Sufficiency of Complaint or Information



Section 6. Sufficiency of complaint or information. — A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense was committed.


When an offense is committed by more than one person, all of them shall be included in the complaint or information. (Rule 110, Rules of Court)


When is a complaint or information deemed sufficient?

A complaint or information is sufficient if it states:

1. the NAME of the accused; 

2. the DESIGNATION of the offense given by the statute; 

3. the ACTS OR OMISSIONS complained of as constituting the offense; 

4. the name of the OFFENDEDPARTY

5. the approximate DATE of the commission of the offense; and 

6. the PLACE where the offense was committed.


What is the purpose of the rule?

To safeguard the constitutional right of an accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him so that he can duly prepare his defense.


● Substantial defect in the information cannot be cured by evidence that would jeopardize the accused’s right to be informed of the true nature of the offense he is charged with.


● Matter of evidence need not be averred


● Allegation prevail over designation. The title of information or designation of offense is not controlling, It is the actual facts recited in the information that determines the nature of the crime. 



Cases:

● The fundamental test in determining the sufficiency of the material averments of an information is whether or not the facts alleged therein, which are hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime defined by law. 

The court has ruled that evidence aliunde or matters extrinsic of the information are not to be considered. Sec. 3(a) of Rule 117 of the Rules of Court authorizes the quashal of an information when the facts therein do not amount to an offense.  The fundamental test in reflecting on the viability of a motion to quash under this particular ground is whether or not the facts asserted, if hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime defined in the law.  In this examination, matters aliunde are not considered.  Anent the sufficiency of the information, Sec. 6 of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court requires, inter alia, that the information must state the acts or omissions so complained of as constitutive of the element of the offense. (Cabrerra vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 162314-17, 10/25/2004)


● While it is necessary to allege the essential elements of the crime in the information, failure to do so is not an irremediable vice.  When the complaint or the resolution by the public prosecutor, which contains the missing averments, is attached to the information, and forms part of the records, the defect in the latter is effectively cured, and the accused cannot successfully invoke the defense that his right to be informed is violated.       

The character of the crime is not determined by the caption or preamble of the information nor from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated but by the recital of the ultimate facts and circumstances in the complaint or information. (Olivarez vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 163866, 7/29/2005)


● The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged and enable the court to know the proper judgment. The information must allege clearly and accurately the elements of the crime charged. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definition and elements of the specific crimes. The purpose of the requirement of alleging all the elements of the crime in the information is to inform an accused of the nature of the accusations against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare for his defense. Another purpose is to enable the accused, if found guilty, to plead his conviction in a subsequent prosecution for the same offense. The use of derivatives or synonymous allegations of the basic facts constituting the offense charged is sufficient.

It is not necessary to allege in the amended information a pattern of overt criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy because as Sec. 3 of R.A. No. 7080 specifically provides that the same is evidentiary and the general rule is that matters of evidence need not be alleged in the information. (Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148468, 01/28/2003; Laurel vs. Abrogar, 483 SCRA 243, March 27, 2006)


● Our rulings have long settled the issue on how the acts or omissions constituting the offense should be made in order to meet the standard of sufficiency. Thus, the offense must be designated by its name given by statute or by reference to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it. The information must also state the acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged (Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148965, February 26, 2002). 


CONSPIRACY

As a Crime

When conspiracy is charged as a crime, the act of conspiring and all the elements of said crime must be set forth in the complaint or information. For example, the crime of conspiracy to commit treason is committed when, in time of war, two or more persons come to an agreement to levy war against the Government or to adhere to the enemies and to give them aid or comfort, and decide to commit it. The elements of this crime are: 

(1) that the offender owes allegiance to the Government of the Philippines; 

(2) that there is a war in which the Philippines is involved; 

(3) that the offender and other person or persons come to an agreement to: (a) levy war against the government, or (b) adhere to the enemies, to give them aid and comfort; and 

(4) that the offender and other person or persons decide to carry out the agreement. 

These elements must be alleged in the information.


As a mode in the commission of the crime

It is enough to allege conspiracy as a mode in the commission of an offense in either of the following manner: 

(1) by use of the word conspire, or its derivatives or synonyms, such as confederate, connive, collude, etc; or 

(2) by allegations of basic facts constituting the conspiracy in a manner that a person of common understanding would know what is intended, and with such precision as would enable the accused to competently enter a plea to a subsequent indictment based on the same facts.

The requirements on sufficiency of allegations are different when conspiracy is not charged as a crime in itself but only as the mode of committing the crime as in the case at bar. There is less necessity of reciting its particularities in the Information because conspiracy is not the gravamen of the offense charged. The conspiracy is significant only because it changes the criminal liability of all the accused in the conspiracy and makes them answerable as co-principals regardless of the degree of their participation in the crime. The liability of the conspirators is collective and each participant will be equally responsible for the acts of others (Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148965, February 26, 2002).


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