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 Inquest proceedings: If the person is arrested in the act of committing the crime (“flagrante delicto”), the fiscal conducts an inquest, not a preliminary investigation. Charges must be filed within 18, 24, 36 hours depending on the gravity of the crime as provided under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code (Delay in the delivery of detained persons).
If no charges are filed within the prescribed period, the fiscal or the arresting police officers can be charged with violation of Article 125 RPC. If some people you know have been arrested by the police, make sure that they read and understand completely what they may be asked to sign. They might be signing a waiver of Article 125, in which case they can be detained beyond the prescribed periods.
 If a person has been charged before the fiscal’s office, he or she has the right to file a counter-charge. He or she must draft a complaint-affidavit, fill out an IS (Investigation Slip) form, indicating on it that it has a related case, the name of the fiscal handling the case, etc. The complaint will then be sent not to another fiscal but to the same fiscal handling the original charge. The investigating fiscal can choose what to believe, either the original charge filed or the counter-charge. He may also file both complaints in court.
 When following up a complaint with the fiscal’s office or the administrative office, you must know and remember the IS number. Once the complaint is filed in court, what you should take note of is no longer the IS number but the Criminal Case number.
 Not all criminal complaints are required to undergo preliminary investigation (Section 9, Rule 112).
 Previously, there were no filing fees when criminal complaints were filed with the fiscal’s office. Now, there are prescribed filing fees.
 The offended party can file his complaint with the police investigators. The police will then endorse his complaint and all the relevant records to the fiscal's office.
 Besides the fiscal, there are other officers authorized to conduct a preliminary investigation (Section 2, Rule 112).
Preliminary investigation (Rule 112, The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure)
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 7 of this Rule, a preliminary investigation is required to be conducted before the filing of a compliant 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.
Sec. 2. Officers authorized to conduct preliminary investigations. – The following may conduct preliminary investigations:
(a) Provincial or City Prosecutors and their assistants;
(b) Judges of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (repealed by 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 Court);
(c) National and Regional State Prosecutors; and
(d) Other officers as may be authorized by law.
Their authority to conduct preliminary investigations shall include all crimes cognizable by the proper court in their respective territorial jurisdictions.
Sec. 3. Procedure.– The preliminary investigation shall be conducted in the following manner:
(a) The complaint shall state the address of the respondent and shall be accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as well as other supporting documents to establish probable cause. They shall be in such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two (2) copies for the official file. The affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to before any prosecutor or government official authorized to administer oath, or, in their absence or unavailability, before a notary public, each of whom must certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood their affidavits.
(b) Within ten (10) days after the filing of the complaint, the investigating officer shall either dismiss it if he finds no ground to continue with the investigation, or issue a subpoena to the respondent attaching to it a copy of the complaint and its supporting affidavits and documents.
The respondent shall have the right to examine the evidence submitted by the complainant which he may not have been furnished and to copy them at his expense. If the evidence is voluminous, the complainant may be required to specify those which he intends to present against the respondent, and these shall be made available for examination or copying by the respondent at his expense.
Objects as evidence need not be furnished a party but shall be made available for examination, copying, or photographing at the expense of the requesting party.
(c) Within ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena with the complaint and supporting affidavits and documents, the respondent shall submit his counter-affidavit and that of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied upon for his defense. The counter-affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to and certified as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, with copies thereof furnished by him to the complainant. The respondent shall not be allowed to file a motion to dismiss in lieu of a counter-affidavit.
(d) If the respondent cannot be subpoenaed, or if subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day period, the investigating office shall resolve the complaint based on the evidence presented by the complainant.
(e) The investigating officer may set a hearing if there are facts and issues to be clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be present at the hearing but without the right to examine or cross-examine. They may, however, submit to the investigating officer questions which may be asked to the party or witness concerned.
The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days from submission of the counter-affidavits and other documents or from the expiration of the period for their submission. It shall be terminated within five (5) days.
(f) Within ten (10) days after the investigation, the investigating officer shall determine whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial.
Sec. 4. Resolution of investigating prosecutor and its review. – If the investigating prosecutor finds cause to hold the respondent for trial, he shall prepare the resolution and information. He shall certify under oath in the information that he, or as shown by the record, an authorized officer, has personally examined the complainant and his witnesses; that there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof; that the accused was informed of the complaint and of the evidence submitted against him; and that he was given an opportunity to submit controverting evidence. Otherwise, he shall recommend the dismissal of the complaint.
Within five (5) days from his resolution, he shall forward the record of the case to the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, or to the Ombudsman or his deputy in cases of offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. They shall act on the resolution within ten (10) days from their receipt thereof and shall immediately inform the parties of such action.
No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating prosecutor without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy.
Where the investigating prosecutor recommends the dismissal of the complaint but his recommendation is disapproved by the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy on the ground that a probable cause exists, the latter may, by himself, file the information against the respondent, or direct another assistant prosecutor or state prosecutor to do so without conducting another preliminary investigation.
If upon petition by a proper party under such rules as the Department of Justice may prescribe or motu propio, the Secretary of Justice reverses or modifies the resolution of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, he shall direct the prosecutor concerned either to file the corresponding information without conducting anther preliminary investigation, or to dismiss or move for dismissal of the complaint or information with notice to the parties. The same rule shall apply in preliminary investigations conducted by the officers of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Sec. 5. Resolution of investigating judge and its review. – Within ten (10) days after the preliminary investigation, the investigating judge shall transmit the resolution of the case to the provincial or city prosecutor, or to the Ombudsman or his deputy in cases of offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, for appropriate action. The resolution shall state the findings of facts and the law supporting his action, together with the record of the case which shall include: (a) the warrant, if the arrest is by virtue of a warrant; (b) the affidavits, counter-affidavits and other supporting evidence of the parties; (c) the undertaking or bail of the accused and the order for his release; (d) the transcripts of the proceedings during the preliminary investigation; and (e) the order of cancellation of his bail bond, if the resolution is for the dismissal of the complaint.
Within thirty (30) days from receipt of the records, the provincial or city prosecutor, or the Ombudsman or his deputy, as the case may be, shall review the resolution of the investigating judge on the existence of probable cause. Their ruling shall expressly and clearly state the facts and the law on which it is based and the parties shall be furnished with copies thereof. They shall order the release of an accused who is detained if no probable cause is found against him.
Sec. 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. – (a) By the Regional Trial Court. – Within ten (10) days from the filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused has already been arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the preliminary investigation or when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five (5) days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days from the filing of the complaint of information.
(b) By the Municipal Trial Court. – When required pursuant to the second paragraph of section of this Rule, the preliminary investigation of cases falling under the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court may be conducted by either the judge or the prosecutor. When 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. When the investigation is conducted by the judge himself, he shall follow the procedure provided in section 3 of this Rule. If his findings and recommendations are affirmed by the provincial or city prosecutor, or by the Ombudsman or his deputy, and the corresponding information is filed, he shall issue a warrant of arrest. However, without waiting for the conclusion of the investigation, the judge may issue a warrant of arrest if he finds after an examination in writing and under oath of the complainant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers, that a probable cause exists and that there is a necessity of placing the respondent under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.
(c) When warrant of arrest not necessary. – A warrant of arrest shall not issue if the accused is already under detention pursuant to a warrant issued by the municipal trial court in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, or if the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule or is for an offense penalized by fine only. The court shall them proceed in the exercise of its original jurisdiction.
Sec. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without warrant. – When a person is lawfully arrested without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the complaint or information may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an inquest has been conducted in accordance with existing rules. In the absence or unavailability of an inquest prosecutor, the complaint may be filed by the offended party or a peace officer directly with the proper court on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or arresting officer or person.
Before the complaint or information is filed, the person arrested may ask for a preliminary investigation in accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a waiver of the provision of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in the presence of his counsel. Notwithstanding the waiver, he may apply for bail and the investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its inception.
After the filing of the complaint or information in court without a preliminary investigation, the accused may, within five (5) days from the time he learns of its filing, ask for a preliminary investigation with the same right to adduce evidence in his defense as provided in this Rule.
Sec. 8. Records. – (a) Records supporting the information or complaint. – An information or complaint filed in court shall be supported by the affidavits and counter-affidavits of the parties and their witnesses, together with the other supporting evidence and the resolution on the case.
(b) Record of preliminary investigation. – The record of the preliminary investigation, whether conducted by a judge or a prosecutor, shall not form part of the record of the case. However, the court, on its own initiative or on motion of any party, may order the production of the record or any of its part when necessary in the resolution of the case or any incident therein, or when it is to be introduced as an evidence in the case by the requesting party.
Sec. 9. Cases not requiring a preliminary investigation nor covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure. – (a) If filed with the prosecutor. – If the complaint is filed directly with the prosecutor involving an offense punishable by imprisonment of less than four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day, the procedure outlined in section 3(a) of this Rule shall be observed. The prosecutor shall act on the complaint based on the affidavits and other supporting documents submitted by the complainant within ten (10) days from its filing.
(b) If filed with the Municipal Trial Court. – If the complaint or information is filed with the Municipal Trial Court or Municipal Circuit Trial Court for an offense covered by this section, the procedure in section 3 (a) of this Rule shall be observed. 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, he shall dismiss the same. He may, however, require the submission of additional evidence, within ten (10) days from notice, to determine further the existence of probable cause. If the judge still finds no probable cause despite the additional evidence, he shall, within ten (10) days from its submission or expiration of said period, dismiss the case. When he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused had already been arrested, and hold him for trial. However, if the judge is satisfied that there is no necessity for placing the accused under custody, he may issue summons instead of a warrant of arrest.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Notes:  Please surf to the complete list of available PDFs on legal procedures in criminal and civil cases.