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Rule 110

Zaldivia vs. Reyes

G.R. No. 102342 July 3, 1992


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

CRUZ, J.:
The Court is asked to determine the applicable law specifying the prescriptive period for
violations of municipal ordinances.
The petitioner is charged with quarrying for commercial purposes without a mayor's
permit in violation of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1988, of the Municipality of Rodriguez,
in the Province of Rizal.
The offense was allegedly committed on May 11, 1990. 1 The referral-complaint of the
police was received by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal on May 30,
1990. 2 The corresponding information was filed with the Municipal Trial Court of
Rodriguez on October 2, 1990. 3
The petitioner moved to quash the information on the ground that the crime had
prescribed, but the motion was denied. On appeal to the Regional Trial Court of Rizal,
the denial was sustained by the respondent judge. 4
In the present petition for review on certiorari, the petitioner first argues that the charge
against her is governed by the following provisions of the Rule on Summary Procedure:
Sec. 1. Scope This rule shall govern the procedure in the Metropolitan
Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in the following cases:
xxx xxx xxx
B. Criminal Cases:
1. Violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations;

2. Violations of rental law;


3. Violations of municipal or city ordinances;
4. All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law for the
offenses charged does not exceed six months imprisonment, or a fine of
one thousand pesos (P1,000.00), or both, irrespective of other imposable
penalties, accessory or otherwise, or of the civil liability arising therefrom. .
. . (Emphasis supplied.)
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 9. How commenced. The prosecution of criminal cases falling
within the scope of this Rule shall be either by complaint or by
information filed directly in court without need of a prior preliminary
examination or preliminary investigation: Provided, however, That in
Metropolitan Manila and chartered cities, such cases shall be commenced
only by information; Provided, further, That when the offense cannot be
prosecuted de oficio, the corresponding complaint shall be signed and
sworn to before the fiscal by the offended party.
She then invokes Act. No. 3326, as amended, entitled "An Act to Establish Periods of
Prescription for Violations Penalized by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to
Provide When Prescription Shall Begin to Run," reading as follows:
Sec. 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless provided in such
acts, prescribe in accordance with the following rules: . . . Violations
penalized by municipal ordinances shall prescribe after two months.
Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of
the violation of the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the
discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its
investigation and punishment.
The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted
against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings
are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy.
Sec. 3. For the purposes of this Act, special acts shall be acts defining and
penalizing violations of law not included in the Penal Code. (Emphasis
supplied)
Her conclusion is that as the information was filed way beyond the
two-month statutory period from the date of the alleged commission of the offense, the
charge against her should have been dismissed on the ground of prescription.

For its part, the prosecution contends that the prescriptive period was suspended upon
the filing of the complaint against her with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.
Agreeing with the respondent judge, the Solicitor General also invokes Section 1, Rule
110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, providing as follows:
Sec. 1. How Instituted For offenses not subject to the rule on summary
procedure in special cases, the institution of criminal action shall be as
follows:
a) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Regional
Trial Court, by filing the complaint with the appropriate officer
for the purpose of conducting the requisite preliminary
investigation therein;
b) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal
Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, by filing the
complaint directly with the said courts, or a complaint with
the fiscal's office. However, in Metropolitan Manila and other
chartered cities, the complaint may be filed only with the
office of the fiscal.
In all cases such institution interrupts the period of prescription of the
offense charged. (Emphasis supplied.)
Emphasis is laid on the last paragraph. The respondent maintains that the filing of the
complaint with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor comes under the phrase "such
institution" and that the phrase "in all cases" applies to all cases, without distinction,
including those falling under the Rule on Summary Procedure.
The said paragraph, according to the respondent, was an adoption of the following
dictum in Francisco v. Court of Appeals: 5
In view of this diversity of precedents, and in order to provide guidance for
Bench and Bar, this Court has re-examined the question and, after mature
consideration, has arrived at the conclusion that the true doctrine is, and
should be, the one established by the decisions holding that the filing of
the complaint in the Municipal Court, even if it be merely for purposes of
preliminary examination or investigation, should, and does, interrupt the
period of prescription of the criminal responsibility, even if the court where
the complaint or information is filed can not try the case on its merits.
Several reasons buttress this conclusion: first, the text of Article 91 of the
Revised Penal Code, in declaring that the period of prescription "shall be
interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information" without
distinguishing whether the complaint is filed in the court for preliminary
examination or investigation merely, or for action on the merits. Second,
even if the court where the complaint or information is filed may only

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

decides to conduct a preliminary investigation. This means that the running of the
prescriptive period shall be halted on the date the case is actually filed in court and not
on any date before that.
This interpretation is in consonance with the afore-quoted Act No. 3326 which says that
the period of prescription shall be suspended "when proceedings are instituted against
the guilty party." The proceedings referred to in Section 2 thereof are "judicial
proceedings," contrary to the submission of the Solicitor General that they include
administrative proceedings. His contention is that we must not distinguish as the law
does not distinguish. As a matter of fact, it does.
At any rate, the Court feels that if there be a conflict between the Rule on Summary
Procedure and Section 1 of Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the former
should prevail as the special law. And if there be a conflict between Act. No. 3326 and
Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the latter must again yield because this
Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power, is not allowed to "diminish, increase or
modify substantive rights" under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the Constitution.
Prescription in criminal cases is a substantive right. 7
Going back to the Francisco case, we find it not irrelevant to observe that the decision
would have been conformable to Section 1, Rule 110, as the offense involved was grave
oral defamation punishable under the Revised Penal Code with arresto mayor in its
maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period. By contrast, the
prosecution in the instant case is for violation of a municipal ordinance, for which the
penalty cannot exceed six months, 8 and is thus covered by the Rule on Summary
Procedure.
The Court realizes that under the above interpretation, a crime may prescribe even if
the complaint is filed seasonably with the prosecutor's office if, intentionally or not, he
delays the institution of the necessary judicial proceedings until it is too late. However,
that possibility should not justify a misreading of the applicable rules beyond their
obvious intent as reasonably deduced from their plain language. The remedy is not a
distortion of the meaning of the rules but a rewording thereof to prevent the problem
here sought to be corrected.
Our conclusion is that the prescriptive period for the crime imputed to the petitioner
commenced from its alleged commission on May 11, 1990, and ended two months
thereafter, on July 11, 1990, in accordance with Section 1 of Act No. 3326. It was not
interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor on
May 30, 1990, as this was not a judicial proceeding. The judicial proceeding that could
have interrupted the period was the filing of the information with the Municipal Trial
Court of Rodriguez, but this was done only on October 2, 1990, after the crime had
already prescribed.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, and the challenged Order dated October 2,
1991 is SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. 90-089 in the Municipal Trial Court of
Rodriguez, Rizal, is hereby DISMISSED on the ground of prescription. It is so ordered.
Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea,
Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 Rollo, p. 18.
2 Ibid.
3 Id., p. 19; Through Judge Andres B. Reyes, Jr.
4 Id., p. 21
5 122 SCRA 538
6 The phrase "filed directly in court without need of prior preliminary
examination or preliminary investigation" was deleted under the Revised
Rule on Summary Procedure effective on November 15, 1991.
7 People vs. Castro, 95 Phil. 463.
8 Section 447, Local Government Code.

SEC vs Interport Resources Corp 2008

SECURITIES
AND
COMMISSION,
Petitioner,

- versus -

EXCHANGE

G.R. No. 135808


Present:
PUNO, C.J.,
QUISUMBING,
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
CARPIO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA,*
CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA,

INTERPORT
RESOURCES
CORPORATION, MANUEL S. RECTO,
RENE S. VILLARICA, PELAGIO
RICALDE,
ANTONIO
REINA,
FRANCISCO ANONUEVO, JOSEPH
SY and SANTIAGO TANCHAN, JR.,
Respondents.

TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,**
REYES,
DE CASTRO, and
BRION,** JJ.
Promulgated:

October 6, 2008
x-------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the
Decision,[1] dated 20 August 1998, rendered by the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 37036,
enjoining petitioner Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from taking cognizance of or
initiating any action against the respondent corporation InterportResources Corporation (IRC)
and members of its board of directors, respondents Manuel S. Recto, Rene
S. Villarica, Pelagio Ricalde,
Antonio Reina,
Francisco Anonuevo,
Joseph Sy and
Santiago Tanchan, Jr., with respect to Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act. In the
same Decision of the appellate court, all the proceedings taken against the respondents, including
the assailed SEC Omnibus Orders of 25 January 1995 and 30 March 1995, were declared void.
The antecedent facts of the present case are as follows.
On 6 August 1994, the Board of Directors of IRC approved a Memorandum of
Agreement with Ganda Holdings Berhad (GHB). Under the Memorandum of Agreement, IRC
acquired 100% or the entire capital stock of Ganda Energy Holdings, Inc. (GEHI),[2] which
would own and operate a 102 megawatt (MW) gas turbine power-generating barge. The
agreement also stipulates that GEHI would assume a five-year power purchase contract with
National Power Corporation. At that time, GEHIs power-generating barge was 97% complete
and would go on-line by mid-September of 1994. In exchange, IRC will issue to GHB 55% of

the expanded capital stock of IRC amounting to 40.88 billion shares which had a total par
value of P488.44 million.[3]
On the side, IRC would acquire 67% of the entire capital stock of Philippine Racing
Club, Inc. (PRCI). PRCI owns 25.724 hectares of real estate property in Makati.Under the
Agreement, GHB, a member of the Westmont Group of Companies in Malaysia, shall extend
or arrange a loan required to pay for the proposed acquisition by IRC of PRCI.[4]
IRC alleged that on 8 August 1994, a press release announcing the approval of the agreement
was sent through facsimile transmission to the Philippine Stock Exchange and the SEC, but
that the facsimile machine of the SEC could not receive it. Upon the advice of the SEC, the
IRC sent the press release on the morning of 9 August 1994.[5]
The SEC averred that it received reports that IRC failed to make timely public
disclosures of its negotiations with GHB and that some of its directors, respondents herein,
heavily traded IRC shares utilizing this material insider information. On 16 August 1994, the
SEC Chairman issued a directive requiring IRC to submit to the SEC a copy of its aforesaid
Memorandum of Agreement with GHB. The SEC Chairman further directed all principal
officers of IRC to appear at a hearing before the Brokers and Exchanges Department (BED) of
the SEC to explain IRCs failure to immediately disclose the information as required by the
Rules on Disclosure of Material Facts.[6]
In compliance with the SEC Chairmans directive, the IRC sent a letter dated 16 August 1994 to
the SEC, attaching thereto copies of the Memorandum of Agreement. Its directors, Manuel
Recto, Rene Villarica and Pelagio Ricalde, also appeared before the SEC on 22 August 1994 to
explain IRCs alleged failure to immediately disclose material information as required under the
Rules on Disclosure of Material Facts.[7]
On 19 September 1994, the SEC Chairman issued an Order finding that IRC violated the Rules
on Disclosure of Material Facts, in connection with the Old Securities Act of 1936, when it
failed to make timely disclosure of its negotiations with GHB. In addition, the SEC
pronounced that some of the officers and directors of IRC entered into transactions involving
IRC shares in violation of Section 30, in relation to Section 36, of the Revised Securities Act.[8]
Respondents filed an Omnibus Motion, dated 21 September 1994, which was superseded by an
Amended Omnibus Motion, filed on 18 October 1994, alleging that the SEC had no authority

to investigate the subject matter, since under Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 902-A, [9] as
amended by Presidential Decree No. 1758, jurisdiction was conferred upon the Prosecution and
Enforcement Department (PED) of the SEC. Respondents also claimed that the SEC violated
their right to due process when it ordered that the respondents appear before the SEC and show
cause why no administrative, civil or criminal sanctions should be imposed on them, and, thus,
shifted the burden of proof to the respondents. Lastly, they sought to have their cases tried
jointly given the identical factual situations surrounding the alleged violation committed by the
respondents.[10]
Respondents also filed a Motion for Continuance of Proceedings on 24 October 1994, wherein
they moved for discontinuance of the investigations and the proceedings before the SEC until
the undue publicity had abated and the investigating officials had become reasonably free from
prejudice and public pressure.[11]
No formal hearings were conducted in connection with the aforementioned motions, but on 25
January 1995, the SEC issued an Omnibus Order which thus disposed of the same in this wise:
[12]

WHEREFORE, premised on the foregoing considerations, the Commission


resolves and hereby rules:
1. To create a special investigating panel to hear and decide the instant case in
accordance with the Rules of Practice and Procedure Before the Prosecution and
Enforcement Department (PED), Securities and Exchange Commission, to be
composed of Attys. James K. Abugan, Medardo Devera (Prosecution and
Enforcement Department), and Jose Aquino (Brokers and Exchanges Department),
which is hereby directed to expeditiously resolve the case by conducting continuous
hearings, if possible.
2. To recall the show cause orders dated September 19, 1994 requiring the
respondents to appear and show cause why no administrative, civil or criminal
sanctions should be imposed on them.
3. To deny the Motion for Continuance for lack of merit.

Respondents filed an Omnibus Motion for Partial Reconsideration, [13] questioning the creation
of the special investigating panel to hear the case and the denial of the Motion for
Continuance. The SEC denied reconsideration in its Omnibus Order dated 30 March 1995.[14]

The respondents filed a petition before the Court of Appeals docketed as C.A.-G.R. SP No.
37036, questioning the Omnibus Orders dated 25 January 1995 and 30 March 1995.[15] During
the proceedings before the Court of Appeals, respondents filed a Supplemental Motion [16] dated
16 May 1995, wherein they prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
enjoining the SEC and its agents from investigating and proceeding with the hearing of the
case against respondents herein. On 5 May 1995, the Court of Appeals granted their motion
and issued a writ of preliminary injunction, which effectively enjoined the SEC from filing any
criminal, civil or administrative case against the respondents herein.[17]
On 23 October 1995, the SEC filed a Motion for Leave to Quash SEC Omnibus Orders
so that the case may be investigated by the PED in accordance with the SEC Rules and
Presidential Decree No. 902-A, and not by the special body whose creation the SEC had earlier
ordered.[18]
The Court of Appeals promulgated a Decision [19] on 20 August 1998. It determined that
there were no implementing rules and regulations regarding disclosure, insider trading, or any
of the provisions of the Revised Securities Acts which the respondents allegedly violated. The
Court of Appeals likewise noted that it found no statutory authority for the SEC to initiate and
file any suit for civil liability under Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act. Thus,
it ruled that no civil, criminal or administrative proceedings may possibly be held against the
respondents without violating their rights to due process and equal protection. It further
resolved that absent any implementing rules, the SEC cannot be allowed to quash the assailed
Omnibus Orders for the sole purpose of re-filing the same case against the respondents.[20]
The Court of Appeals further decided that the Rules of Practice and Procedure Before
the PED, which took effect on 14 April 1990, did not comply with the statutory requirements
contained in the Administrative Code of 1997. Section 8, Rule V of the Rules of Practice and
Procedure Before the PED affords a party the right to be present but without the right to crossexamine witnesses presented against him, in violation of Section 12(3), Chapter 3, Book VII of
the Administrative Code. [21]
In the dispositive portion of its Decision, dated 20 August 1998, the Court of Appeals
ruled that[22]:
WHEREFORE, [herein petitioner SECs] Motion for Leave to Quash SEC
Omnibus Orders is hereby DENIED. The petition for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus is GRANTED.Consequently, all proceedings taken against [herein

respondents] in this case, including the Omnibus Orders of January 25,


1995 and March 30, 1995 are declared null and void. The writ of preliminary
injunction is hereby made permanent and, accordingly, [SEC] is hereby
prohibited from taking cognizance or initiating any action, be they civil,
criminal, or administrative against [respondents] with respect to Sections 8
(Procedure for Registration), 30 (Insiders duty to disclose when trading) and 36
(Directors, Officers and Principal Stockholders) in relation to Sections 46
(Administrative sanctions) 56 (Penalties) 44 (Liabilities of Controlling persons)
and 45 (Investigations, injunctions and prosecution of offenses) of the Revised
Securities Act and Section 144 (Violations of the Code) of the Corporation Code.
(Emphasis provided.)

The SEC filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the Court of Appeals denied in a
Resolution[23] issued on 30 September 1998.
Hence, the present petition, which relies on the following grounds[24]:
I
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT DENIED PETITIONERS
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO QUASH THE ASSAILED SEC OMNIBUS
ORDERS DATED JANUARY 25 ANDMARCH 30, 1995.
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THERE IS NO
STATUTORY AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER FOR PETITIONER SEC TO
INITIATE AND FILE ANY SUIT BE THEY CIVIL, CRIMINAL OR
ADMINISTRATIVE AGAINST RESPONDENT CORPORATION AND ITS
DIRECTORS WITH RESPECT TO SECTION 30 (INSIDERS DUTY TO
DISCOLSED [sic] WHEN TRADING) AND 36 (DIRECTORS OFFICERS AND
PRINCIPAL STOCKHOLDERS) OF THE REVISED SECURITIES ACT; AND
III
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT RULES OF
PRACTICE AND PROSECUTION BEFORE THE PED AND THE SICD
RULES
OF
PROCEDURE
ON
ADMINISTRATIVE
ACTIONS/PROCEEDINGS[25] ARE INVALID AS THEY FAIL TO COMPLY
WITH THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS CONTAINED IN THE
ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF 1987.

The petition is impressed with merit.

Before discussing the merits of this case, it should be noted that while this case was
pending in this Court, Republic Act No. 8799, otherwise known as the Securities Regulation
Code, took effect on 8 August 2000. Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 902-A, as amended,
which created the PED, was already repealed as provided for in Section 76 of the Securities
Regulation Code:
SEC. 76. Repealing
Clause. The
Revised Securities Act
(Batas Pambansa Blg. 178), as amended, in its entirety, and Sections 2, 4 and 8 of
Presidential Decree 902-A, as amended, are hereby repealed. All other laws,
orders, rules and regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with any provision of
this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Thus, under the new law, the PED has been abolished, and the Securities Regulation
Code has taken the place of the Revised Securities Act.
The Court now proceeds with a discussion of the present case.
I. Sctions 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act do
not require the enactment of implementing rules
to make them binding and effective.
The Court of Appeals ruled that absent any implementing rules for Sections 8, 30 and 36
of the Revised Securities Act, no civil, criminal or administrative actions can possibly be had
against the respondents without violating their right to due process and equal protection, citing as
its basis the case Yick Wo v. Hopkins.[26] This is untenable.
In the absence of any constitutional or statutory infirmity, which may concern Sections 30
and 36 of the Revised Securities Act, this Court upholds these provisions as legal and binding. It
is well settled that every law has in its favor the presumption of validity. Unless and until a
specific provision of the law is declared invalid and unconstitutional, the same is valid and
binding for all intents and purposes.[27] The mere absence of implementing rules cannot
effectively invalidate provisions of law, where a reasonable construction that will support the law
may be given. In People v. Rosenthal,[28] this Court ruled that:
In this connection we cannot pretermit reference to the rule that legislation should
not be held invalid on the ground of uncertainty if susceptible of any reasonable

construction that will support and give it effect. An Act will not be declared
inoperative and ineffectual on the ground that it furnishes no adequate means to
secure the purpose for which it is passed, if men of common sense and reason can
devise and provide the means, and all the instrumentalities necessary for its
execution are within the reach of those intrusted therewith. (25 R.C.L., pp. 810,
811)

In Garcia v. Executive Secretary,[29] the Court underlined the importance of the


presumption of validity of laws and the careful consideration with which the judiciary strikes
down as invalid acts of the legislature:
The policy of the courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to
presume that the acts of the political departments are valid in the absence of a
clear and unmistakable showing to the contrary. To doubt is to sustain. This
presumption is based on the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon
each department a becoming respect for the acts of the other departments.The
theory is that as the joint act of Congress and the President of the Philippines, a
law has been carefully studied and determined to be in accordance with the
fundamental law before it was finally enacted.

The necessity for vesting administrative authorities with power to make rules and
regulations is based on the impracticability of lawmakers providing general regulations for
various and varying details of management. [30] To rule that the absence of implementing rules can
render ineffective an act of Congress, such as the Revised Securities Act, would empower the
administrative bodies to defeat the legislative will by delaying the implementing rules. To assert
that a law is less than a law, because it is made to depend on a future event or act, is to rob the
Legislature of the power to act wisely for the public welfare whenever a law is passed relating to
a state of affairs not yet developed, or to things future and impossible to fully know.[31] It is well
established that administrative authorities have the power to promulgate rules and regulations to
implement a given statute and to effectuate its policies, provided such rules and regulations
conform to the terms and standards prescribed by the statute as well as purport to carry into
effect its general policies. Nevertheless, it is undisputable that the rules and regulations cannot
assert for themselves a more extensive prerogative or deviate from the mandate of the statute.
[32]
Moreover, where the statute contains sufficient standards and an unmistakable intent, as in the
case of Sections 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act, there should be no impediment to its
implementation.

The reliance placed by the Court of Appeals in Yick Wo v. Hopkins[33] shows a glaring
error. In the cited case, this Court found unconstitutional an ordinance which gave the board of
supervisors authority to refuse permission to carry on laundries located in buildings that were not
made of brick and stone, because it violated the equal protection clause and was highly
discriminatory and hostile to Chinese residents and not because the standards provided therein
were vague or ambiguous.
This Court does not discern any vagueness or ambiguity in Sections 30 and 36 of the
Revised Securities Act, such that the acts proscribed and/or required would not be understood
by a person of ordinary intelligence.
Section 30 of the Revised Securities Act
Section 30 of the Revised Securities Act reads:
Sec. 30. Insiders duty to disclose when trading. (a) It shall be unlawful
for an insider to sell or buy a security of the issuer, if he knows a fact of special
significance with respect to the issuer or the security that is not generally
available, unless (1) the insider proves that the fact is generally available or (2) if
the other party to the transaction (or his agent) is identified, (a) the insider proves
that the other party knows it, or (b) that other party in fact knows it from the
insider or otherwise.
(b) Insider means (1) the issuer, (2) a director or officer of, or a person
controlling, controlled by, or under common control with, the issuer, (3) a person
whose relationship or former relationship to the issuer gives or gave him access to
a fact of special significance about the issuer or the security that is not generally
available, or (4) a person who learns such a fact from any of the foregoing
insiders as defined in this subsection, with knowledge that the person from whom
he learns the fact is such an insider.
(c) A fact is of special significance if (a) in addition to being material it
would be likely, on being made generally available, to affect the market price of a
security to a significant extent, or (b) a reasonable person would consider it
especially important under the circumstances in determining his course of action
in the light of such factors as the degree of its specificity, the extent of its
difference from information generally available previously, and its nature and
reliability.
(d) This section shall apply to an insider as defined in subsection (b) (3)
hereof only to the extent that he knows of a fact of special significance by virtue
of his being an insider.

The provision explains in simple terms that the insider's misuse of nonpublic and
undisclosed information is the gravamen of illegal conduct. The intent of the law is the
protection of investors against fraud, committed when an insider, using secret information, takes
advantage of an uninformed investor. Insiders are obligated to disclose material information to
the other party or abstain from trading the shares of his corporation. This duty to disclose or
abstain is based on two factors: first, the existence of a relationship giving access, directly or
indirectly, to information intended to be available only for a corporate purpose and not for the
personal benefit of anyone; and second, the inherent unfairness involved when a party takes
advantage of such information knowing it is unavailable to those with whom he is dealing.[34]
In the United States (U.S.), the obligation to disclose or abstain has been traditionally
imposed on corporate insiders, particularly officers, directors, or controlling stockholders, but
that definition has since been expanded.[35] The term insiders now includes persons whose
relationship or former relationship to the issuer gives or gave them access to a fact of special
significance about the issuer or the security that is not generally available, and one who learns
such a fact from an insider knowing that the person from whom he learns the fact is such an
insider. Insiders have the duty to disclose material facts which are known to them by virtue of
their position but which are not known to persons with whom they deal and which, if known,
would affect their investment judgment. In some cases, however, there may be valid corporate
reasons for the nondisclosure of material information. Where such reasons exist, an issuers
decision not to make any public disclosures is not ordinarily considered as a violation of insider
trading. At the same time, the undisclosed information should not be improperly used for noncorporate purposes, particularly to disadvantage other persons with whom an insider might
transact, and therefore the insider must abstain from entering into transactions involving such
securities.[36]
Respondents further aver that under Section 30 of the Revised Securities Act, the SEC
still needed to define the following terms: material fact, reasonable person, nature and
reliability and generally available. [37] In determining whether or not these terms are vague, these
terms must be evaluated in the context of Section 30 of the RevisedSecurties Act. To fully
understand how the terms were used in the aforementioned provision, a discussion of what the
law recognizes as a fact of special significance is required, since the duty to disclose such fact or
to abstain from any transaction is imposed on the insider only in connection with a fact of
special significance.

Under the law, what is required to be disclosed is a fact of special significance which
may be (a) a material fact which would be likely, on being made generally available, to affect the
market price of a security to a significant extent, or (b) one which a reasonable person would
consider especially important in determining his course of action with regard to the shares of
stock.
(a) Material Fact The concept of a material fact is not a new one. As early as 1973, the
Rules Requiring Disclosure of Material Facts by Corporations Whose Securities Are Listed In
Any Stock Exchange or Registered/Licensed Under the Securities Act, issued by the SEC on 29
January 1973, explained that [a] fact is material if it induces or tends to induce or otherwise
affect the sale or purchase of its securities. Thus, Section 30 of the Revised Securities Act
provides that if a fact affects the sale or purchase of securities, as well as its price, then the
insider would be required to disclose such information to the other party to the transaction
involving the securities. This is the first definition given to a fact of special significance.
(b.1) Reasonable Person The second definition given to a fact of special significance involves
the judgment of a reasonable person. Contrary to the allegations of the respondents, a reasonable
person is not a problematic legal concept that needs to be clarified for the purpose of giving
effect to a statute; rather, it is the standard on which most of our legal doctrines stand. The
doctrine on negligence uses the discretion of the reasonable man as the standard. [38] A purchaser
in good faith must also take into account facts which put a reasonable man on his guard. [39] In
addition, it is the belief of the reasonable and prudent man that an offense was committed that
sets the criteria for probable cause for a warrant of arrest. [40] This Court, in such cases,
differentiated the reasonable and prudent man from a person with training in the law such as a
prosecutor or a judge, and identified him as the average man on the street, who weighs facts and
circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of our technical rules of evidence of which his
knowledge is nil. Rather, he relies on the calculus of common sense of which all reasonable men
have in abundance.[41] In the same vein, the U.S. Supreme Court similarly determined its
standards by the actual significance in the deliberations of a reasonable investor, when it ruled
in TSC Industries, Inc. v. Northway, Inc.,[42] that the determination of materiality requires delicate
assessments of the inferences a reasonable shareholder would draw from a given set of facts and
the significance of those inferences to him.

(b.2) Nature and Reliability The factors affecting the second definition of a fact of
special significance, which is of such importance that it is expected to affect the judgment of a
reasonable man, were substantially lifted from a test of materiality pronounced in the case In the
Matter of Investors Management Co., Inc.[43]:
Among the factors to be considered in determining whether information is
material under this test are the degree of its specificity, the extent to which it
differs from information previously publicly disseminated, and its reliability in
light of its nature and source and the circumstances under which it was received.

It can be deduced from the foregoing that the nature and reliability of a significant fact in
determining the course of action a reasonable person takes regarding securities must be clearly
viewed in connection with the particular circumstances of a case. To enumerate all circumstances
that would render the nature and reliability of a fact to be of special significance is close to
impossible. Nevertheless, the proper adjudicative body would undoubtedly be able to determine
if facts of a certain nature and reliability can influence a reasonable persons decision to retain,
sell or buy securities, and thereafter explain and justify its factual findings in its decision.
(c) Materiality Concept A discussion of the materiality concept would be relevant to both
a material fact which would affect the market price of a security to a significant extent and/or a
fact which a reasonable person would consider in determining his or her cause of action with
regard to the shares of stock. Significantly, what is referred to in our laws as a fact of special
significance is referred to in the U.S. as the materiality concept and the latter is similarly not
provided with a precise definition. In Basic v. Levinson,[44]the U.S. Supreme Court cautioned
against confining materiality to a rigid formula, stating thus:
A bright-line rule indeed is easier to follow than a standard that requires the
exercise of judgment in the light of all the circumstances. But ease of application
alone is not an excuse for ignoring the purposes of the Securities Act and
Congress policy decisions. Any approach that designates a single fact or
occurrence as always determinative of an inherently fact-specific finding such as
materiality, must necessarily be overinclusive or underinclusive.

Moreover, materiality will depend at any given time upon a balancing of both the indicated
probability that the event will occur and the anticipated magnitude of the event in light of the
totality of the company activity.[45] In drafting the Securities Act of 1934, the U.S. Congress put
emphasis on the limitations to the definition of materiality:

Although the Committee believes that ideally it would be desirable to have


absolute certainty in the application of the materiality concept, it is its view that
such a goal is illusory and unrealistic. The materiality concept is judgmental in
nature and it is not possible to translate this into a numerical formula. The
Committee's advice to the [SEC] is to avoid this quest for certainty and to
continue consideration of materiality on a case-by-case basis as disclosure
problems are identified. House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
Report of the Advisory Committee on Corporate Disclosure to the Securities and
Exchange Commission, 95th Cong., 1st Sess., 327 (Comm.Print 1977). (Emphasis
provided.)[46]

(d) Generally Available Section 30 of the Revised Securities Act allows the insider
the defense that in a transaction of securities, where the insider is in possession of facts of
special significance, such information is generally available to the public. Whether
information found in a newspaper, a specialized magazine, or any cyberspace media be
sufficient for the term generally available is a matter which may be adjudged given the
particular circumstances of the case. The standards cannot remain at a standstill. A medium,
which is widely used today was, at some previous point in time, inaccessible to
most. Furthermore, it would be difficult to approximate how the rules may be applied to the
instant case, where investigation has not even been started. Respondents failed to allege
that the negotiations of their agreement with GHB were made known to the public through
any form of media for there to be a proper appreciation of the issue presented.
Section 36(a) of the Revised Securities Act
As regards Section 36(a) of the Revised Securities Act, respondents claim that the term
beneficial ownership is vague and that it requires implementing rules to give effect to the
law. Section 36(a) of the Revised Securities Act is a straightforward provision that imposes upon
(1) a beneficial owner of more than ten percent of any class of any equity security or (2) a
director or any officer of the issuer of such security, the obligation to submit a statement
indicating his or her ownership of the issuers securities and such changes in his or her ownership
thereof. The said provision reads:
Sec. 36. Directors, officers and principal stockholders. (a) Every person who is
directly or indirectly the beneficial owner of more than ten per centum of any
[class] of any equity security which is registered pursuant to this Act, or who is
[a] director or an officer of the issuer of such security, shall file, at the time of the

registration of such security on a securities exchange or by the effective date of a


registration statement or within ten days after he becomes such a beneficial
owner, director or officer, a statement with the Commission and, if such security
is registered on a securities exchange, also with the exchange, of the amount of all
equity securities of such issuer of which he is the beneficial owner, and within ten
days after the close of each calendar month thereafter, if there has been a change
in such ownership during such month, shall file with the Commission, and if such
security is registered on a securities exchange, shall also file with the exchange, a
statement indicating his ownership at the close of the calendar month and such
changes in his ownership as have occurred during such calendar month.
(Emphasis provided.)

Section 36(a) refers to the beneficial owner. Beneficial owner has been defined in the following
manner:
[F]irst, to indicate the interest of a beneficiary in trust property (also called
equitable ownership); and second, to refer to the power of a corporate shareholder
to buy or sell the shares, though the shareholder is not registered in the
corporations books as the owner. Usually, beneficial ownership is distinguished
from naked ownership, which is the enjoyment of all the benefits and privileges of
ownership, as against possession of the bare title to property.[47]
Even assuming that the term beneficial ownership was vague, it would not affect respondents
case, where the respondents are directors and/or officers of the corporation, who are specifically
required to comply with the reportorial requirements under Section 36(a) of the Revised
Securities Act. The validity of a statute may be contested only by one who will sustain a direct
injury as a result of its enforcement.[48]
Sections 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act were enacted to promote full disclosure
in the securities market and prevent unscrupulous individuals, who by their positions obtain nonpublic information, from taking advantage of an uninformed public. No individual would invest
in a market which can be manipulated by a limited number of corporate insiders. Such reaction
would stifle, if not stunt, the growth of the securities market. To avert the occurrence of such an
event, Section 30 of the Revised Securities Act prevented the unfair use of non-public
information in securities transactions, while Section 36 allowed the SEC to monitor the
transactions entered into by corporate officers and directors as regards the securities of their
companies.
In the case In the Matter of Investors Management Co.,[49] it was cautioned that the broad
language of the anti-fraud provisions, which include the provisions on insider trading, should not

be circumscribed by fine distinctions and rigid classifications. The ambit of anti-fraud provisions
is necessarily broad so as to embrace the infinite variety of deceptive conduct.[50]
In Tatad v. Secretary of Department of Energy,[51] this Court brushed aside a contention,
similar to that made by the respondents in this case, that certain words or phrases used in a
statute do not set determinate standards, declaring that:
Petitioners contend that the words as far as practicable, declining and stable
should have been defined in R.A. No. 8180 as they do not set determinate and
determinable
standards. This
stubborn
submission
deserves
scant
consideration. The dictionary meanings of these words are well settled and cannot
confuse men of reasonable intelligence. x x x. The fear of petitioners that these
words will result in the exercise of executive discretion that will run riot is thus
groundless. To be sure, the Court has sustained the validity of similar, if not more
general standards in other cases.

Among the words or phrases that this Court upheld as valid standards were simplicity and
dignity,[52] public interest,[53] and interests of law and order.[54]
The Revised Securities Act was approved on 23 February 1982. The fact that the Full
Disclosure Rules were promulgated by the SEC only on 24 July 1996 does not render ineffective
in the meantime Section 36 of the Revised Securities Act. It is already unequivocal that the
Revised Securities Act requires full disclosure and the Full Disclosure Rules were issued to make
the enforcement of the law more consistent, efficient and effective. It is equally reasonable to
state that the disclosure forms later provided by the SEC, do not, in any way imply that no
compliance was required before the forms were provided. The effectivity of a statute which
imposes reportorial requirements cannot be suspended by the issuance of specified forms,
especially where compliance therewith may be made even without such forms. The forms merely
made more efficient the processing of requirements already identified by the statute.
For the same reason, the Court of Appeals made an evident mistake when it ruled that no civil,
criminal or administrative actions can possibly be had against the respondents in connection with
Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act due to the absence of implementing
rules. These provisions are sufficiently clear and complete by themselves.Their requirements are
specifically set out, and the acts which are enjoined are determinable. In particular, Section
8[55] of the Revised Securities Act is a straightforward enumeration of the procedure for the
registration of securities and the particular matters which need to be reported in the registration

statement thereof. The Decision, dated 20 August 1998, provides no valid reason to exempt the
respondent IRC from such requirements. The lack of implementing rules cannot suspend
the effectivity of these provisions. Thus, this Court cannot find any cogent reason to prevent the
SEC from exercising its authority to investigate respondents for violation of Section 8 of the
Revised Securities Act.
II. The right to cross-examination is not absolute and
cannot be demanded during investigative
proceedings before the PED.
In its assailed Decision dated 20 August 1998, the Court of Appeals pronounced that the
PED Rules of Practice and Procedure was invalid since Section 8, Rule V [56]thereof failed to
provide for the parties right to cross-examination, in violation of the Administrative Code of
1987 particularly Section 12(3), Chapter 3, Book VII thereof. This ruling is incorrect.
Firstly, Section 4, Rule I of the PED Rules of Practice and Procedure, categorically stated
that the proceedings before the PED are summary in nature:
Section 4. Nature of Proceedings Subject to the requirements of due process,
proceedings before the PED shall be summary in nature not necessarily adhering
to or following the technical rules of evidence obtaining in the courts of law. The
Rules of Court may apply in said proceedings in suppletory character whenever
practicable.

Rule V of the PED Rules of Practice and Procedure further specified that:
Section 5. Submission of Documents During the preliminary conference/hearing,
or immediately thereafter, the Hearing Officer may require the parties to
simultaneously submit their respective verified position papers accompanied by
all supporting documents and the affidavits of their witnesses, if any which shall
take the place of their direct testimony. The parties shall furnish each other with
copies of the position papers together with the supporting affidavits and
documents submitted by them.
Section 6. Determination of necessity of hearing. Immediately after the
submission by the parties of their position papers and supporting documents, the
Hearing Officer shall determine whether there is a need for a formal hearing. At
this stage, he may, in his discretion, and for the purpose of making such
determination, elicit pertinent facts or information, including documentary
evidence, if any, from any party or witness to complete, as far as possible, the
facts of the case. Facts or information so elicited may serve as basis for his

clarification or simplifications of the issues in the case. Admissions and


stipulation of facts to abbreviate the proceedings shall be encouraged.
Section 7. Disposition of Case. If the Hearing Officer finds no necessity of further
hearing after the parties have submitted their position papers and supporting
documents, he shall so inform the parties stating the reasons therefor and shall ask
them to acknowledge the fact that they were so informed by signing the minutes
of the hearing and the case shall be deemed submitted for resolution.

As such, the PED Rules provided that the Hearing Officer may require the parties to submit their
respective verified position papers, together with all supporting documents and affidavits of
witnesses. A formal hearing was not mandatory; it was within the discretion of the Hearing
Officer to determine whether there was a need for a formal hearing.Since, according to the
foregoing rules, the holding of a hearing before the PED is discretionary, then the right to crossexamination could not have been demanded by either party.
Secondly, it must be pointed out that Chapter 3, Book VII of the Administrative Code,
entitled Adjudication, does not affect the investigatory functions of the agencies. The law
creating the PED, Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 902-A, as amended, defines the authority
granted to the PED, thus:
SEC. 8. The Prosecution and Enforcement Department shall have, subject to the
Commissions control and supervision, the exclusive authority to investigate, on
complaint or motu proprio, any act or omission of the Board of Directors/Trustees
of corporations, or of partnerships, or of other associations, or of their
stockholders, officers or partners, including any fraudulent devices, schemes or
representations, in violation of any law or rules and regulations administered and
enforced by the Commission; to file and prosecute in accordance with law and
rules and regulations issued by the Commission and in appropriate cases, the
corresponding criminal or civil case before the Commission or the proper court or
body upon prima facie finding of violation of any laws or rules and regulations
administered and enforced by the Commission; and to perform such other powers
and functions as may be provided by law or duly delegated to it by the
Commission. (Emphasis provided.)

The law creating PED empowers it to investigate violations of the rules and regulations
promulgated by the SEC and to file and prosecute such cases. It fails to mention any adjudicatory
functions insofar as the PED is concerned. Thus, the PED Rules of Practice and Procedure need

not comply with the provisions of the Administrative Code on adjudication, particularly Section
12(3), Chapter 3, Book VII.
In Cario v. Commission on Human Rights,[57] this Court sets out the distinction between
investigative and adjudicative functions, thus:
Investigate, commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or
delve or probe into, research on, study. The dictionary definition of investigate is
to observe or study closely; inquire into systematically: to search or inquire into
xx to subject to an official probe xx: to conduct an official inquiry. The purpose of
an investigation, of course is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain
information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or
resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the
law to the facts established by the inquiry.
The legal meaning of investigate is essentially the same: (t)o follow up
step by step by patient inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to
examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by careful
inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry; to inquire; to
make an investigation, investigation being in turn described as (a)n administrative
function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am
J2d Adm L Sec. 257; xx an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and
collection of facts concerning a certain matter or matters.
Adjudicate, commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge,
arbitrate, judge, decide, determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines
the term as to settle finally (the rights and duties of parties to a court case) on the
merits of issues raised: xx to pass judgment on: settle judicially: xx act as
judge. And adjudge means to decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or
quasi-judicial powers: xx to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy
x x x.
In a legal sense, adjudicate means: To settle in the exercise of judicial
authority. To determine finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;
and adjudge means: To pass on judicially, to decide, settle, or decree, or to
sentence or condemn. x x x Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the
entry of a judgment.

There is no merit to the respondents averment that the sections under Chapter 3, Book
VII of the Administrative Code, do not distinguish between investigative and adjudicatory
functions. Chapter 3, Book VII of the Administrative Code, is unequivocally entitled
Adjudication.

Respondents insist that the PED performs adjudicative functions, as enumerated under
Section 1(h) and (j), Rule II; and Section 2(4), Rule VII of the PED Rules of Practice and
Procedure:
Section 1. Authority of the Prosecution and Enforcement Department Pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 902-A, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1758, the
Prosecution and Enforcement Department is primarily charged with the
following:
xxxx
(h) Suspends or revokes, after proper notice and hearing in accordance with these
Rules, the franchise or certificate of registration of corporations, partnerships or
associations, upon any of the following grounds:
1. Fraud in procuring its certificate of registration;
2. Serious misrepresentation as to what the corporation can do or is doing to the
great prejudice of or damage to the general public;
3. Refusal to comply or defiance of any lawful order of the Commission
restraining commission of acts which would amount to a grave violation of its
franchise;
xxxx
(j)

Imposes charges, fines and fees, which by law, it is authorized to collect;

xxxx
Section 2. Powers of the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer shall have the
following powers:
xxxx
4. To cite and/or declare any person in direct or indirect contempt in accordance
with pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court.

Even assuming that these are adjudicative functions, the PED, in the instant case,
exercised its investigative powers; thus, respondents do not have the requisite standing to assail
the validity of the rules on adjudication. A valid source of a statute or a rule can only be
contested by one who will sustain a direct injury as a result of its enforcement. [58]In the instant

case, respondents are only being investigated by the PED for their alleged failure to disclose their
negotiations with GHB and the transactions entered into by its directors involving IRC
shares. The respondents have not shown themselves to be under any imminent danger of
sustaining any personal injury attributable to the exercise of adjudicative functions by the
SEC. They are not being or about to be subjected by the PED to charges, fees or fines; to
citations for contempt; or to the cancellation of their certificate of registration under Section 1(h),
Rule II of the PED Rules of Practice and Procedure.
To repeat, the only powers which the PED was likely to exercise over the respondents
were investigative in nature, to wit:
Section 1. Authority of the Prosecution and Enforcement Department Pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 902-A, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1758, the
Prosecution and Enforcement Department is primarily charged with the
following:
xxxx
b.

Initiates proper investigation of corporations and partnerships or persons,


their books, records and other properties and assets, involving their business
transactions, in coordination with the operating department involved;

xxxx
e.

Files and prosecutes civil or criminal cases before the Commission and
other courts of justice involving violations of laws and decrees enforced by
the Commission and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder;

f.

Prosecutes erring directors, officers and stockholders of corporations and


partnerships, commercial paper issuers or persons in accordance with the
pertinent rules on procedures;

The authority granted to the PED under Section 1(b), (e), and (f), Rule II of the PED Rules of
Practice and Procedure, need not comply with Section 12, Chapter 3, Rule VII of the
Administrative Code, which affects only the adjudicatory functions of administrative
bodies. Thus, the PED would still be able to investigate the respondents under its rules for their
alleged failure to disclose their negotiations with GHB and the transactions entered into by its
directors involving IRC shares.

This is not to say that administrative bodies performing adjudicative functions are
required to strictly comply with the requirements of Chapter 3, Rule VII of the Administrative
Code, particularly, the right to cross-examination. It should be noted that under Section 2.2 of
Executive Order No. 26, issued on 7 October 1992, abbreviated proceedings are prescribed in the
disposition of administrative cases:
2. Abbreviation of Proceedings. All administrative agencies are hereby directed to
adopt and include in their respective Rules of Procedure the following provisions:
xxxx
2.2 Rules adopting, unless otherwise provided by special laws and without
prejudice to Section 12, Chapter 3, Book VII of the Administrative Code of 1987,
the mandatory use of affidavits in lieu of direct testimonies and the preferred use
of depositions whenever practicable and convenient.

As a consequence, in proceedings before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies, such as


the National Labor Relations Commission and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency,
created under laws which authorize summary proceedings, decisions may be reached on the basis
of position papers or other documentary evidence only.They are not bound by technical rules of
procedure and evidence. [59] In fact, the hearings before such agencies do not connote full
adversarial proceedings.[60] Thus, it is not necessary for the rules to require affiants to appear and
testify and to be cross-examined by the counsel of the adverse party. To require otherwise would
negate the summary nature of the administrative or quasi-judicial proceedings.[61] In Atlas
Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation v. Factoran, Jr.,[62] this Court stated that:
[I]t is sufficient that administrative findings of fact are supported by evidence, or
negatively stated, it is sufficient that findings of fact are not shown to be
unsupported by evidence. Substantial evidence is all that is needed to support an
administrative finding of fact, and substantial evidence is such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.

In order to comply with the requirements of due process, what is required, among other things, is
that every litigant be given reasonable opportunity to appear and defend his right and to
introduce relevant evidence in his favor.[63]
III. The Securities Regulations Code did not repeal
Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act

since said provisions were reenacted in the new


law.

The Securities Regulations Code absolutely repealed the Revised Securities Act. While
the absolute repeal of a law generally deprives a court of its authority to penalize the person
charged with the violation of the old law prior to its appeal, an exception to this rule comes about
when the repealing law punishes the act previously penalized under the old law. The Court,
in Benedicto v. Court of Appeals, sets down the rules in such instances:[64]
As a rule, an absolute repeal of a penal law has the effect of depriving the
court of its authority to punish a person charged with violation of the old law prior
to its repeal. This is because an unqualified repeal of a penal law constitutes a
legislative act of rendering legal what had been previously declared as illegal,
such that the offense no longer exists and it is as if the person who committed it
never did so. There are, however, exceptions to the rule. One is the inclusion of a
saving clause in the repealing statute that provides that the repeal shall have no
effect on pending actions. Another exception is where the repealing
act reenacts the former statute and punishes the act previously penalized under
the old law. In such instance, the act committed before the reenactment continues
to be an offense in the statute books and pending cases are not affected, regardless
of whether the new penalty to be imposed is more favorable to the accused.
(Emphasis provided.)
In the present case, a criminal case may still be filed against the respondents despite the
repeal, since Sections 8, [65] 12,[66] 26,[67] 27[68] and 23[69] of the Securities Regulations Code
impose duties that are substantially similar to Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the repealed Revised
Securities Act.
Section 8 of the Revised Securities Act, which previously provided for the registration of
securities and the information that needs to be included in the registration statements, was
expanded under Section 12, in connection with Section 8 of the Securities Regulations
Code. Further details of the information required to be disclosed by the registrant are explained
in the Amended Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Securities Regulations Code, issued
on 30 December 2003, particularly Sections 8 and 12 thereof.
Section 30 of the Revised Securities Act has been reenacted as Section 27 of the
Securities Regulations Code, still penalizing an insiders misuse of material and non-public
information about the issuer, for the purpose of protecting public investors. Section 26 of the

Securities Regulations Code even widens the coverage of punishable acts, which intend to
defraud public investors through various devices, misinformation and omissions.
Section 23 of the Securities Regulations Code was practically lifted from Section 36(a) of
the Revised Securities Act. Both provisions impose upon (1) a beneficial owner of more than ten
percent of any class of any equity security or (2) a director or any officer of the issuer of such
security, the obligation to submit a statement indicating his or her ownership of the issuers
securities and such changes in his or her ownership thereof.
Clearly, the legislature had not intended to deprive the courts of their authority to punish
a person charged with violation of the old law that was repealed; in this case, the Revised
Securities Act.
IV. The SEC retained the jurisdiction to investigate
violations of the Revised Securities Act, reenacted
in the Securities Regulations Code, despite the
abolition of the PED.
Section 53 of the Securities Regulations Code clearly provides that criminal complaints
for violations of rules and regulations enforced or administered by the SEC shall be referred to
the Department of Justice (DOJ) for preliminary investigation, while the SEC nevertheless
retains limited investigatory powers.[70] Additionally, the SEC may still impose the appropriate
administrative sanctions under Section 54 of the aforementioned law.[71]
In Morato v. Court of Appeals,[72] the cases therein were still pending before the PED for
investigation and the SEC for resolution when the Securities Regulations Code was enacted. The
case before the SEC involved an intra-corporate dispute, while the subject matter of the other
case investigated by the PED involved the schemes, devices, and violations of pertinent rules and
laws of the companys board of directors. The enactment of the Securities Regulations Code did
not result in the dismissal of the cases; rather, this Court ordered the transfer of one case to the
proper regional trial court and the SEC to continue with the investigation of the other case.
The case at bar is comparable to the aforecited case. In this case, the SEC already commenced
the investigative proceedings against respondents as early as 1994. Respondents were called to
appear before the SEC and explain their failure to disclose pertinent information on 14 August
1994. Thereafter, the SEC Chairman, having already made initial findings that respondents failed

to make timely disclosures of their negotiations with GHB, ordered a special investigating panel
to hear the case. The investigative proceedings were interrupted only by the writ of preliminary
injunction issued by the Court of Appeals, which became permanent by virtue of the Decision,
dated 20 August 1998, in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 37036. During the pendency of this case, the
Securities Regulations Code repealed the Revised Securities Act. As in Morato v. Court of
Appeals, the repeal cannot deprive SEC of its jurisdiction to continue investigating the case; or
the regional trial court, to hear any case which may later be filed against the respondents.
V. The instant case has not yet prescribed.
Respondents have taken the position that this case is moot and academic, since any criminal
complaint that may be filed against them resulting from the SECs investigation of this case has
already prescribed.[73] They point out that the prescription period applicable to offenses punished
under special laws, such as violations of the Revised Securities Act, is twelve years under
Section 1 of Act No. 3326, as amended by Act No. 3585 and Act No. 3763, entitled An Act to
Establish Periods of Prescription for Violations Penalized by Special Acts and Municipal
Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin to Act. [74] Since the offense was
committed in 1994, they reasoned that prescription set in as early as 2006 and rendered this case
moot. Such position, however, is incongruent with the factual circumstances of this case, as well
as the applicable laws and jurisprudence.
It is an established doctrine that a preliminary investigation interrupts the prescription
period. A preliminary investigation is essentially a determination whether an offense has been
committed, and whether there is probable cause for the accused to have committed an offense:
[75]

A preliminary investigation is merely inquisitorial, and it is often the only means of


discovering the persons who may be reasonably charged with a crime, to enable the
fiscal to prepare the 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
or whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof.[76]
Under Section 45 of the Revised Securities Act, which is entitled Investigations,
Injunctions and Prosecution of Offenses, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has the
authority to make such investigations as it deems necessary to determine whether any person has
violated or is about to violate any provision of this Act XXX. After a finding that a person has
violated the Revised Securities Act, the SEC may refer the case to the DOJ for preliminary
investigation and prosecution.

While the SEC investigation serves the same purpose and entails substantially similar
duties as the preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ, this process cannot simply be
disregarded. In Baviera v. Paglinawan,[77] this Court enunciated that a criminal complaint is first
filed with the SEC, which determines the existence of probable cause, before a preliminary
investigation can be commenced by the DOJ. In the aforecited case, the complaint filed directly
with the DOJ was dismissed on the ground that it should have been filed first with the
SEC. Similarly, the offense was a violation of the Securities Regulations Code, wherein the
procedure for criminal prosecution was reproduced from Section 45 of the Revised Securities
Act. [78] This Court affirmed the dismissal, which it explained thus:

The Court of Appeals held that under the above provision, a criminal
complaint for violation of any law or rule administered by the SEC must first be
filed with the latter. If the Commission finds that there is probable cause, then it
should refer the case to the DOJ. Since petitioner failed to comply with the
foregoing procedural requirement, the DOJ did not gravely abuse its discretion in
dismissing his complaint in I.S. No. 2004-229.
A criminal charge for violation of the Securities Regulation Code is a
specialized dispute. Hence, it must first be referred to an administrative agency of
special competence, i.e., the SEC. Under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction,
courts will not determine a controversy involving a question within the
jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal, where the question demands the
exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the specialized knowledge
and expertise of said administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate
matters of fact. The Securities Regulation Code is a special law. Its enforcement
is particularly vested in the SEC. Hence, all complaints for any violation of the
Code and its implementing rules and regulations should be filed with the SEC.
Where the complaint is criminal in nature, the SEC shall indorse the complaint to
the DOJ for preliminary investigation and prosecution as provided in Section 53.1
earlier quoted.
We thus agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner committed a fatal
procedural lapse when he filed his criminal complaint directly with the DOJ.
Verily, no grave abuse of discretion can be ascribed to the DOJ in dismissing
petitioners complaint.
The said case puts in perspective the nature of the investigation undertaken by the SEC,
which is a requisite before a criminal case may be referred to the DOJ. The Court declared that it

is imperative that the criminal prosecution be initiated before the SEC, the administrative agency
with the special competence.
It should be noted that the SEC started investigative proceedings against the respondents
as early as 1994. This investigation effectively interrupted the prescription period.However, said
proceedings were disrupted by a preliminary injunction issued by the Court of Appeals on 5 May
1995, which effectively enjoined the SEC from filing any criminal, civil, or administrative case
against the respondents herein.[79] Thereafter, on 20 August 1998, the appellate court issued the
assailed Decision in C.A. G.R. SP. No. 37036 ordering that the writ of injunction be made
permanent and prohibiting the SEC from taking cognizance of and initiating any action against
herein respondents. The SEC was bound to comply with the aforementioned writ of preliminary
injunction and writ of injunction issued by the Court of Appeals enjoining it from continuing
with the investigation of respondents for 12 years. Any deviation by the SEC from the injunctive
writs would be sufficient ground for contempt. Moreover, any step the SEC takes in defiance of
such orders will be considered void for having been taken against an order issued by a court of
competent jurisdiction.
An investigation of the case by any other administrative or judicial body would likewise
be impossible pending the injunctive writs issued by the Court of Appeals. Given the ruling of
this Court in Baviera v. Paglinawan,[80] the DOJ itself could not have taken cognizance of the
case and conducted its preliminary investigation without a prior determination of probable cause
by the SEC. Thus, even presuming that the DOJ was not enjoined by the Court of Appeals from
conducting a preliminary investigation, any preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ
would have been a futile effort since the SEC had only started with its investigation when
respondents themselves applied for and were granted an injunction by the Court of Appeals.
Moreover, the DOJ could not have conducted a preliminary investigation or filed a
criminal case against the respondents during the time that issues on the effectivity of Sections 8,
30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act and the PED Rules of Practice and Procedure were still
pending before the Court of Appeals. After the Court of Appeals declared the aforementioned
statutory and regulatory provisions invalid and, thus, no civil, criminal or administrative case
may be filed against the respondents for violations thereof, the DOJ would have been at a loss, as
there was no statutory provision which respondents could be accused of violating.
Accordingly, it is only after this Court corrects the erroneous ruling of the Court of
Appeals in its Decision dated 20 August 1998 that either the SEC or DOJ may properly conduct

any kind of investigation against the respondents for violations of Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the
Revised Securities Act. Until then, the prescription period is deemed interrupted.

To reiterate, the SEC must first conduct its investigations and make a finding of probable
cause in accordance with the doctrine pronounced in Baviera v. Paglinawan.[81]In this case, the
DOJ was precluded from initiating a preliminary investigation since the SEC was halted by the
Court of Appeals from continuing with its investigation. Such a situation leaves the prosecution
of the case at a standstill, and neither the SEC nor the DOJ can conduct any investigation against
the respondents, who, in the first place, sought the injunction to prevent their prosecution. All
that the SEC could do in order to break the impasse was to have the Decision of the Court of
Appeals overturned, as it had done at the earliest opportunity in this case. Therefore, the period
during which the SEC was prevented from continuing with its investigation should not be
counted against it. The law on the prescription period was never intended to put the prosecuting
bodies in an impossible bind in which the prosecution of a case would be placed way beyond
their control; for even if they avail themselves of the proper remedy, they would still be barred
from investigating and prosecuting the case.
Indubitably, the prescription period is interrupted by commencing the proceedings for the
prosecution of the accused. In criminal cases, this is accomplished by initiating the preliminary
investigation. The prosecution of offenses punishable under the Revised Securities Act and the
Securities Regulations Code is initiated by the filing of a complaint with the SEC or by an
investigation conducted by the SEC motu proprio. Only after a finding of probable cause is made
by the SEC can the DOJ instigate a preliminary investigation. Thus, the investigation that was
commenced by the SEC in 1995, soon after it discovered the questionable acts of the
respondents, effectively interrupted the prescription period. Given the nature and purpose of the
investigation conducted by the SEC, which is equivalent to the preliminary investigation
conducted by the DOJ in criminal cases, such investigation would surely interrupt the
prescription period.
VI. The Court of Appeals was justified in denying SECs
Motion for Leave to Quash SEC Omnibus Orders
dated 23 October 1995.
The SEC avers that the Court of Appeals erred when it denied its Motion for Leave to
Quash SEC Omnibus Orders, dated 23 October 1995, in the light of its admission that the PED
had the sole authority to investigate the present case. On this matter, this Court cannot agree with
the SEC.

In the assailed decision, the Court of Appeals denied the SECs Motion for Leave to
Quash SEC Omnibus Orders, since it found other issues that were more important than whether
or not the PED was the proper body to investigate the matter. Its refusal was premised on its
earlier finding that no criminal, civil, or administrative case may be filed against the respondents
under Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act, due to the absence of any
implementing rules and regulations. Moreover, the validity of the PED Rules on Practice and
Procedure was also raised as an issue. The Court of Appeals, thus, reasoned that if the quashal of
the orders was granted, then it would be deprived of the opportunity to determine the validity of
the aforementioned rules and statutory provisions. In addition, the SEC would merely pursue the
same case without the Court of Appeals having determined whether or not it may do so in
accordance with due process requirements. Absent a determination of whether the SEC may file
a case against the respondents based on the assailed provisions of the Revised Securities Act, it
would have been improper for the Court of Appeals to grant the SECs Motion for Leave to
Quash SEC Omnibus Orders.
IN ALL, this Court rules that no implementing rules were needed to render effective
Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act; nor was the PED Rules of Practice and
Procedure invalid, prior to the enactment of the Securities Regulations Code, for failure to
provide parties with the right to cross-examine the witnesses presented against them. Thus, the
respondents may be investigated by the appropriate authority under the proper rules of procedure
of the Securities Regulations Code for violations of Sections 8, 30, and 36 of the Revised
Securities Act.[82]
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant Petition is GRANTED. This Court
hereby REVERSES the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on 20 August
1998 in CA-G.R. SP No. 37036 and LIFTS the permanent injunction issued pursuant
thereto. This Court further DECLARES that the investigation of the respondents for violations
of Sections 8, 30 and 36 of the Revised Securities Act may be undertaken by the proper
authorities in accordance with the Securities Regulations Code. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Sanrio Co. Ltd vs Lim 2008

G.R. No. 168662

February 19, 2008

SANRIO COMPANY LIMITED, petitioner,


vs.
EDGAR C. LIM, doing business as ORIGNAMURA TRADING, respondent.
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari1 seeks to set aside the decision of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 746602 and its resolution3 denying reconsideration.
Petitioner Sanrio Company Limited, a Japanese corporation, owns the copyright of
various animated characters such as "Hello Kitty," "Little Twin Stars," "My Melody,"
"Tuxedo Sam" and "Zashikibuta" among others.4 While it is not engaged in business in
the Philippines, its products are sold locally by its exclusive distributor, Gift Gate
Incorporated (GGI).5
As such exclusive distributor, GGI entered into licensing agreements with JC Lucas
Creative Products, Inc., Paper Line Graphics, Inc. and Melawares Manufacturing
Corporation.6 These local entities were allowed to manufacture certain products
(bearing petitioner's copyrighted animated characters) for the local market.
Sometime in 2001, due to the deluge of counterfeit Sanrio products, GGI asked IP
Manila Associates (IPMA) to conduct a market research. The research's objective was
to identify those factories, department stores and retail outlets manufacturing and/or
selling fake Sanrio items.7 After conducting several test-buys in various commercial
areas, IPMA confirmed that respondent's Orignamura Trading in Tutuban Center, Manila
was selling imitations of petitioner's products. 8
Consequently, on May 29, 2000, IPMA agents Lea A. Carmona and Arnel P. Dausan
executed a joint affidavit attesting to the aforementioned facts. 9 IPMA forwarded the said
affidavit to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which thereafter filed an
application for the issuance of a search warrant in the office of the Executive Judge of
the Regional Trial Court of Manila.10
After conducting the requisite searching inquiry, the executive judge issued a search
warrant on May 30, 2000.11On the same day, agents of the NBI searched the premises
of Orignamura Trading. As a result thereof, they were able to seize various Sanrio
products.12
On April 4, 2002, petitioner, through its attorney-in-fact Teodoro Y. Kalaw IV of the
Quisumbing Torres law firm, filed a complaint-affidavit 13 with the Task-Force on AntiIntellectual Property Piracy (TAPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) against

respondent for violation of Section 217 (in relation to Sections 177 14 and 17815) of the
Intellectual Property Code (IPC) which states:
Section 217. Criminal Penalties. - 217.1. Any person infringing any right
secured by provisions of Part IV of this Act or aiding or abetting such
infringement shall be guilty of a crime punishable by:
(a) Imprisonment of one (1) year to three (3) years plus a fine ranging from Fifty
thousand pesos (P50,000) to One hundred fifty thousand pesos (P150,000) for
the first offense.
(b) Imprisonment of three (3) years and one (1) day to six (6) years plus a fine
ranging from One hundred fifty thousand pesos (P150,000) to Five hundred
thousand pesos (P500,000) for the second offense.
(c) Imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day to nine (9) years plus a fine
ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) to One million five
hundred thousand pesos (P1,500,000) for the third and subsequent offenses.
(d) In all cases, subsidiary imprisonment in cases of insolvency.
217.2. In determining the number of years of imprisonment and the amount of
fine, the court shall consider the value of the infringing materials that the
defendant has produced or manufactured and the damage that the copyright
owner has suffered by reason of infringement.
217.3. Any person who at the time when copyright subsists in a work
has in his possession an article which he knows, or ought to know,
to be an infringing copy of the work for the purpose of:
(a) Selling, letting for hire, or by way of trade offering or exposing for
sale, or hire, the article;
(b) Distributing the article for purpose of trade or any other purpose
to an extent that will prejudice the rights of the copyright of the
owner in the work; or
(c) Trade exhibit of the article in public, shall be guilty of an offense and
shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment and fine as above mentioned.
(emphasis supplied)
Respondent asserted in his counter-affidavit 16 that he committed no violation of the
provisions of the IPC because he was only a retailer.17 Respondent neither reproduced
nor manufactured any of petitioner's copyrighted item; thus, he did not transgress the
economic rights of petitioner.18 Moreover, he obtained his merchandise from authorized
manufacturers of petitioner's products.19

On September 25, 2002, the TAPP found that:


Evidence on record would show that respondent bought his merchandise from
legitimate sources, as shown by official receipts issued by JC Lucas Creative
Products, Inc., Paper Line Graphics, Inc. and Melawares Manufacturing
Corporation. In fact, in her letter dated May 23, 2002, Ms. Ma. Angela S. Garcia
certified that JC Lucas Creative Products, Inc., Paper Line Graphics, Inc. and
Melawares Manufacturing Corporation are authorized to produce certain Sanrio
products. While it appears that some of the items seized during the search
are not among those products which [GGI] authorized these establishments
to produce, the fact remains that respondent bought these from the
abovecited legitimate sources. At this juncture, it bears stressing
that respondent relied on the representations of these manufacturers and
distributors that the items they sold were genuine. As such, it is not
incumbent upon respondent to verify from these sources what items [GGI] only
authorized them to produce. Thus, as far as respondent is concerned, the
items in his possession are not infringing copies of the
original [petitioner's] products. (emphasis supplied)20
Thus, in a resolution dated September 25, 2002, it dismissed the complaint due to
insufficiency of evidence.21
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. 22 Hence, it filed a petition for
review in the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor of the DOJ. 23 In a resolution dated
August 29, 2003,24 the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor affirmed the TAPP
resolution. The petition was dismissed for lack of reversible error.
Aggrieved, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari in the CA. On May 3, 2005, the
appellate court dismissed the petition on the ground of prescription. It based its action
on Act 3326 which states:
Section 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless otherwise provided in
such acts, prescribe in accordance with the following rules: (a) after a year for
offenses punished only by a fine or by imprisonment for not more than one
month, or both; (b) after four years for those punished by imprisonment for
more than one month, but less than two years; (c) after eight years for
those punished by imprisonment for two years or more, but less than six
years; and (d) after twelve years for any other offense punished by imprisonment
for six years or more, except the crime of treason, which shall prescribe after
twenty years; Provided, however, That all offenses against any law or part of law
administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue shall prescribe after five years.
Violations penalized by municipal ordinances shall prescribe after two months.
Section 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of
the violation of the law, and if the same may not be known at the time, from the

discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation
and punishment.
The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted
against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are
dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy. (emphasis supplied)
According to the CA, because no complaint was filed in court within two years after the
commission of the alleged violation, the offense had already prescribed. 25
On the merits of the case, the CA concluded that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse
of discretion in dismissing the petition for review.26 To be criminally liable for violation of
Section 217.3 of the IPC, the following requisites must be present:
1. possession of the infringing copy and
2. knowledge or suspicion that the copy is an infringement of the genuine article.
The CA agreed with the DOJ that petitioner failed to prove that respondent knew that
the merchandise he sold was counterfeit. Respondent, on the other hand, was able to
show that he obtained these goods from legitimate sources. 27
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. Hence, this petition.
Petitioner now essentially avers that the CA erred in concluding that the alleged
violations of the IPC had prescribed. Recent jurisprudence holds that the pendency of a
preliminary investigation suspends the running of the prescriptive period. 28 Moreover,
the CA erred in finding that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
dismissing the complaint. Respondent is liable for copyright infringement (even if he
obtained his merchandise from legitimate sources) because he sold counterfeit goods. 29
Although we do not agree wholly with the CA, we deny the petition.
Filing Of The Complaint In the DOJ Tolled The Prescriptive Period
Section 2 of Act 3326 provides that the prescriptive period for violation of special laws
starts on the day such offense was committed and is interrupted by the institution of
proceedings against respondent (i.e., the accused).
Petitioner in this instance filed its complaint-affidavit on April 4, 2002 or one year, ten
months and four days after the NBI searched respondent's premises and seized Sanrio
merchandise therefrom. Although no information was immediately filed in court,
respondent's alleged violation had not yet prescribed. 30
In the recent case of Brillantes v. Court of Appeals,31 we affirmed that the filing of the
complaint for purposes of preliminary investigation interrupts the period of prescription

of criminal responsibility.32 Thus, the prescriptive period for the prosecution of the
alleged violation of the IPC was tolled by petitioner's timely filing of the complaintaffidavit before the TAPP.
In The Absence Of Grave Abuse Of Discretion, The Factual Findings Of The DOJ
In Preliminary Investigations Will Not Be Disturbed
In a preliminary investigation, a public prosecutor determines whether a crime has been
committed and whether there is probable cause that the accused is guilty
thereof.33 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. 34 Because a public prosecutor is the
one conducting a preliminary investigation, he determines the existence of probable
cause.35 Consequently, the decision to file a criminal information in court or to dismiss a
complaint depends on his sound discretion.36
As a general rule, a public prosecutor is afforded a wide latitude of discretion in the
conduct of a preliminary investigation. For this reason, courts generally do not interfere
with the results of such proceedings. A prosecutor alone determines the sufficiency of
evidence that will establish probable cause justifying the filing of a criminal information
against the respondent.37 By way of exception, however, judicial review is allowed
where respondent has clearly established that the prosecutor committed grave abuse of
discretion.38 Otherwise stated, such review is appropriate only when the prosecutor has
exercised his discretion in an arbitrary, capricious, whimsical or despotic manner by
reason of passion or personal hostility, patent and gross enough to amount to an
evasion of a positive duty or virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. 39
The prosecutors in this case consistently found that no probable cause existed against
respondent for violation of the IPC. They were in the best position to determine whether
or not there was probable cause. We find that they arrived at their findings after
carefully evaluating the respective evidence of petitioner and respondent. Their
conclusion was not tainted with grave abuse of discretion.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Panaguiton, Jr. vs DOJ 2008
LUIS PANAGUITON, JR., G.R. No. 167571
Petitioner,
Present:

QUISUMBING, J.,
Chairperson,
- versus - CARPIO MORALES,
TINGA,
VELASCO, JR., and
BRION, JJ.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
RAMON C. TONGSON and
RODRIGO G. CAWILI, Promulgated:
Respondents.
November 25, 2008

x----------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION
TINGA, J.:

This is a Petition for Review [1] of the resolutions of the Court of Appeals
dated 29 October 2004 and 21 March 2005 in CA G.R. SP No. 87119, which
dismissed Luis Panaguiton, Jr.s (petitioners) petition for certiorari and his
subsequent motion for reconsideration.[2]

The facts, as culled from the records, follow.

In 1992, Rodrigo Cawili (Cawili) borrowed various sums of money amounting


to P1,979,459.00 from petitioner. On 8 January 1993, Cawili and his business
associate, Ramon C. Tongson (Tongson), jointly issued in favor of
petitioner three (3) checks in payment of the said loans. Significantly, all
three (3) checks bore the signatures of both Cawili and Tongson. Upon
presentment for payment on 18 March 1993, the checks were dishonored,
either for insufficiency of funds or by the closure of the account. Petitioner
made formal demands to pay the amounts of the checks upon Cawili on 23
May 1995 and upon Tongson on 26 June 1995, but to no avail.[3]

On 24 August 1995, petitioner filed a complaint against Cawili and


Tongson[4] for violating Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (B.P. Blg. 22) [5] before the
Quezon City Prosecutors Office. During the preliminary investigation, only
Tongson appeared and filed his counter-affidavit.[6] Tongson claimed that he
had been unjustly included as party-respondent in the case since petitioner
had lent money to Cawili in the latters personal capacity. Moreover, like
petitioner, he had lent various sums to Cawili and in appreciation of his
services, he was

offered to be an officer of Roma Oil Corporation. He averred that he was


not Cawilis business associate; in fact, he himself had filed several criminal
cases against Cawili for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. Tongson denied that he had
issued the bounced checks and pointed out that his signatures on the
said checks had been falsified.

To counter these allegations, petitioner presented several documents


showing Tongsons signatures, which were purportedly the same as the
those appearing on the checks.[7] He also showed a copy of an affidavit of

adverse claim wherein Tongson himself had claimed to be Cawilis business


associate.[8]

In a resolution dated 6 December 1995,[9] City Prosecutor III Eliodoro V. Lara


found probable cause only against Cawili and dismissed the charges against
Tongson. Petitioner filed a partial appeal before the Department of Justice
(DOJ) even while the case against Cawili was filed before the proper court. In
a letter-resolution dated 11 July 1997,[10]after finding that it was possible for
Tongson to co-sign the bounced checks and that he had deliberately altered
his signature in the pleadings submitted during the preliminary investigation,
Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuo directed the City Prosecutor of
Quezon City to conduct a reinvestigation of the case against Tongson and to
refer the questioned signatures to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Tongson moved for the reconsideration of the resolution, but his motion was
denied for lack of merit.

On 15 March 1999, Assistant City Prosecutor Ma. Lelibet S. Sampaga (ACP


Sampaga) dismissed the complaint against Tongson without referring the
matter to the NBI per the Chief State Prosecutors resolution. In her
resolution,[11] ACP Sampaga held that the case had already prescribed
pursuant to Act No. 3326, as amended, [12] which provides thatviolations
penalized by B.P. Blg. 22 shall prescribe after four (4) years. In this case, the
four (4)-year period started on the date the checks were dishonored, or on 20
January 1993and 18 March 1993. The filing of the complaint before the
Quezon City Prosecutor on 24 August 1995 did not interrupt the running of
the prescriptive period, as the law contemplates judicial, and not
administrative proceedings. Thus, considering that from 1993 to 1998, more
than four (4) years had already elapsed and no information had as yet been
filed against Tongson, the alleged violation of B.P. Blg. 22 imputed to him had
already prescribed.[13] Moreover, ACP Sampaga stated that the order of the
Chief State Prosecutor to refer the matter to the NBI could no longer be

sanctioned under Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Criminal


Procedure because the initiative should come from petitioner himself and not
the investigating prosecutor.[14] Finally, ACP Sampaga found that Tongson had
no dealings with petitioner.[15]

Petitioner appealed to the DOJ. But the DOJ, through Undersecretary Manuel
A.J. Teehankee, dismissed the same, stating that the offense had already
prescribed pursuant to Act No. 3326. [16] Petitioner filed a motion for
reconsideration of the DOJ resolution. On 3 April 2003,[17] the DOJ, this time
through then Undersecretary Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez, ruled in his favor
and declared that the offense had not prescribed and that the filing of the
complaint with the prosecutors office interrupted the running of the
prescriptive period citing Ingco v. Sandiganbayan.[18] Thus, the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Quezon City was directed to file three (3) separate
informations against Tongson for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. [19] On 8 July 2003,
the City Prosecutors Office filed an information[20] charging petitioner with
three (3) counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22.[21]

However, in a resolution dated 9 August 2004,[22] the DOJ, presumably acting


on a motion for reconsideration filed by Tongson, ruled that the subject
offense had already prescribed and ordered the withdrawal of the three (3)
informations for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 against Tongson. In justifying its
sudden turnabout, the DOJ explained that Act No. 3326 applies to violations
of special acts that do not provide for a prescriptive period for the offenses
thereunder. Since B.P. Blg. 22, as a special act, does not provide for the
prescription of the offense it defines and punishes, Act No. 3326 applies to it,
and not Art. 90 of the Revised Penal Code which governs the prescription of
offenses penalized thereunder. [23] The DOJ also cited the case of Zaldivia v.
Reyes, Jr.,[24] wherein the Supreme Court ruled that the proceedings referred
to in Act No. 3326, as amended, are judicial proceedings, and not the one
before the prosecutors office.

Petitioner thus filed a petition for certiorari[25] before the Court of Appeals
assailing the 9 August 2004 resolution of the DOJ. The petition was dismissed
by the Court of Appeals in view of petitioners failure to attach a proper
verification and certification of non-forum

shopping. The Court of Appeals also noted that the 3 April 2003 resolution of
the DOJ attached to the petition is a mere photocopy.[26] Petitioner moved for
the reconsideration of the appellate courts resolution, attaching to said
motion an amended Verification/Certification of Non-Forum Shopping. [27] Still,
the Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion, stating that
subsequent compliance with the formal requirements would not per
se warrant a reconsideration of its resolution. Besides, the Court of Appeals
added, thepetition is patently without merit and the questions raised therein
are too unsubstantial to require consideration. [28]

In the instant petition, petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals committed
grave error in dismissing his petition on technical grounds and in ruling that
the petition before it was patently without merit and the questions are too
unsubstantial to require consideration.

The DOJ, in its comment,[29] states that the Court of Appeals did not err in
dismissing the petition for non-compliance with the Rules of Court. It also
reiterates that the filing of a complaint with the Office of the City Prosecutor
of Quezon City does not interrupt the running of the prescriptive period for
violation of B.P. Blg. 22. It argues that under B.P. Blg. 22, a special law which
does not provide for its own prescriptive period, offenses prescribe in four (4)
years in accordance with Act No. 3326.

Cawili and Tongson submitted their comment, arguing that the Court of
Appeals did not err in dismissing the petition for certiorari. They claim that
the offense of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 has already prescribed per Act No.
3326. In addition, they claim that the long delay, attributable to petitioner
and the State, violated their constitutional right to speedy disposition of
cases.[30]

The petition is meritorious.

First on the technical issues.

Petitioner submits that the verification attached to his petition before the
Court of Appeals substantially complies with the rules, the verification being
intended simply to secure an assurance that the allegations in the pleading
are true and correct and not a product of the imagination or a matter of
speculation. He points out that this Court has held in a number of cases that
a deficiency in the verification can be excused or dispensed with, the defect
being neither jurisdictional nor always fatal. [31]

Indeed, the verification is merely a formal requirement intended to secure an


assurance that matters which are alleged are true and correctthe court may
simply order the correction of unverified pleadings or act on them and waive
strict compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice may be
served,[32] as in the instant case. In the case at bar, we find that by attaching
the pertinent verification to his motion for reconsideration, petitioner
sufficiently complied with the verification requirement.

Petitioner also submits that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the
petition on the ground that there was failure to attach a certified true copy or
duplicate
original
of
the 3
April
2003 resolution
of the DOJ. We agree. A plain reading of the petition before the

Court of Appeals shows that it seeks the annulment of the DOJ resolution
dated 9 August 2004,[33] a certified true copy of which was attached as Annex
A.[34] Obviously, the Court of Appeals committed a grievous mistake.

Now, on the substantive aspects.

Petitioner assails the DOJs reliance on Zaldivia v. Reyes,[35] a case involving


the violation of a municipal ordinance, in declaring that the prescriptive
period is tolled only upon filing of the information in court. According to
petitioner, what is applicable in this case is Ingco v. Sandiganbayan,
[36]
wherein this Court ruled that the filing of the complaint with the fiscals
office for preliminary investigation suspends the running of the prescriptive
period. Petitioner also notes that the Ingco case similarly involved the
violation of a special law, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, otherwise known as
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, petitioner notes.[37] He argues that
sustaining the DOJs and the Court of Appeals pronouncements would result
in grave injustice to him since the delays in the present case were clearly
beyond his control.[38]
There is no question that Act No. 3326, appropriately entitled An Act to
Establish Prescription for Violations of Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances
and to Provide WhenPrescription Shall Begin, is the law applicable to
offenses under special laws which do not provide their own prescriptive
periods. The pertinent provisions read:
SECTION 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless
otherwise provided in such acts, prescribe in accordance with the
following rules: (a) x x x; (b) after four years for those punished
by imprisonment for more than one month, but less than two
years; (c) x x x
SEC. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the
commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not
known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution
of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment.

The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are


instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run
again if the proceedings
are
dismissed
for
reasons
not
constituting jeopardy.

We agree that Act. No. 3326 applies to offenses under B.P. Blg. 22. An
offense under B.P. Blg. 22 merits the penalty of imprisonment of not less
than thirty (30) days but not more than one year or by a fine, hence, under
Act No. 3326, a violation of B.P. Blg. 22 prescribes in four (4) years from the
commission of the offense or, if the same be not known at the time, from the
discovery thereof. Nevertheless, we cannot uphold the position that only the
filing of a case in court can toll the running of the prescriptive period.

It must be pointed out that when Act No. 3326 was passed on 4
December 1926, preliminary investigation of criminal offenses was
conducted by justices of the peace, thus, the phraseology in the law,
institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment, [39] and
the prevailing rule at the time was that once a complaint is filed with the
justice of the peace for preliminary investigation, the prescription of the
offense is halted.[40]

The historical perspective on the application of Act No. 3326 is


illuminating.[41] Act No. 3226 was approved on 4 December 1926 at a time
when the function of conducting the preliminary investigation of criminal
offenses was vested in the justices of the peace. Thus, the prevailing rule at
the time, as shown in the cases of U.S. v. Lazada[42] and People v. Joson,[43] is
that the prescription of the offense is tolled once a complaint is filed with the

justice
of
the
peace for preliminary investigation inasmuchas
filing of the complaint signifies the

the

institution of the criminal proceedings against the accused. [44] These cases
were followed by our declaration in People v. Parao and Parao[45] that the first
step taken in the investigation or examination of offenses partakes the
nature of a judicial proceeding which suspends the prescription of the
offense.[46] Subsequently, in People v. Olarte,[47] we held that the filing of the
complaint in the Municipal Court, even if it be merely for purposes of
preliminary examination or investigation, should, and does, interrupt the
period of prescription of the criminal responsibility, even if the court where
the complaint or information is filed cannot try the case on the merits. In
addition, even if the court where the complaint or information is filed may
only proceed to investigate the case, its actuations already represent the
initial step of the proceedings against the offender, [48] and hence, the
prescriptive period should be interrupted.

In Ingco v. Sandiganbayan[49] and Sanrio Company Limited v. Lim,


[50]
which involved violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A.
No. 3019) and the Intellectual Property Code (R.A. No. 8293), which are
both special laws, the Court ruled that the
prescriptive period is interrupted by the institution of proceedings for
preliminary investigation against the accused. In the more recent case
of Securities and Exchange Commission v. Interport Resources Corporation,
et al.,[51] the Court ruled that the nature and purpose of the investigation
conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission on violations of the
Revised Securities Act,[52] another special law, is equivalent to the preliminary

investigation conducted by the DOJ in criminal cases, and thus effectively


interrupts the prescriptive period.

The
following
instructive, thus:

disquisition in

the Interport

Resources case[53] is

While it may be observed that the term judicial


proceedings in Sec. 2 of Act No. 3326 appears before
investigation and punishment in the old law, with the
subsequent change in set-up whereby the investigation of the
charge for purposes of prosecution has become the exclusive
function of the executive branch, the term proceedings should
now be understood either executive or judicial in character:
executive when it involves the investigation phase and judicial
when it refers to the trial and judgment stage. With this
clarification, any kind of investigative proceeding instituted
against the guilty person which may ultimately lead to his
prosecution should be sufficient to toll prescription.[54]

Indeed, to rule otherwise would deprive the injured party the right to
obtain vindication on account of delays that are not under his control. [55] A
clear example would be this case, wherein petitioner filed his complaintaffidavit on 24 August 1995, well within the four (4)-year prescriptive
period. He likewise timely filed his appeals and his motions for
reconsideration on the dismissal of the charges against
Tongson. He went through the proper channels, within the prescribed
periods. However, from the time petitioner filed his complaint-affidavit with
the Office of the City Prosecutor (24 August 1995) up to the time the DOJ
issued the assailed resolution, an aggregate period of nine (9) years had
elapsed. Clearly, the delay was beyond petitioners control. After all, he had
already initiated the active prosecution of the case as early as 24 August
1995, only to suffer setbacks because of the DOJs flip-flopping resolutions

and its misapplication of Act No. 3326. Aggrieved parties, especially those
who do not sleep on their rights and actively pursue their causes, should not
be allowed to suffer unnecessarily further simply because of circumstances
beyond their control, like the accuseds delaying tactics or the delay and
inefficiency of the investigating agencies.

We rule and so hold that the offense has not yet prescribed. Petitioner
s filing of his complaintaffidavit before the Office of the City Prosecutor on 24
August 1995 signified the commencement of the proceedings for the
prosecution of the accused and thus effectively interrupted the prescriptive
period for the offenses they had been charged under B.P. Blg. 22. Moreover,
since there is a definite finding of probable cause, with the debunking of the
claim of prescription there is no longer any impediment to the filing of the
information against petitioner.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The resolutions of the Court of


Appeals dated 29 October 2004 and 21 March 2005 are REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The resolution of the Department of Justice dated 9 August 2004 is
also ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The Department of Justice is ORDERED to
REFILE the information against the petitioner.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

DANTE O. TINGA Associate Justice


WE CONCUR:

Baviera vs. Paglinawan 2007

MANUEL V. BAVIERA,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 168380

versus -

ESPERANZA PAGLINAWAN, in her


capacity as Department of Justice
State
Prosecutor;
LEAH
C.
TANODRA-ARMAMENTO,
In
her
capacity as Assistant Chief State
Prosecutor and Chairwoman of
Task Force on Business Scam;
JOVENCITO
R.
ZUNO,
in
his
capacity as Department of Justice
Chief State Prosecutor; STANDARD
CHARTERED BANK, PAUL SIMON
MORRIS, AJAY KANWAL, SRIDHAR
RAMAN,
MARIVEL
GONZALES,
CHONA
REYES,
MARIA
ELLEN
VICTOR,
and
ZENAIDA
IGLESIAS,Respondents.
x----------------------------x

MANUEL V. BAVIERA, Petitioner,

G.R. No. 170602

versus Present:

STANDARD

CHARTERED

BANK,

BRYAN K. SANDERSON, THE RIGHT


HONORABLE
LORD
STEWARTBY,
PUNO, C.J.,Chairperson,
EVAN MERVYN DAVIES, MICHAEL
BERNARD DENOMA, CHRISTOPHER
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
AVEDIS KELJIK, RICHARD HENRY
*
CORONA,
MEDDINGS,
KAI
NARGOLWALA,
PETER ALEXANDER SANDS, RONNIE
AZCUNA, and
CHI CHUNG CHAN, SIR CK CHOW,
GARCIA, JJ.
BARRY CLARE, HO KWON PING,
RUDOLPH HAROLD PETER ARKHAM,
DAVID GEORGE MOIR, HIGH EDWARD
Promulgated:
NORTON, SIR RALPH HARRY ROBINS,
ANTHONY WILLIAM PAUL STENHAM
(Standard Chartered Bank Chairman,
February 8, 2007
Deputy Chairman, and Members of
the
Board), SHERAZAM
MAZARI
(Group Regional Head for Consumer
Banking), PAUL SIMON MORRIS, AJAY
KANWAL,
SRIDHAR
RAMAN,
MARIVEL GONZALES, CHONA REYES,
ELLEN
VICTOR,
RAMONA
H.
BERNAD, DOMINGO CARBONELL, JR.,
and ZENAIDA IGLESIAS (Standard
Chartered Bank-Philippines Branch
Heads/Officers),
Respondents.
x
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

Before us are two consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari assailing the
Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87328 [1] and in CA-G.R.
SP No. 85078.[2]

The common factual antecedents of these cases as shown by the records


are:

Manuel Baviera, petitioner in these cases, was the former head of the HR
Service Delivery and Industrial Relations of Standard Chartered BankPhilippines (SCB), one of herein respondents. SCB is a foreign banking
corporation duly licensed to engage in banking, trust, and other fiduciary
business in the Philippines. Pursuant to Resolution No. 1142 dated December
3, 1992 of the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the
conduct of SCBs business in this jurisdiction is subject to the following
conditions:

1.

At the end of a one-year period from the date the SCB


starts its trust functions, at least 25% of its trust accounts
must be for the account of non-residents of the Philippines
and that actual foreign exchange had been remitted into
the Philippines to fund such accounts or that the
establishment of such accounts had reduced the
indebtedness of residents (individuals or corporations or
government agencies) of the Philippines to non-residents.
At the end of the second year, the above ratio shall be 50%,
which ratio must be observed continuously thereafter;

2.

The trust operations of SCB shall be subject to all


existing laws, rules and regulations applicable to trust
services, particularly the creation of a Trust Committee; and

3.

The bank shall inform the appropriate supervising and


examining department of the BSP at the start of its
operations.

Apparently, SCB did not comply with the above conditions. Instead, as early
as 1996, it acted as a stock broker, soliciting from local residents foreign
securities called GLOBAL THIRD PARTY MUTUAL FUNDS (GTPMF),

denominated in US dollars. These securities were not registered with the


Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These were then remitted
outwardly to SCB-Hong Kong and SCB-Singapore.

SCBs counsel, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and Delos Angeles Law
Office, advised the bank to proceed with the selling of the foreign securities
although unregistered with the SEC, under the guise of a custodianship
agreement; and should it be questioned, it shall invoke Section 72 [3] of the
General Banking Act (Republic Act No.337). [4] In sum, SCB was able to sell
GTPMF securities worth around P6 billion to some 645 investors.

However, SCBs operations did not remain unchallenged. On July 18, 1997,
the Investment Capital Association of the Philippines (ICAP) filed with the SEC
a complaint alleging that SCB violated the Revised Securities Act,
[5]
particularly the provision prohibiting the selling of securities without prior
registration with the SEC; and that its actions are potentially damaging to the
local mutual fund industry.

In its answer, SCB denied offering and selling securities, contending that it
has been performing a purely informational function without solicitations for
any of its investment outlets abroad; that it has a trust license and the
services it renders under the Custodianship Agreement for offshore
investments are authorized by Section 72[6] of the General Banking Act; that
its clients were the ones who took the initiative to invest in securities; and it
has been acting merely as an agent or passive order taker for them.

On September 2, 1997, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist Order against
SCB, holding that its services violated Sections 4(a) [7] and 19[8] of the
Revised Securities Act.

Meantime, the SEC indorsed ICAPs complaint and its supporting documents
to the BSP.

On October 31, 1997, the SEC informed the Secretary of Finance that it
withdrew GTPMF securities from the market and that it will not sell the same
without the necessary clearances from the regulatory authorities.

Meanwhile, on August 17, 1998, the BSP directed SCB not to include
investments in global mutual funds issued abroad in its trust investments
portfolio without prior registration with the SEC.

On August 31, 1998, SCB sent a letter to the BSP confirming that it will
withdraw third-party fund products which could be directly purchased by
investors.
However, notwithstanding its commitment and the BSP directive, SCB
continued to offer and sell GTPMF securities in this country. This prompted
petitioner to enter into an Investment Trust Agreement with SCB wherein he
purchased US$8,000.00 worth of securities upon the banks promise of 40%
return on his investment and a guarantee that his money is safe. After six (6)
months, however, petitioner learned that the value of his investment went
down to US$7,000.00. He tried to withdraw his investment but was
persuaded by Antonette de los Reyes of SCB to hold on to it for another six
(6) months in view of the possibility that the market would pick up.

Meanwhile, on November 27, 2000, the BSP found that SCB failed to comply
with its directive of August 17, 1998. Consequently, it was fined in the
amount of P30,000.00.

The trend in the securities market, however, was bearish and the worth of
petitioners investment went down further to only US$3,000.00.

On October 26, 2001, petitioner learned from Marivel Gonzales, head of the
SCB Legal and Compliance Department, that the latter had been prohibited
by the BSP to sell GPTMF securities. Petitioner then filed with the BSP a lettercomplaint demanding compensation for his lost investment. But SCB denied
his demand on the ground that his investment is regular.

On July 15, 2003, petitioner filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ),
represented herein by its prosecutors, public respondents, a complaint
charging the above-named officers and members of the SCB Board of
Directors
and
other
SCB
officials,
private
respondents,
with
syndicated estafa, docketed as I.S. No. 2003-1059.

For their part, private respondents filed the following as counter-charges


against petitioner: (1) blackmail and extortion, docketed as I.S. No. 20031059-A; and blackmail and perjury, docketed as I.S. No. 2003-1278.

On September 29, 2003, petitioner also filed a complaint for perjury against
private respondents Paul Simon Morris and Marivel Gonzales, docketed as I.S.
No. 2003-1278-A.

On December 4, 2003, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist Order against SCB
restraining it from further offering, soliciting, or otherwise selling its
securities to the public until these have been registered with the SEC.

Subsequently, the SEC and SCB reached an amicable settlement.

On January 20, 2004, the SEC lifted its Cease and Desist Order and approved
the P7 million settlement offered by SCB. Thereupon, SCB made a

commitment not to offer or sell securities without prior compliance with the
requirements of the SEC.
On February 7, 2004, petitioner filed with the DOJ a complaint for violation of
Section 8.1[9] of the Securities Regulation Code against private respondents,
docketed as I.S. No. 2004-229.

On February 23, 2004, the DOJ rendered its Joint Resolution [10] dismissing
petitioners complaint for syndicated estafa in I.S. No. 2003-1059; private
respondents complaint for blackmail and extortion in I.S. No. 2003-1059-A;
private respondents complaint for blackmail and perjury in I.S. No. 20031278; and petitioners complaint for perjury against private respondents
Morris and Gonzales in I.S. No. 2003-1278-A.

Meanwhile, in a Resolution [11] dated April 4, 2004, the DOJ dismissed


petitioners complaint in I.S. No. 2004-229 (violation of Securities Regulation
Code), holding that it should have been filed with the SEC.

Petitioners motions to dismiss his complaints were denied by the DOJ. Thus,
he filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, docketed as CAG.R. SP No. 85078. He alleged that the DOJ acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing his
complaint for syndicated estafa.

He also filed with the Court of Appeals a separate petition for certiorari
assailing the DOJ Resolution dismissing I.S. No. 2004-229 for violation of the
Securities
Regulation
Code. This
petition
was
docketed as
CAG.R. SP No. 87328. Petitioner claimed that the DOJ acted with grave abuse of
discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction in holding that the
complaint should have been filed with the SEC.

On January 7, 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision dismissing


the petition. It sustained the ruling of the DOJ that the case should have been
filed initially with the SEC.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a Resolution


dated May 27, 2005.

Meanwhile, on February 21, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision
in CA-G.R. SP No. 85078 (involving petitioners charges and respondents
counter charges) dismissing the petition on the ground that the purpose of a
petition for certiorari is not to evaluate and weigh the parties evidence but to
determine whether the assailed Resolution of the DOJ was issued with grave
abuse of discretion tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. Again, petitioner
moved for a reconsideration but it was denied in a Resolution ofNovember
22, 2005.

Hence, the instant petitions for review on certiorari.

For our resolution is the fundamental issue of whether the Court of Appeals
erred in concluding that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
dismissing petitioners complaint in I.S. 2004-229 for violation of Securities
Regulation Code and his complaint in I.S. No. 2003-1059 for
syndicated estafa.

G.R. No 168380
Re: I.S. No. 2004-229
For violation of the Securities Regulation Code

Section 53.1 of the Securities Regulation Code provides:


SEC. 53. Investigations, Injunctions and Prosecution of Offenses.
53. 1. The Commission may, in its discretion, make such
investigation as it deems necessary to determine whether any
person has violated or is about to violate any provision of this
Code, any rule, regulation or order thereunder, or any rule of an
Exchange, registered securities association, clearing agency,
other self-regulatory organization, and may require or permit
any person to file with it a statement in writing, under oath or
otherwise, as the Commission shall determine, as to all facts
and circumstances concerning the matter to be investigated.
The Commission may publish information concerning any such
violations and to investigate any fact, condition, practice or
matter which it may deem necessary or proper to aid in the
enforcement of the provisions of this Code, in the prescribing of
rules and regulations thereunder, or in securing information to
serve as a basis for recommending further legislation
concerning the matters to which this Code relates: Provided,
however, That any person requested or subpoenaed to produce
documents or testify in any investigation shall simultaneously
be
notified
in
writing
of
the
purpose
of
such
investigation: Provided, further, That all criminal complaints
for violations of this Code and the implementing rules
and regulations enforced or administered by the
Commission shall be referred to the Department of
Justice for preliminary investigation and prosecution
before the proper court: Provided, furthermore, That in
instances where the law allows independent civil or criminal
proceedings of violations arising from the act, the Commission
shall take appropriate action to implement the same: Provided,
finally; That the investigation, prosecution, and trial of such
cases shall be given priority.

The Court of Appeals held that under the above provision, a criminal
complaint for violation of any law or rule administered by the SEC must first
be filed with the latter. If the Commission finds that there is probable cause,
then it should refer the case to the DOJ. Since petitioner failed to comply with

the foregoing procedural requirement, the DOJ did not gravely abuse its
discretion in dismissing his complaint in I.S. No. 2004-229.

A criminal charge for violation of the Securities Regulation Code is a


specialized dispute. Hence, it must first be referred to an administrative
agency of special competence, i.e., the SEC. Under the doctrine of primary
jurisdiction, courts will not determine a controversy involving a question
within the jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal, where the question
demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the
specialized knowledge and expertise of said administrative tribunal to
determine technical and intricate matters of fact.[12] The Securities
Regulation Code is a special law. Its enforcement is particularly vested in the
SEC. Hence, all complaints for any violation of the Code and its implementing
rules and regulations should be filed with the SEC. Where the complaint is
criminal in nature, the SEC shall indorse the complaint to the DOJ for
preliminary investigation and prosecution as provided in Section 53.1 earlier
quoted.

We thus agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner committed a


fatal procedural lapse when he filed his criminal complaint directly with the
DOJ. Verily, no grave abuse of discretion can be ascribed to the DOJ in
dismissing petitioners complaint.

G.R. No. 170602


Re: I.S. No. 2003-1059 for
Syndicated Estafa

Section 5, Rule 110 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended,


provides that all criminal actions, commenced by either a complaint or an

information, shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of a public


prosecutor. This mandate is founded on the theory that a crime is a breach of
the security and peace of the people at large, an outrage against the very
sovereignty of the State. It follows that a representative of the State shall
direct and control the prosecution of the offense. [13] This representative of the
State is the public prosecutor, whom this Court described in the old case
of Suarez v. Platon,[14] as:

[T]he representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy,


but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as
compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest,
therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case,
but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and
very definite sense a servant of the law, the twofold aim of
which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffers.

Concomitant with his authority and power to control the prosecution of


criminal offenses, the public prosecutor is vested with the discretionary
power to determine whether aprima facie case exists or not.[15] This is done
through a preliminary investigation designed to secure the respondent from
hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution. A preliminary investigation is
essentially an inquiry to determine whether (a) a crime has been committed;
and (b) whether there is probable cause that the accused is guilty thereof.
[16]
In Pontejos v. Office of the Ombudsman,[17] probable cause is defined as
such facts and circumstances that would 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. It is the public prosecutor who
determines during the preliminary investigation whether probable cause
exists. Thus, the decision whether or not to dismiss the criminal complaint
against the accused depends on the sound discretion of the prosecutor.

Given this latitude and authority granted by law to the investigating


prosecutor, the rule in this jurisdiction is that courts will not interfere

with the conduct of preliminary investigations or reinvestigations or


in the determination of what constitutes sufficient probable cause
for the filing of the corresponding information against an offender.
[18]
Courts are not empowered to substitute their own judgment for that of the
executive branch.[19] Differently stated, as the matter of whether to prosecute
or not is purely discretionary on his part, courts cannot compel a public
prosecutor to file the corresponding information, upon a complaint, where he
finds the evidence before him insufficient to warrant the filing of an action in
court. In sum, the prosecutors findings on the existence of probable
cause are not subject to review by the courts, unless these are
patently shown to have been made with grave abuse of discretion. [20]

Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise of


judgment on the part of the public officer concerned which is equivalent to
an excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be as patent
and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or 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 or hostility.[21]

In determining whether the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion, it is


expedient to know if the findings of fact of herein public prosecutors were
reached in an arbitrary or despotic manner.

The Court of Appeals held that petitioners evidence is insufficient to establish


probable cause for syndicated estafa. There is no showing from the record
that private respondents herein did induce petitioner by false
representations to invest in the GTPMF securities. Nor did they act as a
syndicate to misappropriate his money for their own benefit. Rather, they
invested it in accordance with his written instructions. That he lost his
investment is not their fault since it was highly speculative.

Records show that public respondents examined petitioners evidence with


care, well aware of their duty to prevent material damage to his
constitutional right to liberty and fair play. In Suarez previously cited, this
Court made it clear that a public prosecutors duty is two-fold. On one hand,
he is bound by his oath of office to prosecute persons where the
complainants evidence is ample and sufficient to show prima facie guilt of a
crime. Yet, on the other hand, he is likewise duty-bound to protect innocent
persons from groundless, false, or malicious prosecution. [22]

Hence, we hold that the Court of Appeals was correct in dismissing the
petition for review against private respondents and in concluding that the
DOJ did not act with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess
of jurisdiction.

On petitioners complaint for violation of the Securities Regulation


Code, suffice it to state that, as aptly declared by the Court of Appeals, he
should have filed it with the SEC, not the DOJ. Again, there is no indication
here that in dismissing petitioners complaint, the DOJ acted capriciously or
arbitrarily.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petitions and AFFIRM the assailed Decisions


of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87328 and in CA-G.R. SP No.
85078.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Arambulo vs Lagui

SR. FIDELIS ARAMBULO, petitioner, vs. HON. HILARION LAQUI, SR. HELEN
OJARIO and SR. BERNADINE JUAREZ, respondents.
DECISION
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of
Appeals[2] in CA-G.R. SP No. 47089 promulgated on March 01, 1999 and the
subsequent Resolution[3]dated May 11, 1999 denying petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration.
The facts of the case, as summarized by the appellate court, are as follows:
On February 2, 1994, private respondents filed a joint complaint-affidavit for libel against
petitioners before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City alleging that the latter
circulated on December 21, 1993 a letter containing malicious imputations against them.
An information for libel then was filed before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City on
May 18, 1994.
After the prosecution presented its evidence, petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence. Without
resolving the incident, the Metropolitan Trial Court in its Order dated November 9, 1996 ruled
that it had no jurisdiction over the case as the same falls under the original and exclusive
jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court, and ordered that the case be forwarded to the RTC for
further proceedings.
On November 29, 1996, the case was forwarded to branch 215 Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City docketed as Criminal Case No. 96-6870.
On January 3, 1997, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction
and prescription of the offense of Libel. The RTC dismissed the case in an Order dated April 2,
1997 but, stating that the offense had not yet prescribed, ordered the City Prosecutor of Quezon
City to re-file the Information for Libel with the RTC.
On April 27, 1997, the Information for Libel was re-filed with respondent court docketed as
Criminal Case No. Q-97-70948.
On June 17, 1997, petitioner filed a Motion to quash on the ground of prescription. The motion
was denied in the assailed Resolution dated October 3, 1997.
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was also denied in the other Assailed Order dated
December 4, 1997.[4]
Not satisfied with the Resolution and Order of the trial court, herein petitioner
appealed to the Court of Appeals raising the issue of whether or not public respondent
committed grave abuse of discretion or grossly erred in holding that the offense of libel

in the instant case has not yet prescribed. [5] The Court of Appeals, in its decision dated
March 01, 1999, upheld the contention of the trial court that the offense of libel had not
yet prescribed and consequently, dismissed the said petition. The appellate court
likewise denied herein petitioners Motion for Reconsideration in its Resolution dated
May 11, 1999.[6]
Petitioner is now before this Court seeking a reversal of the decision of the Court of
Appeals and contending that I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL HAS NOT
YET PRESCRIBED.
II.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONER HAS NOT BEEN
DENIED HER CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL.[7]
Under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the crime of libel
prescribes in one (1) year, to wit:
ART. 90. Prescription of crime.- Crimes punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or reclusion
temporal shall prescribe in twenty years.
Crimes punishable by other afflictive penalties shall prescribe in fifteen years.
Those punishable by a correctional penalty shall prescribe in 10 years; with the exception of
those punishable by arresto mayor, which shall prescribe in five years.
The crime of libel or other similar offenses shall prescribe in one year. (underscoring supplied)
The said prescriptive period is computed under Article 91 of the Revised Penal
Code, as follows:
Art. 91. Computation of prescription of offenses. - The period of prescription shall commence to
run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, or their
agents, and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information, and shall proceed to
run again when such proceedings terminate without the accused being convicted or acquitted, or
are unjustifiably stopped for any reason not imputable to him.
The term of prescription shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine
Archipelago.
In the case at bench, the offense of libel allegedly occurred on December 21, 1993
when petitioner circulated a letter containing allegedly malicious imputations against

private respondents Srs. Helen Ojario and Bernadine Juarez. At this point, the period of
prescription for the alleged crime had already started to run.
The one-year period of prescription for the crime was interrupted on February 2,
1994 when respondents filed a joint complaint-affidavit [8] for libel against petitioner
before the Office of the city Prosecutor in Quezon city. At this point, the prescription
period had already run for forty-two (42) days.
A preliminary investigation by the Office of the City prosecutor was thus
conducted. On April 27, 1994, Asst. City Prosecutor Ma. Aurora Escasa-Ramos issued a
Resolution stating that probable cause exists against petitioner and recommended the
filing of an information for libel against her. Consequently, an information[9] for libel was
filed against petitioner on May 18, 1994 before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 32[10]
Despite the fact that the Metropolitan Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the crime
of libel, the said court proceeded to conduct trial on the merits. After the prosecution
had rested, petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence dated September 18,
1996. However, instead of acting on the said demurrer, the Metropolitan Trial court, on
November 08, 1996, issued an Order [11]ruling that it had no jurisdiction over the crime of
libel as the same falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
Court. Instead of dismissing the case outright, the MTC ordered the forwarding of the
records of the case to the Regional Trial Court for further proceedings. The case was
eventually raffled off to Branch 215 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City [12]
On the basis of a Motion to Dismiss [13] filed by petitioner, Branch 215 of the Regional
Trial Court dismissed the case on April 2, 1997 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction as
the information against petitioner should have been re-filed anew. The court ruled,
however, that the crime had not yet prescribed and ordered the re-filling of the
case[14]. On April 27, 1997, the Office of the City Prosecutor re-filed the case with the
Regional Trial Court and eventually the same was raffled to Branch 218 of the said
court[15]. Petitioner tried to have this case dismissed on the ground of prescription but
her motion to quash[16]the information was denied by Branch 218 of the Quezon City
Regional Trial Court in a Resolution[17]dated October 3, 1997. The denial by the
Regional Trial Court of petitioners motion to quash was subsequently upheld by the
Court of Appeals.
It is the contention of petitioner that the prescription period for the crime of libel
charged against her commenced to run again when the Assistant City prosecutor
recommended the filing of the information for libel. Petitioner further argues that the
prescriptive period could have been interrupted again had the information been filed
with the Regional Trial Court, the court with the proper jurisdiction to try the case for
libel. Considering however that the case was filed before the Metropolitan Trial Court,
which under the law does not have jurisdiction over the crime of libel, the period of
prescription continued to run its course. Consequently, petitioner concludes that when
the information for libel was finally filed with the Regional Trial Court, the crime had
already prescribed and the State can no longer pursue the case against her.

In support of her arguments, petitioner questions the reliance made by the Regional
Trial Court and the Court of Appeals in the landmark case of People vs.
Olarte[18]Petitioner submits that the adherence to the Olarte case must be examined
considering that in the said case, the principal issue was whether or not the filing of a
complaint in the Municipal Trial Court for purposes of preliminary investigation,
interrupts the period of prescription of a crime. Petitioner argues that the cited case is
inapplicable as it is not disputed in the case at bench that the period of prescription was
interrupted during the process of preliminary investigation.
We are not persuaded.
In the landmark case of People vs. Olarte, this Court speaking through Justice
J.B.L. Reyes, finally resolved the then conflicting views as to whether or not the filing of
a complaint with the Municipal Trial Court for purposes of preliminary investigation
suspends the running of the prescriptive period for the crime. The Court restated the
correct and prevailing doctrine, as follows:
In view of this diversity of precedents, and in order to provide guidance for the Bench and Bar,
this Court has reexamined the question and, after mature consideration, has arrived at the
conclusion that the true doctrine is, and should be, the one established by the decisions holding
that the filing of the complaint with the Municipal Court, even if it be merely for purposes of
preliminary examination or investigation, should, and does, interrupt the period of prescription of
the criminal responsibility, even if the court where the complaint or information is filed can not
try the case on the merits. Several reasons buttress this conclusion: first, the text of Article 91 of
the Revised Penal code, in declaring that the period of prescription shall be interrupted by the
filing of the complaint or information without distinguishing whether the complaint is filed in the
court for preliminary examination or investigation merely, or for action on the merits. Second ,
even if the court where the complaint or information is filed may only proceed to investigate the
case, its actuations already represent the initial step of the proceedings against the
offender. Third, it is unjust to deprive the injured party the right to obtain vindication on account
of delays that are not under his control. All that the victim of the offense may do on his part to
initiate the prosecution is to file the requisite complaint.
And it is no argument that Article 91 also expresses that the interrupted prescription shall
commence to run again when such proceedings terminate without the accused being convicted or
acquitted, thereby indicating that the court in which the complaint or information is filed must
have the power to convict or acquit the accused. Precisely, the trial on the merits usually
terminates in conviction or acquittal, not otherwise. But it is in the court conducting a
preliminary investigation where the proceedings may terminate without conviction or acquittal, if
the court should discharge the accused because no prima facie case had been shown.
Subsequently, this Court, in Francisco vs. Court of Appeals[19], broadened the scope
of Olarte by holding that the filing of the complaint with the fiscals office also suspends
the running of the prescriptive period.
Petitioner insists that the ruling in Olarte with respect to the interruption of the
prescriptive period is not applicable. In the case at bench, the fact that the period of
prescription was interrupted by the filing of private respondents joint affidavit with the

Quezon City Prosecutors Office is not disputed. The Olarte case, however, makes
several other pronouncements that are determinative of the issues raised by petitioner.
It is clear from the Olarte case that the filing of the complaint or information for
purposes of preliminary investigation represents the initial step of the proceedings
against the offender.This is one of the reasons why such filing is deemed as having
interrupted the period of prescription for the prosecution of a crime. This period of
prescription commences to run again when the proceedings terminate without
conviction or acquittal, if the court (or prosecutor) should discharge the accused
because no prima facie case has been shown.[20]
It is thus evident that petitioners first premise that the period of prescription
commenced to run again when the Quezon City prosecutors Office recommended the
filing of a criminal complaint against her is incorrect. When the City Prosecutor
recommended the filing of libel charges against petitioner, the proceedings against her
were not terminated, precisely because a prima facie case for libel was found against
her. Instead of terminating the proceedings against petitioner, the resolution of the city
prosecutor actually directed the continuation of the proceedings against the petitioner by
the filing of the appropriate information against her and by the holding of trial on the
merits. As such, when the information for libel was filed with the Metropolitan Trial
Court, the period of prescription for the crime was still suspended.
Another important teaching in Olarte is that it is unjust to deprive the injured party of
the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are not under his control. This is
because in criminal prosecutions, the only thing that the victim of the offense may do on
his part to initiate the prosecution is to file the requisite complaint.
In the case at bench, private respondents were not remiss in their right to seek
grievance against respondent as they filed their complaint before the city prosecutor
forty-two days after the alleged crime of libel occurred. It was the Office of the City
Prosecutor that committed an error when it filed the complaint with the Metropolitan Trial
Court.
The error was probably due to the confusion as to the proper venue for the crime of
libel brought about by the passage of R.A. 7691 [21] which took effect on April 15,
1994. Under Section 2 of the said Republic Act, the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial
Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts was expanded to
include all offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years. However,
libel, which is punishable by imprisonment ranging from six months and one day to four
years[22] is not covered as the said law excludes from its coverage cases within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts [23]. Under Article 360 of the Revised
Penal Code, the information for libel should be filed with the Court of First Instance, now
the Regional Trial Court. The confusion was cleared up when this Court issued
Administrative Order No. 104-96 dated October 21, 1996 which categorically stated that
LIBEL CASES SHALL BE TRIED BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS HAVING
JURISDICTION OVER THEM TO THE EXCLUSION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL
COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS IN CITIES, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND
MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS.[24]

Evidently, branch 215 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City was not spared
the confusion brought about by R.A. 7691, as its dismissal of the case then pending
before it was made only on November 8, 1996 or more than two years after it had taken
cognizance of the case. Notably, the dismissal by the Metropolitan Trial Court took place
a mere eighteen (18) days after the issuance of S.C. Administrative Order No. 104-96.
The mistake of the Office of the City Prosecutor in filing the complaint and of the
Metropolitan Trial Court in taking cognizance of the case was thus understandable. The
error was immediately rectified by the said court upon realizing its mistake when it ruled
it was the Regional Trial Court which had the proper jurisdiction over the case. This
mistake should not operate to prejudice the interest of the state to prosecute criminal
offenses and, more importantly, the right of the offended party to obtain grievance.
Moreover, the doctrine in People vs. Olarte, as applied in later cases, was not
meant to apply solely to cases where the filing of the complaint with the municipal trial
court or the prosecutors office operates to interrupt the prescription period for the
prosecution of a crime.
In People vs. Galano[25], an information was filed with the Batangas Regional Trial
Court even though the evidence of both the prosecution and defense shows that the
crime was committed in Manila. This Court, applying People vs. Olarte, held that it was
only when the trial court dismissed the case due to lack of jurisdiction that the
proceedings therein terminated without conviction and acquittal and it was only then that
the prescriptive period (which was interrupted during the during the pendency of the
case in the Batangas Court) commenced to run again.
In People vs. Enrile[26], informations were filed against civilians before military
tribunals which had no jurisdiction over the persons of these civilians. These civilians
questioned the re-filing of the cases against them before the civil courts raising, among
others, that the crimes for which they are being charged have already prescribed. This
Court, applying by analogy the ruling in the Olarte case, threw out the defense of
prescription and held that the filing of the first indictments suspended the running of the
prescriptive period, and the prosecutions under the informations to be filed should be
regarded as mere continuations of the previous proceedings. At the very least, the
Court ruled, the filing of the first charges should be considered as having interrupted the
prescriptive period notwithstanding the lack of jurisdiction of the military tribunal in which
they were filed.
More recently, in the case of Reodica vs. Court of Appeals[27], an information for
reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property with slight physical injuries was
filed with the Regional Trial Court even though the offense was within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the municipal trial court. The Court, even as it dismissed the cases
pending before the Regional Trial Court for lack of jurisdiction, disregarded the defense
of prescription raised by the accused. The Court, citing Olarte and the subsequent
cases of Francisco vs. Court of Appeals[28] andPeople vs. Cuaresma[29], ruled that the
prescriptive period for the quasi offenses in question was interrupted by the filing of the
complaint with the fiscals office three days after the vehicular mishap and remained
tolled pending the termination of the case.

From these cases, it is clear that the Apellate Court committed no reversible error in
ruling that the offense of libel charged against petitioner had not yet prescribed. The
period of prescription for the crime was interrupted when the complaint was lodged with
the Office of the City Prosecutor and remained tolled pending the termination of the
case against petitioner.Branch 218 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, therefore,
correctly assumed jurisdiction over the case of petitioner as the offense of libel for which
she was being charged has not yet prescribed.
Petitioners other argument that she has been denied her right to a speedy trial
deserves scant consideration. Well-established is the doctrine that the right to a speedy
trial is violated only where there is an unreasonable, vexatious and oppressive delay
without participation or fault of the accused, or when unjustified postponements are
sought which prolong the trial for an unreasonable length of time [30]. In the case at
bench, besides the filing of the petitions before the Court of Appeals and this Court,
petitioner had likewise filed a Motion to Quash and a Motion for Reconsideration with
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 218. As such, it is clear that petitioner is
not without fault in the delay in the prosecution of the case against her.
Wherefore, the petition is hereby DENIED, and the decision of the Court of Appeals
dated May 1, 1999 is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

People vs Bautista 2007


G.R. No. 168641

April 27, 2007

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,


vs.
CLEMENTE BAUTISTA, Respondent.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by the People of the Philippines
assailing the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated June 22, 2005 in CA-G.R. SP
No. 72784, reversing the Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 19, Manila
and dismissing the criminal case for slight physical injuries against respondent on the
ground that the offense charged had already prescribed.
The undisputed facts are as follows.
On June 12, 1999, a dispute arose between respondent and his co-accused Leonida
Bautista, on one hand, and private complainant Felipe Goyena, Jr., on the other.

Private complainant filed a Complaint with the Office of the Barangay of Malate, Manila,
but no settlement was reached. The barangay chairman then issued a Certification to
file action dated August 11, 1999.2
On August 16, 1999, private complainant filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor
(OCP) a Complaint for slight physical injuries against herein respondent and his coaccused. After conducting the preliminary investigation, Prosecutor Jessica Junsay-Ong
issued a Joint Resolution dated November 8, 1999 recommending the filing of an
Information against herein respondent. Such recommendation was approved by the City
Prosecutor, represented by First Assistant City Prosecutor Eufrocino A. Sulla, but the
date of such approval cannot be found in the records. The Information was, however,
filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila, Branch 28 only on June 20,
2000.
Respondent sought the dismissal of the case against him on the ground that by the time
the Information was filed, the 60-day period of prescription from the date of the
commission of the crime, that is, on June 12, 1999 had already elapsed. The MeTC
ruled that the offense had not yet prescribed.
Respondent elevated the issue to the RTC via a Petition for Certiorari, but the RTC
denied said petition and concurred with the opinion of the MeTC.
Respondent then filed a Petition for Certiorari with the CA. On June 22, 2005, the CA
rendered its Decision wherein it held that, indeed, the 60-day prescriptive period was
interrupted when the offended party filed a Complaint with the OCP of Manila on August
16, 1999. Nevertheless, the CA concluded that the offense had prescribed by the time
the Information was filed with the MeTC, reasoning as follows:
In the case on hand, although the approval of the Joint Resolution of ACP Junsay-Ong
bears no date, it effectively terminated the proceedings at the OCP. Hence, even if the
10-day period for the CP or ACP Sulla, his designated alter ego, to act on the resolution
is extended up to the utmost limit, it ought not have been taken as late as the last day of
the year 1999. Yet, the information was filed with the MeTC only on June 20, 2000, or
already nearly six (6) months into the next year. To use once again the language of
Article 91 of the RPC, the proceedings at the CPO was "unjustifiably stopped for
any reason not imputable to him (the accused)" for a time very much more than
the prescriptive period of only two (2) months. The offense charged had, therefore,
already prescribed when filed with the court on June 20, 2000. x x x 3 (Emphasis
supplied)
The dispositive portion of the assailed CA Decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, we hereby REVERSE and SET ASIDE the appealed Orders of both
courts below and Criminal Case No. 344030-CR, entitled: "People of the Philippines,
Plaintiff, -versus- Clemente Bautista and Leonida Bautista, Accused," is
ordered DISMISSED. Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.4
Petitioner now comes before this Court seeking the reversal of the foregoing CA
Decision. The Court gives due course to the petition notwithstanding the fact that
petitioner did not file a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision of the CA before the
filing of herein petition. It is not a condition sine qua non for the filing of a petition for
review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 5
The Court finds merit in the petition.
It is not disputed that the filing of the Complaint with the OCP effectively interrupted the
running of the 60-day prescriptive period for instituting the criminal action for slight
physical injuries. However, the sole issue for resolution in this case is whether the
prescriptive period began to run anew after the investigating prosecutors
recommendation to file the proper criminal information against respondent was
approved by the City Prosecutor.
The answer is in the negative.
Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code provides thus:
Art. 91. Computation of prescription of offenses. - The period of prescription shall
commence to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party,
the authorities, or their agents, and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or
information, and shall commence to run again when such proceedings terminate
without the accused being convicted or acquitted, or are unjustifiably stopped for
any reason not imputable to him.
The term of prescription shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philipppine
Archipelago. (Emphasis supplied)
The CA and respondent are of the view that upon approval of the investigating
prosecutor's recommendation for the filing of an information against respondent, the
period of prescription began to run again. The Court does not agree. It is a well-settled
rule that the filing of the complaint with the fiscals office suspends the running of the
prescriptive period.6
The proceedings against respondent was not terminated upon the City Prosecutor's
approval of the investigating prosecutor's recommendation that an information be filed
with the court. The prescriptive period remains tolled from the time the complaint was
filed with the Office of the Prosecutor until such time that respondent is either convicted
or acquitted by the proper court.
The Office of the Prosecutor miserably incurred some delay in filing the information but
such mistake or negligence should not unduly prejudice the interests of the State and
the offended party. As held in People v. Olarte,7 it is unjust to deprive the injured party of

the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are not under his control. All that
the victim of the offense may do on his part to initiate the prosecution is to file the
requisite complaint.8
The constitutional right of the accused to a speedy trial cannot be invoked by the
petitioner in the present petition considering that the delay occurred not in the conduct
of preliminary investigation or trial in court but in the filing of the Information after the
City Prosecutor had approved the recommendation of the investigating prosecutor to file
the information.
The Office of the Solicitor General does not offer any explanation as to the delay in the
filing of the information. The Court will not be made as an unwitting tool in the
deprivation of the right of the offended party to vindicate a wrong purportedly inflicted on
him by the mere expediency of a prosecutor not filing the proper information in due time.
The Court will not tolerate the prosecutors apparent lack of a sense of urgency in
fulfilling their mandate. Under the circumstances, the more appropriate course of action
should be the filing of an administrative disciplinary action against the erring public
officials.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 72784 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the Decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 02-103990 is hereby REINSTATED.
Let the Secretary of the Department of Justice be furnished a copy of herein Decision
for appropriate action against the erring officials.
SO ORDERED.
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
Brocka et al vs Enrile

Salonga vs Pano
G.R. 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.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


The petitioner invokes the constitutionally protected right to life and liberty guaranteed
by the due process clause, alleging that no prima facie case has been established to
warrant the filing of an information for subversion against him. Petitioner asks this Court
to prohibit and prevent the respondents from using the iron arm of the law to harass,
oppress, and persecute him, a member of the democratic opposition in the Philippines.
The background of this case is a matter of public knowledge.
A rash of bombings occurred in the Metro Manila area in the months of August,
September and October of 1980. On September 6, 1980, one Victor Burns Lovely, Jr., a
Philippine-born American citizen from Los Angeles, California, almost killed himself and
injured his younger brother, Romeo, as a result of the explosion of a small bomb inside
his room at the YMCA building in Manila. Found in Lovely's possession by police and
military authorities were several pictures taken sometime in May, 1980 at the birthday
party of former Congressman Raul Daza held at the latter's residence in a Los Angeles
suburb. Petitioner Jovito R. Salonga and his wife were among those whose likenesses
appeared in the group pictures together with other guests, including Lovely.
As a result of the serious injuries he suffered, Lovely was brought by military and police
authorities to the AFP Medical Center (V. Luna Hospital) where he was placed in the
custody and detention of Col. Roman P. Madella, under the over-all direction of General
Fabian Ver, head of the National Intelligence and Security Authority (NISA). Shortly
afterwards, Mr. Lovely and his two brothers, Romeo and Baltazar Lovely were charged
with subversion, illegal possession of explosives, and damage to property.
On September 12, 1980, bombs once again exploded in Metro Manila including one
which resulted in the death of an American lady who was shopping at Rustan's
Supermarket in Makati and others which caused injuries to a number of persons.
On September 20, 1980, the President's anniversary television radio press conference
was broadcast. The younger brother of Victor Lovely, Romeo, was presented during the
conference. In his interview, Romeo stated that he had driven his elder brother, Victor,
to the petitioner's house in Greenhills on two occasions. The first time was on August
20, 1980. Romeo stated that Victor did not bring any bag with him on that day when he
went to the petitioner's residence and did not carry a bag when he left. The second time
was in the afternoon of August 31, 1980 when he brought Victor only to the gate of the
petitioner's house. Romeo did not enter the petitioner's residence. Neither did he return
that day to pick up his brother.

The next day, newspapers came out with almost Identical headlines stating in effect that
petitioner had been linked to the various bombings in Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, on September 25, 1980, Lovely was taken out of the hospital's intensive
care unit and transferred to the office of Col. Madella where he was held
incommunicado for some time.
On the night of October 4, 1980, more bombs were reported to have exploded at three
big hotels in Metro Manila, namely: Philippine Plaza, Century Park Sheraton and Manila
Peninsula. The bombs injured nine people. A meeting of the General Military Council
was called for October 6, 1980.
On October 19, 1980, minutes after the President had finished delivering his speech
before the International Conference of the American Society of Travel Agents at the
Philippine International Convention Center, a small bomb exploded. Within the next
twenty-four hours, arrest, search, and seizure orders (ASSOs) were issued against
persons who were apparently implicated by Victor Lovely in the series of bombings in
Metro Manila. One of them was herein petitioner. Victor Lovely offered himself to be a
"state witness" and in his letter to the President, he stated that he will reveal everything
he knows about the bombings.
On October 21, 1980, elements of the military went to the hospital room of the petitioner
at the Manila Medical Center where he was confined due to his recurrent and chronic
ailment of bronchial asthma and placed him under arrest. The arresting officer showed
the petitioner the ASSO form which however did not specify the charge or charges
against him. For some time, the petitioner's lawyers were not permitted to visit him in his
hospital room until this Court in the case of Ordoez v. Gen. Fabian Ver, et al., (G.R.
No. 55345, October 28, 1980) issued an order directing that the petitioner's right to be
visited by counsel be respected.
On November 2, 1980, the petitioner was transferred against his objections from his
hospital arrest to an isolation room without windows in an army prison camp at Fort
Bonifacio, Makati. The petitioner states that he was not informed why he was
transferred and detained, nor was he ever investigated or questioned by any military or
civil authority.
Subsequently, on November 27, 1980, the petitioner was released for humanitarian
reasons from military custody and placed "under house arrest in the custody of Mrs.
Lydia Salonga" still without the benefit of any investigation or charges.
On December 10, 1980, the Judge Advocate General sent the petitioner a "Notice of
Preliminary Investigation" inPeople v. Benigno Aquino, Jr., et al. (which included
petitioner as a co-accused), stating that "the preliminary investigation of the aboveentitled case has been set at 2:30 o'clock p.m. on December 12, 1980" and that
petitioner was given ten (10) days from receipt of the charge sheet and the supporting
evidence within which to file his counter-evidence. The petitioner states that up to the

time martial law was lifted on January 17, 1981, and despite assurance to the contrary,
he has not received any copies of the charges against him nor any copies of the socalled supporting evidence.
On February 9, 1981, the records of the case were turned over by the Judge Advocate
General's Office to the Ministry of Justice.
On February 24, 1981, the respondent City Fiscal filed a complaint accusing petitioner,
among others of having violated Republic Act No. 1700, as amended by P.D. 885 and
Batas Pambansa Blg. 31 in relation to Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code. The
inquest court set the preliminary investigation for March 17, 1981.
On March 6, 1981, the petitioner was allowed to leave the country to attend a series of
church conferences and undergo comprehensive medical examinations of the heart,
stomach, liver, eye and ear including a possible removal of his left eye to save his right
eye. Petitioner Salonga almost died as one of the principal victims of the dastardly
bombing of a Liberal Party rally at Plaza Miranda on August 20, 1971. Since then, he
has suffered serious disabilities. The petitioner was riddled with shrapnel and pieces still
remain in various parts of his body. He has an AV fistula caused by a piece of shrapnel
lodged one millimeter from his aorta. The petitioner has limited use of his one remaining
hand and arms, is completely blind and physical in the left eye, and has scar like
formations in the remaining right eye. He is totally deaf in the right ear and partially deaf
in the left ear. The petitioner's physical ailments led him to seek treatment abroad.
On or around March 26, 1981, the counsel for petitioner was furnished a copy of an
amended complaint signed by Gen. Prospero Olivas, dated March 12, 1981, charging
the petitioner, along with 39 other accused with the violation of R.A. 1700, as amended
by P.D. 885, Batas Pambansa Blg. 31 and P.D. 1736. Hearings for preliminary
investigation were conducted. The prosecution presented as its witnesses Ambassador
Armando Fernandez, the Consul General of the Philippines in Los Angeles, California,
Col. Balbino Diego, PSC/NISA Chief, Investigation and Legal Panel of the Presidential
Security Command and Victor Lovely himself.
On October 15, 1981, the counsel for petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the charges
against petitioner for failure of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case against
him.
On December 2, 1981, the respondent judge denied the motion. On January 4, 1982,
he issued a resolution ordering the filing of an information for violation of the Revised
Anti-Subversion Act, as amended, against forty (40) people, including herein petitioner.
The resolutions of the respondent judge dated December 2, 1981 and January 4, 1982
are now the subject of the petition. It is the contention of the petitioner that no prima
facie case has been established by the prosecution to justify the filing of an information
against him. He states that to sanction his further prosecution despite the lack of

evidence against him would be to admit that no rule of law exists in the Philippines
today.
After a painstaking review of the records, this Court finds the evidence offered by the
prosecution utterly insufficient to establish a prima facie case against the petitioner. We
grant the petition.
However, before going into the merits of the case, we shall pass upon a procedural
issue raised by the respondents.
The respondents call for adherence to the consistent rule that the denial of a motion to
quash or to dismiss, being interlocutory in character, cannot be questioned by certiorari;
that since the question of dismissal will again be considered by the court when it
decides the case, the movant has a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
course of law; and that public interest dictates that criminal prosecutions should not be
enjoined.
The general rule is correctly stated. However, the respondents fail to appreciate or take
into account certain exceptions when a petition for certiorari is clearly warranted. The
case at bar is one such exception.
In the case of Mead v. Angel (115 SCRA 256) the same contentions were advanced by
the respondents to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
... Respondents advert to the rule that when a motion to quash filed by an
accused in a criminal case shall be denied, the remedy of the accusedmovant is not to file a petition for certiorari or mandamus or prohibition, the
proper recourse being to go to trial, without prejudice to his right to
reiterate the grounds invoked in his motion to quash if an adverse
judgment is rendered against him, in the appeal that he may take
therefrom in the manner authorized by law. (Mill v. People, et al., 101 Phil.
599;Echarol v. Purisima, et al., 13 SCRA 309.)
On this argument, we ruled:
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."
Infinitely more important than conventional adherence to general rules of criminal
procedure is respect for the citizen's right to be free not only from arbitrary arrest and

punishment but also from unwarranted and vexatious prosecution. The integrity of a
democratic society is corrupted if a person is carelessly included in the trial of around
forty persons when on the very face of the record no evidence linking him to the alleged
conspiracy exists. Ex-Senator Jovito Salonga, himself a victim of the still unresolved
and heinous Plaza Miranda bombings, was arrested at the Manila Medical Center while
hospitalized for bronchial asthma. When arrested, he was not informed of the nature of
the charges against him. Neither was counsel allowed to talk to him until this Court
intervened through the issuance of an order directing that his lawyers be permitted to
visit him (Ordonez v. Gen. Fabian Ver, et al., G.R. No. 55345, October 28, 1980). Only
after four months of detention was the petitioner informed for the first time of the nature
of the charges against him. After the preliminary investigation, the petitioner moved to
dismiss the complaint but the same was denied. Subsequently, the respondent judge
issued a resolution ordering the filing of an information after finding that a prima facie
case had been established against an of the forty persons accused.
In the light of the failure to show prima facie that the petitioner was probably guilty of
conspiring to commit the crime, the initial disregard of petitioner's constitutional rights
together with the massive and damaging publicity made against him, justifies the
favorable consideration of this petition by this Court. With former Senator Benigno
Aquino, Jr. now deceased, there are at least 38 other co-accused to be tried with the
petitioner. The prosecution must present proof beyond reasonable doubt against each
and every one of the 39 accused, most of whom have varying participations in the
charge for subversion. The prosecution's star witness Victor Lovely and the only source
of information with regard to the alleged link between the petitioner and the series of
terrorist bombings is now in the United States. There is reason to believe the petitioner's
citation of international news dispatches * that the prosecution may find it difficult if not
infeasible to bring him back to the Philippines to testify against the petitioner. If Lovely
refused to testify before an American federal grand jury how could he possibly be made
to testify when the charges against the respondent come up in the course of the trial
against the 39 accused. Considering the foregoing, we find it in the interest of justice to
resolve at this stage the issue of whether or not the respondent judge gravely abused
his discretion in issuing the questioned resolutions.
The respondents contend that the prosecution will introduce additional evidence during
the trial and if the evidence, by then, is not sufficient to prove the petitioner's guilt, he
would anyway be acquitted. Yes, but under the circumstances of this case, at what cost
not only to the petitioner but to the basic fabric of our criminal justice system?
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 counter-balance 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?
We do not think so.

The records reveal that in finding a case against the petitioner, the respondent judge
relied only on the testimonies of Col. Balbino Diego and Victor Lovely. Ambassador
Armando Fernandez, when called upon to testify on subversive organizations in the
United States nowhere mentioned the petitioner as an organizer, officer or member of
the Movement for Free Philippines (MFP), or any of the organizations mentioned in the
complaint. Col. Diego, on the other hand, when asked what evidence he was able to
gather against the petitioner depended only on the statement of Lovely "that it was the
residence of ex-Senator Salonga where they met together with Renato Taada, one of
the brains of the bombing conspiracy ... and the fact that Sen. Salonga has been
meeting with several subversive personnel based in the U.S.A. was also revealed to me
by Victor Burns Lovely; 11 and on the group pictures taken at former Congressman Raul
Daza's birthday party. In concluding that a conspiracy exists to overthrow by violent
means the government of the Philippines in the United States, his only bases were
"documentary as well as physical and sworn statements that were referred to me or
taken by me personally," which of course negate personal knowledge on his part. When
asked by the court how he would categorize petitioner in any of the subversive
organizations, whether petitioner was an organizer, officer or a member, the witness
replied:
A. To categorize former Senator Salonga if he were an organizer, he is an
officer or he is a member, your Honor, please, we have to consider the
surrounding circumstances and on his involvement: first, Senator Salonga
wanted always to travel to the United States at least once a year or more
often under the pretext of to undergo some sort of operation and
participate in some sort of seminar. (t.s.n., April 21, 1981, pp- 14-15)
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 cross-examined on the facts
stated therein. (See People v. Labinia, 115 SCRA 223; People v. Valero, 112 SCRA
661). Moreover, 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.
Lovely's account of the petitioner's involvement with the former's bombing mission is
found in his sworn statement made before Col. Diego and Lt. Col. Madella and taken on
October 17, 1980 at the AFP Medical Center. Lovely was not presented as a
prosecution or state witness but only as a defense witness for his two younger brothers,
Romeo and Baltazar, who were both included in the complaint but who were later
dropped from the information. Victor Lovely was examined by his counsel and crossexamined by the fiscal. In the process, he Identified the statement which he made
before Col. Diego and Lt. Col. Madella. After Lovely's testimony, the prosecution made a
manifestation before the court that it was adopting Lovely as a prosecution witness.

According to Lovely's statement, the following events took place:


36. Q. Did Psinakis tell you where to stay?
A. Yes, at first he told me to check-in at Manila Hotel or the
Plaza Hotel where somebody would come to contact me and
give the materials needed in the execution of my mission. I
thought this was not safe so I disagreed with him. Mr.
Psinakis changed the plan and instead told me to visit the
residence of Ex-Sen. Jovito Salonga as often as I can and
someone will meet me there to give the materials I needed
to accomplish my mission
37. Q. Did you comply as instructed?
A. Yes, I arrived in Manila on August 20, 1980 and stayed at
the residence of Mr. Johnny Chua, husband of my business
partner, then I went to the Hospital where I visited my mother
and checked-in at Room 303 of the YMCA at Concepcion
Street, Manila.
38. Q. Did you visit the residence of former Senator Jovito
Salonga as directed by Psinakis?
A. I visited Sen. Salonga's place three (3) times, the first visit
was August 20 or 21, and the last was 4:00 P.M. of August
31, 1980. In addition to these visits, I TALKED to him on the
phone about three or four times. On my first visit, I told him "I
am expecting an attache case from somebody which will be
delivered to your house," for which Sen. Salonga replied
"Wala namang nagpunta dito at wala namang attache case
para sa iyo." However, if your attache case arrives, I'll just
call you." I gave him my number. On my second visit,
Salonga said, "I'll be very busy so just come back on the
31st of August at 4 P.M." On that date, I was with friends at
Batulao Resort and had to hurry back to be at Salonga's
place for the appointment. I arrived at Salonga's place at
exactly 4 P.M.
39. Q. What happened then?
A. I was ushered to the sala by Mrs. Salonga and after five
minutes, Sen. Salonga joined me in the sala. Sen. Salonga
informed me that somebody will be coming to give me the
attache case but did not tell me the name.

40. Q. Are there any subject matters you discuss while


waiting for that somebody to deliver your materials?
A. Yes, Salonga asked if Sen. Aquino and I have met, I
explained to him the efforts of Raul Daza in setting up that
meeting but I have previous business commitments at
Norfolk, Virginia. I told him, however, that through the efforts
of Raul Daza, I was able to talk with Ninoy Aquino in the
airport telephone booth in San Francisco. He also asked
about Raul Daza, Steve Psinakis and the latest opposition
group activities but it seems he is well informed.
41. Q. How long did you wait until that somebody arrived?
A. About thirty (30) minutes.
41. Q. What happened when the man arrived?
A. This man arrived and I was greatly surprised to see Atty.
Renato Taada Jovy Salonga was the one who met him and
as I observed parang nasa sariling bahay si Taada nung
dumating. They talked for five (5) minutes in very low tones
so I did not hear what they talked about. After their
whispering conversations, Sen. Salonga left and at this time
Atty. "Nits" Taada told me "Nasa akin ang kailangan mo,
nasa kotse."
43. Q. Were the materials given to you?
A. When Sen. Salonga came back, we asked to be permitted
to leave and I rode in Atty. "Nits" Taadas old Pontiac car
colored dirty brown and proceeded to Broadway Centrum
where before I alighted, Atty. Taada handed me a "Puma"
bag containing all the materials I needed.
xxx xxx xxx
45. Q. What were the contents of the Puma bag?
A. Ten (10) pieces of Westclox pocket watch with screw and
wirings, ten (10) pieces electrical blasting caps 4" length, ten
(10) pieces non-electrical blasting caps 1 " length, nine (9)
pieces volts dry cell battery, two (2) improvised electrical
testers. ten (10) plastic packs of high explosive about 1
pound weight each.

However, in his interview with Mr. Ronnie Nathanielz which was aired on Channel 4 on
November 8, 1980 and which was also offered as evidence by the accused, Lovely
gave a different story which negates the above testimony insofar as the petitioner's
participation was concerned:
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Who were the people that you contacted in Manila and for
what purpose?
A. Before I left for the Philippines, Mr. Psinakis told me to
check in at the Manila Hotel or the Plaza Hotel, and
somebody would just deliver the materials I would need. I
disapproved of this, and I told him I would prefer a place that
is familiar to me or who is close to me. Mr. Psinakis
suggested the residence of Sen. Salonga.
And so, I arrived in Manila on August 20, 1980, 1 made a call
to Sen. Salonga, but he was out. The next day I made a call
again. I was able to contact him. I made an appointment t 
see him. I went to Sen. Salonga's house the following day. I
asked Sen. Salonga if someone had given him an attache
case for me. He said nobody. Afterwards, I made three calls
to Sen. Salonga. Sen. Salonga told me "call me again on the
31st of August. I did not call him, I just went to his house on
the 31st of August at 4 P.M. A few minutes after my arrival
Atty. Renato Taada arrived. When he had a chance to be
near me, he (Atty. Tanada) whispered to me that he had the
attache case and the materials I needed in his car. These
materials were given to me by Atty. Tanada When I alighted
at the Broadway Centrum. (Emphasis supplied)
During the cross-examination, counsel for petitioner asked Lovely about the so-called
destabilization plan which the latter mentioned in his sworn statement:
Q. You mentioned in your statement taken on October 17,
1980, marked Exhibit "G" about the so-called destabilization
plan of Aquino. When you attended the birthday party of
Raul Daza wherein Jovito Salonga was also present, was
this destabilization plan as alleged by you already
formulated?
WITNESS:
A. Not to my knowledge.

COURT TO WITNESS:
Q. Mr. Witness, who invited you to the party?
A. Raul Daza, your Honor.
Q. Were you told that Mr. Salonga would be present in the
party.
A. I am really not quite sure, your Honor.
Q. Alright. You said initially it was social but then it became
political. Was there any political action taken as a result of
the party?
A. Only political discussion, your Honor. (TSN, July 8, 1981,
pp. 69-84).
Counsel for petitioner also asked Lovely whether in view of the latter's awareness of the
physical condition of petitioner, he really implicated petitioner in any of the bombings
that occurred in Metro Manila. The fiscal objected without stating any ground. In
sustaining the objection, the Court said:
Sustained . . . The use of the word 'implicate' might expand the role of Mr.
Salonga. In other words, you are widening the avenue of Mr. Salonga's
role beyond the participation stated in the testimony of this witness about
Mr. Salonga, at least, as far as the evidence is concerned, I supposed, is
only being in the house of Mr. Salonga which was used as the contact
point. He never mentions Mr. Salonga about the bombings. Now these
words had to be put in the mouth of this witness. That would be unfair to
Mr. Salonga. (TSN. July 8, 1981, p. 67)
Respondent judge further said:
COURT:
As the Court said earlier, the parts or portions affecting
Salonga only refers to the witness coming to Manila already
then the matter of . . . I have gone over the statement and
there is no mention of Salonga insofar as activities in the
United States is concerned. I don't know why it concerns this
cross-examination.
ATTY. YAP:

Because according to him, it was in pursuance of the plan


that he came to Manila.
COURT:
According to him it was Aquino, Daza, and Psinakis who
asked him to come here, but Salonga was introduced only
when he (Lovely) came here. Now, the tendency of the
question is also to connect Salonga to the activities in the
United States. It seems to be the thrust of the questions.
COURT:
In other words, the point of the Court as of the time when
you asked him question, the focus on Salonga was only from
the time when he met Salonga at Greenhills. It was the first
time that the name of Salonga came up. There was no
mention of Salonga in the formulation of the destabilization
plan as affirmed by him. But you are bringing this up
although you are only cross-examining for Salonga as if his
(Lovely's) activities in the United States affected Salonga.
(TSN. July 8, 1981, pp. 73-74).
Apparently, the respondent judge wanted to put things in proper perspective by limiting
the petitioner's alleged "participation" in the bombing mission only to the fact that
petitioner's house was used as a "contact point" between Lovely and Taada, which
was all that Lovely really stated in his testimony.
However, in the questioned resolution dated December 2, 1981, the respondent judge
suddenly included the "activities" of petitioner in the United States as his basis for
denying the motion to dismiss:
On the activities of Salonga in the United States, the witness, Lovely, in
one of his statements declared: 'To the best of my recollection he
mentioned of some kind of violent struggle in the Philippines being most
likely should reforms be not instituted by President Marcos immediately.
It is therefore clear that the prosecution's evidence has established facts
and circumstances sufficient for a finding that excludes a Motion to
Dismiss by respondent Salonga. The Movement for Free Philippines is
undoubtedly a force born on foreign soil it appears to rely on the resources
of foreign entities, and is being (sic) on gaining ascendancy in the
Philippines with the use of force and for that purpose it has linked itself
with even communist organizations to achieve its end. It appears to rely
on aliens for its supporters and financiers.

The jump from the "contact point" theory to the conclusion of involvement in subversive
activities in the United States is not only inexplicable but without foundation.
The respondents admit that no evidence was presented directly linking petitioner
Salonga to actual acts of violence or terrorism. There is no proof of his direct
participation in any overt acts of subversion. However, he is tagged as a leader of
subversive organizations for two reasons(1) Because his house was used as a "contactpoint"; and
(2) Because "he mentioned some kind of violent struggle in the Philippines being most
likely should reforms be not instituted by President Marcos immediately."
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.
The testimony of Victor Lovely against petitioner Salonga is full of inconsistencies.
Senator Salonga and Atty. Renato Taada could not have whispered to one another
because the petitioner is almost totally deaf. Lovely could not have met Senator
Salonga at a Manglapus party in Washington, D.C. in 1977 because the petitioner left
for the United States only on November, 1978. Senator Salonga denies having known
Mr. Lovely in the United States or in the Philippines. He states that he has hundred of
visitors from week to week in his residence but cannot recall any Victor Lovely.
The presence of Lovely in a group picture taken at Mr. Raul Daza's 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.
It is likewise probable that a national figure and former politician of Senator Salonga's
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 Lovely's testimony and dismiss the refutations and arguments of the
petitioner, the prosecution evidence is still inadequate to establish a prima facie finding.
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 memo meretur. And as the late Justice Oliver W. Holmes
stated in the case of U.S. v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644, " ... if there is any principle of
the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the
principle of free thought not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the
thought that we hate."
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.
The United States Supreme Court in Noto v. United States (367 U.S. 290) distinguished
between the abstract teaching of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a
resort to force and violence and speech which would prepare a group for violent action
and steel it to such action. In Watts v. United States (394 U.S. 705), the American court
distinguished between criminal threats and constitutionally protected speech.
It stated:
We do not believe that the kind of political hyperbole indulged in by
petitioner fits within that statutory term. For we must interpret the language
Congress chose against the background of a profound national
commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be
uninhibited, robust, and wide open and that it may well include vehement,
caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and
public officials. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (376 U.S. 254). The
language of the political arena, like the language used in labor disputed is
often vituperative abusive, and inexact. We agree with petitioner that his
only offense was a kind of very crude offensive method of stating a
political opposition to the President.

In the case before us, there is no teaching of the moral propriety of a resort to violence,
much less an advocacy of force or a conspiracy to organize the use of force against the
duly constituted authorities. 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 forbid 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.
Political discussion even among those opposed to the present administration is within
the protective clause of freedom of speech and expression. The same cannot be
construed as subversive activities per se or as evidence of membership in a subversive
organization. Under Presidential Decree No. 885, Section 3, paragraph 6, political
discussion will only constitute, prima facie evidence of membership in a subversive
organization if such discussion amounts to:
(6) Conferring with officers or other members of such association or
organization in furtherance of any plan or enterprise thereof.
As stated earlier, the prosecution has failed to produce evidence that would establish
any link between petitioner and any subversive organization. Even if we lend credence
to Lovely's testimony that a political discussion took place at Daza's birthday party, no
proof whatsoever was adduced that such discussion was in furtherance of any plan to
overthrow the government through illegal means. The alleged opinion that violent
struggle is likely unless reforms are instituted by no means shows either advocacy of or
incitement to violence or furtherance of the objectives of a subversive organization.
Lovely also declared that he had nothing to do with the bombing on August 22, 1980,
which was the only bombing incident that occurred after his arrival in Manila on August
20, and before the YMCA explosion on September 6, 1980. (See TSN, pp. 63-63, July
8, 1981). He further testified that:
WITNESS:
Actually, it was not my intention to do some kind of bombing
against the government. My bombing mission was directed
against the particular family (referring to the Cabarrus family
[TSN, p. 11, July 9, 1981] [Rollo, p. 10].
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 answer charged in the first

place. The respondent judge also asked Lovely about the possible relation between
Cabarrus and petitioner:
COURT:
Q. Did you suspect any relation between Cabarrus and
Jovito Salonga, why did you implicate Jovito Salonga?
A. No, your Honor. I did not try to implicate Salonga.
It should be noted that after Lovely's testimony, the prosecution manifested to the court
that it was adopting him as a prosecution witness. Therefore, the prosecution became
irreversively bound by Lovely's 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.
The respondent court should have taken these factors into consideration before
concluding that a prima facie case exists against the petitioner. Evidence must not only
proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible in itself such as the
common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the
circumstances. (People v. Dayad, 56 SCRA 439). In the case at bar, the prosecution
cannot even present a credible version of the petitioner's role in the bombings even if it
ignores the subsequent disclaimers of Lovely and without relying on mere affidavits
including those made by Lovely during his detention.
The resolution dated January 4, 1982 suffers from the same defect. In this resolution,
Lovely's previous declarations about the bombings as part of the alleged destabilization
plan and the people behind the same were accorded such credibility by the respondent
judge as if they had already been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
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 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).
The Court had already deliberated on this case, a consensus on the Court's judgment
had been arrived at, and a draft ponencia was circulating for concurrences and separate
opinions, if any, when on January 18, 1985, respondent Judge Rodolfo Ortiz granted the
motion of respondent City Fiscal Sergio Apostol to drop the subversion case against the
petitioner. Pursuant to instructions of the Minister of Justice, the prosecution restudied
its evidence and decided to seek the exclusion of petitioner Jovito Salonga as one of
the accused in the information filed under the questioned resolution.
We were constrained by this action of the prosecution and the respondent Judge to
withdraw the draft ponencia from circulating for concurrences and signatures and to
place it once again in the Court's crowded agenda for further deliberations.
Insofar as the absence of a prima facie case to warrant the filing of subversion charges
is concerned, this decision has been rendered moot and academic by the action of the
prosecution.
Respondent Fiscal Sergio Apostol correctly points out, however, that he is not precluded
from filing new charges for the same acts because the petitioner has not been arraigned
and double jeopardy does not apply. in that sense, the case is not completely academic.
Recent developments in this case serve to focus attention on a not too well known
aspect of the Supreme Court's functions.
The setting aside or declaring void, in proper cases, of intrusions of State authority into
areas reserved by the Bill of Rights for the individual as constitutionally protected
spheres where even the awesome powers of Government may not enter at will is not
the totality of the Court's functions.
The Court also has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional
principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules. It has the symbolic function of educating bench
and bar on the extent of protection given by constitutional guarantees.

In dela Camara v. Enage (41 SCRA 1), the petitioner who questioned a P1,195,200.00
bail bond as excessive and, therefore, constitutionally void, escaped from the provincial
jail while his petition was pending. The petition became moot because of his escape but
we nonetheless rendered a decision and stated:
The fact that the case is moot and academic should not preclude this
Tribunal from setting forth in language clear and unmistakable, the
obligation of fidelity on the part of lower court judges to the unequivocal
command of the Constitution that excessive bail shall not be required.
In Gonzales v. Marcos (65 SCRA 624) whether or not the Cultural Center of the
Philippines could validly be created through an executive order was mooted by
Presidential Decree No. 15, the Center's new charter pursuant to the President's
legislative powers under martial law. Stan, this Court discussed the constitutional
mandate on the preservation and development of Filipino culture for national Identity.
(Article XV, Section 9, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution).
In the habeas corpus case of Aquino, Jr., v. Enrile, 59 SCRA 183), during the pendency
of the case, 26 petitioners were released from custody and one withdrew his petition.
The sole remaining petitioner was facing charges of murder, subversion, and illegal
possession of firearms. The fact that the petition was moot and academic did not
prevent this Court in the exercise of its symbolic function from promulgating one of the
most voluminous decisions ever printed in the Reports.
In this case, the respondents agree with our earlier finding that the prosecution
evidence miserably fails to establish a prima facie case against the petitioner, either as
a co-conspirator of a destabilization plan to overthrow the government or as an officer or
leader of any subversive organization. They have taken the initiative of dropping the
charges against the petitioner. We reiterate the rule, however, that this Court will not
validate the filing of an information based on the kind of evidence against the petitioner
found in the records.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for having become moot and academic.
SO ORDERED.
Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Melencio-Herrera, Plana,
Escolin, Relova and Cuevas, JJ., concur.
Aquino, De la Fuente and Alampay, JJ., took no part.

Separate Opinions

ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring


Del Castillo vs. Ponce Enrile, G.R. No. 62119, August 27, 1984, 131 SCRA 405, was a
petition for the writ of habeas corpus. Before this Court could finally act on the petition,
the subject was released and for that reason the majority of this Court resolved to
dismiss the petition for having become moot and academic. Justice Teehankee and the
undersigned disagreed with the majority; we expressed the view that despite the
release of the subject, the petition should have been resolved on the merits because it
posed important legal questions.
Babst et al. vs. National Intelligence Board, Special Committee No. 2, et al., G.R. No.
62992, Sept. 2, 1984, was a petition for prohibition to restrain the respondents from
interrogating the petitioners, members of the print media, on various aspects of their
works, feelings, sentiments, beliefs, associations and even their private lives. Again the
majority of this Court dismissed the petition because the assailed proceedings had
come to an end thereby rendering the petition moot and academic. In dismissing the
petition a short and mild note of concern was added. And again Justice Teehankee and
the undersigned disagreed with the majority. We expressed the view that this Court
should rule squarely on the matters raised in the petition rather than dismiss it for
having become moot and academic.
I am glad that this Court has abandoned its cavalier treatment of petitions by dismissing
them on the ground that they have become moot and academic and stopped there. I am
glad it has reverted to De la Camara vs. Enage, Gonzales vs. Marcos and Aquino v.
Enrile which are mentioned in the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez.
I agree with the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez that because the subversion charges
against the petitioner had been dropped by the trial court on January 18, 1985, there is
no longer any need to prohibit the respondents from prosecuting Criminal Case No. Q18606 insofar as he is concerned.
I am not revealing any confidential matter by saying that the initial action of this Court
was to grant the petition, i.e. prohibit the prosecution of the petitioner. This is manifest
from the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez. I regret that on this matter the Court has been
preempted by a "first strike" which has occurred once too often.
Justice Gutierrez states that, "The Court had already deliberated on this case, and a
consensus on the Court's judgment had been arrived at." Let me add that the
consensus had taken place as early as October 24, 1984, and the decision started to
circulate for signature on November 2, 1984. Alas, on January 18, 1985, the decision
was still circulating overtaken by events. The decision could have had a greater impact
had it been promulgated prior to the executive action.

Separate Opinions
ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring
Del Castillo vs. Ponce Enrile, G.R. No. 62119, August 27, 1984, 131 SCRA 405, was a
petition for the writ of habeas corpus. Before this Court could finally act on the petition,
the subject was released and for that reason the majority of this Court resolved to
dismiss the petition for having become moot and academic. Justice Teehankee and the
undersigned disagreed with the majority; we expressed the view that despite the
release of the subject, the petition should have been resolved on the merits because it
posed important legal questions.
Babst et al. vs. National Intelligence Board, Special Committee No. 2, et al., G.R. No.
62992, Sept. 2, 1984, was a petition for prohibition to restrain the respondents from
interrogating the petitioners, members of the print media, on various aspects of their
works, feelings, sentiments, beliefs, associations and even their private lives. Again the
majority of this Court dismissed the petition because the assailed proceedings had
come to an end thereby rendering the petition moot and academic. In dismissing the
petition a short and mild note of concern was added. And again Justice Teehankee and
the undersigned disagreed with the majority. We expressed the view that this Court
should rule squarely on the matters raised in the petition rather than dismiss it for
having become moot and academic.
I am glad that this Court has abandoned its cavalier treatment of petitions by dismissing
them on the ground that they have become moot and academic and stopped there. I am
glad it has reverted to De la Camara vs. Enage, Gonzales vs. Marcos and Aquino v.
Enrile which are mentioned in the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez.
I agree with the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez that because the subversion charges
against the petitioner had been dropped by the trial court on January 18, 1985, there is
no longer any need to prohibit the respondents from prosecuting Criminal Case No. Q18606 insofar as he is concerned.
I am not revealing any confidential matter by saying that the initial action of this Court
was to grant the petition, i.e. prohibit the prosecution of the petitioner. This is manifest
from the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez. I regret that on this matter the Court has been
preempted by a "first strike" which has occurred once too often.
Justice Gutierrez states that, "The Court had already deliberated on this case, and a
consensus on the Court's judgment had been arrived at." Let me add that the
consensus had taken place as early as October 24, 1984, and the decision started to
circulate for signature on November 2, 1984. Alas, on January 18, 1985, the decision

was still circulating overtaken by events. The decision could have had a greater impact
had it been promulgated prior to the executive action.
Footnotes
* In the Philippines Daily Express, dated December 8, 1981, Lovely was
quoted as having said in the United States that "I was not the bomber, I
was bombed."
Lovely, who was granted immunity in the United States, reportedly would
not testify before a San Francisco federal grand jury and instead said,
"Your Honor, I came back to tell what happened in the Philippines. I was
not the bomber, I was bombed."
The United Press International dispatch from San Francisco, U.S., written
by Spencer Sherman, gives a fuller account, thus:
With the grand jury present in the courtroom Lovely alleged it was
Philippine authorities who were responsible for his injuries. It was they, not
him, who placed the bomb in his hotel room, he said.
I came back to the States to tell what happened in the Philippines. I was
not the bomber. I was bombed. There are so many secrets that will come
out soon. I cannot (testify) even if I will be jailed for lifetime. I welcome
that."

UPO press
dispatch from

San Francisco
November 24,
The Philippine News, a San Francisco-based weekly, in its issue of
December 23, 1981, contains the same account, with the following words:
"Your Honor . . . I am not going to participate I was almost murdered. I
cannot continue. My friends were murdered before I came to the United
States . . . I came back to the United States to tell what happened in the
Philippines. I was not the bomber, I was bombed. There are many secrets
that will come out very soon I cannot. Even if I will be jailed for lifetime. I
welcome that."
People vs Grey 2010

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,

G.R. No. 180109

Petitioner,

Present:

CARPIO, J.,
Chairperson,
NACHURA,
- versus -

PERALTA,
ABAD, and
MENDOZA, JJ.

JOSEPH JOJO V. GREY, FRANCIS B. Promulgated:


GREY, and COURT OF APPEALSCEBU CITY, EIGHTEENTH
DIVISION,
July 26, 2010
Respondents.

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Before this Court is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court filed by the People of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG), seeking the nullification of the Court of Appeals (CA) (Cebu
City-Eighteenth
Division)
Resolution[1] dated
March
13,
2007,
[2]
[3]
Decision dated May 8, 2007, and Resolution dated October 8, 2007, in CAG.R. SP No. 02558, entitled Mayor Joseph Jojo V. Grey and Francis B. Grey v.

Hon. Roberto A. Navidad, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of


Calbayog City, Branch 32, and the People of the Philippines.

On December 11, 2006, an Information for Murder was filed against


respondent Joseph Grey, former Mayor of San Jorge, Samar; his son,
respondent Francis Grey; and two others for the death of Rolando Diocton, an
employee of the San Jorge municipal government, before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 41, Gandara, Samar. The Information was accompanied
by other supporting documents and a motion for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest.[4]

Respondents filed a petition for review with the Secretary of Justice.


Meanwhile, RTC Branch 41 Presiding Judge Rosario Bandal denied the motion
for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. Judge Bandal found the prosecutions
evidence to be insufficient to link respondents to the crime charged. She
directed the prosecution to present, within five days, additional evidence
that would show that accused were the assailants or that they conspired,
confederated, or helped in the commission of the crime charged. [5]

The prosecution then filed an Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and


a motion for the inhibition of Judge Bandal. [6] The judge inhibited herself but
denied the motion for reconsideration.[7]

Thereafter, the provincial prosecutor filed a petition for change of


venue before this Court, attaching thereto a letter from the victims wife
expressing fear for her life and that of the other witnesses.[8]

The Secretary of Justice, in a Resolution dated January 4, 2007,


dismissed the petition for review and respondents counter charge of perjury.
He found no error to warrant the modification or reversal of the prosecutors
resolution. The Secretary of Justice ruled that the evidence adduced against

respondents was sufficient to establish probable cause for the offense


charged. Respondents motion for reconsideration was denied on January 30,
2007.[9]

Subsequently, the prosecution withdrew their motion for change of


venue before this Court, citing financial difficulties in bringing witnesses
to Manila.[10] Respondents opposed the motion and prayed that all
proceedings be suspended until after the May 14, 2007 elections. [11]

However, on February 19, 2007, respondents filed their own petition


for change of venue before this Court, alleging that the presiding judge who
took over the case, Judge Roberto Navidad, was a pawn in the political
persecution being staged against them.[12] In its August 22, 2007 Resolution,
this Court denied the petition for lack of merit and directed Judge Navidad to
hear the case with dispatch.[13]

Accordingly, Judge Navidad proceeded with the preliminary inquiry on


the existence of probable cause, and, in an Order dated February 20, 2007,
ruled that the finding of probable cause was supported by the evidence on
record. He then issued warrants of arrest against respondents and all but one
of their co-accused.[14]

Respondents filed a Petition[15] for Certiorari and Prohibition before the


CA, alleging that Judge Navidad gravely abused his discretion in issuing the
February 20, 2007 Order, and seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO)
and/or a writ of preliminary injunction. They alleged that the filing of the
murder charges against them on the basis of perjured statements coming
from their political opponents supporters smacks of political harassment at
its foulest form.[16] Respondents pointed out that the criminal complaint was
filed barely two months after Joseph Grey declared his intentions to
challenge incumbent Congressman Reynaldo S. Uy, a former ally, in the May
2007 congressional elections. Likewise, respondents claimed that one of the

witnesses, Urien Moloboco, who executed an affidavit before the Provincial


Prosecutor, was the subject of an Alias Warrant of Arrest for murder issued by
the RTC of Gandara, Samar on June 26, 2006, and, hence, was a fugitive from
the law at the time of the filing of the criminal complaint against
respondents. Respondents maintain that the fact that Moloboco was not
arrested when he executed his affidavit before the prosecutor, spoke of the
power and clout of the witness protectors.[17]

The CA Eighteenth Division issued a TRO on March 13, 2007. [18] After
oral arguments, the CA issued a Decision [19] dated May 8, 2007, making the
TRO permanent, ordering that warrants of arrest be set aside, and dismissing
the criminal case without prejudice.

The CA held that Judge Navidad failed to abide by the constitutional


mandate for him to personally determine the existence of probable cause.
[20]
According to the CA, nowhere in the assailed Order did Judge Navidad
state his personal assessment of the evidence before him and the personal
justification for his finding of probable cause. It found that the judge
extensively quoted from the Joint Resolution of the Provincial Prosecutor and
the Resolution of the Secretary of Justice, and then adopted these to
conclude that there was sufficient evidence to support the finding of
probable cause. The CA held that the Constitution commands the judge to
personally determine the existence of probable cause before issuing
warrants of arrest.[21]

Moreover, the CA also ruled that the Information was not supported by
the allegations in the submitted affidavits. [22] It pointed out that the
Information charged respondents as principals by direct participation, but the
complaint-affidavit and supporting affidavits uniformly alleged that
respondents were not at the scene of the shooting. [23] The CA further found
that the allegations in the complaint-affidavit and supporting affidavits were
insufficient to establish probable cause. It said that there was nothing in the

affidavits to show acts that would support the prosecutions theory that
respondents were also charged as principals by conspiracy. [24]

Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the CAs May 8, 2007 Decision


was denied in a Resolution dated October 8, 2007. [25] Hence, this petition for
review.

Petitioner argues that respondents committed forum shopping, which


would warrant the outright dismissal of their petition below. Petitioner alleges
that respondents petition for change of venue before this Court and their
petition for prohibition before the CA actually involve the same subject
matter, parties, and issues that of enjoining Judge Navidad from proceeding
with the trial of the criminal case against them.[26] Moreover, these two
proceedings have resulted in conflicting decisions, with this Court resolving
to proceed with the case and with the CA enjoining the same.[27]

Petitioner also argues against the CAs ruling that Judge Navidad failed
to personally determine the existence of probable cause. It said that
although the judge adopted the findings of the prosecutors as to the
sufficiency of evidence constituting probable cause, the language of the
Order clearly reflects that the judge himself personally examined the records
and found that there was probable cause for the issuance of warrants of
arrest.[28] Moreover, the judge was correct in finding probable cause based on
the sworn statements of the witnesses submitted to the court. [29] Petitioner
avers that the CA disregarded the fact that the Information alleged
conspiracy.[30] In any case, petitioner asserts that a perceived defect in the
Information is not jurisdictional as the same may be amended anytime
before arraignment or with leave of court after arraignment. [31]

Petitioner also claims that respondents had not shown any clear
and unmistakable right to the relief they sought. It said that there are more
than enough plain, speedy, and adequate remedies available to respondents.

Their constitutional rights are amply protected in the enforcement of the


warrants of arrest. They can likewise apply for bail or move to quash the
allegedly defective Information.[32]

Petitioner also argues that this Court has laid down the rule that
criminal prosecution cannot be enjoined, and any exception to this rule must
be convincingly established.[33] On the other hand, the comparative injury to
the People in permanently enjoining a criminal case is beyond any of
respondents speculative claim of injury.

Thus, petitioner is praying that the CAs May 8, 2007 Decision and
October 8, 2007 Resolution be reversed and set aside, and the writ of
injunction be dissolved.[34]

In their Comment, respondents assert that the trial court issued its
February 20, 2007 Order in gross violation of the Constitution and prevailing
jurisprudence on the matter.[35] Respondents claim that the trial courts
violation is evident in the indecent haste with which it issued the Order and
Warrants of Arrest, and in its own admission in the Order itself.
[36]
Respondents also maintain that the trial court acted whimsically,
capriciously, and with grave abuse of discretion when it concluded that there
was probable cause to issue warrants of arrest against respondents.
[37]
Respondents likewise assert that the trial court committed grave abuse of
discretion when it reversed the finding of Judge Bandal, who first heard the
case.[38]

The petition is impressed with merit.

Initially, we decide the issue of forum shopping raised by petitioner.

Petitioner maintains that respondents committed forum shopping when it


filed a petition for change of venue before this Court and a petition for
prohibition before the CA.

Forum shopping is an act of a party, against whom an adverse judgment or order has been
rendered in one forum, of seeking and possibly getting a favorable opinion in another forum,
other than by appeal or special civil action for certiorari. It may also involve the institution of
two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or
the other court would make a favorable disposition.[39]

Forum shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are


present, and where a final judgment in one case will amount to res
judicata in the other. The elements of forum shopping are: (a) identity of
parties, or at least such parties as would represent the same interest in both
actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being
founded on the same facts; and (c) identity of the two preceding particulars
such that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which
party is successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration.
[40]

The elements of res judicita are: (a) the former judgment must be final; (b) the court
which rendered judgment had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter; (c) it must be a
judgment on the merits; and (d) there must be, between the first and second actions, identity of
parties, subject matter, and cause of action.[41]

A reexamination of the two actions in this case, in light of the foregoing


jurisprudence, is in order.

In the petition for change of venue filed on February 19, 2007, respondents
prayed for the transfer of the criminal case to any court in Metro Manila,
[42]
alleging that the prosecution was politically motivated and designed to
hamper the plan of respondent Joseph Grey to run for a congressional seat in
the May 2007 elections.[43] They contended that it would be extremely

pernicious to the interest of justice if trial of this case and (of) the other two
cases are held in Samar, especially in the City of Calbayog, where the said
(Congressman) Reynaldo Uy is a resident and absolutely wields power.
[44]
They also asked the Court to hold the proceedings in abeyance until after
the May 14, 2007 elections.

In its August 22, 2007 Resolution, the Court denied the petition for transfer of
venue for lack of merit. It also directed Judge Navidad to hear the case with
dispatch.[45]

On March 5, 2007, while their petition for change of venue was


pending before this Court, respondents filed a petition for certiorari before
the CA. They prayed, first, for the issuance of a TRO and/or a writ of
preliminary injunction to prohibit Judge Navidad from proceeding with
Criminal Case No. 4916 and from causing the implementation of the warrants
of arrest against respondents; and second, for the Court to set aside Judge
Navidads February 20, 2007 Order and the corresponding warrants he
issued.[46] The TRO was granted on March 13, 2007, and the CA Decision
making the same injunction permanent and setting aside the warrants of
arrest was promulgated on May 8, 2007, a few days before the May 14, 2007
elections.

The CA correctly ruled that respondents were not guilty of forum shopping
when they filed the two actions. Respondents raised different issues and
sought different reliefs in the two actions, although both were grounded on
the same set of facts.

The issue in the petition for change of venue is whether the trial of the
case was to be moved to another court in light of respondents allegations
that the same was being used as a tool for their political persecution. On the
other hand, the issue in the petition for certiorari before the CA was whether

Judge Navidad gravely abused his discretion in issuing the February 20, 2007
Order and the warrants for respondents arrest.

Thus, this Courts Resolution would not have amounted to res judicata that
would bar the petition for certiorari before the CA.

We now resolve the substantive issues.

Respondents, in their petition before the CA, questioned the alleged


lack of personal determination of probable cause by Judge Navidad in issuing
the warrants for their arrest.

Judge Navidads Order reads:

In this separate, independent constitutionally-mandated Inquiry


conducted for the purpose of determining the sufficiency of the
evidence constituting probable cause to justify the issuance of a
Warrant of Arrest, the Court perforce, made a very careful and
meticulous and (sic) review not only of the records but also
the evidence adduced by the prosecution, particularly the
sworn statements/affidavits of Mario Abella, Uriendo Moloboco
and Edgar Pellina.[47]

The language of the Order clearly shows that the judge made his own
personal determination of the existence of probable cause by examining not
only the prosecutors report but also his supporting evidence, consisting
mainly of the sworn statements of the prosecutions witnesses.

It is well to remember that there is a distinction between the


preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest and the preliminaryinvestigation proper which ascertains
whether the offender should be held for trial or be released. The
determination of probable cause for purposes of issuing the warrant of arrest
is made by the judge. The preliminary investigation proper whether or not
there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense
charged is the function of the investigating prosecutor.[48]

The duty of the judge to determine probable cause to issue a warrant


of arrest is mandated by Article III, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution:

Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,


papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature
and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or 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, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
persons or things to be seized.

In Soliven v. Makasiar,[49] the Court explained that this constitutional


provision does not mandatorily require the judge to personally examine the
complainant and her witnesses. Instead, he may opt to personally evaluate
the report and supporting documents submitted by the prosecutor or he may
disregard the prosecutors report and require the submission of supporting
affidavits of witnesses. Thus, in Soliven, we said:

What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and


personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy himself of
the existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of the
existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest, the judge is not required to personally examine the
complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine
and procedure, he shall: (1) personally evaluate the report and
the supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the

existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a


warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the basis thereof he finds no
probable cause, he may disregard the fiscals report and require
the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in
arriving at a conclusion as to the existence of probable cause.

Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise judges


would by unduly laden with the preliminary examination and
investigation of criminal complaints instead of concentrating on
hearing and deciding cases filed before their courts.[50]

What the law requires as personal determination on the part of a judge


is that he should not rely solely on the report of the investigating prosecutor.
[51]
This means that the judge should consider not only the report of the
investigating prosecutor but also the affidavit and the documentary evidence
of the parties, the counter-affidavit of the accused and his witnesses, as well
as the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary
investigation, if any, submitted to the court by the investigating prosecutor
upon the filing of the Information.[52]

The Court has also ruled that the personal examination of the
complainant and his witnesses is not mandatory and indispensable in the
determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The
necessity arises only when there is an utter failure of the evidence to show
the existence of probable cause. [53] Otherwise, the judge may rely on the
report of the investigating prosecutor, provided that he likewise evaluates
the documentary evidence in support thereof.

Contrary to respondents claim, Judge Navidad did not gravely abuse his
discretion in issuing the same.

A perusal of the assailed Order bears out this fact.

It was only through a review of the proceedings before the prosecutor


that could have led Judge Navidad to determine that the accused were given
the widest latitude and ample opportunity to challenge the charge of Murder
which resulted, among others, (in) a filing of a counter-charge of Perjury.
[54]
Likewise, his personal determination revealed no improper motive on the
part of the prosecution and no circumstance which would overwhelm the
presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions. [55] Thus, he
concluded that the previous Order, denying the motion for the issuance
of warrants of arrest, was not correct.[56]

These statements sufficiently establish the fact that Judge Navidad


complied with the constitutional mandate for personal determination of
probable cause before issuing the warrants of arrest.

The CA likewise overlooked a fundamental rule we follow in this


jurisdiction. It is an established doctrine that injunction will not lie to enjoin a
criminal prosecution because public interest requires that criminal acts be
immediately investigated and prosecuted for the protection of society. [57]

However, it is also true that various decisions of this Court have laid
down exceptions to this rule, among which are:

a. To afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights


of the accused (Hernandez v. Albano, et al., L-19272, January 25,
1967, 19 SCRA 95);

b. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice


or to avoid oppression or multiplicity of actions (Dimayuga, et al.
v. Fernandez, 43 Phil. 304; Hernandez v. Albano, supra;Fortun v.
Labang, et al., L-38383, May 27, 1981, 104 SCRA 607);

c. When there is a pre-judicial question


sub[-]judice (De Leon v. Mabanag, 70 Phil. 202);

which

is

d. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of


authority (Planas v. Gil, 67 Phil. 62);

e. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance


or regulation (Young v. Rafferty, 33 Phil. 556; Yu Cong Eng v.
Trinidad, 47 Phil. 385, 389);

f. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent (Sangalang v.


People and Avendia, 109 Phil. 1140);

g. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense


(Lopez v. City Judge, L-25795, October 29, 1966, 18 SCRA 616);

h. Where there is a case of persecution rather than


prosecution (Rustia v. Ocampo, CA-G.R. No. 4760, March 25,
1960);

i. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by


the lust for vengeance (Recto v. Castelo, 18 L.J. [1953], cited
in Raoa v. Alvendia, CA-G.R. No. 30720-R, October 8, 1962;Cf.
Guingona, et al. v. City Fiscal, L-60033, April 4, 1984, 128 SCRA
577); x x x

j. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the


accused and a motion to quash on that ground has been denied
(Salonga v. Pao, et al., L-59524, February 18, 1985, 134 SCRA
438)[; and]

[k.] Preliminary injunction has been issued by the Supreme


Court to prevent the threatened unlawful arrest of petitioners
(Rodriguez v. Castelo, L-6374, August 1, 1953).[58]

Respondents insisted that political persecution by their political rivals was


the underlying reason for the filing of criminal charges against them, and
used this as basis for asking the appellate court to stop the proceedings in
the trial court.

Indeed, this Court has recognized that, in certain instances, political


persecution or political motives may have impelled the filing of criminal
charges against certain political rivals. But this Court has also ruled that any
allegation that the filing of the charges is politically motivated cannot justify
the prohibition of a criminal prosecution if there is otherwise evidence to
support the charges.[59]

In this case, the judge, upon his personal examination of the complaint
and evidence before him, determined that there was probable cause to issue
the warrants of arrest after the provincial prosecution, based on the affidavits
presented by complainant and her witnesses, found probable cause to file
the criminal Information. This finding of the Provincial Prosecutor was
affirmed by the Secretary of Justice.

To establish political harassment, respondents must prove that the


public prosecutor, not just the private complainant, acted in bad faith in
prosecuting the case or has lent himself to a scheme that could have no
other purpose than to place respondents in contempt and disrepute. [60] It
must be shown that the complainant possesses the power and the influence
to control the prosecution of cases.[61]

Likewise, the allegation that the filing of the complaint was politically
motivated does not serve to justify the nullification of the informations where
the existence of such motive has not been sufficiently established nor
substantial evidence presented in support thereof.[62]

Other than their own self-serving claims, respondents have adduced


absolutely no proof of the perceived political persecution being waged by
their rivals. Respondents have not shown any evidence of such a grand
design. They have not alleged, much less proved, any ill motive or malice
that could have impelled the provincial prosecutor, the judge, and even the
Secretary of Justice to have respectively ruled in the way each of them did. In
short, respondents are holding tenuously only on the hope that this Court will
take them at their word and grant the relief they pray for. This Court,
however, cannot anchor its ruling on mere allegations.

Needless to say, a full-blown trial is to be preferred to ferret out the


truth.
If, as respondents claim, there is no evidence of their culpability,
then their petition for bail would easily be granted. Thereafter, the credibility
of the prosecutions and the accuseds respective evidence may be tested
during the trial. It is only then that the guilt or innocence of respondents will
be determined. Whether the criminal prosecution was merely a tool for
harassment or whether the prosecutions evidence can pass the strict
standards set by the law and withstand the exacting scrutiny of the court will
all be resolved at the trial of the case.
[63]

The criminal Information in this case was filed four years ago and trial
has yet to begin. The victims kin, indeed, all the parties, are awaiting its
resolution. Any further delay will amount to an injustice.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Court of


Appeals Decision dated May 8, 2007 and Resolution dated October 8, 2007 in
CA-G.R. SP No. 02558 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the

Permanent
Injunction
is
hereby DISSOLVED.
The
Order
of
the Regional Trial Court of Calbayog City, Samar, dated February 20, 2007, is
hereby REINSTATED.
The Regional Trial Court of Calbayog City, Samar,
is DIRECTED to proceed with hearing, and to decide Criminal Case No. 4916
with dispatch.

SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. 02-2-07

A.M. No. 02-2-07-SC

April 10, 2002

RE: PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO SECTION 5, RULE 110 OF THE REVISED


RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
RESOLUTION
Acting on the Memorandum dated 2 February 2002 of Court Administrator
Prosbitero J. Velasco, Jr. submitting for this Court's consideration and approval the
proposed amendment to Sec. 5, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
the Court Resolved to APPROVE the amendment to Sec. 5, Rule 110 so as to read as
follows:
"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. x x x ."
This amendment to Rule 110 shall take effect on the first day of May 2002
following its publication in two newspapers of general circulation on or before 30 April
2002.
April 10, 2002.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban,
Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., Sandoval-Gutierrez and Carpio JJ., concur.