DOJ Circular No. 61, s. 1993
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Inquest Procedures (DOJ Circular No. 61, 1993) Evidence Needed for an Inquest Proceedings SECTION 1.Concept .—Inquest is an informal and summary investigation con-ducted 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 deter-mining whether or not said persons should remain under custody and correspondingly be charged in court. SEC. 2.Designationof 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. SEC. 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. * SEC. 4.Particular Documents Required in Specific Cases.—The submission, presentation of the documents listed herein below should as far as practicable, be required in the following cases by the Inquest Officer. 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 Illegal Possession of Explosives (PD 1866) a. chemistry report duly signed by the forensic chemist and b. photograph of the explosives, if readily available. Violation of the Fisheries Law (PD 704)(now RA 8550) 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 (PD 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 c. seizure receipt. The submission of the foregoing documents shall no 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. SEC. 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; otherwise, the Inquest Officer shall order the release of the detained person 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. SEC. 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 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. SEC. 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. SEC. 8.Initial duty of the inquest officer .—The Inquest Officer must first deter-mine 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: 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 per-son. SEC. 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 of 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. SEC. 10.Where the arrest property 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, 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. 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. SEC. 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 cause. SEC. 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. SEC. 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 com-plaint/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. SEC. 14.Contents 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; b. the full name and alias, 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 item, 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 (19)years of age or below; and h. the full names and addresses of the parents, custodians or guardians of the minor complainant or accused, as the case may be. SEC. 15.Absence of probable cause.—If the Inquest Officer finds no probable cause, he shall: a. recommend the release of the arrested or detained person; 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 correspond-ing complaint/information shall be filed by the City or Provincial Prosecutor or by any Assistant Prosecutor to whom the case may be assigned. SEC. 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; 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. SEC. 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.