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BORJA VS. MENDOZA [77 SCRA 422; G.R. NO.

L-45667; 20 JUN 1977]



Facts: Borja was accused of slight physical injuries in the City of Cebu. However, he was not
arraigned. That not withstanding, respondent Judge Senining proceeded with the trial in absentia
and rendered a decision finding petitioner guilty of the crime charged. The case was appealed to
the Court o First Instance in Cebu presided by respondent Judge Mendoza. It was alleged that the
failure to arraign him is a violation of his constitutional rights. It was also alleged that without any
notice to petitioner and without requiring him to submit his memorandum, a decision on the
appealed case was rendered The Solicitor General commented that the decision should be annulled
because there was no arraignment.

Issue: Whether or Not petitioners constitutional right was violated when he was not arraigned.

Held: Yes. Procedural due process requires that the accused be arraigned so that he may be
informed as to why he was indicted and what penal offense he has to face, to be convicted only on
a showing that his guilt is shown beyond reasonable doubt with full opportunity to disprove the
evidence against him. It is also not just due process that requires an arraignment. It is required in
the Rules that an accused, for the first time, is granted the opportunity to know the precise charge
that confronts him. It is imperative that he is thus made fully aware of possible loss of freedom,
even of his life, depending on the nature of the crime imputed to him. At the very least then, he
must be fully informed of why the prosecuting arm of the state is mobilized against him. Being
arraigned is thus a vital aspect of the constitutional rights guaranteed him. Also, respondent Judge
Senining convicted petitioner notwithstanding the absence of an arraignment. With the violation of
the constitutional right to be heard by himself and counsel being thus manifest, it is correct that
the Solicitor General agreed with petitioner that the sentence imposed on him should be set aside
for being null. The absence of an arraignment can be invoked at anytime in view of the
requirements of due process to ensure a fair and impartial trial.

Wherefore, the petition for certiorari is granted. The decision of respondent Judge Romulo R.
Senining dated December 28, 1973, finding the accused guilty of the crime of slight physical
injuries, is nullified and set aside. Likewise, the decision of respondent Judge Rafael T. Mendoza
dated November 16, 1976, affirming the aforesaid decision of Judge Senining, is nullified and set
aside. The case is remanded to the City Court of Cebu for the prosecution of the offense of slight
physical injuries, with due respect and observance of the provisions of the Rules of Court, starting
with the arraignment of petitioner.

PEOPLE V ALICANDO GR NO. 117487 (DECEMBER 2, 1995)
Facts: Accused was convicted with a crime of rape with homicide of a 4 year old girl. He was
arrested and during the interrogation he made a confession of the crime without the assistance of
a counsel. By virtue of his uncounseled confession the police came to know where to find the
evidences consisting of the victims personal things like clothes stained with blood which was
admitted to court as evidences. The victim pleaded guilty during the arraignment and
was convicted with the death penalty. The case was forwarded to the SC for automatic review.
Issue: Whether or not due process during the custodial investigation was accorded to the accused.

Held: Due process was not observed in the conduct of custodial investigation for the accused. He
was not informed of his right to a counsel upon making his extrajudicial confession and the
information against him was written in a language he could not understand and was not explained
to him. This is in violation of section 1(a) of Rule 116, the rule implementing the constitutional right
of the appellant to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. The lower
court also violated section 3 of Rule 116 when it accepted the plea of guilt of the appellant without
conducting a search inquiry on the voluntariness and full understanding of the accused of the
consequences of his plea. Moreover the evidences admitted by the court that warranted
his convicted were inadmissible because they were due to an invalid custodial investigation that did
not provide the accused with due process of the law. Thus the SC annulled the decision of the
imposition of the death penalty and remanded the case back to the lower for further proceeding.

PEOPLE VS. ESTOMACA

On May 24, 1994, consequent to five separate complaints, Criminal Cases Nos.
43567,43568,43569,43570 and 43571 were filed in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, Iloilo City
charging herein appellant, an illiterate laborer, with rape committed on five separate occasions
against his own daughter, complainant Estelita Estomaca.

Heres what happened:

Melita, the eldest daughter of the accused claims that she was raped by the accused.

There is some inconsistency in the statements on record as to what actually took place on
June 14, 1994 during the arraignment of appellant, assisted by his government counsel de oficio,
Atty. Rogelio Antiquiera. The decision of the court below, dated July 15, 1994, declares that he
entered a plea of guilty to Criminal Cases Nos. 43568 and 43571, and a plea of not guilty to Criminal
Cases Nos. 43567,43569 and 43570. Obviously engendered by the insufficiency of the proceedings
conducted and the imprecision of the notes taken at this stage, this matter will be further discussed
hereafter.

The two criminal complaints, both subscribed by the offended party on April29, 1994 and
which are the subject of the joint judgment of the lower court challenged in this appellate review.

Proceeding upon the capital nature of the offenses involved, the trial court, after appellant
ostensibly waived the presentation of evidence for his defense, required the prosecution to adduce
evidence purportedly to establish appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, on June 29,
1994, the complainant herself, Melita Estomaca, appeared in court and testified that she was raped
by her father once in December, 1993 and, again, on March 6, 1994.

On the authority of Republic Act No. 7659 which took effect on December 31, 1993, the
lower court imposed upon appellant the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the sexual assault
supposedly perpetrated in December, 1993, and the supreme penalty of death with respect to the
rape allegedly committed on March 6, 1994. In each of the said cases, he was further ordered to
indemnify the offended party in the amount of P50,000.00 and to pay the costs.

ISSUE: WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT CORRECTLY CONVICTED THE APPELLANT AND IMPOSED THE
PENALTY OF DEATH

HELD: No.

Section 1(a) of Rule 116 requires that the arraignment should be made in open court by the judge
himself or by the clerk of court furnishing the accused a copy of the complaint or information with
the list of witnesses stated therein, then reading the same in the language or dialect that is known
to him, and asking him what his plea is to the charge. The requirement that the reading be made in
a language or dialect that the accused understands and knows is a mandatory requirement, just as
the whole of said Section 1 should be strictly followed by trial courts. This the law affords the
accused by way of implementation of the all-important constitutional mandate regarding the right
of an accused to be informed of the precise nature of the accusation leveled at him and is,
therefore, really an avenue for him to be able to hoist the necessary defense in rebuttal thereof. It
is an integral aspect of the due process clause under the Constitution.

At threshold, what strikes this Court as peculiar is that the arraignment appears to have consisted
merely of the bare reading of the five complaints, synthetically and cryptically reported in the
transcript, thus: (Reading the information/complaint to the accused in Ilonggo/local dialect).

Since what was supposed to have been read was stated in the singular, but there were five criminal
complaints against appellant, this Court is then left to speculate on whether all five criminal
complaints were actually read, translated or explained to appellant on a level within his
comprehension, considering his limited education.
There is no showing whether or not appellant or his counsel de oficio was furnished a copy of each
complaint with the list of witnesses against him, in order that the latter may duly prepare and
comply with his responsibilities. Of more troublous concern is the fact that appellant was not
specifically warned that on his plea of guilty, he would definitely and in any event be given the
death penalty under the New Law, as the trial court calls

Republic Act No. 7659. He was also not categorically advised that his plea of guilty would not under
any circumstance affect or reduce the death sentence as he may have believed or may have been
erroneously advised.

The significance of this distinction is found right in the provisions of Section 1(a) of Rule 116 which,
cognizant of the aforestated linguistic variations, deliberately required that the complaint or
information be read to the accused in the language or the dialect known to him, to ensure his
comprehension of the charges. The Court takes judicial notice, because it is either of public
knowledge or readily capable of unquestionable demonstration, that in the central and
northwestern part of Iloilo province and all the way up to and throughout Antique, including
necessarily San Joaquin where the offenses were committed and of which appellant and his family
are natives, the local dialect is known as kinaray-a.

Barring previous exposure to or as a consequence of extended social or commercial intercourse,
kinaray-a is not readily understandable to nor spoken by those born to the Hiligaynon regional
language or who have lived in the areas under its sway for an appreciable period of time. The
converse is true for those whose native tongue is the dialect of kinaray-a, since they are
generally not well-versed in Ilonggo, or Hiligaynon. Since all the complaints are not only in English
but in technical legal language, we are again at sea as to whether and how the indictments were
translated to Ilonggo and/or to kinaray-a, or that the appellant was truly and honestly made of
the charges and, especially, the consequences of his guilty plea thereto. The records are silent and
do not reveal anything on this point, nor how the dialogue between the presiding judge and
appellant was translated. Yet a mans life is at stake while this Court wrestles with that dilemma
created by an omission of official duty.

The trial court should also be convinced that the accused has not been coerced or placed under a
state of duress either by actual threats of physical harm coming from malevolent or avenging
quarters and this it can do, such as by ascertaining from the accused himself the manner in which
he was subsequently brought into the custody of the law; or whether he had the assistance of
competent counsel during the custodial and preliminary investigations; and, ascertaining from him
the conditions under which he was detained and interrogated during the aforestated
investigations. Likewise, a series of questions directed at defense counsel as to whether or not said
counsel had conferred with, and completely explained to the accused the meaning of a plea and its
consequences, would be a well-taken step along those lines.

Questions of these nature are undoubtedly crucial and no truer is this than in the case of appellant
for, again, the original records and rollo of this case now under review are completely bereft of any
document or record concerning his apprehension, detention and prior investigation, whether
custodial or preliminary. The foregoing circumstances must be taken in addition to the appropriate
forewarnings of the consequences of a plea of guilty, as well as the questions by the court
regarding the age, educational attainment and socio-economic status of the accused which may
reveal contributory insights for a proper verdict in the case.

The searching inquiry of the trial court must be focused on: (1) the voluntariness of the plea; and
(2) the full comprehension of the consequences of the plea. The questions of the trial court failed
to show the voluntariness of the plea of guilt of the appellant nor did the questions demonstrate
appellants full comprehension of the consequences of the plea. The records do not reveal any
information about the personality profile of the appellant which can serve as a trustworthy index of
his capacity to give a free and informed plea of guilt. The age, socio-economic status, and
educational background of the appellant were not plumbed by the trial court.

WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court a quo in Criminal Cases Nos. 43568 and 43571 convicting
accused-appellant Melchor Estomaca y Garque of two crimes of rape is hereby SET ASIDE. Said
cases are REMANDED to the trial court for further and appropriate proceedings, with instructions
that the same be given appropriate priority and the proceedings therein be conducted with
deliberate dispatch and circumspection.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. HON. ERNESTO M. MENDOZA
G.R. No. L-80845 March 14, 1994

Nature:
Petition for certiorari to set aside a judgment of the Regional Trial Court in Malaybalay,
Bukidnon, Branch 10, Mendoza, J.

Facts:
The case assails the judgment of respondent Judge acquitting accused Juan Magalop y
Salvacion, private respondent herein, of the crime of robbery with force upon things
notwithstanding his plea of guilt. Petitioner prays that respondent Judge be ordered to reverse his
judgment exonerating Magalop and, instead, to impose upon him the proper penalty for the
offense to which he pleaded guilty.

The evidence discloses that on 20 January 1987, the storeroom of the Bukidnon National
School of Home Industries (BNSHI) in Maramag, Bukidnon, was ransacked. Responsibility for the
robbery with force upon things was laid on accused Juan Magalop y Salvacion, Petronilo Fernandez
y Cano and Ricarte Dahilan alias Ricky. At the arraignment, Magalop pleaded "guilty" while
Fernandez pleaded "not guilty." The arraignment of Dahilan was deferred as he was "not mentally
well."

Instead of pronouncing judgment on Magalop, the court a quo conducted trial.
Consequently, respondent Judge acquitted on 8 October 1987accused Fernandez as well as
Magalop who earlier pleaded guilty to the charge. The evidence of the prosecution failed to prove
that the three accused were responsible for stealing these three articles or tools. Although Juan
Magalop pleaded guilty, it was not shown who (how?) they conspired and helped each other in the
commission of the crime charged. To the Court, the plea of Juan Magalop was not intelligently
done.

Petitioner now submits that the accused Magalop, who was assisted by counsel, had
voluntarily, spontaneously and intelligently pleaded guilty to the crime of robbery with force upon
things. Thus, the trial court had no alternative but to pronounce judgment and impose the proper
penalty.

Issue:
Whether or not an accused who pleaded guilty, his conviction automatically follows.

Held:
No. There is no rule which provides that simply because the accused pleaded guilty to the
charge that his conviction automatically follows. Additional evidence independent of the plea may
be considered to convince the judge that it was intelligently made.

The essence of a plea of guilty is that the accused admits his guilt freely, voluntarily and
with full knowledge and understanding of the precise nature of the crime charged in the
information as well as the consequences of his plea.

It is an unconditional admission of guilt with
respect to the offense charged. It forecloses the right to defend oneself from said charge and
leaves the court with no alternative but to impose the penalty fixed by law under the
circumstances.

Thus, under the 1985 New Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, when the
accused pleads guilty to a non-capital offense, the court may receive evidence from the parties to
determine the penalty to be imposed.

This rule is at most directory. It will certainly be a clear abuse of discretion on the part of
the judge to persist in holding the accused bound to his admission of guilt and sentencing him
accordingly when the totality of the evidence points to his acquittal.

Here it is evident, even from the start that the case of the prosecution against the three
(3) accused was virtually non-existent. Indeed, not even the testimonies and the mute exhibits
introduced during the trial could give life to the state of the case for the prosecution. While the loss
of articles in the storeroom of the BNSHI was established, there was nothing, independent of the
acknowledgment of guilt, which could link accused Magalop to the robbery. As the trial court
succinctly put it, "the plea of Juan Magalop was not intelligently done."

In that case, in view of the exculpatory testimony of the accused who had earlier pleaded
guilty to the charge of homicide, the trial court correctly considered the plea as withdrawn and, in
its place, ordered a plea of not guilty entered. This was not done by respondent judge.

The respondent judge did not follow the better procedure in sustaining the exoneration of
an accused notwithstanding the plea of guilt. Even after finding that the plea of Magalop was not
intelligently made, Judge Mendoza proceeded to pass judgment without requiring Magalop to
plead anew to the charge. Applying the principle laid down in People vs.Padernal case, it can fairly
be concluded that there was no standing plea at the time the court rendered its judgment of
acquittal hence said acquittal was a nullity. However, in the interest of substantial justice, we
cannot allow such procedural error to prevail over the constitutional right of the accused to be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. In fairness to Magalop, outside of his improvident
plea of guilt, there is absolutely no evidence against him presented or forthcoming. From the
evidence of the prosecution, there is no way by which accused Magalop could have been
implicated. It is for this fundamental reason that, even pro hac vice, his acquittal must be sustained.

LINO BROCKA ET. AL. VS JUAN PONCE ENRILE ET. AL.
G.R. NOS. 69863-65 DECEMBER 10 1990

Nature: Petition for Habeas Corpus

Facts:

Petitioners were arrested on January 28, 1985 by elements of the Northern Police District
following the forcible and violent dispersal of a demonstration held in sympathy with the jeepney
strike called by the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO). Thereafter, they were
charged with Illegal Assembly.

Except for Brocka, et al. who were charged as leaders of the offense Illegal Assembly and
for whom no bail was recommended, the other petitioners were released on bail of P3,000.00
each. Brocka, et al.s provisional release was ordered only upon an urgent petitioner for bail fo
which daily hearings from February 1-7, 1985 were held.

However, despite service of the order of release on February 9, 1985, Brocka, et al. all
remained in detention, respondents having invoked a Preventive Detention Action allegedly issued
against them on January 28, 1985.

Brocka, et al. were subsequently charged on February 11, 1985 with Inciting
to Sedition without prior notice tot heir counsel.They were released provisionally on February 14,
1985, on orders of then President Marcos.

Brocka, et al. contend that repondents manifest of bad faith and/or harassment are
sufficient bases for enjoining their criminal prosecution, aside from the fact that the second offense
of inciting sedition is illegal, since it is premised on one and the same act of attending and
participating in the ACTO jeepney strike. They maintain that while there may be a complex crime
from a single act, the law does not allow the splitting of a single act into two offenses and filing two
informations therefore, further, that they will be placed in double jeopardy.

Issue: Whether or not the criminal prosecution of a case may be enjoined.

Ruling:

Yes, the criminal prosecution of a case may be enjoined

Indeed the general rule is that criminal prosecution may not be restrained or stayed by
injunction, preliminary or final. There are however exceptions, among which are:

1. To afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused
2. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid oppression
or multiplicity of actions
3. When there is no prejudicial question which is subjudice
4. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority
5. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation
6. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent
7. When the court has no jurisdiction over the offense
8. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution
9. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by lust for vengeance
10. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to quash
on that ground had been denied

Brocka, et al. have cited the circumstances to show that the criminal proceedings had become
a case of persecution, having been undertaken by state officials in bad faith.

The hasty filing of the second offense, premised on a spurious and inoperational PDA, certainly
betrays respondents bad faith and malicious intent to pursue criminal charges against Brocka, et al.

Therefore, where there is manifest bad faith that accompanies the filing of criminal charges, as
in the instant case where Brocka, et al. were barred from enjoying provisional release until such
time that charges were filed, and where a sham preliminary investigation was hastily conducted,
charges that are filed as a result should lawfully be enjoined.

MARITES DANGUILAN-VITUG vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 103618 May 20, 1994

Nature: A petition for a motion to quash.

Facts : Petitioner, Marites Danguilan-Vitug, wrote an article entitled "Why Cory is Soft on
Her Relatives" which was published on October 2, 1988 in Focus: A Chronicle Magazine, a
Sunday supplement of the Manila Chronicle.

Private complainant, Margarita Cojuangco filed a complaint for libel before the
Manila. Prosecutor's Office. After preliminary investigation, the city prosecutor
recommended the filing of the information for libel before the Regional Trial Court of
Manila. An information was filed against petitioner. In a resolution, the Secretary of
Justice dismissed the charge for libel. However, upon motion of Margarita Cojuangco, the
said resolution was reversed and the filing of the information was sustained.

Petitioner filed for a motion to quash on the ground that there was no libel since
the subject article was absolutely privileged as it was a mere expression of opinion and a
fair comment on matters of public concern and interest. There was also no proof that it
was written with actual malice.

Respondent trial judge denied the Motion to Quash and so is the motion for
reconsideration. Thereafter, Marites Danguilan-Vitug filed a special civil action
for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction with the Court of Appeals. The
petition was dismissed.

Hence, the present petition.

Issue : Whether or not the allegedly privileged nature of the communication a ground for
quashing the information

Held: No.

Rationale: The Court of Appeals correctly stated, thus:
A reading of the Motion to Quash filed by the petitioner before the respondent
courts shows that indeed, as correctly found by the respondent court, the
grounds cited in support thereof are matters of defense which have to be proven
during the trial. The respondent judge certainly committed no grave abuse of
discretion in denying the Motion to Quash. In fine, the claims of the petitioner in
support of this petition that the disputed article is a non-defamatory expression
of opinion on a matter of public interest; that said opinion is based on true facts;
that there is no malice on the part of the author (sic) are matters which need
adequate proof and proper appreciation by the trial court and are issues that
cannot be passed upon through mere arguments. . . .

Section 3, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court enumerates the grounds for quashing an
information. Specifically, paragraph (g) of said provision states that the accused may move to quash
the complaint or information where it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal
excuse or justification. Hence, for the alleged privilege to be a ground for quashing the information,
the same should have been averred in the information itself and secondly, the privilege should be
absolute, not only qualified. Where, however, these circumstances are not alleged in the
information, quashal is not proper as they should be raised and proved as defenses. With more
reason is it true in the case of merely qualifiedly privileged communications because such cases
remain actionable since the defamatory communication is simply presumed to be not malicious,
thereby relieving the defendant of the burden of proving good intention and justifiable motive. The
burden is on the prosecution to prove malice. Thus, even if the qualifiedly privileged nature of the
communication is alleged in the information, it cannot be quashed especially where prosecution
opposes the same so as not to deprive the latter of its day in court, but prosecution can only prove
its case after trial on the merits.

NIERRAS VS. DACUYCUY
G.R. NO. NOS. 59568-76 JANUARY 11, 1990

Nature of the case: Petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction

Facts:
Petitioner, a customer of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, purchased oil products
from it. Simultaneous with the delivery of the products, he issued nine (9) checks in payment
thereof. Upon presentation to the Philippine National Bank at Naval, Leyte, said checks were
dishonored for the reason that his account was already closed. Thereafter, Pilipinas Shell
Petroleum Corporation repeatedly demanded of petitioner either to deposit funds for his checks or
pay for the oil products he had purchased but he failed and refused to do either.

The said checks bounced. Two set of cases were filed against the petitioner, (1) estafa,
under Article 315, RPC, and (2) BP 22. In both sets of criminal cases, petitioner entered a plea of not
guilty upon arraignment before the lower court. However, immediately after his plea of not guilty
in these estafa cases, petitioner moved in open court to be allowed to withdraw his plea of not
guilty upon his filing of a motion to quash, which was denied by respondent Judge.

Issue:
whether the filing of the nine (9) other informations for estafa against petitioner under
the Revised Penal Code after he had earlier been charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22
for issuing the same bouncing checks will put him in jeopardy of being convicted twice for the same
offenses.

Held:
There is no double jeopardy. The two crimes are separate and distinct. Petitioner is
charged with two (2) distinct and separate offenses, first under Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Bilang
22. What petitioner failed to mention in his argument is the fact that deceit and damage are
essential elements in Article 315 (2-d) Revised Penal Code, but are not required in Batas Pambansa
Bilang 22. Under the latter law, mere issuance of a check that is dishonored gives rise to the
presumption of knowledge on the part of the drawer that he issued the same without sufficient
funds and hence punishable (People v. Veridiano, 132 SCRA 523) which is not so under the Penal
Code. Other differences between the two also include the following: (1) a drawer of a dishonored
check may be convicted under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 even if he had issued the same for a pre-
existing obligation, while under Article 315 (2-d) of the Revised Penal Code such circumstance
negates criminal liability; (2) specific and different penalties are imposed in each of the two
offenses; (3) estafa is essentially a crime against property, while violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang
22 is principally a crime against public interest as it does injury to the entire banking system; (4)
violations of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code are mala in se, while those of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 22 are mala prohibita.

While the filing of the two sets of Information under the provisions of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 22 and under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, on estafa, may refer to
identical acts committed by petitioner, the prosecution thereof cannot be limited to one offense,
because a single criminal act may give rise to a multiplicity of offenses and where there is variance
or differences between the elements of an offense in one law and another law as in the case at bar
there will be no double jeopardy because what the rule on double jeopardy prohibits refers to
identity of elements in the two (2) offenses. Otherwise stated prosecution for the same act is not
prohibited. What is forbidden is prosecution for the same offense. Hence, the mere filing of the two
(2) sets of information does not itself give rise to double jeopardy.

PEOPLE VS. ALCALDE [GR 139225-28, 29 MAY 2002]
En Banc, Davide Jr. (CJ): 14 concur

Facts: At 1:00 p.m. of 29 August 1997, SPO2 Nicanor Avendao, arriving at the house of Arnel
Alcalde y Pascasio in Barangay Bubukal, Santa Cruz, Laguna, found the house in disarray. He saw a
naked woman lying dead on a wooden bed with both hands and feet tied from behind, as well as a
dead child on a crib. The dead woman was Wendy Alcalde, and the dead child was Arwin Alcalde.
Some clothes and a puppy were also burned. Avendao and his team recovered a piece of steel
near Wendys face and empty bottles of gin and Royal Tru- Orange on top of the cabinet. They took
pictures of the dead bodies and caused the entry of the incident in the police blotter. He learned
later that Arnel's two daughters, Bernalyn and Erica, had been rushed to the provincial hospital for
treatment before he and his team arrived at the crime scene. On 24 September 1997, the Office of
the Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna filed before the trial court two informations against Arnel for
parricide, committed against his wife Wendy and his 11-month old son Arwin, and two
informations for frustrated parricide, committed against his two daughters Bernalyn and Erica the
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Santa Cruz, Laguna. Upon his arraignment on 22
October 1997, Arnel, who was assisted by a counsel de parte, refused to speak. The trial court
entered for him a plea of not guilty in each of the cases. On the same occasion, the defense waived
pre-trial. The cases were then consolidated and jointly tried. After the prosecution has presented
its witnesses and rested its case and formally offered its exhibits, the defense filed a motion for
leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence, which was granted. On 27 April 1998, the defense
filed a demurrer to evidence based on the grounds that (a) The accused has not been adequately
informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him during the arraignment; (b) Not an iota
of incriminatory evidence, direct or circumstantial, has been adduced and presented by the
prosecution during the trial; and (c) The constitutional presumption of innocence of the accused
has not been overcome by any evidence or contrary presumption. In its Order of 22 May 1998, the
trial court denied the demurrer to evidence and set the dates for the presentation of the evidence
for the defense. However, in a Manifestation dated 4 June 1998, Atty. Vasquez informed the court
that the defense opted not to present evidence for Arnels defense, as the prosecution failed to
prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. On 16 July 1998, the prosecution filed its Comment on
the manifestation and prayed for the re-opening of the presentation of prosecutions evidence for
the purpose of proving that Arnel was at the scene of the crime. In its Order of 21 August 1998, the
trial court allowed the prosecution to present additional evidence. The defense questioned the
propriety of the said order before the Court of Appeals in a petition for certiorari. In its resolution
of 17 December 1998, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for non-compliance with Section
1, Rule 65, Rules of Court, and for the further reason that the order sought to be set aside was
interlocutory in character and could not, therefore, be the subject of a petition for certiorari; and
that even granting that the exception applied, the trial court committed no capriciousness in
issuing the assailed order. The prosecution thereafter presented their additional witnesses. After
the prosecution finally rested its case, the trial court set on 8 October 1998 the presentation of the
evidence for the defense. However, on 7 October 1998, Atty. Vasquez Sr., informed the trial court
of his inability to communicate with Arnel because of Arnels out of touch of the world behavior.
Atty. Vasquez manifested that the defense was constrained to submit the case for decision. In its
decision of 30 April 1999, the trial court found that the prosecutions evidence has duly established
a succession of circumstantial evidence that leads to the inescapable conclusion that Arnel
committed the crimes charged. The court found Arnel guilty beyond reasonable doubt (Criminal
Cases SC-6651 and SC-6654) for the killing of Wendy and Arwin, and imposed upon him the penalty
of death in both cases. Likewise, the court found Arnel guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of frustrated parricide (Criminal Cases SC-6652 and SC-6653), after considering the severity of the
wounds suffered by his daughters Bernalyn and Erika. Hence, the automatic review.

Issue: Whether the trial court should have ascertained the mental state of the accused before he
was read the information during the arraignment.

Held: The constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him
under the Bill of Rights carries with it the correlative obligation to effectively convey to the accused
the information to enable him to effectively prepare for his defense. At the bottom is the issue of
fair trial. While not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency on the part of
the accused is sufficient to justify suspension of the proceedings, the trial court must be fully
satisfied that the accused would have a fair trial with the assistance the law secures or gives.
Herein, the trial court should have ascertained Arnels mental state instead of proceeding with his
arraignment and its subsequent proceedings.

DUMLAO VS. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS [GR L-52245, 22 JANUARY 1980]
En Banc, Melencio-Herrera (J): 5 concur, 1 abstained as far as Dumlao is concerned.

Facts: A Petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and/or Restraining Order was filed by
Patricio Dumlao, Romeo B. Igot and Alfredo Salapantan Jr., in their own behalf and all others
allegedly similarly situated, seeking to enjoin respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from
implementing certain provisions of Batas Pambansa 51, 52, and 53 for being Dumlao specifically
questions the constitutionality of section 4 of Batas Pambansa (BP) 52 as discriminatory and
contrary to the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Constitution. Said Section 4
provides that "In addition to violation of section 10 of Art. XII-C of the Constitution and
disqualification mentioned in existing laws, which are hereby declared as disqualification for any of
the elective officials enumerated in section 1 hereof. Any retired elective provincial, city of
municipal official who has received payment of the retirement benefits to which he is entitled
under the law and who shall have been 65 years of age at the commencement of the term of office
to which he seeks to be elected, shall not be qualified to run for the same elective local office from
which he has retired." Dumlao alleged that the aforecited provision is directed insidiously against
him, and that the classification provided therein is based on "purely arbitrary grounds and,
therefore, class legislation." For their part, Igot and Salapantan, Jr. assail the validity of Section 7 of
BP 51, which provides that "Unless sooner removed for cause, all local elective officials
hereinabove mentioned shall hold office for a term of 6 years. which shall commence on the first
Monday of March 1980"; Section 4 of BP 52, which provides that "any person who has committed
any act of disloyalty to the State, including acts amounting to subversion, insurrection, rebellion or
other similar crimes, shall not be qualified to be a candidate for any of the offices covered by this
Act, or to participate in any partisan political activity therein: provided, that a judgment of
conviction for any of the aforementioned crimes shall be conclusive evidence of such fact and the
filing of charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military tribunal after
preliminary investigation shall be prima facie evidence of such fact"; Section 1 and Section 6 of BP
52. In addition to the said provisions, Igot and Salapantan, Jr. also questioned the accreditation of
some political parties by the COMELEC, as authorized by BP 53, on the ground that it is contrary to
section 9(1), Art. XII(C) of the Constitution, which provides that a "bona fide candidate for any
public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination."


Issue: Whether Section 4, BP 52, which disqualifies elective candidates who have been charged in
civil and/or military tribunals, is valid.

Held: Explicit is the constitutional provision that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself
and counsel. An accusation, according to the fundamental law, is not synonymous with guilt. The
challenged proviso contravenes the constitutional presumption of innocence, as a candidate is
disqualified from running from public office on the ground alone that charges have been filed
against him before a civil or military tribunal. It condemns before one is fully heard. In ultimate
effect, except as to the degree of proof, no distinction is made between a person convicted of acts
of disloyalty and one against whom charges have been filed for such acts, as both of them would be
ineligible to run for public office. A person disqualified to run for public office on the ground that
charges have been filed against him is virtually placed in the same category as a person already
convicted of a crime with the penalty of arresto, which carries with it the accessory penalty of
suspension of the right to hold office during the term of the sentence. Although the filing of
charges is considered as but prima facie evidence, and therefore, may be rebutted, yet, there is
"clear and present danger" that because the proximity of the elections, time constraints will
prevent one charged with acts of disloyalty from offering contrary proof to overcome the prima
facie evidence against him. Additionally, it is best that evidence pro and con of acts of disloyalty be
aired before the Courts rather than before an administrative body such as the COMELEC. A highly
possible conflict of finding between two government bodies, to the extreme detriment of a person
charged, will thereby be avoided. Furthermore, a legislative/administrative determination of guilt
should not be allowed to be substituted for a judicial determination. Being infected with
constitutional infirmity, a partial declaration of nullity of only that objectionable portion is
mandated. The first paragrap of Section 4, BP 52, on the other hand, is valid. However, that portion
of the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 52 providing that "the filing of
charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military tribunal after preliminary
investigation shall be prima facie evidence of such fact", is hereby declared null and void, for being
violative of the constitutional presumption of innocence guaranteed to an accused.

PEOPLE VS. BALUYOT [GRS L-35752-3, 31 JANUARY 1977]

Facts: On 6 August 1970, in the Municipality of Malolos, Province of Bulacan, Miguel Baluyot y
Dulay, Pablo Pinca y Narca and Antonio Balinjari y Naval, alias Tony Baluyot robbed money from
Gerry Sureta alias Marcelino Carceles y Abasola, then driving a taxi marked AIRLANE with plate 14-
97, 40-TX 870 (TX-9345 s/69), to the damage and prejudice of Sureta. They stabbed Sureta, hitting
him n the neck, thereby inflicting serious wounds (stab wounds), which directly caused the death of
Sureta. Baluyot, Pinca and Balinjari were charged with the crime of robbery with homicide before
the Circuit Criminal Court of the Fifth Judicial District holding sessions in Malolos, Bulacan (Judge
Abelardo M. Dayrit, presiding). Upon arraignment on 28 September 1970, all the accused, assisted
by attorney de oficio, Atty. Oscar Torres, pleaded not guilty to the information. The following day
September 29 when the case was called for trial, the prosecution started presenting its
evidence. The accused were assisted by the same attorney de oficio, Atty. Oscar Torres, who
manifested that he was appearing as counsel for the accused in that day's trial only. Trial was
continued the following day, 30 September 1970. The accused were this time assisted by another
counsel de oficio, Atty. Godofredo Linsangan. Thereafter, the continuation of the trial was reset for
7 October 1970. At this hearing, the accused were assisted by another counsel de oficio, Atty.
Eduardo Villafuerte, who was appointed by the trial court after the accused informed it that they
had no lawyer. Then the trial court asked the new counsel de oficio what his pleasure was, and the
latter requested that he be given a few minutes within which to confer with the accused. The trial
court gave him 20 minutes within which to "consummate" his conference. Accordingly, when the
session was resumed, Atty. Villafuerte manifested that "after conferring with the accused, they
intimated their desire to withdraw their former plea of not guilty and to substitute in lieu thereof
the plea of guilty to the offense charged." Without inquiring from the prosecution what its stand
was on the motion of counsel for the accused, the trial court, addressing itself to all the accused
said "You have heard the manifestations of counsel. Do you now affirm the truthfulness and
correctness of the manifestation of counsel to the effect that you now desire to withdraw your
former plea of not guilty and to substitute the same with that of guilty to the offense charged?" All
of the accused replied in the affirmative. When asked whether the accused were ready to hear
their sentence, the latter replied in the affimative. Then and there, and without much ado, the trial
court dictated in open court its decision convicting Baluyot, Pinca and Balinjari of the crime of
robbery with homicide and sentencing each and all of them to death, "with the other accessories of
the law; to proportionately indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of P12,000.00; to
correspondingly pay the said heirs by way of moral and exemplary damages in the amount of
P20,000.00, proportionately; and similarly, to proportionately pay the costs of these proceedings."
Hence, the automatic review.

Issue: Whether it is sufficient for the trial court to ask the accused whether they were ready to
receive their sentence after they had affirmed the "truthfulness and correctness" of their counsel's
manifestation on their change of plea.

Held: Similar to the identical case of People vs. Ricalde (L-34673, January 30, 1973), it is held that
previous decisions have repeatedly warned against the danger of the plea of guilty being
improvidently entered in capital cases. The Court has uniformly stressed the importance of the trial
court's receiving evidence notwithstanding the plea of guilty in order that no reasonable doubt
may remain as to the guilt and the degree of culpability of the accused. The Court has time and
time again reminded judges that they are duty bound to be extra solicitous in seeing to it that
when an accused pleads guilty he understands fully the meaning of his plea and the import of
inevitable conviction. Herein, the trial court did not even ascertain for itself whether the accused
completely understood the precise nature of the charge and the meaning of the aggravating
circumstances of nighttime, craft and abuse of superior strength as having attended the
commission of the crime, so as to obviate any doubt as to the possibility that they have
misunderstood the nature and gravity of the charge to which they were pleading guilty. The trial
court did not conduct a dialogue with the accused on their educational attainment, especially
considering that a cursory perusal of their signatures on the statements they gave to the Malolos
Police Force tends to show that they have very little or scanty education. Moreover, after the
arraignment, trial was held on three dates and on each day the accused were assisted by 3
different counsel de oficio. In the hearing of 7 October 1970 the day the decision under review
was rendered the counsel de oficio who assisted the accused was designated by the trial court
only after the case was called for trial, i.e., after the accused had informed the trial court that they
did not have a lawyer. Under these circumstances, it is not unreasonable to assume that said
counsel de oficio proceeded to trial without first fully investigating the facts of the case and that
his interview with the accused, even if it lasted for 20 minutes as the record insinuates, was not,
and could not have been sufficient to enable him to acquire a fairly good grasp, much less a
comprehensive knowledge, of the relevant facts of the case. Incidentally, under the Rules of Court,
whenever an attorney de oficio is employed or assigned by the court to defend the accused at the
trial, he shall be given a reasonable time to consult with the accused and prepare his defense
before proceeding further in the case, which shall not be less than 2 days in case of trial. The
record, incidentally, does not show the existence of a "good cause" to justify the trial court in
shortening the trial fixed by the Rules. The trial court cannot plead ignorance of the prevailing
injunction directed towards trial judges to exercise patience and circumspection in explaining to
the accused not only the nature and meaning of the accusation and the full import of their plea of
guilty but also the meaning in layman's language of the aggravating circumstances that
attended the commission of the crime. Furthermore, the trial court did not even consult the
testimonies of the 3 State witnesses namely, the doctor and the police officers who took down
the statements of the accused who testified during the first and second hearings, at least with
the end in view of ascertaining the degree of the penalty that should be imposed after accepting
the plea of guilty of the accused. What the trial court did was only to ask the accused whether they
were ready to receive their sentence after they had affirmed the "truthfulness and correctness" of
their counsel's manifestation on their change of plea. In short, the trial court did not even inform
the accused that their plea of guilty might mean death for all of them.

PEOPLE VS. MAGSI [GR L-32888, 12 AUGUST 1983]
En Banc, Makasiar (J): 9 concur, 2 took no part, 1 on official leave, 1 on sick leave

Facts: On 14 January 1968 in the Municipality of San Fernando, La Union, Philippines, Eloi Magsi,
Juan Ponce y Billon (@ Johnny), Perfecto Arce (@ Peping), along with Gerardo Flores (@ Gerry),
Opring Olazo, Doro Doe and Peter Doe, conspired in the killing of one Jesus Gallardo outside the
latter's house through the use of carbine, pistols and revolvers. Magsi, et. al. were charged before
the Court of First Instance of La Union, Second Judicial District on 10 January 1968 for murder, with
aggravating circumstances attendant in the commission of the offense, i.e. (1) abuse of superior
strength; (2) use of a motor vehicle; (3) the offense was committed in the dwelling place of the
offended party; and (4) that the offense was committed by a band. "Doro Doe," subsequently
identified as Teodoro del Rosario. Altogether, the case was actually set and rescheduled for 6
times: (1) On 1 August 1970, where despite appointment by the court of Atty. Mario Rivera as de
officio counsel for the accused, hearing was re-set to 8 September 1970 on motion of Atty. Rivera,
who was prompted to ask for it because of accused's desire to be represented by a de parte
counsel. Prior to the next hearing, Atty. Rivera moved to withdraw as de officio counsel and it was
favorably acted on by the court on 7 September 1970. (2) On 8 September 1970, for failure of the
de officio and de parte counsels to appear, despite a second call of the case, the hearing was re-set
for the next day and the court appointed Atty. Dominador Cariaso de officio counsel for the
accused. (3) On 9 September 1970, neither the de parte nor the de officio counsel was in Court, so
Atty. Rivera was reappointed that day as de officio counsel for arraignment purposes only. Del
Rosario entered a plea of guilty but qualified it with the allegation that he committed the crime out
of fear of his co-accused Eloy Magsi and the other co- accused. Accused's allegation of duress
prompted Atty. Rivera to move for the re-setting of the case for the study and presentation of
possible mitigating circumstances. The case was accordingly re-set for 14 September 1970. (4) On
14 September 1970, the presentation of mitigating circumstances was not held as scheduled, but
de officio counsel Atty. Cariaso's explanation regarding his close ties with the deceased and his
family was heard, and his motion to be relieved as counsel by reason thereof, and be replaced by
one who can attend to the defense of the accused with candor, was denied by the court. However,
per the note presented to the Court by Atty. Cariaso presumably from Atty. Baterina, de parte
counsel for the accused, the contents of which sought the re-setting of the case for the first week
of October, the case was again re-set for 6 October 1970. The Court motu proprio changed
accused's plea of guilty to not guilty. (5) On 6 October 1970, Atty. Cariaso, who appeared in court
only after a warrant for his arrest was issued, informed the Court that those interested in the
conviction of the accused opposed his appearance as de officio counsel, and at the same time, also
turned over another note, the contents of which asked for another resetting. The Court denied the
motion of Atty. Cariaso to withdraw as counsel, but re-set the case for 19 October 1970. (6) On 19
October 1970, Atty. Cariaso outrightly informed the Court that the accused was ready to enter an
unqualified plea of guilty. Based on accused's plea of guilty without any evidence for the
prosecution on any of the alleged aggravating circumstances nor accused's evidence on duress, the
Court rendered its decision the next day, 20 October 1970, finding del Rosario guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of death. Hence,
the mandatory review.

Issue: Whether the court had been remiss in its duties to the accused, who was convicted on an
improvident plea of guilty.

Held: Of the six hearing dates held relative to the case, accused at two instances entered a
qualified plea of guilty. De officio counsel Atty, Rivera and accused were hardly afforded by the
Court any opportunity to discuss the case together, and the qualified plea of guilty resulted from
the Court's proddings rather than from accused's spontaneous volition. The Court knew that
accused's prior plea of guilty was qualified by alleged duress employed on him by the other
accused. It behooved the Court to allow the accused an opportunity to present evidence on the
alleged duress, as well as discover for itself the reasons for accused's change of mind regarding his
plea. But more importantly, the Court could have complied, as it failed to do so the first time, with
its bounden duty to apprise and advise the accused of the seriousness of the charges, the meaning
of the qualifying and modifying circumstances, and gravity of the penalty that may be imposed on
him despite the plea of guilty, as well as received prosecution's evidence on the alleged aggravating
circumstances attendant to the commission of the offense charged. But these considerations
notwithstanding, sans any evidence whatsoever from the prosecution nor from the defense, after
Atty. Cariaso's manifestation, and its trite queries addressed to the accused whether he confirmed
the same or not, the Court proceeded to decide the case. The Court has consistently enjoined strict
and substantial adherence to its rulings in cases where defendants are charged with capital
offenses. Mere pro-forma appointment of de officio counsel, who fails to genuinely protect the
interests of the accused, resetting of hearing by the court for alleged reception of evidence when in
fact none was conducted, perfunctory queries addressed to the accused whether he understands
the charges and the gravity of the penalty, are not sufficient compliance with the Court's
injunctions. The conduct of the trial court clearly established the fact that it had been remiss in its
duties to the accused, who was convicted on an improvident plea of guilty.

PEOPLE VS. ALCALDE [GR 139225-28, 29 MAY 2002]
En Banc, Davide Jr. (CJ): 14 concur

Facts: At 1:00 p.m. of 29 August 1997, SPO2 Nicanor Avendao, arriving at the house of Arnel
Alcalde y Pascasio in Barangay Bubukal, Santa Cruz, Laguna,found the house in disarray. He saw a
naked woman lying dead on a wooden bed with both hands and feet tied from behind, as well as a
dead child on a crib. The dead woman was Wendy Alcalde, and the dead child was Arwin Alcalde.
Some clothes and a puppy were also burned. Avendao and his team recovered a piece of steel
near Wendys face and empty bottles of gin and Royal Tru- Orange on top of the cabinet. They took
pictures of the dead bodies and caused the entry of the incident in the police blotter. He learned
later that Arnel's two daughters, Bernalyn and Erica, had been rushed to the provincial hospital for
treatment before he and his team arrived at the crime scene. On 24 September 1997, the Office of
the Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna filed before the trial court two informations against Arnel for
parricide, committed against his wife Wendy and his 11-month old son Arwin, and two
informations for frustrated parricide, committed against his two daughters Bernalyn and Erica the
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Santa Cruz, Laguna. Upon his arraignment on 22
October 1997, Arnel, who was assisted by a counsel de parte, refused to speak. Pursuant to Section
1(c) of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, the trial court entered for him a plea of not guilty in each of
the cases. On the same occasion, the defense waived pre-trial. The cases were then consolidated
and jointly tried. The witnesses initially presented by the prosecution were SPO2 Nicanor
Avendao, Dr. Nilo Pempengco, Dr. June Mendoza, and Salud Suillan. After the prosecution rested
its case and formally offered its exhibits, the defense filed a motion for leave of court to file a
demurrer to evidence, which was granted. On 27 April 1998, the defense, through counsel de parte
Atty. Renato B. Vasquez, Sr., filed a demurrer to evidence based on the grounds that (a) The
accused has not been adequately informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him
during the arraignment; (b) Not an iota of incriminatory evidence, direct or circumstantial, has
been adduced and presented by the prosecution during the trial; and (c) The constitutional
presumption of innocence of the accused has not been overcome by any evidence or contrary
presumption. In its Order of 22 May 1998, the trial court denied the demurrer to evidence and set
the dates for the presentation of the evidence for the defense. However, in a Manifestation dated
4 June 1998, Atty. Vasquez informed the court that the defense opted not to present evidence for
Arnels defense, as the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. On 16 July
1998, the prosecution filed its Comment on the manifestation and prayed for the re-opening of the
presentation of prosecutions evidence for the purpose of proving that Arnel was at the scene of
the crime. In its Order of 21 August 1998, the trial court allowed the prosecution to present
additional evidence. The defense questioned the propriety of the said order before the Court of
Appeals in a petition for certiorari. In its resolution of 17 December 1998, the Court of Appeals
dismissed the petition for non-compliance with Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Court, and for the
further reason that the order sought to be set aside was interlocutory in character and could not,
therefore, be the subject of a petition for certiorari; and that even granting that the exception
applied, the trial court committed no capriciousness in issuing the assailed order. The prosecution
thereafter presented SPO1 Neptali de la Cruz and Jose Alcalde as additional witnesses. After the
prosecution finally rested its case, the trial court set on 8 October 1998 the presentation of the
evidence for the defense. However, on 7 October 1998, counsel for ARNEL, Atty. Vasquez Sr.,
informed the trial court of his inability to communicate with Arnel because of Arnels out of touch
of the world behavior. Atty. Vasquez manifested that the defense was constrained to submit the
case for decision. In its decision of 30 April 1999, the trial court found that the prosecutions
evidence has duly established a succession of circumstantial evidence that leads to the inescapable
conclusion that Arnel committed the crimes charged. The court found Arnel guilty beyond
reasonable doubt (Criminal Cases SC-6651 and SC-6654) for the killing of Wendy and Arwin, and
imposed upon him the penalty of death in both cases. Likewise, the court found Arnel guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of frustrated parricide (Criminal Cases SC-6652 and SC-
6653), after considering the severity of the wounds suffered by his daughters Bernalyn and Erika.
Hence, the automatic review.

Issue: Whether arraignment may be had when the accused is suffering from an unsound mental
health.

Held: The failure of Arnels counsel de parte to ask for the suspension of his arraignment on the
ground that Arnel was suffering from an unsound mental health did not amount to a waiver of such
right. It must be recalled that Arnels arraignment was on 22 October 1997. At the time, what was
applicable was Section 12(a) of Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, which reads "The
arraignment shall be suspended, if at the time thereof: (a) The accused appears to be suffering
from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully understand the
charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. In such case, the court shall order his mental
examination and, if necessary, his confinement for such purpose." Nowhere in that Section was it
required that a motion by the accused be filed for the suspension of arraignment. Hence, the
absence of such motion could not be considered a waiver of the right to a suspension of
arraignment. True, Section 11(a) of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, requires a motion by
the proper party, but this new requirement of motion by the proper party could not be applied to
these cases because the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which prescribes such requirement,
took effect only on 1 December 2000. Besides, a waiver must be knowingly and intelligently made
by the person possessing such right. Unfortunately, Arnel was apparently deprived of such mental
faculties. Thus, no waiver, impliedly or expressly, could have been made by Arnel at the time of his
arraignment by reason of his mental condition. Settled is the rule that when a judge is informed or
discovers that an accused is apparently in a present condition of insanity or imbecility, it is within
his discretion to investigate the matter. If it be found that by reason of such affliction the accused
could not, with the aid of counsel, make a proper defense, it is the duty of the court to suspend the
proceedings and commit the accused to a proper place of detention until his faculties are
recovered. Moreover, the aforementioned Section 12(a) of Rule 116 mandates the suspension of
the arraignment and the mental examination of the accused should it appear that he is of unsound
mind. In these cases, the trial court should have ascertained Arnels mental state instead of
proceeding with his arraignment and its subsequent proceedings. The physical and outward
manifestations of Arnel at the time of his arraignment, which were brought to the attention of the
trial court, indicated substantial demonstration of a mental disorder that rendered Arnel unfit to be
arraigned or tried in the four criminal cases. The trial court failed to exercise utmost circumspection
in assuming that Arnel was in full possession of his mental faculties and understood the
proceedings against him. The constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him under the Bill of Rights carries with it the correlative obligation to
effectively convey to the accused the information to enable him to effectively prepare for his
defense. At the bottom is the issue of fair trial. While not every aberration of the mind or exhibition
of mental deficiency on the part of the accused is sufficient to justify suspension of the
proceedings, the trial court must be fully satisfied that the accused would have a fair trial with the
assistance the law secures or gives. Under the circumstances in these cases, the trial court gravely
failed in this regard.


PEOPLE VS. DY [GR 115236-37, 29 JANUARY 2002]
First Division, Ynares-Santiago (J): 4 concur

Facts: Gina Marie Mobley, together with her companion Helen Kathleen Tennican, both American
nationals, were exchange students at the Chengdu University of Science and Technology in
Chengdu, Sichuan, China. Gina was taking up Biology. Helen was also a Biology major and took
Chinese Studies as an additional course. Both were enrolled at the Pacific Lutheran University at
Tacoma, Washington, where Gina was a university scholar. Having heard of the renowned Filipino
hospitality from their Filipino- American friends, Gina and Helen decided to spend their semestral
break in the Philippines. They arrived in the country on 10 January 1994. In the afternoon of 12
January 1994, they were driven from their hotel to the Philippine Rabbit Bus terminal in Dau,
Pampanga, where they were supposed to take a ride to Baguio City. While waiting for their bus,
they went to a Shakeys Pizza Parlor near the terminal. Gina and Helen took the table near the
comfort room, while Bryan Dy y La Madrid and Giovan Bernardino y Garcia, who are brothers-in-
law, and their driver Rizal, were seated at the next table. With them was their driver, Rizal. Bryan
and Giovan offered the girls a ride to Baguio City, which eventually, was accepted by Helen and
Gina, thinking that they could save some money besides the thought that the boys looked nice and
trustworthy. They left Shakeys at 7:30 p.m. and boarded a white 1991 four-door Mitsubishi sedan.
Rizal took the wheel, while Bryan sat at the front passenger seat. Helen, Gina and Giovan stayed on
the back seat, in that order. Before proceeding to Baguio, they stopped at a residential area where
Bryan delivered some papers and picked up some jackets. The group arrived in Baguio City at 10:45
p.m., proceeding first to the house of Bryans uncle, but shortly afterwards, looked for another
place to stay. They went to the Terraces Hotel, the Baden Powell, and the Benguet Pines Tourist Inn
to check the rates and the rooms. They checked in at the Benguet Pines Tourist Inn at 11:00 p.m.
They got two rooms on opposite sides of the corridor on the second floor. After a while, Bryan and
Giovan asked the girls out for some drinks and dancing at the Songs Jazz Bar along Session Road.
While at the Songs Jazz Bar, Helen drank a margarita, tequila and blowjob with plenty of water.
Gina drank Singaporean sling, blowjob and half a glass of Giovans mai tai. Bryan drank just one
shot of tequila while Giovan drank half a glass of mai tai. After the group left Songs Jazz Bar, Giovan
drove to a convenience store on the pretext that he was thirsty and wanted to buy cola drinks.
Giovan and Bryan alighted and returned after some 10 minutes with Giovan carrying 3 plastic cups
of Sprite or Seven-Up and Bryan, two cups and a plastic bag containing Chinese food with small
lemons to be squeezed on it. Bryan gave Helen and Gina a cup each. Helen and Gina drank from the
cups. Meanwhile, as they were drinking their cola drinks, Giovan drove the group to Club John Hay
where he told the guards at the gate that they were just going to check on the Clubs billeting rates.
They parked in front of the billeting office. Gina was then about to finish her cola drink when she
felt something gritty in it which stuck into her teeth; they were like small particles. She spat them
back into the cup and dumped out the remaining contents of the cup outside the car and
thereafter gave the cup to Giovan who threw it into a trash can. Gina commented out loud about
the gritty substance in her drink and related that in China they often found strange things in their
food. There was no word from the boys. Helen finished her drink and then handed the empty cup
to Giovan who likewise threw it into a trash can. After leaving Club John Hay, the group returned to
their hotel. Gina and Helen appeared to have been drugged, as they were disoriented by the events
thereafter. Helen felt that someone was violating her personal space before she became
unconscious. Gina remembered that Giovan forcefully kissed her and inserted two fingers in her
vagina before someone else entered her room; finding Bryan attempting to have carnal knowledge
with her, she did oral sex on Bryan to prevent him from penetrating her before she passed out.
Gina woke up at 3:00 p.m. feeling groggy and confused. She opened her purse to get money to pay
for the room, but found that her US$290.00, P2,000.00, 300 yuan and US$200.00 travellers check
were all missing. Only her US $100.00 travellers check was left. She tried to wake Helen up but the
latter only rolled over. Gina ran downstairs and met Hilda, a hotel desk girl, who asked her if she
was alright. Gina cried and told her that she had been robbed. Hilda said she will call the police.
Gina returned to their room to wake up Helen but the latter still did not wake up. After sometime,
Gina again went downstairs and was introduced to 5 or 6 members of the Criminal Investigation
Service (CIS). She told them that she was robbed and sexually molested and narrated to them what
had happened. Bryan and Giovan were charged with Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness in Criminal
Cases 12600-R, and 12601-R. The two cases were tried jointly. Bryan and Giovan refused to be
arraigned and enter a plea; hence, a plea of not guilty was entered on their behalf. During the
trial, and based on the set of facts provided by the private prosecutor, the entries in Ginas journal
and the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary examination conducted by
the trial court in the afternoon of January 26 and 27, 1994, Dr. Hernandez opined that Gina and
Helen were drugged, possibly with lorazepam or ativan, which is a benzodiazepine. On 16 March
1994, the trial court rendered a decision declaring Bryan and Giovan guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crimes of rape and acts of lasciviousness as charged. In Criminal Case 12600 (rape),
the court sentenced Bryan to suffer an indeterminate penalty of 8 years of prision mayor, as
minimum, to 14 years and 8 months of reclusion temporal, as maximum (appreciating the
privileged mitigating circumstance of minority and the generic mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender); and Giovan to an indeterminate penalty of 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal, as
minimum, to 20 years and 1 DAY of reclusion perpetua, as maximum (appreciating the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender). Both were ordered to pay Gina Marie Mobley in the amounts
of: P50,000.00 for her being raped, P12,195.00 (the equivalent of US$450.00 dollars at the
exchange rate of P27.10 to US$1.00) as actual damages, and P500,000.00 as moral damages, plus
costs. In Criminal Case 12601-R (acts of lasciviousness), the Court sentenced Bryan to suffer a
straight penalty of 2 months of arresto mayor; and Giovan to suffer an indeterminate penalty of 2
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to 2 years and 4 months of prision correccional, as
maximum. Both were ordered to indemnify, jointly and severally Gina Marie Mobley in the amount
of P100,000.00 for and as moral damages, plus costs; and furthermore, pay, jointly and severally,
the offended party attorneys fees in the amount of P100,000.00 in the two cases. Bryan and
Giovan filed separate appeals.

Issue: Whether the alleged lack of arraignment nullifies the proceedings against Bryan Dy and
Giovan Bernardino.

Held: Concededly, the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation may not be
waived. Indeed, the defense may waive their right to enter a plea and let the court enter a plea of
not guilty in their behalf. However, it becomes altogether a different matter if the accused
themselves refuse to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them. The
defense can not hold hostage the court by their refusal to the reading of the complaint or
information. The reason proffered by Bryan and Giovan for their refusal to be arraigned, i.e., that
to do so would supposedly constitute a waiver of their right to appeal the resolutions of the
prosecutor to the Secretary of Justice, appears to be specious. Evidently, Bryan and Giovan only
wanted the trial court to suspend the arraignment to enable them to exhaust their remedy of
appeal to the Secretary of Justice. However, Bryan and Giovan had no valid ground to move that
their arraignment be held in abeyance, considering that at that time they had not filed a petition
for review of the prosecutors resolution before the Department of Justice. It is also important to
stress that to nullify the proceedings had before the court a quo would set a dangerous precedent.
For, all that an accused would do is to refuse to be arraigned and then proceed to trial, and if found
guilty would just invoke the absence of arraignment to set aside the proceedings had in the trial
court. Such practice would run counter to the purpose and spirit of our rules of procedure which is:
to help achieve an orderly and speedy disposition of cases. Nonetheless, Bryan and Giovan were
substantially informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them when their counsel
received a copy of the Prosecutors resolution maintaining the charge for rape and acts of
lasciviousness. The failure to read the complaint or information in a language or dialect known to
them was essentially a procedural infirmity that was eventually non-prejudicial to Bryan and
Giovan. Not only did they receive a copy of the information, they likewise participated in the trial,
cross-examined the complainant and her witnesses and presented their own witnesses to debunk
and deny the charges against them. The conduct of the defense, particularly their participation in
the trial, clearly indicates that they were fully aware of the nature and cause of the accusations
against them. Interestingly, after the arraignment, the defense never brought up the supposed
invalidity or defect thereof. Rather, Bryan and Giovan and their counsel vigorously and fully
participated in the trial of the case. Bryan and Giovan are clearly estopped to question the alleged
invalidity of or infirmity in their arraignment. By actively participating in the trial of the case, they
have effectively waived whatever procedural error there was in their arraignment. In short,
whatever was the defect in their arraignment was substantially cured by their own omission and
subsequent actions.

PEOPLE V. LAGON

FACTS:

The accused had allegedly issued a check in the amount of P4,232.80 as payment for
goods or merchandise purchased, knowing that she did not have sufficient funds to cover the
check, which check therefore subsequently bounced. He was charged with the crime of estafa
under paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. The information was dismissed by
reason of the court lacks the authority to impose the penalty prescribed by the law for the offense.
The judge held that the jurisdiction of a court to try criminal action is determined by the law in
force at the time of the institution of the action and not by the law in force at the time of the
commission of the crime. In the case at bar, when the offense was done (April 1975), the
jurisdiction was vested by law in the City Court, however when it was filed (July 1976) there was an
amendment in the law stating therein that the penalty imposable upon a person accused there
under had increased, therefore beyond the City Courts authority to impose.

On petitioners contention is that would application of the above-settled doctrine to the
instant case not result in also applying Presidential Decree No. 818 to the present case, in disregard
of the rule against retroactivity of penal laws? Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code permits penal
laws to have retroactive effect only "insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a
habitual criminal,

. ."

ISSUE:
W/N the City Court of Roxas had jurisdiction over the case and that it had erred in its order
dismissing the case.


HELD: Petitioner contention fails.


In the case of People v. Purisima the court stressed that it is settled that the jurisdiction of
the court is not determined by what may be meted out to the offender after trial, or even by the
result of the evidence that would be presented at the trial, but by the extent of the penalty which
the law imposes for the misdemeanor, crime or violation charged in the complaint. Also in the case
of People v. Buissan, the Court of First Instance, taking cognizance of a criminal case coming under
its jurisdiction, may, after trial, impose a penalty that is proper for a crime within the exclusive
competence of a municipal or city court as the evidence would warrant.

In the case at bar, the increased penalty provided for the offense charged in Criminal Case
No. 7362 by P.D. No. 818 (prison mayor in its medium period) is obviously heavier than the penalty
provided for the same offense originally imposed by paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the Revised
Penal Code (up to prision correccional in its minimum period).

Should the criminal information be refiled in the proper court, that is, the proper Regional
Trial Court, that court may not impose that more onerous penalty upon private respondent
Libertad Lagon (assuming the evidence shows that the offense was committed before 22 October
1975). But the Regional Trial Court would remain vested with subject-matter jurisdiction to try and
decide the (refiled) case even though the penalty properly imposable, given the date of the
commission of the offense charged, should be the lower penalty originally provided for in
paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code which is otherwise within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the City Court of Roxas City. In other words, the circumstance that P.D. No. 818
would be inapplicable to the refiled case would not result in the Regional Trial Court losing subject-
matter jurisdiction, nor in the case falling back into the City Court's exclusive jurisdiction.