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35 Osorio v Desierto AUTHOR: October 13, 2005, GR No.

156652 TOPIC: Rule 112, Recourse of Complainant PONTENTE: Chico-Nazario, J. FACTS 1. Dr. Benita Osorio, the principal of a public school (Putong National High School) was accused of Malversation of Public funds. 2. An investigation was conducted by the NBI and the COA. They found: - 5 counts of malversation in the selling of the schools old newspapers - 2 counts of violation of sec. 3e of RA 3019 in the purchasing of school supplies - 3 counts of the same violation for over charging students for fees assessed for the Boy and Girl Scouts 3. submission of affidavits and documents ensued: (not really relevant, but I still included it in case topakin si sir) - Dec. 17, 1998: COA auditors submits sworn affidavits regarding their findings - Jan 27, 1999: Ombudsman of Visayas places Osorio under preventive suspension - Feb. 5, 1999: Ombudsman of Visayas orders Osorio to file counter affidavits - Mar. 1, 1999: Osorio filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a Joint Motion for Reconsideration and Recall of the Preventive Suspension - Mar. 15, 1999: Osorio submits her counter affidavit denying participation in the irregularities. - Jan 12, 2001: the Ombudsman found probable cause - Mar. 7, 2001: Osorio filed an MR and Deferral of Filing or Recall of the Filed Information. 4. Informations were filed before the RTC of Tagbiliran City 5. Osorio filed with the CA under Rule 65 contending that Ombudsman Desierto commited GAD in needing to conduct a clarificatory hearing and GAD in filing the information considering there is an alleged lack of probable cause. 6. CA dismissed the petition. 7. Hence this appeal by certiorari. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that the Ombudsman did not commit any grave abuse of discretion when it opted not to conduct a clarificatory hearing? HELD: No. RATIO: 1. We believe that the former did not gravely abuse its discretion when it found probable cause against petitioner. 2. It is the call of the investigating prosecutor, in the exercise of his sound discretion, whether to conduct a clarificatory hearing or not. As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals, the term may under Subsection (e) of Section 3 of Rule 112 is merely permissive and operates to confer discretion upon the investigating prosecutor to conduct a clarificatory hearing or not. Subsection (e) of Section 3 and of the same rule provides: (e) The investigating officer may set a hearing if there are facts and issues to be clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be present at the hearing but without the right to examine or cross-examine. They may, however, submit to the investigating officer questions which may be asked to the party or witness concerned. 3. If he believes that the evidence before him is sufficient to support a finding of probable cause, he may not hold a clarificatory hearing.