CASE 2019-0011: JIMMY LIM PALACIOS, PETITIONER, V. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT (G.R. NO. 24676, 18 MARCH 2019, PERLAS-BERNABE, J.) (SUBJECT/S: RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT) (BRIEF TITLE: PALACIOS VS PEOPLE)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Decision dated January 18, 2018 and the Resolution dated July 11, 2018 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 150260 upholding the Orders dated October 5, 2016 and January 25, 2017 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 86 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Office of the City Prosecutor, Quezon City is hereby ORDERED to conduct forthwith a preliminary investigation on the charge of violation of Section 5 (i) of Republic Act No. 9262 against petitioner Jimmy Lim Palacios. The trial on the merits of Crim. Case No. R-QZN-15-04286 shall be SUSPENDED until the conclusion of the preliminary investigation. No pronouncement as to costs.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

 SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

 

WIFE FILED CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AT THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE  AGAINST HER HUSBAND FOR ECONOMIC ABUSE PUNISHABLE UNDER R.A. 9262. SHE GAVE WRONG ADDRESS OF HUSBAND. NATURALLY, HUSBAND DID NOT RECEIVE NOTICE ON THE CASE. INFORMATION WAS FILED AND WARRANT OF ARREST WAS ISSUED. HUSBAND FILED MOTION FOR RE-INVESTIGATION. RTC DENIED SAID MOTION AND CA AFFIRMED RTC DECISION. SC REVERSED CA DECISION AND GRANTED RE-INVESTIGATION ON THE GROUND THAT RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS A SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT NOT MERELY FORMAL OR TECHNICAL. SAID THE COURT:

 

It bears to stress that the right to preliminary investigation is substantive, not merely formal or technical.[43] As such, to deny petitioner’s motion for reinvestigation on the basis of the provisions of A.M. No. 11-6-10-SC would be to deprive him of the full measure of his right to due process[44] on purely procedural grounds. Thus, the courts a quo should allow petitioner to be accorded the right to submit counter-affidavits and evidence in a preliminary investigation for, after all, “the fiscal is not called by the Rules of Court to wait in ambush; the role of a fiscal is not mainly to prosecute but essentially to do justice to every man and to assist the court in dispensing that justice.”[45]

 

BUT THE INVESTIGATING PROSECUTOR HAS CERTIFIED IN THE INFORMATION THAT HE HAD CONDUCTED THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND HAS EXAMINED THE EVIDENCES OF THE COMPLAINANT. IS THIS CERTIFICATION NOT SUFFICIENT?

 

NO. SAID CERTIFICATION IN THE INFORMATION IS MERELY PRO FORMA, AND HENCE, DOES NOT ENJOY THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN ITS ISSUANCE. SAID THE SUPREME COURT:

 

Contrary to the CA’s conclusion, the fact that ACP Tresvalles certified in the Information that: (a) he had conducted the preliminary investigation in accordance with law and examined Ramirez’s statements and pieces of evidence; and (b) the accused was informed of the complaint and evidence against him, and thus, given an opportunity to submit controverting evidence, should not suffice in light of the absence of notice to petitioner regarding the conduct of the preliminary investigation. Given petitioner’s insistence that Ramirez provided the wrong address in her complaint, it behooved the respondent to show that petitioner was duly notified at the said address, especially in light of the fact that the warrant for his arrest was returned unserved[46] at the said address. Such failure, to the Court’s mind, compounded the violation of petitioner’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process. Besides, the said certification in the Information is merely pro forma, and hence, does not enjoy the presumption of regularity in its issuance.[47] Consequently, Crim. Case No. R-QZN-15-04286 pending before the RTC must be suspended until the completion of a preliminary investigation in order to afford petitioner a chance to present his counter-affidavit and any countervailing evidence.

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SC-2019-0011-SC CASE G.R. NO G.R. NO. 240676-18 MARCH 2019- JIMMY LIM PALACIOS VS THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES 

 

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