GMA’s Warrant of Arrest

“Warrant of arrest lang? hindi ba pwede shoot to kill?”

The camp of arrested former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo said it would start filing appeals against the arrest warrant when courts reopen.

Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel, said he will petition the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to suspend the arrest warrant and other legal effects of the preliminary investigation jointly conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

He said she would also ask the Supreme Court on Monday to declare illegal the work of an investigative body which gathered the evidence for the criminal charge against her. Once that is achieved, the arrest warrant would lose its legal basis.

Arroyo’s lawyers already filed motions before the SC questioning the legality of the joint investigating committee and the jurisdiction of the court that issued the warrant.

Topacio said the government filed the charges with “indecent haste” and the quickness of the arrest was a “minor miracle” in the Philippine judicial system.

Lawyer Raul Lambino said the lower court would hear a motion on Monday to lift the arrest warrant on the grounds that the criminal suit should have been filed elsewhere. “We feel that there has been a violation of due process when they railroaded this case and filed the information at a wrong court” .

The Arroyo camp earlier suggested the case should be dealt with by a special court, called Sandiganbayan, which handles cases involving public officials. Arroyo’s motion filed through her counsel, Jose Flaminiano, argued that the Sandiganbayan and not the Pasay court should have jusrisdiction over the case because Arroyo is a former president and currently a representative of Pampanga. The motion also argued that Arroyo was denied due process.

Under Republic Act 9369, which amended Article 286 of the Omnibus Election Code, regional trial courts are vested exclusive and original jurisdiction over cases involving electoral sabotage.

“We have already filed our corresponding motions questioning the jurisdiction of the regional trial court,” Lambino said.

“The court should not have issued a warrant of arrest.”

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman advised the Arroyo camp to ask the SC to quash — or declare as invalid — the warrant of arrest.

Lagman said the Arroyo camp can argue that the warrant of arrest was issued with haste.

He has deplored as “inordinate and precipitate” the haste with which a warrant of arrest was issued against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Arroyo’s supporters described her equally speedy arrest as inhuman.

He said the haste by which a Pasay City Judge Jesus Mupas issued the warrant is a strong argument for the recall of the court order.

Lagman said Mupas may have “brazenly” violated Arroyo’s constitutional right to due process. It would have been a “herculean task for him to wade through the voluminous records” in less than four hours to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

“Settled is the jurisprudence that what the judge is never allowed to do is to follow blindly the prosecutor’s bare certification as to the existence of probable cause. Much more is required by the constitutional provision,” he said.

Senator Francis Joseph “Chiz” G. Escudero said: “Instead of raising technicalities, [Mrs. Arroyo] should take advantage of the opportunity given her to prove her innocence, if indeed she is, and face the charges leveled against her squarely on the merits.”

What Is A Warrant Of Arrest?

Legal  process  issued  by  a  competent  authority,  such as a Regional Trial Court, directing  the arrest of a person or persons upon grounds stated therein.

If an Injunction Order has been broken then the courts can issue a warrant for the arrest of the person who has broken the Injunction Order, but you will need to go back to court to apply for this.

The warrant is sent to the police who then arrest that person and can either hold them in custody until they can be brought before the court or grant them bail and give them a date when they are to go back to court.

Bench Warrant

A bench warrant is a variant of an arrest warrant that authorizes the immediate on-sight arrest of the individual subject to the bench warrant. Typically, judges issue bench warrants for persons deemed to be in contempt of court—possibly as a result of that person’s failure to appear at the appointed time and date for a mandated court appearance. Bench warrants are issued in either criminal or civil court proceedings.

Commonly (but not always), the person who is subject to a bench warrant has intentionally avoided a court appearance to escape the perceived consequences of being found guilty of a crime. If a person was on bail awaiting criminal trial when the nonappearance took place, the court usually forfeits bail and may set a higher bail amount to be paid when the subject is rearrested, but normally the suspect is held in custody without bail. If a person has a bench warrant against him when stopped by a law enforcement officer, the authorities put them in jail and a hearing is held. The hearing usually results in the court setting a new bail amount, new conditions, and a new court appearance date. Often, if a person is arrested on a bench warrant, the court declares them a flight risk (likely to flee) and orders that person to be held without bail.

Bench warrants are traditionally issued by sitting judges or magistrates.

Outstanding arrest warrant

An outstanding arrest warrant is an arrest warrant that has not been served. A warrant may be outstanding if the person named in the warrant is intentionally evading law enforcement, is unaware that a warrant is out for him/her, the agency responsible for executing the warrant has a backlog of warrants to serve, or a combination of these factors.

Some jurisdictions have a very high number of outstanding warrants.

Some places have laws placing various restrictions on persons with outstanding warrants, such as prohibiting renewal of one’s driver’s license or obtaining a passport.

When May A Warrant Of Arrest Be Issued?

If issued by the RTC,

1.    Within  ten  (10)  days  from  the  filing  of  the  complaint  or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence.
2.    He  may  immediately  dismiss  the  case  if  the  evidence  on record clearly fails to establish probable cause.
3.    If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or  a  commitment  order  if  the  accused  has  already  been arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the MTC judge who conducted   the   preliminary   investigation   or   when   the complaint  or  information  was  filed  pursuant  to  section  7  of this Rule.  Pangay v. Ganay modified this rule by providing that investigating judges’ power to order the arrest of the accused  is  limited  to  instances   where  there  is necessity  for  placing  him  in  custody  in  order  not  to frustrate the ends of justice

4.    In  case  of  doubt  on  the  existence  of  probable  cause,  the judge   may   order   the   prosecutor   to   present   additional evidence within five (5) days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days from the filing of the complaint of information.
5.    If  the  warrant  of  arrest  is  issued  by  the  MTC  and  if  the preliminary  investigation  was  conducted  by  the  prosecutor, the same procedure as above is followed

When Is A Warrant Of Arrest Not Necessary?

A warrant of arrest is not necessary in the following instances:

1.    When the accused is already in detention issued by the MTC
2.    When  the  accused  was  arrested  by  virtue  of  a  lawful  arrest without warrant
3.    When the penalty is of a fine only
4.    Those covered by a summary procedure

What Are The Principles Governing The Finding Of Probable Cause For The Issuance Of A Warrant Of Arrest?

There  is  a  distinction  between  the  objective  of  determining probable  cause  as  done  by  the  prosecutor  and  that  done  by  the judge—the  prosecutor  determines  it  for  the  purpose  of  filing  the complaint  or  information;  while  the  judge  determines  it  for  the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest to determine whether there is a necessity of placing the accused under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice

Since the objectives are different, the judge shouldn’t  rely solely on the report of the prosecutor in finding probable cause to justify the issuance of warrant of arrest.

He must decide independently and must have supporting evidence other than the prosecutor’s bare report.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tennie Hoisington
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 07:16:38

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