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Pleadings and motions before arraignment

1. Petition for review - filed with the Department of Justice, the Regional State Prosecutor’s office, or the
Office of the President, if the prosecutor has committed manifest error or grave abuse of discretion during
the preliminary investigation. Period of suspension of arraignment shall not exceed sixty days from the
filing of the petition for review.

2. Motion for reinvestigation - alleges defects or irregularities in the preliminary investigation, requests
that the findings be invalidated and that another investigation be conducted to determine if there is
probable cause.

3. Motion for a bill of particulars (Rule 116, Section 10) - the motion specifies alleged defects of the
complaint or information and requests details that will enable the accused to plead properly to the charge
against him and to adequately prepare for trial.

4. Motion for suspension of arraignment - this motion may be filed on the ground that the accused
appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully
understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. In such a case, the court orders a
mental examination of the accused and if necessary, his confinement for such purpose. Another ground is
when the court finds the existence of a valid prejudicial question (for example, a void first marriage in
bigamy cases).

5. Motion to quash the information -

(a) The accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being convicted, or has been acquitted
of the offense charged.

(b) The criminal action or liability has already prescribed.

(c) The facts charged do not constitute an offense.

(d) The court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the case or over the person of the accused.

(e) The officer who filed the information had no authority to do so

(f)The information contains statements which constitute a legal excuse or justification

(g) It does not conform substantially to the prescribed form.

(h) More than one offense is charged (except in cases where the law prescribes a single punishment for
various offenses).

6. Production or inspection of material evidence in possession of prosecution, police or other law


investigating agencies in order to prevent surprise, suppression or alteration (Sec. 10, Rule 116).

7. Motion to quash a search warrant or to suppress evidence (Section 14 of Rule 126) - A motion to
quash a search warrant and/or to suppress evidence obtained thereby may be filed in and acted upon
only by the court where the action has been instituted. If no criminal action has been instituted, the motion
may be filed in and resolved by the court that issued search warrant. However, if such court failed to
resolve the motion and a criminal case is subsequently filed in another court, the motion shall be resolved
by the latter court.

(If I remember correctly, Atty. Oliver Lozano several years ago defended an alleged drug lord by filing a
motion to suppress the State’s evidence, a shipload of drugs. Atty. Lozano argued that there was no
evidence linking the boatload of drugs to the accused, that the ship was registered in another person’s
name, etc. The judge agreed with this contention and dismissed the complaint without a full-blown trial. I
remember reading a column by Justice Isagani Cruz which criticized the dismissal of the case.)

8. Motion for judicial determination of probable cause: Please read the Supreme Court decision in
“People of the Philippines vs. Castillo et al”, G.R. No. 171188, June 19, 2009. The pertinent provisions of

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the decision are posted below:

There are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive and judicial. The executive
determination of probable cause is one made during preliminary investigation. It is a function that properly
pertains to the public prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether probable cause
exists and to charge those whom he believes to have committed the crime as defined by law and thus
should be held for trial. Otherwise stated, such official has the quasi-judicial authority to determine
whether or not a criminal case must be filed in court. Whether or not that function has been correctly
discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e., whether or not he has made a correct ascertainment of the
existence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not be
compelled to pass upon.

The judicial determination of probable cause, on the other hand, is one made by the judge to ascertain
whether a warrant of arrest should be issued against the accused. The judge must satisfy himself that
based on the evidence submitted, there is necessity for placing the accused under custody in order not to
frustrate the ends of justice. If the judge finds no probable cause, the judge cannot be forced to issue the
arrest warrant.

Corollary to the principle that a judge cannot be compelled to issue a warrant of arrest if he or she deems
that there is no probable cause for doing so, the judge in turn should not override the public prosecutor’s
determination of probable cause to hold an accused for trial on the ground that the evidence presented to
substantiate the issuance of an arrest warrant was insufficient. It must be stressed that in our criminal
justice system, the public prosecutor exercises a wide latitude of discretion in determining whether a
criminal case should be filed in court, and that courts must respect the exercise of such discretion when
the information filed against the person charged is valid on its face, and that no manifest error or grave
abuse of discretion can be imputed to the public prosecutor.
Summing up, a judicial determination of probable cause is concerned with the matter of whether
the judge should issue a warrant of arrest against the accused or not. As to whether there is
probable cause for the filing of the case in court, that is the responsibility, not of the judge, but of
the prosecutor’s office. Defense lawyers should now refrain from filing a “motion for judicial
determination of probable cause” for three reasons:

(1) The judge is already duty-bound to determine whether there is probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest. He studies the records of the preliminary investigation (complaint, counter-affidavit,
affidavit of witnesses, documentary evidences, etc). He then decides whether to issue a warrant of arrest
or not. There is therefore no need for a defense lawyer to file a “motion for judicial determination of
probable cause”. By filing such a motion, the defense lawyer disrespects or even insults the judge.

(2) As discussed above, the defense lawyer’s intention for filing this motion is actually to shortcut the
proceedings by asking the judge to rule whether the accused should be held for trial or not, even without
a full-blown trial. As the Supreme Court ruled in this case, “whether or not that function has been correctly
discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e., whether or not he has made a correct ascertainment of the
existence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not be
compelled to pass upon”.

(In one controversial case extensively covered by the media, the judge has already issued a warrant of
arrest and the accused has posted bail. But the judge re-set the arraignment because the defense lawyer
has filed a “motion for judicial determination of probable cause”. I wonder if the defense lawyer and the
judge are aware of the Supreme Court ruling in the “People of the Philippines vs. Castillo et al” case.)

(3) If the defense lawyer thinks that the information filed against the accused is not valid on its face and
that there was manifest error or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the public prosecutor, the proper
remedy is to file a motion for re-investigation, not a “motion for judicial determination of probable cause”.