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Facts: SCB acted as a stock broker, soliciting from local

residents foreign securities called GTPMF. These securities were


not registered with the SEC and were then remitted outwardly to
SCB-Hong Kong and SCB-Singapore. The Investment Capital
Association of the Philippines (ICAP) filed with the SEC a
complaint alleging that SCB violated the Revised Securities Act,
particularly the provision prohibiting the selling of securities
without prior registration with the SEC; and that its actions are
potentially damaging to the local mutual fund industry.
Notwithstanding the BSP directive, SCB continued to offer and
sell GTPMF securities in this country. Petitioner learned that the
SCB had been prohibited by the BSP to sell GPTMF securities.
Petitioner filed with the DOJ a complaint for violation of
Section 8.1 of the Securities Regulation Code against private
respondents but was denied holding that it should have been
filed with the SEC.
Issue: Whether the SEC has jurisdiction over the case.
Held: Yes. A criminal charge for violation of the Securities
Regulation Code is a specialized dispute. Hence, it must first be
referred to an administrative agency of special competence, i.e.,
the SEC. Under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, courts will
not determine a controversy involving a question within the
jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal, where the question
demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion
requiring the specialized knowledge and expertise of said
administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate
matters of fact. The Securities Regulation Code is a special law.
Its enforcement is particularly vested in the SEC. Hence, all

complaints for any violation of the Code and its implementing


rules and regulations should be filed with the SEC. Where the
complaint is criminal in nature, the SEC shall indorse the
complaint to the DOJ for preliminary investigation and
prosecution.

FIRST DIVISION

MANUEL V. BAVIERA,
Petitioner,

versus -

ESPERANZA PAGLINAWAN, in her


capacity as Department of Justice State
Prosecutor; LEAH C. TANODRAARMAMENTO, In her capacity as
Assistant Chief State Prosecutor and
Chairwoman of Task Force on Business
Scam; JOVENCITO R. ZUNO, in his
capacity as Department of Justice Chief
State
Prosecutor;
STANDARD
CHARTERED BANK, PAUL SIMON
MORRIS, AJAY KANWAL, SRIDHAR

G.R. No. 168380

RAMAN,
MARIVEL
GONZALES,
CHONA REYES, MARIA ELLEN
VICTOR, and ZENAIDA IGLESIAS,
Respondents.
x-----------------------------x

MANUEL V. BAVIERA,
Petitioner,

versus -

STANDARD CHARTERED BANK,


BRYAN K. SANDERSON, THE RIGHT
HONORABLE LORD STEWARTBY,
EVAN MERVYN DAVIES, MICHAEL
BERNARD
DENOMA,
CHRISTOPHER AVEDIS KELJIK,
RICHARD HENRY MEDDINGS, KAI
NARGOLWALA,
PETER
ALEXANDER SANDS, RONNIE CHI
CHUNG CHAN, SIR CK CHOW,
BARRY CLARE, HO KWON PING,
RUDOLPH
HAROLD
PETER
ARKHAM, DAVID GEORGE MOIR,
HIGH EDWARD NORTON, SIR
RALPH HARRY ROBINS, ANTHONY
WILLIAM
PAUL
STENHAM
(Standard Chartered Bank Chairman,
Deputy Chairman, and Members of the
Board), SHERAZAM MAZARI (Group
Regional Head for Consumer Banking),
PAUL SIMON MORRIS, AJAY
KANWAL,
SRIDHAR
RAMAN,
MARIVEL GONZALES,
CHONA
REYES, ELLEN VICTOR, RAMONA
H.
BERNAD,
DOMINGO
CARBONELL, JR., and ZENAIDA
IGLESIAS (Standard Chartered BankPhilippines Branch Heads/Officers),
Respondents.

*Corona*On leave.

G.R. No. 170602

Present:

PUNO, C.J.,Chairperson,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
,

*Corona

AZCUNA, and
GARCIA, JJ.

Promulgated:

February 8, 2007

x -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

Before us are two consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari assailing


the Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87328 1[1] and in CAG.R. SP No. 85078.2[2]

The common factual antecedents of these cases as shown by the records are:

[1] Rollo, G.R. No. 168380, Vol. I, pp. 48-62. Penned by Associate Justice Remedios A.
Salazar-Fernando and concurred in by Associate Justice Rosemarie D. Carandang and
Associate Justice Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa.

2[2] Id., G.R. No. 170602, Vol. I, pp. 63-73. Written by Associate Justice Juan Q.
Enriquez, Jr., with Associate Justice Portia Alio-Hormachuelos and Associate Justice
Vicente Q. Roxas, concurring.

Manuel Baviera, petitioner in these cases, was the former head of the HR
Service Delivery and Industrial Relations of Standard Chartered Bank-Philippines
(SCB), one of herein respondents. SCB is a foreign banking corporation duly
licensed to engage in banking, trust, and other fiduciary business in the Philippines.
Pursuant to Resolution No. 1142 dated December 3, 1992 of the Monetary Board
of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the conduct of SCBs business in this
jurisdiction is subject to the following conditions:

1.

At the end of a one-year period from the date the SCB starts its trust
functions, at least 25% of its trust accounts must be for the account of nonresidents of the Philippines and that actual foreign exchange had been
remitted into the Philippines to fund such accounts or that the
establishment of such accounts had reduced the indebtedness of residents
(individuals or corporations or government agencies) of the Philippines to
non-residents. At the end of the second year, the above ratio shall be 50%,
which ratio must be observed continuously thereafter;

2. The trust operations of SCB shall be subject to all existing laws, rules and
regulations applicable to trust services, particularly the creation of a Trust
Committee; and
3.

The bank shall inform the appropriate supervising and examining


department of the BSP at the start of its operations.

Apparently, SCB did not comply with the above conditions. Instead, as early
as 1996, it acted as a stock broker, soliciting from local residents foreign securities
called GLOBAL THIRD PARTY MUTUAL FUNDS (GTPMF), denominated in
US dollars. These securities were not registered with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC). These were then remitted outwardly to SCB-Hong Kong and
SCB-Singapore.

SCBs counsel, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and Delos Angeles


Law Office, advised the bank to proceed with the selling of the foreign securities
although unregistered with the SEC, under the guise of a custodianship agreement;
and should it be questioned, it shall invoke Section 723[3] of the General Banking
Act (Republic Act No.337).4[4] In sum, SCB was able to sell GTPMF securities
worth around P6 billion to some 645 investors.

However, SCBs operations did not remain unchallenged. On July 18, 1997,
the Investment Capital Association of the Philippines (ICAP) filed with the SEC a
3

[3] SEC.72. In addition to the operations specifically authorized elsewhere in this Act, banking institutions other than building and loan
associations may perform the following services:
a)

Receive in custody funds, documents and valuable objects, and rent safety deposit boxes for the safeguarding of such effects;

b)

Act as financial agent and buy and sell, by order of and for the account of their customers, shares, evidences of indebtedness
and all other types of securities;

c)

Make collections and payments for the account of others and perform such other services for their customers as are not
incompatible with banking business;

d)

Upon prior approval of the Monetary Board, act as managing agent, adviser, consultant or administrator of investment
management advisory/consultancy accounts.

The banks shall perform the services permitted under subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section as depositaries or as
agents. Accordingly they shall keep the funds, securities and other effects which they thus receive duly separated and apart from the
banks own assets and liabilities.

The Monetary Board may regulate the operations authorized by this section in order to insure that said operations do not
endanger the interest of the depositors and other creditors of the banks.

4[4] Now repealed by The General Banking Law of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8791).

complaint alleging that SCB violated the Revised Securities Act, 5[5] particularly
the provision prohibiting the selling of securities without prior registration with the
SEC; and that its actions are potentially damaging to the local mutual fund
industry.

In its answer, SCB denied offering and selling securities, contending that it
has been performing a purely informational function without solicitations for any
of its investment outlets abroad; that it has a trust license and the services it renders
under the Custodianship Agreement for offshore investments are authorized by
Section 726[6] of the General Banking Act; that its clients were the ones who took
the initiative to invest in securities; and it has been acting merely as an agent or
passive order taker for them.

[5] Batas Pambansa Blg. 178. Now repealed by Republic Act No. 8799 (The Securities
Regulation Code), which took effect on July 19. 2000.

6[6] Supra at footnote 3.

On September 2, 1997, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist Order against
SCB, holding that its services violated Sections 4(a) 7[7] and 198[8] of the Revised
Securities Act.

Meantime, the SEC indorsed ICAPs complaint and its supporting documents
to the BSP.

On October 31, 1997, the SEC informed the Secretary of Finance that it
withdrew GTPMF securities from the market and that it will not sell the same
without the necessary clearances from the regulatory authorities.

[7] SEC. 4. Requirement of registration of securities. (a) No securities, except of a class


exempt under any of the provisions of Section five hereof or unless sold in any
transaction exempt under any of the provisions of Section six hereof shall be sold or
offered for sale or distribution to the public within the Philippines unless such securities
shall have been registered and permitted to be sold as hereinafter provided.

[8] SEC. 19. Registration of brokers, dealers and salesmen.- No broker, dealer or
salesman shall engage in business in the Philippines as such broker, dealer or salesman or
sell any securities, including securities exempted under this Act, except in exempt
transactions, unless he has been registered as a broker, dealer, or salesman pursuant to the
provisions of this Section.

Meanwhile, on August 17, 1998, the BSP directed SCB not to include
investments in global mutual funds issued abroad in its trust investments portfolio
without prior registration with the SEC.

On August 31, 1998, SCB sent a letter to the BSP confirming that it will
withdraw third-party fund products which could be directly purchased by investors.

However, notwithstanding its commitment and the BSP directive, SCB


continued to offer and sell GTPMF securities in this country. This prompted
petitioner to enter into an Investment Trust Agreement with SCB wherein he
purchased US$8,000.00 worth of securities upon the banks promise of 40% return
on his investment and a guarantee that his money is safe. After six (6) months,
however, petitioner learned that the value of his investment went down to
US$7,000.00. He tried to withdraw his investment but was persuaded by Antonette
de los Reyes of SCB to hold on to it for another six (6) months in view of the
possibility that the market would pick up.

Meanwhile, on November 27, 2000, the BSP found that SCB failed to
comply with its directive of August 17, 1998. Consequently, it was fined in the
amount of P30,000.00.

The trend in the securities market, however, was bearish and the worth of
petitioners investment went down further to only US$3,000.00.

On October 26, 2001, petitioner learned from Marivel Gonzales, head of the
SCB Legal and Compliance Department, that the latter had been prohibited by the
BSP to sell GPTMF securities. Petitioner then filed with the BSP a letter-complaint
demanding compensation for his lost investment. But SCB denied his demand on
the ground that his investment is regular.

On July 15, 2003, petitioner filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ),
represented herein by its prosecutors, public respondents, a complaint charging the
above-named officers and members of the SCB Board of Directors and other SCB
officials, private respondents, with syndicated estafa, docketed as I.S. No. 20031059.

For their part, private respondents filed the following as counter-charges


against petitioner: (1) blackmail and extortion, docketed as I.S. No. 2003-1059-A;
and blackmail and perjury, docketed as I.S. No. 2003-1278.

On September 29, 2003, petitioner also filed a complaint for perjury against
private respondents Paul Simon Morris and Marivel Gonzales, docketed as I.S. No.
2003-1278-A.

On December 4, 2003, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist Order against
SCB restraining it from further offering, soliciting, or otherwise selling its
securities to the public until these have been registered with the SEC.

Subsequently, the SEC and SCB reached an amicable settlement.

On January 20, 2004, the SEC lifted its Cease and Desist Order and
approved the P7 million settlement offered by SCB. Thereupon, SCB made a
commitment not to offer or sell securities without prior compliance with the
requirements of the SEC.
On February 7, 2004, petitioner filed with the DOJ a complaint for violation
of Section 8.19[9] of the Securities Regulation Code against private respondents,
docketed as I.S. No. 2004-229.

9[9] Sec. 8. Requirement of Registration of Securities:


8.1. Securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the
Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the
Commission. Prior to such sale, information on the securities, in such form and with such
substance as the Commission may prescribe, shall be made available to each prospective
purchaser.

On February 23, 2004, the DOJ rendered its Joint Resolution 10[10]
dismissing petitioners complaint for syndicated estafa in I.S. No. 2003-1059;
private respondents complaint for blackmail and extortion in I.S. No. 2003-1059A; private respondents complaint for blackmail and perjury in I.S. No. 2003-1278;
and petitioners complaint for perjury against private respondents Morris and
Gonzales in I.S. No. 2003-1278-A.

Meanwhile, in a Resolution11[11] dated April 4, 2004, the DOJ dismissed


petitioners complaint in I.S. No. 2004-229 (violation of Securities Regulation
Code), holding that it should have been filed with the SEC.

Petitioners motions to dismiss his complaints were denied by the DOJ. Thus,
he filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP
No. 85078. He alleged that the DOJ acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing his complaint for
syndicated estafa.

He also filed with the Court of Appeals a separate petition for certiorari
assailing the DOJ Resolution dismissing I.S. No. 2004-229 for violation of the
Securities Regulation Code. This petition was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 87328.
10[10] Vol. I, Rollo, G.R. No. 170602, pp. 451-473.

11[11] Vol. I, Rollo, G.R. No. 168380, pp. 241-43.

Petitioner claimed that the DOJ acted with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to
lack or excess of jurisdiction in holding that the complaint should have been filed
with the SEC.

On January 7, 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision


dismissing the petition. It sustained the ruling of the DOJ that the case should have
been filed initially with the SEC.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a


Resolution dated May 27, 2005.

Meanwhile, on February 21, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered its


Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 85078 (involving petitioners charges and respondents
counter charges) dismissing the petition on the ground that the purpose of a
petition for certiorari is not to evaluate and weigh the parties evidence but to
determine whether the assailed Resolution of the DOJ was issued with grave abuse
of discretion tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. Again, petitioner moved for a
reconsideration but it was denied in a Resolution of November 22, 2005.

Hence, the instant petitions for review on certiorari.

For our resolution is the fundamental issue of whether the Court of Appeals
erred in concluding that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
dismissing petitioners complaint in I.S. 2004-229 for violation of Securities
Regulation Code and his complaint in I.S. No. 2003-1059 for syndicated estafa.

G.R. No 168380
Re: I.S. No. 2004-229
For violation of the Securities Regulation Code

Section 53.1 of the Securities Regulation Code provides:

SEC. 53. Investigations, Injunctions and Prosecution of Offenses.


53. 1. The Commission may, in its discretion, make such investigation as
it deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to
violate any provision of this Code, any rule, regulation or order thereunder, or
any rule of an Exchange, registered securities association, clearing agency, other
self-regulatory organization, and may require or permit any person to file with it
a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the Commission shall
determine, as to all facts and circumstances concerning the matter to be
investigated. The Commission may publish information concerning any such
violations and to investigate any fact, condition, practice or matter which it may
deem necessary or proper to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this
Code, in the prescribing of rules and regulations thereunder, or in securing
information to serve as a basis for recommending further legislation concerning
the matters to which this Code relates: Provided, however, That any person
requested or subpoenaed to produce documents or testify in any investigation
shall simultaneously be notified in writing of the purpose of such investigation:
Provided, further, That all criminal complaints for violations of this Code
and the implementing rules and regulations enforced or administered by the
Commission shall be referred to the Department of Justice for preliminary

investigation and prosecution before the proper court: Provided,


furthermore, That in instances where the law allows independent civil or
criminal proceedings of violations arising from the act, the Commission shall
take appropriate action to implement the same: Provided, finally; That the
investigation, prosecution, and trial of such cases shall be given priority.

The Court of Appeals held that under the above provision, a criminal
complaint for violation of any law or rule administered by the SEC must first be
filed with the latter. If the Commission finds that there is probable cause, then it
should refer the case to the DOJ. Since petitioner failed to comply with the
foregoing procedural requirement, the DOJ did not gravely abuse its discretion in
dismissing his complaint in I.S. No. 2004-229.

A criminal charge for violation of the Securities Regulation Code is a


specialized dispute. Hence, it must first be referred to an administrative agency of
special competence, i.e., the SEC. Under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction,
courts will not determine a controversy involving a question within the jurisdiction
of the administrative tribunal, where the question demands the exercise of sound
administrative discretion requiring the specialized knowledge and expertise of said
administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact. 12[12]
The Securities Regulation Code is a special law. Its enforcement is particularly
vested in the SEC. Hence, all complaints for any violation of the Code and its
12

[12] Saavedra, Jr. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, G.R. No. 80879, March 21,
1988, 159 SCRA 57, 62, citing Pambujan Sur United Mine Workers v. Samar Mining Co.
Inc., 94 Phil. 932 (1954).

implementing rules and regulations should be filed with the SEC. Where the
complaint is criminal in nature, the SEC shall indorse the complaint to the DOJ for
preliminary investigation and prosecution as provided in Section 53.1 earlier
quoted.

We thus agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner committed a fatal
procedural lapse when he filed his criminal complaint directly with the DOJ.
Verily, no grave abuse of discretion can be ascribed to the DOJ in dismissing
petitioners complaint.

G.R. No. 170602


Re: I.S. No. 2003-1059 for
Syndicated Estafa

Section 5, Rule 110 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended,


provides that all criminal actions, commenced by either a complaint or an
information, shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of a public
prosecutor. This mandate is founded on the theory that a crime is a breach of the
security and peace of the people at large, an outrage against the very sovereignty of
the State. It follows that a representative of the State shall direct and control the

prosecution of the offense.13[13] This representative of the State is the public


prosecutor, whom this Court described in the old case of Suarez v. Platon,14[14] as:

[T]he representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a


sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its
obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal
prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such,
he is in a peculiar and very definite sense a servant of the law, the twofold aim of
which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffers.

Concomitant with his authority and power to control the prosecution of


criminal offenses, the public prosecutor is vested with the discretionary power to
determine whether a prima facie case exists or not.15[15] This is done through a
preliminary investigation designed to secure the respondent from hasty, malicious
and oppressive prosecution. A preliminary investigation is essentially an inquiry to
determine whether (a) a crime has been committed; and (b) whether there is
probable cause that the accused is guilty thereof.16[16] In Pontejos v. Office of the
Ombudsman,17[17] probable cause is defined as such facts and circumstances that
13[13] Tan, Jr. v. Gallardo, G.R. Nos. 41213-14, October 5, 1976, 73 SCRA 306, 310.

14[14] 80 Phil. 556 (1940).

15[15] Zulueta v. Nicolas, 102 Phil. 944 (1958).

16[16] Ching v. Secretary of Justice, G.R. No. 164317, February 6, 2006, 481 SCRA 609.

17[17] G.R. Nos. 158613-14, February 22, 2006, p. 11.

would engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that the
respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. It is the public
prosecutor who determines during the preliminary investigation whether probable
cause exists. Thus, the decision whether or not to dismiss the criminal complaint
against the accused depends on the sound discretion of the prosecutor.

Given this latitude and authority granted by law to the investigating


prosecutor, the rule in this jurisdiction is that courts will not interfere with the
conduct of preliminary investigations or reinvestigations or in the
determination of what constitutes sufficient probable cause for the filing of the
corresponding information against an offender.18[18] Courts are not empowered
to substitute their own judgment for that of the executive branch. 19[19] Differently
stated, as the matter of whether to prosecute or not is purely discretionary on his
part, courts cannot compel a public prosecutor to file the corresponding
information, upon a complaint, where he finds the evidence before him insufficient
to warrant the filing of an action in court. In sum, the prosecutors findings on the
existence of probable cause are not subject to review by the courts, unless

18

[18] Glaxosmithkline Philippines, Inc. v. Malik and Ateeque, G.R. No. 166824, August
17, 2006, p. 5, citing Punzalan v. Dela Pea and Cagara. 434 SCRA 601 (2004).

19[19] Alcaraz v. Gonzales, G.R. No. 164715, September 20, 2006, 10, citing
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company v. Tonda, 392 Phil. 797 (2000).

these are patently shown to have been made with grave abuse of discretion. 20
[20]

Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise of


judgment on the part of the public officer concerned which is equivalent to an
excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be as patent and gross
as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty
enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.21
[21]

In determining whether the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion, it is


expedient to know if the findings of fact of herein public prosecutors were reached
in an arbitrary or despotic manner.

The Court of Appeals held that petitioners evidence is insufficient to


establish probable cause for syndicated estafa. There is no showing from the record
that private respondents herein did induce petitioner by false representations to
20

[20] Glaxosmithkline Philippines, Inc. v. Malik and Ateeque, supra, p. 5, citing Cabaling
v. People, 376 SCRA 113 (2002).

21[21] Soria v. Desierto, G.R. Nos. 153524-25, January 31, 2005, 450 SCRA 339.
345, citing Duero v. Court of Appeals, 373 SCRA 11 (2002), Perez v. Office of the
Ombudsman, 429 SCRA 357 (2004).

invest in the GTPMF securities. Nor did they act as a syndicate to misappropriate
his money for their own benefit. Rather, they invested it in accordance with his
written instructions. That he lost his investment is not their fault since it was highly
speculative.

Records show that public respondents examined petitioners evidence with


care, well aware of their duty to prevent material damage to his constitutional right
to liberty and fair play. In Suarez previously cited, this Court made it clear that a
public prosecutors duty is two-fold. On one hand, he is bound by his oath of office
to prosecute persons where the complainants evidence is ample and sufficient to
show prima facie guilt of a crime. Yet, on the other hand, he is likewise duty-bound
to protect innocent persons from groundless, false, or malicious prosecution.22[22]

Hence, we hold that the Court of Appeals was correct in dismissing the
petition for review against private respondents and in concluding that the DOJ did
not act with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

On petitioners complaint for violation of the Securities Regulation Code,


suffice it to state that, as aptly declared by the Court of Appeals, he should have
filed it with the SEC, not the DOJ. Again, there is no indication here that in
dismissing petitioners complaint, the DOJ acted capriciously or arbitrarily.

22[22] Vda. de Bagatua v. Revilla and Lombos, 104 Phil. 392 (1958).

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petitions and AFFIRM the assailed


Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87328 and in CA-G.R. SP
No. 85078.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
Chairperson

(On leave)
RENATO C. CORONA

ADOLFO S. AZCUNA

Associate Justice

Associate Justice

CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution, it is hereby certified


that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the
case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice