Preliminary Investigation: Rules Of Criminal Procedure

Investigation must be conducted to determine if there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed. Once preliminary investigation has been conducted, the prosecutor will determine if there is indeed a probable cause, which refers to the existence of circumstances and facts as would excite the belief. 

A preliminary investigation will be required in warrantless arrests cases. A person who is lawfully arrested without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the complaint or information may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an inquest has been conducted in accordance with existing rules.  


Section  1.  Preliminary  investigation  defined;  when  required.  – Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether  there  is sufficient  ground  to  engender  a  well-founded belief  that  a  crime  has  been  committed  and  the  respondent  is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. 

Except  as  provided  in  Section  7  of  this  Rule,  a  preliminary investigation  is  required  to  be  conducted  before  the  filing  of  a compliant   or   information   for   an   offense   where   the   penalty prescribed  by  law  is  at  least  four  (4)  years,  two  (2)  months  and one (1) day without regard to the fine.  

Procedure in Conducting Preliminary Investigation

The   preliminary   investigation   shall   be conducted in the following manner:

(a)  The  complaint  shall  state  the  address  of  the  respondent  and shall be accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses,  as  well  as  other  supporting  documents  to  establish probable cause. They shall be in such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two (2) copies for the official file. The affidavits shall   be   subscribed   and   sworn   to   before   any   prosecutor   or government  official  authorized  to  administer  oath,  or,  in  their absence  or  unavailability,  before  a  notary  public,  each  of  whom must certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he is satisfied  that  they  voluntarily  executed  and  understood  their affidavits. 

(b)  Within  ten  (10)  days  after  the  filing  of  the  complaint,  the investigating officer 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. 

The  respondent  shall  have  the  right  to  examine  the  evidence submitted  by  the  complainant  which  he  may  not  have  been furnished  and  to copy  them  at  his  expense.  If  the  evidence  is voluminous,  the  complainant  may  be  required  to  specify  those which  he  intends  to  present against  the  respondent,  and  these shall   be   made   available   for   examination  or   copying   by   the respondent at his expense.

Objects  as  evidence  need  not  be  furnished  a  party  but  shall  be made  available  for  examination,  copying,  or  photographing  at  the expense of the requesting party. 

(c)  Within  ten  (10)  days  from  receipt  of  the  subpoena  with  the complaint and supporting affidavits and documents, the respondent shall  submit  his  counter-affidavit  and  that of  his  witnesses  and other  supporting  documents  relied  upon  for  his  defense.  The counter-affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to and certified as provided  in  paragraph  (a)  of  this  section,  with  copies  thereof furnished by him  to the complainant.  The respondent shall not be allowed to file a motion to dismiss in lieu of a counter-affidavit. 

(d)  If  the  respondent  cannot  be  subpoenaed,  or  if  subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day period, the  investigating  office  shall  resolve  the  complaint  based  on  the evidence presented by the complainant. 

(e)  The  investigating  officer  may  set  a  hearing  if  there  are  facts and issues to be clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be  present  at  the  hearing  but  without  the  right  to  examine  or cross-examine.  They  may,  however,  submit  to  the  investigating officer  questions  which  may  be  asked  to  the  party  or  witness concerned. 

The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days from submission of the counter-affidavits and other documents or from the expiration of the period for their submission. It shall be terminated within five (5) days. 

(f)  Within  ten  (10)  days  after  the  investigation,  the  investigating officer shall determine whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial. 

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Written by : Pinoy Attorney