Mantaring v Roman; AM No. RTJ-93-964; 28 Feb 1996; 254 SCRA 158

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Respondent judge issued against a certain Joel Gamo and complainant’s son a search warrant which resulted in the seizure of a home-made gun, a hand grenade, five live ammunitions for caliber 38 and three live ammunitions for 12-gauge shotgun. Because the firearms and ammunition had been found in the house owned by complainant and his son, respondent judge concluded there was probable cause to include the two in the information for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and accordingly ordered their arrest.

Whether or not the issuance of the warrant of arrest was proper.

NO. It was improper for respondent judge to have issued the warrants of arrest against complainant and his son without any finding that it was necessary to place them in immediate custody in order to prevent a frustration of justice. In issuing warrants of arrest in preliminary investigations, the investigating judge must: (a) have examined in writing and under oath the complainant and his witnesses by searching questions and answers; (b) be satisfied that probable cause exists; and (c) that there is a need to place the respondent under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.

Respondent judge is REPRIMANDED and WARNED that commission of similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely. All other charges are DISMISSED for lack of merit.

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