Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.M. No. 3049 December 4, 1989 PERLA Y. LAGUITAN, complainant, vs. ATTY.

SALVADOR F. TINIO, respondent. Joanes G. Caacbay for respondent. RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM: In the instant Petition for Disbarment dated 21 May 1987, petitioner Perla Y. Laguitan charged Atty. Salvador F. Tinio with immorality and acts unbecoming a member of the Bar. After answer was filed on 27 October 1987, the Court, in its Resolution dated 16 November 1987, referred the Petition to the Solicitor General for Investigation, Report and Recommendation. During the initial hearing of this case by the Solicitor General on 17 February 1988, only respondent and his counsel appeared; it turned out that complainant had not been duly served with notice of the hearing. The hearing scheduled for 24 March 1988 was likewise reset to 27 April 1988 upon motion of respondent and upon failure of complainant to appear before the Office of the Solicitor General. This case was eventually transmitted by the Solicitor General to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commission on Bar Discipline (Commission) for investigation and proper action. Thus, in an order dated 18 August 1988, the Commission set the case for hearing on 9 September 1988 and required both complainant and respondent to submit additional copies of their pleadings within ten (10) days from notice. The initial hearing set by the Commission for 9 September 1988 was reset to 20 September 1988 because only complainant appeared, respondent having failed to present himself despite due notice to him. The hearing of 20 September 1988 was again reset to 20 October 1988 because neither complainant nor her counsel appeared. The hearing for 20 October 1988 was once again reset to 14 November 1988 as only complainant appeared, Finally, the hearing for 14 November 1988 was rescheduled two (2) more times, first to 15 December 1988 and second to 17 January 1989. In its Order dated 27 January 1989, the Commission, upon the unexplained failure of respondent to appear at the hearing on 17 January 1989, required petitioner to make a formal offer of

evidence ex parte, and thereafter submit the case for resolution. The Order was duly received by respondent's counsel on 31 January 1989. On 9 February 1989, petitioner formally offered her exhibits as follows: 1. Exh. 'A' — Certificate of Live Birth of Sheila Laguitan Tinio. Purpose: To show and prove the filiation of the child as shown on the document; 2. Exh. 'B' —Certificate of Live Birth of Benedict Laguitan. Purpose: To show and prove likewise the filiation of the child as shown on the document: 3. Exh. 'C' to 'C-6' — Receipts issued by the Mt. Carmel Maternity and Children's Hospital. Purpose: To prove that petitioner herein gave birth to a baby girl at the Mt. Carmel Maternity and Children's Hospital and for which respondent paid the bills for the hospitalization, medicines and professional fees of doctors; 4. Exh. 'D' to 'D-2' — Receipts issued by the Paulino Medical Clinic. Purpose: To show and prove that petitioner again gave birth to a baby boy at said clinic and for which respondent paid the bill for hospitalization, medicines and professional fees of doctors; 5. Exh. 'E' to 'E-l' — Baptismal certificates of Sheila L. Tinio and Benedict L. Tinio, respectively Purpose: To show and prove that respondent admits his paternity of the children: 6. Exh. 'F' to 'F-4' — The family pictures showing respondent either singly or with the rest of the family during happier times. Purpose: To show and prove that petitioner and respondent really lived together as husband and wife and begot two children and the respondent admits these through the pictures: 7. Exh. 'G' to 'G-3' — The school records of Sheila L. Tinio at the St. Mary's Academy.

Purpose: To show and prove that respondent was supporting the schooling of the children as he himself signed the correspondence and was marked as Exh. 'G-2-A'. 1 Based on the aforequoted exhibits, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors submitted to us its findings and recommendation, which may be summed up as follows: Sometime in June 1974, complainant and respondent Tinio met each other and in time became lovers. Beginning in 1976, the parties lived together as husband and wife. As a result, complainant bore respondent two (2) children: Sheila, now about ten (10) years old and Benedict, now approximately nine (9) years old. In the course of this relationship, petitioner discovered that respondent Tinio, before meeting her, had contracted marriage with someone else and that the prior marriage was subsisting. Nonetheless, complainant continued living in with respondent until eventually, ten (10) years later, she and her children by respondent Tinio were abandoned by the latter in November 1986. Feeling helpless and aggrieved, she sought the help of respondent's parents in supporting her children who were then already in school. Respondent's parents gave her P400.00 and advised her not to see them again. After examination of the record of this case and noting that respondent Tinio appeared before the IBP Investigating Commissioner and candidly admitted his illicit relationship with complainant and his having begotten two (2) children by her, and promised the Commissioner that he would support his illegitimate children but had not lived to his promise, we agree with the findings of fact of the IBP Board. The IBP Board recommends that respondent Tinio be suspended from the practice of law "not for having cohabited with the complainant, but for refusal to support his illegitimate children," the suspension to remain in effect until respondent Tinio complies with his obligation of support. The Court agrees that respondent Tinio deserves to be suspended from the practice of law but not merely because he has failed in his obligation to support the children complainant bore him but also because for a prolonged period of time, he lived in concubinage with complainant, a course of conduct inconsistent with the requirement of good moral character that is required for the continued right to practice law as a member of the Philippine Bar, 2 Concubinage imports moral turpitude and entails a public assault upon the basic social institution of marriage. ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent Salvador F. Tinio from the practice of law until further orders from this Court. The Court will consider lifting the suspension upon evidence satisfactory to the Commission and to this Court that respondent is supporting or has made provision for the support of his illegitimate children and that he has given up his immoral course of conduct. Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur. Melencio-Herrera, J., is on Leave. SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. 139337. August 15, 2001]

MA. CARMINIA C. ROXAS, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and JOSE ANTONIO F. ROXAS, respondents. DECISION DE LEON, JR., J.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision dated April 21, 1999 and Resolution dated July 20, 1999 of the Court of Appeals nullifying the Orders dated May 13, 1998, May 19, 1998 and September 23, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City, Branch 260, which found private respondent Jose Antonio F. Roxas liable to pay support pendente lite and subsequently in contempt of court after failing to tender the required amount of support pendente lite. The antecedent facts are as follows: On November 4, 1997, petitioner Ma. Carminia C. Roxas filed with the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City, Civil Case No. 97-0523, which is an action for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of her husband, Jose Antonio F. Roxas, private respondent herein, with an application for support pendente lite for their four (4) minor children. The case was raffled to Branch 257 of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City presided by Judge Rolando C. How. But the petitioner, soon thereafter, filed in the said RTC Branch 257 a Notice of Dismissal dated November 20, 1997, to dismiss the complaint, without prejudice, pursuant to the provision of Section 1, Rule 17, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, considering that summons has not yet been served and no responsive pleading has yet been filed. The same complaint, now docketed as Civil Case No. 97-0608, was re-filed on November 25, 1997. It was raffled in due course to Branch 260 of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City presided by Judge Helen Bautista-Ricafort. On May 13, 1998, when the case was called for a pre-trial conference, the matter of plaintiff’s (petitioner’s) application for support pendente lite of their four (4) minor children was taken up. Judge Bautista-Ricafort received evidence on the application for support pendente lite. The private respondent and her counsel, Atty. Alberto Diaz, participated in that proceedings by conducting an extensive cross-examination of the petitioner. The trial court then issued its Order dated May 13, 1998 declaring the proceedings on the application for support pendente lite terminated and deemed submitted for resolution; and as prayed for by the parties, also set the case for pre-trial on June 15, 1998 at 8:30 a.m. On May 19, 1998, Judge Bautista-Ricafort, issued an Order granting the application for support pendente lite, the pertinent portion of which reads: xxx xxx xxx

The plaintiff, testifying under oath, submitted Exhibit “A” itemizing the expenses incurred for the support of the children over a period of time during their stay at Ayala-Alabang; and showed that their total monthly average expense is P84,585.00, or P42,292.50 per month, per spouse. Interestingly, the defendant did not adduce any evidence to dispute the figures presented to the

Court by the plaintiff, nor did he present proof of his financial incapacity to contribute more than 50% of the children’s school tuition fees. The court has painstakingly reviewed the item included in Exhibit “A”, and found the same reasonable, xxx. Under Art. 49 of the Family Code, there being no written agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant for the adequate support of their minor children xxx, this Court finds the prayer for support pendente lite to be in order. Accordingly, the defendant is hereby ordered to contribute to the support of the above-named minors, (aside from 50% of their school tuition fees which the defendant has agreed to defray, plus expenses for books and other supplies), the sum of P42,292.50 per month, effective May 1, 1998, as his share in the monthly support of the children until further orders from this Court. xxx. All expenses for books and other school supplies shall be shouldered by the plaintiff and the defendant, share and share alike. Finally, it is understood that any claim for support-in-arrears prior to May 1, 1998, may be taken up later in the course of the proceedings proper. On July 22, 1998, the petitioner filed a manifestation and motion praying the trial court to cite private respondent in contempt of court in accordance with Section 5, Rule 61 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, after the latter failed to comply with the said Order dated May 19, 1998 of the trial court. Private respondent, through his counsel, Atty. Alberto Diaz, filed a countermanifestation and motion admitting that “xxx there is really no genuine issue as to his obligation and willingness to contribute to the expenses for the support of his minor children xxx. He simply wants to make sure that whatever funds he provides for the purpose will go to the expenses for which they are intended.” Thus, he prayed that the manner and mode of payment of his contribution to the expenses of his minor children be modified such that he will pay directly to the entities or persons to which the payment for such expenses are intended. On September 23, 1998, Judge Bautista-Ricafort issued an Order directing the private respondent “to comply fully with the Order of this Court dated May 19, 1998 by updating payment of his share in the support of the minor children, pendente lite, covering the period May 1998 to September 1998, within five (5) days from his receipt hereof xxx under pain of legal sanctions if he still fails to do so. xxx.” On September 28, 1998, or about four (4) months later, private respondent, through his new counsel, Atty. Francisco Ma. Guerrerro, filed an Omnibus Motion (1) applying to be authorized to discharge Atty. Alberto Diaz as his counsel and to substitute him with the new counsel; (2) to reopen hearing on the Motion for Support Pendente Lite; and (3) to temporarily stay execution of the Orders dated May 19, 1998 and September 23, 1998. The omnibus motion was set for hearing on October 2, 1998. Private respondent requested that before the omnibus motion is heard the May 19, 1998 Order be temporarily suspended. When the presiding judge did not grant that request of private respondent, the latter’s new counsel refused to proceed with the hearing of his omnibus motion. On October 8, 1998, Judge Bautista-Ricafort issued an Order giving private respondent ten (10) days to comply with the May 19, 1998 Order, otherwise, he would be cited for contempt of court. On October 23, 1998, private respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari questioning the Orders of the trial court dated May 19, 1998, September 23, 1998 and October 8, 1998.

Meanwhile, on November 27, 1998, Judge Bautista-Ricafort issued another Order, the dispositive portion of which reads: xxx xxx xxx

Accordingly, and on the strength of the provisions of Sec. 5 Rule 61 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the defendant (herein private respondent) is hereby pronounced guilty of Contempt of Court, and is hereby ordered arrested and confined at the City Jail of Parañaque City, Metro Manila, without bail, and as long as he has not complied with and obeyed in full the Order of this Court dated May 19, 1998 by updating his monthly contribution of P42,292.50 for the period of May 1998 to the date, giving the said amount directly to the plaintiff, or depositing it with the Clerk of Court, who shall therefor (issue) the corresponding receipts. xxx xxx xxx

Private respondent was arrested by the agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on December 14, 1998 but he was released on the following day after the appellate court temporarily enjoined Judge Bautista-Ricafort from enforcing her November 27, 1998 Order as well as her Orders dated May 19, 1998, September 23, 1998, and October 8, 1998. When the temporary restraining order lapsed on March 11, 1998, the respondent was again arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Bautista-Ricafort. After depositing with the clerk of court of the trial court the amount of support in arrears stated in the Orders of the trial court, private respondent was released from custody. On April 21, 1999, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision in favor of private respondent, the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE, being meritorious, the instant petition is GRANTED. Consequently, all the proceedings/actions taken by respondent Judge on the matter of support pendente lite in Civil Case No. 97-0608 (formerly Civil Case No. 97-0523) are hereby declared NULL and VOID, and said CASE is ordered RETURNED to Branch 257 of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City, for appropriate proceedings. SO ORDERED. The appellate court nullified the Orders and the proceedings of the trial court for the reason that the certificate of non-forum shopping of the petitioner did not mention the prior filing of Civil Case No. 97-0523 before the sala of Judge How and the dismissal thereof without prejudice. The decision of the appellate court elaborated the reasons for the granting of the petition, to wit: xxx xxx xxx

While a complaint may be dismissed by the plaintiff by filing a notice of dismissal at any time before service of the answer (Sec. 1, Rule 17), there is however a need to state the fact of prior filing and dismissal thereof in the certification on non-forum shopping, in the event the complaint is refiled, as in this case. This must be so in order to prevent the plaintiff or principal party from invoking Section 1 of Rule 17 in the hope that, if and when refiled, the complaint will be raffled to a more sympathetic judge.

To the mind of the Court, private respondent availed of Section 1 of Rule 17 not for any other reason or purpose than to take the case out of the sala of Judge How and to have it assigned to another. This belief finds support from the fact that private respondent’s lawyer and respondent Judge were classmates at the UP College of Law. Not only that. While private respondent actually resides in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, it was made to appear in the complaint that she is a resident of Parañaque City, where respondent Judge is one of the RTC Judges. While the question of venue was not properly raised on time, this circumstance is being cited to support petitioner’s charge of forum-shopping. xxx xxx xxx

Needless to say, forum-shopping merits such serious sanctions as those prescribed in Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Considering, however, that when the complaint was withdrawn, no substantial proceedings had as yet been taken by the court to which it was first raffled, and that the dismissal thereof was then a matter or (sic) right, the Court is not inclined to impose any of the said sanctions. Instead, for the peace of mind of petitioner who entertains some doubts on the impartiality of respondent Judge, the annulment case should be returned to Branch 257 of the RTC of Parañaque City, to which it was originally raffled. And, to enable the Presiding Judge of said Branch to act on the matter of support pendente lite, which gave rise to this petition for certiorari and disqualification, the proceedings/actions taken by respondent Judge relative thereto should be set aside, the same having been attended with grave abuse of discretion. xxx xxx xxx

In the instant petition the petitioner poses the following statement of issues, to wit: I DID THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERR IN HOLDING THE HEREIN PETITIONER GUILTY OF FORUM SHOPPING? II DID THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERR IN NULLIFYING JUDGE RICAFORT’S ORDER OF SUPPORT PENDENTE LITE AND HER RELATED IMPLEMENTING ORDERS WHICH IT WAS HER JUDICIAL DUTY TO ISSUE UNDER ART. 49 OF THE FAMILY CODE AND OTHER RELATED PROVISIONS OF LAW? III DID THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERR IN NULLIFYING THE PROCEEDINGS ALREADY HELD BEFORE JUDGE RICAFORT AFFECTING HER QUESTIONED ORDERS, AT THE SAME TIME IMPLIEDLY UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY OF THE REST OF THE PROCEEDINGS INCLUDING THE TRIAL ON THE MERITS OF THE CASE FOR ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE? IV

DID THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERR IN ORDERING THAT CIVIL CASE NO. 97-0523 RAFFLED TO JUDGE RICAFORT BE “RETURNED” TO JUDGE HOW OF BRANCH 257 OF THE RTC OF PARANAQUE CITY? In other words, if a case is dismissed without prejudice upon the filing by the plaintiff of a notice of dismissal pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 17, before the service of the answer or responsive pleading, would the subsequent re-filing of the case by the same party require that the certificate of non-forum shopping state that a case involving the same issues and parties was filed and dismissed without prejudice beforehand? Would the omission of such a statement in the certificate of non-forum shopping render null and void the proceedings and orders issued by the trial court in the re-filed case? It is our considered view and we hold that the proceedings and orders issued by Judge BautistaRicafort in the application for support pendente lite (and the main complaint for annulment of marriage) in the re-filed case, that is, in Civil Case No. 97-0608 were not rendered null and void by the omission of a statement in the certificate of non-forum shopping regarding the prior filing and dismissal without prejudice of Civil Case No. 97-0523 which involves the same parties and issues. Section 5 of Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that: SEC. 5. Certification against forum shopping. – The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed. Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing. The submission of a false certification or non-compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt as well as a cause for administrative sanctions. (n) Forum shopping is an act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum of seeking and possibly getting a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or the special civil action of certiorari, or the institution of two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. The language of the Supreme Court circular (now the abovequoted Section 5, Rule 7, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure) distinctly suggests that it is primarily intended to cover an initiatory pleading or an incipient application of a party asserting a claim for relief. The most important factor in determining the existence of forum shopping is the “vexation

caused the courts and parties-litigants by a party who asks different courts to rule on the same or related causes or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs.” Since a party resorts to forum shopping in order to increase his chances of obtaining a favorable decision or action, it has been held that a party cannot be said to have sought to improve his chances of obtaining a favorable decision or action where no unfavorable decision has ever been rendered against him in any of the cases he has brought before the courts. Forum shopping exists where the elements of litis pendencia are present, and where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in the other. For the principle of res judicata to apply, the following must be present: (1) a decision on the merits; (2) by a court of competent jurisdiction; (3) the decision is final; and (4) the two actions involve identical parties, subject matter and causes of action. In the case at bar, there was no adverse decision against the petitioner in Civil Case No. 97-0523 which was the first case filed and raffled to the sala (Branch 257) of Judge How. The dismissal without prejudice of the complaint in Civil Case No. 97-0523 at the instance of the petitioner was pursuant to Section 1, Rule 17 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure considering that it was done before service of answer or any responsive pleading. The dismissal does not amount to litis pendencia nor to res judicata. There is no litis pendencia since the first case before Judge How was dismissed or withdrawn by the plaintiff (herein petitioner), without prejudice, upon her filing of a notice of dismissal, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 17 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. To use the wording of that rule, Judge How’s order is one merely “confirming the dismissal” of the complaint by the plaintiff (herein petitioner). Neither is there res judicata for the reason that the order of dismissal was not a decision on the merits but a dismissal “without prejudice”. Thus, private respondent’s apprehension that the case was dismissed in order to be transferred to the sala of a judge who is allegedly more sympathetic to the petitioner’s cause is baseless and not a valid reason to declare the petitioner guilty of forum shopping. First, the petitioner is not assured that the case would be raffled to a more sympathetic judge. There are five (5) RTC branches in Parañaque, namely, branch nos. 257, 258, 259, 260 and 274. Second, Judge Bautista-Ricafort of RTC of Parañaque, Branch 260, is presumed to be fair and impartial despite private respondent’s claim that she is an alleged law school classmate of the petitioner’s counsel. In any event, at the slightest doubt of the impartiality of the said trial judge, private respondent could have filed before the same judge a motion for her inhibition on that ground. But private respondent did not. Private respondent is also estopped in questioning the proceedings and orders of Judge BautistaRicafort. He tacitly acknowledged the validity of the proceedings and the orders issued by the said trial judge by participating actively in the hearing on the application for support pendente lite and by praying for the modification of the Order of May 19, 1998 in that he should be allowed to directly pay to the persons or entities to which payments of such expenses are intended in connection with the required support pendente lite of their minor children. Private respondent cannot validly claim that he was not ably and sufficiently represented by his first counsel, Atty. Diaz, especially during the hearing on that incident on May 13, 1998 when he himself was present thereat. It is also too late for the private respondent to claim wrong venue in the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City as a alleged proof of forum shopping. He should have raised that ground in his

answer or in a motion to dismiss. But he did not, so it is deemed waived. Besides, petitioner is also a resident of Parañaque where the family of her parents reside. Considering that the complaint in Civil Case No. 97-0523 was dismissed without prejudice by virtue of the plaintiff’s (herein petitioner’s) Notice of Dismissal dated November 20, 1997 filed pursuant to Section 1, Rule 17, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, there is no need to state in the certificate non-forum shopping in Civil Case No. 97-0608 about the prior filing and dismissal of Civil Case No. 97-0523. In Gabionza v. Court of Appeals, we ruled that it is scarcely necessary to add that Circular No. 28-91 (now Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure) must be so interpreted and applied as to achieve the purposes projected by the Supreme Court when it promulgated that Circular. Circular No. 28-91 was designed to serve as an instrument to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of justice and should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective or the goal of all rules or procedure – which is to achieve substantial justice as expeditiously as possible. The fact that the Circular requires that it be strictly complied with merely underscores its mandatory nature in that it cannot be dispensed with or its requirements altogether disregarded, but it does not thereby interdict substantial compliance with its provisions under justifiable circumstances. Thus, an omission in the certificate of non-forum shopping about any event that would not constitute res judicata and litis pendencia as in the case at bar, is not fatal as to merit the dismissal and nullification of the entire proceedings considering that the evils sought to be prevented by the said certificate are not present. It is in this light that we ruled in Maricalum Mining Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission that a liberal interpretation of Supreme Court Circular No. 04-94 on non-forum shopping would be more in keeping with the objectives of procedural rules which is to “secure a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.” For a party to be adjudged guilty of forum shopping in the trial courts, a motion to dismiss on the ground of either litis pendencia or res judicata must be filed before the proper trial court and a hearing conducted thereon in accordance with Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The same ground cannot be raised in a petition for certiorari before the appellate court while the main action in the trial court is still pending for the reason that such ground for a motion to dismiss can be raised before the trial court any time during the proceedings and is not barred by the filing of the answer to the complaint. The petition for certiorari in the case at bar on the ground of alleged forum shopping in the trial court is premature for the reason that there is an adequate and speedy remedy available in the ordinary course of law to private respondent, i.e., a motion to dismiss or a motion for reconsideration on the ground of either litis pendencia or res judicata before the trial court. But private respondent did not file such a motion based on either of said grounds. And where the ground is short of res judicata or litis pendencia, as in the case at bar, the Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction when it granted the petition for certiorari filed by herein private respondent. The trial court should have been given an opportunity to rule on the matter of alleged forum shopping in consonance with the hierarchy of courts. WHEREFORE, the Decision and Resolution dated April 21, 1999 and July 20, 1999 respectively, of the Court of Appeals are hereby REVERSED, and the Orders dated May 13, 1998, May 19, 1998

and September 23, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City, Branch 260, are REINSTATED. SO ORDERED. Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur. Penned by Associate Justice Artemio G. Tuquero and concurred in by Associate Justices Eubulo G. Verzola and Mariano M. Umali; Rollo, pp. 30-36. Rollo, p. 38. Rollo, pp. 78-82. Rollo, pp. 78-80. Rollo, pp. 86-88. Rollo, p. 81. Rollo, pp. 102-103. Rollo, pp. 35-36. Rollo, pp. 34-35. Santo Tomas University Hospital v. Surla, 294 SCRA 382, 391 (1998). Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Flores, 287 SCRA 449, 458 (1998); Borromeo v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 255 SCRA 75, 84 (1996). Executive Secretary v. Gordon, 298 SCRA 736, 741 (1998); International Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 249 SCRA 389 (1995). Saura v. Saura, Jr., 313 SCRA 465, 475 (1999); Prubankers Association v. Prudential Bank & Trust Company, 302 SCRA 74, 83 (1999). Alejandrino v. Court of Appeals, 295 SCRA 536, 554 (1998). Rule 17, Section 1. Dismissal upon notice by plaintiff. – A complaint may be dismissed by the plaintiff by filing a notice of dismissal at any time before service of the answer or of a motion for summary judgment. Upon such notice being filed, the court shall issue an order confirming the dismissal. Unless otherwise stated in the notice, the dismissal is without prejudice, except that a notice operates as an adjudication upon the merits when filed by a plaintiff who has once dismissed in a competent court an action based on or including the same claim. 234 SCRA 192. Loyola v. Court of Appeals, 245 SCRA 477, 483-484 (1995).

298 SCRA 379, 386 (1998), citing Section 6, Rule 1, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 1, Rule 10 and Section 1, Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.M. No. 491 October 6, 1989 IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE 1989 ELECTIONS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES.

PER CURIAM: In the election of the national officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereafter "IBP") held on June 3, 1989 at the Philippine International Convention Center (or PICC), the following were elected by the House of Delegates (composed of 120 chapter presidents or their alternates) and proclaimed as officers: NAME Atty. Violeta Drilon Atty. Bella Tiro Atty. Salvador Lao Atty. Renato F. Ronquillo Atty. Teodoro Quicoy Atty. Oscar Badelles Atty. Justiniano Cortes Atty. Ciriaco Atienza Atty. Mario Jalandoni Atty. Jose Aguilar Grapilon Atty. Teodoro Almine Atty. Porfirio Siyangco Atty. Ricardo Teruel President Executive Vice-President Chairman, House of Delegates Secretary, House of Delegates Treasurer, House of Delegates Sergeant at Arms, House of Delegates Governor & Vice-President for Northern Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Central Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Metro Manila Governor & Vice-President for Southern Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Bicolandia Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Visayas Governor & Vice-President for Western Visayas POSITION

Atty. Gladys Tiongco Atty. Simeon Datumanong

Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Mindanao Governor & Vice-President for Western Mindanao

The newly-elected officers were set to take the their oath of office on July 4,1989, before the Supreme Court en banc. However,disturbed by the widespread reports received by some members of the Court from lawyers who had witnessed or participated in the proceedings and the adverse comments published in the columns of some newspapers about the intensive electioneering and overspending by the candidates, led by the main protagonists for the office of president of the association, namely, Attorneys Nereo Paculdo, Ramon Nisce, and Violeta C. Drilon, the alleged use of government planes, and the officious intervention of certain public officials to influence the voting, all of which were done in violation of the IBP By-Laws which prohibit such activities. The Supreme Court en banc, exercising its power of supervision over the Integrated Bar, resolved to suspend the oath-taking of the IBP officers-elect and to inquire into the veracity of the reports. It should be stated at the outset that the election process itself (i.e. the voting and the canvassing of votes on June 3, 1989) which was conducted by the "IBP Comelec," headed by Justice Reynato Puno of the Court of Appeals, was unanimously adjudged by the participants and observers to be above board. For Justice Puno took it upon himself to device safeguards to prevent tampering with, and marking of, the ballots. What the Court viewed with considerable concern was the reported electioneering and extravagance that characterized the campaign conducted by the three candidates for president of the IBP. I. MEDIA ACCOUNT OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Emil Jurado, in his column "IBP Group Questions Drilon Election" (Manila Standard, Sunday, June 17, 1989), Luis Mauricio, in two successive columns: "The Invertebrated Bar" (Malaya, June 10, 1989) and "The Disintegrating Bar" (Malaya, June 20, 1989), and Teodoro Locsin Jr. in an article, entitled "Pam-Pam" (The Philippines Free Press, July 8,1989), and the editorial, entitled 'Wrong Forum" of the Daily Globe (June 8, 1989), were unanimously critical of the "vote-buying and pressure tactics" allegedly employed in the campaign by the three principal candidates: Attys. Violeta C. Drilon, Nereo Paculdo and Ramon Nisce who reportedly "poured heart, soul, money and influence to win over the 120 IBP delegates." Mr. Jurado mentioned the resentment of Atty. Drilon's rivals who felt at a disadvantage because Atty. Drilon allegedly used PNB helicopters to visit far-flung IBP chapters on the pretext of distributing Bigay Puso donations, and she had the added advantage of having regional directors and labor arbiters of the Department of Labor and Employment (who had been granted leaves of absence by her husband, the Labor Secretary) campaigning for her. Jurado's informants alleged that there was rampant vote-buying by some members of the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity (Secretary Drilon's fraternity), as well as by some lawyers of ACCRA (Angara, Concepcion, Cruz, Regala and Abello Law Office) where Mrs. Drilon is employed, and that government positions were promised to others by the office of the Labor Secretary.

Mr. Mauricio in his column wrote about the same matters and, in addition, mentioned "talk of personnel of the Department of Labor, especially conciliators and employers, notably Chinese Filipinos, giving aid and comfort to her (Atty. Drilon's) candidacy," the billeting of out-of-town delegates in plush hotels where they were reportedly "wined and dined continuously, womened and subjected to endless haggling over the price of their votes x x x" which allegedly "ranged from Pl5,000 to P20,000, and, on the day of the election, some twelve to twenty votes which were believed crucial, appreciated to P50,000." In his second column, Mr. Mauricio mentioned "how a top official of the judiciary allegedly involved himself in IBP politics on election day by closeting himself with campaigners as they plotted their election strategy in a room of the PICC (the Philippine International Convention Center where the convention/election were held) during a recess x x x." Mr. Locsin in his column and editorial substantially re-echoed Mauricio's reports with some embellishments. II. THE COURT'S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE. Responding to the critical reports, the Court, in its en banc resolution dated June 15, 1989, directed the outgoing and incoming members of the IBP Board of Governors, the principal officers and Chairman of the House of Delegates to appear before it on Tuesday, June 20, 1989, at 2:00 o'clock p.m., and there to inform the Court on the veracity of the aforementioned reports and to recommend, for the consideration of the Court, appropriate approaches to the problem of confirming and strengthening adherence to the fundamental principles of the IBP. In that resolution the Court "call[ed] to mind that a basic postulate of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), heavily stressed at the time of its organization and commencement of existence, is that the IBP shall be non-political in character and that there shall be no lobbying nor campaigning in the choice of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates, and of the IBP officers, national, or regional, or chapter. The fundamental assumption was that officers, delegates and governors would be chosen on the basis of professional merit and willingness and ability to serve." The resolution went on to say that the "Court is deeply disturbed to note that in connection with the election of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates, there is a widespread belief, based on reports carried by media and transmitted as well by word of mouth, that there was extensive and intensive campaigning by candidates for IBP positions as well as expenditure of considerable sums of money by candidates, including vote-buying, direct or indirect." The venerable retired Supreme Court Justice and IBP President Emeritus, Jose B.L. Reyes, attended the dialogue, upon invitation of the Court, to give counsel and advice. The meeting between the Court en banc on the one hand, and the outgoing and in coming IBP officers on the other, was an informal one. Thereafter, the Court resolved to conduct a formal inquiry to determine whether the prohibited acts and activities enumerated in the IBP By-Laws were committed before and during the 1989 elections of IBP's national officers. The Court en banc formed a committee and designated Senior Associate Justice Andres R. Narvasa, as Chairman, and Associate Justices Teodoro R. Padilla, Emilio A. Gancayco, Abraham F.

Sarmiento, and Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, as members, to conduct the inquiry. The Clerk of Court, Atty. Daniel Martinez, acted as the committee's Recording Secretary. A total of forty-nine (49) witnesses appeared and testified in response to subpoenas issued by the Court to shed light on the conduct of the elections. The managers of three five-star hotels the Philippine Plaza, the Hyatt, and the Holiday Inn where the three protagonists (Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo) allegedly set up their respective headquarters and where they billeted their supporters were summoned. The officer of the Philippine National Bank and the Air Transport Office were called to enlighten the Court on the charge that an IBP presidential candidate and the members of her slate used PNB planes to ferry them to distant places in their campaign to win the votes of delegates. The Philippine Airlines officials were called to testify on the charge that some candidates gave free air fares to delegates to the convention. Officials of the Labor Department were also called to enable the Court to ascertain the truth of the reports that labor officials openly campaigned or worked for the election of Atty. Drilon. The newspaper columnists, Messrs. Luis Mauricio, Jesus Bigornia and Emil Jurado were subpoenaed to determine the nature of their sources of information relative to the IBP elections. Their stories were based, they said, on letters, phone calls and personal interviews with persons who claimed to have knowledge of the facts, but whom they, invoking the Press Freedom Law, refused to identify. The Committee has since submitted its Report after receiving, and analyzing and assessing evidence given by such persons as were perceived to have direct and personal knowledge of the relevant facts; and the Court, after deliberating thereon, has Resolved to accept and adopt the same. III. PROHIBITED ACTS AND PRACTICES UNDER IBP BY-LAWS. Article I, Section 4 of the IBP By-Laws emphasizes the "strictly non-political" character of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, thus: "SEC. 4. Non-political Bar. — The Integrated Bar is strictly non-political, and every activity tending to impair this basic feature is strictly prohibited and shall be penalized accordingly. No lawyer holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof shall be eligible for election or appointment to any position in the Integrated Bar or any Chapter thereof. A Delegate, Governor, officer or employee of the Integrated Bar, or an officer or employee of any Chapter thereof shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his position as of the moment he files his certificate of candidacy for any elective public office or accepts appointment to any judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof. "' Section 14 of the same By-Laws enumerates the prohibited acts relative to IBP elections: SEC. 14. Prohibited acts and practices relative to elections. — The following acts and practices relative to election are prohibited, whether committed by a candidate

for any elective office in the Integrated Bar or by any other member, directly or indirectly, in any form or manner, by himself or through another person: (a) Distribution, except on election day, of election campaign material; (b) Distribution, on election day, of election campaign material other than a statement of the biodata of a candidate on not more than one page of a legal-size sheet of paper; or causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at the elections; (c) Campaigning for or against any candidate, while holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof; (d) Formation of tickets, single slates, or combinations of candidates, as well as the advertisement thereof; (e) For the purpose of inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate, (1) payment of the dues or other indebtedness of any member; (2) giving of food, drink, entertainment, transportation or any article of value, or any similar consideration to any person; or (3) making a promise or causing an expenditure to be made, offered or promised to any person." Section 12(d) of the By-Laws prescribes sanctions for violations of the above rules: (d) Any violation of the rules governing elections or commission of any of the prohibited acts and practices defined in Section 14 prohibited Acts and Practices relative to elections) of the by-laws of the Integrated Bar shall be a ground for the disqualification of a candidate or his removal from office if elected, without prejudice to the imposition of sanctions upon any erring member pursuant to the By-laws of the Integrated Bar. At the formal investigation which was conducted by the investigating committee, the following violations were established: (1) Prohibited campaigning and solicitation of votes by the candidates for president, executive vice-president, the officers of candidate the House of Delegates and Board of Governors. The three candidates for IBP President Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo began travelling around the country to solicit the votes of delegates as early as April 1989. Upon the invitation of IBP President, Leon Garcia, Jr. (t.s.n., July 13,1989, p. 4), they attended the Bench and Bar dialogues held in Cotabato in April 1989 (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, p. 123), in Tagaytay City, Pampanga, and in Baguio City (during the conference of chapter presidents of Northern Luzon (t.s.n., July 3,1989, p. 113; t.s.n., July 10, p. 41; t.s.n., July 13, p. 47) where they announced their candidacies and met the chapter presidents. Atty. Nisce admitted that he went around the country seeking the help of IBP chapter officers, soliciting their votes, and securing their written endorsements. He personally hand-carried nomination forms and requested the chapter presidents and delegates to fill up and sign the

forms to formalize their commitment to his nomination for IBP President. He started campaigning and distributing the nomination forms in March 1989 after the chapter elections which determined the membership of the House of Delegates composed of the 120 chapter presidents (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-86). He obtained forty (40) commitments. He submitted photocopies of his nomination forms which read: "Nomination Form

I Join in Nominating RAMON M. NISCE as National President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines

______________ _______________ Chapter Signature" Among those who signed the nomination forms were: Onofre P. Tejada, Candido P. Balbin, Jr., Conizado V. Posadas, Quirico L. Quirico Ernesto S. Salun-at, Gloria C. Agunos, Oscar B. Bernardo, Feliciano F. Wycoco, Amor L. Ibarra, Jose M. Atienza, Jose N. Contreras, Romeo T. Mendoza, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Paulino G. Clarin, Julius Z. Neil, Roem J. Arbolado Democrito M. Perez, Abelardo Fermin, Diosdado B. Villarin, Jr., Daniel C. Macaraeg, Confesor R. Sansano Dionisio E. Bala, Jr., Emesto A. Amores, Romeo V. Pefianco, Augurio C. Pamintuan, Atlee T. Viray, Ceferino C. Cabanas, Jose S. Buban, Diosdado Z. Reloj, Jr., Cesar C. Viola, Oscar C. Fernandez, Ricardo B. Teruel Rodrigo R. Flores, Sixto Marella, Jr., Arsenio C. Villalon, Renato F. Ronquillo, Antonio G. Nalapo Romualdo A. Din Jr., Jose P. Icaonapo Jr., and Manuel S. Person. Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms at the Hyatt Hotel based on the commitments he had obtained (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-85). Unfortunately, despite those formal commitments, he obtained only 14 votes in the election (t.s.n., June 29, 1 989, p. 86). The reason, he said, is that. some of those who had committed their votes to him were "manipulated, intimidated, pressured, or remunerated" (t.s.n., June 29,1989, pp. 8695; Exhibit "M-4-Nisce," t.s.n., July 4, 1989, pp. 100-1 04). (2) Use of PNB plane in the campaign. The records of the Philippine National Bank (Exhibit C-1-Crudo and Exhibit C-2-Crudo) show that Secretary Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) borrowed a plane from the Philippine National Bank for his Bicol CORD (Cabinet Officers for Regional Development) Assistant, Undersecretary Antonio Tria. The plane manifest (Exh. C-2-

Crudo) listed Atty. Violeta Drilon, Arturo Tusi (Tiu), Assistant Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Tony Tria, Atty. Gladys Tiongco, and Amy Wong. Except for Tony Tria, the rest of the passengers were IBP candidates. Atty. Drilon admitted that she "hitched" a ride on a PNB plane. She said that she was informed by Atty. Tiu about the availability of a PNB plane (t.s.n., July 3,1989, pp. 116-118). Atty. Tiu, who ran for the position of IBP executive vice-president in the Drilon ticket, testified that sometime in May 1989 he failed to obtain booking from the Philippine Airlines for the projected trip of his group to Bicol. He went to the DENR allegedly to follow up some papers for a client. While at the DENR, he learned that Assistant Secretary Tria was going on an official business in Bicol for Secretary Fulgencio Factoran and that he would be taking a PNB plane. As Assistant Secretary Tria is his fraternity brother, he asked if he, together with the Drilon group, could hitch a ride on the plane to Bicol. His request was granted. Their purpose in going to Bicol was to assess their chances in the IBP elections. The Drilon company talked with the IBP chapter presidents in Daet, Naga, and Legaspi, and asked for their support (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 549). Assistant Secretary Antonio S. Tria confirmed the use of a PNB plane by Atty. Drilon and her group. He recalled that on May 23,1989, DENR Secretary Factoran instructed him to go to Bicol to monitor certain regional development projects there and to survey the effect of the typhoon that hit the region in the middle of May. On the same day, Atty. Tiu, a fraternity brother (meaning that Tiu belongs to the Sigma Rho fraternity) went to the DENR office and requested the Secretary (Factoran) if he (Tiu) could be allowed to hitch a ride on the plane. Assistant Secretary Tria, together with the Drilon group which included Attorneys Drilon, Grapilon, Amy Wong, Gladys Tiongco, and Tiu, took off at the Domestic Airport bound for Naga, Daet and Legaspi. In Legaspi the Drilon group had lunch with Atty. Vicente Real, Jr., an IBP chapter president (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 54-69). (3) Formation of tickets and single slates. The three candidates, Paculdo, Nisce and Drilon, admitted having formed their own slates for the election of IBP national officers on June 3, 1989. Atty. Paculdo's slate consisted of — himself for President; Bella D. Tiro, for Executive VicePresident; and for Governors: Justiniano P. Cortez (Northern Luzon), Oscar C. Fernandez (Central Luzon), Mario C.V. Jalandoni (Greater Manila), Petronilo A. de la Cruz (Southern Luzon), Teodorico C. Almine, Jr. (Bicolandia), Ricardo B. Teruel (Western Visayas), Porfirio P. Siyangco (Eastern Visayas), Jesus S. Anonat (Western Mindanao), Guerrero A. Adaza, Jr. (Eastern Mindanao) (Exhibit M-Nisce). The Drilon ticket consisted of. Violeta C. Drilon for President, Arturo Tiu for Executive Vice President, Salvador Lao for Chairman of the House of Delegates, and, for Governors: Basil Rupisan (Northern 'Luzon), Acong Atienza (Central Luzon), Amy Wong (Metro Manila), Jose Grapilon (Southern Tagalog), Teodoro Almine (Bicolandia), Baldomero Estenzo (Eastern Visayas), Joelito Barrera (Western Visayas), Gladys Tiongco (Eastern Mindanao), Simeon Datumanong (Western Mindanao) (Exhibit M-1-Nisce). Atty. Ramon N. Nisce's line-up listed himself and Confessor B. Sansano Benjamin B. Bernardino, Antonio L. Nalapo Renato F. Ronquillo, Gloria C. Agunos, Mario Valderrama, Candido P. Balbin Jr.,

Oscar C. Fernandez, Cesar G. Viola, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Vicente P. Tordilla, Jr., Jose S. Buban, Joel A. Llosa, Jesus T. Albacite and Oscar V. Badelles. (4) Giving free transportation to out-of-town delegates and alternates. Atty. Nisce admitted having bought plane tickets for some delegates to the convention. He mentioned Oscar Badelles to whom he gave four round-trip tickets (worth about P10,000) from Iligan City to Manila and back. Badelles was a voting delegate. Nisce, however, failed to get a written commitment from him because Atty. Medialdea assured him (Nisce) "sigurado na 'yan, h'wag mo nang papirmahin." Badelles won as sergeant-at-arms, not in Nisce's ticket, but in that of Drilon. Badelles admitted that Nisce sent him three airplane tickets, but he Badelles said that he did not use them, because if he did, he would be committed to Nisce, and he Badelles did not want to be committed (t.s.n., July 4,1989, pp. 77-79, 95-96). Nisce also sent a plane ticket to Atty. Atilano, who was his candidate, and another ticket to Mrs. Linda Lim of Zamboanga. Records of the Philippine Airlines showed that Atty. Nisce paid for the plane tickets of Vicente Real, Jr. (Exh. D-1-Calica), Romeo Fortes (Exh. D-1-Calica), Cesar Batica (Exh. D-2-Calica), Jose Buban of Leyte (Exh. D-2-Calica), Delsanto Resuello (Exh. D-3- Calica), and Ceferino Cabanas (Exh. D-3-Calica). In spite of his efforts and expense, only one of Nisce's candidates won: Renato Ronquillo of Manila 4, as Secretary of the House of Delegates (t.s.n. July 3, p. 161). (5) Giving free hotel accommodations, food, drinks, entertainment to delegates. (a) ATTY. NEREO PACULDO Atty. Paculdo alleged that he booked 24 regular rooms and three suites at the Holiday Inn, which served as his headquarters. The 24 rooms were to be occupied by his staff (mostly ladies) and the IBP delegates. The three suites were to be occupied by himself, the officers of the Capitol Bar Association, and Atty. Mario Jalandoni. He paid P150,000 for the hotel bills of his delegates at the Holiday Inn, where a room cost P990 per day with breakfast. Those listed as guests of Atty. Paculdo at the Holiday Inn were: Emesto C. Perez, Tolomeo Ligutan Judge Alfonso Combong, Ricardo Caliwag, Antonio Bisnar, Benedicto Balajadia, Jesus Castro, Restituto Villanueva, Serapio Cribe Juanita Subia, Teodorico J. Almine, Rudy Gumban, Roem Arbolado, Ricardo Teruel, Shirley Moises, Ramon Roco, Alberto Trinidad, Teodoro Quicoy Manito Lucero, Fred Cledera Vicente Tordilla, Julian Ocampo, Francisco Felizmenio Marvel Clavecilla, Amador Capiral, Eufronio Maristela, Porfirio Siyangco, William Llanes, Jr., Marciano Neri, Guerrero Adaza, Diosdado Peralta, Luis C. Formilleza, Jr., Democrito Perez, Bruno Flores, Dennis Rendon, Judge Ceferino Chan, Mario Jalandoni, Kenneth Siruelo Bella Tiro, Antonio Santos, Tiburcio Edano James Tan, Cesilo A. Adaza, Francisco Roxas, Angelita Gacutan, Jesse Pimentel, Judge Jaime Hamoy, Jesus Anonat, Carlos Egay, Judge Carlito Eisma, Judge Jesus Carbon, Joven Zach, and Benjamin Padon. Noel de Guzman, Holiday Inn's credit manager, testified that Atty. Paculdo booked 52 (not 24) rooms, including the presidential suite, which was used as the Secretariat. The group bookings

were made by Atty. Gloria Paculdo, the wife of Nereo Paculdo (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 63-68). The total sum of P227,114.89 was paid to Holiday Inn for the use of the rooms. (b) ATTY. VIOLETA C. DRILON The delegates and supporters of Atty. Drilon were billeted at the Philippine Plaza Hotel where her campaign manager, Atty. Renato Callanta, booked 40 rooms, 5 of which were suites. According to Ms. Villanueva, Philippine Plaza banquet and conventions manager, the contract that Atty. Callanta signed with the Philippine Plaza was made in the name of the "IBP c/o Atty. Callanta." Mrs. Lourdes Juco, a sales manager of the Philippine Plaza, recalled that it was Mr. Mariano Benedicto who first came to book rooms for the IBP delegates. She suggested that he obtain a group (or discounted) rate. He gave her the name of Atty. Callanta who would make the arrangements with her. Mr. Benedicto turned out to be the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The total sum of P316,411.53 was paid by Atty. Callanta for the rooms, food, and beverages consumed by the Drilon group, with an unpaid balance of P302,197.30. Per Attorney Daniel Martinez's last telephone conversation with Ms. Villanueva, Atty. Callanta still has an outstanding account of P232,782.65 at Philippine Plaza. Atty. Callanta admitted that he signed the contract for 40 rooms at the Philippine Plaza. He made a downpayment of P123,000. His "working sheet' showed that the following persons contributed for that down payment: (a) Nilo Pena (Quasha Law Office) (b) Antonio Carpio (c) Toto Ferrer (Carpio Law Office) (d) Jay Castro (e) Danny Deen (f) Angangco Tan (Angara Law Office) (g) Alfonso Reyno (h) Cosme Rossel (t.s.n. July 4, 1 989, pp. 3-4) Atty. Callanta explained that the above listed persons have been contributing money every time the IBP embarks on a project. This time, they contributed so that their partners or associates could attend the legal aid seminar and the IBP convention too. Atty. Drilon alleged that she did not know that Atty. Callanta had billeted her delegates at the Philippine Plaza. She allegedly did not also know in whose name the room she occupied was registered. But she did ask for a room where she could rest during the convention. She admitted, P 25,000 20,000 10,000 10,000 20,000 10,000 20,000 15,300

however, that she paid for her hotel room and meals to Atty. Callanta, through Atty. Loanzon (t.s.n. July 3,1989). The following were listed as having occupied the rooms reserved by Atty. Callanta at the Philippine Plaza: Violeta Drilon, Victoria A. Verciles, Victoria C. Loanzon, Leopoldo A. Consulto Ador Lao, Victoria Borra, Aimee Wong, Callanta, Pena, Tiu, Gallardo, Acong Atienza, D. Bernardo, Amores, Silao Caingat, Manuel Yuson, Simeon Datumanong, Manuel Pecson, Sixto Marella, Joselito Barrera, Radon Macalalag, Oscar Badelles, Antonio Acyatan, Ildefonso C. Puerto, Nestor Atienza, Gil Batula Array Corot, Dimakuta Corot Romeo Fortes Irving Petilla, Teodoro Palma, Gil Palma, Danilo Deen, Delsanto, Resuello, Araneta, Vicente Real, Sylvio Casuncad Espina, Guerrero, Julius Neri, Linda Lim, Ben Lim, C. Batica, Luis Formilleza, Felix Macalag Mariano Benedicto, Atilano, Araneta, Renato Callanta. Atty. Nilo Pena admitted that the Quasha Law Office of which he is a senior partner, gave P25,000 to Callanta for rooms at the Philippine Plaza so that some members of his law firm could campaign for the Drilon group (t.s.n. July 5,1989, pp. 7678) during the legal aid seminar and the IBP convention. Most of the members of his law firm are fraternity brothers of Secretary Drilon (meaning, members of the Sigma Rho Fraternity). He admitted being sympathetic to the candidacy of Atty. Drilon and the members of her slate, two of whom Jose Grapilon and Simeon Datumanong — are Sigma Rhoans. They consider Atty. Drilon as a "sigma rho sister," her husband being a sigma rhoan. Atty. Antonio Carpio, also a Sigma Rhoan, reserved a room for the members of his own firm who attended the legal aid seminar and the convention. He made the reservation through Atty. Callanta to whom he paid P20,000 (t.s.n. July 6,1989, pp. 30-34). Atty. Carpio assisted Atty. Drilon in her campaign during the convention, by soliciting the votes of delegates he knew, like Atty. Albacite his former teacher (but the latter was already committed to Nisce), and Atty. Romy Fortes, a classmate of his in the U.P. College of Law (t. t.s.n. July 6, 1989, pp. 22, 29, 39). (c) ATTY. RAMON NISCE. Atty. Nisce, through his brother-in-law, Ricardo Paras, entered into a contract with the Hyatt Hotel for a total of 29 rooms plus one (1) seventh-floor room. He made a downpayment of P20,000 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 58) on April 20, 1989, and P37,632.45 on May 10, or a total of P57,632.45. Ms. Cecile Flores, Ms. Milagros Ocampo, and Mr. Ramon Jacinto, the sales department manager, credit manager, and reservation manager, respectively of the Hyatt, testified that Atty. Nisce's bill amounted to P216,127.74 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 57-58; Exhibits E-Flores, F-Jacinto GOcampo). As earlier mentioned, Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms for those who committed themselves to his candidacy. The hotel guests of Atty. Nisce were: Gloria Agunos Dennis Habanel B. Batula, John E. Asuncion, Reynaldo Cortes, Lourdes Santos, Elmer Datuin, Romualdo Din, Antonio Nalapo, Israel Damasco, Candido Balbin, Serrano Balot, Ibarra, Joel Llosa, Eltanal, Ruperto, Asuncion, Q. Pilotin Reymundo

P. Guzman, Zoilo Aguinaldo, Clarin, R. Ronquillo, Dominador Carillo, Filomeno Balinas, Ernesto Sabulan, Yusop Pangadapun, A. Viray, Icampo, Abelardo Fermin, C. Quiaoit, Augurio Pamintuan, Daniel Macaraeg, Onofre Tejada. (6) Campaigning by labor officials for Atty. Violeta Drilon In violation of the prohibition against "campaigning for or against a candidate while holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government' (Sec. 14[c], Art. I, IBP By-Laws), Mariano E. Benedicto II, Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment, testified that he took a leave of absence from his office to attend the IBP convention. He stayed at the Philippine Plaza with the Drilon group admittedly to give "some moral assistance" to Atty. Violeta Drilon. He did so because he is a member of the Sigma Rho Fraternity. When asked about the significance of Sigma Rho, Secretary Benedicto explained: "More than the husband of Mrs. Drilon being my boss, the significance there is that the husband is my brother in the Sigma Rho." He cheered up Mrs., Drilon when her spirits were low. He talked to her immediate circle which included Art Tiu, Tony Carpio, Nilo Pena, Amy Wong, Atty. Grapilon, Victor Lazatin, and Boy Reyno. They assessed the progress of the campaign, and measured the strengths and weaknesses of the other groups The group had sessions as early as the later part of May. Room 114, the suite listed in the name of Assistant Secretary Benedicto toted up a bill of P23,110 during the 2-day IBP convention/election. A total of 113 phone calls (amounting to Pl,356) were recorded as emanating from his room. Opposite Room 114, was Room 112, also a suite, listed in the names of Mrs. Drilon, Gladys Tiongco (candidate for Governor, Eastern Mindanao) and Amy Wong (candidate for Governor, Metro Manila). These two rooms served as the "action center' or "war room" where campaign strategies were discussed before and during the convention. It was in these rooms where the supporters of the Drilon group, like Attys. Carpio, Callanta, Benedicto, the Quasha and the ACCRA lawyers met to plot their moves. (7) Paying the dues or other indebtedness of any number (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws). Atty. Teresita C. Sison, IBP Treasurer, testified that she has heard of candidates paying the IBP dues of lawyers who promised to vote for or support them, but she has no way of ascertaining whether it was a candidate who paid the delinquent dues of another, because the receipts are issued in the name of the member for whom payment is made (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 24-28). She has noticed, though, that there is an upsurge of payments in March, April, May during any election year. This year, the collections increased by P100,000 over that of last year (a nonelection year from Pl,413,425 to Pl,524,875 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 25). (8) Distribution of materials other than bio-data of not more than one page of legal size sheet of paper (Sec. 14[a], IBP By-Laws). On the convention floor on the day of the election, Atty. Paculdo caused to be distributed his biodata and copies of a leaflet entitled "My Quest," as wen as, the lists of his slate. Attys. Drilon and Nisce similarly distributed their tickets and bio-data.

The campaign materials of Atty. Paculdo cost from P15,000 to P20,000. They were printed by his own printing shop. (9) Causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at the election (Sec. 14[b], IBP By-Laws). Atty. Paculdo employed uniformed girls to distribute his campaign materials on the convention floor. Atty. Carpio noted that there were more campaign materials distributed at the convention site this year than in previous years. The election was more heated and expensive (t.s.n. July 6,1989, p. 39). Atty. Benjamin Bernardino, the incumbent President of the IBP Rizal Chapter, and a candidate for chairman of the House of Delegates on Nisce's ticket, testified that campaign materials were distributed during the convention by girls and by lawyers. He saw members of the ACCRA law firm campaigning for Atty. Drilon (t.s.n. July 3,1989, pp. 142-145). (10) Inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws). Atty. Bernardino disclosed that his cousin, Atty. Romeo Capulong, urged him to withdraw his candidacy for chairman of the House of Delegates and to run as vice-chairman in Violy Drilon's slate, but he declined (t.s.n. July 3,1989, pp. 137, 149). Atty. Gloria Agunos personnel director of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio and president of the Baguio-Benguet IBP Chapter, recalled that in the third week of May 1989, after the Tripartite meet of the Department of Labor & Employment at the Green Valley Country Club in Baguio City, she met Atty. Drilon, together with two labor officers of Region 1, Attys. Filomeno Balbin and Atty. Mansala Atty. Drilon solicited her (Atty. Agunos') vote and invited her to stay at the Philippine Plaza where a room would be available for her. Atty. Paculdo also tried to enlist her support during the chapter presidents' meeting to choose their nominee for governor for the Northern Luzon region (t.s.n. July 13,1989, pp. 43-54). Atty. Nisce testified that a Manila Chapter 4 delegate, Marcial Magsino, who had earlier committed his vote to Nisce changed his mind when he was offered a judgeship (This statement, however, is admittedly hearsay). When Nisce confronted Magsino about the alleged offer, the latter denied that there was such an offer. Nisce's informant was Antonio G. Nalapo an IBP candidate who also withdrew. Another Nisce candidate, Cesar Viola, withdrew from the race and refused to be nominated (t.s.n. June 29, 1989, p. 104). Vicente P. Tordilla who was Nisce's candidate for Governor became Paculdo's candidate instead (t.s.n. June 29, 1989, p. 104). Nisce recalled that during the Bench and Bar Dialogue in Cotabato City, Court Administrator Tiro went around saying, "I am not campaigning, but my wife is a candidate." Nisce said that the presidents of several IBP chapters informed him that labor officials were campaigning for Mrs. Drilon (t.s.n. June 29,1989, pp. 109-110). He mentioned Ciony de la Cerna, who allegedly campaigned in La Union (t.s.n. June 29,1989,p.111)

Atty. Joel A. Llosa, Nisce's supporter and candidate for governor of the Western Visayas, expressed his disappointment over the IBP elections because some delegates flip-flopped from one camp to another. He testified that when he arrived at the Manila Domestic Airport he was met by an assistant regional director of the DOLE who offered to bring him to the Philippine Plaza, but he declined the offer. During the legal aid seminar, Atty. Drilon invited him to transfer to the Philippine Plaza where a room had been reserved for him. He declined the invitation (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 102-106). Atty. Llosa said that while he was still in Dumaguete City, he already knew that the three candidates had their headquarters in separate hotels: Paculdo, at the Holiday Inn; Drilon, at the Philippine Plaza; and Nisce, at the Hyatt. He knew about this because a week before the elections, representatives of Atty. Drilon went to Dumaguete City to campaign. He mentioned Atty. Rodil Montebon of the ACCRA Law Office, accompanied by Atty. Julve the Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Labor in Dumaguete City. These two, he said, offered to give him two PAL tickets and accommodations at the Philippine Plaza (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 101-104). But he declined the offer because he was already committed to Atty. Nisce. Atty. Llosa also revealed that before he left for Manila on May 31, 1989, a businessman, Henry Dy, approached him to convince him to vote for Atty. Paculdo. But Llosa told Dy that he was already committed to Nisce. He did not receive any plane tickets from Atty. Nisce because he and his two companions (Atty. Eltanal and Atty. Ruperto) had earlier bought their own tickets for Manila (t.s.n. July 4, 1989, p. 101). SUMMARY OF CAMPAIGN EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE CANDIDATES Atty. Paculdo admitted having spent some P250,000 during his three weeks of campaigning. Of this amount, the Capitol Bar Association (of which he was the chapter president) contributed about P150,000. The Capitol Bar Association is a voluntary bar association composed of Quezon City lawyers. He spent about P100,000 to defray the expenses of his trips to the provinces (Bicol provinces, Pampanga, Abra, Mountain Province and Bulacan) (t.s.n. June 29,1989, pp. 9-14). Atty. Nisce's hotel bills at the Hyatt amounted to P216,127.74. This does not include the expenses for his campaign which began several months before the June 3rd election, and his purchases of airplane tickets for some delegates. The records of the Philippine Plaza Hotel, headquarters of Atty. Drilon's camp, showed that her campaign rang up over P600,000 in hotel bills. Atty. Callanta paid P316,411.53 for the rooms, food, and beverage consumed by Atty. Drilon's supporters, but still left an unpaid bill of P302,197.30 at convention's end. FINDINGS.

From all the foregoing, it is evident that the manner in which the principal candidates for the national positions in the Integrated Bar conducted their campaign preparatory to the elections on June 3, 1989, violated Section 14 of the IBP By-Laws and made a travesty of the idea of a "strictly non-political" Integrated Bar enshrined in Section 4 of the By-Laws. The setting up of campaign headquarters by the three principal candidates (Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo) in five-star hotels: The Philippine Plaza, the Holiday Inn and The Hyatt the better for them to corral and entertain the delegates billeted therein; the island hopping to solicit the votes of the chapter presidents who comprise the 120-member House of Delegates that elects the national officers and regional governors; the formation of tickets, slates, or line-ups of candidates for the other elective positions aligned with, or supporting, either Drilon, Paculdo or Nisce; the procurement of written commitments and the distribution of nomination forms to be filled up by the delegates; the reservation of rooms for delegates in three big hotels, at the expense of the presidential candidates; the use of a PNB plane by Drilon and some members of her ticket to enable them to "assess their chances" among the chapter presidents in the Bicol provinces; the printing and distribution of tickets and bio-data of the candidates which in the case of Paculdo admittedly cost him some P15,000 to P20,000; the employment of uniformed girls (by Paculdo) and lawyers (by Drilon) to distribute their campaign materials on the convention floor on the day of the election; the giving of assistance by the Undersecretary of Labor to Mrs. Drilon and her group; the use of labor arbiters to meet delegates at the airport and escort them to the Philippine Plaza Hotel; the giving of pre-paid plane tickets and hotel accommodations to delegates (and some families who accompanied them) in exchange for their support; the pirating of some candidates by inducing them to "hop" or "flipflop" from one ticket to another for some rumored consideration; all these practices made a political circus of the proceedings and tainted the whole election process. The candidates and many of the participants in that election not only violated the By-Laws of the IBP but also the ethics of the legal profession which imposes on all lawyers, as a corollary of their obligation to obey and uphold the constitution and the laws, the duty to "promote respect for law and legal processes" and to abstain from 'activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system" (Rule 1.02, Canon 1, Code of Professional Responsibility). Respect for law is gravely eroded when lawyers themselves, who are supposed to be millions of the law, engage in unlawful practices and cavalierly brush aside the very rules that the IBP formulated for their observance. The unseemly ardor with which the candidates pursued the presidency of the association detracted from the dignity of the legal profession. The spectacle of lawyers bribing or being bribed to vote one way or another, certainly did not uphold the honor of the profession nor elevate it in the public's esteem. The Court notes with grave concern what appear to be the evasions, denials and outright prevarications that tainted the statements of the witnesses, including tome of the candidates, during the initial hearing conducted by it before its fact-finding committee was created. The subsequent investigation conducted by this Committee has revealed that those parties had been less than candid with the Court and seem to have conspired among themselves to deceive it or at least withhold vital information from it to conceal the irregularities committed during the campaign. CONCLUSIONS.

It has been mentioned with no little insistence that the provision in the 1987 Constitution (See. 8, Art. VIII) providing for a Judicial and Bar Council composed of seven (7) members among whom is "a representative of the Integrated Bar," tasked to participate in the selection of nominees for appointment to vacant positions in the judiciary, may be the reason why the position of IBP president has attracted so much interest among the lawyers. The much coveted "power" erroneously perceived to be inherent in that office might have caused the corruption of the IBP elections. To impress upon the participants in that electoral exercise the seriousness of the misconduct which attended it and the stern disapproval with which it is viewed by this Court, and to restore the non-political character of the IBP and reduce, if not entirely eliminate, expensive electioneering for the top positions in the organization which, as the recently concluded elections revealed, spawned unethical practices which seriously diminished the stature of the IBP as an association of the practitioners of a noble and honored profession, the Court hereby ORDERS: 1. The IBP elections held on June3,1989 should be as they are hereby annulled. 2. The provisions of the IBP By-Laws for the direct election by the House of Delegates (approved by this Court in its resolution of July 9, 1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) of the following national officers: (a) the officers of the House of Delegates; (b) the IBP president; and (c) the executive vice-president, be repealed, this Court being empowered to amend, modify or repeal the By-Laws of the IBP under Section 77, Art. XI of said By-Laws. 3. The former system of having the IBP President and Executive Vice-President elected by the Board of Governors (composed of the governors of the nine [91 IBP regions) from among themselves (as provided in Sec. 47, Art. VII, Original IBP By-Laws) should be restored. The right of automatic succession by the Executive Vice-President to the presidency upon the expiration of their two-year term (which was abolished by this Court's resolution dated July 9,1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) should be as it is hereby restored. 4. At the end of the President's two-year term, the Executive Vice-President shall automatically succeed to the office of president. The incoming board of governors shall then elect an Executive Vice-President from among themselves. The position of Executive Vice-President shall be rotated among the nine (9) IBP regions. One who has served as president may not run for election as Executive Vice-President in a succeeding election until after the rotation of the presidency among the nine (9) regions shall have been completed; whereupon, the rotation shall begin anew. 5. Section 47 of Article VII is hereby amended to read as follows: Section 47. National Officers. — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall have a President and Executive Vice-President to be chosen by the Board of Governors from among nine (9) regional governors, as much as practicable, on a rotation basis. The governors shall be ex oficio Vice-President for their respective regions.

There shall also be a Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Governors to be appointed by the President with the consent of the Board. 6. Section 33(b), Art. V, IBP By-Laws, is hereby amended as follows: (b) The President and Executive Vice President of the IBP shall be the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, of the House of Delegates. The Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-at-Arms shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the House of Delegates.' 7. Section 33(g) of Article V providing for the positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, SecretaryTreasurer and Sergeant-at- Arms of the House of Delegates is hereby repealed 8. Section 37, Article VI is hereby amended to read as follows: Section 37. Composition of the Board. — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall be governed by a Board of Governors consisting of nine (9) Governors from the nine (9) regions as delineated in Section 3 of the Integration Rule, on the representation basis of one (1) Governor for each region to be elected by the members of the House of Delegates from that region only. The position of Governor should be rotated among the different Chapters in the region. 9. Section 39, Article V is hereby amended as follows: Section 39. Nomination and election of the Governors at least one (1) month before the national convention the delegates from each region shall elect the governor for their region, the choice of which shall as much as possible be rotated among the chapters in the region. 10. Section33(a), Article V hereby is amended by addingthe following provision as part of the first paragraph: No convention of the House of Delegates nor of the general membership shall be held prior to any election in an election year. 11. Section 39, (a), (b), (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7) of Article VI should be as they are hereby deleted. All other provisions of the By-Laws including its amendment by the Resolution en banc of this Court of July 9, 1985 (Bar Matter No. 287) that are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed or modified. 12. Special elections for the Board of Governors shall be held in the nine (9) IBP regions within three (3) months, after the promulgation of the Court's resolution in this case. Within thirty (30) days thereafter, the Board of Governors shall meet at the IBP Central Office in Manila to elect from among themselves the IBP national president and executive vice-president. In these special elections, the candidates in the election of the national officers held on June 3,1989, particularly identified in Sub-Head 3 of this Resolution entitled "Formation of Tickets and Single Slates," as

well as those identified in this Resolution as connected with any of the irregularities attendant upon that election, are ineligible and may not present themselves as candidate for any position. 13. Pending such special elections, a caretaker board shall be appointed by the Court to administer the affairs of the IBP. The Court makes clear that the dispositions here made are without prejudice to its adoption in due time of such further and other measures as are warranted in the premises. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla. Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Griño-Aquino and Regalado, JJ., concur. Fernan, C.J. and Medialdea, J., took no part. Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave [Synopsis/Syllabi] SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. 112869. January 29, 1996] KELLY R. WICKER and ATTY. ORLANDO A. RAYOS, petitioners, vs. HON. PAUL T. ARCANGEL, as Presiding Judge of the RTC, Makati, Branch 134, respondent. DECISION MENDOZA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari, assailing the orders dated December 3, 1993 and December 17, 1993 of respondent Judge Paul T. Arcangel of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 134 of Makati, finding petitioners guilty of direct contempt and sentencing each of them to suffer imprisonment for five (5) days and to pay a fine of P100.00. The antecedent facts are as follows: Kelly Wicker, with his wife Wynee Dieppe and the Tectonics Asia Architects and Engineering Co., brought suit in the Regional Trial Court of Makati against the LFS Enterprises, Inc. and others, for the annulment of certain deeds by which a house and lot at Forbes Park, which the plaintiffs claimed they had purchased, was allegedly fraudulently titled in the name of the defendant LFS Enterprises and later sold by the latter to codefendant Jose Poe. The case, docketed as Civil Case No. 14048, was assigned to Branch 134 formerly presided over by Judge Ignacio Capulong who later was replaced by respondent Judge Paul T. Arcangel. It appears that on November 18, 1993, Wicker’s counsel, Atty. Orlando A. Rayos, filed a motion seeking the inhibition of respondent judge from the consideration of the case. The motion alleged in pertinent part:

1. That before the Acting Presiding Judge took over, defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. was able to maneuver the three (3) successive postponements for the presentation for cross-examination of Mrs. Remedios Porcuna on her 10 August 1992 Affidavit, but eventually, she was not presented; 2. Meantime, Judge [Ignacio] Capulong who had full grasp of this case was eased out of his station. In one hearing, the Acting Presiding Judge had not yet reported to his station and in that set hearing, counsel for defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. who must have known that His Honor was not reporting did not likewise appear while other counsels were present; 3. Plaintiffs have information that the Acting Presiding Judge was personally recruited from the south by Atty. Benjamin Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, one time member of the Judicial and Bar Council, against whom plaintiff Kelly R. Wicker filed Administrative Case No. 3796, and although said case was dismissed, nevertheless, plaintiffs feel that it was the reason for Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos’ relief; 4. Plaintiffs have reason to doubt the partiality and integrity of His Honor and to give a fighting chance for plaintiffs to prove their case, since this will be the last case to recover the partnership property, plaintiffs feel that His Honor inhibit himself and set this case for re-raffle; 5. This move finds support in the Rules of Court and jurisprudence that in the first instance that a litigant doubts the partiality and integrity of the Presiding Judge, he should immediately move for his inhibition. The motion was verified by Kelly Wicker. Considering the allegations to be “malicious, derogatory and contemptuous,” respondent judge ordered both counsel and client to appear before him on November 26, 1993 and to show cause why they should not be cited for contempt of court.” In a pleading entitled “Opposition to and/or Comment to Motion to Cite for Direct Contempt Directed Against Plaintiff Kelly R. Wicker and his Counsel,” Atty. Rayos claimed that the allegations in the motion did not necessarily express his views because he merely signed the motion “in a representative capacity, in other words, just lawyering,” for Kelly Wicker, who said in a note to him that a “young man possibly employed by the Court” had advised him to have the case reraffled, when the opposing counsel Atty. Benjamin Santos and the new judge both failed to come for a hearing, because their absence was an indication that Atty. Santos knew who “the judge may be and when he would appear.” Wicker’s sense of disquiet increased when at the next two hearings, the new judge as well as Atty. Santos and the latter’s witness, Mrs. Remedios Porcuna, were all absent, while the other counsels were present. Finding petitioners’ explanation unsatisfactory, respondent judge, in an order dated December 3, 1993, held them guilty of direct contempt and sentenced each to suffer imprisonment for five (5) days and to pay a fine of P100.00. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, which respondent judge denied for lack of merit in his order of December 17, 1993. In the same order respondent judge directed petitioners to appear before him on January 7, 1994 at 8:30 a.m. for the execution of their sentence.

In their petition before this Court, Kelly Wicker and Atty. Orlando A. Rayos contend that respondent judge committed a grave abuse of his discretion in citing them for contempt. They argue that “when a person, impelled by justifiable apprehension and acting in a respectful manner, asks a judge to inhibit himself from hearing his case, he does not thereby become guilty of contempt.” In his comment, respondent judge alleges that he took over as Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 134 by virtue of Administrative Order No. 154-93 dated September 2, 1993 of this Court and not because, as petitioners alleged, he was “personally recruited from the South” by Atty. Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos; that he assumed his new office on October 11, 1993 and started holding sessions on October 18, 1993; that when all male personnel of his court were presented to petitioner Kelly Wicker he failed to pick out the young man who was the alleged source of the remarks prompting the filing of the motion for inhibition; that he was not vindictive and that he in fact refrained from implementing the execution of his order dated December 3, 1993 to enable petitioners to “avail themselves of all possible remedies”; that after holding petitioners in contempt, he issued an order dated December 8, 1993 inhibiting himself from trying Civil Case No. 14048; that Atty. Rayos’ claim that he was just “lawyering” and acting as “the vehicle or mouthpiece of his client” is untenable because his (Atty. Rayos’) duties to the court are more important than those which he owes to his client; and that by tendering their “profuse apologies” in their motion for reconsideration of the December 3, 1993 order, petitioners acknowledged the falsity of their accusations against him; and that the petitioners have taken inconsistent positions as to who should try Civil Case No. 14048 because in their Motion for Inhibition dated November 18, 1993 they asked that the case be reraffled to another sala of the RTC of Makati, while in their petition dated November 29, 1993, which they filed with the Office of Court Administrator, petitioners asked that Judge Capulong be allowed to continue hearing the case on the ground that he had a “full grasp of the case.” In reply to the last allegation of respondent judge, petitioners claim that although they wanted a reraffle of the case, it was upon the suggestion of respondent judge himself that they filed the petition with the Court Administrator for the retention of Judge Capulong in the case. What is involved in this case is an instance of direct contempt, since it involves a pleading allegedly containing derogatory, offensive or malicious statements submitted to the court or judge in which the proceedings are pending, as distinguished from a pleading filed in another case. The former has been held to be equivalent to “misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt the proceedings before the same” within the meaning of Rule 71, § 1 of the Rules of Court and, therefore, direct contempt. It is important to point out this distinction because in case of indirect or constructive contempt, the contemnor may be punished only “[a]fter charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the accused to be heard by himself or counsel,” whereas in case of direct contempt, the respondent may be summarily adjudged in contempt. Moreover, the judgment in cases of indirect contempt is appealable, whereas in cases of direct contempt only judgments of contempt by MTCs, MCTCs and MeTCs are appealable. Consequently, it was unnecessary in this case for respondent judge to hold a hearing. Hence even if petitioners are right about the nature of the case against them by contending that it involves indirect contempt, they have no ground for complaint since they were afforded a

hearing before they were held guilty of contempt. What is important to determine now is whether respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in holding petitioners liable for direct contempt. We begin with the words of Justice Malcolm that the power to punish for contempt is to be exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should it be invoked to preserve that respect without which the administration of justice will fail. The contempt power ought not to be utilized for the purpose of merely satisfying an inclination to strike back at a party for showing less than full respect for the dignity of the court. Consistent with the foregoing principles and based on the abovementioned facts, the Court sustains Judge Arcangel’s finding that petitioners are guilty of contempt. A reading of the allegations in petitioners’ motion for inhibition, particularly the following paragraphs thereof: 2. Meantime, Judge Capulong who had full grasp of this case was eased out of his station. In one hearing, the Acting Presiding Judge had not yet reported to his station and in that set hearing, counsel for defendant LFS Enterprises, Inc. who must have known that His Honor was not reporting did not likewise appear while other counsels were present; 3. Plaintiffs have information that the Acting Presiding Judge was personally recruited from the south by Atty. Benjamin Santos and/or his wife, Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, one time member of the Judicial and Bar Council, against whom plaintiff Kelly R. Wicker filed Administrative Case No. 3796, and although said case was dismissed, nevertheless, plaintiffs feel that it was the reason for Atty. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos’ relief; leads to no other conclusion than that respondent judge was beholden to the opposing counsel in the case, Atty. Benjamin Santos, to whom or to whose wife, the judge owed his transfer to the RTC of Makati, which necessitated “easing out” the former judge to make room for such transfer. These allegations are derogatory to the integrity and honor of respondent judge and constitute an unwarranted criticism of the administration of justice in this country. They suggest that lawyers, if they are well connected, can manipulate the assignment of judges to their advantage. The truth is that the assignments of Judges Arcangel and Capulong were made by this Court, by virtue of Administrative Order No. 154-93, precisely “in the interest of an efficient administration of justice and pursuant to Sec. 5 (3), Art. VIII of the Constitution.” This is a matter of record which could have easily been verified by Atty. Rayos. After all, as he claims, he “deliberated” for two months whether or not to file the offending motion for inhibition as his client allegedly asked him to do. In extenuation of his own liability, Atty. Rayos claims he merely did what he had been bidden to do by his client of whom he was merely a “mouthpiece.” He was just “lawyering” and “he cannot be gagged,” even if the allegations in the motion for the inhibition which he prepared and filed were false since it was his client who verified the same. To be sure, what Wicker said in his note to Atty. Rayos was that he had been told by an unidentified young man, whom he thought to be employed in the court, that it seemed the opposing counsel, Atty. Santos, knew who the replacement judge was, because Atty. Santos did not show up in court on the same days the new judge failed to come. It would, therefore, appear that the other allegations in the motion that respondent judge had been “personally recruited”

by the opposing counsel to replace Judge Capulong who had been “eased out” were Atty. Rayos’ and not Wicker’s. Atty. Rayos is thus understating his part in the preparation of the motion for inhibition. Atty. Rayos, however, cannot evade responsibility for the allegations in question. As a lawyer, he is not just an instrument of his client. His client came to him for professional assistance in the representation of a cause, and while he owed him whole-souled devotion, there were bounds set by his responsibility as a lawyer which he could not overstep. Even a hired gun cannot be excused for what Atty. Rayos stated in the motion. Based on Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Atty. Rayos bears as much responsibility for the contemptuous allegations in the motion for inhibition as his client. Atty. Rayos’ duty to the courts is not secondary to that of his client. The Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins him to “observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and [to] insist on similar conduct by others” and “not [to] attribute to a Judge motives not supported by the record or have materiality to the case.” After the respondent judge had favorably responded to petitioners’ “profuse apologies” and indicated that he would let them off with a fine, without any jail sentence, petitioners served on respondent judge a copy of their instant petition which prayed in part that “Respondent Judge Paul T. Arcangel be REVERTED to his former station. He simply cannot do in the RTC of Makati where more complex cases are heared (sic) unlike in Davao City.” If nothing else, this personal attack on the judge only serves to confirm the “contumacious attitude, a flouting or arrogant belligerence” first evident in petitioners’ motion for inhibition belying their protestations of good faith. Petitioners cite the following statement in Austria v. Masaquel: Numerous cages there have been where judges, and even members of the Supreme Court, were asked to inhibit themselves from trying, or from participating in the consideration of a case, but scarcely were the movants punished for contempt, even if the grounds upon which they based their motions for disqualification are not among those provided in the rules. It is only when there was direct imputation of bias or prejudice, or a stubborn insistence to disqualify the judge, done in a malicious, arrogant, belligerent and disrespectful manner, that movants were held in contempt of court. It is the second sentence rather than the first that applies to this case. Be that as it may, the Court believes that consistent with the rule that the power to cite for contempt must be exercised for preservative rather than vindictive principle we think that the jail sentence on petitioners may be dispensed with while vindicating the dignity of the court. In the case of petitioner Kelly Wicker there is greater reason for doing so considering that the particularly offending allegations in the motion for inhibition do not appear to have come from him but were additions made by Atty. Rayos. In addition, Wicker is advanced in years (80) and in failing health (suffering from angina), a fact Judge Arcangel does not dispute. Wicker may have indeed been the recipient of such a remark although he could not point a court employee who was the source of the same. At least he had the grace to admit his mistake both as to the source and truth of said information. It is noteworthy Judge Arcangel was also willing to waive the imposition of the jail sentence on petitioners until he came upon petitioners’ description of him in

the instant petition as a judge who cannot make the grade in the RTC of Makati, where complex cases are being filed. In response to this, he cited the fact that the Integrated Bar of the Philippines chose him as one of the most outstanding City Judges and Regional Trial Court Judges in 1979 and 1988 respectively and that he is a 1963 graduate of the U.P. College of Law. In Ceniza v. Sebastian, which likewise involved a motion for inhibition which described the judge “corrupt,” the Court, while finding counsel guilty of direct contempt, removed the jail sentence of 10 days imposed by the trial court for the reason that Here, while the words were contumacious, it is hard to resist the conclusion, considering the background of this occurrence that respondent Judge in imposing the ten-day sentence was not duly mindful of the exacting standard [of] preservation of the dignity of his office not indulging his sense of grievance sets the limits of the authority he is entitled to exercise. It is the view of the Court that under the circumstances the fine imposed should be increased to P500.00. The same justification also holds true in this case. WHEREFORE, the order of December 3, 1993 is MODIFIED by DELETING the sentence of imprisonment for five (5) days and INCREASING the fine from P 100.00 to P200.00 for each of the petitioners. SO ORDERED. Regalado (Chairman), Romero, and Puno, JJ., concur. Petition, Annex B, Rollo, pp. 40-41. The hearing on November 26, 1993 was later postponed to December 3, 1993 at the instance of Atty. Rayos. See Wicker’s Statement, Rollo, pp. 46-47. Although dated December 6, 1993, the petition was actually filed on December 21, 1993, after respondent judge had issued his order of the December 17, 1993 denying petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. Rollo, pp. 82-92. Ang v. Castro, 136 SCRA 453 (1985); Ante v. Pascua, 162 SCRA 780(1988). See Rule 71, § 1,2 and 10. Villavicencio v. Lukban, 39 Phil. 778 (1959). Royeca v. Animas, 71 SCRA 1(1976). Rollo, p. 101. See Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon 19.

Canon 11. Canon 11, Rule 11.04. 20 SCRA 1247 (1967). 130 SCRA 295 (1985). Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. Nos. 79690-707 April 27, 1988 ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN AND HONORABLE RAUL M. GONZALEZ, CLAIMING TO BE AND ACTING AS TANODBAYAN-OMBUDSMAN UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, respondents. G.R. No. L-80578 April 27, 1988 ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR, petitioner, vs. HON. RAUL M. GONZALEZ, claiming to be and acting as Tanodbayan-Ombudsman under the 1987 Constitution, respondent. Francisco Carreon and Nestor C. Lumba for petitioner. The Solicitor General for respondent.

PER CURIAM: In G.R. Nos. 79690-707 "Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, and mandamus under Rule 65," petitioner Enrique A. Zaldivar, governor of the province of Antique, sought to restrain the Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan Raul Gonzalez from proceeding with the prosecution and hearing of Criminal Cases Nos. 12159 to 12161 and 12163-12177 on the ground thatsaid cases were filed by said Tanodbayan without legal and constitutional authority, since under the 1987 Constitution which took effect on February 2, 1987, it is only the Ombudsman (not the present or incumbent Tanodbayan) who has the authority to file cases with the Sandiganbayan. The complete prayer of the petition reads: WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that pending the final disposition of this petition or until further orders of the Honorable Court, a writ of preliminary injunction issue upon the filing of a bond in such amount as may be fixed by the

Honorable Court, restraining the Honorable Sandiganbayan from hearing and trying Criminal Cases Nos. 12159 to 12161, and 12163 to 12177 insofar as petitioner Enrique A. Zaldivar is concerned and from hearing and resolving the special prosecutor's motion to suspend (Annex J) and thereafter, final judgment be rendered: — (1) ordering that the amended informations in the above-mentioned crimininal cases be or issuing a writ of mandamus commanding and ordering the respondent Sandiganbayan to do so and, in consequence, prohibiting and restraining the respondent Sandigan-bayan from proceeding to hear and try the abovementioned criminal cases or making the temporary preliminary injunction permanent; (2) declaring the acts of respondent Gonzalez as "Tanodbayan-Ombudsman" after 2 February 1987 relating to these cases as anullity and without legal effect, particularly, the promulgation of Tanodbayan resolution of 5 February 1987, the filing of the original informations on 3 March 1987 and the amended ones on 4 June 1987, and the filing of the Motion for Suspension Pendente Lite. PETITIONER prays for such other and further relief as may be deemed proper in the premises, with costs against the respondents. Manila, Philippines, September 9, 1987. (pp. 45-47, Rollo) In G.R. No. 80578, petitioner Enrique A. Zaldivar, on substantially the same ground as the first petition, prays that Tanodbayan Gonzalez be restrained from conducting preliminary investigations and similar cases with the Sandiganbayan. The prayer reads: WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that pending the final disposition of this petition or until further orders of this Honorable court, a writ of preliminary injunction issue restraining the respondent from further acting in TBP CASE NO. 8701304 and, particularly, from filing the criminal Information consequent thereof-, and from conducting preliminary investigations in, and filing criminal informations for, such other complaints/ cases now pending or which may hereafter be filed against petitioner with the Office of the respondent. It is likewise prayed that the present petition be consolidated with G.R.L-Nos. 79690-79707. After proper proceedings, it is prayed that final judgment be rendered annulling the acts of respondent Gonzalez as "Tanodbayan- Ombudsman" after 2 February 1987 relating to the investigation of complaints against petitioner, particularly: (1) Annulling, for absolute want of jurisdiction, the preliminary investigation conducted, and the Resolution rendered, by respondent in TBP CASE NO. 87-01304; (2) Prohibiting and restraining the respondent from filing any criminal Information as a consequence of the void preliminary investigation he conducted in TBP CASE

NO. 87-01304, or annulling the criminal Information in the said case which may, in the meantime, have already been filed; (3) Prohibiting and restraining the respondent from conducting preliminary investigations in, and filing criminal informations for, such other complaints/cases now pending or which may hereafter be filed against petitioner with the Office of the respondent. PETITIONER further prays for such other and further reliefs as may be deemed proper in the proper with costs against the respondent. Manila, Philippines, November 18,1987 (pp. 24-25, Rollo) We issued the restraining orders prayed for. After a study of the petitions, We have decided to give due course to the same; to consider the comments of the Solicitor-General and of Tanodbayan Gonzalez as their Answers thereto; and to forthwith decide the petitions. We find the petitions impressed with merit. Under the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman (as distinguished from theincumbent Tanodbayan) is charged with the duty to: Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or commission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient (Sec. 13, par. 1) The Constitution likewise provides that: The existing Tanodbayan shall hereafter be known as the office of the Special Prosecutor. It shall continue to function and exercise its powers as now or hereafter may be provided by law, contempt except those conferred on the office of the Ombudsman created under this Constitution. (Art. XI, Section 7) (Emphasis ours). Now then, inasmuch as the aforementioned duty is given to the Ombudsman, the incumbent Tanodbayan (caged Special Prosecutor under the 1987 constitution and who is supposed to retain powers and duties NOT GIVEN to the Ombudsman) is clearly without authority to conduct preliminary investigations and to direct the filing of criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan, except upon orders of the Ombudsman. This right to do so was lost effective February 2, 1987. From that time, he has been divested of such authority. Under the present Constitution, the Special Prosecutor (Raul Gonzalez) is a mere subordinate of the Tanodbayan Ombudsman) and can investigate and prosecute cases only upon the latter's authority or orders. The Special Prosecutor cannot initiate the prosecution of cases but can only conduct the same if instructed to do so by the Ombudsman. Even his original power to issue subpoena, which he still claims under Section 10(d) of PD 1630, is now deemed transferred to

the Ombudsman, who may, however, retain it in the Spedal Prosecutor in connection with the cases he is ordered to investigate. It is not correct either to suppose that the Special Prosecutor remains the Ombudsman as long as he has not been replaced, for the fact is that he has never been the Ombudsman. The Office of the Ombudsman is a new creation under Article XI of the Constitution different from the Office of the Tanodbayan created under PD 1607 although concededly some of the powers of the two offices are Identical or similar. The Special Prosecutor cannot plead that he has a right to hold over the position of Ombudsman as he has never held it in the first place. WHEREFORE, We hereby: (1) GRANT the consolidated petitions filed by petitioner Zaldivar and hereby NULLIFY the criminal informations filed against him in the Sandiganbayan; and (2) ORDER respondent Raul Gonzalez to cease and desist from conducting investigations and filing criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan or otherwise exercising the powers and function of the Ombudsman. SO ORDERED. Yap, C.J., Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin and Cortes, and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

SARMIENTO, J., concurring: I maintain, however, consistent with my dissent in De Leon vs. Esguerra, G.R. No. 78059, that the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 11, 1987. Separate Opinions SARMIENTO, J., concurring: I maintain, however, consistent with my dissent in De Leon vs. Esguerra, G.R. No. 78059, that the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 11, 1987. EN BANC [G.R. No. 148560. November 19, 2001]

JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. DECISION BELLOSILLO, J.: JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the full fury of his pen in defense of the rights of the individual from the vast powers of the State and the inroads of societal pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating the limits on individuality beyond which the State cannot tread - asserting that "individual spontaneity" must be allowed to flourish with very little regard to social interference - he veritably acknowledges that the exercise of rights and liberties is imbued with a civic obligation, which society is justified in enforcing at all cost, against those who would endeavor to withhold fulfillment. Thus he says The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of the State to self-preservation. With the end of maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the body politic, it behooves the State to formulate a system of laws that would compel obeisance to its collective wisdom and inflict punishment for non-observance. The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic collectivism wrought changes in the social order, carrying with it a new formulation of fundamental rights and duties more attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-political ideologies. In the process, the web of rights and State impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed in threads of multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular and broken. Antagonism, often outright collision, between the law as the expression of the will of the State, and the zealous attempts by its members to preserve their individuality and dignity, inevitably followed. It is when individual rights are pitted against State authority that judicial conscience is put to its severest test. Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder), as amended by RA 7659, wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the Plunder Law to the crucible of constitutionality mainly because, according to him, (a) it suffers from the vice of vagueness; (b) it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code, all of which are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental rights of the accused to due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by petitioner to have transgressed constitutional boundaries are Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which are reproduced hereunder:

Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business, enterprise or material possession of any person within the purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes: (1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from any person and/or entity in connection with any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public office concerned; (3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, or government owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; (4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; (5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or (6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines. Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the aggregate amount or total value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances as provided by the Revised Penal Code shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State (underscoring supplied). Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy (underscoring supplied).

On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan eight (8) separate Informations, docketed as: (a) Crim. Case No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080, as amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive, for violation of Secs. 3, par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation of Sec. 7, par. (d), of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees); (d) Crim. Case No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The Revised Penal Code); and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA No. 142, as amended by RA 6085). On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the remand of the case to the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation with respect to specification "d" of the charges in the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for reconsideration/reinvestigation of the offenses under specifications "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an opportunity to file counteraffidavits and other documents necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably, the grounds raised were only lack of preliminary investigation, reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and opportunity to prove lack of probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the charges and the vagueness of the law under which they are charged were never raised in that Omnibus Motion thus indicating the explicitness and comprehensibility of the Plunder Law. On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a Resolution in Crim. Case No. 26558 finding that "a probable cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June 2001 petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan. On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558 on the ground that the facts alleged therein did not constitute an indictable offense since the law on which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness, and that the Amended Information for Plunder charged more than one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the Government filed its Opposition to the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days later or on 26 June 2001 petitioner submitted his Reply to the Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's Motion to Quash. As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments on 18 September 2001, the issues for resolution in the instant petition for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder Law is unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires less evidence for proving the predicate crimes of plunder and therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process; and, (c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within the power of Congress to so classify it. Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony with the Constitution. Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule whenever a legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional adjudication. This strong predilection for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of the government to encroach upon the duties and powers of another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the deference the judicial branch accords to its coordinate branch - the legislature.

If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, the courts must assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority. Hence in determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, courts should proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of the law must be adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a measure of last resort. In construing therefore the provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation is fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality. In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon we held that as long as there is some basis for the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the challenged law will not be touched and the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the force of the presumption is not sufficient to catapult a fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs of constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight lest the positive commands of the fundamental law be unduly eroded. Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs heavily on the party challenging the validity of the statute. He must demonstrate beyond any tinge of doubt that there is indeed an infringement of the constitution, for absent such a showing, there can be no finding of unconstitutionality. A doubt, even if well-founded, will hardly suffice. As tersely put by Justice Malcolm, "To doubt is to sustain." And petitioner has miserably failed in the instant case to discharge his burden and overcome the presumption of constitutionality of the Plunder Law. As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his violation. Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and conditions required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty and particularity. Thus 1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons; 2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of the following overt or criminal acts: (a) through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (b) by receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other form of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer; (c) by the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves

at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and, 3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired is at least P50,000,000.00. As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law. In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the language of the law, indicating with reasonable certainty the various elements of the offense which petitioner is alleged to have committed: "The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, EPIB, Office of the Ombudsman, hereby accuses former PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE VELARDE,' together with Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime of Plunder, defined and penalized under R.A. No. 7080, as amended by Sec. 12 of R.A. No. 7659, committed as follows: That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with his co-accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE OF HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP, CONNECTION, OR INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass, accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, illgotten wealth in the aggregate amount or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (P4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF OR THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR A combination OR A series of overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS, described as follows: (a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES, MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connection with co-accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Yolanda

T. Ricaforte, Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in consideration OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING; (b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, converting OR misusing DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONAL gain and benefit, public funds in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION PESOS (P130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a portion of the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS (P200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share allocated for the province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, by himself and/or in connivance with co-accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE DOES; (italic supplied). (c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND BENEFIT, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE 351,878,000 SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the Social Security System (SSS), 329,855,000 SHARES OF STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE BELLE CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION ONE HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,102,965,607.50) AND MORE OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED TWELVE THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P744,612,450.00), RESPECTIVELY, OR A TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,847,578,057.50); AND BY COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF AND/OR IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF SAID PURCHASES OF SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P189,700,000.00) MORE OR LESS, FROM THE BELLE CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF THE DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE;' (d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES, PERCENTAGES, KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFITS, IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in the amount of MORE OR LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (P3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE' AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK." We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous - as there is obviously none that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Although subject to proof, these factual assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily understood and provide adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal assertions, petitioner is completely informed of the accusations against him as to enable him to prepare for an intelligent defense. Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of the terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec. 4. These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being

impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right to due process. The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them; much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law. Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words. The intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed. Thus, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary contains the following commonly accepted definition of the words "combination" and "series:" Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or process of combining. To combine is to bring into such close relationship as to obscure individual characters. Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming one after another in spatial and temporal succession. That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series" to be understood in their popular meanings is pristinely evident from the legislative deliberations on the bill which eventually became RA 7080 or the Plunder Law: DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, 7 May 1991 REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of plunder. We say THROUGH A COMBINATION OR SERIES OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED IN SECTION ONE HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we actually mean to say, if there are two or more means, we mean to say that number one and two or number one and something else are included, how about a series of the same act? For example, through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, will these be included also? REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series. REP. ISIDRO: Series. REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series. REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination. REP. GARCIA: Yes.

REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that REP. GARCIA: Two. REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of the enumerated means not twice of one enumeration. REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice. REP. ISIDRO: Not twice? REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but combination, two acts. REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, that’s it. When we say combination, we mean, two different acts. It cannot be a repetition of the same act. REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah. REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there are two. REP. GARCIA: A series. REP. ISIDRO: That’s not series. Its a combination. Because when we say combination or series, we seem to say that two or more, di ba? REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary crimes. That is why, I said, that is a very good suggestion because if it is only one act, it may fall under ordinary crime but we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. So x x x x REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di.... SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term “series?” REP. GARCIA: Series, oo. REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two misappropriations.... REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be combination. Series. REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination? REP. GARCIA: Yes. REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different? REP. GARCIA: Yes. SEN. TANADA: Two different. REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.

REP. GARCIA: For example, ha... REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition... DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989 SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that sometimes “one” or maybe even “two” acts may already result in such a big amount, on line 25, would the Sponsor consider deleting the words “a series of overt or,” to read, therefore: “or conspiracy COMMITTED by criminal acts such as.” Remove the idea of necessitating “a series.” Anyway, the criminal acts are in the plural. SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or more of the acts mentioned in this. THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be.... SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because “a series” implies several or many; two or more. SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be prosecuted under the particular crime. But when we say “acts of plunder” there should be, at least, two or more. SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered by existing laws, Mr. President. Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is referring to at least two (2) acts falling under different categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to the National Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3). On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) or more overt or criminal acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say, misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a technical or distinctive meaning for "combination" and "series," it would have taken greater pains in specifically providing for it in the law. As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan that this term is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least a combination or series of overt or criminal acts enumerated in subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly, pursuant to Sec. 2 of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed towards a common purpose or goal which is to enable the public officer to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. And thirdly, there must either be an 'overall unlawful scheme' or 'conspiracy' to achieve said common goal. As commonly understood, the term 'overall unlawful scheme' indicates a 'general plan of action or method' which the principal accused and public officer and others conniving with him follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the alternative, if there is no such

overall scheme or where the schemes or methods used by multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a common goal. Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair warning and sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on the "voidfor-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving clause or by construction. A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects - it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. But the doctrine does not apply as against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The first may be "saved" by proper construction, while no challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed against such activities. With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case. The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and practice. It must be stressed, however, that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all other statutes. Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that the allegations that the Plunder Law is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of law." The overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms." A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests itself as a vehicle for

rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity." The possible harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes. This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech. The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment." In Broadrick v. Oklahoma, the Court ruled that "claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid." As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others." In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional." As has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant." Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety. Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on the ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court whose activities are constitutionally protected. It constitutes a departure from the case and controversy requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made without concrete factual settings and in sterile abstract contexts. But, as the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the

legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided. For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as "manifestly strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort," and is generally disfavored. In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions which are alleged to have been violated in a case must be examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant is charged. In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Every provision of the law should be construed in relation and with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance of what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his affirmative vote with full knowledge of its legal implications and sound constitutional anchorage. The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan must be mentioned if only to illustrate and emphasize the point that courts are loathed to declare a statute void for uncertainty unless the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, and is susceptible of no reasonable construction that will support and give it effect. In that case, petitioners Gallego and Agoncillo challenged the constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for being vague. Petitioners posited, among others, that the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise and elastic with no common law meaning or settled definition by prior judicial or administrative precedents; that, for its vagueness, Sec. 3, par. (e), violates due process in that it does not give fair warning or sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Petitioners further argued that the Information charged them with three (3) distinct offenses, to wit: (a) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through manifest partiality; (b) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and, (c) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through gross inexcusable negligence while in the discharge of their official function and that their right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them was violated because they were left to guess which of the three (3) offenses, if not all, they were being charged and prosecuted. In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer from the constitutional defect of vagueness. The phrases "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and inexcusable negligence" merely describe the different modes by which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute may be committed, and the use of all these phrases in the same Information does not mean that the indictment charges three (3) distinct offenses. The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking adequate or official support; unjustified; unauthorized (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. 2514); or without justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. US Dept. of Justice, C.D. Pa.,

405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978, Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, p. 19). The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act consider a corrupt practice and make unlawful the act of the public officer in: x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, x x x (Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as amended). It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted penal provisions penalize is the act of a public officer, in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions, in giving any private party benefits, advantage or preference which is unjustified, unauthorized or without justification or adequate reason, through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague or ambiguous in the use of the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which was understood in its primary and general acceptation. Consequently, in that case, petitioners' objection thereto was held inadequate to declare the section unconstitutional. On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched theory that Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law circumvents the immutable obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of plunder when it requires only proof of a pattern of overt or criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a criminal prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is entitled to an acquittal. The use of the "reasonable doubt" standard is indispensable to command the respect and confidence of the community in the application of criminal law. It is critical that the moral force of criminal law be not diluted by a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt whether innocent men are being condemned. It is also important in our free society that every individual going about his ordinary affairs has confidence that his government cannot adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper factfinder of his guilt with utmost certainty. This "reasonable doubt" standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process Clause which protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged. The following exchanges between Rep. Rodolfo Albano and Rep. Pablo Garcia on this score during the deliberations in the floor of the House of Representatives are elucidating -

DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080, 9 October 1990 MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our criminal law that what is alleged in the information must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. If we will prove only one act and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the information, does that not work against the right of the accused especially so if the amount committed, say, by falsification is less than P100 million, but the totality of the crime committed is P100 million since there is malversation, bribery, falsification of public document, coercion, theft? MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the information needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is every element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. Speaker, there is an enumeration of the things taken by the robber in the information – three pairs of pants, pieces of jewelry. These need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but these will not prevent the conviction of a crime for which he was charged just because, say, instead of 3 pairs of diamond earrings the prosecution proved two. Now, what is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the element of the offense. MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but considering that in the crime of plunder the totality of the amount is very important, I feel that such a series of overt criminal acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of bribery, he was able to accumulate only P50,000 and in the crime of extortion, he was only able to accumulate P1 million. Now, when we add the totality of the other acts as required under this bill through the interpretation on the rule of evidence, it is just one single act, so how can we now convict him? MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of proving an essential element of the crime, there is a need to prove that element beyond reasonable doubt. For example, one essential element of the crime is that the amount involved is P100 million. Now, in a series of defalcations and other acts of corruption in the enumeration the total amount would be P110 or P120 million, but there are certain acts that could not be proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those transactions which were proved. Now, if the amount involved in these transactions, proved beyond reasonable doubt, is P100 million, then there is a crime of plunder (underscoring supplied). It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in any manner refashion the standard quantum of proof in the crime of plunder. The burden still remains with the prosecution to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element necessary to constitute the crime. The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of the crime suffers from a dismal misconception of the import of that provision. What the prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts sufficient to form a combination or series which would constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at least P50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each and every other act alleged in the Information to have been committed by the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate, supposing that the accused is charged in an Information for plunder with having committed fifty (50) raids on the public treasury. The prosecution need not prove all these fifty (50) raids, it being sufficient to prove by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that they amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.

A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical conclusion that "pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy" inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth. Stated otherwise, such pattern arises where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d). Pattern is merely a by-product of the proof of the predicate acts. This conclusion is consistent with reason and common sense. There would be no other explanation for a combination or series of overt or criminal acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than "a scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill gotten wealth." The prosecution is therefore not required to make a deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily follows with the establishment of a series or combination of the predicate acts. Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his submission that "pattern" is "a very important element of the crime of plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is "two pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive element of the crime," such that without it the accused cannot be convicted of plunder JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be convicted under the Plunder Law without applying Section 4 on the Rule of Evidence if there is proof beyond reasonable doubt of the commission of the acts complained of? ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual crimes enumerated in the Revised Penal Code, but not plunder. JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of the crime are proved beyond reasonable doubt without applying Section 4, can you not have a conviction under the Plunder Law? ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor. JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application of Sec. 4 in convicting an accused charged for violation of the Plunder Law? ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4 lays down a substantive element of the law x x x x JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of Section 4 when there is proof beyond reasonable doubt on the acts charged constituting plunder? ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two pronged, it contains a rule of evidence and it contains a substantive element of the crime of plunder. So, there is no way by which we can avoid Section 4. JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable doubt insofar as the predicate crimes charged are concerned that you do not have to go that far by applying Section 4? ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 contains a very important element of the crime of plunder and that cannot be avoided by the prosecution.

We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and "pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and unequivocal: SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder x x x x It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a criminal case for plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in furtherance of a remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to substantive law. Indubitably, even without invoking Sec. 4, a conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, even granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4 is flawed and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it may simply be severed from the rest of the provisions without necessarily resulting in the demise of the law; after all, the existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than enough. Besides, Sec. 7 of RA 7080 provides for a separability clause Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions of this Act and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby. Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act from being declared invalid as a result of the nullity of some of its provisions, assuming that to be the case although it is not really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be treated independently of each other, especially if by doing so, the objectives of the statute can best be achieved. As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder is a malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his Concurring Opinion x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, unlawfully and criminally." It thus alleges guilty knowledge on the part of petitioner. In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of mens rea and that is the reason he claims the statute is void, petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator Tañada made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733: SENATOR TAÑADA . . . And the evidence that will be required to convict him would not be evidence for each and every individual criminal act but only evidence sufficient to establish the conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder. However, Senator Tañada was discussing §4 as shown by the succeeding portion of the transcript quoted by petitioner: SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels that it is contained in Section 4, Rule of Evidence, which, in the Gentleman's view, would provide for a speedier and faster process of attending to this kind of cases?

SENATOR TAÑADA: Yes, Mr. President . . . Senator Tañada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to commit plunder, the prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act done to further the scheme or conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or ciminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting the pattern are concerned, however, the elements of the crime must be proved and the requisite mens rea must be shown. Indeed, §2 provides that Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his criminal intent. It is true that §2 refers to "any person who participates with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder." There is no reason to believe, however, that it does not apply as well to the public officer as principal in the crime. As Justice Holmes said: "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws with what they omit, but there is no canon against using common sense in construing laws as saying what they obviously mean." Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Other heinous crimes are punished with death as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these groups of heinous crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray: The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by their very nature, despicable, either because life was callously taken or the victim is treated like an animal and utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his or her growth as a human being . . . . Seen in this light, the capital crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the victim is raped, tortured, or subjected to dehumanizing acts; destructive arson resulting in death; and drug offenses involving minors or resulting in the death of the victim in the case of other crimes; as well as murder, rape, parricide, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, where the victim is detained for more than three days or serious physical injuries were inflicted on the victim or threats to kill him were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide, rape or intentional mutilation, destructive arson, and carnapping where the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed or raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua to death, are clearly heinous by their very nature. There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the significance and implications of the subject criminal acts in the scheme of the larger socio-political and economic context in

which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and provide for its poor and underprivileged masses. Reeling from decades of corrupt tyrannical rule that bankrupted the government and impoverished the population, the Philippine Government must muster the political will to dismantle the culture of corruption, dishonesty, greed and syndicated criminality that so deeply entrenched itself in the structures of society and the psyche of the populace. [With the government] terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic services to its people, any form of misappropriation or misapplication of government funds translates to an actual threat to the very existence of government, and in turn, the very survival of the people it governs over. Viewed in this context, no less heinous are the effects and repercussions of crimes like qualified bribery, destructive arson resulting in death, and drug offenses involving government officials, employees or officers, that their perpetrators must not be allowed to cause further destruction and damage to society. The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that it is a malum in se. For when the acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they are mala in se and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a special law, especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it would be absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against jaywalking, without regard to the inherent wrongness of the acts. To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory law of RA 7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say however that it is now too late in the day for him to resurrect this long dead issue, the same having been eternally consigned by People v. Echegaray to the archives of jurisprudential history. The declaration of this Court therein that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a declaration of the State, and becomes, by necessary effect, assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part of it. Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene profligacy of officials in high places which have shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of graft and corruption has become more elaborate in the corridors of time as unscrupulous people relentlessly contrive more and more ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government. Drastic and radical measures are imperative to fight the increasingly sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and economically catastrophic looting of the national treasury. Such is the Plunder Law, especially designed to disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale corruption which, if left unchecked, will spread like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of our nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living testament to the will of the legislature to ultimately eradicate this scourge and thus secure society against the avarice and other venalities in public office. These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history of this nation, few issues of national importance can equal the amount of interest and passion generated by petitioner's ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual prosecution and trial under a virginal statute. This continuing saga has driven a wedge of dissension among our people that may linger for a long time. Only by responding to the clarion call for patriotism, to rise above factionalism and prejudices, shall we emerge triumphant in the midst of ferment.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur. Davide, Jr. C.J., Melo, Quisumbing, JJ., join concurring opinion of J. Mendoza. Puno, Vitug, JJ., concurred and joins J. Mendoza's concurring opinion. Kapunan, Pardo, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ynares-Santiago, JJ., see dissenting opinion. Mendoza, J., please see concurring opinion. Panganiban J., please see separate concurring opinion. Carpio, J., no part. Was one of the complainants before Ombudsman. Approved 12 July 1991 and took effect 8 October 1991. Approved 13 December 1993 and took effect 31 December 1993. Lim v. Pacquing, et al., G.R. No. 115044, 27 January 1995, 240 SCRA 644. G.R. No. 87001, 4 December 1989, 179 SCRA 828. Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 385, 414 (1925). 82 C.J.S. 68, p. 113; People v. Ring, 70 P.2d 281, 26 Cal. App. 2d Supp. 768. Mustang Lumber, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 104988, 18 June 1996, 257 SCRA 430, 448. PLDT v. Eastern Telecommunications Phil., Inc., G.R. No. 943774, 27 August 1992, 213 SCRA 16, 26. Resolution of 9 July 2001. See People v. Nazario, No. L-44143, 31 August 1988, 165 SCRA 186, 195-196. Ibid. State v. Hill, 189 Kan 403, 369 P2d 365, 91 ALR2d 750. Connally v. General Constr. Co., 269 U.S. 385, 391, 70 L. Ed. 328 (1926) cited in Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Ass'n. v. City Mayor, 20 SCRA 849, 867 (1967). NAACP v. Alabama, 377 U.S. 288, 307, 12, 2 L. Ed 325, 338 (1958); Shelton v. Tucker 364 U.S. 479, 5 L. Ed. 2d 231 (1960).

Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518, 521, 31 L. Ed. 2d 408, 413 (1972) (internal quotation marks omitted). United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 745 95 L. Ed 2d 697, 707 (1987); see also People v. De la Piedra, G.R. No. 121777, 24 January 2001. 413 U.S. 601, 612-613, 37 L. Ed 2d 830, 840-841 (1973). United States v. Salerno, supra. Village of Hoffman Estates v. Flipside, Hoffman Estates, Inc., 455 U.S. 489, 494-95, 71 L. Ed. 2d 362, 369 (1982). United States v. Raines, 362 U.S. 17, 21, 4 L. Ed. 2d 524, 529 (1960). The paradigmatic case is Yazoo & Mississippi Valley RR. v. Jackson Vinegar Co., 226 U.S. 217, 57 L. Ed. 193 (1912). G. Gunther & K. Sullivan, Constitutional Law 1299 (2001). Id. at 1328. See also Richard H. Fallon, Jr., As Applied and Facial Challenges, 113 Harv. L. Rev. 1321 (2000) arguing that, in an important sense, as applied challenges are the basic building blocks of constitutional adjudication and that determinations that statutes are facially invalid properly occur only as logical outgrowths of ruling on whether statutes may be applied to particular litigants on particular facts. Constitution, Art. VIII, §1 and 5. Compare Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 158 (1936); "[T]he power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to be constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities." 401 U.S. 37, 52-53, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669, 680 (1971). Accord, United States v. Raines, 362 U.S. 17, 4 L. Ed. 2d 524 (1960); Board of Trustees, State Univ. of N.Y. v. Fox, 492 U.S. 469, 106 L. Ed. 2d 388 (1989). Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. at 613, 37 L. Ed. 2d at 841; National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, 524 U.S. 569, 580 (1998). FW/PBS, Inc. v. City of Dallas, 493 U.S. 223, 107 L. Ed. 2d 603 (1990); Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, G.R. No. 135385, 6 December 2000 (Mendoza, J., Separate Opinion). United States v. National Dairy Prod. Corp., 372 U.S. 29, 32-33, 9 L. Ed. 2d 561, 565-6 (1963). G.R. No. 57841, 30 July 1982, 115 SCRA 793. People v. Ganguso, G.R. No. 115430, 23 November 1995, 250 SCRA 268, 274-275. People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 94187, 4 November 1992, 215 SCRA 349, 360.

Then Senate President Jovito R. Salonga construed in brief the provision, thuswise: “If there are let’s say 150 crimes all in all, criminal acts, whether bribery, misappropriation, malversation, extortion, you need not prove all those beyond reasonable doubt. If you can prove by pattern, let’s say 10, but each must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, you do not have to prove 150 crimes. That’s the meaning of this (Deliberations of Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Laws, 15 November 1988, cited in the Sandiganbayan Resolution of 9 July 2001). TSN, 18 September 2001, pp. 115-121. 4 Record of the Senate 1316, 5 June 1989. Ibid. Roschen v. Ward, 279 U.S. 337, 339, 73 L.Ed. 722, 728 (1929). 267 SCRA 682, 721-2 (1997) (emphasis added). Black's Law Dictionary 959 (1990); Lozano v. Martinez, 146 SCRA 324, 338 (1986). G.R. No. 117472, 7 February 1997, 267 SCRA 682.

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