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THIRD DIVISION REINVESTIGATION DESPITE HAVING NO BASIS IN THE

RULES OF COURT[;]

JOSE ANTONIO C. LEVISTE, G.R. No. 182677 RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
Petitioner, DISCRETION IN ADMITTING STATE PROSECUTOR
Present: VELASCOS AMENDED INFORMATION, ISSUING A
WARRANT OF ARREST, AND SETTING THE CASE BELOW
- versus - CARPIO MORALES, Chairperson,
FOR ARRAIGNMENT, CONSIDERING THAT THE VALIDITY
*
NACHURA, AND LEGALITY OF HIS ORDERS DATED 24 AND 31
BERSAMIN, JANUARY 2007, WHICH LED TO THE QUESTIONABLE
HON. ELMO M. ALAMEDA, HON. RAUL M. ABAD,** and REINVESTIGATION AND ILLEGAL AMENDED
GONZALEZ, HON. EMMANUEL Y. VELASCO, VILLARAMA, JR., JJ. INFORMATION[,] ARE YET TO BE RESOLVED BY THIS
HEIRS OF THE LATE RAFAEL DE LAS ALAS, HONORABLE COURT (sic); [AND]
Respondents.
Promulgated: CONSIDERING THAT PROSECUTOR VELASCOS FINDINGS
August 3, 2010 IN HIS RESOLUTION DATED 2 FEBRUARY 2007 ARE
BLATANTLY BASED ON MERE SPECULATIONS AND
CONJECTURES, WITHOUT ANY SUBSTANTIAL OR
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x MATERIAL NEW EVIDENCE BEING ADDUCED DURING THE
REINVESTIGATION, RESPONDENT JUDGE SHOULD HAVE
DECISION AT LEAST ALLOWED PETITIONERS MOTION FOR A
HEARING FOR JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF PROBABLE
CARPIO MORALES, J.: CAUSE.[15] (emphasis in the original omitted)

Jose Antonio C. Leviste (petitioner) assails via the present petition for Records show that the arraignment scheduled on March 21, 2007 pushed
review filed on May 30, 2008 the August 30, 2007 Decision[1] and the April through during which petitioner refused to plead, drawing the trial court to
18, 2008 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 97761 that enter a plea of not guilty for him.
affirmed the trial courts Orders of January 24, 31, February 7, 8, all in 2007,
and denied the motion for reconsideration, respectively. Prior thereto or on February 23, 2007, petitioner filed an Urgent Application
for Admission to Bail Ex Abundanti Cautela[16] which the trial court, after
Petitioner was, by Information [3] of January 16, 2007, charged hearings thereon, granted by Order of May 21, 2007,[17] it finding that the
with homicide for the death of Rafael de las Alas on January 12, evidence of guilt for the crime of murder is not strong. It accordingly allowed
2007 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. Branch 150 to petitioner to post bail in the amount of P300,000 for his provisional liberty.
which the case was raffled, presided by Judge Elmo Alameda, forthwith
issued a commitment order[4] against petitioner who was placed under police The trial court, absent any writ of preliminary injunction from the appellate
custody while confined at the Makati Medical Center.[5] court, went on to try petitioner under the Amended Information. By Decision
of January 14, 2009, the trial court found petitioner guilty of homicide,
After petitioner posted a P40,000 cash bond which the trial court approved, sentencing him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of six years and one day
[6]
he was released from detention, and his arraignment was set on January of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and one day of reclusion
24, 2007. temporal as maximum. From the Decision, petitioner filed an appeal to the
appellate court, docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 32159, during the pendency of
The private complainants-heirs of De las Alas filed, with the conformity of which he filed an urgent application for admission to bail pending appeal. The
the public prosecutor, an Urgent Omnibus Motion [7] praying, inter alia, for the appellate court denied petitioners application which this Court, in G.R. No.
deferment of the proceedings to allow the public prosecutor to re-examine 189122, affirmed by Decision of March 17, 2010.
the evidence on record or to conduct a reinvestigation to determine the
proper offense. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) later argued that the
present petition had been rendered moot since the presentation of evidence,
The RTC thereafter issued the (1) Order of January 24, wherein petitioner actively participated, had been concluded.[18]
2007[8] deferring petitioners arraignment and allowing the prosecution to
conduct a reinvestigation to determine the proper offense and submit a Waiver on the part of the accused must be distinguished
recommendation within 30 days from its inception, inter alia; and (2) Order from mootness of the petition, for in the present case, petitioner did not, by
of January 31, 2007[9] denying reconsideration of the first order.Petitioner his active participation in the trial, waive his stated objections.
assailed these orders via certiorari and prohibition before the Court of
Appeals. Section 26, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides:

Meantime, petitioner filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and SEC. 26. Bail not a bar to objections on illegal arrest, lack of
Motion before the trial court to defer acting on the public prosecutors or irregular preliminary investigation. An application for or
recommendation on the proper offense until after the appellate court admission to bail shall not bar the accused from challenging
resolves his application for injunctive reliefs, or alternatively, to grant him the validity of his arrest or the legality of the warrant issued
time to comment on the prosecutors recommendation and thereafter set a therefor, or from assailing the regularity or questioning the
hearing for the judicial determination of probable cause.[10] Petitioner also absence of a preliminary investigation of the charge against
separately moved for the inhibition of Judge Alameda with prayer to defer him, provided that he raises them before entering his plea.
action on the admission of the Amended Information.[11] The court shall resolve the matter as early as practicable but
not later than the start of the trial of the case.
The trial court nonetheless issued the other assailed orders,
viz: (1) Order of February 7, 2007[12] that admitted the Amended By applying for bail, petitioner did not waive his right to challenge
Information[13] for murder and directed the issuance of a warrant of arrest; the regularity of the reinvestigation of the charge against him, the validity of
and (2) Order of February 8, 2007[14] which set the arraignment on February the admission of the Amended Information, and the legality of his arrest
13, 2007. Petitioner questioned these two orders via supplemental petition under the Amended Information, as he vigorously raised them prior to his
before the appellate court. arraignment. During the arraignment on March 21, 2007, petitioner refused to
enter his plea since the issues he raised were still pending resolution by the
The appellate court dismissed petitioners petition, hence, his appellate court, thus prompting the trial court to enter a plea of not guilty for
present petition, arguing that: him.

PRIVATE RESPONDENT DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO The principle that the accused is precluded after arraignment from
CAUSE THE REINVESTIGATION OF THE CRIMINAL CASE questioning the illegal arrest or the lack of or irregular preliminary
BELOW WHEN THE CRIMINAL INFORMATION HAD investigation applies only if he voluntarily enters his plea and participates
ALREADY BEEN FILED WITH THE LOWER COURT. HENCE, during trial, without previously invoking his objections thereto.[19] There must
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR be clear and convincing proof that petitioner had an actual intention to
IN FINDING THAT RESPONDENT JUDGE DID NOT ACT relinquish his right to question the existence of probable cause. When the
WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN GRANTING SUCH only proof of intention rests on what a party does, his act should be so
manifestly consistent with, and indicative of, an intent to voluntarily and
unequivocally relinquish the particular right that no other explanation of his After the filing of the complaint or information in court without a
conduct is possible.[20] preliminary investigation, the accused may, within five (5) days
from the time he learns of its filing, ask for a preliminary
From the given circumstances, the Court cannot reasonably infer investigation with the same right to adduce evidence in his
a valid waiver on the part of petitioner to preclude him from obtaining a defense as provided in this Rule. (underscoring supplied)
definite resolution of the objections he so timely invoked. Other than its
allegation of active participation, the OSG offered no clear and convincing
proof that petitioners participation in the trial was unconditional with the A preliminary investigation is required before the filing of a
intent to voluntarily and unequivocally abandon his petition. In complaint or information for an offense where the penalty prescribed by law
fact, on January 26, 2010, petitioner still moved for the early resolution of is at least four years, two months and one day without regard to fine. [28] As
the present petition.[21] an exception, the rules provide that there is no need for a preliminary
investigation in cases of a lawful arrest without a warrant [29]involving such
Whatever delay arising from petitioners availment of remedies type of offense, so long as an inquest, where available, has been
against the trial courts Orders cannot be imputed to petitioner to operate as conducted.[30]
a valid waiver on his part.Neither can the non-issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction be deemed as a voluntary relinquishment of Inquest is defined as an informal and summary investigation
petitioners principal prayer. The non-issuance of such injunctive relief only conducted by a public prosecutor in criminal cases involving persons
means that the appellate court did not preliminarily find any exception [22] to arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued by
the long-standing doctrine that injunction will not lie to enjoin a criminal the court for the purpose of determining whether said persons should
prosecution.[23] Consequently, the trial of the case took its course. remain under custody and correspondingly be charged in court.[31]

The petition is now moot, however, in view of the trial courts It is imperative to first take a closer look at the predicament of
rendition of judgment. both the arrested person and the private complainant during the brief period
of inquest, to grasp the respective remedies available to them before and
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a after the filing of a complaint or information in court.
justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration
thereon would be of no practical use or value.[24] BEFORE THE FILING OF COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION IN
COURT, the private complainant may proceed in coordinating with the
The judgment convicting petitioner of homicide under the arresting officer and the inquest officer during the latters conduct of
Amended Information for murder operates as a supervening event that inquest. Meanwhile, the arrested person has the option to avail of a 15-day
mooted the present petition. Assuming that there is ground[25] to annul the preliminary investigation, provided he duly signs a waiver of any objection
finding of probable cause for murder, there is no practical use or value in against delay in his delivery to the proper judicial authorities under Article
abrogating the concluded proceedings and retrying the case under the 125 of the Revised Penal Code. For obvious reasons, this remedy is not
original Information for homicide just to arrive, more likely or even definitely, available to the private complainant since he cannot waive what he does not
at the same conviction of homicide. Mootness would have also set in had have. The benefit of the provisions of Article 125, which requires the filing of
petitioner been convicted of murder, for proof beyond reasonable doubt, a complaint or information with the proper judicial authorities within the
which is much higher than probable cause, would have been established in applicable period,[32] belongs to the arrested person.
that instance.
The accelerated process of inquest, owing to its summary nature
Instead, however, of denying the petition outright on the ground of and the attendant risk of running against Article 125, ends with either the
mootness, the Court proceeds to resolve the legal issues in order to prompt filing of an information in court or the immediate release of the
formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, bar and public. [26] In the arrested person.[33] Notably, the rules on inquest do not provide for a motion
present case, there is compelling reason to clarify the remedies for reconsideration.[34]
available before and after the filing of an information in cases subject of
inquest. Contrary to petitioners position that private complainant should
have appealed to the DOJ Secretary, such remedy is not immediately
After going over into the substance of the petition and the available in cases subject of inquest.
assailed issuances, the Court finds no reversible error on the part of the
appellate court in finding no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of the Noteworthy is the proviso that the appeal to the DOJ Secretary is
four trial court Orders. by petition by a proper party under such rules as the Department of Justice
may prescribe.[35] The rule referred to is the 2000 National Prosecution
In his first assignment of error, petitioner posits that the Service Rule on Appeal,[36] Section 1 of which provides that the Rule shall
prosecution has no right under the Rules to seek from the trial court an apply to appeals from resolutions x x x in cases subject of preliminary
investigation or reevaluation of the case except through a petition for review investigation/ reinvestigation. In cases subject of inquest, therefore, the
before the Department of Justice (DOJ). In cases when an accused is private party should first avail of a preliminary investigation or
arrested without a warrant, petitioner contends that the remedy of reinvestigation, if any, before elevating the matter to the DOJ Secretary.
preliminary investigation belongs only to the accused.
In case the inquest proceedings yield no probable cause, the
The contention lacks merit. private complainant may pursue the case through the regular course of a
preliminary investigation.

Section 6,[27] Rule 112 of the Rules of Court reads: ONCE A COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION IS FILED IN COURT,
the rules yet provide the accused with another opportunity to ask for a
When a person is lawfully arrested without a warrant involving preliminary investigation within five days from the time he learns of its
an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the filing. The Rules of Court and the New Rules on Inquest are silent, however,
complaint or information may be filed by a prosecutor without on whether the private complainant could invoke, as respondent heirs of the
need of such investigation provided an inquest has been victim did in the present case, a similar right to ask for a reinvestigation.
conducted in accordance with existing rules. In the absence or
unavailability of an inquest prosecutor, the complaint may be The Court holds that the private complainant can move for
filed by the offended party or a peace officer directly with the reinvestigation, subject to and in light of the ensuing disquisition.
proper court on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party
or arresting officer or person. All criminal actions commenced by a complaint or information
shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the public prosecutor.
[37]
Before the complaint or information is filed, the person arrested The private complainant in a criminal case is merely a witness and not a
may ask for a preliminary investigation in accordance with this party to the case and cannot, by himself, ask for the reinvestigation of the
Rule, but he must sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 case after the information had been filed in court, the proper party for that
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in the presence of being the public prosecutor who has the control of the prosecution of the
his counsel. Notwithstanding the waiver, he may apply for bail case.[38] Thus, in cases where the private complainant is allowed to
and the investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) intervene by counsel in the criminal action, [39] and is granted the authority to
days from its inception. prosecute,[40] the private complainant, by counsel and with the conformity of
the public prosecutor, can file a motion for reinvestigation.
In fact, the DOJ instructs that before the arraignment of the
accused, trial prosecutors must examine the Information vis--vis the A complaint or information may be amended, in form
resolution of the investigating prosecutor in order to make the necessary or in substance, without leave of court, at any time
corrections or revisions and to ensure that the information is sufficient in before the accused enters his plea. After the plea and
form and substance.[41] during the trial, a formal amendment may only be made
with leave of court and when it can be done without
causing prejudice to the rights of the accused.

x x x Since no evidence has been presented at that stage, the However, any amendment before plea, which
error would appear or be discoverable from a review of the downgrades the nature of the offense charged in or
records of the preliminary investigation. Of course, that fact excludes any accused from the complaint or information,
may be perceived by the trial judge himself but, can be made only upon motion by the prosecutor, with
again, realistically it will be the prosecutor who can notice to the offended party and with leave of court. The
initially determine the same. That is why such error need court shall state its reasons in resolving the motion and
not be manifest or evident, nor is it required that such copies of its order shall be furnished all parties,
nuances as offenses includible in the offense charged be especially the offended party.
taken into account. It necessarily follows, therefore, that the
prosecutor can and should institute remedial measures[.] If it appears at any time before judgment that a
[42]
(emphasis and underscoring supplied) mistake has been made in charging the proper offense,
the court shall dismiss the original complaint or
The prosecution of crimes appertains to the executive department information upon the filing of a new one charging the
of the government whose principal power and responsibility is to see that proper offense in accordance with section 11, Rule 119,
our laws are faithfully executed. A necessary component of this power to provided the accused would not be placed in double
execute our laws is the right to prosecute their violators. The right to jeopardy. The court may require the witnesses to give
prosecute vests the prosecutor with a wide range of discretion the discretion bail for their appearance at the trial. (emphasis supplied)
of what and whom to charge, the exercise of which depends on a
smorgasbord of factors which are best appreciated by prosecutors.[43] In fine, before the accused enters a plea, a formal or substantial
amendment of the complaint or information may be made without leave of
The prosecutions discretion is not boundless or infinite, however. court.[49] After the entry of a plea, only a formal amendment may be made
[44]
The standing principle is that once an information is filed in court, any but with leave of court and only if it does not prejudice the rights of the
remedial measure such as a reinvestigation must be addressed to the accused. After arraignment, a substantial amendment is proscribed except if
sound discretion of the court. Interestingly, petitioner supports this view. the same is beneficial to the accused.[50]
[45]
Indeed, the Court ruled in one case that:
It must be clarified though that not all defects in an information are curable
The rule is now well settled that once a complaint or by amendment prior to entry of plea. An information which is void ab
information is filed in court, any disposition of the case, initio cannot be amended to obviate a ground for quashal. [51] An amendment
whether as to its dismissal or the conviction or the acquittal of which operates to vest jurisdiction upon the trial court is likewise
the accused, rests in the sound discretion of the impermissible.[52]
court. Although the prosecutor retains the direction and
control of the prosecution of criminal cases even when the
case is already in court, he cannot impose his opinion upon Considering the general rule that an information may be amended
the tribunal. For while it is true that the prosecutor has the even in substance and even without leave of court at any time before entry
quasi-judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal of plea, does it mean that the conduct of a reinvestigation at that stage is a
case should be filed in court, once the case had already been mere superfluity?
brought therein any disposition the prosecutor may deem
proper thereafter It is not.

Any remedial measure springing from the reinvestigation be it a complete


should be addressed to the court for its consideration and disposition or an intermediate modification[53] of the charge is eventually
approval. The only qualification is that the action of the court addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, which must make an
must not impair the substantial rights of the accused or the independent evaluation or assessment of the merits of the case. Since the
right of the People to due process of law. trial court would ultimately make the determination on the proposed course
of action, it is for the prosecution to consider whether a reinvestigation is
xxxx necessary to adduce and review the evidence for purposes of buttressing
the appropriate motion to be filed in court.
In such an instance, before a re-investigation
of the case may be conducted by the public prosecutor, More importantly, reinvestigation is required in cases involving a substantial
the permission or consent of the court must be amendment of the information. Due process of law demands that no
secured. If after such re-investigation the prosecution substantial amendment of an information may be admitted without
finds a cogent basis to withdraw the information or conducting another or a new preliminary investigation. In Matalam v. The
otherwise cause the dismissal of the case, such 2nd Division of the Sandiganbayan,[54] the Court ruled that a substantial
proposed course of action may be taken but shall amendment in an information entitles an accused to another preliminary
likewise be addressed to the sound discretion of the investigation, unless the amended information contains a charge related to
court.[46] (underscoring supplied) or is included in the original Information.

While Abugotal v. Judge Tiro[47] held that to ferret out the truth, a The question to be resolved is whether the amendment of the Information
trial is to be preferred to a reinvestigation, the Court therein recognized that from homicide to murder is considered a substantial amendment, which
a trial court may, where the interest of justice so requires, grant a motion for would make it not just a right but a duty of the prosecution to ask for a
reinvestigation of a criminal case pending before it. preliminary investigation.

Once the trial court grants the prosecutions motion for The Court answers in the affirmative.
reinvestigation, the former is deemed to have deferred to the authority of the
prosecutorial arm of the Government. Having brought the case back to the A substantial amendment consists of the recital of
drawing board, the prosecution is thus equipped with discretion wide and far facts constituting the offense charged and
reaching regarding the disposition thereof,[48]subject to the trial courts determinative of the jurisdiction of the court. All other
approval of the resulting proposed course of action. matters are merely of form. The following have been
held to be mere formal amendments: (1) new
Since a reinvestigation may entail a modification of the criminal allegations which relate only to the range of the
information as what happened in the present case, the Courts holding is penalty that the court might impose in the event of
bolstered by the rule on amendment of an information under Section 14, conviction; (2) an amendment which does not charge
Rule 110 of the Rules of Court: another offense different or distinct from that charged in
the original one; (3) additional allegations which do not
alter the prosecutions theory of the case so as to cause The Rules categorically state that the petition shall not interrupt
surprise to the accused and affect the form of the course of the principal case unless a temporary retraining order or a writ
defense he has or will assume; (4) an amendment of preliminary injunction has been issued. [63] The appellate court, by
which does not adversely affect any substantial right of Resolution
the accused; and (5) an amendment that merely adds of February 15, 2007,[64] denied petitioners application for a temporary
specifications to eliminate vagueness in the information restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction. Supplementary efforts to
and not to introduce new and material facts, and merely seek injunctive reliefs proved futile.[65] The appellate court thus did not err in
states with additional precision something which is finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court when it
already contained in the original information and which proceeded with the case and eventually arraigned the accused on March
adds nothing essential for conviction for the crime 21, 2007, there being no injunction order from the appellate
charged. court. Moreover, petitioner opted to forego appealing to the DOJ Secretary,
a post-inquest remedy that was available after the reinvestigation and which
The test as to whether a defendant is prejudiced by the could have suspended the arraignment.[66]
amendment is whether a defense under the information
as it originally stood would be available after the Regarding petitioners protestations of haste, suffice to state that
amendment is made, and whether any evidence the pace in resolving incidents of the case is not per se an indication of
defendant might have would be equally applicable to the bias. In Santos-Concio v. Department of Justice,[67] the Court held:
information in the one form as in the other. An
amendment to an information which does not change the Speed in the conduct of proceedings by a judicial or
nature of the crime alleged therein does not affect the quasi-judicial officer cannot per se be instantly attributed
essence of the offense or cause surprise or deprive the to an injudicious performance of functions. For ones
accused of an opportunity to meet the new averment prompt dispatch may be anothers undue haste. The
had each been held to be one of form and not of orderly administration of justice remains as the
substance.[55] (emphasis and underscoring supplied) paramount and constant consideration, with particular
regard of the circumstances peculiar to each case.
Matalam adds that the mere fact that the two charges are related
does not necessarily or automatically deprive the accused of his right to The presumption of regularity includes the public officers
another preliminary investigation.Notatu dignum is the fact that both the official actuations in all phases of work. Consistent with
original Information and the amended Information in Matalam were similarly such presumption, it was incumbent upon petitioners to
charging the accused with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and present contradictory evidence other than a mere tallying
Corrupt Practices Act. of days or numerical calculation. This, petitioners failed
to discharge. The swift completion of the Investigating
In one case,[56] it was squarely held that the amendment of the Panels initial task cannot be relegated as shoddy or
Information from homicide to murder is one of substance with very serious shady without discounting the presumably regular
consequences.[57] The amendment involved in the present case consists of performance of not just one but five state prosecutors.[68]
additional averments of the circumstances of treachery, evident
premeditation, and cruelty, which qualify the offense charged from homicide
to murder. It being a new and material element of the offense, petitioner There is no ground for petitioners protestations against the DOJ Secretarys
should be given the chance to adduce evidence on the matter. Not being sudden designation of Senior State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco as
merely clarificatory, the amendment essentially varies the prosecutions Acting City Prosecutor of Makati City for the present case [69] and the latters
original theory of the case and certainly affects not just the form but the conformity to the motion for reinvestigation.
weight of defense to be mustered by petitioner.
In granting the reinvestigation, Judge Alameda cannot choose the public
The Court distinguishes the factual milieus in Buhat v. CA[58] and Pacoy v. prosecutor who will conduct the reinvestigation or preliminary investigation.
Cajigal,[59] wherein the amendment of the caption of the Information from [70]
There is a hierarchy of officials in the prosecutory arm of the executive
homicide to murder was not considered substantial because there was no branch headed by the Secretary of Justice[71] who is vested with the
real change in the recital of facts constituting the offense charged as alleged prerogative to appoint a special prosecutor or designate an acting
in the body of the Information, as the allegations of qualifying circumstances prosecutor to handle a particular case, which broad power of control has
were already clearly embedded in the original Information. Buhat pointed been recognized by jurisprudence.[72]
out that the original Information for homicide already alleged the use of
superior strength, while Pacoy states that the averments in the amended As for the trial courts ignoring the DOJ Secretarys uncontested
Information for murder are exactly the same as those already alleged in the statements to the media which aired his opinion that if the assailant merely
original Information for homicide. None of these peculiar circumstances intended to maim and not to kill the victim, one bullet would
obtains in the present case. have sufficed the DOJ Secretary reportedly uttered that the filing of the case
of homicide against ano against Leviste lintek naman eh I told you to watch
Considering that another or a new preliminary investigation is required, the over that case there should be a report about the ballistics, about the
fact that what was conducted in the present case was a reinvestigation does paraffin, etc., then thats not a complete investigation, thats why you should
not invalidate the substantial amendment of the Information. There is no use that as a ground no abuse of discretion, much less a grave one, can be
substantial distinction between a preliminary investigation and a imputed to it.
reinvestigation since both are conducted in the same manner and for the
same objective of determining whether there exists sufficient ground to The statements of the DOJ Secretary do not evince a
engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the determination to file the Information even in the absence of probable cause.
respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. [60] What is [73]
On the contrary, the remarks merely underscored the importance of
essential is that petitioner was placed on guard to defend himself from the securing basic investigative reports to support a finding of probable
charge of murder[61] after the claimed circumstances were made known to cause. The original Resolution even recognized that probable cause for the
him as early as the first motion. crime of murder cannot be determined based on the evidence obtained
[u]nless and until a more thorough investigation is conducted and
Petitioner did not, however, make much of the opportunity to present eyewitness/es [is/]are presented in evidence[.][74]
countervailing evidence on the proposed amended charge. Despite notice
of hearing, petitioner opted to merely observe the proceedings and declined The trial court concluded that the wound sustained by the victim at the back
to actively participate, even with extreme caution, in the of his head, the absence of paraffin test and ballistic examination, and the
reinvestigation. Mercado v. Court of Appeals states that the rules do not handling of physical evidence,[75] as rationalized by the prosecution in its
even require, as a condition sine qua non to the validity of a preliminary motion, are sufficient circumstances that require further inquiry.
investigation, the presence of the respondent as long as efforts to reach him
were made and an opportunity to controvert the complainants evidence was That the evidence of guilt was not strong as subsequently
accorded him.[62] assessed in the bail hearings does not affect the prior determination of
probable cause because, as the appellate court correctly stated, the
In his second assignment of error, petitioner basically assails the standard of strong evidence of guilt which is sufficient to deny bail to an
hurried issuance of the last two assailed RTC Orders despite the pendency accused is markedly higher than the standard of judicial probable cause
before the appellate court of the petition for certiorari challenging the first which is sufficient to initiate a criminal case.[76]
two trial court Orders allowing a reinvestigation.
In his third assignment of error, petitioner faults the trial court for prerequisites for a valid conduct of reinvestigation. It is not material that no
not conducting, at the very least, a hearing for judicial determination of new matter or evidence was presented during the reinvestigation of the
probable cause, considering the lack of substantial or material new case. It should
evidence adduced during the reinvestigation.

Petitioners argument is specious. be stressed that reinvestigation, as the word itself implies, is merely a
repeat investigation of the case. New matters or evidence are not
There are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive prerequisites for a reinvestigation, which is simply a chance for the
and judicial. The executive determination of probable cause is one made prosecutor to review and re-evaluate its findings and the evidence already
during preliminary investigation. It is a function that properly pertains to the submitted.[85]
public prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether
probable cause exists and to charge those whom he believes to have Moreover, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only questions of
committed the crime as defined by law and thus should be held for law may be raised in, and be subject of, a petition for review on certiorari
trial. Otherwise stated, such official has the quasi-judicial authority to since this Court is not a trier of facts. The Court cannot thus review the
determine whether or not a criminal case must be filed in court. Whether evidence adduced by the parties on the issue of the absence or presence of
that function has been correctly discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e., probable cause, as there exists no exceptional circumstances to warrant a
whether he has made a correct ascertainment of the existence of probable factual review.[86]
cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not
be compelled to pass upon.[77] In a petition for certiorari, like that filed by petitioner before the
appellate court, the jurisdiction of the court is narrow in scope. It is limited to
The judicial determination of probable cause is one made by the resolving only errors of jurisdiction. It is not to stray at will and resolve
judge to ascertain whether a warrant of arrest should be issued against the questions and issues beyond its competence, such as an error of judgment.
[87]
accused. The judge must satisfy himself that based on the evidence The courts duty in the pertinent case is confined to determining whether
submitted, there is necessity for placing the accused under custody in order the executive and judicial determination of probable cause was done without
not to frustrate the ends of justice. If the judge finds no probable cause, the or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Although it is
judge cannot be forced to issue the arrest warrant. [78] Paragraph (a), Section possible that error may be committed in the discharge of lawful functions,
5,[79] Rule 112 of the Rules of Court outlines the procedure to be followed by this does not render the act amenable to correction and annulment by the
the RTC. extraordinary remedy of certiorari, absent any showing of grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction.[88]
To move the court to conduct a judicial determination of probable
cause is a mere superfluity, for with or without such motion, the judge is
duty-bound to personally evaluate the resolution of the public prosecutor WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and
and the supporting evidence. In fact, the task of the presiding judge when Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 97761
the Information is filed with the court is first and foremost to determine the are AFFIRMED.
existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.
[80]
SO ORDERED.

What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and


personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy
himself of the existence of probable cause. But 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 prosecutor regarding the
existence of probable cause, and on the basis thereof,
he may already make a personal determination of the
existence of probable cause; and (2) if he is not
satisfied that probable cause exists, he may disregard
the prosecutors 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.
[81]
(emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The rules do not require cases to be set for hearing to determine probable
cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest of the accused before any
warrant may be issued.[82]Petitioner thus cannot, as a matter of right, insist
on a hearing for judicial determination of probable cause. Certainly,
petitioner cannot determine beforehand how cursory or exhaustive the
[judge's] examination of the records should be [since t]he extent of the
judges examination depends on the exercise of his sound discretion as the
circumstances of the case require.[83] In one case, the Court emphatically
stated:
The periods provided in the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure are mandatory, and as such, the judge must
determine the presence or absence of probable cause
within such periods. The Sandiganbayans
determination of probable cause is made ex parte and
is summary in nature, not adversarial. The Judge
should not be stymied and distracted from his
determination of probable cause by needless
motions for determination of probable cause filed
by the accused.[84] (emphasis and underscoring
supplied)

Petitioner proceeds to discuss at length evidentiary matters,


arguing that no circumstances exist that would qualify the crime from
homicide to murder.

The allegation of lack of substantial or material new evidence


SECOND DIVISION
deserves no credence, because new pieces of evidence are not
TEODORO C. BORLONGAN, JR., CORAZON M. BEJASA, ARTURO E. crime of Introducing Falsified Documents, penalized by the second
MANUEL, JR., ERIC L. LEE, P. paragraph of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code. The City Prosecutor
SIERVO H. DIZON, BENJAMIN DE concluded that the documents were falsified because the alleged
LEON, DELFIN C. GONZALES, JR., signatories untruthfully stated that ISCI was the principal of the respondent;
and BEN YU LIM, JR., Petitioners, that petitioners knew that the documents were falsified considering that the
- versus - signatories were mere dummies; and that the documents formed part of the
MAGDALENO M. PEA and HON. record of Civil Case No. 754 where they were used by petitioners as
MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR., as Judge Designate of the Municipal Trial evidence in support of their motion to dismiss, and then adopted in their
Court in Cities, Bago City, answer and in their Pre-Trial Brief.[13] Subsequently, the corresponding
Respondents. Informations[14] were filed with the MTCC, Bago City. The cases were
docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 6683, 6684, 6685, and 6686. Thereafter,
Judge Primitivo Blanca issued the warrants[15] for the arrest of the
G.R. No. 143591 petitioners.

Present: On 1 October 1998, petitioners filed an Omnibus Motion to Quash, Recall


BRION, J., Warrants of Arrest and/or For Reinvestigation.[16] Petitioners insisted that
Acting Chairperson, they were denied due process because of the non-observance of the proper
DEL CASTILLO, procedure on preliminary investigation prescribed in the Rules of Court.
VILLARAMA, JR.,* Specifically, they claimed that they were not afforded the right to submit their
PEREZ, and counter-affidavit. Then they argued that since no such counter-affidavit and
MENDOZA, JJ.** supporting documents were submitted by the petitioners, the trial judge
merely relied on the complaint-affidavit and attachments of the respondent
Promulgated: in issuing the warrants of arrest, also in contravention with the Rules of
Court. Petitioners further prayed that the information be quashed for lack of
May 5, 2010 probable cause. Moreover, one of the accused, i.e., Ben Lim, Jr., is not even
a director of Urban Bank, contrary to what complainant stated. Lastly,
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x petitioners posited that the criminal cases should have been suspended on
the ground that the issue being threshed out in the civil case is a prejudicial
question.
DECISION
In an Order[17] dated 13 November 1998, the MTCC denied the omnibus
motion primarily on the ground that preliminary investigation was not
PEREZ, J.:
available in the instant case which fell within the jurisdiction of the first-level
court. The court, likewise, upheld the validity of the warrant of arrest, saying
The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not the Court of Appeals, in its that it was issued in accordance with the Rules of Court. Besides, the court
Decision[1] dated 20 June 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 49666, is correct when it added, petitioners could no longer question the validity of the warrant since
dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by petitioners Teodoro C. they already posted bail. The court also believed that the issue involved in
Borlongan, Jr., Corazon M. Bejasa, Arturo E. Manuel, Jr., Benjamin de Leon, the civil case was not a prejudicial question, and, thus, denied the prayer for
P. Siervo H. Dizon, Delfin C. Gonzales, Jr., Eric L. Lee and Ben Yu Lim, Jr., suspension of the criminal proceedings. Lastly, the court was convinced that
and ruled that the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Bago City, did not the Informations contained all the facts necessary to constitute an offense.
gravely abuse its discretion in denying the motion for reinvestigation and
recall of the warrants of arrest in Criminal Case Nos. 6683, 6684, 6685, and
Petitioners immediately instituted a special civil action for Certiorari and
6686.
Prohibition with Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary
Restraining Order (TRO) before the Court of Appeals, ascribing grave abuse
The factual antecedents of the case are as follows: of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the
MTCC in issuing and not recalling the warrants of arrest, reiterating the
Respondent Atty. Magdaleno M. Pea (Atty. Pea) instituted a civil case for arguments in their omnibus motion.[18] They, likewise, questioned the
recovery of agents compensation and expenses, damages, and attorneys courts conclusion that by posting bail, petitioners already waived their right
fees[2] against Urban Bank and herein petitioners, before the Regional Trial to assail the validity of the warrants of arrest.
Court (RTC) of Negros Occidental, Bago City. The case was raffled to
Branch 62 and was docketed as Civil Case No. 754. Atty. Pea anchored his On 20 June 2000, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition.[19] Thus,
claim for compensation on the Contract of Agency[3] allegedly entered into petitioners filed the instant petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
with the petitioners, wherein the former undertook to perform such acts the Rules of Court, raising the following issues:
necessary to prevent any intruder and squatter from unlawfully occupying
Urban Banks property located along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss[4] arguing that they never appointed
the respondent as agent or counsel. Attached to the motion were the
following documents: 1) a Letter[5] dated 19 December 1994 signed by A. Where the offense charged in a criminal complaint is not cognizable by
Herman Ponce and Julie Abad on behalf of Isabela Sugar Company, Inc. the Regional Trial Court and not covered by the Rule on Summary
(ISCI), the original owner of the subject property; 2) an unsigned Letter[6] Procedure, is the finding of probable cause required for the filing of an
dated 7 December 1994 addressed to Corazon Bejasa from Marilyn G. Information in court?
Ong; 3) a Letter[7] dated 9 December 1994 addressed to Teodoro
Borlongan, Jr. and signed by Marilyn G. Ong; and 4) a Memorandum[8] If the allegations in the complaint-affidavit do not establish probable cause,
dated 20 November 1994 from Enrique Montilla III. Said documents were should not the investigating prosecutor dismiss the complaint, or at the very
presented in an attempt to show that the respondent was appointed as least, require the respondent to submit his counter-affidavit?
agent by ISCI and not by Urban Bank or by the petitioners.
B. Can a complaint-affidavit containing matters which are not within the
personal knowledge of the complainant be sufficient basis for the finding of
probable cause?
In view of the introduction of the above-mentioned documents, Atty. Pea
filed his Complaint-Affidavit[9] with the Office of the City Prosecutor, Bago C. Where there is offense charged in a criminal complaint is not cognizable
City.[10] He claimed that said documents were falsified because the alleged by the Regional Trial Court and not covered by the Rule on Summary
signatories did not actually affix their signatures, and the signatories were Procedure, and the record of the preliminary investigation does not show
neither stockholders nor officers and employees of ISCI.[11] Worse, the existence of probable cause, should not the judge refuse to issue a
petitioners introduced said documents as evidence before the RTC knowing warrant of arrest and dismiss the criminal case, or at the very least, require
that they were falsified. the accused to submit his counter-affidavit in order to aid the judge in
determining the existence of probable cause?

In a Resolution[12] dated 24 September 1998, the City Prosecutor found


probable cause for the indictment of petitioners for four (4) counts of the D. Can a criminal prosecution be restrained?
E. Can this Honorable Court itself determine the existence of probable court sessions being held in Marinduque. In view of these circumstances
cause?[20] and the number of the accused, it may properly be held that the furnishing
of the bond was prompted by the sheer necessity of not remaining in
On the other hand, respondent contends that the issues raised by the detention, and in no way implied their waiver of any right, such as the
petitioners had already become moot and academic when the latter posted summary examination of the case before their detention. That they had no
bail and were already arraigned. intention of waiving this right is clear from their motion of January 23, 1929,
the same day on which they furnished a bond, and the fact that they
On 2 August 2000, this Court issued a TRO[21] enjoining the judge of the renewed this petition on February 23, 1929, praying for the stay of their
MTCC from proceeding in any manner with Criminal Case Nos. 6683 to arrest for lack of the summary examination; the first motion being denied by
6686, effective during the entire period that the case is pending before, or the court on January 24, 1929 (G.R. No. 33708, page 8), and the second
until further orders of, this Court. remaining undecided, but with an order to have it presented in Boac,
Marinduque.

Therefore, the defendants herein cannot be said to have waived the right
granted to them by section 13, General Order No. 58, as amended by Act
We will first discuss the issue of mootness. No. 3042.

The issues raised by the petitioners have not been mooted by the fact that The rest of the issues raised by the petitioners may be grouped into two,
they had posted bail and were already arraigned. which are: (1) the procedural aspect, i.e., whether the prosecution and the
court a quo properly observed the required procedure in the instant case,
It appears from the records that upon the issuance of the warrant of arrest, and, (2) the substantive aspect, which is whether there was probable cause
petitioners immediately posted bail as they wanted to avoid embarrassment, to pursue the criminal cases to trial.
being then the officers of Urban Bank. On the scheduled date for the
arraignment, despite the petitioners refusal to enter a plea, the court a quo THE PROCEDURAL ASPECT:
entered a plea of Not Guilty for them.
Petitioners contend that they were denied due process as they were unable
The erstwhile ruling of this Court was that posting of bail constitutes a to submit their counter-affidavits and were not accorded the right to a
waiver of any irregularity in the issuance of a warrant of arrest, that has preliminary investigation. Considering that the complaint of Atty. Pea was
already been superseded by Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rule of filed in September 1998, the rule then applicable was the 1985 Rules of
Criminal Procedure. The principle that the accused is precluded from Criminal Procedure.
questioning the legality of the arrest after arraignment is true only if he
voluntarily enters his plea and participates during trial, without previously The provisions of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure relevant to the
invoking his objections thereto.[22] issue are Sections 1, 3(a) and 9(a) of Rule 112, to wit:
As held in Okabe v. Hon. Gutierrez:[23] Section 1. Definition. Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding
for the purpose of determining whether there is sufficient ground to
It bears stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on engender a well founded belief that a crime cognizable by the Regional Trial
Criminal Procedure is a new one, intended to modify previous rulings of this Court has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty
Court that an application for bail or the admission to bail by the accused thereof, and should be held for trial.
shall be considered as a waiver of his right to assail the warrant issued for
his arrest on the legalities or irregularities thereon. The new rule has Sec. 3. Procedure. Except as provided for in Section 7 hereof, no complaint
reverted to the ruling of this Court in People v. Red. The new rule is curative or information for an offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court shall be
in nature because precisely, it was designed to supply defects and curb filed without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted in the
evils in procedural rules. Hence, the rules governing curative statutes are following manner:
applicable. Curative statutes are by their essence retroactive in application.
Besides, procedural rules as a general rule operate retroactively, even
(a) The complaint shall state the known address of the respondent and be
without express provisions to that effect, to cases pending at the time of
accompanied by affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses as well as
their effectivity, in other words to actions yet undetermined at the time of
other supporting documents, in such number of copies as there are
their effectivity. Before the appellate court rendered its decision on January
respondents, plus two (2) copies for the official file. The said affidavits shall
31, 2001, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure was already in effect. It
be sworn to before any fiscal, state prosecutor or government official
behoved the appellate court to have applied the same in resolving the
authorized to administer oath, or, in their absence or unavailability, a notary
petitioners petition for certiorari and her motion for partial reconsideration.
public, who must certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he
is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood their affidavits.

Sec. 9. Cases not falling under the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
Moreover, considering the conduct of the petitioner after posting her Courts nor covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure.
personal bail bond, it cannot be argued that she waived her right to question
the finding of probable cause and to assail the warrant of arrest issued (a) Where filed with the fiscal. If the complaint is filed directly with the fiscal
against her by the respondent judge. There must be clear and convincing or state prosecutor, the procedure outlined in Section 3(a) of this Rule shall
proof that the petitioner had an actual intention to relinquish her right to be observed. The fiscal shall take appropriate action based on the affidavits
question the existence of probable cause. When the only proof of intention and other supporting documents submitted by the complainant.
rests on what a party does, his act should be so manifestly consistent with, (underscoring supplied)
and indicative of, an intent to voluntarily and unequivocally relinquish the
particular right that no other explanation of his conduct is possible. x x x. The crime to which petitioners were charged was defined and penalized
under second paragraph of Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the
Herein petitioners filed the Omnibus Motion to Quash, Recall Warrants of Revised Penal Code.
Arrest and/or For Reinvestigation on the same day that they posted bail.
Their bail bonds likewise expressly contained a stipulation that they were Art. 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents.
not waiving their right to question the validity of their arrest.[24] On the date The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and
of their arraignment, petitioners refused to enter their plea due to the fact a fine of not more than P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon:
that the issue on the legality of their arrest is still pending with the Court.
Thus, when the court a quo entered a plea of not guilty for them, there was 1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications
no valid waiver of their right to preclude them from raising the same with the enumerated in the next preceding article in any public or official document
Court of Appeals or this Court. The posting of bail bond was a matter of or letter of exchange or any other kind of commercial document; and
imperative necessity to avert their incarceration; it should not be deemed as
a waiver of their right to assail their arrest. The ruling to which we have 2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the intent to cause
returned in People v. Red[25] stated: such damage, shall in any private document commit any of the acts of
falsification enumerated in the next preceding article.
x x x The present defendants were arrested towards the end of January,
1929, on the Island and Province of Marinduque by order of the judge of the
Court of First Instance of Lucena, Tayabas, at a time when there were no
Any person who shall knowingly introduce in evidence in any judicial the premises. In view of the transfer of ownership of the property to Urban
proceeding or to the damage of another or who, with the intent to cause Bank, it may be necessary for Urban Bank to appoint Atty. Pea likewise as
such damage, shall use any of the false documents embraced in the next its authorized representative for purposes of holding/maintaining continued
preceding article or in any of the foregoing subdivisions of this article, shall possession of the said property and to represent Urban Bank in any court
be punished by the penalty next lower in degree. action that may be instituted for the abovementioned purposes.

Prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods translates to


imprisonment of 2 years, 4 months and 1 day.[26] The next lower in degree
to prision correccional is arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision
It is understood that any attorneys fees, cost of litigation and any other
correccional in its minimum period which translates to 4 months and 1 day
charges or expenses that may be incurred relative to the exercise by Atty.
to 2 years and 4 months[27] of imprisonment. Since the crime committed is
Pea of his abovementioned duties shall be for the account of Isabela Sugar
not covered by the Rules of Summary Procedure,[28] the case falls within
Company and any loss or damage that may be incurred to third parties shall
the exclusive jurisdiction of the first level courts but applying the ordinary
be answerable by Isabela Sugar Company.
rules. In such instance, preliminary investigation as defined in Section 1,
Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure is not applicable since
Very truly yours,
such section covers only crimes cognizable by the RTC. That which is
stated in Section 9(a) is the applicable rule.
Isabela Sugar Company
Under this Rule, while probable cause should first be determined before an
information may be filed in court, the prosecutor is not mandated to require By:
the respondent to submit his counter-affidavits to oppose the complaint. In
the determination of probable cause, the prosecutor may solely rely on the
complaint, affidavits and other supporting documents submitted by the HERMAN PONCE
complainant. If he does not find probable cause, the prosecutor may
dismiss outright the complaint or if he finds probable cause or sufficient JULIE ABAD
reason to proceed with the case, he shall issue a resolution and file the
corresponding information. b. Memorandum dated 7 December 1994 supposedly executed by a certain
Marilyn Ong on behalf of ISC, a copy of which is hereto attached as annex
The complaint of respondent, verbatim, is as follows:
F, which states:

December 7, 1994
COMPLAINT AFFIDAVIT To: ATTY. CORA BEJASA
From: MARILYN G. ONG
I, MAGDALENO M. PEA, Filipino, of legal age, with address at Brgy. Ubay,
Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, after having been sworn in accordance
with law hereby depose and state: RE: ISABELA SUGAR CO., INC.

1. I am the Plaintiff in Civil Case No. 754 pending with the


Regional Trial Court of Bago City entitled Atty. Magdaleno M. Pea v. Urban Atty. Magdaleno M. Pea, who has been assigned by Isabela Sugar
Bank, et al Impleaded therein as defendants of the board of the bank, Company inc. to take charge of inspecting the tenants would like to request
namely, Teodoro Borlongan, Delfin Gonzales, Jr., Benjamin De Leon, P. an authority similar to this from the Bank to new owners. Can you please
Siervo Dizon, Eric Lee, Ben Lim Jr., Corazon Bejasa and Arturo Manuel. issue something like this today as he (unreadable) this.
(underlining ours)
b. Letter dated 9 December 1994 supposedly executed by the same
2. I filed the said case to collect my fees as agent of Urban Bank, Marilyn Ong, a copy of which is hereto attached as Annex G, which states:
Inc.(hereinafter referred to as the bank) in ridding a certain parcel of land in
Pasay City of squatters and intruders. A certified true copy of the Complaint December 9, 1994
in the said case is hereto attached as Annex A.

3. In the Motion to Dismiss dated 12 March 1996 (a certified true


copy of which is attached as Annex B), Answer dated 28 October 1996 Atty. Ted Borlongan
(Annex C), and Pre-Trial Brief dated 28 January 1997 (Annex D) filed by the URBAN BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES
bank and the respondent members of the board, the said respondents used MAKATI, METRO MANILA
as evidence the following documents: Attention: Mr. Ted Borlongan
Dear Mr. Borlongan
a. Letter dated 19 December 1994 supposedly signed by a certain Herman I would like to request for an authority from Urban Bank per attached
Ponce and Julie Abad for Isabela Sugar Company (ISC) (a copy of which is immediately as the tenants are questioning authority of the people who are
attached as Annex E), which states: helping us to take possession of the property.
Marilyn Ong
December 19, 1994 c. Memorandum dated 20 November 1994, copy of which is attached
Urban Bank as annex H, which states:
Urban Avenue, Makati
Metro Manila MEMORANDUM
To: Atty. Magadaleno M. Pea
Gentlemen: Director
From: Enrique C. Montilla III
President
Date: 20 November 1994
This has reference to your property located among Roxas Boulevard, Pasay
City which you purchased from Isabela Sugar Company under a Deed of
Absolute Sale executed on December 1, 1994.
You are hereby directed to recover and take possession of the property of
the corporation situated at Roxas Boulevard covered by TCT No. 5382 of
the Registry of Deeds for Pasay City, immediately upon the expiration of the
contract of lease over the said property on 29 November 1994. For this
In line with our warranties as the Seller of the said property and our purpose, you are authorized to engage the services of security guards to
undertaking to deliver to you the full and actual possession and control of protect the property against intruders. You may also engage the services of
said property, free from tenants, occupants or squatters and from any a lawyer in case there is a need to go to court to protect the said property of
obstruction or impediment to the free use and occupancy of the property the corporation. In addition, you may take whatever steps or measures are
and to prevent the former tenants or occupants from entering or returning to necessary to ensure our continued possession of the property.
ENRIQUE C. MONTILLA III Atty. Pea, in his Second Manifestation[30] dated 16 June 1999, averred that
petitioners, including Mr. Ben Lim, Jr., were already estopped from raising
President the fact that Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was not a member of the board of directors of
Urban Bank, as the latter participated and appeared through counsel in Civil
4. The respondent member of the board of the bank used and Case No. 754 without raising any opposition. However, this does not detract
introduced the aforestated documents as evidence in the civil case knowing from the fact that the City Prosecutor, as previously discussed, did not
that the same are falsified. They used thae said documents to justify their carefully scrutinize the complaint of Atty. Pea, which did not charge Mr. Ben
refusal to pay my agents fees, to my damage and prejudice. Lim, Jr. of any crime.

5. The 19 December 1994 letter (Annex E) is a falsified document, in What tainted the procedure further was that the Judge issued a warrant for
that the person who supposedly executed the letter on behalf of ISC, a the arrest of the petitioners, including, Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. despite the filing of
certain Herman Ponce and Julie Abad did not actually affix their signatures the Omnibus Motion to Quash, Recall Warrants of Arrest and/or For
on the document. The execution of the letter was merely simulated by Reinvestigation raising among others the issue that Mr. Ben Lim, Jr., was
making it appear that Ponce and Abad executed the letter on behalf of ISC not even a member of the board of directors. With the filing of the motion,
when they did not in fact do so the judge is put on alert that an innocent person may have been included in
the complaint. In the Order[31] dated 13 November 1998, in denying the
6. No persons by the name of Herman Ponce and Julie Abad were ever motion to quash, Judge Primitivo Blanca ruled that:
stockholders, officers, employees or representatives of ISC. In the letter,
Herman Ponce was represented to be the President of ISC and Julie Abad, Courts in resolving a motion to quash cannot consider facts contrary to
the Corporate Secretary. However, as of 19 December 1994, the real those alleged in the information or which do not appear on the face of the
President of plaintiff was Enrique Montilla, III and Cristina Montilla was the information because said motion is hypothethical admission of the facts
Corporate Secretary. A copy of the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of ISC alleged in the information x x x. (citations omitted.)
for the year 1994, during which Montilla, et al. Were elected is hereto
attached as Annex I. On the otherhand, a list of the stockholders of ISC on We cannot accept as mere oversight the mistake of respondent judge since
or about the time of the transaction is attached as Annex J. it was at the expense of liberty. This cannot be condoned.

7. The same holds true with respect to the Memorandum dated 7 In the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the mandate of the Constitution is for
December 1994 and athe letter dated 9 December 1994 allegedly written by the judge to personally determine the existence of probable cause:
a ceratin Marilyn Ong. Nobody by the said name was ever a stockholder of
ISC. Section 2, Article III of the Constitution provides:

8. Lastly, with respect to the supposed Memorandum issued by Enrique Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
Montilla, III his signature thereon was merely forged by respondents. papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
Enrique Montilla III, did not affix his signature on any such document. 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
9. I am executing this affidavit for the purpose of charging Teodoro C. determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
Borlongan, Corazon M. Bejasa and Arturo E. Manuel, Delfin C. Gonzales affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
Jr., Benjamin L. De Leon, P. Siervo H. Dizon and Eric Lee, with the crime of particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to
use of falsified documents under Artilce 172, paragraph 2, of the Revised be seized.
Penal Code.(underlining ours)

10. I am likewise executing this affidavit for whatever legal purpose it may
serve. Corollary thereto, Section 9(b) of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure
provides:

Sec. 9. Cases not falling under the original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT. Courts nor covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure.

Sgd. MAGDALENO M. PEA (a) x x x.

It is evident that in the affidavit-complaint, specifically in paragraph 1, (b) Where filed directly with the Municipal Trial Court. If the complaint or
respondent merely introduced and identified the board of the bank, namely, information is filed directly with the Municipal Trial Court, the procedure
Teodoro Borlongan, Jr., Delfin Gonzales, Jr., Benjamin De Leon, P. Siervo provided for in Section 3(a) of this Rule shall likewise be observed. If the
Dizon, Eric Lee, Ben Lim, Jr., Corazon Bejasa and Arturo Manuel, Sr. judge finds no sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial, he shall
However, in the accusatory portion of the complaint which is paragraph dismiss the complaint or information. Otherwise, he shall issue a warrant of
number 9, Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was not included among those charged with the arrest after personally examining in writing and under oath the complainant
crime of use of falsified documents under Article 172, paragraph 2, of the and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers.
Revised Penal Code. The omission indicates that respondent did not intend
to criminally implicate Mr. Ben Lim, Jr., even as he was acknowledged to be Enshrined in our Constitution is the rule that [n]o x x x warrant of arrest
a member of the board. And there was no explanation in the Resolution and shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the
Information by the City Prosecutor why Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was included. judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
Moreover, as can be gleaned from the body of the complaint and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing x x x the persons x x
specific averments therein, Mr. Ben Lim, Jr. was never mentioned. x to be seized.[32] Interpreting the words personal determination, we said in
Soliven v. Makasiar[33] that it does not thereby mean that judges are
The City Prosecutor should have cautiously reviewed the complaint to obliged to conduct the personal examination of the complainant and his
determine whether there were inconsistencies which ought to have been witnesses themselves. To require thus would be to unduly laden them with
brought to the attention of the respondent or, on his own, considered for due preliminary examinations and investigations of criminal complaints instead
evaluation. It is a big mistake to bring a man to trial for a crime he did not of concentrating on hearing and deciding cases filed before them. Rather,
commit. what is emphasized merely is the exclusive and personal responsibility of
the issuing judge to satisfy himself as to the existence of probable cause. To
Prosecutors are endowed with ample powers in order that they may this end, he may: (a) personally evaluate the report and the supporting
properly fulfill their assigned role in the administration of justice. It should be documents submitted by the prosecutor regarding the existence of probable
realized, however, that when a man is hailed to court on a criminal charge, it cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (b) if on the
brings in its wake problems not only for the accused but for his family as basis thereof he finds no probable cause, disregard the prosecutor's report
well. Therefore, it behooves a prosecutor to weigh the evidence carefully and require the submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in
and to deliberate thereon to determine the existence of a prima facie case determining its existence. What he is never allowed to do is to follow blindly
before filing the information in court. Anything less would be a dereliction of the prosecutor's bare certification as to the existence of probable cause.
duty.[29] Much more is required by the constitutional provision. Judges have to go
over the report, the affidavits, the transcript of stenographic notes if any, and
other documents supporting the prosecutor's certification. Although the
extent of the judge's personal examination depends on the circumstances of than suspicion; it requires less than evidence that would justify conviction.
each case, to be sure, he cannot just rely on the bare certification alone but [51]
must go beyond it. This is because the warrant of arrest issues not on the
strength of the certification standing alone but because of the records which As enunciated in Baltazar v. People,[52] the task of the presiding judge
sustain it.[34] He should even call for the complainant and the witnesses to when the Information is filed with the court is first and foremost to determine
answer the court's probing questions when the circumstances warrant.[35] the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the
accused.
An arrest without a probable cause is an unreasonable seizure of a person,
and violates the privacy of persons which ought not to be intruded by the The purpose of the mandate of the judge to first determine probable cause
State.[36] for the arrest of the accused is to insulate from the very start those falsely
charged with crimes from the tribulations, expenses and anxiety of a public
Measured against the constitutional mandate and established rulings, there trial.[53]
was here a clear abdication of the judicial function and a clear indication that
the judge blindly followed the certification of a city prosecutor as to the We do not see how it can be concluded that the documents mentioned by
existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest with respondent in his complaint-affidavit were falsified. In his complaint, Atty.
respect to all of the petitioners. The careless inclusion of Mr. Ben Lim, Jr., in Pea stated that Herman Ponce, Julie Abad and Marilyn Ong, the alleged
the warrant of arrest gives flesh to the bone of contention of petitioners that signatories of the questioned letters, did not actually affix their signatures
the instant case is a matter of persecution rather than prosecution.[37] On therein; and that they were not actually officers or stockholders of ISCI.[54]
this ground, this Court may enjoin the criminal cases against petitioners. As He further claimed that Enrique Montillas signature appearing in another
a general rule, criminal prosecutions cannot be enjoined. However, there memorandum addressed to respondent was forged.[55] These averments
are recognized exceptions which, as summarized in Brocka v. Enrile,[38] are mere assertions which are insufficient to warrant the filing of the
are: complaint or worse the issuance of warrants of arrest. These averments
cannot be considered as proceeding from the personal knowledge of herein
a. To afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused; respondent who failed to, basically, allege that he was present at the time of
[39] the execution of the documents. Neither was there any mention in the
b. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid complaint-affidavit that herein respondent was familiar with the signatures of
oppression or multiplicity of actions;[40] the mentioned signatories to be able to conclude that they were forged.
c. When there is a prejudicial question which is sub judice;[41] What Atty. Pea actually stated were but sweeping assertions that the
d. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority;[42] signatories are mere dummies of ISCI and that they are not in fact officers,
e. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation; stockholders or representatives of the corporation. Again, there is no
[43] indication that the assertion was based on the personal knowledge of the
f. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent;[44] affiant.
g. Where the court had no jurisdiction over the offense;[45]
h. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution;[46] The reason for the requirement that affidavits must be based on personal
i. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for knowledge is to guard against hearsay evidence. A witness, therefore, may
vengeance;[47] and not testify as what he merely learned from others either because he was
j. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a told or read or heard the same. Such testimony is considered hearsay and
motion to quash on that ground has been denied.[48] may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has learned.[56]
Hearsay is not limited to oral testimony or statements; the general rule that
excludes hearsay as evidence applies to written, as well as oral statements.
THE SUBSTANTIVE ASPECT: [57]

Petitioners were charged with violation of par. 2, Article 172 of the Revised The requirement of personal knowledge should have been strictly applied
Penal Code or Introduction of Falsified Document in a judicial proceeding. considering that herein petitioners were not given the opportunity to rebut
The elements of the offense are as follows: the complainants allegation through counter-affidavits.

1. That the offender knew that a document was falsified by Quite noticeable is the fact that in the letter dated 19 December 1994 of
another person. Herman Ponce and Julie Abad, neither of the two made the representation
that they were the president or secretary of ISCI. It was only Atty. Pea who
2. That the false document is embraced in Article 171 or in any asserted that the two made such representation. He alleged that Marilyn
subdivisions Nos. 1 or 2 of Article 172. Ong was never a stockholder of ISCI but he did not present the stock and
transfer book of ISCI. And, there was neither allegation nor proof that
3. That he introduced said document in evidence in any judicial Marilyn Ong was not connected to ISCI in any other way. Moreover, even if
proceeding.[49] Marilyn Ong was not a stockholder of ISCI, such would not prove that the
documents she signed were falsified.
The falsity of the document and the defendants knowledge of its falsity are
essential elements of the offense. The Office of the City Prosecutor filed the The Court may not be compelled to pass upon the correctness of the
Informations against the petitioners on the basis of the Complaint-Affidavit exercise of the public prosecutors function without any showing of grave
of respondent Atty. Pea, attached to which were the documents contained in abuse of discretion or manifest error in his findings.[58] Considering,
the Motion to Dismiss filed by the petitioners in Civil Case No. 754. Also however, that the prosecution and the court a quo committed manifest
included as attachments to the complaint were the Answers, Pre-Trial Brief, errors in their findings of probable cause, this Court therefore annuls their
the alleged falsified documents, copy of the regular meetings of ISCI during findings.
the election of the Board of Directors and the list of ISCI Stockholders.[50]
Based on these documents and the complaint-affidavit of Atty. Pea, the City Our pronouncement in Jimenez v. Jimenez[59] as reiterated in Baltazar v.
Prosecutor concluded that probable cause for the prosecution of the People is apropos:
charges existed. On the strength of the same documents, the trial court
issued the warrants of arrest. It is x x x 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
This Court, however, cannot find these documents sufficient to support the ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or
existence of probable cause. 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
Probable cause is such set of facts and circumstances as would lead a determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the
reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that the offense charged in light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence
the Information or any offense included therein has been committed by the depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge
person sought to be arrested. In determining probable cause, the average conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard the facts
man weighs the facts and circumstances without restoring to the calibrations before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reasons. The judge
of the rules of evidence of which he has no technical knowledge. He relies or fiscal, therefore, should not go on with the prosecution in the hope that
on common sense. A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for this would be a
evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It
and that it was committed by the accused. Probable cause demands more bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by visualizing and
not denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should
continue to be so.

On the foregoing discussion, we find that the Court of Appeals erred in


affirming the findings of the prosecutor as well as the court a quo as to the
existence of probable cause. The criminal complaint against the petitioners
should be dismissed.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the Court


of Appeals dated 20 June 2000, in CA-G.R. SP No. 49666, is REVERSED
and SET ASIDE. The Temporary Restraining Order dated 2 August 2000 is G.R. No. 193253, September 08, 2015
hereby made permanent. Accordingly, the Municipal Trial Court in Cities,
Negros Occidental, Bago City, is hereby DIRECTED to DISMISS Criminal
BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE AGNES VST
Case Nos. 6683, 6684, 6685 and 6686.
DEVANADERA, ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE;
HONORABLE JOVENCITO R. ZUO, PEDRITO L. RANCES, ARMAN A.
DE ANDRES, PAUL CHI TING CO, KENNETH PUNDANERA, MANUEL T.
CO, SALLY L. CO, STANLEY L. TAN, ROCHELLE E. VICENCIO, LIZA R.
SO ORDERED. MAGAWAY, JANICE L. CO, VIVENCIO ABAO, GREG YU, EDWIN
AGUSTIN, VICTOR D. PIAMONTE, UNIOIL PETROLEUM PHILIPPINES,
INC., AND OILINK, INTERNATIONAL, INC., Respondents.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, seeking to reverse and set aside the Court of Appeals (CA)
Resolutions dated March 26, 20101 and August 4, 2010,2 and to reinstate
the petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 113069, or in the alternative, to
issue a decision finding probable cause to prosecute the private
respondents for violation of Sections 3601 and 3602, in relation to Sections
2503 and 2530, paragraphs f and 1 (3), (4) and (5) of the Tariff and Customs
Code of the Philippines (TCCP), as amended.

The antecedents are as follows:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Private respondent UNIOIL Petroleum Philippines, Inc. is engaged in


marketing, distribution, and sale of petroleum, oil and other products, while
its co-respondent OILINK International, Inc. is engaged in manufacturing,
importing, exporting, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in at wholesale
and retails of petroleum, oil, gas and of any and all refinements and by-
products thereof. Except for respondent Victor D. Piamonte who is a
Licensed Customs Broker, the following private respondents are either
officers or directors of UNIOIL or OILINK:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

1. Paul Chi Ting Co - Chairman of UNIOIL and OILINK


2. Kenneth Pundanera - President/Director of UNIOIL
3. Manuel T. Co - Officer/Director of UNIOIL
4. Sally L. Co - Officer/Director of UNIOIL
5. Stanley L. Tan - Officer/Director of UNIOIL
6. Rochelle E. Vicencio - Corporate Administrative Supervisor of UNIOIL
7. Liza R. Magaway - President of OILINK
8. Janice L. Co - Director of OILINK
9. Vivencio Abao - Director of OILINK
10. Greg Yu - Director of OILINK
11. Edwin Agustin - Corporate Secretary of OILINK

On January 30, 2007, Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales of petitioner


Bureau of Customs (BOC) issued Audit Notification Letter (ANL) No.
0701246,3 informing the President of OILINK that the Post Entry Audit
Group (PEAG) of the BOC will be conducting a compliance audit, including
the examination, inspection, verification and/or investigation of all pertinent
records of OILINK's import transactions for the past three (3)-year period
counted from the said date.

On March 2, 2007, a pre-audit conference was held between the BOC Audit
Team4 and the representatives of OILINK.5 During the conference, the Audit
Team explained to OILINK representatives the purpose of the post-entry
audit and the manner by which it would be conducted, and advised it as to
the import documents required for such audit.

On March 14, 2007, OILINK submitted to the Audit Team the following
documents: Post-Entry Audit Group General Customs Questionnaire,
General Information Sheet for the year 2006, SEC Registration, Articles of
Incorporation, Company By-laws, and Audited Financial Report for the year
2005.
On May 2, 2008, Rochelle E. Vicencio, Corporate Administrative Supervisor
On April 20, 2007, the Audit Team requested OILINK to submit the other of UNIOIL, citing the existing Terminalling Agreement dated January 2, 2008
documents stated in the List of Initial Requirements for Submission, namely: with OILINK for the Storage of UNIOIL's aromatic process oil and industrial
2004 Audited Financial Report, 2004-2006 Quarterly VAT Returns with the lubricating oils (collectively, "base oils"), requested District Collector
accompanying schedule of importations, Organizational chart/structure, and Suansing Jr. to allow it to withdraw base oils from OILINK's temporarily
List of foreign suppliers with details on the products imported and the total closed Terminal.
amount, on a yearly basis.
On May 6, 2008, Commissioner Morales granted the request of UNIOIL to
On May 7, 2007, OILINK expressed its willingness to comply with the withdraw its base oils stored at OILINK's terminal/depot based on the
request for the production of the said documents, but claimed that it was Terminalling Agreement between the two companies, subject to the
hampered by the resignation of its employees from the Accounting and following conditions:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Supply Department. OILINK also averred that it would refer the matter to the
Commissioner of Customs in view of the independent investigation being 1. Only Unioil products shall be withdrawn subject to proper inventory by
conducted by the latter. the BIR and BOC.
2. Appropriate duties and taxes due on the products to be withdrawn are
On June 4, 2007, OILINK sent a letter stating that the documents which the fully paid or settled.
Audit Team previously requested were available with the Special Committee 3. The company should allow the operation/withdrawal to be closely
of the BOC, and that it could not open in the meantime its Bureau of Internal monitored and continuously underguarded by assigned Customs
Revenue (BIR) - registered books of accounts for validation and review personnel.14
purposes.
On May 9, 2008, a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD), docketed as
In a letter dated July 11, 2007, the Audit Team informed OILINK of the Seizure Identification (S.I.) No. 2008-082, was issued by District Collector
adverse effects of its request for the postponement of the exit conference Suansing Jr., directing the BOC officials to seal and padlock the oil
and its continuous refusal to furnish it the required documents. It advised tanks/depots of OILINK located in Bataan.
OILINK that such acts constitute as waiver on its part to be informed of the
audit findings and an administrative case would be filed against it, without On May 12, 2008, Kenneth C. Pundanera, Operations Manager of UNIOIL,
prejudice to the filing of a criminal action. requested Zaldy E. Almoradie, District Collector of Mariveles, Bataan, for
permission to release UNIOIL-owned products from OILINK's storage
On July 24, 2007, Commissioner Morales approved the filing of an terminal. Pertinent portion of the request letter
administrative case against OILINK for failure to comply with the reads:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
requirements of Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 4-2004.6 Such
case was filed on July 30, 2007.
Unioil is a licensed importer of various Petroleum Products by virtue of its
On September 20, 2007, an Order was issued by the Legal Service of the import license LTAD-0-021-2002 issued on March 26, 2002 which was
BOC, submitting the case for resolution in view of OILINK's failure to file its revised to include all other petroleum products in 2007 through LTAMII (P)
Answer within the prescribed period. 001-10-07-13639. To pursue its line of business, Unioil has an existing
Terminalling Agreement with Oilink for the storage of various Unioil products
On December 14, 2007, the Legal Service of the BOC rendered a Decision at the Oilink terminal located at Lucanin Pt, Mariveles, Bataan.
finding that OILINK violated Section IV.A.2(c) and (e) of CAO 4-20047 when
it refused to furnish the Audit Team copies of the required documents, In view of the said temporary closure of Oilink's terminal, Unioil is currently
despite repeated demands. The dispositive portion of the Decision unable to fully utilize its leased tanks as well as make use of the products
states:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary contained therein. We understand that there is still an unresolved issue
between Oilink and the Bureau of Customs. However, with all due respect,
said issue should not affect Unioil because it is not a party to the same,
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Office finds herein respondent furthermore there is a legal and binding terminalling agreement between
liable for violating Sections IV.A.2 (c) and (e) of Customs Administrative Oilink and Unioil which should be honored.
Order No. 4-2004, and a DECISION is hereby rendered:cralawlawlibrary
1. Ordering OILINK INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION to pay the Last May 8, 2008, an asphalt importation for Unioil Petroleum Philippines,
equivalent of twenty percent (20%) ad valorem on the article/s subject of the Inc. arrived in Mariveles, Bataan. This was issued the corresponding
Importation for which no records were kept and maintained as prescribed in discharging permit by the Bureau of Customs. All duties, excise taxes and
Section 2504 of the Customs Code in the amount of Pesos: Two Billion value added taxes for this product have already been settled. However, we
Seven Hundred Sixty-Four Million Eight Hundred Fifty-Nine Thousand are still unable to withdraw these products in order to serve our customers
Three Hundred Four and 80/100 (Php 2,764,859,304.80); who are using the product to supply major government infrastructure
projects in the country.
2. Ordering the Bureau of Customs to hold the delivery or release of
subsequent imported articles to answer for the fine, any revised In line with the endorsement coming from the Bureau of Customs
assessment, and/or as a penalty for failure to keep records. Commissioner Napoleon D. Morales issued last May 6, 2008, Unioil has
This is without prejudice to the filing of a criminal case or any appropriate complied with the conditions stipulated therein which
legal action against the importer in order to protect the interest of the are:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
government and deter other importers from committing the same offense.
1. Only Unioil products shall be withdrawn subject to proper inventory by the
SO ORDERED8 BIR and BOC.
Pursuant to the Decision dated December 14, 2007, Commissioner 2. Appropriate duties and taxes due on the products to be withdrawn are
Morales, in a letter9 of even date, directed the President of OILINK to pay fully paid or settled.
the BOC the administrative fine of P2,764,859,304.80 for violation of CAO
No. 4-2004, in relation to Section 2504 of the TCCP. Copy of the said 3. The company (Unioil) should allow the operation/withdrawal to be closely
Decision and letter were served to OILINK through personal service on monitored and continuously underguarded by assigned Customs personnel.
December 28, 2007.10cralawrednad
In this regard, may we respectfully request your good office to please allow
On March 13, 2008, Atty. Noemi B. Alcala, Officer-in-Charge, Collection Unioil to withdraw from Oilink's terminal its products which are stored in the
Service, Revenue and Monitoring Group, sent a final demand letter for following tanks[:]15cralawrednad
OILINK to settle the administrative fine, otherwise, the BOC will be
compelled to file the necessary legal action and put in force Section
150811 of the TCCP against its succeeding shipments to protect the TANK PROD CONTENTS (Liters)
government's interest.12cralawrednad
2 diesel 2,171,670.00
On April 23, 2008, a Hold Order13 was issued by Horacio P. Suansing, Jr., 6 rexo 1,862,846.00
District Collector, Port of Manila, against all shipments of OILINK for failure
to settle its outstanding account with the BOC and to protect the interest of 10 asphalt 4,573.14
the government pursuant to Section 1508 of the TCCP.
13 gasoline 809,345.00
We made a cursory examination of the petition filed in this case as well as
14 gasoline 746,629.00
the whole rollo of the case. It is our finding that, up to the date hereof, the
17 diesel 360,097.00 petitioner has not duly submitted to this Court another set of petition with a
certification against forum shopping embodied therein or appended thereto.
19 sn500 203,659.00 Thus, the petition really suffers from a fatal defect until now, and so, the
petitioner has to bear the consequence thereof.27
20 sn500 643,236.00
The CA stressed that procedural rules are not to be belittled or dismissed
In the same request letter, District Collector Almoradie approved the release simply because their non-observance may have resulted in prejudice to a
of the above petroleum products through a handwritten note dated May 12, party's substantive rights. Like all rules, they are required to be followed
2008: "All concerned: Pls. allow the release of the Unioil-owned products except only when, for the most persuasive of reasons, they may be relaxed
from the Oilink Storage Terminal per this request. Thanks."16cralawrednad to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of
thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed.
On May 15, 2008, Pundanera wrote a clarificatory letter pursuant to the
verbal instruction of District Collector Almoradie to explain the withdrawal of While it is true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, this does not
products from the Terminal of OILINK, to wit:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary mean that Rules of Court may be ignored at will and at random to the
prejudice of the orderly presentation and assessment of the issues and their
As far as Unioil is concerned, we affirm to your good office that the products just resolution.
withdrawn/loaded at the Terminal are entirely Unioil products. Unioil owns
these products pursuant to its supply and terminalling agreements with Aggrieved, the BOC filed the instant petition for review on certiorari, raising
Oilink. (We shall be submitting to you copies of these documents as soon as the following issues:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
they arrive from our office in Manila.) In addition, due to the issue involving
Oilink and the Bureau of Customs, Unioil was forced to secure its petroleum WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY
products from local sources in order to comply with its valid contractual ERRED WHEN IT DENIED PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR
commitments. RECONSIDERATION SOLELY ON THE GROUND THAT, ALLEGEDLY, IT
DID NOT RECEIVE THE SECOND AND COMPLETE COPY OF THE
Unioil intended to withdraw these products because it believed in good faith PETITION, CONTAINING THE VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION
and based on documents in its possession that it is allowed to do so. Unioil AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING.
based its intention pursuant to the Indorsements of the Collector of the Port
of Manila as well as the Office of the Commissioner that allowed the WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY
withdrawal of Unioil products subject to compliance with the three (3) ERRED IN LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT AFFIRMED ITS 26
conditions specified in the abovementioned Indorsements. MARCH 2010 RESOLUTION, DISMISSING THE PETITION ON ACCOUNT
OF MERE TECHNICALITIES.
This being the precedent, we believe in good faith that, since Unioil owns
the products, and it is considered a stranger to the issue between Oilink and WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED
the Bureau, then Unioil is allowed to withdraw the products it owns subject SERIOUS ERROR WHEN IT DID NOT LOOK INTO THE MERITS OF THE
to the compliance with the three (3) stated conditions. Besides, any CASE, WHERE IT WAS CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT THERE IS
withdrawal is covered by an appropriate delivery receipt, which would PROBABLE CAUSE TO INDICT RESPONDENTS FOR TRIAL FOR
clearly indicate that Unioil owns the products being withdrawn.17 VIOLATION OF SECTION 3601 AND 3602 IN RELATION TO SECTION
2530, PARAGRAPHS (E), AND SECTION 3604 (D), (E), (F), AND (H) OF
In a complaint-affidavit dated December 15, 2008, Atty. Balmyrson M. THE TCCP, AS AMENDED.28
Valdez, a member of the petitioner BOC's Anti-Oil Smuggling Coordinating
Committee that investigated the illegal withdrawal by UNIOIL of oil products The petition is partly meritorious.
consigned to OILINK, valued at P181,988,627.00 with corresponding duties
and taxes in the amount of P35,507,597.00, accused the private Although the question of jurisdiction over the subject matter was not raised
respondents of violation of Sections 360118and 3602,19 in relation to at bench by either of the parties, the Court will first address such question
Sections 250320 and 2530,21 paragraphs f and 1 (3), (4) and (5), of the before delving into the procedural and substantive issues of the instant
TCCP. petition. After all, it is the duty of the courts to consider the question of
jurisdiction before they look into other matters involved in the case, even
In a letter22 dated December 15, 2008, Commissioner Morales referred to though such question is not raised by any of the parties.29 Courts are bound
the Office of Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuno the said complaint- to take notice of the limits of their authority and, even if such question is
affidavit, together with its annexes, for preliminary investigation. During the neither raised by the pleadings nor suggested by counsel, they may
said investigation, BOC's counsel appeared and all of the private recognize the want of jurisdiction and act accordingly by staying pleadings,
respondents submitted their respective counter-affidavits. dismissing the action, or otherwise noticing the defect, at any stage of the
proceedings.30 Besides, issues or errors not raised by the parties may be
In a Resolution23 dated May 29, 2009, public respondent Arman A. De resolved by the Court where, as in this case, the issue is one of jurisdiction;
Andres, State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice (DOJ), it is necessary in arriving at a just decision; and the resolution of the issues
recommended the dismissal of the complaint-affidavit for lack of probable raised by the parties depend upon the determination of the unassigned
cause. The Resolution was approved by public respondents Assistant Chief issue or error, or is necessary to give justice to the parties.31cralawrednad
State Prosecutor Pedrito L. Ranees and Chief State Prosecutor Zuflo. On
automatic review, the Resolution was affirmed by then Secretary of Justice On the issue of whether or not the CA has certiorari jurisdiction over the
Raul M. Gonzales.24cralawrednad resolution of the Acting Secretary of Justice, affirming the dismissal of the
complaint-affidavit for violation of provisions of the TCCP due to lack of
Dissatisfied, the BOC filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied probable cause, the Court rules in negative.
by the public respondent, the Acting Secretary of Justice Agnes VST
Devanadera, in a Resolution25cralawred dated December 28, 2009. The elementary rule is that the CA has jurisdiction to review the resolution of
the DOJ through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
On March 11, 2010, the BOC filed a petition for certiorari with the CA. on the ground that the Secretary of Justice committed grave abuse of his
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction.32 However, with the
In the Resolution dated March 26, 2010, the CA dismissed outright the enactment33 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9282, amending R.A. No. 112534 by
petition due to procedural defects:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary expanding the jurisdiction of the CTA, enlarging its membership and
elevating its rank to the level of a collegiate court with special jurisdiction, it
The instant petition (i) contains no explanation why service thereof was not is no longer clear which between the CA and the CTA has jurisdiction to
done personally (Sec. 11, Rule 13, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure); (ii) review through a petition for certiorari the DOJ resolution in preliminary
shows that it has no proper verification and certification against forum investigations involving tax and tariff offenses.
shopping and (iii) the docket and other lawful fees payment is short by
P1,530.0026 Apropos is City of Manila v. Hon. Grecia-Cuerdo35 where the Court en banc
declared that the CTA has appellate jurisdiction over a special civil action
In the Resolution dated August 4, 2010, the CA denied the private for certiorari assailing an interlocutory order issued by the RTC in a local tax
respondents' motion for reconsideration of the March 26, 2010 Resolution, case, despite the fact that there is no categorical statement to that effect
as follows:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
under R.A. No. 1125, as well as the amendatory R.A. No. 9282. appeal. It carries with it the power to protect that jurisdiction and to make
Thus:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary the decisions of the court thereunder effective. The court, in aid of its
appellate jurisdiction, has authority to control all auxiliary and incidental
x x x Section 5 (1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution grants power to the matters necessary to the efficient and proper exercise of that jurisdiction.
Supreme Court, in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, to issue writs For this purpose, it may, when necessary, prohibit or restrain the
of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus. With respect to the Court of performance of any act which might interfere with the proper exercise of its
Appeals, Section 9 (1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (BP 129) gives the rightful jurisdiction in cases pending before it.
appellate court, also in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, the power to
issue, among others, a writ of certiorari, whether or not in aid of its appellate Lastly, it would not be amiss to point out that a court which is endowed with
jurisdiction. As to Regional Trial Courts, the power to issue a writ a particular jurisdiction should have powers which are necessary to enable it
of certiorari, in the exercise of their original jurisdiction, is provided under to act effectively within such jurisdiction. These should be regarded as
Section 21 of BP 129. powers which are inherent in its jurisdiction and the court must possess
them in order to enforce its rules of practice and to suppress any abuses of
The foregoing notwithstanding, while there is no express grant of such its process and to defeat any attempted thwarting of such process.
power, with respect to the CTA, Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987
Constitution provides, nonetheless, that judicial power shall be vested in In this regard, Section 1 of RA 9282 states that the CTA shall be of the same
one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law level as the CA and shall possess all the inherent powers of a court of
and that judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle justice.
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave Indeed, courts possess certain inherent powers which may be said to be
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the implied from a general grant of jurisdiction, in addition to those expressly
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. conferred on them. These inherent powers are such powers as are
necessary for the ordinary and efficient exercise of jurisdiction; or are
On the strength of the above constitutional provisions, it can be fairly essential to the existence, dignity and functions of the courts, as well as to
interpreted that the power of the CTA includes that of determining whether the due administration of justice; or are directly appropriate, convenient and
or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess suitable to the execution of their granted powers; and include the power to
of jurisdiction on the part of the RTC in issuing an interlocutory order in maintain the court's jurisdiction and render it effective in behalf of the
cases falling within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the tax court. It, litigants.
thus, follows that the CTA, by constitutional mandate, is vested with
jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari in these cases. Thus, this Court has held that "while a court may be expressly granted the
incidental powers necessary to effectuate its jurisdiction, a grant of
Indeed, in order for any appellate court to effectively exercise its appellate jurisdiction, in the absence of prohibitive legislation, implies the necessary
jurisdiction, it must have the authority to issue, among others, a writ and usual incidental powers essential to effectuate it, and, subject to
of certiorari. In transferring exclusive jurisdiction over appealed tax cases to existing laws and constitutional provisions, every regularly constituted court
the CTA, it can reasonably be assumed that the law intended to transfer has power to do all things that are reasonably necessary for the
also such power as is deemed necessary, if not indispensable, in aid of administration of justice within the scope of its jurisdiction and for the
such appellate jurisdiction. There is no perceivable reason why the transfer enforcement of its judgments and mandates." Hence, demands, matters or
should only be considered as partial, not total. questions ancillary or incidental to, or growing out of, the main action, and
coming within the above principles, may be taken cognizance of by the court
xxxx and determined, since such jurisdiction is in aid of its authority over the
principal matter, even though the court may thus be called on to consider
Furthermore, Section 6, Rule 135 of the present Rules of Court provides and decide matters which, as original causes of action, would not be within
that when by law, jurisdiction is conferred on a court or judicial officer, all its cognizance.
auxiliary writs, processes and other means necessary to carry it into effect
may be employed by such court or officer. Based on the foregoing disquisitions, it can be reasonably concluded that
the authority of the CTA to take cognizance of petitions
If this Court were to sustain petitioners' contention that jurisdiction over for certiorari questioning interlocutory orders issued by the RTC in a local
their certiorari petition lies with the CA, this Court would be confirming the tax case is included in the powers granted by the Constitution as well as
exercise by two judicial bodies, the CA and the CTA, of jurisdiction over inherent in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.36
basically the same subject matter - precisely the split-jurisdiction situation
which is anathema to the orderly administration of justice. The Court cannot Since the Court ruled in City of Manila v. Hon. Grecia-Cuerdo31 that the CTA
accept that such was the legislative motive, especially considering that the has jurisdiction over a special civil action for certiorari questioning an
law expressly confers on the CTA, the tribunal with the specialized interlocutory order of the RTC in a local tax case via express constitutional
competence over tax and tariff matters, the role of judicial review over local mandate and for being inherent in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, it
tax cases without mention of any other court that may exercise such power. can also be reasonably concluded based on the same premise that the CTA
Thus, the Court agrees with the ruling of the CA that since appellate has original jurisdiction over a petition for certiorari assailing the DOJ
jurisdiction over private respondents' complaint for tax refund is vested in resolution in a preliminary investigation involving tax and tariff offenses.
the CTA, it follows that a petition for certiorari seeking nullification of an
interlocutory order issued in the said case should, likewise, be filed with the If the Court were to rule that jurisdiction over a petition
same court. To rule otherwise would lead to an absurd situation where one for certiorari assailing such DOJ resolution lies with the CA, it would be
court decides an appeal in the main case while another court rules on an confirming the exercise by two judicial bodies, the CA and the CTA, of
incident in the very same case. jurisdiction over basically the same subject matter - precisely the split-
jurisdiction situation which is anathema to the orderly administration of
Stated differently, it would be somewhat incongruent with the pronounced justice. The Court cannot accept that such was the legislative intent,
judicial abhorrence to split jurisdiction to conclude that the intention of the especially considering that R.A. No. 9282 expressly confers on the CTA, the
law is to divide the authority over a local tax case filed with the RTC by tribunal with the specialized competence over tax and tariff matters, the role
giving to the CA or this Court jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari against of judicial review over local tax cases without mention of any other court that
interlocutory orders of the RTC but giving to the CTA the jurisdiction over the may exercise such power.38cralawrednad
appeal from the decision of the trial court in the same case. It is more in
consonance with logic and legal soundness to conclude that the grant of Concededly, there is no clear statement under R.A. No. 1125, the
appellate jurisdiction to the CTA over tax cases filed in and decided by the amendatory R.A. No. 9282, let alone in the Constitution, that the CTA has
RTC carries with it the power to issue a writ of certiorari when necessary in original jurisdiction over a petition for certiorari. By virtue of Section 1, Article
aid of such appellate jurisdiction. The supervisory power or jurisdiction of VIII of the 1987 Constitution, vesting judicial power in the Supreme Court
the CTA to issue a writ of certiorari in aid of its appellate jurisdiction should and such lower courts as may be established by law, to determine whether
co-exist with, and be a complement to, its appellate jurisdiction to review, by or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch
appeal, the final orders and decisions of the RTC, in order to have complete or instrumentality of the Government, in relation to Section 5(5), Article VIII
supervision over the acts of the latter. thereof, vesting upon it the power to promulgate rules concerning practice
and procedure in all courts, the Court thus declares that the CA's original
A grant of appellate jurisdiction implies that there is included in it the power jurisdiction39 over a petition for certiorari assailing the DOJ resolution in a
necessary to exercise it effectively, to make all orders that will preserve the preliminary investigation involving tax and tariff offenses was necessarily
subject of the action, and to give effect to the final determination of the transferred to the CTA pursuant to Section 7 of R.A. No. 9282,40 and that
such petition shall be governed by Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as
amended. Accordingly, it is the CTA, not the CA, which has jurisdiction over circumstances and in the interest of justice, the CA should have at least
the petition for certiorari assailing the DOJ resolution of dismissal of the passed upon the substantive issue raised in the petition, instead of
BOC's complaint-affidavit against private respondents for violation of the dismissing it on such procedural ground. Although it does not condone the
TCCR failure of BOC to comply with the said basic requirement, the Court is
constrained to exercise the inherent power to suspend its own rules in order
On the procedural issue of whether the CA erred in dismissing the petition to do justice in this particular case.
for certiorari on the sole ground of lack of verification and certification
against forum shopping, the Court rules in the affirmative, despite the above Given that the petition for certiorari should have been filed with the CTA, the
discussion that such petition should have been filed with the CTA. mistake committed by the BOC in filing such petition before the CA may be
excused. In this regard, Court takes note that nothing in R.A. No. 1125, as
In Traveno, et al. v. Bobongon Banana Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, amended by R.A. No. 9282, indicates that a petition for certiorari under Rule
et al.,41 the Court restated the jurisprudence on non-compliance with the 65 may be filed with the CTA. Despite the enactment of R.A. No. 9282 on
requirements on, or submission of defective, verification and certification March 30, 2004, it was only about ten (10) years later in the case of City of
against forum shopping:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Manila v. Hon. Grecia-Cuerdo44 that the Court ruled that the authority of the
CTA to take cognizance of such petitions is included in the powers granted
1) A distinction must be made between non-compliance with the by the Constitution, as well as inherent in the exercise of its appellate
requirement on or submission of defective verification, and non- compliance jurisdiction. While the rule on perfection of appeals cannot be classified as a
with the requirement on or submission of defective certification against difficult question of law,45 mistake in the construction or application of a
forum shopping. doubtful question of law, as in this case, may be considered as a mistake of
fact, excusing the BOC from the consequences of the erroneous filing of its
2) As to verification, non-compliance therewith or a defect therein does not petition with the CA.
necessarily render the pleading fatally defective. The court may order its
submission or correction or act on the pleading if the attending As the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari solely due to a procedural
circumstances are such that strict compliance with the Rule may be defect without resolving the issue of whether or not the Acting Secretary of
dispensed with in order that the ends of justice may be served thereby. Justice gravely abused her discretion in affirming the dismissal of the BOC's
complaint-affidavit for lack of probable cause, the Court ought to reinstate
3) Verification is deemed substantially complied with when one who has the petition and refer it to the CTA for proper disposition. For one, as a
ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or highly specialized court specifically created for the purpose of reviewing tax
petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in the petition have and customs cases,46 the CTA is dedicated exclusively to the study and
been made in good faith or are true and correct. consideration of revenue-related problems, and has necessarily developed
an expertise on the subject.47 For another, the referral of the petition to the
4) As to certification against forum shopping, non-compliance therewith or a CTA is in line with the policy of hierarchy of courts in order to prevent
defect therein, unlike in verification, is generally not curable by its inordinate demands upon the Court's time and attention which are better
subsequent submission or correction thereof, unless there is a need to relax devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent
the Rule on the ground of "substantial compliance" or presence of "special further overcrowding of its docket.48cralawrednad
circumstances or compelling reasons."
Be that as it may, the Court stressed in The Diocese of Bacolod v.
5) The certification against forum shopping must be signed by all the Commission on Elections49 that the doctrine of hierarchy of courts is not an
plaintiffs or petitioners in a case; otherwise, those who did not sign will be iron-clad rule, and that it has full discretionary power to take cognizance and
dropped as parties to the case.' Under reasonable or justifiable assume jurisdiction over special civil actions for certiorari filed directly with it
circumstances, however, as when all the plaintiffs or petitioners share a for exceptionally compelling reasons or if warranted by the nature of the
common interest and invoke a common cause of action or defense, the issues clearly and specifically raised in the petition. Recognized exceptions
signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping to the said doctrine are as follows: (a) when there are genuine issues of
substantially complies with the Rule. constitutionality that must be addressed at the most immediate time; (b)
when the issues involved are of transcendental importance; (c) cases of first
6) Finally, the certification against forum shopping must be executed by the impression where no jurisprudence yet exists that will guide the lower courts
party-pleader, not by his counsel. If, however, for reasonable or justifiable on the matter; (d) the constitutional issues raised are better decided by the
reasons, the party-pleader is unable to sign, he must execute a Special Court; (e) where exigency in certain situations necessitate urgency in the
Power of Attorney designating his counsel of record to sign on his behalf.42 resolution of the cases; (f) the filed petition reviews the act of a
constitutional organ; (g) when petitioners rightly claim that they had no other
While it admittedly filed a petition for certiorari without a certification against plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law that could
forum shopping on March 11, 2010, the BOC claimed to have subsequently free them from the injurious effects of respondents' acts in violation of their
complied with such requirement by filing through registered mail a complete right to freedom of expression; and (h) the petition includes questions that
set of such petition, the following day which was also the last day of the are dictated by public welfare and the advancement of public policy, or
reglementary period. The problem arose when the CA failed to receive such demanded by the broader interest of justice, or the orders complained of
complete set of the petition for certiorari with the verification and certification were found to be patent nullities, or the appeal was considered as clearly an
against forum shopping. In support of the motion for reconsideration of the inappropriate remedy.50Since the present case includes questions that are
CA's March 26, 2010 resolution which dismissed outright the petition, the dictated by public welfare and the advancement of public policy, or
BOC asserted that it filed a complete set of petition by registered mail. It demanded by the broader interest of justice, as well as to avoid multiplicity
also submitted an affidavit of the person who did the mailing as required by of suits and further delay in its disposition, the Court shall directly resolve
Section 12,43 Rule 13 of the Rules of Court, including the registry receipt the petition for certiorari, instead of referring it to the CTA.
numbers, but not the receipts themselves which were allegedly attached to
the original copy mailed to the CA. Instead of ordering the BOC to secure a On the substantive issue of whether the Acting Secretary of Justice gravely
certification from the postmaster to verify if a complete set of the petition abused her discretion in affirming the dismissal of the BOC's complaint-
was indeed filed by registered mail, the CA -after examining the whole affidavit for lack of probable cause, the settled policy of noninterference in
case rollo and finding that no other set of petition with a certification against the prosecutor's exercise of discretion requires the courts to leave to the
forum shopping was duly submitted - denied the motion for reconsideration. prosecutor and to the DOJ the determination of what constitutes sufficient
evidence to establish probable cause. As the Court explained in Unilever
Faced with the issue of whether or not there is a need to relax the strict Philippines, Inc. v. Tan:51cralawrednad
compliance with procedural rules in order that the ends of justice may be
served thereby and whether "special circumstances or compelling reasons" The determination of probable cause for purposes of filing of information in
are present to warrant a liberal interpretation of such rules, the Court rules court is essentially an executive function that is lodged, at the first instance,
-after a careful review of the merits of the case - in the affirmative. with the public prosecutor and, ultimately, to the Secretary of Justice. The
prosecutor and the Secretary of Justice have wide latitude of discretion in
Despite the BOC's failed attempt to comply with the requirement of the conduct of preliminary investigation; and their findings with respect to
verification and certification against forum shopping, the Court cannot the existence or non-existence of probable cause are generally not subject
simply ignore the CA's perfunctory dismissal of the petition on such sole to review by the Court.
procedural ground vis-a-vis the paramount public interest in the subject
matter and the substantial amount involved, i.e., the alleged illegal Consistent with this rule, the settled policy of non-interference in the
withdrawal of oil products worth P181,988,627.00 with corresponding duties prosecutor's exercise of discretion requires the courts to leave to the
and taxes worth P35,507,597.00. Due to the presence of such special prosecutor and to the DOJ the determination of what constitutes sufficient
evidence to establish probable cause. Courts can neither override their value, or by the payment of less than the amount legally due, or knowingly
determination nor substitute their own judgment for that of the latter. They and wilfully files any false or fraudulent entry or claim for the payment of
cannot likewise order the prosecution of the accused when the prosecutor drawback or refund of duties upon the exportation of merchandise, or
has not found a prima facie case. makes or files any affidavit, abstract, record, certificate or other document,
with a view to securing the payment to himself or others of any drawback,
Nevertheless, this policy of non-interference is not without exception. The allowance or refund of duties on the exportation of merchandise, greater
Constitution itself allows (and even directs) court action where executive than that legally due thereon, or who shall be guilty of any wilful act or
discretion has been gravely abused. In other words, the court may intervene omission shall, for each offense, be punished in accordance with the
in the executive determination of probable cause, review the findings and penalties prescribed in the preceding section.
conclusions, and ultimately resolve the existence or non-existence of The provision enumerates the various fraudulent practices against customs
probable cause by examining the records of the preliminary investigation revenue, such as the entry of imported or exported articles by means of any
when necessary for the orderly administration of justice.52 false or fraudulent invoice, statement or practice; the entry of goods at less
than the true weight or measure; or the filing of any false or fraudulent entry
Probable cause for purposes of filing a criminal information is defined as for the payment of drawback or refund of duties.
such facts as are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime
has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and The fraud contemplated by law must be intentional fraud, consisting of
should be held for trial.53 As explained in Sy v. Secretary of deception, willfully and deliberately dared or resorted to in order to give up
Justice,54 citing Villanueva v. Secretary of Justice:55cralawrednad some right. The offender must have acted knowingly and with the specific
intent to deceive for the purpose of causing financial loss to another; even
x x x [Probable cause] is such a state of facts in the mind of the prosecutor false representations or statements or omissions of material facts come
as would lead a person of ordinary caution and prudence to believe or within fraudulent intent. The fraud envisaged in the law includes the
entertain an honest or strong suspicion that a thing is so. The term does not suppression of a material fact which a party is bound in good faith to
mean "actual or positive cause"; nor does it import absolute certainty. It is disclose. Fraudulent nondisclosure and fraudulent concealment are of the
merely based on opinion and reasonable belief. Thus, a finding of probable same genre.
cause does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to
procure a conviction. It is enough that it is believed that the act or Fraudulent concealment presupposes a duty to disclose the truth and that
omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. Precisely, disclosure was not made when opportunity to speak and inform was
there is a trial for the reception of evidence of the prosecution in support of present, and that the party to whom the duty of disclosure as to a material
the charge.56 fact was due was thereby induced to act to his injury. Fraud is not confined
to words or positive assertions; it may consist as well of deeds, acts or
To find out if there is a reasonable ground to believe that acts or artifice of a nature calculated to mislead another and thus allow one to
ommissions complained of constitute the offenses charged, the Court must obtain an undue advantage.58
first examine whether or not the allegations against private respondents in
the BOC's complaint-affidavit constitute the offenses of unlawful importation In unlawful importation, also known as outright smuggling, goods and
under Section 3601 and various fraudulent practices against customs articles of commerce are brought into the country without the required
revenue under Section 3602 of the TCCP. importation documents, or are disposed of in the local market without
having been cleared by the BOC or other authorized government agencies,
In Jardeleza v. People,57 the Court discussed the concepts of unlawful to evade the payment of correct taxes, duties and other charges. Such
importation under Section 3601 of the TCCP, and various fraudulent goods and articles do not undergo the processing and clearing procedures
practices against customs revenue under Section 3602 thereof, at the BOC, and are not declared through submission of import documents,
thus:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary such as the import entry and internal revenue declaration.

In various fraudulent practices against customs revenue, also known as


Section 3601 of the TCC was designed to supplement the existing technical smuggling, on the other hand, the goods and articles are brought
provisions of the TCC against the means leading up to smuggling, which into the country through fraudulent, falsified or erroneous declarations, to
might render it beneficial by a substantive and criminal statement separately substantially reduce, if not totally avoid, the payment of correct taxes, duties
providing for the punishment of smuggling. The law was intended not to and other charges. Such goods and articles pass through the BOC, but the
merge into one and the same offense all the many acts which are classified processing and clearing procedures are attended by fraudulent acts in order
and punished by different penalties, penal or administrative, but to legislate to evade the payment of correct taxes, duties, and other charges. Often
against the overt act of smuggling itself. This is manifested by the use of the committed by means of misclassification of the nature, quality or value of
words "fraudulently" and "contrary to law" in the law. goods and articles, undervaluation in terms of their price, quality or weight,
and misdeclaration of their kind, such form of smuggling is made possible
Smuggling is committed by any person who: (1) fraudulently imports or through the involvement of the importers, the brokers and even some
brings into the Philippines any article contrary to law; (2) assists in so doing customs officials and personnel.
any article contrary to law; or (3) receives, conceals, buys, sells or in any
manner facilitate the transportation, concealment or sale of such goods after In light of the foregoing discussion, the Court holds that private respondents
importation, knowing the same to have been imported contrary to law. cannot be charged with unlawful importation under Section 3601 of the
TCCP because there is no allegation in the BOC's complaint-affidavit to the
The phrase "contrary to law" in Section 3601 qualifies the phrases "imports effect that they committed any of the following acts: (1) fraudulently
or brings into the Philippines" and "assists in so doing," and not the word imported or brought into the Philippines the subject petroleum products,
"article." The law penalizes the importation of any merchandise in any contrary to law; (2) assisted in so doing; or (3) received, concealed, bought,
manner contrary to law. sold or in any manner facilitated the transportation, concealment or sale of
such goods after importation, knowing the same to have been imported
The word "law" includes regulations having the force and effect of law, contrary to law.
meaning substantive or legislative type rules as opposed to general
statements of policy or rules of agency, organization, procedures or The said acts constituting unlawful importation under Section 3601 of the
positions. An inherent characteristic of a substantive rule is one affecting TCCP can hardly be gathered from the following allegations in the BOC's
individual rights and obligations; the regulation must have been complaint-affidavit:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
promulgated pursuant to a congressional grant of quasi-legislative authority;
the regulation must have been promulgated in conformity to with
congressionally-imposed procedural requisites. 19.1 From May 23, 2007 to February 10, 2008, UNIOIL is not an accredited
importer of the BOC;
xxxx 19.2 From the time UNIOIL was accredited on February 11, 2008 until the
time of its request to withdraw its oil products on 02 May 2008, they did not
Section 3602 of the TCC, on the other hand, provides:cralawlawlibrary import Gasoil (diesel) and Mogas Gasoline;
Sec. 3602. Various Fraudulent Practices Against Customs Revenue. Any 19.3 The Terminalling Agreement allegedly executed between OILINK and
person who makes or attempts to make any entry of imported or exported UNIOIL was obviously for the purpose of circumventing the Warrant of
article by means of any false or fraudulent invoice, declaration, affidavit, Seizure and Detention issued against the shipments of OILINK aside from
letter, paper or by any means of any false statement, written or verbal, or by the fact that it was only executed on 02 January 2008 after the decision of
any means of any false or fraudulent practice whatsoever, or knowingly the Commissioner finding OILINK liable to pay an administrative fine of Two
effects any entry of goods, wares or merchandise, at less than the true Billion Seven Hundred Sixty-Four Million Eight Hundred Fifty-Nine
weight or measures thereof or upon a false classification as to quality or Thousand Three Hundred Four Pesos and 80/100 (Php2,764,859,304.80);
19.4 Only base oil should have been withdrawn by UNIOIL since it is the
only product subject of its request and approved by the Commissioner; When the undervaluation, misdescription, misclassification or
19.5 UNIOIL withdrew Gasoil (Diesel) and Mogas which were not covered misdeclaration in the import entry is intentional, the importer shall be
by importations; subject to the penal provision under Sec. 3602 of this Code.62
19.6 Finally, the illegal release/withdrawal of the oil products deprived the
government of the supposed partial payment on the Php2.7 billion liability of A careful reading of the BOC's complaint-affidavit would show that there is
OILINK in the" approximate amount of Phpl81,988,627 representing the no allegation to the effect that private respondents committed
customs value of the released/withdrawn oil products and estimated duties undervaluation, misdeclaration in weight, measurement or quantity of more
and taxes of Php35,507,597 due thereon or the total amount than thirty percent (30%) between the value, weight, measurement, or
of Php217,496,224.00.59cralawrednad quantity declared in the entry, and the actual value, weight, quantity, or
measurement which constitute prima facie evidence of fraud. Nor is there
xxxx an allegation that they intentionally committed undervaluation,
misdescription, misclassification or misdeclaration in the import entry. Since
21.1 When UNIOIL withdrew Gasoil (Diesel) and Mogas without filing the the allegations in the BOC's complaint-affidavit fall short of the acts or
corresponding Import Entry, the shipment becomes unlawful per se and thus omissions constituting the various fraudulent acts against customs revenue
falls under unlawful importation under Section 3601 of the Tariff and under Section 3602 of the TCCP, the Acting Secretary of Justice correctly
Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended; ruled that there was no probable cause to believe that they committed such
crime/s.
21.2 The fact that UNIOIL and OILINK executed a belated Terminalling
Agreement after the issuance of the Warrant of Seizure and Detention While it is true that the sole office of the writ of certiorari is the correction of
showed the fraudulent intent of the respondents whereby UNIOIL can still errors of jurisdiction, including the commission of grave abuse of discretion
withdraw the oil products stored at OILINK's depot likewise in clear violation amounting to lack of jurisdiction, and does not include a correction of the
of section 3601 and 3602 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, public respondents' evaluation of the evidence and factual findings thereon,
as amended; it is sometimes necessary to delve into factual issues in order to resolve the
allegations of grave abuse of discretion as a ground for the special civil
21.3 The fact that the UNIOIL make [sic] it appear that they are the owner of action of certiorari63 In light of this principle, the Court reviews the following
Gasoil (Diesel) and Mogas when in truth and in fact they did not import said findings of the Acting Secretary of Justice in affirming the State Prosecutor's
products make them liable for [violation of] Section 3602 of the Tariff and dismissal of the BOC's complaint-affidavit for lack of probable
Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended and falsification;60 cause:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Since the foregoing allegations do not constitute the crime of unlawful Respondents are being charged for unlawful importation under Section
importation under Section 3601 of the TCCP, the Acting Secretary of Justice 3601, and fraudulent practices against customs revenues under Section
did not commit grave abuse of discretion when she affirmed the State 3602, of the TCCP, as amended. For these charges to prosper, complainant
Prosecutor's dismissal the BOC's complaint-affidavit for lack of probable must prove, first and foremost, that the subject articles were imported. On
cause. this score alone, complainant has miserably failed.
Neither could private respondents be charged with various fraudulent Indeed, except for complainant's sweeping allegation, no clear and
practices against customs revenue under Section 3602 of the TCCP as the convincing proof was presented to show that the subject petroleum products
above allegations do hot fall under any of the following acts or omissions (gasoil and mogas) withdrawn by Unioil from the oil depot/terminal of Oilink
constituting such crime/s: (1) making or attempting to make any entry of were imported. For, only when the articles are imported that the
imported or exported article: (a) by means of any false or fraudulent invoice, importer/consignee is required to file an import entry declaration and pay
declaration, affidavit, letter, paper or by any means of any false statement, the corresponding customs duties and taxes. The fact that complainant's
written or verbal; or (b) by any means of any false or fraudulent practice record fails to show that an import entry was filed for the subject articles
whatsoever; or (2) knowingly effecting any entry of goods, wares or does not altogether make out a case of unlawful importation under Section
merchandise, at less than the true weight or measures thereof or upon a 3601, or fraudulent practices against customs revenue under Section 3602,
false classification as to quality or value, or by the payment of less than the of the TCCP, without having first determined whether the subject articles are
amount legally due; or (3) knowingly and wilfully filing any false or fraudulent indeed imported. Thus, in this case, complainant still bears the burden of
entry or claim for the payment of drawback or refund of duties upon the proof to show that the subject petroleum products are imported, by means
exportation of merchandise; or (4) making or filing any affidavit, abstract, of documents other than the import entry declaration, such as but not limited
record, certificate or other document, with a view to securing the payment to to, the transport documents consisting of the inward foreign manifest, bill of
himself or others of any drawback, allowance or refund of duties on the lading, commercial invoice and packing list, all indicating that the goods
exportation of merchandise, greater than that legally due thereon. were bought from a supplier/seller in a foreign country and imported or
transported to the Philippines. Instead[,] complainant merely surmised that
Related to various fraudulent practices against customs revenue by means since the subject products were placed under warrant of seizure and
of undervaluation, misclassification and misdeclaration in the import entry is detention[,] they must necessarily be imported. Regrettably, speculation and
the following provision of R.A. No. 7651 - An Act to Revitalize and surmises do not constitute evidence and should not, therefore, be taken
Strengthen the Bureau of Customs, Amending for the Purpose Certain against the respondents, x x x Taken in this light, we find more weight and
Sections of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as credence in respondent Unioil's claim that the subject petroleum products
amended:61cralawrednad were not imported by them, but were locally purchased, more so since it
was able to present local sales invoices covering the same.
Sec. 2503. Undervaluation, Misclassification and Misdeclaration in Entry.
- When the dutiable value of the imported articles shall be so declared and Even assuming gratia argumenti that the subject petroleum products were
entered that the duties, based on the declaration of the importer on the face imported, it still behooves the complainant to present clear and convincing
of the entry, would be less by ten percent (10%) than should be legally proof that the importation was unlawful or that it was carried out through any
collected, or when the imported articles shall be so described and entered fraudulent means, practice or device to prejudice the government. But
that the duties based on the importer's description on the face of the entry again, complainant failed to discharge this burden.
would be less by ten percent (10%) than should be legally collected based
on the tariff classification, or when the dutiable weight, measurement or As can be culled from the records, the warrant of seizure and detention
quantity of imported articles is found upon examination to exceed by ten docketed as Seizure Identification No. 2008-082, which covers various gas
percent (10%) or more than the entered weight, measurement or quantity, a tanks already stored at Oilink's depot/terminal located at Lucanin Pt,
surcharge shall be collected from the importer in an amount of not less than Mariveles, Bataan, was issued pursuant to Section 2536, in relation to
the difference between the full duty and the estimated duty based upon the Section 1508, of the TCCP because of Oilink's failure to pay the
declaration of the importer, nor more than twice of such administrative fine of P2,764,859,304.80 that was previously meted against
difference: Provided, that an undervaluation, misdeclaration in weight, the company for its failure/refusal to submit to a post entry audit. In fact, the
measurement or quantity of more than thirty percent (30%) between delivery of all shipments consigned to or handled directly or indirectly by
the value, weight, measurement, or quantity declared in the entry, and Oilink was put on hold as per order of the Customs Commissioner dated
the actual value, weight, quantity, or measurement shall constitute a April 23, 2008 pursuant to Section 1508 of the TCCP, also for the same
prima facie evidence of fraud penalized under Sec. 2530 of this reason. There was nothing on record which shows, or from which it could be
Code: Provided, further, that any misdeclared or undeclared imported inferred, that the warrant of seizure and detention or hold order were
articles/items found upon examination shall ipso facto be forfeited in favor of imposed pursuant to Section 2530 of the same Code which relates, among
the Government to be disposed of pursuant to the provisions of this Code. others, to unlawfully imported articles or those imported through any
fraudulent practice or device to prejudice the government, much less due to entity.
non-payment of the corresponding customs duties and taxes due on the
shipments/articles covered by the warrant of seizure and detention. Again, In those instances when the Court pierced the veil of corporate fiction of two
what complainant's evidence clearly shows is that Oilink's failure to pay the corporations, there was a confluence of the following
administrative fine precipitated the issuance of the warrant of seizure and factors:cralawlawlibrary
detention and hold order.64 1. A first corporation is dissolved;
2. The assets of the first corporation is transferred to a second corporation
After a careful review of records, the Court affirms the dismissal of the to avoid a financial liability of the first corporation; and
BOC's complaint-affidavit for lack of probable cause, but partly digresses 3. Both corporations are owned and controlled by the same persons such
from the reasoning of the Acting Secretary of Justice in arriving at such that the second corporation should be considered as a continuation and
conclusion. While the Acting Secretary of Justice correctly stated that the successor of the first corporation.76
act of fraudulent importation of articles must be first proven in order to be
charged for violation of Section 3601 of the TCCP, the Court disagrees that Granted that the principle of piercing the veil of corporate entity comes into
proof of such importation is also required for various fraudulent practices play only during the trial of the case for the purpose of determining
against customs revenue under Section 3602 thereof. liability,77 it is noteworthy that even the BOC itself virtually recognized that
OILINK and UNIOIL are separate and distinct entities when it alleged that
As held in Jardeleza v. People,65 the crime of unlawful importation under only the base oil products should have been withdrawn by UNIOIL, since
Section 3601 of the TCCP is complete, in the absence of a bona fide intent they were the only products subject of its request and approved by the
to make entry and pay duties when the prohibited article enters Philippine Customs Commissioner. As discussed above, however, private respondents
territory. Importation, which consists of bringing an article into the country were able to present sales invoices which tend to show that UNIOIL locally
from the outside, is complete when the taxable, dutiable commodity is purchased Gasoil (diesel) and Mogas gasoline products from OILINK.
brought within the limits of the port of entry.66 Entry through a customs Hence, the BOC cannot invoke the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate
house is not the essence of the act.67 On the other hand, as regards Section entity in this case.
3602 of the TCCP which particularly deals with the making or attempting to
make a fraudulent entry of imported or exported articles, the term "entry" in On a final note, the Court stresses that OILINK, its directors or officers, and
customs law has a triple meaning, namely: (1) the documents filed at the Victor D. Piamonte, the Licensed Customs Broker, may still be held liable for
customs house; (2) the submission and acceptance of the documents; and various fraudulent practices against customs revenue under Section 3602 of
(3) the procedure of passing goods through the customs house.68 In view the TCCP, if the final results of the post-entry audit and examination would
thereof, it is only for charges for unlawful importation under Section 3601 show that they committed any of the following acts or omissions: (1) making
that the BOC must first prove that the subject articles were imported. For or attempting to make any entry of imported or exported article: (a) by
violation of Section 3602, in contrast, what must be proved is the act of means of any false or fraudulent invoice, declaration, affidavit, letter, paper
making or attempting to make such entry of articles. or by any means of any false statement, written or verbal; or (b) by any
means of any false or fraudulent practice; or (2) intentional undervaluation,
The Court likewise disagrees with the finding of the Acting Secretary of misdescription, misclassification or misdeclaration in the import entries; or
Justice that the BOC failed to prove that the products subject of the WSD (3) undervaluation, misdeclaration in weight, measurement or quantity of
were imported. No such proof was necessary because private respondents more than thirty percent (30%) between the value, weight, measurement, or
themselves presented in support of their counter-affidavits copies of import quantity declared in the entries, and the actual value, weight, quantity, or
entries which can be considered as prima facie evidence that OILINK measurement. This is consistent with Section 230178 (Warrant for Detention
imported the subject petroleum products. At any rate, the Acting Secretary of Property-Cash Bond) of the TCCP which states that nothing therein shall
of Justice aptly gave credence to their twenty (20) sales invoices70 covering be construed as relieving the owner or importer from any criminal liability
the dates October 1, 2007 until April 30, 2008 which tend to prove that which may arise from any violation of law committed in connection with the
UNIOIL locally purchased such products from OILINK even before the BOC importation of articles, which in this case were placed under a WSD for
rendered the Decision dated December 14, 2007 imposing a failure of the importer, OILINK, to submit the required post-entry audit
P2,764,859,304.80 administrative fine, and holding the delivery or release documents under CAO No. 4-2004.
of its subsequently imported articles to answer for the fine, any revised
assessment and/or penalty for failure to keep records. In addition, OILINK and its directors or officers may be held liable under
Section 16 of R.A. No. 9135:79cralawrednad
The Court also finds as misplaced the BOC's reliance on the Terminalling
Agreement dated January 2, 2008 and the Certification71 that UNIOIL made SEC. 16. A new section to be known as Section 3611 is hereby inserted in
no importation of Gasoil (diesel) and Mogas gasoline from January 2007 up Part 3, Title VII of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as
to June 2008 in order to prove that it illegally imported the said products. amended, which shall read as follows:cralawlawlibrary
Such documentary evidence tend to prove only that UNIOIL was engaged in SEC. 3611. Failure to Pay Correct Duties and Taxes on Imported
the importation of petroleum products and that it did not import the said Goods. - Any person who, after being subjected to post-entry audit and
products during the said period. Such documents, however, do not negate examination as provided in Section 3515 of Part 2, Title VII hereof, is
the evidence on record which tend to show that OILINK was the one that found to have incurred deficiencies in duties and taxes paid for
filed the import entries,72 and that UNIOIL locally purchased from OILINK imported goods, shall be penalized according to three (3) degrees of
such products as indicated in the sales invoices.73 Not being the importer of culpability subject to any mitigating, aggravating or extraordinary
such products, UNIOIL, its directors and officers, are not required to file their factors that are clearly established by the available
corresponding import entries. Hence, contrary to the BOC's allegation, evidence:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
UNIOIL's withdrawal of the Gasoil (Diesel) and Mogas gasoline without filing
the corresponding import entries can neither be considered as unlawful (a) Negligence - When the deficiency results from an offender's failure,
importation under Section 3601 of the TCCP nor as a fraudulent practice through an act or acts of omission or commission, to exercise reasonable
against customs revenue under Section 3602 thereof. care and competence to ensure that a statement made is correct, it shall be
determined to be negligent and punishable by a fine equivalent to not less
Moreover, the fact that private respondent Paul Chi Ting Co is both the than one-half (1/2) but not more than two (2) times the revenue loss.
Chairman of UNIOIL and OILINK is not enough to justify the application of
the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil. In fact, mere ownership by a (b) Gross Negligence - When a deficiency results from an act or acts of
single stockholder or by another corporation of a substantial block of shares omission or commission done with actual knowledge or wanton disregard
of a corporation does not, standing alone, provide sufficient justification for for the relevant facts and with indifference to or disregard for the offender's
disregarding the separate corporate personality.74 In Kukan International obligation under the statute, it shall be determined to be grossly negligent
Corporation v. Hon. Judge Reyes, et al.,75 the Court explained the and punishable by a fine equivalent to not less than two and a half (2 1/2)
application of the said doctrine in this wise:ChanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary but not more than four (4) times the revenue loss.

In fine, to justify the piercing of the veil of corporate fiction, it must be shown (c) Fraud - When the material false statement or act in connection with the
by clear and convincing proof that the separate and distinct personality of transaction was committed or omitted knowingly, voluntarily and
the corporation was purposefully employed to evade a legitimate and intentionally, as established by clear and convincing evidence, it shall be
binding commitment and perpetuate a fraud or like wrongdoings. To be sure, determined to be fraudulent and be punishable by a fine equivalent to not
the Court has, on numerous occasions, applied the principle where a less than five (5) times but not more than eight (8) times the revenue loss
corporation is dissolved and its assets are transferred to another to avoid a and imprisonment of not less than two (2) years but not more than eight (8)
financial liability of the first corporation with the result that the second years.
corporation should be considered a continuation and successor of the first
The decision of the Commissioner of Customs, upon proper hearing, to
impose penalties as prescribed in this Section may be appealed in
accordance with Section 2402 hereof.80

With respect to the directors or officers of OILINK, they may further be held
liable jointly and severally for all damages suffered by the government on
account of such violation of Sections 3602 and 3611 of the TCCP, upon
clear and convincing proof that they willfully and knowingly voted for or
assented to patently unlawful acts of the corporation or was guilty of gross
negligence or bad faith in directing its corporate affairs.

WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The Court of Appeals


Resolutions dated March 26, 2010 and August 4, 2010, in CA-G.R. SP No.
113069, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Resolution dated December
28, 2009 of the Acting Secretary of Justice Agnes VST Devanedera, which
upheld the State Prosecutor's dismissal of the complaint-affidavit filed by the
Bureau of Customs for lack of probable cause, is AFFIRMED. This is
without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate criminal and administrative [G.R. No. 113930. March 5, 1996]
charges under Sections 3602 and 3611 of the Tariff and Customs Code of PAUL G. ROBERTS, JR., RODOLFO C. SALAZAR, LUIS LORENZO, SR.,
the Philippines, as amended, against private respondents OILINK, its LUIS LORENZO, JR., AMAURY R. GUTIERREZ, BAYANI N.
officers and directors, and Victor D. Piamonte, if the final results of the post- FABIC, JOSE YULO, JR., ESTEBAN B. PALANNUAYAN, and
entry audit and examination would show that they violated the said WONG FONG FUI, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS,
provisions. THE HON. MAXIMIANO ASUNCION, in his capacity as the
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City,
SO ORDERED.chanrobles virtuallawlibrary Branch 104, HON. APOLINARIO G. EXEVEA, HON. HENRICK
F. GINGOYON, and HON. PHILIP A. AGUINALDO, in their
Sereno, C.J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Brion, Bersamin, capacities as Members of the Department of Judge 349
Del Castillo, Villarama, Jr. Perez, Mendoza, Perlas-Bernabe, Leonen, Committee, and the CITY PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON
and Jardeleza, JJ., concur.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary CITY, respondents.
Reyes, J., on leave. ROBERTO DELGADO, petitioner-intervenor.

DECISION

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

We are urged in this petition to set aside (a) the decision of the Court
of Appeals of 28 September 1993 in CA-G.R. SP No. 31226, [1] which
dismissed the petition therein on the ground that it has been mooted with
the release by the Department of Justice of its decision x x x dismissing
petitioners petition for review; (b) the resolution of the said court of 9
February 1994[2]denying the petitioners motion to reconsider the decision;
(c) the order of 17 May 1993[3] of respondent Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion
of Branch 104 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City in Criminal
Case No. Q-93-43198 denying petitioners motion to suspend proceedings
and to hold in abeyance the issuance of the warrants of arrest and the
public prosecutors motion to defer arraignment; and (d) the resolution of 23
July 1993 and 3 February 1994[4] of the Department of Justice, (DOJ)
dismissing petitioners petition for the review of the Joint Resolution of the
Assistant City Prosecutor of Quezon City and denying the motion to
reconsider the dismissal, respectively.

The petitioners rely on the following grounds for the grant of the reliefs
prayed for in this petition:

I
Respondent Judge acted with grave abuse of discretion when he ordered
the arrest of the petitioners without examining the record of the preliminary
investigation and in determining for himself on the basis thereof the
existence of probable cause.
II
The Department of Justice 349 Committee acted with grave abuse of
discretion when it refused to review the City Prosecutors Joint Resolution
and dismissed petitioners appeal therefrom.
III
The Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion when it upheld
the subject order directing the issuance of the warrants of arrest without
assessing for itself whether based on such records there is probable cause
against petitioners.
IV
The facts on record do not establish prima facie probable cause and
Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 should have been dismissed.[5]

The antecedents of this petition are not disputed.

Several thousand holders[6] of 349 Pepsi crowns in connection with


the Pepsi Cola Products Phils., Inc.s (PEPSIs) Number Fever
Promotion[7] filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City
complaints against the petitioners in their respective capacities as
Presidents or Chief Executive Officers, Chairman of the Board, Vice-
Chairman of the Board, and Directors of PEPSI, and also against other
officials of PEPSI. The complaints respectively accuse the petitioners and
the other PEPSI officials of the following crimes: (a) estafa; (b) violation of
R.A. No. 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines; (c) OF THE PEPSI COLA PRODUCTS PHILIPPINES, INC., CONSPIRING with
violation of E.O. No. 913;[8] and (d) violation of Act No. 2333, entitled An Act one another, with intent of gain, by means of deceit, fraudulent acts or false
Relative to Untrue, Deceptive and Misleading Advertisements, as amended pretenses, executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the
by Act No. 3740.[9] fraud, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the
private complainants whose names with their prizes claimed appear in the
After appropriate proceedings, the investigating prosecutor, Ramon attached lists marked as Annexes A to A-46; B to -33; C to C-281; D to D-
M. Gerona, released on 23 March 1993 a Joint Resolution [10] where he 238; E to E-3O and F to F-244 in the following manner: on the date and in
recommended the filing of an information against the petitioners and others the place aforementioned, said accused pursuant to their conspiracy,
for the violation of Article 3 18 of the Revised Penal Code and the dismissal launched the Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc. Number Fever
of the complaints for the violation of Article 315, 2(d) of the Revised Penal Promotion from February 17 to May 8, 1992 later extended to May 11-June
Code; R.A. No. 7394; Act No. 2333, as amended by Act No. 3740; and E.O. 12, 1992 and announced and advertised in the media that all holders of
No. 913. The dispositive portion thereof reads as follows: crowns and/or caps of Pepsi, Mirinda, Mountain Dew and Seven-Up bearing
the winning 3-digit number will win the full amount of the prize printed on the
In view of all the foregoing, it is recommended that: crowns/caps which are marked with a seven-digit security code as a
1. The attached information be filed against respondents Paul measure against tampering or faking of crowns and each and every number
G. Roberts, Jr., Rodolfo C. Salazar, Rosemarie R. Vera, has its own unique matching security code, enticing the public to buy Pepsi
Luis F. Lorenzo, Sr., Luis P. Lorenzo, Jr., J. Roberto softdrinks with aforestated alluring and attractive advertisements to become
Delgado, Amaury R. Gutierrez, Bayani N. Fabic, Jose Yulo, millionaires, and by virtue of such representations made by the accused, the
Jr., Esteban B. Pacannuayan, Jr., Wong Fong Fui, Quintin said complainants bought Pepsi softdrinks, but, the said accused after their
J. Gomez, Jr. and Chito V. Gutierrez for estafa under Article TV announcement on May 25, 1992 that the winning number for the next
318, Revised Penal Code, while the complaint for violation day was 349, in violation of their aforecited mechanics, refused as they still
of Article 315, 2(d), Revised Penal Code against same refuse to redeem/pay the said Pepsi crowns and/or caps presented to them
respondents Juanito R. Ignacio, R. Sobong, R.O. Sinsuan, by the complainants, who, among others, were able to buy Pepsi softdrinks
M.P. Zarsadias, L.G. Dabao, Jr., R.L. Domingo, N.N. with crowns/caps bearing number 349 with security codes L-2560-FQ and
Bacsal, Jesus M. Manalastas, Janette P. Pio de Roda, L-3560-FQ, despite repeated demands made by the complainants, to their
Joaquin W. Sampaico, Winefreda 0. Madarang, Jack damage and prejudice to the extent of the amount of the prizes respectively
Gravey, Les G. Ham, Corazon Pineda, Edward S. Serapio, due them from their winning 349 crowns/caps, together with such other
Alex 0. Caballes, Sandy Sytangco, Jorge W. Drysdale, amounts they spent ingoing to and from the Office of Pepsi to claim their
Richard Blossom, Pablo de Borja, Edmundo L. Tan, Joseph prizes and such other amounts used in buying Pepsi softdrinks which the
T. Cohen, Delfin Dator, Zosimo B. San Juan, Joaquin complainants normally would not have done were it not for the false,
Franco, Primitivo S. Javier, Jr., Luisito Guevarra, Asif H. fraudulent and deceitful posters of Pepsi Cola Products, Inc.
Adil, Eugenio Muniosguren, James Ditkoff and Timothy
Lane be dismissed; CONTRARY TO LAW.
2. The complaints against all respondents for violation of R.A.
7394 otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the On 14 April 1993, the petitioners filed with the Office of the City
Philippines and violation of Act 2333 as amended by Act Prosecutor a motion for the reconsideration of the Joint
3740 and E 0. 913 be also dismissed for insufficiency of Resolution[14] alleging therein that (a) there was neither fraud in the Number
evidence, and Fever Promotion nor deviation from or modification of the promotional rules
approved by the Department of Trade and industry (DTI), for from the start
3. I.S. Nos. 92-7833; 92-8710 and 92-P-1065 involving Crowns of the promotion, it had always been clearly explained to the public that for
Nos. 173; 401; and 117, 425, 703 and 373, respectively, one to be entitled to the cash prize his crown must bear both the winning
alleged to be likewise winning ones be further investigated number and the correct security code as they appear in the DTI list; (b) the
to afford respondents a chance to submit their counter- complainants failed to allege, much less prove with prima facie evidence,
evidence.[11] the specific overt criminal acts or ommissions purportedly committed by
each of the petitioners; (c) the compromise agreement entered into by
On 6 April 1993, City Prosecutor Candido V. Rivera approved the PEPSI is not an admission of guilt; and (d) the evidence establishes that the
recommendation with the modification that Rosemarie Vera, Quintin Gomez, promo was carried out with utmost good faith and without malicious intent.
Jr., and Chito Gonzales be excluded from the charge on the ground of
insufficiency of evidence.[12] On 15 April 1993, the petitioners filed with the DOJ a Petition for
Review[15] wherein, for the same grounds adduced in the aforementioned
The information for estafa attached to the Joint Resolution was motion for reconsideration, they prayed that the Joint Resolution be
approved (on 7 April 1993) by Ismael P. Casabar, Chief of the Prosecution reversed and the complaints dismissed. They further stated that the
Division, upon authority of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City, and was filed approval of the Joint Resolution by the City prosecutor was not the result of
with the RTC of Quezon City on 12 April 1993. It was docketed as Criminal a careful scrutiny and independent evaluation of the relevant facts and the
Case No. Q-93-43198.[13] The information reads as follows: applicable law but of the grave threats, intimidation, and actual violence
which the complainants had inflicted on him and his assistant prosecutors.
The undersigned 1st Assistant City Prosecutor accuses PAUL G.
ROBERTS, JR. RODOLFO C. SALAZAR, LUIS F. LORENZO, SR., LUIS P. On that same date, the petitioners filed in Criminal Case No. Q-93-
LORENZO, JR., J. ROBERTO DELGADO, AMAURY R. GUTIERREZ, 43198 Motions to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance Issuance
BAYANI N. FABIC, JOSE YULO, JR., ESTEBAN B. PACANNUAYAN, JR. of Warrants of Arrest on the ground that they had filed the aforesaid Petition
and WONG FONG FUI, of the crime of ESTAFA, committed as follows: for Review.[16]

On 21 April 1993, acting on the Petition for Review, Chief State


That in the month of February, 1992, in Quezon City, Philippines and for Prosecutor Zenon L. De Guia issued a 1st Indorsement, [17] directing the City
sometime prior and subsequent thereto, the above-named accused - Prosecutor of Quezon City to inform the DOJ whether the petitioners have
already been arraigned, and if not, to move in court for the deferment of
further proceedings in the case and to elevate to the DOJ the entire records
Paul G. Roberts, Jr. ) being then the Presidents of the case, for the case is being treated as an exception pursuant to
Rodolfo G. Salazar and Executive Officers Section 4 of Department Circular No. 7 dated 25 January 1990.

Luis F. Lorenzo, Sr. ) being then the Chairman of the Board of Directors On 22 April 1993, Criminal Case no. Q-93-41398 was raffled to
Branch 104 of the RTC of Quezon City.[18]

Luis P. Lorenzo, Jr. ) being then the Vice Chairman of the Board In the morning of 27 April 1993, private prosecutor Julio Contreras
filed an Ex-Parte Motion for Issuance of Warrants of Arrest.[19]
J. Roberto Delgado ) being then Members of the Board In the afternoon of that same day, petitioner Paul Roberts, Jr., filed a
Amaury R. Gutierrez ) Supplemental Urgent Motion to hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrant of
Bayani N. Fabic ) Arrest and to Suspend Proceedings. [20] He stressed that the DOJ had taken
Jose Yulo, Jr. ) cognizance of the Petition for Review by directing the City Prosecutor to
Esteban B. Pacannuayan, Jr. and elevate the records of I.S. No. P-4401 and its related cases and asserted
Wong Fong Fui )
that the petition for review was an essential part of the petitioners right to a WHEREFORE, let warrant of arrest be issued after June 21, 1993, and
preliminary investigation. arraignment be set on June 28, 1993, at 9:30 in the morning.

The next day, respondent Judge Asuncion, Presiding Judge of Branch


104 of the RTC of Quezon City, issued an order advising the parties that his On 7 June 1993, the petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a
court would be guided by the doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court in special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with application for a
the case of Crespo vs. Mogul, 151 SCRA 462 and not by the resolution of temporary restraining order,[30] which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
the Department of Justice on the petition for review undertaken by the 31226. They contended therein that respondent Judge Asuncion had acted
accused.[21] without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in
issuing the aforementioned order of 17 May 1993 because
On 30 April 1993, Assistant City Prosecutor Tirso M. Gavero filed with
the trial court a Motion to Defer Arraignment wherein he also prayed that I. RESPONDENT JUDGE FAILED TO EXAMINE THE
further proceedings be held in abeyance pending final disposition by the RECORD OF PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION BEFORE
Department of Justice.[22] ORDERING THE ARREST OF PETITIONERS.

On 4 May 1993, Gavero filed an Amended Information, II. THERE IS NO PROBABLE CAUSE TO HOLD
[23]
accompanied by a corresponding motion[24] to admit it. The amendments PETITIONERS CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR ESTAFA,
merely consist in the statement that the complainants therein were only OTHER DECEITS, OR ANY OTHER OFFENSE.
among others who were defrauded by the accused and that the damage or
III. THE PROCEEDINGS BELOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN
prejudice caused amounted to several billions of pesos, representing the
SUSPENDED TO AWAIT THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICES
amounts due them from their winning 349 crowns/caps. The trial court
RESOLUTION OF PETITIONERS APPEAL, AND
admitted the amended information on the same date.[25]
IV. THERE IS NO OTHER PLAIN, SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE
Later, the attorneys for the different private complainants filed,
REMEDY IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF LAW.
respectively, an Opposition to Motion to Defer Arraignment, [26] and Objection
and Opposition to Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance On 15 June 1993, the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining
the Issuance of Warrants of Arrest.[27] order to maintain the status quo.[31] In view thereof, respondent Judge
Asuncion issued an order on 28 June 1993[32] postponing indefinitely the
On 14 May 1993, the petitioners filed a Memorandum in support of
arraignment of the petitioners which was earlier scheduled on that date.
their Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance the Issuance
of the Warrants of Arrest.[28] On 28 June 1993, the Court of Appeals heard the petitioners
application for a writ of preliminary injunction, granted the motion for leave
On 17 May 1993, respondent Judge Asuncion issued the challenged
to intervene filed by J. Roberto Delgado, and directed the Branch Clerk of
order (1) denying the petitioners Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to
Court of the RTC of Quezon City to elevate the original records of Criminal
Hold In Abeyance Issuance of Warrants of Arrest and the public prosecutors
Case No. Q-93-43198[33]
Motion to Defer Arraignment and (2) directing the issuance of the warrants
of arrest after 21 June 1993 and setting the arraignment on 28 June 1993. Upon receipt of the original records of the criminal case, the Court of
[29]
Pertinent portions of the order read as follows: Appeals found that a copy of the Joint Resolution had in fact been
forwarded to, and received by, the trial court on 22 April 1993, which fact
In the Motion filed by the accused, it is alleged that on April 15, 1993, they belied the petitioners claim that the respondent Judge had not the slightest
filed a petition for review seeking the reversal of the resolution of the City basis at all for determining probable cause when he ordered the issuance of
Prosecutor of Quezon City approving the filing of the case against the warrants of arrest. It ruled that the Joint Resolution was sufficient in itself to
accused, claiming that: have been relied upon by respondent Judge in convincing himself that
probable cause indeed exists for the purpose of issuing the corresponding
warrants of arrest; and that the mere silence of the records or the absence
1. The resolution constituting [sic] force and duress; of any express declaration in the questioned order as to the basis of such
finding does not give rise to an adverse inference, for the respondent Judge
2. There was no fraud or deceit therefore there can be no
enjoys in his favor the presumption of regularity in the performance of his
estafa;
official duty. The Court of Appeals then issued a resolution [34] denying the
3. No criminal overt acts by respondents were proved; application for a writ of preliminary injunction.

4. Pepsi nor the accused herein made no admission of guilt On 8 June 1993, the petitioners filed a motion to reconsider [35] the
before the Department of Trade and Industry; aforesaid resolution. The Court of Appeals required the respondents therein
to comment on the said motion.[36]
5. The evidence presented clearly showed no malicious intent
on the part of the accused. On 3 August 1993, the counsel for the private complainants filed in
CA-G.R. SP No. 31226 a Manifestation [37] informing the court that the
Trial Prosecutor Tirso M. Gavero in his Motion to Defer Arraignment petitioners petition for review filed with the DOJ was dismissed in a
averred that there is a pending petition for review with the Department of resolution dated 23 July 1993. A copy[38] of the resolution was attached to
Justice filed by the accused and the Office of the City Prosecutor was the Manifestation.
directed, among other things, to cause for the deferment of further
proceedings pending final disposition of said petition by the Department of On 21 September 1993, the public respondents filed in CA-G.R. SP
Justice. No. 31226 a motion to dismiss the petition [39] on the ground that it has
become moot and academic in view of the dismissal by the DOJ of the
The motions filed by the accused and the Trial Prosecutor are hereby petitioners petition to review the Joint Resolution. The dismissal by the DOJ
DENIED. is founded on the following exposition:

This case is already pending in this Court for trial. To follow whatever
opinion the Secretary of Justice may have on the matter would undermine You questioned the said order of the RTC before the Court of Appeals and
the independence and integrity of this Court. This Court is still capable of prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the Trial
administering justice. Judge from issuing any warrant of arrest and from proceeding with the
arraignment of the accused. The appellate court in a resolution dated July 1,
The Supreme Court in the case of Crespo vs. Mogul (SCRA 151, pp. 1993, denied your petition.
471-472) stated as follows:
In view of the said developments, it would be an exercise in futility to
In order therefor to avoid such a situation whereby the opinion of the continue reviewing the instant cases for any further action on the part of the
Secretary of Justice who reviewed the action of the fiscal may be Department would depend on the sound discretion of the Trial Court. The
disregarded by the trial court, the Secretary of Justice should, as far as denial by the said court of the motion to defer arraignment filed at our
practicable, refrain from entertaining a petition for review or appeal from the instance was clearly an exercise of its discretion. With the issuance of the
action of the fiscal, when the complaint or information has already been filed order dated May 17, 1993, the Trial Court was in effect sending a signal to
in Court. The matter should be left entirely for the determination of the this Department that the determination of the case is within its exclusive
Court. jurisdiction and competence. The rule is that x x x once a complaint or
information is filed in Court, any disposition of the case as to dismissal or
the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the the issuance of the warrants of arrest, and (b) in ultimately
Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution dismissing the petition on the ground of mootness since the
of criminal cases even while the case is already in Court, he cannot impose DOJ has dismissed the petition for review.
his opinion on the trial court. The court is the best and sole judge on what to
do with the case before it. x x x (Crespo vs. Mogul, 151 SCRA 462).[40] 5. Whether this Court may determine in this proceedings the
existence of probable cause either for the issuance of
On 28 September 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated a warrants of arrest against the petitioners or for their
decision[41] dismissing the petition because it had been mooted with the prosecution for the crime of estafa.
release by the Department of Justice of its decision x x x dismissing
petitioners petition for review by inerrantly upholding the criminal courts We resolve the first four issues in the affirmative and the fifth, in the
exclusive and unsupplantable authority to control the entire course of the negative.
case brought against petitioners, reiterating with approval the dictum laid
down in the Crespo case.

The petitioners filed a motion to reconsider the DOJs dismissal of the I.


petition citing therein its resolutions in other similar cases which were
favorable to the petitioners and adverse to other 349 Pepsi crowns holders.

In its resolution of 3 February 1994, the DOJ, through its 349 There is nothing in Crespo vs. Mogul[51] which bars the DOJ from
Committee, denied the motion and stated: The instant petition is different taking cognizance of an appeal, by way of a petition for review, by an
from the other petitions resolved by this Department in similar cases from accused in a criminal case from an unfavorable ruling of the investigating
the provinces. In the latter petitions, the complaints against herein prosecutor. It merely advised the DOJ to, as far as practicable, refrain from
respondents [sic][42] were dismissed inasmuch as the informations have not entertaining a petition for review or appeal from the action of the fiscal,
yet been filed or even if already filed in court, the proceedings have been when the complaint or information has already been filed in Court. More
suspended by the courts to await the outcome of the appeal with this specifically, it stated:
Department.[43]
In order therefore to avoid such a situation whereby the opinion of the
The petitioners likewise filed a motion to reconsider[44] the aforesaid Secretary of Justice who reviewed the action of the fiscal may be
Court of Appeals decision, which the said court denied in its disregarded by the trial court, the Secretary of Justice should, as far as
resolution[45] of 9 February 1994. Hence, the instant petition. practicable, refrain from entertaining a petition for review or appeal from the
The First Division of this Court denied due course to this petition in its action of the fiscal, when the complaint or information has already been filed
resolution of 19 September 1994.[46] in Court. The matter should be left entirely for the determination of the
Court.[52]
On 7 October 1994, the petitioners filed a motion for the
reconsideration[47] of the aforesaid resolution. Acting thereon, the First In Marcelo vs. Court of Appeals,[53] this Court explicitly declared:
Division required the respondents to comment thereon.

Later, the petitioners filed a supplemental motion for Nothing in the said ruling forecloses the power or authority of the Secretary
reconsideration[48] and a motion to refer this case to the Court en banc.[49] In of Justice to review resolutions of his subordinates in criminal cases. The
its resolution of 14 November 1994,[50] the First Division granted the latter Secretary of Justice is only enjoined to refrain as far as practicable from
motion and required the respondents to comment on the supplemental entertaining a petition for review or appeal from the action of the prosecutor
motion for reconsideration once a complaint or information is filed in court. In any case, the grant of a
motion to dismiss, which the prosecution may file after the Secretary of
In the resolution of 24 November 1994, the Court en banc accepted Justice reverses an appealed resolution, is subject to the discretion of the
the referral. court.
On 10 October 1995, after deliberating on the motion for
reconsideration and the subsequent pleadings in relation thereto, the Crespo could not have intended otherwise without doing violence to,
Court en banc granted the motion for reconsideration; reconsidered and set or repealing, the last paragraph of Section 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of
aside the resolution of 19 September 1994; and reinstated the petition. It Court[54] which recognizes the authority of the Secretary of Justice to reverse
then considered the case submitted for decision, since the parties have the resolution of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor
exhaustively discussed the issues in their pleadings, the original records of upon petition by a proper party.
Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 and of CA-G.R. SP No. 31226 had been
elevated to this Court, and both the petitioners and the Office of the Solicitor Pursuant to the said provision, the Secretary of Justice had
General pray, in effect, that this Court resolve the issue of probable cause promulgated the rules on appeals from resolutions in preliminary
On the basis thereof. investigation. At the time the petitioners filed their petition for the review of
the Joint Resolution of the investigating prosecutor, the governing rule was
The pleadings of the parties suggest for this Courts resolution the Circular No. 7, dated 25 January 1990. Section 2 thereof provided that only
following key issues: resolutions dismissing a criminal complaint may be appealed to the
Secretary of Justice. Its Section 4,[55] however, provided an exception, thus
1. Whether public respondent Judge Asuncion committed grave allowing, upon a showing of manifest error or grave abuse of discretion,
abuse of discretion in denying, on the basis of Crespo vs. appeals from resolutions finding probable cause, provided that the accused
Mogul, the motions to suspend proceedings and hold in has not been arraigned.
abeyance the issuance of warrants of arrest and to defer
arraignment until after the petition for review filed with the The DOJ gave due course to the petitioners petition for review as an
DOJ shall have been resolved. exception pursuant to Section 4 of Circular No. 7.
2. Whether public respondent Judge Asuncion committed grave Meanwhile, the DOJ promulgated on 30 June 1993 Department Order
abuse of discretion in ordering the issuance of warrants of No. 223[56] which superseded Circular No. 7. This Order, however, retained
arrest without examining the records of the preliminary the provisions of Section 1 of the Circular on appealable cases and Section
investigation. 4 on the non-appealable cases and the exceptions thereto.
3. Whether the DOJ, through its 349 Committee, gravely There is nothing in Department Order No. 223 which would warrant a
abused its discretion in dismissing the petition for review on recall of the previous action of the DOJ giving due course to the petitioners
the following bases: (a) the resolution of public respondent petition for review. But whether the DOJ would affirm or reverse the
Court of Appeals denying the application for a writ of challenged Joint Resolution is still a matter of guesswork. Accordingly, it
preliminary injunction and (b) of public respondent was premature for respondent Judge Asuncion to deny the motions to
Asuncions denial of the abovementioned motions. suspend proceedings and to defer arraignment on the following grounds:
4. Whether public respondent Court of Appeals committed
grave abuse of discretion (a) in denying the motion for a This case is already pending in this Court for trial. To follow whatever
writ of preliminary injunction solely on the ground that public opinion the Secretary of Justice may have on the matter would undermine
respondent Asuncion had already before him the Joint the independence and integrity of this Court. This Court is still capable of
Resolution of the investigating prosecutor when he ordered administering justice.
The real and ultimate test of the independence and integrity of this warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable cause,
court is not the filing of the aforementioned motions at that stage of the he may disregard the fiscals report and require the submission of supporting
proceedings but the filing of a motion to dismiss or to withdraw the affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the
information on the basis of a resolution of the petition for review reversing existence of probable cause.[64]
the Joint Resolution of the investigating prosecutor. Before that time, the
following pronouncement in Crespo did not yet truly become relevant or
Sound policy supports this procedure, otherwise judges would be unduly
applicable:
laden with the preliminary examination and investigation of criminal
complaints instead of concentrating on hearing and deciding cases filed
The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information before their courts. It must be emphasized that judges must not rely solely
is filed in Court any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction on the report or resolution of the fiscal (now prosecutor); they must evaluate
or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the court. the report and the supporting documents. In this sense, the aforementioned
Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of requirement has modified paragraph 4(a) of Circular No. 12 issued by this
criminal cases even while the case is already in court he cannot impose his Court on 30 June 1987 prescribing the Guidelines on Issuance of Warrants
opinion on the trial court. The court is the best and sole judge on what to do of Arrest under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, which provided
with the case before it. The determination of the case is within its exclusive in part as follows:
jurisdiction and competence. A motion to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal
should be addressed to the Court who has the option to grant or deny the 4. In satisfying himself of the existence of a probable cause for
same. It does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge, following
accused or that the motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon established doctrine and procedure, may either:
instructions of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the
(a) Rely upon the fiscals certification of the existence of
investigation.[57]
probable cause whether or not the case is cognizable
only by the Regional Trial Court and on the basis
However, once a motion to dismiss or withdraw the information is filed the thereof, issue a warrant of arrest. x x x
trial judge may grant or deny it, not out of subservience to the Secretary of
Justice, but in faithful exercise of judicial prerogative. This Court pertinently This requirement of evaluation not only of the report or certification of
stated so in Martinez vs. Court of Appeals:[58] the fiscal but also of the supporting documents was further explained
in People vs. Inting,[65] where this Court specified what the documents may
consist of, viz., the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any),
Whether to approve or disapprove the stand taken by the prosecution is not and all other supporting documents behind the Prosecutors certification
the exercise of discretion required in cases like this. The trial judge must which are material in assisting the Judge to make his determination of
himself be convinced that there was indeed no sufficient evidence against probable cause. Thus:
the accused, and this conclusion can be arrived at only after an assessment
of the evidence in the possession of the prosecution. What was imperatively
required was the trial judges own assessment of such evidence, it not being We emphasize the important features of the constitutional mandate that x x
sufficient for the valid and proper exercise of judicial discretion merely to x no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
accept the prosecutions word for its supposed insufficiency. cause to be determined personally by the judge x x x (Article III, Section 2,
Constitution).
As aptly observed the Office of the Solicitor General, in failing to make
an independent finding of the merits of the case and merely anchoring the First, the determination of probable cause is a function of the Judge. It
dismissal on the revised position of the prosecution, the trial judge is not for the Provincial Fiscal or Prosecutor nor the Election Supervisor to
relinquished the discretion he was duty bound to exercise. In effect, it was ascertain. Only the Judge and the Judge alone makes this determination.
the prosecution, through the Department of Justice which decided what to
do and not the court which was reduced to a mere rubber stamp in violation Second, the preliminary inquiry made by a Prosecutor does not bind
of the ruling in Crespo vs. Mogul. the Judge. It merely assists him to make the determination of probable
cause. The Judge does not have to follow what the Prosecutor presents to
him. By itself, the Prosecutors certification of probable cause is ineffectual. It
is the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes (if any), and
all other supporting documents behind the Prosecutors certification which
II.
are material in assisting the Judge to make his determination.

In adverting to a statement in People vs. Delgado[66] that the judge


Section 2, Article III of the present Constitution provides that no may rely on the resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to
search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause file the information by the same token that it may rely on the certification
to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or made by the prosecutor who conducted the preliminary investigation in the
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce. issuance of the warrant of arrest, this Court stressed in Lim vs. Felix[67] that

Under existing laws, warrants of arrest may be issued (1) by the


Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTCs) except those in the National Capital Reliance on the COMELEC resolution or the Prosecutors certification
Region, Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs), and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts presupposes that the records of either the COMELEC or the Prosecutor
(MCTCs) in cases falling within their exclusive original jurisdiction; [59] in have been submitted to the Judge and he relies on the certification or
cases covered by the rule on summary procedure where the accused fails resolution because the records of the investigation sustain the
to appear when required;[60] and in cases filed with them which are recommendation. The warrant issues not on the strength of the certification
cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs);[61] and (2) by the standing alone but because of the records which sustain it.
Metropolitan Trial Courts in the National Capital Region (MeTCs-NCR) and
the RTCs in cases filed with them after appropriate preliminary And noting that judges still suffer from the inertia of decisions and practice
investigations conducted by officers authorized to do so other than judges of under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, this Court found it necessary to
MeTCs, MTCs and MCTCs.[62] restate the rule in greater detail and hopefully clearer terms. It then
proceeded to do so, thus:
As to the first, a warrant can issue only if the judge is satisfied after an
examination in writing and under oath of the complainant and the witnesses, We reiterate the ruling in Soliven vs. Makasiar that the Judge does
in the form of searching questions and answers, that a probable cause not have to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. The
exists and that there is a necessity of placing the respondent under Prosecutor can perform the same functions as a commissioner for the
immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice. taking of the evidence. However, there should be a report and necessary
documents supporting the Fiscals bare certification. All of these should be
As to the second, this Court held in Soliven vs. Makasiar[63] that the before the Judge.
judge is not required to personally examine the complainant and the
witnesses, but The extent of the Judges personal examination of the report and its
annexes depends on the circumstances of each case. We cannot determine
[f]ollowing established doctrine and procedure, he shall: (1) personally beforehand how cursory or exhaustive the Judges examination should be.
evaluate the report and supporting documents submitted by the fiscal The Judge has to exercise sound discretion for, after all, the personal
regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a determination is vested in the Judge by the Constitution. It can be as brief
as or detailed as the circumstances of each case require. To be sure, the
Judge must go beyond the Prosecutors certification and investigation report III.
whenever, necessary. He should call for the complainant and witnesses
themselves to answer the courts probing questions when the circumstances
of the case so require. As earlier stated, per its 1st Indorsement of 21 April 1993, the DOJ
gave due course to the petitioners petition for review pursuant to the
This Court then set aside for being null and void the challenged order of
exception provided for in Section 4 of Circular No. 7, and directed the Office
respondent Judge Felix directing the issuance of the warrants of arrest
of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to forward to the Department the
against petitioners Lim, et al., solely on the basis of the prosecutors
records of the cases and to file in court a motion for the deferment of the
certification in the informations that there existed probable cause without
proceedings. At the time it issued the indorsement, the DOJ already knew
having before him any other basis for his personal determination of the
that the information had been filed in court, for which reason it directed the
existence of a probable cause.
City Prosecutor to inform the Department whether the accused have already
In Allado vs. Diokno,[68] this Court also ruled that before issuing a been arraigned and if not yet arraigned, to move to defer further
warrant of arrest, the judge must satisfy himself that based on the evidence proceedings. It must have been fully aware that, pursuant to Crespo vs.
submitted there is sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that Mogul, a motion to dismiss a case filed by the prosecution either as a
the person to be arrested is probably guilty thereof. consequence of a reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of
Justice after a review of the records of the investigation is addressed to the
In the recent case of Webb vs. De Leon,[69] this Court rejected the trial court, which has the option to grant or to deny it. Also, it must have
thesis of the petitioners of absence probable cause and sustained the been still fresh in its mind that a few months back it had dismissed for lack
investigating panels and the respondent Judges findings of probable cause. of probable cause other similar complaints of holders of 349 Pepsi crowns.
After quoting extensively from Soliven vs. Makasiar,[70] this Court explicitly [72]
Thus, its decision to give due course to the petition must have been
pointed out: prompted by nothing less than an honest conviction that a review of the
Joint Resolution was necessary in the highest interest of justice in the light
of the special circumstances of the case. That decision was permissible
Clearly then, the Constitution, the Rules of Court, and our case law
within the as far as practicable criterion in Crespo.
repudiate the submission of petitioners that respondent judges should have
conducted searching examination of witnesses before issuing warrants of Hence, the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion when it
arrest against them. They also reject petitioners contention that a judge executed on 23 July 1993 a unilateral volte-face, which was even
must first issue an order of arrest before issuing a warrant of arrest. There is unprovoked by a formal pleading to accomplish the same end, by
no law or rule requiring the issuance of an Order of Arrest prior to a warrant dismissing the petition for review. It dismissed the petition simply because it
of arrest. thought that a review of the Joint Resolution would be an exercise in futility
in that any further action on the part of the Department would depend on the
In the case at bar, the DOJ Panel submitted to the trial court its 26- sound discretion of the trial court, and that the latters denial of the motion to
page report, the two (2) sworn statements of Alfaro and the sworn defer arraignment filed at the instance of the DOJ was clearly an exercise of
statements of Carlos Cristobal and Lolita Birrer as well as the counter- that discretion or was, in effect, a signal to the Department that the
affidavits of the petitioners. Apparently, the painstaking recital and analysis determination of the case is within the courts exclusive jurisdiction and
of the parties evidence made in the DOJ Panel Report satisfied both judges competence. This infirmity becomes more pronounced because the reason
that there is probable cause to issue warrants of arrest against petitioners. adduced by the respondent Judge for his denial of the motions to suspend
Again, we stress that before issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely proceedings and hold in abeyance issuance of warrants of arrest and to
determine personally the probability, not the certainty of the guilt of an defer arraignment finds, as yet, no support in Crespo.
accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo hearing to determine
the existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial
determination of the prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is
supported by substantial evidence. The sufficiency of the review process IV.
cannot be measured by merely counting minutes and hours. The fact that it
took the respondent judges a few hours to review and affirm the Probable
cause determination of the DOJ Panel does not mean they made no If the only issue before the Court of Appeals were the denial of the
personal evaluation of the evidence attached to the records of the case. petitioners Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance
(italics supplied) Issuance of Warrants of Arrest and the public prosecutors Motion to Defer
Arraignment, which were both based on the pendency before the DOJ of
The teachings then of Soliven, Inting, Lim, Allado, and Webb reject the petition for the review of the Joint Resolution, the dismissal of CA-G.R.
the proposition that the investigating prosecutors certification in an SP No. 31226 on the basis of the dismissal by the DOJ of the petition for
information or his resolution which is made the basis for the filing of the review might have been correct. However, the petition likewise involved the
information, or both, would suffice in the judicial determination of probable issue of whether respondent Judge Asuncion gravely abused his discretion
cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. In Webb, this Court assumed in ordering the issuance of warrants of arrest despite want of basis. The
that since the respondent Judges had before them not only the 26-page DOJs dismissal of the petition for review did not render moot and academic
resolution of the investigating panel but also the affidavits of the prosecution the latter issue.
witnesses and even the counter-affidavits of the respondents, they
(judges) made personal evaluation of the evidence attached to the records In denying in its resolution of 1 July 1993 the petitioners application
of the case. for a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain respondent Judge Asuncion
from issuing warrants of arrest, the Court of Appeals ,justified its action in
Unfortunately, in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198, nothing this wise:
accompanied the information upon its filing on 12 April 1993 with the trial
court. As found by the Court of Appeals in its resolution of 1 July 1993, a
copy of the Joint Resolution was forwarded to, and received by, the trial The Joint Resolution was sufficient in itself to have been relied upon by
court only on 22 April 1993. And as revealed by the certification [71] of Branch respondent Judge in convincing himself that probable cause indeed exists
Clerk of Court Gibson Araula, Jr., no affidavits of the witnesses, transcripts for the purpose of issuing the corresponding warrants of arrest. The mere
of stenographic notes of the proceedings during the preliminary silence of the records or the absence of any express declaration in the
investigation, or other documents submitted in the course thereof were questioned Order of May 17, 1993 as to where the respondent Judge based
found in the records of Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 as of 19 May 1993. his finding of probable cause does not give rise to any adverse inference on
Clearly, when respondent Judge Asuncion issued the assailed order of 17 his part. The fact remains that the Joint Resolution was at respondent
May 1993 directing, among other things, the issuance of warrants of arrest, Judges disposal at the time he issued the Order for the issuance of the
he had only the information, amended information, and Joint Resolution as warrants of arrest. After all, respondent Judge enjoys in his favor the
bases thereof. He did not have the records or evidence supporting the presumption of regularity in the performance of official actuations. And this
prosecutors finding of probable cause. And strangely enough, he made no presumption prevails until it is overcome by clear and convincing evidence
specific finding of probable cause; he merely directed the issuance of to the contrary. Every reasonable intendment will be made in support of the
warrants of arrest after June 21, 1993. It may, however, be argued that the presumption, and in case of doubt as to an officers act being lawful or
directive presupposes a finding of probable cause. But then compliance with unlawful it should be construed to be lawful. (31 C.J.S., 808-810. See also
a constitutional requirement for the protection of individual liberty cannot be Mahilum, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, 17 SCRA 482; People vs. Cortez, 21
left to presupposition, conjecture, or even convincing logic. SCRA 1228; Government of the P.I. vs. Galarosa, 36 Phil. 338).
We are unable to agree with this disquisition, for it merely assumes at c. When there is a pre-judicial question which is sub
least two things: (1) that respondent Judge Asuncion had read and relied on judice (De Leon vs. Mabanag, 70 Phil. 202);
the Joint Resolution and (2) he was convinced that probable cause exists
for the issuance of the warrants of arrest against the petitioners. Nothing in d. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of
the records provides reasonable basis for these assumptions. In his authority (Planas vs. Gil, 67 Phil. 62);
assailed order, the respondent Judge made no mention of the Joint
e. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or
Resolution, which was attached to the records of Criminal Case No. Q-93-
regulation (Young vs. Rafferty, 33 Phil. 556; Yu Cong
43198 on 22 April 1993. Neither did he state that he found probable cause
Eng vs. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 385, 389);
for the issuance of warrants of arrest. And, for an undivinable reason, he
directed the issuance of warrants of arrest only after June 21, 1993. If he f. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent
did read the Joint Resolution and, in so reading, found probable cause, (Sangalang vs. People and Avendia, 109 Phil. 1140);
there was absolutely no reason at all to delay for more than one month the
issuance of warrants of arrest. The most probable explanation for such g. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense
delay could be that the respondent Judge had actually wanted to wait for a (Lopez vs. City Judge, L-25795, October 29, 1966, 18
little while for the DOJ to resolve the petition for review. SCRA 616);
It is, nevertheless, contended in the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice h. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution
Reynato S. Puno that whatever doubts may have lingered on the issue of (Rustia vs. Ocampo, CA-G.R. No. 4760, March 25, 1960);
probable cause was dissolved when no less than the Court of Appeals
sustained the finding of probable cause made by the respondent Judge i. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the
after an evaluation of the Joint Resolution. We are not persuaded with that lust for vengeance (Recto vs. Castelo, 18 L.J., [1953], cited
opinion. It is anchored on erroneous premises. In its 1 July 1993 resolution, in Raoa vs. Alvendia, CA-G.R. No. 30720-R, October 8,
the Court of Appeals does not at all state that it either sustained respondent 1962; Cf. Guingona, et al. vs. City Fiscal, L-60033, April 4,
Judge Asuncions finding of probable cause, or found by itself probable 1984, 128 SCRA 577); and
cause. As discussed above, it merely presumed that Judge Asuncion might
have read the Joint Resolution and found probable cause from a reading j. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused
thereof. Then too, that statement in the dissenting opinion erroneously and a motion to quash on that ground has been denied
assumes that the Joint Resolution can validly serve as sufficient basis for (Salonga vs. Pao, et al., L-59524, February 18, 1985, 134
determining probable cause. As stated above, it is not. SCRA 438).

7. Preliminary injunction has been issued by the Supreme Court


to prevent the threatened unlawful arrest of petitioners
(Rodriguez vs. Castelo, L-6374, August 1, 1953). (cited in
V. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, p. 188, 1988 Ed.)

In these exceptional cases, this Court may ultimately resolve the existence
In criminal prosecutions, the determination of probable cause may or non-existence of probable cause by examining the records of the
either be an executive or a judicial prerogative. In People vs. Inting,[73] this preliminary investigation, as it did in Salonga vs. Pao,[75] Allado, and Webb.
Court aptly stated:
There can be no doubt that, in light of the several thousand private
complainants in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 and several thousands
And third, Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary more in different parts of the country who are similarly situated as the former
inquiry which determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of for being holders of 349 Pepsi crowns, any affirmative holding of probable
arrest from a preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether the cause in the said case may cause or provoke, as justly feared by the
offender should be held for trial or released. Even if the two inquiries are petitioners, the filing of several thousand cases in various courts throughout
conducted in the course of one and the same proceeding, there should be the country. Inevitably, the petitioners would be exposed to the harassments
no confusion about the objectives. The determination of probable cause for of warrants of arrest issued by such courts and to huge expenditures for
the warrant of arrest is made by the Judge. The preliminary investigation premiums on bailbonds and for travels from one court to another throughout
proper - whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that the the length and breadth of the archipelago for their arraignments and trials in
accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he such cases. Worse, the filing of these staggering number of cases would
should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial- is necessarily affect the trial calendar of our overburdened judges and take
the function of the Prosecutor. much of their attention, time, and energy, which they could devote to other
equally, if not more, important cases. Such a frightful scenario would
seriously affect the orderly administration of justice, or cause oppression or
xxx xxx xxx
multiplicity of actions - a situation already long conceded by this Court to be
an exception to the general rule that criminal prosecutions may not be
We reiterate that preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to restrained or stayed by injunction.[76]
whether it is an investigation for the determination of a sufficient ground for
the filing of the information or it is an investigation for the determination of a We shall not, however, reevaluate the evidence to determine if indeed
probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The first kind of there is probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest in Criminal
preliminary investigation is executive in nature. It is part of the prosecutions Case No. Q-93-43298. For, as earlier stated, the respondent Judge did not,
job. The second kind of preliminary investigation which is more properly in fact, find that probable cause exists, and if he did he did not have the
called preliminary examination is judicial in nature and is lodged with the basis therefor as mandated by Soliven, Inting, Lim, Allado, and
judge x x x. even Webb. Moreover, the records of the preliminary investigation in
Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 are not with this Court. They were forwarded
by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to the DOJ in
Ordinarily, the determination of probable cause is not lodged with this compliance with the latters 1st Indorsement of 21 April 1993. The trial court
Court. Its duty in an appropriate case is confined to the issue of whether the and the DOJ must be required to perform their duty.
executive or judicial determination, as the case may be, of probable cause
was done without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of WHEREFORE, the instant petition is granted and the following are
discretion amounting to want of jurisdiction. This is consistent with the hereby SET ASIDE:
general rule that criminal prosecutions may not be restrained or stayed by
injunction, preliminary or final. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. (a) Decision of 28 September 1993 and Resolution of 9
Among the exceptions are enumerated in Brocka vs. Enrile[74] as follows: February 1994 of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.

a. To afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of SP No. 31226;


the accused (Hernandez vs. Albano, et al., L-19272,
January 25, 1967, 19 SCRA 95); (b) The Resolution of the 349 Committee of the Department of
Justice of 23 July 1993 dismissing the petitioners petition
b. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to for review and of 3 February 1994 denying the motion to
avoid oppression or multiplicity of actions (Dimayuga, et al. reconsider the dismissal; and
vs. Fernandez, 43 Phil. 304;
Hernandez vs. Albano, supra; Fortun vs. Labang, et al., L- (c) The Order of respondent Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion
38383, May 27, 1981, 104 SCRA 607); of 17 May 1993 in Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198.
The Department of Justice is DIRECTED to resolve on the merits, In the meantime, respondent Judge Asuncion is DIRECTED to cease
within sixty (60) days from notice of this decision, the petitioners petition for and desist from further proceeding with Criminal Case No. Q-93-43198 and
the review of the Joint Resolution of Investigating Prosecutor Ramon to defer the issuance of warrants of arrest against the petitioners.
Gerona and thereafter to file the appropriate motion or pleading in Criminal
Case No. Q-93-43198, which respondent Judge Asuncion shall then resolve No pronouncement as to costs.
in light of Crespo vs. Mogul, Soliven vs. Makasiar, People vs. Inting, Lim vs.
SO ORDERED.
Felix, Allado vs. Diokno, and Webb vs. De Leon.