No. L-53373. June 30, 1987.

* finding and recommendations of the fiscal should be
submitted to the Court for appropriate action. While it is true
MARIO FL. CRESPO, petitioner, vs. HON. LEODEGARIO
that the fiscal has the quasi judicial discretion to determine
L. MOGUL, Presiding Judge, CIRCUIT CRIMINAL COURT
whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court or not,
OF LUCENA CITY, 9th Judicial Dist., THE PEOPLE OF THE
once the case had already been brought to Court whatever
PHILIPPINES, represented by the SOLICITOR GENERAL,
disposition the fiscal may feel should be proper in the case
RICARDO BAUTISTA, ET AL., respondents.
thereafter should be addressed for the consideration of the
Criminal Procedure; A court that grant a motion of the fiscal Court, The only qualification is that the action of the Court
to dismiss a case commits no error and the fiscal’s view must not impair the substantial rights of the accused, or the
thereon, in a clash of views with the judge or complainant, right of the People to due process of law.
should normally prevail.—Thus, a fiscal who asks for the
Same; Same.—Whether the accused had been arraigned or
dismissal of the case for insufficiency of evidence has
not and whether it was due to a reinvestigation by the fiscal
authority to do so, and Courts that grant the same commit no
or a review by the Secretary of Justice whereby a motion to
error. The fiscal may re-investigate a case and subsequently
dismiss was submitted to the Court, the Court in the exercise
move for the dismissal should the re-investigation show
of its discretion may grant the motion or deny it and require
either that the defendant is innocent or that his guilt may not
that the trial on the merits proceed for the proper
be established beyond reasonable doubt. In a clash of views
determination of the case,
between the judge who did not investigate and the fiscal who
did, or between the fiscal and the offended party or the Same; Where the court refuses to grant the fiscal’s motion to
defendant, those of the fiscal’s should normally prevail. On dismiss, including a case where the Secretary of Justice
the other hand, neither an injunction, preliminary or final nor ordered the fiscal to move to dismiss the case, the fiscal
a writ of prohibition may be issued by the Courts to restrain a should continue to appear in the case although he may turn
criminal prosecution except in the extreme case where it is over the presentation of evidence to the private prosecutor.
necessary for the Courts to do so for the orderly —However, one may ask, if the trial court refuses to grant
administration of justice or to prevent the use of the strong the motion to dismiss filed by the fiscal upon the directive of
arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive manner. the Secretary of Justice will there not be a vacuum in the
prosecution? A state prosecutor to handle the case cannot
Same; Once an information is filed in court, the court’s prior
possibly be designated by the Secretary of Justice who does
permission must be secured if fiscal wants to reinvestigate
not believe that there is a basis for prosecution nor can the
the case.—The preliminary investigation conducted by the
fiscal be expected to handle the prosecution of the case
fiscal for the purpose of determining whether a prima
thereby defying the superior order of the Secretary of Justice.
facie case exists warranting the prosecution of the accused is
The answer is simple. Therole of the fiscal or prosecutor as
terminated upon the filing of the information in the proper
We all know is to see that justice is done and not necessarily
court. In turn, as above stated, the filing of said information
to secure the conviction of the person accused before the
sets in motion the criminal action against the accused in
Courts. Thus, in spite of his opinion to the contrary, it is the
Court. Should the fiscal find it proper to conduct a
duty of the fiscal to proceed with the presentation of
reinvestigation of the case, at such stage, the permission of
evidence of the prosecution to the Court to enable the Court
the Court must be secured. After such reinvestigation the
1

Leodegario L. Crespo in the Circuit Criminal Court of motion and set the arraignment stating: Lucena City which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 1977 but the existing obligation the liability of the drawer can only be civil arraignment was deferred to August 18.. CCCIX. On March 22. the presiding judge. may refuse to grant the court.: reversed the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and directed the fiscal to move for immediate dismissal of The issue raised in this case is whether the trial court acting the information filed against the accused. 6 On May although he may turn over the presentation of the evidence 15. J. 1978 On April 18. 1977 the Court of Appeals should he abandon the prosecution of the case leaving it to restrained Judge Mogul from proceeding with the arraignment the hands of a private prosecutor for then the entire of the accused until further orders of the Court. de Gala with the the private prosecutor was given time to file an opposition approval of the Provincial Fiscal filed an information for estafa thereto. Hon. as Secretary of Justice of the resolution of the Office of the suggested by the Undersecretary of Justice. Catalino Macaraig. denied the motion.1 When the case was set for arraignment the accused filed a motion to defer arraignment on the ground For resolution is a motion to dismiss this case filed by the that there was a pending petition for review filed with the prosecuting fiscal premised on insufficiency of evidence. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.7 of Lucena City. resolving the petition for review GANCAYCO. for petitioner to elevate the matter to the appellate court.R. The least that the fiscal comment that was filed by the Solicitor General he should do is to continue to appear for the prosecution recommended that the petition be given due course. 1977 to afford time and not criminal. In an order of Annex “A” of the motion wherein. 1978 the Judge denied the against Mario Fl.10 On November 24. “ORDER 52 (Quezon) ‘77. 5 In a proceedings will be null and void.4 In an order of August 17. Undersecretary Macaraig. SP No. 1978 then Undersecretary of Justice. Mogul. 1978 with the trial the case was elevated for review. 1977 Assistant Fiscal Proceso K. enforcing his threat to compel the arraignment of the accused in the case until the Department of Justice shall have PETITION to review the decision of the Circuit Criminal Court finally resolved the petition for review. Jr.1977. 3 2 . Fiscal is urged to move for dismissal for the reason that the Mogul. In an order of August 2. 1978 a decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals to the private prosecutor but still under his direction and granting the writ and perpetually restraining the judge from control.to arrive at its own independent judgment as to whether the A petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a accused should be convicted or acquitted.8 A motion to on a motion to dismiss a criminal case filed by the Provincial dismiss for insufficiency of evidence was filed by the Fiscal upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice to whom Provincial Fiscal dated April 10. The fiscal should preliminary writ of injunction was filed by the accused in the not shirk from the responsibility of appearing for the People Court of Appeals that was docketed as CA-G.2 A motion for reconsideration of check involved having been issued for the payment of a pre- the order was denied in the order of August 5.9attaching thereto a copy of the letter of motion and insist on the arraignment and trial on the merits. among other things. the August 1. of the Philippines even under such circumstances much less 06978. J. Jr. His Honor. evident from Provincial Fiscal for the filing of the information.

the Second Division of this Court resolved to transfer this case to the Court En Banc.”11 Petitioner and private respondent filed their respective briefs The accused then filed a petition for certiorari. according to the evidence received case. according to whether the evidence in his February 19. are shown to be guilty of a crime civil. as it is hereby set for 1981. let the arraignment be. SP08777. In the comment innocence of the accused on evidence not before it but on filed by the Solicitor General he recommends that the that adduced before the Undersecretary of Justice. follow or not follow that presented by the decision filed by the accused was denied in a resolution of offended party. 1981. respondent judge be perpetually the fiscal is to prevent malicious or unfounded prosecution by enjoined from enforcing his threat to proceed with the private persons. No.22 respondents to comment to the petition. ordering respondent Judge to dismiss the said prosecuting persons who.12 On January 23.14 A motion for reconsideration of said or information. a matter petition be given due course. not only have the authority but also the duty of and effect.The motion’s thrust being to induce this Court to resolve the to dismiss. 18 The reason for placing accused whereby petitioner prays that said decision be the criminal prosecution under the direction and control of reversed and set aside. the and a separate comment to the petition asking that the motion is considered as without merit and therefore hereby petition be dismissed. it being meritorious. 1979 a restraining order was It is a cardinal principle that all criminal actions either issued by the Court of Appeals against the threatened act of commenced by complaint or by information shall be arraignment of the accused until further orders from the prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal.15 opinion. 1980.13 In a decision of October 25. dismiss the information. is sufficient or not to establish the guilt of the Hence this petition for review of said decision was filed by accused beyond reasonable doubt. 21 They have equally the legal duty not to prosecute when after an In a resolution of May 19. the Second Division of this investigation they become convinced that the evidence Court without giving due course to the petition required the adduced is not sufficient to establish a prima facie case. SO ORDERED. DENIED. and declaring the obligation of petitioner as purely from the complainant. 1979 the Court of institution of a criminal action depends upon the sound Appeals dismissed the petition and lifted the restraining order discretion of the fiscal.20 Prosecuting officers under the power vested in declaring the information filed not valid and of no legal force them by law. within ten (10) days from notice. WHEREFORE.1980. He may or may not file the complaint of January 23. the Court En Banc resolved to give due course to the December 18.R.16 committed within the jurisdiction of their office. not to file a motion 3 . Private that not only disregards the requirements of due process but respondent through counsel filed his reply to the comment also erodes the Court’s independence and integrity. In the resolution of February 26. cornplainant.19 It cannot be controlled by the arraignment and trial of petitioner in said criminal case. prohibition while the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation in lieu of brief and mandamus with petition for the issuance of preliminary reiterating that the decision of the respondent Court of writ of prohibition and/or temporary restraining order in the Appeals be reversed and that respondent Judge be ordered to Court of Appeals that was docketed as CA-G. In the resolution of February 5. 1979. 17The Court. petition. 1978 at 9:00 o’clock in the morning.

In turn.36a arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive manner. Consequently the of the case. that an information be However. 25 Thus.24 Neither has the Court any power to order the The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the fiscal to prosecute or file an information within a certain purpose of determining whether a prima facie case exists period of time.32 When after the filing of the complaint or information a criminal prosecution.31 motion to dismiss filed by the fiscal upon the directive of the 4 . the action of the fiscal or prosecutor is not without it was due to a reinvestigation by the fiscal or a review by the any limitation or control. Secretary of Justice may direct that a motion to dismiss the case be filed in Court or otherwise.It is through the conduct of a preliminary investigation 23that The filing of a complaint or information in Court initiates a the fiscal determines the existence of a prima facie case that criminal action. once the case had should normally prevail.34 While it is true that the fiscal has the quasi investigate and the fiscal who did. The Courts cannot the case. which is the authority to hear and determine the interfere with the fiscal’s discretion and control of the case.28 On the other hand. the filing of said information sets in. if he finds that the Court or was duly arrested. The same is subject to the approval Secretary of Justice whereby a motion to dismiss was of the provincial or city fiscal or the chief state prosecutor as submitted to the Court. one may ask. preliminary or final nor a writ of prohibition may may feel should be proper in the case thereafter should be be issued by the courts to restrain a criminal addressed for the consideration of the Court. or between the fiscal and judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal the offended party or the defendant. and Courts that grant the criminal action against the accused in Court. It is not prudent or even permissible for warrant for the arrest of the accused is issued by the trial a Court to compel the fiscal to prosecute a proceeding court and the accused either voluntarily submitted himself to originally initiated by him on an information. the permission of the Court must be secured. Should the fiscal same commit no error.36 or the right of the administration of justice or to prevent the use of the strong People to due process of law. 33 conviction.27 In a clash of views between the judge who did not action. at such and subsequently move for the dismissal should the re- stage. the Court in the exercise of its the case maybe and it maybe elevated for review to the discretion may grant the motion or deny it and require that Secretary of Justice who has the power to affirm. a the filing of the information in the proper court. neither an already been brought to Court whatever disposition the fiscal injunction. 35 The only prosecution29 except in the extreme case where it is qualification is that the action of the Court must not impair necessary for the Courts to do so for the orderly the substantial rights of the accused. since this would interfere with the fiscal’s warranting the prosecution of the accused is terminated upon discretion and control of criminal prosecutions.26 The fiscal may re-investigate a case find it proper to conduct a reinvestigation of the case. those of the Fiscal’s case should be filed in court or not. 30 Whether the accused had been arraigned or not and whether However. motion the of evidence has authority to do so. modify or the trial on the merits proceed for the proper determination reverse the action or opinion of the fiscal. the Court thereby acquired the evidence relied upon by him is insufficient for jurisdiction over the person of the accused. The Court thereby acquires jurisdiction over would warrant the prosecution of a case. as fiscal who asks for the dismissal of the case for insufficiency above stated. if the trial court refuses to grant the filed in Court. After investigation show either that the defendant is innocent or such reinvestigation the finding and recommendations of the that his guilt may not be established beyond reasonable fiscal should be submitted to the Court for appropriate doubt.

Thus. (People vs.Secretary of Justice will there not be a vacuum in the cannot impose his opinion on the trial court.) criminal cases even while the case is already in Court he 5 . refrain from not shirk from the responsibility of appearing for the People entertaining a petition for review or appeal from the action of of the Philippines even under such circumstances much less the fiscal. it is the duty of the fiscal to proceed with the presentation of In order therefor to avoid such a situation whereby the evidence of the prosecution to the Court to enable the Court opinion of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the action of to arrive at its own independent judgment as to whether the the fiscal may be disregarded by the trial court.—Although fiscal turns over active conduct of trial to control. the Secretary accused should be convicted or acquitted. (Bais vs. This power belongs to the fiscal. 70 SCRA 361. A motion to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal be expected to handle the prosecution of the case fiscal should be addressed to the Court who has the option to thereby defying the superior order of the Secretary of Justice. the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit should do is to continue to appear for the prosecution without pronouncement as to costs. Although the fiscal defendant pleads. The fiscal should of Justice should. when the complaint or information has already should he abandon the prosecution of the case leaving it to been filed in Court. The Court is the prosecution? A state prosecutor to handle the case cannot best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. proceedings will be null and void. although he may turn over the presentation of the evidence to the private prosecutor but still under his direction and Notes.38 private prosecutor. grant or deny the same. It does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the accused or that the The answer is simple. The role of the fiscal or prosecutor as motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon instructions We all know is to see that justice is done and not necessarily of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the to secure the conviction of the person accused before the investigation. The matter should be left entirely for the the hands of a private prosecutor for then the entire determinationof the Court. Beriales. as far as practicable. he should be present during the proceedings. Courts. 89 SCRA 101. The possibly be designated by the Secretary of Justice who does determination of the case is within its exclusive jurisdiction not believe that there is a basis for prosecution nor can the and competence. in spite of his opinion to the contrary. retains the direction and control of the prosecution of Tagaoen.) The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed in Court any disposition of the case as A judge may not amend the designation of a complaint or its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused information after preliminary investigation and before the rests in the sound discretion of the Court.37 The least that the fiscal WHEREFORE.