Leviste vs. Hon. Alameda (GR: 182677)
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
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)
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)
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.