PP vs. Judge Gabo (GR: 161083)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.