Legal Questions

What is the meaning of the term “Direction and Control” of the prosecutor over the prosecution of criminal actions?

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It simply means that the institution of a criminal action depends upon the sound discretion of the prosecutor, he may or may not file the complaint or information, follow or not follow that presented by the offended party, according to whether the evidence, in his opinion is sufficient or not to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

What is the reason for giving the control and supervision to the prosecutor?

The reason for placing the criminal prosecution under the direction and control of the prosecutor is to prevent malicious or unfounded prosecution by private persons. The prosecution of the criminal action cannot be controlled by the complainant.

Prosecuting officers under the power vested in them by law, not only have the authority but also the duty of prosecuting persons who, according to the evidence received from the complainant, are shown to be guilty of the crime committed within the jurisdiction of their office.

They have equally the legal duty not to prosecute when after an investigation they become convinced that the evidence adduced is not sufficient to establish a prima facie case.

In the Regional Trial Court, the prosecution of cases must be under the direction and control of the government prosecutor.

Is there a limitation on the power of discretion and control?

Yes. The power of the prosecutor is not without limitation or control. The same is subject to the approval of the provincial or city fiscal or the chief state prosecutor as the case maybe. The resolution of the prosecutor maybe elevated for review to the Secretary of Justice who has the power to affirm, modify, or reverse the action or the opinion of the prosecutor. Consequently, the Secretary of Justice may direct that a motion to dismiss the case be filed in court or otherwise, that information be filed in court. The moment the prosecutor files the case in court, any matter relating to the disposition of the case shall be within the sound discretion of the court.

Supposed the prosecutor believes that that the evidence is not sufficient yet his superiors think otherwise, can his superiors still compel him to prosecute?

The role of the prosecutor is to see to it that justice is done and not necessarily to secure the conviction of the person accused before the courts. Thus, in spite of his opinion to the contrary, it is the duty of the prosecutor to proceed with the presentation of evidence of the prosecution to the court to enable the court to arrive at its own independent judgment as to whether the accused should be convicted or acquitted.

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