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CASE DIGEST: Adasa vs Abalos

Published by Paul Nikko Degollado on January 3, 2014 | Leave a response

February 19, 2007

Facts: Respondent Cecille Abalos alleged in the complaints and affidavits that petitioner Bernadette
Adasa was encashed two checks issued in the name of the respondent through deceit without
knowledge of respondent Abalos. Adasa failed to pay to the proceeds of the checks despite demands of
Abalos. Adasa filed a counter-affidavit admitting that she received and encashed the checks and alleged
further in a supplemental affidavit that Bebie Correa instead received the 2 checks and that she left the
country. The Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) of Iligan City issued a resolution finding probable cause
against Adasa and ordered for filing of two separate informations for Estafa through falsification of
commercial document by a private individual. This petition only concerns one of the two (Criminal Case
#8782) criminal cases (8781 & 8782) that were docketed. Petitioner Adasa filed a motion upon the trial
court in order for the OCP to conduct a reinvestigation, in which the OCP has reaffirmed its finding of
probable cause. Adasa has entered a not guilty plea during her arrangement on October 1, 2001 and
later filed a petition for review before the DOJ where it reversed and set aside the resolution of the OCP
and ordering it to withdraw the information for estafa.

Respondent Abalos filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that the DOJ should have dismissed the
petition for review outright contending that Sec 7 of DOJ Circular no 70 mandates that If an information
has been filed in court pursuant to the appealed resolution the petition shall not be given due course if
the accused had already been arraigned the aggrieved party cannot file a petition for review as the
secretary of Justice shall deny it outright.

The trial court has granted the petitioners motion to withdraw information and dismissed the
criminal case, on February 2003. Respondent filed a petition for certiorari before the CA on the DOJ
resolution and it reversed the sad resolution. The appellate court emphasized that DOJ Circular 70 Sec 7
used the phrase shall not.

Petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari contending that section 12 of the same DOJ Circular used
the word may that would give discretion to the Secretary of Justice to entertain an appeal, thus this
petition.

Issue: WON the overall language and the intent of DOJ Circular no 70 is directory that it would give
discretion to the Secretary of Justice to entertain an appeal even if the accused has been arraigned.
Held: No. the court held that CA is correct, the DOJ cannot give an appeal/petition for review due course
and must dismiss such actions if the accused has already been arraigned. Therefore in Sec 12 if the
ground for the dismissal is the arraignment of the accused, it must go back and act upon through Section
7. If Sec 12 is given a directory application it would render earlier mandatory provisions
invalid/negligible and would undermine the main objectives of the said circular which is for the
expeditious and efficient administration of justice.

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