G.R. No. 183551 November 12, 2014
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
ENGR. RODOLFO YECYEC, ROGELIO BINAS, ISIDRO VICTA, IRENEO VINA, RUDY GO, JUANITO TUQUIB, ROMEO BUSTILLO, FELIX OBALLAS, CASTEO ESCLAMADO, RICARDO LUMACTUD, LEOPOLDO PELIGRO, PATERNO NANOLAN, CARLITO SOLATORIO, MEDARDO ABATON, FEDIL RABANES, FELIX HINGKING, BENJAMIN TOTO, EUFROCINO YBANEZ, FELOMINO OBSIOMA, LORETO PEROCHO, MARANIE UNGON, NOYNOY ANGCORAN, ROLANDO YUZON, NESTOR CHAVEZ, LEONARDO PREJAN, PRIMO LIBOT, NEMESIO ABELLA, IRENEO LICUT, PROCESO GOLDE, EPIFANIO LABRADOR, and BRANCH 11, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT (Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon), Respondents.
“x x x.
In this case, there is no question that the Information filed against the respondents was sufficient to hold them liable for the crime of Theft because it was compliant with Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court.30 Moreover, a review of the resolutions of the MCTC, the Provincial Prosecutor, the RTC, and the CA shows that there is substantial basis to support finding of probable cause against the respondents, albeit with the RTC and the CA having varying opinions as to the application and interpretation of such basis. Hence, as the Information was valid on its face and there was no manifest error or arbitrariness on the part of the MCTC and the Provincial Prosecutor, the RTC and the CA erred when they overturned the finding of probable cause against the respondents.
It was clearly premature on the part of the RTC and the CA to make a determinative finding prior to the parties' presentation of their respective evidence that the respondents lacked the intent to gain and acted in good faith considering that they merely sought to recover the rubber cup lumps that they believed to be theirs. It has long been settled that the presence or absence of the elements of the crime is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of defense that may be best passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits.31
In all, by granting this petition, the Court is not prejudging the criminal case or the guilt or innocence of the respondents. The Court is simply saying that, as a general rule, if the information is valid on its face and there is no showing of manifest error, grave abuse of discretion or prejudice on the part of the public prosecutor, the court should not dismiss it for lack of "probable cause," because evidentiary matters should first be presented and heard during the trial. The functions and duties of both the trial court and the public prosecutor in "the proper scheme of things" in our criminal justice system should be clearly understood.32
X x x.”