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Panaguiton v DOJ
This is a petition for Review of CA resolutions dismissing Luis Panaguiton, Jr. petition for certiorari and motion for reconsideration
In 1992, Cawili borrowed money from petitioner and later issued checks as payment both signed by Cawili and his business associate Tongson. But checks were dishonored either for insufficiency of funds or closure of account.
Panaguiton then made a formal demands to Cawili and Tongson to pay but to no avail.
So Panaguiton filed a complaint against Cawili and Tongson for violating BP Blg. 22 before QC Prosecutor's Office.
During PI, Tongson filed his counter-affidavit claiming that he had been unjustly included as party-respondent since petitioner had lent money to Cawili in Cawili's personal capacity. He averred that he was not Cawili's business associate and claimed that he himself has criminal cases against Cawili. Tongson also denied that he had issued bounced checks and that his signatures on the checks had been falsified.
December 1995, Prosecutor found probable cause only against Cawili and dismissed the charges against Tongson.
Panaguiton filed a partial appeal before DOJ even the case against Cawili was filed before the proper court.
Later on July 1997, after finding that Tongson was possible to co-sign the bounced checks and had altered his signature in pleadings submitte during PI, Chief State Prosecutor directed the City Prosecutor of QC to conduct reinvestigation of the case against Tongson and refer the signatures to NBI.
On March 1999, Asst. City Prosecutor dismissed the complaint against Tongson without referring to the NBI, holding that the case had already prescribed pursuant to Act. No. 3326, stating that in this case the 4 year period started on the date the checks were dishonored and that the filing of complaint in QC prosecutor's office did not interrupt the running of the prescriptive period as the law contemplates judicial and not administrative proceedings. Four years had elapsed and no information was filed against Tongson. And the order to refer the matter to NBI could no longer be sanctioned under Section 3, Rule 112 of rules of criminal procedure because the initiative should come from the petitioner himself and not from the investigating prosecutor.
Whether or not the case had already prescribed pursuant to Act no. 3326 which provides that violations by BP 22 shall prescribe after 4 years.
No. This court ruled that the filing of the complaint with the fiscal's office for PI suspends the running of the prescriptive period. Petitioner's filing of his complaint-affidavit before the Office of the City Prosecutor on 24 August 1995 signified the commencement of the proceedings for the prosecution of the accused and thus effectively... interrupted the prescriptive period for the offenses they had been charged under B.P. Blg. 22.