2016 (Political Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 16

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Political Law Instructions; 2016 Political Law Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 1517, 18, 19, and 20; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

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Jojo filed a criminal complaint against Art for theft of a backpack worth P150.00 with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila. The crime is punishable with arresto mayor to prision correccional in its minimum period, or not to exceed 4 years and 2 months. The case was assigned to Prosecutor Tristan and he applied Sec. 8(a) of Rule 112 which reads: “(a) If filed with the prosecutor. – If the complaint is filed directly with the prosecutor involving an offense punishable by imprisonment of less than four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day, the procedure outlined in Sec. 3(a) of this Rule shall be observed. The Prosecutor shall act on the complaint within ten (10) days from its filing.”

On the other hand, Sec. 3(a) of Rule 112 provides: “(a) The complaint shall state the address of the respondent and shall be accompanied by affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses as well as other supporting documents to establish probable cause. x x x”

Since Sec. 8(a) authorizes the Prosecutor to decide the complaint on the basis of the affidavits and other supporting documents submitted by the complainant, Prosecutor Tristan did not notify Art nor require him to submit a counter-affidavit. He proceeded to file the Information against Art with the Metropolitan Trial Court. Art vehemently assails Sec. 8(a) ofRule 112 as unconstitutional and violative of due process and his rights as an accused under the Constitution for he was not informed of the complaint nor was he given the opportunity to raise his defenses thereto before the Information was filed. Rule on the constitutionality of Sec. 8(a) of Rule 112. Explain. (5%)

One comment

  1. Section 8(a) of Rule 112 is not violative of due process and Art’s rights as an accused under the Constitution. Preliminary investigation is not part of the formal trial; it is a proceeding 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. Record of the preliminary investigation will not even form part of the case unless ordered by the court if necessary for the resolution of the case.

    Preliminary investigation’s primary objective is to free a respondent from the inconvenience, expense, humiliation and stress of defending herself/himself in the course of a formal trial, until the reasonable probability of his or her guilt has been passed upon in a more or less summary proceeding by a competent officer designated by law for that purpose. Secondarily, such proceeding also protects the state from the burden of unnecessary expense and effort in prosecuting alleged offenses and in holding trials arising from false, frivolous or groundless charges.

    The case at bar doesn’t even require a preliminary investigation nor covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure based on Section 9 of Rule 112 since the complaint is filed with the prosecutor and involves an offense punishable by imprisonment of less four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day. In such case, the prosecutor shall act on the complaint based on the affidavits and other supporting documents submitted by the complainant within ten (10) days from its filing. Notifying the respondent (Art) nor requiring him to submit a counter-affidavit is not required for the prosecutor to act on the complaint.

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