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University of the Philippines College of Law

MBO, 2-D

Topic SEARCH & SEIZURE: Procedure for issuance of a warrant of arrest


Case No. A.M. No. MTJ-06-1628. June 8, 2007
Case Name Gutierrez v. Hernandez
Ponente Garcia, J.

RELEVANT FACTS
WHAT WAS FILED:
Joint-Complaint Affidavit
This administrative case stems from a joint complaint-affidavit dated April 18, 2005 filed against then (now
retired) Judge Godofredo G. Hernandez, Sr. of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro
charging the latter with:

1. Gross ignorance of the law;

2. Impropriety;

3. Grave misconduct;

4. Conduct unbecoming of a judge; and

5. Lack of integrity to continue as a member of the judiciary.

WHO FILED IT: P/Supt. Alejandro Gutierrez, PCI Antonio Ricafort, SPO4 Ricardo G. Ong, and SPO1 Arnulfo
Medenilla, all of the Criminal Investigation and Detective Division (CIDD) of the Philippine National Police (PNP)

WHERE WAS IT FILED:


Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)

WHY WAS IT FILED:


 The joint complaint-affidavit alleged that on August 9, 2004, Gus Abelgas of ABS-CBN's Private Eye TV
program accompanied one Ernesto Cruz to Camp Crame, Quezon City to file a complaint involving Cruz's
minor daughter who was allegedly recruited in Malabon, Metro Manila to work in a KTV bar in
Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro.
 A rescue operation was conducted by petitioners following a complain by one Ernesto Cruz which was
brought to their office through Gus Abelgas’ TV Program, Private Eye. Complaint of Cruz held that his
daughter was allegedly recruited at a KTV Bar.
 The team was able to rescue 5 young girls (which includes Enresto Cruz’ daughter) from the house of
one Salvador Napolitano who claimed that a certain PO23 Jose Ringor was responsible for bringing the
women to such place.
 Complaint for violation of RA 9208 was filed before the City Prosecutor against PO2 Ringor, his recruiter
and wife and a certain Bebang. Corresponding Information was filed.
4. Several weeks later, petitioners
were surprised after discovering that cases for grave coercion and qualified trespass had been filed
against them and the TV Crew before the sala of respondent judge.
University of the Philippines College of Law
MBO, 2-D

 Apparently, some of the rescued girls retracted their complaint and instead filed a case against herein
petitioners.
Petitioners alleged that PO2 Ringor brought the girls to a beach resort where he threatened
and coerced them into signing complaint against herein petitioners and that J Hernandez also went to
the beach house and conferred with PO2 Ringor regarding retraction of complaint.
 It is also alleged that after such coercion and conference, SPO2 Ringor and J Hernandez and others had a
drinking spree where J Hernandez was seen being entertained by two GROs given by one SPO2
Balacana.
 Because of this, petitioners filed Administrative Complaint with Office of Court Administrator (OCA)
alleging as well gross negligence on the part of J Hernandez for 1) issuing warrant of arrests in inordinate
haste and without the required preliminary examination and personal determination of probable cause
and for 2) setting for arraignment without Informations having been filed in court.
 OCA found that respondent judge was guilty of gross ignorance of procedural rules. But since this is the
first complaint and because Hernandez had compulsorily retired, OCA only recommended that he be
fined.

ISSUE AND RATIO DECIDENDI

Issue Ratio
W/N Respondent Judge YES.
committed grave ignorance 1. Sec. 3 of Rule 112 requires that in a preliminary investigation, after
of procedural rules complainant and his witnesses present their affidavits, respondent shall be
subpenad and within 10 days from receipt of subpoena, shall submit his
counter-affidavit and that of his witness.
2. It is apparent that petitioners were never issued subpoenas and were
consequently deprived of their right to file counter- affidavits.
3. Warrants of
arrest were issued without complying with the requisite conditions.
Complaints against herein petitioners were filed on August 23, 2004. Motion
for the issuance of warrant of arrest was filed the next day and respondent
Judge immediately granted such and issued a warrant of arrest that same
day.
4. Indubitably, no preliminary investigation was conducted as no subpoena
was issued to herein complainants

5. Sec. 6, Par (b) of Rule 112 holds that without waiting for the conclusion of
investigation, judge may issue warrant of arrest if 3 conditions are met (see
Doctrine).
6. Issuance was clearly irregular, it did not show any finding of a need to place
complainant under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of
justice.

7. Even if the judge finds probable cause, it is not mandatory that he issue a
warrant of arrest. He must further determine the necessity of placing
respondent under immediate custody.
8. A worse display of gross ignorance was for holding arraignment knowing
fully well that no preliminary investigation had been conducted and no
informations had yet been filed. It is inexcusable for a Judge of 12 years to
make such mistake.
University of the Philippines College of Law
MBO, 2-D

RULING
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Godofredo G. Hernandez, Sr. is found GUILTY of Gross Ignorance of the Law and
Procedure and is ordered to pay a FINE of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) to be deducted from his
retirement benefits.

SEPARATE OPINIONS

Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Azcuna,JJ., concur.


Puno, J., was on official leave

NOTES

Rule 112, Sec 6 (b) also permits judges to issue warrants of arrest while the investigation is underway when 3
conditions concur. The judge must:
1. Have examined in writing and under oath the complainant and his witnesses by searching questions and
answers;
2. Be satisfied that probable cause exists; and
3. That there be a need to place the respondent under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.