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How should penal laws be constructed or

interpreted?
Penal laws are strictly construed against the
Government and liberally in favor of the accused.
6
However, this rule may be invoked only where the
law is ambiguous and there is doubt as to its
interpretation. Where the law is clear and
unambiguous, there is no room for the application of
this rule. 7

G.R. No. 12262, U.S. v. Abad Santos, 36 Phil. 243


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
February 10, 1917
G.R. No. 12262
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ANTONIO ABAD SANTOS, defendant-appellant.
Quirino Abad Santos for appellant.
Attorney-General Avancea for appellee.
MORELAND, J.:
The appellant here is accused of violating the
Internal Revenue Law. He was convicted and
sentenced to pay a fine of P10. He appealed.
Section 185 of Act No. 2339 (now section 2727 of the
Administrative Code) reads as follows:
A person who violates any provision of the Internal
Revenue Law or any lawful regulation of the Bureau
of Internal Revenue made in conformity with the
same, for which delinquency no specific penalty is
provided by law, shall be punished by a fine of not
more than three hundred pesos or by imprisonment
for not more than six months, or both.
Pursuant to the authorization in the Internal
Revenue Law, the Collector of Internal Revenue
issued Circular No. 467, the third section of which
reads as follows:
3. Printers, publishers, contractors, common
carriers, etc. Each printer, publisher, contractor,
warehouseman, proprietor of a dockyard, keeper of
a hotel or restaurant, keeper of a livery stable or
garage, transportation contractor and common

carrier by land or water, and so forth, subject to the


tax imposed by sections 42, 43, and 44 of Act No.
2339, shall keep a day book in which he shall enter
in detail, in English or Spanish, each amount of
money received in the conduct of his business.
Before being used for said purpose, the pages of the
book must be numbered serially in a permanent and
legible manner, and the book itself presented to an
internal revenue agent or office for approval. In this
book the cash receipts of the owner thereof shall be
entered under the corresponding date within the
twenty-four hours next following the date the money
was received. If no money is received on any day,
then that fact shall be noted in the book within the
said twenty-four hours under the corresponding
date.
The appellant is the owner of a printing
establishment called "The Excelsior" and as such was
required by law to keep a book in which he should
make the entire required by the above quoted
regulation. It is charged in the information that he
violated the provisions of said regulation in that he
failed to make any entry for the 5th day of January,
1915, indicating whether any business was done on
that day or not.
We are of the opinion that the accused must be
acquitted. It appears undisputed that he regularly
employed a bookkeeper who was in complete charge
of the book in which the entries referred to should
have been made and that the failure to make the
entry required by law was due to the omission of the
bookkeeper of which appellant knew nothing.
We do not believe that a person should be held
criminally liable for the acts of another done without
his knowledge or consent, unless the law clearly so
provides. In the case before us the accused
employed a bookkeeper, with the expectation that
he would perform all the duties pertaining to his
position including the entries required to be made by
the Collector of Internal Revenue. It is undisputed
that the accused took no part in the keeping of the
book in question in this case and that he personally
never made an entry in it. He left everything to his
bookkeeper. Under such circumstances we do not
believe that the mere proof of the fact that the
bookkeeper omitted to make the entries required by
the Internal Revenue Circular for the 5th day of
January, 1915, is an act upon which the conviction of
the accused can be based. No knowledge on his part

was shown with regard to the bookkeeper's omission


and the Government does not contend that he had
any knowledge. Nor is it contended that the
bookkeeper omitted the entry under the direction of
the accused or with his connivance. No connection
between the accused and the omission of the
bookkeeper is shown or claimed. On the contrary the
board contention is that the accused is responsible
for the acts and omissions of his bookkeeper, and
that, if any act or omissions of his bookkeeper,
violates the criminal law, the principal is responsible
criminally.
With this we cannot agree. Neither the statute nor
the circular of the Collector of Internal Revenue, nor
both together, expressly require such a result nor
can we say from the circular or the law that the
intention to do so was so clear as to leave no room
for doubt. Courts will not hold one person criminally
responsible for the acts of another, committed
without his knowledge or consent, unless there is a
statute requiring it so plain in its terms that there is
no doubt of the intention of the Legislature.
Criminal statutes are to be strictly construed. No
person should be brought within their terms who is
not clearly within them, nor should any act be
pronounced criminal which is not clearly made so by
the statute. (U. S. vs. Madrigal, 27 Phil. Rep., 347.)
The judgment of conviction is reversed and the
accused acquitted. Costs de officio. So ordered.
Arellano, C. J., Torres and Araullo, JJ., concur.
Carson and Trent, JJ., dissent.

G.R. No. L-9598 August 15, 1956


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PlaintiffAppellant, vs. YU HAI alias " HAYA", DefendantAppellee.
Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla
and Solicitor Antonio A. Torres for appellant.
Eduardo de Leon Jr., Jose L. de Leon and Nicolas
V. Benedicto Jr., for appellee.
REYES, J.B.L, J.:
On October 22, 1954, Yu Hai alias "Haya" was
accused in the Justice of the Peace Court of
Caloocan of a violation of Article 195, subparagraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, for having
allegedly permitted the game of panchong or
paikiu, a game of hazard, and having acted as
maintainer thereof, in the municipality of

Caloocan on or about the 26th day of June 1954.


The accused moved to quash the information on
the ground that it charged more than one offense
and that the criminal action or liability therefor
had already been extinguished; and the Justice of
the Peace of Court, in its order of December 24,
1954, sustained the motion to quash on the theory
that the offense charged was a light offense
which, under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code,
prescribed in two months. The provincial fiscal
appealed to the Court of First Instance of the
province, which affirmed the order of dismissal of
the information. Wherefore, the provincial fiscal
appealed directly to this
Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
The sole issue is the period for prescription of the
offense charged, punishable under Article 195 of
the Revised Penal Code by arresto menor or a fine
not exceeding P200. The lower court held that the
crime charged is a light offense as defined in
Article 9 of the Code, and prescribed in two
months; while the Solicitor General argues that as
the crime charged may be punished by a maximum
fine of P200 (a correctional penalty under Article
26),the same prescribe, also under Article 90, in
ten years.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
The pertinent legal provisions of the Revised Penal
Code are:
ART. 90. Prescription of crimes. xxx
xxx
x x xchanrobles virtual law
library
Those punishable by a correctional penalty shall
prescribe in ten years; with the exception of those
punishable by arresto mayor, which shall prescribe
in six months.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
chanrobles virtual law library
The crime of libel or other similar offenses
prescribe in two years. The offense of oral
defamation and slander by deed shall prescribe in
six months.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
Light offense prescribe in two months.
xxx
xxx
x x xchanrobles virtual law
library
ART. 9. Grave felonies, less grave felonies, and
light felonies. xxx
xxx
x x xchanrobles virtual law
library

Less grave felonies are those which the law


punishes with penalties which in their period are
correctional, in accordance with the above
mentioned article.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
chanrobles virtual law library
Light felonies are those infraction of law for the
commission of which the penalty of arresto mayor
or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos or both, is
provided.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
ART. 26. Fine, when afflictive, correctional, or
light. - A fine, whether imposed as a single or as
an alternative penalty, shall be considered an
afflictive penalty, if it exceeds 6,000 pesos; a
correctional penalty, if it does not exceed 6,000
pesos but is not less than 200 pesos; and a light
penalty if it be less than 200.
Under Article 90, supra, "light offenses prescribe
in two months". The definition of "light offenses" is
in turn to be found in Article 9, which classifies
felonies into grave, less grave, and light, and
defines "light felonies" as "those infraction of law
for the commission of which the penalty of
arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos
or both is provided ". The offense charged in
punishable by arresto menor or a fine not
exceeding 200 pesos (Article 195). Hence, it is a
"light offense" under Article 9 and prescribes in
two months under Article
90.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library
The Solicitor General argues that as the crime
charged may be punished by a maximum fine of
P200, which under Article 26 is a correctional
penalty, the time for prescription thereof is ten
years, pursuant to paragraph 3 of Article 90. This
argument is untenable. In the First place, while
Article 90 provides that light offense prescribe in
two months, it does not define what is meant by
"light offenses" , leaving it to Article 9 to fix its
meaning. Article 26, on the other hand, has
nothing to do with the definition of offenses, but
merely classifies fine, when imposed as a principal
penalty, whether singly or in the alternative into
the categories of afflictive, correctional, and light
penalties. As the question at issue is the
prescription of the crime and not the prescription
of a penalty, Article 9 should prevail over Article
26.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library

In the second place, Article 90 could not have


intended that light offenses as defined by Article 9
would have two prescriptive periods - two months
if they are penalized by arresto menor and/or a
fine of less than P200. and ten years if penalized
by a maximum fine of P200. Under the theory of
the Solicitor General, the difference of only one
peso in the imposable fine would mean all the
difference of nine years and ten months in the
prescriptive period of the offense. And what is
worse, the proper prescriptive period could not be
ascertained until and unless the court decided
which of the alternative penalties should be
imposed; which the court could not properly do if
the offense had prescribed, for then it could no
longer be prosecuted. These absurd results the
law-makers could not have wittingly intended,
especially since more serious offenses as those
punishable by arresto mayor (a correctional
penalty) prescribe, also under Article 90, in five
years, while other "less grave" offense like libel,
and oral defamation and slander, prescribe in even
shorter periods of times, tow years and six months
respectively. As held in the case of People vs.
Florendo, 73 Phil., 679, there is no reason to
suppose that the law-maker would raise the
prescriptive period for certain light offenses over
other light offenses.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
chanrobles virtual law library
It should also punishable by arresto menor of a
fine not exceeding 200 pesos or both. Now, if we
are to follow the argument of the Solicitor General
that Article 26 should prevail over Article 9 if the
offense is punishable by a maximum fine of P200
we would again have the absurd situation that an
offense penalized by arresto menor or fine not
exceeding P200 in the alternative, would be a
less grave felony, while the more serious one,
which the law penalizes with both imprisonment
of arresto menor and a fine not exceeding P200,
remains only a "light
offense".chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
Finally, criminal statutes are to be strictly
construed against the government and liberally in
favor of the accused. As it would be more
favorable to the herein accused to apply the
definition of "light felonies" under Article 9 in
connection with the prescriptive period of the
offense charged, being a light offense, prescribed
in two months. As it was allegedly committed on

June 26, 1954 and the information filed only on


October 22, 1954, the lower court correctly ruled
that the crime in question has already
prescribed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
The decision appealed from is affirmed, with the
costs de oficio. So
ordered.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor,
Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Endencia
and Felix, JJ., concur.

G.R. Nos. L-12011-14


September 30, 1958
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellant,
vs.
ALFONSO GATCHALIAN, defendant-appellee.
Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and
Solicitor Troadio T. Quiazon, Jr. for appellant.
Ishmael Rodriguez for appellee.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
Alfonso Gatchalian was charged before the Court of
First Instance of Zamboanga with a violation of
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 602 in four separate
informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 2206, 2207, 2208
and 2209) committed as follows:
That on or about August 4, 1951, up to and including
December 31, 1953 and within the jurisdiction of this
Court, viz, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, the
above named accused, owner or manager of the New
Life Drug Store, a business establishment in the City
of Zamboanga and having under his employ one
Expedito Fernandez as salesman in the said
establishment, did then and there willfully, and
feloniously, pay and cause to be paid to said
Expedito Fernandez, a monthly salary of P60 to P90
for the period above-mentioned which is less than
that provided for by law, thereby leaving a
difference of an unpaid salary to the latter in the
total amount of P1,016.64 for the period abovementioned.
When arraigned on June 19, 1956, he pleaded not
guilty to the charge. On August 29, 1956, his
counsel, in his behalf, filed a written motion to
dismiss based on two grounds which in substance
merely consist in that the violation charged does not
constitute a criminal offense but carries only a civil
liability, and even if it does, the section of the law
alleged to have been violated does not carry any

penalty penalizing it. On September 25, 1956, the


City Attorney of Zamboanga filed his answer to the
motion to dismiss contending that the law which was
violated by the accused carries with it both civil and
criminal liability, the latter being covered by Section
15 which provides for the penalty for all willful
violations of any of the provisions of the Minimum
Wage Law. On December 3, 1956, the Court, after
hearing the arguments of both parties, as well as
some members of the local bar, issued an order
dismissing the informations with costs de oficio and
cancelling the bail bond filed by the accused. The
court in the same order directed the Regional
Representative of the Department of Labor to
immediately institute a civil action against the erring
employer for the collection of the alleged
underpayment of wages due the employees. A
motion for reconsideration having been denied, the
Government took the present appeal.
The pertinent portion of Section 3 of Republic Act
602 under which appellee was prosecuted, reads as
follows:.
SEC. 3. Minimum wage. (a) Every employer shall
pay to each of his employees who is employed by an
enterprise other than in agriculture wages at the
rate of not less than
(1) Four pesos a day on the effective date of this Act
and thereafter for employees of an establishment
located in Manila or its environs;
(2) Three pesos a day on the effective date of this
Act and for one year after the effective date, and
thereafter P4 a day, for employees of establishment
located outside of Manila or its environs: Provided,
That this Act shall not apply to any retail or service
enterprise that regularly employs not more than five
employees.
Section 15 of the same law, which treats of
"penalties and recovery of wages due", likewise
provides:
SEC. 15. Penalties and recovery of wage due under
this Act.
(a) Any person who wilfully violates any of the
provisions of this Act shall upon conviction thereof
be subject to a fine of not more than two thousand
pesos, or, upon second conviction, to imprisonment
of not more than one year, or to both fine and
imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
(b) If any violation of this Act is committed by a
corporation, trust, partnership or association, the
manager or in his default, the person acting as such
when the violation took place, shall be responsible.

In the case of a government corporation, the


managing head shall be made responsible, except
when shown that the violation was due to an act or
commission of some other person, over whom he has
no control, in which case the latter shall be held
responsible.
(c) The Secretary is authorized to supervise the
payment of the unpaid minimum wages or the wages
found owing to any employee under this Act.
(d) The Secretary may bring an action in any
competent court to recover the wages owing to an
employee under this Act, with legal interest. Any
sum thus recovered by the Secretary on behalf of an
employee pursuant to this subsection shall be held in
a special deposit account and shall be paid, on order
of the Secretary, directly to the employee or
employees affected. Any such sums not paid to an
employee because he cannot be located within a
period of three years shall be covered into the
Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.
(e) Any employer who underpays an employee in
violation of this Act shall be liable to the employee
affected in the amount of the unpaid wages with
legal interest. Action to recover such liability may be
maintained in any competent court by anyone or
more employees on behalf of himself or themselves.
The court in such action shall, in addition to any
judgment awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs,
allow a reasonable attorney's fee which shall not
exceed ten per cent of the amount awarded to the
plaintiffs, unless the amount awarded is less than
one hundred pesos, in which event the fee may be
ten pesos, but not in excess of that amount.
Payment of the amount found due to the plaintiffs
shall be made directly to the plaintiffs, in the
presence of a representative of the Secretary or the
Court. In the event payment is witnessed by the
court or its representative, the Secretary shall be
notified within ten days of payment that the
payment has been made.
(f) No employer, attorney, or any other person, other
than the employee to whom underpayment are
found due, shall receive any part of the
underpayment due the employee; and no attorney
shall receive any fee in excess of the maximum
specified herein.
(g) In determining when an action is commenced
under this section for the purpose of the statute of
limitation, it shall be considered to be commenced
in the case of any individual claimant on the date
when the complaint is filed if he is specifically

named as a party plaintiff in the complaint, or if his


name did not so appear, on the subsequent date on
which his name is added as a party plaintiff in such
action.
It is clear from the above-quoted provisions that
while Section 3 explicitly requires every owner of an
establishment located outside of Manila or its
environs to pay each of its employees P3.00 a day on
the effective date of the Act, and one year
thereafter P4.00 a day, Section 15 imposes both a
criminal penalty for a willful violation of any of the
above provisions and a civil liability for any
underpayment of wages due an employee. The
intention of the law is clear: to slap not only a
criminal liability upon an erring employer for any
willful violation of the acts sought to be enjoined
but to attach concurrently a civil liability for any
underpayment he may commit as a result thereof.
The law speaks of a willful violation of "any of the
provisions of this Act", which is all-embracing, and
the same must include what is enjoined in Section 3
thereof which embodies the very fundamental
purpose for which the law has been adopted. A study
of the origin of our Minimum Wage Law (Republic Act
602) may be of help in arriving at an enlightened and
proper interpretation of the provisions under
consideration. Our research shows that this Act was
patterned after the U. S. Fair Labor Standards Act of
1938, as amended, and so a comparative study of
the pertinent provisions of both would be
enlightening.
The pertinent provisions of the U. S. Fair Labor
Stardards Act of 1938, as amended, follow:
MINIMUM WAGES.
SEC. 6. (a) Every employer shall pay to each of his
employees who is engaged in commerce or in the
production of goods for commerce wages at the
following rates
(1) not less than 75 cents an hour;
xxx
xxx
xxx
PROHIBITED ACTS
SEC. 15. (a) After the expiration of one hundred and
twenty days from the date of enactment of this Act,
it shall be unlawful for any person
(1) to transport, offer for transportation, ship,
deliver, or sell in commerce, or to ship, deliver, or
sell with knowledge that shipment or delivery or sale
thereof in commerce is intended, any goods in the
production of which any employee was employed in
violation of section 6 or section 7, or in violation of

any regulation or order of the Administrator issued


under section 14; . . . .
(2) to violate any of the provisions of section 6 or
section 7, or any of the provisions of any regulation
or order of the Administrator issued under section
14;
(3) to discharge or in any other manner discriminate
against any employee because such employee has
filed any complaint or instituted or cause to be
instituted any proceeding under or related to this
Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such
proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an
industry committee;
(4) to violate any of the provisions of section 11 (c)
or any regulation or order made or continued in
effect under the provisions of section 11 (d), or to
make any statement, report, or record filed or kept
pursuant to the provisions of such section or of any
regulation or order thereunder, knowing such
statement, report, or record to be false in a
material respect.
xxx
xxx
xxx
PENALTIES
SEC. 16. (a) Any person who willfully violates any of
the provisions of section 15 shall upon conviction
thereof be subject to a line of not more than
P10,000, or to imprisonment for not more than six
months, or both. No person shall be imprisoned
under this subsection except for an offense
committed after the conviction of such person for a
prior offense under this subsection.
(b) Any employer who violates the provisions of
section 6 or 7 of this Act shall be liable to the
employee or employees affected in the amount of
their unpaid minimum wages, or their unpaid
overtime compensation, as the case may be, and in
additional equal amount as liquidated damages.
Action to recover such liability may be maintained in
any court of competent jurisdiction by any one or
more employees for and in behalf of himself or
themselves and other employees similarly situated.
No employee shall be a party plaintiff to any such
action unless he gives his consent in writing to
become such a party and such consent is filed in the
court in which such action is brought. The court in
such action shall, in addition to any judgment
awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs, allow a
reasonable attorney's fee to be paid by the
defendant costs of the action.
The pertinent provisions of Republic Act 602 read:

SEC. 3. Minimum wage. (a) Every employer shall


pay to each of his employees who is employed by an
enterprise other than in agriculture wages at the
rate of not less than
xxx
xxx
xxx
(2) Three pesos a day on the effective date of this
Act and for one year after the effective date, and
thereafter P4 a day, for employees of establishments
located outside of Manila or its environs: Provided,
That this Act shall not apply to any retail or service
enterprise that regularly employs not more than five
employees.
SEC. 15. Penalties and recovery of wage due under
this Act.
(a) Any person who willfully violates any of the
provisions of this Act shall upon conviction thereof
be subject to a fine of not more than two thousand
pesos, or, upon second conviction, to imprisonment
of not more than one year, or to both fine and
imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
xxx
xxx
xxx
(e) Any employer who underpays an employee in
violation of this Act shall be liable to the employee
affected in the amount of the unpaid wages with
legal interest. Action to recover such liability may be
maintained in any competent court by anyone or
employees on behalf of himself or themselves. The
court in such action shall, in addition to any
judgment awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs,
allow a reasonable attorney's fee which shall not
exceed ten per cent of the amount awarded to the
plaintiffs, unless the amount awarded is less than
one hundred pesos, in which event the fee may be
ten pesos, but not in excess of that amount.
Payment of the amount found due to the plaintiffs
shall be made directly to the plaintiffs, in the
presence of a representative of the Secretary or of
the Court. In the event payment is witnessed by the
court or its representative, the Secretary shall be
notified within ten days of payment that the
payment has been made.
An examination of the above-quoted provisions of
the two Acts will show that while in substance they
are similar, they however contain some differences
in their phraseology and in the apportionment of
their provisions. Thus, while Section 15 (a),
paragraph 2, of the Fair Labor Standards Act makes
it unlawful for an employer not to pay the minimum
wage prescribed therein, our Minimum Wage Law
does not contain a similar provision. Again, the Fair
Labor Standards Act enumerates in one single section

all those acts which are declared unlawful and are


not spread out in different sections as done in our
law. Thus, the acts that are declared unlawful by the
former law as enumerated in Section 15(a) are: (1)
to transport or deliver any goods in the production of
which any employee was employed in violation of
Section 6 or Section 7, or in violation of any
regulation or order of the Administrator; (2) failure
to pay the minimum wage; (3) to discharge or in any
other manner discriminate against an employee who
has filed a complaint against the employer in
relation to the Act; and (4) failure to keep the
record or report required by law or to make a false
record or report. On the other hand, our law
declares unlawful the following acts, to wit: (1) to
pay wages in the form of promissory notes,
vouchers, coupons, tokens or any other form alleged
to represent legal tender [Section 10 (a) (1)]; (2) to
make any deduction or withhold any amount from
the wages of an employee, or induce any employee
to give part of his wages by force or intimidation
[ Section 10 (g)]; (3) to commit any act of
discrimination against an employee because of
certain complaint he has filed or caused to be filed
against the employer (Section 13); and (4) to make
any false statement, report or record to subvert the
purpose of the Act (Section 14), which acts are
contained in separate sections mentioned therein.
The failure to pay the prescribed minimum wage is
not declared unlawful in our law.
It should also be noted that while Section 16 of the
Fair Labor Standards Act which provides for the
penalties to be imposed for any willful violation of
the provisions of the Act specifically states that
those penalties refer to acts declared unlawful under
Section 15 of the same Act, our law does not contain
such specification. It merely provides in Section 15
(a) that "Any person who willfully violates any of the
provisions of this Act shall upon conviction" be
subject to the penalty therein prescribed. This
distinction is very revealing. It clearly indicates that
while the Fair Labor Standards Act intends to subject
to criminal action only acts that are declared
unlawful, our law by legislative fiat intends to punish
not only those expressly declared unlawful but even
those not so declared but are clearly enjoined to be
observed to carry out the fundamental purpose of
the law. One such provision is undoubtedly that
which refers to the payment of the minimum wage
embodied in Section 3. This is the only rational
interpretation that can be drawn from the attitude

of our Congress in framing our law in a manner


different from that appearing in the mother law.
Indeed, the main objective of the law is to provide
for a rock-bottom wage to be observed and by an
employers of an agricultural and industrial
establishment. This objective would be defeated
were we to adopt a restrictive interpretation of the
above penal clause, for an employer who knows that
he cannot be amenable to a criminal action would be
prone to subvert the law because if he is detected it
would be easy for him to pay the underpayment and
the corresponding interest as would be the case
were he to assume merely a civil liability. This would
be a mockery and a derision of the law not
contemplated by our lawmaker which would
certainly render it nugatory and abortive. We are not
prepared to adopt an interpretation which would
give such adverse result to a legislation conceived in
the lofty purpose of protecting labor and giving it a
living wage. If the law is to survive, it must be real,
militant and effective.
The establishment of the maximum wage benefits
directly the low-paid employees, who now receive
inadequate wages on which to support themselves
and their families. It benefits all wage earners
indirectly by setting a floor below which their
remuneration cannot fail. It raises the standards of
competition among employers, since it would
protect the fair-minded employer who voluntarily
pays a wage that supports the wage earner from the
competition of the employer, who operates at lower
cost by reasons of paying his workers a wage below
subsistence. If, in fact, the employer cannot pay a
subsistence wage, then he should not continue his
operation unless he improves his methods and
equipment so as to make the payment of the
minimum wage feasible for him; otherwise the
employer is wasting the toil of the worker and the
material resources used in the employment. Second
methods of operation, progressive and fair-minded
management, and an adequate minimum wage go
hand in hand. (Explanatory Note to H.B. No. 1476).
Counsel for appellee however entertains a different
interpretation. He contends that if Section 15(a)
should be interpreted in a manner that would
embrace a willful violation of any of the provisions
of the law we would have a situation where even the
officials entrusted with its enforcement may be held
criminally liable which is not contemplated in the
law. Thus, he contends, the Secretary of Labor may
be criminally prosecuted for willfully not using all

available devices for investigation [Section 4 (c)], for


not presenting to the Wage Board all the evidence in
his possession relating to the wages in the industries
for which the Wage Board is appointed and other
information relevant to the establishment of the
minimum wage [Section 5 (p)], and for not doing all
other acts which the law requires him to do under
Section 6. This, he emphasizes, is absurd and should
not be entertained.
To begin with, the Minimum Wage Law is a social
legislation which has been adopted for the benefit of
labor and as such it contains provisions that are
enjoined to be observed by the employer. These
provisions are substantive in nature and had been
adopted for common observance by the persons
affected. They cannot be eluded nor subverted lest
the erring employer runs into the sanction of the
law. On the other hand, the provisions adverted to
by counsel are merely administrative in character
which had been adopted to set the machinery by
which the law is to be enforced. They are provisions
established for observance by the officials entrusted
with its enforcement. Failure to comply with them
would therefore subject them merely to
administrative sanction. They do not come under the
penal clause embodied in Section 15(a). This is
clearly inferred from Section 18(c), of Republic Act
No. 602, which provides: "Any official of the
Government to whom responsibility in administration
and enforcement has been delegated under this Act
shall be removable on the sustaining of charges of
malfeasance or non-feasance in office." This specific
provision should be interpreted as qualifying the
penal clause provided for in Section 15(a).
It is true that Section 3 under which appellee was
charged does not state that it shall be unlawfull for
an employer to pay his employees wages below the
minimum wage but merely requires that the
employer shall pay wages not below the minimum
wage. But failure of such declaration does not make
the non-observance of the provisions less unlawful
than otherwise, for such provision embodies
precisely the raison d'etre of the law itself. Indeed,
Section 3 is the very provision on which all the other
provisions of the law are built. Thus, the prohibition
against discriminating against any employee because
he has filed a complaint or caused to be instituted
one against the employer is just a means to insure
the effective enforcement of that provision (Section
13); and so the prohibition against the making of a
false statement, report or record required to be

filed or kept by the law (Section 13); the prohibition


against the payment of wages in the form of
promissory notes, vouchers, coupons, tokens, or any
other form to represent legal tender (Section 10,
par. a, sub-paragraph 1); and the prohibition against
making deductions or withholding any amount from
the wages of an employee (Section 10, par. g). These
are acts which were declared unlawful because they
may be resorted to by unscrupulous employers with
the evident purpose of subverting or defeating the
payment of the minimum wage. If these
supplementary provisions are mere safeguards
established by the lawmaker to close every avenue
to trickery or subversion on the part of the
employer, they cannot be more important and
imperative as the central provision fixing the
minimum wage without which the law will have no
reason to exist. We cannot therefore entertain the
claim that because said provision was not declared
unlawful it cannot be subject to the penal sanction
embodied in Section 15.
It is likewise true that the informations under which
the accused was charged only mention Section 3 of
the law as the one violated and this section does not
contain a penal clause, but this does not make the
informations defective. There is no law which
requires that in order that an accused may be
convicted the specific provision which penalizes that
act charged be mentioned in the information. The
Rules of Court do not require such designation. In
fact, the rule provides that an information, to be
sufficient, should state only the name of the
defendant, the designation of the offense by the
statute, the acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the offense, the name of the offended
party, the approximate time of the commission of
the offense, and the place wherein the offense was
committed (Rule 106, Section 5). The rule does not
require that it should mention the particular penal
provision penalizing the offense.
The final claim of appellee is that inasmuch as the
provisions of the law under which he was prosecuted
are ambiguous and there is doubt as to their
interpretation, that doubt should be resolved in his
favor because a penal statute should be strictly
construed against the State. This contention must
also fail if we are to be consistent with our
interpretation of the provisions of Section 15 (a) of
the law. We have stated that that section is clear
and unambiguous and covers the provisions
embodied in Section 3 of the law, and if such is the

case then there is no room for the application of the


principle invoked by appellee.
We are therefore persuaded to conclude that the
court a quo erred in dismissing the informations filed
against the appellee and, consequently, its order of
December 3, 1956, subject of this appeal should be
set aside.
Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby set
aside. It is ordered that these cases be remanded to
the court a quo for further proceedings, with costs
against appellee..
Paras, C. J., Padilla, and Endencia, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
CONCEPCION, J., concurring:
I concur in the foregoing opinion, as well as in the
concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Reyes (J. B. L.).
REYES, J. B. L., concurring:
I concur in the opinion of Mr. Justice Felix Bautista
Angelo, particularly in view of the provisions of Sec.
10, paragraph g of the Minimum Wage Act which
reads as follows:.
SEC. 10 (g). It shall be unlawful for any person,
including but not restricted to, any employer . . . to
make any deductions or withold any amount from
the wages of an employee . . . by force,
intimidation, threat, or procuring dismissal or in any
manner whatsoever.
If the act declares unlawful to withhold in any
manner whatsoever any amount from the wages of
an employee, it must necessarily be unlawful not to
pay him the wage called for by the Minimum Wage
Act. What is the difference between not paying the
minimum wage and withholding part of the wage so
the balance is below the minimum wage? To
underpay is to withhold part of the wage.
The act complained of, therefore, is an offense
penalized under the Act. Our duty being to interpret
the Act in consonance with its primary purpose to
benefit the laborer, we should consider that the only
sanction for not paying the minimum wage were to
be the payment of interest on the unpaid salary, the
situation of the wage earner would have been in no
way advanced and the Minimum Wage Act would be
practically nullified, for a laborer is in no position to
engage in protracted litigation with his employer. As
pointed in the opinion of Justice Bautista Angelo the
criminal liability is the only effective sanction under
the circumstances. The rejection of the Taada
amendment merely proves that the Legislature was

against heavier penalties at the start, not that it


desired to shield anyone from prosecution.
It is not for us to speculate upon the secondary
effects of the Act on industry. To foresee them is the
task of the Legislature. If it desired to immunize
employers against criminal prosecution, as an
exception to the general penalty, it could have
clearly so stated. On the other hand if it wished to
be ambiguous in order to content both Capital and
Labor, I think the Court would be advancing the
cause of good government by driving home the
necessity that laws be carefully framed and clearly
worded.
The function of statutory interpretation, in my
opinion, is to cure involuntary mistakes and supply
inadvertences; not to ferret out of ambiguities a
policy that legislators may be afraid or unwilling to
express. If it is unconstitutional for the Judiciary to
invade the sphere of the Legislature, it is just as
unlawful for the legislators to shirk their own duty
and divert to the Judges the odium of unpopular
measures. Que cada palo aguante su vela each
mast should bear its own sail.
BENGZON, J., dissenting:
Concurring in the dissent of Mr. Justice Montemayor,
I wish to emphasize that as applied to this case, Sec.
15, subsections (a) and (e) should be read together
substantially as follows:
Any person who violates any provision of this Act
shall be punished with fines, etc. . . . except that
where the violation consists in paying the employee
less than the minimum wage, the employer shall be
punished by requiring him to satisfy the difference,
plus attorney's fees.
I believe subsection (e) punishes the particular
"violation" of paying less than the minimum wage. It
is a special provision, which under well-known rules
of construction, should prevail over the general
provision in subsection (a). In other words, although
the Act does not expressly say so, subsection (e) is
an exception1 to subsection (a).
I think it is a mistake to suppose that this
interpretation fails to punish the employer who
disregards the Act; because the liability imposed by
subsection (e) is unquestionably a sanction, penal in
nature, which except for the law, would not be
demandable. If Juan De la Cruz, by contract,
employs Pedro at P3.00 per day in Manila where the
law fixes a minimum daily wage of P4.00, Pedro
could not recover P4.00 instead of P3.00 (except for

this law) because Pedro agreed to the 3-peso wage.


Nevertheless, this subsection (e) says, despite such
agreement with Pedro, Juan must pay him at the
rate of P4.00 a day, plus attorney's fees. He is
required to pay what he did not contract to pay, or
could not afford to pay. Is not this a punishment
imposed on Juan? Remember that fine, which is also
a punishment consists in the disbursement of money.
But such payment is insufficient penalty, I hear
others argue. This case will easily disprove such
argument: Under subsection (e) this appellee would
have to pay necessarily P1,016.00, plus attorney's
fees; whereas under subsection (a) he might be
fined P200.00 only.2
However, the majority will counter, we hold that the
employer, is liable under subsection (e) in addition
to his liability under subsection (a).
Therein lies the trouble; the words "in addition" or
words of similar import, were not inserted in
subsection (e), as they could have been inserted.
Additional liability, is their prevailing idea. And yet,
why should the law impose on the employer (who
pays in accordance with a contract freely entered
into), additional burdens not imposed on the other
employers willfully violating other fundamental
provisions of the Act.
It may be argued that subsection (e) is not really a
sanction independent of subsection (a), or additional
thereto, because it merely repeats the well-known
principle that "every person criminally liable is also
civilly liable." My answer is twofold: first, attorney's
fees are not usually included in such principle a
robber is not required to pay attorney's fees; second,
the employee is not really the injured party because
he accepted the employment under a contract:
"Scienti et volenti nulla fit injuria." There is no
violation of any right of the employee for which
reparation is due. In the example given, Pedro had
no right to require Juan to employ him at P4.00.
There is only a breach of the statute, for which the
Government can choose, and did choose the proper
sanction, namely, payment of the salary differential
under subsection (e). The Congress did not choose
more than that; contrary to what it did in analogous
situations. Take the Usury Law, for instance; it
provides "without prejudice to the proper civil
action for the recovery of usurious interest paid,
violations of this Act shall be subject to criminal
prosecution and the guilty person, etc." (Sec. (10).

In the absence of a clear, unmistakable statute, we


should not approve two punishments for one and the
same misconduct.
MONTEMAYOR, J., dissenting:
To my knowledge, this is the first time that the
Minimum Wage Law is being interpreted by this
Tribunal, as regards the compass and scope of the
penalty provided in Section 15 of said law, so that on
this subject matter, this will be the first case and a
leading one. The trial court in its order dismissing
the information said that it had carefully considered
its ruling or order because "it believes that any
resolution, one way or another, would be precedentsetting, because until now, the Supreme Court has
not directly ruled upon the point."
Under the interpretation given by the majority, any
employer who underpays his employees in violation
of the Minimum Wage Law (Section 3) would be
subject to criminal prosecution. I am afraid that if
that is the law, the prosecuting attorneys and fiscals
would have on their hands not only the prosecution
of thousands of private employers who may be
paying their employees and laborers amounts less
than the minimum wage, however small the
deficiency, but also hundreds and thousands of
provincial and municipal officials, particularly the
latter, who are paying their employees, not
excluding peace officers like municipal policemen
and patrolmen, salaries which are way below the
minimum wage of P4.00 a day. It is a well known fact
that in this respect, the Government is the first and
worst offender. Even first class municipalities cannot
afford and naturally do not pay their employees and
peace officers the minimum wage; with more reason
cannot second class and third class municipalities do
so.
The majority opinion will have such far-reaching and
to me, unforeseen consequences, at once baneful,
undesirable, and hurtful to industry, and disastrous
to local government officials who, strictly speaking,
are not to blame, that I am constrained to voice my
dissent and explain the reasons therefor.
For a better understanding of the adoption of the
minimum wage in this jurisdiction, it is well to
remember that it was not of the initiative, idea or
volition of this country. It was recommended by the
Bell Mission which made an economic survey here
and in its report, recommended its establishment.
Not only this, but it would appear that the
enactment of this Minimum Wage Law was made a

condition precedent to economic aid to be given to


us by the United States of America.1
In connection with the discussion and enactment of
this piece of legislation, not only our economists but
also our legislators expressed their fears, doubts and
misgivings, fully realizing that the country was not
perhaps prepared economically for its adoption and
operation. But because of our commitment with
America,2 and possibly realizing also the necessity of
establishing a fair minimum standard of wages for
laborers and employees, the Legislature enacted this
law in the nature of an experiment, carefully
watching and observing in its operation, execution
and observance, its good points and its shortcomings
as well, with the idea of later making the necessary
changes and amendment. The Legislature was, as it
were, venturing out on an uncharted sea; so it had
to be conservative and move with measured steps.
Since the law was merely being tried out as an
experiment, its provisions could not have been made
and intended to be strict and severe, in the sense
that because of their severity and strictness,
compliance therewith would be difficult, if not
impossible, and would result in their non
observance, and the consequent punishment by fine
and prison sentence of those defined as employers
who are unable to comply with said provisions. The
net result would be the unjust punishment of
innocent government officials and the
discouragement and destruction of infant and small
industries..
From the explanatory note of Senate Bill No. 202, we
may have an idea of the attitude of the Legislature
on this particular point:
One thing to be remembered is that the country has
not yet attained that degree of industrialization
where wages can be set at fully satisfactory levels
from the viewpoints of human values. Compromises
must still be made until this full industrial status is
attained. Another thing is that hasty and unjudicious
action in passing minimum wage laws may be
deterrent to private capital which, on the contrary
needs to be encouraged to invest in local industries
if the industrialization of our country must someday
be a fact. (Emphasis supplied).
As the majority opinion correctly observes, our
Minimum Wage Law is patterned after that of the
United States Fair Labor Standards Act (F.L.S.A.) of
1938, as amended. As I have already stated, the
establishment of this minimum wage in this country
being a sort of experiment, it being the first time

that it was being tried out, and not knowing whether


or not it would be a success, it is to be presumed
that the Legislature acted cautiously and warily, and
even while adopting as a pattern the United States
F.L.S.A., it did not wish or Intend to make our law
more stern and strict in its enforcement and
application, particularly as regards its penalties. But
the majority opinion would make our law more
rigorous and severe, more comprehensive and more
devastating in the application of its penal provisions.
For instance, while the F.L.S.A. in Section 16(a)
penalizes only specific violations of its provisions
expressly enumerated, our law as interpreted by the
majority opinion, would punish any violation
whatsoever, whether enumerated specifically or not.
Moreover, while Section 15(a) of the F. L. S. A. makes
it unlawful for an employer not to pay the minimum
wage prescribed by it, our Minimum Wage Law does
not contain a similar provision. What our law
declares unlawful are certain positive and
affirmative acts, such as, paying wages in the form
of promissory notes, vouchers, etc.; making
deductions or withholding any amount from the
wages of an employee, or inducing any employee to
give part of his wages by force or intimidation;
committing any act of discrimination against an
employee because of a certain complaint he had
filed against the employer, or making any false
statement in any report or record to subvert the
purposes of the Act. These acts must have been
regarded by the Legislature as serious and so
expressly declared them unlawful. However, the
mere failure to pay the prescribed minimum wage is
not, in our law, declared unlawful. I believe that
what the Legislature intended to penalize with fine
and prison sentence were only those acts which it
enumerated and declared unlawful, not the mere
failure to follow and comply with the obligations
imposed upon an employer, such as, the nonpayment
of the minimum wage.
It will be noticed that our law expressly provides
that any employer underpaying an employee in
violation of the Act shall be liable to said employee
in the amount of the underpayment, with legal
interest, plus a reasonable amount for attorney's
fees. This amount may be recovered not only by the
employee himself, but by the Secretary of Labor on
his behalf. In my opinion, this civil responsibility to
be enforced with the aid of the Department of
Labor, was regarded as sufficient punishment and
deterrent on the employer. Being a civil action, the

employee only needs preponderance of evidence to


win his suit. The Legislature may have been of the
belief that application of the penal sanction in the
form of fine and prison sentence would be too
radical a measure, would scare and discourage new
and infant industries, besides inducing violators to
resort to underhanded but effective measures to
hide and conceal infringement of the law, to say
nothing of the added difficulty in securing
conviction, which requires not only preponderance
of evidence, but proof of guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.
To show that the Legislature did not intend to be too
severe and stern in the application of this new law
which was merely being tried out, while House Bill
No. 1732 was being discussed in the Senate, Senator
Taada believing that the bill was too lenient for
those who violated its provisions by providing for a
fine of only not more than P1,000.00 or
imprisonment of not more than six months, he
proposed that the fine be increased to not more
than P10,000.00 half the amount of the fine
provided in Section 16(a) of the U.S. Fair Labor
Standards Act; but the committee sponsoring the
bill, through Senator Torres, objected to the
proposed amendment as being too excessive and
severe, specially at the beginning of the operation of
the law, upon which Senator Taada withdrew his
amendment, with the understanding that in a year
or so after the promulgation of the law, it will be
amended:.
SENATE
December 22, 1950.
ENMIENDA TAADA
SENATOR TAADA. Mr. President for another
amendment, On page 18, Section 15 provides for
penalties. Mr. President, I believe that the bill is too
lenient for those who violate the provisions of this
measure. It only provides for a fine of not more than
one thousand pesos or imprisonment of not more
than six months, or both. In order to really protect
labor we must make the penalty stiffer than what is
provided in this bill. So I propose the following
amendment: In line 22, delete the word "one"
between the words "than" and "thousand", and insert
in its place the word "ten"--not more than ten
thousand pesos".
EL PRESIDENTE. Que dice el comite?

EL SENADOR TORRES. Seor Presidente, el Comite


siente no poder aceptar la enmienda, en vista de
que considera demasiada excesiva la pena, sobre
todo, en los comienzos de la vigencia de la ley.
SENATOR TAADA. I then, Mr. President, withdraw my
amendment with the understanding that in a year or
so after this Law has been in force, we shall amend
it.
EL PRESIDENTE. Se da por retirada. (Senate Journal,
Jan. 5, 1951, pp. 5-6). (Emphasis supplied).
Going back to the violation of this Minimum Wage
Law by the Government itself, it is a matter of
public knowledge that employees like clerks in the
office of the Municipal Treasurer, and municipal
policemen receive as low as P40.00 or P50.00 a
month, way below the minimum wage prescribed by
the law. Under the interpretation given by the
majority, since the word "employer" in the law
includes the Government3 and government
corporations, then the municipal mayor, the
municipal councilors and the municipal treasurer
who knowingly and wilfully pay to their employees
and policemen salaries way below the minimum
wage, would all be subject to criminal prosecution.
Multiply this number of municipal officials by the
number of such towns and municipalities in the
Philippines which do not and cannot pay the
minimum wage to their employees and municipal
policemen, which towns and municipalities can be
counted by the hundreds, and we shall have an idea
of the number of government violators of the law
which we have and must prosecute criminally under
the majority opinion. Could such mass and wholesale
prosecution have been contemplated and intended
by the Legislature? And let it not be said that with
respect to said Government officials, the only
punishment is by administrative action and removal,
as provided in Section 18, paragraphs (c) and (d),
which read as follows:
(c) Any official of the Government to whom
responsibility in administration and enforcement has
been delegated under this Act shall be removable on
the sustaining of charges of malfeasance or
nonfeasance in office.
(d) Any person engaged in the administration and
enforcement of this Act who is found to have
accepted any bribe from or on behalf of any party in
interest under this Act shall be summarily dismissed,
and criminal action shall be instituted against such
person. (Emphasis supplied).

because those provisions clearly refer only to those


government officials entrusted with the
administration and enforcement of the law, such as,
the Secretary of Labor the members of the Wage
Administration Service, and others.
But the majority opinion says that not to apply the
penal sanction to an employer underpaying his
laborers or employees
. . . would be a mockery and a derision of the law
not contemplated by our lawmaker which would
certainly render it nugatory and abortive. We are not
prepared to adopt an interpretation which would
give such adverse result to a legislation conceived in
the lofty purpose of protecting labor and giving it a
living wage. If the law is to survive, it must be real,
militant and effective. (Emphasis supplied).
In other words, the majority of this Tribunal on its
own initiative would make the Minimum Wage Law
militant and effective by a blanket and
indiscriminate application of Section 15(a) to all
violators of its provisions, whether or not such
violation is expressly or specifically declared
unlawful by the law itself. Stated otherwise, this
Tribunal steps in, nay, rushes in to put teeth in a
legislation which it considers toothless and would
make effective and militant what it regards would
otherwise be ineffectual and inadequate. This
Tribunal would, like one unlicensed to practice
medicine, prescribe a cure for a supposed
legislational malady. I am afraid that is not and has
never been the province, much less, the prerogative
of the Judiciary. Otherwise, the courts would be
indulging in judicial legislation.
If the Minimum Wage Law is found to be inadequate
and ineffective, let the Legislature make the
necessary changes and amendments. In fact, that
was the legislative plan from the beginning
observe the operation and working of the law and
then make changes, if deemed necessary. But
evidently, the Legislature is satisfied with the
operation and mode of application of the law,
because although approved on April 6, 1951, and
made effective 120 days thereafter, in other words,
after a seven-year operation, it (Legislature) has not
seen fit to introduce any major changes,4 specially in
the application of the penalty.
Anyway, after all is said and done, the least that
could be said about the applicability of Section 15(a)
of the Minimum Wage law to violations of Section 3
is doubtful. Even brushing aside and not considering
the grave doubts entertained by the undersigned as

to the applicability of said Section 15(a) to violations


of Section 3, we have in evidence the opinion of the
Court of First Instance of Zamboanga and according
to it, the opinion of the major sector of the
Zamboanga bar, sustaining the view that Section
15(a) is not applicable to violations of Sections 3 of
the Minimum Wage Law. We have the well settled
principle in the interpretation of penal laws that in
case of doubt, the interpretation favorable to the
accused should be adopted. Authorities in support of
this principle are not wanting.
Laws creating, defining, or punishing crimes, and
those imposing penalties and forfeitures, are to be
construed strictly against the state or the party
seeking to enforce them, and liberally in favor of the
party sought to be charged. They are not to be
enlarged by implications, nor extended to persons or
cases not plainly within the meaning of the language
employed. (Black on Interpretation of Laws, p. 451).
Said this Court in U. S. vs. Abad Santos, 35 Phil. 243:
Criminal statutes are to be construed strictly; no
person should be brought within them, nor should
any act be pronounced criminal which is not made
clearly so.
In view of the foregoing, I hold that the penal
sanction of the Minimum Wage Law applies only to
certain violations of its provisions, that is to say,
those acts which are expressly declared by the law
itself as unlawful; and that mere nonpayment of the
minimum wage is not included in the said penal
sanction, the Legislature evidently believing that the
civil responsibility of the employer for the amount of
the underpayment with legal interest and attorney's
fees to be enforced with the aid of the Department
of Labor, is enough punishment and deterrent on
employers.
REYES A., J., dissenting:
As the majority opinion itself says, "failure to pay
the prescribed minimum wage is not declared
unlawful in our law" (Rep. Act No. 602). On the other
hand, it is doubtful if the penal sanction prescribed
in section 15(a) of that Act presumably for the
acts and practices therein declared unlawful could
be rightfully applied to the act of underpaying an
employee, since paragraph (e) of that same section
already provides a specific remedy therefor.
Considering that penal statutes are strictly construed
against the state and in Case of doubt courts must
adopt the construction favorable to the accused, I
vote for the affirmance of the order below and also

say that courts should not presume to legislate by


putting into the law more teeth than the Legislature
has already put into it.

G.R. No. 90301 December 10, 1998


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,
vs.
JUANCHO GATCHALIAN, accused-appellant.
MENDOZA, J.:
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 49, finding accusedappellant Juancho Gatchalian guilty of murder for
the killing on January 23, 1986 of Arthur Aumentado
and imposing on him the penalty of reclusion
perpetua and ordering him to indemnify the heirs of
Arthur Aumentado in the amount of P38,000.00 and
to pay the costs of suit. 1
As is usual in cases of this nature, the parties
present conflicting versions of the incident. The
question is which version is the more credible, given
the rule that the burden is on the prosecution to
prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the
accused.
The prosecution version is based mainly on the
testimonies 2 of Luisito Reyes and his father Agapito
Reyes. Luisito said that at about 5 o'clock in the
afternoon of January 23, 1986, he went to the store
of Aling Paro at the corner of Perla B and Pavia
Streets in Tondo, Manila, to buy cigarettes. While he
was there, he saw accused-appellant Juancho
Gatchalian and Boyong Hagibis pass by. They came
from the direction of Sevilla Street and they were
walking towards Perla C Street. The both seemed
drunk. Accused-appellant's head appeared bloodied.
Neither of them was carrying a weapon. The two had
reportedly been drinking and accused-appellant had
gotten into a quarrel at Sevilla Street with a certain
"Eddie" and also one "Pedro".
After accused-appellant and Boyong Hagibis had
passed by, Arthur Aumentado, a co-worker and
neighbor of Luisito Reyes, came to the store to buy
cigarettes. Luisito's father, Agapito Reyes, also
dropped by the store. He was on his way to a
neighbor's house and his purpose in stopping by was
to tell his son to go home soon.
Luisito Reyes told the court that shortly after he had
seen the two, accused-appellant Juancho Gatchalian
and Boyong Hagibis passed by the store again. This

time, accused-appellant was armed with a jungle


bolo, about 2 1/2 feet long, while Boyong Hagibis
was armed with an iron pipe, about a foot long and
an inch in diameter. At that point, Arthur Aumentado
walked a few meters away to go to an alley to try to
see what was going on at Sevilla Street where earlier
there had reportedly been a commotion. Although
Arthur Aumentado's back was turned towards them,
accused-appellant and Boyong Hagibis nonetheless
recognized him. Luisito heard Boyong Hagibis say to
accused-appellant. "Pare, Pare, may kaaway tayo."
(Pal. we have an enemy.) When Arthur Aumentado
turned around to return to the store. Boyong Hagibis
struck him on the head with the iron pipe. Arthur
Aumentado fell to the ground, whereupon, accusedappellant stabbed him, once in the breast and again
in the abdominal area with his jungle bolo. Boyong
Hagibis then fled towards Perla C Street, followed by
accused-appellant who brought with him the jungle
bolo he used to stab the victim.
Luisito Reyes and his father, Agapito Reyes, saw the
entire incident. Luisito Reyes was barely five (5)
meters away, while Agapito was about four (4) arms
length away from the scene of the stabbing. The
place where the stabbing occurred was well lighted
by a string of electric bulbs used during the last
fiesta and by Meralco posts. There was a commotion
as a result of the incident. Agapito Reyes went home
while Luisito Reyes asked somebody to call for
Arnold Aumentado, a brother of the victim. When
Arnold Aumentado arrived, he and Luisito Reyes took
Arthur Aumentado to the Mary Johnson Hospital in
Tondo, Manila. However, he was already dead when
they arrived at the hospital at about 6:50 that
evening.
Meantime, police investigators, headed by Pat.
Feliciano Cristobal, arrived, following a call from a
security guard of the Mary Johnson Hospital. The
police officers encountered Luisito Reyes at the
hospital who told them that he had witnessed the
stabbing and pointed to accused-appellant Juancho
Gactchalian and Boyong Hagibis as the culprits. The
police also learned that Agapito Reyes likewise saw
the incident and that accused-appellant was at the
Tondo General Hospital for treatment. They were
not able to interview accused-appellant, however, as
he was still under sedation. Meanwhile, both Luisito
Reyes and his father. Agapito, went to the Western
Police District on United Nations Avenue. At 9:45 that
evening, Luisito Reyes gave his written statement to
Pat. Rodolfo Rival. Later that evening, at 10:10,

Agapito Reyes gave his written statement to Pat.


Feliciano Cristobal. 3
Accused-appellant categorically denied he stabbed
Arthur Aumentado. He claimed he did not know a
person named Boyong Hagibis. The defense
presented evidence 4 showing that, on January 23,
1986, at about 6 o'clock in the evening, accusedappellant was in the house of his compadre Batotoy
on Pavia Street. He was there, according to him, to
get jewelry to sell on commission. While he was in
the house of Batotoy, he was fetched by his aunt
because his child fell sick. On her way to Batotoy's
house, accused-appellant's aunt. Myrna Conje,
noticed two (2) men near the alley at the corner of
Pavia Street. One of the men, whom she later came
to know was Arthur Aumentado, held a jungle bolo,
while the other, whom she later came to know was
Artemio (Temy) Aumentado, a brother of Arthur
Aumentado, had a gun tucked at his waist.
Myrna Conje said that upon reaching Batotoy's house,
she called accused-appellant who lost no time going
home with her. On their way back, they saw from
about four (4) to five (5) meters away, Artemio
Aumentado aim his gun at accused-appellant's
direction and fire it. As accused-appellant tried to
run, he found himself and his aunt surrounded.
Behind them, blocking a small alley, were three (3)
men: Arnold Aumentado (brother of Arthur
Aumentado), who had a jungle bolo; Luisito Reyes,
who had a foot long knife; and Elmer Aumentado
(another brother of the victim), who was holding a
jungle bolo. Arthur Aumentado then went to the
middle of the street and demanded to know why
accused-appellant and his aunt were "blocking" the
street ("Bakit kayo paharang-harang?"). Without
waiting for an answer, accused-appellant said, Arthur
Aumentado struck him with a jungle bolo, hitting
him (accused-appellant) on the right side of the
head and causing him to fall on his back. Thereupon,
he claimed Artemio Aumentado, Arnold Aumentado,
Elmer Aumentado, and Luisito Reyes rushed toward
them and started attacking him. At this point Arthur
Aumentado, his brothers, and Luisito Reyes were
surrounding the accused-appellant and Myrna Conje
who behind him. He tried to parry the blows of his
attackers with the use of his feet and by rolling on
the ground. In the process, the first interdigital web
of his foot was cut.
During the attack, accused-appellant said he fell
unconscious. He was pulled away from the group by
his aunt and brought home. He was then taken to

the hospital. Accused-appellant claimed the attack


lasted about thirty (30) minutes.
Accused-appellant was taken to the Tondo General
Hospital shortly before 7 o'clock that evening. He
was found to have sustained a lacerated wound,
three (3) centimeters on the first interdigital web of
his left foot, and an avulsion of the scalp, parietooccipital (right) with an area of five (5) centimeters
by four (4) centimeters. He also tested positive for
alcohol. He was placed under sedation and
discharged from the hospital the following day. 5
On January 27, 1986, he was taken to the Western
Police District on United Nations Avenue. In the
presence of his counsel, Atty. David Paz, accusedappellant and his aunt. Myrna Conje, gave
statements to the police investigators. Atty.
David Paz filed a letter, dated January 27, 1986, with
the Office of the Superintendent of the Western
Police District requesting for the investigation of
Artemio (Temy) Aumentado and others, including
Arthur Aumentado, for the injuries suffered by
accused-appellant. On April 11, 1986, he filed a
complaint for frustrated murder against Arthur
Aumentado. Artemio Aumentado, Elmer Aumentado,
Arnold Aumentado, and a John Doe with the Office
of the City Fiscal of Manila. On July 21, 1986,
however. Assistant City Fiscal Cesario del Rosario,
with the concurrence and approval of the City Fiscal,
found the complaint to be without merit and
accordingly dismissed the case filed by accusedappellant against Arthur Aumentado. Instead, the
filing of an Information for murder against accusedappellant was ordered. 6
Accordingly, on August 29, 1986, an Information 7 for
murder was filed against accused-appellant Juancho
Gatchalian. 8 After trial, he was found guilty by the
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 49, in a
decision, dated December 8, 1987. 9
Hence, this appeal.
Accused-appellant raises the following errors in his
brief: 10
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE
CLAIM OF SELF-DEFENSE BY THE ACCUSED DESPITE
CLEAR EVIDENCE ON RECORD SUPPORTING THE SAME.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO
THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES, NAMELY LUISITO AND
AGAPITO BOTH SURNAMED, REYES WHO BOTH HAVE
INTEREST IN THE CASE.
III

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED


GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME
OF MURDER DESPITE WEAK EVIDENCE FOR THE
PROSECUTION.
IV
GRANTING WITHOUT ADMITTING THAT ACCUSED
COULD BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF ARTHUR
AUMENTADO, EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT THE CRIME WAS
NOT ATTENDED BY THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES
OF MURDER.
We find the foregoing contentions to be untenable.
First. The first three assignments of errors involve
basically a question of credibility. The time-honored
rule is, of course, that when the of witnesses,
appellate courts will not disturb the findings of the
trial court unless it has plainly overlooked certain
facts of substance and value which, if considered,
might affect the result of the case. This is so
because the trial judge heard the witnesses testify
and had the opportunity to observe their demeanor
and manner of testifying. 11 As we explained in
People v. Cayabyab: 12
. . . Having the advantage of directly observing
witnesses, the trial judge is able to detect that
sometimes thin line between fact and prevarication
that will determine the guilt or innocence of the
accused. That line may not be discernible from a
mere reading of the impersonal record by the
reviewing court. The record will not reveal those
tell-rate signs that will affirm the truth or expose
the contrivance, like the angry flush of an insisted
assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or
the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the
forthright tone of a read reply. The record will not
show if the eyes have darted in evasion or looked
down in confession or gazed steadily with a serenity
that has nothing to distort or conceal. The record
will not show if tears were shed in anger, or in
shame, or in remembered pain, or in feigned
innocence. Only the judge trying the case can see all
these and on the basis of these observations arrive
at an informed and reasoned verdict.
There is no reason for departing from this salutary
rule. The defense version that accused-appellant
was attacked while he and his aunt were walking
home simply defies credibility.
(1) The medical certificate 13 presented by accusedappellant shows that he sustained the following
injuries: "lacerated wound, 3 cm. first interdigital
web, left foot." and "avulsion of the scalp, 5x4 cm.
parieto-occipital (right)." Although he was advised to

remain at the hospital for one night, it was primarily


because he was intoxicated. According to Dr. Gan,
who examined him, accused-appellant could have
made his way home immediately after suture of his
wounds. 14
(2) The trial court expressed disbelief that accusedappellant would have sustained only minor injuries
which required less than nine (9) days of treatment
if, as the defense claimed, accused-appellant had
been attacked by five men, all heavily armed with a
gun, jungle bolos, and a knife, who, if the defense
were to be believed, were out to do him serious
harm, if not to kill him. Accused-appellant's story is
all the more difficult to believe because the attack
allegedly lasted for about half an hour. 15 How
accused-appellant survived such an attack with only
two minor injuries is incredible.
Second. Another puzzling matter is the claim that
accused-appellant's aunt was able to pull him away
from his assailants. Why would his alleged attackers
gang up on him and yet half an hour later allow,
without protest, his aunt to take him away? Myrna
Conje said she cried for help but no one came to
their aid. 16 What is even more incredible is that
while accused-appellant was allegedly attacked by
five fully armed men, it was one of the latter, victim
Arthur Aumentado, who ended up dead after the
alleged assault.
Indeed, a perusal of the transcript of stenographic
notes shows that the respective testimonies of
accused-appellant and his aunt are inconsistent with
each other. Accused-appellant claimed it was only
the victim who had actually struck at him because
the other four men merely surrounded them. 17 This
is inconsistent with the testimony of his aunt that all
five men ganged up on him. 18 This is a substantial
aspect of the defense theory. Moreover, the defense
witnesses gave their statements only after four days
had elapsed since the killing of the victim while the
prosecution witnesses gave theirs on the very day
itself, a few hours later. Lastly, the trial court
observed that witness Myrna Conje initially tried to
deny any knowledge of Boyong Hagibis but later
admitted to being familiar with him. 19 Such being
the case, the trial court could not be faulted for not
giving credence to their testimonies.
In contrast, witnesses presented by the prosecution
were categorical and consistent in saying that they
saw accused-appellant stab Arthur Aumentado after
the latter was rendered helpless by accusedappellant's companion who first hit the victim on the

head with an iron pipe. All three corroborate the


substantial aspects of each other's accounts. The
said witnesses have stood firm by their accounts of
the killing of the victim from the time they were
first questioned up to the time they testified in
court.
Luisito Reyes testified: 20
FISCAL FORMOSO:
When you noticed Boyong and Juancho [Gatchalian]
approaching, how far were you?
WITNESS:
About 5 meters, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
What did you observe when Boyong and Juancho
were approaching?
WITNESS:
They had a quarrel with somebody, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
What else did you observe?
WITNESS:
Boyong was carrying an iron pipe and Juancho was
carrying a bolo, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
How long was this pipe which Boyong was carrying?
WITNESS:
About one foot long, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
What kind of a pipe is that?
WITNESS:
It is a water pipe, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
Now, this Gatchalian, who (sic) long the bolo that he
was carrying?
WITNESS:
About two feet, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
After seeing these two persons, what happened
next?
WITNESS:
Kuya Arthur was hit by an iron pipe thrown on his
head, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
Who threw this iron pipe on the head of Arthur?
WITNESS:
Boyong Hagibis, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
And what about Juancho, what did you notice to
(sic) him?
WITNESS:
I saw Juancho struck (sic) Arthur with a bolo when
Arthur fell, sir.

FISCAL FORMOSO:
How far were you from the place where Arthur,
Juancho and Boyong were?
WITNESS:
About 5 meters, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
What was the lighting condition when the incident
happened?
WITNESS:
The place was lighted, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
Where were the lights come from?
WITNESS:
There were lines of bulbs in our place, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
Are there Meralco posts there?
WITNESS:
Yes, sir.
COURT:
Aside from the Meralco post, are there other sources
of lights in that place?
WITNESS:
Yes, the bulbs that are lined in that place, sir.
COURT:
Why was it lighted in the way?
WITNESS:
Because those bulbs were left, there whenever
there were fiestas there in that place, Your Honor.
Luisito Reyes account of the killing was duly
corroborated by another prosecution witness.
Agapito Reyes, who was also at the scene of the
crime at the time the incident occurred. Agapito
Reyes testified: 21
FISCAL FORMOSO:
While in the store to call your son, did you notice
unusual incident that happened?
WITNESS:
Yes, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
What was that about?
WITNESS:
I saw Juancho Gatchalian and Boyong Hagibis, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
Where did you see Juancho and Boyong?
WITNESS:
Also in the store near Perla "B", sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
How far were you from these two when you saw
them?
WITNESS:
More or less, four arms length, sir.

FISCAL FORMOSO:
What happened when you saw these two?
WITNESS:
I saw Boyong hit Arthur, and after that Juancho
struck Arthur with a bolo, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
What instrument did Boyong use in hitting Arthur?
WITNESS:
I saw it was a pipe, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
What kind of a pipe was that?
WITNESS:
It was an iron pipe, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
FISCAL FORMOSO:
You said that Boyong hit Arthur with a piece of. lead
[iron] pipe. What happened to Arthur after that?
WITNESS:
He fell down on the ground, sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
After that when Arthur fell to the ground, what did
the accused do?
WITNESS:
He struck the victim, sir.
COURT: (to the stenographer)
You insert the word used by the witness, "tinaga".
FISCAL FORMOSO:
How many times did he hit the victim with a bolo?
WITNESS:
Two times but the other one was "pasak-sak", sir.
FISCAL FORMOSO:
While the Accused was stabbing the victim, what was
Boyong doing at that time?
WITNESS:
None, but after that they ran away, sir.
The medico-legal certification of Dr. Marcial G.
Ceido and his testimony support the accounts of the
aforementioned witnesses that the victim had been
hit on the head with a water pipe (a blunt
instrument) and stabbed with a bolo (a pointed
bladed weapon).
There can be no doubt that the prosecution
witnesses could positively identify accusedappellant. The place where the killing took place
was well-lighted by street lights and rows or electric
bulbs set up during a recent fiesta celebration. 22
The witnesses and accused-appellant were all
neighbors and hence the former were familiar with
accused-appellant whom they used to see loitering
around the neighborhood. 23

Accused-appellant contends, however, that


prosecution witnesses Luisito Reyes and Agapito
Reyes had ill motives in testifying against him. 24 Yet
he has not shown to any satisfactory degree, that
the said witnesses were impelled to testify against
him by reason of false or ill motives. The
presumption is that witnesses are not actuated by
any improper motive absent any proof to the
contrary and that their testimonies must accordingly
be met with considerable, if not conclusive, favor
under the rules of evidence. 25 In fact, accusedappellant admits that there was no misunderstanding
or quarrel between himself and the said witnesses. 26
We therefore find no reason to hold that the trial
judge erred in giving credence to the testimonies of
the prosecution witnesses.
Another telling factor which detracts from the
credibility of the defense is the inconsistency in its
theory of self-defense. Accused-appellant claims
that he was merely defending himself from an attack
by Arthur Aumentado and his group, and yet also
claims that he did not kill the victim. 27 He claims
that when he was pulled to safety by his aunt, Myrna
Conje, what began as an attack on him became a
free-for-all fight and that he does not know who
killed Arthur Aumentado.
Anyone who claims sell-defense impliedly admits the
killing of the victim. But how can accused-appellant
invoke self-defense when he does not admit killing
the victim because he claims the victim was killed in
the melee that followed after he had been rescued
by his aunt? We agree with the Solicitor General that
"the absence of logic in appellant's defense reflects
its weakness."
The trial court then correctly gave no weight to the
version of the defense. Aside from being replete
with inconsistencies, the evidence for the defense is
incredible and cannot pass the test of simple logic. 28
As for accused-appellant's contention that the
prosecution should have presented the weapons
allegedly used to commit the crime, we have already
ruled that:
For purposes of conviction, it is enough that the
prosecution establishes by proof beyond reasonable
doubt that a crime was committed and the accused
is the author thereof. The production of the weapon
used in the commission of the crime is not a
condition sine qua non for the discharge of such
burden, for the same may not have been recovered
at all from the assailant. (People v. Florida, 214 SCRA
227 (1990). 29

With three credible eyewitnesses and documentary


evidence which corroborates their testimonies, the
prosecution has clearly discharged its burden of
proving accursed-appellant's guilty beyond
reasonable doubt.
Third. We come now to the question what crime the
accused-appellant committed. Accused-appellant
contends that assuming arguendo he is guilty of
killing Arthur Aumentado, the crime he committed is
homicide and not murder because there was no
treachery. 30 It is not clear from the appellant's brief
why he claims that the qualifying circumstance of
treachery should not be appreciated. It would seem
that his theory is that the hacking of Arthur
Aumentado was done to vindicate a past wrong
committed by the latter. Hence, there can be no
treachery because the victim knew that his enemies
would try to get even with him.
There is no merit in this contention.
In the first place, as we have already said, there is
no showing that there was such prior altercation
between accused-appellant and the victim.
Moreover, Luisito Reyes and Arnold Aumentado (a
brother of the victim), on rebuttal, categorically
denied accused-appellant's allegations. 31 Although
Luisito Reyes and Agapito Reyes said they saw
accused-appellant with injuries in the head, the
explained that the injuries were sustained as a result
of a prior fight with other people. 32 Accusedappellant's effort to implicate the victim, his
brothers, and the witness Luisito Reyes appears to
be an afterthought. Accused-appellant claims that
he filed a complaint against Arthur Aumentado, but
it was ignored by the police. The fact is, however,
that it was never really followed up by him, as Pat.
Cristobal said on cross-examination. 33 It is
noteworthy that accused-appellant's counsel filed
the letter requesting an investigation of his claim
only four days after the incident. Accused-appellant
was released from the hospital the day after he was
brought there. He could thus have easily reported
the matter to the police. The fact is, however, that
his claim is so incredible the police could not believe
it. Consequently, when accused-appellant was still at
the hospital, he was handcuffed by the police, and
neither he nor his aunt ever protested this. 34
In the second place, the qualifying circumstance of
treachery was sufficiently proven by the
prosecution. This circumstance requires for its
application the following requisites; (1) the
employment of means, method, or manner of

execution which will ensure the safety of the


malefactor from defensive or retaliating acts on the
part of the victim, no opportunity being given to the
latter to defend himself or to retaliate; and (2)
deliberate or conscious adoption of such means,
method, or manner of execution. 35
In this case, there is no doubt that the first
requisites present. The testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses show that the victim Arthur
Aumentado was attacked in such a manner as to
foreclose the possibility that he would defend
himself. He was unaware of the oncoming attack
since he was merely buying some cigarettes from the
store and was looking toward Sevilla Street where a
fight had earlier taken place when suddenly he was
struck on the head with an iron pipe by Boyong
Hagibis and then subsequently stabbed by accusedappellant while he was lying on the ground, hurt and
helpless.
As regards the second requisite, the following facts
lead us to no other conclusion than that the
accused-appellant and his companion consciously
adopted a mode which would ensure the realization
of their purpose without danger to themselves; the
accused-appellant and Boyong Hagibis were already
carrying weapons when they first saw the victim;
when they saw the victim, Boyong said. "Pare, may
kaaway tayo"; they approached the victim when his
back was to them and hit him with an iron pipe as he
turned towards them; the victim was stabbed when
he was already lying on the ground, hurt and
helpless; the victim was first hit on the head and
thus already defenseless before he was stabbed,
they purposely approached the victim after Boyong
saw that he was an enemy; lastly, the victim was hit
on the head and stabbed in the chest. The manner in
which the victim was killed and the aforementioned
external manifestations of the accused-appellant
and his companion clearly show that they consciously
and deliberately adopted the particular method or
form of attack to insure the accomplishment of their
purpose. 36
The qualifying circumstance of evident
premeditation, however, was not sufficiently proven.
This circumstance qualifies killing to murder if the
following elements are shown: (1) the time when the
offender determined to kill his victim: (2) an act of
the offender manifestly indicating that he clung to
his determination to kill his victim; and (3) a
sufficient lapse of time between the determination

and the execution of the killing. 37 The trial court


correctly held: 38
. . . The Court believes and so finds that the killing
was not qualified by evident premeditation. The
Prosecution has not adduced evidence to prove when
the Accused and Boyong Hagibis decided and
resolved to kill Arthur Aumentado for the Court to
ascertain whether the Accused has had ample time
and opportunity to reflect on the consequences of
the crime he committed. Extant such evidence, the
Court cannot appreciate against the Accused the
qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation.
(People v. Mamerto Narvaez, 121 SCRA 339, 404).
The trial court was, therefore, correct in holding
that the accused is guilty of murder by virtue of the
qualifying circumstance of treachery. There being no
aggravating circumstance, any abuse of superior
strength being absorbed by treachery, nor any
mitigating circumstance, the trial court rightly
imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The civil
indemnity for the victim's death, however, should he
increased to P50,000.00 in accordance with current
rulings of this Court.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Manila, Branch 49, is AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATION that the indemnity for the victim's
death is increased to P50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Puno and Martinez, JJ., concur.

[G.R. No. L-8919. September 28, 1956.]


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PlaintiffAppellees, vs. AGUSTIN MANGULABNAN alias
GUINITA, DIONISIO SARMIENTO, ARCADIO BALMEO,
PATRICIO GONZALES, FLORENTINO FLORES, CRISPIN
ESTRELLA, FELIPE CALISON, PEDRO VILLAREAL,
CLAUDIO REYES, PETER DOE and JOHN DOE
Defendant, AGUSTIN MANGULABNAN, Appellant.
DECISION
FELIX, J.:
At about 11:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary00 oclock in
the evening of November 5, 1953, the reports of
gunfire awaked the spouses Vicente Pacson and
Cipriana Tadeo, the 4 minor children and Ciprianas
mother, Monica del Mundo, in their house at barrio
Tikiw, San Antonio, Nueva Ecija. Whereupon, Vicente
Pacson crossed the room and shouted to one Tata
Pisio that persons were going up their house and
then hid himself inside the ceiling.

In the meantime, someone broke the wall of the


kitchen at the back of the house, and a few
moments later a person suddenly entered the dining
room and shouted that the door leading to the living
room be opened. As no one of the house members
obeyed, the intruder removed 3 board pieces in the
wall and through the opening thus made he entered
the living room. The intruder who was armed with a
hunting knife was recognized by Cipriana Tadeo to be
Agustin Mangulabnan, who was previously known to
her. Agustin removed the iron bar from the door
leading to the balcony and after opening said door, 2
persons whose identity has not been ascertained
entered. Agustin then approached Cipriana Tadeo
and snatched from her neck one necklace valued P50
and also took from her person P50 in the paper bills
and P20 in silver coins. Meanwhile, one of the two
unidentified marauders searched the person of
Monica del Mundo and took from her P200 in cash
and in gold necklace valued at P200. But not
contented with the loot, the same individual asked
from Monica del Mundo to give her diamond ring
which the latter could not produce, and for this
reason, he strucked her twice on the face with the
butt of his gun. One of the small children of Vicente
Pacson who was terrified called to his mother and
that unidentified person, irked by the boys
impudence, made a move to strike him, but Monica
del Mundo warded off the blow with her right arm.
At this juncture, the second unidentified individual
put his companion aside the climbing on the table,
fired his gun at the ceiling. Afterwards, Appellant
and his two unidentified companion left the place.
After they were gone, Cipriana Tadeo called to her
husband Vicente Pacson, and receiving no answer
she climbed the ceiling and she found him lying face
downward already dead. According to Dr. Vicente P.
Llado, who performed the autopsy, Vicente Pacson
sustained the injuries described in his autopsy
reports, which reads as
follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
November 6, 1953
TO WHOM IT MAY
CONCERN:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Post-mortem findings on cadaver Vicente Pacson,
age-37 years, married, of barrio Tikiw, San Antonio,
Nueva Ecija.
Time take:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
8:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary20 a.m.
1. Entrance fracture of the frontal region of head
due to gunshot wound.

Exit wound at left side of the head, about the


upper portion of the left ear.
2. Entrance gunshot wound, left lateral side of
the left middle arm.
Exit gunshot wound inner side of left arm.
3. Entrance gunshot wound, left lateral of the left
forearm.
Exit gunshot wound, left inner side of the left
forearm.
4. Entrance gunshot wound around 2 inches more or
less above the middle of the right clavicle.
Exit gunshot would at the back in the region of the
spinal cord between the two scapula.
Cause of death severe hemorrhage due to go
gunshot wound of the frontal region of the forehead.
(Exhibit C).
The incident was reported to the police authorities
that same evening and in the ensuing investigation
Cipriana Tadeo informed the Chief of Police that
Agustin Mangulabnan was one of the malefactors
who entered their house. When the latter was
investigated, he readily and voluntarily subscribed
before the Justice of the Peace of San Antonio,
Nueva Ecija, an affidavit admitting his participation
in the robbery and killing of Vicente Pacson (Exhibit
A and B). Much later, however, he subscribed to
another affidavit before the Clerk of Court wherein
he exculpated from any participation Crispin
Estrella, one of those he implicated in his previous
affidavit, though admitting the truth of the other
allegations contained therein (Exhibit D).
As the result of the investigation conducted by the
authorities a complaint was filed in the Justice of
the Peace Court of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija, against
Agustin Mangulabnan alias Guinita, a surrendered
Huk and 10 other unidentified persons. But the
complaint was amended on January 13, 1954, to
include Dionisio Sarmiento, together with Arcadio
Balmeo, Patricio Gonzales, Florentino Flores, Crispin
Estrella, Pedro Villareal, Claudio Reyes, Peter Doe
and John Doe, who were still at large, as
Defendants. After the preliminary investigation the
case was forwarded to the Court of First Instance of
Nueva Ecija where Defendants were accused of
robbery with homicide. In that Court, Agustin
Mangulabnan was found guilty of the crime of
robbery with homicide and sentenced to reclusion
perpetua, to indemnify Monica del Mundo in the sum
of P400; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryCipriana Tadeo
in the sum of P132; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryP6,000 to the heirs of Vicente

Pacson, and to pay the costs. Defendant Dionisio


Sarmiento was acquitted while the information as
against the other Defendants who continued to be at
large was dismissed for lack of evidence, with the
proportionate part of the costs de officio.
Agustin Mangulabnan moved for a new trial on the
ground of newly discovered evidence, but the
motion was denied for lack of merit. Hence his
appeal which is now before Us.
The motion for a new trial was based on the
affidavits of Dr. Numeriano D. Lustre, Marino
Ventura, Marcosa Mudlong and Patricio Gonzales but
they were not really newly discovered nor could they
alter the conclusion arrived at by the trial Court. As
stated by the Solicitor General, it is a settled rule in
this jurisdiction that before a new trial may be
granted on the ground of newly discovered evidence,
it must be shown:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (a)
That the evidence was discovered after trial; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrary(b) That such evidence could
not have been discovered and produced at the trial
even with the exercise of reasonable diligence (U. S.
vs. Tan Jonjua, 1 Phil. 51; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryU.S. vs. Palanca, 5 Phil. 269;
chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU.S. vs. De Leon, 1 Phil.
188; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs. Zamora, 2
Phil. 582; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs.
Torrente, 2 Phil. 1); chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand
(c) That is material, not merely cumulative,
corroborative or impeaching (U. S. vs. Luzon, 4 Phil.
343), and of such a weight that it would probably
change the judgment if admitted (U. S. vs. Zamora,
supra; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs. Alvarez, 3
Phil. 24; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs. Luzon,
supra.; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs.
Hernandez 5 Phil. 429; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU.
S. vs. Magtibay, 17 Phil. 417; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs. Tongco, 2 Phil. 189;
chan roblesvirtualawlibraryPeople vs. Cu- Unjieng,
61 Phil. 906; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand People
vs. Reyes, 71 Phil. 598). The motion for new trial did
not comply with these requisites and was properly
denied by the trial Court.
Appellants objection to the admissibility in
evidence of post- morten report (Exhibit C) is
evidently untenable. The fact that it is a mere
carbon copy is of no amount, for it has been signed
by the physician who executed the same and his
signature was identified by him at the witness stand.
Furthermore, Appellant did not offer any objection
to its admission when it was presented in evidence

at the hearing. His objection now comes too late


(Hodges vs. Salas et al., 63 Phil. 567; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs. Ong Shiu, 28 Phil.
242).
The lower court did neither err in rejecting Exhibit 1
for the defense. This is an affidavit purportedly
executed by Sgt. Adan Fernando of the Philippine
Constabulary. The main portion of it (quoted in
Appellants brief, page 32, and appearing on page 21
of the record), is as
follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Chief of Police of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija,
who first arrived at the scene of the crime, have
already picked up the empty shells of Cal. 30,
Carbine type and were delivered to Cpl. Lopez, one
of the investigators of our unit. Information revealed
that Civilian Commando of barrio Pulo, San Isidro,
Nueva Ecija, has something to do with the crime
committed, so I proceeded to barrio Pulo to
confiscate their arms. Among those arms confiscated
were those registered under Pedro Villareal and
Claudio Reyes and upon examination of the Ballistic
Experts in Camp Crame, it appeared positive as per
Ballistic Report (Exhibit 1).
As may be seen, the latter part of the aforequoted
testimony of Sgt. Adan Fernando is hearsay and,
anyway, it is of no moment in the case at bar,
because 2 of the 3 persons who entered the dwelling
of the spouses Pacson were unidentified.
There is no denial that the crime of robbery with
homicides was committed as described in the
information. By Appellants own admission (Exhibit A
and B) and the testimony of Cipriana Tadeo, we
cannot have any doubt as to Appellants
participation in the execution thereof. And as
pointed out by the Solicitor General, Appellant and
the rest of the malefactors came together to the
house of the offended parties to commit the robbery
perpetuated therein and together went away from
the scene of the crime after its perpetration. This
shows conspiracy among the offenders which
rendered each of them liable for the acts of the
others (People vs. Delgado, 77 Phil. 11).
Moreover, the record shows that Appellant
participated in the criminal design to commit the
robbery with his co-Defendants (People vs. Flores, et
al., G. R. No. L-231, August 21, 1946), and it is
settled rule in this jurisdiction that unity of purpose
and action arising from a common design makes all
parties thereto jointly liable (U. S. vs. Matanug, 11
Phil. 188), each being responsible for the result,

irrespective of the character of their individual


participation (U. S. vs. Ramos, 2 Phil., 434).
It may be argued that the killing of Vicente Pacson
undertaken by one of the 2 unidentified persons who
climbed up a table and fired at the ceiling, was an
unpremeditated act that surged on the spur of the
amount and possibly without any idea that Vicente
Pacson was hiding therein, and that the English
version of Article 294, No. 1, of the Revised Penal
Code, which defines the special, single and
indivisible crime of robbery with homicide only
punished any persons guilty of robbery with the use
of violence against or intimidation of any person,
with the penalty of reclusion perpetua when by
reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of
homicide shall have been committed, but this
English version of the Code is a poor translation of
the prevailing Spanish text of said paragraph, which
reads as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. Con la pena de reclusion perpetua a muerte,
cuando con motivo o con ocasion del robo resultare
homicidio.
We see, therefore, that in order to determine the
existence of the crime of robbery with homicide it is
enough that a homicide would result by reason of on
the occasion of the robbery (Decision of the Supreme
Court of Spain of November 26, 1892, and January 7,
1878, quoted in 2 Hidalgos Penal Code, p. 267 and
259-260, respectively). This High Tribunal speaking
of the accessory character of the circumstances
leading to the homicide, has also held that it is
immaterial that the death would supervene by mere
accident (Decision of September 9, 1886; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryOctober 22, 1907; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryApril 30, 1910 and July 14,
1917), provided that the homicide be produced by
reason or on occasion of the robbery, inasmuch as it
is only the result obtained, without reference or
distinction as to the circumstances, causes, modes
or persons intervening in the commission of the
crime, that has to be taken into consideration
(Decision of January 12, 1889 see Cuello Calons
Codigo Penal, p. 501-502).
The crime committed in the case at bar, of which
Appellant Agustin Mangulabnan is a co-participant, is
the crime of robbery with homicide covered by
Article 294, No. 1, of the Revised Penal Code and
punished with reclusion perpetua to death. The
commission of the offense was attended by the
aggravating circumstances of nighttime, dwelling,
abuse of superior strength and with the aid of armed

men, and in consonance with the provisions of


Article 63, No. 1 of the same legal body, Appellant
should be sentenced to the capital punishment, as
recommended by the Solicitor General. However, as
the required number of votes for the imposition of
the capital penalty has not been secured in this
case, the penalty to be imposed upon Agustin
Mangulabnan is the next lower in degree or reclusion
perpetua (Section 9, Republic Act No. 296, known as
the Judiciary Act of 1948).
Wherefore the decision appealed from being in
accordance with law and the evidence, is hereby
affirmed with costs against Appellant. It is SO
ORDERED.
Paras, C.J., Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo,
Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., and
Endencia, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-13899


September 29, 1961
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,
vs.
PABLO BLAZA and FRANCISCO MANGULABNAN,
defendants,
FRANCISCO MANGULABNAN, defendant-appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiffappellee.
Manansala and Saturnino for defendant-appellant.
PADILLA, J.:
In an amended information subscribed by the
Provincial Fiscal and filed in the Court of First
Instance of Laguna, Pablo Blaza alias Fernandez and
Francisco Mangulabnan alias Ellen were charged with
the crime of kidnapping Dorotea Fernandez, Fe
Fernandez and Buenaventura Fernandez on 23 April
1953, for the purpose of extorting ransom from
them, defined and penalized under the provisions of
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by Republic Act No. 18 (crim. case No. SC-161). Their
alleged confederates are those named defendants in
crim. case No. SC-120 of the same Court, to wit:
Lope Cunanan alias Perla, Ruperto Esquillo aliases
Sergio and Alex, Raymundo Abesamis aliases Rading,
Reddy, Mike, Manding, Uto, Ben, Pepe and North. 1
Upon arraignment the defendants Blaza and
Mangulabnan, assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded
not guilty.
On 5 November 1957 the defendant Mangulabnan by
counsel de parte, Attorney Emilia C. Saturnino, filed

a motion to quash the information against him,


claiming that he is one of the defendants in crim.
case No. 1940 of the Court of First Instance of
Pampanga, People vs. Guillermo Paquinto, et al., for
"the complex crime of Rebellion with Multiple
Murders, Robberies, Arsons and Kidnapping," on 27
counts of atrocities allegedly committed on different
dates in the provinces of Pampanga, Pangasinan,
Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Laguna (Exhibits 1
& 1-A); that in criminal case No. 15909 of the Court
of First Instance of Laguna, People vs. Apolinar
Oracion, et al., for rebellion complexed with
multiple murder, robbery, arson, rape and
kidnapping, the kidnapping of Dorotea Fernandez, Fe
Fernandez and Buenaventura Fernandez on 23 April
1957 (for which the defendant Mangulabnan was
separately charged in crim. case No. SC-161) was for
the purpose of raising funds for the HMB organization
and a necessary means of committing the crime of
rebellion (Annex B to motion to quash); that on 17
December 1956 the said court, rendering judgment
in the latter case, held that "such act was in
furtherance and a mere ingredient of the offense of
rebellion" and "cannot be punished separately from
the latter (rebellion) or complexed with it" (Annex C
to motion to quash); and that the Supreme Court in
the cases of People vs. Hernandez, 52 Off. Gaz.
5506; People vs. Geronimo, G.R. No. L-8936, 23
October 1956 and People vs. Togonon, G.R. No. L8926, 29 June 1957, has held that "the crimes of
murders, arsons, kidnappings, etc., when committed
as a means to or in furtherance of the subversive
ends, become absorbed in the crime of rebellion,
and cannot be considered as giving rise to a separate
crime;" and contending that the defendant
Mangulabnan having been charged with the principal
offense of rebellion in crim. case No. 1940 of the
Court of First Instance of Pampanga is twice put in
jeopardy of being punished for the same offense in
crim. case No. SC-161 of the Court of First Instance
of Laguna, prayed that the information in the latter
case be quashed. After hearing, during which counsel
de parte for the defendant Mangulabnan and the
Provincial Fiscal appeared and orally argued in
support of their motion and objection, on 5
November 1957 the Court denied the motion to
quash and set the case for trial on 29 November 1957
at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. However, the Court
cancelled the trial set for 29 November 1957 and
reset it for trial on 12 December 1957 at the same
time. On 11 December 1957 the defendant

Mangulabnan filed a motion for reconsideration of


the order denying his motion to quash and on 12
December 1957 the Provincial Fiscal, an objection
thereto. On the same day, 12 December 1957, the
Court denied the motion for reconsideration and set
the case for trial on 27 January 1958 at 9:00 o'clock
in the morning.
On 16 January 1958 the defendant Mangulabnan by
counsel de parte filed a petition praying that the
case be reset for trial on 25 February 1958 on the
ground that a petition for certiorari testing the
legality of the denial of the defendant's motion to
quash would be filed in the Supreme Court after the
needed amount for filing and attorney's fees shall
have been raised by the defendant.
On 22 January 1958 the defendant Blaza filed a
motion praying for separate trial in view of the delay
in the trial of the case due to several postponements
at the behest of his co-defendant.
On 23 January 1958 the Court denied Blaza's motion
and reset the case for trial on 25 February 1958.
On the day set for trial, 25 February 1958, the
assistant provincial fiscal and counsel de parte for
the defendant Blaza, Attorney Ariston Oblena,
appeared but counsel de parte for the defendant
Mangulabnan, Attorney Emilia C. Saturnino, did not
appear despite previous notice. In view thereof the
Court entered an order imposing upon the absent
counsel a fine of P25, with subsidiary imprisonment
in case of insolvency, appointing Attorney Tirso
Caballero as counsel de oficio for the defendant
Mangulabnan, who prayed that he be relieved from
his appointment because he is related to the
offended parties, setting the case for trial on 3, 4, 5,
6 and 7 March 1958 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning,
and appointing Attorney Celso Cabalones, Leandro
Rebong, Benjamin Agarao and Enrique Villanueva as
counsel de oficio for the defendant Mangulabnan,
should counsel de parte fail to appear on the first
day of the trial.
On 28 February 1958 counsel de parte for the
defendant Mangulabnan filed a petition in the trial
court explaining that her failure to attend the trial
of the case on 25 February 1958 was due to a sudden
indisposition that she felt of which there was no
material time to notify the Court and prayed that
she be excused for failure to attend the trial of the
case on that date, and alleging that a petition for
certiorari with preliminary injunction to be filed in
the Supreme Court was being prepared to test the
sufficiency and legality of the information filed

against her client in criminal case No. SC-161 and


that she had received subpoenas from the City
Attorney of Quezon City, Courts of First Instance of
San Pablo and Cabanatuan Cities and the City Fiscal
of Manila to appear before them as counsel on 3, 4,
5 and 7 March 1958, prayed that the trial of the case
be postponed indefinitely until the Supreme Court
shall have decided her client's petition for certiorari
with preliminary injunction. On 1 March 1958 the
same counsel filed a motion for reconsideration of
the order entered by the Court on 25 February 1958
imposing upon her a fine of P25, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, reiterating the
same reasons stated in her petition filed on 28
February 1958.
On the date set for trial, 3 March 1958, counsel de
parte for the defendant Mangulabnan did not appear.
Whereupon the Court denied her motion for
indefinite postponement of the trial of the case in
behalf of her client and proceeded with the trial of
the case, the defendants being assisted by their
respective counsel de oficio.
On the second day of the trial, 4 March 1958,
counsel de parte for the defendant Mangulabnan
appeared and prayed for indefinite suspension of the
trial of the case against her client and
reconsideration of the order imposing upon her a
fine of P25. The Court denied the first part but
granted the second part of her prayer and proceeded
with the trial of the case. After hearing the
testimony of the defendant Blaza and his witness
Silverio Lintak, the Court entered an order setting
the continuation of the trial of the case for 10 March
1958 at 9:00 o'clock in the morning.
After trial, on 14 March 1958 the Court rendered
judgment, which was promulgated on 26 March 1958,
finding the defendants guilty of the crime charged
and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua, the accessory penalties provided
by law, and to pay the costs.
On 26 March 1958 the defendant Mangulabnan filed a
notice of appeal.
On 2 April the defendant Blaza filed a motion for
reconsideration. On 8 April the Court denied his
motion for reconsideration. On 10 April the
defendant Blaza filed a notice of appeal. On 14 May
his counsel de oficio filed a motion for withdrawal of
his appeal. On 16 May 1958 the trial court approved
the withdrawal of his appeal.
This appeal is by the defendant Francisco
Mangulabnan only.

Dr. Zosimo Fernandez, his wife Dorotea, daughter Fe


and cousin Buenaventura Fernandez, who was the
chauffeur of the family, lived in the town of
Pagsanjan, province of Laguna. At dinner time, about
7:00 o'clock in the evening of 23 April 1953, the
Fernandez spouses heard a commotion and the
barking of dogs in their yard and somebody knocking
at the front door of the house. Dr. Fernandez asked
Buenaventura to see what the commotion and
barking of dogs were all about while Mrs. Fernandez
peeped through an opening and saw people in army
uniform. Buenaventura told the spouses that
somebody who was trying to gain admission to the
house wanted to see Dr. Fernandez at the behest of
Captain Sebastian and that the house was
surrounded by people in army uniform. Afterwards,
they heard somebody knocking at the back door. Dr.
Fernandez stood up, looked outside the window and
asked what the man wanted. The latter answered
that Captain Sebastian was sending for the doctor.
The man's answer aroused Dr. Fernandez's suspicion
that the visitor did not mean well because Captain
Sebastian was residing in Cavinti. Dr. Fernandez
slipped out of the house to ask aid and protection
from the chief of police, who lived nearby, leaving
behind his wife, daughter, cousin and maids. After
Dr. Fernandez had left, the inmates of the house
heard somebody persistently knocking at the door
and trying to force it open. Mrs. Fernandez and her
daughter Fe opened the kitchen door to escape but
Lope Cunanan alias Captain Mendoza grabbed Fe by
the hand. Cunanan went up the house and ordered
Mrs. Fernandez, Fe and Buenaventura to go down
with him. Downstairs, Mrs. Fernandez saw the
companions of Lope Cunanan who were about 17 in
number, armed with guns and revolvers, at the stairs
of the house, in the backyard and surrounding area.
The band forcibly took them along and made them
wade through a knee-deep river and walk through
coconut groves until they reached the outpost of the
band in the mountains at about 3:00 o'clock the
following morning. There the three victims were
confined for two days guarded by the appellant,
Pablo Blaza and their companions. After two days in
the outpost of the band they were transferred to the
inner part of the mountains where they stayed until
they were released on 8 May 1953 after paying to
their kidnappers a ransom of P40,000.
Turning back to the night of the incident, 23 April
1953, when Dr. Fernandez returned to his house with
some soldiers and policemen and found his wife,

daughter and cousin gone, he went to the army


headquarters but as he found nobody there, repaired
to the old municipal building, to telephone and
report on the incident to the army authorities in
Camp Nazareth, Pila, Laguna, under the command of
Coronel Friedlander. After searching the house, Dr.
Fernandez's uncle found on a table inside the
doctor's room a letter signed by Captain Mendoza
stating that his wife, daughter and cousin were
taken for the purpose of asking ransom from him.
Days after Dr. Fernandez received about five or six
letters signed by the same person asking for
P100,000 ransom, for the release of the three
victims, which amount was reduced to P80,000,
P60,000 and finally to P40,000 through negotiations
with the kidnappers.1awphl.nt
On 8 May 1953, after the ransom was finally reduced
to P40,000, Dr. Fernandez asked Dionisio Almario, his
son Dionisio, Jr., Juan Abao, Conrado Velasco and
one Ruperto to proceed to barrio Anibong. There, as
agreed upon, Ceferino Llamas and Eliseo Zafra
delivered the money to Dionisio Almario and his
companions which they divided and strapped on
their respective bodies. At that juncture Ruperto,
whom Dionisio Almario had earlier dispatched
together with Juan Abao to the place where the
kidnap victims had been confined, arrived and
reported to him that he had been assured by the
kidnappers that the victims were in safe hands.
Ruperto led them to where the victims were. About
half an hour after arrival in the mountains, the three
victims were produced to Dionisio Almario and his
companions by Lope Cunanan and his band
numbering about twenty. Among those in the band
was the appellant. Dionisio gave the money to Mrs.
Fernandez which was counted by some of the
members of the band of Lope Cunanan in his
presence. After counting, Cunanan took P10,000,
gave P6,000 each to Pablo Blaza and one Pepe and
distributed P1,000 each to the remaining members
of the band. The balance of P4,000 was set aside for
expenses of the band. After waiting for 5:00 o'clock
in the afternoon, Cunanan allowed them to leave.
The victims and the rescue party arrived in town at
about 6:30 o'clock in the evening.
The appellant denies complicity in the commission of
the crime imputed to him. He claims that he joined
the Huk organization sometime in 1948 and was with
Basilio Balbos alias Commander Maning now dead;
that later on he joined the unit of Tomas Calma as
his security guard; that from 1950 to 1951 Calma's

unit operated in the Sierra Madre Mountains; that


thereafter his unit was transferred to the mountains
of Bulacan and Arayat; that during the entire year
1953 his unit operated in the vicinity of San Luis,
Candaba and Arayat and never left the jurisdiction of
Pampanga; that his unit never operated in the
province of Laguna, particularly in Pagsanjan; that
he was a member of the unit of Tomas Calma until
1954; that he knew Lope Cunanan alias Commander
Perla even before he joined the Huk organization
because they lived in the same barrio but that he
was never associated with him; and that he came to
know Apolinar Oracion only in 1956 when he was
brought by the army authorities to Canlubang and
confined in the stockade in connection with the
Fernandez kidnapping case.
The appellant's denial of complicity in the
commission of the crime of kidnapping imputed to
him and the members of the band of Lope Cunanan
alias Captain Mendoza is ineffective in the face of
the clear, direct and positive testimony of Mrs.
Dorotea Fernandez, one of the victims, that he and
his co-defendant Pablo Blaza were among those who
stood guard over her, her daughter and cousin inlaw; that she saw him with the band of kidnappers
on the 23rd and 24th days of April 1953; and that he
was present while the ransom money was being
counted by the members of the band; and of Dionisio
Almario that he saw the appellant with the band of
kidnappers when the three victims were being led
out from the mountains by the band on 8 May 1953
and that he was present when the ransom money
was being counted by the band.
The appellant assails the act of the trial court in
proceeding with the trial of the case in the absence
of his counsel de parte after appointing a counsel de
oficio to assist him. Reviewing the various motions
filed by his counsel de parte and the orders entered
by the trial court thereon, we find that the
appellant has no valid reason to complain. The
motions for indefinite postponement of the trial of
the case filed by his counsel de parte, on the ground
that a petition for certiorari to test the legality of
the denial of his motion to quash would be filed in
the Supreme Court, but which was never filed, were
plainly to delay the trial and disposition of the case.
Despite receipt of notice his counsel de parte failed
to appear on the first day of the trial (3 March
1958). On the second day (4 March 1958) she
appeared but all that she did for her client was to
reiterate his plea for indefinite suspension of the

trial of the case and state that she "will just


corroborate for the defense." On the third and last
day (10 March 1958) she actively took part in the
defense of the appellant, she herself conducting the
direct examination of the appellant. The defendant
was under detention and it is his constitutional right
and the duty of the Court to have a speedy trial and
disposition of the case. Moreover, it cannot be said
that counsel de oficio who assisted the appellant in
the absence of counsel de parte on the first day of
the trial was remiss in the performance of his duties.
As shown in the transcript of stenographic notes, he
had endeavored to safeguard the appellant's rights
as a defendant on trial.
As regards the appellant's complaint that he had no
been afforded sufficient time to present other
witnesses in his defense, it appears in the transcript
of stenographic notes that after the appellant had
finished testifying in his behalf, counsel de parte
stated that she could not close the evidence for the
defense because she wanted to secure the
appearance of Apolinar Oracion as a witness. Asked
by the Court what his testimony would be about, she
answered "that (the) kidnapping for ransom was to
secure funds for the functions of the organization."
The Court denied the continuation of the trial of the
case and ordered the trial closed because the
testimony of Oracion would not be of any help to the
appellant in view of his denial of complicity in the
kidnapping of the victims. Hence, the appellant
cannot validly complain and the Court did not err in
its last mentioned order. Furthermore, the appellant
claims to have known Apolinar Oracion only in 1956
or 1957 when he was brought to the stockade of the
Second Military Area in Canlubang. The crime
imputed to the appellant was committed on 23 April
1953. Therefore, whatever testimony Apolinar
Oracion would give in evidence would not be of
much value to the appellant's defense.
The appellant raises the question of double
jeopardy. He points out the fact that he had been

charged with the complex crime of rebellion with


multiple murder, robbery, arson and kidnapping in
criminal case No. 1940 of the Court of First Instance
of Pampanga (Annexes A and A-1, motion to quash);
that on 8 January 1959, after pleading guilty to the
crime of simple rebellion, the said Court sentenced
him to suffer the penalty of one year and five
months of prision correccional and to pay his
proportionate share of the costs (Annex B to petition
to withdraw as counsel); in criminal case No. 15909
of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, People vs.
Apolinar Oracion, et al., for rebellion complexed
with multiple murder, robbery, arson, rape and
kidnapping, the kidnapping of Dorotea Fernandez, Fe
Fernandez and Buenaventura Fernandez on 23 April
1957 was alleged to be for the purpose of raising
funds for the HMB organization and a necessary
means of committing the crime of rebellion (Annex
B, motion to quash); and that on 17 December 1956,
the said Court held that "such act was in furtherance
and a mere ingredient of the offense of rebellion"
and "cannot be punished separately from the latter
(rebellion) or complexed with it" (Annex C, motion
to quash). He now contends that the crime of
kidnapping imputed to him being a necessary means
of committing and in furtherance of the crime of
rebellion, the said crime is absorbed by rebellion
and that, having been convicted of simple rebellion,
he is now put twice in jeopardy of punishment for
the same offense. The appellant's contention is
untenable. A reading of the information filed in
criminal case No. 1940 of the Court of First Instance
of Pampanga (Annexes A and A-1; motion to quash)
shows that the kidnapping of Dorotea Fernandez, Fe
Fernandez and Buenaventura Fernandez had never
been mentioned as an overt act of rebellion and a
scrutiny of the information filed in criminal case No.
15909 of the Court of First Instance of Laguna and
the judgment rendered therein discloses no mention
of the appellant as a defendant therein. The
appellant, therefore, had never been put in jeopardy

of punishment for the crime of rebellion and cannot


maintain that he is being twice put in jeopardy of
punishment for the same offense.
In the instant case, the amended information filed in
court against the appellant and his co-defendant was
for "kidnapping with ransom" under the provisions of
article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by Republic Act No. 18. The information filed in the
Court of First Instance of Laguna against Lope
Cunanan, et al. (SC No. 120) was also for the same
offense. On appeal by Raymundo Abesamis, this
Court found "that the kidnapping was made by Huks
under the command of Capt. Mendoza, or Lope
Cunanan, and Abesamis admittedly belonged to the
Huk detachment under such command."
Nevertheless, this court affirmed the judgment of
the Court of First Instance finding Raymundo
Abesamis guilty of the crime of kidnapping for the
purpose of extorting ransom and sentencing him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The herein
appellant cannot be entitled to a penalty lighter
than that imposed upon his confederates.
The pronouncement of this Court in the case of
People vs. Raymundo Abesamis, et al., G.R. No. L13007, 23 December 1960, that the head of the
band, Lope Cunanan, having been sentenced only to
the penalty of reclusion perpetua, the same penalty
should be meted out to the appellant therein,
despite the presence of the aggravating
circumstances of nighttime, with the assistance of
armed men, and band, is equally applicable to the
herein appellant.
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs
against the appellant.
Bengzon, C.J., Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L.,
Paredes and De Leon, JJ., concur.
Barrera and Dizon, JJ., took no part.