No arrest for hit-and-run driver unless court issues order, rules state

Jose Antonio Sanvicente, owner of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) that bumped and ran over a security guard in Mandaluyong City who surrendered to the national police, can no longer be arrested as of now.


MANILA, Philippines — Jose Antonio Sanvicente, owner of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) that bumped and ran over a security guard in Mandaluyong City who later turned himself up, can no longer be arrested as of now.

Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. on Wednesday said Sanvicente, who surrendered earlier at Camp Crame, can no longer be subjected to inquest proceedings as the period for it has already lapsed.

“So they will have their day in court, his day in court, dadaan pa po kasi ito sa preliminary investigation kasi hindi na po natin siya pwedeng i-inquest due to the lapse of time.  So do’n sa PI at pagmakita ng piskal na meron talagang probable cause or makita nila na merong kaso talaga, so it will be filed,” he added.

Under the rules, only people apprehended without a warrant may be subjected to inquest proceedings.

“The inquest proceeding is an informal and summary investigation conducted by a public prosecutor in criminal cases involving persons arrested and detained without the benefit of warrant of arrest issued by the Court,” the DOJ said in its 2020 guidelines on Receiving of Criminal Complaints for Inquest Proceedings.

Under the rules, a warrantless arrest can only be done if the person is about to commit, is committing, or has just committed a crime. As 10 days have passed since the supposed crime was committed, Sanvicente cannot be arrested anymore.

This means Sanvicente can only be detained if the prosecution finds probable cause and files a case before a Regional Trial Court, which would then issue an arrest order against the suspect.

Sanvicente is facing frustrated murder and abandoning the victim complaints from the Mandaluyong Police after he rammed through a security guard along Doña Julia Vargas Avenue.

As a result, the victim sustained several injuries and had to be monitored at the hospital’s intensive care unit.

READ: Security guard injured after hit-and-run incident in Mandaluyong 

Mandaluyong officers tried to pursue Sanvicente, but he was not found at his supposed residence in Quezon City.

Lawyer Danny Macalino, Sanvicente’s counsel, earlier said that authorities were looking at the wrong house, as the driver did not reside with his parents.

For Danao, the PNP considers the case solved on their part as it is now up to the prosecutor and the court to determine whether there is probable cause for the charges — and if Sanvicente should be arrested.  He would also refrain from commenting on the case to avoid preempting the legal proceedings.

“Well in as far as the Philippine National Police po is concerned, we consider this case solved no, considering that we already filed the case and ‘yon pong ating person of interest or the suspect voluntarily gave up to clear matters at hand.  So we are now leaving to the prosecution’s office, to the courts, on the proper venue to answer the matters at hand,” Danao told reporters in a briefing.

“Sila na po ang bahala d’yan and we do not want to further comment because it might prejudice the results of the matter at hand sa court.  So as of now they voluntarily gave up, makikita niyo po later ‘yong vehicle na ginamit, sinama na rin po nila sa pag-surrender ‘yong sasakyan mismo kasi ‘yon po ang isa sa mga pinaka-importante na ebidensya na kailangan nating mahawakan,” he said.

Danao also hopes that the appearance of Sanvicente would clarify things and end rumors about his alleged ties to powerful personalities.

“I just hope that with the coming out in the open of the alleged suspect of that incident would clarify things, would clarify the matters at hand.  So pabayaan po natin sila na sagutin nila in the proper forum kung ano pa ‘yong magiging kaso po na kanya pong sasagutin,” he noted.

READ: LTO revokes driver’s license of SUV owner in Mandaluyong hit-and-run