3. Preliminary Investigation and Inquest - Coggle Diagram
3. Preliminary Investigation and Inquest
A. Nature of Right
It is an inquiry or proceeding to determine W/N there is sufficient ground to believe that:
a. A crime has been committed
b. The respondent is guilty of it
c. He should be held for trial.
The right to a preliminary investigation is a substantive right and a component of due process in the administration of criminal justice.
In the context of a preliminary investigation, the right to due process entails the opportunity to be heard.
Not a Constitutional Right
The right to a preliminary investigation is not required by the Constitution.
It is statutory and may be invoked only when specifically created by a statute.
However, it is still a component of due process in criminal justice.
It is called preliminary because it is yet to be followed by the trial proper.
Being preliminary, it is not for the full and exhaustive display of the prosecution's evidence.
Not a Trial
A preliminary investigation is a mere inquiry or proceeding.
It is not a trial. Thus, it does not involve the examination of witnesses.
Question to be Answered
"Is the respondent
and therefore, should go to trial?
What is Determined
In a preliminary investigation, the prosecutor merely determines the existence of probable cause, and to file the information if there is.
The prosecutor does not decide whether there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt of the guilty of respondent.
Probable cause refers to the existence of facts and circumstances that would lead a person to believe that the person charged was guilty of teh crime for which he was prosecuted
Need not be based on Evidence
Probable cause need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilty.
Probable cause implies probability of guilt and requires more than bare suspicion.
It does not refer to evidence that would justfy a conviction.
Hearsay evidence is admissible in determining probable cause in a preliminary investigation because such investigation is preliminary.
(Estrada v. Ombudsman)
Addmissibility of Evidence not Determined
The admissibility of evidence and the credibility of witnesses are not resolved in a preliminary investigation where the technical rules of evidence are not applied nor at the stage of the determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrant of arrest.
Thus, they are matters best resolved in a full-blown trial.
(De Lima v. Guerrero)
The right to a preliminary investigation may be waived due to failure to invoke the right before or at the time of the plea.
B. Purposes of Preliminary Investigation
(a) To inquire about the commission of a crime and its connection to the accused (so that he may be informed of the nature of the crime charged against him) and that, if there is probable cause believing him guilty, the State shall take the necessary steps to bring him to trial
(b) To preserve the evidence and keep the witnesses within the control of the State
(c) To determine the amount of bail (if bailable)
(d) To free the respondent from the inconvenience of a trial until there is a finding of probable cause of his guilt
C. Who may conduct determination of existence of Probable Cause
The conduct of preliminary investigation is a function that belongs to the public prosecutor.
The determination of probable cause is an executive function.
Courts cannot Interfere
Courts cannot reverse the findings of probable cause of the Secretary of Justice.
Except in clear cases of grave abuse of discretion.
Preliminary Investigation vs. Preliminary Examination
- Determination of probable cause by the executive department
- Determination of probable cause by judicial department
Determination by a public prosecutor of W/N there is probable cause to charge the accused of a crime and thus, should be held for trial.
Determination by a judge of W/N there is probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest against the accused.
The following are authorized to conduct a preliminary investigation:
(a) Provincial or City Prosecutors and their assistants
(b) National and Regional State Prosecutors
(c) Other officers as may be atuhorized by law
Other Instances where Probable Cause needs to be Established
(a) By the
- A preliminary investigation is required before the filing of a complaint for 421 offenses
(b) By the
- To determine W/N a
warrant of arrest
should be issued in order not to frustrate the ends of justice
(c) By a
Peace Officer or Private Person during Warrantless Arrest
- To determine W/N he had probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a crime
(d) By the
- To determine W/N a
should be issued
Other Persons Authorized to conduct Preliminary Investigation
(a) COMELEC - For election offenses
(b) Ombudsman - For any illegal acts or omissions by public officers or employees
(c) PCGG - For cases investigated by it
D. Resolution of Investigating Prosecutor
F. When Warrant of Arrest may Issue
G. Cases not requiring a Preliminary Investigation
When Not Required
(a) Preliminary investigation is not required for offenses punishable by less than 421.
(b) Warrantless Arrests
Procedure for (a)
(a) First, by filing the complaint directly with the prosecutor
(b) Second, by filing the complaint or information with MTC
Direct filing with Prosecutor
If the complaint is filed with the prosecutor, the prosecutor shall act on the complaint based on the affidavits and other supporting documents within 10 days from its filing.
The respondent need not be issued a subpoena or required to submit counter-affidavits.
Direct filing with MTC
If the complaint is filed directly with MTC, the judge need not issue a subpoena to the respondent.
If within 10 days from the filing of complaint the judge finds no probable cause, it shall be dismissed.
Motion for Reinvestigation is Prohibited
When a preliminary investigation is not required, a motion for reinvestigation is a prohibited motion.
Procedure for (b)
In warrantless arrests, an information or complaint may be filed against the person arrested without need of preliminary investigation.
Instead, the person arrested shall be required to undergo an inquest.
An inquest is required before a complaint or information may be filed against the person arrested.
H. Remedies for Accused if there was no Preliminary Investigation
Questioning the absence of a Preliminary Investigation
The accused may question the absence of a preliminary investigation before he enters his plea.
Application for Bail not a Bar
An application or admission for bail does not bar the accused from raising the question.
Failure to Invoke = Waiver
Failure to invoke the right before entering a plea will amount to a waiver.
After a plea of not guilty is made, an accused is deemed to have forgone the right to raise the absence of a preliminary investigation.
Does not affect Court's Jurisdiction
The absence of preliminary investigation does not affect the court's jurisdiction over the case nor does it impair the validity of the information.
Not a Ground for Motion to Quash
The absence of a preliminary investigation is not a ground for the quashal of a complaint or information.
Instead, the court should remand the case to the prosecutor so that the investigation may be conducted.