Accused, Dominador Bustos, assisted by counsel, appeared at the preliminary investigation, wherein the justice of the peace informed him of the charges and asked him if he pleaded guilty or not guilty, to which he entered the plea of not guilty.
Then his counsel moved that the complainant present her evidence so that she and her witnesses could be examined and cross-examined in the manner and form provided by law.
The fiscal and the private prosecutor objected, citing Section 11 of Rule 108, which provided that the testimony of the witnesses need not be reduced to writing but that of the defendant shall be taken in writing and subscribed by him.
The objection was sustained.
The accused’s counsel announced his intention to renounce his right to present evidence, and the justice of the peace forwarded the case to the CFI.
Bustos filed a motion with the CFI, praying that the record of the case be remanded to the justice of the peace of the court of origin, in order that the petitioner may cross-examine the complainant and her witnesses in connection with their testimony, by reason of which, warrant had been issued for the arrest of the accused.
The motion was denied .
Bustos filed a petition before this Court alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Judge.
Whereupon, the SC ruled that there was none.
Hence, the instant Motion for Reconsideration.
Whether or not Sec. 11 of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is a substantive law which thereby infringes Section 13, Article VIII, of the Constitution, thus null and void.
Before proceeding it is necessary to distinguish substantive law from procedure.
Substantive law is that part of the law which creates, defines, and regulates rights as opposed to objective or procedural law which prescribes the method of enforcing rights.
Substantive rights may be created or granted either in the Constitution or in any branch of the law.
On the other hand, Section 13, Article VIII, Of the Constitution prescribes that “the Supreme Court shall have power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, but said rules shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.”
The Court said, Section 11 of Rule 108, like its predecessors, is an adjective law and not a substantive law or substantive right.
While section 11 of Rule 108 denies the defendant the right to cross-examine witnesses in a preliminary investigation, his right to present his witnesses remains unaffected, and his constitutional right to be informed of the charges against him both at such investigation and at the trial is unchanged.