DOJ junks Yanson 4 cases versus mother, 2 siblings

Raps filed against Olivia Yanson by her four children were dismissed by the Department of Justice for being “hearsay with inadmissible evidence”.*

The Department of Justice dismissed the complaints filed by the Yanson 4 siblings against their mother, two siblings and four others for alleged perjury, falsification of public documents and qualified theft in connection with the management of Rural Transit Mindanao Inc., Bachelor Express Inc. and Mindanao Star Bus Transport Inc. for being “hearsay with inadmissible evidence.”

Dismissed were the complaint affidavits filed by lawyer Sigfrid Fortun in behalf of the Yanson 4 – Roy, Emily, Ricardo and Celina against their mother Olivia Yanson, their siblings Ginnette Dumancas and Leo Rey Yanson, and Anita Chua, Danie Nicolas Golez, Rey Ardo and Charles Dumancas, a press release from the respondents camp said Saturday, June 18.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Philip L. dela Cruz in a resolution dated April 27, 2022, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Fortun challenging a DOJ Resolution dated Oct. 18, 2021 that dismissed the charges against the Yanson matriarch and her co-accused.

“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 to 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 “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. 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.

What further confounds that matter is that complainants did not attend the preliminary investigation of this case, the DOJ ruling 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 attorney-in-fact,

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.

Under Section 3, Rule 110, as well as Section 3, Rule 113, both of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the affidavit must be subscribed and sworn to by the offended party, not by the offended party’s attorney-in-fact.

In its October 18, 2021 resolution, the DOJ dismissed the complaint filed by the Yanson 4 siblings due to insufficiency of evidence. The DOJ said the complainants also did not execute their respective affidavits.

“Due to the failure of complainants to execute their respective affidavit on said matters and the failure of Atty. Fortun to categorically state that he was physically present during the meetings and events alleged in his complaint-affidavit, the indubitable conclusion is that Atty. Fortun is testifying on matters that he only heard from the complainants which were hearsay in character,” the DOJ said.*

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