People vs. Hon. Vicente Echavez, Jr. (G.R. Nos. L-47757-61 January 28, 1980) FACTS: 1. The issue is whether or not P.D.

772, which penalizes squatting and similar acts applies to agricultural lands. 2. Fiscal Abundio R. Ello filed separate informations against sixteen people for squatting which was punishable under PD No. 772. 3. Five of the informations were raffled to Judge Vicente Echavez, Jr. 4. Judge Echaves motu proprio issued an omnibus order dismissing the five information (out of 16 raffled) on the grounds: a. that it was alleged that the accused entered the land through “stealth and strategy”, whereas under the decree the entry should be effected “with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner”, and b. that under the rule of ejusdem generis the decree does not apply to the cultivation of a grazing land. The agricultural land is not part of P.D. 772 on the basis of Ejusdem Generis (of the same kind or species) since its preamble does not mention the Secretary of Agriculture. 5. The order of dismissal by Echaves was then appealed to the Supreme Court, thus bringing the case at hand. ISSUE: Whether or not P.D. No. 772 which penalizes squatting and similar acts, (also) apply to agricultural lands. HELD: NO. Appeal was devoid of merit. Trial court’s dismissal was affirmed. RATIO: 1. The Supreme Court held the same ruling that the lower court did, declaring that P.D. 772 does not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that “it was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals.” The squating complained of involves pasture lands in rural areas. 2. But the Supreme Court disagreed to the lower court’s usage of the maxim Ejusdem Generis . The rule of ejusdem generis (of the same kind or species) invoked by the trial court does not apply to this case. Here, the intent of the decree is unmistakable. It is intended to apply only to urban communities, particularly to illegal constructions. The rule of ejusdem generis is merely a tool of statutory construction which is resorted to when the legislative intent is uncertain. Ejusdem generis -where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned.

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