Reinvestigation of the kidnapping case against two (2) Dumagats detained at Tanay PNP Rizal ordered

14 January 2015

Pursuant to her power to act directly on any matter involving a probable miscarriage of justice within the jurisdiction of prosecutors, and to review the final judgments and orders of prosecutors, a Review Resolution was issued by the Secretary of Justice in connection with the case of two Dumagats who are allegedly detained at Tanay Philippine National Police, Rizal.

The kidnapping and robbery case against Respondents Marites Marquez y Dela Cruz (MARQUEZ) and Rosario Loreto y Marquez (LORETO) was originally filed with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (OPP) of Rizal for the conduct of an inquest proceeding which resulted in the filing of an Information against the Respondents.

Complainant Virginia Filipino (Virginia), the wife of Ret. Msgt. Lino Filipino (LINO), narrates that on 26 September 2014 , LINO was purportedly kidnapped by armed individuals dressed in camouflage military uniforms; and that the armed persons likewise took the shotgun of LINO without his consent. The next day, two female persons were arrested by the 16th and 59th Infantry Batallion (IB) in an operation conducted in Sta. Ines, Tanay, Rizal in relation to the supposed kidnapping of LINO. Complainant VIRGINIA recognized the two women, later identified as Respondents MARQUEZ and LORETO, as included among the group of armed individuals who kidnapped her husband and took the latter's shotgun.

During the inquest proceedings, Respondents MARQUEZ and LORETO did not avail of their respective rights to preliminary investigation. Thus, the Provincial Prosecutor found probable to indict the Respondents for Kidnapping and dismissed the complaint for robbery, ratiocinating that the said crime is already absorbed in the crime of Kidnapping.

A careful review of the evidence on record reveals a procedural flaw that violated the sacred rights of the Respondents to be secure in their persons. The Justice Secretary emphasized in the Review Resolution that "in an inquest proceeding, it is the duty of the prosecutor to, first and foremost, determine the legality of the arrest made." Regrettably, the arrests of Respondents MARQUEZ and LORETO do not fall under any of the instances provided under the Rules of Court when arrest without warrant is lawful.

Records show that at the time of their arrests, the arresting officers did not even have an iota of personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that Respondents MARQUEZ and LORETO committed the alleged kidnapping and robbery. This is clear from the affidavit of Active Auxiliary, Cpl. Louie Fresnido (FRESNIDO), wherein he stated that CAA Jonathan Delos Angeles (DELOS ANGELES) reported to him that the two women who were included in the group of armed individuals who stopped the passenger jeepney he was riding and had something to do with the kidnapping of LINO were presently at the eatery of one Kagawad Liway. Thus, the arrests of Respondents MARQUEZ and LORETO were based merely on hearsay information provided by DELOS ANGELES. In reviewing the Resolution, the Justice Secretary cited the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of People vs Doria that “if there is no showing that the person who effected the warrantless arrest had, in his own right, knowledge of facts implicating the person arrested to the perpetration of a criminal offense, the arrest is legally objectionable."

The Justice Secretary also added that "acting on the hearsay report of [DELOS ANGELES], [FRESNIDO], together with other members of the 59th IB, proceeded to the eatery of Liway. Thereat, they introduced themselves as members of the 59th IB and invited respondents to the house of Zubiago. However, there were no allegations, much less evidence, that at that point in time, respondents committed, were actually committing, or attempting to commit an offense in the presence of the members of the 59th IB which could have validated their warrantless arrests."

Thus, in order to avoid a miscarriage of justice, the Justice Secretary ordered the return of the case to the office of origin for the conduct of a REINVESTIGATION. The Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal was also directed to move for the withdrawal of the Information for Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention against Respondents MARQUEZ and LORETO and to report compliance within five days from receipt of the Review Resolution.

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