Does a warrant of arrest expire?
A warrant of arrest is issued by a competent authority directing the arrest of a person so that he/she may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. Under Rule 112 of The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, a warrant of arrest is issued as follows:
“Section 5. When warrant of arrest may issue. — (a) By the Regional Trial Court. — Within 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 6 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 days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within 30 days from the filing of the complaint or information.
(b) By the Municipal Trial Court. When required pursuant to the second paragraph of section 1 of this Rule, the preliminary investigation of cases falling under the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court may be conducted by the prosecutor. The procedure for the issuance of a warrant of arrest by the judge shall be governed by paragraph (a) of this section. (As amended by A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC.)”
Basically, a warrant of arrest shall be executed by the arresting officer within 10 days from receipt thereof. Likewise, within 10 days after the expiration of the said period, the officer shall make a report to the judge who issued the warrant and state the reason therein, in case he/she failed to arrest the accused (Sec 4, Rule 113, The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure).
Insofar as the validity of the warrant of arrest is concerned, the same is valid until served or recalled. This was enunciated by the Supreme Court in the case of People of the Philippines vs. Cesar Givera (G.R. No. 132159, January 18, 2001), as follows:
“Fourth. Accused-appellant claims that his arrest at the East Avenue Medical Center on May 4, 1996 was made without a warrant. This is not true. He was arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by the court on April 27, 1995. However, as the records show, the warrant of arrest was returned unserved by the arresting officer on June 7, 1995 as accused-appellant could not be found. He was finally found only on May 4, 1996. Now, no alias warrant of arrest is needed to make the arrest. Unless specifically provided in the warrant, the same remains enforceable until it is executed, recalled or quashed. The ten-day period provided in Rule 113, 4 is only a directive to the officer executing the warrant to make a return to the court.”
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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