and ROBERTO L. MENDOZA,
G. R. No. 113630
May 5, 1994
ROBERTO C. DIOKNO,
E C I S I O N
Presiding Judge, Branch 62,
Regional Trial Court, Makati,
Metro Manila and PRESIDENTIAL
On balance at
the fulcrum once again are
the intrinsic right of the State to prosecute perceived transgressors
the law which can be regulated, and the innate value of human liberty
can hardly be weighed.
Some twelve years
ago We were confronted with
a similar problem when former Senator Jovito R. Salonga invoked before
this Court his "right to life and liberty guaranteed by the due process
clause, alleging that no prima facie case has been established
warrant the filing of an information for subversion against him."
We resolved the issue then and sustained him. He is now back before Us,
this time as counsel pleading the cause of petitioners herein who, he
are in a situation far worse than his predicament twelve  years
He postulates that no probable cause likewise exists in this case and
is worse is that no bail is recommended.cralaw
gives Us an opportunity to revisit
the concept and implication of probable cause, the existence of which
necessary for the prosecutor to have an accused held for trial and for
a trial judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. It is mandatory,
that there be probable cause before an information is filed and a
of arrest issued. Unfortunately, however, at times a criminal case is
a warrant of arrest issued and a person consequently incarcerated on
allegations that only feign probable cause.cralaw
Diosdado Jose Allado and Roberto L.
Mendoza, alumni of the College of Law, University of the Philippines,
partners of the Law Firm of Salonga, Hernandez and Allado. In the
of their profession and on the basis of an alleged extrajudicial
of a security guard, they have been accused of the heinous crime of
with murder by the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission [PACC] and
arrested without bail by respondent judge. The focal source of
information against petitioners is the sworn statement dated 16
1993 of Security Guard, Escolastico Umbal, a discharge of the
Constabulary, implicating them as the brains behind the alleged
and slaying of one, Eugen Alexander Van Twest, a German national.
In that extrajudicial confession, Umbal claimed that he and his
were met by petitioners at Silahis Hotel and in exchange for P2.5M, the
former undertook to apprehend Van Twest who allegedly had an
warrant of arrest against him. Thus, on 16 June 1992, after placing him
under surveillance for nearly a month, Umbal, ex-policeman Rolando
AFPCIG Agent Roberto Santiago and SPO2 Sergio Antonino abducted Van
They blocked his blue Nissan Pathfinder under the Alabang overpass and
forced him into their car. They brought him to a "safe house" just
the New Bilibid Prisons. Umbal was tasked to watch over their quarry.
four  days, Gamatero, Santiago and Antonino returned to the "safe
together with petitioners and SPO2 Roger Bato, known to Umbal also as
SPO2 Bato faked the interrogation of Van Twest, pretending it was
and then made him sign certain documents. The following day, Gamatero
Van Twest in the chest with a baby armalite, after which Antonino
him repeatedly, cut off his private part, and later burned his cadaver
into fine ashes using gasoline and rubber tires. Umbal could not recall
the exact date when the incident happened, but he was certain it was
a year ago.cralaw
A day after Umbal
executed his extrajudicial confession,
the operatives of the PACC, armed with a search warrant issued by Judge
Roberto A. Barrios of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Br. 11,
separately raided the two  dwellings of Santiago, one located at No.
7 Sangley Street, and the other, along Amalingan Street, both in Green
Heights Subdivision, Parañaque. The raiders recovered a blue
Pathfinder and assorted firearms and ammunition and placed Santiago and
his trusted aide, Efren Madolid, under arrest. Also arrested later that
day were Antonio and Bato who were found to have in their possession,
firearms and ammunition and Van Twest's Cartier sunglasses.cralaw
the pieces of evidence gathered
by PACC operatives, Sr., Supt. Panfilo Lacson, Chief of PACC Task Force
Habagat, referred the case to the Department of Justice for the
of criminal proceedings against AFPCIG Agent Roberto Santiago, SPO1
Antonino, SPO2 Roger Bato, ex-policeman Rolando Gamatero, Efren
and petitioners herein, Atty. Diosdado Jose Allado and Atty. Roberto L.
Mendoza, for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, carnapping,
kidnapping for ransom with murder, and usurpation of authority.
In his letter to the State Prosecutor dated 17 September 1993, Sr.
Lacson charged that:
Atty. Roberto L.
Mendoza and Atty. Allado of Salonga,
Hernandez and Allado Law Offices planned and conspired with other
to abduct and kill the German national Alexander Van Twest, in order to
eliminate him after forcing the victim to sign several documents
ownership of several properties amounting to several million pesos and
caused the withdrawal of P5M deposit from the victim's bank account.cralaw
Senior State Prosecutor Ferdinand
R. Abesamis issued a subpoena to petitioners informing them that a
was filed against them by PACC TF-Habagat, directing them to appear on
30 September 1993 at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Department of
and to submit their Counter-Affidavits. Attached to the subpoena were
of the affidavits executed by Umbal and members of the team who raided
the two  dwellings of Santiago.
merely with the affidavits attached
to the subpoena, petitioner Mendoza moved for the production of other
for examination and copying to enable him to fully prepare for his
and to submit an intelligible Counter-Affidavit.
Specifically, petitioner Mendoza was interested in [a] the "several
transferring ownership of several properties amounting to several
pesos and the withdrawal of P5M deposit from the victim's bank
as stated in the complaint; [b] the complete records of the PACC's
including investigations on other suspects and their disposition,
Order of Battle for 1992 and early 1993; and, [c] such other written
issued in the above-entitled case, and all other documents intended to
be used in this case.
Petitioners likewise sought the inhibition of the members of the panel
of prosecutors which was created to conduct the preliminary
on the ground that they were members of the legal staff assigned to
and thus could not act with impartiality.cralaw
In its Order of
11 October 1993,
the new panel of prosecutors composed of Senior State Prosecutor
R. Fernandez as Chairman, with Rogelio F. Vista and Purita M. Deynata
Members, confirmed that the motion for inhibition of the members of the
old panel as well as the appeal to the Secretary of Justice was
on 8 October 1993 resulting in the creation of a new panel. Thereafter,
the new panel granted the prayer of petitioner Mendoza for the
of additional documents used or intended to be used against him.
Task Force Habagat, in compliance with the order, submitted only copies
of the request for verification of the firearms seized from the
the result of the request for verification, and a Philippine Times
article on the case with a marginal note of President Fidel V. Ramos
to the Chief of the Philippine National Police directing the submission
of a report and summary of actions taken thereon.cralaw
Not having been
provided with the requested documents,
petitioners nevertheless submitted their respective Counter-Affidavits
denying the accusations against them.
After a preliminary
clarificatory questions were additionally propounded, the case was
submitted for resolution. But before the new panel could resolve the
SPO2 Bato filed a manifestation stating that he was reconsidering the
waiver of his right to file Counter-Affidavit,
and "in the greater interest of truth, justice and fair play" moved for
the admissions of his Counter-Affidavit
confessing participation in the abduction and slaying of Van Twest and
implicating petitioners Allado and Mendoza. Sometime in January 1994,
before petitioners could refute Bato's Counter-Affidavit, he moved to
it on the ground that it was extracted through intimidation and duress.cralaw
On 3 February
1994, with the new penal failing
to act on the twin motions of SPO2 Bato, petitioners heard over the
that the panel had issued a resolution finding a prima facie case
against them and that an information had already been filed in court.
verification with the Department of Justice, however, petitioners were
informed that the resolution was not yet ready for release but later
afternoon, they were able to secure a copy of the information for
with murder against them
and the 15-page undated resolution under the letterhead of PACC, signed
by the panel of prosecutors, with the Head of the PACC Task Force
That same day, the information was filed before the Regional
Court of Makati and raffled off to Branch 62 presided by respondent
Roberto C. Diokno.cralaw
On 4 February
1994, respondent judge, in response
to petitioners' request, gave them until 8 February 1994 to submit
opposition to the issuance of a warrant of arrest against all the
On 7 February 1994, petitioners complied with the order of respondent
The following day, 8 February 1994, petitioner Allado filed an appeal
the Secretary of Justice seeking review and reversal of the undated
of the panel of prosecutors,
which appeal was adopted by petitioner Mendoza.
On11 February 1994, petitioner Allado moved to defer the proceedings
the trial court pending resolution of his appeal before the Secretary
However, on even date, respondent judge issued the assailed warrant of
arrest against petitioners.
Hence, on 15 February 1994, petitioners filed with Us the instant
for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining
On 16 February
1994, We required respondents to
comment on the petition and set the case for hearing on 28 February
After the hearing, We issued a temporary restraining order enjoining
from enforcing the warrant of arrest and respondent judge from
further proceedings on the case and, instead, to elevate the records to
Us. Meanwhile, on 27 February 1994, petitioners voluntarily surrendered
at the Headquarters of the Capital Command [CAPCOM], Philippine
Police [PNP], Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Metro Manila, and on 29
1994, they were released on the basis of our temporary restraining
their 335-page petition, inclusive
of annexes, principally contend that respondent judge acted with grave
abuse of discretion and in excess of jurisdiction in "whimsically
that there is probable cause against petitioners without determining
admissibility of the evidence against petitioners and without even
the basis of his findings,"
and in "relying on the Resolution of the Panel and their certification
that probable cause exists when the certification is flawed."
Petitioners maintain that the records of the preliminary investigation
which respondent judge solely relied upon failed to establish probable
cause against them to justify the issuance of the warrant of arrest.
likewise assail the prosecutors' "clear sign of bias and impartiality (sic)."
On the other
hand, the Office of the Solicitor
General argues that the determination of probable cause is a function
the judge who is merely required to personally appreciate certain facts
to convince him that the accused probably committed the crime charged.cralaw
Section 2, Art.
III, of the 1987 Constitution
lays down the requirements for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, i.e.,
a warrant of arrest shall issue only upon probable cause to be
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of
the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.cralaw
As early as 1915,
in Buchanan v. Viuda de Esteban,
this Court, speaking through Associate Justice Sherman Moreland,
probable cause as "the existence of such facts and circumstances as
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." This definition is still relevant
as we continue to cite it in recent cases.
Hence, probable cause for an arrest or for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest has been defined as such facts and circumstances which would
a reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has
committed by the person sought to be arrested.
And as a protection against false prosecution and arrest, it is the
of facts, actual or apparent, strong enough to justify a reasonable man
in the belief that he was lawful grounds for arresting the accused.
sets a standard for determining the existence of probable cause. While
it appears in that case that We have granted the prosecutor and the
judge seemingly unlimited latitude in determining the existence or
of probable cause by affirming the long-standing procedure that they
base their findings merely on their personal opinion and reasonable
yet, this permissiveness should not be interpreted as giving them
powers and letting them loose in the determination of the existence of
probable cause, a delicate legal question which can result in the
and deprivation of liberty of the person sought to be charged or
There We said:
Probable cause is
a reasonable ground of presumption
that a matter is, or may be, well founded, such a state of facts in the
mind of the prosecutor as would lead a person of ordinary caution and
to believe, or entertain an honest or strong suspicion, that a thing is
so. The term does not mean "actual and positive cause" nor does it
absolute certainty. It is merely based on opinion and reasonable
Thus, a finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry into
there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction. It is enough that
it is it believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes
offense charged. Precisely, there is a trial for the reception of
of the prosecution in support of the charge.cralaw
Whether an act
was done causing undue injury to
the government and whether the same was done with manifest partiality
evident bad faith can only be made out by proper and sufficient
Necessarily, a conclusion can be arrived at when the case has already
on sufficient proof.
before issuing a warrant of arrest,
the judge must satisfy himself that based on the evidence submitted
is sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that the person
to be arrested is probably guilty thereof. In the order of respondent
dated 11 February 1994, it is expressly stated that "this court, after
careful evaluation of the evidence on record, believes and rules that
cause exists; and therefore, a warrant of arrest should be issued."
We are unable to see how respondent judge arrived at such ruling. We
painstakingly examined the records and We cannot find any support for
conclusion. On the contrary, We discern a number of reasons why We
the evidence submitted to be insufficient for a finding of probable
Anti-Crime Commission relies
heavily on the sworn statement of Security Guard Umbal who supposedly
his participation in the alleged kidnapping and murder of Van Twest.
one, there is serious doubt on Van Twest's reported death since the corpus
delicti has not been established, nor have his remains been
Umbal claims that Van Twest was completely burned into ashes with the
of gasoline and rubber tires from around ten o'clock in the evening to
six o'clock the next morning.
This is highly improbable, if not ridiculous. A human body cannot be
into ashes by simply burning it with the use of gasoline and rubber
in an open field. Even crematoria use entirely closed incinerators
the corpse is subjected to intense heat.
Thereafter, the remains undergo a process where the bones are
ground to dust.cralaw
In the case of
Van Twest, there is not even any
insinuation that earnest efforts were exerted to recover traces of his
remains from the scene of the alleged cremation.
Could it be that the government investigators did go to the place of
but could not find any? Or could it be that they did not go at all
they knew that there would not be any as no burning ever took place? To
allege then that the body of Van Twest was completely burned to ashes
an open field with the use merely of tires and gasoline is a tale too
Strangely, if not
awkwardly, after Van Twest's
reported abduction on16 June 1992, which culminated in his decimation
cremation, his counsel continued to represent him before judicial and
proceedings. Thus on 31 July 1992, his counsel filed in his behalf a
for review before this Court, docketed as G. R. Nos. 106253, and on 18
March 1993, a memorandum before the Securities and Exchange Commission
in SEC Case No. 3896. On 26 November 1993, during the preliminary
conducted by the panel of prosecutors, counsel again manifested that
then and even as of this time, I stated in my Counter-Affidavit that
the matter of death is to be established in the proper proceedings, I
continue to pursue my duties and responsibilities as counsel for Mr.
Hence, even Asst. Solicitor General Estoesta believes that counsel of
Twest doubted the latter'sdeath.
Obviously, counsel himself does not believe that his client is in fact
already dead otherwise his obligation to his client would have ceased
to comply with his duty "to inform the court promptly of such death and
to give the name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian
or other legal representative,"
which he did not.cralaw
circumstances, We cannot discount petitioners'
theory that the supposed death of Van Twest, who is reportedly an
fugitive from justice, a fact substantiated by petitioners and never
by PACC, is a likely story to stop the international manhunt for his
In this regard, We are reminded of the leading case of U.S. v. Samarin
decided ninety-two years ago where this Court ruled that when the
victim is wholly unknown, his body not found, and there is but one
who testifies to the killing, the corpus delicti is not
extrajudicial statement of Umbal suffers
from material inconsistencies. In his sworn statement, he said that he,
together with his cohorts, was met by petitioners in Silahis Hotel
they hatched the plan to abduct Van Twest.
However, during the preliminary investigation, he stated that he was
part of the actual meeting as he only waited outside in the car for his
companions who supposedly discussed the plan inside Silahis Hotel.
Umbal also said that
arrived with Bato and conducted a mock interrogation of Van Twest who,
thereafter signed various documents upon being compelled to do so.
During the clarificatory questioning, however, Umbal changed his story
and said that he was asked to go outside of the "safe house" at the
Van Twest was interrogated and thus, did not see if Van Twest indeed
certain documents. Why Umbal had to be sent out of the "safe house,"no
explanation was offered. Did these documents really exist?
Or could the non-existence of these documents be the reason why PACC
not able to comply with the order of the prosecutors to produce them
the preliminary investigation? And then, what happened to the P2.5M
was supposedly offered by petitioners in exchange for the abduction of
Van Twest? These and more remain unanswered.cralaw
however, is that while the whole
investigation was supposedly triggered off by Umbal's confession of 16
September 1993, the application of the PACC operatives for a search
to be served in the two  dwellings of Santiago, was filed and
by the Regional Trial Court of Manila on 15 September 1993, a day
Umbal executed his sworn statement. In support of the application, the
PACC agents claimed that Umbal had been in their custody since 10
1993. Significantly, although he was said to be already under their
Umbal claims he was never interrogated until 16 September 1993 and only
at the security barracks of Valle Verde V, Pasig, where he was a
Counter-Affidavit of SPO2 Bato which
the panel of prosecutors also considered in filing the charges against
petitioners, can hardly be credited as its probative value has
waned. The records show that the alleged Counter-Affidavit, which is
was filed after the panel had considered the case submitted for
And before petitioners could refute this Counter-Affidavit, Bato moved
to suppress the same on the ground that it was extracted through duress
For sure, the
credibility of Umbal is badly battered.
Certainly, his bare allegations, even if the State invokes its inherent
right to prosecute, are insufficient to justify sending two lawyers to
jail, or anybody for that matter. More importantly, the PACC operatives
who applied for a warrant to search the dwellings of Santiago, never
petitioners. In fact, they claimed that according to Umbal, it was
and not petitioners, who masterminded the whole affair.
While there may be bits of evidence against petitioners' co-accused, i.e.,
referring to those seized from the dwellings of Santiago, these do not,
in the least, prove petitioners' complicity in the crime charged. Based
on the evidence thus far submitted, there is nothing indeed, much less
is there probable cause, to incriminate petitioners. For them to stand
trial and be deprived in the meantime of their liberty, however brief,
the law appropriately exacts much more to sustain a warrant for their
facts and circumstances strong enough in themselves to support the
that they are guilty of a crime that in fact happened. Quite obviously,
this has not been met.cralaw
respondent judge committed grave abuse
of discretion in issuing the warrant for the arrest of petitioners, it
appearing that he did not personally examine the evidence nor did he
for the complainant and his witnesses in the face of their incredible
Instead, he merely relied on the certification of the prosecutors that
probable cause existed. For, otherwise, he would have found out that
evidence thus far presented, was utterly insufficient to warrant the
of petitioners. In this regard, We restate the procedure We outlined in
various cases We have already decided
In Soliven v.
We said that the judge [a] shall personally evaluate the report and the
supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of
probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or
[b] if on the basis thereof, he finds no probable cause, may disregard
the fiscal's report and require the submission of supporting affidavits
of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion on the existence of
In People v.
We emphasized the important features of the constitutional mandate: [a]
the determination of probable cause is a function of the judge; it is
for the provincial fiscal or prosecutor to ascertain. Only the judge
the judge alone makes this determination; [b] the preliminary inquiry
by a prosecutor does not bind the judge. It merely assists him in
the determination of probable cause. The judge does not have to follow
what the prosecutor presents to him. By itself, the prosecutor's
of probable cause is ineffectual. It is the report, the affidavits, the
transcript of stenographic notes, [if any], and all other supporting
behind the prosecutor's certification which are material in assisting
judge in his determination of probable cause; and, [c] Judges and
alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines
cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary
proper, which ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial
or released. Even if the two inquiries be conducted in the course of
and the same proceeding, there should be no confusion about their
The determination of probable cause for the warrant is made by the
The preliminary investigation proper, whether or not there is
ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged
therefore, whether or not he should be subjected to the expense, rigors
and embarrassment of trial, is a function of the prosecutor.cralaw
In Lim v. Felix,
where We reiterated Soliven v. Makasiar and People v. Inting, We said
The Judge does not have to personally
the complainant and his witnesses. The prosecutor can perform the same
functions as a commissioner for the taking of the evidence. However,
should be a report and necessary documents supporting the fiscal's bare
certification. All these should be before the Judge.
The extent of the Judge's personal
of the report and its annexes depends on the circumstances of each
We cannot determine before hand how cursory or exhaustive the Judge's
should be. The Judge has to exercise sound discretion for, after all,
personal determination is vested in the Judge by the Constitution. It
be as brief or as detailed as the circumstances of each case require.
be sure, the Judge must go beyond the prosecutor's certification and
report whenever necessary. He should call for the complainant and
themselves to answer the Court's probing questions when the
of the case so require.
Clearly, probable cause may not be
simply by showing that a trial judge subjectively believes that he has
good grounds for his action. Good faith is not enough. If subjective
faith alone were the test, the constitutional protection would be
and the people would be "secure in their persons, houses, papers and
only in the fallible discretion of the judge.
On the contrary, the probable cause test is an objective one, for in
that there be probable cause, the facts and circumstances must be such
as would warrant a belief by a reasonably discreet and prudent man that
the accused is guilty of the crime which has just been committed.
This, as We said, is the standard. Hence, if upon the filing of the
in court, the trial judge, after reviewing the information and the
attached thereto, finds that no probable cause exists, must either call
for the complainant and the witnesses themselves or simply dismiss the
case. There is no reason to hold the accused for trial and further
him to an open and public accusation of the crime, when no probable
But then, it
appears in the instant case that the
prosecutors have similarly misappropriated, if not abused, their
If they really believed that petitioners were probably guilty, they
have armed themselves with facts and circumstances in support of that
for mere belief is not enough. They should have presented sufficient
credible evidence to demonstrate the existence of probable cause. For
prosecuting officer "is the representative not of an ordinary party to
a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern
is as compelling as its obligation to govern all; and whose interest,
in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that
shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense,
servant of the law, the two fold aim of which is that guilt shall not
or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor;
he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at
to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper
calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every
means to bring about a just one."
In the case at
bench, the undue haste in the filing
of the information and the inordinate interest of the government cannot
be ignored. From the gathering of evidence until the termination of the
preliminary investigation, it appears that the state prosecutors were
eager to file the case and secure a warrant for the arrest of the
without bail and their consequent detention. Umbal's sworn statement is
laden with inconsistencies and improbabilities. Bato's
was considered without giving petitioners the opportunity to refute the
same. The PACC which gathered the evidence, appears to have had a hand
in the determination of probable cause in the preliminary inquiry as
undated resolution of the panel not only bears the letterhead of PACC
was also recommended for approval by the head of the PACC Task Force.
petitioners were given the runaround in securing a copy of the
and the information against them.cralaw
Indeed, the task
of ridding society of criminals
and misfits and sending them to jail in the hope that they will, in the
future, reform and be productive members of the community, rests both
the judiciousness of judges and the prudence of prosecutors. And,
it is a preliminary investigation by the prosecutor which ascertains if
the respondent should be held for trial, or a preliminary inquiry by
trial judge which determines if an arrest warrant should issue, the
is that there is a standard in the determination of the existence of
cause, i.e., there should be facts and circumstances
strong in themselves to warrant a prudent and cautious man to believe
the accused is guilty of the crime with which he is charged. Judges and
prosecutors are not off on a frolic of their own, but rather engaged in
a delicate legal duty defined by law and jurisprudence.cralaw
In this instance,
Salonga v. Paño
The purpose of a preliminary
to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive
and to protect him from an open and public accusation of crime, from
trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the
state from useless and expensive trial [Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA 241,
citing Hashim v. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216]. The right to a preliminary
is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would be to transgress
due process [People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277]. However, in order to
the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary
is conducted in the sense of making sure that the transgressor shall
escape with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only for
purposes of the State. More importantly, it is a part of the guarantees
of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who live in the
It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge, as the case
may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial
it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a
facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient
as to the guilt of the accused. [Emphasis supplied].
The facts of
this case are fatefully distressing
as they showcase the seeming immensity of government power which, when
unchecked, becomes tyrannical and oppressive. Hence, the Constitution,
particularly the Bill of Rights, defines the limits beyond which lie
state actions. But on occasion, for one reason or another, the State
this parameter. In consequence, individual liberty unnecessarily
The case before Us, if uncurbed, can be illustrative of a dismal trend.
Needless injury of the sort inflicted by government agents is not
of responsible government. Judges and law enforcers are not, by reason
of their high and prestigious office, relieved of the common obligation
to avoid deliberately inflicting unnecessary injury.
power has the inherent right to
protect itself and its people from vicious acts which endanger the
administration of justice; hence, the State has every right to
and punish violators of the law. This is essential for its self-
nay, its very existence. But this does not confer a license for
assaults on its citizens. The right of the State to prosecute is not a
carte blanche for government agents to defy and disregard
of its citizens under the Constitution. Confinement, regardless of
is too high a price to pay for reckless and impulsive prosecution.
even if We apply in this case the "multifactor balancing test" which
the officer to weigh the manner and intensity of the interference on
right of the people, the gravity of the crime committed and the
attending the incident, still We cannot see probable cause to order the
detention of petitioners.
The purpose of
the Bill of Rights is to protect
the people against arbitrary and discriminatory use of political power.
This bundle of rights guarantees the preservation of our natural rights
which include personal liberty and security against invasion by the
or any of its branches or instrumentalities. Certainly, in the
of rights, the Bill of Rights takes precedence over the right of the
to prosecute, and when weighed against each other, the scales of
tilt towards the former. Thus, relief may be availed of to stop the
enforcement of criminal law where it is necessary to provide for an
administration of justice, to prevent the use of the strong arm of the
law in an oppressive and vindictive manner, and to afford adequate
to constitutional rights.
case would not have reached this
Court if petitioners were ordinary people submissive to the dictates of
government. They would have been illegally arrested and detained
bail. Then We would not have the opportunity to rectify the injustice.
Fortunately, the victims of injustice are lawyers who are vigilant of
rights, who fight for their liberty and freedom not otherwise available
to those who cower in fear and subjection.cralaw
Let this then be
a constant reminder to judges,
prosecutors and other government agents tasked with the enforcement of
the law that in the performance of their duties, they must act with
lest their thoughtless ways, methods and practices cause a disservice
their office and maim their countrymen they are sworn to serve and
We, thus, caution government agents, particularly the law enforcers, to
be more prudent in the prosecution of cases and not to be oblivious of
human rights protected by the fundamental law. While We greatly applaud
their determined efforts to weed society of felons, let not their
eagerness violate constitutional precepts which circumscribe the
of a civilized community.cralaw
petition for certiorari and prohibition
is granted. The temporary restraining order we issued on 28 February
in favor of petitioners, Atty. Diosdado Jose Allado and Atty. Roberto
Mendoza, is made permanent. The warrant of arrest issued against them
set aside and respondent Judge Roberto C. Diokno is enjoined from
any further against herein petitioners in Crim. Case No. 94-1757 of the
Regional Trial Court of Makati.cralaw
Jr., Quiason and Kapunan, JJ.,
Salonga v. Paño, G. R. No. 59524, 18 February 1985, 134 SCRA
Rollo, pp. 52-54.
Id., pp. 55-56.
Id., pp. 40-42.
Id., pp. 43-45.
Id., pp. 60-63.
Motion for production of documents, alternatively, for subpoena duces
Rollo, pp. 64-65.
Id., pp. 69-88; 166-181.
Id., pp. 252-253.
Id., pp. 254-261.
Id., pp. 292-296.
Id., pp. 276-291.
Id., pp. 297-299.
Id., pp. 300-322.
Id., pp. 323-325.
Id., pp. 326-330.
Rollo, p. 333.
Petition for Certiorari, p. 22; Rollo, p. 23.
32 Phil. 363 .
Que v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G. R. No. 66865, 13 January 1989,
169 SCRA 1989; Ponce v. Legaspi, G. R. No. 79184, 6 May 1992, 208 SCRA
377; and Albenson v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 88694, 11 January 1993,
217 SCRA 16.
See Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. A
Vol. 1, First Ed., 1987, pp. 86-87.
34 Words and Phrases 15; Citing Mudge v. State, 45 N.Y.S. 2d 296, 901.
G. R. No. 101978, 7 April 1993, 221 SCRA 349.
Id., pp. 360-361.
T.S.N. of the preliminary investigation conducted by the State
26 November 1993, pp. 34-35; Rollo, pp. 218- 219.
See Abbey Land v. County of San Mateo, 167 Cal 434, 139 P 10698.
T.S.N. of the hearing before the First Division, Supreme Court, 28
1994, pp. 21-23.
Rollo, pp. 189-190.
T.S.N. of the hearing before the First Division, Supreme Court, 28,
1994, p. 18.
Sec.16, Rule 3, of the Revised Rules of Court.
1 Phil. 239 .
Sworn Statement of Escolastico Umbal, p. 1; Rollo, p. 52.
T.S.N. of preliminary investigation conducted by State Prosecutors, 26
November 1993, pp. 38-39; Rollo, pp. 222-223.
Sworn Statement of Escolastico Umbal, p. 2; Rollo, p. 53.
T.S.N. of preliminary investigation conducted by State Prosecutors, 26
November 1993, pp. 48-49; Rollo, pp. 232-233.
T.S.N. of the proceedings for the application of search warrant before
Judge Roberto Barrios, 15 September 1993, pp. 16, 21; Rollo, pp. 104,
G. R. Nos. 82585, 82827 and 83979, 14 November 1988, 167 SCRA 393.
G. R. No. 88919, 25 July 1990, 187 SCRA 788.
G. R. Nos. 92466-69, 19 February 1991, 187 SCRA 292.
Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S 89, 85 S.Ct. 223, 13 L. Ed.2d. 142 .
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed.2d. 889 .
Suarez v. Judge Platon, 69 Phil. 556, 564-565 [1940; Citing Mr. Justice
Sutherland of the Supreme Court of the United States.
See Note 1.
See Alschuler, Bright Line Fever and the Fourth Amendment, 45
227, 243-56 ; Grano, Probable Cause and Common Sense: A Reply to
the Critics of Illinois v. Gates, 17 U.Mich.J.L.Ref. 465, 501-06 .
Hernandez v. Albano, No. L-19272, 25 January 1967, 19 SCRA 95.