Case Digest: Rule 117 – Los Baños vs. Pedro (G.R. No. 173588, April 22, 2009)

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

Topic: Rule 117

Case Digest: Los Baños vs. Pedro (G.R. No. 173588, April 22, 2009)

FACTS:

Joel Pedro was charged in court for carrying a loaded firearm at a checkpoint in Boac, Marinduque without authorization from the COMELEC, a day before the national and local elections. Pedro filed a Motion for Preliminary Investigation, which the RTC granted. The preliminary investigation, however, did not materialize. Pedro then filed with the RTC a Motion to Quash, arguing that the Information contains facts that do not constitute an offense. Pedro attached to his motion a Comelec Certification stating that he was “exempted” from the gun ban. The RTC granted the motion to quash.

The petitioner alleged that the certificate was falsified and that the prosecution was denied of due process when the judge quashed the information without hearing. The RTC reopened the case for further proceedings in which Pedro objected to citing Rule 117, Sec. 8 on provisional dismissal, arguing that the dismissal had become permanent. The RTC, thus, set Pedro’s arraignment date.

Pedro filed with the CA a petition for certiorari and prohibition to nullify the RTC’s mandated reopening.

The CA, at first granted the reopening of the case but through Pedro’s Motion for Reconsideration, his argument that a year has passed by from the receipt of the quashal order, the CA’s decision was reversed.

Los Baños prays in his petition that the case be remanded to the RTC for arraignment and trial, or that a new charge sheet be filed against Pedro, or that the old information be re-filed with the RTC.

ISSUE:

Whether the rule on provision dismissal (Sec. 8, Rule 117) is applicable.

RULING:

No. The SC granted the petition and remanded the case to the RTC.

The SC differentiated Motion to Quash and Provisional Dismissal. Primarily, they are two separate concepts. In Motion to Quash, the Information itself has deficiency while in Provisional Dismissal, the Information has no deficiencies. It does not follow that a motion to quash results in a provisional dismissal to which Section 8, Rule 117 applies.

In this case, the SC finds that the RTC erred in its initial ruling that a quashal of the Information was in order. Pedro also misappreciated the true nature, functionality, and utility of a motion to quash and provisional dismissal. As a consequence, a valid Information still stands, on the basis of which Pedro should now be arraigned and stand trial.