DOJ to lead amending preliminary investigation rules

February 10, 2023 Hector Lawas 289 views

THE Department of Justice (DOJ), in coordination with the Supreme Court (SC), will lead the initiative to amend the conduct of a preliminary investigation under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla revealed this on Friday during the 70th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), where he envisioned prosecutors and police working side-by-side to curb criminality.

“The DOJ is in constant dialogue with the SC to amend the Rules of Court. Specifically, we have reached an agreement whereby the DOJ will lead the efforts to amend Rule 112 on preliminary investigation in the Rules of Court.”

“In other words, preliminary investigation will start and end in the DOJ in an executive role. In this setup, prosecutors in the DOJ will assist and encourage the police force in their fight against criminality on the streets,” Remulla said.

Preliminary investigation is defined as “an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial.”

Last month, Remulla suggested “reasonable certainty of conviction” instead of probable cause as requirement before prosecutors file criminal court cases.

Remulla made the suggestion during the fourth leg of the Justice Zone Dialogue Series on January 11, 2023, at the Baguio Country Club Convention Center in Baguio City, where Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. were also in attendance.

According to Remulla, the DOJ is focused on pushing for an increase in the “degree of proof” necessary for the filing of criminal cases in court, adding that to file “high-quality” cases, prosecutors should not just pursue cases based on a finding of “probable cause,” but also on the existence of a reasonable certainty of conviction.

“We all know that there is a need to narrow the great divide between the current degree of proof needed for the filing of criminal information, probable cause, and that of conviction, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Remulla.

He stressed that such a measure will benefit the courts as it will help decongest court dockets and give judges more time to only hear cases where the evidence is complete.