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SOLIVEN, petitioner VS.

JUDGE MAKASIAR, respondent APRIL 7, 1988: A second motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner
Beltran was denied by the Secretary of Justice
167 SCRA 393
MAY 2, 1988: On appeal, the President, through Executive Secretary,
FACTS: affirmed the resolution of the Secretary of Justice

This case is a PETITION for certiorari and prohibition to review the MAY 16, 1988: Motion for reconsideration was denied by the Executive
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila Secretary

ISSUES: Petitioner Beltran alleges that he has been denied due process of law.

Whether or not the petitioners were denied due process when -This is negated by the fact that instead of submitting his counter-
information for libel were filed against them although the finding of the affidavits, he filed a Motion to Declare Proceedings Closed, in
existence of a prima facie case was still under review by the Secretary of effect, waiving his right to refute the complaint by filing counter-
Justice and, subsequently by the President affidavits.

Whether or not the constitutional rights of Beltran (petitioner) were Due process of law does not require that the respondent in a criminal
violated when respondent RTC judge issued a warrant for his arrest case actually file his counter-affidavits before the preliminary
without personally examining the complainant and the witnesses, if any, investigation is deemed completed. All that is required is that the
to determine probable clause respondent be given the opportunity to submit counter-affidavits if he is
so minded.
Whether or not the President of the Philippines, under the
Constitution, may initiate criminal proceedings against the Second issue
petitioners through filing of a complaint-affidavit
This calls for an interpretation of the constitutional provision on the
DECISION: issuance of warrants of arrest:

Finding no grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of Art. III, Sec.2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
jurisdiction on the part of the public respondents, the Court Resolved to houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures
DISMISS the petitions. of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no
search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
The Order to maintain the status quo contained in the Resolution of the
cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under
Court en banc is LIFTED.
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
RATIO: produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
persons or things to be seized.
Background of the first issue
Petitioner Beltran is convinced that the Constitution requires the judge
MARCH 30, 1988: Secretary of Justice denied petitioners motion to personally examine the complainant and his witness in his
for reconsideration determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrests.
-However, what the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and imposed by any other person (And there is nothing in our laws that
personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy himself of the would prevent the President from waiving the privilege).
existence of probable cause. In doing so, the judge is not required to
personally examine the complainant and his witness. Additional Issue:

Beltran contends that he could not be held liable for libel because of the
privileged character of the publication. He also says that to allow the
Following the established doctrine of procedure, the judge shall: (1) libel case to proceed would produce a chilling effect on press freedom.
Personally evaluate the report and supporting documents submitted by
the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause (and on the basis, -Court reiterates that it is not a trier of facts And Court finds no basis at
thereof, issue a warrant of arrest); or (2) If on the basis thereof he finds this stage to rule on the chilling effect point.
no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscals report and require the
SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION Guitierrez, Jr., J.
submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at
a conclusion as to the evidence of probable cause. Concurs with the majority opinion insofar as it revolves around the three
principal issues. With regard to whether or not the libel case would
Third issue
produce a chilling effect on press freedom, Gutierrez believes that this
Petitioner Beltran contends that proceedings ensue by virtue of the particular issue is the most important and should be resolved now rather
Presidents filing of her complaint-affidavit, she may subsequently have than later.
to be a witness for the prosecution, bringing her under the trial courts
Quotable quotes: Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and
jurisdiction. This would in an indirect way defeat her privilege of
unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear
immunity from suit, as by testifying on the witness stand, she would be
conscience. United States v. Bustos
exposing herself to possible contempt of court or perjury.
No longer is there a Minister of the Crown or a person in authority of
-This privilege of immunity from suit, pertains to the President by virtue
such exalted position that the citizen must speak of him only with bated
of the office and may be invoked only by the holder of the office; not by
breath. People v. Perfecto
any other person in the Presidents behalf.

-The choice of whether to exercise the privilege or to waive is solely the


Presidents prerogative. It is a decision that cannot be assumed and