Thursday, March 22, 2012

Villaflor vs. Vivar


Facts: An information for slight physical injuries was filed agaist Dindo Vivar for beating Gian Paulo Vivar outside the Fat Tueasday Bar. On his way out, Gian met Dindo who told that next time, I will use my gun on you. The injuries sustained by Gian turned out to be more serious than they had appeared so an Information for serious physical injuries was filed and the charge for slight physical injuries was withdrawn. Another Information for grave threats was filed against Vivar. Vivar, instead of filing a counter affidavit, he filed a Motion to Quash the Information for grave threats since it was made in connection with the charge of serious physical injuries should have been absorbed by the latter, and because the court did not acquire jurisdiction over it. MTC denied the motion to quash. Vivar filed for a motion for reconsideration which was again denied. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Vivar filed a petition for certiorari in the RTC  RTC granted the motion to quash and denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Villaflor. Villaflor filed a petiton for certiorari with the Supreme Court.

Issues:
(1) Can the court motu proprio order the dismissal of the case on the ground of lack of preliminary investigation?

(2) Should the failure of the public prosecutor to conduct preliminary investigation be considered a ground to quash the informations?

Held:

(1) The Court ruled that the absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the validity of the information. In the case a bar, a preliminary investigation was for slight physical injuries was conducted by the assistant city prosecutor. But the Information was however amended when petitioner’s injuries turned out to be more serious. However the change in the information was only a formal amendment and did not violate the right of Vivar against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, since it still involves the same facts.

(2) Section 3, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides the grounds on which an accused can move to quash the complaint or information. Nowhere in the rule mention of a lack of preliminary investigation as a ground for a motion to quash. When accused failed to assert any ground for a motion to quash before arraignment, he has deemed waived his right. 

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