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PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE - FULL TEXT

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation


G.R. No. 102342 July 3, 1992
LUZ M. ZALDIVIA vs. ANDRES B. REYES, JR., ET AL.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 102342 July 3, 1992


LUZ M. ZALDIVIA, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ANDRES B. REYES, JR., in his capacity as Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Court, Fourth Judicial Region, Branch 76, San Mateo, Rizal, and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

CRUZ, J.:
The Court is asked to determine the applicable law specifying the prescriptive period for violations of
municipal ordinances.
The petitioner is charged with quarrying for commercial purposes without a mayor's permit in violation
of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1988, of the Municipality of Rodriguez, in the Province of Rizal.

The offense was allegedly committed on May 11, 1990. 1 The referral-complaint of the police was received
by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal on May 30, 1990. 2 The corresponding information was filed
with the Municipal Trial Court of Rodriguez on October 2, 1990. 3

The petitioner moved to quash the information on the ground that the crime had prescribed, but the
motion was denied. On appeal to the Regional Trial Court of Rizal, the denial was sustained by the
respondent judge. 4
In the present petition for review on certiorari, the petitioner first argues that the charge against her is
governed by the following provisions of the Rule on Summary Procedure:
Sec. 1. Scope This rule shall govern the procedure in the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the following
cases:
xxx xxx xxx
B. Criminal Cases:
1. Violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations;
2. Violations of rental law;
3. Violations of municipal or city ordinances;
4. All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law for the offenses charged
does not exceed six months imprisonment, or a fine of one thousand pesos (P1,000.00),
or both, irrespective of other imposable penalties, accessory or otherwise, or of the civil
liability arising therefrom. . . . (Emphasis supplied.)
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 9. How commenced. The prosecution of criminal cases falling within the scope
of this Rule shall be either by complaint or by information filed directly in court without
need of a prior preliminary examination or preliminary investigation: Provided,
however, That in Metropolitan Manila and chartered cities, such cases shall be
commenced only by information; Provided, further, That when the offense cannot be
prosecuted de oficio, the corresponding complaint shall be signed and sworn to before
the fiscal by the offended party.
She then invokes Act. No. 3326, as amended, entitled "An Act to Establish Periods of Prescription for
Violations Penalized by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription
Shall Begin to Run," reading as follows:
Sec. 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless provided in such acts, prescribe
in accordance with the following rules: . . . Violations penalized by municipal
ordinances shall prescribe after two months.
Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of
the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the
institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment.
The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty
person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not
constituting jeopardy.
Sec. 3. For the purposes of this Act, special acts shall be acts defining and penalizing
violations of law not included in the Penal Code. (Emphasis supplied)
Her conclusion is that as the information was filed way beyond the
two-month statutory period from the date of the alleged commission of the offense, the charge against
her should have been dismissed on the ground of prescription.
For its part, the prosecution contends that the prescriptive period was suspended upon the filing of the
complaint against her with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. Agreeing with the respondent judge,
the Solicitor General also invokes Section 1, Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure,
providing as follows:
Sec. 1. How Instituted For offenses not subject to the rule on summary procedure in
special cases, the institution of criminal action shall be as follows:
a) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court,
by filing the complaint with the appropriate officer for the purpose of
conducting the requisite preliminary investigation therein;
b) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, by filing the complaint directly with
the said courts, or a complaint with the fiscal's office. However, in
Metropolitan Manila and other chartered cities, the complaint may be
filed only with the office of the fiscal.
In all cases such institution interrupts the period of prescription of the offense charged.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Emphasis is laid on the last paragraph. The respondent maintains that the filing of the complaint with
the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor comes under the phrase "such institution" and that the phrase "in
all cases" applies to all cases, without distinction, including those falling under the Rule on Summary
Procedure.
The said paragraph, according to the respondent, was an adoption of the following dictum in Francisco
v. Court of Appeals: 5
In view of this diversity of precedents, and in order to provide guidance for Bench and Bar, this
Court has re-examined the question and, after mature consideration, has arrived at the
conclusion that the true doctrine is, and should be, the one established by the decisions holding
that the filing of the complaint in the Municipal Court, even if it be merely for purposes of
preliminary examination or investigation, should, and does, interrupt the period of prescription of
the criminal responsibility, even if the court where the complaint or information is filed can not try
the case on its merits. Several reasons buttress this conclusion: first, the text of Article 91 of the
Revised Penal Code, in declaring that the period of prescription "shall be interrupted by the filing
of the complaint or information" without distinguishing whether the complaint is filed in the court
for preliminary examination or investigation merely, or for action on the merits. Second, even if
the court where the complaint or information is filed may only proceed to investigate the case, its
actuations already represent the initial step of the proceedings against the offender. Third, it is
unjust to deprive the injured party of the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are
not under his control. All that the victim of the offense may do on his part to initiate the
prosecution is to file the requisite complaint.

It is important to note that this decision was promulgated on May 30, 1983, two months before the
promulgation of the Rule on Summary Procedure on August 1, 1983. On the other hand, Section 1 of
Rule 110 is new, having been incorporated therein with the revision of the Rules on Criminal Procedure
on January 1, 1985, except for the last paragraph, which was added on October 1, 1988.
That section meaningfully begins with the phrase, "for offenses not subject to the rule on summary
procedure in special cases," which plainly signifies that the section does not apply to offenses which
are subject to summary procedure. The phrase "in all cases" appearing in the last paragraph obviously
refers to the cases covered by the Section, that is, those offenses not governed by the Rule on Summary
Procedure. This interpretation conforms to the canon that words in a statute should be read in relation
to and not isolation from the rest of the measure, to discover the true legislative intent.
As it is clearly provided in the Rule on Summary Procedure that among the offenses it covers are
violations of municipal or city ordinances, it should follow that the charge against the petitioner, which
is for violation of a municipal ordinance of Rodriguez, is governed by that rule and not Section 1 of
Rule 110.
Where paragraph (b) of the section does speak of "offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the
Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts," the obvious reference is to Section 32(2) of
B.P. No. 129, vesting in such courts:
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not
exceeding four years and two months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or
both such fine and imprisonment, regardless of other imposable accessory or other
penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon,
irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof; Provided, however, That in
offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence they shall have
exclusive original jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed twenty
thousand pesos.
These offenses are not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure.
Under Section 9 of the Rule on Summary Procedure, "the complaint or information shall be filed
directly in court without need of a prior preliminary examination or preliminary investigation." 6 Both
parties agree that this provision does not prevent the prosecutor from conducting a preliminary investigation if he
wants to. However, the case shall be deemed commenced only when it is filed in court, whether or not the
prosecution decides to conduct a preliminary investigation. This means that the running of the prescriptive period
shall be halted on the date the case is actually filed in court and not on any date before that.

This interpretation is in consonance with the afore-quoted Act No. 3326 which says that the period of prescription
shall be suspended "when proceedings are instituted against the guilty party." The proceedings referred to in
Section 2 thereof are "judicial proceedings," contrary to the submission of the Solicitor General that they include
administrative proceedings. His contention is that we must not distinguish as the law does not distinguish. As a
matter of fact, it does.

At any rate, the Court feels that if there be a conflict between the Rule on Summary Procedure and Section 1 of
Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the former should prevail as the special law. And if there be a
conflict between Act. No. 3326 and Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the latter must again yield
because this Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power, is not allowed to "diminish, increase or modify
substantive rights" under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the Constitution. Prescription in criminal cases is a
substantive right. 7

Going back to the Francisco case, we find it not irrelevant to observe that the decision would have been
conformable to Section 1, Rule 110, as the offense involved was grave oral defamation punishable
under the Revised Penal Code with arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its
minimum period. By contrast, the prosecution in the instant case is for violation of a municipal
ordinance, for which the penalty cannot exceed six months, 8 and is thus covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure.
The Court realizes that under the above interpretation, a crime may prescribe even if the complaint is filed seasonably with the prosecutor's office if, intentionally
or not, he delays the institution of the necessary judicial proceedings until it is too late. However, that possibility should not justify a misreading of the applicable
rules beyond their obvious intent as reasonably deduced from their plain language. The remedy is not a distortion of the meaning of the rules but a rewording
thereof to prevent the problem here sought to be corrected.

Our conclusion is that the prescriptive period for the crime imputed to the petitioner commenced from its alleged
commission on May 11, 1990, and ended two months thereafter, on July 11, 1990, in accordance with Section 1
of Act No. 3326. It was not interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor
on May 30, 1990, as this was not a judicial proceeding. The judicial proceeding that could have interrupted the
period was the filing of the information with the Municipal Trial Court of Rodriguez, but this was done only on
October 2, 1990, after the crime had already prescribed.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, and the challenged Order dated October 2, 1991 is SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. 90-089 in the Municipal Trial Court
of Rodriguez, Rizal, is hereby DISMISSED on the ground of prescription. It is so ordered.

Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 Rollo, p. 18.
2 Ibid.
3 Id., p. 19; Through Judge Andres B. Reyes, Jr.
4 Id., p. 21
5 122 SCRA 538
6 The phrase "filed directly in court without need of prior preliminary examination
or preliminary investigation" was deleted under the Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure effective on November 15, 1991.
7 People vs. Castro, 95 Phil. 463.
8 Section 447, Local Government Code.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
SEC v. Interport Resources Corporation
GR No. 135808 October 6, 2008
J. Chico-Nazario

Nature: Petition for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, of a decision of the Court of
Appeals

Doctrines: No implementing rules were needed to render effective Sections 8, 30, and 36 of the Revised
Securities Act; nor was the PED Rules of Practice and Procedure invalid, prior to the enactment of the Securities
Regulations Code, for failure to provide parties with the right to cross-examine the witnesses presented against
them. Thus, the respondents maybe investigated by the appropriate authority under the proper rules of
procedure of the Securities Regulations Code for violations of Sections 8, 30, and 36 of the Revised Securities
Act.

Facts:

1) 6 Aug 1994 Board of Directors of IRC approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Ganda
Holdings Berhad (GHB).
a. Under the MoA, IRC acquired 100% or the entire capital stock of Ganda Energy Holdings, Inc.
(GEHI), which would own and operate a 102 megawatt gas turbine power-generating barge.
b. Also stipulated is that GEHI would assume a five-year power purchase contract with National
Power Corp. At that time, GEHIs power-generating barge was 97% complete and would go on-
line by mid-Sept 1994.
c. In exchange, IRC will issue to GHB 55% of the expanded capital stock of IRC (amounting to 40.88
billion shares total par value of P488.44 million)
d. On the side, IRC would acquire 67% of the entire capital stock of Philippine Racing Club, Inc.
(PRCI). PRCI owns 25.724 hectares of real estate property in Makati.
e. Under the Agreement, GHB, a member of the Westmont Group of Companies in Malaysia, shall
extend or arrange a loan required to pay for the proposed acquisition by IRC of PRCI.
2) 8 Aug 1994 IRC alleged that a press release announcing the approval of the agreement was sent
through fax to Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and the SEC, but that the fax machine of SEC could not
receive it. Upon the advice of SEC, IRC sent the press release on the morning of 9 Aug 1994.
3) SEC averred that it received reports that IRC failed to make timely public disclosures of its
negotiations with GHB and that some of its directors heavily traded IRC shares utilizing this material
insider information.
4) 16 Aug 1994 SEC Chairman issued a directive requiring IRC to submit to SEC a copy of its aforesaid
MoA with GHB and further directed all principal officers of IRC to appear at a hearing before the
Brokers and Exchanges Dept (BED) of SEC to explain IRCs failure to immediately disclose the
information as required by the Rules on Disclosure of Material Facts by Corporations Whose Securities
are Listed in Any Stock Exchange or Registered/Licensed Under the Securities Act
5) IRC sent a letter to SEC, attaching copies of MoA and its directors appeared to explain IRCs alleged
failure to immediately disclose material information as required under the Rules on Disclosure of
Material Facts.
6) 19 Sept 1994 SEC Chairman issued an Order finding that IRC violated the Rules on Disclosure when it
failed to make timely disclosure, and that some of the officers and directors of IRC entered into
transactions involving IRC shares in violation of Sec 30, in relation to Sec 36 of the Revised Securities
Act.
7) IRC filed an Omnibus Motion (later an Amended Omnibus Motion) alleging that SEC had no authority to
investigate the subject matter, since under Sec 8 of PD 902-A, as amended by PD 1758, jurisdiction was
conferred upon the Prosecution and Enforcement Dept (PED) of SEC
8) IRC also claimed that SEC violated their right to due process when it ordered that the respondents
appear before SEC and show cause why no administrative, civil or criminal sanctions should be imposed
on them, and thus, shifted the burden of proof to the respondents. They filed a Motion for Continuance
of Proceedings.
9) No formal hearings were conducted in connection with the Motions.
10) 25 Jan 1995 SEC issued an Omnibus Order: creating a special investigating panel to hear and decide
the case in accordance with Rules of Practice and Procedure before the PED, SEC; to recall the show
cause orders; and to deny the Motion for Continuance for lack of merit.
11) Respondents filed a petition before the CA questioning the Omnibus Orders and filed a Supplemental
Motion wherein they prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.
12) 5 May 1995 CA granted their motion and issued a writ of preliminary injunction, which effectively
enjoined SEC from filing any criminal, civil or administrative case against the respondents.
13) 20 Aug 1998 CA promulgated a Decision
a. Determined that there were no implementing rules and regulations regarding disclosure,
insider trading, or any of the provisions of the Revised Securities Acts which respondents
allegedly violated.
b. It found no statutory authority for SEC to initiate and file any suit for civil liability under Sec 8,
30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act, thus, it ruled that no civil, criminal or administrative
proceedings may possibly be held against the respondents without violating their rights to due
process and equal protection.
c. It further resolved that absent any implementing rules, the SEC cannot be allowed to quash the
assailed Omnibus Orders
d. Further decided that the Rules of Practice and Procedure before the PED did not comply with
the statutory requirements contained in the Administrative Code of 1997. Section 9, Rule V of
the Rules of Practice and Procedure before the PED affords a party the right to be present but
without the right to cross-examine witnesses presented against him, in violation of Sec 12(3),
Chap 3, Book VII of the Administrative Code.

Issues:

5. Does the instant case prescribed already? No.

Ruling:

The instant case has not yet prescribed.


Respondents point out that the prescription period applicable to offenses punished under special laws
is 12 years. Since the offense was committed in 1994, they reasoned that prescription set in as early as
2006 and rendered this case moot.
It is an established doctrine that a preliminary investigation interrupts the prescription period. A
preliminary investigation is essentially a determination whether an offense has been committed, and
whether there is probable cause for the accused to have committed as offense.