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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

THIRDDIVISION

G.R.No.171465June8,2007

AAA*,petitioner,
vs.
HON.ANTONIOA.CARBONELL,inhiscapacityasPresidingJudge,Branch27,RegionalTrialCourt,San
FernandoCity,LaUnionandENGR.JAIMEO.ARZADON,respondents.

DECISION

YNARESSANTIAGO,J.:

This petition for certiorari1 assails the December 16, 20052 Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, San
Fernando,LaUnioninCriminalCaseNo.6983,dismissingtherapecasefiledagainstprivaterespondentJaime
O. Arzadon for lack of probable cause and its February 3, 20063 Order denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration.

PetitionerworkedasasecretaryattheArzadonAutomotiveandCarServiceCenterfromFebruary28,2001to
August16,2001.OnMay27,2001atabout6:30p.m.,Arzadonaskedhertodeliverabooktoanofficelocatedat
another building but when she returned to their office, the lights had been turned off and the gate was closed.
Nevertheless,shewentinsidetogetherhandbag.

Onherwayout,shesawArzadonstandingbesideaparkedvanholdingapipe.Hetoldhertogonearhimand
uponreachinghisside,hethreatenedherwiththepipeandforcedhertolieonthepavement.Heremovedher
pants and underwear, and inserted his penis into her vagina. She wept and cried out for help but to no avail
becausetherewasnobodyelseinthepremises.

Petitioner did not report the incident because Arzadon threatened to kill her and her family. But when she
discovered that she was pregnant as a consequence of the rape, she narrated the incident to her parents. On
July24,2002,petitionerfiledacomplaintforrapeagainstArzadon.

OnSeptember16,2002,AssistantCityProsecutorImeldaCosalanissuedaResolution4 finding probable cause


and recommending the filing of an information for rape. Arzadon moved for reconsideration and during the
clarificatory hearing held on October 11, 2002, petitioner testified before the investigating prosecutor. However,
shefailedtoattendthenexthearinghence,thecasewasprovisionallydismissed.

OnMarch5,2003,petitionerfiledanotherAffidavitComplaint5withacomprehensiveaccountoftheallegedrape
incident.Thecasewasassignedto2ndAssistantProvincialProsecutorGeorginaHidalgo.Duringthepreliminary
investigation, petitioner appeared for clarificatory questioning. On June 11, 2003, the investigating prosecutor
issuedaResolution6findingthataprimafaciecaseofrapeexistsandrecommendingthefilingoftheinformation.

Arzadonmovedforreconsiderationandrequestedthatapanelofprosecutorsbeconstitutedtoreviewthecase.
Thus,apanelofprosecutorswascreatedandaftertheclarificatoryquestioning,thepanelissuedonOctober13,
2003aResolution7findingprobablecauseanddenyingArzadonsmotionforreconsideration.

An Information8 for rape was filed before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, San Fernando, La Union on
February6,2004,docketedasCriminalCaseNo.6415.Thereafter,Arzadonfileda"MotiontoHoldinAbeyance
All Court Proceedings Including the Issuance of a Warrant of Arrest and to Determine Probable Cause for the
PurposeofIssuingaWarrantofArrest."9OnMarch18,2004,respondentJudgeAntonioA.Carbonellgrantedthe
motionanddirectedpetitionerandherwitnessestotakethewitnessstandfordeterminationofprobablecause.

ArzadonalsoappealedtheResolutionofthepanelofprosecutorsfindingprobablecausebeforetheDepartment
ofJustice.OnJuly9,2004,thenActingSecretaryofJusticeMerceditasGutierrezfoundnoprobablecauseand
directedthewithdrawaloftheInformationinCriminalCaseNo.6415.10

Uponmotionforreconsiderationbypetitioner,however,SecretaryofJusticeRaulGonzalesreversedtheJuly9,
2004ResolutionandissuedanotherResolution11findingthatprobablecauseexists.Thus,anewInformation12
forrapewasfiledagainstArzadondocketedasCriminalCaseNo.6983.

Consequently,Arzadonfiledan"UrgentMotionforJudicialDeterminationofProbableCauseforthePurposeof
Issuing a Warrant of Arrest."13 In an Order dated August 11, 2005, respondent Judge Carbonell granted the
motionanddirectedpetitionerandherwitnessestotakethewitnessstand.

Instead of taking the witness stand, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration claiming that the documentary
evidencesufficientlyestablishedtheexistenceofprobablecause.Pendingresolutionthereof,shelikewisefileda
petition14 with this Court for the transfer of venue of Criminal Case No. 6983. The case was docketed as
AdministrativeMatterNo.0512756RTCandentitledRe:TransferofVenueofCriminalCaseNo.6983,formerly
CriminalCaseNo.6415,fromtheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch27,SanFernandoCity,LaUnion,toanyCourtin
MetroManila.

InaResolution15datedJanuary18,2006,theCourtgrantedpetitionersrequestfortransferofvenue.Thecase
was raffled to the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and docketed as Criminal Case No. 06242289.
However,theproceedingshavebeensuspendedpendingtheresolutionofthispetition.

Meanwhile, on December 16, 2005, respondent Judge Carbonell issued the assailed Order dismissing Criminal
CaseNo.6983forlackofprobablecause.Petitionersmotionforreconsiderationwasdeniedhence,thispetition.

Petitionerraisesthefollowingissues:16

RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF OR IN


EXCESSOFJURISDICTIONWHENITGRANTEDTHEMOTIONFORDETERMINATIONOFPROBABLECAUSE
FILED BY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT AND THE SUBSEQUENT DENIAL OF THE MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION

II

RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED FURTHER ACTS CONSTITUTING GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION


AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT ORDERED THE COMPLAINANT AND
WITNESSESTOTAKETHESTANDFORTHEPURPOSEOFDETERMININGPROBABLECAUSE

III

RESPONDENTJUDGEACTEDWITHGRAVEABUSEOFDISCRETIONWHENHEREFUSEDTOINHIBITFROM
FURTHERHANDLINGTHECASEDESPITEWHISPERSOFDOUBTONHISBIASANDPARTIALITY

IV

RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT ISSUED THE ORDER OF
FEBRUARY 3, 2006, DENYING THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION, DESPITE THE SUPREME COURT
RESOLUTIONOFJANUARY18,2006,GRANTINGTHETRANSFEROFVENUE

Petitioner contends that the judge is not required to personally examine the complainant and her witnesses in
satisfying himself of the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. She argues that
respondent Judge Carbonell should have taken into consideration the documentary evidence as well as the
transcriptofstenographicnoteswhichsufficientlyestablishedtheexistenceofprobablecause.

Arzadon claims that the petition should be dismissed outright for being the wrong mode of appeal, it appearing
thattheissuesraisedbypetitionerproperlyfallunderanactionforcertiorariunderRule65,andnotRule45,of
theRulesofCourt.

Respondent Judge Carbonell argues in his Comment17 that the finding of probable cause by the investigating
prosecutorisnotbindingorobligatory,andthathewasjustifiedinrequiringpetitionerandherwitnessestotake
thewitnessstandinordertodetermineprobablecause.

The issues for resolution are 1) whether the petition should be dismissed for being the wrong mode of appeal
and2)whetherrespondentJudgeCarbonellactedwithgraveabuseofdiscretionindismissingCriminalCaseNo.
6983forlackofprobablecause.
Thepetitionhasmerit.

ApetitionforreviewoncertiorariunderRule45isdistinctfromapetitionforcertiorariunderRule65inthatthe
former brings up for review errors of judgment while the latter concerns errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of
discretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction.Graveabuseofdiscretionisnotanallowablegroundunder
Rule 45. However, a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 may be considered a petition for certiorari
underRule65whereitisallegedthattherespondentsabusedtheirdiscretionintheirquestionedactions,asin
theinstantcase.18WhilepetitionerclaimstohavebroughttheinstantactionunderRule45,thegroundsraised
hereininvolveanallegedgraveabuseofdiscretiononthepartofrespondentJudgeCarbonell.Accordingly,the
CourtshalltreatthesameasapetitionforcertiorariunderRule65.

However, we must point out the procedural error committed by petitioner in directly filing the instant petition
beforethisCourtinsteadoftheCourtofAppeals,therebyviolatingtheprincipleofjudicialhierarchyofcourts.Itis
wellsettled that although the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts have concurrent
jurisdictiontoissuewritsofcertiorari,prohibition,mandamus,quowarranto,habeascorpusandinjunction,such
concurrencedoesnotgivethepetitionerunrestrictedfreedomofchoiceofcourtforum.19Inthiscase,however,
thegravityoftheoffensechargedandthelengthoftimethathaspassedsincethefilingofthecomplaintforrape,
compelustoresolvethepresentcontroversyinordertoavoidfurtherdelay.20

We thus proceed to the issue of whether respondent Judge Carbonell acted with grave abuse of discretion in
dismissingCriminalCaseNo.6983forlackofprobablecause.

Weruleintheaffirmative.

Respondent Judge Carbonell dismissed Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause on the ground that
petitionerandherwitnessesfailedtocomplywithhisorderstotakethewitnessstand.Thus

InRESUMEtherefore,asindubitablyborneoutbythecaserecordandconsideringthatthePrivateProsecutor,
despite several admonitions contumaciously nay contemptuously refused to comply/obey this Courts Orders of
March 18, 2004, August 11, 2005 and eight (8) other similar Orders issued in open Court that directed the
complainant/witnessestotakethewitnessstandtobeaskedprobing/clarificatoryquestionsconsonantwithcited
jurisprudentialrulingsoftheSupremeCourt,thisCourtintheexerciseofitsdiscretionandsoundjudgmentfinds
andsoholdsthatNOprobablecausewasestablishedtowarranttheissuanceofanarrestorderandthefurther
prosecutionoftheinstantcase.

Record also shows in no unclear terms that in all the scheduled hearings of the case, the accused had always
been present. A contrario, the private complainant failed to appear during the last four (4) consecutive settings
despiteduenoticewithoutgivinganyexplanation,whichtothemindoftheCourtmayindicateanapparentlackof
interest in the further prosecution of this case. That failure may even be construed as a confirmation of the
Defenses contention reflected in the case record, that the only party interested in this case is the Private
prosecutor,proddedbytheaccusedsallegedhostilesiblingstocontinuewiththecase.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, for utter lack of probable cause, the instant case is hereby ordered
DISMISSED.21

HeclaimsthatunderSection2,ArticleIIIofthe1987Constitution,nowarrantofarrestshallissueexceptupon
probable cause "to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainantandthewitnesseshemayproduce."

However,intheleadingcaseofSolivenv.Makasiar,22theCourtexplainedthatthisconstitutionalprovisiondoes
notmandatorilyrequirethejudgetopersonallyexaminethecomplainantandherwitnesses.Instead,hemayopt
topersonallyevaluatethereportandsupportingdocumentssubmittedbytheprosecutororhemaydisregardthe
prosecutorsreportandrequirethesubmissionofsupportingaffidavitsofwitnesses.Thus:

Theadditionoftheword"personally"aftertheword"determined"andthedeletionofthegrantofauthoritybythe
1973 Constitution to issue warrants to "other responsible officers as may be authorized by law," has apparently
convincedpetitionerBeltranthattheConstitutionnowrequiresthejudgetopersonallyexaminethecomplainant
and his witnesses in his determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest. This is not an
accurateinterpretation.

What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing judge to satisfy
himself of the existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of the existence of probable cause for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge is not required to personally examine the complainant and his
witnesses. Following established doctrine and procedure, he shall: (1) personally evaluate the report and the
supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause and, on the basis
thereof,issueawarrantofarrestor(2)ifonthebasisthereofhefindsnoprobablecause,hemaydisregardthe
fiscalsreportandrequirethesubmissionofsupportingaffidavitsofwitnessestoaidhiminarrivingataconclusion
astotheexistenceofprobablecause.

Sound policy dictates this procedure, otherwise judges would by unduly laden with the preliminary examination
andinvestigationofcriminalcomplaintsinsteadofconcentratingonhearinganddecidingcasesfiledbeforetheir
courts.23

WereiteratedtheaboverulinginthecaseofWebbv.DeLeon,24whereweheldthatbeforeissuingwarrantsof
arrest,judgesmerelydeterminetheprobability,notthecertainty,ofguiltofanaccused.Indoingso,judgesdonot
conductadenovohearing to determine the existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial
determinationoftheprosecutorfindingaprobablecausetoseeifitissupportedbysubstantialevidence.25

Itiswelltorememberthatthereisadistinctionbetweenthepreliminaryinquirywhichdeterminesprobablecause
for the issuance of a warrant of arrest and the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether the
offendershouldbeheldfortrialorbereleased.Thedeterminationofprobablecauseforpurposesofissuingthe
warrantofarrestismadebythejudge.Thepreliminaryinvestigationproperwhetherornotthereisreasonable
ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged is the function of the investigating
prosecutor.26

True,therearecaseswherethecircumstancesmaycallforthejudgespersonalexaminationofthecomplainant
andhiswitnesses.Butitmustbeemphasizedthatsuchpersonalexaminationisnotmandatoryandindispensable
in the determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The necessity arises only when
thereisanutterfailureoftheevidencetoshowtheexistenceofprobablecause.27Otherwise,thejudgemayrely
on the report of the investigating prosecutor, provided that he likewise evaluates the documentary evidence in
supportthereof.

Indeed,whatthelawrequiresaspersonaldeterminationonthepartofthejudgeisthatheshouldnotrelysolely
onthereportoftheinvestigatingprosecutor.InOkabev.Gutierrez,28westressedthatthejudgeshouldconsider
not only the report of the investigating prosecutor but also the affidavit and the documentary evidence of the
parties, the counteraffidavit of the accused and his witnesses, as well as the transcript of stenographic notes
takenduringthepreliminaryinvestigation,ifany,submittedtothecourtbytheinvestigatingprosecutoruponthe
filing of the Information.29 If the report, taken together with the supporting evidence, is sufficient to sustain a
findingofprobablecause,itisnotcompulsorythatapersonalexaminationofthecomplainantandhiswitnesses
beconducted.

Inthiscase,respondentJudgeCarbonelldismissedCriminalCaseNo.6983withouttakingintoconsiderationthe
June 11, 2003 Resolution of 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Georgina Hidalgo, the October 13, 2003
Resolutionofthepanelofprosecutors,andtheJuly1,2005ResolutionoftheDepartmentofJustice,allofwhich
sustain a finding of probable cause against Arzadon. Moreover, he failed to evaluate the evidence in support
thereof. Respondent judges finding of lack of probable cause was premised only on the complainants and her
witnesses absence during the hearing scheduled by the respondent judge for the judicial determination of
probablecause.

PetitionernarratedindetailtheallegedrapeincidentbothinherSinumpaangSalaysay30datedJuly24,2002and
ComplaintAffidavit31datedMarch5,2003.Sheattendedseveralclarificatoryhearingsthatwereconductedinthe
instant case. The transcript of stenographic notes32 of the hearing held on October 11, 2002 shows that she
positively identified Arzadon as her assailant, and the specific time and place of the incident. She also claimed
thatsheboreachildasaresultoftherapeand,insupportofhercontentions,presentedthechildandherbirth
certificate as evidence. In contrast, Arzadon merely relied on the defense of alibi which is the weakest of all
defenses.

After a careful examination of the records, we find that there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause.
The gravamen of rape is the carnal knowledge by the accused of the private complainant under any of the
circumstances provided in Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.33 Petitioner has categorically
statedthatArzadonrapedher,recountingherordealindetailduringthepreliminaryinvestigations.Takenwiththe
other evidence presented before the investigating prosecutors, such is sufficient for purposes of establishing
probable cause. It is wellsettled that a finding of probable cause need not be based on clear and convincing
evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Probable cause is that which engenders a wellfounded belief that a crime
has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. It does not
requirethattheevidencewouldjustifyconviction.34

It is clear therefore that respondent Judge Carbonell gravely abused his discretion in dismissing Criminal Case
No. 6983 for lack of probable cause on the ground that petitioner and her witnesses failed to take the witness
stand.Consideringthereisampleevidenceandsufficientbasisonrecordtosupportafindingofprobablecause,
itwasunnecessaryforhimtotakethefurtherstepofexaminingthepetitionerandherwitnesses.Moreover,he
erred in holding that petitioners absences in the scheduled hearings were indicative of a lack of interest in
prosecutingthecase.Infact,therecordsshowthatshehasrelentlesslypursuedthesame.

Needlesstosay,afullblowntrialistobepreferredtoferretoutthetruth.35Asitwere,theincidentsofthiscase
havebeenpendingforalmostfiveyearswithouthavingevenpassedthepreliminaryinvestigationstage.Suffice
tosaythatthecredibilityofpetitionermaybetestedduringthetrialwheretherespectiveallegationsanddefenses
ofthecomplainantandtheaccusedareproperlyventilated.ItisonlythenthatthetruthastoArzadonsinnocence
orguiltcanbedetermined.

WHEREFORE,thepetitionisGRANTED.TheOrdersoftheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch27,SanFernando,La
UniondatedDecember16,2005,andFebruary3,2006dismissingCriminalCaseNo.6983forlackofprobable
cause are REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Information in the said case is hereby REINSTATED. The
RegionalTrialCourt,Branch25,ManilaisDIRECTEDtotakecognizanceofthecaseandlettherecordsthereof
beREMANDEDtothesaidcourtforfurtherproceedings.

SOORDERED.

CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

MA.ALICIAAUSTRIAMARTINEZ
AssociateJustice

MINITAV.CHICONAZARIO ANTONIOEDUARDOB.NACHURA
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

ATTESTATION

Iattestthattheconclusionsintheabovedecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedto
thewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.

CONSUELOYNARESSANTIAGO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson,ThirdDivision

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairpersons Attestation, it is hereby
certifiedthattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedto
thewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.

LEONARDOA.QUISUMBING
ActingChiefJustice

Footnotes

*PursuanttoSection44ofRepublicActNo.9262(ANACTDEFININGVIOLENCEAGAINSTWOMENAND
THEIR CHILDREN PROVIDING FOR PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR VICTIMS, PRESCRIBING
PENALTIES THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES), All records pertaining to cases of violence
againstwomenandtheirchildrenincludingthoseinthebarangayshallbeconfidentialandallpublicofficers
and employees and public or private clinics or hospitals shall respect the right to privacy of the victim.
Whoever publishes or causes to be published, in any format, the name, address, telephone number,
school, business address, employer, or other identifying information of a victim or an immediate family
member,withoutthelattersconsentshallbeliabletothecontemptpowerofthecourt.

Anypersonwhoviolatesthisprovisionshallsufferthepenaltyofone(1)yearimprisonmentandafineof
notmorethanFiveHundredThousandPesos(P500,000.00).

Section 63, Rule XI of the RULES AND REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9262 also
provides: During the investigation, prosecution and trial of an offense under the Act, law enforcement
officials,prosecution,judges,courtpersonnelandmedicalpractitioners,aswellaspartiestothecase,shall
recognizetherighttoprivacyofthevictimsurvivorofviolence.Lawenforcementofficersandprosecutors
shall conduct closeddoor investigations and shall not allow the media to have access to any information
regardingthevictimsurvivor.Theadultvictim,however,maychoosetogopublicorspeakwiththemedia,
preferablywiththeassistanceofhercounsel.

The barangay officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel shall not disclose the names and
personalcircumstancesofthevictimsurvivorsorcomplainantsoranyotherinformationtendingtoestablish
theiridentitiestothemediaortothepublicorcompromiseheridentity.

Itshallbeunlawfulforanyeditor,publisher,reporterorcolumnistincaseofprintedmaterials,announceror
producer in case of television or radio, director and editor of a film in case of the movie industry, or any
personutilizingtrymediaorinformationtechnologytocausepublicityofthenameofidentityofthevictim
survivororcomplainantwithoutherconsent.Identitiesofchildrenshallnotinanywaybedisclosedtothe
publicwithouttheconformityoftheDSWSofficerofthecityorprovince.

Anypersonwhoviolatesthisprovisionshallsufferthepenaltyofone(1)yearimprisonmentandafineof
notmorethanFiveHundredThousandPesos(P500,000.00).

1Rollo,pp.418.

2Id.at2022.PennedbyJudgeAntonioA.Carbonell.

3Id.at2426.

4Id.at2829.

5Id.at168170.

6Id.at3135.

7Id.at3738.

8Id.at40.

9Id.at4246.

10Id.at149156.

11Id.at7982.

12Id.at85.

13Id.at8790.

14Records,Vol.2,pp.6978.

15Rollo,p.98.

16Id.at12.

17Id.at230234.

18Peoplev.CourtofAppeals,438Phil.215,231(2002)GCPMannyTransportServices,Inc.v.Principe,
G.R.No.141484,November11,2005,474SCRA555,561562.
19Yaredv.Ilarde,391Phil.722,733(2000).

20SeeOuanov.PGTTInternationalInvestmentCorporation,434Phil.28,35(2002).

21Rollo,p.22.

22G.R.Nos.L82585,L82827,andL83979,November14,1988,167SCRA393.

23Id.at398.

24317Phil.758(1995).
25Id.at793.

26Peoplev.Inting,G.R.No.88919,July25,1990,187SCRA788,792793.

27Webbv.DeLeon,supranote24at794.

28G.R.No.150185,May27,2004,429SCRA685.

29Id.at707.

30Records,Vol.1,pp.1316.

31Id.at810.

32Id.at8193.

33Peoplev.Sabardan,G.R.No.132135,May21,2004,429SCRA9,19.

34Sarigumbav.Sandiganbayan,G.R.Nos.15423941,February16,2005,451SCRA533,550.

35Abugotalv.Tiro,160Phil.884,890(1975).

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