BURGUNDY REALTY CORPORATION vs REYES G.R. No. 181021, December 10, 2012

Fact:
Petitioner filed a criminal case of Estafa against the Respondent for misappropriating the funds given by the former to the latter to purchase parcels of land. The respondent admitted that she in fact received the said amount from the petitioner, but she gave the money to a certain Mateo Elejorde whom she filed a criminal case for misappropriating the said funds. That she has no intention to take the said amount for her personal benefit. The prosecutor found probable cause against the respondent and filed information before the RTC. Respondent appealed the said resolution of the prosecutor to the Secretary of Justice, which was first denied but subsequently granted on reconsideration. DOJ ordered the prosecutor to withdraw the said information. Petitioner asked the CA for review with was denied. Hence this case.

Issue:
Whether probable cause exist in filing the information against the accused

Held:
Yes, that the finding of probable cause was made after conducting a preliminary investigation. A preliminary investigation constitutes a realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of a case.13 Its purpose is to determine whether (a) a crime has been committed; and (b) whether there is a probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof. 0054hat in a preliminary investigation, the public prosecutor merely determines whether there is probable cause or sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed, and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. It does not call for the application of rules and standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits. The complainant need not present at this stage proof beyond reasonable doubt. A preliminary investigation does not require a full and exhaustive presentation of the parties’ evidence. Precisely, there is a trial to allow the reception of evidence for both parties to substantiate their respective claims.

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