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Marie Callo-Claridad vs.

G.R. No. 191567; March 20,2013
Bersamin, J.
Around 5:30 p.m of February, 2007, Cheasare Armani Chase Claridad returned home from visiting
his girlfriend. Around 7:00 p.m, Chase's sister Ariane was sitting in the porch when she noticed a
white Honda Civic car parked along the street. Ariane recognized the driver to be Philip, and she
waved her hand at him but Philip appeared to be noncholant and did not acknowledge her gesture.
Thereafter, Chase left on board the white Honda Civic car.
Marivic Rodriguez and her co-employee nanny Jennylyn Buri, househelper of No.9 Cedar Place,
heard somebody crying from the crime scene: Help!Help! Around 7:30 p.m. However, neither of them
bothered to check. It was noted that No. 10 Cedar Place, owned by Mrs. Howard was uninhabited at
the time and based on the investigation , the Estebans were illegally parking their cars at Mrs.
Howard's carport. At around 7:45 p.m., three cars were parked at the carport No. 10 Cedar place, to
wit: a Honda CRV with plate ZAE 135 parked parallel to the Honda Civic with plate CRD 999, and
Honda Civic with plate JTG 333, the car frequently used by Philip, then parked diagonally behind the
two cars.
At around 7:50 p.m., SG Sarmiento Jr., while patrolling, noticed that side of Honda Civic with plate
JTG 333 had red streaks, it prompted him to inspect the then empty vehicle. He noticed that the radio
is turned on and discovered that the rear and side of Honda Civic CRD 999 were smeared with blood.
He saw cellular phone covered with blood in the passenger seat. It was then he found the bloodied
and lifeless body of Chase lying between the parallel cars. Body was naked from waist up, and with
only the socks on. Around 7:55 p.m., SG Solis received a phone call from a man later identified to be
Mr. Esteban Larry who reported that a kid had met an accident at Cedar Place. SG fabe and Sg
Sarmiento searhced the premises but did not find any accident.
The Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City dismissed the complaint for lack of circumstantial
evidence sufficient to charge Philip with Homicide. On Petition for Review, Secretary of Justice
affirmed the dismissal of the complaint stated that the doubt as to the proper identification of Philip by
the witnesses resulted in the lack of probable cause to charge respondent. The petitioner elevated the
matter to the CA by petition for review under Rule 43, Rules of Court.
Is petition for review under Rule 43 proper remedy?
Is there a reversible error in upholding the decision of Secretary of Justice that there was no probable
cause to charge respondent with murder?
1. No, Petition for Review under Rule 43 to review the Secretary of Justice's resolution on the
determination of probable cause was an improper remedy. CA had no appellate jurisdiction vis-a-sis
the Secretary of Justice. The courts could intervene in the Secretary of Justic's determination of
probable cause only through special civil action for certiorari upon showing that Secretary of Justice
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The determination of
existence of probable cause lies within the discretion of public prosecutor justifying the filing of criminal
information against the respondent.
2. No, CA's determination is correct that there is no prima facie evidence existed that sufficiently
indicated the respondent's involvement in the commission of the crime. It is clear that there was no
eyewitness of the actual killing of Chase; or that there was no evidence showing how Chase had been
killed, how many persons had killed him, and who had been the perpetrator or perpetrators of his
killing.There was also nothing that directly incriminated the respondents in the commission of either
homicide or murder.
For circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances must be
consistent with one another and must constitute an unbroken chain leading to one fair and reasonable
conclusion that a crime has been committed and that the respondents are probably guilty thereof. The
pieces of evidence must be consistent with the hypothesis that the respondents were probably guilty
of the crime and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that they were innocent, and with
every rational hypothesis except that of guilt. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient, therefore, if: (a)
there is more than one circumstance, (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been
proven, and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt.
However, circumstantial evidence linking Philip to the killing of Chase derived from bare recollection of
Ariane, and househelpers about seeing Chase board the Car, and about Philip being the driver. There
was nothing else after that. The statement sworn and subscribed undeniably lacked the requisite
certifications. The lack of the requisite certifications from the affidavits of most of the other witnesses
was in violation of Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Courts, thus it cannot be used to prove
circumstances. Circumstances provided do not prove the presence of respondents at the scene of the
crime nor respondents participation therein.
Therefore, CA did not commit reversible error in affirming the resolution of Secretary of Justice finding
that there was no probable cause to charge respondent with murder.