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[RULE 112, SEC. 3] The trial court is not bound to adopt the resolution of the Secretary of Justiceto withdraw the informations for lack of probable cause since it is mandated to independentlyevaluate or assess the merits of the case; in the exercise of its discretion, it may agree or disagreewith the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice.SR. REMY ANGELA JUNIO, ET AL. VS. JUDGE MARIVIC A. CACATIANBELTRANJanuary 13, 2014 A.M. No. RTJ-14-2367BRION, J.FACTS:Claire Ann Campos, a 17-year old student, filed an affidavit complaint for violation ofRepublic Act No. 7610 (the Child Abuse Law) and R.A. No. 7277 (the Magna Carta for the Disabled)before the Tuguegarao City Prosecution Office against Sr. Remy Angela Junio and Dr. Josephine D.Lorica, the President and the Dean of the School of Health Services, respectively, of St. PaulUniversity of the Philippines (SPUP).Claire alleged that she was refused enrolment by SPUP for the B.S. Nursing course in her sophomoreyear because of her cleft palate; she alleged that the refusal was made despite her completion ofSPUP’s College Freshmen Program Curriculum. The prosecutor’s office in its resolution found probable cause to indict Junio and Lorica of the crimescharged, and recommended the filing of the corresponding informations against them. Junio andLorica appealed the resolution of the prosecutor’s office, but Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar ofthe Department of Justice (DOJ) denied their petition for review.Afterward, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima granted Junio and Lorica’s motion for reconsideration and setaside the resolution of Undersecretary Salazar. Accordingly, in her resolution dated August 8, 2011,she directed the Cagayan Provincial Prosecutor to immediately cause the withdrawal of theinformations for violations of R.A. Nos. 7610 and 7277 against Junio and Lorica for lack of probablecause.Subsequently, the prosecutor’s office still filed two informations against Junio and Lorica forviolations of Section 10(a), Article VI, in relation with Article 3(a) and (b) of R.A. No. 7610, andSection 12 of R.A. No. 7277 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Tuguegarao City presided byJudge Marivic A. Cacatian-Beltran. This prompted the accused to file a joint motion to withdraw informations in view of Secretary DeLima’s resolution. They also filed an administrative complaint before the Office of the CourtAdministrator (OCA) alleging that Judge Beltran "arrogated unto herself the role of a prosecutor and ajudge" when she insisted that they stand for trial although she did not find any grave abuse ofdiscretion on the part of Justice Secretary De Lima.Page | 13
ISSUE:(1) Whether the respondent arbitrarily denied the joint motion to withdraw informations.(2) Whether the respondent arrogated unto herself the role of a prosecutor and a judge.
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Law, criminal law, Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution