G.R. No. 160739, July 17, 2013 - ANITA MANGILA, Petitioner, v. JUDGE HERIBERTO M. PANGILINAN, ASST.CITY PROSECUTOR II LUCIA JUDY SOLINAP, AND NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (DIRECTOR REYNALDO WYCOCO), Respondents.
G.R. No. 160739, July 17, 2013
ANITA MANGILA, Petitioner, v. JUDGE HERIBERTO M. PANGILINAN, ASST.CITY PROSECUTOR II LUCIA JUDY SOLINAP, AND NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (DIRECTOR REYNALDO WYCOCO), Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
As a general rule, a writ of habeas corpus will not be granted where relief may be had or could have been procured by resort to another general remedy. As pointed out in Luna vs. Plaza, if petitioner is detained by virtue of a warrant of arrest, which is allegedly invalid, the remedy available to her is not a petition for habeas corpus but a petition to quash the warrant of arrest or a petition for a reinvestigation of the case by the Municipal Judge or by the Provincial Fiscal.
Section 5, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that the Municipal Judge who conducted the preliminary investigation shall transmit his resolution, together with the record of the case, including the warrant of arrest, to the Provincial Prosecutor, who shall review the same and order the release of an accused who is detained if no probable cause is found against him. Thus, the proper remedy available to petitioner is for her to file with the Provincial Prosecutor a motion to be released from detention on the grounds alleged in the instant petition.
WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is DENIED for lack of merit.
A petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus is a special proceeding governed by Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, as amended. In Ex Parte Billings, it was held that habeas corpus is that of a civil proceeding in character. It seeks the enforcement of civil rights. Resorting to the writ is not to inquire into the criminal act of which the complaint is made, but into the right of liberty, notwithstanding the act and the immediate purpose to be served is relief from illegal restraint. The rule applies even when instituted to arrest a criminal prosecution and secure freedom. When a prisoner petitions for a writ of habeas corpus, he thereby commences a suit and prosecutes a case in that court.
Habeas corpus is not in the nature of a writ of error; nor intended as substitute for the trial court’s function. It cannot take the place of appeal, certiorari or writ of error. The writ cannot be used to investigate and consider questions of error that might be raised relating to procedure or on the merits. The inquiry in a habeas corpus proceeding is addressed to the question of whether the proceedings and the assailed order are, for any reason, null and void. The writ is not ordinarily granted where the law provides for other remedies in the regular course, and in the absence of exceptional circumstances. Moreover, habeas corpus should not be granted in advance of trial. The orderly course of trial must be pursued and the usual remedies exhausted before resorting to the writ where exceptional circumstances are extant. In another case, it was held that habeas corpus cannot be issued as a writ of error or as a means of reviewing errors of law and irregularities not involving the questions of jurisdiction occurring during the course of the trial, subject to the caveat that constitutional safeguards of human life and liberty must be preserved, and not destroyed. It has also been held that where restraint is under legal process, mere errors and irregularities, which do not render the proceedings void, are not grounds for relief by habeas corpus because in such cases, the restraint is not illegal.
Habeas corpus is a summary remedy. It is analogous to a proceeding in rem when instituted for the sole purpose of having the person of restraint presented before the judge in order that the cause of his detention may be inquired into and his statements final. The writ of habeas corpus does not act upon the prisoner who seeks relief, but upon the person who holds him in what is alleged to be the unlawful authority. Hence, the only parties before the court are the petitioner (prisoner) and the person holding the petitioner in custody, and the only question to be resolved is whether the custodian has authority to deprive the petitioner of his liberty. The writ may be denied if the petitioner fails to show facts that he is entitled thereto ex merito justicias.
A writ of habeas corpus, which is regarded as a “palladium of liberty,” is a prerogative writ which does not issue as a matter of right but in the sound discretion of the court or judge. It is, however, a writ of right on proper formalities being made by proof. Resort to the writ is not to inquire into the criminal act of which a complaint is made but unto the right of liberty, notwithstanding the act, and the immediate purpose to be served is relief from illegal restraint.The primary, if not the only object of the writ of habeas corpus ad subjuciendum, is to determine the legality of the restraint under which a person is held.11 (Bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
Section 2. Officers authorized to conduct preliminary investigations. – The following may conduct preliminary investigations:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
(a) Provincial or City Prosecutors and their assistants;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
(b) Judges of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts;
(c) National and Regional State Prosecutors; and
(d) Other officers as may be authorized by law.
Their authority to conduct preliminary investigations shall include all crimes cognizable by the proper court in their respective territorial jurisdictions. (2a)
The writ of habeas corpus secures to a prisoner the right to have the cause of his detention examined and determined by a court of justice, and to have ascertained if he is held under lawful authority. The function of habeas corpus, where the party who has appealed to its aid is in custody under process, does not extend beyond an inquiry into the jurisdiction of the court by which it was issued and the validity of the process upon its face. It is not a writ of error. xxx (Bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
Section 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. — If it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment. (Bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
1Rollo, p. 5.cralawlibrary
2 Id. at 6.cralawlibrary
3 CA rollo, p. 21.cralawlibrary
4Rollo, pp. 7 and 46.cralawlibrary
5 CA rollo, pp. 2-11.cralawlibrary
6 Rollo, pp. 16-17;penned by Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon (retired), and concurred in by Associate Justice Sergio L. Pestaño (retired/deceased) and Associate Justice Jose C. Mendoza (now a Member of this Court).cralawlibrary
7 Id. at 17.cralawlibrary
8 CA rollo, pp. 43-48.cralawlibrary
9Rollo, pp. 20-22.cralawlibrary
10 G.R. No. 163108, February 23, 2005, 452 SCRA 312.cralawlibrary
11 Id. at pp. 324-326.cralawlibrary
12In Re: Azucena L. Garcia, G.R. No. 141443, August 30, 2000, 339 SCRA 292, 301.cralawlibrary
13 55 Phil. 304, 306 (1930).cralawlibrary
14Rollo, pp. 7-9.cralawlibrary
15 39 Am. Jur. 2d; Habeas Corpus, § 45.cralawlibrary
16 Section 5. Resolution of investigating judge and its review. — Within ten (10) days after the preliminary investigation, the investigating judge shall transmit the resolution of the case to the provincial or city prosecutor, or to the Ombudsman or his deputy in cases of offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, for appropriate action. The resolution shall state the findings of facts and the law supporting his action, together with the record of the case which shall include: (a) the warrant, if the arrest is by virtue of a warrant; (b) the affidavits, counter-affidavits and other supporting evidence of the parties; (c) the undertaking or bail of the accused and the order for his release; (d) the transcripts of the proceedings during the preliminary investigation; and (e) the order of cancellation of his bail bond, if the resolution is for the dismissal of the complaint.
Within thirty (30) days from receipt of the records, the provincial or city prosecutor, or the Ombudsman or his deputy, as the case may be, shall review the resolution of the investigating judge on the existence of probable cause. Their ruling shall expressly and clearly state the facts and the law on which it is based and the parties shall be furnished with copies thereof. They shall order the release of an accused who is detained if no probable cause if found against him.cralawlibrary
17 CA rollo, p. 21.cralawlibrary
18 In re: The Writ of Habeas Corpus for Reynaldo De Villa, G.R. No. 158802, November 17, 2004, 442 SCRA 706, 721.