By Maria Makiling
The queen of narcopolitics is in jail for being a principal by indispensable participation for drug trafficking. Without her, the massive drug trade during the Aquino administration would not have flourished. She is the #1 drug protector. Not only did she profit from drugs, she made sure that the trade grew.
However, the Liberal Party and her lawyers continue to peddle lies. Among the lies that they peddle is that the court has no jurisdiction. Another is the haste in the issuance of the warrant of arrest.
DDS News asked a litigation expert on matters of jurisdiction and other matters relating to the arrest. Since we are not lawyers, we are printing the legal memorandum verbatim:
DID THE RTC COMMIT GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ISSUING A WARRANT OF ARREST WITHOUT FIRST RESOLVING THE MOTION TO QUASH RAISING THE ISSUE ON JURISDICTION?
Grave abuse of discretion means capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. It must be grave abuse of discretion as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. [Don Orestes Romualdez Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 319 SCRA 255, 259-260 (1999)] Thus, for as long as a court acts with some basis, i.e., not arbitrary, there can be no grave abuse of discretion.
Thus, the FIRST ISSUE to be determined is whether the RTC-Muntinlupa had some basis to preliminary assume jurisdiction over the case and issue a warrant of arrest. It is submitted that the RTC-Muntinlupa had legal basis to preliminary assume jurisdiction despite the pendency of a Motion to Quash questioning its jurisdiction.
The RTC had basis to preliminary assume jurisdiction to issue a warrant of arrest pending consideration of the Motion to Quash:
1.The Information, on its face, charged the accused with violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Under Section 90 of RA 9165, violations of said law shall be heard and tried by special courts designated by the Supreme Court from among the existing RTCs:
“Section 90. Jurisdiction. – The Supreme Court shall designate special courts from among the existing Regional Trial Courts in each judicial region to exclusively try and hear cases involving violations of this Act. The number of courts designated in each judicial region shall be based on the population and the number of cases pending in their respective jurisdiction…”
Thus, on its face, the law vests the RTC with jurisdiction.
2.As a matter of law, a court acquires jurisdiction to try a criminal case only when the following requisites concur: (a) the offense is one which the court is by law authorized to take cognizance of, (b) the offense must have been committed within its territorial jurisdiction, and (c) the person charged with the offense must have been brought in to its forum for trial, forcibly by warrant of arrest or upon his voluntary submission to the court. [Antiporda vs. Garchitorena, G.R. No. 133289 (December 23, 1999)]
In this case, the charge was made under RA 9165. Section 90 thereof above expressly vests the RTC with jurisdiction. There is also no dispute that the allegations show elements of the offense were committed within the territory of Muntinlupa. Thus, the issuance of a warrant after determination of probable cause follows as a matter of course.
3.The doctrine of adherence of jurisdiction, i.e., the principle that once a court has acquired jurisdiction, that jurisdiction continues until the court has done all that it can do in the exercise of that jurisdiction, the RTC had basis to issue the warrant in the meantime until it determines the Motion to Quash.
After all, it is also settled that once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the case, whether as to its dismissal or the conviction or the acquittal of the accused, rests in the sound discretion of the court. [See Mendoza vs. People, G.R. No. 197293 (April 21, 2014)]
4.The allegation that since a public official was made respondent or charged in the Information did not necessarily deprive the RTC of jurisdiction, or put its jurisdiction in doubt as to cause the judge to defer consideration of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant.
In fact, RA 9165 specifically contemplates a situation where public officials are involved in violations of RA 9165 and yet still vested jurisdiction on the RTCs under Section 90 thereof. For example:
“(ee) Protector/Coddler. – Any person who knowingly and willfully consents to the unlawful acts provided for in this Act and uses his/her influence, power or position in shielding, harboring, screening or facilitating the escape of any person he/she knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe on or suspects, has violated the provisions of this Act in order to prevent the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the violator.”
“Section 28. Criminal Liability of Government Officials and Employees. – The maximum penalties of the unlawful acts provided for in this Act shall be imposed, in addition to absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office, if those found guilty of such unlawful acts are government officials and employees.”
The SECOND ISSUE to be determined is whether the RTC-Muntinlupa had some basis to issue the warrant of arrest despite the pendency of a Motion to Quash questioning its jurisdiction. The answer is Yes. The RTC had basis to issue a warrant of arrest pending consideration of the Motion to Quash.
1.It is the procedure under the Rules of Court. Section 6, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court gives the trial court three options upon the filing of the criminal information: (1) dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly failed to establish probable cause; (2) issue a warrant of arrest if it finds probable cause; and (3) order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five days from notice in case of doubt as to the existence of probable cause:
“Section 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. — (a) By the Regional Trial Court. — Within ten (10) days from the filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused has already been arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the preliminary investigation or when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five (5) days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days from the filing of the complaint of information.”
Note, however, that the option to order the prosecutor to present additional evidence is not even mandatory. [See Mendoza vs. People, G.R. No. 197293 (April 21, 2014)]
The rules do not require cases to be set for hearing to determine probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest of the accused before any warrant may be issued. An accused thus cannot, as a matter of right, insist on a hearing for judicial determination of probable cause. An accused cannot determine beforehand how cursory or exhaustive the a judge’s examination of the records should be since t]he extent of the judges examination depends on the exercise of his sound discretion as the circumstances of the case require. [See Leviste vs. Alameda, G.R. No. 182677 (August 3, 2010)]
2.It is the RTC’s duty to issue a warrant of arrest if probable cause is found by the judge. As held in Mendoza vs. People, G.R. No. 197293 (April 21, 2014):
“Although jurisprudence and procedural rules allow it, a judge must always proceed with caution in dismissing cases due to lack of probable cause, considering the preliminary nature of the evidence before it. It is only when he or she finds that the evidence on hand absolutely fails to support a finding of probable cause that he or she can dismiss the case. On the other hand, if a judge finds probable cause, he or she must not hesitate to proceed with arraignment and trial in order that justice may be served.”
Also, as held in Leviste vs. Alameda, G.R. No. 182677 (August 3, 2010), the task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the court is first and foremost to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused:
“To move the court to conduct a judicial determination of probable cause is a mere superfluity, for with or without such motion, the judge is duty-bound to personally evaluate the resolution of the public prosecutor and the supporting evidence. In fact, the task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the court is first and foremost to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.”
3.The period for determination of probable cause and issuance of a warrant of arrest if sustained by the records, is mandatory:
“The periods provided in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are mandatory, and as such, the judge must determine the presence or absence of probable cause within such periods. The Sandiganbayan’s determination of probable cause is made ex parte and is summary in nature, not adversarial. The Judge should not be stymied and distracted from his determination of probable cause by needless motions for determination of probable cause filed by the accused.” [See Leviste vs. Alameda, G.R. No. 182677 (August 3, 2010)]
The Rules of Court does not except the filing of a Motion to Quash to the application of the mandatory periods, or the task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the court to first and foremost determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.
4.The RTC likewise had practical reasons to consider:
First, because only the prosecution’s version and evidence are before the court, the RTC can rely only on such matters. It may not appreciate extraneous matters that are just being raised by the accused since the accused did not file any countervailing evidence during the preliminary investigation.
Second, jurisprudence mandates and empowers the judge to determine if there is necessity for placing the accused under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice:
“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.” [People vs. Andrade, G.R. No. 187000 (November 24, 2014)]
In view of this legal memorandum, we now know that all the Liberal Party and the lawyers of De Lima are pure lies. They are making it appear that De Lima is persecuted when she is not. The LP purveyor of lies are twisting facts and law and are spreading fake news and post truths.
DDS, do not believe the LP propaganda machinery. De Lima is not a politic prisoner. She is a prisoner, period. And she was arrested based on law. Therefore, she has to be treated like any other prisoner. Period.