Criminal Law, Remedial Law

Colmenares v. Villar G.R. No. L-27124. May 29, 1970 Illegal Possession of Firearms, Malum Prohibitum, Venue


Petitioner Francisco Colmenares was charged for illegal possession of firearms. He thereafter filed a motion to quash the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. It was claimed that venue was improperly laid, because the firearms mentioned in the complaint were taken from the possession of the accused in the municipality of La Carlota, Negros Occidental, by the La Carlota policemen, and not in La Castellana where the complaint was filed. The motion was denied. Hence, the accused went to the CFI of Negros Occidental in a petition for certiorari, raising the same issue of improper venue. And as prayed for in the petition, a writ of preliminary injunction was issued by said court, restraining the Municipal Judge of La Castellana from proceeding with the trial.

Therein respondents Municipal Judge and Chief of Police of La Castellana contended that although the alleged unlicensed firearms were taken from the custody of the accused by La Carlota policemen such unlawful act of carrying unlicensed firearms started from La Castellana; that the La Carlota policemen intercepted the accused and took the firearms from him only because they were earlier requested, by telephone, by the policemen of La Castellana.

The court ordered the dismissal of the petition for lack of merit.



Whether or not the municipal court of La Castellana has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case for illegal possession of such arms.




There is no merit in the appeal.

It must be remembered that the jurisdiction of the court over a case is determined by the allegations of the complaint or information. Here, the complaint filed with the municipal court of La Castellana recited that the accused was found in possession of two unlicensed firearms in the municipality of La Castellana. That allegation makes the filing of the case in the La Castellana municipal court proper.

Under the Rules, criminal actions shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or province wherein the offense was committed or any one of the essential ingredients thereof took place.’

That the firearms were confiscated from him by the La Carlota policemen within the territorial boundaries of that municipality would not sustain the motion for quashal of the complaint in this case nor affect the merits thereof. It is not altogether improbable that the offense of unlawful possession of firearms could have been committed in La Castellana, as stated in the complaint, and also in La Carlota, as manifested by the appellant.

For, being malum prohibitum the crime is consummated by the very fact of its performance; by the firearms being possessed or held by the accused without proper authorization therefor. The place where the said firearms were finally confiscated and taken away from the accused is immaterial; it could not have added anything to the nature of the unlawful act completed and consummated earlier.

Thus, for purposes of the proceeding instituted in the La Castellana municipal court, it is sufficient that, according to the prosecution, the accused was in possession of the unlicensed firearms while he was in La Castellana. To determine the correct venue, the vital point is the allegation of the situs of the offense charged in the complaint or information, and that is satisfied in this case.



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