SC issues new rule on Precautionary Hold Departure Orders

By Inquirer.net |August 07,2018 - 09:10 PM

THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday has laid down a new rule that would prevent people suspected of committing a crime from going out of the country.

Voting 11-1, the high court approved the Rule on Precautionary Hold Departure Order (PHDO) in place of a watchlist order by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The high court issued the new rule after it struck down the power of the DOJ to prevent the flights of respondents facing criminal complaints under DOJ Circular No. 41.

The PHDO is a written order issued by a court directing the Bureau of Immigration to prevent any person suspected of a crime from going abroad.

The high court said the court shall issue the PHDO “ex parte,” meaning upon the discretion of the court, without notice to the other party. It shall be issued for cases involving crimes where the minimum penalty is at least six years and one day.

The Court said the PHDO may be applied in the same manner as a search warrant may be issued, which means there is no need for preliminary determination of probable cause in the charges against the subject.

It only requires a determination “that there is a high probability that the subject will depart from the Philippines to evade arrest and prosecution of a crime against him or her.”

“The preliminary finding of probable cause is solely based on the complaint and is for the sole purpose of issuing the PHDO and shall be without prejudice to the resolution by the prosecutor of any criminal complaint during the preliminary investigation,” the SC explained.

Under the new rules, a prosecutor may apply for the issuance of PHDO before any regional trial court with territorial jurisdiction over the alleged crime.

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