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LIBEL CASE ROLANDO GUYUD, Complainant, A.M. No. MTJ-03-1469 January 13, 2003 -versusJUDGE RENATO P.

PINE, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, ECHAGUE, ISABELA, Respondent. DECISION MENDOZA, J.,

This is a complaint against Judge Renato P. Pine of the Municipal Trial Court of Echague, Isabela for misconduct due to gross ignorance of the law. Complainant Rolando Guyud, together with eight other accused, all residents of Barangay Gumbaoan, Echague, Isabela, were charged with libel [1] by a certain Jeffrey Iloreta, also a resident of Barangay Gumbaoan, Echague, Isabela. The criminal complaint [2] against complainant and the other accused alleged: chan robles virtual law library That on or about July 2, 2001 at Barangay Gumbaoan, Echague, Isabela and within the preliminary jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused conspired and confederated [and] made certification as barangay officials of this barangay, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously wrote "THAT UNDERSIGNED IS NOT A LAW ABIDING MEMBER OF THIS BARANGAY AND [HAS] MANY BAD RECORDS AND [IS] FACING PENDING CASES IN COURT" and which words tend to cause dishonor, discredit or contempt over the person of the undersigned and his family to the damage and prejudice of the same.cralaw CONTRARY TO LAW. chan robles virtual law library Echague, Isabela, July 12, 2001. (original signed) JEFFREY ILORETA Complainant On August 14, 2001, Atty. Marcelino J. Alzate, Branch Clerk of Court of MTC of Echague, issued a subpoena [3] requiring complainant and his co-accused to appear before the court on September 5, 2001, at 8:30 in the morning, for preliminary investigation. On August 28, 2001, the accused moved for the dismissal of the case on the ground that in cases of libel, except for the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, only a municipal trial court judge in the capital town of the province can conduct a preliminary investigation. Since Echague is not the capital town of Isabela, respondent had no authority to conduct a preliminary investigation in this case. [4] Respondent denied the accused’s motion and, on September 5, 2001, proceeded with the preliminary investigation. On the same day, he issued a warrant for their arrest, fixing the bail bond of each at P8,000.00. [5] The accused, including herein complainant, were arrested while they were attending the hearing of a case in court. The following day, September 6, 2001, they filed a motion for the reduction of their bail to P4,000.00, which respondent granted on the same day. After posting their bail bond in the reduced amount, the accused were ordered released. In his affidavit dated September 12, 2001, complainant alleged that he suffered anxiety and was deeply prejudiced because of his arrest. chan robles virtual law library On September 19, 2001, respondent issued an order recalling the warrant of arrest he had issued and remanded the records of the case to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for the holding of a preliminary investigation. In his order, respondent stated: [6] The accused stand charged of the crime of Libel by means of writings defined and penalized under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code which carries a penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, hence within the jurisdiction of first level courts pursuant to [B.P. Blg.] 129, as amended.cralaw Moreover, pursuant to Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code on General Provisions relative to the crime of Libel, jurisdiction to try Libel cases rests with the Regional Trial Court and the preliminary investigation to be conducted by the Provincial or City Fiscal of the province or city, or by the Municipal Court of the City or Capital of the Province where such action may be instituted. chan robles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, premises considered, let the Records of the case be forwarded to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for the conduct of the Preliminary Investigation.cralaw The Warrant Of Arrest earlier issued by this Court and the bailbonds posted by all of the accused are hereby set aside and/or cancelled having been issued/ordered beyond the Court’s jurisdiction.cralaw SO ORDERED.cralaw Echague, Isabela, September 19, 2001. (original signed) RENATO P. PINE Acting Judge In his comment [7] on the complaint, respondent admitted the foregoing facts. He explains that he is saddled with work and, therefore, is liable to make mistakes. He claims that as soon as he realized his error, he lost no time to correct it by remanding the case to the Prosecutor’s Office, which has jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigations in libel cases, and ordering the release of the accused. His comment reads: chan robles virtual law library I humbly admit having conducted a preliminary examination in Criminal Case No. 5807 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Rolando Guyud, et al." for "Libel By Means of Writings Or Similar Means" for the purpose of determining a probable cause for the issuance of a Warrant of Arrest considering that the penalty for the crime is only prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods hence, within the jurisdiction of first level courts pursuant to [B.P. Blg.] 129, as amended. The corresponding Warrant of Arrest was subsequently issued on September 5, 2001. The following day, September 6, 2001, five (5) of the [nine (9)] accused, namely: Rolando Guyud, Leon Saet [Jr.], Gil Rivera, Bonifacio Anchola, Sr. and Efren Morada came to Court and filed a Motion To Reduce bail bond by virtue of which the Court lowered the bail bond from P8,000.00 to P4,000.00 On that same day, the aforenamed accused filed their bail bond[s] and were ordered released. On September 19, 2001, after the Court realized having acted beyond its jurisdiction, an Order was issued setting aside the Warrant of Arrest and canceling the bail bonds posted by the accused, copy of the said Order is hereto attached as Annex "A." The Court then forwarded the Records of the Case to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for the conduct of the Preliminary Investigation pursuant to Art. 360 of the RPC, as amended. Meanwhile, the bailbonds of the accused were correspondingly returned to each of them by the Clerk of Court. chan robles virtual law library Your Honor, I only have Wednesdays and Thursdays of every week to attend to cases before the MTC of Echague, Isabela. I conduct preliminary examinations/investigations in the morning of every Wednesdays and make Resolutions and/or Decisions in the afternoon. I hear Civil Cases in the morning of every Thursdays and hear Criminal Cases in the afternoon. Considering the number of cases (which were already considerably reduced) pending with this Court which I have to attend to, plus the cases pending before the MCTC of Jones-San Agustin and the MCTC of Ramon-San Isidro which I also handle, not to mention four (4) special cases assigned to me before the MTC of Cordon, Isabela. I am vulnerable to committing lapses and/or mistakes. At any rate, the mistake has already been corrected with the issuance of the Order dated September 19, 2001, Annex "A" hereof. Practically, the complaint has become moot and academic and the complainant was not damaged because he was ordered released on the same day he submitted himself to the Court and posted his reduced bail which was later returned to him. chan robles virtual law library Your Honor, I humbly beg for leniency and understanding even as I promise to be more vigilant next time.cralaw Very respectfully yours, (original signed) RENATO P. PINE Acting Judge In its report, dated August 9, 2002, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommends that the case be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter and that respondent judge be fined in the amount of five thousand (P5,000.00) pesos for gross ignorance of the law for conducting a preliminary investigation on the case. Citing the legal maxim "ignorance of the law excuses no one," the OCA rejects respondent’s explanation and notes that the fact that the accused moved to dismiss the case should have put him on guard that the said case was erroneously filed in his sala.cralaw The recommendation is well taken.cralaw Art. 360 of the Revised Penal Code indeed provides that preliminary investigations of libel cases shall be conducted by the provincial or city prosecutor of the province or city or by the municipal court of the city or capital of the province in which the criminal action may be filed. In this case, the MTC of Echague, over which respondent presides, is not a municipal trial court of the city or of the capital of the province and, therefore, has no jurisdiction to conduct the preliminary investigation of Criminal Case No. 5807. This is a matter which respondent, as presiding judge, ought to know. In Dumo v. Perez, [8] this Court said that although judges cannot be held to account or answer criminally, civilly or administratively for every erroneous judgment or decision rendered by him in good faith, it is imperative that they should have basic knowledge of the law. The jurisdiction of the court over which one presides is such basic matter. To be able to render justice and to maintain public confidence in the legal system, judges must keep abreast of the laws and jurisprudence. Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that judges must be the embodiment of

[12] serious illness justified the inability of the respondent judge to decide before his retirement from the service seven (7) criminal cases and three (3) civil cases within the 90-day reglementary period.00 for gross ignorance of the law for issuing orders impleading the owners of the motor vehicle as the accused in a criminal case for reckless imprudence instituted as a result of a vehicular accident involving the said vehicle. But. he lost no time in declaring himself without jurisdiction to continue acting in the case and immediately ordered the release of complainant and his co-accused.00. mitigated the imposable penalty. as soon as he realized his mistake. Jr. the Court considered the absence of bad faith.00 to be imposed on the respondent but the Court lowered it to P2. [9] the respondent judge was fined P3. Bumanglag.000.00. respondent’s liability is somewhat mitigated by his candor in admitting his mistake and promptly correcting it.000.00.cralaw .00 for ordering the release of an accused in a criminal case even though he had paid the bail bond merely by means of a check and did not post a cash bond. [11] the respondent judge issued an order authorizing demolition of the improvements on the subject property without first conducting a hearing. as recommended by the Office of the Court Administrator. Quizon. [13] the Court considered the attenuating circumstances of the respondent judge’s serious illness and his heavy caseload and lowered OCA’s recommended fine of P20.000.00) with ADMONITION to be more assiduous in the study of cases and the applicable statute and jurisprudence.competence. Obviously. In Chavez v.000. respondent Judge Renato P. chan robles virtual law library In Cacayoren v. Escañan.000. In Re: Cases Left Undecided by Judge Narciso M.000. [10] the respondent judge was fined P5. would thus appear to be an appropriate sanction to impose on respondent.000. In Office of the Court Administrator v.00 in each case filed against him for misapplying the rulings of the Court by taking cognizance of an action for damages based on malicious prosecution even if there was as yet no acquittal nor final dismissal rendered by the court in the criminal cases. he did not appreciate the point of law raised when his authority to conduct the preliminary investigation in the libel case was first questioned. chan robles virtual law library In the case at bar. He was found guilty of gross ignorance of the law and ordered to pay a fine of P3. Pine of the Municipal Trial Court of Echague.00. Fernandez.000. integrity and independence.000. A fine of P5. or any showing that an erring judge was impelled by some ulterior ends or ill motives and. Suller. [14] respondent judge was fined P5. they cannot live up to this expectation if they act in a case without jurisdiction through ignorance.cralaw SO ORDERED.000. accordingly. Areola.. Apparently. Isabela. In Ubando-Paras v. The OCA recommended a fine of P5.cralaw In other cases.cralaw WHEREFORE.00 to P5. is found GUILTY of gross ignorance of the law and is hereby ordered to pay a FINE in the amount of five thousand pesos (P5. In Bajet v. or the willful intention to prejudice a party litigant.

conspiring. otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974. 139670 January 21. at around 3:00 p. 95-145780.00) and the Equitable Bank (P6. 1995. the convoy stopped. unlawfully and feloniously attack with firearms the four (4) vehicles convoy which were then traveling towards the general direction of Ermita. 2002 -versus- AHMAD LANGALEN Y DEMALEN A. G.J.cralaw Upon their arraignment on 25 October 1995. Manila.00) in Binondo. Castro was able to return fire and so did the two police escorts. On even date. No action thereon was taken by the trial court. willfully." HASIM UPAM Y ABUBACAR. but while running. Plaintiff-Appellee. Castro sustained gunshot . and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.A.000. 1995 along Palacio and Orosa Streets. 95-145780. did then and there. together with two police escorts. Intramuros. No. SPO2 Romeo and SPO3 Ricardo Gonzales. pistol. in Criminal Case No.m. Manila.cralaw No bail was recommended for the temporary liberty of accused-appellants. reads as follows: That at about 3:15 o'clock [sic] in the afternoon of September 8. three (3) persons were killed and several others injured. Castro and his companion jumped from their car to seek cover across the street. goods or articles.R.000.PIRACY PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. which holds office in Ermita. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary DECISION DAVIDE. Trial on the merits proceeded on various dates. Manila. they filed a motion for bail on the ground that the evidence against them was weak. C. Branch 18. JR. circulation or transportation of persons.700.00) Pesos. At this point. under which accused-appellants were tried and convicted.00.000.000. Of the three occupants of the lead car.45 cal. Samsudin Talib y Limba (hereafter SAMSUDIN) and Abubakar Dagadas y Anggubala (hereafter ABUBAKAR) guilty of violation of Presidential Decree No. confederating and mutually helping one another. a convoy of nine male employees and/or private security guards of VMG Money Changer. The money was earlier withdrawn from the Metrobank (P7. with intent to gain. SAMSUDIN TALIB Y LIMBA. Loaded in the lead car driven by Zeny Santillan with Dante Castro and Gilbert Yu as passengers were two leather bags and one paper bag of money in the total sum [sic] of P13.cralaw On nearing the intersection of P. 532.600.000. the above-named accused.600. and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of death. because the traffic lights [sic] turned red. and other persons whose identities are still unknown and are at large. together with MOHAMAD MAMISON whose case is still pending preliminary investigation with the Department of Justice. Accused-Appellants. Later. "KUMANDER KAMLON. a street or road used by persons or vehicles for movement. suddenly appeared and fired at the convoy. only Castro was armed with a . accused-appellants entered a plea of not guilty and waived their right to a pre-trial. Luna Streets.cralaw The trial court summarized the evidence for the prosecution as follows: chan robles virtual law library The record shows that on September 8. (only their eyes and noses were exposed) and armed with rifles and handguns.: Under automatic review is the decision [1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. AND ABUBAKAR DAGADAS y ANGGUBALA.. Burgos and Gen. Manila and which occupants were then carrying money owned by proprietors/owners of VMG Money Changer amounting to Fourteen Million Seven Hundred Thousand (P14. Hasim Upam y Abubacar (hereafter HASIM). several men in fatigue uniform with bonnets covering their faces. (Philippine Currency) and thereafter carted away said money contained in two (2) duffle [sic] bags and one (1) paper bag and on the occasion of such robbery. more or less. finding accused-appellants Ahmad Langalen y Demalen (hereafter AHMAD).K. chan robles virtual law library The accusatory portion of the information [2] in Criminal Case No. were on board four cars travelling southward along Palacio Street.

nor did it consider the testimonies of some defense witnesses. was presented as a prosecution witness. (both unlicensed). Mamison executed a supplemental sworn statement. On September 15. Taguig.38 cal. his participation in the robbery and implicated the four accused as among those involved. died on the spot due to gunshot wounds. Manila. Executive Judge William Bayhon of the RTC of Manila.45 cal.up by Mamison as participants in the robbery. At the NBI Headquarters. and in connection therewith. Mamison saw Accused Talib board an L-300 Van together with [the] other men of accused Langalen. SPO3 Gonzales. Mohammad revealed that his common-law wife. Halina Gulam. The gunmen swiped the P13. and two other men. Exhibit "B". The two have known each other for a long time when they were both residing in Cotabato.000. The four accused. and he was instructed to withdraw P7. Tiborcio Tomas and Tony Diquit also suffered gunshot wounds. He affirmed the truthfulness of the two sworn statements he had given to the NBI. Mamison asked Accused Langalen for a loan of P100. Exhibit "C".000. Nortin Ismael and Ibrahim Usman. the court has gathered that on September 8. but nevertheless invited the latter to their office for investigation. In the process. we deem it necessary to summarize the testimonies of the other witnesses in the case at bar. Canapi was tasked to withdraw P6.m. against Mamison and raided his house on No. And the declaration of Mamison was reduced into writing. This is rather lamentable in light of the gravity of the offense charged and the number of witnesses presented by the prosecution and the defense. He remained in the bank to settle the balance of the office account. Gelvez informed his office that the money was ready for pick-up at Metrobank. He eventually turned over the P8. Mamison asked Accused Langalen where his men were going. Then suddenly he heard rapid gunfire and he saw his companions shooting at the occupants of the convoy of four cars that were on standstill. On September 10. at around 8:00 a.000. [3] The trial court did not recount the testimonies of the other witnesses for the prosecution.000.cralaw On September 22.00. Talib and Daganas. Accused Upam instructed Mamison to inform them if he would see [sic] any policeman. From his testimony. Metro Manila. 1995. were arrested for illegal possession of firearms. Normina Kamid. chan robles virtual law library On reaching Intramuros.000. Metro Manila. and wife. the NBI operatives armed with a search warrant. Mamison ran to the direction of the City Hall. Mamison visited Accused Langalen (alias Kumander Kamlon) at the latter's house in Taguig. knew some of the people involved in the robbery. right leg and right armpit. Except (for) Mamison who is [sic] to act as look out. In the afternoon of 8 September 1995. but he rejoined that he has [sic] no money and suggested that Mamison instead go with his (Langalen's) men who were about to leave. 1995. raided the house of Accused Ahmad Langalen on RIN. both at the Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz branch in Binondo. where he was a farmer before he took up residence in Metro Manila. revolver. is perhaps one of the shortest ponencias we have reviewed where the death penalty has been imposed. chan robles virtual law library [National Bureau of Investigation] Agent Moises Tamayo was assigned to investigate the robbery.cralaw We are thus constrained to painstakingly examine and assess the evidence the parties presented and offered. Artemio Sacaging did not find any illegal firearms in the house of Mamison. On the basis of this information. And after about three hours of questioning and friendly persuasion by Agent Tamayo. he was with his co-worker Bong Canapi.000 from the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank) and P1. pistol. Mamison accepted the offer of Accused Langalen and boarded an owner type jeep together with Accused Upan. consisting of slightly more than four (4) pages. In the meantime. Rembo Fort Bonifacio. the men in the jeep were all equipped with firearms.cralaw In the trial of the case. Thereupon the jeep parked 20 meters away where the L300 Van later followed and also parked. This decision. Ermita. Manila and Dian Street. and for moral certainty. del Pilar Street. Allan Sulaybar. who is in the custody of the NBI under the witness protection program. 158 24th Avenue. and live ammunitions for the two handguns. Alarmed and scared. Mindanao.. one . Mamison was made to get off from the jeep at a street corner near the Round Table Restaurant on Gen. 1995. the NBI procured a search warrant from Hon. Two other members of the convoy. Agent Tamayo met Gulam. Mamison. his co-employees who met him at the bank. Mamison finally admitted in the presence of his lawyer. the four accused were positively identified in a police line. The NBI operatives led by Atty. Hasam Mohammad was introduced to Agent Tamayo by the latter's friend.000 from the Citytrust Banking Corporation.600. Atty. Canapi confirmed that the P1. After these transactions. Mamison saw the occupants of the jeep and the L-300 Van get off from the vehicles armed with handguns and rifles. where the operatives found and confiscated one . while SPO2 Romeo suffered gunshot wounds in his right thigh. 1995. Wanting to earn some money. Senior Agents Serafin Gil and NBI Special Investigators Gregorio Tumagan and Rene Sagun. Makati.000 to Dante Castro and Gilbert Chua. Among his duties was to withdraw money from the bank. but he was told by the latter to just go with his men and he (Mamison).000 he withdrew from Equitable Bank had also been handed to Castro and Chua. where he boarded a passenger jeepney and went home.cralaw Witness Luis Gelvez was a bank representative of Montes Moveo Corporation.000 from the nearby Equitable Bank & Trust Company (Equitable Bank). Upam. and he declared that he is from Cotabato City. would later know their destination. Exhibit "1". Maharlika. which rendered him unconscious for a few minutes. Exhibits "B" and "C".wounds in his right thigh and left buttock. Luna Street. Makati. Langalen. who were all in the house of accused Langalen at the time of the raid. [4] chan robles virtual law library . on the early morning of September 19. The entire collection was to be delivered to the VMG Money Changer branches at M.600.H. Perfecto Caparas. who confided to him that Mohammad Mamison was one of those involved in the robbery and she executed a written statement on the matter. Langalen and Daganas. who was inside the last car of the convoy.00 from the lead car of the ambushed convoy and drove away in their vehicles.

they proceeded to Metrobank. he denied if he could still identify the malefactors. Subsequently. He described the suspect as between 40 and 45 years old. One of their drivers was also injured. about 5'6" and 150 pounds. Neither could he identify them as their faces were concealed. Mamison returned to his residence carrying a large brown envelope. the cashier of VMG Money Changer. wearing green fatigue uniforms and bonnets. He also confirmed that during his investigation. alighted from the car. There were five others who were wounded. died on the spot.[6] The money Castro collected from Gelvez and Canapi allegedly amounted to P15. testified that he was at their office in the afternoon of 8 September 1995 when he received a call from Luis Gelvez. and crawled under it. while another police escort received three gunshots wounds. he submitted five progress reports [11] on the case. He immediately checked the compartment of each car and discovered that all the money was gone. However. Investigation revealed that the suspects used four cars. Mamison eventually signed two sworn statements which also bore counsel's signature. while waiting for a green light at the corner of P. Castro also received from a bank representative a paper bag which he placed beside his leg. Before boarding the car. all members of the convoy team. she asked where he was since she heard from the office's two-way radio that there were fatalities. SPO3 Ricardo Gonzales. he saw three other men in fatigue uniform and wearing bonnets. He categorically denied that any of their assailants were inside the courtroom. From there. [12] The gist of the testimony of Mohammad Mamison is contained in the factual findings of the trial court which was earlier quoted. where Gelvez was waiting. He prepared a police report and a sketch [10] of the crime scene. He and Canapi immediately proceeded to the VMG Money Changer. took pictures and gathered available evidence for laboratory analysis. The suspect escaped in a red car. who apparently died on the spot. but he was hit in the right thigh. Gulam overheard Mamison and his companions discussing the division of their loot. Tamayo was able to persuade Mamison to give a statement with the assistance of counsel. and returned fire. He also saw the dead body of their police escort inside a vehicle. all with multiple bullet holes. Tamayo admitted investigating a certain Halima Gulam a week after the shootout. She had also disclosed that on the day after the shootout. On their way back to the office. Binondo branch. At the scene of the shootout. [5] Witness Dante Castro. He told Canapi to check the situation while he opted to park the car and walk toward Intramuros. The entire collection was taken by their assailants. The two bags were kept in the car's compartment while the paper bag was hidden under his seat. On their way to Ermita. whom Tamayo recommended. hitting one of their assailants.[8] Witness PO3 Rodolfo de Castro was in the vicinity of the incident when he heard the gunshots. he saw that some of his companions had been wounded. His team made an ocular inspection. opened the door. AHMAD's home was raided. He saw four cars parked one after the other. He was told to open the compartment of the car. Altogether. They exchanged fire.Gelvez called up his wife. Before he ran out of bullets. where the two obtained another bag. immediately fired at them. He also discovered that the money was gone. before proceeding to the Equitable Bank to get the money withdrawn by Bong Canapi. he saw a man in a long-sleeved brown barong tagalog armed with a baby armalite. Along with ten companions in a convoy of four cars. He received the money contained in a knapsack and a brown paper bag and kept it inside the car compartment. after the NBI assumed jurisdiction over the investigation of the case and Mamison's involvement therein was determined. She had informed him that the participants of the crime were Mamison. Accused-appellants were apparently never mentioned by her. which were stored in two bags and a paper bag. who instructed him to fetch the money the latter had just withdrawn. Burgos and Palacio Streets in Intramuros.000. Instead. After the shootout. He immediately took cover under the dashboard of the car. A convoy of four cars left the office and proceeded to Metrobank. which was also placed in the car's compartment. He dove for cover.38 and . Castro and his companion alighted to go inside the bank and they returned after a couple of minutes with Castro toting a bag.45 revolvers and ammunition. Datu Jimmy and Datu Aries. [14] . with fair complexion and chinky eyes. [13] chan robles virtual law library On cross-examination. which he chased in vain. Mamison never mentioned the names of accused-appellants. where he identified accused-appellants as the perpetrators of the crime under investigation. Accordingly. where Castro placed the bag. All four vehicles were riddled with bullets and the police were already at the scene of the incident. In the last car was an unidentified person. He also learned that their police escort.000. [7] chan robles virtual law library Witness Senen Santillan.cralaw Witness Moises Tamayo was the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent who took the statement of Mohammad Mamison in relation to the incident of 8 September 1995. They proceeded to Equitable Bank. The men. Binondo branch. He reloaded his gun then jumped out of the car to seek cover. he was assigned to drive for Castro and his companion to Binondo. He saw four men get off a green car in front of them. There he saw the convoy of four cars used by Castro. On the way. to inquire if Castro had already arrived. which rendered him unconscious. recalled that in the afternoon of 8 September 1995. he saw at least four men in green and brown fatigue uniforms who suddenly fired at them with their rifles. they encountered heavy traffic near the city hall. a driver at the Montes Moveo Corporation. Accused-appellants were eventually arrested and were properly identified by Mamison. The gunfire went on for about five minutes. He was certain that there was no owner-type jeep or L-300 van involved in the shootout. [9] Witness SPO3 Pio Inocencio was another policeman who arrived at the crime scene after the incident. a member of the security force of the VMG Money Changer. he went back to the VMV Money Changer. resulting in the confiscation of unlicensed . they were ambushed.

He gave said copy to AHMAD's nephew upon learning that AHMAD was accused of the robbery that occurred that same afternoon. Under the circumstances they could not be afforded a fair trial. signing in at 6:00 a. The trial court likewise denied the same for lack of merit. The lower portion of the deposit slip bore the bank's machine validation imprint "08SEP95 14:38:09. [17] chan robles virtual law library AHMAD's testimony was corroborated by Reynaldo Bandali. In the afternoon of 8 September 1995. On 22 September 1995. located at the Ortigas Center. It was routine for the security force to assemble 30 minutes prior to the assumption of their duty to verify their attendance. Laguio. He was certain that HASIM was at his post of assignment as his duty was from 7:00 a. affirmed that HASIM was in Levels 23 and 24 of the hotel the whole day of 8 September 1995. whereas SAMSUDIN was a complete stranger to him. Officer-in-Charge Pepito Alapatin. each guard was required to make a personal call every fifteen to thirty minutes to the security office. Union Bank Assistant Vice-President. In addition. On the day of the incident in question. HASIM continued reporting for work until the time of his arrest on the third week of September.m. with whom he lived. He was certain that between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. [21] As Internal Security Officer of the Manila Galleria Suites.m. denied the motion for lack of merit.m.000. and only leaving at 7:30 p. however. he went to Union Bank. [19] Accused-appellant HASIM was a security guard employed by the Action Force Security Agency. a stranger as far as he was concerned. whom they accused of being biased against people charged with theft and robbery. so there was no reason why Mamison would implicate them in the crime. Taguig. [22] On cross-examination. Pasig City.. [20] The testimony of HASIM was confirmed by Pepito Alapatin. At the NBI headquarters. he was in the bank's United Nations Avenue branch. They alleged that the questions he addressed to the witnesses were primarily aimed at assisting the prosecution and securing the accused-appellants' conviction. he admitted that he had known him for about a year since Mamison used to live with his uncle.m. HASIM is also his uncle. United Nations Avenue branch. Chief Security Conrad Banal. Manila. He accommodated AHMAD's request and even entertained him in his office.m. He acknowledged that AHMAD is his uncle. he was in the mosque with other churchgoers. Alapatin was at the Manila Galleria Suites to inspect the security force of which HASIM was a member. On the date in question. He explained that apart from the two-hour routine inspection he conducted.m. HASIM was present for the assembly. him on duty that whole day. Jr. Security Inspector Harold Garcia as well. HASIM and ABUBAKAR were arrested at his home and brought to the NBI for investigation. he was identified as one of the perpetrators of the crime by Mamison. accused-appellants filed their demurrer to evidence. HASIM left the hotel only after 7:00 p. [16] AHMAD acknowledged that HASIM and ABUBAKAR are his relatives. and stayed until 3:20 p. From 1993 to 1995 he was assigned at the Manila Galleria Suites. Harold Garcia was tasked to inspect every two hours if the guards were at their posts. in time for the assembly briefing of the security force. [23] chan robles virtual law library Nicanor Armisa. he exchanged pleasantries with Reynaldo Bandali. His second and last confrontation with Mamison was on the day the latter testified against them in court.[24] Accused-appellant ABUBAKAR. who identified them as the perpetrators of a robbery committed in Intramuros.m. He presented the bank's copy of the deposit slip [15] made in his name and under Savings Account No. 002-103895-8. representing the church collection. It was there that he first met Mamison. He lived with his uncle AHMAD. They never had any misunderstanding with him. He had just come from a meeting at about 2:30 p.cralaw After the presentation of the evidence for the prosecution.In the course of the trial.m. arriving thereat at 5:00 p. Manila. Thereafter. Harold Garcia and Nicanor Armisa. accused-appellants all raised the defense of alibi and established the following facts: AHMAD was the administrator of a mosque in Bicutan. He distinctly recalled that day because when he learned from the news that HASIM had been arrested. S. He did not know Mamison and he had no misunderstanding with him. a resident of Taguig." After making the deposit. HASIM was at his post at the guest floor level after conducting his routine inspection. Garcia declared that it was impossible for HASIM to have left his post without the knowledge of hotel personnel. Assistant Vice President of Union Bank. He knew that it could help AHMAD prove his innocence. He confirmed the bank's copy of the deposit slip [18] for that particular transaction. HASIM was among the guards detailed at the hotel. Garcia attested that on 8 September 1995. Bandali joined the bank in 1990 as the bank's overseas remittance manager. when he saw AHMAD waiting by his office. as his co-security guard Nicanor Armisa saw. so he cannot explain why he was linking them to the robbery. he was on duty. he. roving guards of the hotel conducted supplementary inspection. As to state witness Mamison. accused-appellants moved for the inhibition of Presiding Judge Perfecto A. to 7:00 p. to deposit P40. arguing that the prosecution failed to establish the identity of the perpetrators of the crime and that the testimony of state witness Mohammad Mamison was not credible as to warrant their conviction. he went home. On 22 September. He arrived at 2:30 p. he was arrested by NBI agents for his alleged involvement in a recent hold-up. on 8 September 1995.m. he knew it was impossible for him to have been involved in the crime because HASIM was on duty the whole day of 8 September 1995. was a water delivery boy for the mosque in their neighborhood. Manila. HASIM arrived at the hotel before 7:00 a.cralaw In the afternoon of 8 September 1995.m. In the afternoon of 8 September 1995. AHMAD left the bank at about 3:20 p. as was his habit whenever he visits the bank. At about the time of the shootout in Intramuros.m. A missed call would alert the security office for an immediate investigation. He could . The trial court. on 8 September 1995. a house detective of the Manila Galleria Suites. AHMAD sought his assistance in making a deposit since the queue was long.cralaw On the other hand.

who testified in a "straightforward. to corroborate the latter's alibi. the decretal portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. THAT. chan robles virtual law library . AS BEING STRAIGHT-FORWARD. [29] Zainudin Ampang.cralaw Accused-appellants assail the testimony of state witness as being inconsistent with the testimonies of the other witnesses for the prosecution. [30] a public high school teacher and resident of Maguindanao.000. A red car and a green car were used as getaway vehicles. and an informant told him (Tamayo) that Mamison and his cohorts were discussing in Quiapo the division of some loot. Another witness particularly described a suspect as in his early forties.000. One witness even positively declared that none of the assailants was in the courtroom. IN NOT APPRECIATING THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS.[27] On the other hand. as amended by Section 22 of Republic Act No. the victims testified that there were about seven assailants who wore black bonnets and fatigue uniforms. SAMSUDIN was his neighbor. and III.000. Samsudin Talib y Limba and Abubakar Daganas y Anggubala. he saw SAMSUDIN playing basketball at the plaza. however. Five days later. UNQUESTIONED PROBITY. IN NOT APPRECIATING THE TESTIMONY OF NBI AGENT MOISES B. with a huge belly. barangay officials and neighbors of ABUBAKAR. Hasim Upam y Abubacar. accused-appellant SAMSUDIN testified that he was playing basketball in his hometown in Maguindanao in the afternoon of 8 September 1995. He denied knowing the other accused-appellants. testified that based on his investigation. all armed with rifles. He categorically denied in the presence of accused-appellants that said suspect was in the courtroom.600. CONSISTING OF NUMEROUS CREDIBLE WITNESSES WHO ARE OF GOOD REPUTATION. 7659. this Court finds the accused. with fair complexion and chinky eyes. he made his first trip to Manila.cralaw Accused-appellants further assert that there were other details Mamison mentioned in his testimony that were in conflict with the testimony of the victims. He also found out that after the shootout. the trial court rendered its decision [32] on 4 August 1999. TAMAYO AND THE AMBUSHED GUARDS WHICH CLEARLY CONTRADICTS THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROSECUTION'S "EYE-WITNESS" MAMISON. [25] He recalled that AHMAD left the house at around 2:00 that afternoon and returned only at about 6:00 p. it rejected the latter's defense of alibi because it could not prevail over the positive testimony of Mamison. pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code. NBI Agent Tamayo. OR HATCH UP THE STORY HE NARRATED TO THE COURT. and that they were wearing long-sleeved shirts and denim pants. Among the spectators were Barangay Captain Oti Lumpaw and a teacher. Manila. accused-appellants raise the following errors allegedly committed by the trial court: I. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of highway robbery under PD 532 and are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection. Mamison admitted that he acted as a lookout. about 150 pounds. positive and credible" manner. [31] After the defense rested its case. On 17 September 1995. MAMISON HAD NO IMPROPER MOTIVE TO FALSELY IMPLICATE THE FOUR (4) ACCUSED-APPELLANTS IN THE CRIME CHARGED. Accused-appellants argue that Mamison had to concoct a story and offer himself as a state witness to extricate himself from being charged for the offense.m. UNBIASED AND DISINTERESTED.00 and P500. The ship left in the morning of said date and arrived in Manila on 19 September. he was arrested in his aunt's home in Taguig and brought to the NBI for his alleged participation in a robbery committed on 8 September 1995 in Intramuros. POSITIVE AND CREDIBLE. AND.cralaw SO ORDERED. Mamison fled his residence. none of whom included any of the accused-appellants. Even in the succeeding days he would see SAMSUDIN playing basketball at the plaza.cralaw In their Appellants' Brief. the trial court opined that conspiracy among accused-appellants was properly established when they left together in Taguig and proceeded to Manila to commit the heist. [33]On the other hand.not offer any reason why Mamison would accuse him of a crime. chan robles virtual law library The trial court gave credence to the testimony of prosecution witness Mamison. In the afternoon of 8 September 1995. Mamison was among the plotters of the robbery along with other named conspirators. Mamison claimed that the vehicles used by the malefactors were an owner-type jeep and an L-300 van. On the other hand. it was Mamison who had a motive in implicating them to the crime. He denied the accusation but he later opted to keep quiet after he saw one of his companions being kicked by the agents. The four accused are also ordered to pay the legal heirs of SPO3 Ricardo Gonzales death compensation and moral damages in the respective sums of P50. corroborated SAMSUDIN's testimony. Finally.00. There were about a hundred spectators then. that they were armed with hand guns and one rifle. IN FINDING THAT THE TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION'S SOLE "EYE-WITNESS" MAMISON. He presented an Aboitiz Superferry ticket [28] issued in his name and dated 17 September 1995. In fact.00 actual damages to the owner/s of VMG Money Changer with interest thereon at the legal rate from the filing of this case on October 16. 1995 until fully paid. Abdul Sisay and Kutin Gudal. and P13. Ahmad Langalen y Demalen. chan robles virtual law library II. It was there that he first met the rest of accused-appellants. [26] The defense presented Mosaydin Mamalangakay.cralaw The case is now before this Court for automatic review. It further held that no improper motive could be ascribed to him to falsely testify against accused-appellants. Zainudin Ampang.

based on the evidence on record it is crystal clear that the alibi of AHMAD has been sufficiently established. His implication of AHMAD is definitely disputable. Also prosecution witness Dante Castro described the assailants as wearing green fatigue uniforms with their faces concealed by bonnets. it cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused. we reverse the challenged judgment and accordingly acquit them.cralaw Among Mamison's observations was that only two vehicles were used by accused-appellants. Finally. therefore. Therefore. It disregarded certain details declared by the victims of the shootout which cast doubt on the accuracy of Mamison's account. It has long been settled that when the issue is one of credibility of the witnesses. states that the cases against "MOHAMAD MAMISON … is still pending preliminary investigation with the Department of Justice. be accorded their constitutional right to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond moral certainty. it was AHMAD who was the mastermind of and a direct participant in the robbery.Thus. He was not heard from nor seen again until he was called to an investigation. This raises doubt on the credibility of Mamison. accused-appellants.cralaw It bears emphasis that of the seven witnesses for the prosecution. only Mohammad Mamison implicated accused-appellants to the crime charged.cralaw Other than MAMISON's testimony. such as when the evaluation was reached arbitrarily or when the trial court ignored or failed to appreciate certain facts or circumstances of weight and substance which could affect the result of the case. There is an inexplicable neglect in accounting a thorough summary of the versions of the evidence for the prosecution and the defense. Yet. these are disinterested witnesses to whom no improper motive could be imputed.cralaw After a meticulous review of the records of this case and the evidence presented by the parties. Again. chan robles virtual law library On a final note. We see no cogent reason why a high-ranking bank official would falsely testify in favor of an accused. The inevitable conclusion is that the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It was only Mamison who alluded to them as the alleged perpetrators of the crime. Moreover. Prosecution witness SPO3 Pio Inocencio was certain that no owner-type jeep or L-300 van was used in the heist. Thus. Indeed. Yet. [34] The exception exists in this case. an owner-type jeep driven by AHMAD and an L-300 van. indeed. no improper motive could be attributed to Banaldi. It was only later he realized that accused-appellants waylaid a convoy of vehicles. however. particularly AHMAD and HASIM.cralaw Finally. the gist of its appreciation of facts of the shootout was primarily dependent on the testimony of state witness Mamison. who was in his work station on the day of the robbery and shootout. which was filed on 16 October 1995. The prosecution had seven witnesses while the defense had eleven witnesses. When they testified. he only allegedly chanced upon accused-appellants as they were on their way to commit the crime." The records fail to disclose that Mamison was ever accused of the crime and later discharged as such on account of his utilization as a state witness. we cannot affirm the conviction of accused-appellants when their guilt has not been established beyond reasonable doubt. accused-appellants maintain that their defense of alibi was sufficiently established by the testimonies of disinterested persons of good reputation and unquestioned probity. admits of exceptions. They must. accused-appellants invoke an urgent need to reexamine the factual findings of the trial court. But prosecution witness Senen Santillan declared that the four men who ambushed them got off from a green car. However. the trial court peremptorily dismissed the defense of alibi of accused-appellants without disclosing . Yet. For alibi to prosper. as well as by the documentary evidence. His superiors attested to such fact. accused-appellants conclude that the glaring inconsistencies between the testimonies of the victims and that of Mamison put the latter's credibility in question. He was not a party in the plotting of the heist. Their alibi was corroborated by credible witnesses. the accused must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time the same was committed. the information in this case. This rule. we deplore some of the trial court's procedural omissions. no other link was established by the prosecution to pin the crime on them. had sufficiently established that it was impossible for them to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its occurrence. He was casually invited by AHMAD to join them although he had no idea what they were up to. we are convinced that the prosecution. [35] In the case before us. Castro and Santillan candidly testified that none of those who ambushed them and ran away with the money were in the courtroom. especially considering the penalty imposed. failed to prove by the required quantum of evidence the guilt of accused-appellants. He was instructed to warn AHMAD of the presence of any police from where he was dropped off.cralaw Based on the testimony of Mamison. Moreover. although he was the first to be investigated of those whom the law enforcers believed to be the authors of the crime. Other than his testimony. Very revealing is AHMAD's alibi that he was at the bank at the time of the robbery and shootout. no other evidence was offered to further demonstrate the culpability of accused-appellants. and a scrutiny of Mamison's testimony easily confirms it.cralaw The foregoing observations strengthen the defense of alibi put up by accused-appellants. which was strengthened by the testimony of Union Bank Assistant Vice President Reynaldo Bandali.cralaw The same can be said of HASIM. he did not see the actual robbery as he immediately fled after hearing the gunshots. Moreover. He had the bank's deposit slip [36]indicating the date and time the deposit was made. which is in a better position to resolve the question after actually hearing the witnesses and observing their deportment during the trial. all accused-appellants were inside the courtroom. chan robles virtual law library We have time and again ruled that alibi is the weakest defense as it is easy to fabricate and difficult to disprove. the appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of the trial court.

in Criminal Case No.cralaw WHEREFORE. "Kumander Kamlon. 532.that their alibi was corroborated by several disinterested witnesses. convicting accused-appellants AHMAD LANGALEN y DEMALEN a.a. They are hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged and ORDERED immediately released from confinement unless their further detention is warranted by virtue of any lawful cause. SAMSUDIN TALIB y LIMBA and ABUBAKAR DAGANAS y ANGGUBALA of violation of Presidential Decree No. 95-145780. The trial court should have been more diligent and circumspect in judging this case and meting out the death penalty. the decision of 4 August 1999 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.cralaw . otherwise known as Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974. chan robles virtual law library Costs de oficio. In this regard. the trial court was either neglectful of its duty or evidently lackadaisical or unmindful of the gravity of the offense." HASIM UPAM y ABUBACAR. Branch 18.cralaw SO ORDERED.k. The Director of Bureau of Corrections is directed to submit a report of such release within five (5) days from notice hereof. is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

partially reads: SWORN APPLICATION FOR A SEARCH WARRANT xxx xxx xxx [4] That he has been informed. 105968. 2. Regional Trial Court. Computer Sets Television Sets Internet Servers Fax Machines Pornographic Films and other Pornographic Materials Web Cameras Telephone Sets Photocopying Machines List of clients and Other tools and materials used or intended to be used in the commission of the crime. Nogales. The sworn application. in CA-G. 3. 8. 07-11685. . SP No. NOGALES. 6. 9. LOREN NUESTRA. which affirmed with modification the August 6. 10. The petition challenges the August 19. University Belt. Nogales. and 3 x 8 Internet. Cabrera. 776 San Sebastian St.. [2] [3] [1] which THE FACTS: On July 30. Melinda P. Nogales (petitioners) against respondents People of the Philippines and Presiding Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag (Judge Alisuag) of Branch 1. Special Investigator Garry Meñez (SI Meñez) of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) applied for a search warrant before the RTC to authorize him and his fellow NBI agents or any peace officer to search the premises of petitioner Phil-Pacific Outsourcing Services Corporation (Phil-Pacific) and to seize/confiscate and take into custody the items/articles/objects enumerated in his application. Phil-Pacific Outsourcing Services Corp.: At bench is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by petitioners Fredrik Felix P. MELINDA P. represented by its proprietor Michael Christopher A. Nogales. docketed as Search Warrant Proceedings No.. verily believes and personally verified that JUN NICOLAS. PRISCILA B. Giancarlo P. 4. NOGALES. to wit: 1. 7.R.PORNOGRAPHY DECISION MENDOZA. Glorietta De Manila Building. denied petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA). Priscila B. J. Manila have in their possession/control and are concealed in the above-mentioned premises various material[s] used in the creation and selling of pornographic internet website. Manila (RTC). CABRERA and/or occupants PHILPACIFIC OUTSOURCING SERVICES CORP. 2010 Resolution. Nogales. and its January 25. 5. Rogelio P. 2008 Order of Judge Alisuag of the RTC. FREDRICK FELIX P. 2007. located at Mezzanine Flr.

6. have in their possession and control of the following: 1. Caloocan City and MARK ANTHONY C. AS AMENDED IN RELATION TO R. 2007. Glorietta De Manila Building. 5.. On the same date of the hearing. 9. 7. On August 8. LOREN NUESTRA. 3. The said search warrant is quoted as follows: [5] SEARCH WARRANT TO: ANY PEACE OFFICER It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned. 07-11685 of SI Meñez was acted upon by Judge Alisuag. You are further directed to submit a return within ten (10) days from today. the application was granted and the corresponding Search Warrant. 5. PRISCILA B. Manila that there are good reasons to believe that VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 201 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE. University Belt. 776 San Sebastian St. the operatives of the Special Task Force of the NBI implemented the said search warrant in an orderly and peaceful manner . MELINDA P. 8. and his witnesses. On August 3. 32 Arlegui Street. 2. 7. SI Meñez submitted a Return of Search Warrant [6] to the RTC manifesting that in the morning of August 7. CABRERA and/or OCCUPANTS OF PHIL. 3. 10. National Bureau of Investigation. 2. ROGELIO P. and bring to this Court the said properties and persons to be dealt with as the law may direct. Manila and take possession of the following: 1. 8792 (ELECTRONIC COMMERCE ACT) has been committed and that JUN NICOLAS. You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search any time of the DAY of the premises mentioned above which is Mezzanine Floor.. PACIFIC OUTSOURCING SERVICES CORPORATION located at Mezzanine Floor. 2007. 8. Computer Sets Television Sets Internet Servers Fax Machines Pornographic Films and other Pornographic Materials Web Cameras Telephone Sets Photocopying Machines List of clients and Other tools and materials used or intended to be used in the commission of the crime. The witnesses’ affidavits were also submitted and marked as supporting evidence to the application for the issuance of a search warrant. Manila. NOGALES. 776 San Sebastian St. 10. Glorietta De Manila Building. issued. GIAN CARLO P. 6. 4. SEBASTIAN of No. San Miguel Quiapo. NOGALES. NOGALES. after examining under oath applicant SI III GARY I. University Belt. a hearing was conducted wherein Judge Alisuag personally examined SI Meñez and two other witnesses in the form of searching questions and their answers thereto were duly recorded by the court. 4.The application for Search Warrant No. ISABEL CORTEZ y th ANDRADE of 167 5 Avenue. 2007.A. FREDERICK (sic) FELIX P. Computer Sets Television Sets Internet Servers Fax Machines Pornographic Films and other Pornographic Materials Web Cameras Telephone Sets Photocopying Machines List of clients and Other tools and materials used or intended to be used in the commission of the crime. 9. NOGALES. MEÑEZ of the Special Task Force Division.

the RTC denied the motion stating. pornographic materials were found in some of the computers which were seized. and The element of publicity is absent.in the presence of the occupants of the described premises and that the seized items were properly inventoried in the Receipt/Inventory of Property Seized. Ten (10) units of monitors. Ten (10) units of Central Processing Units (CPUs). 3. designing. circulating. G. and are owned by foreign companies in those countries. The testimony of the witnesses presented by the NBI are contradicted by the facts of the case as established by documentary evidence. In the said motion. B. On December 26. is actually persuading its clients. that: [8] 1. The RTC then issued an order granting the prayer of SI Meñez to keep the seized items in the NBI evidence room and under his custody with the undertaking to make said confiscated items available whenever the court would require them. As in fact. 4. Aggrieved by the issuance of the said order. which are actually located outside the Philippines. [7] C. and such advertisement is a form of publicity. to log-on to the pornographic sites listed in its web page. in foreign countries. the named persons in the search warrant filed a Motion to Quash Search Warrant and Return Seized Properties.. D. E. among others. The NBI raided the wrong establishment. Ten (10) units of mouse. The Phil-Pacific Outsourcing Services Corp. thru its agents (call center agents). maintaining. The NBI withheld verifiable information from the Honorable Court and took advantage of the limited knowledge of courts in general in order to obtain the search warrant for their personal intentions. F. 2.) It cannot be said that publicity is not present. In that manner. storing. 2. editing. 5. distributing. 2007. The items seized were the following: 1. Respondents do not own the websites imputed to them. Ten (10) units of keyboard. Respondents do not have any website servers. and Ten (10) units of AVRs. petitioners cited the following grounds: A. it does not mean that there was no really crime being committed.) Even if some of the listed items intended to be seized were not recovered from the place where the search was made. Phil-Pacific Outsourcing Services Corporation is advertising these pornographic web sites. Respondents do not have programmers making. . or selling said websites or the contents thereof.

” Hence.) In the same way that the names listed in the Search Warrant were not arrested or not in the premises subject of the search. 2008. Search Warrant may be issued upon existence of probable cause. On February 19. even in the absence of the authors of the crime committed. Meanwhile. 2008. WHEREFORE. petitioners filed a Supplemental Motion to Release Seized manifesting that the complaint against them was dismissed. When the Court issued the Search Warrant. and (c) the trial court erred in holding that publicity was present. The RTC. 2008. (b) the trial court erred in holding that there was no irregularity in its enforcement. the RTC issued the assailed second order. On August 6. partially granted the prayer of petitioners. The Motion to Release Seized Properties is partially granted. petitioners requested the RTC to issue a subpoena duces tecum ad testificandum to SI Meñez and the witnesses Isabel Cortez and Mark Anthony Sebastian directing them to appear.) As a rule.3. which is the only reason wherein Search Warrant may be issued. Hence. the 3 Assistant City Prosecutor recommended that the complaint for violation of Article 201 Properties [11] [10] [9] rd of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) against petitioners be dismissed due to insufficiency of evidence and the same was approved by the City Prosecutor. Absent such impropriety or irregularity. 5. the State had no more use of the seized properties. .) The Search Warrant was issued in accordance with Secs. “Probable cause for a search is defined as such fact and circumstances which would lead a reasonable discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be reached. Search Warrant may be quashed or invalidated if there is an impropriety in its issuance or irregularity in its enforcement. 2008. the Resolution has its own ground and reason to dismiss it. for said reason. indeed. petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the said order on the following grounds: (a) the trial court erred in holding that there was no impropriety or irregularity in the issuance of the search warrant. [12] which denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners. on May 6. 4. bring the records evidencing publicity of pornographic materials and testify in the hearing set on March 7. however. the Motion for Reconsideration is Denied. in a resolution dated February 21. 3 to 6. what matters most is the presence of the items ought to be seized in the place to be searched. it found probable cause in the issuance of the same. The case before the Office of the City Prosecutor. and that. while the same [was] dismissed cannot be the ground to release the seized properties subject of the Search Warrant issued by the Court. Undaunted. Judge Alisuag wrote: Be it noted that the proceedings held by this Court when it heard the Application for Search Warrant by NBI Special Investigator Meñez is very much different [from] the case resolved by the Office of the City Prosecutor. Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court. 2008. quashal is not warranted. it does not mean that there are no such persons existing nor there is no crime being committed. On the case heard by the Office of the City Prosecutor. in implementing a Search Warrant. xxx xxx xxx That the subject of the Search Warrant which is now under the custody of the NBI [was] made subject of the case and as well as the witnesses for that case which was resolved by the Office of the City Prosecutor is of no moment.

In the particular circumstances of this case. It would be different if the confiscated softwares are pirated softwares contained in compact discs or the pre-installed softwares have no license or not registered. the NBI may retain them. then. Thus. The CPU and all the rest of the softwares containing obscene materials which were seized during the implementation of the valid Search Warrant are hereby retained in the possession of the National Bureau of Investigation thru applicant Special Investigator Garry J. petitioners sought relief with the CA via a special civil action for certiorari alleging that Judge Alisuag committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she partially granted the motion of petitioners for the release of the seized properties such that only the monitor sets were released but the CPUs and the softwares were retained under the custody of the NBI. the property rights of the owner should be balanced with the social need to preserve evidence which will be used in the prosecution of a case. In the instant case.) The responsibilities of the magistrate do not end with the granting of the warrant but extend to the custody of the articles seized. nothing in the evidence presented by the respondents shows that these softwares are pornographic tools or program customized just for creating obscene materials. the return of the CPUs and softwares would better serve the purposes of justice and expediency.Accordingly therefore. Meñez. the complaint had been dismissed by the prosecutor for insufficiency of evidence. Thus: WHEREFORE. they shall be destroyed in the manner allowed by law. thus. the court had been left with the custody of highly depreciable merchandise. 2008 Order of the RTC. If the softwares are determined to be unlicensed or pirated copies. these highly depreciable articles would have been superfluous to be retained for the following reasons: (1) it was found by the prosecutor that there was no sufficient evidence to prove that the petitioners violated Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to . there are means developed to retrieve files from a formatted hard disk. the obscene materials or pornographic files are stored in such a way that they can be erased or deleted by formatting the hard disk without the necessity of destroying or burning the disk that contains them. thus. [13] Not in conformity. in view of all the foregoing premises. 3. with the advancement of technology. In exercising custody over these articles. the assailed order issued by the respondent Judge on August 6. There are softwares which may be used for licit activities like photograph enhancing or video editing and there are thousands of softwares that have legitimate uses. With regard to the softwares confiscated and also ordered to be retained by the NBI. These obscene materials or pornographic files are only stored files of the CPU and do not permanently form part of the CPU which would call for the destruction or much less retention of the same. SO ORDERED. they can be erased or permanently deleted from the storage disk.) It is undisputed that the seized computer units contained obscene materials or pornographic files. SO ORDERED. the removal of the hard disk from the CPU is the reliable manner to permanently remove the obscene or pornographic files.) Notwithstanding. [14] [Underscoring supplied] The CA explained: 1. More importantly. In this peculiar case. 2. The CA affirmed with modification the assailed August 6. 2008 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the CPUs and softwares which were ordered to be retained by the NBI through SI Meñez shall be released in favor of the petitioners herein with the condition that the hard disk be removed from the CPUs and be destroyed. the hard drive contains the hard disk and the hard drive can be found in the CPU. The hard disk technically contains them but these files are susceptible to modification or limitation of status. By structure. let the computer sets be hereby returned to the respondents.

Since the case involves pornography accessible in the internet.1. Had it been otherwise. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a resolution dated January 25. . counterfeit money. this is a case of first impression and [17] current importance.S. At the risk of being repetitious. 2010. 6. petitioners filed a petition for certiorari [16] [15] with this Court anchored on the following: GROUNDS: 6. it cannot be used as basis to recover the confiscated hard disks. [Emphases ours] ISSUE Whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA in ordering the removal and destruction of the hard disks containing the pornographic and obscene materials. it appearsundisputed that the seized computer units belonging to them contained obscene materials or pornographic files. or pornographic magazines. The decision by the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the respondent trial judge constitutes grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. but substantive due process. opium. there is no justification for severely curtailing the rights of a person to his property. and (3) the petitioners did not dispute that the files found in the seized items were obscene or pornographic but the said devices are not obscene or illegal per se. 8792 (Electronic Commerce Act). petitioners’ argument would have been meritorious as there could be no basis for destroying the hard disks of petitioners’ computer units. (2) the obscene materials or pornographic files can be deleted by formatting or removing the hard disk from the CPUs without destroying the entire CPU. as it violates the constitutional proscription against confiscation of property without due process of law. speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. then. Hence. THE COURT’S RULING Petitioners argue that there is no evidence showing that they were the source of pornographic printouts presented by the NBI to the RTC or to the City Prosecutor of Manila in I. [18] The argument of petitioners is totally misplaced considering the undisputed fact that the seized computer units contained obscene materials or pornographic files. where the purpose of presenting as evidence the articles seized is no longer served. No.A. Since the hard disks in their computers are not illegal per se unlike shabu. Clearly. said merchandise are lawful as they are being used in the ordinary course of business. 07H-13530. and there is no appeal nor any plain. Undeterred. While it may be true that the criminal case for violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code was dismissed as there was no concrete and strong evidence pointing to them as the direct source of the subject pornographic materials. the destruction of which would violate not only procedural.R.2. petitioners had no legitimate expectation of protection of their supposed property rights.

The Court is not unmindful of the concerns of petitioners but their supposed property rights must be balanced with the welfare of the public in general. unlicensed or pirated. the obscene/immoral literature.D. No. This will serve as a lesson for those engaged in any way in the proliferation of pornography or obscenity in this country. Thus: Sec. WHEREFORE. should be released in their favor with only the hard disk removed from the CPUs and destroyed. To stress. engravings. 969 is explicit. they should also be forfeited and destroyed in the manner allowed by law. the Court holds that the destruction of the hard disks and the softwares used in any way in the violation of the subject law addresses the purpose of minimizing if not totally eradicating pornography. sculpture. P. If the softwares are determined to be violative of Article 201 of the RPC. 2009 Court of Appeals Decision is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION in that only the CPUs and those softwares determined to be licensed and used for legitimate purposes shall be returned in favor of the petitioners. Presidential Decree (PD) No. even if the accused was acquitted. which were initially ordered to be retained by the NBI. prints. Significantly. sculptures. Where the criminal case against any violator of this decree results in an acquittal. or other materials involved in the violation referred to in Section 1 hereof shall be governed by the following rules: a. paintings. b. The disposition of the literature. . Taking into account all the circumstances of this case. Disposition of the Prohibited Articles. The hard disk drives containing the pornographic materials and the softwares used in any way in violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. prints. paintings or other materials and other articles involved in the violation referred to in Section 1 hereof shall nevertheless be forfeited in favor of the government to be destroyed. to be forfeited in favor of the government to be destroyed. SO ORDERED. films. 2. The law is clear. the provision directs the forfeiture of all materials involved in violation of the subject law. after forfeiture proceedings conducted by the Chief of Constabulary. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied] Clearly. engravings. unlicensed or pirated shall be forfeited in favor of the Government and destroyed. 969 mandates the forfeiture and destruction of pornographic materials involved in the violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. The CA was lenient with petitioners in modifying the ruling of the RTC in that the CPUs and softwares.The CA is correct in stating that the removal of the hard disk from the CPU is a reliable way of permanently removing the obscene or pornographic files. Upon conviction of the offender. the petition is DENIED. films. The August 19. Only licensed softwares that can be used for legitimate purposes should be returned to petitioners.

who assumed office June 30 this year.. Those who voted to absolve Del Castillo were Chief Justice Renato Corona. She explained decisions on future cases of plagiarism committed by students will be based on the court's ruling that malicious intent must be present to constitute plagiarism. . Majority's ruling Ten of the Supreme Court's 15-member bench voted to clear Del Castillo. cannot detect "copied" research material without the proper attributions. Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the court will be remembered for saying Del Castillo did not commit plagiarism because there was "no malicious intent" to pass off someone else's works as his own. Eduardo Nachura. The portions that remain simply blend in with the rest of the manuscript. " It's not Microsoft Word's fault" The sources from where Del Castillo allegedly borrowed without proper attribution were “A Fiduciary of Theory of Jus Cogens" by Evan Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent. Lucas Bersamin. adjusting the footnote number and removing any clue that what should stick together had just been severed. the majority also said Del Castillo cannot be faulted because the attributions for the allegedly plagiarized material were merely “accidentally deleted" by the magistrate's court researcher. "It will also weaken this Court’s disciplinary authority ─ the essence of which proceeds from its moral authority ─ over the bench and bar. Sereno is the youngest member of the high tribunal and is the first appointee of President Benigno Aquino III. But the court's findings did not sit well with Sereno. "Unless reconsidered. the program used in writing the decision. Roberto Abad. Only Sereno and Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales dissented. this Court has rendered tenuous its ability to positively educate and influence the future of intellectual and academic discourse. Teresita Leonardo-de Castro. Sereno added that the ruling of the court's majority has caused "unimaginable problems" for the Philippine academe. Arturo Brion. this Court would unfortunately be remembered as the Court that made 'malicious intent' an indispensable element of plagiarism and that made computer-keying errors an exculpatory fact in charges of plagiarism. to the high court." the Supreme Court said. "Microsoft Word program does not have a function that raises an alarm when original materials are cut up or pruned. In the decision. with the latter joining in the former's dissenting opinion. The court also said it was not Del Castillo's or his researcher's fault that Miscrosoft Word.PLAGIARISM The newest member of the Supreme Court has criticized her colleagues for exonerating Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo from allegations that he plagiarized portions of a ruling on World War II comfort women. "Breaking the Silence on Rape as an International Crime" by Mark Ellis." said Sereno. Martin Villarama Jr. Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Diosdado Peralta did not participate in the voting because they were on official leave. without clarifying whether its ruling applies only to situations of judicial decision-making or to other written intellectual activity. and Jose Mendoza. In a strongly-worded dissenting opinion made public on Monday." she added.. Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr. In a real sense. Jose Perez. and "Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law" by Christian Tams.

it is not hypocrisy to point out plagiarism in promoting honesty. "Neither is there a built-in software alarm that sounds every time attribution marks or citations are deleted. Sereno said there is no software that will input the quotation marks at the beginning and end of passages lifted verbatim. but of the former in conjunction with the failure to attribute said work to its rightful owner and thereby. "It will also weaken this Court’s disciplinary authority ─ the essence of which proceeds from its moral authority ─ over the bench and bar." said Sereno. "To conclude [it as hypocrisy] is to condemn wholesale all the academic thesis committees." ." she added. without clarifying whether its ruling applies only to situations of judicial decision-making or to other written intellectual activity. She also said the court should issue a corrected ruling on comfort women in the form of a "corrigendum. She also said any claim of a lack of malicious intent does not "change the characterization of the act as plagiarism. In a strongly-worded dissenting opinion made public on Monday." she said. Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the court will be remembered for saying Del Castillo did not commit plagiarism because there was "no malicious intent" to pass off someone else's works as his own." said Sereno. which provides that there is no infringement of copyright in the use of another's work "provided that the source and the name of the author. In a real sense. this Court would unfortunately be remembered as the Court that made 'malicious intent' an indispensable element of plagiarism and that made computer-keying errors an exculpatory fact in charges of plagiarism.TVThe newest member of the Supreme Court has criticized her colleagues for exonerating Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo from allegations that he plagiarized portions of a ruling on World War II comfort women. She explained decisions on future cases of plagiarism committed by students will be based on the court's ruling that malicious intent must be present to constitute plagiarism." she said. . are mentioned.KBK." For her. as in the case of written work. if appearing on the work. especially in the judiciary. Sereno then urged Del Castillo to admit he committed plagiarism and to apologize to the foreign authors whose words he borrowed in his ruling. misrepresenting the work of another as one's own. this Court has rendered tenuous its ability to positively educate and influence the future of intellectual and academic discourse. Sereno added that the ruling of the court's majority has caused "unimaginable problems" for the Philippine academe. "Unless reconsidered. "Plagiarism thus does not consist solely of using the work of others in one's own work. student disciplinary tribunals and editorial boards who have made it their business to ensure that no plagiarism is tolerated in their institutions and industry. Sereno: Plagiarism was committed The magistrate then cited Section 184 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines." Sereno said Del Castillo committed plagiarism because of the outright fact that the borrowed material were not properly attributed to their sources.In her dissenting opinion. Not hypocrites Sereno likewise castigated her colleagues who said Del Castillo's critics were "hypocrites who believe that the courts should be as error-free as they themselves are. GMANews.

"Breaking the Silence on Rape as an International Crime" by Mark Ellis." For her.Sereno is the youngest member of the high tribunal and is the first appointee of President Benigno Aquino III. Those who voted to absolve Del Castillo were Chief Justice Renato Corona. Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Diosdado Peralta did not participate in the voting because they were on official leave. Arturo Brion. "To conclude [it as hypocrisy] is to condemn wholesale all the academic thesis committees. In her dissenting opinion. But the court's findings did not sit well with Sereno. Only Sereno and Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales dissented. especially in the judiciary. cannot detect "copied" research material without the proper attributions. Not hypocrites Sereno likewise castigated her colleagues who said Del Castillo's critics were "hypocrites who believe that the courts should be as error-free as they themselves are." said Sereno. Sereno said there is no software that will input the quotation marks at the beginning and end of passages lifted verbatim. who assumed office June 30 this year. "Microsoft Word program does not have a function that raises an alarm when original materials are cut up or pruned. Martin Villarama Jr. Lucas Bersamin. student disciplinary tribunals and editorial boards who have made it their business to ensure that no plagiarism is tolerated in their institutions and industry. and "Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law" by Christian Tams. The court also said it was not Del Castillo's or his researcher's fault that Miscrosoft Word. to the high court. Sereno: Plagiarism was committed . the majority also said Del Castillo cannot be faulted because the attributions for the allegedly plagiarized material were merely “accidentally deleted" by the magistrate's court researcher. " It's not Microsoft Word's fault" The sources from where Del Castillo allegedly borrowed without proper attribution were “A Fiduciary of Theory of Jus Cogens" by Evan Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent. Eduardo Nachura. with the latter joining in the former's dissenting opinion.. Teresita Leonardo-de Castro." the Supreme Court said. The portions that remain simply blend in with the rest of the manuscript. In the decision.. adjusting the footnote number and removing any clue that what should stick together had just been severed. Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr. it is not hypocrisy to point out plagiarism in promoting honesty." she said. Jose Perez. "Neither is there a built-in software alarm that sounds every time attribution marks or citations are deleted. Roberto Abad. the program used in writing the decision. and Jose Mendoza. Majority's ruling Ten of the Supreme Court's 15-member bench voted to clear Del Castillo.

TV . as in the case of written work. are mentioned.The magistrate then cited Section 184 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Sereno then urged Del Castillo to admit he committed plagiarism and to apologize to the foreign authors whose words he borrowed in his ruling. misrepresenting the work of another as one's own. but of the former in conjunction with the failure to attribute said work to its rightful owner and thereby.KBK. She also said the court should issue a corrected ruling on comfort women in the form of a "corrigendum. She also said any claim of a lack of malicious intent does not "change the characterization of the act as plagiarism. "Plagiarism thus does not consist solely of using the work of others in one's own work." Sereno said Del Castillo committed plagiarism because of the outright fact that the borrowed material were not properly attributed to their sources." she said. if appearing on the work. which provides that there is no infringement of copyright in the use of another's work "provided that the source and the name of the author. GMANews." .

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