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Walter E. Olsen & Co. v.

G.R. No. L-18740. March 29, 1922

The petitioners assail the validity of the Act No. 2613 of the Philippine Legislature entitled "an
act to improve the methods of production and the quality of tobacco in the Philippine and to
develop the export trade therein”. The Collector of Internal Revenue is authorized to certify to
the Insular Collector of Customs that the standard tobacco exported is the growth and product of
the Philippine Islands. Paragraph 5 of the petition alleges that under clause B of section 6 of the
Act, the Collector of Internal Revenue promulgated Administrative Order No. 35, known as
"Tobacco Inspection Regulations," in which it is said:

To be classed as standard, cigars must be manufactured under sanitary conditions from good,
clean, selected tobacco, properly cured and seasoned, of a crop which has been harvested at
least six months, exclusively the product of the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, or Nueva Vizcaya.
The cigars must be well made, with suitable spiral wrapper and with long filler, etc.

The petitioner applied to the Collector of Internal Revenue for a certificate of origin covering a
consignment of 10,000 machine-made cigars to San Francisco, and as the petitioner himself
stated on making such application that the cigars sought to be exported have been manufactured
from short-filler tobacco which was not the product of the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and
Nueva Vizcaya. The Collector of Internal Revenue did not deem it necessary to make an actual
examination and inspection of said cigars in view of the fact that the cigars were not made with
long-filler nor were they made from tobacco exclusively the product of any of the three
mentioned provinces.

Whether or not A.O No. 35 and Act No. 2613, as well as the refusal of the Collector of Internal
Revenue to issue a certificate of origin, are constitutional.

Yes. Under the provisions of Act No. 2613, the Collector of Internal Revenue of the Philippine
Islands promulgated Administrative Order No. 35, known as "Tobacco Inspections Regulations."
Such rules and regulations, having been promulgated by that officer, the court has a right to
assume that he was acting under such rules and regulations when he refused to issue the
certificate of origin. It appears from the record that the cigars in question were not long-filler
cigars, and that they were not manufactured from tobacco grown in one of the three provinces.
By the express terms and provisions of such rules and regulations promulgated by the Collector
of Internal Revenue, it was his duty to refuse petitioner's request, and decline the certificate or
origin, because the cigars tendered were not of the specified kind, and the court have a right to
assume that he performed his official duty as the understood it. After such refusal and upon such
grounds, it would indeed, have been a vain and useless thing for the Collector of Internal
Revenue to his examined or inspected the cigars. Having refused to issue the certificate of origin
for the reason above assigned, it is very apparent that a request thereafter made examine or
inspect the cigars would also have been refused.

Salas v. J arencio
G.R. No. L-29788 August 30, 1972

On February 24, 1919, the 4th Branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment
declaring the City of Manila the owner in fee simple of a parcel of land containing an area of
9,689.8 square meters, more or less. On various dates, the City of Manila sold portions of the
parcel of land and when the last sale was effected, Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 22547
covering the residue with an area of 7,490.10 square meters, was issued in the name of the City
of Manila. On September 21, 1960, the Municipal Board of Manila adopted a resolution
requesting the President to consider the feasibility of declaring the City property bounded by
Florida, San Andres, and Nebraska Streets as a patrimonial property of the City of Manila for the
purpose of reselling these lots to the actual occupants thereof. Subsequently, a revised version of
the Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives as House Bill No. 1453, which seeks to
convert one (1) parcel of land in the district of Malate, which is reserved as communal property
into a disposable or alienable property of the State and to provide its subdivision and sale to bona
fide occupants or tenants. The bill was passed by the Senate, approved by the President and
became Republic Act No. 4118. But the City of Manila made a complete turn-about, the City
Mayor of Manila brought an action for injunction and/or prohibition with preliminary injunction
to restrain, prohibit and enjoin the appellants from further implementing Republic Act No. 4118,
and praying for the declaration of it as unconstitutional.

(1) Whether or not the property involved is a patrimonial property of the City of Manila.
(2) Whether or not Republic Act No. 4118 is constitutional.

(1) No. When a statute is assailed as unconstitutional the Courts have the power and authority to
inquire into the question and pass upon it. This has long ago been settled in Marbury vs.
Madison, when the United States Supreme Court speaking thru Chief Justice Marshall held that
if an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void, it is emphatically the province
and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. When the courts declare a law
unconstitutional it does not mean that the judicial power is superior to the legislative power. It
simply means that the power of the people is superior to both and that when the will of the
legislature, declared in statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the
Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the Constitution rather than by the statutes.

The City of Manila, although declared by the Cadastral Court as owner in fee simple, has not
shown by any shred of evidence in what manner it acquired said land as its private or patrimonial
property. When it acquires property in its private capacity, it acts like an ordinary person capable
of entering into contracts or making transactions for the transmission of title or other real rights.
When it comes to acquisition of land, it must have done so under any of the modes established
by law for the acquisition of ownership and other real rights. In the absence of a title deed to any
land claimed by the City of Manila as its own, showing that it was acquired with its private or
corporate funds, the presumption is that such land came from the State upon the creation of the
municipality. It may, therefore, be laid down as a general rule that regardless of the source or
classification of land in the possession of a municipality, excepting those acquired with its own
funds in its private or corporate capacity, such property is held in trust for the State for the
benefit of its inhabitants, whether it be for governmental or proprietary purposes. When it comes
to property of the municipality which it did not acquire in its private or corporate capacity with
its own funds, the legislature can transfer its administration and disposition to an agency of the
National Government to be disposed of according to its discretion. Here it did so in obedience to
the constitutional mandate of promoting social justice to insure the well-being and economic
security of the people.

(2) Yes. The property, as has been previously shown, was not acquired by the City of Manila with
its own funds in its private or proprietary capacity. The land in question pertains to the State and
the City of Manila merely acted as trustee for the benefit of the people therein for whom the
State can legislate in the exercise of its legitimate powers. Republic Act No. 4118 was never
intended to expropriate the property involved but merely to confirm its character as communal
land of the State and to make it available for disposition by the National Government. The
subdivision of the land and conveyance of the resulting subdivision lots to the occupants by
Congressional authorization does not operate as an exercise of the power of eminent domain
without just compensation but simply as a manifestation of its right and power to deal with state
property. Consequently, the City of Manila was not deprived of anything it owns, either under
the due process clause or under the eminent domain provisions of the Constitution. If it failed to
get from the Congress the concession it sought of having the land involved given to it as its
patrimonial property, the Courts possess no power to grant that relief. Republic Act No. 4118
does not, therefore, suffer from any constitutional infirmity.

Morfe v. Mutuc
G.R. No. L-20387 J anuary 31, 1968

Congress enacted the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act

to deter public officials and
employees from committing acts of dishonesty and improve the tone of morality in public
service. One of the specific provisions of the said act is that every public officer, either within
thirty (30) days after its approval or after his assumption of office "and within the month of
January of every other year thereafter", as well as upon the termination of his position, shall
prepare and file with the head of the office to which he belongs, "a true detailed and sworn
statement of assets and liabilities, including a statement of the amounts and sources of his
income, the amounts of his personal and family expenses and the amount of income taxes paid
for the next preceding calendar."

Said provision was challenged for being violative of due
process as an oppressive exercise of police power and as an unlawful invasion of the
constitutional right to privacy, implicit in the ban against unreasonable search and seizure
construed together with the prohibition against self-incrimination.
Whether or not the periodical submission of statement of assets and liabilities of an official is
violative of the petitioner’s constitutional rights.

No. The Anti-Graft Act of 1960 was precisely aimed at curtailing and minimizing the
opportunities for official corruption and maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service.
It is intended to further promote morality in public administration. A public office must indeed
be a public trust. Nobody can cavil at its objective; the goal to be pursued commands the assent
of all.

When a government official accepts a public position, he is deemed to have voluntarily assumed
the obligation to give information about his personal affair, not only at the time of his
assumption of office but during the time he continues to discharge public trust. While in the
attainment of such public good, no infringement of constitutional rights is permissible, there
must be a showing, clear, categorical, and undeniable, that what the Constitution condemns, the
statute allows. The due process clause is not susceptible to such a reproach. There was therefore
no unconstitutional exercise of police power. It cannot also be said that the challenged statutory
provision calls for disclosure of information which infringes on the right of a person to privacy.
It is only to emphasize that in subjecting him to such compulsory revelation, there is no
unconstitutional intrusion into what otherwise would be a private sphere.

The constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure does not give freedom from
testimonial compulsion. It appears clear that no violation of the guarantee against unreasonable
search and seizure has been shown to exist by such requirement. Nor does the contention of
plaintiff gain greater plausibility, much less elicit acceptance, by his invocation of the non-
incrimination clause. The court stresses that it is not aware of any constitutional provision
designed to protect a man's conduct from judicial inquiry or aid him in fleeing from justice.

Drilon v. Lim
G.R. No. 112497. August 4, 1994

Pursuant to Section 187 of the Local Government Code, the Secretary of Justice had, on appeal
to him of four oil companies and a taxpayer, declared Ordinance No. 7794, otherwise known as
the Manila Revenue Code, null and void for non-compliance with the prescribed procedure in the
enactment of tax ordinances and for containing certain provisions contrary to law and public
policy. In a petition for certiorari filed by the City of Manila, the RTC declared Section 187 of
the Local Government Code as unconstitutional because of its vesture in the Secretary of Justice
of the power of control over local governments in violation of the policy of local autonomy
mandated in the Constitution and of the specific provision therein conferring on the President of
the Philippines only the power of supervision over local governments.

In this case, Judge
Rodolfo C. Palattao declared Section 187 unconstitutional insofar as it empowered the Secretary
of Justice to review tax ordinances. He cited the familiar distinction between control and
supervision, the first being "the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a
subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of
the former for the latter," while the second is "the power of a superior officer to see to it that
lower officers perform their functions in accordance with law.”

Whether or not Section 187 of the Local Government Code is constitutional and whether or not
the Secretary of Justice can exercise control, rather than supervision, over the local government

Yes. Section 187 authorizes the Secretary of Justice to review only the constitutionality or
legality of the tax ordinance and, if warranted, to revoke it on either or both of these grounds.
When he alters or modifies or sets aside a tax ordinance, he is not also permitted to substitute his
own judgment for the judgment of the local government that enacted the measure. Secretary
Drilon did set aside the Manila Revenue Code, but he did not replace it with his own version of
what the Code should be. What he found only was that it was illegal. All he did in reviewing the
said measure was determine if the petitioners were performing their functions in accordance with
law, that is, with the prescribed procedure for the enactment of tax ordinances and the grant of
powers to the city government under the Local Government Code. As the court sees it, that was
an act not of control but of mere supervision. Secretary Drilon set aside the Manila Revenue
Code only on two grounds, to wit, the inclusion therein of certain ultra vires provisions and non-
compliance with the prescribed procedure in its enactment. These grounds affected the legality,
not the wisdom or reasonableness, of the tax measure.

As regards the issue of non-compliance with the prescribed procedure in the enactment of the
Manila Revenue Code, the Court has carefully examined every one of the exhibits and agree with
the trial court that the procedural requirements have indeed been observed. Notices of the public
hearings were sent to interested parties. The minutes of the hearings are found in the exhibits and
such show that the proposed ordinances were published.

League of Provinces of the Philippines v. DENR
G.R. No. 175368. April 11, 2013

This is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, praying that this Court order the
following: ( 1) declare as unconstitutional Section 17(b)(3)(iii) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7160,
otherwise known as The Local Government Code of 1991 and Section 24 of Republic Act (R.A.)
No. 7076, otherwise known as the People's Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991; (2) prohibit and bar
respondents from exercising control over provinces; and (3) declare as illegal the respondent
Secretary of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources' (DENR) nullification, voiding
and cancellation of the Small-Scale Mining permits issued by the Provincial Governor of

(1) Whether or not Section 17(B)(3)(III) of R.A. No. 7160 and Section 24 of R.A. No. 7076 are
unconstitutional for providing for executive control and infringing upon the local autonomy of
(2) Whether or not, the act of respondent in nullifying, voiding and cancelling the small-scale
mining permits amounts to executive control, not merely supervision and usurps the devolved
powers of all provinces.

(1) No. In this case, respondent DENR Secretary has the authority to nullify the Small-Scale Mining
Permits issued by the Provincial Governor of Bulacan, as the DENR Secretary has control over
the PMRB, and the implementation of the Small-Scale Mining Program is subject to control by
respondent DENR. Paragraph 1 of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution provides that "the
exploration, development and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and
supervision of the State." Under said provision, the DENR has the duty to control and supervise
the exploration, development, utilization and conservation of the country's natural resources.
Hence, the enforcement of small-scale mining law in the provinces is made subject to the
supervision, control and review of the DENR under the Local Government Code of 1991, while
the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991 provides that the People’s Small-Scale Mining
Program is to be implemented by the DENR Secretary in coordination with other concerned local
government agencies. The Court has clarified that the constitutional guarantee of local autonomy
in the Constitution Art. X, Sec. 2 refers to the administrative autonomy of local government units
or the decentralization of government authority. It does not make local governments sovereign
within the State. The Local Government Code did not fully devolve the enforcement of the
small-scale mining law to the provincial government, as its enforcement is subject to the
supervision, control and review of the DENR, which is in charge, subject to law and higher
authority, of carrying out the State's constitutional mandate to control and supervise the
exploration, development, utilization of the country's natural resources.

Before this Court determines the validity of an act of a co-equal and coordinate branch of the
Government, it bears emphasis that ingrained in our jurisprudence is the time-honored principle
that a statute is presumed to be valid. This presumption is rooted in the doctrine of separation of
powers which enjoins upon the three coordinate departments of the Government a becoming
courtesy for each other's acts. This Court, however, may declare a law, or portions thereof,
unconstitutional where a petitioner has shown a clear and unequivocal breach of the
Constitution, leaving no doubt or hesitation in the mind of the Court.

(2) No. The Court finds that the decision of the DENR Secretary was rendered in accordance with
the power of review granted to the DENR Secretary in the resolution of disputes, which is
provided for in Section 24 of R.A. No. 707651 and Section 22 of its Implementing Rules and
Regulations. The decision of the DENR Secretary, declaring that the Application for Exploration
Permit of AMTC was valid and may be given due course, and canceling the Small-Scale Mining
Permits issued by the Provincial Governor, emanated from the power of review granted to the
DENR Secretary under R.A. No. 7076 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations. The DENR
Secretary's power to review and decide the issue on the validity of the issuance of the Small-
Scale Mining Permits by the Provincial Governor as recommended by the PMRB, is a quasi-
judicial function, which involves the determination of what the law is, and what the legal rights
of the contending parties are, with respect to the matter in controversy and, on the basis thereof
and the facts obtaining, the adjudication of their respective rights. The DENR Secretary exercises
quasi-judicial function under R.A. No. 7076 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations to the
extent necessary in settling disputes, conflicts or litigations over conflicting claims. This quasi-
judicial function of the DENR Secretary can neither be equated with "substitution of judgment"
of the Provincial Governor in issuing Small-Scale Mining Permits nor "control" over the said act
of the Provincial Governor as it is a determination of the rights of AMTC over conflicting claims
based on the law.

I ntegrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora
G.R. No. 141284. August 15, 2000
The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP), the Chief of the PNP and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government were tasked
to conduct joint visibility patrols for the purpose of crime prevention and suppression. The PNP
Chief, through Police Chief Superintendent Edgar B. Aglipay, formulated Letter of Instruction
02/2000 (LOI) which detailed the manner by which the joint visibility patrols would be
conducted under the leadership of the Police Chief of Metro Manila. Invoking his powers as
Commander-in-Chief under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President directed the
AFP Chief of Staff and PNP Chief to coordinate with each other for the proper deployment and
utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in preventing or suppressing criminal or lawless
violence. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) questions the validity of the deployment
and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in law enforcement. It contends that no lawless
violence, invasion or rebellion exist to warrant the calling of the Marines. Thus, it prays that this
Court review the sufficiency of the factual basis for Marine deployment.
(1) Whether or not the President’s factual determination of the necessity of calling the armed forces
is subject to judicial review.

(2) Whether or not the calling of the armed forces to assist the PNP in joint visibility patrols violates
the constitutional provisions on civilian supremacy over the military and the civilian character of
the PNP.
(1) Yes. When the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue of
whether the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met or the limitations respected, is
justiciable - the problem being one of legality or validity, not its wisdom. Moreover, the
jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. When the President
calls the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, he
necessarily exercises a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom. The Court, thus, cannot
be called upon to overrule the President’s wisdom or substitute its own. However, this does not
prevent an examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible constitutional
limits or whether it was exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of discretion. The present
petition fails to discharge such heavy burden as there is no evidence to support the assertion that
there exists no justification for calling out the armed forces. There is, likewise, no evidence to
support the proposition that grave abuse was committed because the power to call was exercised
in such a manner as to violate the constitutional provision on civilian supremacy over the
military. There is a clear textual commitment under the Constitution to bestow on the President
full discretionary power to call out the armed forces and to determine the necessity for the
exercise of such power.

(2) No. The calling of the Marines in this case constitutes permissible use of military assets for
civilian law enforcement. The limited participation of the Marines is evident in the provisions of
the LOI itself, which sufficiently provides the metes and bounds of the Marines’ authority. It is
noteworthy that the local police forces are the ones in charge of the visibility patrols at all times,
the real authority belonging to the PNP. In fact, the Metro Manila Police Chief is the overall
leader of the PNP-Philippine Marines joint visibility patrols. Under the LOI, the police forces are
tasked to brief or orient the soldiers on police patrol procedures. It is their responsibility to direct
and manage the deployment of the Marines. It is, likewise, their duty to provide the necessary
equipment to the Marines and render logistical support to these soldiers. In view of the
foregoing, it cannot be properly argued that military authority is supreme over civilian
authority. Moreover, the deployment of the Marines to assist the PNP does not unmake the
civilian character of the police force. Neither does it amount to an “insidious incursion” of the
military in the task of law enforcement in violation of Section 5(4), Article XVI of the
Constitution. Considering the above circumstances, the Marines render nothing more than
assistance required in conducting the patrols.

Estrada v. Sandiganbayan
GR 148560, Nov 19, 2001

Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada assails the RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the
Crime of Plunder),as amended by RA 7659 on the grounds that (a) it suffers from the vice of
vagueness; (b) it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and,
(c) it abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal
Code, all of which are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental rights of the accused to
due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.
Whether or not the Plunder Law is unconstitutional for being vague.
No. As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined
parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his violation. Section 2
is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conducts and conditions required or
forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty and
particularity. As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform
those who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will
be sustained. The court discerns nothing in the law that is vague or ambiguous as there is
obviously none that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Although subject to proof, these
factual assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily understood and provide
adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal
assertions, petitioner is completely informed of the accusations against him as to enable him to
prepare for an intelligent defense. As regards the assailed statutory definition of the
terms ”combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or
criminal acts" found in the law, the court ruled that a statute is not rendered uncertain and void
merely because general terms are used therein. Congress is not restricted in the form of
expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not
necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear,
or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
It is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be interpreted in
their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is evident that the
legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words.

A facial challenge does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in
terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this
reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful
conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.

Barrameda v. Moir
G.R. No. 7927. August 8, 1913

Petitioner relates that the he was defendant in a suit brought before a justice of the peace to try
title to a parcel of land; that the case was decided adversely to him; that he appealed to the Court
of First Instance; and that the judge of that court, on motion of the appellee, dismissed the appeal
with directions to the justice of the peace to proceed with the enforcement of the judgment. At
the request of the petitioner, a preliminary injunction was issued by this court to stay the
execution of the judgment, and he now prays that the respondent judge be ordered to proceed
with the case on appeal. The said judge has demurred to the complaint on the ground that it does
not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. The basis of the demurrer is that Acts
Nos. 2041 and 2131, conferring original jurisdiction upon justices of the peace to try title to real
state, are inconsistent with and repugnant to the Philippine Bill of July 1, 1902. By Act No. 2041,
section 3, it was provided:

Justices of the peace shall have exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate question of title to real estate
or any interest therein when the value of the property in litigation does not exceed two hundred
pesos, and where such value exceeds two hundred pesos but is less than six hundred pesos the
justice of the peace shall have jurisdiction concurrent with the Court of First Instance.

Whether or not Acts. Nos. 2041 and 2131 are unconstitutional.

Yes. In the case of Weigall vs. Shuster, it was held that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and
Courts of First Instance, as fixed by section 9 of the Philippine Bill, may be added but to not
diminished by the Philippine Legislature. Therefore, there will be sufficient reason for declaring
the disputed provisions of Acts. Nos. 2041 and 2131 repugnant to the Philippine Bill and,
consequently void if they attempt to curtail the jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance where the
title to realty is involved. The original jurisdiction of those courts extends to "all civil actions
which involve the title to or possession of real property, or of any interest therein".

The concurrent jurisdiction in cases where the amount involved is more than P200 but less than
P600, was meant only as supplemental and ancillary to the exclusive jurisdiction over cases not
exceeding P200. This concurrent jurisdiction must therefore be considered as inseparable from
and absolutely dependent upon the exercise of that exclusive jurisdiction which has already been
declared void. The concurrent jurisdiction must therefore be declared void also. Other additional
jurisdiction granted to justices of the peace by Acts Nos. 2041 and 2131 is not before the court.
Such other additional jurisdiction bears no relation whatever to those void provisions of the
statutes which provide for jurisdiction in real-estate actions; and applying the same rules to the
rest of the Act which the court has applied to the clause conferring concurrent jurisdictional in
real-estate actions between the amounts of P200 and P600, said is clearly of the opinion that the
validity of the remainder of the Act is not in any case dependent upon the said void provisions.

In conclusion, it seems advisable to state that the able brief of counsel for the respondent judge is
based upon the a priori assumption that original jurisdiction of Court of First Instance in real-
estate actions is, by the Organic Law, made exclusive. The judgment of the justice of the peace
which it is desired to have the respondent judge on this action review is an absolutely nullity.
The respondent judge acquired jurisdiction of the cause only for the purpose of dismissing the
appeal, and in further directing the justice of the peace to proceed with the execution of the void
judgment, the respondent judge was in error.

People v. Rivera
G.R. Nos. 38215 & 38216. December 22, 1933

Faustino Rivera was being charged of the crime of indictment of the innocent defined and
punished under Art. 363 of the Revised Penal Code. The appellant falsely accused Domingo Vito
and Felisa Morena of the crime of theft, without any probably cause, in writing and under oath.
The complaint was dismissed.

Whether or not Art. 363 of the Revised Penal Code applies in the case.

No. As article 363 of the Revised Penal Code is new and this is the first case before the court
calling for its interpretation, a comparison of the article with article 326 of the former Penal
Code seems expedient in view of the argument of the Government that the former "is a
reproduction of both the crime of false accusation." It is a well settled rule that statutes should
receive a sensible construction, such as will give effect to the legislative intention and so as to
avoid an unjust or an absurd conclusion.

Comparing now article 363 of the Revised Penal Code with article 326 of the Revised Penal
Code, it will be observed that article 326 of the former Penal Code punishes false prosecution,
whereas in article 363 of the Revised Penal Code punishes an act which "tends directly" to cause
a false prosecution. It is to be noted that article 326 of the old Penal Code contains the provision
that the accuser could be prosecuted only on the order of the court, when the court was
convinced upon the trial of the principal cause that there was sufficient basis for a charge of false
accusation. Article 363 of the Revised Penal Code contains no such safeguard.

Commissioner of Customs v. Relunia
G.R. No. L-11860. May 29, 1959

The Commissioner of Customs appeals to the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals affirming
that the forfeiture of the electric range in question under Section 1363 (g.) is illegal. The RPS
"MISAMIS ORIENTAL"' a unit of the Philippine Navy was dispatched to Japan to transport
contingents of the 14th BCT bound for Pusan, Korea, and carry Christmas gifts for our soldiers
there. It seems that thereafter, it was used for transportation purposes in connection with the
needs of our soldiers there and made trips between Korea and Japan, so that it did not return to
the Philippine until September 2, 1954. While in Japan, it loaded 180 cases containing various
articles subject to customs duties.
In the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals, all the articles were declared forfeited by the
Collector of Customs of Manila for violations of the Customs Law pursuant to Section 1363 (g)
of the Administrative Code as an unmanifested cargo including the aforesaid electric.

Whether or not a manifest is required of the RPS "MISAMIS ORIENTAL"

Yes. Section 1228 of the Administrative Code provides that “Every vessel from a foreign port or
place must have on board complete written or typewritten manifests of all her cargo”. The court
ruled that whether the vessel be engaged in foreign trade (Section 1221 and 1225, Revised
Administrative Code) or not (Section 1228), and even when the vessel belongs to the army or the
navy (Section 1234), the universal requirement from a reading of all the foregoing provisions is
that they be provided with a manifest.

The court also believes that there was no necessity where as in the present case the application of
Section 1234 of the Revised Administrative Code to our navy ships is so clear and manifest,
considering that the reasons for requiring a manifest for transport and supply ships of the army
and navy of the United States are and with more reason applicable to our navy ships to carry out
the policy of the government, and because we have complete control over them. It was therefore
held that the RPS "MISAMIS ORIENTAL" was required to present a manifest upon its arrival in
Manila on September 2, 1954.

In conclusion, the court holds that all vessels whether private or government owned, including
ships of the Philippine navy, coming from a foreign port, with the possible exception of war
vessels or vessels employed by any foreign government, not engaged in the transportation of
merchandise in the way of trade, as provided for in the second paragraph of Section 1221 of the
Revised Administrative Code, are required to prepare and present a manifest to the customs
authorities upon arrival at any Philippine port.

City of Baguio v. Marcos
G.R. No. L-26100. February 28, 1969

On July 25, 1961, the Director of Lands in the Court of First Instance of Baguio instituted the
reopening of the cadastral proceedings under Republic Act 931. It is not disputed that the land
here involved was amongst those declared public lands by final decision rendered in that case
on November 13, 1922. Respondent Belong Lutes petitioned the cadastral court to reopen said
Civil Reservation Case No. 1 as to the parcel of land he claims and prayed that the land be
registered in his name.
On December 18, 1961, private petitioners Francisco G. Joaquin, Sr., Francisco G. Joaquin, Jr.,
and Teresita J. Buchholz registered opposition to the reopening. The petitioners questioned the
cadastral court's jurisdiction over the petition to reopen.

Whether or not the reopening petition was filed outside the 40 year period preceding the
approval of Republic Act 931.

Yes. The cadastral proceedings sought to be reopened were instituted on April 12, 1912. Final
decision was rendered on November 13, 1922. Lutes filed the petition to reopen on July
25, 1961. It will be noted that the title of R.A. 931 authorizes "the filing in the proper court,
under certain conditions, of certain claims of title to parcels of land that have been declared
public land, by virtue of judicial decisions rendered within the forty years next preceding the
approval of this Act." The body of the statute, however, in its Section 1, speaks of parcels of land
that "have been, or are about to be declared land of the public domain, by virtue of judicial
proceedings instituted within the forty years next preceding the approval of this Act." There thus
appears to be a seeming inconsistency between title and body.

It has been observed that "in modern practice the title is adopted by the Legislature, more
thoroughly read than the act itself.” R.A. 931 is a piece of remedial legislation and it should
receive blessings of liberal construction. The court says that lingual imperfections in the drafting
of a statute should never be permitted to hamstring judicial search for legislative intent, which
can otherwise be discovered. Republic Act 931, claims of title that may be filed thereunder
embrace those parcels of land that have been declared public land "by virtue of judicial decisions
rendered within the forty years next preceding the approval of this Act." Therefore, by that
statute, the July 25, 1961 petition of respondent Belong Lutes to reopen Civil Reservation Case
No. 1, GLRO Record No. 211 of the cadastral court of Baguio, the decision on which was
rendered on November 13, 1922, comes within the 40-year period.

Central Capiz v. Ramirez
G.R. No. 16197. March 12, 1920

The petitioner alleges and respondent admits that on or about July 1, 1919, the latter contracted
with the petitioner to supply to it for a term of thirty years all sugar cane produced upon her
plantation. Said contract was recorded in the Registry of Property. In the interim the execution of
said contract, Act No. 2874 of the Philippine Legislature, known as the "Public Land Act,"
became effective. The respondent, while admitting said contract and her obligation thereunder to
execute a deed pursuant thereto, bases her refusal so to do upon the fact that more than 61 per
cent of the capital stock of the petitioner is held and owned by persons who are not citizens of
the Philippine Islands or of the United States.

(1) Whether or not RA 2874 applies to agricultural lands held in private ownership.
(2) Whether or not complies with the constitutional requirement "That no bill which may be enacted
into law shall embrace more than one subject, and that subject shall be expressed in the title of
the bill."

(1) No. It is held that Act No. 2874 was intended to apply to and regulate the sale, lease and other
disposition of public lands only. The title of the Act, always indicative of legislative intent,
reads: "an Act to amend and compile the laws relating to lands of the public domain, and for
other purposes”. Said act, by express provisions of Sections 4, 5, 67 and 105, does not apply to
lands privately owned by the government. The Act nowhere contains any direct
or express provision applying its terms to privately owned lands. The court holds, therefore, that
the purpose of the Legislature in adopting Act No. 2874 was and is to limit its application to
lands of the public domain, and that lands held in private ownership are not included therein and
are not affected in any manner whatsoever.

(2) No. The objects of the constitutional requirement under Section 3 of the Jones Law are first, to
prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation; second, to prevent surprise or fraud upon the
legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the titles gave no information, and which
might therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted; and , third, to fairly
apprise the people of the subjects of legislation that are being considered, in order that they may
have opportunity of being heard thereon by petition or otherwise if they shall so desire.'
(Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, p. 143.) This constitutional requirement is mandatory and
not directory. In the said Act, the words "and for other purposes" contained in its title, must be
treated as non-existent, held to be without force or effect whatsoever and have been altogether
discarded in construing the Act. That the use of the words "other purposes," can no longer be of
any avail as they express nothing and amount to nothing as a compliance with this constitutional
requirement. The phrase expresses no specific purpose and imports indefinitely something
different from that which precedes it in the title.

Ebarle v. Sucaldito,
G.R. No. L-33628. December 29, 1987

The petitioner, then provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Sur and a candidate for reelection in
the local elections of 1971, seeks injunctive relief in two separate petitions, to enjoin further
proceedings of his criminal cases, as well as I.S. Nos. 1-70, 2-71, 4-71, 5-71, 6-71, and 7-71 of
the respondent Fiscal's office of the said city, all in the nature of prosecutions for violation of
certain provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and various provisions of the
Revised Penal Code. Principally, the petitioner relies on the failure of the respondents City Fiscal
and the Anti-Graft League to comply with the provisions of Executive Order No. 264,
IRREGULARITIES SHOULD BE GUIDED," preliminary to their criminal recourses.

Whether or not EO 264 is applicable in the case at bar.

No. It is plain from the very wording of the Order that it has exclusive application to
administrative, not criminal complaints. The very title speaks of "COMMISSION OF
IRREGULARITIES." There is no mention, not even by implication, of criminal "offenses," that
is to say, "crimes." While "crimes" amount to "irregularities," the Executive Order could have
very well referred to the more specific term had it intended to make itself applicable thereto.
Clearly, the Executive Order simply consolidates these existing rules and streamlines the
administrative apparatus in the matter of complaints against public officials. It is moreover
significant that the Executive Order in question makes specific reference to "erring officials or
employees ... removed or otherwise vindicated. If it were intended to apply to criminal
prosecutions, it would have employed such technical terms as "accused", "convicted," or
"acquitted." While this is not necessarily a controlling parameter for all cases, it is here material
in construing the intent of the measure.

People v. Echaves
G.R. Nos. L-47757-61. J anuary 28, 1980

On October 25, 1977 Fiscal Abundio R. Ello filed with the lower court separate information
against sixteen persons charging them with squatting as penalized by Presidential Decree No.
772. The information provides that “sometime in the year 1974 continuously up to the present,
the above-named accused, with stealth and strategy, enter into, occupy and cultivate a portion of
a grazing land physically occupied, possessed and claimed by Atty. Vicente de la Serna,
accused's entrance into the area has been and is still against the win of the offended party; did
then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously squat and cultivate a portion of the said
grazing land; said cultivating has rendered a nuisance to and has deprived the pasture applicant
from the full use thereof for which the land applied for has been intended, that is preventing
applicant's cattle from grazing the whole area, thereby causing damage and prejudice to the said
applicant-possessor-occupant, Atty. Vicente de la Serna, Jr.”
Five of the information were raffled to Judge Vicente B. Echaves, Jr. who dismissed the five
information on the grounds (1) that it was alleged that the accused entered the land through
"stealth and strategy", whereas under the decree the entry should be effected "with the use of
force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner",
and (2) that under the rule of ejusdem generis the decree does not apply to the cultivation of a
grazing land.

Whether or not by Presidential Decree No. 772 applies to agricultural lands.

No. The court agrees to the lower court that the decree does not apply to pasture lands because
its preamble shows that it was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more
particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals. The
squating complained of involves pasture lands in rural areas. It should be noted that squatting on
public agricultural lands, like the grazing lands involved in this case, is punished by Republic
Act No. 947. The rule of ejusdem generis invoked by the trial court, however, does not apply to
this case. The decree is intended to apply only to urban communities, particularly to illegal
constructions. The rule of ejusdem generis is merely a tool of statutory construction which is
resorted to when the legislative intent is uncertain.

Aboitiz Shipping v. City of Cebu
G.R. No. L-14526. March 31, 1965

Ordinance No. 207 was purportedly enacted by the Municipal Board on August 14, 1956 and
approved by the City Mayor on the following August 27 where plaintiffs were made to pa
wharfage charges under protest since September 1, 1956 and on May 8, 1957. The plaintiffs filed
an action in the Court of First Instance of Manila to have the said void, its enforcement enjoined
in so far as the wharves, docks and ordinance declared other landing places belonging to the
National Government were concerned, and all the amounts thus far collected by defendants
refunded to them. Appellee’s allege that the Municipal Board's authority to pass the ordinance is
claimed by them under section 17 (w) of the charter of the City of Cebu, which grants them the
legislative power “To fix the charges to be paid by all watercrafts landing at or using public
wharves, docks, levees, or landing places.”

Whether or not the City of Cebu, under its charter, may provide by ordinance for the collection
of wharfage from vessels that dock at the public wharves of piers located in said city but owned
by the National Government.

No. The right to collect the wharfage belongs to the National Government. It is unreasonable to
conclude that the legislature, simply because it employed the term "public wharves" in section 17
(w) of the charter of the City of Cebu, thereby authorized the latter to collect wharfage
irrespective of the ownership of the wharves involved. The National Government did not
surrender such ownership to the city; and there is no justifiable ground to read into the statute an
intention to burden shipowners, such as appellants, with the obligation of paying twice for the
same purpose.

Legislative intent must be ascertained from a consideration of the statute as a whole and not of
an isolated part or a particular provision alone. This is a cardinal rule of statutory construction.
For taken in the abstract, a word or phrase might easily convey a meaning quite different from
the one actually intended and evident when the word or phrase is considered with those with
which it is associated. Thus an apparently general provision may have a limited application if
viewed together with other provisions. Hence, Ordinance No. 207 of the City of Cebu is declared
null and void, and appellees are ordered to refund to appellants all amounts collected thereunder
and to refrain from making such collection.

People v. Chaves
G.R. No. L-19521. October 30, 1964

The accused, Esteban Chaves has been found guilty of a violation of Republic Act No. 145, in
that he had collected a claim of Marcela Rambuyon for death benefits in the sum of $4,252.20
due her for the demise of her son. The corresponding check was cashed by Chaves, who later
delivered only P3,202.20 to the claimant, and retained P5,362.20 for himself. Chaves was
sentenced to undergo one year imprisonment, to indemnify the offended party in the sum of
P5,362.20 and to pay the costs. The indemnity not having been paid, the offended party obtained
a writ of execution and the Sheriff accordingly levied on a residential lot and building of the
accused, but desisted from proceeding further when the accused exhibit proof that the property
had been extrajudicially constituted and recorded as a family home, in accordance with the
provisions of the Civil Code. Appellant takes the position that the indemnity due to the
complainant became a debt within the purview of Article 243 of the Civil Code, hence exempted.

Whether or not the family home extrajudicially constituted is entitled to exemption pursuant to
Article 243 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.

No. The court sees no merit in the appeal. The word "debt", as used in subdivision (2) of Article
243, "is not qualified and must, therefore, be taken in its generic sense" (Montoya vs. Ignacio, 54
Off. Gaz. 978-979). The duty of Chaves to reimburse the amount of the veteran's benefits
improperly retained by him certainly arose and came into existence from the date of his
misappropriation (January, 1948), and the judgment of 1961 merely established the fact of the
misappropriation beyond controversy and reasonable doubt. The judgment sentencing Chaves to
indemnify complainant was not the source of his duty to return.

That a judgment is not necessary to clothe a preexisting debt with the privileged character of
being enforceable against the family home extrajudicially established at a later date is apparent
by comparison with Article 247 of the Civil Code. Certainly, the "humane considerations," for
which the law surrounded the home with immunities from levy, did not include the intent to
enable a debtor to thwart the just claims of his creditors. If in the case of a judicially established
family home the law requires that the petitioning debtor should first give sufficient security for
his unsecured debts before the family home is authorized (Art. 231), there is no reason why in
the case of the extrajudicial constitution, that creditors have no opportunity to oppose or protest,
the constituting debtor should be enabled to escape payment of his just debts, and leave the
creditors holding an empty bag.

Krivenko v. Register of Deeds
G.R. No. L-630. November 15, 1947

Alenxander A. Krivenko, alien, bought a residential lot from the Magdalena Estate, Inc., in
December of 1941, the registration of which was interrupted by the war. In May, 1945, he sought
to accomplish said registration but was denied by the register of deeds of Manila on the ground
that, being an alien, he cannot acquire land in this jurisdiction. Krivenko then brought the case to
the fourth branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila, and that court rendered judgment
sustaining the refusal of the register of deeds, from which Krivenko appealed to this Court.
While the motion was pending in this Court, came the new circular of the Department of Justice,
instructing all register of deeds to accept for registration all transfers of residential lots to aliens.

Whether or not the phrase “pubic agricultural land” in Section 1 of Article XII (now XIII) of the
Constitution may be interpreted to include residential lands for purposes of their disposition.

No. Article XIII, section 1, of the Constitutional embraces all lands of any kind of the public.
Therefore this provision means that all lands of the public domain are classified into three
groups, namely, agricultural, timber and mineral. With respect to residential lands, it has been
held that since they are neither mineral nor timber lands, of necessity they must be classified as
agricultural. If a word has acquired a fixed, technical meaning in legal and constitutional history,
it will be presumed to have been employed in that sense in a written Constitution. Under section
1 of Article XIII of the Constitution, "natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural
land, shall not be aliented," and with respect to public agricultural lands, their alienation is
limited to Filipino citizens. Filipino citizens who alienate their agricultural lands in favor of
aliens is prevented under section 5, Article XIII. Both sections must, therefore, be read together
for they have the same purpose and the same subject matter namely, the non-transferability of
"agricultural land" to aliens. Since "agricultural land" under section 1 includes residential lots,
the same technical meaning should be attached to "agricultural land under section 5. The only
difference between "agricultural land" under section 5, is that the former is public and the latter
private. But such difference refers to ownership and not to the class of land. The lands are the
same in both sections, and, for the conservation of the national patrimony, what is important is
the nature or class of the property regardless of whether it is owned by the State or by its citizens.

Commissioner of I nternal Revenue v. TMX Sales
G.R. No. 83736. J anuary 15, 1992

Private respondent TMX Sales, Inc. filed its quarterly income tax return for the first quarter of
1981, declaring an income of P571,174.31, and consequently paying an income tax thereon of
P247,010.00 on May 15, 1981. During the subsequent quarters, however, TMX Sales, Inc.
suffered losses so that when it filed on April 15, 1982 its Annual Income Tax Return for the year
ended December 31, 1981, it declared a gross income of P904,122.00 and total deductions of
P7,060,647.00, or a net loss of P6,156,525.00. On July 9, 1982, TMX Sales filed with the
Appellate Division of the Bureau of Internal Revenue a claim for refund in the amount of
P247,010.00 representing overpaid income tax. This claim was not acted upon by the
Commissioner of Internal Revenue on the ground that "granting, without admitting, the amount
in question is refundable, the petitioner is already barred from claiming the same considering that
more than two years had already elapsed between the payment and the filing of the claim in

Does the two-year period to claim a refund of erroneously collected tax provided for in Section
292 or the National Internal Revenue Code commence to run from the date the quarterly income
tax was paid or from the date the filing of the Final Adjustment Return?

Section 292 of the Tax Code should be computed from the time of filing the Adjustment Return
or Annual Income Tax Return and final payment of income tax. The Court states that statutes
should receive a sensible construction, such as will give effect to the legislative intention and so
as to avoid an unjust or an absurd conclusion. Where there is ambiguity, such interpretation as
will avoid inconvenience and absurdity is to be adopted. The intention of the legislator must be
ascertained from the whole text of the law and every part of the act is to be taken into
view. Section 292 should be interpreted in relation to the other provisions of the Tax Code in
order to give effect to legislative intent and to avoid an application of the law which may lead to
inconvenience and absurdity.

In the case at bar, the amount of P247,010.00 claimed by private respondent TMX Sales, Inc.
based on its Adjustment Return required in Section 87, is equivalent to the tax paid during the
first quarter. A literal application of Section 292 would thus pose no problem as the two-year
prescriptive period reckoned from the time the quarterly income tax was paid can be easily
determined. However, if the quarter in which the overpayment is made, cannot be ascertained,
then a literal application of Section 292 would lead to absurdity and inconvenience.

The most reasonable and logical application of the law would be to compute the two-year
prescriptive period at the time of filing the Final Adjustment Return or the Annual Income Tax
Return, when it can be finally ascertained if the taxpayer has still to pay additional income tax or
if he is entitled to a refund of overpaid income tax.

Agcaoili v. Suguitan
G.R. No. 24806. February 13, 1926

Julio Agcaoili was appointed as justice of the peace of the municipality of Laoag, of the Province
of Ilocos Norte on the 25th day of March, 1916, with authority "to have and to hold the said
office with all the powers, privileges, and emoluments thereunto of right appertaining unto him,
subject to the conditions prescribed by law. The conditions prescribed by law" to which the
appointee was "subject" at the time of his appointment, are found in section 1 of Act No. 2041
which provides that "All justices of the peace and auxiliary justices shall hold office during good
behavior . . . ."
On the 17th day of March, 1923, the Philippine Legislature adopted Act No. 3107. Said Act in
section 203 provides for “ That justices and auxiliary justices of the peace shall be appointed to
serve until they have reached the age of sixty-five years."
On the 9th day of April, 1923, the Undersecretary of Justice sent a to Agcaoili which provides
that the former has the honor to advise the latter that he has ceased to be a justice of the peace by
operation of said amendment of the Administrative Code.

(1) Whether or not Act. 3107 applies to justices and auxiliary justices of the peace who were
appointed prior to the passage of said act.
(2) Whether or not Sec. 216 applies to public officers.

(1) No. Attention is called to one of the provisions of section 3 of the Jones Law "That no bill which
may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject, and that subject shall be expressed
in the title of the bill." Considering that there is nothing in the title of Act No. 3107 which
indicates in the slightest degree that said Act contains a provision "that justices and auxiliary
justices of the peace shall be appointed to serve until they have reached the age of sixty-five
years”, the court is forced to the conclusions that, that provision is illegal, void and contrary to
the mandatory provision of the Jones Law, and that said law cannot be applied to justices and
auxiliary justices of the peace who were appointed prior to the 17th day of March, 1923; and that
when Julio Agcaoili was forcibly, by means of threats and intimidation, ordered to leave his
office as justice of the peace, he was forced to do so illegally, without just cause, and should
therefore be restored to his position as justice of the peace of the municipality of Laoag, without

(2) No. A semicolon is a mark of grammatical punctuation, in the English language, to indicate a
separation in the relation of the thought, a degree greater than that expressed by a comma, and
what follows that semicolon must have relation to the same matter which precedes it. A
semicolon is not used for the purpose of introducing a new idea. A semicolon is used for the
purpose of continuing the expression of a thought, a degree greater than that expressed by a mere
comma. It is never used for the purpose of introducing a new idea. The comma and semicolon
are both used for the same purpose, namely, to divide sentences and parts of the sentences, the
only difference being that the semicolon makes the division a little more pronounced than the
comma. The punctuation used in a law may always be referred to for the purpose of ascertaining
the true meaning of a doubtful statute. It follows therefore that, inasmuch as all of the provisions
of said section 216 which precede the semicolon refer to corporations only, that which follows
the semicolon has reference to the same subject matter, or to officers of a corporation.

The present case is anomalous under American sovereignty. An officer was appointed in
accordance with the law to the judiciary to serve "during good behavior." After he had faithfully
and honestly served the Government for a number of years the legislature adopted a new law
which arbitrarily, without giving any reason therefore, provided that said officer cease to be such
when he should reach the age of 65 years. Said law contained no express provision or method for
its enforcement. The Executive Department, through its Undersecretary of Justice, without any
authority given in said law, notified the said officer that he was no longer an officer in the
judicial department of the Government and must vacate his office and turn the same over to
another, who was designated by said Undersecretary. When the officer protested against such
arbitrary action, giving reasons therefor, and without answering said protest, he was threatened
with a criminal prosecution if he did not immediately vacate his office.

Nera v. Garcia
G.R. No. L-13160. J anuary 30, 1960

Petitioner Nera was at the time of his suspension, serving as clerk in the Maternity and Children's
Hospital. In the course of his employment, he served as manager and cashier of the Maternity
Employer's Cooperative Association, Inc. On May 11, 1956, he was charged with malversation
for allegedly misappropriating the sum of P12,636.21 belonging to the association. Simplicio
Balcos, husband of the suspended administrative officer and cashier of the Maternity and
Children's Hospital, named Gregoria Balcos, filed an administrative complaint case then pending
against him. On December 19, 1956, Nera received a communication from respondent Director
of Hospital suspending him from office as clerk of the Maternity and Children's Hospital. This
suspension carried the approval of respondent Garcia, Secretary of Health. Petitioner sought for
the annulment of the order of suspension on the ground that assuming for a moment that
petitioner were guilty of malversation or misappropriation of the funds of the association,
nevertheless, said irregularity had no connection with his duly as clerk of the Maternity and
Children's Hospital.

Whether or not suspension on the ground of dishonesty or misconduct under Section 694 of the
Revised Penal Code need have to be in relation to the performance of duty.

No. As to the holding of the trial court about dishonesty or misconduct in office having
connection with one's duties and functions in order to warrant punishment, this involves an
interpretation of Section 694 of the Revised Administrative Code. SEC. 694. Removal or
suspension. — No officer or employee in the civil service shall be removed or suspended except
for cause as provided by law. The President of the Philippines may suspend any chief or assistant
chief of a bureau or office and in the absence of special provision, any other officer appointed by
him, pending an investigation of his bureau or office. With the approval of the proper head of
department, the chief of a bureau in his bureau or under his authority pending an investigation, if
the charge against such subordinate or employee involves dishonesty, oppression, or grave
misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty.

It will be observed that there is a comma after the words dishonesty and oppression, thereby
warranting the conclusion that only the phrase "grave misconduct or neglect "is qualified by the
words "in the performance of duty". In other words, dishonesty and oppression to warrant
punishment or dismissal, need not be committed in the course of them performance of duty by
the person charged. If a Government officer or employee is dishonest or is guilty of oppression
or grave misconduct, even if said defects of character are not connected with his force, they
affect his right to continue in office. As the Solicitor General well pointed out in his brief, "the
private life of an employee cannot be segregated from his public life. Dishonesty inevitably
reflects on the fitness of the officer or employee to continue in office and the discipline and
morals of the service."

Florentino v. PNB
G.R. No. L-8782. April 28, 1956


The petitioners and appellants filed a petition for mandamus against Philippine National Bank to
compel it to accept the backpay certificate of petitioner Marcelino B. Florentino to pay an
indebtedness in the sum of P6,800 secured by real estate mortgage plus interest. The debt
incurred on January 2, 1953, which is due on January 2, 1954. Petitioner is a holder of Backpay
Acknowledgment No. 1721 dated October 6, 1954, in the amount of P22,896.33 by virtue of
Republic Act No. 897 approved on June 20, 1953. Petitioners offered to pay their loan with the
respondent bank with their backpay certificate, but the respondent bank, on December 29, 1953,
refused to accept the latter's backpay certificate. Under section 2 of Republic Act No. 879,
respondent-appellee contends that the qualifying clause refers to all the antecedents, whereas the
appellant's contention is that it refers only to the last antecedent.

Whether or not the clause “who may be willing to accept the same for settlement” refers to all
antecedents mentioned in the last sentence of section 2 of Republic Act No. 879.

No. Grammatically, the qualifying clause refers only to the last antecedent; that is, "any citizen
of the Philippines or any association or corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines."
It should be noted that there is a comma before the words "or to any citizen, etc.," which
separates said phrase from the preceding ones. But even disregarding the grammatical
construction, to make the acceptance of the backpay certificates obligatory upon any citizen,
association, or corporation, which are not government entities or owned or controlled by the
government, would render section 2 of Republic Act No. 897 unconstitutional for it would
amount to an impairment of the obligation of contracts by compelling private creditors to accept
a sort of promissory note payable within ten years with interest at a rate very much lower than
the current or even the legal one. It was also found out in the Congressional Record that the
amendatory bill to Sec. 2 was made which permits the use of backpay certificates as payment for
obligations and indebtedness in favor of the government. Another reason is that it is matter of
general knowledge that many officials and employees of the Philippine Government, who had
served during the Japanese Occupation, have already received their backpay certificates and used
them for the payment of the obligations to the Government and its entities for debts incurred
before the approval of Republic Act No. 304.

Florentino incurred his debt to the PNB on January 2, 1953. Hence, the obligation was subsisting
when the Amendatory Act No. 897 was approved. Consequently, the present case falls squarely
under the provisions of section 2 of the Amendatory Act No. 897.

Cornejo v. Naval
G.R. No. 33648. J uly 30, 1930

Miguel R. Cornejo was until recently occupying the position of municipal president of Pasay,
Rizal. Eligio Naval, Jose M. Perez, and Celestino de Dios constitute the provincial board of
Rizal, the first named being the provincial governor of that province Cornejo was found guilty of
the crime of falsification of a private document and sentenced him therefor to one year, eight
months, and twenty-one days' imprisonment, to pay a fine of 1,000 pesetas, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to suffer the accessory penalties provided by law.

Immediately after the conviction in the trial court, the provincial governor of Rizal filed with the
provincial board of that province and administrative complaint against Cornejo for corruption
and improper conduct unbecoming a public officer. Thereafter, the provincial governor
suspended Cornejo as president of Pasay pending action by the provincial board on the
administrative charges preferred against Cornejo.

Whether or not the provincial governor and a provincial board have the power to suspend a
municipal president who has been convicted of the crime of falsification of a private document.

No. Where the removal is to be for official misconduct or for misfeasance or mal-
administration in office, the misconduct which shall warrant a removal of the officer must be
such as affects his performance of his duties as an officer and not such only as affect his
character as a private individual.

It is a well-recognized rule of statutory construction and of the law of public officers that a
statute prescribing the grounds for which an officer may be suspended is penal in nature, and
should be strictly construed. Making this principle the basis of our investigation, it is not possible
to reach any other conclusion than that the prepositional phrase "in office" qualifies the various
grounds for legal suspension. The law says "or other form of maladministration in office". By the
maxim Ejusdem generis, the scope of the word "other" is limited to that which is of the same
kind as its antecedent. Corruption, therefore, refers to corruption in office.

The holding of the court is that the provincial board and the provincial governor of Rizal acted in
excess of jurisdiction in suspending the petitioner as municipal president of Pasay. Where the
power of suspension is limited to specific causes, the suspending authority may not suspend for
any cause not so specified.

People v. Subido
G.R. No. L-21734. September 5, 1975.

On September 27, 1958, the accused-appellant filed a motion praying that (1) the court enter of
record that the judgment of the Court of Appeals has been promulgated and (2) that his appeal
bond be cancelled. Accused-appellant argued that although he could not pay the fine and the
indemnity prescribed in the judgment of the Court of Appeals, he could not be required to serve
the amount of fine and indemnity in the form of subsidiary imprisonment because said judgment
did not expressly and specifically provide that he should serve the fine and indemnity in form of
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
On December 10, 1959, the offended party registered its opposition to accused-appellant's
motion for cancellation of appeal bond and asked the lower court to require accused-appellant to
pay the fine of P500.00 and the indemnity of P5,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency. The lower court issued an order denying the accused-appellant's motion and declared
in accordance with the terms of the judgment of the Court of Appeals that the accused-appellant
has to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case he could not pay the fine and indemnity prescribed
in the decision.

Whether or not the accused-appellant can be required to serve the fine and indemnity in form of
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

No. Under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code "a libel committed by means of writing,
printing, litography, engraving, radio, phonograph, paintings, theatrical exhibition,
cinematographic exhibition or any similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional in its
minimum and medium period or a fine ranging from 200 to 6000 pesos or both, in addition to the
civil action which may be brought by the offended party". It is evident from the foregoing
provision that the court is given the discretion to impose the penalty of imprisonment or fine or
both for the crime of libel. It will be noted that the lower court chose to impose upon the
accused: three months ofarresto mayor; a fine of P500.00; indemnification of the offended party
in the sum of P10,000.00; subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and the payment of the
costs. On the other hand, the Court of Appeals in the exercise of its discretion decided to
eliminate the penalty of three (3) months arresto mayor and to reduce the indemnity of
P10,000.00 to P5,000.00.

A careful scrutiny of the decision of the trial court reveals that the clause "with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency" is separated by a comma from the preceding clause" is
hereby sentenced to three months ofarresto mayor with the accessory penalties of the law, to pay
a fine of five hundred (P500.00) pesos, to indemnify the offended party, Mayor Arsenio Lacson,
in the sum of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) pesos." The use of a comma in the part of the
sentence is to make "the subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency" refer not only to non-
payment of the indemnity, but also to non-payment of the fine.
Fortunately, however, accused-appellant is favored by the retroactive force of Article 39 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 5465 which exempts an accused person
from subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency to pay his civil liability.

It is a well known rule of legal hermeneutics that penal statutes are to be strictly construed
against the government and liberally in favor of the accused.

In the interpretation of a penal
statute, the tendency is to give it careful scrutiny, and to construe it with such strictness as to
safeguard the rights of the defendant.

Considering that Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, is favorable to the accused-appellant, the same should be made applicable to him. Thus
applying Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, to the accused-appellant, he cannot
also be required to serve his civil liability to the offended party in form of subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency because this is no longer required by the aforesaid article.

I n re Estate of J ohnson
G.R. No. 12767. November 16, 1918

On February 4, 1916, Emil H. Johnson, a native of Sweden and a naturalized citizen of the
United States, left a will. Said document is a holographic instrument signed by himself and two
witnesses only, instead of three witnesses required by section 618 of the Code of Civil
Procedure. A petition was presented in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila for the
probate of this will, on the ground that Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the State
of Illinois, United States of America; that the will was duly executed in accordance with the laws
of that State; and hence could properly be probated here pursuant to section 636 of the Code of
Civil Procedure which provides that “A will made within the Philippine Islands by a citizen or
subject of another state or country, which is executed in accordance with the law of the state or
country of which he is a citizen or subject, and which might be proved and allowed by the law of
his own state or country, may be proved, allowed, and recorded in the Philippine Islands, and
shall have the same effect as if executed according to the laws of these Islands”.

Whether or not the order admitting the will to probate was beyond the jurisdiction of the court
and void because made without notice to the petitioner.

No. It is apparent from an inspection of the record of the proceedings in the court below that all
the steps prescribed by law as prerequisites to the probate of a will were complied with in every
respect and that the probate was effected in external conformity with all legal requirements. The
proceedings for the probate of the will were regular and that the publication was sufficient to
give the court jurisdiction to entertain the proceeding and to allow the will to be probated. The
question of the jurisdiction of the court relates to the interpretation to be placed upon section 636
of the Code of Civil Procedure. The position is taken by the appellant that this section is
applicable only to wills of liens; this is directed to the fact that the epigraph of this section speaks
only of the will made here by an alien and to the further fact that the word "state" in the body of
the section is not capitalized. From this it is argued that section 636 is not applicable to the will
of a citizen of the United States residing in these Islands. The most reasonable interpretation of
the language used in the statute, the words "another state or country" include the United States
and the States of the American Union, and that the operation of the statute is not limited to wills
of aliens.

Kare v. Platon
G.R. No. 35902. October 28, 1931

The petitioner filed a motion of protest contesting the election of the respondent Francisco
Perfecto, upon the grounds that the respondent Judge of the Court of First Instance of Albay
entered an order requiring the petitioner to give a personal bond for P3,000 and a cash bond of
P2,000 to be deposited with the provincial treasurer of Albay in order that proper proceedings
might be taken on his motion of protest. These sums were later changed so that the cash bond
was for P1,500 and the personal bond for P3,500.
The petitioner invoked section 482 of the Election Law in support of his contention. The
respondent judge bases his action upon the same section and also upon section 479 as lately
amended by Act No. 3699. Section 482 provides:

Bond or cash deposit required of contestants. — Before the court shall entertain any such
contest or counter-contest or admit an appeal, the party filing the contest, counter-contest, or
appeal shall give bond in an amount fixed by the court with two sureties satisfactory to it,
conditioned that he will pay all expenses and costs incident to such motion or appeal, or shall
deposit cash in court in lieu of such bond. . . .

Whether or not the court may require the petitioner either a bond or a cash deposit.

Yes. Said section is preceded by the heading, "Bond or cash deposit required of contestants,"
which apparently indicates that the court taking cognizance of the election contest may require
the contestant either to give a bond or to make a cash deposit. But the petitioner contends that the
right to choose between giving a personal bond and depositing a sum of money in lieu thereof is
granted only to the contestant or appellant. If there be any conflict between the heading of the
section under question and the body, it must be settled according to the canons of statutory
construction. Black on Interpretation of Laws, page 181, says: "Headings prefixed to the titled,
chapters, and sections of a statute or code may be consulted in aid of the interpretation, in case of
doubt or ambiguity; but inferences drawn from such headings are entitled to very little weight,
and they can never control the plain terms of the enacting clauses." The rule accepted by most of
the authorities is that if the chapter or section heading has been inserted merely for convenience
of reference, and not as an integral part of the statute, it should not be allowed to control the
interpretation. Applying this rule to the case at bar, it will be seen that the present section
provides that before the court entertain any contest or counter-contest or admits an appeal, the
party filing the contest, counter-contest or appeal shall give bond with two sureties to the
satisfaction of the court, or deposit cash in court in lieu of such bond. The court holds that the
court may only require a personal bond, and that the contestant may make a cash deposit in lieu

There is no question as to the court's discretionary power to demand of a contestant a certain sum
of money in advance to meet the initial expenses arising from the contest, such as the production
of ballot boxes in court, etc. It is true that the bond obliges the contestant or his sureties to pay all
the costs arising from the contest, should he be defeated, but the bond is not to be executed until
the final determination of the protest. And it is well known that certain services are required in
the course of election contests which must be paid for immediately, because it would be unjust to
delay their payment until the termination of the contest.

The court ruled that although it does not adhere strictly to legal technical phraseology, there is in
it no excess of jurisdiction or abuse of judicial discretion to be rectified by means of the writ
applied for. Hence the petition was dismissed.

People v. Yabut
G.R. No. 39085. September 27, 1933.

On or about the 1st day of August, 1932, the accused Antonio Yabut, then a prisoner serving
sentence in the Bilibid Prison, wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treacherously, assault, beat
and use personal violence upon one Sabas Aseo, another prisoner also serving sentence in
Bilibid, by then and there hitting the said Sabas Aseo suddenly and unexpectedly from behind
with a wooden club, without any just cause, thereby causing the death of the latter. Yabut was a
recidivist, he having previously been convicted twice of the crime of homicide and once of
serious physical injuries, by virtue of final sentences rendered by competent tribunals.

Whether or not Art. 160 of the Revised Penal Code applies to the case at bar.

Yes. Art. 160 of the Revised Penal Code, translated in English, provides that:

Commission of another crime during service of penalty imposed for another previous offense —
Penalty. — Besides the provisions of rule 5 of article 62, any person who shall commit a felony
after having been convicted by final judgment, before beginning to serve such sentence, or while
serving the same, shall be punished by the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for
the new felony.

The appellant places much stress upon the word "another" appearing in the English translation of
the headnote of article 160 and would have us accept his deduction from the headnote that article
160 is applicable only when the new crime which is committed by a person already serving
sentence is different from the crime for which he is serving sentence. The language is plain and
unambiguous. There is not the slightest intimation in the text of article 160 that said article
applies only in cases where the new offense is different in character from the former offense for
which the defendant is serving the penalty.

It is familiar law that when the text itself of a statute or a treaty is clear and unambiguous, there
is neither necessity nor propriety in resorting to the preamble or headings or epigraphs of a
section of interpretation of the text, especially where such epigraphs or headings of sections are
mere catchwords or reference aids indicating the general nature of the text that follows. A mere
glance at the titles to the articles of the Revised Penal code will reveal that they were not
intended by the Legislature to be used as anything more than catchwords conveniently
suggesting in a general way the subject matter of each article. Being nothing more than a
convenient index to the contents of the articles of the Code, they cannot, in any event have the
effect of modifying or limiting the unambiguous words of the text.

Baranda v. Gustilo
G.R. No. 81163. September 26, 1988

This case involves a parcel of land known covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 6406 in
the name of Romana Hitalia. Eventually, said was cancelled and Transfer Certificate of Title No.
106098 was issued in the names of Alfonso Hitalia and Eduardo S. Baranda. The Court issued a
writ of possession which Gregorio Perez, Maria P. Gotera and Susana Silao refused to honor on
the ground that they also have TCT No. 25772 over the same Lot No. 4517. The Court finds that
TCT No. 25772 was fraudulently acquired and ordered that the writ of possession be carried out.
Perez and Gotera filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals. The
motion for reconsideration was denied and the judgment became final. The petitioners contend
that Civil Case No. 00827 was filed only to delay the implementation of the writ.

The TCT No. T-25772 was declared null and void and TCT No. T-106098 was declared valid
and subsisting title concerning the ownership of Baranda and Hitalia. A motion for
reconsideration and manifestation filed by the Acting Registrar of Deeds of Iloilo, Atty. Helen P.
Sornito, on the ground that there was a pending case before this Court, an Action for Mandamus,
Prohibition, Injunction under G.R. No. 67661 filed by Atty. Eduardo Baranda, against the former
which remained unresolved. A notice of lis pendens "on account of or by reason of a separate
case (Civil Case No. 15871) still pending in the Court of Appeals" was carried out and annotated
in the new certificates of titles issued to the petitioners.

(1) Whether or not the pendency of the appeal in subsequent civil case with the Court of Appeals
prevents the court from canceling the notice of lis pendens in the certificate of titles of
petitioners which were earlier declared valid and subsisting by this Court.
(2) Whether or not the Register of Deeds has the duty to annotate or annul the notice of lis pendens
in a Torrens Certificate of Title.

(1) No. Under these circumstances, it is crystal clear that the private respondents, in filing Civil
Case No. 15871 were trying to delay the full implementation of the final decisions in G.R. No.
62042 as well as G.R. No. 64432 wherein this Court ordered immediate implementation of the
writs of possession and demolition in the reconstitution proceedings involving Lot No. 4517. Lis
pendens has been conceived to protect the real rights of the party causing the registration thereof.
The private respondents are not entitled to this protection. It was once held that while ordinarily
a notice of pendency which has been filed in a proper case, cannot be cancelled while the action
is pending and undetermined, the proper court has the discretionary power to cancel it under
peculiar circumstances, as for instance, where the evidence so far presented by the plaintiff does
not bear out the main allegations of his complaint, and where the continuances of the trial, for
which the plaintiff is responsible, are unnecessarily delaying the determination of the case to the
prejudice of the defendant. Respondent Judge Tito Gustilo abused his discretion in sustaining the
respondent Acting Register of Deeds' stand that, the notice of lis pendens in the certificates of
titles of the petitioners over Lot No. 4571 cannot be cancelled on the ground of pendency of
Civil Case No. 15871 with the Court of Appeals.

(2) No. Section 10, Presidential Decree No. 1529 states that "It shall be the duty of the Register of
Deeds to immediately register an instrument presented for registration dealing with real or
personal property which complies with all the requisites for registration…”

The elementary rule in statutory construction is that when the words and phrases of the statute are
clear and unequivocal, their meaning must be determined from the language employed and the
statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says. The statute concerning the function of the
Register of Deeds to register instruments in a torrens certificate of title is clear and leaves no
room for construction. According to Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English
Language — the word shall means "ought to, must, ...obligation used to express a command or
exhortation, used in laws, regulations or directives to express what is mandatory." Hence, the
function of a Register of Deeds with reference to the registration of deeds encumbrances,
instruments and the like is ministerial in nature. The respondent Acting Register of Deeds did not
have any legal standing to file a motion for reconsideration of the respondent Judge's Order
directing him to cancel the notice of lis pendens annotated in the certificates of titles of the
petitioners over the subject parcel of land. In case of doubt as to the proper step to be taken in
pursuance of any deed ... or other instrument presented to him, he should have asked the opinion
of the Commissioner of Land Registration now, the Administrator of the National Land Title and
Deeds Registration Administration in accordance with Section 117 of Presidential Decree No.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. V. I AC
G.R. No. 74851. December 9, 1999

On September 28, 1984, BF Homes filed a "Petition for Rehabilitation and for Declaration of
Suspension of Payments with the Securities and Exchange Commission. RCBC, one of the
creditors, requested the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal to extra-judicially foreclose its real estate
mortgage on some properties of BF Homes. A notice of extra-judicial foreclosure sale was issued
by the Sheriff. On motion of BF Homes, the SEC issued a temporary restraining order enjoining
RCBC and the sheriff from proceeding with the public auction sale. The SEC ordered the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction upon petitioner's filing of a bond. However,
petitioner did not file a bond until the very day of the auction sale, so no writ of preliminary
injunction was issued by the SEC. Presumably, unaware of the filing of the bond, the sheriffs
proceeded with the public auction sale in which RCBC was the highest bidder for the properties
auctioned. BF Homes filed in the SEC a consolidated motion to annul the auction sale and filed
an original complaint praying for the annulment of the judgment, premised on the fact that even
before RCBC asked the sheriff to extra-judicially foreclose its mortgage on petitioner's
properties, the SEC had already assumed exclusive jurisdiction over those assets.

(1) Whether or not the issue on preferred creditors of distressed corporations stand on equal footing
with all other creditors gains relevance and materiality only upon the appointment of a
management committee, rehabilitation receiver, board, or body in accordance with the provisions
of Presidential Decree No. 902-A.
(2) Whether or not RCBC has rightfully moved for the extrajudicial foreclosure of its mortgage
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 902-A.

(1) Yes. The Court held that whenever a distressed corporation asks the SEC for rehabilitation and
suspension of payments, preferred creditors may no longer assert such preference, but stand on
equal footing with other creditors. Foreclosure shall be disallowed so as not to prejudice other
creditors, or cause discrimination among them. The holding that suspension of actions for claims
against a corporation under rehabilitation takes effect as soon as the application or a petition for
rehabilitation is filed with the SEC — may, to some, be more logical and wise but unfortunately,
such is incongruent with the clear language of the law. To insist on such ruling, no matter how
practical and noble, would be to encroach upon legislative prerogative to define the wisdom of
the law — plainly judicial legislation. In other words, once a management committee,
rehabilitation receiver, board or body is appointed pursuant to P.D. 902-A, all actions for claims
against a distressed corporation pending before any court, tribunal, board or body shall be
suspended accordingly.

Only when the law is ambiguous or of doubtful meaning may the court interpret or construe its
true intent. Ambiguity is a condition of admitting two or more meanings, of being understood in
more than one way, or of referring to two or more things at the same time. A statute is
ambiguous if it is admissible of two or more possible meanings, in which case, the Court is
called upon to exercise one of its judicial functions, which is to interpret the law according to its
true intent.

(2) Yes. Insofar as petitioner RCBC is concerned, the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 902-A
are not yet applicable and it may still be allowed to assert its preferred status because it
foreclosed on the mortgage prior to the appointment of the management committee. Suspension
of claims against a corporation under rehabilitation is counted or figured up only upon the
appointment of a management committee or a rehabilitation receiver. As relevantly pointed out,
a petition for rehabilitation does not always result in the appointment of a receiver or the creation
of a management committee. Petitioner RCBC, therefore, could have rightfully, as it did, moved
for the extrajudicial foreclosure of its mortgage on October 26, 1984 because a management
committee was not appointed by the SEC until March 18, 1985.

National Marketing Corp. v. Tecson
G.R. No. L-29131. August 27, 1969

On November 14, 1955, the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment, in Civil Case
No. 20520 thereof, entitled "Price Stabilization Corporation vs. Miguel D. Tecson and Alto
Surety and Insurance Co., Inc.," The National Marketing Corporation, as successor to all the
properties, assets, rights, and choses in action of the Price Stabilization Corporation filed a
complaint against the same defendants, for the revival of the judgment rendered in said Case No.
20520. Defendant Miguel Tecson seeks the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction and prescription. Plaintiffs admit the decision of this Court became final on
December 21, 1955. This case was filed exactly on December 21, 1965 — but more than ten
years have passed a year is a period of 365 days (Art. 13, CCP). Plaintiff forgot that 1960, 1964
were both leap years so that when this present case was filed it was filed two days too late.

Whether or not the present action for the revival of a judgment is barred by the statute of

Yes. Pursuant to Art. 1144(3) of our Civil Code, an action upon a judgment "must be brought
within ten years from the time the right of action accrues," which, in the language of Art. 1152 of
the same Code, "commences from the time the judgment sought to be revived has become final."
Plaintiff-appellant insists that the same "is erroneous, because a year means a calendar
year (Statutory Construction, Interpretation of Laws, by Crawford, p. 383) and since what is
being computed here is the number of years, a calendar year should be used as the basis of
computation. There is no question that when it is not a leap year, December 21 to December 21
of the following year is one year. Certainly, the extra day in a leap year must belong to the year
where it falls and, therefore, that the 366 days constitute one year."

Indeed, prior to the approval of the Civil Code of Spain, the Supreme Court held that when the
law spoke of months, it meant a "natural" month or "solar" month, in the absence of express
provision to the contrary. Hence, the same Supreme Court declared that, pursuant to Art. 7 of
said Code, "whenever months ... are referred to in the law, it shall be understood that the months
are of 30 days," not the "natural," or "solar" or "calendar" months, unless they are "designated by
name," in which case "they shall be computed by the actual number of days they have. This
concept was later, modified in the Philippines, by Section 13 of the Revised Administrative
Code, Pursuant to which, "month shall be understood to refer to a calendar month."

However, the
court has reverted to the provisions of the Spanish Civil Code in accordance with which a month
is to be considered as the regular 30-day month ... and not the solar or civil month," with the
particularity that, whereas the Spanish Code merely mentioned "months, days or nights," ours
has added thereto the term "years" and explicitly ordains that "it shall be understood that years
are of three hundred sixty-five days."

Aguila v. CFI of Batangas
G.R. No. L-48335. April 15, 1988

Juliana Matienzo had two husbands in succession, namely, Escolastico Alabastro and, after his
death, Daniel Aguila. The petitioner is claiming the disputed property as the only surviving child
of the second marriage. The private respondents are resisting this claim as the children of Maria
Alabastro, the sole offspring of the first marriage and had sued for partition and damages against
the petitioner, alleging that some properties held by them pertained to the first marriage as
Juliana and her second husband had not acquired anything during their marriage.

On motion of the plaintiffs, the trial court then issued a writ of execution pursuant to which the
properties held by the defendants were levied upon and sold at public auction to the plaintiffs as
the highest bidders. The defendants filed a complaint for reconveyance of the properties acquired
by the defendants in the earlier action for partition in the Court of First Instance of Batangas. In
their answer, the defendants alleged res judicata as one of their affirmative defenses.

(1) Whether or not the petitioner may rightfully alleged res judicata in this case.
(2) Whether or not the Court should allow reconveyance of the properties in the exercise of its
equity jurisdiction.

(1) No since the petitioner does not seek to do away with the rule of res judicata but merely
proposes to undo a grave and serious wrong perpetuated in the name of justice. As a matter of
fact, he was not denied the opportunity to submit evidence which the due process guarantees.
Records show that he did not have the ooprtunity to be heard because of the gross ineptitude of
petitioner’s original counsel.

(3) No. The law on reconveyance is clear, and jurisprudence thereon is well-settled. This remedy is
available in cases where, as a result of mistake or fraud, property is registered in the name of a
person not its owner. However, it cannot be employed to negate the effects of a valid decision of
a court of justice determining the conflicting claims of ownership of the parties in an appropriate
proceeding, as in Civil Case No. 1562. The decision in that case was a valid resolution of the
question of ownership over the disputed properties and cannot be reversed now through the
remedy of reconveyance.

Equity is described as justice outside legality, which simply means that it cannot supplant
although it may, as often happens, supplement the law. All abstract arguments based only on
equity should yield to positive rules, which pre-empt and prevail over such persuasions.
Emotional appeals for justice, while they may wring the heart of the Court, cannot justify
disregard of the mandate of the law as long as it remains in force. The applicable maxim is
"aequetas nunquam contravenit legis.

Manila J ockey Club v. Games and Amusements Board
G.R. No. L-12727. February 29, 1960

As stated, Republic Act No. 1502 increased the sweepstakes draw and races of the PCSO to
twelve, but without specifying the days on which they are to be run. To accommodate these
additional races, the GAB resolved to reduce the number of Sundays assigned to private
individuals and entities by six. Appellants protested, contending that the said increased should be
taken from the 12 Saturdays reserved to the President, for charitable, relief, or civic purposes, or
should be assigned to any other day of the week besides Sunday, Saturday, and legal holiday.
They also hold that respondent PCSO does not have the right or power to appropriate or use the
race tracks and equipment of petitioner without its consent, nor can respondents compel
petitioner to so allow such use of its race tracks and equipment under pain of having its license

(1) Whether or not there was a proper placement of the six additional racing days given to the
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in virtue of Republic Act No. 1502.
(2) Whether or not legislative debates and explanatory statements by members of the legislature
may be resorted to in the interpretation of statutes.

(1) Yes. It is clear from Section 4 Republic Act No. 309, as amended by Republic Act No. 983, that
appellants have no vested right to the unreserved Sundays, or even to the 24 Saturdays (except,
perhaps, on the holidays), because their holding of races on these days is merely permissive,
subject to the licensing and determination by the GAB. When, therefore, Republic Act No. 1502
was enacted increasing by six (6) the sweepstakes draw and races, but without specifying the
days for holding them, the GAB had no alternative except to make room for the additional races,
as it did, from among the only available racing days unreserved by any law — the Sundays on
which the private individuals and entities have been permitted to hold their races, subject to
licensing and determination by the GAB.

The law does not authorize the holding of horse races with betting on week days. Secondly,
sweepstakes races have always been held on Sundays. It is not possible to hold them on Saturday
afternoons as, it is claimed, a whole day is necessary for the mixing of the sweepstakes balls, the
drawing of winning sweepstakes numbers, and the running of the sweepstakes races. The
language of Republic Act No. 1502 in authorizing the increase, clearly speaks of regular
sweepstakes draws and races. The conclusion seems inevitable that the additional sweepstakes
draws and races were intended to be held on a whole day, separate and apart from the club races.

(2) No. Legislative debates are expressive of the views and motives of individual members and are
not safe guides and, hence, may not be resorted to in ascertaining the meaning and purpose of the
lawmaking body. It is impossible to determine with certainty what construction was put upon an
act by the members of the legislative body that passed the bill, by resorting to the speeches of the
members thereof. Those who did not speak, may not have agreed with those who did; and those
who spoke, might differ from each other.The legal act, so to speak, is made up of two elements
— an internal and an external one; it originates in intention and is perfected by expression.
Failure of the latter may defeat the former.

Santiago v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 127325. March 19, 1997

Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed with COMELEC a “Petition to Amend the Constitution to Lift Term
Limits of elective Officials by People’s Initiative”. Santiago et al filed a special civil action for
prohibition against the Delfin Petition on the ground that the constitutional provision on people’s
initiative to amend the Constitution can only be implemented but law to be passed by Congress.
There is no law passed yet and RA 6735 provides only for initiative on statutes and local
legislation but not initiative on the Constitution.

Whether or not RA 6735 was intended to include initiative on amendments to the constitution
and whether the act adequately covers such initiative.

RA 6735 is intended to include the system of initiative on amendments to the constitution but is
unfortunately inadequate to cover that system. Sec 2 of Article 17 of the Constitution provides:
“Amendments to this constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through
initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of
which every legislative district must be represented by at least there per centum of the registered
voters therein. The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right”.
This provision is obviously not self-executory as it needs an enabling law to be passed by
Congress. Although this mode of amending the constitution is a mode of amendment which
bypasses Congressional action in the last analysis, it is still dependent on Congressional action.
Bluntly stated, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution
through the system of inititative would remain entombed in the cold niche of the constitution
until Congress provides for its implementation. The people cannot exercise such right, though
constitutionally guaranteed, if Congress for whatever reason does not provide for its

The portion of COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 which prescribes rules and regulations on
theconduct of initiative on amendments to the Constitution, is void. It has been an established
rule that what has been delegated, cannot be delegated. The delegation of the power to the
Comelec being invalid, the latter cannot validly promulgate rules and regulations to implement
the exercise of the right to people’s initiative. The lifting of the term limits was held t be that of
revision, as it would affect other provisions of the Constitution such as the synchronization of
elections, the constitutional guarantee of equal access to opportunities for public service,
and prohibiting political dynasties. A revisioncannot be done by initiative.

Tañada v. Cuenco
G.R. No. L-10520. February 28, 1957

Petitioner Lorenzo M. Tañada is a member of the Senate of the Philippines, and President of the
Citizens Party, whereas petitioner Diosdado Macapagal, a member of the House of
Representatives of the Philippines, was one of the official candidates of the Liberal Party for the
Senate. The Senate, upon nomination of Senator Cipriano Primicias, on behalf of the
Nacionalista Party, chose Senators Laurel, Lopez and Primicias, as members of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal. Upon nomination of petitioner Senator Tañada, on behalf of the Citizens
Party, said petitioner was next chosen by the Senate as member of said Tribunal. Upon
nomination of Senator Primicias on behalf of the Committee on Rules of the Senate, the Senate
choose respondents Cuenco and Delgado as members of the same Electoral Tribunal.
Subsequently, the Chairman of the latter appointed: (1) Cruz and Cayetano, as technical assistant
and private secretary, respectively, to Senator Cuenco, as supposed member of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal, upon his recommendation of said respondent; and (2) Serapio and Reyes, as
technical assistant and private secretary, respectively to Senator Delgado, as supposed member
of said Electoral Tribunal, and upon his recommendation.

Respondents allegethat the constitutional mandate to the effect that "each Electoral Tribunal
shall be compose of nine (9) members," six (6) of whom "shall be members of the Senate or of
the House of Representatives, as the case may be", is mandatory;

Whether or not Section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution is mandatory.

No. The flaw in the position taken in said opinion and by respondent herein is that, while, it
relies upon the compulsory nature of the word "shall". The language of a statute, however
mandatory in form, may be deemed directory whenever legislative purpose can best be carried
out by such construction, and the legislative intent does not require a mandatory construction;
The adoption of section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution, reveals clearly that its framers
intended to prevent the majority party from controlling the Electoral Tribunals, and that the
structure thereof is founded upon the equilibrium between the majority and the minority parties
therein, with the Justices of the Supreme Court, who are members of said Tribunals, holding the
resulting balance of power. The Senate may not elect, as members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal, those Senators who have not been nominated by the political parties specified in the
Constitution. Senators and Delgado, having been elected by the Committee on Rules of the
Senate and not by the party having the second largest votes in the Senate for which Senator
Tañada has the exclusive right, have not been duly elected as Members of the Senate Electoral

Torres v. Limjap
G.R. No. 34385. September 21, 1931

These two actions were commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila on April 16, 1930,
for the purpose of securing from the defendant the possession of two drug stores located in the
City of Manila, covered by two chattel mortgages executed by the deceased Jose B. Henson in
favor of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs alleged that the defendant violated the terms of the mortgage and
in consequence thereof they became entitled to the possession of the chattels and to foreclose
their mortgages thereon. The defendant appealed alleging that the lower court erred in refusing to
allow the defendant to introduce evidence tending to show that the stock of merchandise found in
the two drug stores was not in existence or owned by the mortgagor at the time of the execution
of the mortgages in question.

Whether or not the stipulation authorizing the disposal and substitution of the chattel mortgage is
in contravention of the express provision of the last paragraph of section 7 Act No. 1508.

No. The last paragraph of section 7 Act No. 1508 states that:
A chattel mortgage shall be deemed to cover only the property described therein and not like or
substituted property thereafter acquired by the mortgagor and placed in the same depository as
the property originally mortgaged, anything in the mortgage to the contrary notwithstanding.

In order to give a correct construction to the above-quoted provision of our Chattel Mortgage
Law, the spirit and intent of the law must first be ascertained. The primary aim of that law-
making body was undoubtedly to promote business and trade in these Islands and to give
impetus to the economic development of the country. In the interpretation and construction of a
statute the intent of the law-maker should always be ascertained and given effect, and courts will
not follow the letter of a statute when it leads away from the true intent and purpose of the
Legislature and to conclusions inconsistent with the spirit of the Act. A stipulation in the
mortgage, extending its scope and effect to after-acquired property, is valid and binding. Cobbey,
a well-known authority on Chattel Mortgages, recognizes the validity of stipulations relating to
after-acquired and substituted chattels. Hence, the court held that the provision of the last
paragraph of section 7 of Act No. 1508 is not applicable to drug stores, bazaars and all other
stores in the nature of a revolving and floating business and that the stipulation in the chattel
mortgages in question, extending their effect to after-acquired property, is valid and binding.

Sarcos v. Castillo
G.R. No. L-29755. J anuary 31, 1969

Petitioner Domingo N. Sarcos, the duly elected Mayor of Barobo, Surigao del Sur, was charged
with misconduct and dishonesty in office by respondent Recaredo Castillo, the Provincial
Governor of Surigao del Sur.

It was on the basis of the above administrative complaint that
respondent Governor ordered the immediate suspension of petitioner from his position as Mayor
of Barobo, Surigao del Sur, in accordance with the provisions of Section 5, of Republic Act No.
5185, otherwise known as the 'Decentralization Act of 1967'.

Whether or not respondent Provincial Governor is vested with power to order such preventive
suspension under Section 5 of the Decentralization Act of 1967.

No. Under the former law then in force which stands repealed by virtue of the Decentralization

the provincial governor, if the charge against a municipal official was one affecting his
official integrity could order his preventive suspension.

At present, no such authority is vested in
the provincial governor. Instead, the statutory scheme, complete on its face, would locate such
power in the provincial board. There would be no support for the view, then, that the action taken
by the provincial governor in issuing the order of preventive suspension in this case was in
accordance with law. "The purpose of Congress is a dominant factor in determining
meaning." The purpose of the Decentralization Act of 1967 is to grant to local governments
greater freedom and ampler means to respond to the needs of their people and promote their
prosperity and happiness and to effect a more equitable and systematic distribution of
governmental powers and resources. The absence of power on the part of provincial governors to
suspend preventively a municipal mayor is buttressed by the avoidance of undesirable
consequences flowing from a different doctrine.

People v. Almuete
G.R. No. L-26551, February 27, 1976

Wenceslao Almuete, Fernando Fronda, Cipriano Fronda and Fausto Durion were charged with a
violation of section 39 of the Agricultural Tenancy Law. It was alleged in the information that
the accused being tenants of Margarita Fernando in her riceland, without notice to her or without
her consent, pre-threshed a portion of their respective harvests of five cavans of palay each to her
The lower held that the information is basically deficient because it does not describe the
circumstances under which the cavans of palay were found in the possession of the accused
tenants; it does not specify the date agreed upon for the threshing of the harvests, and it does not
allege that the palay found in the tenants' possession exceeded ten percent of their net share
based on the last normal harvest.

Whether or not the tenant's act of pre- reaping and pre-threshing without notice to the landlord is
punishable pursuant to Sec. 39 of the Agricultural Tenancy Law.

No. The prohibition against pre-reaping or pre-threshing found in section 39 of the Agricultural
Tenancy Law of 1954 is premised on the existence of the rice share tenancy system. The evident
purpose is to prevent the tenant and the landholder from defrauding each other in the division of
the harvests. Thus, the legal maxim, cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex (the reason for the law
ceasing, the law itself also ceases). applies to this case.

Section 4 of the Code of Agrarian Reforms declared agricultural share tenancy throughout the
country as contrary to public policy and automatically converted it to agricultural leasehold.
Presidential Decree No. 2 proclaimed the entire country "as a land reform area".

The legislative intent not to punish anymore the tenant's act of pre- reaping and pre-threshing
without notice to the landlord is inferable from the fact that the Code of Agrarian Reforms did
not reenact section 39 of the Agricultural Tenancy Law and that it abolished share tenancy which
is the basis for penalizing clandestine pre-reaping and pre-threshing.

As held in the Adillo case, the act of pre-reaping and pre-threshing without notice to the
landlord, which is an offense under the Agricultural Tenancy Law, had ceased to be an offense
under the subsequent law, the Code of Agrarian Reforms. To prosecute it as an offense when the
Code of Agrarian Reforms is already in force would be repugnant or abhorrent to the policy and
spirit of that Code and would subvert the manifest legislative intent not to punish anymore pre-
reaping and pre-threshing without notice to landholder.

Matabuena v. Cervantes
G.R. No. L-28771, March 31, 1971

Appellant’s brother Felix Matabuena donated a piece of lot to his common-law spouse, herein
appellee Petronila Cervantes. Felix and Petronila got married only in 1962 or six years after the
deed of donation was executed. After the death of Feliz, Cornelia Matabuena, by reason of being
the only sister and nearest collateral relative of the deceased, filed a claim over the property, by
virtue of an affidavit of self-adjudication executed and had the land declared in her name and
paid the estate and inheritance taxes thereon. Cornelia cites Art. 133 which provides that “Every
donation between the spouses during the marriage shall be void.” The lower court of Sorsogon
declared that the donation was valid inasmuch as it was made at the time when Felix and
Petronila were not yet spouses, rendering Article 133 of the Civil Code inapplicable.

Whether or not the ban on donation between spouses during a marriage applies to a common-law

Yes. While Article 133 of the Civil Code considers as void a donation between the spouses
during marriage, policy consideration of the most exigent character as well as the dictates of
morality requires that the same prohibition should apply to a common-law relationship. It is a
fundamental principle in statutory construction that what is within the spirit of the law is as much
a part of the law as what is written. Since the reason for the ban on donations between spouses
during the marriage is too prevent the possibility of undue influence and improper pressure being
exerted by one spouse on the other, there is no reasn why this prohibition shall not apply also to
common-law relationships.

As stated in Buenaventura vs. Bautista (50 OG 3679, 1954), if the policy of the law is to prohibit
donations in favor of the other consort and his descendants because of fear of undue and
improper pressure and influence upon the donor, then there is every reason to apply the same
prohibitive policy to persons living together as husband and wife without the benefit of nuptials.

The lack of validity of the donation by the deceased to appellee does not necessarily result in
appellant having exclusive right to the disputed property. As a widow, Cervantes is entitled to
one-half of the inheritance, and the surviving sister to the other half.

Fariñas v. Barba
G.R. No. 116763. April 19, 1996

Carlito B. Domingo, a member of the Sangguniang Bayan of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, resigned
after going without leave to the United States. To fill the vacancy created by his resignation, the
mayor, respondent Angelo M. Barba, recommended to the Governor of the province, petitioner
Rodolfo C. Fariñas, the appointment of respondent Edward Palafox. A similar recommendation
for the appointment of Edward Palafox was made by the Sangguniang Bayan of San Nicolas but
the recommendation was made to Mayor Barba. The resolution, containing the recommendation,
was submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte purportedly in compliance with
§56 of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160).
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, purporting to act under this provision of the Local Government
Code, disapproved the resolution “for the reason that the authority and power to
appoint Sangguniang Bayan members are lodged in the Governor. Accordingly, the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan recommended to the Governor the appointment of petitioner Al Nacino.
The trial court upheld the appointment of respondent Palafox by respondent Mayor Barba stating
that the law applicable is sub-section “C” of Section 45 of Republic Act No. 7160 otherwise
known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
Whether or not the power to fill a vacancy in the Sangguniang Bayan, which is created as a result
of the cessation from office of a member who does not belong to a political party, is vested in the
provincial governor upon recommendation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Yes. The person who has the power to appoint under such circumstance is the Governor upon the
recommendation of the Sangguniang concerned which is the Sangguniang Bayan of San Nicolas
where the vacancy occurs. Where the vacancy is caused by a Sanggunian Member not belonging
to a Political Party, the Governor, upon recommendation of the Sangguniang Panlungsod or
Sangguniang Bayan, has the power to appoint. Where there is no political party to make a
nomination, the Sanggunian, where the vacancy occurs, must be considered the appropriate
authority for making the recommendation.
The upshot of this is that in the case at bar, since neither petitioner Al Nacino nor respondent
Edward Palafox was appointed in the manner indicated in the preceding discussion, neither is
entitled to the seat in the Sangguniang Bayan of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. For while, petitioner
Al Nacino was appointed by the provincial governor, he was not recommended by the
Sangguniang Bayan of San Nicolas. On the other hand, respondent Edward Palafox was
recommended by the Sangguniang Bayan but it was the mayor and not the provincial governor
who appointed him.

Largado v. Masaganda
G.R. No. L-17624. J une 30, 1962


On January 7, 1960, Angelo de los Reyes filed a petition before the Justice of the Peace court of
Unisan, Quezon, praying that he be appointed guardian of the persons and properties of certain
minors. Aquilina Largado, mother of the minors, because of the failure of her counsel to appear,
was declared in default. Two hours later, the counsel appeared and moved for the reconsideration
of the order default, but the same was denied. Thereupon, the justice of the peace court issued an
order appointing Angelo de los Reyes guardian as prayed for.

Whether or not said justice of the peace court has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian under
Republic Act No. 2613.

No. The court a quo answered the question in the negative relying on Section 10 of Republic Act
No. 2613, which provides that the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace courts shall not extend,
among others, to the appointment of guardians even if the Secretary of Justice has ruled
otherwise in an opinion rendered in 1959. The provisions of said Act are clear.

The contention that the insertion of the term "guardian" in said Section 10 was only due to an
oversight as opined by the Secretary of Justice may have some basis, considering the intent of
Congress in approving Republic Act 2613; nevertheless, the court is of the opinion that the
mistake cannot be corrected by executive fiat, but by legislation. This is what Congress in effect
did when on June 17, 1961 it approved Republic Act No. 3090 rectifying the mistake committed.
However, since said Act does not contain any saving clause, its provisions cannot be given
retroactive effect.

U.S. v. Paguirigan
G.R. No. 5348. November 16, 1909

The defendant Paguirigan, charged with having threatened to kill Sotero Pascua, Vicente
Marquez, and Maximo Lopez, was convicted and sentenced under the second part of article 494
of the Penal Code. The offense was not a serious one, and there is nothing in the evidence to
show that the defendant ever really contemplated carrying his threat into effect.

Whether or not Art. 589 may be invoked against the respondent.

Yes. Upon the facts, the defendant should have been convicted under the third subdivision of
article 589, instead of article 494 of the Penal Code. The threats referred to in article 494 consist
in formally threatening a private person with some injury to himself or his family which would
amount to a crime. A threat made in jest or in the heat of anger is a misdemeanor only under
article 589. Subdivision 3 of article 589 provides that "Those who shall threaten another, by
words and in the heat of anger, with an injury that would constitute a crime, and who by their
subsequent actions show that they persisted in the intention which they gave utterance to in their
threat; provided that, in view of the circumstances of the deed, it should not be included in Book
II of this code,"

The fact that the threat was made in the heat of anger, and that the subsequent actions of the
party show that he did not seriously intend to carry the threat into execution, reduce the offense
from a crime to a misdemeanor, and is punishable under article 589, instead of article 494, of the
Penal Code. A literal adherence to this language of the law in question would produce the absurd
result of making persistence in an illegal purpose operate in mitigation of the offense. The power
of the court to supply or omit words from a statute in order to prevent an absurd result which the
legislature will not be supposed to have intended, is well established.

People v. Duque
G.R. No. 100285. August 13, 1992

Appellant Napoleon Duque was charged with and convicted of violating Section 38 in relation to
Section 39 of P.D. No. 442, as amended, known as The Labor Code of the Philippines. The
charge of illegal recruitment was set out in the information where the accused well knowing that
he is not licensed nor authorized by the proper government agency (POEA) to engage in
recruitment of workers abroad, exacted and actually received money from the victims, to their
damage and prejudice. Duque contends that the offense of illegal recruitment had accordingly
prescribed by May 1990.

(1) Whether or not the criminal offense for which appellant was convicted has already prescribed.
(2) Whether or not a literal reading of Section 2 is practicable in the case at bar.

(1) No. The recruitment of persons for overseas employment without the necessary recruiting permit
or authority form the POEA constitutes a crime penalized, not by the Revised Penal Code, but
rather by a special law, i.e., Article 38 in relation to Article 290 of the Labor Code. Article 290
of the Labor Code provides, in relevant part, that:
Art. 290. Offenses penalized under this Code and the rules and regulations issued pursuant
thereto shall prescribe in three (3) years.

The Court agrees with the statement of the Solicitor General that Act No. 3326 supplied the
applicable norm. Section 2 of Act No. 3326, provides that “Prescription shall begin to run from
the day of the commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not known at the time,
from the discovery thereof and institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and

The court holds that the applicable prescriptive period in the case at bar began to run from the
time the recruitment activities of appellant Duque were ascertained by the complainants and by
the POEA to have been carried out without any license or authority from the government. The
discovery by the complainants and by the POEA was simultaneous in character and occurred
sometime in December 1989 when the complainants went to the POEA with the complaint for
recovery of the placement fees and expenses they had paid to appellant Duque, and the POEA,
acting upon that complaint, discovered and informed the private complainants that Duque had
operated as a recruiter without the essential government license or authority. Accordingly, the
offense of illegal recruitment had not prescribed when the complaint was filed with the
Provincial Prosecutor's Office in April 1990 and when the information was filed in court in May

(2) No. It should be noted, firstly, that the literal reading that appellant suggests, does not benefit
appellant, for the prescriptive period in the case at bar had not in any case been exhausted since
prosecution of appellant commenced only a few months after the POEA and the complainants
had discovered that appellant had no governmental authority to recruit for overseas work and
was merely pretending to recruit workers for overseas employment and to receive money
therefor, i.e., that appellant did not even attempt to locate employment abroad for complainants.
Secondly, the court does not think there is any real need for such a literal reading of Section 2.
As is well-known, initiation of proceedings for preliminary investigation of the offense normally
marks the interruption of the period of prescription. Under appellant Duque's literal reading, the
prescription period would both begin and be interrupted by the same occurrence; the net effect
would be that the prescription period would not have effectively begun, having been rendered
academic by the simultaneous interruption of that same period. A statute providing for
prescription of defined criminal offenses is more than a statute of repose and constitutes an act of
grace by which the State, after the lapse of a certain period of time, surrenders its sovereign
power to prosecute the criminal act. A statute on prescription of crimes is an act of liberality on
the part of the State in favor of the offender. The applicable well-known principles of statutory
interpretation are that statutes must be construed in such a way as to give effect to the intention
of the legislative authority, and so as to give a sensible meaning to the language of the statute
and thus avoid nonsensical or absurd results, departing to the extent unavoidable from the literal
language of the statute. Appellant's literal reading would make nonsense of Section 2 of Act No.

Amatan v. Aujero
A.M. No. RTJ -93-956. September 27, 1995

A criminal complaint accusing Rodrigo Umpad, alias "Meon" of the crime of murder under
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code was filed. After preliminary investigation by the office of
the provincial fiscal, an information charged Umpad with the crime of Homicide.

Upon arraignment, however, the parties, with the acquiescence of the Public Prosecutor and the
consent of the offended party, entered into plea bargaining where it was agreed that the accused
would plead guilty to the lesser offense of Attempted Homicide instead of homicide as originally
charged in the information. Respondent judge found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the lesser crime of Attempted Homicide exactly in accordance with the plea bargaining

A letter-complaint addressed to the Chief Justice and signed by Pedro S. Amatan, a brother-in-
law of the deceased, accused Judge Vicente Aujero of gross incompetence, gross ignorance of
the law and gross misconduct wherein he contended that the sentence of respondent judge
finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the lesser offense of Attempted Homicide
and not Homicide as charged.

Whether or not respondent Judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the law in finding the accused
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the lesser offense of Attempted Homicide.

Yes. While it is true that Sec. 2, Rule, 116 of the 1985 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as
amended, allows the accused in criminal case to plead guilty "to lesser offense regardless of
whether or not it is necessarily included in the crime charged", the fact of death of the victim for
which the accused Rodrigo Umpad was criminally liable, cannot by simple logic and plain
common sense be reconciled with the plea of guilty to the lower offense of attempted homicide.

In instances where a literal application of a provision of law would lead to injustice or to a result
so directly in opposition with the dictates of logic and everyday common sense as to be
unconscionable, the Civil Code

admonishes judges to take principles of right and justice at heart.
In case of doubt the intent is to promote right and justice. The fact of the victim's death, a clear
negation of frustrated or attempted homicide, ought to have alerted the judge not only to a
possibly inconsistent result but to an injustice. The failure to recognize such principles so
cardinal to our body of laws amounts to ignorance of the law and reflects respondent judge's lack
of prudence, if not competence, in the performance of his duties.

Salvacion v. Central Bank
G.R. No. 94723. August 21, 1997


On February 4, 1989, Greg Bartelli y Northcott, an American tourist, coaxed and lured petitioner
Karen Salvacion, then 12 years old to go with him to his apartment. Therein, Greg Bartelli
detained Karen Salvacion for four days and was able to rape the child once on February 4, and
three times each day on February 5, 6, and 7, 1989. On February 7, 1989, after policemen and
people living nearby, rescued Karen, Greg Bartelli was arrested and detained at the Makati
Municipal Jail. The policemen recovered from Bartelli a Dollar Account in China Banking
The Deputy Sheriff of Makati served a Notice of Garnishment on China Banking Corporation.
China Banking Corporation invoked Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 to the effect
that the dollar deposits of defendant Greg Bartelli are exempt from attachment, garnishment, or
any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any
administrative body, whatsoever.
Whether or not Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and Section 8 of R.A. 6426, as
amended by P.D. 1246, otherwise known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act can be made
applicable to a foreign transient.
No. The foreign currency deposit made by a transient or a tourist is not the kind of deposit
encourage by PD Nos. 1034 and 1035 and given incentives and protection by said laws because
such depositor stays only for a few days in the country and, therefore, will maintain his deposit
in the bank only for a short time. This would negate Article 10 of the New Civil Code which
provides that “in case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed that the
lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. “Ninguno non deue enriquecerse
tortizerzmente con damo de otro.” Simply stated, when the statute is silent or ambiguous, this is
one of those fundamental solutions that would respond to the vehement urge of
conscience. (Padilla vs. Padilla, 74 Phil. 377) It would be unthinkable, that the questioned
Section 113 of Central Bank No. 960 would be used as a device by accused Greg Bartelli for
wrongdoing, and in so doing, acquitting the guilty at the expense of the innocent. The provisions
of Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960 and PD No. 1246, insofar as it amends Section 8 of R.A.
6426 are inapplicable to this case because of its peculiar circumstances.

Demafiles v. COMELEC
G.R. No. L-28396. December 29, 1967


The petitioner Agripino Demafiles and the respondent Benito B. Galido vying for the mayoralty
in the general elections. On November 21 the respondent Galido asked the provincial board,
acting as municipal board of canvassers pursuant to section 167 (b) of the Revised Election
Code, to disregard, as "obviously manufactured", the election return from precinct 7 on the
ground that the said return shows that 195 voters were registered, of whom 188 voted, when,
according to a certificate of the municipal election registrar only 182 had registered in that
precinct as of October 30, 1997. At its session on the following day, November 22, the board,
over the objection of one member, voted to reject the return from precinct 7 and then proceeded
with the canvass of the returns from the other precints. The resulting tally gave Galido 888 votes
as against 844 for Demafiles. Accordingly, Galido was proclaimed mayor-elect of the
municipality of Sebaste.

On November 24 Demafiles wired the Commission on Elections, protesting the board's action of
rejection of the return from precinct 7 and the subsequent proclamation of Galido, and
challenging the right of two board members, Julito Moscoso and Quirico Escaño, to sit,
considering that they were reelectionists. The COMELEC resolved to annul the canvass and
proclamation of the local officials of the new municipality of Sebaste, Antique, which was made
by the Provincial Board of Antique and to constitute the Board of Canvassers by appointing the
substitutes pursuant to the provisions of Sec. 167 (a) of the Revised Election Code, which shall
canvass anew the results of the election for local offices.

(1) Whether or not the case is moot because respondent Galido had taken his oath and assumed
office on November 22, pursuant to Republic Act 4870.
(2) Whether or not the canvassing board may pass upon the validity of the election return in this
(3) Whether or not the canvass and proclamation should be annulled.

(1) No. In the court’s view, the last portion of the provision — "and shall have qualified" — is
devoid of any meaning and does not warrant the respondent's reading that the term of office of
the first municipal officials of Sebaste begins immediately after their proclamation. Here is a
clear case of a failure to express a meaning, and a becoming sense of judicial modesty forbids the
courts from assuming and, consequently, from supplying. The court agreed by the general rule
that the term of office of municipal officials shall begin on the first day of January following
their election,

and so the assumption of office by the respondent Galido in no way affected the
basic issues in this case.

(2) Yes. A canvassing board performs a purely ministerial function — that of compiling and adding
the results they appear in the returns, transmitted to it. However, they cannot pass upon the
validity of an election return, much less exclude it from the canvass on the ground that the votes
cast in the precinct from whence it came are illegal. But the exclusion of the return in this case is
sought to be justified on the ground that it is "obviously manufactured" because, contrary to the
statement therein that there were 195 registered voters, of whom 188 voted, the certificate of the
local election registrar states that only 182 voters had registered on October 30, 1967.

(3) Yes. The canvass and proclamation should be annulled because two of the four members of the
board of canvassers were disqualified from sitting in it, they being candidates for reelection. The
statement of respondent Galido that reelectionist members of the provincial board are
disqualified under section 28 only when the board acts as a provincial board of canvassers, to
prevent them from canvassing their own votes, and not when they sit as a municipal board of
canvassers, is branded as obiter dictum

The statute draws no distinction between the provincial board acting as a provincial board of
canvassers and the same board acting as a municipal canvassing body new municipalities, and so
we make none, in line with the maxim ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemos.

People v. Gutierrez
G.R. No. L-32282-83. November 26, 1970

Petition for writs of certiorari and mandamus, with preliminary injunction, filed by the Solicitor
General and State Prosecutors, to annul and set aside the order of Judge Mario J. Gutierrez of the
Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur (respondent herein), denying the prosecution's urgent
motion to transfer Criminal Case Nos. 47-V and 48-V of said Court of First Instance, entitled
"People vs. Pilotin, et al.," to the Circuit Criminal Court of the Second Judicial District; to direct
the respondent Judge to effectuate such transfer; and to restrain the trial of the cases aforesaid in
the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur, sitting in Vigan, capital of the province.

The Secretary issued Administrative Order No. 226, authorizing Judge Mario Gutierrez to
transfer Criminal Cases Nos. 47-V and 48-V to the Circuit Criminal Court, "in the interest of
justice and pursuant to Republic Act No. 5179, as implemented by Administrative Order Nos.
258 and 274" of the Department of Justice. The Administrative Orders were issued at the
instance of the witnesses seeking transfer of the hearing from Vigan to either San Fernando, La
Union, or Baguio City, for reasons of security and personal safety.

(1) Whether or not Administrative Order No. 226 merely authorized the court below, but did not
require or command it, to transfer the cases in question to the Circuit Criminal Court.
(2) Whether or not the cases should be transferred to the Circuit Criminal Court.

(1) Yes. The creation by Republic Act No. 5179 of the Circuit Criminal Courts nowhere indicates an
intent to permit the transfer of preselected individual cases to the circuit courts. The very terms
of Administrative Order No. 226 relied upon by the petitioners, in merely authorizing, and not
directing, Judges Arciaga and Gutierrez to transfer Criminal Cases to the Circuit Criminal Court
of the Second Judicial District. Respondent Judge Gutierrez, therefore in construing
Administrative Order No. 226 as permissive and not mandatory, acted within the limits of his
discretion and violated neither the law nor the Executive Orders heretofore mentioned.

(2) Yes. It is unfortunate that in refusing to consider Department Administrative Order No. 226 as
mandatory, respondent Judge Gutierrez failed to act upon the contention of the prosecuting
officers that the cases should be transferred because a miscarriage of justice was impending, in
view of the refusal of the prosecution witnesses to testify in the court sitting in Vigan, Ilocos Sur,
where they felt their lives would be endangered. There is an imperious necessity of transferring
the place of trial to a site outside of Ilocos Sur, if the cases are to be judicially inquired into
conformably to the interest of truth and justice and the State is to be given a fair chance to
present its side of the case.

Since the rigorous application of the general principle of Rule 110, Section 14 (a), would result
here in preventing a fair and impartial inquiry into the actual facts of the case, it must be
admitted that the exigencies of justice demand that the general rule relied upon by accused
respondents should yield to occasional exceptions wherever there are weighty reasons therefor.
Otherwise, the rigor of the law would become the highest injustice — "summum jus, summa in

Macalintal v. Presidential Electoral Tribunal
G.R. No. 191618. J une 7, 2011

Petitioner Atty. Macalintal questions the constitutionality of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal
(PET) as an illegal and unauthorized progeny of Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution. While
petitioner concedes that the Supreme Court is "authorized to promulgate its rules for the
purpose," he chafes at the creation of a purportedly "separate tribunal". Petitioner avers that the
designation of the Members of the Court as Chairman and Members thereof, contravenes Section
12, Article VIII of the Constitution, which prohibits the designation of Members of the Supreme
Court and of other courts established by law to any agency performing quasi-judicial or
administrative functions.

Whether or not the constitution of the PET, composed of the Members of this Court, is
unconstitutional, and violates Section 4, Article VII and Section 12, Article VIII of the

No. On its face, the contentious constitutional provision does not specify the establishment of the
PET. But neither does it preclude, much less prohibit, otherwise. Section 4, Article VII of the
Constitution should be read with other related provisions of the Constitution such as the parallel
provisions on the Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Contrary
to petitioner’s assertion, the Supreme Court’s constitutional mandate to act as sole judge of
election contests involving our country’s highest public officials, and its rule-making authority in
connection therewith, is not restricted; it includes all necessary powers implicit in the exercise
Unmistakable from the foregoing is that the exercise of the court’s power to judge presidential
and vice-presidential election contests, as well as the rule-making power adjunct thereto, is
plenary. The court reiterate that the establishment of the PET simply constitutionalized what was
statutory before the 1987 Constitution.
With the explicit provision, the present Constitution has allocated to the Supreme Court, in
conjunction with latter’s exercise of judicial power inherent in all courts, the task of deciding
presidential and vice-presidential election contests, with full authority in the exercise thereof.
The power wielded by PET is a derivative of the plenary judicial power allocated to courts of
law, expressly provided in the Constitution.
The court had previously declared that the PET is not simply an agency to which Members of the
Court were designated. The PET, as intended by the framers of the Constitution, is to be an
institution independent, but not separate, from the judicial department, i.e., the Supreme Court.
The vehicle for the exercise of this power, as intended by the Constitution and specifically
mentioned by the Constitutional Commissioners during the discussions on the grant of power to
this Court, is the PET. Thus, a microscopic view, like the petitioner’s, should not constrict an
absolute and constitutional grant of judicial power.

Chua v. Civil Service Commission
G.R. No. 88979. February 7, 1992

Republic Act No. 6683 was approved on 2 December 1988 providing for benefits for early
retirement and voluntary separation from the government service as well as for involuntary
separation due to reorganization. Deemed qualified to avail of its benefits are those enumerated
in Sec. 2 of the Act, as follows:
Sec. 2. Coverage. — This Act shall cover all appointive officials and employees of the National Government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, as well as the personnel of all local
government units. The benefits authorized under this Act shall apply to all regular, temporary, casual and
emergency employees, regardless of age, who have rendered at least a total of two (2) consecutive years of
government service as of the date of separation. Uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
including those of the PC-INP are excluded from the coverage of this Act.

Petitioner Lydia Chua believing that she is qualified to avail of the benefits of the program, filed
an application on 30 January 1989 with respondent National Irrigation Administration (NIA)
which, however, denied the same. The NIA and the Civil Service contend that petitioner is
excluded from the benefits of Republic Act No. 6683 because petitioner's employment is co-
terminous with the project per appointment papers kept by the Administrative Service in the head
office of NIA, and said project was completed as of 31 December 1988, after which petitioner's
position became functus officio.

Whether or not petitioner’s application for ealy retirement benefits under Republic Act No. 6683
should be granted.
Yes. The objective of the Early Retirement or Voluntary Separation Law is to trim the
bureaucracy, hence, vacated positions are deemed abolished upon early/voluntary retirement of
their occupants. Co-terminous or project personnel, on the other hand, who have rendered years
of continuous service should be included in the coverage of the Early Retirement Law, as long as
they file their application prior to the expiration of their term, and as long as they comply with
CSC regulations promulgated for such purpose.
In fine, the Court believes, and so holds, that the denial by the respondents NIA and CSC of
petitioner's application for early retirement benefits under Rep. Act No. 6683 is unreasonable,
unjustified, and oppressive, as petitioner had filed an application for voluntary retirement within
a reasonable period and she is entitled to the benefits of said law.

COA v. Province of Cebu
G.R. No. 141386. November 29, 2001;

In the audit of accounts conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA) of the Province of Cebu,
it appeared that the salaries and personnel-related benefits of the teachers appointed by the
province for the extension classes were charged against the provincial SEF. Likewise charged to
the SEF were the college scholarship grants of the province. Consequently, the COA issued
Notices of Suspension to the province of Cebu, saying that disbursements for the salaries of
teachers and scholarship grants are not chargeable to the provincial SEF.
Whether or not the salaries and personnel-related benefits of public school teachers appointed by
local chief executives in connection with the establishment and maintenance of extension
classes; as well as the expenses for college scholarship grants, may be charged to the Special
Education Fund (SEF) of the local government unit concerned.
Undoubtedly, the legislature intended the SEF to answer for the compensation of teachers
handling extension classes. Under the doctrine of necessary implication, the allocation of the
SEF for the establishment and maintenance of extension classes logically implies the hiring of
teachers who should, as a matter of course be compensated for their services. Every statute is
understood, by implication, to contain all such provisions as may be necessary to effectuate its
object and purpose, or to make effective rights, powers, privileges or jurisdiction which it grants,
including all such collateral and subsidiary consequences as may be fairly and logically inferred
from its terms. Ex necessitate legis. Verily, the services and the corresponding compensation of
these teachers are necessary and indispensable to the establishment and maintenance of extension
Indeed, the operation and maintenance of public schools is lodged principally with the
DECS. The SEF may be expended only for the salaries and personnel-related benefits of teachers
appointed by the local school boards in connection with the establishment and maintenance of
extension classes. With respect, however, to college scholarship grants, a reading of the pertinent
laws of the Local Government Code reveals that said grants are not among the projects for which
the proceeds of the SEF may be appropriated.

Shioji v. Harvey
G.R. No. L-18940. April 27, 1922

In cause No. 19471 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, wherein S. Shioji was plaintiff, and
the Toyo Kisen Kaisah and the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., were defendants, judgment was
rendered on October 31, 1920, by Judge Concepcion presiding in the second branch of the court,
in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants. Thereafter, the defendants duly perfected an
appeal by way of bill of exceptions, to the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands filed on
February 16, 1922.
The countermove of the respondents in the injunction proceedings pending the Court of First
Instance was to file a complaint in prohibition in the Supreme Court, to compel the respondent
Judge of First Instance to desist from interfering with the execution of the judgment in case No.
19471 of the Court of First Instance of Manila and to issue an order revoking the previously
promulgated by him. The preliminary injunction prayed for as an incident to the complaint in
prohibition was immediately issued by the Supreme Court, and has been complied with by the
respondents herein. Counsel Petitioner herein moves for judgment on the pleadings.

(1) Whether or not the Judge of First Instance may assume the jurisdiction to interpret and review
judgment and order of the Supreme Court, and to obstruct the enforcement of the decisions of the
appellate court.
(2) Whether or not Rule 24 (a) is in conflict with any law of the United States or of the Philippine
(1) No. The only function of a lower court, when the judgment of a high court is returned, is the
ministerial one, the issuing of the order of execution, and that lower court is without supervisory
jurisdiction to interpret or to reverse the judgment of the higher court as it would seem to be
superfluous. A judge of a lower court cannot enforce different decrees than those rendered by the
superior court. The Supreme Court of the Philippine Island is expressly authorized by statute to
make rules for regulation of its practice and the conduct of its business. Section 28 of the
Judiciary Act (No. 136), grants to the members of the Supreme Court the power to "make all
necessary rules for orderly procedure in Supreme Court . . . in accordance with the provisions of
the Code of Civil Procedure, which rules shall be . . . binding upon the several courts."

(2) No, Rule 24 (a) is not in conflict with any law of the United States or of the Philippines, but is a
necessary rule for orderly procedure and for regulating the conduct of business in Supreme
Court. It is a rule which relates to a matter of practice and procedure over which the Legislature
has not exercised its power. It is a rule which does not operate to deprive a party of any statutory
right. It is a rule in harmony with judicial practice and procedure over which the Legislature has
not exercised its power. It is a rule which does not operate to deprive a party of any statutory
right. It is a rule in harmony with judicial practice and procedure and essential to the existence of
the courts. And, finally, it is a rule which must be enforced according to the discretion of the
court. Independent of any statutory provision, the court asserts that every court has inherent
power to do all things reasonably necessary for the administration of justice within the scope of
its jurisdiction.

Luciano v. Provincial Governor
G.R. No. 30306. J une 20, 1969

The petition now before us, originally for mandamus filed by Jose C. Luciano, Councilor of
Makati, Rizal, who received the highest number of votes in the last general elections of 1967, to
compel the Provincial Governor and/or the Provincial Board of Rizal under Section 13 of the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act to suspend Makati Mayor Maximo Estrella and others,
soon branched out to include quo warranto to have petitioner declared to be entitled to act as
Mayor of Makati, Rizal and, thereafter, further expanded to add a prayer for injunction against
newly named party respondents, Judges Delfin B. Flores and Herminio C. Mariano, both of the
Court of First Instance of Rizal, and the Court of Appeals, because said judges and the Court of
Appeals have restrained or enjoined the suspension of Mayor Estrella and others.
Who should exercise the mandatory act of suspension under Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act?
It is true to say that nothing in Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act grants with
specifity upon the Court of First Instance the power to suspend an official charged with a
violation thereof. The plain import of the last sentence of Section 13, which says that if
acquitted, is that a defendant in an Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices case "shall be entitled to
reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during
suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him."

And so, there is in this legal provision a recognition that once a case is filed in court, all other
acts connected with the discharge of court functions — which here include suspension — should
be left to the Court of First Instance. Section 13 requires as a pre-condition of the power to
suspend that there be a valid information.
Therefore, since suspension is incident to removal and should proceed from one who
should logically do so, and considering that in the operation of a given statute fairness must have
in the mind of the legislators, we brush aside needless refinements, and rule that under Section
13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, once a valid information upon the provisions
thereof is lodged with the Court of First Instance, that court has the inescapable duty to suspend
the public official indicted there under.

Angara v. Electoral Commission
G.R. No. 45081. J uly 15, 1936

Respondent Pedro Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion of Protest" against
the election of the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being the only protest filed after the passage
of Resolutions No. 8 aforequoted, and praying, among other-things, that said respondent be
declared elected member of the National Assembly for the first district of Tayabas, or that the
election of said position be nullified. Petitioner, Jose A. Angara, one of the respondents in the
aforesaid protest, filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion to Dismiss the Protest",
alleging that the protest in question was filed out of the prescribed period. Petitioner, in seeking
for the issuance of the writ prayed for, contends that the Constitution confers exclusive
jurisdiction upon the electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of contested elections to
the National Assembly.

Whether or not the Electoral Commission has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in
assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed against the election of the herein petitioner
notwithstanding the previous confirmation thereof by the National Assembly.

No. The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, is intended to be as complete
and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that
power in the Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the exercise of that power by the
National Assembly. And this is as effective a restriction upon the legislative power as an express
prohibition in the Constitution.
The creation of the Electoral Commission carried with it ex necesitate rei the power regulative in
character to limit the time with which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed. It is a
settled rule of construction that where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every
particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or the performance of the other is also
conferred (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eight ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of
any further constitutional provision relating to the procedure to be followed in filing protests
before the Electoral Commission, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules
necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by
necessary implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission.

American Tobacco Co. v. Director of Patents
G.R. 26803, Oct. 14, 1975

In this petition for mandamus with preliminary injunction, petitioners challenge the validity of
Rule 168 of the "Revised Rules of Practice before the Philippine Patent Office in Trademark
Cases" as amended, authorizing the Director of Patents to designate any ranking official of said
office to hear "inter partes" proceedings. Said Rule likewise provides that "all judgments
determining the merits of the case shall be personally and directly prepared by the Director and
signed by him." These proceedings refer to the hearing of opposition to the registration of a mark
or trade name, interference proceeding instituted for the purpose of determining the question of
priority of adoption and use of a trade-mark, trade name or service-mark, and cancellation of
registration of a trade-mark or trade name pending at the Patent Office.

Whether or not the Director of Patents may be compelled to personally hear the cases of
petitioners, in lieu of the hearing officers.

No. Under section 3 of RA 165, the Director of Patents is "empowered to obtain the assistance of
technical, scientific or other qualified officers or employees of other departments, bureaus,
offices, agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including corporations owned,
controlled or operated by the Government, when deemed necessary in the consideration of any
matter submitted to the Office relative to the enforcement of the provisions" of said Act. Section
78 of the same Act also empowers "the Director, subject to the approval of the Department
Head," to "promulgate the necessary rules and regulations, not inconsistent with law, for the
conduct of all business in the Patent Office."

It has been held that power-conferred upon an administrative agency to which the administration
of a statute is entrusted to issue such regulations and orders as may be deemed necessary or
proper in order to carry out its purposes and provisions maybe an adequate source of authority to
delegate a particular function, unless by express provisions of the Act or by implication it has
been withheld.

There is no provision either in Republic Act No. 165 or 166 negativing the
existence of such authority, so far as the designation of hearing examiners is concerned. The
nature of the power and authority entrusted to The Director of Patents suggests that the
aforecited laws should be construed so as to give the aforesaid official the administrative
flexibility necessary for the prompt and expeditious discharge of his duties in the administration
of said laws. It could hardly be expected, in view of the magnitude of his responsibility, to
require him to hear personally each and every case pending in his Office. This would leave him
little time to attend to his other duties. For him to do so and at the same time attend personally to
the discharge of every other duty or responsibility imposed upon his Office by law would not
further the development of orderly and responsible administration. The remedy is a far wider
range of delegations to subordinate officers. This sub-delegation of power has been justified by
"sound principles of organization" which demand that "those at the top be able to concentrate
their attention upon the larger and more important questions of policy and practice, and their
time be freed, so far as possible, from the consideration of the smaller and far less important
matters of detail."

People v. Concepcion
G.R. No. 19190. November 29, 1922


By telegrams and a letter of confirmation to the manager of the Aparri branch of the Philippine
National Bank, Venancio Concepcion, President of the Philippine National Bank, between April
10, 1919, and May 7, 1919, authorized an extension of credit in favor of "Puno y Concepcion, S.
en C." in the amount of P300,000. "Puno y Concepcion, S. en C." was a copartnership. Venancio
Concepcion is a member of the board of directors of this bank and was charged with a violation
of Section 35 of Act No. 2747. Section 35 of Act No. 2747, provides that "The National Bank
shall not, directly or indirectly, grant loans to any of the members of the board of directors of the
bank nor to agents of the branch banks."

Whether or not the granting of a credit to the copartnership "Puno y Concepcion, S. en C." by
Venancio Concepcion, President of the Philippine National Bank, an "indirect loan" within the
meaning of section 35 of Act No. 2747 hence violative of said law.

Yes. The prohibition against indirect loans is a recognition of the familiar maxim that no man
may serve two masters — that where personal interest clashes with fidelity to duty the latter
almost always suffers. If, therefore, it is shown that the husband is financially interested in the
success or failure of his wife's business venture, a loan to partnership of which the wife of a
director is a member, falls within the prohibition. A loan, therefore, to a partnership of which the
wife of a director of a bank is a member, is an indirect loan to such director. The court is of the
opinion that the statute forbade the loan to his copartnership firm as well as to himself directly.
The loan was made indirectly to him through his firm.

Tantuico, J r. v. Domingo
G.R. No. 96422. February 28, 1994


On January 26, 1980, petitioner was appointed Chairman of the Commission on Audit (COA) to
serve a term of seven years expiring on January 26, 1987. Petitioner had discharged the functions
of Chairman of the COA in an acting capacity since 1975. On December 31, 1985, petitioner
applied for clearance from all money, property and other accountabilities in preparation for his
retirement. He obtained the clearance applied for, which covered the period from 1976 to
December 31, 1985. Petitioner sought a second clearance to cover the period from January 1,
1986 to March 9, 1986. All the signatures necessary to complete the second clearance, except
that of Chairman Guingona, were obtained.
In a letter dated December 21, 1989, a copy of which was received by petitioner on December
27, 1989, respondent Chairman informed petitioner of the approval of his application for
retirement under R.A. No. 1568, effective as of March 9, 1986. However, respondent Chairman
added that in view of the audit findings and inventory report adverted, payment of only one-half
(½) of the money value of the benefits due petitioner by reason of such retirement will be
allowed, subject to the availability of funds and the usual accounting and auditing rules. Payment
of the balance of said retirement benefits shall be subject to the final results of the audit
concerning petitioner’s fiscal responsibility and/or accountability as former Chairman of this
Whether or not the withholding of one-half of petitioner’s retirement pay is valid.

No. Respondent Chairman cannot withhold the benefits due petitioner under the retirement laws.
In said case, where petitioner herein was one of the respondents, we found that the employee had
been cleared by the National Treasurer from all money and property responsibility, and held that
the retirement pay accruing to a public officer may not be withheld and applied to his
indebtedness to the government. Well-settled is the rule that retirement laws are liberally
interpreted in favor of the retiree because the intention is to provide for the retiree's sustenance
and comfort, when he is no longer capable of earning his livelihood (Profeta vs. Drilon, 216
SCRA 777 [1992]). The petition is granted insofar as it seeks to compel respondent Chairman of
the COA to pay petitioner's retirement benefits in full and his monthly pensions beginning in
March 1991.

Matuguina I ntegrated Wood Products v. CA
G.R. No. 98310 October 24, 1996

Matuguina Integrated Wood Products Inc. (MIWPI) filed this action for prohibition, Damages
and Injunction, in order to prevent the respondent Minister of Natural Resources from enforcing
its Order of Execution against it, for liability arising from an alleged encroachment of the
petitioner over the timber concession of respondent DAVENCOR located in Mati, Davao
Oriental. The Court of Appeals in its decision found MIWPI as an alter ego of Milagros
Matuguina and/or Matuguina Logging Enterprises (MLE), to be liable to DAVENCOR for
illegal encroachment.

Whether or not a transferee of a forest concession is liable for obligations arising from the
transferor’s illegal encroachment into another forest concessionaire committed prior to the

No. Section 61 of P.D. 705 provides that “Unless authorized by the Department Head, no
licensee, lessee, or permittee may transfer, exchange, sell, or convey his license agreement,
license, lease or permit, or any of his rights or interest therein, or any of his assets used in
connection therewith.

The licensee, lessee, or permittee shall be allowed to transfer or convey his license agreement,
license, lease, or permit only if he has not violated any forestry law, rule or regulation; has been
faithfully complying with the terms and conditions of the license agreement, license, lease or
permit; the transferee has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to hold a license
agreement, license, lease or permit; there is no evidence that such transfer or conveyance is being
made for purposes of speculation; and the transferee shall assume all the obligations of the

In construing statutes, the terms used therein are generally to be given their ordinary meaning,
that is, such meaning which is ascribed to them when they are commonly used, to the end that
absurdity in the law must be avoided. The term “obligations” as used in the final clause of the
second paragraph of Section 61 of P.D. 705 is construed to mean those obligations incurred by
the transferor in the ordinary course of business. It cannot be construed to mean those
obligations or liabilities incurred by the transferor as a result of transgressions of the law, as
these are personal obligations of the transferor, and could not have been included in the term
“obligations” absent any modifying provision to that effect.

Ernesto v. CA
GR 52178, Sep 28, 1982

Petitioner for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. SP-08166-
R, Demetrio Ernesto, et. al. vs. San Carlos Milling Co., et al., which affirmed the judgment of
the Court of Agrarian Relations, Branch III, City of San Carlos dismissing the complaint of
petitioners seeking the payment of their 60% share of the alleged contractual increase in the
share of the planters in the proceeds of sugarcane milled in respondent's sugar mill during the
crop years 1958-59 to 1967-68 and all subsequent crop years to which they maintain they are
entitled under the Sugar Act of 1952 (R.A. 809).

Petitioners insist that in the San Carlos Milling district, there was no such majority during all the
times materials hereto, which contention is denied by respondents. And the issue revolves solely
around the point of whether or not so-called emergency, non-quota and non-district or
accommodation planters should be counted in determining the majority contemplated in the law.
The determination of the issue is decisive because the record indicates that if the emergency, or
non-quota, non-district and "accommodation" planters are to be considered in ascertaining how
many "planters" with written milling contracts with the sugar mill", the result would be that the
planters in the San Carlos Milling district with such written contracts would be in the minority,
in which case Section 9 of Republic Act 809 would be applicable, not in relation to any
contractual increase in the share of the planters.

Whether or not so-called emergency, non-quota and non-district or accommodation planters
should be counted in determining the majority of planters contemplated in the law.

Yes. The court believes that there is no valid reason why the statutory definition of planters
under Act 4166 and Executive Orders 900 and 901 should still be adhered to after the factual
situation to which they were addressed had already changed. The limitation to sugar quotas,
whether export, domestic or reserve among all the mills continued only until 1955. From that
year, emergency, non-quota, non-district or accommodation planters came into being with the
blessings of the Sugar Quota Administration. With such a change in situation, it would not be
logical to continue adhering to the previous definitions that had already lost their legal effect.
Consequently, the court is of the considered opinion that after the quota system ceased, the
definition of planters within the district for the purposes of Section 1 of the Sugar Act should be
all planters who delivered their sugarcane to the respondent Central who milled the same. Hence,
as such, they should all be counted in determining the total number of planters in the sugar
district in ascertaining whether or not a majority of them have written milling contracts with the
respondent Central.

Amadora v. CA
G.R. No. L-47745 Apr. 15, 1988

While they were in the auditorium of their school, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, a
classmate, Pablito Daffon, fired a gun that mortally hit Alfredo, ending all his expectations and
his life as well. Daffon was convicted of homicide thru reckless imprudence. Additionally, the
herein petitioners, as the victim's parents, filed a civil action for damages under Article 2180 of
the Civil Code against the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, its rector, the high school principal,
the dean of boys, and the physics teacher, together with Daffon and two other students, through
their respective parents. The complaint against the students was later dropped. On appeal to the
respondent court, however, the decision was reversed and all the defendants were completely
absolved. The respondent court found that Article 2180 was not applicable as the Colegio de San
Jose-Recoletos was not a school of arts and trades but an academic institution of learning.

Whether or not Art. 2180 of the Civil Code applies to all schools, academic as well as non-

Yes. The Court has come to the conclusion that the provision in question should apply
to all schools, academic as well as non-academic. Where the school is academic rather than
technical or vocational in nature, responsibility for the tort committed by the student will attach
to the teacher in charge of such student, following the first part of the provision. This is the
general rule. In the case of establishments of arts and trades, it is the head thereof, and only he,
who shall be held liable as an exception to the general rule. In other words, teachers in general
shall be liable for the acts of their students except where the school is technical in nature, in
which case it is the head thereof who shall be answerable. Following the canon of reddendo
singula singulis "teachers" should apply to the words "pupils and students" and "heads of
establishments of arts and trades" to the word "apprentices."

Carandang v. Santiago
G.R. No. L-8238, May 25, 1955

This is a petition for certiorari against Honorable Vicente Santiago, Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Manila, to annul his order in Civil Case No. 21173, entitled Cesar M.
Carandang vs. Tomas Valenton, Sr. et al., suspending the trial of said civil case to await the
result of the criminal Case No. 534, Court of First Instance of Batangas. In this criminal case,
Tomas Valenton, Jr. was found guilty of the crime of frustrated homicide committed against the
person of Cesar Carandang, petitioner herein. Tomas Valenton, Jr. appealed the decision to the
Court of Appeals where the case is now pending.

Petitioner invokes Article 33 of the new Civil Code. The Code Commission itself states that the
civil action allowed under Article 33 is similar to the action in tort for libel or slander and assault
and battery under American law. But respondents argue that the term "physical injuries" is used
to designate a specific crime defined in the Revised Penal Code.

In the case at bar, the accused was charged with and convicted of the crime of frustrated
homicide, and while it was found in the criminal case that a wound was inflicted by the
defendant on the body of the petitioner herein Cesar Carandang, which wound is bodily injury,
the crime committed is not physical injuries but frustrated homicide, for the reason that the
infliction of the wound is attended by the intent to kill.

Whether or not an offended party can file a separate and independent civil action for damages
arising from physical injuries during the pendency of the criminal action for frustrated homicide.

Yes. The Article in question uses the words "defamation", "fraud" and "physical injuries."
Defamation and fraud are used in their ordinary sense because there are no specific provisions in
the Revised Penal Code using these terms as means of offenses defined therein, so that these two
terms defamation and fraud must have been used not to impart to them any technical meaning in
the laws of the Philippines, but in their generic sense. With this apparent circumstance in mind, it
is evident that the term "physical injuries" could not have been used in its specific sense as a
crime defined in the Revised Penal Code, for it is difficult to believe that the Code Commission
would have used terms in the same article — some in their general and another in its technical
sense. In other words, the term "physical injuries" should be understood to mean bodily injury,
not the crime of physical injuries, because the terms used with the latter are general terms.

Co Kim Chan v. Valdez Tan Keh
G.R. No. L-5, September 17, 1945

This petition for mandamus in which petitioner prays that the respondent judge of the lower
court be ordered to continue the proceedings in civil case No. 3012 of said court, which were
initiated under the regime of the so-called Republic of the Philippines established during the
Japanese military occupation of these Islands.

The respondent judge refused to take cognizance of and continue the proceedings in said case on
the ground that the proclamation issued on October 23, 1944, by General Douglas MacArthur
had the effect of invalidating and nullifying all judicial proceedings and judgments of the court
of the Philippines under the Philippine Executive Commission and the Republic of the
Philippines established during the Japanese military occupation.

Whether or not the proclamation issued on October 23, 1944, by General Douglas MacArthur, in
which he declared "that all laws, regulations and processes of any of the government in the
Philippines than that of the said Commonwealth are null and void and without legal effect in
areas of the Philippines free of enemy occupation and control," affects the proceedings in civil
cases pending in court under the so-called Republic of the Philippines established during the
Japanese military occupation.

No. The phrase "processes of any other government" is broad and may refer not only to the
judicial processes, but also to administrative or legislative, as well as constitutional, processes of
the Republic of the Philippines or other governmental agencies established in the Islands during
the Japanese occupation. It should be presumed that it was not, and could not have been, the
intention of General Douglas MacArthur, in using the phrase “processes of any other
government” in said proclamation, to refer to judicial processes, in violation of principles of
international law. The court ruled that the term “processes” does not refer to judicial processes
but to executive orders of the Chairman of the Philippine Executive Committee, ordinances
promulgated by the President of the so-called Republic of the Philippines and the constitution
itself of said Republic, and others that are of the same class as the laws and regulations with
which the word “processes” is associated.

Escribano v. Avila
G.R. No. L-30375, Sep. 12, 1978

On September 25, 1968 Congressman Salipada K. Pendatun, the governor-elect of Cotabato,
filed directly with the Court of First Instance of that province a complaint for libel against Mayor
Jose Escribano of Tacurong, Cotabato. In that complaint Escribano was charged with having said
in a speech, which was broadcasted on a radio station, that "Mr. Pendatun is the worst animal
that ever live in this province.” Escribano questioned Judge Avila's authority to conduct the
preliminary investigation of the offense. Judge Avila in his orders of March 5, 20 and 27, 1969
ruled that he had the power to conduct the preliminary investigation. On April 1, 1969 Escribano
filed in this Court against Judge Avila and Pendatun the instant special civil actions of certiorari
and prohibition, praying that the said orders of Judge Avila be set aside. On April 18 Escribano
filed a supplemental petition to annul Judge Avila's order of March 29, 1969. In that order he
found that Pendatun's evidence had "established a probable cause to believe that" libel by radio
had been committed and that Escribano "probably committed the same". The city fiscal filed an
information for libel against Escribano. Petitioner invokes the provisions of article 360 of the
Revised Penal Code, which were inserted by Republic Act No. 4363, which do not empower the
Court of First Instance to conduct a preliminary investigation of written defamations.

Whether or not the Court of First Instance of Cotabato is invested with authority to conduct the
preliminary investigation of the crime of libel committed by means of radio at Cotabato City or
whether that power is lodged exclusively in the city attorney of that city.

Yes. The lawmaking body, by means of that amendment of Art. 360, never intended to take away
the jurisdiction of the proper Court of First Instance to conduct a preliminary investigation in
libel cases. The amendment merely sought to strip the ordinary municipal court of its power to
hold a preliminary investigation of written defamations. The fact that the Court of First Instance
is not mentioned in Article 360 as a tribunal that may conduct the preliminary investigation of
libel cases would seem to suggest that it cannot conduct such preliminary investigation,
following the maxim inclusio unius est exclusio alterius (the inclusion of one thing is the
exclusion of another or the enumeration of particular things excludes the Idea of something else
not mentioned.)

However, the maxim inclusio unius est exclusio alterius cannot be applied in this case because,
as shown above, the fact that the Court of First Instance is not mention in the amendment, as
being empowered to conduct a preliminary investigation in cases of written defamation, has
nothing to do with the purpose of the amendment. It should be stressed that in construing a law,
the court must look to the object to be accomplished, the evils and mischief sought to be
remedied, or the purpose to be subserved, and it should give the law a reasonable or liberal
construction which win best effect its purpose rather than one which win defeat it. The silence of
article 360 on the power of a judge of the Court of First Instance to conduct an investigation of
criminal actions for written defamations does not preclude a judge of that court from holding
such investigation.

People v. Tamani
G.R. No. 22160, J an 21, 1974

After the appellant had filed his brief, the Solicitor General filed a motion to dismiss the appeal
on the ground that the notice of appeal was forty-seven days late. The lower court's decision
convicting defendant Tamani was promulgated on February 14, 1963. He filed his notice of
appeal only on September 10, 1963 or forty eight days from July 24th.

Whether or not the 15-day period within which to appeal a judgment of conviction in a criminal
action is counted from the date of promulgation of judgment.

Yes. Section 22, Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that “an appeal must be taken within
fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice of judgment or order appealed from.” The court
held that the 15-day period should be counted from the promulgation and not from receipt of
copy of judgment. The word "promulgation" in Section 6 should be construed as referring to
"judgment" under Section 6 of Rule 120, while the word "notice" should be construed as
referring to "order". That construction is sanctioned by the rule of reddendo singula singulis.
Therefore, when the order denying appellant's motion for reconsideration was served by
registered mail on July 13th on appellant's counsel, he had only one (1) day within which to file
his notice of appeal and not eleven days. Appellant Tamani's notice of appeal, filed on
September 10, 1963, was fifty-eight days late.

People v. Purisima
G.R. No. L-42050, Nov. 20, 1978

These twenty-six (26) Petitions for Review were filed by the People of the Philippines charging
the respective accused with "illegal possession of deadly weapon" in violation of Presidential
Decree No. 9. On a motion to quash filed by the accused, the three Judges issued an Order
quashing or dismissing the Informations, on a common ground, viz, that the Information did not
allege facts which constitute the offense penalized by Presidential Decree No. 9 because it failed
to state one essential element of the crime.

Whether or not the Informations filed by the petitioners are sufficient in form and substance to
constitute the offense of “illegal possession of deadly weapon” penalized under PD No. 9.

No. The Informations filed by petitioner are fatally defective. The two elements of the offense
covered by P.D. 9(3) must be alleged in the Information in order that the latter may constitute a
sufficiently valid charged. The sufficiency of an Information is determined solely by the facts
alleged therein. Where the facts are incomplete and do not convey the elements of the crime, the
quashing of the accusation is in order.

In the construction or interpretation of a legislative measure, the primary rule is to search for and
determine the intent and spirit of the law. Legislative intent is the controlling factor, for whatever
is within the spirit of a statute is within the statute, and this has to be so if strict adherence to the
letter would result in absurdity, injustice and contradictions. Because of the problem of
determining what acts fall within the purview of P.D. 9, it becomes necessary to inquire into the
intent and spirit of the decree and this can be found among others in the preamble or, “whereas"

It is a salutary principle in statutory construction that there exists a valid presumption that
undesirable consequences were never intended by a legislative measure, and that a construction
of which the statute is fairly susceptible is favored, which will avoid all objectionable,
mischievous, indefensible, wrongful, evil, and injurious consequences.

Quibuyen v. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-16854, Dec 26, 1963

In this case, the defendants filed three motions but they were denied. On August 15, 1958,
judgment was rendered. On September 29, 1958, they filed a pleading entitled "Petition for
Relief from Judgment", which was denied by the trial judge on January 5, 1959. On January 10
and 29, 1959 they filed their notice of appeal and appeal bond, respectively; but the record on
appeal was not registered until February 4, 1959. On February 12, 1959, the plaintiff filed their
opposition to the approval of the defendants' appeal, on the ground that the order of January
5,1958 and the judgment on the merits of August 15, 1958 are not appealable the latter having
already become final and executory. On April 27, 1959, the Judge issued an Order denying the
defendants' appeal, for the reasons stated in plaintiffs' opposition dated February 12, 1959 and
granted the issuance a writ of execution.

Petitioners, in contending that their petition for certiorari filed with the Court of Appeals was
sufficient invokes Rule 67 which provides that petition is issued only if the petition is sufficient
in form and substance to justify such process. But the Court of Appeals found that the petition
was fatally defective, in the sense that the necessary supporting papers were not attached with the
petition, and most important, the precise order dated January 5, 1959, which petitioners sought
to annul through said petition. Petitioners contended that the order of January 5, 1959, the order
of the trial judge denying the petition for relief mentioned or designated in the prayer of the
petition, was not the order which was being assailed, but the order of April 27, 1959, which was
attached as Annex A, to the petition for certiorari and this was the one refusing to give due
course to the appeal from the order denying the petition for relief filed by the petitioners.
Petitioners submit that Annex A, order of the trial court under date of April 27, 1959, having
been actually attached to the petition, it was no longer necessary for petitioners to attach the
other supporting papers, such as the petition for relief, the opposition thereto, the order denying
the said petition for relief and so forth.

(1) Whether or not the petition for certiorari filed before the Court of Appeals is sufficient in form
and substance, such that a dismissal by said Court of said petition on the ground that is "fatally
defective” is invalid.
(2) Whether or not it is necessary petitioners to attach still "other supporting papers" since a copy of
the order sought be annulled was actually attached to the certiorari petition, as Annex A.

(1) No. The court is satisfied that it is a case of lapsus calami. The mistake consists in mentioning in
the prayer of the petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals, that the writ be issued "annulling
the aforesaid order of the respondent Judge of January 5, 1959, and directing the respondent
Judge to give due course to the appeal interposed by the herein petitioners", without a attaching a
copy of said order, but accompanying the said petition, as Annex A, with a copy of the order of
the court dated April 27, 1959. The order of January 5, 1959 was one denying the petition for
relief "for lack of merit" while order of April 27, 1959 was an order denying the defendants'
appeal and granting the issuance of a writ of execution. The petition mentioned the order of
January 5, 1959 as the order assailed, instead of designating that April 27, 1959, as the order
appealed from. It is seen, therefore, that the designation of the order by date, in the petition was a

(2) No. The query invites a negative answer, because it being a special action of certiorari, Rule 67
governs, at least, in matter of form of petition. All that the Rules require is that the petition be
verified, the facts be alleged with certainty and it must pray for the annulment of the judgment
order complained of (sec. 1, Rule 67). These requisites were met by the petitioner with the
respondent Court. Granting for the sake of argument, that section 2, Rule 49 is applicable, the
same was also substantially complied with. The copy of the order of April 27, 1959 was filed as
(Annex A with the petition, on the date the petition was presented, and the other pleadings such
as the Petition for Relief from Judgment Annex B), opposition to petition for relief (Annex C)
order of the respondent court denying petition for relief (Annex D), Notice of Appeal (Annex E),
Opposition to Defendants' appeal, and Motion for Execution (Annex F), with the motion for
reconsideration, dated March 14, 1960, of the order of dismissal of the petition, which served to
cure the alleged defect, in form and substance, of the petition in question. If at all, petitioners
were guilty of a technical violation of procedural requirements, a technicality which does not
seem to be of much moment presently, since the reason for its existence had been satisfied.

Ferrer v. Pecson
G.R. No. L-5221. October 27, 1952

On March 1, 1949, the petitioner Benito Ferrer Y Rodriguez was accused before the municipal
court of Manila of serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence in the said court. After
trial, the Municipal Court of Manila found him guilty and sentenced him to three (3) months
of arresto mayor. Defendant appealed the case to the Court of First Instance of Manila.
Petitioner through counsel filed a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the Municipal
Court of Manila had no jurisdiction over the offense and, consequently, the Court of First
Instance had no appellate jurisdiction.

Whether or not the Municipal Court of Manila had jurisdiction over the offense.

No. The jurisdiction of the court to try a criminal case is to be determined by the law at the time
of the institution of the action. Sec. 67 of the Revised Motor Vehicle Law and not under the
Revised Penal Code. The criminal jurisdiction of a justice of the peace or a municipal court as
defined in the Judiciary Act of 1948 is confined to offenses in which the penalty is not more than
six (6) months. From this it is clear that the Municipal Court of Manila had no jurisdiction over
this case where a maximum penalty of six (6) years may be imposed; and if it had no original
jurisdiction, the Court of First Instance presided over by Judge Pecson had likewise no appellate

It is true that section 67 of the Revised Motor Vehicle Law was amended by section 16 of
Republic Act No. 587, in the sense that acts of negligence or reckless or unreasonably fast
driving resulting in death or serious bodily injury upon any person shall be prosecuted and
punished under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code. But this act may not be given
retroactive effect so as to confer on the municipal court jurisdiction which it did not have when it
tried and decided the case against petitioner. It may be true that the provisions of the penal code
are more favorable to the petitioner in this case as regards the penalty, but when the very
accused, herein petitioner, far from invoking the benefits of said Republic Act No. 587,
disregards it and instead, invokes the Revised Motor Vehicle Law which was in force at the time
that the acts imputed to him were committed, at least for that reason alone the question of
retroactivity cannot and will not be considered.