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September 21, 1993

DOJ CIRCULAR NO. 61

TO : All Regional, State, Provincial, and City Prosecutors, and


their Assistants

SUBJECT : The New Rules on Inquest

Attached hereto for the information and guidance of all concerned is the
New Rules on Inquest which was prepared by a Committee constituted under
Department Order No. 43, dated February 2, 1993, supervised by Undersecretary
Ramon S. Esguerra, chaired and co-chaired by City Prosecutor JESUS F.
GUERRERO of Manila and Provincial Prosecutor MAURO M. CASTRO of
Rizal, respectively, with Assistant Chief State Prosecutor NILO C. M ARIANO,
Regional State Prosecutor CLARO A. ARELLANO, State Prosecutor
HERNANDO MASANGKAY, State Prosecutor ROGELIO F. VISTA, and
Prosecutor III APOLINARIO BRUSELAS, JR., as members, and approved by the
undersigned.

This Circular supersedes Department Circular No. 5, dated March 1, 1981,


and such other issuances inconsistent herewith.

This Circular shall take effect immediately.

(SGD.) FRANKLIN M. DRILON


Secretary

NEW RULES ON INQUEST

SECTION 1. Concept. — Inquest is an informal and summary


investigation conducted by a public prosecutor in criminal cases involving persons
arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued by the court
for the purpose of determining whether or not said persons should remain under
custody and correspondingly be charged in court. cDSaEH

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SECTION 2. Designation of Inquest Officers. — The City or
Provincial Prosecutor shall designate the Prosecutors assigned to inquest duties
and shall furnish the Philippine National Police (PNP) a list of their names and
their schedule of assignments. If, however, there is only one Prosecutor in the area,
all inquest cases shall be referred to him for appropriate action.

Unless otherwise directed by the City or Provincial Prosecutor, those


assigned to inquest duties shall discharge their functions during the hours of their
designated assignments and only at the police stations/headquarters of the PNP in
order to expedite and facilitate the disposition of inquest cases.

SECTION 3. Commencement and Termination of Inquest. — The


inquest proceedings shall be considered commenced upon receipt by the Inquest
Officer from the law enforcement authorities of the complaint/referral documents
which should include:

a) the affidavit of arrest;

b) the investigation report;

c) the statement of the complainant and witnesses; and

d) other supporting evidence gathered by the police in the course of the


latter's investigation of the criminal incident involving the arrested or
detained person.

The Inquest Officer shall, as far as practicable, cause the affidavit of arrest
and statements/affidavits of the complainant and the witnesses to be subscribed
and sworn to before him by the arresting officer and the affiants.

The inquest proceedings must be terminated within the period prescribed


under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. 1

SECTION 4. Particular Documents Required in Specific Cases. —


The submission/presentation of the documents listed hereinbelow should, as far as
practicable, be required in the following cases by the Inquest Officer:

Murder, Homicide and Parricide

a) certified true/machine copy of the certificate of death of the victim;


and

b) necropsy report and the certificate of post-mortem examination, if


readily available.

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Frustrated or Attempted Homicide, Murder, Parricide and Physical Injuries Cases

a) medical certificate of the complaining witness showing the nature or


extent of the injury;

b) certification or statement as to duration of the treatment or medical


attendance; and

c) certificate or statement as to duration of incapacity for work.

Violations of the Dangerous Drugs Law (R.A. 6425, as amended)

a) chemistry report or certificate of laboratory examination duly signed


by the forensic chemist or other duly authorized officer. If the
foregoing documents, are not available, the Inquest Officer may
temporarily rely on the field test results on the seized drug, as
attested to by a PNP Narcotics Command (NARCOM) operative or
other competent person, in which event, the Inquest Officer shall
direct the arresting officer to immediately forward the seized drug to
the crime laboratory for expert testing and to submit to the
prosecutor's office the final forensic chemistry report within five (5)
days from the date of the inquest. ISTECA

b) machine copy or photograph of the buy-bust money; and

c) affidavit of the poseur-buyer, if any.

Theft and Robbery Cases, Violation of the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery
Law (PD 532) and Violation of the Anti-Fencing Law (PD 1612)

a) a list/inventory of the articles and items subject of the offense; and

b) statement of their respective value.

Seduction and Forcible Abduction with Rape Cases

a) the medico-legal report (living case report), if the victim submitted


herself for medical or physical examination.

Violation of the Anti-Carnapping Law (R.A. 6539)

a) machine copy of the certificate of motor vehicle registration;

b) machine copy of the current official receipt of payment of the


registration fees of the subject motor vehicle; and

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c) other evidence of ownership.

Violation of the Anti-Cattle Rustling Law (P.D. 533)

a) machine copy of the cattle certificate of registration; and

b) photograph of the cattle, if readily available.

Violation of Illegal Gambling Law (P.D. 1602)

a) gambling paraphernalia; and

b) cash money, if any.

Illegal Possession of Explosives (P.D. 1866)

a) chemistry report duly signed by the forensic chemist; and

b) photograph of the explosives, if readily available.

Violation of the Fisheries Law (P.D. 704)

a) photograph of the confiscated fish, if readily available; and

b) certification of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Violation of the Forestry Law (P.D. 705)

a) scale sheets containing the volume and species of the forest products
confiscated, number of pieces and other important details such as
estimated value of the products confiscated;

b) certification of Department of Environment and Natural


Resources/Bureau of Forest Management; and EHcaDT

c) seizure receipt.

The submission of the foregoing documents shall not absolutely be required


if there are other forms of evidence submitted which will sufficiently establish the
facts sought to be proved by the foregoing documents.

SECTION 5. Incomplete Documents. — When the documents


presented are not complete to establish probable cause, the Inquest Officer shall
direct the law enforcement agency to submit the required evidence within the
period prescribed under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended; 2 otherwise, the Inquest Officer shall order the release of the detained
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person 3 and, where the inquest is conducted outside of office hours, direct the law
enforcement agency concerned to file the case with the City or Provincial
Prosecutor for appropriate action.

SECTION 6. Presence of the Detained Person. — The presence of the


detained person who is under custody shall be ensured during the proceedings.

However, the production of the detained person before the Inquest Officer
may be dispensed with in the following cases:

a) if he is confined in a hospital;

b) if he is detained in a place under maximum security;

c) if production of the detained person will involve security risks; or

d) if the presence of the detained person is not feasible by reason of


age, health, sex and other similar factors.

The absence of the detained person by reason of any of the foregoing


factors must be noted by the Inquest Officer and reflected in the record of the case.

SECTION 7. Charges and Counter-Charges. — All charges and


counter-charges arising from the same incident shall, as far as practicable, be
consolidated and inquested jointly to avoid contradictory or inconsistent
dispositions.

SECTION 8. Initial Duty of the Inquest Officer. — The Inquest


Officer must first determine if the arrest of the detained person was made in
accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5, Rule 113 of
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, which provide that arrests
without a warrant may be effected: 4

a) when, in the presence of the arresting officer, the person to be


arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense: or

b) when an offense has in fact just been committed, and the arresting
officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to
be arrested has committed it.

For this purpose, the Inquest Officer may summarily examine the arresting
officers on the circumstances surrounding the arrest or apprehension of the
detained person.

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SECTION 9. Where Arrest Not Properly Effected. — Should the
Inquest Officer find that the arrest was not made in accordance with the Rules, he
shall:

a) recommend the release of the person arrested or detained;

b) note down the disposition on the referral document;

c) prepare a brief memorandum indicating the reasons for the action


taken; and

d) forward the same, together with the record of the case, to the City or
Provincial Prosecutor for appropriate action.

Where the recommendation for the release of the detained person is


approved by the City or Provincial Prosecutor but the evidence on hand warrant
the conduct of a regular preliminary investigation, the order of release shall be
served on the officer having custody of said detainee and shall direct the said
officer to serve upon the detainee the subpoena or notice of preliminary
investigation, together with the copies of the charge sheet or complaint, affidavits
or sworn statements of the complainant and his witnesses and other supporting
evidence. 5

SECTION 10. Where Arrest Properly Effected. — Should the Inquest


Officer find that the arrest was properly effected, the detained person should be
asked if he desires to avail himself of a preliminary investigation and, if he does,
he shall be made to execute a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended, with the assistance of a lawyer and, in case of
non-availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of his choice. 6 The preliminary
investigation may be conducted by the Inquest Officer himself or by any other
Assistant Prosecutor to whom the case may be assigned by the City or Provincial
Prosecutor, which investigation shall be terminated within fifteen (15) days from
its inception. cIaHDA

SECTION 11. Inquest Proper. — Where the detained person does not
opt for a preliminary investigation or otherwise refuses to execute the required
waiver. the Inquest Officer shall proceed with the inquest by examining the sworn
statements affidavits of the complainant and the witnesses and other supporting
evidence submitted to him.

If necessary, the Inquest Officer may require the presence of the


complainant and witnesses and subject them to an informal and summary
investigation or examination for purposes of determining the existence of probable

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cause. IEHSDA

SECTION 12. Meaning of Probable Cause. — Probable cause exists


when the evidence submitted to the Inquest Officer engenders a well-founded
belief that a crime has been committed and that the arrested or detained person is
probably guilty thereof.

SECTION 13. Presence of Probable Cause. — If the Inquest Officer


finds that probable cause exists, he shall forthwith prepare the corresponding
complaint/information with the recommendation that the same be filed in court.
The complaint/information shall indicate the offense committed and the amount of
bail recommended, if bailable.

Thereafter, the record of the case, together with the prepared


complaint/information, shall be forwarded to the City or Provincial Prosecutor for
appropriate action.

The complaint/information may be filed by the Inquest Officer himself or


by any other Assistant Prosecutor to whom the case may be assigned by the City
or Provincial Prosecutor.

SECTION 14. Content of Information. — The information shall, among


others, contain:

a) a certification by the filing Prosecutor that he is filing the same in


accordance with the provisions of Section 7, Rule 112 of the 1985
Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, in cases cognizable by
the Regional Trial Court; 7

b) the full name and aliases, if any, and address of the accused;

c) the place where the accused is actually detained;

d) the full names and addresses of the complainant and witnesses;

e) a detailed description of the recovered items, if any;

f) the full name and address of the evidence custodian;

g) the age and date of birth of the complainant or the accused, if


eighteen (18) years of age or below; and

h) the full name and addresses of the parents, custodians or guardians


of the minor complainant or accused, as the case may be.

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SECTION 15. Absence of Probable Cause. — If the Inquest Officer
finds probable cause, he shall:

a) recommend the release of the arrested or detained person; 8

b) note down his disposition on the referral document;

c) prepare a brief memorandum indicating the reasons for the action


taken; and

d) forthwith forward the record of the case to the City or Provincial


Prosecutor for appropriate action.

If the recommendation of the Inquest Officer for the release of the arrested
or detained person is approved, the order of release shall be served on the officer
having custody of the said detainee.

Should the City or Provincial Prosecutor disapprove the recommendation of


release, the arrested or detained person shall remain under custody, and the
corresponding complaint/information shall be filed by the City or Provincial
Prosecutor or by any Assistant Prosecutor to whom the case may be assigned.

SECTION 16. Presence at the Crime Scene. — Whenever a dead body


is found and there is reason to believe that the death resulted from foul play, or
from the unlawful acts or omissions of other persons and such fact has been
brought to his attention, the Inquest Officer shall:

a) forthwith proceed to the crime scene or place of discovery of the


dead person;

b) cause an immediate autopsy to be conducted by the appropriate


medico-legal officer in the locality or the PNP medico-legal division
or the NBI medico-legal office, as the case may be;

c) direct the police investigator to cause the taking of photographs of


the crime scene or place of discovery of the dead body; IcHSCT

d) supervise the investigation to be conducted by the police authorities


as well as the recovery of all articles and pieces of evidence found
thereat and see to it that the same are safeguarded and the chain of
the custody thereof properly recorded; and

e) submit a written report of his finding to the City or Provincial


Prosecutor for appropriate action.

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SECTION 17. Sandiganbayan Cases. — Should any complaint
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan be referred to an Inquest Officer for
investigation, the latter shall, after conducting the corresponding inquest
proceeding, forthwith forward the complete record to the City or Provincial
Prosecutor for appropriate action.

SECTION 18. Recovered Articles. — The Inquest Officer shall see to it


that all articles recovered by the police at the time of the arrest or apprehension of
the detained person are physically inventoried, checked and accounted for with the
issuance of corresponding receipts by the police officer/investigator concerned.

The said articles must be properly deposited with the police evidence
custodian and not with the police investigator. caITAC

The Inquest Officer shall ensure that the items recovered are duly
safeguarded and the chain of custody is properly recorded.

SECTION 19. Release of Recovered Articles. — The Inquest Officer


shall, with the prior approval of the City or Provincial Prosecutor or his duly
authorized representative, order the release 9 of recovered articles to their lawful
owner or possessor, subject to the conditions that:

a) there is a written request for release; 10

b) the person requesting the release of said articles is shown to be the


lawful owner or possessor thereof;

c) the requesting party undertakes under oath to produce said articles


before the court when so required;

d) the requesting party, if he is a material witness to the case, affirms or


reaffirms his statement concerning the case and undertakes under
oath to appear and testify before the court when so required;

e) the said articles are not the instruments, or tools in the commission
of the offense charged nor the proceeds thereof; and

f) photographs of said articles are first taken and duly certified to by


the police evidence custodian as accurately representing the evidence
in his custody.

APPROVED:

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(SGD.) FRANKLIN M. DRILON
Secretary
Footnotes
1. 12 hours for light offenses; 18 hours for less grave offenses; and 36 hours for
grave offenses.
2. See NPS Form No. 1.
3. See NPS Form No. 2.
4. Go vs. Court of Appeals, 206 SCRA 138; Umil, et al. vs. Ramos, 202 SCRA 251
and companion cases: People vs. Malmstedt, 198 SCRA 401; and People vs.
Aminudin, 163 SCRA 402.
5. See NPS Form No. 2.
6. See NPS Form No. 3.
7. See NPS Form No. 4.
8. See NPS Form No. 2.
9. See NPS Form No. 5.
10. See NPS Form No. 6.

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Endnotes

1 (Popup - Popup)
ACT 3815
PD 532
PD 533
PD 704
PD 705
PD 1602
PD 1612
PD 1866
RA 6425
RA 6539

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