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SUPREMECOURT

REPORTSANNOTATED
Crespovs.Mogul
*
No.L53373.June30,1987.

MARIOFL.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
SOLICITORGENERAL,RICARDOBAUTISTA,ETAL.,respondents.

CriminalProcedureA court that grant a motion of the fiscal to dismiss a case commits no error and the fiscals view
thereon,inaclashofviewswiththejudgeorcomplainant,shouldnormallyprevail.Thus,afiscalwhoasksforthedismissal
of the case for insufficiency of evidence has authority to do so, and Courts that grant the same commit no error. The fiscal
mayreinvestigateacaseandsubsequentlymoveforthedismissalshouldthereinvestigationshoweitherthatthedefendantis
innocentorthathisguiltmaynotbeestablishedbeyondreasonabledoubt.Inaclashofviewsbetweenthejudgewhodidnot
investigateandthefiscalwhodid,orbetweenthefiscalandtheoffendedpartyorthedefendant,thoseofthefiscalsshould
normally prevail. On the other hand, neither an injunction, preliminary or final nor a writ of prohibition may be issued by the
Courtstorestrainacriminalprosecutionexceptintheextreme

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*ENBANC.

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Crespovs.Mogul

case where it is necessary for the Courts to do so for the orderly administration of justice or to prevent the use of the
strongarmofthelawinanoppressiveandvindictivemanner.
SameOnceaninformationisfiledincourt,thecourtspriorpermissionmustbesecurediffiscalwantstoreinvestigate
the case.The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the purpose of determining whether a prima faciecase
existswarrantingtheprosecutionoftheaccusedisterminateduponthefilingoftheinformationinthepropercourt.Inturn,as
abovestated,thefilingofsaidinformationsetsinmotionthecriminalactionagainsttheaccusedinCourt.Shouldthefiscalfind
it proper to conduct a reinvestigation of the case, at such stage, the permission of the Court must be secured. After such
reinvestigationthefindingandrecommendationsofthefiscalshouldbesubmittedtotheCourtforappropriateaction.Whileitis
truethatthefiscalhasthequasijudicialdiscretiontodeterminewhetherornotacriminalcaseshouldbefiledincourtornot,
oncethecasehadalreadybeenbroughttoCourtwhateverdispositionthefiscalmayfeelshouldbeproperinthecasethereafter
shouldbeaddressedfortheconsiderationoftheCourt,TheonlyqualificationisthattheactionoftheCourtmustnotimpairthe
substantialrightsoftheaccused,ortherightofthePeopletodueprocessoflaw.
SameSame.Whethertheaccusedhadbeenarraignedornotandwhetheritwasduetoareinvestigationbythefiscalor
areviewbytheSecretaryofJusticewherebyamotiontodismisswassubmittedtotheCourt,theCourtintheexerciseofits
discretionmaygrantthemotionordenyitandrequirethatthetrialonthemeritsproceedfortheproperdeterminationofthe
case,
Same Where the court refuses to grant the fiscals motion to dismiss, including a case where the Secretary of Justice
orderedthefiscaltomovetodismissthecase,thefiscalshouldcontinuetoappearinthecasealthoughhemayturnoverthe
presentation of evidence to the private prosecutor.However, one may ask, if the trial court refuses to grant the motion to
dismissfiledbythefiscaluponthedirectiveoftheSecretaryofJusticewilltherenotbeavacuumintheprosecution?Astate
prosecutor to handle the case cannot possibly be designated by the Secretary of Justice who does not believe that there is a
basisforprosecutionnorcanthefiscalbeexpectedtohandletheprosecutionofthecasetherebydefyingthesuperiororderof
theSecretaryofJustice.Theanswerissimple.The

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COURT
REPORTS
ANNOTATED

Crespovs.Mogul

roleofthefiscalorprosecutorasWeallknowistoseethatjusticeisdoneandnotnecessarilytosecuretheconvictionof
thepersonaccusedbeforetheCourts.Thus,inspiteofhisopiniontothecontrary,itisthedutyofthefiscaltoproceedwith
thepresentationofevidenceoftheprosecutiontotheCourttoenabletheCourttoarriveatitsownindependentjudgmentasto
whethertheaccusedshouldbeconvictedoracquitted.Thefiscalshouldnotshirkfromtheresponsibilityofappearingforthe
PeopleofthePhilippinesevenundersuchcircumstancesmuchlessshouldheabandontheprosecutionofthecaseleavingitto
thehandsofaprivateprosecutorforthentheentireproceedingswillbenullandvoid.Theleastthatthefiscalshoulddoisto
continuetoappearfortheprosecutionalthoughhemayturnoverthepresentationoftheevidencetotheprivateprosecutorbut
stillunderhisdirectionandcontrol.

PETITIONtoreviewthedecisionoftheCircuitCriminalCourtofLucenaCity.Mogul,J.

ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.

GANCAYCO,J.:

TheissueraisedinthiscaseiswhetherthetrialcourtactingonamotiontodismissacriminalcasefiledbytheProvincial
FiscaluponinstructionsoftheSecretaryofJusticetowhomthecasewaselevatedforreview,mayrefusetograntthe
motionandinsistonthearraignmentandtrialonthemerits.
OnApril18,1977AssistantFiscalProcesoK.deGalawiththeapprovaloftheProvincialFiscalfiledaninformation
forestafaagainstMarioFl.CrespointheCircuitCriminalCourtofLucenaCitywhichwasdocketedasCriminalCase
1
No.CCCIX52(Quezon)77. Whenthecasewassetforarraignmenttheaccusedfiledamotiontodeferarraignment
on the ground that there was a pending petition for review filed with the Secretary of Justice of the resolution of the
OfficeoftheProvincialFiscalforthefilingoftheinformation.InanorderofAugust1,1977,thepresidingjudge,His
2
Honor,LeodegarioL.Mogul,deniedthemotion. Amotionforreconsiderationoftheorderwasdeniedintheorderof
August5,1977butthear
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1 Copyofinformation,AnnexAtoAnnexEpp.5455,Rollo.

2 AnnexCtoAnnexEpp.7071,Rollo.

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3
raignmentwasdeferredtoAugust18,1977toaffordtimeforpetitionertoelevatethemattertotheappellatecourt.
Apetitionforcertiorariandprohibitionwithprayerforapreliminarywritofinjunctionwasfiledbytheaccusedinthe
4
Court of Appeals that was docketed as CAG.R. SP No. 06978. In an order of August 17, 1977 the Court of
Appeals5
restrained Judge Mogul from proceeding with the arraignment of the accused until further orders of6 the
Court. InacommentthatwasfiledbytheSolicitorGeneralherecommendedthatthepetitionbegivenduecourse. On
May15,1978adecisionwasrenderedbytheCourtofAppealsgrantingthewritandperpetuallyrestrainingthejudge
fromenforcinghisthreattocompelthearraignmentoftheaccusedinthecaseuntiltheDepartmentofJusticeshallhave
7
finallyresolvedthepetitionforreview,
OnMarch22,1978thenUndersecretaryofJustice,Hon.CatalinoMacaraig,Jr..resolvingthepetitionforreview
reversedtheresolutionoftheOfficeoftheProvincialFiscalanddirectedthefiscaltomoveforimmediatedismissalof
8
theinformationfiledagainsttheaccused. AmotiontodismissforinsufficiencyofevidencewasfiledbytheProvincial
9
FiscaldatedApril10,1978withthetrialcourt, attachingtheretoacopyoftheletterofUndersecretaryMacaraig,Jr.In
10
an order of August 2, 1978 the private prosecutor was given time to file an opposition thereto. On November 24,
1978theJudgedeniedthemotionandsetthearraignmentstating:

ORDER

For resolution is a motion to dismiss this case filed by the prosecuting fiscal premised on insufficiency of evidence, as
suggestedbytheUndersecretaryofJustice,evidentfromAnnexAofthemo

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3 AnnexDtoAnnexEp.72,supra.

4 AnnexEtoAnnexEpp.73108,supra.

5 AnnexFtoAnnexCp.109,supra.

6 AnnexGtoAnnexEpp.110118,Rollo.

7 AnnexHtoAnnexEpp.119129,supra.

8 AnnexItoAnnexEpp.130132,supra.

9 AnnexJtoAnnexEpp.133139,supra.

10 AnnexKtoAnnexEp.140,supra.

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Crespovs.Mogul

tionwherein,amongotherthings,theFiscalisurgedtomovefordismissalforthereasonthatthecheckinvolvedhavingbeen
issuedforthepaymentofapreexistingobligationtheliabilityofthedrawercanonlybecivilandnotcriminal.
ThemotionsthrustbeingtoinducethisCourttoresolvetheinnocenceoftheaccusedonevidencenotbeforeitbutonthat
adducedbeforetheUndersecretaryofJustice,amatterthatnotonlydisregardstherequirementsofdueprocessbutalsoerodes
theCourtsindependenceandintegrity,themotionisconsideredaswithoutmeritandthereforeherebyDENIED.
WHEREFORE,letthearraignmentbe,asitisherebysetforDecember18,1978at9:00oclockinthemorning.
11
SOORDERED.

Theaccusedthenfiledapetitionforcertiorari,prohibitionandmandamuswithpetitionfortheissuanceofpreliminary
writ of prohibition
12
and/or temporary restraining order in the Court of Appeals that was docketed as CAG.R. No,
SP08777. OnJanuary23,1979arestrainingorderwasissuedbytheCourtofAppealsagainstthethreatenedactof
13
arraignmentoftheaccuseduntilfurtherordersfromtheCourt. InadecisionofOctober25,1979theCourtofAppeals
14
dismissedthepetitionandliftedtherestrainingorderofJanuary23,1979. 15
Amotionforreconsiderationofsaiddecision
filedbytheaccusedwasdeniedinaresolutionofFebruary19,1980.
Hencethispetitionforreviewofsaiddecisionwasfiledbyaccusedwherebypetitionerpraysthatsaiddecisionbe
reversed and set aside, respondent judge be perpetually enjoined from enforcing his threat to proceed with the
arraignmentandtrialofpetitionerinsaidcriminalcase,declaringtheinformationfilednotvalidandofnolegalforceand
16
effect,orderingrespondentJudgetodismissthesaidcase,anddeclaringtheobligationofpetitioneraspurelycivil.

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11 AnnexLtoAnnexEpp.141142,supra.

12 AnnexEpp.4253,supra.

13 P.145,supra.

14 AnnexAtopetitionpp.2326,supra.

15 AnnexD,pp.4041,supra.

16 Pp.521,supra.

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InaresolutionofMay19,1980,theSecondDivisionofthisCourtwithoutgivingduecoursetothepetitionrequiredthe
respondentstocommenttothepetition,nottofileamotiontodismiss,withinten(10)daysfromnotice.Inthecomment
filed by the Solicitor General he recommends that the petition be given due course, it being meritorious. Private
respondentthroughcounselfiledhisreplytothecommentandaseparatecommenttothepetitionaskingthatthepetition
bedismissed.IntheresolutionofFebruary5,1981,theSecondDivisionofthisCourtresolvedtotransferthiscaseto
theCourtEnBanc. In the resolution of February 26, 1981, the Court En Banc resolved to give due course to the
petition.
PetitionerandprivaterespondentfiledtheirrespectivebriefswhiletheSolicitorGeneralfiledaManifestationinlieuof
briefreiteratingthatthedecisionoftherespondentCourtofAppealsbereversedandthatrespondentJudgebeordered
todismisstheinformation.
Itisacardinalprinciplethatallcriminalactionseithercommencedbycomplaintorbyinformationshallbeprosecuted
17
underthedirectionandcontrolofthefiscal. Theinstitutionofacriminalactiondependsuponthesounddiscretionofthe
17
underthedirectionandcontrolofthefiscal. Theinstitutionofacriminalactiondependsuponthesounddiscretionofthe
fiscal.Hemayormaynotfilethecomplaintorinformation,followornotfollowthatpresentedbytheoffendedparty,
according to whether
18
the evidence in his opinion, is sufficient or not to establish the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonabledoubt. The reason for placing the criminal prosecution under the 19
direction and control of the fiscal is to
prevent malicious
20
or unfounded prosecution by private persons. It cannot be controlled by the
cornplainant. Prosecutingofficersunderthepowervestedinthembylaw,notonlyhavetheauthoritybutalsotheduty
ofprosecutingpersonswho,accordingtothe

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17 Section4,Rule110oftheRulesofCourt,nowSection5,Rule110of1985RulesonCriminalProcedure,Peoplev.Valdemoro,102

SCRA170.
18 Gonzalesvs.CourtofFirstInstance,63Phil.846.

19 U.S.vs.Narvas,14Phil.410.

20 Peoplevs.Sope,75Phil.810Peoplevs.Liggayu,97Phil.865Zuluetavs.Nicolas,102Phil.944People vs. Natoza,G.R. L8917,

Dec.14,1956.

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REPORTS
ANNOTATED
Crespovs.Mogul

evidence
21
received from the complainant, are shown to be guilty of a crime committed within the jurisdiction of their
office. Theyhaveequallythelegaldutynottoprosecutewhenafteraninvestigationtheybecomeconvincedthatthe
22
evidenceadducedisnotsufficienttoestablishaprimafaciecase.
23
Itisthroughtheconductofapreliminaryinvestigation thatthefiscaldeterminestheexistenceofaprimafaciecase
thatwouldwarranttheprosecutionofacase.TheCourtscannotinterferewiththefiscalsdiscretionandcontrolofthe
criminalprosecution.ItisnotprudentorevenpermissibleforaCourttocompelthefiscaltoprosecuteaproceeding
originally initiated
24
by him on an information, if he finds that the evidence relied upon by him is insufficient for
conviction. Neither has the Court any power to order the fiscal to prosecute or file an information within
25
a certain
periodoftime,sincethiswouldinterferewiththefiscalsdiscretionandcontrolofcriminalprosecutions. Thus,afiscal
whoasksforthedismissalofthecaseforinsufficiencyofevidencehasauthoritytodoso,andCourtsthatgrantthesame
26
commit no error. The fiscal may reinvestigate a case and subsequently move for the dismissal should the re
investigation
27
show either that the defendant is innocent or that his guilt may not be established beyond reasonable
doubt. Inaclashofviewsbetweenthejudgewhodidnotinvestigateandthefiscalwhodid,orbetweenthefiscaland
28
the offended party or the defendant, those of the Fiscals should normally prevail. On the other hand, neither an
injunction,preliminaryorfinalnorawritof

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21 Bagatuavs.Revilla,G.R.L12247,August26,1958.

22 Zuluetavs.Nicolas,supra.

23 Sections1and2ofRule112oftheRulesofCourtPresidentialDecree911Sections14,Rule112ofthe1985RulesonCriminal

Procedure.
24 Peoplevs.DeMoll.68Phil.626.
25 Asst.ProvincialFiscalofBataanvs.Dollete,103Phil.914Peoplevs.Pineda,G.R.No.L26222,July21,1967,20SCRA748.

26 Peoplevs.Natoza,supraPanganvs.Pasicolan,G.R.L12517,May19,1958.

27 Peoplevs.Jamisola,No.L27332,Nov.28,1969Peoplevs.Agasang,66Phil.182.

28 Peoplevs.Pineda,supra.

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Crespovs.Mogul
29
prohibition may be issued by the courts to restrain a criminal prosecution except in the extreme case where it is
necessaryfortheCourtstodosofortheorderlyadministrationofjusticeortopreventtheuseofthestrongarmofthe
30
lawinanoppressiveandvindictivemanner.
However,theactionofthefiscalorprosecutorisnotwithoutanylimitationorcontrol.Thesameissubjecttothe
approvaloftheprovincialorcityfiscalorthechiefstateprosecutorasthecasemaybeanditmaybeelevatedforreview
to the Secretary of Justice who has the power to affirm, modify or reverse the action or opinion of the fiscal.
ConsequentlytheSecretaryofJusticemaydirectthatamotiontodismissthecasebefiledinCourtorotherwise,thatan
31
informationbefiledinCourt.
ThefilingofacomplaintorinformationinCourtinitiatesacriminalaction.TheCourttherebyacquiresjurisdiction
32
over the case, which is the authority to hear and determine the case. When after the filing of the complaint or
informationawarrantforthearrestoftheaccusedisissuedbythetrialcourtandtheaccusedeithervoluntarilysubmitted
33
himselftotheCourtorwasdulyarrested,theCourttherebyacquiredjurisdictionoverthepersonoftheaccused.
Thepreliminaryinvestigationconductedbythefiscalfor

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29 KwongSingvs.CityofManila,41Phil103,112.

30 Dimayugavs.Fernandez,43Phil.384,307UniversityofthePhilippinesvs.CityFiscalofQuezonCity,G.R.No.L18562,July31,

1961.
31 PD 911, now Section 4, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal ProcedureEstrella vs. Orendain, Jr., 37 SCRA 650652, 654
655Gonzalesvs.Serrano,L25791,Sept.23,1968,25SCRA64Caegvs.AbadSantos,N40044,March10,1975,63SCRA96Oliveros
vs.Villaluz,L33362,July30,1971,40SCRA327Noblejasvs.Salas,L31788and31792,Sept.15,1975,67SCRA47Vda.deJacobvs.
Puno,131SCRA144CircularNo.13,April19,1976oftheSecretaryofJustice.
32 Herreravs.Barreto,25Phils.245U.S.vs.Limsiongco,41Phils.94DelaCruzvs.Mujer,36Phils.213Section1Rule110,Rulesof

Court,nowSection1alsoRule110,1985RulesonCriminalProcedure.
33 21C.J.S.123Carrington.

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Crespovs.Mogul

thepurposeofdeterminingwhetheraprimafaciecaseexistswarrantingtheprosecutionoftheaccusedisterminated
uponthefilingoftheinformationinthepropercourt.Inturn,asabovestated,thefilingofsaidinformationsetsin.motion
thecriminalactionagainsttheaccusedinCourt.Shouldthefiscalfinditpropertoconductareinvestigationofthecase,
atsuchstage,thepermissionoftheCourtmustbesecured.Aftersuchreinvestigationthefindingandrecommendations
34
of the fiscal should be submitted to the Court for appropriate action. While it is true that the fiscal has the quasi
judicialdiscretiontodeterminewhetherornotacriminalcaseshouldbefiledincourtornot,oncethecasehadalready
been brought to Court whatever disposition35the fiscal may feel should be proper in the case thereafter should be
addressedfortheconsiderationoftheCourt.
36
TheonlyqualificationisthattheactionoftheCourtmustnotimpairthe
36a
substantialrightsoftheaccused. ortherightofthePeopletodueprocessoflaw.
Whethertheaccusedhadbeenarraignedornotandwhetheritwasduetoareinvestigationbythefiscalorareview
by the Secretary of Justice whereby a motion to dismiss was submitted to the Court, the Court in the exercise of its
discretionmaygrantthemotionordenyitandrequirethatthetrialonthemeritsproceedfortheproperdeterminationof
thecase.
However,onemayask,ifthetrialcourtrefusestograntthemotiontodismissfiledbythefiscaluponthedirectiveof
the Secretary of Justice will there not be a vacuum in the prosecution? A state prosecutor to handle the case cannot
possiblybedesignatedbytheSecretaryofJusticewhodoesnotbelievethatthereisabasisforprosecutionnorcanthe
fiscalbeexpectedtohandletheprosecutionofthecasetherebydefyingthesuperiororderoftheSecretaryofJustice.
The answer is simple. The role of the fiscal or prosecutor as We all know is to see that justice is done and not
necessarilytosecuretheconvictionofthepersonaccusedbeforetheCourts.Thus,inspiteofhisopiniontothecontrary,
itisthedutyof

________________

34 U.S.vs.Barreto,32Phils.444.

35 Asst.ProvincialFiscalofBataanvs.Dollete,Supra.

36 Peoplevs.Zabala,58O.G.5028.

36aGalmanvs.Sandiganbayan,144SCRA43,101.

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thefiscaltoproceedwiththepresentationofevidenceoftheprosecutiontotheCourttoenabletheCourttoarriveatits
ownindependentjudgmentastowhethertheaccusedshouldbeconvictedoracquitted.Thefiscalshouldnotshirkfrom
the responsibility of appearing for the People of the Philippines even under such circumstances much less should he
abandontheprosecutionofthecaseleavingittothehandsofaprivateprosecutorforthentheentireproceedingswillbe
37
nullandvoid. Theleastthatthefiscalshoulddoistocontinuetoappearfortheprosecutionalthoughhemayturnover
38
thepresentationoftheevidencetotheprivateprosecutorbutstillunderhisdirectionandcontrol.
TherulethereforeinthisjurisdictionisthatonceacomplaintorinformationisfiledinCourtanydispositionofthe
caseasitsdismissalortheconvictionoracquittaloftheaccusedrestsinthesounddiscretionoftheCourt.Althoughthe
fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already in Court he
cannotimposehisopiniononthetrialcourt.TheCourtisthebestandsolejudgeonwhattodowiththecasebeforeit.
Thedeterminationofthecaseiswithinitsexclusivejurisdictionandcompetence.Amotiontodismissthecasefiledby
thefiscalshouldbeaddressedtotheCourtwhohastheoptiontograntordenythesame.Itdoesnotmatterifthisis
done before or after the arraignment of the accused or that the motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon
instructionsoftheSecretaryofJusticewhoreviewedtherecordsoftheinvestigation.
InordertherefortoavoidsuchasituationwherebytheopinionoftheSecretaryofJusticewhoreviewedtheactionof
the fiscal may be disregarded by the trial court, the Secretary of Justice should, as far as practicable, refrain from
entertainingapetitionforrevieworappealfromtheactionofthefiscal,whenthecomplaintorinformationhasalready
beenfiledinCourt.Themattershouldbeleftentirelyforthedetermination

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37 Peoplevs.Beriales,70SCRA361(1976).

38 U.S.vs.Despabiladeras,32Phils.442U.S.vs.Gallego,37Phils.289Peoplevs.Hernandez,69Phils.672U.S.vs.Labil,27Phils.

82U.S.vs.Fernandez,Phils.539Peoplevs.Velez,77Phils.1026.

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NationalDevelopment
Companyvs.Commissioner
ofInternalRevenue

oftheCourt.
WHEREFORE,thepetitionisDISMISSEDforlackofmeritwithoutpronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.

Yap, Fernan, Narvasa,MelencioHerrera, Gutierrez,


Jr.,Cruz,Paras,Feliciano,Padilla,Bidin,SarmientoandCortes,JJ.,concur.
Teehankee,C.J.,reservingthefilingofaseparateopinion.

Petitiondismissed.

Notes.Although fiscal turns over active conduct of trial to private prosecutor, he should be present during the
proceedings.(Peoplevs.Beriales,70SCRA361.)
Ajudgemaynotamendthedesignationofacomplaintorinformationafterpreliminaryinvestigationandbeforethe
defendantpleads.Thispowerbelongstothefiscal.(Baisvs.Tagaoen,89SCRA101.)

o0o