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moot and academic. Feria v. CA
eria vs CA, GR No. 122954, February 15, 2000; 525 SCRA 525_digested
Posted by Pius Morados on April 29, 2012 (Special Proceedings –Habeas Corpus) Fa ts! After discoverin that his entire criminal records, includin the copy of the !ud ment, was lost or destroyed, petitioner filed a Petition for the "ssuance of a #rit of Habeas Corpus with the $% a ainst the &ail #arden of the Manila %ity &ail, the Presidin &ud e of 'ranch 2, (e ional Trial %ourt of Manila, and the %ity Prosecutor of Manila, prayin for his dischar e from confinement on the round that his continued detention without any valid !ud ment is ille al and violative of his constitutional ri ht to due process. The (T% dismissed the case on the round that the mere loss of the records of the case does not invalidate the !ud ment or commitment nor authori)e the release of the petitioner, and that the proper remedy would be reconstitution of the records of the case which should be filed with the court which rendered the decision. Petitioner ar ues that his detention is ille al because there e*ists no copy of a valid !ud ment as re+uired by $ections 1 and 2 of (ule 120 of the (ules of %ourt, and that the evidence considered by the trial court and %ourt of Appeals in the habeas corpus proceedin s did not establish the contents of such !ud ment. "n a comment, ,$- maintains that public respondents have more than sufficiently shown the e*istence of a le al round for petitioner.s continued incarceration, viz., his conviction by final !ud ment, and under $ection / of (ule 102 of the (ules of %ourt, the dischar e of a person sufferin imprisonment under lawful !ud ment is not authori)ed. "ssue0 #,1 there is le al basis to detain petitioner after the destruction or loss of his criminal records. #e$d! 2es. The writ of habeas corpus, was devised and e*ists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. "t secures to a prisoner the ri ht to have the cause of his detention e*amined and determined by a court of !ustice, and to have the issue ascertained as to whether he is held under lawful authority. %onse+uently, the writ may also be availed of where, as a conse+uence of a !udicial proceedin , 3a4 there has been a deprivation of a constitutional ri ht resultin in the restraint of a person, 3b4 the court had
that is. THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH II. and THE CITY PROSECUTOR. nor will it warrant the release of the convict by virtue of a writ of habeas corpus. vs. "n other words. Petitioner. or decree is not sub!ect to collateral attac5 by habeas corpus. THE COURT OF APPEALS. as such sentence is void as to such e*cess. is violative of his constitutional ri ht to due process. the burden of provin ille al restraint by the respondent rests on the petitioner who attac5s such restraint. NORBERTO FERIA Y PACQUING. the return is considered prima facie evidence of the validity of the restraint and the petitioner has the burden of proof to show that the restraint is ille al. it is incumbent on petitioner to alle e and prove new matter that tends to invalidate the apparent effect of such process. DECISION QUISUMBING. respondents. The proper remedy is the reconstitution of judicial records which is as much a duty of the prosecution as of the defense. notwithstandin the lac5 of a copy of a valid !ud ment of conviction. where it sets forth process which on its face shows ood round for the detention of the prisoner. that his continued detention. there is sufficient evidence on record to establish the fact of conviction of petitioner which serves as the le al basis for his detention. 1$$%. or 3c4 an e*cessive penalty has been imposed.'ased on the records and the hearin conducted by the trial court. MUNTINLUPA. "f the detention of the prisoner is by reason of lawful public authority. order. as he claims. its !ud ment. which affirmed the dismissal of the petition for habeas corpus filed by petitioner. of the &ighth ivision of the 'ourt of !ppeals. METRO MANILA (IN PLACE OF THE JAIL WARDEN OF THE MANILA CITY JAIL). As a eneral rule. where the return is not sub!ect to e*ception. #hen a court has !urisdiction of the offense char ed and of the party who is so char ed. and (") the (esolution of the 'ourt of !ppeals dated ecember 1.no !urisdiction to impose the sentence. J. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA. CITY OF MANILA. petitioner. 1$$%. THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS. which denied the )otion for . Subject of this petition for review on certiorari are (1) the ecision dated !pril "#.: The mere loss or destruction of the records of a criminal case subsequent to conviction of the accused will not render the judgment of conviction void.s claim is anchored on the first round considerin .
eria y .eace 'orps 8olunteer )argaret 8iviene 'armona.arden of the )anila 'ity 9ail. both the <ffice of the 'ity . we sustain the judgment of respondent appellate court. *ranch ". /"0 but the 9ail . for the jeepney hold5up and 6illing of 7nited States . 1 Some twelve (1") years later. /20 the Second resolved 5 2 ivision of this 'ourt ? @ @ @ (a) to =SS7& the . namely.etitioner -orberto .B& of this case among the incumbent judges thereofA and (c) to (&C7=(& /10 the 9udge to whom this case is 1 2 6 / 7 8 . 1$$:. =n response to the inquiries made by counsel of petitioner. the antecedents of the present petition are as follows+ .rit of Habeas Corpus  with the Supreme 'ourt against the 9ail . 23244 could not be found in their respective offices. the . petitioner filed a . /:0 =t was then discovered that the entire records of the case.residing 9udge of *ranch ".rit of 1abeas 'orpusA (b) to <( &( the &@ecutive 9udge of the (egional Trial 'ourt of )anila to conduct an immediate (!.(econsideration. ecision. and the 'ity . by the (egional Trial 'ourt of )anila. in 'riminal 'ase -o. up to present /10 by reason of his conviction of the crime of (obbery with 1omicide.rosecutor of )anila. (egional Trial 'ourt of )anila. that the transfer cannot be effected without the submission of the requirements. 7pon further inquiries. *ranch ". 1$#2. />0 " : > <n <ctober :. 1$$>. the 'ommitment <rder or )ittimus. *ranch " attested to the fact that the records of 'riminal 'ase -o. *ased on the available records and the admissions of the parties. and =nformation. or on 9une $. !s hereafter elucidated. were missing. 1$#1. 23244.etition for the =ssuance of a . the entire records appear to have been lost or destroyed in the fire which occurred at the second and third floor of the )anila 'ity 1all on -ovember :.arden of the )anila 'ity 9ail informed the .. 5 =n its (esolution dated <ctober 13. 1$$>.residing 9udge of the (T'5)anila.acquing has been under detention since )ay "1. including the copy of the judgment. petitioner sought to be transferred from the )anila 'ity 9ail to the *ureau of 'orrections in )untinlupa 'ity. praying for his discharge from confinement on the ground that his continued detention without any valid judgment is illegal and violative of his constitutional right to due process.rosecutor of )anila and the 'ler6 of 'ourt of (egional Trial 'ourt of )anila.
'<(<BB!(E T< T1=S.a/c0quing on the aforesaid date and time of hearing to the 9udge to whom this case is raffled.<( 1!*&!S '<(. =9 : 9 10 .ednesday. which on -ovember 1%. . T1=S '!S&.rit and .&!BSG (&S<B7T=<-. try and decide the same on the merits and thereafter .a/c0quing at the aforesaid date and time of hearing.&'7B=!( '=('7)ST!-'&S <. T1& . and that the proper remedy would be reconstitution of the records of the case which should be filed with the court which rendered the decision. !. '<-8='T=<. !.&( T1& . <ctober 1". and /:0 the irector Deneral.&T=T=<-&(GS '<-T=-7& =-'!('&(!T=<.. specifically. 1&(&=!.olice.&!( .1&T1&( <( -<T. 1$$>.).&(& B<ST.7(-=S1 this 'ourt with a copy of his decision thereonA /"0 the respondents to ma6e a (&T7(.&!( .1&T1&( <( -<T T1& '<7(T <.etitioner duly appealed said <rder to the 'ourt of !ppeals.&BB!-TGS .raffled to S&T the case for 1&!(=-D on Thursday. rendered the assailed ecision /#0 affirming the decision of the trial court with the modification that ?in the interest of orderly administration of justice? and ?under the peculiar facts of the case? petitioner may be transferred to the *ureau of 'orrections in )untinlupa 'ity without submission of the requirements ()ittimus. issued an <rder /40 dismissing the case on the ground that the mere loss of the records of the case does not invalidate the judgment or commitment nor authoriFe the release of the petitioner. his duly authoriFed representative(s) to !.. 1$$> and !.hilippine -ational . <ctober 1:.1&(& T1& (&'<( S <.eria y . 1$$> at #+:3 !..etition. and ma6e a (&T7(.of the ..&(S<-!BBE and .=()=-D T1& &-=!B <.? The case was then raffled to *ranch $ of the (egional Trial 'ourt of )anila.&T=T=<. . after hearing. .=& 7. which on !pril "#..thereof as provided by law and. 7.rit on or before the close of office hours on . # The )otion for (econsideration of the aforesaid <rder having been denied for lac6 of merit. assigning the following errors of law+ /130 $ 13 =.. ecision and =nformation) but without prejudice to the reconstitution of the original records. /$0 petitioner is now before us on certiorari..&( T1& B!.. 1$$%.(< 7'& the person of -orberto . through his duly authoriFed representative(s) to S&(8& the .=S 97ST=..7S =S.eria y .&(S<-!BBE and &S'<(T the person of -orberto . 4 . .
his conviction by final judgment.etitionerGs remedy. the writ may also be availed of where.<( 1=S =-'!('&(!T=<-. was devised and e@ists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. it surely cannot be the prisoners. ":% S'(! 1%". /1>0 'onsequently.etitioner argues that his detention is illegal because there e@ists no copy of a valid judgment as required by Sections 1 and " of (ule 1"3 of the (ules of 'ourt.. . .='=!B (&'<( S B<STI &ST(<E& S1<7B *& =-=T=!T& *E T1& D<8&(-)&-T !.1='1 '!. is not a petition for habeas corpus but a proceeding for the reconstitution of judicial records.=TS <(D!-S. . 44 Phil. viz.'<-T&). wherein we held that ?/i0t is not the fault of the prisoners that the records cannot now be found.<. B!. who were not the custodians of those records.1<S& B=*&(TE =S (&ST(!=-& .etitioner further contends that our ruling in Gunabe v. and to have the issue ascertained as to whether he is held under lawful authority.(=S<-&(. as a consequence of a judicial proceeding. .. =f anyone is to be blamed. .? 11 =n its 'omment. <( *E T1& . .1< !(& =.'7ST< E <. $$% (1$>4).<. therefore. S7'1.='=&-T *!S=S . <. the discharge of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment is not authoriFed.B!T=<. ==. The <SD maintains that public respondents have more than sufficiently shown the e@istence of a legal ground for petitionerGs continued incarceration.1&T1&( <( -<T T1& (&'<-ST=T7T=<. (b) the court had no jurisdiction to impose the sentence. /1:0 =t secures to a prisoner the right to have the cause of his detention e@amined and determined by a court of justice.. and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom.*& 7T=B=H& !S ! S7. $$:. or (c) an e@cessive penalty has been imposed. as such sentence is void as to such 1: 1> 11 12 16 1/ . Director of Prisons. 1%% (1$$>). ! 97 D)&-T <( ! S7*ST=T7T& 97 D)&-T. /1"0 the <ffice of the Solicitor Deneral contends that the sole inquiry in this habeas corpus proceeding is whether or not there is legal basis to detain petitioner. Director of Prisons. that ?reconstitution is as much the duty of the prosecution as of the defense? has been modified or abandoned in the subsequent case of Ordonez v.. /110 and that the evidence considered by the trial court and 'ourt of !ppeals in the habeas corpus proceedings did not establish the contents of such judgment. 1" The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus. whose origin is traced to antiquity. . and under Section > of (ule 13" of the (ules of 'ourt. (a) there has been a deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in the restraint of a person.
2324# and (obbery in *and in 'riminal 'ase -o.... made the finding that 5 /120 12 ? uring the trial and on manifestation and arguments made by the accused. both verbal and written.? (emphasis supplied) . and sentenced to suffer imprisonment ?habang buhay?.etitionerGs claim is anchored on the first ground considering. 23244.and 0'6"n a L'/" S"n "n#" 'n a )*(&$. his learned counsel and Solicitor !le@ander D. notwithstanding the lac6 of a copy of a valid judgment of conviction.0a '(n !and"d d(+n 'n 12374 (emphasis supplied) 17 18 19 .etitioner had been charged with (obbery with 1omicide in 'riminal 'ase -o..etitioner made judicial admissions.urther. *ranch $. /140 petitioner himself stated that 5 14 ?'<)&S -<.an0 . that he was charged with and convicted of the crime of (obbery with 1omicide. T!a a/ "* /($* -"a*% (/ *'a. =n its <rder dated <ctober 14. /1%0 . !" #($* /($nd !" a##$%"d 0$'. is violative of his constitutional right to due process.. T!a 'n 1231 !" a##$%"d +a% #!a*0" (/ (%'#) R(. that his continued detention. . the undersigned accused in the above entitled criminal case and unto this 1onorable 'ourt most respectfully move+ 1.+' ! H(&'#'d"4 5. (/ !" *"%)(nd"n C($* (RTC B*an#! II) %"n "n#'n0 !'& ( L'/" I&)*'%(n&"n (Ha.$!a-).. it appears clear and indubitable that+ (!) . 23#24.ossession of ."*.e@cess. 1$$:. 1% *ased on the records and the hearing conducted by the trial court. the (T'5)anila. 23244 ((obbery with 1omicide) !" a##$%"d ad&' "d 'n ()"n C($* !a a d"#'%'(n +a% *"ad ( !'& 'n ()"n C($* . =n 'riminal 'ase -o. =llegal . Desmundo who appeared for the respondents. 1$$>..a )"*%(nn". in the 7rgent )otion for the =ssuance of 'ommitment <rder of the !bove &ntitled 'riminal 'ase dated 9une #. . there is sufficient evidence on record to establish the fact of conviction of petitioner which serves as the legal basis for his detention. .. as he claims.irearm in 'riminal 'ase -o.
1$#%.? . which is prima facie evidence of facts therein stated. containing a short news article that petitioner was convicted of the crime of (obbery with 1omicide and was sentenced to ?life imprisonment. 1# The records also contain a certified true copy of the )onthly (eport dated 9anuary 1$#% /1$0 of then 9udge (osalio !.? 1owever. made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case. The admission may be contradicted only by a showing that it was made through palpable mista6e or that no such admission was made.arden at the )anila 'ity 9ail attempts were made to get the 'ommitment <rder so that transfer of the accused to the *ureau of 'orrections can be affected. unless such declaration were true. /""0 unless offered for a purpose other than proving the truth of the matter asserted. ?/a0n admission. /"30 issued by the -ational Bibrary.:. the news article is admissible only as evidence that such publication does e@ist with the tenor of the news therein stated. under Section > of (ule 1"$. the . =n this case. This rule is based upon the presumption that no man would declare anything against himself. does not require proof. That whether the de oficio counsel appealed the decision is beyond the accused comprehension (sic) because the last time he saw the counsel was when the decision was promulgated. attesting to the fact that petitioner was convicted of the crime of (obbery with 1omicide on 9anuary 11.eopleGs 9ournal dated 9anuary 1#.residing 9udge told the councel (sic) that accused has the right to appeal the decisionA >. 1$#%. verbal or written. page ". but all in vainA? . e Beon.urther. 1$ . newspaper articles amount to ?hearsay evidence. .etitioner does not claim any mista6e nor does he deny ma6ing such admissions. "3 "1 "" 1: 19 20 21 22 .etitionerGs declarations as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him under Section ": of (ule 1:3 of the (ules of 'ourt. /1#0 particularly with respect to such grave matter as his conviction for the crime of (obbery with 1omicide. That everytime there is change of . That after the sentence was promulgated. %. twice removed? /"10 and are therefore not only inadmissible but without any probative value at all whether objected to or not.ublic respondents li6ewise presented a certified true copy of . Such )onthly (eport constitutes an entry in official records under Section >> of (ule 1:3 of the (evised (ules on &vidence.
it is incumbent on petitioner to allege and prove new matter that tends to invalidate the apparent effect of such process.rison. the burden of proving illegal restraint by the respondent rests on the petitioner who attac6s such restraint. and the party claiming the custody must prove such facts. accused was convicted by the trial court of the crime of rape. for reasons undisclosed. judgment. petitionerGs release from confinement is not warranted under Section > of (ule 13" of the (ules of 'ourt which provides that 5 ?Sec. subsisting judgment. $ =f it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record.!s a general rule.ublic respondents having sufficiently shown good ground for the detention. -or shall anything in this rule be held to authoriFe the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the . the records of the case were. !ccused then filed a petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme 'ourt.J=f it appears that the prisoner is in custody under a warrant of commitment in pursuance of law. or ma6e the order. When the return evidence and !hen onl" a plea . >%# (1$>2). The irector of . the writ shall not be allowedA or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed.risons is holding the prisoner under process issued by a competent court in pursuance of a lawful.hilippines. Director of Prisons. The 'ourt denied the petition. or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment. that is. and was committed to the -ew *ilibid . the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process. render the judgment. but if he is restrained of his liberty by any alleged private authority. /":0 =f the detention of the prisoner is by reason of lawful public authority.ending appeal with the 'ourt of !ppeals. %% Phil. 1:. Section 1: of (ule 13" of the (ules of 'ourt provides+ ": ?S&'. the return shall be considered only as a plea of the facts therein set forth. the return is considered prima facie evidence of the validity of the restraint and the petitioner has the burden of proof to show that the restraint is illegal. and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process. >. where it sets forth process which on its face shows good ground for the detention of the prisoner. The prisoner himself 26 . or order. =n other words. completely destroyed or lost. ruling thus+ ?The petition does not ma6e out a case. the return shall be considered prima facie evidence of the cause of restraint.? . Thus. When !rit not allo!ed or dischar#e authorized. . where the return is not subject to e@ception.? =n the case of Gomez v.
in order that a judgment may be subject to collateral attac6 by habeas corpus. and therefore ?/t0he government has failed to show that their continued detention is supported by a valid conviction or by the pendency of charges against them or by any legitimate cause whatsoever. hence for all intents and purposes. or authoriFe the prisonerGs release. "> "% The proper remedy in this case is for either petitioner or public respondents to initiate the reconstitution of the judgment of the case under either !ct -o. . /"$0 "4 "# "$ "2 . :113. is misplaced. as evidence of rights and obligations finally adjudicated. however. Director of Prisons. indeed.admits the legality of his detention. /"%0 Thus. a copy of the mittimus is available.? =n this case.etitionerGs invocation of Ordo'ez v.? /:30 . /"#0 There is no sense in limiting reconstitution to pending casesA finished cases are just as important as pending ones. was already convicted by the :3 2/ 27 28 29 2: 29 60 . we granted the writ and ordered the release of the prisoner on the ground that ?/i0t does not appear that the prisoner has been sentenced by any tribunal duly established by a competent authority during the enemy occupation? and not because there were no copies of the decision and information. petitioner does not raise any jurisdictional issue. it must be void for lac6 of jurisdiction. that ?reconstitution is as much the duty of the prosecution as of the defense.ut another way. /">0 .? -ote further that.e reiterate. its judgment. the records were lost after petitioner. The mere loss or destruction of the record of the case does not invalidate the judgment or the commitment. there is also no showing that petitioner duly appealed his conviction of the crime of (obbery with 1omicide. order.hen a court has jurisdiction of the offense charged and of the party who is so charged.etitioner belabors the fact that no initiative was ta6en by the Dovernment to reconstitute the missing records of the trial court. in the present case. petitionerGs invocation of our ruling in &e"es v. such judgment has already become final and e@ecutory. ":% S'(! 1%" (1$$>). supra. is misplaced since the grant of the petition for habeas corpus therein was premised on the loss of records prior to the filing of =nformations against the prisoners. !nd. or under the inherent power of courts to reconstitute at any time the records of their finished cases in accordance with Section % (h) of (ule 1:% of the (ules of 'ourt. or decree is not subject to collateral attac6 by habeas corpus. =n the &e"es case. /"20 the general law governing reconstitution of judicial records. whether they refer to pending cases or finished cases. 1ere. . by his own admission. /"40 9udicial records are subject to reconstitution without e@ception. Director of Prisons.
SO ORDERED.ossession of . the same incident which gave rise to the filing of the =nformation for (obbery with 1omicide also gave rise to another case for =llegal .=()& .irearm. the petition is &-=& for lac6 of merit. 61 . /:10 the records of which could be of assistance in the reconstitution of the present case.. . and the decision of the 'ourt of !ppeals is !. :1 WHEREFORE.urther.trial court of the offense charged.