You are on page 1of 19

Akbayan v.

Aquino FACTS:

privilege, thus constituting an exception to the right to information and the policy of full public disclosure. Privileged Character of Diplomatic Negotiations Recognized

This is regarding the JPEPA, the bilateral free trade agreement ratified by the President with Japan, concerning trade in goods, rules of origin, customs procedures, paperless trading, trade in services, investment, etc. Prior to Presidents signing of JPEPA in Sept. 2006, petitioners non-government organizations, Congresspersons, citizens and taxpayers sought via petition for mandamus and prohibition to obtain from respondents the full text of the JPEPA, including the Philippine and Japanese offers submitted during the negotiation process and all pertinent attachments and annexes thereto. Particularly, Congress through the House Committee are calling for an inquiry into the JPEPA, but at the same time, the Executive is refusing to give them the said copies until the negotiation is completed. ISSUES: Whether or not petitioners have legal standing Whether or not the Philippine and Japanese offers during the negotiation process are privileged Whether or not the President can validly exclude Congress, exercising its power of inquiry and power to concur in treaties, from the negotiation process

The privileged character of diplomatic negotiations has been recognized in this jurisdiction. In discussing valid limitations on the right to information, the Court in Chavez v. PCGG held that information on inter-government exchanges prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements may be subject to reasonable safeguards for the sake of national interest. Applying the principles adopted in PMPF v. Manglapus, it is clear that while the final text of the JPEPA may not be kept perpetually confidential since there should be ample opportunity for discussion before [a treaty] is approved the offers exchanged by the parties during the negotiations continue to be privileged even after the JPEPA is published. It is reasonable to conclude that the Japanese representatives submitted their offers with the understanding that historic confidentiality would govern the same. Disclosing these offers could impair the ability of the Philippines to deal not only with Japan but with other foreign governments in future negotiations. A ruling that Philippine offers in treaty negotiations should not be open to public scrutiny would discourage future Philippine representatives from frankly expressing their views during negotiations. While, on first impression, it appears wise to deter Philippine representatives from entering into compromises, it bears noting that treaty negotiations, or any negotiation for that matter, normally involve a process of quid pro quo, and oftentimes negotiators have to be willing to grant concessions in an area of lesser importance in order to obtain more favorable terms in an area of greater national interest. Diplomatic negotiations, therefore, are recognized as privileged in this jurisdiction, the JPEPA negotiations constituting no exception. It bears emphasis, however, that such privilege is only presumptive. For as Senate v. Ermita holds, recognizing a type of information as privileged does not mean that it will be considered privileged in all instances. Only after a consideration of the context in which the claim is made may it be determined if there is a public interest that calls for the disclosure of the desired information, strong enough to overcome its traditionally privileged status. Does the exception apply even though JPEPA is primarily economic and does not involve national security? While there are certainly privileges grounded on the necessity of safeguarding national security such as those involving military secrets, not all are founded thereon. One example is the informers privilege, or the privilege of the Government not to disclose the identity of a person or persons who furnish information of violations of law to officers charged with the enforcement of that law. The suspect involved need not be so notorious as to be a threat to national security for this privilege to apply in any given instance. Otherwise, the privilege would be inapplicable in all but the most high-profile cases, in which case not only would this be contrary to long-standing practice. It would also be highly prejudicial to law

RULING: Standing In a petition anchored upon the right of the people to information on matters of public concern, which is a public right by its very nature, petitioners need not show that they have any legal or special interest in the result, it being sufficient to show that they are citizens and, therefore, part of the general public which possesses the right. As the present petition is anchored on the right to information and petitioners are all suing in their capacity as citizens and groups of citizens including petitionersmembers of the House of Representatives who additionally are suing in their capacity as such, the standing of petitioners to file the present suit is grounded in jurisprudence. JPEPA, A Matter of Public Concern

To be covered by the right to information, the information sought must meet the threshold requirement that it be a matter of public concern xxx From the nature of the JPEPA as an international trade agreement, it is evident that the Philippine and Japanese offers submitted during the negotiations towards its execution are matters of public concern. This, respondents do not dispute. They only claim that diplomatic negotiations are covered by the doctrine of executive

enforcement

efforts

in

general. Clearly, the privilege accorded to diplomatic negotiations follows as a logical consequence from the privileged character of the deliberative process. Does diplomatic privilege only apply to certain stages of the negotiation process? In Chavez v. PEA and Chavez v. PCGG, the Court held that with regard to the disclose definite propositions of the government, such duty does not recognized exceptions like privileged information, military and diplomatic and similar matters affecting national security and public Treaty-making power of the duty to include secrets order.

Also illustrative is the privileged accorded to presidential communications, which are presumed privileged without distinguishing between those which involve matters of national security and those which do not, the rationale for the privilege being that a frank exchange of exploratory ideas and assessments, free from the glare of publicity and pressure by interested parties, is essential to protect the independence of decision-making of those tasked to exercise Presidential, Legislative and Judicial power. In the same way that the privilege for judicial deliberations does not depend on the nature of the case deliberated upon, so presidential communications are privileged whether they involve matters of national security. It bears emphasis, however, that the privilege accorded to presidential communications is not absolute, one significantqualification being that the Executive cannot, any more than the other branches of government, invoke a general confidentiality privilege to shield its officials and employees from investigations by the proper governmental institutions into possible criminal wrongdoing. This qualification applies whether the privilege is being invoked in the context of a judicial trial or a congressional investigation conducted in aid of legislation. Closely related to the presidential communications privilege is the deliberative process privilege recognized in the United States. As discussed by the U.S. Supreme Court in NLRB v. Sears, Roebuck & Co, deliberative process covers documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by whichgovernmental decisions and policies are formulated. Notably, the privileged status of such documents rests, not on the need to protect national security but, on the obvious realization that officials will not communicate candidly among themselves if each remark is a potential item of discovery and front page news, the objective of the privilege being to enhance the quality of agency decisions. The diplomatic negotiations privilege bears a close resemblance to the deliberative process and presidential communications privilege. It may be readily perceived that the rationale for the confidential character of diplomatic negotiations, deliberative process, and presidential communications is similar, if not identical. The earlier discussion on PMPF v. Manglapus shows that the privilege for diplomatic negotiations is meant to encourage a frank exchange of exploratory ideas between the negotiating parties by shielding such negotiations from public view. Similar to the privilege for presidential communications, the diplomatic negotiations privilege seeks, through the same means, to protect the independence in decision-making of the President, particularly in its capacity as the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations. And, as with the deliberative process privilege, the privilege accorded to diplomatic negotiations arises, not on account of the content of the information per se, but because the information is part of a process of deliberation which, in pursuit of the public interest, must be presumed confidential.

President

xxx they (petitioners) argue that the President cannot exclude Congress from the JPEPA negotiations since whatever power and authority the President has to negotiate international trade agreements is derived only by delegation of Congress, pursuant to Article VI, Section 28(2) of the Constitution and Sections 401 and 402 of Presidential Decree No. 1464. The subject of Article VI Section 28(2) of the Constitution is not the power to negotiate treaties and international agreements, but the power to fix tariff rates, import and export quotas, and other taxes xxx. As to the power to negotiate treaties, the constitutional basis thereof is Section 21 of Article VII the article on the Executive Department. xxx While the power then to fix tariff rates and other taxes clearly belongs to Congress, and is exercised by the President only be delegation of that body, it has long been recognized that the power to enter into treaties is vested directly and exclusively in the President, subject only to the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate for the validity of the treaty. In this light, the authority of the President to enter into trade agreements with foreign nations provided under P.D. 1464 may be interpreted as an acknowledgment of a power already inherent in its office. It may not be used as basis to hold the President or its representatives accountable to Congress for the conduct of treaty negotiations. This is not to say, of course, that the Presidents power to enter into treaties is unlimited but for the requirement of Senate concurrence, since the President must still enure that all treaties will substantively conform to all the relevant provisions of the Constitution. It follows from the above discussion that Congress, while possessing vast legislative powers, may not interfere in the field of treaty negotiations. While Article VII, Section 21 provides for Senate concurrence, such pertains only to the validity of the treaty under consideration, not to the conduct of negotiations attendant to its conclusion. Moreover, it is not even Congress as a while that has been given the authority to concur as a means of checking the treaty-making power of the President, but only the Senate.

Thus, as in the case of petitioners suing in their capacity as private citizens, petitioners-members of the House of Representatives fail to present a sufficient showing of need that the information sought is critical to the performance of the functions of Congress, functions that do not include treaty-negotiation. Did the respondents alleged failure to timely claim executive privilege constitute waiver of such privilege? That respondent invoked the privilege for the first time only in their Comment to the present petition does not mean that the claim of privilege should not be credited. Petitioners position presupposes that an assertion of the privilege should have been made during the House Committee investigations, failing which respondents are deemed to have waived it. xxx (but) Respondents failure to claim the privilege during the House Committee hearings may not, however, be construed as a waiver thereof by the Executive branch. xxx what respondents received from the House Committee and petitionerCongressman Aguja were mere requests for information. And as priorly stated, the House Committee itself refrained from pursuing its earlier resolution to issue a subpoena duces tecum on account of then Speaker Jose de Venecias alleged request to Committee Chairperson Congressman Teves to hold the same in abeyance. The privilege is an exemption to Congress power of inquiry. So long as Congress itself finds no cause to enforce such power, there is no strict necessity to assert the privilege. In this light, respondents failure to invoke the privilege during the House Committee investigations did not amount to waiver thereof. Showing of Need Test

right to information, a specific showing of need for such information is not a relevant consideration, but only whether the same is a matter of public concern. When, however, the government has claimed executive privilege, and it has established that the information is indeed covered by the same, then the party demanding it, if it is to overcome the privilege, must show that that information is vital, not simply for the satisfaction of its curiosity, but for its ability to effectively and reasonably participate in social, political, and economic decision-making.

People of the Philippines v Evangeline Siton Y Sacil and Krystel Saragano Y Mefania Facts: Respondents Evangeline Siton and Krystel Kate Sagarano were charged with vagrancy pursuant to Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code in two separate Informations dated November 18, 2003. Article 202, Paragraph 2 of RPC states that: Vagrants and prostitutes; penalty. The following are vagrants: 2. Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support; Instead of submitting their counter-affidavits as directed, respondents filed separate Motions to Quash on the ground that Article 202 (2) is unconstitutional for being vague and overbroad. In an Order dated April 28, 2004, the municipal trial court denied the motions and directed respondents anew to file their respective counteraffidavits. The municipal trial court also declared that the law on vagrancy was enacted pursuant to the States police power and justified by the Latin maxim salus populi est suprem(a) lex, which calls for the subordination of individual benefit to the interest of the greater number. Respondents assailed the constitutionality of Anti-Vagrancy Law claimed that Article 202 (2) violated the equal protection clause under the Constitution because it discriminates against the poor and unemployed, thus permitting an arbitrary and unreasonable classification. The Regional Trial Court declared Article 202 (2) as unconstitutional and granted the petition of the respondents. Issue: Whether or not Article 202 (2) is unconstitutional or not. Held: The legislature must inform the citizen with reasonable precision what acts it intends to prohibit so that he may have a certain understandable rule of conduct and know what acts it is his duty to avoid. This requirement has come to be known as the voidfor-vagueness doctrine which states that a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of law. In the instant case, the assailed provision is paragraph (2), which defines a vagrant as any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places, or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support.

In executive privilege controversies, the requirement that parties present a sufficient showing of need only means, in substance, that they should show a public interest in favor of disclosure sufficient in degree to overcome the claim of privilege. Verily, the Court in such cases engages in a balancing of interests. Such a balancing of interests is certainly not new in constitutional adjudication involving fundamental rights. xxx However, when the Executive has as in this case invoked the privilege, and it has been established that the subject information is indeed covered by the privilege being claimed, can a party overcome the same by merely asserting that the information being demanded is a matter of public concern, without any further showing required? Certainly not, for that would render the doctrine of executive privilege of no force and effect whatsoever as a limitation on the right to information, because then the sole test in such controversies would be whether an information is a matter of public concern. Right to information vis-a-vis Executive Privilege

xxx the Court holds that, in determining whether an information is covered by the

In the instant case, the assailed provision is paragraph (2), which defines a vagrant as any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places, or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support. This provision was based on the second clause of Section 1 of Act No. 519 which defined vagrant as every person found loitering about saloons or dramshops or gambling houses, or tramping or straying through the country without visible means of support. The second clause was essentially retained with the modification that the places under which the offense might be committed is now expressed in general terms public or semi-public places. U.S. Supreme Court in Jacksonville declared the ordinance unconstitutional, because such activities or habits as nightwalking, wandering or strolling around without any lawful purpose or object, habitual loafing, habitual spending of time at places where alcoholic beverages are sold or served, and living upon the earnings of wives or minor children, which are otherwise common and normal, were declared illegal. But these are specific acts or activities not found in Article 202 (2). The Supreme Court said As applied to the instant case, it appears that the police authorities have been conducting previous surveillance operations on respondents prior to their arrest. On the surface, this satisfies the probable cause requirement under our Constitution. For this reason, we are not moved by respondents trepidation that Article 202 (2) could have been a source of police abuse in their case. This is exactly why we have public order laws, to which Article 202 (2) belongs. These laws were crafted to maintain minimum standards of decency, morality and civility in human society. Article 202 (2) does not violate the equal protection clause; neither does it discriminate against the poor and the unemployed. Offenders of public order laws are punished not for their status, as for being poor or unemployed, but for conducting themselves under such circumstances as to endanger the public peace or cause alarm and apprehension in the community. Being poor or unemployed is not a license or a justification to act indecently or to engage in immoral conduct. Vagrancy must not be so lightly treated as to be considered constitutionally offensive. It is a public order crime which punishes persons for conducting themselves, at a certain place and time which orderly society finds unusual, under such conditions that are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society, as would engender a justifiable concern for the safety and well-being of members of the community. Every statute is presumed valid and every reasonable doubt should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality. As an obvious police power measure, Article 202 (2) must therefore be viewed in a constitutional light. The decision of the RTC declaring Article 202 (2) as unconstitutional is reversed and set aside. PEOPLE OF THE vs. JERRY RAPEZA y FRANCISCO, Appellant.: PHILIPPINES, Appellee,

In the complex but exquisite scheme laid down by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights occupies a position of primacy, way above the articles on governmental power.1 Once again, the Court extends fresh vitality to the rights of a person under custodial investigation, which, beginning with the 1987 Constitution, has been accorded equal but segregate weight as the traditional right against selfincrimination, to tip the scales of justice in favor of the presumption of innocence and the lot of an unlettered confessant. This treats of the appeal from the Decision2 dated 1 July 2005 of the Court of Appeals affirming the Consolidated Judgment3 dated 24 July 2001 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Palawan, Puerto Princesa City in Criminal Case Nos. 13064 and 13202 where Jerry Rapeza (appellant) was found guilty of two (2) counts of murder and sentenced to the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count, plus a total of P100,000.00 as indemnity for the heirs of the two (2) victims. In two (2) separate Informations, appellant, together with Mike Regino, was charged with the murder of the Spouses Cesar Ganzon and Priscilla Libas,4 with the following accusatory allegations: Criminal Case No. 13064 That on or about the 21st day of October, [sic] 1995, more or less 4:00 oclock in the afternoon at Cawa-Cawa District, Municipality of Culion, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping each other, with evident premeditation, treachery and abuse of superior strength, with intent to kill and while armed with bladed weapons, did then and there wilfully [sic], unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with their bladed weapons, to wit: knives, PRI[S]CILLA LIBAS, hitting her in the different vital parts of her body and inflicting upon her multiple stab wounds which causes (sic) hypovolemic shock which were (sic) the direct and immediate cause of her instantaneous death.5 Criminal Case No. 13202 That on or about the 21st day of October, [sic] 1995, more or less 4:00 oclock in the afternoon at Cawa-Cawa District, Municipality of Culion, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping each other, with evident premeditation, treachery and abuse of superior strength, with intent to kill and while armed with bladed weapons, did then and there wilfully, [sic] unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with their bladed weapons, to wit: knives, CESAR GANZON, hitting him in the different vital parts of his body and inflicting upon him multiple stab wounds which causes hypovolemic shock which were the direct and immediate cause of his instantaneous death.6 As Mike Regino was at large, only appellant was arraigned and he pleaded not guilty. Forthwith, joint trial ensued which resulted in the judgment of guilt against appellant as co-principal for two (2) counts of murder, with conspiracy and evident premeditation attending the commission of the felonies. Both cases were thereafter elevated to this Court on automatic review, but later referred to the Court of Appeals per People v. Mateo.7 The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of guilt.8

The prosecution had sought to establish the facts and events recited below. In the afternoon of 21 October 1995, an unidentified woman went to the Culion Municipal Station and reported a killing that had taken place in Sitio Cawa-Cawa, Barangay Osmea, Culion, Palawan.9 The officer-in-charge, SPO2 Ciriaco Gapas, sent to the victims house which was the scene of the crime an investigating team led by SPO2 Crisanto Cuizon, Jr. and PO2 Isidro Macatangay. There they saw two bloodied bodies, that of a woman lying on the floor of the sala and that of a man inside the bedroom. The investigating team wrapped the bodies in blankets and loaded them in a banca to be brought to the morgue.10 The victims were later identified as Priscilla Libas and Cesar Ganzon. The Autopsy Reports11 show that the common cause of death of both victims was hypovolemic shock secondary to massive bleeding secondary to multiple stab wounds and that both bodies were in the early stages of decomposition. The medico-legal officer testified that Ganzon sustained six (6) wounds on different parts of his body while Libas bore sixteen (16) wounds.12 All the wounds of the victims were fatal and possibly caused by a sharp instrument. Upon information supplied by a certain Mr. Dela Cruz that appellant had wanted to confess to the crimes, SPO2 Gapas set out to look for appellant.13 He found appellant fishing in Asinan Island and invited the latter for questioning. Appellant expressed his willingness to make a confession in the presence of a lawyer.14 Appellant was then brought to the police station after which SPO2 Gapas requested Kagawad Arnel Alcantara to provide appellant with a lawyer. The following day, appellant was brought to the house of Atty. Roberto Reyes, the only available lawyer in the municipality.15 The typewriter at the police station was out of order at that time and Atty. Reyes could not go to the police station as he was suffering from rheumatism.16 At the house of Atty. Reyes, in the presence of ViceMayor Emiliano Marasigan of Culion, two (2) officials of the Sangguniang Barangay, SPO2 Cuizon and an interpreter, SPO2 Gapas proceeded with the custodial investigation of appellant who was assisted by Atty. Reyes. Appellant was expressly advised that he was being investigated for the death of Libas and Ganzon. Per the Sinumpaang Salaysay17 that appellant executed, he was informed of his constitutional rights in the following manner: xxxx Tanong: Bago kita kunan ng isang salaysay, ikaw ay mayroong karapatan sa ating Saligang Batas na sumusunod: a) Na, ikaw ay maaaring hindi sumagot sa tanong na sa iyong akala ay makakaapekto sa iyong pagkatao; b) Na, ikaw ay may karapatang pumili ng isang manananggol o abogado na iyong sariling pili; c) Na, kung ikaw ay walang kakayahan kumuha ng isang ab[u]gado ang Pulisya ang siyang magbibigay sa iyo.

d) Na, ang lahat na iyong sasabihin ay maaaring gawing ebidensya pabor o laban sa iyo. Sagot: Opo, sir. Tanong: Nakahanda ka na bang ipag-patuloy ang pagsisiyasat na ito, na ang ating gagamiting salita ay salitang Tagalog, na siyang ginagamit nating [sic]? Sagot: Opo, sir. x x x18 Thereupon, when asked about the subsequent events, appellant made the following narration: xxx Tanong: Maari mo bang isalaysay ang pang-yayari [sic]? Sagot: Opo, [n]oong Sabado ng umaga alas 8:00[,] petsa 21 ng Oktobre, 1995, kami ni Mike ay nagkaroon ng pag-iinuman sa kanilang bahay sa Cawa-Cawa at sinabi sa akin [sic] puntahan naming iyong matanda, dahil may galit daw si Mike sa dalawang matanda [Pris]cilla Libas at Cesar Ganzon) na nakatira din sa Cawa-Cawa at ang layo ay humigit-kumulang isang daang metro sa aming pinag-iinuman at kami ay nakaubos ng labing dalawang bote ng beer, mula umaga hanggang alas kuatro ng hapon at habang kami ay nag-iinom aming pinag-uusapan [sic] ang pagpatay sa dalawang matanda. Noong sinasabi sa akin ni Mike, ako umayaw ngunit ako ay pinilit at sinabihan ko rin siya (Mike) at pinag-tatapon [sic] pa niya ang bote ng beer at may sinabi pa si Mike "hindi ka pala marunong tumulong sa akin, pamangkin mo pa naman ako." At ang sagot ko sa kanya, ay maghintay ka, mamayang hapon natin[g] puntahan. At noong humigit-kumulang [sa alas] [sic] kuatro ng hapon, amin ng pinuntahan ang bahay ng mag-asawa, at pagdating namin sa bahay na dala naming [sic] ang patalim, tuloy-tuloy na kaming umakyat, at hinawakan ni Mike ang babae (Presing) at nilaslas na ang leeg at sinaksak ng sinaksak niya sa ibat ibang parte ng katawan at ako ay umakyat din sa bahay at nakita kong nakataob ang lalaki (Cesar)[,] aking hinawakan [sic] ko sa kanyang balikat, at siya ay nakaalam [sic] na mayroong tao sa kanyang likuran, akin nang sinaksak sa kaliwang tagiliran [sic] ng kanyang katawan, at hindi ko na alam ang sumunod na pang-yayari [sic] dahil ako[]y tuliro. At kami ay umalis at tumalon sa likod ng kusina, nang alam na naming [sic] na patay [na] iyong dalawang matanda. x x x x19 An interpreter was provided appellant as he was not well versed in Tagalog being a native of Samar. As he is illiterate, appellant affixed only his thumbmark on the statement above his printed name. Bonifacio Abad, the interpreter, and Atty. Reyes, as the assisting counsel, also signed the statement. Atty. Reyes signed again as the notary public who notarized the statement. Thereafter, a complaint for multiple murder was filed against appellant, and Regino was likewise arrested. Judge Jacinto Manalo of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of

Culion conducted a preliminary investigation. Finding probable cause only as against appellant, Regino was ordered released.20 The Provincial Prosecutor, however, reversed the finding of the MTC by including Regino in the Informations, but by then the latter had already left Culion.21 Testifying in his defense, appellant presented a different story during the trial. The defense presented no other witness. Appellant testified that he did not know the victims and that he had nothing to do with their deaths. He was a native of Samar and he did not know how to read or write as he never attended school.22 He arrived in Culion as a fisherman for the Parabal Fishing Boat.23 As his contract had already expired, he stayed in Culion to look for work. He lived with Regino as the latter was his only friend in CawaCawa.24 Reginos house was about 40 meters away from the victims house. Several days after appellants arrival, the killings took place. Appellant, along with Regino and another man named Benny Macabili, was asked by a police officer to help load the bodies of the victims in a banca. Shortly thereafter, appellant was arrested and brought to the municipal hall where he was mauled by PO2 Macatangay and placed in a small cell.25 Regino, too, was arrested with him. While under detention, appellant told the police that it was Regino who was responsible for the killing of the victims but the police did not believe appellant. But appellant later testified that he implicated Regino only in retaliation upon learning that the latter pointed to him as the perpetrator.26 Appellant was then asked by SPO2 Gapas to sign a document so that he will be released. When appellant replied that he did not know how to sign his name, SPO2 Gapas took appellants thumb, dipped it in ink and marked it on the document. 27 Appellant claimed he did not resist because he was afraid of being mauled again. Appellant further denied going to the house of Atty. Reyes or meeting Abad, the alleged interpreter. He never left the jail from the time he was arrested except to attend the hearing before the MTC.28 When appellant was brought to the MTC, nobody talked to him during the hearing nor did counsel assist him.29 He was thereafter brought by a police officer to a hut in a mountain where he was told to go a little bit farther. He refused for fear of being shot. The police officer then got angry and punched him in the stomach.30 On the basis of appellants extrajudicial confession, the RTC found him guilty of both crimes. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court. Appellant submits for our resolution two issues, namely: (1) whether his guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt; and (2) whether the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation was likewise proven beyond reasonable doubt. Appellant mainly contends that the extrajudicial confession upon which the trial court placed heavy emphasis to find him guilty suffers from constitutional infirmity as it was extracted in violation of the due process guidelines. Specifically, he claims that he affixed his thumbmark through violence and intimidation. He stresses that he was not informed of his rights during the time of his detention when he was already considered a suspect as the police had already received information of his alleged involvement in the crimes. Neither did a competent and independent

counsel assist him from the time he was detained until trial began. Assuming Atty. Reyes was indeed designated as counsel to assist appellant for purposes of the custodial investigation, said lawyer, however, was not appellants personal choice. Appellant likewise maintains that although the Sinumpaang Salaysay states that his rights were read to him, there was no showing that his rights were explained to him in a way that an uneducated person like him could understand. On the assumption that the confession is admissible, appellant asserts that the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation was not amply proven as the trial court merely relied on his alleged confession without presenting any other proof that the determination to commit the crime was the result of meditation, calculation, reflection or persistent attempt. The Solicitor General, on the other hand, contends that the constitutional guidelines on custodial investigation were observed. Hence, appellants Sinumpaang Salaysay is admissible. Even if appellant was not informed of his constitutional rights at the time of his alleged detention, that would not be relevant, the government counsel argues, since custodial investigation began only when the investigators started to elicit information from him which took place at the time he was brought to the house of Atty. Reyes. Moreover, appellant did not interpose any objection to having Atty. Reyes as his counsel. As to the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation, the Solicitor General submits that the same was sufficiently proven when accused proceeded to the victims house together with Regino, armed with bladed weapons, in order to consummate their criminal design. He further argues that appellants defense of denial and his lame excuse of being illiterate must be rejected in the face of a valid voluntary extrajudicial confession. The fundamental issue in this case is whether appellants extrajudicial confession is admissible in evidence to warrant the verdict of guilt. There is no direct evidence of appellants guilt except for the alleged confession and the corpus delicti. Upon careful examination of the alleged confession and the testimony of the witnesses, we hold that the alleged confession is inadmissible and must perforce be discarded. A confession is admissible in evidence if it is satisfactorily shown to have been obtained within the limits imposed by the 1987 Constitution.31 Sec. 12, Art. III thereof states in part, to wit: SEC. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. (2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited. (3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.

xxxx Republic Act No. 7438,32 approved on 15 May 1992, has reinforced the constitutional mandate protecting the rights of persons under custodial investigation. The pertinent provisions read: SEC. 2. Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation; Duties of Public Officers. a. Any person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation shall at all times be assisted by counsel. b. Any public officer or employee, or anyone acting under his order or his place, who arrests, detains or investigates any person for the commission of an offense shall inform the latter, in a language known to and understood by him, of his rights to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel, preferably of his own choice, who shall at all times be allowed to confer private with the person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation. If such person cannot afford the services of his own counsel, he must be provided by with a competent and independent counsel. xxxx f. As used in this Act, "custodial investigation" shall include the practice of issuing an "invitation" to a person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed, without prejudice to the liability of the "inviting" officer for any violation of law. If the extrajudicial confession satisfies these constitutional standards, it must further be tested for voluntariness, that is, if it was given freely by the confessant without any form of coercion or inducement,33 since, to repeat, Sec. 12(2), Art. III of the Constitution explicitly provides: (2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited. Thus, the Court has consistently held that an extrajudicial confession, to be admissible, must conform to the following requisites: 1) the confession must be voluntary; 2) the confession must be made with the assistance of a competent and independent counsel, preferably of the confessants choice; 3) the confession must be express; and 4) the confession must be in writing.34 If all the foregoing requisites are met, the confession constitutes evidence of a high order because it is presumed that no person of normal mind will knowingly and deliberately confess to a crime unless prompted by truth and conscience.35 Otherwise, it is disregarded in accordance with the cold objectivity of the exclusionary rule.36 The latter situation obtains in the instant case for several reasons. Appellant was not informed of his constitutional rights in custodial investigation.

A person under custodial investigation essentially has the right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice and the Constitution requires that he be informed of such rights. The raison d' etre for this requirement was amply explained in People v. Ayson37 where this Court held, to wit: xxxx In Miranda, Chief Justice Warren summarized the procedural safeguards laid down for a person in police custody, "in-custody interrogation" being regarded as the commencement of an adversary proceeding against the suspect. He must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires. Opportunity to exercise those rights must be afforded to him throughout the interrogation. After such warnings have been given, such opportunity afforded him, the individual may knowingly and intelligently waive these rights and agree to answer or make a statement. But unless and until such warnings and waivers are demonstrated by the prosecution at the trial, no evidence obtained as a result of interrogation can be used against him. The objective is to prohibit "incommunicado interrogation of individuals in a policedominated atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statement without full warnings of constitutional rights." The rights above specified, to repeat, exist only in "custodial interrogations," or "incustody interrogation of accused persons." And, as this Court has already stated, by custodial interrogation is meant "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." The situation contemplated has also been more precisely described by this Court. x x x After a person is arrested and his custodial investigation begins[,] a confrontation arises which at best may be termed unequal. The detainee is brought to an army camp or police headquarters and there questioned and "cross-examined" not only by one but as many investigators as may be necessary to break down his morale. He finds himself in strange and unfamiliar surroundings, and every person he meets he considers hostile to him. The investigators are well-trained and seasoned in their work. They employ all the methods and means that experience and study have taught them to extract the truth, or what may pass for it, out of the detainee. Most detainees are unlettered and are not aware of their constitutional rights. And even if they were, the intimidating and coercive presence of the officers of the law in such an atmosphere overwhelms them into silence. Section 20 of the Bill of Rights seeks to remedy this imbalance. x x x x38 We note that appellant did not voluntarily surrender to the police but was "invited" by SPO2 Gapas to the police station. There he was detained from 11 oclock in the morning of 22 October 1995 up to the morning of 23 October 1995 before his

extrajudicial statement was allegedly taken. At this juncture, appellant should have been informed of his constitutional rights as he was already considered a suspect, contrary to the finding of the trial court that the mandatory constitutional guidelines only attached when the investigators started to propound questions to appellant on 23 October 1995 in the house of Atty. Reyes.39 In People v. Dueas, Jr.,40 we ruled, to wit: Custodial investigation refers to the critical pre-trial stage when the investigation ceases to be a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular person as a suspect. According to PO3 Palmero, right after appellants arrest, the latter already insinuated to him that he would confess his participation in the killing. As he testified on cross-examination: Q On December 18, 1996, when you arrested him what did he actually told [sic] you? A Before we put him in jail at the Baler Police Station he told us that he has [sic] to reveal something about the death of Elvira Jacob. Q So you already know [sic] that on December 18, 1996 that whatever Catalino Duenas will reveal to you will give you lead in solving the investigation in connection with the death of Elvira Jacob, isnt it? A Yes, sir. Q So, you still waited until December 23, 1996 for that revelation, isnt it? A Yes, sir. Thats all, your honor.41 In the case at bar, SPO2 Gapas testified: Q By the way, when you conducted the investigation in the house of Atty. Reyes in Culion, why was Jerry Rapeza there? A I invited Jerry Rapeza and upon my invitation he voluntarily came to me. Q In the first place, why did you invite him? A To ask [a] question about the crime committed in the Island of Cawa-Cawa. xxx Q That was the only reason why you invited him, being a transient in that place you made him a suspect? A In the first place[,] Your Honor, he was not a suspect but 2 days after the commission of the crime a certain person came to me and said that Jerry Rapeza requested that he will give his confession but in front of a lawyer, so he said: "Puntahan nating [sic] ang isang taong nagngangalang Jerry Rapeza." xxx

Q And based on your experienced [sic], would it not be quite strange that a person who committed a crime would voluntarily give confession because ordinarily a criminals [sic] will find a way to escape? A Yes, sir. [B]ut at that time the person who assisted me strongly believed that Jerry Rapeza would confess so I did not make any "tanong-tanong" in order to solve that crime so I proceeded to that place and talked to the suspect. Q So you already considered Jerry Rapeza as a suspect? A When that person informed me that Jerry Rapeza would like to confess. x x x x [Emphasis ours.]42 Already being held as a suspect as early as 21 October 1995, accused should have been informed of his constitutional rights. SPO2 Gapas admitted that appellant was not so informed, thus: Q What was he doing? A He was fishing, sir. Q And you told him that youre going to arrest him? A He did not refuse to go with me, sir. xxxx Q From the Island you brought him to the station? A Yes, sir. Q And there you arrived at the station at around 11:00 oclock in the morning? A Yes, sir. Q And then you started to conduct the investigation as Investigator of the Police Station? A Yes, sir. xxxx Q And what was the[,] result of your investigation? A According to him he would confess and he would give his confession in the presence of a lawyer so I talked to Kgd. Arnel Alcantara. x x x x43 Q On October 22, 1995[,] when you brought him to the Police Station, did you start the investigation at that time?

A Not yet sir, I only talked to him. Q When did you start the investigation? A I started the investigation when Jerry Rapeza was in front of his lawyer. Q When was that? A October 23, 1995[,] noon time, sir. Q From the Island you just talked to him? A Yes, sir. Q You did not consider that as part of the investigation? A Yes sir, my purpose at that time was to certain (sic) the suspect of the said crime. xxxx Q Please answer my question[,] Mr. Witness, on October 22, 1995, did you inform him of his constitutional rights? A No sir, I did not. x x x x(Emphasis ours.)44 Even supposing that the custodial investigation started only on 23 October 1995, a review of the records reveals that the taking of appellants confession was flawed nonetheless. It is stated in the alleged confession that prior to questioning SPO2 Gapas had informed appellant in Tagalog of his right to remain silent, that any statement he made could be used in evidence for or against him, that he has a right to counsel of his own choice, and that if he cannot afford the services of one, the police shall provide one for him.45 However, there is no showing that appellant had actually understood his rights. He was not even informed that he may waive such rights only in writing and in the presence of counsel. In order to comply with the constitutional mandates, there should likewise be meaningful communication to and understanding of his rights by the appellant, as opposed to a routine, peremptory and meaningless recital thereof.46 Since comprehension is the objective, the degree of explanation required will necessarily depend on the education, intelligence, and other relevant personal circumstances of the person undergoing investigation.47 In this case, it was established that at the time of the investigation appellant was illiterate and was not well versed in Tagalog.48 This fact should engender a higher degree of scrutiny in determining whether he understood his rights as allegedly communicated to him, as well as the contents of his alleged confession.

The prosecution underscores the presence of an interpreter in the person of Abad to buttress its claim that appellant was informed of his rights in the dialect known to him. However, the presence of an interpreter during the interrogation was not sufficiently established. Although the confession bears the signature of Abad, it is uncertain whether he was indeed present to assist appellant in making the alleged confession. For one thing, SPO2 Cuizon did not mention Abad as one of the persons present during the interrogation. He testified: Q Who were present during that investigation? A Vice Mayor Marasigan and the two other SB members. Q Can you identify who are these two SB members? A SB Mabiran and SB Alcantara. Q Who else? A No more, sir. Q So, there were two SB members, Vice Mayor Atty. Reyes, Gapas and you? A Yes, sir. x x x x49 For another, the prosecution did not present Abad as witness. Abad would have been in the best position to prove that he indeed made the translation from Tagalog to Waray for appellant to understand what was going on. This significant circumstance lends credence to appellants claim that he had never met Abad. According to the appellate court, appellant admitted in his Brief that the confession was made in the presence of an interpreter. The passage in appellants Brief on which the admission imputed to him was based reads, thus: The extra-judicial confession was allegedly made in Tagalog when accused-appellant is admittedly not well versed in said language. Even if the confession was made in the presence of an interpreter, there is no showing that the rights of a person under investigation were effectively explained and/or interpreted to accused-appellant. The interpreter was not even presented in Court to prove that said rights were translated in a language understood by accused-appellant. 50 Clearly, the imputation is erroneous. Throughout his Brief, appellant disputes the allegation that he ever met the interpreter much less made the confession with the latters assistance. The evident import of the passage is that on the assumption that there was an interpreter present still there was no indication that the rights of a person under investigation were effectively imparted to appellant, as the interpreter could not translate that which was not even said in the course of the proceeding.

Moreover, SPO2 Gapas testified on direct examination: Q As a way of refreshing your mind[,] Mr. Witness, can you take a look at this statement [referring to appellants Sinumpaang Salaysay] those appearing on page 1 of the same up to the word "Opo sir," kindly take a look at this, do you remember that you were the one who profounded (sic) this (sic) questions? A Yes, sir, I was the one who profounded [sic] that [sic] questions. Q And you are very definite that the answer is in [the] affirmative, in your question and answer? A I am not very sure, sir. Q You are not very sure because he has a lawyer? A Yes, sir. x x x x51 SPO2 Gapas could not say for certain if appellant had indeed understood his rights precisely because he did not explain them to appellant. In any event, SPO2 Gapas would be incompetent to testify thereon because appellants alleged confession was made through an interpreter as he did not understand Tagalog. SPO2 Gapas testimony as regards the contents of appellants confession would in fact be hearsay. In U.S. v. Chu Chio,52 this Court rendered inadmissible the extrajudicial confession of the accused therein because it was not made immediately to the officer who testified, but through an interpreter. Thus, the officer as witness on the stand did not swear of his own knowledge as to what the accused had said. Similarly in this case, SPO2 Gapass testimony as to what was translated to appellant and the latters responses thereto were not of his personal knowledge. Therefore, without the testimony of Abad, it cannot be said with certainty that appellant was informed of his rights and that he understood them. Not having been properly informed of his rights prior to questioning and not having waived them either, the alleged confession of appellant is inadmissible. Confession was not made with the assistance of competent and independent counsel of appellants choice. Appellant denies that he was ever assisted by a lawyer from the moment he was arrested until before he was arraigned. On the other hand, the prosecution admits that appellant was provided with counsel only when he was questioned at the house of Atty. Reyes to which appellant was allegedly taken from the police station. SPO2 Gapas testified that he "talked" to appellant when they got to the police station at 11 oclock in the morning of 22 October 1995 and the result of their "talk" was that appellant would give his confession in the presence of a lawyer. Appellant was then held in the police station overnight before he was allegedly taken to the house of Atty. Reyes.

The constitutional requirement obviously had not been observed. Settled is the rule that the moment a police officer tries to elicit admissions or confessions or even plain information from a suspect, the latter should, at that juncture, be assisted by counsel, unless he waives this right in writing and in the presence of counsel.53 Appellant did not make any such waiver. Assuming that Atty. Reyes did assist appellant, still there would be grave doubts as to his competence and independence as appellants counsel for purposes of the custodial investigation. The meaning of "competent counsel" and the standards therefor were explained in People v. Deniega54 as follows: The lawyer called to be present during such investigations should be as far as reasonably possible, the choice of the individual undergoing questioning. If the lawyer were one furnished in the accuseds behalf, it is important that he should be competent and independent, i.e., that he is willing to fully safeguard the constitutional rights of the accused, as distinguished from one who would be merely be giving a routine, peremptory and meaningless recital of the individuals constitutional rights. In People v. Basay, this Court stressed that an accuseds right to be informed of the right to remain silent and to counsel "contemplates the transmission of meaningful information rather than just the ceremonial and perfunctory recitation of an abstract constitutional principle." Ideally therefore, a lawyer engaged for an individual facing custodial investigation (if the latter could not afford one) "should be engaged by the accused (himself), or by the latters relative or person authorized by him to engage an attorney or by the court, upon proper petition of the accused or person authorized by the accused to file such petition." Lawyers engaged by the police, whatever testimonials are given as proof of their probity and supposed independence, are generally suspect, as in many areas, the relationship between lawyers and law enforcement authorities can be symbiotic. x x x The competent or independent lawyer so engaged should be present from the beginning to end, i.e., at all stages of the interview, counseling or advising caution reasonably at every turn of the investigation, and stopping the interrogation once in a while either to give advice to the accused that he may either continue, choose to remain silent or terminate the interview. x x x x (Emphasis supplied)55 The standards of "competent counsel" were not met in this case given the deficiencies of the evidence for the prosecution. Although Atty. Reyes signed the confession as appellants counsel and he himself notarized the statement, there is no evidence on how he assisted appellant. The confession itself and the testimonies of SPO2 Gapas and SPO2 Cuizon bear no indication that Atty. Reyes had explained to appellant his constitutional rights. Atty. Reyes was not even presented in court to testify thereon whether on direct examination or on rebuttal. It appears that his participation in the proceeding was confined to the notarization of appellants confession. Such participation is not the kind of legal assistance that should be accorded to appellant in legal contemplation.

Furthermore, Atty. Reyes was not appellants counsel of choice but was picked out by the police officers allegedly through the barangay officials. Appellants failure to interpose any objection to having Atty. Reyes as his counsel cannot be taken as consent under the prevailing circumstances. As discussed earlier, appellant was not properly informed of his rights, including the right to a counsel preferably of his own choice. SPO2 Gapas testified thus: xxxx Q Now Mr. Witness, you will agree with me that the accused[,] when he allegedly gave his voluntary confession[,] he [sic] did not read the document when he made his thumbmark? A He did not because according to him he is illiterate. Q Illiterate because he only placed his thumbmark and you have all the freedom to manipulate him and in fact he doesnt know that he is entitled to have a lawyer of his own choice? A He doesnt know. x x x x56 Strikingly, while it was made to appear in the alleged confession that appellant was informed of his right to a counsel of his own choice and that if he cannot afford the services of one, the police shall provide him with one, it was overlooked that it was not similarly made to appear in the same statement that appellant was advised that he had the option to reject the counsel provided for him by the police authorities.57 Set against the clear provisions of the Constitution and the elucidations thereof in jurisprudence, the foregoing lapses on the part of the police authorities preclude the admissibility of appellants alleged confession. Confession is not voluntary. It is settled that a confession is presumed voluntary until the contrary is proved and the confessant bears the burden of proving the contrary.58 The trial court found that appellants bare denials failed to overcome this presumption. However, several factors constrain us to hold that the confession was not given under conditions that conduce to its admissibility. First, the confession contains facts and details which appear to have been supplied by the investigators themselves. The voluntariness of a confession may be inferred from its language such that if, upon its face, the confession exhibits no suspicious circumstances tending to cast doubt upon its integrity, it being replete with detailswhich could only be supplied by the accusedreflecting spontaneity and coherence, it may be considered voluntary.59The trial court applied this rule but without basis. On closer examination of the evidence, the key details in the alleged confession were provided not by appellant but by the police officers themselves.

The prosecution failed to establish the actual date of the killings. This is disturbing, to say the least. The trial court found that the killings were reported to the police at four oclock in the afternoon of 21 October 1995. That when the investigating team arrived at the scene of the crime, the bodies of the victims were already rank and decomposing,60 and that two days after the crimes were committed, SPO2 Gapas had set out to look for appellant following information from a certain Mr. Dela Cruz that appellant would like to confess to the crimes. Indeed, SPO2 Gapas testified that he received a report of the killings on 21 October 1995 and sent a team to investigate the incident. On direct examination, he declared that two days after the commission of the crime, he received information that appellant would give his confession in front of a lawyer.61 However, on crossexamination, he stated that it was on the following day or on 22 October 1995 when he found appellant and invited him to the police station and that appellants custodial investigation had taken place on 23 October 1995. Likewise, SPO2 Cuizons testimony is far from enlightening. He testified, thus: xxxx Q Now, on October 24, 1995, where were you? A I was in Culion Police Station. Q While you were there in the Police Station, what happened? A A woman reported to us regarding this incident.62 xxxx Q When was the investigation conducted? A October 24, 1995. Q On the same day that you discover [sic] the cadavers? A The investigation was conducted on October 25, 1995. x x x x63 The actual date of the commission of the crimes is material in assessing the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and of the admissibility of the alleged confession. While the prosecution insists through the recitals of the Informations and the testimony of its witnesses that the killings took place on 21 October 1995, the totality of its evidence shows otherwise, i.e. the killings took place earlier. When the bodies were discovered on 21 October 1995, they were already decomposing, a factor that indicates that the victims had been dead long before then. How then

could appellant have killed the victims at 4 oclock in the afternoon of 21 October 1995 as expressly stated in the confession, when that was the same date and time when the bodies were discovered? Had appellant voluntarily confessed and had he really been the killer, he would have given the correct date and time when he committed the horrid acts. The only sensible way to sort out the puzzle is to conclude that the police officers themselves supplied 21 October 1995 and four oclock in the afternoon as the date and time of the killings in appellants statement, a barefaced lie on which the prosecution based its allegations in the Informations and which SPO2 Gapas repeated on the witness stand. Moreover, the police officers went to the house of the victims on 21 October 1995 where they found the bodies. The autopsy on the victimss bodies was done the following day or on 22 October 1995 while appellants statement was allegedly taken on 23 October 1995. By then, the investigators knew how and where the victims were killed, circumstances that could have enabled them to fill up the details of the crime in the extrajudicial confession.64 Curiously, the autopsy report on Ganzons body shows that he sustained six (6) stab wounds, four (4) on the right side of his body and two (2) on the left side. Yet, it is stated in appellants extrajudicial confession that he stabbed Ganzon on his left side. Quite oddly, SPO2 Cuizon testified that Ganzon was wounded on the left arm only. His full account on this aspect runs, thus: Q Where did you go? A I immediately proceeded to the house of the victim. Q What did you find out when you went to the house of the victim? A I have seen blood on the ground floor of the house. xxxx Q When you opened the house[,] you are [sic] with Macatangay? A Yes, sir[.] I was with POII Macatangay but he was a little bit far from the victim and I was the one who opened the door and went upstairs. Q What did you find out inside the house? A I have seen a woman lying down with her hands "nakadipa" on the ground and blooded (sic). xxxx Q Where else did you go when you were already inside the house? A I went to the other bedroom.

A An old man with his face facing downward. Q The woman already dead was in the sala? A Yes, sir. x x x x65 Q Do you know in what bedroom (sic) of her body she was wounded? A The neck was slashed and both arms and both foot (sic) were wounded. Q How about the man? A Left arm, sir. Q Where else? A No more, sir. x x x x66 (Emphasis ours.) The prosecutions evidence likewise fails to establish when the custodial investigation had taken place and for how long appellant had been in detention. Strangely, the confession is undated and it cannot be ascertained from it when appellant made the confession or affixed his thumbmark thereon. What emerges only is the bare fact that it was notarized by Atty. Reyes on 23 October 1995. One can only speculate as to the reason behind what seems to be a lack of forthrightness on the part of the police officers. These unexplained inconsistencies cast doubt on the integrity and voluntariness of appellants alleged confession. Second, again appellant was not assisted by counsel. To reiterate, the purpose of providing counsel to a person under custodial investigation is to curb the police-state practice of extracting a confession that leads appellant to make self-incriminating statements.67 And in the event the accused desires to give a confession, it is the duty of his counsel to ensure that the accused understands the legal import of his act and that it is a product of his own free choice. It bears repeating that appellant was held in the police station overnight before he was allegedly taken to the house of Atty. Reyes. He was not informed of his rights and there is no evidence that he was assisted by counsel. Thus, the possibility of appellant having been subjected to trickery and intimidation at the hands of the police authorities, as he claims, cannot be entirely discounted. Confession was not sufficiently corroborated.

Q And what did you find out?

Courts are slow to accept extrajudicial confessions when they are subsequently disputed unless they are corroborated.68 There must be such corroboration so that when considered in connection with the confession, it will show the guilt of accused beyond a reasonable doubt.69 As a general rule, a confession must be corroborated by those to whom the witness who testified thereto refers as having been present at the time the confession was made70 or by any other evidence.71 The inconsistencies in the testimonies of the police officers as well as any lingering doubt as to the credibility of appellants statement could have been laid to rest by the testimonies of Atty. Reyes, of Abad, and of those allegedly present during the custodial investigation. However, they were not presented in court. Abads testimony was likewise crucial in proving that appellant had understood every part of his alleged confession. Confessions made in a language or dialect not known to the confessant must also be corroborated by independent evidence.72 As appellant is unschooled and was not familiar with the Tagalog dialect, his confession which was in Tagalog necessarily had to be read and translated to Waray allegedly by Abad. This Court has held that "such a multiple process of reading and translating the questions and translating and typing the answers and reading and translating again the said answers is naturally pregnant with possibilities of human, if unintentional, inadequacies and incompleteness which render the said confession unsafe as basis of conviction for a capital offense, unless sufficiently corroborated."73 A confession may be admissible if it is shown to have been read and translated to the accused by the person taking down the statement and that the accused fully understood every part of it.74 To repeat, we cannot accept SPO2 Gapas testimony as regards the contents of appellants alleged confession for being hearsay evidence thereon. Since appellant allegedly made the confession to SPO2 Gapas through Abad, Abads testimony is thus indispensable in order to make the confession admissible.1a\^/phi1.net Consequently, the non-production of these material witnesses raises a doubt which must be resolved in favor of appellant75 and the confession should be disregarded as evidence.76 Verily, we are left with the unconvincing testimony of two police officers against whose abuse of authority the Constitution protects the appellant. As their respective testimonies are sated with inconsistencies and hearsay evidence, we find the same insufficient bases to hold appellants extrajudicial confession admissible against him. The only other prosecution evidence under consideration are the autopsy reports with which the alleged confession supposedly dovetails, as the trial court concluded. However, a perusal of the alleged confession would reveal that does not fit the details in the autopsy report. As discussed earlier, Ganzon was found to have sustained six (6) stab wounds on different parts of his body while appellant allegedly admitted stabbing him on his left side only. The confession does not even state how many times appellant stabbed the old man. SPO2 Cuizon testified that he saw only one stab wound on Ganzons body and it was on the latters left arm. Thus, it is not with the autopsy reports that the alleged confession dovetails but rather with what the police authorities would like us to believe as the truth.

Nevertheless, since the confession is inadmissible, it becomes irrelevant whether it dovetails with the autopsy reports. The corroboration that medico-legal findings lend to an extrajudicial confession becomes relevant only when the latter is considered admissible. In People v. De la Cruz,77 we held, to wit: It is significant that, with the exception of appellants putative extrajudicial confession, no other evidence of his alleged guilt has been presented by the People. The proposition that the medical findings jibe with the narration of appellant as to how he allegedly committed the crimes falls into the fatal error of figuratively putting the horse before the cart. Precisely, the validity and admissibility of the supposed extrajudicial confession are in question and the contents thereof are denied and of serious dubiety, hence the same cannot be used as the basis for such a finding. Otherwise, it would assume that which has still to be proved, a situation of petitio principii or circulo en probando.78 No motive could be ascribed to appellant. For the purpose of meeting the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt, motive is essential for conviction when there is doubt as to the identity of the perpetrator.79 In view of the inadmissibility of the confession, there is no other evidence that directly points to appellant as the culprit. However, the prosecution failed to show any motive on appellants part to commit the felonies. Appellant consistently denied having known the victims. Although the confession states that Regino allegedly sought appellants help in killing the victims as Regino was his nephew, the fact of their relationship was denied by appellant and was never established by the prosecution. In People v. Aguilar,80 we held that "the absence of apparent motive to commit the offense charged would, upon principles of logic, create a presumption of the innocence of the accused, since, in terms of logic, an action without a motive would be an effect without a cause."81 Furthermore, appellants conduct after the killings was not that of a guilty person. He never attempted to flee even if he knew that the police authorities were already investigating the incident as he was summoned to help load the bodies in a banca. Being a transient in the place, he could have easily disappeared and left the island but he remained there to continue looking for work. Taken together, these circumstances generate serious doubts that must be resolved in appellants favor, congruently with the constitutional presumption of innocence. In view of the inadmissibility of appellants confession, which is the sole evidence of the prosecution against him, the resolution of the issue of whether the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation had attended the commission of the crimes has become academic. Indeed, there exists no other prosecution evidence on which appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt may be based. In conclusion, the overriding consideration in criminal cases is not whether appellant is completely innocent, but rather whether the quantum of evidence necessary to prove his guilt was sufficiently met. With the exclusion of appellants alleged confession, we are left with no other recourse but to acquit him of the offenses charged for the constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty can be overcome only by proof beyond reasonable doubt. In fact, unless the prosecution

discharges the burden of proving the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, the latter need not even offer evidence in his behalf.82 WHEREFORE, the Decisions of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City in Criminal Case Nos. 13064 and 13202 and the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00642 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant Jerry Rapeza y Francisco is hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence leading to reasonable doubt. The Director of the Bureau of Prisons is ordered to cause the immediate release of appellant from confinement, unless he is being held for some other lawful cause, and to report to this Court compliance herewith within five (5) days from receipt hereof. SO ORDERED.

METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF MANILA BAY,

AUTHORITY,

vs.

establishing waste management programs under Sec. 43 of the Philippine Environment Code (PD 1152), shall direct all LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan to inspect all factories, commercial establishments, and private homes along the banks of the major river systems in their respective areas of jurisdiction, such as but not limited to the Pasig-MarikinaSan Juan Rivers, the NCR (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the NavotasMalabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other minor rivers and waterways that eventually discharge water into the Manila Bay; and the lands abutting the bay, to determine whether they have wastewater treatment facilities or hygienic septic tanks as prescribed by existing laws, ordinances, and rules and regulations. If none be found, these LGUs shall be ordered to require non-complying establishments and homes to set up said facilities or septic tanks within a reasonable time to prevent industrial wastes, sewage water, and human wastes from flowing into these rivers, waterways, esteros, and the Manila Bay, under pain of closure or imposition of fines and other sanctions. (3) As mandated by Sec. 8 of RA 9275, the MWSS is directed to provide, install, operate, and maintain the necessary adequate waste water treatment facilities in Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite where needed at the earliest possible time. (4) Pursuant to RA 9275, the LWUA, through the local water districts and in coordination with the DENR, is ordered to provide, install, operate, and maintain sewerage and sanitation facilities and the efficient and safe collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan where needed at the earliest possible time. (5) Pursuant to Sec. 65 of RA 8550, the DA, through the BFAR, is ordered to improve and restore the marine life of the Manila Bay. It is also directed to assist the LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan in developing, using recognized methods, the fisheries and aquatic resources in the Manila Bay. (6) The PCG, pursuant to Secs. 4 and 6 of PD 979, and the PNP Maritime Group, in accordance with Sec. 124 of RA 8550, in coordination with each other, shall apprehend violators of PD 979, RA 8550, and other existing laws and regulations designed to prevent marine pollution in the Manila Bay. (7) Pursuant to Secs. 2 and 6-c of EO 513 and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, the PPA is ordered to immediately adopt such measures to prevent the discharge and dumping of solid and liquid wastes and other ship-generated wastes into the Manila Bay waters from vessels docked at ports and apprehend the violators. (8) The MMDA, as the lead agency and implementor of programs and projects for flood control projects and drainage services in Metro Manila, in coordination with the DPWH, DILG, affected LGUs, PNP Maritime Group, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and other agencies, shall dismantle and remove all structures, constructions, and other encroachments established or built in violation of RA 7279, and other applicable laws along the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the NCR (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, and connecting waterways and esteros in Metro Manila. The DPWH, as the

On December 18, 2008, this Court rendered a Decision in G.R. Nos. 171947-48 ordering petitioners to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay in their different capacities. The fallo reads: WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The September 28, 2005 Decision of the CA in CA-G.R. CV No. 76528 and SP No. 74944 and the September 13, 2002 Decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. 1851-99 are AFFIRMED but with MODIFICATIONS in view of subsequent developments or supervening events in the case. The fallo of the RTC Decision shall now read: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the abovenamed defendantgovernment agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to SB level (Class B sea waters per Water Classification Tables under DENR Administrative Order No. 34 [1990]) to make them fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation. In particular: (1) Pursuant to Sec. 4 of EO 192, assigning the DENR as the primary agency responsible for the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the countrys environment and natural resources, and Sec. 19 of RA 9275, designating the DENR as the primary government agency responsible for its enforcement and implementation, the DENR is directed to fully implement its Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy for the rehabilitation, restoration, and conservation of the Manila Bay at the earliest possible time. It is ordered to call regular coordination meetings with concerned government departments and agencies to ensure the successful implementation of the aforesaid plan of action in accordance with its indicated completion schedules. (2) Pursuant to Title XII (Local Government) of the Administrative Code of 1987 and Sec. 25 of the Local Government Code of 1991, the DILG, in exercising the Presidents power of general supervision and its duty to promulgate guidelines in

principal implementor of programs and projects for flood control services in the rest of the country more particularly in Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna, in coordination with the DILG, affected LGUs, PNP Maritime Group, HUDCC, and other concerned government agencies, shall remove and demolish all structures, constructions, and other encroachments built in breach of RA 7279 and other applicable laws along the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other rivers, connecting waterways, and esteros that discharge wastewater into the Manila Bay. In addition, the MMDA is ordered to establish, operate, and maintain a sanitary landfill, as prescribed by RA 9003, within a period of one (1) year from finality of this Decision. On matters within its territorial jurisdiction and in connection with the discharge of its duties on the maintenance of sanitary landfills and like undertakings, it is also ordered to cause the apprehension and filing of the appropriate criminal cases against violators of the respective penal provisions of RA 9003, Sec. 27 of RA 9275 (the Clean Water Act), and other existing laws on pollution. (9) The DOH shall, as directed by Art. 76 of PD 1067 and Sec. 8 of RA 9275, within one (1) year from finality of this Decision, determine if all licensed septic and sludge companies have the proper facilities for the treatment and disposal of fecal sludge and sewage coming from septic tanks. The DOH shall give the companies, if found to be non-complying, a reasonable time within which to set up the necessary facilities under pain of cancellation of its environmental sanitation clearance. (10) Pursuant to Sec. 53 of PD 1152, Sec. 118 of RA 8550, and Sec. 56 of RA 9003, the DepEd shall integrate lessons on pollution prevention, waste management, environmental protection, and like subjects in the school curricula of all levels to inculcate in the minds and hearts of students and, through them, their parents and friends, the importance of their duty toward achieving and maintaining a balanced and healthful ecosystem in the Manila Bay and the entire Philippine archipelago. (11) The DBM shall consider incorporating an adequate budget in the General Appropriations Act of 2010 and succeeding years to cover the expenses relating to the cleanup, restoration, and preservation of the water quality of the Manila Bay, in line with the countrys development objective to attain economic growth in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation, and revival of our marine waters. (12) The heads of petitioners-agencies MMDA, DENR, DepEd, DOH, DA, DPWH, DBM, PCG, PNP Maritime Group, DILG, and also of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA, in line with the principle of "continuing mandamus," shall, from finality of this Decision, each submit to the Court a quarterly progressive report of the activities undertaken in accordance with this Decision. SO ORDERED. The government agencies did not file any motion for reconsideration and the Decision became final in January 2009.

The case is now in the execution phase of the final and executory December 18, 2008 Decision. The Manila Bay Advisory Committee was created to receive and evaluate the quarterly progressive reports on the activities undertaken by the agencies in accordance with said decision and to monitor the execution phase. In the absence of specific completion periods, the Committee recommended that time frames be set for the agencies to perform their assigned tasks. This may be viewed as an encroachment over the powers and functions of the Executive Branch headed by the President of the Philippines. This view is misplaced. The issuance of subsequent resolutions by the Court is simply an exercise of judicial power under Art. VIII of the Constitution, because the execution of the Decision is but an integral part of the adjudicative function of the Court. None of the agencies ever questioned the power of the Court to implement the December 18, 2008 Decision nor has any of them raised the alleged encroachment by the Court over executive functions. While additional activities are required of the agencies like submission of plans of action, data or status reports, these directives are but part and parcel of the execution stage of a final decision under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Section 47 of Rule 39 reads: Section 47. Effect of judgments or final orders.The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order, may be as follows: xxxx (c) In any other litigation between the same parties of their successors in interest, that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. (Emphasis supplied.) It is clear that the final judgment includes not only what appears upon its face to have been so adjudged but also those matters "actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto." Certainly, any activity that is needed to fully implement a final judgment is necessarily encompassed by said judgment. Moreover, the submission of periodic reports is sanctioned by Secs. 7 and 8, Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental cases: Sec. 7. Judgment.If warranted, the court shall grant the privilege of the writ of continuing mandamus requiring respondent to perform an act or series of acts until the judgment is fully satisfied and to grant such other reliefs as may be warranted resulting from the wrongful or illegal acts of the respondent. The court shall require the respondent to submit periodic reports detailing the progress and execution of the judgment, and the court may, by itself or through a commissioner or the appropriate government agency, evaluate and monitor compliance. The petitioner may submit its comments or observations on the execution of the judgment.

Sec. 8. Return of the writ.The periodic reports submitted by the respondent detailing compliance with the judgment shall be contained in partial returns of the writ. Upon full satisfaction of the judgment, a final return of the writ shall be made to the court by the respondent. If the court finds that the judgment has been fully implemented, the satisfaction of judgment shall be entered in the court docket. (Emphasis supplied.) With the final and executory judgment in MMDA, the writ of continuing mandamus issued in MMDA means that until petitioner-agencies have shown full compliance with the Courts orders, the Court exercises continuing jurisdiction over them until full execution of the judgment. There being no encroachment over executive functions to speak of, We shall now proceed to the recommendation of the Manila Bay Advisory Committee. Several problems were encountered by the Manila Bay Advisory Committee.2 An evaluation of the quarterly progressive reports has shown that (1) there are voluminous quarterly progressive reports that are being submitted; (2) petitioneragencies do not have a uniform manner of reporting their cleanup, rehabilitation and preservation activities; (3) as yet no definite deadlines have been set by petitioner DENR as to petitioner-agencies timeframe for their respective duties; (4) as of June 2010 there has been a change in leadership in both the national and local levels; and (5) some agencies have encountered difficulties in complying with the Courts directives. In order to implement the afore-quoted Decision, certain directives have to be issued by the Court to address the said concerns. Acting on the recommendation of the Manila Bay Advisory Committee, the Court hereby resolves to ORDER the following: (1) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), as lead agency in the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, shall submit to the Court on or before June 30, 2011 the updated Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy. The DENR is ordered to submit summarized data on the overall quality of Manila Bay waters for all four quarters of 2010 on or before June 30, 2011. The DENR is further ordered to submit the names and addresses of persons and companies in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan that generate toxic and hazardous waste on or before September 30, 2011. (2) On or before June 30, 2011, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall order the Mayors of all cities in Metro Manila; the Governors of Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan; and the Mayors of all the cities and towns in said provinces to inspect all factories, commercial establishments and private homes along the banks of the major river systemssuch as but not limited to the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the National Capital Region (Paranaque-Zapote, Las Pinas) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, and the Laguna De Bayand other minor rivers and

waterways within their jurisdiction that eventually discharge water into the Manila Bay and the lands abutting it, to determine if they have wastewater treatment facilities and/or hygienic septic tanks, as prescribed by existing laws, ordinances, rules and regulations. Said local government unit (LGU) officials are given up to September 30, 2011 to finish the inspection of said establishments and houses. In case of non-compliance, the LGU officials shall take appropriate action to ensure compliance by non-complying factories, commercial establishments and private homes with said law, rules and regulations requiring the construction or installment of wastewater treatment facilities or hygienic septic tanks. The aforementioned governors and mayors shall submit to the DILG on or before December 31, 2011 their respective compliance reports which will contain the names and addresses or offices of the owners of all the non-complying factories, commercial establishments and private homes, copy furnished the concerned environmental agency, be it the local DENR office or the Laguna Lake Development Authority. The DILG is required to submit a five-year plan of action that will contain measures intended to ensure compliance of all non-complying factories, commercial establishments, and private homes. On or before June 30, 2011, the DILG and the mayors of all cities in Metro Manila shall consider providing land for the wastewater facilities of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) or its concessionaires (Maynilad and Manila Water, Inc.) within their respective jurisdictions. (3) The MWSS shall submit to the Court on or before June 30, 2011 the list of areas in Metro Manila, Rizal and Cavite that do not have the necessary wastewater treatment facilities. Within the same period, the concessionaires of the MWSS shall submit their plans and projects for the construction of wastewater treatment facilities in all the aforesaid areas and the completion period for said facilities, which shall not go beyond 2037. On or before June 30, 2011, the MWSS is further required to have its two concessionaires submit a report on the amount collected as sewerage fees in their respective areas of operation as of December 31, 2010. (4) The Local Water Utilities Administration is ordered to submit on or before September 30, 2011 its plan to provide, install, operate and maintain sewerage and sanitation facilities in said cities and towns and the completion period for said works, which shall be fully implemented by December 31, 2020. (5) The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, shall submit to the Court on or before June 30, 2011 a report on areas in Manila Bay where marine life has to be restored or improved and the assistance it has extended to the LGUs in Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan in developing the fisheries and aquatic resources in Manila Bay. The report shall contain monitoring data on the marine life in said areas. Within the same period, it shall submit its five-year plan to restore and improve the marine

life in Manila Bay, its future activities to assist the aforementioned LGUs for that purpose, and the completion period for said undertakings. The DA shall submit to the Court on or before September 30, 2011 the baseline data as of September 30, 2010 on the pollution loading into the Manila Bay system from agricultural and livestock sources. (6) The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) shall incorporate in its quarterly reports the list of violators it has apprehended and the status of their cases. The PPA is further ordered to include in its report the names, make and capacity of the ships that dock in PPA ports. The PPA shall submit to the Court on or before June 30, 2011 the measures it intends to undertake to implement its compliance with paragraph 7 of the dispositive portion of the MMDA Decision and the completion dates of such measures. The PPA should include in its report the activities of its concessionaire that collects and disposes of the solid and liquid wastes and other ship-generated wastes, which shall state the names, make and capacity of the ships serviced by it since August 2003 up to the present date, the dates the ships docked at PPA ports, the number of days the ship was at sea with the corresponding number of passengers and crew per trip, the volume of solid, liquid and other wastes collected from said ships, the treatment undertaken and the disposal site for said wastes. (7) The Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group shall submit on or before June 30, 2011 its five-year plan of action on the measures and activities it intends to undertake to apprehend the violators of Republic Act No. (RA) 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 and other pertinent laws, ordinances and regulations to prevent marine pollution in Manila Bay and to ensure the successful prosecution of violators. The Philippine Coast Guard shall likewise submit on or before June 30, 2011 its fiveyear plan of action on the measures and activities they intend to undertake to apprehend the violators of Presidential Decree No. 979 or the Marine Pollution Decree of 1976 and RA 9993 or the Philippine Coast Guard Law of 2009 and other pertinent laws and regulations to prevent marine pollution in Manila Bay and to ensure the successful prosecution of violators. (8) The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shall submit to the Court on or before June 30, 2011 the names and addresses of the informal settlers in Metro Manila who, as of December 31, 2010, own and occupy houses, structures, constructions and other encroachments established or built along the PasigMarikina-San Juan Rivers, the NCR (Paraaque-Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, and connecting waterways and esteros, in violation of RA 7279 and other applicable laws. On or before June 30, 2011, the MMDA shall submit its plan for the removal of said informal settlers and the demolition of the aforesaid houses, structures, constructions and encroachments, as well as the completion dates for said activities, which shall be fully implemented not later than December 31, 2015. The MMDA is ordered to submit a status report, within thirty (30) days from receipt of this Resolution, on the establishment of a sanitary landfill facility for Metro Manila

in compliance with the standards under RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. On or before June 30, 2011, the MMDA shall submit a report of the location of open and controlled dumps in Metro Manila whose operations are illegal after February 21, 2006,3 pursuant to Secs. 36 and 37 of RA 9003, and its plan for the closure of these open and controlled dumps to be accomplished not later than December 31, 2012. Also, on or before June 30, 2011, the DENR Secretary, as Chairperson of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), shall submit a report on the location of all open and controlled dumps in Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan. On or before June 30, 2011, the DENR Secretary, in his capacity as NSWMC Chairperson, shall submit a report on whether or not the following landfills strictly comply with Secs. 41 and 42 of RA 9003 on the establishment and operation of sanitary landfills, to wit: National Capital Region 1. Navotas SLF (PhilEco), Brgy. Tanza (New Site), Navotas City 2. Payatas Controlled Dumpsite, Barangay Payatas, Quezon City Region III 3. Sitio Coral, Brgy. Matictic, Norzagaray, Bulacan 4. Sitio Tiakad, Brgy. San Mateo, Norzagaray, Bulacan 5. Brgy. Minuyan, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan 6. Brgy. Mapalad, Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija 7. Sub-zone Kalangitan, Clark Capas, Tarlac Special Economic Zone Region IV-A 8. Kalayaan (Longos), Laguna 9. Brgy. Sto. Nino, San Pablo City, Laguna 10. Brgy. San Antonio (Pilotage SLF), San Pedro, Laguna 11. Morong, Rizal 12. Sitio Lukutan, Brgy. San Isidro, Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal (ISWIMS) 13. Brgy. Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal (SMSLFDC) On or before June 30, 2011, the MMDA and the seventeen (17) LGUs in Metro Manila are ordered to jointly submit a report on the average amount of garbage collected

monthly per district in all the cities in Metro Manila from January 2009 up to December 31, 2010 vis--vis the average amount of garbage disposed monthly in landfills and dumpsites. In its quarterly report for the last quarter of 2010 and thereafter, MMDA shall report on the apprehensions for violations of the penal provisions of RA 9003, RA 9275 and other laws on pollution for the said period. On or before June 30, 2011, the DPWH and the LGUs in Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan shall submit the names and addresses of the informal settlers in their respective areas who, as of September 30, 2010, own or occupy houses, structures, constructions, and other encroachments built along the Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando (Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna de Bay, and other rivers, connecting waterways and esteros that discharge wastewater into the Manila Bay, in breach of RA 7279 and other applicable laws. On or before June 30, 2011, the DPWH and the aforesaid LGUs shall jointly submit their plan for the removal of said informal settlers and the demolition of the aforesaid structures, constructions and encroachments, as well as the completion dates for such activities which shall be implemented not later than December 31, 2012. (9) The Department of Health (DOH) shall submit to the Court on or before June 30, 2011 the names and addresses of the owners of septic and sludge companies including those that do not have the proper facilities for the treatment and disposal of fecal sludge and sewage coming from septic tanks. The DOH shall implement rules and regulations on Environmental Sanitation Clearances and shall require companies to procure a license to operate from the DOH. The DOH and DENR-Environmental Management Bureau shall develop a toxic and hazardous waste management system by June 30, 2011 which will implement segregation of hospital/toxic/hazardous wastes and prevent mixing with municipal solid waste. On or before June 30, 2011, the DOH shall submit a plan of action to ensure that the said companies have proper disposal facilities and the completion dates of compliance.1avvphi1 (10) The Department of Education (DepEd) shall submit to the Court on or before May 31, 2011 a report on the specific subjects on pollution prevention, waste management, environmental protection, environmental laws and the like that it has integrated into the school curricula in all levels for the school year 2011-2012. On or before June 30, 2011, the DepEd shall also submit its plan of action to ensure compliance of all the schools under its supervision with respect to the integration of the aforementioned subjects in the school curricula which shall be fully implemented by June 30, 2012. (11) All the agencies are required to submit their quarterly reports electronically using the forms below. The agencies may add other key performance indicators that they have identified.

SO ORDERED.

Francisco Chavez v. Raul M. Gonzales and National Telecommunications Commission, G.R. No. 168338, February 15, 2008 I. THE FACTS

As a consequence of the public release of copies of the Hello Garci compact disc audiotapes involving a wiretapped mobile phone conversation between thenPresident Gloria Arroyo and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, respondent DOJ Secretary Gonzales warned reporters that those who had copies of the CD and those broadcasting or publishing its contents could be held liable under the AntiWiretapping Act. He also stated that persons possessing or airing said tapes were committing a continuing offense, subject to arrest by anybody. Finally, he stated that he had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to go after media organizations found to have caused the spread, the playing and the printing of the contents of a tape. Meanwhile, respondent NTC warned in a press release all radio stations and TV network owners/operators that the conditions of the authorization and permits issued to them by government like the Provisional Authority and/or Certificate of Authority explicitly provides that they shall not use their stations for the broadcasting or telecasting of false information or willful misrepresentation. The NTC stated that the continuous airing or broadcast of the Hello Garci taped conversations by radio and TV stations is a continuing violation of the AntiWiretapping Law and the conditions of the Provisional Authority and/or Certificate of Authority. It warned that their broadcast/airing of such false information and/or willful misrepresentation shall be a just cause for the suspension, revocation and/or cancellation of the licenses or authorizations issued to the said media establishments. Subsequently, a dialogue was held between the NTC and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) which resulted in the issuance of a Joint Press Statement which stated, among others, that the supposed wiretapped tapes should be treated with sensitivity and handled responsibly. Petitioner Chavez filed a petition under Rule 65 against respondents Secretary Gonzales and the NTC directly with the Supreme Court. II. THE ISSUES

1. Will a purported violation of law such as the Anti-Wiretapping Law justify straitjacketing the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press? 2. Did the mere press statements of respondents DOJ Secretary and the NTC constitute a form of content-based prior restraint that has transgressed the Constitution? III. THE RULING

[The Court voted 10-5 (CJ Puno, joined by JJ. Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio Morales, Azcuna, Reyes and Tinga in the majority, as against JJ. Corona, Chico-Nazario, Nachura, Leonardo-De Castro and Velasco in the minority) in granting the petition insofar as respondent Secretary Gonzalezs press statement was concerned. Likewise, it voted 10-5 (CJ Puno, joined by JJ. Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, AustriaMartinez, Carpio Morales, Azcuna, Reyes and Velasco in the majority, as against JJ. Corona, Chico-Nazario, Nachura, Leonardo-De Castro and Tinga in the minority) in granting the same insofar as NTCs press statement was concerned.] 1. NO, a purported violation of law such as the Anti-Wiretapping Law will NOT justify straitjacketing the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press. A governmental action that restricts freedom of speech or of the press based on content is given the strictest scrutiny, with the government having the burden of overcoming the presumed unconstitutionality by the clear and present danger rule. This rule applies equally to all kinds of media, including broadcast media. Respondents, who have the burden to show that these acts do not abridge freedom of speech and of the press, failed to hurdle the clear and present danger test. [T]he great evil which government wants to prevent is the airing of a tape recording in alleged violation of the anti-wiretapping law. The records of the case at bar however are confused and confusing, and respondents evidence falls short of satisfying the clear and present danger test. Firstly, the various statements of the Press Secretary obfuscate the identity of the voices in the tape recording. Secondly, the integrity of the taped conversation is also suspect. The Press Secretary showed to the public two versions, one supposed to be a complete version and the other, an altered version. Thirdly, the evidence of the respondents on the whos and the hows of the wiretapping act is ambivalent, especially considering the tapes different versions. The identity of the wire-tappers, the manner of its commission and other related and relevant proofs are some of the invisibles of this case. Fourthly, given all these unsettled facets of the tape, it is even arguable whether its airing would violate the anti-wiretapping law.

consequence. But to repeat, the need to prevent their violation cannot per se trump the exercise of free speech and free press, a preferred right whose breach can lead to greater evils. For this failure of the respondents alone to offer proof to satisfy the clear and present danger test, the Court has no option but to uphold the exercise of free speech and free press. There is no showing that the feared violation of the antiwiretapping law clearly endangers the national security of the State. 2. YES, the mere press statements of respondents DOJ Secretary and the NTC constituted a form of content-based prior restraint that has transgressed the Constitution. [I]t is not decisive that the press statements made by respondents were not reduced in or followed up with formal orders or circulars. It is sufficient that the press statements were made by respondents while in the exercise of their official functions. Undoubtedly, respondent Gonzales made his statements as Secretary of Justice, while the NTC issued its statement as the regulatory body of media. Any act done, such as a speech uttered, for and on behalf of the government in an official capacity is covered by the rule on prior restraint. The concept of an act does not limit itself to acts already converted to a formal order or official circular. Otherwise, the non formalization of an act into an official order or circular will result in the easy circumvention of the prohibition on prior restraint. The press statements at bar are acts that should be struck down as they constitute impermissible forms of prior restraints on the right to free speech and press.

We rule that not every violation of a law will justify straitjacketing the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press. Our laws are of different kindsand doubtless, some of them provide norms of conduct which[,] even if violated[,] have only an adverse effect on a persons private comfort but does not endanger national security. There are laws of great significance but their violation, by itself and without more, cannot support suppression of free speech and free press. In fine, violation of law is just a factor, a vital one to be sure, which should be weighed in adjudging whether to restrain freedom of speech and of the press. The totality of the injurious effects of the violation to private and public interest must be calibrated in light of the preferred status accorded by the Constitution and by related international covenants protecting freedom of speech and of the press. In calling for a careful and calibrated measurement of the circumference of all these factors to determine compliance with the clear and present danger test, the Court should not be misinterpreted as devaluing violations of law. By all means, violations of law should be vigorously prosecuted by the State for they breed their own evil