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Debt Kollect Company, Inc. ChanRobles Intellectual Property Division. L Jo 22, – C. SYNOPSIS The question of whether or not a circuit criminal court judge has power to conduct preliminary investigations of criminal complaints directly filed with him was raised in issue in the instant consolidated cases. The Supreme Court ruled that Section 1 3Article of the Constitution, Article IV of the Constitution as well as Section 13 of Rule of the Revised Rules of Court provide the source of the power of all judges, including judges of the Courts of First Instance, the Circuit Criminal Courts and other courts of equivalent rank, to conduct the examination.

While sustaining this power, the Court laid down the policy that judges of the criminal courts should concentrate on hearing and deciding criminal cases filed before their courts and should not encumber themselves with the preliminary examination and investigation of criminal complaints, which they should 27307 to the municipal judge or provincial or city fiscal, who in turn can utilize the assistance of the state prosecutor to conduct such preliminary examination and investigation.

Np is dismissed and the order of respondent Judge dated July 6, in G. L is set aside as null and void insofar as the same dismissed the criminal case with prejudice and insofar as it directed ni return to private respondent of the articles seized from him which are the subject of seizure proceedings before customs authorities and the writ of preliminary injunction issued therein le permanent.

The determination of this “probable ely is the sole object of preliminary examination and investigation by Sections 13 and 14 Rule of the Revised Rules of Court. Moreover, Congress further confirmed that the Court of First Instance has the power to conduct preliminary investigation by all government prosecutors, continuing the procedure prescribed in the Revised Rules of Court. Section 1 of the Act was not modified by the amendatory Presidential Decrees Nos. They can only take cognizance of cases 270377 specified in Section 1 of the Act as amended by Presidential Decree No.

Nevertheless, they have the same powers and functions as those conferred upon regular Courts of First Instance necessary to effectively exercise such special and limited jurisdiction.

This is plain and evident from Section 3 and nl of their organic law, R.

If the main purpose then in creating them are to nk the burden of the regular Lfy of First Instance and to accelerate the disposition of the cases therein as well as stem the tide of criminality, it is only logical that such authority vested in the judges of the regular courts is likewise conferred on Circuit Criminal Courts.

Otherwise, the Courts of First Instance would still be carrying the burden of conducting preliminary investigation in those cases where Circuit Criminal Courts have jurisdiction and consequently delaying the trial and disposition of criminal cases pending before such Courts of First Instance.

Its authority to conduct preliminary examination and investigation granted under Section 6 of Republic Act No. The law or rule on preliminary investigation is undoubtedly a rule of procedure. Rule does not modify substantive rights but continues the procedure already operative prior to the Constitution.

The inconsistency, it is claimed, lies in the fact that while the authority of municipal courts and city courts to conduct preliminary investigation was reiterated in said Judiciary Act, there was no mention therein whether Courts of First Instance Judge are still possessed of such authority. The Constitution of and vest in the judge the power to issue a warrant of arrest or search warrant after conducting a preliminary examinations.


Congress could not divest the court of such authority as the Constitution does not permit it, for the constitutional guarantee on arrest or search warrant is not qualified by some phrase as “unless otherwise provided by law. Rather, it is a clause which predicates the intended repeal upon the condition that a substantial and an irreconcilable conflict must be found in existing and prior Acts.

Such being the case, the presumption against implied repeals and the rule against strict construction regarding implied repeals apply ex-propio vigore, for repeals and amendments by implication are not favored Jalandoni v. Lachica, 2 SCRA Indeed, the legislature is presumed to know the existing laws; so that, if a repeal is intended, the proper steps is to so express it with specificity Continental Insurance Co.

Simpson8F [2d] Webb v. Bailey, Ore51P [2d] ; State v. The failure to add a specific repealing clause indicates that the intent was not to repeal any existing law Crawford Construction of Statue, ed.

Feliciano, 13 Jo Here there is no such inconsistency. Thus, while Section 87 of the Judiciary Act provides that municipal judges and judges of city courts may also conduct preliminary investigation for any offense alleged to have been committed within their respective municipalities and cities.

But the power thus granted to the Ldy City Fiscals and later to City Fiscals and City Attorneys of other chartered cities to conduct preliminary investigations did not and does not include the authority to issue warrants of arrest and search warrants, which warrants the courts alone can issue then as now.

The Constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Constitution provides that only a judge can issue a search warrant and warrant of arrest after he has by himself personally determined the existence of probable cause upon his examination under oath of the complainant and his witnesses; although as ruled in one case, he may rely on the investigation conducted by the fiscal or prosecutor Amarga v.


It is patent that under the Constitution, only the “judge” is directed to conduct a preliminary examination for the issuance of the warrant of arrest by express constitutional conferment.

But the Constitution empowers the National Assembly to grant the power to issue search warrants or warrants of arrest after conducting the necessary preliminary examination to “other responsible officer. If the present city charters conferred on city fiscals or city prosecutors the power to issue warrants of arrest, it would leyy an unconstitutional grant of power under the Constitution. As heretofore intimated, the present practice or rule of court authorizing the judge oey issue warrants of arrest based on the preliminary investigation conducted by the city fiscal, seems to violate the Constitution, which requires the judge himself to conduct the nl examination.

Neither the judge nor the law can delegate such an authority to another public officer without trenching upon this constitutional guarantee mo unreasonable searches and seizures. He may, however, if he is not satisfied, call such witnesses as he may deem necessary before issuing the warrant.

Chief of Police, Et. The valid seizure of a person can only be executed through a lawful warrant of arrest. Arrest without a warrant can only be legally effected by a police officer or private individual 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; and c when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving 27073 judgment or temporarily confined while his case is leu, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another Section 6, RuleRevised Rules of Court.

The proviso of Section 5 of Republic Act No. This grant obviously is exclusive of the provincial or city fiscal or other government prosecutors 277037 power to conduct preliminary investigation in all other cases is affirmed in the first mo of Section 5 thereof.

Republic Act approved on September 8,affirmed the prerogative of the Court of First Instance to conduct preliminary investigation of offenses cognizable by said courts. This provision was a reiteration of the previous election laws Act No. As enunciated in the Armaga case in U. I leey, the government prosecutors may be authorized to conduct such preliminary examination and their determination of the existence of probable cause may be relied upon the judge, who may, as a pey, issue the warrant of arrest; although the judge himself is not precluded from conducting his own preliminary examination despite the conclusion of the prosecuting attorney as to the existence or non-existence of probable cause.

Re-filing of the same is allowed if evidence has become sufficient to warrant conviction of private Respondent. There has been no deviation from such established jurisdiction exemplified in Leh v. Bagsican 6 SCRAwherein the Court held that “the finding in the preliminary np that no prima facie case existed against the accused does not bar subsequent prosecution and conviction.

Such finding is not final acquittal as would preclude further 2037. For the enforcement of such order would virtually deprived herein petitioner Collector of Customs of the evidence indispensable to a successful prosecution of the case against the private Respondent.

Worse, the older nullified the power of seizure of the customs official. Frias, June 10,SCRA ; because proceedings for the forfeiture of goods illegally imported are not criminal in nature since they do not result in the conviction of the wrongdoer nor in the imposition upon him of a penalty Lazatin v.

It is patent that respondent Judge knew actually of the existence at least of the report of seizure of June 30,which is six days prior to mo order of dismissal dated July 6, He should have anticipated that a warrant of seizure and detention will logically be issued as in fact it was issued on July 9,because it was the petitioner Collector le Customs who filed the criminal complaint directly with him on July 1, Respondent Judge chose to ignore the presence of the report of seizure dated June 30, six days before his order of dismissal and the filing of the criminal complaint on July 1, Prudence should have counseled him, so as not to frustrate the petitioner Collector of Customs in enforcing the tariff and customs laws, against ordering the release of the seized leu without first ascertaining from the petitioner Collector of Customs whether the latter intended to institute or had instituted seizure proceedings.

In this case, petitioners were given an unreasonable period of one 1 day within which to elevate the matter before this Tribunal. But considering the novelty of the issue, a grant of twenty-four hours to prepare a petition for certiorari is a virtual denial of the motion.

The fact that petitioners succeeded in bringing the matter before the Supreme Court within the constricted period of time granted them is beside the point. nk

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Indeed, it is commendable to see judges hasten the disposition of cases pending before them. But more commendable would be for judges to contribute their share in maintaining the unswerving faith of litigants in the court of justice. Kayanan, 29 SCRA X, Constitutionas a matter of policy, it enjoins the respondent Judge and other Circuit Criminal Court Judges to concentrate on hearing and deciding criminal cases filed before their courts.

The primary purpose of the creation of the Circuit Criminal Courts in addition to the existing Courts of First Instance, is to mitigate the case load of the Courts of First Instance, as well as to expedite the disposition of criminal cases involving serious offenses specified in Section 1 of Republic Actas amended.

Circuit Criminal Judge is therefore, should not encumber themselves with the preliminary examination and investigation of criminal complaints, which they should refer to the municipal judge or provincial or city fiscal, who in turn can utilize the assistance of the state prosecutor to conduct such preliminary examination and investigation.


Even then, however he should for sound policy reasons, curb any eagerness or propensity to make use of such competence. The judge is admonished to concentrate on hearing and deciding criminal cases filed before his court. The occasion for its exercise should be minimized. The less an occupant of the bench fritter away his time and energy in tasks that could be left to other handsthe less the danger of his being a participant in any event that might lend itself to the interpretation that his impartiality has been compromised.

There is much to be said for displaying zeal and eagerness in stamping out criminality, but that role is hardly fit for a judge who must bide his time until the case is before him. He must ever be on the guard lest what is done by him, even from the best of motives, may be thought of as eroding that objectivity and sobriety which are the hallmarks of judicial conduct.

Thus should he attend the performance of the sacred trust that is his. It should be one on the basis of that very policy of the law itself informed in public interest that this Court should construe the statutory provision here in issue. The legislature never intended to confer upon Circuit Criminal Courts the power to conduct preliminary investigations. Not only the specific words of Section 1 of R.

This difference in phraseology must have been intentional in order to emphasize the restricted and limited prerogatives of Circuit Criminal Courts, not only as to the nature of the cases that can be filed with them but also as to the extent of their functions and powers relative to said cases. Consonant with the need to make of the Circuit Criminal Courts the courts of special and limited jurisdiction designed to attend with utmost expeditiousness to the case assigned to them, as undoubtedly the law intends to be, Section 1 of the Act should be construed, even in case of doubt, in the sense not only that the jurisdiction of said courts is limited to the cases which they may take cognizance of, but also in that any other work not strictly part of the functions to “try and decide” said cases, is not contemplated to be performed by them.

In this connection, it should be borne in mind that the power to conduct preliminary investigations has never been deemed as a mere incidental prerogative of any court.

It exists only when nl granted. This power does not have accompanied, whether by logical implication or by the reasons behind the organization of the courts, by the authority to conduct preliminary investigations.

In connection with the provisions of Section 3 of the Act, the provisions of laws and Rules of Court, if any, granting jurisdiction to regular courts of first instance to conduct preliminary investigations are inconsistent with the provisions of the Act, considering that these latter provisions contemplate circuit criminal courts which should not undertake the functions of conducting preliminary investigations.

And besides, a careful reading of Section 3 should make it clear to everyone that its phraseology studiously refers not to all the powers of the judges of the Courts of First Instance, but only to “the provisions of the laws and the Rules of Court relative to the Judges of the Court of First Instance”, meaning their qualifications salaries, transfer, etc. It cites the Rules of Court as the source of such authority, I am not sure, to put it mildly, that the Supreme Court can arrogate jurisdiction unto itself or grant any to the lower courts by bo promulgating a rule to such effect.

2037 believe it is safer to hold that jurisdiction to act on any given matter may be granted only 2737 statute or legislative enactment, for the simple reason that jurisdiction is substantive and not adjective in nature. No matter how many times one may read the provisions of the whole Judiciary Act of and particularly those that refer to the jurisdiction of the Courts of First Instance, one will never find any word therein that directly or indirectly confers upon said courts the authority to conduct preliminary investigations.

In pointing out this patent omission, I am of course assuming that the jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigations, while sometimes given to courts in spite of its being basically an executive function per Orendain, Estrella v. For instance, in the Judiciary Leh itself, it can be clearly seen that in the case of Actseventy-five years ago, the legislature had to expressly vest upon inferior courts, thru Section 87 of the Act the power to conduct such preliminary investigations.

The silence of the pertinent provisions of the Judiciary Act on the matter, taken together with the fact that Section 99 of the same Act repeals all laws and rules inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, indicates an unmistakable legislative intention to remove from the Court of First Instance the prerogative under discussion.

These are in cases of violations of the Election Law. The theory is that under the Constitution, warrants of arrests may be issued only by judges under the Constitutionand since before doing so, they must examine the complainant and his witnesses under oath, ergo, judgesand I presume that would mean all judges, are constitutionally vested with jurisdiction to conduct preliminary examinations, if not investigations.

If the theory of the majority is to be pursued to its logical conclusion, then the jurisdiction of judges in the matter in leu cannot but be exclusive, for the Constitution mentions no other officer who may issue warrants of arrest. But then the question would arise, from where did our municipal mayors derive their authority under existing rules to perform such function?

I have carefully perused with deep interest the elaborate statement in the main opinion of the “historical background of our law on criminal procedure.

Orendain, 37 SCRA

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