Ledesma v CA; G.R. No. 113216; 05 Sep 1997; 278 SCRA 656

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A complaint for libel was filed against petitioner. Finding “sufficient legal and factual basis,” an information for libel was filed against petitioner. The Justice Secretary reversed the investigating prosecutor, directing the latter to withdraw the information. In obedience to the directive, a Motion to Withdraw Information was filed which the trial judge denied.

Whether or not it is the prosecutor who determines the existence of probable cause during preliminary investigations.

YES. The determination of probable cause during a preliminary investigation is judicially recognized as an executive function and is made by the prosecutor. The primary objective of a preliminary investigation is to free a respondent from the inconvenience, expense, ignominy and stress of defending himself/herself in the course of a formal trial, until the reasonable probability of his or her guilt has been passed upon in a more or less summary proceeding by a competent officer designated by law for that purpose. Secondarily, such summary proceeding also protects the state from the burden of unnecessary expense and effort in prosecuting alleged offenses and in holding trials arising from false, frivolous or groundless charges.

The assailed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Motion to Withdraw the Information filed before the trial court is GRANTED.

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