Section 1. Institution of Criminal Actions

   - It is an action by which the State prosecutes a person
     for an act or omission punishable by law.

For offenses which require preliminary investigation: By filing
the complaint with the proper officer for preliminary investigation.
   - Refers to a complaint-affidavit, and is different from the
     complaint defined in Section 3 of Rule 110.
   - Preliminary investigation is required for offenses where
     the penalty prescribed by law is at least 4 years, 2 months
     and 1 day of imprisonment without regard to the fine (Rule
     112, Sec. 1, Par. 2).

For all other offenses, or for offenses which are penalized by
law with lower than at least 4 years, 2 months and 1 day without
regard to the fine:Instituted directly with the MTC and MCTC,
or the complaint is filed with the Office of the Prosecutor.

In Manila and other chartered cities, the complaint shall be
filed with the Office of the Prosecutor unless otherwise
provided in their charters.

NOTE: A complaint for offenses cognizable by the RTC is NOT
filed directly with the RTC either for purposes of preliminary
investigation or for commencement of the criminal prosecution.

DOES NOT APPLY: To offenses subject to summary procedure.

Effect of institution of the Criminal Action: The institution
of the criminal action interrupts the running of the period of
prescription of the offense charged.

      UNLESS: otherwise provided in special laws.

Act No. 3323 governs the prescriptive periods of violations of
special laws, or offenses other than those penalized under the
Revised Penal Code.

NOTE: With respect to offenses penalized by special laws, the
filing of the complaint or information in court is the one that
interrupts the prescriptive period and not the filing of the
complaint in the proper office for purposes of conducting a
preliminary investigation (Zaldivar v. Reyes, 211 SCRA 277).

The filing of a complaint for purposes of preliminary
investigation starts the prosecution process.

1. in writing
2. in the name of the People of the Philippines
3. Against all persons who appear to be responsible for the
   offense involved.

Who is the real offended party?
   - The People of the Philippines, but since the crime is also
     an outrage against the offended party, he is entitled to
     intervene in its prosecution in cases where the civil action
     is impliedly instituted therein.