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P v siongco 623 501

No. L-7233539. March 21, 1988.*


FRANCISCO S. TATAD, petitioner,
vs. THE SANDIGANBAYAN, and THE
TANODBAYAN, respondents.
Constitutional Law; Due Process;
Long delay in the termination of
the preliminary investigation by the
Tanodbayan in the instant case
found to be violative of the
constitutional right of the accused
to due process.We find the long
delay in the termination of the
preliminary investigation by the
Tanodbayan in the instant case to
be violative of the constitutional
right of the accused to due
process. Substantial adherence to
the requirements of the law
governing
the
conduct
of
preliminary investigation, including
substantial compliance with the
time limitation prescribed by the
law for the resolution of the case
by the prosecutor, is part of the
procedural
due
process
constitutionally guaranteed by the
fundamental law. Not only under
the broad umbrella of the due
process clause, but under the
constitutional
guarantee
of
speedy disposition of cases as
embodied in Section 16 of the Bill
of Rights (both in the 1973 and the
1987 Constitutions)? the inordinate
delay is violative of the petitioners
constitutional rights. A delay of
close to three (3) years can not be
deemed reasonable or justifiable in
the light of the circumstance
obtaining in the case at bar. We are
not impressed by the attempt of
the Sandiganbayan to sanitize the
long delay by indulging in the
speculative assumption that the
delay may be due to a painstaking
and gruelling scrutiny by the
Tanodbayan as to whether the
evidence presented during the
preliminary investigation merited
prosecution
of
a
former
highranking government official In
the first place, such a statement
suggests a double standard of
treatment,
which
must
be
emphatically rejected. Secondly,
three out of the five charges

against the petitioner were for his


alleged failure to file his sworn
statement of assets and liabilities
required by Republic Act No. 3018,
which certainly did not involve
complicated legal and factual
issues
necessitating
such
painstaking
and
gruelling
scrutiny as would justify a delay of
almost three years in terminating
the preliminary investigation, The
other two charges relating to
alleged bribery and alleged giving
of unwarranted benefits to a
relative, while presenting more
substantial legal and factual issues,
certainly do not warrant or justify
the period of three years, which it
took the Tanodbayan to resolve the
case.
Same; Same; Same; Undue delay
in the conduct of a preliminary
investigation can not be corrected.
It has been suggested that the
________________

* EN BANC.
71

VOL. 159, MARCH 21, 1988


71
Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan
long delay in terminating the
preliminary investigation should
not be deemed fatal, for even the
complete absence of a preliminary
investigation does not warrant
dismissal of the information. True
but the absence of a preliminary
investigation can be corrected by
giving
the
accused
such
investigation. But an undue delay
in the conduct of a preliminary
investigation can not be corrected,
for until now, man has not yet
invented a device for setting back
time. [Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan,
159 SCRA 70(1988)]

G.R. No. 129978. May 12, 1999.*


FELICIDAD
M.
ROQUE
and
PRUDENCIO
N.
MABANGLO,
petitioners, vs. OFFICE OF THE
OMBUDSMAN; HON. OMBUDSMAN
ANIANO DESIERTO; and HON.
MARGARITO P. GERVACIO, JR.,
Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao,
respondents.
Remedial
Law;
Mandamus;
Generally, the performance of an
official
act
or
duty,
which
necessarily involves the exercise of
discretion or judgment, cannot be
compelled by mandamus; Rule
does not apply in cases where
there is gross abuse of discretion,
manifest injustice, or palpable
excess
of
authority.The
performance of an official act or
duty, which necessarily involves
the exercise of discretion or
judgment, cannot be compelled by
mandamus. This Court, however,
has held that the rule does not
apply in cases where there is
gross abuse of discretion, manifest
injustice, or palpable excess of
authority.
In
First
Philippine
Holdings
Corporation
v.
Sandiganbayan,
the
Court
explained: Ordinarily, mandamus
will not prosper to compel a
discretionary act. But where there
is gross abuse of discretion,
manifest injustice or palpable
excess of authority equivalent to
denial of a settled right to which
petitioner is entitled, and there is
no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy, the writ shall
issue.
______________

* THIRD DIVISION.
105

VOL. 307, MAY 12, 1999


105

Roque
vs.
Ombudsman

Office

of

the

Same; Same; Court not persuaded


by respondents argument that the
Petition for Mandamus became
moot and academic when the
Complaints were resolved by the
Office of the Ombudsman for
Mindanao and the Informations
were filed.We are not persuaded
by respondents argument that the
Petition for Mandamus became
moot and academic when the
Complaints were resolved by the
Office of the Ombudsman for
Mindanao and the Informations
were filed. The same contention
was
rejected
in
Tatad
v.
Sandiganbayan, wherein the Court
declared that the long and
unexplained delay in the resolution
of the criminal complaints against
petitioners was not corrected by
the
eventual
filing
of
the
Informations.
Constitutional Law; Due Process;
The delay of almost six years
disregarded
the
ombudsmans
duty,
as
mandated
by
the
Constitution and Republic Act No.
6770,
to
act
promptly
on
complaints before him.The delay
of almost six years disregarded the
ombudsmans duty, as mandated
by the Constitution and Republic
Act No. 6770, to act promptly on
complaints
before
him.
More
important,
it
violated
the
petitioners rights to due process
and to a speedy disposition of the
cases filed against them. Although
respondents attempted to justify
the
six
months
needed
by
Ombudsman Desierto to review the
recommendation
of
Deputy
Ombudsman
Gervasio,
no
explanation was given why it took
almost six years for the latter to
resolve the Complaints. Thus, in
Angchangco, Jr. v. Ombudsman,
this Court dismissed a Complaint
that had been pending before the
Office of the Ombudsman for more
than six years, ruling as follows:
After a careful review of the facts
and circumstances of the present
case, the Court finds the inordinate
delay of more than six years by the
Ombudsman
in resolving the

criminal
complaints
against
petitioner to be violative of his
constitutionally guaranteed right to
due
process
and
a
speedy
disposition of the cases against
him, thus warranting the dismissal
of said criminal cases . . .
Contempt; Petition for contempt
must be filed separately from main
action.In the second place, the
said Petition for Contempt was filed
in contravention of Section 4 (2),
Rule 71 of the 1997 Rules of Court,
which states that if a petition for
contempt arises from or is related
to a principal action pending in
court, it shall be docketed, heard
and decided separately, unless
the court orders that both the
principal action and the petition for
contempt be consolidated for joint
hearing and decision. [Roque vs.
Office of the Ombudsman, 307
SCRA 104(1999)]
G.R. No. 140529. September 6,
2001.*
JOSE P. LOPEZ, JR., petitioner, vs.
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS-MAN,
HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO and
HON. MARGARITO P. GERVACIO, JR.
in their official capacities as
Ombudsman
and
Deputy
Ombudsman
for
Mindanao,
respectively,
and
the
Sandiganbayan, respondents.
Remedial
Law;
Mandamus;
Generally the performance of an
official
act
or
duty
which
necessarily involves the exercise of
discretion or judgment
_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.
570

570
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Lopez, Jr. vs.


Ombudsman

Office

of

the

cannot
be
compelled
by
mandamus; Rule does not apply in
cases where there is gross abuse of
discretion, manifest injustice, or
palpable excess of authority.This
Court has held that, while as a
general rule, the performance of an
official
act
or
duty,
which
necessarily involves the exercise of
discretion or judgment, cannot be
compelled by mandamus, this rule
does not apply in cases where
there is gross abuse of discretion,
manifest injustice, or palpable
excess of authority. Thus, in
Angchangco, Jr. vs. Ombudsman
and Roque vs. Office of the
Ombudsman the writ was issued in
said instances.
Same; Same; Right to a speedy
disposition of cases not limited to
the
accused
in
criminal
proceedings but extends to all
parties in all cases, including civil
and administrative cases, and in all
proceedings, including judicial and
quasi-judicial hearings; Any party
to a case may demand expeditious
action on all officials who are
tasked with the administration of
justice.The constitutional right to
a speedy disposition of cases is
not limited to the accused in
criminal proceedings but extends
to all parties in all cases, including
civil and administrative cases, and
in all proceedings, including judicial
and
quasi-judicial
hearings.
Hence, under the Constitution, any
party to a case may demand
expeditious action on all officials
who
are
tasked
with
the
administration of justice.
Same; Same; The right to a speedy
disposition of a case, like the right
to speedy trial, is deemed violated
only when the proceedings is
attended by vexatious, capricious
and oppressive delays; Concept of
speedy disposition is a relative
term and must necessarily be a
flexible concept.The right to a
speedy disposition of a case, like
the right to speedy trial, is deemed
violated only when the proceedings
is
attended
by
vexatious,

capricious, and oppressive delays;


or when unjustified postponements
of the trial are asked for and
secured, or even without cause or
justifiable motive a long period of
time is allowed to elapse without
the party having his case tried.
Equally applicable is the balancing
test used to determine whether a
defendant has been denied his
right to a speedy trial, or a speedy
disposition of a case for that
matter, in which the conduct of
both the prosecution and the
defendant is weighed, and such
factors as the length of the delay,
the reasons for such delay, the
assertion or failure to assert such
right by the accused, and the
prejudice caused by the delay. The
concept of speedy disposition is a
relative term and must necessarily
be a flexible concept.
Same; Same; Prosecution not
bound by the findings of the
Commission on Audit and it must
rely on its own independent
judgment in the determination of
probable
cause.True,
the
prosecution is not bound by the
findings of the COA and it must rely
on its own independent judgment
571

VOL. 364, SEPTEMBER 5, 2001


571
Lopez, Jr. vs.
Ombudsman

Office

of

the

in the determination of probable


cause. However, we find that the
cases are not sufficiently complex
to justify the length of time for
their resolution. Neither can the
long delay in resolving the case
under preliminary investigation be
justified on the basis of the number
of informations filed before the
Sandiganbayan
nor
of
the
transactions involved.
Same; Same; Delay in this case
disregarded
the
Ombudsmans
duty
as
mandated
by
the
Constitution and Republic Act No.

6770, to enforce the criminal


liability of government officers or
employees in every case where the
evidence warrants in order to
promote efficient service to the
people.Verily, the delay in this
case
disregarded
the
Ombudsmans duty, as mandated
by the Constitution and Republic
Act No. 6770, to enforce the
criminal liability of government
officers or employees in every case
where the evidence warrants in
order to promote efficient service
to the people. The failure of said
office to resolve the complaints
that have been pending for almost
four years is clearly violative of this
mandate
and
the
rights
of
petitioner as a public official. In
such event, petitioner is entitled to
the dismissal of the cases filed
against him. [Lopez, Jr. vs. Office of
the
Ombudsman,
364
SCRA
569(2001)]
G.R. Nos. 174902-06. February 15,
2008.*
ALFREDO R. ENRIQUEZ, GENER C.
ENDONA, and RHANDOLFO B.
AMANSEC, petitioners, vs. OFFICE
OF THE OMBUDSMAN, respondent.
Speedy Disposition of Cases;
Mandamus; It is inaccurate to say
that the writ of mandamus will
never issue to control a public
officials discretionmandamus is
a proper recourse for citizens who
seek to enforce a public right and
to compel the performance of a
public duty, most especially when
mandated by the Constitution.
Ordinarily, a petition for a writ of
mandamus is proper to compel the
public official concerned to perform
a ministerial act which the law
specifically enjoins as a duty
resulting from an office, trust or
station. However, it is inaccurate to
say that the writ will never issue to
control
the
public
officials
discretion. Our jurisprudence is
replete with exceptions to that rule.
Thus, this Court held that if the
questioned act was done with
grave abuse of discretion, manifest
injustice or palpable excess of
authority, the writ will be issued to
control the exercise of such

discretion. Likewise, mandamus is


a proper recourse for citizens who
seek to enforce a public right and
to compel the performance of a
public duty, most especially when
mandated by the Constitution.
Thus, a party to a case may
demand expeditious action from all
officials who are tasked with the
administration of justice. Under the
undisputed facts before us, we hold
that respondent acted with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction by
failing to resolve the administrative
and
criminal
cases
against
petitioners even to this day, or a
period of almost eight (8) years
from the filing of their complaintsaffidavits.
Same; In the determination of
whether that right has been
violated, the factors that may be
considered and balanced are the
length of the delay, the reasons for
the delay, the aggrieved partys
assertion or failure to assert such
right, and the prejudice caused by
the delay.All persons shall have
the right to a speedy disposition of
their cases before all judicial,
quasi-judicial
or
administrative
bodies,
so
the
Constitution
declares in no uncertain terms. This
right, like the right to a speedy
trial, is deemed violated when
_______________

* FIRST DIVISION.
619

VOL. 545, FEBRUARY 15, 2008


619
Enriquez
vs.
Ombudsman

Office

of

the

the proceedings are attended by


vexatious,
capricious,
and
oppressive delays. In a number of
cases, this Court ruled that the
right to a speedy disposition of a

case is a relative or flexible


concept. A mere mathematical
reckoning of the time involved is
not sufficient. Particular regard
must be taken of the facts and
circumstances peculiar to each
case. Hence, the doctrinal rule is
that in the determination of
whether that right has been
violated, the factors that may be
considered and balanced are the
length of the delay, the reasons for
the delay, the aggrieved partys
assertion or failure to assert such
right, and the prejudice caused by
the delay.
Same; Ombudsman; When the
Constitution enjoins respondent to
act promptly on any complaint
against any public officer or
employee, it has the concomitant
duty to speedily resolve the same.
These powers, functions and
duties are aimed to enable
respondent to be a more active
and effective agent of the people in
ensuring accountability in public
office. Unfortunately, respondent
has transgressed its constitutional
and statutory duties. When the
Constitution enjoins respondent to
act promptly on any complaint
against any public officer or
employee, it has the concomitant
duty to speedily resolve the same.
But respondent did not act
promptly
or
resolve
speedily
petitioners cases. The Rules of
Procedure of the Office of the
Ombudsman requires that the
hearing officer is given a definite
period of not later than thirty (30)
days to resolve the case after the
formal investigation shall have
been
concluded.
Definitely,
respondent did not observe this 30day rule. Here, respondent did not
resolve the administrative and
criminal cases against petitioners
although the investigation of the
said
cases
had
long
been
terminated when the latter formally
offered their evidence way back on
January 29, 2002. In fact, due to
respondents inaction, petitioners,
on March 24, 2006 or more than
four (4) years from January 29,
2002, filed a motion praying the
immediate dismissal of all the
cases against them, contending

that
respondents
inordinate
delay
in
resolving
them
constitutes a violation of their
constitutional right to a speedy
disposition
of
their
cases.
Significantly, this motion was never
resisted by complainant FFIB.
Nonetheless, respondent did not
even bother to act on the motion.
Likewise,
it
did
not
inform
petitioners why the cases remain
unresolved.
620

620
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

Enriquez
vs.
Ombudsman

Office

REPORTS
of

the

Same; Same; Adjudication of cases


must not only be done in an orderly
manner that is in accord with the
established rules of procedure, but
must also be promptly decided to
better serve the ends of justice;
The
peoples
respect
and
confidence in the Office of the
Ombudsman are measured not
only by its impartiality, fairness,
and correctness of its acts, but also
by its capacity to resolve cases
speedily.These are only some of
the cases showing respondents
disregard
of
the
persons
constitutional right to a speedy
disposition of his case. Sadly, the
list of cases is growing. This is
alarming. Here, respondent, the
very protector of the people,
became the perpetrator of the
dictum that justice delayed is
justice denied. Indeed, the said
dictum is not a meaningless
concept that can be taken for
granted by those who are tasked
with the dispensation of justice.
The
constitutional
guarantee
against unreasonable delay in the
disposition of cases was intended
to stem the tide of disenchantment
among
the
people
in
the
administration of justice by our
judicial and quasijudicial tribunals.
The adjudication of cases must not
only be done in an orderly manner

that is in accord with the


established rules of procedure, but
must also be promptly decided to
better serve the ends of justice.
Excessive delay in the disposition
of cases renders the rights of the
people
guaranteed
by
the
Constitution
and
by
various
legislations inutile. The peoples
respect and confidence in the
Office of the Ombudsman are
measured
not
only
by
its
impartiality,
fairness,
and
correctness of its acts, but also by
its capacity to resolve cases
speedily. [Enriquez vs. Office of the
Ombudsman, 545 SCRA 618(2008)]
G.R. No. 187728.September 12,
2011.*
CHURCHILLE V. MARI and the
PEOPLE
OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
petitioners, vs. HON. ROLANDO L.
GONZALES,
Presiding
Judge,
Regional Trial Court, Branch 39,
Sogod, Southern Leyte, and PO1
RUDYARD PALOMA y TORRES,
respondents.
Remedial Law; Delay resulting from
extraordinary remedies against
interlocutory orders must be read
in harmony with Section 7, Rule 65
of the Rules of Court which
provides that the petition under
Rule 65 shall not interrupt the
course of the principal case unless
a temporary restraining order or a
writ of preliminary injunction has
been issued against the public
respondent
from
further
proceeding
in
the
case.
Petitioners are likewise mistaken in
their notion that mere pendency of
their petition for transfer of venue
should interrupt proceedings before
the trial court. Such situation is
akin to having a pending petition
for certiorari with the higher courts.
In People v. Hernandez, 499 SCRA
688 (2006), the Court held that
delay resulting from extraordinary
remedies
against
interlocutory
orders must be read in harmony
with Section 7, Rule 65 of the Rules
of Court which provides that the
[p]etition [under Rule 65] shall not
interrupt the course of the principal
case
unless
a
temporary
restraining order or a writ of

preliminary injunction has been


issued
against
the
public
respondent
from
further
proceeding in the case. The trial
court was then correct and
_______________
* THIRD DIVISION.
415

VOL. 657, SEPTEMBER 12, 2011


415
Mari vs. Gonzales
acting well within its discretion
when
it
refused
to
grant
petitioners
motions
for
postponement mainly because of
the pendency of their petition for
transfer of venue.
Same; Constitutional Law; Right to
Speedy Trial; An accuseds right to
speedy trial is deemed violated
only when the proceeding is
attended by vexatious, capricious,
and oppressive delays; Factors to
consider and balance on whether
petitioner was deprived of his right.
Exhaustively explained in Corpuz
v. Sandiganbayan, an accuseds
right to speedy trial is deemed
violated only when the proceeding
is
attended
by
vexatious,
capricious, and oppressive delays.
In determining whether petitioner
was deprived of this right, the
factors to consider and balance are
the following: (a) duration of the
delay; (b) reason therefor; (c)
assertion of the right or failure to
assert it; and (d) prejudice caused
by such delay.
Same; Same; Same; There can be
no cavil that deprivation of liberty
for any duration of time is quite
oppressive.It
must
be
emphasized
that
private
respondent had already been
deprived of his liberty on two
occasions.
First,
during
the
preliminary investigation before the
MCTC, when he was incarcerated

from November 18, 2004 to March


16, 2005, or a period of almost four
months; then again, when an
Information had already been
issued and since rape is a nonbailable
offense,
he
was
imprisoned beginning June 27,
2008 until the case was dismissed
on January 16, 2009, or a period of
over 6 months. Verily, there can be
no cavil that deprivation of liberty
for any duration of time is quite
oppressive. Because of private
respondents
continued
incarceration, any delay in trying
the case would cause him great
prejudice. Thus, it was absolutely
vexatious and oppressive to delay
the trial in the subject criminal
case to await the outcome of
petitioners petition for transfer of
venue, especially in this case
where there is no temporary
restraining
order
or
writ
of
preliminary injunction issued by a
higher court against herein public
respondent
from
further
proceeding in the case. [Mari vs.
Gonzales, 657 SCRA 414(2011)]
G.R. No. 162206.November 17,
2010.*
MONICO V. JACOB and CELSO L.
LEGARDA, petitioners, vs. HON.
SANDIGANBAYAN FOURTH DIVISION
and
THE
OFFICE
OF
THE
OMBUDSMAN, respondents.
Constitutional Law; Right to a
Speedy Trial; Definition of the Right
to a Speedy Trial.An accuseds
right to have a speedy, impartial,
and public trial is guaranteed in
criminal cases by Section 14(2),
Article III of the Constitution. This
right to a speedy trial may be
defined as one free from vexatious,
capricious and oppressive delays,
its salutary objective being to
assure that an innocent person
may be free from the anxiety and
expense of a court litigation
_______________

** Additional member in lieu of


Associate Justice Mariano C. Del

Castillo per Special Order No. 913


dated 2 November 2010.
* FIRST DIVISION.
95

VOL. 635, NOVEMBER 17, 2010


95
Jacob vs.
Division

Sandiganbayan

Fouth

or, if otherwise, of having his guilt


determined within the shortest
possible time compatible with the
presentation and consideration of
whatsoever legitimate defense he
may interpose. Intimating historical
perspective on the evolution of the
right to speedy trial, we reiterate
the old legal maxim, justice
delayed is justice denied. This oftrepeated
adage
requires
the
expeditious resolution of disputes,
much more so in criminal cases
where
an
accused
is
constitutionally guaranteed the
right to a speedy trial.
Same;
Same;
In
determining
whether the right of the accused to
a speedy trial was violated, the
delay should be considered, in view
of the entirety of the proceedings.
We further emphasized in Uy that
speedy trial is a relative term and
necessarily a flexible concept. In
determining whether the right of
the accused to a speedy trial was
violated, the delay should be
considered, in view of the entirety
of the proceedings. Indeed, mere
mathematical reckoning of the time
involved would not suffice as the
realities of everyday life must be
regarded in judicial proceedings
which, after all, do not exist in a
vacuum.
Same; Same; Test for determining
whether an accused was indeed
deprived of his right to a speedy
trial and disposition of the case
against him.We went on to lay
down in Corpuz the test for
determining whether an accused
was indeed deprived of his right to

a speedy trial and disposition of the


case against him: In determining
whether the accused has been
deprived of his right to a speedy
disposition of the case and to a
speedy trial, four factors must be
considered: (a) length of delay; (b)
the reason for the delay; (c) the
defendants assertion of his right;
and (d) prejudice to the defendant.
Same;
Same;
Warning
given
against
the
overzealous
or
precipitate dismissal of a case that
may enable the defendant, who
may be guilty, to go free without
having been tried.In Corpuz, we
warned against the overzealous or
precipitate dismissal of a case that
may enable the defendant, who
may be guilty, to go free without
having
been
tried,
thereby
infringing the societal interest in
trying people accused of crimes
rather
than
granting
them
immunization because of legal
error. Earlier, in People v. Leviste,
255 SCRA 238 (1996), we already
stressed that: [T]he State, like any
other litigant, is entitled to its day
in court, and to a reasonable
opportunity to present its case. A
hasty dismissal such as the one in
question, instead of un96

96
SUPREME
ANNOTATED
Jacob vs.
Division

COURT

REPORTS

Sandiganbayan

Fouth

clogging dockets, has actually


increased the workload of the
justice system as a whole and
caused uncalled-for delays in the
final resolution of this and other
cases. Unwittingly, the precipitate
action of the respondent court,
instead of easing the burden of the
accused, merely prolonged the
litigation and ironically enough,
unnecessarily delayed the casein
the process, causing the very evil it
apparently sought to avoid. Such
action does not inspire public

confidence in the administration of


justice.
Same; Same; Court agrees with the
Sandiganbayan
Special
Fourth
Division
that
Justice
Narios
dismissal of the criminal cases was
unwarranted
under
the
circumstances, since the State
should not be prejudiced and
deprived of its right to prosecute
the criminal cases simply because
of the ineptitude or nonchalance of
the Office of the Ombudsman.
Thus,
even
though
we
acknowledge the delay in the
criminal proceedings, as well as the
prejudice suffered by petitioners
and their co-accused by reason
thereof, the weighing of interests
militate against a finding that
petitioners right to speedy trial
and disposition of the cases
involving them would have justified
the dismissal of Criminal Case Nos.
25922-25939. We agree with the
Sandiganbayan
Special
Fourth
Division
that
Justice
Narios
dismissal of the criminal cases was
unwarranted
under
the
circumstances, since the State
should not be prejudiced and
deprived of its right to prosecute
the criminal cases simply because
of the ineptitude or nonchalance of
the Office of the Ombudsman.
Same; Same; A verbal judgment or
order of dismissal is a violation of
Section 1, Rule 120 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure; hence,
such order is, in contemplation of
law, not in esse, therefore,
ineffective.The
Sandiganbayan
Special Fourth Division did not
abuse its discretion in setting aside
Justice Narios verbal order, which
dismissed Criminal Case Nos.
25922-25939, for not only was
such order baseless, as we had
previously discussed herein; but
more importantly, because it is an
utter nullity, as we had ruled in
Corpuz. We held in Corpuz that:
x x x We agree with the foregoing
ratiocination. Section 1, Rule 120 of
the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure,
mandates
that
a
judgment must be written in the
official language, personally and
directly prepared by the judge and

signed by him and shall contain


clearly and distinctly a statement
of the facts and the law upon which
it is based. The rule applies to a
final order dismissing a criminal
case
97

VOL. 635, NOVEMBER 17, 2010


97
Jacob vs.
Division

Sandiganbayan

Fouth

grounded on the violation of the


rights of the accused to a speedy
trial. A verbal judgment or order of
dismissal is a violation of the
provision; hence, such order is, in
contemplation of law, not in esse,
therefore, ineffective. Justice Nario
failed to issue a written resolution
dismissing the criminal cases for
failure of the prosecution to submit
its report on the reinvestigation of
the cases within the sixty-day
period fixed by the graft court.
Moreover, the verbal order was
rejected by majority vote of the
members of the Sandiganbayan
Special Division. In fine, there has
been no valid and effective order of
dismissal of the cases. The
Sandiganbayan cannot then be
faulted for issuing the assailed
resolutions.
Criminal
Procedure;
Double
Jeopardy;
Requisites
to
Substantiate a Claim for Double
Jeopardy.To substantiate a claim
for double jeopardy, the following
must be demonstrated: (1) [A] first
jeopardy must have attached prior
to the second; (2) the first jeopardy
must have been validly terminated;
(3) the second jeopardy must be
for the same offense, or the second
offense includes or is necessarily
included in the offense charged in
the first information, or is an
attempt to commit the same or is a
frustration
thereof.
And
legal
jeopardy attaches only: (a) upon a
valid indictment; (b) before a
competent
court;
(c)
after
arraignment; (d) [when] a valid

plea [has] been entered; and (e)


the
case
was
dismissed
or
otherwise terminated without the
express consent of the accused.
[Jacob vs. Sandiganbayan Fouth
Division, 635 SCRA 94(2010)]
G.R. No. 162214. November 11,
2004.*
MARIALEN
C.
CORPUZ
and
ANTONIO
H.
ROMAN,
SR.,
petitioners,
vs.
THE
SANDIGANBAYAN (Special Fourth
Division) and THE PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Actions; Pleadings and Practice;
Appeals; Certiorari; For a petition
for certiorari to be granted, it must
set out and demonstrate, plainly
and
distinctly, all
the
facts
essential to establish a right to a
writ.For a petition for certiorari to
be granted, it must set out and
demonstrate, plainly and distinctly,
all the facts essential to establish a
right to a writ. The petitioners must
allege
in their petition
and
establish facts to show that any
other existing remedy is not
speedy or adequate and that (a)
the writ is directed against a
tribunal, board or officer exercising
judicial or quasi-judicial functions;
(b) such tribunal, board or officer
has acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or
lack of jurisdiction; and, (c) there is
no appeal or any plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary
course
of
law.
The
public
respondent acts without jurisdiction
if it does not have the legal power
to determine the case; there is
excess of jurisdiction where the
respondent, being clothed with the
power to determine the case,
oversteps
its
authority
as
determined by law. There is grave
abuse of discretion where the
public respondent acts in a
capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or
despotic manner in the exercise of
its judgment as to be said to be
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
Mere abuse of discretion is not
enough.

Same; Same; Same; Same; In a


petition
for
certiorari,
the
jurisdiction of the court is narrow in
scopeit is limited to resolving
only errors of jurisdiction.In a
petition
for
certiorari,
the
jurisdiction of the court is narrow in
scope. It is limited to resolving only
errors of jurisdiction. It is not to
stray at will and resolve questions
or issues beyond its competence
such as errors of judgment. Errors
of judgment of the trial court are to
be resolved by the appellate court
in the appeal or via a petition for
review on certiorari in this Court
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Certiorari will issue only to correct
_______________

* SECOND DIVISION.
295

VOL. 442, NOVEMBER 11, 2004


295
Corpuz vs. Sandiganbayan
errors of jurisdiction. It is not a
remedy to correct errors of
judgment. An error of judgment is
one in which the court may commit
in the exercise of its jurisdiction,
and which error is reversible only
by an appeal. As long as the court
acts within its jurisdiction, any
alleged errors committed in the
exercise of its discretion will
amount to nothing more than mere
errors of judgment, correctible by
an appeal or a petition for review
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
An error of jurisdiction is one where
the act complained of was issued
by the court without or in excess of
jurisdiction and which error is
correctible
only
by
the
extraordinary writ of certiorari.
Criminal Procedure; Judgments;
Written Form; A verbal judgment or
order of dismissal is a violation of
the provisionhence, such order is,

in contemplation of law, not in


esse,
therefore,
ineffective.
Section 1, Rule 120 of the Revised
Rules
of
Criminal
Procedure,
mandates that a judgment must be
written in the official language,
personally and directly prepared by
the judge and signed by him and
shall contain clearly and distinctly
a statement of the facts and the
law upon which it is based. The rule
applies to a final order dismissing a
criminal case grounded on the
violation of the rights of the
accused to a speedy trial. A verbal
judgment or order of dismissal is a
violation of the provision; hence,
such order is, in contemplation of
law, not in esse, therefore,
ineffective.
Same; Trial; Right to Speedy Trial; It
cannot be overstressed that the
accused in all criminal prosecutions
are entitled to due process as
much as the prosecution.Rule
115, Section 1(h) of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure further
provides that the accused has the
right to have a speedy, impartial
and public trial. The said rule
requires that the arraignment of
the accused should be held within
thirty (30) days from the date the
court acquired jurisdiction over the
person of the accused, unless a
shorter period is provided by
special law or unless excusable
delays as provided in Rule 119,
Section 10 of the Rules are
attendant. Such rights to due
process,
speedy
trial
and
disposition of the case were first
articulated as early as 1297 in
England: To none will we see, to
none will we deny or delay right or
justice. It cannot be overstressed
that the accused in all criminal
prosecutions are entitled to due
process
as
much
as
the
prosecution.
In
Tatad
v.
Sandiganbayan, we held that
substantial
adherence
to
the
requirements of the law governing
the
conduct
of
preliminary
investigation, including substantial
compliance with the
296

296
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Corpuz vs. Sandiganbayan


time limitation prescribed by the
law for the resolution of the case
by the prosecutor, is part of the
procedural
due
process
constitutionally guaranteed by the
fundamental law. This ruling clearly
applies
to
reinvestigations
authorized by the trial courts,
including the Sandiganbayan.
Same; Same; Same; The right of
the accused to a speedy trial and
to a speedy disposition of the case
against him was designed to
prevent the oppression of the
citizen
by
holding
criminal
prosecution suspended over him
for an indefinite time, and to
prevent
delays
in
the
administration
of
justice
by
mandating the courts to proceed
with reasonable dispatch in the
trial of criminal cases.The right of
the accused to a speedy trial and
to a speedy disposition of the case
against him was designed to
prevent the oppression of the
citizen
by
holding
criminal
prosecution suspended over him
for an indefinite time, and to
prevent
delays
in
the
administration
of
justice
by
mandating the courts to proceed
with reasonable dispatch in the
trial of criminal cases. Such right to
a speedy trial and a speedy
disposition of a case is violated
only when the proceeding is
attended by vexatious, capricious
and oppressive delays. The inquiry
as to whether or not an accused
has been denied such right is not
susceptible by precise qualification.
The
concept
of
a
speedy
disposition is a relative term and
must necessarily be a flexible
concept.
While
justice
is
administered with dispatch, the
essential ingredient is orderly,
expeditious and not mere speed. It
cannot be definitely said how long
is too long in a system where
justice is supposed to be swift, but
deliberate. It is consistent with

delays
and
depends
upon
circumstances. It secures rights to
the accused, but it does not
preclude the rights of public
justice. Also, it must be borne in
mind that the rights given to the
accused by the Constitution and
the Rules of Court are shields, not
weapons; hence, courts are to give
meaning to that intent. A balancing
test of applying societal interests
and the rights of the accused
necessarily compels the court to
approach speedy trial cases on an
ad hoc basis.
Same; Same; Same; Factors; In
determining whether the accused
has been deprived of his right to a
speedy disposition of the case and
to a speedy trial, four factors must
be considered.In determining
whether the accused has been
deprived of his right to a speedy
disposition of the case and to a
speedy trial, four factors must be
considered: (a) length of delay; (b)
the reason for the delay; (c) the
297

VOL. 442, NOVEMBER 11, 2004


297
Corpuz vs. Sandiganbayan
defendants assertion of his right;
and (d) prejudice to the defendant.
Prejudice should be assessed in the
light of the interest of the
defendant that the speedy trial was
designed to protect, namely: to
prevent
oppressive
pre-trial
incarceration; to minimize anxiety
and concerns of the accused to
trial; and to limit the possibility that
his defense will be impaired. Of
these, the most serious is the last,
because
the
inability
of
a
defendant adequately to prepare
his case skews the fairness of the
entire system. There is also
prejudice if the defense witnesses
are unable to recall accurately the
events of the distant past. Even if
the accused is not imprisoned prior
to trial, he is still disadvantaged by
restraints on his liberty and by

living under a cloud of anxiety,


suspicion and often, hostility. His
financial resources may be drained,
his association is curtailed, and he
is subjected to public obloquy.
Same; Same; Same; Dismissal; The
trial court may dismiss a criminal
case on a motion nolle prosequi if
the accused is not brought to trial
within the prescribed time and is
deprived of his right to a speedy
trial or disposition of the case on
account
of
unreasonable
or
capricious delay caused by the
prosecution.Under
Section
9,
Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, the trial court
may dismiss a criminal case on a
motion nolle prosequi if the
accused is not brought to trial
within the prescribed time and is
deprived of his right to a speedy
trial or disposition of the case on
account
of
unreasonable
or
capricious delay caused by the
prosecution. En contrario, the
accused is not entitled to a
dismissal where such delay was
caused by proceedings or motions
instituted by him. But it must be
understood that an overzealous or
precipitate dismissal of a case may
enable the defendant, who may be
guilty, to go free without having
been tried, thereby infringing the
societal interest in trying people
accused of crimes rather than
granting
them
immunization
because of legal error. Not too long
ago, we emphasized that: [T]he
State, like any other litigant, is
entitled to its day in court, and to a
reasonable opportunity to present
its case. A hasty dismissal such as
the one in question, instead of
unclogging dockets, has actually
increased the workload of the
justice system as a whole and
caused uncalled-for delays in the
final resolution of this and other
cases. Unwittingly, the precipitate
action of the respondent court,
instead of easing the burden of the
accused, merely prolonged the
litigation and ironically enough,
unnecessarily delayed the casein
the pro298

298
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Corpuz vs. Sandiganbayan


cess, causing the very evil it
apparently sought to avoid. Such
action does not inspire public
confidence in the administration of
justice. [Corpuz vs. Sandiganbayan,
442 SCRA 294(2004)]

G.R. No. 188165.December 11,


2013.*
PEOPLE
OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
petitioner,
vs.
HON.
SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION &
THIRD
DIVISION,
HERNANDO
BENITO PEREZ, ROSARIO PEREZ,
RAMON
ARCEO
and
ERNEST
ESCALER, respondents.
G.R. No. 189063.December 11,
2013.*
PEOPLE
OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
petitioner,
vs.
HON.
SANDIGANBAYAN,
SECOND
DIVISION, HERNANDO
_______________
* FIRST DIVISION.
360
BENITO
PEREZ,
ROSARIO
SALVADOR PEREZ, ERNEST DE
LEON
ESCALER
and
RAMON
CASTILLO ARCEO, JR., respondents.
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure;
Appeals; That only the Solicitor
General may represent the People
on appeal or certiorari in the
Supreme Court and the Court of
Appeals in all criminal proceedings
is the general rule, but the rule
admits the exception concerning
all
cases
elevated
to
the
Sandiganbayan and from the
Sandiganbayan to the Supreme
Court,
the
Office
of
the

Ombudsman, through its special


prosecutor, shall represent the
People of the Philippines, except in
cases filed pursuant to Executive
Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A,
issued in 1986.That only the
Solicitor General may represent the
People on appeal or certiorari in
the Supreme Court and the Court
of
Appeals
in
all
criminal
proceedings is the general rule, but
the rule admits the exception
concerning all cases elevated to
the Sandiganbayan and from the
Sandiganbayan to the Supreme
Court,
the
Office
of
the
Ombudsman, through its special
prosecutor, shall represent the
People of the Philippines, except in
cases filed pursuant to Executive
Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A,
issued in 1986. More specifically,
Section 4(c) of Republic Act No.
8249 authorizes the exception, viz.:
x x x x c. Civil and criminal cases
filed pursuant to and in connection
with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14
and 14-A, issued in 1986. x x x x
The procedure prescribed in Batas
Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the
implementing
rules
that
the
Supreme Court has promulgated
and may hereafter promulgate,
relative to appeals/petitions for
review to the Court of Appeals,
shall apply to appeals and petitions
for
review
filed
with
the
Sandiganbayan.
In
all
cases
elevated to the Sandiganbayan and
from the Sandiganbayan to the
Supreme Court, the Office of the
Ombudsman, through its special
prosecutor, shall represent the
People of the Philippines, except in
cases filed pursuant to Executive
Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A,
issued in 1986.
Same;
Special
Civil
Actions;
Certiorari; A special civil action for
certiorari is an independent action
based on the specific grounds
provided in Section 1, Rule 65 of
the Rules of Court, and can prosper
only the jurisdictional error, or the
grave
abuse
of
discretion
amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction committed by the
inferior court or judge is alleged
and proved to exist.The petitions
for certiorari brought by the State

must nonetheless be dismissed for


failure to
361
show any grave abuse of discretion
on the part of Sandiganbayan in
issuing the assailed resolutions. A
special civil action for certiorari is
an independent action based on
the specific grounds provided in
Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court, and can prosper only the
jurisdictional error, or the grave
abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction
committed by the inferior court or
judge is alleged and proved to
exist.
Criminal
Law;
Anti-Graft
and
Corrupt Practices; Section 3 (b) of
Republic Act No. 3019, which
punished any public officer for
[d]irectly or indirectly requesting
or receiving any gift, present,
share, percentage, or benefit, for
himself or for any other person, in
connection with any contract or
transaction
between
the
Government and any other party,
wherein the public officer in his
official capacity has to intervene
under the law.In its questioned
resolution dismissing Criminal Case
No.
SB-08-CRM-0265,
the
Sandiganbayan relied on the ruling
in Soriano, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan,
131 SCRA 184 (1984), in which the
principal issue was whether or not
the preliminary investigation of a
criminal complaint conducted by
petitioner Soriano, Jr., then a Fiscal,
was a contract or transaction as
to bring the complaint within the
ambit of Section 3 (b) of Republic
Act No. 3019, which punished any
public officer for [d]irectly or
indirectly requesting or receiving
any
gift,
present,
share,
percentage, or benefit, for himself
or for any other person, in
connection with any contract or
transaction
between
the
Government and any other party,
wherein the public officer in his
official capacity has to intervene
under the law. The Soriano, Jr.
Court ruled in the negative, and
pronounced: It is obvious that the
investigation conducted by the

petitioner was not a contract.


Neither was it a transaction
because this term must be
construed as analogous to the term
which precedes it. A transaction,
like a contract, is one which
involves some consideration as in
credit
transactions
and
this
element (consideration) is absent
in the investigation conducted by
the petitioner. In the light of the
foregoing, We agree with the
petitioner that it was error for the
Sandiganbayan to have convicted
him of violating Sec. 3 (b) of R.A.
No. 3019.
Constitutional Law; Right to Speedy
Disposition
of
Cases;
The
constitutional right to a speedy
disposition of cases is not limited to
the
accused
in
criminal
proceedings but extends to all
parties in all cases, including civil
and administrative cases, and in all
proceed362
ings, including judicial and quasijudicial hearings.The right to the
speedy disposition of cases is
enshrined in Article III of the
Constitution,
which
declares:
Section 16. All persons shall have
the right to a speedy disposition of
their cases before all judicial,
quasi-judicial, or administrative
bodies. The constitutional right to a
speedy disposition of cases is not
limited to the accused in criminal
proceedings but extends to all
parties in all cases, including civil
and administrative cases, and in all
proceedings, including judicial and
quasi-judicial hearings. While the
concept of speedy disposition is
relative or flexible, such that a
mere mathematical reckoning of
the time involved is not sufficient,
the right to the speedy disposition
of a case, like the right to speedy
trial, is deemed violated when the
proceedings are
attended by
vexatious,
capricious,
and
oppressive
delays;
or
when
unjustified postponements of the
trial are asked for and secured; or
when without cause or justifiable
motive a long period of time is

allowed to elapse without the party


having his case tried.
Same; Same; The Office of the
Ombudsman
had
taken
an
unusually long period of time just
to
investigate
the
criminal
complaint
and
to
determine
whether to criminally charge the
respondents in the Sandiganbayan.
Such long delay was inordinate and
oppressive, and constituted under
the peculiar circumstances of the
case an outright violation of the
respondents
right
under
the
Constitution
to
the
speedy
disposition of their cases.It is
clear from the foregoing that the
Office of the Ombudsman had
taken an unusually long period of
time just to investigate the criminal
complaint
and
to
determine
whether to criminally charge the
respondents in the Sandiganbayan.
Such long delay was inordinate and
oppressive, and constituted under
the peculiar circumstances of the
case an outright violation of the
respondents
right
under
the
Constitution
to
the
speedy
disposition of their cases. If, in
Tatad v. Sandiganbayan, 159 SCRA
70 (1988), the Court ruled that a
delay of almost three years in the
conduct
of
the
preliminary
investigation constituted a violation
of the constitutional rights of the
accused to due process and to the
speedy disposition of his case,
taking into account the following,
namely: (a) the complaint had been
resurrected only after the accused
had a falling out with former
President Marcos, indicating that
political motivations had played a
vital
role
in
activating
and
propelling
the
prosecutorial
process; (b) the Tanodbayan had
blatantly
departed
from
the
established procedure prescribed
by law for
363
the
conduct
of
preliminary
investigation; and (c) the simple
factual and legal issues involved
did not justify the delay, there is a
greater reason for us to hold so in
the respondents case.

Same; Same; The guarantee of


speedy disposition under Section
16 of Article III of the Constitution
applies to all cases pending before
all
judicial,
quasi-judicial
or
administrative
bodies.The
guarantee of speedy disposition
under Section 16 of Article III of the
Constitution applies to all cases
pending before all judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative bodies.
The guarantee would be defeated
or rendered inutile if the hairsplitting distinction by the State is
accepted. Whether or not the factfinding investigation was separate
from the preliminary investigation
conducted by the Office of the
Ombudsman should not matter for
purposes of determining if the
respondents right to the speedy
disposition oftheir cases had been
violated.
Same; Same; There was really no
sufficient justification tendered by
the State for the long delay of more
than five years in bringing the
charges against the respondents
before the proper court.There
was really no sufficient justification
tendered by the State for the long
delay of more than five years in
bringing the charges against the
respondents before the proper
court. On the charge of robbery
under Article 293 in relation to
Article 294 of the Revised Penal
Code, the preliminary investigation
would not require more than five
years to ascertain the relevant
factual and legal matters. The
basic elements of the offense, that
is, the intimidation or pressure
allegedly
exerted
on
Cong.
Jimenez, the manner by which the
money
extorted
had
been
delivered, and the respondents had
been identified as the perpetrators,
had been adequately bared before
the Office of the Ombudsman. The
obtention of the bank documents
was not indispensable to establish
probable cause to charge them
with the offense. [People of the
Philippines
vs.
Hon.
Sandiganbayan,
712
SCRA
359(2013)]
G.R. No.
2011.*

176389.January

18,

ANTONIO LEJANO, petitioner, vs.


PEOPLE
OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
respondent.
G.R. No.
2011.*

176864.January

18,

PEOPLE
OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
appellee, vs. HUBERT JEFFREY P.
WEBB, ANTONIO LEJANO, MICHAEL
A.
GATCHALIAN,
HOSPICIO
FERNANDEZ, MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ,
PETER ESTRADA and GERARDO
BIONG, appellants.
_______________

* EN BANC.
761

VOL. 639, JANUARY 18, 2011


761
Lejano vs. People
Constitutional
Law;
Criminal
Procedure; Double Jeopardy; To
reconsider a judgment of acquittal
places the accused twice in
jeopardy of being punished for the
crime of which he has already been
absolved.To
reconsider
a
judgment of acquittal places the
accused twice in jeopardy of being
punished for the crime of which he
has already been absolved. There
is reason for this provision of the
Constitution. In criminal cases, the
full power of the State is ranged
against the accused. If there is no
limit to attempts to prosecute the
accused for the same offense after
he has been acquitted, the infinite
power and capacity of the State for
a sustained and repeated litigation
would eventually overwhelm the
accused in terms of resources,
stamina, and the will to fight.
Same; Same; Same; A motion for
reconsideration after an acquittal is
possible but the grounds are
exceptional and narrow.A motion
for
reconsideration
after
an

acquittal is possible. But the


grounds
are
exceptional
and
narrow as when the court that
absolved the accused gravely
abused its discretion, resulting in
loss of jurisdiction, or when a
mistrial has occurred. In any of
such cases, the State may assail
the decision by special civil action
of certiorari under Rule 65. [Lejano
vs. People, 639 SCRA 760(2011)]
No. L-72670. September 12, 1986.*
SATURNINA GALMAN, REYNALDO
GALMAN and JOSE P. BENGZON,
MARY
CONCEPCION
BAUTISTA,
JOAQUIN G. BERNAS; S.J., M.
BELLARMINE
BERNAS,
O.S.B.,
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, SOLITA
COLLAS-MONSOD,
SANTIAGO
DUMLAO,
JR.,
MARIA
FERIA,
MARCELO B. FERNAN, FRANCISCO
GARCHITORENA,**
ANDREW
GONZALEZ, JOSE C. LAURETA,
SALVADOR P. LOPEZ, FELIX K.
MARAMBA, JR., CECILIA MUOZ
PALMA, JAIME V. ONGPIN, FELIX
PEREZ, JOSE B.L. REYES, JOSE E.
ROMERO,
JR.,
RAMON
DEL
ROSARIO, JR., RICARDO J. ROMULO,
AUGUSTO SANCHEZ, EMMANUEL V.
SORIANO, DAVID SYCIP, ENRIQUE
SYQUIA, CRISTINA TAN, JESUS
VARGAS, BERNARDO M. VILLEGAS,
VICENTE JAYME,***, petitioners, vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION
(represented by Justice Manuel
Pamaran, Chairman, and Justices
Augusto Amores and Bienvenido
Vera Cruz, Members), JUSTICE
BERNARDO
FERNANDEZ
(Ombudsman) and GEN. FABIAN C.
VER, MAJ. GEN. PROSPERO A.
OLIVAS, BRIG. GEN. LUTHER A.
CUSTODIO,
COL.
ARTURO
G.
CUSTODIO, COL. VICENTE B. TIGAS,
JR., CAPT. FELIPE VALERIO, CAPT.
LLEWELYN KAVINTA, CAPT. ROMEO
M. BAUTISTA, 2nd LT. JESUS
CASTRO, SGT. PABLO MARTINEZ,
SGT. ARNULFO DE MESA, SGT.
TOMAS FERNANDEZ, SGT. CLARO
LAT. SGT. FILOMENO MIRANDA, SGT.
ROLANDO C. DE GUZMAN, SGT.
ERNESTO
M.
MATEO,
SGT.
RODOLFO M. DESOLONG, SGT.
LEONARDO MOJICA, SGT. PEPITO
TORIO, SGT. ARMANDO DELA CRUZ,
SGT. PROSPERO A. BONA, CIC
ROGELIO MORENO, CIC MARIO

LAZAGA, AIC CORDOVA G. ESTELO,


AIC
ANICETO
ACUPIDO
and
HERMILO
_______________

* EN BANC.
** Francis Garchitorena withdrew as
co-petitioner in view of
his
appointment and assumption of
office as Presiding Justice of the
Sandiganbayan on May 5, 1986,
per the Resolution of May 15, 1986.
44

44
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Galman vs. Sandiganbayan


GOSUICO,****, respondents.
Criminal
Procedure;
Sandiganbayan; Judgments; The
Court approves the Report of its 3member Commission that former
President Ferdinand E. Marcos
stage-managed the Aquino-Galman
murder
cases
before
the
Sandiganbayan.The Court adopts
and approves the Report and its
findings and holds on the basis
thereof and of the evidence
received and appreciated by the
Commission and duly supported by
the facts of public record and
knowledge set forth above and
hereinafter, that the then President
(code-named Olympus) had stagemanaged in and from Malacaang
Palace
a
scripted
and
predetermined manner of handling
and disposing of the AquinoGalman murder case; and that
the prosecution in the AquinoGalman case and the Justices who
tried and decided the same acted
under the compulsion of some
pressure which proved to be
beyond their capacity to resist, and
which not only prevented the
prosecution to fully ventilate its

position and to offer all the


evidences which it could have
otherwise presented, but also
predetermined the final outcome of
the case of total absolution of the
twenty-six respondents-accused of
all criminal and civil liability.
Same; Same; Same.The Court
finds that the Commissions Report
(incorporated herein by reference)
and findings and conclusions are
duly substantiated by the evidence
and
facts
of
public
record.
Composed
of
distinguished
members of proven integrity with a
combined total of 141 years of
experience in the practice of law
(55 years) and in the prosecutoral
and judicial services (86 years in
the trial and appellate courts),
experts at sifting the chaff from the
grain, the Commission properly
appraised the evidences presented
and denials made by public
respondents, thus: x x x.
Same; Same; Same; The evidence
adduced, before the Vasquez
Commission shows Presidential
pressure
pervaded
the
Sandiganbayan proceedings.The
Commission pinpointed the crucial
factual issue thus: the more
significant inquiry is on whether
the Sandiganbayan and the Office
of
the
Tanodbayan
actually
succumbed to such pressure, as
may
be
gauged
by
their
subsequent actuations in their
_______________

**** The motion for intervention of


25 accused generals and military
men and one civilian was granted
in the Courts Resolution of
November 24, 1985. Petitioners in
their Manifestation of November
22, 1985 likewise impleaded the
said 26 accused as private
respondents.
45

VOL. 144, SEPTEMBER 12, 1986

45
Galman vs. Sandiganbayan
respective handling of the case. It
duly concluded that the pressure
exerted by President Marcos in the
conference held on January 10,
1985
pervaded
the
entire
proceedings of the Aquino-Galman
[murder] cases as manifested in
several specific incidents and
instances it enumerated in the
Report under the heading of
Manifestations of Pressure and
Manipulation.
Same; Same; Same; Same.The
record shows suffocatingly that
from beginning to end, the then
President used, or more precisely,
misused
the
overwhelming
resources of the government and
his authoritarian powers to corrupt
and make a mockery of the judicial
process in the Aquino-Galman
murder cases. As graphically
depicted in the Report, supra, and
borne out by the happenings (res
ipsa loquitur), since the resolution
prepared by his Coordinator,
Manuel Lazaro, his Presidential
Assistant on Legal Affairs, for the
Tanodbayans dismissal of the
cases against all accused was
unpalatable (it would summon the
demonstrators back to the streets)
and at any rate was not acceptable
to the Herrera prosecution panel,
the unholy scenario for acquittal of
all 26 accused after the rigged trial
as ordered at the Malacaang
conference, would accomplish the
two
principal
objectives
of
satisfaction of the public clamor for
the suspected killers to be charged
in court and of giving them through
their acquittal the legal shield of
double jeopardy. Indeed, the secret
Malacaang conference at which
the authoritarian President called
together the Presiding Justice of
the
Sandiganbayan
and
Tanodbayan Fernandez and the
entire prosecution panel headed by
Deputy Tanodbayan Herrera and
told them how to handle and rig
(moro-moro) the trial and the close
monitoring
of
the
entire
proceedings to assure the predetermined
ignominious
final

outcome are without parallel and


precedent in our annals and
jurisprudence. To borrow a phrase
from Ninoys April 14, 1975 letter
withdrawing his petition for habeas
corpus, This is the evil of one-man
rule at its very worst. Our Penal
Code penalizes any executive
officer who shall address any order
or suggestion to any judicial
authority with respect to any case
or business coming within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the courts
of justice. His obsession for the
boys acquittal led to several firsts
which
would
otherwise
be
inexplicable.
Same; Same; Same; Attendance on
Jan. 10, 1985 by both the
Tanodbayan and the Presiding
Justice of the Sandiganbayan at a
Malacaang conference called by
an
authoritarian
President
to
discuss the Aquino-Galman murder
cases even before the cases were
filed in court cast illegality to the
entire trial from the very
46

46
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Galman vs. Sandiganbayan


beginning.The fact of the secret
Malacaang conference of January
10, 1985 at which the authoritarian
President
discussed
with
the
Presiding
Justice
of
the
Sandiganbayan and the entire
prosecution panel the matter of the
imminent filing of the criminal
charges against all the twenty-six
accused
(as
admitted
by
respondent Justice Fernandez to
have been confirmed by him to the
then
Presidents
Coordinator
Manuel Lazaro on the preceding
day) is not denied. It is without
precedent. This was illegal under
our penal laws, supra. This illegality
vitiated from the very beginning all
proceedings
in
the
Sandiganabayan court headed by
the very Presiding Justice who

attended. As the Commission


noted: The very acts of being
summoned to Malacaang and
their ready acquiescence thereto
under the circumstances then
obtaining,
are
in
themselves
pressure
dramatized
and
exemplified. x x x Verily, it can be
said
that
any
avowal
of
independent action or resistance to
presidential
pressure
became
illusory from the very moment they
stepped inside Malacaang Palace
on January 10, 1985.
Same; Same; Same; Due Process;
No court whose Presiding Justice
received orders or suggestions
from a President whose decree
made it possible to refer a case to
his court can be on impartial court.
No court whose Presiding Justice
has
received
orders
or
suggestions
from
the
very
President who by an amendatory
decree (disclosed only at the
hearing of oral arguments on
November 8, 1984 on a petition
challenging the referral of the
Aquino-Galman murder cases to
the
Tanodbayan
and
Sandiganbayan instead of to a
court martial, as mandatorily
required by the known P.D. 1850 at
the time providing for exclusive
jurisdiction of courts martial over
criminal offenses committed by
military men) made it possible to
refer
the
cases
to
the
Sandiganbayan,
can
be
an
impartial court, which is the very
essence of due process of law. As
the writer then wrote, jurisdiction
over cases should be determined
by law, and not by preselection of
the Executive, which could be
much too easily transformed into a
means of predetermining the
outcome of individual cases. This
criminal collusion as to the
handling and treatment of the
cases by public respondents at the
secret Malacaang conference (and
revealed only after fifteen months
by
Justice
Manuel
Herrera)
completely disqualified respondent
Sandiganbayan and voided ab
initio its verdict. This renders moot
and
irrelevant
for
now
the
extensive
arguments
of
respondents accused, particularly

Generals Ver and Olivas and those


categorized as accessories, that
there has been no evidence or
witness suppressed against them,
that the erroneous conclusions of
Olivas as police investigator do not
make him an ac47

VOL. 144, SEPTEMBER 12, 1986


47
Galman vs. Sandiganbayan
cessory
of
the
crimes
he
investigated and the appraisal and
evaluation of the testimonies of the
witnesses
presented
and
suppressed. There will be time and
opportunity to present all these
arguments and considerations at
the remand and retrial of the cases
herein ordered before a neutral and
impartial court.
Same; Same; Same; Constitutional
Law; Double Jeopardy does not
attach where a criminal trial was a
sham.More so does the rule
against the invoking of double
jeopardy hold in the cases at bar
where as we have held, the sham
trial was but a mock trial where the
authoritarian president ordered
respondents Sandiganbayan and
Tanodbayan to rig the trial and
closely
monitored
the
entire
proceedings
to
assure
the
predetermined final outcome of
acquittal and total absolution as
innocent of all the respondentsaccused.
Notwithstanding
the
laudable efforts of Justice Herrera
which saw him near the end
deactivating himself from the
case, as it was his belief that its
eventual resolution was already a
foregone conclusion, they could not
cope with the misuse and abuse of
the overwhelming powers of the
authoritarian President to weaken
the case of the prosecution, to
suppress its evidence, harass,
intimidate
and
threaten
its
witnesses, secure their recantation
or prevent them from testifying.
Fully aware of the prosecutions

difficulties in locating witnesses


and overcoming their natural fear
and reluctance to appear and
testify, respondent Sandiganbayan
maintained a dizzying tempo of
the proceedings and announced its
intention
to
terminate
the
proceedings in about 6 months
time or less than a year, pursuant
to the scripted scenario. The
prosecution complained of the
Presiding
Justices
seemingly
hostile attitude towards (it) and
their being the subject of warnings,
reprimand
and
contempt
proceedings as compared to the nil
situation for the defense. Herrera
likewise complained of being
cajoled into producing witnesses
and pressed on making assurances
that if given a certain period, they
will be able to produce their
witnesses. Herrera pleaded for a
reasonable period of preparation of
its evidence and cited other
pending cases before respondent
court that were pending trial for a
much longer time where the
dizzying tempo and fast pace
were not maintained by the court
Manifestly, the prosecution and the
sovereign people were denied due
process of law with a partial court
and biased Tanodbayan under the
constant and pervasive monitoring:
and pressure exerted by the
authoritarian President to assure
the carrying out of his instructions.
A dictated, coerced and scripted
verdict of acquittal such as that in
the case at bar is a void judgment.
In legal contemplation, it is no
judgment at all. It neither binds nor
bars anyone. Such a judgment is a
lawless
48

48
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Galman vs. Sandiganbayan


thing which can be treated as an
outlaw. It is a terrible and
unspeakable affront to the society
and the people.

Same;
Same;
Same;
Same;
Injunction;
The
Sandiganbayan
should not have rendered a
decision on the case while there
was
a
pending
motion
for
reconsideration in the Supreme
Court for inhibition although there
was no longer a restraining order
against that court.In this case,
petitioners
motion
for
reconsideration of the abrupt
dismissal of their petition and
lifting of the temporary restraining
order enjoining the Sandiganbayan
from rendering its decision had
been taken cognizance of by the
Court which had required the
respondents,
including
the
Sandiganbayans,
comments.
Although no restraining order was
issued
anew,
respondent
Sandiganbayan should not have
precipitately issued its decision of
total absolution of all the accused
pending the final action of this
Court. This is the teaching of
Valdez vs. Aquilizan, wherein the
Court in setting aside the hasty
convictions, ruled that prudence
dictated that (respondent judge)
refrain from deciding the cases or
at the very least to hold in
abeyance the promulgation of his
decision pending action by this
Court. But prudence gave way to
imprudence; the respondent judge
acted precipitately by deciding the
cases [hastily without awaiting this
Courts action]. All of the acts of
the respondent judge manifest
grave abuse of discretion on his
part
amounting
to
lack
of
jurisdiction which substantively
prejudiced the petitioner.
Courts; Judgments; The lower
courts draw their hearings from the
Supreme Court.Now that the light
is emerging, the Supreme Court
faces the task of restoring public
faith and confidence in the courts.
The Supreme Court enjoys neither
the power of the sword nor of the
purse. Its strength lies mainly in
public confidence, based on the
truth and moral force of its
judgments. This has been built on
its
cherished
traditions
of
objectivity
and
impartiality,
integrity
and
fairness
and
unswerving
loyalty
to
the

Constitution and the rule of law


which compels acceptance as well
by the leadership as by the people.
The lower courts draw their
bearings from the Supreme Court.
With this Courts judgment today
declaring
the
nullity of
the
questioned judgment of acquittal
and directing a new trial, there
must be a rejection of the
temptation
of
becoming
instruments
of
injustice
as
vigorously
as
we
rejected
becoming its victims. The end of
one form of injustice should not
become simply the beginning of
another. This simply means that
the respondents-accused must now
face trial for the crimes charged
against them before an impartial
court with an unbiased prosecutor
with all due process. What the past
regime had
49

VOL. 144, SEPTEMBER 12, 1986


49
Galman vs. Sandiganbayan
denied
the
people
and
the
aggrieved parties in the sham trial
must now be assured as much to
the accused as to the aggrieved
parties. The people will assuredly
have a way of knowing when
justice has prevailed as well as
when it has failed.
Same; Public Officers; Judges;
Loyalty of those in the public
service must be to the Constitution
and
the
people.The
notion
nurtured under the past regime
that those appointed to public
office owe their primary allegiance
to the appointing authority and are
accountable to him alone and not
to the people or the Constitution
must be discarded. The function of
the appointing authority with the
mandate of the people, under our
system of government, is to fill the
public posts. While the appointee
may acknowledge with gratitude
the opportunity thus given of
rendering
public
service,
the

appointing
authority
becomes
functus officio and the primary
loyalty of the appointed must be
rendered to the Constitution and
the sovereign people in accordance
with his sacred oath of office. To
paraphrase the late Chief Justice
Earl Warren of the United States
Supreme Court, the Justices and
Judges must ever realize that they
have no constituency, serve no
majority nor minority but serve
only the public interest as they see
it in accordance with their oath of
office,
guided
only
by
the
Constitution
and
their
own
conscience and honor. [Galman vs.
Sandiganbayan,
144
SCRA
43(1986)]
G.R. No. 185230.June 1, 2011.*
JOSEPH C. CEREZO, petitioner, vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, JULIET
YANEZA, PABLO ABUNDA, JR., and
VICENTE
AFULUGENCIA,
respondents.
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure;
Once a case is filed with the court,
any disposition of it rests on the
sound discretion of the court; In
resolving a motion to dismiss a
case or to withdraw an Information,
the trial court should not rely solely
and merely on the findings of the
public prosecutor or the Secretary
of Justice.Well-entrenched is the
rule that once a case is filed with
the court, any disposition of it rests
on the sound discretion of the
court. In thus resolving a motion to
dismiss a case or to withdraw an
Information, the trial court should
not rely solely and merely on the
findings of the public prosecutor or
the Secretary of Justice. It is the
courts bounden duty to assess
independently the merits of the
motion, and
_______________

**
Designated
as
additional
member in lieu of Associate Justice
Jose Catral Mendoza, per raffle
dated May 18, 2011.
* SECOND DIVISION.

223

VOL. 650, JUNE 1, 2011


223
Cerezo vs. People
this assessment must be embodied
in a written order disposing of the
motion. While the recommendation
of the prosecutor or the ruling of
the
Secretary
of
Justice
is
persuasive, it is not binding on
courts.
Same; Same; In this case, it is
obvious that in dismissing the
criminal case, the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) judge failed to make
his own determination of whether
or not there was a prima facie case
to hold respondents for trial.In
this case, it is obvious from the
March 17, 2004 Order of the RTC,
dismissing the criminal case, that
the RTC judge failed to make his
own determination of whether or
not there was a prima facie case to
hold respondents for trial. He failed
to make an independent evaluation
or assessment of the merits of the
case. The RTC judge blindly relied
on
the
manifestation
and
recommendation of the prosecutor
when he should have been more
circumspect
and
judicious
in
resolving the Motion to Dismiss and
Withdraw Information especially so
when the prosecution appeared to
be uncertain, undecided, and
irresolute on whether to indict
respondents.
Same; Same; By relying solely on
the manifestation of the public
prosecutor and the resolution of
the Department of Justice (DOJ)
Secretary, the trial court abdicated
its judicial power and refused to
perform a positive duty enjoined by
law.By relying solely on the
manifestation
of
the
public
prosecutor and the resolution of
the DOJ Secretary, the trial court
abdicated its judicial power and
refused to perform a positive duty
enjoined by law. The said Orders
were thus stained with grave abuse

of discretion and violated the


complainants right to due process.
They were void, had no legal
standing, and produced no effect
whatsoever.
Same; Same; Double Jeopardy;
Requisites for Double Jeopardy to
Exist.Double
jeopardy
exists
when the following requisites are
present: (1) a first jeopardy
attached prior to the second; (2)
the first jeopardy has been validly
terminated; and (3) a second
jeopardy is for the same offense as
in the first. A first jeopardy
attaches only (a) after a valid
indictment; (b) before a competent
court; (c) after arraignment; (d)
when a valid plea has been
entered; and (e) when the accused
has been acquitted or convicted, or
the case dismissed or otherwise
terminated without his express
consent.
[Cerezo vs. People, 650 SCRA
222(2011)]
G.R. No. 143047. July 14, 2004.*
RICARDO S. INDING, petitioner, vs.
THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN
and
THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Sandiganbayan; Jurisdiction; Rep.
Act No. 7975 as well as Rep. Act
No. 8249 expressly states that to
determine the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan in cases involving
violations of Rep. Act No. 3019, the
reckoning period is the time of the
commission of the offense.For
purposes of determining which of
the two laws, Rep. Act No. 7975 or
Rep. Act No. 8249, applies in the
present case, the reckoning period
is the time of the commission of
the
offense.
Generally,
the
jurisdiction of a court to try a
criminal case is to be determined
by the law in force at the time of
the institution of the action, not at
the time of the commission of the
crime. However, Rep. Act No. 7975,
as well as Rep. Act No. 8249,
constitutes an exception thereto as
it
expressly
states
that
to
determine the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan in cases involving

violations of Rep. Act No. 3019, the


reckoning period is the time of the
commission of the offense.
_______________

* EN BANC.
389

VOL. 434, JULY 14, 2004


389
Inding vs. Sandiganbayan
Same; Same; Violation of Rep. Act
No. 3019 committed by officials in
the executive branch with SG 27 or
higher and the officials specifically
enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section
4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606 as
amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act
No. 7975, regardless of their salary
grades, likewise fall within the
original
jurisdiction
of
the
Sandiganbayan.The
specific
inclusion of the foregoing officials
constitutes an exception to the
general qualification relating to
officials of the executive branch as
occupying the positions of regional
director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher,
of the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989. In other
words, violation of Rep. Act No.
3019 committed by officials in the
executive branch with SG 27 or
higher, and the officials specifically
enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section
4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act
No. 7975, regardless of their salary
grades, likewise fall within the
original
jurisdiction
of
the
Sandiganbayan.
Same; Same; Except for those
officials specifically included in
Section 4 (a). (1) to (g), regardless
of their salary grades, over whom
the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction,
all other public officials below SG
27 shall be under the jurisdiction of
the proper trial courts where none

of the principal accused are


occupying positions corresponding
to SG 27 or higher. Following
this disquisition, the paragraph of
Section 4 which provides that if the
accused is occupying a position
lower than SG 27, the proper trial
court has jurisdiction, can only be
properly interpreted as applying to
those cases where the principal
accused is occupying a position
lower than SG 27 and not among
those specifically included in the
enumeration in Section 4 a. (1)(a)
to (g). Stated otherwise, except for
those officials specifically included
in Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g),
regardless of their salary grades,
over whom the Sandiganbayan has
jurisdiction, all other public officials
below SG 27 shall be under the
jurisdiction of the proper trial
courts where none of the principal
accused are occupying positions
corresponding to SG 27 or higher.
By this construction, the entire
Section 4 is given effect. [Inding vs.
Sandiganbayan,
434
SCRA
388(2004)]
G.R.
No.
2009.*

180122.March

13,

FELICISIMO
F.
LAZARTE,
JR.,
petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN
(First Division) and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Criminal Procedure; Motions to
Quash; Well-established is the rule
that when a motion to quash in a
criminal case is denied, the remedy
is not a petition for certiorari but
for petitioners to go to trial without
prejudice to reiterating the special
defenses invoked in their motion to
quash, except when the court, in
denying the motion acted without
or in excess of jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion, in which
case certiorari or prohibition lies.
It should be stressed that the
denial of a motion to quash is not
correctible by certiorari. Wellestablished is the rule that when a
motion to quash in a criminal case
is denied, the remedy is not a
petition for certiorari but for
petitioners to go to trial without
prejudice to reiterating the special
defenses invoked in their motion to

quash. Remedial measures as


regards interlocutory orders, such
as a motion to quash, are frowned
upon and often dismissed. The
evident reason for this rule is to
avoid multiplicity of appeals in a
single court. This general rule,
however, is subject to certain
exceptions. If the court, in denying
the motion to dismiss or motion to
quash acts without or in excess of
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion,
then
certiorari
or
prohibition lies. And in the case at
bar, the Court does not find the
Sandiganbayan to have committed
grave abuse of discretion.
Same; Right to be Informed;
Information; The test as to
sufficiency
of
complaint
or
information is whether the crime is
described in intelligible terms with
such particularity as to apprise the
accused, with reasonable certainty,
of the offense charged. The raison
detre of the rule is to enable the
accused to suitably prepare his
defensethe use of derivatives or
synonyms or allegations of basic
facts constituting the offense
charged is sufficient.The acts or
omissions complained of must be
alleged in such form as is sufficient
to enable a person of common
understanding
to
know
what
offense is intended to be charged
and enable the court to know the
proper judgment. The Information
must allege clearly and accurately
the elements of the
_______________

* EN BANC.
432

432
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Lazarte, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan

crime charged. What facts and


circumstances are necessary to be
included
therein
must
be
determined by reference to the
definition and elements of the
specific crimes. The test is whether
the crime is described in intelligible
terms with such particularity as to
apprise
the
accused,
with
reasonable certainty, of the offense
charged. The raison detre of the
rule is to enable the accused to
suitably prepare his defense.
Another purpose is to enable
accused, if found guilty, to plead
his conviction in a subsequent
prosecution for the same offense.
The use of derivatives or synonyms
or allegations of basic facts
constituting the offense charged is
sufficient.
Criminal
Law;
Anti-Graft
and
Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act
[R.A.] No. 3019); Violations of Sec.
3(e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
3019; Elements.The essential
elements for violation of Section
3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 are as follows:
1. The accused is a public officer or
private
person
charged
in
conspiracy with him; 2. Said public
officer commits the prohibited acts
during the performance of his
official duties or in relation to his
public position; 3. He causes undue
injury to any party, whether the
government or private party; 4.
Such undue injury is caused by
giving
unwarranted
benefits,
advantage or preference to such
parties; and 5. The public officer
has acted with manifest partiality,
evident
bad
faith
or
gross
inexcusable negligence.
Same; Same; Conspiracy; Under
Philippine Law, conspiracy should
be understood on two levels
conspiracy can be a mode of
committing a crime or it may be
constitutive of the crime itself;
Generally, conspiracy is not a crime
in our jurisdictionit is punished as
a crime only when the law fixes a
penalty for its commission such as
in conspiracy to commit treason,
rebellion
and
sedition;
When
conspiracy is charged as a crime,
the act of conspiring and all the
elements of said crime must be set

forth
in
the
complaint
or
information, but when conspiracy is
not charged as a crime in itself but
only as the mode of committing the
crime, there is less necessity of
reciting its particularities in the
Information because conspiracy is
not the gravamen of the offense
charged.On the contention that
the Information did not detail the
individual participation of the
accused in the allegation of
conspiracy in the Information, the
Court underscores the fact that
under Philippine law, conspiracy
should be understood on two
levels. Conspiracy can be a mode
of committing a crime or it may be
constitutive of the crime itself.
Generally, conspiracy is not a crime
in our jurisdiction. It is punished as
a crime
433

VOL. 581, MARCH 13, 2009


433
Lazarte, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan
only when the law fixes a penalty
for its commission such as in
conspiracy to commit treason,
rebellion
and
sedition.
When
conspiracy is charged as a crime,
the act of conspiring and all the
elements of said crime must be set
forth
in
the
complaint
or
information. But when conspiracy is
not charged as a crime in itself but
only as the mode of committing the
crime as in the case at bar, there is
less necessity of reciting its
particularities in the Information
because conspiracy is not the
gravamen of the offense charged.
The conspiracy is significant only
because it changes the criminal
liability of all the accused in the
conspiracy
and
makes
them
answerable
as
co-principals
regardless of the degree of their
participation in the crime. The
liability of the conspirators is
collective and each participant will
be equally responsible for the acts
of others, for the act of one is the
act of all.

Sandiganbayan;
Jurisdiction;
Government-Owned or Controlled
Corporations (GOCCs); It is of no
moment that an accused does not
occupy a position with Salary
Grade 27 if he was a department
manager of the National Housing
Authority, a government-owned or
controlled corporation, at the time
of the commission of the offense,
which position falls within the
ambit of the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan.The
Court
sustains
the
Sandiganbayans
jurisdiction to hear the case. As
correctly pointed out by the
Sandiganbayan, it is of no moment
that petitioner does not occupy a
position with Salary Grade 27 as he
was a department manager of the
NHA, a government-owned or
controlled corporation, at the time
of the commission of the offense,
which position falls within the
ambit of its jurisdiction. Apropos,
the Court held in the case of
Geduspan v. People, 451 SCRA 187
(2005), which involved a regional
Manager/Director of Region VI of
the Philippine Health Insurance
Corporation (Philhealth) with salary
grade 26, to wit: x x x [Lazarte, Jr.
vs. Sandiganbayan, 581 SCRA
431(2009)]
G.R. No. 158763. March 31, 2006.*
JOSE C. MIRANDA, ALBERTO P.
DALMACIO, and ROMEO B. OCON,
petitioners, vs. VIRGILIO M. TULIAO,
respondent.
Criminal Law; Bails; Custody of the
law is required before the court can
act upon the application for bail,
but is not required for the
adjudication of other reliefs sought
by the defendant where the mere
application therefor constitutes a
waiver of the defense of lack of
jurisdiction over the person of the
accused.Our pronouncement in
Santiago
shows
a
distinction
between custody of the law and
jurisdiction
over
the
person.
Custody of the law is required
before the court
_______________

* FIRST DIVISION.
378

378
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Miranda vs. Tuliao


can act upon the application for
bail, but is not required for the
adjudication of other reliefs sought
by the defendant where the mere
application therefor constitutes a
waiver of the defense of lack of
jurisdiction over the person of the
accused. Custody of the law is
accomplished either by arrest or
voluntary
surrender,
while
jurisdiction over the person of the
accused is acquired upon his arrest
or voluntary appearance. One can
be under the custody of the law but
not yet subject to the jurisdiction of
the court over his person, such as
when a person arrested by virtue of
a warrant files a motion before
arraignment to quash the warrant.
On the other hand, one can be
subject to the jurisdiction of the
court over his person, and yet not
be in the custody of the law, such
as when an accused escapes
custody
after
his
trial
has
commenced. Being in the custody
of the law signifies restraint on the
person, who is thereby deprived of
his own will and liberty, binding
him to become obedient to the will
of the law. Custody of the law is
literally custody over the body of
the accused. It includes, but is not
limited to, detention.
Same; Same; A person applying for
admission to bail must be in the
custody of the law or otherwise
deprived of his liberty. A person
who has not submitted himself to
the jurisdiction of the court has no
right to invoke the processes of
that court.The statement in Pico
v. Judge Combong, Jr., 215 SCRA
421 (1992), cited by the Court of
Appeals should not have been
separated from the issue in that
case, which is the application for

admission to bail of someone not


yet in the custody of the law. The
entire
paragraph
of
our
pronouncement in Pico reads: A
person applying for admission to
bail must be in the custody of the
law or otherwise deprived of his
liberty. A person who has not
submitted
himself
to
the
jurisdiction of the court has no right
to invoke the processes of that
court. Respondent Judge should
have diligently ascertained the
whereabouts of the applicant and
that he indeed had jurisdiction over
the body of the accused before
considering the application for bail.
While we stand by our above
pronouncement in Pico insofar as it
concerns bail, we clarify that, as a
general rule, one who seeks an
affirmative relief is deemed to have
submitted to the jurisdiction of the
court. As we held in the aforecited
case of Santiago, seeking an
affirmative relief in court, whether
in civil or criminal proceedings,
constitutes voluntary appearance.
Same; Courts; Jurisdictions; Filing of
pleadings seeking affirmative relief
constitutes voluntary appearance
and consequent submission of
ones person to the jurisdiction of
the court, Excep379

VOL. 486, MARCH 31, 2006


379
Miranda vs. Tuliao
tions.There is, however, an
exception to the rule that filing
pleadings seeking affirmative relief
constitutes voluntary appearance,
and the consequent submission of
ones person to the jurisdiction of
the court. This is in the case of
pleadings whose prayer is precisely
for the avoidance of the jurisdiction
of the court, which only leads to a
special
appearance.
These
pleadings are: (1) in civil cases,
motions to dismiss on the ground
of lack of jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant, whether

or not other grounds for dismissal


are included; (2) in criminal cases,
motions to quash a complaint on
the ground of lack of jurisdiction
over the person of the accused;
and (3) motions to quash a warrant
of arrest. The first two are
consequences of the fact that
failure to file them would constitute
a waiver of the defense of lack of
jurisdiction over the person. The
third is a consequence of the fact
that it is the very legality of the
court
process
forcing
the
submission of the person of the
accused that is the very issue in a
motion to quash a warrant of
arrest.
Criminal Procedure; Warrants of
Arrest; Even if the petition for
review of the resolution of the
assistant prosecutor was filed with
the Secretary of Justice before the
issuance of the warrants of arrest,
the fact remains that the pendency
of a petition for the review of the
prosecutors resolution is not a
ground to quash the warrants of
arrest.After
Judge
Tumaliuan
issued warrants for the arrest of
petitioners,
petitioner
Miranda
appealed the assistant prosecutors
resolution before the Secretary of
Justice. Judge Anghad, shortly after
assuming office, quashed the
warrant of arrest on the basis of
said appeal. According to Judge
Anghad, x x x prudence dictates
(that) and because of comity, a
deferment of the proceedings is
but proper. Quashal on this basis
is grave abuse of discretion. It is
inconceivable to charge Judge
Tumaliuan as lacking in prudence
and oblivious to comity when he
issued the warrants of arrest
against petitioners just because the
petitioners might, in the future,
appeal the assistant prosecutors
resolution to the Secretary of
Justice. But even if the petition for
review was filed before the
issuance of the warrants of arrest,
the fact remains that the pendency
of a petition for the review of the
prosecutors resolution is not a
ground to quash the warrants of
arrest.

Judicial Ethics; Judges; Abuse of


Discretion; Records and supporting
evidence show that Judge Anghad
gravely abused his discretion.
After a careful scrutiny of the
records of the case, including the
supporting
evidence
to
the
resolution of the prosecutor in his
380

380
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Miranda vs. Tuliao


determination of probable cause,
we find that Judge Anghad gravely
abused his discretion.
Criminal
Procedure;
Probable
Cause; Probable cause need not be
based on clear and convincing
evidence of guilt, neither on
evidence establishing guilt beyond
reasonable doubt and definitely,
not
on
evidence
establishing
absolute certainty of guilt.It is
important
to
note
that
an
exhaustive
debate
on
the
credibility of a witness is not within
the province of the determination
of probable cause. As we held in
Webb: A finding of probable cause
needs only to rest on evidence
showing that more likely than not a
crime has been committed and was
committed
by
the
suspects.
Probable cause need not be based
on clear and convincing evidence
of guilt, neither on evidence
establishing
guilt
beyond
reasonable doubt and definitely,
not
on
evidence
establishing
absolute certainty of guilt. As well
put in Brinegar v. United States,
while probable cause demands
more than bare suspicion, it
requires less than evidence which
would justify x x x conviction. A
finding of probable cause merely
binds over the suspect to stand
trial. It is not a pronouncement of
guilt. x x x Probable cause merely
implies probability of guilt and
should
be
determined
in
a
summary
manner.
Preliminary

investigation is not a part of trial x


x x.
Same; Judgments; A decision
acquitting the accused of a crime
cannot be the basis of the
dismissal of criminal case against
different accused for the same
crime.A decision, even of this
Court, acquitting the accused
therein of a crime cannot be the
basis of the dismissal of criminal
case against different accused for
the same crime. The blunder of
Judge Anghad is even more
pronounced by the fact that our
decision in Leao was based on
reasonable doubt. We never ruled
in Leao that the crime did not
happen; we just found that there
was reasonable doubt as to the
guilt of the accused therein, since
the prosecution in that case relied
on circumstantial evidence, which
interestingly is not even the
situation in the criminal cases of
the petitioners in the case at bar as
there is here an eyewitness: Rodel
Maderal. The accused in Leao
furthermore had no motive to kill
respondent Tuliaos son, whereas
petitioners
herein
had
been
implicated in the testimony of
respondent
Tuliao
before
the
Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
Same; Same; The declaration of
nullity of proceedings should be
deemed to carry with it the
reinstatement of the orders set
aside by
381

VOL. 486, MARCH 31, 2006


381
Miranda vs. Tuliao
the nullified proceedings.Whether
the Court of Appeals ordered the
issuance of new warrants of arrest
or
merely
ordered
the
reinstatement of the warrants of
arrest issued by Judge Tumaliuan is
merely a matter of scrupulous
semantics, the slight inaccuracy
whereof should not be allowed to

affect the dispositions on the merits, especially in this case where


the other dispositions of the Court
of Appeals point to the other
direction. Firstly, the Court of
Appeals had reinstated the 25 June
2001 Order of Judge Tumaliuan,
which issued the warrants of arrest.
Secondly, the Court of Appeals
likewise declared the proceedings
conducted by Judge Anghad void.
Certainly, the declaration of nullity
of proceedings should be deemed
to carry with it the reinstatement of
the orders set aside by the nullified
proceedings. Judge Anghads order
quashing the warrants of arrest had
been nullified; therefore those
warrants of arrest are henceforth
deemed unquashed.
Same; Constitutional Law; Double
Jeopardy; Double jeopardy cannot
be invoked where the accused has
not been arraigned and it was upon
his express motion that the case
was dismissed.The reinstatement
of a criminal case dismissed before
arraignment does not constitute
double jeopardy. Double jeopardy
cannot be invoked where the
accused has not been arraigned
and it was upon his express motion
that the case was dismissed.
[Miranda vs. Tuliao, 486 SCRA
377(2006)]
G.R. No. 143375. July 6, 2001.*
RUTH D. BAUTISTA, petitioner, vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, OFFICE OF
THE
REGIONAL
STATE
PROSECUTOR, REGION IV, and
SUSAN ALONA, respondents.
Remedial Law; Courts; Appeals; A
voluntary
arbitrator,
whether
acting solely or in a panel, enjoys
in law the status of a quasi-judicial
agency, hence his decisions and
awards are appealable to the Court
of Appeals.In Luzon Development
Bank v. Luzon Development Bank
Employees, we held that a
voluntary
arbitrator,
whether
acting solely or in a panel, enjoys
in law the status of a quasi-judicial
agency, hence his decisions and
awards are appealable to the Court
of Appeals. This is so because the
awards of voluntary arbitrators

become final and executory upon


the lapse of the period to appeal;
and since their awards determine
the rights of parties, their decisions
have the same effect as judgments
of a court. Therefore, the proper
remedy from an award of a
voluntary arbitrator is a petition for
review to the Court of Appeals,
following Revised Administrative
Circular No. 1-95, which provided
for a uniform procedure for
appellate
review
of
all
adjudications
of
quasi-judicial
entities, which is now embodied in
Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure.
Same; Same; Same; The Office of
the Prosecutor is not a quasijudicial
body,
necessarily,
its
decisions approving the filing of a
criminal
complaint
are
not
appealable to the Court of Appeals
under Rule 43.Hence, the Office
of the Prosecutor is not a quasijudicial
body; necessarily, its
decisions approving the filing of a
criminal
complaint
are
not
appealable to the Court of Appeals
under Rule 43. Since the ORSP has
the power to resolve appeals with
finality only where the penalty
prescribed for the offense does not
exceed
prision
correccional,
regardless of the imposable fine,
the only remedy of petitioner, in
the absence of grave abuse of
discretion, is to present her
defense in the trial of the case.
Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks
Law; Elements of the offense under
Batas
Pambansa
22.The
elements of the offense under BP
22 are (a) the making, drawing and
issuance of any check to apply to
account or for value; (b) the maker,
drawer or issuer knows at the time
of issue that he does not have
sufficient funds in or credit with the
drawee bank for the payment of
such check in full upon its
presentment; and, (c) the check is
subsequently dishonored by the
drawee bank for insufficiency of
funds or
_______________

* SECOND DIVISION.
619

VOL. 360, JULY 6, 2001


619
Bautista vs. Court of Appeals
credit
or
would
have
been
dishonored for the same reason
had not the drawer, without any
valid reason, ordered the bank to
stop payment.
Same; Same; Same; The ninety
(90)-day period is not among the
elements in BP 22.The ninety
(90)-day period is not among these
elements. Section 2 of BP 22 is
clear that a dishonored check
presented within the ninety (90)day period creates a prima facie
presumption of knowledge of
insufficiency of funds, which is an
essential element of the offense.
Since knowledge involves a state of
mind difficult to establish, the
statute itself creates a prima facie
presumption of the existence of
this element from the fact of
drawing, issuing or making a
check, the payment of which was
subsequently
refused
for
insufficiency of funds. The term
prima facie evidence denotes
evidence which, if unexplained or
uncontradicted, is sufficient to
sustain the proposition it supports
or to establish the facts, or to
counterbalance the presumption of
innocence to warrant a conviction.
Same;
Same;
Same;
The
presumption in Sec. 2 is not a
conclusive
presumption
that
forecloses
or
precludes
the
presentation of evidence to the
contrary.The presumption in Sec.
2 is not a conclusive presumption
that forecloses or precludes the
presentation of evidence to the
contrary. Neither does the term
prima facie evidence preclude the
presentation of other evidence that
may
sufficiently
prove
the
existence
or
knowledge
of
insufficiency of funds or lack of

credit. Surely, the law is not so


circumscribed as to limit proof of
knowledge exclusively to the
dishonor of the subject check when
presented within the prescribed
ninety (90) day period.
Same; Same; Same; The only
consequence of the failure to
present the check for payment
within ninety (90) days from the
date stated is that there arises no
prima
facie
presumption
of
knowledge of insufficiency of funds.
It is evident from the foregoing
deliberations that the presumption
in Sec. 2 was intended to facilitate
proof of knowledge and not to
foreclose admissibility of other
evidence that may also prove such
knowledge.
Thus,
the
only
consequence of the failure to
present the check for payment
within ninety (90) days from the
date stated is that there arises no
prima
facie
presumption
of
knowledge of insufficiency of funds.
But the prosecution may still prove
such knowledge through other
evidence. Whether such evidence
is sufficient to sustain probable
cause to file the information is
addressed to the sound discretion
of the City Prosecutor and is a
matter
not
controllable
by
certiorari. [Bautista vs. Court of
Appeals, 360 SCRA 618(2001)]
No. L-59524. February 18, 1985.*
JOVITO R. SALONGA, petitioner, vs.
HON.
ERNANI
CRUZ
PAO,
Presiding Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch XVIII
(Quezon
City),
HON.
JUDGE
RODOLFO ORTIZ, Presiding Judge of
the Court of First Instance of Rizal,
Branch XXXI (Quezon City) CITY
FISCAL SERGIO APOSTOL of Quezon
City; COL. BALBINO DIEGO and
COL.
ROMAN
MADELLA,
respondents.
Criminal Procedure; Certiorari; An
order denying a motion to quash or
to dismiss, while interlocutory can
be the subject of a petition for
certiorari
in
the
interest
of
substantial justice.There is no
disputing the validity and wisdom
of the rule invoked by the

respondents. However, it is also


recognized that, under certain
situations,
recourse
to
the
extraordinary legal remedies of
certiorari, prohibition or mandamus
to question the denial of a motion
to quash is considered proper in
the interest of more enlightened
and substantial justice, as was so
declared in Yap v. Lutero, G.R. No.
L-12669, April 30, 1969.
Same; Words and Phrases; Prima
facie evidence defined.The term
prima facie evidence denotes
evidence which, if unexplained or
uncontradicted, is sufficient to
sustain the proposition it supports
or to establish the facts, or to
counterbalance the presumption of
innocence to warrant a conviction.
The question raised before us now
is: Were the evidences against the
petitioner uncontradicted and if
they
were
unexplained
or
uncontradicted,
would
they,
standing
alone,
sufficiently
overcome the presumption of
innocence
and
warrant
his
conviction?
Same;
Same;
Evidence;
A
testimony
on
preliminary
investigation which is based on the
affidavits of others is hearsay and
can hardly qualify as prima facie
evidence.Such testimony, being
based on affidavits of other
persons and purely hearsay, can
hardly qualify as prima facie
evidence of subversion. It should
not have been given credence by
the court in the first place. Hearsay
evidence, whether objected to or
not, has no probative value as the
affiant could not have been crossexamined on the facts stated
therein. (See People v. Labinia, 115
SCRA 223; People v. Valero, 112
SCRA 661). Moreover,
_______________

* EN BANC.
439

VOL. 134, FEBRUARY 18, 1985


439
Salonga vs. Cruz Pao
as Victor Lovely, himself, was
personally examined by the court,
there was no need for the
testimony of Col. Diego. Thus, the
inquest judge should have confined
his investigation to Victor Burns
Lovely, the sole witness whose
testimony
had
apparently
implicated
petitioner
in
the
bombings which eventually led to
the filing of the information.
Same; Senator Salonga cannot be
held probably guilty as being the
mastermind
of
the
bombing
incidents in question by mere visit
or contact made by Victor Burns
Lovely, Jr.The contact point
theory or what the petitioner calls
the guilt by visit or guilt by
association theory is too tenuous
a basis to conclude that Senator
Salonga
was
a
leader
or
mastermind
of
the
bombing
incidents. To indict a person simply
because
some
plotters,
masquerading as visitors, have
somehow met in his house or office
would be to establish a dangerous
precedent. The right of citizens to
be secure against abuse of
governmental processes in criminal
prosecutions would be seriously
undermined.
Same; Presence of Victor Burns
Lovely, Jr. in a group picture with
Sen. Salonga is not enough proof of
criminal conspiracy.The presence
of Lovely in a group picture taken
at Mr. Raul Dazas birthday party in
Los Angeles where Senator Salonga
was a guest is not proof of
conspiracy. As stated by the
petitioner, in his many years in the
turbulent world of politics, he has
posed with all kinds of people in
various groups and various places
and could not possibly vouch for
their conduct. Commenting on the
matter,
newspaper
columnist
Teodoro
Valencia
stated
that
Filipinos
love
to
pose
with
important visitors and the picture
proves nothing.

Same;
Same.It
is
likewise
probable that a national figure and
former
politician
of
Senator
Salongas stature can expect
guests and visitors of all kinds to
be visiting his home or office. If a
rebel or subversive happens to
pose with the petitioner for a group
picture at a birthday party abroad,
or even visit him with others in his
home, the petitioner does not
thereby become a rebel or
subversive, much less a leader of a
subversive group. More credible
and stronger evidence is necessary
for an indictment. Nonetheless,
even if we discount the flaws in
Lovelys testimony and dismiss the
refutations and arguments of the
petitioner,
the
prosecution
evidence is still inadequate to
establish a prima facie finding.
Same; Constitutional Law; Opinion
expressed by Sen. Salonga of the
likelihood of a violent struggle if
reforms are not instituted is a
440

440
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Salonga vs. Cruz Pao


legitimate exercise of freedom of
thought
and
expression.The
prosecution has not come up with
even a single iota of evidence
which could positively link the
petitioner
to
any
proscribed
activities of the Movement for Free
Philippines or any subversive
organization mentioned in the
complaint. Lovely had already
testified that during the party of
former Congressman Raul Daza
which was alleged to have been
attended by a number of members
of the MFP, no political action was
taken but only political discussion.
Furthermore, the alleged opinion of
the petitioner about the likelihood
of a violent struggle here in the
Philippines if reforms are not
instituted, assuming that he really
stated the same, is nothing but a

legitimate exercise of freedom of


thought and expression. No man
deserves
punishment
for
his
thoughts.
Cogitationis
poenam
nemo meretur. And as the late
Justice Oliver W. Holmes stated in
the case of U.S. v. Schwimmer, 279
U.S. 644, x x x if there is any
principle of the Constitution that
more
imperatively
calls
for
attachment than any other it is the
principle of free thoughtnot free
thought for those who agree with
us but freedom for the thought that
we hate.
Same;
Same;
Freedom
of
expression enjoys primacy over
any other rights or freedoms.We
have adopted the concept that
freedom
of
expression
is
a
preferred right and, therefore,
stands on a higher level than
substantive economic or other
liberties. The primacy, the high
estate
accorded
freedom
of
expression
is
a
fundamental
postulate of our constitutional
system. (Gonzales v. Commission
on Elections, 29 SCRA 835). As
explained by Justice Cardozo in
Palko v. Connecticut (302 U.S. 319)
this must be so because the
lessons of history, both political
and legal, illustrate that freedom of
thought
and
speech
is
the
indispensable condition of nearly
every other form of freedom.
Protection is especially mandated
for political discussions. This Court
is particularly concerned when
allegations are made that restraints
have been imposed upon mere
criticisms of government and public
officials. Political discussion is
essential to the ascertainment of
political truth. It cannot be the
basis of criminal indictments.
Same; Same; Expressing likelihood
of violence in the Philippines is not
a
proscribed
expression.The
alleged remark about the likelihood
of violent struggle unless reforms
are instituted is not a threat
against the government. Nor is it
even the uninhibited, robust,
caustic, or unpleasantly sharp
attack which is protected by the
guarantee
of
free
speech.
Parenthetically, the American case

of Brandenburg v. Ohio (395 U.S.


444) states that the constitutional
guarantees of free speech and free
press do not permit a State to for441

VOL. 134, FEBRUARY 18, 1985


441
Salonga vs. Cruz Pao
bid or proscribe advocacy of the
use of force or of law violation
except where such advocacy is
directed to inciting or producing
imminent lawless action and is
likely to incite or produce such
action. The words which petitioner
allegedly used according to the
best recollections of Mr. Lovely are
light years away from such type of
proscribed advocacy.
Same; Same; Criminal Law; A
bombing mission directed to a
particular
family
does
not
constitute
subversion.Such
a
statement wholly negates any
politically motivated or subversive
assignment which Lovely was
supposed
to
have
been
commissioned to perform upon the
orders of his co-accused and which
was the very reason why they were
charged in the first place.
Same; Same; Same; Evidence;
Where
prosecution
adopts
respondents testimony as its own,
it becomes bound by respondents
declarations.It should be noted
that after Lovelys testimony, the
prosecution manifested to the
court that it was adopting him as a
prosecution witness. Therefore, the
prosecution became irreversibely
bound by Lovelys disclaimers on
the witness stand, that it was not
his intention to do some kind of
bombing against the government
and that he did not try to
implicate Salonga, especially since
Lovely is the sole witness adopted
by the prosecution who could
supposedly establish the link
between the petitioner and the
bombing incidents.

Same; Same; Same; Purposes of


preliminary
investigation.The
purpose
of
a
preliminary
investigation is to secure the
innocent against hasty, malicious
and oppressive prosecution, and to
protect him from an open and
public accusation of crime, from
the trouble, expense and anxiety of
a public trial, and also to protect
the state from useless and
expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta,
118 SCRA 241; citing Hashim v.
Boncan, 71 Phil. 216). The right to
a preliminary investigation is a
statutory grant, and to withhold it
would
be
to
transgress
constitutional due process. (See
People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277)
However, in order to satisfy the
due process clause it is not enough
that the preliminary investigation is
conducted in the sense of making
sure that a transgressor shall not
escape with impunity. A preliminary
investigation serves not only the
purposes of the State. More
important, it is a part of the
guarantees of freedom and fair
play which are birthrights of all who
live in our country. It is, therefore,
imperative upon the fiscal or the
judge as the case may be, to
relieve the accused from the pain
of going through a trial once it is
ascertained that the evidence is
insufficient to sustain a prima facie
442

442
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Salonga vs. Cruz Pao


case or that no probable cause
exists to form a sufficient belief as
to the guilt of the accused.
Although there is no general
formula or fixed rule for the
determination of probable cause
since the same must be decided in
the light of the conditions obtaining
in
given
situations
and
its
existence depends to a large
degree upon the finding or opinion
of the judge conducting the

examination, such a finding should


not disregard the facts before the
judge nor run counter to the clear
dictates of reasons (See La
Chemise
Lacoste,
S.A.
v.
Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The
judge or fiscal, therefore, should
not go on with the prosecution in
the hope that some credible
evidence might later turn up during
trial for this would be a flagrant
violation of a basic right which the
courts are created to uphold. It
bears repeating that the judiciary
lives up to its mission by vitalizing
and not denigrating constitutional
rights. So it has been before. It
should continue to be so. (Mercado
v. Court of First Instance of Rizal,
116 SCRA 93). [Salonga vs. Cruz
Pao, 134 SCRA 438(1985)]
G.R. No.
1989.*

85468.

September

7,

QUINTIN S. DOROMAL, petitioner,


vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, OMBUDSMAN
AND
SPECIAL
PROSECUTOR,
respondents.
Criminal Procedure; Preliminary
investigation; A new preliminary
investigation against the petitioner
is in order; Reasons.The petition
is meritorious. A new preliminary
investigation of the charge against
the petitioner is in order not only
because the first was a nullity (a
dead limb on the judicial tree which
should be lopped off and wholly
disregardedAnuran vs. Aquino,
38 Phil. 29) but also because the
accused demands it as his right.
Moreover, the charge against him
had been changed, as directed by
the Ombudsman.
Same; Same; Same; Absence of
preliminary investigation is not a
ground to quash the complaint or
information.However,
as
the
absence
of
a
preliminary
investigation is not a ground to
quash the complaint or information
(Sec. 3, Rule 117, Rules of Court),
the
proceedings
upon
such
information in the Sandiganbayan
should be held in abeyance and the
case should be remanded to the
office of the Ombudsman for him or

the Special Prosecutor to conduct a


preliminary investigation.

against any officer or employee in


the civil service.

Constitutional Law; Civil Service


Law; Petitioner can rightfully be
charged with having participated in
a business in violation of Sec. 13 of
Art. VII of the Constitution;
Reasons;
Case
at
bar.The
Sandiganbayan in its order of
August 19, 1988 correctly observed
that the presence of a signed
document bearing the signature of
accused Doromal

Same;
Same;
Anti-Graft
and
Corrupt Practices Act; Suspension
from office pendente lite; Approved
leave of absence, not a bar to
preventive suspension; Reasons.
Since
the
petitioner
is
an
incumbent public official charged in
a valid information with an offense
punishable under the Constitution
and the laws (RA 3019 and PD
807), the laws command that he
shall be suspended from office
pendente lite must be obeyed. His
approved leave of absence is not a
bar to his preventive suspension
for, as indicated by the Solicitor
General,
an
approved
leave,
whether it be for a fixed or
indefinite period, may be cancelled
or shortened at will by the
incumbent.

_______________

* EN BANC.
355

VOL. 177, SEPTEMBER 7, 1989


355
Doromal vs. Sandiganbayan
as part of the application to bid xxx
is not a sine qua non (Annex O, p.
179, Rollo), for, the Ombudsman
indicated in his Memorandum/
Clearance
to
the
Special
Prosecutor, that the petitioner can
rightfully be charged xxx with
having participated in a business
which act is absolutely prohibited
by Section 13 of Article VII of the
Constitution because the DITC
remained a family corporation in
which Doromal has at least an
indirect interest. (pp. 107-108,
Rollo.) Section 13, Article VII of the
1987 Constitution provides that
the President, Vice-President, the
members of the Cabinet and their
deputies or assistants shall not x x
x during (their) tenure, x x x
directly or indirectly xxx participate
in any business. The constitutional
ban is similar to the prohibition in
the Civil Service Law (PD No. 807,
Sec. 36, subpar. 24) that pursuit of
private business xxx without the
permission required by Civil Service
Rules and Regulations shall be a
ground for disciplinary action

Same;
Same;
Same;
Same;
Petitioners preventive suspension
for
seven
(7)
months,
unreasonable; Reason.In the case
of Garcia vs. The Executive
Secretary, 6 SCRA 1 (1962), this
Court ordered the immediate
reinstatement to his position as
chairman of the National Science
Development
Board,
of
a
presidential
appointee
whose
preventive suspension had lasted
for nearly seven (7) months. Some
members of the Court held that the
maximum period of sixty (60) days
provided in Section 35 of the Civil
Service Act of 1959 (Republic Act
2260) was applicable to the
petitioner. The others believed,
however, that that period may not
apply
strictly
to
cases
of
presidential
appointees,
nevertheless,
the
preventive
suspension shall be limited to a
reasonable period. Obviously, the
Court
found
the
petitioners
preventive suspension for seven
(7) months to be unreasonable.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same;
Petitioners preventive suspension
has exceeded the reasonable
maximum period of 90 days; Case
at bar.The petitioner herein is no
less entitled to similar protection.

356

Sales vs. Sandiganbayan

356
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Doromal vs. Sandiganbayan


Since his preventive suspension
has exceeded the reasonable
maximum period of ninety (90)
days provided in Section 42 of the
Civil
Service
Decree
of
the
Philippines (P.D. 807), it should now
be
lifted.
[Doromal
vs.
Sandiganbayan,
177
SCRA
354(1989)]
G.R. No. 143802. November 16,
2001.*
REYNOLAN T. SALES, petitioner,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN
(4th
Division),
OMBUDSMAN,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
and
THELMA
BENEMERITO,
respondents.
Criminal Procedure; Preliminary
Investigation;
To
deny
the
accuseds claim to a preliminary
investigation would be to deprive
him of the full measure of his right
to due process.As this Court
pointed out in Duterte
______________

55 Ibid.
56 See the lower courts Order
dated January 4, 2000; records, p.
54.
* FIRST DIVISION.
294

294
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

v. Sandiganbayan, [t]he purpose


of a preliminary investigation or a
previous inquiry of some kind,
before an accused person is placed
on trial, is to secure the innocent
against
hasty,
malicious
and
oppressive prosecution and to
protect him from an open and
public accusation of a crime, from
the trouble, expenses and anxiety
of a public trial. It is also intended
to protect the state from having to
conduct useless and expensive
trials. While the right is statutory
rather than constitutional in its
fundament, it is a component part
of due process in criminal justice.
The right to have a preliminary
investigation
conducted
before
being bound over to trial for a
criminal offense and hence formally
at risk of incarceration or some
other penalty, is not a mere formal
or
technical
right;
it
is
a
substantive right. To deny the
accuseds claim to a preliminary
investigation would be to deprive
him of the full measure of his right
to due process.
Same;
Same;
A
preliminary
investigation
is
a
judicial
proceeding; An act becomes a
judicial proceeding when there is
an opportunity to be heard and for
the production of and weighing of
evidence, and a decision is
rendered
thereon.Although
a
preliminary investigation is not a
trial and is not intended to usurp
the function of the trial court, it is
not a casual affair. The officer
conducting the same investigates
or
inquires
into
the
facts
concerning the commission of the
crime with the end in view of
determining whether or not an
information may be prepared
against the accused. Indeed,
preliminary investigation is in
effect a realistic judicial appraisal
of the merits of the case. Sufficient
proof of the guilt of the accused
must be adduced so that when the
case is tried, the trial court may
not be bound as a matter of law to
order an acquittal. A preliminary
investigation has been called a
judicial inquiry. It is a judicial

proceeding. An act becomes a


judicial proceeding when there is
an opportunity to be heard and for
the production of and weighing of
evidence, and a decision is
rendered thereon.

affording petitioner-accused his


right
to
file
a
motion
for
reconsideration. The denial thereof
is tantamount to a denial of the
right itself to a preliminary
investigation.

Same;
Same;
While
the
investigating
officer,
strictly
speaking, is not a judge by the
nature of his functions, he is and
must be considered to be a quasijudicial
officer
because
a
preliminary
investigation
is
considered a judicial proceeding; A
preliminary investigation should
therefore
be
scrupulously
conducted
so
that
the
constitutional right to liberty of a
potential accused can be protected
from any material damage.The
authority of a prosecutor or
investigating
officer
duly
empowered to preside or to
conduct a preliminary investigation
is no less than a municipal judge or
even a regional trial court judge.
While the investigating officer,
strictly speaking, is not a judge
by the nature of his functions, he is
and must be considered to be a
quasi-judicial officer because a
preliminary
investigation
is
considered a judicial proceeding. A
preliminary investigation should
there-

Same; Warrant of Arrest; The task


of determining probable cause for
purposes of issuing a warrant of
arrest is a responsibility which is
exclusively
reserved
by
the
Constitution to judges.In the
order of procedure for criminal
cases, the task of determining
probable cause for purposes of
issuing a warrant of arrest is a
responsibility which is exclusively
reserved by the Constitution to
judges. People v. Inting clearly
delineated the features of this
constitutional mandate, viz: 1.] The
determination of probable cause is
a function of the judge; it is not for
the provincial fiscal or prosecutor
to ascertain. Only the judge and
the judge alone makes this
determination; 2.] The preliminary
inquiry made by a prosecutor does
not bind the judge. It merely
assists
him
in
making
the
determination of probable cause. It
is the report, the affidavits, the
transcripts of stenographic notes, if
any, and all other supporting
documents behind the prosecutors
certification which are material in
assisting
the
judge
in
his
determination of probable cause;
and 3.] Judges and prosecutors
alike
should
distinguish
the
preliminary
inquiry
which
determines probable cause for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest from
the
preliminary
investigation
proper which ascertains whether
the offender should be held for trial
or
be
released.
[Sales
vs.
Sandiganbayan,
369
SCRA
293(2001)]

295

VOL. 369, NOVEMBER 16, 2001


295
Sales vs. Sandiganbayan
fore be scrupulously conducted so
that the constitutional right to
liberty of a potential accused can
be protected from any material
damage.
Same; Same; Filing of a motion for
reconsideration is an integral part
of the preliminary investigation
proper.The filing of a motion for
reconsideration is an integral part
of the preliminary investigation
proper. There is no dispute that the
Information was filed without first

A.M. No. RTJ-05-1966. March


21, 2006.*
IMELDA
S.
ENRIQUEZ,
complainant,
vs.
JUDGE
ANACLETO
L.
CAMINADE,
respondent.
Judicial
Ethics;
Judges;
Gross
Ignorance of the Law; Lack of

conversance with legal principles


sufficiently basic and elementary
constitutes gross ignorance of the
law.This Court has consistently
held that lack of conversance with
legal principles sufficiently basic
and elementary constitutes gross
ignorance of the law. As an
advocate of justice and a visible
representation of the law, a judge
is expected to be proficient in the
interpretation of our laws.
Same; Same; Same; Diligence in
keeping
up-to-date
with
the
decisions of the Supreme Court is a
commendable virtue of judges and,
of course, members of the bar.
Diligence in keeping up-to-date
with the decisions of this Court is a
commendable virtue of judges and,
of course, members of the bar.
Comprehending
the
Courts
decisions is a different matter,
however, for it is in this area where
ones competence may be tested
and proven.
Same; Same; Same; The New Code
of
Judicial
Conduct
for
the
Philippine Judiciary requires judges
to be embodiments of judicial
competence and diligence.The
New Code of Judicial Conduct for
the Philippine Judiciary requires
judges to be embodiments of
judicial competence and diligence.
Those who accept this exalted
position owe the public and this
Court the ability to be proficient in
the law and the duty to maintain
professional competence at all
times. Indeed, competence is a
mark of a good judge. This exalted
position
entails
a
lot
of
responsibilities, foremost of which
is proficiency in the law. One
cannot seek refuge in a mere
cursory knowledge of statutes and
procedural rules. Respondent judge
fell short of these standards when
he failed in his duties to follow
elementary law and to keep
abreast
with
prevailing
jurisprudence.
Service
in
the
judiciary involves continuous study
and research from beginning to
end.
Same; Same; Same; Judges are
expected to be personifications of

justice and the rule of law and, as


such, to have more than just a
_______________

* FIRST DIVISION.
99

VOL. 485, MARCH 21, 2006


99
Enriquez vs. Caminade
modicum
acquaintance
with
statutes and procedural rules.
Exacting as these standards may
be, judges are expected to be
personifications of justice and the
rule of law and, as such, to have
more
than
just
a
modicum
acquaintance with statutes and
procedural rules. Essential to every
one of them is faithfulness to the
laws
and
maintenance
of
professional competence. Judges
are not common individuals whose
gross errors men forgive and time
forgets. For when they display an
utter lack of familiarity with the
rules, they erode the confidence of
the public in the competence of our
courts. Such lack is gross ignorance
of the law. Verily, failure to follow
basic legal commands and rules
constitutes gross ignorance of the
law, of which no one is excused,
and surely not a judge.
Administrative Law; Appeals; The
courts power of appellate review is
distinct from an administrative
matter, which involves the exercise
of the courts power to discipline
judges.Respondent contends that
instead of filing the instant
Administrative
Complaint,
complainant should have resorted
to judicial recourse, like an appeal
of the Order in question. It should
be reiterated that the courts
power of appellate review is
distinct from an administrative
matter, which involves the exercise
of the courts power to discipline

judges. An administrative matter is


undertaken and prosecuted solely
for the public welfare; that is, to
maintain the faith and confidence
of the people in the government.
[Enriquez vs. Caminade, 485 SCRA
98(2006)]
G.R. No.
2008.*

174350.August

13,

SPOUSES BERNYL BALANGAUAN &


KATHERENE
BALANGAUAN,
petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS, SPECIAL
NINETEENTH
(19TH)
DIVISION,
CEBU CITY & THE HONGKONG AND
SHANGHAI
BANKING
CORPORATION, LTD., respondents.
Appeals; Appeal from judgments or
final orders or resolutions of the
Court of Appeals is verified by
means of petition for review on
certiorari.There
is
need
to
address, first, the issue of the
mode of appeal resorted to by
petitioners Bernyl and Katherene.
The present petition is one for
certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Revised Rules of Court. Notice that
what is being assailed in this
recourse is the decision and
resolution of the Court of Appeals
dated 28 April 2006
_______________

** Designated as an additional
member in place of Associate
Justice Ruben T. Reyes who
concurred in the Court of Appeals
decision.
* THIRD DIVISION.
185

VOL. 562, AUGUST 13, 2008


185
Balangauan vs. Court of Appeals,
Special Nineteenth Division

and 29 June 2006, respectively. The


Revised Rules of Court, particularly
Rule
45
thereof,
specifically
provides that an appeal by
certiorari from the judgments or
final orders or resolutions of the
appellate court is by verified
petition for review on certiorari. In
the present case, there is no
question that the 28 April 2006
Decision and 29 June 2006
Resolution of the Court of Appeals
granting the respondent HSBCs
petition in CA-G.R. CEB. SP No.
00068 is already a disposition on
the merits. Therefore, both decision
and resolution, issued by the Court
of Appeals, are in the nature of a
final disposition of the case set
before it, and which, under Rule 45,
are appealable to this Court via a
Petition for Review on Certiorari.
Same; Certiorari; It is elementary in
remedial law that a writ of
certiorari will not issue where the
remedy of appeal is available to an
aggrieved party.It is elementary
in remedial law that a writ of
certiorari will not issue where the
remedy of appeal is available to an
aggrieved party. A remedy is
considered plain, speedy and
adequate if it will promptly relieve
the petitioners from the injurious
effects of the judgment and the
acts of the lower court or agency.
In this case, appeal was not only
available but also a speedy and
adequate remedy. And while it is
true that in accordance with the
liberal spirit pervading the Rules of
Court and in the interest of
substantial justice, this Court has,
before, treated a petition for
certiorari as a petition for review on
certiorari, particularly if the petition
for certiorari was filed within the
reglementary period within which
to file a petition for review on
certiorari; this exception is not
applicable to the present factual
milieu.
Same; Same; Grave abuse of
discretion may arise when a lower
court or tribunal violates and
contravenes the Constitution, the
law or existing jurisprudence.We
have previously ruled that grave
abuse of discretion may arise when

a lower court or tribunal violates


and contravenes the Constitution,
the law or existing jurisprudence.
By grave abuse of discretion is
meant
such
capricious
and
whimsical exercise of judgment as
is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
The abuse of discretion must be
grave, as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary or
despotic manner by reason of
passion or personal hostility and
must be so patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion of positive
duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined by or to
act at all in contemplation of law.
The word capricious, usually used
in
tandem
with
the
term
arbitrary, conveys the notion
186

186
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Balangauan vs. Court of Appeals,


Special Nineteenth Division
of willful and unreasoning action.
Thus, when seeking the corrective
hand of certiorari, a clear showing
of caprice and arbitrariness in the
exercise of discretion is imperative.
Criminal Procedure; Preliminary
Investigation;
A
preliminary
investigation is not a quasi-judicial
proceeding, and the Department of
Justice (DOJ) is not a quasi-judicial
agency exercising a quasi-judicial
function when it reviews the
findings of a public prosecutor
regarding the presence of probable
cause.It must be remembered
that a preliminary investigation is
not a quasi-judicial proceeding, and
that the DOJ is not a quasi-judicial
agency exercising a quasi-judicial
function when it reviews the
findings of a public prosecutor
regarding the presence of probable
cause. In Bautista v. Court of
Appeals, 360 SCRA 618 (2001), this
Court held that a preliminary
investigation is not a quasi-judicial
proceeding, thus: [T]he prosecutor

in a preliminary investigation does


not
determine
the
guilt
or
innocence of the accused. He does
not exercise adjudication nor rulemaking
functions.
Preliminary
investigation is merely inquisitorial,
and is often the only means of
discovering the persons who may
be reasonably charged with a crime
and to enable the fiscal to prepare
his complaint or information. It is
not a trial of the case on the merits
and has no purpose except that of
determining whether a crime has
been committed and whether there
is probable cause to believe that
the accused is guilty thereof. While
the
fiscal
makes
that
determination, he cannot be said to
be acting as a quasi-court, for it is
the courts, ultimately, that pass
judgment on the accused, not the
fiscal.
Same; Same; Administrative Law;
Quasi-Judicial Bodies; Judgments;
Words and Phrases; Though some
cases
describe
the
public
prosecutors power to conduct a
preliminary investigation as quasijudicial in nature, this is true only
to the extent that, like quasijudicial bodies, the prosecutor is an
officer of the executive department
exercising powers akin to those of
a court, and the similarity ends at
this point; A quasi-judicial body is
an organ of government other than
a court and other than a legislature
which affects the rights of private
parties through either adjudication
or rule-making; Since the DOJ is not
a quasi-judicial body, Section 14,
Article VIII of the Constitution finds
no
application.Though
some
cases
describe
the
public
prosecutors power to conduct a
preliminary investigation as quasijudicial in nature, this is true only
to the extent that, like
187

VOL. 562, AUGUST 13, 2008


187
Balangauan vs. Court of Appeals,
Special Nineteenth Division

quasi-judicial
bodies,
the
prosecutor is an officer of the
executive department exercising
powers akin to those of a court,
and the similarity ends at this
point. A quasi-judicial body is an
organ of government other than a
court and other than a legislature
which affects the rights of private
parties through either adjudication
or rule-making. A quasi-judicial
agency
performs
adjudicatory
functions such that its awards,
determine the rights of parties, and
their decisions have the same
effect as judgments of a court.
Such is not the case when a public
prosecutor conducts a preliminary
investigation to determine probable
cause to file an Information against
a person charged with a criminal
offense, or when the Secretary of
Justice is reviewing the formers
order or resolutions. In this case,
since the DOJ is not a quasi-judicial
body, Section 14, Article VIII of the
Constitution finds no application.
Be that as it may, the DOJ rectified
the shortness of its first resolution
by issuing a lengthier one when it
resolved respondent HSBCs motion
for reconsideration.
Same; Same; While by the nature
of his office, a public prosecutor is
under no compulsion to file a
particular
criminal
information
where he is not convinced that he
has evidence to prop up the
averments thereof, or that the
evidence at hand points to a
different conclusion, the possibility
of the commission of abuses on the
part of the prosecutor is not
discounted.The
executive
department of the government is
accountable for the prosecution of
crimes, its principal obligation
being the faithful execution of the
laws of the land. A necessary
component of the power to execute
the laws is the right to prosecute
their violators, the responsibility for
which is thrust upon the DOJ.
Hence,
the
determination
of
whether or not probable cause
exists to warrant the prosecution in
court of an accused is consigned
and entrusted to the DOJ. And by
the nature of his office, a public
prosecutor is under no compulsion

to
file
a
particular
criminal
information where he is not
convinced that he has evidence to
prop up the averments thereof, or
that the evidence at hand points to
a different conclusion. But this is
not to discount the possibility of
the commission of abuses on the
part of the prosecutor. It is entirely
possible that the investigating
prosecutor
has
erroneously
exercised the discretion lodged in
him by law. This, however, does not
render his act amenable to
correction and annulment by the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari,
absent any showing of grave abuse
of discretion amounting to excess
of jurisdiction. And while it is this
Courts general policy not to
interfere
in
the
conduct
of
preliminary investiga188

188
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Balangauan vs. Court of Appeals,


Special Nineteenth Division
tions, leaving the investigating
officers sufficient discretion to
determine probable cause, we have
nonetheless made some exceptions
to the general rule, such as when
the acts of the officer are without
or in excess of authority, resulting
from a grave abuse of discretion.
Although there is no general
formula or fixed rule for the
determination of probable cause,
since the same must be decided in
the light of the conditions obtaining
in
given
situations
and
its
existence depends to a large
degree upon the finding or opinion
of the judge conducting the
examination, such a finding should
not disregard the facts before the
judge (public prosecutor) or run
counter to the clear dictates of
reason.
Same; Same; Probable Cause;
Grave Abuse of Discretion; Words
and Phrases; In requiring hard

facts and solid evidence as the


basis for a finding of probable
cause to hold the respondents
liable to stand trial for the crime
complained of, the Department of
Justice (DOJ) disregarded the
definition of probable causethat it
is
a
reasonable
ground
of
presumption that a matter is, or
may be, well-founded, such a state
of facts in the mind of the
prosecutor as would lead a person
of ordinary caution and prudence
to believe, or entertain an honest
or strong suspicion, that a thing is
so; Probable cause does not mean
actual and positive cause nor
does it import absolute certainty;
The
Department
of
Justice
whimsically
and
capriciously
exercised its discretion, amounting
to grave abuse of discretion, when
it reasoned as if no evidence was
actually presented by complainant
when in fact the records of the
case were teeming, or when it
discounted the value of such
substantiation when in fact the
evidence presented was adequate
to excite in a reasonable mind the
probability that the respondents
committed the crime/s complained
of.Applying
the
foregoing
disquisition to the present petition,
the reasons of DOJ for affirming the
dismissal
of
the
criminal
complaints
for
estafa
and/or
qualified estafa are determinative
of whether or not it committed
grave
abuse
of
discretion
amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. In requiring hard facts
and solid evidence as the basis for
a finding of probable cause to hold
petitioners Bernyl and Katherene
liable to stand trial for the crime
complained of, the DOJ disregards
the definition of probable cause
that it is a reasonable ground of
presumption that a matter is, or
may be, well-founded, such a state
of facts in the mind of the
prosecutor as would lead a person
of ordinary caution and prudence
to believe, or entertain an honest
or strong suspicion, that a thing is
so. The term does not mean
actual
189

VOL. 562, AUGUST 13, 2008


189
Balangauan vs. Court of Appeals,
Special Nineteenth Division
and positive cause nor does it
import absolute certainty. It is
merely based on opinion and
reasonable belief; that is, the belief
that
the
act
or
omission
complained of constitutes the
offense charged. While probable
cause demands more than bare
suspicion, it requires less than
evidence
which
would
justify
conviction.
Herein,
the
DOJ
reasoned as if no evidence was
actually presented by respondent
HSBC when in fact the records of
the case were teeming; or it
discounted the value of such
substantiation when in fact the
evidence presented was adequate
to excite in a reasonable mind the
probability that petitioners Bernyl
and Katherene committed the
crime/s complained of. In so doing,
the
DOJ
whimsically
and
capriciously
exercised
its
discretion, amounting to grave
abuse of discretion, which rendered
its
resolutions
amenable
to
correction and annulment by the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari.
Same; Same; Same; That the
complainant bank is supposed to
have no personality to file any
criminal complaint against the
respondents does not ipso facto
clear them of prima facie guilt.
From the above, the alleged
circumstances of the case at bar
make up the elements of abuse of
confidence, deceit or fraudulent
means, and damage under Art. 315
of the Revised Penal Code on
estafa and/or qualified estafa. They
give rise to the presumption or
reasonable belief that the offense
of estafa has been committed; and,
thus, the filing of an Information
against petitioners Bernyl and
Katherene is warranted. That
respondent HSBC is supposed to
have no personality to file any
criminal
complaint
against

petitioners Bernyl and Katherene


does not ipso facto clear them of
prima facie guilt. The same goes
for their basic denial of the acts or
omissions complained of; or their
attempt at shifting the doubt to the
person of York; and their claim that
witnesses of respondent HSBC are
guilty of fabricating the whole
scenario. These are matters of
defense; their validity needs to be
tested in the crucible of a fullblown trial. Lest it be forgotten, the
presence or absence of the
elements
of
the
crime
is
evidentiary in nature and is a
matter of defense, the truth of
which can best be passed upon
after a full-blown trial on the
merits.
Litigation
will
prove
petitioners Bernyl and Katherenes
innocence if their defense be true.
[Balangauan vs. Court of Appeals,
Special Nineteenth Division, 562
SCRA 184(2008)]
G.R. No. 171435.July 30, 2008.*
ANTHONY T. REYES, petitioner, vs.
PEARLBANK
SECURITIES,
INC.,
respondent.
Criminal Procedure; Preliminary
Investigation;
Probable
Cause;
Words and Phrases; Probable
cause, for the purpose of filing a
criminal information, has been
defined as such facts as are
sufficient to engender a wellfounded belief that a crime has
been
committed
and
that
respondent is probably guilty
thereofa finding of probable
cause needs only to rest on
evidence showing that more likely
than not a crime has been
committed by the suspects; In
determining probable cause, the
average man weighs facts and
circumstances without resorting to
the calibrations of the rules of
evidence of which he has no
technical knowledgehe relies on
common sense.Probable cause,
for the purpose of filing a criminal
information, has been defined as
such facts as are sufficient to
engender a well-founded belief that
a crime has been committed and
that respondent is probably guilty
thereof. The term does not mean

actual and positive cause nor


does it import absolute certainty. It
is merely based on opinion and
reasonable belief. Probable cause
does not require an inquiry into
whether there is sufficient evidence
to procure a conviction. It is
enough that it is believed that the
act or omission complained of
_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.
519
constitutes the offense charged. A
finding of probable cause needs
only to rest on evidence showing
that more likely than not a crime
has been committed by the
suspects. It need not be based on
clear and convincing evidence of
guilt, not on evidence establishing
guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and
definitely
not
on
evidence
establishing absolute certainty of
guilt. In determining probable
cause, the average man weighs
facts and circumstances without
resorting to the calibrations of the
rules of evidence of which he has
no technical knowledge. He relies
on common sense. What is
determined is whether there is
sufficient ground to engender a
well-founded belief that a crime
has been committed, and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof
and should be held for trial. It does
not require an inquiry as to
whether there is sufficient evidence
to secure a conviction.
Same;
Same;
Same;
The
determination of probable cause
for the filing of information in court
is an executive function, one that
properly pertains at the first
instance to the public prosecutor
and, ultimately, to the Secretary of
Justice, who may direct the filing of
the corresponding information or
move for the dismissal of the case
and, unless made with grave
abuse of discretion, findings of the
Secretary of Justice are not subject
to
review.These
findings
of
probable cause fall within the

jurisdiction of the prosecutor or


fiscal in the exercise of executive
power, which the courts do not
interfere with unless there is grave
abuse
of
discretion.
The
determination of its existence lies
within the discretion of the
prosecuting
officers
after
conducting
a
preliminary
investigation upon complaint of an
offended party. Thus, the decision
whether to dismiss a complaint or
not is dependent upon the sound
discretion of the prosecuting fiscal.
He may dismiss the complaint
forthwith, if he finds the charge
insufficient in form or substance or
without any ground. Or he may
proceed with the investigation if
the complaint in his view is
sufficient and in proper form. To
emphasize, the determination of
probable cause for the filing of
information in court is an executive
function, one that properly pertains
at the first instance to the public
prosecutor and, ultimately, to the
Secretary of Justice, who may
direct
the
filing
of
the
corresponding information or move
for the dismissal of the case.
Ultimately, whether or not a
complaint will be dismissed is
dependent on the sound discretion
of the Secretary of Justice. And
unless made with grave abuse of
discretion, findings of the Secretary
of Justice are not subject to review.
520

Same; Same; Same; Grave Abuse


of Discretion; Words and Phrases;
By grave abuse of discretion is
meant,
such
capricious
and
whimsical exercise of judgment as
is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
In D.M. Consunji, Inc. v. Esguerra,
260 SCRA 74 (1996), we defined
grave abuse of discretion in this
wise: By grave abuse of discretion
is meant, such capricious and
whimsical exercise of judgment as
is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
The abuse of discretion must be
grave as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary or
despotic manner by reason of
passion or personal hostility and

must be so patent and gross as to


amount to an evasion of positive
duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined by or to
act at all in contemplation of law.
Same; Same; Same; Motions for
Reconsideration; The Department
of Justice (DOJ) Secretary is not
precluded from making inferences
of fact and conclusions of law
which may be different from,
contrary to, or even entirely
abandoning, the findings made by
his
Undersecretary
(Gutierrez)
although they were both faced with
the same evidence and arguments;
The purpose of a motion for
reconsideration is precisely to
request the court or quasi-judicial
body to take a second look at its
earlier judgment and correct any
errors it may have committed
therein.Although
no
new
evidence was presented by the
parties from the time the first
Resolution was issued by DOJ Usec.
Gutierrez on 7 June 2003 until the
second Resolution was issued by
DOJ Secretary Datumanong on 4
December 2004, the DOJ Secretary
is not precluded from making
inferences of fact and conclusions
of law which may be different from,
contrary to, or even entirely
abandoning, the findings made by
DOJ Usec. Gutierrez although they
were both faced with the same
evidence and arguments. First, it
must be noted that DOJ Secretary
Datumanong issued his Resolution
of 4 December 2004 upon the filing
by PEARLBANK of a motion for
reconsideration of the Resolution
dated 7 June 2003 of DOJ Usec.
Gutierrez entirely dismissing its
complaint. The 4 December 2004
Resolution,
therefore,
of
DOJ
Secretary Datumanong was the
result of his acting on, and granting
of, the motion for reconsideration
of PEARLBANK. The purpose of a
motion
for
reconsideration
is
precisely to request the court or
quasi-judicial body to take a second
look at its earlier judgment and
correct any errors it may have
committed therein.
521

Same; Same; Equal Protection


Clause; While the right to equal
protection of the law requires that
litigants are treated in an equal
manner by giving them the same
rights under similar circumstances,
it may not be perversely used to
justify desistance by the authorities
from prosecution of a criminal
case, just because not all of those
who are probably guilty thereof
were charged.Equally without
merit is petitioners assertion that
upon dismissal of the charges
against his co-respondent Espiritu,
those against him must likewise be
dismissed. Petitioner insists that if
the charges against an accused
rest upon the same evidence used
to charge a co-accused, the
dismissal of the charges against
the former should benefit the latter.
This is flawed
reasoning, a
veritable non sequitur. Suffice it to
say that it is indubitably within the
discretion of the prosecutor to
determine who must be charged
with what crime or for what
offense. In Webb v. De Leon, 247
SCRA 652 (1995), in which the
petitioners questioned the noninclusion
of
Alfaro
in
the
Information for rape with homicide
filed against them, despite Alfaros
alleged conspiratorial participation
in the crime charged, this Court
pronounced that: [T]he prosecution
of crimes appertains to the
executive
department
of
government whose principal power
and responsibility is to see that our
laws are faithfully executed. A
necessary component of this power
to execute our laws is the right to
prosecute their violators. The right
to prosecute vests the prosecutor
with a wide range of discretion
the discretion of whether, what and
whom to charge, the exercise of
which depends on a smorgasboard
of
factors
which
are
best
appreciated by prosecutors x x x.
While the right to equal protection
of the law requires that litigants are
treated in an equal manner by
giving them the same rights under
similar circumstances, it may not
be perversely used to justify
desistance by the authorities from

prosecution of a criminal case, just


because not all of those who are
probably
guilty
thereof
were
charged.
Same; Same; Prejudicial Questions;
Words and Phrases; A prejudicial
question is defined as one which
arises in a case the resolution of
which is a logical antecedent of the
issue involved therein, and the
cognizance of which pertains to
another tribunal; The prejudicial
question must be determinative of
the case before the court, but the
jurisdiction to try and resolve the
question must be lodged in another
court or tribunal; The rationale
behind the principle of prejudicial
question is to avoid two conflicting
decisions.A prejudicial question is
defined as one which arises in a
case the resolution of
522
which is a logical antecedent of the
issue involved therein, and the
cognizance of which pertains to
another tribunal. The prejudicial
question must be determinative of
the case before the court, but the
jurisdiction to try and resolve the
question must be lodged in another
court or tribunal. It is a question
based on a fact distinct and
separate from the crime, but so
intimately connected with it that it
determines the guilt or innocence
of the accused; and for it to
suspend the criminal action, it
must appear not only that said
case involves facts intimately
related to those upon which the
criminal prosecution would be
based, but also that in the
resolution of the issue or issues
raised in the civil case, the guilt or
innocence of the accused would
necessarily be determined. It
comes into play generally in a
situation in which a civil action and
a criminal action are both pending
and there exists in the former an
issue which must be preemptively
resolved before the criminal action
may proceed, because howsoever
the issue raised in the civil action is
resolved would be determinative
juris et de jure of the guilt or
innocence of the accused in the

criminal case. The rationale behind


the principle of prejudicial question
is
to
avoid
two
conflicting
decisions. [Reyes vs. Pearlbank
Securities,
Inc.,
560
SCRA
518(2008)]
G.R. No.
2008.*

been committed, the elements of


the crime charged should be
present. This is based on the
principle that every crime is
defined by its elements, without
which there should beat the most
no criminal offense.

178511.December 4,

MA. BELEN FLORDELIZA C. ANGABAYA, FRANCIS JASON A. ANG,


HANNAH ZORAYDA A. ANG, and
VICENTE G. GENATO, petitioners,
vs. EDUARDO G. ANG, respondent.
Criminal
Procedure;
Probable
Cause; Words and Phrases; A
finding of probable cause does not
require an inquiry into whether
there is sufficient evidence to
procure a convictionit is enough
that it is believed that the act or
omission complained of constitutes
the offense charged.Probable
cause, for purposes of filing a
criminal information, has been
defined as such facts as are
sufficient to engender a wellfounded belief that a crime has
been
committed
and
that
respondent is probably guilty
thereof. It is such a state of facts in
the mind of the prosecutor as
would lead a person of ordinary
caution and prudence to believe or
entertain an honest or strong
suspicion that a thing is so. The
term does not mean actual or
positive cause; nor does it import
absolute certainty. It is merely
based on opinion and reasonable
belief. Thus, a finding of probable
cause does not require an inquiry
into whether there is sufficient
evidence to procure a conviction. It
is enough that it is believed that
the act or omission complained of
constitutes the offense charged.
Precisely, there is a trial for the
reception of prosecutions evidence
in support of the charge.
Criminal Law; Every crime is
defined by its elements, without
which there should beat the most
no criminal offense.In order
that probable cause to file a
criminal case may be arrived at, or
in order to engender the wellfounded belief that a crime has

Corporation Law; Stockholders


Right
of
Inspection;
The
stockholders right of inspection of
the
corporations
books
and
records is based upon their
ownership of the assets and
property of the corporation, but the
inspection has to be germane to his
interest as a stock_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.
130
holder, and has to be proper and
lawful in character and not inimical
to the interest of the corporation.
In Gokongwei, Jr. v. Securities and
Exchange Commission, 89 SCRA
336 (1979), this Court explained
the
rationale
behind
a
stockholders right to inspect
corporate books, to wit: The
stockholders right of inspection of
the
corporations
books
and
records is based upon their
ownership of the assets and
property of the corporation. It is,
therefore, an incident of ownership
of the corporate property, whether
this ownership or interest be
termed an equitable ownership, a
beneficial ownership, or a quasiownership. This right is predicated
upon
the
necessity
of
selfprotection. It is generally held by
majority of the courts that where
the right is granted by statute to
the stockholder, it is given to him
as such and must be exercised by
him with respect to his interest as a
stockholder and for some purpose
germane thereto or in the interest
of the corporation. In other words,
the inspection has to be germane
to the petitioners interest as a
stockholder, and has to be proper
and lawful in character and not
inimical to the interest of the

corporation.
In
Republic
v.
Sandiganbayan, 199 SCRA 39
(1991), the Court declared that the
right to inspect and/or examine the
records of a corporation under
Section 74 of the Corporation Code
is circumscribed by the express
limitation
contained
in
the
succeeding proviso, which states
that: [I]t shall be a defense to any
action under this section that the
person demanding to examine and
copy
excerpts
from
the
corporations records and minutes
has
improperly
used
any
information secured through any
prior examination of the records or
minutes of such corporation or of
any other corporation, or was not
acting in good faith or for a
legitimate purpose in making his
demand.
Same;
Same;
Criminal
Law;
Violation of Section 74 of the
Corporation Code; Elements.In
order therefore for the penal
provision under Section 144 of the
Corporation Code to apply in a case
of violation of a stockholder or
members right to inspect the
corporate
books/records
as
provided for under Section 74 of
the Corporation Code, the following
elements must be present: First. A
director, trustee, stockholder or
member has made a prior demand
in writing for a copy of excerpts
from the corporations records or
minutes; Second. Any officer or
agent of the concerned corporation
shall refuse to allow the said
director, trustee, stockholder or
member of the corporation to
examine and copy said excerpts;
Third. If such refusal is made
pursuant to a resolution or order of
the board of directors or
131
trustees, the liability under this
section for such action shall be
imposed upon the directors or
trustees who voted for such
refusal; and, Fourth. Where the
officer or agent of the corporation
sets up the defense that the person
demanding to examine and copy
excerpts from the corporations
records
and
minutes
has

improperly used any information


secured
through
any
prior
examination of the records or
minutes of such corporation or of
any other corporation, or was not
acting in good faith or for a
legitimate purpose in making his
demand, the contrary must be
shown or proved.
Same; Same; Same; Justifying
Circumstances; Criminal Procedure;
Preliminary Investigations; In a
criminal complaint for violation of
Section 74 of the Corporation Code,
the defense of improper use or
motive is in the nature of a
justifying circumstance that would
exonerate those who raise and are
able to prove the same; If justifying
circumstances are claimed as a
defense, they should at least be
raised
during
preliminary
investigationthe
consideration
and determination of justifying
circumstances as a defense is a
relevant subject of preliminary
investigation.In
a
criminal
complaint for violation of Section
74 of the Corporation Code, the
defense of improper use or motive
is in the nature of a justifying
circumstance that would exonerate
those who raise and are able to
prove the same. Accordingly,
where the corporation denies
inspection on the ground of
improper motive or purpose, the
burden of proof is taken from the
shareholder and placed on the
corporation. This being the case, it
would
be
improper
for
the
prosecutor,
during
preliminary
investigation, to refuse or fail to
address the defense of improper
use or motive, given its express
statutory recognition. In the past
we have declared that if justifying
circumstances are claimed as a
defense, they should have at least
been raised during preliminary
investigation; which settles the
view that the consideration and
determination
of
justifying
circumstances as a defense is a
relevant subject of preliminary
investigation.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same;
Same; In the appraisal of the case
presented to him for resolution, the

duty of a prosecutor is more to do


justice and less to prosecute.A
preliminary investigation is in
effect a realistic judicial appraisal
of the merits of the case; sufficient
proof of the guilt of the criminal
respondent must be adduced so
that when the case is tried, the trial
court may not be bound, as a
matter of law, to order an acquittal.
Although
a
preliminary
investigation is
132
not a trial and is not intended to
usurp the function of the trial court,
it is not a casual affair; the officer
conducting the same investigates
or
inquires
into
the
facts
concerning the commission of the
crime with the end in view of
determining whether or not an
information may be prepared
against the accused. After all, the
purpose
of
preliminary
investigation
is not only to
determine
whether
there
is
sufficient ground to engender a
well-founded belief that a crime
has been committed and the
respondent therein is probably
guilty thereof and should be held
for trial; it is just as well for the
purpose of securing the innocent
against
hasty,
malicious
and
oppressive prosecution, and to
protect him from an open and
public accusation of a crime, from
the trouble, expense and anxiety of
a public trial. More importantly, in
the appraisal of the case presented
to him for resolution, the duty of a
prosecutor is more to do justice
and less to prosecute.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same;
Same; Due Process; A preliminary
investigation is the crucial sieve in
the criminal justice system which
spells
for
an
individual
the
difference between months if not
years of agonizing trial and
possibly jail term, on the one hand,
and peace of mind and liberty, on
the other; Due process requires
that an inquiry into the motive
behind a stockholders attempt at
inspection should be made even
during the preliminary investigation
stage, just as soon as petitioners

set up the defense of improper use


and
motive.A
preliminary
investigation is the crucial sieve in
the criminal justice system which
spells
for
an
individual
the
difference between months if not
years of agonizing trial and
possibly jail term, on the one hand,
and peace of mind and liberty, on
the
other.
Thus,
we
have
characterized the right to a
preliminary investigation as not a
mere formal or technical right but a
substantive one, forming part of
due process in criminal justice. Due
process, in the instant case,
requires that an inquiry into the
motive behind Eduardos attempt
at inspection should have been
made even during the preliminary
investigation stage, just as soon as
petitioners set up the defense of
improper use and motive. [AngAbaya
vs.
Ang,
573
SCRA
129(2008)]
G.R. Nos. 156399-400.June 27,
2008.*
VICTOR JOSE TAN UY, petitioner, vs.
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN,
PEOPLE
OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
SANDIGANBAYAN
(SPECIAL
DIVISION), CARLOS S. CAACBAY OF
THE
NATIONAL
BUREAU
OF
INVESTIGATION,
ROMEO
T.
CAPULONG, LEONARD DE VERA,
AND DENNIS B. FUNA, respondents.
Certiorari; Words and Phrases;
Grave Abuse of Discretion; The
grave abuse of discretion as
defined by jurisprudence is the
capricious and whimsical exercise
of judgment as is equivalent to lack
of jurisdiction, or an exercise of
power in an arbitrary and despotic
manner by reason of passion or
personal hostility, or an exercise of
judgment so patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion of a positive
duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined, or to act
in a manner not at all in
contemplation of law.We clarify
at the outset that the present
petition is filed under Section 1,
Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of
Court whose scope of review is
limited to the question: was the
order by the tribunal, board or

officer exercising judicial or quasi


judicial functions rendered without
or in excess of jurisdiction or with
grave
abuse
of
discretion
amounting to lack of or
_______________

* EN BANC.
74

74
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Uy vs. Office of the Ombudsman


excess of jurisdiction? The grave
abuse of discretion that the
petitioner alleges in this case is
defined by jurisprudence to be a
capricious and whimsical exercise
of judgment as is equivalent to lack
of jurisdiction, or [an] exercise of
power in an arbitrary and despotic
manner by reason of passion or
personal hostility, or an exercise of
judgment so patent and gross as to
amount to an evasion of a positive
duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined, or to act
in a manner not at all in
contemplation of law.
Due Process; Criminal Procedure;
Preliminary
Investigations;
The
right to have a preliminary
investigation
conducted
before
being bound for trial and before
being exposed to the risk of
incarceration and penalty is not a
mere formal or technical rightit is
a substantive right; To deny the
accuseds claim to a preliminary
investigation is to deprive him of
the full measure of his right to due
process.A
preliminary
investigation is held before an
accused is placed on trial to secure
the
innocent
against
hasty,
malicious,
and
oppressive
prosecution; to protect him from an
open and public accusation of a
crime, as well as from the trouble,

expenses, and anxiety of a public


trial. It is also intended to protect
the state from having to conduct
useless and expensive trials. While
the right is statutory rather than
constitutional, it is a component of
due process in administering
criminal justice. The right to have a
preliminary
investigation
conducted before being bound for
trial and before being exposed to
the risk of incarceration and
penalty is not a mere formal or
technical right; it is a substantive
right. To deny the accuseds claim
to a preliminary investigation is to
deprive him of the full measure of
his right to due process.
Same; Same; Same; As in a court
proceeding, albeit with appropriate
adjustments
because
it
is
essentially still an administrative
proceeding in which the prosecutor
or investigating officer is a quasijudicial officer by the nature of his
functions,
a
preliminary
investigation is subject to the
requirements of both substantive
and procedural due process; The
level of scrutiny that must be made
in preliminary investigation is
sufficient proof of the guilt of the
accused so that when the case is
tried, the trial court may not be
bound as a matter of law to order
an acquittal.As in a court
proceeding (albeit with appropriate
adjustments
because
it
is
essentially still an administrative
proceeding in which the prosecutor
or investigating officer is a quasijudicial officer by the nature of his
functions), a preliminary
75

VOL. 556, JUNE 27, 2008


75
Uy vs. Office of the Ombudsman
investigation is subject to the
requirements of both substantive
and procedural due process. This
view may be less strict in its
formulation than what we held in
Cojuangco, Jr. v. PCGG, et al., 190

SCRA 226 (1990), when we said: It


must be undertaken in accordance
with the procedure provided in
Section 3, Rule 112 of the 1985
Rules of Criminal Procedure. This
procedure is to be observed in
order to assure that a person
undergoing
such
preliminary
investigation will be afforded due
process. x x x Although such a
preliminary investigation is not a
trial and is not intended to usurp
the function of the trial court, it is
not a casual affair. The officer
conducting the same investigates
or
inquires
into
the
facts
concerning the commission of the
crime with the end in view of
determining whether or not an
information may be prepared
against the accused. Indeed, a
preliminary investigation is in
effect a realistic judicial appraisal
of the merits of the case. Sufficient
proof of the guilt of the accused
must be adduced so that when the
case is tried, the trial court may
not be bound as a matter of law to
order an acquittal. A preliminary
investigation has then been called
a judicial inquiry. It is a judicial
proceeding.
An
act
becomes
judicial when there is opportunity
to be heard and for the production
and weighing of evidence, and a
decision is rendered thereon, but
we commonly recognize the need
for the observance of due process.
We likewise fully agree with
Cojuangco in terms of the level of
scrutiny that must be madewe do
not expect the rigorous standards
of a criminal trial, but [s]ufficient
proof of the guilt of the accused
must be adduced so that when the
case is tried, the trial court may
not be bound as a matter of law to
order an acquittal.
Same; Same; Ang Tibay Doctrine;
Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial
Relations, 69 Phil. 635 (1940),
defines the basic due process
safeguards
in
administrative
proceedingsthat the decision (by
an administrative body) must be
rendered
on
the
evidence
presented at the hearing, or at
least contained in the record and
disclosed to the parties affected;
Only
by
confining
the

administrative tribunal to the


evidence disclosed to the parties,
can the latter be protected in their
right to know and meet the case
against them.In light of the due
process requirement, the standards
that at the very least assume great
materiality and significance are
those enunciated in the leading
case of Ang Tibay v. Court of
Industrial Relations, 69 Phil. 635
(1940). This case instructively tells
usin defining the basic due
process
safeguards
in
administrative
proceedingsthat
the decision
76

76
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Uy vs. Office of the Ombudsman


(by an administrative body) must
be rendered on the evidence
presented at the hearing, or at
least contained in the record and
disclosed to the parties affected;
only
by
confining
the
administrative tribunal to the
evidence disclosed to the parties,
can the latter be protected in their
right to know and meet the case
against them; it should not,
however,
detract
from
the
tribunals duty to actively see that
the law is enforced, and for that
purpose, to use the authorized
legal methods of securing evidence
and informing itself of facts
material and relevant to the
controversy.
Same; Same; In the hierarchy of
rights, the Bill of Rights takes
precedence over the right of the
State to prosecute, and when
weighed against each other, the
scales of justice tilt towards the
former.We cannot agree with the
Ombudsmans position that the
petitioner should controvert the
identification documents because
they already form part of the
records
of
the
preliminary
investigation,
having
been

introduced in various incidents of


Crim. Case No. 26558 then pending
with the Sandiganbayan. The rule
closest to a definition of the interrelationship between records of a
preliminary investigation and the
criminal case to which it relates is
Section 8 (b), Rule 112 of the
Revised Rules of Court which
provides that the record of the
preliminary investigation, whether
conducted by a judge or a
prosecutor, shall not form part of
the record of the case; the court,
on its own initiative or on motion of
any
party,
may
order
the
production of the record or any of
its parts when necessary in the
resolution of the case or any
incident therein, or when it is
introduced as an evidence in the
case by the requesting party. This
rule, however, relates to the use of
preliminary investigation records in
the criminal case; no specific
provision in the Rules exists
regarding the reverse situation. We
are thus guided in this regard by
the basic due process requirement
that the right to know and to meet
a case requires that a person be
fully informed of the pertinent and
material facts unique to the inquiry
to which he is called as a party
respondent.
Under
this
requirement,
reasonable
opportunity to contest evidence as
critical
as
the
identification
documents should have been given
the
petitioner
at
the
Sandiganbayan-ordered
preliminary investigation as part of
the facts he must controvert;
otherwise, there is nothing to
controvert as the burden of
evidence lies with the one who
asserts that a probable cause
exists. The Ombudsmans failure in
this regard tainted its findings of
probable cause with grave abuse of
discretion that effectively nullifies
them. We cannot avoid this
conclusion un77

VOL. 556, JUNE 27, 2008


77

Uy vs. Office of the Ombudsman


der the constitutional truism that in
the hierarchy of rights, the Bill of
Rights takes precedence over the
right of the State to prosecute, and
when weighed against each other,
the scales of justice tilt towards the
former. [Uy vs. Office of the
Ombudsman, 556 SCRA 73(2008)]
G.R. Nos. 92319-20. October 2,
1990.*
EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, JR.,
petitioner,
vs.
PRESIDENTIAL
COMMISSION
ON
GOOD
GOVERNMENT (PCGG) AND HON.
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ in his
capacity as Solicitor General, and
the
HON.
OMBUDSMAN,
respondents, MARIA CLARA L.
LOBREGAT and JOSE R. ELEAZAR,
JR., intervenors.
Criminal Procedure; Preliminary
Investigation;
Presidential
Commission on Good Government;
Executive Order Nos. 1 & 14; The
PCGG has the power to investigate
and prosecute ill-gotten wealth
cases of the former President, his
relatives and associates, and graft
and corrupt practices cases that
may be assigned by the President
to the PCGG; The PCGG's power to
investigate includes the authority
to
conduct
preliminary
investigations.From the foregoing
provisions of law, particularly
Sections 2(b) and 3(a) of Executive
Order No. 1 and Sections 1 and 2 of
Executive Order No. 14, it is clear
that the PCGG has the power to
investigate and prosecute such illgotten wealth cases of the former
President,
his
relatives
and
associates, and graft and corrupt
practices cases that may be
assigned by the President to the
PCGG to be filed with the
Sandiganbayan. No doubt, the
authority to investigate extended
to the PCGG includes the authority
to
conduct
a
preliminary
investigation.
Thus,
the
Tanodbayan lost the exclusive
authority
to
conduct
the
preliminary investigation of these
types of cases by the promulgation
of the said Executive Order Nos. 1

and 14 whereby the PCGG was


vested concurrent jurisdiction with
the Tanodbayan to conduct such
preliminary investigation and to
prosecute said cases before the
Sandiganbayan. The power of the
PCGG to conduct a preliminary
investigation
of
the
aforementioned types of cases has
been recognized by this Court in
Bataan Shipyard and Engineering
Co. Inc. (BASECO) vs. PCGG.
Same;
Same;
Same;
Same;
Ombudsman;
Public
Officers;
Republic Act 6770; The authority of
the Ombudsman to investigate
offenses involving public officers is
not exclusive but is concurrent with
other similarly authorized agencies
of the government like the PCGG.
Under Section 15(1) of Republic Act
No.
6770
aforecited,
the
Ombudsman
has
primary
jurisdiction over cases cognizable
by the Sandiganbayan so that it
may take over at any stage from
any investigatory agency of the
______________

* EN BANC.
227

VOL. 190, OCTOBER 2, 1990


227
Cojuangco, Jr. vs. Presidential
Commission on Good Gov't.
government, the investigation of
such cases. The authority of the
Ombudsman
to
investigate
offenses involving public officers or
employees is not exclusive but is
concurrent with other similarly
authorized
agencies
of
the
government. Such investigatory
agencies referred to include the
PCGG and the provincial and city
prosecutors and their assistants,
the state prosecutors and the
judges of the municipal trial courts
and municipal circuit trial courts. In

other
words,
the
aforestated
provision of the law has opened up
the
authority
to
conduct
preliminary
investigation
of
offenses
cognizable
by
the
Sandiganbayan to all investigatory
agencies of the government duly
authorized to conduct a preliminary
investigation under Section 2, Rule
112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
Procedure
with
the
only
qualification that the Ombudsman
may take over at any stage of such
investigation in the exercise of his
primary jurisdiction.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Due
Process; Since the PCGG had
already found a prima facie case
against
the
petitioner
and
intervenors when it caused the
sequestration of the properties and
the issuance of the freeze order of
the properties of petitioner, it
cannot
possibly
conduct
the
preliminary investigation of said
criminal complaints with the "cold
neutrality of an impartial judge" as
it has prejudged the matter.The
Court cannot close its eyes to the
glaring
fact
that
in
earlier
instances, the PCGG had already
found a prima facie case against
the petitioner and intervenors
when, acting like a judge, it caused
the sequestration of the properties
and the issuance of the freeze
order
of
the
properties
of
petitioner. Thereafter, acting as a
law enforcer, in collaboration with
the Solicitor General, the PCGG
gathered the evidence and upon
finding cogent basis therefor filed
the aforestated civil complaint.
Consequently the Solicitor General
filed
a
series
of
criminal
complaints. It is difficult to imagine
how in the conduct of such
preliminary investigation the PCGG
could even make a turn about and
take a position contradictory to its
earlier findings of a prima facie
case
against
petitioner
and
intervenors.
This
was
demonstrated in the undue haste
with which I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 was
investigated and the informations
were filed in court even as the
petitioner
and
intervenors
questioned its authority, invoked
the denial of due process and

promptly informed the PCGG of


,the filing of this petition. In our
criminal justice system, the law
enforcer
who
conducted
the
criminal investigation, gathered the
evidence and thereafter filed the
complaint for the purpose of
preliminary investigation cannot be
allowed to conduct the preliminary
investigation of his own complaint.
It is to say the least arbitrary and
unjust. It is in such instances that
We say one cannot be "a
prosecutor and judge at the same
time."
Having
gathered
the
evidence and filed the complaint as
a

preliminary investigation of said


criminal complaints with the "cold
neutrality of an impartial judge," as
it has prejudged the matter. Add to
this the fact that there are many
suits filed by petitioner and the
intervenors against the PCGG and
vice versa. [Cojuangco, Jr. vs.
Presidential Commission on Good
Gov't., 190 SCRA 226(1990)]

228

Criminal Law; Estafa; Novation;


Criminal liability for estafa is not
affected by a compromise or
novation of contract.In a catena
of cases, it was ruled that criminal
liability for estafa is not affected by
a compromise or novation of
contract. In Firaza v. People, 518
SCRA 681 (2007) and Recuerdo v.
People, 493 SCRA 517 (2006), this
Court ruled that in a crime of
estafa, reimbursement or belated
payment to the offended party of
the money swindled by the
accused does not extinguish the
criminal liability of the latter. We
also held in People v. Moreno, 314
SCRA 556 (1999), and in People v.
Ladera, 344 SCRA 647 (2000), that
criminal liability for estafa is not
affected by com-

228
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Cojuangco, Jr. vs. Presidential


Commission on Good Gov't.
law enforcer, he cannot be
expected
to
handle
with
impartiality
the
preliminary
investigation of his own complaint,
this time as a public prosecutor.
The circumstances of the instant
petition are even worse. To repeat,
the PCGG and the Solicitor General
finding a prima facie basis filed a
civil complaint against petitioner
and
intervenors
alleging
substantially the same illegal or
criminal acts subject of the
subsequent criminal complaints the
Solicitor General filed with the
PCGG for preliminary investigation.
While ostensibly, it is only the
Solicitor General who is the
complainant in the criminal cases
filed with the PCGG, in reality the
PCGG is an unidentified cocomplainant. Moreover, when the
PCGG issued the sequestration and
freeze orders against petitioner's
properties, it was on the basis of a
prima facie finding that the same
were
ill-gotten
and/or
were
acquired in relation to the illegal
disposition of coconut levy funds.
Thus, the Court finds that the PCGG
cannot
possibly
conduct
the

G.R. No. 164538.August 9, 2010.*


METROPOLITAN BANK and TRUST
COMPANY, petitioner, vs. ROGELIO
REYNADO
and
JOSE
C.
ADRANDEA,** respondents.

_______________

* FIRST DIVISION.
** Sometimes referred to as Jose C.
Andraneda and Jose C. Adraneda in
other parts of the records.
89

VOL. 627, AUGUST 9, 2010


89
Metropolitan
Bank
and
Company vs. Reynado

Trust

promise or novation of contract, for


it is a public offense which must be
prosecuted and punished by the
Government on its own motion
even though complete reparation
should have been made of the
damage suffered by the offended
party. Similarly in the case of
Metropolitan
Bank
and
Trust
Company v. Tonda, 338 SCRA 254
(2000), cited by petitioner, we held
that in a crime of estafa,
reimbursement of or compromise
as to the amount misappropriated,
after the commission of the crime,
affects only the civil liability of the
offender, and not his criminal
liability.
Same;
Criminal
Procedure;
Probable
Cause;
Preliminary
Investigation; Definition of Probable
Cause;
Generally,
a
public
prosecutor is afforded a wide
latitude of discretion in the conduct
of a preliminary investigation;
Exception.Probable
cause
is
defined
as
such
facts
and
circumstances that will engender a
well-founded belief that a crime
has been committed and that the
respondent is probably guilty
thereof and should be held for
trial.
Generally,
a
public
prosecutor is afforded a wide
latitude of discretion in the conduct
of a preliminary investigation. By
way of exception, however, judicial
review is allowed where respondent
has clearly established that the
prosecutor committed grave abuse
of discretion that is, when he has
exercised his discretion in an
arbitrary, capricious, whimsical or
despotic manner by reason of
passion
or
personal
hostility,
patent and gross enough as to
amount to an evasion of a positive
duty or virtual refusal to perform a
duty enjoined by law. Tested
against these guidelines, we find
that this case falls under the
exception rather than the general
rule.
Same; Same; Same; Same; A
preliminary investigation for the
purpose
of
determining
the
existence of probable cause is not
a part of the trial; A finding of
probable cause does not require an

inquiry into whether there is


sufficient evidence to procure a
conviction.The findings of the
Secretary of Justice in sustaining
the dismissal of the Complaint are
matters of defense best left to the
trial
courts
deliberation
and
contemplation after conducting the
trial of the criminal case. To
emphasize,
a
preliminary
investigation for the purpose of
determining
the
existence
of
probable cause is not a part of the
trial.
A
full
and
exhaustive
presentation
of
the
parties
evidence is not required, but only
such as may engender a wellgrounded belief that an offense has
been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof.
A finding of probable cause does
not require an
90

90
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Metropolitan
Bank
and
Company vs. Reynado

Trust

inquiry into whether there is


sufficient evidence to procure a
conviction. It is enough that it is
believed that the act or omission
complained of constitutes the
offense charged.
Same; Same; Same; Same; The
presence or absence of the
elements
of
the
crime
is
evidentiary in nature and is a
matter of defense that may be
passed upon of the a full-blown
trial on the merits.In the case at
bar, as analyzed by the prosecutor,
a prima facie case of estafa exists
against respondents. As perused by
her, the facts as presented in the
Complaint-Affidavit of the auditor
are reasonable enough to excite
her belief that respondents are
guilty of the crime complained of.
In Andres v. Justice Secretary
Cuevas, 460 SCRA 38 (2005), we
had occasion to rule that the
presence or absence of the

elements
of
the
crime
is
evidentiary in nature and is a
matter of defense that may be
passed upon after a full-blown trial
on the merits.
Same;
Same;
Prosecution
of
Offenses; Public prosecutors, not
the private complainant, are the
ones obliged to bring forth before
the
law
those
who
have
transgressed it.Suffice it to say
that it is indubitably within the
discretion of the prosecutor to
determine who must be charged
with what crime or for what
offense. Public prosecutors, not the
private complainant, are the ones
obliged to bring forth before the
law those who have transgressed
it.
Same; Same; Same; The law makes
it a legal duty for prosecuting
officers to file the charges against
whomsoever the evidence may
show to be responsible for the
offense.Section 2, Rule 110 of the
Rules of Court mandates that all
criminal
actions
must
be
commenced either by complaint or
information in the name of the
People of the Philippines against all
persons
who
appear
to
be
responsible therefor. Thus the law
makes it a legal duty for
prosecuting officers to file the
charges against whomsoever the
evidence
may
show
to
be
responsible for the offense. The
proper
remedy
under
the
circumstances where persons who
ought to be charged were not
included in the complaint of the
private complainant is definitely
not to dismiss the complaint but to
include them in the information.
[Metropolitan Bank and Trust
Company vs. Reynado, 627 SCRA
88(2010)]
No. L-53373. June 30, 1987.*
MARIO FL. 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
SOLICITOR
GENERAL,
RICARDO
BAUTISTA, ET AL., respondents.

Criminal Procedure; A court that


grant a motion of the fiscal to
dismiss a case commits no error
and the fiscals view thereon, in a
clash of views with the judge or
complainant,
should
normally
prevail.Thus, a fiscal who asks for
the dismissal of the case for
insufficiency of evidence has
authority to do so, and Courts that
grant the same commit no error.
The fiscal may re-investigate a
case and subsequently move for
the dismissal should the reinvestigation show either that the
defendant is innocent or that his
guilt may not be established
beyond reasonable doubt. In a
clash of views between the judge
who did not investigate and the
fiscal who did, or between the
fiscal and the offended party or the
defendant, those of the fiscals
should normally prevail. On the
other hand, neither an injunction,
preliminary or final nor a writ of
prohibition may be issued by the
Courts to restrain a criminal
prosecution except in the extreme
_______________

* EN BANC.
463

VOL. 151, JUNE 30, 1987


463
Crespo vs. 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 strong arm
of the law in an oppressive and
vindictive manner.
Same; Once an information is filed
in
court,
the
courts
prior
permission must be secured if
fiscal wants to reinvestigate the
case.The
preliminary
investigation conducted by the
fiscal
for
the
purpose
of

determining whether a prima facie


case
exists
warranting
the
prosecution of the accused is
terminated upon the filing of the
information in the proper court. In
turn, as above stated, the filing of
said information sets in motion the
criminal action against the accused
in Court. Should the fiscal find it
proper to conduct a reinvestigation
of the case, at such stage, the
permission of the Court must be
secured. After such reinvestigation
the finding and recommendations
of the fiscal should be submitted to
the Court for appropriate action.
While it is true that the fiscal has
the quasi judicial discretion to
determine whether or not a
criminal case should be filed in
court or not, once the case had
already been brought to Court
whatever disposition the fiscal may
feel should be proper in the case
thereafter should be addressed for
the consideration of the Court, The
only qualification is that the action
of the Court must not impair the
substantial rights of the accused,
or the right of the People to due
process of law.
Same;
Same.Whether
the
accused had been arraigned or not
and whether it was due to a
reinvestigation by the fiscal or a
review by the Secretary of Justice
whereby a motion to dismiss was
submitted to the Court, the Court
in the exercise of its discretion may
grant the motion or deny it and
require that the trial on the merits
proceed
for
the
proper
determination of the case,
Same; Where the court refuses to
grant the fiscals motion to dismiss,
including a case where the
Secretary of Justice ordered the
fiscal to move to dismiss the case,
the fiscal should continue to
appear in the case although he
may turn over the presentation of
evidence to the private prosecutor.
However, one may ask, if the trial
court refuses to grant the motion to
dismiss filed by the fiscal upon the
directive of the Secretary of Justice
will there not be a vacuum in the
prosecution? A state prosecutor to
handle the case cannot possibly be

designated by the Secretary of


Justice who does not believe that
there is a basis for prosecution nor
can the fiscal be expected to
handle the prosecution of the case
thereby defying the superior order
of the Secretary of Justice. The
answer is simple. The
464

464
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Crespo vs. Mogul


role of the fiscal or prosecutor as
We all know is to see that justice is
done and not necessarily to secure
the conviction of the person
accused before the Courts. Thus, in
spite of his opinion to the contrary,
it is the duty of the fiscal to
proceed with the presentation of
evidence of the prosecution to the
Court to enable the Court to arrive
at its own independent judgment
as to whether the accused should
be convicted or acquitted. The
fiscal should not shirk from the
responsibility of appearing for the
People of the Philippines even
under such circumstances much
less should he abandon the
prosecution of the case leaving it
to the hands of a private
prosecutor for then the entire
proceedings will be null and void.
The least that the fiscal should do
is to continue to appear for the
prosecution although he may turn
over the presentation of the
evidence to the private prosecutor
but still under his direction and
control. [Crespo vs. Mogul, 151
SCRA 462(1987)]
G.R. No. 188197.August 3, 2010.*
LEONARDO U. FLORES, petitioner,
vs. HON. RAUL S. GONZALEZ, in his
capacity as Secretary of Justice,
and EUGENE LIM, respondents.
Criminal Procedure; Administrative
Law; Exhaustion of Administrative
Remedies; There is nothing in

Crespo v. Mogul, 235 Phil. 465, 476


(1987), that bars the Secretary of
Justice from reviewing resolutions
of his subordinates in an appeal or
petition for review in criminal cases
the Secretary of Justice was
merely advised that, as far as
practicable, he should not take
cognizance of an appeal when the
complaint or information is already
filed in court, a rule that is also true
with respect to a motion for
reconsideration
before
the
Secretary
of
Justice;
Review,
whether on appeal or on motion for
reconsideration, as an act of
supervision and control by the
Secretary of Justice over the
prosecutors, finds basis in the
doctrine
of
exhaustion
of
administrative
remedies
which
holds that mistakes, abuses or
negligence committed in the initial
steps of an administrative activity
or by an administrative agency
may be corrected by higher
administrative authorities, and not
directly by courts.In this case, on
a petition for review, the Secretary
of Justice found probable cause for
Other Deceits against Lim; thus,
the proper Information was filed in
Court pursuant to the directive of
the Secretary of Justice. Upon filing
of the Information, the MTCC
acquired jurisdiction over the case.
Lim
filed
a
motion
for
reconsideration of the May 31,
2006 Resolution of the Secretary of
Justice.
There
was
nothing
procedurally infirm in this course of
action inasmuch as there is nothing
in Crespo that bars the Secretary of
Justice from reviewing resolutions
of his subordinates in an appeal or
petition for review in criminal
cases. The Secretary of Justice was
merely advised in Crespo that, as
far as practicable, he should not
take cognizance of an appeal when
the complaint or information is
already filed in court. This is also
true with respect to a motion for
reconsideration
before
the
Secretary
of
Justice.
Review,
whether on appeal or on motion for
reconsideration, as an act of
supervision and control by the
Secretary of Justice over the
prosecutors, finds basis in the
doctrine of exhaus-

_______________

* SECOND DIVISION.
662

662
SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

Flores vs. Gonzales


tion of administrative remedies
which holds that mistakes, abuses
or negligence committed in the
initial steps of an administrative
activity or by an administrative
agency may be corrected by higher
administrative authorities, and not
directly by courts. As a rule, only
after administrative remedies are
exhausted may judicial recourse be
allowed. In any case, the grant of a
motion to dismiss or a motion to
withdraw the information, which
the prosecution may file after the
Secretary of Justice reverses the
finding of probable cause, is
subject to the discretion of the
court.
Same;
Notwithstanding
the
pendency of the Information before
the Municipal Trial Court in Cities
(MTCC), especially considering the
reversal by the Secretary of Justice
of his earlier Resolution, a petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, anchored on the
alleged grave abuse of discretion
amounting to excess or lack of
jurisdiction on the part of Secretary
of Justice, remains an available
remedy to the aggrieved party; The
decision whether to dismiss the
case or not rests on the sound
discretion of the trial court where
the Information was filed despite a
resolution by the Secretary of
Justice to withdraw the information
or to dismiss the case, and not
even if the Secretary of Justice is
affirmed by the higher courts.We
wish
to
point
out
that,
notwithstanding the pendency of
the Information before the MTCC,

especially considering the reversal


by the Secretary of Justice of his
May 31, 2006 Resolution, a petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, anchored on the
alleged grave abuse of discretion
amounting to excess or lack of
jurisdiction on the part of Secretary
of Justice, was an available remedy
to Flores as an aggrieved party. In
the petition for certiorari, the Court
of Appeals is not being asked to
cause the dismissal of the case in
the trial court, but only to resolve
the issue of whether the Secretary
of Justice acted with grave abuse of
discretion in either affirming or
reversing the finding of probable
cause against the accused. But still
the rule standsthe decision
whether to dismiss the case or not
rests on the sound discretion of the
trial court where the Information
was filed. As jurisdiction was
already acquired by the MTCC, this
jurisdiction is not lost despite a
resolution by the Secretary of
Justice to withdraw the information
or
to
dismiss
the
case,
notwithstanding the deferment or
suspension of the arraignment of
the
accused
and
further
proceedings, and not even if the
Secretary of Justice is affirmed by
the higher courts.
663

stressing that the trial court is not


bound to adopt the resolution of
the Secretary of Justice, in spite of
being affirmed by the appellate
courts, since it is mandated to
independently evaluate or assess
the merits of the case and it may
either agree or disagree with the
recommendation of the Secretary
of
Justice.
Reliance
on
the
resolution of the Secretary of
Justice
alone
would
be
an
abdication of the trial courts duty
and jurisdiction to determine a
prima facie case. Thus, the trial
court may make an independent
assessment of the merits of the
case based on the affidavits and
counter-affidavits, documents, or
evidence
appended
to
the
Information; the records of the
public prosecutor which the court
may order the latter to produce
before it; or any evidence already
adduced before the court by the
accused at the time the motion is
filed by the public prosecutor. The
trial
court
should
make
its
assessment
separately
and
independently of the evaluation of
the prosecution or of the Secretary
of Justice. This assessment should
be embodied in the written order
disposing of the motion to dismiss
or the motion to withdraw the
information. [Flores vs. Gonzales,
626 SCRA 661(2010)]
G.R. No. 178947.June 26, 2013.*

VOL. 626, AUGUST 3, 2010


663
Flores vs. Gonzales
Same; The trial court is not bound
to adopt the resolution of the
Secretary of Justice, in spite of
being affirmed by the appellate
courts, since it is mandated to
independently evaluate or assess
the merits of the case and it may
either agree or disagree with the
recommendation of the Secretary
of
Justicereliance
on
the
resolution of the Secretary of
Justice
alone
would
be
an
abdication of the trial courts duty
and jurisdiction to determine a
prima
facie
case.It
bears

VIRGINIA DE LOS SANTOS-DIO, as


authorized representative of H.S.
EQUITIES, LTD., and WESTDALE
ASSETS, LTD., petitioner, vs. THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,
JUDGE RAMON S. CAGUIOA, in his
capacity as Presiding Judge of
Branch 74, Regional Trial Court,
Olongapo City, and TIMOTHY J.
DESMOND, respondents.
G.R. No. 179079.June 26, 2013.*
PEOPLE
OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
petitioner,
vs.
TIMOTHY
J.
DESMOND, respondent.
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure;
Probable Cause; Determination of
probable cause may be either
executive or judicial; The first is

made by the public prosecutor,


during a preliminary investigation,
where he is given broad discretion
to determine whether probable
cause exists for the purpose of
filing a criminal information in
court; The second is one made by
the judge to ascertain whether a
warrant of arrest should be issued
against
the
accused.Determination
of
probable cause may be either
executive or judicial. The first is
made by the public prosecutor,
during a preliminary investigation,
where he is given broad discretion
to determine whether probable
cause exists for the purpose of
filing a criminal information in
court.
_______________
* SECOND DIVISION.
615

VOL. 699, JUNE 26, 2013


615
De Los Santos-Dio vs. Court of
Appelas
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
second is one made by the judge to
ascertain whether a warrant of
arrest should be issued against the
accused. In this respect, the judge
must satisfy himself that, on the
basis of the evidence submitted,
there is a necessity for placing the
accused under custody in order not
to frustrate the ends of justice. If
the judge, therefore, finds no
probable cause, the judge cannot
be forced to issue the arrest
warrant. Notably, since the judge is
already duty-bound to determine
the existence or non-existence of
probable cause for the arrest of the

accused immediately upon the


filing of the information, the filing
of
a
motion
for
judicial
determination of probable cause
becomes a mere superfluity, if not
a deliberate attempt to cut short
the process by asking the judge to
weigh in on the evidence without a
full-blown trial.
Same; Same; Same; A judge is not
bound by the resolution of the
public prosecutor who conducted
the preliminary investigation and
must himself ascertain from the
latters findings and supporting
documents whether probable cause
exists for the purpose of issuing a
warrant of arrest.It bears to
stress that a judge is not bound by
the resolution of the public
prosecutor who conducted the
preliminary investigation and must
himself ascertain from the latters
findings and supporting documents
whether probable cause exists for
the purpose of issuing a warrant of
arrest. This prerogative is granted
by no less than the Constitution
which provides that no warrant of
arrest shall issue except upon
probable cause to be determined
personally by the judge after
examination
under
oath
or
affirmation of the complainant and
the witnesses he may produce.
While a judges determination of
probable
cause
is
generally
confined to the limited purpose of
issuing arrest warrants, Section
5(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules
of Criminal Procedure explicitly
states
that
a
judge
may
immediately dismiss a case if the
evidence on record clearly fails to
establish probable cause.
Same; Same; Once the information
is filed with the court and the judge
proceeds with his primordial task of
evaluating the evidence on record,
he may either: (a) issue a warrant
of arrest, if he finds probable
cause; (b) immediately dismiss the
case, if the evidence
616

616

SUPREME
ANNOTATED

COURT

REPORTS

De Los Santos-Dio vs. Court of


Appelas
on record clearly fails to establish
probable cause; and (c) order the
prosecutor to submit additional
evidence, in case he doubts the
existence of probable cause.In
this regard, so as not to transgress
the public prosecutors authority, it
must be stressed that the judges
dismissal of a case must be done
only in clear-cut cases when the
evidence on record plainly fails to
establish probable cause that is
when the records readily show
uncontroverted,
and
thus,
established
facts
which
unmistakably negate the existence
of the elements of the crime
charged. On the contrary, if the
evidence on record shows that,
more likely than not, the crime
charged has been committed and
that respondent is probably guilty
of the same, the judge should not
dismiss the case and thereon,
order the parties to proceed to
trial. In doubtful cases, however,
the appropriate course of action
would be to order the presentation
of additional evidence. In other
words, once the information is filed
with the court and the judge
proceeds with his primordial task of
evaluating the evidence on record,
he may either: (a) issue a warrant
of arrest, if he finds probable
cause; (b) immediately dismiss the
case, if the evidence on record
clearly fails to establish probable
cause; and (c) order the prosecutor
to submit additional evidence, in
case he doubts the existence of
probable cause.
Same; Same; A judges discretion
to dismiss a case immediately after
the filing of the information in court
is appropriate only when the failure
to establish probable cause can be
clearly inferred from the evidence
presented and not when its
existence is simply doubtful.Lest
it be misconceived, trial judges will
do well to remember that when a
perceived gap in the evidence
leads to a neither this nor that

conclusion, a purposeful resolution


of the ambiguity is preferable over
a doubtful dismissal of the case.
Verily, a judges discretion to
dismiss a case immediately after
the filing of the information in court
is appropriate only when the failure
to establish probable cause can be
clearly inferred from the evidence
presented and not when its
existence is simply doubtful. After
all, it cannot be expected that upon
the filing of the information in court
the prosecutor would have already
presented
all
the
evidence
necessary to secure a conviction of
the accused, the objective of a
previously-conducted
preliminary
investigation being merely to
determine
whether
there
is
sufficient ground to engender a
well-founded belief that a crime
has been committed and that the
respondent is probably guilty
thereof and should be held for trial.
[De Los Santos-Dio vs. Court of
Appelas, 699 SCRA 614(2013)]
G.R. No. 160316.September 2,
2013.*
ROSALINDA PUNZALAN, RANDALL
PUNZALAN
and
RAINIER
PUNZALAN,
petitioners,
vs.
MICHAEL GAMALIEL J. PLATA and
RUBEN PLATA, respondents.
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure;
Preliminary
Investigation;
Prosecutors;
The
conduct
of
preliminary investigation for the
purpose
of
determining
the
existence of probable cause is a
function that belongs to the public
prosecutor.The well-established
rule is that the conduct of
preliminary investigation for the
purpose
of
determining
the
existence of probable cause is a
function that belongs to the public
prosecutor. Section 5, Rule 110 of
the Rules of Court, as amended,
provides: Section 5. Who must
prosecute
criminal
action.All
criminal actions either commenced
by complaint or by information
shall be prosecuted under the
direction and control of a public
prosecutor. In case of heavy work
schedule of the public prosecutor
or in the event of lack of public

prosecutors, the private prosecutor


may be authorized in writing by the
Chief of the Prosecution Office or
the Regional State Prosecutor to
prosecute the case subject to the
approval of the court. Once so
authorized
to
prosecute
the
criminal
action,
the
private
prosecutor
shall
continue
to
prosecute the case up to end of the
trial even in the absence of a public
prosecutor, unless the authority is
revoked or otherwise withdrawn.
The prosecution of crimes lies with
the executive department of the
government whose principal power
and responsibility is to see that the
laws of the land are faithfully
executed. A necessary component
of this power to execute the laws is
the right to prosecute their
violators. Succinctly, the public
prosecutor is given a broad
discretion to determine whether
probable cause exists and to
charge those whom he believes to
have committed the crime and
should be held for trial.
Same; Same; Same; The Supreme
Court considers it a sound judicial
policy to refrain from interfering in
the
conduct
of
preliminary
investigations and to leave the
Department of Justice a wide
latitude of discretion in the
determination of what constitutes
sufficient evidence to establish
probable cause for the prosecution
of the
_______________
* THIRD DIVISION.
427

VOL. 704, SEPTEMBER 2, 2013


427
Punzalan vs. Plata
supposed offenders.The Court
considers it a sound judicial policy
to refrain from interfering in the
conduct
of
preliminary
investigations and to leave the DOJ
a wide latitude of discretion in the

determination of what constitutes


sufficient evidence to establish
probable cause for the prosecution
of the supposed offenders. The rule
is based not only upon the respect
for
the
investigatory
and
prosecutory powers granted by the
Constitution to the executive
department but upon practicality
as well.
Same; Same; Same; The Supreme
Court will not interfere in the
findings of the Department of
Justice (DOJ) Secretary on the
insufficiency
of
the
evidence
presented to establish probable
cause unless it is shown that the
questioned acts were done in a
capricious and whimsical exercise
of judgment evidencing a clear
case of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.The rule is that this
Court will not interfere in the
findings of the DOJ Secretary on
the insufficiency of the evidence
presented to establish probable
cause unless it is shown that the
questioned acts were done in a
capricious and whimsical exercise
of judgment evidencing a clear
case of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.
Grave
abuse
of
discretion, thus means such
capricious and whimsical exercise
of judgment as is equivalent to lack
of jurisdiction. The party seeking
the writ of certiorari must establish
that the DOJ Secretary exercised
his executive power in an arbitrary
and despotic manner, by reason of
passion or personal hostility, and
the abuse of discretion must be so
patent and gross as would amount
to an evasion or to a unilateral
refusal to perform the duty
enjoined or to act in contemplation
of law. [Punzalan vs. Plata, 704
SCRA 426(2013)]
G.R. No. 183014.August 7, 2013.*
THE LAW FIRM OF CHAVEZ
MIRANDA
AND
ASEOCHE,
represented
by
its
Founding
Partner, FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ,
petitioner, vs. ATTY. JOSEJINA C.
FRIA, respondent.

Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure;


Dismissal of Actions; Under Section
5(a) of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, a trial court
judge may immediately dismiss a
criminal case if the evidence on
record clearly fails to establish
probable cause.Under Section
5(a) of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, a trial court
judge may immediately dismiss a
criminal case if the evidence on
record clearly fails to establish
probable cause. x x x It must,
however, be observed that the
judges power to immediately
dismiss a criminal case would only
be warranted when the lack of
probable cause is clear. In De Los
Santos-Dio v. CA, 699 SCRA 614
(2013), the Court illumined that a
clear-cut case of lack of probable
cause exists when the records
readily show uncontroverted, and
thus, established facts which
unmistakably negate the existence
of the elements of the crime
charged.
Same; Same; Jurisdiction; A court
or any of its officers for that
matter which has no jurisdiction
over a particular case has no
authority
to
act
at
all
therein.Since it is explicitly
required that the subject issuance
be made within the scope of a
superior authoritys jurisdiction, it
cannot therefore be doubted that
the second element of the crime of
Open Disobedience does not exist.
Lest it be misunderstood, a court
or any of its officers for that matter
which has no jurisdiction over a
particular case has no authority to
act at all therein. In this light, it
cannot be argued that Atty. Fria
had already committed the crime
based on the premise that the
Courts pronouncement as to
Branch 203s lack of jurisdiction
came only after the fact. Verily,
Branch 203s lack of jurisdiction
was not merely a product of the
Courts pronouncement in Reyes.
The said fact is traced to the very
inception of the proceedings and as
such, cannot

_______________
* SECOND DIVISION.
259

VOL. 703, AUGUST 7, 2013


259
The Law Firm of Chavez Miranda
and Aseoche vs. Fria
be
accorded
temporal
legal
existence in order to indict Atty.
Fria for the crime she stands to be
prosecuted.
Same; Same; Same; Grave Abuse
of Discretion; It is well-settled that
an act of a court or tribunal can
only be considered as with grave
abuse of discretion when such act
is done in a capricious or
whimsical exercise of judgment as
is
equivalent
to
lack
of
jurisdiction.In fine, based on the
above-stated reasons, the Court
holds that no grave abuse of
discretion can be attributed to the
MTC as correctly found by the RTC.
It is well-settled that an act of a
court or tribunal can only be
considered as with grave abuse of
discretion when such act is done in
a capricious or whimsical exercise
of judgment as is equivalent to lack
of jurisdiction. The abuse of
discretion must be so patent and
gross as to amount to an evasion
of a positive duty or to a virtual
refusal to perform a duty enjoined
by law, or to act at all in
contemplation of law, as where the
power is exercised in an arbitrary
and despotic manner by reason of
passion
and
hostility.
Consequently, the dismissal of
Criminal Case No. 46400 for lack of
probable
cause
is
hereby
sustained. [The Law Firm of Chavez
Miranda and Aseoche vs. Fria, 703
SCRA 258(2013)]