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NOTABLE FEATURES OF THE REVISED RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE By: Justice Jose Y. Feria (Ret.

) Vice-Chairman, Rules of Court Revision Committee I. Preliminary investigation is now required for all offenses punishable by at least four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day without regard to the fine. (Sec. 1(a) of Rule 110 and Sec. 1 of Rule 112) Under the 1940, 1964 and 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, only offenses cognizable by the Court of First Instance or Regional Trial Court were subject to preliminary investigation. However, the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts was increased from the original penalty of not exceeding six (6) months imprisonment and/or P200 fine, to not exceeding four (4) years and two (2) months and/or a fine of P4,000 in BP 129, and further increased to not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the fine in RA 7691. Hence, although originally only minor offenses were not subject to preliminary investigation (People vs. Abejuela, 38 SCRA 324), by increasing the jurisdiction of the Municipal Courts, more serious offenses were also not made subject to preliminary investigation. The original proposal of the Revision of Rules Committee was to subject all offenses punishable by imprisonment of more than one (1) year and/or a fine of more than P2,000 to a preliminary investigation. The preliminary investigation of offenses cognizable by the Municipal Trial Courts may be conducted by the Municipal Judge or the prosecutor. (Sec. 6(b) of Rule 112) II. (a) The crime of rape is excluded from the private crimes which require the filing of a complaint by the offended party or her parents, grandparents or guardian. (Sec. 5 of Rule 110, 3rd paragraph) The reason is that under Sec. 2 of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 (RA 8353) the crime of rape is now classified as a crime against person under Title Eight of the Revised Penal Code. Article 335 (as well as Article 344) of the Revised Penal Code are deemed amended accordingly. (b) The complaint or information must aggravating circumstances. (Secs. 8 and 9 Rule 110) allege qualifying and

According to old rulings, aggravating circumstances proven though not alleged may be taken into account as such, but qualifying circumstances not alleged but proven are considered merely as aggravating. (People vs. Perez, 106 SCRA 436; People vs. Ramos, 296 SCRA 559)

III. The right of the prosecution to make substantial amendments without leave of court before the accused pleads has been limited. If the amendment lessens the gravity of the offense charged or excludes any accused from the complaint or information, leave of court is necessary upon motion of the prosecutor with notice to the offended party. (Sec. 14 of Rule 110, 2nd paragraph) The purpose of the amendment is to preclude possible abuse on the part of the public prosecutor. The order resolving the motion may be the subject of certiorari under Rule 65 or appeal under Rule 122. (Crespo vs. Mogul, 151 SCRA 462; Ledesma vs. Court of Appeals, 278 SCRA 656 and other cases) IV. (a) Only the civil liability arising from the offense charged is deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes it prior to the criminal action. The civil actions for damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code are no longer included and may be brought separately by the offended party. They shall proceed independently of the criminal action and require only a preponderance of evidence. (Secs. 1 and 3 of Rule 111) the rulings in Maniago vs. CA, 253 SCRA 674, and San Ildefonso Lines, Inc. vs. CA, 289 SCRA 568, are no loner applicable. (b) No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal case, but such claim may be litigated in a separate action (sec. 1 of Rule 111) The rulings in Shafer vs. Judge, 167 SCRA 386 and Javier vs. IAC, 171 SCRA 605, are no longer applicable. Consequently, even if a counterclaim or cross-claim of the accused arises out of or is connected with the transaction or occurrence which is the subject matter of the offended partys claim, it is not compulsory. V. The second case when an arrest may be made lawfully without a warrant has been liberalized as follows: When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it. (Sec. 5[b] of Rule 113; see People vs. Doria, 301 SCRA 668) Formerly, x x x he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it. VI. (a) Bail is a matter of right (a) before or after conviction by the Municipal Trial Court and (b) before conviction by the Regional trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. After 2

conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, bail is a matter or discretion. (Secs. 4 and 5 of Rule 114) This amendment of the1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure was originally made in Supreme Court Circular No. 12-94 and substantially re-adopts the rule in the 1940 and 1964 Rules on Criminal Procedure. (b) An application for or admission to bail is not a bar to objections on illegal arrest or lack of preliminary investigation, provided such objections are raised before plea. (Sec. 26 of Rule 115) VII. (a) Pertinent provisions on arraignment and plea, pre-trial and trial in the Speedy Trial Act of 1998 and the implementing SC Circular 38-98 were incorporated. (Rules 116, 118, 119) (b) Pre-trial is now mandatory in criminal cases. (Sec. 1, Rule 118)

(c) Plea of guilty to a lesser offense must be, as it was in the old Rule, to an offense which is necessary included in the offense charged. This may be allowed at the arraignment with the consent of the offended party and the prosecutor. It may also be allowed after arraignment but before trial after withdrawal of the plea of not guilty. (Sec. 2 of Rule 116) VIII. (a) The requisites of double jeopardy as a ground in a motion to quash were clarified by deleting the phrase or in jeopardy of being convicted in Sec. 3(1) of Rule 117 and inserting the phrase or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent as provided in Sec. 7 of said Rule. Consequently, unlike the pendency of another action between the same parties for the same cause, which is a ground in a motion to dismiss, the pendency of another charge for the same offense is not a ground in a motion to quash. (b) as follows: The second exception to the Rule on Double Jeopardy was clarified

The facts constituting the graver charged became known or were discovered only after a plea was entered in the former complaint or information. (Sec. 7(b) of Rule 117) formerly x x x after the filing of the former complaint or information. The amendment remedies the anomalous situation in People vs. City of Manila, 121 SCRA 637. IX. 3

The following amendments were made on demurrer to evidence (a) The motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be filed within a nonextendible period or five (5) days after prosecution rests its case. (b) If leave of court is granted, the accused shall file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice. The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a similar period. (c) The order of denial of the demurrer to evidence is not reviewable by appeal or certiorari before judgment. (Sec. 23 of Rule 119; Cruz vs. People, 303 SCRA 533 and other cases) X. The effect of the failure of the accused to appear despite notice at the promulgation or reading of a judgment of conviction, is loss of the remedies available under these Rules and his arrest. If the accused surrenders within fifteen days from promulgation of judgment, files a motion for leave of court to avail of these remedies and justifies his failure to appear, he shall be allowed to move for new trial or reconsideration or appeal within fifteen (15) days from notice. (Sec. 6 of Rule 120) Formerly, the accused had the right to appeal within fifteen (15) days from notice of the decision to him or his counsel even if his failure to appear was without justifiable cause. XI. The proposal pf Philippine Judicial Academy which was endorsed by the Revision of Rules Committee, for appeal first to the Court of Appeals instead of the Supreme Court in cases where the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, was originally not approved by the Supreme Court. However, in the decision of the Supreme Court en banc promulgated on July 7, 2004, G.R. No. 147678-87, the above criminal cases are now appealable to the Court of Appeals and the pertinent provision sin the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure are to be deemed modified accordingly. XII. The Rule on search warrants was clarified on the basis of Malaloan vs. CA (232 SCRA 249) and related decision, as follows: (a) Court where application for search warrant shall be filed (a) (b) Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed. For compelling reasons, any court within the judicial region where the crime was committed if the place of 4

(c)

the commission is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced. If the criminal action has already been filed, in the court where it is pending. (Sec. 2 of Rule 126)

(b) Court where motion to quash search warrant or to suppress evidence ma be filed (a) (b) (c) Court where the action has been filed. If no action has been filed, the court that issued the search warrant. If such court failed to resolve the motion and a criminal case is subsequently filed in another court, the latter court shall; resolve the motion. (Sec. 14 of Rule 126)