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People vs.

Vera

[GR 45685, 16 November 1937] First Division,

Laurel (J): 4 concur, 2 concur in result
Facts:

The People of the Philippine

and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), are respectively

the plaintiff and the offended party. and Mariano Cu Unjieng is one of the .

.defendants. in the criminal case entitled "The People of the Philippine Islands vs.

Mariano Cu Unjieng. et al." (Criminal case 42649) of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of .

Hon. Jose O.Manila and GR 41200 of the Suprme Court. Vera. is the Judge ad .

interim of the seventh branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila. who heard the .

application of Cu Unjieng for probation in the aforesaid criminal case. The .

information in the said criminal case was filed with the CFI on 15 October 1931. HSBC .

After a protracted trial unparalleled .intervening in the case as private prosecutor.

in the annals of Philippine jurisprudence both in the length of time spent by .

the .the court as well as in the volume in the testimony and the bulk of the exhibits presented.

CFI. on 8 January 1934. rendered a judgment of conviction .

sentencing Cu Unjieng to indeterminate penalty ranging .

from 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional to 8 years of prision mayor. .

. HSBC. Upon appeal.to pay the costs and with reservation of civil action to the offended party.

on 26 March 1935. modified the sentence to an indeterminate penalty of .the court.

6 months and 27 .from 5 years and 6 months of prision correccional to 7 years.

but affirmed the judgment in all other respects. Cu Unjieng .days of prision mayor.

filed a motion for reconsideratio n and four successive motions for new trial .

and final judgment was accordingly .which were denied on 17 December 1935.

Cu Unjieng thereupon sought to have the case .entered on 18 December 1935.

elevated on certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States but the latter denied .

1936. The Supreme Court.the petition for certiorari in November. on 24 November .

denied the petition subsequently filed by Cu Unjieng for leave to file .1936.

a second alternative motion for reconsideratio n or new trial and thereafter remanded the .

Cu Unjieng filed an .case to the court of origin for execution of the judgment.

application for probation on 27 November 1936. under the . before the trial court.

provisions of Act 4221 of the defunct Philippine Legislature. Cu Unjieng states in his .

that he is innocent of the crime of which he was convicted.petition. . inter alia.

.that he has no criminal record and that he would observe good conduct in the future.

Judge Pedro Tuason presiding. referred the application for .The CFI of Manila.

probation of the Insular Probation Office which recommended denial of the same 18 June .

1937. the CFI of Manila. Vera . Judge Jose O. Thereafter. seventh branch.

set the petition for hearing on 5 April 1937.presiding. On 2 April 1937. the Fiscal of .

.the City of Manila filed an opposition to the granting of probation to Cu Unjieng.

The private prosecution also filed an opposition on 5 April 1937. .

alleging. among other things. assuming that it has not been repealed by . that Act 4221.

section 2 of Article XV of the Constitution. is nevertheless violative of section 1. .

subsection (1). Article III of the Constitution guaranteeing equal protection of .

the laws for the reason that its applicability is not uniform throughout the Islands

and because section 11 of the said Act endows the provincial boards with the power to

make said law effective or otherwise in their respective or otherwise in their

The private prosecution also filed a supplementary .respective provinces.

elaborating on the alleged unconstitution ality on Act . 1937.opposition on April 19.

as an undue delegation of legislative power to the provincial boards of .4221.

VI. Constitution). 1. Art. The City Fiscal .several provinces (sec.

concurred in the opposition of the private prosecution except with respect to the questions .

Judge Jose O. . On 28 June 1937.raised concerning the constitutionali ty of Act 4221.

concluding that Cu Unjieng "es inocente por .Vera promulgated a resolution.

duda racional" of the crime of which he stands convicted by the Supreme court .

in GR 41200. counsel for Cu . On 3 July 1937. but denying the latter's petition for probation.

Unjieng filed an exception to the resolution denying probation and a notice of .

intention to file a motion for reconsideratio n. An alternative motion for .

reconsideratio n or new trial was filed by counsel on 13 July 1937. This .

was supplemented by an additional motion for reconsideratio n submitted on .

but said hearing was .14 July 1937. The aforesaid motions were set for hearing on 31 July 1937.

postponed at the petition of counsel for Cu Unjieng because a motion for leave to .

intervene in the case as amici curiae signed by 33 (34) attorneys had just been .

On 6 August 1937.filed with the trial court. the Fiscal of the City of Manila filed a .

motion with the trial court for the issuance of an order of execution of the judgment .

of this court in said case and forthwith to commit Cu Unjieng to jail in .

Judge Vera issued an order . On 10 August 1937.obedience to said judgment.

requiring all parties including the movants for intervention as amici curiae to .

the . On the lastmentioned date.appear before the court on 14 August 1937.

Fiscal of the City of Manila moved for the hearing of his motion for execution of judgment in .

preference to the motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae but. upon .

objection of counsel for Cu Unjieng. he moved for the postponement of the hearing of both .

motions. The judge thereupon set the hearing of the motion for execution on 21 August .

but proceeded to consider the motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae .1937.

as in order. Evidence as to the circumstances under which said motion for leave to .

intervene as amici curiae was signed and submitted to court was to have been .

But at this juncture. HSBC and the People came to the .heard on 19 August 1937.

Supreme Court on extraordinary legal process to put an end to what they alleged .

was an interminable proceeding in the CFI of Manila which fostered "the campaign of .

the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng for delay in the execution of the sentence imposed .

exposing the courts to criticism and ridicule .by this Honorable Court on him.

because of the apparent inability of the judicial machinery to make effective a final .

" The scheduled .judgment of this court imposed on the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng.

hearing before the trial court was accordingly suspended upon the issuance of a .

temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court on 21 August 1937. .

through the Solicitor .I ssue: Whether the People of the Philippines.

is a proper party in present case.General and Fiscal of the City of Manila. .

represented by the SolicitorGeneral and .Held: YES. The People of the Philippines.

the Fiscal of the City of Manila. is a proper party in the present proceedings. .

The unchallenged rule is that the person who impugns the validity of a statute must .

have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or

will sustained, direct injury as a result of its

enforcement. It goes without saying that if Act 4221 really violates the

the People of the Philippines.constitution. in whose name the present action is .

has a substantial interest in having it set aside. Of greater import than the .brought.

damage caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the mortal wound .

inflicted upon the fundamental law by the enforcement of an invalid statute. . Hence.

the wellsettled rule that the state can challenge the validity of its own .

laws .