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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
G.R. No. L-62114 July 5, 1983
ISIDRO BERNARDO and CAYETANO BERNARDO, petitioners,
vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
Alberto Mala, Jr. for petitioners.
The Solicitor General for respondent.

RELOVA, J.:
FIRST DIVISION
Petitioner Isidro Bernardo was a tenant of Ledda Sta. Rosa in her
riceland in Plaridel, Bulacan from October 1972 to August 1974. At the
time, petitioner constructed a house therein for his family's dwelling. His
son, co-petitioner Cayetano Bernardo, was staying with him in said
house as his helper in tilling the land. Subsequently, Isidro left the
landholding and transferred to San Nicolas, Bulacan without the
knowledge of the landowner Ledda Sta. Rosa. Before leaving the
landholding, however, Isidro transferred his tenancy rights to his son, copetitioner Cayetano Bernardo, who continued to reside in subject house.
Eventually, Ledda Sta. Rosa took possession of the whole riceland,
through her overseer Dr. Patricio E. Cruz.
A case of forcible entry was filed by Ledda Sta. Rosa against herein
petitioners, Isidro Bernardo and Cayetano Bernardo, before the
Municipal Court of Plaridel, Bulacan. Petitioners lost before the inferior
court as well as in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Likewise,
petitioners lost in their petition for certiorari and mandamus before the
Court of Appeals.

Thereafter, Ledda Sta. Rosa sent a letter of demand to petitioners telling


them to vacate the house and the land. When the latter failed to leave, a
criminal complaint was filed against them for violation of Presidential
Decree No. 772 with the fiscal's office. After a preliminary investigation
of the case, the provincial fiscal filed the corresponding information with
the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch VI, docketed as Criminal
Case No. 3022-M, as follows:
That on or about the 22nd day of April 1974, in the
municipality of Plaridel, province of Bulacan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the said accused Isidro Bernardo and Cayetano
Bernardo, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, without the knowledge and taking
advantage of the tolerance of the owner Ledda Sta.
Rosa y Cruz, succeed and/or continue in possessing
and squatting on a parcel of land of the said owner, by
erecting thereon their residential house and failing to
remove the said residential house despite demand to
do so made by the said owner.
Upon arraignment, herein petitioners, father and son, entered a plea of
not guilty. Trial on the merits of the case proceeded and, after both
parties have submitted their cases, herein petitioners, through counsel,
filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the court
to entertain a case for violation of Presidential Decree No. 772,
inasmuch as the same applies to squatters in urban communities only
and not to agricultural lands; that in the case of People vs. Echaves, 95
SCRA 663, it was held that "Presidential Decree No. 772 does not apply
to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was intended to
apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal
construction in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals."
The motion to dismiss was denied and the trial court rendered judgment
convicting herein petitioners of the crime charged and sentencing them
to pay a fine of P2,500.00 each, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency. Hence, this petition for certiorari to set aside the decision of
the lower court on the ground that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the
criminal case for alleged violation of Presidential Decree No. 772 since
the facts obtaining in the case do not constitute an offense or violation of
said law.

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Indeed, in the case of People vs. Echaves, supra, this Court, speaking
through Mr. Justice Ramon C. Aquino, held that Presidential Decree No.
772 does not apply to pasture lands. The preamble of the decree is
quoted below:

ACCORDINGLY, this petition for certiorari is GRANTED, the judgment of


conviction is SET ASIDE, and said Criminal Case No. 3022-M is hereby
DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

WHEREAS, it came to my knowledge that despite the


issuance of Letter of Instruction No. 19 dated October
2, 1972, directing the Secretaries of National Defense,
Public Works and Communications, Social Welfare and
the Director of Public Works, the PHHC General
Manager, the Presidential Assistant on Housing and
Rehabilitation Agency, Governors, City and Municipal
Mayors, and City and District Engineers, 'to remove all
illegal constructions including buildings on and along
esteros and river banks, those along railroad tracks and
those built without permits on public and private
property,' squatting is still a major problem in urban
communities all over the country;
WHEREAS, many persons or entities found to have
been unlawfully occupying public and private lands
belong to the affluent class;
WHEREAS, there is a need to further intensify the
government's drive against this illegal and nefarious
practice.
The intent of the decree is unmistakable. It is intended to apply only to
urban communities, particularly to illegal constructions.
The Solicitor General in his comment to the petition manifests that "the
intent and purpose of PD 772 is to prohibit and penalize squatting or
similar acts on public and private lands located in urban communities. ...
['that no person should be brought within the terms of a penal statute
who is not clearly within them, nor should any act be pronounced
criminal which is not clearly made so by the statute (US vs. Abad
Santos, 36 Phil. 243). ... Consequently, the decision of the lower court in
Criminal Case No. 3022- M, convicting herein petitioners of the offense
of violation of PD No. 772, is null and void and should, therefore, be set
aside."

Teehankee (Chairman), Plana, Escolin and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.


Melencio-Herrera and Vasquez, JJ., are on leave.

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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 113092 September 1, 1994


MARTIN CENTENO, petitioner,
vs.
HON. VICTORIA VILLALON-PORNILLOS, Presiding Judge of the
Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 10, and THE
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Santiago V. Marcos, Jr. for petitioner.

REGALADO, J.:
It is indeed unfortunate that a group of elderly men, who were moved by
their desire to devote their remaining years to the service of their Creator
by forming their own civic organization for that purpose, should find
themselves enmeshed in a criminal case for making a solicitation from a
community member allegedly without the required permit from the
Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The records of this case reveal that sometime in the last quarter of 1985,
the officers of a civic organization known as the Samahang Katandaan
ng Nayon ng Tikay launched a fund drive for the purpose of renovating
the chapel of Barrio Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan. Petitioner Martin Centeno,
the chairman of the group, together with Vicente Yco, approached Judge
Adoracion G. Angeles, a resident of Tikay, and solicited from her a
contribution of P1,500.00. It is admitted that the solicitation was made
without a permit from the Department of Social Welfare and
Development.

As a consequence, based on the complaint of Judge Angeles, an


information 1 was filed against petitioner Martin Centeno, together

with Religio Evaristo and Vicente Yco, for violation of Presidential


Decree No. 1564, or the Solicitation Permit Law, before the
Municipal Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 2, and docketed
as Criminal Case No. 2602. Petitioner filed a motion to quash the
information 2 on the ground that the facts alleged therein do not
constitute an offense, claiming that Presidential Decree No. 1564
only covers solicitations made for charitable or public welfare
purposes, but not those made for a religious purpose such as the
construction of a chapel. This was denied 3 by the trial court, and
petitioner's motion for reconsideration having met the same fate, trial
on the merits ensued.
On December 29, 1992, the said trial court rendered judgment 4 finding

accused Vicente Yco and petitioner Centeno guilty beyond


reasonable doubt and sentencing them to each pay a fine of
P200.00. Nevertheless, the trial court recommended that the
accused be pardoned on the basis of its finding that they acted in
good faith, plus the fact that it believed that the latter should not have
been criminally liable were it not for the existence of Presidential
Decree
No. 1564 which the court opined it had the duty to apply in the
instant case.
Both accused Centeno and Yco appealed to the Regional Trial Court of
Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 10. However, accused Yco subsequently
withdrew his appeal, hence the case proceeded only with respect to
petitioner Centeno. On May 21, 1993, respondent Judge VillalonPornillos affirmed the decision of the lower court but modified the
penalty, allegedly because of the perversity of the act committed which
caused damage and prejudice to the complainant, by sentencing
petitioner Centeno to suffer an increased penalty of imprisonment of 6
months and a fine of P1,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case
of insolvency. 5 The motion for reconsideration of the decision was

denied by the court. 6


Thus it is that a fine of P200.00 imposed as a penalty by the lowest court
in the judicial hierarchy eventually reached this highest tribunal,
challenged on the sole issue of whether solicitations for religious

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purposes are within the ambit of Presidential Decree No. 1564.
Quantitatively, the financial sanction is a nominal imposition but, on a
question of principle, it is not a trifling matter. This Court is gratified that
it can now grant this case the benefit of a final adjudication.
Petitioner questions the applicability of Presidential Decree No. 1564 to
solicitations for contributions intended for religious purposes with the
submissions that (1) the term "religious purpose" is not expressly
included in the provisions of the statute, hence what the law does not
include, it excludes;
(2) penal laws are to be construed strictly against the State and liberally
in favor of the accused; and (3) to subject to State regulation solicitations
made for a religious purpose would constitute an abridgment of the right
to freedom of religion guaranteed under the Constitution.
Presidential Decree No. 1564 (which amended Act No. 4075, otherwise
known as the Solicitation Permit Law), provides as follows:
Sec. 2. Any person, corporation, organization, or
association desiring to solicit or receive contributions
for charitable or public welfare purposes shall first
secure a permit from the Regional Offices of the
Department of Social Services and Development as
provided in the Integrated Reorganization Plan. Upon
the filing of a written application for a permit in the form
prescribed by the Regional Offices of the Department
of Social Services and Development, the Regional
Director or his duly authorized representative may, in
his discretion, issue a permanent or temporary permit
or disapprove the application. In the interest of the
public, he may in his discretion renew or revoke any
permit issued under Act 4075.
The main issue to be resolved here is whether the phrase "charitable
purposes" should be construed in its broadest sense so as to include a
religious purpose. We hold in the negative.
I. Indeed, it is an elementary rule of statutory construction that the
express mention of one person, thing, act, or consequence excludes all
others. This rule is expressed in the familiar maxim "expressio unius est
exclusio alterius." Where a statute, by its terms, is expressly limited to

certain matters, it may not, by interpretation or construction, be extended


to others. The rule proceeds from the premise that the legislature would
not have made specified enumerations in a statute had the intention
been not to restrict its meaning and to confine its terms to those
expressly mentioned. 7
It will be observed that the 1987 Constitution, as well as several other
statutes, treat the words "charitable" and "religious" separately and
independently of each other. Thus, the word "charitable" is only one of
three descriptive words used in Section 28 (3), Article VI of the
Constitution which provides that "charitable institutions, churches and
personages . . ., and all lands, buildings, and improvements, actually,
directly, and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational
purposes shall be exempt from taxation." There are certain provisions in
statutes wherein these two terms are likewise dissociated and
individually mentioned, as for instance, Sections 26 (e) (corporations
exempt from income tax) and 28 (8) (E) (exclusions from gross income)
of the National Internal Revenue Code; Section 88 (purposes for the
organization of non-stock corporations) of the Corporation Code; and
Section 234 (b) (exemptions from real property tax) of the Local
Government Code.
That these legislative enactments specifically spelled out "charitable"
and "religious" in an enumeration, whereas Presidential Decree No.
1564 merely stated "charitable or public welfare purposes," only goes to
show that the framers of the law in question never intended to include
solicitations for religious purposes within its coverage. Otherwise, there
is no reason why it would not have so stated expressly.
All contributions designed to promote the work of the church are
"charitable" in nature, since religious activities depend for their support
on voluntary contributions. 8 However, "religious purpose" is not

interchangeable with the expression "charitable purpose." While it is


true that there is no religious purpose which is not also a charitable
purpose, yet the converse is not equally true, for there may be a
"charitable" purpose which is not "religious" in the legal sense of the
term. 9 Although the term "charitable" may include matters which are
"religious," it is a broader term and includes matters which are not
"religious," and, accordingly, there is a distinction between
"charitable purpose" and "religious purpose," except where the two
terms are obviously used synonymously, or where the distinction has

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been done away with by statute.10 The word "charitable," therefore,
like most other words, is capable of different significations. For
example, in the law, exempting charitable uses from taxation, it has a
very wide meaning, but under Presidential Decree No. 1564 which is
a penal law, it cannot be given such a broad application since it
would be prejudicial to petitioners.

unequivocal expression of the legislative intent to make them such.


Whatever is not plainly within the provisions of a penal statute should be
regarded as without its intendment. 13

To illustrate, the rule is that tax exemptions are generally construed


strictly against the taxpayer. However, there are cases wherein claims
for exemption from tax for "religious purposes" have been liberally
construed as covered in the law granting tax exemptions for "charitable
purposes." Thus, the term "charitable purposes," within the meaning of a
statute providing that the succession of any property passing to or for
the use of any institution for purposes only of public charity shall not be
subject to succession tax, is deemed to include religious purposes.11 A

description rather than of precise definition, and each case involving


a determination of that which is charitable must be decided on its
own particular facts and circumstances. 15 The law does not
operate in vacuo nor should its applicability be determined by
circumstances in the abstract.

gift for "religious purposes" was considered as a bequest for


"charitable use" as regards exemption from inheritance tax. 12
On the other hand, to subsume the "religious" purpose of the solicitation
within the concept of "charitable" purpose which under Presidential
Decree
No. 1564 requires a prior permit from the Department of Social Services
and Development, under paid of penal liability in the absence thereof,
would be prejudicial to petitioner. Accordingly, the term "charitable"
should be strictly construed so as to exclude solicitations for "religious"
purposes. Thereby, we adhere to the fundamental doctrine underlying
virtually all penal legislations that such interpretation should be adopted
as would favor the accused.
For, it is a well-entrenched rule that penal laws are to be construed
strictly against the State and liberally in favor of the accused. They are
not to be extended or enlarged by implications, intendments, analogies
or equitable considerations. They are not to be strained by construction
to spell out a new offense, enlarge the field of crime or multiply felonies.
Hence, in the interpretation of a penal statute, the tendency is to subject
it to careful scrutiny and to construe it with such strictness as to
safeguard the rights of the accused. If the statute is ambiguous and
admits of two reasonable but contradictory constructions, that which
operates in favor of a party accused under its provisions is to be
preferred. The principle is that acts in and of themselves innocent and
lawful cannot be held to be criminal unless there is a clear and

The purpose of strict construction is not to enable a guilty person to


escape punishment through a technicality but to provide a precise
definition of forbidden acts. 14 The word "charitable" is a matter of

Furthermore, in the provisions of the Constitution and the statutes


mentioned above, the enumerations therein given which include the
words "charitable" and "religious" make use of the disjunctive "or." In its
elementary sense, "or" as used in a statute is a disjunctive article
indicating an alternative. It often connects a series of words or
propositions indicating a choice of either. When "or" is used, the various
members of the enumeration are to be taken separately. 16 Accordingly,

"charitable" and "religious," which are integral parts of an


enumeration using the disjunctive "or" should be given different,
distinct, and disparate meanings. There is no compelling
consideration why the same treatment or usage of these words
cannot be made applicable to the questioned provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 1564.
II. Petitioner next avers that solicitations for religious purposes cannot be
penalized under the law for, otherwise, it will constitute an abridgment or
restriction on the free exercise clause guaranteed under the
Constitution.
It may be conceded that the construction of a church is a social concern
of the people and, consequently, solicitations appurtenant thereto would
necessarily involve public welfare. Prefatorily, it is not implausible that
the regulatory powers of the State may, to a certain degree, extend to
solicitations of this nature. Considering, however, that such an activity is
within the cloak of the free exercise clause under the right to freedom of
religion guaranteed by the Constitution, it becomes imperative to delve
into the efficaciousness of a statutory grant of the power to regulate the

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exercise of this constitutional right and the allowable restrictions which
may possibly be imposed thereon.
The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a
double aspect. On the one hand, it forestalls compulsion by law of the
acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. Freedom
of conscience and freedom to adhere to such religious organization or
form of worship as the individual may choose cannot be restricted by
law. On the other hand, it safeguards the free exercise of the chosen
form of religion. Thus, the constitution embraces two concepts, that is,
freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute but, in the
nature of things, the second cannot be. Conduct remains subject to
regulation for the protection of society. The freedom to act must have
appropriate definitions to preserve the enforcement of that protection. In
every case, the power to regulate must be so exercised, in attaining a
permissible end, as not to unduly infringe on the protected
freedom. 17
Whence, even the exercise of religion may be regulated, at some slight
inconvenience, in order that the State may protect its citizens from injury.
Without doubt, a State may protect its citizens from fraudulent
solicitation by requiring a stranger in the community, before permitting
him publicly to solicit funds for any purpose, to establish his identity and
his authority to act for the cause which he purports to represent. The
State is likewise free to regulate the time and manner of solicitation
generally, in the interest of public safety, peace, comfort, or
convenience. 18
It does not follow, therefore, from the constitutional guaranties of the free
exercise of religion that everything which may be so called can be
tolerated. 19 It has been said that a law advancing a legitimate

governmental interest is not necessarily invalid as one interfering


with the "free exercise" of religion merely because it also incidentally
has a detrimental effect on the adherents of one or more
religion. 20 Thus, the general regulation, in the public interest, of
solicitation, which does not involve any religious test and does not
unreasonably obstruct or delay the collection of funds, is not open to
any constitutional objection, even though the collection be for a
religious purpose. Such regulation would not constitute a prohibited
previous restraint on the free exercise of religion or interpose an
inadmissible obstacle to its exercise.21

Even with numerous regulative laws in existence, it is surprising how


many operations are carried on by persons and associations who,
secreting their activities under the guise of benevolent purposes,
succeed in cheating and defrauding a generous public. It is in fact
amazing how profitable the fraudulent schemes and practices are to
people who manipulate them. The State has authority under the exercise
of its police power to determine whether or not there shall be restrictions
on soliciting by unscrupulous persons or for unworthy causes or for
fraudulent purposes. That solicitation of contributions under the guise of
charitable and benevolent purposes is grossly abused is a matter of
common knowledge. Certainly the solicitation of contributions in good
faith for worthy purposes should not be denied, but somewhere should
be lodged the power to determine within reasonable limits the worthy
from the unworthy. 22 The objectionable practices of unscrupulous

persons are prejudicial to worthy and proper charities which naturally


suffer when the confidence of the public in campaigns for the raising
of money for charity is lessened or destroyed. 23 Some regulation of
public solicitation is, therefore, in the public interest. 24
To conclude, solicitation for religious purposes may be subject to proper
regulation by the State in the exercise of police power. However, in the
case at bar, considering that solicitations intended for a religious
purpose are not within the coverage of Presidential Decree No. 1564, as
earlier demonstrated, petitioner cannot be held criminally liable therefor.
As a final note, we reject the reason advanced by respondent judge for
increasing the penalty imposed by the trial court, premised on the
supposed perversity of petitioner's act which thereby caused damage to
the complainant. It must be here emphasized that the trial court, in the
dispositive portion of its decision, even recommended executive
clemency in favor of petitioner and the other accused after finding that
the latter acted in good faith in making the solicitation from the
complainant, an observation with which we fully agree. After all, mistake
upon a doubtful and difficult question of law can be the basis of good
faith, especially for a layman.
There is likewise nothing in the findings of respondent judge which
would indicate, impliedly or otherwise, that petitioner and his co-accused
acted abusively or malevolently. This could be reflective upon her
objectivity, considering that the complainant in this case is herself a
judge of the Regional Trial Court at Kalookan City. It bears stressing at

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this point that a judge is required to so behave at all times as to promote
public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the
judiciary, 25 should be vigilant against any attempt to subvert its

engage the philantrophic as much as the religious fervor of the person


who is solicited for contribution.

independence, and must resist any pressure from whatever source. 26

Second. The purpose of the Decree is to protect the public against fraud
in view of the proliferation of fund campaigns for charity and other civic
projects. On the other hand, since religious fund drives are usually
conducted among those belonging to the same religion, the need for
public protection against fraudulent solicitations does not exist in as
great a degree as does the need for protection with respect to
solicitations for charity or civic projects so as to justify state regulation.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and


SET ASIDE, and petitioner Martin Centeno is ACQUITTED of the
offense charged, with costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J. and Puno, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

MENDOZA, J.:
I concur in the result reached in this case that the solicitation of
donations for the repair of a chapel is not covered by P.D. No. 1564
which requires a permit for the solicitation of contributions for "charitable
or public welfare purposes." My reasons are three-fold.
First. Solicitation of contributions for the construction of a church is not
solicitation for "charitable or public welfare purpose" but for a religious
purpose, and a religious purpose is not necessarily a charitable or public
welfare purpose. A fund campaign for the construction or repair of a
church is not like fund drives for needy families or victims of calamity or
for the construction of a civic center and the like. Like solicitation of
subscription to religious magazines, it is part of the propagation of
religious faith or evangelization. Such solicitation calls upon the virtue of
faith, not of charity, save as those solicited for money or aid may not
belong to the same religion as the solicitor. Such solicitation does not

Third. To require a government permit before solicitation for religious


purpose may be allowed is to lay a prior restraint on the free exercise of
religion. Such restraint, if followed, may well justify requiring a permit
before a church can make Sunday collections or enforce tithing. But
in American Bible Society v. City of Manila, 1 we precisely held that an

ordinance requiring payment of a license fee before one may engage


in business could not be applied to the appellant's sale of bibles
because that would impose a condition on the exercise of a
constitutional right. It is for the same reason that religious rallies are
exempted from the requirement of prior permit for public assemblies
and other uses of public parks and streets. 2 To read the Decree,
therefore, as including within its reach solicitations for religious
purposes would be to construe it in a manner that it violates the Free
Exercise of Religion Clause of the Constitution, when what we are
called upon to do is to ascertain whether a construction of the statute
is not fairly possible by which a constitutional violation may be
avoided.
For these reasons, I vote to reverse the decision appealed from and to
acquit petitioner.
Padilla, J., concurs.

# Separate Opinions

MENDOZA, J.:

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I concur in the result reached in this case that the solicitation of
donations for the repair of a chapel is not covered by P.D. No. 1564
which requires a permit for the solicitation of contributions for "charitable
or public welfare purposes." My reasons are three-fold.
First. Solicitation of contributions for the construction of a church is not
solicitation for "charitable or public welfare purpose" but for a religious
purpose, and a religious purpose is not necessarily a charitable or public
welfare purpose. A fund campaign for the construction or repair of a
church is not like fund drives for needy families or victims of calamity or
for the construction of a civic center and the like. Like solicitation of
subscription to religious magazines, it is part of the propagation of
religious faith or evangelization. Such solicitation calls upon the virtue of
faith, not of charity, save as those solicited for money or aid may not
belong to the same religion as the solicitor. Such solicitation does not
engage the philantrophic as much as the religious fervor of the person
who is solicited for contribution.
Second. The purpose of the Decree is to protect the public against fraud
in view of the proliferation of fund campaigns for charity and other civic
projects. On the other hand, since religious fund drives are usually
conducted among those belonging to the same religion, the need for
public protection against fraudulent solicitations does not exist in as
great a degree as does the need for protection with respect to
solicitations for charity or civic projects so as to justify state regulation.
Third. To require a government permit before solicitation for religious
purpose may be allowed is to lay a prior restraint on the free exercise of
religion. Such restraint, if followed, may well justify requiring a permit
before a church can make Sunday collections or enforce tithing. But
in American Bible Society v. City of Manila, 1 we precisely held that an

ordinance requiring payment of a license fee before one may engage


in business could not be applied to the appellant's sale of bibles
because that would impose a condition on the exercise of a
constitutional right. It is for the same reason that religious rallies are
exempted from the requirement of prior permit for public assemblies
and other uses of public parks and streets. 2 To read the Decree,
therefore, as including within its reach solicitations for religious
purposes would be to construe it in a manner that it violates the Free
Exercise of Religion Clause of the Constitution, when what we are
called upon to do is to ascertain whether a construction of the statute

is not fairly possible by which a constitutional violation may be


avoided.
For these reasons, I vote to reverse the decision appealed from and to
acquit petitioner.
Padilla, J., concurs.

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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

Moreover, under the balancing-of-interests test, the cleansing of the


electoral process, the guarantee of equal change for all candidates, and
the independence of the delegates who must be "beholden to no one but
to God, country and conscience," are interests that should be accorded
primacy.1

G.R. No. L-32485 October 22, 1970

The petitioner should therefore be accordingly guided by the


pronouncements in the cases of Imbong and Gonzales. 2

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF


THE PETITIONER'S RIGHTS AND DUTIES UNDER SEC. 8 OF R.A.
No. 6132.

The claim of petitioner that the challenged provision constitutes an ex


post facto law is likewise untenable.

KAY VILLEGAS KAMI, INC., petitioner.

An ex post facto law is one which:.

MAKASIAR, J.:.
This petition for declaratory relief was filed by Kay Villegas Kami, Inc.,
claiming to be a duly recognized and existing non-stock and non-profit
corporation created under the laws of the land, and praying for a
determination of the validity of Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 6132 and a declaration
of petitioner's rights and duties thereunder. In paragraph 7 of its petition,
petitioner avers that it has printed materials designed to propagate its
ideology and program of government, which materials include Annex B;
and that in paragraph 11 of said petition, petitioner intends to pursue its
purposes by supporting delegates to the Constitutional Convention who
will propagate its ideology.
Petitioner, in paragraph 7 of its petition, actually impugns because it
quoted, only the first paragraph of Sec. 8(a) on the ground that it violates
the due process clause, right of association, and freedom of expression
and that it is an ex post facto law.
The first three grounds were overruled by this Court when it held that the
questioned provision is a valid limitation on the due process, freedom of
expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and equal
protection clauses; for the same is designed to prevent the clear and
present danger of the twin substantive evils, namely, the prostitution of
electoral process and denial of the equal protection of the laws.

(1) makes criminal an act done before the passage of


the law and which was innocent when done, and
punishes such an act;
(2) aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was,
when committed;
(3) changes the punishment and inflicts a greater
punishment than the law annexed to the crime when
committed;
(4) alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes
conviction upon less or different testimony than the law
required at the time of the commission of the offense;
(5) assuming to regulate civil rights and remedies only,
in effect imposes penalty or deprivation of a right for
something which when done was lawful; and
(6) deprives a person accused of a crime of some
lawful protection to which he has become entitled, such
as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or
a proclamation of amnesty.3

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From the aforesaid definition as well as classification of ex post facto
laws, the constitutional inhibition refers only to criminal laws which are
given retroactive effect.4

Reiterates his views in Gonzales and Imbong insofar as they are


relevant to the issues in this case, dissents, even as agrees that
Republic Act 6132 is not ex post facto.

While it is true that Sec. 18 penalizes a violation of any provision of R.A.


No. 6132 including Sec. 8(a) thereof, the penalty is imposed only for acts
committed after the approval of the law and not those perpetrated prior
thereto. There is nothing in the law that remotely insinuates that Secs.
8(a) and 18, or any other provision thereof, shall apply to acts carried out
prior to its approval. On the contrary, See. 23 directs that the entire law
shall be effective upon its approval. It was approved on August 24, 1970.

VILLAMOR, J., concurring:

WHEREFORE, the prayer of the petition is hereby denied and


paragraph 1 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132 is not unconstitutional.
Without costs.
Reyes, J.B.L., Actg. C.J., Dizon, Makalintal and Castro, JJ., concur.
Zaldivar, J., reserves his vote.
Concepcion, C.J., is on leave.

Concurs in the sense that the law is declared not ex post facto law and
dissents as to the rest.
TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:
The Court's decision reaffirms its split-vote ruling last September 11,
1970 in Imbong vs. Ferrer and Gonzales vs. Comelec1 upholding the

constitutionality of the first paragraph of section 8(a) of Republic Act


6132. Inasmuch as I was unable to participate in the said cases, 2 I
have expressed my contrary view in my separate dissenting opinion in Badoy, Jr. vs.
3
Ferrer that the challenged provision, together with the Act's other

restrictions and strictures enumerated therein, "oppressively and


unreasonably straitjacket the candidates as well as the electorate
and gravely violate the constitutional guaranties of freedom of
expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association, and,
deny due process and the equal protection of the laws."
I therefore dissent from the Court's decision at bar for the same reason
and considerations stated in my separate dissenting opinion in the case
of Badoy.

Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting:


Concurs and dissents in accordance with his separate opinion in Imbong
v. Comelec, L-32432 and Gonzales v. Comelec, L-32443.
BARREDO, J., dissenting:

I only wish to add a few words on the statements in the main opinion
in Imbong-Gonzales that "(W)hile it may be true that a party's support of
a candidate is not wrong per se, it is equally true that Congress in the
exercise of the broad law-making authority can declare certain acts
as mala prohibita when justified by the exigencies of the times. One
such act is the party or organization support prescribed in Sec. 8(a),
which ban is a valid limitation on the freedom of association as well as
expression, for the reasons aforestated. Senator Tolentino emphasized
that 'equality of chances may be better attained by banning all
organization support.' "
I trust that said statements were not intended, and should not be
construed, as endorsing the contention of Senator Tolentino, the Act's

11
sponsor, that "(T)he protection of the Constitution cannot be invoked for
the right of association when the purpose is a malum
prohibitum because such purpose would be "contrary to law" " and
"(O)nce the ban (on party and organization support) is approved into
law, the freedom of association cannot be invoked against it" since the
Constitution decrees only that "(T)he right to form associations or
societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged."4
Such a concept of malum prohibitum vis-a-vis the Constitutional
guarantee of freedom of association which has its root in the Malolos
Constitution would render sterile and meaningless the Constitutional
safeguard, should Congress be conceded, in the exercise of its broad
law-making authority, the power to strike down at any time associations
and societies by the simple expedient of declaring their purposes or
certain activities, not wrong per se as "contrary to law" or mala prohibita.
I believe that such a concept begs the question. Obviously, the word
"law" in the qualifying clause "for purposes not contrary to law" does not
mean that an enactment of the legislature forecloses the question with
finality and sounds the death-knell. Laws that would regulate the
purposes for which associations and societies may be formed or would
declare their purposes mala prohibita must pass the usual constitutional
test of reasonableness and furthermore, must not abridge freedom of
speech and press.5

# Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting:
Concurs and dissents in accordance with his separate opinion in Imbong
v. Comelec, L-32432 and Gonzales v. Comelec, L-32443.
BARREDO, J., dissenting:
Reiterates his views in Gonzales and Imbong insofar as they are
relevant to the issues in this case, dissents, even as agrees that
Republic Act 6132 is not ex post facto.

VILLAMOR, J., concurring:


Concurs in the sense that the law is declared not ex post facto law and
dissents as to the rest.
TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting:.
The Court's decision reaffirms its split-vote ruling last September 11,
1970 in Imbong vs. Ferrer and Gonzales vs. Comelec1 upholding the

constitutionality of the first paragraph of section 8(a) of Republic Act


6132. Inasmuch as I was unable to participate in the said cases, 2 I
have expressed my contrary view in my separate dissenting opinion in Badoy, Jr. vs.
3
Ferrer that the challenged provision, together with the Act's other

restrictions and strictures enumerated therein, "oppressively and


unreasonably straitjacket the candidates as well as the electorate
and gravely violate the constitutional guaranties of freedom of
expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association, and,
deny due process and the equal protection of the laws."
I therefore dissent from the Court's decision at bar for the same reason
and considerations stated in my separate dissenting opinion in the case
of Badoy.
I only wish to add a few words on the statements in the main opinion
in Imbong-Gonzales that "(W)hile it may be true that a party's support of
a candidate is not wrong per se, it is equally true that Congress in the
exercise of the broad law-making authority can declare certain acts
as mala prohibita when justified by the exigencies of the times. One
such act is the party or organization support prescribed in Sec. 8(a),
which ban is a valid limitation on the freedom of association as well as
expression, for the reasons aforestated. Senator Tolentino emphasized
that 'equality of chances may be better attained by banning all
organization support.' "
I trust that said statements were not intended, and should not be
construed, as endorsing the contention of Senator Tolentino, the Act's
sponsor, that "(T)he protection of the Constitution cannot be invoked for
the right of association when the purpose is a malum
prohibitum because such purpose would be "contrary to law" " and
"(O)nce the ban (on party and organization support) is approved into

12
law, the freedom of association cannot be invoked against it" since the
Constitution decrees only that "(T)he right to form associations or
societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged."4
Such a concept of malum prohibitum vis-a-vis the Constitutional
guarantee of freedom of association which has its root in the Malolos
Constitution would render sterile and meaningless the Constitutional
safeguard, should Congress be conceded, in the exercise of its broad
law-making authority, the power to strike down at any time associations
and societies by the simple expedient of declaring their purposes or
certain activities, not wrong per se as "contrary to law" or mala prohibita.
I believe that such a concept begs the question. Obviously, the word
"law" in the qualifying clause "for purposes not contrary to law" does not
mean that an enactment of the legislature forecloses the question with
finality and sounds the death-knell. Laws that would regulate the
purposes for which associations and societies may be formed or would
declare their purposes mala prohibita must pass the usual constitutional
test of reasonableness and furthermore, must not abridge freedom of
speech and press.5

13
EN BANC

[G.R. No. 127663. March 11, 1999]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs. ROLANDO VALDEZ, accused-appellant.
DECISION
MELO, J.:
Accused-appellant Rolando Valdez seeks reversal of the
judgment of conviction promulgated by Branch 45 of the Regional
Trial Court of the First Judicial Region stationed in Urdaneta,
Pangasinan, on October 24, 1996 sentencing him to death for the
complex crime of Multiple Murder with double Frustrated Murder,
and likewise separately sentencing him to suffer the prison term
of reclusion perpetua for the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms
and Ammunitions (Presidential Decree No. 1866).
The information against accused-appellant, Bernard Castro, and
one John Doe for the complex crime of Multiple Murder with
Double Frustrated Murder charged:
That on or about 8:30 oclock in the evening of September 17, 1995,
at Sitio Cabaoangan, barangay Nalsian, municipality of Manaoag,
province of Pangasinan, and within and jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused conspiring, confederating and
mutually helping one another with intent to kill, and each armed with
caliber .30 carbines did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength
and treachery, simultaneously attacked and fired their caliber .30
carbines at Ramon Garcia, Jr., Jean Marie Garcia, Willy Acosta,

Sandra Montano, William Montano and Randy Tibule while they


were on board a tricycle, on their way to a dance party, hitting them
in the different parts of their bodies which caused the instantaneous
death of Ramon Garcia, Jr., Jean Marie Garcia, Willy Acosta and
Sandra Montano, to the damage and prejudice of their respective
heirs, and inflicting fatal injuries to William Montano and Randy
Tibule, in the different parts of their bodies, having thus performed
all the acts which would have produced the crime of murder with
respect to both but which did not by reason of causes independent of
the will of the accused, namely, the able and timely medical
assistance given the said victims William Montano and Randy
Tibule, which prevented their death.
Contrary to Article 248 in Relation to Article 48 and Article 6 of the
RPC.
(pp. 1-2, Record of Crim. Case No. U-8747)
The Information for Illegal Possession of Firearms and
Ammunitions pertinently averred:
That on or about 8:30 oclock in the evening of September 17, 1995
at Sitio Cabaoangan, Barangay Nalsian, Municipality of Manaoag,
province of Pangasinan and within and jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the said accused, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, have in his possession, custody and control, a firearm, to
wit: Caliber .30 carbine without first having secured the proper
license thereof from the authorities and which he used in committing
the offense of multiple murder and double frustrated murder.
Contrary to Presidential Decree 1866.
(p. 1, Record of Crim. Case No. U-8749)
The inculpatory facts adduced by the prosecution during trial
are succinctly summarized in the Peoples brief as follows:

14
On September 17, 1995, at around 8:00 in the evening, William
Montano (16 years old), Randy Tibule (17 years old), Jean Marie
Garcia, Willie Acosta, Sandra Montano and Ramon Garcia, Jr., were
at the house of Randy Tibule in Manaoag, Pangasinan.They were
discussing how to go to the wedding party of Jean Maries cousin in
Sitio Cabaoangan (TSN June 11, 1996, pp. 7-8; June 18, 1996, pp.
23-24).
After discussion, they rode in the tricycle driven by Ramon Garcia
going to Cabaoangan. Behind Garcia were Tibule and Willie. Jean
was seated inside the side car with Sandra and William Montano
(TSN June 11, 1996, pp. 7-11; TSN June 18,1996, pp. 23-25).

- gunshot wound, .5 cm. diameter point of entrance ear canal thru


and thru trajecting the skull brain substance with point of exit
temporal area right.
- Another gunshot wound .5 cm. in diameter point of entrance
anterior axilliary line left at the lable nipple trajecting the lung (left)
heart ventricle and lung (right) with point of exit 1 cm. in diameter, 1
inch lateral the nipple right.
(Exhibit C)
Sandra Montano:

After making a turn along the barangay road leading to Sitio


Cabaoangan, they met appellant Rolando Valdez and his companions
who were armed with guns. The tricycles headlight flashed on their
faces. Without warning, they pointed their guns and fired at
Montanos group. Thereafter, after uttering the words, nataydan,
mapan tayon (They are already dead. Let us go), Valdez and
companions left (TSN June 11,1996, pp. 11-14).

- gunshot wound .6 cm. in diameter, point of entrance at the


temporal area left, penetrating the skin, skull minigas, brain
substance (right) (tempral regis) where the slug lodge.

The shooting incident left Ramon Garcia, Jean Marie Garcia, Sandra
Montano and Willie Acosta dead (TSN June 11, 1996, pp. 14-16).
They sustained the following injuries:

- gunshot wound, .5 cm. in diameter below coastal arch point of


entrance trajecting the upper 3rd of the stomach thru and thru
trajecting the upper third of the stomach of thoracic vein with the
point of exit 1 cm. in diameter at the level of the 7th thorasic
vertebrae.

Jean Marie Garcia:


- gunshot wound .5 cm. in diameter, 1 inch lateral of the nipple right
through and through trajecting the middle lobe of the lungs, rt
ventricle of the heart, middle lobe of the lung, left with point of exit
1 inch in diameter 1 inch lateral of the nipple, left.
(Exhibit B)
Ramon Garcia:

(Exhibit D)
Willie Acosta:

(Exhibit E)
On the other hand, William Montano and Randy Tibule survived the
attack. They suffered serious gunshot injuries that could have caused
their death were it not for the timely medical attention given them
(TSN July 3, 1996, p. 6). Montano sustained several gunshot wounds
on the left arm, two on the left upper back, another on the left
shoulder and middle right finger (TSN June 25, 1996, p. 608). Tibule
sustained two gunshot wounds, one at the fifth upper quadrant

15
(stomach) and the other at the left periumbelical (TSN July 3, 1996,
pp. 7-8).

b) P 26,358.00 as actual damages


c) P 500,000.00 as moral damages

(pp. 215-219, Rollo.)


3) To the heirs of the deceased JEMARIE GARCIA:
In its decision dated October 24, 1996, the trial court rendered a
judgment of conviction in the two cases, finding and disposing:
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8747: --

a) P 50,000 as indemnity
b) P 500,000.00 as moral damages

the accused ROLANDO VALDEZ y LIPURDA, GUILTY beyond


reasonable doubt of the crime of MULTIPLE MURDER WITH
DOUBLE FRUSTRATED MURDER defined and penalized under
Republic Act No. 7659 otherwise known as the Heinous Crime Law,
the offense having been a complex crime the penalty of which is in
the maximum, and with the attendant aggravating circumstances of
evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength, hereby
sentences him the ultimum supplicum of DEATH to be executed
pursuant to Republic Act No. 8177 known as the Lethal Injection
Law, to pay the heirs of the deceased RAMON GARCIA, JR.,
WILLIE ACOSTA, JEMARIE GARCIA and SANDRA
MONTANO and RANDY TIBULE, as follows:

4) To the heirs of the deceased Sandra Montano:

1). To the heirs of the deceased Ramon Garcia, jr.:

b) P 100,000.00 as moral damages

a) P 50,000 as indemnity

6) To the victim RANDY TIBULE:

b) P 52,116.00 as actual damages

a) P 36,233.65 as actual damages

c) P 500,000.00 as moral damages

b) P 100,000.00 as moral damages

2). To the heirs of the deceased WILLIE ACOSTA

and to pay the costs.

a) P 50,000 as indemnity

WITH RESPECT TO CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8749: --

a) P 50,000 as indemnity
b) P 48,269.80 as actual damages
c) P 500,000.00 as moral damages
5) To the victim WILLIAM MONTANO:
a) P 39,133.92 as actual damages

16
the accused ROLANDO VALDEZ y LIPURDA GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF
FIREARM AND AMMUNITIONS (Presidential Decree No. 1866)
and hereby sentences him to suffer imprisonment of RECLUSION
PERPETUA and to pay the costs.
Finally, it is said: Dura lex, sed lex, translated as: The law is harsh,
but that is the law!
SO ORDERED.
(pp. 180-181, Rollo.)

V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO


APPRECIATE AGAINST THE PROSECUTION ITS
DELIBERATE FAILURE TO PRESENT THE
POLICE INVESTIGATORS WHO INVESTIGATED
THE INCIDENT AND IT WAS THE DEFENSE
WHICH
PRESENTED
SAID
POLICE
INVESTIGATORS;
VI. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING
THAT ACCUSED ROLANDO VALDEZ DID NOT
DENY THE ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM FOR
VIOLATION OF P.D. 1866 BECAUSE HE DID NOT
ALLEGEDLY
TOUCHED
IT
IN
HIS
MEMORANDUM.

Hence, the instant review, with accused-appellant anchoring his


plea for reversal on the following assigned errors:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED FAILING TO
CONSIDER THE MATERIAL, SUBSTANTIAL,
IMPORTANT
AND
SIGNIFICANT,
DISCREPANCIES IN THE AFFIDAVITS OF
PROSECUTION
WITNESSES
AND
THEIR
TESTIMONIES IN COURT;
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE
RECANTATIONS OF PROSECUTION WITNESSES;
III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO
CONSIDER THE SERIOUS DOUBTS ON THE
IDENTITY OF ACCUSED, ROLANDO VALDEZ AS
THE GUNMAN;
IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING
CONSIDER MOTIVE ON THE PART
BERNARDO CASTRO TO FIRE AT, AS
ACTUALLY FIRED AT THE OCCUPANTS
MOTORIZED TRICYCLE;

TO
OF
HE
OF

(pp. 106-107, Rollo)


After a painstaking review of the record and a deliberate
consideration of the arguments of accused-appellant, the Court does
not find enough basis to reverse.
Accused-appellant claims that the trial court erred in failing to
consider what he says are material, substantial, important and
significant discrepancies between the affidavits of prosecution
witnesses and their testimonies in court. Accused-appellant points to
the Statement of William Montano, taken by SPO1 Mario Suratos on
September 20, 1995 (Exhibit 1: p. 238, Record), and the Statement
taken on September 24, 1995 (Exhibit 4: p. 291, Record), both in
Villaflor Hospital, Dagupan City where William Montano
specifically named Bernard Castro as the person who flagged down
the motorized tricycle he and the other victims were riding. This, he
claims, is inconsistent with his testimony during the trial where he
stated:
ATTY. RANCHEZ:
Q. Now, were you able to reach Sitio Cabauangan, Nalsiam,
Manaoag, Pangasinan?

17
A. No, sir.
Q. Why?
A. When we were entering the road at Sitio Cabauangan at
around ten to fifteen meters, somebody plugged (sic) down
the tricycle, sir.
Q. And what happened next after somebody plugged (sic) down
your tricycle?
A. Somebody standing was lighted by the headlight of our
motorcycle, sir.
Q. Now, what happened next, if any?
A. The one who was standing and was lighted with the headlight
was immediately recognized by me, sir.
Q Who was that person whom you saw and you immediately
recognized?
A. That one, sir.

after a more thorough consideration of what transpired, they have


realized that the filing of the complaint against Bernard Castro was a
mistake and the result of misunderstanding or misapprehension of
what actually happened. In his testimony in court, William, however,
identified accused-appellant as the person illuminated by the
headlight of the tricycle, for which reason William readily
recognized him. We, therefore, find nothing inconsistent between his
declarations during the investigation and his testimony in court. The
lack of precision with which he distinguished between the person
who flagged down the tricycle and the other person who he
recognized because of the headlight of the tricycle cannot be
considered as inconsistency at all. The same holds true with claimed
discrepancies between the statements of Randy Tibule during the
investigation and his testimony in court.
Accused-appellant stubbornly insists that following the
withdrawal or retraction of the accusation of several witnesses
against Bernard Castro, these same witnesses accusation against
accused-appellant becomes doubtful.
We are not convinced.

ACTG. INTERPRETER:
Witness pointing to a person wearing white t-shirt seated at the
bench for the accused, and when asked his name, he gave his
name as Rolando Valdez.
(pp. 11-12, tsn, June 11, 1996)
We are not persuaded.
In his Statements dated September 20, 1995 (Exhibit 1) and
September 24, 1995 (Exhibit 4), William Montano pointed to
Bernard Castro as the person who flagged down the motorized
tricycle ridden by the victims. On November 8, 1995, William and
his co-victim/survivor Randy Tibule executed a Pinagsamang
Salaysay sa Pag-uurong ng Demanda where they disclaimed having
seen Bernard Castro at the scene of the crime. They declared that

In all the references by accused-appellant in pages 10-12 of his


brief to the sworn declarations of prosecution witnesses made during
the investigation of the case, Bernard Castro may have indeed been
identified and named as one of the gunmen. It may readily be noted
in these very same references, however, that all these prosecution
witnesses referred to two other companions, then unidentified, of
Bernard Castro. Even in the Joint Affidavit (Exhibit 7) referred to in
page 11 of the brief, the police investigators categorically referred to
Bernard Castro y Nazareno, alias Toti as one of the suspects or
assailants involved in the shooting incident (p. 112, Rollo). The
logical conclusion that may be drawn therefrom is that there is at
least one other assailant in addition to Bernard Castro, and as it
developed, accused-appellant was subsequently and positively
named as such. Withal, we cannot subscribe to accused-appellants
ratiocination that if the witnesses pointed to Bernard Castro as one of
the perpetrators of the crime, then it follows that accused-appellant

18
cannot be one other and additional perpetrator anymore. Accusedappellants reasoning on this point is absolutely flawed. It is totally
unacceptable.
Accused-appellant likewise seeks shelter in the mysterious
withdrawal of the victims charges against Bernard Castro. He
insinuates that such recantation should not have been given any
consideration. But, this is water under the bridge. Anyway, even in
the remotest possibility that the retraction of the accusation against
Bernard Castro may be reversed, it does not get accused-appellant
off the hook. Considering that accused-appellant had himself been
positively identified, together with Bernard Castro, as one of the
other perpetrators of the crime, his conviction may still stand
independently and regardless of whether or not Castro is indicted or
remains unprosecuted.
Accused-appellant further argues that it is not he but Castro who
had the motive to shoot and fire at the occupants of the motorized
tricycle, mistaking one of the occupants thereof for Isidro
Capistrano, Castros former classmate and with whom he earlier had
an altercation. It is very clear in his brief, however, that accusedappellant predicates this argument on the mistaken premise that he
was not positively identified in the case at bar although he admits
that it is established that he was at the scene of the crime (p. 114,
Rollo). This argument will not hold simply because it is settled that
accused-appellant had been positively identified by eyewitnesses and
victims William Montano and Randy Tibule. It is basic and
fundamental rule that proof of motive is necessary for conviction
only when there is doubt as to the identity of the accused, not when
accused has been positively identified as in the present case (People
vs. Caggaunan, 94 Phil. 118 [1953]; People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA
422 [1980]; People vs. Pano, 257 SCRA 274 [1996]). Besides, it is
also to be noted that lack of motive for committing the crime does
not preclude conviction, considering that, nowadays, it is a matter of
judicial knowledge that persons have killed or committed serious
offense for no reason at all (People vs. Cabodoc, 263 SCRA 187
[1996]).

Accused-appellant further contends that the prosecutions


deliberate and intentional failure to present the investigating police
officers and their Joint Affidavit (Exhibit 7) constitutes culpable
suppression of evidence which, if duly taken into account, will merit
his acquittal.
The argument is puerile, simply because the defense itself was
able to present the police officers, and exhibit 7 (p. 116, Rollo). It is
to be further noted that as earlier pointed out, the declaration of
SPO1 Suratos and SPO1 Carbonel did not categorically rule out the
possibility of convicting other persons as co-principals of Castro. On
the contrary, it is clear from such affidavit that there was more than
just one perpetrator of the crime. It even confirms and corroborates
the eyewitness accounts of William Montano and Randy Tibule
pointing to accused-appellant as one of the other companions of
Castro.
After meticulously and carefully going through each and every
piece of evidence on record, the Court finds no reason to depart from
the trial courts accord of credence to the eyewitness accounts of
William Montano and Randy Tibule who positively identified
accused-appellant as one of the persons who shot and fired at them
and their companions that fateful night. We agree with the trial court
that the evidence points beyond reasonable doubt that accusedappellant was one of those principally responsible for the deaths of
the four victims in this case and the wounding of two others. There is
also sufficient evidence that the aggravating circumstance of
treachery attended the killings, thus, qualifying the same to murder.
Under paragraph 16, Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code, the
qualifying circumstance of treachery is present when the offender
employs means, methods, or forms in the execution of the crime
which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution without
risk to himself arising from any defensive or retaliatory act which the
victim might make (People vs. Santos, 270 SCRA 650 [1997]). The
settled rule is that treachery can exist even if the attack is frontal if it
is sudden and unexpected, giving the victim no opportunity to repel
it or depend himself against such attack. What is decisive is that the

19
execution of the attack, without slightest provocation from the victim
who is unarmed, made it impossible for the victim to defend himself
or to retaliate (People vs. Javier, 269 SCRA 181 [1997]).
The trial court ruled that evident premeditation is likewise
present. After reviewing the evidence, however, we do not find any
showing of evident premeditation on the part of accusedappellant. While there may be testimonial evidence pointing to an
altercation between Bernard Castro and a certain Capistrano, it does
sufficiently prove the attendance of the aggravating circumstance of
evident premeditation. It is not enough that evident premeditation is
suspected or surmised, but criminal intent must be evidenced by
notorious outward acts evidencing determination to commit the
crime. In order to be considered an aggravation of the offense, the
circumstance must not merely be premeditation; it must be evident
premeditation (People vs. Torejas, 43 SCRA 158 [1972]).
To establish the existence of evident premeditation, the
following have to be prove: (1) the time when the offender
determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that
the offender had clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse
of time between the determination and the execution to allow the
offender to reflect on the consequences of his act (People vs.
Juan, 254 SCRA 478 [1996]).
Establishing a basis or motive for the commission of the crime
does not constitute sufficient ground to consider the existence of
evident premeditation. At best, it may indicate the time when the
offenders determined to commit the crime (the first element). Their
act of arming themselves with caliber .30 carbines and thereafter
waiting for their supposed victims at ambush positions may have
also indicated that they clung to their determination to commit the
crime (the second element). More important that these two elements
is the proof that a sufficient period of time had lapsed between the
outward act evidencing intent and actual commission of the offense
(the third element). There must have been enough opportunity for the
initial impulse to subside. This element is indispensable for
circumstance of evident premeditation to aggravate the

crime. In People vs. Canial, 46 SCRA 134 [1972], this Court


reiterates:
In other words, this circumstance can be taken into account only
when there had been a cold and deep meditation, and a tenacious
persistence in the accomplishment of the criminal act. There must be
an opportunity to coolly and serenely think and deliberate on the
meaning and the consequences of what they had planned to do, an
interval long enough for the conscience and better judgment to
overcome the evil desire and scheme.
(p. 649)
As early as in People vs. Durante, 53 Phil. 363 [1929], the
Court had stressed the importance of sufficient time between the
criminal act and the resolution to carry out the criminal intent,
affording such opportunity for cool thought and reflection to arrive at
a calm judgment. Obviously, this element is wanting in the case at
bar. Right after the supposed heated argument between Bernard
Castro and Capistrano, Castro and company went home to get the
firearms and not long thereafter mounted the assault. There was no
chance for the anger to subside. The culprits in the case at bar had no
opportunity for cool thought and reflection to arrive at a calm
judgment.
The other aggravating circumstance considered by the trial court
is that of abuse of superior strength. This contravenes the very basic
and elementary doctrine in our jurisdiction that the aggravating
circumstance of abuse of superior strength is absorbed in treachery
(People vs. Mobe, 81 Phil. 58 [1948]; People vs. Nierra, 96 SCRA 1
[1980]; People vs. Torrefiel, 256 SCRA 369 [1996]).
Notwithstanding the absence of any aggravating circumstances,
if we were to uphold the trial courts premises on the complex nature
of the crime committed, the death sentence, being the maximum
penalty for murder, would still have been the imposable penalty
under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. The Court however,

20
finds compelling reasons to reduce the sentence from one death
penalty (for the complex crime of multiple murder with double
frustrated murder) and one reclusion perpetua (for the complex
crime of illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions) to four
counts of reclusion perpetua (for 4 murders) and two indeterminate
sentences of prision mayor to reclusion temporal (for the 2 frustrated
murders).
The recommendation of the Solicitor General in the Peoples
brief that accused-appellant should instead be convicted of four
counts of murder and two counts of frustrated murder is well taken.
The trial court erred when it allowed itself to be carried away by
the erroneous Information filed by the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor of Pangasinan charging the complex crime of multiple
murder and double frustrated murder (p. 1, Record: Crim. Case No.
U-8747). It may be noted that in his Resolution dated September 26,
1995, the investigating municipal trial court judge of Manaoag,
Pangasinan, found a prima facie case for four separate counts of
murder (pp. 101- 102, Ibid.) Too, the same investigating judge in his
Resolution dated October 31, 1995 found a prima facie case for two
counts of frustrated murder (pp. 43-44, Ibid.). It was upon
reinvestigation by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Pangasinan that a case for the complex crime of murder with double
frustrated murder was instead filed per its Joint Resolution dated
November 17, 1995 (pp. 4-6, Ibid.).
The concept of a complex crime is defined in Article 48 of the
Revised Penal Code, to wit:
ART. 48. Penalty for complex crimes When a single act constitutes
two or more grave or less grave felonies or when an offense is a
necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most
serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its
maximum period. (As amended by Act No. 4000.)
The case at bar does not fall under any of the two instances defined
above. The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pangasinan

erroneously considered the case as falling under the first. It is clear


from the evidence on record, however, that the four crimes of murder
resulted not from a single act but from several individual and distinct
acts. For one thing, the evidence indicates that there was more than
one gunman involved, and the act of each gunman is distinct from
that of the other. It cannot be said therefore, that there is but a single
act of firing a single firearm. There were also several empty bullet
shells recovered from the scene of the crime. This confirms the fact
that several shots were fired. Furthermore, considering the relative
positions of the gunmen and their victims, some of whom were
riding the motorized tricycle itself while the others were seated
inside the sidecar thereof, it was absolutely impossible for the four
victims to have been hit and killed by a single bullet. Each act by
each gunman pulling the trigger of their respective firearms, aiming
each particular moment at different persons constitute distinct and
individual acts which cannot give rise to the complex crime of
multiple murder. We therefore rule that accused-appellant is guilty,
not of a complex crime of multiple murder, but of four counts of
murder for the death of the four victims in this case. In the same
manner, accused-appellant is likewise held guilty for two counts of
frustrated murder.
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides
the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for the crime of
murder. Without any mitigating or aggravating circumstance
attendant in the commission of the crime, the medium penalty is the
lower indivisible penalty or reclusion perpetua. In the case at bar,
accused-appellant, being guilty of four separate counts of murder, the
proper penalty should be four sentences of reclusion perpetua. In
addition, he being guilty of two counts of frustrated murder, accusedappellant must be meted out an indeterminate sentence ranging from
a minimum of 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor to a maximum of
12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal for each offense.
Now, to the matter of accused-appellants conviction for illegal
possession of unlicensed firearm under Presidential Decree No.
1866. It was recently held in the case entitled People vs.

21
Molina (G.R.No. 115835-36, July 22, 1998), and reiterated inPeople
vs. Feloteo (G.R. No. 124212, September 17, 1998), that there can be
no separate conviction of the crime of illegal possession of firearms
under Presidential Decree No. 1866 in view of the amendments
introduced by Republic Act No. 8294.
Instead, illegal possession of firearms is merely to be taken as
an aggravating circumstance per Section 1 of Republic Act No.
8294, which in part, provides:
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of unlicensed
firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an
aggravating circumstance.
Republic Act No. 8294 took effect on July 6, 1997, fifteen days
after its publication on June 21, 1997. The crimes involved in the
case at bar were committed on September 17, 1995. As in the case of
any penal law, the provisions of Republic Act No. 8294 will
generally have prospective application. In cases, however, where the
new law will be advantageous to the accused, the law may be given
retroactive application (Article 22, Revised Penal Code). Insofar as it
will spare accused-appellant in the case at bar from a separate
conviction for the crime of illegal possession of firearms, Republic
Act No. 8294 may be given retroactive application in Criminal Case
No. U-8749 (for Illegal Possession of Firearm) subject of this present
review.
As a word of caution, however, the dismissal of the present case
for illegal possession of firearm should not be misinterpreted as
meaning that there can no longer be any prosecution for the crime of
illegal possession of firearm. In general, all pending cases involving
illegal possession of firearm should continue to be prosecuted and
tried if no other crimes expressly indicated in Republic Act No. 8294
are involved (murder or homicide under Section 1, and rebellion,
insurrection, sedition or attemptedcoup detat under Section 3).
However, the use of an unlicensed firearm in the case at bar
cannot be considered as a special aggravating circumstance in

Criminal Case No. U-8747 (for Complex Crime of Multiple Murder),


also under review herein, because it will unduly raise the penalty for
the four counts of murder from four reclusion perpetua to that of
four-fold death. Insofar as this particular provision of Republic Act
No. 8294 is not beneficial to accused-appellant because it unduly
aggravates the crime, this new law will not be given retroactive
application, lest it might acquire the character of an ex-post
facto law.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision with respect
to Criminal Case No. U-8747 is hereby MODIFIED. Accusedappellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of four counts of
murder and hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of four sentences
of reclusion perpetua. He is also found guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of two counts of frustrated murder and hereby meted two
indeterminate sentences, each, ranging from six (6) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor, as minimum, to twelve (12) years and one (1)
day of reclusion temporal, as maximum. The appealed judgment
relating to the civil liabilities of accused-appellant towards the six
victims is AFFIRMED.
Criminal Case No. U-8749 involving Presidential Decree No.
1866 is hereby dismissed.
No special pronouncement is made as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
Quisumbing,
Purisima,
Pardo,
Buena, and Gonzaga-Reyes,
JJ., concur.
Mendoza and Panganiban, JJ., in the result.

22
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

included in the list of lost, stolen and questionable animals; one from the
LIvestock inspector, Bureau of Animal Industry of Libmanan, Camarines
Sur and one from the mayor of Sipocot.

SECOND DIVISION

In spite of the permit to transport and the said four certificates, the
carabaos, while passing at Basud, Camarines Norte, were confiscated
by Lieutenant Arnulfo V. Zenarosa, the town's police station commander,
and by Doctor Bella S. Miranda, provincial veterinarian. The confiscation
was basis on the aforementioned Executive Order No. 626-A which
provides "that henceforth, no carabao, regardless of age, sex, physical
condition or purpose and no carabeef shall be transported from one
province to another. The carabaos or carabeef transported in violation of
this Executive Order as amended shall be subject to confiscation and
forfeiture by the government to be distributed ... to deserving farmers
through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit, in the
case of carabaos" (78 OG 3144).

G.R. No. L-64279 April 30, 1984


ANSELMO L. PESIGAN and MARCELINO L. PESIGAN, petitioners,
vs.
JUDGE DOMINGO MEDINA ANGELES, Regional Trial Court,
Caloocan City Branch 129, acting for REGIONAL TRIAL COURT of
Camarines Norte, now presided over by JUDGE NICANOR ORIO,
Daet Branch 40; DRA. BELLA S. MIRANDA, ARNULFO V.
ZENAROSA, ET AL., respondents.
Quiazon, De Guzman Makalintal and Barot for petitioners.

Doctor Miranda distributed the carabaos among twenty-five farmers of


Basud, and to a farmer from the Vinzons municipal nursery (Annex 1).

The Solicitor General for respondents.

AQUINO, J.:

+.wph! 1

At issue in this case is the enforceability, before publication in the Official


Gazette of June 14, 1982, of Presidential Executive Order No. 626-A
dated October 25, 1980, providing for the confiscation and forfeiture by
the government of carabaos transported from one province to another.
Anselmo L. Pesigan and Marcelo L. Pesigan, carabao dealers,
transported in an Isuzu ten-wheeler truck in the evening of April 2, 1982
twenty-six carabaos and a calf from Sipocot, Camarines Sur with Padre
Garcia, Batangas, as the destination.
They were provided with (1) a health certificate from the provincial
veterinarian of Camarines Sur, issued under the Revised Administrative
Code and Presidential Decree No. 533, the Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of
1974; (2) a permit to transport large cattle issued under the authority of
the provincial commander; and (3) three certificates of inspection, one
from the Constabulary command attesting that the carabaos were not

The Pesigans filed against Zenarosa and Doctor Miranda an action for
replevin for the recovery of the carabaos allegedly valued at P70,000
and damages of P92,000. The replevin order could not be executed by
the sheriff. In his order of April 25, 1983 Judge Domingo Medina
Angeles, who heard the case at Daet and who was later transferred to
Caloocan City, dismissed the case for lack of cause of action.
The Pesigans appealed to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
and section 25 of the Interim Rules and pursuant to Republic Act No.
5440, a 1968 law which superseded Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.
We hold that the said executive order should not be enforced against the
Pesigans on April 2, 1982 because, as already noted, it is a penal
regulation published more than two months later in the Official Gazette
dated June 14, 1982. It became effective only fifteen days thereafter as
provided in article 2 of the Civil Code and section 11 of the Revised
Administrative Code.
The word "laws" in article 2 (article 1 of the old Civil Code) includes
circulars and regulations which prescribe penalties. Publication is
necessary to apprise the public of the contents of the regulations and

23
make the said penalties binding on the persons affected thereby.
(People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640; Lim Hoa Ting vs. Central Bank of
the Phils., 104 Phil. 573; Balbuna vs. Secretary of Education, 110 Phil.
150.)
The Spanish Supreme Court ruled that "bajo la denominacion generica
de leyes, se comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos,
Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordenes dictadas de conformidad con
las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad (1 Manresa, Codigo
Civil, 7th Ed., p. 146.)
Thus, in the Que Po Lay case, a person, convicted by the trial court of
having violated Central Bank Circular No. 20 and sentenced to six
months' imprisonment and to pay a fine of P1,000, was acquitted by this
Court because the circular was published in the Official Gazette three
months after his conviction. He was not bound by the circular.
That ruling applies to a violation of Executive Order No. 626-A because
its confiscation and forfeiture provision or sanction makes it a penal
statute. Justice and fairness dictate that the public must be informed of
that provision by means of publication in the Gazette before violators of
the executive order can be bound thereby.

In the instant case, the livestock inspector and the provincial veterinarian
of Camarines Norte and the head of the Public Affairs Office of the
Ministry of Agriculture were unaware of Executive Order No. 626-A. The
Pesigans could not have been expected to be cognizant of such an
executive order.
It results that they have a cause of action for the recovery of the
carabaos. The summary confiscation was not in order. The recipients of
the carabaos should return them to the Pesigans. However, they cannot
transport the carabaos to Batangas because they are now bound by the
said executive order. Neither can they recover damages. Doctor Miranda
and Zenarosa acted in good faith in ordering the forfeiture and dispersal
of the carabaos.
WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of dismissal and the confiscation
and dispersal of the carabaos are reversed and set aside. Respondents
Miranda and Zenarosa are ordered to restore the carabaos, with the
requisite documents, to the petitioners, who as owners are entitled to
possess the same, with the right to dispose of them in Basud or Sipocot,
Camarines Sur. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

1wph1.t

The cases of Police Commission vs. Bello, L-29960, January 30, 1971,
37 SCRA 230 and Philippine Blooming Mills vs. Social Security System,
124 Phil. 499, cited by the respondents, do not involve the enforcement
of any penal regulation.

Makasiar, (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, and Escolin, JJ.,


concur.

Commonwealth Act No. 638 requires that all Presidential executive


orders having general applicability should be published in the Official
Gazette. It provides that "every order or document which shag prescribe
a penalty shall be deemed to have general applicability and legal effect."

Separate Opinions

Indeed, the practice has always been to publish executive orders in the
Gazette. Section 551 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that
even bureau "regulations and orders shall become effective only when
approved by the Department Head and published in the Official Gazette
or otherwise publicly promulgated". (See Commissioner of Civil Service
vs. Cruz, 122 Phil. 1015.)

De Castro, J., took no part.

ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:


The Pesigans are entitled to the return of their carabaos or the value of
each carabao which is not returned for any reason. The Pesigans are
also entitled to a reasonable rental for each carabao from the twenty six
farmers who used them. The farmers should not enrich themselves at
the expense of the Pesigans.

24
Separate Opinions
ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
The Pesigans are entitled to the return of their carabaos or the value of
each carabao which is not returned for any reason. The Pesigans are
also entitled to a reasonable rental for each carabao from the twenty six
farmers who used them. The farmers should not enrich themselves at
the expense of the Pesigans.

25
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985
LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and
MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY
AND NATIONALISM, INC. [MABINI], petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to
the President, HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy
Executive Assistant to the President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA
CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacaang Records Office, and
FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his capacity as Director, Bureau of
Printing, respondents.

504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, 599, 644, 658,
661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923, 935,
961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165,
1166, 1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644,
1772, 1808, 1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840,
1842-1847.
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108,
116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, 155, 161, 173, 180, 187,
188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215224, 226-228, 231-239, 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261,
263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293, 297299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346, 349,
357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, 405,
438-440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527,
561, 576, 587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612,
615, 641, 642, 665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837-839, 878879, 881, 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149-1178,11801278.
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 &
65.

ESCOLIN, J.:
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a
right recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine
Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to be valid and

enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise


effectively promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of mandamus to
compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the
publication in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees,
letters of instructions, general orders, proclamations, executive
orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders.
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is
sought:
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64,
103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234, 265, 286, 298, 303,
312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368,
404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, 491, 503,

d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196,


1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529, 1532, 1535, 1538, 15401547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600,
1606-1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695, 16971701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-1742, 1744, 17461751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797,
1800, 1802-1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 18251826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840, 18431844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868,
1870, 1876-1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952,
1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030-2044,
2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244.
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454,
457- 471, 474-492, 494-507, 509-510, 522, 524-528,
531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563,
567-568, 570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647,

26
649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788-852, 854857.
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 2527, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, 95, 107, 120, 122,
123.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360378, 380-433, 436-439.
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case
dismissed outright on the ground that petitioners have no legal
personality or standing to bring the instant petition. The view is
submitted that in the absence of any showing that petitioners are
personally and directly affected or prejudiced by the alleged nonpublication of the presidential issuances in question 2 said petitioners

are without the requisite legal personality to institute this mandamus


proceeding, they are not being "aggrieved parties" within the
meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote:
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.When any tribunal,
corporation, board or person unlawfully neglects the
performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins
as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or
unlawfully excludes another from the use a rd
enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is
entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the
person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in
the proper court alleging the facts with certainty and
praying that judgment be rendered commanding the
defendant, immediately or at some other specified time,
to do the act required to be done to Protect the rights of
the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the
petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the
defendant.
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the
petition concerns a public right and its object is to compel the
performance of a public duty, they need not show any specific interest
for their petition to be given due course.

The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case
of Severino vs. Governor General, 3 this Court held that while the

general rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted to a


private individual only in those cases where he has some private or
particular interest to be subserved, or some particular right to be
protected, independent of that which he holds with the public at
large," and "it is for the public officers exclusively to apply for the writ
when public rights are to be subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79
M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is one of public right
and the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a
public duty, the people are regarded as the real party in interest and
the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted need
not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it
being sufficient to show that he is a citizen and as such interested in
the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, 3rd
ed., sec. 431].
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a
private individual, as a proper party to the mandamus proceedings
brought to compel the Governor General to call a special election for the
position of municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental.
Speaking for this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said:
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of
authority supports the proposition that the relator is a
proper party to proceedings of this character when a
public right is sought to be enforced. If the general rule
in America were otherwise, we think that it would not be
applicable to the case at bar for the reason 'that it is
always dangerous to apply a general rule to a particular
case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule,
because, if under the particular circumstances the
reason for the rule does not exist, the rule itself is not
applicable and reliance upon the rule may well lead to
error'
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the
general rule insisted upon by counsel for the
respondent. The circumstances which surround this
case are different from those in the United States,
inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these

27
proceedings no other person could be, as we have
seen that it is not the duty of the law officer of the
Government to appear and represent the people in
cases of this character.
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal
personality in the aforementioned case apply squarely to the present
petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by petitioners herein is a
public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land.
If petitioners were not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would
indeed be difficult to conceive of any other person to initiate the same,
considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer generally
empowered to represent the people, has entered his appearance for
respondents in this case.
Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is
not a sine qua non requirement for the effectivity of laws where the laws
themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus submitted
that since the presidential issuances in question contain special
provisions as to the date they are to take effect, publication in the Official
Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity. The point stressed is
anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following
the completion of their publication in the Official
Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ...
The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's
construction of said article. In a long line of decisions, 4 this Court has

ruled that publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those


cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity
date-for then the date of publication is material for determining its
date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its publicationbut not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into
effect.
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it
equates the effectivity of laws with the fact of publication. Considered in
the light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand, the conclusion
is easily reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of
publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the

date of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638


provides as follows:
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official
Gazette [1] all important legisiative acts and resolutions
of a public nature of the, Congress of the Philippines;
[2] all executive and administrative orders and
proclamations, except such as have no general
applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of
the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as may
be deemed by said courts of sufficient importance to be
so published; [4] such documents or classes of
documents as may be required so to be published by
law; and [5] such documents or classes of documents
as the President of the Philippines shall determine from
time to time to have general applicability and legal
effect, or which he may authorize so to be published. ...
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general
public adequate notice of the various laws which are to regulate their
actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and publication,
there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis
non excusat." It would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise
burden a citizen for the transgression of a law of which he had no notice
whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic
has the publication of laws taken so vital significance that at this time
when the people have bestowed upon the President a power heretofore
enjoyed solely by the legislature. While the people are kept abreast by
the mass media of the debates and deliberations in the Batasan
Pambansaand for the diligent ones, ready access to the legislative
recordsno such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the
President. Thus, without publication, the people have no means of
knowing what presidential decrees have actually been promulgated,
much less a definite way of informing themselves of the specific contents
and texts of such decrees. As the Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo
la denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los
reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales
ordines dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso
de su potestad. 5

28
The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads:
"There shall be published in the Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall"
used therein imposes upon respondent officials an imperative duty. That
duty must be enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be
informed on matters of public concern is to be given substance and
reality. The law itself makes a list of what should be published in the
Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no
discretion whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded from
such publication.
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of
general applicability" is mandated by law. Obviously, presidential
decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for their violation or
otherwise impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and revenue
measures, fall within this category. Other presidential issuances which
apply only to particular persons or class of persons such as
administrative and executive orders need not be published on the
assumption that they have been circularized to all concerned. 6
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a
public nature" or "of general applicability" is a requirement of due
process. It is a rule of law that before a person may be bound by law, he
must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents. As Justice
Claudio Teehankee said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of
instructions which all form part of the law of the land,
the requirement of due process and the Rule of Law
demand that the Official Gazette as the official
government repository promulgate and publish the
texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions so
that the people may know where to obtain their official
and specific contents.
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general
application, which have not been published, shall have no force and
effect. Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive about the
possible unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in
reliance of the validity of those presidential decrees which were
published only during the pendency of this petition, have put the
question as to whether the Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s

which had been enforced or implemented prior to their publication. The


answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past this Court had
taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot County
Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit:
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that
the Act of Congress, having been found to be
unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was inoperative,
conferring no rights and imposing no duties, and hence
affording no basis for the challenged decree. Norton v.
Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry.
Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear,
however, that such broad statements as to the effect of
a determination of unconstitutionality must be taken
with qualifications. The actual existence of a statute,
prior to such a determination, is an operative fact and
may have consequences which cannot justly be
ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new
judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling
as to invalidity may have to be considered in various
aspects-with respect to particular conduct, private and
official. Questions of rights claimed to have become
vested, of status, of prior determinations deemed to
have finality and acted upon accordingly, of public
policy in the light of the nature both of the statute and of
its previous application, demand examination. These
questions are among the most difficult of those which
have engaged the attention of courts, state and federal
and it is manifest from numerous decisions that an allinclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive
invalidity cannot be justified.
Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs.
Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party under the Moratorium Law,

albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law was
declared unconstitutional by this Court.
Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior
to their publication in the Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may
have consequences which cannot be justly ignored. The past cannot
always be erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive

29
statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be
justified."
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears
that of the presidential decrees sought by petitioners to be published in
the Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030,
inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not been so
published. 10 Neither the subject matters nor the texts of these PDs

can be ascertained since no copies thereof are available. But


whatever their subject matter may be, it is undisputed that none of
these unpublished PDs has ever been implemented or enforced by
the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court, through Justice
Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the
public of the contents of [penal] regulations and make the said
penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The cogency of
this holding is apparently recognized by respondent officials
considering the manifestation in their comment that "the government,
as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of criminal
laws until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette
or in some other publication, even though some criminal laws
provide that they shall take effect immediately.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the
Official Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances which are of
general application, and unless so published, they shall have no binding
force and effect.
SO ORDERED.
Relova, J., concurs.
Aquino, J., took no part.
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.

Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):


There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in
the ably written opinion of Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to
concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the requirement of
publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential
issuances" to have binding force and effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process
question would arise if made to apply adversely to a party who is not
even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act having
the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required
need not be confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic
standpoint, there is an advantage to be gained. It conduces to certainty.
That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do so
would in all cases and under all circumstances result in a statute,
presidential decree or any other executive act of the same category
being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me,
raise a constitutional question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself
to the interpretation that such a legislative or presidential act is bereft of
the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official Gazette. There
is no such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly
pointed out. It is true that what is decided now applies only to past
"presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is, to my mind,
needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for
any statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or
effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of
Justice Plana. Its first paragraph sets forth what to me is the
constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The Philippine
Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for
their effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said
though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws to
affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not

30
necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process
clause is not that precise. 1 I am likewise in agreement with its closing

paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that
it requires notice before laws become effective, for no person should
be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness.
However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall
be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the
command of the government "must be ascertainable in some form if it is
to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to the level of

mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and


unknowable. 4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not
prepared to subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official
Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the
ascertainable mode of determining the exact date of its effectivity.
Still for me that does not dispose of the question of what is the jural
effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so published.
For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of their existence
could have conducted themselves in accordance with their
provisions. If no legal consequences could attach due to lack of
publication in the Official Gazette, then serious problems could arise.
Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances" could
be open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired
into. I am not prepared to hold that such an effect is contemplated by
our decision. Where such presidential decree or executive act is
made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex post
facto character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity
as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect. There must still
be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged
presidential decree or executive act was issued under the police
power, the non-impairment clause of the Constitution may not always
be successfully invoked. There must still be that process of
balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be
tainted by infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then
a question of unconstitutional application. That is as far as it goes.
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further
than to affirm that publication is essential to the effectivity of a legislative
or executive act of a general application. I am not in agreement with the

view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code
itself in its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking
effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the
Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise
provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment,
Republic Act No. 386. It does not and cannot have the juridical force of a
constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act which has
the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of
Justice Escolin that presidential decrees and executive acts not thus
previously published in the Official Gazette would be devoid of any legal
character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught,
as earlier noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore
unable to yield assent to such a pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas,
and Alampay concur in this separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.

TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:


I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring
opinion of Mme. Justice Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of
norms and laws published and ascertainable and of equal application to
all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only
under certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that
"it is an elementary rule of fair play and justice that a reasonable
opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are
commanded to obey before they can be punished for its violation, 1 citing

the settled principle based on due process enunciated in earlier


cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its
penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published
and the people officially and specially informed of said contents and
its penalties.

31
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2
of the Civil Code and the Revised Administrative Code, there would be
no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3 of the Civil
Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are
ascertainable from the public and official repository where they are duly
published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance
therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil
Code that "only laws which are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be
published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is manifestly
untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws
shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a
different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso
perforce refers to a law that has been duly published pursuant to the
basic constitutional requirements of due process. The best example of
this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it
"shall take effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such
publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or

decrees specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason,
publication in the Official Gazette is not necessary for their
effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's
indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the
Official Gazette by the simple expedient of providing for immediate
effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before the
completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period
generally fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:


I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides
for a date of effectivity, it has to be published. What I would like to state
in connection with that proposition is that when a date of effectivity is
mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen
(15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that
the decree can have retroactive effect to the date of effectivity
mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the

retroactivity will run counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy


vested rights.

PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):


The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a
prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It
may be said though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws to affected
parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by publication
in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. Neither is the publication
of laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
if said laws already provide for their effectivity date.

Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after
fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official
Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may be said of this
provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in
provision as to when it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes
that each law may provide not only a different period for reckoning its
effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may
prescribe that it shall be published elsewhere than in the Official
Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the
proposition that for their effectivity, laws must be published in the Official
Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the Uniform
Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably
therewith, it authorizes the publication of the Official Gazette, determines
its frequency, provides for its sale and distribution, and defines the
authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates
what shall be published in the Official Gazette, among them, "important
legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the Congress of the
Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and
proclamations, except such as have no general applicability." It is
noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be published in the
Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature." Moreover,
the said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is
essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes
are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, especially an earlier
one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot

32
nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a
provision of its own as to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher
law, which is the Constitution, can assume that role.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires
notice before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a
law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to
disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the
Official Gazette.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.

GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:


I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to
the necessity of such publication being in the Official Gazette.

DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:


I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and
issuances of a public nature or general applicability ineffective, until due
publication thereof.

Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):

There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in


the ably written opinion of Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to
concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the requirement of
publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential
issuances" to have binding force and effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process
question would arise if made to apply adversely to a party who is not
even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act having
the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required
need not be confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic
standpoint, there is an advantage to be gained. It conduces to certainty.
That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do so
would in all cases and under all circumstances result in a statute,
presidential decree or any other executive act of the same category
being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for me,
raise a constitutional question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself
to the interpretation that such a legislative or presidential act is bereft of
the attribute of effectivity unless published in the Official Gazette. There
is no such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly
pointed out. It is true that what is decided now applies only to past
"presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is, to my mind,
needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for
any statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or
effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of
Justice Plana. Its first paragraph sets forth what to me is the
constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The Philippine
Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for
their effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said
though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws to
affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not
necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process
clause is not that precise. 1 I am likewise in agreement with its closing

paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that
it requires notice before laws become effective, for no person should
be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness.

33
However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall
be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the
command of the government "must be ascertainable in some form if it is
to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to the level of

mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and


unknowable. 4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not
prepared to subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official
Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the
ascertainable mode of determining the exact date of its effectivity.
Still for me that does not dispose of the question of what is the jural
effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so published.
For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of their existence
could have conducted themselves in accordance with their
provisions. If no legal consequences could attach due to lack of
publication in the Official Gazette, then serious problems could arise.
Previous transactions based on such "Presidential Issuances" could
be open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired
into. I am not prepared to hold that such an effect is contemplated by
our decision. Where such presidential decree or executive act is
made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex post
facto character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity
as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect. There must still
be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged
presidential decree or executive act was issued under the police
power, the non-impairment clause of the Constitution may not always
be successfully invoked. There must still be that process of
balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be
tainted by infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then
a question of unconstitutional application. That is as far as it goes.
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further
than to affirm that publication is essential to the effectivity of a legislative
or executive act of a general application. I am not in agreement with the
view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code
itself in its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking
effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the
Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise
provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment,

Republic Act No. 386. It does not and cannot have the juridical force of a
constitutional command. A later legislative or executive act which has
the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of
Justice Escolin that presidential decrees and executive acts not thus
previously published in the Official Gazette would be devoid of any legal
character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught,
as earlier noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore
unable to yield assent to such a pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas,
and Alampay concur in this separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.

TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:


I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring
opinion of Mme. Justice Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of
norms and laws published and ascertainable and of equal application to
all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only
under certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that
"it is an elementary rule of fair play and justice that a reasonable
opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are
commanded to obey before they can be punished for its violation, 1 citing

the settled principle based on due process enunciated in earlier


cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially its
penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published
and the people officially and specially informed of said contents and
its penalties.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2
of the Civil Code and the Revised Administrative Code, there would be
no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3 of the Civil
Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are
ascertainable from the public and official repository where they are duly

34
published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance
therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil
Code that "only laws which are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be
published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is manifestly
untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws
shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a
different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso
perforce refers to a law that has been duly published pursuant to the
basic constitutional requirements of due process. The best example of
this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it
"shall take effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such
publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or

decrees specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason,
publication in the Official Gazette is not necessary for their
effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil Code's
indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the
Official Gazette by the simple expedient of providing for immediate
effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before the
completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period
generally fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:


I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides
for a date of effectivity, it has to be published. What I would like to state
in connection with that proposition is that when a date of effectivity is
mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen
(15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that
the decree can have retroactive effect to the date of effectivity
mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the
retroactivity will run counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy
vested rights.

PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):


The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a
prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It
may be said though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws to affected
parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by publication
in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. Neither is the publication
of laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
if said laws already provide for their effectivity date.

Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after
fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official
Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may be said of this
provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in
provision as to when it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes
that each law may provide not only a different period for reckoning its
effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may
prescribe that it shall be published elsewhere than in the Official
Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the
proposition that for their effectivity, laws must be published in the Official
Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the Uniform
Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably
therewith, it authorizes the publication of the Official Gazette, determines
its frequency, provides for its sale and distribution, and defines the
authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates
what shall be published in the Official Gazette, among them, "important
legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the Congress of the
Philippines" and "all executive and administrative orders and
proclamations, except such as have no general applicability." It is
noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be published in the
Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public nature." Moreover,
the said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is
essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes
are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, especially an earlier
one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, cannot
nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a
provision of its own as to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher
law, which is the Constitution, can assume that role.

35
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires
notice before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a
law without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to
disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the
Official Gazette.

4 Camacho vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 80 Phil


848; Mejia vs. Balolong, 81 Phil. 486; Republic of the
Philippines vs. Encamacion, 87 Phil. 843; Philippine
Blooming Mills, Inc. vs. Social Security System, 17
SCRA 1077; Askay vs. Cosalan, 46 Phil. 179.

Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.

5 1 Manresa, Codigo Civil 7th Ed., p. 146.


6 People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640; Balbuena et al.
vs. Secretary of Education, et al., 110 Phil. 150.

GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:


7 82 SCRA 30, dissenting opinion.
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to
the necessity of such publication being in the Official Gazette.

8 308 U.S. 371, 374.


9 93 Phil.. 68,.

DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:


I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and
issuances of a public nature or general applicability ineffective, until due
publication thereof.
Footnotes
1 Section 6. The right of the people to information on
matters of public concern shag be recognized, access
to official records, and to documents and papers
pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions,
shag be afforded the citizens subject to such limitation
as may be provided by law.
2 Anti-Chinese League vs. Felix, 77 Phil. 1012; Costas
vs. Aidanese, 45 Phil. 345; Almario vs. City Mayor, 16
SCRA 151;Parting vs. San Jose Petroleum, 18 SCRA
924; Dumlao vs. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392.

10 The report was prepared by the Clerk of Court after


Acting Director Florendo S. Pablo Jr. of the
Government Printing Office, failed to respond to her
letter-request regarding the respective dates of
publication in the Official Gazette of the presidential
issuances listed therein. No report has been submitted
by the Clerk of Court as to the publication or nonpublication of other presidential issuances.
11 129 SCRA 174.
Fernando, CJ.:
1 Separate Opinion of Justice Plana, first paragraph.
He mentioned in tills connection Article 7, Sec. 21 of
the Wisconsin Constitution and State ex rel. White v.
Grand Superior Ct., 71 ALR 1354, citing the
Constitution of Indiana, U.S.A
2 Ibid, closing paragraph.

3 16 Phil. 366, 378.


3 Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty 104 (1960).

36
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5270

January 15, 1910

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
H. N. BULL, defendant-appellant.
Bruce & Lawrence, for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Harvey, for appellee.
ELLIOTT, J.:
The appellant was convicted in the Court of First Instance of a violation
of section 1 of Act No. 55, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 275, and
from the judgment entered thereon appealed to this court, where under
proper assignments of error he contends: (1) that the complaint does not
state facts sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court; (2) that under
the evidence the trial court was without jurisdiction to hear and
determine the case; (3) that Act No. 55 as amended is in violation of
certain provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and void as
applied to the facts of this case; and (4) that the evidence is insufficient
to support the conviction.
The information alleges:
That on and for many months prior to the 2d day of December,
1908, the said H. N. Bull was then and there master of a steam
sailing vessel known as the steamship Standard, which vessel
was then and there engaged in carrying and transporting cattle,
carabaos, and other animals from a foreign port and city of
Manila, Philippine Islands; that the said accused H. N. Bull,
while master of said vessel, as aforesaid, on or about the 2d
day of December, 1908, did then and there willfully, unlawfully,
and wrongly carry, transport, and bring into the port and city of
Manila, aboard said vessel, from the port of Ampieng, Formosa,

six hundred and seventy-seven (677) head of cattle and


carabaos, without providing suitable means for securing said
animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary
suffering to the said animals, in this, to wit, that the said H. N.
Bull, master, as aforesaid, did then and there fail to provide
stalls for said animals so in transit and suitable means for trying
and securing said animals in a proper manner, and did then and
there cause some of said animals to be tied by means of rings
passed through their noses, and allow and permit others to be
transported loose in the hold and on the deck of said vessel
without being tied or secured in stalls, and all without bedding;
that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the
accused to provide suitable means for securing said animals
while so in transit, the noses of some of said animals were
cruelly torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon
the decks and hold of said vessel, and cruelly wounded,
bruised, and killed.
All contrary to the provisions of Acts No. 55 and No. 275 of the
Philippine Commission.
Section 1 of Act No. 55, which went into effect January 1, 1901, provides
that
The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels,
carrying or transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals,
from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from any
foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall carry
with them, upon the vessels carrying such animals, sufficient
forage and fresh water to provide for the suitable sustenance of
such animals during the ordinary period occupied by the vessel
in passage from the port of shipment to the port of debarkation,
and shall cause such animals to be provided with adequate
forage and fresh water at least once in every twenty-four hours
from the time that the animals are embarked to the time of their
final debarkation.
By Act No. 275, enacted October 23, 1901, Act No. 55 was amended by
adding to section 1 thereof the following:

37
The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels,
carrying or transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals
from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from any
foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall
provide suitable means for securing such animals while in
transit so as to avoid all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to
the animals, and suitable and proper facilities for loading and
unloading cattle or other animals upon or from vessels upon
which they are transported, without cruelty or unnecessary
suffering. It is hereby made unlawful to load or unload cattle
upon or from vessels by swinging them over the side by means
of ropes or chains attached to the thorns.
Section 3 of Act No. 55 provides that
Any owner or master of a vessel, or custodian of such animals,
who knowingly and willfully fails to comply with the provisions of
section one, shall, for every such failure, be liable to pay a
penalty of not less that one hundred dollars nor more that five
hundred dollars, United States money, for each offense.
Prosecution under this Act may be instituted in any Court of
First Instance or any provost court organized in the province or
port in which such animals are disembarked.
1. It is contended that the information is insufficient because it does not
state that the court was sitting at a port where the cattle were
disembarked, or that the offense was committed on board a vessel
registered and licensed under the laws of the Philippine Islands.
Act No. 55 confers jurisdiction over the offense created thereby on
Courts of First Instance or any provost court organized in the province or
port in which such animals are disembarked, and there is nothing
inconsistent therewith in Act No. 136, which provides generally for the
organization of the courts of the Philippine Islands. Act No. 400 merely
extends the general jurisdiction of the courts over certain offenses
committed on the high seas, or beyond the jurisdiction of any country, or
within any of the waters of the Philippine Islands on board a ship or
water craft of any kind registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands, in
accordance with the laws thereof. (U.S.vs. Fowler, 1 Phil. Rep., 614.)
This jurisdiction may be exercised by the Court of First Instance in any
province into which such ship or water upon which the offense or crime

was committed shall come after the commission thereof. Had this
offense been committed upon a ship carrying a Philippine registry, there
could have been no doubt of the Jurisdiction of the court, because it is
expressly conferred, and the Act is in accordance with well recognized
and established public law. But the Standard was a Norwegian vessel,
and it is conceded that it was not registered or licensed in the Philippine
Islands under the laws thereof. We have then the question whether the
court had jurisdiction over an offense of this character, committed on
board a foreign ship by the master thereof, when the neglect and
omission which constitutes the offense continued during the time the
ship was within the territorial waters of the United States. No court of the
Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offenses or crime committed
on the high seas or within the territorial waters of any other country, but
when she came within 3 miles of a line drawn from the headlines which
embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she was within territorial waters,
and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton, Int. Law
(Dana ed.), p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., sec 490 et seq.;
Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The ship and her crew were then subject to
the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign subject through the proper
political agency. This offense was committed within territorial waters.
From the line which determines these waters the Standard must have
traveled at least 25 miles before she came to anchor. During that part of
her voyage the violation of the statue continued, and as far as the
jurisdiction of the court is concerned, it is immaterial that the same
conditions may have existed while the vessel was on the high seas. The
offense, assuming that it originated at the port of departure in Formosa,
was a continuing one, and every element necessary to constitute it
existed during the voyage across the territorial waters. The completed
forbidden act was done within American waters, and the court therefore
had jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the offense and the person of
the offender.
The offense then was thus committed within the territorial jurisdiction of
the court, but the objection to the jurisdiction raises the further question
whether that jurisdiction is restricted by the fact of the nationality of the
ship. Every. Every state has complete control and jurisdiction over its
territorial waters. According to strict legal right, even public vessels may
not enter the ports of a friendly power without permission, but it is now
conceded that in the absence of a prohibition such ports are considered
as open to the public ship of all friendly powers. The exemption of such
vessels from local jurisdiction while within such waters was not
established until within comparatively recent times. In 1794, Attorney-

38
General Bradford, and in 1796 Attorney-General Lee, rendered opinions
to the effect that "the laws of nations invest the commander of a foreign
ship of war with no exemption from the jurisdiction of the country into
which he comes." (1, Op. U.S. Attys. Gen., 46, 87.) This theory was also
supported by Lord Stowell in an opinion given by him to the British
Government as late as 1820. In the leading case of the
Schooner Exchange vs. McFadden (7 Cranch (U.S.), 116, 144), Chief
Justice Marshall said that the implied license under which such vessels
enter a friendly port may reasonably be construed as "containing
exemption from the jurisdiction of the sovereign within whose territory
she claims the rights of hospitality." The principle was accepted by the
Geneva Arbitration Tribunal, which announced that "the priviledge of
exterritoriality accorded to vessels of war has been admitted in the law of
nations; not as an absolute right, but solely as a proceeding founded on
the principle of courtesy and mutual deference between nations."
(2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., secs. 252 and 254; Hall, Int. Law, sec. 55;
Taylor, Int. Law, sec. 256; Ortolan, Dip de la Mer, 2. C.X.)
Such vessels are therefore permitted during times of peace to come and
go freely. Local official exercise but little control over their actions, and
offenses committed by their crew are justiciable by their own officers
acting under the laws to which they primarily owe allegiance. This
limitation upon the general principle of territorial sovereignty is based
entirely upon comity and convenience, and finds its justification in the
fact that experience shows that such vessels are generally careful to
respect local laws and regulation which are essential to the health,
order, and well-being of the port. But comity and convenience does not
require the extension of the same degree of exemption to merchant
vessels. There are two well-defined theories as to extent of the
immunities ordinarily granted to them, According to the French theory
and practice, matters happening on board a merchant ship which do not
concern the tranquillity of the port or persons foreign to the crew, are
justiciable only by the court of the country to which the vessel belongs.
The French courts therefore claim exclusive jurisdiction over crimes
committed on board French merchant vessels in foreign ports by one
member of the crew against another. (See Bonfils, Le Droit Int. (quat.
ed.), secs. 624-628; Martens, Le Droit Int., tome 2, pp. 338, 339;
Ortolan, Dip. de la Mer, tit. 1, p. 292; Masse, Droit Int., tome 2, p. 63.)
Such jurisdiction has never been admitted or claim by Great Britain as a
right, although she has frequently conceded it by treaties. (Halleck, Int.
Law (Baker's ed.), vol. 1, 231; British Territorial Waters Act, 1878.)
Writers who consider exterritoriality as a fact instead of a theory have

sought to restrict local jurisdiction, but Hall, who is doubtless the leading
English authority, says that
It is admitted by the most thoroughgoing asserters of the
territoriality of merchant vessels that so soon as the latter enter
the ports of a foreign state they become subject to the local
jurisdiction on all points in which the interests of the country are
touched. (Hall, Int. Law, p. 263.)
The United States has adhered consistently to the view that when a
merchant vessel enters a foreign port it is subject to the jurisdiction of
the local authorities, unless the local sovereignty has by act of
acquiescence or through treaty arrangements consented to waive a
portion of such jurisdiction. (15 Op. Attys. Gen., U. S., 178; 2 Moore, Int.
Law Dig., sec. 204; article by Dean Gregory, Mich. Law Review, Vol. II,
No. 5.) Chief Justice Marshall, in the case of the Exchange, said that
When merchant vessels enter for the purpose of trade, in would
be obviously in convinient and dangerous to society and would
subject the laws to continual infraction and the government to
degradation if such individual merchants did not owe temporary
and local allegiance, and were not amendable to the jurisdiction
of the country.
The Supreme Court of the United States has recently said that the
merchant vessels of one country visiting the ports of another for the
purpose of trade, subject themselves to the laws which govern the ports
they visit, so long as they remain; and this as well in war as in peace,
unless otherwise provided by treaty. (U. S. vs. Diekelman, 92 U. S., 520525.)
Certain limitations upon the jurisdiction of the local courts are imposed
by article 13 of the treaty of commerce and navigation between Sweden
and Norway and the United States, of July 4, 1827, which concedes to
the consul, vice-consuls, or consular agents of each country "The right to
sit as judges and arbitrators in such differences as may arise between
the captains and crews of the vessels belonging to the nation whose
interests are committed to their charge, without the interference of the
local authorities, unless the conduct of the crews or of the captains
should disturb the order or tranquillity of the country." (Comp. of Treaties
in Force, 1904, p. 754.) This exception applies to controversies between

39
the members of the ship's company, and particularly to disputes
regarding wages. (2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 206, p. 318;
Tellefsen vs. Fee, 168 Mass., 188.) The order and tranquillity of the
country are affected by many events which do not amount to a riot or
general public disturbance. Thus an assault by one member of the crew
upon another, committed upon the ship, of which the public may have no
knowledge whatever, is not by this treaty withdrawn from the cognizance
of the local authorities.
In 1876 the mates of the Swedish bark Frederike and Carolina engaged
in a "quarrel" on board the vessel in the port of Galveston, Texas. They
were prosecuted before a justice of the peace, but the United States
district attorney was instructed by the Government to take the necessary
steps to have the proceedings dismissed, and the aid of the governor of
Texas was invoked with the view to "guard against a repetition of similar
proceedings." (Mr. Fish, Secretary of State, to Mr. Grip, Swedish and
Norwegian charged, May 16, 1876; Moore, Int. Law Dig.) It does not
appear that this "quarrel" was of such a nature as to amount to a breach
of the criminal laws of Texas, but when in 1879 the mate for the
Norwegian bark Livingston was prosecuted in the courts of Philadelphia
County for an assault and battery committed on board the ship while
lying in the port of Philadelphia, it was held that there was nothing in the
treaty which deprived the local courts of jurisdiction.
(Commonwealth vs. Luckness, 14 Phila. (Pa.), 363.) Representations
were made through diplomatic channels to the State Department, and on
July 30, 1880, Mr. Evarts, Secretary of State, wrote to Count
Lewenhaupt, the Swedish and Norwegian minister, as follows:
I have the honor to state that I have given the matter careful
consideration in connection with the views and suggestion of
your note and the provisions of the thirteenth article of the treaty
of 1827 between the United States and Sweden and Norway.
The stipulations contained in the last clause of that article . . .
are those under which it is contended by you that jurisdiction is
conferred on the consular officers, not only in regard to such
differences of a civil nature growing out of the contract of
engagement of the seamen, but also as to disposing of
controversies resulting from personal violence involving offense
for which the party may be held amenable under the local
criminal law.

This Government does not view the article in question as


susceptible of such broad interpretation. The jurisdiction
conferred upon the consuls is conceived to be limited to their
right to sit as judges or abitratorsin such differences as may
arise between captains and crews of the vessels, where such
differences do not involve on the part of the captain or crew a
disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country. When,
however, a complaint is made to a local magistrate, either by
the captain or one or more of the crew of the vessel, involving
the disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country, it is
competent for such magistrate to take cognizance of the matter
in furtherance of the local laws, and under such circumstances
in the United States it becomes a public duty which the judge or
magistrate is not at liberty voluntarily to forego. In all such cases
it must necessarily be left to the local judicial authorities whether
the procedure shall take place in the United States or in
Sweden to determine if in fact there had been such disturbance
of the local order and tranquillity, and if the complaint is
supported by such proof as results in the conviction of the party
accused, to visit upon the offenders such punishment as may
be defined against the offense by the municipal law of the
place." (Moore, Int. Law Dig., vol. 2, p. 315.)
The treaty does not therefore deprive the local courts of jurisdiction over
offenses committed on board a merchant vessel by one member of the
crew against another which amount to a disturbance of the order or
tranquillity of the country, and a fair and reasonable construction of the
language requires un to hold that any violation of criminal laws disturbs
the order or traquillity of the country. The offense with which the
appellant is charged had nothing to so with any difference between the
captain and the crew. It was a violation by the master of the criminal law
of the country into whose port he came. We thus find that neither by
reason of the nationality of the vessel, the place of the commission of
the offense, or the prohibitions of any treaty or general principle of public
law, are the court of the Philippine Islands deprived of jurisdiction over
the offense charged in the information in this case.
It is further contended that the complaint is defective because it does not
allege that the animals were disembarked at the port of Manila, an
allegation which it is claimed is essential to the jurisdiction of the court
sitting at that port. To hold with the appellant upon this issue would be to
construe the language of the complaint very strictly against the

40
Government. The disembarkation of the animals is not necessary in
order to constitute the completed offense, and a reasonable construction
of the language of the statute confers jurisdiction upon the court sitting at
the port into which the animals are bought. They are then within the
territorial jurisdiction of the court, and the mere fact of their
disembarkation is immaterial so far as jurisdiction is concerned. This
might be different if the disembarkation of the animals constituted a
constitutional element in the offense, but it does not.
It is also contended that the information is insufficient because it fails to
allege that the defendant knowingly andwillfully failed to provide suitable
means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty
and unnecessary suffering. The allegation of the complaint that the act
was committed willfully includes the allegation that it was committed
knowingly. As said in Woodhouse vs. Rio Grande R.R. Company (67
Texas, 416), "the word 'willfully' carries the idea, when used in
connection with an act forbidden by law, that the act must be done
knowingly or intentionally; that, with knowledge, the will consented to,
designed, and directed the act." So in Wongvs. City of Astoria (13
Oregon, 538), it was said: "The first one is that the complaint did not
show, in the words of the ordinance, that the appellant 'knowingly' did
the act complained of. This point, I think, was fully answered by the
respondent's counsel that the words 'willfully' and 'knowingly'
conveyed the same meaning. To 'willfully' do an act implies that it was
done by design done for a certain purpose; and I think that it would
necessarily follow that it was 'knowingly' done." To the same effect
is Johnson vs. The People (94 Ill., 505), which seems to be on all fours
with the present case.
The evidence shows not only that the defendant's acts were knowingly
done, but his defense rests upon the assertion that "according to his
experience, the system of carrying cattle loose upon the decks and in
the hold is preferable and more secure to the life and comfort of the
animals." It was conclusively proven that what was done was done
knowingly and intentionally.
In charging an offense under section 6 of General Orders, No. 58,
paragraph 3, it is only necessary to state the act or omission complained
of as constituting a crime or public offense in ordinary and concise
language, without repitition. It need not necessarily be in the words of
the statute, but it must be in such form as to enable a person of common

understanding to know what is intended and the court to pronounce


judgment according to right. A complaint which complies with this
requirement is good. (U.S. vs. Sarabia, 4 Phil. Rep., 556.)
The Act, which is in the English language, impose upon the master of a
vessel the duty to "provide suitable means for securing such animals
while in transit, so as to avoid all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to
the animals." The allegation of the complaint as it reads in English is that
the defendant willfully, unlawfully, and wrongfully carried the cattle
"without providing suitable means for securing said animals while in
transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the said
animals in this . . . that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of
the accused to provide suitable means for securing said animals were
cruelty torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon the
decks and hold of said vessels, and cruelty wounded, bruised, and
killed."
The appellant contends that the language of the Spanish text of the
information does not charge him with failure to provide "sufficient" and
"adequate" means. The words used are "medios suficientes" and
"medios adecuados." In view of the fact that the original complaint was
prepared in English, and that the word "suitable" is translatable by the
words "adecuado," "suficiente," and "conveniente," according to the
context and circumstances, we determine this point against the
appellant, particularly in view of the fact that the objection was not made
in the court below, and that the evidence clearly shows a failure to
provide "suitable means for the protection of the animals."
2. The appellant's arguments against the constitutionality of Act No. 55
and the amendment thereto seems to rest upon a fundamentally
erroneous conception of the constitutional law of these Islands. The
statute penalizes acts and ommissions incidental to the transportation of
live stock between foreign ports and ports of the Philippine Islands, and
had a similar statute regulating commerce with its ports been enacted by
the legislature of one of the States of the Union, it would doubtless have
been in violation of Article I, section 3, of the Constitution of the United
States. (Stubbs vs. People (Colo.), 11 L. R. A., N. S., 1071.)
But the Philippine Islands is not a State, and its relation to the United
States is controlled by constitutional principles different from those which
apply to States of the Union. The importance of the question thus

41
presented requires a statement of the principles which govern those
relations, and consideration of the nature and extent of the legislative
power of the Philippine Commission and the Legislature of the
Philippines. After much discussion and considerable diversity of opinion
certain applicable constitutional doctrines are established.
The Constitution confers upon the United States the express power to
make war and treaties, and it has the power possessed by all nations to
acquire territory by conquest or treaty. Territory thus acquired belongs to
the United States, and to guard against the possibility of the power of
Congress to provide for its government being questioned, the framers of
the Constitution provided in express terms that Congress should have
the power "to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations
respecting territory and other property belonging to the United States."
(Art. IV, sec. 3, par. 3.) Upon the acquisition of the territory by the United
States, and until it is formally incorporated into the Union, the duty of
providing a government therefor devolves upon Congress. It may govern
the territory by its direct acts, or it may create a local government, and
delegate thereto the ordinary powers required for local government.
(Binns vs. U. S., 194 U. S., 486.) This has been the usual procedure.
Congress has provided such governments for territories which were
within the Union, and for newly acquired territory not yet incorporated
therein. It has been customary to organize a government with the
ordinary separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial,
and to prescribe in an organic act certain general conditions in
accordance with which the local government should act. The organic act
thus became the constitution of the government of the territory which
had not been formally incorporated into the Union, and the validity of
legislation enacted by the local legislature was determined by its
conformity with the requirements of such organic act. (National
Bank vs. Yankton, 11 Otto (U. S.), 129.) To the legislative body of the
local government Congress has delegated that portion of legislative
power which in its wisdom it deemed necessary for the government of
the territory, reserving, however, the right to annul the action of the local
legislature and itself legislate directly for the territory. This power has
been exercised during the entire period of the history of the United
States. The right of Congress to delegate such legislative power can no
longer be seriously questioned. (Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138; U.
S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U. S., 370, 385.)
The Constitution of the United States does not by its own force operate
within such territory, although the liberality of Congress in legislating the

Constitution into contiguous territory tended to create an impression


upon the minds of many people that it went there by its own force.
(Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 289.) In legislating with reference to this
territory, the power of Congress is limited only by those prohibitions of
the Constitution which go to the very root of its power to act at all,
irrespective of time or place. In all other respects it is plenary. (De
Limavs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 1; Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 244;
Hawaii vs. Mankichi, 190 U. S., 197; Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138;
Rassmussen vs. U. S., 197 U. S., 516.)
This power has been exercised by Congress throughout the whole
history of the United States, and legislation founded on the theory was
enacted long prior to the acquisition of the present Insular possessions.
Section 1891 of the Revised Statutes of 1878 provides that "The
Constitution and all laws of the United States which are not locally
inapplicable shall have the same force and effect within all the organized
territories, and in every Territory hereafter organized, as elsewhere
within the United States." When Congress organized a civil government
for the Philippines, it expressly provided that this section of the Revised
Statutes should not apply to the Philippine Islands. (Sec. 1, Act of 1902.)
In providing for the government of the territory which was acquired by
the United States as a result of the war with Spain, the executive and
legislative authorities have consistently proceeded in conformity with the
principles above state. The city of Manila was surrendered to the United
States on August 13, 1898, and the military commander was directed to
hold the city, bay, and harbor, pending the conclusion of a peace which
should determine the control, disposition, and government of the Islands.
The duty then devolved upon the American authorities to preserve
peace and protect person and property within the occupied territory.
Provision therefor was made by proper orders, and on August 26
General Merritt assumed the duties of military governor. The treaty of
peace was signed December 10, 1898. On the 22d of December, 1898,
the President announced that the destruction of the Spanish fleet and
the surrender of the city had practically effected the conquest of the
Philippine Islands and the suspension of the Spanish sovereignty
therein, and that by the treaty of peace the future control, disposition,
and government of the Islands had been ceded to the United States.
During the periods of strict military occupation, before the treaty of peace
was ratified, and the interim thereafter, until Congress acted
(Santiago vs. Noueral, 214 U.S., 260), the territory was governed under
the military authority of the President as commander in chief. Long

42
before Congress took any action, the President organized a civil
government which, however, had its legal justification, like the purely
military government which it gradually superseded, in the war power.
The military power of the President embraced legislative, executive
personally, or through such military or civil agents as he chose to select.
As stated by Secretary Root in his report for 1901
The military power in exercise in a territory under military
occupation includes executive, legislative, and judicial authority.
It not infrequently happens that in a single order of a military
commander can be found the exercise of all three of these
different powers the exercise of the legislative powers by
provisions prescribing a rule of action; of judicial power by
determination of right; and the executive power by the
enforcement of the rules prescribed and the rights determined.
President McKinley desired to transform military into civil government as
rapidly as conditions would permit. After full investigation, the
organization of civil government was initiated by the appointment of a
commission to which civil authority was to be gradually transferred. On
September 1, 1900, the authority to exercise, subject to the approval of
the President. "that part of the military power of the President in the
Philippine Islands which is legislative in its character" was transferred
from the military government to the Commission, to be exercised under
such rules and regulations as should be prescribed by the Secretary of
War, until such time as complete civil government should be established,
or congress otherwise provided. The legislative power thus conferred
upon the Commission was declared to include "the making of rules and
orders having the effect of law for the raising of revenue by taxes,
customs duties, and imposts; the appropriation and expenditure of public
funds of the Islands; the establishment of an educational system to
secure an efficient civil service; the organization and establishment of
courts; the organization and establishment of municipal and
departmental government, and all other matters of a civil nature which
the military governor is now competent to provide by rules or orders of a
legislative character." This grant of legislative power to the Commission
was to be exercised in conformity with certain declared general
principles, and subject to certain specific restrictions for the protection of
individual rights. The Commission were to bear in mind that the
government to be instituted was "not for our satisfaction or for the
expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness, peace, and
prosperity of the people of the Philippine Island, and the measures

adopted should be made to conforms to their customs, their habits, and


even their prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the
accomplishment of the indispensable requisites of just and effective
government." The specific restrictions upon legislative power were found
in the declarations that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law; that private property shall not be
taken for public use without just compensation; that in all criminal
prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public
trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be
confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process
for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of
counsel for his defense; that excessive bail shall not be required, nor
excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted;
that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense or be
compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; that the
right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not
be violated; that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist
except as a punishment for crime; that no bill of attainder or ex post
facto law shall be passed; that no law shall be passed abridging the
freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the people to
peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of
grievances; that no law shall be made respecting an establishment of
religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise
and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination
or preference shall forever be allowed."
To prevent any question as to the legality of these proceedings being
raised, the Spooner amendment to the Army Appropriation Bill passed
March 2, 1901, provided that "all military, civil, and judicial powers
necessary to govern the Philippine Islands . . . shall until otherwise
provided by Congress be vested in such person and persons, and shall
be exercised in such manner, as the President of the United States shall
direct, for the establishment of civil government, and for maintaining and
protecting the inhabitants of said Islands in the free enjoyment of their
liberty, property, and religion." Thereafter, on July 4, 1901, the authority,
which had been exercised previously by the military governor, was
transferred to that official. The government thus created by virtue of the
authority of the President as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
continued to administer the affairs of the Islands under the direction of
the President until by the Act of July 1, 1902, Congress assumed control
of the situation by the enactment of a law which, in connection with the

43
instructions of April 7, 1900, constitutes the organic law of the Philippine
Islands.
The Act of July 1, 1902, made no substancial changes in the form of
government which the President had erected. Congress adopted the
system which was in operation, and approved the action of the President
in organizing the government. Substantially all the limitations which had
been imposed on the legislative power by the President's instructions
were included in the law, Congress thus extending to the Islands by
legislative act nor the Constitution, but all its provisions for the protection
of the rights and privileges of individuals which were appropriate under
the conditions. The action of the President in creating the Commission
with designated powers of government, in creating the office of the
Governor-General and Vice-Governor-General, and through the
Commission establishing certain executive departments, was expressly
approved and ratified. Subsequently the action of the President in
imposing a tariff before and after the ratification of the treaty of peace
was also ratified and approved by Congress. (Act of March 8, 1902; Act
of July 1, 1902; U.S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U.S., 370; Lincolnvs. U.S., 197
U.S., 419.) Until otherwise provided by law the Islands were to continue
to be governed "as thereby and herein provided." In the future the
enacting clause of all statutes should read "By authority of the United
States" instead of "By the authority of the President." In the course of
time the legislative authority of the Commission in all parts of the Islands
not inhabited by Moros or non-Christian tribes was to be transferred to a
legislature consisting of two houses the Philippine Commission and
the Philippine Assembly. The government of the Islands was thus
assumed by Congress under its power to govern newly acquired territory
not incorporated into the United States.
This Government of the Philippine Islands is not a State or a Territory,
although its form and organization somewhat resembles that of both. It
stands outside of the constitutional relation which unites the States and
Territories into the Union. The authority for its creation and
maintenance is derived from the Constitution of the United States,
which, however, operates on the President and Congress, and not
directly on the Philippine Government. It is the creation of the United
States, acting through the President and Congress, both deriving power
from the same source, but from different parts thereof. For its powers
and the limitations thereon the Government of the Philippines looked to
the orders of the President before Congress acted and the Acts of
Congress after it assumed control. Its organic laws are derived from the

formally and legally expressed will of the President and Congress,


instead of the popular sovereign constituency which lies upon any
subject relating to the Philippines is primarily in Congress, and when it
exercise such power its act is from the viewpoint of the Philippines the
legal equivalent of an amendment of a constitution in the United States.
Within the limits of its authority the Government of the Philippines is a
complete governmental organism with executive, legislative, and judicial
departments exercising the functions commonly assigned to such
departments. The separation of powers is as complete as in most
governments. In neither Federal nor State governments is this
separation such as is implied in the abstract statement of the doctrine.
For instance, in the Federal Government the Senate exercises executive
powers, and the President to some extent controls legislation through
the veto power. In a State the veto power enables him to exercise much
control over legislation. The Governor-General, the head of the
executive department in the Philippine Government, is a member of the
Philippine Commission, but as executive he has no veto power. The
President and Congress framed the government on the model with
which Americans are familiar, and which has proven best adapted for
the advancement of the public interests and the protection of individual
rights and priviliges.
In instituting this form of government of intention must have been to
adopt the general constitutional doctrined which are inherent in the
system. Hence, under it the Legislature must enact laws subject to the
limitations of the organic laws, as Congress must act under the national
Constitution, and the States under the national and state constitutions.
The executive must execute such laws as are constitutionally enacted.
The judiciary, as in all governments operating under written
constitutions, must determine the validity of legislative enactments, as
well as the legality of all private and official acts. In performing these
functions it acts with the same independence as the Federal and State
judiciaries in the United States. Under no other constitutional theory
could there be that government of laws and not of men which is
essential for the protection of rights under a free and orderly
government.
Such being the constitutional theory of the Government of the Philippine
Islands, it is apparent that the courts must consider the question of the
validity of an act of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine

44
Legislature, as a State court considers an act of the State legislature.
The Federal Government exercises such powers only as are expressly
or impliedly granted to it by the Constitution of the United States, while
the States exercise all powers which have not been granted to the
central government. The former operates under grants, the latter subject
to restrictions. The validity of an Act of Congress depends upon whether
the Constitution of the United States contains a grant of express or
implied authority to enact it. An act of a State legislature is valid unless
the Federal or State constitution expressly or impliedly prohibits its
enaction. An Act of the legislative authority of the Philippines
Government which has not been expressly disapproved by Congress is
valid unless its subject-matter has been covered by congressional
legislation, or its enactment forbidden by some provision of the organic
laws.
The legislative power of the Government of the Philippines is granted in
general terms subject to specific limitations. The general grant is not
alone of power to legislate on certain subjects, but to exercise the
legislative power subject to the restrictions stated. It is true that specific
authority is conferred upon the Philippine Government relative to certain
subjects of legislation, and that Congress has itself legislated upon
certain other subjects. These, however, should be viewed simply as
enactments on matters wherein Congress was fully informed and ready
to act, and not as implying any restriction upon the local legislative
authority in other matters. (See Opinion of Atty. Gen. of U. S., April 16,
1908.)
The fact that Congress reserved the power to annul specific acts of
legislation by the Government of the Philippine tends strongly to confirm
the view that for purposes of construction the Government of the
Philippines should be regarded as one of general instead of enumerated
legislative powers. The situation was unusual. The new government was
to operate far from the source of its authority. To relieve Congress from
the necessity of legislating with reference to details, it was thought better
to grant general legislative power to the new government, subject to
broad and easily understood prohibitions, and reserve to Congress the
power to annul its acts if they met with disapproval. It was therefore
provided "that all laws passed by the Government of the Philippine
Islands shall be reported to Congress, which hereby reserves the power
and authority to annul the same." (Act of Congress, July 1, 1902, sec.
86.) This provision does not suspend the acts of the Legislature of the
Philippines until approved by Congress, or when approved, expressly or

by acquiescence, make them the laws of Congress. They are valid acts
of the Government of the Philippine Islands until annulled. (Miners
Bank vs. Iowa, 12 How. (U. S.), 1.)
In order to determine the validity of Act No. 55 we must then ascertain
whether the Legislature has been expressly or implication forbidden to
enact it. Section 3, Article IV, of the Constitution of the United States
operated only upon the States of the Union. It has no application to the
Government of the Philippine Islands. The power to regulate foreign
commerce is vested in Congress, and by virtue of its power to govern
the territory belonging to the United States, it may regulate foreign
commerce with such territory. It may do this directly, or indirectly through
a legislative body created by it, to which its power in this respect if
delegate. Congress has by direct legislation determined the duties which
shall be paid upon goods imported into the Philippines, and it has
expressly authorized the Government of the Philippines to provide for
the needs of commerce by improving harbors and navigable waters. A
few other specific provisions relating to foreign commerce may be found
in the Acts of Congress, but its general regulation is left to the
Government of the Philippines, subject to the reserved power of
Congress to annul such legislation as does not meet with its approval.
The express limitations upon the power of the Commission and
Legislature to legislate do not affect the authority with respect to the
regulation of commerce with foreign countries. Act No. 55 was enacted
before Congress took over the control of the Islands, and this act was
amended by Act No. 275 after the Spooner amendment of March 2,
1901, was passed. The military government, and the civil government
instituted by the President, had the power, whether it be called
legislative or administrative, to regulate commerce between foreign
nations and the ports of the territory. (Crossvs. Harrison, 16 How. (U.S.),
164, 190; Hamilton vs. Dillin, 21 Wall. (U.S.), 73, 87.) This Act has
remained in force since its enactment without annulment or other action
by Congress, and must be presumed to have met with its approval. We
are therefore satisfied that the Commission had, and the Legislature now
has, full constitutional power to enact laws for the regulation of
commerce between foreign countries and the ports of the Philippine
Islands, and that Act No. 55, as amended by Act No. 275, is valid.
3. Whether a certain method of handling cattle is suitable within the
meaning of the Act can not be left to the judgment of the master of the
ship. It is a question which must be determined by the court from the
evidence. On December 2, 1908, the defendant Bull brought into and

45
disembarked in the port and city of Manila certain cattle, which came
from the port of Ampieng, Formosa, without providing suitable means for
securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and
unnecessary suffering to said animals, contrary to the provisions of
section 1 of Act No. 55, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 275. The
trial court found the following facts, all of which are fully sustained by the
evidence:
That the defendant, H. N. Bull, as captain and master of the
Norwegian steamer known as the Standard, for a period of six
months or thereabouts prior to the 2d day of December, 1908,
was engaged in the transportation of cattle and carabaos from
Chines and Japanese ports to and into the city of Manila,
Philippine Islands.
That on the 2d day of December, 1908, the defendant, as such
master and captain as aforesaid, brought into the city of Manila,
aboard said ship, a large number of cattle, which ship was
anchored, under the directions of the said defendant, behind the
breakwaters in front of the city of Manila, in Manila Bay, and
within the jurisdiction of this court; and that fifteen of said cattle
then and there had broken legs and three others of said cattle
were dead, having broken legs; and also that said cattle were
transported and carried upon said ship as aforesaid by the
defendant, upon the deck and in the hold of said ship, without
suitable precaution and care for the transportation of said
animals, and to avoid danger and risk to their lives and security;
and further that said cattle were so transported abroad said ship
by the defendant and brought into the said bay, and into the city
of Manila, without any provisions being made whatever upon
said decks of said ship and in the hold thereof to maintain said
cattle in a suitable condition and position for such
transportation.
That a suitable and practicable manner in which to transport
cattle abroad steamship coming into Manila Bay and unloading
in the city of Manila is by way of individual stalls for such cattle,
providing partitions between the cattle and supports at the front
sides, and rear thereof, and cross-cleats upon the floor on
which they stand and are transported, of that in case of storms,
which are common in this community at sea, such cattle may be

able to stand without slipping and pitching and falling,


individually or collectively, and to avoid the production of panics
and hazard to the animals on account or cattle were transported
in this case. Captain Summerville of the steamship Taming, a
very intelligent and experienced seaman, has testified, as a
witness in behalf of the Government, and stated positively that
since the introduction in the ships with which he is acquainted of
the stall system for the transportation of animals and cattle he
has suffered no loss whatever during the last year. The
defendant has testified, as a witness in his own behalf, that
according to his experience the system of carrying cattle loose
upon the decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure to
the life and comfort of the animals, but this theory of the case is
not maintainable, either by the proofs or common reason. It can
not be urged with logic that, for instance, three hundred cattle
supports for the feet and without stalls or any other protection
for them individually can safely and suitably carried in times of
storm upon the decks and in the holds of ships; such a theory is
against the law of nature. One animal falling or pitching, if he is
untied or unprotected, might produce a serious panic and the
wounding of half the animals upon the ship if transported in the
manner found in this case.
The defendant was found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of two
hundred and fifty pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and to pay the costs. The sentence and judgment is
affirmed. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Carson and Moreland, JJ., concur.

46
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 4963

September 15, 1909

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GO CHICO, defendant-appellant.
Gibbs and Gale for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Harvey for appellee.
MORELAND, J.:
The defendant is charged with the violation of section 1 of Act No. 1696
of the Philippine Commission, which reads as follows:
Any person who shall expose, or cause or permit to be
exposed, to public view on his own premises, or who shall
expose, or cause to be exposed, to public view, either on his
own premises or elsewhere, any flag, banner, emblem, or
device used during the late insurrection in the Philippine Islands
to designate or identify those in armed rebellion against the
United States, or any flag, banner, emblem, or device used or
adopted at any time by the public enemies of the United States
in the Philippine Island for the purpose of public disorder or of
rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United
States in the Philippine Islands, or any flag, banner, emblem, or
device of the Katipunan Society, or which is commonly known
as such, shall be punished by a fine of not less that five hundred
pesos for more than five thousand pesos, or by imprisonment
for not less than three months nor more than five years, or by
both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
The defendant was tried in the Court of First Instance of the city of
Manila on the 8th day of September, 1908. After hearing the evidence
adduced the court adjudged the defendant guilty of the crime charged

and sentenced him under that judgment to pay a fine of P500, Philippine
currency, and to pay the costs of the action, and to suffer subsidiary
imprisonment during the time and in the form and in the place prescribed
by law until said fine should be paid. From that judgment and sentence
the defendant appealed to this court.
A careful examination of the record brought to this court discloses the
following facts:
That on or about the 4th day of August, 1908, in the city of Manila, the
appellant Go Chico displayed in one of the windows and one of the show
cases of his store, No. 89 Calle Rosario, a number of medallions, in the
form of a small button, upon the faces of which were imprinted in
miniature the picture of Emilio Aguinaldo, and the flag or banner or
device used during the late insurrection in the Philippine Islands to
designate and identify those in armed insurrection against the United
States. On the day previous to the one above set forth the appellant had
purchased the stock of goods in said store, of which the medallions
formed a part, at a public sale made under authority of the sheriff of the
city of Manila. On the day in question, the 4th of August aforesaid, the
appellant was arranging his stock of goods for the purpose of displaying
them to the public and in so doing placed in his showcase and in one of
the windows of his store the medallions described. The appellant was
ignorant of the existence of a law against the display of the medallions in
question and had consequently no corrupt intention. The facts above
stated are admitted.
The appellant rests his right to acquittal upon two propositions:
First. That before a conviction under the law cited can be had, a criminal
intent upon the part of the accused must be proved beyond a reasonable
doubt.
Second. That the prohibition of the law is directed against the use of the
identical banners, devices, or emblems actually used during the
Philippine insurrection by those in armed rebellion against the United
States.
In the opinion of this court it is not necessary that the appellant should
have acted with the criminal intent. In many crimes, made such by
statutory enactment, the intention of the person who commits the crime

47
is entirely immaterial. This is necessarily so. If it were not, the statute as
a deterrent influence would be substantially worthless. It would be
impossible of execution. In many cases the act complained of is itself
that which produces the pernicious effect which the statute seeks to
avoid. In those cases the pernicious effect is produced with precisely the
same force and result whether the intention of the person performing the
act is good or bad. The case at bar is a perfect illustration of this. The
display of a flag or emblem used particularly within a recent period, by
the enemies of the Government tends to incite resistance to
governmental functions and insurrection against governmental authority
just as effectively if made in the best of good faith as if made with the
most corrupt intent. The display itself, without the intervention of any
other factor, is the evil. It is quite different from that large class of crimes,
made such by the common law or by statute, in which the injurious effect
upon the public depends upon the corrupt intention of the person
perpetrating the act. If A discharges a loaded gun and kills B, the interest
which society has in the act depends, not upon B's death, upon the
intention with which A consummated the act. If the gun were discharged
intentionally, with the purpose of accomplishing the death of B, then
society has been injured and its security violated; but if the gun was
discharged accidentally on the part of A, then society, strictly speaking,
has no concern in the matter, even though the death of B results. The
reason for this is that A does not become a danger to society and
institutions until he becomes a person with a corrupt mind. The mere
discharge of the gun and the death of B do not of themselves make him
so. With those two facts must go the corrupt intent to kill. In the case at
bar, however, the evil to society and the Governmental does not depend
upon the state of mind of the one who displays the banner, but upon the
effect which that display has upon the public mind. In the one case the
public is affected by the intention of the actor; in the other by the act
itself.
It is stated in volume 12 of Cyc., page 148, that
The legislature, however, may forbid the doing of an act and
make its commission a crime without regard to the intent of the
doer, and if such an intention appears the courts must give it
effect although the intention may have been innocent. Whether
or not in a given case the statute is to be so construed is to be
determined by the court by considering the subject-matter of the
prohibition as well as the language of the statute, and thus
ascertaining the intention of the legislature.

In the case of The People vs. Kibler (106 N. Y., 321) the defendant was
charged with the sale of adulterated milk under a statute reading as
follows:
No person or persons shall sell or exchange or expose for sale
or exchange any impure, unhealthy, adulterated, of
unwholesome milk.
It was proved in that case that one Vandeburg purchased at the
defendant's store 1 pint of milk which was shown to contain a very small
percentage of water more than that permitted by the statute. There was
no dispute about the facts, but the objection made by the defendant was
that he was not allowed, upon the trial, to show an absence of criminal
intent, or to go the jury upon the question whether it existed, but was
condemned under a charge from the court which made his intent totally
immaterial and his guilt consist in having sold the adulterated article
whether he knew it or not and however carefully he may have sought to
keep on hand and sell the genuine article.
The opinion of the court in that case says:
As the law stands, knowledge or intention forms no elements of
the offense. The act alone, irrespective of its motive, constitutes
the crime.
xxx

xxx

xxx

It is notorious that the adulteration of food products has grown


to proportions so enormous as to menace the health and safety
of the people. Ingenuity keeps pace with greed, and the
careless and heedless consumers are exposed to increasing
perils. To redress such evils is a plain duty but a difficult task.
Experience has taught the lesson that repressive measures
which depend for their efficiency upon proof of the dealer's
knowledge or of his intent to deceive and defraud are of title use
and rarely accomplish their purpose. Such an emergency may
justify legislation which throws upon the seller the entire
responsibility of the purity and soundness of what he sells and
compels him to know and certain.

48
In the case of Gardner vs. The People (62 N. Y., 299) the question arose
under a statute which provided that an inspector of elections of the city
of New York should not be removed from office except "after notice in
writing to the officer sought to be removed, which notice shall set forth
clearly and distinctly the reasons for his removal," and further provided
that any person who removed such an officer without such notice should
be guilty of a misdemeanor. An officer named Sheridan was removed by
Gardener, the defendant, without notice. Gardener was arrested and
convicted of a misdemeanor under the statute. He appealed from the
judgment of conviction and the opinion from which the following
quotation is made was written upon the decision of that appeal. Chief
Justice Church, writing the opinion of the court, says in relation to
criminal intent:
In short, the defense was an honest misconstruction of the law
under legal device. The court ruled out the evidence offered,
and held that intentionally doing the act prohibited constituted
the offense. It is quite clear that the facts offered to be shown, if
true, would relieve the defendant from the imputation of a
corrupt intent, and, indeed, from any intent to violate the statute.
The defendants made a mistake of law. Such mistakes do not
excuse the commission of prohibited acts. "The rule on the
subject appears to be, that in acts mala in se, intent governs but
in those mala prohibit a, the only inquiry is, has the law been
violated?
xxx

xxx

xxx

The authorities seem to establish that sustain and indictment for


doing a prohibited act, it is sufficient to prove that the act was
knowingly and intentionally done.
xxx

xxx

xxx

In this case, if the defendants could have shown that they


believed that in fact notice had been given to the inspector,
although it had not, they would not have been guilty of the
offense, because the intention to do the act would have been
wanting. Their plea is: True, we intended to remove the
inspector without notice, but we thought the law permitted it.
This was a mistake of law, and is not strictly a defense.

xxx

xxx

xxx

If the offense is merely technical, the punishment can be made


correspondingly nominal; while a rule requiring proof of a
criminal intent to violate the statute, independent of an intent to
do the act which the statute declares shall constitute the
offense, would, in many cases, prevent the restraining influence
which the statute was designed to secure.
In the case of Fiedler vs. Darrin (50 N.Y., 437) the court says:
But when an act is illegal, the intent of the offender is
immaterial.
In the case of The Commonwealth vs. Murphy (165 Mass., 66) the court
says:
In general, it may be said that there must be malus animus, or a
criminal intent. But there is a large class of cases in which, on
grounds of public policy, certain acts are made punishable
without proof that the defendant understands the facts that give
character to his act.
In such cases it is deemed best to require everybody at his peril
to ascertain whether his act comes within the legislative
prohibition.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Considering the nature of the offense, the purpose to be


accomplished, the practical methods available for the
enforcement of the law, and such other matters as throw light
upon the meaning of the language, the question in interpreting a
criminal statute is whether the intention of the legislature was to
make knowledge of the facts an essential element of the
offense, or to put upon everyone the burden of finding out
whether his contemplated act is prohibited, and of refraining
from it if it is.

49
In the case of Halsted vs. The State (41 N. J. L., 552; 32 Am. Rep., 247),
the question of a criminal intent arose under a statute, under which the
defendant was convicted of a crime, providing that if any township
committee or other body shall disburse or vote for the disbursement of
public moneys in excess of appropriations made for the purpose, the
persons constituting such board shall be guilty of a crime. The defendant
was one who violated this law by voting to incur obligations in excess of
the appropriation. He was convicted and appealed and the opinion from
which the quotation is taken was written upon a decision of that appeal.
That court says:
When the State had closed, the defense offered to show that
the defendant, in aiding in the passage and effectuation of the
resolution which I have pronounced to be illegal, did so under
the advice of counsel and in good faith, and from pure and
honest motives, and that he therein exercise due care and
caution.
xxx

xxx

xxx

As there is an undoubted competency in the lawmaker to


declare an act criminal, irrespective of the knowledge or motive
of the doer of such act, there can be of necessity, no judicial
authority having the power to require, in the enforcement of the
law, such knowledge or motive to be shown. In such instances
the entire function of the court is to find out the intention of the
legislature, and to enforce the law in absolute conformity to
such intention. And in looking over the decided cases on the
subject it will be found that in the considered adjudications this
inquiry has been the judicial guide.
In the case of Rex vs. Ogden (6 C. & P., 631; 25 E. C. L., 611), the
prisoner was indicted for unlawfully transposing from one piece of
wrought plate to another the lion-poisson contrary to the statutes. It was
conceded that the act was done without any fraudulent intention. The
court said:
There are no words in the act of Parliament referring to any
fraudulent intention. The words of it are, 'Shall transpose or
remove, or cause of procure to be transposed or removed, from
one piece of wrought plate to another.

In the case of The State vs. McBrayer (98 N. C., 623) the court stated:
It is a mistaken notion that positive, willful intent to violate the
criminal law is an essential ingredient in every criminal offense,
and that where is an absence of such intent there is no offense;
this is especially true as to statutory offenses. When the statute
plainly forbids an act to be done, and it is done by some person,
the law implies conclusively the guilty intent, although the
offender was honestly mistaken as to the meaning of the law he
violates. When the language is plain and positive, and the
offense is not made to depend upon the positive, willful intent
and purpose, nothing is left to interpretation.
In the case of the Commonwealth vs. Weiss (139 Pa. St., 247), the
question arose on an appeal by the defendant from a judgment requiring
him to pay a penalty for a violation of the statute of the State which
provided that any person would be liable to pay a penalty "who shall
manufacture, sell, or offer or expose for sale, or have in his possession
with intent to sell," oleomargarine, etc. At the trial the defendant
requested the court to instruct the injury that if they believed, from the
evidence, that the defendant did not knowingly furnish or authorize to be
furnished, or knew of there furnished, to any of his customers any
oleomargarine, but, as far as he knew, furnished genuine butter, then
the verdict must be for the defendant. The court refused to make the
charge as requested and that is the only point upon which the defendant
appealed.
The court says:
The prohibition is absolute and general; it could not be
expressed in terms more explicit and comprehensive. The
statutory definition of the offense embraces no word implying
that the forbidden act shall be done knowingly or willfully, and if
it did, the designed purpose of the act would be practically
defeated. The intention of the legislature is plain, that persons
engaged in the traffic so engage in it at their peril and that they
can not set up their ignorance of the nature and qualities of the
commodities they sell, as a defense.
The following authorities are to the same effect: State vs. Gould (40 Ia.,
374); Commonwealth vs. Farren (9 Allen, 489);

50
Commonwealth vs. Nichols (10 Allen, 199); Commonwealth vs. Boyton
(2 Allen, 160); Wharton's Criminal Law, section 2442;
Commonwealth vs. Sellers (130 Pa., 32); 3 Greenleaf on Evidence,
section 21; Farrell vs. The State (32 Ohio State, 456);
Beekman vs. Anthony (56 Miss., 446); The People vs. Roby (52 Mich.,
577).
It is clear from the authorities cited that in the act under consideration
the legislature did not intend that a criminal intent should be a necessary
element of the crime. The statutory definition of the offense embraces no
word implying that the prohibited act shall be done knowingly or willfully.
The wording is plain. The Act means what it says. Nothing is left to the
interpretation.
Care must be exercised in distiguishing the differences between the
intent to commit the crime and the intent to perpetrate the act. The
accused did not consciously intend to commit a crime; but he did intend
to commit an act, and the act is, by the very nature of things, the crime
itself intent and all. The wording of the law is such that the intent and
the act are inseparable. The act is the crime. The accused intended to
put the device in his window. Nothing more is required to commit the
crime.
We do not believe that the second proposition of the accused, namely,
that the law is applicable only to the identical banners, etc., actually used
in the late insurrection, and not to duplicates of those banners, can be
sustained.
It is impossible that the Commission should have intended to prohibit the
display of the flag or flags actually used in the insurrection, and, at the
same time, permit exact duplicates thereof (saving, perhaps, size) to be
displayed without hindrance. In the case before us, to say that the
display of a certain banner is a crime and that the display of its exact
duplicate is not is to say nonsense. The rules governing the
interpretation of statutes are rules of construction not destruction. To
give the interpretation contended for by the appellant would, as to this
particular provision, nullify the statute altogether.
The words "used during the late insurrection in the Philippine Islands to
designate or identity those in armed rebellion against the United States"
mean not only the identical flags actually used in the insurrection, but

any flag which is of that type. This description refers not to a particular
flag, but to a type of flag. That phrase was used because there was and
is no other way of describing that type of flag. While different words
might be employed, according to the taste of the draftsman, the method
of description would have to be the same. There is no concrete word
known by which that flag could be aptly or properly described. There
was no opportunity, within the scope of a legislative enactment, to
describe the physical details. It had no characteristics whatever, apart
from its use in the insurrection, by which it could, in such enactment, be
identified. The great and the only characteristic which it had upon the
which the Commission could seize as a means of description and
identification was the fact that it was used in the insurrection. There was,
therefore, absolutely no way in which the Commission could, in the Act,
describe the flag except by reciting where and how it was used. It must
not be forgotten that the Commission, by the words and phrases used,
was not attempting to describe a particular flag, but a type of flag. They
were not describing a flag used upon a particular field or in a certain
battle, but a type of flag used by an army a flag under which many
persons rallied and which stirred their sentiments and feelings wherever
seen or in whatever form it appeared. It is a mere incident of description
that the flag was used upon a particular field or in a particular battle.
They were describing the flag not a flag. It has a quality and significance
and an entity apart from any place where or form in which it was used.
Language is rarely so free from ambiguity as to be incapable of
being used in more than one sense, and the literal interpretation
of a statute may lead to an absurdity or evidently fail to give the
real intent of the legislature. When this is the case, resort is had
to the principle that the spirit of a law controls the letter, so that
a thing which is within the intention of a statute is as much
within the statute as if it were within the letter, and a thing which
is within the letter of the statute is not within the statute unless it
be within the intention of the makers, and the statute should be
construed as to advance the remedy and suppress the mischief
contemplated by the framers. (U. S. vs. Kirby, 7 Wall., 487;
State Bolden, 107 La., 116, 118; U.S.vs. Buchanan, 9 Fed.
Rep., 689; Green vs. Kemp, 13 Mass., 515; Lake Shore R. R.
Co. vs. Roach, 80 N. Y., 339; Delafield vs. Brady, 108 N. Y.,
524 Doyle vs. Doyle, 50 Ohio State, 330.)
The intention of the legislature and the object aimed at, being
the fundamental inquiry in judicial construction, are to control

51
the literal interpretation of particular language in a statute, and
language capable of more than one meaning is to be taken in
that sense which will harmonize with such intention and object,
and effect the purpose of the enactment. (26 Am. & Eng. Ency.
of Law., 602.)

obvious purpose of the legislature. (U. S. vs. Wiltberger, 5


Wheat., 76; Taylor vs. Goodwin, L. R. 4, Q. B. Civ., 228.)
In the latter case it was held that under a statute which imposed a
penalty for "furiously driving any sort of carriage" a person could be
convicted for immoderately driving a bicycle.

Literally hundreds of cases might be cited to sustain this proposition.


The preamble is no part of the statute, but as setting out the
object and intention of the legislature, it is considered in the
construction of an act. Therefore, whenever there is ambiguity,
or wherever the words of the act have more than one meaning,
and there is no doubt as to the subject-matter to which they are
to be applied, the preamble may be used." (U. S. vs. Union
Pacific R. R. Co., 91 U. S., 72; Platt vs. Union Pacific R. R. Co.,
99 U. S., 48; Myer vs. Western Car Co., 102 U. S., 1; Holy
Trinity Church vs. U. S., 143 U. S., 457; Coosaw Mining
Co. vs. South Carolina, 144 U. S., 550; Cohn vs. Barrett, 5 Cal.,
195; Barnes vs.Jones, 51 Cal., 303; Field vs. Gooding, 106
Mass., 310; People vs. Molineaux, 40 N. Y., 113; Smith vs. The
People, 47 N. Y., 330; The People vs. Davenport, 91 N.Y., 547;
The People vs. O'Brien, 111 N.Y., 1)
The statute, then, being penal, must be construed with such
strictness as to carefully safeguard the rights of the defendant
and at the same time preserve the obvious intention of the
legislature. If the language be plain, it will be construed as it
reads, and the words of the statute given their full meaning; if
ambiguous, the court will lean more strongly in favor of the
defendant than it would if the statute were remedial. In both
cases it will endeavor to effect substantial justice."
(Bolles vs. Outing Co., 175 U. S., 262, 265; U. S. vs.Wiltberger,
5 Wheat., 76, 95; U. S. vs. Reese, 92 U. S., 214)
It is said that notwithstanding this rule (the penal statutes must
be construde strictly) the intention of the lawmakers must
govern in the construction of penal as well as other statutes.
This is true, but this is not a new, independent rule which
subverts the old. It is a modification of the known maxim and
amounts to this -- that though penal statutes are to be construed
strictly, they are not be construed so strictly as to defeat the

It is presumed that the legislature intends to impart to its


enactments such a meaning as will render then operative and
effective, and to prevent persons from eluding or defeating
them. Accordingly, in case of any doubt or obscurity, the
construction will be such as to carry out these objects. (Black,
Interpretation of Laws, p. 106.)
In The People vs. Supervisors (43 N. Y., 130) the court said:
The occasion of the enactment of a law always be referred to in
interpreting and giving effect to it. The court should place itself
in the situation of the legislature and ascertain the necessity and
probable object of the statute, and then give such construction
to the language used as to carry the intention of the legislature
into effect so far as it can be ascertained from the terms of the
statute itself. (U. S. vs. Union Pacific R. R. Co., 91 U. S., 72,
79.)
We do not believe that in construing the statute in question there is
necessity requiring that clauses should be taken from the position given
them and placed in other portions of the statute in order to give the
whole Act a reasonable meaning. Leaving all of the clauses located as
they now are in the statute, a reasonable interpretation, based upon the
plain and ordinary meaning of the words used, requires that the Act
should be held applicable to the case at bar.
The judgment of the court below and the sentence imposed thereunder
are hereby affirmed. So ordered.
Arellano, C. J., Torres, and Carson, JJ., concur.

52
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 74457 March 20, 1987
RESTITUTO YNOT, petitioner,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, THE STATION COMMANDER,
INTEGRATED NATIONAL POLICE, BAROTAC NUEVO, ILOILO and
THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY,
REGION IV, ILOILO CITY, respondents.
Ramon A. Gonzales for petitioner.

CRUZ, J.:
The essence of due process is distilled in the immortal cry of
Themistocles to Alcibiades "Strike but hear me first!" It is this cry that
the petitioner in effect repeats here as he challenges the constitutionality
of Executive Order No. 626-A.
The said executive order reads in full as follows:
WHEREAS, the President has given orders prohibiting
the interprovincial movement of carabaos and the
slaughtering of carabaos not complying with the
requirements of Executive Order No. 626 particularly
with respect to age;
WHEREAS, it has been observed that despite such
orders the violators still manage to circumvent the
prohibition against inter-provincial movement of
carabaos by transporting carabeef instead; and

WHEREAS, in order to achieve the purposes and


objectives of Executive Order No. 626 and the
prohibition against interprovincial movement of
carabaos, it is necessary to strengthen the said
Executive Order and provide for the disposition of the
carabaos and carabeef subject of the violation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS,
President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers
vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby promulgate
the following:
SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 626 is hereby
amended such that henceforth, no carabao regardless
of age, sex, physical condition or purpose and no
carabeef shall be transported from one province to
another. The carabao or carabeef transported in
violation of this Executive Order as amended shall be
subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the
government, to be distributed to charitable institutions
and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the
National Meat Inspection Commission may ay see fit, in
the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through
dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit,
in the case of carabaos.
SECTION 2. This Executive Order shall take effect
immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 25th day of October, in
the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty.
(
S
G
D
.
)
F
E

53
R
D
I
N
A
N
D
E
.
M
A
R
The C
petitioner had transported six carabaos in a pump boat from
O to Iloilo on January 13, 1984, when they were confiscated by
Masbate
S
the police
station commander of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, for violation of the
above measure. 1 The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of
Iloilo City issued a writ of replevin
upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00.
P
After considering the merits of the case, the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos
r
and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The
e the constitutionality of the executive order, as raise by the
court also declined to rule on
s and also for its presumed validity. 2
petitioner, for lack of authority
i
d the decision to the Intermediate Appellate
The petitioner appealed
3
Court,* which uphelde the trial court, ** and he has now come before us in this
n
petition for review on certiorari.
t
The thrust of his petition is that the executive order is unconstitutional
R as it authorizes outright confiscation of the carabao or carabeef
insofar
e transported across provincial boundaries. His claim is that the
being
p is invalid because it is imposed without according the owner a
penalty
rightuto be heard before a competent and impartial court as guaranteed
b process. He complains that the measure should not have been
by due
l
presumed,
and so sustained, as constitutional. There is also a challenge
i improper exercise of the legislative power by the former President
to the
c Amendment No. 6 of the 1973 Constitution. 4
under
o also involving the same executive order, the case of Pesigan v.
While
f
5
Angeles
is not applicable here. The question raised there was the

necessity of the previous publication of the measure in the Official


t
Gazette before it could be considered enforceable. We imposed the
h

e
P
h
i
l
i
p
p
i
n
e
s

54
requirement then on the basis of due process of law. In doing so,
however, this Court did not, as contended by the Solicitor General,
impliedly affirm the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 626-A.
That is an entirely different matter.
This Court has declared that while lower courts should observe a
becoming modesty in examining constitutional questions, they are
nonetheless not prevented from resolving the same whenever
warranted, subject only to review by the highest tribunal. 6 We have

jurisdiction under the Constitution to "review, revise, reverse, modify


or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or rules of court may
provide," final judgments and orders of lower courts in, among
others, all cases involving the constitutionality of certain
measures. 7 This simply means that the resolution of such cases may
be made in the first instance by these lower courts.
And while it is true that laws are presumed to be constitutional, that
presumption is not by any means conclusive and in fact may be
rebutted. Indeed, if there be a clear showing of their invalidity, and of the
need to declare them so, then "will be the time to make the hammer fall,
and heavily," 8 to recall Justice Laurel's trenchant warning. Stated

otherwise, courts should not follow the path of least resistance by


simply presuming the constitutionality of a law when it is questioned.
On the contrary, they should probe the issue more deeply, to relieve
the abscess, paraphrasing another distinguished jurist, 9 and so heal
the wound or excise the affliction.
Judicial power authorizes this; and when the exercise is demanded,
there should be no shirking of the task for fear of retaliation, or loss of
favor, or popular censure, or any other similar inhibition unworthy of the
bench, especially this Court.
The challenged measure is denominated an executive order but it is
really presidential decree, promulgating a new rule instead of merely
implementing an existing law. It was issued by President Marcos not for
the purpose of taking care that the laws were faithfully executed but in
the exercise of his legislative authority under Amendment No. 6. It was
provided thereunder that whenever in his judgment there existed a grave
emergency or a threat or imminence thereof or whenever the legislature
failed or was unable to act adequately on any matter that in his judgment

required immediate action, he could, in order to meet the exigency, issue


decrees, orders or letters of instruction that were to have the force and
effect of law. As there is no showing of any exigency to justify the
exercise of that extraordinary power then, the petitioner has reason,
indeed, to question the validity of the executive order. Nevertheless,
since the determination of the grounds was supposed to have been
made by the President "in his judgment, " a phrase that will lead to
protracted discussion not really necessary at this time, we reserve
resolution of this matter until a more appropriate occasion. For the
nonce, we confine ourselves to the more fundamental question of due
process.
It is part of the art of constitution-making that the provisions of the
charter be cast in precise and unmistakable language to avoid
controversies that might arise on their correct interpretation. That is the
Ideal. In the case of the due process clause, however, this rule was
deliberately not followed and the wording was purposely kept
ambiguous. In fact, a proposal to delineate it more clearly was submitted
in the Constitutional Convention of 1934, but it was rejected by Delegate
Jose P. Laurel, Chairman of the Committee on the Bill of Rights, who
forcefully argued against it. He was sustained by the body. 10
The due process clause was kept intentionally vague so it would remain
also conveniently resilient. This was felt necessary because due process
is not, like some provisions of the fundamental law, an "iron rule" laying
down an implacable and immutable command for all seasons and all
persons. Flexibility must be the best virtue of the guaranty. The very
elasticity of the due process clause was meant to make it adapt easily to
every situation, enlarging or constricting its protection as the changing
times and circumstances may require.
Aware of this, the courts have also hesitated to adopt their own specific
description of due process lest they confine themselves in a legal
straitjacket that will deprive them of the elbow room they may need to
vary the meaning of the clause whenever indicated. Instead, they have
preferred to leave the import of the protection open-ended, as it were, to
be "gradually ascertained by the process of inclusion and exclusion in
the course of the decision of cases as they arise." 11 Thus, Justice Felix
Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court, for example, would go no farther than to define due
process and in so doing sums it all up as nothing more and nothing less than "the
embodiment of the sporting Idea of fair play." 12

55
When the barons of England extracted from their sovereign liege the
reluctant promise that that Crown would thenceforth not proceed against
the life liberty or property of any of its subjects except by the lawful
judgment of his peers or the law of the land, they thereby won for
themselves and their progeny that splendid guaranty of fairness that is
now the hallmark of the free society. The solemn vow that King John
made at Runnymede in 1215 has since then resounded through the
ages, as a ringing reminder to all rulers, benevolent or base, that every
person, when confronted by the stern visage of the law, is entitled to
have his say in a fair and open hearing of his cause.
The closed mind has no place in the open society. It is part of the
sporting Idea of fair play to hear "the other side" before an opinion is
formed or a decision is made by those who sit in judgment. Obviously,
one side is only one-half of the question; the other half must also be
considered if an impartial verdict is to be reached based on an informed
appreciation of the issues in contention. It is indispensable that the two
sides complement each other, as unto the bow the arrow, in leading to
the correct ruling after examination of the problem not from one or the
other perspective only but in its totality. A judgment based on less that
this full appraisal, on the pretext that a hearing is unnecessary or
useless, is tainted with the vice of bias or intolerance or ignorance, or
worst of all, in repressive regimes, the insolence of power.
The minimum requirements of due process are notice and
hearing 13 which, generally speaking, may not be dispensed with because they are
intended as a safeguard against official arbitrariness. It is a gratifying commentary on our
judicial system that the jurisprudence of this country is rich with applications of this guaranty
as proof of our fealty to the rule of law and the ancient rudiments of fair play. We have
consistently declared that every person, faced by the awesome power of the State, is
entitled to "the law of the land," which Daniel Webster described almost two hundred years
ago in the famous Dartmouth College Case, 14 as "the law which hears before it condemns,
which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial." It has to be so if the
rights of every person are to be secured beyond the reach of officials who, out of mistaken
zeal or plain arrogance, would degrade the due process clause into a worn and empty
catchword.

This is not to say that notice and hearing are imperative in every case
for, to be sure, there are a number of admitted exceptions. The
conclusive presumption, for example, bars the admission of contrary
evidence as long as such presumption is based on human experience or
there is a rational connection between the fact proved and the fact
ultimately presumed therefrom. 15 There are instances when the need for
expeditions action will justify omission of these requisites, as in the summary abatement of a

nuisance per se, like a mad dog on the loose, which may be killed on sight because of the
immediate danger it poses to the safety and lives of the people. Pornographic materials,
contaminated meat and narcotic drugs are inherently pernicious and may be summarily
destroyed. The passport of a person sought for a criminal offense may be cancelled without
hearing, to compel his return to the country he has fled. 16Filthy restaurants may be
summarily padlocked in the interest of the public health and bawdy houses to protect the
public morals. 17 In such instances, previous judicial hearing may be omitted without
violation of due process in view of the nature of the property involved or the urgency of the
need to protect the general welfare from a clear and present danger.

The protection of the general welfare is the particular function of the


police power which both restraints and is restrained by due process. The
police power is simply defined as the power inherent in the State to
regulate liberty and property for the promotion of the general
welfare. 18 By reason of its function, it extends to all the great public needs and is
described as the most pervasive, the least limitable and the most demanding of the three
inherent powers of the State, far outpacing taxation and eminent domain. The individual, as
a member of society, is hemmed in by the police power, which affects him even before he is
born and follows him still after he is dead from the womb to beyond the tomb in
practically everything he does or owns. Its reach is virtually limitless. It is a ubiquitous and
often unwelcome intrusion. Even so, as long as the activity or the property has some
relevance to the public welfare, its regulation under the police power is not only proper but
necessary. And the justification is found in the venerable Latin maxims, Salus populi est
suprema lex and Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, which call for the subordination of
individual interests to the benefit of the greater number.

It is this power that is now invoked by the government to justify


Executive Order No. 626-A, amending the basic rule in Executive Order
No. 626, prohibiting the slaughter of carabaos except under certain
conditions. The original measure was issued for the reason, as
expressed in one of its Whereases, that "present conditions demand that
the carabaos and the buffaloes be conserved for the benefit of the small
farmers who rely on them for energy needs." We affirm at the outset the
need for such a measure. In the face of the worsening energy crisis and
the increased dependence of our farms on these traditional beasts of
burden, the government would have been remiss, indeed, if it had not
taken steps to protect and preserve them.
A similar prohibition was challenged in United States v. Toribio, 19 where a
law regulating the registration, branding and slaughter of large cattle was claimed to be a
deprivation of property without due process of law. The defendant had been convicted
thereunder for having slaughtered his own carabao without the required permit, and he
appealed to the Supreme Court. The conviction was affirmed. The law was sustained as a
valid police measure to prevent the indiscriminate killing of carabaos, which were then badly
needed by farmers. An epidemic had stricken many of these animals and the reduction of
their number had resulted in an acute decline in agricultural output, which in turn had
caused an incipient famine. Furthermore, because of the scarcity of the animals and the

56
consequent increase in their price, cattle-rustling had spread alarmingly, necessitating more
effective measures for the registration and branding of these animals. The Court held that
the questioned statute was a valid exercise of the police power and declared in part as
follows:

To justify the State in thus interposing its authority in


behalf of the public, it must appear, first, that the
interests of the public generally, as distinguished from
those of a particular class, require such interference;
and second, that the means are reasonably necessary
for the accomplishment of the purpose, and not unduly
oppressive upon individuals. ...
From what has been said, we think it is clear that the
enactment of the provisions of the statute under
consideration was required by "the interests of the
public generally, as distinguished from those of a
particular class" and that the prohibition of the
slaughter of carabaos for human consumption, so long
as these animals are fit for agricultural work or draft
purposes was a "reasonably necessary" limitation on
private ownership, to protect the community from the
loss of the services of such animals by their slaughter
by improvident owners, tempted either by greed of
momentary gain, or by a desire to enjoy the luxury of
animal food, even when by so doing the productive
power of the community may be measurably and
dangerously affected.
In the light of the tests mentioned above, we hold with the Toribio Case
that the carabao, as the poor man's tractor, so to speak, has a direct
relevance to the public welfare and so is a lawful subject of Executive
Order No. 626. The method chosen in the basic measure is also
reasonably necessary for the purpose sought to be achieved and not
unduly oppressive upon individuals, again following the above-cited
doctrine. There is no doubt that by banning the slaughter of these
animals except where they are at least seven years old if male and
eleven years old if female upon issuance of the necessary permit, the
executive order will be conserving those still fit for farm work or breeding
and preventing their improvident depletion.

But while conceding that the amendatory measure has the same lawful
subject as the original executive order, we cannot say with equal
certainty that it complies with the second requirement, viz., that there be
a lawful method. We note that to strengthen the original measure,
Executive Order No. 626-A imposes an absolute ban not on
theslaughter of the carabaos but on their movement, providing that "no
carabao regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose (sic) and
no carabeef shall be transported from one province to another." The
object of the prohibition escapes us. The reasonable connection
between the means employed and the purpose sought to be achieved
by the questioned measure is missing
We do not see how the prohibition of the inter-provincial transport of
carabaos can prevent their indiscriminate slaughter, considering that
they can be killed anywhere, with no less difficulty in one province than
in another. Obviously, retaining the carabaos in one province will not
prevent their slaughter there, any more than moving them to another
province will make it easier to kill them there. As for the carabeef, the
prohibition is made to apply to it as otherwise, so says executive order, it
could be easily circumvented by simply killing the animal. Perhaps so.
However, if the movement of the live animals for the purpose of
preventing their slaughter cannot be prohibited, it should follow that
there is no reason either to prohibit their transfer as, not to be flippant
dead meat.
Even if a reasonable relation between the means and the end were to be
assumed, we would still have to reckon with the sanction that the
measure applies for violation of the prohibition. The penalty is outright
confiscation of the carabao or carabeef being transported, to be meted
out by the executive authorities, usually the police only. In the Toribio
Case, the statute was sustained because the penalty prescribed was
fine and imprisonment, to be imposed by the court after trial and
conviction of the accused. Under the challenged measure, significantly,
no such trial is prescribed, and the property being transported is
immediately impounded by the police and declared, by the measure
itself, as forfeited to the government.
In the instant case, the carabaos were arbitrarily confiscated by the
police station commander, were returned to the petitioner only after he
had filed a complaint for recovery and given a supersedeas bond of
P12,000.00, which was ordered confiscated upon his failure to produce

57
the carabaos when ordered by the trial court. The executive order
defined the prohibition, convicted the petitioner and immediately
imposed punishment, which was carried out forthright. The measure
struck at once and pounced upon the petitioner without giving him a
chance to be heard, thus denying him the centuries-old guaranty of
elementary fair play.
It has already been remarked that there are occasions when notice and
hearing may be validly dispensed with notwithstanding the usual
requirement for these minimum guarantees of due process. It is also
conceded that summary action may be validly taken in administrative
proceedings as procedural due process is not necessarily judicial
only. 20 In the exceptional cases accepted, however. there is a

justification for the omission of the right to a previous hearing, to wit,


the immediacy of the problem sought to be corrected and
the urgency of the need to correct it.
In the case before us, there was no such pressure of time or action
calling for the petitioner's peremptory treatment. The properties involved
were not even inimical per se as to require their instant destruction.
There certainly was no reason why the offense prohibited by the
executive order should not have been proved first in a court of justice,
with the accused being accorded all the rights safeguarded to him under
the Constitution. Considering that, as we held in Pesigan v.
Angeles, 21 Executive Order No. 626-A is penal in nature, the violation

thereof should have been pronounced not by the police only but by a
court of justice, which alone would have had the authority to impose
the prescribed penalty, and only after trial and conviction of the
accused.
We also mark, on top of all this, the questionable manner of the
disposition of the confiscated property as prescribed in the questioned
executive order. It is there authorized that the seized property shall "be
distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the
Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commissionmay see fit, in the
case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the
Director of Animal Industrymay see fit, in the case of carabaos."
(Emphasis supplied.) The phrase "may see fit" is an extremely generous
and dangerous condition, if condition it is. It is laden with perilous
opportunities for partiality and abuse, and even corruption. One
searches in vain for the usual standard and the reasonable guidelines,

or better still, the limitations that the said officers must observe when
they make their distribution. There is none. Their options are apparently
boundless. Who shall be the fortunate beneficiaries of their generosity
and by what criteria shall they be chosen? Only the officers named can
supply the answer, they and they alone may choose the grantee as they
see fit, and in their own exclusive discretion. Definitely, there is here a
"roving commission," a wide and sweeping authority that is not
"canalized within banks that keep it from overflowing," in short, a clearly
profligate and therefore invalid delegation of legislative powers.
To sum up then, we find that the challenged measure is an invalid
exercise of the police power because the method employed to conserve
the carabaos is not reasonably necessary to the purpose of the law and,
worse, is unduly oppressive. Due process is violated because the owner
of the property confiscated is denied the right to be heard in his defense
and is immediately condemned and punished. The conferment on the
administrative authorities of the power to adjudge the guilt of the
supposed offender is a clear encroachment on judicial functions and
militates against the doctrine of separation of powers. There is, finally,
also an invalid delegation of legislative powers to the officers mentioned
therein who are granted unlimited discretion in the distribution of the
properties arbitrarily taken. For these reasons, we hereby declare
Executive Order No. 626-A unconstitutional.
We agree with the respondent court, however, that the police station
commander who confiscated the petitioner's carabaos is not liable in
damages for enforcing the executive order in accordance with its
mandate. The law was at that time presumptively valid, and it was his
obligation, as a member of the police, to enforce it. It would have been
impertinent of him, being a mere subordinate of the President, to declare
the executive order unconstitutional and, on his own responsibility alone,
refuse to execute it. Even the trial court, in fact, and the Court of Appeals
itself did not feel they had the competence, for all their superior
authority, to question the order we now annul.
The Court notes that if the petitioner had not seen fit to assert and
protect his rights as he saw them, this case would never have reached
us and the taking of his property under the challenged measure would
have become afait accompli despite its invalidity. We commend him for
his spirit. Without the present challenge, the matter would have ended in
that pump boat in Masbate and another violation of the Constitution, for

58
all its obviousness, would have been perpetrated, allowed without
protest, and soon forgotten in the limbo of relinquished rights.
The strength of democracy lies not in the rights it guarantees but in the
courage of the people to invoke them whenever they are ignored or
violated. Rights are but weapons on the wall if, like expensive tapestry,
all they do is embellish and impress. Rights, as weapons, must be a
promise of protection. They become truly meaningful, and fulfill the role
assigned to them in the free society, if they are kept bright and sharp
with use by those who are not afraid to assert them.
WHEREFORE, Executive Order No. 626-A is hereby declared
unconstitutional. Except as affirmed above, the decision of the Court of
Appeals is reversed. The supersedeas bond is cancelled and the
amount thereof is ordered restored to the petitioner. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras,
Gancayco, Padilla Bidin Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur.
Melencio-Herrera and Feliciano, JJ., are on leave.