The Commission on Elections received a report-complaint from the Election Registrar of Toledo City against private respondents for alleged violation of the Omnibus Election Code. After conducting a preliminary investigation and finding a prima facie case, informations were filed against private respondents in the Regional Trial Court of Toledo City. The respondent court issued an order directing the COMELEC to conduct a reinvestigation of said cases and to submit his report and the Toledo City INP to hold in abeyance the service of the warrants of arrest until the submission of the reinvestigation report.
Whether or not the judge alone makes the determination of probable cause in electoral cases.
YES. When the COMELEC, through its duly authorized law officer, conducts the preliminary investigation of an election offense and upon a prima facie finding of a probable cause, files the information in the proper court, said court thereby acquires jurisdiction over the case. Consequently, all the subsequent disposition of said case must be subject to the approval of the court. The COMELEC cannot conduct a reinvestigation of the case without the authority of the court or unless so ordered by the court. The records of the preliminary investigation required to be produced by the court must be submitted by the COMELEC. The trial court may rely on the resolution of the COMELEC to file the information, by the same token that it may rely on the certification made by the prosecutor who conducted the preliminary investigation, in the issuance of the warrant of arrest.
Petition is DISMISSED.