Remedy vs. denial of motion to quash


The petitioner's motion for an extension of thirty (30) days within which to file a petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED, counted from the expiration of the reglementary period.

The Court further resolves to DENY the petition for review on certiorari assailing the Resolutions dated February 10, 2017 and December 12, 2017 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 149236 for failure of petitioners Roel Ryan P. Maniwan and Joel D. Maniwan to sufficiently show that the appellate court committed any reversible error in the assailed rulings.

Petitioners were able to secure a Check Discounting and/or Bills Purchase Credit Facility from the Philippine Business Bank (PBB), Mandaue City Branch. Petitioners used said credit facilities by making loan availments through the execution of promissory notes, which were supported by checks endorsed/assigned by them. The proceeds of the promissory notes were released at PBB's Head Office in Caloocan City. However, when the checks were presented for payment, the same were dishonored by the drawee banks.
Petitioners were then charged with the crime of estafa under paragraph 2(a), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, Branch 122.

Petitioners filed an omnibus motion, seeking the quashal of the information and/or the conduct of a reinvestigation as the RTC of Caloocan City allegedly had no jurisdiction over the case and petitioners were not notified of the conduct of a preliminary investigation. The RTC of Caloocan City denied the omnibus motion and the reconsideration thereon.

Petitioners then filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals, but the same was dismissed in the assailed resolutions of the appellate court.

The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioners' remedy was not a petition for certiorari but for petitioners to go to trial without prejudice to reiterating the defenses invoked in their motion to quash. The appellate court also affirmed the ruling of the RTC of Caloocan City that the trial court had jurisdiction over the case. The damage against PBB was found to be incurred in Caloocan City for that is where the proceeds of the promissory notes were released. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the findings of the RTC that the investigating prosecutor issued a subpoena to petitioners but it was returned with the annotation "returned by addressees' secretary allegedly as per instruction of the addressee."[1]The Court finds no compelling reason to reverse the aforesaid rulings of the Court of Appeals and the RTC. Petitioners availed themselves of the wrong remedy in filing the petition for certiorari before the appellate court. We held in Galzote v. Briones[2] that:
In the usual course of procedure, a denial of a motion to quash filed by the accused results in the continuation of the trial and the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. If a judgment of conviction is rendered and the lower court's decision of conviction is appealed, the accused can then raise the denial of his motion to quash not only as an error committed by the trial court but as an added ground to overturn the latter's ruling.

x x x x

As a rule, the denial of a motion to quash is an interlocutory order and is not appealable; an appeal from an interlocutory order is not allowed under Section l(b), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. Neither can it be a proper subject of a petition for certiorari which can be used only in the absence of an appeal or any other adequate, plain and speedy remedy. The plain and speedy remedy upon denial of an interlocutory order is to proceed to trial as discussed above.

Thus, a direct resort to a special civil action for certiorari is an exception rather than the general rule, and is a recourse that must be firmly grounded on compelling reasons. In past cases, we have cited the interest of a "more enlightened and substantial justice"; the promotion of public welfare and public policy; cases that "have attracted nationwide attention, making it essential to proceed with dispatch in the consideration thereof; or judgments on order attended by grave abuse of discretion, as compelling reasons to justify a petition for certiorari. (Citations omitted.)
In this case, petitioners failed to prove any compelling reason that would make the instant case fall under any of the above exceptions to justify their resort to the remedy of certiorari. Perforce, the appellate court's issuances must be upheld.

The Honorable Georgina D. Hidalgo, as Presiding Judge of Branch 122, Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, is hereby DELETED as party respondent in this case pursuant to Sec. 4, Rule 45, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.

SO ORDERED. SERENO, CJ., on leave.

[1] Rollo, p. 271.
[2] 673 Phil. 165, 172-173(2011).