BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Department of Justice dismissed as hearsay with inadmissible evidence the complaint affidavits filed by Atty. Sigfrid Fortun on behalf of the Yanson 4 siblings against the Yanson matriarch and her two children for alleged perjury, falsification of public documents and qualified theft in connection with the management of Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI), Bachelor Express Inc. (BEI) and Mindanao Star Bus Transport Inc. (MSBTI).
In a resolution dated April 27, 2022, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Philip dela Cruz denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Fortun challenging the DOJ Resolution dated October 18, 2021.
The 2021 resolution dismissed the charges filed by Fortun, the counsel of the siblings known as the “Yanson 4”, composed of Roy, Emily, Ma. Lourdes Celina and Ricardo Jr. against their sister Ginnette, younger brother Leo Rey, their mother Olivia, Anita Chua, Daniel Nicolas Golez, Rey Ardo and Charles Dumancas.
“Since the very complaint-affidavit executed by Attorney-in-Fact Atty. Sigfrid A. Fortun suffers from an inherent legal flaw or infirmity: hearsay and therefore inadmissible in evidence, there is no need to pass upon the other grounds raised by the former in his motion for reconsideration as the same adverse verdict must necessarily be rendered on said other arguments that are anchored on the same defective complaint-affidavit,” the DOJ said in its resolution of the motion for reconsideration.
The DOJ said that with the failure by the Yanson 4 siblings, as complainants, to attend the preliminary investigation, the complaint-affidavit of Fortun should be “dismissed for being hearsay in nature.”
“A careful reading of the complaint-affidavit executed by Attorney-in-Fact Atty. Sigfrid A. Fortun would readily show that he did not attest that he was personally present during the events/incidents/happenings material in his complaint affidavit like the alleged board meetings, stockholders’ meetings and the like, a press statement from the camp of Leo Rey Yanson, quoting DOJ decision, said.
Such omission is fatal to his complaint as it is an elementary legal principle that hearsay evidence cannot be the basis of probable cause,” the DOJ said.
“Due to their omission, the investigating prosecutor was deprived of the chance or opportunity to clarify from them whether the facts/events/incidents attributed to them by their attorney-in-fact are true,” it said.
The DOJ said that until the very end of the preliminary investigation, the allegations in the complaint-affidavit remains hearsay due to lack of corroboration and failure of the complainants to appear and confirm the veracity of the happening of the facts, as narrated by their counsel.
In his motion for reconsideration, Fortun insisted that under Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, he as attorney-in-fact of the complainants was allowed to verify the complaint filed by his principal.
The DOJ disagreed, saying that Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court applies only to civil proceedings. “Even in civil proceedings, a further reading of Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court would show that the rules still require the affiant to attest that the allegations in the pleadings are true and correct, based on his or her personal knowledge or based on authentic documents.
However, a careful perusal of the allegations in the subject complaint would show that Atty. Sigfrid A. Fortun failed to abide by the said rule as he never attested and claimed that he was personally present during the facts/events/incidents narrated in his complaint-affidavit,” it said.*