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11/10/2016

G.R.No.168617

TodayisThursday,November10,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
THIRDDIVISION
G.R.No.168617February19,2007
BERNADETTEL.ADASA,petitioner,
vs.
CECILLES.ABALOS,Respondent.
DECISION
CHICONAZARIO,J.:
ThisPetitionforReviewunderRule45oftheRulesofCourt,filedbypetitionerBernadetteL.Adasa,seekstonullify
andsetasidethe21July2004Decision1and10June2005Resolution2oftheCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.SPNo.
76396whichnullifiedtheResolutionsoftheDepartmentofJustice(DOJ).TheResolutionsoftheDOJreversedand
setasidetheResolutionoftheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofIliganCity,whichfoundonreinvestigationprobable
causeagainstpetitioner,anddirectedtheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofIliganCitytowithdrawtheinformationfor
Estafaagainstpetitioner.
TheinstantcaseemanatedfromthetwocomplaintsaffidavitsfiledbyrespondentCecilleS.Abaloson18January
2001beforetheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofIliganCity,againstpetitionerforEstafa.
Respondentallegedinthecomplaintsaffidavitsthatpetitioner,throughdeceit,receivedandencashedtwochecks
issuedinthenameofrespondentwithoutrespondentsknowledgeandconsentandthatdespiterepeateddemands
bythelatter,petitionerfailedandrefusedtopaytheproceedsofthechecks.
On 23 March 2001, petitioner filed a counteraffidavit admitting that she received and encashed the two checks
issuedinfavorofrespondent.
InherSupplementalAffidavitfiledon29March2001,petitioner,however,recantedandallegedinsteadthatitwasa
certainBebieCorreawhoreceivedthetwocheckswhicharethesubjectmatterofthecomplaintsandencashedthe
sameandthatsaidBebieCorrealeftthecountryaftermisappropriatingtheproceedsofthechecks.
On25April2001,aresolutionwasissuedbytheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofIliganCityfindingprobablecause
against petitioner and ordering the filing of two separate Informations for Estafa Thru Falsification of Commercial
DocumentbyaPrivateIndividual,underArticle315inrelationtoArticles171and172oftheRevisedPenalCode,
asamended.
Consequently,twoseparatecriminalcaseswerefiledagainstpetitionerdocketedasCriminalCasesNo.8781and
No.8782,raffledtoBranches4and5,RegionalTrialCourtofIliganCity,respectively.
ThisinstantpetitionpertainsonlytoCriminalCaseNo.8782.
On8June2001,uponmotionofthepetitioner,thetrialcourtinCriminalCaseNo.8782issuedanorderdirecting
theOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofIliganCitytoconductareinvestigation.
After conducting the reinvestigation, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Iligan City issued a resolution dated 30
August2001,affirmingthefindingofprobablecauseagainstpetitioner.
Meanwhile, during her arraignment on 1 October 2001 in Criminal Case No. 8782, petitioner entered an
unconditionalpleaofnotguilty.3
DissatisfiedwiththefindingoftheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofIliganCity,petitionerfiledaPetitionforReview
beforetheDOJon15October2001.

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InaResolutiondated11July2002,theDOJreversedandsetasidethe30August2001resolutionoftheOfficeof
the City Prosecutor of Iligan City and directed the said office to withdraw the Information for Estafa against
petitioner.
The said DOJ resolution prompted the Office of the City Prosecutor of Iligan City to file a "Motion to Withdraw
Information"on25July2002.
On26July2002,respondentfiledamotionforreconsiderationofsaidresolutionoftheDOJarguingthattheDOJ
shouldhavedismissedoutrightthepetitionforreviewsinceSection7ofDOJCircularNo.70mandatesthatwhen
an accused has already been arraigned and the aggrieved party files a petition for review before the DOJ, the
Secretary of Justice cannot, and should not take cognizance of the petition, or even give due course thereto, but
insteaddenyitoutright.RespondentclaimedSection12thereofmentionsarraignmentasoneofthegroundsforthe
dismissalofthepetitionforreviewbeforetheDOJ.
Inaresolutiondated30January2003,theDOJdeniedtheMotionforReconsiderationopiningthatunderSection
12,inrelationtoSection7,ofDOJCircularNo.70,theSecretaryofJusticeisnotprecludedfromentertainingany
appeal taken to him even where the accused has already been arraigned in court. This is due to the permissive
language"may"utilizedinSection12wherebytheSecretaryhasthediscretiontoentertainanappealedresolution
notwithstandingthefactthattheaccusedhasbeenarraigned.
Meanwhile, on 27 February 2003, the trial court issued an order granting petitioners "Motion to Withdraw
Information"anddismissingCriminalCaseNo.8782.Noactionwastakenbyrespondentoranypartyofthecase
fromthesaidorderofdismissal.
Aggrieved by the resolution of the DOJ, respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals.
Respondentraisedthefollowingissuesbeforetheappellatecourt:
1.WhetherornottheDepartmentofJusticegravelyabuseditsdiscretioningivingduecoursetopetitioners
petitionforreviewdespiteitshavingbeenfiledafterthelatterhadalreadybeenarraigned
2.Whetherornotthereisprobablecausethatthecrimeofestafahasbeencommittedandthatpetitioneris
probablyguiltythereof
3. Whether or not the petition before the Court of Appeals has been rendered moot and academic by the
orderoftheRegionalTrialCourtdismissingCriminalCaseNo.8782.
TheCourtofAppealsinaDecisiondated21July2004grantedrespondentspetitionandreversedtheResolutions
oftheDOJdated11July2002and30January2003.
Inresolvingthefirstissue,theCourtofAppeals,relyingheavilyonSection7ofDOJCircularNo.70whichstates"
[i]f an information has been filed in court pursuant to the appealed resolution, the petition shall not be given due
course if the accused had already been arraigned," ruled that since petitioner was arraigned before she filed the
petitionforreviewwiththeDOJ,itwasimperativefortheDOJtodismisssuchpetition.Itaddedthatwhenpetitioner
pleaded to the charge, she was deemed to have waived her right to reinvestigation and right to question any
irregularitythatsurroundsit.
Anentthesecondissue,theCourtofAppealsdeclaredthattheexistenceofprobablecauseorthelackofit,cannot
bedealtwithbyitsincefactualissuesarenotpropersubjectsofaPetitionforCertiorari.
In disposing of the last issue, the Court of Appeals held that the order of the trial court dismissing the subject
criminalcasepursuanttotheassailedresolutionsoftheDOJdidnotrenderthepetitionmootandacademic.Itsaid
thatsincethetrialcourtsorderreliedsolelyontheresolutionsoftheDOJ,saidorderisvoidasitviolatedtherule
whichenjoinsthetrialcourttoassesstheevidencepresentedbeforeitinamotiontodismissandnottorelysolely
ontheprosecutorsavermentthattheSecretaryofJusticehadrecommendedthedismissalofthecase.
DissatisfiedbytheCourtofAppealsruling,petitionerfiledaMotionforReconsiderationsettingforththefollowing
grounds:
1.thattheoveralllanguageofSections7and12ofDepartmentCircularNo.70ispermissiveanddirectory
such that the Secretary of Justice may entertain an appeal despite the fact that the accused had been
arraigned
2. that the contemporaneous construction by the Secretary of Justice should be given great weight and
respect
3.thatSection7oftheCircularappliesonlytoresolutionsrenderedpursuanttoapreliminaryinvestigation,
notonareinvestigation
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4. that the trial courts order of dismissal of the criminal case has rendered the instant petition moot and
academic
5.thatherarraignmentwasnullandvoiditbeingconducteddespiteherprotestationsand
6. that despite her being arraigned, the supposed waiver of her right to preliminary investigation has been
nullifiedorrecalledbyvirtueofthetrialcourtsorderofreinvestigation.4
TheCourtofAppealsstoodfirmbyitsdecision.Thistime,however,ittriedtoconstrueSection7sidebysidewith
Section12ofDOJCircularNo.70andattemptedtoreconcilethesetwoprovisions.Accordingtotheappellatecourt,
thephrase"shallnot"inparagraphtwo,firstsentenceofSection7ofsubjectcircular,towit:
If an information has been filed in court pursuant to the appealed resolution, the petition shall not be given due
courseiftheaccusedhadalreadybeenarraigned.xxx.(Emphasissupplied.)
employedinthecirculardenotesapositiveprohibition.Applyingtheprincipleinstatutoryconstructionthatwhena
statuteorprovisioncontainswordsofpositiveprohibition,suchas"shallnot,""cannot,"or"oughtnot"orwhichis
couched in negative terms importing that the act shall not be done otherwise than designated, that statute or
provisionismandatory,thusrenderingtheprovisionmandatoryitopinedthatthesubjectprovisionsimplymeans
that the Secretary of Justice has no other course of action but to deny or dismiss a petition before him when
arraignmentofanaccusedhadalreadytakenplacepriortothefilingofthepetitionforreview.
Ontheotherhand,readingSection12ofthesamecircularwhichreads:
TheSecretarymayreverse,affirmormodifytheappealedresolution.Hemay,motupropriooruponmotion,dismiss
thepetitionforreviewonanyofthefollowinggrounds:
xxxx
(e)Thattheaccusedhadalreadybeenarraignedwhentheappealwastakenxxx.
theCourtofAppealsopinedthatthepermissiveword"may"inSection12wouldseemtoimplythattheSecretaryof
Justice has discretion to entertain an appeal notwithstanding the fact that the accused has been arraigned. This
provision should not be treated separately, but should be read in relation to Section 7. The two provisions, taken
together, simply meant that when an accused was already arraigned when the aggrieved party files a petition for
review, the Secretary of Justice cannot, and should not take cognizance of the petition, or even give due course
thereto,butinsteaddismissordenyitoutright.Theappellatecourtaddedthattheword"may"inSection12should
bereadas"shall"or"must"sincesuchconstructionisabsolutelynecessarytogiveeffecttotheapparentintention
oftheruleasgatheredfromthecontext.
As to the contemporaneous construction of the Secretary of Justice, the Court of Appeals stated that the same
shouldnotbegivenweightsinceitwaserroneous.
AnentpetitionersargumentthatSection7ofthequestionedcircularappliesonlytooriginalresolutionsthatbrought
aboutthefilingofthecorrespondinginformationsincourt,butnottoresolutionsrenderedpursuanttoamotionfor
reinvestigation, the appellate court simply brushed aside such contention as having no basis in the circular
questioned.
It also rejected petitioners protestation that her arraignment was forced upon her since she failed to present any
evidencetosubstantiatethesame.
It is petitioners contention that despite her being arraigned, the supposed waiver of her right to preliminary
investigation has been nullified by virtue of the trial courts order or reinvestigation. On this score, the Court of
Appealsrebuffedsuchargumentstatingthattherewasno"supposedwaiverofpreliminaryinvestigation"tospeakof
forthereasonthatpetitionerhadactuallyundergonepreliminaryinvestigation.
PetitionerremainedunconvincedwiththeexplanationsoftheCourtofAppeals.
Hence,theinstantpetition.
Again,petitionercontendsthattheDOJcangiveduecoursetoanappealorpetitionforreviewdespiteitshaving
beenfiledaftertheaccusedhadalreadybeenarraigned.Itassertsthatthefactofarraignmentofanaccusedbefore
the filing of an appeal or petition for review before the DOJ "is not at all relevant" as the DOJ can still take
cognizanceoftheappealorPetitionforReviewbeforeit.Insupportofthiscontention,petitionersethersightson
therulingofthisCourtinCrespov.Mogul,5towit:
TherulethereforeinthisjurisdictionisthatonceacomplaintorinformationisfiledinCourtanydispositionofthe
case as to its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court.
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Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is
alreadyinCourthecannotimposehisopiniononthetrialcourt.TheCourtisthebestandsolejudgeonwhattodo
withthecasebeforeit.Thedeterminationofthecaseiswithinitsexclusivejurisdictionandcompetence.Amotionto
dismissthecasefiledbythefiscalshouldbeaddressedtotheCourtwhohastheoptiontograntordenythesame.
Itdoesnotmatterifthisisdonebeforeorafterthearraignmentoftheaccusedorthatthemotionwasfiledaftera
reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the investigation.
(Emphasissupplied.)
Tobolsterherposition,petitionercitesRobertsv.CourtofAppeals,6whichstated:
ThereisnothinginCrespovs.MogulwhichbarstheDOJfromtakingcognizanceofanappeal,bywayofapetition
for review, by an accused in a criminal case from an unfavorable ruling of the investigating prosecutor. It merely
advisedtheDOJto,"asfaraspracticable,refrainfromentertainingapetitionforrevieworappealfromtheactionof
thefiscal,whenthecomplaintorinformationhasalreadybeenfiledinCourt.xxx.(Emphasissupplied.)
PetitionerlikewiseinvokesMarcelov.CourtofAppeals7wherethisCourtdeclared:
NothinginthesaidrulingforeclosesthepowerorauthorityoftheSecretaryofJusticetoreviewresolutionsofhis
subordinates in criminal cases. The Secretary of Justice is only enjoined to refrain as far as practicable from
entertainingapetitionforrevieworappealfromtheactionoftheprosecutoronceacomplaintorinformationisfiled
incourt.Inanycase,thegrantofamotiontodismiss,whichtheprosecutionmayfileaftertheSecretaryofJustice
reversesanappealedresolution,issubjecttothediscretionofthecourt.
TheCourtisunconvinced.
A cursory reading of Crespo v. Mogul reveals that the ruling therein does not concern the issue of an appeal or
petitionforreviewbeforetheDOJafterarraignment.Verily,thepronouncementthereinhastodowiththefilingofa
motiontodismissandthecourtsdiscretiontodenyorgrantthesame.Ascorrectlypointedoutbyrespondent,the
emphasizedportionintheCresporulingisaparceloftheentireparagraphwhichrelatestothedutyandjurisdiction
ofthetrialcourttodetermineforitselfwhetherornottodismissacasebeforeit,andwhichstatesthatsuchduty
comesintoplayregardlessofwhethersuchmotionisfiledbeforeorafterarraignmentanduponwhoseinstructions.
TheallusiontotheSecretaryofJusticeasreviewingtherecordsofinvestigationandgivinginstructionsforthefiling
ofamotiontodismissinthecitedrulingdoesnottakeintoconsiderationofwhethertheappealorpetitionbeforethe
Secretary of Justice was filed after arraignment. Significantly, in the Crespo case, the accused had not yet been
arraignedwhentheappealorpetitionforreviewwasfiledbeforetheDOJ.Undoubtedly,petitionersrelianceonthe
saidcaseismisplaced.
Also unavailing is petitioners invocation of the cases of Roberts v. Court of Appeals and Marcelo v. Court of
Appeals. As in Crespo v. Mogul, neither Roberts v. Court of Appeals nor Marcelo v. Court of Appeals took into
accountofwhethertheappealorpetitionbeforetheSecretaryofJusticewasfiledafterarraignment.Justlikeinthe
Crespocase,theaccusedinbothRobertsv.CourtofAppealsandMarcelov.CourtofAppealshadnotyetbeen
arraignedwhentheappealorpetitionforreviewwasfiledbeforetheDOJ.
Moreover, petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals interpretation of the provisions of DOJ Circular No. 70
violatedthreebasicrulesinstatutoryconstruction.First,therulethattheprovisionthatappearslastintheorderof
positionintheruleorregulationmustprevail.Second,therulethatthecontemporaneousconstructionofastatuteor
regulation by the officers who enforce it should be given weight. Third, petitioner lifted a portion from Agpalos
StatutoryConstruction8wheretheword"shall"hadbeenconstruedasapermissive,andnotamandatorylanguage.
Thealltoofamiliarruleinstatutoryconstruction,inthiscase,anadministrativerule9ofprocedure,isthatwhena
statute or rule is clear and unambiguous, interpretation need not be resorted to.10 Since Section 7 of the subject
circular clearly and categorically directs the DOJ to dismiss outright an appeal or a petition for review filed after
arraignment,noresorttointerpretationisnecessary.
Petitionersreliancetothestatutoryprinciplethat"thelastinorderofpositionintheruleorregulationmustprevail"
is not applicable. In addition to the fact that Section 7 of DOJ Circular No. 70 needs no construction, the cited
principle cannot apply because, as correctly observed by the Court of Appeals, there is no irreconcilable conflict
betweenSection7andSection12ofDOJCircularNo.70.Section7ofthecircularprovides:
SECTION7.Actiononthepetition.TheSecretaryofJusticemaydismissthepetitionoutrightifhefindsthesame
tobepatentlywithoutmeritormanifestlyintendedfordelay,orwhentheissuesraisedthereinaretoounsubstantial
torequireconsideration.If an information has been filed in court pursuant to the appealed resolution, the petition
shallnotbegivenduecourseiftheaccusedhadalreadybeenarraigned.Anyarraignmentmadeafterthefilingof
thepetitionshallnotbartheSecretaryofJusticefromexercisinghispowerofreview.(Italicssupplied.)
Ontheotherhand,Section12ofthesamecircularstates:
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SECTION12.DispositionoftheAppeal.TheSecretarymayreverse,affirmormodifytheappealedresolution.He
may,motupropriooruponmotion,dismissthepetitionforreviewonanyofthefollowinggrounds:
(a)ThatthepetitionwasfiledbeyondtheperiodprescribedinSection3hereof
(b)Thattheprocedureoranyoftherequirementshereinprovidedhasnotbeencompliedwith
(c)Thatthereisnoshowingofanyreversibleerror
(d)Thattheappealedresolutionisinterlocutoryinnature,exceptwhenitsuspendstheproceedingsbasedon
theallegedexistenceofaprejudicialquestion
(e)Thattheaccusedhadalreadybeenarraignedwhentheappealwastaken
(f)Thattheoffensehasalreadyprescribedand
(g)Thatotherlegalorfactualgroundsexisttowarrantadismissal.(Emphasessupplied.)
Itisnoteworthythattheprinciplecitedbypetitionerrevealsthat,tofindapplication,thesamepresupposesthat"one
partofthestatutecannotbereconciledorharmonizedwithanotherpartwithoutnullifyingoneinfavoroftheother."
Intheinstantcase,however,Section7isneithercontradictorynorirreconcilablewithSection12.Ascanbeseen
above, Section 7 pertains to the action on the petition that the DOJ must take, while Section 12 enumerates the
optionstheDOJhaswithregardtothedispositionofapetitionforrevieworofanappeal.
As aptly observed by respondent, Section 7 specifically applies to a situation on what the DOJ must do when
confrontedwithanappealorapetitionforreviewthatiseitherclearlywithoutmerit,manifestlyintendedtodelay,or
filed after an accused has already been arraigned, i.e., he may dismiss it outright if it is patently without merit or
manifestlyintendedtodelay,or,ifitwasfiledaftertheacccusedhasalreadybeenarraigned,theSecretaryshallnot
giveitduecourse.
Section 12 applies generally to the disposition of an appeal. Under said section, the DOJ may take any of four
actionswhendisposinganappeal,namely:
1.reversetheappealedresolution
2.modifytheappealedresolution
3.affirmtheappealedresolution
4.dismisstheappealaltogether,dependingonthecircumstancesandincidentsattendantthereto.
As to the dismissal of a petition for review or an appeal, the grounds are provided for in Section 12 and,
consequently,theDOJmustevaluatethepertinentcircumstancesandthefactsofthecaseinordertodetermine
whichgroundorgroundsshallapply.
Thus,whenanaccusedhasalreadybeenarraigned,theDOJmustnotgivetheappealorpetitionforreviewdue
courseandmustdismissthesame.Thisisbolsteredbythefactthatarraignmentoftheaccusedpriortothefilingof
theappealorpetitionforreviewissetforthasoneofthegroundsforitsdismissal.Therefore,insuchinstance,the
DOJ,notingthatthearraignmentofanaccusedpriortothefilingofanappealorpetitionforreviewisagroundfor
dismissalunderSection12,mustgobacktoSection7andactuponasmandatedtherein.Inotherwords,theDOJ
mustnotgiveduecourseto,andmustnecessarilydismiss,theappeal.
Likewise, petitioners reliance on the principle of contemporary construction, i.e., the DOJ is not precluded from
entertainingappealswheretheaccusedhadalreadybeenarraigned,becauseitexercisesdiscretionarypower,and
becauseitpromulgateditselfthecircularinquestion,isunpersuasive.AsaptlyratiocinatedbytheCourtofAppeals:
Trueindeedistheprinciplethatacontemporaneousinterpretationorconstructionbytheofficerschargedwiththe
enforcement of the rules and regulations it promulgated is entitled to great weight by the court in the latters
constructionofsuchrulesandregulations.Thatdoesnot,however,makesuchaconstructionnecessarilycontrolling
or binding. For equally settled is the rule that courts may disregard contemporaneous construction in instances
wherethelaworruleconstruedpossessesnoambiguity,wheretheconstructionisclearlyerroneous,wherestrong
reasontothecontraryexists,andwherethecourthaspreviouslygiventhestatuteadifferentinterpretation.
If through misapprehension of law or a rule an executive or administrative officer called upon to implement it has
erroneously applied or executed it, the error may be corrected when the true construction is ascertained. If a
contemporaneousconstructionisfoundtobeerroneous,thesamemustbedeclarednullandvoid.Suchprinciple
shouldbeasitisappliedinthecaseatbar.11
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Petitioners posture on a supposed exception to the mandatory import of the word "shall" is misplaced. It is
petitioners view that the language of Section 12 is permissive and therefore the mandate in Section 7 has been
transformed into a matter within the discretion of the DOJ. To support this stance, petitioner cites a portion of
AgpalosStatutoryConstructionwhichreads:
Forinstance,theword"shall"inSection2ofRepublicAct304whichstatesthat"banksorotherfinancialinstitutions
ownedorcontrolledbytheGovernmentshall,subjecttoavailabilityoffundsxxx,acceptatadiscountatnotmore
thantwopercentumfortenyearssuch(backpay)certificate"impliesnotamandatory,butadiscretionary,meaning
becauseofthephrase"subjecttoavailabilityoffunds."Similarly,theword"shall"intheprovisiontotheeffectthata
corporation violating the corporation law "shall, upon such violation being proved, be dissolved by quo warranto
proceedings"hasbeenconstruedas"may."12
Afterajudiciousscrutinyofthecitedpassage,itbecomesapparentthatthesameisnotapplicabletotheprovision
inquestion.Inthecitedpassage,theword"shall"departedfromitsmandatoryimportconnotationbecauseitwas
connected to certain provisos/conditions: "subject to the availability of funds" and "upon such violation being
proved." No such proviso/condition, however, can be found in Section 7 of the subject circular. Hence, the word
"shall"retainsitsmandatoryimport.
Atthisjuncture,theCourtofAppealsdisquisitioninthismatterisenlightening:
Indeed, if the intent of Department Circular No. 70 were to give the Secretary of Justice a discretionary power to
dismissortoentertainapetitionforreviewdespiteitsbeingoutrightlydismissible,suchaswhentheaccusedhas
alreadybeenarraigned,orwherethecrimetheaccusedisbeingchargedwithhasalreadyprescribed,orthereisno
reversibleerrorthathasbeencommitted,orthattherearelegalorfactualgroundswarrantingdismissal,theresult
wouldnotonlybeincongruousbutalsoirrationalandevenunjust.Forthen,theactionoftheSecretaryofJusticeof
givingduecoursetothepetitionwouldservenopurposeandwouldonlyallowagreatwasteoftime.Moreover,to
givethesecondsentenceofSection12inrelationtoitsparagraph(e)adirectoryapplicationwouldnotonlysubvert
the avowed objectives of the Circular, that is, for the expeditious and efficient administration of justice, but would
alsorenderitsothermandatoryprovisionsSections3,5,6and7,nugatory.13
In her steadfast effort to champion her case, petitioner contends that the issue as to whether the DOJ rightfully
entertainedtheinstantcase,despitethearraignmentoftheaccusedpriortoitsfiling,hasbeenrenderedmootand
academic with the order of dismissal by the trial court dated 27 February 2003. Such contention deserves scant
consideration.
ItmustbestressedthatthetrialcourtdismissedthecasepreciselybecauseoftheResolutionsoftheDOJafterit
had, in grave abuse of its discretion, took cognizance of the petition for review filed by petitioner. Having been
renderedingraveabuseofitsdiscretion,theResolutionsoftheDOJarevoid.Astheorderofdismissalofthetrial
court was made pursuant to the void Resolutions of the DOJ, said order was likewise void. The rule in this
jurisdictionisthatavoidjudgmentisacompletenullityandwithoutlegaleffect,andthatallproceedingsoractions
foundedthereonarethemselvesregardedasinvalidandineffectiveforanypurpose.14Thatrespondentdidnotfile
a motion for reconsideration or appeal from the dismissal order of the trial court is of no moment. Since the
dismissalwasvoid,therewasnothingforrespondenttooppose.
PetitionerfurtherassertsthatSection7ofDOJCircularNo.70appliesonlytoappealsfromoriginalresolutionofthe
City Prosecutor and does not apply in the instant case where an appeal is interposed by petitioner from the
ResolutionoftheCityProsecutordenyinghermotionforreinvestigation.Thisclaimisbaseless.
1avvphi1.net

AreadingofSection7disclosesthatthereisnoqualificationgivenbythesameprovisiontolimititsapplicationto
appealsfromoriginalresolutionsandnottoresolutionsonreinvestigation.Hence,therulestatingthat"whenthelaw
doesnotdistinguish,wemustnotdistinguish"15findsapplicationinthisregard.
Petitioner asserts that her arraignment was null and void as the same was improvidently conducted. Again, this
contention is without merit. Records reveal that petitioners arraignment was without any restriction, condition or
reservation.16InfactshewasassistedbyhercounselsAtty.ArthurAbudienteandAtty.Maglinaowhenshepleaded
tothecharge.17
Moreover,thesettledruleisthatwhenanaccusedpleadstothecharge,heisdeemedtohavewaivedtherightto
preliminaryinvestigationandtherighttoquestionanyirregularitythatsurroundsit.18Thispreceptisalsoapplicable
in cases of reinvestigation as well as in cases of review of such reinvestigation. In this case, when petitioner
unconditionally pleaded to the charge, she effectively waived the reinvestigation of the case by the prosecutor as
wellastherighttoappealtheresultthereoftotheDOJSecretary.Thus,withthearraignmentofthepetitioner,the
DOJSecretarycannolongerentertaintheappealorpetitionforreviewbecausepetitionerhadalreadywaivedor
abandonedthesame.

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Lastly, while there is authority19 permitting the Court to make its own determination of probable cause, such,
however,cannotbemadeapplicableintheinstantcase.Asearlierstated,thearraignmentofpetitionerconstitutesa
waiverofherrighttopreliminaryinvestigationorreinvestigation.Suchwaiveristantamounttoafindingofprobable
cause. For this reason, there is no need for the Court to determine the existence or nonexistence of probable
cause.
Besides,underRule45oftheRulesofCourt,onlyquestionsoflawmayberaisedin,andbesubjectof,apetition
for review on certiorari since this Court is not a trier of facts. This being the case, this Court cannot review the
evidence adduced by the parties before the prosecutor on the issue of the absence or presence of probable
cause.20
WHEREFORE,thepetitionisDENIED.TheDecisionoftheCourtofAppealsdated21July2004anditsResolution
dated10June2005inCAG.R.SPNo.76396areAFFIRMED.Costsagainstpetitioner.
SOORDERED.
MINITAV.CHICONAZARIO
AssociateJustice
WECONCUR:
CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson
MA.ALICIAAUSTRIAMARTINEZ
AssociateJustice

ROMEOJ.CALLEJO,SR.
AsscociateJustice

OnLeave
ANTONIOEDUARDOB.NACHURA
AssociateJustice
ATTESTATION
IattestthattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothe
writeroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.
CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson,ThirdDivision
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons Attestation, it is hereby
certifiedthattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedto
thewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.
REYNATOS.PUNO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
1 Penned by Associate Justice Edgardo A. Camello with Associate Justices Estela Perlas M. Bernabe and

ArturoG.Tayag,concurring.Rollo,pp.4048.
2Id.at4967.
3Records,pp.6465.
4Id.at50.
5G.R.No.L53373,30June1987,151SCRA462,471.
6G.R.No.113930,5March1996,254SCRA307,330332.
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7G.R.No.106695,4August1994,235SCRA39,4849.
8Agpalo,StatutoryConstruction(1990),pp.240241,citingDioknov.RehabilitationFinanceCorporation,91

Phil.608,611(1952)andGovernmentv.ElHogarFilipino,50Phil.399(1927).
9Whenanadministrativeagencypromulgatesrulesandregulations,it"makes"anewlawwiththeforceand

effectofavalidlaw.(VictoriasMillingCo.,Inc.v.SocialSecurityCommission,114Phil.555,558[1962].)
10 Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 74851, 9 December

1999,320SCRA279,289.
11Rollo,p.58.
12Supranote5.
13Rollo,p.57.
14 Gorion v. Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 17, G.R. No. 102131, 31 August 1992, 213 SCRA 138,

147.
15PhilippineFreePress,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.132864,24October2005,473SCRA639,662.
16Records,pp.6465.
17Id.
18Kuizonv.Desierto,G.R.Nos.14061924,9March2000,354SCRA158,176177Gonzalesv.Courtof

Appeals,343Phil.297,304305(1997)Peoplev.Baluran,143Phil.36,44(1981).
19ArkTravelExpress,Inc.v.Abrogar,G.R.No.137010,29August2003,410SCRA148,159.
20Chanv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.159922,28April2005,457SCRA502,512.
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