Criminal, administrative cases independent of each other

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My father is a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP). He was involved in a shooting incident with our neighbor sometime in 2014, when he and our neighbor had an altercation. My father was charged with frustrated homicide but the case was dismissed in February 2016 for insufficiency of evidence. He was also administratively charged for gross misconduct and removed by the PNP in 2015.

Suppose my father will present the court’s decision dismissing the case filed against him, will he be reinstated as a policeman?
Nanding

Dear Nanding,
The criminal case filed against your father is independent of the administrative case filed against him. A government employee like him who has committed a crime may face criminal, administrative and even civil cases arising from the act or omission and these cases can proceed independently of each other.

Since your father is a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the administrative case that was filed against him is governed by Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2016-002 or the Revised Rules of Procedure Before the Administrative Disciplinary Authorities and the Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine National Police. The previous rules governing administrative cases filed against PNP members is Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2007-001. The prevailing rule now is Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2016-002. Substantial evidence is necessary to penalize PNP members who commit any transgression of PNP policies. Under Section 1 (z) (cc) of Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2016-002, substantial evidence is defined as such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.

Even if the criminal case filed against your father was dismissed by the court, the latter’s decision cannot be made as a basis for his reinstatement in the police service. The quantum of evidence necessary to convict the accused in criminal cases is proof beyond reasonable doubt, whereas, only substantial evidence is necessary in administrative cases. This finds support in the case of Hernandez et al. vs. Ombudsman (G.R. No. 197307, February 26, 2014), where Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. said:

“Petitioner Aguilar’s acquittal in Crim. Case No. 08–263022 of the Manila RTC [Regional Trial Court] on the ground of insufficiency of evidence would not carry the day for her. The dismissal of the criminal aspect of the complaint filed against Aguilar has hardly any bearing on the administrative case mainly because the quantum of evidence required to support a finding of guilt in a criminal case is proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Administrative cases are, as a rule, separate and independent from criminal suits and are governed by differing evidentiary criteria. The acquittal of an accused who is also a respondent in an administrative case does not conclude the administrative proceedings, nor carry with it relief from administrative liability. This is because unlike in criminal cases where the threshold quantum of evidence required is proof beyond reasonable doubt, only substantial evidence is necessary in administrative cases.”

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.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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