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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT


NATIONAL CAPITAL JUDICIAL REGION
BRANCH 10, MANILA

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff,
CRIM. CASE NO. 99-176434
For: Violation of P.D. No. 1612
- versus ROBERT CABAL ERAN,
Accused.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
DECISION
On September 9, 1999, an Information was filed against accused
Robert Cabal Eran charging him with violation of Presidential Decree
(P.D.) No. 1612, otherwise known as the Anti-Fencing Law of 1979,
committed as follows:
That on or about September 1, 1999, in the City of
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, accused ROBERT CABAL ERAN, with
intent to gain for himself or for another did then and
there, willfully unlawfully and feloniously, keep, acquire,
possess, sell or dispose of, or in any other manner deal
with NINETY (90) SETS OF DIGITAL ENHANCED
CORDLESS TELEPHONE VALUED AT US $6,543.00, more
or less, which he knew or should have known to him to
have derived from the crime of ROBBERY or THEFT, to
the damage and prejudice of the private complainant
SKY FREIGHT FORWARDERS, INC. in the aforestated
amount as may be awarded to it under the provisions of
the Civil Code.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
On September 23, 1999, accused was duly arraigned and with
the assistance of his counsel de parte, Atty. Ernesto A. Gonzales, Jr.
(Atty. Gonzales), pleaded not guilty to the offense charged.
Pre-trial was conducted on February 7, 2000. Trial on the merits
thereafter ensued.

DECISION
CRIM. CASE NO. 99-176434
Page Two (2)
I. Antecedents
The evidence for the prosecution disclosed that Skyfreight
Forwarders, Inc., a local forwarding company, was commissioned by
Dae Ryung Ind., Inc., Phil. (now Radix Communication, Inc.), a company
engaged in the manufacture of cordless telephones, to haul cartons
containing Sanyo DIGITALK Model DECT-1000 with receiver, operating
manuals and brochures from the latters address at Philippine
Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Lot 1-13, Block 20, Phase 4, Main
Avenue, Rosario, Cavite to South Harbor, Port Area, Manila on May 3,
1999 and May 17, 1999. From the consignors premises, the items
were loaded in container vans and, upon arrival at the port, were
received by the port checker in good order. Covered by two separate
bills of lading, the container vans were then saddled on a vessel for
exportation to the consignees address in Hamburg, Germany and
Felixtowe, United Kingdom. However, upon opening the containers of
export shipments by the consignees at the port of destination on May 3
and May 17, 1999, respectively, they were found to have suffered
losses to the extent of 77% and 80%, respectively. The value of the
losses were estimated to be around P16,000,000.00.
On June 23, 1999 Eduardo G. de Guzman (de Guzman), VicePresident and Chief Operating Officer of Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc.,
received a letter-complaint dated June 22, 1999 from Dae Ryung Ind.
Inc. Phil., through its Asst. Trading Manager, Esther Cuasay (Cuasay),
and its General Manager, C. H. Chan, alleging that Skyfreight
Forwarders, Inc.s driver and helper, namely, Wilfredo Nablo (Nablo)
and Dennis Labastida (Labastida), respectively, who handled both
shipments, could be involved in some manner. They failed to report for
work since May 17, 1999. By reason of such complaint, on July 6, 1999,
Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc., through de Guzman, wrote a letter to
Director M. Panfilo Lacson, Jr. Chief of the Presidential Anti-Organized
Crime Task Force to request his office to investigate the pilferage which
it suspected to have been perpetrated by a crime syndicate. A similar
request was also earlier filed by Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc., through
Noel Tariman y Fetalvero (Tariman), its Brokerage Manager, with the
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on June 25, 1999
and with Lt. Reynaldo Jular of the Western Police District, Precinct No. 6
on an unspecified date.
On July 8, 1999, Atty. Lucas M. Managuelod (Atty. Managuelod),
Police Chief Superintendent and Director of CIDG, sent a written
communication to de Guzman, informing him that he has directed
P/Supt. Ruben A. Zacarias and P/C Insp. Wenceslao A. Sombero, Jr. (P/C
Insp. Sombero) of the CIDG Criminal Investigation and Detective Office
and CIDG Special Operations Office, respectively, to investigate the
case. Furthermore, the concerned CIDG units have reproduced the
pictures and bio-data of Nablo and Labastida and have distributed the
same to different special operations team for case build-up. The
concerned officers, as per Atty. Managuelods assurance, were zeroingin on a syndicate known as Bawas Gang which is reportedly engaged
in the theft of cargoes through skillful opening of container vans.

SP01 Florentino A. Roxas (SP01 Roxas) and P01 John G. Frial (P01
Frial), both undercover police operatives assigned at the CIDG Special
Operations Office, were tasked by P/C Insp. Sombero to conduct an
investigation relative to Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc.s complaint and to
exert
efforts to recover the stolen goods. On September 1, 1999, at
DECISION
about
an unidentified informant called their office and
CRIM. 3:00
CASEp.m.,
NO. 99-176434
tipped
them of
Page Three
(3)the impending delivery to a store in Comercio St. near
Divisoria Mall in Binondo, Manila of ninety (90) pieces of Sanyo
DIGITALK Model DECT-1000 which were looted from the container vans
of Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc. Said informant, however, did not specify
who would be fencing these effects either by a real name or alias or by
any other distinguishing characteristic by which the fence may be
identified. The informant also relayed that units of the contraband were
seen by him or her being sold inside Divisoria Mall. On the strength of
this information, SP01 Reynaldo Ramos (SP01 Ramos), SP01 Roxas, P01
Frial and other CIDG operatives were dispatched to verify the truth
thereof. Upon reaching said Divisoria Mall located at Comercio St.,
Binondo, Manila at around 3:30 p.m. of the same date, they saw the
accused unloading one box (which was 15 inches long and 10 inches
wide, more or less) from a maroon Tamaraw FX with plate number UAM
189. The CIDG operatives, who were positioned about 1 meter away
from the accused, approached the Tamaraw FX and saw on top of the
boxes, which were 20 in number, more or less, conspicuous markings
SANYO DIGITALK DECT-1000 but sans any inscription of the source
where they emanated. The CIDG operatives then asked the accused
what the contents of the boxes were. The accused replied that the
boxes contained SANYO DIGITALK DECT-1000 as was obviously
printed thereon; accused, nonetheless, reasoned out that his services
as porter were merely hired by a certain Kathy to unload the boxes.
Strangely, however, accuseds contention that he was a mere porter
seems to run afoul with the motion for the release of the above
adverted Tamaraw FX filed on September 13, 1999 by one Eusebio Sy
(who claims ownership thereof) through Atty. Gonzales (who is
accuseds cousel). The motion reads in part:
COMES NOW, Claimant-owner EUSEBIO SY through
undersigned counsel and to this Honorable Court,
respectfully alleges:
1. That he is the lawful owner and claimant of one
(1) unit Maroon Tamaraw FX with Plate No. UAM189;
2. That on September 1, 1999 the said vehicle was
rented by Robert Cabal Eran;
xxxx
Without opening the boxes to ascertain their contents, the CIDG
operatives confiscated them and the Tamarax FX through which they
were conveyed, arrested the accused on the street, and brought him to
the CIDG office. Upon reaching the office, accused was booked and was
made to undergo medical examination. The serial numbers of the
confiscated items (consisting of 90 pieces of SANYO DIGITALK DECT1000) were recorded by CIDG operatives and a computer-print out

thereof were faxed by them to the office of Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc.


During the investigation, the accused, who was appraised of his
constitutional rights, including his right to remain silent, voluntarily
told, among others, that as a porter in Divisoria, he was merely paid by
Kathy (whom he thought was the owner of the boxes) to unload said
boxes
and had nothing to do with and has no knowledge of how they
DECISION
were
The
driver of the Tamaraw FX, according to accused,
CRIM.obtained.
CASE NO.
99-176434
was
a
certain
Eric.
After
the investigation, SP01 Roxas and P01 Frial
Page Four (4)
executed a Joint Affidavit of Apprehension, which detailed the events
which transpired before and after the arrest of the accused. The
affidavit was subscribed and sworn to before by P/C Insp. Joselito M.
Vera Cruz (P/C Insp. Vera Cruz), Deputy Chief of CIDG-DSOO.
On September 2, 1999, someone from the CIDG called Tariman of
Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc. to inform him that a certain Robert Cabal
Eran was arrested by CIDG operatives and that some units of SANYO
DIGITALK DECT-1000, believed to be part of the shipment Skyfreight
Forwarders, Inc. was tasked to the port for shipment to the consignees,
were recovered from him. Tariman relayed this information to his boss,
de Guzman, who then instructed him to proceed to the police station to
ascertain if the items reported by Dae Ryung Ind., Inc., Phil. as
missingare the same items which were confiscated from the accused.
Sometime in the morning of the same day, Tariman received a fax
message from the CIDG containing a list of serial numbers of SANYO
DIGITALK DECT-1000 seized by them from the accused. He then
compared the list with the records of his office and found out that the
serial numbers in CIDGs list tallies with Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc.s
record of serial numbers of items entrusted to it by Dae Ryung Ind.,
Inc., Phil. for delivery to the latters consignees abroad. He then
informed the CIDG of his finding. Accordingly, his sworn statement was
taken by P/C Insp. Vera Cruz. The case, including the evidence
gathered by the CIDG operatives as well as the affidavits of witnesses,
was then referred by CIDG to the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor of
the National Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for
the purpose of conducting an inquest. Finding probable cause to hold
the accused (respondent therein) for trial, Atty. Reynaldo J. Lugtu, State
Prosecutor II at the DOJ prepared a resolution September 3, 1999,
which was approved by Asst. Chief State Prosecutor Leonardo Guiyab,
Jr. An Information was correspondingly filed by him on September 9,
1999 in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, as hereinabove mentioned.
On November 7, 2002, the prosecution filed its formal offer of
evidence consisting of documentary exhibits, as follows:
Exhibit
No.
A

Description

Purpose

letter
of
Cuasay to prove that the subject
dated June 22, 1999 incident involving the missing
items resulting to shortages
in expected deliveries was
reported
to
de
Guzman
Skyfreight Forwarders, Inc.
letter dated June 25, to prove that Skyfreight
1999 of de Guzman Forwarders, Inc. sought the
addressed to Atty. assistance
of
Atty.

Managuelod
C

affidavit
of
de
Guzman dated July
6, 1999

DECISION
CRIM. CASE NO. 99-176434
Page Five (5)
D

E,
E-1

F,
F-1,
F-2

G,
G-1,
G-2

Managuelod
for
deeper
investigation of the subject
incident
to prove that de Guzman
initiated the filing of the
instant complaint in his
capacity as Chief Operating
Officer
of
Skyfreight
Forwarders, Inc., which was in
charge of the delivery of the
missing items subject of this
case
to prove that de Guzman has
indeed
sought
police
assistance
through
Atty.
Managuelod relative to the
incident in issue

reply
of
Atty.
Managuelod dated
July
8,
1999
addressed
to
de
Guzman
informing
him of the action
taken in his request
for police assistance
and
deeper
investigation of the
subject incident
DOJ
Resolution to prove that DOJ, after
dated September 3, investigation and hearing,
1999
found probable cause to
indict
the
accused
for
violation of P.D. No. 1612
Joint
Affidavit
of to prove the fact of arrest and
Apprehension
its surrounding circumstances
consisting of two
pages signed by
SP01 Roxas and P01
Frial
Sworn
Statement to
prove
that
Tariman
dated September 2, reported the incident to the
1999
of
Tariman police for investigation and
which consists of identified
the
missing
two
pages,
and telephone units confiscated
signed by him
from the accused

The foregoing exhibits were admitted by the Court in an Order


dated September 11, 2003 despite the opposition interposed against
its admission by the accused on November 12, 2002.
On December 3, 2002, the accused filed a Demurrer to Evidence.
No comment or objection thereto was counter-filed by the prosecution.
On October 6, 2003, the accused filed a Manifestation and Motion for
Leave of Court to Admit Demurrer to Evidence and to Resolve the
Same. As the Motion for Leave of Court to Admit Demurrer to Evidence
was filed only after the Demurrer to Evidence was filed the Court
deemed the Demurrer to Evidence dated December 3, 2002 as filed
without prior leave. In an Order dated ___________, the Court denied
Demurrer to Evidence for lack of merit.

II. The Issues


The issues for resolution in this case are whether the accused is
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of P.D. No. 1612, and
whether he is civilly liable therefor.
III. Ruling of the Court
Fencing, as defined in Section 2 of P.D. No. 1612 is the act of
any person who, with intent to gain for himself or for another, shall
DECISION
buy,
receive, possess, keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of, or shall
CRIM.
CASE
99-176434
buy and
sell,NO.
or in
any manner deal in any article, item, object or
Page Sixof(6)
anything
value which he knows, or should be known to him, to have
been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft. The
law on fencing does not require the accused to have participated in the
criminal design to commit, or to have been in any wise involved in the
commission of, the crime of robbery or theft.1
The elements of fencing are:
(1) a robbery or theft has been committed;
(2) the accused, who took no part in the robbery or theft, buys,
receives, possesses, keeps, acquires, conceals, sells or
disposes, or buys and sells, or in any manner deals in any
article or object taken during that robbery or theft;
(3) the accused knows or should have known that the
thing derived from that crime; and
(4) he intends by the deal he makes to gain for himself or
for another.2
Simple robbery is committed when a malefactor takes personal
property belonging to another, with intent to gain, by means of
violence against, or intimidation of any person, or use of force upon
things.3In fine, its elements are the following: (a) that there is personal
property belonging to another; (b) that there is unlawful taking of that
property; (c) that the taking is with intent to gain; and (d) that there is
violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things. 4 To be
sure, the case at bar does not involve robbery through the use of force
upon things as robbery of this category contemplates the use of force
either to enter a building or to break doors, wardrobes, chests or any
other kind of locked or sealed furniture or receptacle inside the building
or to force them open outside after taking the same from the building. 5
1People v. de Guzman, G.R. No. 77368,October 5, 1993
2Dizon-Pamintuan v. People, G.R. No. 111426, July 11, 1994; Tan v.
People, G.R. No. 134298, August 26, 1999 (emphasis added)
3 Art. 293, Revised Penal Code
4Consulta v. People, G.R. No. 179462, February 12, 2009; Sazon v.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 150873, February 10, 2009

Theft, in contradistinction, is committed by any person who, with


intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation ofpersons
nor force upon things, shall take the personal property of another
without the latters consent.6 To sustain conviction thereof, the
confluence of the following elements is imperative: (a) that there be
taking of personal property; (b) that said property belongs to another;
(c) that the taking be done with intent to gain; (d) that the taking be
done without the consent of the owner; and (e) that the taking be
accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation of
persons or force upon things.7 Verily, unlike robbery, theft is marked by
an absence of violence or intimation employed against the owner of
the object of asportation.
It can hardly be gainsaid that theft was consummated when the
some of the cordless telephones with brand SANYO DIGITALK DECT1000 were surreptitiously raided, without the consent of their owner,
DECISION
by unknown
somewhere from the point they were loaded at the
CRIM.
CASErouges
NO. 99-176434
owners/manufacturers/shippers
(Dae Ryung Ind., Inc., Phil.)
Page Seven (7)
storehouse to the point they were unloaded and reloaded in a maritime
carriage for transportation to their respective consignees. The furtive
taking of these goods is presumed by law to have been accomplished
with intent to gain (aninums lucrandi), and this intent was epitomized
when the goods eventually found their way in stalls in Divisoria,
Manila, being peddled gingerly. Furthermore, the unlawful taking is
properly denominated as theft, and not robbery, for want of proof that
the assailants exerted violence or intimidation directly upon the person
or persons then in the possession or custody of the goods to enable
them to spirit away said goods.
No pretense can likewise be made that the accused actually
possessed the subject chattels as CIDG operatives caught him
unloading from a Tamaraw FX sealed boxes with a prominent
impression thereon of the words SANYO DIGITALK DECT-1000, giving
the accused a foreknowledge of the items the boxes supposedly
contains.
With respect to the element of intention of accused to gain for
himself or for another, the same is presumed by law from the mere
possession by him of the object unlawfully taken through robbery or
theft. As aptly explained by the Supreme Court in a panoply of cases,
intent to gain is a mental state, the existence of which is demonstrated
by the overt acts of a person. 8 The sinister mental state is presumed
from the commission of an unlawful act.9 It bears stressing that dolo is
not required in crimes punished by a special stature like the Anti5 Arts. 299 and 302, Revised Penal Code
6 Art. 308, Revised Penal Code
7Astudilo v. People, G.R. No. 159734, November 30, 2006
8Soriano v. People, G.R. No. L-3008, March 19, 1951; 1 Reyes, Revised Penal Code,
Eleventh Rev. Ed., 1977, p. 45; 1 Aquino, Revised Penal Code, 1988 Ed., p. 197

9People vs. Sia Teb Ban, G.R. No. 4963, September 15, 1909; 1 Reyes,
supra at P. 46; Sec. 3(b), Rule 131, Rules of Court

Fencing Law of 197910 because it is the act alone, irrespective of the


motives which constitutes the offense.11
It begs to inquire, however, if the overt act of the accused in
unloading items from a conveyance, which were subsequently
established to have proceeded from illegal channels, per se indicates
that he knows or should have known that the things were derived from
theft. This is significant as they form part of the integral elements of
the crime of fencing.
In Dizon-Pamintuan v. People,12 the Supreme Court had occasion
to elucidate the distinction between knows and should have
known:
One is deemed to know a particular fact if he has the
cognizance, consciousness or awareness thereof, or is
aware of the existence of something, or has the
acquaintance with facts, or if he has something within
the minds grasp with certitude and clarity.When
knowledge of the existence of a particular fact is an
element of an offense, such knowledge is
established if a person is aware of a high
probability of its existence unless he actually
DECISION
believes
it does not exist.On the other hand, the
CRIM. CASE
NO. that
99-176434
words
Page Eight
(8)should know denote the fact that a person
of reasonable prudence and intelligence would
ascertain the fact in performance of his duty to
another or would govern his conduct upon
assumption that such fact exists.
Knowledge refers to a mental state of awareness about a fact.
Since the Court cannot penetrate the mind of an accused and state
with certainty what is contained therein and what his resolve is in
performing an act, Section 5 of P.D. No. 1612 supplies the third and
fourth elements of the crime of fencing by establishing a prima facie
presumption, to wit: Mere possession of any good, article, item,
object, or anything of value which has been the subject of
robbery or thievery shall be prima facie evidence of fencing.
The presumption is reasonable for no other natural or logical inference
can arise from the established fact of possession of the proceeds of the
crime of robbery or theft.13 This presumption does not offend the

10US v. Go Chico, G.R. No. L-8646, March 31, 1915; 1 Reyes, supra at p.
58
11US v. Siy Cong Bieng, G.R. No. L-31695, November 26, 1929; 1 Reyes,
supra, at p. 59; 1 Aquino, supra, at p. 52
12Dizon-Pamintuan v. People, supra., citing Diong-an v. CA 138 SCRA
39 (1985)
13Dela Torre v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 121592, July 5, 1996, citing DizonPamintuan v. People, supra.

presumption of innocence enshrined in the fundamental law. 14 In Ong


v. Sandiganbayan,15 the Supreme Court explained as follows:
[N]o constitutional provision is violated by a statute
providing that proof by the State of some material fact
or facts shall constitute prima facie evidence of guilt,
and that then the burden is shifted to the defendant for
the purpose of showing that such act or acts are
innocent and are committed without unlawful intention.
xxx The State having the right to declare what acts
are criminal, within certain well defined limitations, has
a right to specify what act or acts shall constitute a
crime, as well as what proof shall constitute prima facie
evidence of guilt, and then to put upon the defendant
the burden of showing that such act or acts are innocent
and are not committed with any criminal intent or
intention.
In his book on constitutional law, Justice Isagani A. Cruz said:
Nevertheless, the constitutional presumption of
innocence may be overcome by contrary presumptions
based on the experience of human conduct [People vs.
Labara, April 20, 1954]. Unexplained flight, for example,
may lead to an inference of guilt, as 'the wicked flee
when no man pursueth, but the righteous is as bold as a
lion. Failure on the part of the accused to explain his
possession of stolen property may give rise to the
reasonable presumption that it was he himself who had
stolen it [U.S. vs. Espia, 16 Phil. 506]. Under our Revised
Penal Code, the inability of an accountable officer to
produce funds or property entrusted to him will be
considered prima facie evidence that he has
appropriated them to his personal use [Art. 217].
DECISION
According
to Cooley, the constitutional presumption will
CRIM. CASE
NO. 99-176434
not(9)
apply as long as there is "some rational connection
Page Nine
between the fact proved and the ultimate fact
presumed, and the inference of one fact from proof of
another shall not be so unreasonable as to be purely
arbitrary mandate" [1 Cooley, 639].16
Verily, mere possession, however transient, of anything derived
from robbery or theft raises a disputable presumption of fencing. It is of
no moment that accused had no intention to commit a crime because
P.D. No. 1612 is a special law and, therefore, its violation is regarded as
malum prohibitum, requiring no proof of criminal intent. 17 The
presumption being disputable, the same may be controverted by the
14 Sec. 14(2), Article III, 1987 Constitution
15 G.R. No. 126858, September 16, 2005
16 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, 1993 ed., 313
17Mendoza v. People, G.R. No. 183891, August 3, 2010

accused by advancing clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.


But until it is overcome, the presumption is sufficient to prove the
particular proposition or fact that it supports. Unfortunately, instead of
presenting evidence to overthrow the presumption, accused filed a
Demurrer to Evidence, and disdainfully, without prior leave. The
accused and his counsel de parte should not have ignored the
potentially prejudicial consequence of the filing of a demurrer to
evidence without the leave of court required in Section 23, Rule 119 of
the Rules of Court. They were well aware of the risk of a denial of the
demurrer being high, for by demurring the accused impliedly admitted
the facts adduced by the State and the proper inferences therefrom.
The Court cannot step in now to alleviate his self-inflicted plight, for
which he had no one to blame but himself.
We now proceed to determine the penalty that must be meted on
the accused. According to the allegation in the Information, the
aggregate value on September 1, 1999 of the effects confiscated from
the accused is US $6,543.00. The Court, in the exercise of its sound
discretion, takes judicial notice18 of the fact that on September 1, 1999
the then exchange rate of United States (US) dollars to Philippine peso
is P39.6825 for each US dollar. This fact is capable of unquestionable
demonstration as uniform historical data on the daily exchange rates of
US dollars to Philippine peso from the 1990s up to the present is
publicly available in various reputable trading sites on the internet. 19 A
conversion of $6,543.00 to its peso equivalent based on the foregoing
exchange rate would yield a total of P259,642.5975. Following the
computation of the appropriate penalty ensconced in Section 3 (a), P.D.
No. 1612, the accused would have been sentenced to a penalty of
imprisonment for 20 years. Said provision reads:
Section 3. Penalties. Any person guilty of fencing shall
be punished as hereunder indicated:
(a) The penalty of prision mayor, if the value of the
property involved is more than 12,000 pesos but not
exceeding 22,000 pesos; if the value of such
property exceeds the latter sum, the penalty
provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its
maximum period, adding one year for each
additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which
may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In
such cases, the penalty shall be termed reclusion
temporal and the accessory penalty pertaining
thereto provided in the Revised Penal Code shall also
be imposed.
18 A court may take judicial notice of matters which are of public
knowledge, or are capable to unquestionable demonstration, or ought
to be known to judges because of their judicial functions (Sec. 2, Rule
129 of the Rules of Court).
19 see, for example, Online Currency Converter, United States dollar
(USD) and Philippine peso (PHP) Year 1999 Exchange Rate History Yahoo Finance, http://www.freecurrencyrates.com/exchange-ratehistory/USD-PHP/1999

DECISION
CRIM. CASE NO. 99-176434
Page Ten (10)

xxxx
Unfortunately, however, the prosecution utterly failed to
substantiate its summation of the properties involved by invoices,
receipts, mercantile documents, or any other competent evidence. This
is fatal, and the prosecution only has itself to blame. While photocopies
of commercial invoices20 were attached to the record of the instant
case which reflects, among others, the price for each unit of Sanyo
DIGITALK Model DECT-1000, the Court cannot consider them without
committing judicial tyranny as they were not among the documentary
exhibits which were formally introduced in evidence by the
prosecution. Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court cannot be any
clearer:
Section 34. Offer of evidence. The court shall
consider no evidence which has not been formally
offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered
must be specified.
As held by the Supreme Court in Westmont Investment Corp. v.
Francia, Jr.:21
A formal offer is necessary because judges are
mandated to rest their findings of facts and their
judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by
the parties at the trial. Its function is to enable the trial
judge to know the purpose or purposes for which the
proponent is presenting the evidence. On the other
hand, this allows opposing parties to examine the
evidence and object to its admissibility. Moreover, it
facilitates review as the appellate court will not be
required to review documents not previously scrutinized
by the trial court. Evidence not formally offered during
the trial can not be used for or against a party litigant.
Neither may it be taken into account on appeal.
The rule on formal offer of evidence is not a trivial
matter. Failure to make a formal offer within a
considerable period of time shall be deemed a waiver to
submit it. Consequently, any evidence that has not been
offered shall be excluded and rejected.
Following the ruling of the Supreme Court in Francisco v.
People,22 a case likewise involving violation of P.D. No. 1612, in the
absence of evidence to prove the value of the stolen property, the
corresponding penalty to be imposed on the accused should be the
minimum penalty prescribed in Section 3 (f) of P.D. No. 1612, that is,
arresto mayor in its minimum period, which is equivalent to
20 Rollo, pp. 21-24
21 G.R. No. 194128, December 7, 2011
22 G.R. No. 146584, July 12, 2004

imprisonment for 1 month and 1 day to 2 months. Nonetheless, the


DECISION
Court is aware of the rule that when a special penal law makes use of
CRIM. CASE NO. 99-176434
the nomenclature of the penalties under the Revised Penal Code the
Page Eleven (11)
rules established in the latter Code pertaining to duration, correlation
and legal effects under the system of penalties native to said Code
shall have supplementary application to said special penal law. This
was explained at length by the Supreme Court, speaking through Mr.
Justice Regalado, in People v. Simon:23
We are not unaware of cases in the past wherein it
was held that, in imposing the penalty for offenses
under special laws, the rules on mitigating or
aggravating circumstances under the Revised Penal
Code cannot and should not be applied. A review of
such doctrines as applied in said cases, however,
reveals that the reason therefor was because the
special laws involved provided their own specific
penalties for the offenses punished thereunder, and
which penalties were not taken from or with reference to
those in the Revised Penal Code. Since the penalties
then provided by the special laws concerned did not
provide for the minimum, medium or maximum periods,
it would consequently be impossible to consider the
aforestated modifying circumstances whose main
function is to determine the period of the penalty in
accordance with the rules in Article 64 of the Code.
xxxx
The situation, however, is different where although
the offense is defined in and ostensibly punished under
a special law, the penalty therefor is actually taken from
the Revised Penal Code in its technical nomenclature
and, necessarily, with its duration, correlation and legal
effects under the system of penalties native to said
Code. When, as in this case, the law involved speaks of
prision correccional, in its technical sense under the
Code, it would consequently be both illogical and absurd
to posit otherwise. xxxx
xxxx
xxxx [T]he rules for the application of penalties and
the correlative effects thereof under the Revised Penal
Code, as well as other statutory enactments founded
upon and applicable to such provisions of the Code,
have suppletory effect to the penalties under the former
Republic Act No. 1700 and those now provided under
Presidential Decrees Nos. 1612 and 1866. While these
are special laws, the fact that the penalties for offenses
thereunder are those provided for in the Revised Penal
code lucidly reveals the statutory intent to give the
related provisions on penalties for felonies under the
23 G.R. No. 93028, July 29, 1994

Code the corresponding application to said special laws,


in the absence of any express or implicit proscription in
these special laws. To hold otherwise would be to
sanction an indefensible judicial truncation of an
integrated system of penalties under the Code and its
allied legislation, which could never have been the
intendment of Congress.
xxxx
Guided by the foregoing liberal principles, the Court is, therefore,
constrained to reduce by one period the penalty of arresto mayor in its
minimum period, as fixed in Section 3 (f) of P.D. No. 1612, to arresto
menor in the maximum period, which is equivalent to imprisonment for
21 days to 30 days, considering that the crime was committed without
the attendance of any modifying circumstance.
Anent the civil liability of accused, considering that the subject
items were already recovered, the Court finds no more reason to order
the accused to indemnify the private complainant the amount
corresponding to the value of said items.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby
rendered finding accused Robert Cabal Efran GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of violation of P.D. No. 1612 and is hereby sentenced
to suffer imprisonment for 21 days to 30 days of arresto menor in the
maximum period, with all the accessory penalties provided by law.
SO ORDERED.
Manila, Philippines, ______________.

VIRGILIO
ALAMEDA
Judge
/raffy

M.