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A.M. No. 1120-MJ May 5, 1976


DOMINADOR C. BALDOZA, complainant,
vs.
HON. JUDGE RODOLFO B. DIMAANO, respondent.
RESOLUTION
ANTONIO, J.:
In a verified letter-complaint dated September 9, 1975, the Municipal Secretary
of Taal, Batangas, charges Municipal Judge Rodolfo B. Dimaano, of the same
municipality, with abuse of authority in refusing to allow employees of the
Municipal Mayor to examine the criminal docket records of the Municipal
Court to secure data in connection with their contemplated report on the
peace and order conditions of the said municipality. Respondent, in answer to
the complaint, stated that there has never been an intention to refuse access
to official court records; that although court records are among public
documents open to inspection not only by the parties directly involved but also
by other persons who have legitimate interest to such inspection, yet the same
is always subject to reasonable regulation as to who, when, where and how
they may be inspected. He further asserted that a court has unquestionably the
power to prevent an improper use or inspection of its records and the
furnishing of copies therefrom may be refused where the person requesting is
not motivated by a serious and legitimate interest but acts out of whim or
fancy or mere curiosity or to gratify private spite or to promote public scandal.
In his answer, the respondent significantly observed:
Restrictions are imposed by the Court for fear of an
abuse in the exercise of the right. For fear that the dirty
hands of partisan politics might again be at play, Some of
the cases filed and decided by the Court after the
declaration of Martial Law and years after the election
still bore the stigma of partisan politics as shown in the
affidavits and testimonies of witnesses.
Without casting aspersion on any particular individual, it
is worth mentioning, that the padlocks of the door of the
Court has recently been tampered by inserting papers
and matchsticks.
Under the circumstances, to allow an indiscriminate and
unlimited exercise of the right to free access, might do
more harm than good to the citizenry of Taal. Disorder
and chaos might result defeating the very essence of
their request. The undersigned is just as interested as
Mr. Baldoza in the welfare of the community and the
preservation of our democratic principles.
Be that as it may, a request of this magnitude cannot be
immediately granted without adequate deliberation and
upon advisement, especially so in this case where the
undersigned doubts the propriety of such request.
Hence, it is believed that authority should first be
secured from the Supreme Court, through the Executive
Judge, for the formulation of guidelines and policies on
this matter.
The case was thereupon referred to Judge Francisco Mat. Riodique for
investigation and report. At the preliminary hearing on October 16, 1975, Taal
Mayor Corazon A. Caniza filed a motion to dismiss the complaint to preserve
harmony and (cooperation among officers in the same municipality. This
motion was denied by the Investigating Judge, but after formal investigation,
he recommended the exoneration of respondent. Pertinent portion of his
report reads as follows:

* * * When this case was heard, complainant Dominador


Baldoza informed the Court that he is aware of the
motion to dismiss filed by Mayor Corazon A. Caniza and
that he is in conformity with the dismissal of the
administrative charge against Judge Rodolfo Dimaano.
The Court asked him if he could prove his case and he
said he can. So, the Court denied his oral motion to
dismiss and required him to present his evidence.
Complainant only manifested to the Court that he has no
oral evidence. The only evidence he has are the
exchanged communication which were all in writing and
attached to the record between him and the respondent.
The Court asked the respondent what he has to say on
the documentary evidence of the complainant. He
manifested that all his answers to the complaint are all
embodied in his answers filed with the Court.
A careful perusal, scrutiny, and study of the
communications between the complainant and the
respondent, together with the answers filed by the
latter, reveal that there is no showing of abuse of
authority on the part of the respondent. The respondent
allowed the complainant to open and view the docket
books of the respondent under certain conditions and
under his control and supervision. Complainant admitted
that he was aware of the rules and conditions imposed
by the respondent when he went to his office to view his
docket books for the purpose mentioned in his
communication. He also agreed that he is amenable to
such rules and conditions which the respondent may
impose. Under these conditions, therefore, the Court
finds that the respondent has not committed any abuse
of authority.
The complainant was warned to be more cautious in
filing any administrative charge against any public official
especially, members of the judiciary, considering that an
administrative charge against a member of the judiciary
may expose the latter to public ridicule and scandal
thereby minimizing if not eradicating public trust and
After a careful evaluation of the recommendation, We find that the respondent
did not act arbitrarily in the premises. As found by the Investigating Judge, the
respondent allowed the complainant to open and view the docket books of
respondent certain conditions and under his control and supervision. it has not
been shown that the rules and conditions imposed by the respondent were
unreasonable. The access to public records predicated on the right of the
people to acquire information on matters of public concern. Undoubtedly in a
democracy, the public has a legitimate interest in matters of social and political
significance. In an earlier case, 1 this Court held that mandamus would lie to
compel the Secretary of Justice and the Register of Deeds to examine the
records of the latter office. Predicating the right to examine the records on
statutory provisions, and to a certain degree by general principles of
democratic institutions, this Court stated that while the Register of Deeds has
discretion to exercise as to the manner in which persons desiring to inspect,
examine or copy the records in his office may exercise their rights, such power
does not carry with it authority to prohibit. Citing with approval People ex rel.
Title Guarantee & T. Co. vs. Railly, 2 this Court said:
The subject is necessarily committed, to a great degree,
'to his (register of deeds') discretion as to how much of
the conveniences of the office are required to be
preserved for the accomodation of these persons. It is
not his duty to permit the office to be thronged
needlessly with persons examining its books of papers,
but it is his duty to regulate, govern, and control his
office in such a manner as to permit the statutory
advantages to be enjoyed by other persons not
employed by him as largely and extensibly as that

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consistently can be done * * *. What the law expects and
requires from him is the exercise of an unbiased and
impartial judgment, by which all persons resorting to the
office, under legal authority, and conducting themselves
in an orderly manner, shall be secured their lawful rights
and privileges, and that a corporation formed in the
manner in which the relator has been, shall be permitted
to obtain all the information either by searches,
abstracts, or copies, that the law has entitled it to obtain.
Except, perhaps, when it is clear that the purpose of the
examination is unlawful, or sheer, Idle curiosity, we do
not believe it is the duty under the law of registration
officers to concern themselves with the motives,
reasons, and objects of the person seeking access to the
records. It is not their prerogative to see that the
information which the records contain is not flaunted
before public gaze, or that scandal is not made of it. If it
be wrong to publish the contents of the records, it is the
legislature and not the officials having custody thereof
which is called upon to devise a remedy. As to the moral
or material injury which the publication might inflict on
other parties, that is the publisher's responsibility and
lookout. The publication is made subject to the
consequences of the law.
The concurring opinion of Justice Briones predicated such right not on statutory
grounds merely but on the constitutional right of the press to have access to
information as the essence of press freedom. 3
The New Constitution now expressly recognizes that the people are entitled to
information on matters of public concern and thus are expressly granted access
to official records, as well as documents of official acts, or transactions, or
decisions, subject to such limitations imposed by law. 4 The incorporation of
this right in the Constitution is a recognition of the fundamental role of free
exchange of information in a democracy. There can be no realistic perception
by the public of the nation's problems, nor a meaningful democratic decision
making if they are denied access to information of general interest. Information
is needed to enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of the
times. As has been aptly observed: "Maintaining the flow of such information
depends on protection for both its acquisition and its dissemination since, if
either process is interrupted, the flow inevitably ceases. " 5 However,
restrictions on access to certain records may be imposed by law. Thus, access
restrictions imposed to control civil insurrection have been permitted upon a
showing of immediate and impending danger that renders ordinary means of
control inadequate to maintain order. 6
WHEREFORE, the case against respondent is hereby dismissed.
Fernando, Actg. C.J., Barredo, Actg.(Chairman), Aquino and Martin JJ., concur.
Concepcion Jr., J., is on leave.

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G.R. No. 85279 July 28, 1989
SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (SSSEA), DIONISION T.
BAYLON, RAMON MODESTO, JUANITO MADURA, REUBEN ZAMORA, VIRGILIO
DE ALDAY, SERGIO ARANETA, PLACIDO AGUSTIN, VIRGILIO
MAGPAYO, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM (SSS), HON. CEZAR C.
PERALEJO, RTC, BRANCH 98, QUEZON CITY, respondents.
Vicente T. Ocampo & Associates for petitioners.

CORTES, J:
Primarily, the issue raised in this petition is whether or not the Regional Trial
Court can enjoin the Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA)
from striking and order the striking employees to return to work. Collaterally, it
is whether or not employees of the Social Security System (SSS) have the right
to strike.
The antecedents are as follows:
On June 11, 1987, the SSS filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a
complaint for damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against
petitioners, alleging that on June 9, 1987, the officers and members of SSSEA
staged an illegal strike and baricaded the entrances to the SSS Building,
preventing non-striking employees from reporting for work and SSS members
from transacting business with the SSS; that the strike was reported to the
Public Sector Labor - Management Council, which ordered the strikers to return
to work; that the strikers refused to return to work; and that the SSS suffered
damages as a result of the strike. The complaint prayed that a writ of
preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the strike and that the strikers be
ordered to return to work; that the defendants (petitioners herein) be ordered
to pay damages; and that the strike be declared illegal.

decision of the Court of Appeals was also denied in view of this Court's denial
of the motion for reconsideration [Rollo, pp. 141- 143]. Hence, the instant
petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals [Rollo, pp. 12-37].
Upon motion of the SSS on February 6,1989, the Court issued a temporary
restraining order enjoining the petitioners from staging another strike or from
pursuing the notice of strike they filed with the Department of Labor and
Employment on January 25, 1989 and to maintain the status quo [Rollo, pp.
151-152].
The Court, taking the comment as answer, and noting the reply and
supplemental reply filed by petitioners, considered the issues joined and the
case submitted for decision.
The position of the petitioners is that the Regional Trial Court had no
jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to issue the restraining
order and the writ of preliminary injunction, as jurisdiction lay with the
Department of Labor and Employment or the National Labor Relations
Commission, since the case involves a labor dispute.
On the other hand, the SSS advances the contrary view, on the ground that the
employees of the SSS are covered by civil service laws and rules and
regulations, not the Labor Code, therefore they do not have the right to strike.
Since neither the DOLE nor the NLRC has jurisdiction over the dispute, the
Regional Trial Court may enjoin the employees from striking.
In dismissing the petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
injunction filed by petitioners, the Court of Appeals held that since the
employees of the SSS, are government employees, they are not allowed to
strike, and may be enjoined by the Regional Trial Court, which had jurisdiction
over the SSS' complaint for damages, from continuing with their strike.
Thus, the sequential questions to be resolved by the Court in deciding whether
or not the Court of Appeals erred in finding that the Regional Trial Court did not
act without or in excess of jurisdiction when it took cognizance of the case and
enjoined the strike are as follows:
1. Do the employees of the SSS have the right to strike?

It appears that the SSSEA went on strike after the SSS failed to act on the
union's demands, which included: implementation of the provisions of the old
SSS-SSSEA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on check-off of union dues;
payment of accrued overtime pay, night differential pay and holiday pay;
conversion of temporary or contractual employees with six (6) months or more
of service into regular and permanent employees and their entitlement to the
same salaries, allowances and benefits given to other regular employees of the
SSS; and payment of the children's allowance of P30.00, and after the SSS
deducted certain amounts from the salaries of the employees and allegedly
committed acts of discrimination and unfair labor practices [Rollo, pp. 21-241].
The court a quo, on June 11, 1987, issued a temporary restraining order
pending resolution of the application for a writ of preliminary injunction [Rollo,
p. 71.] In the meantime, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss alleging the trial
court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter [Rollo, pp. 72-82.] To this
motion, the SSS filed an opposition, reiterating its prayer for the issuance of a
writ of injunction [Rollo, pp. 209-222]. On July 22,1987, in a four-page order,
the court a quo denied the motion to dismiss and converted the restraining
order into an injunction upon posting of a bond, after finding that the strike
was illegal [Rollo, pp. 83- 86]. As petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of
the aforesaid order was also denied on August 14, 1988 [Rollo, p. 94],
petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
injunction before this Court. Their petition was docketed as G.R. No. 79577. In
a resolution dated October 21, 1987, the Court, through the Third Division,
resolved to refer the case to the Court of Appeals. Petitioners filed a motion for
reconsideration thereof, but during its pendency the Court of Appeals on
March 9,1988 promulgated its decision on the referred case [Rollo, pp. 130137]. Petitioners moved to recall the Court of Appeals' decision. In the
meantime, the Court on June 29,1988 denied the motion for reconsideration in
G.R. No. 97577 for being moot and academic. Petitioners' motion to recall the

2. Does the Regional Trial Court have jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by
the SSS and to enjoin the strikers from continuing with the strike and to order
them to return to work?
These shall be discussed and resolved seriatim
I
The 1987 Constitution, in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights,
provides that the State "shall guarantee the rights of all workers to selforganization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted
activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law" [Art. XIII, Sec.
31].
By itself, this provision would seem to recognize the right of all workers and
employees, including those in the public sector, to strike. But the Constitution
itself fails to expressly confirm this impression, for in the Sub-Article on the Civil
Service Commission, it provides, after defining the scope of the civil service as
"all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations with original
charters," that "[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to
government employees" [Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(l) and (50)]. Parenthetically, the Bill
of Rights also provides that "[tlhe right of the people, including those employed
in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for
purposes not contrary to law shall not abridged" [Art. III, Sec. 8]. Thus, while
there is no question that the Constitution recognizes the right of government

58
employees to organize, it is silent as to whether such recognition also includes
the right to strike.
Resort to the intent of the framers of the organic law becomes helpful in
understanding the meaning of these provisions. A reading of the proceedings of
the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution would show
that in recognizing the right of government employees to organize, the
commissioners intended to limit the right to the formation of unions or
associations only, without including the right to strike.
Thus, Commissioner Eulogio R. Lerum, one of the sponsors of the provision that
"[tlhe right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees"
[Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(5)], in answer to the apprehensions expressed by
Commissioner Ambrosio B. Padilla, Vice-President of the Commission,
explained:
MR. LERUM. I think what I will try to say will not take that
long. When we proposed this amendment providing for
self-organization of government employees, it does not
mean that because they have the right to organize, they
also have the right to strike. That is a different matter.
We are only talking about organizing, uniting as a union.
With regard to the right to strike, everyone will
remember that in the Bill of Rights, there is a provision
that the right to form associations or societies whose
purpose is not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Now
then, if the purpose of the state is to prohibit the strikes
coming from employees exercising government
functions, that could be done because the moment that
is prohibited, then the union which will go on strike will
be an illegal union. And that provision is carried in
Republic Act 875. In Republic Act 875, workers, including
those from the government-owned and controlled, are
allowed to organize but they are prohibited from striking.
So, the fear of our honorable Vice- President is
unfounded. It does not mean that because we approve
this resolution, it carries with it the right to strike. That is
a different matter. As a matter of fact, that subject is
now being discussed in the Committee on Social Justice
because we are trying to find a solution to this problem.
We know that this problem exist; that the moment we
allow anybody in the government to strike, then what
will happen if the members of the Armed Forces will go
on strike? What will happen to those people trying to
protect us? So that is a matter of discussion in the
Committee on Social Justice. But, I repeat, the right to
form an organization does not carry with it the right to
strike. [Record of the Constitutional Commission, vol. 1,
p. 569].
It will be recalled that the Industrial Peace Act (R.A. No. 875), which was
repealed by the Labor Code (P.D. 442) in 1974, expressly banned strikes by
employees in the Government, including instrumentalities exercising
governmental functions, but excluding entities entrusted with proprietary
functions:
.Sec. 11. Prohibition Against Strikes in the Government.
The terms and conditions of employment in the
Government, including any political subdivision or
instrumentality thereof, are governed by law and it is
declared to be the policy of this Act that employees
therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing
changes or modification in their terms and conditions of
employment. Such employees may belong to any labor
organization which does not impose the obligation to
strike or to join in strike:Provided, however, That this
section shall apply only to employees employed in
governmental functions and not those employed in

proprietary functions of the Government including but


not limited to governmental corporations.
No similar provision is found in the Labor Code, although at one time it
recognized the right of employees of government corporations established
under the Corporation Code to organize and bargain collectively and those in
the civil service to "form organizations for purposes not contrary to law" [Art.
244, before its amendment by B.P. Blg. 70 in 1980], in the same breath it
provided that "[t]he terms and conditions of employment of all government
employees, including employees of government owned and controlled
corporations, shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations"
[now Art. 276]. Understandably, the Labor Code is silent as to whether or not
government employees may strike, for such are excluded from its coverage
[Ibid]. But then the Civil Service Decree [P.D. No. 807], is equally silent on the
matter.
On June 1, 1987, to implement the constitutional guarantee of the right of
government employees to organize, the President issued E.O. No. 180 which
provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government
employees. In Section 14 thereof, it is provided that "[t]he Civil Service law and
rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall
be observed, subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress." The
President was apparently referring to Memorandum Circular No. 6, s. 1987 of
the Civil Service Commission under date April 21, 1987 which, "prior to the
enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government
employees ... enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions, all government
officers and employees from staging strikes, demonstrations, mass leaves,
walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary
stoppage or disruption of public service." The air was thus cleared of the
confusion. At present, in the absence of any legislation allowing government
employees to strike, recognizing their right to do so, or regulating the exercise
of the right, they are prohibited from striking, by express provision of
Memorandum Circular No. 6 and as implied in E.O. No. 180. [At this juncture, it
must be stated that the validity of Memorandum Circular No. 6 is not at issue].
But are employees of the SSS covered by the prohibition against strikes?
The Court is of the considered view that they are. Considering that under the
1987 Constitution "[t]he civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions,
instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including governmentowned or controlled corporations with original charters" [Art. IX(B), Sec. .2(l)
see also Sec. 1 of E.O. No. 180 where the employees in the civil service are
denominated as "government employees"] and that the SSS is one such
government-controlled corporation with an original charter, having been
created under R.A. No. 1161, its employees are part of the civil service
[NASECO v. NLRC, G.R. Nos. 69870 & 70295, November 24,1988] and are
covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes.
This being the case, the strike staged by the employees of the SSS was illegal.
The statement of the Court in Alliance of Government Workers v. Minister of
Labor and Employment [G.R. No. 60403, August 3, 1:983, 124 SCRA 11 is
relevant as it furnishes the rationale for distinguishing between workers in the
private sector and government employees with regard to the right to strike:
The general rule in the past and up to the present is that
'the terms and conditions of employment in the
Government, including any political subdivision or
instrumentality thereof are governed by law" (Section 11,
the Industrial Peace Act, R.A. No. 875, as amended and
Article 277, the Labor Code, P.D. No. 442, as
amended). Since the terms and conditions of government
employment are fixed by law, government workers
cannot use the same weapons employed by workers in
the private sector to secure concessions from their
employers. The principle behind labor unionism in private
industry is that industrial peace cannot be secured
through compulsion by law. Relations between private
employers and their employees rest on an essentially
voluntary basis. Subject to the minimum requirements of

59
wage laws and other labor and welfare legislation, the
terms and conditions of employment in the unionized
private sector are settled through the process of
collective bargaining. In government employment,
however, it is the legislature and, where properly given
delegated power, the administrative heads of
government which fix the terms and conditions of
employment. And this is effected through statutes or
administrative circulars, rules, and regulations, not
through collective bargaining agreements. [At p. 13;
Emphasis supplied].
Apropos is the observation of the Acting Commissioner of Civil Service, in his
position paper submitted to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and quoted
with approval by the Court in Alliance, to wit:
It is the stand, therefore, of this Commission that by
reason of the nature of the public employer and the
peculiar character of the public service, it must
necessarily regard the right to strike given to unions in
private industry as not applying to public employees and
civil service employees. It has been stated that the
Government, in contrast to the private employer,
protects the interest of all people in the public service,
and that accordingly, such conflicting interests as are
present in private labor relations could not exist in the
relations between government and those whom they
employ. [At pp. 16-17; also quoted in National Housing
Corporation v. Juco, G.R. No. 64313, January 17,1985,134
SCRA 172,178-179].
E.O. No. 180, which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize
of government employees, while clinging to the same philosophy, has,
however, relaxed the rule to allow negotiation where the terms and conditions
of employment involved are not among those fixed by law. Thus:
.SECTION 13. Terms and conditions of employment or
improvements thereof, except those that are fixed by
law, may be the subject of negotiations between duly
recognized employees' organizations and appropriate
government authorities.
The same executive order has also provided for the general mechanism for the
settlement of labor disputes in the public sector to wit:
.SECTION 16. The Civil Service and labor laws and
procedures, whenever applicable, shall be followed in
the resolution of complaints, grievances and cases
involving government employees. In case any dispute
remains unresolved after exhausting all the available
remedies under existing laws and procedures, the parties
may jointly refer the dispute to the [Public Sector LaborManagement] Council for appropriate action.
Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or associations,
either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of
employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the
appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not
fixed by law. If there be any unresolved grievances, the dispute may be
referred to the Public Sector Labor - Management Council for appropriate
action. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes, walk-outs
and other temporary work stoppages, like workers in the private sector, to
pressure the Govemment to accede to their demands. As now provided under
Sec. 4, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right
of Government- Employees to Self- Organization, which took effect after the
instant dispute arose, "[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the
government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and
government- owned and controlled corporations with original charters are

governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of
securing changes thereof."
II
The strike staged by the employees of the SSS belonging to petitioner union
being prohibited by law, an injunction may be issued to restrain it.
It is futile for the petitioners to assert that the subject labor dispute falls within
the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRC and, hence, the Regional Trial Court had
no jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the
strike. The Labor Code itself provides that terms and conditions of employment
of government employees shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and
regulations [Art. 276]. More importantly, E.O. No. 180 vests the Public Sector
Labor - Management Council with jurisdiction over unresolved labor disputes
involving government employees [Sec. 16]. Clearly, the NLRC has no jurisdiction
over the dispute.
This being the case, the Regional Trial Court was not precluded, in the exercise
of its general jurisdiction under B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, from assuming
jurisdiction over the SSS's complaint for damages and issuing the injunctive writ
prayed for therein. Unlike the NLRC, the Public Sector Labor - Management
Council has not been granted by law authority to issue writs of injunction in
labor disputes within its jurisdiction. Thus, since it is the Council, and not the
NLRC, that has jurisdiction over the instant labor dispute, resort to the general
courts of law for the issuance of a writ of injunction to enjoin the strike is
appropriate.
Neither could the court a quo be accused of imprudence or overzealousness,
for in fact it had proceeded with caution. Thus, after issuing a writ of injunction
enjoining the continuance of the strike to prevent any further disruption of
public service, the respondent judge, in the same order, admonished the
parties to refer the unresolved controversies emanating from their employeremployee relationship to the Public Sector Labor - Management Council for
appropriate action [Rollo, p. 86].
III
In their "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction," and
reiterated in their reply and supplemental reply, petitioners allege that the SSS
unlawfully withheld bonuses and benefits due the individual petitioners and
they pray that the Court issue a writ of preliminary prohibitive and mandatory
injunction to restrain the SSS and its agents from withholding payment thereof
and to compel the SSS to pay them. In their supplemental reply, petitioners
annexed an order of the Civil Service Commission, dated May 5, 1989, which
ruled that the officers of the SSSEA who are not preventively suspended and
who are reporting for work pending the resolution of the administrative cases
against them are entitled to their salaries, year-end bonuses and other fringe
benefits and affirmed the previous order of the Merit Systems Promotion
Board.
The matter being extraneous to the issues elevated to this Court, it is Our view
that petitioners' remedy is not to petition this Court to issue an injunction, but
to cause the execution of the aforesaid order, if it has already become final.
WHEREFORE, no reversible error having been committed by the Court of
Appeals, the instant petition for review is hereby DENIED and the decision of
the appellate court dated March 9, 1988 in CA-G.R. SP No. 13192 is AFFIRMED.
Petitioners' "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction"
dated December 13,1988 is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.

60
G.R. No. 78508 March 21, 1994
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner,
vs.
FILEMON REMIGIO and the HON. COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
The Chief Legal Counsel, PNB for petitioner.
Alfredo S. Remigio for private respondent.

6. 27 May 1974 15,000.00 902305-F


7. 14 June 1974 10,000.00 903771-F
8. 20 December 1974 14,000.00 40135-H
9. 17 December 1976 40,030.75 165395-I
10. 7 January 1977 22,213.10 166579-I
11. 2 November 1977 45,000.00 32641
(7) Private respondent, on 20 September 1978, instituted an action for
"Annulment of Foreclosure Deed, Breach of Contract, Sum of Money and
Damages" at the CFI, Echague, Isabela, against petitioner bank and its Branch
Manager Leuterio Genato.

VITUG, J.:

(8) On 19 March 1980, while the case was yet pending with the trial court,
petitioner bank additionally received from the Land Bank of the Philippines
P26,348.12 in cash and P160,000.00 worth of Land Bank Bonds in payment of
the foreclosed parcels covered by TCT No. T-100, T-11326, and T-681.

Questioned in this appeal instituted by petitioner Philippine National Bank is


the decision, dated 05 May 1987, of the appellate court, which has reversed
the decision of the then Court of First Instance ("CFI" and now Regional Trial
Court) of Isabela, Branch 5, Echague, by ruling in favor of private respondent
Filemon Remigio.

On 05 December 1981, after trial, the court a quo rendered judgment in favor
of petitioner bank, the dispositive portion of which read:

The facts, by and large, are undisputed. In chronology, the events leading to
this appeal may be recited, thus:
(1) On 25 August 1967, private respondent obtained from petitioner a
P65,000.00 loan secured by a real estate mortgage covering five (5) parcels of
land in Isabela described in and embraced by Transfer Certificates of Title
("TCT") No. T-11326, T-681, T-100, and T-27 and Original Certificate of Title No.
I-1673.
(2) Private respondent defaulted; hence on 17 November 1970, petitioner bank
extrajudicially foreclosed on the mortgage, and it acquired the encumbered
assets for the sum of P87,082.00. The sheriff's sale was registered with the
Office of the Register of Deeds of Isabela only on 11 October 1972.
(3) In its letter-offer of 15 February 1971, petitioner bank invited private
respondent to repurchase the foreclosed property for P87,082.00 plus interest
and other charges. Before that, or on 18 November 1970 (or one day after the
foreclosure sale), private respondent already had paid an initial P10,000.00 to
redeem the property. Subsequently, additional payments were made by
private respondent, i.e., P10,000.00 on 26 April 1971 and another P20,000.00
on 17 May 1971.
(4) On 21 October 1972, Presidential Decree ("P.D.") No. 27 was enacted into
law that mandated an agrarian reform. Pursuant thereto, an "Operation Land
Transfer Program" was launched; among the areas it covered were the parcels
of land under TCT No. T-100, T-11326 and T-681.
(5) On 17 April 1974, private respondent offered to buy the foreclosed property
for P284,000.00 which was the market and appraised value thereof fixed by
petitioner bank. On 24 December 1974, the Deed of Promise to Sellwas
executed between petitioner bank and private respondent.
(6) In a letter, dated 25 August 1978, sent to and received by petitioner bank
on even date, private respondent, through counsel, inquired why he was still
being made to buy the property for P284,000.00 when, in truth, he had already
paid P40,000.00 of the P87,082.00 previously offered by petitioner for the
redemption of the property. There was no reply or response from petitioner.
As of 02 November 1977, private respondent had paid petitioner the total sum
of P207,243.85, itemized, as follows:
1. 18 November 1970 P10,000.00 609324-E
2. 26 April 1971 10,000.00 614980-E
3. 14 May 1971 20,000.00 615701-E
4. 17 April 1974 5,000.00 898926-F
5. 23 May 1974 16,000.00 902110-F

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing considerations,


judgment is hereby rendered:
1. DECLARING the foreclosure sale of the plaintiff's
mortgaged properties, covered by and embraced in
Original Certificate of Title No. I-1673 and Transfer
Certificates of Title Nos. T-11326, T-681, T-100 and T-27,
all of the Registry of Deeds of Isabela, as valid;
2. DECLARING the right of the plaintiff to redeem his
foreclosed properties as forever lost;
3. DECLARING the deed of promise the sell executed
between the plaintiff and the defendant bank as valid;
4. DECLARING that the outstanding obligation of the
plaintiff to the bank is P186,874.16 from which shall be
deducted whatever payments are made and/or to be
made by the Land Bank of the Philippines as a result of its
Operation Land Transfer Program;
5. ORDERING that whatever balance thereof shall be paid
by the plaintiff to the defendant bank with twelve per
cent (12%) interest until fully paid and conversely,
whatever excess thereof shall be refunded by the
defendant bank to the plaintiff;
6. ORDERING the defendant bank to execute the
corresponding deed of conveyance of the lands to and in
favor of the plaintiff after payment is made in
accordance with the above;
7. ORDERING the defendant bank to deliver to the
plaintiff the certificates of title covering the properties
mentioned above;
8. DISMISSING the complaint, with costs against the
plaintiff;
9. ORDERING the plaintiff to pay to the defendant,
Leuterio Genato, the sum of TEN THOUSAND PESOS
(P10,000.00) as attorney's fees and FIVE THOUSAND
PESOS (P5,000.00) as expenses of litigation; and

61
10. DENYING the defendant bank's counterclaim. (pp.
128-129, Rollo.)
Private respondent went to the Court of Appeals, which, on 05 May 1987,
rendered a decision, reversing the trial court and entering a new one in favor of
private respondent. The appellate court adjudged, as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is set aside and
a new one entered declaring the foreclosure of the
mortgaged properties to be without force and effect;
ordering the defendant bank to release the properties
and the plaintiff to transfer the rights to the tenantsbeneficiaries in favor of the Land Bank of the Philippines;
declaring the deed of promise to sell executed by the
plaintiff and the defendant bank rescinded; ordering the
defendant bank and the Land Bank of the Philippines to
recalculate the amounts of payments due for the transfer
of the subject properties in accordance with this Decision
subject to the provisions of P.D. No. 27 and in
accordance with the mechanics of the Operation Land
Transfer; and annulling the order of the lower court for
the plaintiff to pay the defendant the expenses of
litigation and attorney's fees.
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.
The petition cannot be sustained.
When Presidential Decree No. 27, "Decreeing the Emancipation of Tenants
from the Bondage of the Soil, Transferring to them the Ownership of the Land
They Till and Providing the Instruments and Mechanism therefor," was enacted
on 21 October 1972, the parcels of land in dispute were clearly still subject to
private respondent's right of redemption. In the foreclosure of real property by
banking institutions, as well as in the extrajudicial foreclosure by any other
mortgagee, the mortgagor could redeem the property within one year from
date of registration of the deed of sale in the appropriate Registry of Deeds
(Santos vs. Register of Deeds of Manila, 38 SCRA 42; Reyes vs. Noblejas, 21
SCRA 1027). In Medida vs. Court of Appeals (208 SCRA 887), we ruled that the
"title to the land sold under a mortgage foreclosure remains with the
mortgagor or his grantee until the expiration of the redemption period . . ." The
Court of Appeals committed no error when it thereby held:
. . . The foreclosure proceedings were instituted in 1970,
and on this, there appears to be no question. The
registration of the sheriff's sale was, however, effected
only on October 11, 1972. From this date, therefore, the
period of redemption begins to run since, according to
judicial construction, the period of redemption begins to
run not from the date of the sale but from the date of
registration of the sale in the office of the Register of
Deeds, applying this rule not only to an execution sale
but also to an extrajudicial foreclosure sale of registered
land (Salazar vs. Meneses, 118 Phil. 512; Reyes vs.
Noblejas and Santos, 65 O.G. 21, May 26, 1969; Santos
vs. RFC, 101 Phil. 980; Reyes vs. Tolentino, G.R. No. L29142, Nov. 29, 1971) as required under Section 27 of
Rule 39 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 50 of
Act No. 496. For this reason, the foreclosure proceedings
were not completed since the period of redemption,
counted from October 11, 1972, would expire on
October 12, 1973. This would thereby bring the disputed
properties under the operation and under the ambit of
the said Opinion which interprets Operation Land
Transfer under P.D. No. 27. . . (Rollo, pp. 87-88.)
It was not thus all that consequential for the appellate court to still rule on the
efficacy or inefficacy of the foreclosure.

In passing, the Secretary of the Department of Justice has himself opined thus:
I am aware that a ruling that lands covered by P.D. No. 27
may not be the object of the foreclosure proceedings
after the promulgation of said decree on October 21,
1972, would concede that P.D. No. 27 had the effect of
impairing the obligation of the duly executed mortgage
contracts affecting said lands. There is no question,
however, that the land reform program of the
government as accelerated under P.D. No. 27 and
mandated by the Constitution itself (Art. XIV, Sec. 12),
was undertaken in the exercise of the police power of
the state. It is settled in a long line of decisions of the
Supreme Court that the Constitutional guaranty of nonimpairment of obligations of contract is limited by the
exercise of the police power of the state (citations
omitted). One limitation on the contract clause arises
from the police power, the reason being that public
welfare is superior to private rights (citation omitted).
The situation here, is like that in eminent domain
proceedings, where the state expropriates private
property for public use, and the only condition to be
complied with is the payment of just compensation.
Technically, the condemnation proceedings do not impair
the contract to destroy its obligations, but merely
appropriate or take for public use (citation omitted). As
the Land Bank is obliged to settle the obligations secured
by the mortgage, the mortgagee is not left without any
compensation. (Opinion No. 92, Series of 1978; Rollo, pp.
88-89.)
The opinion deserves respect (42 Am. Jur. p. 421; Cagayan Valley Enterprises,
Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 179 SCRA 218; Ramon Salaria vs. Hon. Carlos R.
Buenviaje, et al., 81 SCRA 722). This Court, likewise, in a number of cases has
expressed the dictum that police power subordinates the non-impairment
clause of the Constitution (Ortigas and Co. Ltd. Partnership vs. Feati Bank and
Trust Co., 94 SCRA 533; Kabiling vs. National Housing Authority, 156 SCRA 623;
Anglo-Fil Trading Corporation vs. Lazaro, 124 SCRA 494).
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals has erred in holding that the
bank is entitled only to P87,012.00, and not to P284,000.00, which it considers
to be the fair market value of the property foreclosed. Here, the Court of
Appeals has explained:
We come to the respective liabilities and obligations of
the parties. To date, the defendant bank has received
P207,243.85 from the plaintiff (Stipulation of Facts, No.
15). In addition, the defendant bank has also been the
recipient of bonds worth P160,000.00 and cash in the
amount of P26,348.12 from the Land Bank in payment
for the properties covered by TCTs Nos. T-100, T-11326
and T-681 or a total amount of P186,348.12. The
defendant bank has accepted payment of the latter
amount at P170,348.12. All in all, the bank has received
payments in cash and bonds in the amount of
P377,591.97 as compensation for the plaintiff's original
obligation of P65,000.00. The total amounts paid by
plaintiff represent the consideration in part of the
market price of the properties as found by the Loans and
Discount Section of the defendant bank irrespective of
whether or not the lands are covered by Operation Land
Transfer. The cash and bonds payments made by the
Land Bank to the PNB on the other hand, represent
payments for the lands covered by Operation Land
Transfer, namely T-100, T-11326 and T-681. For its part,
the lower court ruled that the plaintiff's obligation to the
defendant bank amounts to P186,874.16 based on the
market price as determined by the Loans and Discount
Section of the defendant bank which market price

62
amounts to P284,000.00. In view of Our conclusion that
the subject mortgaged properties fall under the ambit
and purview of Operation Land Transfer under P.D. No.
27, it appears that said adjudged amount is in excess of
the rightful amount that is due the defendant bank by
the plaintiff. We hold, therefore, that the defendant bank
is entitled to a payment of P87,012.00 representing the
offer of the defendant bank to the plaintiff in the same
bank's letter to the plaintiff dated February 15, 1971. The
plaintiff is, therefore, entitled to a refund of whatever
over payments were made by him in favor of the
defendant bank. The amount of P87,012.00 represents
the redemption price of the foreclosed properties and as
a release of the said properties for redistribution to
qualified tenants. (pp. 89-90, Rollo.)
In Development Bank of the Philippines vs. Mirang, 66 SCRA 141, we have ruled
that the right of redemption by the mortgagor could be exercised by paying to
the creditor bank all the amounts owing to the latter "on the date of the sale,
with interest on the total indebtedness at the rate agreed upon in the
obligation from said date." In the case of foreclosures by the Philippine
National Bank particularly, Section 20 of its own charter provides:
Sec. 20. Right of Redemption of property foreclosed.
The mortgagor shall have the right, within the year after
the sale of real estate as a result of the foreclosure of a
mortgage, to redeem the property by paying the amount
fixed by the court in the order of execution, with interest
thereon at the rate specified in the mortgage, and all the
costs and other judicial expenses incurred by the Bank by
reason of the execution and sale and for the custody of
said property. (Republic Act No. 1300)
Accordingly, the appellate court did not commit any reversible error in ordering
petitioner bank and the Land Bank of the Philippines to recalculate the
amounts of payments due for the transfer of the foreclosed property.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Feliciano, Bidin, Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.

63
G.R. No. 85215 July 7, 1989
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. JUDGE RUBEN AYSON, Presiding over Branch 6, Regional Trial Court,
First Judicial Region, Baguio City, and FELIPE RAMOS, respondents.
Nelson Lidua for private respondent.

NARVASA, J.:
What has given rise to the controversy at bar is the equation by the respondent
Judge of the right of an individual not to "be compelled to be a witness against
himself" accorded by Section 20, Article III of the Constitution, with the right of
any person "under investigation for the commission of an offense . . . to remain
silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right," granted by the same
provision. The relevant facts are not disputed.
Private respondent Felipe Ramos was a ticket freight clerk of the Philippine
Airlines (PAL), assigned at its Baguio City station. It having allegedly come to
light that he was involved in irregularities in the sales of plane tickets, 1 the PAL
management notified him of an investigation to be conducted into the matter
of February 9, 1986. That investigation was scheduled in accordance with PAL's
Code of Conduct and Discipline, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement
signed by it with the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) to
which Ramos pertained. 2
On the day before the investigation, February 8,1986, Ramos gave to his
superiors a handwritten notes 3 reading as follows:
2-8-86
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
THE UNDERSIGNED WOULD LIKE TO STATE THAT HE IS
WILLING TO SETTLE IRREGULARITIES ALLEGEDLY
CHARGED VS. HIM IN THE AMT. OF P 76,000 (APPROX.)
SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS AS MAY BE IMPOSED BY PAL
ON OR BEFORE 1700/9 FEB 86.

At the investigation of February 9, 1986, conducted by the PAL Branch Manager


in Baguio City, Edgardo R. Cruz, in the presence of Station Agent Antonio
Ocampo, Ticket Freight Clerk Rodolfo Quitasol, and PALEA Shop Steward
Cristeta Domingo, Felipe Ramos was informed "of the finding of the Audit
Team." Thereafter, his answers in response to questions by Cruz, were taken
down in writing. Ramos' answers were to the effect inter alia that he had not
indeed made disclosure of the tickets mentioned in the Audit Team's findings,
that the proceeds had been "misused" by him, that although he had planned
on paying back the money, he had been prevented from doing so, "perhaps
(by) shame," that he was still willing to settle his obligation, and proferred a
"compromise x x to pay on staggered basis, (and) the amount would be known
in the next investigation;" that he desired the next investigation to be at the
same place, "Baguio CTO," and that he should be represented therein by "Shop
stewardees ITR Nieves Blanco;" and that he was willing to sign his statement
(as he in fact afterwards did). 4 How the investigation turned out is not dealt
with the parties at all; but it would seem that no compromise agreement was
reached much less consummated.
About two (2) months later, an information was filed against Felipe Ramos
charging him with the crime of estafa allegedly committed in Baguio City during
the period from March 12, 1986 to January 29, 1987. In that place and during
that time, according to the indictment, 5 he (Ramos)
.. with unfaithfulness and/or abuse of confidence, did
then and there willfully ... defraud the Philippine Airlines,
Inc., Baguio Branch, ... in the following manner, to wit:
said accused ... having been entrusted with and received
in trust fare tickets of passengers for one-way trip and
round-trip in the total amount of P76,700.65, with the
express obligation to remit all the proceeds of the sale,
account for it and/or to return those unsold, ... once in
possession thereof and instead of complying with his
obligation, with intent to defraud, did then and there ...
misappropriate, misapply and convert the value of the
( of repeated
tickets in the sum of P76,700.65 and in spite
s his
demands, ... failed and refused to make good
obligation, to the damage and prejudice of) the offended
party .. .
F
e
On arraignment on this charge, Felipe Ramos entered a plea of "Not Guilty,"
l
and trial thereafter ensued. The prosecution of the case was undertaken by
i
lawyers of PAL under the direction and supervision of the Fiscal.
p
e
At the close of the people's case, the private prosecutors made a written offer
of evidence dated June 21, 1988, 6which included "the (above mentioned)
R
statement of accused Felipe J. Ramos taken on February 9, 1986 aat PAL Baguio
City Ticket Office," which had been marked as Exhibit A, as well as
m his
"handwritten admission x x given on February 8, 1986," also above
o referred to,
which had been marked as Exhibit K.
s
The defendant's attorneys filed "Objections/Comments to Plaintiff
( s
Evidence." 7 Particularly as regards the peoples' Exhibit A, the objection
was
P
that "said document, which appears to be a confession, was taken
r without the
accused being represented by a lawyer." Exhibit K was objected to
i "for the
same reasons interposed under Exhibits 'A' and 'J.'
n
t
e

64
By Order dated August 9, 1988, 8 the respondent judge admitted all the exhibits
"as part of the testimony of the witnesses who testified in connection
therewith and for whatever they are worth," except Exhibits A and K, which it
rejected. His Honor declared Exhibit A "inadmissible in evidence, it appearing
that it is the statement of accused Felipe Ramos taken on February 9, 1986 at
PAL Baguio City Ticket Office, in an investigation conducted by the Branch
Manager x x since it does not appear that the accused was reminded of this
constitutional rights to remain silent and to have counsel, and that when he
waived the same and gave his statement, it was with the assistance actually of
a counsel." He also declared inadmissible "Exhibit K, the handwritten admission
made by accused Felipe J. Ramos, given on February 8, 1986 x x for the same
reason stated in the exclusion of Exhibit 'A' since it does not appear that the
accused was assisted by counsel when he made said admission."
The private prosecutors filed a motion for reconsideration. 9 It was denied, by
Order dated September 14, 1988. 10 In justification of said Order, respondent
Judge invoked this Court's rulings in Morales, Jr. v. Juan Ponce Enrile, et al., 121
SCRA 538, People v. Galit, 135 SCRA 467, People. v. Sison, 142 SCRA 219,
and People v. Decierdo, 149 SCRA 496, among others, to the effect that "in
custodial investigations the right to counsel may be waived but the waiver shall
not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel," and the explicit
precept in the present Constitution that the rights in custodial investigation
"cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel." He
pointed out that the investigation of Felipe Ramos at the PAL Baguio Station
was one "for the offense of allegedly misappropriating the proceeds of the
tickets issued to him' and therefore clearly fell "within the coverage of the
constitutional provisions;" and the fact that Ramos was not detained at the
time, or the investigation was administrative in character could not operate to
except the case "from the ambit of the constitutional provision cited."
These Orders, of August 9, 1988 and September 14, 1988 are now assailed in
the petition for certiorari and prohibition at bar, filed in this Court by the
private prosecutors in the name of the People of the Philippines. By Resolution
dated October 26, 1988, the Court required Judge Ayson and Felipe Ramos to
comment on the petition, and directed issuance of a "TEMPORARY
RESTRAINING ORDER . . . ENJOINING the respondents from proceeding further
with the trial and/or hearing of Criminal Case No. 3488-R (People ... vs. Felipe
Ramos), including the issuance of any order, decision or judgment in the
aforesaid case or on any matter in relation to the same case, now pending
before the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Br. 6, First Judicial Region." The
Court also subsequently required the Solicitor General to comment on the
petition. The comments of Judge Ayson, Felipe Ramos, and the Solicitor
General have all been filed. The Solicitor General has made common cause with
the petitioner and prays "that the petition be given due course and thereafter
judgment be rendered setting aside respondent Judge's Orders . . . and
ordering him to admit Exhibits 'A' and 'K' of the prosecution." The Solicitor
General has thereby removed whatever impropriety might have attended the
institution of the instant action in the name of the People of the Philippines by
lawyers de parte of the offended party in the criminal action in question.
The Court deems that there has been full ventilation of the issue of whether
or not it was grave abuse of discretion for respondent Judge to have excluded
the People's Exhibits A and K. It will now proceed to resolve it.
At the core of the controversy is Section 20, Article IV of the 1973
Constitution, 11 to which respondent Judge has given a construction that is
disputed by the People. The section reads as follows:
SEC. 20. No person shall be compelled to be a witness
against himself Any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right to remain
silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right.
No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other
means which vitiates the free will shall be used against
him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section
shall be inadmissible in evidence.
It should at once be apparent that there are two (2) rights, or sets of rights,
dealt with in the section, namely:

1) the right against self-incrimination i.e., the right of a


person not to be compelled to be a witness against
himself set out in the first sentence, which is a
verbatim reproduction of Section 18, Article III of the
1935 Constitution, and is similar to that accorded by the
Fifth Amendment of the American Constitution, 12 and
2) the rights of a person in custodial interrogation, i.e.,
the rights of every suspect "under investigation for the
commission of an offense."
Parenthetically, the 1987 Constitution indicates much more clearly the
individuality and disparateness of these rights. It has placed the rights in
separate sections. The right against self- incrimination, "No person shall be
compelled to be a witness against himself," is now embodied in Section 17,
Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The lights of a person in custodial
interrogation, which have been made more explicit, are now contained in
Section 12 of the same Article III. 13
Right Against Self-Incrimination
The first right, against self-incrimination, mentioned in Section 20, Article IV of
the 1973 Constitution, is accorded to every person who gives evidence,
whether voluntarily or under compulsion of subpoena, in any civil, criminal, or
administrative proceeding. 14 The right is NOT to "be compelled to be a witness
against himself"
The precept set out in that first sentence has a settled meaning. 15 It prescribes
an "option of refusal to answer incriminating questions and not a prohibition of
inquiry." 16 It simply secures to a witness, whether he be a party or not, the
right to refue to answer any particular incriminatory question, i.e., one the
answer to which has a tendency to incriminate him for some crime. However,
the right can be claimed only when the specific question, incriminatory in
character, is actually put to the witness. It cannot be claimed at any other time.
It does not give a witness the right to disregard a subpoena, to decline to
appear before the court at the time appointed, or to refuse to testify
altogether. The witness receiving a subpoena must obey it, appear as required,
take the stand, be sworn and answer questions. It is only when a particular
question is addressed to him, the answer to which may incriminate him for
some offense, that he may refuse to answer on the strength of the
constitutional guaranty.
That first sentence of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution does not
impose on the judge, or other officer presiding over a trial, hearing or
investigation, any affirmative obligation to advise a witness of his right against
self-incrimination. It is a right that a witness knows or should know, in
accordance with the well known axiom that every one is presumed to know the
law, that ignorance of the law excuses no one. Furthermore, in the very nature
of things, neither the judge nor the witness can be expected to know in
advance the character or effect of a question to be put to the latter. 17
The right against self-incrimination is not self- executing or automatically
operational. It must be claimed. If not claimed by or in behalf of the witness,
the protection does not come into play. It follows that the right may be waived,
expressly, or impliedly, as by a failure to claim it at the appropriate time. 18
Rights in Custodial Interrogation
Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution also treats of a second right, or
better said, group of rights. These rights apply to persons "under investigation
for the commission of an offense," i.e., "suspects" under investigation by police
authorities; and this is what makes these rights different from that embodied in
the first sentence, that against self-incrimination which, as aforestated,
indiscriminately applies to any person testifying in any proceeding, civil,
criminal, or administrative.

65
This provision granting explicit rights to persons under investigation for an
offense was not in the 1935 Constitution. It is avowedly derived from the
decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona, 19 a decision
described as an "earthquake in the world of law enforcement." 20
Section 20 states that whenever any person is "under investigation for the
commission of an offense"-1) he shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel,
and to be informed of such right, 21
2) nor force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other
means which vitiates the free will shall be used against
him; 22 and
3) any confession obtained in violation of x x (these rights
shall be inadmissible in evidence. 23
In Miranda, Chief Justice Warren summarized the procedural safeguards laid
down for a person in police custody, "in-custody interrogation" being regarded
as the commencement of an adversary proceeding against the suspect.24
He must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain
silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he
has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an
attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires.
Opportunity to exercise those rights must be afforded to him throughout the
interrogation. After such warnings have been given, such opportunity afforded
him, the individual may knowingly and intelligently waive these rights and
agree to answer or make a statement. But unless and until such warnings and
waivers are demonstrated by the prosecution at the trial, no evidence obtained
as a result of interrogation can be used against him.
The objective is to prohibit "incommunicado interrogation of individuals in a
police-dominated atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statement
without full warnings of constitutional rights." 25
The rights above specified, to repeat, exist only in "custodial interrogations," or
"in-custody interrogation of accused persons." 26 And, as this Court has already
stated, by custodial interrogation is meant "questioning initiated by law
enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise
deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." 27 The situation
contemplated has also been more precisely described by this Court." 28
.. . After a person is arrested and his custodial
investigation begins a confrontation arises which at best
may be tanned unequal. The detainee is brought to an
army camp or police headquarters and there questioned
and "cross-examined" not only by one but as many
investigators as may be necessary to break down his
morale. He finds himself in strange and unfamiliar
surroundings, and every person he meets he considers
hostile to him. The investigators are well-trained and
seasoned in their work. They employ all the methods and
means that experience and study have taught them to
extract the truth, or what may pass for it, out of the
detainee. Most detainees are unlettered and are not
aware of their constitutional rights. And even if they
were, the intimidating and coercive presence of the
officers of the law in such an atmosphere overwhelms
them into silence. Section 20 of the Bill of Rights seeks to
remedy this imbalance.
Not every statement made to the police by a person involved in some crime is
within the scope of the constitutional protection. If not made "under custodial
interrogation," or "under investigation for the commission of an offense," the
statement is not protected. Thus, in one case, 29 where a person went to a

police precinct and before any sort of investigation could be initiated, declared
that he was giving himself up for the killing of an old woman because she was
threatening to kill him by barang, or witchcraft, this Court ruled that such a
statement was admissible, compliance with the constitutional procedure on
custodial interrogation not being exigible under the circumstances.
Rights of Defendant in Criminal Case
As Regards Giving of Testimony
It is pertinent at this point to inquire whether the rights just discussed, i.e., (1)
that against self-incrimination and (2) those during custodial interrogation
apply to persons under preliminary investigation or already charged in court for
a crime.
It seems quite evident that a defendant on trial or under preliminary
investigation is not under custodial interrogation. His interrogation by the
police, if any there had been would already have been ended at the time of the
filing of the criminal case in court (or the public prosecutors' office). Hence,
with respect to a defendant in a criminal case already pending in court (or the
public prosecutor's office), there is no occasion to speak of his right while
under "custodial interrogation" laid down by the second and subsequent
sentences of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, for the obvious
reason that he is no longer under "custodial interrogation."
But unquestionably, the accused in court (or undergoing preliminary
investigation before the public prosecutor), in common with all other persons,
possesses the right against self- incrimination set out in the first sentence of
Section 20 Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, i.e., the right to refuse to answer
a specific incriminatory question at the time that it is put to him. 30
Additionally, the accused in a criminal case in court has other rights in the
matter of giving testimony or refusing to do so. An accused "occupies a
different tier of protection from an ordinary witness." Under the Rules of Court,
in all criminal prosecutions the defendant is entitled among others1) to be exempt from being a witness against himself, 31 and 2) to testify as
witness in his own behalf; but if he offers himself as a witness he may be crossexamined as any other witness; however, his neglect or refusal to be a witness
shall not in any manner prejudice or be used against him. 32
The right of the defendant in a criminal case "to be exempt from being a
witness against himself' signifies that he cannot be compelled to testify or
produce evidence in the criminal case in which he is the accused, or one of the
accused. He cannot be compelled to do so even by subpoena or other process
or order of the Court. He cannot be required to be a witness either for the
prosecution, or for a co-accused, or even for himself. 33 In other words unlike
an ordinary witness (or a party in a civil action) who may be compelled to
testify by subpoena, having only the right to refuse to answer a particular
incriminatory question at the time it is put to him-the defendant in a criminal
action can refuse to testify altogether. He can refuse to take the witness stand,
be sworn, answer any question. 34 And, as the law categorically states, "his
neglect or refusal to be a witness shall not in any manner prejudice or be used
against him." 35
If he should wish to testify in his own behalf, however, he may do so. This is his
right. But if he does testify, then he "may be cross- examined as any other
witness." He may be cross-examined as to any matters stated in his direct
examination, or connected therewith . 36 He may not on cross-examination
refuse to answer any question on the ground that the answer that he will give,
or the evidence he will produce, would have a tendency to incriminate him for
the crime with which he is charged.
It must however be made clear that if the defendant in a criminal action be
asked a question which might incriminate him, not for the crime with which he
is charged, but for some other crime, distinct from that of which he is accused,
he may decline to answer that specific question, on the strength of the right

66
against self-incrimination granted by the first sentence of Section 20, Article IV
of the 1973 Constitution (now Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution). Thus,
assuming that in a prosecution for murder, the accused should testify in his
behalf, he may not on cross-examination refuse to answer any question on the
ground that he might be implicated in that crime of murder; but he may decline
to answer any particular question which might implicate him for a different and
distinct offense, say, estafa.
In fine, a person suspected of having committed a crime and subsequently
charged with its commission in court, has the following rights in the matter of
his testifying or producing evidence, to wit:
1) BEFORE THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT (or with the
public prosecutor, for preliminary investigation), but
after having been taken into custody or otherwise
deprived of his liberty in some significant way, and on
being interrogated by the police: the continuing right to
remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed thereof,
not to be subjected to force, violence, threat,
intimidation or any other means which vitiates the free
will; and to have evidence obtained in violation of these
rights rejected; and
2) AFTER THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT 37
a) to refuse to be a witness;
b) not to have any prejudice
whatsoever result to him by such
refusal;
c) to testify in his own behalf,
subject to cross-examination by
the prosecution;
d) WHILE TESTIFYING, to refuse to
answer a specific question which
tends to incriminate him for some
crime other than that for which he
is then prosecuted.
It should by now be abundantly apparent that respondent Judge has
misapprehended the nature and import of the disparate rights set forth in
Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution. He has taken them as applying
to the same juridical situation, equating one with the other. In so doing, he has
grossly erred. To be sure, His Honor sought to substantiate his thesis by
arguments he took to be cogent and logical. The thesis was however so far
divorced from the actual and correct state of the constitutional and legal
principles involved as to make application of said thesis to the case before him
tantamount to totally unfounded, whimsical or capricious exercise of power.
His Orders were thus rendered with grave abuse of discretion. They should be
as they are hereby, annulled and set aside.
It is clear from the undisputed facts of this case that Felipe Ramos was not in
any sense under custodial interrogation, as the term should be properly
understood, prior to and during the administrative inquiry into the discovered
irregularities in ticket sales in which he appeared to have had a hand. The
constitutional rights of a person under custodial interrogation under Section
20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution did not therefore come into play, were of
no relevance to the inquiry. It is also clear, too, that Ramos had voluntarily
answered questions posed to him on the first day of the administrative
investigation, February 9, 1986 and agreed that the proceedings should be
recorded, the record having thereafter been marked during the trial of the
criminal action subsequently filed against him as Exhibit A, just as it is obvious
that the note (later marked as Exhibit K) that he sent to his superiors on
February 8,1986, the day before the investigation, offering to compromise his
liability in the alleged irregularities, was a free and even spontaneous act on his

part. They may not be excluded on the ground that the so-called "Miranda
rights" had not been accorded to Ramos.
His Honor adverts to what he perceives to be the "greater danger x x (of) the
violation of the right of any person against self-incrimination when the
investigation is conducted by the complaining parties, complaining companies,
or complaining employers because being interested parties, unlike the police
agencies who have no propriety or pecuniary interest to protect, they may in
their over-eagerness or zealousness bear heavily on their hapless suspects,
whether employees or not, to give statements under an atmosphere of moral
coercion, undue ascendancy and undue influence." It suffices to draw attention
to the specific and peremptory requirement of the law that disciplinary
sanctions may not be imposed on any employee by his employer until and
unless the employee has been accorded due process, by which is meant that
the latter must be informed of the offenses ascribed to him and afforded
adequate time and opportunity to explain his side. The requirement entails the
making of statements, oral or written, by the employee under such
administrative investigation in his defense, with opportunity to solicit the
assistance of counsel, or his colleagues and friends. The employee may, of
course, refuse to submit any statement at the investigation, that is his privilege.
But if he should opt to do so, in his defense to the accusation against him, it
would be absurd to reject his statements, whether at the administrative
investigation, or at a subsequent criminal action brought against him, because
he had not been accorded, prior to his making and presenting them, his
"Miranda rights" (to silence and to counsel and to be informed thereof, etc.)
which, to repeat, are relevant only in custodial investigations. Indeed, it is selfevident that the employee's statements, whether called "position paper,"
"answer," etc., are submitted by him precisely so that they may be admitted
and duly considered by the investigating officer or committee, in negation or
mitigation of his liability.
Of course the possibility cannot be discounted that in certain instances the
judge's expressed apprehensions may be realized, that violence or intimidation,
undue pressure or influence be brought to bear on an employee under
investigation or for that matter, on a person being interrogated by another
whom he has supposedly offended. In such an event, any admission or
confession wrung from the person under interrogation would be inadmissible
in evidence, on proof of the vice or defect vitiating consent, not because of a
violation of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, but simply on the
general, incontestable proposition that involuntary or coerced statements may
not in justice be received against the makers thereof, and really should not be
accorded any evidentiary value at all.
WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted annulling and setting aside the
Orders of the respondent Judge in Criminal Case No. 3488-R, dated August 9,
1988 and September 14, 1988, and he is hereby ordered to admit in evidence
Exhibits "A" and "K" of the prosecution in said Criminal Case No. 3488-R, and
thereafter proceed with the trial and adjudgment thereof. The temporary
restraining order of October 26, 1988 having become functus officio, is now
declared of no further force and effect.
Cruz, Gancayco, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

67
G.R. No. 135562 November 22, 1999
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
BENITO BRAVO, accused-appellant.

GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
On January 15, 1994 the decomposing body of a child was found in a vacant lot
along the road leading to Patul, Rosario Santiago City. 1 Her body was found
between two concrete fences half naked, shirtless and skirt pulled up, her
panty stuffed in her mouth. 2 The body was identified to be that of a nine year
old girl named Juanita Antolin, a resident of Rosario, Santiago City and known
in her neighborhood as Len-len. Her body was found about 700 meters from
her house putrid and in rigor mortis. 3 The scalp on the left side of her head was
detached exposing a fracture on the left temporal lobe of her skull. Vaginal
examination showed fresh laceration at 2:30 o'clock and old lacerations at 5:00
and 7:00 o'clock and easily accepts two fingers. The cause of death was
cerebral hemorrhage. 4
On May 25, 1994 an Information for rape with homicide 5 was filed against
herein accused-appellant which states:
That on or about the 12th day of January 1994, in the
municipality of Santiago, province of Isabela, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
said accused, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with lewd design and by means of violence
and intimidation, have carnal knowledge with one
Juanita Antolin y Jandoc, a nine year old girl, against her
will and consent; that on the occasion and by reason of
the said rape, the said accused, did then and there,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, assault, attack and
hit with a blunt instrument the said Juanita Antolin y
Jandoc, inflicting upon her, a fracture on the skull, which
directly caused her death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
On September 26, 1994 the accused was arraigned and pleaded not
guilty to the crime charged. 6
Evelyn San Mateo an eight year old second grader from Rosario,
Santiago City neighbor and cousin of the victim testified that she
was with the deceased the night before she disappeared. She stated
that while they stood on the roadside watching "Home Along Da
Riles" from an open window of a neighbor's house the appellant
approached them and asked Len-Len to come with him to a birthday
party and then he will buy her Coke and balut. Len-Len asked her to
go with them but she did not want to because she was watching
television. Len-Len went alone with the accused. The following
morning Len-Len's mother told Evelyn and her mother that Len-Len
was missing. In court, Evelyn positively identified the appellant as
the person last seen with Len-len before she was found dead. 7
The owner of the house where Len-len and Evelyn watched television, Gracia
Monahan, corroborated Evelyn's testimony that on the evening of January 12,
1994 she saw the appellant talking to Len-len while the two girls were watching
television from her open window and that when she looked again towards the
end of the program to the direction where the girls were situated, only Evelyn
was left watching television. Monahan testified that she is familiar with the
appellant and the two children because they are neighbors. 8

The Chief of the Intelligence Section of the Santiago Police Department,


Alexander Mico, testified that on January 15, 1994 his office received a report
that a dead body was found in a vacant lot. The body was later identified as
Juanita Antolin. Mico stated that he interviewed San Mateo who pointed to the
appellant as the man last seen with the deceased. Mico found the appellant at
his place of work at the Spring Garden Resort at Sinsayon, Santiago City. Upon
seeing Bravo, Mico informed him that he is a suspect in the killing of a girl in
Rosario, Santiago City and asked him to come with him for questioning. The
appellant agreed. Mico further narrated in court that at the police station the
appellant admitted he was with the girl and he carried her on his shoulder but
he was so drunk that night that he does not remember what he did to her. 9 On
cross-examination Mico admitted that he did not inform the appellant of his
constitutional rights to remain silent, to counsel and of his right against selfincrimination before the appellant made the said admission because according
to Mico he was only informally interviewing the accused when he made the
admission and that custodial interrogation proper was conducted by the
assigned investigator. 10
The appellant Benito Bravo testified in court that on his way home after work
at around five o'clock in the afternoon of January 12, 1994 he was invited to go
on a drinking spree at Purok 1, Rosario, Santiago City where he and four other
men consumed five round bottles of gin until 7:30 that evening. He then
headed for home. Appellant admitted in court that he passed by the house of
Gracia Monahan but stated that he did not see the two girls watching television
along the road. At home, he found his mother very sick and so he decided to
stay home all night. He woke up the following morning at around 4:30 a.m. and
prepared to go to work. On January 15, 1994 a policeman came to his place of
work and apprehended him without a warrant of arrest and at the police
station he was forced to admit commission of the crime of rape with homicide
of Juanita Antolin. The appellant denied the accusation and stated that the
deceased was his godchild and that he has known Fely Handoc, the mother of
the child, for three years prior to this proceedings. 11
Juanito Bravo, the brother of the appellant testified that the appellant stayed
home on the night of January 12, 1994 to take care of their sick mother who
died a few days thereafter. 12
Ernesto Pastor, the foreman at the Spring Garden Resort where the appellant
was employed, testified that he has known the appellant for a long time and
that he knows him to be hardworking and of good moral character. Pastor
corroborated the appellant's testimony that police investigator Mico came to
the Spring Garden Resort and arrested Bravo without a warrant. 13
The testimony of the Municipal Health Officer who conducted the autopsy was
dispensed with by the prosecution as the handwritten Autopsy Report made by
the Municipal Health Officer of Santiago, Isabela, marked as Exhibit B, was
admitted by both parties. 14 The Report reads:
AUTOPSY REPORT

68
FATHER: ANTONIO

P
U
R
MOTHER: OFELIA JANDOC
O
K
Was investigated under the mango tree where the crime
was committed and left side of the face is 2covered by
sand (done by anay) with rigor mortis and ,with
putrification, easy pulling of the skin and plenty of small
worms coming out from the ears, nose, eyes
R and mouth
(without panty), the whole body is edematous.
O
S
A worms on
After complete washing, coming out of small
R left side was
both eyes and ears and mouth, scalp on the
I
detached and skull exposed.
O
,
Fracture of the skull with left temporal
S
A
N
Abdomen, extremities has no pertinentTfindings
I
except easy pulling of skin and all are edematous
A
G
Vaginal examination shows fresh laceration
O at 2:30
o'clock, old lacerations at 5:00 and 7:00 o'clock
could
,
easily accept two fingers.
Edematous

I
S
Cause of death cerebral hemorrhage (fracture
of skull
A
temporal region, left). 15
B
E
On August 25, 1998 the trial court rendered judgment finding the accused
L
guilty of the crime charged as follows:
A
Wherefore, finding the accused BENITO BRAVO "GUILTY"
J
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of RAPE WITH
A
HOMICIDE punishable under Art. 335 of the Revised
N
Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act 7659, the court
U
sentences him the penalty of DEATH and ordering him to
A
pay the heirs of Juanita Antolin y Jandoc the amount of
R
one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) as indemnity
Y
and three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) as
exemplary damages.
1
5
16
SO ORDERED.
,

JUANITA ANTOLIN
PUROK 1, BARANGAY ROSARIO
AGE: 9

1
and held that abuse of confidence and treachery attended
the
9
commission of the crime.
9
4
This case is before us on automatic review in view of the penalty imposed by
the trial court.
2
:
Both counsels for the accused-appellant and the appellee plead for
3 the
acquittal of the accused. Both the accused-appellant and the appellee
invoke
0
the constitutionally guarded presumption of innocence in favor of the accused
and the latter's right to remain silent and to counsel. The testimony
P of the
policeman that the accused admitted he was with the victim on the
. evening of
January 12, 1994 but the latter was too drunk to remember whatMhappened
should have been held inadmissible by the trial court in view of the
. policeman's
own admission in court that although he informed the accused that he is a
suspect in the rape and killing of one Juanita Antolin he did not inform the
accused of his constitutional rights before he asked him of his participation in
the crime under investigation. Both the appellant and the appellee are in
agreement that the trial court grievously erred in finding the accused guilty
beyond reasonable doubt based on the sole circumstantial evidence that the
victim was last seen by her cousin in the company of the accused whereas the
Rules of Court clearly requires the presence of at least two proven

69
circumstances the combination of which creates an unbroken link between the
commission of the crime charged and the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. The single circumstance proven by the prosecution that the
victim was last seen conversing with the accused two days before she was
found dead cannot serve as basis for any conclusion leading to the guilt of the
accused of the crime charged. The evidence for the prosecution falls short of
the quantum of evidence required by the Rules to establish guilt of the accused
beyond reasonable doubt. In sum, both the appellant and the appellee profess
that the presumption of innocence of the accused was not successfully
overturned by the prosecution.

this section
as well as
compensatio
n to and
rehabilitatio
n of victims
of torture or
similar
practices,
and their
families.

We resolve to acquit Benito Bravo.


Sec. 12 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution embodies the mandatory
protection afforded a person under investigation for the commission of a crime
and the correlative duty of the State and its agencies to enforce such mandate.
It states:
Sec. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right to be
informed of his right to remain silent and to have
competent and independent counsel preferably of his
own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of
counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights
cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence
of counsel.
(1) No
torture,
force,
violence,
threat,
intimidation
or any other
means which
vitiate the
free will shall
be used
against him.
Secret
detention
places,
solitary,
incommunic
ado, or other
similar forms
of detention
are
prohibited.
(2) Any
confession
or admission
obtained in
violation of
this or
section 17
hereof shall
be
inadmissible
in evidence
against him.
(3) The law
shall provide
for penal
and civil
sanctions for
violations of

The mantle of protection under this constitutional provision covers


the period from the time a person is taken into custody for
investigation of his possible participation in the commission of a
crime or from the time he is singled out as a suspect in the
commission of a crime although not yet in custody. 17 The
exclusionary rule sprang from a recognition that police interrogatory
procedures lay fertile grounds for coercion, physical and
psychological, of the suspect to admit responsibility for the crime
under investigation. It was not intended as a deterrent to the
accused from confessing guilt, if he voluntarily and intelligently so
desires but to protect the accused from admitting what he is
coerced to admit although untrue. 18 Law enforcement agencies are
required to effectively communicate the rights of a person under
investigation and to insure that it is fully understood. Any measure
short of this requirement is considered a denial of such
right. 19 Courts are not allowed to distinguish between preliminary
questioning and custodial investigation proper when applying the
exclusionary rule. Any information or admission given by a person
while in custody which may appear harmless or innocuous at the
time without the competent assistance of an independent counsel
should be struck down as inadmissible. 20 It has been held, however,
that an admission made to news reporters or to a confidant of the
accused is not covered by the exclusionary rule. 21
The admission allegedly made by the appellant is not in the form of a written
extra-judicial confession; the admission was allegedly made to the arresting
officer during an "informal talk" at the police station after his arrest as a prime
suspect in the rape and killing of Juanita Antolin. The arresting policeman
testified that the appellant admitted that he was with the victim on the evening
of January 12, 1994, the probable time of the commission of the crime and that
he carried her on his shoulder but that he was too drunk to remember what
subsequently happened. The arresting policeman admitted that he did not
inform the appellant of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel.
We note that the alleged admission is incriminating because it places the
accused in the company of the victim at the time the crime was probably
committed.
The exclusionary rule applies.
The accused was under arrest for the rape and killing of Juanita Antolin and any
statement allegedly made by him pertaining to his possible complicity in the
crime without prior notification of his constitutional rights is inadmissible in
evidence. The policeman's apparent attempt to circumvent the rule by insisting
that the admission was made during an "informal talk" prior to custodial
investigation proper is not tenable. The appellant was not invited to the police
station as part of a general inquiry for any possible lead to the perpetrators of
the crime under investigation. At the time the alleged admission was made the
appellant was in custody and had been arrested as the prime suspect in the
rape and killing of Juanita Antolin. The exclusionary rule presumes that the
alleged admission was coerced, the very evil the rule stands to avoid.
Supportive of such presumption is the absence of a written extra-judicial
confession to that effect and the appellant's denial in court of the alleged oral
admission. The alleged admission should be struck down as inadmissible.
We also agree with both the appellant and the appellee that the trial court
erred in rendering judgment convicting the appellant based on a single
circumstance. Only one circumstantial evidence was proven i.e., that the victim

70
went with the accused to buy soda and balut on the evening of January 12,
1994. Section 4 Rule 133 of the Rules of Court states:
Sec. 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient.
Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if:
a) There is
more than
one
circumstance
;
b) The facts
from which
the
inferences
are derived
are proven;
and
c) The
combination
of all the
circumstance
s is such as
to produce a
conviction
beyond
reasonable
doubt.
In the case of People vs. Adorfina 22 this court held that:
. . . a judgment of conviction based on circumstantial
evidence can be upheld only if the circumstances proven
constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and
reasonable conclusion which points to the accused, to
the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person, that is,
the circumstances proved must be consistent with each
other, consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is
guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with any other
hypothesis except that of guilty.
The rule is clear that there must be at least two proven circumstances which in
complete sequence leads to no other logical conclusion than that of the guilt of
the accused. The two witnesses for the prosecution testified to a single
circumstance, namely, that the victim was seen in the company of the
appellant on the night of January 12, 1994. This circumstance alone cannot be
the basis of a judgment of conviction. There is no other proven circumstance
linking the appellant to the crime as the perpetrator thereof to the exclusion of
any other possible culprit e.g. that the appellant was at or near the scene of the
crime at the time it was probably committed or any other evidence to establish
the appellant's participation in the commission thereof. The prosecution's
theory that the appellant is guilty of the crime charged because he was seen
with the victim a few days before she was found dead is not tenable. The
approximate time the crime was committed was not established at all because
the physician who made the autopsy report was discharged as a witness when
both parties admitted the report. The two day interval between the evening of
January 12th when the victim was seen with the appellant and the day when
her dead body was found on January 15th presents a wide range of possibilities
as to the perpetrator of the crime. The Rules and jurisprudence demand no less
than an unbroken chain of proven facts pointing to the appellant as the guilty
person to the exclusion of all others. This the evidence for the prosecution
failed to do. Both counsels for the appellant and the appellee are correct in
their submission that the single circumstance that the victim was seen with the
appellant two days before she was found dead is clearly insufficient to
overcome the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused.

The rape and killing of nine year old Juanita Antolin is supported by concrete
evidence undisputed by both parties. The unpardonable assault on the child is
tragic and the trial court may have been swayed by the tide of human
indignation. We must however uphold the primacy of the presumption of
innocence in favor of the accused when the evidence at hand falls short of the
quantum required to support conviction.
Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed. The appellant
Benito Bravo is acquitted of the crime charged herein. The Director of the
Bureau of Corrections is ordered to immediately release him from custody
unless he is detained for another legal cause.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban,
Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Ynares-Santiago and De Leon, Jr., JJ.,
concur.

71
G.R. No. L-56291 June 27, 1988
CRISTOPHER GAMBOA, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ALFREDO CRUZ, JUDGE of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Br.
XXIX, respondent.
Rene V. Sarmiento for petitioner.

On 3 March 1981, the Court issued a temporary restraining order "effective as


of this date and continuing until otherwise ordered by the court". 1
Petitioner contends that the respondent judge acted in excess of jurisdiction
and with grave abuse of discretion, in issuing the assailed order. He insists that
said order, in denying his Motion To Acquit, is null and void for being violative
of his rights to counsel and to due process. 2
We find no merit in the contentions of petitioner.
To begin with, the instant petition is one for certiorari, alleging grave abuse of
discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction, committed by the respondent
judge in issuing the questioned order dated 23 October 1980.

PADILLA, J.:
Petition for certiorari and prohibition, with prayer for a temporary restraining
order, to annul and set aside the order dated 23 October 1980 of the Court of
First Instance of Manila, Branch XXIX, in Criminal Case No. 47622, entitled
"People of the Philippines, Plaintiff vs. Cristopher Gamboa y Gonzales,
Accused," and to restrain the respondent court from proceeding with the trial
of the aforementioned case.
Petitioner alleges that:
On 19 July 1979, at about 7:00 o'clock in the morning, he was arrested for
vagrancy, without a warrant of arrest, by Patrolman Arturo Palencia.
Thereafter, petitioner was brought to Precinct 2, Manila, where he was booked
for vagrancy and then detained therein together with several others.
The following day, 20 July 1979, during the lineup of five (5) detainees,
including petitioner, complainant Erlinda B. Bernal pointed to petitioner and
said, "that one is a companion." After the Identification, the other detainees
were brought back to their cell but petitioner was ordered to stay on. While the
complainant was being interrogated by the police investigator, petitioner was
told to sit down in front of her.
On 23 July 1979, an information for robbery was filed against the petitioner.
On 22 August 1979, petitioner was arraigned. Thereafter, hearings were held.
On 2 April 1980, the prosecution formally offered its evidence and then rested
its case.
On 14 July 1980, petitioner, by counsel, instead of presenting his defense,
manifested in open court that he was filing a Motion to Acquit or Demurrer to
Evidence. On 13 August 1980, petitioner filed said Motion predicated on the
ground that the conduct of the line-up, without notice to, and in the absence
of, his counsel violated his constitutional rights to counsel and to due process.
On 23 October 1980, the respondent court issued the following order (assailed
in the petition at bar) denying the Motion to Acquit:
For resolution is a motion to acquit the accused based on
the grounds that the constitutional rights of the said
accused, to counsel and to due process, have been
violated. After considering the allegations and arguments
in support of the said motion in relation to the evidence
presented, the Court finds the said motion to be without
merit and, therefore, denies the same.
The hearing of this case for the purpose of presenting the
evidence for the accused is hereby set on November 28,
1980, at 8:30 o'clock in the morning.
Hence, the instant petition.

It is basic, however, that for certiorari to lie, there must be a capricious,


arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power, the very antithesis of judicial
prerogative in accordance with centuries of both civil law and common law
traditions.3 To warrant the issuance of the extraordinary writ of certiorari, the
alleged lack of jurisdiction, excess thereof, or abuse of discretion must be so
gross or grave, as when power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner
by reason of passion, prejudice or personal hostility, or the abuse must be so
patent as to amount to an evasion of positive duty, or to a virtual refusal to
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all, in contemplation of law. 4 This
is not the situation in the case at bar. The respondent court considered
petitioner's arguments as well as the prosecution's evidence against him, and
required him to present his evidence.
The rights to counsel and to due process of law are indeed two (2) of the
fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, whether it be the 1973 or
1987 Constitution. In a democratic society, like ours, every person is entitled to
the full enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
On the right to counsel, Sec. 20, Art. IV of the Bill of Rights of the 1973
Constitution, reads:
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against
himself Any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right to remain
silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right.
No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other
means which vitiates the free will shall be used against
him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section
shall be inadmissible in evidence.
The same guarantee, although worded in a different manner, is included in the
1987 Constitution. Section 12 (1, 2 & 3), Article III thereof provides:
Sec. 12 (1) Any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right to be
informed of his right to remain silent and to have
competent and independent counsel preferably of his
own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of
counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights
cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence
of counsel.
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or
any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used
against him. Secret detention places, solitary,
incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are
prohibited.
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of
this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible in
evidence against him.

72
The right to counsel attaches upon the start of an investigation, i.e. when the
investigating officer starts to ask questions to elicit information and/or
confessions or admissions from the respondent/accused. At such point or
stage, the person being interrogated must be assisted by counsel to avoid the
pernicious practice of extorting false or coerced admissions or confessions from
the lips of the person undergoing interrogation, for the commission of an
offense.

The petitioner and his companion were convicted, and


the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the
petitioner's conviction, holding that the constitutional
rule requiring the exclusion of evidence derived from
out-of-court Identification procedures conducted in the
absence of counsel did not apply to pre-indictment
Identifications (121 III App 2d 323, 257 NEE 2d 589).

Any person under investigation must, among other things, be assisted by


counsel. The above-cited provisions of the Constitution are clear. They leave no
room for equivocation. Accordingly, in several cases, this Court has consistently
held that no custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the
presence of counsel, engaged by the person arrested, or by any person in his
behalf, or appointed by the court upon petition either of the detainee himself,
or by anyone in his behalf, and that, while the right may be waived, the waiver
shall not be valid unless made in writing and in the presence of counsel. 5

On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court, although


not agreeing on an opinion, affirmed. In an opinion by
STEWART, J., announcing the judgment of the court and
expressing the view of four members of the court, it was
held that the constitutional right to counsel did not
attach until judicial criminal proceedings were initiated,
and that the exclusionary rule relating to out-of-court
Identifications in the absence of counsel did not apply to
Identification testimony based upon a police station
show-up which took place before the accused had been
indicted or otherwise formally charged with any criminal
offense.

As aptly observed, however, by the Solicitor General, the police line-up (at
least, in this case) was not part of the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner was
not yet entitled, at such stage, to counsel. The Solicitor General states:
When petitioner was Identified by the complainant at the
police line-up, he had not been held yet to answer for a
criminal offense. The police line-up is not a part of the
custodial inquest, hence, he was not yet entitled to
counsel. Thus, it was held that when the process had not
yet shifted from the investigatory to the accusatory as
when police investigation does not elicit a confession the
accused may not yet avail of the services of his lawyer
(Escobedo v. Illinois of the United States Federal
Supreme Court, 378 US 478, 1964). Since petitioner in
the course of his Identification in the police line-up had
not yet been held to answer for a criminal offense, he
was, therefore, not deprived of his right to be assisted by
counsel because the accusatory process had not yet set
in. The police could not have violated petitioner's right to
counsel and due process as the confrontation between
the State and him had not begun. In fact, when he was
Identified in the police line-up by complainant he did not
give any statement to the police. He was, therefore, not
interrogated at all as he was not facing a criminal charge.
Far from what he professes, the police did not, at that
stage, exact a confession to be used against him. For it
was not he but the complainant who was being
investigated at that time. He "was ordered to sit down in
front of the complainant while the latter was being
investigated" (par. 3.03, Petition). Petitioner's right to
counsel had not accrued. 6
Even under the constitutional guarantees obtaining in the United States,
petitioner would have no cause for claiming a violation of his rights to counsel
and due process. In Kirby vs. Illinois, 7 the facts of the case and the votes of the
Justices therein are summarized as fellows:
After arresting the petitioner and a companion and
bringing them to a police station, police officers learned
that certain items found in their possession had been
stolen in a recent robbery. The robbery victim was
brought to the police station and immediately Identified
the petitioner and his companion as the robbers. No
attorney was present when the Identification was made,
and neither the petitioner nor his companion had asked
for legal assistance or had been advised of any right to
the presence of counsel. Several weeks later, the
petitioner and his companion were indicted for the
robbery. At trial in an Illinois state court, the robbery
victim testified that he had seen the petitioner and his
companion at the police station, and he pointed them
out in the courtroom and Identified them as the robbers.

BURGER, Ch. J., concurring, joined in the plurality opinion


and expressed his agreement that the right to counsel
did not attach until criminal charges were formally made
against an accused.
POWELL, J., concurred in the result on the ground that
the exclusionary rule should not be extended.
BRENNAN J., joined by DOUGHLAS and MARSHALL, JJ.,
dissented on the grounds that although Supreme Court
decisions establishing the exclusionary rule happened to
involve post-indictment Identifications, the rationale
behind the rule was equally applicable to the present
case.
WHITE, J., dissented on the grounds that Supreme Court
decisions establishing the exclusionary rule governed the
present case. 8
Mr. Justice Stewart, expressing his view and that of three other members 9 of
the Court, said:
In a line of constitutional cases in this Court stemming
back to the Court's landmark opinion in Powell v.
Alabama, 287 US 45, 77 L Ed 158, 53 S Ct 55, 84 ALR 527,
it has been firmly established that a person's Sixth and
Fourteenth Amendment right to counsel attaches only at
or after the time that adversary judicial proceedings have
been initiated against him. See Powell v. Alabama, supra;
Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 US 458, 82 L Ed 1461, 58 S Ct
1019, 146 ALR 357; Hamilton v. Alabama, 368 US 52, 7 L
Ed 2d 114, 82 S Ct 157; Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 US
335, 9 L Ed 2d 799, 83 S Ct 792, 93 ALR 2d 733; White v.
Maryland, 373 US 59, 10 L Ed 2d 193, 83 S Ct 1050;
Messiah v. United States, 377 US 201, 12 L Ed 246, 84 S
Ct 1199; United States v. Wade, 388 US 218, 18 L Ed 2d
1149, 87 S Ct 1926; Gilbert v. California, 388 US 263, 18 L
Ed 2d 1178, 87 S Ct 1951; Coleman v. Alabama, 399 US 1,
26 L Ed 2d 387, 90 S Ct. 1999.
This is not to say that a defendant in a criminal case has a
constitutional right to counsel only at the trial itself. The
Powell case makes clear that the right attaches at the
time of arraignment and the Court has recently held that
it exists also at the time of a preliminary hearing.
Coleman v. Alabama,supra. But the point is that, while
members of the court have differed as to existence of

73
the right to counsel in the contexts of some of the above
cases, all of those cases have involved points of time at
or after the initiation of adversary judicial criminal
proceedings whether by way of formal charge,
preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or
arraignment. (Emphasis supplied). 10
As may be observed, the 1973 and 1987 Philippine Constitutions go farther and
beyond the guarantee of the right to counsel under the Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. For while, under the latter, the right to
counsel "attaches only at or after the time that adversary judicial proceedings
have been initiated against him (the accused)," under the 1973 and 1987
Philippine Constitutions, the right to counsel attaches at the start of
investigation against a respondent and, therefore, even before adversary
judicial proceedings against the accused have begun.
Given the clear constitutional intent in the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, to
extend to those under police investigation the right to counsel, this occasion
may be better than any to remind police investigators that, while the Court
finds no real need to afford a suspect the services of counsel during a police
line-up, the moment there is a move or even an urge of said investigators to
elicit admissions or confessions or even plain information which may appear
innocent or innocuous at the time, from said suspect, he should then and there
be assisted by counsel, unless he waives the right, but the waiver shall be made
in writing and in the presence of counsel.
On the right to due process, the Court finds that petitioner was not, in any way,
deprived of this substantive and constitutional right, as he was duly
represented by a member of the Bar. He was accorded all the opportunities to
be heard and to present evidence to substantiate his defense; only that he
chose not to, and instead opted to file a Motion to Acquit after the prosecution
had rested its case. What due process abhors is the absolute lack of
opportunity to be heard. 11 The case at bar is far from this situation.
In any event, certiorari and prohibition are not the proper remedies against an
order denying a Motion To Acquit. Section 1, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court
provides that, upon arraignment, the defendant shall immediately either move
to quash the complaint or information or plead thereto, or do both and that, if
the defendant moves to quash, without pleading, and the motion is withdrawn
or overruled, he should immediately plead, which means that trial must
proceed. If, after trial on the merits, judgment is rendered adversely to the
movant (in the motion to quash), he can appeal the judgment and raise the
same defenses or objections (earlier raised in his motion to quash) which
would then be subject to review by the appellate court.

filing a writ of certiorari before the Court of First Instance


which in our opinion is unwarranted it being contrary to
the usual course of law. 15
Conformably with the above rulings, whether or not petitioner was, afforded
his rights to counsel and to due process is a question which he could raise, as a
defense or objection, upon the trial on the merits, and, if that defense or
objection should fail, he could still raise the same on appeal.
On the other hand, if a defendant does not move to quash the complaint or
information before he pleads, he shall be taken to have waived all objections
which are grounds for a motion to quash, except where the complaint or
information does not charge an offense, or the court is without jurisdiction of
the same. 16
Here, petitioner filed a Motion To Acquit only after the prosecution had
presented its evidence and rested its case. Since the exceptions, above-stated,
are not applicable, petitioner is deemed to have waived objections which are
grounds for a motion to quash.
Besides, the grounds relied upon by petitioner in his Motion to Acquit are not
among the grounds provided in Sec. 2, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court for
quashing a complaint or information. Consequently, the lower court did not err
in denying petitioner's Motion to Acquit.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The temporary restraining order issued
on 3 March 1981 is LIFTED. The instant case is remanded to the respondent
court for further proceedings to afford the petitioner-accused the opportunity
to present evidence on his behalf.
This decision is immediately executory. With costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Feliciano, Bidin, Cortes, GrioAquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
An order denying a Motion to Acquit (like an order denying a motion to quash)
is interlocutory and not a final order. It is, therefore, not appealable. Neither
can it be the subject of a petition for certiorari. Such order of denial may only
be reviewed, in the ordinary course of law, by an appeal from the judgment,
after trial. As stated inCollins vs. Wolfe, 12 and reiterated in Mill vs. Yatco, 13 the
accused, after the denial of his motion to quash, should have proceeded with
the trial of the case in the court below, and if final judgment is rendered
against him, he could then appeal, and, upon such appeal, present the
questions which he sought to be decided by the appellate court in a petition for
certiorari.
In Acharon vs. Purisima, 14 the procedure was well defined, thus:
Moreover, when the motion to quash filed by Acharon to
nullify the criminal cases filed against him was denied by
the Municipal Court of General Santos his remedy was
not to file a petition for certiorari but to go to trial
without prejudice on his part to reiterate the special
defenses he had invoked in his motion and, if, after trial
on the merits, an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal
therefrom in the manner authorized by law. This is the
procedure that he should have followed as authorized by
law and precedents. Instead, he took the usual step of

CRUZ, J., concurring:


I concur because it does not appear from the narration of the facts in this case
that improper suggestions were made by the police to influence the witnesses
in the Identification of the accused.
In United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, the U.S. Supreme Court observed
through Justice Brennan:
What facts have been disclosed in specific cases about
the conduct of pretrial confrontations for Identification
illustrate both the potential for substantial prejudice to
the accused at that stage and the need for its revelation
at trial. A commentator provides some striking examples:
In a Canadian case ... the
defendant had been picked out of
a line-up of six men, of which he
was the only Oriental. In other

74
cases, a black-haired suspect was
placed among a group of lighthaired persons, tall suspects have
been made to stand with short
non-suspects, and, in a case where
the perpetrator of the crime was
known to be a youth, a suspect
under twenty was placed in a lineup with five other persons, all of
whom were forty or over.
Similarly state reports, in the course of describing prior
Identifications admitted as evidence of guilt, reveal
numerous instances of suggestive procedures, for
example, that all in the lineup but the suspect were
known to the Identifying witness, that the other
participants in a lineup were grossly dissimilar in
appearance to the suspect, that only the suspect was
required to wear distinctive clothing which the culprit
allegedly wore, that the witness is told by the police that
they have caught the culprit after which the defendant is
brought before the witness alone or is viewed in jail, that
the suspect is pointed out before or during a lineup, and
that the participants in the lineup are asked to try on an
article of clothing which fits only the suspect.
I reserve my judgment on any subsequent case where the question raised here
is submitted anew and the same or similar circumstances as those described
above are present.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring
Pro hac vice.
YAP, C.J., Dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent from the majority opinion. In my opinion, after the
police line-up with other detainees in which the accused was pointed out by
the complainant as one of the "companions" of those who allegedly committed
the crime of robbery, the investigatory part of the proceedings started when
the accused was singled out and "ordered to sit down in front of the
complainant" while the latter gave her statement which led to the filing of the
information. The majority opinion holds that the police line-up was not part of
the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner (the herein accused) was not yet
entitled to counsel. But this overlooks the fact that the incident objected to
took place after the police line-up, when the accused was made to confront the
complainant, and the latter made her statement which became the basis of the
information filed against the accused. At this point, it can be said that the
custodial investigation had already begun.
The applicable provision of the 1973 Constitution states that "any person under
investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to counsel,
and to be informed of such rights." (Sec. 20, Art. IV, Bill of Rights). A similar
provision has been incorporated in the 1987 Constitution. I do not agree with
the view that since the accused was not asked any question, he was not "under
investigation." The investigation commenced the moment he was taken from
the police line-up and made to sit in front of the complainant, while the latter
made her statement to the police.
Neither do I agree with the view of the Solicitor General, which is sustained by
the majority opinion, that the accused at that point was not entitled to be
informed of his right to counsel, because "the police did not, at that stage,
exact a confession to be used against him." The right to counsel must be
afforded to the accused the moment he is under custodial investigation, and
not only when a confession is being exacted from him.

For these reasons, I am of the opinion that the petitioner should have been
informed, at that stage, of his constitutional right to counsel, and accordingly, I
vote to grant the petition.
SARMIENTO, J., dissenting:
Insofar as the majority would deny the accused the right to counsel (at an incustody confrontation) in this particular case, I am constrained to dissent.
The accused was arrested, without a warrant, for vagrancy, on July 19, 1979. It
is clear that at that time, no probable cause to indict him for robbery existed.
For this reason, he was "booked" for vagrancy alone and thereafter detained.
Unexplainably, he was made to take part in a line-up the following day, July 20,
1979, upon the behest, apparently, of the complainant, who unabashedly
pointed to him as a "companion" in a certain robbery case. He was later made
to "sit down in front of" the said complainant while the latter gave her
statement which led to the filing of the information.
It is the view of the majority that "the police line-up (at least, in this case) was
not part of the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner was not yet entitled, at such
stage, to counsel." It is my own view, however, that given the particular
circumstances of this case, he was entitled to counsel pursuant to the
provisions of Section 12, of Article III, of the Bill of Rights.
It is noteworthy that the accused was already in custody at the time. And
although he was detained for some other cause vagrancy, it left him little or no
choice other than to face his accuser. It cannot be then gainsaid that as far as
he was concerned, the situation had reached what American jurisprudence
refers to as the "critical stage" 1 of the inquiry, in which the confrontation
becomes an accusation rather than a routine procedure preliminary to a formal
prosecution. He was in custody not for the "usual questioning" but for an
existing charge, although the investigation was in connection with another
offense. The confrontation, exacerbated by the pressure of actual custody, had
become adversarial rather than informational, and the assistance of counsel to
the accused, a matter of Constitutional necessity. That he was being held for
vagrancy whereas the line-up involved a complaint for robbery does not make
a difference to him. He was under detention, a development that made him
vulnerable to pressures, whatever offense was involved.
While I am not prepared to hold that a police line-up per se amounts to a
critical stage of the investigation, for in most cases, it merely forms part of the
evidence gathering process, the fact that the accused herein stood charged for
an offense and has been detained therefor should make this case different. 2
So also is it noteworthy that the accused was made to confront the
complainant in an interrogation following the line-up. It is my belief that, other
than such a line-up, the subsequent confrontation had reinforced his need for
legal assistance. Verily, he was an unwilling audience to his accuser, if a mute
witness to his own prosecution. InPeople v. Hassan, 3 we struck down a similar
confrontation for repugnancy to the Constitution. This Court said therein:
The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to
confront and Identify the accused alone at the funeral
parlor, without being placed in a police line-up, was
"pointedly suggestive, generated confidence where there
was none, activated visual imagination, and, all told,
subverted his reliability as eyewitness. This unusual,
coarse, and highly singular method of Identification,
which revolts against the accepted principles of scientific
crime detection, alienates the esteem of every just man,
and commands neither our respect nor acceptance."
Moreover, the corfrontation arranged by the police
investigator between the self-proclaimed eyewitness and
the accused did violence to the right of the latter to
counsel in all stages of the investigation into the

75
commission of a crime especially at its most crucial stage
the Identification of the accused.
As it turned out, the method of Identification became
just a confrontation. At that critical and decisive
moment, the scales of justice tipped unevenly against the
young, poor, and disadvantaged accused. The police
procedure adopted in this case in which only the a d was
presented to witness Samson, in the funeral parlor, and
in the presence of the grieving relatives of the victim, is
as tainted as an uncounselled confession and thus falls
within the same ambit of the constitutionally entrenched
protection. For this infringement alone, the accusedappellant should be acquitted. 4

CRUZ, J., concurring:


I concur because it does not appear from the narration of the facts in this case
that improper suggestions were made by the police to influence the witnesses
in the Identification of the accused.
In United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, the U.S. Supreme Court observed
through Justice Brennan:
What facts have been disclosed in specific cases about
the conduct of pretrial confrontations for Identification
illustrate both the potential for substantial prejudice to
the accused at that stage and the need for its revelation
at trial. A commentator provides some striking examples:

It is in such cases indeed that the more questions are asked, the more
convinced is the complainant of the accused's guilt, and in extreme cases, the
better "convinced" is the accused himself that he is truly guilty. The presence of
counsel would have obviated the one-sidedness of the investigation.

In a Canadian case ... the


defendant had been picked out of
a line-up of six men, of which he
was the only Oriental. In other
cases, a black-haired suspect was
placed among a group of lighthaired persons, tall suspects have
been made to stand with short
non-suspects, and, in a case where
the perpetrator of the crime was
known to be a youth, a suspect
under twenty was placed in a lineup with five other persons, all of
whom were forty or over.

To be sure, the majority itself would concede that something is amiss in such a
procedure, at least in this case ("this occasion may be better than any to
remind police investigators that, while the Court finds no real need to afford a
suspect the services of counsel during a police line-up, the moment there is a
move or even an urge of said investigators to elicit admissions or confessions or
even plain information which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time,
from said suspect, he should then and there be assisted by counsel, unless he
waives the right, but the waiver shall be made in writing and in the presence of
counsel"). 5 The point, however, is that such a police procedure is invariably
intended to secure admissions from the accused (assuming that he is
Identified), unless the authorities are possessed of other evidence. They would
not be so obtuse to do a useless act.

Similarly state reports, in the course of describing prior


Identifications admitted as evidence of guilt, reveal
numerous instances of suggestive procedures, for
example, that all in the lineup but the suspect were
known to the Identifying witness, that the other
participants in a lineup were grossly dissimilar in
appearance to the suspect, that only the suspect was
required to wear distinctive clothing which the culprit
allegedly wore, that the witness is told by the police that
they have caught the culprit after which the defendant is
brought before the witness alone or is viewed in jail, that
the suspect is pointed out before or during a lineup, and
that the participants in the lineup are asked to try on an
article of clothing which fits only the suspect.

To my mind, the accused herein was not only denied the right to counsel which
I hold to be available under the circumstances, he was deprived of due process
the day he was arrested. Albeit it does not appear to have been put in issue in
his petition, he was not apprised of his rights when he was apprehended for
vagrancy. The next day, he was placed in a line-up upon a complaint for
robbery. To my mind, he was a readymade suspect for an offense in which no
probable cause existed to warrant a custodial interrogation. If this is a
customary police procedural, I do not hesitate to condemn it for Constitutional
reasons.
While it is true that he was not denied the right to present his defense, it does
not cure the defect surrounding his arrest, or make admissible whatever
evidence gathered in the course of the confrontation and investigation. The
resulting unfairness has deprived him of the opportunity to prepare a
meaningful defense.
I agree that in terms of the provisions of the Rules of Court, the accused may
not challenge, on certiorari, a denial of a motion to acquit. But it seems to me
that the case, for all its Constitutional implications, should stand on its merits
and not on the errors of the counsel for the accused on his choice of judicial
remedies. Accordingly, I am for denying the Rules of their rigidity and for
deciding on the petition on Constitutional grounds.
I vote to grant the petition.
Gancayco, J., concur

Separate Opinions

I reserve my judgment on any subsequent case where the question raised here
is submitted anew and the same or similar circumstances as those described
above are present.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring
Pro hac vice.
YAP, C.J., Dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent from the majority opinion. In my opinion, after the
police line-up with other detainees in which the accused was pointed out by
the complainant as one of the "companions" of those who allegedly committed
the crime of robbery, the investigatory part of the proceedings started when
the accused was singled out and "ordered to sit down in front of the
complainant" while the latter gave her statement which led to the filing of the
information. The majority opinion holds that the police line-up was not part of
the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner (the herein accused) was not yet
entitled to counsel. But this overlooks the fact that the incident objected to
took place after the police line-up, when the accused was made to confront the
complainant, and the latter made her statement which became the basis of the

76
information filed against the accused. At this point, it can be said that the
custodial investigation had already begun.
The applicable provision of the 1973 Constitution states that "any person under
investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to counsel,
and to be informed of such rights." (Sec. 20, Art. IV, Bill of Rights). A similar
provision has been incorporated in the 1987 Constitution. I do not agree with
the view that since the accused was not asked any question, he was not "under
investigation." The investigation commenced the moment he was taken from
the police line-up and made to sit in front of the complainant, while the latter
made her statement to the police.
Neither do I agree with the view of the Solicitor General, which is sustained by
the majority opinion, that the accused at that point was not entitled to be
informed of his right to counsel, because "the police did not, at that stage,
exact a confession to be used against him." The right to counsel must be
afforded to the accused the moment he is under custodial investigation, and
not only when a confession is being exacted from him.
For these reasons, I am of the opinion that the petitioner should have been
informed, at that stage, of his constitutional right to counsel, and accordingly, I
vote to grant the petition.
SARMIENTO, J., dissenting:
Insofar as the majority would deny the accused the right to counsel (at an incustody confrontation) in this particular case, I am constrained to dissent.
The accused was arrested, without a warrant, for vagrancy, on July 19, 1979. It
is clear that at that time, no probable cause to indict him for robbery existed.
For this reason, he was "booked" for vagrancy alone and thereafter detained.
Unexplainably, he was made to take part in a line-up the following day, July 20,
1979, upon the behest, apparently, of the complainant, who unabashedly
pointed to him as a "companion" in a certain robbery case. He was later made
to "sit down in front of" the said complainant while the latter gave her
statement which led to the filing of the information.
It is the view of the majority that "the police line-up (at least, in this case) was
not part of the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner was not yet entitled, at such
stage, to counsel." It is my own view, however, that given the particular
circumstances of this case, he was entitled to counsel pursuant to the
provisions of Section 12, of Article III, of the Bill of Rights.
It is noteworthy that the accused was already in custody at the time. And
although he was detained for some other cause vagrancy, it left him little or no
choice other than to face his accuser. It cannot be then gainsaid that as far as
he was concerned, the situation had reached what American jurisprudence
refers to as the "critical stage" 1 of the inquiry, in which the confrontation
becomes an accusation rather than a routine procedure preliminary to a formal
prosecution. He was in custody not for the "usual questioning" but for an
existing charge, although the investigation was in connection with another
offense. The confrontation, exacerbated by the pressure of actual custody, had
become adversarial rather than informational, and the assistance of counsel to
the accused, a matter of Constitutional necessity. That he was being held for
vagrancy whereas the line-up involved a complaint for robbery does not make
a difference to him. He was under detention, a development that made him
vulnerable to pressures, whatever offense was involved.
While I am not prepared to hold that a police line-up per se amounts to a
critical stage of the investigation, for in most cases, it merely forms part of the
evidence gathering process, the fact that the accused herein stood charged for
an offense and has been detained therefor should make this case different. 2
So also is it noteworthy that the accused was made to confront the
complainant in an interrogation following the line-up. It is my belief that, other

than such a line-up, the subsequent confrontation had reinforced his need for
legal assistance. Verily, he was an unwilling audience to his accuser, if a mute
witness to his own prosecution. InPeople v. Hassan, 3 we struck down a similar
confrontation for repugnancy to the Constitution. This Court said therein:
The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to
confront and Identify the accused alone at the funeral
parlor, without being placed in a police line-up, was
"pointedly suggestive, generated confidence where there
was none, activated visual imagination, and, all told,
subverted his reliability as eyewitness. This unusual,
coarse, and highly singular method of Identification,
which revolts against the accepted principles of scientific
crime detection, alienates the esteem of every just man,
and commands neither our respect nor acceptance."
Moreover, the corfrontation arranged by the police
investigator between the self-proclaimed eyewitness and
the accused did violence to the right of the latter to
counsel in all stages of the investigation into the
commission of a crime especially at its most crucial stage
the Identification of the accused.
As it turned out, the method of Identification became
just a confrontation. At that critical and decisive
moment, the scales of justice tipped unevenly against the
young, poor, and disadvantaged accused. The police
procedure adopted in this case in which only the a d was
presented to witness Samson, in the funeral parlor, and
in the presence of the grieving relatives of the victim, is
as tainted as an uncounselled confession and thus falls
within the same ambit of the constitutionally entrenched
protection. For this infringement alone, the accusedappellant should be acquitted. 4
It is in such cases indeed that the more questions are asked, the more
convinced is the complainant of the accused's guilt, and in extreme cases, the
better "convinced" is the accused himself that he is truly guilty. The presence of
counsel would have obviated the one-sidedness of the investigation.
To be sure, the majority itself would concede that something is amiss in such a
procedure, at least in this case ("this occasion may be better than any to
remind police investigators that, while the Court finds no real need to afford a
suspect the services of counsel during a police line-up, the moment there is a
move or even an urge of said investigators to elicit admissions or confessions or
even plain information which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time,
from said suspect, he should then and there be assisted by counsel, unless he
waives the right, but the waiver shall be made in writing and in the presence of
counsel"). 5 The point, however, is that such a police procedure is invariably
intended to secure admissions from the accused (assuming that he is
Identified), unless the authorities are possessed of other evidence. They would
not be so obtuse to do a useless act.
To my mind, the accused herein was not only denied the right to counsel which
I hold to be available under the circumstances, he was deprived of due process
the day he was arrested. Albeit it does not appear to have been put in issue in
his petition, he was not apprised of his rights when he was apprehended for
vagrancy. The next day, he was placed in a line-up upon a complaint for
robbery. To my mind, he was a readymade suspect for an offense in which no
probable cause existed to warrant a custodial interrogation. If this is a
customary police procedural, I do not hesitate to condemn it for Constitutional
reasons.
While it is true that he was not denied the right to present his defense, it does
not cure the defect surrounding his arrest, or make admissible whatever
evidence gathered in the course of the confrontation and investigation. The
resulting unfairness has deprived him of the opportunity to prepare a
meaningful defense.

77
I agree that in terms of the provisions of the Rules of Court, the accused may
not challenge, on certiorari, a denial of a motion to acquit. But it seems to me
that the case, for all its Constitutional implications, should stand on its merits
and not on the errors of the counsel for the accused on his choice of judicial
remedies. Accordingly, I am for denying the Rules of their rigidity and for
deciding on the petition on Constitutional grounds.
I vote to grant the petition.
Gancayco, J., concur

78
G.R. No. 199877

August 13, 2012

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
ARTURO LARA y ORBISTA, Accused-Appellant.
VILLARAMA, JR.,*
DECISION
REYES, J.:
This is an automatic appeal from the Decision1 dated July 28, 2011 of the Court
of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 03685. The CA affirmed the
Decision2 dated October 1, 2008 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Pasig City,
Branch 268, finding Arturo Lara (Lara) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
robbery with homicide.
On June 14, 2001, an Information3 charging Lara with robbery with homicide
was filed with the RTC:
On or about May 31, 2001, in Pasig City, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the accused, armed with a gun, conspiring and confederating
together with one unidentified person who is still at-large, and both of them
mutually helping and aiding one another, with intent to gain, and by means of
force, violence and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously take, steal and divest from Joselito M. Bautista cash money
amounting to P 230,000.00 more or less and belonging to San Sebastian Allied
Services, Inc. represented by Enrique Sumulong; that on the occasion of said
robbery, the said accused, with intent to kill, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, and shoot said Joselito M. Bautista
with the said gun, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal wounds which
directly caused his death.
Contrary to law.4
Following Laras plea of not guilty, trial ensued. The prosecution presented
three (3) witnesses: Enrique Sumulong (Sumulong), SPO1 Bernard Cruz (SPO1
Cruz) and PO3 Efren Calix (PO3 Calix).
Sumulong testified that: (a) he was an accounting staff of San Sebastian Allied
Services, Inc. (San Sebastian); (b) on May 31, 2001 and at around 9:00 in the
morning, he withdrew the amount of P 230,000.00 from the Metrobank-Mabini
Branch, Pasig City to defray the salaries of the employees of San Sebastian; (c)
in going to the bank, he rode a pick-up and was accompanied by Virgilio
Manacob (Manacob), Jeff Atie (Atie) and Joselito Bautista (Bautista); (d) he
placed the amount withdrawn in a black bag and immediately left the bank; (e)
at around 10:30 in the morning, while they were at the intersection of
Mercedes and Market Avenues, Pasig City, Lara suddenly appeared at the front
passenger side of the pick-up and pointed a gun at him stating, "Akin na ang
pera, iyong bag, nasaan?"; (f) Bautista, who was seated at the back, shouted,
"Wag mong ibigay"; (g) heeding Bautistas advice, he threw the bag in
Bautistas direction; (h) after getting hold of the bag, Bautista alighted from the
pick-up and ran; (i) seein Bautista, Lara ran after him while firing his gun; (j)
when he had the chance to get out of the pick-up, he ran towards Mercedes
Plaza and called up the office of San Sebastian to relay the incident; (k) when
he went back to where the pick-up was parked, he went to the rear portion of
the vehicle and saw blood on the ground; (l) he was informed by one bystander
that Bautista was shot and the bag was taken away from him; (m) when
barangay officials and the police arrived, he and his two (2) other companions
were brought to the police station for investigation; (n) on June 7, 2001, while
on his way to Barangay Maybunga, Pasig City, he saw Lara walking along Dr.
Pilapil Street, Barangay San Miguel, Pasig City; (o) he alerted the police and
Lara was thereafter arrested; and (p) at the police station, he, Atie and
Manacob identified Lara as the one who shot and robbed them of San
Sebastians money.5

SPO1 Cruz testified that: (a) he was assigned at the Follow-Up Unit of the Pasig
City Police Station; (b) at around 7:55 in the evening of June 7, 2001, Sumulong
went to the police station and informed him that he saw Lara walking along Dr.
Pilapil Street; (c) four (4) police officers and Sumulong went to Dr. Pilapil Street
where they saw Lara, who Sumulong identified; (d) they then approached Lara
and invited him for questioning; (e) at the police station, Lara was placed in a
line-up where he was positively identified by Sumulong, Manacob and Atie; and
(f) after being identified, Lara was informed of his rights and subsequently
detained.6
PO3 Calix testified that: (a) he was a member of the Criminal Investigation Unit
of the Pasig City Police Station; (b) on May 31, 2001, he was informed of a
robbery that took place at the corner of Mercedes and Market Avenues, Pasig
City; (c) he, together with three (3) other police officers, proceeded to the
crime scene; (d) upon arriving thereat, one of the police officers who were able
to respond ahead of them, handed to him eleven (11) pieces of empty shells
and six (6) deformed slugs of a 9mm pistol; (e) as part of his investigation, he
interviewed Sumulong, Atie, Manacob at the police station; and (f) before
Bautista died, he was able to interview Bautista at the hospital where the latter
was brought after the incident.7
In his defense, Lara testified that: (a) he was a plumber who resided at Dr.
Pilapil Street, San Miguel, Pasig City; (b) on May 31, 2001, he was at his house,
digging a sewer trench while his brother, Wilfredo, was constructing a comfort
room; (c) they were working from 8:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the
afternoon; (d) on June 7, 2001 and at around 7:00 in the evening, while he was
at the house of one of his cousins, police officers arrived and asked him if he
was Arturo Lara; (e) after confirming that he was Arturo Lara, the police officers
asked him to go with them to the Barangay Hall; (f) he voluntarily went with
them and while inside the patrol car, one of the policemen said, "You are lucky,
we were able to caught you in your house, if in another place we will kill you"
(sic); (g) he was brought to the police station and not the barangay hall as he
was earlier told where he was investigated for robbery with homicide; (h) when
he told the police that he was at home when the subject incident took place,
the police challenged him to produce witnesses; (i) when his witnesses arrived
at the station, one of the police officers told them to come back the following
day; (j) while he was at the police line-up holding a name plate, a police officer
told Sumulong and Atie, "Ituru nyo na yan at uuwi na tayo"; and (k) when his
witnesses arrived the following day, they were told that he will be subjected to
an inquest.8
To corroborate his testimony, Lara presented one of his neighbors, Simplicia
Delos Reyes. She testified that on May 31, 2001, while she was manning her
store, she saw Lara working on a sewer trench from 9:00 in the morning to 5:00
in the afternoon.9 Lara also presented his sister, Edjosa Manalo, who testified
that he was working on a sewer line the whole day of May 31, 2001.10
On October 1, 2008, the RTC convicted Lara of robbery with homicide in a
Decision,11 the dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds the accused ARTURO LARA
Y Orbista GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with
Homicide, defined and penalized under Article 294 (1) as amended by Republic
Act 7659, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of
reclusion perpetua, with all the accessory penalties prescribed by law.
Accused is further ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased the sum of
Php50,000.00 as civil indemnity and Php230,000.00 representing the money
carted by the said accused.
SO ORDERED.12
The RTC rejected Laras defense of alibi as follows:
The prosecutions witness Enrique Sumulong positively identified accused
Arturo Lara as the person who carted away the payroll money of San Sebastian
Allied Services, Inc., on May 31, 2001 at around 10:30 oclock in the morning

79
along the corner of Mercedez and Market Ave., Pasig City and the one who
shot Joselito Bautista which caused his instantaneous death on the same day.
As repeatedly held by the Supreme Court, "For alibi to prosper, an accused
must show he was at some other place for such a period of time that it was
impossible for him to have been at the crime scene at the time of the
commission of the crime" (People versus Bano, 419 SCRA 697). Considering the
proximity of the distance between the place of the incident and the residence
of the accused where he allegedly stayed the whole day of May 31, 2001, it is
not physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene within the same
barangay. The positive identification of the accused which were categorical and
consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the
eyewitnesses, should prevail over the alibi and denial of the accused whose
testimony was not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence (People
versus Aves 420 SCRA 259).13 (Emphasis supplied)
On appeal, Lara pointed out several errors that supposedly attended his
conviction. First, that he was arrested without a warrant under circumstances
that do not justify a warrantless arrest rendered void all proceedings including
those that led to his conviction. Second, he was not assisted by counsel when
the police placed him in a line-up to be identified by the witnesses for the
prosecution in violation of Section 12, Article III of the Constitution. The police
line-up is part of custodial investigation and his right to counsel had already
attached. Third, the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt. Specifically, the prosecution failed to present a witness who actually
saw him commit the alleged acts. Sumulong merely presumed that he was the
one who shot Bautista and who took the bag of money from him. The physical
description of Lara that Sumulong gave to the police was different from the one
he gave during the trial, indicating that he did not have a fair glimpse of the
perpetrator. Moreover, this gives rise to the possibility that it was his
unidentified companion who shot Bautista and took possession of the money.
Hence, it cannot be reasonably claimed that his conviction was attended with
moral certainty. Fourth, the trial court erred in discounting the testimony of his
witnesses. Without any showing that they were impelled by improper motives
in testifying in his favor, their testimonies should have been given the credence
they deserve. While his two (2) witnesses were his sister and neighbor, this
does not by itself suggest the existence of bias or impair their credibility.
The CA affirmed Laras conviction. That Lara was supposedly arrested without a
warrant may not serve as a ground to invalidate the proceedings leading to his
conviction considering its belated invocation. Any objections to the legality of
the warrantless arrest should have been raised in a motion to quash duly filed
before the accused enters his plea; otherwise, it is deemed waived. Further,
that the accused was illegally arrested is not a ground to set aside conviction
duly arrived at and based on evidence that sufficiently establishes culpability:

Appellants assertion that he was under custodial investigation at the time he


was identified in a police line-up and therefore had the right to counsel does
not hold water. Ingrained in our jurisdiction is the rule that an accused is not
entitled to the assistance of counsel in a police line-up considering that such is
usually not a part of custodial investigation. An exception to this rule is when
the accused had been the focus of police attention at the start of the
investigation. In the case at bench, appellant was identified in a police line-up
by prosecution witnesses from a group of persons gathered for the purpose.
However, there was no proof that appellant was interrogated at all or that a
statement or confession was extracted from him. A priori, We refuse to
hearken to appellants hollow cry that he was deprived of his constitutional
right to counsel given the hard fact that during the police line-up, the
accusatory process had not yet commenced.
Assuming ex hypothesi that appellant was subjected to interrogation sans
counsel during the police line-up, it does not in any way affect his culpability.
Any allegation of violation of rights during custodial investigation is relevant
and material only to cases in which an extrajudicial admission or confession
extracted from the accused becomes the basis of their conviction. Here,
appellant was convicted based on the testimony of a prosecution witness and
not on his alleged uncounseled confession or admission.15 (Citations omitted)
The CA addressed Laras claim that the prosecutions failure to present a
witness who actually saw him commit the crime charged as follows:
Third. Appellant takes umbrage at the alleged failure of the prosecution to
present an eyewitness to prove that he shot the victim and took the money.
Such posture is unpersuasive.
Contrary to appellants assertion, prosecution witness Sumulong actually saw
him shoot Bautista, the victim. Sumulong vividly recounted, viz:
"Q When you said that "tinutukan ka", aside from this act was there
any other words spoken by this person?
A There was, sir.
Q What did he say?
A "Nasaan ang bag ilabas mo yung pera", sir.

Appellants avowal could hardly wash.

Q Where were you looking when this person approached you?

It is a shopworn doctrine that any objection involving a warrant of arrest or the


acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of an accused must be made before
he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. In voluntarily
submitting himself to the court by entering a plea, instead of filing a motion to
quash the information for lack of jurisdiction over his person, accusedappellant is deemed to have waived his right to assail the legality of his arrest.
Applying the foregoing jurisprudential touchstone, appellant is estopped from
questioning the validity of his arrest since he never raised this issue before
arraignment or moved to quash the Information.

A I was looking at his face, sir.

What is more, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting
aside a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after trial free
from error. The warrantless arrest, even if illegal, cannot render void all other
proceedings including those leading to the conviction of the appellants and his
co-accused, nor can the state be deprived of its right to convict the guilty when
all the facts on record point to their culpability.14 (Citations omitted)
As to whether the identification of Lara during the police line-up is inadmissible
as his right to counsel was violated, the CA ruled that there was no legal
compulsion to afford him a counsel during a police line-up since the latter is
not part of custodial investigation.

Q And upon hearing those words, what did you do?


A I put out the money, sir, because I got afraid at that time.
Q Did you hand over the black bag containing the money to him?
A No, sir, because one of my companion(s) shouted not to give the
money or the bag so I immediately threw away the bag at the back
seat, sir.
Q And how long approximately was that person standing by your car
window?
A Five (5) to ten (10) minutes, sir.
Q And after you have thrown the black bag containing money to the
back of the vehicle, what did that person do?

80
A I saw Joey alight(ed) from the vehicle carrying the bag and ran
away, sir, and I also saw somebody shoot a gun?

Q And so he was at the back, so the shooter was also at the back of
the vehicle, that is correct?

Q Who was firing the gun?

A Yes, sir, he went towards the rear portion of the vehicle, he


followed Joselito Bautista and shot him.

A The one who held-up us, sir.


Q By how, do you know his name?
A No, sir.
Q But if you can see him again, (were) you be able to recognize him?
A Yes, sir.
Q If he is in the courtroom, will you be able to recognize him?

Q So, to be clear, when Joselito Bautista ran to the rear, this alleged
holdup(p)er followed him?
A Yes, sir.
Q And that was the time(,) you heard this gunfire? A Yes, sir.
Q So, you did not personally see who fired that firearm?
A Because at that time he was the one holding the gun, sir.

A Yes, sir.

Q So, you are presuming that he was the one who fired the gun
because he was holding the gun, am I correct?

Q Please look around and please tell this Honorable Court whether
indeed the person you saw holding you up at that time is in court?

A Yes, sir."

A Yes, sir.
Q Will you please stand up and tap his shoulder to identify him?
Interpreter:
The witness tap the shoulder of a person sitting on the first bench of
the courtroom wearing yellow t-shirt and black pants who when ask
identify himself as Arturo Lara (sic).
Q And when as you said Joey got the bag. Alighted from the vehicle
and ran away with it, what did the accused do? (sic)
A He shot Joey while running around our vehicle, sir.
Q Around how many shots according to your recollection were
fired?

xxxx
Under Section 4, Rule 133, of the Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence is
sufficient for conviction if the following requisites concur:
(a) There is more than one circumstance;
(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
(c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a
conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
Here, the following circumstantial evidence are tellingly sufficient to prove that
the guilt of appellant is beyond reasonable doubt, viz:
1. While the vehicle was at the intersection of Mercedes and Market Avenues,
Pasig City, appellant suddenly emerged and pointed a gun at prosecution
witness Sumulong, demanding from him to produce the bag containing the
money.

A There were several shots, more or less nine (9) shots, sir.
x x x x x x"
"Q So, you did not personally notice what had transpired or
happened after you stepped down from the Nissan pick-up, that is
correct?
A There was, sir, my companion Joselito Bautista was shot.
Q When you heard the gunfire, you were already proceeding
towards that store to call your office by phone, that is correct?
A Not yet, sir, we were still inside the vehicle.
Q And was Joselito Bautista at the rear of the Nissan Sentra when
you heard this gunfire?
A Yes, sir.

2. Prosecution witness Sumulong threw the bag to the victim who was then
seated at the backseat of the vehicle.
3. The victim alighted from vehicle carrying the bag.
4. Appellant chased and fired several shots at the victim.
5. The victim sustained several gunshot wounds.
6. The police officers recovered from the scene of the crime six deformed
empty shells.16 (Citations omitted and emphasis supplied)
Finally, the CA found that Laras alibi failed to convince. Specifically:
Deeply embedded in our jurisprudence is the rule that positive identification of
the accused, where categorical and consistent, without any showing of ill
motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying, should prevail over the alibi
and denial of appellants, whose testimonies are not substantiated by clear and
convincing evidence.

81
All the more, to establish alibi the accused must prove (a) that he was present
at another place at the time of the perpetration of the crime, and (b) that it
was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. Physical
impossibility "refers to the distance between the place where the accused was
when the crime transpired and the place where it was committed, as well as
the facility of access between the two places. Appellant miserably failed to
prove the physical impossibility of his presence at the locus criminis at the time
of the perpetration of the felonious act. He himself admitted that his house
was just a stones throw (about three minutes away) from the crime
scene.17 (Citations omitted)
In a Resolution18 dated February 1, 2012, this Court accepted the appeal as the
penalty imposed was reclusion perpetua and the parties were afforded an
opportunity to file their supplemental briefs. Both parties waived their right to
do so, stating that they would adopt the allegations in their respective briefs
that they filed with the CA.
Issues
The present review of Laras conviction for robbery with homicide gives rise to
the following issues:

conviction. That he stood at the police line-up without the assistance of


counsel did not render Sumulongs identification of Lara inadmissible. The right
to counsel is deemed to have arisen at the precise moment custodial
investigation begins and being made to stand in a police line-up is not the
starting point or a part of custodial investigation. As this Court previously ruled
in People v. Amestuzo:22
The contention is not meritorious. The guarantees of Sec. 12 (1), Art. III of the
1987 Constitution, or the so-called Miranda rights, may be invoked only by a
person while he is under custodial investigation. Custodial investigation starts
when the police investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved
crime but has begun to focus on a particular suspect taken into custody by the
police who starts the interrogation and propounds questions to the person to
elicit incriminating statements. Police line-up is not part of the custodial
investigation; hence, the right to counsel guaranteed by the Constitution
cannot yet be invoked at this stage. This was settled in the case of People vs.
Lamsing and in the more recent case of People vs. Salvatierra. The right to be
assisted by counsel attaches only during custodial investigation and cannot be
claimed by the accused during identification in a police line-up because it is not
part of the custodial investigation process. This is because during a police lineup, the process has not yet shifted from the investigatory to the accusatory and
it is usually the witness or the complainant who is interrogated and who gives a
statement in the course of the line-up.23 (Citations omitted)

a. whether the identification made by Sumulong, Atie and Manacob


in the police line-up is inadmissible because Lara stood therein
without the assistance of counsel;

III

b. whether Laras supposedly illegal arrest may be raised for the first
time on appeal for the purpose of nullifying his conviction;

It is apparent from the assailed decision of the CA that the finding of guilt
against Lara is based on circumstantial evidence. The CA allegedly erred in this
wise considering that only direct and not circumstantial evidence can overcome
the presumption of innocence.

c. whether there is sufficient evidence to convict Lara; and


d. whether Laras alibi can be given credence so as to exonerate him
from the crime charged.
Our Ruling
This Court resolves to deny the appeal.
I
Jurisdiction over the person of the accused may be acquired through
compulsory process such as a warrant of arrest or through his voluntary
appearance, such as when he surrenders to the police or to the court.19 Any
objection to the arrest or acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the
accused must be made before he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is
deemed waived. An accused submits to the jurisdiction of the trial court upon
entering a plea and participating actively in the trial and this precludes him
invoking any irregularities that may have attended his arrest.20
Furthermore, the illegal arrest of an accused is not a sufficient ground to
reverse and set aside a conviction that was arrived upon a complaint duly filed
and a trial conducted without error.21 As Section 9, Rule 117 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
Sec. 9. Failure to move to quash or to allege any ground therefor. The failure
of the accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to
the complaint or information, either because he did not file a motion to quash
or failed to allege the same in said motion, shall be deemed a waiver of any
objections except those based on the grounds provided for in paragraphs (a),
(b), (g) and (i) of Section 3 of this Rule.
II
Contrary to Laras claim, that he was not provided with counsel when he was
placed in a police line-up did not invalidate the proceedings leading to his

However, well-settled is the rule that direct evidence of the commission of the
crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusion
and finding of guilt. Even in the absence of direct evidence, conviction can be
had if the established circumstances constitute an unbroken chain, consistent
with each other and to the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, to the
exclusion of all other hypothesis that he is not.24
Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure,
circumstantial evidence sufficed to convict upon the concurrence of the
following requisites: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from
which the inferences are derived are proven; and (c) the combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
It is not only by direct evidence that an accused may be convicted of the crime
for which he is charged. Resort to circumstantial evidence is essential since to
insist on direct testimony would, in many cases, result in setting felons free and
denying proper protection to the community.25
As the CA correctly ruled, the following circumstances established by the
evidence for the prosecution strongly indicate Laras guilt: (a) while the vehicle
Sumulong, Atie, Manacob and Bautista were riding was at the intersection of
Mercedes and Market Avenues, he appeared at the front passenger side
thereof armed with a gun; (b) while pointing the gun at Sumulong who was at
the front passenger seat, Lara demanded that Sumulong give him the bag
containing the money; (c) instead of giving the bag to Lara, Sumulong gave it to
Bautista who was seated at the back of the pick-up; (d) when Bautista got hold
of the bag, he alighted and ran towards the back of the pick-up; (e) Lara ran
after Bautista and while doing so, fired his gun at Bautistas direction; (f)
Bautista sustained several gunshot wounds; and (g) Bautistas blood was on the
crime scene and empty shells were recovered therefrom.
Indeed, in cases of robbery with homicide, the taking of personal property with
intent to gain must itself be established beyond reasonable doubt. Conclusive
evidence proving the physical act of asportation by the accused must be
presented by the prosecution. It must be shown that the original criminal
design of the culprit was robbery and the homicide was perpetrated with a
view to the consummation of the robbery by reason or on the occasion of the

82
robbery.26 The mere presence of the accused at the crime scene is not enough
to implicate him. It is essential to prove the intent to rob and the use of
violence was necessary to realize such intent.
In this case, Laras intent to gain is proven by Sumulongs positive narration
that it was Lara who pointed the gun at him and demanded that the bag
containing the money be turned over to him. That Lara resorted to violence in
order to actualize his intent to gain is proven by Sumulongs testimony that he
saw Lara fire the gun at the direction of Bautista, who was running away from
the pick-up in order to prevent Lara from taking possession of the money.
Notably, the incident took place in broad daylight and in the middle of a street.
Thus, where considerations of visibility are favorable and the witness does not
appear to be biased against the accused, his or her assertions as to the identity
of the malefactor should be normally accepted.27
Lara did not allege, much less, convincingly demonstrate that Sumulong was
impelled by improper or malicious motives to impute upon him, however
perjurious, such a serious charge. Thus, his testimony, which the trial court
found to be forthright and credible, is worthy of full faith and credit and should
not be disturbed. If an accused had nothing to do with the crime, it is against
the natural order of events and of human nature and against the presumption
of good faith that a prosecution witness would falsely testify against the
former.28
IV
In view of Sumulongs positive identification of Lara, the CA was correct in
denying Laras alibi outright. It is well-settled that positive identification
prevails over alibi, which is inherently a weak defense. Such is the rule, for as a
defense, alibi is easy to concoct, and difficult to disapprove.29
Moreover, in order for the defense of alibi to prosper, it is not enough to prove
that the accused was somewhere else when the offense was committed, but it
must likewise be demonstrated that he was so far away that it was not possible
for him to have been physically present at the place of the crime or its
immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. Due to its doubtful nature,
alibi must be supported by clear and convincing proof.
In this case, the proximity of Laras house at the scene of the crime wholly
negates his alibi. Assuming as true Laras claim and that of his witnesses that he
was digging a sewer trench on the day of the incident, it is possible that his
witnesses may not have noticed him leaving and returning given that the
distance between his house and the place where the subject incident took
place can be negotiated, even by walking, in just a matter of minutes. Simply
put, Lara and his witnesses failed to prove that it is well-nigh impossible for him
to be at the scene of the crime.
In fine, the assailed decision of the CA is affirmed in all respects.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated July 28, 2011 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 03685 is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

83
G.R. No. 197550

September 25, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
ARTURO ENRIQUEZ y DE LOS REYES, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
This is an appeal1 of the February 11, 2011 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals, in
CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 03430, which affirmed the Regional Trial Court's (RTC)
February 28, 2008 Decision3 in Criminal Case Nos. DC03-209 and DC 03-210,
wherein accused-appellant ARTURO ENRIQUEZ y DE LOS REYES (Enriquez) was
found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Sections 5 and 11, Article II
of Republic Act No. 9165.
In two separate lnformations4 filed before Branch 57 of the RTC of Angeles City,
Enriquez was charged with violating Sections 5 and 11, Article II of Republic Act
No. 9165 or the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002." The pertinent
portions of the Informations, both dated June 4, 2003, are hereby quoted as
follows:
Criminal Case No. DC 03-209
That on or about the 3rd day of June, 2003, in Brgy. Manibaug Libutad,
municipality of Porac, province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, ARTURO
ENRIQUEZ y DELOS REYES, without any authority of law, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously had in his possession, custody and control
forty[-]five (45) small size heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing
Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu) weighing TWO GRAMS AND SIX
THOUSAND ONE TEN THOUSANDTHS (2.6001g) of a gram and one (1) pc. big
size heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing Methylamphetamine
Hydrochloride(shabu) weighing ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWELVE
TENTHOUSANDTHS (0.1212g) of a gram, a dangerous drug.5
Criminal Case No. DC 03-210
That on or about the 3rd day of June, 2003, in Brgy. Manibaug Libutad,
municipality of Porac, province of Pampanga, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, ARTURO
ENRIQUEZ y DELOS REYES, without having been lawfully authorized, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, deliver and/or sell one (1) small
size heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing Methylamphetamine
Hydrochloride (shabu) with an actual weight of FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-TWO
TEN THOUSANDTH(0.0422g) of a gram, a dangerous drug.6
Enriquez pleaded not guilty to both charges upon his arraignment7 on June 19,
2003.
Trial on the merits ensued after the termination of the pre-trial conference on
September 25, 2003.8
As culled from the records and transcript of stenographic notes, the
contradictory versions of the prosecution and defense are as follows:

the truck drivers and helpers within the vicinity. After confirming the reports,
SPO2 David, together with one civilian asset, conducted a test-buy on June 2,
2003.9 During the test-buy, SPO2 Davids asset was able to buy P200.00 worth
of shabu, which he confirmed to be so by burning it, contrary to standard
police procedure.10
After the test-buy, SPO2 David organized a team, composed of himself, SPO2
Divina, and SPO1 Garung, to conduct a buy-bust operation.11 On June 3, 2003,
after SPO2 Divina coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
(PDEA) for their on-going narcotics operation,12 their Chief of Police Ricardo
Erese briefed the team at Kababayan Center No. 2, at Barangay Sta. Cruz,
Porac, Pampanga. At the briefing, SPO2 David was designated as the poseurbuyer, with the other two police officers as back-ups. To purchase the shabu,
Chief of Police Erese gave SPO2 David aP100-peso bill and five P20-peso bills,
which SPO2 David marked by placing a small bar on the lower right corner of
the bills. The team thereafter proceeded to Brgy. Manibaug, Libutad in Porac,
Pampanga. Upon arriving at the target area at around 11:00 a.m., SPO2 David
approached Enriquez, whom they spotted sitting in a sari-sari store, while SPO2
Divinaand SPO1 Garung hid behind a dump truck parked across the store.
SPO2David called the attention of Enriquez by saying "dalawang (2)
piso"13 while handing him the P200.00. Without saying anything, Enriquez took
the money and went to the back of the store. After one to two minutes,
Enriquez emerged and handed SPO2 David a sachet of shabu. This prompted
SPO2David to put his hand at the back of his head, to signal his teammates that
the sale had been consummated. Upon the execution of the pre-arranged
signal, SPO2 Divina and SPO1 Garung approached the site of engagement,
introduced themselves as police officers to Enriquez, and thereafter conducted
a body search on him, which resulted to the discovery of a plastic game card
containing one big and 45 small plastic sachets of white crystalline
substance.14 SPO2 David prepared the Confiscation Receipt for the aboveseized items, then subsequently brought Enriquez to the Porac Police Station,
wherein the team prepared the papers necessary in filing a case against
Enriquez.15
As per Chemistry Report No. D-219-2003,16 prepared by Police Inspector and
Forensic Chemical Officer Divina Mallare Dizon (P/Insp. Dizon), upon the
request for laboratory examination17 submitted by Chief of Police Erese, the
plastic sachets confiscated from Enriquez tested positive for
methylamphetamine hydrochloride.
Defenses Version
The defenses version of the events, as quoted from Enriquezs own brief, are
as follows:
In truth, Enriquez was alone, eating in an eatery in Manibaug, Porac,
Pampanga, when three (3) men, all in civilian clothes, alighted from an ownertype jeep and approached him. One of the men, SPO2 David, then poked a gun
at him. The former asked Enriquez if he knew a certain truck driver who is
suspected of selling shabu. When he denied knowledge thereof, he was
immediately handcuffed and was brought to the police station for further
investigation. He was detained and was told that he is being suspected of
selling shabu.
Nora Pangilinan, a 37-year old helper of the sari-sari store, corroborated
*Enriquez+s testimony.1wphi1 She saw how the apprehending team rudely
approached and arrested [Enriquez].18 (Citations omitted.)
On February 28, 2008, the RTC convicted Enriquez in its Decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads:

Prosecutions Version
Sometime in May 2003, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Edilberto David, SPO2
Ernesto Divina, and SPO1 Saturnino Garung received reports from the barangay
office and other concerned citizens of drug-dealing activities in the locality of
Porac, Pampanga. They immediately conducted a casing and surveillance
operation to verify the reports. About four operations were carried out, on a
weekly basis, which confirmed that Enriquez was indeed dealing drugs among

WHEREFORE, the prosecution having proven the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt in the two (2) cases, the Court finds accused ARTURO
ENRIQUEZ Y DE LOS REYES GUILTY of the offense as charged and hereby
sentences him to suffer the penalty of LIFEIMPRISONMENT and a fine of
Php500,000.00, in Criminal Case No. DC 03-210 for violation of Section 5, Art. II
of R.A. 9165. Accused Enriquez is also sentenced to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment of TWELVE YEARS (12) AND ONE (1) DAY, as minimum, to

84
FOURTEEN (14) YEARS AND EIGHT (8) MONTHS, as maximum, of Reclusion
Temporal in Criminal Case No. DC 03-209 for violation of Section 11 of R.A.
9165 and a fine of Php300,000.00.19
Aggrieved, Enriquez appealed20 to the Court of Appeals, which, on February 11,
2011, affirmed the decision of the RTC.21
Issues
Enriquez is now before this Court, assigning22 the same errors he presented
before the Court of Appeals, to wit:
I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THEACCUSED-APPELLANT
DESPITE THE IRREGULARITY OFTHE BUY-BUST OPERATION.
II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THEACCUSED-APPELLANT
DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONSFAILURE TO PROVE WITH MORAL CERTAINTY
THEIDENTITY OF THE CORPUS DELICTI.
III
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THEACCUSED-APPELLANT
DESPITE THE ARRESTING OFFICERSNON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THEPROPER CUSTODY OF SEIZED DANGEROUS DRUGS
UNDERREPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165.23
Enriquez questions the fact that despite a month-long surveillance and casing
operation against him, the police operatives still opted to conduct a buy-bust
operation instead of securing a warrant for his arrest.24 Moreover, Enriquez
points out, the police officer, to test the substance they allegedly recovered
from him during their test-buy operation, burned such substance instead of
going through the proper testing procedures.25
Aside from the foregoing procedural infractions, Enriquez finds it irregular that
the police officers commuted to the target area instead of using their precincts
service mobile. Enriquez adds: "The lack of a service vehicle, therefore, is an
irregularity that is too uncommon and virtually affects the preservation of the
seized pieces of evidence."26
Enriquez also claims that the prosecution was not able to prove with moral
certainty the identity of the corpus delicti for failure of the police officers to
comply with Section 21(a) of Republic Act No. 9165, on the custody and
disposition of confiscated or seized dangerous drugs. He avers that there was
neither physical inventory nor a photograph of the seized items. Moreover,
Enriquez says, the markings on the confiscated items were not immediately
made upon its seizure, at the place of the incident, nor were there any
indication in the records that it was made in his presence. Enriquez points out
that while "non-compliance x x x with Section 21 is not fatal, as police lapses,
may at times occur, these errors, however, must be supported with justifiable
grounds and the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items must be
preserved."27
Ruling of the Court
This Court has painstakingly reviewed the records of this case and after a
thorough deliberation, resolves to acquit Enriquez for the prosecutions failure
to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. This Court finds that the
prosecution was not able to establish with moral certainty that the integrity
and evidentiary value of the items confiscated from Enriquez were preserved
such that they could be used as basis for Enriquezs conviction.

The Constitution28 demands that an accused in a criminal case be presumed


innocent until otherwise proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Likewise, Section 2, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court requires proof beyond
reasonable doubt to justify a conviction; anything less than that entitles the
accused to an acquittal.
Enriquez was charged and convicted for the sale and possession of
methylamphetamine hydrochloride, more popularly known as shabu, in
violation of Sections 5 and 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, to wit:
Section 5. Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution
and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and
Essential Chemicals. - The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine
ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00)to Ten million pesos
(P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by
law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another,
distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any
and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved,
or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.
The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to
twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos
(P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos(P500,000.00) shall be imposed
upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer,
dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or
transport any controlled precursor and essential chemical, or shall act as a
broker in such transactions.
xxxx
Section 11. Possession of Dangerous Drugs. - The penalty of life imprisonment
to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to
Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who,
unless authorized by law, shall possess any dangerous drug in the following
quantities, regardless of the degree of purity thereof:
(1) 10 grams or more of opium;
(2) 10 grams or more of morphine;
(3) 10 grams or more of heroin;(4) 10 grams or more of cocaine or
cocaine hydrochloride;
(5) 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or "
shabu;"
(6) 10 grams or more of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil;
(7) 500 grams or more of marijuana; and
(8) 10 grams or more of other dangerous drugs such as, but not
limited to, methylenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA) or
"ecstasy," paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA),
trimethoxyamphetamine (TMA), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD),
gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB),and those similarly designed or
newly introduced drugs and their derivatives, without having any
therapeutic value or if the quantity possessed is far beyond
therapeutic requirements, as determined and promulgated by the
Board in accordance to Section 93, Article XI of this Act.
Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the
penalties shall be graduated as follows:

85
(1) Life imprisonment and a fine ranging from Four hundred
thousand pesos (P400,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos
(P500,000.00), if the quantity of methamphetamine hydrochloride
or "shabu" is ten(10) grams or more but less than fifty (50) grams;
(2) Imprisonment of twenty (20) years and one (1) day to life
imprisonment and a fine ranging from Four hundred thousand pesos
(P400,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), if the
quantities of dangerous drugs are five (5) grams or more but less
than ten (10) grams of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine or cocaine
hydrochloride, marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil,
methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu," or other dangerous
drugs such as, but not limited to, MDMA or "ecstasy," PMA,
TMA,LSD, GHB, and those similarly designed or newly introduced
drugs and their derivatives, without having any therapeutic value or
if the quantity possessed is far beyond therapeutic requirements; or
three hundred (300) grams or more but less than five hundred (500)
grams of marijuana; and
(3) Imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty
(20) years and a fine ranging from Three hundred thousand pesos
(P300,000.00) to Four hundred thousand pesos (P400,000.00), if the
quantities of dangerous drugs are less than five (5) grams of opium,
morphine, heroin, cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride, marijuana resin
or marijuana resin oil, methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu,"
or other dangerous drugs such as, but not limited to, MDMA or
"ecstasy," PMA, TMA, LSD, GHB, and those similarly designed or
newly introduced drugs and their derivatives, without having any
therapeutic value or if the quantity possessed is far beyond
therapeutic requirements; or less than three hundred (300) grams
of marijuana.
When prosecuting the sale of a dangerous drug, the following elements must
be proven: (1) the identities of the buyer and seller, object, and consideration;
and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.29 In cases of
illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the essential requisites that must be
established are: (1) the accused was in possession of the dangerous drug; (2)
such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and
consciously possessed the dangerous drug.30
As the dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of both
offenses, its identity and integrity must definitely be shown to have been
preserved.31 "This means that on top of the elements of possession or illegal
sale, the fact that the substance [possessed or illegally sold], in the first
instance, the very substance adduced in court must likewise be established
with the same exacting degree of certitude as that required sustaining a
conviction."32 Thus, the prosecution must be able to account for each link in the
chain of custody over the dangerous drug, from the moment it was seized from
the accused up to the time it was presented in court as proof of the corpus
delicti.33 The chain of custody requirement "ensures that unnecessary doubts
respecting the identity of the evidence are minimized if not altogether
removed."34
Paragraph 1, Section 21, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 outlines the
procedure on the chain of custody of confiscated, seized, or surrendered
dangerous drugs, viz:
Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered
Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and
Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment.
The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant
sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as
well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so
confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following
manner:
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and

photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from
whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or
counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ),
and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof.
Its Implementing Rules and Regulations state:
SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or
Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled
Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or
Laboratory Equipment. The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all
dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and
essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory
equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in
the following manner:
(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the
drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and
photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from
whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or
counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ),
and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory
and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is
served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the
apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless
seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements
under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of
the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team,
shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items.
Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of
2002,35 which implements the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,
defines "chain of custody" as follows:
Chain of Custody means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody
of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or
laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to
receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for
destruction. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall
include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of
the seized item, the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in
the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence, and the final
disposition.
Describing the mechanics of the custodial chain requirement, this Court, in
People v. Cervantes,36 said:
As a mode of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that
the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a
finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. In
context, this would ideally include testimony about every link in the chain, from
the seizure of the prohibited drug up to the time it is offered into evidence, in
such a way that everyone who touched the exhibit would describe how and
from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the
witness possession, the condition in which it was received, and the condition
in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. x x x. (Citation omitted.)
Thus, the following are the links that must be established in the chain of
custody in a buy-bust situation:
First, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from
the accused by the apprehending officer;
Second, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to
the investigating officer;

86
Third, the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic
chemist for laboratory examination; and
Fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized from the
forensic chemist to the court.37
While non-compliance with the prescribed procedural requirements will not
automatically render the seizure and custody of the items void and invalid, this
is true only when "(i) there is a justifiable ground for such non-compliance, and
(ii) the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly
preserved."38 Thus, any divergence from the prescribed procedure must be
justified and should not affect the integrity and evidentiary value of the
confiscated contraband. Absent any of the said conditions, the non-compliance
is an irregularity, a red flag, that casts reasonable doubt on the identity of the
corpus delicti.
In the case at bar, not only was there no justifiable ground offered for the noncompliance with the chain of custody requirement, there was an apparent
failure to properly preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized
items to ensure the identity of the corpus delicti from the time of seizure to the
time of presentation in court.39 In other words, the prosecutions evidence
failed to establish the chain that would have shown that the sachets of shabu
presented in court were the very same items seized from Enriquez.
The first crucial link in the chain of custody starts with the seizure from
Enriquez of the dangerous drugs and its subsequent marking. Under the law,
such marking should have been done immediately after confiscation and in the
presence of the accused or his representative. While it is true that the items
presented in court bore the initials of SPO2 David, who was also the poseurbuyer and primary apprehending officer, nowhere in the documentary and
testimonial evidence of the prosecution can it be found when these items were
actually marked and if they were marked in the presence of Enriquez or at least
his representative. Emphasizing the importance of this first link, this Court in
People v. Zakaria,40 pronounced:
Crucial in proving the chain of custody is the marking of the seized dangerous
drugs or other related items immediately after they are seized from the
accused, for the marking upon seizure is the starting point in the custodial link
that succeeding handlers of the evidence will use as reference point. Moreover,
the value of marking of the evidence is to separate the marked evidence from
the corpus of all other similar or related evidence from the time of seizure from
the accused until disposition at the end of criminal proceedings, obviating
switching, "planting" or contamination of evidence. A failure to mark at the
time of taking of initial custody imperils the integrity of the chain of custody
that the law requires. (Citation omitted.)
The second link in the chain of custody is the turnover of the illegal drug by the
apprehending officer to the investigating officer. Both SPO2David and SPO2
Divina testified that after the buy-bust operation, they brought Enriquez and
the seized items to the police station. However, they both failed to identify the
person to whom they turned over the seized items. Records show that the
request for laboratory examination was prepared by Chief of Police Erese, and
yet there is no evidence to show that he was the person who received the
seized items from the apprehending officers. There is therefore a crucial
missing link, i.e., what happened to the seized items after they left the hands of
SPO2 David and SPO2 Divina and before they came to the hands of Chief of
Police Erese.
As for the third and the last links, although records show that Chief of Police
Erese signed the request for laboratory examination, he was not presented in
court to testify as such. The testimony of Chief of Police Erese is indispensable
because he could have provided the critical link between the testimony of
SPO2 David, and the tenor of the testimony of P/Insp. Dizon, which the parties
have stipulated on. The unaccounted for whereabouts of the seized items from
the time they were brought to the police station to the time they were
submitted to P/Insp. Dizon for examination constitutes a clear break in the
chain of custody. Moreover, no one testified as to how the confiscated items
were handled and cared for after the laboratory examination.41

Overall, the prosecution failed to observe the requirement that the testimonies
of all persons who handled the specimen are important to establish the chain
of custody.42 Of all the individuals who came into direct contact with or had
physical possession of the shabu allegedly seized from Enriquez, only SPO2
David testified for the specific purpose of identifying the evidence.43
However, his testimony miserably failed to demonstrate an unbroken chain as
it ended with his identification of the money and seized items he marked and
documents he signed. In effect, the custodial link ended with SPO2 David when
he testified that he brought the seized items, together with Enriquez, to the
police station.
Under the above premises, it is clear that there was a break in the chain of
custody of the seized substances. The failure of the prosecution to establish the
evidence's chain of custody is fatal to its case as we can no longer consider or
even safely assume that the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated
dangerous drug were properly preserved.44
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.CR.-H.C. No. 03430
dated February 11, 2011 is REVERSED and SETASIDE. Accused-Appellant
ARTURO ENRIQUEZ y DELOS REYES is hereby ACQUITTED in Criminal Case Nos.
DC 03-209 and DC 03-210 for the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt
beyond reasonable doubt. He is ordered immediately RELEASED from
detention, unless he is confined for another lawful cause.
The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is DIRECTED To implement this
Decision and to report to this Court on the action taken within five (5) days
from receipt of this Decision.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

87
G.R. No. L-69866 April 15, 1988
ROGELIO ABERCA, RODOLFO BENOSA, NESTOR BODINO NOEL ETABAG
DANILO DE LA FUENTE, BELEN DIAZ-FLORES, MANUEL MARIO GUZMAN, ALAN
JAZMINEZ, EDWIN LOPEZ, ALFREDO MANSOS, ALEX MARCELINO, ELIZABETH
PROTACIO-MARCELINO, JOSEPH OLAYER, CARLOS PALMA, MARCO PALO,
ROLANDO SALUTIN, BENJAMIN SESGUNDO, ARTURO TABARA, EDWIN
TULALIAN and REBECCA TULALIANpetitioners,
vs.
MAJ. GEN. FABIAN VER, COL. FIDEL SINGSON, COL. ROLANDO ABADILLA, COL.
GERARDO B. LANTORIA, COL. GALILEO KINTANAR, 1ST LT. COL. PANFILO M.
LACSON, MAJ. RODOLFO AGUINALDO, CAPT. DANILO PIZARRO, 1ST LT.
PEDRO TANGO, 1ST LT. ROMEO RICARDO, 1ST LT. RAUL BACALSO, MSGT
BIENVENIDO BALABA and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, National Capital Judicial
Region, Branch XCV (95), Quezon City,respondents.

YAP, J.:
This petition for certiorari presents vital issues not heretofore passed upon by
this Court. It poses the question whether the suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus bars a civil action for damages for illegal searches
conducted by military personnel and other violations of rights and liberties
guaranteed under the Constitution. If such action for damages may be
maintained, who can be held liable for such violations: only the military
personnel directly involved and/or their superiors as well.
This case stems from alleged illegal searches and seizures and other violations
of the rights and liberties of plaintiffs by various intelligence units of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines, known as Task Force Makabansa (TFM) ordered by
General Fabian Ver "to conduct pre-emptive strikes against known communistterrorist (CT) underground houses in view of increasing reports about CT plans
to sow disturbances in Metro Manila," Plaintiffs allege, among others, that
complying with said order, elements of the TFM raided several places,
employing in most cases defectively issued judicial search warrants; that during
these raids, certain members of the raiding party confiscated a number of
purely personal items belonging to plaintiffs; that plaintiffs were arrested
without proper warrants issued by the courts; that for some period after their
arrest, they were denied visits of relatives and lawyers; that plaintiffs were
interrogated in violation of their rights to silence and counsel; that military men
who interrogated them employed threats, tortures and other forms of violence
on them in order to obtain incriminatory information or confessions and in
order to punish them; that all violations of plaintiffs constitutional rights were
part of a concerted and deliberate plan to forcibly extract information and
incriminatory statements from plaintiffs and to terrorize, harass and punish
them, said plans being previously known to and sanctioned by defendants.
Plaintiffs sought actual/compensatory damages amounting to P39,030.00;
moral damages in the amount of at least P150,000.00 each or a total of
P3,000,000.00; exemplary damages in the amount of at least P150,000.00 each
or a total of P3,000,000.00; and attorney's fees amounting to not less than
P200,000.00.
A motion to dismiss was filed by defendants, through their counsel, then
Solicitor-General Estelito Mendoza, alleging that (1) plaintiffs may not cause a
judicial inquiry into the circumstances of their detention in the guise of a
damage suit because, as to them, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
suspended; (2) assuming that the courts can entertain the present action,
defendants are immune from liability for acts done in the performance of their
official duties; and (3) the complaint states no cause of action against the
defendants. Opposition to said motion to dismiss was filed by plaintiffs Marco
Palo, Danilo de la Fuente, Benjamin Sesgundo, Nel Etabag, Alfredo Mansos and
Rolando Salutin on July 8, 1983, and by plaintiffs Edwin Lopez, Manuel Mario
Guzman, Alan Jasminez, Nestor Bodino, Carlos Palma, Arturo Tabara, Joseph
Olayer, Rodolfo Benosa, Belen Diaz, Flores, Rogelio Aberca, Alex Marcelino and
Elizabeth Marcelino on July 21, 1983. On November 7, 1983, a Consolidated
Reply was filed by defendants' counsel.

Then, on November 8, 1983, the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Region,
Branch 95, Judge Willelmo C. Fortun, Presiding, 1 issued a resolution granting
the motion to dismiss. I sustained, lock, stock and barrel, the defendants'
contention (1) the plaintiffs may not cause a judicial inquiry into the
circumstances of their detention in the guise of a damage suit because, as to
them, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended; (2) that assuming
that the court can entertain the present action, defendants are immune from
liability for acts done in the performance of their official duties; and (3) that the
complaint states no cause of action against defendants, since there is no
allegation that the defendants named in the complaint confiscated plaintiffs'
purely personal properties in violation of their constitutional rights, and with
the possible exception of Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo and Sergeant Bienvenido
Balabo committed acts of torture and maltreatment, or that the defendants
had the duty to exercise direct supervision and control of their subordinates or
that they had vicarious liability as employers under Article 2180 of the Civil
Code. The lower court stated, "After a careful study of defendants' arguments,
the court finds the same to be meritorious and must, therefore, be granted. On
the other hand, plaintiffs' arguments in their opposition are lacking in merit."
A motion to set aside the order dismissing the complaint and a supplemental
motion for reconsideration was filed by the plaintiffs on November 18, 1983,
and November 24, 1983, respectively. On December 9, 1983, the defendants
filed a comment on the aforesaid motion of plaintiffs, furnishing a copy thereof
to the attorneys of all the plaintiffs, namely, Attys. Jose W. Diokno, Procopio
Beltran, Rene Sarmiento, Efren Mercado, Auguso Sanchez, Antonio L. Rosales,
Pedro B. Ella Jr., Arno V. Sanidad, Alexander Padilla, Joker Arroyo, Rene
Saguisag, Ramon Esguerra and Felicitas Aquino.
On December 15, 1983, Judge Fortun issued an order voluntarily inhibiting
himself from further proceeding in the case and leaving the resolution of the
motion to set aside the order of dismissal to Judge Lising, "to preclude any
suspicion that he (Judge Fortun) cannot resolve [the] aforesaid pending motion
with the cold neutrality of an impartial judge and to put an end to plaintiffs
assertion that the undersigned has no authority or jurisdiction to resolve said
pending motion." This order prompted plaintiffs to reesolve an amplificatory
motion for reconsideration signed in the name of the Free Legal Assistance
Group (FLAG) of Mabini Legal Aid Committee, by Attys. Joker P. Arroyo,
Felicitas Aquino and Arno Sanidad on April 12, 1984. On May 2,1984, the
defendants filed a comment on said amplificatory motion for reconsideration.
In an order dated May 11, 1984, the trial court, Judge Esteban Lising, Presiding,
without acting on the motion to set aside order of November 8, 1983, issued an
order, as follows:
It appearing from the records that, indeed, the following
plaintiffs, Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la Fuente and Marco
Palo, represented by counsel, Atty. Jose W. Diokno, Alan
Jasminez represented by counsel, Atty. Augusta Sanchez,
Spouses Alex Marcelino and Elizabeth ProtacioMarcelino, represented by counsel, Atty. Procopio
Beltran, Alfredo Mansos represented by counsel, Atty.
Rene Sarmiento, and Rolando Salutin, represented by
counsel, Atty. Efren Mercado, failed to file a motion to
reconsider the Order of November 8, 1983, dismissing
the complaint, nor interposed an appeal therefrom
within the reglementary period, as prayed for by the
defendants, said Order is now final against said plaintiffs.
Assailing the said order of May 11, 1984, the plaintiffs filed a motion for
reconsideration on May 28,1984, alleging that it was not true that plaintiffs
Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la Fuente, Marco Palo, Alan Jasminez, Alex
Marcelino, Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino, Alfredo Mansos and Rolando Salutin
failed to file a motion to reconsider the order of November 8, 1983 dismissing
the complaint, within the reglementary period. Plaintiffs claimed that the
motion to set aside the order of November 8, 1983 and the amplificatory
motion for reconsideration was filed for all the plaintiffs, although signed by
only some of the lawyers.

88
In its resolution of September 21, 1984, the respondent court dealt with both
motions (1) to reconsider its order of May 11, 1984 declaring that with respect
to certain plaintiffs, the resolution of November 8, 1983 had already become
final, and (2) to set aside its resolution of November 8, 1983 granting the
defendants' motion to dismiss. In the dispositive portion of the order of
September 21, 1984, the respondent court resolved:

ART. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private


individual who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats,
violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the
following rights and liberties of another person shall be
liable to the latter for damages:
(1) Freedom of religion;

(1) That the motion to set aside the order of finality,


dated May 11, 1984, of the Resolution of dismissal of the
complaint of plaintiffs Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la
Fuente, Marco Palo, Alan Jasminez Alex Marcelino,
Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino, Alfredo Mansos and
Rolando Salutin is deed for lack of merit;
(2) For lack of cause of action as against the following
defendants, to wit:

(2) Freedom of speech;


(3) Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a
periodical publication;
(4) Freedom from arbitrary or illegal detention;
(5) Freedom of suffrage;

1. Gen Fabian Ver


2. Col. Fidel Singson

(6) The right against deprivation of property without due


process

3. Col. Rolando Abadilla

(7) of law;

4. Lt. Col. Conrado Lantoria, Jr.

(8) The right to a just compensation when private


property is taken for public use;

5. Col. Galileo Montanar


(9) The right to the equal protection of the laws;
6. Col. Panfilo Lacson
7. Capt. Danilo Pizaro
8. 1 Lt Pedro Tango
9. Lt. Romeo Ricardo
10. Lt. Raul Bacalso
the motion to set aside and reconsider the Resolution of
dismissal of the present action or complaint, dated
November 8, 1983, is also denied but in so far as it
affects and refers to defendants, to wit:
1. Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo, and
2. Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba
the motion to reconsider and set aside the Resolution of
dismissal dated November 3, 1983 is granted and the
Resolution of dismissal is, in this respect, reconsidered
and modified.
Hence, petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari on March 15, 1985
seeking to annul and set aside the respondent court's resolution of November
8, 1983, its order of May 11, 1984, and its resolution dated September 21,
1984. Respondents were required to comment on the petition, which it did on
November 9, 1985. A reply was filed by petitioners on August 26, 1986.
We find the petition meritorious and decide to give it due course.
At the heart of petitioners' complaint is Article 32 of the Civil Code which
provides:

(10) The right to be secure in one's person, house,


papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures;
(11) The liberty of abode and of changing the same;
(12) The privacy of cmmunication and correspondence;
(13) The right to become a member of associations or
societies for purposes not contrary to law;
(14) The right to take part in a peaceable assembly to
petition the Government for redress of grievances;
(15) The right to be free from involuntary servitude in
any form;
(16) The rigth of the accused against excessive bail;
(17) The rigth of the aaccused to be heard by himself and
counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him, to have a speedy and public trial,
to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witness
in behalf;
(18) Freedom from being compelled to be a witness
against ones self, or from being forced to confess guilt, or
from being induced by a promise of immunity or reward
to make such confession, except when the person
confessing becomes a State witness;
(19) Freedom from excessive fines or cruel and unusual
punishment, unless the same is imposed or inflicted in
accordance with a statute which has not been judicially
declared unconstitutional; and

89
(20) Freedom of access to the courts.
In any of the cases referred to in this article, whether or
not the defendant's act or omission constitutes a criminal
offense, the against grieved party has a right to
commence an entirely separate and distinct civil action
for damages, and for other relief. Such civil action shall
proceed independently of any criminal prosecution (if
the latter be instituted), and may be proved by a
preponderance of evidence.
The indemnity shall include moral damages. Exemplary
damages may also be adjudicated.
The responsibility herein set forth is not demandable
from a judge unless his act or omission constitutes a
violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute.
It is obvious that the purpose of the above codal provision is to provide a
sanction to the deeply cherished rights and freedoms enshrined in the
Constitution. Its message is clear; no man may seek to violate those sacred
rights with impunity. In times of great upheaval or of social and political stress,
when the temptation is strongest to yield borrowing the words of Chief
Justice Claudio Teehankee to the law of force rather than the force of law, it
is necessary to remind ourselves that certain basic rights and liberties are
immutable and cannot be sacrificed to the transient needs or imperious
demands of the ruling power. The rule of law must prevail, or else liberty will
perish. Our commitment to democratic principles and to the rule of law
compels us to reject the view which reduces law to nothing but the expression
of the will of the predominant power in the community. "Democracy cannot be
a reign of progress, of liberty, of justice, unless the law is respected by him who
makes it and by him for whom it is made. Now this respect implies a maximum
of faith, a minimum of Idealism. On going to the bottom of the matter, we
discover that life demands of us a certain residuum of sentiment which is not
derived from reason, but which reason nevertheless controls. 2
Seeking to justify the dismissal of plaintiffs' complaint, the respondents
postulate the view that as public officers they are covered by the mantle of
state immunity from suit for acts done in the performance of official duties or
function In support of said contention, respondents maintain that
Respondents are members of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines. Their primary duty is to safeguard public
safety and order. The Constitution no less provides that
the President may call them "to prevent or supress
lawless violence, invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or
imminent danger thereof." (Constitution, Article VII,
Section 9).
On January 17, 1981, the President issued Proclamation
No. 2045 lifting martial law but providing for the
continued suspension of the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus in view of the remaining dangers to the
security of the nation. The proclamation also provided
"that the call to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to
prevent or suppress lawless violence, insuitection
rebellion and subversion shall continue to be in force and
effect."
Petitioners allege in their complaint that their causes of
action proceed from respondent General Ver's order to
Task Force Makabansa to launch pre-emptive strikes
against communist terrorist underground houses in
Metro Manila. Petitioners claim that this order and its
subsequent implementation by elements of the task
force resulted in the violation of their constitutional
rights against unlawful searches, seizures and arrest,
rights to counsel and to silence, and the right to property

and that, therefore, respondents Ver and the named


members of the task force should be held liable for
damages.
But, by launching a pre-emptive strike against communist
terrorists, respondent members of the armed forces
merely performed their official and constitutional duties.
To allow petitioners to recover from respondents by way
of damages for acts performed in the exercise of such
duties run contrary to the policy considerations to shield
respondents as public officers from undue interference
with their duties and from potentially disabling threats of
hability (Aarlon v. Fitzgerald 102 S. Ct. 2731-1 Forbes v.
Chuoco Tiaco, 16 Phil. 634), and upon the necessity of
protecting the performance of governmental and public
functions from being harassed unduly or constantly
interrupted by private suits (McCallan v. State, 35 Cal.
App. 605; Metran v. Paredes, 79 Phil. 819).
xxx xxx xxx
The immunity of public officers from liability arising from
the performance of their duties is now a settled
jurisprudence Alzua v. Johnson, 21 Phil. 308; Zulueta v.
Nicolas, 102 Phil. 944; Spalding v. Vilas, 161 US 483; 40 L.
Ed. 780, 16 S. Ct. 631; Barr v. Mateo, 360; Butz v.
Economon, 438 US 478; 57 L. Ed. 2d 895, 98 S. Ct. 2894;
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 US 232; Forbes v. Chuoco Tiaco,
supra; Miller v. de Leune, 602 F. 2d 198; Sami v. US, 617
F. 2d 755).
Respondents-defendants who merely obeyed the lawful
orders of the President and his call for the suppression of
the rebellion involving petitioners enjoy such immunity
from Suit. 3
We find respondents' invocation of the doctrine of state immunity from suit
totally misplaced. The cases invoked by respondents actually involved acts
done by officers in the performance of official duties written the ambit of their
powers. As held in Forbes, etc. vs. Chuoco Tiaco and Crossfield: 4
No one can be held legally responsible in damages or
otherwise for doing in a legal manner what he had
authority, under the law, to do. Therefore, if the
Governor-General had authority, under the law to deport
or expel the defendants, and circumstances justifying the
deportation and the method of carrying it out are left to
him, then he cannot be held liable in damages for the
exercise of this power. Moreover, if the courts are
without authority to interfere in any manner, for the
purpose of controlling or interferring with the exercise of
the political powers vested in the chief executive
authority of the Government, then it must follow that
the courts cannot intervene for the purpose of declaring
that he is liable in damages for the exeercise of this
authority.
It may be that the respondents, as members of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, were merely responding to their duty, as they claim, "to prevent or
suppress lawless violence, insurrection, rebellion and subversion" in
accordance with Proclamation No. 2054 of President Marcos, despite the lifting
of martial law on January 27, 1981, and in pursuance of such objective, to
launch pre- emptive strikes against alleged communist terrorist underground
houses. But this cannot be construed as a blanket license or a roving
commission untramelled by any constitutional restraint, to disregard or
transgress upon the rights and liberties of the individual citizen enshrined in
and protected by the Constitution. The Constitution remains the supreme law

90
of the land to which all officials, high or low, civilian or military, owe obedience
and allegiance at all times.

of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The question therefore has
become moot and academic.

Article 32 of the Civil Code which renders any public officer or employee or any
private individual liable in damages for violating the Constitutional rights and
liberties of another, as enumerated therein, does not exempt the respondents
from responsibility. Only judges are excluded from liability under the said
article, provided their acts or omissions do not constitute a violation of the
Penal Code or other penal statute.

This brings us to the crucial issue raised in this petition. May a superior officer
under the notion of respondent superior be answerable for damages, jointly
and severally with his subordinates, to the person whose constitutional rights
and liberties have been violated?

This is not to say that military authorities are restrained from pursuing their
assigned task or carrying out their mission with vigor. We have no quarrel with
their duty to protect the Republic from its enemies, whether of the left or of
the right, or from within or without, seeking to destroy or subvert our
democratic institutions and imperil their very existence. What we are merely
trying to say is that in carrying out this task and mission, constitutional and
legal safeguards must be observed, otherwise, the very fabric of our faith will
start to unravel. In the battle of competing Ideologies, the struggle for the mind
is just as vital as the struggle of arms. The linchpin in that psychological struggle
is faith in the rule of law. Once that faith is lost or compromised, the struggle
may well be abandoned.
We do not find merit in respondents' suggestion that plaintiffs' cause of action
is barred by the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Respondents contend that "Petitioners cannot circumvent the suspension of
the privilege of the writ by resorting to a damage suit aimed at the same
purpose-judicial inquiry into the alleged illegality of their detention. While the
main relief they ask by the present action is indemnification for alleged
damages they suffered, their causes of action are inextricably based on the
same claim of violations of their constitutional rights that they invoked in the
habeas corpus case as grounds for release from detention. Were the
petitioners allowed the present suit, the judicial inquiry barred by the
suspension of the privilege of the writ will take place. The net result is that
what the courts cannot do, i.e. override the suspension ordered by the
President, petitioners will be able to do by the mere expedient of altering the
title of their action."
We do not agree. We find merit in petitioners' contention that the suspension
of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus does not destroy petitioners' right
and cause of action for damages for illegal arrest and detention and other
violations of their constitutional rights. The suspension does not render valid an
otherwise illegal arrest or detention. What is suspended is merely the right of
the individual to seek release from detention through the writ of habeas corpus
as a speedy means of obtaining his liberty.
Moreover, as pointed out by petitioners, their right and cause of action for
damages are explicitly recognized in P.D. No. 1755 which amended Article 1146
of the Civil Code by adding the following to its text:
However, when the action (for injury to the rights of the
plaintiff or for a quasi-delict) arises from or out of any
act, activity or conduct of any public officer involving the
exercise of powers or authority arising from Martial Law
including the arrest, detention and/or trial of the
plaintiff, the same must be brought within one (1) year.
Petitioners have a point in contending that even assuming that the suspension
of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus suspends petitioners' right of
action for damages for illegal arrest and detention, it does not and cannot
suspend their rights and causes of action for injuries suffered because of
respondents' confiscation of their private belongings, the violation of their right
to remain silent and to counsel and their right to protection against
unreasonable searches and seizures and against torture and other cruel and
inhuman treatment.
However, we find it unnecessary to address the constitutional issue pressed
upon us. On March 25, 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Proclamation
No. 2, revoking Proclamation Nos. 2045 and 2045-A and lifting the suspension

Respondents contend that the doctrine of respondent superior is applicable to


the case. We agree. The doctrine of respondent superior has been generally
limited in its application to principal and agent or to master and servant (i.e.
employer and employee) relationship. No such relationship exists between
superior officers of the military and their subordinates.
Be that as it may, however, the decisive factor in this case, in our view, is the
language of Article 32. The law speaks of an officer or employee or person
'directly' or "indirectly" responsible for the violation of the constitutional rights
and liberties of another. Thus, it is not the actor alone (i.e. the one directly
responsible) who must answer for damages under Article 32; the person
indirectly responsible has also to answer for the damages or injury caused to
the aggrieved party.
By this provision, the principle of accountability of public officials under the
Constitution 5 acquires added meaning and asgilrnes a larger dimension. No
longer may a superior official relax his vigilance or abdicate his duty to
supervise his subordinates, secure in the thought that he does not have to
answer for the transgressions committed by the latter against the
constitutionally protected rights and liberties of the citizen. Part of the factors
that propelled people power in February 1986 was the widely held perception
that the government was callous or indifferent to, if not actually responsible
for, the rampant violations of human rights. While it would certainly be go
naive to expect that violators of human rights would easily be deterred by the
prospect of facing damage suits, it should nonetheless be made clear in no
ones terms that Article 32 of the Civil Code makes the persons who are directly,
as well as indirectly, responsible for the transgression joint tortfeasors.
In the case at bar, the trial court dropped defendants General Fabian Ver, Col.
Fidel Singson, Col. Rolando Abadilla, Col. Gerardo Lantoria, Jr., Col. Galileo
Kintanar, Col. Panfilo Lacson, Capt. Danilo Pizarro, lst Lt. Pedro Tango, Lt.
Romeo Ricardo and Lt. Ricardo Bacalso from the acts of their subordinates.
Only Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo and Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba were kept as
defendants on the ground that they alone 'have been specifically mentioned
and Identified to have allegedly caused injuries on the persons of some of the
plaintiff which acts of alleged physical violence constitute a delict or wrong that
gave rise to a cause of action. But such finding is not supported by the record,
nor is it in accord with law and jurisprudence.
Firstly, it is wrong to at the plaintiffs' action for damages 5 Section 1, Article 19.
to 'acts of alleged physical violence" which constituted delict or wrong. Article
32 clearly specifies as actionable the act of violating or in any manner impeding
or impairing any of the constitutional rights and liberties enumerated therein,
among others
1. Freedom from arbitrary arrest or illegal detention;
2. The right against deprivation of property without due
process of law;
3. The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures;
4. The privacy of communication and correspondence;
5. Freedom from being compelled to be a witness against
one's self, or from being forced to confess guilt, or from
being induced by a promise of immunity or reward to

91
make a confession, except when the person confessing
becomes a state witness.
The complaint in this litigation alleges facts showing with abundant clarity and
details, how plaintiffs' constitutional rights and liberties mentioned in Article 32
of the Civil Code were violated and impaired by defendants. The complaint
speaks of, among others, searches made without search warrants or based on
irregularly issued or substantially defective warrants; seizures and confiscation,
without proper receipts, of cash and personal effects belonging to plaintiffs and
other items of property which were not subversive and illegal nor covered by
the search warrants; arrest and detention of plaintiffs without warrant or
under irregular, improper and illegal circumstances; detention of plaintiffs at
several undisclosed places of 'safehouses" where they were kept
incommunicado and subjected to physical and psychological torture and other
inhuman, degrading and brutal treatment for the purpose of extracting
incriminatory statements. The complaint contains a detailed recital of abuses
perpetrated upon the plaintiffs violative of their constitutional rights.
Secondly, neither can it be said that only those shown to have participated
"directly" should be held liable. Article 32 of the Civil Code encompasses within
the ambit of its provisions those directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for
its violation.

to set aside the order of November 8, 1953 dismissing the complaint was filed
only by some of the plaintiffs, when by its very language it was clearly intended
to be filed by and for the benefit of all of them. It is obvious that the
respondent judge took umbrage under a contrived technicality to declare that
the dismissal of the complaint had already become final with respect to some
of the plaintiffs whose lawyers did not sign the motion for reconsideration.
Such action tainted with legal infirmity cannot be sanctioned.
Accordingly, we grant the petition and annul and set aside the resolution of the
respondent court, dated November 8, 1983, its order dated May 11, 1984 and
its resolution dated September 21, 1984. Let the case be remanded to the
respondent court for further proceedings. With costs against private
respondents.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin,
Sarmiento, Cortes and Grio-Aquino, JJ., concur.
Gutierrez, Jr., J., concur in the result.
Padilla, J., took no part.

The responsibility of the defendants, whether direct or indirect, is amply set


forth in the complaint. It is well established in our law and jurisprudence that a
motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint states no cause of action
must be based on what appears on the face of the complaint. 6 To determine
the sufficiency of the cause of action, only the facts alleged in the complaint,
and no others, should be considered. 7 For this purpose, the motion to dismiss
must hypothetically admit the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. 8
Applying this test, it is difficult to justify the trial court's ruling, dismissing for
lack of cause of action the complaint against all the defendants, except Major
Rodolfo Aguinaldo and Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba. The complaint
contained allegations against all the defendants which, if admitted
hypothetically, would be sufficient to establish a cause or causes of action
against all of them under Article 32 of the Civil Code.

Separate Opinions

This brings us to the last issue. Was the trial court correct in dismissing the
complaint with respect to plaintiffs Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la Puente, Marco
Palo, Alan Jazminez, Alex Marcelino, Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino, Alfredo
Mansos and Rolando Salutin, on the basis of the alleged failure of said plaintiffs
to file a motion for reconsideration of the court's resolution of November 8,
1983, granting the respondent's motion to dismiss?

The Court's judgment at bar makes clear that all persons, be they public
officers or employees, or members of the military or police force or private
individuals who directly or indirectly obstruct, defeat, violate or in any manner
impede or impair the constitutional rights and civil liberties of another person,
stand liable and may be sued in court for damages as provided in Art. 32 of the
Civil Code.

It is undisputed that a timely motion to set aside said order of November 8,


1983 was filed by 'plaintiffs, through counsel. True, the motion was signed only
by Atty. Joker P. Arroyo, counsel for Benjamin Sesgulido; Atty. Antonio Rosales,
counsel for Edwin Lopez and Manuel Martin Guzman; Atty. Pedro B. Ella, Jr.,
counsel for Nestor Bodino and Carlos Palma; Atty. Arno V. Sanidad, counsel for
Arturo Tabara; Atty. Felicitas S. Aquino, counsel for Joseph Olayer; and Atty.
Alexander Padilla, counsel for Rodolfo Benosa.

The case at bar specifically upholds and reinstates the civil action for damages
filed in the court below by petitioners-plaintiffs for illegal searches conducted
by military personnel and other violations of their constitutional rights and
liberties. At the same time it rejects the automatic application of the principle
of respondeat superior or command responsibility that would hold a superior
officer jointly and severally accountable for damages, including moral and
exemplary, with his subordinates who committed such transgressions.
However, the judgment gives the caveat that a superior officer must not
abdicate his duty to properly supervise his subordinates for he runs the risk of
being held responsible for gross negligence and of being held under the cited
provision of the Civil Code as indirectly and solidarily accountable with
the tortfeasor.

But the body of the motion itself clearly indicated that the motion was filed on
behalf of all the plaintiffs. And this must have been also the understanding of
defendants' counsel himself for when he filed his comment on the motion, he
furnished copies thereof, not just to the lawyers who signed the motion, but to
all the lawyers of plaintiffs, to wit: Attys. Jose Diokno, Procopio Beltran, Rene
Sarmiento, Efren Mercado, Augusto Sanchez, Antonio Rosales, Pedro Efla Jr.,
Arno Sanidad, Alexander Padilla, Joker Arroyo, Rene Saguisag, Ramon Esguerra
and Felicitas S. Aquino.
In filing the motion to set aside the resolution of November 8, 1983, the signing
attorneys did so on behalf of all the plaintiff. They needed no specific authority
to do that. The authority of an attorney to appear for and in behalf of a party
can be assumed, unless questioned or challenged by the adverse party or the
party concerned, which was never done in this case. Thus, it was grave abuse
on the part of respondent judge to take it upon himself to rule that the motion

TEEHANKEE, C.J., concurring:

The rationale for this rule of law was best expressed by Brandeis in wise: "In a
government of laws, existence of the government be imperilled following it
fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent
omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by example.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes the law breaker, it breeds
contempt for the law, it invites every man to become a law unto himself, it
invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end
justifies the means ... would bring terrible retribution." 1

92
As the writer stress in Hildawa vs. Enrile 2 Which Was an action to enjoin the
operations of the dreaded secret marshals during the past regime, 'In a
democratic state, you don't stoop to the level of criminals. If we stoop to what
they do, then we're no better than they ... there would be no difference. ... The
Supreme Court stands as the guarantor of the Constitutional and human rights
of all persons within its jurisdiction and cannot abdicate its basic role under the
Constitution that these rights be respected and enforced. The spirit and letter
of the Constitution negates as contrary to the basic precepts of human rights
and freedom that a person's life be snuffed out without due process in a split
second even if he is caught in flagrante delicto unless it was caned for as an
act of self-defense by the law agents using reasonable means to prevent or
repel an unlawful aggression on the part of the deceased.

As the writer stress in Hildawa vs. Enrile 2 Which Was an action to enjoin the
operations of the dreaded secret marshals during the past regime, 'In a
democratic state, you don't stoop to the level of criminals. If we stoop to what
they do, then we're no better than they ... there would be no difference. ... The
Supreme Court stands as the guarantor of the Constitutional and human rights
of all persons within its jurisdiction and cannot abdicate its basic role under the
Constitution that these rights be respected and enforced. The spirit and letter
of the Constitution negates as contrary to the basic precepts of human rights
and freedom that a person's life be snuffed out without due process in a split
second even if he is caught in flagrante delicto unless it was caned for as an
act of self-defense by the law agents using reasonable means to prevent or
repel an unlawful aggression on the part of the deceased.

Needless to say, the criminal acts of the "Sparrow Units" or death squads of the
NPA which have infutrated the cities and suburbs and performed their
despicable killings of innocent civilians and military and police officers
constitute an equally perverse violation of the sanctity of human life and must
be severely condemned by all who adhere tothe Rule of the Law.

Needless to say, the criminal acts of the "Sparrow Units" or death squads of the
NPA which have infutrated the cities and suburbs and performed their
despicable killings of innocent civilians and military and police officers
constitute an equally perverse violation of the sanctity of human life and must
be severely condemned by all who adhere tothe Rule of the Law.

It need only be pointed out that one of the first acts of the present government
under President Corazon C. Aquino after her assumption of office in February,
1986 was to file our government's ratification and access to all human rights
instruments adopted under the auspices of the United Nations, declaring
thereby the government's commitment to observe the precepts of the United
Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More than
this, pursuant to our Constitution which the people decisively ratified on
February 2, 1987, the independent office of the Commission on Human Rights
hats been created and organized with ample powers to investigate human
rights violations and take remedial measures against all such violations by the
military as well as by the civilian groups.

It need only be pointed out that one of the first acts of the present government
under President Corazon C. Aquino after her assumption of office in February,
1986 was to file our government's ratification and access to all human rights
instruments adopted under the auspices of the United Nations, declaring
thereby the government's commitment to observe the precepts of the United
Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More than
this, pursuant to our Constitution which the people decisively ratified on
February 2, 1987, the independent office of the Commission on Human Rights
hats been created and organized with ample powers to investigate human
rights violations and take remedial measures against all such violations by the
military as well as by the civilian groups.

Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, C.J., concurring:
The Court's judgment at bar makes clear that all persons, be they public
officers or employees, or members of the military or police force or private
individuals who directly or indirectly obstruct, defeat, violate or in any manner
impede or impair the constitutional rights and civil liberties of another person,
stand liable and may be sued in court for damages as provided in Art. 32 of the
Civil Code.
The case at bar specifically upholds and reinstates the civil action for damages
filed in the court below by petitioners-plaintiffs for illegal searches conducted
by military personnel and other violations of their constitutional rights and
liberties. At the same time it rejects the automatic application of the principle
of respondeat superior or command responsibility that would hold a superior
officer jointly and severally accountable for damages, including moral and
exemplary, with his subordinates who committed such transgressions.
However, the judgment gives the caveat that a superior officer must not
abdicate his duty to properly supervise his subordinates for he runs the risk of
being held responsible for gross negligence and of being held under the cited
provision of the Civil Code as indirectly and solidarily accountable with
the tortfeasor.
The rationale for this rule of law was best expressed by Brandeis in wise: "In a
government of laws, existence of the government be imperilled following it
fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent
omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by example.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes the law breaker, it breeds
contempt for the law, it invites every man to become a law unto himself, it
invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end
justifies the means ... would bring terrible retribution." 1

93
G.R. No. 160739

July 17, 2013

ANITA MANGILA, Petitioner,


vs.
JUDGE HERIBERTO M. PANGILINAN, ASST. CITY PROSECUTOR II LUCIA JUDY
SOLINAP, and NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (DIRECTOR REYNALDO
WYCOCO), Respondents.
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
Restraint that is lawful and pursuant to a court process cannot be inquired into
through habeas corpus.

his resolution, together with the record of the case, including the warrant of
arrest, to the Provincial Prosecutor, who shall review the same and order the
release of an accused who is detained if no probable cause is found against
him. Thus, the proper remedy available to petitioner is for her to file with the
Provincial Prosecutor a motion to be released from detention on the grounds
alleged in the instant petition.
WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.7
Mangila moved for the reconsideration of the denial of her petition for habeas
corpus,8 but the CA denied the motion on November 19, 2003.9
Hence, this appeal via petition for review on certiorari.

Antecedents
On June 16, 2003, seven criminal complaints charging petitioner Anita Mangila
and four others with syndicated estafa in violation of Article 315 of the Revised
Penal Code, in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1689, and with violations of
Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino
Act of 1995) were filed in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities in Puerto Princesa
City (MTCC), docketed as Criminal Cases No. 16916 to No. 16922. The
complaints arose from the recruiting and promising of employment by Mangila
and the others to the private complainants as overseas contract workers in
Toronto, Canada, and from the collection of visa processing fees, membership
fees and on-line application the private complainants without lawful authority
from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).1
On the following day, June 17, 2003, Judge Heriberto M. Pangilinan, Presiding
Judge of the MTCC, conducted a preliminary investigation on the complaints.
After examining Miguel Aaron Palayon, one of the complainants, Judge
Pangilinan issued a warrant for the arrest of Mangila and her cohorts without
bail.2 On the next day, the entire records of the cases, including the warrant of
arrest, were transmitted to the City Prosecutor of Puerto Princesa City for
further proceedings and appropriate action in accordance with the prevailing
rules.3
As a consequence, Mangila was arrested on June 18, 2003 and detained at the
headquarters on Taft Avenue, Manila of the National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI).4
Claiming that Judge Pangilinan did not have the authority to conduct the
preliminary investigation; that the preliminary investigation he conducted was
not yet completed when he issued the warrant of arrest; and that the issuance
of the warrant of arrest was without sufficient justification or without a prior
finding of probable cause, Mangila filed in the Court of Appeals (CA)a petition
for habeas corpus to obtain her release from detention. Her petition averred
that the remedy of habeas corpus was available to her because she could no
longer file a motion to quash or a motion to recall the warrant of arrest
considering that Judge Pangilinan had already forwarded the entire records of
the case to the City Prosecutor who had no authority to lift or recall the
warrant.5
In its resolution promulgated on October 14, 2003,6 the CA denied the petition
for habeas corpus for its lack of merit, explaining:
As a general rule, a writ of habeas corpus will not be granted where relief may
be had or could have been procured by resort to another general remedy. As
pointed out in Luna vs. Plaza, if petitioner is detained by virtue of a warrant of
arrest, which is allegedly invalid, the remedy available to her is not a petition
for habeas corpus but a petition to quash the warrant of arrest or a petition for
a reinvestigation of the case by the Municipal Judge or by the Provincial Fiscal.
Section 5, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that
the Municipal Judge who conducted the preliminary investigation shall transmit

Issue
Did the CA err in ruling that habeas corpus was not the proper remedy to
obtain the release of Mangila from detention?
Ruling of the Court
The petition for review lacks merit.
The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus has been devised as a speedy and
effective remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. In Caballes v. Court
of Appeals,10 the Court discoursed on the nature of the special proceeding of
habeas corpus in the following manner:
A petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus is a special proceeding
governed by Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, as amended. In Ex Parte Billings, it
was held that habeas corpus is that of a civil proceeding in character. It seeks
the enforcement of civil rights. Resorting to the writ is not to inquire into the
criminal act of which the complaint is made, but into the right of liberty,
notwithstanding the act and the immediate purpose to be served is relief from
illegal restraint. The rule applies even when instituted to arrest a criminal
prosecution and secure freedom. When a prisoner petitions for a writ of
habeas corpus, he thereby commences a suit and prosecutes a case in that
court.
Habeas corpus is not in the nature of a writ of error; nor intended as substitute
for the trial courts function. It cannot take the place of appeal, certiorari or
writ of error. The writ cannot be used to investigate and consider questions of
error that might be raised relating to procedure or on the merits. The inquiry in
a habeas corpus proceeding is addressed to the question of whether the
proceedings and the assailed order are, for any reason, null and void. The writ
is not ordinarily granted where the law provides for other remedies in the
regular course, and in the absence of exceptional circumstances. Moreover,
habeas corpus should not be granted in advance of trial. The orderly course of
trial must be pursued and the usual remedies exhausted before resorting to the
writ where exceptional circumstances are extant. In another case, it was held
that habeas corpus cannot be issued as a writ of error or as a means of
reviewing errors of law and irregularities not involving the questions of
jurisdiction occurring during the course of the trial, subject to the caveat that
constitutional safeguards of human life and liberty must be preserved, and not
destroyed. It has also been held that where restraint is under legal process,
mere errors and irregularities, which do not render the proceedings void, are
not grounds for relief by habeas corpus because in such cases, the restraint is
not illegal.
Habeas corpus is a summary remedy. It is analogous to a proceeding in rem
when instituted for the sole purpose of having the person of restraint
presented before the judge in order that the cause of his detention may be
inquired into and his statements final. The writ of habeas corpus does not act
upon the prisoner who seeks relief, but upon the person who holds him in what

94
is alleged to be the unlawful authority. Hence, the only parties before the court
are the petitioner (prisoner) and the person holding the petitioner in custody,
and the only question to be resolved is whether the custodian has authority to
deprive the petitioner of his liberty. The writ may be denied if the petitioner
fails to show facts that he is entitled thereto ex merito justicias.
A writ of habeas corpus, which is regarded as a "palladium of liberty," is a
prerogative writ which does not issue as a matter of right but in the sound
discretion of the court or judge. It is, however, a writ of right on proper
formalities being made by proof. Resort to the writ is not to inquire into the
criminal act of which a complaint is made but unto the right of liberty,
notwithstanding the act, and the immediate purpose to be served is relief from
illegal restraint. The primary, if not the only object of the writ of habeas corpus
ad subjuciendum, is to determine the legality of the restraint under which a
person is held.11 (Bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
The object of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of the
detention, and, if the detention is found to be illegal, to require the release of
the detainee. Equally well-settled however, is that the writ will not issue where
the person in whose behalf the writ is sought is out on bail, or is in the custody
of an officer under process issued by a court or judge with jurisdiction or by
virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record.12
There is no question that when the criminal complaints were lodged against
Mangila and her cohorts on June 16, 2003,Judge Pangilinan, as the Presiding
Judge of the MTCC, was empowered to conduct preliminary investigations
involving "all crimes cognizable by the proper court in their respective
territorial jurisdictions." His authority was expressly provided in Section 2, Rule
112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:
Section 2.Officers authorized to conduct preliminary investigations.
The following may conduct preliminary investigations:
(a) Provincial or City Prosecutors and their assistants;
(b) Judges of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts;
(c) National and Regional State Prosecutors; and
(d) Other officers as may be authorized by law.
Their authority to conduct preliminary investigations shall include all crimes
cognizable by the proper court in their respective territorial jurisdictions. (2a)
Under Section 6(b) of Rule 112of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the
investigating judge could issue a warrant of arrest during the preliminary
investigation even without awaiting its conclusion should he find after an
examination in writing and under oath of the complainant and the witnesses in
the form of searching questions and answers that a probable cause existed,
and that there was a necessity of placing the respondent under immediate
custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.1wphi1 In the context of
this rule, Judge Pangilinan issued the warrant of arrest against Mangila and her
cohorts. Consequently, the CA properly denied Mangilas petition for habeas
corpus because she had been arrested and detained by virtue of the warrant
issued for her arrest by Judge Pangilinan, a judicial officer undeniably
possessing the legal authority to do so.
It is relevant to point out at this juncture that the authority of the MTC and
MTCC judges to conduct preliminary investigations was removed only effective
on October 3, 2005 pursuant to A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC.
With Mangilas arrest and ensuing detention being by virtue of the order
lawfully issued by Judge Pangilinan, the writ of habeas corpus was not an
appropriate remedy to relieve her from the restraint on her liberty. This is

because the restraint, being lawful and pursuant to a court process, could not
be inquired into through habeas corpus. To quote the dictum enunciated by
Justice Malcolm in Quintos v. Director of Prisons:13
The writ of habeas corpus secures to a prisoner the right to have the cause of
his detention examined and determined by a court of justice, and to have
ascertained if he is held under lawful authority. The function of habeas corpus,
where the party who has appealed to its aid is in custody under process, does
not extend beyond an inquiry into the jurisdiction of the court by which it was
issued and the validity of the process upon its face. It is not a writ of error. xxx
(Bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
Accordingly, Section 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court explicitly states:
Section 4.When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. If it appears that
the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer
under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of
a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the
process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed;
or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be
discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or
order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a
person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a
person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment. (Bold underscoring
supplied for emphasis)
Still, Mangila harps on the procedural flaws supposedly committed by Judge
Pangilinan in her attempt to convince the Court on her entitlement to the
issuance of the writ of habeas corpus. She insists that the illegality and
invalidity of the warrant of arrest because of its having been issued without an
exhaustive examination of the complainants and the witnesses in writing and
under oath; without a prior finding of probable cause; and without
consideration of the necessity for its issuance in order not to frustrate the ends
of justice were enough reasons for granting the writ of habeas corpus.14
Mangila fails to persuade.
To begin with, Judge Pangilinan issued the order of arrest after examining
Palayon, one of the complainants against Mangila and her cohorts. If he, as the
investigating judge, considered Palayons evidence sufficient for finding
probable cause against her and her cohorts, which finding the Court justifiably
presumes from his act of referring the case and its records to the Office of the
City Prosecutor on the day immediately following the preliminary investigation
he conducted, her petition for habeas corpus could not be the proper remedy
by which she could assail the adequacy of the adverse finding. Even granting
that there was a failure to adhere to the law or rule, such failure would not be
the equivalent of a violation of her constitutional rights.15
Secondly, it was not procedurally correct for her to impugn the issuance of the
warrant of arrest by hinting that the investigating judge did not at all consider
the necessity of determining the existence of probable cause for its issuance
due to time constraints and in order not to frustrate the ends of justice, for that
consideration was presumed.
And, lastly, it was clear that under Section 5,16 Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, the resolution of the investigating judge was not final but
was still subject to the review by the public prosecutor who had the power to
order the release of the detainee if no probable cause should beultimately
found against her. In the context of the rule, Mangila had no need to seek the
issuance of the writ of habeas corpus to secure her release from detention. Her
proper recourse was to bring the supposed irregularities attending the conduct
of the preliminary investigation and the issuance of the warrant for her arrest
to the attention of the City Prosecutor, who had been meanwhile given the
most direct access to the entire records of the case, including the warrant of
arrest, following Judge Pangilinans transmittal of them to the City Prosecutor
for appropriate action.17 We agree with the CA, therefore, that the writ of
habeas corpus could not be used as a substitute for another available remedy.18

95
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the resolutions promulgated on October 14,
2003 and November 19, 2003 in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 79745; and ORDERS the
petitioner to pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.

96
G.R. No. 134504

March 17, 2000

JOSELITO V. NARCISO, petitioner,


vs.
FLOR MARIE STA. ROMANA-CRUZ, respondent.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
When the penalty prescribed by law is death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, a hearing must be conducted by the trial judge before bail can
be granted to the accused. Absent such hearing, the order granting bail is void
for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. In parricide, the accused
cannot be considered an offended party just because he was married to the
deceased. In the interest of justice and in view of the peculiar circumstances of
this case, the sister of the victim may be deemed to be an "offended party";
hence, she has the legal personality to challenge the void order of the trial
court.
The Case
We invoke the foregoing principles in rejecting the Petition for Review
on Certiorari before us, assailing the February 26, 1998 Decision 1 and the June
29, 1998 Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA), 2 which reversed and set
aside the Order of Executive Judge Pedro T. Santiago of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 101, in Criminal Case No. Q-91-24179 entitled
"People of the Philippines v. Joselito V. Narciso."

3) Failing before DOJ, the accused on February 6, 1992, filed in


Criminal Case No. Q-91-24179 an "Omnibus Motion for
Reinvestigation and to Lift the Warrant of Arrest". The Motion was
granted and the case was set for reinvestigation by another
prosecutor.
4) Assistant Prosecutor Lydia A. Navarro, to whom the case was
assigned for reinvestigation, found no reason to disturb the findings
of the previous prosecutor and recommended the remand of the
case to the court for arraignment and trial.
5) On August 3, 1992, accused filed an "Urgent Ex-Parte (Ex
Abundanti Cautela) to Allow Accused Joselito Narciso to Post Bail".
The Public Prosecutor registered no objection and said motion was
granted on the same day, allowing accused to post bail at
P150,000.00.
xxx

xxx

xxx

6) On August 14, 1992, the private prosecutor representing private


complainant Flor Marie Sta. Romana-Cruz, a sister of accused's
deceased wife, filed an "Urgent Motion to Lift Order Allowing
Accused To Post Bail".
7) Accused objected to the aforesaid urgent motion by filing a
"Motion to Expunge 1) Notice of Appearance of the Private
Prosecutor and the 2) Urgent Motion to Lift Order Allowing Accused
to Post Bail".

The dispositive portion of the challenged CA Decision reads:


WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED and the
order granting bail is annulled and set aside. 3

8) Arraignment was conducted on September 14, 1992 and the case


was set for hearing on November 9, 16, 23, December 2, 9, 1992,
January 6, 13, 20, 27, 1993, February 3, 7, 10 and 24 1993.

The assailed Resolution, on the other hand, denied petitioner's Motion for
Reconsideration.

9) On October 15, 1992, private complainant through counsel filed


her opposition to the motion to expunge [filed by] accused.

The full text of the August 3, 1992 RTC Order, which the Court of Appeals
annulled and set aside, reads as follows:

10). On November 3, 1992 private complainant moved for the


postponement of the trials set on November 9, 16 and 23 and the
subsequent hearings thereon pending the resolution of their
"Urgent Motion to Lift Order Allowing Accused To Post Bail".

Accused who is present filed thru counsel a Motion to Allow


Accused Joselito V. Narciso to Post Bail.
Considering that the Presiding Judge of Branch 83 who is hearing
this case is on leave and the Pairing Judge Honorable Salvador
Ceguerra is no longer within the premises, there being no objection
by the City Prosecutor Candido Rivera to the accused posting a
cashbond of P150,000.00, the undersigned in his capacity as
Executive Judge hereby approves the same. 4
The Facts of the Case
The undisputed antecedents of the case were summarized by the Court of
Appeals as follows:
1) After conducting a preliminary investigation on the death of
Corazon Sta. Romana-Narciso, wife of Joselito Narciso, Asst. City
Prosecutor Myrna Dimaranan Vidal of Quezon City recommended
and thereafter filed, the information for parricide against Joselito
Narciso on November 13, 1991, with the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, docketed therein as Criminal Case No. Q-91-24179.
2) Joselito Narciso thereafter asked for a review of the prosecutor's
resolution [before] the Department of Justice (DOJ) which was
however denied. Joselito Narciso moved for reconsideration, which
was still denied by the DOJ.

11) On November 9, 1992, the court issued the first assailed order
stating therein to wit:
ORDER
Counsel for the accused, upon being informed of the
motion for postponement dated November 3, 1992 filed
by the private complainant, through counsel, offered no
objection to the cancellation of today's trial but not the
trial set on November 16, 23 and December 2 and 9,
1992 for the reason that the trial can proceed
independently of the pending "Urgent Motion to Lift
Order Allowing the Accused to Post Bail".
WHEREFORE, the trial set for today is hereby cancelled
and re-set on November 16, 1992 at 10:30 o'clock in the
morning, as previously scheduled.
SO ORDERED.
12) On November 16, 1992, the court cancelled the hearing upon
motion of the public prosecutor because no prosecution witness
was available.

97
13) [I]n the hearing of November 23, 1992, the private prosecutor
again moved for postponement because of the pendency of his
"Motion to Lift Order Allowing Accused to Post Bail". On the same
date, the court issued the second assailed order which reads:

To resolve this case, the Court believes that two issues must be
taken up; namely, (1) the validity of the grant of bail and (2) private
respondent's standing to file the Petition before the CA.
The Court's Ruling

ORDER
The Petition is devoid of merit.
On motion of the Asst. City Prosecutor, for the reason
that there is no showing in the record that the private
complainant was duly notified, hence, there is no
available witness this morning, the trial set for today is
hereby cancelled and reset on December 2 and 9, 1992
both at 10:30 o'clock in the morning, as previously
scheduled.
Let a subpoena be issued to complainant Corazon [sic]
Sta. Romana-Narciso, the same to be served personally
by the Deputy Sheriff/Process server of this Court.
The accused is notified of this Order in open court.
SO ORDERED.
Not obtaining any resolution on her "Motion To Lift Order Allowing
Accused to Post Bail", private complainant filed this petition [before
the CA].
As earlier mentioned, the Court of Appeals granted private respondent's
Petition for Certiorari. Hence, this recourse to us via Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court. 5
The Issues
Petitioner imputes to the Court of Appeals this alleged error:
The Respondent Court of Appeals has erroneously
decided questions of substance, in a manner not in
accord with law, the Rules of Court and applicable
jurisprudence, as exemplified in the decisions of this
Honorable Court, when it reversed and set aside the
order of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which
granted the petitioner his constitutional right to bail,
considering the absence of strong evidence or proof of
his guilt, and more especially when the public
prosecutors, who have direct control of the proceedings
and after assessment of the evidence, have themselves
recommended the grant of bail. 6
Respondent, on the other hand, poses the following issues: 7

First Issue:
Validity of the Grant of Bail
Sec. 13, Article III of the Constitution, provides: "All persons, except those
charged with offenses punishable byreclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt
is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be
released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not
be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended.
Excessive bail shall not be required." Furthermore, Section 7, Article 114 of the
Rules of Court, as amended, also provides: "No person charged with a capital
offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
when evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the
stage of the criminal prosecution."
Although petitioner was charged with parricide which is punishable
with reclusion perpetua, he argued before the CA that he was entitled to bail
because the evidence of his guilt was not strong. He contended that the
prosecutor's conformity to his Motion for Bail was tantamount to a finding that
the prosecution evidence against him was not strong.
The Court of Appeals ruled, however, that there was no basis for such finding,
since no hearing had been conducted on the application for bail summary or
otherwise. The appellate court found that only ten minutes had elapsed
between the filing of the Motion by the accused and the Order granting bail, a
lapse of time that could not be deemed sufficient for the trial court to receive
and evaluate any evidence. We agree with the CA.
Stressing in Basco v. Rapatalo 8 that the judge had the duty to determine
whether the evidence of guilt was strong, the Court held:
When the grant of bail is discretionary, the prosecution has the
burden of showing that the evidence of guilt against the accused is
strong. However, the determination of whether or not the evidence
of guilt is strong, being a matter of judicial discretion, remains with
the judge. "This discretion by the very nature of things, may rightly
be exercised only after the evidence is submitted to the court at the
hearing. Since the discretion is directed to the weight of the
evidence and since evidence cannot properly be weighed if not duly
exhibited or produced before the court, it is obvious that a proper
exercise of judicial discretion requires that the evidence of guilt be
submitted to the court, the petitioner having the right of cross
examination and to introduce his own evidence in rebuttal."

A
xxx
Whether or not the Respondent Court of Appeals
correctly ruled that the Order of the Regional Trial Court
which granted bail to the petitioner is substantially and
procedurally infirm notwithstanding the absence of any
opposition from the public prosecutor.
B
Whether or not the private respondent has the legal
personality to intervene in the present criminal case.

xxx

xxx

Consequently, in the application for bail of a person charged with a


capital offense punishable by death,reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, a hearing, whether summary or otherwise in the
discretion of the court, must actually be conducted to determine
whether or not the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong.
"A summary hearing means such brief and speedy method of
receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and
consistent with the purpose of hearing which is merely to determine
the weight of evidence for the purposes of bail. On such hearing, the
court does not sit to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry
as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or
against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial

98
or on what further evidence may be therein offered and admitted.
The course of inquiry may be left to the discretion of the court
which may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference
to substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the
examination and cross examination." If a party is denied the
opportunity to be heard, there would be a violation of procedural
due process. (Emphasis supplied.)
Jurisprudence is replete with decisions compelling judges to conduct the
required hearings in bail applications, in which the accused stands charged with
a capital offense. The absence of objection from the prosecution is never a
basis for the grant of bail in such cases, for the judge has no right to presume
that the prosecutor knows what he is doing on account of familiarity with the
case. "Said reasoning is tantamount to ceding to the prosecutor the duty of
exercising judicial discretion to determine whether the guilt of the accused is
strong. Judicial discretion is the domain of the judge before whom the petition
for provisional liberty will be decided. The mandated duty to exercise discretion
has never been reposed upon the prosecutor. 9
10

Imposed in Baylon v. Sison was this mandatory duty to conduct a hearing


despite the prosecution's refusal to adduce evidence in opposition to the
application to grant and fix bail. We quote below the pertinent portion of the
Decision therein:

(4) If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused
upon the approval of the bailbond. (Section 19, supra). Otherwise,
petition should be denied.
The Court added: "The above-enumerated procedure should now leave no
room for doubt as to the duties of the trial judge in cases of bail applications.
So basic and fundamental is it to conduct a hearing in connection with the
grant of bail in the proper cases that it would amount to judicial apostasy for
any member of the judiciary to disclaim knowledge or awareness thereof."
Additionally, the court's grant or refuse of bail must contain a summary of the
evidence for the prosecution, on the basis of which should be formulated the
judge's own conclusion on whether such evidence is strong enough to indicate
the guilt of the accused. The summary thereof is considered an aspect of
procedural due process for both the prosecution and the defense; its absence
will invalidate the grant or the denial of the application for bail. 15
Clearly, the grant of bail by Executive Judge Santiago was laced with grave
abuse of discretion and the Court of Appeals was correct in reversing him.
Second Issue:
Respondent's Standing to File the Petition

The importance of a hearing has been emphasized in not a few


cases wherein the Court ruled that even if the prosecution refuses
to adduce evidence or fails to interpose an objection to the motion
for bail, it is still mandatory for the court to conduct a hearing or ask
searching questions from which it may infer the strength of the
evidence of guilt, or the lack of it, against the accused.
In Gimeno v. Arcueno Sr., 11 the Court also held:
The grant of bail is a matter of right except in cases involving capital
offenses when the matter is left to the sound discretion of the
court. That discretion lies, not in the determination whether or not a
hearing should be held but in the appreciation and evaluation of the
prosecution's evidence of guilt against the accused. . . . A hearing is
plainly indispensable before a judge can aptly be said to be in a
position to determine whether the evidence for the prosecution is
weak or strong.

Petitioner attacks respondent's legal standing to file the Petition


for Certiorari before the appellate court, maintaining that only the public
prosecutor or the solicitor general may challenge the assailed Order. He
invokesPeople v. Dacudao 16 which ruled:
. . . A private prosecutor in a criminal case has no authority to act for
the People of the Philippines before this Court. It is the
Government's counsel, the Solicitor General who appears in criminal
cases or incidents before the Supreme Court. At the very least, the
Provincial Fiscal himself, with the conformity of the Solicitor
General, should have raised the issue (of whether or not the
prosecution was deprived of procedural due process on account of
the grant of bail to the accused without any hearing on the motion
for bail) before us, instead of the private prosecutor with the
conformity of the Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Cebu.
He also cites Republic v. Partisala 17 which held as follows:

And in Concerned Citizens v. Elma,

12

the Court ruled:

It is true that the weight of the evidence adduced is addressed to


the sound discretion of the court. However, such discretion may
only be exercised after the hearing called to ascertain the degree of
guilt of the accused for the purpose of determining whether or not
he should be granted liberty.
13

14

Basco v. Rapatalo summarized several cases that emphasized the


mandatory character of a hearing in a petition for bail in a capital case. It
enunciated the following duties of the trial judge in such petition.
(1) Notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or
require him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of
the Rules of Court as amended;
(2) Conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show
that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling
the court to exercise its sound discretion (Sections 7 and 8, supra);
(3) Decide whether the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong
based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution (Baylon v.
Sison, supra);

We make it known that only the Solicitor General can bring or


defend actions on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines.
Henceforth actions filed in the name of the Republic of the
Philippines if not initiated by the Solicitor General will be summarily
dismissed.
Citing the "ends of substantial justice," People v. Calo, 18 however, provided an
exception to the above doctrines in this manner:
While the rule is, as held by the Court of Appeals, only the Solicitor
General may bring or defend actions on behalf of the Republic of
the Philippines, or represent the People or the State in criminal
proceedings pending in this Court and the Court of Appeals
(Republic vs. Partisala, 118 SCRA 320 [1982]), the ends of substantial
justice would be better served, and the issues in this action could be
determined in a more just, speedy and inexpensive manner, by
entertaining the petition at bar. As an offended party in a criminal
case, private petitioner has sufficient personality and a valid
grievance against Judge Adao's order granting bail to the alleged
murderers of his (private petitioner's) father.
In Paredes vs. Gopengco, 29 SCRA 688 (1969), this Court ruled that
the offended parties in criminal cases have sufficient interest and
personality as "person(s) aggrieved" to file the special civil action of

99
prohibition and certiorari under Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 65 in line
with the underlying spirit of the liberal construction of the Rules of
Court in order to promote their object, thus:
Furthermore, as offended parties in the pending criminal
case before petitioner judge, it cannot be gainsaid that
respondents have sufficient interest and personality as
"person(s) aggrieved" by petitioner judge's ruling on his
non-disqualification to file the special civil action under
sections 1 and 2 of Rule 65. Recently, in line with the
underlying spirit of a liberal construction of the Rules of
Court in order to promote their object, as against the
literal interpretation of Rule 110, section 2, we held,
overruling the implication of an earlier case, that a
widow possesses the right as an offended party to file a
criminal complaint for the murder of her deceased
husband. (Id., p. 699)
The ends of substantial justice indeed require the affirmation of the appellate
court's ruling on this point. Clearly, the assailed Order of Judge Santiago was
issued in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. A void
order is no order at all. 19 It cannot confer any right or be the source of any
relief. This Court is not merely a court of law; it is likewise a court of justice.
To rule otherwise would leave the private respondent without any recourse to
rectify the public injustice brought about by the trial court's Order, leaving her
with only the standing to file administrative charges for ignorance of the law
against the judge and the prosecutor. A party cannot be left without recourse
to address a substantive issue in law.
Moreover, we agree with the Office of the Solicitor General that "it is too late
in the day for the petitioner to challenge the legal personality of private
respondent considering that it was never disputed by [him] during the
preliminary investigation of the case, in his appeal to the Department of Justice
and during the reinvestigation of the case." 20
Corollary to the question of standing, petitioner submits that even if the
exception were made to apply, private respondent is not an "offended party"
who is granted the right to challenge the assailed RTC Order. He maintains that
only the compulsory heirs of the deceased, who are the accused himself and
his minor child, may file the instant action. We disagree.
It should be remembered that the crime charged against the private
respondent is parricide; hence, the accused cannot be regarded as an offended
party. That would be a contradiction in terms and an absurdity in fact. Nor can
one expect the minor child to think and to act for himself. Hence, we rule that
in view of the peculiar circumstances of this case, the sister of the deceased is a
proper party-litigant who is akin to the "offended party," she being a closer
relative of the deceased. There is no closer kin who may be expected to take up
the cudgels of justice for the deceased.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs
against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.1wphi1.nt
Melo, Vitug, Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

100
G.R. No. 153675

April 19, 2007

GOVERNMENT OF HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION,


represented by the Philippine Department of Justice, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. FELIXBERTO T. OLALIA, JR. and JUAN ANTONIO MUOZ, Respondents.
DECISION

On December 18, 2000, this Court rendered a Decision granting the petition of
the DOJ and sustaining the validity of the Order of Arrest against private
respondent. The Decision became final and executory on April 10, 2001.
Meanwhile, as early as November 22, 1999, petitioner Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region filed with the RTC of Manila a petition for the extradition
of private respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. 99-95733, raffled off to
Branch 10, presided by Judge Ricardo Bernardo, Jr. For his part, private
respondent filed, in the same case,- a petition for bail which was opposed by
petitioner.

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
For our resolution is the instant Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, seeking to nullify the two Orders of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 8, Manila (presided by respondent Judge
Felixberto T. Olalia, Jr.) issued in Civil Case No. 99-95773. These are: (1) the
Order dated December 20, 2001 allowing Juan Antonio Muoz, private
respondent, to post bail; and (2) the Order dated April 10, 2002 denying the
motion to vacate the said Order of December 20, 2001 filed by the Government
of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, represented by the Philippine
Department of Justice (DOJ), petitioner. The petition alleges that both Orders
were issued by respondent judge with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction as there is no provision in the Constitution
granting bail to a potential extraditee.
The facts are:
On January 30, 1995, the Republic of the Philippines and the then British Crown
Colony of Hong Kong signed an "Agreement for the Surrender of Accused and
Convicted Persons." It took effect on June 20, 1997.
On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong reverted back to the Peoples Republic of China and
became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Private respondent Muoz was charged before the Hong Kong Court with three
(3) counts of the offense of "accepting an advantage as agent," in violation of
Section 9 (1) (a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, Cap. 201 of Hong Kong.
He also faces seven (7) counts of the offense of conspiracy to defraud,
penalized by the common law of Hong Kong. On August 23, 1997 and October
25, 1999, warrants of arrest were issued against him. If convicted, he faces a
jail term of seven (7) to fourteen (14) years for each charge.
On September 13, 1999, the DOJ received from the Hong Kong Department of
Justice a request for the provisional arrest of private respondent. The DOJ then
forwarded the request to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which, in
turn, filed with the RTC of Manila, Branch 19 an application for the provisional
arrest of private respondent.
On September 23, 1999, the RTC, Branch 19, Manila issued an Order of Arrest
against private respondent. That same day, the NBI agents arrested and
detained him.
On October 14, 1999, private respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a
petition for certiorari, prohibition andmandamus with application for
preliminary mandatory injunction and/or writ of habeas corpus questioning the
validity of the Order of Arrest.
On November 9, 1999, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision declaring the
Order of Arrest void.
On November 12, 1999, the DOJ filed with this Court a petition for review on
certiorari, docketed as G.R. No. 140520, praying that the Decision of the Court
of Appeals be reversed.

After hearing, or on October 8, 2001, Judge Bernardo, Jr. issued an Order


denying the petition for bail, holding that there is no Philippine law granting
bail in extradition cases and that private respondent is a high "flight risk."
On October 22, 2001, Judge Bernardo, Jr. inhibited himself from further hearing
Civil Case No. 99-95733. It was then raffled off to Branch 8 presided by
respondent judge.
On October 30, 2001, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of
the Order denying his application for bail. This was granted by respondent
judge in an Order dated December 20, 2001 allowing private respondent to
post bail, thus:
In conclusion, this Court will not contribute to accuseds further erosion of civil
liberties. The petition for bail is granted subject to the following conditions:
1. Bail is set at Php750,000.00 in cash with the condition that
accused hereby undertakes that he will appear and answer the
issues raised in these proceedings and will at all times hold himself
amenable to orders and processes of this Court, will further appear
for judgment. If accused fails in this undertaking, the cash bond will
be forfeited in favor of the government;
2. Accused must surrender his valid passport to this Court;
3. The Department of Justice is given immediate notice and
discretion of filing its own motion for hold departure order before
this Court even in extradition proceeding; and
4. Accused is required to report to the government prosecutors
handling this case or if they so desire to the nearest office, at any
time and day of the week; and if they further desire, manifest
before this Court to require that all the assets of accused, real and
personal, be filed with this Court soonest, with the condition that if
the accused flees from his undertaking, said assets be forfeited in
favor of the government and that the corresponding lien/annotation
be noted therein accordingly.
SO ORDERED.
On December 21, 2001, petitioner filed an urgent motion to vacate the above
Order, but it was denied by respondent judge in his Order dated April 10, 2002.
Hence, the instant petition. Petitioner alleged that the trial court committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
admitting private respondent to bail; that there is nothing in the Constitution
or statutory law providing that a potential extraditee has a right to bail, the
right being limited solely to criminal proceedings.
In his comment on the petition, private respondent maintained that the right
to bail guaranteed under the Bill of Rights extends to a prospective extraditee;
and that extradition is a harsh process resulting in a prolonged deprivation of
ones liberty.

101
Section 13, Article III of the Constitution provides that the right to bail shall not
be impaired, thus:
Sec. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable
by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction,
be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be
provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege
of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
Jurisprudence on extradition is but in its infancy in this jurisdiction.
Nonetheless, this is not the first time that this Court has an occasion to resolve
the question of whether a prospective extraditee may be granted bail.
In Government of United States of America v. Hon. Guillermo G.
Purganan, Presiding Judge, RTC of Manila, Branch 42, and Mark B. Jimenez,
a.k.a. Mario Batacan Crespo,1 this Court, speaking through then Associate
Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, later Chief Justice, held that the constitutional
provision on bail does not apply to extradition proceedings. It is "available only
in criminal proceedings," thus:
x x x. As suggested by the use of the word "conviction," the constitutional
provision on bail quoted above, as well as Section 4, Rule 114 of the Rules of
Court, applies only when a person has been arrested and detained for violation
of Philippine criminal laws. It does not apply to extradition proceedings
because extradition courts do not render judgments of conviction or acquittal.
Moreover, the constitutional right to bail "flows from the presumption of
innocence in favor of every accused who should not be subjected to the loss of
freedom as thereafter he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his guilt be
proved beyond reasonable doubt" (De la Camara v. Enage, 41 SCRA 1, 6,
September 17, 1971, per Fernando, J., later CJ). It follows that the
constitutional provision on bail will not apply to a case like extradition, where
the presumption of innocence is not at issue.
The provision in the Constitution stating that the "right to bail shall not be
impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended"
does not detract from the rule that the constitutional right to bail is available
only in criminal proceedings. It must be noted that the suspension of the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpusfinds application "only to persons
judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected
with invasion" (Sec. 18, Art. VIII, Constitution). Hence, the second sentence in
the constitutional provision on bail merely emphasizes the right to bail in
criminal proceedings for the aforementioned offenses. It cannot be taken to
mean that the right is available even in extradition proceedings that are not
criminal in nature.
At first glance, the above ruling applies squarely to private respondents case.
However, this Court cannot ignore the following trends in international law: (1)
the growing importance of the individual person in public international law
who, in the 20th century, has gradually attained global recognition; (2) the
higher value now being given to human rights in the international sphere; (3)
the corresponding duty of countries to observe these universal human rights in
fulfilling their treaty obligations; and (4) the duty of this Court to balance the
rights of the individual under our fundamental law, on one hand, and the law
on extradition, on the other.
The modern trend in public international law is the primacy placed on the
worth of the individual person and the sanctity of human rights. Slowly, the
recognition that the individual person may properly be a subject of
international law is now taking root. The vulnerable doctrine that the subjects
of international law are limited only to states was dramatically eroded towards
the second half of the past century. For one, the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials
after World War II resulted in the unprecedented spectacle of individual
defendants for acts characterized as violations of the laws of war, crimes
against peace, and crimes against humanity. Recently, under the Nuremberg
principle, Serbian leaders have been persecuted for war crimes and crimes
against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia. These significant events
show that the individual person is now a valid subject of international law.

On a more positive note, also after World War II, both international
organizations and states gave recognition and importance to human rights.
Thus, on December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which the right to life, liberty and
all the other fundamental rights of every person were proclaimed. While not a
treaty, the principles contained in the said Declaration are now recognized as
customarily binding upon the members of the international community. Thus,
in Mejoff v. Director of Prisons,2 this Court, in granting bail to a prospective
deportee, held that under the Constitution,3 the principles set forth in that
Declaration are part of the law of the land. In 1966, the UN General Assembly
also adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the
Philippines signed and ratified. Fundamental among the rights enshrined
therein are the rights of every person to life, liberty, and due process.
The Philippines, along with the other members of the family of nations,
committed to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth
and dignity of every person. This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article
II of our Constitution which provides: "The State values the dignity of every
human person and guarantees full respect for human rights." The Philippines,
therefore, has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every
person to liberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can
participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without
delay on the legality of the detention and order their release if justified. In
other words, the Philippine authorities are under obligation to make available
to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their
fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted
to bail. While this Court in Purganan limited the exercise of the right to bail to
criminal proceedings, however, in light of the various international treaties
giving recognition and protection to human rights, particularly the right to life
and liberty, a reexamination of this Courts ruling in Purganan is in order.
First, we note that the exercise of the States power to deprive an
individual of his liberty is not necessarily limited to criminal
proceedings. Respondents in administrative proceedings, such as
deportation and quarantine,4 have likewise been detained.
Second, to limit bail to criminal proceedings would be to close our
eyes to our jurisprudential history. Philippine jurisprudence has not
limited the exercise of the right to bail to criminal proceedings only.
This Court has admitted to bail persons who are not involved in
criminal proceedings. In fact, bail has been allowed in this
jurisdiction to persons in detention during the pendency of
administrative proceedings, taking into cognizance the obligation of
the Philippines under international conventions to uphold human
rights.
The 1909 case of US v. Go-Sioco5 is illustrative. In this case, a Chinese facing
deportation for failure to secure the necessary certificate of registration was
granted bail pending his appeal. After noting that the prospective deportee had
committed no crime, the Court opined that "To refuse him bail is to treat him
as a person who has committed the most serious crime known to law;" and
that while deportation is not a criminal proceeding, some of the machinery
used "is the machinery of criminal law." Thus, the provisions relating to bail
was applied to deportation proceedings.
In Mejoff v. Director of Prisons6 and Chirskoff v. Commission of
Immigration,7 this Court ruled that foreign nationals against whom no formal
criminal charges have been filed may be released on bail pending the finality of
an order of deportation. As previously stated, the Court in Mejoff relied upon
the Universal declaration of Human Rights in sustaining the detainees right to
bail.
If bail can be granted in deportation cases, we see no justification why it should
not also be allowed in extradition cases. Likewise, considering that the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to deportation cases, there is no
reason why it cannot be invoked in extradition cases. After all, both are
administrative proceedings where the innocence or guilt of the person
detained is not in issue.

102
Clearly, the right of a prospective extraditee to apply for bail in this jurisdiction
must be viewed in the light of the various treaty obligations of the Philippines
concerning respect for the promotion and protection of human rights. Under
these treaties, the presumption lies in favor of human liberty. Thus, the
Philippines should see to it that the right to liberty of every individual is not
impaired.
Section 2(a) of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1069 (The Philippine Extradition
Law) defines "extradition" as "the removal of an accused from the Philippines
with the object of placing him at the disposal of foreign authorities to enable
the requesting state or government to hold him in connection with any criminal
investigation directed against him or the execution of a penalty imposed on
him under the penal or criminal law of the requesting state or government."
Extradition has thus been characterized as the right of a foreign power, created
by treaty, to demand the surrender of one accused or convicted of a crime
within its territorial jurisdiction, and the correlative duty of the other state to
surrender him to the demanding state.8 It is not a criminal proceeding.9 Even if
the potential extraditee is a criminal, an extradition proceeding is not by its
nature criminal, for it is not punishment for a crime, even though such
punishment may follow extradition.10 It is sui generis, tracing its existence
wholly to treaty obligations between different nations.11 It is not a trial to
determine the guilt or innocence of the potential extraditee.12 Nor is it a fullblown civil action, but one that is merely administrative in character.13 Its
object is to prevent the escape of a person accused or convicted of a crime and
to secure his return to the state from which he fled, for the purpose of trial or
punishment.14
But while extradition is not a criminal proceeding, it is characterized by the
following: (a) it entails a deprivation of liberty on the part of the potential
extraditee and (b) the means employed to attain the purpose of extradition is
also "the machinery of criminal law." This is shown by Section 6 of P.D. No.
1069 (The Philippine Extradition Law) which mandates the "immediate arrest
and temporary detention of the accused" if such "will best serve the interest
of justice." We further note that Section 20 allows the requesting state "in case
of urgency" to ask for the "provisional arrest of the accused, pending receipt
of the request for extradition;" and that release from provisional arrest "shall
not prejudice re-arrest and extradition of the accused if a request for
extradition is received subsequently."
Obviously, an extradition proceeding, while ostensibly administrative, bears all
earmarks of a criminal process. A potential extraditee may be subjected to
arrest, to a prolonged restraint of liberty, and forced to transfer to the
demanding state following the proceedings. "Temporary detention" may be a
necessary step in the process of extradition, but the length of time of the
detention should be reasonable.
Records show that private respondent was arrested on September 23, 1999,
and remained incarcerated until December 20, 2001, when the trial court
ordered his admission to bail. In other words, he had been detained for over
two (2) years without having been convicted of any crime. By any standard,
such an extended period of detention is a serious deprivation of his
fundamental right to liberty. In fact, it was this prolonged deprivation of liberty
which prompted the extradition court to grant him bail.
While our extradition law does not provide for the grant of bail to an
extraditee, however, there is no provision prohibiting him or her from filing a
motion for bail, a right to due process under the Constitution.
The applicable standard of due process, however, should not be the same as
that in criminal proceedings. In the latter, the standard of due process is
premised on the presumption of innocence of the accused.
As Purganancorrectly points out, it is from this major premise that the ancillary
presumption in favor of admitting to bail arises. Bearing in mind the purpose of
extradition proceedings, the premise behind the issuance of the arrest warrant
and the "temporary detention" is the possibility of flight of the potential
extraditee. This is based on the assumption that such extraditee is a fugitive
from justice.15 Given the foregoing, the prospective extraditee thus bears

the onus probandi of showing that he or she is not a flight risk and should be
granted bail.
The time-honored principle of pacta sunt servanda demands that the
Philippines honor its obligations under the Extradition Treaty it entered into
with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Failure to comply with these
obligations is a setback in our foreign relations and defeats the purpose of
extradition. However, it does not necessarily mean that in keeping with its
treaty obligations, the Philippines should diminish a potential extraditees
rights to life, liberty, and due process. More so, where these rights are
guaranteed, not only by our Constitution, but also by international
conventions, to which the Philippines is a party. We should not, therefore,
deprive an extraditee of his right to apply for bail, provided that a certain
standard for the grant is satisfactorily met.
An extradition proceeding being sui generis, the standard of proof required in
granting or denying bail can neither be the proof beyond reasonable doubt in
criminal cases nor the standard of proof of preponderance of evidence in civil
cases. While administrative in character, the standard of substantial evidence
used in administrative cases cannot likewise apply given the object of
extradition law which is to prevent the prospective extraditee from fleeing our
jurisdiction. In his Separate Opinion in Purganan, then Associate Justice, now
Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, proposed that a new standard which he termed
"clear and convincing evidence" should be used in granting bail in extradition
cases. According to him, this standard should be lower than proof beyond
reasonable doubt but higher than preponderance of evidence. The potential
extraditee must prove by "clear and convincing evidence" that he is not a flight
risk and will abide with all the orders and processes of the extradition court.
In this case, there is no showing that private respondent presented evidence to
show that he is not a flight risk. Consequently, this case should be remanded to
the trial court to determine whether private respondent may be granted bail
on the basis of "clear and convincing evidence."
WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition. This case is REMANDED to the trial
court to determine whether private respondent is entitled to bail on the basis
of "clear and convincing evidence." If not, the trial court should order the
cancellation of his bail bond and his immediate detention; and thereafter,
conduct the extradition proceedings with dispatch.
SO ORDERED.

55
G.R. No. 181881

October 18, 2011

BRICCIO "Ricky" A. POLLO, Petitioner,


vs.
CHAIRPERSON KARINA CONSTANTINO-DAVID, DIRECTOR IV RACQUEL DE
GUZMAN BUENSALIDA, DIRECTOR IV LYDIA A. CASTILLO, DIRECTOR III
ENGELBERT ANTHONY D. UNITE AND THE CIVIL SERVICE
COMMISSION, Respondents.

Concerned Govt employee3


Chairperson David immediately formed a team of four personnel with
background in information technology (IT), and issued a memo directing them
to conduct an investigation and specifically "to back up all the files in the
computers found in the Mamamayan Muna (PALD) and Legal divisions."4After
some briefing, the team proceeded at once to the CSC-ROIV office at Panay
Avenue, Quezon City. Upon their arrival thereat around 5:30 p.m., the team
informed the officials of the CSC-ROIV, respondents Director IV Lydia Castillo
(Director Castillo) and Director III Engelbert Unite (Director Unite) of
Chairperson Davids directive.

DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
This case involves a search of office computer assigned to a government
employee who was charged administratively and eventually dismissed from the
service. The employees personal files stored in the computer were used by the
government employer as evidence of misconduct.
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 which seeks to
reverse and set aside the Decision1dated October 11, 2007 and
Resolution2 dated February 29, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA). The CA
dismissed the petition for certiorari (CA-G.R. SP No. 98224) filed by petitioner
Briccio "Ricky" A. Pollo to nullify the proceedings conducted by the Civil Service
Commission (CSC) which found him guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct,
conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and violation of Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 6713 and penalized him with dismissal.

The backing-up of all files in the hard disk of computers at the PALD and Legal
Services Division (LSD) was witnessed by several employees, together with
Directors Castillo and Unite who closely monitored said activity. At around 6:00
p.m., Director Unite sent text messages to petitioner and the head of LSD, who
were both out of the office at the time, informing them of the ongoing copying
of computer files in their divisions upon orders of the CSC Chair. The text
messages received by petitioner read:
"Gud p.m. This is Atty. Unite FYI: Co people are going over the PCs of
PALD and LSD per instruction of the Chairman. If you can make it
here now it would be better."
"All PCs Of PALD and LSD are being backed up per memo of the
chair."
"CO IT people arrived just now for this purpose. We were not also
informed about this.

The factual antecedents:


"We cant do anything about it its a directive from chair."
Petitioner is a former Supervising Personnel Specialist of the CSC Regional
Office No. IV and also the Officer-in-Charge of the Public Assistance and Liaison
Division (PALD) under the "Mamamayan Muna Hindi Mamaya Na" program of
the CSC.
On January 3, 2007 at around 2:30 p.m., an unsigned letter-complaint
addressed to respondent CSC Chairperson Karina Constantino-David which was
marked "Confidential" and sent through a courier service (LBC) from a certain
"Alan San Pascual" of Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, was received by the
Integrated Records Management Office (IRMO) at the CSC Central Office.
Following office practice in which documents marked "Confidential" are left
unopened and instead sent to the addressee, the aforesaid letter was given
directly to Chairperson David.
The letter-complaint reads:
The Chairwoman
Civil Service Commission
Batasan Hills, Quezon City

"Memo of the chair was referring to an anonymous complaint"; "ill


send a copy of the memo via mms"5
Petitioner replied also thru text message that he was leaving the matter to
Director Unite and that he will just get a lawyer. Another text message received
by petitioner from PALD staff also reported the presence of the team from CSC
main office: "Sir may mga taga C.O. daw sa kuarto natin."6 At around 10:00
p.m. of the same day, the investigating team finished their task. The next day,
all the computers in the PALD were sealed and secured for the purpose of
preserving all the files stored therein. Several diskettes containing the back-up
files sourced from the hard disk of PALD and LSD computers were turned over
to Chairperson David. The contents of the diskettes were examined by the
CSCs Office for Legal Affairs (OLA). It was found that most of the files in the 17
diskettes containing files copied from the computer assigned to and being used
by the petitioner, numbering about 40 to 42 documents, were draft pleadings
or letters7 in connection with administrative cases in the CSC and other
tribunals. On the basis of this finding, Chairperson David issued the Show-Cause
Order8 dated January 11, 2007, requiring the petitioner, who had gone on
extended leave, to submit his explanation or counter-affidavit within five days
from notice.

Dear Madam Chairwoman,


Belated Merry Christmas and Advance Happy New Year!
As a concerned citizen of my beloved country, I would like to ask from you
personally if it is just alright for an employee of your agency to be a lawyer of
an accused govt employee having a pending case in the csc. I honestly think
this is a violation of law and unfair to others and your office.
I have known that a person have been lawyered by one of your attorny in the
region 4 office. He is the chief of the Mamamayan muna hindi mamaya na
division. He have been helping many who have pending cases in the Csc. The
justice in our govt system will not be served if this will continue. Please
investigate this anomaly because our perception of your clean and good office
is being tainted.

Evaluating the subject documents obtained from petitioners personal files,


Chairperson David made the following observations:
Most of the foregoing files are drafts of legal pleadings or documents that are
related to or connected with administrative cases that may broadly be lumped
as pending either in the CSCRO No. IV, the CSC-NCR, the CSC-Central Office or
other tribunals. It is also of note that most of these draft pleadings are for and
on behalves of parties, who are facing charges as respondents in administrative
cases. This gives rise to the inference that the one who prepared them was
knowingly, deliberately and willfully aiding and advancing interests adverse and
inimical to the interest of the CSC as the central personnel agency of the
government tasked to discipline misfeasance and malfeasance in the
government service. The number of pleadings so prepared further
demonstrates that such person is not merely engaged in an isolated practice
but pursues it with seeming regularity. It would also be the height of naivete or

56
credulity, and certainly against common human experience, to believe that the
person concerned had engaged in this customary practice without any
consideration, and in fact, one of the retrieved files (item 13 above) appears to
insinuate the collection of fees. That these draft pleadings were obtained from
the computer assigned to Pollo invariably raises the presumption that he was
the one responsible or had a hand in their drafting or preparation since the
computer of origin was within his direct control and disposition.9
Petitioner filed his Comment, denying that he is the person referred to in the
anonymous letter-complaint which had no attachments to it, because he is not
a lawyer and neither is he "lawyering" for people with cases in the CSC. He
accused CSC officials of conducting a "fishing expedition" when they unlawfully
copied and printed personal files in his computer, and subsequently asking him
to submit his comment which violated his right against self-incrimination. He
asserted that he had protested the unlawful taking of his computer done while
he was on leave, citing the letter dated January 8, 2007 in which he informed
Director Castillo that the files in his computer were his personal files and those
of his sister, relatives, friends and some associates and that he is not
authorizing their sealing, copying, duplicating and printing as these would
violate his constitutional right to privacy and protection against selfincrimination and warrantless search and seizure. He pointed out that though
government property, the temporary use and ownership of the computer
issued under a Memorandum of Receipt (MR) is ceded to the employee who
may exercise all attributes of ownership, including its use for personal
purposes. As to the anonymous letter, petitioner argued that it is not
actionable as it failed to comply with the requirements of a formal complaint
under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACC).
In view of the illegal search, the files/documents copied from his computer
without his consent is thus inadmissible as evidence, being "fruits of a
poisonous tree."10
On February 26, 2007, the CSC issued Resolution No. 07038211 finding prima
facie case against the petitioner and charging him with Dishonesty, Grave
Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and
Violation of R.A. No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Officials and Employees). Petitioner was directed to submit his answer under
oath within five days from notice and indicate whether he elects a formal
investigation. Since the charges fall under Section 19 of the URACC, petitioner
was likewise placed under 90 days preventive suspension effective immediately
upon receipt of the resolution. Petitioner received a copy of Resolution No.
070382 on March 1, 2007.
Petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion (For Reconsideration, to Dismiss and/or to
Defer) assailing the formal charge as without basis having proceeded from an
illegal search which is beyond the authority of the CSC Chairman, such power
pertaining solely to the court. Petitioner reiterated that he never aided any
people with pending cases at the CSC and alleged that those files found in his
computer were prepared not by him but by certain persons whom he
permitted, at one time or another, to make use of his computer out of close
association or friendship. Attached to the motion were the affidavit of Atty.
Ponciano R. Solosa who entrusted his own files to be kept at petitioners CPU
and Atty. Eric N. Estrellado, the latter being Atty. Solosas client who attested
that petitioner had nothing to do with the pleadings or bill for legal fees
because in truth he owed legal fees to Atty. Solosa and not to petitioner.
Petitioner contended that the case should be deferred in view of the prejudicial
question raised in the criminal complaint he filed before the Ombudsman
against Director Buensalida, whom petitioner believes had instigated this
administrative case. He also prayed for the lifting of the preventive suspension
imposed on him. In its Resolution No. 07051912 dated March 19, 2007, the CSC
denied the omnibus motion. The CSC resolved to treat the said motion as
petitioners answer.
On March 14, 2007, petitioner filed an Urgent Petition13 under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 98224, assailing both the January
11, 2007 Show-Cause Order and Resolution No. 070382 dated February 26,
2007 as having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess
or total absence of jurisdiction. Prior to this, however, petitioner lodged an
administrative/criminal complaint against respondents Directors Racquel D.G.
Buensalida (Chief of Staff, Office of the CSC Chairman) and Lydia A. Castillo

(CSC-RO IV) before the Office of the Ombudsman, and a separate complaint for
disbarment against Director Buensalida.14
On April 17, 2007, petitioner received a notice of hearing from the CSC setting
the formal investigation of the case on April 30, 2007. On April 25, 2007, he
filed in the CA an Urgent Motion for the issuance of TRO and preliminary
injunction.15 Since he failed to attend the pre-hearing conference scheduled on
April 30, 2007, the CSC reset the same to May 17, 2007 with warning that the
failure of petitioner and/or his counsel to appear in the said pre-hearing
conference shall entitle the prosecution to proceed with the formal
investigation ex-parte.16 Petitioner moved to defer or to reset the pre-hearing
conference, claiming that the investigation proceedings should be held in
abeyance pending the resolution of his petition by the CA. The CSC denied his
request and again scheduled the pre-hearing conference on May 18, 2007 with
similar warning on the consequences of petitioner and/or his counsels nonappearance.17 This prompted petitioner to file another motion in the CA, to cite
the respondents, including the hearing officer, in indirect contempt.18
On June 12, 2007, the CSC issued Resolution No. 07113419 denying petitioners
motion to set aside the denial of his motion to defer the proceedings and to
inhibit the designated hearing officer, Atty. Bernard G. Jimenez. The hearing
officer was directed to proceed with the investigation proper with dispatch.
In view of the absence of petitioner and his counsel, and upon the motion of
the prosecution, petitioner was deemed to have waived his right to the formal
investigation which then proceeded ex parte.
On July 24, 2007, the CSC issued Resolution No. 071420,20 the dispositive part
of which reads:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Commission hereby finds
Briccio A. Pollo, a.k.a. Ricky A. Pollo GUILTY of Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct,
Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Violation of Republic
Act 6713. He is meted the penalty of DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE with all its
accessory penalties, namely, disqualification to hold public office, forfeiture of
retirement benefits, cancellation of civil service eligibilities and bar from taking
future civil service examinations.21
On the paramount issue of the legality of the search conducted on petitioners
computer, the CSC noted the dearth of jurisprudence relevant to the factual
milieu of this case where the government as employer invades the private files
of an employee stored in the computer assigned to him for his official use, in
the course of initial investigation of possible misconduct committed by said
employee and without the latters consent or participation. The CSC thus
turned to relevant rulings of the United States Supreme Court, and cited the
leading case of OConnor v. Ortega22 as authority for the view that government
agencies, in their capacity as employers, rather than law enforcers, could
validly conduct search and seizure in the governmental workplace without
meeting the "probable cause" or warrant requirement for search and seizure.
Another ruling cited by the CSC is the more recent case of United States v.
Mark L. Simons23 which declared that the federal agencys computer use policy
foreclosed any inference of reasonable expectation of privacy on the part of its
employees. Though the Court therein recognized that such policy did not, at
the same time, erode the respondents legitimate expectation of privacy in the
office in which the computer was installed, still, the warrantless search of the
employees office was upheld as valid because a government employer is
entitled to conduct a warrantless search pursuant to an investigation of workrelated misconduct provided the search is reasonable in its inception and
scope.
With the foregoing American jurisprudence as benchmark, the CSC held that
petitioner has no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to the
computer he was using in the regional office in view of the CSC computer use
policy which unequivocally declared that a CSC employee cannot assert any
privacy right to a computer assigned to him. Even assuming that there was no
such administrative policy, the CSC was of the view that the search of
petitioners computer successfully passed the test of reasonableness for
warrantless searches in the workplace as enunciated in the aforecited

57
authorities. The CSC stressed that it pursued the search in its capacity as
government employer and that it was undertaken in connection with an
investigation involving work-related misconduct, which exempts it from the
warrant requirement under the Constitution. With the matter of admissibility
of the evidence having been resolved, the CSC then ruled that the totality of
evidence adequately supports the charges of grave misconduct, dishonesty,
conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of R.A. No.
6713 against the petitioner. These grave infractions justified petitioners
dismissal from the service with all its accessory penalties.
In his Memorandum24 filed in the CA, petitioner moved to incorporate the
above resolution dismissing him from the service in his main petition, in lieu of
the filing of an appeal via a Rule 43 petition. In a subsequent motion, he
likewise prayed for the inclusion of Resolution No. 07180025 which denied his
motion for reconsideration.
By Decision dated October 11, 2007, the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari
after finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondents CSC
officials. The CA held that: (1) petitioner was not charged on the basis of the
anonymous letter but from the initiative of the CSC after a fact-finding
investigation was conducted and the results thereof yielded a prima facie case
against him; (2) it could not be said that in ordering the back-up of files in
petitioners computer and later confiscating the same, Chairperson David had
encroached on the authority of a judge in view of the CSC computer policy
declaring the computers as government property and that employee-users
thereof have no reasonable expectation of privacy in anything they create,
store, send, or receive on the computer system; and (3) there is nothing
contemptuous in CSCs act of proceeding with the formal investigation as there
was no restraining order or injunction issued by the CA.
His motion for reconsideration having been denied by the CA, petitioner
brought this appeal arguing that
I
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED AND
COMMITTED SERIOUS IRREGULARITY AND BLATANT ERRORS IN LAW
AMOUNTING TO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED
THAT ANONYMOUS COMPLAINT IS ACTIONABLE UNDER E.O. 292
WHEN IN TRUTH AND IN FACT THE CONTRARY IS EXPLICITLY
PROVIDED UNDER 2nd PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 8 OF CSC
RESOLUTION NO. 99-1936, WHICH IS AN [AMENDMENT] TO THE
ORIGINAL RULES PER CSC RESOLUTION NO. 94-0521;

THE GOVERNMENT COMPUTERS ARE GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES


INCLUDING THE PERSONAL FILES WHEN THE CONTRARY IS
PROVIDED UNDER SECTION 14 OF OM. 10 s. 2002. AND GRIEVOUSLY
ERRED STILL WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT DAVID BY VIRTUE
OF O.M. 10 DID NOT ENCROACH ON THE DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS
OF A JUDGE PURSUANT TO ARTICLE III, SECTION 2 OF THE 1987
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION;
IV
THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER ALL
OTHER NEW ARGUMENTS, ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE HEREUNTO
SUBMITTED AS WELL AS ITS FAILURE TO EVALUATE AND TAKE
ACTION ON THE 2 MOTIONS TO ADMIT AND INCORPORATE CSC
RESOLUTION NOS. 07-1420 DATED JULY 24, 2007 AND CSC
RESOLUTION 07-1800 DATED SEPTEMBER 10, 2007. IT DID NOT
RULE LIKEWISE ON THE FOUR URGENT MOTION TO RESOLVE
ANCILLARY PRAYER FOR TRO.26
Squarely raised by the petitioner is the legality of the search conducted on his
office computer and the copying of his personal files without his knowledge
and consent, alleged as a transgression on his constitutional right to privacy.
The right to privacy has been accorded recognition in this jurisdiction as a facet
of the right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable search and
seizure under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution,27 which provides:
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and
for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest
shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the
judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched
and the persons or things to be seized.
The constitutional guarantee is not a prohibition of all searches and seizures
but only of "unreasonable" searches and seizures.28 But to fully understand this
concept and application for the purpose of resolving the issue at hand, it is
essential that we examine the doctrine in the light of pronouncements in
another jurisdiction. As the Court declared in People v. Marti29 :
Our present constitutional provision on the guarantee against unreasonable
search and seizure had its origin in the 1935 Charter which, worded as follows:

II
THE HONORABLE COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED AND COMMITTED
PALPABLE ERRORS IN LAW AMOUNTING TO GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONER CANNOT INVOKE HIS
RIGHT TO PRIVACY, TO UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE,
AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION, BY VIRTUE OF OFFICE
MEMORANDUM NO. 10 S. 2002, A MERE INTERNAL MEMORANDUM
SIGNED SOLELY AND EXCLUSIVELY BY RESPONDENT DAVID AND NOT
BY THE COLLEGIAL COMMISSION CONSIDERING THAT POLICY
MATTERS INVOLVING SUB[S]TANTIAL RIGHTS CANNOT BE COVERED
BY AN OFFICE MEMORANDUM WHICH IS LIMITED TO PROCEDURAL
AND ROUTINARY INSTRUCTION;
III
THE HONORABLE COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND COMMITTED GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT MEMO SEARCH
DATED JANUARY 3, 2007 AND THE TAKING OF DOCUMENTS IN THE
EVENING THEREOF FROM 7:00 TO 10:00 P.M. IS NOT GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION LIMITING THE DEFINITION [OF] GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION TO ONE INVOLVING AND TAINTED WITH PERSONAL
HOSTILITY. IT LIKEWISE ERRED IN HOLDING THAT DATA STORED IN

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and
no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the
judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (Sec. 1[3], Article III)
was in turn derived almost verbatim from the Fourth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. As such, the Court may turn to the pronouncements
of the United States Federal Supreme Court and State Appellate Courts which
are considered doctrinal in this jurisdiction.30
In the 1967 case of Katz v. United States,31 the US Supreme Court held that the
act of FBI agents in electronically recording a conversation made by petitioner
in an enclosed public telephone booth violated his right to privacy and
constituted a "search and seizure". Because the petitioner had a reasonable
expectation of privacy in using the enclosed booth to make a personal
telephone call, the protection of the Fourth Amendment extends to such area.
In the concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Harlan, it was further noted that the
existence of privacy right under prior decisions involved a two-fold
requirement: first, that a person has exhibited an actual (subjective)
expectation of privacy; and second, that the expectation be one that society is
prepared to recognize as reasonable (objective).32

58
In Mancusi v. DeForte33 which addressed the reasonable expectations of
private employees in the workplace, the US Supreme Court held that a union
employee had Fourth Amendment rights with regard to an office at union
headquarters that he shared with other union officials, even as the latter or
their guests could enter the office. The Court thus "recognized that employees
may have a reasonable expectation of privacy against intrusions by police."
That the Fourth Amendment equally applies to a government workplace was
addressed in the 1987 case of OConnor v. Ortega34 where a physician, Dr.
Magno Ortega, who was employed by a state hospital, claimed a violation of
his Fourth Amendment rights when hospital officials investigating charges of
mismanagement of the psychiatric residency program, sexual harassment of
female hospital employees and other irregularities involving his private patients
under the state medical aid program, searched his office and seized personal
items from his desk and filing cabinets. In that case, the Court categorically
declared that "[i]ndividuals do not lose Fourth Amendment rights merely
because they work for the government instead of a private employer."35 A
plurality of four Justices concurred that the correct analysis has two steps: first,
because "some government offices may be so open to fellow employees or the
public that no expectation of privacy is reasonable", a court must consider
"[t]he operational realities of the workplace" in order to determine whether an
employees Fourth Amendment rights are implicated; and next, where an
employee has a legitimate privacy expectation, an employers intrusion on that
expectation "for noninvestigatory, work-related purposes, as well as for
investigations of work-related misconduct, should be judged by the standard of
reasonableness under all the circumstances."36
On the matter of government employees reasonable expectations of privacy in
their workplace, OConnor teaches:
x x x Public employees expectations of privacy in their offices, desks, and file
cabinets, like similar expectations of employees in the private sector, may be
reduced by virtue of actual office practices and procedures, or by legitimate
regulation. x x x The employees expectation of privacy must be assessed in the
context of the employment relation. An office is seldom a private enclave free
from entry by supervisors, other employees, and business and personal
invitees. Instead, in many cases offices are continually entered by fellow
employees and other visitors during the workday for conferences,
consultations, and other work-related visits. Simply put, it is the nature of
government offices that others such as fellow employees, supervisors,
consensual visitors, and the general public may have frequent access to an
individuals office. We agree with JUSTICE SCALIA that "*c+onstitutional
protection against unreasonable searches by the government does not
disappear merely because the government has the right to make reasonable
intrusions in its capacity as employer," x x x but some government offices may
be so open to fellow employees or the public that no expectation of privacy is
reasonable. x x x Given the great variety of work environments in the public
sector, the question of whether an employee has a reasonable expectation of
privacy must be addressed on a case-by-case basis.37 (Citations omitted;
emphasis supplied.)
On the basis of the established rule in previous cases, the US Supreme Court
declared that Dr. Ortegas Fourth Amendment rights are implicated only if the
conduct of the hospital officials infringed "an expectation of privacy that
society is prepared to consider as reasonable." Given the undisputed evidence
that respondent Dr. Ortega did not share his desk or file cabinets with any
other employees, kept personal correspondence and other private items in his
own office while those work-related files (on physicians in residency training)
were stored outside his office, and there being no evidence that the hospital
had established any reasonable regulation or policy discouraging employees
from storing personal papers and effects in their desks or file cabinets
(although the absence of such a policy does not create any expectation of
privacy where it would not otherwise exist), the Court concluded that Dr.
Ortega has a reasonable expectation of privacy at least in his desk and file
cabinets.38
Proceeding to the next inquiry as to whether the search conducted by hospital
officials was reasonable, the OConnor plurality decision discussed the
following principles:

Having determined that Dr. Ortega had a reasonable expectation of privacy in


his office, the Court of Appeals simply concluded without discussion that the
"searchwas not a reasonable search under the fourth amendment." x x x "[t]o
hold that the Fourth Amendment applies to searches conducted by [public
employers] is only to begin the inquiry into the standards governing such
searches*W+hat is reasonable depends on the context within which a search
takes place. x x x Thus, we must determine the appropriate standard of
reasonableness applicable to the search. A determination of the standard of
reasonableness applicable to a particular class of searches requires "balanc[ing]
the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individuals Fourth Amendment
interests against the importance of the governmental interests alleged to
justify the intrusion." x x x In the case of searches conducted by a public
employer, we must balance the invasion of the employees legitimate
expectations of privacy against the governments need for supervision,
control, and the efficient operation of the workplace.
xxxx
In our view, requiring an employer to obtain a warrant whenever the employer
wished to enter an employees office, desk, or file cabinets for a work-related
purpose would seriously disrupt the routine conduct of business and would be
unduly burdensome. Imposing unwieldy warrant procedures in such cases upon
supervisors, who would otherwise have no reason to be familiar with such
procedures, is simply unreasonable. In contrast to other circumstances in which
we have required warrants, supervisors in offices such as at the Hospital are
hardly in the business of investigating the violation of criminal laws. Rather,
work-related searches are merely incident to the primary business of the
agency. Under these circumstances, the imposition of a warrant requirement
would conflict with the "common-sense realization that government offices
could not function if every employment decision became a constitutional
matter." x x x
xxxx
The governmental interest justifying work-related intrusions by public
employers is the efficient and proper operation of the workplace. Government
agencies provide myriad services to the public, and the work of these agencies
would suffer if employers were required to have probable cause before they
entered an employees desk for the purpose of finding a file or piece of office
correspondence. Indeed, it is difficult to give the concept of probable cause,
rooted as it is in the criminal investigatory context, much meaning when the
purpose of a search is to retrieve a file for work-related reasons. Similarly, the
concept of probable cause has little meaning for a routine inventory conducted
by public employers for the purpose of securing state property. x x x To ensure
the efficient and proper operation of the agency, therefore, public employers
must be given wide latitude to enter employee offices for work-related,
noninvestigatory reasons.
We come to a similar conclusion for searches conducted pursuant to an
investigation of work-related employee misconduct. Even when employers
conduct an investigation, they have an interest substantially different from "the
normal need for law enforcement." x x x Public employers have an interest in
ensuring that their agencies operate in an effective and efficient manner, and
the work of these agencies inevitably suffers from the inefficiency,
incompetence, mismanagement, or other work-related misfeasance of its
employees. Indeed, in many cases, public employees are entrusted with
tremendous responsibility, and the consequences of their misconduct or
incompetence to both the agency and the public interest can be severe. In
contrast to law enforcement officials, therefore, public employers are not
enforcers of the criminal law; instead, public employers have a direct and
overriding interest in ensuring that the work of the agency is conducted in a
proper and efficient manner. In our view, therefore, a probable cause
requirement for searches of the type at issue here would impose intolerable
burdens on public employers. The delay in correcting the employee
misconduct caused by the need for probable cause rather than reasonable
suspicion will be translated into tangible and often irreparable damage to the
agencys work, and ultimately to the public interest. x x x
xxxx

59
In sum, we conclude that the "special needs, beyond the normal need for law
enforcement make theprobable-cause requirement impracticable," x x x for
legitimate, work-related noninvestigatory intrusions as well as investigations
of work-related misconduct. A standard of reasonableness will neither unduly
burden the efforts of government employers to ensure the efficient and proper
operation of the workplace, nor authorize arbitrary intrusions upon the privacy
of public employees. We hold, therefore, that public employer intrusions on
the constitutionally protected privacy interests of government employees for
noninvestigatory, work-related purposes, as well as for investigations of
work-related misconduct,should be judged by the standard of reasonableness
under all the circumstances. Under this reasonableness standard, both the
inception and the scope of the intrusion must be reasonable:
"Determining the reasonableness of any search involves a twofold inquiry: first,
one must consider whether theaction was justified at its inception, x x x ;
second, one must determine whether the search as actually conducted was
reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the
interference in the first place," x x x
Ordinarily, a search of an employees office by a supervisor will be "justified
at its inception" when there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the
search will turn up evidence that the employee is guilty of work-related
misconduct, or that the search is necessary for a noninvestigatory workrelated purpose such as to retrieve a needed file. x x x The search will be
permissible in its scope when "the measures adopted are reasonably related
to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the
nature of the [misconduct]." x x x39 (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied.)

violated his Fourth Amendment rights. After a hearing, the district court denied
the motion and Simons was found guilty as charged.
Simons appealed his convictions. The US Supreme Court ruled that the
searches of Simons computer and office did not violate his Fourth Amendment
rights and the first search warrant was valid. It held that the search remains
valid under the OConnor exception to the warrant requirement because
evidence of the crime was discovered in the course of an otherwise proper
administrative inspection. Simons violation of the agencys Internet policy
happened also to be a violation of criminal law; this does not mean that said
employer lost the capacity and interests of an employer. The warrantless entry
into Simons office was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment standard
announced in OConnor because at the inception of the search, the employer
had "reasonable grounds for suspecting" that the hard drive would yield
evidence of misconduct, as the employer was already aware that Simons had
misused his Internet access to download over a thousand pornographic images.
The retrieval of the hard drive was reasonably related to the objective of the
search, and the search was not excessively intrusive. Thus, while Simons had a
reasonable expectation of privacy in his office, he did not have such legitimate
expectation of privacy with regard to the files in his computer.
x x x To establish a violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment, Simons
must first prove that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place
searched or the item seized. x x x And, in order to prove a legitimate
expectation of privacy, Simons must show that his subjective expectation of
privacy is one that society is prepared to accept as objectively reasonable. x x x
xxxx

Since the District Court granted summary judgment without a hearing on the
factual dispute as to the character of the search and neither was there any
finding made as to the scope of the search that was undertaken, the case was
remanded to said court for the determination of the justification for the search
and seizure, and evaluation of the reasonableness of both the inception of the
search and its scope.
In OConnor the Court recognized that "special needs" authorize warrantless
searches involving public employees for work-related reasons. The Court thus
laid down a balancing test under which government interests are weighed
against the employees reasonable expectation of privacy. This reasonableness
test implicates neither probable cause nor the warrant requirement, which are
related to law enforcement.40
OConnor was applied in subsequent cases raising issues on employees privacy
rights in the workplace. One of these cases involved a government employers
search of an office computer, United States v. Mark L. Simons41where the
defendant Simons, an employee of a division of the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), was convicted of receiving and possessing materials containing child
pornography. Simons was provided with an office which he did not share with
anyone, and a computer with Internet access. The agency had instituted a
policy on computer use stating that employees were to use the Internet for
official government business only and that accessing unlawful material was
specifically prohibited. The policy also stated that users shall understand that
the agency will periodically audit, inspect, and/or monitor the users Internet
access as deemed appropriate. CIA agents instructed its contractor for the
management of the agencys computer network, upon initial discovery of
prohibited internet activity originating from Simons computer, to conduct a
remote monitoring and examination of Simons computer. After confirming
that Simons had indeed downloaded pictures that were pornographic in
nature, all the files on the hard drive of Simons computer were copied from a
remote work station. Days later, the contractors representative finally entered
Simons office, removed the original hard drive on Simons computer, replaced
it with a copy, and gave the original to the agency security officer. Thereafter,
the agency secured warrants and searched Simons office in the evening when
Simons was not around. The search team copied the contents of Simons
computer; computer diskettes found in Simons desk drawer; computer files
stored on the zip drive or on zip drive diskettes; videotapes; and various
documents, including personal correspondence. At his trial, Simons moved to
suppress these evidence, arguing that the searches of his office and computer

x x x We conclude that the remote searches of Simons computer did not


violate his Fourth Amendment rights because, in light of the Internet policy,
Simons lacked a legitimate expectation of privacy in the files downloaded from
the Internet. Additionally, we conclude that Simons Fourth Amendment rights
were not violated by FBIS retrieval of Simons hard drive from his office.
Simons did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy with regard to the
record or fruits of his Internet use in light of the FBIS Internet policy. The
policy clearly stated that FBIS would "audit, inspect, and/or monitor"
employees use of the Internet, including all file transfers, all websites visited,
and all e-mail messages, "as deemed appropriate." x x x This policy placed
employees on notice that they could not reasonably expect that their Internet
activity would be private. Therefore, regardless of whether Simons subjectively
believed that the files he transferred from the Internet were private, such a
belief was not objectively reasonable after FBIS notified him that it would be
overseeing his Internet use. x x x Accordingly, FBIS actions in remotely
searching and seizing the computer files Simons downloaded from the Internet
did not violate the Fourth Amendment.
xxxx
The burden is on Simons to prove that he had a legitimate expectation of
privacy in his office. x x x Here, Simons has shown that he had an office that he
did not share. As noted above, the operational realities of Simons workplace
may have diminished his legitimate privacy expectations. However, there is no
evidence in the record of any workplace practices, procedures, or regulations
that had such an effect. We therefore conclude that, on this record, Simons
possessed a legitimate expectation of privacy in his office.
xxxx
In the final analysis, this case involves an employees supervisor entering the
employees government office and retrieving a piece of government equipment
in which the employee had absolutely no expectation of privacy equipment
that the employer knew contained evidence of crimes committed by the
employee in the employees office. This situation may be contrasted with one
in which the criminal acts of a government employee were unrelated to his
employment. Here, there was a conjunction of the conduct that violated the

60
employers policy and the conduct that violated the criminal law. We consider
that FBIS intrusion into Simons office to retrieve the hard drive is one in which
a reasonable employer might engage. x x x42 (Citations omitted; emphasis
supplied.)
This Court, in Social Justice Society (SJS) v. Dangerous Drugs Board43 which
involved the constitutionality of a provision in R.A. No. 9165 requiring
mandatory drug testing of candidates for public office, students of secondary
and tertiary schools, officers and employees of public and private offices, and
persons charged before the prosecutors office with certain offenses, have also
recognized the fact that there may be such legitimate intrusion of privacy in the
workplace.
The first factor to consider in the matter of reasonableness is the nature of the
privacy interest upon which the drug testing, which effects a search within the
meaning of Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution, intrudes. In this case, the office or
workplace serves as the backdrop for the analysis of the privacy expectation of
the employees and the reasonableness of drug testing requirement. The
employees privacy interest in an office is to a large extent circumscribed by the
companys work policies, the collective bargaining agreement, if any, entered
into by management and the bargaining unit, and the inherent right of the
employer to maintain discipline and efficiency in the workplace. Their privacy
expectation in a regulated office environment is, in fine, reduced; and a degree
of impingement upon such privacy has been upheld. (Emphasis supplied.)
Applying the analysis and principles announced in OConnor and Simons to the
case at bar, we now address the following questions: (1) Did petitioner have a
reasonable expectation of privacy in his office and computer files?; and (2) Was
the search authorized by the CSC Chair, the copying of the contents of the hard
drive on petitioners computer reasonable in its inception and scope?
In this inquiry, the relevant surrounding circumstances to consider include "(1)
the employees relationship to the item seized; (2) whether the item was in the
immediate control of the employee when it was seized; and (3) whether the
employee took actions to maintain his privacy in the item." These factors are
relevant to both the subjective and objective prongs of the reasonableness
inquiry, and we consider the two questions together.44 Thus, where the
employee used a password on his computer, did not share his office with coworkers and kept the same locked, he had a legitimate expectation of privacy
and any search of that space and items located therein must comply with the
Fourth Amendment.45

Office Memorandum No. 10, S. 2002 "Computer Use Policy (CUP)" explicitly
provides:
POLICY
1. The Computer Resources are the property of the Civil Service
Commission and may be used only for legitimate business purposes.
2. Users shall be permitted access to Computer Resources to assist
them in the performance of their respective jobs.
3. Use of the Computer Resources is a privilege that may be revoked
at any given time.
xxxx
No Expectation of Privacy
4. No expectation of privacy. Users except the Members of the
Commission shall not have an expectation of privacy in anything
they create, store, send, or receive on the computer system.
The Head of the Office for Recruitment, Examination and Placement
shall select and assign Users to handle the confidential examination
data and processes.
5. Waiver of privacy rights. Users expressly waive any right to
privacy in anything they create, store, send, or receive on the
computer through the Internet or any other computer
network. Users understand that theCSC may use human or
automated means to monitor the use of its Computer Resources.
6. Non-exclusivity of Computer Resources. A computer resource
is not a personal property or for the exclusive use of a User to whom
a memorandum of receipt (MR) has been issued. It can be shared or
operated by other users. However, he is accountable therefor and
must insure its care and maintenance.
xxxx

We answer the first in the negative. Petitioner failed to prove that he had an
actual (subjective) expectation of privacy either in his office or governmentissued computer which contained his personal files. Petitioner did not allege
that he had a separate enclosed office which he did not share with anyone, or
that his office was always locked and not open to other employees or visitors.
Neither did he allege that he used passwords or adopted any means to prevent
other employees from accessing his computer files. On the contrary, he
submits that being in the public assistance office of the CSC-ROIV, he normally
would have visitors in his office like friends, associates and even unknown
people, whom he even allowed to use his computer which to him seemed a
trivial request. He described his office as "full of people, his friends, unknown
people" and that in the past 22 years he had been discharging his functions at
the PALD, he is "personally assisting incoming clients, receiving documents,
drafting cases on appeals, in charge of accomplishment report, Mamamayan
Muna Program, Public Sector Unionism, Correction of name, accreditation of
service, and hardly had anytime for himself alone, that in fact he stays in the
office as a paying customer."46 Under this scenario, it can hardly be deduced
that petitioner had such expectation of privacy that society would recognize as
reasonable.
Moreover, even assuming arguendo, in the absence of allegation or proof of
the aforementioned factual circumstances, that petitioner had at least a
subjective expectation of privacy in his computer as he claims, such is negated
by the presence of policy regulating the use of office computers, as in Simons.

Passwords
12. Responsibility for passwords. Users shall be responsible for
safeguarding their passwords for access to the computer system.
Individual passwords shall not be printed, stored online, or given to
others. Users shall be responsible for all transactions made using
their passwords. No User may access the computer system with
another Users password or account.
13. Passwords do not imply privacy. Use of passwords to gain access
to the computer system or to encode particular files or messages
does not imply that Users have an expectation of privacy in the
material they create or receive on the computer system. The Civil
Service Commission has global passwords that permit access to all
materials stored on its networked computer system regardless of
whether those materials have been encoded with a particular Users
password. Only members of the Commission shall authorize the
application of the said global passwords.
x x x x47 (Emphasis supplied.)
The CSC in this case had implemented a policy that put its employees on notice
that they have no expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send or
receive on the office computers, and that the CSC may monitor the use of the

61
computer resources using both automated or human means. This implies that
on-the-spot inspections may be done to ensure that the computer resources
were used only for such legitimate business purposes.
One of the factors stated in OConnor which are relevant in determining
whether an employees expectation of privacy in the workplace is reasonable is
the existence of a workplace privacy policy.48 In one case, the US Court of
Appeals Eighth Circuit held that a state university employee has not shown that
he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his computer files where the
universitys computer policy, the computer user is informed not to expect
privacy if the university has a legitimate reason to conduct a search. The user is
specifically told that computer files, including e-mail, can be searched when the
university is responding to a discovery request in the course of litigation.
Petitioner employee thus cannot claim a violation of Fourth Amendment rights
when university officials conducted a warrantless search of his computer for
work-related materials.49
As to the second point of inquiry on the reasonableness of the search
conducted on petitioners computer, we answer in the affirmative.
The search of petitioners computer files was conducted in connection with
investigation of work-related misconduct prompted by an anonymous lettercomplaint addressed to Chairperson David regarding anomalies in the CSCROIV where the head of the Mamamayan Muna Hindi Mamaya Na division is
supposedly "lawyering" for individuals with pending cases in the CSC.
Chairperson David stated in her sworn affidavit:
8. That prior to this, as early as 2006, the undersigned has received several text
messages from unknown sources adverting to certain anomalies in Civil Service
Commission Regional Office IV (CSCRO IV) such as, staff working in another
government agency, "selling" cases and aiding parties with pending cases, all
done during office hours and involved the use of government properties;
9. That said text messages were not investigated for lack of any verifiable leads
and details sufficient to warrant an investigation;
10. That the anonymous letter provided the lead and details as it pinpointed
the persons and divisions involved in the alleged irregularities happening in
CSCRO IV;
11. That in view of the seriousness of the allegations of irregularities happening
in CSCRO IV and its effect on the integrity of the Commission, I decided to form
a team of Central Office staff to back up the files in the computers of the Public
Assistance and Liaison Division (PALD) and Legal Division;
50

xxxx

A search by a government employer of an employees office is justified at


inception when there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that it will turn up
evidence that the employee is guilty of work-related misconduct.51 Thus, in the
2004 case decided by the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit, it was held that
where a government agencys computer use policy prohibited electronic
messages with pornographic content and in addition expressly provided that
employees do not have any personal privacy rights regarding their use of the
agency information systems and technology, the government employee had no
legitimate expectation of privacy as to the use and contents of his office
computer, and therefore evidence found during warrantless search of the
computer was admissible in prosecution for child pornography. In that case,
the defendant employees computer hard drive was first remotely examined by
a computer information technician after his supervisor received complaints
that he was inaccessible and had copied and distributed non-work-related email messages throughout the office. When the supervisor confirmed that
defendant had used his computer to access the prohibited websites, in
contravention of the express policy of the agency, his computer tower and
floppy disks were taken and examined. A formal administrative investigation
ensued and later search warrants were secured by the police department. The
initial remote search of the hard drive of petitioners computer, as well as the

subsequent warrantless searches was held as valid under the OConnor ruling
that a public employer can investigate work-related misconduct so long as any
search is justified at inception and is reasonably related in scope to the
circumstances that justified it in the first place.52
Under the facts obtaining, the search conducted on petitioners computer was
justified at its inception and scope. We quote with approval the CSCs
discussion on the reasonableness of its actions, consistent as it were with the
guidelines established by OConnor:
Even conceding for a moment that there is no such administrative policy, there
is no doubt in the mind of the Commission that the search of Pollos computer
has successfully passed the test of reasonableness for warrantless searches in
the workplace as enunciated in the above-discussed American authorities. It
bears emphasis that the Commission pursued the search in its capacity as a
government employer and that it was undertaken in connection with an
investigation involving a work-related misconduct, one of the circumstances
exempted from the warrant requirement. At the inception of the search, a
complaint was received recounting that a certain division chief in the CSCRO
No. IV was "lawyering" for parties having pending cases with the said regional
office or in the Commission. The nature of the imputation was serious, as it
was grievously disturbing. If, indeed, a CSC employee was found to be furtively
engaged in the practice of "lawyering" for parties with pending cases before
the Commission would be a highly repugnant scenario, then such a case would
have shattering repercussions. It would undeniably cast clouds of doubt upon
the institutional integrity of the Commission as a quasi-judicial agency, and in
the process, render it less effective in fulfilling its mandate as an impartial and
objective dispenser of administrative justice. It is settled that a court or an
administrative tribunal must not only be actually impartial but must be seen to
be so, otherwise the general public would not have any trust and confidence in
it.
Considering the damaging nature of the accusation, the Commission had to
act fast, if only to arrest or limit any possible adverse consequence or fall-out.
Thus, on the same date that the complaint was received, a search was
forthwith conducted involving the computer resources in the concerned
regional office. That it was the computers that were subjected to the search
was justified since these furnished the easiest means for an employee to
encode and store documents. Indeed, the computers would be a likely
starting point in ferreting out incriminating evidence. Concomitantly, the
ephemeral nature of computer files, that is, they could easily be destroyed at
a click of a button, necessitated drastic and immediate action. Pointedly, to
impose the need to comply with the probable cause requirement would
invariably defeat the purpose of the wok-related investigation.
Worthy to mention, too, is the fact that the Commission effected the
warrantless search in an open and transparent manner. Officials and some
employees of the regional office, who happened to be in the vicinity, were on
hand to observe the process until its completion. In addition, the respondent
himself was duly notified, through text messaging, of the search and the
concomitant retrieval of files from his computer.
All in all, the Commission is convinced that the warrantless search done on
computer assigned to Pollo was not, in any way, vitiated with
unconstitutionality. It was a reasonable exercise of the managerial prerogative
of the Commission as an employer aimed at ensuring its operational
effectiveness and efficiency by going after the work-related misfeasance of its
employees. Consequently, the evidence derived from the questioned search
are deemed admissible.53
Petitioners claim of violation of his constitutional right to privacy must
necessarily fail. His other argument invoking the privacy of communication and
correspondence under Section 3(1), Article III of the 1987 Constitution is also
untenable considering the recognition accorded to certain legitimate intrusions
into the privacy of employees in the government workplace under the
aforecited authorities. We likewise find no merit in his contention that
OConnor and Simons are not relevant because the present case does not
involve a criminal offense like child pornography. As already mentioned, the
search of petitioners computer was justified there being reasonable ground for

62
suspecting that the files stored therein would yield incriminating evidence
relevant to the investigation being conducted by CSC as government employer
of such misconduct subject of the anonymous complaint. This situation clearly
falls under the exception to the warrantless requirement in administrative
searches defined in OConnor.
The Court is not unaware of our decision in Anonymous Letter-Complaint
against Atty. Miguel Morales, Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court of
Manila54 involving a branch clerk (Atty. Morales) who was investigated on the
basis of an anonymous letter alleging that he was consuming his working hours
filing and attending to personal cases, using office supplies, equipment and
utilities. The OCA conducted a spot investigation aided by NBI agents. The team
was able to access Atty. Morales personal computer and print two documents
stored in its hard drive, which turned out to be two pleadings, one filed in the
CA and another in the RTC of Manila, both in the name of another lawyer. Atty.
Morales computer was seized and taken in custody of the OCA but was later
ordered released on his motion, but with order to the MISO to first retrieve the
files stored therein. The OCA disagreed with the report of the Investigating
Judge that there was no evidence to support the charge against Atty. Morales
as no one from the OCC personnel who were interviewed would give a
categorical and positive statement affirming the charges against Atty. Morales,
along with other court personnel also charged in the same case. The OCA
recommended that Atty. Morales should be found guilty of gross misconduct.
The Court En Banc held that while Atty. Morales may have fallen short of the
exacting standards required of every court employee, the Court cannot use the
evidence obtained from his personal computer against him for it violated his
constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Court
found no evidence to support the claim of OCA that they were able to obtain
the subject pleadings with the consent of Atty. Morales, as in fact the latter
immediately filed an administrative case against the persons who conducted
the spot investigation, questioning the validity of the investigation and
specifically invoking his constitutional right against unreasonable search and
seizure. And as there is no other evidence, apart from the pleadings, retrieved
from the unduly confiscated personal computer of Atty. Morales, to hold him
administratively liable, the Court had no choice but to dismiss the charges
against him for insufficiency of evidence.
The above case is to be distinguished from the case at bar because, unlike the
former which involved a personal computer of a court employee, the computer
from which the personal files of herein petitioner were retrieved is a
government-issued computer, hence government property the use of which
the CSC has absolute right to regulate and monitor. Such relationship of the
petitioner with the item seized (office computer) and other relevant factors
and circumstances under American Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, notably
the existence of CSC MO 10, S. 2007 on Computer Use Policy, failed to establish
that petitioner had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the office computer
assigned to him.
Having determined that the personal files copied from the office computer of
petitioner are admissible in the administrative case against him, we now
proceed to the issue of whether the CSC was correct in finding the petitioner
guilty of the charges and dismissing him from the service.
Well-settled is the rule that the findings of fact of quasi-judicial agencies, like
the CSC, are accorded not only respect but even finality if such findings are
supported by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is such amount of
relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion, even if other equally reasonable minds might conceivably
opine otherwise.55
The CSC based its findings on evidence consisting of a substantial number of
drafts of legal pleadings and documents stored in his office computer, as well
as the sworn affidavits and testimonies of the witnesses it presented during the
formal investigation. According to the CSC, these documents were confirmed to
be similar or exactly the same content-wise with those on the case records of
some cases pending either with CSCRO No. IV, CSC-NCR or the Commission
Proper. There were also substantially similar copies of those pleadings filed
with the CA and duly furnished the Commission. Further, the CSC found the
explanation given by petitioner, to the effect that those files retrieved from his

computer hard drive actually belonged to his lawyer friends Estrellado and
Solosa whom he allowed the use of his computer for drafting their pleadings in
the cases they handle, as implausible and doubtful under the circumstances.
We hold that the CSCs factual finding regarding the authorship of the subject
pleadings and misuse of the office computer is well-supported by the evidence
on record, thus:
It is also striking to note that some of these documents were in the nature of
pleadings responding to the orders, decisions or resolutions of these offices or
directly in opposition to them such as a petition for certiorari or a motion for
reconsideration of CSC Resolution. This indicates that the author thereof
knowingly and willingly participated in the promotion or advancement of the
interests of parties contrary or antagonistic to the Commission. Worse, the
appearance in one of the retrieved documents the phrase, "Eric N. Estr[e]llado,
Epal kulang ang bayad mo," lends plausibility to an inference that the
preparation or drafting of the legal pleadings was pursued with less than a
laudable motivation. Whoever was responsible for these documents was
simply doing the same for the money a "legal mercenary" selling or purveying
his expertise to the highest bidder, so to speak.
Inevitably, the fact that these documents were retrieved from the computer of
Pollo raises the presumption that he was the author thereof. This is because he
had a control of the said computer. More significantly, one of the witnesses,
Margarita Reyes, categorically testified seeing a written copy of one of the
pleadings found in the case records lying on the table of the respondent. This
was the Petition for Review in the case of Estrellado addressed to the Court of
Appeals. The said circumstances indubitably demonstrate that Pollo was
secretly undermining the interest of the Commission, his very own employer.
To deflect any culpability, Pollo would, however, want the Commission to
believe that the documents were the personal files of some of his friends,
including one Attorney Ponciano Solosa, who incidentally served as his counsel
of record during the formal investigation of this case. In fact, Atty. Solosa
himself executed a sworn affidavit to this effect. Unfortunately, this contention
of the respondent was directly rebutted by the prosecution witness, Reyes,
who testified that during her entire stay in the PALD, she never saw Atty.
Solosa using the computer assigned to the respondent. Reyes more particularly
stated that she worked in close proximity with Pollo and would have known if
Atty. Solosa, whom she personally knows, was using the computer in question.
Further, Atty. Solosa himself was never presented during the formal
investigation to confirm his sworn statement such that the same constitutes
self-serving evidence unworthy of weight and credence. The same is true with
the other supporting affidavits, which Pollo submitted.
At any rate, even admitting for a moment the said contention of the
respondent, it evinces the fact that he was unlawfully authorizing private
persons to use the computer assigned to him for official purpose, not only once
but several times gauging by the number of pleadings, for ends not in
conformity with the interests of the Commission. He was, in effect, acting as a
principal by indispensable cooperationOr at the very least, he should be
responsible for serious misconduct for repeatedly allowing CSC resources, that
is, the computer and the electricity, to be utilized for purposes other than what
they were officially intended.
Further, the Commission cannot lend credence to the posturing of the
appellant that the line appearing in one of the documents, "Eric N. Estrellado,
Epal kulang ang bayad mo," was a private joke between the person alluded to
therein, Eric N. Estrellado, and his counsel, Atty. Solosa, and not indicative of
anything more sinister. The same is too preposterous to be believed. Why
would such a statement appear in a legal pleading stored in the computer
assigned to the respondent, unless he had something to do with it?56
Petitioner assails the CA in not ruling that the CSC should not have entertained
an anonymous complaint since Section 8 of CSC Resolution No. 99-1936
(URACC) requires a verified complaint:
Rule II Disciplinary Cases

63
SEC. 8. Complaint. - A complaint against a civil service official or employee shall
not be given due course unless it is in writing and subscribed and sworn to by
the complainant. However, in cases initiated by the proper disciplining
authority, the complaint need not be under oath.

I concur with the Courts denial of the petition. However, I file this separate
opinion to (1) assert a statutory basis for the disposition of the case, and (2)
articulate the exception to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) office regulation
denying expectation of privacy in the use of government computers.

No anonymous complaint shall be entertained unless there is obvious truth or


merit to the allegation therein or supported by documentary or direct
evidence, in which case the person complained of may be required to
comment.

First. The CSCs computer use regulation, which opens to access for internal
scrutiny anything CSC employees "create, store, send, or receive in the
computer system," has a statutory basis under the Government Auditing Code
of the Philippines. Section 4(2) of the Code mandates that "[g]overnment x x
x property shall be x x xused solely for public purposes."1 In short, any private
use of a government property, like a government-owned computer, is
prohibited by law. Consequently, a government employee cannot expect any
privacy when he uses a government-owned computer because he knows he
cannot use the computer for any private purpose. The CSC regulation declaring
a no-privacy expectation on the use of government-owned computers logically
follows from the statutory rule that government-owned property shall be used
"solely" for a public purpose.

xxxx
We need not belabor this point raised by petitioner. The administrative
complaint is deemed to have been initiated by the CSC itself when Chairperson
David, after a spot inspection and search of the files stored in the hard drive of
computers in the two divisions adverted to in the anonymous letter -- as part of
the disciplining authoritys own fact-finding investigation and informationgathering -- found a prima facie case against the petitioner who was then
directed to file his comment. As this Court held in Civil Service Commission v.
Court of Appeals57 -Under Sections 46 and 48 (1), Chapter 6, Subtitle A, Book V of E.O. No. 292 and
Section 8, Rule II of Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, a
complaint may be initiated against a civil service officer or employee by the
appropriate disciplining authority, even without being subscribed and sworn to.
Considering that the CSC, as the disciplining authority for Dumlao, filed the
complaint, jurisdiction over Dumlao was validly acquired. (Emphasis supplied.)
As to petitioners challenge on the validity of CSC OM 10, S. 2002 (CUP), the
same deserves scant consideration. The alleged infirmity due to the said
memorandum order having been issued solely by the CSC Chair and not the
Commission as a collegial body, upon which the dissent of Commissioner
Buenaflor is partly anchored, was already explained by Chairperson David in
her Reply to the Addendum to Commissioner Buenaflors previous memo
expressing his dissent to the actions and disposition of the Commission in this
case. According to Chairperson David, said memorandum order was in fact
exhaustively discussed, provision by provision in the January 23, 2002
Commission Meeting, attended by her and former Commissioners Erestain, Jr.
and Valmores. Hence, the Commission En Banc at the time saw no need to
issue a Resolution for the purpose and further because the CUP being for
internal use of the Commission, the practice had been to issue a memorandum
order.58 Moreover, being an administrative rule that is merely internal in
nature, or which regulates only the personnel of the CSC and not the public,
the CUP need not be published prior to its effectivity.59
In fine, no error or grave abuse of discretion was committed by the CA in
affirming the CSCs ruling that petitioner is guilty of grave misconduct,
dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and violation
of R.A. No. 6713. The gravity of these offenses justified the imposition on
petitioner of the ultimate penalty of dismissal with all its accessory penalties,
pursuant to existing rules and regulations.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The
Decision dated October 11, 2007 and Resolution dated February 29, 2008 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 98224 are AFFIRMED.
With costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION


CARPIO, J.:

Moreover, the statutory rule and the CSC regulation are consistent with the
constitutional treatment of a public office as a public trust.2 The statutory rule
and the CSC regulation also implement the State policies, as expressly provided
in the Constitution, of ensuring full disclosure of all government transactions
involving public interest,3maintaining honesty and integrity in the public
service, and preventing graft and corruption.4
Thus, in this jurisdiction, the constitutional guarantees of privacy and
reasonable search are unavailing against audit inspections or internal
investigations for misconduct, as here, of electronic data stored
in government-owned property such as computing, telecommunication, and
other devices issued to civil servants. These constitutional guarantees apply
only to searches of devices privately owned by government employees.
Second. The CSC office regulation denying CSC employees privacy expectation
in "anything they create, store, send, or receive in the computer
system,"5 although valid as to petitioner Briccio Pollo, is constitutionally infirm
insofar as the regulation excludes from its ambit the three CSC commissioners
solely by reason of their rank, and not by reason of the confidential nature of
the electronic data they generate.
Office regulations mandating no-privacy expectation such as the CSC regulation
in question cannot justify access to sensitive government information
traditionally recognized as confidential. Thus, insulated from the reach of such
regulations are Presidential conversations, correspondences, or discussions
during closed-door Cabinet meetings, internal deliberations of the Supreme
Court and other collegiate courts, draft decisions of judges and justices,
executive sessions of either house of Congress, military and diplomatic secrets,
national security matters, documents relating to pre-prosecution investigations
by law enforcement agencies and similar confidential matters.6 The privilege of
confidentiality covering these classes of information, barring free access to
them, is grounded on the nature of the constitutional function of the public
officials involved, coupled with considerations of efficiency, safety and comity
interests since disclosure of confidential information jeopardizes decisionmaking, endangers lives and undermines diplomatic dealings, as the case may
be.
The CSC, as the governments "central personnel agency,"7 exercises quasijudicial functions in "[r]ender[ing] opinion and rulings on all personnel and
other Civil Service matters."8 The CSCs internal deliberations on administrative
cases are comparable to the internal deliberations of collegial courts. Such
internal deliberations enjoy confidentiality and cannot be accessed on the
ground that an audio of the deliberations is stored in a government-owned
device. Likewise, draft decisions of CSC commissioners that are stored in
government-issued computers are confidential information.
By providing that "[u]sers except the Members of the
Commission shall not have an expectation of privacy in anything they create,
store, send, or receive in the [government-owned] computer system," the CSC
regulation creates a new, constitutionally suspect category of confidential

64
information based, not on the sensitivity of content, but on the salary grade of
its author. Thus, a glaring exemption from the CSCs own transparency
regulation is "anything x x x create[d], store[d], sen[t], or receive[d]" in the
commissions computer system by the three CSC members. As the new category
is content-neutral and draws its confidentiality solely from the rank held by the
government official creating, storing, sending and receiving the data, the
exemption stands on its head the traditional grounding of confidentiality the
sensitivity of content.
The constitutional infirmity of the exemption is worsened by the arbitrariness
of its rank-based classification. The three CSC commissioners, unlike the rest of
the lower ranked CSC employees, are excluded from the operation of the CSCs
data transparency regulation solely because they are the CSCs highest ranking
officers.9 This classification fails even the most lenient equal protection
analysis. It bears no reasonable connection with the CSC regulations avowed
purposes of "[1] [p]rotect[ing] confidential, proprietary information of the CSC
from theft or unauthorized disclosure to third parties; [2] [o]ptimiz[ing] the use
of the CSCs *c+omputer *r]esources as what they are officially intended for; and
[3] [r]educ[ing] and possibly eliminat[ing] potential legal liability to employees
and third parties."10 The assumption upon which the classification rests that
the CSC commissioners, unlike the rest of the CSCs thousands of employees,
are incapable of violating these objectives is plainly unfounded.
The only way by which the CSC commissioners, or for that matter, any of its
employees, can constitutionally take themselves out of the ambit of the CSCs
no-privacy regulation is if they (1) invoke the doctrine of confidentiality of
information, and (2) prove that the information sought to be exempted indeed
falls under any of the classes of confidential information adverted to above (or
those comparable to them). Sensitivity of content, not rank, justifies enjoyment
of this very narrow constitutional privilege.
Accordingly, I vote to DENY the petition.

CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION

of determining, ordinarily, to what extent his thoughts, sentiments, and


emotions shall be communicated to others,"3 said right being merely part of an
individuals right to be let alone.4
While some quarters do not easily concede that Warren and Brandeis
"invented" the right to privacy, mainly because a robust body of confidentiality
law protecting private information from disclosure existed throughout AngloAmerican common law by 1890, critics have acknowledged that The Right to
Privacy charted a new path for American privacy law.5
In 1928, Brandeis, already a Supreme Court Justice, incorporated the right to be
let alone in his dissent in Olmstead v. United States,6 viz:
"The protection guaranteed by the Amendments is much broader in scope. The
makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the
pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of mans spiritual nature,
of his feelings, and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain,
pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought
to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their
sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let
alone the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized
men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government
upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be
deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And the use, as evidence in a
criminal proceeding, of facts ascertained by such intrusion must be deemed a
violation of the Fifth." [emphasis supplied]
In 1960, torts scholar William Prosser published in the California Law
Review7 his article Privacy based on his thorough review of the various
decisions of the United States courts and of the privacy laws. He observed then
that the "law of privacy comprises four distinct kinds of invasion of four
different interests of the plaintiff, which are tied together by the common
name, but otherwise have almost nothing in common except that each
represents an interference with the right of the plaintiff, in the phrase coined
by Judge Cooley, to be let alone."8 He identified the four torts as: (a) the
intrusion upon the plaintiffs seclusion or solitude, or into his private affairs; (b)
the public disclosure of embarrassing private facts about the plaintiff; (c) the
publicity that places the plaintiff in a false light in the public eye; and (d) the
appropriation, for the defendants advantage, of the plaintiffs name or
likeness.9

BERSAMIN, J.:
I render this concurring and dissenting opinion only to express my thoughts on
the constitutional right to privacy of communication and correspondence vis-vis an office memorandum that apparently removed an employees
expectation of privacy in the workplace.
I
Indispensable to the position I take herein is an appreciation of the
development and different attributes of the right to privacy that has come to
be generally regarded today as among the valuable rights of the individual that
must be given Constitutional protection.
The 1890 publication in the Harvard Law Review of The Right to Privacy,1 an
article of 28 pages co-written by former law classmates Samuel Warren and
Louis Brandeis, is often cited to have given birth to the recognition of the
constitutional right to privacy. The article was spawned by the emerging
growth of media and technology, with the co-authors particularly being
concerned by the production in 1884 by the Eastman Kodak Company of a
"snap camera" that enabled people to take candid pictures. Prior to 1884,
cameras had been expensive and heavy; they had to be set up and people
would have to pose to have their pictures taken. The snap camera expectedly
ignited the enthusiasm for amateur photography in thousands of people who
had previously not been able to afford a camera. This technological
development moved Warren and Brandeis to search for a legal right to protect
individual privacy.2 One of the significant assertions they made in their article
was the declaration that "the common law secures to each individual the right

With regard to the first tort of intrusion upon seclusion or solitude, or into
private affairs, Prosser posited that there was a remedy when a person
"intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion
of another or his private affairs or concerns" in a manner that was "highly
offensive to a reasonable person."10 The second and third torts established
liability when the publicized matter was highly offensive to a reasonable person
and was not a legitimate concern of the public if it involved disclosure of
embarrassing private facts or placed another before the public in a false
light.11 Lastly, the tort of appropriation afforded a relief when a person adopted
"to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another."12
In the 1977 landmark ruling of Whalen v. Roe,13 the US Supreme Court
expanded the right to privacy by categorizing privacy claims into two, namely:
informational privacy, to refer to the interest in avoiding disclosure of personal
matters; and decisional privacy, to refer to the interest in independence in
making certain kinds of important decisions.
All US Circuit Courts recognizing informational privacy have held that this right
is not absolute and, therefore, they have balanced individuals informational
privacy interests against the States interest in acquiring or disclosing the
information.14 The majority of the US Circuit Courts have adopted some form of
scrutiny that has required the Government to show a "substantial" interest for
invading individuals right to confidentiality in their personal information, and
then to balance the States substantial interest in the disclosure as against the
individuals interest in confidentiality.15 This balancing test was developed in
United States v. Westinghouse16 by using the following factors, to wit: (a) the
type of record requested; (b) the information it did or might contain; (c) the

65
potential for harm in any subsequent nonconsensual disclosure; (d) the injury
from disclosure to the relationship in which the record was generated; (e) the
adequacy of safeguards to prevent unauthorized disclosure; (f) the degree of
need for access; and (g) the presence of an express statutory mandate,
articulated public policy, or other recognizable public interest militating toward
access.17
Decisional privacy, on the other hand, evolved from decisions touching on
matters concerning speech, religion, personal relations, education and sexual
preferences. As early as 1923, the US Supreme Court recognized decisional
privacy in its majority opinion in Meyer v. Nebraska.18 The petitioner therein
was tried and convicted by a district court, and his conviction was affirmed by
the Supreme Court of the Nebraska, for teaching the subject of reading in the
German language to a ten-year old boy who had not attained and successfully
passed eighth grade.19 In reversing the judgment, Justice McReynolds of the US
Supreme Court pronounced that the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth
Amendment "denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint, but also the
right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations
of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up
children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and
generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential
to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men." Justice McReynolds
elaborated thusly:
"Practically, education of the young is only possible in schools conducted by
especially qualified persons who devote themselves thereto. The calling always
has been regarded as useful and honorable, essential, indeed, to the public
welfare. Mere knowledge of the German language cannot reasonably be
regarded as harmful. Heretofore it has been commonly looked upon as helpful
and desirable. Plaintiff in error taught this language in school as part of his
occupation. His right thus to teach and the right of parents to engage him so to
instruct their children, we think, are within the liberty of the Amendment."
In Griswold v. Connecticut,20 the US Supreme Court resolved another decisional
privacy claim by striking down a statute that prohibited the use of
contraceptives by married couples. Justice Douglas, delivering the opinion,
declared:
"By Pierce v. Society of Sisters, supra, the right to educate ones children as one
chooses is made applicable to the States by the force of the First
and Fourteenth Amendments. By Meyer v. Nebraska, supra, the same dignity is
given the right to study the German language in a private school. In other
words, the State may not, consistently with the spirit of the First Amendment,
contract the spectrum of available knowledge. The right of freedom of speech
and press includes not only the right to utter or to print, but the right to
distribute, the right to receive, the right to read (Martin v. Struthers, 319 U.S.
141, 143) and freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom to teach
(see Wiemann v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183, 195) -- indeed, the freedom of the
entire university community. (Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 249250, 261-263; Barenblatt v. United States, 360 U.S. 109, 112;Baggett v.
Bullitt, 377 U.S. 360, 369). Without those peripheral rights, the specific rights
would be less secure. And so we reaffirm the principle of the Pierce and
the Meyer cases.
xxxx
"The present case, then, concerns a relationship lying within the zone of
privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees. And it
concerns a law which, in forbidding the use of contraceptives, rather than
regulating their manufacture or sale, seeks to achieve its goals by means having
a maximum destructive impact upon that relationship. Such a law cannot stand
in light of the familiar principle, so often applied by this Court, that a
governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject
to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily
broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms. (NAACP v.
Alabama, 377 U.S. 288, 307). Would we allow the police to search the sacred
precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives?
The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage
relationship."

One of the most controversial decisional privacy claims was dealt with in Roe v.
Wade,21 by which the US Supreme Court justified abortion in the United States
on the premise that:
"This right of privacy xxx is broad enough to encompass a womans decision
whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State
would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is
apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even in early
pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon
the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent.
Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the
distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the
problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and
otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, as in this one, the additional difficulties
and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are
factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in
consultation.
xxxx
"Although the results are divided, most of these courts have agreed that the
right of privacy, however based, is broad enough to cover the abortion
decision; that the right, nonetheless, is not absolute and is subject to some
limitations; and that at some point the state interests as to protection of
health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant."
In the Philippines, we have upheld decisional privacy claims. For instance, in the
2003 case of Estrada v. Escritor,22 although the majority opinion dealt
extensively with the claim of religious freedom, a right explicitly provided by
the Constitution, Justice Bellosillos separate opinion was informative with
regard to the privacy aspect of the issue involved and, hence, stated:
"More than religious freedom, I look with partiality to the rights of due process
and privacy. Law in general reflects a particular morality or ideology, and so I
would rather not foist upon the populace such criteria as "compelling state
interest," but more, the reasonably foreseeable specific connection between
an employees potentially embarrassing conduct and the efficiency of the
service. This is a fairly objective standard than the compelling interest standard
involved in religious freedom.
"Verily, if we are to remand the instant case to the Office of the Court
Administrator, we must also configure the rights of due process and privacy
into the equation. By doing so, we can make a difference not only for those
who object out of religious scruples but also for those who choose to live a
meaningful life even if it means sometimes breaking "oppressive" and
"antiquated" application of laws but are otherwise efficient and effective
workers. As is often said, when we have learned to reverence each individuals
liberty as we do our tangible wealth, we then shall have our renaissance."
Relevantly, Article III, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution embodies the
protection of the privacy of communication and correspondence, to wit:
Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be
inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order
requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
xxxx
Yet, the guarantee in favor of the privacy of communication and
correspondence is not absolute, for it expressly allows intrusion either upon
lawful order of a court or when public safety and order so demands (even
without a court order).23
In its 1965 ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut,24 the US Supreme Court declared
that the right to privacy was a fundamental personal right; and that the
enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights should not be construed as a

66
denial or disparagement of others that have been retained by the
people,25 considering that the "specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights had
penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that helped give
them life and substance." Accordingly, an individuals right to privacy of
communication and correspondence cannot, as a general rule, be denied
without violating the basic principles of liberty and justice.
The constitutional right to privacy in its Philippine context was first recognized
in the 1968 ruling of Morfe v. Mutuc,26 where the Court affirmed that:
"The right to privacy as such is accorded recognition independently of its
identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving of constitutional
protection. The language of Prof. Emerson is particularly apt: "The concept of
limited government has always included the idea that governmental powers
stop short of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is
indeed one of the basic distinctions between absolute and limited government.
Ultimate and pervasive control of the individual, in all aspects of his life, is the
hallmark of the absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited government,
safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the individual, firmly
distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state can control. Protection
of this private sector protection, in other words, of the dignity and integrity
of the individual has become increasingly important as modern society has
developed. All the forces of a technological age industrialization,
urbanization, and organization operate to narrow the area of privacy and
facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain and
support this enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic
and a totalitarian society."
Morfe v. Mutuc emphasized the significance of privacy by declaring that "[t]he
right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom."27 The description
hewed very closely to that earlier made by Justice Brandeis in Olmstead v.
United States that the right to be let alone was "the most comprehensive of
rights and the right most valued by civilized men."28
It is elementary that before this constitutional right may be invoked a
reasonable or objective expectation of privacy should exist, a concept that was
introduced in the concurring opinion of Justice Harlan in the 1967 case Katz v.
United States,29 no doubt inspired by the oral argument30 of Judge Harvey
Schneider, then co-counsel for petitioner Charles Katz. Since the idea was never
discussed in the briefs, Judge Schneider boldly articulated during his oral
argument that "expectations of privacy should be based on an objective
standard, one that could be formulated using the reasonable man standard
from tort law."31 Realizing the significance of this new standard in its Fourth
Amendment jurisprudence, Justice Harlan, in his own way, characterized the
reasonable expectation of privacy test as "the rule that has emerged from prior
decisions."32
Justice Harlan expanded the test into its subjective and objective component,
however, by stressing that the protection of the Fourth Amendment has a twofold requirement: "first, that a person have exhibited an actual (subjective)
expectation of privacy and, second, that the expectation be one that society is
prepared to recognize as reasonable."33 Although the majority opinion in Katz
v. United States made no reference to this reasonable expectation of privacy
test, it instituted the doctrine that "the Fourth Amendment protects people,
not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own
home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. But what he
seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be
constitutionally protected."34
In the 1968 case Mancusi v. DeForte,35 the US Supreme Court started to apply
the reasonable expectation of privacy test pioneered by Katz v. United States
and declared that the "capacity to claim the protection of the Amendment
depends not upon a property right in the invaded place, but upon whether the
area was one in which there was a reasonable expectation of freedom from
governmental intrusion."36
II

Bearing in mind the history and evolution of the right to privacy as a


Constitutionally-protected right, I now dwell on whether the petitioner, a
public employee, enjoyed an objective or reasonable expectation of privacy in
his workplace, i.e. within the premises of respondent Civil Service Commission,
his employer.
At the outset, I state that the right to privacy involved herein is the petitioners
right to informational privacy in his workplace, specifically his right to work
freely without surveillance or intrusion.37
I find relevant the doctrine laid down in OConnor v. Ortega,38 where the US
Supreme Court held that a person was deemed to have a lower expectation of
privacy in his workplace. The decrease in expectation of privacy was not similar
to a non-existent expectation, however, for the US Supreme Court clarified:
"Given the societal expectations of privacy in ones place of work expressed in
both Oliver and Mancusi, we reject the contention made by the Solicitor
General and petitioners that public employees can never have a reasonable
expectation of privacy in their place of work. Individuals do not lose Fourth
Amendment rights merely because they work for the government, instead of a
private employer. The operational realities of the workplace, however, may
make some employees' expectations of privacy unreasonable when an
intrusion is by a supervisor, rather than a law enforcement official. Public
employees expectations of privacy in their offices, desks, and file cabinets, like
similar expectations of employees in the private sector, may be reduced by
virtue of actual office practices and procedures, or by legitimate regulation. xxx
An office is seldom a private enclave free from entry by supervisors, other
employees, and business and personal invitees. Instead, in many cases offices
are continually entered by fellow employees and other visitors during the
workday for conferences, consultations, and other work-related visits. Simply
put, it is the nature of government offices that others such as fellow
employees, supervisors, consensual visitors, and the general public may have
frequent access to an individual's office. We agree with JUSTICE SCALIA that
*c+onstitutional protection against unreasonable searches by the government
does not disappear merely because the government has the right to make
reasonable intrusions in its capacity as employer,
but some government offices may be so open to fellow employees or the
public that no expectation of privacy is reasonable.
xxxx
"Balanced against the substantial government interests in the efficient and
proper operation of the workplace are the privacy interests of government
employees in their place of work, which, while not insubstantial, are far less
than those found at home or in some other contexts. As with the building
inspections in Camara, the employer intrusions at issue here "involve a
relatively limited invasion" of employee privacy. Government offices are
provided to employees for the sole purpose of facilitating the work of an
agency. The employee may avoid exposing personal belongings at work by
simply leaving them at home. [emphasis supplied]
For sure, there are specific reasons why employees in general have a decreased
expectation of privacy with respect to work-email accounts,39 including the
following:
(a) Employers have legitimate interests in monitoring the
workplace;40
(b) Employers own the facilities;
(c) Monitoring computer or internet use is a lesser evil compared to
other liabilities, such as having copyright infringing material enter
the company computers, or having employees send proprietary
material to outside parties;

67
(d)An employer also has an interest in detecting legally incriminating
material that may later be subject to electronic discovery;

rightfully invoke the Constitutional protection to the privacy of his


communication and correspondence.

(e) An employer simply needs to monitor the use of computer


resources, from viruses to clogging due to large image or
pornography files.41

In view of the petitioners expectation of privacy, albeit diminished, I differ


from the Majoritys holding that he should be barred from claiming any
violation of his right to privacy and right against unreasonable searches and
seizures with respect to all the files, official or private, stored in his computer.
Although I concede that respondent David had legal authority and good
reasons to issue her order to back up the petitioners files as an exercise of her
power of supervision, I am not in full accord with the Majoritys holding for the
confiscation of all the files stored in the computer. The need to control or
prevent activities constitutionally subject to the States regulation may not be
filled by means that unnecessarily and broadly sweep and thereby invade the
area of protected freedoms.46

In view of these reasons, the fact that employees may be given individual
accounts and password protection is not deemed to create any expectation of
privacy.42
Similarly, monitoring an employees computer usage may also be impelled by
the following legitimate reasons:
(a) To maintain the companys professional reputation and image;
(b) To maintain employee productivity;
(c) To prevent and discourage sexual or other illegal workplace
harassment;
(d) To prevent "cyberstalking" by employees;
(e) To prevent possible defamation liability;
(f) To prevent employee disclosure of trade secrets and other
confidential information; and
(g)To avoid copyright and other intellectual property infringement
from employees illegally downloading software, etc.43
Even without Office Memorandum (OM) No. 10, Series of 2002 being issued by
respondent Karina Constantino-David as Chairman of the Civil Service
Commission, the employees of the Commission, including the petitioner, have
a reduced expectation of privacy in the workplace. The objective of the
issuance of OM No. 10 has been only to formally inform and make aware the
employees of the Commission about the limitations on their privacy while they
are in the workplace and to advise them that the Commission has legitimate
reasons to monitor communications made by them, electronically or not. The
objectives of OM No. 10 are, needless to state, clear in this regard.44

I hold, instead, that the petitioner is entitled to a reasonable expectation of


privacy in respect of the communications created, stored, sent, or received
after office hours through the office computer, as to which he must be
protected. For that reason, respondent Davids order to back up files should
only cover the files corresponding to communications created, stored, sent, or
received during office hours. There will be no difficulty in identifying and
segregating the files created, stored, sent, or received during and after office
hours with the constant advancement and improvement of technology and the
presumed expertise of the Commissions information systems analysts.
Nonetheless, my concurrence with the Majority remains as regards the
petitioners administrative liability and the seizure of the remainder of the files.
I am reiterating, for emphasis, that the diminution of his expectation of privacy
in the workplace derived from the nature and purpose of a government office,
actual office practice and procedures observed therein, and legitimate
regulation.47 Thus, I vote to uphold the legality of OM No. 10. I hasten to add,
to be very clear, that the validity of the seizure of the files should be limited to
the need for determining whether or not the petitioner unjustly utilized official
resources of the Commission for personal purposes, and should not extend to
the reading of the files contents, which would be violative of his right to
privacy.
I adhere to the principle that every man is believed to be free. Freedom gears a
man to move about unhampered and to speak out from conviction. That is why
the right to privacy has earned its worthy place in the Bill of Rights. However,
although the right to privacy is referred to as a right to be enjoyed by the
people, the State cannot just sit back and stand aside when, in the exercise of
his right to privacy, the individual perilously tilts the scales to the detriment of
the national interest.

III
Unlike the Majority, I find that the petitioner did not absolutely waive his right
to privacy.45 OM No. 10 contains the following exception, to wit:
Waste of Computer Resources. x x x
xxxx
However, Users are given privileged access to the Internet for knowledge
search, information exchange and others. They shall be allowed to use the
computer resources for personal purpose after office hours provided that no
unlawful materials mentioned in item number 7 and 8 are involved, and no
other facilities such as air conditioning unit, video/audio system etc., shall be
used except sufficient lights. [emphasis supplied]
Thereby, OM No. 10 has actually given the petitioner privileged access to the
Internet for knowledge search, information exchange, and others; and has
explicitly allowed him to use the computer resources for personal purposes
after office hours. Implicit in such privileged access and permitted personal use
was, therefore, that he still had a reasonable expectation of privacy vis--vis
whatever communications he created, stored, sent, or received after office
hours through using the Commissions computer resources, such that he could

In upholding the validity of OM No. 10, I also suppose that it is not the
intention of the Majority to render the Bill of Rights inferior to an
administrative rule. Rather, adoption of the balancing of interests test, a
concept analogous to the form of scrutiny employed by courts of the United
States, has turned out to be applicable especially in the face of the conflict
between the individual interest of the petitioner (who asserts his right to
privacy) and the Commissions legitimate concern as an arm of the Government
tasked to perform official functions. The balancing of interest test has been
explained by Professor Kauper,48 viz:
"The theory of balance of interests represents a wholly pragmatic approach to
the problem of First Amendment freedom, indeed, to the whole problem of
constitutional interpretation. It rests on the theory that is the Courts function
in the case before it when it finds public interests served by legislation on the
one hand and First Amendment freedoms affected by it on the other, to
balance the one against the other and to arrive at a judgment where the
greater weight shall be placed. If on balance it appears that the public interest
served by restrictive legislation is of such a character that it outweighs the
abridgment of freedom, then the Court will find the legislation valid. In short,
the balance-of-interests theory rests on the basis that constitutional freedoms
are not absolute, not even those stated in the First Amendment, and that they
may be abridged to some extent to serve appropriate and important interest."
(emphasis supplied.)

68
The Court has applied the balancing of interest test in Alejano v.
Cabuay,49 where it ruled that the substantial government interest in security
and discipline outweighed a detainees right to privacy of communication. The
Court has elucidated:
"In Hudson v. Palmer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an inmate has no
reasonable expectation of privacy inside his cell. The U.S. Supreme Court
explained that prisoners necessarily lose many protections of the Constitution,
thus:
However, while persons imprisoned for crime enjoy many protections of the
Constitution, it is also clear that imprisonment carries with it the
circumscription or loss of many significant rights. These constraints on inmates,
and in some cases the complete withdrawal of certain rights, are "justified by
the considerations underlying our penal system." The curtailment of certain
rights is necessary, as a practical matter, to accommodate a myriad of
"institutional needs and objectives" of prison facilities, chief among which is
internal security. Of course, these restrictions or retractions also serve,
incidentally, as reminders that, under our system of justice, deterrence and
retribution are factors in addition to correction.
"The later case of State v. Dunn, citing Hudson v. Palmer,
abandoned Palmigiano v. Travisono and made no distinction as to the
detainees limited right to privacy. State v. Dunn noted the considerable
jurisprudence in the United States holding that inmate mail may be censored
for the furtherance of a substantial government interest such as security or
discipline. State v. Dunn declared that if complete censorship is permissible,
then the lesser act of opening the mail and reading it is also permissible. We
quote State v. Dunn:
*A+ right of privacy in traditional Fourth Amendment terms is fundamentally
incompatible with the close and continual surveillance of inmates and their
cells required to ensure institutional security and internal order. We are
satisfied that society would insist that the prisoners expectation of privacy
always yield to what must be considered a paramount interest in institutional
security. We believe that it is accepted by our society that "[l]oss of freedom of
choice and privacy are inherent incidents of confinement."
xxxx
"Thus, we do not agree with the Court of Appeals that the opening and reading
of the detainees letters in the present case violated the detainees right to
privacy of communication. The letters were not in a sealed envelope. The
inspection of the folded letters is a valid measure as it serves the same purpose
as the opening of sealed letters for the inspection of contraband.
xxxx
"In assessing the regulations imposed in detention and prison facilities that are
alleged to infringe on the constitutional rights of the detainees and convicted
prisoners, U.S. courts "balance the guarantees of the Constitution with the
legitimate concerns of prison administrators." The deferential review of such
regulations stems from the principle that:
[s]ubjecting the day-to-day judgments of prison officials to an inflexible strict
scrutiny analysis would seriously hamper their ability to anticipate security
problems and to adopt innovative solutions to the intractable problems of
prison administration." [emphasis supplied]
Much like any other government office, the Commission was established
primarily for the purpose of advancing and accomplishing the functions that
were the object of its creation.50 It is imperative, therefore, that its resources
be maximized to achieve utmost efficiency in order to ensure the delivery of
quality output and services to the public. This commitment to efficiency existed
not solely in the interest of good government but also in the interest of letting
government agencies control their own information-processing systems.51 With
the State and the people being the Commissions ultimate beneficiaries, it is

incumbent upon the Commission to maintain integrity both in fact and in


appearance at all times. OM No. 10 was issued to serve as a necessary
instrument to safeguard the efficiency and integrity of the Commission, a
matter that was of a compelling State interest, and consequently to lay a sound
basis for the limited encroachment in the petitioners right to privacy. But,
nonetheless, Justice Goldbergs concurring opinion in Griswold v.
Connecticut52 might be instructive:
"In a long series of cases this Court has held that where fundamental personal
liberties are involved, they may not be abridged by the States simply on a
showing that a regulatory statute has some rational relationship to the
effectuation of a proper state purpose. Where there is a significant
encroachment upon personal liberty, the State may prevail only upon showing
a subordinating interest which is compelling (Bates v. Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516,
524). The law must be shown necessary, and not merely rationally related, to
the accomplishment of a permissible state policy." (McLaughlin v. Florida, 379
U.S. 184, 186)
Even assuming that the anonymous tip about the petitioners misuse of the
computer proved to be false, i.e., the petitioner did not really engage in
lawyering for or assisting parties with interests adverse to that of the
Commission, his permitting former colleagues and close friends not officially
connected with the Commission to use and store files in his computer,53 which
he admitted, still seriously breached, or, at least, threatened to breach the
integrity and efficiency of the Commission as a government office.
Compounding his breach was that he was well informed of the limited
computer use and privacy policies in OM No. 10, in effect since 2002, prior to
the seizure of his files in January of 2007. The Court should not disregard or
ignore the breach he was guilty of, for doing so could amount to abetting his
misconduct to the detriment of the public who always deserved quality service
from the Commission.
IV
As early as in Olmstead v. United States,54 Justice Brandeis anticipated the
impact of technological changes to the right to privacy and significantly
observed that "xxx time works changes, brings into existence new conditions and purposes."
Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become
available to the Government. Discovery and invention have made it possible for
the government, by means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to
obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet. Moreover, "in the
application of a Constitution, our contemplation cannot be only of what has
been but of what may be." The progress of science in furnishing the
Government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wiretapping.
Ways may someday be developed by which the Government, without removing
papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will
be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home.
Advances in the psychic and related sciences may bring means of exploring
unexpressed beliefs, thoughts and emotions. xxx"
In this era when technological advancement and the emergence of
sophisticated methodologies in terms of the science of communication are
already inexorable and commonplace, I cannot help but recognize the potential
impact of the Majoritys ruling on future policies to govern situations in the
public and private workplaces. I apprehend that the ruling about the decreased
expectation of privacy in the workplace may generate an unwanted implication
for employers in general to henceforth consider themselves authorized,
without risking a collision with the Constitutionally-protected right to privacy,
to probe and pry into communications made during work hours by their
employees through the use of their computers and other digital instruments of
communication. Thus, the employers may possibly begin to monitor their
employees phone calls, to screen incoming and out-going e-mails, to capture
queries made through any of the Internets efficient search engines (like
Google), or to censor visited websites (like Yahoo!, Facebook or Twitter) in the
avowed interest of ensuring productivity and supervising use of business
resources. That will be unfortunate.

69
The apprehension may ripen into a real concern about the possibility of abuse
on the part of the employers. I propose, therefore, that the ruling herein be
made pro hac vice, for there may be situations not presently envisioned that
may be held, wrongly or rightly, as covered by the ruling, like when the
instrument of communication used is property not owned by the employer
although used during work hours.
As a final note, let me express the sentiment that an employee, regardless of
his position and of the sector he works for, is not a slave of trade expected to
devote his full time and attention to the job. Although the interests of capital
or public service do merit protection, a recognition of the limitations of man as
a being needful of some extent of rest, and of some degree of personal space
even during work hours, is most essential in order to fully maximize the
potential by which his services was obtained in the first place. The job should
not own him the whole time he is in the workplace. Even while he remains in
the workplace, he must be allowed to preserve his own identity, to maintain an
inner self, to safeguard his beliefs, and to keep certain thoughts, judgments and
desires hidden. Otherwise put, he does not surrender his entire expectation of
privacy totally upon entering the gates of the workplace. Unreasonable
intrusion into his right to be let alone should still be zealously guarded against,
albeit he may have waived at some point a greater part of that expectation. At
any rate, whenever the interest of the employer and the employee should
clash, the assistance of the courts may be sought to define the limits of
intrusion or to balance interests.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to deny the petition, subject to the qualification that the
petitioners right to privacy should be respected as to the files created, stored,
sent or received after office hours; and to the further qualification that the
decision be held to apply pro hac vice.