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PEOPLE vs QUEBRAL

the #c/rthur Bighway. /fter a few minutes, a Tamaraw !C arrived from which accused+ appellant #ichael $alvador alighted. Be walAed towards the :eep and talAed to accused Zenaida Quebral, who then handed a white envelope to him. 5n seeing this, 45) 6alvez, who was watching from about *. meters in a tinted car, signaled his bacA+up team to move. The police officers alighted from their vehicles and surrounded the :eep. 6alvez tooA the envelope from #ichael, opened it, and saw five plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance which he believed was shabu. The Bulacan 4rovincial &rime "aboratory 5ffice later e>amined the substance and submitted a chemistry report,;,< stating that it was shabu or methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a prohibited drug. /ppellants denied having committed the crime, claiming only that 45) 6alvez and his fellow police officers merely framed them up. 5n #arch *=, ,--@ the %T& found all four accused guilty of the crime charged and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of 4. million. 5n #ay ,-, ,--., while the &ourt of /ppeals '&/( was reviewing the case on appeal in &/+6.%. &%+B& -*117, accused usebio Quebral died, prompting it to dismiss the case against him. 5n !ebruary *), ,--=, the &/ rendered :udgment,;)< entirely affirming the decision of the %T&. The remaining accused appealed to this &ourt. The Issues Presented /ppellants basically raise two issues for this &ourt9s resolution: *. Dhether or not the &/ erred in not e>cluding the evidence of the seized shabu on the ground that, having illegally arrested the accused, the police officers9 subsequent search of their persons incident to such arrest was also illegalE and ,. Dhether or not the prosecution presented ample proof of appellants9 guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

DECISION ABAD, J.: This case is about the requirement of authentication of seized prohibited drugs and the conduct of warrantless search of a suspect by the roadside based on probable cause. The Facts and the Case The provincial prosecutor of Bulacan charged the accused Zenaida Quebral, usebio Quebral, !ernando "opez, and #ichael $alvador before the %egional Trial &ourt '%T&( of #alolos, Bulacan, in &riminal &ase )))*+#+,--, with violation of $ection ., /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct 1*2. or the &omprehensive 3angerous 3rugs /ct of ,--,. /t the trial of this case, the prosecution presented 45) &ecilio 6alvez of the police force of Balagtas, Bulacan, who testified that at 7:-- p.m. on $eptember 7, ,--,, the &hief of the 3rug nforcement 8nit called him and other police officers to a briefing regarding a police informer9s report that two men and a woman on board an owner type :eep with a specific plate number would deliver shabu, a prohibited drug, on the following day at a 4etron 6asoline $tation in Balagtas to #ichael $alvador, a drug pusher in the police watch list.;*< /fter a short briefing on the morning of $eptember =, ,--,, 45) 6alvez and si> other police officers went to the ?orth "uzon >pressway nd Balagtas >it at Burol , , watching out for the owner type :eep mentioned. They got there at around 7:@. a.m. $ince the informer did not give the e>act time of the delivery of shabu, the police officers staAed out the e>pressway e>it until late afternoon. /t around @:-- p.m., such a :eep, bearing the reported plate number and with two men and a woman on board, came out of the Balagtas >it. 6alvez identified the two men as accused usebio Quebral, who drove the :eep, and accused+appellant !ernando "opez and the woman as accused+ appellant Zenaida Quebral. The police trailed the :eep as it proceeded to the town proper of Balagtas and entered a 4etron gas station along

The Rulings o the Court One. The accused claim that since the police did not have valid ground to arrest them, their subsequent search of them was illegal and the evidence of the seized shabu cannot be admitted in evidence against them. Dith the e>clusion of the seized drugs, there would not be proof that they were passing them. The accused+appellants invoAe the rule that a person may be arrested even without a warrant only a( if he is caught in the act of committing a crime, b( if he has :ust committed a crime and the arresting officer pursued him, or c( if he escaped from a legal confinement.;@< But in the first two instances, the officer must have personal Anowledge of the facts underlying the arrest. The target person9s observable acts must clearly spell a crime. 0f no crime is evident from those acts, no valid arrest can be made. /n informant whispering to the police officer9s ear that the person walAing or standing on the street has committed or is committing a crime will not do. The arresting officer must himself perceive the manifestations of a crime.;.< The accused+appellants point out that in this case the police officers cannot say that what they saw from a distance constituted a crime. Two men and a woman arrived on board a :eep at the gas station. / third man approached the :eep, spoAe to the woman and she handed him a folded white envelope that appeared to contain something. These acts do not constitute a crime per se. &onsequently, their arrest at this point was illegal. The subsequent search of their persons, not being based on a valid arrest, was itself illegal. But, actually, it was more of a search preceding an arrest. The police officers had information that two men and a woman on board an owner type :eep would arrive in Balagtas and hand over a consignment of shabu at a gas station in town to a Anown drug dealer whose name was on the police watch list. Dhen these things unfolded before their eyes as they watched from a distance, the police came down on those persons and searched them, resulting in the discovery and seizure of a quantity of shabu in their possession. 0n such a case, the search is a valid search :ustifying the arrest that came after it. This &ourt held in People v. Bagista;2< that the ?/%&5# officers had probable cause to stop and search all vehicles coming from the north at /cop, Tublay, Benguet, in view of the confidential information they received from their regular informant that a woman fitting the description

of the accused would be bringing mari:uana from up north. They liAewise had probable cause to search her belongings since she fitted the given description. 0n such a case, the warrantless search was valid and, consequently, any evidence obtained from it is admissible against the accused. /s the lower court aptly put it in this case, the law enforcers already had an inAling of the personal circumstances of the persons they were looAing for and the criminal act they were about to commit. That these circumstances played out in their presence supplied probable cause for the search. The police acted on reasonable ground of suspicion or belief supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed.;7< $ince the seized shabu resulted from a valid search, it is admissible in evidence against the accused. 0t would have been impractical for the police to apply with the appropriate court for a search warrant since their suspicion found factual support only at the moment accused usebio Quebral, !ernando "opez, and Zenaida Quebral rendezvoused with #ichael $alvador at the 4etron gas station for the hand over of the drugs. /n immediate search was warranted since they would have gone away by the time the police could apply for a search warrant.;=< The drugs could be easily transported and concealed with impunity.;1< The case of People v. Aminnudin;*-< cannot apply to this case. 0n Aminnudin, the informant gave the police the name and description of the person who would be coming down from a ship the following day carrying a shipment of drugs. 0n such a case, the &ourt held that the police had ample time to seeA a search warrant against the named person so they could validly search his luggage. 0n the present case, all the information the police had about the persons in possession of the prohibited drugs was that they were two men and a woman on board an owner type :eep. / search warrant issued against such persons could be used by the police to harass practically anyone. T!o. The accused+appellants point out that the testimony of 45) 6alvez cannot support their conviction since it does not bear the corroboration of the other officers involved in the police operation against them. But the failure of these other officers did not weaAen the prosecution evidence. The lone declaration of an eyewitness is sufficient to convict if, as in this case, the court finds the same credible. ;**< &redibility goes into a person9s integrity, to the fact that he is worthy of belief,;*,< and does not come with the number of witnesses.;*)<

The accused+appellants also point out that, since the chemist who e>amined the seized substance did not testify in court, the prosecution was unable to establish the indispensable element of corpus delicti. But this claim is unmeritorious. This &ourt has held that the non+ presentation of the forensic chemist in illegal drug cases is an insufficient cause for acquittal.;*@< The corpus delicti in dangerous drugs cases constitutes the dangerous drug itself. This means that proof beyond doubt of the identity of the prohibited drug is essential.;*.< Besides, corpus delicti has nothing to do with the testimony of the laboratory analyst. 0n fact, this &ourt has ruled that the report of an official forensic chemist regarding a recovered prohibited drug en:oys the presumption of regularity in its preparation. &orollarily, under $ection @@ of %ule *)-, %evised %ules of &ourt, entries in official records made in the performance of official duty are prima facie evidence of the facts they state.;*2< Therefore, the report of !orensic &hemical 5fficer $ta. #aria that the five plastic sachets 45) 6alvez gave to her for e>amination contained shabu is conclusive in the absence of evidence proving the contrary. /t any rate, as the &/ pointed out, the defense agreed during trial to dispense with the testimony of the chemist and stipulated on his findings.;*7< 4arenthetically, the accused+appellants raised their ob:ection to the police chemist9s report only on appeal when such ob:ection should have been made when the prosecution offered the same in evidence. They may, thus, be considered to have waived their ob:ection to such report. ;*=< The familiar rule in this :urisdiction is that the inadmissibility of certain documents, if not urged before the court below, cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.;*1< The accused+appellants taAe advantage of 45) 6alvez9s testimony that they conducted their operation on $eptember ,, ,--,, the date that the informant gave them, and that the following day was $eptember =, ,--,;,-< to attacA his credibility. But inconsistency is trivial and appears to be a pure mistaAe. "apses liAe this even enhance the truthfulness of the testimony of a witness as they erase any suspicion of a rehearsed declaration.;,*< Besides, 45) 6alvez corrected this mistaAe on cross+ e>amination. Be said that their informant gave them his tip at 7:-- p.m. of $eptember 7, ,--,.;,,< !inally, the accused+appellants contend that the prosecution evidence failed to show compliance with the requirements of law for handling evidence. But, as has been held in a recent case,;,)< failure to comply strictly with those requirements will not render the seizure of the

prohibited drugs invalid for so long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated items are properly preserved by the apprehending officers. Besides, the accused+appellants did not raise it before the trial court, hence, they cannot raise it for the first time on appeal.;,@< The &/ and the %T& gave credence to the testimony of 45) 6alvez and this &ourt finds no reason for disagreement. Bis narration was clear and candid. 5n the other hand, the accused+appellants9 claim of a Fframe+upG was easy to concoct and so has been the common line of defense in most cases involving violations of the 3angerous 3rugs /ct.;,.< $uch defense requires strong and convincing evidence which the accused+appellants failed to satisfy. /s the trial court correctly observed, the accused+appellants failed to provide any reason why of all the people plying through the roads they had taAen, the police chose to frame them up for the crime. They also failed to e>plain why the police would plant such huge amount of shabu if a small quantity would be sufficient to send them to :ail.;,2< ?o arresting officer would plant such quantity of shabu solely to incriminate the accused who have not been shown to be of good financial standing. ;,7< "#EREFORE, the &ourt DE$IE% the appeal and AFFIR&% the decision of the &ourt of /ppeals dated !ebruary *), ,--= and of the %egional Trial &ourt of #alolos dated #arch *=, ,--@. %O ORDERED'

testimony of !reddie /le:oE J. %uling that there was positive identificationE ('R' $o' )*+,,, Fe-ruar. *, +/)) 4etitioners, J0. !inding Inone of the danger signals enumerated by 4atricA #. DallI when ), 7, *-, **, *, in said enumeration are presentE J00. 3ismissing the mismatch between the prior description given by the witness and the actual appearances of the accusedE J000. %elying on the ocular inspection conducted at a time when a material condition is significantly alteredE 0C. %uling that the inconsistencies in /le:o9s earlier statement and his in+ court testimony have been e>plainedE C. ?ot discrediting /le:o9s testimony despite acceptance of benefits from the /badilla familyE C0. Bolding that the acquittal of "orenzo delos $antos does not necessarily benefit the appellantsE C00. %uling that the ballistic and fingerprint e>amination results are inconclusive and not indispensableE C000. ?ot considering the totality of evidence presented by the defense as against the alleged Ipositive identificationI of the accused. C0J. /llowing Hustice Hose &atral #endoza to taAe part in the deliberation and the votingE CJ. 3ismissing the evidence presented by /ugusto $antosE CJ0. %uling that the silence of accused "umanog amounts to a quasi+ confessionE CJ00. Bolding that the delay of '@( four years during which the case remained pending with the &/ and this &ourt was not unreasonable, , arbitrary or oppressive. %ameses de Hesus raised the following grounds in his motion: 0. TB B5?5%/B" $84% # &58%T 6%/J "K %% 3 0? B /J0"K % "K0?6 5? TB "5? /"" 6 3 K D0T? $$ $ &8%0TK 68/%3 '$6( !% 330 /" H59$ T $T0#5?K, DB0&B D/$ &B/%/&T %0Z 3 BK #/T %0/" 5#0$$05?$, 4/T ?T 0?&% 30B0"0TK, &5?T%/30&T05?$ /?3 30$&% 4/?&0 $. 00.

LE$IDO LU&A$O( and AU(U%TO %A$TO%, vs. PEOPLE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, %espondent. % $5"8T05?

0ILLARA&A, 1R', J.: This resolves the motions for reconsideration separately filed by "enido "umanog and /ugusto $antos, &esar !ortuna and %ameses de Hesus assailing our 3ecision dated $eptember 7, ,-*- convicting them of the crime of murder, the dispositive portion of which reads: DB % !5% , the consolidated petitions and appeal are hereby 30$#0$$ 3. The 3ecision dated /pril *, ,--= of the &ourt of /ppeals in &/+6.%. &%+B& ?o. --227 is hereby /!!0%# 3 with #530!0&/T05?$ in that the civil indemnity for the death of &ol. %olando ?. /badilla is hereby increased to 47.,---.--, and the amounts of moral and e>emplary damages awarded to his heirs are reduced to 47.,---.-and 4)-,---.--, respectively. Dith costs against the accused+appellants. $5 5%3 % 3. *

"umanog and /ugusto $antos seeA the reversal of their conviction on the following grounds: The Bonorable $upreme &ourt erred in: 0. $etting out in the facts of the case and the contents of inadmissible e>tra:udicial confessionsE 00. ?ot including the e>tra:udicial confession of "orenzo delos $antos as e>cluded evidenceE 000. /pplying the ruling in 4eople v. %ivera Ithat the testimony of a sole eyewitness is sufficient to support a conviction so long as it is clear, straightforward and worthy of credence by the trial courtIE 0J. /ccording finality to the evaluation made by the lower court of the

TB B5?5%/B" $84% # &58%T 6%5$$"K #0$/44% &0/T 3 TB !0%$T $D5%? $T/T # ?T 60J ? BK $6 !% 330 /" H5, DB % 0? B $T/T 3 TB/T TB % D % !58% '@( $8$4 &T$ DB5 4 %4 T%/T 3 TB &%0# &5?T%/%K T5 B0$ $8B$ Q8 ?T T $T0#5?K 0? 54 ? &58%T. 000. TB B5?5%/B" $84% # &58%T !/0" 3 T5 /44% &0/T TB 4 %$5?/" &0%&8#$T/?& $ 5! TB /&&8$ 3+/44 ""/?T$, DB0&B D58"3 $B5D /$ B06B"K 8?"0L "K TB 0% /"" 6 3 &5"" &T0J 680"T /?3 &5?$40%/&K. 0J. TB B5?5%/B" $84% # &58%T !/0" 3 T5 60J D 06BT T5 4BK$0&/" J03 ?& , 4/%T0&8"/%"K TB C&8"4/T5%K B/""0$T0&$ /?3 3/&TK"5$&54K J03 ?& , /?3 C4 %T ) T $T0#5?K 4% $ ?T 3 BK TB 3 ! ?$ . 5n his part, &esar !ortuna argues that: TB "5? , &5?T%/30&T 3 /?3 0?&% 30B" T $T0#5?K 5! $M6 /" H5 0$ ?5T $8!!0&0 ?T T5 4%5J TB 680"T 5! @ TB /&&8$ 3 B K5?3 % /$5?/B" 358BT /t the inception, let it be emphasized that the filing of a motion for reconsideration does not impose on us the obligation to discuss and rule again on the grounds relied upon by the movant which are mere reiteration of the issues previously raised and thoroughly determined . and evaluated in our 3ecision being questioned. 0n particular, the &ourt need not dwell again on the e>tra:udicial confessions of Hoel de Hesus and "orenzo delos $antos which we have held inadmissible, the delay in the resolution of the appeals before the &/ and this &ourt which under the circumstances cannot be deemed unreasonable or arbitrary, the inconclusive ballistic and fingerprint e>amination results, and the effect of "orenzo delos $antos9 acquittal to the rest of appellants. These matters have been passed upon and adequately discussed in our 3ecision. 0n fine, the accused+movants strongly assail the weight and credence accorded to the identification of the accused by the lone eyewitness presented by the prosecution, security guard !reddie /le:o. 0t was pointed out, among others, that: '*( in his statement given to the police

investigators immediately after the incident, /le:o mentioned only four suspects, contrary to his subsequent testimony in courtE it was impossible for him not to mention the two men he had seen walAing bacA and forth before the shootingE ',( /le:o accepted financial support and benefits from the /badilla family which could have colored his testimony against the accusedE ')( his in+court identification of the si> accused is questionable and unreliable considering that it referred to them only by numbers and he had given prior description of only two suspectsE and '@( the ocular inspection conducted by the trial court to confirm /le:o9s observations was liAewise unreliable because it was made at a time when a material condition is significantly altered, i.e., it was held from *-:-- a.m. onwards whereas the incident occurred between =:)- and 1:-- a.m. when the glare of the morning sun directly hits the guard post where /le:o was stationed. !ortuna submitted an /ffidavit dated ?ovember *,, ,--1 e>ecuted by a certain 5rencio 6. Hurado, Hr. who claims to be one of the police officers initially assigned to investigate the case. !ortuna contends that said belated statement would certainly cast doubt on the procedures undertaAen by the police authorities in the apprehension of the liAely perpetrators. De find the motions bereft of merit. Dhile it is true that /le:o mentioned only four and not si> suspects in his Hune *), *112 sworn statement, this did not impair his testimony as an eyewitness. /le:o was simply responding to specific questions as to what he had witnessed during the shooting incident. Berein quoted is an e>cerpt from the questioning by $45* dilberto $. ?icanor of the &riminal 0nvestigation 3ivision '&03( at &amp Laringal '4?4+?&%( and /le:o9s answers thereto: -=. T + Babang iAaw ay naAa+duty bilang guwardiya sa ,** Latipunan %oad, Quezon &ity, itong araw na ito, may napansin Aa bang hindi pangAaraniwang pangyayariN $ + #ayroon, $ir. -1. T O /no iyonN $ + #ay binaril na saAay ng Aotse sa harap ng puwesto Ao sir. *-. T + /nong oras ito nangyariN $ + =:@- ng umaga Aanina sir, more or less '*) Hune *112( **. Tanong : $ino ba itong binaril na tinutuAoy mo, Aung Ailala moN

$agot : 0sang hindi Ao Ailala na lalaAi sir. *,. T + $ino naman ang bumaril sa biAtima na ito, Aung Ailala moN $ + /pat na hindi Ailalang lalaAi sir na armado ng baril. 2 > > > > ' mphasis supplied.( The foregoing shows that /le:o merely gave the responsive answer to the question as to those persons whom he saw actually shoot the victim who was in his car. /s the question was phrased, /le:o was not being asAed about the persons who had participation or involvement in the crime, but only those who actually fired at the victim. Bence, he replied that there were four '@( armed men who suddenly fired shots at the victim. Dhat followed was /le:o9s narration of what the gunmen further did to the already wounded victim, to those people within the vicinity ++ including himself who was ordered at gunpoint to lie down and not interfere ++ and until the firing stopped as the suspects ran away. &learly, it was not a fatal omission on the part of /le:o not to include in his first affidavit the two other suspects who were acting as looAouts. 3uring his testimony in court, /le:o was able to fully recount the details and state that there were two men walAing bacA and forth before the shooting. 0t is settled that contradictions between the contents of an affiant9s affidavit and his testimony in the witness stand do not always militate against the witness9 credibility. This is so because affidavits, which are usually taAen 7 ex parte, are often incomplete and inaccurate. There is liAewise nothing irregular in /le:o9s manner of testifying in court, initially referring to the accused by numbers, to indicate their relative positions as he remembered them, and the individual participation of each in the violent ambush of /badilla. /s already e>plained in our decision, /le:o9s elevated position from the guardhouse gave him such a clear and unobstructed view of the incident that he was able to recognize the faces and physical features of the accused at the time. Dhen two of the accused actually poAed a gun at him, it gave him more opportunity to see the faces of the accused who had briefly turned their eyes on him. !urthermore, e>perience dictates, precisely because of the unusual acts of violence committed right before witnesses9 eyes, that = they remember with a high degree of reliability the identity of criminals. 0ndeed, /le:os9 recollection is not of IsuperhumanI level as accused now maAe it appear, considering that he was a trained security guard, whose :ob demands e>tra perceptiveness and vigilance at all times especially during emergency or critical situations. Leen scrutiny of the physical

appearance and behavior of persons is a routine part of a security guard9s worA duties. #ovants liAewise fault this &ourt for giving considerable weight to the observations made by the trial :udge during the ocular inspection, arguing that the timing of said ocular inspection did not coincide with the precise hour in the morning when the shooting incident happened. Because the shooting tooA place between =:)- to 1:-- when the glare of the morning sun directly hits the guard post of /le:o, the latter supposedly cannot be said to have had such clear vantage point as found by the trial :udge when he positioned himself at the said guard post at a later time, which is already past *-:-- in the morning. De are not persuaded. #ovants are raising the issue for the first time before this &ourt and long after trial and rendition of :udgment. De have perused the transcript of stenographic notes taAen during the ocular inspection conducted by the trial court on $eptember ,2, *112, and found no ob:ection or comment made by the defense counsel regarding the timing of the inspection and its relevance to the evaluation of /le:o9s testimony. ?either did the accused complain of any irregularity in the conduct of the said ocular inspection before the appellate court. 0f indeed, the accused found the timing of the ocular inspection crucial to their defense that /le:o was not really an eyewitness as he could not have clearly seen the faces of all the accused from his guard post, they could have made a proper manifestation or ob:ection before the trial :udge. They could have even staged a reenactment to demonstrate to the trial court the alleged glare of the morning sun at the time of the commission of the crime, which could have affected /le:o9s perception of the incident. But they did not. 0t is now too late in the day for the accused to assail as irregular the ocular inspection which was done with the conformity and in the presence of their counsel. 0t is an admitted fact that /le:o and his family were sheltered and given financial support by the victim9s family, presumably out of gratitude and sympathy considering that /le:o lost his :ob after the incident. $uch benevolence of the /badilla family, however, is not sufficient basis for the conclusion that /le:o would falsely accuse movants as the perpetrators of the crime. /s we have stressed, /le:o did not waver in his identification of the accused despite a grueling cross+e>amination by the defense lawyers. Both the trial and appellate courts found /le:o9s testimony as credible, categorical and straightforward. /fter a painstaAing review of the records, we find no cogent reason to deviate

from their findings on the issue of credibility of the prosecution9s lone eyewitness. /s to the affidavit of 5rencio 6. Hurado, Hr. submitted by !ortuna, the said affiant claimed that he had a heated argument with 0nspector %oger &astillo during one of the hearings before the trial court because 0nspector &astillo was urging him 'Hurado( Ito confirm that those arrested by the :oint team of &03 and 4/%/L+30"6 were e>actly the same peopleMsuspects described by the guards to which ;he< firmly declinedI. Hurado alleged that he was surprised to see the faces of the suspects flashed on TJ several days after Berbas and /le:o gave their statements at &amp Laringal because they did not fit the description given by witnesses Berbas and /le:o. Hurado was also allegedly prevented earlier by an unidentified policeman ++ as per instruction of then 30"6 $ecretary %obert Barbers ++ from interviewing the suspects 1 arrested by the operatives of the &03 and 4/%/L+30"6. vidently, !ortuna seeAs the introduction of additional evidence to support the defense argument that there was no positive identification of /badilla9s Aillers. To :ustify a new trial or setting aside of the :udgment of conviction on the basis of such evidence, it must be shown that the *evidence was Inewly discoveredI pursuant to $ection ,, %ule *,* of the %evised %ules of &riminal 4rocedure, as amended.1avvphi1 vidence, to be considered newly discovered, must be one that could not, by the e>ercise of due diligence, have been discovered before the ** trial in the court below. #ovant failed to show that the defense e>erted efforts during the trial to secure testimonies from police officers liAe Hurado, or other persons involved in the investigation, who questioned or ob:ected to the apprehension of the accused in this case. Bence, the belatedly e>ecuted affidavit of Hurado does not qualify as newly discovered evidence that will :ustify re+opening of the trial andMor vacating the :udgment. 0n any case, we have ruled that whatever flaw that may have initially attended the out+of+court identification of the accused, the same was cured when all the accused+appellants were positively identified by the prosecution eyewitness during the trial. !inally, we must maAe it clear that Hustice Hose &atral #endoza, who, as then presiding :udge at the trial court, heard the prosecution and defense witnesses, never tooA part in the deliberations and voting by the &ourt in this case. The absence of notation in the ponencia that Hustice #endoza had Ino partI in the deliberations and voting in this case was purely an oversight and inadvertent omission. The &lerA of &ourt, /tty.

nriqueta sguerra+Jidal, had already rectified such error in the %evised 4age 7. of our 3ecision dated $eptember 7, ,-*-. 0? J0 D 5! TB !5% 650?6, the motions for reconsideration filed by "enido "umanog and /ugusto $antos, %ameses de Hesus and &esar !ortuna are hereby 3 ?0 3 D0TB !0?/"0TK. "et entry of :udgment be made in due course. $5 5%3 % 3.

5n or about Huly ., ,--, in 4asig &ity, and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the above accused, conspiring and confederating together and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another, not being lawfully authorized to sell, dispense, transport or distribute any dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, deliver and give away to 45, 3anilo $. 3amasco, a police poseur buyer, one '*( heat+sealed transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance weighing of 'sic( eight '=( centigrams '-.-= gram(, which was found positive to the test for metamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug, in violation of said law. &ontrary to "aw. ('R' $o' )2)/34 Octo-er +/, +/)/ PEOPLE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, 4laintiff+/ppellee, vs. ROLA$DO ARA$ETA . ABELLA 5 BOTO$( and &ARILOU %A$TO% . TA$TA6 5 &ALOU, /ccused+/ppellants. 3 &0$05? &E$DO7A, J.: * This is an appeal from the /ugust ,1, ,--= 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals (CA), in &/+6.%. &%+B.&. ?o. -,)-=, which affirmed the #arch , *,, ,--@ 3ecision of the %egional Trial &ourt, Branch *.*, 4asig &ity (R C), finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating $ection . and $ection ** of /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2., otherwise Anown as the I&omprehensive 3rugs /ct of ,--,.I &riminal informations were filed in the %T& against %olando /raneta y /bella a.A.a. IBotongI for Jiolation of $ection = and $ection *2 of %./. ?o. 2@,. '3angerous 3rugs /ct of *17,(, as amended, in addition to the 0nformation filed against him and co+accused #arilou $antos y Tantay a.A.a. I!alouI for Jiolation of $ection *., /rticle 000 in relation to $ection ,*, /rticle 0J of %./. 2@,., as amended. 0n view of the enactment of %./. ?o. 1*2. '&omprehensive 3rugs /ct of ,--,(, the original informations were amended accordingly. The said 0nformations read: &riminal &ase ?o. **@1*+3 4eople vs. /raneta P $antos '!or Jiolation of $ec. . in relation to $ec. ,2, /rt. 00, %./. 1*2.( &riminal &ase ?o. 4eople vs. /raneta '!or Jiolation of $ec. **, /rt. 00, %./. 1*2.( **@1,+3

5n or about Huly ., ,--,, in 4asig &ity, and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the accused, not being lawfully authorized to use or possess any dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession and under his custody and control one '*( heat+sealed transparent plastic sachet containing *.,, grams of dried mari:uana fruiting tops, which was found positive to the test for mari:uana, a dangerous drug, and eight '=( heat+sealed transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance with the following recorded net weight, to wit: *( >h. B* %//M-7-.-, O -.-7 gramE ,( >h. B, %//M-7-.-, O -.*- gramE )( >h. B) %//M-7-.-, O -.-= gramE @( >h. B@ %//M-7-.-, O -.-7 gramE .( >h. B. %//M-7-.-, O -.-= gramE 2( >h. B2 %//M-7-.-, O -.-@ gramE 7( >h. B7 %//M-7-.-, O -.-2 gramE =( >h. B= %//M-7-.-, O -.-1 gram or having a total weight of -..1 gram, which were found positive to the test for methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug, in violation of the said law. &ontrary to "aw. The prosecution9s evidence was summarized in the &/ decision as

follows: 5n Huly ., ,--,, between ):-- and ):)- o9clocA in the morning, a confidential informant arrived at the $tation 3rug nforcement 8nit '$3 8( of the 4asig &ity 4olice $tation to report to 5fficer+0n+&harge $4-@ ?umeriano de "ara the alleged peddling of illegal drugs of live+in couple Botong and #alou, later identified as appellants %olando /raneta y /bella and #arilou $antos y Tantay, at Barangay 4utol, %osario, 4asig &ity. $45@ de "ara immediately formed a team composed of $45, 3ante Zigapan who acted as the team leader, 45, 3anilo 3amasco, 45* 5rig, and 45* Bede #ontefalcon, to confirm the veracity of the informant9s report and conduct a buy+bust operation. Before dispatching the team, $45@ de "ara briefed them as to the alleged illegal activities of the couple and gave their description. $45, Zigapan designated 45, 3amasco as the poseur+buyer giving him a marAed 4*-- bill to be used in the entrapment. The team proceeded to the target area on board two vehicles. $45, Zigapan, #ontefalcon and the informant were in one vehicle while 45, 3amasco and 45* 5rig were together in the other vehicle. The team arrived at the target place around @:*- in the morning. They positioned themselves some ,-+)- meters from the alley where appellants were allegedly staying. $45, Zigapan gave instructions to the informant to locate the appellants. /fter several minutes, the informant came bacA and confirmed the presence of appellants at %5T& $treet, 4utol, Bgy. %osario, 4asig &ity. Thereafter, the team proceeded to the said location. 45, 3amasco and the informant went near the appellants who were standing :ust outside their house. The informant and appellants e>changed greetings. /fter a short conversation, Botong went inside their house. The informant introduced 45, 3amasco to #alou by saying, I"#score itong $aibigan $o. Ba$a meron $a d%an .I #alou then asAed 45, 3amasco, I"#score $a na ba.I /fter #alou asAed 45, 3amasco, I!ag$ano,I the latter immediately gave her the marAed 4*-bill. #alou called Botong and when the latter came out, #alou handed to him the marAed money. Botong then gave #alou a plastic sachet which she handed to 45, 3amasco. /fter e>amining the plastic sachet, 45, 3amasco immediately gave the pre+arranged signal to the other members of the team who thereafter rushed to the scene. 45, 3amasco arrested #alou while $45,

Zigapan arrested Botong. $45, Zigapan recovered from Botong the marAed 4*-- bill and after frisAing him, the police officer found in Botong9s pocAet one plastic sachet of what looAed liAe mari:uana and eight plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance. 45, 3amasco immediately placed I%//I and the date Huly ., ,--, on the plastic sachet he brought from #alou and the plastic sachets confiscated by $45, Zigapan from Botong. /t the police station, 45, 3amasco prepared the written request for a laboratory e>amination of the confiscated plastic sachets. Together with the request, the plastic sachets were brought by 45* 5rig to the crime laboratory. The laboratory tests gave a positive result of the presence of methampethamine hydrochloride or what is locally Anown as shabu on the contents of nine '1( sachets and mari:uana on one '*( sachet. The evidence for the accused was summarized by the &/ as follows: Between ):)- to @:)- o9clocA in the morning of Huly ., ,--2, accused %olando /raneta together with his live+in partner and co+accused #arilou $antos were sleeping on the ground floor of their rented apartment, when they were suddenly awaAened by a loud noise coming from the upstairs. %olando immediately stood up and tried to go up the stairs. That was when he met a man who introduced himself as a policeman. The man liAewise pointed a gun to him and told him not to move. Be was then instructed to sit down, to which he acceded. Thereafter, the man went near the door of his house and opened the same. $uddenly, four '@( other policemen went inside. 5ne of the policemen went inside the comfort room and looAed for somebody. "ater, he heard the said policeman utter, I?obody is here.I 5ne of the policemen then approached %olando and asAed him the whereabouts of a certain Teng. %olando answered that he did not Anow Teng and that there was no other person inside the house e>cept for him and his wife #arilou. The police operatives searched his house. They however found nothing illegal inside his house. /fter the search, the police operatives invited %olando and #arilou to come with them to the precinct to answer some questions. Thereat, the police operatives informed them that they are being charged for their involvement in illegal drug activities, which they vehemently denied. 45, 3amasco, however, told them that if they wanted to be released, %olando and #arilou must pay 4,-,---.-each. Dhen %olando declined to give said amount, the police operatives filed the instant cases against them. 'T$?, Hune ,), ,--), pp. ,+=(

0n the early morning of Huly ., ,--), accused+appellant #arilou $antos and her live+in partner %olando were sleeping when they were awaAened by a noise coming from the second floor of their house. %olando tried to go upstairs to find out what happened, but he met a man who instantly poAed a gun at him. #arilou tried to stand up but the policeman told her, I$tay there, don9t move.I Thereafter the police shoved them near the chair. Be also asAed %olando the whereabouts of Teng but the former answered that nobody by the name of Teng lived there. Dhile still poAing the gun on them, the policeman opened the door of their house. !ive '.( policemen then entered and conducted a search. /fter the search, the policemen brought them to the police station. Thereat, 45, 3amasco asAed them several questions. #oments later, the policeman got something from the drawer and told them that those articles belong to them. #arilou denied that the said articles belong to them since the policemen did not recover anything from them during the search. 3espite her denial, they were still charged with Jiolations of $ections *., *2 and = of %epublic /ct 1*2.. /fter a while, 45, 3amasco demanded 4,-,---.-- from them in e>change for their release. /s they were innocent, #arilou refused to give said amount, prompting the police operatives to formally charge them. 'T$?, Huly ,), ,--), p. )( 0n the early morning of Huly ., ,--,, #arian %odriguez was outside the alley in %5T&, %osario, 4asig &ity when she saw both accused going out of the alley accompanied by five '.( men. The accused and the five '.( men passed in front of #arian. $he hesitated to follow the group. $ince then #arian never saw the accused again. 'T$?, $eptember *-, ,--), pp. )+@(. 0n its #arch *,, ,--@ 3ecision, the %T& found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced them accordingly, as follows: DB % !5% , the &ourt renders :udgment, as follows: *( 0n &riminal &ase ?o. **@1*+3, the &ourt finds accused %olando /raneta y /bella Q Botong and accused #arilou $antos y Tantay / #alou 680"TK beyond reasonable doubt of violation of $ec. . in relation to $ec. ,2, /rt. 00 of %./. 1*2., otherwise Anown as the &omprehensive 3angerous 3rugs /ct of ,--,, and imposes upon them the penalty of "0! 0#4%0$5?# ?T and to pay a fine 4.--, ---.-- eachE and ,( 0n &riminal &ase ?o. **@1,+3 'which absorbed &riminal &ase ?o. **@1-+3(, the &ourt finds accused %olando /raneta y /bella QBotong

680"TK beyond reasonable doubt of violation of $ec. **, /rt. 00 of %./. 1*2., otherwise Anown as the &omprehensive 3angerous 3rugs /ct of ,--,, and imposes upon him the penalty of imprisonment of from Twelve '*,( years and 5ne '*( day to Twenty ',-( years and to pay a fine of 4)--, ---.--. &onsidering that the accused is a detention prisoner, he shall be credited with the period of his detention during his preventive imprisonment. >>> >>> >>> $5 5%3 % 3. The %T& ruled that all the elements for the prosecution of the illegal sale of dangerous drugs were present during the buy+bust operation conducted by the police officers. These were: *( the identity of the buyer and the sellerE ,( the ob:ect of the sale and the considerationE and )( the delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor. !urthermore, the %T& held that the defense of denial, frame+up, forcible entry, and e>tortion could not prevail over the positive identification by the prosecution witnesses. 0t noted that accused %olando /raneta was not candid enough to inform the court that no less than eight '=( criminal cases were previously filed against him in different courts for violation of the 3angerous 3rugs "aw. ?evertheless, out of eight '=( criminal cases filed against him, he admitted that one resulted in a conviction and two other cases were dismissed. The other cases were then still pending trial. /ggrieved, the accused appealed to the &/ arguing that: *( the %T& erred in not finding that they were illegally arrested and, as such, the sachets of shabu allegedly recovered from them were inadmissible in evidenceE and ,( the %T& erred in finding them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged because the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were replete with inconsistencies and contradictions. 5n /ugust ,1, ,--=, the &/ rendered the sub:ect decision affirming the decision of the %T&. 0n arriving at said determination, the &/ applied the I ob&ective testI in buy+bust operations laid down in the case of People v. 'oria, ()1 *CRA ) ++,, +-,#+--. The &/ ruled that the prosecution evidence met the standard for the Iob:ective testI through the testimony of its witness, 45, 3anilo 3amasco, who acted as poseur#bu%er and who related how the informant introduced him to the accusedE how the transaction was

consummated through the e>change of marAed money and the sachet of shabuE and how the accused was arrested by the entrapment team. The &/ noted that the accused were arrested in flagrante delicto and that other contraband materials were recovered from them during the ensuing search. 0t concluded that the corpus delicti was duly established. !inally, the &/ stated that the inconsistencies in the testimonies of the police officers were minor or inconsequential. The accused failed to adduce evidence to overthrow the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty in favor of the police officers. The accused liAewise failed to show proof that the police officers did not properly perform their :obs or had ill motives against them. #oreover, their defense of denial and frame+up for e>tortion purposes was self+serving, negative evidence that was not entitled to be given greater weight than the declaration of credible witnesses who testified on affirmative matters. 0n due time, the accused filed a motion for reconsideration stressing the inadmissibility of evidence due to their illegal arrest, and the inconsistency in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses. They also pointed out that the apprehending officers failed to establish that the corpus delicti 'sachets of shabu or mari&uana( were the very same ones sold by and seized from them. /dditionally, they claimed that the apprehending team, who had initial custody over the confiscated drug items, failed to maAe an inventory and to photograph the same in their presence. @ 5n /ugust ,@, ,--1, the &/ issued a resolution denying their motion for reconsideration. The &/ ruled, among others, that the issues on the corpus delicti and the alleged failure of the apprehending team to maAe an inventory and to photograph the shabu and mari&uana in the presence of the accused were new issues not raised in their appeal brief. 0n their recourse to this &ourt, the accused presented only one I%%UE "#ET#ER OR $OT T#E ACCU%ED8APPELLA$T% ARE (UILT6 BE6O$D REA%O$ABLE DOUBT FOR 0IOLATI$( %ECTIO$% , A$D )) OF ARTICLE II OF R'A' $o' 2)3,, OT#ER"I%E 9$O"$ A% T#E :CO&PRE#E$%I0E DRU(% ACT OF +//+' The accused argue that the evidence adduced by the prosecution was not able to establish without a doubt, that the dangerous drugs

presented in court were the very same ones allegedly sold by them. They insist that the police officers failed to strictly abide by the requirements of the law as regards the proper custody of dangerous drugs seized in the course of the alleged buy+bust operation. The prosecution stands firm by its position that the arrest of the accused and seizure of the shabu and mari:uana were lawful and that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were truthful. 0n the absence of any credible evidence to the contrary, the police officers are presumed to have regularly performed their official duty. #ore importantly, all the elements necessary for the prosecution of the illegal sale of drugs are present, to wit: *( the identity of the buyer and the seller, the ob:ect and considerationE and ,( the delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor. The prosecution asserts that the accused cannot raise for the first time on appeal the issue on the alleged failure of the law enforcers to comply strictly with $ection ,* of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2.. /t any rate, the prosecution believes that it has shown that the chain of custody of the seized items was not broAen. T#E COURT;% RULI$(: /fter due consideration, the &ourt finds the evidence on record sufficient enough to sustain the verdict of conviction. 0t is morally convinced that the accused are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense charged against them. The rule is that factual findings of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of their probative weight are given high respect if not conclusive effect, unless the trial court ignored, misconstrued, misunderstood or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance, which, if . considered, will alter the outcome of the case. 0n this case, the &/ found no such inculpatory facts and circumstances and this &ourt has not stumbled upon any either. 3oubtless, the prosecution was able to establish all the necessary elements required in the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, namely: *( the identity of the buyer and sellerE ,( the identity of the ob:ect of the sale and the considerationE and )( the delivery of the thing sold upon payment. 45, 3anilo 3amasco, (P./ 'amasco) the poseur#bu%er, clearly and convincingly narrated in detail the entrapment operation they had conducted that led to the arrest of the accused and the seizure of the dangerous drugs. Be related on the witness stand that upon receiving

information from a confidential informant about the illegal sale of dangerous drugs by the accused, they immediately formed an entrapment team to conduct a buy+bust operation. 8pon reaching the area in the early morning of Huly ., ,--,, he and the confidential informant approached the accused. /fter a brief introduction and short conversation, accused Botong went inside their house while accused #alou received the marAed money from the poseur#bu%er. #alou then called Botong who thereafter came out of the house. #alou gave the marAed money to Botong who, in turn, gave #alou a plastic sachet containing a white crystalline substance. The plastic sachet was then handed over to 45, 3amasco who e>amined it and immediately gave the pre+arranged signal to arrest the accused. 3uring the arrest, the marAed money was recovered from %olando and so were several other plastic sachets containing white crystalline substances together with a plastic sachet containing mari:uana. $ubsequently, the accused were brought to the police station and the seized items were later brought to the 4olice &rime "aboratory 5ffice for e>amination. The testimony of 45, 3amasco was corroborated by $45, Zipagan, the entrapment team leader, and $45@ ?umeriano 3e "ara, the entrapment team organizer. &ontrary to the posture of the accused, the testimony of 45, 3amasco was clear, consistent and convincing. /s correctly assessed by the &/, his testimony passed the Iob:ective testI in buy+bust operations. De therefore stress that the Iob:ectiveI test in buy+bust operations demands that the details o the <ur<orted transaction =ust -e clearl. and ade>uatel. sho!n. This must start from the initial contact between the poseur+buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug sub:ect of the sale. The manner by which the initial contact was made, whether or not through an informant, the offer to purchase the drug, the payment of the Ibuy+bustI money, and the delivery of the illegal drug, whether to the informant alone or the police officer, must be the sub:ect of strict scrutiny by courts to insure that law+abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense. &riminals must be caught but not at all cost. /t the same time, however, e>amining the conduct of the police should not disable courts into ignoring the accused9s predisposition to commit the crime. 0f there is overwhelming evidence of habitual delinquency, recidivism or plain criminal proclivity, then this must also be considered. &ourts should looA at all factors to determine the predisposition of an accused to commit an offense in so far as they are relevant to determine the validity of the

2 defense of inducement. ; mphasis supplied< The &ourt looAed into the accused9s defense of denial and accusations of frame+up, planting of evidence, forcible entry and e>tortion by the police officers but found them inherently weaA. /side from their bare allegations, the accused had nothing more to show that the apprehending police officers did not properly perform their duties or that they had ill motives against them. They failed to substantiate their argument that they were framed+up for e>tortion purposes. /bsent any convincing countervailing evidence, the presumption is that the members of the buy+bust team performed their duties in a regular manner. 0t was certainly a :ob well done. Bence, the &ourt gives full faith and credit to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The &ourt also holds that the seized items were admissible. / search warrant or warrant of arrest was not needed because it was a buy+bust operation and the accused were caught in flagrante delicto in possession of, and selling, dangerous drugs to the poseur#bu%er. 0t was definitely legal for the buy+bust team to arrest, and search, them on the spot because a buy+bust operation is a :ustifiable mode of apprehending drug pushers. / buy+bust operation is a form of entrapment whereby ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreaAers in the e>ecution of their criminal plan. 0n this :urisdiction, the operation is legal and has been proven to be an effective method of apprehending drug peddlers, provided due regard to 7 constitutional and legal safeguards is undertaAen. 0n People v. 0illamin, involving an accused arrested after he sold drugs during a buy+bust operation, the &ourt ruled that it was a circumstance where a warrantless arrest is :ustified under %ule **), $ec. .'a( of the %ules of &ourt. The same ruling applies to the instant case. Dhen carried out with due regard for constitutional and legal safeguards, it is a :udicially sanctioned method of apprehending those involved in illegal drug activities. 0t is a valid form of entrapment, as the idea to commit a crime comes not from the police officers but from the accused himself. The accused is caught in the act and must be apprehended on the spot. !rom the very nature of a buy+bust operation, the absence of a warrant does not maAe the arrest illegal' The illegal drugs seized were not the Ifruit of the poisonous treeI as the defense would liAe this &ourt to believe. The seizure made by the buy+ bust team falls under a search incidental to a lawful arrest under %ule *,2, $ec. *) of the %ules of &ourt, which pertinently provides:

/ person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant. $ince the buy+bust operation was established as legitimate, it follows that the search was also valid, and a warrant was liAewise not needed to = conduct it. 1avvphi1 0t should also be noted that after the %T& rendered a guilty verdict, the accused filed a motion for reconsideration based on two ',( grounds, to wit: *( inadmissibility of the seized itemsE and ,( credibility of the prosecution witnesses. 0n the &/, they reiterated said grounds. /fter an unfavorable decision and ruling, the accused added two ',( new arguments in their motion for reconsideration, to wit: *( the apprehending officers failed to establish that the corpus delicti 'sachets of shabu or mari:uana( were the very same ones sold by and seized from themE and ,( the apprehending team who had initial custody over the confiscated drug items failed to maAe an inventory and to photograph the same in their presence. The &ourt totally agrees with the ruling of the &/ that the issues on the corpus delicti and the compliance with $ection ,* of %/ ?o. 1*2. were issues that were not raised by the accused in their appellants9 brief, and were only presented in their motion for reconsideration from the decision of the &/. Bence, the &ourt cannot act, much less, rule on said new points. To do so would violate basic rules on fair play and due process. Thus: De point out the defense9s failure to contest the admissibility of the seized items as evidence during trial as this was the initial point in ob:ecting to illegally seized evidence. /t the trial, the seized shabu was duly marAed, made the sub:ect of e>amination and cross+e>amination, and eventually offered as evidence, yet at no instance did the appellant manifest or even hint that there were lapses in the safeAeeping of seized items that affected their admissibility, integrity and evidentiary value. 0n People v. 1ernandez, we held that ob:ection to the admissibility of evidence cannot be raised for the first time on appealE when a party desires the court to re:ect the evidence offered, he must so state in the form of ob:ection. Dithout such ob:ection, he cannot raise the question 1 for the first time on appeal. "#EREFORE, the /ugust ,1, ,--= 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals, in &/+6.%. &%+B.&. ?o. -,)-=, is AFFIR&ED.

$5 5%3 % 3.

th That on or about the 7 day of Hune, *11@, in the afternoon thereat, at Barangay Buyon+huyon, #unicipality of Tigaon, 4rovince of &amarines $ur, 4hilippines and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the above+named accused, with intent to sell, possess and to deliver with the use of a bicycle, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, control and custody, ;o<ne bundle estimated to be one '*( Ailo more or less, of dried mari:uana leaves '0ndian Bemp( without the necessary license, permit or authority to sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug from a competent officer as required by law. /&T$ &5?T%/%K T5 "/D. )

8pon arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty. Trial ensued. Two police officers and one forensic chemist testified for the prosecution. $45) Jicente &ompetente '&ompetente( narrated that in his capacity as chief of the 0nvestigation and 5peration 3ivision of the 4hilippine ?ational 4olice '4?4( station in Tigaon, &amarines $ur, that he received a tip from an asset that a bundle of mari:uana was being transported by appellant to Buyon+huyon from another barangay in Tigaon, &amarines @ $ur. #a:or 3omingo /gravante '/gravante(, chief of police of Tigaon, then organized a team composed of &ompetente as team leader, $45, %icardo &allo '&allo(, $45* 4ortugal, 45) 4illos and 45, dgar "atam. The team boarded the police mobile car and proceeded to $itio . ?asulan in Barangay Buyon+huyon. They overtooA appellant who was on a bicycle. The police officers flagged appellant down and found mari:uana wrapped in a cellophane and newspaper together with other grocery items. The amount of 4*..-.-- was also found in appellantSs possession. The police officers confiscated these items and tooA photographs thereof. /ppellant was then brought to the headquarters 2 where he was booAed. &allo, who was the chief intelligence officer of Tigaon 4?4, recounted that at around *:-- p.m. on 7 Hune *11@, he was called by &ompetente and was briefed about the operation. Dhile they were in ?asulan, the members of the police team caught a man riding a bicycle who turned out to be appellant. &allo saw the mari:uana wrapped in a cellophane and newspaper in the bicycle of appellant so the latter was brought to

('R' $o' )?,3/4

A<ril )/, +//*

T#E PEOPLE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, appellee, vs. %AL0ADOR PE@AFLORIDA, 1R', 6 CLIDORO, appellant. DECI%IO$ TI$(A, J.A * $ub:ect of this appeal is the 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals in &/+ , 6.%. &% ?o. -*,*1, dated )* Huly ,--2, affirming in toto the :udgment of the %egional Trial &ourt of &amarines $ur, Branch )-, in &riminal &ase ?o. T+*@72. The trial court found appellant $alvador 4eRaflorida y &lidoro guilty of transporting mari:uana and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of one million pesos. The 0nformation against appellant reads:

the police headquarters and turned over to the desA officer.

#a:or "orlie /rroyo '/rroyo(, a forensic chemist at the 4?4 &rime "aboratory %egional 5ffice ?o. J, was presented as an e>pert witness to identify the sub:ect mari:uana leaves. $he related that after taAing a representative sample from the 1,=+gram confiscated dried leaves, the same was tested positive of mari:uana. The findings were reflected in = &hemistry %eport ?o. 3+,2+1@ dated 1 Hune *11@. /ppellant denied the accusations against him. /ppellant, who is a resident of Buyon+huyon, Tigaon, &amarines $ur, testified that in the morning of 7 Hune *11@, he first went to the house of 0gmidio #iranda '#iranda( in $agnay, &amarines $ur. The latter accompanied appellant to the house of /rnel 3adis in $an !rancisco, Tigaon to buy a dog. They, however, failed to get the dogE prompting them to leave. 5n their way home, they met Boyet 5bias '5bias( who requested appellant to bring a 1 pacAage wrapped in a newspaper to Himmy 6onzales '6onzales(. /ppellant placed it in the basAet in front of his bicycle and 6onzales proceeded to the Tiagon town proper. Be and #iranda parted ways when they reached the place. /ppellant dropped by the grocery store and the blacAsmith to get his scythe. 5n his way home, he was flagged down by the police and was invited to go with them to the headquarters. 8pon inspection of the pacAage in his bicycle, the police discovered the sub:ect mari:uana. /ppellant tried to e>plain that the pacAage was owned by 5bias but the police did not believe him. Be was sent to *:ail. #iranda corroborated the testimony of appellant that the two of them went to $an !rancisco, Tigaon, &amarines $ur in the morning of 7 Hune *11@ to buy a dog. 5n their way bacA to the town proper of Tigaon, they met 5bias who requested appellant to bring a pacAage, which #iranda thought contained cooAies, to 6onzales. 8pon reaching the town proper, ** they parted ways. 5n ,2 5ctober *11=, the trial court rendered :udgment finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of transporting a prohibited drug, a violation of $ection @, /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct '%./.( ?o. 2@,., otherwise Anown as The 3angerous 3rugs /ct of *17,, as amended by %./. ?o. 72.1. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: DB % !5% , the accused $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of reclusion perpetua

and to pay a fine of 5ne #illion '4*,---,---.--( 4esos, with subsidiary imprisonment in accordance with law, in case of insolvency for the fine and for him to pay the costs. The accused $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< shall be entitled to full credit of his preventive imprisonment if he agreed to abide with the rules imposed upon convicted person, otherwise, he shall be entitled to four+ fifth '@M.( credit thereof. The sub:ect mari:uana consisting of 1,= grams, possession thereof being mala prohibita, the court hereby orders its confiscation in favor of the 6overnment to be destroyed in accordance with law. This court, however, hereby recommends to Bis >cellency, the 4resident of the 4hilippines, through the Bonorable $ecretary of Hustice to commute the above penalty herein imposed, being too harshE accordingly, the said penalty imposed to accused $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr< shall be si> '2( years of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight '=( years and one '*( day of prision ma%or, as ma>imum. $5 5%3 % 3. *,

0n convicting appellant, the trial court lent credence to the testimonies of the police officers, thus: ?ow going over the evidence adduced, the court is convinced that the accused $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< committed the offense of illegal possession of 1,= grams of mari:uana, if not, of transporting it, as charged. This is so, because it appears undisputed that on Hune 7, *11@, at about *:-- oSclocA in the afternoon police officers Jicente &ompetente and his four '@( other co+police officers apprehended the accused $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< on the roadside at ?asulan, Buyon+ huyon, Tigaon, &amarines $ur ;,< then riding on his bicycle and placed on the still structure at its front, a thing wrapped in a newspaper and found to be 1,= grams of mari:uana. ?o ill+motive has been presented by the defense against the police officers Jicente &ompetente and companions by falsely testifying against the accused $alvador 4eRaflorida, Hr. $o, the conclusion is inevitable that the presumption that the police officers were in the regular performance of their duties apply. The confiscation of the mari:uana sub:ect of the instant case and the arrest of the accused $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< by the said police officers being lawful, having been caught in flagrante delicto, there is no need for the warrant for the seizure of the fruit of the crime, the same being incidental to the lawful arrest. %ightly so, because a person

caught illegally possessing or transporting drugs is sub:ect to the warrantless search. Besides, ob:ect in the Iplain viewI of an officer who has the right to be in the position to have that view are sub:ect to seizure *) and may be presented as evidence. 0n view of the penalty imposed, the case was directly appealed to this &ourt on automatic review. 4ursuant to our decision in People v. *@ !ateo, however, this case was referred to the &ourt of /ppeals. The appellate court affirmed appellantSs conviction on )* Huly ,--2. 0n a %esolution dated *@ !ebruary ,--7, the parties were given to file their supplemental briefs, if they so desire. Both parties manifested their intention not to file any supplemental brief since all the issues and *2 arguments have already been raised in their respective briefs. Bence, the instant case is now before this &ourt on automatic review. 0n assailing his conviction, appellant submits that there is doubt that he had freely and consciously possessed mari:uana. !irst, he claims that the alleged asset did not name the person who would transport the mari:uana to Buyon+huyon. 0n view of the IvagueI information supplied by the asset, the latter should have been presented in court. $econd, upon receipt of the information from the asset, the police officers should have first investigated and tried to obtain a warrant of arrest against appellant, instead of arbitrarily arresting him. Third, appellant maintains that he is not aware of the contents of the pacAage. !ourth, upon arrival at the headquarters, the police did not determine the contents and weight of the pacAage. !ifth, appellant argues that the findings of the forensic e>pert are questionable because there is doubt as to the *7 identity of the pacAage e>amined. 4refatorily, factual findings of the trial courts, including their assessment of the witnessS credibility are entitled to great weight and respect by this *= &ourt, particularly when the &ourt of /ppeals affirm the findings. 0ndeed, the trial court is in the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses since it has observed firsthand their demeanor, conduct and *1 attitude under grilling e>amination. /fter a review of the records of this case, we find no cogent reason to disregard this time+honored principle. De shall retrace the series of events leading to the arrest of appellant and resolve the issues raised by him. *.

/cting on an assetSs tip, a police team was organized to apprehend appellant who was allegedly about to transport the sub:ect mari:uana. /ppellant is wrong in concluding that the asset did not name appellant. /s early as *2 ?ovember *112, appellant through counsel had already ,conceded in his #emorandum filed with the trial court that based on the tip, he was about to transport the contraband. 0t further cited e>cerpts from the result of the preliminary investigation conducted by the :udge on &ompetente, and we quote: Q: 3id your ;a<sset tell you the place and the person or persons involvedN /: Kes;,<sir. Q: Dhere and whoN /: Be said that mari:uana is being transported from Tigaon town to Bgy. ,* Buyon+huyon by $alvador 4eRaflorida, Hr. #oreover, on cross+e>amination, the defense counsel even assumed that according to the assetSs tip it was appellant who was assigned to deliver the contraband. /nd the witness under cross+e>amination affirmed it was indeed appellant who would be maAing the delivery according to the tip: Q: Dill you inform this Bonorable &ourt who has given you the ti< that the accused !as going to deliver that =ariBuanaCDE ;D<ho is ;this< personN /: 0t was a confidential tip. Q: ?ow, but ;sic< on Hune * you were in your officeN /: Kes;,< sir;.< 0 was in the office. Q: $ince your office is :ust near the #unicipal Trial &ourt of Tigaon and you were given a ti< that %alvador PeFa loridaC,1r'E !ill -e delivering =ariBuana, why did you not get a ;w<arrant of ;a<rrestN >>> Q: The tip that was given to you that it !as %alvador PeFa lorida C!hoE !ill -e dealing =ariBuana on that date and according to you %alvador !as to travel ro= a certain to!n to Tigaon, is that the tipN /: Kes;,< sir;.< That he would deliver mari:uana. Q: $o, at the time that you form;ed< a team, $alvador was nowhere to

be seen, you have not seen the shadow of $alvadorN /: Dhen the tip was given to us;,< 0 have not seen him;.< CBEut the ti< is he !ill deliver ro= Tigaon to #u.on8hu.on, that is why we chased ,, him. ; mphasis supplied< 4rescinding from the above argument, appellant insists that the asset should have been presented in court. Be invoAed the court ruling in ,) People v. 2ibag, wherein the non+presentation of the informant was fatal to the case of the prosecution. "ibag cannot find application in this case. 0n that case, the crime charged was the sale of shabu where the informant himself was a poseur+buyer and a witness to the transaction. Bis testimony as a poseur+buyer was indispensable because it could have helped the trial court in determining whether or not the appellant had Anowledge that the bag contained mari:uana, such Anowledge being ,@ an essential ingredient of the offense for which he was convicted. 0n this case, however, the asset was not present in the police operation. The rule is that the presentation of an informant in an illegal drugs case is not essential for conviction nor is it indispensable for a successful prosecution because his testimony would merely be corroborative and cumulative. 0nformants are generally not presented in court because of the need to hide their identity and preserve their invaluable service to ,. the police. &ompetente testified that his team caught up with appellant who was riding a bicycle. Be saw the mari:uana in a pacAage which appellant was carrying inside his basAet, thus: Q: /nd so as the team leader > > > and in connection with the instruction of &hief 3omingo /gravante, what did you doN /: De used the mobile and proceeded to the place, to the route where the mari:uana was being transported. Q: Dhen you said we to whom are you referring toN /: The team. Q: Dere you able to go to the place as you saidN /: Kes, sir. Q: $o, upon reaching the place, ;sic< what place was thatN /: $itio ?asulan, Barangay Buyon+huyon, Tigaon, &amarines $ur.

Q: /nd upon reaching the place together with the other member of the team, what did you find if you found anyN /: De overtooA our suspect while riding in a bicycle and we stopped him. Q: /nd did the suspect stopN /: Kes;,< sir. Q: Tell us the name of your suspectN /: $alvador 4eRaflorida;,< Hr. y &lidoro. Q: /nd after stopping the accused in this case, what else did you do;,< if any;,< together with the teamN /: Dhen we saw the mari:uana and other groceries in his bicycle we ,2 invited him to the headquarters. &allo also confirmed that he saw appellant transporting and in possession of the sub:ect mari:uana: Q: Dhen you reached there;,< what happened ne>tN /: De have not reached yet ;sic< the Buyon+huyon proper. ;D<e are in ?asulan when we met the man who had with him the mari:uana. >>> Q: /fter you talAed with the person with mari:uana;,< what happened ne>tN /: De saw on his bicycle a wrap;ped< mari:uana. Q: Dho was in possession of thatN /: $alvador 4eRaflorida;,< Hr. Q: Bow is that person related to the accused in this case nowN /: Be is the one, sir. Q: Lindly describe to us the mari:uana that you are able to tell that it was mari:uanaN /: 0t was wrapped on ;cellophane< and newspaper. De saw the edges of the mari:uana. Q: !or the ;record<, Aindly describe to us the edges of the mari:uana;E< its appearance and color. /: 0t was liAe a shape of T ream of coupon bond and the color is

green.

,7

These positive and categorical declarations of two police officers deserve weight and credence in light of the presumption of regularity accorded to them and the lacA of motive on their part to falsely testify against appellant. /ppellant resorts to a challenge on the validity of his arrest predicated on lacA of a warrant of arrest. The 5$6 correctly :ustifies the failure to apply for an arrest warrant because at that point, time was of the essence in appellantSs apprehension, noting in the same breath that there is no law requiring investigation and surveillance upon receipt of ,= tips from assets before conducting police operations. The police officers succinctly testified on this point when cross+e>amined, vi3: Q: Dill you inform this Bonorable &ourt who has given you the tip that the accused was going to deliver that mari:uana, who is that personN /: 0t was a confidential tip. Q: ?ow, but ;sic< on Hune * you were in your officeN /: Kes;,< sir;.< 0 was in the office. Q: $ince your office is :ust near the #unicipal Trial &ourt of Tigaon and you were given a tip that $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< will be delivering mari:uana, why did you not get a ;w<arrant of ;a<rrest from the courtN /: There was no time to apply for a search warrant because :ust after the information was received, we proceeded. >>> Q: 0f that is true, #r. &ompetente that you were given a tip, the most that you will do is first see the Hudge of Tigaon in as much as you have not seen yet ;sic< the said person carrying mari:uanaN /: There was no time for us to apply, because the mari:uana is being delivered so we have no more time to see the Hudge. >>> Q: /re you aware of the law that illegally confiscated mari:uana cannot be used in courtN !0$&/" $5"/?5: &onclusion of law. /: Kes, sir;.< ;0<f it is illegally confiscated it cannot be used in court.

/TTK. &" 3 %/: 3espite that prohibition under the rules;,< you insisted in apprehending $alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< without warrant of arrest inspite of the fact that you Anow that restrictionN /: 5ur apprehension was in plain view. Q: Bow can you see that it was in open view when according to you the house of $alvador is *,- meters;N< ;B<ow can you see that distanceN /: 0 could see that because the mari:uana was carried in his bicycle, we have seen it. Q: 0n what streetN /: Buyon+huyon;,< $itio ?asulan, Tigaon, &amarines $ur. Q: /bout what time did you see himN /: *:-- oSclocA sir. >>> ,1

The police was tipped off at around *:-- p.m. that appellant was transporting mari:uana to Buyon+huyon. &ertainly, they had no time to secure an arrest warrant as appellant was already in transit and already committing a crime. The arrest was effected after appellant was caught in flagrante delicto. Be was seen riding his bicycle and carrying with him the contraband, hence, demonstrating that a crime was then already being committed. 8nder the circumstances, the police had probable cause to believe that appellant was committing a crime. Thus, the warrantless arrest is :ustified. /rticle 00, $ection @ of %./. ?o. 2@,., as amended by %./. ?o. 72.1, states: $ &. @. *ale, Administration, 'eliver%, 'istribution and ransportation of Prohibited 'rugs. U The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as broAer in any of such transactions. > > >. Hurisprudence defines ItransportI as Ito carry or convey from one place )to another.I 0n the instant case, appellant was riding his bicycle when he was caught by the police. Be admitted that he was about to convey the pacAage, which contained mari:uana, to a certain Himmy 6onzales.

/ppellant, however, denies any Anowledge that the pacAage in his possession contained mari:uana. But the trial court re:ected his contention, noting that it was impossible for appellant not to be aware of the contents of the pacAage because Imari:uana has a distinct sweet )* and unmistaAable aroma > > > which would have alarmed him.I TaAing one step further, the appellate court went on to declare that being mala prohibita, one commits the crime under %./. ?o. 2@,. by mere possession of a prohibited drug without legal authority. 0ntent, motive or ), Anowledge thereof is not necessary. /ppellant, in the main, asserts that he did not freely and consciously )) possess mari:uana. 0n criminal cases involving prohibited drugs, there can be no conviction unless the prosecution shows that the accused Anowingly possessed the prohibited articles in his person, or that animus possidendi is shown to be present together with his possession or control of such article. Animus possidendi is only prima facie. 0t is sub:ect to contrary proof and may be rebutted by evidence that the accused did not in fact e>ercise power and control over the thing in question, and did not intend to do so. The burden of evidence is thus )@ shifted to the possessor to e>plain absence of animus possidendi. Lnowledge refers to a mental state of awareness of a fact. $ince courts cannot penetrate the mind of an accused and thereafter state its perceptions with certainty, resort to other evidence is necessary. Animus possidendi, as a state of mind, may be determined on a case+to+case basis by taAing into consideration the prior or contemporaneous acts of the accused, as well as the surrounding circumstances. 0ts e>istence may and usually must be inferred from the attendant events in each ). particular case. /ppellant failed to satisfactorily establish his lacA of Anowledge of possession in the instant case. !irst, the mari:uana was found in the bicycle he himself was driving. $econd, the police officers first readily saw in plain view the edges of the mari:uana leaves :utting out of the pacAage. Third, it is incredulous that appellant did not asA 5bias what the pacAage contained when the latter requested him to do the delivery errand since the pacAage was wrapped in a newspaper and weighed almost one Ailogram. The same observation was reached by the trial court: !inally, it is very hard for the court to accept the claim of the accused

$alvador 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< that he does not Anow that the thing wrapped in a newspaper which Boyet 5bias, now dead, requested the accused 4eRaflorida;,Hr.< would deliver to a certain Himmy 6onzales whose present whereabouts is not Anown, was a mari:uana. 0ts odor is different especially from tobacco. This was observed by the court during the trial of the case, everytime the wrapper containing the sub:ect mari:uana with a volume of 1,= grams is brought to court its odor is noticeable. !or the accused 4eRaflorida;,Hr.<, not to notice it is hard to believe. %ightly so, because mari:uana has a distinct sweet and unmistaAable aroma very different from 'and not nauseating( unliAe tobacco. This aroma would )2 have alarmed him. !urthermore, it appeared from the cross+e>amination of appellant that 5bias was an acquaintance. 0n the ordinary course of things, one is e>pected to inquire about the contents of a wrapped pacAage especially when it is a mere acquaintance who requests the delivery and, more so, when delivery is to a place some distance away. /nent appellantSs claim that the pacAage e>amined by /rroyo was not the one confiscated from him, the appellate court had this to say: $45) &ompetente testified that mari:uana was confiscated from appellant. The pictures of appellant, together with the items seized from him, depict a pacAage containing dry leaves suspected to be mari:uana. 5n the other hand, !orensic &hemist /rroyo testified that the specimen she e>amined was delivered to her by #a:or /gravante on Hune 1, *11@ or two days after the apprehension. !rom these series of events, it can be inferred that the pacAage confiscated from appellant and the specimen delivered to !orensic &hemist /rroyo for laboratory )7 e>amination were one and the same. 3espite intense grilling from the defense counsel, /rroyo never faltered and was in fact consistent in declaring that she received the specimen from /gravante on 1 Hune *11@ and immediately conducted the laboratory test. !inally, the lower courts correctly sentenced appellant to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of one million pesos by virtue of the amendment to $ection @, %./. ?o. 2@,. by %./. ?o. )= 72.1. DB % !5% , in view of the foregoing, the decision of the %egional Trial &ourt of $an Hose, &amarines $ur, Branch )- in &riminal &ase ?o. T+*@72, finding appellant $alvador 4eRaflorida y &lidoro guilty beyond

reasonable doubt of violation of $ection @, /rticle 00 of %./. ?o. 2@,. '3angerous 3rugs /ct( as amended, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of 5ne #illion 4esos '4*,---,---.--(, is /!!0%# 3 in toto. %O ORDERED. PEOPLE vs %E&BRA$O /ccused+appellant #0&B/ " $ #B%/?5 y &/$T%5 'appellant( is before this &ourt appealing from the *= Hune ,--= 3ecision;*< of the &ourt of /ppeals in &/+6.%. B& ?o. -,72, captioned VPeople of the Philippines v. !ichael *embrano % Castro.9 The &ourt of /ppeals affirmed his conviction;,< by the %egional Trial &ourt of Quezon &ity '%T&, Q&( for the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of shabu, a dangerous drug, in violation of $ections . and **, /rticle 00, of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2. or the &omprehensive 3angerous 3rugs /ct of ,--,.;)< The antecedent facts 5n ,2 Huly ,--@, the operatives of the $tation /nti+0llegal 3rugs '$/03( of the ?ovaliches 4olice $tation arrested appellant in broad daylight, in the course of a buy+bust operation and after a follow+up search on him. 5n ,= Huly ,--@, the /ssistant &ity 4rosecutor of Quezon &ity in the ?ational &apital %egion 'Q&+?&%( filed two separate 0nformations against him for '*( illegal sale and ',( illegal possession of shabu, a dangerous drug. The two cases were raffled to Branch =, of the %T&, Q& and docAeted as &riminal &ases ?os. Q+-@+*,=)7- and Q+-@+ *,=)7*, imputing the following acts against him: Cri=inal Case $o' Q8/48)+*G?/ th That on or about the ,2 day of Huly ,--@, in Quezon &ity, 4hilippines, the said accused, not being authorized by law to sell, dispense, deliver transport or distribute any dangerous drug, did, then and there, willfully and unlawfully sell, dispense, deliver, transport, distribute or act as broAer in the said transaction, zero point twelve '-.*,( gram of white crystalline substance containing of

!eth%lamphetamine 1%drochloride, a dangerous drug.;@< Cri=inal Case $o' Q8/48)+*G?) th That on or about the ,2 day of Huly ,--@, in Quezon &ity, 4hilippines, the said accused, not being authorized by law to possess any dangerous drug, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and Anowingly have in hisMherMtheir possession and control, zero point twenty seven '-.,7( gram of white crystalline substance containing !eth%lamphetamine 1%drochloride, a dangerous drug.;.< $embrano was arraigned on *1 /pril ,--. and with the assistance of counsel, pleaded not guilty to the charges.;2< 4re+trial proceedings having been terminated, trial on the merits ensued. 3uring trial, the prosecution presented the testimonies of the following witnesses: '*( 4olice 5fficer * '45*( Homar #anaolE and ',( 4olice 5fficer * '45*( Lingly Hames Bagay. The combined testimonies of 45* #anaol and 45* Bagay sought to establish that at around ):-- o9clocA in the afternoon of ,2 Huly ,--@, an informant of the police arrived at the $/03 of the ?ovaliches 4olice $tation. The confidential informant relayed information regarding illicit drugs trade operations conducted by a certain #ichael $embrano alias VTaAol9 in the area of 6ulod in ?ovaliches, Quezon &ity. $uperintendent '$upt.( %amon 4erez, head of $/03, formed a buy+bust team composed of 45* Homar #anaol, $45* &esar !utol, 45* Lingly Hames Bagay, 45* ?eil Hohn 3umlao, and 45* !ernando $alonga. $45* !utol prepared the pre+operation report for the team. The group then proceeded to 0gnacio $treet corner Jillareal $treet in 6ulod, ?ovaliches, Quezon &ity for the entrapment operation. The group arrived at the designated area at around ):)- o9clocA in the afternoon. 45* #anaol was designated poseur+buyer. Be was handed two ',( 5ne Bundred 4eso bills which he marAed with his initials VH/#9 on the lower right side thereof, right below the image of the 4hilippine !lag. 45* #anaol, together with the confidential informant, then proceeded to the target site. The other members of the team, including witness 45* Bagay, acted as bacA+up and positioned themselves about twenty+five meters away from where 45* #anaol and the confidential informant were. They waited until appellant arrived at around .:-- o9clocA in the

afternoon. 8pon appellant9s arrival, the confidential informant introduced 45* #anaol to him as an interested buyer of shabu. 45* #anaol handed the two marAed 5ne Bundred 4eso bills to appellant, who, in turn, handed one '*( plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance to him. The transaction having been consummated, 45* #anaol e>ecuted their pre+arranged signal and scratched his head. Dhen the other members of the team saw 45* #anaol e>ecute the pre+arranged signal, they immediately proceeded to their location and arrested appellant. 45* #anaol recovered the suspected shabu sub:ect of the sale from appellant and placed his initials H/# thereon. 45* Bagay was also able to retrieve the buy+bust money from appellant9s right hand. / follow+up frisA on appellant resulted in the confiscation of two other plastic sachets of white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu, from the right hand pocAet of his shorts. 0mmediately after retrieving the evidence, 45* Bagay marAed the confiscated sachets with his initials LHB. /fter his arrest, the police officers tooA appellant to the police station where he was turned over to the desA officer and to the on+duty investigator. 45* Bagay, who had custody of the confiscated evidence, turned over the seized three ')( plastic sachets of white crystalline substance to the investigator. 45* #anaol and 45* Bagay e>ecuted a Hoint /ffidavit of /rrest and signed the 0nventory of $eized 3rugsM0tem prepared by $45* &esar !utol. The confiscated items were transmitted on the same day by the investigator on+duty, through 45* $alonga, 45* #anaol and 45* Bagay to the 4hilippine ?ational 4olice '4?4( &rime "aboratory for e>amination. / forensic e>amination of the contents of the seized sachets as conducted by 4olice $enior 0nspector '4M$ 0nsp.( "eonard T. /rban, !orensic &hemical 5fficer yielded the following results in &hemistry %eport ?o. 3+21=+-@: $4 &0# ? $8B#0TT 3: Three ')( heat+sealed transparent plastic sachets, each containing white crystalline substance with the following marAings and recorded net weights: / 'H/# + #&$( W -.*, gram B 'LHB O #&$*( W -.*- gram

& 'LHB O #&$,( W -.*7 gram !0?30?6$: Qualitative e>amination conducted on the above+stated specimens gave 45$0T0J result to the tests for #ethylamphetamine Bydrochloride, a dangerous drug.;7<

>pectedly, the defense had an entirely different version, with $embrano testifying on the witness stand. Be narrated that at around *:-- o9clocA in the afternoon of ,2 Huly ,--@E he was buying lumber somewhere along Quirino Bighway in ?ovaliches, Quezon &ity, when a maroon Tamaraw !C stopped in front of him. The occupants thereof, 45* Bagay and 45* #anaol, alighted from the vehicle and arrested him. /fter being arrested, the police officers tooA him to $tation @ whereupon he was required to sign a document. $embrano learned later on that the police officers filed a case against him for violation of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2.. Dhen asAed on the witness stand if he Anew the two police officers, $embrano answered in the affirmative, having met the two since he had been their police asset since ,) /pril ,--). 0n support of his claim, $embrano presented a copy of an 5ath of "oyalty and /gent9s /greement to prove he was indeed a police asset. 5n cross e>amination, however, he testified that the police officers he mentioned were not signatories to the 5ath of "oyalty and /gent9s /greement he presented in court. The %T& found accused+appellant guilty as charged in &riminal &ases ?os. Q+-@+*,=)7- and Q+-@+*,=)7*. Deighing the body of evidence submitted by both parties, the trial court gave little credence to appellant9s unsubstantiated claim that he was a police asset and ascertained that the prosecution established all the elements of illegal sale and illegal possession of a dangerous or prohibited drug. Thus, in its 3ecision dated *@ !ebruary ,--7, the trial court rendered :udgment disposing as follows: DB % !5% , premises considered, :udgment is hereby rendered as follows: a( %e: &riminal &ase ?o. Q+-+@*,=)7-, accused #0&B/ " $ #B%/?5 is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt a 'sic( of a

violation of $ection ., /rticle 00 of %./. ?o. 1*2., and accordingly, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of "0! 0#4%0$5?# ?T and to pay a fine in the amount of !0J B8?3% 3 TB58$/?3 4 $5$ '4.--,---.--( 4 $5$E b( %e: &riminal &ase ?o. Q+-@+*,=)7*, said accused is liAewise found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of $ection **, /rticle 00 of the same /ct and, accordingly, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of TD "J '*,( K /%$ and one '*( 3/K as #0?0#8# to !58%T ? '*@( K /%$ as #/C0#8# and to pay a fine in the amount of TB% B8?3% 3 TB58$/?3 '4)--,---.--( 4 $5$.;=< $eeAing recourse from his conviction by the trial court, the appellant elevated the case to the &ourt of /ppeals via ?otice of /ppeal. 0nsisting on his innocence, the defense questioned the admissibility of the confiscated evidence on the ground of illegality of appellant9s arrest. The defense also attacAed the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, claiming their stories are unbelievable and should have led to the dismissal of the charges. /ccording credence to the evidence of the prosecution, the &ourt of /ppeals promulgated its 3ecision on *= Hune ,--=, where the appellate court affirmed the findings and conclusions of the trial court, but reduced the penalty imposed in the illegal possession case to si> '2( years and one '*( day of prision ma%or as minimum to fourteen '*@( years, eight '=( months and one '*( day of reclusion temporal as ma>imum.;1< /ppellant is now appealing his conviction to this &ourt, as a final recourse, praying that he be absolved of the charges. 0nstead of filing supplemental briefs, the defense and the prosecution adopted the arguments in their respective appellate briefs submitted before the &ourt of /ppeals. Thus, this &ourt is tasAed to resolve the following assignment of errors: 0. TB T%0/" &58%T 6%/J "K %% 3 0? ?5T !0?30?6 TB/T /44 ""/?T D/$ 0"" 6/""K /%% $T 3 /?3 /$ $8&B, TB $/&B T$ 5! $B/B8 /"" 6 3"K % &5J % 3 !%5# B0# D % 0?/3#0$$0B" 0? J03 ?& . 00. TB T%0/" &58%T 6%/J "K %% 3 0? 60J0?6 &% 3 ?& T5 TB 0?&% 30B" T $T0#5?0 $ 5! TB 4%5$ &8T05? D0T? $$ $.

000. TB T%0/" &58%T 6%/J "K %% 3 0? !0?30?6 /44 ""/?T 680"TK B K5?3 % /$5?/B" 358BT 5! TB &%0# &B/%6 3. The defense challenges the %T& and &ourt of /ppeals rulings, anchored on its claim that the warrantless arrest against appellant was unlawful. &onsequently, applying the Vfruit of the poisonous tree9 doctrine, any evidence allegedly obtained during such unlawful warrantless arrest cannot be used as evidence. The defense proffers that the illegal drugs allegedly seized from appellant during the buy+bust operation should have been declared inadmissible. /lleging he is a victim of frame+up by the police officers, appellant attacAs the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. 0n sum, appellant seeAs acquittal on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. &oming from an entirely different perspective, the 5ffice of the $olicitor 6eneral '5$6(, representing the prosecution, disagrees with the aforementioned contentions from the defense side. 0t counters that the sachets of shabu were seized from appellant during a buy+bust operation. Thus, any opposition thereto with respect to its admissibility on the ground that said sachets were seized during an illegal arrest is unfounded. /s for the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the testimony of the poseur+buyer, in particular, was corroborated by the police operatives on material points. De find no merit in the appeal. &onviction is proper in prosecutions involving illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs if the following elements are present: '*( the identity of the buyer and the seller, the ob:ect, and the considerationE and ',( the delivery of the thing sold and the payment thereto.;*-< Dhat is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually tooA place, coupled with the presentation in court of the prohibited or regulated drug.;**< De reiterate the meaning of the term corpus delicti which is the actual commission by someone of the particular crime charged.;*,< Baving weighed the arguments and evidence propounded by the defense and the prosecution, this &ourt is satisfied that the prosecution discharged its burden of establishing all the elements of illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs and proved appellant9s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The collective testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, as well as the

documentary evidence offered in court, provide a detailed picture of the sequence of events leading to the consummation of the transaction, the very moment 45* #anaol received the drug from accused+appellant, the seller. The foregoing is the very corpus delicti of the offense. Dhatever doubt concerning appellant9s culpability is now beyond question after he was caught in a buy+bust operation conducted by the operatives of the ?ovaliches 4olice $tation in the afternoon of ,2 Huly ,--@ along Jillareal $treet. /ppellant was caught in flagrante delicto delivering -.*, gram of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu to 45, #anaol, the poseur+ buyer, for a consideration of 4,--.--. 8pon frisAing after his arrest, another -.,7 gram of methamphetamine hydrochloride were recovered from him. 0t is clear from the evidence on record that the sachet of shabu sold by appellant was marAed by 45, #anaol with his initials, while the other two sachets were marAed by 45* Bagay with his initials. 45* Bagay, who had custody of the seized evidence, brought confiscated three plastic sachets of white crystalline substance to the police station and turned over to the investigator. /t the police station, an 0nventory of $eized 3rugsM0tem was prepared by $45* &esar !utol and signed by 45* #anaol and 45* Bagay. The investigator on duty, to whom the seized evidence were encrusted by 45* Bagay, through 45* $alonga, 45* #anaol and 45* Bagay, turned over the evidence to the 4?4+&rime "aboratory for forensic e>amination on the same day he received the items. 0n a &hemistry %eport released by 4M$ 0nsp. "eonard T. /rban, the white crystalline substance taAen from the three sachets proved positive for shabu. 45* #anaol, the poseur+buyer, positively identified $embrano as the person who sold and handed him the sachet containing white crystalline substance, proven to be shabu.;*)< 5n the legality of the warrantless arrest, De reiterate that appellant was arrested during an entrapment operation where he was caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu. Dhen an arrest is made during an entrapment operation, it is not required that a warrant be secured in line with the provisions of %ule **), $ection .'a( of the %evised %ules of &ourt allowing 4arrantless arrests, to wit: $ection .. /rrest without warrantE when lawful. O / peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: 'a( Dhen, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense.

>>> / buy+bust operation is a form of entrapment which in recent years has been accepted as a valid and effective mode of apprehending drug pushers.;*@< 0f carried out with due regard for constitutional and legal safeguards, a buy+bust operation, such as the one involving appellant, deserves :udicial sanction. &onsequently, the warrantless arrest and warrantless search and seizure conducted on the person of appellant were allowed under the circumstances. The search, incident to his lawful arrest, needed no warrant to sustain its validity.;*.< Thus, there is no doubt that the sachets of shabu recovered during the legitimate buy+ bust operation, are admissible and were properly admitted in evidence against him.;*2< /ppellant9s defenses of denial and frame+up are both self+serving and uncorroborated, and must fail in light of straightforward and positive testimony of poseur+buyer identifying him as the seller of shabu. The twin defenses of denial and frame+up hold little weight vis#5#vis the strong evidence gathered by the prosecution in proving his complicity to the offenses. To recall, 45* #anaol9s testimony was corroborated on material points by 45* Bagay, who identified appellant as the one who handed the sachet of shabu to 45* #anaol after being handed two ',( 5ne Bundred 4eso bills. &ontrary to the defense9s claim, it is not impossible for a buy+bust operation to be conducted in broad daylight, as in the case at bar. !rame+up, liAe denial, is viewed by this &ourt with disfavor for it can easily be concocted.;*7< !inally, in cases involving violations of 3angerous 3rugs /ct, credence should be given to the narration of the incident by the prosecution witnesses especially when they are police officers who are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence to the contrary.;*=< 0n this regard, the defense failed to show any ill motive or odious intent on the part of the police operatives to impute such a serious crime that would put in :eopardy the life and liberty of an innocent person, such as in the case of appellant. 0ncidentally, if these were simply trumped+up charges against him, it remains a question why no administrative charges were brought against the police operatives. #oreover, in weighing the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses vis#5#vis those of the defense, it is a well+settled rule that in the absence of palpable error or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial :udge, the trial court9s evaluation of the credibility of witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal.;*1< 5n the merits of allegations of illegal possession of shabu, De find,

liAewise, against appellant and sustain the findings of the %T& and &ourt of /ppeals. !or illegal possession of regulated or prohibited drugs, the prosecution must establish the following elements: '*( the accused is in possession of an item or ob:ect, which is identified to be a prohibited drugE ',( such possession is not authorized by lawE and ')( the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug.;,-< /ll the aforesaid elements were established. 0ncident to his lawful arrest resulting from the buy+bust operation, appellant was liAewise found to have in his possession -.,7 gram of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, the same Aind of dangerous drug he was caught selling in flagrante delicto. There is nothing on record to show that he had legal authority to possess the same. !inally, this &ourt held in a number of cases, as in People v. 6o7ue, 6.%. ?o. *7.)*1, *. Hanuary ,-*-, citing People v. ee, @@) 4hil. .,*, ..* ',--)(, Vmere possession of a regulated drug per se constitutes prima facie evidence of Anowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory e>planation of such possession O the onus probandi is shifted to the accused, to e>plain the absence of Anowledge or animus possidendi.9 De now determine the imposable penalties. The sale of shabu is punishable under $ection ., /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2., vi3.: %ection ,' *ale, rading, Administration, 'ispensation, 'eliver%, 'istribution and ransportation of 'angerous 'rugs and8or Controlled Precursors and 9ssential Chemicals. + The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from !ive hundred thousand pesos '4.--,---.--( to Ten million pesos '4*-,---,---.--( shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broAer in any of such transactions. > > > 8nder the provisions of said law, the sale of any dangerous drug, e.g. shabu, regardless of its quantity and purity, carries with it the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from !ive Bundred Thousand 4esos '4.--,---.--( to Ten #illion 4esos '4*-,---,---.--(. ;,*< Dith the effectivity, however, of %epublic /ct ?o. 1)@2, otherwise Anown as F/n /ct 4rohibiting the 0mposition of 3eath 4enalty in the 4hilippines,G the imposition of the supreme penalty of death has been

proscribed. 0n this regard, the penalty applicable to $embrano shall only be life imprisonment and fine without eligibility for parole. This &ourt thus sustains the penalty imposed by the %T& and later on affirmed by the &ourt of /ppeals in &riminal &ase ?o. Q8/48)+*G?/' 5n the other hand, illegal possession of dangerous drugs is penalized under $ection **, /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2., to wit: %ection ))' Possession of 'angerous 'rugs. + The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from !ive hundred thousand pesos '4.--,---.--( to Ten million pesos '4*-,---,---.--( shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall possess any dangerous drug in the following quantities, regardless of the degree of purity thereof: > > > 5therwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalties shall be graduated as follows: ')( 0mprisonment of twelve '*,( years and one '*( day to twenty ',-( years and a fine ranging from Three hundred thousand pesos '4)--,---.--( to !our hundred thousand pesos '4@--,---.--(, if the quantities of dangerous drugs are less than five '.( grams of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride, mari:uana resin or mari:uana resin oil, methamphetamine hydrochloride or IshabuI, or other dangerous drugs such as, but not limited to, #3#/ or IecstasyI, 4#/, T#/, "$3, 6BB, and those similarly designed or newly introduced drugs and their derivatives, without having any therapeutic value or if the quantity possessed is far beyond therapeutic requirementsE or less than three hundred ')--( grams of mari:uana > > >. The foregoing provision specifically states that illegal possession of less than five '.( grams of said dangerous drug is penalized with imprisonment of t4elve (1/) %ears and one (1) da% to t4ent% (/)) %ears and a fine ranging from hree 1undred housand Pesos (P()),))).))) to :our 1undred housand Pesos (P;)),))).))).;,,< The evidence adduced by the prosecution in &riminal &ase ?o. Q+-@+*,=)7* established beyond reasonable doubt that appellant, without /pplying the 0ndeterminate $entence "aw, the minimum period of the imposable penalty shall not fall below the minimum period set by the lawE the ma>imum period shall not e>ceed the ma>imum period allowed under the law. TaAing the foregoing into consideration, De find that the

&ourt of /ppeals erred in imposing the penalty of Three Bundred Thousand 4esos '4)--,---.--( fine and imprisonment of si> '2( years and one '*( day to eight '=( years only. Thus, the penalty of twelve '*,( years and one '*( day to fourteen '*@( years and fine of Three Bundred Thousand 4esos '4)--,---.--( imposed by the %T& is proper. "#EREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the *= Hune ,--= 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals in &/+6.%. B& ?o. -,72,, finding appellant &IC#AEL %E&BRA$O . CA%TRO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of dangerous drugs is AFFIR&ED with &ODIFICATIO$%. /s modified, appellant is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve '*,( years and one '*( day, as minimum, to fourteen '*@( years, as ma>imum, and to pay a fine of Three Bundred Thousand 4esos '4)--,---.--( in &riminal &ase ?o. Q+-@+*,=)7*, for illegal possession of dangerous drugs under $ection **, of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2.. The penalties imposed in &riminal &ase ?o. Q8/48)+*G?/, for illegal sale of dangerous drugs under $ection *., of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2., is sustained. %O ORDERED'

('R' $o' )*3,+2

August G, +/)/

PEOPLE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, /ppellee, vs. 1AC9 RAC#O . RAQUERO, /ppellant. 3 &0$05? $AC#URA, J.: * 5n appeal is the &ourt of /ppeals '&/( 3ecision dated #ay ,,, ,--= , in &/+6.%. &%+B.&. ?o. --@,. affirming the %egional Trial &ourt ) '%T&( Hoint 3ecision dated Huly =, ,--@ finding appellant HacA %acho y %aquero guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Jiolation of $ection ., /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct '%./.( ?o. 1*2.. The case stemmed from the following facts: 5n #ay *1, ,--), a confidential agent of the police transacted through

cellular phone with appellant for the purchase of shabu. The agent later reported the transaction to the police authorities who immediately formed a team composed of member of the 4hilippine 3rug nforcement /gency '43 /(, the 0ntelligence group of the 4hilippine @ /rmy and the local police force to apprehend the appellant. The agent gave the police appellant9s name, together with his physical description. Be also assured them that appellant would arrive in Baler, /urora the following day. 5n #ay ,-, ,--), at **:-- a.m., appellant called up the agent and informed him that he was on board a 6enesis bus and would arrive in Baler, /urora, anytime of the day wearing a red and white striped T+shirt. The team members then posted themselves along the national highway in Baler, /urora. /t around ):-- p.m. of the same day, a 6enesis bus arrived in Baler. Dhen appellant alighted from the bus, the confidential agent pointed to him as the person he transacted with earlier. Baving alighted from the bus, appellant stood near the highway and waited for a tricycle that would bring him to his final destination. /s appellant was about to board a tricycle, the team approached him and invited him to the police station on suspicion of carrying shabu. /ppellant immediately denied the accusation, but as he pulled out his hands from his pants9 pocAet, a white envelope slipped therefrom which, when opened, . yielded a small sachet containing the suspected drug. The team then brought appellant to the police station for investigation. The confiscated specimen was turned over to 4olice 0nspector %ogelio $arenas 3e Jera who marAed it with his initials and with appellant9s name. The field test and laboratory e>aminations on the contents of the confiscated sachet yielded positive results for methamphetamine 2 hydrochloride. /ppellant was charged in two separate 0nformations, one for violation of $ection . of %./. 1*2., for transporting or deliveringE and the second, of $ection ** of the same law for possessing, dangerous drugs, the accusatory portions of which read: IThat at about ):-- o9clocA 'sic( in the afternoon on #ay ,-, ,--) in Baler, /urora and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the said accused, did then and there, unlawfully, feloniously and willfully have in his possession five point zero one '..-*( ;or @..@< grams of #ethamphetamine Bydrochloride commonly Anown as I$habuI, a regulated drug without any permit or license from the proper authorities to possess the same.

&5?T%/%K T5 "/D.I

IThat at about ):-- o9clocA 'sic( in the afternoon on #ay ,-, ,--) in Baler, /urora, the said accused did then and there, unlawfully, feloniously and willfully transporting or delivering dangerous drug of ..-* ;or @..@< grams of shabu without any permit or license from the proper authorities to transport the same. &5?T%/%K T5 "/D.I =

3uring the arraignment, appellant pleaded I?ot 6uiltyI to both charges. /t the trial, appellant denied liability and claimed that he went to Baler, /urora to visit his brother to inform him about their ailing father. Be maintained that the charges against him were false and that no shabu was taAen from him. /s to the circumstances of his arrest, he e>plained that the police officers, through their van, blocAed the tricycle he was riding inE forced him to alightE brought him to $ea Breeze "odgeE stripped his clothes and underwearE then brought him to the police 1 station for investigation. *5n Huly =, ,--@, the %T& rendered a Hoint Hudgment convicting appellant of Jiolation of $ection ., /rticle 00, %./. 1*2. and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of 4.--,---.--E but acquitted him of the charge of Jiolation of $ection **, ** /rticle 00, %./. 1*2.. 5n appeal, the &/ affirmed the %T& decision. Bence, the present appeal. *, 0n his brief, appellant attacAs the credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution. Be liAewise avers that the prosecution failed to establish the identity of the confiscated drug because of the team9s failure to marA the specimen immediately after seizure. 0n his supplemental brief, appellant assails, for the first time, the legality of his arrest and the validity of the subsequent warrantless search. Be questions the admissibility of the confiscated sachet on the ground that it was the fruit of the poisonous tree. The appeal is meritorious. De have repeatedly held that the trial court9s evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is entitled to great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. Bowever, this is not a hard and fast rule. De

have reviewed such factual findings when there is a showing that the trial :udge overlooAed, misunderstood, or misapplied some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that would have affected the *) case. /ppellant focuses his appeal on the validity of his arrest and the search and seizure of the sachet of shabu and, consequently, the admissibility of the sachet. 0t is noteworthy that although the circumstances of his arrest were briefly discussed by the %T&, the validity of the arrest and search and the admissibility of the evidence against appellant were not squarely raised by the latter and thus, were not ruled upon by the trial and appellate courts. 0t is well+settled that an appeal in a criminal case opens the whole case for review.1avvphi1 This &ourt is clothed with ample authority to review matters, even those not raised on appeal, if we find them necessary in arriving at a :ust disposition of the case. very circumstance in favor of the accused shall be considered. This is in Aeeping with the constitutional mandate that every accused shall be presumed innocent *@ unless his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. /fter a thorough review of the records of the case and for reasons that will be discussed below, we find that appellant can no longer question the validity of his arrest, but the sachet of shabu seized from him during the warrantless search is inadmissible in evidence against him. The records show that appellant never ob:ected to the irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. 0n fact, this is the first time that he raises the issue. &onsidering this lapse, coupled with his active participation in the trial of the case, we must abide with :urisprudence which dictates that appellant, having voluntarily submitted to the :urisdiction of the trial court, is deemed to have waived his right to question the validity of his arrest, thus curing whatever defect may have attended his arrest. The legality of the arrest affects only the :urisdiction of the court over his person. /ppellant9s warrantless arrest therefore cannot, in itself, be the *. basis of his acquittal. /s to the admissibility of the seized drug in evidence, it is necessary for us to ascertain whether or not the search which yielded the alleged *2 contraband was lawful. The *1=7 &onstitution states that a search and consequent seizure must be carried out with a :udicial warrantE otherwise, it becomes

unreasonable

therefrom shall be *7 inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. $aid proscription, however, admits of e>ceptions, namely: *. Darrantless search incidental to a lawful arrestE ,. $earch of evidence in Iplain viewEI ). $earch of a moving vehicleE @. &onsented warrantless searchE .. &ustoms searchE 2. $top and !risAE and 7. >igent and emergency circumstances. *=

and

any

evidence

obtained

Dhat constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable warrantless search or seizure is purely a :udicial question, determinable from the uniqueness of the circumstances involved, including the purpose of the search or seizure, the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the search and seizure was made, the place or thing searched, *1 and the character of the articles procured. The %T& concluded that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto, declaring that he was caught in the act of actually committing a crime or attempting to commit a crime in the presence of the apprehending officers as he arrived in Baler, /urora bringing with him a sachet of ,shabu. &onsequently, the warrantless search was considered valid as it was deemed an incident to the lawful arrest. %ecent :urisprudence holds that in searches incident to a lawful arrest, the arrest must precede the searchE generally, the process cannot be reversed. ?evertheless, a search substantially contemporaneous with an arrest can precede the arrest if the police have probable cause to ,* maAe the arrest at the outset of the search. Thus, given the factual milieu of the case, we have to determine whether the police officers had probable cause to arrest appellant. /lthough probable cause eludes e>act and concrete definition, it ordinarily signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that the person ,, accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. The determination of the e>istence or absence of probable cause

necessitates a ree>amination of the established facts. 5n #ay *1, ,--), a confidential agent of the police transacted through cellular phone with appellant for the purchase of shabu. The agent reported the transaction to the police authorities who immediately formed a team to apprehend the appellant. 5n #ay ,-, ,--), at **:-- a.m., appellant called up the agent with the information that he was on board a 6enesis bus and would arrive in Baler, /urora anytime of the day wearing a red and white striped T+shirt. The team members posted themselves along the national highway in Baler, /urora, and at around ):-- p.m. of the same day, a 6enesis bus arrived in Baler. Dhen appellant alighted from the bus, the confidential agent pointed to him as the person he transacted with, and when the latter was about to board a tricycle, the team approached him and invited him to the police station as he was suspected of carrying shabu. Dhen he pulled out his hands from his pants9 pocAet, a white envelope slipped therefrom which, when opened, yielded a small sachet ,) containing the suspected drug. The team then brought appellant to the police station for investigation and the confiscated specimen was marAed in the presence of appellant. The field test and laboratory e>aminations on the contents of the confiscated sachet yielded positive results for methamphetamine hydrochloride. &learly, what prompted the police to apprehend appellant, even without a warrant, was the tip given by the informant that appellant would arrive in Baler, /urora carrying shabu. This circumstance gives rise to another question: whether that information, by itself, is sufficient probable cause to effect a valid warrantless arrest. The long standing rule in this :urisdiction is that Ireliable informationI alone is not sufficient to :ustify a warrantless arrest. The rule requires, in addition, that the accused perform some overt act that would indicate that he has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit ,@ an offense. De find no cogent reason to depart from this well+ established doctrine. The instant case is similar to 4eople v. /ruta, ,7 4eople v. ?uevas. ,. 4eople v. Tudtud, ,2 and

"iner Bus stopped in front of the 4?B building where two females and a man got off. The informant then pointed to the team members the woman, I/ling %osa,I who was then carrying a traveling bag. Thereafter, the team approached her and introduced themselves. Dhen asAed about the contents of her bag, she handed it to the apprehending officers. 8pon inspection, the bag was found to contain dried mari:uana ,= leaves. The facts in 4eople v. Tudtud show that in Huly and /ugust, *111, the Toril 4olice $tation, 3avao &ity, received a report from a civilian asset that the neighbors of a certain ?oel Tudtud 'Tudtud( were complaining that the latter was responsible for the proliferation of mari:uana in the area. %eacting to the report, the 0ntelligence $ection conducted surveillance. !or five days, they gathered information and learned that Tudtud was involved in illegal drugs. 5n /ugust *, *111, the civilian asset informed the police that Tudtud had headed to &otabato and would be bacA later that day with a new stocA of mari:uana. /t around @:-- p.m. that same day, a team of police officers posted themselves to await Tudtud9s arrival. /t =:-- p.m., two men disembarAed from a bus and helped each other carry a carton. The police officers approached the suspects and asAed if they could see the contents of the bo> which ,1 yielded mari:uana leaves. 0n 4eople v. ?uevas, the police officers received information that a certain male person, more or less .9@I in height, ,. to )- years old, with a tattoo marA on the upper right hand, and usually wearing a sando and maong pants, would maAe a delivery of mari:uana leaves. Dhile conducting stationary surveillance and monitoring of illegal drug trafficAing, they saw the accused who fit the description, carrying a plastic bag. The police accosted the accused and informed him that they were police officers. 8pon inspection of the plastic bag carried by the accused, the bag contained mari:uana dried leaves and bricAs wrapped in a blue cloth. 0n his bid to escape charges, the accused disclosed where two other male persons would maAe a delivery of mari:uana leaves. 8pon seeing the two male persons, later identified as %eynaldo 3in and !ernando 0nocencio, the police approached them, introduced themselves as police officers, then inspected the bag they were carrying. 8pon inspection, the contents of the bag turned out to be )mari:uana leaves. 0n all of these cases, we refused to validate the warrantless search precisely because there was no adequate probable cause. De required

0n 4eople v. /ruta, a police officer was tipped off by his informant that a certain I/ling %osaI would be arriving from Baguio &ity the following day with a large volume of mari:uana. /cting on said tip, the police assembled a team and deployed themselves near the 4hilippine ?ational BanA '4?B( in 5longapo &ity. Dhile thus positioned, a Jictory

the showing of some overt act indicative of the criminal design. /s in the above cases, appellant herein was not committing a crime in the presence of the police officers. ?either did the arresting officers have personal Anowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested had committed, was committing, or about to commit an offense. /t the time of the arrest, appellant had :ust alighted from the 6emini bus and was waiting for a tricycle. /ppellant was not acting in any suspicious manner that would engender a reasonable ground for the police officers to suspect and conclude that he was committing or intending to commit a crime. Dere it not for the information given by the informant, appellant would not have been apprehended and no search would have been made, and consequently, the sachet of shabu would not have been confiscated. De are not unaware of another set of :urisprudence that deems Ireliable informationI sufficient to :ustify a search incident to a lawful warrantless arrest. /s cited in 4eople v. Tudtud, these include 4eople v. )* ), )) #aspil, Hr., 4eople v. Bagista, 4eople v. Balingan, 4eople v. )@ ). )2 "ising, 4eople v. #ontilla, 4eople v. Jaldez, and 4eople v. )7 6onzales. 0n these cases, the &ourt sustained the validity of the warrantless searches notwithstanding the absence of overt acts or suspicious circumstances that would indicate that the accused had committed, was actually committing, or attempting to commit a crime. But as aptly observed by the &ourt, e>cept in Jaldez and 6onzales, they were covered by the other e>ceptions to the rule against warrantless )= searches. ?either were the arresting officers impelled by any urgency that would allow them to do away with the requisite warrant. /s testified to by 4olice 5fficer * /urelio 0niwan, a member of the arresting team, their office received the Itipped informationI on #ay *1, ,--). They liAewise learned from the informant not only the appellant9s physical description but also his name. /lthough it was not certain that appellant would arrive on the same day '#ay *1(, there was an assurance that he would be there the following day '#ay ,-(. &learly, the police had ample )1 opportunity to apply for a warrant. 5bviously, this is an instance of seizure of the Ifruit of the poisonous tree,I hence, the confiscated item is inadmissible in evidence consonant with /rticle 000, $ection )',( of the *1=7 &onstitution, Iany evidence

obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.I Dithout the confiscated shabu, appellant9s conviction cannot be sustained based on the remaining evidence. Thus, an acquittal is warranted, despite the waiver of appellant of his right to question the illegality of his arrest by entering a plea and his active participation in the trial of the case. /s earlier mentioned, the legality of an arrest affects only the :urisdiction of the court over the person of the accused. / waiver of an illegal, warrantless arrest does not carry with it a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence seized during an illegal warrantless @arrest. 5ne final note. /s clearly stated in 4eople v. ?uevas, @*

> > > 0n the final analysis, we in the administration of :ustice would have no right to e>pect ordinary people to be law+abiding if we do not insist on the full protection of their rights. $ome lawmen, prosecutors and :udges may still tend to gloss over an illegal search and seizure as long as the law enforcers show the alleged evidence of the crime regardless of the methods by which they were obtained. This Aind of attitude condones law+breaAing in the name of law enforcement. 0ronically, it only fosters the more rapid breaAdown of our system of :ustice, and the eventual denigration of society. Dhile this &ourt appreciates and encourages the efforts of law enforcers to uphold the law and to preserve the peace and security of society, we nevertheless admonish them to act with deliberate care and within the parameters set by the &onstitution and @, the law. Truly, the end never :ustifies the means. DB % !5% , premises considered, the &ourt of /ppeals 3ecision dated #ay ,,, ,--= in &/+6.%. &%+B.&. ?o. --@,. is % J %$ 3 and $ T /$03 . /ppellant HacA %aquero %acho is /&Q80TT 3 for insufficiency of evidence. The 3irector of the Bureau of &orrections is directed to cause the immediate release of appellant, unless the latter is being lawfully held for another causeE and to inform the &ourt of the date of his release, or the reasons for his confinement, within ten '*-( days from notice. ?o costs. $5 5%3 % 3.

PEOPLE 0% BI6OC DECI%IO$ CARPIO &ORALE%, J.A The !ebruary ,=, ,--. 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals;*< which affirmed that of the %egional Trial &ourt, Branch 72 of $an #ateo, %izal;,< convicting appellant %odolfo Biyoc y Denceslao for qualified rape is on final review before this &ourt. The accusatory portion of the 0nformation charging appellant with qualified rape reads: th That on or about the . day of 3ecember, ,---, in the #unicipality of $an #ateo, 4rovince of %izal, 4hilippines and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the above+named accused, having moral ascendancy over the complainant, ;///<,;)< the latter being his daughter by means of force, coercion and intimidation, with lewd design and with intent to cause, gratify his se>ual desire or abuse and maltreat complainant ;///<, a minor, ** years old, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have se>ual intercourse with said complainant against her will and without her consent which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of said child as a human being. &ontrary to law.;@< '8nderscoring supplied( !rom the evidence for the prosecution, the following version is culled: /t four in the afternoon of 3ecember ., ,---, private complainant /// was in a room on the second floor of the family house at ?awasa 4ipeline, 6uitnagbayan 0, $an #ateo, %izal taAing care of her one+year+ old sister. Ber father, herein appellant, entered the room and touched her genitals, after which he told her to lie down on the floor. 5vercome by fear, /// did lie down on the floor as told. /ppellant at once pulled her short pants down and touched her genitals again, after which he went on top of her and tried to insert his penis into her vagina. /ppellant was not able to fully penetrate ///9s vagina, however, as her elder sister BBB went up the second floor and saw appellant sitting in front of /// who was lying down, face up. /ppellant immediately warned BBB not to tell their mother about what she :ust saw.;.< /fter BBB left, appellant inserted his penis inside ///9s vagina.

BBB lost no time to report that same day to her mother &&&, live+in partner of appellant, what she saw.;2< &&& thus immediately confronted /// who did confirm that appellant had inserted his penis inside her vagina that afternoon, and that appellant had been doing the same act to her since she was nine years old. 0ncensed, &&& accompanied /// the following day, 3ecember 2, ,---, to the 3epartment of $ocial Delfare and 3evelopment '3$D3( to report the incident.;7< !rom the 3$D3, /// and her mother, accompanied by a social worAer, proceeded to the police station of $an #ateo, %izal where they lodged a complaint against appellant. /t the police station, /// and &&& were interviewed by 45* !lorescita $. Havier. 45* Havier, together with /// and &&& thereafter proceeded to the family home, and on their way, they met appellant. 45* Havier at once informed him of his rights, arrested him, and brought him to the police station.;=< ///9s and &&&9s statements were thereupon taAen.;1< 5n the same day, 3ecember 2, ,---, /// was e>amined by 3r. Dinston Tan, a medico+legal officer at &amp &rame, Quezon &ity. The e>amination revealed the following findings: !0?30?6$: 6 ? %/" /?3 CT%/6 ?0T/": 4BK$0&/" B80"T: # ?T/" $T/T8$: B% /$T: /B35# ?: 4BK$0&/" 0?H8%0 $: form of trauma 6 ?0T/": 48B"0& B/0%: "/B0/ #/H5%/: "/B0/ #0?5%/: "anugo+type growth !ull, conve> and coaptated 4inAish brown "ight built &oherent female child 8ndeveloped !lat and soft ?o e>ternal signs of application of any

BK# ?: laceration at 7 o9clocA position 45$T %050% !58%&B TT : $harp CT %?/" J/60?/" 5%0!0& : J/60?/" &/?/": & %J0C:

4resence of deep healed

DB % !5% , premises considered, :udgment is hereby rendered finding accused %odolfo Biyoc y Denceslao 680"TK B K5?3 % /$5?/B" 358BT of the crime of %ape 'Jiolation of par. * 'd(, /rt. th ,22+/ in relation to /rt. ,22+B 2 par., '*( of the %evised 4enal &ode, as amended by %./. =).) and further in relation to $ec. . ':( of %./. =)21( and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of 3 /TB, and to indemnify the private complainant ;///< in the amount of 47.,---.-and 4.-,---.-- as moral damages and to pay the costs. $5 5%3 % 3.;*,< '8nderscoring supplied( 0n his Brief,;*)< appellant raised only one assignment of error X FTB T%0/" &58%T 6%/J "K %% 3 0? &5?J0&T0?6 TB /&&8$ 3+ /44 ""/?T !5% TB &%0# 5! %/4 ,G;*@< in support of which, he argued that: *. The trial court disregarded the fact that the prosecution failed to establish the e>act age of the victim and her relationship to the accused. ;*.< ,. The trial court did not give weight and credence to the accused9s testimony thereby depriving him of the presumption of innocence.;*2< ). The trial court did not meet the test of moral certainty required for the conviction of the accused.;*7< @. The trial court failed to consider the fact that the accused9s arrest was legally ob:ectionable.;*=< '8nderscoring supplied( 0n his $upplemental Brief which was received by the &ourt on ?ovember *-, ,--., appellant raised additional assignments of error which may be summarized as follows: *. The trial court erred in appreciating ///9s testimony that she had long been se>ually molested by appellant, it being hearsay and, in any event, no criminal charges were filed therefor, and ,. The findings in the medico+legal report did not support the claim of the prosecution that /// was raped on 3ecember ., ,---.;*1< /ppellant contends that the prosecution was unable to prove the age of /// in accordance with the guidelines laid down by this &ourt in People v. Pruna, vi3:

4 %08% TB%/" /?3 J/60?/" $# /%$: spermatozoa and for gram+negative diplococci. &5?&"8$05?:

$E(ATI0E

for

$ub:ect is in non8virgin state physically.

There are no eHternal signs ;sic< of application of any form of physical trauma.;*-< ' mphasis and underscoring supplied( 8pon the other hand, appellant gave the following version: 0n the afternoon of 3ecember ., ,---, appellant slept on the second floor of their house with his common+law wife &&&, ///, and two other younger children. 5n waAing up at four, &&& and one of the younger children were gone, leaving /// and a younger sister whom she was taAing care of. /t five p.m., BBB arrived. /ppellant and BBB had an altercation over her and her husband being unemployed and their continued stay in the family house, causing financial difficulties to the family. BBB had thus a grudge against him on account of which he surmised that she gave a false report to her mother. /ppellant added that &&& and /// filed the charge against him because he was :obless, and constantly inebriated and when in that state, he would quarrel with &&& and scold his children. /ppellant finally proffered that even if he was aware of the gravity of the offense lodged against him, he made no attempt to escape which is indicative of his innocence.;**< By 3ecision dated Hune *=, ,--,, the trial court found appellant guilty, disposing as follows:

0n order to remove any confusion that may be engendered by the foregoing cases, we hereby set the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance. *. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party. ,. 0n the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age. ). I the certi icate o live -irth or authentic docu=ent is sho!n to have -een lost or destro.ed or other!ise unavaila-le, the testi=on., i clear and credi-le, o the victi=Is =other or a =e=-er o the a=il. either -. a init. or consanguinit. !ho is >uali ied to testi . on =atters res<ecting <edigree such as the eHact age or date o -irth o the o ended <art. <ursuant to %ection 4/, Rule )G/ o the Rules on Evidence shall -e su icient under the ollo!ing circu=stancesA a. 0f the victim is alleged to be below ) years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years oldE b. 0f the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than *, years oldE c. 0f the victim is alleged to be below *, years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than *= years old. @. 0n the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victimSs mother or relatives concerning the victimSs age, the complainantSs testimony will suffice provided that it is e>pressly and clearly admitted by the accused. .. 0t is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure of the accused to ob:ect to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taAen against him. 2. The trial court should always maAe a categorical finding as to the age of the victim. ;,-< ' mphasis and underscoring supplied( !rom the accusatory portion of the information quoted above, /// was alleged to be ** years old at the time of the alleged rape. The certificate of live birth or similar authentic documents were not presented. There is no showing that the prosecution claimed that the said documents had been lost, destroyed or were otherwise unavailable, hence, &&&9s

testifying on ///9s age does not suffice to prove that /// was below the age of *,. $ince age was not adequately proven, it cannot be used to qualify the offense of rape in this case. /s for appellant9s relationship to ///, contrary to his claim that it was not proven, he himself admitted in open court that she is his daughter. /TTK. 6/%0""5: Q. /. Q. /. Q. /. Q. /. Q. /. Q /. Q. /. >>>> #r. Biyoc, where did you reside on 3ecember ., ,---N /t ?awasa 4ipeline, sir. Dith whom were you residing in that placeN #y family sir. Dhat is the name of your wifeN ;&&&<, sir. Kou have sons and daughtersN Kes, sir. Bow many are theyN ?ine '1( sir. Dhat is the name of your eldestN BBB and ;333< because they are twins, sir. Dho is your secondN ; <, CAAAE, ;!!!<, ;666<, ;BBB< and ;000<, sir.

Q. /nd who were with you at the second floor at the time you slept at *:)-N A' Q' &. !i e and =. children, sir' "ho a=ong .our childrenD

4arental punishment is not a good reason for a daughter to falsely accuse her father of rape. !ilipino childrenSs reverence and respect for elders is too deeply ingrained in !ilipino children and families. Thus, it would taAe depravity for a young daughter to concoct such a story of defloration against her own father unless she had really been aggrieved. $imilarly, the imputation by &/$T%5 of ill+motive on the part of his wife and mother+in+law does not persuade us. 0t is unnatural for a parent, more so for a mother, to use her offspring as an engine of malice especially if it will sub:ect her child to the humiliation, disgrace and even stigma attendant to a prosecution for rape, if she were not motivated solely by the desire to incarcerate the person responsible for her childSs defilement.;,)< '8nderscoring supplied( /s for appellant9s argument that Fthe trial court disregarded the fact that no one actually saw appellant abusing ;///<,G;,@< the same does not persuade. This &ourt has consistently pronounced that the lone testimony of the victim in a prosecution for rape, if credible, suffices to sustain a verdict of conviction,;,.< . . . the rationale being that owing to the nature of the offense, the only evidence that can oftentimes be adduced to establish the guilt of the accused is the offended partySs testimony 'People v. 2or, "+@7@@-+@,, $eptember *,, *1=@, *), $&%/ @*(. Bence, if the testimony of the offended party is not improbable, a defendant may be convicted on the lone testimony of the victim.;,2< 5n appellant9s not fleeing after his indictment, he needs only to be reminded that . . . non+flight by itself does not necessarily indicate a clear conscience. 0t is true that in a good number of cases, flight of the accused has been taAen as an admission of guilt. Bowever, as held in an equally good number of cases, the non+flight of the accused per se is not proof, much less a conclusive one, of the accused9s innocenceY;,7< %especting the trial court9s crediting of ///9s testimony that she had long been se>ually molested by appellant which testimony appellant alleges is hearsay, the same is mere obiter dictum. 0t neither augments nor denigrates the trial court9s finding that appellant raped /// beyond reasonable doubt on 3ecember ., ,---. 5n the alleged inconsistency, attention to which appellant draws, between ///9s claim that appellant had successfully inserted his penis

A' &. t!o J+K .oungest children, CAAAE and =. !i e, sir' ;,*< ' mphasis supplied( /dmission in open court of relationship has been held to be Fsufficient and hence conclusive . . . to prove relationship with the victim.G;,,< %especting appellant9s claim that his testimony was not credited to thereby deprive him of the presumption of innocence, the same fails. /ppellant9s attribution of the filing of the case to his having berated ///9s sister BBB is too shallow to merit credence. ven assuming that BBB nursed a grudge against him and that &&& was partly responsible in filing the case, it is contrary to the caring and protective instincts of a daughter and a wife to sub:ect a younger sister and daughter, respectively, to the rigors of a trial for rape. But even if the two have the unimaginable capacity to sub:ect /// to an ordeal as a trial for rape, it would be difficult to even imagine how ///, a child of tender years, would sub:ect herself to the psychological stress and humiliation of pursuing the case. #ore so when the case is against her own father, even if he often scolded her and her siblings. Thus, in a similar case, this &ourt held: ?o woman would openly admit that she was raped and consequently sub:ect herself to an e>amination of her private parts, undergo the trauma and humiliation of a public trial and embarrass herself with the need to narrate in detail how she was raped unless she was in fact raped. This is especially true when the accusing words are directed against a close relative, especially the father, as in this case. / young unmarried lass does not ordinarily file a rape complaint against anybody, much less her own father, if it is not true. >>>>

into her vagina and another claim that he was only able to slightly insert it due to BBB9s arrival, appellant loses sight of the fact that there were two instances on the same occasion in which he was alleged to have inserted his penis X before and after BBB9s arrival. QA And .ou !ere asLed this >uestion, and I !ill >uoteA Mand <anghahala. ni.a sa i.o Laha<on <etsa , ng Dis.e=-re hu=igit Lu=ulang alas 4A// ng ha<on, nai<asoL -a ni.ang =uli ang Lan.ang ari sa i.ong ariN, and .our ans!er is liLe this' MO<o, Mnai<asoL na <o ni.a ng Launti ang Lan.ang ari sa aLing ari, hindi lang <o ito naitulo. dahil -igla <ong du=ating ang aLing Ate CBBBE La.at -igla na <o si.ang tu=a.o,CNE is that .our ans!er to the >uestionD AA 6es, sir'

ng Launti and Lan.ang ari, hindi lang <o ito naitulo. dahil -igla <ong du=ating ang aLing Ate CBBBE La.at -igla na<o si.ang tu=a.oD AA PagLata<os lu=a-as ng Ate CBBBE Lo, i<inag<atulo. <o ni.a and Lan.ang ginaga!a, sir' Q: Kou did not mention that fact in your statement, #s. Ditness, and not in any part of your statement which you narrated to the police officersN /: Q: /: Kes, sir, 0 did not mention it. DhyN 0t was not asAed of me 'hindi po itinanong sa aAin(, sir. >>>> QA And .ou clai=ed that a ter .our Ate CBBBE !ent do!n and a ter .our Ate CBBBE had seen .ou and .our ather u<stairs, .our ather still continued ra<ing .ouD /: Kes, sir. Q: /nd it tooA your father quite some time before he was finished raping youN /: Kes, sir. > > > >;,=< ' mphasis and underscoring supplied(

QA %o, .ou are telling =e that .our ather !as not a-le to insert his <rivate <art into .ours -ecause o the arrival o .our Ate CBBBED AA Q: /: 6es, sir' Dhen your /te ;BBB< arrived, was your father still naAed or notN ?o, more sir.

Q: $o, you are telling us that your father had dressed up at the time your /te ;BBB< arrivedN /: Be was not naAed because he :ust put out his penis 'hindi po naAahubad dahil inilabas lang niya ang Aanyang ari(, sir. Q: But you were naAedN

Thus, by ///9s account, appellant at first F naipaso$ . . . po ni%a $aunti G his penis inside her vagina Fhindi lang . . . ito naitulo%G due to the arrival of BBB, but that after BBB left, he successfully inserted his penis inside her vagina. %especting the alleged inconsistency, attention to which appellant liAewise draws, between ///9s testimony that he was able to successfully insert his penis inside her vagina to thus cause her pain, and the medico+legal e>pert9s testimony, vi3: Q: /side from that mere touching, are there any other circumstance or circumstances wherein you cannot determine contusion, abrasion and hematoma for that matterN /: 4ossible that the act was not consummated.,;,1< '8nderscoring supplied(

/: 5nly my shorts were removed 'shorts lang po and naAatanggal sa aAin(, sir. Q: /: Kour shorts was totally taAen out of your bodyN 0t was lowered up to my Anees, sir.

QA %o, it is not true that .our ather !as still on to< o .our JsicK or >uiet so=e ti=e -ecause as .ou clai=ed, Mnai<asoL na <o ni.a

the same does not dent his guilt. The #edico+legal officer9s finding that F;t<here is no e>ternal signs ;sic< of application of any form of physical traumaG 'underscoring supplied( and his above+quoted testimony about the possibility that the act was not consummated do not rule out the commission of rape. !or mere penetration of the labia by the penis is enough to consummate rape.;)-< 0n another vein, appellant claims that his arrest was illegal because a Fwarrantless arrest was effected even before the statement of the private complainant was taAen.G;)*< 5b:ections to the legality of arrests must, however, be made prior to the entry of plea at arraignmentE otherwise, they are considered waived.;),< De have also ruled that an accused may be estopped from assailing the illegality of his arrest if he fails to move for the quashing of the information against him before his arraignment. /nd since the legality of an arrest affects only the :urisdiction of the court over the <erson of the accused, any defect in his arrest may be deemed cured when he voluntarily submitted to the :urisdiction of the trial court as what was done by the appellants in the instant case. ?ot only did they enter their pleas during arraignment, but they also actively participated during the trial which constitutes a waiver of any irregularity in their arrest.;))< ' mphasis and underscoring supplied( 0n the present case, appellant failed to question the illegality of his arrest before entering his plea, hence, he is deemed to have waived the same. 0n fine, appellant is guilty of $imple %ape, aggravated by relationship. ;)@< "#EREFORE, the decision of the &ourt of /ppeals is AFFIR&ED !ith &ODIFICATIO$. /ppellant, %odolfo Biyoc Denceslao, is 680"TK beyond reasonable doubt of $imple %ape under par.* 'a(, /rt. ,22+/ in relation to par. *, /rt. ,22+B of the %evised 4enal &ode and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, to pay private complainant /// the amounts of 4.-,--- in civil indemnity, 4.-,--- in moral damages and 4,.,--- in e>emplary damages, and to pay the costs. $5 5%3 % 3.

of 4).-,---.--. 0.

5n ,2 Hune ,--), petitioner was charged with violation of $ection **, 7 par. ,',( of %./. ?o. 1*2. in an 0nformation which reads: That on or about the *7th day of #arch ,--), in the #unicipality of /ringay, 4rovince of "a 8nion, 4hilippines and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the above+named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, control and custody dried mari:uana leaves wrapped in a cellophane and newspaper page, weighing more or less twenty+five ',.( grams, without first securing the necessary permit, license or prescription from the proper government agency. = &5?T%/%K T5 "/D. 5n arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued with the prosecution presenting the three ')( barangay tanods of $an Benito ?orte, /ringay, "a 8nion namely, %ogelio Bautista 'Bautista(, ?estor /ratas '/ratas( and duardo 5rdoRo '5rdoRo(, who arrested petitioner. Bautista testified that at around =:-- to =:)- p.m. of *7 #arch ,--), he was conducting the routine patrol along the ?ational Bighway in Barangay $an Benito ?orte, /ringay, "a 8nion together with /ratas and 5rdoRo when they noticed petitioner, lugging a bag, alight from a mini+ bus. The tanods observed that petitioner, who appeared suspicious to them, seemed to be looAing for something. They thus approached him but the latter purportedly attempted to run away. They chased him, put him under arrest and thereafter brought him to the house of Barangay &aptain 5rencio #ercado '#ercado( where he, as averred by Bautista, was ordered by #ercado to open his bag. 4etitioner9s bag allegedly contained a pair of denim pants, eighteen pieces of eggplant and dried mari:uana leaves wrapped in newspaper and cellophane. 0t was then 1 that petitioner was taAen to the police station for further investigation. /ratas and 5rdoRo corroborated Bautista9s testimony on most material points. 5n cross+e>amination, however, /ratas admitted that he himself brought out the contents of petitioner9s bag before petitioner was taAen *to the house of #ercado. ?onetheless, he claimed that at #ercado9s house, it was petitioner himself who brought out the contents of his bag

('R' $o' )?/)*/

$ove=-er +G, +//? 4etitioner,

AR%E$IO 0ER(ARA 0ALDE7, vs. PEOPLE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, %espondent. 3 &0$05? TI$(A, J.:

The sacred right against an arrest, search or seizure without valid warrant is not only ancient. 0t is also zealously safeguarded. The &onstitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches * and seizures. /ny evidence obtained in violation of said right shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. 0ndeed, while the power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it must be e>ercised and the law implemented without contravening the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to :ustify indifference to the basic principles of , government. ) 5n appeal is the 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals dated ,= Huly ,--., @ affirming the Hudgment of the %egional Trial &ourt '%T&(, Branch )*, /goo, "a 8nion dated )* #arch ,--@ finding petitioner /rsenio Jergara Jaldez guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating $ection ** of . %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2. '%./. ?o. 1*2.( and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from eight '=( years and one '*( day of prision ma%or medium as minimum to fifteen '*.( years of reclusion temporal medium as ma>imum and ordering him to pay a fine

upon orders from #ercado. !or his part, 5rdoRo testified that it was he who was ordered by #ercado to open petitioner9s bag and that it was ** then that they saw the purported contents thereof. The prosecution liAewise presented 4olice 0nspector Jaleriano "aya 00 '"aya(, the forensic chemist who conducted the e>amination of the mari:uana allegedly confiscated from petitioner. "aya maintained that the specimen submitted to him for analysis, a sachet of the substance weighing ,).*- grams and contained in a plastic bag, tested positive of mari:uana. Be disclosed on cross+e>amination, however, that he had Anowledge neither of how the mari:uana was taAen from petitioner nor of how the said substance reached the police officers. #oreover, he could not identify whose marAing was on the inside of the cellophane *, wrapping the mari:uana leaves. The charges were denied by petitioner. /s the defense9s sole witness, he testified that at around =:)- p.m. on *7 #arch ,--), he arrived in /ringay from his place in &urro+oy, $antol, "a 8nion. /fter alighting from the bus, petitioner claimed that he went to the house of a friend to drinA water and then proceeded to walA to his brother9s house. /s he was walAing, prosecution witness 5rdoRo, a cousin of his brother9s wife, allegedly approached him and asAed where he was going. 4etitioner replied that he was going to his brother9s house. 5rdoRo then purportedly requested to see the contents of his bag and appellant acceded. 0t was at this point that Bautista and /ratas :oined them. /fter inspecting all the contents of his bag, petitioner testified that he was restrained by the tanod and taAen to the house of #ercado. 0t was *) /ratas who carried the bag until they reached their destination. 4etitioner maintained that at #ercado9s house, his bag was opened by the tanod and #ercado himself. They tooA out an item wrapped in newspaper, which later turned out to be mari:uana leaves. 4etitioner denied ownership thereof. Be claimed to have been threatened with imprisonment by his arrestors if he did not give the prohibited drugs to someone from the east in order for them to apprehend such person. /s petitioner declined, he was brought to the police station and charged with the instant offense. /lthough petitioner divulged that it was he who opened and tooA out the contents of his bag at his friend9s house, he averred that it was one of the tanod who did so at #ercado9s house and *@ that it was only there that they saw the mari:uana for the first time. e. replied that he was going to his brotherSen proceeded to walA to his

brotherSw !inding that the prosecution had proven petitioner9s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the %T& rendered :udgment against him and sentenced him to suffer indeterminate imprisonment ranging from eight '=( years and one '*( day of prision ma%or medium as minimum to fifteen '*.( years of reclusion temporal medium as ma>imum and *. ordered him to pay a fine of 4).-,---.--. /ggrieved, petitioner appealed the decision of the %T& to the &ourt of /ppeals.1<4phi1 5n ,= Huly ,--., the appellate court affirmed the challenged decision. The &ourt of /ppeals, finding no cogent reason to overturn the presumption of regularity in favor of the barangay tanod in the absence of evidence of ill+motive on their part, agreed with the trial court that there was probable cause to arrest petitioner. 0t observed further: That the prosecution failed to establish the chain of custody of the seized mari:uana is of no moment. $uch circumstance finds prominence only when the e>istence of the seized prohibited drugs is denied. 0n this case, accused+appellant himself testified that the mari:uana wrapped in a newspaper was taAen from his bag. The corpus delicti of the crime, i.e. ;,< the e>istence of the mari:uana and his possession thereof, was amply *2 proven by accused+appellant Jaldez9s own testimony. 0n this appeal, petitioner prays for his acquittal and asserts that his guilt of the crime charged had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Be argues, albeit for the first time on appeal, that the warrantless arrest effected against him by the barangay tanod was unlawful and that the warrantless search of his bag that followed was liAewise contrary to law. &onsequently, he maintains, the mari:uana leaves purportedly seized from him are inadmissible in evidence for being the fruit of a poisonous tree. Dell+settled is the rule that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are accorded great respect and weight, in the absence of any clear showing that some facts and circumstances of weight or substance which could have affected the result of the case have been overlooAed, misunderstood or *7 misapplied. /fter meticulous e>amination of the records and evidence on hand, however, the &ourt finds and so holds that a reversal of the decision a 7uo under review is in order.

00. /t the outset, we observe that nowhere in the records can we find any ob:ection by petitioner to the irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. &onsidering this and his active participation in the trial of the case, :urisprudence dictates that petitioner is deemed to have submitted to the :urisdiction of the trial court, thereby curing any defect in his arrest. The legality of an arrest affects only the :urisdiction of the *= court over his person. 4etitioner9s warrantless arrest therefore cannot, in itself, be the basis of his acquittal. Bowever, to determine the admissibility of the seized drugs in evidence, it is indispensable to ascertain whether or not the search which yielded the alleged contraband was lawful. The search, conducted as it was without a warrant, is :ustified only if it were incidental to a lawful *1 arrest. valuating the evidence on record in its totality, as earlier intimated, the reasonable conclusion is that the arrest of petitioner without a warrant is not lawful as well. 4etitioner maintains, in a nutshell, that after he was approached by the tanod and asAed to show the contents of his bag, he was simply herded without e>planation and taAen to the house of the barangay captain. 5n their way there, it was /ratas who carried his bag. Be denies ownership over the contraband allegedly found in his bag and asserts that he saw it for the first time at the barangay captain9s house. ven casting aside petitioner9s version and basing the resolution of this case on the general thrust of the prosecution evidence, the unlawfulness of petitioner9s arrest stands out :ust the same. $ection ., %ule **) of the %ules on &riminal 4rocedure provides the only occasions on which a person may be arrested without a warrant, to wit: $ection .. /rrest without warrantE when lawful.U/ peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: 'a( Dhen, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offenseE 'b( Dhen an offense has :ust been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal Anowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed itE and 'c( Dhen the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final :udgment or

temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. >>> 0t is obvious that based on the testimonies of the arresting barangay tanod, not one of these circumstances was obtaining at the time petitioner was arrested. By their own admission, petitioner was not committing an offense at the time he alighted from the bus, nor did he ,appear to be then committing an offense. The tanod did not have probable cause either to :ustify petitioner9s warrantless arrest. !or the e>ception in $ection .'a(, %ule **) to operate, this &ourt has ruled that two ',( elements must be present: '*( the person to be arrested must e>ecute an overt act indicating that he has :ust committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crimeE and ',( such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the ,* arresting officer. Bere, petitioner9s act of looAing around after getting off the bus was but natural as he was finding his way to his destination. That he purportedly attempted to run away as the tanod approached him is irrelevant and cannot by itself be construed as adequate to charge the tanod with personal Anowledge that petitioner had :ust engaged in, was actually engaging in or was attempting to engage in criminal activity. #ore importantly, petitioner testified that he did not run away but in fact spoAe with the barangay tanod when they approached him. ven taAing the prosecution9s version generally as the truth, in line with our assumption from the start, the conclusion will not be any different. 0t is not unreasonable to e>pect that petitioner, walAing the street at night, after being closely observed and then later tailed by three unAnown persons, would attempt to flee at their approach. !light per se is not synonymous with guilt and must not always be attributed to one9s ,, consciousness of guilt. 5f persuasion was the #ichigan $upreme ,) &ourt when it ruled in 4eople v. $habaz that I;f<light alone is not a reliable indicator of guilt without other circumstances because flight alone is inherently ambiguous.I /lone, and under the circumstances of this case, petitioner9s flight lends itself :ust as easily to an innocent e>planation as it does to a nefarious one. ,@ #oreover, as we pointed out in People v. udtud, I;t<he phrase Vin his presence9 therein, connot;es< penal Anowledge on the part of the

arresting officer. The right of the accused to be secure against any unreasonable searches on and seizure of his own body and any deprivation of his liberty being a most basic and fundamental one, the statute or rule that allows e>ception to the requirement of a warrant of arrest is strictly construed. 0ts application cannot be e>tended beyond ,. the cases specifically provided by law.I 0ndeed, the supposed acts of petitioner, even assuming that they appeared dubious, cannot be viewed as sufficient to incite suspicion of ,2 criminal activity enough to validate his warrantless arrest. 0f at all, the search most permissible for the tanod to conduct under the prevailing bacAdrop of the case was a stop+and+frisA to allay any suspicion they have been harboring based on petitioner9s behavior. Bowever, a stop+ ,7 and+frisA situation, following err% v. .hio, must precede a warrantless arrest, be limited to the person9s outer clothing, and should be grounded upon a genuine reason, in light of the police officer9s e>perience and surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the ,= person detained has weapons concealed about him. /ccordingly, petitioner9s waiver of his right to question his arrest notwithstanding, the mari:uana leaves allegedly taAen during the search cannot be admitted in evidence against him as they were seized during ,1 a warrantless search which was not lawful. /s we pronounced in 4eople v. Bacla+an U / waiver of an illegal warrantless arrest does not also mean a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence seized during an illegal warrantless arrest. The following searches and seizures are deemed permissible by :urisprudence: '*( search of moving vehicles ',( seizure in plain view ')( customs searches '@( waiver or consent searches '.( stop and frisA situations 'Terry $earch( and '2( search incidental to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless search and seizure pursuant to an equally valid warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with a valid warrant of arrest, the %ules of &ourt recognize permissible warrantless arrests, to wit: '*( arrests in flagrante delicto, ',( arrests effected in hot pursuit, and, ')( arrests of )escaped prisoners. Dhen petitioner was arrested without a warrant, he was neither caught in flagrante delicto committing a crime nor was the arrest effected in hot pursuit. Jerily, it cannot therefore be reasonably argued that the

warrantless search conducted on petitioner was incidental to a lawful arrest. 0n its &omment, the 5ffice of the $olicitor 6eneral posits that apart from the warrantless search being incidental to his lawful arrest, petitioner had consented to the search. De are not convinced. /s we e>plained in )* &aballes v. &ourt of /ppeals U 3oubtless, the constitutional immunity against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right which may be waived. The consent must be voluntary in order to validate an otherwise illegal detention and search, i.e., the consent is unequivocal, specific, and intelligently given, uncontaminated by any duress or coercion. Bence, consent to a search is not to be lightly inferred, but must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. The question whether a consent to a search was in fact voluntary is a question of fact to be determined from the totality of all the circumstances. %elevant to this determination are the following characteristics of the person giving consent and the environment in which consent is given: '*( the age of the defendantE ',( whether he was in a public or secluded locationE ')( whether he ob:ected to the search or passively looAed onE '@( the education and intelligence of the defendantE '.( the presence of coercive police proceduresE '2( the defendantSs belief that no incriminating evidence will be foundE '7( the nature of the police questioningE '=( the environment in which the questioning tooA placeE and '1( the possibly vulnerable sub:ective state of the person consenting. 0t is the $tate which has the burden of proving, by clear and positive testimony, that the necessary consent was obtained and that it ), was freely and voluntarily given. 0n the case at bar, following the theory of the prosecutionU albeit based on conflicting testimonies on when petitioner9s bag was actually opened, it is apparent that petitioner was already under the coercive control of the public officials who had custody of him when the search of his bag was demanded. #oreover, the prosecution failed to prove any specific statement as to how the consent was asAed and how it was given, nor the specific words spoAen by petitioner indicating his alleged Iconsent.I ven granting that petitioner admitted to opening his bag when 5rdoRo asAed to see its contents, his implied acquiescence, if at all, could not have been more than mere passive conformity given under coercive or intimidating circumstances and hence, is considered no consent at all )) within the contemplation of the constitutional guarantee. /s a result, petitioner9s lacA of ob:ection to the search and seizure is not tantamount

to a waiver of his constitutional right or a voluntary submission to the )@ warrantless search and seizure. 000. ?otably, the inadmissibility in evidence of the seized mari:uana leaves for being the fruit of an unlawful search is not the lone cause that militates against the case of the prosecution. De liAewise find that it has failed to convincingly establish the identity of the mari:uana leaves purportedly taAen from petitioner9s bag. 0n all prosecutions for violation of the 3angerous 3rugs /ct, the following elements must concur: '*( proof that the transaction tooA placeE and ',( presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug ). as evidence. The e>istence of dangerous drugs is a condition sine qua non for conviction for the illegal sale of dangerous drugs, it being )2 the very corpus delicti of the crime. 0n a line of cases, we have ruled as fatal to the prosecution9s case its failure to prove that the specimen submitted for laboratory e>amination )7 was the same one allegedly seized from the accused. There can be no crime of illegal possession of a prohibited drug when nagging doubts persist on whether the item confiscated was the same specimen )= e>amined and established to be the prohibited drug. /s we discussed )1 in People v. .rte3a , where we deemed the prosecution to have failed in establishing all the elements necessary for conviction of appellant for illegal sale of shabu O !irst, there appears nothing in the record showing that police officers complied with the proper procedure in the custody of seized drugs as specified in 4eople v. "im, i.e., any apprehending team having initial control of said drugs andMor paraphernalia should, immediately after seizure or confiscation, have the same physically inventoried and photographed in the presence of the accused, if there be any, and or his representative, who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. The failure of the agents to comply with the requirement raises doubt whether what was submitted for laboratory e>amination and presented in court was actually recovered from appellant. 0t negates the presumption that official duties have been regularly performed by the police officers. 0n 4eople v. "a>a, where the buy+bust team failed to marA the

confiscated mari:uana immediately after the apprehension of the accused, the &ourt held that the deviation from the standard procedure in anti+narcotics operations produced doubts as to the origins of the mari:uana. &onsequently, the &ourt concluded that the prosecution failed to establish the identity of the corpus delicti. The &ourt made a similar ruling in 4eople v. Limura, where the ?arcom operatives failed to place marAings on the seized mari:uana at the time the accused was arrested and to observe the procedure and taAe custody of the drug. #ore recently, in Zarraga v. 4eople, the &ourt held that the material inconsistencies with regard to when and where the marAings on the shabu were made and the lacA of inventory on the seized drugs created reasonable doubt as to the identity of the corpus delicti. The &ourt thus acquitted the accused due to the prosecution9s failure to indubitably show the identity of the shabu. 0n the case at bar, after the arrest of petitioner by the barangay tanod, the records only show that he was taAen to the house of the barangay @captain and thereafter to the police station. The Hoint /ffidavit e>ecuted by the tanod merely states that they confiscated the mari:uana leaves which they brought to the police station together with petitioner. @* "iAewise, the %eceipt issued by the /ringay 4olice $tation merely acAnowledged receipt of the suspected drugs supposedly confiscated from petitioner. ?ot only did the three tanod contradict each other on the matter of when petitioner9s bag was opened, they also gave conflicting testimony on who actually opened the same. The prosecution, despite these material inconsistencies, neglected to e>plain the discrepancies. ven more damning to its cause was the admission by "aya, the forensic chemist, that he did not Anow how the specimen was taAen from petitioner, how it reached the police authorities or whose marAing was on the cellophane wrapping of the mari:uana. The non+presentation, without :ustifiable reason, of the police officers who conducted the inquest proceedings and marAed the seized drugs, if such was the case, is fatal to the case. 4lainly, the prosecution neglected to establish the crucial linA in the chain of custody of the seized mari:uana leaves from the time they were first allegedly discovered until they were brought for e>amination by "aya. The &ourt of /ppeals found as irrelevant the failure of the prosecution to establish the chain of custody over the seized mari:uana as such I;f<inds

prominence only when the e>istence of the seized prohibited drug is @, denied.I De cannot agree. To buttress its ratiocination, the appellate court narrowed on petitioner9s testimony that the mari:uana was taAen from his bag, without taAing the @) statement in full conte>t. &ontrary to the &ourt of /ppeals9 findings, although petitioner testified that the mari:uana was taAen from his bag, @@ he consistently denied ownership thereof. !urthermore, it defies logic to require a denial of ownership of the seized drugs before the principle of chain of custody comes into play. The onus of proving culpability in criminal indictment falls upon the $tate. 0n con:unction with this, law enforcers and public officers aliAe have the corollary duty to preserve the chain of custody over the seized drugs. The chain of evidence is constructed by proper e>hibit handling, storage, labeling and recording, and must e>ist from the time the evidence is found until the time it is offered in evidence. ach person who taAes possession of the specimen is duty+bound to detail how it was cared for, safeguarded and preserved while in his or her control to prevent alteration or replacement while in custody. This guarantee of the integrity of the evidence to be used against an accused goes to the very heart of his fundamental rights. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty invoAed by the prosecution and relied upon by the courts a quo cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof of guilt @. beyond reasonable doubt. /mong the constitutional rights en:oyed by an accused, the most primordial yet often disregarded is the presumption of innocence. This elementary principle accords every accused the right to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, the burden of proving the guilt of the accused rests upon the prosecution. &oncededly, the evidence of the defense is weaA and uncorroborated. ?evertheless, this I;c<annot be used to advance the cause of the prosecution as its evidence must stand or fall on its own weight and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weaAness of the @2 defense.I #oreover, where the circumstances are shown to yield two or more inferences, one inconsistent with the presumption of innocence and the other compatible with the finding of guilt, the court must acquit the accused for the reason that the evidence does not satisfy the test of

moral certainty and is inadequate to support a :udgment of conviction.

@7

3rug addiction has been invariably denounced as Ian especially vicious @= crime,I and Ione of the most pernicious evils that has ever crept into @1 our society,I for those who become addicted to it Inot only slide into the ranAs of the living dead, what is worse, they become a grave .menace to the safety of law+abiding members of society,I whereas .* Ipeddlers of drugs are actually agents of destruction.I 0ndeed, the havoc created by the ruinous effects of prohibited drugs on the moral fiber of society cannot be underscored enough. Bowever, in the rightfully vigorous campaign of the government to eradicate the hazards of drug use and drug trafficAing, it cannot be permitted to run roughshod over an accused9s right to be presumed innocent until proven to the contrary and neither can it shirA from its corollary obligation to establish such guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 0n this case, the totality of the evidence presented utterly fails to overcome the presumption of innocence which petitioner en:oys. The failure of the prosecution to prove all the elements of the offense beyond reasonable doubt must perforce result in petitioner9s e>oneration from criminal liability. 0J. / final word. De find it fitting to taAe this occasion to remind the courts to e>ercise the highest degree of diligence and prudence in deliberating upon the guilt of accused persons brought before them, especially in light of the fundamental rights at staAe. Bere, we note that the courts a quo neglected to give more serious consideration to certain material issues in the determination of the merits of the case. De are not oblivious to the fact that in some instances, law enforcers resort to the practice of planting evidence to e>tract information or even harass civilians. /ccordingly, courts are duty+bound to be I;e<>tra vigilant in trying drug cases lest an innocent person be made to suffer the ., unusually severe penalties for drug offenses.I 0n the same vein, let this serve as an admonition to police officers and public officials aliAe to perform their mandated duties with commitment to the highest degree of diligence, righteousness and respect for the law. DB % !5% , the assailed 3ecision is % J %$ 3 and $ T /$03 . 4etitioner /rsenio Jergara Jaldez is /&Q80TT 3 on reasonable doubt.

The 3irector of the Bureau of &orrections is directed to cause the immediate release of petitioner, unless the latter is being lawfully held for another causeE and to inform the &ourt of the date of his release, or the reasons for his continued confinement, within ten '*-( days from notice. ?o costs. $5 5%3 % 3.

DECI%IO$ C#ICO8$A7ARIO, J.A * /ssailed before 8s is the 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals dated ,1 ?ovember ,--2 in &/+6.%. &.%.+B& ?o. -*,1* which affirmed the , 3ecision of the %egional Trial &ourt '%T&( of 4asig &ity, Branch 7-, in &riminal &ases ?o. *,*1)+3 and ?o. *,*1@+3, finding accused+ appellants Herry $antos y #acol and %amon &atoc y 4icayo guilty of illegal sale of methamphetamine hydrochloride, more popularly Anown as shabu, and finding accused+appellant %amon &atoc y 4icayo guilty of illegal possession of the said prohibited drug, respectively. 5n *- #arch ,--), two 0nformations were filed against appellants Herry $antos y #acol and %amon &atoc y 4icayo before the %T& of 4asig &ity, for violating the provisions of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2. or the Comprehensive 'angerous 'rugs Act of /))/. 0n &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1)+3, appellants $antos and &atoc allegedly ) violated $ection ., /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2. in the following manner: 5n or about #arch =, ,--), in 4asig &ity and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the accused, cons<iring and con ederating together and -oth o the= =utuall. hel<ing and aiding one another, not being lawfully authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, deliver and give a!a. to POG Carlo Luna, a <olice <oseur -u.er, one J)K heat8sealed trans<arent <lastic sachet containing three JGK centigra=s J/'/G gra=K o !hite cr.stalline su-stance, !hich !as ound <ositive to the test or =eth.la=<hetha=ine h.drochloride, a dangerous drug, in violation of @ the said law. ' mphasis ours(. 5n the other hand, in &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1@+3, appellant &atoc was additionally charged with violation of $ection **, /rticle 00 of the same . law, committed as follows:

('R' $o' )?3?G,

1une +3, +//*

T#E PEOPLE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, plaintiff+appellee, vs. 1ERR6 %A$TO% . &ACOL and RA&O$ CATOC . PICA6O, accused+ appellants.

5n or about #arch = ,--), in 4asig &ity and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the accused, not -eing la! ull. authoriOed to <ossess an. dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his <ossession and under his custod. and control one J)K heat8sealed trans<arent <lastic sachet containing three JGK centigra=s J/'/G gra=K o !hite cr.stalline su-stance,

!hich !as ound <ositive to the test or =eth.la=<hetha=ine 2 h.drochloride, a dangerous drug, in violation of the said law. ' mphasis ours(. 3uring their arraignment on *1 #ay ,--), appellants $antos and &atoc 7 pleaded not guilty to the above+mentioned charges. 5n ) Hune ,--), the 4re+Trial &onference of the cases was terminated without the prosecution and the defense agreeing to any stipulation of = facts. 5n . /ugust ,--), the parties, however, agreed to re+open the 4re+Trial &onference and they entered into a stipulation of facts as to the testimony to be given by the first prosecution witness, !orensic &hemist 1 4olice 0nspector '4M0nsp.( "ourdeliza &e:es. /s contained in the 4re+ Trial 5rder dated . /ugust ,--), the parties stipulated on: '*( the due e>ecution and genuineness of the %equest for "aboratory >amination dated = #arch ,--), and the stamp showing receipt thereof by the 4hilippine ?ational 4olice '4?4( &rime "aboratoryE ',( the due e>ecution, genuineness and truth of the contents of 4hysical $cience %eport ?o. 3+@-.+-) issued by !orensic &hemist 4M0nsp. "ourdeliza &e:es, the finding or conclusion appearing on the report, and the signature of the forensic chemist over her typewritten name appearing thereinE and ')( the e>istence of the plastic sachets, but not their source or origin, contained in a brown envelope, the contents of which were the *sub:ect of the %equest for "aboratory >amination. Thereafter, the cases were consolidated and tried :ointly. **

$3 8 operatives of the 4asig &ity 4olice conducted a buy+bust operation in a residential area along 3r. $i>to /ntonio /venue, Brgy. %osario, 4asig &ity, on the basis of reports that a certain alias #onching *1 "abo was selling illegal drugs in the said locality. /ccompanied by a confidential informant, the police team composed of 45) &arlo "una, $45) "eneal #atias, 45* #ichael spares and 45* #ichael !amilara, proceeded to the target area at around *:*. to *:,- a.m. on the above+ mentioned date. 45) &arlo "una was to act as the poseur+buyer, ,whereas the other members of the team were to serve as his bacAup. 8pon reaching the designated place, 45) "una and the informant ,* alighted from their vehicle, while the rest of the team were left inside. The informant then pointed to two persons standing along the target area, one of whom was #onching "abo, later identified as appellant ,, %amon &atoc y 4icayo. /fter approaching, the informant introduced 45) "una as a shabu customer to one of the persons, later identified as appellant Herry $antos y #acol. /ppellant $antos then asAed 45) "una how much worth of shabu he was buying and asAed for the money. 45) "una gave appellant $antos the buy+bust money consisting of a pre+ ,) marAed 4*--.-- bill. /ppellant $antos handed this money to appellant &atoc, who tooA out from his pocAet a sealed transparent ,@ plastic sachet containing a white crystalline substance, which he handed bacA to appellant $antos. Dhen appellant $antos gave the plastic sachet to 45) "una, the latter nabbed the former and introduced ,. himself as a policeman. /t that point, the other members of the team arrived and liAewise held and arrested appellant &atoc. $45) #atias then ordered appellant &atoc to empty the contents of his pocAets. /fter having done so, ,2 another plastic sachet containing a similar crystalline substance was recovered from appellant &atoc, together with the marAed 4*--.-- buy+ ,7 bust money. 0mmediately thereafter, the policemen marAed the two ,= plastic sachets. The sachet handed by appellant $antos to 45) "una was marAed with the latterSs initials I& ",I his signature, and appellant ,1 $antosSs initials IH#$.I 5n the other hand, the sachet recovered from appellant &atoc by $45) #atias was marAed with the latterSs initials

The prosecution presented two witnesses: '*( 4olice 5fficer '45() &arlo *, *) "una and ',( $enior 4olice 5fficer '$45() "eneal #atias, both *@ members of the $tation 3rug nforcement 8nit '$3 8( of the 4asig &ity 4olice $tation. The defense, on the other hand, presented '*( appellant Herry $antos y *. *2 #acol E ',( appellant %amon &atoc y 4icayo E ')( #aria Jioleta *7 *= &atoc, sister of appellant &atocE and '@( ric $antos, brother of appellant $antos. The 4eopleSs version of the facts shows that on = #arch ,--), the

)I"T#,I his signature and appellant &atocSs initials I%4&.I The policemen then informed the appellants of their violations and apprised )* them of their constitutional rights. /fterwards, appellants $antos and &atoc were brought to the 4asig &ity 4olice $tation at 4ariancillo 4arA, 4asig &ity, for proper investigation. 45) "una submitted the two plastic sachets containing the white crystalline substance to the 4?4 &rime "aboratory $ervice, astern 4olice 3istrict in #andaluyong &ity for an e>amination of the contents ), thereof. The laboratory test results as contained in &hemistry %eport )) ?o. 3+@-.+-) stated the following: $4 &0# ? $8B#0TT 3: Two ',( heat+sealed transparent plastic sachets with marAings I& "MH#$ -)-=-) and %4&M"T# -)-=-)I containing -.-) gram of white crystalline substance and marAed as / and B respectively. >>>> !0?30?6$: Qualitative e>amination conducted on the above+stated specimens gave ;a< 45$0T0J result to the tests for #ethylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. > > > &5?&"8$05?: $pecimens / and B contains 'sic( #ethylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. /s e>pected, the appellants offered a version of the facts that was diametrically opposed to that of the prosecution. /ccording to them, there was no buy+bust operation to speaA of and that prior to their arrests, they were literally strangers to each other. /ppellant Herry $antos y #acol testified that on = #arch ,--), at around *,:-- midnight to *:-- a.m., while he was watching television at their house at *.* 3r. $i>to /ntonio /venue, Barangay 'Brgy.( %osario, 4asig &ity, and was about to sleep, five male persons in civilian clothing )@ suddenly entered and handcuffed him. $antos claimed that he voluntarily went with the men when they tried to arrest him because his ailing mother, who was then awaAened, was already becoming ). nervous. $antos was brought outside and placed in a tricycle, and the

entire group left for the police station. There, $antos was detained and questioned about the marAed money, which he said he Anew nothing about. $antos was then charged with the offense of selling illegal drugs )2 in violation of $ection ., /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2.. 0t was also at that time in the police station where he first met appellant )7 &atoc. !or his part, appellant %amon &atoc y 4icayo narrated that on = #arch ,--), between the hours of **:-- p.m. and *,:-- midnight, he awoAe to a loud sound at the door of their house at *,. 3r. $i>to /ntonio /venue, )= Brgy. %osario, 4asig &ity. Dhen &atoc opened the door, five male )1 persons with guns entered their house. The men frisAed &atoc and searched his house. /fter being liAewise awaAened, &atocSs mother asAed the men what his sonSs fault was. They replied that they were @looAing for the drugs that &atoc was selling. Dhen their search yielded nothing, the men mauled &atoc. /fterwards, &atoc was placed in a tricycle and the group headed for a gasoline station along H. . #analo $treet. There, &atoc was transferred to a parAed vanE inside the vehicle was appellant Herry $antos y #acol, whom the former saw for @* the first time. The men tooA the appellants to the police station in 4ariancillo 4arA where they were again mauled. The policemen who arrested the appellants produced two plastic sachets of shabu and a 4*--.-- bill and alleged that the same were taAen from &atocSs possession. The appellants were then charged with violation of $ections @, . and **, /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2.. 5n @ #ay ,--., the trial court rendered its decision, the pertinent portion of which states: The &ourt is more inclined to give credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses given the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty accorded to them by law and :urisprudence vis+Z+vis the self+serving disclaimers of the herein accused whose version of the incident as narrated above hardly inspires belief. 0t has been clearly established from the evidence adduced by the $tate that at around *:-- in the morning of #arch =, ,--), accused Herry $antos and %amon &atoc, in conspiracy with one another, sold or traded and delivered, to 45) &arlo "una, in a buy+bust operation, one transparent plastic sachet of shabu containing white crystalline

substance ' >h. I&+*I( in consideration of the amount of 4B4 *--.-' >h. I3I(. > > > That there was ;a< conspiracy between the two accused as alleged in the information in &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1)+3, is evident. The transaction was successfully consummated between the poseur buyer 45) "una, on the one hand, and the accused %amon &atoc, together with his co+accused, Herry $antos, on the other, with accused $antos receiving the marAed money from the poseur buyer and thereafter handing the same to his co+accused &atoc who, thereafter, tooA out from his right pocAet a plastic sachet of shabu which he gave to $antos, and which the latter in turn handed to 45) "una. There can be no other conclusion that can be drawn from the above concerted actions of both accused, but that they were bound by a common purpose and community of interest, indicative of conspiracy, in committing the offense charged against them. 5n the same occasion of the buy+bust operation, the police officers were also able to recover from the possession of accused %amon &atoc another sachet of shabu weighing -.-) grams ' >h. I&+,I( which is in violation of $ection ** '4ossession of 3angerous 3rugs(, /rticle 00 of the same law, sub:ect of &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1@+3, which penalizes the mere possession of dangerous drugs wMo 'sic( being authorized by law. >>>> "#EREFORE, premises considered, :udgment is hereby rendered, as follows: 0n Cri=inal Case $o' )+)2G8D, both accused, 1ERR6 %A$TO% . &ACOL and RA&O$ CATOC . PICA6O are hereby found 680"TK beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Jiolation of $ection ., /rticle 00, %epublic /ct ;?o.< 1*2. 'illegal sale of shabu( and are hereby sentenced to LIFE I&PRI%O$&E$T and to solidarily pay a !ine of Five #undred Thousand Pesos JP#P,//,///'//K. 0n Cri=inal Case $o' )+)248D, accused RA&O$ CATOC . PICA6O is hereby found (UILT6 beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Jiolation of $ection **, /rticle 00, %epublic /ct ;?o.< 1*2. 'illegal possession of shabu( and is hereby sentenced to T!elve J)+K 6ears and One J)K Da. to T!ent. J+/K 6ears and to pay a !ine of Three #undred Thousand Pesos JP#P G//,///'//K. &onsidering the penalty imposed by the &ourt, ;t<he immediate commitment of accused Herry $antos and %amon &atoc to the ?ational 4enitentiary, ?ew Bilibid 4risons, #untinlupa &ity is hereby ordered.

4ursuant to $ection ,- of %epublic /ct ;?o.< 1*2., the amount of 4B4 *--.-- recovered from accused %amon &atoc representing the proceeds from the illegal sale of the transparent plastic sachet of shabu is hereby ordered forfeited in favor of the government. /gain, pursuant to $ection ,* of the same law, representatives from the 4hilippine 3rug nforcement /gency '43 /( is 'sic( hereby ordered to taAe charge and have custody over the sachets of shabu sub:ect of @) these cases, for proper disposition. 0n an 5rder dated ,* Hune ,--., the trial court elevated the entire records of the case to the &ourt of /ppeals for automatic review in @@ accordance with our ruling in People v. !ateo. 5n ,1 ?ovember ,--2, the &ourt of /ppeals rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: "#EREFORE, the 3ecision appealed from is hereby AFFIR&ED. 0n sustaining the trial court, the &ourt of /ppeals ruled that the buy+bust operation conducted by the $3 8 operatives was legitimate and @. regular. !urthermore, the testimonies of the appellants and their witnesses were said to have contained irreconcilable inconsistencies and that no ill motive for the alleged frame+up was put forth by the @2 appellants. /ppellants $antos and &atoc filed a ?otice of /ppeal assailing the @7 appellate courtSs decision before the $upreme &ourt. @= 0n a %esolution dated @ Hune ,--7, the &ourt required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs, if they so desired, within )days from notice. The parties manifested their intention not to file their supplemental briefs anymore, as their respective Briefs already encapsulated all the matters and arguments that support their @1 positions. 0n pleading for their innocence, appellants assign the following errors: 0. TB T%0/" &58%T 6%/J "K %% 3 0? &5?J0&T0?6 TB /&&8$ 3+/44 ""/?T$ 5! J05"/T05? 5! $ &T05?$ . /?3 **, /%T0&" 00, 5! TB % 48B"0& /&T ?5. 1*2., DB ? TB "/TT %S$

680"T D % ?5T 4%5J ? B K5?3 % /$5?/B" 358BT. 00. TB T%0/" &58%T 6%/J "K %% 3 0? !0?30?6 ;TB/T< TB /&&8$ 3+/44 ""/?T$ &5?$40% 3 0? &5##0TT0?6 0"" 6/" $ ""0?6 /?3 0"" 6/" 45$$ $$05? 5! 3/?6 %58$ 3%86$. /ppellants contend that the trial court erred in convicting them, as their guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt, considering that the prosecution failed to prove that a buy+bust operation tooA place and that their arrests without warrant were not legally effected. /ppellants also maintain that there was no basis for the trial courtSs conclusion that a conspiracy e>isted between them. The arguments put forth by the appellants fail to persuade. !undamental is the principle that findings of the trial courts which are factual in nature and which involve the credibility of witnesses are accorded respect when no glaring errorsE gross misapprehension of factsE and speculative, arbitrary and unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings. The reason for this is that the trial court is in a better position to decide the credibility of witnesses, having heard their testimonies and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. The rule finds an even more stringent .application where said findings are sustained by the &ourt of /ppeals. /fter a careful evaluation of the entire records of the instant case, we find no error in the trial and the appellate courtsS factual findings and conclusions. !or the successful prosecution of offenses involving the illegal sale of drugs under $ection ., /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2., the following elements must be proven: '*( the identity of the buyer and seller, ob:ect, and considerationE and ',( the delivery of the thing sold and the .* payment therefor. Dhat is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually tooA place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus ., delicti. 0n the present case, all the elements of the crime have been sufficiently established. The prosecution witnesses 45) "una and $45) #atias consistently testified that a buy+bust operation did indeed taAe place, and the shabu sub:ect of the sale was presented and duly identified in open court. 45) "una, being the poseur+buyer, positively identified

appellants $antos and &atoc as the persons who sold the sachet .) containing a white crystalline substance, which was later confirmed by .@ a chemical analysis thereof to be shabu. The relevant portions of 45) "unaSs testimony that detailed the events leading to the arrests of appellants are as follows: Q: 3o you remember having been assigned as a poseur buyer on said date, #arch =, ,--)N /: Kes, sir. Q: /gainst whom was supposed to be the tasA that you are going to perform as a poseur buyerN /: /gainst #onching "abo, sir. >>>> Q: Dhat was the basis of this planned operation against #onching "aboN /: Because we have been receiving reports that this certain #onching "abo has been selling illegal drugs along 3r. $i>to /venue in 4asig, sir. Q: /re you trying to say that #arch = was not the first time that you received information regarding #onching "aboN /: Kes, sir. Q: But it was only #arch = that you decided to conduct a buy+bust operation against #onching "aboN /: Kes, sir. Q: Dere there preparations made by your office or by you regarding this plan, buy+bust operation, to be conducted against #onching "aboN /: Kes, sir, we contacted an informant to confirm where #onching "abo sells illegal drugs. >>>> Q: /: Q: /: Q: Dhat are you going to use in buyingN #arAed money, sir. 3id you prepare for that alsoN Kes, sir. Dere there other police personnel that were assigned, aside from

you, to conduct this buy+bust operation against #onching "aboN /: Kes, sir, $45) "eneal #atias, 45* #ichael #ichael !amilara. >>>> Q: Dhat were supposed to be the role of these other police officers that were going to accompany you particularly, #atias, spares and !amilaraN /: Q: /: Q: /: Q: /: Q: /: Q: /: Q: They will act as bacA+up, sir. Kou said you prepared for a buy+money, how much was thisN 5ne Bundred '4B4 *--.--( 4eso bill, sir. 3id you proceed, as plan, to the target areaN Kes, sir. /nd where was this, mr. 'sic( witnessN /long 3r. $i>to /ntonio, Brgy. %osario, 4asig &ity, sir. Dhat time did you reach that placeN /bout *:*. to *:,-, sir. 5fN 0n the early morning of *:*. to *:,- a.m., sir. Dhat else happened after you reached the placeN spares and 45*

informant, sir. Q: /: Bow were you introducedN That 0 was a customer for shabu, and that 0 wanted to buy, sir.

Q: To whom did he tell from these two persons that you were interested to buyN /: Q: /: 0 was introduced to Herry $antos, sir. 0n other words, the other person is a certain Herry $antosN Kes, sir.

>>>> Q: /fter you were introduced as ;an< interested buyer to said Herry $antos, what else happened after thatN /: Be asAed me how much would 0 buy, and he asAed me for the money. /nd then, 0 told him :ust 4B4*--.--, sir. Q: /nd when Herry $antos asAed you for the money, did you give him the moneyN /: Q: /: Q: /: Kes, sir. /nd after you gave him the money, what happened ne>tN 0 saw Herry handed the money to the other person, sir. Dhen you say other person, this is #onching "aboN Kes, sir.

>>>>

/: Dhen we were ten '*-( meters away from the designated area, the informant pointed to us to two persons who were standing along 3r. $i>to /ntonio /venue, %osario, 4asig &ity, sir. >>>> Q: /: Q: /: Dho are these two persons, if you AnowN /ccording to the informant, he is #onching "abo, sir. #eaning, one of them is #onching "aboN Kes, sir.

Q: /nd after Herry $antos handed the 5ne Bundred '4B4*--.--( 4eso bill to #onching "abo, what else happened, if anyN /: #onching "abo tooA the 4B4*--.-- bill. /fter that, he put it inside his pocAet, and then, he got something from his pocAet and handed it to Herry, sir. Q: /nd after this something was handed to Herry $antos, what else happenedN /: Herry $antos gave to me what was given to him by #onching, sir. Q: /nd to your personal Anowledge, what is that something that was given by #onching to Herry $antos who, Herry $antos in turn handed to youN /: That was the shabu 0 was buying which was contained in a plastic

Q: /fter one of them has been identified by your informant, what else did you do if any, mr. 'sic( witnessN /: The informant and 0 approached them, and 0 was introduced by the

sachet, sir. Q: Dhen you say contained in a plastic sachet, you mean there is only one '*(N /: Kes, sir. Q: /fter you received this one alleged plastic sachet of shabu from Herry $antos, what else did you do, if anyN /: Q: /: sir. Q: 0 held Herry $antos and introduced myself as a police officer, sir. /fter that, what happened ne>t, if anyN #y companions arrived and then, they also held #onching "abo Dhat else happened after that, mr. 'sic( witnessN

Q: /: Q: /:

3o you remember who delivered it personallyN Kes, sir. DhoN 0 did, sir.

Q: 3id you come to Anow later the true identity of Herry $antos and #onching "abo to whom you have transactionN /: Kes, sir. Q: Dould Herry $antos ;be< the true name of this Herry $antos you mentioned earlierN /: Kes, sir. Q: Bow about this #onching "abo, did you come to Anow what is his true nameN /: Kes, sir. /fter we have brought him to the police station, thatSs when we discovered his real name, sir. Q: /: /nd what is his real nameN %amon &atoc, sir. ..

/: 4olice 5fficer #atias ordered #onching "abo to empty the contents of his pocAet, sir. Q: /: /nd did #onching "abo complyN Kes, sir.

Q: Dould you Anow what #atias discovered after #onching "abo complied with his order to empty his pocAetN /: Q: /: Q: /: Q: Kes, sir, because he also recovered another plastic sachet, sir. Dho recoveredN $45) #atias, sir. Dhich came from the pocAet of #onching "aboN Kes, sir. /fter this, what did you do or, your team do to the two personsN

The testimony of $45) #atias on the conduct of the buy+bust operation corroborated the above testimony of 45) "una on all material points and was equally clear and categorical. /lso proven from the testimonies of both 45) "una and $45) #atias is the charge against appellant &atoc in &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1@+3 for violation of $ection **, /rticle 00, %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2. 'illegal possession of dangerous drugs(. 0t was shown that appellant Anowingly carried with him the plastic sachet of shabu without legal authority at the time he was caught during the buy+bust operation. 5n the other hand, the appellantsS contention that no buy+bust operation tooA place was plainly anchored on the testimonies of both appellants, who both gave different versions of what transpired during the time and date in questionE of #aria Jioleta &atoc, sister of appellant %amon &atocE and of ric $antos, the brother of appellant Herry $antos. Both appellants chorused a single line + alibi. They strongly insisted that they were in their respective houses during the alleged operations. The singular reliance of the appellants on their alibis to argue their cases was misplaced. /s observed by the trial court, the self+serving

/: De brought them to our office at the Beadquarters for proper investigation, sir. Q: Bow about the two plastic sachets, the first one that was sold and the other one that was recovered by $45) #atias, what was your disposition about itN /: %ight there and then at the place, we already placed the marAings on the sachets, sir. Q: /: /fter that, what else did you do with these two sachetsN De submitted the same to the laboratory for e>amination, sir.

disclaimers of the appellants inspired less belief than the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, who had in their favor a presumption of .2 regularity accorded to them by law. The respective alibis of appellants and their witnesses also contained irreconcilable inconsistencies that only weaAened their worth. De uphold the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties. This presumption in favor of 45) "una and $45) #atias was not overcome. /s testified to by the appellants, they did not Anow any of the policemen who arrested them, and it was only during the trial in open court that they came to Anow of the identities of the above+ .7 mentioned policemen. Thus, there was no indication that the police were impelled by any improper motive in maAing the arrests. 0n appellant Herry $antosSs testimony on the events leading to his arrest, he repeatedly changed his answer upon being asAed why he voluntarily went with the five men who entered his house on the night in question. 0n his direct testimony, appellant $antos testified that he went with the men so that his motherSs nervousness would not be further .= aggravated. 3uring his cross+e>amination, he then stated that he voluntarily went with the men so as not to awaAen his sleeping .1 mother. 8pon being confronted with these statements, $antos then changed his answer again and stated that his mother was already 2awaAe at the time he went with the policemen. #ore glaring than the above+mentioned inconsistencies, however, are the discrepancies in the testimonies of appellants Herry $antos and %amon &atoc on the manner in which they were taAen to the police station and the circumstances of their first meeting. The very premise of their defense is that they were total strangers to each otherE thus, they could not have been together at the time when they were arrested, much less were they in conspiracy with each other in the alleged commission of the crimes charged. /ppellant Herry $antos testified that after he was brought out of his house, he was placed in a tricycle and was then taAen straight to the 2* police station in 4ariancillo 4arA, 4asig &ity. Dhile in detention, he 2, allegedly met %amon &atoc for the first time. /ppellant %amon &atoc, on the other hand, gave an entirely contradictory account of the said events. &atoc narrated in his direct

testimony that after the men tooA him and placed him in a tricycle, he was taAen to a gasoline station along H. . #analo $treet and was transferred to a parAed van. /board the vehicle, he said, was appellant 2) $antos, whom he claimed he saw and came to Anow for the first time. ven the testimony of defense witness ric $antos, the brother of appellant Herry $antos, contained some noticeable incongruity with the appellantsS narration of events. /s remarAed upon by the &ourt of 2@ /ppeals, ric $antos testified that the arrest of his brother was made 2. at =:-- p.m. on = #arch ,--). The timeline of both the prosecution and the defense, however, puts the occurrence of the events in question 22 between the hours of **:-- p.m. and *:-- a.m. The testimonies of #aria Jioleta &atoc, sister of appellant &atoc, and ric $antos, brother of appellant $antos, are also suspect. Dithout clear and convincing evidence, no credence can be accorded them. 0n all of the above instances, no satisfactory e>planation was offered by appellants to resolve the conflicting accounts. ?o other evidence was liAewise offered to buttress these testimonies, thereby weaAening appellantsS alibis, as against the candid and straightforward testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. /s consistently enunciated by this &ourt, the established doctrine is that, for the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis or within its immediate vicinity. The defense of alibi must be established by positive, clear and satisfactory evidence, the reason being that it is easily manufactured and usually so unreliable that it can rarely be given credence. This is especially true in case of positive identification of the culprit by reliable witnesses, which renders their 27 alibis worthless. 4ositive identification prevails over denials and alibis. Dhat is quite important to note at this point is the fact that the defense failed to point out any single mistaAe or inconsistency in the testimonies of either policeman. &onsequently, the respective rulings of the trial court and the &ourt of /ppeals upholding the regularity and the legitimacy of the conduct of the buy+bust operation in this case are hereby affirmed. The claim of appellants that their warrantless arrests were illegal also

lacAs merit. The &ourt notes that nowhere in the records did we find any ob:ection by appellants to the irregularity of their arrests prior to their arraignment. De have held in a number of cases that the illegal arrest of an accused is not a sufficient cause for setting aside a valid :udgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from errorE such arrest does not negate the validity of the conviction of the accused. 0t is much too late in the day to complain about the warrantless arrest after a valid information has been filed, the accused arraigned, trial commenced and completed, and a :udgment of conviction rendered 2= against him. ?evertheless, our ruling in People v. Cabugatan 21 provides that:

actually came together and agreed in e>press terms to enter into and pursue a common design. 4roof of concerted action before, during and after the crime, which demonstrates their unity of design and ob:ective is 7) sufficient. /s correctly held by the trial court, the act of appellant $antos in receiving the marAed money from 45) "una and handing the same to appellant &atoc, who in turn gave a sachet containing shabu to appellant $antos to give the policeman, unmistaAably revealed a common purpose and a community of interest indicative of a conspiracy 7@ between the appellants. 0n light of the foregoing, we rule that the guilt of appellants $antos and &atoc has been established beyond reasonable doubt. / determination of the appropriate penalties to be imposed upon them is now in order. 8nder the law, the illegal sale of shabu carries with it the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos '4.--,---.--( to ten million pesos '4*-,---,---.--(, regardless of the quantity and purity of the substance involved or shall act as a 7. broAer in any such transaction. 5n the other hand, the illegal possession of less than five '.( grams of said dangerous drug is penalized with imprisonment of twelve '*,( years and one '*( day to twenty ',-( years and a fine ranging from three hundred thousand 72 pesos '4)--,---.--( to four hundred thousand pesos '4@--,---.--(. 0n accordance with $ection 1=, /rticle C000 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2., the provisions of the %evised 4enal &ode find limited applicability with respect to the provisions of the said /ct. $ection 1= reads: $ec. 1=. 2imited Applicabilit% of the %evised 4enal &ode. + ?otwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, the provisions of the %evised 4enal &ode '/ct ?o. )=*.(, as amended, shall not apply to the provisions of this /ct, e>cept in the case of minor offenders. Dhere the offender is a minor, the penalty for acts punishable by life imprisonment to death provided herein shall be reclusion perpetua to death. Thus, in determining the imposable penalty, /rticle 2)',( of the %evised 4enal &ode shall not be applied. 8nder this article, in all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the lesser penalty shall be applied when there are neither mitigating nor 77 aggravating circumstances. $ince $ection 1= of the 3rugs "aw contains the word Ishall,I the non+applicability of the %evised 4enal

The rule is settled that an arrest made after an entrapment does not require a warrant inasmuch as it is considered a valid warrantless arrest pursuant to %ule **), $ection .'a( of the %ules of &ourt, which states: $ &. .. Arrest 4ithout 4arrant= 4hen la4ful. + / peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: 'a( Dhen, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. /s we have already declared the legality of the buy+bust operation that was conducted by the police, it follows that the subsequent warrantless arrests were liAewise legally effected. !urthermore, any search resulting from the lawful warrantless arrests was also valid, because the appellants committed a crime in flagrante delictoE that is, the persons 7arrested committed a crime in the presence of the arresting officers. /s for appellantsS contention that the trial court erred in finding the e>istence of a conspiracy, the same should also fail. &ontrary to 7* appellantsS assertions, the findings of the trial court that they conspired with each other is limited only to the crime of illegal sale of dangerous drugs in &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1)+3, and does not pertain to the crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs in &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1@+3. There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. The same degree of proof necessary to prove the crime is required to support a finding of criminal conspiracy. 3irect proof, however, is not 7, essential to show conspiracy. 0t need not be shown that the parties

&ode provisions is mandatory, sub:ect to e>ception only in case the 7= offender is a minor. 0n the imposition of the proper penalty, the courts, taAing into account the circumstances attendant in the commission of the offense, are given the discretion to impose either life imprisonment or death, and the fine as provided for by law. 0n light, however, of the effectivity of %epublic /ct ?o. 1)@2 entitled, I/n /ct 4rohibiting the 0mposition of 3eath 4enalty in the 4hilippines,I the imposition of the supreme penalty of death has been prohibited. &onsequently, the penalty to be meted out to appellant 71 shall only be life imprisonment and fine. Bence, the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of 4.--,---.-- were properly imposed on appellants Herry $antos y #acol and %amon &atoc y 4icayo in &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1)+3 for illegal sale of shabu. "iAewise, the conviction of appellant %amon &atoc y 4icayo and the imposition of the penalty of twelve '*,( years and one '*( day to fifteen '*.( years imprisonment and the fine of 4)--,---.-- meted out by the trial court with respect to &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1@+3 for illegal possession of shabu, are affirmed. "#EREFORE, premises considered, the 3ecision dated ,1 ?ovember ,--2 of the &ourt of /ppeals in &/+6.%. &%+B.&. ?o. -*,1*, affirming in toto the 3ecision of the %egional Trial &ourt of 4asig &ity, Branch 7-, in &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1)+3 and &riminal &ase ?o. *,*1@+3, is hereby AFFIR&ED. ?o costs. %O ORDERED. TB0%3 30J0$05? ('R' $o' )*,/)) Dece=-er +G, +//2 PEOPLE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, 4laintiff+/ppellee, vs. %POG %A$(9I ARA . &IRA%OL, &I9E TALIB . &A&A, and 1ORDA$ &U%A . BA6A$, /ccused+/ppellants. DECI%IO$ 0ELA%CO, 1R', J.: This is an appeal from the 3ecember *), ,--7 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals '&/( in &/+6.%. &%+B.&. ?o. ---,.B entitled 4eople of the 4hilippines v. $45) $angAi /ra y #irasol, #iAe Talib y #ama, Hordan #usa y Bayan, which affirmed the 3ecision of the %egional Trial &ourt '%T&(, Branch 1 in 3avao &ity, convicting accused+appellants of

violation of %epublic /ct ?o. '%/( 1*2. or the &omprehensive 3angerous 3rugs /ct of ,--,. The !acts Three 0nformations charged accused+appellants $angAi /ra, #iAe Talib, and Hordan #usa, as follows: &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7*+,--, against /ra That on or about 3ecember ,-, ,--,, in the &ity of 3avao, 4hilippines and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the above+named accused, without being authorized by law, willfully, unlawfully and consciously traded, transported and delivered ,2.2.2) grams of #ethamphetamine Bydrochloride or Ishabu,I which is a dangerous drug, with the aggravating circumstance of trading, transporting and delivering said ,2.2.2) grams of IshabuI within *-- meters from ;the< school $t. 4eterSs &ollege of Toril, 3avao &ity. &5?T%/%K T5 "/D.* &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7,+,--, against Talib That on or about 3ecember ,-, ,--,, in the &ity of 3avao, 4hilippines and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the above+named accused, without being authorized by law, willfully, unlawfully and consciously had in his possession and control one '*( plastic sachet of #ethamphetamine Bydrochloride or Ishabu,I weighing -.)..1 gram, which is a dangerous drug. &5?T%/%K T5 "/D., &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7)+,--, against #usa That on or about 3ecember ,-, ,--,, in the &ity of 3avao, 4hilippines, and within the :urisdiction of this Bonorable &ourt, the above+mentioned accused, without being authorized by law, willfully, unlawfully and consciously had in his possession and control five '.( big plastic sachet;s< of #ethamphetamine Bydrochloride or IshabuI weighing *@.,1)2 grams, which is a dangerous drug. &5?T%/%K T5 "/D.) 3uring their arraignment, accused+appellants all gave a Inot guiltyI plea. Jersion of the 4rosecution /t the trial, the prosecution presented the following witnesses: !orensic &hemist ?oemi /ustero, 45, %onald "ao, $45* Bienvenido !urog, 45* nrique /yao, Hr., $45@ %odrigo #allorca, and 45, Hacy Hay

!rancia. 0n the morning of 3ecember ,-, ,--,, a confidential informant '&0( came to the Beinous &rime 0nvestigation $ection 'B&0$( of the 3avao &ity 4olice 3epartment and reported that three ')( suspected drug pushers had contacted him for a deal involving si> '2( plastic sachets of shabu. Be was instructed to go that same morning to $t. 4eterSs &ollege at Toril, 3avao &ity and looA for an orange ?issan $entra car.@ 4olice &hief 0nspector !ulgencio 4avo, $r. immediately formed a buy+ bust team composed of $45) %eynaldo &apute, $45@ #ario 6alendez, $45) /ntonio Balolong, $45, /rturo "ascaRos, $45, Him Tan, $45* %izalino /quino, $45* Bienvenido !urog, 45, Jivencio Humawan, Hr., 45, %onald "ao, and 45* nrique /yao, Hr., who would act as poseur+buyer.. The team proceeded to the school where 45* /yao and the &0 waited by the gate. /t around =:@. a.m., an orange ?issan $entra bearing plate number 86% .*- stopped in front of them. The two men approached the vehicle and the &0 talAed briefly with an old man in the front seat. 45* /yao was then told to get in the bacA seat as accused+appellant #iAe Talib opened the door. The old man, later identified as accused+ appellant $45) /ra, asAed 45* /yao if he had the money and the latter replied in the positive. /ra tooA out several sachets with crystalline granules from his pocAet and handed them to 45* /yao, who thereupon gave the pre+arranged signal of opening the car door. The driver of the car, later identified as accused+appellant Hordan #usa, tried to drive away but 45* /yao was able to switch off the car engine in time. The bacA+up team appeared and $45* !urog held on to #usa while 45, "ao restrained Talib. 45* /yao then asAed /ra to get out of the vehicle.2 %ecovered from the group were plastic sachets of white crystalline substance: si> '2( big sachets, weighing ,2.2.2) grams, from /ra by 45* /yaoE five '.( big sachets, weighing *@.,1)2 grams, from #usa by $45* !urogE and a small sachet, weighing -.)..1 gram, from Talib by 45, "ao.7 The three suspects were brought to the B&0$ and the seized items indorsed to the 4hilippine ?ational 4olice '4?4( &rime "aboratory for e>amination. !orensic &hemist /ustero, who conducted the e>amination, found that the confiscated sachets all tested positive for shabu.= Jersion of the 3efense The defense offered the sole testimony of /ra, who said that he had

been a member of the 4?4 for ), years, with a spotless record. 5n 3ecember ,-, ,--,, $45) /ra was in &otabato &ity, at the house of his daughter #arilyn, wife of his co+accused #usa. Be was set to go that day to the 5mbudsmanSs 3avao &ity office for some paperworA in preparation for his retirement on Huly =, ,--). Be recounted e>pecting at least 4h4 *.2 million in retirement benefits.1 arly that morning, past three oSclocA, he and #usa headed for 3avao &ity on board the latterSs car. /s he was feeling weaA, /ra slept in the bacA seat. 8pon reaching 3avao &ity, he was surprised to see another man, #iAe Talib, in the front seat of the car when he woAe up. #usa e>plained that Talib had hitched a ride on a bridge they had passed.*Dhen they arrived in Toril, /ra noticed the car to be overheating, so they stopped. /ra did not Anow that they were near $t. 4eterSs &ollege since he was not familiar with the area. Talib alighted from the car and /ra transferred to the front seat. Dhile Talib was getting into the bacA seat, 45* /yao came out of nowhere, pointed his .@. caliber pistol at /ra even if he was not doing anything, and ordered him to get off the vehicle. Be saw that guns were also pointed at his companions. /s the group were being arrested, he told 45* /yao that he was also a police officer. /ra insisted that he was not holding anything and that the shabu taAen from him was planted. Be asserted that the only time he saw shabu was on television.** The %uling of the Trial &ourt The %T& pronounced accused+appellants guilty of the crimes charged. 0n its 3ecision dated #arch *, ,--), the trial court held that the prosecution was able to establish the quantum of proof showing the guilt of accused+appellants beyond reasonable doubt. 0t further ruled that the Iintercept operationI conducted by the buy+bust team was valid. The dispositive portion of the %T& 3ecision reads: DB % !5% , premised on the foregoing the &ourt finds the following: 0n &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7*+,--,, the accused herein $/?6L0 /%/ K #/$5", !ilipino, .. years old, widower, a resident of Labuntalan, &otabato &ity, is hereby found 680"TK beyond reasonable doubt, and is &5?J0&T 3 of the crime of violation of $ec. ., *st paragraph of %epublic /ct 1*2.. Be is hereby imposed the 3 /TB 4 ?/"TK and !0? of T ? #0""05? 4 $5$ '4h4 *-,---,---( with all the accessory penalties corresponding thereto, including absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office, in view of the provision of section ,= of %/ 1*2. quoted above.

$ince the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the crime was committed in the area which is only five '.( to si> '2( meters away from the school, the provision of section . paragraph ) /rticle 00 of %/ 1*2. was applied in the imposition of the ma>imum penalty against the herein accused. 0n &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7,+,--,, the accused herein #0L T/"0B y #/#/, !ilipino, of legal age, single and a resident of 4arang, &otabato, is found 680"TK beyond reasonable doubt, and is &5?J0&T 3 of the crime of violation of $ec. **, )rd paragraph, /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct 1*2.. Be is hereby imposed a penalty of 0mprisonment of $0CT ? '*2( K /%$ and a fine of TB% B8?3% 3 TB58$/?3 4 $5$ '4h4 )--,---( with all the accessory penalties corresponding thereto. 0n &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7)+,--, the accused herein H5%3/? #8$/ K B/K/?, !ilipino, )- years old, married and a resident of &otabato &ity, is hereby found 680"TK beyond reasonable doubt and is &5?J0&T 3 of the crime for Jiolation of $ec. **, *st paragraph, /rticle 00 of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2.. Be is hereby sentenced to suffer a penalty of "0! 0#4%0$5?# ?T and !0? of !58% B8?3% 3 TB58$/?3 4 $5$ '4h4 @--,---( with all the accessory penalties corresponding thereto. $5 5%3 % 3.*, /s the death penalty was imposed on /ra, the case went on automatic review before this &ourt. &onformably with 4eople v. #ateo,*) we, however, ordered the transfer of the case to the &/. The %uling of the /ppellate &ourt &ontesting the %T& 3ecision, accused+appellants filed separate appeals before the &/. Talib claimed that it was erroneous for the trial court to have used the complaining witnessesS affidavits as basis for ruling that their arrest was valid. Be also cited as erroneous the trial courtSs refusal to rule that the prosecutionSs evidence was inadmissible. "astly, he questioned the failure of the buy+bust team to follow the requirements of %/ 1*2. on proper inventory of seized drugs. /ra and #usa filed a :oint brief, alleging the following: '*( the trial court erred in denying the #otion to $uppress andMor e>clude illegally obtained evidenceE ',( the trial court erred in denying the 3emurrer to videnceE ')( the trial court failed to consider that the criminal informations did not allege conspiracy among the accusedE and '@( the trial court erred in ruling that the Iintercept operationI was valid.

The &/ affirmed the trial courtSs decision with some modifications on the penalty imposed. 0t ruled that a ma:ority of the errors raised in the appeal referred to technicalities in the conduct of buy+bust operations that did not invalidate the police officersS actions. 5n the issue of the evidence presented, the &/ held that the presumption that police officers performed their duties in a regular manner was not overturned. The appellate court resolved the issue of the validity of the buy+bust operation by stating that the law requires no specific method of conducting such an operation. 0t ruled that to require a warrant of arrest would not accomplish the goal of apprehending drug pushers in flagrante delicto. The &/Ss 3ecision emphasized that all the elements necessary for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs were established. The fallo of the 3ecember *), ,--7 &/ 3ecision reads: DB % !5% , premises foregoing, the appeal is hereby 30$#0$$ 3 and the appealed #arch *, ,--) 3ecision is hereby /!!0%# 3 sub:ect to the modification insofar as the death penalty imposed upon accused $45) $angAi /ra is concerned. /ccordingly, his penalty is hereby reduced to life imprisonment pursuant to %epublic /ct ?o. 1)@2. $5 5%3 % 3.*@ 5n 3ecember *7, ,--=, this &ourt required the parties to submit supplemental briefs if they so desired. The parties, save for #usa, manifested their willingness to forego the filing of additional briefs. The 0ssues %eiterating the matters raised before the &/, accused+appellants alleged the following: 0 Dhether the &ourt of /ppeals erred in holding that the arrest of the accused+appellants was valid based on the affidavits of the complaining witnesses 00 Dhether the &ourt of /ppeals erred in disregarding the apparent defects and inconsistencies in the affidavits of the complaining witnesses 000 Dhether the &ourt of /ppeals erred in refusing to consider the suppression or e>clusion of evidence 0J

Dhether the &ourt of /ppeals erred in not holding that the prosecution miserably failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt Talib also raises the following grounds for his acquittal: 0 Dhether the arrest of Talib was illegal and the evidence confiscated from him illegally obtained 00 Dhether the police officers who conducted the illegal search and arrest also deliberately failed andMor violated the provisions of %/ 1*2. 000 Dhether the testimonies of the prosecutionSs witnesses and their respective affidavits were gravely inconsistent /ra and #usa additionally raise the following issues: 0 Dhether the trial court erred in denying the 3emurrer to vidence 00 Dhether the trial court failed to consider that the criminal informations did not allege conspiracy among the accused 000 Dhether the trial court erred in ruling that the Iintercept operationI was valid /ccused+appellant #usa also avers that the &/ erred in convicting him since the prosecution failed to prove the corpus delicti of the offense charged. The %uling of this &ourt Dhat are mainly raised in this appeal are '*( whether the buy+bust conducted was validE ',( whether the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of drugs were sufficiently establishedE and ')( whether the chain of custody over the shabu was unbroAen. Darrantless /rrest and $eizure Jalid 0n calling for their acquittal, accused+appellants decry their arrest without probable cause and the violation of their constitutional rights. They claim

that the buy+bust team had more than a month to apply for an arrest warrant yet failed to do so. 5wing to the special circumstances surrounding the drug trade, a buy+ bust operation has long been held as a legitimate method of catching offenders. 0t is a form of entrapment employed as an effective way of apprehending a criminal in the act of commission of an offense. *. De have ruled that a buy+bust operation can be carried out after a long period of planning. The period of planning for such operation cannot be dictated to the police authorities who are to undertaAe such operation.*2 0t is unavailing then to argue that the operatives had to first secure a warrant of arrest given that the ob:ective of the operation was to apprehend the accused+appellants in flagrante delicto. 0n fact, one of the situations covered by a lawful warrantless arrest under $ection .'a(, %ule **) of the %ules of &ourt is when a person has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense in the presence of a peace officer or private person. 0t is erroneous as well to argue that there was no probable cause to arrest accused+appellants. 4robable cause, in warrantless searches, must only be based on reasonable ground of suspicion or belief that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. There is no hard and fast rule or fi>ed formula for determining probable cause, for its determination varies according to the facts of each case. *7 4robable cause was provided by information gathered from the &0 and from accused+appellants themselves when they instructed 45* /yao to enter their vehicle and begin the transaction. The illegal sale of shabu inside accused+appellantsS vehicle was afterwards clearly established. Thus, as we have previously held, the arresting officers were :ustified in maAing the arrests as accused+appellants had :ust committed a crime when /ra sold shabu to 45* /yao.*= Talib and #usa were also frisAed for contraband as it may be logically inferred that they were also part of /raSs drug activities inside the vehicle. This inference was further strengthened by #usaSs attempt to drive the vehicle away and elude arrest. #oreover, the trial court correctly denied the #otion to $uppress or >clude vidence. De need not reiterate that the evidence was not e>cluded since the buy+bust operation was shown to be a legitimate form of entrapment. The pieces of evidence thus seized therein were admissible. /s the appellate court noted, it was within legal bounds and no anomaly was found in the conduct of the buy+bust operation. There is, therefore, no basis for the assertion that the trial courtSs order denying said motion was biased and committed with grave abuse of

discretion. 4rosecution stablished 6uilt Beyond %easonable 3oubt !or the successful prosecution of the illegal sale of shabu, the following elements must be established: '*( the identity of the buyer and the seller, the ob:ect of the sale, and the considerationE and ',( the delivery of the thing sold and its payment. Dhat is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually tooA place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence.*1 /ll these requisites were met by the prosecution. 0n contrast, /ra, the sole defense witness, could only proffer the weaA defenses of denial and alibi. Be e>pressed surprise at having Talib in his car and claimed he was framed and that the shabu confiscated from him was planted. /ccording to the trial court, however, /raSs lying on the witness stand Iwas so intense as he tried very hard in vain to win the &ourtSs sympathy.I,6iven the prosecutionSs evidence, we rule that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties has not been overturned. The presumption remains because the defense failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the police officers did not properly perform their duty or that they were inspired by an improper motive. ,* /ra could not e>plain why his fellow police officers, who did not Anow him prior to his arrest, would frame him for such a serious offense. Jalidity of Buy+Bust 5peration "iAewise questioned by the defense in the affidavits of the police officers was the allegation that there was a legitimate buy+bust operation. ?o marAed money was presented to bacA up the police officersS claims. This argument lacAs basis, however. There are requirements that must be complied with in proving the legitimacy of drug buy+bust operations. ?evertheless, this &ourt has ruled that presentation of the marAed money used is not such a requirement. 0n the prosecution for the sale of dangerous drugs, the absence of marAed money does not create a hiatus in the evidence for the prosecution, as long as the sale of dangerous drugs is adequately proved and the drug sub:ect of the transaction is presented before the court.,, 0n the instant case, the police officersS testimonies adequately established the illegal sale of shabu. The shabu was then presented before the trial court. The non+ presentation of the marAed money may, thus, be overlooAed as a peripheral matter. Talib further contends that it is incredible that a shabu transaction would

be carried out in a very open and public place. &ontrary to TalibSs claim, however, :udicial e>perience has shown that drug transactions have been conducted without much care for an inconspicuous location. Thus, we observed in 4eople v. %oldan: 3rug pushing when done on a small level > > > belongs to that class of crimes that may be committed at anytime and at any place. /fter the offer to buy is accepted and the e>change is made, the illegal transaction is completed in a few minutes. The fact that the parties are in a public place and in the presence of other people may not always discourage them from pursuing their illegal trade these factors may even serve to camouflage the same. Bence, the &ourt has sustained the conviction of drug pushers caught selling illegal drugs in a billiard hall, in front of a store, along a street at *:@. p.m., and in front of a house.,) 0t is also argued as impossible to believe that even if there was already a deal between the informant and accused+appellants, it was the apprehending police officer who acted as the buyer and that he requested to see the shabu first before showing the money. These claims by Talib are similarly undeserving of consideration. !irst, there is no uniform method by which drug pushers and their buyers operate. $econd, the choice of effective ways to apprehend drug dealers is within the ambit of police authority. 4olice officers have the e>pertise to determine which specific approaches are necessary to enforce their entrapment operations.,@ Third, as long as they en:oy credibility as witnesses, the police officersS account of how the buy+bust operation transpired is entitled to full faith and credit. ,. "astly, these arguments are merely incidental and do not affect the elements of the crime which have been, in the instant case, sufficiently established. Talib also alleges that during his testimony, $45* !urog was not certain as to the reason he was apprehending #usa. /nother claim is that $45* !urog, when e>amined by the prosecutor and two different defense lawyers, allegedly made relevant inconsistencies in his testimony. The pertinent e>change reads: 3irect >amination of $45* !urog: 4rosecutor Deis: Q Dhat was your basis for stopping ;#usa< from letting the car goN / 0 made him ;stop< the car;.< ;D<e ;had< to checA them first because 0 thinA /yao saw ;that< /ra ;had< the suspected shabu. &ross+ >amination of $45* !urog:

/tty. strada Q Dhen you arrested #usa as you said, it was because he attempted to drive the car away, that was itN / The most, when $45) $angAi /ra told us that he was a 4?4 member and when we saw the substances from the two of them first. >>>> Q Kou are referring to #usa and /raN / Kes sir.,2 >>>> /tty. Havines Q /yao did not arrest ;/ra< inside the vehicleN / 5nly 0 rushed to the vehicle. 0 donSt Anow if he directly arrested him when he saw the substance and ;got< out of the vehicle but 0 saw him get out from the vehicle.,7 The alleged inconsistencies in $45* !urogSs Ireason for apprehending #usaI are, however, insignificant and do not merit much consideration as well. The questioned parts in the testimony of $45* !urog do not dent the totality of evidence against accused+appellants. To repeat, the elements of the crime of illegal sale of drugs and illegal possession of drugs were both sufficiently established. /lthough $45* !urog was not categorical in e>plaining his basis for apprehending #usa, the arrest of the latter must be considered as part of a legitimate buy+bust operation which was consummated. #usaSs arrest came after the pre+arranged signal was given to the bacA+up team and this served as basis for the police officers to apprehend all those in the vehicle, including #usa. 3enial of 3emurrer to vidence /lthough alleged by accused+appellants /ra and #usa, no reason was given in the appeal as to why the trial court erred in denying their 3emurrer to vidence. Dhatever their basis may be, an action on a demurrer or on a motion to dismiss rests on the sound e>ercise of :udicial discretion.,= 0n 6utib v. &/,,1 we e>plained that: / demurrer to evidence is an ob:ection by one of the parties in an action, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law, whether true or not, to maAe out a case or sustain the issue. The party demurring challenges the sufficiency of the whole evidence to sustain a verdict. The court, in passing upon the

sufficiency of the evidence raised in a demurrer, is merely required to ascertain whether there iscompetent or sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment or to support a verdict of guilt. Bere, the trial court found competent and sufficient evidence to support a conviction of all three accused+appellants. De see no reason to overturn the trial courtSs finding. /llegation of &onspiracy in 0nformation ?ot ?ecessary De find no merit in accused+appellantsS insistence that conspiracy should have been alleged in the separate 0nformations indicting them. De agree with the appellate court, which succinctly stated that conspiracy was not alleged Iprecisely because they were charged with different offenses for the distinct acts that each of them committed. 5neSs possession of an illegal drug does not need to be conspired by another who, on his part, also possessed an illegal drug.I)- The three separate indictments against /ra, #usa, and Talib do not need to allege conspiracy, for the act of conspiring and all the elements of the crime must be set forth in the complaint or information only when conspiracy is charged as a crime.)* %equirements of %/ 1*2. on 4roper 0nventory #usa contends that since the marAings on the seized items were only made at the police station, there is a great possibility that these were replaced. The result, he argues, would be a lacA of guarantee that what were inventoried and photographed at the crime laboratory were the same specimens confiscated from the accused. /s recently highlighted in 4eople v. &ortez), and 4eople v. "azaro, Hr.,)) %/ 1*2. and its subsequent 0mplementing %ules and %egulations '0%%( do not require strict compliance as to the chain of custody rule. The arrest of an accused will not be invalidated and the items seized from him rendered inadmissible on the sole ground of non+compliance with $ec. ,*, /rticle 00 of %/ 1*2.. De have emphasized that what is essential is Ithe preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.I Briefly stated, non+compliance with the procedural requirements under %/ 1*2. and its 0%% relative to the custody, photographing, and drug+ testing of the apprehended persons, is not a serious flaw that can render void the seizures and custody of drugs in a buy+bust operation.)@ The chain of custody in the instant case did not suffer from serious flaws

as accused+appellants argue. The recovery and handling of the seized drugs showed that, as to /ra, first, 45* /yao recovered si> plastic sachets of white crystalline substance from /ra and marAed them with both his and /raSs initials. $econd, the sachets were liAewise signed by property custodian 45) 4elenio. Third, 45* /yao signed a %equest for "aboratory >amination then personally delivered the sachets to the 4?4 &rime "aboratory for e>amination. !ourth, $45@ #allorca then received the sachets at the crime laboratory. /s to #usa, first, $45* !urog seized the sachets from #usa and marAed each with his own initials. $econd, an 0nventory of 4roperty $eized was then made by $45@ 6alendez. "astly, $45* !urog later submitted a %equest for "aboratory >amination of the five '.( sachets weighing a total of *@.,1)2 grams to the 4?4 &rime "aboratory. /s to Talib, first, 45, "ao seized a small sachet from Talib during the buy+bust operation. $econd, 45, "ao delivered a %equest for "aboratory >amination of one '*( sachet of suspected shabu weighing -.)..1 gram. Third, $45@ #allorca also received the items at the 4?4 &rime "aboratory. !orensic &hemist ?oemi /usteroSs e>amination of the sachets confiscated from all accused+appellants showed that these were positive for shabu. 3uring trial, the seized items were identified in court. The five '.( sachets taAen from #usa were marAed >hibits I/+*I to I/+.,I while the sachet seized from Talib was marAed >hibit IB.I The si> '2( sachets taAen from /ra were marAed >hibits IB*+B2.I De are, thus, satisfied that the prosecution was able to preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the shabu in all three criminal cases against accused+appellants. The rest of the arguments interposed are evidently without merit and do not warrant discussion. 4enalties 0mposed &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7,+,--, against Talib The crime of illegal possession of drugs is punishable by $ec. ** of %/ 1*2., as follows: $ec. **. Possession of 'angerous 'rugs. + > > > >>>> )( 0mprisonment of twelve '*,( years and one '*( day to twenty ',-( years and a fine ranging from Three hundred thousand pesos

'4)--,---.--( to !our hundred thousand pesos '4@--,---.--(, if the quantities of dangerous drugs are less than five '.( grams of > > > methamphetamine hydrochloride > > >. Talib was sentenced to imprisonment of si>teen '*2( years and a fine of 4h4 )--,---. &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7)+,--, against #usa The provision #usa was charged of violating provides the following penalty: '*( "ife imprisonment and a fine ranging from !our hundred thousand pesos '4@--,---.--( to !ive hundred thousand pesos '4.--,---.--(, if the quantity of methamphetamine hydrochloride or IshabuI is ten '*-( grams or more but less than fifty '.-( gramsE #usa was sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of 4h4 @--,---. &riminal &ase ?o. .*,@7*+,--, against /ra The crime of illegal sale of shabu is penalized by $ec. ., /rt. ** of %/ 1*2.: $ &. .. *ale, rading, Administration, 'ispensation, 'eliver%, 'istribution and ransportation of 'angerous 'rugs and8or Controlled Precursors and 9ssential Chemicals. + The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from !ive Bundred Thousand 4esos '4.--,---.--( to Ten #illion 4esos '4*-,---,---.--( shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broAer in any of such transactions. The same section contains the following provision: 0f the sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution or transportation of any dangerous drug andMor controlled precursor and essential chemical transpires within one hundred '*--( meters from the school, the ma>imum penalty shall be imposed in every case. $ince the sale of shabu was within five '.( to si> '2( meters from $t. 4eterSs &ollege, the ma>imum penalty of death should be imposed on /ra. 4ursuant to %/ 1)@2 or I/n /ct 4rohibiting the 0mposition of 3eath 4enalty in the 4hilippines,I however, only life imprisonment and a fine shall be meted on him.

/ra was sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of 4h4 *-,---,---. Be, however, is no longer eligible for parole. Dhat distinguishes this case from others is that one of the accused+ appellants was a police officer himself who should have Anown better than to breaA the law he was duty+bound to enforce. Dhat is more, he is charged with the crime of selling illegal drugs, an offense so horrendous for destroying the lives of its victims and their families that the penalty of death used to be imposed on its perpetrators. ?o one could have been more deserving of such a punishment than someone who should be enforcing the law but caught pushing drugs instead. /s it was, the death penalty was indeed originally imposed on $45) /ra, who had been in the service for more than )- years.1avvphi1 The ill effects of the use of illegal drugs are too repulsive and shocAing to enumerate. Thus, once the charges of sale and possession of said drugs are established in cases such as this, any errors or technicalities raised by the suspects should not be allowed to invalidate the actions of those involved in curtailing their illegal activities. The punishments given to drug pushers should serve as deterrent for others not to commit the same offense. ?o price seems high enough for drug dealers to payE it is :ust unfortunate that the penalty of death can no longer be imposed because it has been abolished. /s the penalties meted out to all three accused+appellants are within the range provided by %/ 1*2., we affirm the &/Ss sentence. DB % !5% , the appeal is 3 ?0 3. The &/ 3ecision in &/+6.%. &%+ B.&. ?o. ---,.B entitled 4eople of the 4hilippines v. $45) $angAi /ra y #irasol, #iAe Talib y #ama, Hordan #usa y Bayan is /!!0%# 3 with the modification that accused+appellant $angAi /ra is not eligible for parole. $5 5%3 % 3.

('R' $o' )?4G4/

Octo-er )?, +//3

I$ T#E &ATTER OF T#E PETITIO$ FOR I%%UA$CE OF "RIT OF #ABEA% CORPU% OF CA&ILO L' %ABIO, petitioner, 1' ER&I$ ER$E%T LOUIE R' &I(UEL, petitioner+relator, vs. #O$ORABLE %E$ATOR RIC#ARD (ORDO$, in his ca<acit. as Chair=an, and the #O$ORABLE &E&BER% OF T#E CO&&ITTEE O$ (O0ER$&E$T CORPORATIO$% A$D PUBLIC E$TERPRI%E% and T#E CO&&ITTEE O$ PUBLIC %ER0ICE% o the %enate, #O$ORABLE %E$ATOR 1UA$ PO$CE8E$RILE, in his o icial ca<acit. as &e=-er, #O$ORABLE &A$UEL 0ILLAR, %enate President, %E$ATE %ER(EA$T8AT8AR&%, and the %E$ATE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, respondents. > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ > ('R' $o' )?4G)* Octo-er )?, +//3

CO&&ITTEE O$ PUBLIC %ER0ICE%, its &e=-ers and Chair=an, the #O$ORABLE %E$ATOR 1O9ER P' ARRO6O, respondents.

&0$05?

%A$DO0AL8(UTIERRE7, J.: Two decades ago, on !ebruary ,=, *1=2, former 4resident &orazon &. /quino installed her regime by issuing >ecutive 5rder ' .5.( ?o. *,* creating the 4residential &ommission on 6ood 6overnment '4&66(. $he entrusted upon this &ommission the herculean tasA of recovering the ill+gotten wealth accumulated by the deposed 4resident !erdinand . #arcos, his family, relatives, subordinates and close associates., $ection @ 'b( of .5. ?o. * provides that: I $o =e=-er or sta o the Co==ission shall -e re>uired to testi . or <roduce evidence in an. Budicial, legislative or ad=inistrative <roceeding concerning =atters !ithin its o icial cogniOance'I /pparently, the purpose is to ensure 4&66Ss unhampered performance of its tasA.) Today, the constitutionality of $ection @'b( is being questioned on the ground that it tramples upon the $enateSs power to conduct legislative inquiry under /rticle J0, $ection ,* of the *1=7 &onstitution, which reads: The $enate or the Bouse of %epresentatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. The facts are undisputed. 5n !ebruary ,-, ,--2, $enator #iriam 3efensor $antiago introduced 4hilippine $enate %esolution ?o. @.. '$enate %es. ?o. @..(,@ Idirecting an inquiry in aid of legislation on the anomalous losses incurred by the 4hilippines 5verseas Telecommunications &orporation '45T&(, 4hilippine &ommunications $atellite &orporation '4B0"&5#$/T(, and 4B0"&5#$/T Boldings &orporation '4B&( due to the alleged improprieties in their operations by their respective Board of 3irectors.I The pertinent portions of the %esolution read:

PRE%IDE$TIAL CO&&I%%IO$ O$ (OOD (O0ER$&E$T JPC((K and CA&ILO L' %ABIO, Chair=an, $ARCI%O %' $ARIO, RICARDO &' ABCEDE, TERE%O L' 1A0IER and $ICA%IO A' CO$TI, Co==issioners, &A$UEL A$DAL and 1ULIO 1ALA$DO$I, PC(( no=inees to Philco=sat #oldings Cor<oration, petitioners, vs. RIC#ARD (ORDO$, in his ca<acit. as Chair=an, and &E&BER% OF T#E CO&&ITTEE O$ (O0ER$&E$T CORPORATIO$% A$D PUBLIC E$TERPRI%E%, &E&BER% OF T#E CO&&ITTEE O$ PUBLIC %ER0ICE%, %E$ATOR 1UA$ PO$CE8E$RILE, in his ca<acit. as =e=-er o -oth said Co==ittees, &A$UEL 0ILLAR, %enate President, T#E %E$ATE %ER(EA$T8AT8AR&%, and %E$ATE OF T#E P#ILIPPI$E%, respondents. > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ > ('R' $o' )?4)?? Octo-er )?, +//3

P#ILCO&%AT #OLDI$(% CORPORATIO$%, P#ILIP (' BRODETT, LUI% 9' LO9I$, 1R', ROBERTO 0' %A$ 1O%E, DELFI$ P' A$(CAO, ROBERTO L' ABAD, AL&A 9RI%TI$A ALOBBA, and 1O#$$6 TA$, petitioners, vs. %E$ATE CO&&ITTEE O$ (O0ER$&E$T CORPORATIO$% and PUBLIC E$TERPRI%E%, its &E&BER% and C#AIR&A$, the #O$ORABLE %E$ATOR RIC#ARD (ORDO$ and %E$ATE

"#EREA%, in the last quarter of ,--., the representation and entertainment e>pense of the 4B& sAyrocAeted to 4@.) million, as compared to the previous yearSs mere 4*-2 thousandE DB % /$, some board members established wholly owned 4B& subsidiary called Telecommunications &enter, 0nc. 'T&0(, where 4B& funds are allegedly siphonedE in *= months, over 47) million had been allegedly advanced to T&0 without any accountability report given to 4B& and 4B0"&5#$/TE DB % /$, the Philippine *tar, in its *, !ebruary ,--, issue reported that the e>ecutive committee of 4hilcomsat has precipitately released 4,2. million and granted 4*,. million loan to a relative of an e>ecutive committee memberE to date there have been no payments given, sub:ecting the company to an estimated interest income loss of 4**.,. million in ,--@E DB % /$, there is an urgent need to protect the interest of the %epublic of the 4hilippines in the 4B&, 4B0"&5#$/T, and 45T& from any anomalous transaction, and to conserve or salvage any remaining value of the governmentSs equity position in these corporations from any abuses of power done by their respective board of directorsE DB % !5% , -e it resolved that the <ro<er %enate Co==ittee shall conduct an in>uir. in aid o legislation, on the ano=alous losses incurred -. the Phili<<ine Overseas Teleco==unications Cor<oration JPOTCK, Phili<<ine Co==unications %atellite Cor<oration JP#ILCO&%ATK, and Philco=sat #oldings Cor<orations JP#CK due to the alleged i=<ro<rieties in the o<erations -. their res<ective -oard o directors' /dopted. '$gd( #0%0/# 3 ! ?$5% $/?T0/65 5n the same date, !ebruary ,-, ,--2, $enate %es. ?o. @.. was submitted to the $enate and referred to the Committee on Accountabilit% of Public .fficers and "nvestigations and Committee on Public *ervices. Bowever, on #arch ,=, ,--2, upon motion of $enator !rancis ?. 4angilinan, it was transferred to the Committee on >overnment Corporations and Public 9nterprises.. 5n #ay =, ,--2, &hief of $taff %io &. 0nocencio, under the authority of $enator %ichard H. 6ordon, wrote &hairman &amilo ". $abio of the 4&66, one of the herein petitioners, inviting him to be one of the

resource persons in the public meeting :ointly conducted by the Committee on >overnment Corporations and Public 9nterprises and Committee on Public *ervices. The purpose of the public meeting was to deliberate on $enate %es. ?o. @...2 5n #ay 1, ,--2, &hairman $abio declined the invitation because of prior commitment.7 At the sa=e ti=e, he invoLed %ection 4J-K o E'O' $o' ) earlier quoted. 5n /ugust *-, ,--2, $enator 6ordon issued a *ubpoena Ad estificandum,= approved by $enate 4resident #anuel Jillar, requiring &hairman $abio and 4&66 &ommissioners Ricardo A-cede, $icasio Conti, Tereso 1avier and $arciso $ario to appear in the public hearing scheduled on /ugust ,), ,--2 and testify on what they Anow relative to the matters specified in $enate %es. ?o. @... $imilar subpoenae were issued against the directors and officers of 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation, namely: Benito J. /raneta, 4hilip H. Brodett, nrique ". "ocsin, #anuel 3. /ndal, %oberto ". /bad, "uis L. "oAin, Hr., Hulio H. Halandoni, %oberto J. $an Hose, 3elfin 4. /ngcao, /lma Lristina /lloba and Hohnny Tan.1 /gain, &hairman $abio refused to appear. 0n his letter to $enator 6ordon dated /ugust *=, ,--2, he reiterated his earlier position, invoAing $ection @'b( of .5. ?o. *. 5n the other hand, the directors and officers of 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation relied on the position paper they previously filed, which raised issues on the propriety of legislative inquiry. Thereafter, &hief of $taff #a. &arissa 5. &oscolluela, under the authority of $enator 6ordon, sent another notice*- to &hairman $abio requiring him to appear and testify on the same sub:ect matter set on $eptember 2, ,--2. The notice was issued Iunder the same authority of the *ubpoena Ad estificandum previously served upon 'him( last *2 /ugust ,--2.I 5nce more, &hairman $abio did not comply with the notice. Be sent a letter** dated $eptember @, ,--2 to $enator 6ordon reiterating his reason for declining to appear in the public hearing. This prompted $enator 6ordon to issue an 5rder dated $eptember 7, ,--2 requiring &hairman $abio and &ommissioners /bcede, &onti, Havier and ?ario to show cause why they should not be cited in contempt of the $enate. 5n $eptember **, ,--2, they submitted to the $enate their &ompliance and >planation,*, which partly reads:

Dou-tless, there are lauda-le intentions o the su-Bect in>uir. in aid o legislation. But the rule of law requires that even the best intentions must be carried out within the parameters of the &onstitution and the law. Jerily, laudable purposes must be carried out by legal methods. 'Brillantes, ?r., et al. v. Commission on 9lections, 9n Banc ;6.%. ?o. *2)*1), Hune *., ,--@<( 5n this score, $ection @'b( of e>plicitly provides: .5. ?o. * should not be ignored as it

$o =e=-er or sta o the Co==ission shall -e re>uired to testi . or <roduce evidence in an. Budicial legislative or ad=inistrative <roceeding concerning =atters !ithin its o icial cogniOance' Dith all due respect, $ection @'b( of .5. ?o. * constitutes a limitation on the power of legislative inquiry, and a recognition by the $tate of the need to provide protection to the 4&66 in order to ensure the unhampered performance of its duties under its charter. .5. ?o. * is a law, $ection @'b( of which had not been amended, repealed or revised in any way. To say the least, it would require both Bouses of &ongress and 4residential fiat to amend or repeal the provision in controversy. 8ntil then, it stands to be respected as part of the legal system in this :urisdiction. 'As held in People v. 0eneracion, 6.%. ?os. **11=7+==, 5ctober *,, *11.@ .bedience to the rule of la4 forms the bedroc$ of our s%stem of &ustice. "f &udges, under the guise of religious or political beliefs 4ere allo4ed to roam unrestricted be%ond boundaries 4ithin 4hich the% are re7uired b% la4 to exercise the duties of their office, then la4 becomes meaningless. A government of la4s, not of men excludes the exercise of broad discretionar% po4ers b% those acting under its authorit%. Ander this s%stem, &udges are guided b% the Rule of 2a4, and ought to Bprotect and enforce it 4ithout fear or favor,B ; CAct of Athens (1-DD)E resist encroachments b% governments, political parties, or even the interference of their o4n personal beliefs.( >>>>>> %elevantly, &hairman $abioSs letter to $en. 6ordon dated /ugust *1, ,--2 pointed out that the anomalous transactions referred to in the 4.$. %esolution ?o. @.. are sub:ect of pending cases before the regular courts, the $andiganbayan and the $upreme &ourt '4ending cases include: a. *amuel 'ivina v. !anuel 6ieto, ?r., et al. , &/+6.%. ?o. =1*-,E b. Philippine Communications *atellite Corporation v. !anuel

6ieto, et al.E c. Philippine Communications *atellite Corporation v. !anuel '. Andal, &ivil &ase ?o. -2+-1., %T&, Branch 2*, #aAati &ityE d. Philippine Communications *atellite Corporation v. P1"2C.!*A 1oldings Corporation, et al., &ivil &ase ?o. -@+*-@1( for which reason they may not be able to testify thereon under the principle of sub &udice. The laudable ob:ectives of the 4&66Ss functions, recognized in several cases decided by the $upreme &ourt, of the 4&66 will be put to naught if its recovery efforts will be unduly impeded by a legislative investigation of cases that are already pending before the $andiganbayan and trial courts. 0n Bengzon v. $enate Blue %ibbon &ommittee, ',-) $&%/ 727, 7=@ ;*11*<( the Bonorable $upreme &ourt held: IY;T<he issues sought to be investigated by the respondent &ommittee is one over which :urisdiction had been acquired by the $andiganbayan. 0n short, the issue has been pre+empted by that court. To allow the respondent &ommittee to conduct its own investigation of an issue already before the $andigabayan would not only pose the possibility of conflicting :udgments between a legislative committee and a :udicial tribunal, but if the &ommitteeSs :udgment were to be reached before that of the $andiganbayan, the possibility of its influence being made to bear on the ultimate :udgment of the $andiganbayan can not be discounted. >>>>>> IT I% I$ 0IE" OF T#E FORE(OI$( CO$%IDERATIO$% that the &ommission decided not to attend the $enate inquiry to testify and produce evidence thereat. 8nconvinced with the above &ompliance and >planation, the Committee on >overnment Corporations and Public 9nterprises and the Committee on Public *ervices issued an 5rder*) directing #a:or 6eneral Hose Bala:adia '%et.(, $enate $ergeant+/t+/rms, to place &hairman $abio and his &ommissioners under arrest for contempt of the $enate. The Order -ears the a<<roval o %enate President 0illar and the =aBorit. o the Co==itteesI =e=-ers' 5n $eptember *,, ,--2, at around *-:@. a.m., #a:or 6eneral Bala:adia arrested &hairman $abio in his office at 0%& Building, ?o. =, 3$/, #andaluyong &ity and brought him to the $enate premises where he was detained. Bence, &hairman $abio filed with this &ourt a petition for habeas corpus against the $enate Committee on >overnment Corporations and Public

9nterprises and Committee on Public *ervices, their &hairmen, $enators %ichard 6ordon and HoAer 4. /rroyo and #embers. The case was docAeted as 6.%. ?o. *7@)@-. &hairman $abio, &ommissioners /bcede, &onti, ?ario, and Havier, and the 4&66Ss nominees to 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation, #anuel /ndal and Hulio Halandoni, liAewise filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the same respondents, and also against $enate 4resident #anuel Jillar, $enator Huan 4once nrile, the $ergeant+at+ /rms, and the entire $enate. The case was docAeted as 6.%. ?o. *7@)*=. #eanwhile, 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation and its officers and directors, namely: 4hilip 6. Brodett, "uis L. "oAin, Hr., %oberto J. $an Hose, 3elfin 4. /ngcao, %oberto ". /bad, /lma Lristina /lobba and Hohnny Tan filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the $enate Committees on >overnment Corporations and Public 9nterprises and Public *ervices, their &hairmen, $enators 6ordon and /rroyo, and #embers. The case was docAeted as 6.%. ?o. *7@*77. 0n 6.%. ?o. *7@)@- 'for habeas corpus( and 6.%. ?o. *7@)*= 'for certiorari and prohibition( &hairman $abio, &ommissioners /bcede, &onti, ?ario, and HavierE and the 4&66Ss nominees /ndal and Halandoni alleged: first, respondent $enate &ommittees disregarded $ection @'b( of .5. ?o. * without any :ustifiable reasonE second, the inquiries conducted by respondent $enate &ommittees are not in aid of legislationE third, the inquiries were conducted in the absence of duly published *enate Rules of Procedure >overning "n7uiries in Aid of 2egislationE and fourth, respondent $enate &ommittees are not vested with the power of contempt. 0n 6.%. ?o. *7@*77, petitioners 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation and its directors and officers alleged: first, respondent $enate &ommittees have no :urisdiction over the sub:ect matter stated in $enate %es. ?o. @..E second, the same inquiry is not in accordance with the $enateSs Rules of Procedure >overning "n7uiries in Aid of 2egislation E third, the subpoenae against the individual petitioners are void for having been issued without authorityE fourth, the conduct of legislative inquiry pursuant to $enate %es. ?o. @.. constitutes undue encroachment by respondents into :usticiable controversies over which several courts and tribunals have already acquired :urisdictionE and fifth, the subpoenae violated petitionersS rights to privacy and against self+incrimination.

0n their &onsolidated &omment, the above+named respondents countered: first, the issues raised in the petitions involve political questions over which this &ourt has no :urisdictionE second, $ection @'b( has been repealed by the &onstitutionE third, respondent $enate &ommittees are vested with contempt powerE fourth, $enateSs %ules of 4rocedure 6overning 0nquiries in /id of "egislation have been duly publishedE fifth, respondents have not violated any civil right of the individual petitioners, such as their JaK right to privacyE and J-K right against self+incriminationE and sixth, the inquiry does not constitute undue encroachment into :usticiable controversies. 3uring the oral arguments held on $eptember ,*, ,--2, the parties were directed to submit simultaneously their respective memoranda within a non+e>tendible period of fifteen '*.( days from date. 0n the meantime, per agreement of the parties, petitioner &hairman $abio was allowed to go home. Thus, his petition for habeas corpus has become moot. The parties also agreed that the service of the arrest warrants issued against all petitioners and the proceedings before the respondent $enate &ommittees are suspended during the pendency of the instant cases.*@ &rucial to the resolution of the present petitions is the fundamental issue of whether %ection 4J-K o E'O' $o' ) is re<ealed -. the )2*? Constitution. 5n this lone issue hinges the merit of the contention of &hairman $abio and his &ommissioners that their refusal to appear before respondent $enate &ommittees is :ustified. Dith the resolution of this issue, all the other issues raised by the parties have become inconsequential. 4erched on one arm of the scale of :ustice is /rticle J0, $ection ,* of the *1=7 &onstitution granting respondent $enate &ommittees the power of legislative inquiry. 0t reads: The %enate or the #ouse o Re<resentatives or an. o its res<ective co==ittees =a. conduct in>uiries in aid o legislation in accordance !ith its dul. <u-lished rules o <rocedure' The rights o <ersons a<<earing in or a ected -. such in>uiries shall -e res<ected. 5n the other arm of the scale is $ection @'b( of .5. ?o.* limiting such power of legislative inquiry by e>empting all 4&66 members or staff from testifying in any :udicial, legislative or administrative proceeding, thus:

$o =e=-er or sta o the Co==ission shall -e re>uired to testi . or <roduce evidence in an. Budicial, legislative or ad=inistrative <roceeding concerning =atters !ithin its o icial cogniOance' To determine whether there e>ists a clear and unequivocal repugnancy between the two quoted provisions that warrants a declaration that $ection @'b( has been repealed by the *1=7 &onstitution, a brief consideration of the &ongressS power of inquiry is imperative. The &ongressS power of inquiry has been recognized in foreign :urisdictions long before it reached our shores through !c>rain v. 'aughert%,*. cited in Arnault v. 6a3areno.*2 0n those earlier days, /merican courts considered the power of inquiry as inherent in the power to legislate. The *=2@ case of Briggs v. !acFellar*7 e>plains the breath and basis of the power, thus: Dhere no constitutional limitation or restriction e>ists, it is competent for either of the two bodies composing the legislature to do, in their separate capacity, whatever may be essential to enable them to legislateY.0t is well+established principle of this parliamentary law, that either house =a. institute an. investigation having reference to its own organization, the conduct or qualification of its members, its proceedings, rights, or privileges or an. =atter a ecting the <u-lic interest u<on !hich it =a. -e i=<ortant that it should have eHact in or=ation, and in res<ect to !hich it !ould -e co=<etent or it to legislate' The right to <ass la!s, necessaril. i=<lies the right to o-tain in or=ation u<on an. =atter !hich =a. -eco=e the su-Bect o a la!' It is essential to the ull and intelligent eHercise o the legislative unctionP'In A=erican legislatures the investigation o <u-lic =atters -e ore co==ittees, <reli=inar. to legislation, or !ith the vie! o advising the house a<<ointing the co==ittee is, as a <arlia=entar. usage, !ell esta-lished as it is in England, and the right of either house to compel witnesses to appear and testify before its committee, and to punish for disobedience has been frequently enforcedY.The right of inquiry, 0 thinA, e>tends to other matters, in respect to which it may be necessary, or may be deemed advisable to apply for legislative aid. %emarAably, in Arnault, this &ourt adhered to a similar theory. &iting #c6rain, it recognized that the power of inquiry is Ian essential and a<<ro<riate auHiliar. to the legislative unction,I thus: /lthough there is no provision in the I&onstitution e>pressly investing either Bouse of &ongress with power to maAe investigations and e>act

testimony to the end that it may e>ercise its legislative functions advisedly and effectively, such power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to be implied. 0n other words, the <o!er o in>uir. Q !ith <rocess to en orce it Q is an essential and a<<ro<riate auHiliar. to the legislative unction' A legislative -od. cannot legislate !isel. or e ectivel. in the a-sence o in or=ation res<ecting the conditions !hich the legislation is intended to a ect or changeR and !here the legislation -od. does not itsel <ossess the re>uisite in or=ation Q !hich is not in re>uentl. true Q recourse =ust -e had to others !ho <ossess it'I 3ispelling any doubt as to the 4hilippine &ongressS power of inquiry, provisions on such power made their maiden appearance in /rticle J000, $ection *, of the *17) &onstitution.*= Then came the *1=7 &onstitution incorporating the present /rticle J0, $ection *,. Dhat was therefore implicit under the *1). &onstitution, as influenced by /merican :urisprudence, became e>plicit under the *17) and *1=7 &onstitutions.*1 ?otably, the *1=7 &onstitution recognizes the power of investigation, not :ust of &ongress, but also of I an. o its co==ittee.I This is significant because it constitutes a direct conferral of investigatory power upon the committees and it means that the mechanisms which the Bouses can taAe in order to effectively perform its investigative function are also available to the committees.,0t can be said that the &ongressS power of inquiry has gained more solid e>istence and e>pansive construal. The &ourtSs high regard to such power is rendered more evident in $enate v. rmita,,* where it categorically ruled that :the <o!er o in>uir. is -road enough to cover o icials o the eHecutive -ranch': Jerily, the &ourt reinforced the doctrine in /rnault that :the o<eration o govern=ent, -eing a legiti=ate su-Bect or legislation, is a <ro<er su-Bect or investigation: and that Ithe <o!er o in>uir. is co8eHtensive !ith the <o!er to legislate': &onsidering these :urisprudential instructions, we find $ection @'b( directly repugnant with /rticle J0, $ection ,*. $ection @'b( eHe=<ts the PC(( =e=-ers and sta ro= the CongressI <o!er o in>uir.' This cannot be countenanced. ?owhere in the &onstitution is any provision granting such e>emption. The &ongressS power of inquiry, being broad, encompasses everything that concerns the administration of e>isting laws as well as proposed or possibly needed statutes.,, 0t even e>tends :to govern=ent agencies created -. Congress and o icers !hose

<ositions are !ithin the <o!er o Congress to regulate or even a-olish'I,) 4&66 belongs to this class. &ertainly, a mere provision of law cannot pose a limitation to the broad power of &ongress, in the absence of any constitutional basis. !urthermore, $ection @'b( is also inconsistent with /rticle C0, $ection * of the &onstitution stating that: IPublic office is a public trust. Public officers and emplo%ees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them 4ith utmost responsibilit%, integrit%, lo%alt%, and efficienc%, act 4ith patriotism and &ustice, and lead modest lives.I The provision presupposes that since an incumbent of a public office is invested with certain powers and charged with certain duties pertinent to sovereignty, the powers so delegated to the officer are held in trust or the <eo<le and are to -e eHercised in -ehal o the govern=ent or o all citiOens !ho =a. need the intervention o the o icers' %uch trust eHtends to all =atters !ithin the range o duties <ertaining to the o ice' In other !ords, <u-lic o icers are -ut the servants o the <eo<le, and not their rulers.,@ $ection @'b(, being in the nature of an immunity, is inconsistent !ith the <rinci<le o <u-lic accounta-ilit.' 0t places the 4&66 members and staff beyond the reach of courts, &ongress and other administrative bodies. 0nstead of encouraging public accountability, the same provision only institutionalizes irresponsibility and non+accountability. 0n Presidential Commission on >ood >overnment v. PeGa,,. Hustice !lorentino 4. !eliciano characterized as IobiterI the portion of the ma:ority opinion barring, on the basis of $ections @'a( and 'b( of .5. ?o. *, a civil case for damages filed against the 4&66 and its &ommissioners. Be eloquently opined: The above underscored portions are, it is respectfully submitted, clearly obiter. It is i=<ortant to =aLe clear that the Court is not here inter<reting, =uch less u<holding as valid and constitutional, the literal ter=s o %ection 4 JaK, J-K o EHecutive Order $o') . 0f $ection @ 'a( were given its literal import as immunizing the 4&66 or any member thereof from civil liability Ifor anything done or omitted in the discharge of the tasA contemplated by this 5rder,I the constitutionality of $ection @ 'a( would, in my submission, be open to most serious doubt. !or so viewed, $ection @ 'a( would institutionalize the irresponsibility and non+accountability of members and staff of the 4&66, a notion that is clearly repugnant to both the *17) and *1=7 &onstitution and a

privileged status not claimed by any other official of the %epublic under the *1=7 &onstitution. > > >. >>>>>> It !ould see= constitutionall. o ensive to su<<ose that a =e=-er or sta =e=-er o the PC(( could not -e re>uired to testi . -e ore the %andigan-a.an or that such =e=-ers !ere eHe=<ted ro= co=<l.ing !ith orders o this Court' Chave3 v. *andiganba%an,2 reiterates the same view. 0ndeed, $ection @'b( has been frowned upon by this &ourt even before the filing of the present petitions. &orollarily, $ection @'b( also runs counter to the following constitutional provisions ensuring the peopleSs access to information: /rticle 00, $ection ,= $ub:ect to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the $tate adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. /rticle 000, $ection 7 The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. /ccess to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, sub:ect to such limitations as may be provided by law. These twin provisions of the &onstitution seeA to promote transparency in policy+maAing and in the operations of the government, as well as provide the people sufficient information to enable them to e>ercise effectively their constitutional rights. /rmed with the right information, citizens can participate in public discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and their effective implementation. 0n 0almonte v. Belmonte, ?r.,7 the &ourt e>plained that an informed citizenry is essential to the e>istence and proper functioning of any democracy, thus: /n essential element of these freedoms is to Aeep open a continuing dialogue or process of communication between the government and the people. 0t is in the interest of the $tate that the channels for free political discussion be maintained to the end that the government may perceive

and be responsive to the peopleSs will. Ket, this open dialogue can be effective only to the e>tent that the citizenry is informed and thus able to formulate its will intelligently. 5nly when the participants in the discussion are aware of the issues and have access to information relating thereto can such bear fruit. &onsequently, the conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation is not only intended to benefit &ongress but also the citizenry. The people are equally concerned with this proceeding and have the right to participate therein in order to protect their interests. The e>tent of their participation will largely depend on the information gathered and made Anown to them. 0n other words, the right to information really goes hand+in+hand with the constitutional policies of full public disclosure and honesty in the public service. 0t is meant to enhance the widening role of the citizenry in governmental decision+maAing as well as in checAing abuse in the government.,= The cases of aGada v. uvera,1 and 2egaspi v. Civil *ervice Commission)- have recognized a citizenSs interest and personality to enforce a public duty and to bring an action to compel public officials and employees to perform that duty. $ection @'b( limits or obstructs the power of &ongress to secure from 4&66 members and staff information and other data in aid of its power to legislate. /gain, this must not be countenanced. 0n *enate v. 9rmita,)* this &ourt stressed: To the e>tent that investigations in aid of legislation are generally conducted in public, ho!ever, an. eHecutive issuance tending to undul. li=it disclosures o in or=ation in such investigations necessaril. de<rives the <eo<le o in or=ation !hich, -eing <resu=ed to -e in aid o legislation, is <resu=ed to -e a =atter o <u-lic concern. The citizens are thereby denied access to information which they can use in formulating their own opinions on the matter before &ongress O opinions which they can then communicate to their representatives and other government officials through the various legal means allowed by their freedom of e>pression. / statute may be declared unconstitutional because it is not !ithin the legislative <o!er to enactE or it creates or establishes methods or forms that infringe constitutional principlesE or its purpose or e ect violates the Constitution or its -asic <rinci<les' ), /s shown in the above discussion, $ection @'b( is inconsistent with Article 0I, %ection +) '&ongressS power of inquiry(, Article SI, %ection ) 'principle of public accountability(, Article II, %ection +* 'policy of full disclosure( and Article III, %ection ? 'right to public information(.

$ignificantly, /rticle CJ000, $ection ) of the &onstitution provides: /ll e>isting laws, decrees, e>ecutive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions, and other e>ecutive issuances not inconsistent with this &onstitution shall remain operative until amended, re<ealed, or revoAed. The clear import of this provision is that all e>isting laws, e>ecutive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other e>ecutive issuances inconsistent or repugnant to the &onstitution are repealed. Hurisprudence is replete with decisions invalidating laws, decrees, e>ecutive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other e>ecutive issuances inconsistent with the &onstitution. 0n 4elaez v. /uditor 6eneral,)) the &ourt considered repealed $ection 2= of the %evised /dministrative &ode of *1*7 authorizing the >ecutive to change the seat of the government of any subdivision of local governments, upon the approval of the *1). &onstitution. $ection 2= was ad:udged incompatible and inconsistent with the &onstitutional grant of limited e>ecutive supervision over local governments. 0n "slamic 'aB4ah Council of the Philippines, "nc., v. .ffice of the 9xecutive *ecretar%,)@ the &ourt declared >ecutive 5rder ?o. @2, entitled IAuthori3ing the .ffice on !uslim Affairs to Anderta$e Philippine 1alal Certification,I void for encroaching on the religious freedom of #uslims. 0n he Province of Batangas v. Romulo,). the &ourt declared some provisions of the 6eneral /ppropriations /cts of *111, ,--- and ,--* unconstitutional for violating the &onstitutional precept on local autonomy. /nd in .ple v. orres,)2 the &ourt liAewise declared unconstitutional /dministrative 5rder ?o. )-=, entitled IAdoption of a 6ational Computeri3ed "dentification Reference *%stem,I for being violative of the right to privacy protected by the &onstitution. These 3ecisions, and many others, highlight that the &onstitution is the highest law of the land. 0t is Ithe -asic and <ara=ount la! to !hich all other la!s =ust con or= and to !hich all <ersons, including the highest o icials o the land, =ust de er' $o act shall -e valid, ho!ever no-le its intentions, i it con licts !ith the Constitution .I)7 &onsequently, this &ourt has no recourse but to declare $ection @'b( of .5. ?o. * re<ealed by the *1=7 &onstitution. $ignificantly, during the oral arguments on $eptember ,*, ,--2, &hairman $abio admitted that should this &ourt rule that $ection @'b( is unconstitutional or that it does not apply to the $enate, he will answer the questions of the $enators, thus:

&B0 ! H8$T0& 4/?6/?0B/?: 5Aay. ?ow, if the $upreme &ourt rules that $ec. @'b( is unconstitutional or that it does not apply to the $enate, will you answer the questions of the $enatorsN &B/0%#/? $/B05: Kour Bonor, my father was a :udge, died being a :udge. 0 was here in the $upreme &ourt as &hief of $taff of Hustice !eria. 0 would definitely honor the $upreme &ourt and the rule of law. &B0 ! H8$T0& 4/?6/?0B/?: Kou will answer the questions of the $enators if we say thatN &B/0%#/? $/B05: Kes, Kour Bonor. That is the law already as far as 0 am concerned. Dith his admission, &hairman $abio is not fully convinced that he and his &ommissioners are shielded from testifying before respondent $enate &ommittees by $ection @'b( of .5. ?o. *. 0n effect, his argument that the said provision e>empts him and his co+respondent &ommissioners from testifying before respondent $enate &ommittees concerning $enate %es. ?o. @.. utterly lacAs merit. 0ncidentally, an argument repeated by &hairman $abio is that respondent $enate &ommittees have no power to punish him and his &ommissioners for contempt of the $enate. The argument is misleading. /rticle J0, $ection ,* provides: The %enate or the #ouse o Re<resentatives or an. o its res<ective co==ittees =a. conduct in>uiries in aid o legislation in accordance !ith its dul. <u-lished rules o <rocedure' The rights o <ersons a<<earing in or a ected -. such in>uiries shall -e res<ected. 0t must be stressed that the 5rder of /rrest for Icontempt of $enate &ommittees and the 4hilippine $enateI was a<<roved -. %enate President 0illar and signed -. i teen J),K %enators. !rom this, it can be concluded that the 5rder is under the authority, not only of the respondent $enate &ommittees, but of the entire $enate.

/t any rate, /rticle J0, $ection ,* grants the power of inquiry not only to the $enate and the Bouse of %epresentatives, but also to an. o their res<ective co==ittees. &learly, there is a direct con erral o <o!er to the committees. !ather Bernas, in his &ommentary on the *1=7 &onstitution, correctly pointed out its significance: 0t should also be noted that the &onstitution e>plicitly recognizes the power of investigation not :ust of &ongress but also of Iany of its committees.I This is signi icant -ecause it constitutes a direct con erral o investigator. <o!er u<on the co==ittees and it =eans that the =eans !hich the #ouses can taLe in order to e ectivel. <er or= its investigative unction are also availa-le to the Co==ittees')= This is a reasonable conclusion. The conferral of the legislative power of inquiry upon any committee of &ongress must carry with it all powers necessary and proper for its effective discharge. 5therwise, /rticle J0, $ection ,* will be meaningless. The indispensability and usefulness of the power of contempt in a legislative inquiry is underscored in a catena of cases, foreign and local. 0n the *=,* case of Anderson v. 'unn,)1 the function of the Bouses of &ongress with respect to the contempt power was liAened to that of a court, thus: YBut the court in its reasoning goes beyond this, and though the grounds of the decision are not very clearly stated, we taAe them to be: that there is in so=e cases a <o!er in each #ouse o Congress to <unish or conte=<tR that this <o!er is analogous to that eHercised -. courts o Bustice, and that it -eing the !ell esta-lished doctrine that !hen it a<<ears that a <risoner is held under the order o a court o general Burisdiction or a conte=<t o its authorit., no other court !ill discharge the <risoner or =aLe urther in>uir. into the cause o his co==it=ent. That this is the general ruleYas regards the relation of one court to another must be conceded. 0n #c>rain,@- the 8.$. $upreme &ourt held: HEH<erience has sho!n that =ere re>uests or such in or=ation are o ten unavailing, and also that in or=ation !hich is volunteered is not al!a.s accurate or co=<leteR so so=e =eans o co=<ulsion is essential to o-tain !hat is needed.I The &ourt, in Arnault v. 6a3areno,@* sustained the &ongressS power of contempt on the basis of this observation.

0n Arnault v. Balagtas,@, the &ourt further e>plained that the contempt power of &ongress is founded upon reason and policy and that the power of inquiry will not be complete if for every contumacious act, &ongress has to resort to :udicial interference, thus: The principle that Congress or an. o its -odies has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses is founded upon reason and policy. $aid power must be considered implied or incidental to the e>ercise of legislative power. #o! could a legislative -od. o-tain the Lno!ledge and in or=ation on !hich to -ase intended legislation i it cannot re>uire and co=<el the disclosure o such Lno!ledge and in or=ation i it is i=<otent to <unish a de iance o its <o!er and authorit.D "hen the ra=ers o the Constitution ado<ted the <rinci<le o se<aration o <o!ers, =aLing each -ranch su<re=e !ithin the real= o its res<ective authorit., it =ust have intended each de<art=entIs authorit. to -e ull and co=<lete, inde<endentl. o the otherIs authorit. or <o!er' And ho! could the authorit. and <o!er -eco=e co=<lete i or ever. act o re usal, ever. act o de iance, ever. act o contu=ac. against it, the legislative -od. =ust resort to the Budicial de<art=ent or the a<<ro<riate re=ed., -ecause it is i=<otent -. itsel to <unish or deal there!ith, !ith the a ronts co==itted against its authorit. or dignit..@) 0n 6egros .riental "" 9lectric Cooperative, "nc. v. *angguniang Panlungsod of 'umaguete,@@ the &ourt characterized contempt power as a matter of self+preservation, thus: The e>ercise by the legislature of the contempt power is a =atter o sel 8<reservation as that branch of the government vested with the legislative power, independently of the :udicial branch, asserts its authority and punishes contempts thereof. The contempt power of the legislature is, therefore, sui generis > > >. #eanwhile, with respect to 6.%. ?o. *7@*77, the petition of 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation and its directors and officers, this &ourt holds that the respondent $enate &ommitteesS inquiry does not violate their right to privacy and right against self+incrimination. 5ne important limitation on the &ongressS power of inquiry is that I the rights o <ersons a<<earing in or a ected -. such in>uiries shall -e res<ected.I This is :ust another way of saying that the power of inquiry must be Isub:ect to the limitations placed by the &onstitution on government action.I /s held in Barenblatt v. Anited *tates,@. Ithe Congress, in co==on !ith all the other -ranches o the

(overn=ent, =ust eHercise its <o!ers su-Bect to the li=itations <laced -. the Constitution on govern=ental action, =ore <articularl. in the conteHt o this case, the relevant li=itations o the Bill o Rights'I !irst is the right to privacy. Zones of privacy are recognized and protected in our laws.@2 Dithin these zones, any form of intrusion is impermissible unless e>cused by law and in accordance with customary legal process. The meticulous regard we accord to these zones arises not only from our conviction that the right to privacy is a I constitutional rightI and Ithe right most valued b% civili3ed men,I@7 but also from our adherence to the 8niversal 3eclaration of Buman %ights which mandates that, Ino one shall be sub&ected to arbitrar% interference 4ith his privac% I and Iever%one has the right to the protection of the la4 against such interference or attac$s.I@= 5ur Bill of %ights, enshrined in /rticle 000 of the &onstitution, provides at least two guarantees that e>plicitly create zones of privacy. 0t highlights a personSs Iright to be let aloneI or the Iright to determine 4hat, ho4 much, to 4hom and 4hen information about himself shall be disclosed.I@1 %ection + guarantees Ithe right o the <eo<le to -e secure in their <ersons, houses, <a<ers and e ects against unreasona-le searches and seiOures o !hatever nature and or an. <ur<ose.I %ection G renders inviolable the I<rivac. o co==unication and corres<ondenceI and further cautions that Ian. evidence o-tained in violation o this or the <receding section shall -e inad=issi-le or an. <ur<ose in an. <roceeding.I 0n evaluating a claim for violation of the right to privacy, a court must determine whether a person has e>hibited a reasonable e>pectation of privacy and, if so, whether that e>pectation has been violated by unreasonable government intrusion..- /pplying this determination to these cases, the important inquiries are: irst, did the directors and officers of Philcomsat 1oldings Corporation exhibit a reasonable expectation of privac%NE and second, did the government violate such expectationN The answers are in the negative. 4etitioners were invited in the $enateSs public hearing to deliberate on $enate %es. ?o. @.., particularly I on the ano=alous losses incurred -. the Phili<<ine Overseas Teleco==unications Cor<oration JPOTCK, Phili<<ine Co==unications %atellite Cor<oration JP#ILCO&%ATK, and

Philco=sat #oldings Cor<orations JP#CK due to the alleged i=<ro<rieties in the o<erations -. their res<ective -oard o directors.I 5bviously, the inquiry focus on petitionersS acts committed in the discharge of their duties as officers and directors of the said corporations, particularly 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation. Conse>uentl., the. have no reasona-le eH<ectation o <rivac. over =atters involving their o ices in a cor<oration !here the govern=ent has interest' Certainl., such =atters are o <u-lic concern and over !hich the <eo<le have the right to in or=ation' This goes to show that the right to privacy is not absolute where there is an overriding co=<elling state interest. 0n !orfe v. !utuc,.* the &ourt, in line with Ihalen v. Roe,., employed the rational basis relationship test when it held that there was no infringement of the individualSs right to privacy as the requirement to disclosure information is for a valid purpose, i.e., to curtail and minimize the opportunities for official corruption, maintain a standard of honesty in public service, and promote morality in public administration..) 0n 0almonte v. Belmonte,.@ the &ourt remarAed that as public figures, the #embers of the former Batasang 4ambansa en:oy a more li=ited right to <rivac. as compared to ordinary individuals, and their actions are sub:ect to closer scrutiny. TaAing this into consideration, the &ourt ruled that the right of the people to access information on matters of public concern prevails over the right to privacy of financial transactions. 8nder the present circumstances, the alleged anomalies in the 4B0"&5#$/T, 4B& and 45T&, ranging in millions of pesos, and the conspiratorial participation of the 4&66 and its officials are co=<elling reasons for the $enate to e>act vital information from the directors and officers of 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporations, as well as from &hairman $abio and his &ommissioners to aid it in crafting the necessary legislation to prevent corruption and formulate remedial measures and policy determination regarding 4&66Ss efficacy. There being no reasonable e>pectation of privacy on the part of those directors and officers over the sub:ect covered by $enate %es. ?o. @.., it follows that their right to privacy has not been violated by respondent $enate &ommittees. /nent the right against self+incrimination, it must be emphasized that this right maybe invoAed by the said directors and officers of 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation onl. !hen the incri=inating >uestion is -eing asLed, since the. have no !a. o Lno!ing in advance the nature or e ect o the >uestions to -e asLed o the= .I.. That this right may

<ossi-l. be violated or abused is no ground for denying respondent $enate &ommittees their power of inquiry. The consolation is that when this power is abused, such issue may be presented before the courts. /t this :uncture, what is important is that respondent $enate &ommittees have sufficient Rules to guide them when the right against self+ incrimination is invoAed. $ec. *1 reads: $ec. *1. Privilege Against %el 8Incri=ination / witness can invoAe his right against self+incrimination only when a question tends to elicit an answer that will incriminate him is propounded to him. Bowever, he may offer to answer any question in an e>ecutive session. ?o person can refuse to testify or be placed under oath or affirmation or answer questions before an incriminatory question is asAed. Bis invocation of such right does not by itself e>cuse him from his duty to give testimony. 0n such a case, the &ommittee, by a ma:ority vote of the members present there being a quorum, shall determine whether the right has been properly invoAed. 0f the &ommittee decides otherwise, it shall resume its investigation and the question or questions previously refused to be answered shall be repeated to the witness. 0f the latter continues to refuse to answer the question, the &ommittee may punish him for contempt for contumacious conduct. The same directors and officers contend that the $enate is barred from inquiring into the same issues being litigated before the &ourt of /ppeals and the *andiganba%an. $uffice it to state that the $enate %ules of 4rocedure 6overning 0nquiries in /id of "egislation provide that the filing or pendency of any prosecution of criminal or administrative action should not stop or abate any inquiry to carry out a legislative purpose. "et it be stressed at this point that so long as the constitutional rights of witnesses, liAe &hairman $abio and his &ommissioners, will be respected by respondent $enate &ommittees, it their duty to cooperate with them in their efforts to obtain the facts needed for intelligent legislative action. The unremitting obligation of ever. citiOen is to respond to subpoenae, to respect the dignity of the &ongress and its &ommittees, and to testify fully with respect to matters within the realm of proper investigation.

0n fine, 4&66 &hairman &amilo $abio and &ommissioners %icardo /bcede, ?arciso ?ario, ?icasio &onti, and Tereso HavierE and #anuel /ndal and Hulio Halandoni, 4&66Ss nominees to 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation, as well as its directors and officers, must comply with the *ubpoenae Ad estificandum issued by respondent $enate &ommittees directing them to appear and testify in public hearings relative to $enate %esolution ?o. @... "#EREFORE, the petition in 6.%. ?o. *7@)@- for habeas corpus is DI%&I%%ED, for being moot. The petitions in 6.% ?os. *7@)*= and *7@*77 are liAewise DI%&I%%ED. $ection @'b( of .5. ?o. * is declared REPEALED by the *1=7 &onstitution. %espondent $enate &ommitteesS power of inquiry relative to $enate %esolution @.. is upheld. 4&66 &hairman &amilo ". $abio and &ommissioners %icardo /bcede, ?arciso ?ario, ?icasio &onti and Tereso HavierE and #anuel /ndal and Hulio Halandoni, 4&66Ss nominees to 4hilcomsat Boldings &orporation, as well as its directors and officers, petitioners in 6.%. ?o. *7@*77, are ordered to comply with the *ubpoenae Ad estificandum issued by respondent $enate &ommittees directing them to appear and testify in public hearings relative to $enate %esolution ?o. @... %O ORDERED' ('R' $o' ),?*?/ $ove=-er G, +//*

AQUILI$O Q' PI&E$TEL, 1R', vs. CO&&I%%IO$ O$ ELECTIO$%, respondents. DECI%IO$ 0ELA%CO, 1R', J.A

petitioner

0n these Aindred petitions, the constitutionality of $ection )2 of %epublic /ct ?o. '%/( 1*2., otherwise Anown as the Comprehensive 'angerous 'rugs Act of /))/, insofar as it requires mandatory drug testing of candidates for public office, students of secondary and tertiary schools, officers and employees of public and private offices, and persons charged before the prosecutorSs office with certain offenses, among other personalities, is put in issue. /s far as pertinent, the challenged section reads as follows: $ &. )2. Authori3ed 'rug esting. + /uthorized drug testing shall be done by any government forensic laboratories or by any of the drug testing laboratories accredited and monitored by the 35B to safeguard the quality of the test results. > > > The drug testing shall employ, among others, two ',( testing methods, the screening test which will determine the positive result as well as the type of drug used and the confirmatory test which will confirm a positive screening test. > > > The following shall be sub:ected to undergo drug testing: >>>> 'c( $tudents of secondary and tertiary schools. + $tudents of secondary and tertiary schools shall, pursuant to the related rules and regulations as contained in the schoolSs student handbooA and with notice to the parents, undergo a random drug testing > > >E 'd( 5fficers and employees of public and private offices. + 5fficers and employees of public and private offices, whether domestic or overseas, shall be sub:ected to undergo a random drug test as contained in the companySs worA rules and regulations, > > > for purposes of reducing the risA in the worAplace. /ny officer or employee found positive for use of dangerous drugs shall be dealt with administratively which shall be a ground for suspension or termination, sub:ect to the provisions of /rticle ,=, of the "abor &ode and pertinent provisions of the &ivil $ervice "awE >>>>

%OCIAL 1U%TICE %OCIET6 J%1%K, petitioner vs. DA$(EROU% DRU(% BOARD and P#ILIPPI$E DRU( E$FORCE&E$T A(E$C6 JPDEAK, respondents. >+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++> ('R' $o' ),*3GG $ove=-er G, +//* 1R', petitioner DRU(

ATT6' &A$UEL 1' LA%ER$A, vs. DA$(EROU% DRU(% BOARD and E$FORCE&E$T A(E$C6, respondents.

P#ILIPPI$E

>+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++> ('R' $o' )3)3,* $ove=-er G, +//*

'f( /ll persons charged before the prosecutorSs office with a criminal offense having an imposable penalty of imprisonment of not less than si> '2( years and one '*( day shall undergo a mandatory drug testE 'g( /ll candidates for public office whether appointed or elected both in the national or local government shall undergo a mandatory drug test. 0n addition to the above stated penalties in this $ection, those found to be positive for dangerous drugs use shall be sub:ect to the provisions of $ection *. of this /ct. ('R' $o' )3)3,* 'A7uilino J. Pimentel, ?r. v. Commission on 9lections( 5n 3ecember ,), ,--), the &ommission on lections '&5# " &( issued %esolution ?o. 2@=2, prescribing the rules and regulations on the mandatory drug testing of candidates for public office in connection with the #ay *-, ,--@ synchronized national and local elections. The pertinent portions of the said resolution read as follows: DB % /$, $ection )2 'g( of %epublic /ct ?o. 1*2. provides: $ &. )2. Authori3ed 'rug esting. + > > > >>>> 'g( /ll candidates for public office > > > both in the national or local government shall undergo a =andator. drug test. DB % /$, $ection *, /rticle C0 of the *1=7 &onstitution provides that public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiencyE DB % /$, by requiring candidates to undergo mandatory drug test, the public will Anow the quality of candidates they are electing and they will be assured that only those who can serve with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency would be elected > > >. ?5D TB % !5% , The ;&5# " &<, pursuant to the authority vested in it under the &onstitution, Batas 4ambansa Blg. ==* '5mnibus lection &ode(, ;%/< 1*2. and other election laws, % $5"J 3 to promulgate, as it hereby promulgates, the following rules and regulations on the conduct of mandatory drug testing to candidates for public office;:< $ &T05? *. Coverage. + All candidates or <u-lic o ice, -oth national and local, in the &a. )/, +//4 %.nchroniOed $ational and

Local Elections shall undergo mandatory drug test in government forensic laboratories or any drug testing laboratories monitored and accredited by the 3epartment of Bealth. $ &. ). > > > 5n #arch ,., ,--@, in addition to the drug certificates filed with their respective offices, the &omelec 5ffices and employees concerned shall submit to the "aw 3epartment two ',( separate lists of candidates. The first list shall consist of those candidates who complied with the mandatory drug test while the second list shall consist of those candidates who failed to comply > > >. $ &. @. Preparation and publication of names of candidates . + Before the start of the campaign period, the ;&5# " &< shall prepare two separate lists of candidates. The first list shall consist of those candidates who complied with the mandatory drug test while the second list shall consist of those candidates who failed to comply with said drug test. > > > $ &. .. 9ffect of failure to undergo mandator% drug test and file drug test certificate. + ?o person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has undergone mandatory drug test and filed with the offices enumerated under $ection , hereof the drug test certificate herein required. ' mphasis supplied.( 4etitioner /quilino Q. 4imentel, Hr., a senator of the %epublic and a candidate for re + election in the #ay *-, ,--@ elections,* filed a 4etition for &ertiorari and 4rohibition under %ule 2.. 0n it, he seeAs '*( to nullify $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2. and &5# " & %esolution ?o. 2@=2 dated 3ecember ,), ,--) for being unconstitutional in that they impose a qualification for candidates for senators in addition to those already provided for in the *1=7 &onstitutionE and ',( to en:oin the &5# " & from implementing %esolution ?o. 2@=2. 4imentel invoAes as legal basis for his petition $ec. ), /rticle J0 of the &onstitution, which states: $ &T05? ). ?o person shall be a $enator unless he is a natural + born citizen of the 4hilippines, and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty + five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the 4hilippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.

/ccording to 4imentel, the &onstitution only prescribes a ma>imum of five '.( qualifications for one to be a candidate for, elected to, and be a member of the $enate. Be says that both the &ongress and &5# " &, by requiring, via %/ 1*2. and %esolution ?o. 2@=2, a senatorial aspirant, among other candidates, to undergo a mandatory drug test, create an additional qualification that all candidates for senator must first be certified as drug free. Be adds that there is no provision in the &onstitution authorizing the &ongress or &5# " & to e>pand the qualification requirements of candidates for senator. ('R' $o' ),?*?/ '*ocial ?ustice *ociet% v. 'rugs Board and Philippine 'rug 9nforcement Agenc%( 'angerous

0t is basic that the power of :udicial review can only be e>ercised in connection with a bona fide controversy which involves the statute sought to be reviewed.) But even with the presence of an actual case or controversy, the &ourt may refuse to e>ercise :udicial review unless the constitutional question is brought before it by a party having the requisite standing to challenge it.@ To have standing, one must establish that he or she has suffered some actual or threatened in:ury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the governmentE the in:ury is fairly traceable to the challenged actionE and the in:ury is liAely to be redressed by a favorable action.. The rule on standing, however, is a matter of procedureE hence, it can be rela>ed for non + traditional plaintiffs, liAe ordinary citizens, ta>payers, and legislators when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is of transcendental importance, of overarching significance to society, or of paramount public interest.2 There is no doubt that 4imentel, as senator of the 4hilippines and candidate for the #ay *-, ,--@ elections, possesses the requisite standing since he has substantial interests in the sub:ect matter of the petition, among other preliminary considerations. %egarding $H$ and "aserna, this &ourt is wont to rela> the rule on locus standi owing primarily to the transcendental importance and the paramount public interest involved in the enforcement of $ec. )2 of %/ 1*2.. The Consolidated Issues The principal issues before us are as follows: '*( 3o $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2. and &5# " & %esolution ?o. 2@=2 impose an additional qualification for candidates for senatorN &orollarily, can &ongress enact a law prescribing qualifications for candidates for senator in addition to those laid down by the &onstitutionN and ',( /re paragraphs 'c(, 'd(, 'f(, and 'g( of $ec. )2, %/ 1*2. unconstitutionalN $pecifically, do these paragraphs violate the right to privacy, the right against unreasonable searches and seizure, and the equal protection clauseN 5r do they constitute undue delegation of legislative powerN Pi=entel JConstitutionalit. o %ec' CO&ELEC Resolution $o' 34*3K G3CgE o RA Petition 2)3, and

0n its 4etition for 4rohibition under %ule 2., petitioner $ocial Hustice $ociety '$H$(, a registered political party, seeAs to prohibit the 3angerous 3rugs Board '33B( and the 4hilippine 3rug nforcement /gency '43 /( from enforcing paragraphs 'c(, 'd(, 'f(, and 'g( of $ec. )2 of %/ 1*2. on the ground that they are constitutionally infirm. !or one, the provisions constitute undue delegation of legislative power when they give unbridled discretion to schools and employers to determine the manner of drug testing. !or another, the provisions trench in the equal protection clause inasmuch as they can be used to harass a student or an employee deemed undesirable. /nd for a third, a personSs constitutional right against unreasonable searches is also breached by said provisions. ('R' $o' ),*3GG 'Att%. !anuel ?. 2aserna, ?r. v. 'angerous 'rugs Board and Philippine 'rug 9nforcement Agenc%( 4etitioner /tty. #anuel H. "aserna, Hr., as citizen and ta>payer, also seeAs in his 4etition for &ertiorari and 4rohibition under %ule 2. that $ec. )2'c(, 'd(, 'f(, and 'g( of %/ 1*2. be strucA down as unconstitutional for infringing on the constitutional right to privacy, the right against unreasonable search and seizure, and the right against self + incrimination, and for being contrary to the due process and equal protection guarantees. The Issue on Locus Standi !irst off, we shall address the :usticiability of the cases at bench and the matter of the standing of petitioners $H$ and "aserna to sue. /s respondents 33B and 43 / assert, $H$ and "aserna failed to allege any incident amounting to a violation of the constitutional rights mentioned in their separate petitions.,

0n essence, 4imentel claims that $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2. and &5# " & %esolution ?o. 2@=2 illegally impose an additional qualification on

candidates for senator. Be points out that, sub:ect to the provisions on nuisance candidates, a candidate for senator needs only to meet the qualifications laid down in $ec. ), /rt. J0 of the &onstitution, to wit: '*( citizenship, ',( voter registration, ')( literacy, '@( age, and '.( residency. Beyond these stated qualification requirements, candidates for senator need not possess any other qualification to run for senator and be voted upon and elected as member of the $enate. The &ongress cannot validly amend or otherwise modify these qualification standards, as it cannot disregard, evade, or weaAen the force of a constitutional mandate,7 or alter or enlarge the &onstitution. 4imentelSs contention is well + taAen. /ccordingly, $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2. should be, as it is hereby declared as, unconstitutional. 0t is basic that if a law or an administrative rule violates any norm of the &onstitution, that issuance is null and void and has no effect. The &onstitution is the basic law to which all laws must conformE no act shall be valid if it conflicts with the &onstitution.= 0n the discharge of their defined functions, the three departments of government have no choice but to yield obedience to the commands of the &onstitution. Dhatever limits it imposes must be observed.1 &ongressS inherent legislative powers, broad as they may be, are sub:ect to certain limitations. /s early as *1,7, in >overnment v. *pringer, the &ourt has defined, in the abstract, the limits on legislative power in the following wise: $omeone has said that the powers of the legislative department of the 6overnment, liAe the boundaries of the ocean, are unlimited. 0n constitutional governments, however, as well as governments acting under delegated authority, the powers of each of the departments > > > are limited and confined within the four walls of the constitution or the charter, and each department can only e>ercise such powers as are necessarily implied from the given powers. The &onstitution is the shore of legislative authority against which the waves of legislative enactment may dash, but over which it cannot leap.*Thus, legislative power remains limited in the sense that it is sub:ect to substantive and constitutional limitations which circumscribe both the e>ercise of the power itself and the allowable sub:ects of legislation.** The substantive constitutional limitations are chiefly found in the Bill of %ights*, and other provisions, such as $ec. ), /rt. J0 of the &onstitution prescribing the qualifications of candidates for senators.

0n the same vein, the &5# " & cannot, in the guise of enforcing and administering election laws or promulgating rules and regulations to implement $ec. )2'g(, validly impose qualifications on candidates for senator in addition to what the &onstitution prescribes. 0f &ongress cannot require a candidate for senator to meet such additional qualification, the &5# " &, to be sure, is also without such power. The right of a citizen in the democratic process of election should not be defeated by unwarranted impositions of requirement not otherwise specified in the &onstitution.*) $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2., as sought to be implemented by the assailed &5# " & resolution, effectively enlarges the qualification requirements enumerated in the $ec. ), /rt. J0 of the &onstitution. /s couched, said $ec. )2'g( unmistaAably requires a candidate for senator to be certified illegal + drug clean, obviously as a pre + condition to the validity of a certificate of candidacy for senator or, with liAe effect, a condition sine 7ua non to be voted upon and, if proper, be proclaimed as senator + elect. The &5# " & resolution completes the chain with the proviso that I;n<o person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has undergone mandatory drug test.I Jiewed, therefore, in its proper conte>t, $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2. and the implementing &5# " & %esolution add another qualification layer to what the *1=7 &onstitution, at the minimum, requires for membership in the $enate. Dhether or not the drug + free bar set up under the challenged provision is to be hurdled before or after election is really of no moment, as getting elected would be of little value if one cannot assume office for non + compliance with the drug + testing requirement. 0t may of course be argued, in defense of the validity of $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2., that the provision does not e>pressly state that non + compliance with the drug test imposition is a disqualifying factor or would worA to nullify a certificate of candidacy. This argument may be accorded plausibility if the drug test requirement is optional. But the particular section of the law, without e>ception, made drug + testing on those covered mandatory, necessarily suggesting that the obstinate ones shall have to suffer the adverse consequences for not adhering to the statutory command. /nd since the provision deals with candidates for public office, it stands to reason that the adverse consequence adverted to can only refer to and revolve around the election and the assumption of public office of the candidates. /ny other construal would reduce the mandatory nature of $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2. into a pure :argon without meaning and effect whatsoever.

Dhile it is anti + climactic to state it at this :uncture, &5# " & %esolution ?o. 2@=2 is no longer enforceable, for by its terms, it was intended to cover only the #ay *-, ,--@ synchronized elections and the candidates running in that electoral event. ?onetheless, to obviate repetition, the &ourt deems it appropriate to review and rule, as it hereby rules, on its validity as an implementing issuance. 0t ought to be made abundantly clear, however, that the unconstitutionality of $ec. )2'g( of %/ 1*2. is rooted on its having infringed the constitutional provision defining the qualification or eligibility requirements for one aspiring to run for and serve as senator. %1% JConstitutionalit. o %ec' G3CcE, CdE, C E, and CgE o RA 2)3,K Petition

$ec. ... 9xemption from the Criminal 2iabilit% Ander the 0oluntar% *ubmission Program. + / drug dependent under the voluntary submission program, who is finally discharged from confinement, shall be e>empt from the criminal liability under $ection *. of this /ct sub:ect to the following conditions: >>>> $chool children, the 8$ $upreme &ourt noted, are most vulnerable to the physical, psychological, and addictive effects of drugs. #aturing nervous systems of the young are more critically impaired by into>icants and are more inclined to drug dependency. Their recovery is also at a depressingly low rate.*. The right to privacy has been accorded recognition in this :urisdiction as a facet of the right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure*2 under $ec. ,, /rt. 000*7 of the &onstitution. But while the right to privacy has long come into its own, this case appears to be the first time that the validity of a state + decreed search or intrusion through the medium of mandatory random drug testing among students and employees is, in this :urisdiction, made the focal point. Thus, the issue tendered in these proceedings is veritably one of first impression. 8$ :urisprudence is, however, a rich source of persuasive :urisprudence. Dith respect to random drug testing among school children, we turn to the teachings of 0ernonia *chool 'istrict ;K? v. Acton (0ernonia) and Board of 9ducation of "ndependent *chool 'istrict 6o. -/ of Potta4atomie Count%, et al. v. 9arls, et al. (Board of 9ducation) ,*= both fairly pertinent 8$ $upreme &ourt + decided cases involving the constitutionality of governmental search. 0n 0ernonia, school administrators in Jernonia, 5regon wanted to address the drug menace in their respective institutions following the discovery of frequent drug use by school athletes. /fter consultation with the parents, they required random urinalysis drug testing for the schoolSs athletes. Hames /cton, a high school student, was denied participation in the football program after he refused to undertaAe the urinalysis drug testing. /cton forthwith sued, claiming that the schoolSs drug testing policy violated, inter alia, the !ourth /mendment*1 of the 8$ &onstitution. The 8$ $upreme &ourt, in fashioning a solution to the issues raised in 0ernonia, considered the following: '*( schools stand in loco parentis

The drug test prescribed under $ec. )2'c(, 'd(, and 'f( of %/ 1*2. for secondary and tertiary level students and public and private employees, while mandatory, is a random and suspicionless arrangement. The ob:ective is to stamp out illegal drug and safeguard in the process Ithe well being of ;the< citizenry, particularly the youth, from the harmful effects of dangerous drugs.I This statutory purpose, per the policy + declaration portion of the law, can be achieved via the pursuit by the state of Ian intensive and unrelenting campaign against the trafficAing and use of dangerous drugs > > > through an integrated system of planning, implementation and enforcement of anti + drug abuse policies, programs and pro:ects.I*@ The primary legislative intent is not criminal prosecution, as those found positive for illegal drug use as a result of this random testing are not necessarily treated as criminals. They may even be e>empt from criminal liability should the illegal drug user consent to undergo rehabilitation. $ecs. .@ and .. of %/ 1*2. are clear on this point: $ec. .@. 0oluntar% *ubmission of a 'rug 'ependent to Confinement, reatment and Rehabilitation. + / drug dependent or any person who violates $ection *. of this /ct may, by himselfMherself or through hisMher parent, ;close relatives< > > > apply to the Board > > > for treatment and rehabilitation of the drug dependency. 8pon such application, the Board shall bring forth the matter to the &ourt which shall order that the applicant be e>amined for drug dependency. 0f the e>amination > > > results in the certification that the applicant is a drug dependent, heMshe shall be ordered by the &ourt to undergo treatment and rehabilitation in a &enter designated by the Board > > >. >>>>

over their studentsE ',( school children, while not shedding their constitutional rights at the school gate, have less privacy rightsE ')( athletes have less privacy rights than non + athletes since the former observe communal undress before and after sports eventsE '@( by :oining the sports activity, the athletes voluntarily sub:ected themselves to a higher degree of school supervision and regulationE '.( requiring urine samples does not invade a studentSs privacy since a student need not undress for this Aind of drug testingE and '2( there is need for the drug testing because of the dangerous effects of illegal drugs on the young. The 8$ $upreme &ourt held that the policy constituted reasonable search under the !ourth,- and *@th /mendments and declared the random drug + testing policy constitutional. 0n Board of 9ducation, the Board of ducation of a school in Tecumseh, 5Alahoma required a drug test for high school students desiring to :oin e>tra + curricular activities. "indsay arls, a member of the show choir, marching band, and academic team declined to undergo a drug test and averred that the drug + testing policy made to apply to non + athletes violated the !ourth and *@th /mendments. /s arls argued, unliAe athletes who routinely undergo physical e>aminations and undress before their peers in locAer rooms, non + athletes are entitled to more privacy. The 8$ $upreme &ourt, citing 0ernonia, upheld the constitutionality of drug testing even among non + athletes on the basis of the schoolSs custodial responsibility and authority. 0n so ruling, said court made no distinction between a non + athlete and an athlete. 0t ratiocinated that schools and teachers act in place of the parents with a similar interest and duty of safeguarding the health of the students. /nd in holding that the school could implement its random drug + testing policy, the &ourt hinted that such a test was a Aind of search in which even a reasonable parent might need to engage. 0n sum, what can reasonably be deduced from the above two cases and applied to this :urisdiction are: '*( schools and their administrators stand in loco parentis with respect to their studentsE ',( minor students have conte>tually fewer rights than an adult, and are sub:ect to the custody and supervision of their parents, guardians, and schoolsE ')( schools, acting in loco parentis, have a duty to safeguard the health and well + being of their students and may adopt such measures as may reasonably be necessary to discharge such dutyE and '@( schools have the right to impose conditions on applicants for admission that are fair, :ust, and non+discriminatory.

6uided by 0ernonia and Board of 9ducation, the &ourt is of the view and so holds that the provisions of %/ 1*2. requiring mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing of students are constitutional. 0ndeed, it is within the prerogative of educational institutions to require, as a condition for admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and regulations and policies. To be sure, the right to enroll is not absoluteE it is sub:ect to fair, reasonable, and equitable requirements. The &ourt can taAe :udicial notice of the proliferation of prohibited drugs in the country that threatens the well + being of the people,,* particularly the youth and school children who usually end up as victims. /ccordingly, and until a more effective method is conceptualized and put in motion, a random drug testing of students in secondary and tertiary schools is not only acceptable but may even be necessary if the safety and interest of the student population, doubtless a legitimate concern of the government, are to be promoted and protected. To borrow from 0ernonia, I;d<eterring drug use by our ?ationSs schoolchildren is as important as enhancing efficient enforcement of the ?ationSs laws against the importation of drugsIE the necessity for the $tate to act is magnified by the fact that the effects of a drug + infested school are visited not :ust upon the users, but upon the entire student body and faculty.,, ?eedless to stress, the random testing scheme provided under the law argues against the idea that the testing aims to incriminate unsuspecting individual students. Hust as in the case of secondary and tertiary level students, the mandatory but random drug test prescribed by $ec. )2 of %/ 1*2. for officers and employees of public and private offices is :ustifiable, albeit not e>actly for the same reason. The &ourt notes in this regard that petitioner $H$, other than saying that Isub:ecting almost everybody to drug testing, without probable cause, is unreasonable, an unwarranted intrusion of the individual right to privacy,I,) has failed to show how the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing under $ec. )2'c( and 'd( of %/ 1*2. violates the right to privacy and constitutes unlawful andMor unconsented search under /rt. 000, $ecs. * and , of the &onstitution.,@ 4etitioner "asernaSs lament is :ust as simplistic, sweeping, and gratuitous and does not merit serious consideration. &onsider what he wrote without elaboration: The 8$ $upreme &ourt and 8$ &ircuit &ourts of /ppeals have made various rulings on the constitutionality of mandatory drug tests in the school and the worAplaces. The 8$ courts have been consistent in their rulings that the mandatory drug tests violate a citizenSs constitutional

right to privacy and right against unreasonable search and seizure. They are quoted e>tensively hereinbelow.,. The essence of privacy is the right to be left alone.,2 0n conte>t, the right to privacy means the right to be free from unwarranted e>ploitation of oneSs person or from intrusion into oneSs private activities in such a way as to cause humiliation to a personSs ordinary sensibilities. ,7 /nd while there has been general agreement as to the basic function of the guarantee against unwarranted search, Itranslation of the abstract prohibition against Vunreasonable searches and seizuresS into worAable broad guidelines for the decision of particular cases is a difficult tasA,I to borrow from C. Camara v. !unicipal Court.,= /uthorities are agreed though that the right to privacy yields to certain paramount rights of the public and defers to the stateSs e>ercise of police power.,1 /s the warrantless clause of $ec. ,, /rt 000 of the &onstitution is couched and as has been held, IreasonablenessI is the touchstone of the validity of a government search or intrusion.)- /nd whether a search at issue hews to the reasonableness standard is :udged by the balancing of the government + mandated intrusion on the individualSs privacy interest against the promotion of some compelling state interest.)* 0n the criminal conte>t, reasonableness requires showing of probable cause to be personally determined by a :udge. 6iven that the drug + testing policy for employees++and students for that matter++under %/ 1*2. is in the nature of administrative search needing what was referred to in 0ernonia as Iswift and informal disciplinary procedures,I the probable + cause standard is not required or even practicable. Be that as it may, the review should focus on the reasonableness of the challenged administrative search in question. The first factor to consider in the matter of reasonableness is the nature of the privacy interest upon which the drug testing, which effects a search within the meaning of $ec. ,, /rt. 000 of the &onstitution, intrudes. 0n this case, the office or worAplace serves as the bacAdrop for the analysis of the privacy e>pectation of the employees and the reasonableness of drug testing requirement. The employeesS privacy interest in an office is to a large e>tent circumscribed by the companySs worA policies, the collective bargaining agreement, if any, entered into by management and the bargaining unit, and the inherent right of the employer to maintain discipline and efficiency in the worAplace. Their privacy e>pectation in a regulated office environment is, in fine, reducedE and a degree of impingement upon such privacy has been upheld.

Hust as defining as the first factor is the character of the intrusion authorized by the challenged law. %educed to a question form, is the scope of the search or intrusion clearly set forth, or, as formulated in .ple v. orres, is the enabling law authorizing a search Inarrowly drawnI or Inarrowly focusedIN), The poser should be answered in the affirmative. !or one, $ec. )2 of %/ 1*2. and its implementing rules and regulations '0%%(, as couched, contain provisions specifically directed towards preventing a situation that would unduly embarrass the employees or place them under a humiliating e>perience. Dhile every officer and employee in a private establishment is under the law deemed forewarned that he or she may be a possible sub:ect of a drug test, nobody is really singled out in advance for drug testing. The goal is to discourage drug use by not telling in advance anyone when and who is to be tested. /nd as may be observed, $ec. )2'd( of %/ 1*2. itself prescribes what, in .ple, is a narrowing ingredient by providing that the employees concerned shall be sub:ected to Irandom drug test as contained in the companySs worA rules and regulations > > > for purposes of reducing the risA in the worA place.I !or another, the random drug testing shall be undertaAen under conditions calculated to protect as much as possible the employeeSs privacy and dignity. /s to the mechanics of the test, the law specifies that the procedure shall employ two testing methods, i.e., the screening test and the confirmatory test, doubtless to ensure as much as possible the trustworthiness of the results. But the more important consideration lies in the fact that the test shall be conducted by trained professionals in access + controlled laboratories monitored by the 3epartment of Bealth '35B( to safeguard against results tampering and to ensure an accurate chain of custody.)) 0n addition, the 0%% issued by the 35B provides that access to the drug results shall be on the Ineed to AnowI basisE)@ that the Idrug test result and the records shall be ;Aept< confidential sub:ect to the usual accepted practices to protect the confidentiality of the test results.I). ?otably, %/ 1*2. does not oblige the employer concerned to report to the prosecuting agencies any information or evidence relating to the violation of the Comprehensive 'angerous 'rugs Act received as a result of the operation of the drug testing. /ll told, therefore, the intrusion into the employeesS privacy, under %/ 1*2., is accompanied by proper safeguards, particularly against embarrassing leaAages of test results, and is relatively minimal.

To reiterate, %/ 1*2. was enacted as a measure to stamp out illegal drug in the country and thus protect the well + being of the citizens, especially the youth, from the deleterious effects of dangerous drugs. The law intends to achieve this through the medium, among others, of promoting and resolutely pursuing a national drug abuse policy in the worAplace via a mandatory random drug test.)2 To the &ourt, the need for drug testing to at least minimize illegal drug use is substantial enough to override the individualSs privacy interest under the premises. The &ourt can consider that the illegal drug menace cuts across gender, age group, and social + economic lines. /nd it may not be amiss to state that the sale, manufacture, or trafficAing of illegal drugs, with their ready marAet, would be an investorSs dream were it not for the illegal and immoral components of any of such activities. The drug problem has hardly abated since the martial law public e>ecution of a notorious drug trafficAer. The state can no longer assume a laid bacA stance with respect to this modern + day scourge. 3rug enforcement agencies perceive a mandatory random drug test to be an effective way of preventing and deterring drug use among employees in private offices, the threat of detection by random testing being higher than other modes. The &ourt holds that the chosen method is a reasonable and enough means to licA the problem. TaAing into account the foregoing factors, i.e., the reduced e>pectation of privacy on the part of the employees, the compelling state concern liAely to be met by the search, and the well + defined limits set forth in the law to properly guide authorities in the conduct of the random testing, we hold that the challenged drug test requirement is, under the limited conte>t of the case, reasonable and, ergo, constitutional. "iAe their counterparts in the private sector, government officials and employees also labor under reasonable supervision and restrictions imposed by the &ivil $ervice law and other laws on public officers, all enacted to promote a high standard of ethics in the public service.)7 /nd if %/ 1*2. passes the norm of reasonableness for private employees, the more reason that it should pass the test for civil servants, who, by constitutional command, are required to be accountable at all times to the people and to serve them with utmost responsibility and efficiency.)= 4etitioner $H$S ne>t posture that $ec. )2 of %/ 1*2. is ob:ectionable on the ground of undue delegation of power hardly commends itself for concurrence. &ontrary to its position, the provision in question is not so e>tensively drawn as to give unbridled options to schools and employers

to determine the manner of drug testing. $ec. )2 e>pressly provides how drug testing for students of secondary and tertiary schools and officersMemployees of publicMprivate offices should be conducted. 0t enumerates the persons who shall undergo drug testing. 0n the case of students, the testing shall be in accordance with the school rules as contained in the student handbooA and with notice to parents. 5n the part of officersMemployees, the testing shall taAe into account the companySs worA rules. 0n either case, the random procedure shall be observed, meaning that the persons to be sub:ected to drug test shall be picAed by chance or in an unplanned way. /nd in all cases, safeguards against misusing and compromising the confidentiality of the test results are established. "est it be overlooAed, $ec. 1@ of %/ 1*2. charges the 33B to issue, in consultation with the 35B, 3epartment of the 0nterior and "ocal 6overnment, 3epartment of ducation, and 3epartment of "abor and mployment, among other agencies, the 0%% necessary to enforce the law. 0n net effect then, the participation of schools and offices in the drug testing scheme shall always be sub:ect to the 0%% of %/ 1*2.. 0t is, therefore, incorrect to say that schools and employers have unchecAed discretion to determine how often, under what conditions, and where the drug tests shall be conducted. The validity of delegating legislative power is now a quiet area in the constitutional landscape.)1 0n the face of the increasing comple>ity of the tasA of the government and the increasing inability of the legislature to cope directly with the many problems demanding its attention, resort to delegation of power, or entrusting to administrative agencies the power of subordinate legislation, has become imperative, as here. Laserna Petition JConstitutionalit. C E, and CgE o RA 2)3,K o %ec' G3CcE, CdE,

8nliAe the situation covered by $ec. )2'c( and 'd( of %/ 1*2., the &ourt finds no valid :ustification for mandatory drug testing for persons accused of crimes. 0n the case of students, the constitutional viability of the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing for students emanates primarily from the waiver by the students of their right to privacy when they seeA entry to the school, and from their voluntarily submitting their persons to the parental authority of school authorities. 0n the case of private and public employees, the constitutional soundness of the mandatory, random, and suspicionless drug testing proceeds from the reasonableness of the drug test policy and requirement.

De find the situation entirely different in the case of persons charged before the public prosecutorSs office with criminal offenses punishable with si> '2( years and one '*( day imprisonment. The operative concepts in the mandatory drug testing are IrandomnessI and Isuspicionless.I 0n the case of persons charged with a crime before the prosecutorSs office, a mandatory drug testing can never be random or suspicionless. The ideas of randomness and being suspicionless are antithetical to their being made defendants in a criminal complaint. They are not randomly picAedE neither are they beyond suspicion. Dhen persons suspected of committing a crime are charged, they are singled out and are impleaded against their will. The persons thus charged, by the bare fact of being haled before the prosecutorSs office and peaceably submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do not necessarily consent to the procedure, let alone waive their right to privacy.@- To impose mandatory drug testing on the accused is a blatant attempt to harness a medical test as a tool for criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated ob:ectives of %/ 1*2.. 3rug testing in this case would violate a personsS right to privacy guaranteed under $ec. ,, /rt. 000 of the &onstitution. Dorse still, the accused persons are veritably forced to incriminate themselves. "#EREFORE, the &ourt resolves to (RA$T the petition in 6.%. ?o. *2*2.= and declares %ec' G3JgK of RA 2)3, and CO&ELEC Resolution $o' 34*3 as U$CO$%TITUTIO$ALE and to PARTIALL6 (RA$T the petition in 6.%. ?os. *.7=7- and *.=2)) by declaring %ec' G3JcK and JdK of RA 2)3, CO$%TITUTIO$AL, but declaring its $ec. )2'f( 8?&5?$T0T8T05?/". /ll concerned agencies are, accordingly, permanently en:oined from implementing %ec' G3J K and JgK of RA 2)3,. ?o costs. %O ORDERED. #/%& "5 " , /"B0?/ " +K58?6, #/%0/?5 " , 4/B"5 " , B " ? " , &/T/"0?5 L. " , 8$ B05 " , ##/ " , and T08 &B8/?, petitioners, vs. &58%T 5! /44 /"$ and B5?. "5% ?Z5 B. J ? %/&05? and B5?. H/0# T. B/#5K, in their capacities as 4residing Hudge of Branch @7, %egional Trial &ourt of #anila and Branch *)-, %egional Trial &ourt of LalooAan &ity, respectively and %0T/ L. " , " 5?&05 " T L $B ?6 in their personal capacities and %5$/ L. " +J/?3 %" L, # "53K L. " +&B0?, "8&0/ L. " T L $B ?6, H8"0/? L. " , B ?%K L. " , #/%T0? L. " , J0&T5%0/?5 L. " , ?/T0J03/3 L. " +#068 ", and TB5#/$ L. " , represented by %0T/ L. " , respondents.

&0$05?

3 " 5?, H%., ?.: This 4etition for %eview on Certiorari, with 4rayer for the 0ssuance of a Temporary %estraining 5rder andMor Drit of 4reliminary 0n:unction, seeAs the reversal of the 3ecision;*< of the &ourt of /ppeals dated 5ctober ,=, *11@ in &/+6.%. $4 ?5. )*7=2;,<. The assailed decision of the &ourt of /ppeals upheld the 5rders issued by respondents Hudges Bon. "orenzo B. Jeneracion;)< and Bon. Haime T. Bamoy;@< taAing cognizance of two ',( separate petitions filed by private respondents before their respective salas for the cancellation andMor correction of entries in the records of birth of petitioners pursuant to %ule *-= of the %evised %ules of &ourt. This is a story of two ',( sets of children sired by one and the same man but begotten of two ',( different mothers. 5ne set, the private respondents herein, are the children of "ee TeA $heng and his lawful wife, Leh $hioA &heng. The other set, the petitioners herein, are allegedly children of "ee TeA $heng and his concubine, Tiu &huan. %ita L. "ee, "eoncio "ee TeA $heng, %osa L. "ee+JanderleA, #elody L. "ee+&hin, "ucia L. "ee TeA $heng+5ng, Hulian L. "ee, Benry L. "ee, #artin L. "ee, Jictoriano L. "ee, ?atividad L. "ee+#iguel and Thomas L. "ee 'hereinafter referred to as private respondents( filed two ',( separate petitions for the cancellation andMor correction of entries in the records of birth of #arcelo "ee, /lbina "ee+Koung, #ariano "ee, 4ablo "ee, Belen "ee, &atalino L. "ee, usebio "ee, and mma "ee 'hereinafter referred to as petitioners(. 5n 3ecember ,, *11,, the petition against all petitioners, with the e>ception of mma "ee, was filed before the %egional Trial &ourt '%T&( of #anila and docAeted as $4. 4%5&. ?5. 1,+2)21,;.< and later assigned to Branch @7 presided over by respondent Hudge "orenzo B. Jeneracion. 5n !ebruary ), *11), a similar petition against mma "ee was filed before the %T& of LalooAan and docAeted as $4. 4%5&. ?5. &+*27@;2< and assigned to the sala of respondent Hudge Haime T. Bamoy of Branch *)-. Both petitions sought to cancel andMor correct the false and erroneous entries in all pertinent records of birth of petitioners by deleting andMor canceling therein the name of FLeh $hioA &hengG as their mother, and by substituting the same with the name FTiu &huanG, who is allegedly the petitioners9 true birth mother.

The private respondents alleged in their petitions before the trial courts that they are the legitimate children of spouses "ee TeA $heng and Leh $hioA &heng who were legally married in &hina sometime in *1)*. >cept for %ita L. "ee who was born and raised in &hina, private respondents herein were all born and raised in the 4hilippines. $ometime in 5ctober, *1@=, "ee TeA $heng, facilitated the arrival in the 4hilippines from &hina of a young girl named Tiu &huan. $he was introduced by "ee TeA $heng to his family as their new housemaid but far from becoming their housemaid, Tiu &huan immediately became "ee TeA $heng9s mistress. /s a result of their illicit relations, Tiu &huan gave birth to petitioners. 8nAnown to Leh $hioA &heng and private respondents, every time Tiu &huan gave birth to each of the petitioners, their common father, "ee TeA $heng, falsified the entries in the records of birth of petitioners by maAing it appear that petitioners9 mother was Leh $hioA &heng. $ince the birth of petitioners, it was Tiu &huan who gave maternal care and guidance to the petitioners. They all lived in the same compound Leh $hioA &heng and private respondents were residing in. /ll was well, therefore, before private respondents9 discovery of the dishonesty and fraud perpetrated by their father, "ee TeA $heng. The tides turned after Leh $hioA &heng9s demise on #ay 1, *1=1. "ee TeA $heng insisted that the names of all his children, including those of petitioners9, be included in the obituary notice of Leh $hioA &heng9s death that was to be published in the newspapers. 0t was this seemingly irrational act that piqued private respondents9 curiosity, if not suspicion. ;7< /cting on their suspicion, the private respondents requested the ?ational Bureau of 0nvestigation '?B0( to conduct an investigation into the matter. /fter investigation and verification of all pertinent records, the ?B0 prepared a report that pointed out, among others, the false entries in the records of birth of petitioners, specifically the following: *. /s per Birth &ertificate of #/%& "5 " '/nne> !+*(, their father, " T L $B ?6 made it appear that he is the *,th child of #rs. L B $B05L &B ?6, but upon investigation, it was found out that her Bospital %ecords, the mother who gave birth to #/%& "5 " had given birth for the *st time, as per diagnosis of the attending physician, 3r. %. "0#, it was F6%/J03/ 0, 4/%/ 0G which means Ffirst pregnancy, first live birth deliveryG 'refer to: #/$T % 4/T0 ?T9$ % &5%3$

$8##/%K O /nne> 0(. /lso, the age of the mother when she gave birth to #/%& "5 " as per record was only *7 years old, when in fact and in truth, L B $B05L &B ?69s age was then already )= years old. The address used by their father in the #aster 4atient record was also the same as the Birth &ertificate of #/%& "5 " ',@,. %izal /venue, #anila(. The name of #/%& "5 " was recorded under Bospital ?o. ,,*72=, page 7). ,. /s per Birth &ertificate of /"B0?/ " '/nne> !+,(, it was made to appear that /"B0?/ " was the third child which is without any rationality, because the )rd child of L B $B05L &B ?6 is # "53K " T L $B ?6 '/nne> +,(. ?ote also, that the age of the mother as per Bospital %ecords :ump 'sic( from *7 to ,, years old, but the only age gap of #/%& "5 " and /"B0?/ " is only , years. ). /s per Birth &ertificate of #/%0/?5 " '/nne> !+)(, it was made to appear that #/%0/?5 " was the .th child, but the truth is, L B $B05L &B ?69s .th child is "8&0/ " T L $B ?6 '/nne> +@(. /s per Bospital %ecord, the age of L B $B05L &B ?6 was only ,) years old, while the actual age of L B $B05L &B ?6, was then already @years old. @. /s per Birth &ertificate of 4/B"5 " '/nne> !+@(, it was made to appear that 4/B"5 " was the *2th child of L B $B05L &B ?6 which is impossible to be true, considering the fact that L B $B05L &B ?6 have stopped conceiving after her **th child. /lso as per Bospital %ecord, the age of the mother was omitted in the records. 0f 4/B"5 " is the *2th child of L B $B05L &B ?6, it would only mean that she have 'sic( given birth to her first born child at the age of = to 1 years, which is impossible to be true. Based on the birth record of #/%0/?5 " in *1.), the recorded age of L B $B05L &B ?6 was ,) years old. Two years after 4/B"5 " was born in *1.., the difference is only , years, so it is impossible for 4/B"5 " to be the *2th child of L B $B05L &B ?6, as it will only mean that she have 'sic( given birth at that impossible age. .. /s per Birth &ertificate of B " ? " '/nne> !+.(, it was made to appear that she is the 2th child of L B $B05L &B ?6, but as per Birth &ertificate of H8"0/? " '/nne> +.(, he is the true 2th child of L B $B05L &B ?6. 4er Bospital %ecord, L B $B05L &B ?6 is only ,= years old, while L B $B05L &B ?69$ true age at that time was @. years old.

2. ##/ " has no record in the hospital because, as per complainant9s allegation, she was born at their house, and was later admitted at &hinese 6eneral Bospital. 7. /s per Birth &ertificate of &/T/"0?5 " '/nne> !+7(, it was made to appear that he is the *@th child of L B $B05L &B ?6, and that the age of L B $B05L &B ?6 a.A.a. #rs. " T L $B ?6, :umped from ,= years old at the birth of B " ? " on ,) /ugust *1.7 to )= years old at the birth of &/T/"0?5 " on ,, /pril *1.1. =. /s per Birth &ertificate of 8$ B05 " , the alleged last son of L B $B05L &B ?6, the age of the mother is @= years old. Bowever, as per Bospital %ecord, the age of #rs. " T L $B ?6, then was only )1 years old. &onsidering the fact, that at the time of #/%& "59s birth on ** #ay *1.-. L B $B05L &B ?69s age is )= years old and at the time of 8$ B059s birth, she is already @= years old, it is already impossible that she could have given birth to = children in a span of only *- years at her age. /s per diagnosis, the alleged mother registered on 8$ B059s birth indicate that she had undergone & /$/%0/? $ &T05?, which 3r. %0T/ L. " said is not true. 0n view of the foregoing facts, the ?B0 concluded that: *-. 0n conclusion, as per &hinese 6eneral Bospital 4atients %ecords, it is very obvious that the mother of these = children is certainly not L B $B05L &B ?6, but a much younger woman, most probably T08 &B8/?. 8pon further evaluation and analysis by these /gents, " T L $B ?6, is in a quandary in fi>ing the age of L B $B05L &B ?6 possibly to conform with his grand design of maAing his = children as their own legitimate children, consequently elevating the status of his ,nd family and secure their future. The doctor lamented that this complaint would not have been necessary had not the father and his ,nd family Aept on insisting that the = children are the legitimate children of L B $B05L &B ?6.;=< 0t was this report that prompted private respondents to file the petitions for cancellation andMor correction of entries in petitioners9 records of birth with the lower courts. The petitioners filed a motion to dismiss both petitions + $4. 4%5&. ?5. 1,+2)21, and $4. 4%5&. ?5. &+*27@ + on the grounds that: '*( resort to %ule *-= is improper where the ultimate ob:ective is to assail the legitimacy and filiation of petitionersE ',( the petition, which is essentially

an action to impugn legitimacy was filed prematurelyE and ')( the action to impugn has already prescribed.;1< 5n !ebruary *,, *11), respondent Hudge Jeneracion denied the motion to dismiss $4. 4%5&. ?5. 1,+2)21, for failure of the herein petitioners 'defendants in the lower court( to appear at the hearing of the said motion.;*-< Then on !ebruary *7, *11), Hudge Jeneracion issued an 5rder, the pertinent portion of which, reads as follows: !inding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, the same is hereby given due course. "et this petition be set for hearing on #arch ,1, *11) at =:)- in the morning before this &ourt located at the .th !loor of the &ity Ball of #anila. ?otice is hereby given that anyone who has any ob:ection to the petition should file on or before the date of hearing his opposition thereto with a statement of the grounds therefor. "et a copy of this 5rder be published, at the e>pense of the petitioners, once a weeA for three ')( consecutive weeAs in a newspaper of general circulation in the 4hilippines. "et copies of the verified petition with its anne>es and of this 5rder be served upon the 5ffice of the $olicitor 6eneral, and the respondents, and be posted on the Bulletin Board of this &ourt, also at the e>pense of the petitioners. $5 5%3 % 3.;**< 5n the other hand, respondent Hudge Bamoy issued an 5rder dated /pril *., *11) taAing cognizance of $4. 4%5&. ?o. &+*27@, to 4it: 0t appearing from the documentary evidence presented and marAed by the petitioners that the 5rder of the &ourt setting the case for hearing was published in F#edia 8pdateG once a weeA for three ')( consecutive weeAs, that is on !ebruary ,-, ,7, and #arch 2, *11) as evidenced by the /ffidavit of 4ublication and the clippings attached to the affidavit, and by the copies of the F#edia 8pdateG published on the aforementioned datesE further, copy of the order setting the case for hearing together with copy of the petition had been served upon the $olicitor 6eneral, &ity 4rosecutor of LalooAan &ity, &ivil %egistrar of LalooAan &ity and the private respondents, the &ourt holds that the petitioners have complied with the :urisdictional requirements for the &ourt to taAe cognizance of this case.

>>> $5 5%3 % 3.;*,<

>>>

> > >.

>>>

>>>

> > >.

4etitioners9 attempts at seeAing a reconsideration of the above+ mentioned orders of Hudge Jeneracion and Hudge Bamoy failed, hence their recourse to the &ourt of /ppeals via a 4etition for &ertiorari and 4rohibition with /pplication for the 0ssuance of a Temporary %estraining 5rder andMor Drit of 4reliminary 0n:unction. 4etitioners averred that respondents :udges had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lacA or e>cess of :urisdiction in issuing the assailed orders allowing the petitions for the cancellation andMor correction of entries in petitioners9 records of birth to prosper in the lower courts. 0n their petition before the &ourt of /ppeals, the petitioners raised the following arguments: '*( %ule *-= is inappropriate for impugning the legitimacy and filiation of childrenE ',( %espondents :udges are sanctioning a collateral attacA against the filiation and legitimacy of childrenE ')( %espondents :udges are allowing private respondents to impugn the legitimacy and filiation of their siblings despite the fact that their undisputed common father is still aliveE '@( %espondents :udges are entertaining petitions which are already time+barredE and '.( The petitions below are part of a forum+shopping spree.;*)< !inding no merit in petitioners9 arguments, the &ourt of /ppeals dismissed their petition in a 3ecision dated 5ctober ,=, *11@.;*@< 4etitioners9 #otion for %econsideration of the said decision was also denied by the &ourt of /ppeals in a %esolution dated 3ecember *1, *11@.;*.< Bence, this petition. 0. 4etitioners contend that resort to %ule *-= of the %evised %ules of &ourt is improper since private respondents seeA to have the entry for the name of petitioners9 mother changed from FLeh $hioA &hengG to FTiu &huanG who is a completely different person. Dhat private respondents therefore seeA is not merely a correction in name but a declaration that petitioners were not born of "ee TeA $heng9s legitimate wife, Leh $hioA &heng, but of his mistress, Tiu &huan, in effect a Fbastardization of petitioners.G;*2< 4etitioners thus label private respondents9 suits before the lower courts as a collateral attacA against their legitimacy in the guise of a %ule *-= proceeding. 3ebunAing petitioners9 above contention, the &ourt of /ppeals observed:

/s correctly pointed out by the private respondents in their comment > > >, the proceedings are simply aimed at establishing a particular fact, status andMor right. $tated differently, the thrust of said proceedings was to establish the factual truth regarding the occurrence of certain events which created or affected the status of persons andMor otherwise deprived said persons of rights.;*7< >>> >>> > > >.

0t is precisely the province of a special proceeding such as the one outlined under %ule *-= of the %evised %ules of &ourt to establish the status or right of a party, or a particular fact.;*=< The petitions filed by private respondents for the correction of entries in the petitioners9 records of birth were intended to establish that for physical andMor biological reasons it was impossible for Leh $hioA &heng to have conceived and given birth to the petitioners as shown in their birth records. &ontrary to petitioners9 contention that the petitions before the lower courts were actually actions to impugn legitimacy, the prayer therein is not to declare that petitioners are illegitimate children of Leh $hioA &heng, but to establish that the former are not the latter9s children. There is nothing to impugn as there is no blood relation at all between Leh $hioA &heng and petitioners.;*1< !urther sanctioning private respondents9 resort to %ule *-=, the &ourt of /ppeals adverted to our ruling in the leading case of Republic vs. 0alencia;,-< where we affirmed the decision of Branch C0 of the then &ourt of !irst 0nstance '&!0( of &ebu &ity ordering the correction in the nationality and civil status of petitioner9s minor children as stated in their records of birth from F&hineseG to F!ilipinoG, and FlegitimateG to FillegitimateG, respectively. /lthough recognizing that the changes or corrections sought to be effected are not mere clerical errors of a harmless or innocuous nature, this &ourt, sitting en banc, held therein that even substantial errors in a civil register may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the a<<ro<riate adversar. <roceeding.;,*< 0n the said case, we also laid down the rule that a proceeding for correction andMor cancellation of entries in the civil register under %ule *-= ceases to be summary in nature and taAes on the characteristics of an a<<ro<riate adversar. <roceeding when all the procedural requirements under %ule *-= are complied with. Thus we held:

F4rovided the trial court has conducted proceedings where all relevant facts have been fully and properly developed, where opposing counsel have been given opportunity to demolish the opposite party9s case, and where the evidence has been thoroughly weighed and considered, the suit or proceeding is Vappropriate.9 The pertinent sections of rule *-= provide: V$ &. ). Parties. + Dhen cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.9 V$ &. @. 6otice and publication. + 8pon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order, fi> the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be published once in a weeA for three ')( consecutive weeAs in a newspaper of general circulation in the province.9 V$ &. .. .pposition. O The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen '*.( days from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his opposition thereto.9 FThus, the persons who must be made parties to a proceeding concerning the cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register are + '*( the civil registrar, and ',( all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby. 8pon the filing of the petition, it becomes the duty of the court to + '*( issue an order fi>ing the time and place for the hearing of the petition, and ',( cause the order for hearing to be published once a weeA for three ')( consecutive weeAs in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. The following are liAewise entitled to oppose the petition: + '*( the civil registrar, and ',( any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought. F0f all these procedural requirements have been followed, a petition for correction andMor cancellation of entries in the record of birth even if filed and conducted under %ule *-= of the %evised %ules of &ourt can no longer be described as FsummaryG. There can be no doubt that when an opposition to the petition is filed either by the &ivil %egistrar or any person having or claiming any interest in the entries sought to be cancelled andMor corrected and the opposition is actively prosecuted, the

proceedings thereon '8nderscoring supplied.(

become

adversary

proceedings.G;,,<

To the mind of the &ourt of /ppeals, the proceedings taAen in both petitions for cancellation andMor correction of entries in the records of birth of petitioners in the lower courts are appropriate adversary proceedings. De agree. /s correctly observed by the &ourt of /ppeals: 0n the instant case, a petition for cancellation andMor correction of entries of birth was filed by private respondents and pursuant to the order of the %T&+#anila, dated !ebruary *7, *11), a copy of the order setting the case for hearing was ordered published once a weeA for three ')( consecutive weeAs in a newspaper of general circulation in the 4hilippines. 0n the %T&+LalooAan, there was an actual publication of the order setting the case for hearing in F#edia 8pdateG once a weeA for three ')( consecutive weeAs. 0n both cases notices of the orders were ordered served upon the $olicitor 6eneral, the &ivil %egistrars of #anila and LalooAan and upon the petitioners herein. Both orders set the case for hearing and directed the &ivil %egistrars and the other respondents in the case below to file their oppositions to the said petitions. / motion to dismiss was consequently filed by herein petitioners #arcelo, #ariano, 4ablo, Belen, &atalino and usebio, all surnamed "ee, and /lbina "ee+Koung in the %T&+#anila, and an opposition was filed by mma "ee in the %T&+LalooAan. 0n view of the foregoing, we hold that the petitions filed by the private respondents in the courts below by way of a special proceeding for cancellation andMor correction of entries in the civil registers with the requisite parties, notices and publications could very well be regarded as that proper suit or appropriate action.;,)< '8nderscoring supplied.( The petitioners assert, however, that maAing the proceedings adversarial does not give trial courts the license to go beyond the ambit of %ule *-= which is limited to those corrections contemplated by /rticle @*, of the ?ew &ivil &ode or mere clerical errors of a harmless or innocuous nature.;,@< The petitioners point to the case of 2aba%o#Ro4e vs. Republic,;,.< which is of a later date than Republic vs. 0alencia,;,2< where this &ourt reverted to the doctrine laid down in earlier cases,;,7< starting with % Fong in vs. Republic,;,=< prohibiting the e>tension of the application of %ule *-= beyond innocuous or harmless changes or corrections. 4etitioners contend that as held in >o, et al. vs. Civil Registrar,;,1< allowing substantial changes under %ule *-= would

render the said rule unconstitutional as the same would have the effect of increasing or modifying substantive rights. /t the outset, it should be pointed out that in the cited case of 2aba%o# Ro4e vs. Republic,;)-< the reason we declared null and void the portion of the lower court9s order directing the change of "abayo+%owe9s civil status and the filiation of one of her children as appearing in the latter9s record of birth, is not because %ule *-= was inappropriate to effect such changes, but because "abayo+%owe9s petition before the lower court failed to implead all indispensable parties to the case. De e>plained in this wise: F> > >. /n appropriate proceeding is required wherein all the indispensable parties should be made parties to the case as required under $ection ), %ule *-= of the %evised %ules of &ourt. F0n the case before 8s, since only the 5ffice of the $olicitor 6eneral was notified through the 5ffice of the 4rovincial !iscal, representing the %epublic of the 4hilippines as the only respondent, the proceedings taAen, which is summary in nature, is short of what is required in cases where substantial alterations are sought. /side from the 5ffice of the $olicitor 6eneral, all other indispensable parties should have been made respondents. They include not only the declared father of the child but the child as well, together with the paternal grandparents, if any, as their hereditary rights would be adversely affected thereby. /ll other persons who may be affected by the change should be notified or represented > > >. >>> >>> > > >.

understanding, so as to comprehend substantial and controversial alterations concerning citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, without observing the proper proceedings as earlier mentioned, said rule would thereby become an unconstitutional e>ercise which would tend to increase or modify substantive rights. This situation is not contemplated under /rticle @*, of the &ivil &ode.G;)*< '8nderscoring supplied(. !ar from petitioners9 theory, this &ourt9s ruling in 2aba%o#Ro4e vs. Republic;),< does not e>clude recourse to %ule *-= of the %evised %ules of &ourt to effect substantial changes or corrections in entries of the civil register. The only requisite is that the proceedings under %ule *-= be an a<<ro<riate adversar. <roceeding as contra+distinguished from a su==ar. <roceeding' Thus: F0f the purpose of the petition ;for cancellation andMor correction of entries in the civil register< is merely to correct the clerical errors which are visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding, the court may, under a summary procedure, issue an order for the correction of a mistaAe. Bowever, as repeatedly construed, changes which may affect the civil status from legitimate to illegitimate, as well as se>, are substantial and controversial alterations which can only be allowed after appropriate adversary proceedings depending upon the nature of the issues involved. &hanges which affect the civil status or citizenship of a party are substantial in character and should be threshed out in a proper action depending upon the nature of the issues in controversy, and wherein all the parties who may be affected by the entries are notified or represented and evidence is submitted to prove the allegations of the complaint, and proof to the contrary admitted. > > >.G;))< '8nderscoring supplied.( 0t is true that in special proceedings formal pleadings and a hearing may be dispensed with, and the remedy granted upon mere application or motion. But this is not always the case, as when the statute e>pressly provides.;)@< Bence, a special proceeding is not always summary. 5ne only has to taAe a looA at the procedure outlined in %ule *-= to see that what is contemplated therein is not a summary proceeding per se. %ule *-= requires publication of the petition three ')( times, i.e., once a weeA for three ')( consecutive weeAs '$ec. @(. The %ule also requires inclusion as parties of all persons who claim any interest which would be affected by the cancellation or correction '$ec. )(. The civil registrar and any person in interest are also required to file their opposition, if any, within fifteen '*.( days from notice of the petition, or from the last

FThe right of the child Jictoria to inherit from her parents would be substantially impaired if her status would be changed from Vlegitimate9 to Villegitimate9. #oreover, she would be e>posed to humiliation and embarrassment resulting from the stigma of an illegitimate filiation that she will bear thereafter. The fact that the notice of hearing of the petition was published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the $tate will not change the nature of the proceedings taAen. %ule *-=, liAe all the other provisions of the %ules of &ourt, was promulgated by the $upreme &ourt pursuant to its rule+maAing authority under $ection *), /rticle J000 of the *17) &onstitution, which directs that such rules Vshall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.9 0f %ule *-= were to be e>tended beyond innocuous or harmless changes or corrections of errors which are visible to the eye or obvious to the

date of publication of such notice '$ec. .(. "ast, but not the least, although the court may maAe orders e>pediting the proceedings, it is after hearing that the court shall either dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the same '$ec. 7(. Thus, we find no reason to depart from our ruling in Republic vs. 0alencia,;).< that %ule *-=, when all the procedural requirements thereunder are followed, is the a<<ro<riate adversar. <roceeding to effect substantial corrections and changes in entries of the civil register. 0t must be conceded, however, that even after Republic vs. 0alencia;)2< there continues to be a seesawing of opinion on the issue of whether or not substantial corrections in entries of the civil register may be effected by means of %ule *-= in relation to /rticle @*, of the ?ew &ivil &ode. The more recent cases of 2eonor vs. Court of Appeals;)7< and %epublic vs. "abrador;)=< do seem to signal a reversion to the % Fong in ruling which delimited the scope of application of /rticle @*, to clerical or typographical errors in entries of the civil register. 0n Republic vs. 2abrador, the &ourt held that %ule *-= cannot be used to modify, alter or increase substantive rights, such as those involving the legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child. De ruled thus: FThis issue has been resolved in 2eonor vs. Court of Appeals. 0n that case, %espondent #auricio "eonor filed a petition before the trial court seeAing the cancellation of the registration of his marriage to 4etitioner Jirginia "eonor. Be alleged, among others, the nullity of their legal vows arising from the Fnon+observance of the legal requirements for a valid marriage.G 0n debunAing the trial court9s ruling granting such petition, the &ourt held as follows: V5n its face, the %ule would appear to authorize the cancellation of any entry regarding FmarriagesG in the civil registry for any reason by the mere filing of a verified petition for the purpose. Bowever, it is not as simple as it looAs. 3octrinally, the only errors that can be canceled or corrected under this %ule are typographical or clerical errors, not material or substantial ones liAe the validity or nullity of a marriage. / clerical error is one which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understandingE error made by a clerA or a transcriberE a mistaAe in copying or writing 'Blac$ vs. Republic, "+*-=21, ?ov. ,=, *1.=(E or some harmless and innocuous change such as a correction of name that is clearly misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the parent 'Ansalada vs. Republic, "+*-,,2, !eb. *@, *1.=).9

VIhere the effect of a correction in a civil registr% 4ill change the civil status of petitioner and her children from legitimate to illegitimate, the same cannot be granted except onl% in an adversarial > > >.9 VClearl% and une7uivocall%, the summar% procedure under Rule 1),, and for that matter under Article ;1/ of the Civil Code cannot be used b% !auricio to change his and 0irginiaLs civil status from married to single and of their three children from legitimate to illegitimate. > > >9 FThus, where the effect of a correction of an entry in a civil registry will change the status of a person from FlegitimateG to Fillegitimate,G as in $arah Zita9s case, the same cannot be granted in summary proceedings.G;)1< 0t is, therefore, high time that we put an end to the confusion sown by pronouncements seemingly in conflict with each other, and perhaps, in the process, stem the continuing influ> of cases raising the same substantial issue. The basis for the pronouncement that e>tending the scope of %ule *-= to substantial corrections is unconstitutional is embodied in the early case of % Fong in vs. Republic;@-< that first delineated the e>tent or scope of the matters that may be changed or corrected pursuant to /rticle @*, of the ?ew &ivil &ode. The $upreme &ourt ruled in this case that: F> > >. /fter a mature deliberation, the opinion was reached that what was contemplated therein are mere corrections of mistaAes that are clerical in nature and not those that may affect the civil status or the nationality or citizenship of the persons involved. 0f the purpose of the petition is merely a clerical error then the court may issue an order in order that the error or mistaAe may be corrected. 0f it refers to a substantial change, which affects the status or citizenship of a party, the matter should be threshed out in a proper action depending upon the nature of the issue involved. $uch action can be found at random in our substantive and remedial laws the implementation of which will naturally depend upon the factors and circumstances that might arise affecting the interested parties. This opinion is predicated upon the theory that the procedure contemplated in article @*, is summary in nature which cannot cover cases involving controversial issues.G;@*< This doctrine was taAen a step further in the case of Chua Iee, et al. vs. Republic;@,< where the &ourt said that:

F!rom the time the ?ew &ivil &ode tooA effect on /ugust )-, *1.- until the promulgation of the %evised %ules of &ourt on Hanuary *, *12@, there was no law nor rule of court prescribing the procedure to secure :udicial authorization to effect the desired innocuous rectifications or alterations in the civil register pursuant to /rticle @*, of the ?ew &ivil &ode. %ule *-= of the %evised %ules of &ourt now provides for such a procedure which should be limited solely to the implementation of /rticle @*,, the substantive law on the matter of correcting entries in the civil register. %ule *-=, liAe all the other provisions of the %ules of &ourt, was promulgated by the $upreme &ourt pursuant to its rule+maAing authority under $ection *) of /rt. J000 of the &onstitution, which directs that such rules of court Vshall not diminish or increase or modify substantive rights.9 0f %ule *-= were to be e>tended beyond innocuous or harmless changes or corrections of errors which are visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding, so as to comprehend substantial and controversial alterations concerning citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, said %ule *-= would thereby become unconstitutional for it would be increasing or modifying substantive rights, which changes are not authorized under /rticle @*, of the ?ew &ivil &ode.G;@)< '8nderscoring supplied(. De venture to say now that the above pronouncements proceed from a wrong premise, that is, the interpretation that /rticle @*, pertains only to clerical errors of a harmless or innocuous nature, effectively e>cluding from its domain, and the scope of its implementing rule, substantial changes that may affect nationality, status, filiation and the liAe. Dhy the limited scope of /rticle @*,N 8nfortunately, % Fong in does not satisfactorily answer this question e>cept to opine that the procedure contemplated in /rticle @*, is summary in nature and cannot, therefore, cover cases involving controversial issues. $ubsequent cases have merely echoed the % Fong in doctrine without, however, shedding light on the matter. The flaw in % Fong in lies in its theory that /rticle @*, contemplates a summary procedure. !irst of all, /rticle @*, is a substantive law that provides as follows: F?o entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without a :udicial order.G 0t does not provide for a specific procedure of law to be followed e>cept to say that the corrections or changes must be effected by :udicial

order. /s such, it cannot be gleaned therefrom that the procedure contemplated for obtaining such :udicial order is summary in nature. $econdly, it is important to note that /rticle @*, uses both the terms FcorrectedG and FchangedG. 0n its ordinary sense, to correct means Fto maAe or set rightGE Fto remove the faults or errors fromG;@@< while to change means Fto replace something with something else of the same Aind or with something that serves as a substituteG.;@.< The provision neither qualifies as to the Aind of entry to be changed or corrected nor does it distinguish on the basis of the effect that the correction or change may have. Bence, it is proper to conclude that all entries in the civil register may be changed or corrected under /rticle @*,. Dhat are the entries in the civil registerN De need not go further than /rticles @-7 and @-= of the same title to find the answer. F/rt. @-7. /cts, events and :udicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.G F/rt. @-=. The following shall be entered in the civil register: '*( BirthsE ',( marriagesE ')( deathsE '@( legal separationsE '.( annulments of marriageE '2( :udgments declaring marriages void from the beginningE '7( legitimationsE '=( adoptionsE '1( acAnowledgments of natural childrenE '*-( naturalizationE '**( loss, or '*,( recovery of citizenshipE '*)( civil interdictionE '*@( :udicial determination of filiationE '*.( voluntary emancipation of a minorE and '*2( changes of name.G 0t is beyond doubt that the specific matters covered by the preceding provisions include not only status but also nationality. Therefore, the % Fong in pronouncement that /rticle @*, does not contemplate matters that may affect civil status, nationality or citizenship is erroneous. This interpretation has the effect of isolating /rticle @*, from the rest of the articles in Title CJ0, BooA 0 of the ?ew &ivil &ode, in clear contravention of the rule of statutory construction that a statute must always be construed as a whole such that the particular meaning to be attached to any word or phrase is ascertained from the conte>t and the nature of the sub:ect treated.;@2< Thirdly, %epublic /ct ?o. 1-@=;@7< which was passed by &ongress on !ebruary =, ,--* substantially amended /rticle @*, of the ?ew &ivil &ode, to 4it: F$ &T05? *. Authorit% to Correct Clerical or %pographical 9rror and Change of :irst 6ame or 6ic$name.+ ?o entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a :udicial order, e>cept for clerical or

typographical errors and change of first name or nicAname which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this /ct and its implementing rules and regulations.G The above law speaAs clearly. &lerical or typographical errors in entries of the civil register are now to be corrected and changed without need of a :udicial order and by the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general. The obvious effect is to remove from the ambit of %ule *-= the correction or changing of such errors in entries of the civil register. Bence, what is left for the scope of operation of %ule *-= are substantial changes and corrections in entries of the civil register. This is precisely the opposite of what % Fong in and other cases of its genre had said, perhaps another indication that it was not sound doctrine after all. 0t may be very well said that %epublic /ct ?o. 1-@= is &ongress9 response to the confusion wrought by the failure to delineate as to what e>actly is that so+called su==ar. <rocedure for changes or corrections of a harmless or innocuous nature as distinguished from that a<<ro<riate adversar. <roceeding for changes or corrections of a substantial Aind. !or we must admit that though we have constantly referred to an a<<ro<riate adversar. <roceeding, we have failed to categorically state :ust what that procedure is. %epublic /ct ?o. 1-@= now embodies that su==ar. <rocedure while %ule *-= is that a<<ro<riate adversar. <roceeding. Be that as it may, the case at bar cannot be decided on the basis of %epublic /ct ?o. 1-@= which has prospective application. Bence, the necessity for the preceding treatise. 00. The petitioners contend that the private respondents have no cause of action to bring the cases below as /rticle *7* of the !amily &ode allows the heirs of the father to bring an action to impugn the legitimacy of his children only after his death.;@=< /rticle *7* provides: FThe heirs of the husband may impugn the filiation of the child within the period prescribed in the preceding article only in the following cases: F'*( 0f the husband should die before the e>piration of the period fi>ed for bringing this actionE F',( 0f he should die after the filing of the complaint, without having desisted therefromE or F')( 0f the child was born after the death of the husband.G

4etitioners9 contention is without merit. 0n the recent case of Babiera vs. Catotal,;@1< we upheld the decision of the &ourt of /ppeals that affirmed the :udgment of the %T& of "anao del ?orte declaring the birth certificate of one Teofista 6uinto as null and void ab initio, and ordering the "ocal &ivil %egistrar of 0ligan &ity to cancel the same from the %egistry of "ive Births. De ruled therein that private respondent 4resentacion &atotal, child of spouses ugenio Babiera and Bermogena &ariRosa, had the requisite standing to initiate an action to cancel the entry of birth of Teofista Babiera, another alleged child of the same spouses because she is the one who stands to be benefited or in:ured by the :udgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.;.-< De liAewise held therein that: F> > > /rticle *7* of the !amily &ode is not applicable to the present case. / close reading of the provision shows that it applies to instances in which the father impugns the legitimacy of his wife9s child. The provision, however, presupposes that the child was the undisputed offspring of the mother. The present case alleges and shows that Bermogena did not give birth to petitioner. 0n other words, the prayer therein is not to declare that petitioner is an illegitimate child of Bermogena, but to establish that the former is not the latter9s child at all. > > >.G;.*< $imilarly, we ruled in Benite3#Badua vs. Court of Appeals;.,< that: F4etitioner9s insistence on the applicability of /rticles *2@, *22, *7- and *7* of the !amily &ode to the case at bench cannot be sustained. > > >. >>> >>> > > >.

F/ careful reading of the above articles will show that they do not contemplate a situation, liAe in the instant case, where a child is alleged not be the child of nature or biological child of a certain couple. %ather, these articles govern a situation where a husband 'or his heirs( denies as his own a child of his wife. Thus, under /rticle *22, it is the husband who can impugn the legitimacy of said child by proving: '*( it was physically impossible for him to have se>ual intercourse, with his wife within the first *,- days of the )-- days which immediately preceded the birth of the childE ',( that for biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been his childE ')( that in case of children conceived through artificial insemination, the written authorization or ratification by either parent was obtained through mistaAe, fraud,

violence, intimidation or undue influence. /rticles *7- and *7* reinforce this reading as they speaA of the prescriptive period within which the husband or any of his heirs should file the action impugning the legitimacy of said child. 3oubtless then, the appellate court did not err when it refused to apply these articles to the case at bench. !or the case at bench is not one where the heirs of the late Jicente are contending that petitioner is not his child by 0sabel. %ather, their clear submission is that petitioner was not born to Jicente and 0sabel. 5ur ruling in &abatbat+"im vs. 0ntermediate /ppellate &ourt, *22 $&%/ @.*, @.7 cited in the impugned decision is apropos, vi3: V4etitioners9 recourse to /rticle ,2) of the ?ew &ivil &ode ;now /rt. *7of the !amily &ode< is not well taAen. This legal provision refers to an action to impugn legitimacy. 0t is inapplicable to this case because this is not an action to impugn the legitimacy of a child, but an action of the private respondents to claim their inheritance as legal heirs of their childless deceased aunt. They do not claim that petitioner Jioleta &abatbat "im is an illegitimate child of the deceased, but that she is not the decedent9s child at all. Being neither legally adopted child, nor an acAnowledged natural child, nor a child by legal fiction of speranza &abatbat, Jioleta is not a legal heir of the deceased.9G;.)< 000. 4etitioners claim that private respondents9 cause of action had already prescribed as more than five '.( years had lapsed between the registration of the latest birth among the petitioners in *12- and the filing of the actions in 3ecember of *11, and !ebruary of *11).;.@< De disagree. /s correctly pointed out by the &ourt of /ppeals, inasmuch as no law or rule specifically prescribes a fi>ed time for filing the special proceeding under %ule *-= in relation to /rticle @*, of the ?ew &ivil &ode, it is the following provision of the ?ew &ivil &ode that applies: F/rt. **@1. /ll other actions whose periods are not fi>ed in this &ode or in other laws must be brought within five years from the time the right of action accrues.G The right of action accrues when there e>ists a cause of action, which consists of three ')( elements, namely: a( a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is createdE b( an obligation on the part of the defendant to respect such rightE and c( an act or omission on the part of such defendant violative of the right of the plaintiff. 0t is only when the last element occurs or taAes place that it can be said in law that a cause of action has arisen.;..<

0t is indubitable that private respondents have a cause of action. The last element of their cause of action, that is, the act of their father in falsifying the entries in petitioners9 birth records, occurred more than thirty ')-( years ago. $trictly speaAing, it was upon this occurrence that private respondents9 right of action or right to sue accrued. Bowever, we must taAe into account the fact that it was only sometime in *1=1 that private respondents discovered that they in fact had a cause of action against petitioners who continue to use said falsified birth records. Bence, it would result in manifest in:ustice if we were to deprive private respondents of their right to establish the truth about a fact, in this case, petitioners9 true mother, and their real status, simply because they had discovered the dishonesty perpetrated upon them by their common father at a much later date. This is especially true in the case of private respondents who, as their father9s legitimate children, did not have any reason to suspect that he would commit such deception against them and deprive them of their sole right to inherit from their mother9s 'Leh $hioA &heng9s( estate. 0t was only sometime in *1=1 that private respondents9 suspicions were aroused and confirmed. !rom that time until *11, and *11), less than five '.( years had lapsed. 4etitioners would have us recAon the five+year prescriptive period from the date of the registration of the last birth among the petitioners+siblings in *12-, and not from the date private respondents had discovered the false entries in petitioners9 birth records in *1=1. 4etitioners base their position on the fact that birth records are public documents, hence, the period of prescription for the right of action available to the private respondents started to run from the time of the registration of their birth certificates in the &ivil %egistry. De cannot agree with petitioners9 thinAing on that point. 0t is true that the booAs maAing up the &ivil %egister and all documents relating thereto are public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained.;.2< 4etitioners liAen their birth records to land titles, public documents that serve as notice to the whole world. 8nfortunately for the petitioners, this analogy does not hold water. 8nliAe a title to a parcel of land, a person9s parentage cannot be acquired by prescription. 5ne is either born of a particular mother or not. 0t is that simple. 0J. !inally, petitioners accuse private respondents of forum shopping. They enumerate the other actions filed by private respondents against

them prior to the filing of their %ule *-= petitions in the lower courts, as follows: '*( / criminal complaint for falsification of entries in the birth certificates filed against their father as principal and against defendants as alleged accessoriesE ',( / petition for the cancellation of the naturalization certificate of their father, "ee TeA $hengE and ')( / petition for partition of Leh $hioA &heng9s estate.;.7< /ccording to the petitioners, all the three ')( actions above+mentioned, as well as the %ule *-= petitions, sub:ect of the case before us, raise the common issue of whether petitioners are the natural children of Leh $hioA &heng or Tiu &huan. They contend that in all these cases, the :udge or hearing officer would have to resolve this issue in order to determine whether or not to grant the relief prayed for.;.=< !orum shopping is present when in the two or more cases pending there is identity of parties, rights or causes of action and reliefs sought. ;.1< ven a cursory e>amination of the pleadings filed by private respondents in their various cases against petitioners would reveal that at the very least there is no identity of rights or causes of action and reliefs prayed for. The present case has its roots in two ',( petitions filed under %ule *-=, the purpose of which is to correct andMor cancel certain entries in petitioners9 birth records. $uffice it to state, the cause of action in these %ule *-= petitions and the relief sought therefrom are very different from those in the criminal complaint against petitioners and their father which has for its cause of action, the commission of a crime as defined and penalized under the %evised 4enal &ode, and which seeAs the punishment of the accusedE or the action for the cancellation of "ee TeA $heng9s naturalization certificate which has for its cause of action the commission by "ee TeA $heng of an immoral act, and his ultimate deportation for its ob:ectE or for that matter, the action for partition of Leh $hioA &heng9s estate which has for its cause of action the private respondents9 right under the ?ew &ivil &ode to inherit from their mother9s estate. De therefore concur in the finding of the &ourt of /ppeals that there is no forum shopping to speaA of in the concept that this is described and contemplated in &ircular ?o. ,=+1* of the $upreme &ourt. "#EREFORE, the petition is hereby 3 ?0 3 and the assailed decision of the &ourt of /ppeals dated 5ctober ,=, *11@ is /!!0%# 3.

$5 5%3 % 3.

&A$ILA ELECTRIC CO&PA$6, ALESA$DER %' DE6TO and RUBE$ A' %APITULA, 4etitioners, vs. RO%ARIO (OPE7 LI&, %espondent. 3 &0$05?

CARPIO &ORALE%, J.: The &ourt is once again confronted with an opportunity to define the evolving metes and bounds of the writ of habeas data. #ay an employee invoAe the remedies available under such writ where an employer decides to transfer her worAplace on the basis of copies of an anonymous letter posted therein X imputing to her disloyalty to the company and calling for her to leave, which imputation it investigated but fails to inform her of the details thereofN %osario 6. "im 'respondent(, also Anown as &herry "im, is an administrative clerA at the #anila lectric &ompany '# %/"&5(. 5n Hune @, ,--=, an anonymous letter was posted at the door of the #etering 5ffice of the /dministration building of # %/"&5 4laridel, Bulacan $ector, at which respondent is assigned, denouncing respondent. The letter reads: &herry "im: #/T/45$ #5?6 "/#8?0? "/B/T ?6 B0K/K/ ?6 # %/"&5, ?6/K5? ?/#/? /K 68$T5 #5?6 4/"/#5? /?6 B85?6 L8#4/?K/ $/ #6/ B8D/K/ ?6 65BK %?5. L/4/" ?6 #8LB/ #5, "8#/K/$ L/ %0T5, D/"/?6 8T/?6 ?/ "55BY.* &opies of the letter were also inserted in the locAers of # %/"&5 linesmen. 0nformed about it, respondent reported the matter on Hune ., ,--= to the 4laridel $tation of the 4hilippine ?ational 4olice., By #emorandum) dated Huly @, ,--=, petitioner /le>ander 3eyto, Bead of # %/"&59s Buman %esource $taffing, directed the transfer of respondent to # %/"&59s /labang $ector in #untinlupa as I/M! 5T#$ &lerA,I effective Huly *=, ,--= in light of the receipt of IY reports that there were accusations and threats directed against ;her< from unAnown

individuals and which could possibly compromise ;her< safety and security.I %espondent, by letter of Huly *-, ,--= addressed to petitioner %uben /. $apitula, Jice+4resident and Bead of # %/"&59s Buman %esource /dministration, appealed her transfer and requested for a dialogue so she could voice her concerns and misgivings on the matter, claiming that the IpunitiveI nature of the transfer amounted to a denial of due process. &iting the grueling travel from her residence in 4ampanga to /labang and bacA entails, and violation of the provisions on :ob security of their &ollective Bargaining /greement '&B/(, respondent e>pressed her thoughts on the alleged threats to her security in this wise: >>>> 0 feel that it would have been better . . . if you could have intimated to me the nature of the alleged accusations and threats so that at least 0 could have found out if these are credible or even serious. But as you stated, these came from unAnown individuals and the way they were handled, it appears that the veracity of these accusations and threats to be ;sic< highly suspicious, doubtful or are :ust mere :oAes if they e>isted at all. /ssuming for the saAe of argument only, that the alleged threats e>ist as the management apparently believe, then my transfer to an unfamiliar place and environment which will maAe me a Isitting ducAI so to speaA, seems to betray the real intent of management which is contrary to its e>pressed concern on my security and safety . . . Thus, it made me thinA twice on the rationale for management9s initiated transfer. %eflecting further, it appears to me that instead of the management supposedly e>tending favor to me, the net result and effect of management action would be a punitive one.@ 'emphasis and underscoring supplied( %espondent thus requested for the deferment of the implementation of her transfer pending resolution of the issues she raised. ?o response to her request having been received, respondent filed a petition. for the issuance of a writ of habeas data against petitioners before the %egional Trial &ourt '%T&( of Bulacan, docAeted as $4. 4roc. ?o. ,*)+#+,--=. By respondent9s allegation, petitioners9 unlawful act and omission consisting of their continued failure and refusal to provide her with details or information about the alleged report which # %/"&5

purportedly received concerning threats to her safety and security amount to a violation of her right to privacy in life, liberty and security, correctible by habeas data. %espondent thus prayed for the issuance of a writ commanding petitioners to file a written return containing the following: a( a full disclosure of the data or information about respondent in relation to the report purportedly received by petitioners on the alleged threat to her safety and securityE the nature of such data and the purpose for its collectionE b( the measures taAen by petitioners to ensure the confidentiality of such data or informationE and c( the currency and accuracy of such data or information obtained. /dditionally, respondent prayed for the issuance of a Temporary %estraining 5rder 'T%5( en:oining petitioners from effecting her transfer to the # %/"&5 /labang $ector. By 5rder2 of /ugust ,1, ,--=, Branch 7 of the Bulacan %T& directed petitioners to file their verified written return. /nd by 5rder of $eptember ., ,--=, the trial court granted respondent9s application for a T%5. 4etitioners moved for the dismissal of the petition and recall of the T%5 on the grounds that, inter alia, resort to a petition for writ of habeas data was not in orderE and the %T& lacAed :urisdiction over the case which properly belongs to the ?ational "abor %elations &ommission '?"%&(.7 By 3ecision= of $eptember ,,, ,--=, the trial court granted the prayers of respondent including the issuance of a writ of preliminary in:unction directing petitioners to desist from implementing respondent9s transfer until such time that petitioners comply with the disclosures required. The trial court :ustified its ruling by declaring that, inter alia, recourse to a writ of habeas data should e>tend not only to victims of e>tra+legal Aillings and political activists but also to ordinary citizens, liAe respondent whose rights to life and security are :eopardized by petitioners9 refusal to provide her with information or data on the reported threats to her person. Bence, the present petition for review under %ule @. of *117 %ules of &ivil 4rocedure and the %ule on the Drit of Babeas 3ata1 contending that *( the %T& lacAed :urisdiction over the case and cannot restrain # %/"&59s prerogative as employer to transfer the place of worA of its

employees, and ,( the issuance of the writ is outside the parameters e>pressly set forth in the %ule on the Drit of Babeas 3ata.*-1avvphi1 #aintaining that the %T& has no :urisdiction over what they contend is clearly a labor dispute, petitioners argue that Ialthough ingeniously crafted as a petition for habeas data, respondent is essentially questioning the transfer of her place of worA by her employerI** and the terms and conditions of her employment which arise from an employer+ employee relationship over which the ?"%& and the "abor /rbiters under /rticle ,*7 of the "abor &ode have :urisdiction. 4etitioners thus maintain that the %T& had no authority to restrain the implementation of the #emorandum transferring respondent9s place of worA which is purely a management prerogative, and that 5&/+&ircular ?o. 71+,--)*, e>pressly prohibits the issuance of T%5s or in:unctive writs in labor+related cases. 4etitioners go on to point out that the %ule on the Drit of Babeas 3ata directs the issuance of the writ only against public officials or employees, or private individuals or entities engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding an aggrieved party9s person, family or homeE and that # %/"&5 'or its officers( is clearly not engaged in such activities. The petition is impressed with merit. %espondent9s plea that she be spared from complying with # %/"&59s #emorandum directing her reassignment to the /labang $ector, under the guise of a quest for information or data allegedly in possession of petitioners, does not fall within the province of a writ of habeas data. $ection * of the %ule on the Drit of Babeas 3ata provides: $ection *. Babeas 3ata. O The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to <rivac. in li e, li-ert. or securit. is violated or threatened -. an unla! ul act or o=ission of a public official or employee or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing o data or in or=ation regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party. 'emphasis and underscoring supplied( The habeas data rule, in general, is designed to protect by means of :udicial complaint the image, privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information of an individual. 0t is meant to provide a forum to enforce one9s right to the truth and to informational privacy, thus safeguarding

the constitutional guarantees of a person9s right to life, liberty and security against abuse in this age of information technology. 0t bears reiteration that liAe the writ of amparo, habeas data was conceived as a response, given the lacA of effective and available remedies, to address the e>traordinary rise in the number of Aillings and enforced disappearances. 0ts intent is to address violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security as a remedy independently from those provided under prevailing %ules.*) &astillo v. &ruz*@ underscores the emphasis laid down in Tapuz v. del %osario*. that the writs of amparo and habeas data will ?5T issue to protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoAed in support of the petitions therefor are vague or doubtful.*2 mployment constitutes a property right under the conte>t of the due process clause of the &onstitution.*7 0t is evident that respondent9s reservations on the real reasons for her transfer + a legitimate concern respecting the terms and conditions of one9s employment + are what prompted her to adopt the e>traordinary remedy of habeas data. Hurisdiction over such concerns is inarguably lodged by law with the ?"%& and the "abor /rbiters. 0n another vein, there is no showing from the facts presented that petitioners committed any un:ustifiable or unlawful violation of respondent9s right to privacy vis+a+vis the right to life, liberty or security. To argue that petitioners9 refusal to disclose the contents of reports allegedly received on the threats to respondent9s safety amounts to a violation of her right to privacy is at best speculative. %espondent in fact trivializes these threats and accusations from unAnown individuals in her earlier+quoted portion of her Huly *-, ,--= letter as Ihighly suspicious, doubtful or are :ust mere :oAes if they e>isted at all.I*= /nd she even suspects that her transfer to another place of worA Ibetray;s< the real intent of management<I and could be a Ipunitive move.I Ber posture unwittingly concedes that the issue is labor+related. DB % !5% , the petition is 6%/?T 3. The assailed $eptember ,,, ,--= 3ecision of the Bulacan %T&, Branch 7 in $4. 4roc. ?o. ,*)+#+ ,--= is hereby % J %$ 3 and $ T /$03 . $4. 4roc. ?o. ,*)+#+,--= is, accordingly, 30$#0$$ 3. ?o costs. $5 5%3 % 3.

& &0"0/ Z8"8 T/, petitioner, vs. &58%T 5! /44 /"$ and /"!% 35 #/%T0?, respondents. 3 &0$05?

# ?35Z/, ?.@ This is a petition to review the decision of the &ourt of /ppeals, affirming the decision of the %egional Trial &ourt of #anila 'Branch C( which ordered petitioner to return documents and papers taAen by her from private respondent9s clinic without the latter9s Anowledge and consent. The facts are as follows: 4etitioner &ecilia Zulueta is the wife of private respondent /lfredo #artin. 5n #arch ,2, *1=,, petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a doctor of medicine, and in the presence of her mother, a driver and private respondent9s secretary, forcibly opened the drawers and cabinet in her husband9s clinic and tooA *.7 documents consisting of private correspondence between 3r. #artin and his alleged paramours, greetings cards, cancelled checAs, diaries, 3r. #artin9s passport, and photographs. The documents and papers were seized for use in evidence in a case for legal separation and for disqualification from the practice of medicine which petitioner had filed against her husband. 3r. #artin brought this action below for recovery of the documents and papers and for damages against petitioner. The case was filed with the %egional Trial &ourt of #anila, Branch C, which, after trial, rendered :udgment for private respondent, 3r. /lfredo #artin, declaring him Fthe capitalMe>clusive owner of the properties described in paragraph ) of plaintiff9s &omplaint or those further described in the #otion to %eturn and $uppressG and ordering &ecilia Zulueta and any person acting in her behalf to immediately return the properties to 3r. #artin and to pay him 4.,---.--, as nominal damagesE 4.,---.--, as moral damages and attorney9s feesE and to pay the costs of the suit. The writ of preliminary in:unction earlier issued was made final and petitioner &ecilia Zulueta and her attorneys and representatives were en:oined from Fusing or submittingMadmitting as evidenceG the documents and papers in question. 5n appeal, the &ourt of /ppeals affirmed the decision of the %egional Trial &ourt. Bence this petition. There is no question that the documents and papers in question belong to private respondent, 3r. /lfredo #artin, and that they were taAen by his wife, the herein petitioner, without his Anowledge and consent. !or that reason, the trial court declared the documents and papers to be

properties of private respondent, ordered petitioner to return them to private respondent and en:oined her from using them in evidence. 0n appealing from the decision of the &ourt of /ppeals affirming the trial court9s decision, petitioner9s only ground is that in Alfredo !artin v. Alfonso :elix, ?r.,* this &ourt ruled that the documents and papers 'marAed as /nne>es /+i to H+7 of respondent9s comment in that case( were admissible in evidence and, therefore, their use by petitioner9s attorney, /lfonso !eli>, Hr., did not constitute malpractice or gross misconduct. !or this reason it is contended that the &ourt of /ppeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial court instead of dismissing private respondent9s complaint. 4etitioner9s contention has no merit. The case against /tty. !eli>, Hr. was for disbarment. /mong other things, private respondent, 3r. /lfredo #artin, as complainant in that case, charged that in using the documents in evidence, /tty. !eli>, Hr. committed malpractice or gross misconduct because of the in:unctive order of the trial court. 0n dismissing the complaint against /tty. !eli>, Hr., this &ourt tooA note of the following defense of /tty. !eli>, Hr. which it found to be Fimpressed with merit:G, 5n the alleged malpractice or gross misconduct of respondent ;/lfonso !eli>, Hr.<, he maintains that: >>> >>> >>>

@. Dhen respondent refiled &ecilia9s case for legal separation before the 4asig %egional Trial &ourt, there was admittedly an order of the #anila %egional Trial &ourt prohibiting &ecilia from using the documents /nne> F/+0 to H+7.G 5n $eptember 2, *1=), however having appealed the said order to this &ourt on a petition for certiorari, this &ourt issued a restraining order on aforesaid date which order temporarily set aside the order of the trial court. Bence, during the enforceability of this &ourt9s order, respondent9s request for petitioner to admit the genuineness and authenticity of the sub:ect anne>es cannot be looAed upon as malpractice. ?otably, petitioner 3r. #artin finally admitted the truth and authenticity of the questioned anne>es. /t that point in time, would it have been malpractice for respondent to use petitioner9s admission as evidence against him in the legal separation case pending in the %egional Trial &ourt of #aAatiN %espondent submits it is+ not malpractice. $ignificantly, petitioner9s admission was done not thru his counsel but by 3r. #artin himself under oath. $uch verified admission constitutes an

affidavit, and, therefore, receivable in evidence against him. 4etitioner became bound by his admission. !or &ecilia to avail herself of her husband9s admission and use the same in her action for legal separation cannot be treated as malpractice. Thus, the acquittal of /tty. !eli>, Hr. in the administrative case amounts to no more than a declaration that his use of the documents and papers for the purpose of securing 3r. #artin9s admission as to their genuiness and authenticity did not constitute a violation of the in:unctive order of the trial court. By no means does the decision in that case establish the admissibility of the documents and papers in question. 0t cannot be overemphasized that if /tty. !eli>, Hr. was acquitted of the charge of violating the writ of preliminary in:unction issued by the trial court, it was only because, at the time he used the documents and papers, enforcement of the order of the trial court was temporarily restrained by this &ourt. The T%5 issued by this &ourt was eventually lifted as the petition for certiorari filed by petitioner against the trial court9s order was dismissed and, therefore, the prohibition against the further use of the documents and papers became effective again. 0ndeed the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional in:unction declaring Fthe privacy of communication and correspondence ;to be< inviolableG) is no less applicable simply because it is the wife 'who thinAs herself aggrieved by her husband9s infidelity( who is the party against whom the constitutional provision is to be enforced. The only e>ception to the prohibition in the &onstitution is if there is a Flawful order ;from a< court or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.G@ /ny violation of this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible Ffor any purpose in any proceeding.G. The intimacies between husband and wife do not :ustify any one of them in breaAing the drawers and cabinets of the other and in ransacAing them for any telltale evidence of marital infidelity. / person, by contracting marriage, does not shed hisMher integrity or his right to privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever available to him or to her. The law insures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses by maAing it privileged. ?either husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse while the marriage subsists.2 ?either may be e>amined without the consent of the other as to any communication received in confidence by one from the

other during the marriage, save for specified e>ceptions.7 But one thing is freedom of communicationE quite another is a compulsion for each one to share what one Anows with the other. /nd this has nothing to do with the duty of fidelity that each owes to the other. "#EREFORE, the petition for review is 3 ?0 3 for lacA of merit. $5 5%3 % 3. $ T#E &ATTER OF T#E PETITIO$ FOR #ABEA% CORPU% OF CAPT' (AR6 ALE1A$O, P$ J&ARI$E%K CAPT' $ICA$OR FAELDO$, P$ J&ARI$E%K CAPT' (ERARDO (A&BALA, PA LT' %( 1A&E% LA6U(, P$ CAPT' &ILO &AE%TRECA&PO, PA LT' %( A$TO$IO TRILLA$E% I0, P$ #O&OBO$O ADA7A, and ROBERTO RAFAEL JROELK PULIDO, 4etitioners, 4resent: 3avide, Hr., C.?., 4uno, 4anganiban, Quisumbing, Knares+ $antiago, $andoval+ 6utierrez, ('R' $o' )3/?2+

8 versus 8

&arpio, /ustria+#artinez, &orona, &arpio #orales, &alle:o, $r., /zcuna, Tinga, &hico+?azario, and 6arcia, ??. This petition for review;*< seeAs to nullify the 3ecision;,< of the &ourt of /ppeals dated *7 $eptember ,--) and %esolution dated *) ?ovember ,--) in &/+6.%. $4 ?o. 7=.@.. The &ourt of /ppeals9 3ecision and %esolution dismissed the petition for habeas corpus filed by lawyers Bomobono /daza and %oberto %afael 4ulido 'FpetitionersG( on behalf of their detained clients &apt. 6ary /le:ano '4?+#arines(, &apt. ?icanor !aeldon '4?+#arines(, &apt. 6erardo 6ambala '4/(, "t. $6 Hames "ayug '4?(, &apt. #ilo #aestrecampo '4/(, and "t. $6 /ntonio Trillanes 0J '4?( 'FdetaineesG(. The Case

(E$' PEDRO CABUA6, (E$' $ARCI%O ABA6A, %EC' A$(ELO RE6E%, and %EC' ROILO (OLE7, %espondents. /ugust ,., ,--. 4romulgated:

>+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + >

4etitioners named as respondent 6en. 4edro &abuay 'F6en. &abuayG(, &hief of the 0ntelligence $ervice of the /rmed !orces of the 4hilippines 'F0$/!4G(, who has custody of the detainees. 4etitioners impleaded 6en. ?arciso /baya 'F6en. /bayaG(, $ec. /ngelo %eyes and %oilo 6olez, who are respectively the &hief of $taff of the /rmed !orces of the 4hilippines 'F/!4G(, $ecretary of ?ational 3efense and ?ational $ecurity /dviser, because they have command responsibility over 6en. &abuay.

Antecedent Facts

DECI%IO$

CARPIO J.:

arly morning of ,7 Huly ,--), some ),* armed soldiers, led by the now detained :unior officers, entered and tooA control of the 5aAwood 4remier "u>ury /partments 'F5aAwoodG(, an upscale apartment comple>, located in the business district of #aAati &ity. The soldiers disarmed the security officers of 5aAwood and planted e>plosive devices in its immediate surroundings. The :unior officers publicly renounced their support for the administration and called for the resignation of 4resident 6loria #acapagal+/rroyo and several cabinet members.

/round 7:-- p.m. of the same date, the soldiers voluntarily surrendered to the authorities after several negotiations with government emissaries. The soldiers later defused the e>plosive devices they had earlier planted. The soldiers then returned to their barracAs.

for RAFFLE among the Hustices thereof for hearing, further proceedings and decision thereon, after which a REPORT shall be made to this &ourt within ten '*-( days from promulgation of the decision.;)<

5n )* Huly ,--), 6en. /baya, as the &hief of $taff of the /!4, issued a directive to all the #a:or $ervice &ommanders to turn over custody of ten :unior officers to the 0$/!4 3etention &enter. The transfer tooA place while military and civilian authorities were investigating the soldiers9 involvement in the 5aAwood incident.

Thus, the &ourt issued a Drit of 1abeas Corpus dated *, /ugust ,--) directing respondents to maAe a return of the writ and to appear and produce the persons of the detainees before the &ourt of /ppeals on the scheduled date for hearing and further proceedings.

5n * /ugust ,--), government prosecutors filed an 0nformation for coup dLetat with the %egional Trial &ourt of #aAati &ity, Branch 2*, against the soldiers involved in the ,7 Huly ,--) 5aAwood incident. The government prosecutors accused the soldiers of coup dLetat as defined and penalized under /rticle *)@+/ of the %evised 4enal &ode of the 4hilippines, as amended. The case was docAeted as &riminal &ase ?o. -)+,7=@. The trial court later issued the &ommitment 5rders giving custody of :unior officers "t. $6 /ntonio Trillanes 0J 'FTrillanesG( and &apt. 6erardo 6ambala to the &ommanding 5fficers of 0$/!4.

5n the same date, the detainees and their other co+accused filed with the %egional Trial &ourt of #aAati &ity a #otion for 4reliminary 0nvestigation, which the trial court granted.

5n *= /ugust ,--), pursuant to the directives of the &ourt, respondents submitted their %eturn of the Drit and /nswer to the petition and produced the detainees before the &ourt of /ppeals during the scheduled hearing. /fter the parties filed their memoranda on ,= /ugust ,--), the appellate court considered the petition submitted for decision.

5n , /ugust ,--), 6en. /baya issued a directive to all #a:or $ervice &ommanders to taAe into custody the military personnel under their command who tooA part in the 5aAwood incident e>cept the detained :unior officers who were to remain under the custody of 0$/!4.

5n ** /ugust ,--), petitioners filed a petition for habeas corpus with the $upreme &ourt. 5n *, /ugust ,--), the &ourt issued a %esolution, which resolved to:

5n *7 $eptember ,--), the &ourt of /ppeals rendered its decision dismissing the petition. ?onetheless, the appellate court ordered 6en. &abuay, who was in charge of implementing the regulations in the 0$/!4 3etention &enter, to uphold faithfully the rights of the detainees in accordance with $tanding 5perations 4rocedure ?o. -,2)+-@. The appellate court directed 6en. &abuay to adhere to his commitment made in court regarding visiting hours and the detainees9 right to e>ercise for two hours a day.

'a( I%%UE the "RIT OF #ABEA% CORPU%E 'b( require respondents to maAe a RETUR$ of the writ on #onday, *= /ugust ,--), at *-:-- a.m. before the &ourt of /ppealsE 'c( refer the case to the &ourt of /ppeals

The Ruling o the Court o A<<eals

The &ourt of /ppeals found the petition bereft of merit. The appellate court pointed out that the detainees are already charged of coup dLetat before the %egional Trial &ourt of #aAati. 1abeas corpus is unavailing in this case as the detainees9 confinement is under a valid indictment, the legality of which the detainees and petitioners do not even question.

The Issues

4etitioners raise the following issues for resolution:

The &ourt of /ppeals recognized that habeas corpus may also be the appropriate remedy to assail the legality of detention if there is a deprivation of a constitutional right. Bowever, the appellate court held that the constitutional rights alleged to have been violated in this case do not directly affect the detainees9 liberty. The appellate court ruled that the regulation of the detainees9 right to confer with their counsels is reasonable under the circumstances.

/. TB &58%T 5! /44 /"$ %% 3 0? % J0 D0?6 /?3 % J %$0?6 / 3 &0$05? 5! TB $84% # &58%TE

B. TB &58%T 5! /44 /"$ %% 3 0? ?5T /&L?5D" 360?6 TB /44%54%0/T ? $$ 5! TB % # 3K 4 T0T05? %$ $ LE and

The appellate court declared that while the opening and reading of Trillanes9 letter is an abhorrent violation of his right to privacy of communication, this does not :ustify the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. The violation does not amount to illegal restraint, which is the proper sub:ect of habeas corpus proceedings. &. TB &58%T 5! /44 /"$ %% 3 0? /$$ %T0?6 TB " 6/"0TK 5! TB &5?30T05?$ 5! TB 3 T/0? 3 H8?05% 5!!0& %$9 3 T ?T05?.;.<

The &ourt of /ppeals thus dismissed the petition and ordered 6en. &abuay to fulfill the promise he made in open court to uphold the visiting hours and the right of the detainees to e>ercise for two hours a day. The dispositive portion of the appellate court9s decision reads:

DB % !5% , the foregoing considered, the instant petition is hereby 30$#0$$ 3. %espondent &abuay is hereby 5%3 % 3 to faithfully adhere to his commitment to uphold the constitutional rights of the detainees in accordance with the $tanding 5perations 4rocedure ?o. -,2)+-@ regarding visiting hours and the right of the detainees to e>ercise for two ',( hours a day.

The Ruling o the Court

The petition lacAs merit.

$5 5%3 % 3.;@<

4etitioners claim that the &ourt9s *, /ugust ,--) 5rder granted the petition and the &ourt remanded the case to the &ourt of /ppeals only

for a factual hearing. 4etitioners thus argue that the &ourt9s 5rder had already foreclosed any question on the propriety and merits of their petition.

4etitioners9 claim is baseless. / plain reading of the *, /ugust ,--) 5rder shows that the &ourt referred to the &ourt of /ppeals the duty to inquire into the cause of the :unior officers9 detention. Bad the &ourt ruled for the detainees9 release, the &ourt would not have referred the hearing of the petition to the &ourt of /ppeals. The &ourt would have forthwith released the detainees had the &ourt upheld petitioners9 cause.

whether a person is being illegally deprived of his liberty.;1< 0f the inquiry reveals that the detention is illegal, the court orders the release of the person. 0f, however, the detention is proven lawful, then the habeas corpus proceedings terminate. The use of habeas corpus is thus very limited. 0t is not a writ of error.;*-< ?either can it substitute for an appeal. ;**<

?onetheless, case law has e>panded the writ9s application to circumstances where there is deprivation of a person9s constitutional rights. The writ is available where a person continues to be unlawfully denied of one or more of his constitutional freedoms, where there is denial of due process, where the restraints are not merely involuntary but are also unnecessary, and where a deprivation of freedom originally valid has later become arbitrary.;*,<

0n a habeas corpus petition, the order to present an individual before the court is a preliminary step in the hearing of the petition.;2< The respondent must produce the person and e>plain the cause of his detention.;7< Bowever, this order is not a ruling on the propriety of the remedy or on the substantive matters covered by the remedy. Thus, the &ourt9s order to the &ourt of /ppeals to conduct a factual hearing was not an affirmation of the propriety of the remedy of habeas corpus.

Bowever, a mere allegation of a violation of one9s constitutional right is not sufficient. The courts will e>tend the scope of the writ only if any of the following circumstances is present: 'a( there is a deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in the unlawful restraint of a personE 'b( the court had no :urisdiction to impose the sentenceE or 'c( an e>cessive penalty is imposed and such sentence is void as to the e>cess.;*)< Dhatever situation the petitioner invoAes, the threshold remains high. The violation of constitutional right must be sufficient to void the entire proceedings.;*@<

!or obvious reasons, the duty to hear the petition for habeas corpus necessarily includes the determination of the propriety of the remedy. 0f a court finds the alleged cause of the detention unlawful, then it should issue the writ and release the detainees. 0n the present case, after hearing the case, the &ourt of /ppeals found that habeas corpus is inapplicable. /fter actively participating in the hearing before the &ourt of /ppeals, petitioners are estopped from claiming that the appellate court had no :urisdiction to inquire into the merits of their petition.

The &ourt of /ppeals correctly ruled that the remedy of habeas corpus is not the proper remedy to address the detainees9 complaint against the regulations and conditions in the 0$/!4 3etention &enter. The remedy of habeas corpus has one ob:ective: to inquire into the cause of detention of a person.;=< The purpose of the writ is to determine

4etitioners admit that they do not question the legality of the detention of the detainees. ?either do they dispute the lawful indictment of the detainees for criminal and military offenses. Dhat petitioners bewail is the regulation adopted by 6en. &abuay in the 0$/!4 3etention &enter preventing petitioners as lawyers from seeing the detainees O their clients O any time of the day or night. The regulation allegedly curtails the detainees9 right to counsel and violates %epublic /ct ?o. 7@)= 'F%/ 7@)=G(.;*.< 4etitioners claim that the regulated visits made it difficult for them to prepare for the important hearings before the $enate and the !eliciano &ommission.

4etitioners also point out that the officials of the 0$/!4 3etention &enter violated the detainees9 right to privacy of communication when the 0$/!4 officials opened and read the personal letters of Trillanes and &apt. #ilo #aestrecampo 'F#aestrecampoG(. 4etitioners further claim that the 0$/!4 officials violated the detainees9 right against cruel and unusual punishment when the 0$/!4 officials prevented the detainees from having contact with their visitors. #oreover, the 0$/!4 officials boarded up with iron bars and plywood slabs the iron grills of the detention cells, limiting the already poor light and ventilation in the detainees9 cells.

True, $ection @'b( of %/ 7@)= maAes it an offense to prohibit a lawyer from visiting a detainee client Fat any hour of the day or, in urgent cases, of the night.G Bowever, the last paragraph of the same $ection @'b( maAes the e>press qualification that Fnot!ithstandingG the provisions of $ection @'b(, the detention officer has the power to undertaAe such reasonable measures as may be necessary to secure the safety of the detainee and prevent his escape.

4re+trial detainees do not forfeit their constitutional rights upon confinement.;*2< Bowever, the fact that the detainees are confined maAes their rights more limited than those of the public.;*7< %/ 7@)=, which specifies the rights of detainees and the duties of detention officers, e>pressly recognizes the power of the detention officer to adopt and implement reasonable measures to secure the safety of the detainee and prevent his escape. $ection @'b( of %/ 7@)= provides:

The last paragraph of $ection @'b( of %/ 7@)= prescribes a clear standard. The regulations governing a detainee9s confinement must be Freasonable measures > > > to secure his safety and prevent his escape.G Thus, the regulations must be reasonably connected to the government9s ob:ective of securing the safety and preventing the escape of the detainee. The law grants the detention officer the authority to FundertaAe such reasonable measuresG or regulations.

$ection @. Penalt% Clause. O a( > > >

4etitioners contend that there was an actual prohibition of the detainees9 right to effective representation when petitioners9 visits were limited by the schedule of visiting hours. 4etitioners assert that the violation of the detainees9 rights entitle them to be released from detention.

b( /ny person who obstructs, prevents or prohibits any lawyer, any member of the immediate family of a person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation, or any medical doctor or priest or religious minister or by his counsel, from visiting and conferring privately chosen by him or by any member of his immediate family with him, or from e>amining and treating him, or from ministering to his spiritual needs, at an. hour o the da. or, in urgent cases, o the night shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than four '@( years nor more than si> '2( years, and a fine of four thousand pesos '4@,---.--(.

4etitioners9 contention does not persuade us. The schedule of visiting hours does not render void the detainees9 indictment for criminal and military offenses to warrant the detainees9 release from detention. The 0$/!4 officials did not deny, but merely regulated, the detainees9 right to counsel. The purpose of the regulation is not to render ineffective the right to counsel, but to secure the safety and security of all detainees. /merican cases are instructive on the standards to determine whether regulations on pre+trial confinement are permissible.

The provisions of the above $ection notwithstanding, any security officer with custodial responsibility over any detainee or prisoner may undertaLe such reasona-le =easures as =a. -e necessar. to secure his sa et. and <revent his esca<e. ' mphasis supplied(

0n !ell ". #olfish,;*=< the 8nited $tates '8.$.( $upreme &ourt held that regulations must be reasonably related to maintaining security and must not be e>cessive in achieving that purpose. &ourts will striAe down a restriction that is arbitrary and purposeless.;*1< Bowever, !ell ". #olfish e>pressly discouraged courts from sAeptically questioning challenged restrictions in detention and prison facilities.;,-< The 8.$. $upreme &ourt commanded the courts to afford administrators Fwide+

ranging deferenceG in implementing policies to maintain institutional security.;,*<

0n our :urisdiction, the last paragraph of $ection @'b( of %/ 7@)= provides the standard to maAe regulations in detention centers allowable: Fsuch $easona%le &easu$es as &a' %e necessa$' to secu$e the detainee(s safet' and p$e"ent his escape .G 0n the present case, the visiting hours accorded to the lawyers of the detainees are reasonably connected to the legitimate purpose of securing the safety and preventing the escape of all detainees.

intrude into the detainees9 desire to live comfortably does not convert those restrictions into punishment.;,.< 0t is when the restrictions are arbitrary and purposeless that courts will infer intent to punish.;,2< &ourts will also infer intent to punish even if the restriction seems to be related rationally to the alternative purpose if the restriction appears e>cessive in relation to that purpose.;,7< Hail officials are thus not required to use the least restrictive security measure.;,=< They must only refrain from implementing a restriction that appears e>cessive to the purpose it serves.;,1<

De quote !ell ". #olfish: Dhile petitioners may not visit the detainees any time they want, the fact that the detainees still have face+to+face meetings with their lawyers on a dail. -asis clearly shows that there is no impairment of detainees9 right to counsel. 4etitioners as counsels could visit their clients between =:-- a.m. and .:-- p.m. with a lunch breaA at *,:-- p.m. The visiting hours are regular business hours, the same hours when lawyers normally entertain clients in their law offices. &learly, the visiting hours pass the standard of reasonableness. #oreover, in urgent cases, petitioners could always seeA permission from the 0$/!4 officials to confer with their clients beyond the visiting hours.

The scheduled visiting hours provide reasonable access to the detainees, giving petitioners sufficient time to confer with the detainees. The detainees9 right to counsel is not undermined by the scheduled visits. ven in the hearings before the $enate and the !eliciano &ommission,;,,< petitioners were given time to confer with the detainees, a fact that petitioners themselves admit.;,)< Thus, at no point were the detainees denied their right to counsel.

4etitioners further argue that the bars separating the detainees from their visitors and the boarding of the iron grills in their cells with plywood amount to unusual and e>cessive punishment. This argument fails to impress us. !ell ". #olfish pointed out that while a detainee may not be punished prior to an ad:udication of guilt in accordance with due process of law, detention inevitably interferes with a detainee9s desire to live comfortably.;,@< The fact that the restrictions inherent in detention

5ne further point requires discussion. The petitioners assert, and respondents concede, that the Fessential ob:ective of pretrial confinement is to insure the detainees9 presence at trial.G Dhile this interest undoubtedly :ustifies the original decision to confine an individual in some manner, we do not accept respondents9 argument that the 6overnment9s interest in ensuring a detainee9s presence at trial is the onl% ob:ective that may :ustify restraints and conditions once the decision is lawfully made to confine a person. F0f the government could confine or otherwise infringe the liberty of detainees only to the e>tent necessary to ensure their presence at trial, house arrest would in the end be the only constitutionally :ustified form of detention.G The 6overnment also has legitimate interests that stem from its need to manage the facility in which the individual is detained. These legitimate operational concerns may require administrative measures that go beyond those that are, strictly speaAing, necessary to ensure that the detainee shows up at trial. !or e>ample, the 6overnment must be able to taAe steps to maintain security and order at the institution and maAe certain no weapons or illicit drugs reach detainees. %estraints that are reasonably related to the institution9s interest in maintaining :ail security do not, without more, constitute unconstitutional punishment, even if they are discomforting and are restrictions that the detainee would not have e>perienced had he been released while awaiting trial. De need not here attempt to detail the precise e>tent of the legitimate governmental interests that may :ustify conditions or restrictions of pretrial detention. 0t is enough simply to recognize that in addition to ensuring the detainees9 presence at trial, the effective management of the detention facility once the individual is confined is a valid ob:ective that may :ustify imposition of conditions and restrictions of pretrial

detention and dispel any inference that such restrictions are intended as punishment.;)-<

visitors. The arrangement is not unduly restrictive. 0n fact, it is not even a strict non+contact visitation regulation liAe in !loc) ". Ruthe$fo$d. The limitation on the detainees9 physical contacts with visitors is a reasonable, non+punitive response to valid security concerns.

/n action constitutes a punishment when '*( that action causes inmate to suffer some harm or Fdisability,G and ',( the purpose of action is to punish the inmate.;)*< 4unishment also requires that harm or disability be significantly greater than, or be independent of, inherent discomforts of confinement.;),<

the the the the

!loc) ". Ruthe$fo$d,;))< which reiterated !ell ". #olfish, upheld the blanAet restriction on contact visits as this practice was reasonably related to maintaining security. The safety of innocent individuals will be :eopardized if they are e>posed to detainees who while not yet convicted are awaiting trial for serious, violent offenses and may have prior criminal conviction.;)@< &ontact visits maAe it possible for the detainees to hold visitors and :ail staff hostage to effect escapes.;).< &ontact visits also leave the :ail vulnerable to visitors smuggling in weapons, drugs, and other contraband.;)2< The restriction on contact visits was imposed even on low+risA detainees as they could also potentially be enlisted to help obtain contraband and weapons.;)7< The security consideration in the imposition of blanAet restriction on contact visits was ruled to outweigh the sentiments of the detainees.;)=<

The boarding of the iron grills is for the furtherance of security within the 0$/!4 3etention &enter. This measure intends to fortify the individual cells and to prevent the detainees from passing on contraband and weapons from one cell to another. The boarded grills ensure security and prevent disorder and crime within the facility. The diminished illumination and ventilation are but discomforts inherent in the fact of detention, and do not constitute punishments on the detainees.

!loc) ". Ruthe$fo$d held that the prohibition of contact visits bore a rational connection to the legitimate goal of internal security.;)1< This case reaffirmed the Fhands+offG doctrine enunciated in !ell ". #olfish, a form of :udicial self+restraint, based on the premise that courts should decline :urisdiction over prison matters in deference to administrative e>pertise.;@-<

De accord respect to the finding of the &ourt of /ppeals that the conditions in the 0$/!4 3etention &enter are not inhuman, degrading and cruel. ach detainee, e>cept for &apt. ?icanor !aeldon and &apt. 6erardo 6ambala, is confined in separate cells, unliAe ordinary cramped detention cells. The detainees are treated well and given regular meals. The &ourt of /ppeals noted that the cells are relatively clean and livable compared to the conditions now prevailing in the city and provincial :ails, which are congested with detainees. The &ourt of /ppeals found the assailed measures to be reasonable considering that the 0$/!4 3etention &enter is a high+risA detention facility. /part from the soldiers, a suspected ?ew 4eople9s /rmy 'F?4/G( member and two suspected /bu $ayyaf members are detained in the 0$/!4 3etention &enter.

0n the present case, we cannot infer punishment from the separation of the detainees from their visitors by iron bars, which is merely a limitation on contact visits. The iron bars separating the detainees from their visitors prevent direct physical contact but still allow the detainees to have visual, verbal, non+verbal and limited physical contact with their

De now pass upon petitioners9 argument that the officials of the 0$/!4 3etention &enter violated the detainees9 right to privacy when the 0$/!4 officials opened and read the letters handed by detainees Trillanes and #aestrecampo to one of the petitioners for mailing. 4etitioners point out that the letters were not in a sealed envelope but simply folded because there were no envelopes in the 0$/!4 3etention &enter. 4etitioners contend that the &onstitution prohibits the infringement of a citizen9s privacy rights unless authorized by law. The $olicitor 6eneral does not deny that the 0$/!4 officials opened the letters. &ourts in the 8.$. have generally permitted prison officials to open and read all incoming and outgoing mail of convicted prisoners to prevent

the smuggling of contraband into the prison facility and to avert coordinated escapes.;@*< ven in the absence of statutes specifically allowing prison authorities from opening and inspecting mail, such practice was upheld based on the principle of Fcivil deaths.G;@,< 0nmates were deemed to have no right to correspond confidentially with anyone. The only restriction placed upon prison authorities was that the right of inspection should not be used to delay unreasonably the communications between the inmate and his lawyer.;@)<

narrowed in the course of this litigation. The prison regulation under challenge provided that V'a(ll incoming and outgoing mail will be read and inspected,9 and no e>ception was made for attorney+prisoner mail. >>>

ventually, the inmates9 outgoing mail to licensed attorneys, courts, and court officials received respect.;@@< The confidential correspondences could not be censored.;@.< The infringement of such privileged communication was held to be a violation of the inmates9 !irst /mendment rights.;@2< / prisoner has a right to consult with his attorney in absolute privacy, which right is not abrogated by the legitimate interests of prison authorities in the administration of the institution.;@7< #oreover, the risA is small that attorneys will conspire in plots that threaten prison security.;@=<

4etitioners now concede that they cannot open and read mail from attorneys to inmates, but contend that they may open all letters from attorneys as long as it is done in the presence of the prisoners. The narrow issue thus presented is whether letters determined or found to be from attorneys may be opened by prison authorities in the presence of the inmate or whether such mail must be delivered unopened if normal detection techniques fail to indicate contraband.

>>>

/merican :urisprudence initially made a distinction between the privacy rights en:oyed by convicted inmates and pre+trial detainees. The case of Pal&igiano ". T$a"isono;@1< recognized that pre+trial detainees, unliAe convicted prisoners, en:oy a limited right of privacy in communication. &ensorship of pre+trial detainees9 mail addressed to public officials, courts and counsel was held impermissible. Dhile incoming mail may be inspected for contraband and read in certain instances, outgoing mail of pre+trial detainees could not be inspected or read at all.

0n the subsequent case of #olff ". *cDonnell,;.-< involving convicted prisoners, the 8.$. $upreme &ourt held that prison officials could open in the presence of the inmates incoming mail from attorneys to inmates. Bowever, prison officials could not read such mail from attorneys. >plained the 8.$. $upreme &ourt:

The issue of the e>tent to which prison authorities can open and inspect incoming mail from attorneys to inmates, has been considerably

> > > 0f prison officials had to checA in each case whether a communication was from an attorney before opening it for inspection, a near impossible tasA of administration would be imposed. De thinA it entirely appropriate that the $tate require any such communications to be specially marAed as originating from an attorney, with his name and address being given, if they are to receive special treatment. 0t would also certainly be permissible that prison authorities require that a lawyer desiring to correspond with a prisoner, first identify himself and his client to the prison officials, to assure that the letters marAed privileged are actually from members of the bar. /s to the ability to open the mail in the presence of inmates, this could in no way constitute censorship, since the mail would not be read. ?either could it chill such communications, since the inmate9s presence insures that prison officials will not read the mail. The possibility that contraband will be enclosed in letters, even those from apparent attorneys, surely warrants prison officials9 opening the letters. De disagree with the &ourt of /ppeals that this should only be done in Vappropriate circumstances.9 $ince a fle>ible test, besides being unworAable, serves no arguable purpose in protecting any of the possible constitutional rights enumerated by respondent, we thinA that petitioners, by acceding to a rule whereby the inmate is present when mail from attorneys is

inspected, have done all, and perhaps even more, than the &onstitution requires.;.*<

considered a paramount interest in institutional security. De believe that it is accepted by our society that F;l<oss of freedom of choice and privacy are inherent incidents of confinement.G

0n +udson ". Pal&e$,;.,< the 8.$. $upreme &ourt ruled that an inmate has no reasonable e>pectation of privacy inside his cell. The 8.$. $upreme &ourt e>plained that prisoners necessarily lose many protections of the &onstitution, thus:

Bowever, while persons imprisoned for crime en:oy many protections of the &onstitution, it is also clear that imprisonment carries with it the circumscription or loss of many significant rights. These constraints on inmates, and in some cases the complete withdrawal of certain rights, are F:ustified by the considerations underlying our penal system.G The curtailment of certain rights is necessary, as a practical matter, to accommodate a myriad of Finstitutional needs and ob:ectivesG of prison facilities, chief among which is internal security. 5f course, these restrictions or retractions also serve, incidentally, as reminders that, under our system of :ustice, deterrence and retribution are factors in addition to correction.;.)<

The distinction between the limited privacy rights of a pre+trial detainee and a convicted inmate has been blurred as courts in the 8.$. ruled that pre+trial detainees might occasionally pose an even greater security risA than convicted inmates. !ell ". #olfish reasoned that those who are detained prior to trial may in many cases be individuals who are charged with serious crimes or who have prior records and may therefore pose a greater risA of escape than convicted inmates.;..< ,alencia ". #iggins;.2< further held that Fit is impractical to draw a line between convicted prisoners and pre+trial detainees for the purpose of maintaining :ail security.G

The later case of State ". Dunn,;.@< citing +udson ". Pal&e$, abandoned Pal&igiano ". T$a"isono and made no distinction as to the detainees9 limited right to privacy. State ". Dunn noted the considerable :urisprudence in the 8nited $tates holding that inmate mail may be censored for the furtherance of a substantial government interest such as security or discipline. State ". Dunn declared that if complete censorship is permissible, then the lesser act of opening the mail and reading it is also permissible. De quote State ". Dunn:

/merican cases recognize that the unmonitored use of pre+trial detainees9 non+privileged mail poses a genuine threat to :ail security. ;.7< Bence, when a detainee places his letter in an envelope for non+ privileged mail, the detainee Anowingly e>poses his letter to possible inspection by :ail officials.;.=< / pre+trial detainee has no reasonable e>pectation of privacy for his incoming mail.;.1< Bowever, incoming mail from lawyers of inmates en:oys limited protection such that prison officials can open and inspect the mail for contraband but could not read the contents without violating the inmates9 right to correspond with his lawyer.;2-< The inspection of privileged mail is limited to physical contraband and not to verbal contraband.;2*<

;/< right of privacy in traditional !ourth /mendment terms is fundamentally incompatible with the close and continual surveillance of inmates and their cells required to ensure institutional security and internal order. De are satisfied that society would insist that the prisoner9s e>pectation of privacy always yield to what must be

Thus, we do not agree with the &ourt of /ppeals that the opening and reading of the detainees9 letters in the present case violated the detainees9 right to privacy of communication. The letters were not in a sealed envelope. The inspection of the folded letters is a valid measure as it serves the same purpose as the opening of sealed letters for the inspection of contraband.

The letters alleged to have been read by the 0$/!4 authorities were not confidential letters between the detainees and their lawyers. The petitioner who received the letters from detainees Trillanes and #aestrecampo was merely acting as the detainees9 personal courier and not as their counsel when he received the letters for mailing. In the <resent case, since the letters !ere not con idential co==unication -et!een the detainees and their la!.ers, the o icials o the I%AFP Detention Center could read the letters. 0f the letters are marAed confidential communication between the detainees and their lawyers, the detention officials should not read the letters but only open the envelopes for inspection in the presence of the detainees.

but visible leaders of the 5aAwood incident involving an armed taAeover of a civilian building in the heart of the financial district of the country. /s members of the military armed forces, the detainees are sub:ect to the /rticles of Dar.;22<

That a law is required before an e>ecutive officer could intrude on a citizen9s privacy rights;2,< is a guarantee that is available only to the public at large but not to persons who are detained or imprisoned. The right to privacy of those detained is sub:ect to $ection @ of %/ 7@)=, as well as to the limitations inherent in lawful detention or imprisonment. By the very fact of their detention, pre+trial detainees and convicted prisoners have a diminished e>pectation of privacy rights.

#oreover, the :unior officers are detained with other high+risA persons from the /bu $ayyaf and the ?4/. Thus, we must give the military custodian a wider range of deference in implementing the regulations in the 0$/!4 3etention &enter. The military custodian is in a better position to Anow the security risAs involved in detaining the :unior officers, together with the suspected /bu $ayyaf and ?4/ members. $ince the appropriate regulations depend largely on the security risAs involved, we should defer to the regulations adopted by the military custodian in the absence of patent arbitrariness.

0n assessing the regulations imposed in detention and prison facilities that are alleged to infringe on the constitutional rights of the detainees and convicted prisoners, 8.$. courts Fbalance the guarantees of the &onstitution with the legitimate concerns of prison administrators.G;2)< The deferential review of such regulations stems from the principle that:

The ruling in this case, however, does not foreclose the right of detainees and convicted prisoners from petitioning the courts for the redress of grievances. %egulations and conditions in detention and prison facilities that violate the &onstitutional rights of the detainees and prisoners will be reviewed by the courts on a case+by+case basis. The courts could afford in:unctive relief or damages to the detainees and prisoners sub:ected to arbitrary and inhumane conditions. Bowever, habeas corpus is not the proper mode to question conditions of confinement.;27< The writ of habeas corpus will only lie if what is challenged is the fact or duration of confinement.;2=<

;s<ub:ecting the day+to+day :udgments of prison officials to an infle>ible strict scrutiny analysis would seriously hamper their ability to anticipate security problems and to adopt innovative solutions to the intractable problems of prison administration.;2@<

"#EREFORE, we DI%&I%% the petition. De AFFIR& the 3ecision of the &ourt of /ppeals in &/+6.%. $4 ?o. 7=.@..

?o pronouncement as to costs.

%O ORDERED. The detainees in the present case are :unior officers accused of leading )-- soldiers in committing coup dLetat, a crime punishable with reclusion perpetua.;2.< The :unior officers are not ordinary detainees L#8 vs 3irector 6eneral E

%espondents.

/pril *1, ,--2

>+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++>

"#EREA%, a unified identification system will facilitate private businesses, enhance the integrity and reliability of government+issued identification cards in private transactions, and prevent violations of laws involving false names and identities. $O", T#EREFORE, I, (LORIA &ACAPA(AL8ARRO6O, 4resident of the %epublic of the 4hilippines by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following: %ection )' Adoption of a unified &ulti-pu$pose identification .ID/ s'ste& fo$ go"e$n&ent. 0 /ll government agencies, including government+owned and controlled corporations, are hereby directed to adopt a unified multi+purpose 03 system to ensure the attainment of the following ob:ectives: a. To reduce costs and thereby lessen the financial burden on both the government and the public brought about by the use of multiple 03 cards and the maintenance of redundant database containing the same or related informationE b. To ensure greater convenience for those transacting business with the government and those availing of government servicesE c. To facilitate private businesses and promote the wider use of the unified 03 card as provided under this e>ecutive orderE d. To enhance the integrity and reliability of government+ issued 03 cardsE and e. To facilitate access to and delivery of quality and effective government service. %ection +' Co"e$age 0 /ll government agencies and government+ owned and controlled corporations issuing 03 cards to their members or constituents shall be covered by this e>ecutive order. %ection G' Data $e1ui$e&ent fo$ the unified ID s'ste& 0 The data to be collected and recorded by the participating agencies shall be limited to the following: ?ame Bome /ddress $e> 4icture

DECI%IO$

CARPIO, J.A

This case involves two consolidated petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus under %ule 2. of the %ules of &ourt, seeAing the nullification of >ecutive 5rder ?o. @,- ' 5 @,-( on the ground that it is unconstitutional.

5 @,-, issued by 4resident 6loria #acapagal+/rroyo on *) /pril ,--., reads:

% Q80%0?6 /"" 65J %?# ?T /6 ?&0 $ /?3 65J %?# ?T+ 5D? 3 /?3 &5?T%5"" 3 &5%45%/T05?$ T5 $T% /#"0? /?3 B/%#5?0Z TB 0% 03 ?T0!0&/T05? '03( $K$T #$, /?3 /8TB5%0Z0?6 !5% $8&B 48%45$ TB 30% &T5%+6 ? %/", ?/T05?/" &5?5#0& /?3 3 J "54# ?T /8TB5%0TK T5 0#4" # ?T TB $/# , /?3 !5% 5TB % 48%45$ $ "#EREA%, good governance is a ma:or thrust of this /dministrationE "#EREA%, the e>isting multiple identification systems in government have created unnecessary and costly redundancies and higher costs to government, while maAing it inconvenient for individuals to be holding several identification cardsE "#EREA%, there is urgent need to streamline and integrate the processes and issuance of identification cards in government to reduce costs and to provide greater convenience for those transacting business with governmentE

$ignature 3ate of Birth 4lace of Birth #arital $tatus ?ames of 4arents Beight Deight Two inde> fingers and two thumbmarAs /ny prominent distinguishing features liAe moles and others Ta> 0dentification ?umber 'T0?(

lections '&5# " &(, and with other branches or instrumentalities of the government, for the purpose of ensuring government+wide adoption of and support to this effort to streamline the 03 systems in governmentE b. &all on any other government agency or institution, or create subOcommittees or technical worAing groups, to provide such assistance as may be necessary or required for the effective performance of its functionsE and d. 4romulgate such rules or regulations as may be necessary in pursuance of the ob:ectives of this e>ecutive order. %ection 3' Safegua$ds. 0 The 3irector+6eneral, ?ational conomic and 3evelopment /uthority, and the pertinent agencies shall adopt such safeguard as may be necessary and adequate to ensure that the right to privacy of an individual taAes precedence over efficient public service delivery. $uch safeguards shall, as a minimum, include the following: a. The data to be recorded and stored, which shall be used only for purposes of establishing the identity of a person, shall be limited to those specified in $ection ) of this e>ecutive orderE b. 0n no case shall the collection or compilation of other data in violation of a person9s right to privacy shall be allowed or tolerated under this orderE c. $tringent systems of access control to data in the identification system shall be institutedE d. 3ata collected and stored for this purpose shall be Aept and treated as strictly confidential and a personal or written authorization of the 5wner shall be required for access and disclosure of dataE e. The identification card to be issued shall be protected by advanced security features and cryptographic technologyE and f. / written request by the 5wner of the identification card shall be required for any correction or revision of relevant data, or under such conditions as the participating agency issuing the identification card shall prescribe. %ection ?' 4unding. 0 $uch funds as may be recommended by the 3epartment of Budget and #anagement shall be provided to carry out the ob:ectives of this e>ecutive order.

4rovided that a corresponding 03 number issued by the participating agency and a common reference number shall form part of the stored 03 data and, together with at least the first five items listed above, including the print of the right thumbmarA, or any of the fingerprints as collected and stored, shall appear on the face or bacA of the 03 card for visual verification purposes. %ection 4' Autho$i2ing the Di$ecto$-3ene$al National Econo&ic and De"elop&ent Autho$it' to +a$&oni2e All 3o"e$n&ent Identification S'ste&s. O The 3irector+6eneral, ?ational conomic 3evelopment /uthority, is hereby authorized to streamline and harmonize all government 03 systems. %ection ,' 4unctions and $esponsi%ilities of the Di$ecto$-3ene$al National Econo&ic and De"elop&ent Autho$it'. O 0n addition to his organic functions and responsibilities, the 3irector+6eneral, ?ational conomic and 3evelopment /uthority, shall have the following functions and responsibilities: a. /dopt within si>ty '2-( days from the effectivity of this e>ecutive order a unified government 03 system containing only such data and features, as indicated in $ection ) above, to validly establish the identity of the card holder: b. nter into agreements with local governments, through their respective leagues of governors or mayors, the &ommission on

%ection *' Repealing clause. 0 /ll e>ecutive orders or issuances, or portions thereof, which are inconsistent with this e>ecutive order, are hereby revoAed, amended or modified accordingly. %ection 2' Effecti"it'. 0 This e>ecutive order shall taAe effect fifteen '*.( days after its publication in two ',( newspapers of general circulation.

). privacy

5 @,- violates the constitutional provisions on the right to

'i( 0t allows access to personal confidential data without the owner9s consent.

'ii( 5 @,- is vague and without adequate safeguards or penalties for any violation of its provisions. 35? in the &ity of #anila, this *)th day of /pril, in the year of 5ur "ord, Two Thousand and !ive. 'iii( There are no compelling reasons that will legitimize the necessity of 5 @,-. Thus, under 5 @,-, the 4resident directs all government agencies and government+owned and controlled corporations to adopt a uniform data collection and format for their e>isting identification '03( systems.

@. 6ranting without conceding that the 4resident may issue @,-, the >ecutive 5rder was issued without public hearing.

4etitioners in 6.%. ?o. *2771= allege that 5 @,- is unconstitutional because it constitutes usurpation of legislative functions by the e>ecutive branch of the government. !urthermore, they allege that 5 @,- infringes on the citizen9s right to privacy.;*<

.. 5 @,- violates the &onstitutional provision on equal protection of laws and results in the discriminatory treatment of and penalizes those without 03.;,<

4etitioners in 6.%. ?o. *271)- allege that on the following grounds:

5 @,- is void based

0ssues

*. 5 @,- is contrary to law. 0t completely disregards and violates the decision of this Bonorable &ourt in .ple v. orres et al., 6.%. ?o. *,72=., Huly ,), *11=. 0t also violates %/ =,=, otherwise Anown as the $ocial $ecurity /ct of *117.

ssentially, the petitions raise two issues. :irst, petitioners claim that 5 @,- is a usurpation of legislative power by the 4resident. *econd, petitioners claim that 5 @,- infringes on the citizen9s right to privacy.

,. The >ecutive has usurped the legislative power of &ongress as she has no power to issue 5 @,-. !urthermore, the implementation of the 5 will use public funds not appropriated by &ongress for that purpose.

%espondents question the legal standing of petitioners and the ripeness of the petitions. ven assuming that petitioners are bereft of legal standing, the &ourt considers the issues raised under the circumstances of paramount public concern or of transcendental significance to the people. The petitions also present a :usticiable controversy ripe for :udicial determination because all government entities currently issuing identification cards are mandated to implement 5 @,-, which

petitioners claim is patently unconstitutional. Bence, the &ourt taAes cognizance of the petitions.

b. To ensure greater convenience for those transacting business with the government and those availing of government servicesE

The &ourt9s %uling

c. To facilitate private businesses and promote the wider use of the unified 03 card as provided under this e>ecutive orderE d. To enhance the integrity and reliability of government+ issued 03 cardsE and

The petitions are without merit.

On the Alleged 5su$pation of Legislati"e Po6e$

e. To facilitate access to and delivery of quality and effective government service.

$ection , of 5 @,- provides, F&overage. O /ll government agencies and government+owned and controlled corporations issuing 03 cards to their members or constituents shall be covered by this e>ecutive order.G EO 4+/ a<<lies onl. to govern=ent entities that issue ID cards as <art o their unctions under eHisting la!s. These government entities have already been issuing 03 cards even prior to 5 @,-. >amples of these government entities are the 6$0$,;)< $$$, ;@< 4hilhealth,;.< #ayor9s 5ffice,;2< "T5,;7< 4%&,;=< and similar government entities.

0n short, the purposes of the uniform 03 data collection and 03 format are to reduce costs, achieve efficiency and reliability, insure compatibility, and provide convenience to the people served by government entities.

$ection * of 5 @,- directs these government entities to Fadopt a unified multi+purpose 03 system.G Thus, all government entities that issue 03s as part of their functions under e>isting laws are required to adopt a uni or= data collection and or=at for their 03s. $ection * of 5 @,- enumerates the <ur<oses of the uniform data collection and format, namely:

$ection ) of 5 @,- li=its the data to be collected and recorded under the uniform 03 system to onl. )4 s<eci ic ite=s, namely: '*( ?ameE ',( Bome /ddressE ')( $e>E '@( 4ictureE '.( $ignatureE '2( 3ate of BirthE '7( 4lace of BirthE '=( #arital $tatusE '1( ?ame of 4arentsE '*-( BeightE '**( DeightE '*,( Two inde> fingers and two thumbmarAsE '*)( /ny prominent distinguishing features liAe moles or othersE and '*@( Ta> 0dentification ?umber.

a. To reduce costs and thereby lessen the financial burden on both the government and the public brought about by the use of multiple 03 cards and the maintenance of redundant database containing the same or related informationE

These limited and specific data are the usual data required for personal identification by government entities, and even by the private sector. /ny one who applies for or renews a driver9s license provides to the "T5 all these *@ specific data.

/t present, government entities liAe "T5 require considerably more data from applicants for identification purposes. EO 4+/ !ill reduce the

data re>uired to -e collected and recorded in the ID data-ases o the govern=ent entities. 6overnment entities cannot collect or record data, for identification purposes, other than the *@ specific data.

Jarious laws allow several government entities to collect and record data for their 03 systems, either e>pressly or impliedly by the nature of the functions of these government entities. 8nder their e>isting 03 systems, some government entities collect and record more data than what 5 @,- allows. /t present, the data collected and recorded by government entities are disparate, and the 03s they issue are dissimilar.

There is no dispute that government entities can individually limit the collection and recording of their data to the *@ specific items in $ection ) of 5 @,-. There is also no dispute that these government entities can individually adopt the 03 format as specified in $ection ) of 5 @,-. $uch an act is certainly within the authority of the heads or governing boards of the government entities that are already authorized under e>isting laws to issue 03s.

0n the case of the $upreme &ourt,;1< the 03s that the &ourt issues to all its employees, including the Hustices, contain *. specific data, namely: '*( ?ameE ',( 4ictureE ')( 4ositionE '@( 5ffice &ode ?umberE '.( 03 ?umberE '2( BeightE '7( DeightE '=( &omple>ionE '1( &olor of BairE '*-( Blood TypeE '**( %ight ThumbmarAE '*,( Ta> 0dentification ?umberE '*)( 6$0$ 4olicy ?umberE '*@( ?ame and /ddress of 4erson to be ?otified in &ase of mergencyE and '*.( $ignature. 0f we consider that the picture in the 03 can generally also show the se> of the employee, the &ourt9s 03 actually contains *2 data.

/ unified 03 system for all these government entities can be achieved in either of two ways. !irst, the heads of these e>isting government entities can enter into a memorandum of agreement maAing their systems uniform. 0f the government entities can individually adopt a format for their own 03 pursuant to their regular functions under e>isting laws, they can also adopt by mutual agreement a uniform 03 format, especially if the uniform format will result in substantial savings, greater efficiency, and optimum compatibility. This is purely an administrative matter, and does not involve the e>ercise of legislative power.

0n contrast, the uniform 03 format under $ection ) of 5 @,- requires only Fthe first five items listedG in $ection ), plus the fingerprint, agency number and the common reference number, or only eight specific data. Thus, at present, the $upreme &ourt9s 03 contains far more data than the proposed uniform 03 for government entities under 5 @,-. The nature of the data contained in the $upreme &ourt 03 is also far more financially sensitive, specifically the Ta> 0dentification ?umber.

$econd, the 4resident may by e>ecutive or administrative order direct the government entities under the >ecutive department to adopt a uniform 03 data collection and format. $ection *7, /rticle J00 of the *1=7 &onstitution provides that the F4resident shall have control of all e>ecutive departments, bureaus and offices.G The same $ection also mandates the 4resident to Fensure that the laws be faithfully e>ecuted.G

#aAing the data collection and recording of government entities unified, and maAing their 03 formats uniform, will admittedly achieve substantial benefits. These benefits are savings in terms of procurement of equipment and supplies, compatibility in systems as to hardware and software, ease of verification and thus increased reliability of data, and the user+friendliness of a single 03 format for all government entities.

&ertainly, under this constitutional power of control the 4resident can direct all government entities, in the eHercise o their unctions under eHisting la!s, to adopt a uniform 03 data collection and 03 format to achieve savings, efficiency, reliability, compatibility, and convenience to the public. The 4resident9s constitutional power of control is self+ e>ecuting and does not need any implementing legislation. 5f course, the 4resident9s power of control is limited to the >ecutive branch of government and does not e>tend to the Hudiciary or to the independent constitutional commissions. Thus, 5 @,- does not apply to the Hudiciary, or to the &5# " & which under e>isting laws is also authorized to issue voter9s 03 cards.;*-< This only shows that 5 @,does not establish a national 03 system because legislation is needed to

establish a single 03 system that is compulsory for all branches of government.

The &onstitution also mandates the 4resident to ensure that the laws are faithfully e>ecuted. There are several laws mandating government entities to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and in general, improve public services.;**< The adoption of a uniform 03 data collection and format under 5 @,- is designed to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and in general, improve public services. Thus, in issuing 5 @,-, the 4resident is simply performing the constitutional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully e>ecuted.

Dhat require legislation are three aspects of a government maintained 03 card system. :irst, when the implementation of an 03 card system requires a special appropriation because there is no e>isting appropriation for such purpose. *econd, when the 03 card system is compulsory on all branches of government, including the independent constitutional commissions, as well as compulsory on all citizens whether they have a use for the 03 card or not. hird, when the 03 card system requires the collection and recording of personal data beyond what is routinely or usually required for such purpose, such that the citizen9s right to privacy is infringed. 0n the present case, 5 @,- does not require any special appropriation because the e>isting 03 card systems of government entities covered by 5 @,- have the proper appropriation or funding. 5 @,- is not compulsory on all branches of government and is not compulsory on all citizens. 5 @,- requires a very narrow and focused collection and recording of personal data while safeguarding the confidentiality of such data. 0n fact, the data collected and recorded under 5 @,- are far less than the data collected and recorded under the 03 systems e>isting prior to 5 @,-. EO 4+/ does not esta-lish a national ID card s.ste= . 5 @,- does not compel all citizens to have an 03 card. 5 @,- applies only to government entities that under e>isting laws are already collecting data and issuing 03 cards as part of their governmental functions. Ever. govern=ent entit. that <resentl. issues an ID card !ill still issue its o!n ID card under its o!n na=e . The only difference is that the 03 card will contain only the five data specified in $ection ) of 5 @,-, plus the fingerprint, the agency 03 number, and the common reference number which is needed for cross+verification to ensure integrity and reliability of identification. This &ourt should not interfere how government entities under the >ecutive department should undertaAe cost savings, achieve efficiency in operations, insure compatibility of equipment and systems, and provide user+friendly service to the public. The collection of 03 data and issuance of 03 cards are day+to+day functions of many government entities under eHisting la!s. ven the $upreme &ourt has its own 03 system for employees of the &ourt and all first and second level courts. The &ourt is even trying to unify its 03 system with those of the appellate courts, namely the &ourt of /ppeals, $andiganbayan and &ourt of Ta> /ppeals.

&learly, 5 @,- is well within the constitutional power of the 4resident to promulgate. The 4resident has not usurped legislative power in issuing 5 @,-. 5 @,- is an e>ercise of >ecutive power O the 4resident9s constitutional power of control over the >ecutive department. 5 @,is also compliance by the 4resident of the constitutional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully e>ecuted.

"egislative power is the authority to maAe laws and to alter or repeal them. 0n issuing 5 @,-, the 4resident did not maAe, alter or repeal any law but merely implemented and e>ecuted e>isting laws. 5 @,reduces costs, as well as insures efficiency, reliability, compatibility and user+friendliness in the implementation of current 03 systems of government entities under e>isting laws. Thus, 5 @,- is simply an e>ecutive issuance and not an act of legislation.

The act of issuing 03 cards and collecting the necessary personal data for imprinting on the 03 card does not require legislation. 4rivate employers routinely issue 03 cards to their employees. 4rivate and public schools also routinely issue 03 cards to their students. ven private clubs and associations issue 03 cards to their members. The purpose of all these 03 cards is simply to insure the proper identification of a person as an employee, student, or member of a club. These 03 cards, although imposed as a condition for e>ercising a privilege, are voluntary because a person is not compelled to be an employee, student or member of a club.

There is nothing legislative about unifying e>isting 03 systems of all courts within the Hudiciary. The same is true for government entities under the >ecutive department. 0f government entities under the >ecutive department decide to unify their eHisting 03 data collection and 03 card issuance systems to achieve savings, efficiency, compatibility and convenience, such act does not involve the e>ercise of any legislative power. Thus, the issuance of 5 @,- does not constitute usurpation of legislative power.

eight of these specific data, seven less data than what the $upreme &ourt9s 03 shows.

/lso, prior to 5 @,-, there was no e>ecutive issuance to government entities prescribing safeguards on the collection, recording, and disclosure of personal identification data to protect the right to privacy. ?ow, under $ection . of 5 @,-, the following safeguards are instituted:

On the Alleged Inf$inge&ent of the Right to P$i"ac'

a. The data to be recorded and stored, which shall be used only for purposes of establishing the identity of a person, shall be limited to those specified in $ection ) of this e>ecutive orderE

/ll these years, the 6$0$, $$$, "T5, 4hilhealth and other government entities have been issuing 03 cards in the performance of their governmental functions. There have been no complaints from citizens that the 03 cards of these government entities violate their right to privacy. There have also been no complaints of abuse by these government entities in the collection and recording of personal identification data.

b. 0n no case shall the collection or compilation of other data in violation of a person9s right to privacy be allowed or tolerated under this orderE

c. $tringent systems of access control to data in the identification system shall be institutedE

0n fact, petitioners in the present cases do not claim that the 03 systems of government entities prior to 5 @,- violate their right to privacy. $ince petitioners do not maAe such claim, they even have less basis to complain against the unified 03 system under 5 @,-. The data collected and stored for the unified 03 system under 5 @,- will be limited to only *@ specific data, and the 03 card itself will show only eight specific data. The data collection, recording and 03 card system under 5 @,- will even require less data collected, stored and revealed than under the disparate systems prior to 5 @,-.

d. 3ata collected and stored for this purpose shall be Aept and treated as strictly confidential and a personal or written authorization of the 5wner shall be required for access and disclosure of dataE

e. The identification card to be issued shall be protected by advanced security features and cryptographic technologyE

4rior to 5 @,-, government entities had a free hand in determining the Aind, nature and e>tent of data to be collected and stored for their 03 systems. 8nder 5 @,-, government entities can collect and record only the *@ specific data mentioned in $ection ) of 5 @,-. 0n addition, government entities can show in their 03 cards only

f. / written request by the 5wner of the identification card shall be required for any correction or revision of relevant data, or under such conditions as the participating agency issuing the identification card shall prescribe.

5n its face, 5 @,- shows no constitutional infirmity because it even narrowly limits the data that can be collected, recorded and shown compared to the e>isting 03 systems of government entities. 5 @,further provides strict safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the data collected, in contrast to the prior 03 systems which are bereft of strict administrative safeguards.

married couples. 3eclared the 8.$. $upreme &ourt: FDould we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of the marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptivesN The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.G Because the facts and the issue involved in >ris4old are materially different from the present case, >ris4old has no persuasive bearing on the present case. 0n A.*. ?ustice 'epartment, the issue was not whether the $tate could collect and store information on individuals from public records nationwide but whether the $tate could withhold such information from the press. The <re=ise o the issue in 5.S. Justice Depa$t&ent is that the %tate can collect and store in a central data-ase in or=ation on citiOens gathered ro= <u-lic records across the countr.. 0n fact, the law authorized the 3epartment of Hustice to collect and preserve fingerprints and other criminal identification records nationwide. The law also authorized the 3epartment of Hustice to e>change such information with Fofficials of $tates, cities and other institutions.G The 3epartment of Hustice treated such information as confidential. / &B$ news correspondent and the %eporters &ommittee demanded the criminal records of four members of a family pursuant to the !reedom of 0nformation /ct. The 8.$. $upreme &ourt ruled that the !reedom of 0nformation /ct e>pressly e>empts release of information that would Fconstitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,G and the information demanded falls under that category of e>empt information.

The right to privacy does not bar the adoption of reasonable 03 systems by government entities. $ome one hundred countries have compulsory national 03 systems, including democracies such as $pain, !rance, 6ermany, Belgium, 6reece, "u>embourg, and 4ortugal. 5ther countries which do not have national 03 systems, liAe the 8nited $tates, &anada, /ustralia, ?ew Zealand, 0reland, the ?ordic &ountries and $weden, have sectoral cards for health, social or other public services.;*,< ven with 5 @,-, the 4hilippines will still fall under the countries that do not have compulsory national 03 systems but allow only sectoral cards for social security, health services, and other specific purposes.

Dithout a reliable 03 system, government entities liAe 6$0$, $$$, 4hilhealth, and "T5 cannot perform effectively and efficiently their mandated functions under e>isting laws. Dithout a reliable 03 system, 6$0$, $$$, 4hilhealth and similar government entities stand to suffer substantial losses arising from false names and identities. The integrity of the "T59s licensing system will suffer in the absence of a reliable 03 system.

The dissenting opinion cites three /merican decisions on the right to privacy, namely, >ris4old v. Connecticut,;*)< A.*. ?ustice 'epartment v. Reporters Committee for :reedom of the Press ,;*@< and Ihalen v. Roe. ;*.< The last two decisions actually support the validity of 5 @,-, while the first is inapplicable to the present case.

0n >ris4old, the 8.$. $upreme &ourt declared unconstitutional a state law that prohibited the use and distribution of contraceptives because enforcement of the law would allow the police entry into the bedrooms of

Dith the e>ception of the = specific data shown on the 03 card, the personal data collected and recorded under 5 @,- are treated as Fstrictly confidentialG under $ection 2'd( of 5 @,-. These data are not only strictly confidential but also <ersonal =atters. $ection 7, /rticle 000 of the *1=7 &onstitution grants the Fright of the people to information on matters of public concern.G 4ersonal matters are e>empt or outside the coverage of the people9s right to information on matters of public concern. The data treated as Fstrictly confidentialG under 5 @,- being private matters and not matters of public concern, these data cannot be released to the public or the press. Thus, the ruling in A.*. ?ustice 'epartment does not collide with 5 @,- but actually supports the validity 5 @,-.

Ihalen v. Roe is the leading A=erican case on the constitutional <rotection or control over in or=ation. 0n Ihalen, the 8.$. $upreme &ourt u<held the validity of a ?ew KorA law that required doctors to furnish the government reports identifying patients who received prescription drugs that have a potential for abuse. The government maintained a central co=<uteriOed data-ase containing the names and addresses of the patients, as well as the identity of the prescribing doctors. The law was assailed because the database allegedly infringed the right to privacy of individuals who want to Aeep their personal matters confidential. The 8.$. $upreme &ourt reBected the privacy claim, and declared:

/gain, in Planned Parenthood of *outheastern Penns%lvania v. Case%, ;*7< the 8.$. $upreme &ourt u<held a law that required doctors performing an abortion to file a report to the government that included the doctor9s name, the woman9s age, the number of prior pregnancies and abortions that the woman had, the medical complications from the abortion, the weight of the fetus, and the marital status of the woman. 0n case of state+funded institutions, the law made such information publicly available. 0n Case%, the 8.$. $upreme &ourt stated: FThe collection of information with respect to actual patients is a vital element of medical research, and so it cannot be said that the requirements serve no purpose other than to maAe abortion more difficult.G

Disclosures o <rivate =edical in or=ation to doctors, to hospital personnel, to insurance companies, and to <u-lic health agencies are often an essential part of modern medical practice even when the disclosure may reflect unfavorably on the character of the patient. Re>uiring such disclosures to re<resentatives o the %tate having res<onsi-ilit. or the health o the co==unit. does not auto=aticall. a=ount to an i=<er=issi-le invasion o <rivac. . ' mphasis suppliefd. &ompared to the personal medical data required for disclosure to the ?ew KorA $tate in Ihalen, the *@ specific data required for disclosure to the 4hilippine government under 5 @,- are far less sensitive and far less personal. 0n fact, the *@ specific data required under 5 @,- are routine data for 03 systems, unliAe the sensitive and potentially embarrassing medical records of patients taAing prescription drugs. Ihalen, therefore, carries persuasive force for upholding the constitutionality of 5 @,- as non+violative of the right to privacy. $ubsequent 8.$. $upreme &ourt decisions have reiterated Ihalen. 0n Planned Parenthood of Central !issouri v. 'anforth ,;*2< the 8.$. $upreme &ourt u<held the validity of a law that required doctors performing abortions to fill up forms, maintain records for seven years, and allow the inspection of such records by public health officials. The 8.$. $upreme &ourt ruled that FrecordAeeping and reporting requirements that are reasonably directed to the preservation of maternal health and that properly respect a patient9s confidentiality and privacy are permissible.G

&ompared to the disclosure requirements of personal data that the 8.$. $upreme &ourt have upheld in Ihalen, 'anforth and Case% as not violative of the right to privacy, the disclosure requirements under 5 @,- are far benign and cannot therefore constitute violation of the right to privacy. 5 @,- requires disclosure of *@ personal data that are routine for 03 purposes, data that cannot possibly embarrass or humiliate anyone.

4etitioners have not shown how 5 @,- will violate their right to privacy. 4etitioners cannot show such violation by a mere facial e>amination of 5 @,- because 5 @,- narrowly draws the data collection, recording and e>hibition while prescribing comprehensive safeguards. .ple v. orres;*=< is not authority to hold that 5 @,violates the right to privacy because in that case the assailed e>ecutive issuance, broadly drawn and devoid of safeguards, was annulled solely on the ground that the sub:ect matter required legislation. /s then /ssociate Hustice, now &hief Hustice /rtemio J. 4anganiban noted in his concurring opinion in .ple v. orres, F he voting is decisive onl% on the need for appropriate legislation, and it is onl% on this ground that the petition is granted b% this Court.G

5 @,- applies only to government entities that already maintain 03 systems and issue 03 cards pursuant to their regular functions under e>isting laws. 5 @,- does not grant such government entities any power that they do not already possess under e>isting laws. 0n contrast, the assailed e>ecutive issuance in .ple v. orres sought to

establish a F$ational &omputerized Identi ication %eference %.ste=,G;*1< a national 03 system that did not e>ist prior to the assailed e>ecutive issuance. 5bviously, a national 03 card system requires legislation because it creates a new national data collection and card issuance system where none e>isted before.

0n the present case, 5 @,- does not establish a national 03 system but maAes the e>isting sectoral card systems of government entities liAe 6$0$, $$$, 4hilhealth and "T5 less costly, more efficient, reliable and user+friendly to the public. Bence, 5 @,- is a proper sub:ect of e>ecutive issuance under the 4resident9s constitutional power of control over government entities in the >ecutive department, as well as under the 4resident9s constitutional duty to ensure that laws are faithfully e>ecuted.

"#EREFORE, the petitions are DI%&I%%ED. >ecutive 5rder ?o. @,is declared 0ALID.