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ENRILE vs.

SANDIGANBAYAN
G.R. No. 213847; August 18, 2015

Doctrines:
Primary objective of bail The strength of the Prosecution's case, albeit a good measure of the accused's
propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary objective of bail, which is to
ensure that the accused appears at trial.

Bail is a right and a matter of discretion Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987 Constitution
and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to wit: No person charged with a capital
offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when
evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.

FACTS:
On June 5, 2014, Petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile was charged with plunder in the Sandiganbayan on the basis of
his purported involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) Scam. Initially, Enrile in an
Omnibus Motion requested to post bail, which the Sandiganbayan denied. On July 3, 2014, a warrant for
Enrile's arrest was issued, leading to Petitioner's voluntary surrender.

Petitioner again asked the Sandiganbayan in a Motion to Fix Bail which was heard by the Sandiganbayan.
Petitioner argued that: (a) Prosecution had not yet established that the evidence of his guilt was strong; (b) that,
because of his advanced age and voluntary surrender, the penalty would only be reclusion temporal, thus
allowing for bail and; (c) he is not a flight risk due to his age and physical condition. Sandiganbayan denied this
in its assailed resolution. Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied.

ISSUES:
1) Whether or not bail may be granted as a matter of right unless the crime charged is punishable by reclusion
perpetua where the evidence of guilt is strong.
a. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that if ever petitioner would be convicted, he will be punishable by
reclusion perpetua.

b. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that petitioner's guilt is strong.

2. Whether or not petitioner is bailable because he is not a flight risk.

HELD:
1. YES.

Bail as a matter of right due process and presumption of innocence.


Article III, Sec. 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. This right is safeguarded by the constitutional right to be
released on bail.

The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at trial and so the amount of bail should be
high enough to assure the presence of the accused when so required, but no higher than what may be reasonably
calculated to fulfill this purpose.

Bail as a matter of discretion


Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987 Constitution and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules
of Criminal Procedure to wit:
Capital offense of an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. No person
charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be
admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.

The general rule: Any person, before conviction of any criminal offense, shall be bailable.

Exception: Unless he is charged with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua [or life imprisonment] and
the evidence of his guilt is strong.

Thus, denial of bail should only follow once it has been established that the evidence of guilt is strong. Where
evidence of guilt is not strong, bail may be granted according to the discretion of the court.

Thus, Sec. 5 of Rule 114 also provides:

Bail, when discretionary. Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death,
reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary. The application for bail may be filed
and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of a notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the
original record to the appellate court. However, if the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed
the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be filed with and
resolved by the appellate court.

Should the court grant the application, the accused may be allowed to continue on provisional liberty during the
pendency of the appeal under the same bail subject to the consent of the bondsman.

If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, the accused shall be denied
bail, or his bail shall be cancelled upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the
following or other similar circumstances:

(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the
circumstance of reiteration;

(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the conditions of his
bail without valid justification;

(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon;

(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or

(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of the appeal.

The appellate court may, motu proprio or on motion of any party, review the resolution of the Regional Trial
Court after notice to the adverse party in either case.

Thus, admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion perpetua subject to
judicial discretion. In Concerned Citizens vs. Elma, the court held: [S]uch discretion may be exercised only
after the hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of whether or not he
should be granted provisional liberty. Bail hearing with notice is indispensable (Aguirre vs. Belmonte). The
hearing should primarily determine whether the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong.

The procedure for discretionary bail is described in Cortes vs. Catral:


1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the
application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court as
amended);

2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, 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; (Section 7 and 8, supra)

3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution;

4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the bailbond (Section 19,
supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.

2. YES.

Petitioner's poor health justifies his admission to bail


The Supreme Court took note of the Philippine's responsibility to the international community arising from its
commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore have the responsibility of protecting
and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process and for detainees to avail of such remedies
which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. Quoting from Government of Hong Kong SAR vs. Olalia,
the SC emphasized:

x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every person. This
commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides: The State values the
dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights. The Philippines, therefore, has the
responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that
those detained or arrested can participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without delay
on the legality of the detention and order their release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are
under obligation to make available to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their
fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted to bail. (emphasis in decision)

Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion


Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to ensure the appearance of the accused during the trial
and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health and advanced age of Petitioner. As such
the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in denying the Motion to Fix Bail. It acted whimsically and
capriciously and was so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty [to allow petitioner to
post bail].
--------------------

G.R. No. 213847 August 18, 2015

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, Petitioner,


vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

The decision whether to detain or release an accused before and during trial is ultimately an incident of the
judicial power to hear and determine his criminal case. The strength of the Prosecution's case, albeit a good
measure of the accuseds propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary
objective of bail, which is to ensure that the accused appears at trial.

The Case

Before the Court is the petition for certiorari filed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile to assail and annul the
resolutions dated July 14, 2014 and August 8, 2014 issued by the Sandiganbayan (Third Division) in Case No.
SB-14-CRM-0238, where he has been charged with plunder along with several others. Enrile insists that the
resolutions, which respectively denied his Motion To Fix Bail and his Motion For Reconsideration, were issued
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

Antecedents

On June 5, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman charged Enrile and several others with plunder in the
Sandiganbayan on the basis of their purported involvement in the diversion and misuse of appropriations under
the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). On June 10, 2014 and June 16, 2014, Enrile respectively
filed his Omnibus Motion and Supplemental Opposition, praying, among others, that he be allowed to post bail
should probable cause be found against him. The motions were heard by the Sandiganbayan after the
Prosecution filed its Consolidated Opposition.

On July 3, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued its resolution denying Enriles motion, particularly on the matter of
bail, on the ground of its prematurity considering that Enrile had not yet then voluntarily surrendered or been
placed under the custody of the law. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Enrile.

On the same day that the warrant for his arrest was issued, Enrile voluntarily surrendered to Director Benjamin
Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and was
later on confined at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital following his medical examination.

Thereafter, Enrile filed his Motion for Detention at the PNP General Hospital , and his Motion to Fix Bail , both
dated July 7, 2014, which were heard by the Sandiganbayan on July 8, 2014. In support of the motions, Enrile
argued that he should be allowed to post bail because: (a) the Prosecution had not yet established that the
evidence of his guilt was strong; (b) although he was charged with plunder, the penalty as to him would only be
reclusion temporal , not reclusion perpetua ; and (c) he was not a flight risk, and his age and physical condition
must further be seriously considered.

On July 14, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued its first assailed resolution denying Enriles Motion to Fix Bail,
disposing thusly:

x x x [I]t is only after the prosecution shall have presented its evidence and the Court shall have made a
determination that the evidence of guilt is not strong against accused Enrile can he demand bail as a matter of
right. Then and only then will the Court be duty-bound to fix the amount of his bail.

To be sure, no such determination has been made by the Court. In fact, accused Enrile has not filed an
application for bail. Necessarily, no bail hearing can even commence. It is thus exceedingly premature for
accused Enrile to ask the Court to fix his bail.

Accused Enrile next argues that the Court should grant him bail because while he is charged with plunder, "the
maximum penalty that may be possibly imposed on him is reclusion temporal, not reclusion perpetua." He
anchors this claim on Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080, as amended, and on the allegation that he is over seventy (70)
years old and that he voluntarily surrendered. "Accordingly, it may be said that the crime charged against Enrile
is not punishable by reclusion perpetua, and thus bailable."
The argument has no merit.

x x x [F]or purposes of bail, the presence of mitigating circumstance/s is not taken into consideration. These
circumstances will only be appreciated in the imposition of the proper penalty after trial should the accused be
found guilty of the offense charged. x x x

Lastly, accused Enrile asserts that the Court should already fix his bail because he is not a flight risk and his
physical condition must also be seriously considered by the Court.

Admittedly, the accuseds age, physical condition and his being a flight risk are among the factors that are
considered in fixing a reasonable amount of bail. However, as explained above, it is premature for the Court to
fix the amount of bail without an anterior showing that the evidence of guilt against accused Enrile is not strong.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Juan Ponce Enriles Motion to Fix Bail dated July 7, 2014 is
DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

On August 8, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued it s second assailed resolution to deny Enriles motion for
reconsideration filed vis--vis the July 14, 2014 resolution.15

Enrile raises the following grounds in support of his petition for certiorari , namely:

A. Before judgment of the Sandiganbayan, Enrile is bailable as a matter of right. Enrile may be deemed to fall
within the exception only upon concurrence of two (2) circumstances: (i) where the offense is punishable by
reclusion perpetua, and (ii) when evidence of guilt is strong.

B. The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile, if ever he would be convicted, is
punishable by reclusion perpetua; hence, Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of right.

C. The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that evidence of Enriles guilt (if ever) is strong;
hence, Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of right.

D. At any rate, Enrile may be bailable as he is not a flight risk.

Enrile claims that before judgment of conviction, an accused is entitled to bail as matter of right; that it is the
duty and burden of the Prosecution to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile comes under the exception and
cannot be excluded from enjoying the right to bail; that the Prosecution has failed to establish that Enrile, if
convicted of plunder, is punishable by reclusion perpetua considering the presence of two mitigating
circumstances his age and his voluntary surrender; that the Prosecution has not come forward with proof
showing that his guilt for the crime of plunder is strong; and that he should not be considered a flight risk taking
into account that he is already over the age of 90, his medical condition, and his social standing.

In its Comment , the Ombudsman contends that Enriles right to bail is discretionary as he is charged with a
capital offense; that to be granted bail, it is mandatory that a bail hearing be conducted to determine whether
there is strong evidence of his guilt, or the lack of it; and that entitlement to bail considers the imposable
penalty, regardless of the attendant circumstances.

Ruling of the Court

The petition for certiorari is meritorious.


1. Bail protects the right of the accused to due process and to be presumed innocent

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. The
presumption of innocence is rooted in the guarantee of due process, and is safeguarded by the constitutional
right to be released on bail, and further binds the court to wait until after trial to impose any punishment on the
accused.

It is worthy to note that bail is not granted to prevent the accused from committing additional crimes. The
purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so required by the trial
court. The amount of bail should be high enough to assure the presence of the accused when so required, but it
should be no higher than is reasonably calculated to fulfill this purpose. Thus, bail acts as a reconciling
mechanism to accommodate both the accuseds interest in his provisional liberty before or during the trial, and
the societys interest in assuring the accuseds presence at trial.

2. Bail may be granted as a matter of right or of discretion

The right to bail is expressly afforded by Section 13, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution, viz.:

x x x All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is
strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be
provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

This constitutional provision is repeated in Section 7, Rule 11424 of the Rules of Court , as follows:

Section 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable.
No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.

A capital offense in the context of the rule refers to an offense that, under the law existing at the time of its
commission and the application for admission to bail, may be punished with death.

The general rule is, therefore, that any person, before being convicted of any criminal offense, shall be bailable,
unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Hence, from the moment he is placed under arrest, or is
detained or restrained by the officers of the law, he can claim the guarantee of his provisional liberty under the
Bill of Rights, and he retains his right to bail unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense
punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Once it has
been established that the evidence of guilt is strong, no right to bail shall be recognized.

As a result, all criminal cases within the competence of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court are bailable as matter of right because these
courts have no jurisdiction to try capital offenses, or offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment. Likewise, bail is a matter of right prior to conviction by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for any
offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua , or life imprisonment, or even prior to conviction for an
offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua , or life imprisonment when evidence of guilt is not strong.

On the other hand, the granting of bail is discretionary: (1) upon conviction by the RTC of an offense not
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment; or (2) if the RTC has imposed a penalty of
imprisonment exceeding six years, provided none of the circumstances enumerated under paragraph 3 of
Section 5, Rule 114 is present, as follows:
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the
circumstance of reiteration;

(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the conditions of his
bail without valid justification;

(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon;

(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or

(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of the appeal.

3. Admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion perpetua is subject to
judicial discretion

For purposes of admission to bail, the determination of whether or not evidence of guilt is strong in criminal
cases involving capital offenses, or offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment lies within
the discretion of the trial court. But, as the Court has held in Concerned Citizens v. Elma , "such discretion may
be exercised only after the hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of
whether or not he should be granted provisional liberty." It is axiomatic, therefore, that bail cannot be allowed
when its grant is a matter of discretion on the part of the trial court unless there has been a hearing with notice
to the Prosecution. The indispensability of the hearing with notice has been aptly explained in Aguirre v.
Belmonte, viz. :32

x x x Even before its pronouncement in the Lim case, this Court already ruled in People vs. Dacudao, etc., et al.
that a hearing is mandatory before bail can be granted to an accused who is charged with a capital offense, in
this wise:

The respondent court acted irregularly in granting bail in a murder case without any hearing on the motion
asking for it, without bothering to ask the prosecution for its conformity or comment, as it turned out later, over
its strong objections. The court granted bail on the sole basis of the complaint and the affidavits of three
policemen, not one of whom apparently witnessed the killing. Whatever the court possessed at the time it issued
the questioned ruling was intended only for prima facie determining whether or not there is sufficient ground to
engender a well-founded belief that the crime was committed and pinpointing the persons who probably
committed it. Whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong for each individual accused still has to be
established unless the prosecution submits the issue on whatever it has already presented. To appreciate the
strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt, the prosecution must be consulted or heard. It is equally entitled
as the accused to due process.

Certain guidelines in the fixing of a bailbond call for the presentation of evidence and reasonable opportunity
for the prosecution to refute it. Among them are the nature and circumstances of the crime, character and
reputation of the accused, the weight of the evidence against him, the probability of the accused appearing at the
trial, whether or not the accused is a fugitive from justice, and whether or not the accused is under bond in other
cases. (Section 6, Rule 114, Rules of Court) It is highly doubtful if the trial court can appreciate these guidelines
in an ex-parte determination where the Fiscal is neither present nor heard.

The hearing, which may be either summary or otherwise, in the discretion of the court, should primarily
determine whether or not the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong. For this purpose, a summary
hearing means:

x x x such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and
consistent with the purpose of hearing which is merely to determine the weight of evidence for purposes of bail.
On such hearing, the court does not sit to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry as to the weight that
ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial
or on what further evidence may be therein offered or admitted. The course of inquiry may be left to the
discretion of the court which may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to substantial
matters, avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examination and cross examination.33

In resolving bail applications of the accused who is charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the trial judge is expected to comply with the guidelines outlined in
Cortes v. Catral,34 to wit:

1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the
application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as
amended);

2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, 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; (Section 7 and 8, supra)

3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution;

4. If the guilt of the accused is no t strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the bailbond (Section 19,
supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.

3. Enriles poor health justifies his admission to bail

We first note that Enrile has averred in his Motion to Fix Bail the presence of two mitigating circumstances that
should be appreciated in his favor, namely: that he was already over 70 years at the time of the alleged
commission of the offense, and that he voluntarily surrendered.

Enriles averment has been mainly uncontested by the Prosecution, whose Opposition to the Motion to Fix Bail
has only argued that

8. As regards the assertion that the maximum possible penalty that might be imposed upon Enrile is only
reclusion temporal due to the presence of two mitigating circumstances, suffice it to state that the presence or
absence of mitigating circumstances is also not consideration that the Constitution deemed worthy. The relevant
clause in Section 13 is "charged with an offense punishable by." It is, therefore, the maximum penalty provided
by the offense that has bearing and not the possibility of mitigating circumstances being appreciated in the
accuseds favor.

Yet, we do not determine now the question of whether or not Enriles averment on the presence of the two
mitigating circumstances could entitle him to bail despite the crime alleged against him being punishable with
reclusion perpetua , simply because the determination, being primarily factual in context, is ideally to be made
by the trial court.

Nonetheless, in now granting Enriles petition for certiorari, the Court is guided by the earlier mentioned
principal purpose of bail, which is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so
required by the court. The Court is further mindful of the Philippines responsibility in the international
community arising from the national commitment under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to:

x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every person. This
commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides: "The State values the
dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights." The Philippines, therefore, has the
responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that
those detained or arrested can participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without delay
on the legality of the detention and order their release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are
under obligation to make available to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their
fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted to bail.

This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of
every person has authorized the grant of bail not only to those charged in criminal proceedings but also to
extraditees upon a clear and convincing showing: (1 ) that the detainee will not be a flight risk or a danger to the
community; and (2 ) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances.

In our view, his social and political standing and his having immediately surrendered to the authorities upon his
being charged in court indicate that the risk of his flight or escape from this jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His
personal disposition from the onset of his indictment for plunder, formal or otherwise, has demonstrated his
utter respect for the legal processes of this country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier time many years ago
when he had been charged with rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, he already evinced a
similar personal disposition of respect for the legal processes, and was granted bail during the pendency of his
trial because he was not seen as a flight risk. With his solid reputation in both his public and his private lives,
his long years of public service, and historys judgment of him being at stake, he should be granted bail.

The currently fragile state of Enriles health presents another compelling justification for his admission to bail,
but which the Sandiganbayan did not recognize.

In his testimony in the Sandiganbayan, Dr. Jose C. Gonzales, the Director of the Philippine General Hospital
(PGH), classified Enrile as a geriatric patient who was found during the medical examinations conducted at the
UP-PGH to be suffering from the following conditions:

(1) Chronic Hypertension with fluctuating blood pressure levels on multiple drug therapy; (Annexes 1.1, 1.2,
1.3);

(2) Diffuse atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease composed of the following :

a. Previous history of cerebrovascular disease with carotid and vertebral artery disease ; (Annexes 1.4, 4.1)

b. Heavy coronary artery calcifications; (Annex 1.5)

c. Ankle Brachial Index suggestive of arterial calcifications. (Annex 1.6)

(3) Atrial and Ventricular Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) documented by Holter monitoring ; (Annexes 1.7.1,
1.7.2)

(4) Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrom (ACOS) and postnasal drip syndrome; (Annexes 2.1, 2.2)

(5) Ophthalmology:

a. Age-related mascular degeneration, neovascular s/p laser of the Retina, s/p Lucentis intra-ocular injections;
(Annexes 3.0, 3.1, 3.2)

b. S/p Cataract surgery with posterior chamber intraocular lens. (Annexes 3.1, 3.2)

(6) Historical diagnoses of the following:


a. High blood sugar/diabetes on medications;

b. High cholesterol levels/dyslipidemia;

c. Alpha thalassemia;

d. Gait/balance disorder;

e. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (etiology uncertain) in 2014;

f. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (with documented enlarged prostate on recent ultrasound).42

Dr. Gonzales attested that the following medical conditions, singly or collectively, could pose significant risks
to the life of Enrile, to wit: (1) uncontrolled hypertension, because it could lead to brain or heart complications,
including recurrence of stroke; (2) arrhythmia, because it could lead to fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular events,
especially under stressful conditions; (3) coronary calcifications associated with coronary artery disease,
because they could indicate a future risk for heart attack under stressful conditions; and (4) exacerbations of
ACOS, because they could be triggered by certain circumstances (like excessive heat, humidity, dust or allergen
exposure) which could cause a deterioration in patients with asthma or COPD.43

Based on foregoing, there is no question at all that Enriles advanced age and ill health required special medical
attention. His confinement at the PNP General Hospital, albeit at his own instance, was not even recommended
by the officer-in-charge (OIC) and the internist doctor of that medical facility because of the limitations in the
medical support at that hospital. Their testimonies ran as follows:

JUSTICE MARTIRES:

The question is, do you feel comfortable with the continued confinement of Senator Enrile at the Philippine
National Police Hospital?

DR. SERVILLANO:

No, Your Honor.

JUSTICE MARTIRES:

Director, doctor, do you feel comfortable with the continued confinement of Senator Enrile at the PNP
Hospital ?

PSUPT. JOCSON:

No, Your Honor.

JUSTICE MARTIRES:

Why?

PSUPT. JOCSON:

Because during emergency cases, Your Honor, we cannot give him the best.

JUSTICE MARTIRES:
At present, since you are the attending physician of the accused, Senator Enrile, are you happy or have any fear
in your heart of the present condition of the accused vis a vis the facilities of the hospital?

DR. SERVILLANO:

Yes, Your Honor. I have a fear.

JUSTICE MARTIRES:

That you will not be able to address in an emergency situation?

DR. SERVILLANO:

Your Honor, in case of emergency situation we can handle it but probably if the condition of the patient worsen,
we have no facilities to do those things, Your Honor.

Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged, should be allowed independently
of the merits of the charge, provided his continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or
to endanger his life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling his health and life would not serve the true
objective of preventive incarceration during the trial.

Granting bail to Enrile on the foregoing reasons is not unprecedented. The Court has already held in Dela Rama
v. The Peoples Court:

x x x This court, in disposing of the first petition for certiorari, held the following:

x x x [ U]nless allowance of bail is forbidden by law in the particular case, the illness of the prisoner,
independently of the merits of the case, is a circumstance, and the humanity of the law makes it a consideration
which should, regardless of the charge and the stage of the proceeding, influence the court to exercise its
discretion to admit the prisoner to bail ;47

xxx

Considering the report of the Medical Director of the Quezon Institute to the effect that the petitioner "is
actually suffering from minimal, early, unstable type of pulmonary tuberculosis, and chronic, granular
pharyngitis," and that in said institute they "have seen similar cases, later progressing into advance stages when
the treatment and medicine are no longer of any avail;" taking into consideration that the petitioners previous
petition for bail was denied by the Peoples Court on the ground that the petitioner was suffering from quiescent
and not active tuberculosis, and the implied purpose of the Peoples Court in sending the petitioner to the
Quezon Institute for clinical examination and diagnosis of the actual condition of his lungs, was evidently to
verify whether the petitioner is suffering from active tuberculosis, in order to act accordingly in deciding his
petition for bail; and considering further that the said Peoples Court has adopted and applied the well-
established doctrine cited in our above-quoted resolution, in several cases, among them, the cases against Pio
Duran (case No. 3324) and Benigno Aquino (case No. 3527), in which the said defendants were released on bail
on the ground that they were ill and their continued confinement in New Bilibid Prison would be injurious to
their health or endanger their life; it is evident and we consequently hold that the Peoples Court acted with
grave abuse of discretion in refusing to re lease the petitioner on bail.48

It is relevant to observe that granting provisional liberty to Enrile will then enable him to have his medical
condition be properly addressed and better attended to by competent physicians in the hospitals of his choice.
This will not only aid in his adequate preparation of his defense but, more importantly , will guarantee his
appearance in court for the trial.

On the other hand, to mark time in order to wait for the trial to finish before a meaningful consideration of the
application for bail can be had is to defeat the objective of bail, which is to entitle the accused to provisional
liberty pending the trial. There may be circumstances decisive of the issue of bail whose existence is either
admitted by the Prosecution, or is properly the subject of judicial notice that the courts can already consider in
resolving the application for bail without awaiting the trial to finish.49 The Court thus balances the scales of
justice by protecting the interest of the People through ensuring his personal appearance at the trial, and at the
same time realizing for him the guarantees of due process as well as to be presumed innocent until proven
guilty.

Accordingly, we conclude that the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to ensure the
appearance of the accused during the trial; and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health
and advanced age of Enrile. As such, the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in denying Enriles
Motion To Fix Bail. Grave abuse of discretion, as the ground for the issuance of the writ of certiorari , connotes
whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment as is equivalent to excess, or lack of jurisdiction.50 The abuse
must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty
enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.51 WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition for
certiorari ; ISSUES the writ of certiorari ANNULING and SETTING ASIDE the Resolutions issued by the
Sandiganbayan (Third Division) in Case No. SB-14 CRM-0238 on July 14, 2014 and August 8, 2014; ORDERS
the PROVISIONAL RELEASE of petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile in Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238 upon posting of
a cash bond of P1,000,000.00 in the Sandiganbayan; and DIRECTS the immediate release of petitioner Juan
Ponce Enrile from custody unless he is being detained for some other lawful cause.

No pronouncement on costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.
------------------------------------------------------------

ROLITO GO y TAMBUNTING vs. COURT OF APPEALS


FACTS
An information was filed charging herein petitioner Rolito Go for murder before the Regional Trial Court of
Metro Manila. Petitioner voluntarily presented himself together with his two lawyers to the police upon
obtaining knowledge of being hunted by the latter. However, he was immediately detained and denied his right
of a preliminary investigation unless he executes and signs a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the
Revised Penal Code.
Upon omnibus motion for immediate release on recognizance or on bail and proper preliminary investigation on
the ground that his warrantless arrest was unlawful and no preliminary investigation was conducted before the
information was filed, which is violative of his rights, the same was granted but later on reversed by the lower
court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The appellate court in sustaining the decision of the lower court
held that petitioner's warrantless arrest was valid in view of the fact that the offense was committed, the
petitioner was clearly identified and there exists valid information for murder filed against petitioner

Hence, the petitioner filed this present petition for review on certiorari before the Supreme Court.
ISSUE/S: The issues assailed in the case at bar are the following:
1. whether or not the warrantless arrest of herein petitioner was lawful, and
2. whether or not petitioner waived his right to preliminary investigation
.
RULING:
The general rule on arrest provides that the same is legitimate if effected with a valid warrant. However, there
are instances specifically enumerated under the law when a warrantless arrest may be considered lawful.
Despite that, the warrantless arrest of herein petitioner Rolito Go does not fall within the terms of said rule. The
police were not present at the time of the commission of the offense, neither do they have personal knowledge
on the crime to be committed or has been committed not to mention the fact that petitioner was not a prisoner
who has escaped from the penal institution. In view of the above, the allegation of the prosecution that
petitioner needs to sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code before a
preliminary investigation may be conducted is baseless.
In this connection, petitioner has all the right to ask for a preliminary investigation to determine whether is
probable cause that a crime has been committed and that petitioner is probably guilty thereof as well as to
prevent him from the hassles, anxiety and aggravation brought by a criminal proceeding. This reason of the
accused is substantial, which he should not be deprived of.
On the other hand, petitioner did not waive his right to have a preliminary investigation contrary to the
prosecutor's claim. The right to preliminary investigation is deemed waived when the accused fails to invoke it
before or at the time of entering a pleas at arraignment. The facts of the case show that petitioner insisted on his
right to preliminary investigation before his arraignment and he, through his counsel denied answering
questions before the court unless they were afforded the proper preliminary investigation.
For the above reasons, the petition was granted and the ruling of the appellate court was set aside and nullified.
The Supreme Court however, contrary to petitioner's allegation, declared that failure to accord the right to
preliminary investigation did not impair the validity of the information charging the latter of the crime of
murder.
----------------

G.R. No. 101837 February 11, 1992


ROLITO GO y TAMBUNTING, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HON. BENJAMIN V. PELAYO, Presiding Judge, Branch 168, Regional
Trial Court, NCJR Pasig, M.M., and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

According to the findings of the San Juan Police in their Investigation Report, 1 on 2 July 1991, Eldon Maguan
was driving his car along Wilson St., San Juan, Metro Manila, heading towards P. Guevarra St. Petitioner
entered Wilson St., where it is a one-way street and started travelling in the opposite or "wrong" direction. At
the corner of Wilson and J. Abad Santos Sts., petitioner's and Maguan's cars nearly bumped each other.
Petitioner alighted from his car, walked over and shot Maguan inside his car. Petitioner then boarded his car and
left the scene. A security guard at a nearby restaurant was able to take down petitioner's car plate number. The
police arrived shortly thereafter at the scene of the shooting and there retrieved an empty shell and one round of
live ammunition for a 9 mm caliber pistol. Verification at the Land Transportation Office showed that the car
was registered to one Elsa Ang Go.

The following day, the police returned to the scene of the shooting to find out where the suspect had come from;
they were informed that petitioner had dined at Cravings Bake Shop shortly before the shooting. The police
obtained a facsimile or impression of the credit card used by petitioner from the cashier of the bake shop. The
security guard of the bake shop was shown a picture of petitioner and he positively identified him as the same
person who had shot Maguan. Having established that the assailant was probably the petitioner, the police
launched a manhunt for petitioner.

On 8 July 1991, petitioner presented himself before the San Juan Police Station to verify news reports that he
was being hunted by the police; he was accompanied by two (2) lawyers. The police forthwith detained him. An
eyewitness to the shooting, who was at the police station at that time, positively identified petitioner as the
gunman. That same day, the police promptly filed a complaint for frustrated homicide against petitioner with the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal. First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio
("Prosecutor") informed petitioner, in the presence of his lawyers, that he could avail himself of his right to
preliminary investigation but that he must first sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised
Penal Code. Petitioner refused to execute any such waiver.

On 9 July 1991, while the complaint was still with the Prosecutor, and before an information could be filed in
court, the victim, Eldon Maguan, died of his gunshot wound(s).

Accordingly, on 11 July 1991, the Prosecutor, instead of filing an information for frustrated homicide, filed an
information for murder before the Regional Trial Court. No bail was recommended. At the bottom of the
information, the Prosecutor certified that no preliminary investigation had been conducted because the accused
did not execute and sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

In the afternoon of the same day, 11 July 1991, counsel for petitioner filed with the Prosecutor an omnibus
motion for immediate release and proper preliminary investigation, alleging that the warrantless arrest of
petitioner was unlawful and that no preliminary investigation had been conducted before the information was
filed. Petitioner also prayed that he be released on recognizance or on bail. Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro,
acting on the omnibus motion, wrote on the last page of the motion itself that he interposed no objection to
petitioner being granted provisional liberty on a cash bond of P100,000.00.

On 12 July 1991, petitioner filed an urgent ex-parte motion for special raffle in order to expedite action on the
Prosecutor's bail recommendation. The case was raffled to the sala of respondent Judge, who, on the same date,
approved the cash bond posted by petitioner and ordered his release. Petitioner was in fact released that same
day.

On 16 July 1991, the Prosecutor filed with the Regional Trial Court a motion for leave to conduct preliminary
investigation and prayed that in the meantime all proceedings in the court be suspended. He stated that
petitioner had filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal an omnibus motion for immediate
release and preliminary investigation, which motion had been granted by Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro,
who also agreed to recommend cash bail of P100,000.00. The Prosecutor attached to the motion for leave a
copy of petitioner's omnibus motion of 11 July 1991.

Also on 16 July 1991, the trial court issued an Order granting leave to conduct preliminary investigation and
cancelling the arraignment set for 15 August 1991 until after the prosecution shall have concluded its
preliminary investigation.

On 17 July 1991, however, respondent Judge motu proprio issued an Order, embodying the following: (1) the
12 July 1991 Order which granted bail was recalled; petitioner was given 48 hours from receipt of the Order to
surrender himself; (2) the 16 July 1991 Order which granted leave to the prosecutor to conduct preliminary
investigation was recalled and cancelled; (3) petitioner's omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary
investigation dated 11 July 1991 was treated as a petition for bail and set for hearing on 23 July 1991.

On 19 July 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before the Supreme Court
assailing the 17 July 1991 Order, contending that the information was null and void because no preliminary
investigation had been previously conducted, in violation of his right to due process. Petitioner also moved for
suspension of all proceedings in the case pending resolution by the Supreme Court of his petition; this motion
was, however, denied by respondent Judge.

On 23 July 1991, petitioner surrendered to the police.

By a Resolution dated 24 July 1991, this Court remanded the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
to the Court of Appeals.
On 16 August 1991, respondent Judge issued an order in open court setting the arraignment of petitioner on 23
August 1991.

On 19 August 1991, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion to restrain his arraignment.

On 23 August 1991, respondent judge issued a Commitment Order directing the Provincial Warden of Rizal to
admit petitioner into his custody at the Rizal Provincial Jail. On the same date, petitioner was arraigned. In
view, however, of his refusal to enter a plea, the trial court entered for him a plea of not guilty. The Trial court
then set the criminal case for continuous hearings on 19, 24 and 26 September; on 2, 3, 11 and 17 October; and
on 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 November 1991. 11

On 27 August 1991, petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus in the Court of Appeals. He alleged that in view
of public respondent's failure to join issues in the petition for certiorari earlier filed by him, after the lapse of
more than a month, thus prolonging his detention, he was entitled to be released on habeas corpus.

On 30 August 1991, the Court of Appeals issued the writ of habeas corpus. The petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus, on the one hand, and the petition for habeas corpus, upon the other, were
subsequently consolidated in the Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals, on 2 September 1991, issued a resolution denying petitioner's motion to restrain his
arraignment on the ground that that motion had become moot and academic.

On 19 September 1991, trial of the criminal case commenced and the prosecution presented its first witness.

On 23 September 1991, the Court of Appeals rendered a consolidated decision dismissing the two (2) petitions,
on the following grounds:

a. Petitioner's warrantless arrest was valid because the offense for which he was arrested and charged had
been "freshly committed." His identity had been established through investigation. At the time he showed up at
the police station, there had been an existing manhunt for him. During the confrontation at the San Juan Police
Station, one witness positively identified petitioner as the culprit.

b. Petitioner's act of posting bail constituted waiver of any irregularity attending his arrest. He waived his
right to preliminary investigation by not invoking it properly and seasonably under the Rules.

c. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it issued the 17 July 1991 Order because the trial court
had the inherent power to amend and control its processes so as to make them conformable to law and justice.

d. Since there was a valid information for murder against petitioner and a valid commitment order (issued
by the trial judge after petitioner surrendered to the authorities whereby petitioner was given to the custody of
the Provincial Warden), the petition for habeas corpus could not be granted.

On 3 October 1991, the prosecution presented three (3) more witnesses at the trial. Counsel for petitioner also
filed a "Withdrawal of Appearance" with the trial court, with petitioner's conformity.

On 4 October 1991, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari was filed. On 14 October 1991, the Court
issued a Resolution directing respondent Judge to hold in abeyance the hearing of the criminal case below until
further orders from this Court.

In this Petition for Review, two (2) principal issues need to be addressed: first, whether or not a lawful
warrantless arrest had been effected by the San Juan Police in respect of petitioner Go; and second, whether
petitioner had effectively waived his right to preliminary investigation. We consider these issues seriatim.
In respect of the first issue, the Solicitor General argues that under the facts of the case, petitioner had been
validly arrested without warrant. Since petitioner's identity as the gunman who had shot Eldon Maguan on 2
July 1991 had been sufficiently established by police work, petitioner was validly arrested six (6) days later at
the San Juan Police Station. The Solicitor General invokes Nazareno v. Station Commander, etc., et al., 16 one
of the seven (7) cases consolidated with In the Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of Roberto Umil, etc.,
v. Ramos, et al. where a majority of the Court upheld a warrantees arrest as valid although effected fourteen
(14) days after the killing in connection with which Nazareno had been arrested. Accordingly, in the view of the
Solicitor General, the provisions of Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court were applicable and because
petitioner had declined to waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, the Prosecutor was
legally justified in filing the information for murder even without preliminary investigation.

On the other hand, petitioner argues that he was not lawfully arrested without warrant because he went to the
police station six (6) days after the shooting which he had allegedly perpetrated. Thus, petitioner argues, the
crime had not been "just committed" at the time that he was arrested. Moreover, none of the police officers who
arrested him had been an eyewitness to the shooting of Maguan and accordingly none had the "personal
knowledge" required for the lawfulness of a warrantees arrest. Since there had been no lawful warrantless
arrest. Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court which establishes the only exception to the right to preliminary
investigation, could not apply in respect of petitioner.

The reliance of both petitioner and the Solicitor General upon Umil v. Ramos is, in the circumstances of this
case, misplaced. In Umil v. Ramos, by an eight-to-six vote, the Court sustained the legality of the warrantless
arrests of petitioners made from one (1) to fourteen days after the actual commission of the offenses, upon the
ground that such offenses constituted "continuing crimes." Those offenses were subversion, membership in an
outlawed organization like the New People's Army, etc. In the instant case, the offense for which petitioner was
arrested was murder, an offense which was obviously commenced and completed at one definite location in
time and space. No one had pretended that the fatal shooting of Maguan was a "continuing crime."

Secondly, we do not believe that the warrantees "arrest" or detention of petitioner in the instant case falls within
the terms of Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides as follows:

Sec. 5 Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without warrant, arrest
a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting
to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that
the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where
he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
transferred from one confinement to another.

In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith
delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceed against in accordance with Rule 112,
Section 7.

Petitioner's "arrest" took place six (6) days after the shooting of Maguan. The "arresting" officers obviously
were not present, within the meaning of Section 5(a), at the time petitioner had allegedly shot Maguan. Neither
could the "arrest" effected six (6) days after the shooting be reasonably regarded as effected "when [the shooting
had] in fact just been committed" within the meaning of Section 5(b). Moreover, none of the "arresting" officers
had any "personal knowledge" of facts indicating that petitioner was the gunman who had shot Maguan. The
information upon which the police acted had been derived from statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to the
shooting one stated that petitioner was the gunman; another was able to take down the alleged gunman's car's
plate number which turned out to be registered in petitioner's wife's name. That information did not, however,
constitute "personal knowledge."

It is thus clear to the Court that there was no lawful warrantless arrest of petitioner within the meaning of
Section 5 of Rule 113. It is clear too that Section 7 of Rule 112, which provides:

Sec. 7 When accused lawfully arrested without warrant. When a person is lawfully arrested without a
warrant for an offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court the complaint or information may be filed by the
offended party, peace officer or fiscal without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted, on the
basis of the affidavit of the offended party or arresting office or person

However, before the filing of such complaint or information, the person arrested may ask for a preliminary
investigation by a proper officer in accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a waiver of the provisions of
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, with the assistance of a lawyer and in case of non-
availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of his choice. Notwithstanding such waiver, he may apply for bail
as provided in the corresponding rule and the investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its
inception.

If the case has been filed in court without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted, the accused
may within five (5) days from the time he learns of the filing of the information, ask for a preliminary
investigation with the same right to adduce evidence in his favor in the manner prescribed in this Rule.
(Emphasis supplied)

is also not applicable. Indeed, petitioner was not arrested at all. When he walked into San Juan Police Station,
accompanied by two (2) lawyers, he in fact placed himself at the disposal of the police authorities. He did not
state that he was "surrendering" himself, in all probability to avoid the implication he was admitting that he had
slain Eldon Maguan or that he was otherwise guilty of a crime. When the police filed a complaint for frustrated
homicide with the Prosecutor, the latter should have immediately scheduled a preliminary investigation to
determine whether there was probable cause for charging petitioner in court for the killing of Eldon Maguan.
Instead, as noted earlier, the Prosecutor proceed under the erroneous supposition that Section 7 of Rule 112 was
applicable and required petitioner to waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code as a
condition for carrying out a preliminary investigation. This was substantive error, for petitioner was entitled to a
preliminary investigation and that right should have been accorded him without any conditions. Moreover, since
petitioner had not been arrested, with or without a warrant, he was also entitled to be released forthwith subject
only to his appearing at the preliminary investigation.

Turning to the second issue of whether or not petitioner had waived his right to preliminary investigation, we
note that petitioner had from the very beginning demanded that a preliminary investigation be conducted. As
earlier pointed out, on the same day that the information for murder was filed with the Regional Trial Court,
petitioner filed with the Prosecutor an omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary investigation. The
Solicitor General contends that that omnibus motion should have been filed with the trial court and not with the
Prosecutor, and that the petitioner should accordingly be held to have waived his right to preliminary
investigation. We do not believe that waiver of petitioner's statutory right to preliminary investigation may be
predicated on such a slim basis. The preliminary investigation was to be conducted by the Prosecutor, not by the
Regional Trial Court. It is true that at the time of filing of petitioner's omnibus motion, the information for
murder had already been filed with the Regional Trial Court: it is not clear from the record whether petitioner
was aware of this fact at the time his omnibus motion was actually filed with the Prosecutor. In Crespo v.
Mogul, this Court held:
The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the purpose of determining whether a prima facie case
exists to warranting the prosecution of the accused is terminated upon the filing of the information in the proper
court. In turn, as above stated, the filing of said information sets in motion the criminal action against the
accused in Court. Should the fiscal find it proper to conduct a reinvestigation of the case, at such stage, the
permission of the Court must be secured. After such reinvestigation the finding and recommendations of the
fiscal should be submitted to the Court for appropriate action. While it is true that the fiscal has the quasi-
judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court or not, once the case had
already been brought to Court whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should be proper in the case thereafter
should be addressed for the consideration of the Court. The only qualification is that the action of the Court
must not impair the substantial rights of the accused., or the right of the People to due process of law.

xxx xxx xxx

The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed in Court any disposition of
the case [such] as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the
Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the
case is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole judge on
what to do with the case before it. . . . (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied)

Nonetheless, since petitioner in his omnibus motion was asking for preliminary investigation and not for a re-
investigation (Crespo v. Mogul involved a re-investigation), and since the Prosecutor himself did file with the
trial court, on the 5th day after filing the information for murder, a motion for leave to conduct preliminary
investigation (attaching to his motion a copy of petitioner's omnibus motion), we conclude that petitioner's
omnibus motion was in effect filed with the trial court. What was crystal clear was that petitioner did ask for a
preliminary investigation on the very day that the information was filed without such preliminary investigation,
and that the trial court was five (5) days later apprised of the desire of the petitioner for such preliminary
investigation. Finally, the trial court did in fact grant the Prosecutor's prayer for leave to conduct preliminary
investigation. Thus, even on the (mistaken) supposition apparently made by the Prosecutor that Section 7 of
Rule 112 of the Revised Court was applicable, the 5-day reglementary period in Section 7, Rule 112 must be
held to have been substantially complied with.

We believe and so hold that petitioner did not waive his right to a preliminary investigation. While that right is
statutory rather than constitutional in its fundament, since it has in fact been established by statute, it is a
component part of due process in criminal justice. 21 The right to have a preliminary investigation conducted
before being bound over to trial for a criminal offense and hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other
penalty, is not a mere formal or technical right; it is a substantive right. The accused in a criminal trial is
inevitably exposed to prolonged anxiety, aggravation, humiliation, not to speak of expense; the right to an
opportunity to avoid a process painful to any one save, perhaps, to hardened criminals, is a valuable right. To
deny petitioner's claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him the full measure of his right to
due process.

The question may be raised whether petitioner still retains his right to a preliminary investigation in the instant
case considering that he was already arraigned on 23 August 1991. The rule is that the right to preliminary
investigation is waived when the accused fails to invoke it before or at the time of entering a plea at
arraignment. In the instant case, petitioner Go had vigorously insisted on his right to preliminary investigation
before his arraignment. At the time of his arraignment, petitioner was already before the Court of Appeals on
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus precisely asking for a preliminary investigation before being forced to
stand trial.

Again, in the circumstances of this case, we do not believe that by posting bail petitioner had waived his right to
preliminary investigation. In People v. Selfaison, 23 we did hold that appellants there had waived their right to
preliminary investigation because immediately after their arrest, they filed bail and proceeded to trial "without
previously claiming that they did not have the benefit of a preliminary investigation." In the instant case,
petitioner Go asked for release on recognizance or on bail and for preliminary investigation in one omnibus
motion. He had thus claimed his right to preliminary investigation before respondent Judge approved the cash
bond posted by petitioner and ordered his release on 12 July 1991. Accordingly, we cannot reasonably imply
waiver of preliminary investigation on the part of petitioner. In fact, when the Prosecutor filed a motion in court
asking for leave to conduct preliminary investigation, he clearly if impliedly recognized that petitioner's claim
to preliminary investigation was a legitimate one.

We would clarify, however, that contrary to petitioner's contention the failure to accord preliminary
investigation, while constituting a denial of the appropriate and full measure of the statutory process of criminal
justice, did not impair the validity of the information for murder nor affect the jurisdiction of the trial court.

It must also be recalled that the Prosecutor had actually agreed that petitioner was entitled to bail. This was
equivalent to an acknowledgment on the part of the Prosecutor that the evidence of guilt then in his hands was
not strong. Accordingly, we consider that the 17 July 1991 order of respondent Judge recalling his own order
granting bail and requiring petitioner to surrender himself within forty-eight (48) hours from notice, was plainly
arbitrary considering that no evidence at all and certainly no new or additional evidence had been
submitted to respondent Judge that could have justified the recall of his order issued just five (5) days before. It
follows that petitioner was entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right.

The final question which the Court must face is this: how does the fact that, in the instant case, trial on the
merits has already commenced, the Prosecutor having already presented four (4) witnesses, impact upon, firstly,
petitioner's right to a preliminary investigation and, secondly, petitioner's right to be released on bail? Does he
continue to be entitled to have a preliminary investigation conducted in respect of the charge against him? Does
petitioner remain entitled to be released on bail?

Turning first to the matter of preliminary investigation, we consider that petitioner remains entitled to a
preliminary investigation although trial on the merits has already began. Trial on the merits should be suspended
or held in abeyance and a preliminary investigation forthwith accorded to petitioner. It is true that the Prosecutor
might, in view of the evidence that he may at this time have on hand, conclude that probable cause exists; upon
the other hand, the Prosecutor conceivably could reach the conclusion that the evidence on hand does not
warrant a finding of probable cause. In any event, the constitutional point is that petitioner was not accorded
what he was entitled to by way of procedural due process. Petitioner was forced to undergo arraignment and
literally pushed to trial without preliminary investigation, with extraordinary haste, to the applause from the
audience that filled the courtroom. If he submitted to arraignment at trial, petitioner did so "kicking and
screaming," in a manner of speaking . During the proceedings held before the trial court on 23 August 1991, the
date set for arraignment of petitioner, and just before arraignment, counsel made very clear petitioner's vigorous
protest and objection to the arraignment precisely because of the denial of preliminary investigation. So
energetic and determined were petitioner's counsel's protests and objections that an obviously angered court and
prosecutor dared him to withdraw or walkout, promising to replace him with counsel de oficio. During the trial,
before the prosecution called its first witness, petitioner through counsel once again reiterated his objection to
going to trial without preliminary investigation: petitioner's counsel made of record his "continuing objection."
Petitioner had promptly gone to the appellate court on certiorari and prohibition to challenge the lawfulness of
the procedure he was being forced to undergo and the lawfulness of his detention. If he did not walk out on the
trial, and if he cross-examined the prosecution's witnesses, it was because he was extremely loath to be
represented by counsel de oficio selected by the trial judge, and to run the risk of being held to have waived also
his right to use what is frequently the only test of truth in the judicial process.

In respect of the matter of bail, we similarly believe and so hold that petitioner remains entitled to be released
on bail as a matter of right. Should the evidence already of record concerning petitioner's guilt be, in the
reasonable belief of the Prosecutor, strong, the Prosecutor may move in the trial court for cancellation of
petitioner's bail. It would then be up to the trial court, after a careful and objective assessment of the evidence
on record, to grant or deny the motion for cancellation of bail.

To reach any other conclusions here, that is, to hold that petitioner's rights to a preliminary investigation and to
bail were effectively obliterated by evidence subsequently admitted into the record would be to legitimize the
deprivation of due process and to permit the Government to benefit from its own wrong or culpable omission
and effectively to dilute important rights of accused persons well-nigh to the vanishing point. It may be that to
require the State to accord petitioner his rights to a preliminary investigation and to bail at this point, could turn
out ultimately to be largely a ceremonial exercise. But the Court is not compelled to speculate. And, in any case,
it would not be idle ceremony; rather, it would be a celebration by the State of the rights and liberties of its own
people and a re-affirmation of its obligation and determination to respect those rights and liberties.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to GRANT the Petition for Review on Certiorari. The Order of the trial
court dated 17 July 1991 is hereby SET ASIDE and NULLIFIED, and the Decision of the Court of Appeals
dated 23 September 1991 hereby REVERSED.

The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor is hereby ORDERED to conduct forthwith a preliminary investigation
of the charge of murder against petitioner Go, and to complete such preliminary investigation within a period of
fifteen (15) days from commencement thereof. The trial on the merits of the criminal case in the Regional Trial
Court shall be SUSPENDED to await the conclusion of the preliminary investigation.

Meantime, petitioner is hereby ORDERED released forthwith upon posting of a cash bail bond of One Hundred
Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00). This release shall be without prejudice to any lawful order that the trial court
may issue, should the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor move for cancellation of bail at the conclusion of the
preliminary investigation.

No pronouncement as to costs. This Decision is immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.
-------------------------------------------------

[A.M. No. RTJ-03-1817. June 8, 2005]

P/SR. SUPT. ORLANDO M. MABUTAS, Regional Director, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Metro
Manila Regional Office, complainant, vs. JUDGE NORMA C. PERELLO, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial
Court, Branch 276, Muntinlupa City, respondent.
[A.M. No. RTJ-04-1820. June 8, 2005]

CITY PROSECUTOR EDWARD M. TOGONONON, complainant, vs. JUDGE NORMA C. PERELLO,


respondent.
RESOLUTION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Subject matters of the present administrative cases are two complaints against respondent Judge Norma C.
Perello, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 276) of Muntinlupa City.

Admin. Matter No. RTJ-03-1817

This case originated from a letter of Police Senior Supt. Orlando M. Mabutas, Regional Director of the
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Metro Manila Regional Office. P/Sr. Supt. Mabutas complained of
certain irregularities committed by respondent Judge in the grant of bail to accused Aiza Chona Omadan in
Criminal Case No. 03-265. Omadan was charged in an Information, dated April 21, 2003, with Violation of
Section 11 of Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, for the possession,
custody and control of 57.78 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu), with no bail recommended.

P/Sr. Supt. Mabutass complaint was based on the memorandum submitted by Police Inspector Darwin S.
Butuyan, who stated in his report, as follows:

In the evening of May 5, 2003, a colleague notified him of a scheduled preliminary investigation of Omadans
case on the following day (May 6). When P/Insp. Butuyan, together with PO2 Saturnino Mayonte and PO2
Allan Lising, went to the Office of the City Prosecutor, Assistant City Prosecutor (ACP) Florante E. Tuy merely
asked them to sign the minutes of the preliminary investigation. Omadan and her counsel were not around, and
the police officers were not furnished with a copy of Omadans counter-affidavit.

On May 8, 2003, someone handed P/Insp. Butuyan a subpoena for the arraignment of Omadan on May 9, 2003.
During the scheduled arraignment, they were surprised when ACP Vicente Francisco called PO2 Mayonte to the
witness stand. Apparently, Omadan filed a petition for bail and it was being heard on the same day. PO2
Mayonte and PO2 Lising asked ACP Francisco for a rescheduling of the hearing because they were not prepared
to testify but the former declined, saying that it is just a motion for bail. After PO2 Mayonte testified, PO2
Lising asked ACP Francisco to present him as witness but again, the former declined since his testimony would
only be corroborative. ACP Francisco also presented two (2) barangay tanods.

On May 12, 2003, P/Insp. Butuyan went to deliver a communiqu to ACP Francisco from P/Sr. Supt. Mabutas
requesting that in the event bail was granted, its implementation be held in abeyance so that the police
authorities may file the necessary motion, and in order to prevent Omadan from escaping. Since ACP Francisco
was not around, they went to Branch 276 to secure a copy of the motion for bail. However, the police officers
were shocked to learn that Omadan has already been released on a P1,000,000.00 bail on May 9, 2003, which
was a Friday. Court personnel also informed them that they spent overtime work for the processing of the
release papers. They asked for a copy of the transcript of stenographic notes of the hearing held on May 9, 2003,
but it was not available.

Respondent Judges Order dated May 9, 2003, granting Omadans petition for bail, reads in part:

Clearly, the evidence of guilt is not very strong for the denial of the bail. It was not proven that the object that
SPO1 Mayonte allegedly saw wrapped in a tissue paper was indeed methamphetamine hydrochloride. He is not
very sure if the specimen was in fact subjected to an analysis to determine what it was. There is also no
specifying the quantity of the item.

There also seem to be an irregularity in the service of the search warrant for it was NOT witnessed by two
disinterested persons. Admittedly two Barangay Tanods were brought to the residence of accused, but they
never witnessed the search because when they arrived the search had already been completed. The wife of the
owner of the residence was allegedly found in the house but she was not made to go with the searching team to
witness the search. An evaluation of the record of the search, it appears also the search warrant, showed some
material defect, because no witness who appeared to have personal knowledge of the illegal activities of the
accused and husband, executed an Affidavit before the officer who issued the search warrant. In fact the
searching questions were conducted on the applicant but not on the confidential informant, who alone had the
personal knowledge of the alleged illegal activities in the vicinity. No deposition was taken of the applicant.
Only the applying officers executed an affidavit, yet had no personal knowledge of the crime as they were only
told by his confidential informant. No copy of the deposition is attached to the application. Although this court
has no jurisdiction to hear the MOTION TO QUASH the search warrant however this fact are [sic] taken into
consideration for the petition to bail if only to show the strength or weakness of the prosecution evidence, to
ascertain if Prosecution have [sic] a witness who has personal knowledge of the alleged illegal activities of the
accused in her home. There is none. Even the Barangay policemen Arturo Villarin, cannot tell with certainty if
drugs were indeed found in the residence of the accused.
Bail is therefore allowed in the sum of ONE MILLION PESOS (Php 1,000,000.00) which accused AIZA
CHONA OMADAN may post in cash, by property or thru a reputable bonding company, and under the
additional condition that her counsel, Atty. GENE CASTILLO QUILAS guarantees her appearance in court
whenever so required.

It is SO ORDERED.[1]

Admin. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820

This case proceeded from a letter of Prosecutor Edward M. Togononon of Muntinlupa City, accusing respondent
Judge of partiality, serious misconduct in office and gross ignorance of the law, concerning the latters grant of
bail in four criminal cases for Violations of R.A. No. 9165 pending before her.

In Criminal Case No. 03-065, entitled, People of the Philippines vs. Rosemarie Pascual y Mozo @ Rosema, for
Violation of Section 5 of R.A. No. 9165, accused Pascual was charged with selling, trading, delivering and
giving away to another 0.20 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu), with no bail recommended.[2]
Pascual filed, on February 5, 2003, a motion for bail on the grounds that the quantity of shabu involved is
minimal and the imposable penalty is likewise minimal in degree; and that she is nine months pregnant and due
to give birth anytime.[3]

On the day of arraignment, February 7, 2003, respondent Judge issued an order granting Pascuals motion for
bail without hearing, which reads:

The MOTION FOR BAIL filed by Accused through counsel is granted on the reason cited thereat.

Accordingly, Accused ROSEMARIE PASCUAL Y MOZO may post her bail in the amount of P200,000.00 in
cash or thru a reputable bonding company, or by property bond for her provisional liberty.

It is SO ORDERED.[4]

ACP Francisco filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that since the crime charged against Pascual is a
capital offense, bail is not allowed as a matter of right, and a hearing is indispensable. Respondent Judge denied
the motion in her Order dated March 12, 2003, which reads, in part:

...

This Court is immediately appalled and shocked by the thirst for blood of these officials, were selling shabu in
the quantity of 0.20 gram, they would put the accused to DEATH. It seems that, to these officials LIFE
IMPRISONMENT and DEATH is the only solution to this problem, without considering the intended provision
of the law, and the possible dislocation that the death of the accused will cause to his family and even to society
itself. The prosecution and some City Officials have distorted the provision of the law by considering shabu as a
dangerous drug, in the category of opium puppy (sic) or morphine. They cannot be more wrong!

In the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, Methamphetamine
Hydrochloride is NEVER considered as dangerous drugs to come under the provision of the first paragraph of
Sec. 5, Republic Act No. 9165. The definition of dangerous drugs under Sec. 3, letter J of the said law, specifies
those considered as dangerous drugs. Instead Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is considered as a controlled
precursor or essential chemical, which is found and listed in No. 7, LIST OF SUBSTANCES in SCHEDULE
NO. 111 of the 1971 United Nations Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Therefore,
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is a chemical substance or psychotropic substance and NOT a dangerous
drug.!
Since the quantity is very much less than a gram of this essential chemical, is punishable with imprisonment of
only 12 years, as paragraph 2 of Sec. 5, R.A. 9165 provides. There is no law, statute, or jurisprudence that
classifies 12 years imprisonment as a capital punishment, and non-bailable. Only bloodsuckers who thirst for
blood will consider death for these offenders for this kind of offense!

Prosecution will probably argue that this drug is considered dangerous under Sec. 11, R.A. 9165, but this
section does not define what are dangerous drugs, and the term is used generally to encompass all drugs. Still,
this section only shows that for possession of certain quantities of shabu, is punishable with 12 years
imprisonment only, NEVER DEATH!

This Court has no quarrel with the Prosecutors if the drugs accused is pushing or found in the custody of
accused are of large volume, for then they would really deserve to DIE! Then be richer by several millions, and
foster a society of drug abusers yet! But this Court cannot agree with Prosecutors when the quantity that is
peddled is not even enough to put body and soul together of accused. Foisting death on these kind of offenders,
is death itself to him who imposes such a penalty! This court cannot be that unjust and unfeeling, specially as
the law itself does not so allow!

The prosecutors are also reminded that the grant of bail to all offenses is constitutionally guaranteed. Even those
punishable with death or capital offenses, only the EXCEPTIONS! It is never the rule.

...

Perhaps if these questioning individuals will provide employment to their constituents, the latter will not engage
in this kind of trade to survive.[5]

In Criminal Case No. 03-082, entitled, People of the Philippines vs. Rolando Uy y Manata @ Nono, for
Violation of Section 5, paragraph 1 of R.A. No. 9165, accused Uy was charged with selling, trading, delivering
and giving away to Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives after a buy-bust operation 0.12 grams of
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu). ACP Romeo B. Senson recommended no bail. Uy filed a petition for
bail cum motion to suppress prosecution evidence on February 18, 2003, alleging, among others, that the arrest
was illegal as no buy-bust operation happened, and the shabu confiscated was planted on him. Without hearing,
respondent Judge granted Uys petition for bail since the quantity of drug allegedly pushed is only 0.12 grams[6]
Uy was released on a P200,000.00 bail. The motion for reconsideration filed by ACP Francisco remains
unresolved.

The antecedents of Criminal Case No. 03-265 entitled People of the Philippines vs. Aiza Chona Omadan y Chua
and John Doe, for Violation of Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165, are set forth and dealt with in Admin. Matter No.
RTJ-03-1817.

In Criminal Case No. 03-288 entitled People of the Philippines vs. Mary Jane Regencia y Mozo @ Grace, for
Violation of Section 5 of R.A. No. 9165, accused Regencia was charged with selling, delivering, trading and
giving away to another 0.07 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu). Respondent Judge likewise
granted Regencias motion for bail without hearing, on the ground that the quantity of shabu involved is minimal
and the imposable penalty is also minimal.[7]

Respondent Judge was required to comment on these two complaints.

In Admin. Matter No. RTJ-03-1817, respondent Judge contends that P/Sr. Supt. Mabutass charges against her
are baseless; that the preliminary investigation conducted on Omadans case was outside her jurisdiction; that
she did not have any hand or influence in ACP Franciscos handling of the hearing on the petition for bail as it is
within the latters control and supervision; that she denies that there was undue haste in the grant of bail in
Omadans favor; and that bail was granted because the prosecutions evidence of Omadans guilt was not strong.
[8]

In Admin. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820, respondent Judge explains that she did not conduct any hearings on the
motions/petitions for bail filed in the criminal cases subject of the complaint because the crimes charged are not
capital offenses as the quantity of shabu involved therein was minimal. Criminal Case Nos. 03-065, 03-082, and
03-288 all involve selling of less than 5 grams of shabu. Respondent Judge believes that under R.A. No. 9165,
shabu is not a dangerous drug but merely a controlled precursor, in which the selling of less than 5 grams is
punishable only with imprisonment of 12 years to 20 years. Such being the case, respondent Judge maintains
that bail is a matter of right and a hearing is not required.[9]

The two complaints were consolidated and referred to Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr. for
investigation, report, and recommendation.

After due proceedings, the Investigating Justice submitted his Report and Recommendation, with the following
findings and conclusion:

The charges arose out of the same set of facts and are interrelated and will be discussed together.

Before proceeding further, the investigating justice will first dispose respondent judges assertion that the
complaints should be dismissed outright claiming that where sufficient judicial remedy exists, the filing of
administrative complaint is not the proper remedy to correct actions of a judge citing the case of Barbers vs.
Laguio, Jr. (351 SCRA 606 [2001])

Anent the charge of partiality and serious misconduct, the investigating justice notes that these particular
charges were not touched upon in the testimony of any of the witnesses presented by the complainants.
Therefore, the investigating justice finds that no evidence as to partiality nor serious misconduct exists and
these charges should be dismissed for lack of evidence.

The investigating justice will now therefore tackle only the charge of gross ignorance of the law against
respondent judge.

A close scrutiny of the said Barbers case shows that it is not applicable in the present administrative complaints
because in the said case it was clear that complainants-petitioners were not merely concerned with the alleged
act of the judge of rendering an unjust judgment but was also seeking the reversal of the judgment of acquittal.
They had even filed an appeal from the judgment therein of respondent judge. Thus, the Supreme Court held:

It has been held that the pendency of an appeal from a questioned judgment renders the filing of administrative
charges premature. Where a sufficient judicial remedy exists, the filing of an administrative complaint is not the
proper remedy to correct the actions of a judge.

In the present administrative complaints, it was not shown that an appeal or any other proceeding had been filed
to reverse the respondent judges orders granting bail. It had not been shown that the present administrative
complaints had any purpose other then seeking administrative sanctions against respondent judge.

Turning now to the merits of the administrative complaints, the primordial issue is: Whether or not there is an
ambiguity in the law as to the classification of methamphetamine hydrochloride.

Under Section 3(x) of the R.A. No. 9165 the substance was defined as:

Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or commonly known as Shabu, Ice, Meth, or by its any other name. Refers to
the drug having such chemical composition, including any of its isomers or derivatives in any form.
It can be noted that nothing in this provision indicates the classification of the substance either as a dangerous or
regulated drug.

It is respondent judges position that shabu is not expressly classified as a dangerous drug under Section 5 of
R.A. No. 9165 and should therefore be considered merely as a chemical precursor, to wit:

...

For clarity, the UN Single Convention was referred to in Section 3 of R.A. No. 9165 in relation to the
definitions of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors, to wit:

(h) Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. Include those listed in Tables I and II of the 1988 UN
Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in the attached
annex, which is an integral part of this Act.

...

(j) Dangerous Drugs. Include those listed in the Schedules annexed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic
Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and in the Schedules annexed to the 1971 Single Convention on
Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in the attached annex which is an integral part of this Act.

It should be noted, however, that by the plain wordings of R.A. No. 9165 dangerous drugs are not limited to
those substances listed in the schedules attached to the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic
Drugs because of the use of the word include. That is, there are other substances which may be considered
dangerous drugs even if not listed in the above-mentioned schedules.

It is also worth noting that under Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165, Methamphetamine Hydrochloride was
specifically mentioned as a dangerous drug, to wit:

...

(5) 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu;

...

It is clear, therefore, that the lawmakers intended to classify Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu as a
dangerous drug. Moreover, it would be absurd to consider methamphetamine hydrochloride a dangerous drug
under Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165 and merely a precursor under Section 5 of the same law.

In fine, there is no question that methamphetamine hydrochloride is classified as a dangerous drug.

Having made the foregoing findings, the next issue that calls for resolution is the penalty imposable to the
criminal cases under consideration. This is necessary in order to determine if the accused are entitled to bail.
Under Section 13 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution, an accused shall be entitled to bail as a matter of right
unless charged with an offense punishable with a capital penalty.

The Court notes that the criminal cases under consideration can be grouped into two (2): A) Crim. Case No. 03-
065 (against Rosemarie Pascual, Crim. Case No. 03-082 (against Rolando Uy), and Crim. Case No. 03-288
(against Mary Jane Regencia), which involve selling, trading, delivering or giving away Methamphetamine
Hydrochloride; and B) Crim. Case No. 03-265 (against Aiza Chona Omadan) which involve possession of the
said substance.
The investigating justice would first discuss Crim. Case No. 03-265 where the accused was charged with
possession of 57.78 grams of Methemphetamine Hydrochloride. Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165 provides that the
penalty imposable is life imprisonment to death. Therefore, in the Crim. Case No. 03-265 accused therein is not
entitled to bail as a matter of right. Rightly so, a hearing was conducted before the bail was granted.

The investigating justice, after a careful consideration of the evidence presented by the complainants, opines
that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation that bail was hastily granted to accused Aiza Chona
Omadan. Therefore, the charge of gross ignorance in relation to this case should be dismissed for lack of factual
basis.

The investigating justice will now tackle the other set of cases (Crim. Case No. 03-065; Crim. Case No. 03-082;
Crim. Case No. 03-288). Under the law, these are punishable with penalty ranging from life imprisonment to
death. Pertinent portions of Section 5 of R.A. No. 9165 reads:

...

As held in Managuelod vs. Paclibon, et al. (A.M. No. RTJ-02-1726, March 29, 2004).

It is imperative that judges be conversant with basic legal principles and possess sufficient proficiency in the
law. In offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua or death, the accused has no right to bail when the evidence of
guilt is strong. Respondent Judge Go should have known the procedure to be followed when a motion for
admission to bail is filed by the accused. Extreme care, not to mention the highest sense of personal integrity, is
required of him in granting bail, specially in case where bail is not a matter of right. The fact that the provincial
prosecutor interposed no objection to the application for bail by the accused did not relieve respondent judge of
the duty to set the motion for bail for hearing. A hearing is of utmost necessity because certain guidelines in
fixing bail (the nature of the crime, character and reputation of the accused, weight of evidence against him, the
probability of the accused appearing at the trial, among other things) call for the presentation of evidence. It was
impossible for respondent judge to determine the application of these guidelines in an ex-parte determination of
the propriety of Palacols motion for bail. Thus, for his failure to conduct any hearing on the application for bail,
we hold respondent Judge Go guilty of gross ignorance of the law justifying the imposition of the severest
disciplinary sanction on him. (Emphasis supplied)

It is clear, therefore, that as to said criminal cases the accused were likewise not entitled to bail as a matter of
right, hence, a hearing for the grant of bail should have been conducted. However, in this last instance, no such
hearing was conducted.

In fine, respondent judge erred in granting bail to the accused in Crim. Case No. 03-065, Crim. Case No. 03-
082, and Crim. Case No. 03-288 without hearing because the crime charge carries with it capital penalty.

As to Crim. Case No. 03-065, Crim. Case No. 03-082, and Crim. Case No. 03-288, the next issue to be resolved
is: whether or not the mistake amounted to gross ignorance of the law which would justify an administrative
sanction against respondent judge.

Respondent judge, naturally, argued that she cannot be held liable asserting that to be held guilty of gross
ignorance, the error must have been gross, deliberate and malicious (Rollo, RTJ-04-1820, p. 74) and in absence
of fraud, dishonesty, or corruption that judge cannot be held liable (Rollo, RTJ-04-1820, p. 75).

However, the Supreme Court does not always require the presence of malice to find erring judges liable for
gross ignorance.
In the above-cited Managuelod case the Supreme Court held that failure to hold a hearing before granting bail in
crimes involving capital punishment constitutes gross ignorance of the law, thus:

. . . Thus, for his failure to conduct any hearing on the application for bail, we hold respondent Judge Go guilty
of gross ignorance of the law justifying the imposition of the severest disciplinary sanction on him.

The same should hold true in the present administrative cases considering that the criminal cases involved
drugs, a major problem of the country today.

In conclusion, the investigating justice finds respondent judge guilty of gross ignorance of the law in relation to
the granting of bail without hearing in Crim. Case Nos. 03-065, 03-082 and 03-288 and exonerate her as to the
charge in relation to Criminal Case No. 03-265.

...

The next issue then is the penalty imposable on respondent judge. In Mupas vs. Espanol (A.M. No. RTJ-04-
185014, July 14, 2004) the Supreme Court enumerated the proper penalty for gross negligence (sic), thus:

Under Section 8 of A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC amending Rule 140 of the Rules of Court on the Discipline of Justices
and Judges, which took effect on October 1, 2001, gross ignorance of the law is classified as a serious charge
which carries with it a penalty of either dismissal from service, suspension or a fine of more than P20,000.00
but not exceeding P40,000.00.[10]

Based on the foregoing, the Investigating Justice made the following recommendation:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is respectfully recommended that respondent Judge Norma C.
Perello be DISMISSED on the ground of gross ignorance of law in relation to the grant of bail in Criminal Case
No. 03-065, Criminal Case No. 03-082, Criminal Case No. 03-288.[11]

The issue in these administrative cases is whether respondent Judge may be administratively held liable for the
grant of bail in the particular criminal cases subject of the complaints. As earlier stated, the criminal cases
subject of the present administrative complaints all involve violations of R.A. No. 9165, or the Comprehensive
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Admin. Matter No. RTJ-03-1817 particularly relates to Criminal Case No. 03-265 (People of the Philippines vs.
Aiza Chona Omadan), involving the possession, custody, and control of 57.78 grams of shabu, punishable under
Section 11 thereof, which reads:

SEC. 11. Possession of Dangerous Drugs.-- The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from
Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any
person, who unless authorized by law, shall possess any dangerous drug in the following quantities, regardless
of the degree of purity thereof:

...

(5) 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu; (Emphasis supplied)

...

Under the foregoing provision, possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is
punishable by life imprisonment to death; hence, a capital offense.[12] As such, bail becomes a matter of
discretion. In this regard, Rule 114, Sec. 7 of the Rules of Court states:
No person charged with the capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
shall be admitted to bail when the evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.

This provision is based on Section 13, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, which reads:

All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is
strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be
provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

The matter of determining whether or not the evidence is strong is a matter of judicial discretion that remains
with the judge.[13] Such discretion must be sound and exercised within reasonable bounds.[14]

Under the present rules, a hearing on an application for bail is mandatory.[15] Whether bail is a matter of right
or of discretion, the prosecutor should be given reasonable notice of hearing, or at least his recommendation on
the matter must be sought. In case an application for bail is filed, the judge is entrusted to observe the following
duties:

1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the
application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation;

2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, 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;

3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution; and

4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the bail bond. Otherwise
the bail should be denied.[16]

Based on the above-cited procedure and requirements, after the hearing, the courts order granting or refusing
bail must contain a summary of the evidence for the prosecution. A summary is defined as a comprehensive and
usually brief abstract or digest of a text or statement. Based on the summary of evidence, the judge formulates
his own conclusion on whether such evidence is strong enough to indicate the guilt of the accused.[17]

In this case, respondent Judge complied with the foregoing duties. A hearing was held on the petition; the
prosecution was given the opportunity to present its evidence in support of its stance; respondent Judge based
her findings on the prosecutions evidence, namely, the testimonies of P02 Saturnino Mayonte and Arturo
Villarin; respondent Judges Order dated May 9, 2003 granting the accuseds petition for bail contained a
summary of the prosecutions evidence; and since it was her conclusion that the evidence of accused Omadans
guilt is not strong, the petition for bail was granted.[18] Respondent Judge did not violate procedural
requirements. Records show that respondent Judge afforded the prosecution ample opportunity to present all the
evidence it had and there was no protest from the prosecution that it had been deprived of its right to present
against the accused. Thus, the Court does not find any irregularity in the grant of bail in Criminal Case No. 03-
265 that would render respondent Judge administratively liable.

It is noted that the other circumstances, complained of in this case, do not relate solely to respondent Judges
acts, but to the prosecutions conduct in handling the case. Thus, P/Insp. Darwin S. Butuyan stated in his report
that there is something wrong in the procedures and circumstances adopted by the Office of the City Prosecutor
of Muntinlupa City and Branch 276, RTC, Muntinlupa City in handling the case leading to the granting of bail
to accused Aiza Chona Omadan y Chua.[19]
The Court recognizes that the manner in which the strength of an accuseds guilt is proven still primarily rests on
the prosecution. The prosecutor has the right to control the quantum of evidence and the order of presentation of
the witnesses, in support of the denial of bail. After all, all criminal actions are prosecuted under the direction
and control of the public prosecutor.[20] It was the prosecutions judgment to limit the presentation of evidence
to two witnesses, as it felt that the testimonies of the other witnesses would be merely corroborative. It is
beyond respondent Judges authority to compel the public prosecutor to exercise its discretion in a way
respondent Judge deems fit, so long as such exercise of discretion will not defeat the purpose for which the
hearing was held, i.e., to determine whether strong evidence of guilt exists such that the accused may not be
entitled to bail.

In any event, the complainant in this case had also filed a letter-complaint with the Department of Justice
against the concerned public prosecutors.[21] Such matter is best left handled by the Department, and the Court
will not interfere on the matter.

Admin. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820, however, portrays an entirely different picture.

In this case, respondent Judge granted bail in Criminal Cases Nos. 03-065, 03-082, and 03-288 without the
requisite hearing. In so doing, it was respondent Judges defense that under R.A. No. 9165, shabu is not a
dangerous drug but merely a controlled precursor, in which the selling of less than 5 grams is punishable only
with imprisonment of 12 years to 20 years, and as such, bail is a matter of right and a hearing is not required.
Respondent Judge argued that:

In determining whether methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is indeed classified as a dangerous drug


under the said Republic Act, undersigned exhaustively studied the provision of this law and found that in Letter
H, Art. 1, Section 3: Definition of Terms, Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is listed in Table II, No. 12 of the
1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which list is
attached annex, an integral part of this Act, Methamphetamine and is listed as a CONTROLLED PRECURSOR
or ESSENTIAL CHEMICAL. This is more imperatively classified as a chemical, in Letter X of the Definition,
Sec. 3, Art. 1, where shabu is considered as such chemical. Therefore, under the definition by law itself, shabu
or methamphetamine hydrochloride is classified as a controlled precursor or essential chemical.

The definition of what are considered as DANGEROUS DRUGS, is (sic) those in Letter J, Sec. 3, Art. 1 of R.A.
9165, listed in 1961 Singled Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, which list is
again an integral part of this Act. Methamphetamine is NOT one of the enumerations of dangerous drugs.
Therefore, the selling or trading of this substance in a quantity less than a gram is punishable with an
imprisonment of only twelve (12) years as provided by the second paragraph of Section 5, Article II, is not on
capital offense punishable with death or life imprisonment, is bailable.

Section 11, Art. II, of the same Act, treats of POSSESSION NOT SELLING, where possession of this substance
is considered as a capital offense, punishable with death or life imprisonment, only if the accused is in
possession of it in the quantity of 50 GRAMS (50 grams), irrespective of the purity of the substance. It becomes
a capital offense only if it is in the quantity of fifty grams (50 GRAMS) under No. 5 of Section 11, Art. II.
Corollarilly, if it is less than this quantity, possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride is NOT punishable
with a capital penalty, hence, bailable! To stress POSSESSION of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is
considered as capital offense punishable with capital penalty if the quantity is 50 GRAMS (50 GRAMS), (Sec.
11, Art. II) while PUSHING of methamphetamine hydrochloride (Paragraph 2, Sec. 5) to be punishable with
capital penalty must be in the quantity of FIVE GRAMS (5 GRAMS), (Guidelines for RA 9165).[22]

To justify her granting bail in the three criminal cases, respondent Judge insists that she did so because of her
belief that methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is merely a precursor and therefore the sale thereof is not a
capital offense. This opinion is blatantly erroneous. One need not even go beyond the four corners of R.A. No.
9165 to see respondent Judges palpable error in the application of the law.

Respondent Judge need not exhaustively study R.A. No. 9165, as she asserted, to determine the nature of
methamphetamine hydrochloride. A plain reading of the law would immediately show that methamphetamine
hydrochloride is a dangerous drug and not a controlled precursor. If only respondent Judge prudently went over
the pertinent provisions of R.A. No. 9165, particularly Section 3, items (h) and (j), and properly made the
corresponding reference to the schedules and tables annexed thereto, she would have easily ascertained that
methamphetamine hydrochloride is listed in the 1971 UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances,
which are considered dangerous drugs. It is not listed in the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, as respondent Judge stated.[23]

Dangerous Drugs are defined by Section 3, paragraph (j) of R.A. No. 9165, as including those in the Schedules
listed annexed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and in the
Schedules annexed to the 1971 UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which were made an
integral part of R.A. No. 9165.

Under the foregoing section, dangerous drugs are classified into: (1) narcotic drugs, as listed in the 1961 Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; and (2) psychotropic substances, as listed in
the 1971 UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

For purposes of this case, the list of substances in Schedule II of the 1971 UN Single Convention of
Psychotropic Substances is hereby reproduced, to wit:

LIST OF SUBSTANCES IN SCHEDULE II

1.

AMFETAMINE (AMPHETAMINE)

2.

DEXAMFETAMINE (DEXAMPHETAMINE)

3.

FENETYLLINE DRONABINOL

4.

LEVAMFETAMINE

5.

LEVOMETHAMPHETAMINE

6.

MECLOQUALONE

7.
METAMFETAMINE

(METHAMPHETAMINE)

8.

METAMFETAMINE RACEMATE

9.

METHAQUALONE

10.

METHYLPHE NIDATE

11.

PHENCYCLIDINE (PCP)

12.

PHENMETRAZINE

13.

SECOBARBITAL

14.

DRONABINOL (delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol and its stereochemical variants)

15.

ZIPEPROL

16.

2C-B (4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine)

It clearly shows that methamphetamine is a psychotropic substance, or a dangerous drug.

On the other hand, under Section 3, paragraph (h) of R.A. No. 9165, controlled precursors and essential
chemicals, refer to those listed in Tables I and II of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which were likewise made integral part of R.A. No. 9165, to wit:

TABLE I

TABLE II

1.
ACETIC ANHYDRIDE

1.

ACETONE

2.

N-ACETYLANTHRANILIC ACID

2.

ANTHRANILIC ACID

3.

EPHEDRIN

3.

ETHYL ETHER

4.

ERGOMETRINE

4.

HYDROCHLORIC ACID

5.

ERGOTAMINE

5.

METHYL ETHYL KETONE

6.

ISOSAFROLE

6.

PHENYLACETIC ACID

7.

LYSERGIC ACID

7.
PIPERIDINE

8.

3,4-METHYLENEDIOXYPHENYL-2 PROPANONE

8.

SULPHURIC ACID

9.

NOREPHEDRINE

9.

TOLUENE

10.

1-PHENYL-2-PROPANONE

11.

PIPERONAL

12.

POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE

13.

PSEUDOEPHEDRINE

14.

SAFROLE

It readily reveals that methamphetamine is not one of those listed as controlled precursor or essential chemical.

Given the foregoing, methamphetamine hydrochloride is a dangerous drug, and not a controlled precursor or
essential chemical. That methamphetamine and not methamphetamine hydrochloride is the term specifically
listed in Schedule II of the 1971 UN Single Convention of Psychotropic Substances does not detract from the
fact that it is a dangerous drug. Section 3, paragraph (x) of R.A. No. 9165, states that methamphetamine
hydrochloride is a drug having such chemical composition, including any of its isomers or derivatives in any
form.

This is further strongly manifest in Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165, wherein it is specifically provided that the
possession of dangerous drugs, such as methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, is punishable with life
imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten Million
Pesos (P10,000,000.00), if the quantity thereof is 50 grams or more. It would be absurd, to say the least, that
Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165 would qualify methamphetamine hydrochloride as a dangerous drug, while Section
5 of the same law, penalizing the sale thereof, would treat it as a controlled precursor.

Had respondent Judge been more circumspect in going over the pertinent provisions of R.A. No. 9165, she
would certainly arrive at the same conclusion. It does not even take an interpretation of the law but a plain and
simple reading thereof. Furthermore, had respondent judge kept herself abreast of jurisprudence and decisions
of the Court,[24] she would have been apprised that in all the hundreds and hundreds of cases[25] decided by
the Court, methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu had always been considered as a dangerous drug.

Given that methamphetamine hydrochloride is a dangerous drug, the applicable provision in Criminal Case Nos.
03-065, 03-082, and 03-288 subject of Admin. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820, is Section 5, paragraph 1 of R.A. No.
9165, which reads:

SECTION 5. Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of


Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. The penalty of life imprisonment to
death and fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00)
shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver,
give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all
species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in any of such
transactions.

Regardless of quantity, the sale, trade, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of
shabu is punishable by life imprisonment to death. Being a capital offense, it is incumbent upon respondent
Judge to hold a hearing on the petitions/motions for bail filed by the accused therein to determine whether
evidence of guilt is strong. To grant an application for bail and fix the amount thereof without a hearing duly
called for the purpose of determining whether the evidence of guilt is strong constitutes gross ignorance or
incompetence whose grossness cannot be excused by a claim of good faith or excusable negligence.[26]

In Gallardo vs. Tabamo,[27] the Court rejected the defense that the judges failure to apply the clear provisions
of the law is merely an error of judgment, and the judge was held administratively liable for gross ignorance of
the law where the applicable legal provisions are crystal clear and need no interpretation.

Moreover, such gross ignorance of law is in violation of Rule 3.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which states
that a judge shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence.

The indispensable nature of a bail hearing in petitions for bail has always been ardently and indefatigably
stressed by the Court. The Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to be faithful to the law and maintain
professional competence. A judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes
and procedural rules; it is imperative that he be conversant with basic legal principles and be aware of well-
settled authoritative doctrines. He should strive for excellence exceeded only by his passion for truth, to the end
that he be the personification of justice and the Rule of Law.[28]

Although judges cannot be held to account or answer criminally, civilly or administratively for every erroneous
judgment or decision rendered by him in good faith, it is imperative that they should have basic knowledge of
the law.[29]

Even if a judge acted in good faith but his ignorance is so gross, he should be held administratively liable.[30]

Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC, which took effect on October 1,
2001, gross ignorance of the law is classified as a serious charge and is now punishable with severe sanctions, to
wit:
Sec. 11. Sanctions. A. If the respondent is guilty of a serious charge, any of the following sanctions may be
imposed:

1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, and
disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including government-owned or
controlled corporations. Provided, however, that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave
credits.

2. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but not exceeding six (6)
months; or

3. A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00.

In this case, the Investigating Justice recommended that respondent Judge be dismissed from the service. The
Court finds such penalty to be too harsh. In similar cases,[31] the Court imposed a fine on the respondents
therein for gross ignorance of the law for having granted bail to the accused without notice and hearing.
However, the Court takes judicial notice that this is not the first time that respondent Judge was administratively
fined. In A.M. No. RTJ-02-1686,[32] a fine of P5,000.00 and a reprimand was imposed on respondent Judge for
dereliction of duty for her failure to act on Civil Case No. 9-138 for three years. In A.M. No. RTJ-04-1846,[33]
respondent Judge was held administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law, grave misconduct and
oppression for the delay of almost nine (9) months in the transmittal of the records of Civil Case No. 01-268 to
the Court of Appeals, and was fined P20,000.00. Thus, the Court is imposing a penalty more severe than a fine.
Suspension from office for six (6) months in Admin. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820, excluding Criminal Case No. 03-
265 (People of the Philippines vs. Aiza Chona Omadan), is sufficient and reasonable.

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) also notes, in its Memorandum dated November 22, 2002, that
respondent Judge caused the release from the National Bilibid Prison of several persons convicted of violation
of the drugs law by granting the petitions for habeas corpus filed in her court, i.e., Spl. Proc. Nos. 02-002, 02-
008, 02-10, 98-023 and 98-048. The OCA further stated that in Spl. Proc. Nos. 98-023 and 98-048, respondent
Judge granted the petitions without determining the veracity of the allegations therein; without any material
evidence in support of her findings and conclusion; and that at the time the petitions were granted, an appeal
from the convictions in these two cases is pending before the Court (G. R. Nos. 131622-23). Thus, the OCA
recommends that an investigation, report, and recommendation on these two cases be made, and that it be
authorized to conduct an audit on all the petitions for habeas corpus in all the courts of the Regional Trial Court
of Muntinlupa City from 1998 to the present.[34]

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:

(1) In Admin. Matter No. RTJ-03-1817, DISMISSING the complaint against respondent Judge; and,

(2) In Admin. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820, finding respondent Judge Norma C. Perello, Presiding Judge of the
Regional Trial Court (Branch 276) of Muntinlupa City GUILTY of gross ignorance of law, and she is hereby
SUSPENDED for Six (6) Months, with warning that a repetition of similar acts shall be dealt with more
severely.

AS TO OTHER MATTERS:

(a) The Court ORDERS the Office of the Court Administrator to initiate the appropriate complaint for grave
misconduct and/or gross ignorance of the law against respondent Judge, insofar as Spl. Proc. Nos. 02-002, 02-
008, 02-10, 98-023 and 98-048 are concerned; and to conduct preliminary investigation and submit report
thereon within ninety (90) days from notice hereof.
(b) The Office of the Court Administrator is AUTHORIZED to conduct an audit and submit a report within
ninety (90) days from notice hereof, on all the petitions for habeas corpus in all the courts of the Regional Trial
Court of Muntinlupa City from 1998 to present.

SO ORDERED.
---------------------------------------------------

G.R. No. 197293 April 21, 2014

ALFREDO C. MENDOZA, Petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND JUNO CARS, INC., Respondents.

While the determination of probable cause to charge a person of a crime is the sole function of the. prosecutor,
the trial court may, in the protection of one's fundamental right to liberty, dismiss the case if, upon a personal
assessment of the evidence, it finds that the evidence does not establish probable cause.

This is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the Court of Appeals' decision2 dated January 14, 2011,
which reversed the Regional Trial Court's dismissal of the complaint against petitioner Alfredo C. Mendoza for
qualified theft and estafa.

This case stems from a complaint-affidavit filed by Juno Cars, Inc. through its representative, Raul C.
Evangelista, on January 8, 2008 for qualified theft and estafa against Alfredo.

In the complaint-affidavit, Juno Cars alleged that on June 2, 2007, it hired Alfredo as Trade-In/Used Car
Supervisor. On November 19, 2007, its Dealer/Operator, Rolando Garcia, conducted a partial audit of the used
cars and discovered that five (5) cars had been sold and released by Alfredo without Rolandos or the finance
managers permission.

The partial audit showed that the buyers of the five cars made payments, but Alfredo failed to remit the
payments totalling P886,000.00. It was further alleged that while there were 20 cars under Alfredos custody,
only 18 were accounted for. Further investigation revealed that Alfredo failed to turn over the files of a 2001
Hyundai Starex and a Honda City 1.5 LXI. Juno Cars alleged that taking into account the unremitted amounts
and the acquisition cost of the Honda City, Alfredo pilfered a total amount of P1,046,000.00 to its prejudice and
damage.

In his counter-affidavit, Alfredo raised, among others, Juno Cars supposed failure to prove ownership over the
five (5) cars or its right to possess them with the purported unremitted payments. Hence, it could not have
suffered damage.

On March 4, 2008, Provincial Prosecutor Rey F. Delgado issued a Resolution finding probable cause and
recommending the filing of an information against Alfredo for qualified theft and estafa.

Alfredo moved for reconsideration, but the motion was denied. He then filed a petition for review with the
Department of Justice on May 16, 2008.9

While Alfredos motion for reconsideration was still pending before the Office of the City Prosecutor of
Mandaluyong, two informations for qualified theft10 and estafa11 were filed before the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 212, Mandaluyong City. On March 31, 2008, Alfredo filed a motion for determination of probable
cause12 before the trial court. On April 28, 2008, he also filed a motion to defer arraignment.
Several clarificatory hearings were scheduled but were not conducted.13 On February 4, 2009, the parties
agreed to submit all pending incidents, including the clarificatory hearing, for resolution.

On March 3, 2009, the trial court, through Presiding Judge Rizalina Capco-Umali, issued an order dismissing
the complaint, stating that:

After conducting an independent assessment of the evidence on record which includes the assailed Resolution
dated 04 March 2008, the court holds that the evidence adduced does not support a finding of probable cause for
the offenses of qualified theft and estafa. x x x.

Juno Cars filed a motion for reconsideration, which the trial court denied on July 3, 2009.

Juno Cars then filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial court acted without
or in excess of its jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed the complaint. It argued that
"the determination of probable cause and the decision whether or not to file a criminal case in court, rightfully
belongs to the public prosecutor."

On January 14, 2011, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision, reversed the trial court, and reinstated the case.
In its decision, the appellate court ruled that the trial court acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction "in
supplanting the public prosecutors findings of probable cause with her own findings of insufficiency of
evidence and lack of probable cause."

Aggrieved, Alfredo filed a petition for review under Rule 45 before this court. In essence, he argued that the
trial court was correct in finding that there was no probable cause as shown by the evidence on record. He
argued that "judicial determination of probable cause is broader than [the] executive determination of probable
cause" and that "[i]t is not correct to say that the determination of probable cause is exclusively vested on the
prosecutor x x x."

In its comment, Juno Cars argued that Alfredo presented questions, issues, and arguments that were a mere
rehash of those already considered and passed upon by the appellate court.

The Office of the Solicitor General, arguing for public respondent, stated in its comment that the appellate court
correctly sustained the public prosecutor in his findings of probable cause against Alfredo. Since there was no
showing of grave abuse of discretion on the part of Prosecutor Rey F. Delgado, the trial court should respect his
determination of probable cause.

In his reply, Alfredo reiterated that "judicial determination of probable cause[,] while not a superior faculty[,]
covers a broader encompassing perspective in the disposition of the issue on the existence of probable cause."
He argued that the findings of the trial court should be accorded greater weight than the appellate courts. It
merely reviewed the findings of the trial court.

The primordial issue is whether the trial court may dismiss an information filed by the prosecutor on the basis
of its own independent finding of lack of probable cause.

Time and again, this court has been confronted with the issue of the difference between the determination of
probable cause by the prosecutor on one hand and the determination of probable cause by the judge on the other.
We examine these two concepts again.

Juno Cars filed a complaint against Alfredo for qualified theft and estafa under Article 315, fourth paragraph,
no. 3(c) of the Revised Penal Code. Since qualified theft is punishable by reclusion perpetua, a preliminary
investigation must first be conducted "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," in accordance with Rule 112, Section 1 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure.

At this stage, the conduct of the preliminary investigation and the subsequent determination of the existence of
probable cause lie solely within the discretion of the public prosecutor. If upon evaluation of the evidence, the
prosecutor finds sufficient basis to find probable cause, he or she shall then cause the filing of the information
with the court.

Once the information has been filed, the judge shall then "personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor
and its supporting evidence" to determine whether there is probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest. At this
stage, a judicial determination of probable cause exists.

In People v. Castillo and Mejia,31 this court has stated:

There are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive and judicial. The executive determination of
probable cause is one made during preliminary investigation. It is a function that properly pertains to the public
prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether probable cause exists and to charge those
whom he believes to have committed the crime as defined by law and thus should be held for trial. Otherwise
stated, such official has the quasi-judicial authority to determine whether or not a criminal case must be filed in
court. Whether or not that function has been correctly discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e., whether or not
he has made a correct ascertainment of the existence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court
itself does not and may not be compelled to pass upon.

The judicial determination of probable cause, on the other hand, is one made by the judge to ascertain whether a
warrant of arrest should be issued against the accused. The judge must satisfy himself that based on the
evidence submitted, there is necessity for placing the accused under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of
justice. If the judge finds no probable cause, the judge cannot be forced to issue the arrest warrant.32

The difference is clear: The executive determination of probable cause concerns itself with whether there is
enough evidence to support an Information being filed. The judicial determination of probable cause, on the
other hand, determines whether a warrant of arrest should be issued. In People v. Inting:33

x x x Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause
for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether the
offender should be held for trial or released. Even if the two inquiries are conducted in the course of one and the
same proceeding, there should be no confusion about the objectives. The determination of probable cause for
the warrant of arrest is made by the Judge. The preliminary investigation properwhether or not there is
reasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he
should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trialis the function of the Prosecutor.34
(Emphasis supplied)

While it is within the trial courts discretion to make an independent assessment of the evidence on hand, it is
only for the purpose of determining whether a warrant of arrest should be issued. The judge does not act as an
appellate court of the prosecutor and has no capacity to review the prosecutors determination of probable
cause; rather, the judge makes a determination of probable cause independent of the prosecutors finding.

People v. Court of Appeals and Jonathan Cerbo35 discussed the rationale. In that case, Jonathan Cerbo allegedly
shot Rosalinda Dy in the presence of his father, Billy Cerbo. An information for murder was filed against
Jonathan Cerbo. The daughter of Rosalinda Dy, as private complainant, executed a complaint-affidavit charging
Billy Cerbo with conspiracy. The prosecutor then filed a motion to amend the information, which was granted
by the court. The information was then amended to include Billy Cerbo as one of the accused, and a warrant of
arrest was issued against him.
Billy Cerbo filed a motion to quash the warrant arguing that it was issued without probable cause. The trial
court granted this motion, recalled the warrant, and dismissed the case against him. The Court of Appeals
affirmed this dismissal. This court, however, reversed the Court of Appeals and ordered the reinstatement of the
amended information against Billy Cerbo, stating that:

In granting this petition, we are not prejudging the criminal case or the guilt or innocence of Private Respondent
Billy Cerbo. We are simply saying that, as a general rule, if the information is valid on its face and there is no
showing of manifest error, grave abuse of discretion or prejudice on the part of the public prosecutor, courts
should not dismiss it for want of evidence, because evidentiary matters should be presented and heard during
the trial. The functions and duties of both the trial court and the public prosecutor in "the proper scheme of
things" in our criminal justice system should be clearly understood.

The rights of the people from what could sometimes be an "oppressive" exercise of government prosecutorial
powers do need to be protected when circumstances so require. But just as we recognize this need, we also
acknowledge that the State must likewise be accorded due process. Thus, when there is no showing of nefarious
irregularity or manifest error in the performance of a public prosecutors duties, courts ought to refrain from
interfering with such lawfully and judicially mandated duties.

In any case, if there was palpable error or grave abuse of discretion in the public prosecutors finding of
probable cause, the accused can appeal such finding to the justice secretary and move for the deferment or
suspension of the proceedings until such appeal is resolved.36 (Emphasis supplied)

In this case, the resolution dated March 4, 2008 of Prosecutor Rey F. Delgado found that the facts and evidence
were "sufficient to warrant the indictment of [petitioner] x x x."37 There was nothing in his resolution which
showed that he issued it beyond the discretion granted to him by law and jurisprudence.

While the information filed by Prosecutor Delgado was valid, Judge Capco-Umali still had the discretion to
make her own finding of whether probable cause existed to order the arrest of the accused and proceed with
trial.

Jurisdiction over an accused is acquired when the warrant of arrest is served. Absent this, the court cannot hold
the accused for arraignment and trial.

Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches
and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of
arrest shall issue except upon probable cause 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 persons or things to be seized.

The Constitution prohibits the issuance of search warrants or warrants of arrest where the judge has not
personally determined the existence of probable cause. The phrase "upon probable cause to be determined
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
may produce" allows a determination of probable cause by the judge ex parte.

For this reason, Section 6, paragraph (a) of Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure mandates the judge to
"immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record fails to establish probable cause." Section 6, paragraph
(a) of Rule 112 reads:
Section 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.

In People v. Hon. Yadao:38

Section 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court gives the trial court three options upon the filing of the criminal
information: (1) dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly failed to establish probable cause; (2) issue a
warrant of arrest if it finds probable cause; and (3) order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within
five days from notice in case of doubt as to the existence of probable cause.

But the option to order the prosecutor to present additional evidence is not mandatory. The courts first option
under the above is for it to "immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish
probable cause." That is the situation here: the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause
against the respondents.39 (Emphasis supplied)

It is also settled that "once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the case, whether as to
its dismissal or the conviction or the acquittal of the accused, rests in the sound discretion of the court."40

In this case, Judge Capco-Umali made an independent assessment of the evidence on record and concluded that
"the evidence adduced does not support a finding of probable cause for the offenses of qualified theft and
estafa." Specifically, she found that Juno Cars "failed to prove by competent evidence" that the vehicles alleged
to have been pilfered by Alfredo were lawfully possessed or owned by them, or that these vehicles were
received by Alfredo, to be able to substantiate the charge of qualified theft. She also found that the complaint
"[did] not state with particularity the exact value of the alleged office files or their valuation purportedly have
been removed, concealed or destroyed by the accused,"43 which she found crucial to the prosecution of the
crime of estafa under Article 315, fourth paragraph, no. 3(c) of the Revised Penal Code. She also noted that:

x x x As a matter of fact, this court had even ordered that this case be set for clarificatory hearing to clear out
essential matters pertinent to the offense charged and even directed the private complainant to bring documents
relative to the same/payment as well as affidavit of witnesses/buyers with the end view of satisfying itself that
indeed probable cause exists to commit the present case which private complainant failed to do.44

Accordingly, with the present laws and jurisprudence on the matter, Judge Capco-Umali correctly dismissed the
case against Alfredo.

Although jurisprudence and procedural rules allow it, a judge must always proceed with caution in dismissing
cases due to lack of probable cause, considering the preliminary nature of the evidence before it. It is only when
he or she finds that the evidence on hand absolutely fails to support a finding of probable cause that he or she
can dismiss the case. On the other hand, if a judge finds probable cause, he or she must not hesitate to proceed
with arraignment and trial in order that justice may be served.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision dated January 14, 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. SP. No. 110774 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Criminal Case Nos. MC08-11604-05 against Alfredo C.
Mendoza are DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
--------------------------------------------

G.R. No. 183345 September 17, 2014

MA. GRACIA HAO and DANNY HAO, Petitioners,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

DECISION

BRION, J.:

Before this Court is the petition for review on certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, filed by Ma.
Gracia Hao and Danny Hao (petitioners). They seek the reversal of the Court of Appeals' (CA) decision dated
February 28, 2006 and resolution dated June 13, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 86289. These CA rulings affirmed the
February 26, 20044 and July 26, 2004 orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, which respectively
denied the petitioners' motion to defer arraignment and motion to lift warrant of arrest.

Factual Antecedents

On July 11, 2003 private complainant Manuel Dy y Awiten (Dy) filed a criminal complaint against the
petitioners and Victor Ngo (Ngo) for syndicated estafa penalized under Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal
Code (RPC), as amended, in relation with Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1689.7

Dy alleged that he was a long-time client of Asiatrust Bank, Binondo Branch where Ngo was the manager.
Because of their good business relationship, Dy took Ngos advice to deposit his money in an investment house
that will give a higher rate of return. Ngo then introduced him to Ma. Gracia Hao (Gracia), also known as Mina
Tan Hao, who presented herself as an officer of various reputable companies and an incorporator of State
Resources Development Corporation (State Resources), the recommended company that can give Dy his higher
investment return.

Relying on Ngo and Gracias assurances, Dy initially invested in State Resources the approximate amount of
Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00). This initial investment earned the promised interests, leading Dy, at the
urging of Gracia, toincrease his investment to almost One Hundred Million Pesos (P100,000,000.00). Dy
increased his investments through several checks he issued in the name of State Resources. In return, Gracia
also issued several checks to Dy representing his earnings for his investment. Gracia issued checks in the total
amount of One Hundred Fourteen Million, Two Hundred Eighty Six Thousand, Eighty Six Pesos and Fourteen
Centavos (P114,286,086.14). All these checks10 were subsequently dishonored when Dy deposited them.

Dy sought the assistance of Ngo for the recovery of the amount of the dishonored checks. Ngo promised
assistance, but after a few months, Dy found out that Ngo already resigned from Asiatrust Bank and could no
longer be located. Hence, he confronted Gracia regarding the dishonored checks. He eventually learned that
Gracia invested his money in the construction and realty business of Gracias husband, Danny Hao (Danny).
Despite their promises to pay, the petitioners never returned Dys money.

On July 17, 2003, Dy filed a supplemental affidavit to include in the criminal complaint Chester De Joya, Allan
Roxas, Samantha Roxas, Geraldine Chiong, and Lyn Ansuas all incorporators and/or directors of State
Resources.
On the basis of Dys complaint and supplemental affidavit, the public prosecutor filed an information for
syndicated estafa against the petitioners and their six co-accused. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No.
03-219952 and was raffled to respondent RTC of Manila, Branch 40.

Judge Placido Marquez issued warrants of arrest against the petitioners and the other accused. Consequently,
petitioners immediately filed a motion to defer arraignment and motion to lift warrant of arrest. In their twin
motions, they invoked the absence of probable cause against them and the pendency of their petition for review
with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In its February 26, 2004 order, the trial court denied the petitioners twin motions. The petitioners moved for
reconsideration but the trial court also denied this in its July 26, 2004 order. Consequently, the petitioners filed a
petition for certiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the CA.

The CAs Ruling

The CA affirmed the denial of the petitioners motion to defer arraignment and motion to lift warrant of arrest.

In determining probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, a judge is mandated to personally evaluate
the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. The CA noted that Judge Marquez only issued the
warrants of arrest after his personal examination of the facts and circumstances of the case. Since the judge
complied with the Rules, the CA concluded that no grave abuse of discretion could be attributed to him.

In its decision, however, the CA opined that the evidence on record and the assertions in Dys affidavits only
show probable cause for the crime of simple estafa, not syndicated estafa. Under PD No. 1689, in order for
syndicated estafato exist, the swindling must have been committed by five or more persons, and the fraud must
be against the general public or at least a group of persons. In his complaint-affidavit, Dy merely stated that he
relied on the petitioners false representations and was defrauded into parting with his money, causing him
damage.19 Since there was no evidence that State Resources was formed to defraud the public in general or that
it was used to solicit money from other persons aside from Dy, then the offense charged should only be for
simple estafa.20

Nevertheless, the CA found that the trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the warrants
of arrest against the petitioners as there was still probable cause to believe that the petitioners committed the
crime of simple estafa.

The Petition

The petitioners submit that an examination of Dys affidavits shows inconsistencies in his cited factual
circumstances. These inconsistencies, according to the petitioners, negate the existence of probable cause
against them for the crime charged.

The petitioners also contend that it was only Ngo who enticed Dy to invest his money. As early as August 1995,
State Resources had already been dissolved, thus negating the assertion that Dy advanced funds for this
corporation. They question the fact that it took Dy almost five years to file his complaint despite his allegation
that he lost almost P100,000,000.00.

Lastly, the petitioners claim that the warrants of arrest issued against them were null and void. Contrary to the
trial courts findings, the CA noted in the body of its decision, that PD 1689 was inapplicable to their case.
There was no evidence to show that State Resources was formed to solicit funds not only from Dy but also from
the general public. Since simple estafaand syndicated estafaare two distinct offenses, then the warrants of arrest
issued to petitioners were erroneous because these warrants pertained to two different crimes.24
The Courts Ruling

We resolve to DENYthe petition.

Procedural Consideration

We note that the present petition questions the CAs decision and resolution on the petition for certiorari the
petitioners filed with that court. At the CA, the petitioners imputed grave abuse of discretion against the trial
court for the denial of their twin motions to defer arraignment and to lift warrant of arrest.

This situation is similar to the procedural issue we addressed in the case of Montoya v. Transmed Manila
Corporation25 where we faced the question of how to review a Rule 45 petition before us, a CA decision made
under Rule 65. We clarified in this cited case the kind of review that this Court should undertake given the
distinctions between the two remedies. In Rule 45, we consider the correctness of the decision made by an
inferior court. In contrast, a Rule 65 review focuses on jurisdictional errors.

As in Montoya, we need to scrutinize the CA decision in the same context that the petition for certiorari it ruled
upon was presented to it. Thus, we need to examine the CA decision from the prism of whether it correctly
determined the presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court and not on the
basis of whether the trial courts denial of petitioners motions was strictly legally correct. In question form, the
question to ask is: did the CA correctly determine whether the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in
denying petitioners motions to defer arraignment and lift warrant of arrest?

Probable Cause for the Issuance of a Warrant of Arrest

Under the Constitution and the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, a judge is mandated to personally
determine the existence of probable cause after his personal evaluation of the prosecutors resolution and the
supporting evidence for the crime charged. These provisions command the judge to refrain from making a
mindless acquiescence to the prosecutors findings and to conduct his own examination of the facts and
circumstances presented by both parties.

Section 5(a) of Rule 112, grants the trial court three options upon the filing of the criminal complaint or
information. He may: a) dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly failed to establish probable cause; b)
issue a warrant of arrest if it finds probable cause; or c) order the prosecutor to present additional evidence
within five days from notice in case of doubt on the existence of probable cause.

In the present case, the trial court chose to issue warrants of arrest to the petitioners and their co-accused. To be
valid, these warrants must have been issued after compliance with the requirement that probable cause be
personally determined by the judge. Notably at this stage, the judge is tasked to merely determine the
probability, not the certainty, of guilt of the accused. In doing so, he need not conduct a de novo hearing; he
only needs to personally review the prosecutor's initial determination and see if it is supported by substantial
evidence.

The records showed that Judge Marquez made a personal determination of the existence of probable cause to
support the issuance of the warrants. The petitioners, in fact, did not present any evidence to controvert this. As
the trial court ruled in its February 26, 2004 order:

The non-arrest of all the accused or their refusal to surrender practically resulted in the suspension of
arraignment exceeding the sixty (60) days counted from the filing of co-accused De Joyas motions, which may
be considered a petition for review, and that of co-accused Spouses Haos own petition for review. This is not to
mention the delay in the resolution by the Department of Justice. On the other hand, co-accused DeJoyas
motion to determine probable cause and co-accused Spouses Haos motion to lift warrant of arrest have been
rendered moot and academic with the issuance of warrants of arrest by this presiding judge after his personal
examination of the facts and circumstances strong enough in themselves to support the belief that they are guilty
of the crime that in fact happened.30 [Emphasis ours]

Under this situation, we conclude that Judge Marquez did not arbitrarily issue the warrants of arrest against the
petitioners. As stated by him, the warrants were only issued after his personal evaluation of the factual
circumstances that led him to believe that there was probable cause to apprehend the petitioners for their
commission of a criminal offense.

Distinction between Executive and Judicial Determination of Probable Cause

In a criminal prosecution, probable cause is determined at two stages. The first is at the executive level, where
determination is made by the prosecutor during the preliminary investigation, before the filing of the criminal
information. The second is at the judicial level, undertaken by the judge before the issuance of a warrant of
arrest.

In the case at hand, the question before us relates to the judicial determination of probable cause. In order to
properly resolve if the CA erred in affirming the trial courts issuance of the warrants of arrest against the
petitioners, it is necessary to scrutinize the crime of estafa, whether committed as a simple offense or through a
syndicate.

The crime of swindling or estafa is covered by Articles 315-316 of the RPC. In these provisions, the different
modes by which estafa may be committed, as well as the corresponding penalties for each are outlined. One of
these modes is estafaby means of deceit. Article 315(2)(a) of the RPC defines how this particular crime is
perpetrated:

2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior toor simultaneously with
the commission of the fraud:

(a) By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit,
agency, business orimaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.

Under this provision, estafa has the following elements: 1) the existence of a false pretense, fraudulent act or
fraudulent means; 2) the execution of the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means prior to or
simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; 3) the reliance by the offended party on the false pretense,
fraudulent act or fraudulent means, which induced him to part withhis money or property; and 4) as a result, the
offended party suffered damage.

As Dy alleged in his complaint-affidavit, Ngo and Gracia induced him to invest with State Resources and
promised him a higher rate of return. Because of his good business relationship with Ngo and relying on
Gracias attractive financial representations, Dy initially invested the approximate amount of P10,000,000.00.

This first investment earned profits. Thus, Dy was enticed by Gracia to invest more so that he eventually
advanced almost P100,000,000.00 with State Resources. Gracias succeeding checks representing the earnings
of his investments, however, were all dishonored upon deposit. He subsequently learned that the petitioners
used his money for Dannys construction and realty business. Despite repeated demands and the petitioners
constant assurances to pay, they never returned Dys invested money and its supposed earnings.

These cited factual circumstances show the elements of estafa by means of deceit. The petitioners induced Dy to
invest in State Resources promising higher returns. But unknown to Dy, what occurred was merely a ruse to
secure his money to be used in Dannys construction and realty business. The petitioners deceit became more
blatant when they admitted in their petition that as early as August 1995, State Resources had already been
dissolved. This admission strengthens the conclusion that the petitioners misrepresented facts regarding
themselves and State Resources in order to persuade Dy to part with his money for investment with an
inexistent corporation.

These circumstances all serve as indicators of the petitioners deceit. "Deceit is the false representation of a
matter of fact, whether by words or conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which
should have been disclosed, which deceives or is intended to deceive another, so that he shall act upon it to his
legal injury."

Thus, had it not been for the petitioners false representations and promises, Dy would not have placed his
money in State Resources, to his damage. These allegations cannot but lead us to the conclusion that probable
cause existed as basis to arrest the petitioners for the crime of estafa by means of deceit.

We now address the issue of whether estafa in this case was committed through a syndicate.

Under Section 1 of PD No. 1689,39 there is syndicated estafa if the following elements are present: 1) estafa or
other forms of swindling as defined in Articles 315 and 316 of the RPC was committed; 2) the estafa or
swindling was committed by a syndicate of five or more persons; and 3) the fraud resulted in the
misappropriation of moneys contributed by stockholders, or members of rural banks, cooperatives, "samahang
nayon[s]," or farmers associations or of funds solicited by corporations/associations from the general public.

The factual circumstances of the present case show that the first and second elements of syndicated estafa are
present; there is probable cause for violation of Article 315(2)(a) of the RPC against the petitioners. Moreover,
in Dys supplemental complaint-affidavit, he alleged that the fraud perpetrated against him was committed, not
only by Ngo and the petitioners, but also by the other officers and directors of State Resources. The number of
the accused who allegedly participated in defrauding Dy exceeded five, thus satisfying the requirement for the
existence of a syndicate.

However, the third element of the crime is patently lacking. The funds fraudulently solicited by the corporation
must come from the general public. In the present case, no evidence was presented to show that aside from Dy,
the petitioners, through State Resources, also sought investments from other people. Dy had no co-complainants
alleging that they were also deceived to entrust their money to State Resources. The general public element was
not complied with. Thus, no syndicated estafa allegedly took place, only simple estafa by means of deceit.

Despite this conclusion, we still hold that the CA did not err in affirming the trial courts denial of the
petitioners motion to lift warrant of arrest.

A warrant of arrest should be issued if the judge after personal evaluation of the facts and circumstances is
convinced that probable cause exists that an offense was committed.

Probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is the existence of such facts and circumstances that would
lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that an offense was committed by the person sought to
be arrested. This must be distinguished from the prosecutors finding of probable cause which is for the filing of
the proper criminal information. Probable cause for warrant of arrest is determined to address the necessity of
placing the accused under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.

In People v. Castillo and Mejia,43 we explained the distinction between the two kinds of probable cause
determination:

There are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive and judicial. The executive determination of
probable cause is one made during preliminary investigation. It is a function that properly pertains to the public
prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether probable cause exists and to charge those
whom he believes to have committed the crime as defined by law and thus should be held for trial. Otherwise
stated, such official has the quasi-judicial authority to determine whether or not a criminal case must be filed in
court. Whether or not that function has been correctly discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e., whether or not
he has made a correct ascertainment of the existence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court
itself does not and may not be compelled to pass upon.

The judicial determination of probable cause, on the other hand, is one made by the judge to ascertain whether a
warrant of arrest should be issued against the accused. The judge must satisfy himself that based on the
evidence submitted, there is necessity for placing the accused under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of
justice. If the judge finds no probable cause, the judge cannot be forced to issue the arrest warrant.44 [Emphasis
ours]

With our conclusion that probable cause existed for the crime of simple estafa and that the petitioners have
probably committed it, it follows that the issuance of the warrants of arrest against the petitioners remains to be
valid and proper. To allow them to go scot-free would defeat rather than promote the purpose of a warrant of
arrest, which is to put the accused in the courts custodyto avoid his flight from the clutches of justice.

Moreover, we note that simple estafa and syndicated estafa are not two entirely different crimes. Simple estafa
is a crime necessarily included in syndicated estafa. An offense is necessarily included in another offense when
the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form a part of those constituting the latter.

Under this legal situation, only a formal amendment of the filed information under Section 14, Rule 110 of the
Rules of Court46 is necessary; the warrants of arrest issued against the petitioners should not be nullified since
probable cause exists for simple estafa.

Suspension of Arraignment

Under Section 11(c), Rule 116of the Rules of Court, an arraignment may be suspended if there is a petition for
review of the resolution of the prosecutor pending at either the DOJ, or the Office of the President. However,
such period of suspension should not exceed sixty (60) days counted from the filing of the petition with the
reviewing office.

As the petitioners alleged, they filed a petition for review with the DOJ on November 21, 2003. Since this
petition had not been resolved yet, they claimed that their arraignment should be suspended indefinitely.

We emphasize that the right of an accused to have his arraignment suspended is not an unqualified
right.1wphi1 In Spouses Trinidad v. Ang,47 we explained that while the pendency of a petition for review is a
ground for suspension of the arraignment, the Rules limit the deferment of the arraignment to a period of 60
days reckoned from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office. It follows, therefore, that after the
expiration of the 60-day period, the trial court is bound to arraign the accused or to deny the motion to defer
arraignment.48

As the trial court found in its February 26, 2004 order, the DOJ's delay in resolving the petitioners' petition for
review had already exceeded 60 days. Since the suspension of the petitioners' arraignment was already beyond
the period allowed by the Rules, the petitioners' motion to suspend completely lacks any legal basis.

As a final note, we observe that the resolution of this case had long been delayed because of the petitioners'
refusal to submit to the trial court's jurisdiction and their erroneous invocation of the Rules in their favor. As
there is probable cause for the petitioners' commission of a crime, their arrest and arraignment should now
ensue so that this case may properly proceed to trial, where the merits of both the parties' evidence and
allegations may be weighed.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition and AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATION the
February 28, 2006 decision and June 13, 2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 86289. We
hereby order that petitioners Ma. Gracia Hao and Danny Hao be charged for simple estafa under Article 315(2)
(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended and be arraigned for this charge. The warrants of arrest issued stand.

SO ORDERED.
------------------------------------------------------

Joey M. Pestilos, Dwight Macapanas, Miguel Gaces, Jerry Fernandez and Ronald Muoz v. People of the
Philippines
G.R. No. 182601, November 10, 2014
Brion, J.:

FACTS:
The petitioners were indicted for attempted murder. Petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary
Investigation on the ground that no valid warrantless arrest took place. The RTC denied the motion and the CA
affirmed the denial.

Records show that an altercation ensued between the petitioners and Atty. Moreno Generoso. The latter called
the Central Police District to report the incident and acting on this report, SPO1 Monsalve dispatched SPO2
Javier to go to the scene of the crime and render assistance. SPO2, together with augmentation personnel
arrived at the scene of the crime less than one hour after the alleged altercation and saw Atty. Generoso badly
beaten.

Atty. Generoso then pointed the petitioners as those who mauled him which prompted the police officers to
invite the petitioners to go to the police station for investigation. At the inquest proceeding, the City
Prosecutor found that the petitioners stabbed Atty. Generoso with a bladed weapon who fortunately survived the
attack.

Petitioners aver that they were not validly arrested without a warrant.

ISSUE:
Are the petitioners validly arrested without warrant when the police officers did not witness the crime and
arrived only less than an hour after the alleged altercation?

HELD:
YES, the petitioners were validly arrested without warrant. Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure provides that:

When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to
believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the
person to be arrested has committed it.

The elements under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are: first, an offense has
just been committed; and second, the arresting officer has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it.

The Court's appreciation of the elements that "the offense has just been committed" and ''personal knowledge of
facts and circumstances that the person to be arrested committed it" depended on the particular circumstances of
the case. The element of ''personal knowledge of facts or circumstances", however, under Section 5(b), Rule 113
of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure requires clarification. Circumstances may pertain to events or
actions within the actual perception, personal evaluation or observation of the police officer at the scene of the
crime. Thus, even though the police officer has not seen someone actually fleeing, he could still make a
warrantless arrest if, based on his personal evaluation of the circumstances at the scene of the crime, he could
determine the existence of probable cause that the person sought to be arrested has committed the crime.

However, the determination of probable cause and the gathering of facts or circumstances should be made
immediately after the commission of the crime in order to comply with the element of immediacy. In other
words, the clincher in the element of ''personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" is the required element of
immediacy within which these facts or circumstances should be gathered.

With the facts and circumstances of the case at bar that the police officers gathered and which they have
personally observed less than one hour from the time that they have arrived at the scene of the crime, it is
reasonable to conclude that the police officers had personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances justifying
the petitioners warrantless arrests.

Hence, the petitioners were validly arrested and the subsequent inquest proceeding was likewise appropriate.
------------------

G.R. No. 182601 November 10, 2014

JOEY M. PESTILOS, DWIGHT MACAPANAS, MIGUEL GACES, JERRY FERNANDEZ and RONALD
MUNOZ, Petitioners,
vs.
MORENO GENEROSO and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

DECISION

BRION, J.:

We resolve the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court challenging the decision1
dated January 21, 2008 and the resolution2 dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG.R. SP
No. 91541.

The appealed decision affirmed the Order dated March 16, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 96,
Quezon City, denying Joey M. Pestilos, Dwight Macapanas, Miguel Gaces, Jerry Fernandez, and Ronald
Munoz's (petitioners) Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation, as well as their subsequent motion
for reconsideration.

The Antecedent Facts

The records of the case reveal that on February 20, 2005, at around 3: 15 in the morning, an altercation ensued
between the petitioners and Atty. Moreno Generoso (Atty. Generoso) at Kasiyahan Street, Barangay Holy Spirit,
Quezon City where the petitioners and Atty. Generoso reside.3

Atty. Generoso called the Central Police District, Station 6 (Batas an Hills Police Station) to report the
incident.4 Acting on this report, Desk Officer SPOl Primitivo Monsalve (SPOJ Monsalve) dispatched SP02
Dominador Javier (SP02 Javier) to go to the scene of the crime and to render assistance.5 SP02 Javier, together
with augmentation personnel from the Airforce, A2C Alano Sayson and Airman Ruel Galvez, arrived at the
scene of the crime less than one hour after the alleged altercation6 and they saw Atty. Generoso badly beaten.7

Atty. Generoso then pointed to the petitioners as those who mauled him. This prompted the police officers to
"invite" the petitioners to go to Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation.8 The petitioners went with the
police officers to Batasan Hills Police Station.9 At the inquest proceeding, the City Prosecutor of Quezon City
found that the petitioners stabbed Atty. Generoso with a bladed weapon. Atty. Generoso fortunately survived the
attack.10

In an Information dated February 22, 2005, the petitioners were indicted for attempted murder allegedly
committed as follows:

That on or about the 20th h day of February, 2005, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring
together, confederating with and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, qualified with evident
premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of superior strength, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously commence the commission of the crime of Murder directly by overt acts, by then and there stabbing
one Atty. MORENO GENEROSO y FRANCO, with a bladed weapon, but said accused were not able to
perform all the acts of execution which would produce the crime of Murder by reason of some cause/s or
accident other than their own spontaneous desistance, that is, said complainant was able to parry the attack, to
his damage and prejudice.

CONTRARY TO LAW.11

On March 7, 2005, the petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation12 on the
ground that they had not been lawfully arrested. They alleged that no valid warrantless arrest took place since
the police officers had no personal knowledge that they were the perpetrators of the crime. They also claimed
that they were just "invited" to the police station. Thus, the inquest proceeding was improper, and a regular
procedure for preliminary investigation should have been performed pursuant to Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court.13

On March 16, 2005, the RTC issued its order denying the petitioners' Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary
Investigation.14 The court likewise denied the petitioners' motion for reconsideration.15

The petitioners challenged the lower court's ruling before the CA on a Rule 65 petition for certiorari. They
attributed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, on the R TC for the denial of
their motion for preliminary investigation.16

The Assailed CA Decision

On January 21, 2008, the CA issued its decision dismissing the petition for lack of merit.17 The CA ruled that
the word "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest executed by SP02 Javier carried the meaning of a command. The
arresting officer clearly meant to arrest the petitioners to answer for the mauling of Atty. Generoso. The CA also
recognized that the arrest was pursuant to a valid warrantless arrest so that an inquest proceeding was called for
as a consequence. Thus, the R TC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in denying the Urgent Motion
for Regular Preliminary Investigation.

The CA saw no merit in the petitioners' argument that the order denying the Urgent Motion for Regular
Preliminary Investigation is void for failure to clearly state the facts and the law upon which it was based,
pursuant to Rule 16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. The CA found that the RTC had sufficiently
explained the grounds for the denial of the motion.

The petitioners moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied the motion in its Resolution of April 17, 2008;18
hence, the present petition.

The Issues

The petitioners cited the following assignment of errors:


I.

WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE VALIDLY ARRESTED WITHOUT A WARRANT.

II.

WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE LAWFULLY ARRESTED WHEN THEY WERE MERELY
INVITED TO THE POLICE PRECINCT.

III.

WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER DENYING THE MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS
VOID FOR FAILURE TO STATE THE FACTS AND THE LAW UPON WHICH IT WAS BASED.

The petitioners primarily argue that they were not lawfully arrested. No arrest warrant was ever issued; they
went to the police station only as a response to the arresting officers' invitation. They even cited the Affidavit of
Arrest, which actually used the word "invited. "

The petitioners also claim that no valid warrantless arrest took place under the terms of Rule 112, Section 7 of
the Revised Rules of Court. The incident happened two (2) hours before the police officers actually arrived at
the crime scene. The police officers could not have undertaken a valid warrantless arrest as they had no personal
knowledge that the petitioners were the authors of the crime.

The petitioners additionally argue that the R TC' s Order denying the Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary
Investigation is void because it was not properly issued.

The Court's Ruling

We find the petition unmeritorious and thus uphold the RTC Order. The criminal proceedings against the
petitioners should now proceed.

It is unfortunate that the kind of motion that the petitioners filed has to reach this Court for its resolution. The
thought is very tempting that the motion was employed simply to delay the proceedings and that the use of Rule
65 petition has been abused.

But accepting things as they are, this delay can be more than compensated by fully examining in this case the
legalities surrounding warrantless warrants and establishing the proper interpretation of the Rules for the
guidance of the bench and the bar. These Rules have evolved over time, and the present case presents to us the
opportunity to re-trace their origins, development and the current applicable interpretation.

I. Brief history on warrantless arrests

The organic laws of the Philippines, specifically, the Philippine Bill of 1902,19 and the 1935,20 197321 and
198722 Constitutions all protect the right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable
searches and seizures. Arrest falls under the term "seizure. "23

This constitutional mandate is identical with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
The Fourth Amendment traces its origins to the writings of Sir Edward Coke24 and The Great Charter of the
Liberties of England (Magna Carta Libertatum), sealed under oath by King John on the bank of the River
Thames near Windsor, England on June 15, 1215.25 The Magna Carta Libertatum limited the King of England's
powers and required the Crown to proclaim certain liberties26 under the feudal vassals' threat of civil war.27
The declarations in Chapter 29 of the Magna Carta Libertatum later became the foundational component of the
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.28 It provides:

No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised29 of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be
outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by
lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land, We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to
any man either Justice or Right.30 [Emphasis supplied]

In United States v. Snyder,31 the United States Supreme Court held that this constitutional provision does not
prohibit arrests, searches and seizures without judicial warrant, but only those that are unreasonable.32 With
regard to an arrest, it is considered a seizure, which must also satisfy the test of reasonableness.33

In our jurisdiction, early rulings of the Court have acknowledged the validity of warrantless arrests. The Court
based these rulings on the common law of America and England that, according to the Court, were not different
from the Spanish laws.34 These court rulings likewise justified warrantless arrests based on the provisions of
separate laws then existing in the Philippines.35

In 1905, the Court held in The United States v. Wilson36 that Section 3737 of Act No. 183, or the Charter of
Manila, defined the arresting officer's power to arrest without a warrant, at least insofar as the City of Manila
was concerned.

In The United States v. Vallejo, et al.,38 the Court held that in the absence of any provisions under statutes or
local ordinances, a police officer who held similar functions as those of the officers established under the
common law of England and America, also had the power to arrest without a warrant in the Philippines.

The Court also ruled in The United States v. Santos39 that the rules on warrantless arrest were based on
common sense and reason.40 It further held that warrantless arrest found support under the then Administrative
Code41 which directed municipal policemen to exercise vigilance in the prevention of public offenses.

In The United States v. Fortaleza,42 the Court applied Rules 27, 28, 29 and 3043 of the Provisional Law for the
Application of the Penal Code which were provisions taken from the Spanish Law.

These rules were subsequently established and incorporated in our Rules of Court and jurisprudence. Presently,
the requirements of a warrantless arrest are now summarized in Rule 113, Section 5 which states that: Section 5.
Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he
is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
transferred from one confinement to another.

In cases falling under paragraph (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forth with
delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule
112.
A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a) above has been denominated as
one "in flagrante delicto," while that under Section 5(b) has been described as a "hot pursuit" arrest.44

For purposes of this case, we shall focus on Section 5(b) the provision applicable in the present case. This
provision has undergone changes through the years not just in its phraseology but also in its interpretation in our
jurisprudence.

We shall first trace the evolution of Section 5(b) and examine the applicable American and Philippine
jurisprudence to fully understand its roots and its appropriate present application.

II. Evolution of Section 5(b), Rule 113

A. Prior to the 1940 Rules of Court

Prior to 1940, the Court based its rulings not just on American and English common law principle on
warrantless arrests but also on laws then existing in the Philippines. In Fortaleza,45 the Court cited Rule 28 of
the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code which provided that:

Judicial and administrative authorities have power to detain, or to cause to be detained, persons whom there is
reasonable ground to believe guilty of some offense. It will be the duty of the authorities, as well as of their
agents, to arrest:

First. Such persons as may be arrested under the provisions of rule 27.

Second. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty greater than that of
confinamiento.

Third. A person charged with a crime for which the code provides a penalty less than that of confinamiento, if
his antecedents or the circumstances of the case would warrant the presumption that he would fail to appear
when summoned by the judicial authorities.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not apply, however, to a defendant who gives sufficient bond, to
the satisfaction of the authority or agent who may arrest him, and who it may reasonably be presumed will
appear whenever summoned by the judge or court competent to try him.

Fourth. A person coining under the provisions of the preceding paragraph may be arrested, although no formal
complaint has been filed against him, provided the following circumstances are present:

First. That the authority or agent had reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful act, amounting to a crime had
been committed.

Second. That the authority or agent had sufficient reason to believe that the person arrested participated in the
commission of such unlawful act or crime." [Emphasis and underscoring supplied]

In the same decision, the Court likewise cited Section 3 7 of the Charter of Manila, which provided that certain
officials, including police officers may, within the territory defined in the law, pursue and arrest without
warrant, any person found in suspicious places or under suspicious circumstances, reasonably tending to show
that such person has committed, or is about to commit any crime or breach of the peace.

In Santos,46 the Court cited Miles v. Weston,47 which ruled that a peace officer may arrest persons walking in
the street at night when there is reasonable ground to suspect the commission of a crime, although there is no
proof of a felony having been committed.
The Court ruled in Santos that the arresting officer must justify that there was a probable cause for an arrest
without a warrant. The Court defined probable cause as a reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves as to warrant a reasonable man in believing that the accused is
guilty. Besides reasonable ground of suspicion, action in good faith is another requirement. Once these
conditions are complied with, the peace officer is not liable even if the arrested person turned out to be innocent.

Based on these discussions, it appears clear that prior to the 1940 Rules of Court, it was not necessary for the
arresting officer to first have knowledge that a crime was actually committed. What was necessary was the
presence of reasonably sufficient grounds to believe the existence of an act having the characteristics of a crime;
and that the same grounds exist to believe that the person sought to be detained participated in it. In addition, it
was also established under the old court rulings that the phrase "reasonable suspicion" was tantamount to
probable cause without which, the warrantless arrest would be invalid and the arresting officer may be held
liable for its breach.48

In The US. v. Hachaw,49 the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest of a Chinaman because the arresting
person did not state in what way the Chinaman was acting suspiciously or the particular act or circumstance
which aroused the arresting person's curiosity.

It appears, therefore, that prior to the establishment in our Rules of Court of the rules on warrantless arrests, the
gauge for a valid warrantless arrest was the arresting officer's reasonable suspicion (probable cause) that a crime
was committed and the person sought to be arrested has participated in its commission. This principle left so
much discretion and leeway on the part of the arresting officer. However, the 1940 Rules of Court has limited
this discretion.

B. The 1940 Rules of Court


(Restricting the arresting
officer's determination of
probable cause)

Rules 27 and 28 of the Provisional Law for the Application of the Penal Code were substantially incorporated in
Section 6, Rule 109 of the 1940 Rules of Court as follows:50

SEC. 6. Arrest without warrant - When lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
arrest a person:

(a) When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is about to commit an offense in
his presence;

(b) When an offense has in fact been committed, and he has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be
arrested has committed it;

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he
is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
transferred from one confinement to another. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied]

These provisions were adopted in toto in Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court. Notably, the 1940 and
1964 Rules have deviated from the old rulings of the Court. Prior to the 1940 Rules, the actual commission of
the offense was not necessary in determining the validity of the warrantless arrest. Too, the arresting officer's
determination of probable cause (or reasonable suspicion) applied both as to whether a crime has been
committed and whether the person to be arrested has committed it.
However, under the 1940 and the 1964 Rules of Court, the Rules required that there should be actual
commission of an offense, thus, removing the element of the arresting officer's "reasonable suspicion of the
commission of an offense." Additionally, the determination of probable cause, or reasonable suspicion, was
limited only to the determination of whether the person to be arrested has committed the offense. In other
words, the 1940 and 1964 Rules of Court restricted the arresting officer's discretion in warrantless arrests under
Section 6(b), Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court.

C. The more restrictive 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure

Section 6, Rule 113 of the 1964 Rules of Court again underwent substantial changes and was re-worded and re-
numbered when it became Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when. lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest
a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he
is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
transferred from one confinement to another. In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person
arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be
proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied]

As amended, Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Court retained the restrictions introduced under the
1964 Rules of Court. More importantly, however, it added a qualification that the commission of the offense
should not only have been "committed" but should have been "just committed." This limited the arresting
officer's time frame for conducting an investigation for purposes of gathering information indicating that the
person sought to be arrested has committed the crime.

D. The Present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure

Section 5(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was further amended with the incorporation of
the word "probable cause" as the basis of the arresting officer's determination on whether the person to be
arrested has committed the crime.

Hence, as presently worded, Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that:

When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of
facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it.

From the current phraseology of the rules on warrantless arrest, it appears that for purposes of Section S(b ), the
following are the notable changes: first, the contemplated offense was qualified by the word "just," connoting
immediacy; and second, the warrantless arrest of a person sought to be arrested should be based on probable
cause to be determined by the arresting officer based on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that
the person to be arrested has committed it.

It is clear that the present rules have "objectified" the previously subjective determination of the arresting
officer as to the (1) commission of the crime; and (2) whether the person sought to be arrested committed the
crime. According to Feria, these changes were adopted to minimize arrests based on mere suspicion or
hearsay.51

As presently worded, the elements under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
are: first, an offense has just been committed; and second, the arresting officer has probable cause to believe
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it.

For purposes of this case, we shall discuss these elements separately below, starting with the element of
probable cause, followed by the elements that the offense has just been committed, and the arresting officer's
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed the crime.

i) First Element of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure: Probable cause

The existence of "probable cause" is now the "objectifier" or the determinant on how the arresting officer shall
proceed on the facts and circumstances, within his personal knowledge, for purposes of determining whether the
person to be arrested has committed the crime.

i.a) U.S. jurisprudence on probable cause in warrantless arrests

In Payton v. New York,52 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment of the Federal Constitution
does not prohibit arrests without a warrant although such arrests must be reasonable. According to State v.
Quinn,53 the warrantless arrest of a person who was discovered in the act of violating the law is not a violation
of due process.

The U.S. Supreme Court, however indicated in Henry v. United States54 that the Fourth Amendment limited the
circumstances under which warrantless arrests may be made. The necessary inquiry is not whether there was a
warrant or whether there was time to get one, but whether at the time of the arrest probable cause existed. The
term probable cause is synonymous to "reasonable cause" and "reasonable grounds."55

In determining the existence of probable cause, the arresting officer should make a thorough investigation and
exercise reasonable judgment. The standards for evaluating the factual basis supporting a probable cause
assessment are not less stringent in warrantless arrest situation than in a case where a warrant is sought from a
judicial officer. The probable cause determination of a warrantless arrest is based on information that the
arresting officer possesses at the time of the arrest and not on the information acquired later.56

In evaluating probable cause, probability and not certainty is the determinant of reasonableness under the Fourth
Amendment. Probable cause involves probabilities similar to the factual and practical questions of everyday life
upon which reasonable and prudent persons act. It is a pragmatic question to be determined in each case in light
of the particular circumstances and the particular offense involved.57

In determining probable cause, the arresting officer may rely on all the information in his possession, his fair
inferences therefrom, including his observations. Mere suspicion does not meet the requirements of showing
probable cause to arrest without warrant especially if it is a mere general suspicion. Probable cause may rest on
reasonably trustworthy information as well as personal knowledge. Thus, the arresting officer may rely on
information supplied by a witness or a victim of a crime; and under the circumstances, the arresting officer need
not verify such information.58

In our jurisdiction, the Court has likewise defined probable cause in the context of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

In Abelita Ill v. Doria et al.,59 the Court held that personal knowledge of facts must be based on probable cause,
which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable
when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is
probably guilty of committing the offense is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently
strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion,
therefore, must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making
the arrest.

i.b) Probable cause under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, distinguished
from probable cause in preliminary investigations and the judicial proceeding for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest

The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether a crime has been committed and whether
there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty of the crime and should be held for triat.60 In
Buchanan v. Viuda de Esteban,61 we defined probable cause as the existence of facts and circumstances as
would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the
person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted.

In this particular proceeding, the finding of the existence of probable cause as to the guilt of the respondent was
based on the submitted documents of the complainant, the respondent and his witnesses.62

On the other hand, probable cause in judicial proceedings for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is defined as the
existence of such facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe
that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be arrested.

Hence, before issuing a warrant of arrest, the judge must be satisfied that based on the evidence submitted, there
is sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that the person to be arrested is probably guilty thereof.
At this stage of the criminal proceeding, the judge is not yet tasked to review in detail the evidence submitted
during the preliminary investigation. It is sufficient that he personally evaluates the evidence in determining
probable cause63 to issue a warrant of arrest.

In contrast, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure is based on his personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person
sought to be arrested has committed the crime. These facts or circumstances pertain to actual facts or raw
evidence, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt
of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with
good faith on the part of the peace officers making.the arrest.

The probable cause to justify warrantless arrest ordinarily signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion supported
by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that the person accused
is guilty of the offense with which he is charged,64 or an actual belief or reasonable ground of suspicion, based
on actual facts.65

It is clear therefore that the standard for determining "probable cause" is invariable for the officer arresting
without a warrant, the public prosecutor, and the judge issuing a warrant of arrest. It is the existence of such
facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that an offense has
been committed by the person sought to be arrested or held for trial, as the case may be.

However, while the arresting officer, the public prosecutor and the judge all determine "probable cause," within
the spheres of their respective functions, its existence is influenced heavily by the available facts and
circumstance within their possession. In short, although these officers use the same standard of a reasonable
man, they possess dissimilar quantity of facts or circumstances, as set by the rules, upon which they must
determine probable cause.
Thus, under the present rules and jurisprudence, the arresting officer should base his determination of probable
cause on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the person sought to be arrested has committed
the crime; the public prosecutor and the judge must base their determination on the evidence submitted by the
parties.

In other words, the arresting officer operates on the basis of more limited facts, evidence or available
information that he must personally gather within a limited time frame.

Hence, in Santos,66 the Court acknowledged the inherent limitations of determining probable cause in
warrantless arrests due to the urgency of its determination in these instances. The Court held that one should not
expect too much of an ordinary policeman. He is not presumed to exercise the subtle reasoning of a judicial
officer. Oftentimes, he has no opportunity to make proper investigation but must act in haste on his own belief
to prevent the escape of the criminal.67

ii) Second and Third Elements of Section 5(b), Rule 113:


The crime has just been committed/personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person
to be arrested has committed it

We deem it necessary to combine the discussions of these two elements as our jurisprudence shows that these
were usually taken together in the Court's determination of the validity of the warrantless arrests that were made
pursuant to Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

In Posadas v. Ombudsman,68 the killing of Dennis Venturina happened on December 8, 1994. It was only on
December 11, 1994 that Chancellor Posadas requested the NBI's assistance. On the basis of the supposed
identification of two (2) witnesses, the NBI attempted to arrest Francis Carlo Taparan and Raymundo Narag
three (3) days after the commission of the crime. With this set of facts, it cannot be said that the officers have
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the persons sought to be arrested committed the crime.
Hence, the Court invalidated the warrantless arrest.

Similarly, in People v. Burgos,69 one Cesar Masamlok personally and voluntarily surrendered to the authorities,
stating that Ruben Burgos forcibly recruited him to become a member of the NPA, with a threat of physical
harm. Upon receipt of this information, a joint team of PC-INP units was dispatched to arrest Burgos who was
then plowing the field. Indeed, the arrest was invalid considering that the only information that the police
officers had in effecting the arrest was the information from a third person. It cannot be also said in this case
that there was certainty as regards the commission of a crime.

In People v. del Rosario,70 the Court held that the requirement that an offense has just been committed means
that there must be a large measure of immediacy between the time the offense was committed and the time of
the arrest. If there was an appreciable lapse of time between the arrest and the commission of the crime, a
warrant of arrest must be secured.

The Court held that the arrest of del Rosario did not comply with these requirements because he was arrested
only a day after the commission of the crime and not immediately thereafter. Additionally, the arresting officers
were not present and were not actual eyewitnesses to the crime. Hence, they had no personal knowledge of facts
indicating that the person to be arrested had committed the offense. They became aware of del Rosario's identity
as the driver of the getaway tricycle only during the custodial investigation.

In People v. Cendana,71 the accused was arrested one (1) day after the killing of the victim and only on the
basis of information obtained from unnamed sources. The unlawful arrest was held invalid.
In Rolito Go v. CA,72 the arrest of the accused six ( 6) days after the commission of the crime was held invalid
because the crime had not just been committed. Moreover, the "arresting" officers had no "personal knowledge"
of facts indicating that the accused was the gunman who had shot the victim. The information upon which the
police acted came from statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to the shooting; one stated that the accused
was the gunman; another was able to take down the alleged gunman's car's plate number which turned out to be
registered in the name of the accused's wife. That information did not constitute "personal knowledge."

In People v. Tonog, Jr.,73 the warrantless arrest which was done on the same day was held valid. In this case,
the arresting officer had knowledge of facts which he personally gathered in the course of his investigation,
indicating that the accused was one of the perpetrators.

In People v. Gerente,74 the policemen arrested Gerente only about three (3) hours after Gerente and his
companions had killed the victim. The Court held that the policemen had personal knowledge of the violent
death of the victim and of facts indicating that Gerente and two others had killed him. The warrantless arrest
was held valid.

In People v. Alvario,75 the warrantless arrest came immediately after the arresting officers received information
from the victim of the crime. The Court held that the personal knowledge of the arresting officers was derived
from the information supplied by the victim herself who pointed to Alvario as the man who raped her at the time
of his arrest. The Court upheld the warrantless arrest. In People v. Jayson,76 there was a shooting incident. The
policemen who were summoned to the scene of the crime found the victim. The informants pointed to the
accused as the assailant only moments after the shooting. The Court held that the arresting officers acted on the
basis of personal knowledge of the death of the victim and of facts indicating that the accused was the assailant.
Thus, the warrantless arrest was held valid.

In People v. Acol,77 a group held up the passengers in a jeepney and the policemen immediately responded to
the report of the crime. One of the victims saw four persons walking towards Fort Bonifacio, one of whom was
wearing his jacket. The victim pointed them to the policemen. When the group saw the policemen coming, they
ran in different directions. The Court held that the arrest was valid.

In Cadua v. CA,78 there was an initial report to the police concerning a robbery. A radio dispatch was then
given to the arresting officers, who proceeded to Alden Street to verify the authenticity of the radio message.
When they reached the place, they met with the complainants who initiated the report about the robbery. Upon
the officers' invitation, the victims joined them in conducting a search of the nearby area where the accused was
spotted in the vicinity. Based on the reported statements of the complainants, he was identified as a logical
suspect in the offense just committed. Hence, the arrest was held valid.

In Doria,79 the Court held that Section S(b ), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure does not
require the arresting officers to personally witness the commission of the offense.

In this case, P/Supt. Doria alleged that his office received a telephone call from a relative of Rosa Sia about a
shooting incident. He dispatched a team headed by SP03 Ramirez to investigate the incident. SP03 Ramirez
later reported that a certain William Sia was wounded while Judge Abelita III, who was implicated in the
incident, and his wife just left the place of the incident. P/Supt. Doria looked for Abelita III and when he found
him, he informed him of the incident report. P/Supt. Doria requested Abelita III to go with him to the police
headquarters as he had been reported to be involved in the incident. Abelita III agreed but suddenly sped up his
vehicle and proceeded to his residence where P/Supt. Doria caught him up as he was about to run towards his
house.

The police officers saw a gun in the front seat of the vehicle beside the driver's seat as Abelita III opened the
door. They also saw a shotgun at the back of the driver's seat. The police officers confiscated the firearms and
arrested Abelita III. The Court held that the petitioner's act of trying to get away, coupled with the incident
report which they investigated, were enough to raise a reasonable suspicion on the part of the police authorities
as to the existence of probable cause. Based on these discussions, it appears that the Court's appreciation of the
elements that "the offense has just been committed" and ''personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that
the person to be arrested committed it" depended on the particular circumstances of the case. However, we note
that the element of ''personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" under Section S(b ), Rule 113 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure requires clarification.

The phrase covers facts or, in the alternative, circumstances. According to the Black's Law Dictionary,80
"circumstances are attendant or accompanying facts, events or conditions. " Circumstances may pertain to
events or actions within the actual perception, personal evaluation or observation of the police officer at the
scene of the crime. Thus, even though the police officer has not seen someone actually fleeing, he could still
make a warrantless arrest if, based on his personal evaluation of the circumstances at the scene of the crime, he
could determine the existence of probable cause that the person sought to be arrested has committed the crime.
However, the determination of probable cause and the gathering of facts or circumstances should be made
immediately after the commission of the crime in order to comply with the element of immediacy.

In other words, the clincher in the element of ''personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" is the required
element of immediacy within which these facts or circumstances should be gathered. This required time element
acts as a safeguard to ensure that the police officers have gathered the facts or perceived the circumstances
within a very limited time frame. This guarantees that the police officers would have no time to base their
probable cause finding on facts or circumstances obtained after an exhaustive investigation.

The reason for the element of the immediacy is this - as the time gap from the commission of the crime to the
arrest widens, the pieces of information gathered are prone to become contaminated and subjected to external
factors, interpretations and hearsay. On the other hand, with the element of immediacy imposed under Section
5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the police officer's determination of probable cause
would necessarily be limited to raw or uncontaminated facts or circumstances, gathered as they were within a
very limited period of time. The same provision adds another safeguard with the requirement of probable cause
as the standard for evaluating these facts of circumstances before the police officer could effect a valid
warrantless arrest.

In light of the discussion above on the developments of Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure and our jurisprudence on the matter, we hold that the following must be present for a valid
warrantless arrest: 1) the crime should have been just committed; and 2) the arresting officer's exercise of
discretion is limited by the standard of probable cause to be determined from the facts and circumstances within
his personal knowledge. The requirement of the existence of probable cause objectifies the reasonableness of
the warrantless arrest for purposes of compliance with the Constitutional mandate against unreasonable arrests.

Hence, for purposes of resolving the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrest of the present petitioners, the
question to be resolved is whether the requirements for a valid warrantless arrest under Section 5(b), Rule 113
of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure were complied with, namely: 1) has the crime just been committed
when they were arrested? 2) did the arresting officer have personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that
the petitioners committed the crime? and 3) based on these facts and circumstances that the arresting officer
possessed at the time of the petitioners' arrest, would a reasonably discreet and prudent person believe that the
attempted murder of Atty. Generoso was committed by the petitioners? We rule in the affirmative.

III. Application of Section S(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules


of Criminal Procedure in the present case: there was a
valid warrantless arrest
We deem it necessary to review the records of the CA because it has misapprehended the facts in its decision.81
From a review of the records, we conclude that the police officers had personal knowledge of facts or
circumstances upon which they had properly determined probable cause in effecting a warrantless arrest against
the petitioners. We note, however, that the determination of the facts in the present case is purely limited to the
resolution of the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrests of the petitioners.

Based on the police blotter82 entry taken at 4:15 a.m. on February 20, 2005, the date that the alleged crime was
committed, the petitioners were brought in for investigation at the Batasan Hills Police Station. The police
blotter stated that the alleged crime was committed at 3:15 a.m. on February 20, 2005, along Kasiyahan St.,
Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City.

The time of the entry of the complaint in the police blotter at 4:15 a.m., with Atty. Generoso and the petitioners
already inside the police station, would connote that the arrest took place less than one hour from the time of the
occurrence of the crime. Hence, the CA finding that the arrest took place two (2) hours after the commission of
the crime is unfounded.

The arresting officers' personal observation of Atty. Generoso's bruises when they arrived at the scene of the
crime is corroborated by the petitioners' admissions that Atty: Generoso indeed suffered blows from petitioner
Macapanas and his brother Joseph Macapanas,83 although they asserted that they did it in self-defense against
Atty. Generoso.

Atty. Generoso's bruises were also corroborated by the Medico-Legal Certificate84 that was issued by East
Avenue Medical Center on the same date of the alleged mauling. The medical check-up of Atty. Generoso that
was made about 8:10 a.m. on the date of the incident, showed the following findings: "Contusion Hematoma,
Left Frontal Area; Abrasion, T6 area, right midclavicular line periorbital hematoma, left eye; Abrasion, distal
3rd posterolateral aspect of right forearm; Abrasion, 4th and fifth digit, right hand; Abrasion on area of ih rib (L
ant. Chest wall), tenderness on L peripheral area, no visible abrasion. In addition, the attending physician, Dr.
Eva P. Javier, diagnosed Atty. Generoso of contusion hematoma, periorbital L., and traumatic conjunctivitis, o.s.

To summarize, the arresting officers went to the scene of the crime upon the complaint of Atty. Generoso of his
alleged mauling; the police officers responded to the scene of the crime less than one (1) hour after the alleged
mauling; the alleged crime transpired in a community where Atty. Generoso and the petitioners reside; Atty.
Generoso positively identified the petitioners as those responsible for his mauling and, notably, the petitioners85
and Atty. Generoso86 lived almost in the same neighborhood; more importantly, when the petitioners were
confronted by the arresting officers, they did not deny their participation in the incident with Atty. Generoso,
although they narrated a different version of what transpired.87

With these facts and circumstances that the police officers gathered and which they have personally observed
less than one hour from the time that they have arrived at the scene of the crime until the time of the arrest of
the petitioners, we deem it reasonable to conclude that the police officers had personal knowledge of facts or
circumstances justifying the petitioners' warrantless arrests. These circumstances were well within the police
officers' observation, perception and evaluation at the time of the arrest. These circumstances qualify as the
police officers' personal observation, which are within their personal knowledge, prompting them to make the
warrantless arrests.

Similar to the factual antecedents in Jayson,88 the police officers in the present case saw Atty. Generoso in his
sorry bloodied state. As the victim, he positively identified the petitioners as the persons who mauled him;
however, instead of fleeing like what happened in Jayson, the petitioners agreed to go with the police officers.

This is also similar to what happened in People v. Tonog, Jr.89 where Tonog did not flee but voluntarily went
with the police officers. More than this, the petitioners in the present case even admitted to have been involved
in the incident with Atty. Generoso, although they had another version of what transpired.
In determining the reasonableness of the warrantless arrests, it is incumbent upon the courts to consider if the
police officers have complied with the requirements set under Section 5(b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, specifically, the requirement of immediacy; the police officer's personal knowledge of facts
or circumstances; and lastly, the propriety of the determination of probable cause that the person sought to be
arrested committed the crime.

The records show that soon after the report of the incident occurred, SPOl Monsalve immediately dispatched
the arresting officer, SP02 Javier, to render personal assistance to the victim.90 This fact alone negates the
petitioners' argument that the police officers did not have personal knowledge that a crime had been committed -
the police immediately responded and had personal knowledge that a crime had been committed.1wphi1

To reiterate, personal knowledge of a crime just committed under the terms of the above-cited provision, does
not require actual presence at the scene while a crime was being committed; it is enough that evidence of the
recent commission of the crime is patent (as in this case) and the police officer has probable cause to believe
based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be arrested has recently committed
the crime.

Considering the circumstances of the stabbing, particularly the locality where it took place, its occasion, the
personal circumstances of the parties, and the immediate on-the-spot investigation that took place, the
immediate and warrantless arrests of the perpetrators were proper. Consequently, the inquest proceeding that the
City Prosecutor conducted was appropriate under the circumstances.

IV. The term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest is construed to


mean as an authoritative command

After the resolution of the validity of the warrantless arrest, the discussion of the petitioners' second issue is
largely academic. Arrest is defined as the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be bound to
answer for the commission of an offense. An arrest is made by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested, or
by his submission to the custody of the person making the arrest.91 Thus, application of actual force, manual
touching of the body, physical restraint or a formal declaration of arrest is not required. It is enough that there be
an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other and the intent of the other to submit, under the
belief and impression that submission is necessary.92

Notwithstanding the term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest,93 SP02 Javier could not but have the intention of
arresting the petitioners following Atty. Generoso' s account. SP02 Javier did not need to apply violent physical
restraint when a simple directive to the petitioners to follow him to the police station would produce a similar
effect. In other words, the application of actual force would only be an alternative if the petitioners had
exhibited resistance.

To be sure, after a crime had just been committed and the attending policemen have acquired personal
knowledge of the incidents of the crime, including the alleged perpetrators, the arrest of the petitioners as the
perpetrators pointed to by the victim, was not a mere random act but was in connection with a particular
offense. Furthermore, SP02 Javier had informed the petitioners, at the time of their arrest, of the charges against
them before taking them to Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation.94

V. The Order denying the motion for preliminary


investigation is valid

In their last ditch attempt at avoidance, the petitioners attack the R TC Order denying the petitioners' urgent
motion for regular preliminary investigation for allegedly having been issued in violation of Article VIII,
Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution95 and Rule 16, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.96
The RTC, in its Order dismissing the motion, clearly states that the Court is not persuaded by the evidentiary
nature of the allegations in the said motion of the accused. Aside from lack of clear and convincing proof, the
Court, in the exercise of its sound discretion on the matter, is legally bound to pursue and hereby gives
preference to the speedy disposition of the case."

We do not see any taint of impropriety or grave abuse of discretion in this Order. The RTC, in resolving the
motion, is not required to state all the facts found in the record of the case. Detailed evidentiary matters, as the
RTC decreed, is best reserved for the full-blown trial of the case, not in the preliminary incidents leading up to
the trial.

Additionally, no less than the Constitution itself provides that it is the decision that should state clearly and
distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. In resolving a motion, the court is only required to state
clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor. A contrary system would only prolong the proceedings, which was
precisely what happened to this case. Hence, we uphold the validity of the RTC's order as it correctly stated the
reason for its denial of the petitioners' Urgent Motion for Regular Preliminary Investigation. WHEREFORE,
premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition, and hereby AFFIRM the decision dated January 21, 2008
and the resolution dated April 17, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91541. The City Prosecutor
of Quezon City is hereby ORDERED to proceed with the criminal proceedings against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
--------------------------------------------------------------

Margarita Ambre y Cayuni


, petitioner, vs.
People of the Philippines
, respondent.
G. R. No. 191532. August 15 2!12"a#ts$
On or about April 20, 2005, the Caloocan Police Station Anti-Illegal Drug-Special Operationnit conducted a
bu!-bust operation pursuant to a tip "ro# a police in"or#ant that a certainAbdullah Sultan and his $i"e Ina Aderp
$as engaged in the selling o" dangerous drugs at aresidential co#pound in Caloocan Cit!% that bu!-bust
operation resulted in the arrest o" Aderp and a certain &octar 'agoranao% that Sultan run a$a! "ro# the scene o"
theentrap#ent operation and PO( &oran, PO2 &asi and PO) &ateo, pursued hi#% that in thecourse o" the chase,
Sultan led the said police o""icers to his house% that inside the house,he police operatives "ound A#bre, Castro
and &endo*a having a pot session% that A#bre inparticular, $as caught sni""ing $hat $as suspected to be a
shabu in a rolled up alu#ni "oil% and that PO( &oran ran a"ter Sultan $hile PO2 &asi and PO) &ateo arrested
A#bre, Castroand &endo*a "or illegal use o" shabu.A#bre insists that the $arrantless arrest and search #ade
against her $ere illegal because no o""ense $as being co##itted at the ti#e and the police operatives $ere not
authori*ed b! a +udicial order to enter the d$elling o" Sultan. She argues that the alleged hot pursuit on
Sultan $hich ended in the latters house, $here she, &endo*a and Castro $ere supposedl! "ound having a pot
session, $as #ore i#aginar! than real.
%ssues$
)./ hether the $arrantless arrest o" A#bre and the search o" her person $as valid% and 2./ hether the ite#s
sei*ed are inad#issible in evidence
Ruling$
1es, the Court held that the arrest and search done against the petitioner is valid. Section 5,ule ))( o" the
ules o" Cri#inal Procedure, provides three 3(/ instances $hen $arrantlessarrest #a! be la$"ull! e""ected4 3a/
arrest o" a suspect in "lagrante delicto% 3b/ arrest o" asuspect $here, based on personal no$ledge o" the
arresting o""icer, there is probable causethat said suspect $as the perpetrator o" a cri#e $hich had +ust been
co##itted% 3c/ arresto" a prisoner $ho has escaped "ro# custod! serving "inal +udg#ent or te#poraril!
con"inedduring the pendenc! o" his case or has escaped $hile being trans"erred "ro# one
confinement to another.
In arrest in "lagrante delicto, the accused is apprehended at the ver! #o#ent he isco##itting or atte#pting to
co##it or has +ust co##itted an o""ense in the presence o" thearresting o""icer. Clearl!, to constitute a valid in
"lagrante delicto arrest, t$o re6uisites #ustconcur4 3)/ the person to be arrested #ust e7ecute an overt act
indicating that he has +ustco##itted, is actuall! co##itting, or is atte#pting to co##it a cri#e% and 32/ such
overtact is done in the presence or $ithin the vie$ o" the arresting o""icer.
-----------------

G.R. No. 191532 August 15, 2012

MARGARITA AMBRE Y CAYUNI, Petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES Respondent.

PEREZ,*

REYES,**

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the November 26, 2009 Decision 1
and the March 9, 2010 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 31957, which affirmed
the September 1, 2008 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 123, Caloocan City, (RTC) in Criminal
Case No .. C-73029, finding petitioner Margarita Ambre y Cayuni (Ambre) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of violation of Section 15, Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165.

THE FACTS

Two separate Informations were filed against Ambre, and co-accused, Bernie Castro (Castro) and Kaycee
Mendoza (Mendoza), before the RTC charging them with illegal possession of drug paraphernalia docketed as
Criminal Case No. C-73028, and illegal use of methylamphetamine hydrochloride, otherwise known as shabu,
docketed as Criminal Case No. C-73029. The Informations indicting the accused read:

Criminal Case No. C-73028

That on or about 20th day of April 2005 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without being authorized by law, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control one (1) unsealed transparent plastic
sachet containing traces of white crystalline substance, (METHYLAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE),
one (1) rolled aluminum foil strip containing traces of white crystalline substance, (METHYLAMPHETAMINE
HYDROCHLORIDE), one (1) folded aluminum foil strip containing traces of white crystalline substance,
(METHYLAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE) and two (2) disposable plastic lighters, knowing the same
are paraphernalias instruments apparatus fit or intended for smoking, consuming, administering, ingesting or
introducing dangerous drug (METHYLAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE) into the body.

Contrary to law.4

Criminal Case No. C-73029

That on or about the 20th of April 2005 in Caloocan City, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping with one another,
without being authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously use and sniff
Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu), knowing the same to be a dangerous drug under the provisions of
the above-cited law.

Contrary to law.5

When arraigned, Castro and Mendoza pleaded guilty to both charges. Consequently, they were meted the
penalty of imprisonment of six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months and a fine of
P25,000.00 in Criminal Case No. C-73028. For their conviction in Criminal Case No. C-73029, the RTC
ordered their confinement at the Center for the Ultimate Rehabilitation of Drug Dependents (CUREDD) for a
period of six (6) months.6

Ambre, on the other hand, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. Trial on the merits ensued.

The Version of the Prosecution

From the testimonies of prosecution witnesses PO3 Fernando Moran (PO3 Moran), PO1 Ronald Allan Mateo
(PO1 Mateo), PO2 Randulfo Hipolito (PO2 Hipolito), and P/Insp. Jessie dela Rosa (P/Insp. dela Rosa), it
appeared that on April 20, 2005, the Caloocan Police Station Anti-Illegal Drug-Special Operation Unit
conducted a buy-bust operation pursuant to a tip from a police informant that a certain Abdulah Sultan (Sultan)
and his wife Ina Aderp (Aderp) were engaged in the selling of dangerous drugs at a residential compound in
Caloocan City; that the buy-bust operation resulted in the arrest of Aderp and a certain Moctar Tagoranao
(Tagoranao); that Sultan ran away from the scene of the entrapment operation and PO3 Moran, PO2 Masi and
PO1 Mateo, pursued him; that in the course of the chase, Sultan led the said police officers to his house; that
inside the house, the police operatives found Ambre, Castro and Mendoza having a pot session; that Ambre, in
particular, was caught sniffing what was suspected to be shabu in a rolled up aluminum foil; and that PO3
Moran ran after Sultan while PO2 Masi and PO1 Mateo arrested Ambre, Castro and Mendoza for illegal use of
shabu.

The items confiscated from the three were marked and, thereafter, submitted for laboratory examination.
Physical Science Report No. DT-041-05 to DT-043-05 stated that the urine samples taken from Ambre and her
coaccused were positive for the presence of shabu while Physical Science Report No. D-149-05 showed that the
items seized from them were all found positive for traces of shabu.8

The Version of the Defense

Ambre vehemently denied the charges against her. Through the testimonies of Ambre, Mendoza and Lily Rosete
(Rosete), the defense claimed that on the afternoon of April 20, 2005, Ambre was inside the residential
compound in Caloocan to buy malong; that her mother asked Rosete to accompany her because Rosetes
daughter-in-law, Nancy Buban (Buban), was a resident of Phase 12, Caloocan City, an area inhabited by
Muslims; that when they failed to buy malong, Rosete and Buban left her inside the residential compound to
look for other vendors; that ten minutes later, the policemen barged inside the compound and arrested her; that
she was detained at the Caloocan City Jail where she met Castro, Mendoza and Tagoranao; and that she was not
brought to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for drug testing.

Rosete further testified that after she had left Ambre inside the compound to find other malong vendors, she
returned fifteen minutes later and learned that the policemen had arrested people inside the compound including
Ambre.

Mendoza, who was convicted in Criminal Case No. C-73029, claimed that no pot session took place on the
afternoon of April 20, 2005. She averred that she and Ambre were merely inside the residential compound,
when policemen suddenly came in and pointed guns at them.9
The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

On September 1, 2008, the RTC rendered its decision declaring that the prosecution was able to establish with
certitude the guilt of Ambre for illegal use of methylamphetamine hydrochloride or violation of Section 15,
Article II of R.A. No. 9165. The RTC, however, acquitted her of the crime of violation of Section 12, Article II
of R.A. No. 9165 for failure of the prosecution to prove with particularity the drug paraphernalia found in her
possession. The trial court adjudged:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

1) In Crim. Case No. C- 73028, finding accused MARGARITA AMBRE Y CAYUNI not guilty of the crime of
Violation of Section 12, Article II, RA 9165;

2)In Crim. Case No. C-73029, finding accused MARGARITA AMBRE Y CAYUNI guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Violation of Sec. 15, Art. II RA 9165 and hereby sentences her to be confined and
rehabilitated at the government rehabilitation center in Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila for a period of six (6)
months. The six (6) month period of rehabilitation shall commence only from the time that she is brought inside
the rehabilitation center and its promulgation by this court for which the accused shall be notified.

The shabu subject of these cases is hereby confiscated in favor of the government to be disposed of in
accordance with the rules governing the same.

Costs against the accused.

SO ORDERED.10

The Decision of the Court of Appeals

Undaunted, Ambre appealed the judgment of conviction before the CA professing her innocence of the crime.
On November 26, 2009, the CA rendered the assailed decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated September 1, 2008 of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 123, Caloocan City is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.11

Ambre's motion for reconsideration was denied by the CA in its March 9, 2010 Resolution. Hence, she filed this
petition

THE ISSUES

Ambre raised the following issues:

1. WHETHER OR NOT THE ARREST OF AND THE SEARCH DONE AGAINST THE PETITIONER ON
APRIL 20, 2005 (THAT YIELDED ALLEGED DRUG PARAPHERNALIA) CONFORMED WITH THE
MANDATED LEGAL PROCEDURES IN CONDUCTING A BUY-BUST OPERATION.

2. WHETHER OR NOT THE ARREST OF AND THE SEARCH DONE AGAINST THE PETITIONER
WERE PART AND PARCEL OF THE DISMISSED AND DISCREDITED BUY-BUST OPERATIONS OF
THE POLICE AND/OR "FRUITS OF THE POISONOUS TREE" AND HENCE, WERE ILLEGAL.
3. WHETHER OR NOT THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE THAT WERE SEIZED DURING THE
ILLEGAL BUY-BUST OPERATION ARE ADMISSIBLE AS EVIDENCE.

4. WHETHER OR NOT THE EXCLUSION OR DISREGARD OF THE FAVORABLE TESTIMONY OF


PETITIONER'S WITNESS, HER CO-ACCUSED, KAYCEE MENDOZA, ON THE GROUND THAT THE
LATTER EARLIER PLED GUILTY TO SUCH ILLEGAL USE, HAD VIOLATED THE RULE ON INTER
ALIOS ACTA UNDER SECTION 26, RULE 130 OF THE RULES OF COURT.

5. WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONER'S PENALTY OF SIX (6) MONTHS REHABILITATION IN A


GOVERNMENT CENTER IS A NULLITY GIVEN THE LACK OF CONFIRMATORY TEST AS
REQUIRED UNDER R.A. 9165 ("COMPREHENSIVE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 2002").12

A perusal of the pleadings filed by the parties leads the Court to conclude that the case revolves on the
following core issues:

1.) Whether the warrantless arrest of Ambre and the search of her person was valid; and

2.) Whether the items seized are inadmissible in evidence.

Essentially, Ambre insists that the warrantless arrest and search made against her were illegal because no
offense was being committed at the time and the police operatives were not authorized by a judicial order to
enter the dwelling of Sultan. She argues that the alleged "hot pursuit" on Sultan which ended in the latter's
house, where she, Mendoza and Castro were supposedly found having a pot session, was more imaginary than
real. In this regard, Ambre cites the April 29, 2005 Resolution of the Prosecutor's Office of Caloocan City
dismissing the case against Aderp and Sultan for insufficiency of evidence because the April 20, 2005 buy-bust
operation was highly suspicious and doubtful. She posits that the items allegedly seized from her were
inadmissible in evidence being fruits of a poisonous tree. She claims that the omission of the apprehending team
to observe the procedure outlined in R.A. No. 9165 for the seizure of evidence in drugs cases significantly
impairs the prosecutions case. Lastly, Ambre maintains that she was not subjected to a confirmatory test and,
hence, the imposition of the penalty of six months rehabilitation was not justified.

For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) urges this Court to affirm the challenged decision for
failure of Ambre to show that the RTC committed any error in convicting her of illegal use of shabu. The OSG
insists that Ambre was lawfully arrested in accordance with Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. It is of
the opinion that the credible and compelling evidence of the prosecution could not be displaced by the empty
denial offered by Ambre.

THE COURT'S RULING

The conviction of Ambre stands.

Section 2, Article III13 of the Constitution mandates that a search and seizure must be carried out through or on
the strength of a judicial warrant predicated upon the existence of probable cause, absent which such search and
seizure becomes "unreasonable" within the meaning of said constitutional provision. Evidence obtained and
confiscated on the occasion of such an unreasonable search and seizure is tainted and should be excluded for
being the proverbial fruit of a poisonous tree. In the language of the fundamental law, it shall be inadmissible in
evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.

This exclusionary rule is not, however, an absolute and rigid proscription. One of the recognized exception
established by jurisprudence is search incident to a lawful arrest. In this exception, the law requires that a lawful
arrest must precede the search of a person and his belongings. As a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if
effected with a valid warrant of arrest. Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, however,
recognizes permissible warrantless arrests:

"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest
a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred
from one confinement to another. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 5, above, provides three (3) instances when warrantless arrest may be lawfully effected: (a) arrest of a
suspect in flagrante delicto; (b) arrest of a suspect where, based on personal knowledge of the arresting officer,
there is probable cause that said suspect was the perpetrator of a crime which had just been committed; (c)
arrest of a prisoner who has escaped from custody serving final judgment or temporarily confined during the
pendency of his case or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

In arrest in flagrante delicto, the accused is apprehended at the very moment he is committing or attempting to
commit or has just committed an offense in the presence of the arresting officer. Clearly, to constitute a valid in
flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act
indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such
overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer.16

In the case at bench, there is no gainsaying that Ambre was caught by the police officers in the act of using
shabu and, thus, can be lawfully arrested without a warrant. PO1 Mateo positively identified Ambre sniffing
suspected shabu from an aluminum foil being held by Castro. Ambre, however, made much of the fact that there
was no prior valid intrusion in the residence of Sultan. The argument is specious.

Suffice it to state that prior justification for intrusion or prior lawful intrusion is not an element of an arrest in
flagrante delicto. Thus, even granting arguendo that the apprehending officers had no legal right to be present in
the dwelling of Sultan, it would not render unlawful the arrest of Ambre, who was seen sniffing shabu with
Castro and Mendoza in a pot session by the police officers. Accordingly, PO2 Masi and PO1 Mateo were not
only authorized but were also duty-bound to arrest Ambre together with Castro and Mendoza for illegal use of
methamphetamine hydrochloride in violation of Section 15, Article II of R.A. No. 9165.

To write finis to the issue of validity and irregularity in her warrantless arrest, the Court holds that Ambre is
deemed to have waived her objections to her arrest for not raising them before entering her plea.18

Considering that the warrantless arrest of Ambre was valid, the subsequent search and seizure done on her
person was likewise lawful. After all, a legitimate warrantless arrest necessarily cloaks the arresting police
officer with authority to validly search and seize from the offender (1) dangerous weapons, and (2) those that
may be used as proof of the commission of an offense.19

Further, the physical evidence corroborates the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses that Ambre, together
with Castro and Mendoza, were illegally using shabu. The urine samples taken from them were found positive
for the presence of shabu, as indicated in Physical Science Report No. DT-041-05 to DT-043-05. It was likewise
found that the items seized from the three were all positive for traces of shabu as contained in Physical Science
Report No. D-149-05 dated April 21, 2005. These findings were unrebutted.

Ambre's assertion that her conviction was incorrect, because the evidence against her was obtained in violation
of the procedure laid down in R.A. No. 9165, is untenable.

While ideally the procedure on the chain of custody should be perfect and unbroken, in reality, it is not as it is
almost always impossible to obtain an unbroken chain. This Court, however, has consistently held that the most
important factor is the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items. In this case, the
prosecution was able to demonstrate that the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated drug
paraphernalia had not been compromised. Hence, even though the prosecution failed to submit in evidence the
physical inventory and photograph of the drug paraphernalia with traces of shabu, this will not render Ambre's
arrest illegal or the items seized from her inadmissible.

Records bear out that after the arrest of Ambre with Castro and Mendoza, the following items were confiscated
from them: one (1) unsealed sachet with traces of suspected shabu; one (1) strip of rolled up aluminum foil with
traces of suspected shabu; one (1) folded piece of aluminum foil with traces of white crystalline substance also
believed to be shabu; and two (2) yellow disposable lighters. Upon arrival at the police station, PO3 Moran
turned over the seized items to PO2 Hipolito who immediately marked them in the presence of the former. All
the pieces of evidence were placed inside an improvised envelope marked as "SAID-SOU EVIDENCE 04-20-
05." With the Request for Laboratory Examination, PO2 Hipolito brought the confiscated items to the PNP
Crime Laboratory and delivered them to P/Insp. dela Rosa, a forensic chemist, who found all the items, except
the disposable lighters, positive for traces of shabu. Verily, the prosecution had adduced ample evidence to
account for the crucial links in the chain of custody of the seized items.

Even if the Court strikes down the seized drug paraphernalia with traces of shabu as inadmissible, Ambre will
not be exculpated from criminal liability. First, let it be underscored that proof of the existence and possession
by the accused of drug paraphernalia is not a condition sine qua non for conviction of illegal use of dangerous
drugs. The law merely considers possession of drug paraphernalia as prima facie evidence that the possessor has
smoked, ingested or used a dangerous drug and creates a presumption that he has violated Section 15 of R.A.
No. 9165.22

Secondly, the testimonies of the police officers have adequately established with moral certainty the
commission of the crime charged in the information and the identity of Ambre as the perpetrator. At this
juncture, the Court affirms the RTC's finding that the police officers' testimonies deserve full faith and credit.
Appellate courts, generally, will not disturb the trial court's assessment of a witness' credibility unless certain
material facts and circumstances have been overlooked or arbitrarily disregarded.23 The Court finds no reason
to deviate from this rule in this case.

Likewise, the Court upholds the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties. The
presumption remains because the defense failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the police officers
did not properly perform their duty or that they were inspired by an improper motive. The presumption was not
overcome as there was no showing that PO3 Moran, PO1 Mateo, PO2 Hipolito, and P/Insp. dela Rosa were
impelled with improper motive to falsely impute such offense against Ambre.

As against the positive testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the defense of denial offered by Ambre must
simply fail. Bare denials cannot prevail over positive identification made by the prosecution witnesses.24
Besides, this Court has held in a catena of cases that the defense of denial or frame-up has been viewed with
disfavor for it can just as easily be concocted and is a common and standard ploy in most prosecutions for
violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.25
Finally, Ambre contends that the penalty of six months of rehabilitation in a government center imposed on her
was a nullity, in view of the alleged lack of confirmatory test. The Court is not persuaded.

It must be emphasized that in no instance did Ambre challenge, at the RTC, the supposed absence of
confirmatory drug test conducted on her. Ambre only questioned the alleged omission when she appealed her
conviction before the CA. It was too late in the day for her to do so. Wellentrenched is the rule that litigants
cannot raise an issue for the first time on appeal as this would contravene the basic rules of fair play and
justice.26

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed November 26, 2009 Decision and the March 9, 2010
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31957 are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
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