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G.R.No.166414

October22,2014

GODOFREDOENRILEANDDR.FREDERICKENRILE,Petitioners, vs. HON.DANILOA.MANALASTAS(ASPRESIDINGJUDGE,REGIONALTRIALCOURTOFMALOLOS BULACAN,BR.VII),HON.ERANIOG.CEDILLO,SR.,(ASPRESIDINGJUDGE,MUNICIPALTRIALCOURT

OFMEYCAUAYAN,BULACAN,BR.1)ANDPEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,Respondents.

BERSAMIN,J.:

DECISION

Theremedyagainstthedenialofamotiontoquashisforthemovantaccusedtoenteraplea,gototrial,and

shouldthedecisionbeadverse,reiterateonappealfromthefinaljudgmentandassignaserrorthedenialofthe

motiontoquash.Thedenial,beinganinterlocutoryorder,isnotappealable,andmaynotbethesubjectofa

petitionforcertioraribecauseoftheavailabilityofotherremediesintheordinarycourseoflaw.

Antecedents

PetitionersGodofredoEnrileandDr.FrederickEnrilecometotheCourtonappeal,seekingtoreverseandundo the adverse resolutions promulgated on August 31, 2004 1 and December 21, 2004, 2 whereby the Court of Appeals(CA)respectivelydismissedtheirpetitionforcertiorariandprohibition(assailingthedismissaloftheir

petitionforcertioraribytheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC),Branch7,inMalolos,Bulacan,presidedbyRTCJudge

DaniloA.Manalastas,toassailthedenialoftheirmotionstoquashthetwoinformationschargingthemwithless

seriousphysicalinjuriesbytheMunicipalTrialCourt(MTC)ofMeycauayan,Bulacan),anddeniedtheirmotion

forreconsiderationanentsuchdismissal.

The mauling incident involving neighbors that transpired on January 18, 2003 outside the house of the petitionersinSt.FrancisSubdivision,BarangayPandayan,MeycauayanBulacangaverisetotheissuesubjectof thisappeal.Claimingthemselvestobethevictimsinthatmauling,JosefinaGuintoMorano, 3 RommelMorano andPerlaBeltranMoranochargedthepetitionersandoneAlfredoEnrile 4 intheMTCwithfrustratedhomicide

(victimbeingRommel)inCriminalCaseNo.03­275;withlessseriousphysicalinjuries(victimbeingJosefina)in

CriminalCaseNo.03­276;andwithlessseriousphysicalinjuries(victimbeingPerla)inCriminalCaseNo.03­

277, all of the MTC of Meycauayan, Bulacan on August 8, 2003 after the parties submitted their respective affidavits,theMTCissueditsjointresolution, 5 wherebyitfoundprobablecauseagainstthepetitionersforless

seriousphysicalinjuriesinCriminalCaseNo.03­276andCriminalCaseNo.03­277,andsettheirarraignment

onSeptember8,2003.OnAugust19,2003,thepetitionersmovedforthereconsiderationofthejointresolution,

arguingthatthecomplainantshadnotpresentedproofoftheirhavingbeengivenmedicalattentionlasting10

daysor longer,therebyrendering their chargesoflessseriousphysicalinjuriesdismissible;and thatthe two casesforlessseriousphysicalinjuries,beingnecessarilyrelatedtothecaseoffrustratedhomicidestillpending intheOfficeoftheProvincialProsecutor,shouldnotbegovernedbytheRulesonSummaryProcedure. 6 On November 11, 2003, the MTCdenied the petitioners’motion for reconsideration because the grounds of the motionhadalreadybeendiscussedandpasseduponintheresolutionsoughttobereconsidered;andbecause the cases were governed by the Rules on Summary Procedure, which prohibited the motion for reconsideration. 7 Thereafter,thepetitionerspresentedamanifestationwithmotiontoquashandamotionforthe defermentofthearraignment. 8

OnFebruary11,2004,theMTCdeniedthemotiontoquash,andruledthatthecasesforlessseriousphysical

injurieswerecoveredbytherulesonordinaryprocedure;andreiteratedthearraignmentpreviouslyscheduled onMarch15,2004. 9 Itexplaineditsdenialofthemotiontoquashinthefollowingterms,towit:

xxxx

AstotheMotiontoQuash,thisCourtcannotgiveduecoursetosaidmotion.Aperusaloftherecordsshowsthat

thegroundsand/orissuesraisedthereinaremattersofdefensethatcanbefullyventilatedinafullblowntrialon

themerits.

Accordingly,CriminalCasesNos.03­276and03­277bothforLessSeriousPhysicalInjuriesareherebyordered

triedundertheordinaryprocedure.

TheMotiontoQuashisherebyDENIEDforreasonsaforestated.

Meanwhile,setthesecasesforarraignmentonMarch15,2004aspreviouslyscheduled.

SOORDERED. 10

Still,thepetitionerssoughtreconsiderationofthedenialofthemotiontoquash,buttheMTCdeniedtheirmotion onMarch25,2004. 11

Unsatisfied,thepetitionerscommencedaspecialcivilactionforcertiorariassailingtheorderdatedFebruary11,

2004 denying their motion to quash, and the order dated March 25, 2004 denying their motion for reconsideration. The special civil action for certiorari was assigned to Branch 7, presided by RTC Judge Manalastas.

OnMay25,2004,theRTCJudgeManalastasdismissedthepetitionforcertioraribecause:

AscouldbegleanedfromtheorderofthepublicrespondentdatedFebruary11,2004,theissuesraisedinthe

motiontoquasharemattersofdefensethatcouldonlybethreshedoutinafullblowntrialonthemerits.Indeed, proofoftheactualhealingperiodoftheallegedinjuriesoftheprivatecomplainantscouldonlybeestablishedin thetrialofthecasesfiledagainsthereinpetitionersbymeansofcompetentevidencexxx.Ontheotherhand, thiscourtislikewisenotinaposition,notbeingatrieroffactinsofarastheinstantpetitionisconcerned,torule ontheissueastowhether or nottherewasprobablecausetoprosecutethepetitionersfor theallegedless physicalinjurieswithwhichtheystandcharged.xxx.

All things considered, it would be premature to dismiss, the subject criminal cases filed against the herein petitionerswhenthebasisthereofcouldbedeterminedonlyaftertrialonthemerits.xxx. 12

Thepetitionersmovedforthereconsideration,buttheRTCdeniedtheirmotiononJuly9,2004. 13

ThepetitionersnextwenttotheCAviaapetitionforcertiorariandprohibitiontonullifytheordersissuedbythe RTCon May 25, 2004 and July 9, 2004, averring grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdictiononthepartoftheRTC.Theyurgedthedismissalofthecriminalcasesonthesamegroundsthey advancedintheRTC.

However,onAugust31,2004,theCApromulgateditsassailedresolutiondismissingthepetitionforcertiorari

andprohibitionforbeingthewrongremedy,theproperremedybeinganappeal;andrulingthattheyshouldhave

filedtheirnoticeofappealonorbeforeAugust18,2004duetotheirreceivingtheorderofJuly9,2004onAugust

3,2004. 14

OnDecember21,2004,theCAdeniedthepetitioners’motionforreconsideration. 15

Issues

Inthisappeal,thepetitionerssubmitthat:

I.

THEHONORABLECOURTOFAPPEALSERREDINUPHOLDINGTHETRIALCOURTS’RULING DENYING THE PETITIONERS' MOTION TO QUASH THE COMPLAINTS DESPITE THE CLEAR AND PATENT SHOWING THAT BOTH COMPLAINTS, ON THEIR FACE, LACKED ONEOF THE ESSENTIALELEMENTSOFTHEALLEGEDCRIMEOFLESSSERIOUSPHYSICALINJURIES.

II.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT THE INJURIES SUSTAINED BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANTS WERE NOT PERPETRATED BY THE PETITIONERS. 16

RulingoftheCourt

TheCAdidnotcommitanyreversibleerrors.

Firstly,consideringthatthecertioraricaseintheRTCwasanoriginalaction,thedismissalofthepetitionfor

certiorarionMay25,2004,andthedenialofthemotionforreconsiderationonJuly9,2004,wereintheexercise

ofitsoriginaljurisdiction.Assuch,the orderswere finalbyreason oftheir completelydisposing ofthe case, leavingnothingmoretobedonebytheRTC. 17 Theproperrecourseforthepetitionersshouldbeanappealby noticeofappeal, 18 takenwithin15daysfromnoticeofthedenialofthemotionforreconsideration. 19

Yet,thepetitionerschosetoassailthedismissalbytheRTCthroughpetitionsforcertiorariandprohibitioninthe CA,insteadofappealingbynoticeofappeal.Suchchoicewaspatentlyerroneousandimpermissible,because certiorariandprohibition,beingextraordinaryreliefstoaddressjurisdictionalerrorsofalowercourt,werenot availabletothem.WorthytostressisthattheRTCdismissedthepetitionforcertiorariuponitsfindingthatthe MTC did not gravely abuse its discretion in denying the petitioners’ motion to quash. In its view, the RTC consideredthedenialofthemotiontoquashcorrect,foritwouldbeprematureandunfoundedfortheMTCto dismissthecriminalcasesagainstthepetitionersuponthesupposedfailurebythecomplainantstoprovethe periodoftheirincapacityorofthemedicalattendanceforthem.Indeed,thetimeandtheoccasiontoestablish thedurationoftheincapacityormedicalattendancewouldonlybeatthetrialonthemerits.

Secondly, the motion to quash is the mode by which an accused, before entering his plea, challenges the complaintorinformationforinsufficiencyonitsfaceinpointoflaw,orfordefectsapparentonitsface. 20 Section3, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court enumerates the grounds for the quashal of the complaint or information, as follows:(a)thefactschargeddonotconstituteanoffense;(b)thecourttryingthecasehasnojurisdictionover theoffensecharged;(c)thecourttryingthecasehasnojurisdictionoverthepersonoftheaccused;(d)the officerwhofiledtheinformationhadnoauthoritytodoso;(e)thecomplaintorinformationdoesnotconform substantiallytotheprescribedform;(f)morethanoneoffenseischargedexceptwhenasinglepunishmentfor variousoffensesisprescribedbylaw;(g)thecriminalactionorliabilityhasbeenextinguished;(h)thecomplaint or information contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification; and (i) the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him was dismissedorotherwiseterminatedwithouthisexpressconsent.

AccordingtoSection6, 21 Rule110oftheRulesofCourt,thecomplaintorinformationissufficientifitstatesthe namesoftheaccused;thedesignationoftheoffensegivenbythestatute;theactsoromissionscomplainedof as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate date of the commission of the offense;andtheplacewheretheoffensewascommitted.Thefundamentaltestindeterminingthesufficiencyof the averments in a complaint or information is, therefore, whether the facts alleged therein, if hypothetically admitted,constitutetheelementsoftheoffense. 22

Byalleging in their motion to quashthatboth complaintsshould be dismissed for lackofone ofthe essential elementsoflessseriousphysicalinjuries,thepetitionerswereaverringthatthefactschargeddidnotconstitute offenses.Tomeetthetestofsufficiency,therefore,itisnecessarytorefertothelawdefiningtheoffensecharged,

which,inthiscase,isArticle265oftheRevisedPenalCode,whichpertinentlystates:

Article265.Lessseriousphysicalinjuries–Anypersonwhoshallinflictuponanotherphysicalinjuriesxxxwhich

shallincapacitatetheoffendedpartyforlaborfortendaysormore,orshallrequiremedicalassistanceforthe

sameperiod,shallbeguiltyoflessseriousphysicalinjuriesandshallsufferthepenaltyofarrestomayor.

xxxx.

Basedonthelaw,theelementsofthecrimeoflessseriousphysicalinjuriesare,namely:(1)thattheoffender

inflictedphysicalinjuriesuponanother;and(2)thatthephysicalinjuriesinflictedeitherincapacitatedthevictim

forlaborfor10daysormore,ortheinjuriesrequiredmedicalassistanceformorethan10days.

Weretheelementsofthecrimesufficientlyaverredinthecomplaints?Toanswerthisquery,theCourtrefersto

theavermentsofthecomplaintsthemselves,towit:

CriminalCaseNo.03­276

That on the 18th day of January 2003, at around 7:30 in the evening more or less, in Brgy. Pandayan (St. Francis Subd.), Municipality of Meycauayan, Province of Bulacan, Republic of the Philippines and within the jurisdictionofthisHonorableCourt,theabovenamedaccusedmotivatedbyangerbyconspiring,confederating andmutuallyhelpingwithanotherdidthenandtherewilfully,unlawfullyandfeloniouslyattack,assaultandstrike thefaceofoneJOSEFINAGUINTOMORAÑO,therebyinflictinguponhis(sic)physicalinjuriesthatwillrequirea

periodof10to12daysbarringhealingandwillincapacitatehiscustomarylaborforthesameperiodoftime

attachedMedicalCertificate(sic).

CONTRARYTOLAW. 23

CriminalCaseNo.03­277

That on the 18th day of January 2003, at around 7:30 in the evening more or less, in Brgy. Pandayan (St. Francis Subd.), Municipality of Meycauayan, Province of Bulacan, Republic of the Philippines and within the jurisdictionoftheHonorableCourt,theabovenamedaccusedMOTIVATEDbyangerdidthenandtherewilfully, unlawfullyandfeloniouslyattack,assaultandrightandgivehittingherheadagainstpavementofonePERLA

BELTRANMORAÑOinflictingthelatterphysicalinjuriesandwillrequireMedicalAttendanceforaperiodof12to

15daysbarringunforeseencomplicationasperMedicalCertificateheretoattached.

CONTRARYTOLAW. 24

Theaforequotedcomplaintsbearoutthattheelementsoflessseriousphysicalinjurieswerespecificallyaverred therein. The complaint in Criminal Case No. 03­276 stated that: (a) the petitioners "wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and strike the face of one JOSEFINAGUINTO MORAÑO;" and (b) the petitioners

inflictedphysicalinjuriesuponthecomplainant"thatwillrequireaperiodof10to12daysbarringhealingandwill

incapacitatehiscustomarylaborforthesameperiodoftime;"whilethatinCriminalCaseNo.03­277allegedthat:

(a)thepetitioners"wilfully,unlawfullyandfeloniouslyattack,assaultandrightandgivehittingherheadagainst pavementofonePERLABELTRANMORAÑO;"and(b)thepetitionersinflicteduponthecomplainant"physical

injuries[that]willrequireMedicalAttendanceforaperiodof12to15daysbarringunforeseencomplication."

InthecontextofSection6,Rule110oftheRulesofCourt, 25 thecomplaintssufficientlychargedthepetitioners withlessseriousphysicalinjuries.Indeed,thecomplaintsonlyneededtoavertheultimatefactsconstitutingthe offense,notthedetailsofwhyandhowtheillegalactsallegedlyamountedtoundueinjuryordamage,forsuch matters,beingevidentiary,wereappropriateforthetrial.Hence,thecomplaintswerenotquashable.

In challenging the sufficiencyof the complaints, the petitionersinsist that the "complaintsdo not provide any evidence/s that would tend to establish and to show that the medical attendance rendered on private complainants actually and in fact lasted for a period exceeding ten (10) days;" and the medical certificates

attachedmerelystatedthat"theprobabledisabilityperiodofhealingis10to12days,forJosefinaG.Morano,

and, 12­15 days, for Perla B. Morano, hence, the findings of the healing periods were merely speculations, surmisesandconjectures."Theyinsistthatthe"privatecomplainantsshouldhavepresentedmedicalcertificates thatwouldshowthenumberofdaysrenderedformedicationconsideringthattheyfiledtheircomplaintonMarch 15,2003orabouttwo(2)monthsaftertheallegedincident." 26

Thepetitioners’insistenceisutterlybereftofmerit.1âwphi1

AstheMTCandRTCrightlyheld,thepresentationofthemedicalcertificatestoprovethedurationofthevictims’ needformedicalattendanceoroftheirincapacityshouldtakeplaceonlyatthetrial,notbeforeorduringthe preliminary investigation. According to Cinco v. Sandiganbayan, 27 the preliminary investigation, which is the occasionforthesubmissionoftheparties’respectiveaffidavits,counter­affidavitsandevidencetobuttresstheir separateallegations,ismerelyinquisitorial,andisoftentheonlymeansofdiscoveringwhetherapersonmaybe reasonablychargedwithacrime,toenabletheprosecutortopreparetheinformation. 28 Itisnotyetatrialonthe merits,foritsonlypurposeistodeterminewhetheracrimehasbeencommittedandwhetherthereisprobable causetobelievethattheaccusedisguiltythereof. 29 Thescopeoftheinvestigationdoesnotapproximatethatof a trial before the court; hence, what is required is only that the evidence be sufficient to establish probable causethattheaccusedcommittedthecrimecharged,notthatallreasonabledoubtoftheguiltoftheaccusedbe removed. 30

We further agree with the RTC’s observation that "the issues raised in the motion to quash are matters of defensethatcouldonlybethreshedoutinafullblowntrialonthemerits.Indeed,proofofactualhealingperiod oftheallegedinjuriesoftheprivatecomplainantcouldonlybeestablishedinthetrialofthecasesfiledagainst hereinpetitionersbymeansofcompetentevidence,andtograntthemainprayeroftheinstantpetitionforthe dismissalofthecriminalcasesagainstthemforlessseriousphysicalinjuriesistopreventthetrialcourttohear andreceiveevidenceinconnectionwithsaidcasesandtorenderjudgmentsthereon.xxxAllthingsconsidered, itwouldbeprematuretodismissthesubjectcriminalcasesfiledagainstthehereinpetitionerswhenthebasis thereofcouldbedeterminedonlyaftertrialofthemerits." 31

And,lastly,inoptingtostillassailthedenialofthemotiontoquashbytheMTCbybringingthespecialcivilaction for certiorariin the RTC, the petitioners deliberately disregarded the fundamental conditions for initiating the specialcivilactionforcertiorari.Theseconditionswere,firstly,thepetitionersmustshowthattherespondenttrial court lacked jurisdiction or exceeded it, or gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction;and,secondly,becausethedenialwasinterlocutory,theymustshowthattherewasnoplain,speedy, andadequateremedyintheordinarycourseoflaw. 32

Thepetitioners’disregardofthefundamentalconditionsprecludedthesuccessoftheirrecourse.Tostartwith, thepetitionersdidnotshowthattheMTChadnojurisdiction,orexceededitsjurisdictionindenyingthemotionto quash,orgravelyabuseditsdiscretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdictioninitsdenial.Thatshowingwas thedoorthatwouldhaveopenedthewaytotheirsuccesswiththerecourse.Yet,thedoorremainedunopenedto thembecausethedenialbytheMTCofthemotiontoquashwasprocedurallyandsubstantivelycorrectbecause thedurationofthephysicalincapacityormedicalattendanceshouldbedealtwithonlyduringthetrialonthe merits,notattheearlystageofdealingwithandresolvingthemotiontoquash.Astothesecondcondition,the factthatthedenialwasinterlocutory,notafinalorder,signifiedthattheMTCdidnotyetcompletelyterminateits proceedings in the criminal cases. The proper recourse of the petitioners was to enter their pleas as the accused,gototrialintheMTC,andshouldthedecisionoftheMTCbeadversetothemintheend,reiteratethe issue on their appeal from the judgment and assign as error the unwarranted denial of their motion to quash. 33 CertiorariwasnotavailabletothemintheRTCbecausetheyhadanappeal,oranotherplain,speedy oradequateremedyintheordinarycourseoflaw.

WHEREFORE,theCourtDENIESthepetitionforreviewoncertiorari;AFFIRMStheresolutionspromulgatedon

August31,2004andDecember21,2004;andORDERSthepetitionerstopaythecostsofsuit.

SOORDERED.