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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995
SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents.
KAPUNAN, J.:
A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in a confrontation in the
latter's office, allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a "hostile and furious mood" and
in a manner offensive to petitioner's dignity and personality," contrary to morals, good customs
and public policy." 1
In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event and sought
moral damages, attorney's fees and other expenses of litigation in the amount of P610,000.00,
in addition to costs, interests and other reliefs awardable at the trial court's discretion. The
transcript on which the civil case was based was culled from a tape recording of the
confrontation made by petitioner. 2 The transcript reads as follows:
Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez (Chuchi) Good Afternoon M'am.
Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) Ano ba ang nangyari sa 'yo, nakalimot ka na kung paano
ka napunta rito, porke member ka na, magsumbong ka kung ano ang gagawin ko sa 'yo.
CHUCHI Kasi, naka duty ako noon.
ESG Tapos iniwan no. (Sic)
CHUCHI Hindi m'am, pero ilan beses na nila akong binalikan, sabing ganoon
ESG Ito and (sic) masasabi ko sa 'yo, ayaw kung (sic) mag explain ka, kasi hanggang
10:00 p.m., kinabukasan hindi ka na pumasok. Ngayon ako ang babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply ka
sa States, nag-aaply ka sa review mo, kung kakailanganin ang certification mo, kalimutan mo
na kasi hindi ka sa akin makakahingi.
CHUCHI Hindi M'am. Kasi ang ano ko talaga noon i-cocontinue ko up to 10:00 p.m.
ESG Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka pumasok dito sa hotel. Magsumbong
ka sa Union kung gusto mo. Nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka nakapasok dito "Do you think
that on your own makakapasok ka kung hindi ako. Panunumbyoyan na kita (Sinusumbatan na
kita).
CHUCHI Itutuloy ko na M'am sana ang duty ko.
ESG Kaso ilang beses na akong binabalikan doon ng mga no (sic) ko.
ESG Nakalimutan mo na ba kung paano ka pumasok sa hotel, kung on your own merit
alam ko naman kung gaano ka "ka bobo" mo. Marami ang nag-aaply alam kong hindi ka
papasa.
CHUCHI Kumuha kami ng exam noon.
ESG Oo, pero hindi ka papasa.
CHUCHI Eh, bakit ako ang nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo
ESG Kukunin ka kasi ako.
CHUCHI Eh, di sana

ESG Huwag mong ipagmalaki na may utak ka kasi wala kang utak. Akala mo ba makukuha
ka dito kung hindi ako.
CHUCHI Mag-eexplain ako.
ESG Huwag na, hindi ako mag-papa-explain sa 'yo, makaalala ka kung paano ka pumarito. "Putang-ina" sasabi-sabihin mo kamag-anak ng nanay at tatay mo ang mga magulang ko.
ESG Wala na akong pakialam, dahil nandito ka sa loob, nasa labas ka puwede ka ng hindi
pumasok, okey yan nasaloob ka umalis ka doon.
CHUCHI Kasi M'am, binbalikan ako ng mga taga Union.
ESG Nandiyan na rin ako, pero huwag mong kalimutan na hindi ka makakapasok kung
hindi ako. Kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey lang sa akin, dahil tapos ka na.
CHUCHI Ina-ano ko m'am na utang na loob.
ESG Huwag na lang, hindi mo utang na loob, kasi kung baga sa no, nilapastangan mo ako.
CHUCHI Paano kita nilapastanganan?
ESG Mabuti pa lumabas ka na. Hindi na ako makikipagusap sa 'yo. Lumabas ka na.
Magsumbong ka. 3
As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and alleging that the said act of secretly taping
the confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal case before the Regional Trial
Court of Pasay City for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled "An Act to prohibit and penalize
wire tapping and other related violations of private communication, and other purposes." An
information charging petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated October 6, 1988 is quoted
herewith:
INFORMATION
The Undersigned Assistant City Fiscal Accusses Socorro D. Ramirez of Violation of Republic
Act No. 4200, committed as follows:
That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1988, in Pasay City Metro Manila, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, the above-named accused, Socorro D. Ramirez
not being authorized by Ester S. Garcia to record the latter's conversation with said accused,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with the use of a tape recorder secretly
record the said conversation and thereafter communicate in writing the contents of the said
recording to other person.
Contrary to law.
Pasay City, Metro Manila, September 16, 1988.
MARIANO M. CUNETA
Asst. City Fiscal
Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the
ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, particularly a violation of R.A.
4200. In an order May 3, 1989, the trial court granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with
petitioner that 1) the facts charged do not constitute an offense under R.A. 4200; and that 2)
the violation punished by R.A. 4200 refers to a the taping of a communication by a person
other than a participant to the communication. 4
From the trial court's Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari
with this Court, which forthwith referred the case to the Court of Appeals in a Resolution (by
the First Division) of June 19, 1989.
On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed Decision
declaring the trial court's order of May 3, 1989 null and void, and holding that:
[T]he allegations sufficiently constitute an offense punishable under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. In

thus quashing the information based on the ground that the facts alleged do not constitute an
offense, the respondent judge acted in grave abuse of discretion correctible by certiorari. 5
Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which
respondent Court of Appeals denied in its Resolution 6 dated June 19, 1990. Hence, the
instant petition.
Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and principal issue" 7 that the applicable provision of
Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the taping of a private conversation by one of the parties
to the conversation. She contends that the provision merely refers to the unauthorized taping
of a private conversation by a party other than those involved in the communication. 8 In
relation to this, petitioner avers that the substance or content of the conversation must be
alleged in the Information, otherwise the facts charged would not constitute a violation of R.A.
4200. 9 Finally, petitioner agues that R.A. 4200 penalizes the taping of a "private
communication," not a "private conversation" and that consequently, her act of secretly taping
her conversation with private respondent was not illegal under the said act. 10
We disagree.
First, legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the
language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express
terms, and interpretation would be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be
either impossible 11 or absurb or would lead to an injustice. 12
Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit and Penalized Wire Tapping and Other
Related Violations of Private Communication and Other Purposes," provides:
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any
private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device
or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word
by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkietalkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described.
The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for any person, not
authorized by all the parties to any private communication to secretly record such
communication by means of a tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the
party sought to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party other than or different from
those involved in the private communication. The statute's intent to penalize all persons
unauthorized to make such recording is underscored by the use of the qualifier "any".
Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded, "even a (person) privy to
a communication who records his private conversation with another without the knowledge of
the latter (will) qualify as a violator" 13 under this provision of R.A. 4200.
A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports the respondent court's
conclusion that in enacting R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed contemplated to make illegal,
unauthorized tape recording of private conversations or communications taken either by the
parties themselves or by third persons. Thus:
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Taada: That qualified only "overhear".
Senator Padilla: So that when it is intercepted or recorded, the element of secrecy would not
appear to be material. Now, suppose, Your Honor, the recording is not made by all the parties
but by some parties and involved not criminal cases that would be mentioned under section 3
but would cover, for example civil cases or special proceedings whereby a recording is made
not necessarily by all the parties but perhaps by some in an effort to show the intent of the

parties because the actuation of the parties prior, simultaneous even subsequent to the
contract or the act may be indicative of their intention. Suppose there is such a recording,
would you say, Your Honor, that the intention is to cover it within the purview of this bill or
outside?
Senator Taada: That is covered by the purview of this bill, Your Honor.
Senator Padilla: Even if the record should be used not in the prosecution of offense but as
evidence to be used in Civil Cases or special proceedings?
Senator Taada: That is right. This is a complete ban on tape recorded conversations taken
without the authorization of all the parties.
Senator Padilla: Now, would that be reasonable, your Honor?
Senator Taada: I believe it is reasonable because it is not sporting to record the observation
of one without his knowing it and then using it against him. It is not fair, it is not sportsmanlike.
If the purpose; Your honor, is to record the intention of the parties. I believe that all the parties
should know that the observations are being recorded.
Senator Padilla: This might reduce the utility of recorders.
Senator Taada: Well no. For example, I was to say that in meetings of the board of directors
where a tape recording is taken, there is no objection to this if all the parties know. It is but fair
that the people whose remarks and observations are being made should know that the
observations are being recorded.
Senator Padilla: Now, I can understand.
Senator Taada: That is why when we take statements of persons, we say: "Please be
informed that whatever you say here may be used against you." That is fairness and that is
what we demand. Now, in spite of that warning, he makes damaging statements against his
own interest, well, he cannot complain any more. But if you are going to take a recording of
the observations and remarks of a person without him knowing that it is being taped or
recorded, without him knowing that what is being recorded may be used against him, I think it
is unfair.
xxx xxx xxx
(Congression Record, Vol. III, No. 31, p. 584, March 12, 1964)
Senator Diokno: Do you understand, Mr. Senator, that under Section 1 of the bill as now
worded, if a party secretly records a public speech, he would be penalized under Section 1?
Because the speech is public, but the recording is done secretly.
Senator Taada: Well, that particular aspect is not contemplated by the bill. It is the
communication between one person and another person not between a speaker and a
public.
xxx xxx xxx
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, p. 626, March 12, 1964)
xxx xxx xxx
The unambiguity of the express words of the provision, taken together with the above-quoted
deliberations from the Congressional Record, therefore plainly supports the view held by the
respondent court that the provision seeks to penalize even those privy to the private
communications. Where the law makes no distinctions, one does not distinguish.
Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of the statute. The
substance of the same need not be specifically alleged in the information. What R.A. 4200
penalizes are the acts of secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording private
communications by means of the devices enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an

individual made a secret recording of a private communication by means of a tape recorder


would suffice to constitute an offense under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General
pointed out in his COMMENT before the respondent court: "Nowhere (in the said law) is it
required that before one can be regarded as a violator, the nature of the conversation, as well
as its communication to a third person should be professed." 14
Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase "private communication" in Section 1 of R.A.
4200 does not include "private conversations" narrows the ordinary meaning of the word
"communication" to a point of absurdity. The word communicate comes from the latin word
communicare, meaning "to share or to impart." In its ordinary signification, communication
connotes the act of sharing or imparting signification, communication connotes the act of
sharing or imparting, as in a conversation, 15 or signifies the "process by which meanings or
thoughts are shared between individuals through a common system of symbols (as language
signs or gestures)" 16 These definitions are broad enough to include verbal or non-verbal,
written or expressive communications of "meanings or thoughts" which are likely to include the
emotionally-charged exchange, on February 22, 1988, between petitioner and private
respondent, in the privacy of the latter's office. Any doubts about the legislative body's
meaning of the phrase "private communication" are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact that
the terms "conversation" and "communication" were interchangeably used by Senator Taada
in his Explanatory Note to the bill quoted below:
It has been said that innocent people have nothing to fear from their conversations being
overheard. But this statement ignores the usual nature of conversations as well the
undeniable fact that most, if not all, civilized people have some aspects of their lives they do
not wish to expose. Free conversations are often characterized by exaggerations, obscenity,
agreeable falsehoods, and the expression of anti-social desires of views not intended to be
taken seriously. The right to the privacy of communication, among others, has expressly been
assured by our Constitution. Needless to state here, the framers of our Constitution must have
recognized the nature of conversations between individuals and the significance of man's
spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They must have known that part of the
pleasures and satisfactions of life are to be found in the unaudited, and free exchange of
communication between individuals free from every unjustifiable intrusion by whatever
means. 17
In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case which dealt with the issue of telephone
wiretapping, we held that the use of a telephone extension for the purpose of overhearing a
private conversation without authorization did not violate R.A. 4200 because a telephone
extension devise was neither among those "device(s) or arrangement(s)" enumerated therein,
19
following the principle that "penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the
accused." 20 The instant case turns on a different note, because the applicable facts and
circumstances pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200 suffer from no ambiguity, and the statute
itself explicitly mentions the unauthorized "recording" of private communications with the use
of tape-recorders as among the acts punishable.
WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the case at bench is clear and unambiguous
and leaves us with no discretion, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision
appealed from is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Davide, Jr. and Bellosillo JJ., concur.
Hermosisima, Jr., J., is on leave.

Footnotes
1 Docketed as Civil Case No. 88-403, Regional Trial Court, Makati, Branch 64.
2 Rollo, p. 48.
3 Rollo, pp. 47-48.
4 Rollo, p. 9.
5 Rollo, p. 37.
6 Rollo, p. 99, Annex "H".
7 Rollo, p. 13.
8 Id.
9 Rollo, p. 14.
10 Rollo, p. 14-15.
11 Pacific Oxygen and Acytelene Co. vs. Central Bank 37 SCRA 685 (1971).
12 Casela v. Court of Appeals, 35 SCRA 279 (1970).
13 Rollo, p. 33.
14 Rollo, p. 67.
15 WEBSTER'S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY 460 (1976).
16 Id.
17 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. III, No. 31, at 573 (March 10, 1964).
18 145 SCRA 112 (1986). See also, Salcedo-Ortanez v. CA 235 SCRA 111 (1994).
19 Id., at 120.
20 Id., at 121.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 115245 July 11, 1995
JUANITO C. PILAR, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
QUIASON, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the
Resolution dated April 28, 1994 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in UND No. 94040.
I
On March 22, 1992, petitioner Juanito C. Pilar filed his certificate of candidacy for the position
of member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Isabela.
On March 25, 1992, petitioner withdrew his certificate of candidacy.
In M.R. Nos. 93-2654 and 94-0065 dated November 3, 1993 and February 13, 1994
respectively, the COMELEC imposed upon petitioner the fine of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00) for failure to file his statement of contributions and expenditures.
In M.R. No. 94-0594 dated February 24, 1994, the COMELEC denied the motion for
reconsideration of petitioner and deemed final M.R. Nos. 93-2654 and 94-0065 (Rollo, p. 14).
Petitioner went to the COMELEC En Banc (UND No. 94-040), which denied the petition in a
Resolution dated April 28, 1994 (Rollo, pp. 10-13).
Hence, this petition for certiorari.
We dismiss the petition.
II
Section 14 of R.A. No. 7166 entitled "An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local
Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and for Other
Purposes" provides as follows:
Statement of Contributions and Expenditures: Effect of Failure to File Statement. Every
candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the
election, file in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized
statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.
No person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed
the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required.
The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidate
fails to file the statement required herein within the period prescribed by this Act.

Except candidates for elective barangay office, failure to file the statements or reports in
connection with electoral contributions and expenditures as required herein shall constitute an
administrative offense for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an administrative fine
ranging from One Thousand Pesos ( P1,000.00) to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), in
the discretion of the Commission.
The fine shall be paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of such failure; otherwise, it
shall be enforceable by a writ of execution issued by the Commission against the properties of
the offender.
It shall be the duty of every city or municipal election registrar to advise in writing, by personal
delivery or registered mail, within five (5) days from the date of election all candidates residing
in his jurisdiction to comply with their obligation to file their statements of contributions and
expenditures.
For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this Section, the administrative
fine shall be from Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) to Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000.00), in
the discretion of the Commission. In addition, the offender shall be subject to perpetual
disqualification to hold public office (Emphasis supplied).
To implement the provisions of law relative to election contributions and expenditures, the
COMELEC promulgated on January 13, 1992 Resolution No. 2348 (Re: Rules and
Regulations Governing Electoral Contributions and Expenditures in Connection with the
National and Local Elections on
May 11, 1992). The pertinent provisions of said Resolution are:
Sec. 13. Statement of contributions and expenditures: Reminders to candidates to file
statements. Within five (5) days from the day of the election, the Law Department of the
Commission, the regional election director of the National Capital Region, the provincial
election supervisors and the election registrars shall advise in writing by personal delivery or
registered mail all candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy with them to comply with
their obligation to file their statements of contributions and expenditures in connection with the
elections. Every election registrar shall also advise all candidates residing in his jurisdiction to
comply with said obligation (Emphasis supplied).
Sec. 17. Effect of failure to file statement. (a) No person elected to any public office shall enter
upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures
herein required.
The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidates
fails to file the statement required within the period prescribed by law.
(b) Except candidates for elective barangay office, failure to file statements or reports in
connection with the electoral contributions and expenditures as required herein shall
constitute an administrative offense for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an
administrative fine ranging from One Thousand Pesos (P1,000) to Thirty Thousand Pesos
(P30,000), in the discretion of the Commission.
The fine shall be paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of such failure; otherwise, it
shall be enforceable by a writ of execution issued by the Commission against the properties of
the offender.
For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this section, the administrative
fine shall be from Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000) to Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000), in the
discretion of the Commission. In addition, the offender shall be subject to perpetual
disqualification to hold public office.

Petitioner argues that he cannot be held liable for failure to file a statement of contributions
and expenditures because he was a "non-candidate," having withdrawn his certificates of
candidacy three days after its filing. Petitioner posits that "it is . . . clear from the law that
candidate must have entered the political contest, and should have either won or lost" (Rollo,
p. 39).
Petitioner's argument is without merit.
Section 14 of R.A. No. 7166 states that "every candidate" has the obligation to file his
statement of contributions and expenditures.
Well-recognized is the rule that where the law does not distinguish, courts should not
distinguish, Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos (Philippine British Assurance
Co. Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 150 SCRA 520 [1987]; cf Olfato v. Commission on
Elections, 103 SCRA 741 [1981]). No distinction is to be made in the application of a law
where none is indicated (Lo Cham v. Ocampo, 77 Phil. 636 [1946]).
In the case at bench, as the law makes no distinction or qualification as to whether the
candidate pursued his candidacy or withdrew the same, the term "every candidate" must be
deemed to refer not only to a candidate who pursued his campaign, but also to one who
withdrew his candidacy.
The COMELEC, the body tasked with the enforcement and administration of all laws and
regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall
(The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Art. IX(C), Sec. 2[1]), issued Resolution
No. 2348 in implementation or interpretation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 7166 on
election contributions and expenditures. Section 13 of Resolution No. 2348 categorically
refers to "all candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy."
Furthermore, Section 14 of the law uses the word "shall." As a general rule, the use of the
word "shall" in a statute implies that the statute is mandatory, and imposes a duty which may
be enforced , particularly if public policy is in favor of this meaning or where public interest is
involved. We apply the general rule (Baranda v. Gustilo, 165 SCRA 757 [1988]; Diokno v.
Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, 91 Phil. 608 [1952]).
The state has an interest in seeing that the electoral process is clean, and ultimately
expressive of the true will of the electorate. One way of attaining such objective is to pass
legislation regulating contributions and expenditures of candidates, and compelling the
publication of the same. Admittedly, contributions and expenditures are made for the purpose
of influencing the results of the elections (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 94; Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 1).
Thus, laws and regulations prescribe what contributions are prohibited (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 95,
Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 4), or unlawful (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 96), and what expenditures are
authorized (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 102; R.A. No. 7166, Sec. 13; Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 7) or
lawful (Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 8).
Such statutes are not peculiar to the Philippines. In "corrupt and illegal practices acts" of
several states in the United States, as well as in federal statutes, expenditures of candidates
are regulated by requiring the filing of statements of expenses and by limiting the amount of
money that may be spent by a candidate. Some statutes also regulate the solicitation of
campaign contributions (26 Am Jur 2d, Elections 287). These laws are designed to compel
publicity with respect to matters contained in the statements and to prevent, by such publicity,
the improper use of moneys devoted by candidates to the furtherance of their ambitions (26
Am Jur 2d, Elections 289). These statutes also enable voters to evaluate the influences
exerted on behalf of candidates by the contributors, and to furnish evidence of corrupt

practices for annulment of elections (Sparkman v. Saylor [Court of Appeals of Kentucky], 180
Ky. 263, 202 S.W. 649 [1918]).
State courts have also ruled that such provisions are mandatory as to the requirement of filing
(State ex rel. Butchofsky v. Crawford [Court of Civil Appeals of Texas], 269 S.W. 2d 536
[1954]; Best v. Sidebottom, 270 Ky. 423,109 S.W. 2d 826 [1937]; Sparkman v. Saylor, supra.)
It is not improbable that a candidate who withdrew his candidacy has accepted contributions
and incurred expenditures, even in the short span of his campaign. The evil sought to be
prevented by the law is not all too remote.
It is notesworthy that Resolution No. 2348 even contemplates the situation where a candidate
may not have received any contribution or made any expenditure. Such a candidate is not
excused from filing a statement, and is in fact required to file a statement to that effect. Under
Section 15 of Resolution No. 2348, it is provided that "[i]f a candidate or treasurer of the party
has received no contribution, made no expenditure, or has no pending obligation, the
statement shall reflect such fact."
Lastly, we note that under the fourth paragraph of Section 73 of the B.P. Blg. 881 or the
Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, it is provided that "[t]he filing or withdrawal of
certificate of candidacy shall not affect whatever civil, criminal or administrative liabilities which
a candidate may have incurred." Petitioner's withdrawal of his candidacy did not extinguish his
liability for the administrative fine.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza
and Francisco, JJ., concur.
Kapunan, J., is on leave.
Separate Opinions
MELO, J., dissenting:
The majority opinion is to the effect that every candidate, including one who has withdrawn his
certificate of candidacy, is obliged to file his statement of contributions and expenditures in line
with Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166 vis-a-vis the pertinent portions of Comelec
Resolution No. 2348. I must concede that the use of the word "shall" in the main statute as
well as the implementing rules generally suggest mandatoriness as to cover all candidates.
But is an anspirant for public office who had a sudden change of heart, so to speak, still
considered a candidate to begin with? I am of the impression that he is not and is thus not
bound to render an accounting subsequent to election for the simple reason that the term
'candidate' is used to designate a person who actually submits himself and is voted for at our
election (Santos vs. Miranda, 35 Phil. 643, 648 (1916) citing State vs. Hirsch, 125 Ind., 207; 9
L.R.A. 107; Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 2nd ed., p. 84) Certainly, one who
withdraws his certificate of candidacy 3 days after the filing thereof, can not be voted for at an
election. And considering the shortness of the period of 3 days from the filing to the withdrawal
of the certificate of candidacy, petitioner cannot be accused, as indeed there is no such
charge, of utilizing his aborted candidacy for purposes to raise funds or to extort money from
other candidates in exchange for the withdrawal.
I, therefore, vote to grant the petition.
Padilla, J., concurs.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 108747 April 6, 1995
PABLO C. FRANCISCO, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS AND THE HONORABLE MAXIMO C. CONTRERAS, respondents.
BELLOSILLO, J.:
Probation is a special privilege granted by the state to a penitent qualified offender. It
essentially rejects appeals and encourages an otherwise eligible convict to immediately admit
his liability and save the state of time, effort and expenses to jettison an appeal. The law
expressly requires that an accused must not have appealed his conviction before he can avail
of probation. This outlaws the element of speculation on the part of the accused to wager
on the result of his appeal that when his conviction is finally affirmed on appeal, the
moment of truth well-nigh at hand, and the service of his sentence inevitable, he now applies
for probation as an "escape hatch" thus rendering nugatory the appellate court's affirmance of
his conviction. Consequently, probation should be availed of at the first opportunity by convicts
who are willing to be reformed and rehabilitated, who manifest spontaneity, contrition and
remorse.
As conceptualized, is petitioner entitled to probation within the purview of P.D. 968, as
amended by P.D. 1257 and P.D. 1990?
Petitioner's woes started when as President and General Manager of ASPAC Trans. Company
he failed to control his outburst and blurted
You employees in this office are all tanga, son of a bitches (sic), bullshit. Puro kayo walang
utak . . . . Mga anak ng puta . . . . Magkano ba kayo . . . God damn you all.
Thus for humiliating his employees he was accused of multiple grave oral defamation in five
(5) separate Informations instituted by five (5) of his employees, each Information charging
him with gravely maligning them on four different days, i.e., from 9 to 12 April 1980.
On 2 January 1990, after nearly ten (10) years, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Br. 61,
found petitioner guilty of grave oral defamation in four (4) of the five (5) cases filed against
him, i.e., Crim. Cases Nos. 105206, 105207, 105209 and 105210, sentenced him to a prison
term of one (1) year and one (l) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision
correccional "in each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleqed in the
information(s)," ordered him to indemnify each of the offended parties, Victoria Gatchalian,

Rowena Ruiz, Linda Marie Ayala Pigar and Marie Solis, P10,000.00 as exemplary damages,
and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, plus costs of suit. 1 He was however acquitted in Crim.
Case No. 105208 for persistent failure of the offended party, Edgar Colindres, to appear and
testify.
Not satisfied with the Decision of the MeTC, and insisting on his innocence, petitioner
elevated his case to the Regional Trial Court.
On 5 August 1991 the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Br. 59, affirmed his conviction but
appreciated in his favor a mitigating circumstance analogous to passion or obfuscation. Thus

. . . (he) was angry and shouting when he uttered the defamatory words complained of . . . .
he must have been angry and worried "about some missing documents . . . as well as the
letter of the Department of Tourism advising ASPAC about its delinquent tax of P1.2 million . . .
. " the said defamatory words must have been uttered in the heat of anger which is a
mitigating circumstance analogous to passion or obfuscation. 2
Accordingly, petitioner was sentenced "in each case to a STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT (8)
MONTHS imprisonment . . . . " 3 After he failed to interpose an appeal therefrom the
decision.of the RTC became final. The case was then set for execution of judgment by the
MeTC which, as a consequence, issued a warrant of arrest. Butbefore he could be arrested
petitioner filed an application for probation which the MeTC denied "in the light of the ruling of
the Supreme Court in Llamado v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No, 84850, 29 June 1989, 174 SCRA
566 . . . ." 4
Forthwith he went to the Court of Appeals on certiorari which on 2 July 1992 dismissed his
petition on the following grounds
Initially, the Court notes that the petitioner has failed to comply with the provisions of Supreme
Court Circular No. 28-91 of September 4, 1991. Violation of the circular is sufficient cause for
dismissal of the petition.
Secondly, the petitioner does not allege anywhere in the petition that he had asked the
respondent court to reconsider its above order; in fact, he had failed to give the court
an.opportunity to correct itself if it had, in fact, committed any error on the matter. He is,
however, required to move for reconsideration of the questioned order before filing a petition
for certiorari (Sy It v. Tiangco, 4 SCRA 436). This failure is fatal to his cause. It is a ground for
dismissal of his petition (Santos v. Vda. de Cerdenola, 5 SCRA 823; Acquiao v. Estenso, 14
SCRA 18; Del Pilar Transit, Inc. v. Public Service Commission, 31-SCRA 372).
Thirdly, it is obvious that respondent court did not commit any capricious, arbitrary, despotic or
whimsical exercise of power in denying the petitioner's application for probation . . . .
Fourthly, the petition for probation was filed by the petitioner out of time . . . .
Fifthly, the Court notes that Section 4 of PD 968 allows the trial court to grant probation after
conviction, upon an application by the defendant within the period of appeal, upon terms and
conditions and period appropriate to each case, but expressly rules out probation where an
appeal has been taken . . . . 5
The motion for reconsideration was likewise denied.
In the present recourse, petitioner squirms out of each ground and seeks this Court's
compassion in dispensing with the minor technicalities which may militate against his petition
as he now argues before us that he has not yet lost his right to avail of probation
notwithstanding his appeal from the MeTC to the RTC since "[t]he reason for his appeal was
precisely to enable him to avail himself of the benefits of the Probation Law because the

original Decision of the (Metropolitan) Trial Court was such that he would not then be entitled
to probation." 6 He contends that "he appealed from the judgment of the trial court precisely for
the purpose of reducing the penalties imposed upon him by the said court to enable him to
qualify for probation." 7
The central issue therefore is whether petitioneris still qualified to avail of probation even after
appealing his conviction to the RTC which affirmed the MeTC except with regard to the
duration of the penalties imposed.
Petitioner is no longer eligible for probation.
First. Probation is a mere privilege, not a right. 8 Its benefits cannot extend to those not
expressly included. Probation is not a right of an accused, but rather an act of grace and
clemency or immunity conferred by the state which may be granted by the court to a
seemingly deserving defendant who thereby escapes the extreme rigors of the penalty
imposed by law for the offense of which he stands convicted. 9 It is a special prerogative
granted by law to a person or group of persons not enjoyed by others or by all. Accordingly,
the grant of probation rests solely upon the discretion of the court which is to be exercised
primarily for the benefit of organized society, and only incidentally for the benefit of the
accused. 10 The Probation Law should not therefore be permitted to divest the state or its
government of any of the latter's prerogatives, rights or remedies, unless the intention of the
legislature to this end is clearly expressed, and no person should benefit from the terms of the
law who is not clearly within them.
Neither Sec. 4 of the Probation Law, as amended, which clearly mandates that "no application
for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the appeal from
the judgment of conviction," nor Llamado v. Court of Appeals 11 which interprets the quoted
provision, offers any ambiguity or qualification. As such, the application of the law should not
be subjected to any to suit the case of petitioner. While the proposition that an appeal should
not bar the accused from applying for probation if the appealis solely to reduce the penalty to
within the probationable limit may be equitable, we are not yet prepared to accept this
interpretation under existing law and jurisprudence. Accordingly, we quote Mr. Justice
Feliciano speaking for the Court en banc in Llamado v. Court of Appeals
. . . we note at the outset that Probation Law is not a penal statute. We, however, understand
petitioner's argument to be really that any statutory language that appears to favor the
accused in acriminal case should be given.a "liberal interpretation." Courts . . . have no
authority to invoke "liberal interpretation" or "the spirit of the law" where the words of the
statute themselves, andas illuminated by the history of that statute, leave no room for doubt
or interpretation. We do not believe that "the spirit ofthe law" may legitimately be invoked to
set at naught words which have a clear and definite meaning imparted to them by our
procedural law. The "true legislative intent" must obviously be given effect by judges and all
others who are charged with the application and implementation of a statute. It is absolutely
essential to bear in mind, however, that the spirit of the law and the intent that is to be given
effect are derived from the words actually used by the law-maker, and not from some external,
mystical or metajuridical source independent of and transcending the words of the legislature.
The Court is not here to be understood as giving a "strict interpretation" rather than a "liberal"
one to Section 4 of the Probation Law of 1976 as amended by P.D. No. 1990. "Strict" and
"liberal" are adjectives which too frequently impede a disciplined and principled search for the
meaning which the law-making authority projected when it promulgated the language which
we must apply. That meaning is clearly visible in the text of Section 4, as plain and

unmistakable as the nose on a man's face. The Courtis simplyreading Section 4 as it is in fact
written. There is no need for the involved process of construction that petitioner invites us to
engage in, a process made necessary only because petitioner rejects the conclusion or
meaning which shines through the words of the statute. The first duty of the judge is to take
and apply a statute as he finds it, not as he would likeit to be. Otherwise, as this Court in
Yangco v. Court of First Instance warned, confusion and uncertainty will surely follow, making,
we might add, stability and continuity in the law much more difficult to achieve:
. . . [w]here language is plain, subtle refinements which tinge words as to give them the color
of a particular judicial theory are not only unnecessary but decidedly harmful. That which has
caused so much confusion in the law, which has made it so difficult for the public to
understand and know what the law is with respect to a given matter, is in considerable
measure the unwarranted interference by judicial tribunals with the English language as found
in statutes and contracts, cutting the words here and inserting them there, making them fit
personal ideas of what the legislature ought to have done or what parties should have agreed
upon, giving them meanings which they do not ordinarily have cutting, trimming, fitting,
changing and coloring until lawyers themselves are unable to advise their clients as to the
meaning of a given statute or contract until it has been submitted to some court for its
interpretation and construction.
The point in this warning may be expected to become sharper as our people's grasp of
English is steadily attenuated. 12
Therefore, that an appeal should notbar the accused from applying for probation if the appeal
is taken solely to reduce the penalty is simply contrary to the clear and express mandate of
Sec, 4 of the Probation Law, as amended, which opens with a negativeclause, "no application
for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the appeal from
the judgment of conviction." In Bersabal v. Salvador, 13 we said
By its very language, the Rule is mandatory. Under the rule of statutory construction. negative
words and phrases are to be regarded as mandatory while those in the affirmative are merely
directory. . . . the use of the term "shall" further emphasizes its mandatory character and
means that it is imperative, operating to impose a duty which may be enforced.
And where the law does not distinguish the courts should not distinguish; where the law does
not make exception the court should not except.
Second. At the outset, the penalties imposed by the MeTC were already probationable.
Hence, there was no need to appeal if only to reduce the penalties to within the probationable
period. Multiple prison terms imposed against an accused found guilty of several offenses in
one decision are not, and should not be, added up. And, the sum of the multiple prison terms
imposed against an applicant should not be determinative of his eligibility for, nay his
disqualification from, probation. The multiple prison terms are distinct from each other, and if
none of the terms exceeds the limit set out in the Probation Law,i.e., not more than six (6)
years, then he is entitled to probation, unless he is otherwise specifically disqualified. The
number of offenses is immaterial as long as all the penalties imposed, taken separately, are
within the probationable period. For, Sec. 9, par. (a), P.D. 968, as amended, uses the word
maximum not total when it says that "[t]he benefits of this Decree shall not be extended to
those . . . . sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years."
Evidently, the law does not intend to sum up the penalties imposed but to take each penalty
separately and distinctly with the others. Consequently, even if petitioner was supposed to
have served his prison term of one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and eight (8)

months of prision correccional sixteen (16) times as he was sentenced to serve the prison
term for "each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the information(s),"
and in each of the four (4) informations, he was charged with.having defamed the four (4)
private complainants on four (4) different, separate days, he was stilleligible for probation, as
each prison term imposed on petitioner was probationable.
Fixing the cut-off point at a maximum term of six (6) years imprisonment for probation is based
on the assumption that those sentenced to higher penalties pose too great a risk to society,
not just because of their demonstrated capability for serious wrong doing but because of the
gravity and serious consequences of the offense they might further commit. 14 The Probation
Law, as amended, disqualifies only those who have been convicted of grave felonies as
defined in Art. 9 in relation to Art. 25 of The Revised Penal Code, 15 and not necessarily those
who have been convicted of multiple offenses in a single proceeding who are deemed to be
less perverse. Hence, the basis of the disqualification is principally the gravity of the offense
committed and the concomitant degree of penalty imposed. Those sentenced to a maximum
term not exceeding six (6) years are not generally considered callous, hard core criminals,
and thus may avail of probation.
To demonstrate the point, let ustake for instance one who is convicted in a single decision of,
say, thirteen (13) counts of grave oral defamation (for having defamed thirteen [13] individuals
in one outburst) and sentenced to a total prison term of thirteen (13) years, and another who
has been found guilty of mutilation and sentenced to six (6) years and one (l) day of prision
mayor minimum as minimum to twelve (l2) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal
minimum as maximuin. Obviously, the latter offender is more perverse and is disqualified from
availing of probation.
Petitioner thus proceeds on an erroneous assumption that under the MeTC Decision he could
not have availed of the benefits of probation. Since he could have, although he did not, his
appeal now precludes him from applying for probation.
And, even if we go along with the premise of petitioner, however erroneous it may be, that the
penalties imposed against him should be summed up, still he would not have qualified under
the Decision rendered by the RTC since if the "STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT (8) MONTHS
imprisonment" imposed by the RTC is multiplied sixteen (16) times, the total imposable
penalty would be ten (10) years and eight (8) months, which is still way beyond the limit of not
more than six (6) years provided for in the Probation Law, as amended. To illustrate: 8 months
multiplied by 16 cases = 128 months; 128 months divided by 12 months (in a year) = 10 years
and 8 months, hence, following his argument, petitioner cannot still be eligible for probation as
the total of his penalties exceeds six (6) years.
The assertion that the Decision of the RTC should be multiplied only four (4) times since there
are only four (4) Informations thereby allowing petitioner to qualify for probation, instead of
sixteen (16) times, is quite difficult to understand. The penalties imposed by the MeTC cannot
be any clearer "one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision
correccional, in each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the
information(s). "Hence, petitioner should suffer the imposed penalties sixteen (16) times. On
the other hand, the RTC affirmed, the judgment of conviction and merely reduced the duration
of each penalty imposed by the MeTC "in each case to a STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT (8)
MONTHS imprisonment" on account of a mitigating circumstance for each case, count or
incident of grave oral defamationThere is no valid reason therefore why the penalties
imposed by the RTC should be multiplied only four (4) times, and not sixteen (16) times,

considering that the RTC merely affirmed the MeTC as regards the culpability of petitioner in
each of the sixteen (16) cases and reducing only the duration of the penalties imposed
therein. Thus
Premises considered, the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court is AFFIRMED with
modification, as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds the accused Pablo C. Francisco GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt in each of the above entitled cases and appreciating in his favor the
mitigating circumstance which is analogous to passion or obfuscation, the Court hereby
sentences the said accused in each case to a straight penalty of EIGHT (8) MONTHS
imprisonment, with the accessory penalties prescribed by law; and to pay the costs. 16
Nowhere in the RTC Decision is it stated or even hinted at that the accused was acquitted or
absolved in any of the four (4) counts under each of the four (4) Informatfons, or that any part
of thejudgment of conviction was reversed, or that any of the cases, counts or incidents was
dismissed. Otherwise, we will have to account for the twelve (12) other penalties imposed by
the MeTC. Can we? What is clear is that the judgment of conviction rendered by the was
affirmed with the sole modification on the duration of the penalties.
In fine, considering that the multiple prison terms should not be summed up but taken
separately as the totality of all the penalties is not the test, petitioner should have immediately
filed an application for probation as he was already qualified after being convicted by the
MeTC, if indeed thereafter he felt humbled, was ready to unconditionally accept the verdict of
the court and admit his liability. Consequently, in appealing the Decision of the MeTC to the
RTC, petitioner lost his right to probation. For, plainly, the law considers appeal and probation
mutually exclusive remedies. 17
Third. Petitioner appealed to the RTC not to reduce or even correct the penalties imposed by
the MeTC, but to assert his innocence. Nothing more. The cold fact is that petitioner appealed
his conviction to the RTC not for the sole purpose of reducing his penalties to make him
eligible for probation since he was already qualified under the MeTC Decision but rather
to insist on his innocence. The appeal record is wanting of any other purpose. Thus, in his
Memorandum before the RTC, he raised only three (3) statements of error purportedly
committed by the MeTC all aimed at his acquittal: (a) in finding that the guilt of the accused
has been established because of his positive identification by the witness for the prosecution;
(b) in giving full faith and credence to the bare statements of the private complainants despite
the absence of corroborating testimonies; and, (c)in not acquitting him in all the cases," 18
Consequently, petitioner insisted that the trial court committed an error in relying on his
positive identification considering that private complainants could not have missed identifying
him who was their President and General Manager with whom they worked for a good number
of years. Petitioner further argued that although the alleged defamatory words were uttered in
the presence of other persons, mostly private complainants, co-employees and clients, not
one of them was presented as a witness. Hence, according to petitioner, the trial court could
not have convicted him on the basis of the uncorroborative testimony of private complainants.
19

Certainly, the protestations of petitioner connote profession of guiltlessness, if not complete


innocence, and do not simply put in issue the propriety of the penalties imposed. For sure, the
accused never manifested that he was appealing only for the purpose of correcting a wrong
penalty to reduce it to within the probationable range. Hence, upon interposing an appeal,
more so after asserting his innocence therein, petitioner should be precluded from seeking

probation. By perfecting his appeal, petitioner ipso facto relinquished his alternative remedy of
availing of the Probation Law the purpose of which is simply to prevent speculation or
opportunism on the part of an accused who although already eligible does not at once apply
for probation, but doing so only after failing in his appeal.
The fact that petitioner did not elevate the affirmance of his conviction by the RTC to the Court
of Appeals does not necessarily mean that his appeal to the RTC was solely to reduce his
penalties. Conversely, he was afraid that the Court of Appeals would increase his penalties,
which could be worse for him. Besides, the RTC Decision had already become final and
executory because of the negligence, according to him, of his former counsel who failed to
seek possible remedies within the period allowed by law.
Perhaps it should be mentioned that at the outset petitioner, in accordance with Sec 3, par.
(e), Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, 20 should have moved to quash as each of the four (4)
Informations filed against him charged four (4) separate crimes of grave oral defamation,
committed on four (4) separate days. His failure to do so however may now be deemed a
waiver under Sec. 8 of the same Rule 21 and he can be validly convicted, as in the instant
case, of as many crimes charged in the Information.
Fourth. The application for probation was filed way beyond the period allowed by law. This is
vital way beyond the period allowed by law and crucial. From the records it is clear that the
application for probation was filed "only after a warrant for the arrest of petitioner had been
issued . . . (and) almost two months after (his) receipt of the Decision" 22 of the RTC. This is a
significant fact which militates against the instant petition. We quote with affirmance the wellwritten, albeit assailed, ponencia of now Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals Nathanael
P. De Pano, Jr., on the specific issue
. . . the petition for probation was filed by the petitioner out of time. The law in point, Section 4
of P.D. 968, as amended, provides thus:
Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the trial court may, after
it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon application by said defendant
within the period for perfecting an appeal. . . . place the defendant on probation . . . .
Going to the extreme, and assuming that an application for probation from one who had
appealed the trial court's judgment is allowed by law, the petitioner's plea for probation was
filed out of time. In the petition is a clear statement that the petitioner was up for execution of
judgment before he filed his application for probation. P.D. No. 968 says that the application
for probation must be filed "within the period for perfecting an appeal;" but in this case, such
period for appeal had passed, meaning to say that the Regional Trial Court's decision had
attained finality, and no appeal therefrom was possible under the law. Even granting that an
appeal from the appellate court's judgment is contemplated by P.D. 968, in addition to the
judgment rendered by the trial court, that appellate judgment had become final and was, in
fact, up for actual execution before the application for probation was attempted by the
petitioner. The petitioner did not file his application for probation before the finality of the said
judgment; therefore, the petitioner's attempt at probation was filed too late.
Our minds cannot simply rest easy on. the proposition that an application for probation may
yet be granted even if it was filed only after judgment has become final, the conviction already
set for execution and a warrant of arrest issued for service of sentence.
The argument that petitioner had to await the remand of the case to the MeTC, which
necessarily must be after the decision of the RTC had become final, for him to file the

application for probation with the trial court, is to stretch the law beyond comprehension. The
law, simply, does not allow probation after an appeal has been perfected.
Accordingly, considering that prevailing jurisprudence treats appeal and probation as mutually
exclusive remedies, and petitioner appealed from his conviction by the MeTC although the
imposed penalties were already probationable, and in his appeal, he asserted only his
innocence and did not even raise the issue of the propriety of the penalties imposed on him,
and finally, he filed an application for probation outside the period for perfecting an appeal
granting he was otherwise eligible for probation, the instant petition for review should be as it
is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
MENDOZA, J., dissenting:
I vote to reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals in this case.
I.
The principal basis for the affirmance of the decision of the Court of Appeals denying
probation is the fact that petitioner had appealed his sentence before filing his application for
probation. Reliance is placed on the literal application of 4 of the Probation Law of 1976 ,as
amended, which provides as follows:
Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the trial court may, after
it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon application by said defendant
within the period for perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution of the sentence and place
the defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it may
deem best; Provided, That no application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the
defendant has perfected the appeal from the judgment of conviction.
Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or a fine
only probation shall be filed with the trial court application shall be deemed a waiver of the
right to appeal.
An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable.
Thus, under 4 the accused is given the choice of appealing his sentence or applying for
probation. If he appeals, he cannot later apply for probation. If he opts for probation, he can
not appeal. Implicit in the choice, however, is that the accused is not disqualified for probation
under any of the cases mentioned in 9, to wit:
Sec. 9. Disqualified Offenders. The benefits of this Decree shall not be extended to those:
(a) sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years;
(b) convicted of subversion or any crime against the national security or the public order;
(c) who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by
imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and/or a fine of not less than Two
Hundred Pesos.
(d) who have been once on probation under the provisions of this Decree; and

(e) who are already serving sentence at the time the substantive provisions of this Decree
became applicable pursuant to Section 33 hereof.
Consequently, if under the sentence given to him an accused is not qualified for probation, as
when the penalty imposed on him by the court singly or in their totality exceeds six (6) years
but on appeal the sentence is modified so that he becomes qualified, I believe that the
accused should not be denied the benefit of probation.
Before its amendment by P.D. No. 1990, the law allowed even encouraged speculation
on the outcome of appeals by permitting the accused to apply for probation after he had
appealed and failed to obtain an acquittal. 1 It was to change this that 4 was amended by
P.D. No. 1990 by expressly providing that "no application for probation shall be entertained or
granted if the defendant has perfected the appeal from the judgment of conviction." For an
accused, despite the fact that he is eligible for probation, may be tempted to appeal in the
hope of obtaining an acquittal if he knows he can any way apply for probation in the event his
conviction is affirmed. 2
There is, however, nothing in the amendatory Decree to suggest that in limiting the accused to
the choice of either appealing from the decision of the trial court or applying for probation, the
purpose is to deny him the right to probation in cases like the one at bar where he becomes
eligible for probation only because on appeal his sentence is reduced. The purpose of the
amendment, it bears repeating, is simply to prevent speculation or opportunism on the part of
an accused who; although eligible for probation, does not at once apply for probation, doing
so only after failing in his appeal.
In the case at bar, it cannot be said that in appealing the decision MeTC petitioner was
principally motivated by a desire to be acquitted. While acquittal might have been an alluring
prospect for him, what is clear is that he had a reason for appealing because under the
sentence given to him he was disqualified to apply for probation. The MeTC had originally
sentenced him to 1 year and 1 day to 1 year and 8 months of prision correccional for "each
crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the information[s]." This meant, as
the majority opinion points out, that petitioner had to suffer the prison term of 1 year and 1 day
to 1 year and 8 months sixteen times, since he was found guilty of four crimes of grave oral
defamation in each of four cases. The totality of the penalties imposed on petitioner (26 years
and 8 months) thus exceeded the limit of six (6) years of imprisonment allowed by 9(a) and
disqualified him for probation. It was only after this penalty was reduced on appeal to a
straight penalty of eight months imprisonment in each case or to a total term of 2 years and 8
months in the four cases that petitioner became eligible for probation. Then he did not appeal
further although he could have done so.
The Court of Appeals, while acknowledging that "there may be some space not covered by the
present law on probation . . . where in its original state, the petitioner was disqualified from
applying for probation under Sec. 9 of the Decree, becoming eligible for probation only under
the terms of the judgment on appeal," nevertheless felt bound by the letter of 4: "No
application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the
appeal from the judgment of conviction." The majority opinion, affirming the ruling, states that
to allow probation in this case would be to go against the "clear and express mandate of sec.
4 of the Probation Law, as amended." (p. 9)
To regard probation, however, as a mere privilege, to be given to the accused only where it
clearly appears he comes within its letter is to disregard the teaching in many cases that the
Probation Law should be applied in favor of the accused not because it is a criminal law it

is not but to achieve its beneficent purpose. (Santos To v. Pao, 120 SCRA 8, 14 (1983)).
The niggardly application of the law would defeat its purpose to "help the probationer develop
into a law-abiding and self-respecting individual" (Baclayon v. Mutia, 129 SCRA 148, 149
(1984), per Teehankee, J.) or "afford [him] a chance to reform and rehabilitate himself without
the stigma of a prison record, to save government funds that may otherwise be spent for his
food and maintenance while incarcerated, and to decongest the jails of the country." (Del
Rosario v. Rosero, 126 SCRA 228, 232 (1983), per Makasiar, J.)
The approach followed by the Court in Atienza v. Court of Appeals, 140 SCRA 391, 395 (1985)
instead commends itself to me:
Regarding this, it suffices to state that the Probation Law was never intended to limit the right
of an accused person to present all relevant evidence he can avail of in order to secure a
verdict of acquittal or a reduction of the penalty. Neither does the law require a plea of guilty
on the part of the accused to enable him to avail of the benefits of probation. A contrary view
would certainly negate the constitutional right of an accused to be presumed innocent until the
contrary is proved.
As already stated, petitioner did not appeal primarily to seek acquittal. Proof of this is that after
the penalty imposed on him by the MeTC had been reduced by the RTC so that he thereby
became qualified for probation, he did not appeal further. The majority says that this was
because he was afraid that if he did the penalty could be increased. That possibility, however,
was also there when he appealed from the MeTC to the RTC. For by appealing the sentence
of the MeTC, petitioner took as much risk that the penalty would be raised as the chance that
he would he acquitted.
It is true that in appealing the sentence of the MeTC petitioner professed his innocence and
not simply questioned the propriety of his sentence, but no more so does an accused who,
upon being arraigned, pleads, "Not Guilty." And yet the latter cannot be denied probation if he
is otherwise eligible for probation.
It is argued that there is a difference because an accused who pleads "not guilty'' in the
beginning, later acknowledges his guilt and shows contrition after he is found guilty. So does
an accused who appeals a sentence because under it he is not qualified for probation, but
after the penalty is reduced, instead of appealing further, accepts the new sentence and
applies for probation.
This case is thus distinguishable from Llamado v. Court of Appeals, 174 SCRA 566 (1989), in
which it was held that because the petitioner had appealed his sentence, he could not
subsequently apply for probation. For, unlike petitioner in the case at bar, the accused in that
case could have applied for probation as his original sentence of one year of prision
correccional did not disqualify him for probation. That case fell squarely within the ambit of the
prohibition in 4 that one who applies for probation must not "have perfected an appeal from
the judgment of conviction."
II.
It is contended that petitioner did not have to appeal because under the original sentence
meted out to him he was not disqualified for probation. The issue here is whether the multiple
prison terms imposed on petitioner are to be considered singly or in their totality for the
purpose of 9(a) which disqualifies from probation those "sentenced to serve a maximum
term of imprisonment of more than six years."
I submit that they should be taken in their totality. As the sentence originally imposed on
petitioner was for "one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision

correccional in each crime committed on each date of each case" and as there are four
offenses of grave oral defamation against petitioner in each of the four cases, the total prison
term which he would have to serve was 26 years and 8 months. This is clearly beyond the
probationable maximum allowed by law.
It is said, however, that even if the totality of the prison terms is the test, the modified sentence
imposed by the RTC would not qualify the petitioner for probation because he has to suffer
imprisonment of eight months sixteen times. That is not so. The RTC only "sentence[d] the
said accused in each case to STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT (8) MONTHS imprisonment." This
means eight (8) months times four (4), since there are four cases, or 32 months or 2 years
and 8 months.
The policy of the law indeed appears to be to treat as only one multiple sentences imposed in
cases which are jointly tried and decided. For example, 9(c) disqualifies from probation
persons "who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by
imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and/or a fine of not less than Two
Hundred Pesos. It was held in Rura v. Lopena, 137 SCRA 121 (1985) that the accused, who
had been found guilty of estafa in five criminal cases, was qualified for probation because
although the crimes had been committed on different dates he was found guilty of each crime
on the same day. As this Court noted, "Rura was sentenced to a total prison term of
seventeen (l7) months and twenty-five (25) days. In each criminal case the sentence was
three (3) months and fifteen (15) days.
That the duration of a convict's sentence is determined by considering the totality of several
penalties for different offenses committed is also implicit in the provisions of the Revised Penal
Code on the accumulation of penalties. (See e.g., arts. 48 and 70)
It is said that the basis of disqualification under 9 is the gravity of the offense committed and
the penalty imposed. I agree. That is why I contend that a person who is convicted of multiple
grave oral defamation for which the total prison term is, say, 6 years and 8 months, is guilty of
a graver offense than another who is guilty of only offense of grave oral defamation and
sentenced to a single penalty of 1 year and 8 months. The relevant comparison is between an
accused convicted of one offense of grave oral defamation and another one convicted of the
same offense, say four or more times. The relevant comparison is not, as the majority says,
between an accused found guilty of grave oral defamation four or more times and another one
found guilty of mutilation and sentenced to an indeterminate term of 6 years and 1 day of
prision mayor to 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal.
III.
Finally, it is said that there is a more fundamental reason for denying probation in this case
and that is that petitioner applied for probation only after his case had been remanded to the
MeTC for the execution of its decision as modified. But that is because 4 provides that "an
application for probation shall be filed with the trial court." In the circumstances of this case,
petitioner had to await the remand of the case to the MeTC, which necessarily must be after
the decision of the RTC had become final.
The decision of the Court of Appeals should be REVERSED and respondent judge of the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila should be ORDERED to GRANT petitioner's
application for probation.
VITUG, J., concurring:

While I subscribe to the observation made by Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in his dissenting
opinion that an accused, who originally is not qualified for probation because the penalty
imposed on him by a court a quo exceeds six (6) years, should not be denied that benefit of
probation if on appeal the sentence is ultimately reduced to within the prescribed limit, I am
unable, however, to second the other proposition that multiple prison terms imposed by a
court should be taken in their totality for purposes of Section 9 (a), P.D. No. 968. In this
respect, I concur with Mr. Justice Josue Bellosillo in his ponencia that in determining the
eligibility or disqualification of an applicant for probation charged with, and sentenced to serve
multiple prison terms for, several offenses, "the number of offenses is immaterial as long as all
the penalties imposed, taken separately, are within the probationable period." The use of the
word maximum instead of the word total in Section 9, paragraph (a) of P.D. 968, as amended,
should be enough to reveal that such has been the legislative intent.
Thus, I still must vote for the denial of the petition.
Footnotes
1 Decision penned by Judge Andres B. Reyes. Jr., pp. 13-14; Rollo, pp. 46-47.
2 Decision penned-by Judge Lucia V. Isnani, pp. 12-13; Rollo, pp. 59-60.
3 Ibid.
4 Order of Judge Maximo C. Contreras, Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Br. 61, Rollo, p. 67.
5 Decision of the Special Eleventh Division penned by then Associate Justice Nathanael P. De
Pano, Jr. (now Presiding Justice), concurred in by Associate Justices Jesus M. Elbinias and
Consuelo Y. Santiago.
6 Urgent Petition for Review, p, 15; Rollo, p, 16.
7 Id., p, 10; Rollo, p.11.
8 Baclayon v. Mutia, G.R. No. 59298, 30 April 1984, 129 SCRA 149; Amandy v. People, G.R.
No. 76258, 23 May 1988, 161 SCRA 436.
9 34 Words and Phrases 111.
10 Bala v. Martinez, G.R. No. 67301, 29 January 1990, 181 SCRA 459.
11 G.R. No. 84850, 29 June 1989, 174 SCRA 566.
12 See Note 11, pp. 577-578.
13 No. L - 35910, 21 July 1978, 84 SCRA 176, citing McGee v. Republic, 94 Phil. 820 (1954).
14 Bautista, E., Statutory Concept and Objectives, Coverage and Selection Criteria for
Probation. Lecture delivered during the 1977 Regional Seminar on Probation, Philippine
International Convention Center.
15 Art. 9 defines grave felonies as those to which the law attaches the capital punishment or
penalties which in any of their periods are afflictive, in accordance with Art. 25. Art. 25 On the
other hand lists death as capital punishment, and reclusion perpetua, reclusion temporal,
perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification, perpetual or temporary special
disqualification, and prision mayor as afflictive penalties.
16 Decision of the RTC, p. 13; Rollo, p. 60.
17 Bernardo v. Balagot, G.R. No. 86561, 10 November 1992, 215 SCRA 526.
18 Decision of the RTC, p. 2; Rollo, p. 49.
19 Ibid.
20 Section 3, par. (e), Rule 117, Rules of Court, provides: "The accused may move to quash
the complaint or information on any of the following grounds: . . . that more than one offense is
charged . . . .

21 Section 8, Rule 117, Rules of Court, provides: "The failure of the accused to assert any
ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or information, either because
he did not file a motion to quash or failed to alleged the same in the said motion shall be
deemed a waiver of the grounds of a motion to quash . . . .
22 Urgent Petition for Review, p. 5; Rollo, P 6.
MENDOZA, J., dissenting:
1 As originally promulgated on July 24, 1976, P.D. No. 968, 4 provided:
Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the court may, after it
shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant and upon application at any time of said
defendant, suspend the execution of said sentence and place the defendant on probation for
such period and upon such terms and conditions as it may deem best.
Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or a fine
only. An application for probation shall be filed with the trial court, with notice to the appellate
court if an appeal has been taken from the sentence of conviction. The filing of the application
shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal, or the automatic withdrawal of a pending
appeal.
An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. (Emphasis added)
Thus, under the law as originally promulgated, any time after the trial court had convicted and
sentenced the accused and even if he had taken an appeal, the trial court could grant him
probation in the event he is convicted.
On December 1, 1977, 4 of the law was again amended by P.D. No. 1257 so as to read as
follows:
Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the court may, after it
shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant but before he begins to serve his sentence
and upon his application, suspend the execution of said sentence and place the defendant on
probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it may deem best.
The prosecuting officer concerned shall be notified by the court of the filing of the application
for probation and he may submit his comment on such application within ten days from receipt
of the notification.
Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or a fine
with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. An application for probation shall be filed
with the trial court, with notice to the appellate court if an appeal has been taken from the
sentence of conviction. The filing of the application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to
appeal, or the automatic withdrawal of a pending appeal. In the latter case, however, if the
application is filed on or after the date of the judgment of the appellate court, said application
shall be acted upon by the trial court on the basis of the judgment of the appellate court.
An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. (Emphasis added)
This amendment limited the period for applying for probation to the point just "before he
begins to serve his sentence." This meant not only after an appeal had been taken but even
after a judgment had been rendered by the appellate court and after the latter's judgment had
become final. Hence the proviso that "the application [for probation] shall be acted upon by the
trial court on the basis of the judgment of the appellate court."
On October 5, 1985, 4 of the Probation Law was again amended to further limit the period
for applying for probation to the "period for perfecting an appeal." The purpose was to confine
the accused to the choice of either applying for probation or appealing. While heretofore an
accused could appeal and, after his appeal had failed, apply for probation, under the

amendatory Decree, this is no longer possible. If he appeals he cannot later apply for
probation. If he applies for probation he cannot later appeal. As amended by P.D. No. 1990,
4 reads:
Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the trial court may, after
it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon application by said defendant
within the period for perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution of the sentence and place
the defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it may
deem best; Provided, That no application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the
defendant has perfected the appeal from the judgment of conviction.
Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or a fine
only. An application for probation shall be filed with the trial court. The filing of the application
shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal.
An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. (Emphasis added)
2 The preamble of P.D. No. 1990 states:
WHEREAS, it has been the sad experience that persons who are convicted of offenses and
who may be entitled to probation still appeal the judgment of conviction even up to the
Supreme Court, only to pursue their application for probation when their appeal is eventually
dismissed;
WHEREAS, the process of criminal investigation, prosecution, conviction and appeal entails
too much time and effort, not to mention the huge expenses of litigation, on the part of the
State;
WHEREAS, the time, effort and expenses of the Government in investigating and prosecuting
accused persons from the lower courts up to the Supreme Court, are often times rendered
nugatory when, after the appellate court finally affirms the judgment of conviction, the
defendant applies for and is granted probation;
WHEREAS, probation was not intended as an escape hatch and should not be used to
obstruct and delay the administration of justice, but should be availed of at the first opportunity
by offenders who are willing to be reformed and rehabilitated; (Emphasis added)

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-8238

May 25, 1955

CESAR M. CARANDANG, petitioner,


vs.
VICENTE SANTIAGO, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila
and TOMAS VALENTON, Sr. and TOMAS VALENTON, Jr., respondents.
S. Mejia-Panganiban for petitioner.Evangelista and Valenton for respondents.
LABRADOR, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari against Honorable Vicente Santiago, Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Manila, to annul his order in Civil Case No. 21173, entitled Cesar M. Carandang
vs. Tomas Valenton, Sr. et al., suspending the trial of said civil case to await the result of the
criminal Case No. 534, Court of First Instance of Batangas. In this criminal case, Tomas
Valenton, Jr. was found guilty of the crime of frustrated homicide committed against the person
of Cesar Carandang, petitioner herein. Tomas Valenton, Jr. appealed the decision to the Court
of Appeals where the case is now pending.
The decision of the Court of First Instance of Batangas in the criminal case was rendered on
September 1, 1953 and petitioner herein filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of
Manila to recover from the defendant Tomas Valenton, Jr. and his parents, damages, both

actual and moral, for the bodily injuries received by him on occasion of the commission of the
crime of frustrated homicide by said accused Tomas Valenton Jr. After the defendants
submitted their answer, they presented a motion to suspend the trial of the civil case, pending
the termination of the criminal case against Tomas Valenton, Jr. in the Court of Appeals. The
judge ruled that the trial of the civil action must await the result of the criminal case on appeal.
A motion for reconsideration was submitted, but the court denied the same; hence this petition
for certiorari.
Petitioner invokes Article 33 of the new Civil Code, which is as follows:
In cases of defamation, fraud and physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely
separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil
action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a
preponderance of evidence.
The Code Commission itself states that the civil action allowed (under Article 33) is similar to
the action in tort for libel or slander and assault and battery under American law (Reports of
the Code Commission, pp. 46-47). But respondents argue that the term "physical injuries" is
used to designate a specific crime defined in the Revised Penal Code, and therefore said term
should be understood in its peculiar and technical sense, in accordance with the rules
statutory construction (Sec. 578, 59 C. J. 979).
In the case at bar, the accused was charged with and convicted of the crime of frustrated
homicide, and while it was found in the criminal case that a wound was inflicted by the
defendant on the body of the petitioner herein Cesar Carandang, which wound is bodily injury,
the crime committed is not physical injuries but frustrated homicide, for the reason that the
infliction of the wound is attended by the intent to kill. So the question arises whether the term
"physical injuries" used in Article 33 means physical injuries in the Revised Penal Code only,
or any physical injury or bodily injury, whether inflicted with intent to kill or not.
The Article in question uses the words "defamation", "fraud" and "physical injuries."
Defamation and fraud are used in their ordinary sense because there are no specific
provisions in the Revised Penal Code using these terms as means of offenses defined therein,
so that these two terms defamation and fraud must have been used not to impart to them any
technical meaning in the laws of the Philippines, but in their generic sense. With this apparent
circumstance in mind, it is evident that the term "physical injuries" could not have been used in
its specific sense as a crime defined in the Revised Penal Code, for it is difficult to believe that
the Code Commission would have used terms in the same article some in their general and
another in its technical sense. In other words, the term "physical injuries" should be
understood to mean bodily injury, not the crime of physical injuries, because the terms used
with the latter are general terms. In any case the Code Commission recommended that the
civil for assault and battery in American Law, and this recommendation must have been
accepted by the Legislature when it approved the article intact as recommended. If the intent
has been to establish a civil action for the bodily harm received by the complainant similar to
the civil action for assault and battery, as the Code Commission states, the civil action should
lie whether the offense committed is that of physical injuries, or frustrated homicide, or
attempted homicide, or even death.
A parallel case arose in that of Bixby vs Sioux City, 164 N. W. 641, 643. In that case, the
appellant sought to take his case from the scope of the statute by pointing out that inasmuch
as notice is required where the cause of action is founded on injury to the person, it has no
application when the damages sought are for the death of the person. The court ruled that a

claim to recover for death resulting from personal injury is as certainly "founded on injury to
the person" as would be a claim to recover damages for a non-fatal injury resulting in a
crippled body.
For the foregoing considerations, we find that the respondent judge committed an error in
suspending the trial of the civil case, and his order to that affect is hereby revoked, and he is
hereby ordered to proceed with the trial of said civil case without awaiting the result of the
pending criminal case. With costs against the defendant-appellees.
Pablo, Acting C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion
and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-17663
May 30, 1962
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
ISAURO SANTIAGO, defendant-appellee.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellant.Roces, Alidio and Ceguera for defendantappellee.
CONCEPCION, J.:
The information herein alleges that defendant Isauro Santiago has committed the crime of
"libel" as follows:
That on or about the 5th day of October 1959, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused, for the evident purpose of injuring the name and reputation of Arsenio H. Lacson,
and of impeaching and besmirching the latter's virtue, honesty, honor and reputation, and with
the malicious intent of exposing him to public hatred, contempt and ridicule, did then and there
wilfully, feloniously, maliciously and publicly call said Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson, in the course
of a political speech delivered at 392 Fraternal, Quiapo, in said city, thru the medium of an
amplifier system and before a crowd of around a hundred persons, the following, to wit:

"Arsenio Hayop Lacson, pinakawalang hiyang Alkalde, Mayor Lacson raped a woman at the
Aroma Cafe and another City Hall employee in Shellborne Hotel", which are false, malicious
and highly defamatory statements against Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson, delivered with no good
intentions or justifiable motive, but solely for the purpose of injuring the name and reputation
of said Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson and to expose him to public hatred, contempt and ridicule.
Defendant moved to quash this information upon the ground that the crime charged therein is,
not libel, but oral defamation, which has already prescribed, it having been allegedly
committed on October 5, 1959, or more than six (6) months prior to the filing of the information
on August 11, 1960. The Court of First Instance of Manila granted this motion and,
accordingly, quashed the information, with costs de oficio. Hence, this appeal by the
prosecution.
The only issue in this case is whether the crime charged in the information is oral defamation,
under Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, or libel, under Article 355, in relation to Article
353, of the same Code. Said provisions read:
ART. 358. Slander. Oral defamation shall be punished by arresto mayor in its maximum
period to prision correccional in its minimum period if it is of a serious and insulting nature;
otherwise the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos".
ART. 355. Libel by means of writings or similar means. A libel committed by means of
writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition,
cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional in
its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in
addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party.
ART. 353. Definition of libel. A libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a
vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance
tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to
blacken the memory of one who is dead.
The prosecution maintains that "the medium of an amplifier system", thru which the
defamatory statements imputed to the accused were allegedly made, falls within the purview
of the terms "writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical
exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means", appearing in said Article 355, in
the sense, at least, that in "amplifier system" is a means "similar" to "radio".
This pretense is untenable. To begin with, as correctly stated in defendant's brief, "radio as a
means of publication is "the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves without
conducting wires intervening between transmitter and receiver" (Library of Universal
Knowledge)" (see, also, 18 Encyclopedia Britanica, p. 285), "while transmission of words by
means of an amplifier system", such as the one mentioned in the information, "is not thru
"electromagnetic waves" and is with the use of "conducting wires" intervening between the
transmitter . . . and the receiver . . . .
Secondly, even the word "radio" used in said Article 355, should be considered in relation to
the terms with which it is associated "writing, printing, lithography, engraving . . .
phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition or cinematographical exhibition" all of which
have a common characteristic, namely, their permanent nature as a means of publication, and
this explains the graver penalty for libel than that prescribed for oral defamation. Thus, it has
been held that slanderous statements forming part of a manuscript read by a speaker over the
radio constitute libel (Sorensen vs. Wood, 243 N.W. 82, 82 A.L.R. 1109; Nules vs. Wasner, 20
P. [2d] 487, 104 A.L.R. 877), whereas the rules governing such offense were declared

inapplicable to extemporaneous remarks of scurrilous nature, made ad libitum in the course of


a radio broadcast by a person hired to read a prepared text, but not appearing thereon
(Summit Hotel Co. vs. National Broadcasting Co., PA-124 A.L.R. 963).1wph1.t
IN SHORT, the facts alleged in the information constitute the crime of oral defamation
punished in Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, which prescribed six (6) months after its
commission, or on April 5, 1960 (Articles 90 and 91, Revised Penal Code), over four (4)
months before the filing of said information, in view of which the order appealed from is
affirmed, without special pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.
Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.Bengzon,
C.J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-32717 November 26, 1970
AMELITO R. MUTUC, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
Amelito R. Mutuc in his own behalf.
Romulo C. Felizmena for respondent.
FERNANDO, J.:
The invocation of his right to free speech by petitioner Amelito Mutuc, then a candidate for
delegate to the Constitutional Convention, in this special civil action for prohibition to assail the
validity of a ruling of respondent Commission on Elections enjoining the use of a taped jingle
for campaign purposes, was not in vain. Nor could it be considering the conceded absence of
any express power granted to respondent by the Constitutional Convention Act to so require
and the bar to any such implication arising from any provision found therein, if deference be
paid to the principle that a statute is to be construed consistently with the fundamental law,
which accords the utmost priority to freedom of expression, much more so when utilized for

electoral purposes. On November 3, 1970, the very same day the case was orally argued, five
days after its filing, with the election barely a week away, we issued a minute resolution
granting the writ of prohibition prayed for. This opinion is intended to explain more fully our
decision.
In this special civil action for prohibition filed on October 29, 1970, petitioner, after setting forth
his being a resident of Arayat, Pampanga, and his candidacy for the position of delegate to the
Constitutional Convention, alleged that respondent Commission on Elections, by a telegram
sent to him five days previously, informed him that his certificate of candidacy was given due
course but prohibited him from using jingles in his mobile units equipped with sound systems
and loud speakers, an order which, according to him, is "violative of [his] constitutional right ...
to freedom of speech." 1 There being no plain, speedy and adequate remedy, according to
petitioner, he would seek a writ of prohibition, at the same time praying for a preliminary
injunction. On the very next day, this Court adopted a resolution requiring respondent
Commission on Elections to file an answer not later than November 2, 1970, at the same time
setting the case for hearing for Tuesday November 3, 1970. No preliminary injunction was
issued. There was no denial in the answer filed by respondent on November 2, 1970, of the
factual allegations set forth in the petition, but the justification for the prohibition was premised
on a provision of the Constitutional Convention Act, 2which made it unlawful for candidates "to
purchase, produce, request or distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda gadgets such
as pens, lighters, fans (of whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets,
bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or foreign
origin." 3It was its contention that the jingle proposed to be used by petitioner is the recorded
or taped voice of a singer and therefore a tangible propaganda material, under the above
statute subject to confiscation. It prayed that the petition be denied for lack of merit. The case
was argued, on November 3, 1970, with petitioner appearing in his behalf and Attorney
Romulo C. Felizmena arguing in behalf of respondent.
This Court, after deliberation and taking into account the need for urgency, the election being
barely a week away, issued on the afternoon of the same day, a minute resolution granting the
writ of prohibition, setting forth the absence of statutory authority on the part of respondent to
impose such a ban in the light of the doctrine of ejusdem generis as well as the principle that
the construction placed on the statute by respondent Commission on Elections would raise
serious doubts about its validity, considering the infringement of the right of free speech of
petitioner. Its concluding portion was worded thus: "Accordingly, as prayed for, respondent
Commission on Elections is permanently restrained and prohibited from enforcing or
implementing or demanding compliance with its aforesaid order banning the use of political
jingles by candidates. This resolution is immediately executory." 4
1. As made clear in our resolution of November 3, 1970, the question before us was one of
power. Respondent Commission on Elections was called upon to justify such a prohibition
imposed on petitioner. To repeat, no such authority was granted by the Constitutional
Convention Act. It did contend, however, that one of its provisions referred to above makes
unlawful the distribution of electoral propaganda gadgets, mention being made of pens,
lighters, fans, flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats, matches,
and cigarettes, and concluding with the words "and the like." 5 For respondent Commission,
the last three words sufficed to justify such an order. We view the matter differently. What was
done cannot merit our approval under the well-known principle of ejusdem generis, the
general words following any enumeration being applicable only to things of the same kind or

class as those specifically referred to. 6 It is quite apparent that what was contemplated in the
Act was the distribution of gadgets of the kind referred to as a means of inducement to obtain
a favorable vote for the candidate responsible for its distribution.
The more serious objection, however, to the ruling of respondent Commission was its failure
to manifest fealty to a cardinal principle of construction that a statute should be interpreted to
assure its being in consonance with, rather than repugnant to, any constitutional command or
prescription. 7 Thus, certain Administrative Code provisions were given a "construction which
should be more in harmony with the tenets of the fundamental law." 8 The desirability of
removing in that fashion the taint of constitutional infirmity from legislative enactments has
always commended itself. The judiciary may even strain the ordinary meaning of words to
avert any collision between what a statute provides and what the Constitution requires. The
objective is to reach an interpretation rendering it free from constitutional defects. To
paraphrase Justice Cardozo, if at all possible, the conclusion reached must avoid not only that
it is unconstitutional, but also grave doubts upon that score. 9
2. Petitioner's submission of his side of the controversy, then, has in its favor obeisance to
such a cardinal precept. The view advanced by him that if the above provision of the
Constitutional Convention Act were to lend itself to the view that the use of the taped jingle
could be prohibited, then the challenge of unconstitutionality would be difficult to meet. For, in
unequivocal language, the Constitution prohibits an abridgment of free speech or a free press.
It has been our constant holding that this preferred freedom calls all the more for the utmost
respect when what may be curtailed is the dissemination of information to make more
meaningful the equally vital right of suffrage. What respondent Commission did, in effect, was
to impose censorship on petitioner, an evil against which this constitutional right is directed.
Nor could respondent Commission justify its action by the assertion that petitioner, if he would
not resort to taped jingle, would be free, either by himself or through others, to use his mobile
loudspeakers. Precisely, the constitutional guarantee is not to be emasculated by confining it
to a speaker having his say, but not perpetuating what is uttered by him through tape or other
mechanical contrivances. If this Court were to sustain respondent Commission, then the effect
would hardly be distinguishable from a previous restraint. That cannot be validly done. It would
negate indirectly what the Constitution in express terms assures. 10
3. Nor is this all. The concept of the Constitution as the fundamental law, setting forth the
criterion for the validity of any public act whether proceeding from the highest official or the
lowest functionary, is a postulate of our system of government. That is to manifest fealty to the
rule of law, with priority accorded to that which occupies the topmost rung in the legal
hierarchy. The three departments of government in the discharge of the functions with which it
is entrusted have no choice but to yield obedience to its commands. Whatever limits it
imposes must be observed. Congress in the enactment of statutes must ever be on guard lest
the restrictions on its authority, whether substantive or formal, be transcended. The
Presidency in the execution of the laws cannot ignore or disregard what it ordains. In its task
of applying the law to the facts as found in deciding cases, the judiciary is called upon to
maintain inviolate what is decreed by the fundamental law. Even its power of judicial review to
pass upon the validity of the acts of the coordinate branches in the course of adjudication is a
logical corollary of this basic principle that the Constitution is paramount. It overrides any
governmental measure that fails to live up to its mandates. Thereby there is a recognition of its
being the supreme law.

To be more specific, the competence entrusted to respondent Commission was aptly summed
up by the present Chief Justice thus: "Lastly, as the branch of the executive department
although independent of the President to which the Constitution has given the 'exclusive
charge' of the 'enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections,'
the power of decision of the Commission is limited to purely 'administrative questions.'" 11 It
has been the constant holding of this Court, as it could not have been otherwise, that
respondent Commission cannot exercise any authority in conflict with or outside of the law,
and there is no higher law than the Constitution. 12 Our decisions which liberally construe its
powers are precisely inspired by the thought that only thus may its responsibility under the
Constitution to insure free, orderly and honest elections be adequately fulfilled. 13 There could
be no justification then for lending approval to any ruling or order issuing from respondent
Commission, the effect of which would be to nullify so vital a constitutional right as free
speech. Petitioner's case, as was obvious from the time of its filing, stood on solid footing.
WHEREFORE, as set forth in our resolution of November 3, 1970, respondent Commission is
permanently restrained and prohibited from enforcing or implementing or demanding
compliance with its aforesaid order banning the use of political taped jingles. Without
pronouncement as to costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Barredo and Villamor, JJ.,
concur.
Dizon and Makasiar, JJ., are on leave.
Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
In line with my separate opinion in Badoy vs. Ferrer 1 on the unconstitutionality of the
challenged provisions of the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, I concur with the views of Mr.
Justice Fernando in the main opinion that "there could be no justification .... for lending
approval to any ruling or order issuing from respondent Commission, the effect of which would
be to nullify so vital a constitutional right as free speech." I would only add the following
observations:
This case once again calls for application of the constitutional test of reasonableness required
by the due process clause of our Constitution. Originally, respondent Commission in its
guidelines prescribed summarily that the use by a candidate of a "mobile unit roaming
around and announcing a meeting and the name of the candidate ... is prohibited. If it is used
only for a certain place for a meeting and he uses his sound system at the meeting itself, there
is no violation." 2Acting upon petitioner's application, however, respondent Commission ruled
that "the use of a sound system by anyone be he a candidate or not whether stationary or part
of a mobile unit is not prohibited by the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act" but imposed the
condition "provided that there are no jingles and no streamers or posters placed in
carriers."
Respondent Commission's narrow view is that "the use of a 'jingle,' a verbally recorded form of
election propaganda, is no different from the use of a 'streamer' or 'poster,' a printed form of
election propaganda, and both forms of election advertisement fall under the prohibition
contained in sec. 12 of R.A. 6132," and "the record disc or tape where said 'jingle' has been
recorded can be subject of confiscation by the respondent Commission under par. (E) of sec.
12 of R.A. 6132." In this modern day and age of the electronically recorded or taped voice

which may be easily and inexpensively disseminated through a mobile sound system
throughout the candidate's district, respondent Commission would outlaw "recorded or taped
voices" and would exact of the candidate that he make use of the mobile sound system only
by personal transmission and repeatedly personally sing his "jingle" or deliver his spoken
message to the voters even if he loses his voice in the process or employ another person to
do so personally even if this should prove more expensive and less effective than using a
recorded or taped voice.
Respondent Commission's strictures clearly violate, therefore, petitioner's basic freedom of
speech and expression. They cannot pass the constitutional test of reasonableness in that
they go far beyond a reasonable relation to the proper governmental object and are manifestly
unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary.
Insofar as the placing of the candidate's "streamers" or posters on the mobile unit or carrier is
concerned, respondent Commission's adverse ruling that the same falls within the prohibition
of section 12, paragraphs (C) and (E) has not been appealed by petitioner. I would note that
respondent Commission's premise that "the use of a 'jingle' ... is no different from the use of a
'streamer' or 'poster' "in that these both represent forms of election advertisements to make
the candidate and the fact of his candidacy known to the voters is correct, but its
conclusion is not. The campaign appeal of the "jingle" is through the voters' ears while that of
the "streamers" is through the voters' eyes. But if it be held that the Commission's ban on
"jingles" abridges unreasonably, oppressively and arbitrarily the candidate's right of free
expression, even though such "jingles" may occasionally offend some sensitive ears, the
Commission's ban on "streamers" being placed on the candidate's mobile unit or carrier, which
"streamers" are less likely to offend the voters' sense of sight should likewise be held to be an
unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary curtailment of the candidate's same constitutional
right.
The intent of the law to minimize election expenses as invoked by respondent Commission,
laudable as it may be, should not be sought at the cost of the candidate's constitutional rights
in the earnest pursuit of his candidacy, but is to be fulfilled in the strict and effective
implementation of the Act's limitation in section 12(G) on the total expenditures that may be
made by a candidate or by another person with his knowledge and consent.
Footnotes
1 Petition, paragraphs 1 to 5.
2 Republic Act No. 6132 (1970).
3 Section 12 (E), Ibid.
4 Resolution of Nov. 3, 1970.
5 Section 12(E), Constitutional Convention Act.
6 Cf. United States v. Santo Nino, 13 Phil. 141 (1909); Go Tiaoco y Hermanos v. Union
Insurance Society of Canton, 40 Phil. 40 (1919); People vs. Kottinger 45 Phil. 352 (1923);
Cornejo v. Naval, 54 Phil. 809 (1930); Ollada v. Court of Tax Appeals, 99 Phil. 605 (1956);
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila v. Social Security Commission, L-15045, Jan. 20, 1961,
1 SCRA 10.
7 Cf. Herras Teehankee v. Rovira, 75 Phil. 634 (1945); Manila Electric Co. v. Public Utilities
Employees Association, 79 Phil. 409 (1947); Araneta v. Dinglasan, 84 Phil. 368 (1949); Guido
v. Rural Progress Administration, 84 Phil. 847 (1949); City of Manila v. Arellano Law Colleges,
85 Phil. 663 (1950); Ongsiako v. Gamboa, 86 Phil. 50 (1950); Radiowealth v. Agregado, 86

Phil. 429 (1950); Sanchez v. Harry Lyons Construction, Inc., 87 Phil. 532 (1950); American
Bible Society v. City of Manila, 101 Phil. 386 (1957); Gonzales v. Hechanova, L-21897, Oct.
22, 1963, 9 SCRA 230; Automotive Parts and Equipment Co., Inc. v. Lingad, L-26406, Oct. 31,
1969, 30 SCRA 248; J. M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration, L-21064, Feb.
18, 1970, 31 SCRA 413.
8 Radiowealth v. Agregado, 86 Phil. 429 (1950).
9 Moore Ice Cream Co. v. Ross, 289 US 373 (1933).
10 Cf. Saia v. People of the State of New York, 334 US 558 (1948).
11 Abcede v. Hon. Imperial, 103 Phil. 136 (1958). The portion of the opinion from which the
above excerpt is taken reads in full: 'Lastly, as the branch of the executive department
although independent of the President to which the Constitution has given the 'exclusive
charge' of the 'enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections,'
the power of decision of the Commission is limited to purely 'administrative questions.' (Article
X, sec. 2, Constitution of the Philippines) It has no authority to decide matters 'involving the
right to vote.' It may not even pass upon the legality of a given vote (Nacionalista Party v.
Commission on Elections, 47 Off. Gaz., [6], 2851). We do not see, therefore, how it could
assert the greater and more far-reaching authority to determine who among those
possessing the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution, who have complied with the
procedural requirements, relative to the filing of certificate of candidacy should be allowed
to enjoy the full benefits intended by law therefore. The question whether in order to enjoy
those benefits a candidate must be capable of 'understanding the full meaning of his acts
and the true significance of election,' and must have over a month prior to the elections
(when the resolution complained of was issued) 'the tiniest chance to obtain the favorable
indorsement of a substantial portion of the electorate, is a matter of policy, not of
administration and enforcement of the law which policy must be determined by Congress in
the exercise of its legislative functions. Apart from the absence of specific statutory grant of
such general, broad power as the Commission claims to have, it is dubious whether, if so
granted in the vague, abstract, indeterminate and undefined manner necessary in order
that it could pass upon the factors relied upon in said resolution (and such grant must not be
deemed made, in the absence of clear and positive provision to such effect, which is absent in
the case at bar) the legislative enactment would not amount to undue delegation of
legislative power. (Schechter vs. U.S., 295 US 495, 79 L. ed. 1570.)" pp. 141-142.
12 Cf. Cortez v. Commission on Elections, 79 Phil. 352 (1947); Nacionalista Party v.
Commission on Elections, 85 Phil. 149 (1949); Guevara v. Commission on Elections, 104 Phil.
268 (1958); Masangcay v. Commission on Elections, L-13827, Sept. 28, 1962, 6 SCRA 27;
Lawsin v. Escalona, L-22540, July 31, 1964, 11 SCRA 643; Ututalum v. Commission on
Elections,
L-25349, Dec. 3, 1965, 15 SCRA 465; Janairo v. Commission on Elections, L-28315, Dec. 8,
1967, 21 SCRA 1173; Abes v. Commission on Elections, L-28348, Dec. 15, 1967, 21 SCRA
1252; Ibuna v. Commission on Elections,
L-28328, Dec. 29, 1967, 21 SCRA 1457; Binging Ho v. Mun. Board of Canvassers,
L-29051, July 28, 1969, 28 SCRA 829.
13 Cf. Cauton v. Commission on Elections, L-25467, April 27, 1967, 19 SCRA 911. The other
cases are Espino v. Zaldivar, L-22325, Dec. 11, 1967, 21 SCRA 1204; Ong v. Commission on
Elections, L-28415, Jan. 29, 1968, 22 SCRA 241; Mutuc v. Commission on Elections, L28517, Feb. 21, 1968, 22 SCRA 662; Pedido v. Commission on Elections, L-28539, March 30,

1968, 22 SCRA 1403; Aguam v. Commission on Elections, L-28955, May 28, 1968, 23 SCRA
883; Pelayo, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, L-28869, June 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 1374; Pacis v.
Commission on Elections, L-29026, Sept. 28, 1968, 25 SCRA 377; Ligot v. Commission on
Elections, L-31380, Jan. 21, 1970, 31 SCRA 45; Abrigo v. Commission on Elections, L-31374,
Jan. 21, 1970, 31 SCRA 27; Moore v. Commission on Elections, L-31394, Jan. 23, 1970, 31
SCRA 60; Ilarde v. Commission on Elections, L-31446, Jan. 23, 1970, 31 SCRA 72; Sinsuat v.
Pendatun,
L-31501, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 630.
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
1 L-32546 & 32551, Oct. 17, 1970, re: sections 8(A) and 12(F) and other related provisions.
2 Petition, page 9.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-33693-94 May 31, 1979
MISAEL P. VERA, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and THE FAIR TRADE BOARD,
petitioner,
vs.
HON. SERAFIN R. CUEVAS, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch IV,
INSTITUTE OF EVAPORATED FILLED MILK MANUFACTURERS OF THE PHILIPPINES,
INC., CONSOLIDATED MILK COMPANY (PHIL.) INC., and MILK INDUSTRIES, INC.,
respondents.
Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio and Solicitor Bernardo P. Pardo for petitioners.
Sycip, Salazar, Luna, Manalo & Feliciano for private respondents.

DE CASTRO, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction to review the decision rendered by
respondent judge, in Civil Case No. 52276 and in Special Civil Action No. 52383 both of the
Court of First Instance of Manila.
Plaintiffs, in Civil Case No. 52276 private respondents herein, are engaged in the
manufacture, sale and distribution of filled milk products throughout the Philippines. The
products of private respondent, Consolidated Philippines Inc. are marketed and sold under the
brand Darigold whereas those of private respondent, General Milk Company (Phil.), Inc.,
under the brand "Liberty;" and those of private respondent, Milk Industries Inc., under the
brand "Dutch Baby." Private respondent, Institute of Evaporated Filled Milk Manufacturers of
the Philippines, is a corporation organized for the principal purpose of upholding and
maintaining at its highest the standards of local filled milk industry, of which all the other
private respondents are members.
Civil Case No. 52276 is an action for declaratory relief with ex-parte petition for preliminary
injunction wherein plaintiffs pray for an adjudication of their respective rights and obligations in
relation to the enforcement of Section 169 of the Tax Code against their filled milk products.
The controversy arose from the order of defendant, Commissioner of Internal Revenue now
petitioner herein, requiring plaintiffs- private respondents to withdraw from the market all of
their filled milk products which do not bear the inscription required by Section 169 of the Tax
Code within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the order with the explicit warning that failure of
plaintiffs' private respondents to comply with said order will result in the institution of the
necessary action against any violation of the aforesaid order. Section 169 of the Tax Code
reads as follows:
Section 169. Inscription to be placed on skimmed milk. All condensed skimmed milk and all
milk in whatever form, from which the fatty part has been removed totally or in part, sold or put
on sale in the Philippines shall be clearly and legibly marked on its immediate containers, and
in all the language in which such containers are marked, with the words, "This milk is not
suitable for nourishment for infants less than one year of age," or with other equivalent words.
The Court issued a writ of preliminary injunction dated February 16, 1963 restraining the
Commissioner of Internal Revenue from requiring plaintiffs' private respondents to print on the
labels of their rifled milk products the words, "This milk is not suitable for nourishment for
infants less than one year of age or words of similar import, " as directed by the above quoted
provision of Law, and from taking any action to enforce the above legal provision against the
plaintiffs' private respondents in connection with their rifled milk products, pending the final
determination of the case, Civil Case No. 52276, on the merits.
On July 25, 1969, however, the Office of the Solicitor General brought an appeal from the said
order by way of certiorari to the Supreme Court. 1 In view thereof, the respondent court in the
meantime suspended disposition of these cases but in view of the absence of any injunction
or restraining order from the Supreme Court, it resumed action on them until their final
disposition therein.
Special Civil Action No. 52383, on the other hand, is an action for prohibition and injunction
with a petition for preliminary injunction. Petitioners therein pray that the respondent Fair
Trade Board desist from further proceeding with FTB I.S. No. I . entitled "Antonio R. de Joya
vs. Institute of Evaporated Milk Manufacturers of the Philippines, etc." pending final
determination of Civil Case No. 52276. The facts of this special civil action show that on
December 7, 1962, Antonio R. de Joya and Sufronio Carrasco, both in their individual

capacities and in their capacities as Public Relations Counsel and President of the Philippine
Association of Nutrition, respectively, filed FTB I.S. No. 1 with Fair Trade Board for misleading
advertisement, mislabeling and/or misbranding. Among other things, the complaint filed
include the charge of omitting to state in their labels any statement sufficient to Identify their
filled milk products as "imitation milk" or as an imitation of genuine cows milk. and omitting to
mark the immediate containers of their filled milk products with the words: "This milk is not
suitable for nourishment for infants less than one year of age or with other equivalent words
as required under Section 169 of the Tax Code. The Board proceeded to hear the complaint
until it received the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Court of First Instance on March
19, 1963.
Upon agreement of the parties, Civil Case No. 52276 and Special Civil Action No. 52383 were
heard jointly being intimately related with each other, with common facts and issues being also
involved therein. On April 16, 1971, the respondent court issued its decision, the dispositive
part of which reads as follows:
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered:
In Civil Case No. 52276:
(a) Perpetually restraining the defendant, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, his agents, or
employees from requiring plaintiffs to print on the labels of their filled milk products the words:
"This milk is not suitable for nourishment for infants less than one year of age" or words with
equivalent import and declaring as nun and void and without authority in law, the order of said
defendant dated September 28, 1961, Annex A of the complaint, and the Ruling of the
Secretary of Finance, dated November 12, 1962, Annex G of the complaint; and
In Special Civil Action No. 52383:
(b) Restraining perpetually the respondent Fair Trade Board, its agents or employees from
continuing in the investigation of the complaints against petitioners docketed as FTB I.S. No.
2, or any charges related to the manufacture or sale by the petitioners of their filled milk
products and declaring as null the proceedings so far undertaken by the respondent Board on
said complaints. (pp. 20- 21, Rollo).
From the above decision of the respondent court, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and
the Fair Trade Board joined together to file the present petition for certiorari with preliminary
injunction, assigning the following errors:
I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT SEC. TION 169 OF THE TAX CODE HAS
BEEN REPEALED BY IMPLICATION.
II. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT SECTION 169 OF THE TAX CODE HAS
LOST ITS TAX PURPOSE, AND THAT COMMISSIONER NECESSARILY LOST HIS
AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE THE SAME AND THAT THE PROPER AUTHORITY TO
PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF INFANTS IS THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, THE
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, AS PROVIDED FOR IN RA
3720, NOT THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE.
III. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE POWER TO INVESTIGATE AND TO
PROSECUTE VIOLATIONS OF FOOD LAWS IS ENTRUSTED TO THE FOOD AND DRUG
INSPECTION, THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH
AND THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, AND THAT THE FAIR TRADE BOARD IS WITHOUT
JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE ALLEGED MISBRANDING,
MISLABELLING AND/OR MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENT OF FILLED MILK PRODUCTS.
(pp, 4-5, Rollo).

The lower court did not err in ruling that Section 169 of the Tax Code has been repealed by
implication. Section 169 was enacted in 1939, together with Section 141 (which imposed a
Specific tax on skimmed milk) and Section 177 (which penalized the sale of skimmed milk
without payment of the specific tax and without the legend required by Section 169). However,
Section 141 was expressly repealed by Section 1 of Republic Act No. 344, and Section 177,
by Section 1 of Republic Act No. 463. By the express repeal of Sections 141 and 177, Section
169 became a merely declaratory provision, without a tax purpose, or a penal sanction.
Moreover, it seems apparent that Section 169 of the Tax Code does not apply to filled milk.
The use of the specific and qualifying terms "skimmed milk" in the headnote and "condensed
skimmed milk" in the text of the cited section, would restrict the scope of the general clause
"all milk, in whatever form, from which the fatty pat has been removed totally or in part." In
other words, the general clause is restricted by the specific term "skimmed milk" under the
familiar rule of ejusdem generis that general and unlimited terms are restrained and limited by
the particular terms they follow in the statute.
Skimmed milk is different from filled milk. According to the "Definitions, Standards of Purity,
Rules and Regulations of the Board of Food Inspection," skimmed milk is milk in whatever
form from which the fatty part has been removed. Filled milk, on the other hand, is any milk,
whether or not condensed, evaporated concentrated, powdered, dried, dessicated, to which
has been added or which has been blended or compounded with any fat or oil other than milk
fat so that the resulting product is an imitation or semblance of milk cream or skim milk." The
difference, therefore, between skimmed milk and filled milk is that in the former, the fatty part
has been removed while in the latter, the fatty part is likewise removed but is substituted with
refined coconut oil or corn oil or both. It cannot then be readily or safely assumed that Section
169 applies both to skimmed milk and filled milk.
The Board of Food Inspection way back in 1961 rendered an opinion that filled milk does not
come within the purview of Section 169, it being a product distinct from those specified in the
said Section since the removed fat portion of the milk has been replaced with coconut oil and
Vitamins A and D as fortifying substances (p. 58, Rollo). This opinion bolsters the Court's
stand as to its interpretation of the scope of Section 169. Opinions and rulings of officials of
the government called upon to execute or implement administrative laws command much
respect and weight. (Asturias Sugar Central Inc. vs. Commissioner of Customs, G. R. No. L19337, September 30, 1969, 29 SCRA 617; Tan, et. al. vs. The Municipality of Pagbilao et. al.,
L-14264, April 30, 1963, 7 SCRA 887; Grapilon vs. Municipal Council of Carigara L-12347,
May 30, 1961, 2 SCRA 103).
This Court is, likewise, induced to the belief that filled milk is suitable for nourishment for
infants of all ages. The Petitioners themselves admitted that: "the filled milk products of the
petitioners (now private respondents) are safe, nutritious, wholesome and suitable for feeding
infants of all ages" (p. 44, Rollo) and that "up to the present, Filipino infants fed since birth with
filled milk have not suffered any defects, illness or disease attributable to their having been fed
with filled milk." (p. 45, Rollo).
There would seem, therefore, to be no dispute that filled milk is suitable for feeding infants of
all ages. Being so, the declaration required by Section 169 of the Tax Code that filled milk is
not suitable for nourishment for infants less than one year of age would, in effect, constitute a
deprivation of property without due. process of law.
Section 169 is being enforced only against respondent manufacturers of filled milk product
and not as against manufacturers, distributors or sellers of condensed skimmed milk such as

SIMILAC, SMA, BREMIL, ENFAMIL, OLAC, in which, as admitted by the petitioner, the fatty
part has been removed and substituted with vegetable or corn oil. The enforcement of Section
169 against the private respondents only but not against other persons similarly situated as
the private respondents amounts to an unconstitutional denial of the equal pro petition of the
laws, for the law, equally enforced, would similarly offend against the Constitution. Yick Wo vs.
Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356,30 L. ed. 220).
As stated in the early part of this decision, with the repeal of Sections 141 and 177 of the Tax
Code, Section 169 has lost its tax purpose. Since Section 169 is devoid of any tax purpose,
petitioner Commissioner necessarily lost his authority to enforce the same. This was so held
by his predecessor immediately after Sections 141 and 177 were repealed in General Circular
No. V-85 as stated in paragraph IX of the Partial Stipulation of facts entered into by the
parties, to wit:
... As the act of sewing skimmed milk without first paying the specific tax thereon is no longer
unlawful and the enforcement of the requirement in regard to the placing of the proper legend
on its immediate containers is a subject which does not come within the jurisdiction of the
Bureau of Internal Revenue, the penal provisions of Section 177 of the said Code having been
repealed by Republic Act No. 463. (p. 102, Rollo).
Petitioner's contention that he still has jurisdiction to enforce Section 169 by virtue of Section 3
of the Tax Code which provides that the Bureau of Internal Revenue shall also "give effect to
and administer the supervisory and police power conferred to it by this Code or other laws" is
untenable. The Bureau of Internal Revenue may claim police power only when necessary in
the enforcement of its principal powers and duties consisting of the "collection of all national
internal revenue taxes, fees and charges, and the enforcement of all forfeitures, penalties and
fines connected therewith." The enforcement of Section 169 entails the promotion of the
health of the nation and is thus unconnected with any tax purpose. This is the exclusive
function of the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Health as provided for in
Republic Act No. 3720. In particular, Republic Act No. 3720 provides:
Section 9. ... It shall be the duty of the Board (Food and Drug Inspection), conformably with
the rules and regulations, to hold hearings and conduct investigations relative to matters
touching the Administration of this Act, to investigate processes of food, drug and cosmetic
manufacture and to subject reports to the Food and Drug Administrator, recommending food
and drug standards for adoption. Said Board shall also perform such additional functions,
properly within the scope of the administration thereof, as maybe assigned to it by the Food
and Drug Administrator. The decisions of the Board shall be advisory to the Food and Drug
Administrator.
Section 26. ...
xxx xxx xxx
(c) Hearing authorized or required by this Act shall be conducted by the Board of Food and
Drug Inspection which shall submit recommendation to the Food and Drug Administrator.
(d) When it appears to the Food and Drug Administrator from the reports of the Food and Drug
Laboratory that any article of food or any drug or cosmetic secured pursuant to Section 28 of
this Act is adulterated or branded he shall cause notice thereof to be given to the person or
persons concerned and such person or persons shall be given an opportunity to subject
evidence impeaching the correctness of the finding or charge in question.
(e) When a violation of any provisions of this Act comes to the knowledge of the Food and
Drug Administrator of such character that a criminal prosecution ought to be instituted against

the offender, he shall certify the facts to the Secretary of Justice through the Secretary of
Health, together with the chemists' report, the findings of the Board of Food and Drug
Inspection, or other documentary evidence on which the charge is based.
(f) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as requiring the Food and Drug Administrator to
certify for prosecution pursuant to subparagraph (e) hereof, minor violations of this Act
whenever he believes that public interest will be adequately served by a suitable written notice
or warning.
The aforequoted provisions of law clearly show that petitioners, Commissioner of Internal
Revenue and the Fair Trade Board, are without jurisdiction to investigate and to prosecute
alleged misbranding, mislabeling and/or misleading advertisements of filled milk. The
jurisdiction on the matters cited is vested upon the Board of Food and Drug inspection and the
Food and Drug Administrator, with the Secretary of Health and the Secretary of Justice, also
intervening in case criminal prosecution has to be instituted. To hold that the petitioners have
also jurisdiction as would be the result were their instant petition granted, would only cause
overlapping of powers and functions likely to produce confusion and conflict of official action
which is neither practical nor desirable.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed en toto. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, (Chairman), Fernandez, Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.
#Footnotes
1 G.R. No. L-30793-94.

San Jose, Enrique, Lacas, Santos and Borje for private respondent.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 78413 November 8, 1989
CAGAYAN VALLEY ENTERPRISES, INC., Represented by its President, Rogelio Q. Lim,
petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and LA TONDEA, INC., respondents.
Efren M. Cacatian for petitioners.

REGALADO, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari seeks the nullification of the decision of the Court of
Appeals of December 5, 1986 in CA-G.R. CV No. 06685 which reversed the decision of the
trial court, and its resolution dated May 5, 1987 denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.
The following antecedent facts generative of the present controversy are not in dispute.
Sometime in 1953, La Tondea, Inc. (hereafter, LTI for short) registered with the Philippine
Patent Office pursuant to Republic Act No. 623 1 the 350 c.c. white flint bottles it has been
using for its gin popularly known as "Ginebra San Miguel". This registration was subsequently
renewed on December 4, 1974. 2
On November 10, 1981, LTI filed Civil Case No. 2668 for injunction and damages in the then
Branch 1, Court of First Instance of Isabela against Cagayan Valley Enterprises, Inc.
(Cagayan, for brevity) for using the 350 c.c., white flint bottles with the mark "La Tondea Inc."
and "Ginebra San Miguel" stamped or blown-in therein by filling the same with Cagayan's
liquor product bearing the label "Sonny Boy" for commercial sale and distribution, without LTI's
written consent and in violation of Section 2 of Republic Act No. 623, as amended by Republic
Act No. 5700. On the same date, LTI further filed an ex parte petition for the issuance of a writ
of preliminary injunction against the defendant therein. 3 On November 16, 1981, the court a
quo issued a temporary restraining order against Cagayan and its officers and employees
from using the 350 c.c. bottles with the marks "La Tondea" and "Ginebra San Miguel." 4
Cagayan, in its answer, 5 alleged the following defenses:
1. LTI has no cause of action due to its failure to comply with Section 21 of Republic Act No.
166 which requires the giving of notice that its aforesaid marks are registered by displaying
and printing the words "Registered in the Phil. Patent Office" or "Reg Phil. Pat. Off.," hence no
suit, civil or criminal, can be filed against Cagayan;
2. LTI is not entitled to any protection under Republic Act No. 623, as amended by Republic
Act No. 5700, because its products, consisting of hard liquor, are not among those
contemplated therein. What is protected under said law are beverages like Coca-cola, Royal
Tru-Orange, Lem-o-Lime and similar beverages the bottles whereof bear the words "Reg Phil.
Pat. Off.;"
3. No reservation of ownership on its bottles was made by LTI in its sales invoices nor does it
require any deposit for the retention of said bottles; and
4. There was no infringement of the goods or products of LTI since Cagayan uses its own
labels and trademark on its product.
In its subsequent pleadings, Cagayan contended that the bottles they are using are not the
registered bottles of LTI since the former was using the bottles marked with "La Tondea, Inc."
and "Ginebra San Miguel" but without the words "property of" indicated in said bottles as
stated in the sworn statement attached to the certificate of registration of LTI for said bottles.
On December 18, 1981, the lower court issued a writ of preliminary injunction, upon the filing
of a bond by LTI in the sum of P50,000.00, enjoining Cagayan, its officers and agents from
using the aforesaid registered bottles of LTI. 6
After a protracted trial, which entailed five (5) motions for contempt filed by LTI against
Cagayan, the trial court rendered judgment 7 in favor of Cagayan, ruling that the complaint

does not state a cause of action and that Cagayan was not guilty of contempt. Furthermore, it
awarded damages in favor of Cagayan.
LTI appealed to the Court of Appeals which, on December 5, 1986 rendered a decision in
favor of said appellant, the dispositive portion whereof reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby SET ASIDE and judgment is rendered
permanently enjoining the defendant, its officers and agents from using the 350 c.c. white flint
bottles with the marks of ownership "La Tondea, Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel", blown-in or
stamped on said bottles as containers for defendant's products.
The writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court is therefore made permanent.
Defendant is ordered to pay the amounts of:
(1) P15,000.00 as nominal or temperate damages;
(2) P50,000.00 as exemplary damages;
(3) P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; and
(4) Costs of suit. 8
On December 23, 1986, Cagayan filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the
respondent court in its resolution dated May 5, 1987, hence the present petition, with the
following assignment of errors:
I. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in the decision granting that "there is, therefore, no need
for plaintiff to display the words "Reg. Phil. Pat. Off." in order for it to succeed in bringing any
injunction suit against defendant for the illegal use of its bottles. Rep. Act No. 623, as
amended by Rep. Act No. 5700 simply provides and requires that the marks or names shall be
stamped or marked on the containers."
II. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in deciding that "neither is there a reason to distinguish
between the two (2) sets of marked bottles-those which contain the marks "Property of La
Tondea, Inc., Ginebra San Miguel," and those simply marked La Tondea Inc., Ginebra San
Miguel'. By omitting the words "property of" plaintiff did not open itself to violation of Republic
Act No. 623, as amended, as having registered its marks or names it is protected under the
law."
III. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in deciding that the words "La Tondea, Inc.
and Ginebra San Miguel" are sufficient notice to the defendant which should have inquired
from the plaintiff or the Philippine Patent Office, if it was lawful for it to re-use the empty bottles
of the plaintiff.
IV. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in deciding that defendant-appellee cannot
claim good faith from using the bottles of plaintiff with marks "La Tondea, Inc." alone, short
for the description contained in the sworn statement of Mr. Carlos Palanca, Jr., which was a
requisite of its original and renewal registrations.
V. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in accommodating the appeal on the
dismissals of the five (5) contempt charges.
VI. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in deciding that the award of damages in
favor of the defendant-appellee, petitioner herein, is not in order. Instead it awarded nominal
or temperate, exemplary damages and attorney's fees without proof of bad faith. 9
The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 623, as amended by Republic Act No. 5700,
provides:
SECTION 1. Persons engaged or licensed to engage in the manufacture, bottling, or selling of
soda water, mineral or aerated waters, cider, milk, cream or other lawful beverages in bottles,
boxes, casks, kegs, or barrels and other similar containers, or in the manufacturing,

compressing or selling of gases such as oxygen, acytelene, nitrogen, carbon dioxide


ammonia, hydrogen, chloride, helium, sulphur, dioxide, butane, propane, freon, melthyl
chloride or similar gases contained in steel cylinders, tanks, flasks, accumulators or similar
containers, with the name or the names of their principals or products, or other marks of
ownership stamped or marked thereon, may register with the Philippine Patent Office a
description of the names or marks, and the purpose for which the containers so marked and
used by them, under the same conditions, rules, and regulations, made applicable by law or
regulation to the issuance of trademarks.
SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful for any person, without the written consent of the manufacturer,
bottler, or seller, who has succesfully registered the marks of ownership in accordance with
the provisions of the next preceding section, to fill such bottles, boxes, kegs, barrels, steel
cylinders, tanks, flasks, accumulators or other similar containers so marked or stamped, for
the purpose of sale, or to sell, disposed of, buy or traffic in, or wantonly destroy the same,
whether filled or not, to use the same, for drinking vessels or glasses or drain pipes,
foundation pipes, for any other purpose than that registered by the manufacturer, bottler or
seller. Any violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand
pesos or imprisonment of not more than one year or both.
SEC. 3. The use by any person other than the registered manufacturer, bottler or seller,
without written permission of the latter of any such bottle, cask, barrel, keg, box, steel
cylinders, tanks, flask, accumulators, or other similar containers, or the possession thereof
without written permission of the manufacturer, by any junk dealer or dealer in casks, barrels,
kegs boxes, steel cylinders, tanks, flasks, accumulators or other similar containers, the same
being duly marked or stamped and registered as herein provided, shall give rise to a prima
facie presumption that such use or possession is unlawful.
The above-quoted provisions grant protection to a qualified manufacturer who successfully
registered with the Philippine Patent Office its duly stamped or marked bottles, boxes, casks
and other similar containers. The mere use of registered bottles or containers without the
written consent of the manufacturer is prohibited, the only exceptions being when they are
used as containers for "sisi," bagoong," "patis" and similar native products. 10
It is an admitted fact that herein petitioner Cagayan buys from junk dealers and retailers
bottles which bear the marks or names La Tondea Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" and uses
them as containers for its own liquor products. The contention of Cagayan that the
aforementioned bottles without the words "property of" indicated thereon are not the registered
bottles of LTI, since they do not conform with the statement or description in the supporting
affidavits attached to the original registration certificate and renewal, is untenable.
Republic Act No. 623 which governs the registration of marked bottles and containers merely
requires that the bottles, in order to be eligible for registration, must be stamped or marked
with the names of the manufacturers or the names of their principals or products, or other
marks of ownership. No drawings or labels are required but, instead, two photographs of the
container, duly signed by the applicant, showing clearly and legibly the names and other
marks of ownership sought to be registered and a bottle showing the name or other mark or
ownership, irremovably stamped or marked, shall be submitted. 11
The term "Name or Other Mark of Ownership" 12 means the name of the applicant or the name
of his principal, or of the product, or other mark of ownership. The second set of bottles of LTI
without the words "property of" substantially complied with the requirements of Republic Act
No. 623, as amended, since they bear the name of the principal, La Tondea Inc., and of its

product, Ginebra San Miguel. The omitted words "property of" are not of such vital
indispensability such that the omission thereof will remove the bottles from the protection of
the law. The owner of a trade-mark or trade-name, and in this case the marked containers,
does not abandon it by making minor modifications in the mark or name itself. 13 With much
more reason will this be true where what is involved is the mere omission of the words
"property of" since even without said words the ownership of the bottles is easily Identifiable.
The words "La Tondea Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" stamped on the bottles, even without
the words "property of," are sufficient notice to the public that those bottles so marked are
owned by LTI.
The claim of petitioner that hard liquor is not included under the term "other lawful beverages"
as provided in Section I of Republic Act No. 623, as amended by Republic Act No. 5700, is
without merit. The title of the law itself, which reads " An Act to Regulate the Use of Duly
Stamped or Marked Bottles, Boxes, Casks, Kegs, Barrels and Other Similar Containers"
clearly shows the legislative intent to give protection to all marked bottles and containers of all
lawful beverages regardless of the nature of their contents. The words "other lawful
beverages" is used in its general sense, referring to all beverages not prohibited by law.
Beverage is defined as a liquor or liquid for drinking. 14 Hard liquor, although regulated, is not
prohibited by law, hence it is within the purview and coverage of Republic Act No. 623, as
amended.
Republic Act No. 623, as amended, has for its purpose the protection of the health of the
general public and the prevention of the spread of contagious diseases. It further seeks to
safeguard the property rights of an important sector of Philippine industry. 15 As held by this
Court in Destileria Ayala, Inc. vs. Tan Tay & Co., 16 the purpose of then Act 3070, was to afford
a person a means of Identifying the containers he uses in the manufacture, preservation,
packing or sale of his products so that he may secure their registration with the Bureau of
Commerce and Industry and thus prevent other persons from using them. Said Act 3070 was
substantially reenacted as Republic Act No. 623. 17
The proposition that Republic Act No. 623, as amended, protects only the containers of the
soft drinks enumerated by petitioner and those similar thereto, is unwarranted and specious.
The rule of ejusdem generis cannot be applied in this case. To limit the coverage of the law
only to those enumerated or of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned will
defeat the very purpose of the law. Such rule of ejusdem generis is to be resorted to only for
the purpose of determining what the intent of the legislature was in enacting the law. If that
intent clearly appears from other parts of the law, and such intent thus clearly manifested is
contrary to the result which would be reached by the appreciation of the rule of ejusdem
generis, the latter must give way. 18
Moreover, the above conclusions are supported by the fact that the Philippine Patent Office,
which is the proper and competent government agency vested with the authority to enforce
and implement Republic Act No. 623, registered the bottles of respondent LTI as containers
for gin and issued in its name a certificate of registration with the following findings:
It appearing, upon due examination that the applicant is entitled to have the said MARKS OR
NAMES registered under R.A. No. 623, the said marks or names have been duly registered
this day in the PATENT OFFICE under the said Act, for gin, Ginebra San Miguel. 19
While executive construction is not necessarily binding upon the courts, it is entitled to great
weight and consideration. The reason for this is that such construction comes from the
particular branch of government called upon to implement the particular law involved. 20

Just as impuissant is petitioners contention that respondent court erred in holding that there is
no need for LTI to display the words "Reg Phil. Pat. Off." in order to succeed in its injunction
suit against Cagayan for the illegal use of the bottles. To repeat, Republic Act No. 623 governs
the registration of marked bottles and containers and merely requires that the bottles and/or
containers be marked or stamped by the names of the manufacturer or the names of their
principals or products or other marks of ownership. The owner upon registration of its marked
bottles, is vested by law with an exclusive right to use the same to the exclusion of others,
except as a container for native products. A violation of said right gives use to a cause of
action against the violator or infringer.
While Republic Act No. 623, as amended, provides for a criminal action in case of violation, a
civil action for damages is proper under Article 20 of the Civil Code which provides that every
person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify
the latter for the same. This particular provision of the Civil Case was clearly meant to
complement all legal provisions which may have inadvertently failed to provide for
indemnification or reparation of damages when proper or called for. In the language of the
Code Commission "(t)he foregoing rule pervades the entire legal system, and renders it
impossible that a person who suffers damage because another has violated some legal
provisions, should find himself without relief." 21 Moreover, under Section 23 of Republic Act
No. 166, as amended, a person entitled to the exclusive use of a registered mark or
tradename may recover damages in a civil action from any person who infringes his rights. He
may also, upon proper showing, be granted injunction.
It is true that the aforesaid law on trademarks provides:
SEC. 21. Requirements of notice of registration of trade-mark.-The registrant of a trade-mark,
heretofore registered or registered under the provisions of this Act, shall give notice that his
mark is registered by displaying with the same as used the words 'Registered in the
Philippines Patent Office' or 'Reg Phil. Pat. Off.'; and in any suit for infringement under this Act
by a registrant failing so to mark the goods bearing the registered trade-mark, no damages
shall be recovered under the provisions of this Act, unless the defendant has actual notice of
the registration.
Even assuming that said provision is applicable in this case, the failure of LTI to make said
marking will not bar civil action against petitioner Cagayan. The aforesaid requirement is not a
condition sine qua non for filing of a civil action against the infringer for other reliefs to which
the plaintiff may be entitled. The failure to give notice of registration will not deprive the
aggrieved party of a cause of action against the infringer but, at the most, such failure may bar
recovery of damages but only under the provisions of Republic Act No. 166.
However, in this case an award of damages to LTI is ineluctably called for. Petitioner cannot
claim good faith. The record shows that it had actual knowledge that the bottles with the
blown-in marks "La Tondea Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" are duly registered. In Civil Case
No. 102859 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled "La Tondea Inc. versus Diego
Lim, doing business under the name and style 'Cagayan Valley Distillery,' " a decision was
rendered in favor of plaintiff therein on the basis of the admission and/or acknowledgment
made by the defendant that the bottles marked only with the words "La Tondea Inc." and
"Ginebra San Miguel" are registered bottles of LTI. 22
Petitioner cannot avoid the effect of the admission and/or acknowledgment made by Diego
Lim in the said case. While a corporation is an entity separate and distinct from its stock-

holders and from other corporations with which it may be connected, where the discreteness
of its personality is used to defeat public convenience, justify wrong, protect fraud, or defend
crime, the law will regard the corporation as an association of persons, or in the case of two
corporations, merge them into one. When the corporation is the mere alter ego or business
conduit of a person, it may be disregaded. 23
Petitioner's claim that it is separate and distinct from the former Cagayan Valley Distillery is
belied by the evidence on record. The following facts warrant the conclusion that petitioner, as
a corporate entity, and Cagayan Valley Distillery are one and the same. to wit: (1) petitioner is
being managed by Rogelio Lim, the son of Diego Lim, the owner and manager of Cagayan
Valley Distellery; (2) it is a family corporation; 24 (3) it is an admitted fact that before petitioner
was incorporated it was under a single proprietorship; 25 (4) petitioner is engaged in the same
business as Cagayan Valley Distillery, the manufacture of wines and liquors; and (5) the
factory of petitioner is located in the same place as the factory of the former Cagayan Valley
Distillery.
It is thus clear that herein petitioner is a mere continuation and successor of Cagayan Valley
Distillery. It is likewise indubitable that the admission made in the former case, as earlier
explained, is binding on it as cogent proof that even before the filing of this case it had actual
knowledge that the bottles in dispute were registered containers of LTI As held in La Campana
Coffee Factory, Inc., et al. vs. Kaisahan Ng Mga Manggagawa sa La Campana (KKM), et al.,
26
where the main purpose in forming the corporation was to evade one's subsidiary liability for
damages in a criminal case, the corporation may not be heard to say that it has a personality
separate and distinct from its members, because to allow it to do so would be to sanction the
use of the fiction of corporate entity as a shield to further an end subversive of justice.
Anent the several motions of private respondent LTI to have petitioner cited for contempt, we
reject the argument of petitioner that an appeal from a verdict of acquittal in a contempt,
proceeding constitutes double jeopardy. A failure to do something ordered by the court for the
benefit of a party constitutes civil contempt. 27 As we held in Converse Rubber Corporation vs.
Jacinto Rubber & Plastics Co., Inc.:
...True it is that generally, contempt proceedings are characterized as criminal in nature, but
the more accurate juridical concept is that contempt proceedings may actually be either civil or
criminal, even if the distinction between one and the other may be so thin as to be almost
imperceptible. But it does exist in law. It is criminal when the purpose is to vindicate the
authority of the court and protect its outraged dignity. It is civil when there is failure to do
something ordered by a court to be done for the benefit of a party (3 Moran Rules of Court,
pp. 343-344, 1970 ed.; see also Perkins vs. Director of Prisons, 58 Phil. 272; Harden vs.
Director of Prisons, 81 Phil. 741.) And with this distinction in mind, the fact that the injunction
in the instant case is manifestly for the benefit of plaintiffs makes of the contempt herein
involved civil, not criminal. Accordingly, the conclusion is inevitable that appellees have been
virtually found by the trial court guilty of civil contempt, not criminal contempt, hence, the rule
on double jeopardy may not be invoked. 28
The contempt involved in this case is civil and constructive in nature, it having arisen from the
act of Cagayan in violating the writ of preliminary injunction of the lower court which clearly
defined the forbidden act, to wit:
NOW THEREFORE, pending the resolution of this case by the court, you are enjoined from
using the 350 c.c. white flint bottles with the marks La Tondea Inc.,' and 'Ginebra San Miguel'
blown-in or stamped into the bottles as containers for the defendant's products. 19

On this incident, two considerations must be borne in mind. Firstly, an injunction duly issued
must be obeyed, however erroneous the action of the court may be, until its decision is
overruled by itself or by a higher court. 30 Secondly, the American rule that the power to judge
a contempt rests exclusively with the court contemned does not apply in this Jurisdiction. The
provision of the present Section 4, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court as to where the charge may
be filed is permissive in nature and is merely declaratory of the inherent power of courts to
punish contumacious conduct. Said rules do not extend to the determination of the jurisdiction
of Philippine courts. 31 In appropriate case therefore, this Court may, in the interest of
expedient justice, impose sanctions on contemners of the lower courts.
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 623, as amended, creates a prima facie presumption against
Cagayan for its unlawful use of the bottles registered in the name of LTI Corollarily, the writ of
injunction directing petitioner to desist from using the subject bottles was properly issued by
the trial court. Hence, said writ could not be simply disregarded by Cagayan without adducing
proof sufficient to overcome the aforesaid presumption. Also, based on the findings of
respondent court, and the records before us being sufficient for arbitrament without remanding
the incident to the court a quo petitioner can be adjudged guilty of contempt and imposed a
sanction in this appeal since it is a cherished rule of procedure for this Court to always strive
to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding, 32 We so impose such penalty
concordant with the preservative principle and as demanded by the respect due the orders,
writs and processes of the courts of justice.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered DENYING the petition in this case and
AFFIRMING the decision of respondent Court of Appeals. Petitioner is hereby declared in
contempt of court and ORDERED to pay a fine of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00), with
costs.
SO ORDERED.
Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), J., is on leave.
Footnotes
1 An Act to Regulate the Use of Duly Stamped or Marked Bottles. Boxes, Casks, Kegs,
Barrels and Other Similar Containers.
2 Original Record, Civil Case No. 2668. 6-12.
3 Ibid., Id., 1-14.
4 Ibid., Id., 44.
5 Ibid., Id., 45-53.
6 Ibid., Id., 71-73.
7 Penned by Judge Efren N. Ambrosia.
8 Rollo. 45-, Justice Jose C. Campos Jr., ponente, with Justice Venancio D. Aldecoa, Jr.
concurring and Justice Reynato S. Puno concurring in the result.
9 Rollo, 7-8, 13-14. 16, 18.
10 Sec. 6. Republic Act No. 623, as amended.
11 Rules 128 and 129, Revised Rules of Practice Before the Philippine Patent Office in
Trademark Cases.
12 Rule 33, Id., citing Sec. 1, Republic Act No. 623.

13 Drexel Enterprises, Inc. vs. Richardson, (CA10 Kan) 312 F2d 525, Beech-Nut Packing Co.
vs. P. Lorillard Co. (DC NJ) 299 F 834, affd f(CA3 NJ) 7 F2d 967, affd 273 US 629, 71 L. Ed
810, 47 SCT 481, as cited in 74 Am. Jur. 2d, 726.
14 Burntein vs. U.S., CC. A. Cal., 55 F2d 599, 603; Black's Law Dictionary, Fourth Edition.
204.
15 Congressional Record, Vol. 11, No. 69, 942; Exh. 6. Civil Case No. 2668, Folio of Exhibits,
3.
16 74 Phil. 301 (1943).
17 Explanatory Note, House Bill No. 1112, Congressional Record, 2-733-2734, Second
Congress of the Republic, First Session, Vol. I, No. 80. Session of May 18.1950.
18 U. S. vs. Sto. Nino, 13 Phil. 141 (1909).
19 Exh. B, Original Record,. Civil Case No. 2668, 6.
20 Ramos vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 21 SCRA 1282 (1967).
21 Report of the Code Commission on the Proposed Civil Code of the Philippines (1948), 39.
22 Exh. F, F-2, Original Record, Civil Case No. 2668, 270-275,
23 Yutivo & Sons Hardware Company vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 1 SCRA 161 (1961)
24 Original Record, Civil Case No. 2668, TSN, Sept. 19, 1984. 3
25 Ibid., Id., TSN, Nov. 13, 1984, 120-121.
26 93 Phil.. 160 (1953).
27 Mabale, et al. vs. Apalisok, et al., 88 SCRA 234 (1979).
28 97 SCRA 158 (1980),
29 Original Record, Civil Case No. 2668,109.
30 Harden vs. Pena, et al., 87 Phil. 620 (1950).
31 People vs.De Luna. et al., 102 Phil. 968 (1958).
32 Alger Electric Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 135 SCRA 37 (1985); Lianga Bay Logging
Co., Inc., et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 157 SCRA 357 (1988).

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT

Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-19337
September 30, 1969
ASTURIAS SUGAR CENTRAL, INC., petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS and COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents.
Laurea, Laurea and Associates for petitioner.Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz,
Assistant Solicitor General Esmeraldo Umali and Solicitor Sumilang V. Bernardo for
respondents.
CASTRO, J.:
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals of November 20, 1961,
which denied recovery of the sum of P28,629.42, paid by the petitioner, under protest, in the
concept of customs duties and special import tax, as well as the petitioner's alternative
remedy to recover the said amount minus one per cent thereof by way of a drawback under
sec. 106 (b) of the Tariff and Customs Code.
The petitioner Asturias Sugar Central, Inc. is engaged in the production and milling of
centrifugal sugar for exert, the sugar so produced being placed in containers known as jute
bags. In 1957 it made two importations of jute bags. The first shipment consisting of 44,800
jute bags and declared under entry 48 on January 8, 1967, entered free of customs duties and
special import tax upon the petitioner's filing of Re-exportation and Special Import Tax Bond
no. 1 in the amounts of P25,088 and P2,464.50, conditioned upon the exportation of the jute
bags within one year from the date of importation. The second shipment consisting of 75,200
jute bags and declared under entry 243 on February 8, 1957, likewise entered free of customs
duties and special import tax upon the petitioner's filing of Re-exportation and Special Import
Tax Bond no. 6 in the amounts of P42,112 and P7,984.44, with the same conditions as stated
in bond no. 1.
Of the 44,800 jute bags declared under entry 48, only 8,647 were exported within one year
from the date of importation as containers of centrifugal sugar. Of the 75,200 jute bags
declared under entry 243, only 25,000 were exported within the said period of one year. In
other words, of the total number of imported jute bags only 33,647 bags were exported within
one year after their importation. The remaining 86,353 bags were exported after the expiration
of the one-year period but within three years from their importation.
On February 6, 1958 the petitioner, thru its agent Theo. H. Davies & Co., Far East, Ltd.,
requested the Commissioner of Customs for a week's extension of Re-exportation and Special
Import Tax Bond no. 6 which was to expire the following day, giving the following as the
reasons for its failure to export the remaining jute bags within the period of one year: (a)
typhoons and severe floods; (b) picketing of the Central railroad line from November 6 to
December 21, 1957 by certain union elements in the employ of the Philippine Railway
Company, which hampered normal operations; and (c) delay in the arrival of the vessel aboard
which the petitioner was to ship its sugar which was then ready for loading. This request was
denied by the Commissioner per his letter of April 15, 1958.
Due to the petitioner's failure to show proof of the exportation of the balance of 86,353 jute
bags within one year from their importation, the Collector of Customs of Iloilo, on March 17,

1958, required it to pay the amount of P28,629.42 representing the customs duties and
special import tax due thereon, which amount the petitioner paid under protest.
In its letter of April 10, 1958, supplemented by its letter of May 12, 1958, the petitioner
demanded the refund of the amount it had paid, on the ground that its request for extension of
the period of one year was filed on time, and that its failure to export the jute bags within the
required one-year period was due to delay in the arrival of the vessel on which they were to be
loaded and to the picketing of the Central railroad line. Alternatively, the petitioner asked for
refund of the same amount in the form of a drawback under section 106(b) in relation to
section 105(x) of the Tariff and Customs Code.
After hearing, the Collector of Customs of Iloilo rendered judgment on January 21, 1960
denying the claim for refund. From his action, appeal was taken to the Commissioner of
Customs who upheld the decision of the Collector. Upon a petition for review the Court of Tax
Appeals affirmed the decision of the Commissioner of Customs.
The petitioner imputes three errors to the Court of Tax Appeals, namely:
1. In not declaring that force majeure and/or fortuitous event is a sufficient justification for the
failure of the petitioner to export the jute bags in question within the time required by the
bonds.
2. In not declaring that it is within the power of the Collector of Customs and/or the
Commissioner of Customs to extend the period of one (1) year within which the jute bags
should be exported.
3. In not declaring that the petitioner is entitled to a refund by way of a drawback under the
provisions of section 106, par. (b), of the Tariff and Customs Code.
1. The basic issue tendered for resolution is whether the Commissioner of Customs is vested,
under the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909, the then applicable law, with discretion to extend the
period of one year provided for in section 23 of the Act. Section 23 reads:
SEC. 23. That containers, such as casks, large metal, glass, or other receptacles which are, in
the opinion of the collector of customs, of such a character as to be readily identifiable may be
delivered to the importer thereof upon identification and the giving of a bond with sureties
satisfactory to the collector of customs in an amount equal to double the estimated duties
thereon, conditioned for the exportation thereof or payment of the corresponding duties
thereon within one year from the date of importation, under such rules and regulations as the
Insular Collector of Customs shall provide.1
To implement the said section 23, Customs Administrative Order 389 dated December 6, 1940
was promulgated, paragraph XXVIII of which provides that "bonds for the re-exportation of
cylinders and other containers are good for 12 months without extension," and paragraph
XXXI, that "bonds for customs brokers, commercial samples, repairs and those filed to
guarantee the re-exportation of cylinders and other containers are not extendible."
And insofar as jute bags as containers are concerned, Customs Administrative Order 66 dated
August 25, 1948 was issued, prescribing rules and regulations governing the importation,
exportation and identification thereof under section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909. Said
administrative order provides:
That importation of jute bags intended for use as containers of Philippine products for
exportation to foreign countries shall be declared in a regular import entry supported by a
surety bond in an amount equal to double the estimated duties, conditioned for the exportation
or payment of the corresponding duties thereon within one year from the date of importation.

It will be noted that section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909 and the superseding sec.
105(x) of the Tariff and Customs Code, while fixing at one year the period within which the
containers therein mentioned must be exported, are silent as to whether the said period may
be extended. It was surely by reason of this silence that the Bureau of Customs issued
Administrative Orders 389 and 66, already adverted to, to eliminate confusion and provide a
guide as to how it shall apply the law, 2 and, more specifically, to make officially known its
policy to consider the one-year period mentioned in the law as non-extendible.
Considering that the statutory provisions in question have not been the subject of previous
judicial interpretation, then the application of the doctrine of "judicial respect for administrative
construction," 3 would, initially, be in order.
Only where the court of last resort has not previously interpreted the statute is the rule
applicable that courts will give consideration to construction by administrative or executive
departments of the state.41awphl.nt
The formal or informal interpretation or practical construction of an ambiguous or uncertain
statute or law by the executive department or other agency charged with its administration or
enforcement is entitled to consideration and the highest respect from the courts, and must be
accorded appropriate weight in determining the meaning of the law, especially when the
construction or interpretation is long continued and uniform or is contemporaneous with the
first workings of the statute, or when the enactment of the statute was suggested by such
agency.5
The administrative orders in question appear to be in consonance with the intention of the
legislature to limit the period within which to export imported containers to one year, without
extension, from the date of importation. Otherwise, in enacting the Tariff and Customs Code to
supersede the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909, Congress would have amended section 23 of the
latter law so as to overrule the long-standing view of the Commissioner of Customs that the
one-year period therein mentioned is not extendible.
Implied legislative approval by failure to change a long-standing administrative construction is
not essential to judicial respect for the construction but is an element which greatly increases
the weight given such construction.6
The correctness of the interpretation given a statute by the agency charged with administering
its provision is indicated where it appears that Congress, with full knowledge of the agency's
interpretation, has made significant additions to the statute without amending it to depart from
the agency's view.7
Considering that the Bureau of Customs is the office charged with implementing and enforcing
the provisions of our Tariff and Customs Code, the construction placed by it thereon should be
given controlling weight.1awphl.nt
In applying the doctrine or principle of respect for administrative or practical construction, the
courts often refer to several factors which may be regarded as bases of the principle, as
factors leading the courts to give the principle controlling weight in particular instances, or as
independent rules in themselves. These factors are the respect due the governmental
agencies charged with administration, their competence, expertness, experience, and
informed judgment and the fact that they frequently are the drafters of the law they interpret;
that the agency is the one on which the legislature must rely to advise it as to the practical
working out of the statute, and practical application of the statute presents the agency with
unique opportunity and experiences for discovering deficiencies, inaccuracies, or
improvements in the statute; ... 8

If it is further considered that exemptions from taxation are not favored, 9 and that tax statutes
are to be construed in strictissimi juris against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing
authority, 10 then we are hard put to sustain the petitioner's stand that it was entitled to an
extension of time within which to export the jute bags and, consequently, to a refund of the
amount it had paid as customs duties.
In the light of the foregoing, it is our considered view that the one-year period prescribed in
section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909 is non-extendible and compliance therewith is
mandatory.
The petitioner's argument that force majeure and/or fortuitous events prevented it from
exporting the jute bags within the one-year period cannot be accorded credit, for several
reasons. In the first place, in its decision of November 20, 1961, the Court of Tax Appeals
made absolutely no mention of or reference to this argument of the petitioner, which can only
be interpreted to mean that the court did not believe that the "typhoons, floods and picketing"
adverted to by the petitioner in its brief were of such magnitude or nature as to effectively
prevent the exportation of the jute bags within the required one-year period. In point of fact
nowhere in the record does the petitioner convincingly show that the so-called fortuitous
events or force majeure referred to by it precluded the timely exportation of the jute bags. In
the second place, assuming, arguendo, that the one-year period is extendible, the jute bags
were not actually exported within the one-week extension the petitioner sought. The record
shows that although of the remaining 86,353 jute bags 21,944 were exported within the period
of one week after the request for extension was filed, the rest of the bags, amounting to a total
of 64,409, were actually exported only during the period from February 16 to May 24, 1958,
long after the expiration of the one-week extension sought by the petitioner. Finally, it is clear
from the record that the typhoons and floods which, according to the petitioner, helped render
impossible the fulfillment of its obligation to export within the one-year period, assuming that
they may be placed in the category of fortuitous events or force majeure, all occurred prior to
the execution of the bonds in question, or prior to the commencement of the one-year period
within which the petitioner was in law required to export the jute bags.
2. The next argument of the petitioner is that granting that Customs Administrative Order 389
is valid and binding, yet "jute bags" cannot be included in the phrase "cylinders and other
containers" mentioned therein. It will be noted, however, that the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909
and the Tariff and Customs Code, which Administrative Order 389 seeks to implement, speak
of "containers" in general. The enumeration following the word "containers" in the said statutes
serves merely to give examples of containers and not to specify the particular kinds thereof.
Thus, sec. 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act states, "containers such as casks large metals, glass
or other receptacles," and sec. 105 (x) of the Tariff and Customs Code mentions "large
containers," giving as examples "demijohn cylinders, drums, casks and other similar
receptacles of metal, glass or other materials." (emphasis supplied) There is, therefore, no
reason to suppose that the customs authorities had intended, in Customs Administrative Order
389 to circumscribe the scope of the word "container," any more than the statures sought to
be implemented actually intended to do.
3. Finally, the petitioner claims entitlement to a drawback of the duties it had paid, by virtue of
section 106 (b) of the Tariff and Customs Code, 11 which reads:
SEC. 106. Drawbacks: ...
b. On Articles Made from Imported Materials or Similar Domestic Materials and Wastes
Thereof. Upon the exportation of articles manufactured or produced in the Philippines,

including the packing, covering, putting up, marking or labeling thereof, either in whole or in
part of imported materials, or from similar domestic materials of equal quantity and productive
manufacturing quality and value, such question to be determined by the Collector of Customs,
there shall be allowed a drawback equal in amount to the duties paid on the imported
materials so used, or where similar domestic materials are used, to the duties paid on the
equivalent imported similar materials, less one per cent thereof: Provided, That the exportation
shall be made within three years after the importation of the foreign material used or
constituting the basis for drawback ... .
The petitioner argues that not having availed itself of the full exemption granted by sec. 105(x)
of the Tariff and Customs Code due to its failure to export the jute bags within one year, it is
nevertheless, by authority of the above-quoted provision, entitled to a 99% drawback of the
duties it had paid, averring further that sec. 106(b) does not presuppose immediate payment
of duties and taxes at the time of importation.
The contention is palpably devoid of merit.
The provisions invoked by the petitioner (to sustain his claim for refund) offer two options to an
importer. The first, under sec. 105 (x), gives him the privilege of importing, free from import
duties, the containers mentioned therein as long as he exports them within one year from the
date of acceptance of the import entry, which period as shown above, is not extendible. The
second, presented by sec. 106 (b), contemplates a case where import duties are first paid,
subject to refund to the extent of 99% of the amount paid, provided the articles mentioned
therein are exported within three years from importation.
It would seem then that the Government would forego collecting duties on the articles
mentioned in section 105(x) of Tariff and Customs Code as long as it is assured, by the filing
of a bond, that the same shall be exported within the relatively short period of one year from
the date of acceptance of the import entry. Where an importer cannot provide such assurance,
then the Government, under sec. 106(b) of said Code, would require payment of the
corresponding duties first. The basic purpose of the two provisions is the same, which is, to
enable a local manufacturer to compete in foreign markets, by relieving him of the
disadvantages resulting from having to pay duties on imported merchandise, thereby building
up export trade and encouraging manufacture in the country. 12 But there is a difference, and it
is this: under section 105(x) full exemption is granted to an importer who justifies the grant of
exemption by exporting within one-year. The petitioner, having opted to take advantage of the
provisions of section 105(x), may not, after having failed to comply with the conditions
imposed thereby, avoid the consequences of such failure by being allowed a drawback under
section 106(b) of the same Act without having complied with the conditions of the latter
section.
For it is not to be supposed that the legislature had intended to defeat compliance with the
terms of section 105(x) thru a refuge under the provisions of section 106(b). A construction
should be avoided which affords an opportunity to defeat compliance with the terms of a
statute. 13 Rather courts should proceed on the theory that parts of a statute may be
harmonized and reconciled with each other.
A construction of a statute which creates an inconsistency should be avoided when a
reasonable interpretation can be adopted which will not do violence to the plain words of the
act and will carry out the intention of Congress.
In the construction of statutes, the courts start with the assumption that the legislature
intended to enact an effective law, and the legislature is not to be presumed to have done a

vain thing in the enactment of a statute. Hence, it is a general principle, embodied in the
maxim, "ut res magis valeat quam pereat," that the courts should, if reasonably possible to do
so without violence to the spirit and language of an act, so interpret the statute to give it
efficient operation and effect as a whole. An interpretation should, if possible, be avoided
under which a statute or provision being construed is defeated, or as otherwise expressed,
nullified, destroyed, emasculated, repealed, explained away, or rendered insignificant,
meaningless, inoperative, or nugatory. 14
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the Court of Tax Appeals of November 20, 1961 is affirmed,
at petitioner's cost.
Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Zaldivar, Fernando, Capistrano, Teehankee and Barredo, JJ.,
concur.Makalintal and Sanchez, JJ., took no part.Reyes, J.B.L., J., is on leave.
Footnotes
1
This section was superseded by sec. 105(x) of the Tariff and Customs Code which took effect
on July 1, 1957. Section 105 (x) provides:
"Large containers (e.g., demijohns, cylinders, drums casks and other similar receptacles of
metal, glass or other material) which are, in the opinion of the Collector of Customs, of such a
character as to be readily identifiable may be delivered to the importer thereof upon
identification and the giving of a bond in an amount equal to one and one-half times the
ascertained duties, taxes and other charges thereon, conditioned for the exportation thereof or
payment of the corresponding duties, taxes and other charges within one year from the date
of acceptance of the import entry."
2
Magruder v. W.B. & A. Realty Corp., 316 U.S. 69; Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134; see
2 Am. Jur. 2d 61, 63.
3
In applying this doctrine courts often refer generally to the "administrative practice," a term
taken to include any formal or informal act of the administrative agency by which it construes,
interprets, or applies the law (2 Am. Jur. 2d 69).
4
Ahlers v. Farmers Mut. Ins. Co., 264 NW 894.
5
2 Am. Jur. 2d 66-67.
6
2 Am. Jur. 2d 70, footnote 11, par. 2.
7
2 Am. Jur. 2d 70, footnote 11, par. 3; see also Phil. Sugar Centrals Agency v. Collector of
Customs, 51 Phil. 131, cited in Cia. Gen. de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Acting Commissioner of
Customs, 23 SCRA 600, wherein this Court held that the very fact that Congress has not seen
fit to repeal or change the law is a very potent argument in favor of sustaining a construction
given to it by courts.
8
2 Am. Jur. 2d 69-70.
9
Comm. of Int. Rev. v. Visayan Electric Co., 23 SCRA 715, 726, citing Esso Standard Eastern,
Inc. v. Actg. Comm. of Customs, 18 SCRA 488; Farm Implement & Machinery Co. v. Comm. of
Customs, 24 SCRA 905.
10
Esso Standard Eastern, Inc. v. Actg. Comm. of Customs, supra; La Carlota Sugar Central v.
Jimenez, L-12436, May 31, 1961; Phil. Int'l. Fair, Inc. v. Collector, L-12928 & L-12932, March
31, 1962.
11
Which is a substantial reproduction of sec. 22 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909, the law in
force at the time the importations of the jute bags in question were made.

12

25 C.J.S. 530-531; U.S. v. Passavert, 169 U.S. 16; U.S. v. Whidden, 28 F. Cas. No. 10, 670
cited in 25 C.J.S. 530; Tidewater Oil v. U.S., 171 U.S. 210, 219; U.S. Code Congressional
News, Vol. 2, p. 3577 (85th Congress, 2nd Session).
13
State v. Lipkin, 84 SE 340, LRA 1915F 1018, cited in 50 Am. Jur. 366.
14
50 Am. Jur. 358-359.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5000

March 11, 1909

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
VICTOR SANTO NIO, defendant-appellee.
Attorney-General Villamor for appellant. No appearance for appellee.
WILLARD, J.:
Act No. 1780 is entitled as follows: "An Act to regulate the importation, acquisition,
possession, use, and transfer of firearms, and to prohibit the possession of same except in
compliance with the provisions of this Act."
Section 26 of this Act is in part as follows:
It shall be unlawful for any person to carry concealed about his person any bowie knife, dirk,
dagger, kris, or other deadly weapon: Provided, That this prohibition shall not apply to firearms
in the possession of persons who have secured a license therefor or who are entitled to carry
same under the provisions of this Act.
The amended complaint in this case is as follows:
The undersigned accuses Victor Santo Nio of the violation of Act No. 1780, committed as
follows:
That on or about the 16th day of August, 1908, in the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, the
said Victor Santo Nio, voluntarily, unlawfully, and criminally, had in his possession and
concealed about his person a deadly weapon, to wit: One (1) iron bar, about 15 inches in
length provided with an iron ball on one end and a string on the other to tie the wrist, which
weapon had been designed and made for use in fighting, as a deadly weapon.
With violation of the provisions of section 26 of Act No. 1780 of the Philippine Commission.
A demurrer to this complaint was sustained in the court below and the Government has
appealed.
The basis for the holding of the court below was that
The words "or other deadly weapon" only signify a kind of weapon included within the
preceding classification. In other words, the rule of ejusdem generis must be applied in the
interpretation of this law, which rule is as follows:

"The most frequent application of this rule is found where specific and generic terms of the
same nature are employed in the same act, the latter following the former. While in the
abstract, general terms are to be given their natural and full signification, yet where they follow
specific words of a like nature they take their meaning from the latter, and are presumed to
embrace only things or persons of the kind designated by them."
In short, the court below held that the carrying of a revolver concealed about the person would
not be a violation of this Act. The rule of construction above referred to is resorted to only for
the purpose of determining what the intent of the legislature was in enacting the law. If that
intent clearly appears from one parts of the law, and such intent thus clearly manifested is
contrary to the result which would be reached by application of the rule of ejusdem generis,
the latter must give way. In this case the proviso to the Act clearly indicates that in the view of
the legislature the carrying of an unlicensed revolver would be a violation of the Act. By the
proviso it manifested its intention to include in the prohibition weapons other than the armas
blancas therein specified.
The judgment of the court below is reversed, and the case is remanded for further
proceedings. No costs will be allowed to either party in this court. So ordered.
Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 136426
August 6, 1999
E. B. VILLAROSA & PARTNER CO., LTD., petitioner,
vs.
HON. HERMINIO I. BENITO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 132,
Makati City and IMPERIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent.
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Before this Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a
temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction seeking to annul and set aside
the Orders dated August 5, 1998 and November 20, 1998 of the public respondent Judge
Herminio I. Benito of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 132 and praying that the
public respondent court be ordered to desist from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 98824.
Petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. is a limited partnership with principal office
address at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branch offices at 2492 Bay View Drive,
Tambo, Paraaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City. Petitioner
and private respondent executed a Deed of Sale with Development Agreement wherein the
former agreed to develop certain parcels of land located at Barrio Carmen, Cagayan de Oro
belonging to the latter into a housing subdivision for the construction of low cost housing units.
They further agreed that in case of litigation regarding any dispute arising therefrom, the
venue shall be in the proper courts of Makati.
On April 3, 1998, private respondent, as plaintiff, filed a Complaint for Breach of Contract and
Damages against petitioner, as defendant, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati allegedly
for failure of the latter to comply with its contractual obligation in that, other than a few
unfinished low cost houses, there were no substantial developments therein. 1
Summons, together with the complaint, were served upon the defendant, through its Branch
Manager Engr. Wendell Sabulbero at the stated address at Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de
Oro City2 but the Sheriff's Return of Service3 stated that the summons was duly served "upon
defendant E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. thru its Branch Manager Engr. WENDELL

SALBULBERO on May 5, 1998 at their new office Villa Gonzalo, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro
City, and evidenced by the signature on the face of the original copy of the
summons.1wphi1.nt
On June 9, 1998, defendant filed a Special Appearance with Motion to Dismiss 4 alleging that
on May 6, 1998, "summons intended for defendant" was served upon Engr. Wendell
Sabulbero, an employee of defendant at its branch office at Cagayan de Oro City. Defendant
prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of improper service of summons and
for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Defendant contends that the trial court
did not acquire jurisdiction over its person since the summons was improperly served upon its
employee in its branch office at Cagayan de Oro City who is not one of those persons named
in Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure upon whom service of summons
may be made.
Meanwhile, on June 10, 1998, plaintiff filed a Motion to Declare Defendant in Default 5 alleging
that defendant has failed to file an Answer despite its receipt allegedly on May 5, 1998 of the
summons and the complaint, as shown in the Sheriffs Return.
On June 22, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 6 alleging that
the records show that defendant, through its branch manager, Engr. Wendell Sabulbero
actually received the summons and the complaint on May 8, 1998 as evidenced by the
signature appearing on the copy of the summons and not on May 5, 1998 as stated in the
Sheriffs Return nor on May 6, 1998 as stated in the motion to dismiss; that defendant has
transferred its office from Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro to its new office address at
Villa Gonzalo, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro; and that the purpose of the rule is to bring home to
the corporation notice of the filing of the action.
On August 5, 1998, the trial court issued an Order7 denying defendant's Motion to Dismiss as
well as plaintiffs Motion to Declare Defendant in Default. Defendant was given ten (10) days
within which to file a responsive pleading. The trial court stated that since the summons and
copy of the complaint were in fact received by the corporation through its branch manager
Wendell Sabulbero, there was substantial compliance with the rule on service of summons
and consequently, it validly acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defendant.
On August 19, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a Motion for Reconsideration 8
alleging that Section 11, Rule 14 of the new Rules did not liberalize but, on the contrary,
restricted the service of summons on persons enumerated therein; and that the new provision
is very specific and clear in that the word "manager" was changed to "general manager",
"secretary" to "corporate secretary", and excluding therefrom agent and director.
On August 27, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to defendant's Motion for Reconsideration 9
alleging that defendant's branch manager "did bring home" to the defendant-corporation the
notice of the filing of the action and by virtue of which a motion to dismiss was filed; and that it
was one (1) month after receipt of the summons and the complaint that defendant chose to file
a motion to dismiss.
On September 4, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a Reply 10 contending that the
changes in the new rules are substantial and not just general semantics.
Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration was denied in the Order dated November 20, 1998. 11
Hence, the present petition alleging that respondent court gravely abused its discretion
tantamount to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in denying petitioner's motions to dismiss and for
reconsideration, despite the fact that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person

of petitioner because the summons intended for it was improperly served. Petitioner invokes
Section 11 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Private respondent filed its Comment to the petition citing the cases Kanlaon Construction
Enterprises Co., Inc. vs. NLRC12 wherein it was held that service upon a construction project
manager is valid and in Gesulgon vs. NLRC13 which held that a corporation is bound by the
service of summons upon its assistant manager.
The only issue for resolution is whether or not the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the
person of petitioner upon service of summons on its Branch Manager.
When the complaint was filed by Petitioner on April 3, 1998, the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
was already in force.14
Sec. 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
When the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association organized under the laws of
the Philippines with a juridical personality, service may be made on the president, managing
partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel. (emphasis
supplied).
This provision revised the former Section 13, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court which provided
that:
Sec. 13. Service upon private domestic corporation or partnership. If the defendant is a
corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines or a partnership duly registered,
service may be made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its
directors. (emphasis supplied).
Petitioner contends that the enumeration of persons to whom summons may be served is
"restricted, limited and exclusive" following the rule on statutory construction expressio unios
est exclusio alterius and argues that if the Rules of Court Revision Committee intended to
liberalize the rule on service of summons, it could have easily done so by clear and concise
language.
We agree with petitioner.
Earlier cases have uphold service of summons upon a construction project manager 15; a
corporation's assistant manager16; ordinary clerk of a corporation17; private secretary of
corporate executives18; retained counsel19; officials who had charge or control of the
operations of the corporation, like the assistant general manager 20; or the corporation's Chief
Finance and Administrative Officer21. In these cases, these persons were considered as
"agent" within the contemplation of the old rule. 22 Notably, under the new Rules, service of
summons upon an agent of the corporation is no longer authorized.
The cases cited by private respondent are therefore not in point.
In the Kanlaon case, this Court ruled that under the NLRC Rules of Procedure, summons on
the respondent shall be served personally or by registered mail on the party himself; if the
party is represented by counsel or any other authorized representative or agent, summons
shall be served on such person. In said case, summons was served on one Engr. Estacio who
managed and supervised the construction project in Iligan City (although the principal address
of the corporation is in Quezon City) and supervised the work of the employees. It was held
that as manager, he had sufficient responsibility and discretion to realize the importance of the
legal papers served on him and to relay the same to the president or other responsible officer
of petitioner such that summons for petitioner was validly served on him as agent and
authorized representative of petitioner. Also in the Gesulgon case cited by private respondent,
the summons was received by the clerk in the office of the Assistant Manager (at principal

office address) and under Section 13 of Rule 14 (old rule), summons may be made upon the
clerk who is regarded as agent within the contemplation of the rule.
The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for a domestic
corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in Section 11, Rule 14 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states "general manager" instead of only
"manager"; "corporate secretary" instead of "secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of "cashier."
The phrase "agent, or any of its directors" is conspicuously deleted in the new rule.
The particular revision under Section 11 of Rule 14 was explained by retired Supreme Court
Justice Florenz Regalado, thus:23
. . . the then Sec. 13 of this Rule allowed service upon a defendant corporation to "be made on
the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent or any of its directors." The aforesaid terms
were obviously ambiguous and susceptible of broad and sometimes illogical interpretations,
especially the word "agent" of the corporation. The Filoil case, involving the litigation lawyer of
the corporation who precisely appeared to challenge the validity of service of summons but
whose very appearance for that purpose was seized upon to validate the defective service, is
an illustration of the need for this revised section with limited scope and specific terminology.
Thus the absurd result in the Filoil case necessitated the amendment permitting service only
on the in-house counsel of the corporation who is in effect an employee of the corporation, as
distinguished from an independent practitioner. (emphasis supplied).
Retired Justice Oscar Herrera, who is also a consultant of the Rules of Court Revision
Committee, stated that "(T)he rule must be strictly observed. Service must be made to one
named in (the) statute . . . .24
It should be noted that even prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, strict
compliance with the rules has been enjoined. In the case of Delta Motor Sales Corporation vs.
Mangosing,25 the Court held:
A strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer jurisdiction of the court
over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one who is named in the
statute; otherwise the service is insufficient. . . .
The purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the corporation will receive prompt and
proper notice in an action against it or to insure that the summons be served on a
representative so integrated with the corporation that such person will know what to do with
the legal papers served on him. In other words, "to bring home to the corporation notice of the
filing of the action." . . . .
The liberal construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a substitute for the plain legal
requirements as to the manner in which summons should be served on a domestic
corporation. . . . . (emphasis supplied).
Service of summons upon persons other than those mentioned in Section 13 of Rule 14 (old
rule) has been held as improper.26 Even under the old rule, service upon a general manager of
a firm's branch office has been held as improper as summons should have been served at the
firm's principal office. In First Integrated Bonding & Inc. Co., Inc. vs. Dizon,27 it was held that
the service of summons on the general manager of the insurance firm's Cebu branch was
improper; default order could have been obviated had the summons been served at the firm's
principal office.
And in the case of Solar Team Entertainment, Inc. vs. Hon. Helen Bautista Ricafort, et al.28 the
Court succinctly clarified that, for the guidance of the Bench and Bar, "strictest" compliance
with Section 11 of Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure (on Priorities in modes of

service and filing) is mandated and the Court cannot rule otherwise, lest we allow
circumvention of the innovation by the 1997 Rules in order to obviate delay in the
administration of justice.
Accordingly, we rule that the service of summons upon the branch manager of petitioner at its
branch office at Cagayan de Oro, instead of upon the general manager at its principal office at
Davao City is improper. Consequently, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the
person of the petitioner.
The fact that defendant filed a belated motion to dismiss did not operate to confer jurisdiction
upon its person. There is no question that the defendant's voluntary appearance in the action
is equivalent to service of summons.29 Before, the rule was that a party may challenge the
jurisdiction of the court over his person by making a special appearance through a motion to
dismiss and if in the same motion, the movant raised other grounds or invoked affirmative
relief which necessarily involves the exercise of the jurisdiction of the court. 30 This doctrine has
been abandoned in the case of La Naval Drug Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, et al.,31 which
became the basis of the adoption of a new provision in the former Section 23, which is now
Section 20 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules. Section 20 now provides that "the inclusion in a
motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary appearance." The emplacement of this rule clearly
underscores the purpose to enforce strict enforcement of the rules on summons. Accordingly,
the filing of a motion to dismiss, whether or not belatedly filed by the defendant, his authorized
agent or attorney, precisely objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the
defendant can by no means be deemed a submission to the jurisdiction of the court. There
being no proper service of summons, the trial court cannot take cognizance of a case for lack
of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Any proceeding undertaken by the trial court
will consequently be null and void.32
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Orders of the public
respondent trial court are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The public respondent Regional Trial
Court of Makati, Branch 132 is declared without jurisdiction to take cognizance of Civil Case
No. 98-824, and all its orders and issuances in connection therewith are hereby ANNULLED
and SET ASIDE.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.
Melo, Vitug, Panganiban and Purisima, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1

Annexes "C" to "C-6" of the Petition, pp. 23-29, Rollo.


Annex "D" of the Petition, p. 41, Rollo.
3
Annex "F-2" of the Petition, p. 46, Rollo.
4
Annexes "E" to "E-1" of the Petition, pp. 42-43, Rollo.
5
Annexes "F" to "F-1" of the Petition, pp. 44-45, Rollo.
6
Annexes "G" to "G-3" of the Petition, pp. 47-50, Rollo.
7
Annexes "A" to "A-1" of the Petition, pp. 20-21, Rollo.
8
Annexes "H" to "H-3" of the Petition, pp. 51-54, Rollo.
9
Annexes "I" to "I-4" of the Petition, pp. 55-59, Rollo.
10
Annexes ''J" to "J-4" of the Petition, pp. 60-64, Rollo.
11
Annex "B" of the Petition, p. 22, Rollo.
2

12

279 SCRA 337.


219 SCRA 561.
14
If was approved by this Court in its Resolution dated April 8, 1998 in Bar Matter No. 803 to
take effect on July 1, 1997.
15
Kanlaon Construction Enterprises Co., Inc. vs. NLRC, 279 SCRA 337 [1997].
16
Gesulgon vs. NLRC, 219 SCRA 561 [1993].
17
Golden Country Farms, Inc. vs. Sanvar Development Corporation, 214 SCRA 295 [1992]; G
& G Trading Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 158 SCRA 466 [1988].
18
Summit Trading and Development Corporation vs. Avendao, 135 SCRA 397 [1985].
19
Republic vs. Ker & Co., Ltd., 18 SCRA 207 [1966].
20
Villa Rey Transit, Inc. vs. Far East Motor Corporation, 81 SCRA 298 [1978].
21
Far Corporation vs. Francisco, 146 SCRA 197 [1986].
22
See also, Filoil Marketing Corporation vs. Marine Development Corporation of the
Philippines, 177 SCRA 86 [1982].
23
p. 224, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. 1, 1997. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Rules of
Court Revision Committee.
24
p. 147, Remedial Law, Vol. VII, 1997 Edition.
25
70 SCRA 598 (1976).
26
Talsan Enterprises, Inc. et al. vs. Baliwag Transit, Inc. and Angeles Ramos, G.R. 126258,
July 8, 1999; R. Transport Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 241 SCRA 77; ATM Trucking, Inc.
vs. Buencamino, 124 SCRA 434; Delta Motors Sales Corporation vs. Mangosing, supra.
27
125 SCRA 440; also cited in Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. 1, 1997 at p. 223.
28
G.R. No. 132007, August 5, 1998.
29
Sec. 20 (formerly Section 23), Rule 14.
30
De Midgely vs. Fernando, 64 SCRA 23 [1975]; Busuego vs. Court of Appeals, 151 SCRA
376 [1987].
31
236 SCRA 78 [1994], also cited in pp. 244-245, Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium,
1997 and p. 157, Herrera, Remedial Law, Vol. VII, 1997 Edition.
32
Gan Hock vs. Court of Appeal, 197 SCRA 223 [1991]; Keister vs. Navarro, 77 SCRA 209
[1997].
13

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-32441

March 29, 1930

DOMINADOR GOMEZ, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
HONORIO VENTURA, Secretary of the Interior of the Government of the Philippine
Islands, and the BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS,
defendants-appellees.
Jose Varela Calderon for appellant.Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellees.
ROMUALDEZ, J.:
In this cause, the plaintiff prays for judgment, as follows:
1. Annulling and setting aside the aforementioned investigation proceedings, and particularly
the decision of the Board of Medical Examiners of the Philippine Islands dated March 30,
1926, forever revoking the plaintiff's license to practice medicine and surgery.
2. Ordering the defendants to restore the plaintiff to his status before the investigation and the
decision of March 30, 1926, that is, as if there had never been an investigation and an
adverse decision.
3. Ordering said defendants to issue in favor of the plaintiff a license for the practice of
medicine and surgery in the Philippine Islands, such as he had prior to the investigation and
adverse decision.
4. Granting the plaintiff any proper legal remedy. (Pages 5 and 6, bill of exemptions.)
The defendants answered with a general denial and prayed that the complaint be dismissed.
After trial the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissed the complaint with costs against the
plaintiff.

Counsel for plaintiff contends that the court below erred:


1. In holding that Assistant Fiscal Alfonso Felix of the City of Manila was authorized to appear
and institute administrative proceedings against Dr. Dominador Gomez before the Board of
Medical Examiners of the Philippines.
2. In not holding that Assistant Fiscal Alfonso Felix, of the City of Manila, had personality nor
power to institute administrative proceedings against Dr. Dominador Gomez before the Board
of Medical Examiners of the Philippines.
3. In admitting in its decision that section 9 of Act No. 2381, known as the Opium Law, is valid.
4. In not holding that section 9 of Act No. 2381, known as the Opium Law, is unconstitutional,
and therefore null and void.
5. In holding that section 9 Act No. 2381, known as the Opium Law, is in force.
6. In not holding that section 9 Act No. 2381 has been repealed, even on the supposition that
it was valid.
7. In rendering the judgment appealed from.
8. In denying the motion for avoidance, and for a new trial, filed by appellant.
The first two assignments of error relate to the validity of the charges against the plaintiff,
preferred by Assistant Fiscal Alfonso Felix of the City of Manila, who, according to the plaintiff
is not authorized by law to file charges with the Board of Medical Examiners, which therefore
acquired no jurisdiction over the matter.
According to section 780 of Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3111, the procedure
to be observed in revoking a certificate of registration is the following:
Proceedings for revocation of a certificate of registration shall be begun by filing a written
charge or charges against the accused. These charges may be preferred by any person or
persons, firm or corporation, or the Board of Medical Examiners itself may direct its executive
officer to prepare said charges. Said charges shall be filed with the executive officer of the
Board of Medical Examiners and a copy thereof, together with written notice of the time and
place when they will be heared and determined, shall be served upon the accused or his
counsel, at least two weeks before the date actually fixed for said hearing. (Sec. 12, Act No.
3111.)
The law does not require that the charges be preferred by a public officer or by any specified
person; it even permits the Board of Medical Examiners itself to require its executive officer to
prefer said charges. From the wording of the law we infer that any person, including a public
officer, may prefer the charges referred to in the above-quoted provision. Wherefore, the fact
that the charges were filed by Assistant Fiscal Alfonso Felix of the City of Manila, does not
deprive the Board of Medical Examiners of jurisdiction to hear said charges and to take the
proper action according to law.
The appellant contends in his third and fourth assignments of error that section 9 of Act No.
2381 is null and void on the ground of unconstitutionality, since said section is foreign to the
subject of said Act, in violation of section 3 of the Jones Law prohibiting the enactment of any
bill embracing more than one subject and providing that the subject be expressed in the title of
the bill.
Our opinion is that the matter contained in section 9 of Act No. 2381 is not foreign to the end
pursued in said Act, and that in view in the provision of said section it cannot be maintained
that Act No. 2381 includes more than one subject. The penalty provided in said section for the
physician or dentist who prescribes opium for a patient whose physical condition does not
require the use of said drug, is one of the means employed by the Legislature to attain the

purpose of Act No. 2381, which is, to prohibit unnecessary use of opium; it is one of the details
subordinate to the purpose in view. Such punishment is not the end contemplated in Act No.
2381, but, as we have just said, it is a means employed to regulate the use of opium.
In passing said Act No. 2381, the Legislature merely exercised the police power expressly
granted by the Act of Congress of March 3, 1905, for the protection of the health, comfort, and
general welfare of the people of the Philippine Islands.
ID.; ID.; POWER OF PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE TO LEGISLATE UPON THE SUBJECT.
The Philippine Legislature is expressly authorized by the Act of Congress of March 3, 1905, to
adopt legislation upon the importation and sale of opium in the Philippine Islands. The purpose
of such legislation was to protect the health, comfort, and general welfare of the people of the
Philippine Islands. Such legislation was an exercise of the police power of the State. (United
States vs. Wayne Shoup, 35 Phil., 56.)
And, as we have stated, the provisions contained in section 9 of Act No. 2381 relative to the
physicians and dentist are simply detailes and means conducive to the ultimate purpose of
said Act, which details and means need not be stated in the title of the Act for the very reason
that properly speaking, they are not foreign matter.
The general purpose of these provisions is accomplished when a law has but one general
object, which is fairly indicated by its title. To require every end and means necessary or
convenient for the accomplishment of this general object to be provided for by a separate act
relating to that alone, would not only be unreasonable, but would actually render legislation
impossible. (Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, pp. 296-297.)
The constitutional requirement is addressed to the subject, not to the details of the act. The
subject must be single; the provisions, to accomplished the object involved in that subject,
may be multifarious. . . . None of the provisions of a statute will be held unconstitutional when
they all relate, directly or indirectly, to the same subject, have natural connection, and are not
foreign to the subject expressed in the title. As very frequently expressed by the courts, any
provisions that are germane to the subject expressed in the title may properly be included in
the act. (I Sutherland on Stat. Const., par. 118.)
In order to hold that section 9 of Act No. 2381 is unconstitutional on the ground alleged by the
plaintiff, the violation of the constitutional provision must be substantial and manifest. It is not
so in the case at bar.
2. To warrant the setting aside of statutes because their subjects are not expressed in the
titles, the violation of the rule must be substantial and plain. (Posadas vs. Menzi, Decision of
the United States Supreme Court, page 388, No. 11, May 15, 1929, United States Supreme
Court Advance Opinions.)
At all events the validity of this Opium Law, Act No. 2381, has already been upheld by this
court, not only in the above cited case, United States vs. Wayne Shoup, supra, but also in the
subsequent case of United States vs. Jao Li Sing (37 Phil., 211).
Passing to the fifth and sixth assignments of error, wherein counsel for appellant contends that
even granting that section 9 of Act No. 2381 is valid, it was repealed by Act No. 2493 and later
by section 780 of the Administrative Code, we note, first, that there is no express repeal of
section 9 of Act No. 2381. Secondly, it cannot be held that it has been impliedly repealed, for
the reason that the provisions of section 9, Act No. 2381, are neither contrary to, nor
incompatible with, the provisions of section 780 of the Administrative Code, as amended.
Upon this point, we approve and adopt the following statements made by the trial judge:

Counsel contends, in support of the above, that Act No. 2493 being complete, and "covering
the field" by implication repealed all laws relating to the practice of medicine, powers of the
Board of Medical Examiners and allied matters; hence, the said law, expressly providing the
causes for revocation of medical licenses, necessarily excluded all others, even though
embodied in prior enactments.
Act No. 310 provided that the Board of medical Examiners could revoke licenses for
"unprofessional conduct," without defining the term. Act No. 1761 (the Opium Law) provided
that illegaly prescribing opium should be cause for revocation of medical licenses. Clearly, the
Opium Law did not repeal Act No. 310. Act No. 2381 also an Opium Law in its section 9,
repeated the provision as to doctors and dentists. The repetition did not repeal Act No. 310.
Act No. 2493, section 11 (Ad. Code, sec. 780), provided that certificates of physicians are
revocable for "unprofessional conduct," without defining the phrase. In other words, so far as
revocation of licenses is concerned, Act No. 2493 is mere reenactment of Act No. 310. The
reenactment of the said portion of Act No. 310 did not repeal section 9 of the Opium Law. If
said section 9 has been repealed, it must be by Act No. 3111, which amends Act No. 2493
(Ad. Code, sec. 780), by an addition after the words "unprofessional conduct" of the following:
"The words "unprofessional conduct, immoral, or dishonorable conduct" as used in this
chapter shall be construed to include the following acts: (1) Procuring, aiding or abeting a
criminal abortion; (2) advertising, either in his own name or in the name of any other person,
firm, association, or corporation, in any written or printed paper, or document, of medical
business in which untruthful or improbable promises are made, or being employed by, or in the
service of any person, firm, association or corporation so advertising, or advertising in any
obscene manner derogatory to good morals; (3) habitual intemperance or addition to the use
of morphine, opium, cocaine or other drugs having a similar effect; (4) conviction of a crime or
misdemeanor involving dishonorable conduct; and (5) willfully betraying a professional secret."
It cannot be seriously contended that aside from the five examples specified there can be no
other conduct of a physician deemed "unprofessional" conduct theretofore deemed grounds
for revocation licenses. The maxim expressio unius est exclussio alterius should be applied
only as a means of discovering legislative intent and should not be permitted to defeat the
plain indicated purpose of the Legislature. It does not apply when words are mentioned by
way of example, or to remove doubts. (See Cyc., 1122.) If, therefore, there exists,
"unprofessional conduct" not specified in the laws, with more reason does the criminal use of
opium remain a specific cause for revocation of license. (Pages 11, 12 and 13, bill of
exceptions.)
As to the seventh and eighth assignments of error, we find the judgment and appealed from
correctly rendered, and the motion of avoidance and new trial properly denied.
As the Attorney-General correctly observes, the powers vested in the Board of Medical
Examiners to suspend or revoke a physician's certificate of registration and the authority
granted the Secretary of the Interior of confirming or reversing the decision of said board of
examiners, partake of a quasi-judicial character, that is, involve the use of discretion. For this
reason, the exercise thereof cannot be reviewed by mandamus, which is the nature of this
cause on its merits.
As in the case of courts and judicial officers, it is a rule of general application that mandamus
will not lie to review or control the acts of executive officers and boards of state and federal
governments in respect of matters as to which they are vested with discretion. In other words,
they cannot be compelled to act or render a decision in any particular way, and this is so, even

though the exercise of this discretion requires the construction and interpretation of statutes.
Where public officials exercise their discretion, it is said that their conclusions, although
disputable, are impregnable to mandamus. (38 C. J., 659-660.)
That this action is really a mandamus proceeding, appears clearly from the terms of the
complaint filed herein.
Finding no merit in the assignments of error, the judgment appealed from is affirmed, with
costs against the appellant. So ordered.
Malcolm, Ostrand, Johns and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.Villamor, J., reserves his vote.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SPECIAL SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 131457

August 19, 1999

HON. CARLOS O. FORTICH, PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR OF BUKIDNON, HON. REY B.


BAULA, MUNICIPAL MAYOR OF SUMILAO, BUKIDNON, NQSR MANAGEMENT AND
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioners,
vs.
HON. RENATO C. CORONA, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, HON. ERNESTO D.
GARILAO, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, respondents.
RESOLUTION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This resolves the pending incidents before us, namely, respondents' and intervenors' separate
motions for reconsideration of our Resolution dated November 17, 1998, as well as their
motions to refer this case to this Court En banc.
Respondents and intervenors jointly argue, in fine, that our Resolution dated November 17,
1998, wherein we voted two-two on the separate motions for reconsideration of our earlier
Decision or April 24, 1998, as a result of which the Decision was deemed affirmed, did not
effectively resolve the said motions for reconsideration inasmuch as the matter should have
been referred to the Court sitting en banc, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 4(3) of the
Constitution. Respondents and intervenors also assail our Resolution dated January 27, 1999,

wherein we noted without action the intervenors' "Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To
Refer The Matter To The Court En Banc" filed on December 3, 1998, on the following
considerations, to wit:
the movants have no legal personality to further seek redress before the Court after their
motion for leave to intervene in this case was denied in the April 24, 1998 Decision. Their
subsequent motion for reconsideration of the said decision, with a prayer to resolve the motion
to the Court En Banc, was also denied in the November 17, 1998 Resolution of the Court.
Besides, their aforesaid motion of December 3, 1998 is in the nature of a second motion for
reconsideration which is a forbidden motion (Section 2, Rule 52 in relation to Section 4, Rule
56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). The impropriety of movants' December 3, 1998
motion becomes all the more glaring considering that all the respondents in this case did not
anymore join them (movants) ill seeking a reconsideration of the November 17, 1998
Resolution.1
Subsequently, respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed their "Motion For
Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For Referral Of The Case
To This Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order)"
on December 3, 1998, accompanied by a "Manifestation and Motion" 2 and a copy of the
Registered Mail Bill3 evidencing filing of the said motion for reconsideration to this Court by
registered mail.1wphi1.nt
In their respective motions for reconsideration, both respondents and intervenors pray that this
case be referred to this Court en banc. They contend that inasmuch as their earlier motions for
reconsideration (of the Decision dated April 24, 1998) were resolved by a vote of two-two, the
required number to carry a decision, i.e., three, was not met. Consequently, the case should
be referred to and be decided by this Court en banc, relying on the following constitutional
provision:
Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a
majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case
and voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence of at least three of such Members.
When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: Provided, that
no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision rendered en banc or in
division may be modified or reversed except by the Court sitting en banc.4
A careful reading of the above constitutional provision, however, reveals the intention of the
framers to draw a distinction between cases, on the one hand, and matters, on the other
hand, such that cases are "decided" while matters, which include motions, are "resolved".
Otherwise put, the word "decided" must refer to "cases"; while the word "resolved" must refer
to "matters", applying the rule of reddendo singula singulis. This is true not only in the
interpretation of the above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3), but also of the other provisions of
the Constitution where these words appear. 5
With the aforesaid rule of construction in mind, it is clear that only cases are referred to the
Court en banc for decision whenever the required number of votes is not obtained.
Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the required three votes is not
obtained in the resolution of a motion for reconsideration. Hence, the second sentence of the
aforequoted provision speaks only of "case" and not "matter". The reason is simple. The
above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3) pertains to the disposition of cases by a division. If
there is a tie in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to dispose of the case then is to
refer it to the Court en banc. On the other hand, if a case has already been decided by the

division and the losing party files a motion for reconsideration, the failure of the division to
resolve the motion because of a tie in the voting does not leave the case undecided. There is
still the decision which must stand in view of the failure of the members of the division to
muster the necessary vote for its reconsideration. Quite plainly, if the voting results in a tie, the
motion for reconsideration is lost. The assailed decision is not reconsidered and must
therefore be deemed affirmed. Such was the ruling of this Court in the Resolution of
November 17, 1998.
It is the movants' further contention in support of their plea for the referral of this case to the
Court en banc that the issues submitted in their separate motions are of first impression. In
the opinion penned by Mr. Justice Antonio M. Martinez during the resolution of the motions for
reconsideration on November 17, 1998, the following was expressed:
Regrettably, the issues presented before us by the movants are matters of no extraordinary
import to merit the attention of the Court En Banc. Specifically, the issue of whether or not the
power of the local government units to reclassify lands is subject to the approval of the DAR is
no longer novel, this having been decided by this Court in the case of Province of Camarines
Sur, et al. vs. Court of Appeals wherein we held that local government units need not obtain
the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify lands from agricultural to non-agricultural use.
The dispositive portion of the Decision in the aforecited case states:
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals
is set aside insofar as it (a) nullifies the trial court's order allowing the Province of Camarines
Sur to take possession of private respondent's property (b) orders the trial court to suspended
the exportation proceedings; and (c) requires the Province of Camarines Sur to obtain the
approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform to convert or reclassify private respondents'
property from agricultural to non-agricultural use.
xxx
xxx
x x x(Emphasis supplied)
Moreover, the Decision sought to be reconsidered was arrived at by a unanimous vote of all
five (5) members of the Second Division of this Court, Stated otherwise, this Second Division
is of the opinion that the matters raised by movants are nothing new and do not deserve the
consideration of the Court en banc. Thus, the participation of the full Court in the resolution of
movants' motions for reconsideration would be inappropriate. 6
The contention, therefore, that our Resolution of November 17, 1998 did not dispose of the
earlier motions for reconsideration of the Decision dated April 24, 1998 is flawed.
Consequently, the present motions for reconsideration necessarily partake of the nature of a
second motion for reconsideration which, according to the clear and unambiguous language
of Rule 56, Section 4, in relation to Rule 52, Section 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is
prohibited.
True, there are exceptional cases when this Court may entertain a second motion for
reconsideration, such as where there are extraordinarily persuasive reasons. Even then, we
have ruled that such second motions for reconsideration must be filed with express leave of
court first obtained.7 In this case, not only did movants fail to ask for prior leave of court, but
more importantly, they have been unable to show that there are exceptional reasons for us to
give due course to their second motions for reconsideration. Stripped of the arguments for
referral of this incident to the Court en banc, the motions subject of this resolution are nothing
more but rehashes of the motions for reconsideration which have been denied in the
Resolution of November 17, 1998. To be sure, the allegations contained therein have already
been raised before and passed upon by this Court in the said Resolution.

The crux of the controversy is the validity of the "Win-Win" Resolution dated November 7,
1997. We maintain that the same is void and of no legal effect considering that the March 29,
1996 decision of the Office of the President had already become final and executory even
prior to the filing of the motion for reconsideration which became the basis of the said "WinWin" Resolution. This ruling, quite understandably, sparked a litany of protestations on the part
of respondents and intervenors including entreaties for a liberal interpretation of the rules. The
sentiment was that notwithstanding its importance and far-reaching effects, the case was
disposed of on a technicality. The situation, however, is not as simple as what the movants
purport it to be. While it may be true that on its face the nullification of the "Win-Win"
Resolution was grounded on a procedural rule pertaining to the reglementary period to appeal
or move for reconsideration, the underlying consideration therefor was the protection of the
substantive rights of petitioners. The succinct words of Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban are
quoted in the November 17, 1998 opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, viz.: "Just as a losing party
has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, the winning party also has the
correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of his/her case." 8
In other words, the finality of the March 29, 1996 OP Decision accordingly vested appurtenant
rights to the land in dispute on petitioners as well as on the people of Bukidnon and other
parts of the country who stand to be benefited by the development of the property. The issue
in this case, therefore, is not a question of technicality but of substance and merit. 9
Before finally disposing of these pending matters, we feel it necessary to rule once and for all
on the legal standing of intervenors in this case. In their present motions, intervenors insist
that they are real parties in interest inasmuch as they have already been issued certificates of
land ownership award, or CLOAs, and that while they are seasonal farmworkers at the
plantation, they have been identified by the DAR as qualified beneficiaries of the property.
These arguments are, however, nothing new as in fact they have already been raised in
intervenors' earlier motion for reconsideration of our April 24, 1998 Decision. Again as
expressed in the opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, intervenors, who are admittedly not regular
but seasonal farmworkers, have no legal or actual and substantive interest over the subject
land inasmuch as they have no right to own the land. Rather, their right is limited only to a just
share of the fruits of the land.10 Moreover, the "Win-Win" Resolution itself states that the
qualified beneficiaries have yet to be carefully and meticulously determined by the Department
of Agrarian Reform.11 Absent any definitive finding of the Department of Agrarian Reform,
intervenors cannot as yet be deemed vested with sufficient interest in the controversy as to be
qualified to intervene in this case. Likewise, the issuance of the CLOA's to them does not
grant them the requisite standing in view of the nullity of the "Win-Win" Resolution. No legal
rights can emanate from a resolution that is null and void.
WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the following incidents, namely: intervenors' "Motion
For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter To The Court En Banc," dated
December 3, 1998; respondents' "Motion For Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated
November 17, 1998 And For Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With
Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order)," dated December 2, 1998; and
intervenors' "Urgent Omnibus Motion For The Supreme Court Sitting En Banc To Annul The
Second Division's Resolution Dated 27 January 1999 And Immediately Resolve The 28 May
1998 Motion For Reconsideration Filed By The Intervenors," dated March 2, 1999; are all
DENIED with FINALITY. No further motion, pleading, or paper will be entertained in this case.
SO ORDERED.

Melo, J., please see separate opinion.Puno, J., in the result. I maintain my original position
that the case should go to CA for further proceedings.Mendoza, J., in the result.
Separate Opinions
MELO, J., separate opinion;
On the merits, I still maintain my vote with Mr. Justice Puno that this case should be referred to the
Court of Appeals for further proceedings.
Since what is now before us is a second motion for reconsideration, which under the rules is
generally proscribed, the majority deemed it pertinent to limit its resolution in regard to cogent
procedural points.
At the outset, I wish to point out that inasmuch as I am bound to abide by the Court En Banc's
Resolution No. 99-109-SC dated January 2, 1999, which settled the issue of an even (2-2) vote in a
division, I am constrained to vote with the majority in denying all of the subject motions in the
above-captioned case. Nevertheless, I wish to express my views on this issue and put them or
record, so, in the event that the Court decides to open and re-discuss this issue at some future
time, these consideration may be referred to.
I continue to have some reservations regarding majority's position regarding an even (2-2) vote in a
division, due to the following considerations:
By mandate of the Constitution, cases heard by a division when the required majority of at least 3
votes in the division is not obtained are to be heard and decided by the Court En Banc. Specifically,
Paragraph 3, Section 4, Article VIII of the Constitution provides that:
xxx
xxx
xxx
(3) Cases or matters heard by a division shall e decided or resolved with the concurrence of a
majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and
voted thereon, and in no case, without the concurrence of at least three of such members. When
the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: provided, that no doctrine
or principle of law laid down by the court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be
modified or reversed by the court sitting en banc.
The deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission disclose that if the case is not decided in
a division by a majority vote, it goes to the Court En Banc and not to a longer division. Moreover,
the elevation of a case to the Banc shall be automatic. Thus,
MR. RODRIGO: Madam President, may I ask some questions for clarification.
MR. PRESIDENT: Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized.
MR. RODRIGO: Under these provisions, there are 3 kinds of divisions: one would be a division
composed of 3 justices in which case there will be 5 divisions; another division is composed of 5
justices each, in which case there will be 3 divisions; and the other is composed of 7 members
each, in which case, there will be 2 divisions.
Let us take the smallest division of 3 and the vote is 2-1. So, it is less than 3 votes. Should it
immediately go to the court en banc of 15 justices or should it first go to a bigger division?
MR. CONCEPCION: Yes.
MR. RODRIGO: They immediately go to the court en banc?
MR. SUAREZ: Yes, Madam President.
MR. RODRIGO: Is that automatic? Let us say that in the division of 3, the vote is 2-1, automatically
it goes to the court en banc?
MR. SUAREZ: Yes, because the required number of 3 is not obtained. So, this last phrase would
operate automatically "WHEN THE REQUIRED NUMBER IS NOT OBTAINED, THE CASE
SHALL BE DECIDED EN BANC."
xxx
xxx
xxx
(V Record 635, Oct. 8, 1986)

Explicit, therefore, is the requirement that at least 3 members must concur in any case or matter
heard by a division. Failing thus, or, when the required number of 3 votes is not obtained, the case
or matter will have to be decided by the Court En Banc.
In a situation where a division of 5 has only 4 members, the 5th member having inhibited himself or
is otherwise not in a position to participate, or has retired, a minimum of 3 votes would still be
required before there can be any valid decision or resolution by that division. There may, then, be
instances when a deadlock may occur, i.e., the votes tied at 2-2. It is my humble view that under
the clear and unequivocal provisions of the 1986 Constitution, if the required majority is not
reached in a division, the case should automatically got to the Court En Banc.
A distinction has been made between "cases" and "matters" referred to in the above-quoted
constitutional provision. "Cases" being decided, and "matters" being resolved. Only "cases" are
referred to the Court En Banc for decision whenever the required number of votes is not obtained
Matters" are not referred anymore.
I regret I cannot square with such position.
The majority view is that "cases" would only refer to deliberations at first instance on the merits of a
case filed with the Court, and other deliberations, such as motions, including motions of
reconsideration, are "matters" to be resolved. To give flesh to this distinction, it is cited that if a tie
occurs in the voting on motions for reconsideration, the decision which already been passed
stands.
This is not true all the time. It may be true only in original cases, as opposed to appealed cases,
filed with the Court. However, because of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts, to only original cases
which are taken cognizable of by this Court are those wherein it has exclusive jurisdiction. But,
invariably, these cases are all required by the Constitution to be heard by the Court En Banc. so,
there will be no instance when a division will be ever taking cognizance of an original actions filed
with this Court.
It may be noted that cases taken cognizable of by the divisions are either petitions for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 or petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus, under Rule 65. Under
Rule 45, appeal by way of petition for review on certiorari is not a matter of right. Thus, should
there be a tie in the voting on deliberation of a "case" by the division, although apparently no action
is passed, a decision may still be rendered the petition is thereby DENIED due course, and it is
forthwith DISMISSED. This is definitely in consonance with the majority's line of reasoning in the 22 vote on motions for reconsideration. But why is it that, the 2-2 vote in the deliberation of the
"case" at the first instance should still be referred to the Court En Banc? The reason is simple.
Because the express provision of the Constitution requires a vote of at least three justices for there
to be a valid and binding decision of the Court. But, why do we not apply the same rule to motions
for reconsideration? Even on this score alone, it is my view that, in all instances, whether it be in
the deliberations of a case at first instance or on a motion for reconsideration, a division having a 22 vote cannot pass action.1wphi1.nt
I submit that the requirement of 3 votes equally applies to motions for reconsideration because the
provision contemplates "cases" or "matters" (which for me has no material distinction insofar as
divisions are concerned) heard by a division, and a motion for reconsideration cannot be divorced
from the decision in a case that it seeks to be reconsidered. Consequently, if the required minimum
majority of 3 votes is not met, the matter of the motion for reconsideration has to be heard by the
Court En Banc, as mandated by the Constitution (par. 3, Sec. 4, Art. VIII). To say that the motion is
lost in the division on 2-2 vote, is to construe something which cannot be sustained by a reading of
the Constitution. To argue that a motion for reconsideration is not a "case" but only a "matter" which
does not concern a case, so that, even through the vote thereon in the division is 2-2, the matter or
issue is not required to elevated to the Court En Banc, is to engage in a lot of unfounded
hairsplitting.

Furthermore, I humbly submit that the theory of leaving the issue hanging on a 2-2 vote or any
even vote may be sustained only in cases where there is no recourse to a higher assemblage.
In the Court of Appeals, for instance, an even vote in a division of 5 (2-2, with 1 abstaining) would
result in the motion not being carried, but only because there is and there cannot be recourse to
the Court of Appeals En Banc which, does not act on judicial matters. In a legislative body, an even
vote results in the failure of the proposition, only because there is no higher body which can take
over. In our own Court En Banc, if there voting is evenly split, on a 7-7 vote with 1 slot vacant, or
with 1 justice inhibiting or disqualifying himself, the motion shall, of course, not be carried because
that is the end of the line.
But in the situation now facing us, the even vote is in a division, and there being recourse to the
Court En Banc, and more so, this being expressly directed by the Constitution, the matter of the
motion for reconsideration should, by all means, be decided by the Court En Banc.
Footnotes
1
Rollo, p. 1310. References to the Rollo pages are omitted.
2
Rollo, p. 1313.
3
Rollo, p. 1319.
4
Art. VIII, Section 4 (3).
5
See Article VIII, Section 15; Article XVIII, Section 12 to 14.
6
Rollo, pp. 1243-1244: emphasis omitted.
7
Ortigas and Company Ltd. Partnership v. Judge Tirso Velasco, et al., 254 SCRA 234 (1996).
8
Videogram Regulatory Board v. Court of Appeals, 265 SCRA 50, 56 (1996).
9
Opinion of Justice Martinez, November 17, 1998, p. 10.
10
Ibid., pp. 12-13, citing the Constitution, Article XIII, Section 4, and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, The
1987 Philippine Constitution: A Reviewer-Primer, Third Edition (1997), p. 441.
11
Ibid., p. 13.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 138381. November 10, 2004]
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondent.
[G.R. No. 141625. November 10, 2004]
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, petitioner,
vs.
ALFREDO D. PINEDA, DANIEL GO, FELINO BULANDUS, FELICIMO J. FERRARIS, JR., BEN HUR
PORLUCAS, LUIS HIPONIA, MARIA LUISA A. FERNANDEZ, VICTORINA JOVEN, CORAZON S.
ALIWANAG, SILVER L. MARTINES, SR., RENATO PEREZ, LOLITA CAYLAN, DOUGLAS VALLEJO
and LETICIA ALMAZAN, on their own behalf and on behalf of all GSIS retirees with all of whom they
share a common and general interest, respondents.
RESOLUTION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
On April 16, 2002, the Court promulgated a decision on these two consolidated cases partially granting
the petition in G.R. No. 138381 (first petition) thereby reversing the Commission on Audits (COA)
disallowance of certain fringe benefits granted to GSIS employees. As a result, the Court ordered the

refund of amounts representing fringe benefits corresponding to those allowed in the first petition in favor
of the respondents in G.R. No. 141625 (second petition).
The benefits which the Court ordered to be refunded included increases in longevity pay, childrens
allowance and management contribution to the Provident Fund as well as premiums for group personal
accident insurance. On the other hand, the Court affirmed the COA disallowance of loyalty and service
cash award as well as housing allowance in excess of that approved by the COA. Amounts
corresponding to these benefits were previously deducted by GSIS from respondents retirement benefits
in view of the COA disallowance in the first petition. COA did not seek reconsideration of the judgment
ordering said refund, which thus became final and executory.
On August 7, 2002, the respondents in the second petition, all GSIS retirees, filed a motion for
amendatory and clarificatory judgment (amendatory motion).[1] They averred that we did not
categorically resolve the issue raised in the second petition, namely: whether or not the GSIS may
lawfully deduct any amount from their retirement benefits in light of Section 39 of Republic Act No. 8291.
According to respondents, said provision of law clearly states that no amount whatsoever could be
legally deducted from retirement benefits, even those amounts representing COA disallowances. They
posit that we should have ordered refund not only of benefits allowed in the first petition, but all amounts
claimed, regardless of whether or not these were allowed by the COA. These include items which were
correctly disallowed by the COA in the first petition, as well as disallowed benefits under the second
petition. The latter consists of initial payment of productivity bonus, accelerated implementation of the
new salary schedule effective August 1, 1995, 1995 mid-year financial assistance and increase in
clothing, rice and meal allowances. Respondents further insist that we should have awarded damages in
their favor, citing the GSIS alleged bad faith in making the deductions.
GSIS filed a comment[2] to respondents amendatory motion, as directed by the Court in a resolution
dated September 3, 2002. GSIS posited that the other benefits not passed upon in the main judgment
should be understood by respondents as having been impliedly denied by this Court. It also sought
clarification of our decision insofar as it declared that there was no identity of subject matter between the
COA proceedings, from which the first petition stemmed, and respondents claim under the second
petition, which emanated from an order of the GSIS Board of Trustees (Board). As for the damages
claimed by respondents, GSIS insists that it made the deductions in good faith for these were done in
accordance with COA directives.
Respondents filed a reply[3] to the comment of GSIS on September 9, 2002.
Meanwhile, respondents filed a second motion, this time for leave to file a motion for discretionary and
partial execution[4] (motion for execution). They prayed that GSIS be ordered to effect the refund, as
finally adjudged in our decision, pending resolution of their amendatory motion as to the other deducted
amounts. We granted the motion for execution on September 3, 2002.
Subsequently, on December 26, 2002, counsel for respondents, Atty. Agustin Sundiam, filed a motion for
entry and enforcement of attorneys lien[5] (motion for charging lien) and a supplement[6] to this motion
on January 10, 2003. He sought entry of a charging lien in the records of this case pursuant to Section
37 of Rule 138. He prayed for an order directing the GSIS to deduct, as his professional fees, 15% from
respondents refund vouchers since the GSIS was already in the process of releasing his clients checks
in compliance with our judgment in the first petition. The payment scheme was allegedly authorized by
the Board of Directors of his clients, the GSIS Retirees Association, Inc. (GRIA), through a board
resolution[7] that he has attached to the motion.

Atty. Sundiams motion for charging lien was opposed by petitioner GSIS on the ground that it was
through its efforts, and not Atty. Sundiams, that the retirees were able to obtain a refund.[8] Meanwhile,
the GRIA confirmed the payment scheme it adopted with Atty. Sundiam and prayed for its approval.[9]
Thereafter, on January 10, 2003, respondents filed another manifestation and motion as well as
supplement thereto, claiming that GSIS was deducting new and unspecified sums from the amount it
was refunding to respondents. These new deductions purportedly pertain to another set of COA
disallowances.[10]
On January 21, 2003, respondents again filed a motion[11] praying for the inclusion in the refundable
amount of dividends on the management contribution to the Provident Fund (motion for payment of
dividends). Respondents claimed that the contribution, which amounted to Fifty Million Pesos (P50M),
was retained by GSIS for more than five years and thus earned a considerable sum of income while
under its control. GSIS declared and paid dividends on said contribution to incumbent officials and
employees, but refused to extend the same benefits to respondents/retirees.
On March 6, 2003, GSIS filed a joint comment[12] to respondents two foregoing motions contending that
the new deductions are legitimate. The deductions pertain to car loan arrearages, disallowed employees
compensation claims and the like. As for the dividends on the Provident Fund contributions, respondents
are not entitled to the same because while the first petition was pending, the contributions were not
actually remitted to the fund but were withheld by COA pursuant to its earlier disallowance.
On October 2, 2003, respondents filed another motion[13] for an order to compel the GSIS to pay
dividends on the Provident Fund contributions pending resolution of their other motions. They also
sought refund of Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits that GSIS supposedly paid to some of the
respondents, but once again arbitrarily deducted from the amount which the Court ordered to be
refunded.
In a minute resolution[14] dated November 11, 2003, we denied the last motion for lack of merit. We
likewise denied with finality respondents motion for reconsideration from the denial of said motion.[15]
We now resolve the matters raised by the parties.
On the amendatory motion, it must be clarified that the question raised before this Court in the second
petition was the issue of the Boards jurisdiction to resolve respondents claim for refund of amounts
representing deductions from their retirement benefits. What was assailed in the second petition was the
appellate courts ruling that the Board had jurisdiction over respondents claim since there was no identity
of subject matter between the proceedings then pending before the COA and the petition brought by
respondents before the Board. The Court of Appeals did not rule on the main controversy of whether
COA disallowances could be deducted from retirement benefits because the Board ordered the
dismissal of respondents claim for alleged lack of jurisdiction, before it could even decide on the principal
issue.
Consequently, the only matter that was properly elevated to this Court was the issue of whether or not
the Board had jurisdiction over respondents demands. We did not resolve the issue of whether or not the
deductions were valid under Section 39 of RA 8291, for the simple reason that the Board, as well as the
appellate court, did not tackle the issue. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction[16] would ordinarily preclude
us from resolving the matter, which calls for a ruling to be first made by the Board. It is the latter that is
vested by law with exclusive and original jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising under RA 8291, as well
as other matters related thereto.[17]

However, both the GSIS and respondents have extensively discussed the merits of the case in their
respective pleadings and did not confine their arguments to the issue of jurisdiction. Respondents, in
fact, submit that we should resolve the main issue on the ground that it is a purely legal question.
Respondents further state that a remand of the case to the Board would merely result in unnecessary
delay and needless expense for the parties. They thus urge the Court to decide the main question in
order to finally put an end to the controversy.
Indeed, the principal issue pending before the Board does not involve any factual question, as it
concerns only the correct application of the last paragraph of Section 39, RA 8291. The parties agreed
that the lone issue is whether COA disallowances could be legally deducted from retirement benefits on
the ground that these were respondents monetary liabilities to the GSIS under the said provision. There
is no dispute that the amounts deducted by GSIS represented COA disallowances. Thus, the only
question left for the Board to decide is whether the deductions are allowed under RA 8291.
Under certain exceptional circumstances, we have taken cognizance of questions of law even in the
absence of an initial determination by a lower court or administrative body. In China Banking Corporation
v. Court of Appeals,[18] the Court held:
At the outset, the Courts attention is drawn to the fact that since the filing of this suit before the trial court,
none of the substantial issues have been resolved. To avoid and gloss over the issues raised by the
parties, as what the trial court and respondent Court of Appeals did, would unduly prolong this litigation
involving a rather simple case of foreclosure of mortgage. Undoubtedly, this will run counter to the
avowed purpose of the rules, i.e., to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy and inexpensive
determination of every action or proceeding. The Court, therefore, feels that the central issues of the
case, albeit unresolved by the courts below, should now be settled specially as they involved pure
questions of law. Furthermore, the pleadings of the respective parties on file have amply ventilated their
various positions and arguments on the matter necessitating prompt adjudication.
In Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila v. Court of Appeals,[19] the Court likewise held that the remand
of a case is not necessary where the court is in a position to resolve the dispute based on the records
before it. The Court will decide actions on the merits in order to expedite the settlement of a controversy
and if the ends of justice would not be subserved by a remand of the case.
Here, the primary issue calls for an application of a specific provision of RA 8291 as well as relevant
jurisprudence on the matter. No useful purpose will indeed be served if we remand the matter to the
Board, only for its decision to be elevated again to the Court of Appeals and subsequently to this Court.
Hence, we deem it sound to rule on the merits of the controversy rather than to remand the case for
further proceedings.

It is clear from the above provision that COA disallowances cannot be deducted from benefits under RA
8291, as the same are explicitly made exempt by law from such deductions. Retirement benefits cannot
be diminished by COA disallowances in view of the clear mandate of the foregoing provision. It is a basic
rule in statutory construction that if a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its
literal meaning and applied without interpretation. This is what is known as plain-meaning rule or verba
legis.[20]
Accordingly, the GSIS interpretation of Section 39 that COA disallowances have become monetary
liabilities of respondents to the GSIS and therefore fall under the exception stated in the law is wrong. No
interpretation of the said provision is necessary given the clear language of the statute. A meaning that
does not appear nor is intended or reflected in the very language of the statute cannot be placed therein
by construction.[21]
Moreover, if we are to accept the GSIS interpretation, then it would be unnecessary to single out COA
disallowances as among those from which benefits under RA 8291 are exempt. In such a case, the
inclusion of COA disallowances in the enumeration of exemptions would be a mere surplusage since the
GSIS could simply consider COA disallowances as monetary liabilities in its favor. Such a construction
would empower the GSIS to withdraw, at its option, an exemption expressly granted by law. This could
not have been the intention of the statute.
That retirement pay accruing to a public officer may not be withheld and applied to his indebtedness to
the government has been settled in several cases. In Cruz v. Tantuico, Jr.,[22] the Court, citing Hunt v.
Hernandez,[23] explained the reason for such policy thus:
x x x we are of the opinion that the exemption should be liberally construed in favor of the pensioner.
Pension in this case is a bounty flowing from the graciousness of the Government intended to reward
past services and, at the same time, to provide the pensioner with the means with which to support
himself and his family. Unless otherwise clearly provided, the pension should inure wholly to the benefit
of the pensioner. It is true that the withholding and application of the amount involved was had under
section 624 of the Administrative Code and not by any judicial process, but if the gratuity could not be
attached or levied upon execution in view of the prohibition of section 3 of Act No. 4051, the
appropriation thereof by administrative action, if allowed, would lead to the same prohibited result and
enable the respondents to do indirectly what they can not do directly under section 3 of Act No. 4051. Act
No. 4051 is a later statute having been approved on February 21, 1933, whereas the Administrative
Code of 1917 which embodies section 624 relied upon by the respondents was approved on March 10 of
that year. Considering section 3 of Act No. 4051 as an exception to the general authority granted in
section 624 of the Administrative Code, antagonism between the two provisions is avoided.
(Underscoring supplied)

The last paragraph of Section 39, RA 8291 specifically provides:


SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien.-

The above ruling was reiterated in Tantuico, Jr. v. Domingo,[24] where the Court similarly declared that
benefits under retirement laws cannot be withheld regardless of the petitioners monetary liability to the
government.

xxxxxxxxx
The funds and/or the properties referred to herein as well as the benefits, sums or monies corresponding
to the benefits under this Act shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, execution, levy or other
processes issued by the courts, quasi-judicial agencies or administrative bodies including Commission
on Audit (COA) disallowances and from all financial obligations of the members, including his pecuniary
accountability arising from or caused or occasioned by his exercise or performance of his official
functions or duties, or incurred relative to or in connection with his position or work except when his
monetary liability, contractual or otherwise, is in favor of the GSIS.

The policy of exempting retirement benefits from attachment, levy and execution, as well as unwarranted
deductions, has been embodied in a long line of retirement statutes. Act No. 4051,[25] which provides for
the payment of gratuity to officers and employees of the Insular Government upon retirement due to
reorganization, expressly provides in its Section 3 that (t)he gratuity provided for in this Act shall not be
attached or levied upon execution.
The law which established the GSIS, Commonwealth Act No. 186 (CA No. 186),[26] went further by
providing as follows:

SEC. 23. Exemptions from legal process and liens. No policy of life insurance issued under this Act, or
the proceeds thereof, except those corresponding to the annual premium thereon in excess of five
hundred pesos per annum, when paid to any member thereunder, shall be liable to attachment,
garnishment, or other process, or to be seized, taken, appropriated, or applied by any legal or equitable
process or operation of law to pay any debt or liability of such member, or his beneficiary, or any other
person who may have a right thereunder, either before or after payment; nor shall the proceeds thereof,
when not made payable to a named beneficiary, constitute a part of the estate of the member for
payment of his debt.
Presidential Decree No. 1146,[27] which amended CA No. 186, likewise contained a provision exempting
benefits from attachment, garnishment, levy or other processes. However, the exemption was expressly
made inapplicable to obligations of the member to the System, or to the employer, or when the benefits
granted are assigned by the member with the authority of the System.[28]
The latest GSIS enactment, RA 8291,[29] provides for a more detailed and wider range of exemptions
under Section 39. Aside from exempting benefits from judicial processes, it likewise unconditionally
exempts benefits from quasi-judicial and administrative processes, including COA disallowances, as well
as all financial obligations of the member. The latter includes any pecuniary accountability of the member
which arose out of the exercise or performance of his official functions or duties or incurred relative to his
position or work. The only exception to such pecuniary accountability is when the same is in favor of the
GSIS.
Thus, monetary liability in favor of GSIS refers to indebtedness of the member to the System other than
those which fall under the categories of pecuniary accountabilities exempted under the law. Such liability
may include unpaid social insurance premiums and balances on loans obtained by the retiree from the
System, which do not arise in the performance of his duties and are not incurred relative to his work. The
general policy, as reflected in our retirement laws and jurisprudence, is to exempt benefits from all legal
processes or liens, but not from outstanding obligations of the member to the System. This is to ensure
maintenance of the GSIS fund reserves in order to guarantee fulfillment of all its obligations under RA
8291.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, we find it necessary to nonetheless differentiate between those
benefits which were properly disallowed by the COA and those which were not.
Anent the benefits which were improperly disallowed, the same rightfully belong to respondents without
qualification. As for benefits which were justifiably disallowed by the COA, the same were erroneously
granted to and received by respondents who now have the obligation to return the same to the System.
It cannot be denied that respondents were recipients of benefits that were properly disallowed by the
COA. These COA disallowances would otherwise have been deducted from their salaries, were it not for
the fact that respondents retired before such deductions could be effected. The GSIS can no longer
recover these amounts by any administrative means due to the specific exemption of retirement benefits
from COA disallowances. Respondents resultantly retained benefits to which they were not legally
entitled which, in turn, gave rise to an obligation on their part to return the amounts under the principle of
solutio indebiti.
Under Article 2154 of the Civil Code,[30] if something is received and unduly delivered through mistake
when there is no right to demand it, the obligation to return the thing arises. Payment by reason of
mistake in the construction or application of a doubtful or difficult question of law also comes within the
scope of solutio indebiti.[31]

In the instant case, the confusion about the increase and payment of benefits to GSIS employees and
executives, as well as its subsequent disallowance by the COA, arose on account of the application of
RA 6758 or the Salary Standardization Law and its implementing rules, CCC No. 10. The complexity in
the application of these laws is manifested by the several cases that have reached the Court since its
passage in 1989.[32] The application of RA 6758 was made even more difficult when its implementing
rules were nullified for non-publication.[33] Consequently, the delivery of benefits to respondents under
an erroneous interpretation of RA 6758 gave rise to an actionable obligation for them to return the same.
While the GSIS cannot directly proceed against respondents retirement benefits, it can nonetheless seek
restoration of the amounts by means of a proper court action for its recovery. Respondents themselves
submit that this should be the case,[34] although any judgment rendered therein cannot be enforced
against retirement benefits due to the exemption provided in Section 39 of RA 8291. However, there is
no prohibition against enforcing a final monetary judgment against respondents other assets and
properties. This is only fair and consistent with basic principles of due process.
As such, a proper accounting of the amounts due and refundable is in order. In rendering such
accounting, the parties must observe the following guidelines:
(1) All deductions from respondents retirement benefits should be refunded except those amounts which
may properly be defined as monetary liability to the GSIS;
(2) Any other amount to be deducted from retirement benefits must be agreed upon by and between the
parties; and
(3) Refusal on the part of respondents to return disallowed benefits shall give rise to a right of action in
favor of GSIS before the courts of law.
Conformably, any fees due to Atty. Sundiam for his professional services may be charged against
respondents retirement benefits. The arrangement, however, must be covered by a proper agreement
between him and his clients under (2) above.
As to whether respondents are entitled to dividends on the provident fund contributions, the same is not
within the issues raised before the Court. The second petition refers only to the legality of the deductions
made by GSIS from respondents retirement benefits. There are factual matters that need to be threshed
out in determining respondents right to the payment of dividends, in view of the GSIS assertion that the
management contributions were not actually remitted to the fund. Thus, the payment of dividends should
be the subject of a separate claim where the parties can present evidence to prove their respective
assertions. The Court is in no position to resolve the matter since the material facts that would prove or
disprove the claim are not on record.
In the interest of clarity, we reiterate herein our ruling that there is no identity of subject matter between
the COA proceedings, from which the first petition stemmed, and respondents claim of refund before the
Board. While the first petition referred to the propriety of the COA disallowances per se, respondents
claim before the Board pertained to the legality of deducting the COA disallowances from retirement
benefits under Section 39 of RA 8291.
Finally, on respondents claim that the GSIS acted in bad faith when it deducted the COA disallowances
from their retirement benefits, except for bare allegations, there is no proof or evidence of the alleged
bad faith and partiality of the GSIS. Moreover, the latter cannot be faulted for taking measures to ensure
recovery of the COA disallowances since respondents have already retired and would be beyond its
administrative reach. The GSIS merely acted upon its best judgment and chose to err in the side of

prudence rather than suffer the consequence of not being able to account for the COA disallowances. It
concededly erred in taking this recourse but it can hardly be accused of malice or bad faith in doing so.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the April 16, 2002 Decision in G.R. Nos. 138381 and 141625 is
AMENDED. In addition to the refund of amounts corresponding to benefits allowed in G.R. No. 138381,
the GSIS is ordered to REFUND all deductions from retirement benefits EXCEPT amounts representing
monetary liability of the respondents to the GSIS as well as all other amounts mutually agreed upon by
the parties.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Panganiban, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, CarpioMorales, Azcuna, Chico-Nazario, and Garcia, JJ., concur.
Puno, J. on official leave.
Corona and Tinga, JJ., on leave.
Callejo, Sr., J., no part, Ponente in CA Decision.

Footnotes
[1] Rollo in G.R. No. 141625, pp. 454-464.
[2] Id. at 465-473.
[3] Id. at 474-489.
[4] Id. at 449-453.
[5] Id. at 497-499.
[6] Id. at 508-510.
[7] Id. at 500.
[8] Id. at 512-516.
[9] Id. at 531-532.
[10] Id. at 503-527.
[11] Id. at 518-520.
[12] Id. at 543-551.
[13] Id. at 562-566.
[14] Id. at 567.
[15] Id. at 573.
[16] Under this doctrine, the court cannot and will not arrogate unto itself the authority to resolve a
controversy, the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with a tribunal possessed of special
competence. (Province of Zamboanga del Norte v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109853, 11 October 2000,
342 SCRA 549, 559, citing Paat v. CA, 334 Phil. 146 (1997).
[17] RA 8291, Section 30, which states:
SEC. 30. Settlement of Disputes. The GSIS shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to settle any
dispute arising under this Act and any other laws administered by the GSIS.
[18] 333 Phil. 158, 165 (1996), citing then Rule 1, Section 2 of the Rules of Court.
[19] G.R. No. 77425, 19 June 1991, 198 SCRA 300, 311.
[20] Statutory Construction (2003 Edition) Ruben E. Agpalo, p. 124, citing Bustamante v. NLRC, 332
Phil. 833 (1996).
[21] Id. at 63.
[22] G.R. No. L-49535, 28 October 1988, 166 SCRA 670, 679.
[23] 64 Phil. 753 (1937).

[24] G.R. No. 96422, 28 February 1994, 230 SCRA 391.


[25] Approved February 21, 1933.
[26] Approved November 14, 1936.
[27] Approved May 31, 1977.
[28] PD No. 1146, Section 33, par. 2.
[29] Approved May 30, 1997.
[30] Civil Code, Article 2154. If something is received when there is no right to demand it, and it was
unduly delivered through mistake, the obligation to return it arises.
[31] Civil Code, Article 2155. Payment by reason of a mistake in the construction or application of a
doubtful or difficult question of law may come within the scope of the preceding article.
[32] Among these cases which we cited in our main decision are Philippine Ports Authority v. COA, G.R.
No. 100773, 16 October 1992, 214 SCRA 653 and Manila International Airport Authority v. COA, G.R.
No. 104217, 5 December 1994, 238 SCRA 714.
[33] De Jesus, et al. v. COA and Jamoralin, G.R. No. 109023, 12 August 1998, 294 SCRA 152.
[34] Respondents comment to the petition in G.R. No. 141625, supra, note 1 at 318.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 143047

July 14, 2004

RICARDO S. INDING, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure for the
nullification of the September 23, 1999 Resolution 1 of the Sandiganbayan (Second Division),
which denied the petitioner's omnibus motion with supplemental motion, and its Resolution
dated April 25, 2000, denying the petitioner's motion for the reconsideration of the same.

The Antecedents
On January 27, 1999, an Information was filed with the Sandiganbayan charging petitioner
Ricardo S. Inding, a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dapitan City, with violation of
Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019,2 committed as follows:
That from the period 3 January 1997 up to 9 August 1997 and for sometime prior or
subsequent thereto, in Dapitan City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused Ricardo S. Inding, a high-ranking public officer, being a
Councilor of Dapitan City and as such, while in the performance of his official functions,
particularly in the operation against drug abuse, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality,
did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally, faked buy-bust operations against
alleged pushers or users to enable him to claim or collect from the coffers of the city
government a total amount of P30,500.00, as reimbursement for actual expenses incurred
during the alleged buy-bust operations, knowing fully well that he had no participation in the
said police operations against drugs but enabling him to collect from the coffers of the city
government a total amount of P30,500.00, thereby causing undue injury to the government as
well as the public interest.3
The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 25116 and raffled to the Second Division of the
Sandiganbayan.
On June 2, 1999, the petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion 4 for the dismissal of the case for lack
of jurisdiction over the officers charged or, in the alternative, for the referral of the case either
to the Regional Trial Court or the Municipal Trial Court for appropriate proceedings. The
petitioner alleged therein that under Administrative Order No. 270 which prescribes the Rules
and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, he is a member of the
Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dapitan City with Salary Grade (SG) 25. He asserted that under
Republic Act No. 7975, which amended Presidential Decree No. 1606, the Sandiganbayan
exercises original jurisdiction to try cases involving crimes committed by officials of local
government units only if such officials occupy positions with SG 27 or higher, based on Rep.
Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the "Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989."
He contended that under Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act
No. 7975, the RTC, not the Sandiganbayan, has original jurisdiction over the crime charged
against him. The petitioner urged the trial court to take judicial notice of Adm. Order No. 270.
In its comment on the omnibus motion, the Office of the Special Prosecutor asserted that the
petitioner was, at the time of the commission of the crime, a member of the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, one of those public officers who, by
express provision of Section 4 a.(1)(b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Rep. Act No. 7975, 5
is classified as SG 27. Hence, the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, has original jurisdiction over
the case, regardless of his salary grade under Adm. Order No. 270.
On September 23, 1999, the respondent Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying the
petitioner's omnibus motion. According to the court, the Information alleged that the petitioner
has a salary grade of 27. Furthermore, Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, which amended
Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, provides that the petitioner, as a member of the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Dapitan City, has a salary grade of 27.6
On October 27, 1999, the petitioner filed a Supplemental Motion to his omnibus motion, 7 citing
Rep. Act No. 8294 and the ruling of this Court in Organo v. Sandiganbayan,8 where it was
declared that Rep. Act No. 8249, the latest amendment to the law creating the

Sandiganbayan, "collated the provisions on the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,"


and that "the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as a trial court was made to depend
not on the penalty imposed by law on the crimes and offenses within its jurisdiction but on the
rank and salary grade of accused government officials and employees."
In the meantime, the petitioner was conditionally arraigned on October 28, 1999 and entered a
plea of not guilty.9
On November 18, 1999, the petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
Sandiganbayan's September 23, 1999 Resolution. 10 The motion was, however, denied by the
Sandiganbayan in a Resolution promulgated on April 25, 2000. 11
Dissatisfied, the petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari, contending as follows:
A. That Republic Act [No.] 8249 which took effect last 05 February 1997 made the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan as a trial court depend not only on the penalty imposed by law on the
crimes and offenses within its jurisdiction but on the rank and salary grade of accused
government officials and employees.
B. That the ruling of the Supreme Court in "Lilia B. Organo versus The Sandiganbayan and
the People of the Philippines," G.R. No. 133535, 09 September 1999, settles the matter on the
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as a trial court which is over public officials and
employees with rank and salary grade 27 and above.
The petitioner contends that, at the time the offense charged was allegedly committed, he was
already occupying the position of Sangguniang Panlungsod Member I with SG 25. Hence,
under Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 8249, amending Rep. Act No. 7975, it is the RTC and not the
Sandiganbayan that has jurisdiction over the offense lodged against him. He asserts that
under Adm. Order No. 270,12 Dapitan City is only a component city, and the members of the
Sangguniang Panlungsod are classified as Sangguniang Panlungsod Members I with SG 25.
Thus, Section 4 a.(1)(b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, and
retained by Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 8249, does not apply to him.
On the other hand, the respondents, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor, contend that
Section 4 a.(1)(b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, expressly
provides that the Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction over violations of Rep. Act No. 3019,
as amended, committed by the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, without
qualification and regardless of salary grade. They argue that when Congress approved Rep.
Act No. 7975 and Rep. Act No. 8249, it was aware that not all the positions specifically
mentioned in Section 4, subparagraph (1) were classified as SG 27, and yet were specifically
included therein, viz:
It is very clear from the aforecited provisions of law that the members of the sangguniang
panlungsod are specifically included as among those falling within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
A reading of the aforesaid provisions, likewise, show that the qualification as to Salary Grade
27 and higher applies only to such officials of the executive branch other than the regional
director and higher and those specifically enumerated. To rule, otherwise, is to give a different
interpretation to what the law clearly is.
Moreover, had there been an intention to make Salary Grade 27 and higher as the sole factor
to determine the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan then the lawmakers
could have simply stated that the officials of the executive branch, to fall within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, should have been occupying the positions with a
Salary Grade of 27 and higher. But the express wordings in both RA No. 7975 and RA No.

8249 specifically including the members of the sangguniang panlungsod, among others, as
those within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan only means that the said
sangguniang members shall be within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the said court
regardless of their Salary Grade.
In this connection too, it is well to state that the lawmakers are very well aware that not all the
positions specifically mentioned as those within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan have a Salary Grade of 27 and higher. Yet, the legislature has explicitly made
the officials so enumerated in RA No. 7975 and RA No. 8249 as falling within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan because of the nature of these officials' functions
and responsibilities as well as the power they can wield over their respective area of
jurisdiction.13
The threshold issue for the Court's resolution is whether the Sandiganbayan has original
jurisdiction over the petitioner, a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dapitan City, who
was charged with violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Court rules in the affirmative.
Rep. Act No. 7975, entitled "An Act to Strengthen the Functional and Structural Organization
of the Sandiganbayan, Amending for that Purpose Presidential Decree No. 1606," took effect
on May 16, 1995. Section 2 thereof enumerates the cases falling within the original jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan. Subsequently, Rep. Act No. 7975 was amended by Rep. Act No. 8249,
entitled "An Act Further Defining the Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, Amending for the
Purpose Presidential Decree No. 1606, as Amended, Providing Funds Therefor, and for Other
Purposes." The amendatory law took effect on February 23, 1997 and Section 4 thereof
enumerates the cases now falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan.
For purposes of determining which of the two laws, Rep. Act No. 7975 or Rep. Act No. 8249,
applies in the present case, the reckoning period is the time of the commission of the
offense.14 Generally, the jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is to be determined by the
law in force at the time of the institution of the action, not at the time of the commission of the
crime.15 However, Rep. Act No. 7975, as well as Rep. Act No. 8249, constitutes an exception
thereto as it expressly states that to determine the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in cases
involving violations of Rep. Act No. 3019, the reckoning period is the time of the commission
of the offense. This is plain from the last clause of the opening sentence of paragraph (a) of
these two provisions which reads:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise [exclusive] 16 original jurisdiction in all
cases involving:
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, [Book II] 17 of
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying
the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity,
at the time of the commission of the offense:

In this case, as gleaned from the Information filed in the Sandiganbayan, the crime charged
was committed from the period of January 3, 1997 up to August 9, 1997. The applicable law,
therefore, is Rep. Act No. 7975. Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975 expanded the jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan as defined in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, thus:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases
involving:18
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the
Revised Penal Code,19 where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at
the time of the commission of the offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;20
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank; 21
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions
of the Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in
subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office. 22
c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2,
14 and 14-A.
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary
grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers
occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction
thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal
Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective
jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. 23
A plain reading of the above provision shows that, for purposes of determining the government
officials that fall within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in cases involving
violations of Rep. Act No. 3019 and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code,
Rep. Act No. 7975 has grouped them into five categories, to wit:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher. . .
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;

(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions
of the Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
With respect to the first category, i.e., officials of the executive branch with SG 27 or higher,
Rep. Act No. 7975 further specifically included the following officials as falling within the
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
The specific inclusion of the foregoing officials constitutes an exception to the general
qualification relating to officials of the executive branch as "occupying the positions of regional
director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989." In other words, violation of Rep. Act No. 3019 committed
by officials in the executive branch with SG 27 or higher, and the officials specifically
enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section 4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of Rep.
Act No. 7975, regardless of their salary grades, likewise fall within the original jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan.
Had it been the intention of Congress to confine the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
to violations of Rep. Act No. 3019 only to officials in the executive branch with SG 27 or
higher, then it could just have ended paragraph (1) of Section 4 a. of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, with the phrase "officials of the executive branch
occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and
higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989." Or the category in
paragraph (5) of the same provision relating to "[a]ll other national and local officials classified
as Grade '27' and up under the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989" would have
sufficed. Instead, under paragraph (1) of Section 4 a. of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by
Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, Congress included specific officials, without any reference as
to their salary grades. Clearly, therefore, Congress intended these officials, regardless of their
salary grades, to be specifically included within the Sandiganbayan's original jurisdiction, for
had it been otherwise, then there would have been no need for such enumeration. It is
axiomatic in legal hermeneutics that words in a statute should not be construed as surplusage
if a reasonable construction which will give them some force and meaning is possible. 24
That the legislators intended to include certain public officials, regardless of their salary
grades, within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is apparent from the legislative
history of both Rep. Acts Nos. 7975 and 8249. In his sponsorship speech of Senate Bill No.
1353, which was substantially adopted by both Houses of Congress and became Rep. Act No.

7975, Senator Raul S. Roco, then Chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights,
explained:
Senate Bill No. 1353 modifies the present jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan such that only
those occupying high positions in the government and the military fall under the jurisdiction of
the court.
As proposed by the Committee, the Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction over
cases assigned to it only in instances where one or more of the principal accused are officials
occupying the positions of regional director and higher or are otherwise classified as Grade 27
and higher by the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989, whether in a permanent,
acting or interim capacity at the time of the commission of the offense. The jurisdiction,
therefore, refers to a certain grade upwards, which shall remain with the Sandiganbayan.
The President of the Philippines and other impeachable officers such as the justices of the
Supreme Court and constitutional commissions are not subject to the original jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan during their incumbency.
The bill provides for an extensive listing of other public officers who will be subject to the
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. It includes, among others, Members of Congress,
judges and justices of all courts.25
More instructive is the sponsorship speech, again, of Senator Roco, of Senate Bill No. 844,
which was substantially adopted by both Houses of Congress and became Rep. Act No. 8249.
Senator Roco explained the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in Rep. Act No. 7975, thus:
SPONSORSHIP OF SENATOR ROCO

By way of sponsorship, Mr. President we will issue the full sponsorship speech to the
members because it is fairly technical may we say the following things:
To speed up trial in the Sandiganbayan, Republic Act No. 7975 was enacted for that Court to
concentrate on the "larger fish" and leave the "small fry" to the lower courts. This law became
effective on May 6, 1995 and it provided a two-pronged solution to the clogging of the dockets
of that court, to wit:
It divested the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over public officials whose salary grades were at
Grade "26" or lower, devolving thereby these cases to the lower courts, and retaining the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan only over public officials whose salary grades were at Grade
"27" or higher and over other specific public officials holding important positions in government
regardless of salary grade;26
Evidently, the officials enumerated in (a) to (g) Section 4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606, amended
Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, were specifically included within the original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan because the lawmakers considered them "big fish" and their positions
important, regardless of their salary grades.
This conclusion is further bolstered by the fact that some of the officials enumerated in (a) to
(g) are not classified as SG 27 or higher under the Index of Occupational Services, Position
Titles and Salary Grades issued by the Department of Budget and Management in 1989, then
in effect at the time that Rep. Act No. 7975 was approved. For example:

Category

New Position
Title

Grade

16. FOREIGN RELATIONS SERVICE

Foreign Service

Foreign Service Officer,

Class II27

2328

Foreign Service Officer,

Class I29

2430

18. EXECUTIVE SERVICE

Local Executives

City Government Department Head

2431

City Government Department Head

II

2632

2533

Provincial Government Department Head

City Vice Mayor

26

City Vice Mayor

II

28

City Mayor

2834

City Mayor

II

30

19. LEGISLATIVE SERVICE


Sangguniang Members

Sangguniang Panlungsod Member

25

Sangguniang Panlungsod Member

II

27

Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member


Office of the City and Provincial
Prosecutors36

2635

Noticeably, the vice mayors, members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and prosecutors,
without any distinction or qualification, were specifically included in Rep. Act No. 7975 as
falling within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Moreover, the consuls, city
department heads, provincial department heads and members of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan, albeit classified as having salary grades 26 or lower, were also specifically
included within the Sandiganbayan's original jurisdiction. As correctly posited by the
respondents, Congress is presumed to have been aware of, and had taken into account,
these officials' respective salary grades when it deliberated upon the amendments to the
Sandiganbayan jurisdiction. Nonetheless, Congress passed into law Rep. Act No. 7975,
specifically including them within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. By doing so, it
obviously intended cases mentioned in Section 4 a. of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section
2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, when committed by the officials enumerated in (1) (a) to (g) thereof,
regardless of their salary grades, to be tried by the Sandiganbayan.
Indeed, it is a basic precept in statutory construction that the intent of the legislature is the
controlling factor in the interpretation of a statute. 37 From the congressional records and the
text of Rep. Acts No. 7975 and 8294, the legislature undoubtedly intended the officials
enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section 4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by the aforesaid
subsequent laws, to be included within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Following this disquisition, the paragraph of Section 4 which provides that if the accused is
occupying a position lower than SG 27, the proper trial court has jurisdiction, 38 can only be
properly interpreted as applying to those cases where the principal accused is occupying a
position lower than SG 27 and not among those specifically included in the enumeration in
Section 4 a. (1)(a) to (g). Stated otherwise, except for those officials specifically included in
Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g), regardless of their salary grades, over whom the Sandiganbayan
has jurisdiction, all other public officials below SG 27 shall be under the jurisdiction of the
proper trial courts "where none of the principal accused are occupying positions
corresponding to SG 27 or higher." By this construction, the entire Section 4 is given effect.
The cardinal rule, after all, in statutory construction is that the particular words, clauses and
phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every
part of the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to
produce a harmonious whole.39 And courts should adopt a construction that will give effect to
every part of a statute, if at all possible. Ut magis valeat quam pereat or that construction is to
be sought which gives effect to the whole of the statute its every word. 40
In this case, there is no dispute that the petitioner is a member of the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Dapitan City and he is charged with violation of Section 3 (e) of Rep. Act No.
3019. Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod are specifically included as among those
within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in Section 4 a.(1) (b) of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975,41 or even Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 824942 for
that matter. The Sandiganbayan, therefore, has original jurisdiction over the petitioner's case
docketed as Criminal Case No. 25116.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DISMISSED. The Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan dated September 23, 1999 and April 25, 2000 are AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, SandovalGutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1
Penned by Associate Justice Godofredo L. Legaspi with Associate Justices Minita V. ChicoNazario, Chairman of the Fifth Division, and Narciso S. Nario, Sr., concurring.
2
Otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
3
Records, pp. 1-2.
4
Id. at 48-52.
5
Further amended by Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8249 which took effect on February 23,
1997.
6
Annex "D," Rollo, pp. 33-34.
7
Annex "C," Id. at 29-32.
8
314 SCRA 135 (1999).
9
Annex "G," Rollo, p. 44.
10
Annex "E," Id. at 35-42.
11
Annex "O," Id. at 61.
12
Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local
Government Code of 1991. This was published in the March 23, 1992 issue of the Official
Gazette.
13
Rollo, pp. 82-83.
14
Subido, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, 266 SCRA 379 (1997).
15
Morales v. People, 385 SCRA 259 (2002).
16
Inserted in Rep. Act No. 8249.
17
Ibid.
18
Amended in Rep. Act No. 8249 to read:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all
cases involving: . . .
19
The phrase "Book II" was added after Title VII to read ". . . Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII,
Book II of the Revised Penal Code in Rep. Act No. 8249.
20
Underscoring ours.
21
Amended in Rep. Act No. 8249 to read:
(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director
and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher.
22
Amended in Rep. Act No. 8249 to read:
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the
public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to their
office.
23
Amended in Rep. Act No. 8249 to read:
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade
"27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers
mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional

trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the
case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg.
129, as amended.
24
Associated Communications & Wireless Services-United Broadcasting Networks v. National
Telecommunications Commission, 397 SCRA 574 (2003).
25
Record of the Senate, Vol. IV, No. 60, February 8, 1995, p. 701.
26
Record of the Senate, Vol. I, No. 24, September 25, 1996, p. 799.
27
Section 8 of Rep. Act No. 7157 provides that a "Foreign Service Officer, Class II, shall be
assigned as second secretary in a diplomatic mission or consul in a consular establishment."
28
Increased to SG 24 per 1997 Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades.
29
Section 8 of Rep. Act No. 7157 provides that a "Foreign Service Officer, Class I, shall be
assigned as first secretary in a diplomatic mission or consul in a consular establishment."
30
Increased to SG 25 per 1997 Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades.
31
Increased to SG 25 per 1997 Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades.
32
Retained, however, a new classification, City Department Head III with SG 27 was added,
per 1997 Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades.
33
Increased to SG 26 per 1997 Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades.
34
Only one classification for City Mayor with SG 30 has been retained per 1997 Index of
Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades.
35
Increased to SG 27 per 1997 Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades.
36
Under Position Allocation List pursuant to National Compensation Circular No. 58 issued by
the Department of Budget and Management implementing Sections 6 and 23 of Rep. Act No.
6758.
37
Commission on Audit of the Province of Cebu v. Province of Cebu, 371 SCRA 196 (2001).
38
The pertinent paragraph of Section 4 reads:
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary
grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers
occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction
thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal
Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective
jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
39
AGPALO, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, 1995 Edition, p. 197 also cited in National
Tobacco Administration v. Commission on Audit, 311 SCRA 755 (1999).
40
Id. at 199.
41
Supra.
42
Supra.