Rule 112 – Preminary Investigation 2

PP vs. Judge Gabo (GR: 161083)

Justice Peralta:

Based on Section 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, the RTC judge, upon the filing of an Information, has the following options: (1) dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly failed to establish probable cause; (2) if he or she finds probable cause, issue a warrant of arrest; and (3) in case of doubt as to the existence of probable cause, order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five days from notice, the issue to be resolved by the court within thirty days from the filing of the information.

The judge is required to personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. To this Courts mind, the RTC had complied with its duty of personally evaluating the supporting evidence of the prosecution before arriving at its decision of dismissing the case against respondents.

Tolentino vs. Judge Paqueo, Jr (GR: 150606)

Justice Azcuna:

Since the Regional State Prosecutor is not included among the law officers authorized to approve the filing or dismissal of the Information of the investigating prosecutor, the Information filed by petitionerState Prosecutor Tolentino did not comply with the requirement of Sec. 4, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Consequently, the non-compliance was a ground to quash the Information under Sec. 3 (d), Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Okabe vs. Judge Gutierrez (GR: 150185)

Justice Callejo:

Under Section 1, Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the investigating prosecutor, in conducting a preliminary investigation of a case cognizable by the RTC, is tasked to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent therein is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. A preliminary investigation is for the purpose of securing the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of a crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial.

If the investigating prosecutor finds probable cause for the filing of the Information against the respondent, he executes a certification at the bottom of the Information that from the evidence presented, there is a reasonable ground to believe that the offense charged has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. Such certification of the investigating prosecutor is, by itself, ineffective. It is not binding on the trial court. Nor may the RTC rely on the said certification as basis for a finding of the existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.

In contrast, the task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the court is first and foremost to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused. Probable cause is meant such set of facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that the offense charged in the Information or any offense included therein has been committed by the person sought to be arrested. In determining probable cause, the average man weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of the rules of evidence of which he has no technical knowledge. He relies on common sense. A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed and that it was committed by the accused. Probable cause demands more than bare suspicion, it requires less than evidence which would justify conviction.

The purpose of the mandate of the judge to first determine probable cause for the arrest of the accused is to insulate from the very start those falsely charged of crimes from the tribulations, expenses and anxiety of a public trial.

Santos-Concio vs. Hon. Raul M Gonzalez (GR: 175057)

Justice Carpio-Morales:

A preliminary investigation can thus validly proceed on the basis of an affidavit of any competent person,without the referral document, like the NBI-NCR Report, having been sworn to by the law enforcer as the nominal complainant. To require otherwise is a needless exercise. The cited case of Oporto, Jr. v. Judge Monserate does not appear to dent this proposition. After all, what is required is to reduce the evidence into affidavits, for while reports and even raw information may justify the initiation of an investigation, the preliminary investigation stage can be held only after sufficient evidence has been gathered and evaluated which may warrant the eventual prosecution of the case in court.

Artillero vs. Casimiro (GR: 190569)

Justice Sereno:

A complainant in a preliminary investigation does not have a vested right to file a Reply.  This right should be granted to him by law. There is no provision in Rule 112 of the Rules of Court that gives the Complainant or requires the prosecutor to observe the right to file a Reply to the accused’ counter-affidavit. To illustrate the non-mandatory nature of filing a Reply in preliminary investigations, Section 3 (d) of Rule 112 gives the prosecutor, in certain instances, the right to resolve the Complaint even without a counter-affidavit, viz:

(d) If the respondent cannot be subpoenaed, of if subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day period, the investigating officer shall resolve the complaint based on the evidence presented by the complainant.

Provincial Prosecutor Dusaban correctly claims that it is discretionary on his part to require or allow the filing or submission of reply-affidavits.

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Rule 112- Preliminary Investigation

Leviste vs. Hon. Alameda (GR: 182677)

Justice Carpio-Morales:

A preliminary investigation is required before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four years, two months and one day without regard to fine. As an exception, the rules provide that there is no need for a preliminary investigation in cases of a lawful arrest without a warrant involving such type of offense, so long as an inquest, where available, has been conducte

Inquest is defined as an informal and summary investigation conducted by a public prosecutor in criminal cases involving persons arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued by the court for the purpose of determining whether said persons should remain under custody and correspondingly be charged in court.

Contreras vs. Judge Monserate 

Justice Quisumbing:

Respondent judge asserts that the Provincial Prosecution Office has no authority to order him to conduct a preliminary investigation inasmuch as the courts primary duty is to hold trial and render decisions, and not to conduct preliminary investigations. His assertion is far from accurate. Respondent judge must be reminded of the duty imposed upon him by Section 1(a), Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. Said provision speaks of the proper officer who shall conduct the requisite preliminary investigation. Under Section 2, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, a municipal court judge, like herein respondent, is a proper officer authorized to conduct a preliminary investigation. Further, a preliminary investigation is not a judicial function, and as such the findings of the investigating judge are subject to the oversight powers of the public prosecutor. Thus, in we held that:

When a municipal judge conducts a preliminary investigation, he performs a non-judicial function. His function is merely executive in nature. As such, the findings of an investigating judge are subject to review by the Provincial Fiscal whose findings in turn may also be reviewed by the Secretary of Justice in appropriate cases.

Clearly, therefore, Provincial Prosecutor Agapito B. Rosales, through his Second Asst. Provincial Prosecutor, had the authority to compel respondent judge to conduct a preliminary investigation in Criminal Case No. 3222.

PP vs. Hon. Garfin (GR:  153176)

Justice Puno:

Rule 112, Section 4, paragraph 3 provides, viz:

No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating prosecutor without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy.

Private respondent and the OSG take the position that the lack of prior authority or approval by the city or provincial prosecutor or chief state prosecutor is an infirmity in the information that prevented the court from acquiring jurisdiction over the case. Since lack of jurisdiction is a defect that may be raised as an objection anytime even after arraignment, the respondent judge did not err in granting the motion to dismiss based on this ground.

Pen vs. Hon. De Castro (GR: 104645)

Justice Purisima:

xxxx As succinctly rationalized by the then Justice, now Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa, in the germane case of Hadji Ibrahim Solay Pangandaman, et al. vs. Dimaporo T. Casar, as Municipal Circuit Trial Judge of Poonabayabao, et al., L-71782, April 14, 1988, 159 SCRA 599, the procedure prescribed for the conduct of preliminary investigation consists of two (2) phases or stages.

The first phase or stage of the investigation consists of an ex parte inquiry of the sufficiency of the complaint and the affidavits and other documents offered in support thereof, and ends with the determination by the judge either: (1)that there is no ground to continue with the inquiry, in which case he dismisses the complaint and transmits the order of dismissal, together with the records of the case, to the Provincial Fiscal (now Provincial Prosecutor); or (2) that the complaint and the supporting documents show sufficient cause to continue with the inquiry, which finding ushers in the second phase.

The second phase or stage is designed to afford the respondent notice of the Complaint, access to complainants evidence and an opportunity to submit counter-affidavits and supporting documents. In such a scenario, the Judge may conduct a hearing and propound to the parties and their witnesses questions on matters that, in his view, should be clarified. The second phase concludes with the Judge rendering his resolution, either for dismissal of the complaint or finding a prima facie case, and holding the respondent for trial which shall be transmitted, together with the pertinent records, to the provincial prosecutor for appropriate action.

It is thus decisively clear that the rule does not require that preliminary investigation be first completed before a warrant of arrest may issue. What the rule simply provides is that no complaint or information for an offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court may be filed without completing the preliminary investigation. But nowhere is it mandated that preliminary investigation must be completed before a warrant of arrest may issue.