G.R. No. 187000, November 24, 2014
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. AQUILINO ANDRADE, ROMAN LACAP, YONG FUNG YUEN, RICKY YU, VICENTE SY, ALVIN SO, ROMUALDO MIRANDA, SINDAO MELIBAS, SATURNINO LIWANAG, ROBERTO MEDINA AND RAMON NAVARRO, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
The undersigned State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice, accuses AQUILINO ANDRADE for Violation of Section 15, Article II of R.A. 9165, committed as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibraryThat on or about June 30, 2003, in the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without having been authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously use or in any manner introduced into the physiological system of his body, Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, otherwise known as "shabu," a dangerous drug in violation of the aforecited law.4ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
6. A strict reading of the provisions of Section 15, Article II, RA 9165 reveals that the accused did not commit the offense charged. Under RA 9165, the offense of Violation of Section 15 thereof is committed by a person apprehended or arrested for using dangerous drug, and who is found to be positive for use of any dangerous drug after a confirmatory test, to wit:cralawlawlibrary
x x x x
7. In the case at bar, the accused were never apprehended o r arrested for using a dangerous drug or for violating the provisions of RA 9165, which would warrant drug testing and serve as basis for filing the proper information in court. In fact, the accused were merely called to the Maximum Security Conference Hall in the morning of June 30, 2003 and with seventeen (17) other inmates made to undergo drug testing, pursuant to the directive of then Sr. Usec. Santiago. It was only after they were found positive for dangerous drugs that the information for Violation of Section 15, RA 9165 was filed against each of them.
8. Section 36, Article III, RA 9165 further enumerates the persons subject to mandatory and random drug tests, who if found positive after such drug test shall be subject to the provisions of Section 15. x x x
x x x x
National penitentiary inmates or inmates of the Bureau of Corrections are not included in the enumeration. Thus, even if the accused have been found positive in the mandatory or random drug test conducted by BUCOR, they cannot be held liable under Section 15.
9. Assuming for the sake of argument, but not admitting, that the accused were apprehended or arrested for using a dangerous drug or for violating the provisions of RA 9165 which led to the June 30, 2003 screen test, or that the accused are subject to mandatory or random drug testing, the drug test would be invalid absent a showing that the same was conducted within twenty-four (24) hours after the apprehension or arrest of the offender through a confirmatory test within fifteen (15) days receipt of the result in accordance with the provisions of Section 38, Article II of RA 9165 x x x.
x x x x
10. In the case, the accused were not informed of the results of the screening test, thus depriving them of the right to challenge the same through a confirmatory drug test within the required fifteen (15)-day period after receipt of the positive result.6ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
To be liable under this Act the following essential requisites must be present:
It is clear from the foregoing facts that the inmates were not apprehended nor arrested for violation of any provision of R.A. 9165. These inmates were in the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) serving sentences for different crimes which may include also drug offenses. They were subjected to drug tests only pursuant to the request made by then Director Dionisio Santiago. Furthermore, they were not one of those persons enumerated in Section 36 of the said Act who may be subjected to mandatory drug testing. Hence, the first essential requisite has not been complied with. If one essential requisite is absent, the Court believes that these inmates cannot be held liable for the offense charged. They may be held liable administratively for violation of the Bureau of Corrections or NBP rules and regulations governing demeanor of inmates inside a penitentiary but not necessarily for violation of Sec. 15 of R.A. 9165. The court need not discuss the other elements of the crime as the same has become moot and academic in view of the absence of the first essential element.
- The offender must have been arrested or apprehended for use of dangerous drugs; or apprehended or arrested for violation of RA 9165 and the apprehending or arresting officer has reasonable ground to believe that the person arrested or apprehended on account of physical signs or symptoms or other visible or outward manifestation is under the influence of dangerous drugs; or must have been one of those under Sec. 36 of Art. Ill of RA 9165 who should be subjected to undergo drug testing;chanrobleslaw
- The offender must have been found positive for use of dangerous drug after a screening and confirmatory test;chanrobleslaw
- The offender must not have been found in his/ or her possession such quantity of dangerous drug provided for under Section 11 of this Act;chanrobleslaw
- That if the offender arrested or apprehended has been found to be positive for use of dangerous drugs after a screening laboratory examination, the results of the screening laboratory examination of test shall be challenged within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the result through a confirmatory test conducted in any accredited analytical laboratory equipment with a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry or some such modern method.
x x x x
WHEREFORE, finding no probable cause for the offense charged in the Information these cases are ordered DISMISSED with costs de officio.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DENIED. The assailed Orders of the public respondent Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City, Branch 204, in Criminal Cases Nos. 06-224, 06-229, 06-231, 06-232, 06-234, 06-235, 06-237, 06-238, 06-239 and 06-241, STAND.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT HELD THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS MAY NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR VIOLATION OF SECTION 15, ARTICLE II OF RA 9165.13ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Sec. 9. Failure to Move to Quash or to Allege Any Ground Therefor. - The failure of the accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or information, either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the same in said motion, shall be deemed a waiver of any objections except those based on the grounds provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (g), and (i) of Section 3 of this Rule.
WHEREFORE, finding no probable cause for the offense charged in the Information these cases are ordered DISMISSED with cost de offlcio.
There are two kinds of determination of probable cause; executive and judicial. The executive determination of probable cause is one made during preliminary investigation. It is a function that properly pertains to the public prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether probable cause exists and to charge those whom he believes to have committed the crime as defined by law and thus should be held for trial. Otherwise stated, such official has the quasi-judicial authority to determine whether or not a criminal case must be filed in court. Whether or not that function has been correctly discharged by the public prosecutor, i.e., whether or not he has made a correct ascertainment of the existence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not be compelled to pass upon.
The judicial determination of probable cause, on the other hand, is one made by the judge to ascertain whether a warrant of arrest should be issued against the accused. The judge must satisfy himself that based on the evidence submitted, there is necessity for placing the accused under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice. If the judge finds no probable cause, the judge cannot be forced to issue the arrest warrant.20chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The difference is clear: The executive determination of probable cause concerns itself with whether there is enough evidence to support an Information being filed. The judicial determination of probable cause, on the other hand, determines whether a warrant of arrest should be issued. In People v. Inting:21chanroblesvirtuallawlibraryx x x Judges and Prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or released. Even if the two inquiries are conducted in the course of one and the same proceeding, there should be no confusion about the objectives. The determination of probable cause for the warrant of arrest is made by the Judge. The preliminary investigation proper - whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial - is the function of the Prosecutor.22ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Section 4. Amendment of the complaint or information. - If the motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or information which can be cured by amendment, the court shall order that an amendment be made.
If it is based on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, the prosecution shall be given by the court an opportunity to correct the defect by amendment. The motion shall be granted if the prosecution fails to make the amendment, or the complaint or information still suffers from the same defect despite the amendment.25cralawredChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Indeed, Section 4, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, requires that the prosecution should first be given the opportunity to correct the defects in the information before the courts may grant a motion to quash grounded on Section 3(a), and it may only do so when the prosecution fails to make the amendment, or the information suffers from the same defect despite the amendment.
Pursuant to this rule, it would thus seem that the trial court did err in this regard.31
* Designated Acting Member in lieu of Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes, per Special Order No. 1878, dated November 21, 2014.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Mariflor P. Punzalan Castillo, with Associate Justices Rodrigo V. Cosico and Hakim S. Abdulwahid, concurring; rollo, pp. 28-42.
2Id. at 43-45.
3 Records, pp. 5-6.
4 Id. at 5.
5Id. at 79.
6Id. at 107-109.
7Id. at 90.
8Id. at 121.
9Id. at 133-137; per Presiding Judge Juanita T. Guerrero.
10Id. at 138-139.
11Id. at 136-137.
12 , p. 41. (Emphasis in the original)
13Id. at 17.
14 Sec. 3. Grounds. - The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any of the following grounds:cralawlawlibrary
(a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;
(b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged;
(c) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the accused;
(d) That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;
(e) That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;
(f) That more than one offense is charged except when a single punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law;
(g) That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;
(h) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification; and
(i) That the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. (Emphasis supplied)
17 Rules on Criminal Procedure, Rule 112, Sec. 6.
16 Section 2. Form and contents. - The motion to quash shall be in writing, signed by the accused or his counsel, and shall distinctly specify its factual and legal grounds. The court shall consider no grounds other than those stated in the motion, except lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged. (Emphasis supplied)
18Alfredo C. Mendoza v. People of the Philippines, et al, G.R. No. 197293, April 21, 2014.
19Id., citing 607 Phil. 754 (2009) [Per J. Quisumbing, Second Division].
20Id., at 764-765, citing Paderanga v. Drilon, 273 Phil. 290, 296 (1991) [Per J. Regalado, En Banc]; Roberts, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, 324 Phil. 568, 620-621 (1996) [Per J. Davide, Jr., En Banc]; Ho v. People, 345 Phil. 597, 611 (1997) [Per J. Panganiban, En Banc].
21 G.R. No. 88919, July 25, 1990, 187 SCRA 788 [Per J. Gutierrez, Jr., En Bane].
22 Id. at 792-793. Mendoza v. People, supra.
24First Women's Credit Corporation v. Baybay, 542 Phil. 608, 614 (2007).
25cralawred Emphasis supplied
26Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. II, Tenth Revised Edition, Florez D. Regalado, p. 481.
27 Id., citing People v. Plaza, 117 Phil. 627, 629 (1963).
28 People v. Plaza, supra, citing U.S. v. Muyo, 2 Phil. 177 (1965) and People v. Tan, 48 Phil. 877 (1926).
29 98 Phil. 768(1956).
30U.S. v. De Castro, 2 Phil. 616 (1903).
31Rollo, p. 39
33 325 Phil. 525, 538(1996).
34People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, et al, G.R. Nos. 153304-05, February 7, 2012, 665 SCRA 89, 105.
35Id., citing In re: The Hon. Climaco, 154 Phil. 105 (1974).
36Id., citing People v. Esquivel, et al, 82 Phil. 453 (1948).
37 Id., citing Alvarez v. Court of Appeals, 412 Phil. 137 (2001).