Got [Probable] Cause?

(This entry was posted by Judge Don Navarro at his site (“Got Cause?”) and reproduced here with his express permission.)
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One motion quickly gaining favour among lawyers after the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure came into effect is the “Motion for Determination of Probable Cause” to hold the accused for trial.

The 2000 Rules made it clear that every person is entitled to a determination by a JUDGE that there exists cause to charge him with a crime before giving due course to any information (the document that charges the accused with a crime). Previously, judges relied largely on the determination of probable cause by the Public Prosecutor (District Attorney to those of you from the United States of A) even though the Philippine Supreme Court had already expressly declared the right to be of a constitutional nature.

Believing that this imposed an additional burden on the poor, overworked and underpaid judges, I took up my beef with former Court Administrator (later Commission on Elections Chairman and subsequently Solicitor General) Alfredo Benipayo who patiently explained that the right could not be denied any accused under the constitution.

Well, once the word “constitutional” is mentioned, any further argument is negated, so I shut up and went to work determining probable cause in every information that came my way.

The determination of probable cause must be made by the Judge before he issues a warrant of arrest (based on the records transmitted to the Court from the prosecutor) or any other process that might bring the accused into the custody of the Court. If the Judge is not satisfied with the prosecutor’s findings, he may either require the prosecutor to submit additional evidence or dismiss the case outright. This, even before a warrant is issued.

This is why I take issue with the “Motion for Determination of Probable Cause”.

Since a judge already has the burden of making the determination BEFORE he issues the Warrant of Arrest, the Motion has a dubious place in procedure. The issuance of the warrant carries with it the presumption that the judge had already made a determination that probable cause exists to bring the accused to trial. Giving due course to such a motion would be an express admission that the judge had been negligent in performing his duties and open him up to administrative sanction.

Of course, this should not stop lawyers from filing such a motion should the record of the prosecutor (the record of preliminary investigation) be so wanting in (competent) evidence to establish probable cause. In such cases, though, the judge may once again be open to sanction. This, however, should be the exception, rather than the rule.

5 thoughts on “Got [Probable] Cause?

  1. Pingback: Philippine e-Legal Forum » Blog Archive » Theory of Relativity

  2. Olet

    Paano po gagawin ko? Ako po ay nagissue ng post dated cheques sa pinagkakautangan ng anak ko ng siya ay umalis. Nakapagbayad po ako ng 3 beses ayon sa aming usapan ngunit nahinto po ako ng pagbabayad ng nabankrupt ng tuluyan ang negosyong iniwan ng aking anak. Nagharap po kaming muli sa barangaya at pumirma ng kasunduan. Sinikap ko pong makabayad ngunit dahil sa wala talaga akong makuha pambayad nahinto po at kunuha na ng certificate to file action ang aking pinagkakautangan taon 2012 at ngayon po march 2016 ay nagpunta ang kaniyang ama sa aming tahanan at sinisingil ako. Wala pa po ako pera para mabayaran sya. Ano po natarapat kong gawin?

    Reply
    1. Viele

      I one of the accused of estafa through falsification, my part here was one witness to there second agreement of the borrower to the agent tha the borrower who passed away the money. And i already paid my bail bond. What will i do Is there a motion to be made if i dont like to be arraigned.

      Reply
      1. Elvie

        I one of the accused of estafa through falsification, my part here was one witness to there second agreement of the borrower to the agent tha the borrower who passed away the money. And i already paid my bail bond. What will i do Is there a motion to be made if i dont like to be arraigned.

        Reply
  3. donato

    ako po ay nakasuhan sa sorsogon illegal gambling pero hindi ko naman po ginagawa hindi po ako taga roon,napadaan lang po kami para bumili ng pag kain kasi galing po kami sa pagbisita sa lupa ng nanay ko,nangyari na po ang raid at ako ay nadampot.ng nasa police station na po ako ilang oras ang lumipas pina uwi na po ako ..sa spot report po ay ARRESTED ako…sa e rogues ay ON BAIL ako tas ng i file ang kaso ay AT LARGE ako so regular filing..tas ngayon eh may warrant na,eh wala man lang kahit ano na dumating sakin na noticed..taga quezon province po ako…ako po ay gulong gulo sana po ay masagot ang mga tanong ko bakit po ganito ang nangyari sakin..WALA MAN LANG AKO INFORMATION NA NATANGGAP…

    Reply

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