SC: Regional State Prosecutor rulings may skip Justice secretary, go directly to CA

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The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that the resolutions of the Office of the Regional State Prosecutor (ORSP) concerning lighter charges may be brought directly to the Court of Appeals (CA), without the need to be reviewed by the Secretary of Justice (SoJ).

In a recent 7-page decision, the SC 2nd Division remanded the petition of Primo Mina, Felix de Vera, Pompeyo Magali, Bernadette Amor and Purificacion dela Cruz back to the CA.

The said petitioners had questioned the Ilocos Region ORSP’s dismissal of their perjury complaint against Rodolfo Tandoc. But, the CA threw it out in a May 22, 2017 resolution that cited the failure to go to the SoJ first before elevating the matter to the courts.

The SC disagreed, saying Department Circular Number 70-A delegated to ORSPs the authority to “rule with finality” on cases that fell within the jurisdiction of Metropolitan, Municipal or Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MeTCs/MTCs/MTCCs) and were not filed in the National Capital Region (NCR).

While the SoJ may exercise his power to review the ORSP’s resolutions in light criminal cases, he did not do so in this specific case. Thus, the SC said the ORSP resolution attained finality.

“As such, petitioners have already exhausted their administrative remedies and may now go to the CA via a petition for certiorari,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

Since the case was previously dismissed on a technicality, the SC said it should be remanded back to the CA to be resolved on its merits.

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