CA-G.R. SP No. 127553


J. Diamante

Supreme Court in the case of Salonga vs. Hon. Paño, et al. instructs, thus:

                “The purpose of preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of crime, from the trouble, expenses and anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the state from useless and expensive trials. The right to a preliminary investigation is a salutatory grant, and to withhold it would be to transgress constitutional due process. However, in order to satisfy the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that the transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the purpose of the State.  More important, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be, to relieved the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such as finding should not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter to the dictates of reason. The judge of fiscal, therefore should not go on with prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for this would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so.” (Emphasis Supplied). (Citations Omitted).


                Meanwhile, the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the OSG on September 18, 2013 is merely NOTED in the view of the previous resolution issued by this Court denying its motion of extension of time within which to file a Memorandum.

                WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions dated May 22. 2012 and August 22, 2012 are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE for the issuance thereof was attended with grave abuse of discretion on the part of public respondent Hon. Ma. Amifaith S. Fider-Reyes, in her capacity as the Presiding judge of San Fernando, Pampanga RTC - Branch 42. Consequently the warrant of arrest issued against petitioner Delfin S. Lee is hereby QUASHED, RECALLED AND LIFTED. Afore-named public respondent judge is directed to CEASE and DESIST from future proceedingwith Criminal Case No. 18480 insofar as petitioner Delfin S. Lee is concerned.


                Furthermore, all government agencies tasked in the enforcement of the said warrant of arrest including but not limited to the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Bureau of Immigration (BI) are immediately ENJOINED from implementing the same.

                SO ORDERED.


Associate Justice


                WE CONCUR:


AGNES REYES- CAPRIO                                                                                                                                  MELCHOR Q.C SADANG                               

Associate Justice                                                                                                                                             Associate Justice



Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above decision were reached in consultation before the case to the writer of the opinion of the court.


Associate Justice

Acting Chairperson

Special Fifteenth Division


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