Criminal Procedure Reviewer Benchbook
Supreme Court Benchbook on Criminal Procedure...
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Diosdado M. Peralta
I. JURISDICTION - IN GENERAL A. Introduction 1. Criminal jurisdiction defined Criminal jurisdiction is the authority to hear and try a particular offense and impose the punishment for it,1 if conviction results. 2. Elements of jurisdiction 2.1. Penalty attached; The jurisdiction of a court in criminal cases is determined by the penalty imposable, and not by the penalty ultimately imposed.2 The additional penalty for habitual delinquency is not considered in determining which court shall have jurisdiction over a criminal case because such delinquency is not a crime.3 2.2. Nature of the offense charged;4 and Crimes committed by public officers fall within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan 2.3. Territorial jurisdiction over place of crime commission. The absence of any of these elements may be challenged by an accused at any stage of the proceedings in the court below or on appeal. Failing to comply with anyone of them, the resulting judgment of conviction is null and void.5
People v. Mariano, G.R. No. 40527, June 30, 1976, 71 SCRA 600; Conde v. Mamento, Jr., G. R. No. 71989, July 7, 1986, 142 SCRA 504. 2 Guevarra v. Almodovar, G.R. No. 75256, January 26, 1989, 169 SCRA 476; People v. Lagon, G.R. No. 45815, May 18, 1990, 185 SCRA 446-447. 3 Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 , El Pueblo de Filipinas v. San Juan, 69 Phil. 347 (1940). 4 Id., El Pueblo de Filipinas v. San Juan. 5 Manila Railroad Co. v. Attorney General, 20 Phil. 523 (1911); U.S. v. Jayme, 24 Phil. 90 (1913); Uy v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 119000, July 28, 1997, 276 SCRA 374-375. J-1
B. Requisites for valid exercise: 1. Jurisdiction over subject matter;6 Philippine courts have no common law jurisdiction or power, but only those expressly conferred by the Constitution and statutes together with those necessarily implied to make the express grant of jurisdiction effective.7 The question of jurisdiction of the court over the case filed before it is to be resolved on the basis of the law or statute providing for or defining its jurisdiction.8 The jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal action is determined not by the law in force at the time of the commission of the offense, but by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action.9 Once vested, jurisdiction cannot be withdrawn or defeated by a subsequent valid amendment of the information.10
Reyes v. Diaz, 73 Phil. 484 (1941); Cruz v. Court of Appeals, G R. No. 123340, August 29, 2002, 388 SCRA 79. 7 Velunta v. Chief, Philippine Constabulary, G. R. No. 71855, January 20, 1988, 157 SCRA 147; Orosa Jr. v. Court of Appeals, G. R. Nos. 76826-32, January 28, 1991, 193 SCRA 397. 8 People v. Mariano, supra note 1. 9 De la Cruz v. Moya, G. R. No. 65192, April 27, 1988, 160 SCRA 838; Silva, et al. v. NLRC, et al., G.R. No. 110226, June 19, 1997, 274 SCRA 176. In De la Cruz v. Moya, the proceedings in the criminal case before the trial court (Court of First Instance (CFI)), where petitioner was being prosecuted for the crime of homicide, were declared null and void, without prejudice to the filing of another action in the proper forum, i.e., the court-martials, as the military tribunals created under General Order No. 8 exercises exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses committed by military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines while in the performance of their official duties. 10 People v. Chupeco, G.R. No. 19568, March 31, 1964, 10 SCRA 640; Sumawang v. De Guzman, G.R. No. 150106, September 8, 2004, 437 SCRA 622, 627. In People v. Chupeco, after the case was partly tried, the prosecution and defense counsels entered into an agreement to have the information amended (i.e., charge against the accused be only for ―removal of properties mortgaged‖ under Art. 319 of the Revised Penal Code, but eliminating the portion referring to ―pledging already pledged property‖); however, the information remained unamended and the accused was tried on the charge of ―having pledged property which had been previously pledged or mortgaged.‖ The original terms of the charge averred the crime of re-pledging an already encumbered property without the creditor’s consent, and one of the essential ingredients of the offense (i.e., the execution of the first mortgage) having been alleged to have taken place in Manila, the CFI of Manila acquired jurisdiction over the offense under the Sec. 9, Rule 110 of the RULES OF COURT. J-2
2. Jurisdiction over territory where offense was committed; 2.1. General Rule A criminal case should be instituted and tried in the place where the offense was committed or any of its essential ingredients took place.11 2.2. Exceptions: 2.2.1. Change of venue by Supreme Court Order.12 2.2.2. When the law provides otherwise – e.g., Sandiganbayan in Quezon City has jurisdiction over crimes committed elsewhere. 2.2.3. Continuing crimes committed during a voyage. 2.2.4. Offenses committed under R.A. 9372 Human Security Act of 2007.13
3. Jurisdiction determined by allegations of Complaint or Information The averments in the complaint or information identify the crime charged and determine the court before which it must be tried.14 To determine the jurisdiction of the court in a criminal case, the complaint or information must be examined to ascertain if the facts set out therein and the penalty prescribed by law fall within the jurisdiction of the court, regardless of the court’s findings after the trial.15
People v. Mercado, 65 Phil. 665 (1938); Manila Railroad Co. v. Attorney General, supra note 5; Fukuzume v. People, G.R. No. 143647, November 11, 2005, 474 SCRA 580. 12 CONSTITUTION, Art. VIII, Sec. 5 par. (4). 13 Rep. Act. No. 9372 , Sec. 58. 14 People v. Magallanes, G.R. No. 118013-4, October 11, 1995, 249 SCRA 212; Olivarez v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 163866, July 29, 2005, 165 SCRA 477. 15 Buaya v. Polo, G. R. No. 75079, January 26, 1989, 169 SCRA 471; Mobilia Products, Inc. v. Umezawa, G. R. Nos. 149357 and 149403, March 4, 2005, 452 SCRA 761-762. In Buaya v. Polo, the information charged petitioner with estafa committed ―during the period 1980 to June 15, 1982 inclusive in the City of Manila, Philippines‖ and, therefore, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila has jurisdiction. Besides, the crime of estafa is a continuing or transitory offense which may be prosecuted at the place where any of the essential elements of the crime took place. One of the essential elements of estafa is damage or prejudice to the offended party. The respondent had its principal place of business and office in Manila. The failure of the petitioner to remit the insurance premiums she collected allegedly caused damage and prejudice to the respondent in Manila. J-3
4. Jurisdiction over the person of the accused. Jurisdiction over the person of the accused is acquired either by his/her arrest or voluntary appearance in court.16 The voluntary appearance of the accused is accomplished either by his: 1) pleading to the merits (such as by filing a motion to quash or other pleadings requiring the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction, 2) appearing for arraignment, entering trial), or 3) by filing bail. On the matter of bail, since the same is intended to obtain the provisional liberty of the accused, as a rule, the same cannot be posted before custody of the accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities, either by his arrest or voluntary surrender.17
Republic v. Sunga, G. R. No. 38634, June 20, 1988, 162 SCRA 191, citing Crespo v. Mogul, G. R. No. 53373, June 30, 1987, 151 SCRA 462; Alva v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 157331, April 12, 2006, 487 SCRA 169. 17 Miranda v. Tuliao, G.R. No. 158763, March 31, 2006, 486 SCRA 377, 387-388. J-4
II. JURISDICTION - IN PARTICULAR A. Expanded Exclusive Original Jurisdiction of Municipal Trial Courts18 1. Violations of city or municipal ordinances committed within their respective territorial jurisdictions;19
2. All offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years, (1) irrespective of the amount of the fine, and (2) regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof.20 2.1. A municipal trial court has jurisdiction over a case of simple seduction, penalized under Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, with arresto mayor, regardless of the civil liability, such as support and acknowledgment of the offspring that may be imposed under Article 345 of the same Code. 2.2. Imposable accessory penalties that should not be considered in determining jurisdiction of MTCs refer to the accessory penalties accompanying (1) prision correccional prescribed in Article 43; (2) arresto menor prescribed in Article 44; and (3) confiscation and forfeiture of the proceeds and instruments of the crime prescribed in Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code. 2.3. Where the offense charged is within the exclusive competence of the Municipal Trial Court by reason of the penalty (imprisonment, etc.), it shall have jurisdiction to try and decide the case, even if the civil liability (such as actual, compensatory, etc.) claimed exceeds its civil jurisdiction.
3. Offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence, regardless of the value of the property.21
Rep. Act No. 7691 , amending Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. Id., Sec. 2 amending Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Sec. 32. 20 Id. 21 Id. 19
4. Where the imposable penalty is destierro,22 the case falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court, considering that in the hierarchy of penalties under Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code, destierro follows arresto mayor which involves imprisonment
5. In the absence of all Regional Trial Court Judges in a province or city, any Metropolitan Trial Judge, Municipal Trial Judge, and Municipal Circuit Trial Judge may hear and decide petitions for a writ of habeas corpus or applications for bail in criminal cases in the province or city where the absent Regional Trial Judges sit.23
B. Jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts 1. Regular cases 1.1. Offenses committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, or a fine exceeding P4,000.00, when the offender’s position carries a salary scale lower than grade 27. 1.2. All other offenses where the imposable penalty prescribed by law is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, irrespective of the fine, regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offense or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof.24
2. Special cases 2.1. Libel is punishable by prision correccional in its minimum and maximum periods or fine or both.25 Libel committed by public officers in relation to their office is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of RTC.26 This would be normally under the exclusive jurisdiction of MTCs. However, by law this was expressly placed under the jurisdiction of the RTCs.27 22
REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 334 imposes destiero as the penalty for concubinage. Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Sec. 35; See chapter on Jurisdiction by Justice Magdangal M. de Leon. 24 Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Sec. 32. 25 REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 354. 26 People, et al., vs. Benipayo, G.R. No. 154473, April 24, 2009, 586 SCRA 420. 27 Id., Art. 360, Rep. Act No. 1289  and Rep. Act. No. 4363 . 23
2.2. Dangerous Drugs cases Sec. 90. Jurisdiction. – The Supreme Court shall designate special courts from among the existing Regional Trial Courts in each judicial region to exclusively try and hear cases involving violations of this Act. The number of courts designated in each judicial region shall be based on the population and the number of cases pending in their respective jurisdictions. xxx28 2.3. Violations of the Intellectual Property Code (Rep. Act No. 8293) regardless of the imposable penalty. C. Jurisdiction of Family Courts29 Family courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over criminal cases: 1. Where an accused or victim is a minor30 at the time of the commission of the offense; 2. Against minors charged under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Rep. Act No. 9165); 3. Involving violations of Rep. Act No. 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse Act), as amended by Rep. Act No. 7658 ; 4. Rep. Act No. 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003); 5. Involving domestic violence against women and children under Rep. Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004); 28
Pursuant to Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Sec. 23 and in the interest of speedy and efficient administration of justice, certain Regional Trial Court branches are designated to exclusively try and decide criminal cases committed within their respective territorial jurisdictions, as set forth in Administrative Order (Adm. Order) No. 51-96, dated May 3, 1996, (Superseding Adm. Order No. 173-94, dated September 28, 1994 (Re: Special Courts for Kidnapping, Robbery, Dangerous Drugs, Carnapping, and Other Heinous Crimes under Rep. Act No. 7659) and Adm. Order No. 104-96, dated October 21, 1996 (Re: Designation of Special Courts for Kidnapping, Robbery, Dangerous Drugs Cases and Other Heinous Crimes; Intellectual Property Rights Violations and Jurisdiction in Libel Cases). 29 Rep. Act No. 8369 : The RTC may take cognizance of the cases enumerated in areas where there are no designated Family Courts. 30 Rep. Act No. 9344 , entitled ―An Act Establishing a Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare System, Creating the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council under the Department of Justice, Appropriating Funds therefor and for Other Purposes.‖ Sec. 1 thereof provides that the law shall cover the different stages involving children at risk and children in conflict with the law from prevention to rehabilitation and reintegration. J-7
and 6. Involving child pornography (Rep. Act No. 9775 ).
D. Original and Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan The Sandiganbayan has exclusive and original jurisdiction over cases involving: 1. Violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act;31
2. Violations of Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense: 1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade '27' and higher, specifically including: a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher; d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher; f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
Rep. Act No. 3019 , as amended. J-8
g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of governmentowned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations; h) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade '27' and higher; i) Members of the judiciary, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; j) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and k) All other national and local officials classified as Grade'27' and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
3. Other offenses or felonies, whether simple or complexed with other crimes, committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in Subsec. a of this Section in relation to their office.
4. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1 (Creating the Presidential Commission on Good Government); 2 (Regarding the Funds, Moneys, Assets, and Properties Illegally Acquired or Misappropriated by Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos xxx); 14 (Defining the Jurisdiction Over Cases Involving the Illgotten Wealth of Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos xxx); and 14-A (Amending Executive Order No.14), issued in 1986.32 5. Violation of Anti-Money Laundering Act.33
E. Jurisprudence involving crimes committed by public officials and employees: 1. Meaning of crime committed ―in relation to their office‖. The Offense need not be connected with official duties. It is enough that it is in relation to office.34 32
Rep. Act No. 8249 , Sec. 4. Rep. Act No. 9160 , as amended by Rep. Act No. 9194 . 34 Lecaroz v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. L-56384, March 22, 1984, 128 SCRA 324. As mayor, the accused Lecaroz ordered policemen to take over the gasoline station of the complainant. It was held that the police would not have obeyed his orders were he not the mayor. 33
2. What should be alleged in the information? A public official and employee commits a crime ―in relation to their office‖ if the offense was intimately connected with the office of the offender and perpetuated while he is in the performance of his official function. Mere allegation in the Information that the offense was committed by the accused public officer in relation to his office is not sufficient. What is controlling is the specific factual allegations in the information that would indicate the close intimacy between the discharge of the accused’s official duties and the commission of the offense charged, in order to qualify the crime as having been committed in relation to public office.35
Lacson v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 128096, January 20, 1999, 301 SCRA 298; Soller, et al. v. Sandiganbayan, et al., G.R. No. 144261-62, May 9, 2001, 357 SCRA 685-686. J-10
III. PROSECUTION OF OFFENSES A. Institution of Criminal Action 1. Complaint or Information 1.1. Requisites The complaint or information shall be in writing, in the name of the People of the Philippines, and against all persons who appear to be responsible for the offense involved.36 1.2. Definitions A complaint is a sworn written statement charging a person with an offense, subscribed by the offended party, any peace officer, or other public officer charged with the enforcement of the law violated.37 An information is an accusation in writing charging a person with an offense, subscribed by the prosecutor, and filed with the court.38
2. Institution of criminal action 2.1. Preliminary investigation - purpose. Preliminary investigation is an evidence-screening procedure ―for the purpose of determing whether there is a sufficient ground to engender a well founded belief that a crime punishable by at least four (4) years ) two (2) months and one (1) day without regard to the fine has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.”39 2.2. Preliminary investigation – precondition to filing in court. General rule. ―No complaint or information for an offense punishable by at least 4 years, 2 months and 1 day shall be filed without a preliminary 36
RULES OF COURT, Rule 110, Sec. 2. Id., Sec. 3. 38 Id., Sec. 4. 39 RULES OF COURT, Rule 112, Sec. 1, as amended by A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC, effective October 3, 2005. 37
investigation having been fiirst conducted.”40 2.3. Exceptions to general rule A complaint for an offense punishable by less than four years, 2 months and 1 day may be filed directly with the first level courts, except in Metro Manila and other chartered cities where the complaint is required to be filed only with the Office of the City Prosecutor 2.4 . Effect of institution of criminal action The institution of the criminal action shall interrupt the running of the period of prescription of the offense charged, unless otherwise provided in special laws.41
3. Who must prosecute? All criminal actions, either commenced by complaint or information, shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of a public prosecutor. However, in case of heavy work schedule of the public prosecutor or in the event of lack of public prosecutors, the private prosecutor may be authorized in writing by the Chief of the Prosecution Office or the Regional State Prosecutor to prosecute the case, subject to the approval of the court. Once so authorized to prosecute the criminal action, the private prosecutor shall continue to prosecute the case up to the end of the trial even in the absence of a public prosecutor, unless the authority is revoked or otherwise withdrawn. The crimes of adultery and concubinage shall not be prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the offended spouse. The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without including the guilty parties, if both are alive, nor, in any case, if the offended party has consented to the offense or pardoned the offenders. The offenses of seduction, abduction, and acts of lasciviousness shall not be prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the offended party or her parents, grandparents or guardian, nor, in any case, if the offender has been expressly pardoned by any of them. If the offended party dies or becomes incapacitated before she can file the complaint, and she has no known parents, grandparents or guardian, the State shall initiate the criminal action in her behalf.
Id., Sec. 3. Id. J-12
The offended party, even if a minor, has the right to initiate the prosecution of the offenses of seduction, abduction and acts of lasciviousness independently of her parents, grandparents, or guardian, unless she is incompetent or incapable of doing so. Where the offended party, who is a minor, fails to file the complaint, her parents, grandparents, or guardian may file the same. The right to file the action granted to parents, grandparents, or guardian shall be exclusive of all other persons and shall be exercised successively in the order herein provided, except as stated in the preceding paragraph. No criminal action for defamation which consists in the imputation of any of the offenses mentioned above shall be brought except at the instance of and upon complaint filed by the offended party. The prosecution for violation of special laws shall be governed by the provisions thereof.42
4. Intervention of the offended party by counsel. Where the civil action for recovery of civil liability is instituted in the criminal action pursuant to Rule 111, the offended party may intervene by counsel in the prosecution of the offense.43
B. Distinction between control of prosecution by public prosecutor and control by court 1. Control by Prosecution 1.1. What charge to file.44 1.2. Who to prosecute.45 1.3. How to prosecute.46 1.4. Right of Prosecution to withdraw Information before arraignment even without notice and hearing.47
Id., Rule 110, Sec. 5, as amended by A.M. No. 02-2-07-SC, effective May 1, 2002. Id., Sec. 16. 44 People v. Pineda, G.R. No. 26222, July 21, 1967, 20 SCRA 748; Potot v. People, et al., G.R. No. 143547, June 26, 2002, 383 SCRA 457-459. 45 People v. Devaras, G.R. Nos. 100938-9, December 15, 1993, 228 SCRA 482; Pontejos v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. Nos. 158613-14, February 22, 2006, 483 SCRA 96-98. 46 People v. Nazareno, G.R. No. 103964, August 1, 1996, 260 SCRA 256; People v. Saldaña, et al., G.R. No. 148518, April 15, 2004, 427 SCRA 787. 47 Galvez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 114046, October 24, 1994, 237 SCRA 685. 43
2. Control by Court Once Case is Filed 2.1. Suspension of Arraignment.48 2.2. Reinvestigation.49 2.3. Prosecution by Fiscal.50 2.4. Dismissal.51 3. Limitations on Control by Court 3.1. Prosecution entitled to notice of hearing.52 3.2. Court must await result of petition for review. 53 3.3. Prosecution’s stand to maintain prosecution should be respected by the court.54 3.4. Ultimate test of court’s independence is where the prosecutor files a motion to dismiss or to withdraw information.55 3.5. Court has authority to review (power of judicial review) the Secretary’s recommendation and reject it if there is grave abuse of discretion.56 The Resolution of the Secretary of Justice may be appealed to the Office of the President only in offenses punishable by death or reclusion perpetua.57 48
Crespo v. Mogul, G.R. No. 53373, June 30, 1987, 151 SCRA 462; Santos v. Orda, G.R. No. 158236, September 1, 2004, 437 SCRA 514-515. 49 Velasquez v. Undersecretary of Justice, G.R. No. 88442, February 1, 1990, 182 SCRA 388; Baltazar v. Dimalanta, A.C. No. 5424, October 11, 2005, 472 SCRA 214-216. 50 Sta. Rosa Mining Co. v. Zabala, G.R. No. 44723, August 31, 1987, 153 SCRA 367. 51 Dungog v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 77580-51, March 25, 1988, 159 SCRA 145; Bañares II, et al. v. Balising et al., G.R. No. 132624, March 13, 2000, 328 SCRA 44-46. 52 Republic v. Sunga, supra note 16; Land Bank of the Philippines v. Natividad, et al., G.R. No. 127198, May 16, 2005, 458 SCRA 449-450. 53 Marcelo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 106695, August 4, 1994, 235 SCRA 39; Roberts v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 113930, March 5, 1996, 254 SCRA 307; Dimatulac v. Villon, G.R. No. 12707, October 12, 1998, 297 SCRA 679; Solar Team Entertainment, Inc. v. How, G.R. No. 140863, August 22, 2000, 338 SCRA 517-518. 54 People v. Montesa, G.R. No. 114302, September 29, 1995, 248 SCRA 641. 55 Roberts v. Court of Appeals, supra note 53. 56 Ledesma v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 113216, September 5, 1997, 278 SCRA 656; Solar Team Entertainment, Inc. v. How, supra note 53; Villanueva v. Secretary of Justice, G.R. No. 162187, November 18, 2005, 475 SCRA 511-512. 57 Perez v. Hagonoy Rural Bank, G.R. No. 126210, March 9, 2000, 327 SCRA 601-602; Balindong v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 159962, December 16, 2004, 447 SCRA 208. J-14
3.6. To reject or grant a motion to dismiss, the court must make its own independent assessment of evidence.58 3.7. Judgment is void if there is no independent assessment and finding of grave abuse of discretion.59 C. Testing Sufficiency of Complaint or Information A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused,60 the designation of the offense given by the statute,61 the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense,62 the name of the offended party,63 the approximate date of the commission of the offense;64 and the place where the offense was committed.65 When an offense is committed by more than one person, all of them shall be included in the complaint or information.66 D. Strict Scrutiny of Averments in Complaint or Information, Particularly in Heinous Crimes 1. Cause of the accusation The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the language used in the statute, but in terms sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is being charged, as well as its qualifying and aggravating circumstances, and for the court to pronounce judgment.67
Martinez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112387, October 13, 1994, 237 SCRA 575; Roberts v. Court of Appeals, supra note 53; Ledesma v. Court of Appeals, supra note 56; Perez v. Hagonoy Rural Bank, supra note 57; Jalandoni v. Secretary of Justice, G. R. Nos. 115239-40, March 2, 2000, 327 SCRA 122; Nicart, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan et al., G.R. No. 147272, July 14, 2006, 495 SCRA 82-83. 59 Ledesma v. Court of Appeals, supra note 56; Solar Team Entertainment v. How, supra note 53; Ark Travel Express v. Presiding Judge of the RTC of Makati, et al., G.R. No. 137010, August 29, 2003, 410 SCRA 158. 60 RULES OF COURT, Rule 110, Sec. 7. 61 Id., Sec. 8. 62 Id., Sec. 9. 63 Id., Sec. 12. 64 Id., Sec. 11. 65 Id., Sec. 10, 66 Id., Sec. 6. 67 Id., Sec. 9. J-15
Pursuant to Section 11 of the amendatory statute, the death penalty68 may be imposed in rape cases under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, when the rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances: 1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common law spouse of the parent of the victim; 2. when the victim is under the custody of the police or military authorities or any law enforcement or penal institution; 3. when the rape is committed in full view of the spouse, any of the children or other relatives within the third degree of consanguinity; 4. when the victim is a religious engaged in legitimate religious vocation or calling and is personally known to be such by the offender before or at the time of the commission of the crimes; 5. when the victim is a child below seven (7) years old; 6. when the offender knows that he is afflicted with Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or any other sexually transmissible disease and the virus or disease is transmitted to the victim; 7. when committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or para-military units thereof or the Philippine National Police or any law enforcement agency or penal institution, when the offender took advantage of his position to facilitate the commission of the crime; 8. when by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has suffered permanent physical mutilation or disability. 9. when the offender knew of the pregnancy of the offended party at the time of the commission of the crime; and 68
Rep. Act No. 9346, entitled ―An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines,‖ was approved on June 24, 2006. J-16
10. when the offender knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or physical handicap of the offended party at the time of the commission of the crime. The need to allege qualifying circumstances to justify finding of qualified rape and the imposition of death penalty was stressed in several cases. The additional attendant circumstances introduced by Rep Act No. 8353 should be considered as special qualifying circumstances distinctly applicable to the crime of rape and if not pleaded as such, could only be appreciated as generic aggravating circumstances.69 Without allegation of relationship in cases of statutory rape, proof alone of relationship, unless specifically alleged in the information, would not warrant imposition of the death penalty.70 Thus, the concurrence of the minority of the victim and her relationship with the offender is a special qualifying circumstance which should both be alleged71 and proved72 with certainty in order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty. In this case, complainant never said she was below eighteen (18) years of age when she was allegedly raped by her father on any of the dates stated in the complaint.73 The Information alleged that the accused, who is the stepfather of complainant, succeeded in having carnal knowledge of the latter who was then below eighteen (18) years of age, however, the evidence shows that the accused is not the complainant’s stepfather because he and complainant’s mother were not really married but only lived in commonlaw relationship. Thus, although a husband is subject to punishment by death in case he commits rape against his wife’s daughter, the death penalty cannot be imposed because the relationship alleged in the information is different from that actually proven.74
People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 120093, November 6, 1997, 281 SCRA 463; People v. Canonigo, G.R. No. 133649, August 4, 2000, 337 SCRA 318-319; People v. Banihit, G.R. No. 132045, August 25, 2000, 339 SCRA 95-96. 70 People v. Perez, G.R. No. 122764, September 24, 1998, 296 SCRA 17; People v. Bolatete, G.R. No. 127570, February 13, 1999, 303 SCRA 709; People v. De la Cuesta, G.R. No. 126134, March 2, 1999, 304 SCRA 83; People v. Ambray, G.R. No. 127177, February 25, 1999, 303 SCRA 697; People v. Quiachon, G. R. No. 170236, August 31, 2006, 500 SCRA 717. 71 People v. Cantos, G.R. No. 129298, April 14, 1999, 305 SCRA 876; People v. Barcena, G.R. No. 168737, February 16, 2006, 482 SCRA 556. 72 People v. Manggasin, G.R. Nos. 130599-60, April 21, 1999, 306 SCRA 228; People v. Barcena, supra note 71. 73 People v. Maglente, G.R. Nos. 1124559-66, April 30, 1999, 306 SCRA 546. 74 People v. Manggasin, supra note 72; People v. Valindo, G.R. No. 140027, March 18, 2002, 379 SCRA 393-394. J-17
E. Duplicity of the Offense and Continuing Crimes 1. Duplicity of the offense A Complaint or Information must charge only one offense, except when the law prescribes a single punishment for various offenses.75 2. Exceptions to Rule on Duplicity The rule on duplicity of offenses does not apply where the law prescribes a single penalty for various offenses, such as a complex crime under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, or special complex crime, such as robbery with homicide or with rape, or rape with homicide, or rebellion complexed with murder, robbery and kidnapping.
3. No Duplicity in Rape with Homicide There is no duplicity in an Information for rape with homicide.76 Where seven persons committed rape with homicide in conspiracy with each other, every one of the seven accused may separately be charged for rape with homicide.77
4. No Duplicity in Charge of Estafa There is no duplicity in a charge for estafa committed by the accused for misappropriation of the purchase price of several lots owned by Hometrust Corporation, which was fraudulently received by the accused from seven lot buyers on the pretext that she was authorized to do so and which she misapplied to her personal use, instead of remitting the money to the owner corporation. The crime of estafa committed against the corporation and those committed against the lot buyers are definitely separate felonies. They were dictated by different criminal intents, committed under different modes of commission provided by the law on estafa, perpetrated by different acts, consummated on different occasions, and caused injury to different parties.78
RULES OF COURT, Rule 110, Sec. 13. Sanchez v. Demetriou, G.R. Nos. 111771-77, November 9, 1993, 227 SCRA 627. 77 Id. 78 Ilagan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119617, December 29, 1994, 239 SCRA 575. 76
F. Continuing Crimes: The Principle of Delito Continuado 1. Examples The original Information charged petitioner with performing a single criminal act - that of approving the application for legalization of aliens qualified under the law to enjoy such privilege. The 32 Amended Informations reproduced verbatim the allegations of the original Information, except that instead of the word ―aliens‖ in the original Information, each amended information stated the name of the individual whose stay was legalized. The 32 Amended Informations charge what is known as delito continuado or ―continued crime‖ and sometimes referred to as ―continuous crime.‖ According to Cuello Calon, for delito continuado to exist, there should be a plurality of acts performed during a period of time; unity of penal provision violated; and unity of criminal intent or purpose, which means that two or more violations of the same penal provisions are united in one and the same intent or resolution leading to the perpetration of the same criminal purpose or aim. According to Guevarra, in appearance, a delito continuado consists of several crimes, but in reality there is only one crime in the mind of the perpetrator.79 1.1. The single larceny rule a. The theft of 13 cows belonging to two different owners committed by the accused at the same place and at the same period of time;80 b. The theft of six roosters belonging to two different owners from the same coop and at the same period of time;81 c. The theft of two roosters in the same place and on the same occasion.82 d. The illegal charging of fees for services rendered by a lawyer every time he collects veterans’ benefits on behalf of a client, who agreed that the attorney’s fees shall be paid out of said benefits;83 79
Santiago v. Garchitorena, G.R. No. 109266, December 2, 1993, 228 SCRA 214. People v. Tumlos, 67 Phil. 320 (1939). 81 People v. Jaranilla, et al., G.R. No. 28547, February 22, 1974, 55 SCRA 563. 82 People v. De Leon, 49 Phil. 437 (1926). 83 People v. Sabbun, G.R. No. 18510, January 31, 1964, 10 SCRA 156. 80
1.2. The concept of delito continuado not applied in the following cases: a. Two estafa cases, one of which was committed during the period from January 1955 to December 1955 and the other from January 1956 to July 1956. The said acts were committed on two different occasions.84 b. Several malversations committed in May, June and July 1936, and falsifications to conceal the same offenses committed in August and October 1936. The malversations and falsifications ―were not the result of only one purpose, or of only one resolution to embezzle and falsify xxx.‖85 c. Two estafa cases, one committed in December 1963 involving the failure of the collector to turn over the installments for a radio, and the other in June 1964 involving the pocketing of the installments for a sewing machine.86 d. 75 estafa cases committed by the conversion by the agent of collection from customers of the employer made on different dates.87 e. Robbery and fencing are two separate crimes. Principle of Delito Continuado is not applicable.88 f. In a single information for murder for shooting three persons where evidence did not show that a single shot had slain three different persons, the appellant was properly held liable for three separate murders and sentenced to three separate penalties of reclusion perpetua.89 g. Death of several victims from separate shots constitute separate offenses, and if there is no objection for duplicity, the accused should be convicted of all offenses charged in one information.90
People v. Dichupa, 113 Phil. 306 (1961). People v. Cid, 66 Phil 354 (1938). 86 People v. Ledesma, G.R. No. 415522, September 29, 1976, 73 SCRA 77. 87 Gamboa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 41054, November 28, 1975, 68 SCRA 308. 88 Id. 89 People v. Hubilo, G.R. No. 101741, March 23, 1993, 220 SCRA 389; People v. Cogonan, G.R. No. 94548, October 4, 1996, 262 SCRA 693. 90 People v. Ducay, G.R. No. 86939, August 2, 1993, 225 SCRA 1. 85
G. Rule on Complex Crimes The precise language of the statute used in alleging the commission of the crime is not necessary as long as in charging the commission of a complex offense, like that of robbery with homicide, the Information alleges each element of the component offenses with the same precision that would be necessary if they were made the subject of a separate prosecution.91 Thus, although the phrase ―by reason or on occasion of the robbery,‖ as provided for by the Revised Penal Code, was not literally used in the recital of facts alleging the commission of the two crimes of robbery with homicide, the Information as filed sufficiently and distinctly alleges the commission of the two crimes of robbery and homicide and adequately informs the accused of the crimes charged.92 Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period. The throwing of a hand grenade at the President with the intention of killing him, resulting in the death and injuries of several persons, constitutes the complex crime of murder with attempted murder.93 For a criminal Complaint or Information to charge the commission of a complex crime, the allegations contained therein do not necessarily have to charge a complex crime as defined by law. It is sufficient that the Information contains allegations which state that one offense was a necessary means to commit the other. The Information in question in the present case contains allegations properly charging the commission of the complex crime of incriminatory machinations through unlawful arrest, and the court a quo committed error when it ordered its dismissal.94 1. Illegal Possession of Firearm and Unlawful Killing with the Use Thereof In case homicide or murder is committed with the use of unlicensed firearm, such use of unlicensed firearm shall be merely considered as aggravating.95 91
People v. Victor, G.R. Nos. 75154-55, February 6, 1990, 181 SCRA 818. Id. 93 People v. Guillen, 85 Phil. 307 (1950). 94 People v. Alagao, G.R. No. 20721, April 30, 1966, 16 SCRA 879. 95 People v. Feloteo, G.R. No. 124212, June 5, 1998, 290 SCRA 627; People v. Malinao, G.R. No. 92
Rep. Act No. 8294 amended Pres. Decree No. 1866, which abandoned previous rulings that qualified use of firearms and murder as separate offenses. Under the present rule, the unauthorized use of licensed or unlicensed firearm is simply an aggravating circumstance in the commission of homicide or murder and no longer a separate offense, effectively modifying People v. Quijada and its progeny.96 Thus, it has been held that the principle of absorption does not apply to illegal possession of firearms in connection with the crime of subversion, but simply describes the mode or manner by which the violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 was committed so as to qualify the penalty of death.97 The charge should, therefore, be amended to simple Illegal Possession of Firearm, and was accordingly deemed amended by the Supreme Court.98 It should, however, be noted that under existing laws (Rep. Act No. 8249), if Homicide or Murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of unlicensed firearm shall be considered merely as an aggravating circumstance and cannot be the subject of a separate prosecution.99 It does not, however, mean that there can no longer be any prosecution for the crime of illegal possession of firearm. In general, all pending cases involving illegal possession of firearm shall continue to be prosecuted and tried if no other crimes expressly indicated in Rep. Act No. 8249 are involved (murder or homicide under Section 1 and rebellion, insurrection, sedition or attempted coup d’etat under Section 3).100
2. Reckless Imprudence Cases Reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries and damage to property is not a complex crime and cannot be the subject of a single information; they are separate offenses subject to distinct penalties.101 The two offenses, however, may be consolidated, since under the expanded jurisdiction of the municipal trial courts, damage to property 128148, February 16, 2004; Palaganas v. People, G.R. No. 165483, September 12, 2006. 96 G.R. Nos. 115008-09, July 24, 1996, 259 SCRA 191; People v. Molina, G.R. Nos. 115835-36, July 22, 1998, 292 SCRA 742. 97 Rep. Act No. 1700  was repealed by Rep. Act No. 7636 . 98 People v. Pimentel, G.R. No. 100210, April 1, 1998, 288 SCRA 542. 99 People v. Molina, supra note 96. 100 People v. Valdez, G.R. No. 127663, March 11, 1999, 304 SCRA 611. 101 Reodica v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 125066, July 8, 1998, 292 SCRA 87, citing Lontok v. Gorgonio, Jr., G.R. No. 37396, April 30, 1979, 89 SCRA 632. J-22
through reckless imprudence now falls under its jurisdiction.102
H. Amendment or Substitution A Complaint or Information may be amended, in form or substance, without leave of court at any time before the accused enters his/her plea. After the plea and 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. However, any amendment before plea, which downgrades the nature of the offense charged in or excludes any accused from the Complaint or Information, can be made only upon motion by the prosecutor, with notice to the offended party and with leave of court. The court shall state its reasons in resolving the motion and copies of its order shall be furnished all parties, especially the offended party. If it appears at any time before judgment that a mistake has been made in charging the proper offense, the court shall dismiss the original Complaint or Information upon the filing of a new one charging the proper offense, in accordance with Section 19, Rule 119, provided the accused should not be placed in double jeopardy. The court may require the witnesses to give bail for their appearance at the trial.103
Rep. Act No. 7691, Sec. 32 (2). RULES OF COURT, Rule 110, Sec. 14. J-23
IV. PROSECUTION OF CIVIL ACTION A. General Rule: Implied institution of action to recover civil liability arising from the crime with the criminal action Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. – (a) When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate, or exemplary damages without specifying the amount thereof in the complaint or information, the filing fees therefor shall constitute a first lien on the judgment awarding such damages. Where the amount of damages, other than actual, is specified in the complaint or information, the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon the filing thereof in court. Except as otherwise provided in these Rules, no filing fees shall be required for actual damages. No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal case, but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be deemed to include the corresponding civil action. No reservation to file such civil action separately shall be allowed. Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil actions, the offended party shall pay in full the filing fees based on the amount of the check involved, which shall be considered as the actual damages claimed. Where the complaint or information also seeks to recover liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay the filing fees based on the amounts alleged therein. If the amounts are not so alleged but any of these damages are subsequently awarded J-24
by the court, the filing fees based on the amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the judgment. Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet commenced, it may be consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing consolidation of the civil and criminal actions. The 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure deems as instituted with the criminal action only the civil liability arising from the offense charged. The civil liability is ―deemed instituted’ – not merely ―impliedly‖ instituted AS THE OLD RULES STATE – with the institution of the criminal action. The independent civil actions under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code are no longer deemed or impliedly instituted with the criminal action, or considered as waived even if there is no reservation. The reservation applies only to the civil liability arising from the offense charged. The employer may no longer be held civilly liable for quasi-delict in the criminal action, as ruled in Maniago v. Court of Appeals,104 San Ildefonso Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,105 and all other similar cases, since quasi-delict is not deemed instituted with the criminal action. If at all, the only civil liability of the employer in the criminal action would be his/her subsidiary liability under the Revised Penal Code. The rule has also done away with third-party complaints and counterclaims in criminal actions. Third-party complaints and counterclaims in criminal actions have to be ventilated in a separate civil action.
B. Civil liability not arising from crime not extinguished by acquittal Acquittal in a criminal action bars the civil action arising therefrom where the judgment of acquittal holds that the accused did not commit the criminal acts imputed to him.106 The civil liability that is deemed extinguished is the civil liability based on crime, and not the civil liability based on sources of obligation other than the criminal offense, although arising from the same act or omission. Article 29 of the Civil Code expressly provides that when the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his/her guilt has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission may be instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance of evidence. 104
G.R. No. 104392, February 20, 1996, 253 SCRA 674. G.R. No. 119771, April 24, 1998, 289 SCRA 568. 106 Western Institute of Technology v. Salas, G.R. No. 113032, August 21, 1997, 278 SCRA 216; Quinto v. Andres, et al., G.R. No. 155791, March 16, 2005, 453 SCRA 519. 105
The civil liability, therefore, under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code or those where the source of civil obligation is not based on the criminal offense is not affected by the result of the criminal action. In other words, the extinction of the civil liability referred to in paragraph (e) of Section 3, Rule 111 (1964 Rules of Court), refers exclusively to the civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated, culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law. It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginald Hill in the criminal case did not extinguish his/her liability for quasi-delict, hence, that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him.107 The only civil liability that may thus be imposed in a criminal action is that arising from and consequent to the criminal liability of the accused on the principle that every person criminally liable is also civilly liable.108 This includes restitution, reparation of damages caused, and indemnification of consequential damages.109 Complementary thereto are the subsidiary civil liability of innkeepers, tavern keepers and proprietors of establishments, 110 employers, teachers, persons and corporations engaged in any kind of industry, for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, and employees in the discharge of their duties.111
C. Separate civil action to recover civil liability allowed for obligations not arising from the crime, e.g. quasi-delict112 A separate civil action for damages lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. 113 107
Elcano v. Hill, G.R. No. 24803, May 26, 1977, 77 SCRA 98. REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 100. 109 Id., Art. 104. 110 Id., Art. 102. 111 Id., Art. 103. 112 Note: CIVIL CODE, Art. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter. CIVIL CODE, Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no preexisting contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provision of this Chapter. 113 Elcano v. Hill, supra note 107; Jarantilla v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 80194, March 21, 1989, 108
D. Extinction of penal action does not extinguish civil action But while every person criminally liable is also civilly liable, the converse is not true. Extinction of the penal does not carry with it extinction of the civil action, unless there is a declaration in the final judgment that the fact from which the civil liability might arise did not exist.114 Similarly, a final judgment rendered in a civil action absolving the defendant from the civil liability is no bar to a criminal action,115 E. Exception – prejudicial civil action involving an issue similarly or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal action, the resolution of which determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.116
171 SCRA 429; Ace Haulers Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 127934, August 23, 2000, 338 SCRA 572-582; Safeguard Security Agency, Inc., et al. v. Tangco, et al., G.R. No. 165732, December 14, 2006, 511 SCRA 78-82. 114 RULES OF COURT, Rule 111, Sec. 2, par. 4. 115 Id., Sec. 5. 116 Id., Secs. 6 and 7. J-27
V. MOTION TO QUASH The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any of the following grounds: (a)
That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;
That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged;
That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the accused;
That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;
That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;
That more than one offense is charged, except when a single punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law;
That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;
That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification; and
That the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.
(ii) An order sustaining the motion to quash is not a bar to another prosecution for the same offense, unless the motion was based on the grounds specified in Section 3, sub-sections (g) and (i) of the Rules of Court.117 In Dimayacyac v. Court of Appeals,118 the court proceeded with the arraignment of the accused against whom a previous criminal case had been filed. Since the dismissal of the previous criminal case against petitioner was by reason of his motion for the quashal of the information, petitioner is thus deemed to have expressly given his consent to such dismissal. There could then be no double jeopardy in this case since one of the requisites therefor, i.e., that the dismissal be without accused's express consent, is not present.
RULES OF COURT, Rule 117, Sec. 3. G.R. No. 136264, May 28, 2004, 430 SCRA 129-130. J-28
To recapitulate, quashal and provisional dismissal are different concepts whose respective rules refer to different situations that should not be confused with one another. If the problem relates to an intrinsic or extrinsic deficiency of the complaint or information, as shown on its face, the remedy is a motion to quash under the terms of Section 3, Rule 117. All other reasons for seeking the dismissal of the complaint or information, before arraignment and under the circumstances outlined in Section 8, fall under provisional dismissal.119 VI. PROCEDURAL CHECKLISTS ON CRIMINAL ROCEDURE A. For Cases Cognizable by the First Level Courts Resolution, dated August 30, 2005, was issued by the Supreme Court En Banc in A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC Re: Amendment of Rules 112 and 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure by Removing the Conduct of Preliminary Investigation from Judges of the First Level Courts,120 The pertinent provisions of Rule 112, as amended, are as follows: Section 1. Preliminary investigation defined, when required. — Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. Except as provided in Section 6 of this Rule, a preliminary investigation is required to be conducted before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day without regard to the fine. xxxx Sec. 5. When warrant of arrest may issue. – xxxx (b) By the Municipal Trial Court – When required pursuant to the second paragraph of section 1 of this Rule, the preliminary investigation of cases falling under the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal 119
Los Baños, etc. v. Pedro, G.R.No.173588, April 22, 2009, 586 SCRA 303. Conquila v. Bernardo, A.M. No. MTJ-09-1737, February 9, 2011; Garcia v. Miro, G.R. No. 167409, March 20, 2009, 582 SCRA 127; Garay v. Bernardo, A.M. No. MTJ-08-1703, June 17, 2008 554 SCRA 492. 120
Trial Court or Municipal Circuit Trial Court shall be conducted by the prosecutor. The procedure for the issuance of a warrant of arrest by the judge shall be governed by paragraph (a) of this section.
Checklist I Things to Check/Do Upon Receipt of Complaint or Information 1. If the offense charged is not within the court’s jurisdiction, dismiss complaint or information. 2. If the offense charged is within the court’s jurisdiction and is covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure, issue an order that the case shall be covered by said rule. 3. If the complaint or information is filed with the Municipal Trial Court or Municipal Circuit Trial Court for an offense covered by Section 8, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, observe the procedure in section 3(a) of said Rule. 3.1. If within ten (10) days after the filing of the complaint or information, the judge finds no probable cause after personally evaluating the evidence, or after personally examining in writing and under oath the complainant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers dismiss the complaint or information. 3.2. Require the submission of additional evidence, within ten (10) days from notice, to determine further the existence of probable cause. If no probable cause is still found despite the additional evidence, dismiss the case within ten (10) days from its submission or expiration of said period. 3.3. Upon finding probable cause, issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused had already been arrested, and hold him for trial. Issue summons instead of a warrant of arrest if satisfied that there is no necessity for placing the accused under custody. 4. ―Searching Questions and Answers‖ means taking into consideration the purpose of the preliminary examination which is to determine whether there is a reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof, so that a warrant of arrest may be issued and the accused held for trial, such questions have the tendency to show the J-30
commission of a crime and the perpetrator thereof. What would be searching questions would depend on what is sought to be inquired into, such as: the nature of the offense, the date, time, and the place of its commission, the subject, his/her age, education, status, financial and social circumstances, his/her attitude toward the investigation, social attitudes, opportunities to commit the offense, the victim, his/her age, status, family responsibilities, financial and social circumstances, characteristics, etc. The points that are subject of inquiry may differ from case to case. The questions, therefore, must to a great degree depend upon the judge making the investigation.
4.1. Suggested Searching Questions for Simple Theft (The witness is duly sworn to and gives his/her name and other personal circumstances) Q - Are you the same complainant in this complaint for simple theft? AQ - Describe the ring allegedly stolen from you. AQ - When and how did you learn that your ring was stolen? AQ - When and how did you come to know the accused? AQ - Where does the accused reside? AQ - Do you know the accused’s present whereabouts? AQ - Is the accused related to you by blood or marriage? AQ- Did you have any kind of dealing with the accused before the date in question? If so, what? AQ- Do you know of any reason why the accused would take your ring without your consent? AQ- Do you owe the accused anything? AQ - When and how did you acquire the ring? AQ -What is the approximate value of the ring? AQ- Did you actually witness the taking of your ring? J-31
AQ- State the name or names of the person or persons, if any, who know the alleged theft. AQ- Do you wish to state anything else?
Checklist II Things to Check/Do After The Issuance of Arrest Warrant and Before Trial Stage 1. If the arrest warrant was properly released and a report has been properly submitted, but the accused could not be apprehended for a considerable length of time, issue alias arrest warrant and order the archiving of the case. 1.1 If the report is submitted that the accused was arrested but did not post bail forthwith, issue corresponding commitment order and have it served on the warden or head of the jail or place of detention, together with the corresponding notice to produce the accused before the court for arraignment on the date and time fixed by the court. 1.2 If the accused files bail bond, cash bond deposit, or recognizance, check sufficiency of documentation, particularly the corresponding signatures on the requisite documents, and if in order, approve it and issue corresponding release order for immediate service on the officer concerned. 2. At the scheduled arraignment, inform the accused, who appears without counsel, of his/her right to counsel and ask accused if he desires to have one. 2.1. In proper cases, appoint counsel de oficio for the accused who appears without counsel. 3. Arraignment must be in open court; accused must be furnished a copy of the complaint or information; the accused must be present at the arraignment and plea must be made of record; if the accused refuses to plead, or he makes a conditional plea of guilty (e.g., entering a plea of guilty provided the penalty to be meted shall only be a fine), then enter a plea of not guilty for the accused. J-32
4. If the accused wants to plead guilty to a lesser offense, check that both prosecutor and offended party consents thereto. 5. If the accused pleads guilty, impose corresponding sentence, unless you desire to receive evidence to determine the penalty to be imposed, including civil indemnity in the proper cases. 6. If the plea is not guilty, set case for pre-trial and trial.
B. For Cases Cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts
Checklist I Things to Do Upon Receipt of Complaint or Information Up to Issuance of the Warrant Of Arrest 1. Check if, on the face of the information/complaint, the court has jurisdiction over the case; otherwise, dismiss it and order the release of the accused if under detention insofar as said case is concerned. 2. Check if a claim for damages other than actual is alleged in the information/complaint and, if in the affirmative, ascertain whether appropriate filing/docket fees have been paid at the time of the filing of the information/complaint, if not, issue an order to the offended party to pay the requisite filing/docket fees within a reasonable time. 3. If the accused is detained, issue a commitment/detention order to the warden/jailer; if the accused is at large, issue a warrant for his/her arrest, in accordance with the succeeding steps. 4. When warrant of arrest may issue Within ten (10) days from the filing of the complaint or information, personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence and immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If probable cause is found, issue a warrant of arrest. In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five (5) days from notice and resolve the issue within thirty (30) days from the filing of the complaint or information. J-33
5. If not satisfied upon the filing of Information/Complaint that probable cause exists, order the prosecutor to submit the records of the case and, if based thereon, there is probable cause, issue a warrant of arrest. Otherwise, dismiss the case. 6. If the charge is bailable, fix the amount of bail, either in the commitment/detention order or warrant of arrest. 7. Under the Human Security Act of 2007, in cases where a person is charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism, the judge to whom said person was presented has the duty to ascertain the identity of the police or law enforcement personnel and the person/s they arrested, to inquire why they have arrested the person and determine whether the suspect has been subjected to physical, moral or psychological torture by whom and why. Then submit a written report of observations to the proper court that has jurisdiction over the case of the arrested person, within three (3) calendar days from the time the suspect was brought to his/her residence or office.121 8. The Dangerous Drugs Act provides that when the preliminary investigation of such cases was conducted by a public prosecutor, the corresponding Information shall be filed within twenty-four (24) hours from the termination of the investigation. Trial shall be finished within sixty (60) days from the date of the filing of the Information. The decision on said cases shall be rendered within fifteen (15) days from the date of submission of the case for resolution.122 The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered. When the criminal case has been filed, wWithin seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, and within twenty-four (24) hours, destroy or burn the same.123
Rep Act No. 9372 , Sec. 18. Rep. Act No. 9165, Sec. 90. 123 Id., Sec. 21. 122
Checklist II Incidents after Issuance of Warrant of Arrest or Commitment Order 1. Once the accused is arrested, or otherwise taken into custody, issue a commitment order and set the case for arraignment. 2. When the accused is under preventive detention, his/her case shall be raffled and its records transmitted to the judge to whom the case was raffled within three (3) days from the filing of the Information or Complaint. The accused shall be arraigned within ten (10) days from the date of raffle. The pre-trial conference shall be held within ten (10) days after arraignment.124 3. Unless a shorter period is provided by special law or Supreme Court circular, the arraignment shall be held within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused. The time of the pendency of a motion to quash or for a bill of particulars, or other causes justifying suspension of the arraignment shall be excluded in computing the period.125 4. If there is failure to execute the warrant of arrest or no report is made within ten (10) days from receipt of the warrant by the executing officer, issue an alias warrant and order the archiving of the case, furnishing a copy of the said order to the complainant. 5. If bail is a matter of right, and the accused files bail, ascertain if all the requirements for the bail are complied with, as follows: 5.1. Cash Bond 5.1.1. The official receipt or certificate of deposit of the amount of bail fixed by the court issued by the government officer concerned, is attached to records of the case. 5.1.2. The written accused containing Section 2 of Rule Criminal Procedure, records of the case.
undertaking, executed by the all the conditions contained in 114 of the Revised Rules on as amended, is attached to the
RULES OF COURT, Rule 116, Sec. 1 (e). Id., Rule 116, Sec. 1 (g); SC Circular No. 38-98. J-35
5.2. Corporate Surety 5.2.1. Photocopy of the Certification issued by the Supreme Court, accompanied by the photocopies of receipts of payment by the surety company of the requisite fees to the Supreme Court is attached to the bond. 5.2.2. Certificate of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court where the case is filed and pending, showing that the bonding company does not have any pending obligations/liabilities to the government, consisting of writs of execution and/or confiscated bonds in criminal cases and that the bonding company was issued a Certificate of Authority by the Insurance Commission and has updated its obligation. 5.2.3. Certificate of Authority issued by the Insurance Commission 5.3. Property Bond 5.3.1. Affidavit of surety/sureties taken before the judge or submitted to the judge stating therein that each of the sureties possesses the qualifications as provided for in Section 12 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court and describing the property offered as bond for the accused, the nature of the title of the property, the encumbrances thereon, the number and amount of other bonds entered by him/them and remaining undischarged, and his/her/their other liabilities, if any. 5.3.2. Owner’s duplicate of the Original Certificate of Title of the surety/sureties covering the property offered as bond, if registered under the Torrens system or the Owner’s copy of the Declaration of Real Property, if unregistered. 5.3.3. Certificates of Payment of Realty Taxes on the property offered as bond. If the property is sufficient, and the requisite affidavit is submitted to the court, approve the bond and order the accused to cause the annotation of the lien, within ten (10) days from the receipt by the accused of the order of the court, at the back of the title to the property, if registered, or in the Registration Book, if unregistered, and on the J-36
corresponding tax declaration in the Office of the Provincial and Municipal Assessor concerned. Upon compliance by the accused of the Order of the court, issue an order releasing the accused from detention. 6. In either case, require the accused to submit photographs (passport size) taken within the last six (6) months showing the face, the left and right profiles of the accused and attached to the records, and the written undertaking containing the conditions set forth in Section 2 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as amended. 7. If the accused fails to comply with the Order of the court for the annotation of the lien and for the registration of the annotation, cancel the property bond. 8. If the accused applies for release on recognizance, set the hearing of the application and give reasonable notice of the hearing to the prosecutor with the requirement to submit the comment and recommendation on the application. 8.1. Definition of Recognizance An obligation of record, entered into before some court or magistrate duly authorized to take it, with the condition to do some particular act, the most usual condition in criminal cases being the appearance of the accused for trial; a contract between the sureties and the State for the prosecution of the principal at the required time.126 8.2. Recognizance may be allowed in the following instances: 8.2.1. The charge against the accused is for violation of a municipal or city ordinance, a light felony and/or a criminal offense the prescribed penalty for which is not higher than six (6) months imprisonment and/or a fine of P2,000.00 or both, provided the accused has established, to the satisfaction of the court, the inability to post the required cash or bail bond. 8.2.2. When the accused has been in custody for a period equal to, or more than, the possible maximum 126
People v. Abner, 87 Phil. 566 (1950). J-37
imprisonment of the offense charged to which he/she may be sentenced. However, if the maximum penalty to which the accused is sentenced is destierro, he shall be released after thirty (30) days of preventive imprisonment. 8.2.3. At the discretion of the court, if the accused has been in custody for a period equal to or more than the minimum of the principal penalty prescribed for the offense charged, without applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law or any modifying circumstances. 8.2.4. Under Rep. Act No. 9344, a child fifteen (15) years old or below taken into custody shall be released to his/her parents or guardian, or in the absence thereof, the child's nearest relative. If the parents, guardian or nearest relatives cannot be located, or if they refuse to take custody, the child may be released to any of the following: a duly registered non-governmental or religious organization; a barangay official or a member of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) a local social welfare and development officer, or, when and where appropriate, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).127 The same Act provides that children detained pending trial may be released on bail or recognizance as provided for under Sections 34 and 35. In all other cases and whenever possible, detention pending trial may be replaced by alternative measures, such as close supervision, intensive care or placement with a family or in an education setting or home. Institutionalization or detention of the child pending trial shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time.128
Rep. Act No. 9344 , Sec. 20. Id., Sec. 36. J-38
Application for bail where the accused is charged with a capital offense Where the accused is charged with a capital offense which, under the law at the time of the application for bail is punishable by death or reclusion perpetua, and the accused files an application for bail, give reasonable notice of the hearing to the prosecutor or require him to submit his/her recommendation. If petition for bail is filed by the accused who is charged with an offense punishable by death or reclusion perpetua: 1. Set the petition for hearing and require the prosecutor to comment thereon, either by way of recommendation or opposition. Such notice of hearing should also be served upon all other accused, if any. 2. If the prosecutor opposes the petition, allow him to present his/her evidence to show that the prosecutor’s available evidence is strong. Hearing may be summary or otherwise. Cross-examination by the petitioner and any other accused shall be allowed. Petitioner shall also be allowed to offer and present evidence. Summary hearing is one that focuses on quantity and character of proof in anticipation of that to be presented at the regular trial but not to be sham or mere pretense.129 3. Even if the prosecutor recommends bail or interposes no objection to the petition for bail, the court must still set the case for hearing. 4. Resolve the petition for bail with a narration of the evidence collectively deemed either strong or weak to justify the conclusion made. 5. Indispensable requirements There must be a hearing.130 Evidence of guilt must be strong. Prosecution must be given full opportunity to present evidence.131 129
Ocampo v. Bernabe, 77 Phil. 55 (1946), Santos, et al., v. Judge Rolando G. How, A.M. RTJ-051946, January 26, 2007, 518 SCRA 221. 130 Basco v. Rapatalo, A.M. No. RTJ-96-1335, March 5, 1997, 269 SCRA 220; Zuño v. Cabebe, A.M. OCA No. 03-1800-RTJ, November 26, 2004, 444 SCRA 389. 131 People v. Dacudao, G.R. No. 81389, February 21, 1989, 170 SCRA 489; People v. San Diego, No. L-29676, December 24, 1968, 26 SCRA 522; People v. Calo, G.R. No. 88531, June 18, 1990, J-39
Note: The Court may not grant bail simply for the refusal of the prosecutor to adduce evidence in opposition to the application for bail, but may ask the prosecution such questions as would ascertain the strength of the State’s evidence or judge the adequacy of the amount of the bail. 132 6. Duties of a Judge in an application for bail for crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua or higher. In the light of the applicable rules on bail and the jurisprudential principles just enunciated, the Court laid down the duties of the trial judge in case an application for bail is filed: 6.1. Notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his/her recommendation;133 6.2. Conduct a hearing of the application for bail, regardless of whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion;134 6.3. Decide whether the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution;135 6.4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge
186 SCRA 620; Morado v. Tayao, A.M. No. 93-8-1204 RTC, February 7, 1994, 229 SCRA, 723; Corpus v. Maglalang, G.R. No. 78162, April 19, 1991, 196 SCRA 41; Almeron v. Sandido, A.M. No. MTJ-97-1142, November 6, 1997, 281 SCRA 415; Jamora v. Bersales, A.M. No. MTJ-041529, December 16, 2004, 447 SCRA 29-31. 132 Libarios v. Dabalos, A.M. No. RTJ-89-286, July 11, 1991, 199 SCRA 48 cited in Borinaga v. Tamin, A.M. No. RTJ-93-936, September 10, 1993, 226 SCRA 206; Aurillo v. Francisco, A.M. RTJ-93-1097, August 12, 1994, 235 SCRA 283; Aguirre v. Belmonte, A.M. No. RTJ-93-1052, October 27, 1994, 237 SCRA 778; Santos v. Otilida, A.M. No. RTJ-94-1217, June 16, 1995, 245 SCRA 56; De los Santos-Reyes v. Montesa, A.M. No. RTJ-93-983, August 7, 1995, 247 SCRA 85; Tabao v. Espina, A.M. No. RTJ-96-1347, June 14, 1996, 257 SCRA 298; Docena-Caspe v. Bugtas, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1767, March 28, 2003; Zuño v. Cabebe, supra note 130. 133 RULES OF COURT, Rule 114, Sec. 18. 134 Id., Secs. 7 and 8. 135 Baylon v. Sison, A.M. No. 92-7-360-0, April 6, 1995, 243 SCRA 284; Docena-Caspe v. Bugtas, supra note 132; Zuño v. Cabebe, supra note 130; Mabutas v. Perello, A.M. Nos. RTJ-03-1817 and RTJ-04-1820, June 8, 2005, 459 SCRA 387. J-40
the accused upon the approval of the bailbond.136 Otherwise, petition should be denied.137 7. If the case is not dismissed and the accused is under arrest, order the branch clerk of court to schedule the arraignment of the accused with notice to the complainant.
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR A JUDGE ON APPLICATIONS FOR BAIL 1. Do not grant bail unless the accused is in legal custody.138 2. Do not act on an application for bail or set it for hearing unless you have jurisdiction over the person of the accused and of the case.139 3. Do not grant bail in non-bailable offenses without application and notice to the prosecutor and, in bailable offenses, without notice to or recommendation of the prosecutor.140 4. Do not grant bail in non-bailable offenses without a hearing.141 (Even if the prosecutor in filing the information had recommended bail.)
RULES OF COURT, Rule 114, Sec. 19. Basco v. Rapatalo, supra note 129, reiterated in People v. Cabral, G.R. No. 131909, February 18, 1999, 303 SCRA 361; Ocenar v. Mabutin, A.M. No. MTJ-05-1582, February 28, 2005, 452 SCRA 377. 138 Feliciano v. Pasicolan, G.R. No. 14567, July 31, 1967, 2 SCRA 888; Mendoza v. CFI of Quezon, G.R. Nos. 35612-14, June 27, 1973, 51 SCRA 369; Paderanga v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 115407, August 28, 1995, 247 SCRA 741; Aguirre v. Belmonte, supra note 132; De los Santos-Reyes v. Montesa, Jr., A.M. No. RTJ-93-983, August 7, 1995, 247 SCRA 85; Espiritu v. Javellanos, A.M. No. MTJ-97-1139, October 16, 1997; Tabao v. Acting President Barataman, A.M. MTJ-01-1384, April 11, 2002, 380 SCRA 396. 139 Dinapol v. Baldado, A.M. No. RTJ-92-898, August 5, 1993, 225 SCRA 110; Borinaga v. Tamin, supra note 131; Aguirre v. Belmonte, supra note 132; Obosa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 114350, January 16, 1997, 266 SCRA 281. 140 RULES OF COURT, Rule 114, Sec. 18; Chin v. Gustilo, A.M. No. RTJ-94-1243, August 11, 1995, August 11, 1996, 247 SCRA 175; Panganiban v. Cupin-Tesorero, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1454, August 27, 2002, 388 SCRA 44. 141 RULES OF COURT, Rule 114, Sec. 18, Borinaga v. Tamin, supra note 131; Go v. Court of Appeals, April 7, 1993, 221 SCRA 397; People v. Dacudao, supra note 130; People v. Casingal, G. R. No. 87163, March 29, 1995, 243 SCRA 37; Lardizabal v. Reyes, A.M. No. MTJ-94-877, December 5, 1994, 238 SCRA 640; Santos v. Otilida, supra note 131; Grageda v. Tresvalles, A.M. No. MTJ No. 04-1526, February 2, 2004, 421 SCRA 507-508. 137
5. Do not grant bail in non-bailable offenses without giving the prosecution full opportunity to present its evidence.142 6. Do not grant bail in non-bailable offenses simply because of the prosecutor’s refusal to adduce evidence in opposition to the application for bail.143 7. Do not grant bail on appeal after the accused has been convicted of a non-bailable offense144 or from a non-bailable offense to a bailable offense. This should be addressed to the appellate court.145 8. Do not grant bail when the penalty imposed by the Regional Trial Court exceeds six (6) years where any of the circumstances mentioned in Section 5, Rule 114 is present.146 9. Do not grant bail after the judgment has become final, unless the accused has applied for probation before commencing to serve sentence, the penalty and the offense being within the purview of the probation law.147 10. Do not grant bail after the accused had commenced to serve sentence.148
People v. Dacudao, supra note 130; Borinaga v. Tamin, supra note 131; Guillermo v. Reyes, A.M. No. RTJ-93-1088, January 18, 1995, 240 SCRA 154; Mamolo, Sr. v. Narisma, A.M. No. MTJ-96-1072, January 31, 1996, 252 SCRA 613; People v. Calo, G. R. No. 88531, June 18, 1990, 186 SCRA 620; People v. Antona, et al., G.R. No. 137681, January 31, 2002, 375 SCRA 464. 143 Borinaga v. Tamin, supra note 131; Libarios v. Dabalos, A.M. No. RTJ-89-286, July 11, 1991, 199 SCRA 48; Aguirre v. Belmonte, supra note 132; Baylon v. Sison, supra note 135; Tucay v. Domagas, A.M. No. RTJ-95-1286, March 2, 1995, 242 SCRA 110; Paderanga v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 115407, August 28, 1995, 247 SCRA 741. 144 Adm. Circular No. 2-92; People v. Divina, G.R. Nos. 93808-09, April 7, 1993, 221 SCRA 209; People v. Fuertes, G.R. No. 90643, June 25, 1993, 223 SCRA 619; People v. Nitcha, G.R. No. 113517, January 19, 1995, 240 SCRA 283; Obosa v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 114350, January 16, 1997, 266 SCRA 281; Yap, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, et al., G. R. No. 141529, June 6, 2001, 358 SCRA 564. 145 RULES OF COURT, Rule 114, Sec. 5. 146 Id. 147 Id., Sec. 24. 148 Id. J-42
C. Common procedures in First and Second Level Courts
Checklist I Things to Do at the Arraignment of the Accused149 1. The accused must be arraigned before the court where the Complaint or Information was filed or assigned for trial. The arraignment shall be made in open court by the judge or clerk by furnishing the accused with a copy of the Complaint or Information, reading the same in the language or dialect known to him, and asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. The prosecution may call at the trial witnesses other than those named in the Complaint or Information. 2. The accused must be present at the arraignment and must personally enter his/her plea. Both arraignment and plea shall be made of record, but failure to do so shall not affect the validity of the proceedings. 3. Before the reading of the Information, where the accused is not assisted by counsel de oficio, inform him/her of his/her right to counsel and inquire from him/her if he/she desires to engage his/her own counsel. Unless the accused is allowed to defend himself in person, and the accused is amenable to a counsel de oficio, appoint a competent and responsible counsel de oficio for him. 4. Whenever a counsel de oficio is appointed by the court to assist the accused at the arraignment, give a reasonable time for him to consult with the accused as to his/her plea before proceeding with the arraignment. 5. When the accused refuses to plead or makes a conditional plea, enter a plea of not guilty for him/her. 6. When the accused pleads guilty but presents exculpatory evidence, consider his/her plea withdrawn and enter a plea of not guilty for him/her. 7. Require the private offended party to appear at the arraignment for purposes of plea-bargaining, determination of civil liability, and other matters requiring his/her presence. In case of failure of the 149
RULES OF COURT, Rule 116. J-43
offended party to appear despite due notice, the court may allow the accused to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged with the conformity of the trial prosecutor alone.150 Unless the civil action has been reserved, waived or otherwise instituted ahead, reset the case for the reception of evidence to determine the civil liability and the imposable penalty. 8. Plea of guilty to a lesser offense At arraignment, allow the accused, with the consent of the offended party and the prosecutor, to plead guilty to a lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged. After arraignment but before trial, the accused to withdraw plea of not guilty and substitute to a guilty plea for said lesser offense.151 9. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence When the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his/her plea and (b) require the prosecution to prove his/her guilt and the precise degree of culpability. Allow the accused to present evidence on his/her behalf. 10. Plea of guilty to non-capital offense; reception of evidence, discretionary When the accused pleads guilty to a non-capital offense, allow the parties to adduce evidence to determine the penalty to be imposed. 11. Withdrawal of improvident plea of guilty At any time before the judgment of conviction becomes final, permit an improvident plea of guilty be withdrawn and be substituted by a plea of not guilty. 12. If a ―Not Guilty‖ plea is entered, schedule the pre-trial of the case with due notice to the offended party/arresting officer. 13. If the accused is under preventive detention, the pre-trial conference of the case within ten (10) days after arraignment.
SC Circular No. 1-89. SC Circular No. 38-98, Sec. 4. J-44
14. In other cases, unless a shorter period is provided by special law or Supreme Court circular, conduct the arraignment within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused. In computing the said period, exclude the time of the pendency of a motion to quash or for a bill of particulars or other causes justifying suspension of the arraignment. 15. Upon motion of the accused, suspend his/her arraignment on any of the following grounds: 15.1. The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. In such case, order his/her mental examination and, if necessary, his/her confinement for such purpose. 15.2. There exists a prejudicial question. 15.3. A petition for review of the resolution of the prosecutor is pending at either the Department of Justice, or the Office of the President; provided, that the period of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) days counted from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office. Note: In People v. Alicando,152 the Supreme Court held that a conviction in capital offenses cannot rest alone on a plea of guilt. The trial court must require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the appellant and the precise degree of his/her culpability beyond reasonable doubt.
G.R. No. 117487, December 12, 1995, 251 SCRA 293. J-45
Checklist II Pre-Trial Pre-trial; mandatory in criminal cases. — In all criminal cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, after arraignment and within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused, unless a shorter period is provided for in special laws or circulars of the Supreme Court, order a pretrial conference to consider the following: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f)
plea bargaining; stipulation of facts; marking for identification of evidence of the parties; waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; modification of the order of trial if the accused admits the charge but interposes a lawful defense; and such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.153 Things To Do Before Arraignment
1. Issue an order directing the public prosecutor to submit the record of the preliminary investigation to the Branch Clerk of Court, who shall attach the same to the record of the criminal case. 2. When the accused is under preventive detention, raffle the case and transmit its records to the judge to whom the case was raffled, within three (3) days from the filing of the Complaint or Information. 3. Arraign the accused within ten (10) days from the date of the raffle. 4. Hold the pre-trial of case within ten (10) days after arraignment, unless a shorter period is provided by law.154
RULES OF COURT, Rule 118, Sec. 1; SC Circular No. 38-98, Secs. 2 and 3. Id., Rule 116, Sec. 1 (e). J-46
Things To Do After Arraignment 1. Forthwith set the pre-trial conference within thirty (30) days from the date of arraignment. 2. Issue an order: 2.1. Requiring the private offended party to appear thereat for purposes of plea-bargaining, except for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and for other matters requiring his presence. 2.2. Referring the case to the Branch Clerk of Court, if warranted, for a preliminary conference to be set at least three (3) days prior to the pre-trial to: a. assist the parties in reaching a settlement of the civil aspect of the case; b. mark the documents or exhibits to be presented by the parties and copies thereof to be attached to the records after comparison; c. ascertain from the parties the undisputed facts and admissions on the genuineness and due execution of documents marked as exhibits; and d. consider such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the case. The proceedings during the preliminary conference shall be recorded in the Minutes of Preliminary Conference to be signed by both parties and counsel. The Minutes of Preliminary Conference and the exhibits shall be attached by the Branch Clerk of Court to the case record before the pre-trial. 2.3. Upon motion, cause subpoena to be issued: Subpoena ad testificandum may be signed by the clerk or branch clerk of court. But subpoena duces tecum must be signed by the judge (who must determine that the subject thereof is prima facie relevant). J-47
2.4. Inform the parties that no evidence shall be allowed to be presented and offered during the trial other than those identified and marked during the pre-trial, except when allowed by the court for good cause shown. 3. In mediatable cases, the judge shall refer the parties and their counsel to the PMC unit if available, for purposes of mediation.
Before the Pre-Trial Conference Study the allegations in the Information, the statements in the affidavits of witnesses, and other documentary evidence which form part of the record of the preliminary investigation.
During the Pre-Trial Conference 1. Except for violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,155 consider, with the parties and counsel, mutually satisfactory plea-bargaining arrangements, such as, for example, the following: 1.1. for the accused to change his/her plea to a lesser or different offense in return for the dismissal of other court/s with or without credit, for the plea of guilty as a mitigating circumstance; or 1.2. for the accused to change his/her plea of not guilty to that of guilty to one or some of the counts of a multi-count indictment in return for the dismissal of other counts with or without credit for the plea of guilty as a mitigating circumstance; or 1.3. for the accused to change his/her plea of not guilty to that of guilty to the offense charged, in return for the offended party’s waiver of the whole or part of the civil liability or damages; or, 1.4. for the accused to change his/her plea of not guilty to that of guilty to the offense charged, in return for the 155
No person charged under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 shall be allowed to avail himself of the provision on plea-bargaining regardless of the imposable penalty (Rep. Act No. 9165, Sec. 23). J-48
elimination of one, some, or all of the generic aggravating circumstances alleged in the Information/Complaint; or 1.5. for the accused to plea bargain on the nature, duration or the amount of the imposable penalty within the allowable range. 2. The agreements or admissions made or entered during the pretrial conference shall be reduced into writing and duly signed by the parties, particularly, by the accused and his/her counsel, such stipulation, admission, and/or agreement as may be directly related to any essential element of the offense/s charged, in order that they may be used against the accused. Approve the agreements covering the matters referred to in Sec. 1, Rule 118 (Sec. 2, Rule 118).156 This requirement is necessary in order to encourage the accused to go into plea bargaining during which it may become necessary for him or his counsel to go into tentative pleas to certain offenses. The accused does not usually welcome plea bargaining, unless explanations are made on the benefits to be gained. Where the State and the Defense agree during the pre-trial conference to adopt in the criminal case their respective evidence in the civil case and reduce the agreement into writing, the accused cannot subsequently disavow the contents of the agreement.157
In People v. Hermanes, G.R. No. 139416, March 12, 2002, 379 SCRA 177-178, it was ruled that a manifestation filed in behalf of the accused by his counsel, whereby the counsel mentioned that the accused had a remorse of conscience and would admit the crime charged, pleading for the mercy and compassion of the trial court, could not be used against the accused as his admission since the manifestation was signed only by the counsel. While it was held in People v. Balisoro (307 SCRA 48 ) that an admission made in the pleadings cannot be controverted by the party making such admission and that the same is conclusive as to him, it is also hornbook doctrine that the authority of an attorney to bind his client as to any admission of facts made by him is limited to matters of judicial procedure. An admission which operates as a waiver, surrender, or obstruction of the client’s cause is beyond the scope of the attorney’s implied authority (People v. Maceda, 73 SCRA 679 ). 157 In Chua-Burce v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109595, April 27, 2000, 331 SCRA 1, it was during pre-trial conference when the parties agreed to adopt their respective evidence in the civil case to the criminal case. The Supreme Court allowed this, citing Section 2 (e) of Rule 118 of the Rules of Court which provides that during pre-trial conference, the parties shall consider ―such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial.‖ The parties, in compliance with Section 4 of Rule 118, reduced to writing such agreement. Petitioner is bound by the pre-trial agreement, and she cannot now belatedly disavow its contents. J-49
When There Is Plea Bargaining 1. The accused and his/her counsel shall manifest that they agree to enter into plea bargaining on any of the forms above-described. If the prosecution and offended party agree to the plea offered by the accused, issue an order making on record the plea bargaining arrived at and duly implemented. 2. In case of any such change of plea to one of guilty, proceed to receive evidence on the civil aspect before rendering judgment, unless the offended party waives civil action or his/her claim for civil liability or damages, reserves the right to institute the civil action separately, or has instituted the civil action before the criminal action. 3. Render and promulgate judgment of conviction, including therein, in the proper case, the civil liability or damages duly established by the evidence.
When There Is No Plea Bargaining 1. Adopt the Minutes of Preliminary Conference as part of the pretrial proceedings.
2. Confirm the markings of exhibits or substituted photocopies and admissions on the genuineness and due execution of documents and list object and testimonial evidence.
3. Scrutinize every allegation of the Information and the statements in the affidavits and other documents which form part of the record of the preliminary investigation and other documents identified and marked as exhibits in determining further admissions of facts, documents and, in particular, as to the following: 3.1. the identity of the accused; 3.2. the court’s territorial jurisdiction relative to the offense charged; 3.3. the qualification of expert witness/es; 3.4. the amount of damages; 3.5. the genuineness and due execution of documents; and/or, 3.6. the cause of death or injury in proper cases; 3.7. the adoption of any evidence presented during the J-50
preliminary investigation; 3.8. the disclosure of defenses of alibi, insanity, self-defense, exercise of public authority and justifying or exempting circumstances; and 3.9. such other matters that would limit the facts in issue.
4. Formulate factual and legal issues.
5. Ask parties to agree on the specific trial dates and adhere to the flow chart determined by the court which shall contain the time frames for the different stages of the proceedings up to the promulgation of decision, and use the time frame for each stage in setting the trial dates.
6. Require the parties to submit to the Branch Clerk of Court the names, addresses, and contact numbers of witnesses that need to be summoned by subpoena; and
7. Consider modification of order of trial if the accused admits the charge but interposes a lawful defense.
8. Determine and consider with the parties and counsel the following and such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial, to wit: 8.1. the number of witnesses to be presented; 8.2. the approximate number of hours that will be required by the parties for the presentation of their respective evidence; and, 8.3. the specific trial dates needed to complete evidence presentation by all the parties, which must be within a period of three (3) months from the first trial. 9. Fix the trial dates for the parties’ presentation of their respective evidence, inclusive of evidence-in-chief and rebutting evidence, and cause the parties and their respective counsel to affix their signatures in the minutes to signify their availability on the scheduled dates. J-51
10. Also require the parties to submit to the branch clerk, before leaving the court premises, the names and addresses of witnesses that need to be summoned by subpoena, so that the necessary subpoena may be issued on time. Counsel or their representatives may be allowed to serve the subpoenas to insure service thereof and the submission of the returns on time. 11. Impose sanctions for the non-appearance at pre-trial of the prosecutor or the defense counsel, upon finding such absence to be without acceptable excuse. (Sec. 3, Rule 118).
12. Note that unless specially ordered by the court, there is no requirement for the personal appearance of the accused or the offended party at the pre-trial. In People v. Judge Tac-an,158 the SC held that the absence during the pre-trial of any witness of the Prosecution listed in the Information, whether or not such witness is the offended party or the complaining witness, is not a valid ground for the dismissal of the criminal action. Although under Sec. 2, Rep. Act No. 8493 (Speedy Trial Act of 1998), the pre-trial is mandatory in a criminal case, the presence of the private complainant or the complainant is not required. Even the presence of the accused is not required, unless the court has ordered him to appear. It is enough that the accused is represented by his counsel. Accordingly, even if none of the State’s witnesses appear, the pre-trial should proceed. The public prosecutor is vested with the authority to consider the matters catalogued in Sec. 2, Rep. Act No. 8493.
13. All proceedings during the pre-trial shall be recorded, the transcripts prepared, and the minutes signed by the parties and/or their counsels.
G.R. No. 148000, February 27, 2003, 398 SCRA 378. J-52
After the Pre-Trial Conference Issue a Pre-trial Order within ten (10) days after the termination of the pre-trial setting forth: 1. the actions taken during the pre-trial conference; 2. The facts stipulated;159 According to Bayas v. Sandiganbayan,160 there is nothing irregular or unlawful in stipulating facts in criminal cases. The policy encouraging it is consistent with the doctrine of waiver, which recognizes that ―xxx everyone has a right to waive and agree to waive the advantage of a law or rule made solely for the benefit and protection of the individual in his private capacity, if it can be dispensed with and without detriment to the community at large.‖161 3. The admissions made; 4. The evidence marked; 5. The number of witnesses to be presented; and, 6. The schedule of trial.162
The Supreme Court held in Bayas v. Sandiganbayan (G.R. Nos. 143689-91, November 12, 2002, 391 SCRA 415) that once validly entered into, stipulations will not be set aside unless for good cause. They should be enforced especially when they are not false, unreasonable or against good morals and sound public policy. When made before the court, they are conclusive. And the party who validly made them can be relieved therefrom only upon a showing of collusion, duress, fraud, misrepresentation as to facts, and undue influence; or upon a showing of sufficient cause on such terms as will serve justice in a particular case. Moreover, the power to relieve a party from a stipulation validly made lies in the court’s sound discretion which, unless exercised with grave abuse, will not be disturbed on appeal. 160 Id.. 161 Citing Herrera, REMEDIAL LAW, Volume IV, 2001 ed., pp. 667-668, citing People v. Donato, 198 SCRA 130, 154 (1991); People v. Hernandez, 260 SCRA 25 (1996). 162 Bellosillo, EFFECTIVE PRE-TRIAL TECHNIQUE, 1990, p. 622; 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, Rule 18, Sec. 7; RULE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, Rule 118, Sec. 4. J-53
Checklist III Incidents during Trial What To Do When There Is Application To Discharge Accused To Be State Witness 1. When applicable Two or more persons jointly charged with the commission of the offense.163 Whether to discharge more than one depends upon the need of the prosecutor and the discretion of the trial judge.164 2. When to apply Upon motion of the prosecution before resting its case.165 3. Things the Court should do a. Require prosecution to present evidence and hold in abeyance or defer resolution on the motion until the prosecution had presented all its evidence.166 b. Require submission of a sworn statement of each proposed witness at a hearing in support of the discharge and ascertain if the conditions fixed by Section 17 of Rule 119 are complied with, namely: b.1. There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the defendant whose discharge is requested.167 The prosecutor must show that there is absolute necessity for the testimony of the defendant whose discharge he seeks, in order to be a witness for the prosecution,168 or the accused is the only one who has knowledge of the crime, and not when his/her 163
RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 17. People v. Baesa, 104 Phil. 136 (1958); Yu v. Velasco, et al., G.R. No. 142848, June 30, 2006, 494 SCRA 101. 165 RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 17. 166 Flores v. Sandiganbayan, G. R. No. 63677, August 12, 1983, 124 SCRA 409. 167 RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 17 (a). 168 Flores v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 166; People v. Verceles, et al., G.R. No. 130650, September 10, 2002, 388 SCRA 515. 164
testimony would simply corroborate or otherwise strengthen the evidence in the hands of the prosecution.169 Example: Where the prosecution itself admitted that one of the government witnesses named Michael Yu, testified that he saw and recognized the accused, Domingo Can, as one of those who committed the robbery, such testimony is direct evidence of Can’s participation and clearly negates the absolute necessity of Daria’s testimony in identifying Can as one of the perpetrators of the crime. If at all, Daria’s testimony would be merely corroborative and not essential.170 b.2. There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony of said defendant.171 b.3. The testimony of said accused can substantially corroborated in its material points.172
b.4. Said accused does not appear to be the most guilty.173 Meaning of not the most guilty, not the least guilty.174 The rule does not require that he be the ―least guilty‖ but only that he not be the ―most guilty.‖175 Absolute certainty is not required176 concluding on ―necessity for the testimony the accused whose discharge is requested‖; to the availability or non-availability direct 169
in of as or
Flores v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 166; People v. Aniñon, G. R. No. 39803, March 16, 1988, 158 SCRA 701; Lugtu v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 42037, March 21, 1990, 183 SCRA 388; People v. Verceles, et al., supra note 168. 170 Can v. Galing, G.R. No. 54258, November 27, 1987, 155 SCRA 663. 171 RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 17 (b); People v. Aniñon, supra note 169. 172 RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 17 (c). 173 Id., Sec. 17 (d). 174 Id., Sec. 6 (d); People v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 55533, July 31, 1984, 131 SCRA 107; People v. Esparas, et al., G. R. No. 120034, July 10, 1998, 292 SCRA 332. 175 People v. Faltado, 84 Phil. 89 (1949); People v. Sandiganbayan, et al., G.R. Nos. 115439-41, July 16, 1997, 275 SCRA 523-526. 176 People v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 62881, August 20, 1983, 124 SCRA 338; People v. Ulpindo, G.R. No. 115983, April 12, 1996, 256 SCRA 201. J-55
corroborative evidence‖; which of the accused is the ―most guilty‖; and the like. The judge must rely in a large part upon the suggestions and information furnished by the state prosecutors.177 b.5. Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.178 Concept of moral turpitude. Moral turpitude has been described as an act of baseness, vileness, and depravity in the private and social duty which a man owes to us fellowmen or to society in general,179 done out of spirit of cruelty, hostility or revenge,180 but there is also authority to the effect that an act is not done when it is prompted by the sudden resentment of an injury calculated in no slight degree to awaken passion.181 In the absence, therefore, of any evidence to show the gravity and the nature of the malicious mischief committed, or at least, the value of the property destroyed and/or the circumstances under which the act of destroying was committed, we should not make haste in declaring that the crime of malicious mischief involves moral turpitude.182 Examples of crimes involving moral turpitude. Estafa,183 abduction with consent,184 and concubinage.185 There is no moral turpitude for conviction for playing mahjong.186
Id. RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 17 (e). 179 Moore v. State, 67 So. 789. 180 54 CJS 935. 181 Id. 182 People v. Jamero, G. R. No. 19852, July 29, 1968, 24 SCRA 206. 183 In re Abesamis, 102 Phil. 1182 (1958); Moreno v. Araneta, A.C. No. 1109, April 27, 2005, 457 SCRA 329. 184 In re Basa 41 Phil. 275 (1920). 185 In re Isada 60 Phil. 915 (1934); Laguitan v. Tinio, A.C. No. 3049, December 4, 1989, 179 SCRA 837. 186 Chiong v. Republic, 103 Phil. 1114 (1958). 178
Effects on Accused Discharged as State Witness 1. Evidence adduced in support of the discharge shall automatically form part of the trial.187 (If the court denies the motion to discharge of the accused as state witness, his/her sworn statement shall be inadmissible in evidence.)188 2. Discharge of accused operates as an acquittal and a bar to further prosecution for the same offense,189 unless the accused fails or refuses to testify against his/her co-accused in accordance with his/her sworn statement constituting the basis of his/her discharge.190 2.1. Failure to testify refers exclusively to defendant’s will or fault.191 2.2. Extrajudicial Confession: Admissibility; where an accused who turns State witness on a promise of immunity, but later retracts and fails to keep his/her part of the agreement, his/her confession of his/her participation in the commission of the crime is admissible as evidence against him/her.192 3. Erroneous or improper discharge of state witness does not affect the competency and quality of the testimony of the discharged defendant.193
RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 17. Id. 189 Id., Sec. 18. 190 Id. 191 People v. Mendiola, 82 Phil. 740 (1949). 192 People v. Beberino, G. R. No. 23092, October 29, 1977, 79 SCRA 694. 193 People v. Jamero, supra note 182; Mangubat v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 60613, April 20, 1985, 135 SCRA 732; Ramos v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 58876, November 27, 1990, 191 SCRA 671; People v. Larrañaga, et al., G.R. Nos. 138874-75, February 3, 2004, 421 SCRA 530. 188
When A Motion/Petition To Suspend A Criminal Action Based Upon The Alleged Pendency Of A Prejudicial Question In A Civil Action Is Filed In The Criminal Action 1. At the hearing of the motion, ask the prosecution to comment on the motion if no such comment or opposition has yet been filed. 2. Thereafter, determine if a prejudicial question exists. A prejudicial question is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime, but so intimately connected with it, that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused.194 Its essential elements are: (a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal action; (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed; and (c) the cognizance of the prejudicial question pertains to another tribunal.195 2.1. Examples Where a man was charged with bigamy by his second wife, a civil action filed by him against her for the annulment of their marriage on the ground that he was forced to contract said subsequent marriage is a prejudicial question to the criminal action.196 The question of validity of said marriage cannot ordinarily be decided in the criminal action for bigamy, but in the civil action for annulment. The annulment on the aforesaid ground would prove that his act of contracting that marriage was involuntary; hence, no criminal liability would attach. In a civil action brought by plaintiff to annul the sale of land by defendant to a third party – the plaintiff alleging that the same land was previously sold by the defendant to him, but defendant raised the defense that his signature appearing on the deed of sale to plaintiff has been forged – the question of validity of the sale to plaintiff, to be determined in the civil action, is prejudicial to the criminal action of estafa filed by plaintiff against said defendant.197
Mendiola v. Macadaeg, G.R, No. 16874, February 27, 1961, 1 SCRA 593; Benitez v. Concepcion, 112 Phil. 105 (1961); Abunado, et al. v. People, G. R. No. 159218, March 30, 2004, 426 SCRA 562. 195 People v. Aragon, 94 Phil. 357 (1954); Philippine Agila Satellite, Inc. v. Lichauco, et al., G. R. No. 134887, July 27, 2006, 496 SCRA 588. 196 Zapanta v. Montesa, G.R. No. 14534, February 28, 1962, 4 SCRA 510. 197 Ras v. Rasul, G.R. Nos. 50441-42, September 18, 1990, 100 SCRA 125. J-58
The law limits a prejudicial question to a previously instituted civil action, not to a subsequent one. Note that the present Rule does not specify who may file the motion or petition for suspension of the criminal proceedings on the ground of pendency of a prejudicial question, and, therefore, any party – the prosecutor, the accused, or the private prosecutor – may file the petition.198 Finally, note that while such petition to suspend may be filed in the office of the prosecutor, it may be filed before the court trying the criminal action only ―before the prosecution rests.‖199 Accordingly, the petition should be denied if it is filed after the prosecution has rested. If a petition to suspend is filed with the Prosecutor’s Office, and the same is denied, the petition to suspend may again be filed before the court. The determination of its finality is only provisional. What to do if Accused is reported to have died200 1. Ascertain veracity of report with submission of Death Certificate and Comment from prosecution. 2. If the accused dies before arraignment, THE CASE without prejudice to any civil action the offended party may file against the estate of the deceased.201 3. Note that the death of the accused after arraignment and during the pendency of the criminal action shall extinguish the civil liability arising from the delict. 4. Note however, the independent civil action instituted under Section 3 of Rule 111 or which thereafter is instituted to enforce liability arising from other sources of obligation may continue against the estate or legal representative of the accused after proper substitution or against said estate, as the case may be. The heirs of the accused may be substituted for the deceased without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator and the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor heirs. 198
Fortich-Celdran v. Celdran, G.R. No. 22677, February 28, 1967, 19 SCRA 502. RULES OF COURT, Rule 111, Sec. 6. 200 REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 89 (1). 201 RULES OF COURT, Rule 111, Sec. 4. 199
5. Before ordering substitution, direct counsel for the accused to inform the court of the names and addresses of the decedent’s heirs or whether or not his/her estate is under administration and has a duly appointed administrator. 6. Forthwith order said legal representative or representatives to appear and be substituted within a period of thirty (30) days from notice. 7. Amend the title of the case to show its civil aspect by including the name of the offended party as plaintiff and the legal representative or heir of the accused substituted as defendant.202 8. A final judgment entered in favor of the offended party shall be enforced in the manner especially provided in these Rules for prosecuting claims against the estate of the deceased.
Torrijos v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 40336, October 24, 1975, 67 SCRA 394. J-60
VII. CONDUCTING THE TRIAL A. Trial203 1. Unless the docket of the court requires otherwise, not more than four (4) cases shall be scheduled for trial daily. 2. The Presiding Judge shall make arrangements with the prosecutor and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) so that a relief prosecutor and a PAO attorney are always available in case the regular prosecutor or the PAO attorney is absent. 3. Contingency measures must likewise be taken for any unexpected absence of the stenographer and other support staff assisting in the trial. 4. Subpoena shall be issued and served.204 5. The judge shall conduct trial with utmost dispatch, with judicious exercise of the court’s power to control trial proceedings to avoid delay. 6. The judge must take notes of the material and relevant testimonies of witnesses to facilitate his decision-making. 7. The trial shall be terminated within ninety (90) days from initial hearing. Appropriate disciplinary sanctions may be imposed on the judge and the lawyers for failure to comply with this requirement due to causes attributable to them. 8. Each party is bound to complete the presentation of his evidence within the dates assigned to him. After the lapse of said dates, the party is deemed to have completed the presentation of evidence. However, upon verified motion based on compelling reasons, the judge may allow a party additional trial dates in the afternoon; provided, that said extension will not go beyond the three-month limit computed from the first trial date, except when authorized in writing by the Court Administrator, Supreme Court. All trial judges must strictly comply with Circular No. 38-98, entitled ―Implementing the Provisions of Republic Act No. 8493 (An Act to Ensure a Speedy Trial of All Cases Before the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, 203
Strict Observance of Session Hours of Trial Court Effective Management of Cases to Ensure their Speedy Disposition, Administrative Circular No.3-99 dated January 15, 1999, V-B. 204 In accordance with Administrative Circular No. 4 dated September 22, 1988. J-61
Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes)‖205 B. Compliance with the Constitutional Limitations on Periods 1. As a constant reminder of what cases must be decided or resolved, the judge must keep a calendar of cases submitted for decision, noting therein the exact day, month and year when the ninety (90)-day period is to expire. As soon as a case is submitted for decision, it must be noted in the calendar of the judge; moreover, the records shall be duly collated with the exhibits and transcripts of stenographic notes, as well as the trial notes of the judge, and placed in the judge’s chamber. 2. In criminal cases, the judge will do well to announce in open court at the termination of the trial the date of the promulgation of the decision, which should be set within ninety (90) days from the submission of the case for decision 3. All Judges must scrupulously observe the period prescribed in Section 15, Article VIII of the Constitution. C. Pertinent Rules 1. Time to prepare for trial After the plea of not guilty is entered, the accused shall have at least fifteen (15) days to prepare for trial. The trial shall commence within thirty (30) days from receipt of the pre-trial order.206 2. Continuous trial until terminated; postponements Trial, once commenced, shall continue from day to day as far as practicable until terminated. It may be postponed for a reasonable period of time for good cause. The court shall, after consultation with the prosecutor and defense counsel, set the case for continuous trial on a weekly or other short-term trial calendar at the earliest possible time as to ensure speedy trial. In no case shall the entire trial period exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from the first day of trial, except as otherwise authorized by the Supreme Court.207 205
Issued by the Honorable Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa on September 15, 1998. SC Circular 38-98, Sec. 6. 207 SC Circular 38-98, Sec. 8. 206
The time limitations provided under this section and the preceding section shall not apply where special laws or circulars of the Supreme Court provide for a shorter period of trial. 3. Exclusions The following periods of delay shall be excluded in computing the time within which trial must commence: 3.1. Any period of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the accused, including delays resulting from: a) an examination of the physical and mental condition of the accused; b) proceedings with respect to other criminal charges against the accused; c) extraordinary remedies against interlocutory orders; d) pre-trial proceedings; Provided, that the delay does not exceed thirty (30) days; e) orders of inhibition, or proceedings relating to change of venue of cases or transfer from other courts; f) a finding of the existence of a prejudicial question; and g) any proceeding concerning the accused is actually under advisement but not exceeding thirty days h) the mental incompetence or physical inability of the accused to stand trial; i) the grant any court motu proprio, or on motion of eitherthe accused or his counsel or the prosecution, if the court granted the continuance on the basis of his findings set forth in the Order that the ends of justice is better served by taking such action and outweighs the best interest of the public and the accused in a speedy trial;208 k) joinder for trial of a co-accused over whom the court has not acquired jurisdiction, or as to whom the time for trial has not run and no motion for separate trial has been granted.
SC Circular 38-98, Sec. 9. J-63
3.2. If the Information is dismissed upon motion of the prosecution and, thereafter, a charge is filed against the accused for the same offense, any period of delay from the date the charge was dismissed to the date the time limitation would commence to run as to the subsequent charge had there been no previous charge. 4. Factors for granting continuance The following factors, among others, shall be considered by a court in determining whether to grant a continuance under subparagraph (f) of Section 9 of SC Circular No. 38-98. 4.1. Whether or not the failure to grant a continuance in the proceeding would be likely to make a continuation of such proceeding impossible or result in a miscarriage of justice; and 4.2. Whether or not the case taken as a whole is so novel, unusual and complex, due to the number of accused or the nature of the prosecution or otherwise, that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation within the periods of time established therein. In addition, no continuance under Section 9(f) of SC Circular 38-98 shall be granted because of congestion of the court’s calendar or lack of diligent preparation or failure to obtain available witnesses on the part of the prosecutor.209 5. Time limit following an order for new trial If the accused is to be tried again, pursuant to an Order for new trial, the trial shall commence within thirty (30) days from notice of the Order, provided that if the period becomes impractical due to unavailability of witnesses and other factors, the court may extend it but not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from notice of said order for a new trial.210 6. Extended time limit Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1(g), Rule 116 and Section 1, SC Circular No. 38-98, for the first twelve-calendar month period following its effectivity on September 15, 1998, the time limit with respect to the period from arraignment to trial imposed by said provision shall be one hundred eighty (180) days. For the second twelve-month period, the time limit shall be one hundred twenty (120) days, and for the third twelve-month period, the time limit shall be eighty (80) days.211
Id., Sec. 10. Id., Sec. 11. 211 Id., Sec. 7. 210
7. Public attorney’s duties where accused is imprisoned If the public attorney assigned to defend a person charged with a crime knows that the latter is preventively detained, either because he is charged with a bailable crime and has no means to post bail, or is charged with a non-bailable crime, or is serving a term of imprisonment in any penal institution, it shall be his duty to do the following: 7.1. Shall promptly undertake to obtain the presence of the prisoner for trial, or cause a notice to be served on the person having custody of the prisoner requiring such person to so advise the prisoner of his right to demand trial. 7.2. Upon receipt of that notice, the custodian of the prisoner shall promptly advise the prisoner of the charge and of his right to demand trial, if at anytime thereafter the prisoner informs the custodian that he demands such trial, the latter shall cause notice to that effect to be sent promptly to the public attorney. 7.3. Upon receipt of such notice, the public attorney shall promptly seek to obtain the presence of the prisoner for trial. 7.4. When the custodian of the prisoner receives from the public attorney a properly supported request for the availability of the prisoner for purposes of trial, the prisoner shall be made available accordingly.212 8. Sanctions In any case in which private counsel for the accused, the public attorney, or the prosecutor: 8.1. Knowingly allows the case to be set for trial without disclosing that a necessary witness would be unavailable for trial; 8.2. Files a motion solely for delay which he knows is totally frivolous and without merit; 8.3. Makes a statement for the purpose of obtaining continuance which he knows to be false and which is material to the granting of a continuance; or 8.4. Willfully fails to proceed to trial without justification consistent with the provisions thereof, the court may punish such counsel, attorney, or prosecutor, as follows: 212
Id., Sec. 12. J-65
1) By imposing on a counsel privately retained in connection with the defense of an accused, a fine not exceeding P20,000.00; 2) By imposing on any appointed counsel de oficio, public attorney, or prosecutor a fine not exceeding P5,000.00; and 3) By denying any defense counsel or prosecutor the right to practice before the court trying the case for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days. The punishment provided for by this Section shall be without prejudice to any appropriate criminal action or other sanction authorized under these rules.213 9. Remedy where accused is not brought to trial within the time limit If the accused is not brought to trial within the time limit required by Section 1(g), Rule 116 and Section 1, as extended by Section 6 of this Rule, the Information may be dismissed on motion of the accused on the ground of denial of his right to speedy trial. The accused shall have the burden of proving the motion, but the prosecution shall have the burden of going forward with the evidence to establish the exclusion of time under Section 3 of this Rule. The dismissal shall be subject to the rules on double jeopardy. Failure of the accused to move for dismissal prior to trial shall constitute a waiver of the right to dismiss under this Section.214 10. Law on speedy trial not a bar to provision on speedy trial in the Constitution No provision of law on speedy trial and no rule implementing the same shall be interpreted as a bar to any charge of denial of the right to speedy trial guaranteed by Section 14(2), Article III of the 1987 Constitution.215 11. Order of trial216 The trial shall proceed in the following order: 1) The prosecution shall present evidence to prove the charge and, in the proper case, the civil liability. 2) The accused may present evidence to prove his defense and 213
Id., Sec. 13. Id., Sec. 14. 215 Id., Sec. 15. 216 RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 11. 214
damages, if any, arising from the issuance of a provisional remedy in the case. 3) The prosecution and the defense may, in that order, present rebuttal and sur-rebuttal evidence, unless the court, in furtherance of justice, permits them to present additional evidence bearing upon the main issue. 4) Upon admission of the evidence of the parties, the case shall be deemed submitted for decision, unless the court directs them to argue orally or to submit written memoranda. 5) When the accused admits the act or omission charged in the Complaint or Information but interposes a lawful defense, the order of trial may be modified. D. How to deal with accused’s Motion for Examination of His/Her witness before trial217 1. Check sufficiency of the motion, particularly as regards notice and service thereof, and the contents of the motion, keeping in mind that the governing rule218 requires the following: 1.1. there be notice to all other parties: 1.2. the motion shall state: (1) the name and residence of the witness; (2) the substance of his/her testimony; and (3) that the witness is so sick or infirm as to afford reasonable ground for believing that he will not be able to attend the trial, or resides more than 100 kilometers from the place of trial and has no means to attend the same, or that, apart from the foregoing, other circumstances exist that would make him unavailable or prevent him from attending the trial; and 1.3. the motion shall be supported by affidavit of the accused and such other evidence as the court may require. 2. If the motion does not comply with the notice requirement, issue an Order requiring compliance by movant with the notice requirement, with the warning that the motion shall be disallowed if not complied with. 3. If the motion complied with the notice requirement, hear the motion at the time set therein. 217
The same pertains to the Modes of Discovery in criminal cases wherein it is stated that the witness of the prosecution may be examined only in the court where the case is pending while a defense witness may be examined in any other court or before a notary public (RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Secs. 12 and 13) 218 RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 12. J-67
4. If the motion is found to be unmeritorious, issue an Order denying it, with a concise statement of the reason(s) for the denial. 5. If satisfied that the examination of the witness is necessary, issue an Order directing and providing, conformably with the governing rule,219 that: 5.1. the witness be examined at a specified date, time, and place before the judge ordering the examination (or before any other judge or, if not practicable, any member of the Bar in good standing so designated in the order); or if order be made by a court of superior jurisdiction, before an inferior court so to be designated; 5.2. a copy of the Order be served on the prosecutor at least three days before the scheduled examination; 5.3. the examination shall proceed notwithstanding the prosecutor’s absence, if it appears that he was duly notified of the hearing; and 5.4. a written record of the testimony shall be taken. E. How to deal with prosecution’s Motion for Examination of its witness before trial 1. Check sufficiency of the motion, particularly, as regards notice and service thereof, and the contents of the motion, keeping in mind that the governing rule220 requires (a) that there be notice to the accused and (b) that there be a showing that the witness is too sick or infirm to appear at the trial or has to leave the Philippines with no definite date of returning thereto. 1.1. The motion does not comply with the notice requirement, issue an Order requiring compliance by movant with the notice requirement, with warning that the motion shall be disallowed if not complied with. 1.2. The motion complied with the notice requirement, hear the motion at the time set therefor. 2. If the motion is found to be unmeritorious, issue an Order denying it, with a concise statement of the reason(s) for the denial.
Id., Sec. 13. Id., Sec. 12. J-68
3. If the motion is found to be meritorious, issue an Order directing and providing, conformably with the said governing rule, as follows: 3.1. the witness be examined before the court at a specified time, such examination to be conducted in the same manner as an examination at the trial; 3.2. a copy of the Order be served on the accused within a given time prior to that fixed for the examination; 3.3. the accused shall attend the said examination and his/her failure or refusal to do so, despite due notice, shall be deemed a waiver; and 3.4. the statement thus taken may be admitted in behalf of or against the accused. 4. At the same time set therefor, hold the hearing for the examination of the witness, the same to be conducted in the same manner as an examination at the trial, in the presence of the accused or notwithstanding his/her absence, if it appears that he was duly notified of the hearing. 5. Rule 119 categorically states that the conditional examination of a prosecution witness shall be made before the court where the case is pending. There is nothing in the rule which may remotely be interpreted to mean that such requirement applies only to cases where the witness is within the jurisdiction of said court and not when he is kilometers away. The court may not introduce exceptions or conditions. Neither may it engraft into the law (or the Rules) qualifications not contemplated.221
F. If a motion to determine competency to stand trial is filed. 1. Set the motion for hearing on the date suggested by the movant or fixed by the court, with notice to the parties, their counsel, the prosecutor and the person having charge of the accused or his/her relatives. 2. If the accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully comprehend or stand trial: 2.1. Suspend the proceedings and order his/her mental condition and/or confinement in the National Center for Mental Health or any mental institution in the locality recognized by the government, with a 221
Vda de Manguera v. Risos, G.R. No. 152643, August 28, 2008, 563 SCRA 499. J-69
directive to the Director of the hospital or mental institution to submit a quarterly report on the accused’s mental condition. 2.2. On the basis of the report that the accused has fully recovered and can stand trial, order his/her immediate discharge and set the case for the continuation of the proceedings.222
G. Demurrer to Evidence 1. A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the evidence submitted by the prosecution is insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused. 2. After the prosecution rests its case, the court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence (1) on its own initiative after giving the prosecution the opportunity to be heard, or (2) upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court.223 3. The motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be filed within a non-extendible period of five (5) days after the prosecution rests its case. The prosecution may oppose the motion within a non-extendible period of five (5) days from its receipt.
Checklist When Demurrer to Evidence is Filed 1. Determine whether the filing of the demurrer to evidence is made after the prosecution has rested its case; otherwise, deny the motion for being prematurely filed.224 2. If the demurrer to evidence is properly filed, give the prosecution an opportunity to be heard whether in oral argument or in writing. 3. If leave of court is granted, REQUIRE the accused TO file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice. The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a similar period from its receipt. 222
RULES OF COURT, Rule 101. Id., Rule 119, Sec. 23. 224 Aquino v. Sison, G.R. No. 86025, November 28, 1989, 179 SCRA 648; Godoy v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 80814, August 30, 1988, 165 SCRA 148. 223
4. Exercise discretion in the grant or denial of demurrer to evidence. Judicial action on a demurrer to evidence or motion to dismiss is left to the exercise of sound judicial discretion. In the absence of a clear showing of grave abuse thereof, amounting to lack of jurisdiction, the trial court’s denial of the motion may not be disturbed and may only be reviewed in the ordinary courts of law by an appeal from the judgment after trial. Certiorari does not lie to challenge the trial court’s interlocutory order denying the accused’s motion to dismiss. 5. When demurrer to evidence is denied Upon denial of the demurrer to evidence: 5.1 If filed with leave of court, allow the accused to adduce evidence in his/her defense. 5.2 If filed without leave of court, consider the case submitted for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution. 6. The order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer or the demurrer itself shall not be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before judgment. 7. Dismissal on demurrer to evidence amounts to acquittal The dismissal is one on the merits which is equivalent to an acquittal; hence, the prosecution cannot appeal as it would place the accused in double jeopardy.225 8. Reopening At any time before finality of the judgment of conviction, the judge may, motu proprio or upon motion, with hearing in either case, reopen the proceedings to avoid a miscarriage of justice. The proceedings shall be terminated within thirty (30) days from the order granting it.226
People v. The City Court of Silay, G. R. No. 43790, December 9, 1976, 74 SCRA 247; Barcena v. Gingoyon, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1794, October 25, 2005, 474 SCRA 72. 226 RULES OF COURT, Rule 119, Sec. 24. J-71
VIII. JUDGMENT A. Definition Judgment means the adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or is not guilty of the offense charged, and the imposition of the proper penalty and civil liability provided for by law on the accused.227
Checklist 1. Personally write and prepare the judgment and directly in the official language and sign the same.228 This holds true for orders of dismissal; 2. See to it that the judgment contains a clear and distinct statement of facts proved or admitted by the accused and the law upon which the judgment is based.229 3. If it is of conviction, state: 3.1. the legal qualification of the offense constituted by the acts committed by the accused and the aggravating or mitigating circumstances attending the commission thereof, if there are any; 3.2. the participation of the accused in the commission of the offense, whether as principal, accomplice, or accessory after the fact; 3.3. the penalty imposed upon the accused;230 3.4. the civil liability or damages caused by the wrongful act to be recovered from the accused by the offended party, if there is any, unless the enforcement of the civil liability by a separate action has been reserved or waived. 4. In case the judgment is of acquittal, state whether the evidence of the prosecution absolutely failed to prove the guilt of the accused 227
Id., Rule 120, Sec. 1. Abay v. Garcia, G.R. No. 66132, June 27, 1988, 162 SCRA 665; Pablo-Gualberto v. Gualberto V, G.R. Nos. 154994 and 156254, June 28, 2005, 461 SCRA 450. 229 People v. Escobar, G.R. No. 69564, January 29, 1988, 157 SCRA 541; Corpuz, et al. v. Sandiganbayan, et al., G.R. No. 162214, November 11, 2004, 442 SCRA 294. 230 People v. Licerio, 61 Phil. 361 (1935); People v. Abatayo, G.R. No. 139456, July 7, 2004, 433 SCRA 562. 228
or merely failed to prove his/her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In either case, the judgment shall determine if the act or omission from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. 5. When two or more offenses are charged in a single Complaint or Information, and the accused fails to object to it before trial, convict the accused of as many offenses as are charged and proved, and impose on him the penalty for each and every one of them setting out separately the findings of fact and law in each offense.231 6. When there is a variance between the offense charged in the Complaint or Information, and that proved or established by the evidence, and the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which is included in the offense proved.232 An offense charged necessarily includes that which is proved when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as this is alleged in the Complaint or Information, constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.233
B. Damages that may be awarded Civil liability arising from crime includes moral damages, exemplary damages and loss of earning capacity.234 Attorney’s fees may be awarded but only when a separate civil action to recover civil liability has been filed or when exemplary damages are awarded.235 Life expectancy must be included in award of damages.236
RULES OF COURT, Rule 120, Sec. 3; People v. Basoy, G.R. No. 68578, July 7, 1986, 142 SCRA 476; People v. Alcid, G.R. No. 66387-88, February 28, 1985, 135 SCRA 280; People v. Tira, et al., G.R. No. 139615, May 28, 2004, 430 SCRA 134. 232 RULES OF COURT, Rule 120, Sec. 4. 233 Id., Sec. 5. 234 People v. Morallano, G.R. No. 105004, July 24, 1997, 276 SCRA 84; Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines v. Mangawang, et al., G.R. No. 160355, May 16, 2005, 458 SCRA 684. 235 People v. Teehankee, Jr., G.R. Nos. 111206-08, October 6, 1995, 249 SCRA 54; People v. Quilaton, G.R. No. 69666, January 23, 1992, 205 SCRA 279; Safeguard Security Agency, Inc., et al. v. Tangco, et al., supra note 113. 236 People v. Villanueva, G.R. No. 96469, October 21, 1992, 215 SCRA 22; People v. Cordero, G.R. No. 108919, October 11, 1996, 263 SCRA 122; Lambert, et al. v. Heirs of Castillon, et al., G.R. No. 160709, February 23, 2005, 452 SCRA 285. J-73
The court should, however, specify how much is the indemnity for death and how much is for moral damages and not lump the whole amount. 237 Civil indemnity is separate from moral damages.238 In rape cases, a civil indemnity of P50,000.00 is mandatory.239 In addition, moral damages in rape is automatic without the need of pleading or any proof.240 For civil indemnity or actual and compensatory damages if committed or effectively qualified by any of the circumstances under which the death penalty is authorized by law, the indemnity for the victim shall be increased to the amount of P75,000.00.241 Actual damages should be supported by receipts.242 To justify a grant of actual or compensatory damages, it is necessary to prove with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable by the injured party, the actual amount of loss.243 Where there are no aggravating circumstances, exemplary damages should not be awarded. Actual damages, if not supported by evidence, may not be awarded.244
People v. Castillo, G.R. No. 116122, September 6, 1996, 261 SCRA 493; People v. Ylanan, G.R. No. 131812, August 22, 2002, 387 SCRA 590. 238 People v. Mangila, G.R. Nos. 130203-4, February 15, 2000, 325 SCRA 586; People v. Suarez, et al., G.R. Nos. 153573-76, April 15, 2005; People v. Mangitngit, G.R. No. 171270, September 20, 2006, 502 SCRA 560. 239 People v. Marabillas, G.R. No. 127494, February 18, 1999, 303 SCRA 352; People v. Mostrales, G.R. No. 125397, August 28, 1998, 294 SCRA 701; People v. Ilao, G.R. No. 129529, September 20, 1998, 296 SCRA 658. 240 People v. Prades, G.R. No. 127569, July 30, 1998, 293 SCRA 411; People v. Malapo, G.R. No. 123115, August 25, 1998, 294 SCRA 579; People v. Lozano, G.R. No. 125080, September 25, 1998, 296 SCRA 403; People v. Salome, G.R. No. 169077, August 31, 2006, 500 SCRA 676. 241 People v. Victor, G.R. No. 127903, July 9, 1998, 292 SCRA 186; People v. Prades, supra note 239; People v. Malapo, supra note 239; People v. Perez, G.R. No. 122764, September 24, 1998, 296 SCRA 17; People v. Ballester, G.R. No. 152279, January 20, 2004, 420 SCRA 379. 242 People v. Cordero, G.R. No. 108919, October 11, 1996, 263 SCRA 122; People v. Cayabyab, G.R. No. 123073, June 19, 1997, 274 SCRA 387; People v. Morallano, supra note 233; Sumalpong v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123404, February 26, 1997, 268 SCRA 764; Manaban v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 150723, July 11, 2006, 494 SCRA 525; Safeguard Security Agency, Inc., et al. v. Tangco, et al., supra note 113. 243 G.Q. Garments, Inc. v. Miranda, et al., G.R. No. 161722, July 20, 2006, 495 SCRA 757-758. 244 People v. Manggasin, G.R. Nos. 130599-600, April 21, 1999, 306 SCRA 228; People v. Manalo, G.R. No. 173054, December 6, 2006, 510 SCRA 677. J-74
Acquittal does not necessarily preclude civil liability, as in the following cases where: a) the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt,245 as only preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases; b) there is a finding that the accused’s liability is not criminal but only civil in nature;246 and c) there is a finding that the civil liability does not arise from or is not based upon the criminal act of malversation which the accused was acquitted of, 247 but was held liable for the funds which were spent for unauthorized purposes. C. Promulgation of Judgment 1. What to do 1.1. Direct the clerk of court/branch clerk of court to give notice to the accused personally or through his/her bondsman if bonded, or through the warden if detained, or through the custodian if out on recognizance. 1.2. Direct the clerk of court/branch clerk of court to read the judgment to the accused and counsel de parte or de oficio. 1.3. If the conviction is for a light offense, allow the judgment to be read in the presence of the accused’s counsel or representative. 1.4. When the judge is absent or outside of the province or city, direct the clerk of court/branch clerk of court to promulgate the judgment. 1.5. If the accused is confined or detained in another province or city, request the executive judge of the Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the place of confinement or detention to promulgate the judgment. The court promulgating the judgment shall have the authority to accept the notice of appeal and to approve the bail bond pending appeal, provided that, if the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the offense from non245
Padilla v. Court of Appeals, No. 39999, May 31, 1994, 129 SCRA 558; People v. Jalandoni, G.R. No. 57555, August 28, 1984, 131 SCRA 454; Nuguid v. Nicdao, G.R. No. 150785, September 15, 2006; Leyson, et al. v. Lawa, et al., G. R. No. 150756, October 11, 2006, 504 SCRA 174-175. 246 De Guzman v. Alvia, 96 Phil. 558 (1955); People v. Pantig, 97 Phil. 748 (1955); Nuguid v. Nicdao, supra note 245. 247 Castro v. Collector of Internal Revenue, G. R. No. 12174, April 26, 1962, 4 SCRA 1093; Republic v. Bello, G. R. No. 34906, January 27, 1983, 120 SCRA 203; Nuguid v. Nicdao, supra note 245. J-75
bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be filed and resolved by the appellate court. 1.6. If the accused was tried in absentia because he jumped bail or escaped from prison, the notice to him shall be served at his/her last known address. 1.7. In case the accused fails to appear at the scheduled date of promulgation of judgment despite notice, the promulgation shall be made by recording the judgment in the criminal docket and serving him a copy thereof at his/her last known address or thru his/her counsel. 1.8. If the judgment is for conviction and the failure of the accused to appear was without justifiable cause, he shall lose the remedies available in these rules against the judgment and the court shall order his/her arrest. Within fifteen (15) days from promulgation of judgment, however, the accused may surrender and file a motion for leave of court to avail of these remedies. He/She shall state the reasons for his/her absence at the scheduled promulgation and if he proves that his/her absence was for a justifiable cause, he shall be allowed to avail of said remedies within fifteen (15) days from notice. D. Modification of Judgment248 1. Modify or set aside a judgment of conviction only 1.1. Upon motion of the accused, and 1.2. Before the judgment has become final or appeal has been perfected. Except when the death penalty is imposed, a judgment for conviction becomes final (a) after the lapse of the period for perfecting an appeal, or (b) when the sentence has been partially or totally satisfied, or (c) the accused has expressly waived in writing his/her right to appeal, or (d) the accused has applied for probation.249
RULES OF COURT, Rule 120, Sec. 7. Ramos v. Gonong, G.R. No. 42010, August 31, 1976, 72 SCRA 559; Lasoy, et al. v. Zenarosa, et al., G.R. No. 129472, April 12, 2005, 455 SCRA 360. 249
E. Entry of Judgment250 1. After the judgment has become final, have it entered in the book of entries of judgments.251 2. If no appeal or motion for new trial is filed within the time provided in the rules, direct the clerk of court/branch clerk of court to enter the judgment and prepare a certificate that such judgment has become final and executory.
RULES OF COURT, Rule 36, Sec. 2. The record shall contain the dispositive part of the judgment and shall be signed by the Clerk of Court. 251
IX. MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL OR RECONSIDERATION A. Grounds for New Trial252 1. Errors of law or irregularities have been committed during the trial prejudicial to the substantial rights of the accused;
2. New and material evidence has been discovered which the accused could not, with reasonable diligence, have discovered and produced at the trial and, which if introduced and admitted, would probably change the judgment;
3. Meritorious circumstances as determined by the court on a case-to-case basis, such as: 3.1. retraction of a witness;253 3.2. negligence or incompetency of counsel that is so gross as to amount to deprivation of due process;254 3.3. improvident plea of guilty;255 and 3.4. disqualification of an attorney de oficio to represent the accused in trial court.256 B. Ground for Reconsideration257 Errors of law or fact in the judgment which require no further proceedings.
RULES OF COURT, Rule 121, Sec. 2. People v. Bocar, 97 Phil, 398 (1955); People v. Curiano, G.R. Nos. 15256-57, October 31, 1963, 9 SCRA 323; People v. Lavapie, et al., G.R. No. 130209, March 14, 2001, 354 SCRA 351. 254 Callangan v. People, G.R. No. 153414, June 27, 2006, 493 SCRA 269; Reyes v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 111682, February 6, 1997, 267 SCRA 523; De Guzman v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 103276, April 11, 1996, 256 SCRA 171. 255 People v. Nuelan, G.R. No. 123075, October 8, 2001, 366 SCRA 705; People v. Nadera, G.R. Nos. 131384-87, February 2, 2000, 324 SCRA 490. 256 Jose v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 38581, March 31, 1976, 70 SCRA 257; Abrajano v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 120787, October 13, 2000, 343 SCRA 68. 257 RULES OF COURT, Rule 121, Sec. 3. 253
C. Requisites for a Motion for a New Trial or Reconsideration258 1. In writing and filed with the court.259 2. Clearly state the grounds on which it is based. 3. If based on newly discovered evidence, it must be supported by affidavits of witnesses by whom such evidence is expected to be given or by duly authenticated copies of documents which it is proposed to introduce in evidence.
Id., Sec. 4. In criminal cases, the lack of affidavits of merit in a motion for new trial is not a fatal defect and can be cured by the testimony presented at the new trial. Paredes v. Borja, G.R. No. L-15559, November 29, 1961, 3 SCRA 495. 259
X. PROBATION Checklist I Filing of Application to Referral thereof to Probation Officer 1. Determine whether or not the probation application may be given due course, keeping in mind that the governing law, Presidential Decree No. 968, as amended,260 requires that: 1.1. An application for probation be filed with the trial court;261 1.2. The application be filed within the period for perfecting an appeal, that is, within 15 days from the promulgation or notice of the judgment appealed from; otherwise, the application shall not be entertained or granted;262 1.3. The applicant is not a disqualified offender. A disqualified offender is: (1) sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six (6) years; (2) convicted of any crime against the national security or the public order; (3) previously convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by imprisonment of not less than one (1) month and one (1) day and/or fine of not less than P200.00; (4) once on probation under the provisions of this Decree; and (5) already serving sentence at the time the substantive provisions of this Decree became applicable pursuant to Section 33 hereof.263 2. If the application does not appear to be meritorious, issue Order not giving due course to the application.264. 3. If the application appears meritorious, issue Order giving due course to the application. 4. In the absence of any showing that the applicant may not be placed on probation under existing laws, issue Order for post-sentence investigation to be conducted by the probation officer of the territory where the court sits.265 260
Toribio v. Diaz, G.R. No. 84623, May 8, 1992, 208 SCRA 595; Bernardo v. Balagot, G.R. No. 86561, November 16, 1992, 215 SCRA 526. 261 Last sentence, second paragraph, Sec. 4, Pres. Decree No. 968, as amended. 262 Llamado v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 84850, June 29, 1989, 174 SCRA 566; Magno v. People, G.R. No. 149725, October 23, 2003, 414 SCRA 246. 263 Pres. Decree No. 968, Sec. 9; OCA v. Floro, Jr., A.M. Nos. RTJ-99-1460, 99-7-273-RTC and RTJ-06-1988, March 31, 2006, 486 SCRA 66. 264 Refer to the copy of Probation Court form for use as a guide in drafting the Order 265 Id. J-80
A. Sample Probation Court Forms266
Checklist II Receipt of Post-Sentence Investigation Report to Issuance of Probation Order 1. Examine and consider the probation officer’s post-sentence investigation report upon receipt thereof,267 keeping in mind the criteria for placing an offender on probation established in Sec. 8 of the Probation Law, to wit: that in determining whether an offender may be placed on probation, the court shall consider all informations relative to the character, antecedents, environment; mental and physical conditions of the offender, and available institutional and community resources; and that probation shall be denied if the court finds that: (a) the offender is in need of correctional treatment that can be provided most effectively by his/her commitment to an institution; or (b) there is an undue risk that during the period of probation, the offender will commit another crime; or (c) probation will depreciate the seriousness of the offense committed. 2. Determine after such examination and consideration of said report whether to deny or grant the application for probation, keeping in mind that the court must resolve the said application not later than fifteen (15) days after receipt of the post-sentence investigation report from the probation officer.268 2.1 If you resolve to deny the probation application, issue Order denying the application, setting forth a concise statement of the reason/s for the denial. 2.2 If you resolve to grant the probation application, issue Order (referred to in the Probation Law as the ―probation order‖)269 266
Sample Forms in the Appendix The post-sentence investigation report must be submitted by the probation officer to the Court within 60 days from receipt of the court’s order to conduct the investigation. 268 An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. Pres. Decree No. 968, Sec. 4, last par., as amended. 269 Pres. Decree No. 968, Sec. 4. 267
granting the application (refer to the attached copy of such order for use as a guide in drafting the probation order), keeping in mind the following particulars required by the governing law, to wit: (a) that the probation order shall contain the following mandatory conditions, namely: (1) that the probationer shall present himself to the probation officer designated to undertake his/her supervision at such place as may be specified in the order within seventy-two (72) hours from receipt of said Order; and (2) that the probationer shall report to the probation officer at least once a month at such time and place as specified by said officer; (b) that the probation officer shall state the period of probation;270 and (c) that the court may impose other conditions, provided the same are related to the rehabilitation of the petitioner and not unduly restrictive of his/her liberty or incompatible with his/her freedom of conscience.271 3. Issue probation order to the accused, at the same time informing him of the consequences of said Order (such as, that the Order does not set aside or otherwise do away with the judgment of conviction and that it merely suspends the execution of the sentence to give way to the probation) and explaining that upon his/her failure to comply with any of the conditions prescribed in the Order or his/her commission of another offense, he shall serve the penalty imposed in the said judgment.272
Checklist III Incidents During Probation I. Modification of Probation Condition/s or Period 1. Upon receipt of the application for modification of the condition/s and/or period of probation, direct the clerk of court to set the application for hearing, with due notice to the probationer and the probation officer, keeping in mind that the governing law273 provides that during the probation period, the court may, upon application of either the probationer or the probation officer, revise or modify the conditions or period of probation and that both probationer and probation officer must be given an opportunity to be heard thereon.
Id., Secs. 10 and 14. Id., Sec. 10 (k). 272 Id., Sec. 11. 273 Id., Sec. 12, par. 1. 271
2. Hear the probationer and the probation officer on the application on the date and hour set for hearing thereof. 3. If you find the application to be unmeritorious, issue Order denying it, with due notice to the probationer and the probation officer. 4. If you find the application to be meritorious, issue Order granting it274 with due notice to the probationer and the probation officer.
II. Revocation of Probation 1. On your own initiative or upon receipt of proper application, issue Order setting forth the violation of the probation conditions charged against the probationer and directing the issuance of a warrant for his/her arrest, since the governing law275 provides pertinently that at any time during probation, the court may issue a warrant for the arrest of the probationer for any serious violation of the probation conditions; that once arrested, the probationer shall immediately be brought before the court for a hearing of the violation charged; that the defendant may be admitted to bail pending such hearing; and that the provisions regarding release on bail of persons charged with a crime shall be applicable to the probationer in such case; 2. Upon receipt of the return on the probationer’s arrest and detention pursuant to said warrant, direct the clerk of court to set the charge against the probationer for hearing, with due notice to the probationer and the probation officer; 3. Conduct the hearing as scheduled, keeping in mind that the governing law276 provides pertinently that the hearing shall be summary in nature; that the court shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence, but may inform itself of all the facts which are material and relevant to ascertain the veracity of the charge; that the probationer shall have the right to be informed of the violation charged and to adduce evidence in his/her favor; and, that the State shall be represented by a prosecuting officer in any contested hearing. 4. If the violation is established, issue Order either revoking the probation or continuing the probation and modifying the conditions 274
Id., Sec. 12, 2 par. st Id., Sec. 13, 1 par. 276 nd Id., Sec. 18, 2 par. 275
thereof, keeping in mind that the governing law277 provides pertinently that if the grant of probation is revoked, the court shall order the probationer to serve the sentence originally imposed and that an Order revoking the grant of probation or modifying the terms and conditions thereof shall not be appealable.278 5. If the grant of probation is revoked, issue Order of commitment or final sentence. 6. If the violation is not established, issue Order dismissing the charge and continuing the probation under the same terms and conditions of the probation order, with corresponding directive for the probationer’s immediate release from custody or the cancellation of his/her bail bond, as the case may be.
III. Transfer of Control over Probationer 1. Upon receipt of application therefor, examine and determine if the same is meritorious or not. 2. If meritorious, issue Order granting the application, keeping in mind that the governing law279 provides pertinently that whenever a probationer is permitted to reside in a place under the jurisdiction of another court, control over him shall be transferred to the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of that place280 and, in such case, a copy of the probation order, the post-sentence investigation report, and other pertinent records shall be furnished the said Executive Judge, and thereafter, the said Executive Judge shall have the power with respect to the probationer that was previously possessed by the court which granted the probation to the defendant.
IV. Termination of Probation 1. After the period of probation and upon consideration of the corresponding report and recommendation of the probation order, issue Order directing the final discharge of the probationer if you find that he has fulfilled the terms and conditions of his/her 277
Id., Sec. 13, last par., 2 par. Baclayon v. Mutia, G.R. No. 59298, April 30, 1984, 129 SCRA 148; Bala v. Martinez, G.R. No. 67301, January 29, 1990, 181 SCRA 459; Soriano v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 128938, June 4, 2004, 431 SCRA 6. 279 nd Pres. Decree No. 968, Sec. 13, 2 par. 280 Bala v. Martinez, supra note 278. 278
probation, keeping in mind that the governing law281 provides pertinently that upon the issuance of such Order, the case is deemed terminated; that the final discharge of the probationer shall operate to restore to him all civil rights lost or suspended as a result of his/her conviction and to fully discharge his/her liability for any fine imposed as to the offense for which probation was granted and that the probationer and the probation officer shall each be furnished a copy of such order.282
Pres. Decree No. 968, Sec. 16. Bala v. Martinez, supra note 278. J-85
XI. APPEAL283 No notice of appeal is necessary in cases where the Regional Trial Court imposed the death penalty. The Court of Appeals shall automatically review the judgment as provided in Section 10 of this Rule. Except as provided in the last paragraph of section 13, Rule 124, all other appeals to the Supreme Court shall be by petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. A. Cases where death penalty is imposed In cases where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment, or death, the Court now provides for a review by the Court of Appeals before the case is elevated to the Supreme Court. The Court explained in People v. Mateo284 that a prior determination by the Court of Appeals of the factual issues would minimize the possibility of an error of judgment. If the Court of Appeals should affirm the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, it could then render judgment imposing the corresponding penalty as the circumstances so warrant, refrain from entering judgment and elevate the entire records of the case to the Supreme Court for its final disposition.
See also RULES OF COURT, Rule 122, Secs. 1-3. G.R. No. 147678-87, July 7, 2004, 433 SCRA 640. J-86
XII. ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS An application for search warrant shall be filed with the following: a) Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed. b) For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within the judicial region where the crime was committed if the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced. However, if the criminal action has already been filed, the application shall only be made in the court where the criminal action is pending.285
A. Rule on Forum Shopping A search warrant was quashed because the applicant had been guilty of forum shopping as the applicant sought the search warrant from a Manila Regional Trial Court after denial by the courts of Pampanga.286 The Rules of Court, however, requires only the initiatory pleading to be accompanied with a certificate of non-forum shopping, omitting any mention of ―applications‖ as in Supreme Court Circular No. 04-94. Hence, the absence of such certification will not result in the dismissal of the application for search warrant.287 1. Seizure of Personal Property A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of personal property: (a) Subject of the offense; (b) Stolen or embezzled and other proceeds, or fruits of the offense; or (c) Used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.288
RULES OF COURT, Rule 126, Sec. 2. Washington Distillers v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 118151, August 22, 1996, 260 SCRA 821. 287 Savage v. Taypin, G.R. No. 134217, May 11, 2000, 331 SCRA 697. 288 RULES OF COURT, Rule 126, Sec. 3. 286
2. Requisites for issuance A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.289 3. Examination of Complaint The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted.290
B. Meaning of Probable Cause The issuance of a search warrant is justified only upon a finding of probable cause.291 Probable cause for a search warrant is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.292
C. Basis of Probable Cause; Personal Knowledge This probable cause must be shown to be within the personal knowledge of the complainant or the witnesses he may produce, and not based on mere hearsay,293 in order to convince the judge, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause.294 289
Id., Sec. 4. Id., Sec. 5. 291 People v. Canton, G.R. No. 148825, December 27, 2002, 394 SCRA 478. 292 Burgos, Sr. v. Chief of Staff, G.R. No. 64261, December 26, 1984, 133 SCRA 815; Quintero v. National Bureau of Investigation, G.R. No. 35149, June 23, 1988, 162 SCRA 483; Pendon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 84873, November 16, 1990, 191 SCRA 429; Manalili v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 113447, October 9, 1997, 280 SCRA 400; People v. Montilla, G.R. No. 123872, January 30, 1998, 285 SCRA 703; Abuan v. People, G.R. No. 168773, October 27, 2006, 505 SCRA 822. 293 Prudente v. Dayrit, G. R. No. 82870, December 14, 1989, 180 SCRA 69; Betoy, Sr. v. Coliflores, A.M. No. MTJ-05-1608, February 28, 2006, 483 SCRA 444-446. 294 Alvarez v. Court of First Instance of Tayabas, 64 Phil. 33 (1937); Burgos, Sr. v. Chief of Staff, 290
1. Meaning of knowledge; test is liability for perjury The true test of sufficiency of a deposition or affidavit to warrant issuance of a search warrant is whether it has been drawn in a manner that perjury could be charged thereon and the affiant be held liable for damage caused. The oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the applicant for search warrant, and/or his/her witnesses, not of the facts merely reported by a person whom one considers to be reliable.295 2. Insufficiency of Affidavits Mere affidavits of the complainant and his/her witnesses are not sufficient. The examining Judge has to take depositions in writing of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and to attach them to the record. Such written deposition is necessary in order that the Judge may be able to properly determine the existence or non-existence of the probable cause, to hold liable for perjury the person giving it, if it will be found later that his/her declarations are false.296 Search warrants are not issued on loose, vague or doubtful basis or fact, nor on mere suspicion or belief. The facts recited in an affidavit supporting the application for a search warrant must be stated with sufficient definiteness, so that if they are false, perjury may be charged against assigned on the affiant. Hence, affidavits which go no further than to allege conclusions of law, or of fact, are insufficient.297 Equally insufficient as a basis for the determination of probable cause is a statement contained in a joint affidavit ―that the evidence gathered and collated by our unit clearly shows that the premises abovementioned and the articles and things above-described were used and are continuously being used for subversive activities in conspiracy with and to promote the objective of, illegal organizations such as the Light-A-Fire Movement, Movement for Free Philippines, and April 6 Movement.‖
supra note 292; 20 Century Fox Film Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 76649-51, August 19, 1988, 164 SCRA 655; Silva v. Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental, G.R. No. 81756, October 21, 1991, 203 SCRA 140; People v. Salanguit, G.R. Nos. 133254-55, April 19, 2001, 356 SCRA 695-696. 295 Alvarez v. Court of First Instance, supra note 294; People v. Tee, G. R. No. 140546-47, January 20, 2003, 395 SCRA 419. 296 Mata v. Bayona, G.R. No. 50720, March 26, 1984, 128 SCRA 388. 297 Quintero v. National Bureau of Investigation, supra note 292; Burgos, Sr. v. Chief of Staff, supra note 292; People v. Mascariñas, G.R. No. 144034, May 28, 2002, 382 SCRA 349. J-89
3. Illustrative case298 In his application for search warrant, P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw stated that ―he has been informed‖ that Nemesio Prudente ―has in his control and possession‖ the firearms and explosives described therein, and that he ―has verified the report and found it to be a fact.‖ On the other hand, in his supporting deposition, P/Lt. Florencio C. Angeles declared that, as a result of their continuous surveillance for several days, they gathered information from verified sources that the holders of the said firearms and explosives are not licensed to possess them. In other words, the applicant and his witness had no personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances which became the basis for issuing the questioned search warrant, but acquired knowledge thereof only through information from other sources or persons. While it is true that in his application for search warrant, applicant P/Major Dimagmaliw stated that he verified the information he had earlier received that petitioner had, in his possession and custody, the firearms and explosives described in the application, and that he found it to be a fact, yet there is nothing in the record to show or indicate how and when said applicant verified the earlier information acquired by him as to justify his conclusion that he found such information to be a fact. He might have clarified this point if there had been searching questions and answers, but there were none. In fact, the records yield no questions and answers, whether searching or not, vis-à-vis the said applicant. What the records show is the deposition of witness, P/Lt. Angeles, as the only support to P/Major Dimagmaliw’s application, and the said deposition is based on hearsay. For it avers that they (presumably, the police authorities) had conducted continuous surveillance for several days of the suspected premises and, as a result thereof, they ―gathered information from verified sources‖ that the holders of the subject firearms and explosives are not licensed to possess them. Evidently, the allegations contained in the application of P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw and the declaration of P/Lt Florencio C. Angeles in his deposition were insufficient basis for the issuance of a valid search warrant. As held in the Prudente case: The oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause. 298
Id., Prudente v. Dayrit. J-90
4. Factors that may be considered in the determination of probable cause: time of application in relation to alleged offense considered in determination of probable cause. The Supreme Court observed: It has likewise been observed that the offenses allegedly took place from 1961 to 1964, and the application for search warrant was made on October 27, 1965. The time of the application is so far remote in time as to make the probable cause of doubtful veracity and the warrant vitally defective. Thus, Mr. Joseph Varon, an eminent authority on Searches, Seizures and Immunities, has this to say on this point: (1) x x x (2) Such statement as to the time of the alleged offense must be clear and definite and must not be too remote from the time of the making of the affidavit and issuance of the search warrant. (3) There is no rigid rule for determining whether the stated time of observation of the offense is too remote from the time when the affidavit is made or the search warrant issued but, generally speaking, a lapse of time of less than three weeks will be held not to invalidate the search warrant, while a lapse of four weeks will be held to be so. A good and practical rule of thumb to measure the nearness of time given in the affidavit as to the date of the alleged offense, and the time of making the affidavit is thus expressed: The nearer the time at which the observation of the offense is alleged to have been made, the more reasonable the conclusion of establishment of probable cause.299 (Italics ours.) The Supreme Court observed that had the respondent judge been more cautious in issuing the questioned search warrants he would have wondered and, therefore, asked the affiant why the said incident was reported only on May 31, 1972 when he allegedly witnessed it on May 29, 1972.300
Asian Surety and Insurance Co. v. Herrera, G.R. No. 25232, December 20, 1973, 54 SCRA 312. 300 Quintero v. NBI, supra note 292. J-91
5. Specific offense must be charged and not violations of codes . Indeed, the same were issued upon applications stating that the natural and juridical persons therein named had committed a "violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and Revised Penal Code." In other words, no specific offense had been alleged in said applications. The averments thereof with respect to the offense committed were abstract. As a consequence, it was impossible for the judges who issued the warrants to have found the existence of probable cause, for the same presupposes the introduction of competent proof that the party against whom it is sought has performed particular acts, or committed specific omissions, violating a given provision of our criminal laws. As a matter of fact, the applications involved in this case do not allege any specific acts performed by herein petitioners. It would be a legal heresy, of the highest order, to convict anybody of a "violation of Central Bank Laws, Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue (Code) and Revised Penal Code," — as alleged in the aforementioned applications — without reference to any determinate provision of said laws or codes.301 6. The need for searching questions and answers by the judge Asking of leading questions to the deponent in an application for search warrant, and conducting of examination in a general manner, would not satisfy the requirements for issuance of a valid search warrant.302 7. Requisite of particular description of things to be seized The description ―is required to be specific only in so far as the circumstances will ordinarily allow‖ and ―where by the nature of the goods to be seized, their descriptions must rather be general, as this would mean that no warrant would issue.‖303 Thus, the description ―fraudulent books, invoices and records‖ was found sufficient.304 So also was the description ―books, documents, receipts, lists, chits and other papers used by him in connection with his/her activities as 301
Stonehill v. Diokno, G.R. No. 9550, June 19, 1967, 20 SCRA 383. Nolasco v. Paño, G.R. No. 69803, October 8, 1985, 139 SCRA 132; Quintero v. NBI, supra note 292; Silva v. Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental, supra note 293. 303 People v. Rubio, 57 Phil. 384 (1932); Al-Ghoul, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 126859, September 4, 2001, 364 SCRA 372; People v. Tee, G.R. Nos. 140546-47, January 20, 2003, 395 SCRA 419. 304 People v. Rubio, supra note 303. 302
moneylender, charging a usurious rate of interest, in violation of the law.‖305 Justifying the sufficiency of the later description, the Court said: Taking into consideration the nature of the articles so described, it is clear that no other more adequate and detailed description could have been given, particularly because it is difficult to give a particular description of the contents thereof. The description so made substantially complies with the legal provisions because the officer of the law who executed the warrant was thereby placed in a position enabling him to identify the articles, which he did.306 In one case, the Supreme Court observed: The grave violation of the Constitution made in the application for the contested search warrants was compounded by the description therein made of the effects to be searched for and seized, to wit: Books of accounts, financial records, vouchers, journals, correspondence, receipts, ledgers, portfolios, credit journals, typewriters, and other documents and/or papers showing all business transactions, including disbursement receipts, balance sheets and related profit and loss statements. Thus, the warrants authorized the search for and seizure of records pertaining to all business transactions of petitioners herein, regardless of whether the transactions were legal or illegal. The warrants sanctioned the seizure of all records of the petitioners and the aforementioned corporations, whatever their nature, thus, openly contravening the explicit command of our Bill of Rights — that the things to be seized be particularly described — as well as tending to defeat its major objective: the elimination of general warrants.307 8. Tests to Determine Particularity A search warrant may be said to particularly describe the things to be seized: 1) When the description therein is as specific as the circumstances will ordinarily allow;308 or 305
Roan v. Gonzales, G.R. No. 71410 November 25, 1986,145 SCRA 697; Corro v. Lising, G.R. No. 69899 July 15, 1985, 137 SCRA 541; Burgos, Sr. v. Chief of Staff, supra note 292; Alvarez v. Court of First Instance of Tayabas, supra note 293. 306 Id. 307 Stonehill v. Diokno, G.R. No. L-23372. June 14, 1967, 126 Phil. 738 308 People v. Rubio, supra note 301; Al-Ghoul, et al. v. Court of Appeals et al., supra note 301. J-93
2) When the description expresses a conclusion of fact – not of law by which the warrant officer may be guided in making the search and seizure;309 or 3) When the things described are limited to those which bear direct relation to the offense for which the warrant is being issued.310 Thus, if the articles desired to be seized have any direct relation to an offense committed, the applicant must necessarily have some evidence, other than those articles, to prove the said offense; and the articles subject of search and seizure should come in handy merely to strengthen such evidence.311 In this event, the description contained in the disputed warrant should have mentioned, at least, the dates, amounts, persons, and other pertinent data regarding the receipts of payments, certificates of stocks and securities, contracts, promissory notes, deeds of sale, messages and communication, checks, bank deposits and withdrawals, records of foreign remittances, among others, enumerated in the warrant.312 In a case313 the search warrant which authorized the seizure of ―all printing equipment, papraphernalia, etc used or connected with the printing of the WE FORUM newspaper, and any and all documents, letters related thereto‖, was voided as an illegal general warrant as shown by the use of ―any and all‖
9. Description of place to be seized It does not suffice, for a search warrant to be deemed valid, that it be based on probable cause, personally determined by the judge. It is essential, too, that it particularly describes the place to be searched, the manifest intention being that the search be confined strictly to the place also described.314
Id., Dissent of J. Abad Santos. RULES OF COURT, Rule 126, Sec. 2. 311 Uy and Unifish Packing Corporation v. Bureau of Internal Revenue, et al., G.R. No. 129651, October 20, 2000, 344 SCRA 36. 312 Bache v. Ruiz, G.R. No. 32409, February 27, 1971, 37 SCRA 823; Columbia Pictures v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 111267, September 20, 1996, 262 SCRA 219. 313 Burgos, Sr. v. Chief of Staff, supra note 292. 314 People v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126379, June 26, 1998, 291 SCRA 400; Garaygay v. People, G.R. No. 135503, July 6, 2000, 335 SCRA 272. 310
10. Determination of Whether Search Warrant Describes Premises with Particularity The principle does not apply where there is no ambiguity on the face of the search warrant as to the description of the place to be searched. The place to be searched as set out in the warrant cannot be amplified or modified by the officer’s own personal knowledge of the premises, or the evidence they adduced in support of their application for the warrant. x x x The particularization of the description of the place to be searched may properly be done only by the judge, and only in the warrant itself; it cannot be left to the discretion of the police officers conducting the search.315
People v. Court of Appeals, supra note 314; People v. Francisco, G.R. No. 129035, August 22, 2002, 387 SCRA 575-576. J-95
XIII. PROVISIONAL REMEDIES A. Availability of Provisional Remedies The provisional remedies in civil actions, insofar as they are applicable, may be availed of in connection with the civil action deemed instituted with the criminal action.316 B. Attachment When the civil action is properly instituted in the criminal action as provided in Rule 111, the offended party may have the property of the accused attached as security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered from the accused in the following cases: (a) When the accused is about to abscond from the Philippines; (b) When the criminal action is based on a claim for money or property embezzled or fraudulently misapplied or converted to the use of the accused who is a public officer, officer of a corporation, attorney, factor, broker, agent or clerk, in the course of his employment as such, or by any other person in a fiduciary capacity, or for a willful violation of duty; (c) When the accused has concealed, removed, or disposed of his property, or is about to do so; and (d) When the accused resides outside the Philippines.317
RULES OF COURT, Rule 127, Sec. 1. Id., Sec. 2. J-96
XIV. PROCEDURE IN SANDIGANBAYAN A. Stages in Criminal Cases 1. Filing of the Information after preliminary investigation conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman. 2. Judicial determination of probable cause to be determined by the Justices concerned. 2.1. If the Court finds the existence of probable cause, the Court shall cause the issuance of Warrant of Arrest and Hold-Departure Order against the accused, the first thru the Chairman only, the second by Division – that is, three (3) Justices signing the order; 2.2. In some cases, the Court directs the Office of the Clerk of Court to schedule a hearing on the Information notifying only the prosecution (Anent said hearing, the Court may call the attention of the prosecution and to direct it to file a necessary pleading why the case should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, why the Information should not be quashed, why the accused should not be granted bail if the Office of the Ombudsman recommends no bail, but the offense as seen by the Court is bailable); 2.3. Possible Motion to Amend Information filed by the prosecution. 3. Arrest/Voluntary Surrender of the accused 4. Posting of Bail 4.1. Possible motion for re-investigation filed by the accused, alleging that accused was deprived of his/her right to file a motion for reconsideration before the Office of the Ombudsman on the latter’s resolution/decision, as mandated by Section 27 of the Ombudsman Act of 1989. 5. Arraignment and plea 5.1. Possible filing of a Motion to Suspend accused Pendente Lite by the prosecution. 5.2. Possible Motion to Travel Abroad filed by the accused. 5.2.1. The court will require certain conditions in the event said motion is granted, such as posting of additional travel cash bond, J-97
conformity of the bondsmen, if any, etc. 5.2.2. In some cases where accused files a Motion to Travel Abroad before his/her arraignment, the Court, during the hearing on the said Motion, shall conduct/require a conditional arraignment of the accused if the case is pending re-investigation, so that in the event the accused fails/refuses to return in the country, the court may opt to conduct a trial in absentia. 5.2.3. Possible Motion for Consolidation, if applicable. 6. Pre-trial 6.1. Submission of Joint Stipulation of Facts. 6.2. Issuance of Pre-Trial Inquest (Sec. 6, Rule VI) 6.3. Pre-Trial Order reciting the actions and/or proceedings taken and the alteration of presentation of evidence, if warranted. 7. Trial 7.1. Prosecution presents evidence and rests case. 7.2. Possible filing of Demurrer to Evidence/Motion to Dismiss. 7.3. Presentation of defense evidence if Demurrer to Evidence/Motion to Dismiss is denied. 8. Judgment (Decision) 9. New Trial or Reconsideration 10. Appeal – Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45
B. Procedure in Appealed Cases (Anti-Graft cases decided by the RTC involving minor officials)318 1. Mode of Appeal Petition For Review (not Notice of Appeal), pursuant to Sec. 4 (b) Presidential Decree No. 1606 and Sec. 39, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. 2. Stages in Appeals a. Transmittal of the entire record, exhibits, stenographic notes, etc. by the court a quo to the Dockets and Records Section; b. Case shall be entered into the Sandiganbayan Docket and raffled off to the proper Division. c. The Court, after ascertaining the completeness of all the evidence, oral and documentary, attached to the record, shall require the appellant to file with the Court, within forty-five (45) days from receipt of said notice, seven (7) copies of his/her legibly typewritten, mimeographed or printed brief, with proof of service of two (2) copies thereof upon the appellee.319 d. Within forty-five (45) days from receipt of the appellant’s brief, the appellee shall file with the court seven (7) copies of his/her brief with the Court, which shall be accompanied by proof of service of two (2) copies thereof upon the appellant.320 d.1. Extension of Time for filing briefs will not be allowed, except for good and sufficient cause, and only if the motion for extension is filed before the expiration of the time sought to be extended.321 d.2. Within twenty (20) days from receipt of the appellee’s brief, the appellant may file a reply brief answering points in the appellee’s brief not covered in his/her main brief.322 d.3. Possible filing of a Motion for New Trial e. Judgment e.1. Possible Motion for Reconsideration f. Appeal to the Supreme Court, through Petition for Review on certiorari under Rule 45. 318
Rep. Act No. 8249, Sec. 4. RULES OF COURT, Rule 44, Sec. 7. 320 Id., Sec. 8. 321 Id., Sec. 5. 322 Id., Sec. 9. 319