Fiscal needs to review complaint before respondent can be sued

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I filed a case for attempted homicide before the Office of the Prosecutor. I submitted my salaysay (affidavit), which I made to our police station, along with a medical certificate. The respondent in the case never showed up during scheduled hearings and did not submit a counter-affidavit. The fiscal said he has to review first the complaint before deciding. Is there a need for the review even if the respondent has not submitted anything? Is there a possibility that the case will be dismissed?

Dear Antonio,
It is still necessary for the investigating prosecutor to review your complaint for attempted homicide before arriving at a resolution even if, as you have stated, the respondent did not show up during the scheduled hearings and did not submit his counter-affidavit.

After the filing of the complaint, the investigating prosecutor shall either dismiss it if he finds no ground to continue with the investigation or issue a subpoena to the respondent attaching to it a copy of the complaint and its supporting affidavits and documents (Section 3, Rule 112, Rules of Court). His failure to attend the hearings and submit his counter-affidavit may be considered as a waiver of his right thereto.

The investigating prosecutor shall then determine whether there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial. If he finds cause to do so, he shall prepare the resolution and information. He shall then certify under oath in the information that he, or as shown by the record, an authorized officer, has personally examined the complainant and his witnesses; that there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof, that the accused was informed of the complaint and of the evidence submitted against him; and that he was given an opportunity to submit controverting evidence. If the prosecution finds otherwise, he shall recommend the dismissal of the complaint (Sections 3 and 4, Rule 112, Rules of Court).

Based on the foregoing, the investigating prosecutor who is in charge of your complaint needs to review, first, your salaysay and the evidence that you have submitted in support thereof to determine if there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial. In the course of the review, there is a possibility that the investigating prosecutor will dismiss the complaint if he finds no sufficient ground to form a well-founded belief that attempted homicide was committed against you by the respondent and that the latter should be held for trial.

We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated or elaborated.

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


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