigo is a private individual at the time of the publication
of the offense, so the venue is either the place where the article was first published or the place of
his residence.In the information filed, it only alleged that Daily Panay was in general circulation
in the province of Iloilo, nowhere is there proof that the article was indeed first published in the
city of Iloilo. In the case of Dr. Portigos residence, the information only alleged that Dr. Edgar
Portigo is a physician and medical practitioner in Iloilo City. According to the SC, this does
nothing to prove that Dr. Portigo is actually residing in Iloilo City, the only thing it stresses was
that Dr. Portigo was a medical practioner in Iloilo City. Finally the Supreme Court stresses the

importance of the fact that jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is determined by the
allegations of the information, and based on the information, there was no clear fact indicating
that the RTC of Iloilo City, Branch 23 had jurisdiction over the case, therefore the petition was
granted and the criminal case was dismissed. FOZvPEOPLEFacts:Vicente Foz
(columnist) and Danny Fajardo (editorpublisher) ofPanay News were charged
with libel for writing and publishing anarticle against Dr. Edgar Portigo1.
The RTC found them guilty as charged which was affirmed by the CA
hence this petition
forreview.FozandFajardoraisedforthefirsttimethat theinformation charging
themwithlibeldidnotcontainallegationssufficienttovestjurisdictioninthe
RTCofIloiloCity.Issue:W/NtheRTCofIloilohadjurisdictionovertheoff
enseHeld:NOVenue in criminal cases is an essential element of
jurisdiction. Theoffense should have been committed or any one of its
essentialelements took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the
court.Thejurisdiction of thecourt is determined bythe allegations in
thecomplaintorinformation.Therulesonvenueforwrittendefamationare as
follows:1.
Whenoffendedpartyisapublicofficialoraprivateperson=filedinRTCof
provinceorcitywherethelibelousarticleisprintedandfirst published 2.
When offended party is a private individual = filed in RTCof province
where he actually resided at the time ofcommissionofoffense 3. When
offended party is a public officer whose office is
inManila=filedinRTCofManila.
REMEDIALLAWREVIEWDIGESTS(CIVPRO)
TranquilSalvadorIIIAlcisso,Antonio,Arriola,Bernardo,Cajucom,Claudio,Dialino,
Dizon,Escueta,Imperial,Martin,Martinez,Mendoza,Raso,Rosales, Sia, Venzuela
34. When offended party is a public officer holding
officeoutsideManila = filed inRTC of provinceor city
whereheheldofficeatthetimeofcommissionoftheoffenseDr.Portigois
aprivateindividualatthetimeofthepublicationofthelibelous article, the
venue may be the RTC of the province/citywherethelibelousarticlewas
printedandfirstpublishedORwhereheactuallyresidedat the time of the com
missionoftheoffense.The Information [relevant to REM] states only that
x x x both theaccused as columnists and editor publisher, respectively of
PanayNews,a daily publication witha considerable circulation in the
CityofIloiloandthroughouttheregionxxx.suchdidnotestablishthat the
saidpublicationwasprintedandpublishedinIloiloCity.Ascitedin 2
other cases, the SC held that if it would beheld that theinformation
sufficiently vests jurisdiction on the allegation that the publication was in
general circulation in [place where case is filed], there would be no
impediment to the filing of the libel action inother location where the
publication is in general circulation.
SuchwasnottheintentofRA4363.Onresidence theinformation failed

to allege theresidence
ofDr.Portigo.WhiletheinformationallegesthatDr.Portigoisaphysicianand
medical practitioner in Iloilo City, it did not clearly andpositively
indicate that he was actually residing in Iloilo City at thetime of the
commission of the offense. It was possible that he
wasactuallyresidinginanotherplace.Residenceof aperson is his personal, ac
tualorphysicalhabitationorhis actual residence or place of abode provided
he resides thereinwith continuity and consistency; no particular length of
time isrequired.Residencemustbemorethantemporary.Petitioner Ramiscal
then filed a motion for reconsideration of theOmbudsmans finding of
probable cause against him.
TheSandiganbayanorderedtheprosecutiontoevaluateitsevidence and report its
recommendations on the MR filed. Initially, theprosecution recommended the
dropping of petitioner in the casesfiled. However, the prosecutions final
recommendation was thatthe MR filed by Petitioner should be denied. Upon
receipt of thisfinding/recommendation, the Sandiganbayan scheduled
thearraignmentofPetitioner.Afterwards,Petitioner filed his 2ndMR of the
Ombudsmans
findingofprobablecauseagainsthim.Petitionersarraignmentnevertheless followed.
Hefiledamotiontosetasidehisarraignmentpendingresolutionofhis2nd
MR.ISSUE: Whether or not the motion to set aside arraignment
shouldbegrantedduetothependingMR?RULING: No. The motion
should not be granted even though
theresolutionoftheMRwasstillpending.The Rules of Procedure of the
Office of the Ombudsman, asamendedby Administrative Order No. 15,
Series of 2001,sanctionthe immediate filing of an information in the
proper court upon
afindingofprobablecause,evenduringthependencyofamotionforreconsider
ation.Section 7, Rule II of the Rules, as amended,provides:Section
7.Motion forReconsideration.a) Only one motion forreconsideration or
reinvestigation of anapproved order or resolution shall be allowed, the same
to be filed within five (5)days from notice thereof with the Office
ofthe Ombudsman, or the proper DeputyOmbudsman as the case may be,
withcorresponding leave of court in cases wherethe information has already
been filed incourt; b) The filing of a motion
forreconsideration/reinvestigationshall notbarthe filing of the
correspondinginformation in Court on the basis of thefinding of probable
cause in the
resolutionsubjectofthemotion.(Emphasissupplied)If the
filing of a motion for reconsideration of theresolutionfinding probable cause
cannot bar the filing of the correspondinginformation, then neither can it
bar the arraignment of
theaccused,whichinthenormalcourseofcriminalprocedurelogicallyfollows the
filingoftheinformation.Moreover,any of grounds for suspension of

arraignment asprovidedforunderSection11,Rule116of
theRulesofCourtisnotpresent in this case (i.e. accused of unsound
mind, prejudicialquestion,etc.)

1.PINOTEvAYCOFACTS:State Prosecutor Pinote filed an administrative


case against
RTCJudgeAycoforgrossignoranceofthelaw,graveabuseofauthority,and
grave misconduct. In a criminal case being handled by Pinote, Judge Ayco
allowed the testimony of 2 witnesses in court,
despitetheabsenceofPinote.Pinote,atthattime,wasundergoingmedical treatme
ntinthePhilippineHeartCenter.In the following hearings,despite orders
of Ayco, Pinote refused tocross examine the witnesses due to his being
absent during theirdirect examinations, contending that the proceedings were
void.Pinotefileda Manifestationstating such,butJudge Ayco ruledthat the
prosecution was waiving its right to crossexamine the
2witnessesinstead.The Court Administrator found in favor of Pinote,
stating that
AycoviolatedRule110,Sec.5oftheRulesofCriminalProcedure.ISSUE:W/
NAycoshouldbeheldadministrativelyliable?
HELD:YES.Aycoshouldbeheldadministrativelyliable.Asa general
rule,all criminal actionsshall beprosecuted underthe
controlanddirectionofthepublicprosecutor.If the schedule of the
public prosecutor does not permit,
however,orincasetherearenopublicprosecutors, aprivate prosecutor maybe
authorizedinwritingbytheChiefoftheProsecutionOfficeortheRegional
State Prosecution Office to prosecute the case, subject tothe approval of
the court.Once so authorized, the privateprosecutor shall continue to
prosecute the case until thetermination of the trial even in the absence
of a public
prosecutor,unlesstheauthorityisrevokedorotherwisewithdrawn. Aycos act
of allowing the presentation of the defense witnesses inthe absence of
complainant public prosecutor or a privateprosecutor designated for the
purpose is thus a clear
transgressionoftheRuleswhichcouldnotberectifiedbysubsequentlygiving the
prosecutionachancetocrossexaminethewitnesses.

[G.R. No. 123504. December 14, 2000]

P/INSP. RODOLFO SAMSON, PO3 JAMES BUSTINERA, PO2 PABLO


TOTANES, and PO1 ADRIANO CRUZ, petitioners, vs. HON.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., as Secretary of Justice, Chief
State Prosecutor ZENON DE GUIA, and State Prosecutor
PAULITA ACOSTA-VILLARANTE and Prosecuting Attorney
EMMANUEL VELASCO, respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
The instant petition is to restrain the Secretary of Justice from conducting a
reinvestigation of PNP-CICC (Heirs of Datu Gemie Sinsuat vs. P/Sr. Insp. Rodolfo
Samson, et al.,) pursuant to an order of the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch
79.
[1]

[2]

[3]

The facts are as follows:


On July 13, 1995, at about 8:05 p.m., at Scout Reyes Street, Barangay Paligsahan,
Quezon City, patrolmen of the Central Police District Command posted at the
intersection of Scout Reyes Street and Mother Ignacia Street flagged a taxicab, with
Datu Gemie Sinsuat as passenger. Instantly, the patrolmen shot Datu Sinsuat in
different parts of the body, inflicting upon him multiple gunshot wounds, causing his
death.
[4]

In August 1995, PNP-Criminal Investigation Service and Central Police District


Command district director and the heirs of Gemie Sinsuat filed with the Department of
Justice a complaint for murder against Rodolfo Samson, James Bustinera, Pablo
Totanes, Adriano Cruz, and police officers Ernesto Diaz, Fernando Nituan, Jaime de la
Cueva, Nestor Tiotioen and Edwin Villanueva, for the killing of Datu Gemie Sinsuat, a
son of a politician from Cotabato, on July 13, 1995, at Scout Reyes, Barangay
Pinagkaisahan, Quezon City.
[5]

The case was assigned to Prosecution Attorney Emmanuel Velasco.


Accused Diaz, Nituan and dela Cueva admitted killing Datu Sinsuat but claimed
self-defense since according to them, they killed Sinsuat during a shootout. On the
other hand, accused Samson and Totanes denied any participation in the killing and
alleged that they arrived at the scene of the crime after the shooting in response to a
radio message requesting for assistance.
[6]

Accused Bustinera and Cruz submitted a separate joint counter-affidavit claiming


that they arrived at the scene of the crime after the shootout. They brought the body of
Datu Sinsuat to the Capitol Medical Center upon instructions of Captain Samson.
[7]

After investigation, on October 3, 1995, Prosecution Attorney Emmanuel Y. Velasco


filed with the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, an information for murder against
petitioners and other police officers, except Nestor Tiotioen and Edwin Villanueva, who
turned state witnesses.
[8]

On October 3, 1995, petitioners filed with the trial court a Very Urgent Motion for
Judicial Determination of Existence of Probable Cause (with Prayer to Hold the
Issuance of Warrant of Arrest) praying:
[9]

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court to personally


determine the existence of probable cause before issuing the warrants for the
arrest of the accused, and to dismiss these cases if it shall determine that no
probable cause exists against the accused.
Movants also pray that a warrant of arrest be held in abeyance until after the
resolution of this case or in case a warrant has already been issued to recall
the same with respect to the movants.
On October 9, 1995, the trial court ruled that there was probable cause for the
arrest, with no bail, of accused Ernesto Diaz, Fernando Nituan and Jaime de la Cueva.

[10]

On October 18, 1995, the trial court ruled that it was premature to discuss the merits
of Exhibits A to F (for the prosecution) for the purpose of the issuance of a warrant of
arrest considering that these exhibits were not presented during the preliminary
investigation of the case and accused were not furnished copies of the same. The trial
court ordered the reinvestigation of the case with respect to petitioners. Thus[11]

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Court finds that at the time of the filing of the
information for murder against accused Samson, Totanes, Bustinera and Cruz
based on the evidence presented during the preliminary investigation and
Resolution dated September 29, 1995 issued by Prosecutor Emmanuel Y.
Velasco, the Court finds no probable cause for the issuance of warrants of
arrest against accused P/Sr. Insp. Rodolfo Samson, PO3 Pablo Totanes, PO3
James Bustinera and PO1 Adriano Cruz.

The Chief State Prosecutor, Department of Justice or his Assistant


Prosecutors is ordered to reinvestigate this case giving accused Samson,
Totanes, Bustinera and Cruz opportunity to controvert Exhibits A to F with submarkings.
SO ORDERED.

[12]

Petitioners did not file any motion for reconsideration of the order. However, before
the Department of Justice could conduct a reinvestigation, on February 6, 1996,
petitioners filed with the Supreme Court the instant petition to enjoin respondents from
further proceeding with the reinvestigation of the case or from resolving the same.
[13]

The issue is whether or not the Court may enjoin the Secretary of Justice from
conducting a reinvestigation of the charges against petitioners as ordered by the trial
court for determination of probable cause.
We dismiss the petition.
Petitioners plea for injunction to restrain the reinvestigation of the criminal case
against them is not legally permissible.
As a general rule, the Court will not issue writs of prohibition or injunction
preliminary or final, to enjoin or restrain, criminal prosecution. With more reason will
injunction not lie when the case is still at the stage of preliminary investigation or
reinvestigation. However, in extreme cases, we have laid the following exceptions:
[14]

[15]

(1) when the injunction is necessary to afford adequate protection to the


constitutional rights of the accused; (2) when it is 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; and (10) when there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and
a motion to quash on that ground has been denied.
[16]

Petitioners have not shown that the case at bar falls within any of the recognized
exceptions above set forth. Petitioners only rely on the probability that a reinvestigation
may result in the remand of the case to the court and the issuance of a warrant of
arrest.

We find petitioners plea for a writ of injunction or temporary restraining order utterly
without merit. As a rule, we do not interfere in the conduct of preliminary investigations
or reinvestigations and leave to the investigating prosecutor sufficient latitude of
discretion in the exercise of determination of what constitutes sufficient evidence as will
establish probable cause for the filing of information against an offender.
[17]

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED, for lack of merit.


No costs.
SO ORDERED.

METROPOLITAN BANK and


TRUST COMPANY,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 164538


Present:

- versus -

CORONA, C. J., Chairperson,


LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BERSAMIN,*
DEL CASTILLO, and
PEREZ, JJ.

ROGELIO REYNADO and


JOSE C. ADRANDEA,**
Promulgated:
Respondents.
August 9, 2010
x------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
It is a hornbook doctrine in our criminal law that the criminal liability for estafa is
not affected by a compromise, for it is a public offense which must be prosecuted and
punished by the government on its own motion, even though complete reparation [has]

been made of the damage suffered by the private offended party. Since a criminal offense
like estafa is committed against the State, the private offended party may not waive or
extinguish the criminal liability that the law imposes for the commission of the crime.[1]
This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks
the reversal of the Court of Appeals (CAs) Decision[2] dated October 21, 2002 in CAG.R. SP No. 58548 and its further Resolution [3] dated July 12, 2004 denying petitioners
Motion for Reconsideration.[4]
Factual Antecedents
On January 31, 1997, petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company charged
respondents before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila with the crime of estafa
under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code. In the affidavit[5] of
petitioners audit officer, Antonio Ivan S. Aguirre, it was alleged that the special audit
conducted on the cash and lending operations of its Port Area branch uncovered
anomalous/fraudulent transactions perpetrated by respondents in connivance with client
Universal Converter Philippines, Inc. (Universal); that respondents were the only voting
members of the branchs credit committee authorized to extend credit accommodation to
clients up to P200,000.00; that through the so-called Bills Purchase Transaction,
Universal, which has a paid-up capital of only P125,000.00 and actual maintaining
balance of P5,000.00, was able to make withdrawals totaling P81,652,000.00[6] against
uncleared regional checks deposited in its account at petitioners Port Area branch; that,
consequently, Universal was able to utilize petitioners funds even before the seven-day
clearing period for regional checks expired; that Universals withdrawals against
uncleared regional check deposits were without prior approval of petitioners head office;
that the uncleared checks were later dishonored by the drawee bank for the reason
Account Closed; and, that respondents acted with fraud, deceit, and abuse of confidence.
In their defense, respondents denied responsibility in the anomalous transactions with
Universal and claimed that they only intended to help the Port Area branch solicit and
increase its deposit accounts and daily transactions.
Meanwhile, on February 26, 1997, petitioner and Universal entered into a Debt
Settlement Agreement[7] whereby the latter acknowledged its indebtedness to the former
in the total amount of P50,990,976.27[8] as of February 4, 1997 and undertook to pay the
same in bi-monthly amortizations in the sum of P300,000.00 starting January 15, 1997,

covered by postdated checks, plus balloon payment of the remaining principal balance
and interest and other charges, if any, on December 31, 2001.[9]
Findings of the Prosecutor
Following the requisite preliminary investigation, Assistant City Prosecutor Winnie M.
Edad (Prosecutor Edad) in her Resolution[10] dated July 10, 1997 found petitioners
evidence insufficient to hold respondents liable for estafa. According to Prosecutor Edad:
The execution of the Debt Settlement Agreement puts complainant bank in
estoppel to argue that the liability is criminal. Since the agreement was made
even before the filing of this case, the relations between the parties [have]
change[d], novation has set in and prevented the incipience of any criminal
liability on the part of respondents.[11]

Thus, Prosecutor Edad recommended the dismissal of the case:


WHEREFORE, for insufficiency of evidence, it is respectfully recommended
that the case be dismissed.[12]

On December 9, 1997, petitioner appealed the Resolution of Prosecutor Edad to the


Department of Justice (DOJ) by means of a Petition for Review.[13]
Ruling of the Department of Justice
On June 22, 1998, the DOJ dismissed the petition ratiocinating that:
It is evident that your client based on the same transaction chose to file estafa
only against its employees and treat with kid gloves its big time client
Universal who was the one who benefited from this transaction and instead,
agreed that it should be paid on installment basis.
To allow your client to make the choice is to make an unwarranted
classification under the law which will result in grave injustice against herein
respondents. Thus, if your client agreed that no estafa was committed in this
transaction with Universal who was the principal player and beneficiary of this

transaction[,] more so with herein respondents whose liabilities are based only
on conspiracy with Universal.
Equivocally, there is no estafa in the instant case as it was not clearly shown
how respondents misappropriated the P53,873,500.00 which Universal owed
your client after its checks deposited with Metrobank were dishonored.
Moreover, fraud is not present considering that the Executive Committee and
the Credit Committee of Metrobank were duly notified of these transactions
which they approved. Further, no damage was caused to your client as it
agreed [to] the settlement [with] Universal.[14]

A Motion for Reconsideration[15] was filed by petitioner, but the same was denied
on March 1, 2000 by then Acting Secretary of Justice Artemio G. Tuquero.[16]
Aggrieved, petitioner went to the CA by filing a Petition for Certiorari &
Mandamus.[17]
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
By Decision[18] of October 21, 2002, the CA affirmed the twin resolutions of the
Secretary of Justice. Citing jurisprudence[19] wherein we ruled that while novation does
not extinguish criminal liability, it may prevent the rise of such liability as long as it
occurs prior to the filing of the criminal information in court. [20] Hence, according to the
CA, [j]ust as Universal cannot be held responsible under the bills purchase transactions
on account of novation, private respondents, who acted in complicity with the former,
cannot be made liable [for] the same transactions. [21] The CA added that [s]ince the
dismissal of the complaint is founded on legal ground, public respondents may not be
compelled by mandamus to file an information in court.[22]
Incidentally, the CA totally ignored the Comment[23] of the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) where the latter, despite being the statutory counsel of public respondent DOJ,
agreed with petitioner that the DOJ erred in dismissing the complaint. It alleged that
where novation does not extinguish criminal liability for estafa neither does restitution
negate the offense already committed.[24]

Additionally, the OSG, in sharing the views of petitioner contended that failure to
implead other responsible individuals in the complaint does not warrant its dismissal,
suggesting that the proper remedy is to cause their inclusion in the information. [25] This
notwithstanding, however, the CA disposed of the petition as follows:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED due course and, accordingly,
DISMISSED. Consequently, the resolutions dated June 22, 1998 and March 1,
2000 of the Secretary of Justice are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.[26]

Hence, this instant petition before the Court.


On November 8, 2004, we required[27] respondents to file Comment, not a motion to
dismiss, on the petition within 10 days from notice. The OSG filed a Manifestation and
Motion in Lieu of Comment[28] while respondent Jose C. Adraneda (Adraneda) submitted
his Comment[29] on the petition. The Secretary of Justice failed to file the required
comment on the OSGs Manifestation and Motion in Lieu of Comment and respondent
Rogelio Reynado (Reynado) did not submit any. For which reason, we issued a show
cause order[30] on July 19, 2006. Their persistent non-compliance with
our directives constrained us to resolve that they had waived the filing of comment and
to impose a fine of P1,000.00 on Reynado. Upon submission of the required
memorandum by petitioner and Adraneda, the instant petition was submitted for
resolution.
Issues
Petitioner presented the following main arguments for our consideration:
1.
Novation and undertaking to pay the amount embezzled do not extinguish
criminal liability.
2.
It is the duty of the public prosecutor to implead all persons who appear
criminally liable for the offense charged.

Petitioner persistently insists that the execution of the Debt Settlement


Agreement with Universal did not absolve private respondents from criminal liability for
estafa. Petitioner submits that the settlement affects only the civil obligation of Universal
but did not extinguish the criminal liability of the respondents. Petitioner thus faults the
CA in sustaining the DOJ which in turn affirmed the finding of Prosecutor Edad for
committing apparent error in the appreciation and the application of the law on
novation. By petitioners claim, citing Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. v. Tonda,[31] the
negotiations pertain [to] and affect only the civil aspect of the case but [do] not preclude
prosecution for the offense already committed.[32]
In his Comment, Adraneda denies being a privy to the anomalous transactions
and passes on the sole responsibility to his co-respondent Reynado as the latter was able
to conceal the pertinent documents being the head of petitioners Port Area
branch. Nonetheless, he contends that because of the Debt Settlement Agreement, they
cannot be held liable for estafa.
The OSG, for its part, instead of contesting the arguments of petitioner, even
prayed before the CA to give due course to the petition contending that DOJ indeed erred
in dismissing the complaint for estafa.
Given the facts of the case, the basic issue presented before this Court is whether the
execution of the Debt Settlement Agreement precluded petitioner from holding
respondents liable to stand trial for estafa under Art. 315 (1)(b) of the Revised Penal
Code.[33]
Our Ruling
We find the petition highly meritorious.
Novation not a mode of extinguishing
criminal liability for estafa; Criminal liability
for estafa not affected by compromise or
novation of contract.

Initially, it is best to emphasize that novation is not one of the grounds prescribed
by the Revised Penal Code for the extinguishment of criminal liability.[34]
In a catena of cases, it was ruled that criminal liability for estafa is not affected by a
compromise or novation of contract. In Firaza v. People[35] and Recuerdo v. People,
[36]
this Court ruled that in a crime of estafa, reimbursement or belated payment to the
offended party of the money swindled by the accused does not extinguish the criminal
liability of the latter. We also held inPeople v. Moreno[37] and in People v. Ladera[38] that
criminal liability for estafa is not affected by compromise or novation of contract, for it is
a public offense which must be prosecuted and punished by the Government on its own
motion even though complete reparation should have been made of the damage suffered
by the offended party. Similarly in the case ofMetropolitan Bank and Trust Company v.
Tonda[39] cited by petitioner, we held that in a crime of estafa, reimbursement of or
compromise as to the amount misappropriated, after the commission of the crime, affects
only the civil liability of the offender, and not his criminal liability.
Thus, the doctrine that evolved from the aforecited cases is that a compromise or
settlement entered into after the commission of the crime does not extinguish accuseds
liability for estafa.Neither will the same bar the prosecution of said crime. Accordingly,
in such a situation, as in this case, the complaint for estafa against respondents should not
be dismissed just because petitioner entered into a Debt Settlement Agreement with
Universal. Even the OSG arrived at the same conclusion:
Contrary to the conclusion of public respondent, the Debt Settlement
Agreement entered into between petitioner and Universal Converter
Philippines extinguishes merely the civil aspect of the latters liability as a
corporate entity but not the criminal liability of the persons who actually
committed the crime of estafa against petitioner Metrobank. x x x[40]

Unfortunately for petitioner, the above observation of the OSG was wittingly
glossed over in the body of the assailed Decision of the CA.
Execution of the Debt Settlement Agreement did
not prevent the incipience of criminal liability.

Even if the instant case is viewed from the standpoint of the law on contracts, the
disposition absolving the respondents from criminal liability because of novation is still
erroneous.
Under Article 1311 of the Civil Code, contracts take effect only between the
parties, their assigns and heirs, except in case where the rights and obligations arising
from the contract are not transmissible by their nature, or by stipulation or by provision of
law. The civil law principle of relativity of contracts provides that contracts can only bind
the parties who entered into it, and it cannot favor or prejudice a third person, even if he is
aware of such contract and has acted with knowledge thereof.[41]
In the case at bar, it is beyond cavil that respondents are not parties to the
agreement. The intention of the parties thereto not to include them is evident either in the
onerous or in the beneficent provisions of said agreement. They are not assigns or heirs
of either of the parties. Not being parties to the agreement, respondents cannot take
refuge therefrom to bar their anticipated trial for the crime they committed. It may do
well for respondents to remember that the criminal action commenced by petitioner had
its genesis from the alleged fraud, unfaithfulness, and abuse of confidence perpetrated by
them in relation to their positions as responsible bank officers. It did not arise from a
contractual dispute or matters strictly between petitioner and Universal. This being so,
respondents cannot rely on subject settlement agreement to preclude prosecution of the
offense already committed to the end of extinguishing their criminal liability or prevent
the incipience of any liability that may arise from the criminal offense. This only
demonstrates that the execution of the agreement between petitioner and Universal has
no bearing on the innocence or guilt of the respondents.
Determination of the probable cause, a function
belonging to the public prosecutor; judicial
review allowed where it has been clearly
established that the prosecutor committed
grave abuse of discretion.
In a preliminary investigation, a public prosecutor determines whether a crime has
been committed and whether there is probable cause that the accused is guilty thereof.

[42]

The Secretary of Justice, however, may review or modify the resolution of the
prosecutor.
Probable cause is defined as such facts and circumstances that will engender a wellfounded belief that a crime has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty
thereof and should be held for trial. [43] Generally, a public prosecutor is afforded a wide
latitude of discretion in the conduct of a preliminary investigation. By way of exception,
however, judicial review is allowed where respondent has clearly established that the
prosecutor committed grave abuse of discretion that is, when he has exercised his
discretion in an arbitrary, capricious, whimsical or despotic manner by reason of passion
or personal hostility, patent and gross enough as to amount to an evasion of a positive
duty or virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law.[44]Tested against these
guidelines, we find that this case falls under the exception rather than the general rule.
A close scrutiny of the substance of Prosecutor Edads Resolution dated July 10, 1997
readily reveals that were it not for the Debt Settlement Agreement, there was indeed
probable cause to indict respondents for the crime charged. From her own assessment of
the Complaint-Affidavit of petitioners auditor, her preliminary finding is that Ordinarily,
the offense of estafa has been sufficiently established.[45] Interestingly, she suddenly
changed tack and declared that the agreement altered the relation of the parties and that
novation had set in preventing the incipience of any criminal liability on respondents. In
light of the jurisprudence herein earlier discussed, the prosecutor should not have gone
that far and executed an apparent somersault. Compounding further the error, the DOJ in
dismissing petitioners petition, ruled out estafa contrary to the findings of the
prosecutor. Pertinent portion of the ruling reads:
Equivocally, there is no estafa in the instant case as it was not clearly shown
how respondents misappropriated the P53,873,500.00 which Universal owed
your client after its checks deposited with Metrobank were
dishonored. Moreover, fraud is not present considering that the Executive
Committee and the Credit Committee of Metrobank were duly notified of
these transactions which they approved. Further, no damage was caused to
your client as it agreed [to] the settlement [with] Universal.[46]

The findings of the Secretary of Justice in sustaining the dismissal of the


Complaint are matters of defense best left to the trial courts deliberation and

contemplation after conducting the trial of the criminal case. To emphasize, a preliminary
investigation for the purpose of determining the existence of probable cause is not a part
of the trial. A full and exhaustive presentation of the parties evidence is not required, but
only such as may engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been committed
and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. [47] A finding of probable cause does not
require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction. It is
enough that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense
charged.[48] So we held in Balangauan v. Court of Appeals:[49]
Applying the foregoing disquisition to the present petition, the reasons of DOJ
for affirming the dismissal of the criminal complaints for estafa and/or
qualified estafa are determinative of whether or not it committed grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. In requiring hard
facts and solid evidence as the basis for a finding of probable cause to hold
petitioners Bernyl and Katherene liable to stand trial for the crime complained
of, the DOJ disregards the definition of probable cause that it is a reasonable
ground of presumption that a matter is, or may be, well-founded, such a state
of facts in the mind of the prosecutor as would lead a person of ordinary
caution and prudence to believe, or entertain an honest or strong suspicion,
that a thing is so. The term does not mean actual and positive cause nor does it
import absolute certainty. It is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief;
that is, the belief that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense
charged. While probable cause demands more than bare suspicion, it requires
less than evidence which would justify conviction. Herein, the DOJ reasoned
as if no evidence was actually presented by respondent HSBC when in fact the
records of the case were teeming; or it discounted the value of such
substantiation when in fact the evidence presented was adequate to excite in a
reasonable mind the probability that petitioners Bernyl and Katherene
committed the crime/s complained of. In so doing, the DOJ whimsically and
capriciously exercised its discretion, amounting to grave abuse of discretion,
which rendered its resolutions amenable to correction and annulment by the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari.

In the case at bar, as analyzed by the prosecutor, a prima facie case of estafa exists
against respondents. As perused by her, the facts as presented in the Complaint-Affidavit
of the auditor are reasonable enough to excite her belief that respondents are guilty of the
crime complained of. In Andres v. Justice Secretary Cuevas[50] we had occasion to rule

that the presence or absence of the elements of the crime is evidentiary in nature and is a
matter of defense that may be passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits.[51]
Thus confronted with the issue on whether the public prosecutor and the Secretary
of Justice committed grave abuse of discretion in disposing of the case of petitioner,
given the sufficiency of evidence on hand, we do not hesitate to rule in the
affirmative. We have previously ruled that grave abuse of discretion may arise when a
lower court or tribunal violates and contravenes the Constitution, the law or existing
jurisprudence.
Non-inclusion of officers of Universal not a
ground for the dismissal of the complaint.
The DOJ in resolving to deny petitioners appeal from the resolution of the
prosecutor gave another ground failure to implead the officers of Universal. It explained:
To allow your client to make the choice is to make an unwarranted
classification under the law which will result in grave injustice against herein
respondents. Thus, if your client agreed that no estafa was committed in this
transaction with Universal who was the principal player and beneficiary of this
transaction[,] more so with herein respondents whose liabilities are based only
on conspiracy with Universal.[52]

The ratiocination of the Secretary of Justice conveys the idea that if the charge
against respondents rests upon the same evidence used to charge co-accused (officers of
Universal) based on the latters conspiratorial participation, the non-inclusion of said coaccused in the charge should benefit the respondents.

The reasoning of the DOJ is flawed.


Suffice it to say that it is indubitably within the discretion of the prosecutor to determine
who must be charged with what crime or for what offense. Public prosecutors, not the
private complainant, are the ones obliged to bring forth before the law those who have
transgressed it.

Section 2, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court [53] mandates that all criminal actions must be
commenced either by complaint or information in the name of the People of
the Philippines against all persons who appear to be responsible therefor. Thus the law
makes it a legal duty for prosecuting officers to file the charges against whomsoever the
evidence may show to be responsible for the offense. The proper remedy under the
circumstances where persons who ought to be charged were not included in the
complaint of the private complainant is definitely not to dismiss the complaint but to
include them in the information. As the OSG correctly suggested, the proper remedy
should have been the inclusion of certain employees of Universal who were found to
have been in cahoots with respondents in defrauding petitioner. The DOJ, therefore,
cannot seriously argue that because the officers of Universal were not indicted,
respondents themselves should not likewise be charged. Their non-inclusion cannot be
perversely used to justify desistance by the public prosecutor from prosecution of the
criminal case just because not all of those who are probably guilty thereof were charged.
Mandamus a proper remedy when resolution of
public respondent is tainted with grave abuse of
discretion.
Mandamus is a remedial measure for parties aggrieved. It shall issue when any tribunal,
corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which
the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station. [54] The writ
of mandamus is not available to control discretion neither may it be issued to compel the
exercise of discretion. Truly, it is a matter of discretion on the part of the prosecutor to
determine which persons appear responsible for the commission of a crime. However,
the moment he finds one to be so liable it becomes his inescapable duty to charge him
therewith and to prosecute him for the same. In such a situation, the rule loses its
discretionary character and becomes mandatory.Thus, where, as in this case, despite the
sufficiency of the evidence before the prosecutor, he refuses to file the corresponding
information against the person responsible, he abuses his discretion. His act is
tantamount to a deliberate refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. The Secretary of
Justice, on the other hand, gravely abused his discretion when, despite the existence of
sufficient evidence for the crime of estafa as acknowledged by the investigating
prosecutor, he completely ignored the latters finding and proceeded with the questioned

resolution anchored on purely evidentiary matters in utter disregard of the concept of


probable cause as pointed out in Balangauan. To be sure, findings of the Secretary of
Justice are not subject to review unless shown to have been made with grave abuse.
[55]
The present case calls for the application of the exception. Given the facts of this case,
petitioner has clearly established that the public prosecutor and the Secretary of Justice
committed grave abuse of discretion.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 58548 promulgated on October 21, 2002 affirming the
Resolutions dated June 22, 1998 and March 1, 2000 of the Secretary of Justice, and its
Resolution dated July 12, 2004 denying reconsideration thereon are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The public prosecutor is ordered to file the
necessary information for estafa against the respondents.

SO ORDERED.

LYDELLE L. CONQUILLA,

A.M. No. MTJ-09-1737

Complainant,
Present:

CARPIO, J., Chairperson,


NACHURA,
PERALTA,
- versus -

ABAD, and
MENDOZA, JJ.

JUDGE LAURO G. BERNARDO,


Municipal Trial Court,
Bocaue, Bulacan

Promulgated:
Respondent.
February 9, 2011

x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case
This is an administrative complaint for usurpation of authority, grave misconduct, and
gross ignorance of the law filed by Lydelle L. Conquilla (complainant) against
Judge Lauro G. Bernardo (respondent judge), Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) of Bocaue, Bulacan.

The Facts
In a verified complaint dated 30 July 2008, complainant Conquilla charged respondent
judge with usurpation of authority, grave misconduct, and gross ignorance of the law.

Complainant alleged that on 4 July 2008, a criminal complaint for direct assault was
filed against her before the MTC of Bocaue, Bulacan. The complaint was signed by
Police Chief Inspector Rizalino Andaya of the Bocaue Police Station.

On 8 July 2008, respondent judge conducted a preliminary investigation and found


probable cause to hold the complainant for trial for the crime of direct assault.
Respondent judge then issued a warrant of arrest dated 8 July 2008, with the bail fixed
at P12,000.

On 10 July 2008, upon motion of complainant, respondent judge issued an order


reducing the bail for complainants provisional liberty to P6,000. On the same date,
complainant posted cash bail of P6,000 for her provisional liberty.

Complainant then filed an administrative complaint, alleging that under A.M. No. 0508-[2]6-SC, first level court judges no longer have the authority to conduct
preliminary investigations. Thus, complainant avers that respondent judge committed
an illegal act constituting gross ignorance of the law and procedure when he
conducted the preliminary investigation and issued the warrant of arrest. Complainant
claims that the hasty issuance of the warrant of arrest was without legal basis and
unjustly prejudiced complainant and deprived her of her liberty. Complainant submits
that respondent judge usurped the power of the prosecutor, who was not even given
the chance to comment on complainants Motion to Reduce Bail. Furthermore,
complainant alleges that when she learned about the warrant of arrest, she called
respondent judges wife, who said she would help in having the bail reduced
to P6,000.00 and would have the case for direct assault against herein complainant
dismissed provided herein complainant cancel the wifes debt of P35,000.00 and
provided that herein complainant loan the wife an additional amount of P50,000.00.1

In his Comment, respondent judge states that he issued the warrant of arrest in good
faith because he was convinced that there was probable cause and that it was
necessary to place the complainant under immediate custody to prevent a frustration
of justice. Although respondent judge knew that the Supreme Court already amended
Rules 112 and 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure by removing the
conduct of the preliminary investigation from judges of first level courts, he argues
that the power to personally determine probable cause in the issuance of a warrant of
arrest cannot be revoked. Besides, even if such power to determine probable cause
was indeed revoked by the amendment, respondent judge submits that technical rules
can be relaxed if their implementation will result in injustice.

Respondent judge further states that he did not usurp the power of the prosecutor
when he reduced the bail considering that under Section 20 of Rule 114, the court may
increase or decrease the bail upon good cause.
Lastly, respondent judge denies any knowledge of the alleged conversation and
transaction between complainant and his wife.

The OCAs Report and Recommendation

In its Report dated 12 February 2009, the OCA found respondent judge guilty of gross
ignorance of the law for his patent and unjustified violation of the provisions of the
Resolution in A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC. The OCA stated that the Resolution in A.M. No.
05-8-26-SC, which took effect on 3 October 2005, removed the conduct of
investigation from the scope of authority of first level courts judges. Had respondent
judge been more prudent in understanding the pertinent provisions of the Resolution
in A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC, which are very clear and concise, no administrative
complaint would have been filed against him.

The OCA, however, found the charge of usurpation of authority without merit. The
OCA agreed with respondent judge that the power to determine the amount of bail is
vested in the judge.

The OCA recommended (a) that the administrative complaint against respondent
judge be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter; and (b) that respondent judge
be fined in the amount of P20,000.00 for gross ignorance of the law, with a stern
warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more
severely.

The Ruling of the Court

In this case, respondent judge makes it appear that he merely conducted a preliminary
examination for the purpose of determining whether probable cause exists to justify
the issuance of a warrant of arrest. However, the records of the case clearly show that

respondent judge indeed conducted a preliminary investigation on 8 July 2008. After


finding probable cause to hold complainant for trial for the crime of direct assault,
respondent judge then issued a warrant for her arrest. That respondent judge
conducted a preliminary investigation and not just a preliminary examination to
determine existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is evident
in his Order dated 8 July 2008, which reads:

ORDER
The undersigned, after personal examination of the witnesses in writing and
under oath, finds that a probable cause exists and there is sufficient ground
to hold the accused LYDELLE L. CONQUILLA for trial for the crime of
DIRECT ASSAULT as charged in the complaint. In order not to frustrate the
ends of justice, there is a need to place the accused in immediate custody. Let
warrant immediately issue for his [sic] arrest hereby fixing bail in the amount
of P12,000.00 for his provisional liberty.2

SO ORDERED.

Bocaue, Bulacan, July 8, 2008.

(signed)
HON. LAURO G. BERNARDO
Judge

Furthermore, after complainant posted bail on 10 July 2008, respondent judge then
issued an Order dated 10 July 2008, ordering the complainants release and setting the
case for her arraignment on 3 September 2008.

The conduct of preliminary investigation by respondent judge was in direct


contravention of A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC, which took effect on 3 October 2005,
amending Rules 112 and 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure by
removing the conduct of preliminary investigation from judges of the first level
courts. Thus, under Section 2 of Rule 112, only the following officers are authorized
to conduct preliminary investigations: (a) Provincial or City Prosecutors and their
assistants; (b) National and Regional State Prosecutors; and (c) Other officers as may
be authorized by law. Furthermore, Section 5 of Rule 112 provides:

SEC. 5. When warrant of arrest may issue.

(a) By the Regional Trial Court. Within ten (10) days from the filing of the
complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of
the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the
case if the evidence on records clearly fails to establish probable cause. If he
finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order
when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 6 of this Rule.
In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the judge may order the
prosecutor to present additional evidence within five (5) days from notice and
the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days from the filing of
the complaint or information.

(b) By the Municipal Trial Court. When required pursuant to the second
paragraph of section 1 of this Rule, the preliminary investigation of cases
falling under the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court or Municipal

Circuit Trial Court SHALL be conducted by the prosecutor. The procedure


for the issuance of a warrant of arrest by the judge shall be governed by
paragraph (a) of this section. (Emphasis supplied.)

Clearly, MTC judges are no longer authorized to conduct preliminary investigation.

In this case, the crime charged against complainant was direct assault against a public
school teacher, who is a person in authority under Article 152 3 of the Revised Penal
Code.4Under Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code, when the assault is committed
against a person in authority while engaged in the performance of his official duties or
on the occasion of such performance, the imposable penalty is prision correccional in
its medium and maximum periods. The duration of the penalty
of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods is 2 years, 4 months and
1 day to 6 years. Thus, the offense charged against complainant requires the conduct
of preliminary investigation as provided under Section 1 of Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court, which reads:

SECTION 1. Preliminary investigation defined; when required. Preliminary


investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is
sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been
committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for
trial.

Except as provided in Section 6 of this Rule, a preliminary investigation is


required to be conducted before the filing of a complaint or information
for an offense where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four (4) years,
two (2) months and (1) day without regard to the fine. (Emphasis supplied.)

It was therefore incumbent upon respondent judge to forward the records of the case
to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for preliminary investigation, instead of
conducting the preliminary investigation himself.
Rule 3.01, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge shall be
faithful to the law and maintain professional competence. Indeed, competence and
diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office. 5 Section 3, Canon
6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct6 requires judges to maintain and enhance their
knowledge and skills to properly perform their judicial functions, thus:

SEC. 3. Judges shall take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance their
knowledge, skills and personal qualities for the proper performance of judicial
duties, taking advantage for this purpose of the training and other facilities
which should be made available, under judicial control, to judges.

When a law or a rule is basic, judges owe it to their office to simply apply the law.
Anything less is gross ignorance of the law.7 Judges should exhibit more than just a
cursory acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules,8 and should be diligent in
keeping abreast with developments in law and jurisprudence. 9

On the alleged promise of respondent judges wife that the bail would be reduced
provided her P35,000 debt will be cancelled and that complainant grant respondent
judges wife an additional loan, we find that complainant did not substantiate her
allegation. Nevertheless, the Court notes that although respondent judge denies
knowledge of such transaction between his wife and complainant, respondent judge
did not categorically deny his wifes debt to complainant. In his Comment, respondent

judge states: Assuming arguendo that there really was a loan made by his wife, he did
not know of such transaction between his wife and the complainant and given this, he
did not allow such transaction to take place. 10

Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct stresses the importance of propriety
and the appearance of propriety to the performance of all the activities of a judge.
Respondent judge should bear in mind that judges should avoid impropriety and the
appearance of impropriety in all of their activities. 11 Furthermore, judges and members
of their families are prohibited from asking for or accepting any gift, bequest, loan or
favor in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done by him in
connection with the performance of judicial duties. 12

On respondent judges issuance of the warrant of arrest and reduction of the amount of
bail, we find such acts void for want of jurisdiction. While Rule 114 of the Rules of
Court allows a judge to grant bail in bailable offenses and to increase or decrease bail,
it assumes that the judge has jurisdiction over the case. In this case, respondent judge
conducted the preliminary investigation without authority and issued the warrant of
arrest. Thus, these acts are void for want of jurisdiction. The reduction of bail is also
void because in the first place, respondent judge had no jurisdiction over the case
itself.

The Court notes that this is respondent judges third offense. In 2003, the Court found
respondent judge administratively liable for undue delay in rendering decisions and
fined himP19,000, with a stern warning that a repetition of similar acts would be dealt
with more severely.13

More importantly, in the 2008 case of Santos v. Bernardo,14 the Court found
respondent judge guilty of gross ignorance of the law and basic rules of procedure and
fined him P20,000, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts
would be dealt with more severely.15 The Court found no merit in respondent judges

supposition that grave coercion is an offense not subject to preliminary investigation.


The Court, however, emphasized that when the complaint was filed on 3 January
2006, respondent judge no longer had authority to conduct preliminary investigation
by virtue of A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC. Thus, the Court held that respondent judge should
have referred the complaint to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor instead of
issuing the subpoena directing complainants to appear before the Court.
Under Section 8(9), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, gross ignorance of the law or
procedure is classified as a serious charge, for which the imposable penalty is any of
the following:

1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the
Court may determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment
to any public office, including government-owned or controlled
corporation: Provided, however, that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case
include accrued leave credits;
2. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three
(3) but not exceeding six (6) months; or
3. A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00.16

Considering that this is respondent judges third offense, the second of which was also
for gross ignorance of the law, we hold that the penalty of six (6) months suspension
from office without salary and other benefits is in order.17

WHEREFORE, we find respondent Judge Lauro G. Bernardo GUILTY of gross


ignorance of the law and SUSPEND him from office for a period of six (6) months
without salary and other benefits, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or
similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

SO ORDERED.

People of the Philippines vs. Ascencion Olarte June 30, 1960 Facts: Asuncion Olarte is charged with libel
by Visitacion Meris after sending her several letters with libelous and contemptuous accusations. The
letters started in February 24, 1954. On January 7, 1956, a libel case was filed with the provincial fiscal
and on February 26 1956, filed the case with the Justice of Peace Court. On July 3, 1956, an information
was filed in the Court of First Instance. The defendant then moved for the quashal of the info on the
ground that it prescribed already. The Solicitor General on the other hand claims that the filing of the
complaint in the Court of Justice of Peace interrupted the prescription period of the case. The defendant
however claims that according to Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code: The criminal action and the civil
action for damages in cases of written defamation, as provided in this chapter, may be filed
simultaneously or separately with the court of first instance of the province wherein the libel was
published, displayed or exhibited, regardless of the place where the same was written, printed or
composed. This provision provides that interruption begins when the case is filed with the CFI. The lower
court dismissed the complaint. Issue: Did the libel case prescribed already? Held: No. Act 277 was the old
law on libel. Libel case were then in the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, regardless of the
amount involved. Article 360 however specifically provides that the case is in the jurisdiction of the CFI.
Act 194 on the other hand authorizes justices of the peace to make preliminary investigation of any crime
alleged to have been committed within his municipality. The question is whether Act 277 is an exception
to Act 194 in the jurisdiction of Justices of the peace. The Court answered this to the negative. 1) Nothing
in Act 277 mentioned such intent. 2) Amendments by implication are frowned upon 3) Authority of the
justices of peace to conduct prelim investigation is far from inconsistent with the authority of the CFI.
Does the filing then of a libel case in the Court of Justice stop the running period of prescription?
Jurisdiction to hear the case is different from authority to make preliminary investigation. The Courts of
the Justice of Peace have jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation on libel cases. When it is
instituted in such court, the prescriptive period is interrupted. Dissenting opinion: The law provides an
express provision that jurisdiction is with the CFI. Framers of the RPC did not want the intervention of
JPC. Some judges in the JPC are not lawyers, and such might be the intention of giving exclusive
jurisdiction to CFI. Commencement of the judicial proceeding cannot start at the investigation of the JCP

TERESITA C. FRANCISCO,
petitioner,
vs.

HON. COURT OF APPEALS, et al,


respondents
.
G.R. No. 102330. November 25, 1998. QUISUMBING, J
FACTS:
Petitioner, the legal wife of private respondent Eusebio Francisco (Eusebio) by hissecond marriage filed a
suit for damages and for annulment of general power of attorneyauthorizing Conchita Evangelista
(Eusebios daughter in his first marriage) to administer thehouse and lot together with the apartments
allegedly acquired by petitioner and Eusebio duringtheir conjugal partnership. The trial court rendered
judgment in favor of private respondents dueto petitioners failure to establish proof that said properties
were acquired during the existence of the second conjugal partnership, or that they pertained exclusively
to the petitioner. As such, theCA ruled that those properties belong exclusively to Eusebio, and that he has
the capacity toadminister them.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the appellate court committed reversible error in affirming the trialcourt's ruling that the
properties, subject matter of controversy, are not conjugal but the capitalproperties of Eusebio exclusively.
RULING:
SC resolved the issue of the nature of the contested properties based on theprovisions of the New Civil
Code. Indeed, Articles 158 and 160 of the New Civil Code have beenrepealed by the Family Code of the
Philippines. Nonetheless, SC cannot invoke the new law inthis case without impairing prior vested rights
pursuant to Article 256 in relation to Article 105(second paragraph) of the Family Code. Accordingly, the
repeal of Articles 158 and 160 of theNew Civil Code does not operate to prejudice or otherwise affect
rights which have becomevested or accrued while the said provisions were in force.
HELD:
Petition is denied. The Decision of the CA is affirmed.

Reodica v CA 292 SCRA 87


Facts:Isabelita Reodica was allegedly recklessly driving a van and hit Bonsolcausing him physical
injuries and damage to property amounting to P 8,542.00. Three days after the accident a complaint was
filed before the
fiscals office against the petitioner. She was charged of "Reckless

Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Slight Physical Injury."After pleading not guilty trial
ensued. RTC of Makati rendered the decisionconvicting petitioner of "quasi offense of reckless
imprudence, resulting indamage to property with slight physical injuries" with arresto mayor of 6months
imprisonment and a fine of P 13,542.00. Petitioner made an appealbefore the CA which reaffirmed the lower courts decision. In its motion
for reconsideration, petitioner now assails thatthe court erred in giving its penalty on complex damage to
property andslight physical injuries both being light offenses over which the RTC has no
jurisdiction and it cant impose penalty in excess to what the law
authorizes.reversal of decision is still possible on ground of prescription or lack of
jurisdiction.Issues:Whether or not the penalty imposed is correct.Whether or not reckless imprudence
resulting to damage to property andreckless imprudence resulting to slight physical injuries are light
felonies.Whether or not there is a complex crime applying Article 48 of the RPC.Whether or not the
duplicity of the information may be questioned for thefirst time on appeal.Whether or not the RTC of
Makati has jurisdiction over the case.Whether the quasi offenses already prescribed.Held:1. On penalty
imposedThe proper penalty for reckless imprudence resulting to slight physicalinjury is public censure
(being the penalty next lower in degree to arrestomenor

see the exception in the sixth paragraph of Article 365 applies).The proper penalty for reckless
imprudence resulting to damage toproperty amounting to 8,542.00 would be arresto mayor in minimum
andmedium periods.2. Classification of each felony involvedReckless imprudence resulting to slight
physical injuries is a light felony.Public censure is classified under article 25 of RPC as a light penalty
and itbelongs on the graduated scale in Article 71 of the RPC as a penalty nextlower to arresto
menor.Reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property is punishable by acorrectional penalty of
arresto mayor and thus belongs to less grave felony and not as a light felony as claimed by petitioner.3.
Rule on complex crimeArt. 48 on penalty for complex crime provides that when a single actconstitutes
two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense isnecessary a means for committing the
other, the penalty for the mostserious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its
maximumperiod. Both offenses cannot constitute a complex crime because recklessimprudence resulting
to slight physical injuries is not either a grave or less grave felony. Therefore each felony should be filed
as a separate complaintsubject to distinct penalties.4. Right to assail duplicity of informationRule 120,
section 3 of the Rules of Court provides that when two or moreoffenses are charged in a single complaint
and the accused fails to objectagainst it before the trial, the court may convict the accuse to as many
offenses as charged and impose a penalty for each of them. Complainantfailed to make the objection
before the trial therefore the right to object hasbeen waived.5. Jurisdiction Jurisdiction of the court is
determined by the duration of the penalty andthe fine imposed as prescribed by law to the offense
charged. Recklessimprudence resulting to slight physical injuries and reckless imprudenceresulting to
damage to property is within the jurisdiction of the MTC.The case was dismissed due to lack of
jurisdiction of the RTC of Makati andthe decision of the CA was set aside.Court Ruling on Zaldivia v
Reyes and Reodica v CA on Prescription:1. Zaldivia v Reyes involves a violation of an ordinance while in
Reodica vCA the violation was against the RPC.

2. Filing of a complaint in the fiscals office involving a felony under th


eRPC is sufficient to interrupt the running of prescription. But filing a
complaint under the fiscals office involving offenses punished by a special
law (i.e. ordinance) does not interrupt the running of prescription. Act3326 is the governing law on
prescriptions of crimes punishable by aspecial law which states that prescription is only interrupted upon
judicialproceeding.
Zaldivia v Reyes
G.R. No. 102342, July 3, 1992, 211 SCRA 277
Facts: A complaint was filed before the fiscal s office constitutin
g an offensein violation of a city ordinance. The fiscal did not file the complaint before
the court immediately but instead filed it 3 months later. The defendant s
counsel filed a motion to quash on ground that the action to file thecomplaint has prescribed. The fiscal
contends that the filing of thecomplaint before his office already interrupts the prescription period.Issue:
Whether or not the filing of information/complaint before the fiscaloffice constituting a violation against a
special law/ordinance interruptsprescription.
Held: The mere filing of complaint to the fiscal s office does not interrupt
the running of prescription on offenses punishable by a special law. Thecomplaint should have been filed
within a reasonable time before the court.It is only then that the running of the prescriptive period is
interrupted.**Act 3326 is the governing law on prescription of crimes punishable by aspecial law which
states that prescription is only interrupted upon judicialproceeding.
Luz M. Zaldivia v. Hon. Andres B. Reyes, Jr.
Facts:Petitioner Zaldivia is charged with quarrying for commercial purposeswithout a mayor's permit in
the municipality of Rodriguez, Province of Rizal.She moved to quash the information on the ground that
the crime hadprescribed but it was denied. She appealed to the RTC and denial wassustained by the
respondent judge.
Petitioner filed for a petition for review on certiorari arguing that the casefiled against her is govern by the
provisions on the Rules of Summary Procedure. She contends that criminal cases like violations of
municipal orcity ordinances does not require preliminary investigation and shall be fileddirectly to the
court and not in the Prosecutor's office. She also invoked ActNo. 3226 An Act to Establish Periods of
Prescription for ViolationsPenalized by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide
whenPrescription Shall Begin to Run. Concluding that the case should have beendismissed since the case
against her was being filed in court way beyondthe 2 month statutory period.The prosecution contends
that when the case was filed on the Prosecutor'soffice it suspends the prescriptive period.Issue:Whether or
not the prescription of period ceased to run when the case wasfiled on the prosecutor's office?
Decision:Petition granted. Case dismissed on the ground of prescription.Ruling:As a general rule, the

filing of the case in the prosecutor's office is sufficientto interrupt the running of the prescriptive period
except when the case iscovered by the Rules on Summary Procedure. If it is any crime, you file it inthe
fiscal's office; the running of the prescriptive period is interrupted. Butin the case at bar having only a
penalty of arresto menor it therefore fallsunder the provisions of the Rules on Summary Procedure. If it is
covered by the Summary Rules, the period continues. It must be the filing of the case incourt which will
interrupt the period from running.
Robin Padilla vs. CA
Summary of the Case:
One night, Enrique Manarang noticed the accused appellant s car running
fast. After a while, a screech of tires was heard and thus, made the officerrun out and investigate. Not so
long, the car continued to run, so a hot-pursuit took place. Manarang then radioed the incident to the
Police.When the car was put to a stop, the driver rolled down the windows withhis hands raised. The
officers then noticed that it was the famous actor,Robin Padilla. While apprehended, because of the hitand-run incident, thepolice saw the revolver tucked in the left waist of Robin. So, the policeinsisted that
the gun be shown in the office if it was legal. The crowd hadformed and Robin was shaking their hands
and pointing to the police while
saying iyan kinuha ang baril ko, as if it was in the movies. The gesture
then revealed a magazine clip of a rifle which made the police suspect thatthere is a rifle inside the
vehicle. Then the rifle was seen. The other firearmswere voluntarily surrendered by Robin.
Now, Robins defense was that his arrest was illegal and consequently, the
firearms and ammunitions taken in the course thereof are inadmissible inevidence under the exclusionary
rule.Robin Padilla was arrested, tried, and convicted for illegal possession of firearms. He was in
possession of a .357 caliber revolver, Smith and Wessonwith 6 live ammunitions, One M-16 baby
Armalite Rifle with ammunitions,One .380 Pietro Barreta with 8 live ammunitions, and six live double
actionammunitions of .38 caliber revolver.Relation to Article3: Section 2.Robin claimed that there was no
search warrant or warrant of arrest thus,making his arrest ille
gal and the evidences inadmissible. The Bill of rights purpose is to put limit to the government s power.
In the People vs. Marti
case, the government was not involved. In this case, the government isinvolved but it was not
illegal.Why? According to wha
ts written in the case, a peace officer or a private
person may arrest a person: (a) when the person has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to
commit and offense, (b) when an offense hasin fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge
of factsindicating that the person to be arrested has committed it.The instances above clearly explain the
legality of the arrest. Robin Padilla,my idol had first sideswiped a balut vendor and the incident was heard

by Manarang and he saw Robin fled away from the scene, thus, committing ahit-and-run. And Enrique
Manarang was a peace officer.When he was halted, the firearms were revealed to the police officers
without their act of searching. The firearms were in plain view. And the
firearms were found by the police in their pursuit of their official duties.And the police have the right as
to where they are because they were inpursuit of Robin when they found the firearms.
BROCKA v ENRILE 1990November 10, 2010NATURE: Petition for Habeas CorpusFACTS:
63 jeepney strike called by the Alliance of Concerned TransportOrganization (ACTO) demonstration
held in sympathy of this strike,forcibly and violently dispersed petitioners arrested by Northern
PoliceDistrict Officers

Jan 28 85
64 petitioners charged with Illegal Assembly RPC146 par.3 in 3 crim casesfiled before RTC QC65 all
petitioners released on bail

P3,000 each EXCEPT for Lino Brocka,Ben Cervantes, Cosme Garcia and Rodolfo Santos (Brocka, et al.),
who werecharged as leaders of the offense of Illegal Assembly for whom no bail wasrecommended66
urgent petition for bail filed before the RTC daily hearings heldbetween Feb.17 85 On Feb. 7 or 9 85, RTC QC Judge Miriam DefensorSantiago ordered Brocka, et al s provisi
onal release; recommended bail at
P6,0000 each Brocka, et al filed respective bail bonds BUT
67 Despite service of release order, Brocka, et al remained in detention respondents-police officers
invoked Preventive Detention Action (PDA)allegedly iss
ued against Brocka, et al on Jan. 28 85
o Neither original nor certified true copy of this PDA was shown toBrocka, et al.
68 Feb 11 85
Brocka, et al charged with Inciting to Sedition in 3 crimcases; hasty and spurious filing of this second
offense as follows:o 10:30 AM counsel informed by phone that Brocka, et al will be broughtbefore the
QC Fiscal at 2:30PM for undisclosed reasons another phonecall subsequently received informing
counsel that appearance of Brocka, etal was to be at 2:00PM
o 2:00PM Brocka, et al arrived at office of Asst. City Fiscal complainants

affidavits had not yet been receivedo 3:00PM representative of the military arrived with alleged
statements of complainants against Brocka, et al for alleged inciting to seditiono 3:15PM counsel inquired
from Records Custodian when the chargesagainst Brocka, et al had been officially received informed
that saidcharges were never coursed through the Records Officeo ALSO, utterances allegedly constituting
Inciting to Sedition underRPC142 are, almost verbatim, the same utterances which are the subject of the
crim cases for Illegal Assembly for which Brocka, et al are entitled to berelased on bail as a matter of
Constitutional right appears thatrespondents have conspired to deprive Brocka, et al of the right to bailo
AND, panel of assistant fiscals demanded that Brocka, et al sign a waiver
of their rights under RPC125 as a condition for the grant of the counsel s
request that they be given 7 days within which counsel may confer withtheir clients no such requirement
required under the rules
69 Brocka, et al released provisionally on Feb.14 85 on orders of thenPres.Marcos release narrated in
Courts resolution in petition for habeas
corpus filed by Sedfrey Ordonez in behalf of Brocka, et al:

o In Return of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, respondents said all accused


had already been released four on Feb15 85 and one on Feb.8 85
o Petitioners, nevertheless, still argue that the petition has not becomemoot and academic because the
accused continue to be in the custody of the law under an invalid charge of inciting to sedition.70 Hence,
this petition.o Brocka, et al contend:bad faith and/or harassment sufficient bases for enjoining their
criminalprosecutionsecond offense of Inciting to Sedition manifestly illegal

premised on oneand the same act of participating in the ACTO jeepney strike
matter of defense in sedition charge so, only issue here is
ISSUE: WON criminal prosecution of a case may be enjoined

YESRATIO:GEN. RULE: Criminal prosecution may not be restrained or stayed by injunction,


preliminary or finalEXCEPTIONS:To afford adequate protection to the consti rights of the accusedWhen
necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoidoppression or multiplicity of actionsWhen
there is no prejudicial question which is subjudiceWhen the acts of the officer are without or in excess of
authority Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulationWhen double jeopardy is
clearly apparentWhen the court has no jurisdiction over the offenseh. Where it is a case of persecution
rather than prosecutionWhere the charges are manifestly false and motivated by lust for vengeanceWhen

there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motionto quash on that ground had been
deniedPreliminary injunction has been issued by the SC to prevent the threatenedunlawful arrest of
petitioners HERE, criminal proceedings had become a case of persecution, have beenundertaken by state
officials in bad faith:
1. Respondents invoked a spurious PDA in refusing Brocka, et al s release
from detention BUT
This PDA was issued on Jan.28 85 and invoked only on Feb.9 85 uponreceipt of TCs order of release
violates guideline that PDA shall beinvoked within 24 hrs in MM or 48 hours outside MM (Ilagan v
Enrile)
Despite subpoenas for PDAs production, prosecution merely presented a
purported xeerox copy of it violates Court pronouncement that
individuals a
gainst whom PDAs have been issued should be furnished withthe original, and the duplicate original, and
a certified true copy issued by the official having official custody of the PDA, at the time of
theapprehension (Ilagan v Enrile)
2. SolGens manifest
ation: Brocka, et al should have filed a motion to quashthe information [instead of a petition for HC]Court
Held: such a course of action would have been a futile move,considering the circumstances then
prevailing:1. spurious and inoperational PDA2. sham and hasty PI clear signals that the prosecutors
intended to keep Brocka, et al indetention until the second offense could be facilitated and justified
withoutneed of issuing a warrant of arrest anew IF-THEN RULE:If there is manifest bad faith that
accompanies the filing of criminal charges(as in this case where petitioners were barred from enjoying
provisionalrelease until such time that charges were filed) and where a shampreliminary investigation was
hastily conducted THEN charges that arefiled as a result should lawfully be enjoined.xx Petition granted.
TC permanently enjoined from proceeding in any manner with the cases subject of the petition.UY VS.
SANDIGANBAYANG.R. No. 105965-70 09 August 1999Facts: Petitioner George Uy was thedeputy
comptroller of the Philippine Navydesignated to act on behalf of
Captain Fernandez, the latters supervisor, onmatters relating the activities
of the Fiscal Control Branch. Six informations forEstafa throughfalsification of official documents and
one information forviolation of Section 3 of RA 3019 (anti-graft and corrupt practices act) werefiled
withthe Sandiganbayan against the petitioner and 19 other accused foralleged.The petitioner was said to
have signed a P.O. stating that the unitreceived1,000 pieces of seal rings when in fact, only 100 were
ordered.TheSandiganbayan recommended that the infomations be withdrawnagainst someof the accused
after a comprehensive investigation.Petitionerfiled a motion to quash contending that it is the Court
Martial andnot theSandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over the offense charged ortheperson of the
accused. Petitioner further contends that RA 1850whichprovides for the jurisdiction of court martial

should govern in thiscase.Issue: W/N the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the subjectcriminal casesor
the person of the petitionerDecision: The fundamental ruleis that the jurisdiction of a court is
determinedby the statute in force at thetime of the commencement of the action. Thus,Sandiganbayan has
no jurisdiction over the petitioner at the time of the filingof the informationsand as now prescribed by
law. RA 8249, the latestamendment of PD 1606creating the Sandiganbayan provides that such willhave
jurisdiction overviolations of RA 3019 of members of the PhilippinesArmy and air forcecolonels, naval
captains and all officers of higher rank.In the case at bar,while the petitioner is charged with violation of
RA 3018, hisposition as
Lieutenant Commander of the Philippine Navy is a rank lower than nav
al
captains and all officers of higher rank. It must be noted that both
theNATURE of the OFFENSE and the POSITION OCCUPIED BY THEACCUSED areconditions SINE
QUA NON before Sandiganbayan can validly take cognizance of the case. Thus, regular courts shall have
exclusive jurisdiction over the personof the accused as provided by the
Sandiganbayan Law which states that incase where none of the accused
are occupying positions corresponding toSalary Grade 27 or higher,exclusive original jurisdiction shall be
vested in theproper RTC, MTC,MCTC or METC pursuant to BP Blg. 129.Consequently, it is the RTC
whichhas jurisdiction over the offense chargedsince under Section 9 of RA 3019,the commission of any
violation of said lawshall be punished withimprisonment for not less than Six years and Onemonth to
FIFTEEN years.The indictment of the petitioner therefore cannot fallwithin the jurisdictionof the MTC,
METC or MCTC.
Defensor-Santiago Vs. Vasquez217 SCRA 633G.R. Nos. 99289-90January 27, 1993
Facts: An information was filed against petitioner with the Sandiganbayanfor violation of the Anti Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act. The order of arrestwas issued with bail for release fixed at Php. 15,000 so she
filed a motionfor acceptance of cash bail bond. On the same day the Sandiganbayanissued a resolution
authorizing the petitioner to post cash bond which thelater filed in the amount of Php.15, 000. Her
arraignment was set, butpetitioner asked for the cancellation of her bail bond and that she beallowed
provisional release on recognizance. The Sandiganbayan deferredit. The Sandiganbayan issued a hold
departure order against petitioner, by reason of the announcement she made that she would be leaving for
theU.S. to accept a fellowship a Harvard. In the instant motion she submittedbefore the S.C. she argues
that her right to travel is impaired.
Issue: Whether or Not the petitioners right to travel is impaired.
Held: The petitioner does not deny and as a matter of fact even made apublic statement, that she he every
intension of leaving the country topursue higher studies abroad. The court upholds the course of action of
theSandiganbayan in taking judicial notice of such fact of petitioners pal to goabroad and in thereafter
issuing a sua sponte the hold departure order is
but an exercise of respondent courts inherent power to preserve and to

maintain effectiveness of its jurisdiction over the case and the person of theaccused.Also, the petitioner
assumed obligations, when she posted bail bond. Sheholds herself amenable at all times to the orders and
process of eth court.She may legally be prohibited from leaving the country during thependency of the
case. (Manotoc v. C.A.)Consequently, CPAI cannot be permitted to wrest from petitioners (as
theremaining CPA officers) the administration of thedisputed property untilafter the parties' rights are
clearly adjudicated in the proper courts. It isneither fair nor legal to bind aparty to the result of a suit or
proceeding in acourt with no jurisdiction. The decision of a tribunal not vested withtheappropriate
jurisdiction is null and void.The petition is GRANTED. Casedismissed for lack of jurisdiction
FIGUEROA vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES (GR 147406)FACTS:
Petitioner was charged with the crime of reckless imprudenceresulting in homicide. The RTC found him
guilty. In hisappeal before theCA, the petitioner, for the first time, questioned RTCs jurisdiction on
thecase.The CA in affirming the decision of the RTC, ruled that the principle of estoppel by laches has
already precluded the petitionerfrom questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC

the trial went on for 4 years with the petitioneractively participating therein andwithout him ever raising
the jurisdictionalinfirmity.The petitioner, for his part, counters that the lack of jurisdiction of a court over
the subject matter may be raised at any timeeven for the firsttime on appeal. As undue delay is further
absent herein, the principle of laches will not be applicable.Hence, this petition.
ISSUE:

WON petitioners failure to raise the issue of jurisdiction during the


trial of this case, constitute laches in relation to thedoctrine laid down inTijam v. Sibonghanoy,
notwithstanding the fact that said issue was
immediately raised in petitioners appealto the CA

HELD:
No.RATIO: Citing the ruling in Calimlim vs. Ramirez, the Court heldthat as a general rule, the issue of
jurisdiction may be raised atany stage of the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by
estoppel.Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction only in cases in which
the factual milieu is analogous tothat of Tijam v. Sibonghanoy.Laches should be clearly present for the
Sibonghanoy doctrine to be applicable, that is, lack of jurisdiction must have beenraisedso belatedly as to
warrant the presumption that the party entitled toassert it had abandoned or declined to assert it.In
Sibonghanoy, the party invoking lack of jurisdiction did so only after fifteen years and at a stagewhen the

proceedings hadalready been elevated to the CA. Sibonghanoy isan exceptional case because of the
presence of laches.In the case at bar, thefactual settings attendant in Sibonghanoy are not present.
Petitioner Atty.Regalado, after the receipt of the Court of Appeals resolution finding her guilty of
contempt, promptly filed a Motion for Reconsideration assailing
the saidcourts jurisdiction based on procedural infirmity in initiating the
ac
tion. Her compliance with the appellate court s directive toshow cause
why she should not be cited for contempt and filing a single piece of pleading to that effect could not be
consideredas an active participation inthe judicial proceedings so as to take the case within the milieu of
Sibonghanoy. Rather, it is thenatural fear to disobey the mandate of thecourt that could lead to dire
consequences that impelled her to comply.Thepetitioner is in no way estopped by laches in assailing the
jurisdiction of theRTC, considering that he raised the lack thereof in his appeal before theappellate court.
At that time, no considerable period had yet elapsed forlaches to attach.DISPOSITIVE: Petition for
review on certiorari is granted.Criminal case is dismissed.
TIJAM vs. SIBONGHANOY (23 SCRA 29)FACTS:
Tijam filed for recovery of P1,908 + legal interest from Sibongahanoy.Defendants filed a counter bond
with ManilaSurety and Fidelity Co(Surety). Judgement was in favour of the plaintiffs, a writ of execution
wasissued against the defendant.Defendants moved for writ of executionagainst surety which was
granted. Surety moved to quash the writ but wasdenied,appealed to CA without raising the issue on lack
of jurisdiction.CAaffirmed the appealed decision. Surety then filed Motion to Dismiss on the ground of
lack of jurisdiction against CFI Cebu inview of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before
the filing of the petition for recovery.Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil
actionsfor demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. CA set aside itsearlierdecision and referred
the case to SC since it has exclusive jurisdictionover "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior
courtis in issue.
ISSUE
: WON Surety bond is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon
appeal.YES
RATIO:
SC believes that that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking thisplea after almost fifteen years
before theSurety filed its motion to dismissraising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time - A
party may be estopped or barredfrom raising a question in different ways and fordifferent reasons. Thus
we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed orbyrecord, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a
general sense is failure orneglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do thatwhich, by
exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier- Furthermore, it has also been heldthat
after voluntarily submitting a causeand encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for
theloser toquestion the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirablepractice" of a party submitting his

case for decision and thenaccepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of
jurisdiction, whenadverse.: Other merits on the appeal : The surety insists that the lower courtshould have
granted its motion to quash the writ of execution because thesame was issued without the summary
hearing - Summary hearing is "notintended to be carried on in theformal manner in which ordinary
actionsare prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which aquestion isresolved "with
dispatch, with the least possible delay, and inpreference to ordinary legal and regular judicial
proceedings" (Ibid,p. 790).What is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appearand
is given an opportunity to hear what isurged upon him, and tointerpose a defense, after which follows an
adjudication of the rights of theparties - In the case at bar,the surety had been notified of the
plaintiffs'motion for execution and of the date when the same would be submittedforconsideration. In
fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when themotion was called, and it was upon his request that
thecourt a quo gavehim a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowedthat period to
lapse without filing ananswer or objection. The surety cannotnow, therefore, complain that it was
deprived of its day in courtThe ordersappealed from are affirmed

Harris v. State, 82 A.2d 387 (Del. Super. Ct. 1951)


Superior Court of Delaware
Filed: June 1st, 1951
Precedential Status: Precedential
Citations: 82 A.2d 387
Docket Number: 42, September Term, 1950
Judges: Carey
Nature of suit: Unknown

82 A.2d 387 (1951)

HARRIS
v.
STATE.

No. 42, September Term, 1950.


Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle.
June 1, 1951.
Edmund N. Carpenter, of Richards, Layton and Finger, of Wilmington, for appellant.
John Metten, of Wilmington, for the State.
CAREY, J., sitting.
*388 CAREY, Judge.
The record of the Court below plainly shows that the conviction was not based upon the information actually filed
therein but was based upon a different charge verbally entered by the Court. An information, as the word is used in
the Family Court Act, is a formal accusation of crime, differing from an indictment only in that it is presented by a
prosecuting officer instead of a grand jury. U. S. v. Borger, C.C., 7 F. 193; State v. Barrell, 75 Vt. 202, 54 A. 183.
Only by information may prosecutions be carried on in that Court. Certainly, a charge entered by the Court itself is not
an information nor can it take the place of one.
In this case, there was no information whatever upon which to base a finding of guilt for a violation of Code Section
3527. To give a Court jurisdiction over a criminal case, there must be a formal accusation in the particular mode or
form prescribed by constitution or statute. 42 C.J.S., Indictments and Informations, 1, p. 833; 27 Am.Jur. 384. We
are not here concerned with the type of case where a person charged with a crime may be convicted of a lesser crime
included in the *389 greater offense; indeed, no attempt is made to justify the judgment upon that theory. The State's
sole argument is that appellant, by pleading and going to trial on the merits, waived the filing of an information
charging violation of Code Section 3527. This argument necessarily assumes that the requirement of a formal
accusation as prescribed by statute involves only jurisdiction of the person. That assumption is inherent in the
contention because it is everywhere held that jurisdiction over subject matter or cause of action cannot be conferred
upon a Court by consent or waiver, but may be questioned at any stage of the proceedings. In my opinion, the
assumption is incorrect. Notwithstanding a contrary expression in some few instances, 61 A.L.R. 802, the better
reasoning is that, in the absence of a formal accusation of the required type, there is nothing before the Court for it to
act upon and, in such event, the Court acquires no jurisdiction over the case itself. Albrecht v. U. S., 273 U.S. 1, 47
S. Ct. 250, 71 L.Ed. 505; State v. McKinley,341 Mo. 1186, 111 S.W.2d 115; Davis v. State, 150 Tex. Crim. 463,
202 S.W.2d 943; Kyser v. State, 22 Ala.App. 431, 117 So. 157; State v. Mee,67 S.D. 335, 297 N.W. 40.
The Court below had no jurisdiction to try this appellant upon the charge of non-support. Discussion of the other
questions raised by counsel would be superfluous. Appellant's motion must be granted for the reason given.