Executive or Judicial Determination of Probable Cause

Accused-appellant is mistaken. He confused the determination of probable cause to hold a person for trial with the determination of probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest. The duty to determine the existence of probable cause in order to charge a person for committing a crime rests on the public prosecutor. It is an executive function, the correctness of the exercise of which is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not be compelled to pass upon. On the other hand, the duty to determine whether probable cause exists to issue a warrant of arrest rests on the judge, a judicial function to decide whether there is a necessity for placing the accused under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.
Courts cannot interfere with the discretion of the public prosecutor in evaluating the offense charged. Thus, it cannot dismiss the information on the ground that the evidence upon which the information is based is inadequate. And unless it is shown that the finding of probable cause was made with manifest error, grave abuse of discretion, and prejudice on the part of the public prosecutor, the trial court should respect such determination. (G.R. No. 174058; December 27, 2007)