Written authorization required in filing complaint or information

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I was charged before the City Prosecutor of Makati City (Metro Manila) for violation of Republic Act 7610. The resolution to file against me was without question duly approved by the Senior Assistant City Prosecutor. I, however, observed that the Information filed in court regarding my case was only signed by the Assistant City Prosecutor. May I challenge the resolution and move for the quashal of the Information?
Nora

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Dear Nora,
Yes. Clearly stated in the very recent case of Girlie M. Quisay v. People of the Philippines (G.R. No. 216920; ponente: Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe), decided by the Supreme Court on January 13, 2016, are the following:

Section 4, Rule 112 of the 2000 Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure states that the filing of a complaint or information requires a prior written authority or approval of the named officers therein before a complaint or information may be filed before the courts, viz.:

SECTION 4. Resolution of investigating prosecutor and its review.—If the investigating prosecutor finds cause to hold the respondent for trial, he shall prepare the resolution and information. He shall 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 that 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. Otherwise, he shall recommend the dismissal of the complaint.

Within five (5) days from his resolution, he shall forward the record of the case to the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, or to the Ombudsman or his deputy in cases of offenses recognized by the Sandiganbayan in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. They shall act on the resolution within ten (10) days from their receipt thereof and shall immediately inform the parties of such action.

No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating prosecutor without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy. x x x x (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

Thus, as a general rule, complaints or informations filed before the courts without the prior written authority or approval of the foregoing authorized officers renders the same defective and, therefore, subject to quashal pursuant to Section 3 (d), Rule 117 of the same Rules, to wit:

SECTION 3. Grounds.—The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any of the following grounds:
xxx xxx xxx

(d)That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so; x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

In the mentioned case, there was an allegation that a written authority was given to the Assistant City Prosecutor in the filing of the Information but records reveal that there was no such attachment. Hence by reason of the foregoing provisions of law, the Information against Girlie Quisay was properly quashed. The same may also apply in your situation provided that no written authority was given to the Assistant City Prosecutor by his senior that is attached in the information filed against you.

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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