G.R. No.

104879

May 6, 1994

ELIZALDE MALALOAN and MARLON LUAREZ, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS; HON. ANTONIO J. FINEZA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 131, Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City; HON. TIRSO D.C. VELASCO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 88, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City; and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. Alexander A. Padilla for petitioners. The Solicitor General for the People of the Philippines. REGALADO, J.: Creative legal advocacy has provided this Court with another primae impressionis case through the present petition wherein the parties have formulated and now pose for resolution the following issue: Whether or not a court may take cognizance of an application for a search warrant in connection with an offense committed outside its territorial boundary and, thereafter, issue the warrant to conduct a search on a place outside the court's supposed territorial jurisdiction. 1 The factual background and judicial antecedents of this case are best taken from the findings of respondent Court of Appeals 2 on which there does not appear to be any dispute, to wit: From the pleadings and supporting documents before the Court, it can be gathered that on March 22, 1990, 1st Lt. Absalon V. Salboro of the CAPCOM Northern Sector (now Central Sector) filed with the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City an application for search warrant. The search warrant was sought for in connection with an alleged violation of P.D. 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions) perpetrated at No. 25 Newport St., corner Marlboro St., Fairview, Quezon City. On March 23, 1990, respondent RTC Judge of Kalookan City issued Search Warrant No. 95-90. On the same day, at around 2:30 p.m., members of the CAPCOM, armed with subject search warrant, proceeded to the situs of the offense alluded to, where a labor seminar of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) was then taking place. According to CAPCOM's "Inventory of Property Seized," firearms, explosive materials and subversive documents, among others, were seized and taken during the search. And all the sixty-one (61) persons found within the premises searched were brought to Camp Karingal, Quezon City but most of them were later released, with the exception of the herein petitioners, EILER Instructors, who were indicated for violation of P.D. 1866 in Criminal Case No. Q-90-11757 before Branch 88 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, presided over by respondent Judge Tirso D.C. Velasco. On July 10, 1990, petitioners presented a "Motion for Consolidation, Quashal of Search Warrant and For the Suppression of All Illegally Acquired Evidence" before the Quezon City court; and a "Supplemental Motion to the Motion for Consolidation, Quashal of Search Warrant and Exclusion of Evidence Illegally Obtained. On September 21, 1990, the respondent Quezon City Judge issued the challenged order, consolidating subject cases but denying the prayer for the quashal of the search warrant under attack, the validity of which warrant was upheld; opining that the same falls under the category of Writs and Processes, within the contemplation of paragraph 3(b) of the Interim Rules and Guidelines, and can be served not only within the territorial jurisdiction of the issuing court but anywhere in the judicial region of the issuing court (National Capital Judicial Region);. . .

Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the said Order under challenge, having been denied by the assailed Order of October 5, 1990, petitioners have come to this Court via the instant petition, raising the sole issue: WHETHER OR NOT A COURT MAY TAKE COGNIZANCE OF AN APPLICATION FOR A SEARCH WARRANT IN CONNECTION WITH AN OFFENSE ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED OUTSIDE ITS TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION AND TO ISSUE A WARRANT TO CONDUCT A SEARCH ON A PLACE LIKEWISE OUTSIDE ITS TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION. xxx xxx xxx

Respondent Court of Appeals rendered judgment, 3 in effect affirming that of the trial court, by denying due course to the petition for certiorari and lifting the temporary restraining order it had issued on November 29, 1990 in connection therewith. This judgment of respondent court is now impugned in and sought to be reversed through the present recourse before us. We are not favorably impressed by the arguments adduced by petitioners in support of their submissions. Their disquisitions postulate interpretative theories contrary to the letter and intent of the rules on search warrants and which could pose legal obstacles, if not dangerous doctrines, in the area of law enforcement. Further, they fail to validly distinguish, hence they do not convincingly delineate the difference, between the matter of (1) the court which has the competence to issue a search warrant under a given set of facts, and (2) the permissible jurisdictional range in the enforcement of such search warrant vis-a-vis the court's territorial jurisdiction. These issues while effectively cognate are essentially discrete since the resolution of one does not necessarily affect or preempt the other. Accordingly, to avoid compounding the seeming confusion, these questions shall be discussed seriatim. I Petitioners invoke the jurisdictional rules in the institution of criminal actions to invalidate the search warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City because it is directed toward the seizure of firearms and ammunition allegedly cached illegally in Quezon City. This theory is sought to be buttressed by the fact that the criminal case against petitioners for violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 was subsequently filed in the latter court. The application for the search warrant, it is claimed, was accordingly filed in a court of improper venue and since venue in criminal actions involves the territorial jurisdiction of the court, such warrant is void for having been issued by a court without jurisdiction to do so. The basic flaw in this reasoning is in erroneously equating the application for and the obtention of a search warrant with the institution and prosecution of a criminal action in a trial court. It would thus categorize what is only a special criminal process, the power to issue which is inherent in all courts, as equivalent to a criminal action, jurisdiction over which is reposed in specific courts of indicated competence. It ignores the fact that the requisites, procedure and purpose for the issuance of a search warrant are completely different from those for the institution of a criminal action. For, indeed, a warrant, such as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant, merely constitutes process. 4 A search warrant is defined in our jurisdiction as an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines signed by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for personal property and bring it before the court. 5 A search warrant is in the nature of a criminal process akin to a writ of discovery. It is a special and peculiar remedy, drastic in its nature, and made necessary because of a public necessity. 6

In American jurisdictions, from which we have taken our jural concept and provisions on search warrants, 7 such warrant is definitively considered merely as a process, generally issued by a court in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction, and not a criminal action to be entertained by a court pursuant to its original jurisdiction. We emphasize this fact for purposes of both issues as formulated in this opinion, with the catalogue of authorities herein. Invariably, a judicial process is defined as a writ, warrant, subpoena, or other formal writing issued by authority of law; also the means of accomplishing an end, including judicial proceedings, 8 or all writs, warrants, summonses, and orders of courts of justice or judicial officers. 9 It is likewise held to include a writ, summons, or order issued in a judicial proceeding to acquire jurisdiction of a person or his property, to expedite the cause or enforce the judgment, 10 or a writ, warrant, mandate, or other process issuing from a court of justice. 11 2. It is clear, therefore, that a search warrant is merely a judicial process designed by the Rules to respond only to an incident in the main case, if one has already been instituted, or in anticipation thereof. In the latter contingency, as in the case at bar, it would involve some judicial clairvoyance to require observance of the rules as to where a criminal case may eventually be filed where, in the first place, no such action having as yet been instituted, it may ultimately be filed in a territorial jurisdiction other than that wherein the illegal articles sought to be seized are then located. This is aside from the consideration that a criminal action may be filed in different venues under the rules for delitos continuados or in those instances where different trial courts have concurrent original jurisdiction over the same criminal offense. In fact, to illustrate the gravity of the problem which petitioners' implausible position may create, we need not stray far from the provisions of Section 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court on the venue of criminal actions and which we quote: Sec. 15. Place where action to be instituted. — (a) Subject to existing laws, in all criminal prosecutions the action shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or territory wherein the offense was committed or any one of the essential ingredients thereof took place. (b) Where an offense is committed on a railroad train, in an aircraft, or any other public or private vehicle while in the course of its trip, the criminal action may be instituted and tried in the court of any municipality or territory where such train, aircraft or other vehicle passed during such trip, including the place of departure and arrival. (c) Where an offense is committed on board a vessel in the course of its voyage, the criminal action may be instituted and tried in the proper court of the first port of entry or of any municipality or territory through which the vessel passed during such voyage, subject to the generally accepted principles of international law. (d) Other crimes committed outside of the Philippines but punishable therein under Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code shall be cognizable by the proper court in which the charge is first filed. (14a) It would be an exacting imposition upon the law enforcement authorities or the prosecutorial agencies to unerringly determine where they should apply for a search warrant in view of the uncertainties and possibilities as to the ultimate venue of a case under the foregoing rules. It would be doubly so if compliance with that requirement would be under pain of nullification of said warrant should they file their application therefor in and obtain the same from what may later turn out to be a court not within the ambit of the aforequoted Section 15. Our Rules of Court, whether of the 1940, 1964 or the present vintage, and, for that matter, the Judiciary Act of 1948 12 or the recent Judiciary Reorganization Act, 13 have never required the jurisdictional strictures that the petitioners' thesis

would seek to be inferentially drawn from the silence of the reglementary provisions. On the contrary, we are of the view that said statutory omission was both deliberate and significant. It cannot but mean that the formulators of the Rules of Court, and even Congress itself, did not consider it proper or correct, on considerations of national policy and the pragmatics of experience, to clamp a legal manacle on those who would ferret out the evidence of a crime. For us to now impose such conditions or restrictions, under the guise of judicial interpretation, may instead be reasonably construed as trenching on judicial legislation. It would be tantamount to a judicial act of engrafting upon a law something that has been omitted but which someone believes ought to have been embraced therein. 14 Concededly, the problem of venue would be relatively easier to resolve if a criminal case has already been filed in a particular court and a search warrant is needed to secure evidence to be presented therein. Obviously, the court trying the criminal case may properly issue the warrant, upon proper application and due compliance with the requisites therefor, since such application would only be an incident in that case and which it can resolve in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction. If the contraband articles are within its territorial jurisdiction, there would appear to be no further complications. The jurisdictional problem would resurrect, however, where such articles are outside its territorial jurisdiction, which aspect will be addressed hereafter. 3. Coming back to the first issue now under consideration, petitioners, after discoursing on the respective territorial jurisdictions of the thirteen Regional Trial Courts which correspond to the thirteen judicial regions, 15 invite our attention to the fact that this Court, pursuant to its authority granted by law, 16 has defined the territorial jurisdiction of each branch of a Regional Trial Court 17 over which the particular branch concerned shall exercise its authority. 18 From this, it is theorized that "only the branch of a Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the place to be searched could grant an application for and issue a warrant to search that place." Support for such position is sought to be drawn from issuances of this Court, that is, Circular No. 13 issued on October 1, 1985, as amended by Circular No. 19 on August 4, 1987. We reject that proposition. Firstly, it is evident that both circulars were not intended to be of general application to all instances involving search warrants and in all courts as would be the case if they had been adopted as part of the Rules of Court. These circulars were issued by the Court to meet a particular exigency, that is, as emergency guidelines on applications for search warrants filed only in the courts of Metropolitan Manila and other courts with multiple salas and only with respect to violations of the Anti-Subversion Act, crimes against public order under the Revised Penal Code, illegal possession of firearms and/or ammunitions, and violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. In other words, the aforesaid theory on the court's jurisdiction to issue search warrants would not apply to single-sala courts and other crimes. Accordingly, the rule sought by petitioners to be adopted by the Court would actually result in a bifurcated procedure which would be vulnerable to legal and constitutional objections. For that matter, neither can we subscribe to petitioners' contention that Administrative Order No. 3 of this Court, supposedly "defining the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts," was the source of the subject matter jurisdiction of, as distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction by, the courts. As earlier observed, this administrative order was issued pursuant to the provisions of Section 18 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, the pertinent portion of which states: Sec. 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. — The Supreme Court shall define the territory over which a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its authority. The territory thus defined shall be deemed to be the territorial area of the branch concerned for purposes of determining the venue of all writs, proceedings or actions, whether civil or criminal, . . . . (Emphasis ours.)

would necessitate a new appointment for the judge. instead of farming out the same among the other judges as was the previous practice. thus: 4. In view of the fact. 7 dated September 23. and not a mandate for the exclusion of all other courts. by amendment.Jurisdiction is conferred by substantive law. 13 even specifically envisaged and anticipated the non-exclusionary nature of that provision. Circulars Nos. The circulars only allocated to the three executive judges the administrative areas for which they may respectively issue search warrants under the special circumstance contemplated therein. therefore. principally a raffle of the applications for search warrants.) It is. said case shall be distributed conformably with Circular No. of this Court. 19 eliminated. we definitely cannot accept the conclusion that the grant of power to the courts mentioned therein." and he "may be assigned by the Supreme Court to any branch or city or municipality within the same region as public interest may require. The phrase above quoted was. and such assignment shall not be deemed an assignment to another station ." which. 19 was never intended to confer exclusive jurisdiction on said executive judges. in recognition of human capabilities and limitations. and not necessarily by the judge who issued the search warrant. has primary jurisdiction to issue . or the assigned branch thereof. 3 and. in the nature of an allocation in the assignment of applications among them. 13 and 19. If. that they were themselves directed to personally act on the applications. 129. Administrative Circular No. not by a procedural law and. that where a criminal case is pending. in like manner." or by their substitutes enumerated therein. Administrative Circular No. 1974. as would be the consequence of petitioners' position that only the branch of the court with jurisdiction over the place to be searched can issue a warrant to search the same. It will readily be noted that Circular No. such that non-observance thereof would nullify their judicial acts. Section 17 thereof provides that "(e)very Regional Trial Judge shall be appointed to a region which shall be his permanent station. The administrative order merely defines the limits of the administrative area within which a branch of the court may exercise its authority pursuant to the jurisdiction conferred by Batas Pambansa Blg. therefore. much less. and thereupon tried and decided by the judge to whom it has been assigned. did not per se confer jurisdiction on the covered regional trial court or its branches. incorrect to say that only the court which has jurisdiction over the criminal case can issue the search warrant. (Emphasis supplied. Thus. in the implementation of the search warrant properties are seized thereunder and the corresponding case is filed in court. as a matter of policy. in this case Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. 19 was basically intended to provide prompt action on applications for search warrants. 129. if they had been filed with the executive judge. but likewise pursuant to the jurisdiction vested in them by Batas Pambansa Blg. to entertain and issue search warrants where the place to be searched is within their territorial jurisdiction. among the judges within his administrative area. and more importantly. Administrative Order No. It may be conceded. . Metropolitan Trial Court. Evidently. Circular No. Secondly. the court wherein it was filed. 13. however. and Municipal Trial Court under whose jurisdiction the place to be searched is located. . it was but necessary and practical to require them to so act only on applications involving search of places located within their respective territorial jurisdictions. had a number of requirements. In fine. was intended to exclude other courts from exercising the same power. that particular provision of Circular No. Its predecessor. The jurisdiction conferred by said Act on regional trial courts and their judges is basically regional in scope. otherwise. by an administrative order or circular. In truth. that required raffle and ordered instead that such applications should immediately be "taken cognizance of and acted upon by the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Court.

to the second issue on the permissible jurisdictional range of enforcement of search warrants. in the same manner that no such restriction is provided for warrants of arrest. be denied enforcement or nullified just because it was implemented outside the court's territorial jurisdiction. that the executive judges or their lawful substitutes in the areas and for the offenses contemplated in Circular No. 23 under the Interim or Transitional Rules and Guidelines. On the other hand. habeas corpus and injunction issued by a regional trial court may be enforced in any part of the region. the lifetime of a search warrant has been expressly set in our Rules at ten days 20 but there is no provision as to the extent of the territory wherein it may be enforced. In the interest of clarity and contrast. however. and the same not being inferable by necessary implication from the statutory provisions which are presumed to be complete and expressive of the intendment of the framers. the enforcement of such writs and processes no longer needs the approval of the regional trial court. qualifications or restrictions. or one issued by an executive judge or his lawful substitute under the situations provided for by Circular No. We make the foregoing comparative advertence to emphasize the fact that when the law or rules would provide conditions. the affiliated issue raised in this case is whether a branch of a regional trial court has the authority to issue a warrant for the search of a place outside its territorial jurisdiction. formerly. certain specified writs issued by a regional trial court are now enforceable only within its judicial region. Absent specific mention thereof. This brings us. prohibition mandamus. writs and processes of the then courts of first instance were enforceable throughout the Philippines. Conversely. 19.the search warrant. 21 Under the Judiciary Reorganization Act. while. where the obtention of that search warrant is necessitated and justified by compelling considerations of urgency. it is necessary that said provision be set out in full: 3. a contrary interpretation on whatever pretext should not be countenanced. subject. and where no such criminal case has yet been filed. quo warranto. In our jurisdiction. Petitioners insistently answer the query in the negative. Writs and processes. We repeat what we have earlier stressed: No law or rule imposes such a limitation on search warrants. Parenthetically. they so state. mean that a court whose territorial jurisdiction does not embrace the place to be searched cannot issue a search warrant therefor. We hold otherwise. time and place. there were limitations of the time wherein a warrant of arrest could be enforced. in certain states within the American jurisdiction. The jurisdictional rule heretofore was that writs and processes of the so-called inferior courts could be enforced outside the province only with the approval of the former court of first instance. 19 said warrant does not become functus officio but is enforceable indefinitely until the same is enforced or recalled. no period is provided for the enforceability of warrants of arrest. provided it is implemented on and within the premises specifically described therein which may or may not be within the territorial jurisdiction of the issuing court. A bit of legal history on this contestation will be helpful. accordingly. neither should a search warrant duly issued by a court which has jurisdiction over a pending criminal case. 19 shall have primary jurisdiction. 1. This should not. — (a) Writs of certiorari. II As stated in limine. . and although within ten days from the delivery of the warrant of arrest for execution a return thereon must be made to the issuing judge. 22 On the other hand.

As earlier demonstrated. No legal provision. 2. We do not believe that the enforcement of a search warrant issued by a court outside the territorial jurisdiction wherein the place to be searched is located would create a constitutional question. For that matter. and so pervasive as to render foolhardy any attempt to obtain a search warrant in the very locale under their sphere of control. municipal trial court or municipal circuit trial court may be served anywhere in the Philippines. it is a matter of judicial knowledge that the authorities have to contend now and then with local and national criminal syndicates of considerable power and influence. whether issued by a regional trial court or a metropolitan trial court. political or financial in nature. vs. unless there are really compelling reasons for the authorities to do so. regardless of which court issued the same. not a criminal action. once detected. are enforceable only within its judicial region. 24 the searches in the corporate offices in Manila and the residences in Makati of therein petitioners were conducted pursuant to search warrants issued by the Quezon City and Pasig branches of the Court of First Instance of Rizal and by the Municipal Courts of Manila and Quezon City. but persons and liberty. not an action. Nor are we swayed by the professed apprehension that the law enforcement authorities may resort to what could be a permutation of forum shopping. On the other hand. On the contrary. to detect or elicit information regarding the existence and location of illegally possessed or prohibited articles.. et al. 25 but the same were never challenged on jurisdictional grounds although they were subsequently nullified for being general warrants. dubiously invoking the constitutional proscription against illegal searches and seizures. It need merely be recalled that a search warrant is only a process. expressly or impliedly provides a jurisdictional or territorial limit on its area of enforceability. In the landmark case of Stonehill. a search warrant is but a judicial process. The Court cannot be blind to the fact that it is extremely difficult. The rule enumerates the writs and processes which. the constitutional mandate is translated into specifically enumerated safeguards in Rule 126 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure for the issuance of a search warrant. Nor should we overlook the fact that to do so will necessitate the transportation of applicant's witnesses to and their examination in .(b) All other processes. not only because of the distance but also the contingencies of travel and the danger involved. et al. 26 and all these have to be observed regardless of whatever court in whichever region is importuned for or actually issues a search warrant. A clarion call supposedly of libertarian import is further sounded by petitioners. Besides. and. the above-quoted provision of the interim Rules expressly authorizes its enforcement anywhere in the country.) We feel that the foregoing provision is too clear to be further belabored or enmeshed in unwarranted polemics. statutory or reglementary. we are unaware of any instance wherein a search warrant was struck down on objections based on territorial jurisdiction. in the last three cases. shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. together with the ten-day lifetime of the warrant 27 would discourage resort to a court in another judicial region. more onerous if not impossible by imposing further niceties of procedure or substantive rules of jurisdiction through decisional dicta. In contrast. it unqualifiedly provides that all other writs and processes. 3. as it undeniably is. This is but a necessary and inevitable consequence of the nature and purpose of a search warrant. (Emphasis ours. The Court is accordingly convinced that it should not make the requisites for the apprehension of the culprits and the confiscation of such illicit items. Diokno. without a certification by the judge of the regional trial court. not only property and privacy. by filing an application for the warrant with a "friendly" court. since it is not among the processes specified in paragraph (a) and there is no distinction or exception made regarding the processes contemplated in paragraph (b). even if issued by a regional trial court. Furthermore. it does seem odd that such constitutional protests have not been made against warrants of arrest which are enforceable indefinitely and anywhere although they involve. Said requirements.

All grounds and objections then available.said places. 4. the interested party may move in the court where the criminal case is pending for the suppression as evidence of the personal property seized under the warrant if the same is offered therein for said purpose. more accurately. this very situation was anticipated in Circular No. as quoted by respondent court: This court is of the further belief that the possible leakage of information which is of utmost importance in the issuance of a search warrant is secured (against) where the issuing magistrate within the region does not hold court sessions in the city or municipality. a motion to quash a search warrant and a motion to suppress evidence are alternative and not cumulative remedies. Where the court which issued the search warrant denies the motion to quash the same and is not otherwise prevented from further proceeding thereon. An application for a search warrant may be filed with another court only under extreme and compelling circumstances that the applicant must prove to the satisfaction of the latter court which may or may not give due course to the application depending on the validity of the justification offered for not filing the same in the court with primary jurisdiction thereover. In order to prevent forum shopping. however. otherwise they shall be deemed waived. III Concern is expressed over possible conflicts of jurisdiction (or. as hereinbefore noted. When the latter court issues the search warrant. 28 The foregoing situations may also have obtained and were taken into account in the foreign judicial pronouncement that. a motion to quash shall consequently be governed by the omnibus motion rule. 3. existent or known shall be raised in the original or subsequent proceedings for the quashal of the warrant. provided. 2. In fact. that objections not available. with the attendant risk. a justice of the peace in one district of the county may issue a search warrant to be served in another district of the county and made returnable before the justice of still another district or another court having jurisdiction to deal with the matters involved. to put such presentiments to rest. where the place to be searched is located. without prejudice to any proper recourse to the appropriate higher court by the party aggrieved by the resolution of the issuing court. The court wherein the criminal case is pending shall have primary jurisdiction to issue search warrants necessitated by and for purposes of said case. obviously born of experience and verifiable data. we lay down the following policy guidelines: 1. Since two separate courts with different participations are involved in this situation. 29 In the present state of our law on the matter. within the region. Nonetheless. a motion to quash the same may be filed in and shall be resolved by said court. Also. all personal property seized under the warrant shall forthwith be . we find no such statutory restrictions both with respect to the court which can issue the search warrant and the enforcement thereof anywhere in the Philippines. The resolution of the court on the motion to suppress shall likewise be subject to any proper remedy in the appropriate higher court. in the exercise of jurisdiction) where the criminal case is pending in one court and the search warrant is issued by another court for the seizure of personal property intended to be used as evidence in said criminal case. in the absence of statutory restrictions. is articulated by the court a quo. 13 of this Court under the limited scenario contemplated therein. existent or known during the proceedings for the quashal of the warrant may be raised in the hearing of the motion to suppress. a further well-founded precaution. danger and expense. This arrangement is not unknown or without precedent in our jurisdiction. Where no motion to quash the search warrant was filed in or resolved by the issuing court.

a NARCOM agent. to seventeen (17) years. plaintiff-appellee. to eighteen (18) years. vs." 1 As a result. accused Dante Samson was sentenced to a prison term of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor. as minimum. WHEREFORE. with the necessary safeguards and documentation therefor. were haled to court for his violent death. BELLOSILLO. J. on the foregoing premises. 23533 is hereby AFFIRMED. These guidelines shall likewise be observed where the same criminal offense is charged in different informations or complaints and filed in two or more courts with concurrent original jurisdiction over the criminal action. Upon review. 5. 1994 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed judgment of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. as maximum. the appellate court raised their penalties to reclusion perpetua and certified the case to this Court pursuant to Sec. five (5) months and eleven (11) days of reclusion temporal. The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. No. G. ROLANDO MANLULU AND DANTE SAMSON. 2 .transmitted by it to the court wherein the criminal case is pending. They were also sentenced jointly to indemnify the offended party P30. 102140 April 22.R. But the trial court was not convinced. The accused on the other hand invoke self-defense. was stabbed and shot with his service pistol in a drinking spree.: GERARDO ALFARO. as minimum. while accused Rolando Manlulu. Celso P. The prosecution charges that Manlulu and Samson conspired in the murder of Agent Alfaro.000. of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. De Las Alas for accused-appellants. SP No. Rolando Manlulu and Dante Samson. They also insist that the non-issuance of a search warrant and warrant of arrest should nullify their arrest and consequently exclude from judicial consideration the evidence thus obtained. such court shall be considered as vested with primary jurisdiction to act on applications for search warrants incident to the criminal case. It found accused Dante Samson and Rolando Manlulu "guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals in the crime of Murder defined and penalized under Article 248 of The Revised Penal Code with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender on the part of Dante Samson and no mitigating circumstance modifying the commission of the offense on the part of Rolando Manlulu.410. Rule 124. to twelve (12) years. and to pay the costs. eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion perpetua as maximum.00 as compensatory damages and P10. SO ORDERED. His drinking partners. Where the issue of which court will try the case shall have been resolved. He died in the hospital the following day. accused-appellants.00 for hospitalization and funeral expenses. four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal. 13.

Samson immediately fled. He got hold of the ice pick on top of the drum and stabbed Alfaro instinctively. while they were drinking." 3 At twelve o'clock midnight. Pring of the Homicide Division of the Western Police District. Almost simultaneously. a. i. he and accused Dante Samson and Rolando Manlulu were having a drinking spree in an alley along Quirino Avenue.defense. Manila. the gun went off. both accused invoke self. Alfaro. Samson excused himself by saying that he had just been released from prison. According to Samson.. and ran away. a gunshot wound in the neck.a. Fearful that it might go off. he (Perez) was not with any warrant nor did he inform the accused of the latter's right to counsel. and two (2) stab wounds probably caused by an ice pick. they fell on the ground and the gun accidentally went off hitting Alfaro in the neck. 9 Rolando Manlulu corroborated the testimony of his co-accused. recounted that at the time of the shooting he was outside the alley where the accused and the deceased were drinking. Crisanto Meneses. After hearing a gunshot coming from the direction of the alley.45 cal. 12 Dr. service pistol of Alfaro and shot him in the neck. Every time he did. There Samson suddenly stabbed Alfaro in the chest with a 6-inch double-bladed knife while boasting. both accused returned and got Alfaro's wristwatch and wallet.45 cal. arrested Manlulu on the information given by Manlapaz. apparently resenting Samson's unwillingness to join them. he saw Dante Samson and Rolando Manlulu coming out the alley. Marcial Ceñido. "Dito may kumakatalo sa aking tao. Medico-Legal Officer of the Western Police District. drew his gun and pointed it to Samson who parried it saying: "Pare. When he fled. another witness for the prosecution. the group transferred in front of the house of Manlapaz and continued to drink. Paco. 13 . a penetrating stab wound probably caused by a bladed weapon.k. and fearing that he might be the next victim should Alfaro succeed in shooting Samson. together with some other officers. the former tucking a gun in his waist and sporting a watch on his right wrist. with Samson holding Alfaro's handgun.45 cal. Baka pumutok iyan. wala tayong biruan ng ganyan. and had yet to fetch his wife. He then fetched his wife from Malate. proceeded to Pasay City. Patrolman Perez however admitted on cross.e. as a consequence. As Samson and Alfaro continued to wrestle for the possession of the gun. narrated that at around ten o'clock in the evening of 29 May 1986. Perez added that at that time Manlulu was under the influence of liquor. then dropped it." 4 Alfaro at this time was "somewhat bent because he was already drunk. When Alfaro slumped on the pavement. When Alfaro arrived he blurted out. confirmed that Alfaro sustained nine (9) wounds. both accused fled. Wally Manlapaz. Manlapaz tried to separate them. four (4) of them fatal. he (Manlulu) stabbed Alfaro several times with the ice pick. They were later joined by Agent Gerardo Alfaro who had a ." 5 Manlulu then followed suit and stabbed Alfaro in the abdomen several times with an ice pick they used to chip ice. 11 and that Manlulu verbally confessed to the commission of the crime.Testifying for the prosecution. 7 As already adverted to. Thinking that "prospect" meant they were going to rob somebody. Rattled. 6 Noel Pagco. and after taking ekis pinoy. he held the gun and tried to ward it off. 8 Alfaro said he had a "prospect" and invited them to go with him. He looked back and saw Samson and Alfaro fall on the pavement. and sent word to his father who later accompanied him to surrender to Capt. Samson dropped the ice pick. pistol tucked to his waist. and the latter holding an ice pick. pistol and Casio wristwatch said to belong to Alfaro. After a few seconds. "Dapat sa iyo manahimik na. he left behind Alfaro's gun.examination that when he arrested Manlulu and seized from him the handgun as well as the wristwatch. He said that he seized from Manlulu the . Samson grabbed the . Samson would push the gun aside. resulting in a struggle for its possession. He added that he picked up the ice pick when it fell." But Alfaro repeatedly pointed the gun to him. 10 Patrolman Reynaldo Perez recounted that at around seven o'clock in the evening of 30 May 1986 he.

Ceñido which states that the deceased had a penetrating stab wound which could have been caused by a bladed weapon. A review of the testimony of Manlapaz. then in all probability he could not have remembered the weapons used by the accused. one of which was admittedly inflicted by Samson. For unlawful aggression to be appreciated in self-defense. who admittedly had drunk a little too much. even if we disregard the gunshot wound which Samson claims to have resulted from an accidental firing. there must be an actual. we cannot disregard those portions of the testimonies of the two accused which tend to confirm the narration of Manlapaz. is insufficient to prove unlawful aggression. the two accused have already failed to show that there was unlawful aggression on the part of Alfaro. more so repeatedly. That Manlulu according to Manlapaz used an ice pick in repeatedly stabbing Alfaro was not only admitted by Manlulu on the witness stand but is confirmed likewise by the medical findings of Dr. Considering their relative positions as they drank . the accused will refute the statements tending to establish their culpability. and next. at the outset. the accused admit killing Alfaro. The burden of proof is thus shifted to them. eyewitness Manlapaz could not have been so drunk as to muddle those incidents which impute guilt to the accused and recall only those which are consistent with their innocence. Since it appears from the testimony of Manlapaz that he had not yet reached that degree of intoxication where he would have otherwise lost control of his mental faculties.In this appeal. the victim also suffered seven other stab wounds. by accused Manlulu.each within the other's reach — all that was necessary was for the two accused to band together and overpower the lone victim with their bare hands. (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it. A stab wound may not necessarily be fatal and thus enable the victim to fire his gun. Definitely. Hence. accused Manlulu and Samson would want us to believe. they have miserably failed. 14 Thus. first. 15 In this regard. and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude. that they acted in self-defense. By invoking selfdefense. Ceñido. Certainly. 17 Here. reveals that his story tallies not only with some accounts of accused Samson and Manlulu but also with the findings of Dr. The three (3) requisites for self-defense are: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. But. while the other two. assuming the deceased was indeed pointing his gun at one of them. If Manlapaz was indeed too drunk to recall the events that transpired before the actual killing. Their duty now is to establish by clear and convincing evidence the lawful justification for the killing. Ceñido. Expectedly. A gun aimed at the accused. employing therefore reasonable means to resist said attack. and. including the conversation that took place. without more. (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. they have to differ in some respects from the narration of Manlapaz. This version of Manlapaz is consistent with the necropsy report of Dr. 18 Even the means employed to repel or prevent the supposed attack was not reasonable. Similarly. three of which were fatal. Hence. Thus we give credence to the testimony of Manlapaz that Samson used a bladed weapon and not an ice pick in stabbing Alfaro. we sustain the factual findings of the trial court and reject the version of the defense. we find his version to be credible as it conforms with the autopsy report and admissions of both accused. the testimonies of Samson and Manlulu square with that of Manlapaz. the victim. it must be positively shown that there was a previous unlawful and unprovoked attack that placed the life of the accused in danger which forced him to inflict more or less severe wounds upon his assailant. even if we consider the theory of the accused thus far if only to satisfy them. For. But a firm grasp by . in their version of the incident. it was not necessary to stab. sudden and unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof. still they cannot elude the consequences of their felonious acts. The account of the appellants does not inspire belief.defense to prosper. except for the actual attack on the victim. 16 For self. contrary to what Samson would want us to believe.

After all. and only on the basis of information obtained by the police officers. which negates self." The rule requires that the arrest immediately follows the commission of the offense. they should have reported the incident to the police.45 cal. Cendana 23 where the accused was arrested one day after the killing of the victim. service pistol of Agent Alfaro and his Casio wristwatch.e." Obviously. . revolver by Samson who on the other hand was merely armed with a knife could not have been so sudden as to catch the former off-guard. the police authorities should have first obtained a warrant for the arrest of accused Rolando Manlulu. Sec. and the exclusion of real evidence. 25 Even Manlulu. 21 If the accused honestly believed that their acts constituted self-defense against the unlawful aggression of the victim. the attack on Alfaro who was then armed with a . their flight from the scene of the crime is a strong indication of their guilt. In fact. as well as his extra-judicial confession which was taken in violation of the provisions of the Constitution. the flaw. instead of escaping and avoiding the authorities until they were either arrested or prevailed upon to surrender. still the prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. fatal as it may be. This instance cannot come within the purview of a valid warrantless arrest. there is serious doubt as to whether treachery could be appreciated against the two accused. in spite of the nullification of the arrest of accused Manlulu. 5. Hence. Taking into account the attendant circumstances. not some nineteen hours later. or of the gun itself. i." However. Manlapaz testified that after Samson's initial attack on Alfaro the latter was even able to push Samson back. only picked up the ice pick they were using to chip ice. The law requires "personal knowledge. Perez have "personal knowledge. our minds cannot rest easy in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of treachery. 20 Indeed. At any rate.the two accused of the victim's arm holding the gun. neither did Pat. There is nothing on record to show that both accused deliberately employed means tending to insure the killing of Alfaro without risk to themselves arising from the defense which the latter might make. It must be noted that Alfaro set the mood of the evening with a threatening tone that someone in the group was provoking him. we nevertheless differ from the conclusions drawn that treachery and conspiracy attended the killing of Alfaro." In the instant case.. who impulsively stabbed the victim. the . some nineteen hours later." While Pat." nor was the offense "in fact just been committed. Clearly. the two accused may only be convicted of simple homicide. This is not any different from People v. the number of wounds suffered by Alfaro indicates a determined effort of both accused to kill the victim. Perez may have personally gathered the information which led to the arrest of Manlulu. The arrest and the consequent search and seizure came at around seven o'clock that evening. 19 Furthermore. Indeed. Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure provides that the arresting officer must have "personal knowledge" of an offense which "has in fact just been committed. Hence. could prevent the victim from shooting them. a righteous individual will not cower in fear and unabashedly admit the killing at the earliest opportunity if he were morally justified in so doing. "personal gathering of information" is different from "personal knowledge. and for the search and seizure of his personal effects. 22 The reliance of the accused on the Constitution however is warranted. which were affirmed by the appellate court. A belated plea suggests that it is false and only an afterthought made as a last ditch effort to avoid the consequences of the crime. becomes moot in view of the eyewitness account of Manlapaz which we find to be credible. Paragraph (b).defense. The killing took place at one o'clock in the morning. 24 While we confirm the factual findings of the trial court. the illegality of the warrantless arrest cannot deprive the state of its right to prosecute the guilty when all other facts on record point to their culpability.45 cal. that is not enough. Certainly. There we said that the "circumstances clearly belie a lawful warrantless arrest.

30 he should serve an additional penalty within the range of prision mayor maximum to reclusion temporal minimum. both accused are liable to indemnify the heirs of their victim in the amount of P10. Here. WHEREFORE. ten (10) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal medium and. We have often said that conspiracy must be established beyond reasonable doubt. Accused Manlulu was not even armed when he went to the drinking spree. 26 The evidence shows that it was the victim who chanced upon Manlapaz and the two accused drinking.00 as death and funeral expenses. although he is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. and (c) ROLANDO MANLULU and DANTE SAMSON are directed jointly and severally to pay the heirs of Gerardo Alfaro the amount of P50. as maximum. 31 And. (b) DANTE SAMSON is found guilty of HOMICIDE and is sentenced to a straight prison term of fourteen (14) years. the judgment appealed from is modified as follows: (a) ROLANDO MANLULU is found guilty of HOMICIDE and is sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of eight (8) years.000. each time serving sentence therefor. eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal medium. 29 Consequently. the civil liability of both accused is increased from P30. while the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree. which further bars him from availing of the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law.410.00 as civil indemnity and P10.There was no conspiracy likewise in the killing of Alfaro. As regards accused Dante Samson. the maximum of his penalty shall be taken from the medium period of reclusion temporal. in any of its periods. two (2) months and one (1) day of prision mayor medium. which is fourteen (14) years. The penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal 27 the range of which is twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years.00 to P50. 62 of The Revised Penal Code.410. . In addition.000. eight (8) months and one (1) day to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months. with costs. SO ORDERED. being a habitual delinquent as defined in the last paragraph of Art. to fourteen (14) years. the same is offset by reiteracion or habituality he having previously been convicted once of robbery and thrice of theft 28 within ten (10) years prior to this incident.00 for hospitalization and funeral expenses. there being no mitigating nor aggravating circumstance. Settled is the rule that neither joint nor simultaneous action per se is a sufficient indicium of conspiracy. each is liable for his own acts. as minimum. eight (8) months and one (1) day to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months. for being a habitual delinquent. and decided to join them. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law to accused Rolando Manlulu. is ordered to serve an additional penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor maximum. as correctly determined by the appellate court.00. the prosecution failed to show that Manlulu and Samson conspired to kill Alfaro. which is prision mayor. There being no conspiracy. the range of which is six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years. he should be sentenced to reclusion temporal medium the range of which is fourteen (14) years. Furthermore.000.

or is attempting to commit an offense." Afterwards. otherwise called a citizen's arrest. La Union. (a).000. Sgt. being then assigned at the Regional INP Command in Baguio City. But for reasons set forth below.G. "when. Rule 113. vs. No. His responsibility to protect the public by apprehending violators of the law. Making the latter believe that he was interested in buying. rejecting the defense of frame-up and invoking the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties in favor of the prosecution. of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure authorities a warrantless arrest. Ancheta was assigned in Baguio City he could not arrest persons caught in the act of committing a crime in some other place. par. the appeal should be denied.. A policeman cannot callously set aside his essential duty of apprehending criminal offenders and of keeping peace and order on the shallow excuse that he is not in his place of assignment." Thus. Dacanay declared accused-appellant guilty of the offense charged and sentenced him to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20. Lt. accused-appellant. Sec. who turned out to be the Chief Administrative Officer of the Regional Integrated National Police (INP) Command stationed in Baguio City. 6425. accusedappellant Jose Rayray y Areola was arrested. JOSE RAYRAY Y AREOLA. Accused-appellant denied making the offer to sell and instead testified that he was at Dodies' Fishing Supply at Ortega Street with his friend Bonifacio Chan to buy fish hooks when he was suddenly tapped on the shoulder by somebody who whispered. when accused-appellant Jose Rayray y Areola approached him offering to sell marijuana. brought to the municipal jail and there incarcerated for no reason.R. 5. Judge Benito A. Ancheta asked where the merchandise was and accused-appellant responded by taking marijuana wrapped in komiks from his pocket. No." After being ordered to undress. 4. Catching sight of the marijuana fruiting tops and marijuana cigarette being offered him. 1 Hence. in his presence. Ancheta had no authority to arrest persons in San Fernando. plaintiff-appellee. "You are selling marijuana. A. "Don't try to involve somebody. 2 We cannot yield to appellant's view that just because Lt. tried and subsequently convicted of violation of Sec. La Union. On 29 August 1989. The antecedents as found by the trial court: At nine forty-five in the morning of 12 September 1986 P/Lt. San Fernando. the person to be arrested has committed. 1995 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. this recourse to us. Lt. accused-appellant was forced into a tricycle. II of R. La Union. Art. Accused-appellant argues that his arrest was illegal because P/Lt. BELLOSILLO.9452 grams of marijuana to a stranger in San Fernando. J. who entered the details of the arrest in the police blotter. is actually committing. especially one caught in flagrante delicto is not limited by territorial constraints. 90628 February 1. Carmelito Leyga. Moreover. Ancheta immediately identified himself as a police officer. Ramon Ancheta was at the Friendly Shop located at Ortega St. especially so where he was the intended victim. It follows him wherever he goes. arrested accused-appellant and brought him to the San Fernando Police Station where he was turned-over to the desk officer. he was made to face the stranger who was holding something wrapped in paper and which he tried to pass off as that of accused-appellant by saying.: After offering to sell 2. although officially assigned in Baguio .00.

Ancheta's act of arresting accused-appellant (after the latter offered to sell him marijuana in San Fernando. it is not at all uncommon to reach a conclusion of guilt on the basis of the testimony of a single witness and despite the lack of corroboration where such testimony is found positive and credible by the trial court. a review of their respective testimonies visa-vis that of accused-appellant reveals certain points which render their corroboration not so reliable. Bonifacio Chan claimed that it was from him that Gabriel Galvez learned of the incident. Accused-appellant testified that in the morning of 12 September 1986 while packing fish in the house of Junior Galvez (also known as Gabriel Galvez). In such a case. a friend as Chan claims himself to be would do everything in his power to assist his friend and not abandon him as Chan practically did. 10 respectively. Ancheta. Chan appeared unaffecfed by his friend's fate for he just went home after the incident 15 and did nothing except to inform Galvez (who even denied that he learned about the incident from Chan) about the arrest. while details of accused-appellant's offense came from the lone testimony of P/Lt. who in the same manner. 13 However. It even appears from the records that Bonifacio Chan initially refused to testify for the defense (by refusing to receive the subpoena being served on him) and denied any knowledge about the incident. La Union) is justified not only by his duty as a law enforcer but also by Sec. being a companion in the fishing business 9 and close friend or barkada of accused-appellant. 12 Secondly. 14 Third. 17 Third. 4 hence. accused-appellant argues that there was misappreciation of evidence since the judge who decided the case was not the one who conducted the trial. while Bonifacio Chan corroborated accusedappellant's defense by claiming to have witnessed the alleged frame-up. Lt. Junior Galvez testified that it was he himself who asked accused-appellant to buy the fish hooks and that he did so in the same morning in question. nay. such fact failed to render the version offered by the defense more credible and believable than that of the prosecution. 5 For although the number of witnesses may be considered a factor in the appreciation of evidence. 11 However. No rule exists which requires that a testimony has to be corroborated to be adjudged credible. 8 In the case at bench. even his close association with accused-appellant. he suddenly remembered that somebody from Pangasinan requested him to buy fish hooks and that was why he asked permission from Galvez to go to Dodies Fishing Supply at Ortega Street. that of the defense is admittedly corroborated by the testimonies of witnesses Gabriel Galvez and Bonifacio Chan. 5 of Rule 113. as correctly concluded by the court a quo. an old woman called Isten (not presented as a witness). Apart from the fact that both Galvez and Chan are not entirely disinterested witnesses. Galvez testified that he was informed about the arrest of accused-appellant by the latters grandmother. 7 Narration of an incident by prosecution witnesses who are police officers and who are presumed to have regularly performed their duties is credible. The argument is without merit. However. not numbered. Instead. Second. the lone testimony is sufficient to produce a conviction. has to his credit the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and obedience to law. it is curious to note that Chan did not even lift a finger to help accused-appellant (his supposed close friend) while the latter was allegedly being ordered to undress and forced into a vehicle by an "unknown man" in civilian clothes for no apparent reason. preponderance is not necessarily with the greatest number 6 and conviction can still be had on the basis of the credible and positive testimony of a single witness more so when such testimony proceeds from the positive narration of a police officer who. likewise did nothing by way of succor. Ancheta over his which was in fact corroborated by two other witnesses. 3 Witnesses are to be weighed. 18 . which authorizes instances of warrantless or citizens' arrests. accused-appellant takes exception to the fact that the trial judge accepted the uncorroborated testimony of P/Lt. 16 If the story about the alleged frame-up is true. in addition.City.

6425 (The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972) as amended by Sec. the proper imposable component penalty is prision correctional to be applied in its medium period in view of the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance. 7659.A. However.A. the maximum penalty shall be taken.00. 20 of R. which is two (2) years. No.. from the medium period of prision correctional. of Art. WHEREFORE. No. 6425 is AFFIRMED with the modification that he is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate prison term of six (6) months of arresto mayor maximum as minimum to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium as maximum. with respect to accused-appellant's contention that his constitutional rights were violated during the custodial investigation conducted by the San Fernando Police. i. It appearing that accused-appellant has already been detained at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa for more than seven (7) years. SO ORDERED. Thus. It should be remembered that accusedappellant's attempt at selling marijuana was succinctly and clearly detailed by the positive testimony of P/Lt. such did not paralyze the cause for the prosecution because the confession allegedly elicited from him that the subject marijuana was indeed confiscated form him 21 does not constitute the whole fabric of the evidence for the prosecution. No.000. we cannot ascribe any merit to the argument since it is now well recognized that the fact that the judge who heard the evidence is not himself the one who prepared. 28. the illegal sale of marijuana is now penalized with reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from P500.A. of R. 7659.000. Since the amount of marijuana confiscated from accused-appellant is only 2. Aside from the danger of being misled by appearance inherent in such a case. No. 17 of R. signed and promulgated the decision.000. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. declaring accused-appellant JOSE RAYRAY Y AREOLA guilty of violating Sec. but some other judge in his place. although the alleged admission is inadmissible in evidence having been obtained from accused-appellant without the assistance of counsel. if the quantity is less than 750 grams. Br. Ancheta as earlier pointed out. the penalty shall range from prision correccional to reclusion temporal 24 without fine.00 to P10.9452 grams. . 4. while the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree. 20 The trial judge's assessment of the credibility of a testimony is not to be anchored solely on how the witness conducted himself on the witness stand. La Union. II. which is arresto mayor the range of which is one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months. records and all. he is ordered immediately released from custody unless he is held for some other lawful cause. the decision of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando. a modification in the penalty imposed on accused-appellant is called for in view of the amendments introduced by R. a judge is supposed to render a decision on the basis of the evidence before him. the failure of the trial judge to observe the witnesses testify on the stand in no way affects the validity of the judgment rendered or ipso facto condemns it as erroneous more so where the judgment appears to be fully supported by the evidence on record as in the case at bench. Finally. four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. constitutes no compelling reason to jettison his findings and conclusions 19 and does not per se render it erroneous. 23 The court a quo sentenced accused-appellant to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20.00 if the marijuana unlawfully sold is 750 grams or more. Although an undeniable tool in arriving at the correct decision. much less assisted by counsel during the interrogation.Again. we can only say that although he was admittedly not informed of his constitutional rights.e. But. the act constituting the offense (offer to sell marijuana) was nevertheless credibly established by the prosecution coupled with the presentation of the corpus delicti 22 of the offense making accused-appellant's conviction inevitable. under Sec.A. otherwise.

long lower lateral side of right chest. long right arm. stationed at Dumaguete City. Bukidnon. Stab wound about 1. Negros Oriental. once again. Negros Oriental. the eve of the Barangay Tadlong fiesta. Then. accused. 2 Quirino Cañete was apprehended by the authorities on 17 May 1990 in Barangay Ambayao.5 cm. in Negros Mabinay. Barangay Tadlong. Onyot Mahinay. Philippines. Onyot Mahinay and Manolo Mission. charging Quirino Cañete and one Onyot Mahinay with the crime of murder. Later that evening. Stab wound about 6 cm. conspiring. The information. with which the said accused were then armed and provided. No. which wounds caused the death of said MANOLO MISSION shortly thereafter. 1999 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES plaintiff-appellee. The trial proceeded only against accused Cañete who.. Mabinay. The latter . then and them willfully. Manolo Mission. with intent to kill. On the way home. evident premeditation and treachery. upon arraignment. entered a plea of not guilty. On 18 March 1990. remained at large. Manolo noticed that they were being followed by Cañete. Onyot Mahinay started to flee but Manolo made an attempt to chase him. vs. 125311 March 17. at a street fronting the barangay hall. 2.00. Soon. J. to wit: 1. hitting him on the stomach. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.G. At about 12:30 a. arguing with Cañete outside the dance hall. Valencia. did. 3. finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder for the killing of Manolo Mission and imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua and the payment of indemnity to the heirs of the victim in the amount of P50. His coaccused. the above-named accused. Joel and his uncle decided that it was time to leave. at Crossing Cawayan.m. accused-appellant. Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. unlawfully and feloniously attack. Suddenly. a public dance was held. Onyot Mahinay faced Manolo. Manolo stopped and turned to face Cañete. 9304 of the Regional Trial court of Negros Oriental. The prosecution first presented its evidence. assault and stab one MANOLO MISSION with the use of a hunting knife and icepick. Branch 39. VITUG. Stab wound about 2 cm. filed on 18 May 1990. QUIRINO CAÑETE.R. long epigastric area with evisceration of intestine. reads: That on or about 12:30 o'clock dawn of March 18. the two figured in an argument.000. Joel Mission saw his uncle. Onyot Mahinay came from behind Manolo and stabbed the latter. thereby inflicting upon said MANOLO MISSION the following wounds or injuries. ONYOT MAHINAY and QUIRINO CAÑETE. 1990. confederating and mutually helping one another. Among those who were in attendance were Quirino Cañete.: Quirino Cañete appeals from the decision 1 in Criminal Case No.

Cañete. his girlfriends. Jose assisted Joel and Roman in getting Manolo onto a cargo truck to take him to a hospital. a resident physician of the hospital examined the stab wounds inflicted on the patient. was caused by the penetration of a sharp-pointed instrument with clean cut edges. the relative position of the assailant could have been in front of the victim. using a cargo truck owned by Joel's grandfather. Onyot Mahinay and Manolo first engaged. after coming from the dance when he too saw stabbing incident.00 for his coffin. 4 Another eyewitness was Roman Bucog who. Their father shouldered the expenses of P15. Joel Mission and Jose Mait. about 6 cms. Manolo died approximately three hours later. Manolo was still able to turn around in an attempt to go after his attacker. After he was stabbed. He and his wife saw at a short distance of about four arms length.received another stab thrust. long." Dr.500.00. His proximity enabled him to hear Manolo remark. Manolo was in a state of shock when brought to the Negros Provincial hospital. stab wound about 6 cm. who was wearing a shirt with green stripes. to the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital where Manolo succumbed to his wounds at around seven o'clock in the morning of 19 March 1990.00 for attorney's fees. Jose Mait testified that he was walking towards the house of Basilio Mission. testified that prior to his death." 3 The fluorescent lamps in the area illuminated the place. "I was hit Yo. took the better part of him. and he brought the wounded Manolo. had also come from the dance party at just about the same time as the others. and Quirino Cañete was chasing me. Cañete was armed with an icepick while Onyot had with him a hunting knife. together with his wife. Calumpang's examination revealed that the stab wound in the epigastric area. however. long lower lateral side of right chest. Roman thereupon saw Cañete stab Manolo on his chest causing the latter to fall to the ground. stab wound about 1. there was a possibility that two sharp-pointed bladed weapons were used in inflicting Manolo's wounds. was beside Onyot Mahinay. long epigastric area with evisceration of intestine. later. to the Medicare Unit in Mabinay and. Jose first saw Onyot Mahinay strike Manolo and Manolo attempted to get to Onyot Mahinay. Joel dared approach Manolo only when the two malefactors had fled. According to the physician. There were other people at the opposite side of the road. Basilio. Calumpang. evident by their gestures. Since it was the day of fiesta in Tadlong. When Manolo started to walk away. this time hitting him on his right hand. indicated that Manolo had died of "hypovolemic shock. Onyot Mahinay and Cañete scampered.000. the older brother of Manolo. who had three children. In the vicinity were Roman Bucog and Jose Mait. Henrissa Calumpang. He later met the girls at the dance . The family spent P10. Joel's grandfather. The defense interposed denial when its turn to present evidence followed. Fear. Despite the prompt medical assistance administered to him. The fluorescent lamps and the moonlight that sufficiently illuminated the area helped Roman recognize Onyot Mahinay in the act of stabbing Manolo. Manolo.00 for Manolo's wake and P7. Cañete followed and stabbed the already injured victim on the right side of his body and on his chest. He said that he had long resided in Bukidnon and went back to Mabinay. The Death Certificate.000. According to Roman. at around four o'clock in the afternoon of 18 March 1990 only to get some tools. Cañete stabbed Manolo the right side of his body. 5 issued by Dr. long right arm. and he was unable to extend help to his uncle during the critical moments.5 cm. was an employee of their father working as a truck driver and receiving a monthly salary of P4. Cañete admitted having been in the vicinity when the crime was penetrated but he denied any participation in the incident. Peter Peras. stab wound about 2 cm.600. irreversible. in an argument. She opined that from the nature and location of the wounds. Negros Oriental. Joel witnessed the entire episode. Basilio Mission. Gina and Elsie whose surnames he could not recall. invited him to attend the dance. His other uncle.

" he stabbed Manolo. where he was first confined at the municipal jail transferred. Valencia. three days later.000. Bukidnon. The latter shouted. Roman. arguing that: I THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THAT CONSPIRACY ATTENDED THE KILLING OF VICTIM. to the provincial jail. He alighted from the bus in Tampi. the convicted accused pleads for his acquittal. Valencia. The defense presented a certificate of good moral character 7 issued by the Punong Barangay of Lumbayao. on 31 January 1996. Bukidnon. A fluorescent lamp lighted the area. III . Cañete was apprehended by police authorities at Barangay. allowed its admission "for whatever it may be worth. the said accused is sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and ordered to indemnify the heirs of the victim the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50. Cañete took a "Ceres" passenger bus. with whom Onyot Mahinay stayed. "so you are here?." 8 After the parties had rested their respective cases. At around four o'clock in the morning of 19 March 1990. after slept for about three and a half hours. Negros en route to Cebu City where he took a boat for Cagayan. II THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF MURDER. It adjudged: WHEREFORE. judgment is rendered finding the herein accused Quirino Cañete GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder defined under the provisions of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. San Jose. they all proceeded to Valencia.hall. He was taken to Mabinay. Negros Oriental. rendered its judgment finding accused Quirino Cañete guilty of murder. in view of the foregoing considerations. 6 Cañete spent the rest of the night in Mabinay at the house of his parents. Lumbayao. The boat Cebu City at about seven o'clock in the evening. was Cañete's neighbor in Napasuan. Cañete denied that he was with Onyot Mahinay at the dance party. he saw from a distance of about five arms-length. stating that the accused was a resident of that locality.00) PESOS. He admitted having known Manolo quite well before he was killed since he had worked in the Mission farm for about six years prior to taking up residence in Bukidnon. Manolo and Onyot Mahinay having an argument. the trial court. Bukidnon. He was met by his parent at the pier in Cagayan and. from there. Nearby were Joel and about twenty other people. on 17 May 1991. SO ORDERED. "Oel. help!" Onyot Mahinay ran away. 9 In this appeal from the judgment. After a while. He also worked before that in the Manolo residence for sixteen years from 1972 to 1988. The trial court. There being no attendant mitigating circumstance. After Onyot Mahinay was heard to remark. He and the two girls left party at around midnight.

Roman was very near. taken as a whole. to the crucial question of credibility of witnesses and the weight that should be given to testimonial evidence. in fact. Variations in the declaration of witnesses in respect of collateral or incidental matters do not impair the weight of testimony. just in front of Manolo and appellant trying to pacify them. and fear had been known to render people immobile and helpless particularly. 17 One testimony may be replete with details not found in the other but. in life and death situations. once again. No standard form of behavioral response. thus: (a) Roman's testimony that Onyot Mahinay and Manolo were the ones arguing was contrary to the statement of Joel that appellant was the one conversing with Manolo while Jose. on negligible details do not destroy the veracity of testimony. Nothing was shown to indicate that the witnesses were biased. in consequence. negate the value of his eyewitness account nor imply that he deviated from the truth. did not do anything to help him when he needed it most. 16 Besides. in fact. the versions can well concur on material points. 15 It is. 20 Mere denial by an accused. the Court has almost invariably ruled that the matter of assigning value to the declaration witnesses is best done by trial courts which. he. 12 and (d) whereas Joel claimed that he was quite close to his uncle. (c) according to Joel. however. 18 Joel was apparently terrified by what he saw. could be expected from everyone when confronted with a startling or frightful occurrence. findings of the trial court are accorded great respect and credit. to the prominent facts. Roman and Jose had all positively attested to having actually seen Onyot Mahinay and appellant Cañete stab Manolo. On this issue. even failed to testify on the point. Neither could their relationship with the victim derail their credibility for it should not be lightly supposed that a relative of the deceased would callously violate his conscience to avenge the death of a dear one by blaming it on somebody known by him to be innocent. 10 The Court finds the appeal devoid of merit. The plea of innocence asserted by appellant brings the Court. quite often said. 19 The congruence between the testimonial and the physical evidence leads to the inevitable conclusion that the prosecution did not prevaricate its case. even if true. Joel's failure to help his uncle in the face of danger certainly would not.THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ORDERING ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO INDEMNIFY THE HEIRS OF THE VICTIM THE SUM OF FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS. unlike appellate courts. different persons have different reflexes that may produce varying reactions. (b) the statement that left the dance hall alone and later went with Joel contradicted the latter's testimony that he was with his uncle in going home. can assess such testimony in the light of the demeanor. 14 Antithetically. when the testimony appears to be totally flawless that a court can rightly have some misgivings on its veracity. cannot prevail over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on . Greatly significant was the fact that prosecution witnesses Joel. minor incoherences can even serve to strengthen the credibility of witnesses and often are taken to be badges of truth rather than indicia of falsehood. 13 nor per se preclude the establishment of the crime and the positive identification of the malefactor. impressions and recollections since no two individuals are alike in terms of powers of perception and recollection. The conditions of visibility appeared to be favorable even according to appellant himself. and yet Roman declared having hidden behind a fishbox. in his case. such as here. taken in its entirety. particularly when not properly corroborated or substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. unless cogent reasons are shown. Variance in the statement of witnesses substantially erases suspicion that the testimony given has been rehearsed. 11 Appellant would pound on the alleged inconsistencies in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. Inconsistencies. conduct and attitude of the witnesses at the trial stage and thus.

Cordero.e. 23 The trial court correctly held that the Crime committed was murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. this court cannot grant actual damages absent competent and adequate proof therefor. the medium period of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. Nevertheless. 30 Regrettably. . wake or burial of the victim. The premeditation to kill should be plain and notorious. There was an overt act on the part of the appellant showing that he joined Onyot Mahinay in his intent to perpetrate the crime. those which appear to have been modified to show an increase in the amount of expenditure . . its two conditions having concurred. which.affirmative matters. and those which were not in fact shouldered by the immediate heirs of the victim. those incurred for purely aesthetic or social purposes. In the absence of clear and positive evidence proving this aggravating circumstance. the Court can only give credence to those supported by receipt and which appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death. 32 we held: . . however. 25 Conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence. . After Onyot Mahinay had rendered the victim helpless. would not be enough. 26 The concerted action of the appellant and Onyot Mahinay evinced the presence of conspiracy.e. would have been incurred despite the death. those expenditures which could not be reasonably itemized or determined to have been incurred in connection with the death. even if it were to be assumed that conspiracy was not established. if all taken together. the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation alleged in the information not to have been sufficiently proven.000. wake and burial being merely incidental. Manolo was already in a defenseless position. (1) the employment of means of execution that gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate. the death. i. 29 In conformity with prevailing jurisprudential law. and (2) the means of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted. . for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before. . the Court cannot take account of receipts showing expenses incurred before the date of the slaying of the victim. . however. during.. those which. Of the expenses allegedly incurred. The victim was unarmed and defenseless when appellant attacked him. 27 The Court finds. nonetheless. mere presumptions and inferences thereon. the victim's death. 33 . wake or burial of the victim. There could be treachery even when the victim had been warned of danger or initially assaulted frontally. appellant himself stabbed him as if wanting to be sure that Onyot Mahinay's criminal act would be so pursued to its intended culmination. He might have realized the danger confronting him but counter attack from his end was simply unlikely — he was effectively made defenseless by the initial assault of Onyot Mahinay that caused the evisceration of his intestines. i. the trial court correctly awarded the amount of P50. wake or burial of the victim. wake and burial of the victim. such as plane tickets by relatives or in-laws ... those incurred after a considerable lapse of time from the burial of the victim and which do not have any relation to the death. the penalty imposable for murder at the time of its commission. The medium period of the penalty is imposed in the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance. Degoma and Taborada 31 reiterated in People vs. Thus. Although appellant's co-accused was the one who stabbed him first. 28 The trial court has thus correctly imposed reclusion perpetua. 21 Denial being in the nature of negative and self-serving evidence is seldom given weight in law. would reasonably be strong enough to show a community of criminal design. no matter how logical and probable. In People vs. 22 Positive and forthright declarations of witnesses are often held to be worthier of credence than the self-serving denial of an accused. and after the commission of the crime.00 as death indemnity to the heirs of the victim. but was attacked again after being rendered helpless with no means to defend himself or to retaliate 24 Treachery was correctly appreciated. such as the lining with marble of the tomb of the victim. appellant's liability would not be less than that adjudged by the court a quo since his own overt act of stabbing the victim had put him under the law to be himself a principal by direct participation.

(TSN. no competent proof to show that the victim was on vacation. he would have earned P1.. 35 WHEREFORE. Gaudencio Manigbas and eleven others were charged with murder before the Justice of the Peace Court of Rosario.000.000.000. his alleged employer. but the support they received or would have received from him had he not died. There is. 31. or at the age of 70.00. Petitioners-Appellees. The trial court arrived at this amount as .000. was only 21 years old. No.00 to cover the victim's unearned income. earning P2. . the herein assailed decision finding appellant Quirino Cañete guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder. 1956. 1954. FIRST DIVISION [G.00 is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. ETC. the court issued an order wherein. 29 August 1984. The complaint was later amended by including one Miguel Almario. commanding officer of a constabulary detachment stationed in Alangilang. it has been established that Victor Alvaran at the time he was killed. Batangas. 154. after reconsidering its previous order . ET AL. a seaman.000. February 27.In People vs. Respondent-Appellant. . DECISION BAUTISTA ANGELO.00 a month. (OR. 5. L-8455. single. 34 this Court deleted the award by the trial court of unearned income to the heirs of the victim. Jr.. viz: Anent the RTC's award of P600. JUDGE CALIXTO P. Alvero.200..] GAUDENCIO MANIGBAS.) the victim's sister. Batangas. Alvaran had an existing contract with the International Shipping Corporation. as well. testified on the matter of Victor's employment. After 50 years. or whether the contract of employment was still existing at the time of his death. 1954. ET AL. on July 19. counsel for the accused moved that they be granted bail for their provisional liberty and. JUDGE CALIXTO P. Three days after the filing of the original complaint. The rule in this jurisdiction is that the measure of the loss or damage that dependents and intestate heirs of the deceased may sustain by reason of the latter's death is not the full amount of the deceased's earnings. but for his untimely death. employed by the International Shipping Corporation.: On July 13. and ordering him to pay civil indemnity ex delicto in the amount of P50. testify as to whether the latter was a seaman serving on a domestic vessel or a vessel engaged in foreign trade. There is no evidence to prove that at the time of his death. imposing on him the penalty of reclusion perpetua. however. The Prosecution should have therefore presented the latter's contract of employment or any evidence that may have proven the nature and duration of his employment. she did not. to say the least. Costs against appellant.R. J. whether such employment was probationary or regular. Rollo. which is the average span of life of men in our country. Batangas by Captain Epigenio Navarro.. we hereby rule that the same should be deleted.00 or a net income (after expenses) of P600. LUNA. Respondents.) Such a conclusion is rather sweeping. vs. LUNA. While Victoria Alvaran.

We hold that this petition is premature for its purpose is to compel the performance of a duty which does not exist there being no correlative right the use or enjoyment of it has been denied which may be the subject of mandamus (section 67. the rule also provides that “No person in custody for the commission of a capital offense shall be admitted to bail if the evidence of his guilt is strong” (Rule 110. 1954 and restoring its original order denying bail to all the accused for the reason that “in a long series of decisions promulgated by our Supreme Court in connection with the granting of bail to a person charged with a capital offense which were carefully examined by this court. the accused who have interposed this petition for mandamus are still at large for so far no order has been issued for their arrest. section 4. Rule 3). “after conviction by the Court of First Instance. there is need to dwell on a point of procedure which came up during the deliberation of this case. Before proceeding to discuss the merits of the presents controversy. . The record discloses that immediately upon the filing of the charge against them they applied for bail and their motion was immediately acted upon by the justice of the peace. The purpose of bail is to secure one’s release and it would be incongruous to grant bail to one who is free. upon application. The burden of showing that the evidence of guilt is strong is on the prosecution (Rule 110. section 3). Both defense and prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration. The issue to be determined is whether a justice of the peace can. section 7). And the denial of the bail eventually led to the filing of the present petition for mandamus. chan roblesvirtualawlibrarybut. After the provincial commander and the justice of the peace put in their answers.” (Rule 110. in a case involving a capital offense. section 1.” Upon receipt of a copy of the aforesaid order. counsel for the defense filed with the Court of First Instance of Batangas. Thus. 1954. chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand this is so because the right to bail only accrues when a person is arrested or deprived of his liberty. section 6). the court entered an order setting aside its order of July 19. Hence this appeal. the court on August 24. act on an application for bail and receive evidence to determine if the evidence of guilt is strong or otherwise grant bail if the evidence so warrants. On July 21. Under our Constitution. all accused persons before conviction are entitled to bail except those charged with capital offenses when evidence of guilt is strong (Article III. according to the record. This has reference to the fact that. allowed to some the right to bail and denied to others.) And implementing the provision of our Constitution. 1954 granted the petition holding that Respondent justice of the peace court has authority to grant bail even if the charge involves a capital offense and ordering said court to act on the application for bail. section 1). be bailed at the discretion of the court. Defendant may. Under our rules. an accused is entitled to bail as a matter of right (Rule 110. the former asking that all the accused be granted bail while the latter pleading that all of them be denied because the justice of the peace court has no jurisdiction to grant bail in cases involving capital offenses. sitting in Lipa City. We could therefore dismiss this petition on this score alone were it not for the importance of the issue now before us which requires proper elucidation for the guidance of all justices of the peace who may be found in similar predicament. there is not a single case wherein the Justice of the Peace Court entertained a petition for bail for a person charged with a capital offense and thereafter hear the evidence to determine whether the same is strong or not so as to warrant the giving of bail. in non-capital offenses. after judgment by a justice of the peace and before conviction by the court of first instance. a petition for mandamus seeking in effect to compel the justice of the peace court of Rosario to receive evidence to determine if the same warrants the granting of bail to the accused. and evidently the accused do not come within its purview.denying bail to all. paragraph 16). “bail is the security required and given for the release of a person who is in the custody of the law” (Rule 110.

the general rule is that “where. 67). 271) and as a general proposition we may concede that justices of the peace before whom a case is initiated by the filing of the corresponding complaint or information have also authority to entertain petitions for bail in cases involving non. the situation is not without a remedy. we are sure.While as a general rule it may be stated that an application for bail may be acted upon by the court which has cognizance of the case regardless of whether it involves a capital offense or not. And in the event that an abuse is committed.” It is regarded as “a necessary incident to the right to hear and determine the cause” (6 Am Jur. justices of the peace have power as examining magistrates. or for the further appearance of such person before a court of competent jurisdiction. Jur. our duty is to apply the law as we see it regardless of its implications. they may in their discretion admit to bail”..” And section 91 provides that the same justices of the peace may “require of any person arrested a bond for good behavior or to keep the peace. These provisions are broad enough to confer upon justices of the peace the authority to grant bail to persons accused even of capital offenses for such is the only meaning that we can give to the phrase “bind over any person charged with such offense to secure his appearance before the proper court.” This is the meaning of bail as defined in section 1 of Rule 110. p. in which case “they must act within the express or implied limitations thereby laid down” (6 C. can we say that in this jurisdiction our justices of the peace have also the power to admit to bail a person accused of a capital offense? Our answer must of necessity be in the affirmative not only because there is no such limitation in our Constitution but because the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1948 seems to expressly confer this power upon them. Rule 108). While the possibility of abuse cannot be denied such cannot argue against the existence of the power and if there is need for a remedy such devolves upon Congress. The first section provides that the justices of the peace may conduct preliminary investigations “for any offense alleged to have been committed within their respective municipalities cralaw without regard to the limits of punishment. take bail in capital offenses. In the United States “it may be stated as a general rule that all judicial officers having the power to hear and determine cases have the power to take bail. where their power to “take bail” is limited by the Constitution. without express legislative enactment.” The only limitation to this power is that the bond must be approved by that court. p. But before such curative measure is adopted. Considering the general rule that justices of the peace have the power as examining magistrates to commit and in their discretion admit to bail an accused person unless such power is limited by the Constitution or by statute. We refer to sections 87 and 91 of said Act relative to the power of justices of the peace to conduct preliminary investigations and the incidental powers they may exercise in relation thereto.. 973-974). doubt is entertained as to whether said justices of the peace can likewise entertain bail while the cases are under their control if they involve capital offenses like the one under consideration. 71 Phil. chan roblesvirtualawlibraryexcept. in order to entitle the accused to bail. or commit and bind over any person charged with such offense to secure his appearance before the proper court. is a matter of the greatest importance both to the accused and to the state and is the appropriate province of the court entrusted with the trial of such cases” (6 Am. The government can immediately take steps to obtain appropriate relief and.J. But the prevailing rule is that “inferior officers vested only with the power to commit cannot. and may release.capital offenses as to which the accused are entitled to bail as a matter of right. however. with power of commitment.. This doubt has arisen because the law and the rules on the matter are not explicit enough and our jurisprudence has not so far laid down a clear-cut ruling clarifying this point in this jurisdiction. or by statute. under the statutes. 67). the proper court will not deny prompt action when necessary to promote the . Some apprehension has been expressed by some members of the Court over the fact that if such power is given to justices of the peace in capital cases the power may be abused or improperly exercised considering the fact that some of them are not lawyers or are politicians like the mayors who may act under the law when the incumbent justices are temporarily absent (section 3. Ramos. for the determination of the sufficiency of the evidence in such cases. And with particular reference to justices of the peace. (Peralta vs.

Bataan.: For our resolution is the verified complaint of Victory Liner. President. Bellosillo. 2004 VICTORY LINER. Faustina M. Bataan. Inc.interests of justice. for gross ignorance of the law. vs.000. complainant. respondent.1 On 14 March 2000. executed a Pinagsamang Salaysay4 against Reino de la Cruz. JR. INC. VLI shouldered all the funeral and burial expenses of Marciana. Bataan. BELLOSILLO. In this respect the order appealed from is correct. HERNANDEZ. to the Chief of Police of Dinalupihan.M. Antonio.000 for the release of its bus. VLI filed a Manifestation and Motion7 manifesting that it was depositing to the court under protest a cash bond of P50. a criminal complaint was filed with the MCTC of Dinalupihan-Hermosa. for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. grave abuse of authority. the same should be dismissed with costs against Petitioners. Bataan. the authorized and designated representative of the heirs of the victim. A. represented by JOHNNY T. No. Subsequently. on 6 March 2000. Morales. On the strength of that document.. 10512. MTJ-00-1321 March 10. it accidentally hit and fatally injured Marciana Bautista Morales. Marciana died the following day. Considering that the petition for mandamus is premature.5 which was docketed as Criminal Case No. He further directed the Chief of Police of Dinalupihan. Dinalupihan. after payment by VLI of the claims. who then released the bus. oppression. DECISION DAVIDE. JUDGE REYNALDO B. executed a Release of Claim2 and an Affidavit of Desistance3 in favor of VLI and the driver Reino de la Cruz. After preliminary examination. VLI’s counsel presented the receipt issued by the Clerk of Court of MCTC. VLI and the heirs of the victim entered into an Agreement/Undertaking. Bataan. and Acting Presiding Judge of the MCTC of Dinalupihan-Hermosa. two of Marciana’s sons Rolando B. CWF-935 was cruising along the National Highway of Dinalupihan. Soriano and Jimmy B. Bataan. which could be released only upon the posting of a cash bond in the amount of P50. . earlier or on 3 March 2000.J. We are therefore of the opinion that Respondent justice of the peace can act on the application for bail taking into account the evidence that may be presented by the prosecution. to immediately impound the bus involved in the accident. (VLI) against respondent Judge Reynaldo B. or on 13 March 2000. and inaction on a pending motion. However. The antecedent facts are as follows: On 2 March 2000. who were also signatories to the Agreement/Undertaking.6 On 30 March 2000.000 to be posted in cash.. while a Victory Liner bus bearing Plate No. C. respondent Judge Bellosillo ordered the immediate issuance of a warrant of arrest against De la Cruz and fixed his bail at P50. After making the deposit. then Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Orani.

and his deputies and investigators to explain in writing why they should not be held in contempt of court for. the bus could already be released. which was forthwith indorsed to the OCA. 9373 with a cash bond on the strength of the prayer of the prosecutor that the bond be posted in cash in view of the gravity of the offense. The payment of cash bond for the release of the impounded vehicle was made by the VLI when respondent Judge was at his official station in the MCTC of Orani-Samal. Having found that Serrano’s surety bond. cash deposit. Bataan. Later. The requiremen t of a bond for the release of impounded vehicles involved in reckless imprudence cases is practiced not only by him but by other judges throughout the country. VLI’s petition for the nullification of the order requiring the posting of a cash bond for the release of the bus involved in the accident. it was the fault of VLI’s counsel. respondent Judge acted on VLI’s Manifestation and Motion dated 30 March 2000 and issued an order9 for the release of the bus. (c) knowingly rendered an unjust and oppressive order when he increased the bond to P350. Soriano and Jimmy B. no order could have been issued for the release of the impounded vehicle. 10512. (d) gravely abused his authority when he ordered the police authorities of Dinalupihan. Bataan. property bond. as he was the one who misled the police authorities into believing that with the payment of the bond. Respondent Judge Bellosillo denies that he ordered the police authorities of Dinalupihan to file the criminal case against Reino de la Cruz.11 respondent Judge Bellosillo explains that in the exercise of his sound discretion and in the greater interest of justice and fair play. respondent Judge claims that it was just under the circumstances considering that its prior release was illegal.On 4 April 2000. despite the lapse of two months. Subsequently. He points to (a) the Pinagsamang Salaysay dated 3 March 2000 of Rolando B. to file a case against Reino de la Cruz. dismissed for improper venue and lack of jurisdiction. In his comment. If ever said vehicle had to be re-impounded. He increased the bond after considering that Serrano was a fugitive from justice. on 18 April 2000. Thus. The respondent justifies the substitution of the surety bond of accused Edwin Serrano in Criminal Case No. Bataan. Thus. he required a cash bond.000 and required that it be posted in cash. however. VLI filed with the Office of the Chief Justice a verified supplemental complaint against the respondent. was in a minimal amount and had expired already. On that same day also. On 23 June 2000. in his absence. having released without a court order the Victory Liner bus involved in Criminal Case No. and (e) is guilty of inaction or dereliction of duty in failing to resolve. The Rules of Court leave to the discretion of trial judges the question of whether a bail should be posted in the form of a corporate surety bond. As for his order for the re-impounding of the Victory Liner bus. This petition was. respondent Judge Bellosillo issued an order directing the Chief of Police of Dinalupihan. VLI filed with respondent’s court a petition8 to declare null and void the order directing it to post bond for the release of its bus. 9373. which was not even attached to the information but merely noted on the third page thereof. or personal recognizance. (b) gravely abused his authority when it revoked the surety bond of one of VLI’s driver Edwin Serrano in Criminal Case No. (b) the fact that said . VLI filed a verified complaint10 with the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) claiming that the respondent (a) is guilty of gross ignorance of the law in impounding its bus and requiring it to post a cash bond for the release of the bus.000 for the release of the police-impounded vehicle to answer for damages by way of subsidiary liability in case of accused’s insolvency. Bataan. which was the basis for the filing of the criminal complaint by the police investigator and. he required a cash bond of P50. Morales. and be administratively charged with. the bus was re-impounded by the police authorities of Dinalupihan.

VLI submits that this case presents a good occasion for us to resolve.000 bond for the release of the vehicle. and in MTJ No. however. retired Justice Narciso T. He finds that the respondent Judge erred in ordering the impounding of the Victory Liner bus and in requiring a cash bond of P50.000. submits that Judge Bellosillo’s resignation. We. which was accepted by the Court En Banc effective 27 March 2002. 00-1308.13 We agree with Justice Atienza in exonerating the respondent from the charges of inaction on a pending motion and of compelling the police authorities to file a criminal case against De la Cruz. the OCA Consultant to whom this case was referred by the Court.000 to P350. does not render moot and academic the instant administrative complaint. (3) OCA IPI No. and gross misconduct. the resignation of respondent Judge Bellosillo does not render moot and academic the instant administrative case. "the legality of the imposition by trial judges on bus operators to post bail bond for their impounded vehicles in . in fixing an excessive bail bond for Reino de la Cruz in Criminal Case No. 99-1222 for violation of the constitutional rights to information and to speedy trial.M. promulgated on 16 December 2002. respondent Judge was found guilty of undue delay in rendering a decision and was ordered to pay a fine of P11. respondent Judge was reprimanded for issuing a policy action and an order beyond the scope of his authority. No. Justice Atienza finds that the said petition was resolved on 10 April 2000. which was the date set by VLI’s counsel for the hearing of such petition. in its Motion to Resolve. Thus. with these circumstances. Atienza. He further notes the pending administrative cases against respondent Judge: (1) OCA IPI No. hesitate to hold the respondent administratively accountable for gross ignorance of the law in ordering (1) the impounding of the vehicle involved in the vehicular accident and (2) the posting of a P50. Contrary to VLI’s contention. it could not be said that he compelled the police authorities into filing the criminal case. Likewise. right on the day it was submitted for resolution. 00-1293. there being no showing that the respondent received a copy thereof.000 to be taken from his retirement benefits. both of which were found by OCA Consultant Atienza to be erroneous. 96-232-MTJ for conduct unbecoming a judge. 98-533-MTJ for ignorance of the law.000 for its release. The jurisdiction that the Court had at the time of the filing of the administrative complaint is not lost by the mere fact that the respondent judge ceased to be in office during the pendency of this case. (2) OCA IPI No. Verily. and in increasing the bail bond of Edwin Serrano in Criminal Case No. As to the charge of dereliction of duty for failure to act on the petition for the nullification of the order requiring a bond for the release of VLI’s bus. grave abuse of discretion. he acted on that petition as early as 10 April 2000.criminal complaint filed by the police investigator was duly approved by the Chief of Police. 10512. The Court retains its jurisdiction to pronounce the respondent official innocent or guilty of the charges against him. Justice Atienza also notes that in A. he exonerates respondent Judge from complainant’s charge that he compelled the police authorities into filing the criminal case against De la Cruz. and illegal possession of firearms. Notably. refusing to receive documents. and (5) undocketed cases for unprofessional and ill-mannered conduct. As to respond ent’s alleged inaction on VLI’s petition to declare null and void the order requiring a bond for the release of the subject bus.12 VLI’s counsel did not appear on that date and refused to accept or receive notices of hearing and court orders from court personnel. 9373 unconscionably from P60. among other issues. A contrary rule would be fraught with injustice and pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications.000. he disregards the additional charges in the supplemental complaint. No. (4) A. respondent Judge avers that the same is baseless. In his Report and Recommendation. He then recommends that the respondent Judge be penalized with a fine of P20.M. promulgated on 5 July 2000. 96-203-MTJ for issuing an unjust interlocutory order and gross ignorance of the law. But for lack of evidence.

There is after all a hierarchy of courts. Hence. VLI filed with respondent judge’s court a Petition to Declare Order Directing Victory Liner.14 the respondent Judge therein was sought to be administratively liable for extending the lifetime of a search warrant issued by him. including the payment of docket fees. he (VLI’s counsel) never appeared and continued not to appear before the respondent for reasons known only to him. However. Subsequently. Inc. VLI should have raised that issue in the proper courts and not directly to us.16 the propensity of litigants and lawyers to disregard the hierarchy of courts in our judicial system by seeking a ruling directly from us must be put to a halt. it could have been one of the several reasons for admonishing the respondent Judge therein. VLI would thus be able to evade compliance with the requirements inherent in the filing of a proper petition.18 In that petition.19 However. If it were so. we shall shun from passing upon that issue in this case. and hence that order is void ab initio. this administrative case is not the right forum to determine the issue of the legality of respondent’s order requiring VLI to post a cash bond for the release of its impounded vehicle. And.21 The respondent thereupon issued an order22 dismissing the petition outright on grounds of improper venue and lack of jurisdiction. an Isuzu trailer truck involved in a vehicular mishap was ordered impounded in an Order of 11 September 1996 of the trial court where the criminal case against its driver was pending." According to VLI.15 In that case. In the same vein. and much less through a mere verified administrative complaint or motion to resolve. Reynaldo R. However. to Post Bond for the Release of the Bus Null and Void. he cannot be punished administratively therefor in the absence of proof that he was motivated by ignominy or ill-will. VLI submitted that there is no legal basis for the order directing the impounding of the bus and the posting by the bus owner of a cash bond for its release. in addition to the bail bond required for the provisional liberty of accused-drivers. the schedule20 for the hearing of that petition as set by him. the trial court declared the vehicle owner guilty of indirect contempt for continued defiance of the 11 September 1996 Order. In Lacadin v. and much less by way of an administrative case. Vasquez. Moreover. Castigador. or any officer of the law. That order was addressed to the Chief of Police of General Trias. As we have said in Santiago v. We did not declare the order for the impounding of the vehicle to be illegal or unauthorized.. despite notice. But we did not pass upon the issue of the legality of the impounding of the vehicle involved in the vehicular accident. . according to respondent Judge. We held that even if he may have committed an error of judgment or an abuse of discretion for such act.23 VLI cannot.accident cases. we ruled that the administrative case is not the right forum to determine whether the life of a search warrant may be extended by the court upon proper motion filed before the expiration of the 10-day period. Worth noting also is the case of Cañas v. and ordering that a copy of the said order be furnished VLI’s counsel at his given address. To allow VLI to raise that issue before us and obtain a ruling thereon directly from us through an administrative case would be to countenance a disregard of the established rules of procedure and of the hierarchy of courts. therefore. Mangino. upon the vehicle owner’s petition. VLI’s counsel reportedly refused to accept or receive from court personnel notices of hearing and court orders. the vehicle owner was required to surrender the truck to the court. VLI’s counsel Atty. on motion of the prosecutor. Cavite. In an earlier order of 14 August 1996. we found respondent’s order holding the petitioner therein guilty of indirect contempt to be highly improper for several reasons.17 It must be recalled that on 4 April 2000. who during his incumbency had been requiring vehicle owners involved in accidents to post cash bonds for the release of impounded vehicles. our ruling on this matter would guide trial court judges nationwide in accident cases so that bus operators and their personnel would not be at the mercy of judges like the respondent in this case. Romero did not appear on 10 April 2000. resurrect that issue directly before us.

the absence of a ruling in Cañas v. it should not be rendered nugatory by requiring a sum that is excessive. 10512 and Edwin Serrano in Criminal Case No.27 Section 9. implies that there is yet no clear-cut policy or rule on the matter. b) Nature and circumstances of the offense. They would. and j) The pendency of other cases in which the accused is under bond. it is necessary that the law be sufficiently basic that all that the judge must do is to simply apply it.28 provides that in fixing the amount of bail. dishonesty. be reasonable at all times. e) Age and health of the accused. What is reasonable to a wealthy person may not be so to a man charged with a like offense. as amended. To hold otherwise would be to render a judicial office unbearable. 9373. such are errors of judgment that cannot be the subject of a disciplinary action absent proof of fraud. as found by OCA Consultant Atienza. c) Penalty for the offense charged. Castigador on the legality of the impounding of vehicles involved in an accident. or bad faith.29 In implementing this mandate. deliberate and malicious. Moreover.24 A judge may not be held administratively liable for every erroneous order or decision he renders.26 We. as well as the foregoing statements of VLI in its Motion to Resolve. for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in rendering a judgment. the accused’s financial capability should particularly be considered. corruption. Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. however. For a judge to be held administratively liable for ignorance of the law. or incurred with evident bad faith. even assuming that the acts of the respondent in ordering the impounding and subsequent re-impounding of the subject vehicle and in requiring the posting of a cash bond for its release were erroneous. The Constitution guarantees to every person under legal custody the right to bail except those charged with offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong. Where the right to bail exists. but no higher than is reasonably calculated to serve this purpose. find respondent administratively liable for imposing excessive cash bail bonds on accused Reino de la Cruz in Criminal Case No. f) The weight of the evidence against the accused. negate a finding of gross ignorance of the law or grave abuse of authority on the part of respondent Judge. g) Probability of the accused appearing in trial. i) The fact that the accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested. Excessive bail shall not be required. therefore. The amount of bail should.30 . d) Character and reputation of the accused.25 or that the error must be gross or patent. the judge must primarily consider the following factors: a) Financial ability of the accused to give bail.In any event. therefore. It should be high enough to assure the presence of the accused when required. h) Forfeiture of the bonds.

anything less than that is gross ignorance of the law. The respondent judge. On the other hand. the respondent apparently did not take into account the gravity of the offense charged and the financial capability of the accused. as well as with statutes and procedural rules. Deposit of cash as bail. crimes of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and with violation of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. under the 2000 Bail Bond Guide of the Department of Justice (DOJ).Moreover. and the 2000 Bail Bond Guide of the DOJ. a surety bond may be obtained by the accused upon the payment of a relatively small premium. A surety or property bond does not require an actual financial outlay on the part of the bondsman or the property owner. as amended. Only the reputation or credit standing of the bondsman or the expectancy of the price at which the property can be sold is placed in the hands of the court to guarantee the production of the body of the accused at the various proceedings leading to conviction or acquittal. When the law or rule is basic. as well as the prohibition against excessive bail.000 regardless of the number of deaths. 31 De la Cruz and Serrano were both charged with the offense of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. grossly erred in converting Serrano’s surety bond to cash bond and in demanding that De la Cruz post a cash bond to obtain their provisional liberty. – The accused or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue or provincial. As advocates of justice and visible representations of the law.000. he violated the constitutional right of the accused to bail.37 In light of our current jurisprudence. and upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and of a written undertaking showing compliance with the requirements of Section 2 hereof. in the words of Justice Jackson. "a teasing illusion like a munificent bequest in a pauper’s will. Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. bail shall be P30. making the right."32 The bail fixed by the respondent is all the more excessive because it was in the form of cash. In fixing such amounts. . therefore. or municipal treasurer the amount of bail fixed by the court or recommended by the prosecutor who investigated or filed the case.000 for his act of imposing on accused De la Cruz and Serrano an excessive bail to be posted in cash in violation of pertinent rules and guidelines.36 It bears repeating that judges should exhibit more than cursory acquaintance with the basic legal norms and precepts. and be proficient in the application and interpretation thereof. the option to deposit cash in lieu of a surety bond primarily belongs to the accused. the accused shall be discharged from custody…. as well as the constitutional right of the accused to bail and the proscription against excessive bail.000 and P350.38 the respondent should be fined in the amount of P10. Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. as amended. respectively. The posting of a cash bond would entail a transfer of assets into the possession of the court. In effect. He thereby willfully disregarded the guidelines under Section 9. and its procurement could work untold hardship on the part of the accused as to have the effect of altogether denying the accused’s co nstitutional right to bail. city.33 While cash bail is authorized under our rules. judges owe it to their office to simply apply it. 14. it could not be said that each was capable of posting a cash bail bond of P50. Although permanently employed as drivers of VLI.35 which read: SEC. they are expected to keep abreast with the law and jurisprudence.34 as can be gleaned from the language of Section 14.

hence he was entitled to bail as a matter of right. JUDGE CAMILO E. that he had waived the second stage of the preliminary investigation. No. was filed by the Chief of Police of Dumingag. 92-10-300 for murder. On January 26. Regino Borinaga. Tamin in Branch 23 of the Regional Trial Court of Molave where it was docketed as Special Civil Case No.M. In said petition. Regional Trial Court. respondent judge ordered the public prosecutor "to appear on March 30. SO ORDERED. 1992 filed by Albina Borinaga. It appears that while the case was pending with the said lower court. duly approved by the Court Administrator. this Court required respondent judge to file his comment and. Branch 23 was charged with grave incompetence and ignorance of the law in connection with Criminal Case No. and that the evidence of guilt against him was not strong. the matter was referred to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation. Molave. Zamboanga del Sur. accused Ruaya averred that he was a detention prisoner at the Municipal Jail of Dumingag. respondent Judge Reynaldo B.005.. 1992. for gross ignorance of the law and oppression in imposing excessive cash bail bonds on Reino de la Cruz in Criminal Case No. On July 28. 92-50. 9373. Antonio Ruaya. A.: In a sworn letter-complaint 1 dated November 20. a petition for bail 4 dated March 25. for preliminary investigation.000. entitled "People vs. Bellosillo is hereby ORDERED to pay a fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10. the public prosecutor failed to appear." At the scheduled hearing. The records show that an amended criminal complaint for murder 3 dated March 4. REGALADO. complainant. or the killing of herein complainant's husband. et al." which is now pending before said court. 1993. Deputy Court Administrator Juanito A. Zamboanga del Sur. Tamin of the Regional Trial Court of Molave. upon receipt thereof.000) to be taken from his retirement benefits. Roberto J. alias Tony Ruaya. 1992. Zamboanga del Sur.000. granting bail to accused Ruaya in the amount of P20. Zamboanga del Sur against Antonio Ruaya. In an order 5 dated March 25. with a reservation to challenge the criminal action against him. Antonio Ruaya. Edwin Rada. 1992. report and recommendation. Accused Ruaya prayed that the bail be fixed at P20. 1993 ALBINA BORINAGA. by reason of which respondent judge issued an order 6 dated March 30. herein respondent Judge Camilo E.00. and Jojo Valenzuela before the 27th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dumingag-Mahayag. that he was charged with murder. 1992 at 8:30 in the morning to present evidence that the guilt of the petitioner for the crime charged (is) strong. TAMIN. Bernad submitted a memorandum 2 with the corresponding evaluation and recommendation. J. that no bail was fixed by the investigating judge who issued a warrant of arrest against him.WHEREFORE. Zamboanga del Sur. 1993.00 and holding that: . vs. respondent. Rada. 1992 was filed by one of the accused. Branch 23. alias Totoy. RTJ-93-936 September 10. before respondent Judge Camilo E. 10512 and Edwin Serrano in Criminal Case No. alias Negger.

accused Antonio Ruaya filed a petition for bail with the court of respondent in SPL Civ. the provisional liberty of the accused is set at P20. be bailable by sufficient sureties. 1992. after said accused failed to file his counter-affidavit and other evidence in his defense. 40. That on the date of receipt of said petition. requiring the public prosecutor to appear on March 30. Antonio Ruaya. respondent Judge issued an order denying said motion without conducting a hearing thereon. The respondent also noted that the office of the Public Prosecutor was likewise served with a copy of the said petition for bail. 1992 at 8:30 in the morning to present evidence that the guilt of the petitioner-accused for the crime charged is strong. 3.000. filed a "Motion to Cancel Bailbond (sic) and to Arrest the Accused. 1992." on the ground that said accused is charged with a capital offense.000. 1992. a true copy whereof is attached as annex "2". among others. Article III of our Constitution. That on March 30. 1992. 1992. except those charged with offenses punishable by Reclusion Perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong. Neither was there also any request to reset the hearing of the petition for bail to another date. Necessarily. on October 7. In his comment. together with the annexes. That on March 25. March 30. finding that the petitioner-accused has the constitutional right to bail. That for failure to present any evidence of guilt against the petitioner-accused. Arriesgado of the 27th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of DumingagMahayag. as a consequence of which an information for murder was later filed against all the accused with no bail recommended. on March 25. based on the ground that the evidence of guilt is not strong. wherein he essayed his position on the controversy and which we quote at length to demonstrate his line of thought and mode of ratiocination. . dated March 30. It did not also send any public prosecutor. if the prosecutor fails to present evidence that the guilt of the accused is strong. the respondent issued his order. The resolution was affirmed by the Provisional Prosecutor. together with complainant's counsel. Subsequently. a true copy of which is hereto attached as annex "3". WHEREFORE. the evidence of guilt is strong. A copy of this order was actually received by the Office of the Public Prosecutor on March 27. No evidence have (sic) been introduced by the prosecution to prove that the guilt of the accused of the crime charged is strong. 1992 by the petitioner-accused. 2. On the same day. are hereto attached as Annexes "1" to "1-I". despite the fact that the office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Zamboanga del Sur had plenty of public prosecutors. issued a resolution recommending the filing of an information for murder against. and set the bail bond for the provisional liberty at P20. at the hearing of the petition for bail. a true copy of which. finding that the accused has the right to bail. then the accused would be entitled to the constitutional right to bail. Case No. 1992. the respondent issued an order. the Public Prosecutor did not appear. this court find (sic) that the accused is entitled to bail under Section 13." Under this provision of law. as prayed for in the petition. the public prosecutor. and no bail was recommended in the information.Under Section 13 of Article III of our Constitution it (is) provided that — "All persons. However.00 bail (sic) as prayed for in the petition. respondent judge averred: 1. Judge Dionisio C. shall. 4. before conviction.013 (sic). who conducted the preliminary investigation.

4) That the co-accused Roberto J. That as alleged in the ninth paragraph of the letter-complaint. alias "Totoy" who. in which cases.000 for every probable years (sic) of imprisonment. is a prisoner convicted for life for the commission of robbery with homicide (a crime involving moral turpitude) in Valencia. 6. That on the same day. specially of those convicted for life. Panabo.1) That the accused Antonio Ruaya has not jump (sic) bail but has been present in court every time his case is called and is asking for a speedy hearing of the criminal charge against him.5. because it is notoriously easy to let a prisoner sign any document for a fee as low as P100. the respondent has adopted as a standard for granting bail at the rate of P1. and so the respondent likewise granted bail to said accused.6) That considering the prevailing depressed economic condition in his judicial district. alias "Negger". the petitioner-accused posted a cash bond of P20. with the recommendation to file an information for murder against said accused. 8. the case against accused Ruaya was no longer pending preliminary investigation in the municipal court on March 30. except when the offenses involved kidnapping for ransom. the respondent would like first to state the following relevant 6. facts: That before proceeding further with his comment.000 for his provisional liberty. 6. In other words. Rada. Rada.7) That co-accused Edwin Rada. Davao del Norte. 6. which standard is also followed by other Regional Trial Courts in the area. 1992. subsequently also filed a similar petition for bail which was not opposed by the prosecution. Bukidnon. the case against the accused Ruaya was forwarded to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor on March 30. when duly arraigned in open court with the assistance of counsel. the prosecutor (both the public and private prosecutor) admitted in open court that the prosecution does not have any admissible evidence against the accused Antonio Ruaya. Rada. also in the amount of P20. That when the petition for bail was filed by accused Ruaya with the court of the respondent. 1992. the respondent set the bail bond at P10. 6. entered a plea of not guilty. rebellion and prohibited drugs. 1992. That the prosecution is making much of its argument in paragraph 4 and 9 of the complaint that the respondent granted bail when the case against the accused Ruaya was "still under preliminary investigation" in the Municipal Trial . The respondent has consistently adhered to this standard in other cases situated. when the respondent granted bail to said accused in his order on the same day (Annex "3"). March 30. the only witness against the accused Antonio Ruaya.2) The the only evidence against the accused Antonio Ruaya is the extra-judicial statement of his co-accused Roberto J. 7. 6.3) That as the co-accused Roberto J.000 for every year of probable imprisonment for common crimes. 6.5) That the respondent is particularly wary of uncorroborated statements of prisoners. and presently serving sentence at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm. leaving nothing further to be done by the municipal trial court but the performance of the ministerial duty to forward the case to the office of the Provincial Prosecutor with its recommendations. 6. the said accused has already waived his right to the second stage of the preliminary investigation. 9.000. cannot be compelled to testify in court.

that there are plenty of prosecutors in the office of the Provincial Prosecutor. without violating the right of the accused to due process. the prosecution was remissed (sic) in the performance of its duty and now it is asking the respondent to be punished because it (prosecution) failed to do its duty properly. 1992.) 7 The 1987 Constitution provides that all persons. But despite due notice. even if he wants to. it did not even honor the hearing of the petition with its presence. — the respondent resolved the same in the negative under its order of October 7. the right to bail becomes thereafter a vested constitutional right which is already beyond the power and authority of the respondent to recall unless there is a violation of the condition of the bail. and the prosecution even submitted its MEMORANDUM. The respondent. barb (sic) and snipping (sic) remark that the respondent is the counsel of the accused. That it is unkind for the counsel of the complaint (sic) to make the gratuitous. It is too late because the prosecution is under estoppel and has already effectively waived to invoke (sic) said argument when it chose not to appear in the hearing of the petition for bail despite due notice given to it. pursuant to the provisions of sections 5. is punishable by reclusion perpetua. 10. The prosecution was given the opportunity to put up said argument on March 30. 12. under the law at the time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail. dated October 5. 11. despite the fact. 1992 when it was ordered by the respondent to appear and present evidence that the guilt of the accused was strong. particularly. therefore.Court. since the motion involved purely a question of law. 14. before conviction. the Rules of Court. 1992. as to whether or not. dated September 22. The respondent only acted in accordance with what he then saw as the right and proper thing to do under the circumstances. can still be recalled by the court after its conferral. 1992. That not only did the prosecution not file a written opposition to. and which is attached as Annex "A" to the instant complaint. the right to bail given to an accused charged for murder. when evidence of guilt is strong. under Section 3. the MOTION TO CANCEL BAILBOND AND TO ARREST THE ACCUSED. 6. The failure of the prosecution to invoke the aforesaid argument at the proper opportunity given to it constitute (sic) a waiver on its part to invoke the said argument and it is legally already under estoppel to rely on the same. 1992 was properly heard by the respondent on September 22. 13. or a request to postpone the hearing of the application for bail. Clearly. However. The said argument is clearly an afterthought and the prosecution should be the one to suffer the consequences of its own negligence and not pass the matter unfairly to the respondent. That judicial remedy exists to correct any error of judgment committed by the respondent. before final conviction. 7 and 8 of Rule 114 of the Rules. because after the court has conferred upon the accused the right to bail at the proper hearing with due notice. (Emphasis supplied. be bailable by sufficient sureties or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. . The prosecution did not then give the respondent an opportunity to rule upon said argument at the proper time before the right to bail became irrevocably vested upon (sic) the accused. That contrary to the misinterpretation in paragraph 8 of the complaint. except those charged with a capital offense or an offense which. Rule 114 thereof. Respondent vehemently denies it. the prosecution did not appear and thereby forfeit (sic) the opportunity to invoke said argument. That it is now too late and unfair for the prosecution to invoke the argument that the respondent granted bail when the case was still under preliminary investigation in the lower court. The actuations of the prosecution is (sic) nothing else but laying (sic) in ambush at and stabbing the respondent at the back after the prosecution neglected to perform its duty properly. Corollarily. cannot recall the right already vested. be entitled to bail as a matter of right. It is unfair. provides that all persons in custody shall. except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong shall.

As now revised in the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure and provided in Rule 114 thereof. Admission to bail is a matter of right at any stage of the action where the charge is not for a capital offense or is not punishable by reclusion perpetua. or. 11 the penalty and offense being within the purview of the probation law. the application therefor may be filed only in the particular court where the case is pending whether for preliminary investigation. if no judge thereof is available. No bail shall be allowed after final judgment. Perforce. in addition to the fact that murder is a capital offense punishable by reclusion perpetua. 10 but only before judgment in the regional trial court. accused Ruaya. or. 14. bail may be filed also with any regional trial court of said place. trial. or on appeal. The situations contemplated under these two provisions of the rules clearly do not obtain in the case at bar. which in all probability is the reason why no bail was recommended by the investigating judge who issued the warrant of arrest against him. On the foregoing bases. (c) Any person in custody who is not yet charged in court may apply for bail with any court in the province. — (a) Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case is pending. 8 2. city or municipality where he is held. Bail. 9 3. and 4. the rules on availability of bail to an accused may be restated as follows: 1. unless the accused has applied for probation and has not commenced to serve sentence. city or municipality other than where the case is pending. On the other hand. or the accused seeks to be released on recognizance. bail in this case is a matter of . Even if a capital offense is charged and the evidence of guilt is strong. In the present case. it is evident that bail is a matter of discretion where the accused is charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua and the evidence of guilt is strong. the accused may still be admitted to bail in the discretion of the court if there are strong grounds to apprehend that his continued confinement will endanger his life or result in permanent impairment of health. if no complainant or information has as yet been filed against him. Section 14 of Rule 114 pertinently provides: Sec. If the accused is arrested in a province. Regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. other than that where his case is pending. in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof. (Emphasis ours. municipal trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein.) Paragraph (a) allows the accused to post bail in certain specified courts. no bail shall be allowed if the accused is charged with a capital offense or of an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua and the evidence of guilt is strong. where filed. city or municipality where he is held. who applied for bail. This precept gains added significance from the fact that the situation it envisages determines the particular court where an application for bail should be filed. under the circumstances stated therein. was charged with murder in an amended complaint filed before the municipal circuit trial court where he was named as the mastermind. with any metropolitan trial judge. (b) Whenever the grant of bail is a matter of discretion. with another branch of the same court within the province or city. paragraph (c) allows the detainee to post bail with any court in the province.

pursuant to paragraph (b). the prosecution must be given an opportunity to present. and the order of the court granting bail should be considered void on that ground. the accused must be released on bail. Any order issued in the absence thereof is not a product of sound judicial discretion but of whim and caprice and outright arbitrariness. the order granting the petition for bail was issued on the same day that the preliminary investigation was supposedly terminated in the lower court. even assuming arguendo that respondent judge had jurisdiction to hear the petition for bail. within a reasonable time. before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dumingag-Mahayag. respondent judge had no jurisdiction to entertain the same. Section 14 of Rule 114 above quoted. should the accused jump bail. Actually. The prosecution must first be accorded an opportunity to present evidence because by the very nature of deciding applications for bail. If the prosecution should be denied such an opportunity. 14 Whether the motion for bail of an accused who is in custody for a capital offense be resolved in a summary proceeding or in the course of a regular trial. It is true that at the hearing of an application for admission to bail. all the evidence that it may desire to introduce before the court may resolve the motion for bail. Hence. since it is more conversant with the facts of said case and the representations of the prosecution therein. as a socalled "special civil case. the prosecution has the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong. 16 . Although. Otherwise. the primary responsibility rests with the court where his case is pending. this discretion. where admission to bail is a matter of discretion. This requirement is so basic and fundamental that it would amount to judicial apostasy for any member of the judiciary to disclaim knowledge or awareness thereof. Section 14 of Rule 14. it is on the basis of such evidence that judicial discretion is weighed against in determining whether the guilt of the accused is strong. legally and within the confines of procedural due process. that is. the judge should then formulate his own conclusion as to whether the evidence so presented is strong enough as to indicate guilt and thereby cause the continued detention of the accused. Zamboanga del Sur. On the other hand. after evaluation of the evidence submitted by the prosecution. Further. as the situation of the accused definitely did not fall under any of those contemplated in paragraphs (a) and (c). The reason for the rule is that the court wherein the case against the accused is pending is assumed to be in a better position to pass upon the propriety and conditions for granting bail to the accused. Of greater import is the fact that the petition for bail was filed with the regional trial court. under the circumstances attendant to the case he should nonetheless be held liable for granting the same without benefit of a hearing. that is. discretion must be exercised regularly. On the basis thereof. while the determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong is a matter of judicial discretion. it was only on March 30. there would be a violation of procedural due process. 1992 when the records of the criminal case were forwarded by the lower court to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor with the recommendation that an information for murder be filed against accused Ruaya. may rightly be exercised only after the evidence is submitted to the court at such hearing. by the nature of things. 15 Consequent to the foregoing considerations." while the preliminary investigation was still pending before the municipal circuit trial court. 12 However. an order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the evidence by the prosecution. 13 Accordingly. respondent judge acted without jurisdiction in taking cognizance of and eventually granting the petition for bail there having been no information filed in his court against the accused-applicant. as alleged by respondent judge.discretion and the application therefor should have been filed in the court where the preliminary investigation was then pending. we have held that admission to bail as a matter of discretion presupposes the exercise thereof in accordance with law and guided by the applicable legal principles. Furthermore. this did not cure the infirmity which attended the issuance thereof. In other words.

" In the first place. he acted with grave abuse of discretion and in wanton disregard of established rules and jurisprudence. 18 Parenthetically. the court may ask the prosecution such questions as would ascertain the strength of the state's evidence or judge the adequacy of the amount of bail. . much less a conclusion therefrom or a pronouncement therein that the requisite proof of guilt of the accused is not evident. the "vested constitutional right" theory of respondent judge does not merit judicial review and is best disregarded. even though such acts may be erroneous. Dabalos: . A judge owes it to the public and the administration of justice to know the law he is supposed to apply to a given controversy. the acts of a judge done in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action. Forthwith. public opinion or fear of criticism. It is apropos to repeat here what we explicated in the aforecited case of Libarios vs. . It is utterly defective in form and substance.) . respondent had no authority to schedule and/or conduct the same. even from a cursory glance of the assailed order of respondent judge that. or answer criminally.In the case at bar. But. while judges should not be disciplined for inefficiency on account merely of occasional mistakes or errors of judgment. . As such. In every case. good faith may be negated by the circumstances on record.and it is allegedly already in estoppel" to challenge the grant of bail since that right to bail "became irrevocably vested" in the accused who had thereby acquired "a vested constitutional right beyond the power and authority of the respondent to recall. . a judge cannot be held liable to account. 1992 was obviously justified since. he concludes that by reason of the failure of the prosecution to appear at the scheduled hearing. the applicant is entitled to bail as a matter of right. for an erroneous judgment or decision rendered by him in good faith. 17 Here. Generally. There will be faith in the administration of justice only if there be a belief on the part of litigants that the occupants of the bench cannot justly be accused of deficiency in their grasp of legal principles. (Emphases ours. In doing so. Secondly. dishonesty or corruption. there is no recital of any evidence presented by the prosecution. it has been held that even where the prosecutor refuses to adduce evidence in opposition to the application to grant and fix bail. without a hearing. a judge should endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and the applicable law unswayed by partisan or personal interests. to say the least. . he justified his subsequent denial of the prosecution's motion for the cancellation of the bail bond and the arrest of the accused on the incredible theory that the prosecution's failure to appear was a "waiver on its part . He is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules. However. In the absence of fraud. which is contrary to established principles of law. to repeat. the petition for bail was granted by respondent judge on the simple reason that the prosecution failed to appear and present evidence despite due notice. Respondent judge should not have allowed himself to be swayed into issuing an order fixing bail for the temporary release of the accused charged with murder. He aggravated this flagrant error when in his aforequoted comment. yet. civilly or administratively. respondent judge did not have the authority to set the petition for bail for hearing in view of the fact that he had not even acquired jurisdiction over the criminal case since the information therefor had not yet been filed in the trial court. the non-appearance of the prosecution at the hearing scheduled by respondent judge on March 30. It is at once apparent. there is much to be desired. it is highly imperative that they should be conversant with basic legal principles. the challenged order of respondent judge cannot be sustained or be given a semblance of validity.

that complainant was able to run away. 1994 he dismissed the complaint. the sanction to be imposed on respondent judge should not be less than that which we approved in Libarios. Yadao filed a criminal complaint for frustrated murder on August 10. 6 Then on October 12. respondent. 2346 for frustrated murder which the herein complainant. stating that Dumlao's father had asked for the reduction. On these environmental facts. aside from granting bail without a hearing and denying the prosecution procedural due process. A. JUDGE EDUARDO JOVELLANOS. Tamin is hereby ordered to pay a fine of P20. Edwin Rada. Pangasinan. he ordered "any peace officer under whose custody [Dumlao] may be found" to release the latter in view of the fact that Dumlao had posted bail for P10.00. citing. grave abuse of authority. This decision is without prejudice to whatever action the public prosecutor may deem appropriate with respect to Criminal Case No. 3 SPO II Eduardo R. J. Furthermore. 1994. MENDOZA.: Respondent is judge of the 8th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Alcala-Bautista. MTJ-97-1139 October 16.In resumé. as complainant. 1994. He is charged with ignorance of the law. and Marcelino Bautista. On the basis of this affidavit and those or Arnel Guerra 2 and Eulogio Pabunan.00.000. 1994 the arrest of Dumlao and fixed the amount of bail for his provisional liberty at P20. . No. respondent Judge Camilo A. Roberto Espiritu. 92-10-300 and Special Civil Case No. On September 12. through that unauthorized procedure which he had adopted.M.00. Pangasinan. SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE. 5 However. 8th Municipal Circuit Trial Court.000. The facts are as follows: In his affidavit 1 in Criminal Case No. 1994 4 in respondent's court.000. 92-50.00. in an order dated September 7. After conducting a preliminary examination. while he was with a group which included Eulogio Pabunan. with a stringent warning that the commission of a similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely. complainant. for the murder of complainant's son Rolly. Januario Peregrino. Alcala-Bautista. and that Dumlao wanted to kill complainant because the latter had filed a case against Dumlao's brother. 2346. Victor. such irregularity was committed in connection with a criminal case over which respondent judge had not at that instance acquired jurisdiction. Roberto Espiritu.000. as a result of which complainant was wounded. 1994. had filed against Weny Dumlao. what stamps this case with a unique feature and makes the actuations of respondent judge more distressing is the fact that. 1997 ROBERTO ESPIRITU. and gross partiality in connection with the preliminary investigation of Criminal Case No. respondent judge ordered on August 18. alleged that at around 7:30 in the evening of July 16. Weny Dumlao approached him and fired at him three times. respondent judge illegally granted bail not only to accused Ruaya but also to the latter's co-accused.005. Arnel Guerra. vs. he reduced the amount of the bail to P10.

complainant alleges: 2. Eulogio Pabunan. and recommendation.000. Dario Pabunan. the Honorable Judge reduced the amount of bail His Honor set in a previous order (Page 12.000.00 to P10. the Court referred the case to Judge Pedro C. other members of the group also fired at him. Peralta directed the filing of an information for attempted murder against complainant Roberto Espiritu. complainant claimed that this was not the first time that respondent judge had shown ignorance of the rules on criminal procedure. Ibid.00. I. On June 26. 11 denying the charges.00 and (2) dismissing the criminal complaint against Dumlao. but his petition was denied 9 for having been filed late and for his failure to attach the affidavits submitted during the preliminary investigation. V-0092. Dumlao claimed that as he approached Espiritu's group.00 and reprimanded for "neglect of duty. However. Cesario Sanchez. partiality. Complainant. It appears that Dumlao had filed on July 27. 10 Respondent judge filed a comment. alleging irregularities committed by respondent judge in the conduct of the preliminary investigation of his complaint against Dumlao.00 acting supposedly upon the request of the father of the accused. 1994 a countercharge against complainant and others with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Villasis. Arnel Guerra shot him. Criminal Case No. . Pangasinan for investigation. there is no such request for reduction of bail on file with the records of the case.000. the Court concurs in the report of the investigating judge. Dumlao's complaint (I. Espiritu filed the complaint in this case.000. although Guerra missed him. on the other hand. 2346. Among other things. and Landio Pabunan even as she affirmed the dismissal of Criminal Case No. and/or inefficiency tantamount to grave ignorance of the law. the fact that Dumlao had filed a case against Roberto Espiritu and others as a result of the same incident complained of in Criminal Case No. Assistant City Prosecutor Paz de G. On October 6. at Tayug.S. from P20. filed a reply. Pangasinan (Branch 50) for approving the bail bond of the accused when the latter had not yet been arrested. No. 1994.S. and that Espiritu's group challenged him and his father to come out and fight. Abrillo Peregrino. The case was docketed as I. The municipal courts are now courts of records. 1994. Marlino Bautista. . Andres Espiritu. Januario Peregrino. .). No. recommending that respondent judge be fined in the amount of P3. however. Per order dated September 7. . Branch 52.000. V-94-30) was dismissed on August 15. respondent judge had been reprimanded by the Regional Trial Court of Villasis. Pangasinan for attempted murder and illegal possession of firearm. 1995.among other reasons. Judge Cacho submitted his report. 2346 against Dumlao. The charges against respondent judge relate to basically two acts committed by him: (1) granting bail to Weny Dumlao in the reduced amount of P10. report. 1994 for insufficiency of evidence. 1995. Arnel Guerra. 8 Espiritu sought a review in the Department of Justice. With respect to the granting of bail to Weny Dumlao and the reduction of its amount to P10." Except as to the amount of the fine recommended. because on September 29. in People of the Philippines v. 7 After a reinvestigation of the two cases. that as he ran towards his house. V-94-30. Cacho of the Regional Trial Court.

in its discretion.A. The amount at which the bail was reduced: P10. 1992. managed to personally appear before the clerk of court of the trial court and posted bail. which is a necessity since MCTCs are courts of record. The next day. We held that the . 16 But although then not in legal custody. No. or a criminal offense. as amended (Art. 17 Miguel Paderanga was one of the accused in a case for multiple murder. so the Honorable Judge cannot act on such "request" for reduction of bail even if interceded by the father of the accused. Before the arrest warrant could be served on him. at that time. bail presupposes that the applicant is under arrest. Dumlao was not in the custody of the court. in general.00. and (d) in case of a youthful offender held for physical and mental examination. this was not the first time that he took custody of one who was under investigation. the imposable penalty for which does not exceed 6 months imprisonment and/or P2. for purposes of the hearing on his bail application. shortly after the incident.00. in which case the court. 14 According to Matro. 6036. Paderanga in spite of his weak condition. without application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law or any modifying circumstance. In Paderanga v. the complaint is that respondent judge is guilty of ignorance of the law. 1994. the release on recognizance of any person under detention may be ordered only by a court and only in the following cases: (a) when the offense charged is for violation of an ordinance.000. 191). the accused was not under detention as he was not arrested nor had he voluntarily surrendered as borne by the records. his counsel manifested that they were submitting custody over Paderanga's person to the chapter president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and asked that. The bail bond guide of 1981 provides for the amount P12. 1994 he personally asked respondent judge to admit him to bail and reduce its amount. No. (b) where a person has been in custody for a period equal to or more than the minimum of the imposable principal penalty.000. He was arraigned and thereafter he attended the hearings. and partiality for Dumlao as shown by the following: (a) respondent judge granted bail and later reduced its amount when the fact was that. Court of Appeals. he filed through counsel a motion for admission to bail which the trial court set for hearing on November 5. On November 5. or appeal. the Court has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused. Weny Dumlao surrendered to the police.500. Under Rule 114. an evident manifestation of the Judge's injudiciousness in the exercise of his authority and discretion. or otherwise deprived of his liberty. 603. and (c) pursuant to the 1981 Bail Bond Guide the bail for frustrated murder should be P12. Accordingly.D. the trial court admitted Paderanga to bail in the amount of P200. 1994) he was released to the custody of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Emiliano Matro. Dumlao subsequently submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court when on September 7.3. it appears that on July 16. 15 Apparently. 12 In this case. bias. trial. under the circumstances provided in R. Simply stated. 1994 to respondent judge. he agreed to take custody of Dumlao for which reason Weny Dumlao was released by the police. when Dumlao applied for bail on September 7. It is indeed true that. §15 of the Rules of Court. At the time the Honorable Judge acted on the "request" for reduction of bail. detained.000 fine. if he is unable to furnish bail and under the circumstances envisaged in P. (b) there was no written motion presented for the reduction of bail.00. a light felony. but the next day (July 17. Dumlao was not in custody. 4. Nor was his release to the custody of Assistant City Prosecutor Matro in accordance with law. A. (c) where the accused has applied for probation. therefore.500.00 is not commensurate with the gravity of the crime charged. pending resolution of the case but no bail was filed or the accused is incapable of filing one. he be considered as being in the custody of the law. As Paderanga was then confined at a hospital. 1992 with notice to both public and private prosecutors. 13 Prosecutor Matro testified that upon DECS Supervisor Nuelito Dumlao's request. may allow his release on his own recognizance.

In Chin v. 8 months. the P10. Under Circular No. For appearance is an essential manifestation of reality. however. Respondent judge erred. No. respondent judge signed his September 7. September 1. II.000. Further demonstrating either deliberate disregard of the law of gross ignorance of the same. 23 Departing from this established norm. 10 dated July 3. 50. Respondent judge thus correctly granted bail to Dumlao.00 18 and in doing so without a hearing.000. § 18. Gustilo. 1994 order reducing the amount of bail to P10.00 and then told Dumlao to inform the police about it so that he would be released. Time and again we have admonished judges not only to be impartial but also to appear to be so. Under the 1981 Bail Bond Guide (Ministry Circular No. Judged by this standard. This partiality was nowhere more evident than in the private conference which he had with the Dumalaos in his chambers without the presence of the opposing party. in violation of Rule 114. Either respondent judge was grossly ignorant of the law or he deliberately disregarded it to favor the accused. and jurisprudence regarding this matter. 22 In this case. rulings.00 per year of imprisonment based on the medium penalty imposable for the offense. In failing to do so he failed to live up to the injunction of the Code of Judicial Conduct to "maintain professional competence. What respondent judge should have done was to have Dumlao put his request in writing and then schedule the incident for hearing with notice to the prosecution. 21 this Court ruled that notice of application for bail to the prosecution is required even though no charge has yet been filed in court and even though under the circumstances bail is a matter of right. the complainant in this case. in relation to Art. and (3) by unequivocably recognizing the jurisdiction of said court. 1981). which indicates rather clearly respondent judge's partiality.00. 1987. (2) by furnishing true information of his actual whereabouts. the Department of Justice noted that the amounts fixed in the Bail Bond Guide had become "unrealistic and impractical for the purpose of assuring the presence and/or appearance of persons facing charges in court" and accordingly directed that the amount of bail be computed at the rate of P10.000.A. So that. 248 of the Revised Penal Code. the failure to give notice to the prosecution may be due to the fact that there was no written motion filed but only. the medium penalty would be reclusion temporal in its minimum period (12 years and 1 day to 14 years and 8 months). he readily granted the request.000.00 bail fixed in this case was inadequate. It is apparent that he has not. in fixing the amount of bail at P20.00 and reducing it to P10. respondent judge granted bail to Weny Dumlao without notice to the prosecution. The penalty for frustrated murder prior to R. the amount of tile bail should have been fixed between P120.accused was in the constructive custody of the law when he moved for admission to bail through his lawyers (1) by filing the application for bail with the trial court. applying Art. 7659 is prision mayor in its maximum period (10 years and 1 day to 12 years) to reclusion temporal in its medium period (14 years. B. it is his duty to keep abreast of the laws." 20 The maxim ignorance of the law excuses no one has special application to judges. With respect to the charge that respondent judge. the amount of bail in cases of frustrated murder is P12. 19 In its Circular No. as respondent judge himself admitted. 36.00 and P140.000. 10. Instead. it is alleged that: .000. dismissed the case filed by complainant against Weny Dumlao.500. The failure to observe the above requirement constitutes ignorance or incompetence which cannot be excused by any protestation of good faith. with grave abuse of authority. an oral request by Dumlao and his father that the amount of the bail be reduced. Considering that part of his duties as a judge is conducting preliminary investigations.000. and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months).00.

referring to I.The fact alone that accused was allowed to delay the filing of his counter-affidavit to enable him to revive his counter-charge is an evident gross partiality of the Honorable Judge. . No. In the resolution recommending the dismissal of this case . during which the parties shall be afforded an opportunity to be present but without the right to examine or cross-examine. the Court did not require the accused to furnish copy of his counter-affidavit to the complainant prior to submitting the same in Court. 1994 as he received copies of the subpoena and the complaint with supporting affidavits on September 12. Melecio S. 26 This provision states: If the investigating officer believes that there are matters to be clarified. without any basis. No. hence. 2346. Rule 112 of the Rules of Court. If the parties so desire. 1994 respondent judge admits that he did not give notice to the parties of the same but claims that it was because he was only at that time in the first stage of preliminary investigation. it is unbelievable that the Honorable Judge is not aware of the plenitude in our jurisprudence of proceedings undertaken by courts and tribunals without notice and presence of the parties that were declared null and void by the Supreme Court. After the dismissal of said case. Villasis. endeavored to revive the case. copy of which is hereto attached and marked as Annex "B". Ibid. and 7. . Moreover. some 29 days late [actually only 19 days]. With regard to the examination of Dr. and the period expired on September 22. The Honorable Judge of the MCTC subpoenaed Dr. the accused. Without prior motion for extension of period. . as complainant. Annex "A". . 1994. The Honorable Judge. V-94-30) was dismissed per Resolution dated August 15. (Page 15. Records of the CaseAnnex "A") and conducted examination upon the doctor without notice. requiring the accused to submit his counter-affidavits of his witnesses and his other pieces of evidence. V-94-30. if any. but the whole of the proceedings unmasked the partiality of the Court towards the accused. . 1994. he may set a hearing to propound clarificatory questions to the parties or their witnesses. Under the rule. . 1994 because at that time Dumlao had not yet submitted his counteraffidavit. made a finding that the wound sustained by herein complainant was self-inflicted. Patawaran on September 1. nay presence. . A. the delay of accused's counter-affidavit in Criminal Case No. the first stage of preliminary examination had already been terminated. 6. . directly or impliedly. xxx xxx xxx 5. but which undertaking took him a long time. 24 This is inconsistent with his later testimony in which he admitted that when he ordered a warrant of arrest to be issued against Dumlao on August 18. filed by accused as complainant therein. 1994 as shown by the records. Pangasinan concerning the same incident which is the subject matter of this case. Patawaran.S. 1994. Marcelo S. Moreover.1. the Honorable Judge allowed the filing by the accused of his counter-affidavit only on October 11. the Honorable Judge issued a subpoena upon the accused. of the parties of the case. Jr. and as contained in the subpoena. Such actuation bespeaks of the grave abuse of discretion by the Honorable Judge. in violation of Section 2(c). totally disregarding the evidence on record. On September 12. Jr.) which may have been achieved. the Honorable Judge cited as one reason the existence of a counter-charge pending preliminary investigation before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. they may submit questions to the investigating officer which the latter may propound to the parties or witnesses concerned. . as declared positively by eye witnesses.S. . on September 1. That case (I. the accused was given ten (10) days to do so. §3(e) did not apply to the examination of Dr. 25 Respondent contends that Rule 112. It is significant to note that the "searching questions" propounded upon the doctor tended to diminish the significance and importance of the medical certificate (Page 5. Patawaran. 1994.

The duty of the clerk of court was to receive the counteraffidavit. then what he should have done was to wait until the counteraffidavit was filed and in the meantime not examine Dr. After all. as respondent judge claims. As under Rule 112. he should have checked whether it was filed on time. Nor is there any excuse for respondent's consideration of Dumlao's counteraffidavit despite the fact that it had been filed several days late. 29 It was respondent judge's responsibility to see to it that what was received in his court had been filed on time. The "serve and file" rule is so basic for respondent judge not to know it. The contention has no merit. What has been just said applies as well to respondent judge's claim that responsibility for furnishing complainant a copy of the counteraffidavit was not the court's responsibility but Dumlao's. §3(b) Dumlao had only 10 days from receipt of the subpoena within which to comply. Patawaran as a witness without the presence of the parties. I issued a Resolution. Dumlao did not ask for an extension. And immediately after that. it took him 19 more days after the reglementary period had expired before he finally filed his counteraffidavit on October 11. the Court took the pain of issuing a subpoena to Dr. 30 Respondent judge therefore knew when the counteraffidavit was filed. It is my Clerk of Court who received the Counter-Affidavit and when I look into the records. At the very least. instead he went to the Sacred Heart Hospital at Urdaneta. Sr. D. yet respondent judge allowed the counteraffidavit. Jr. . Nor is it true that when respondent judge saw the counteraffidavit. Patawaran he had not yet received the counteraffidavit of Weny Dumlao. Hospital or to the Court to prove that it was really a bullet wound. Pangasinan. B. That no xray result was submitted to Don Amadeo J. Patawaran. Perez. C. Sr. the Counter-Affidavit was already there in the record and I was also preparing a Resolution to that case. Patawaran. she showed it to respondent judge. However. there was no one month yet that lapsed so I have to take cognizance of the Counter Affidavit. That he did not notice any powder burns on the injury. 31 but respondent judge should have seen to it that this duty had been complied with upon the filing of the counteraffidavit. 2346. In dismissing Criminal Case No. 1994. 1994.. who testified that the bullet did not have any exit and there was no bullet left in the body and it becomes only an injury. so I have to take cognizance of the Counter-Affidavit. it had already been attached to the records. the holding of a hearing for the purpose of asking "clarificatory" questions presupposes the filing by the parties of their affidavits but at the time he examined Dr. 1994. Clerk of Court Adoracion Marcos testified that upon receipt of the counteraffidavit. The service of the counteraffidavit on complainant should indeed be made by Dumlao and not by the court. Respondent claims that 28 The acceptance of the Counter-Affidavit is not my duty. respondent judge said: 32 For the weighing and evaluation of evidence of both parties. 2346. his counteraffidavit should have been filed not later than September 22. Dumlao received the order 27 requiring him to file his counteraffidavit and that of his witnesses on September 12.If. It was not fair for respondent judge to consider a pleading which the other party knew nothing about because it had not been served on him. a resident physician of Don Amadeo Perez. Marcelo [actually Melecio] S. Memorial Hospital at Urdaneta. That the patient was advised to be referred to the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital for x-ray purposes. What is particularly objectionable was the examination of Dr. Pangasinan and went home after x-ray. That respondent judge allowed the late filing of the counteraffidavit can only be attributed to his desire to enable Dumlao to revive his case against complainant in the Prosecutor's Office because it was the linchpin for his defense in Criminal Case No.

will you please explain? A: Q: A: Q: A: Q: I initialed it to make it authenticated. sir. [I]n the opinion of the Court. sir. .. . Patawaran. a typographical error. sir. Did Roberto Espiritu ever mention to you the name of the assailant and that he recognized him? . was it really in your opinion a gunshot wound? A: Q: Yes. this case should be dismissed . Patawaran's testimony in the preliminary investigation conducted by respondent judge. Thus. here in this medical certificate in the findings or diagnosis it says "GSW" or gunshot wound. . the injury is self inflicted. Why do you say it is a gunshot wound? A: Because when I saw the wound it manifested the characteristic of a gunshot wound like the inversion of the skin edges. based on alleged testimony of Dr. Patawaran said in his testimony: 33 Q: Doctor. xxx xxx Q: In this medical certificate Doctor below the findings and diagnosis are the letters "GSW" is in writing and not typewritten as the injuries and entries indicated. From the injury Doctor you can not determine also how far was the assailant? Probably around more or less 3 meters. it's a must so as to locate the bullet as it does not have any exit. sir. Did you talk to the patient Roberto Espiritu when he was taken to your hospital Doctor? Yes. Q: You said inversion of the skin edges Doctor. . respondent judge cast doubt on complainant's claim that his wound was a gunshot wound and held that the wound had been inflicted by complainant on himself. Judge. . Q: A: xxx Do you know if the bullet is inside the body of the person? That will be determined by the x-ray. This is contrary to Dr. Dr. did you find any bullet in the injury? A: That is why I referred the patient to the Provincial Hospital for x-ray because when you see only the entrance and no exit.

The foregoing acts of respondent judge clearly demonstrate partiality. other entries are typewritten. particularly the following portion of Dumlao's counteraffidavit: 34 The medical certificate of private complainant Roberto Espiritu doesn't categorically state that the wound is a gun shot wound and if the letters GSW in handwritten form in a ballpen appear therein is an information coming from and supplied by said complainant. medical certificate is attached and marked as Annex "E" to form part hereof. SO ORDERED.A: I just asked what happened and he said "pinaltogdac" I was shot. it is one that is self-inflicted in a vain effort to substantiate a false charge of a serious offense of frustrated murder making it appear as a consequence of a gunshot. it is not a gun shot wound as ascertained and examined by the attending doctor. the Court finds Judge Eduardo U. It would seem respondent judge simply relied on the counteraffidavit of Dumlao for his resolution. and I did not ask the name of the assailant any more. with a WARNING that repetition of the same or similar offenses will be dealt with more severely. WHEREFORE. there is no exit of the bullet but no finding whether said bullet is embedded and found inside the body of the alleged victim-complainant. Jovellanos GUILTY of gross misconduct and imposes on him a FINE of P20. the medical certificate doesn't state the healing period of the self-inflicted wound. if the privatecomplainant ever sustained any wound.000. the complainant was never confined in the hospital.00. .