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People v.

Beriales
G.R. No. L-39962
Concepcion JR., J.
Law 124

Appeal from CFI decision in a criminal case, convicting the accused-appellants Beriales, Custodio and
Custodio of murder
Facts
-City fiscal filed information charging accused-appellants with murder
-Nov. 26 hearing: appellants counsel moved for reinvestigation. CFIs order granted it:
arraignment and trial postponed until Dec. 5 and 6, if and when fiscal shall recommend that case
shall proceed after reinvestigation
-Dec. 3: TC postponed hearing to Dec. 17 and 18 in view of City Fiscals motion for deferment until
termination of reinvestigation
-Dec. 6: TC cancelled hearings on Dec. 17 and 18, and reset arraignment and trial to Dec. 10 and 11
-Dec. 10 hearing: appellants counsel manifested that pursuant to his approval of motion for
reinvestigation, City Fiscal had set reinvestigation for Dec. 12
-But CFI issued order setting the hearing on Dec. 11. Appellants counsel reiterated that since City Fiscal
had already ordered reinvestigation on Dec. 12, reinvestigation should first be finished before any trial
should take place.
-TC, relying on the Constitutional mandate of speedy disposition of cases, rescheduled hearing to Dec.
13.
-Special Counsel, in representation of City Fiscal, manifested that private prosecutor be authorized to
conduct case for prosecution.
-Dec. 13 hearing: appellants counsel asked court to wait for City Fiscal to appear since reinvestigation
had already been terminated. But TC insisted in arraigning appellants. They declined to plead because the
Fiscal is not yet around.
-Appellants counsel reiterated that trial could not proceed without the fiscal and his reinvestigation
report. But TC ordered presentation of evidence by private prosecutor since he had been previously
authorized by City Fiscal to handle case.
After direct examination of witnesses presented by private prosecutor, TC asked counsel for defense if he
desired to cross-examine witnesses. He reiterated that they would not go to trial until City Fiscal shall
have submitted result of reinvestigation. Court ruled that such manifestation constituted waiver of
appellants to cross-examine witnesses.

-Private prosecutor rested case, and court called for evidence of the defense. Appellants counsel
reiterated his demand. Court considered case submitted for decision.
-Appellants counsel manifested that accused were not in conformity with decision because they did not
agree to the trial of case. Despite this, court promulgated judgment.
-Hence this appeal, claiming that they were denied due process.
Issue
W/N appellants were denied due process? Yes.
Held
-After TC granted appellants' motion for reinvestigation, it is incumbent upon TC to hold in abeyance the
arraignment and trial until the City Fiscal shall have conducted and made his report on the result of
reinvestigation.
-Under RoC, "All criminal actions either commenced by complaint or by information shall be prosecuted
under the direction and control of the fiscal."
-"once a public prosecutor has been entrusted with the investigation of a case and has acted thereon by
filing the necessary information in court he is by law in duty bound to take charge thereof until its finally
termination

-While there is nothing in the rule of practice and procedure in criminal cases which denies the right of
the fiscal, in the exercise of a sound discretion, to turn over the active conduct of the trial to a private
prosecutor, nevertheless, his duty to direct and control the prosecution of criminal cases requires that he
must be present during the proceedings.
-Although the private prosecutor had previously been authorized by the special counsel to present evidence for
prosecution, nevertheless, because of City Fiscals absence at the Dec. 13 hearing, the prosecution of the case
was not under the control of the City Fiscal. Thus the evidence presented by the private prosecutor at said
hearing could not be considered as evidence for the plaintiff, the People. There was, therefore, no evidence
which could have been the basis of the decision of the trial court.