G.R. No. L-27709. March 28, 1983 (Case Brief / Digest)

**Title:** *Patanao vs. Enage et al.*

### Facts:
Ludovico N. Patanao, the petitioner, sought to annul and restrain the service of three warrants of arrest issued by respondent Judge Manuel Lopez Enage. The petitioner posted a P1,000.00 cash bond, leading to the issuance of a preliminary injunction by the Court.

The backstory involves Antonio Gonzalez, the Acting Assistant City Treasurer of Butuan and a private respondent in this case, who lodged three complaints against Patanao. These complaints were for assault upon an agent of a person in authority, grave slander, and challenging to a duel. Opting not to file these complaints with the City Fiscal due to a potential conflict of interest (the City Fiscal was Patanao’s son-in-law), Gonzalez filed them directly with Judge Enage of the Court of First Instance of Agusan.

Patanao contended that Judge Enage bypassed crucial provisions of the Rules of Court during the preliminary investigations, which were allegedly conducted ex-parte – without Patanao’s presence. This procedural lapse was conceded by Gonzalez.

Upon review, it became evident that the petition presented a compelling argument, much in line with the precedent set by *Albano vs. Arranz*, which underscored the mandatory simultaneous conduct of preliminary examination and investigation by judges in such circumstances.

### Issues:
1. Whether the requirement of due process was violated by conducting the preliminary investigations ex parte.
2. Whether the warrants of arrest issued by the respondent judge were valid given the procedural errors in the preliminary investigation.

### Court’s Decision:
The Supreme Court granted Patanao’s petition, underscoring the procedural missteps in the preliminary investigation that rendered the issued warrants of arrest void. The Court elucidated that a simultaneous conduct of preliminary examination and investigation was a requirement under the Rules of Court for ensuring due process, a procedure neglected in this instance. Therefore, the warrants were annulled, the injunction made permanent, and the petitioner was entitled to a refund of his cash bond.

### Doctrine:
The Court reiterates the necessity of compliance with due process in the conduct of preliminary examinations and investigations. Specifically, it highlighted the innovation introduced in the new Rules of Court, which mandates that both preliminary examination and investigation be conducted simultaneously, in the presence of the accused, to determine rightfully whether there’s reasonable ground for issuing an arrest warrant.

### Class Notes:
– **Due Process in Preliminary Investigations:** The case reinforces the principle that due process requires both a preliminary examination and investigation to be conducted simultaneously and in the presence of the accused. This is crucial in upholding the legal right to a fair hearing before issuing warrants of arrest.
– **Impact of Procedural Errors:** Procedural errors, especially those concerning due process, can invalidate judicial actions such as warrants of arrest.
– **Doctrine of Simultaneity in Investigations:** The case highlights the specific requirement under the Rules of Court that combines preliminary examination and investigation into a single, simultaneous process that involves both parties, ensuring fairness and adherence to due process.

### Historical Background:
In the context of this case, the Philippine legal system’s procedural rigor highlights the evolution of court procedures aimed at safeguarding individual rights against administrative and judicial overreach. By referencing *Albano vs. Arranz*, the decision in *Patanao vs. Enage et al.* delineates the progressive clarification and enforcement of procedural norms, ensuring due process is central to the administration of justice. This case thus stands as an affirmation of the judiciary’s commitment to these principles, marking its place in the continuum of Philippine legal history toward more transparent and fair judicial processes.


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