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[G.R. No. 136911. February 11, 2003]SPOUSES LEON CASIMIRO and PILAR PASCUAL, doing business under the name and style “CASIMIRO VILLAGE SUBDIVISION”, substituted by their heirs: EMILIO, TEOFILO and GABRIEL, all surnamed CASIMIRO, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, former Thirteenth Division, NILDA A. PAULIN, MANOLITO A. PAULIN, SUSAN P. MARTIN, SYLVIA P. FARRES, CYNTHIA P. LAZATIN, CELESTINO P. PAULIN and UNIWIDE SALES REALTY AND RESOURCES CORPORATION, respondents. R E S O L U T I O N

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: This resolves the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioners, seeking to set aside our Decision dated July 3, 2002, which affirmed the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 16165. The facts as set forth in the Decision are as follows: Respondents were the registered owners of a 25,000 square meter parcel of land situated in Pamplona, Las Piñas City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. S-74375. Adjoining their property on the northern side was petitioners‟ land, covered b y Original Certificate of Title No. 5975. Sometime in 1979, during a relocation survey conducted by Geodetic Engineer Emilio Paz at the instance of respondents, it was discovered that the Casimiro Village Subdivision, owned by petitioners, encroached by 3, 110 square meters into respondents‟ land. Respondents notified petitioners and demanded that they desist from making further development in the area. Subsequently, on March 13, 1980, respondents demanded that petitioners remove all constructions in the area. Failing in their efforts to regain possession of the disputed premises, respondents filed with the Court of First Instance of Pasay City an action for recovery of possession with damages against petitioners and the latter‟s lot buyers, docketed as Civ il Case No. LP-8840P. Respondents alleged that 3,110 square meters of their property, which has a market value of P640,000.00, computed at the then prevailing price of P200.00 per square meter, have been encroached upon and fenced in by petitioners as part of the Casimiro Village Subdivision, and subdivided and sold to lot buyers. In support of their contention, respondents presented the geodetic engineer who conducted the actual ground relocation survey. In their defense, petitioners denied that there was an encroachment in respondents‟ land. They presented Geodetic Engineers Lino C. Reyes and Felipe Venezuela from the Bureau of Lands. Meanwhile, defendant-lot buyers interposed a cross-claim against petitioners spouses Casimiro, averring that they were innocent purchasers in good faith and for value of their respective lots. On December 29, 1982, the Court of First Instance, Branch XXVIII, Pasay City, rendered a decision in favor of respondents, the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants Casimiros sentencing the latter to pay the former the sum of P640,000.00 with interest thereon at the legal rate from March 13, 1980 until the same is fully paid and to pay attorney‟s fees equivalent to 25% of the total amount due and the costs. On the cross-claim, cross defendants Casimiros are ordered to pay cross plaintiffs the sum of P5,000.00 as attorney‟s fees. SO ORDERED. Ruling on petitioners motion for reconsideration, the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch CXI, set aside its earlier decision, and held that the report of the engineers from the Bureau of Lands were more credible and accurate, and enjoy the presumption of regularity and accuracy. On July 15, 1987, respondents moved for reconsideration of the above Order, but the same was denied on January 19, 1988. Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals on the sole question of the proper location of the common boundary separating the adjoining lots of petitioners and respondents. The Court of Appeals ordered that a relocation survey be conducted by a team of surveyors composed of a surveyor designated by the respondents, a surveyor designated by the petitioners, and a third member-

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surveyor chosen by the said two surveyors. Petitioners designated Engr. Nicolas Bernardo, while respondents designated Engr. Manuel P. Lopez. Upon agreement of the parties that the third member shall be from the Land Registration Commission, Engr. Felino Cortez, Chief, Ordinary and Cadastral Division, Land Registration Commission, was designated third member and chairman of the relocation survey. Petitioners complained of irregularities in the conduct of the relocation survey, namely, (a) the actual field work was conducted by a separate survey team composed of employees of the LRC without the knowledge and presence of Engr. Bernardo; (b) the relocation plan and computations were done without consultation and coordination among the members of the survey team; and (c) the relocation plan that was prepared by Engr. Cortez did not conform to the verification plan earlier approved by the Bureau of Lands in January 1982. However, the Court of Appeals found nothing irregular in the conduct of the relocation survey. Petitioners‟ representative, Engr. Bernardo, admitted that he was furnished copies of the field notes and data gathered by the LRA team, but did not enter any objection thereto. If at all, Engr. Bernardo‟s exclusion from the actual field work was rectified by the opportunity given h im to comment on the final report prepared by Engr. Cortez, which Engr. Bernardo did not do. After the survey, the Court of Appeals found that the final relocation survey report yielded the “indisputable and inevitable conclusion” that petitioners encroached on a portion of the respondents‟ property comprising an area of 3,235 square meters. On November 11, 1996, a judgment was rendered as follows: The foregoing considered, We hereby REVERSE and SET ASIDE the order of the trial court dated June 25 1987 and REINSTATE the decision dated December 29, 1982 as prayed for by the Appellants [spouses Paulin]. SO ORDERED. Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied for lack of merit. Hence, the instant petition for review.
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In denying the petition for review, we upheld the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, citing the rule that we are [2] not a trier of facts, and that factual findings of the Court of Appeals, when supported by substantial evidence, are [3] conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this Court. In their Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners argue that this case falls within the exceptions when review of the factual findings of the Court of Appeals is proper. According to them, the findings of fact of the appellate court were contrary to those of the trial court. Moreover, it was alleged that there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals when it approved the Report of the Relocation Survey Team without the signature of petitioner’s representative therein, Engr. Nicolas Bernardo. Likewise, the inference of the Court of Appeals as to the conclusiveness of the survey report was manifestly mistaken because the same were arrived at without the participation and conformity of Engr. Bernardo. Finally, the assailed Decision was based on the assumption that Engr. Bernardo was furnished copies of the field notes and data gathered by the team of surveyors. In their Comment, respondents countered that this Court is not tasked with the duty to review findings of fact; that the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court are not contrary to each other; and that the Court of [4] Appeals did not commit grave abuse of discretion. Considering the seriousness of the allegation of irregularity in the manner of the resurvey, we resolved to take a second look at the evidence on record of this case, particularly those before the Court of Appeals pertaining to the composition of the resurvey team and the conduct of the resurvey field work. As narrated above, the Court of Appeals, upon agreement of both parties, ordered that a relocation survey on the questioned properties be conducted by a team of surveyors. The Court of Appeals’ Resolution reads: Finding the proposal well-taken as the only issue in this controversy is the correctness of the relocation survey to determine the true location of the common boundary between the lot of the plaintiffs and the lot of the defendants, the Court pursuant to Section 9 (3) of B.P. 129, hereby directs that a relocation survey of the strip of land in question in this case, be conducted by a team of surveyors composed of (1) a surveyor designated by the appellants, (2) a surveyor designated by the appellees and (3) a surveyor to be chosen by the said two surveyors. The resurvey shall be conducted in the presence of both parties or their authorized representatives. In view of the manifestation of defendants-appellees that they are willing to advance the cost of said relocation survey, reimbursable to them contingently as part of the costs of this action, should they win, the costs of such relocation survey shall be advanced by the defendants appellees.[5]

According to him. Cortez and Lopez. the Court of Appeals denied petitioners’ motion to require the chairman of the re location [12] survey team to comply with the resolution of the court dated March 20. The team found that petitioners’ property encroached on respondents’ property by 3. Bernardo did not sign above his typewritten name. before the VOS is accepted by respondent DAR. that the members of the resurvey team have agreed that the actual field work will be undertaken by five technical personnel. By February 9. without the representatives of petitioners and respondents being present. at the very least. Lopez (for respondents). Notice to the landowner.235 square [10] meters. [6] On July 10. Cortez submitted his Report which states that the actual field work was undertaken by a survey team created by the Administrator of the LRA composed of Engrs. 1990. however. To reiterate. Bernardo. among others. and the smallest error in alignment may result in the loss of a large portion of one’s property. in contravention of the appellate court’s directive that the resurvey shall be c onducted in the presence of both parties or their authorized representatives. Indeed. it is crucial that each party must have a representative present to ensure that the fixing of the metes and bounds on the soil is accurately performed. Lopez and Bernardo or their respective [7] representatives. 1993. his right of retention guaranteed under the CARL. 1993. three of whom shall come from the Land Registration Authority and the remaining two shall be Engrs. on the other hand. however. three of whom shall come from the Land Registration Authority and the remaining two shall be Engrs. Engr. This is especially true in this case where the purpose of the resurvey is to determine the boundaries of the parties’ adjacent lots. and that the official survey team [11] appointed by the Court of Appeals never met to perform the survey. Jr. avers that surveys on the land covered by the four titles were conducted in 1989. it rendered judgment in favor of respondents. Porfirio Encisa. the requirement of notice and representation in the proceedings is an essential part of due process of [14] law. the field work had already been completed. as landowner. Inc.235 square meters. 1994. Felino M. it appears that the actual field work was performed by engineers from LRA. In Roxas & Co. as agreed upon by the team. computation and assessment of its technical findings. The reason for the requirement of representation of both parties in the resurvey team is to ensure that the interests of both sides are protected.. it sustained the finding that [13] petitioners’ property encroached on respondents’ property by 3. On May 10. Ildefonso Padigos. 1992. The results of the survey and the land valuation summary report. 229 does not lay down the operating procedure. that the designation of the LRA engineers who undertook the field work was not authorized by the court. pursuant to the Report of Engr. On January 17. The Report was signed by Engrs. all of whom were designated from the LRA. It is part of administrative due process and is an essential requisite to enable the landowner himself to exercise.. Engr. the actual field work was undertaken by only four engineers. setting forth the alleged irregularities in the relocation survey. Hence. then serious prejudice can result. and that petitioner. much less the notice requirements. Nicolas R. This is in violation of the agreement of the parties that the actual field work should be done by five technical personnel. and Alexander Montemayor. Engr.3 Subsequently. petitioners filed a “Motion to Require Engineer Cortez to Comply with the Terms and [9] Conditions of this Honorable Court’s Resolution of March 21. v. There was no clear showing that notices of the field work were sent to petitioners and respondents. Subsequently. Bernardo (for petitioners). Lopez and Bernardo or their respective [16] representatives.. (emphasis ours) [15] Poring over the records of the Court of Appeals regarding the resurvey of the subject properties. the Court of Appeals designated the following as members of the survey team: (1) (2) (3) Engr. Cortez. cannot be dispensed with. he never received notice of the time and exact date of the field survey. Engr. The placing of boundary lines and demarcation points on the soil must be precise. was not denied participation therein. do not indicate whether notices to attend the same were actually sent to and received by petitioner or its duly authorized representative. Cortez to the Court [8] of Appeals. Executive Order No. Cortez submitted a report stating. Hence.” wherein they complained that the actual survey field work was done without the knowledge and presence of their representative. Cortez of the Land Registration Commission. 1990. finding that the Report submitted by the Relocation Survey Team was arrived at after a careful and deliberate process of survey. If this requirement is breached. we held: Respondent DAR. Engr. Worse. Subsequently. Engr. Court of Appeals. Manuel P. Engr. Bernardo filed a Comment. . Jr.

235 square meters. especially consideri ng that it resulted in a deprivation of their property to the extent of 3. The failure of Engr.. Cortez. which is ordered to forthwith cause the resurvey the boundaries on the parties’ respective properties by the team of surveyors agreed upon by the parties. Jr. WHEREFORE. . stating that the actual field work was undertaken by a survey team created by the Administrator of the LRA composed of Engrs. SO ORDERED. The instant petition is REMANDED to the Court of Appeals. [17] Porfirio Encisa. be conducted anew. Jr. Cortez himself. Ildefonso Padigos. ensuring this time that the interests of both parties are adequately protected. to notify Engr. Cortez.R. Bernardo of the actual field work to enable him to participate therein constituted as serious violation of petitioners’ right to due process.4 As stated above. 136911 is SET ASIDE. Hence. and Alexander Montemayor. This is evident from the Report submitted by Engr. The actual survey proceedings must. It is clear that Engrs. Lopez and Bernardo were not present at the field survey. therefore.. based on the foregoing. as chairman of the resurvey team. and thereafter to decide the case accordingly. No. 2002 in G. the representatives of petitioners and respondents were not notified of and thus failed to participate in the survey. this case must be remanded to the Court of Appeals for the retaking of the survey of the boundaries on the parties’ respective properties. the Decision dated July 3.

while serving as Acting Mayor of the City of Santiago because of the suspension of Mayor Jose Miranda. When Mayor Jose Miranda reassumed his post on March 5. Antonio AL. [1] [2] dated May 21. EVANGELINE A. J. DANAO. and ARSENIA A. MACASO. however. PURUGGANAN. MARIFE S. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. that such action is appealable to the Commission. 1998 stating that the respondents were found “wanting in (their) performance. Their appointments were with permanent status and based on the evaluation made by the City Personnel [3] Selection and Promotion Board (PSPB) created pursuant to Republic Act No. Bayaua. They also denied that an evaluation on their performance was conducted. he issued an order terminating respondents’ services effective June 15.” On June 10.R. the latter. After conducting the evaluation. RETAMAL. they may be terminated even before the expiration of the probationary period pursuant to Section 26. VALENCIA. JOHNNY N. MALLARI. Although poor performance may come near the concept of want of capacity. par. A probationer may be dropped from the service for unsatisfactory conduct or for want of capacity anytime before the expiration of the probationary period: Provided. not after three (3) months. GOMBIO. the audit team submitted to him a report dated June 8. ESTARES. they can be dismissed from the service on the ground of poor performance only after their probationary period of six months . Title I-A of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987. AGGABAO. CATAINA. EDITHA A. HENRY P. ALLAM. No. ELSIE S. TAUYA. to conduct a personnel evaluation audit of those who were previously screened by the PSPB and those on probation. hence. EMELITA D. xxx “x x x. ELINORA A. YU. SICAM. their dismissal from the service violated their right to due process. REGLOS. he considered the [4] composition of the PSPB irregular since the majority party. the CSC issued Resolution No. thus: xxx “Granting that the complainant-employees (now respondents) indeed rated poorly. 2003] JOEL G. appointed the above-named respondents to various positions in the city government. GALANG. petitioner. 143540. JONALD R. 1998. JULIUS N. 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. vs. ANTONIO C. Martinez and Antonio L. He then formed a three-man special performance audit team composed of Roberto C.R. MATABAI AQUARIOUS Q. April 11. the services of the complainants were terminated on the ground of poor performance x x x. 1. RAMIL C. 7160. clear from the foregoing quoted provision that an employee on probation status may be terminated only for unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity. „implies opportunity on the part of the head of office to observe the performance and demeanor of the employee [5] . DALMACIO. JR. ZARINA C. MELVIN L. CARREON. PANGANIBAN. PLAZA. JOVELYN G. to which he belongs. On October 19. BENEDICT B. Respondents appealed to the CSC. respondents. EDUARDO S. MARTHA B.. MILAGROS B. 1998. Santos. MELCHOR E. MIRANDA. or three months after Mayor Miranda reassumed his post. SP No. LOIDA J. contending that being employees on probation. 1998 because they “performed poorly” during the probationary period. Said Section provides: „All such persons (appointees who meet all the requirements of the position) must serve a probationary period of six months following their original appointment and shall undergo a thorough character investigation in order to acquire a permanent civil service status. at the time of their termination the complainants have not finished the six (6) months probationary period. PANGANIBAN. JOSE L. JUSTINA M. ALMAZAN. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) approved the appointments. GARCIA.5 [G.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision June 5. SORIANO. VENTURA. Chapter 5. ‟ “It is. 1998 after his suspension. Vice Mayor Amelita Navarro. x x x. In this case. MAPALAD. 36997. CULANG. the question that remains is whether they can be terminated from the service on that ground. CASCO. VILMA T. 1999 and the Resolution dated In the early part of 1988. RIZALDY B. JENNIFER C. as held by this Commission. was not properly represented. Book V. 982717 reversing the order of Mayor Miranda and ordering that respondents be reinstated to their former positions with payment of backwages.

should continue and maintain this suit. the Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of its Decision. not by those appointed by former Mayor Jose Miranda. 990557 dated March 3. Mayor Navarro filed with the Court of Appeals a “Motion to Withdraw the Motion for Reconsideration” (previously submitted by former Mayor Joel G.” Not every [8] action filed by a taxpayer can qualify to challenge the legality of official acts done by the government. This Court. therefore. Such contention is misplaced. 1999. resigns or otherwise ceases to hold office. Forthwith. In his reply. Petitioner then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review on certiorari. SP No. found no substantial need to continue and maintain the action of her predecessor in light of the CSC Resolution declaring that respondents’ services were illegally terminated by former Mayor Jose Miranda. petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. 1998 after serving his suspension. 982717 (in favor of respondents) but it was denied in the CSC Resolution No. “Joel G. Death or separation of a party who is a public officer. the CSC Resolution reinstating respondents to their positions stays. Mayor Amelita Navarro. several events supervened. Abaya and the COMELEC . therefore. 136351. In fact. Rule 3 of the same Rules provides: “Section 2. docketed as CA-G. the action may be continued and maintained by or against his successor if. CSC Resolution No. it is quite improbable that he can already gauge the performance of the complainants through the mere lapse of three months considering that the date of the letter of termination is June 10.” In effect.” It is clear from the above Rule that when petitioner ceased to be mayor of Santiago City.R. can lawfully file this petition. 1998 . Section 17.”[6] (emphasis supplied) Meanwhile. in G. Miranda contends that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the CSC Resolution declaring that the termination of respondents’ services is illegal and ordering their reinstatement to their former positions with payment of backwages. substituted for him and was proclaimed Mayor of Santiago City. Petitioner insists though that as a taxpayer. he has no legal personality to file the instant petition and. it should have been done by their immediate supervisors. She likewise reinstated all the respondents to their respective positions and approved the payment of their salaries. Miranda). 965592). if there is substantial need to do so. No.R. 1999. petitioner contends that as a taxpayer. respondents claim that since petitioner ceased to be Mayor of Santiago City. provides: “Sec. the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision affirming in toto the CSC Resolution No. Miranda vs. the action may be continued and maintained by his successor.” set aside the proclamation of petitioner as Mayor of Santiago City for lack of a certificate of candidacy and declared Vice [7] Mayor Amelita Navarro as City Mayor by operation of law. petitioner Joel G. Section 2. 2000. however. the COMELEC disqualified Mayor Jose Miranda as a mayoralty candidate in the 1998 May elections. 36997. His son Joel G. It bears stressing . Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. but before it could be resolved by the Court of Appeals. He then filed a motion for reconsideration of the CSC Resolution No. it is satisfactorily shown by any party that there is substantial need for continuing or maintaining it and the successor adopts or continues or threatens to adopt or continue the action of his predecessor. On May 21. 2000. as amended. she filed with the Court of Appeals a“Motion to Withdraw the Motion for Reconsideration” (lodged by petitioner). In their comment.A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit. hence. he is a real party-in-interest and. every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. he has a legal interest in the case at bar. But assuming there was indeed such an evaluation. the Court of Appeals granted Mayor Navarro’s “Motion to Withdraw the Motion for Reconsideration.” (emphasis supplied) Even as a taxpayer.6 concerned‟ (Charito Pandes. the same should be dismissed. within thirty (30) days after the successor takes office or such time as may be granted by the Court. – When a public officer is a party in an action in his official capacity and during its pendency dies. 1999. 17. 1998 and its effectivity date June 15. or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Mayor Navarro. considering that Mayor Jose Miranda reassumed his post only on March 5. 982717. petitioner does not stand “to be benefited or injured by the judgment of the suit. They insist that they were not actually evaluated on their performance. On June 11. . On December 20. Miranda. Unless otherwise authorized by law or these Rules. At this point. Parties in interest. On June 5. In this petition. herein petitioner. Antonio M.

it does not involve the illegal disbursement of public funds. Such a climate will only breed opportunistic. unfortunately.2 (b). In the case at bar. hence. . The 1987 Constitution provides that “no officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or [10] suspended except for cause provided by law . Besides. Among these grounds are inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties. petitioner’s action cannot be considered a taxpayer’s suit. he will hardly develop efficiency. They cited Item 2. his motion for reconsideration was validly withdrawn by the incumbent Mayor. respondents contend that the only reason behin d their arbitrary dismissal was Mayor Jose Miranda’s perception that they were not loyal to him. to put to rest the controversy at hand. As aptly stated by the CSC. But inefficiency or incompetence can only be determined after the passage of sufficient time. it is quite improbable that Mayor Jose Miranda could finally determine the performance of respondents for only the first three months of the probationary period. Indeed. hence. This contention appears to be true considering that all those who were accepted and screened by the PSPB during the incumbency of Acting Mayor Navarro were rated to have performed poorly by an audit team whose three members were personally picked by Mayor Jose Miranda. Series of 1993. for one evaluation period. 36997 is AFFIRMED. however. While the Code does not define and delineate the concepts of these two grounds. as earlier mentioned. Treble costs against petitioner. being appointees of then Acting Mayor Navarro. In fine. The Constitution has envisioned the civil service to be a career service based on merit and rewards system that will [12] truly be accountable and responsive to the people and deserving of their trust and support. we shall resolve the issue of whet her respondents’ services were illegally terminated by former Mayor Jose Miranda. Significantly.R. Obviously.” The issue in this case is whether respondents’ servic es were illegally terminated. The assailed Decision dated May 21. These noble objectives will be frustrated if the tenure of its members is subject to the whim of partisan politics. 38. to be able to gauge whether a subordinate is inefficient or incompetent requires enough time on the part of his immediate superior within which to observe his performance. as amended by CSC Memorandum Circular No. we find merit in respondents’ claim that they were denied due process. not being a real party in interest. This condition.” [11] (emphasis supplied) Respondents vehemently assert that they were never notified in writing regarding the status of their performance. WHEREFORE. 807.7 that “a taxpayer’s suit refers to a case where the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public [9] funds from taxation. Poor performance falls within the concept of inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties which. An official or employee who. accountability and a sense of loyalty to the public service. has no legal personality to file this petition. Not only that. however. Series of 1994) which provides: “2. Clearly. was not observed in this case. The reinstatement of respondents who. Even assuming he is a real party in interest. The records show that what respondents received was only the termination order from Mayor Jose Miranda. we see no reason to disturb the findings of both the CSC and the Court of Appeals. Section VI of the Omnibus Guidelines on Appointments and Other Personnel Actions (CSC Memorandum Circular No. SP No. we hold that petitioner. neither were they warned that they will be dismissed from the service should they fail to improve their performance. Unsatisfactory or Poor Performance x x xb. the probationary period of six (6) months for the respondents. as amended) provides specific grounds for dismissing a government officer or employee from the service. 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CAG. A civil servant who lives in ceaseless fear of being capriciously removed from office every time a new political figure assumes power will strive to do anything that pleases the latter. petitioner did not refute respondents’ assertion. respondents were dismissed on the ground of poor performance. may be dropped from the rolls after due notice. Moreover. This should not be countenanced. inefficient and irresponsible civil servants to the detriment of the public.2. a government officer or employee may be removed from the service on two (2) grounds: (1) unsatisfactory conduct and (2) want of capacity. At any rate. respondents’ right to due process was violated. the Civil Service Law (Presidential Decree No. Such notice shall also contain sufficient information which shall enable the employee to prepare an explanation. the petition is DENIED. In this way.SO ORDERED. is rated poor in performance. Due notice shall mean that the officer or employee is informed in writing of the status of his performance not later than the fourth month of that rating period with sufficient warning that failure to improve his performance within the remaining period of the semester shall warrant his separation from the service. are grounds for dismissing a government official or employee from the service. is in order.” Under the Revised Administrative Code of 1987. 12. were victims of political bickerings.

Soriano. petitioner blocked him and then pushed him on the chest. Sampaga had been private respondent’s counsel at the arraignment on August 26. Ramiro Samson. Shortly after midnight on November 7. the same was actually a pretext. Maria Lelibet Sampaga to study the case as she had been appointed as private respondent’s counsel only on that day. Zone 5 in Caloocan City. before private respondent’s arraignment. respondents. The prosecution’s evidence was as follows: Private respondent Ruel Garcia and his uncle.R. causing him to fall on a pile of nightsticks and injure himself. 1992 cancelling the hearing on that date that this was done to enable Atty. No. C-40740 which acquitted private respondent Ruel Garcia of direct assault. 1991 because his younger brother had been reportedly arrested and beaten up by petitioner. they barged into the barangay hall of Barangay 56. petitioner. he would have suffered more serious injuries than a contusion on the forehead. therefore. Manuel Montoya. Hence this petition for certiorari.8 G. 1992. for failure of the prosecution to offer formally the same when the transcript of stenographic notes shows this was not so and that. When private respondent insisted on going inside the barangay hall. then arrived and took him home. §§34 to 35 of the Revised Rules on Evidence. Angeles found it incredible that petitioner did not resist or even say anything when private respondent allegedly assaulted him and that none of the four barangay tanods who were near him came to his aid. Regional Trial Court. The records in fact show that Atty. 1992. respondent judge again called on the parties to settle the case. the barangay captain. He contends that respondent judge was "hell-bent on saving the private respondent from conviction and had prejudged the case" as shown by the fact that (1) on August 26. Petitioner alleges that the decision is void because it was not rendered by an impartial tribunal. vs.: This is a petition for certiorari to annul the decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court. Petitioner. on March 15. Apparently thinking that private respondent was trying to intervene in the case he was investigating. Respondent judge also excluded from the evidence the testimonies of petitioner and barangay tanod Manuel Montoya on the ground that their testimonies had not been formally offered in evidence as required by Rule 132. Branch 121. Private respondent ’s uncle. Petitioner was treated for his injuries in the hospital. All the time. while respondent judge stated in her order of September 15. respondent Judge Adoracion C. erythema on the chest. when petitioner refused. 1992. They were arrested and taken to the barangay hall. Private respondent denied petitioner’s allegations. Branch CXXI. at any rate. the defense waived the objection based on this ground by crossexamining petitioner and Montoya. were members of the Caloocan police. ANGELES. while he poked a gun at him with his right hand. SORIANO. in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Caloocan City. looking for petitioner Ceferino A. and (4) that respondent judge failed to find private respondent guilty despite the . 1991. The Garcias then left with their companions who had been waiting outside the hall. (It appears that the younger Garcia was involved in a brawl with Dennis Mones and a certain Ocampo. Private respondent also pushed petitioner. ordered the three boys to be taken to the Ospital ng Kalookan for a check-up. ADORACION C. who was apparently drunk. 1993 in Criminal Case No. In acquitting private respondent. DECISION MENDOZA. "Putang ina mo cabeza" ("You son of a bitch chief"). 2000 CEFERINO A. she called the parties and their counsels to her chambers and urged them to settle the case. Arturo del Rosario.) As private respondent saw petitioner near the door of the barangay hall. Pedro Garcia. One of the boys. he asked for the whereabouts of his brother and the reason for the latter’s arrest. vomitted while their names were recorded. Petitioner alleges that. J. (3) that respondent judge excluded the testimonies of petitioner and his witness. Pedro Garcia. she did not set the case for hearing until after three weeks allegedly to provide a "cooling off" period. and Francisco Raton) in the barangay hall. private respondent claimed he had his gun tucked at his waist. Caloocan City. 109920 August 31. She thought that if petitioner had indeed been attacked. petitioner angrily told private respondent to lay off:"Walang pulis pulis dito" ("Your being a policeman doesn’t pull strings here"). at the same time cursing him. and RUEL GARCIA. Although there were four barangay tanods (Manuel Montoya. He testified that he went to the barangay hall in the evening of November 6. Private respondent gave petitioner fist blows on the face four times with his left hand. they could not come to the aid of petitioner because they were held at bay by Pedro Garcia. HON. and a lacerated wound on the lower lip. the real reason being to give private respondent another opportunity to persuade petitioner to settle the case. and. (2) that at the initial trial on September 15 and 16.

that on September 16. September 16. his counsel. Atty. The above ruling has been reiterated in De la Rosa v. 1 Clearly. he must have to transfer his residence first. analyzed. but as she was told by petitioner that "for him to withdraw his complaint against the private respondent. as Atty. Court of Appeals and Perez v. The complainant has an interest in the civil aspect of the case so he may file such special civil action questioning the decision or action of the respondent court on jurisdictional grounds. Sampaga to assist him. 1992. petitioner doubted respondent judge’s impartiality. complainant should not bring the action in the name of the People of the Philippines. 16. This question is not a novel one. if at the outset. The private offended party or complainant may not take such appeal. the aggrieved parties are the State and the private offended party or complainant.. thought it proper to ask them if they were not willing to settle their dispute. On the other hand. private respondent Ruel Garcia contends that. Only the Solicitor General may represent the People of the Philippines on appeal. respondent judge postponed the trial to the next day. the interest of the private complainant or the private offended party is limited to the civil liability.. he should have sought her inhibition right then and there. the rules state that the petition may be filed by the person aggrieved. In so doing. Required to comment. that it was only on the first day of trial on September 15. The preliminary issue in this case is whether the petition should be dismissed outright because it was filed without the intervention of the OSG as counsel for the prosecution. 1992) was not fixed by respondent judge but by the clerk in charge of the matter. del Rosario. the said offended party or complainant may appeal the civil aspect despite the acquittal of the accused. Sampaga needed time to prepare for trial. evidence was presented by both parties and duly considered. and 21. Private respondent contends that the instant petition does not have the consent and conformity of the public prosecutor but was instead filed by the private prosecutor who does not have the requisite legal personality to question the decision acquitting him. and. that at said arraignment. can file this special civil action for certiorari questioning the validity of said decision of the trial court should be answered in the affirmative. Hagonoy Rural Bank. on the other hand. in the prosecution of the offense. In a special civil action for certiorari filed under Section 1. and assessed. that the schedule of the trial (September 15. she invited them to her chambers. upon learning that both were public officers. was absent for which reason respondent judge designated Atty. and seeing the parties and their counsels to be receptive. an appeal therefrom on the criminal aspect may be undertaken only by the State through the Solicitor General. In the case of People v. Santiago. The action may be prosecuted in 3 name of said complainant.9 testimonies of three eyewitnesses (barangay tanods Montoya. there was no mistrial in this case which would warrant the nullity of the assailed judgment. 1992. Maria Lelibet S. and Samson). and judgment was rendered in which findings of facts and conclusions of law were set forth. the Solicitor General argues that this petition should be dismissed: A perusal of the judgment of the trial court showed that the parties were heard conformably to the norms of due process.P. Petitioner therefore prays that a mistrial be declared and that the case be ordered retried before another judge. It is well-settled that in criminal cases where the offended party is the State. as the private offended party. that it was not true respondent judge called the parties to her chambers on August 26. If a criminal case is dismissed by the trial court or if there is an acquittal. Inc. taking into account the schedule of the other cases assigned to the court. their arguments were studied. respondent judge again called the parties to her chambers to see if they had come to any agreement. respondent judge proceeded with the trial that morning. 195 SCRA 1991). Thus. in which the legal personality of private complainant to file a special civil action of certiorari questioning the dismissal by the trial 4 5 2 . The worst that may perhaps be said of them is that they are fairly debatable and may even be possibly erroneous. that as petitioner later appeared to have second thoughts and. this Court held: The question as to whether or not U. the complainant’s role is limited to that of a witness for the prosecution. These conclusions of fact or law cannot in any sense be characterized as outrageously wrong or manifestly mistaken or whimsically or capriciously arrived at. However. Emilio Bermas. But they cannot be declared to have been made with grave abuse of discretion ( Bustamante vs. NLRC." thus implying that he wished the case against private respondent to continue. 1992 that respondent judge first talked to the parties. 1992 as only the arraignment took place on that day. Rule 65 of the Rules of Court wherein it is alleged that the trial court committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction or on other jurisdictional grounds. In such case.

" In contrast. cannot be the source of an acquittal. Why respondent judge was biased for the defense petitioner does not say. Maria Lelibet Sampaga. Although Atty. Atty. 10010 and 10011 entitled "People of the Philippines v. Atty. A reading of her decision acquitting private respondent shows that the same was made on the basis of her evaluation of the evidence of the prosecution and of the defense. this did not involve resetting the case since September 16. does not exist in legal contemplation. the clearing of her court docket or. Nor is there any showing that respondent judge decided the criminal case on grounds other than its merits. Because of the conflicting versions of the parties as to what really happened. was made to give private respondent’s counsel. There must be a showing of bias and prejudice stemming from an extrajudicial source 13 resulting in an opinion in the merits on some basis other than what the judge learned from his participation in the case. in setting a good example considering that petitioner and private respondent were neighbors occupying public offices charged with the maintenance of peace and order in the community. There. As for the allegation that the trial was not held until after three weeks to give private respondent more time to persuade petitioner to amicably settle the case. It is pertinent at this point to cite certain principles laid down by the Court regarding the disqualification of a judge for lack of the objectivity that due process requires. 9 Sandiganbayan. Court of Appeals: 7 A judgment rendered with grave abuse of discretion or without due process is void. i. it was for the purpose of assisting the latter at the arraignment because the regular counsel was absent. where the petition demonstrates mere errors in judgment not amounting to grave abuse of discretion or deprivation of due process. time to study the case and prepare for trial. as pointed out by the OSG in its comment. her decision was necessarily based on her appreciation of the credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution and the defense. the writ of certiorari cannot issue. and that is the case of Galman v.. A review of the 8 alleged errors of judgment cannot be made without trampling upon the right of the accused against double jeopardy. in double jeopardy. This Court held that "the secret Malacañang conference at which the authoritarian President called together the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan [Manuel Pamaran] and Tanodbayan [Bernardo] Fernandez and the entire prosecution panel headed by Deputy Tanodbayan [Manuel] Herrera and told them how to handle and rig (moro-moro) the trial and the close monitoring of the entire proceedings to assure the pre-determined ignominious final 10 outcome are without parallel and precedent in our annals and jurisprudence." This cases is. In only one case has the Court categorically declared a mistrial. Sampaga needed to study the case. as accused. a far cry from Galman. there should be evidence to prove the charge. it was shown that evidence was suppressed in order to justify the acquittal of the accused. A postponement to the next day. Indeed. He simply claims that respondent judge’s bias and partiality denied the prosecution a fair and impartial trial. on the other hand. 1992 hearing. As explained by the Court in People v. . It is settled that mere suspicion that a judge is partial to one of the parties is 11 not enough. 1992 had been originally designated as one of the initial trial dates. In short. petitioner does not allege any such irregularity in the trial of private respondent. however. Respondent judge’s efforts to have the parties arrive at an amicable settlement is no t evidence of partiality for private respondent. It is noteworthy that petitioner does not even dispute private respondent’s allegation that respondent judge was not personally acquainted with him until she heard the criminal case against him. especially weighed against a judge’s sacred allegation under oath of office to administer justice without respect to any person and do equal 12 right to the poor and the rich. was not an unreasonable request. it has been shown that it was not respondent judge but court personnel in charge of scheduling cases who assigned the dates of trial taking into account the court calendar. et al.10 court of a criminal case has been upheld subject to the limitation that the accused’s right to double jeopardy is not 6 7 violated. and.e. As new counsel. Sampaga had once appeared in behalf of private respondent. 1992. However. petitioner must establish that the judgment of acquittal resulted from a mistrial so as not to place private respondent. The cancellation of the September 15. Bias and prejudice cannot be presumed. thus. The arguments which petitioner advances by way of proof of respondent’s judge’s alleged bias are not persuasive. Petitioner would have the Court draw parallelisms between this case and Galman where the Court nullified the judgment of acquittal of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case Nos. September 16. She could have been motivated by factors other than a desire to clear private respondent of criminal 14 liability. General Luther Custodio.

Court of Appeals. 1991). She must have simply found the defense witnesses to be more credible. No rational man would allow another to hurt him without offering any form of resistance. 1990). A writ of certiorari cannot be used to correct a lower tribunal’s evaluation of the evidence and factual 19 findings. 203 SCRA 148. Even if the defense is weak. The Court held: To show grave abuse of discretion. "If the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of one or more explanations. namely." That respondent judge believed the evidence of the defense more than that of the prosecution does not indicate that she 18 was biased. 184 SCRA 287. No. Dennis Mendoza. petitioner is correct in his argument that respondent judge mistakenly excluded from the evidence his testimony as well as that of prosecution witness Manuel Montoya on the ground that the same had not been formally offered at the time they were called to the witness stand. del Rosario and Samson. the Court dismissed a petition forcertiorari filed by the prosecution from a decision of the Court of Appeals reversing that of the trial court and acquitting the accused of homicide and serious physical injuries on the ground that he acted in self-defense. the case against the accused must fail if the prosecution is even weaker. . The testimonies of petitioner and Montoya were after all referred to by the other witnesses for the prosecution. G.R. Guinto. therefore. it allegedly erred in finding that he had "base[d] his decision on the testimony of witnesses whose demeanor he did not personally witness. 88400. especially if the feeling of innocence is within him. for he is instinctively concerned [with] his self-preservation. 85176. Well-settled is the rule that the prosecution must rely on the strength of its own evidence and not on the weakness of the defense (People vs. he has a right 17 to be acquitted and released even if he presents naught a shred of evidence. the Supreme Court held: "Accusation is not synonymous with guilt. he should have suffered a lot more serious injuries than he alleged[ly] incurred. The accused is protected by the constitutional presumption of innocence which the prosecution must overcome with contrary proof beyond reasonable doubt. No. . . If the prosecution has not sufficiently established the guilt of the accused. how can they be expected to protect the residents of their barangay outside their hall? Furthermore. 182 SCRA 91. Thus respondent judge’s decision reads in pertinent part: The allegation of the private complainant that he neither resisted the punches of the accused nor said anything to the latter is quite hard to believe. It is more in consonance with human nature that when one is hurt. It claims that Respondent Court ignored and discarded "uncontroverted physical evidence" which the trial judge had relied upon. in People v. For the fact was that petitioner and Montoya had been cross-examined at length by the defense and. the latter had waived objection to the failure of the prosecution to make an offer of the 15 16 evidence. But the results of the medical examination belie this point. though respondent judge stated in her decision that the testimonies of petitioner and Montoya "cannot be considered by this Court as constituting part of the evidence for the prosecution. April 6. In the case of People vs. Thus. then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. however." In addition. Gina Sahagun. It has been held in Go v. G. Another equally unbelievable allegation is that the four barangay tanods just stood and watched their barangay captain while he was being mauled. After a thorough examination of the pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution. one of which will prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt" (People vs. The constitutional presumption of innocence stands until overthrown by strong and convincing evidence. October 21. If they could not do it for their barangay captain and inside their hall. the latter failed to fulfill the test of moral certainty and establish such degree of proof necessary to support conviction. Court of Appeals. while unquestioningly accepting the private respondent’s claim of self-defense. it supposedly harped on insignificant inconsistencies in the testimonies of some prosecution witnesses.R. herein accused thus had all the time and opportunity to inflict on the private complainant as many serious injuries as he could.R. The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses are merely unfounded accusations insufficient to gain conviction. Considering their allegation that the barangay tanods were guarded at the point of a gun by Pedro Garcia." her decision shows that she actually considered the testimonies in piecing together the prosecution’s version of the events and in evaluating the evidence in the case. G. February 12. if herein private complainant was indeed mauled. There were four of them inside the hall yet no one even dared to defend herein private complainant or stop herein accused. that divergence of opinion between the trial judge and a party’s counsel as to the admissibility of evidence is not proof of bias or partiality. Besides. no grave abuse of discretion may be attributed to a court simply because of its alleged misappreciation of facts and evidence. to immediately retaliate to an unjust act. Indeed. Furthermore.11 True. 62024. 1990. . one of which is consistent with innocence and the other consistent with his guilt. herein petitioner contends that Respondent Court of Appeals committed manifest bias and partiality in rendering the assailed Decision.

(3) ignored the physical evidence ¾ particularly the downward trajectory of the bullets that had hit the two victims. considering that it has jurisdiction over the case.. the solicitor general maintains that the assailed Decision (1) failed to discuss the effect of Maquiling’s escape from confinement during the pendency of the case. the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. which disabled him and rendered him incapable of shooting the victims. petitioner’s claim that respondent judge was biased is belied by his failure to move for respondent judge’s inhibition.. 20 . which is extra ordinem ¾ beyond the ambit of appeal. assuming arguendo that a court commits a mistake in its judgment. However. the present recourse is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. in order to ascertain if the trial and the appellate courts were correct in according superior credit to this or that piece of evidence of one party or the other. The mere fact that a court erroneously decides a case does not necessarily deprive it of jurisdiction. thereby showing that private respondent was still standing when he shot them. factual matters cannot normally be inquired into by the Supreme Court in a certiorari proceeding. WHEREFORE. This Court cannot be tasked to go over the proofs presented by the parties and analyze. although he admitted killing the victim in self-defense. (2) shifted the burden of proof on the prosecution to prove Maquiling’s guilt. and the shotgun wound sustained by private respondent. Finally. as earlier stressed. His failure to file such motion stands as one more stark difference between this case and Galman since the private prosecutors in the latter case lost no time in seeking the 21 disqualification of the members of the Sandiganbayan on grounds of manifest bias and partiality for the defense. Petitioner’s claim that he did not do so because of his "belief and desire for said respondent judge to finally return to her normal sense of fairness" is a feeble excuse. 1âwphi1 Thus. It is quite obvious from the foregoing allegations that petitioner imputed grave abuse of discretion to Respondent Court because of the latter’s supposed misappreciation and wrongful assessment of factual evidence. the error does not vitiate the decision.12 Finally. It is a fundamental aphorism in law that a review of facts and evidence is not the province of the extraordinary remedy ofcertiorari. . An examination of the 65-page Decision rendered by the Court of Appeals shows no patent and gross error amounting to grave abuse of discretion. assess and weigh them again. Stated elsewise. Neither does it show an arbitrary or despotic exercise of power arising from passion or hostility.

appellant Julliver de Leon was arrested and charged [2] together with his father. unlawfully and feloniously sell and deliver in consideration of the amount of P10. for illegal drug trafficking. CONTRARY TO LAW. Metro Manila.70 gram. unlawfully and feloniously have in their possession. 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Malabon.000. 94. the above-named accused.1846 gram and 5.. confederating and mutually helping one another. Malabon. prior to the operation. He was accompanied by a confidential informer named Nora Boysillo to transact with accused George de Leon. in Malabon Metro Manila. The serial numbers of the bills were also entered in the dispatch book. Muzon. GEORGE DE LEON (acquitted). The evidence of the prosecution showed that. In going to the designated place of operation. George called his son. Ticlao answered that he wanted to purchase “dalawang bulto”.7556 grams respectively.40 gram and 4. which substance when subjected to chemistry examination gave positive results for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride otherwise known as shabu which are regulated drugs. Metro Manila. both accused pleaded not guilty to both charges and the trial ensued. did then and there wilfully. in Criminal Case No. George asked how much money they had with them and the quantity of drugs that they wanted to buy. November 15. 99. which substance when subjected to chemistry examination gave positive results for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride otherwise known as shabu which are regulated drugs. in Malabon Metro Manila. in violation of Section 16. being private persons and without authority of law. co-accused George de Leon. in an Information that read: That on or about the 19th day of March 1997. JULLIVER DE LEON. as amended.5693 gram respectively.: Before us on appeal is the decision[1] dated November 6. [6] Upon entering the compound. confederating and mutually helping with one another. Initially.[3] They were also charged[4] with illegal possession of regulated drugs. custody and control white crystalline substance contained in four (4) separate transparent plastic bags marked “R-MPM-1”. testified that. 132484-85. did then and there wilfully. Article III of RA 6425. plaintiff-appellee. being private persons and without authority of law. Prosecution witness Ronald Ticlao. Branch 72. “R-MPM-3” and “R-MPM-4” with a total net weight of 48. and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of five hundred thousand pesos (P500. “R-MPM-2”. he received ten pieces of marked one thousand peso bills which were photocopied. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. CONTRARY TO LAW. JULLIVER DE DECISION CORONA.13 [G. he and Nora boarded a tricycle and alighted in front of accused de Leon’s residence along Kaunlaran St.40 gram.R. 1997.00 to a poseur buyer white crystalline substance contained in two (2) separate sealed transparent plastic bag each with markings “BB/AGN 97/A” and “BB/AGH-97/B” with a total net weight of 5. after a month of surveillance on a person named Jojie. with the crime of illegal sale of regulated drugs in violation of Section 15. LEON. conspiring. Article III of RA 6425. After counting the money. 2002] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. accused. the police-aide who acted as the poseur-buyer for the operation. the Drugs Enforcement Group of the Malabon Police Station decided to conduct a buy-bust operation on the said accused.[5] Upon arraignment on May 28. conspiring. herein appellant Julliver “Baye” de Leon. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. George then asked for the money and Nora Boysillo gave him the ten pieces of marked one thousand peso bills. otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. accused-appellant. as amended. as amended. Nora Boysillo introduced Ticlao to accused George de Leon. the above-named accused. 17806-MN finding appellant Julliver de Leon guilty of violation of Section 16. When . Nos. in an Information that read: That on or about the 19th day of March 1997.000). vs. Article III of RA 6425. who turned out to be accused George de Leon. J.

they were the same bills whose serial numbers were entered in the dispatch book and photocopied. in going to the place of operation. Mañalac and Borda entered the compound to arrest appellant Julliver de Leon. as the exact markings they made during the operation. Nepomuceno ordered police officers Querubin and Agustin to follow George. Libuton followed the appellant and saw him throw a yellowish envelope inside the bedroom where he entered and hid. He heard the person on the other end say. At about the same time that the police operatives entered and searched appellant Julliver de Leon’s house. When George left the compound while the transaction was taking place.[17] Herein appellant Julliver de Leon narrated before the court that. Defense witness Geoffrey Santos. positive nakuha na namin ang ama. They identified the marked bills as the same bills used during the operation. herein appellant was immediately handcuffed and brought to the sala. looked inside and found four transparent plastic sachets containing shabu. the person at the other end asked. Police officers Benjamin Querubin. the appellant ran inside his father’s house. Furthermore. George.[18] Accused George de Leon testified on how the police operatives arrested him. Herein appellant then entered the house from which George came out. For their defense. in the afternoon of March 19.[11] The buy-bust white crystalline substance[12] and the confiscated white crystalline substance[13] were sent to a forensic chemist for laboratory examination[14] and were found to be the regulated drug[15] known as shabu. Rogelio Libuton. testified that. When he emerged from the said house.” Mañalac replied.” From his house. They entered the gate then drew their firearms. they testified that.” Mañalac answered. Later on. The police operatives searched his house but found nothing illegal. police officers Alberto Nepomuceno. Ticlao and Boysillo left. He took two plastic sachets from the said envelope and handed them to Boysillo. the yellowish envelope from which Baye took the buy-bust shabu and the markings thereon. and the police operatives met them as they were leaving the compound. Sakit lang ng ulo iyan. He did not see Ronald Ticlao. the buy-bust shabu. the pertinent entries in the police blotter containing the serial numbers of the marked money bills. Ticlao identified the two accused. a tricycle driver plying the Concepcion-Muzon route. George told him to give the desired quantity of shabu to Ticlao and Boysillo.[16] Defense witnesses Helen Navarro and Vicente Martin. he was holding a yellowish envelope. When he asked why the policemen were there. Libuton picked up the envelope.14 the appellant came out of the house. 1997. He denied seeing any female who accompanied the policemen nor seeing a Tamaraw FX vehicle along the street.[9] SPO 1 Alberto Nepomuceno and SPO 1 Rogelio Libuton corroborated the testimony of Ticlao. Querubin received a radio message from SPO 1 Nepomuceno ordering him to arrest accused George de Leon who was by then having a drinking session with his friends about 200 meters from his house. the confiscated shabu. they used a Tamaraw FX vehicle. “Kuha na rin ang anak. The tricycles unloaded the passengers in front of the gate of the residence of the accused. marami ng tao dito. [10] SPO1 Benjamin Querubin testified that he and SPO2 Agustin followed accused George de Leon right after he left Ticlao and Boysillo in the middle of the negotiation. neighbors of the accused. Then. between two and three o’clock in the afternoon of March 19. corroborated the testimony of Santos. They also marked the four sachets inside the said envelope. 1997. Martin added that he knew the persons who boarded the tricycles were police officers because he recognized Mañalac and Nepomuceno as police officers.” In turn. During the trial. He saw Mañalac in a radio conversation with another person outside the house.[8] SPO 1 Rogelio Libuton also identified their signatures and the date they wrote on the envelope. George thereafter handed the money to the appellant and then left the compound. He woke up when a gun was poked at him. any female companion or a Tamaraw FX vehicle purportedly used by the police officers. He turned over the envelope to police officer Melvin Mañalac.[7] After the pre-arranged signal was given. accused George and herein appellant denied that an entrapment operation took place. he was brought to the Pagamutang Bayan ng Malabon and thereafter to the Drugs Enforcement Group Headquarters of the Malabon Police Station. and their markings on the sachets. He and Mañalac affixed their signatures and the date of recovery on the envelope. “Kasubuan na. “Bakit pa kinuha nyo yan. telling Ticlao and Boysillo that the appellant would handle the transaction. On seeing them. After verifying that what was given to him was shabu. Cruz and Agustin arrived and told . an owner-type jeep and a tricycle in which Ticlao and Boysillo rode. Rojas. was having a drinking spree with his friends along Kaunlaran Street in front of a house of a certain Aguila 200 meters away from his own house and the house of the appellant. three men whom he discovered later were policemen boarded his tricycle and directed him to go to Kaunlaran Street with two other tricycles. he and his wife were in his house when police officers Borda and Libuton suddenly entered. Ticlao took one of the sachets and examined its contents. Ticlao gave the pre-arranged signal to the policemen who were then observing the proceedings from outside the compound. “Bok. since late morning of the same day. Cruz.

[22] In acquitting George de Leon of illegal possession of regulated drugs and both George de Leon and appellant Julliver de Leon of illegal sale of regulated drugs. 7659): acquitting accused George de Leon only on the ground of reasonable doubt. the dispositive portion of which read: WHEREFORE. he shall only be credited with 4/5 thereof. Art.A. R. . At first.00 worth of shabu (T. 6425. They did not. immediately place George under arrest. George alleged that he could not have transacted with Ticlao as he knew him to be a police aide when he was still the personal driver of Captain Ona. who happened to be the trial prosecutor of the subject criminal cases. he refused to go but went with them after they threatened him. Accused Julliver de Leon. whom he used to work for as a personal driver. with nothing having been found in his possession that will connect him to either possession of illegal drugs or to the claimed buy-bust transaction. it did not take long for him. He felt that acceding to Nepomuceno’s request would endanger his family so he declined to divulge any information about Nuñez.A. dismissed the same. R. Otherwise. on April 27.A. However. 6425. on the ground of reasonable doubt. There. he was asked to reveal the whereabouts of Nuñez or at least to contact the latter by cellphone to determine where he was. They brought him to the Barangay Hall of Muzon.00 to give the positive signal. 1997.” Being Nuñez’ kumpadre. SPO1 Nepomuceno told George that they arrested Nora Boysillo. the investigating prosecutor of the said complaint-affidavits.000. page 10) and that when he was arrested he was actually in a drinking spree with several persons who claimed he never left the place since they started drinking up to the time of his arrest. Ticlao and Boysillo asked him to cooperate with the police operatives but he refused. Art. a courier of a known big-time drug pusher named Biyo Nuñez. as amended by R.S. he and his son were arrested and criminal charges were filed against them. 1997. the trial court wrote: The Court cannot help noting at once the fact that George was arrested in a place at least 200 meters away from where the police claimed he transacted with them for the sale of P10. [19] As a result of his refusal to cooperate with his interrogators. then to the Pagamutang Bayan ng Malabon and later to the DEG headquarters where the two accused met each other. According to Ticlao. after George told them that Julliver will take care of everything. premises considered. III. Oct. SO ORDERED. George de Leon and Julliver de Leon. Ritzie de Leon. he shall be credited in full the period of detention he had already undergone in connection with these cases if he signed the written agreement allowing him to be treated while still a detention prisoner under the same rules governing prisoners already serving sentence by virtue of final judgments. was looking for him. 1997.15 him that Captain Ona. 7659): acquitting both accused. Accused Julliver de Leon is thereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt and is hereby sentenced to the prison term of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay a fine of P5. meaning. He said Ticlao and Boysillo testified against him due to his refusal to cooperate with the police concerning the whereabouts of Biyo Nuñez.[20] Several weeks after the incident.00. filed separate complaint-affidavits before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Malabon against the raiding DEG police operatives for violation of domicile. When he replied that Captain Ona was attending a town fiesta in Batangas.000.[21] On November 6.N.A. they said that it was actually the Chief of Police who was looking for him. however. as amended by R. The shabu subject matter of these cases are hereby forfeited in favor of the government. Malabon. the delivery of shabu for which they gave George P10. 1. the trial court rendered a decision. appellant Julliver de Leon’s wife. III. b) In Criminal Case No. being a detention prisoner. Metro Manila. 17806-MN for Illegal Possession of Shabu (Section 16.000. Nepomuceno and the other police officers acting as back-ups for Ticlao and Boysillo allegedly saw the signal at once and they immediately pounced on Julliver. 17805-MN for Drug Pushing (Section 15. Also noted by the Court is the failure of the police to immediately pick him up and place him under arrest as soon as they have seen the signal from Ticlao that the buy-bust operation yielded positive results. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: a) In Criminal Case No. At the headquarters.000. also known as “Biyo Kalabaw.

taken together with the testimonials of several witnesses to the effect that George was all the while with them in a drinking spree when he was arrested. on the alleged participation of George in these cases. 17806.” III THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO FIND DOUBTS AS TO HOW. cast doubt. CASE NO 17805-MN.[25] . WERE FOUND. at the first opportunity he should have been placed under arrest. F-2. IV THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRRED WHEN IT FAILED TO FIND DOUBTS AS TO HOW. II THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT IT WAS THE ARREST OF THE ACCUSED GEORGE DE LEON (JOJIE) INSTEAD OF THE ARREST OF GULLIVER DE LEON (BAYE) – THAT WAS “UNPLANNED AND NOT ORDERED. In this jurisdiction. FROM WHOM OR WHERE THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST MONEY (EXHS. AND IT ACQUITTED GEORGE DE LEON IN CRIM.16 xxx xxx xxx There also was no rebuttal testimony on the claim that George and Ticlao knew each other long before the incident. With respect. CASE NO. IT DID NOT SIMILARLY ACQUIT GULLIVER DE LEON IN THE LATTER CASE FOR THE SAME REASON. F-3 AND F-4) SUBJECT OF CRIM. CASE NO. which would make the alleged sale of shabu to Ticlao improbable as George knew him already as a police aide All the foregoing. VI THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO FIND OTHER MATERIAL INCONSISTENCIES IN THE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES. V THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE DEG POLICE OPERATIVES VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF BOTH ACCUSED AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURE. The recovery of additional shabu would bolster his alleged participation in the sale of shabu to the poseur buyer. [23] xxx xxx xxx But in convicting Julliver de Leon of illegal possession of regulated drugs. The trial court did not give credence to the appellant’s defense of frame -up for the reason that the arresting officers would not have gone out of their way just to plant evidence against him. FROM WHOM OR WHERE THE FOUR SACHETS OF SHABU (EXHS. 17806-MN. to George doubt has cast in the mind of the Court concerning his guilt or innocence in these cases. H-1 TO H-10) WAS FOUND. If George really transacted for the sale and delivery of shabu to Ticlao and Boysillo. therefore. ALTHOUGH IT FOUND THAT THERE WAS NO BUY-BUST OPERATION THAT TOOK PLACE AND BY REASON OF WHICH IT ACQUITTED BOTH ACCUSED GEORGE DE LEON AND GULLIVER DE LEON IN CRIM. F-1. the trial court relied on the arresting police officers’ positive identification of appellant as the person who threw the envelope containing the sachets of shabu inside the bedroom in the course of the pursuit. even as the Court is not prepared to pronounce that the evidence in this case was merely planted by the police. this doubt is mandated to be resolved in favor of his innocence. [24] Hence this appeal based on the following assignment of errors: I THE LOWER COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED WHEN.

Their testimonies were corroborated in all material points by the arresting officers who actually witnessed how the transaction took place: accused George de Leon initiated the transaction by asking from Ticlao the quantity of shabu he wanted to buy. or is attempting to commit an offense xxx” Consequently.[27] Herein appellant was caught red-handed in the act of committing the offenses for which he was charged. that is. Possession or Use of the Regulated Drugs. may arrest a person: (a) When in his presence. left the compound in the middle of the transaction. it is not enough for the accused to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime occurred. Article III of RA 6425. subject to the provisions of Section 20 hereof. RA No. there was no valid basis for the warrantless arrest of the appellant.the latter was arrested 200 meters away from the scene of the sale and there was a delay in effecting his arrest. – The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall possess or use any regulated drugs without the corresponding license or prescription. the DEG operatives violated the constitutional right of the appellant against unreasonable searches and seizures. We have always ruled that alibi is an inherently weak defense that is easy to contrive and concoct. the person to be arrested (appellant) committed a crime in the presence of the arresting officers or the poseur-buyer. after receiving the marked one thousand peso bills as payment for the drugs. 16. George handed the money to appellant and then left the compound. Ticlao asked for dalawang bulto. Appellant’s arrest for possession of regulated drugs proceeded from a valid buy -bust operation. the poseur-buyer and the informant. Without the said buybust or entrapment operation. he carried then . He made the sale in the presence of the police operatives. For such defense to prosper. It was more in accordance with proper legal procedure for the police officers to arrest the accused George de Leon only after the poseur-buyer and the informant gave the signal confirming that the substance they received was indeed shabu. the latter fled and threw the envelope containing the regulated drugs inside a bedroom in George’s house. as amended by RA 7659. Hence. George called herein appellant. The appellant also asserts that the testimony of SPO1 Nepomuceno as to the manner of recovery of the confiscated and the buy-bust drugs was hearsay for the reason that he was not the one who recovered the same and only heard the details thereof from another police officer. [26] We also rule that the delay in the arrest of George should not be seen as a loophole through which he can wiggle out of criminal liability. It was of critical importance to first get hold of the shabu – before George could be arrested – as that was the evidence that would pin him down for the sale of drugs. He must also demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime. appellant went inside George’s house and came back holding a yellow envelope that contained the regulated drugs. We affirm the appellant’s conviction for illegal possession of regulated drugs. is actually committing. meanwhile. the person to be arrested has committed. (As amended by Sec. Herein appellant cannot rely on his acquittal for the illegal sale of regulated drugs to prove that no entrapment took place and that therefore his warrantless arrest for illegal possession of regulated drugs was unlawful. The entrapment operation paved the way for the valid warrantless arrest of appellant.17 Section 16. According to the trial court. Ticlao and Boysillo left and gave the pre-arranged signal to the police officers who then entered the compound and pursued the appellant. Ticlao and Boysillo categorically testified on how the entrapment was effected. provides that: Section 16. accused George de Leon and herein appellant were acquitted of the crime of sale of regulated drugs because George’s participation in the transaction was doubtful -. It was such a short distance that George could have easily initiated the deal. And it allegedly proved his allegation that the police operatives planted the sachets of shabu due to his father’s refusal to inform them about the whereabouts of a certain Biyo Nuñez. When he fled. Section 5(a) of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court provides that “(A) peace officer or a private person. without a warr ant. gone to his friend’s place and started drinking with them. after verifying that what was given by appellant was indeed shabu. any search resulting from said lawful warrantless arrest was also valid because the accused committed a crime in flagrante delicto. it was not impossible for accused George de Leon to have participated in the sale of shabu.) Appellant Julliver de Leon contends that the trial court erred in convicting him of illegal possession of shabu because said conclusion was totally against its finding that there was no buy-bust operation that took place. 7659. Considering the clear and convincing evidence. The distance between the place where he was arrested and the place of the transaction was only 200 meters.

Did you turn-over it to somebody else? A. Sir. he cannot now claim Nepomuceno’s testimony on the recovery of the regulated drugs to be hearsay. If you see that accused Julliver de Leon again. Libuton categorically identified the sachets of shabu presented in court as the same sachets he recovered inside the de Leon compound due to the markings that he and Mañalac wrote thereon. and they often bolster the probative value of their testimonies.[28] The inconsistencies underscored by appellant do not pertain to the actual drug deal or to the subsequent arrest of accused George and appellant. Q. Yes. sir. sir. How about the accused Julliver you said you yourself (sic) were you able to find him? A. After finding him what did you do? A. . We also consider as minor the contradiction between (1) the policemen’s joint affidavit of arrest. ar e badges of truth rather than indicia of falsehood. if any? A. PO1 Libuton (the arresting officer who personally recovered the sachets of shabu from appellant and who turned over the said sachets to Mañalac after marking the same with his initials) corroborated Nepomuceno’s testimony. Not only that. And what did you find (sic) the contents of this yellowish envelope? A. to the effect that appellant was arrested in the house of his father. and the owner of the jeep used in the operation. Melvin Mañalac.[29] According to appellant. please point him to us if he is inside the Courtroom? A. we confiscated it and have (sic) it marked for laboratory examination. sir. sir. But minor variances in the details of the witnesses’ accounts. In his fourth assignment of error. more frequently than not. Such inconsistency did not affect the credible testimonies of SPO1 Nepomuceno and PO1 Libuton that the regulated drugs were recovered inside the nipa house. sir. Q. during Nepomuceno’s testimony. Four transparent plastic sachets which contents (sic) white substance believed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride. appellant also claims material inconsistency between Nepomuceno’s statement that the marked money was found in the possession of herein appellant Julliver de Leon and Libuton’s narration that it was recovered from the person of accused George de Leon. Q. sir. appellant failed to object to the questions propounded to him (Nepomuceno). After finding out the contents of this yellowish envelope. to the effect that appellant was arrested inside his house and (2) the testimony of the policemen in court. We arrested him sir. Q. Q. Yes. They only discovered the error after the entrapment operation. We disagree. what then did you do with this yellowish envelope together with the contents? A. SPO1 Libuton explained that they did not even know beforehand where appellant’s house was and they were initially of the impression that the nipa house where they arrested appellant was his (appellant’s) house. Q. the pursuing arresting officer. the testimony of SPO1 Nepomuceno identifying the sachets of shabu as the same sachets recovered from him was hearsay evidence inasmuch as he was not the person who recovered it. To quote from Libuton’s testimony during the direct examination: xxx xxx xxx Q. Q. Consequently. A reading of the records shows that appellant’s observation is a desperate attempt to capitalize on what was clearly the prosecu tor’s honest mistake in utterance. I looked at the contents of this yellowish envelope. After taking the yellowish envelope what then did you do.[31] Furthermore. To whom? A. There was therefore no need for a warrant to arrest and search the person of appellant. [30] In addition. Even the defense itself admitted that Libuton’s testimony corroborated Nepomuceno’s. accused George de Leon. Appellant points out the inconsistencies in the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies on the number of vehicles used in going to the place of operation.18 threw the envelope containing the regulated drugs inside the bedroom in full view of PO1 Libuton. Yes.

These were all the four (4) plastic sachet (sic) which contents (sic) methamphetamine hydrochloride that were recovered (sic) contained on that yellowish and marked? Q. RCL 2. Please do so? A. Because of the markings and the signature of Nepomuceno and Mañalac with corresponding date 3-19-97. please tell us what relation has that to the yellowish envelope you claimed contained these four plastic sachet (sic) of shabu you have just identified? A. The public prosecutor’s line of questioning centered on Julliver’s arrest and not on George’s. I am showing to your these four (4) plastic sachet (sic). he gave his name as Julliver de Leon. please look at these and tell us what relations (sic) has this to the four sachets containing shabu you claimed you have recovered and marked? A. RCL 1. Why did you say that this is the same yellowish envelope? A. A transparent plastic sachet itself. If you see those transparent plastic sachet containing shabu again. Q. Aside from those you mentioned. not individual words and phrases alone. sir. Q. Prior to our interrogation.00. we recovered one weighing scale and other several pieces of transparent plastic sachet intended for repackaging such methamphetamine. Q. will be you able to identify it? A. Please point to us the markings you placed and those placed by Mañalac? A. Because of my markings and the markings of policemen (sic) Mañalac. Q. sir. Yes. P10. Q. which stands to (sic) my surname and the initials also of MPM. sir. 1. Q. the over-all impression or effect of what is said or done is controlling. Why did you say that you were able to identify the same? A.19 Q. he being the officer who personally caught appellant committing the crime in flagrante delicto. and when asked to stand up and asked his name. This is the same yellowish envelope. RCL 3. if you see that yellowish envelope will you be able to identify it? A. Q. what else you recovered? (sic) A. you said that the contents of the yellowish envelope were marked.000. sir. The marked money. His questions no doubt referred to . In what place did you place those markings? A. what else did [32] you recover when you arrested accused George de Leon? A.” (underlining supplied) In analyzing testimonies. I am showing to you this yellowish envelope. Because of my markings. Mañalac. Now. Witness stepped down and approach (sic) a person. sir.4. Q. who placed those markings? A. Q.2. sir. Q. I myself and Melvin Mañalac. RCL 4. Yes. How about the yellowish envelope where you found those four plastic sachet (sic) containing shabu you have just identified.3. Aside from these four plastic sachet (sic) containing shabu contained in a yellowish envelope. which stands to (sic) the name of Melvin P. Q. Why did you say that those are the same four plastic sachet (sic) containing methamphetamine hydrochloride you recovered? A. How much did you recover? A. sir. Sir. Q. sir.[33] The prosecution was asking Libuton about the circumstances surrounding appellant Julliver de Leon’sarrest.

[34] As a matter of fact. Perfect testimonies cannot be expected from persons with imperfect senses. To quote from the decision of the trial court. in Criminal Case No.[35] What is important in the case at bar is that appellant was caught in possession of regulated drugs after a successful and legitimate buy-bust operation.[37] WHEREFORE. Even the trial court did not believe appellant’s version of the events. The truth was that there was no reason to ask Libuton anything about George’s arrest because it was not Libuton who arrested George. . Metro Manila. 17806-MN.000. Costs against petitioner. We find no proof of fabricated evidence. “his denials will have to fail in the face of the positive identification made by the arresting officers of accused Baye (appellant) as the one from whom the more than 200 grams of shabu was confiscated xxx”. the defense must adduce clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption of regularity of official acts by government officials. [36] Frame-up. is hereby AFFIRMED. One honest mistake in the course of a long testimony cannot dilute the credibility of a witness. is viewed by the Court with disfavor since it is an allegation that can easily be concocted. honest mistakes are not inconsistent with truthful testimony.20 appellant Julliver alone – not to George – and interchanging their names in one question was simple absentmindedness. the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malabon. convicting appellant Julliver de Leon of illegal possession of regulated drugs and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500. We thus consider the erroneous reference to George in one question as a product of inadvertence and honest mistake which the defense should not capitalize on in its effort to seek acquittal. a shop-worn defense of those accused in drug-related cases. For this claim to prosper. Branch 72. SO ORDERED. contrary to appellant’s claim.