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i. When there is impairment
THE Constitutional proscription on impairment of contracts and preference of credits are at the core of this controversy involving the rehabilitation
plan of ASB Development Corporation, a debtor of petitioner China Banking Corporation (China Bank).
Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) upholding the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) approval of respondents corporate rehabilitation plan.
The Facts
In 1999, respondent ASB Development Corporation applied for and was granted a credit line by petitioner China Bank in the principal amount
of P35,000,000.00. The loan was secured by a real estate mortgage constituted over two contiguous lots with a combined area of 1,332.5 square
meters in Grace Park, Caloocan City. The said properties are covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. 2981096 and 298110 of the Register
of Deeds of Caloocan City.
In 2000, respondent ASB Realty Corporation, an affiliate of ASB Development, obtained an omnibus credit line from petitioner China Bank in the
amount of P265,000,000.00. The loan was secured by two real estate mortgages: (1) over two parcels of land situated at Salcedo, Legaspi Village,
Makati City, covered by TCT Nos. 205136 and 206189; and (2) over a parcel of land located at Constellation Street, Bel-Air Village, Makati City,
covered by TCT No. 201933.
Respondent corporations defaulted in the payment of the agreed loan amortizations, interest, and other charges. Demands to pay were left
On May 2, 2000, ASB Development Corporation and its affiliates, including ASB Realty, ASB Holdings, ASB Land, ASB Finance, Makati Hope
Christian School, Bel-Air Holdings, Winchester Trading, VYL Development, Gerick Holdings and Neighborhood Holdings, filed before the SEC a
petition for rehabilitation with prayer for suspension of actions and proceedings, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 902-A, as amended, docketed
as SEC Case No. 05-00-6609. In its petition, respondent averred, inter alia, that:
6. The total assets of petitioner ASB Group of Companies, together with petitioner ASB Allied Companies, amount to Nineteen Billion Four
Hundred Ten Million Pesos (P19,410,000,000.00).
7. The Projects were financed with loans or borrowings from bank and individual creditors which resulted in petitioner Group of Companies
having a total liability in the amount of Twelve Billion Seven Hundred Million Pesos (P12,700,000,000.00).
8. On account of the sudden non-renewal and/or the massive withdrawal by creditors of their loans to petitioner ASB Holdings, Inc.,
coupled with the recent developments in the country, like, among others, (i) the glut in the real estate market; (ii) the severe drop in the
sale of real properties; (iii) the depreciation of the peso vis--vis the dollar; and (iv) the decreased investor confidence in the economy,
petitioner Group of Companies was unable to complete and sell some of its projects on schedule and, hence, was unable to service its
obligations as they fell due.
9. Petitioner Group of Companies possesses sufficient property to cover its obligations. However, petitioner Group of Companies foresees
its inability to pay its obligations within a period of one (1) year.
10. Because of the inability of the Group of Companies to pay its obligations as they respectively fall due, its secured and non-secured
creditors pressed for payments of due and maturing obligations and threatened to initiate separate actions against it, which will adversely
affect its operations and shatter its hope in rehabilitating itself for the benefit of its investors and creditors and the general public.
11. There is a clear, present and imminent danger that the creditors of petitioner Group of Companies will institute extrajudicial and judicial
foreclosure proceedings and file court actions unless restrained by this Honorable Commission.

12. The institution of extrajudicial and judicial foreclosure proceedings and the filing of court actions against petitioner Group of Companies
will necessarily result in the paralization of its business operation and its assets being lost, dissipated or wasted.
13. There is, therefore, a need for the suspension of payment of all claims against petitioner Group of Companies, in the separate and
combined capacities of its member companies, while it is working for its rehabilitation.
14. Petitioner Group of Companies has at least seven hundred twelve (712) creditors, three hundred seventeen (317) contractors/suppliers
and four hundred ninety-two (492) condominium unit buyers, who will certainly be prejudiced by the disruption of the operations of
petitioner ASB Group of Companies which seeks to protect the interest of the parties from any precipitate action of any person who may
only have his individual interest in mind.
15. The business of petitioner ASB Group of Companies is feasible and profitable. Petitioner Group of Companies will eventually be able to
pay all its obligations given some changes in its management, organization, policies, strategies, operations, or finances.
16. With the support of this Honorable Commission, petitioner Group of Companies is confident that it will be able to embark on a sound
and viable rehabilitation plan, with a built-in debt repayment schedule through the optimal use of their present facilities, assets and
resources. Although a proposed rehabilitation plan is attached to this petition, a detailed and comprehensive rehabilitation proposal will be
presented for the approval of this Honorable Commission, with the foregoing salient features:
a. Servicing and eventual full repayment of all debts and liabilities, focusing on debt restructure and possible liquidation
through dacion en pago, transfer and assignment, or outright sale of assets, in order to lighten the debt burden of petitioner
Group of Companies;
b. Forming of strategic alliances with third party investors, including joint ventures and similar arrangements;
c. Contributing specified properties from petitioner ASB Allied Companies;
d. Streamlining the operations of petitioner ASB Group of Companies, and the effective management of its revenues and funds
towards the strengthening of its financial and business positions; and
e. Stabilizing the operations of petitioner Group of Companies, and preparing it to take advantage of future opportunities for
growth and development.2
In filing the petition for rehabilitation, respondents contended that while they have sufficient capitalization, the company will be hard-pressed to
service its obligations in favor of petitioner bank and its other creditors due to a glut in the real estate market, the depreciation of the currency and
decreased investor confidence in the Philippine economy. Respondents then prayed that the SEC, after due hearing: (a) appoint an interim receiver;
(b) suspend all actions against the ASB Group for a period of sixty days subject to extension; and (c) approve a rehabilitation plan for the ASB Group
and appoint a rehabilitation receiver to monitor the implementation of the said rehabilitation plan.
On May 4, 2000, the Hearing Panel of the SEC Securities Investigation and Clearing Department, finding the petition for rehabilitation sufficient in
form and substance, issued a 60-day Suspension Order (a) suspending all actions for claims against the ASB Group of Companies pending or still to
be filed with any court, office, board, body, or tribunal; (b) enjoining the ASB Group of Companies from disposing of their properties in any manner,
except in the ordinary course of business, and from paying their liabilities outstanding as of the date of the filing of the petition; and (c) appointing
Atty. Monico V. Jacob as interim receiver of the ASB Group of Companies.
On May 22, 2000, the SEC Hearing Panel issued an order appointing Mr. Fortunato Cruz as interim receiver of the ASB Group of Companies,
replacing Atty. Monico Jacob.
On August 18, 2000, respondent ASB Development Corporation submitted the rehabilitation plan for approval of the SEC. The plan, in part, provides:
x x x Based on the program, secured creditors claims amounting to PhP5.192 billion will be paid in full including interest up to April 30,
2000. Secured creditors have been asked to waive all penalties and other charges. This dacion en pago program is essential to eventually
pay all creditors and rehabilitate the ASB Group of Companies. If the dacion en pago herein contemplated does not materialize for failure

of the secured creditors to agree thereto, this rehabilitation plan contemplates to settle the obligations (without interest, penalties, and other
related charges accruing after the date of the initial suspension order) to secured creditors with mortgaged properties at ASB selling prices
for the general interest of the employees, creditors, unit buyers, government, general public, and the economy. 3
On April 26, 2001, the ASB rehabilitation plan was approved by the SEC.
Aggrieved, petitioner bank appealed the plans approval to the SEC En Banc. According to petitioner, the SEC order compelling the bank to
surrender its present collateral and accept certain properties located in Pasig City and Paraaque City as payment of the obligations due it violates
the constitutional proscription against impairment of contracts. It was likewise argued that the value of the properties being offered by ASB via dacion
en pago is insufficient to cover the amount of its outstanding loans; and that the preference conferred by law to the bank as a secured creditor has
been rendered illusory.
On June 10, 2003, the SEC En Banc denied with finality petitioner banks appeal. Undaunted, petitioner elevated the matter to the CA via petition for
review under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
CA Disposition
On October 28, 2005, the CA dismissed the banks petition for lack of merit. In ruling against petitioner bank, the appellate court opined:
The assailed rehabilitation plan does not violate the principle of mutuality of contracts. In fact, the provisions of said plan recognize the
secured creditors right to refuse or reject the dacion en pago arrangements proposed therein. To illustrate, the rehabilitation plan
pertinently states:
"x x x If the dacion en pago herein contemplated does not materialize for failure of the secured creditors to agree thereto, this
rehabilitation plan contemplates to settle the obligations (without interest, penalties, and other related charges accruing after the
date of the initial suspension order) to secured creditors with mortgaged properties at ASB selling prices for the general interest
of the employees, creditors, unit buyers, government, general public and the economy."
Inasmuch as the proposed dacion en pago can proceed only upon agreement of all the parties concerned, there is no basis for petitioners
assertion that its freedom to contract is unduly curtailed and that it is being compelled to accept certain properties as settlement for
respondents obligations.
On the other hand, We find no cogent reason to disturb or reverse the findings of the lower tribunals regarding the valuation of
respondents assets and viability of the rehabilitation plan. As the SEC En Bancobserved:
"x x x the selling values and net realizable values of the properties are not much higher than the appraisals conducted by Cuervo
Appraiser, Inc. in 1997 and 2000. In addition, the valuations given to the unfinished projects proposed to be dacioned to secured
creditors are based on the selling price of appellees [respondents] on similar projects for which deeds of absolute sale have been
consummated." (Resolution dated June 10, 2003)
It is a basic principle of law that courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion or judgment of government
agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under the special technical knowledge and training of such agencies (Olaguer
vs. Domingo, 359 SCRA 78). Given their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their jurisdiction, they are in a better
position to pass judgment thereon and their findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded respect, if not finality, by the courts
(Palele vs. Court of Appeals, 362 SCRA 141).
At any rate, petitioners concerns about the viability of the rehabilitation plan should be laid to rest by the fact that less than two years after
its approval by the SEC hearing panel, 54% of respondents obligations to creditor banks had already been paid. This only shows that the
continued implementation of the rehabilitation plan may well lead to petitioners full recovery of its claims against respondents.
All told, We find that the SEC correctly upheld the order of the hearing panel approving the ASB Groups rehabilitation plan. 4

Petitioner has resorted to the present review on certiorari, raising twin issues:
Our Ruling
This is not the first time that the matter of the rehabilitation plan of respondent ASB Development Corporation has reached the Courts corridors. This
Court, in two separate occasions, has already placed the said plan under the crucible.
In Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. ASB Holdings, Inc.,5 the Court was confronted with triple questions:
a. The rehabilitation plan compels petitioner bank to accept, through a dacion en pago arrangement, the mortgaged properties based on
ASB Group of Companies transfer values and to release part of the collateral. This forced transfer of properties and diminution of the
banks right to enforce its lien on the mortgaged properties violate its constitutional right against impairment of contracts and right to due
b. The rehabilitation plan compels petitioner bank to waive the interests, penalties and other charges that accrued after the SEC issued its
Stay Order. Again, this is in violation of the constitutional mandate on non-impairment of contracts and due process.
c. Only respondent ASB Holdings, Inc. suffered financial distress as stated in the Rehabilitation Plan and, as such, the coercive reach of
the SECs Stay Order under P.D. 902-A can extend only to the enforcement of claims against this distressed corporation. It cannot suspend
the claims and actions against its affiliate corporations. 6
In resolving the questions in favor of the distressed corporation, the Court held then:
We are not convinced that the approval of the Rehabilitation Plan impairs petitioner banks lien over the mortgaged properties. Section 6[c]
of P.D. No. 902-A provides that "upon appointment of a management committee, rehabilitation receiver, board or body, pursuant to this
Decree, all actions for claims against corporations, partnerships or associations under management or receivership pending before any
court, tribunal, board or body shall be suspended."
By that statutory provision, it is clear that the approval of the Rehabilitation Plan and the appointment of a rehabilitation receiver merely
suspend the actions for claims against respondent corporations. Petitioner banks preferred status over the unsecured creditors relative to
the mortgage liens is retained, but the enforcement of such preference is suspended. The loan agreements between the parties have not
been set aside and petitioner bank may still enforce its preference when the assets of ASB Group of Companies will be liquidated.
Considering that the provisions of the loan agreements are merely suspended, there is no impairment of contracts, specifically its lien in
the mortgaged properties.
As we stressed in Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation v. Intermediate Appellate Court, such suspension "shall not prejudice or render
ineffective the status of a secured creditor as compared to a totally unsecured creditor," for what P.D. No. 902-A merely provides is that all
actions for claims against the distressed corporation, partnership or association shall be suspended. This arrangement provided by law is
intended to give the receiver a chance to rehabilitate the corporation if there should still be a possibility for doing so, without being
unnecessarily disturbed by the creditors actions against the distressed corporation. However, in the event that rehabilitation is no longer
feasible and the claims against the distressed corporation would eventually have to be settled, the secured creditors, like petitioner bank,
shall enjoy preference over the unsecured creditors.

Likewise, there is no compulsion on the part of petitioner bank to accept a dacion en pago arrangement of the mortgaged properties based
on ASB Group of Companies transfer values and to condone interests and penalties. The Rehabilitation Plan itself, under item IV-A,
explains the dacion en pago proposal, thus:
A. The Total Approach
It is apparent that ASBs corporate indebtedness needs to be reduced as quickly as possible in order to prevent rapid deterioration in
equity x x x. In order to reduce debt quickly, we must do the following:
1. Complete or sell on-going projects;
2. Invite secured creditors to complete dacion en pago transactions, waiving all penalties; and
3. Invite unsecured creditors to purchase real estate parcels and other assets and set-off the amount of their outstanding claim
against the purchase price.
The assets included in the above program include all real estate assets.
In order to determine the feasibility of the above, representatives of our financial advisors met with or had discussions with most of the
secured creditors. Preliminary discussions indicate support from the secured creditors towards the concepts of the program associated
with them. The majority of these secured creditors appear to want to complete dacion en pago transactions based on MUTUALLY
AGREED UPON TERMS x x x. We continue to pursue discussions with secured creditors. Based on the program, secured creditors claims
amounting to PhP5.192 billion will be paid in full including interest up to April 30, 2000. Secured creditors have been asked to waive all
penalties and other charges. This dacion en pago program is essential to eventually pay all creditors and rehabilitate the ASB Group of
Companies. If the dacion en pago herein contemplated does not materialize for failure of the secured creditors to agree thereto, this
rehabilitation plan contemplates to settle the obligations (without interest, penalties, and other related charges accruing after the date of the
initial suspension order) to secured creditors with mortgaged properties at ASB selling prices for the general interest on the employees,
creditors, unit buyers, government, general public, and the economy.
Indeed, based on the above explanation in the Rehabilitation Plan, the dacion en pago program and the intent of respondent ASB Group of
Companies to ask creditors to waive the interests, penalties and related charges are not compulsory in nature. They are merely proposals
for the creditors to accept. In fact, as explained, there was already an initial discussion on these proposals and the majority of the secured
creditors showed their desire to complete dacion en pago transactions, but they must be "based on MUTUALLY AGREED UPON TERMS."
The SEC En Banc in its Resolution dated April 15, 2003, affirming the SEC Hearing Panels Order of April 26, 2001 approving the
Rehabilitation Plan, aptly declared:
x x x petitioner asserts that the Rehabilitation Plan is not legally feasible because respondents cannot dictate the terms of dacion.
We do not agree. A cursory reading of the Rehabilitation Plan debunks this assertion. The Plan provides that dacion en pago transaction
will be effected only if the secured creditors, like petitioner, agree thereto and under terms and conditions mutually agreeable to private
respondents and the secured creditor concerned. The dacion en pago program is essential to eventually pay all creditors and rehabilitate
private respondents. If the dacion en pago does not materialize in case secured creditors refuse to agree thereto, the Rehabilitation Plan
contemplates to settle the obligations to secured creditors with mortgaged properties at selling prices. This is for the general interest of the
employees, creditors, unit buyers, government, general public, and the economy.
With respect to the third assigned error, we note that the same was not raised by petitioner bank in its Comment/Opposition to the
Rehabilitation Plan filed with the SEC Hearing Panel. Such belated issue cannot be considered, especially because it involves a question
of fact, the resolution of which is normally beyond the authority of this Court as it is not a trier of facts.

At any rate, the SEC En Banc found that the SEC Hearing Panel "acted within its legal authority in resolving this case. Neither it over
stepped its lawful authority nor acted whimsically in approving the Rehabilitation Plan. Hence, it cannot be faulted of grave abuse of
discretion." We find no reason to disturb such finding, it being a fundamental rule that factual findings of quasi-judicial agencies, like the
SEC, which have acquired expertise as their jurisdiction is confined to special matters such as the subject of this case, are generally
accorded great respect and even finality, absent any showing that they arbitrarily disregarded evidence or misapprehended evidence to
such an extent as to compel a contrary conclusion if such evidence had been properly appreciated.
Petitioner bank also argues that "ASB Group of Companies" is merely a generic name used to describe collectively various companies and
as such, it is not a legal entity with juridical personality and cannot be a party to a suit. True, "ASB Group of Companies" is merely used in
this case as a generic name, for brevity, to collectively describe the various companies/corporations that filed a Petition For Rehabilitation
with the SEC. However, in their petition, all the respondent corporations are individually named as petitioners, not "ASB Group of
In a related case, Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Securities and Exchange Commission,8 the Court En Bancwould be more emphatic in holding
The petition must be denied.
The very same issues confronted the Court in the case of Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. ASB Holdings, et al. In this case,
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (MBTC) refused to enter into a dacion en pago arrangement contained in ASBs proposed
Rehabilitation Plan. MBTC argued, among others, that the forced transfer of properties and the diminution of its right to enforce its lien on
the mortgaged properties violate its constitutional right against impairment of contracts and right to due process. The Court ruled that there
is no impairment of contracts because the approval of the Rehabilitation Plan and the appointment of a rehabilitation receiver merely
suspends the action for claims against the ASB Group, and MBTC may still enforce its preference when the assets of the ASB Group will
be liquidated. But if the rehabilitation is found to be no longer feasible, then the claims against the distressed corporation would have to be
settled eventually and the secured creditors shall enjoy preference over the unsecured ones. Moreover, the Court stated that there is no
compulsion to enter into a dacion en pago agreement, nor to waive the interests, penalties and related charges, since these are merely
proposals to creditors such as MBTC, such that in the event the secured creditors refuse the dacion, the Rehabilitation Plan proposes to
settle the obligations to secured creditors with mortgaged properties at selling prices.
Rehabilitation proceedings in our jurisdiction, much like the bankruptcy laws of the United States, have equitable and rehabilitative
purposes. On the one hand, they attempt to provide for the efficient and equitable distribution of an insolvent debtor's remaining assets to
its creditors; and on the other, to provide debtors with a "fresh start" by relieving them of the weight of their outstanding debts and
permitting them to reorganize their affairs. The rationale of P.D. No. 902-A, as amended, is to "effect a feasible and viable rehabilitation," by
preserving a floundering business as going concern, because the assets of a business are often more valuable when so maintained than
they would be when liquidated.
The Court reiterates that the SECs approval of the Rehabilitation Plan did not impair BPIs right to contract. As correctly contended by
private respondents, the non-impairment clause is a limit on the exercise of legislative power and not of judicial or quasi-judicial power. The
SEC, through the hearing panel that heard the petition for approval of the Rehabilitation Plan, was acting as a quasi-judicial body and,
thus, its order approving the plan cannot constitute an impairment of the right and the freedom to contract.
Besides, the mere fact that the Rehabilitation Plan proposes a dacion en pago approach does not render it defective on the ground of
impairment of the right to contract. Dacion en pago is a special mode of payment where the debtor offers another thing to the creditor who
accepts it as equivalent of payment of an outstanding debt. The undertaking really partakes in a sense of the nature of sale, that is, the
creditor is really buying the thing or property of the debtor, the payment for which is to be charged against the debtors debt. As such, the
essential elements of a contract of sale, namely; consent, object certain, and cause or consideration must be present. Being a form of
contract, the dacion en pago agreement cannot be perfected without the consent of the parties involved.
We find no element of compulsion in the dacion en pago provision of the Rehabilitation Plan. It was not the only solution presented by the
ASB to pay its creditors. In fact, it was stated in the Rehabilitation Plan that:
x x x If the dacion en pago herein contemplated does not materialize for failure of the secured creditors to agree thereto, the rehabilitation
plan contemplates to settle the obligations (without interest, penalties and other related charges accruing after the date of the initial

suspension order) to secured creditors with mortgaged properties at ASB selling prices for the general interest of the employees, creditors,
unit buyers, government, general public, and the economy.
Thus, if BPI does not find the dacion en pago modality acceptable, the ASB Group can propose to settle its debts at such amount as is
equivalent to the selling price of the mortgaged properties. If BPI still refuses this option, it can assert its rights in the liquidation and
distribution of the ASB Groups assets. It will not lose its status as a secured creditor, retaining its preference over unsecured creditors
when the assets of the corporation are finally liquidated. 9
We are inclined to rule in a similar fashion here.
In intruding into corporate affairs, the State must, at all times, promote a wider and more meaningful equitable distribution of wealth and protect
investments and the public. To Our mind, the approval by the SEC of the rehabilitation plan of respondent corporations is a step towards that
The terms of the rehabilitation plan unveil that secured creditors like petitioner bank may refuse or reject thedacion en pago arrangements stated in
it. It cannot be implemented without petitioners consent.
Further, the approval of the plan and the appointment of a receiver merely suspend actions and claims that may be raised against respondent bank.
They do not, in any manner, obliterate petitioners status as a preferred secured creditor.
Questions on the viability of the plan should likewise be laid to rest. As the CA aptly observed, majority of respondents obligations to creditor banks
had already been paid as early as two years upon the approval of the plan.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the appealed Court of Appeals Decision AFFIRMED.
On March 4, 1952, Ortigas sold Lot 5 and 6, Block 31 of the Highway Hills Subdivision at Mandaluyong to Augusto Padilla y Angeles and Natividad
Angeles. The latter transferred their rights in favour of Emma Chavez, upon completion of payment a deed was executed with stipulations, one of
which is that the use of the lots are to be exclusive for residential purposes only. This was annotated in the Transfer Certificate of Titles No. 101509
and 101511. Feati then acquired Lot 5 directly from Emma Chavez and Lot 6 from Republic Flour Mills. On May 5, 1963, Feati started construction of
a building on both lots to be devoted for banking purposes but could also be for residential use. Ortigas sent a written demand to stop construction
but Feati continued contending that the building was being constructed according to the zoning regulations as stated in Municipal Resolution 27
declaring the area along the West part of EDSA to be a commercial and industrial zone. Civil case No. 7706 was made and decided in favour of
Whether or not Resolution number 27 declaring Lot 5 and 6 to be part of an industrial and commercial zone is valid considering the contract
stipulation in the Transfer Certificate of Titles.
Resolution No. 27 prevails over the contract stipulations. Section 3 of RA 2264 of the Local Autonomy Act empowers a Municipal Council to adopt
zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations for the Municipality. Section 12 or RA 2264 states that implied power of the municipality should be
liberally construed in its favour, to give more power to the local government in promoting economic conditions, social welfare, and material
progress in the community. This is found in the General Welfare Clause of the said act. Although non-impairment of contracts is constitutionally
guaranteed, it is not absolute since it has to be reconciled with the legitimate exercise of police power, e.g. the power to promote health, morals,
peace, education, good order or safety and general welfare of the people. Resolution No. 27 was obviously passed in exercise of police power to
safeguard health, safety, peace and order and the general welfare of the people in the locality as it would not be a conducive residential area

considering the amount of traffic, pollution, and noise which results in the surrounding industrial and commercial establishments.
Decision dismissing the complaint of Ortigas is AFFIRMED.
FACTS: In 1986, at the start of President Corazon Aquinos administration, petitioner sent letters to the Office of the President and to the Ministry of
Natural Resources (MNR) seeking the reinstatement of its timber license agreement (TLA No. 87), which was cancelled in August 1983 along with
nine other concessions, during the Marcos administration. It alleged that after the its TLA was cancelled without being given the opportunity to be
heard, its logging area was re-awarded to other logging concessionaires without a formal award or license, as these entities were controlled or
owned by relatives or cronies of deposed President Marcos.
The Ministry ruled that a timber license was not a contract within the due process clause of the Constitution, but only a privilege which could be
withdrawn whenever public interest or welfare so demands, and that petitioner was not discriminated against in view of the fact that it was among ten
concessionaires whose licenses were revoked in 1983. It also emphasized the fact that there was currently a total log ban being imposed on the
subject areas.
After the logging ban was lifted, petitioner appealed to the Office of the President, but the petition was denied on the ground that the appeal was
prematurely filed, the matter not having been terminated in the MNR. Hence, petitioner filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari.
ISSUE: Whether public respondents acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in refusing to overturn
administrative orders issued by their predecessors.
RULING: The refusal of public respondents to reverse final and executory administrative orders does not constitute grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. It is an established doctrine in this jurisdiction that the decisions and orders of administrative agencies
have, upon their finality, the force and binding effect of a final judgment within the purview of the doctrine of res judicata. These decisions and orders
are as conclusive upon the rights of the affected parties as though the same had been rendered by a court of general jurisdiction. The rule of res
judicata thus forbids the reopening of a matter once determined by competent authority acting within their exclusive jurisdiction
Petitioner did not avail of its remedies under the law for attacking the validity of these administrative actions until after 1986. By the time petitioner
sent its letter to the newly appointed Minister of the MNR requesting for reconsideration, these were already settled matters as far as petitioner was
More importantly, the assailed orders of the MNR disclose public policy consideration, which effectively forestall judicial interference. Public
respondents, upon whose shoulders rests the task of implementing the policy to develop and conserve the country's natural resources, have
indicated an ongoing department evaluation of all timber license agreements entered into, and permits or licenses issued, under the previous
dispensation. A long line of cases establish the basic rule that the courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of
government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under their special technical knowledge and training.
Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest
resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely evidence a privilege granted by the State to
qualified entities, and do not vest in the latter a permanent or irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest products therein. They
may be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by the Chief Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are not deemed
contracts within the purview of the due process of law clause.
The Court expresses its concern regarding alleged irregularities in the issuance of timber license agreements to a number of logging
concessionaires. Should the appropriate case be brought showing a clear grave abuse of discretion on the part of concerned officials with respect to
the implementation of this public policy, the Court will not hesitate to step in. However, in this case, the Court finds no basis to issue a writ of
certiorari and to grant any of the affirmative reliefs sought.
Petition is dismissed.
1 In Re: Query of Mr. Roger Prioreschi
A.M. No. 09-6-9-SC
August 19, 2009

Facts: In his letter dated May 22, 2009 addressed to the Chief Justice, Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi, administrator of the Good Shepherd Foundation,
Inc., questioned OCA Circular No. 42-2005 and Rule 141 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines that reserve the privilege of exemption from docket
and filing fees to indigent persons. He questioned why the rules excluded foundations or associations that work with and for the most Indigent
persons, as in the case of the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. which had been reaching out since 1985 to the poorest among the poor, the newly
born and abandoned babies, children who never saw the smile of their mother, old people who cannot afford a few pesos to pay for common
prescriptions, broken families who returned to a normal life, whom the Philippine Government and the Filipino society could not reach to or had
rejected or abandoned.
To answer the query of Mr. Prioreschi, the Supreme Court held that it could not grant to foundations like the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. the
same exemption from payment of legal fees granted to indigent litigants even if the foundations are working for indigent and underprivileged people.
The basis for the exemption from legal and filing fees is the free access clause, embodied in Sec. 11, Art. III of the 1987 Constitution, which provides
that free access to the courts and quasi judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.
Held: In implementation of the right of free access under the Constitution, the Supreme Court promulgated rules, specifically, Sec. 21, Rule 3, Rules
of Court, and Sec. 19, Rule 141, Rules of Court.
The Court held that the clear intent and precise language of the aforequoted provisions of the Rules of Court indicated that only a natural party
litigant may be regarded as an indigent litigant. The Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., being a corporation invested by the State with a juridical
personality separate and distinct from that of its members, is a juridical person. Among others, it has the power to acquire and possess property of all
kinds as well as incur obligations and bring civil or criminal actions, in conformity with the laws and regulations of their organization. As a juridical
person, it cannot be accorded the exemption from legal and filing fees granted to indigent litigants.
The Court stated that the free access clause of the Constitution applies only to a natural person who suffers from poverty. It added that extending the
exemption to a juridical person on the ground that it works for indigent and underprivileged people may be prone to abuse (even with the imposition
of rigid documentation requirements), particularly by corporations and entities bent on circumventing the rule on payment of the fees and that the
scrutiny of compliance with the documentation requirements may prove too time-consuming and wasteful for the courts.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
Section 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Free Legal Assistance Act of 2010".
Section 2. Declaration of Policy. - It is the declared policy of the State to value the dignity of every human person and guarantee the rights of every
individual, particularly those who cannot afford the services of legal counsel.
Furthermore, it is the policy of the State to promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation
and free the people from poverty through policies and programs that provide adequate social services and improve the quality of life for all.
In addition, the State shall guarantee free legal assistance to the poor and ensure that every person who cannot afford the services of a counsel is
provided with a competent and independent counsel preferably of his/her own choice, if upon determination it appears that the party cannot afford
the services of a counsel, and that services of a counsel are necessary to secure the ends of justice and protect of the party.
Section 3. Definition of Terms. - As provided for in this Act, the term legal services to be performed by a lawyer refers to any activity which requires
the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experiences which shall include, among others, legal advice and counsel, and the
preparation of instruments and contracts, including appearance before the administrative and quasi-judicial offices, bodies and tribunals handling
cases in court, and other similar services as may be defined by the Supreme Court.
Section 4. Requirements for Availment. - For purposes of availing of the benefits and services as envisioned in this Act, a lawyer or professional
partnership shall secure a certification from the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), the Department of Justice (DOJ) or accredited association of the
Supreme Court indicating that the said legal services to be provided are within the services defined by the Supreme Court, and that the agencies
cannot provide the legal services to be provided by the private counsel.

For purpose of determining the number of hours actually provided by the lawyer and/or professional firm in the provision of legal services, the
association and/or organization duly accredited by the Supreme Court shall issue the necessary certification that said legal services were actually
The certification issued by, among others, the PAO, the DOJ and other accredited association by the Supreme Court shall be submitted to the
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for purposes of availing the tax deductions as provided for in this Act and to the DOJ for purposes of monitoring.
Section 5. Incentives to Lawyers. - For purposes of this Act, a lawyer or professional partnerships rendering actual free legal services, as defined by
the Supreme Court, shall be entitled to an allowable deduction from the gross income, the amount that could have been collected for the actual free
legal services rendered or up to ten percent (10%) of the gross income derived from the actual performance of the legal profession, whichever is
lower: Provided, That the actual free legal services herein contemplated shall be exclusive of the minimum sixty (60)-hour mandatory legal aid
services rendered to indigent litigants as required under the Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for Practicing Lawyers, under BAR Matter No.
2012, issued by the Supreme Court.
Section 6. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Campaign. - The DOJ, in cooperation with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), is
hereby mandated to conduct an annual IEC campaign in order to inform the lawyers of the procedures and guidelines in availing tax deductions and
inform the general public that a free legal assistance to those who cannot afford counsel is being provided by the State.1avvph!1
Section 7. Reportorial Requirement. - For purposes of determining the effectiveness and social impact of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall
submit an annual report to both Houses of Congress indicating therewith the number of parties who benefited from this Act.
The report shall state in detail, among others, the geographic location, demographic characteristics and socioeconomic profile of the beneficiaries of
this Act.
Section 8. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). - Within ninety (90) days from the date effectivity of this Act, the BIR shall formulate the
necessary revenue regulations for the proper implementation of the tax component as envisioned in this Act.
The Supreme Court shall formulate the necessary implementing rules and regulations with respect to the legal services covered under this Act and
the process of accreditation of organizations and/or associations which will provide free legal assistance.
Section 9. Separability Clause. - If any provision of this Act is declared unconstitutional or invalid, the other provisions not affected by such
declaration shall remain in full force and effect.
Section 10. Repealing Clause. - Any law, decree, ordinance or administrative circular not consistent with any provision of this Act is hereby
amended, repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 11. Effectivity Clause. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2)
newspapers of general circulation.

G.R. No. 108494 September 20, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
SAMUEL MARRA y ZARATE, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

In an information filed before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, Dagupan City, Samuel Marra y Zarate, John Doe, Peter Doe, Paul Doe and Tom
Doe were charged with the crime of murder for the fatal shooting of one Nelson Tandoc on March 7, 1992. 1 On June 4, 1992, an amended
information was filed wherein Allan Tan, alias "Allan Yao," was indicated as an accused instead of John Doe. 2 A warrant of arrest was thereafter
issued against Allan Tan 3 but the same was returned unserved, 4 hence trial proceeded with regard to herein accused-appellant Samuel Marra
Duly assisted by counsel, appellant pleaded not guilty upon arraignment on May 15, 1992. 5 After trial on the merits, judgment was rendered by the
court below on October 8, 1992 finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, attended by the aggravating circumstance of
nighttime, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty ofreclusion perpetua. He was further ordered to pay the heirs of Nelson Tandoc the sums of
P50,000.00 as death indemnity, P50,000.00 as actual damages, P100,000.00 as moral damages, and the costs. 6
The prosecution's eyewitness, Jimmy Din, positively identified appellant as the triggerman in the killing of Nelson Tandoc. Din recounted that at
around 2:00 A.M. on March 7, 1992, he and his friend, Nelson Tandoc, were conversing with each other in front of Lucky Hotel located at M.H. del
Pilar Street, Dagupan City, which was owned by the witness' father and of which he was the administrator. He noticed a man pass by on the opposite
side of the street. The man made a dirty sign with his finger and Din informed Tandoc thereof. The man repeated his offensive act and called them by
waving his hands. Infuriated, they followed the man until the latter stopped in front of the Dunkin' Donuts store at the corner of Arellano and
Fernandez streets. They demanded an explanation from the man but they were not given any. 7
At that instant, two men arrived and one of them inquired what was going on. Tandoc informed him that they were just demanding an explanation
from the man. Din was surprised when Tandoc unexpectedly slapped one of the two men. A brawl ensued, with Tandoc clashing with the two men
while Din exchanged blows with the man who made the dirty finger sign. After the fisticuffs, their three opponents ran away in a westward direction.

Tandoc and Din then decided to walk back to the hotel. When they were about to enter the place, they noticed that the men with whom they just had
a fight were running towards them. Sensing danger, they ran inside the annex building of the hotel and immediately secured the lock of the sliding
outer door. They entered a room and waited until they felt that the situation had normalized. After ten to fifteen minutes, thinking that the men were
no longer in the vicinity, they left the room. Having decided to go home, Tandoc opened the sliding door. All of a sudden, Din saw Appellant, who at
that time was wearing a security guard's uniform, shoot Tandoc with a revolver. There was a fluorescent bulb installed at the front of the hotel which
enabled Din to identify the assailant. Tandoc was shot in the middle of the chest and he fell down. Then, Din saw four to five men scamper away from
the scene. 9
Aware of his injury, Tandoc told Din, "Tol, I was shot." The latter tried to chase appellant and his companions but he failed to catch up with them. Din
and his wife then brought Tandoc to the Villaflor Hospital. The victim was taken to the emergency room but he expired an hour later. 10
At about 3:45 A.M. of March 7, 1992, SPO3 Reynaldo de Vera of the Dagupan City Police Station received a report about a shooting incident at the
annex building of the Lucky Hotel. He proceeded to the crime scene along with SPO4 Orlando Garcia, SPO3 Mauricio Flores and SPO3 Noli de
Castro. Upon their arrival about five minutes later, they were informed by the wife of Jimmy Din that the victim had been brought to the Villaflor
Hospital. They proceeded to the hospital where Din informed them that he could recognize the man who killed Tandoc and that the killer was, at that
time, wearing the polo shirt of a security guard's uniform. 11
They decided to proceed to an eatery called "Linda's Ihaw-Ihaw." Seeing the security guard of a nearby bus company, they inquired from him if he
knew of any unusual incident that happened in the vicinity. The guard said that he saw the guard of "Linda's Ihaw-Ihaw," together with some
companions, chasing two persons running towards M. H. del Pilar Street. He further added that the man was wearing a polo shirt of a security
guard's uniform. Asked where that particular guard might be, he pointed to a man eating inside the eatery nearby. The man eating was not in a
security guard's uniform. 12
They approached the man and inquired whether he was the security guard of "Linda's Ihaw-Ihaw," which the latter answered in the affirmative. After
a series of questions, they learned that he was Samuel Marra, that his tour of duty was from 7:00 P.M. of a preceding day to 6:00 A.M. the following
day, that he was still on duty at around 2:30 in the morning of March 7, 1992, and that the firearm issued to him was in his house. Upon their request
to see the firearm, they proceeded to Marra's residence at Interior Nueva Street. 13

When they arrived, Marra took a .38 caliber revolver from inside an aparador and handed it to De Vera. De Vera also found five live bullets and one
spent shell. Smelling gunpowder from the barrel of the gun, De Vera asked Marra when he last fired the gun but the latter denied ever having done
so. Abruptly, De Vera asked him point-blank why he shot Tandoc. Marra at first denied the accusation but when informed that someone saw him do it,
he said that he did so in self-defense, firing at the victim only once. Tandoc allegedly had a samurai sword with him at the time of the incident.
However, persistent efforts on the part of the policemen to thereafter locate said bladed weapon proved futile. Marra also admitted that prior to the
incident, he chased the victim and Din. The officers then took Marra to the police station where he was detained. 14
Meanwhile, De Vera went to Villaflor Hospital from where he fetched Din and brought him to the police station. There, Din definitely identified Marra
as the assailant. During the investigation, De Vera also found out that Marra had not firearm license. 15
Dr. Tomas G. Cornel, Assistant City Health Officer of Dagupan City, testified that he conducted an autopsy on a certain Nelson Tandoc. He found a
gunshot wound on the victim with the point of entry of the left side of the anterior chest wall and the point of exit at the lower left portion of the right
shoulder. 16
Prosecutor Gregorio Gaerlan, stepfather of the victim, testified on the funeral, burial and other expenses incurred by the family. He declared that they
paid Funeraria Quiogue P25,000.00 for its services; Villaflor Hospital, P2,875.00 for the confinement of Tandoc; St. John Memorial Cathedral,
P350.00; Eternal Garden, P3,000.00 for the interment fee and P150.00 for the rent of the tent during the burial; and that they spent P2,300.00 for the
video tape expenses and P11,800.00 for food and drinks during the wake. 17
Understandably, appellant gave a different version of the incident. Marra declared in court that he used to work as a security guard at "Linda's IhawIhaw" from seven o'clock in the evening to six o'clock in the morning of the following day. On March 6, 1992, he reported for duty at seven o'clock
that evening as was his usual practice. At around four o'clock down of the following day, he went home to change his clothes. He proceeded to the
Five Star Bus Terminal which was adjacent to "Linda's Ihaw-Ihaw." He saw Neneng, the cashier of said eatery, and together they ordered arroz
caldo. Later, at about 5:00 A.M., he was approached by four policemen who inquired if he was a security guard. He answered in the affirmative. He
was also asked about his sidearm. When he answered that it was at his residence, they all went to his house to look for it. After he handed over the
firearm to the policemen, he was brought to the city hall where he was detained. 18
Under cross-examination, he insisted that when he handed the gun to the policeman, there were five live bullets, and not four live bullets and one
empty shell as claimed by the prosecution. Prior to the incident, he had never met Jimmy Din nor does he know of any cause why Din would harbor
any ill feelings against him. 19
After a careful scrutiny of the records and an objective evaluation of the evidence, the Court is not disposed to reverse the judgment of the lower
court, the decision of the latter being amply supported by the established facts and fully sustained by the applicable law.
In assailing the decision of the court below, the defense argues that "Jimmy Din . . . was not able to identify the assailant in a definite and believable
manner." It goes on to state further that " Jimmy Din was inside the hotel when Nelson Tandoc was shot and his vision was o(b)structed by the door.
Jimmy Din was also not familiar with the accused. Under the circumstances by which he allegedly witnessed the shooting, how could be identify
clearly an assailant at the distance of 45 meters?" 20
Appellant's counsel is only partly correct, having conveniently failed to mention other vital parts of Din's testimony. An impartial review of said
testimony readily reveals that Din was indeed in a position to know the identity of the assailant. Firstly, Din knew for a fact that the persons he and
Tandoc fought with near the Dunkin' Donuts store were the same men who chased them while they were on their way back to the hotel because he
was able to take a good look at them. During the chase, he naturally turned around to look at the men who were running after them and who were at
that time in front of the Balingit Trading store which was well-lighted. 21 It logically follows that they were the same persons who were waiting for them
when they later came out of the hotel, and he was familiar with their identities because of their previous encounter.
Secondly, we do not agree with appellant that the door blocked the view of Din. Said door, partly made of plywood, had a spring hinge which makes
it possible for the door to close by itself. However, at that time the spring hinge had been weakened by long and constant use such that it would take
some time for it to close the door, thereby allowing Din sufficient opportunity to have an unobstructed view of the scene outside. 22
Thirdly, Din was quite near the victim and appellant, which proximity, enabled him to clearly see what really happened. He thus readily perceived the
actual shooting at the time when Tandoc pushed the door open. At that precise moment, Din was at the left side of Tandoc and about four to five
meters away from the assailant. 23

Lastly, the place was brightly illuminated by a 20-watt fluorescent bulb installed on the outside wall in front of the hotel. Marra was only about three
meters away therefrom. Such physical conditions would undeniably afford a clear view from inside the hotel of the immediate area outside and in
front of the same where the incident took place.
The prosecution presented another vital witness in the person of Sgt. Reynaldo de Vera, whose testimony we shall repeat here for easy reference. In
capsulized form, De Vera narrated the sequence of events that happened after he and his companions went to the crime scene to conduct an
investigation. Having received information that a man in a security guard's uniform was involved in the incident, they sought information from a
security guard of a nearby bus terminal. Said security guard pointed them to Marra, who at that time was eating in acarinderia nearby. Informed by
Marra that his gun was at his residence, they all went to Marra's residence to get the same. After receiving said firearm, De Vera asked appellant
why he killed Tandoc but Marra initially denied any participation in the killing. Nevertheless, when confronted with the fact that somebody saw him do
it, Marra admitted the act although he alleged it was done in self-defense. This testimony of De Vera as to the confession of Marra is of significant
weight, but the admissibility thereof shall also be passed upon.
Section 12(1), Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that "(a)ny person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right
to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. . . . ." The critical inquiry
then is whether or not Marra was under custodial investigation when he admitted the killing but invoked self-defense. We believe that he was not so
Custodial investigation involves any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise
deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. It is only after the investigation ceases to be a general inquiry into an unsolved crime and
begins to focus on a particular suspect,the suspect is taken into custody, and the police carries out a process of interrogations that lends itself to
eliciting incriminating statements that the rule begins to operate. 24
In the case at bar, appellant was not under custodial investigation when he made the admission. There was no coercion whatsoever to compel him
to make such a statement. Indeed, he could have refused to answer questions from the very start when the policemen requested that they all go to
his residence. The police inquiry had not yet reached a level wherein they considered him as a particular suspect. They were just probing into a
number of possibilities, having been merely informed that the suspect was wearing what could be a security guard's uniform. As we held in People
vs. Dy: 25 "What was told by the accused to Pat. Padilla was a spontaneous statement not elicited through questioning, but given in an ordinary
manner. No written confession was sought to be presented in evidence as a result of formal custodial investigation. 26 The trial Court, therefore,
cannot be held to have erred in holding that compliance with the constitutional procedure on custodial investigation is not applicable in the instant
case, . . . ."
Accordingly, the testimony of Sgt. de Vera assumes a dominant dimension because it totally destroys the defense of denial cum alibi subsequently
raised by appellant. In his answers to Sgt. De Vera, appellant expressly admitted that he shot Tandoc, albeit with an exculpatory explanation. This
admission of Marra is in complete contrast to the statements he later made in open court.
In addition, the law provides that the declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged, or of any offense necessarily included
therein may be given in evidence against him and, in certain circumstances, this admission may be considered as part of the res gestae. In a similar
situation involved in the aforecited case ofPeople vs. Dy, this Court held:
. . . the oral confession made by the accused to Pat. Padilla that "he had shot a tourist" and that the gun he had used in shooting
the victim was in his bar which he wanted surrendered to the Chief of Police (t.s.n., October 17, 1984, pp. 6-9) is competent
evidence against him. The declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged may be given in evidence
against him (Sec. 29 [now Sec. 33], Rule 130). It may in a sense be also regarded as part of the res gestae. The rule is that, any
person, otherwise competent as a witness, who heard the confession, is competent to testify as to the substance of what he
heard if he heard and understood all of it. An oral confession need not be repeated verbatim, but in such a case it must be given
in substance. (23 C.J.S. 196, cited in People vs. Tawat, G.R. No. 62871, May 25, 1985, 129 SCRA 431). (Italics supplied.)
In any event, even without his admission, the case against appellant has been duly established by the other evidence of the prosecution, as earlier
discussed. However, persistently arguing for an acquittal, the defense points out that when the police officers saw Marra, he was not in a blue
uniform whereas Din testified that the person who shot Tandoc was wearing the polo shirt of a security guard's uniform. This is a puerile argument
since appellant himself removed any lingering doubts on this point. He said that on ending his tour of duty at 4:00 A.M. of March 7, 1992, he decided
to go home to change clothes, after which he went to "Linda's Ihaw-Ihaw" to eat. This explains why, at the time the police officers saw him, he was

already in civilian clothes. The shooting had taken place earlier at around 2:00 A.M. At that time, Marra was still in his security guard's uniform, being
then on duty.
However, while we agree that the crime committed by appellant was murder qualified by treachery, we reject the finding that the same was
aggravated by nighttime. No evidence was presented by the prosecution to show that nocturnity was specially sought by appellant or taken
advantage of by him to facilitate the commission of the crime or to ensure his immunity from capture. 27 At any rate, whether or not such aggravating
circumstance should be appreciated, the penalty to be imposed on appellant would not be affected considering the proscription against the
imposition of the death penalty at the time when the offense in the instant case was committed.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court a quo finding accused-appellant Samuel Marra y Zarate guilty of the crime of murder and imposing upon
him the penalty and civil liabilities therein stated is hereby AFFIRMED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
[G.R. No. 104383, July 12, 2001]

FACTS: On February 26, 1991, four days after a reported robbery with multiple rape, a group of policemen together with accused Federico Ampatin,
who was then a suspect, went to the handicrafts factory in NIA Road, Pasay City where accused-appellant was working as a stay-in shell cutter.
They were looking for a certain "Mario" and "searched the first and second floors of the building. Failing to find said Mario, the police hit Ampatin at
the back of his neck with a gun and uttered, "Niloloko lang yata tayo ng taong ito" and "Magturo ka ng tao kahit sino." It was at this juncture that
Ampatin pointed to accused-appellant Bagas as he was the first person Ampatin chanced to look upon.
Thereafter, Bagas was arrested and made to board the police vehicle together with accused Ampatin. They were brought to the Urduja
Police Station in Kalookan City and placed under detention together with the other two accused, Amestuzo and Vias.
When the complainants arrived, accused-appellant was brought out, instructed to turn to the left and then to the right and he was asked to
talk. Complainant Lacsamana asked him if he knew accused Amestuzo and Vias. Accused-appellant answered in the negative. The policemen
told the complainants that accused-appellant was one of the suspects. This incited complainants to an emotional frenzy, kicking and hitting him.
They only stopped when one of the policemen intervened.
Accused-appellant alleges that the trial court committed a serious error when it deprived him of his constitutional right to be represented by
a lawyer during his investigation. His singular presentation to the complainants for identification without the benefit of counsel, accused-appellant
avers, is a flagrant violation of the constitutional prerogative to be assisted by counsel to which he was entitled from the moment he was arrested by
the police and placed on detention. He maintains that the identification was a critical stage of prosecution at which he was as much entitled to the
aid of counsel as during the trial proper.
(1) Whether or not appellants right to counsel was violated.
(2) Whether or not there was a valid out-of-court identification of appellant to the complainants.
NO. Herein accused-appellant could not yet invoke his right to counsel when he was presented for Identification by the complainants
because the same was not yet part of the investigation process. Moreover, there was no showing that during this identification by the complainants,
the police investigators sought to elicit any admission or confession from accused-appellant. In fact, records show that the police did not at all talk to
accused-appellant when he was presented before the complainants. The alleged infringement of the constitutional rights of the accused while under
custodial investigation is relevant and material only to cases in which an extrajudicial admission or confession extracted from the accused becomes
the basis of his conviction. In the present case, there is no such confession or extrajudicial admission.

YES. The out-of-court identification of herein accused-appellant by complainants in the police station appears to have been improperly
suggestive. Even before complainants had the opportunity to view accused-appellant face-to-face when he was brought out of the detention cell to
be presented to them for identification, the police made an announcement that he was one of the suspects in the crime and that he was the one
pointed to by accused Ampatin as one of culprits.
Feeder International Line vs. CA
The M/T "ULU WAI" foreign vessel of Honduran registry, owned and operated by Feeder International Shipping Lines of Singapore, was carrying
1,100 metric tons of gas oil and 1,000 metric tons of fuel oil consigned to Far East Synergy Corporation of Zamboanga. The vessel anchored in Iloilo
without notifying the customs authorities, who upon knowing this, discovered that it did not have the required ship and shipping documents. The
vessel and its cargo were held and a Warrant of Seizure and Detention over the same was issued after due investigation. The vessel was then
found guilty of violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines. This decision was affirmed both by the Court of Tax Appeals and the Court of
WON petitioner was deprived of property without due process of law in that its right to be presumed innocent was not recognized and the decision
was not supported by proof beyond reasonable doubt
Proceedings for the forfeiture of goods illegally imported are not criminal in nature since they do not result in the conviction of the wrongdoer nor in
the imposition upon him of a penalty, proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required in order to justify the forfeiture of the goods. In this case, the
degree of proof required is merely substantial evidence which means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.
In the case at bar, it was held that the Government has sufficiently established that an illegal importation, or at least an attempt thereof, has been
committed with the use of the vessel M/T "ULU WAI," thus warranting the forfeiture of said vessel and its cargo pursuant to the provisions of the Tariff
and Customs Code.
Moreover, the petitioner, which is a corporate entity, has no personality to invoke the right to be presumed innocent which right is available only to an
individual who is an accused in a criminal case.
RODEL LUZ y ONG, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
FACTS: PO2 Emmanuel L. Alteza testified that he saw the accused driving a motorcycle without a helmet and this prompted him to flag down the
accused for violating a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle drivers to wear helmet while driving said motor vehicle. He invited the
accused to come inside their sub-station since the place where he flagged down the accused is almost in front of the sub-station to where he is
assigned as a traffic enforcer. While he and SPO1 Rayford Brillante were issuing a citation ticket for violation of municipal ordinance, he noticed that
the accused was uneasy and kept on getting something from his jacket. He was alerted and so, he told the accused to take out the contents of the
pocket of his jacket as the latter may have a weapon inside it. The accused obliged and slowly put out the contents of the pocket of his jacket which
included two (2) plastic sachets of suspected shabu. The RTC convicted petitioner of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. It found the prosecution
evidence sufficient to show that he had been lawfully arrested for a traffic violation and then subjected to a valid search, which led to the discovery
on his person of two plastic sachets later found to contain shabu. Upon review, the CA affirmed the RTCs Decision.
ISSUE: Whether or not the search and seizure of the alleged subject shabu was incident to a lawful arrest.
HELD: Court of Appeals decision is reversed.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest
There was no valid arrest of petitioner. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic violation, he was not, ipso facto and solely for this reason,
Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he or she may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. It is effected by an
actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by that persons voluntary submission to the custody of the one making the arrest. Neither the
application of actual force, manual touching of the body, or physical restraint, nor a formal declaration of arrest, is required. It is enough that there be
an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other, and that there be an intent on the part of the other to submit, under the belief and

impression that submission is necessary. Under R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the general procedure for dealing with a
traffic violation is not the arrest of the offender, but the confiscation of the drivers license of the latter.
At the time that he was waiting for PO3 Alteza to write his citation ticket, petitioner could not be said to have been under arrest. There was no
intention on the part of PO3 Alteza to arrest him, deprive him of his liberty, or take him into custody. Prior to the issuance of the ticket, the period
during which petitioner was at the police station may be characterized merely as waiting time. In fact, as found by the trial court, PO3 Alteza himself
testified that the only reason they went to the police sub-station was that petitioner had been flagged down almost in front of that place. Hence, it was
only for the sake of convenience that they were waiting there. There was no intention to take petitioner into custody.
Even if one were to work under the assumption that petitioner was deemed arrested upon being flagged down for a traffic violation and while
awaiting the issuance of his ticket, then the requirements for a valid arrest were not complied with. At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the
duty of the arresting officer to inform the latter of the reason for the arrest and must show that person the warrant of arrest, if any. Persons shall be
informed of their constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement they might make could be used against them. It may
also be noted that in this case, these constitutional requirements were complied with by the police officers only after petitioner had been arrested for
illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
Miranda Doctrine prior to any questioning during custodial investigation, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any
statement he gives may be used as evidence against him, and that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. The
defendant may waive effectuation of these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently.
Purpose of the Doctrine
In Miranda v Arizona, the US Supreme Court established rules to protect a criminal defendant's privilege against self-incrimination from the
pressures arising during custodial investigation by the police. Thus, to provide practical safeguards for the practical reinforcement for the right
against compulsory self-incrimination, the Court held that the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming
from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against selfincrimination.
Requisites of the Miranda Doctrine
(1) any person under custodial investigation has the right to remain silent;
(2) anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law;
(3) he has the right to talk to an attorney before being questioned and to have his counsel present when being questioned; and
(4) if he cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided before any questioning if he so desires.
Custodial investigation defined
Any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in
any significant way.
Begins as soon as the investigation is no longer a general inquiry unto an unsolved crime, and direction is then aimed upon a particular suspect who
has been taken into custody and to whom the police would then direct interrogatory questions which tend to elicit incriminating statements.
Shall include the practice of issuing an invitation to a person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed,
without prejudice to the liability of the inviting officer for any violation of law.
Extrajudicial confession is Admissible when:
(a) Voluntary
(b) With assistance of counsel
(c) In writing, and

(d) Express
Rights Under Custodial Investigation
(a) To be informed of right to remain silent and to counsel - Carries the correlative obligation on the part of the investigator to explain and
contemplates effective communication which results in the subject understanding what is conveyed. (People v. Agustin)
(b) To be reminded that if he waives his right to remain silent, anything he says can and will be used against him

(c) To remain silent

(d) To have competent and independent counsel preferably of own choice
(e) To be provided with counsel if the person cannot afford the services of one
(f) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him
(g) Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited
(h) Confessions or admissions obtained in violation of these rights are inadmissible as evidence (exclusionary rule)

Rights That May Be Waived

[waiver must be in writing and in the presence of counsel]
(a) Right to remain silent
(b) Right to Counsel
Rights That Cannot Be Waived
(a) Right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to counsel
(b) Right to counsel when making the waiver of the right to remain silent or to counsel - Right to counsel de parte is not unlimited. Accused cannot
repeatedly ask for postponement. He must be provided with counsel de oficio.
RA 7309: victims of unjust imprisonment may file their claims with the Board of Claims under DOJ
Res Gestae: The declaration of the accused acknowledging guilt made to the police desk officer after the crime was committed may be given in
evidence against him by the police officer to whom the admission was made, as part of the res gestae.
In People v. Galit, rights under custodial investigation may be waived. The Constitution says; These rights cannot be waived except in writing and
in the presence of counsel. In localities where there are no lawyers, the State must bring the individual to a place where there is one.
Termination of rights under custodial investigation: When Charges are filed against the accused (in such case, Sections 14 and 17 come into play).
In Gutang v. People, the Court held that urine sample is admissible. What the Constitution prohibits is the use of physical or moral compulsion to
extort communication from the accused, but not an inclusion of his body in evidence, when it may be material. In fact, an accused may be validly
compelled to be photographed or measured, or his garments or shoes removed or replaced, or to move his body to enablke the foregoing things to
be done, without running afould of the proscription against testimonial compulsion.


Facts: Appellant Larry Mahinay worked as a houseboy with Maria Isip, one of his tasks was to take care of Isips house which was under
construction adjacent to the latters residence. The victim was a 12-year old girl who used to frequent the residence of Isip.On the late evening of 25
June 1995, the victim was reported missing by her mother. The following morning, the Appellant boarded a passenger jeepney and disappeared.

The victims body was found, lifeless, at around 7:30 am that same day. She was found in the septic tank wearing her blouse and no underwear. The
autopsy showed that the victim was raped and was strangled to death. Upon re-examining the crime scene, policemen found a pair of dirty white
short pants, a brown belt and a yellow hair ribbon which was identified by the victims mother to belong to her daughter. Also, they found a pair of
blue slippers which Isip identified as that of the appellant. Also found in the yard, three armslength away from the septic tank were an underwear, a
leather wallet, a pair of dirty long pants and a pliers positively identified by Isip as appellants belongings. The appellant was soon arrested and
executed an extra-judicial confession wherein he narrated how the crime was committed. The trial ensued and the lower court convicted him of the
crime of Rape and was sentenced to death. The case was forwarded to the Supreme Court for automatic review.
Issues: WON the appellants extra-judicial confession was validly taken and in accordance with his rights under Section 12 of the Bill of Rights; and
WON the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution sufficient to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt
Ruling The conviction of the appellant is affirmed.
Ratio Decidendi
The Court ruled that the appellants extrajudicial confession was taken within the ambit of the law as evinced by the records and testimony of the
lawyer who assisted, warned and explained to him his constitutionally guaranteed pre-interrogatory and custodial rights.
As to the second issue, the appellant argues that the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution is insufficient to warrant a conviction of
his guilt. However, the Court ruled otherwise.
The Court recalled the Rule on Evidence and settled jurisprudence. Absence of direct proof does not absolve the appellant because conviction may
be had with the concurrence of the following requisites as stated in the Rules of Court:

there is more than one circumstance;

the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and

3. the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
The Court recalled the ruling in People v. De Guia, 280 SCRA 141, all circumstances must be consistent with each other, consistent with the
hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent and with every other rational
hypothesis except that of guilt.
And also in People v. Alberca, 257 SCRA 613 citing People v. Abitona, 240 SCRA 335, that facts and circumstances consistent with guilt and
inconsistent with innocence, constitute evidence which, in weight and probative force, may surpass even direct evidence in its effect upon the court.
The Court agreed with the trial courts decision in giving credence to several circumstantial evidence, which is more than enough to prove appellants
guilt beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt.
The Court also updated the Miranda rights with the developments in law that provided the rights of suspects under custodial investigation in detail.
A person under custodial investigation should be informed:
1. In a language known to and understood by him of the reason for the arrest and he must be shown the warrant of arrest, if any; Every other
warnings, information or communication must be in a language known to and understood by said person;
2. That he has a right to remain silent and that any statement he makes may be used as evidence against him;
3. That he has the right to be assisted at all times and have the presence of an independent and competent lawyer, preferably of his own choice;

4. That if he has no lawyer or cannot afford the services of a lawyer, one will be provided for him; and that a lawyer may also be engaged by any
person in his behalf, or may be appointed by the court upon petition of the person arrested or one acting in his behalf;
5. That no custodial investigation in any form shall be conducted except in the presence of his counsel or after a valid waiver has been made;
6. That, at any time, he has the right to communicate or confer by the most expedient means telephone, radio, letter or messenger with his
lawyer (either retained or appointed), any member of his immediate family, or any medical doctor, priest or minister chosen by him or by any one
from his immediate family or by his counsel, or be visited by/confer with duly accredited national or international non-government organization. It
shall be the responsibility of the officer to ensure that this is accomplished;
7. That he has the right to waive any of said rights provided it is made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently and ensure that he understood the
8. That the waiver must be done in writing AND in the presence of counsel, otherwise, he must be warned that the waiver is void even if he insist on
his waiver and chooses to speak;
9. That he may indicate in any manner at any time or stage of the process that he does not wish to be questioned with warning that once he makes
such indication, the police may not interrogate him if the same had not yet commenced, or the interrogation must ceased if it has already begun;
10. That his initial waiver of his right to remain silent, the right to counsel or any of his rights does not bar him from invoking it at any time during the
process, regardless of whether he may have answered some questions or volunteered some statements;
11. That any statement or evidence, as the case may be, obtained in violation of any of the foregoing, whether inculpatory or exculpatory, in whole or
in part, shall be inadmissible in evidence.
J. Mendoza
May 17, 2000
Appeal from a decision of the RTC of Manila
RATIO: Perfunctory reading of the Miranda rights to the accused without any effort to find out from him whether he wanted to have counsel and, if
so, whether he had his own counsel or he wanted the police to appoint one for him is merely ceremonial and inadequate to transmit meaningful
information to the suspect.
QUICK FACTS: Accused is charged with the crime of robbery with homicide. He was apprehended and brought to the police station where he was
provided with a lawyer who is a station commander of another police station, and interrogated.
Accused: Jimmy Obrero
Victim: Emma Cabrera robbery victim. Nena Berjuega and Remedios Hitta (the two maids of Emma) murder victims
Jimmy Obrero is a delivery boy employed by Angie Cabosas whose business was selling chickens to customers. Jimmy was asked to
deliver chickens to Emma Cabrera, a regular customer.
In Jimmys extrajudicial confession, he stated that the day before the robbery, his fellow employee, Ronnie Liwanag, proposed that they rob
Emma in order to be able to go to La Union to visit his family. On the day of the robbery, they learned that only two helpers were then at the
residence of Emma Cabrera, thus they decided to pull the heist.
Ronnie covered the mouth of one Nena Berjuega to prevent her from shouting but, as she tried to run away, Ronnie stabbed and killed her.
Ronnie then gave the knife to Jimmy who stabbed the younger maid, Remedios Hitta from which she died. Thereafter, they divided the money.
This extrajudicial confession is in Tagalog and signed by Jimmy in the presence of Atty. De los Reyes. Atty. De los Reyes is a PC Captain
of the WPD Headquarters in UN Avenue. He was at Station 7 of the WPD because he was representing a client accused of illegal recruitment. He
was asked by Lt. Javier of the WPD Homicide Section to assist Jimmy Obrero in executing an extrajudicial confession.
At the trial, Jimmy Obrero pleaded not guilty of the crime charged. He said that he came back from his errand and remitted the amount of
P2000 which had been paid to him. He also claimed that after being informed of the charges against him, he was beaten up and detained for a week

and made to execute an extrajudicial confession. He denied having known or seen Atty. De los Reyes before and stated that he did not understand
the contents of the extrajudicial confession which he signed because he did not know how to read.
Trial court found Jimmy Obrero guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The court held that the accused consented to giving his extrajudicial confession
and that absent any showing that the assisting lawyer, though a station commander but of another police station, was remiss in his duty as a lawyer,
the Court will hold that the proceedings were regularly conducted.
ISSUE: WON Jimmy Obreros extrajudicial confession is valid and admissible in evidence
NO. Jimmy Obrero won.
There was no proof that his confession was obtained by force and threat. He did not seek medical treatment nor even a physical
The confession contains details that only the perpetrator of the crime could have given, details which are consistent with the medico-legal
Extrajudicial confessions are presumed voluntary, and, in the absence of conclusive evidence showing the declarants consent in the
executing the same has been vitiated, such confession will be sustained.
What renders the confession of Jimmy inadmissible is the fact that he was not given the Miranda warnings effectively. There was only a
perfunctory reading of the Miranda rights to Jimmy without any effort to find out from him whether he wanted to have counsel and, if so, whether he
had his own counsel or he wanted the police to appoint one for him. This kind of giving of warnings has been found to be merely ceremonial and
inadequate to transmit meaningful information to the suspect. Especially in this case, care should have been scrupulously observed by the police
investigator that Jimmy was specifically asked these questions considering he only finished the fourth grade of the elementary school.
Moreover, the Constitution requires that counsel assisting suspects in custodial interrogations be competent and independent. In the case
at bar, he cannot be considered an independent counsel as contemplated by the law because he was station commander of the WPD at the time
he assisted Jimmy. As PC Captain and Station Commander of the WPD, Atty. De los Reyes was part of the police force who could not be expected
to have effectively and scrupulously assisted accused in the investigation.


Facts: Petitioner was arrested for vagrancy without a warrant. During a line-up of 5 detainees including petitioner, he was identified by a complainant
to be a companion in a robbery, thereafter he was charged. Petitioner filed a Motion to Acquit on the ground that the conduct of the line-up, without
notice and in the absence of his counsel violated his constitutional rights to counsel and to due process. The court denied said motion. Hearing was
set, hence the petition.
Issue: Whether or Not petitioners right to counsel and due process violated.
Held: No. The police line-up was not part of the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner was not yet entitled, at such stage, to counsel. He had not been
held yet to answer for a criminal offense. The moment there is a move or even an urge of said investigators to elicit admissions or confessions or
even plain information which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time, from said suspect, he should then and there be assisted by counsel,
unless he waives the right, but the waiver shall be made in writing and in the presence of counsel.
On the right to due process, petitioner was not, in any way, deprived of this substantive and constitutional right, as he was duly represented by a
counsel. He was accorded all the opportunities to be heard and to present evidence to substantiate his defense; only that he chose not to, and
instead opted to file a Motion to Acquit after the prosecution had rested its case. What due process abhors is the absolute lack of opportunity to be
G.R. No. L-60025 September 11, 1990
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
VIRGINIA MATOS-VIDUYA y GALPA, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
FACTS: Appellant Virginia Matos-Viduya appeals from the decision of the Manila RTC, Branch 35, finding her guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of parricide. The information alleges that on or about the 26th day of August, 1980, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, with

intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack the person of ATTY. JOSE VIDUYA, her husband, stabbing him several
times with a bladed weapon, thereby inflicting upon him mortal stab wounds which were the direct cause of his death.
The prosecution presented the following evidence:
(1) Mrs. Remedios Domingo, a lessee on the ground floor of the victim's house, testified that she was awakened by moaning sounds, followed by a
thud, emanating from the second floor where the victim lived. Mrs. Domingo, a lessee in the same house for 25 years and had known the victim to
suffer from a heart ailment, presumed that the latter was having a heart attack so she immediately ran towards the apartment of the victim's family
driver, Melanio Cambel, which was only 4 meters away and shouted to Melanio as he was having a heart attack.
(2) Cambel declared that on that evening, he was aroused from his sleep by the shouts of Mrs. Domingo. He ran upstairs and was let in by Lydia
Firmanes, cousin of the accused. Cambel saw the victim clutching the handle of the refrigerator and leaning thereon for support. Immediately
standing behind the victim was the accused holding a knife with both hands. As Cambel approached, the accused stooped down saying "Diosko,
Diosko, trying to conceal the knife from him. Cambel asked the victim what happened but the latter was too weak to speak. Cambel then asked the
accused why she stabbed her husband. The accused initially did not answer, but hesitantly muttered "Magnanakaw, magnanakaw" after being
questioned for the second time. Cambel then requested assistance to bring the victim to the hospital (St. Jude Hospital in Sampaloc, Manila) but the
latter was pronounced dead on arrival.
(3) Florentino Bagallon, an investigator of the WPD, declared that he conducted an on-the-spot ocular inspection of the victim's house and found in
the bedroom a single bed with a white blanket soaked in blood. He recovered two pieces of bladed knives at the east yard (parking lot) of the victim's
residence. One of the knives had a bended blade. On the east wall, he found a rectangular hole which used to hold an air-conditioning unit and also
noticed some pieces of wood placed under a parked heavy truck on the east yard. The accused informed him that those pieces of wood used to
cover the rectangular hole. Thereafter, he advised the accused to go with him to the police headquarters for a formal investigation. Bagallon testified
that at 3:15 in the morning of August 26, 1980, the accused executed a salaysay. Significant portions of the said salaysay are quoted, as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

7. T-Ano ba sa alam ninyo and dahilan ng kanyang pagkamatay?
S-Sinaksak dahil sa panloloob na ginawa sa amin.
xxx xxx xxx
15. T-Nang marinig ninyo ang ungol na nanggaling sa inyong asawa at kayo nga noon ay nagising, ano naman ang inyong nakita?
S-Dalawang lalaki, ang isa ay nakatayo sa tabi ng kama ko at may nakatutok na patalim sa aking ulo at sa kabilang kama naman ay nakita ko na
may isa pa ring lalaki na sumasaksak sa aking asawa.
xxx xxx xxx
26. T-Nakikilala po ba naman ninyo and dalawang lalaking pumasok sa loob ng kuwarto ninyo?
S-Kung sakaling makita ko uli ay maaari kong makilala.
27. T-Ano po ba ang hitsura nila?
S-Yun pong sumaksak sa asawa ko ay maitim, mga 5'3 po, nakasuot ng dark color at yong tumutok naman sa akin ay may mga 5'2, kayumanggi,
slender, putian and suot na damit.
xxx xxx xxx
31. T-Nang maganap ang pangloloob sa inyo at pananaksak sa asawa mo hanggang sa makaalis ang dalawang lalaki, nasaan ba naman ang mga
taong kasama mo sa bahay?
S-Nagising silang lahat sa pagsigaw ko.
32. T-At ano ba naman ang isinigaw mo?

S-Magnanakaw, magnanakaw!!!
xxx xxx xxx
Pfc. Bagallon also stated that on same day at about 5:30 in the afternoon, the accused was again invited for further investigation thereafter executing
a second "salaysay" reiterating her narration contained in her first "salaysay" executed earlier that morning. This time, however, she declared that
one of the malefactors was a certain Edito Pateo, their former employee. On August 30, 1980 at 2:20 in the morning, Mrs. Virginia Viduya again
executed a (third) "salaysay". Later, at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning of the same date, Mrs. Viduya executed her extrajudicial confession
wherein she categorically admitted authorship of the killing of her husband. However, she claimed that she merely acted in self-defense.
Upon arraignment, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The accused alleged that she was misled and deceived by Pfc. Bagallon into
signing her extrajudicial confession since he told her that she will not be detained if she signs the document.
After due trial, the lower court rendered its decision adjudging the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of parricide. Hence, this
ISSUE: WON the lower court erred in admitting the extra judicial confession of the accused
RULING: Article III, Section 12 (1) of the 1987 Constitution mandates that: Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person
cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
In this case, it is undisputed that the extrajudicial confession was executed without the presence of counsel. We quote the relevant excerpt from the
extrajudicial confession:
xxx xxx xxx
T- Ikaw ay may karapatan pa rin kumuha ng serbisyo ng isang abogado para makatulong mo sa imbestigasyong ito at kung wala kang makukuha,
ikaw ay aming bibigyan ng libreng abogado, ano ngayon and iyong masasabi?
S- Nandiyan naman po si Fiscal (pointing to Assistant Fiscal DOMINGO A. MENDOZA) kaya hindi ko na kailangan and abogado.
xxx xxx xxx
The trial judge, in holding that the extrajudicial confession is admissible, reasoned out that there is no prohibition for Assistant Fiscal Mendoza to act
as counsel for the accused as it is his primordial duty not only to prosecute a case but also to protect the rights of an accused and to see that no
violence, force, coercion or intimidation be used to secure from a person under custodial investigation his statement.
Section 12(1) of Article III of the 1987 Constitution favors the accused and is fully applicable to this case. It is also elementary that a Fiscal or
Prosecutor cannot be a lawyer for the accused at the same time.
In his testimony, Assistant Fiscal Mendoza stated that his main functions as Assistant Fiscal in the City of Manila are to prosecute cases and to
render duties as an inquest fiscal. (an inquest fiscal advises police investigators as to whether or not a prima facie case exists in cases which they
investigate.) Whether or not the subsequent trial of a confessant's case will be assigned to him as prosecutor is immaterial. He cannot pretend to act
as defense counsel.
An assistant fiscal, or a fiscal for that matter, cannot exercise the function of defense counsel even during custodial investigation. To allow such a
happenstance would render illusory the protection given to the accused during custodial investigation. What the Constitution requires in Article III
Section 12 (1) is the presence of competent and independent counsel, one who will effectively undertake his client's defense without any intervening
conflict of interest.
Moreover, the answer of the accused ("Nandiyan naman po si Fiscal kaya hindi ko na kailangan ng abogado") is a palpable indication that she did
not fully understand her in-custody rights, hence it cannot be said that she knowingly and intelligently waived those rights.
The remaining issue left for determination is whether or not the prosecution evidence, absent the extrajudicial confession, is sufficient to sustain the
lower court's conviction of the accused.

A rule firmly entrenched in our criminal justice system is that the prosecution must rely on the strength of its evidence and not on the weakness of the
defense. (People v. Ramirez, 116 SCRA 48 [1982]; People v. Co, 163 SCRA 453 [1988]) In the case before us, the defense of the accused is weak.
In trying to exculpate herself, the appellant tried to shift culpability to another person. The attempt is not convincing. But though the accused's
defense is weak, the prosecution's evidence is not strong enough to adduce proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is the guilty party.
A thorough review of the prosecution's evidence discloses that the only proof linking the accused to the killing of her husband is the testimony of
Cambel. It is not shown how twelve stab wounds could have been inflicted by a woman under the circumstances of his testimony. Two knives were
involved in the stabbing. Other than Cambel's testimony, there is no other evidence pointing to the accused as the author of the crime.
Moreover, the trial court's complete reliance on only one of 3 extrajudicial statements and its total rejection of the two other statements without any
independent evidence or proof for such action, is not explained.
Considering the paucity of the State's evidence, we are not satisfied that the constitutional presumption of innocence accorded to the accusedappellant has been overthrown. The constitutional presumption of innocence can be overcome only by proof beyond reasonable doubt, which is the
degree of proof that, after investigation of the whole record, produces moral certainty in an unprejudiced mind of the appellant's culpability. (People v.
Dramayo, 42 SCRA 59 [1971]) The prosecution failed to produce such proof. This Court, therefore, has no other recourse but to acquit the accusedappellant.
JUDGMENT of the trial court convicting the accused-appellant is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and another entered ACQUITTING her on
reasonable doubt.
Petitioner Jara herein was charged of robbery with parricide and murder, while the other two, namely Reymundo Vergar b a and Roberto Bernadas,
with robbery with homicide.
At about June 9 1978, about 1:30 AM, at Malvar Street, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the above mentioned accused conspired, confederate with each
other to rob and kill two persons in the name of Luisa Jara, the wife of Felicisimo Jara, and Amparo Bantique. They killed the two by bludgeoning
them with a hammer and stabbing on their vital parts with pair of scissors.
Vergara and Bernadas were apprehended and made an extrajudicial confession and even the reenactment of the crime, before the Provincial
Commander of the Philippine Constabulary in Palawan and other police investigators, admitting that they, and pointing to Jara as the mastermind,
killed the decease, Luisa Jara and Amparo Bantigue. They made the said confession and reenactment of the crime without the assistance and
benefit of a counsel.
During the arraignment, Vergara and Bernadas however retracted their extrajudicial statements.
Whether or not the extrajudicial confession made by Vergara and Bernadas were admissible.
No. In order for the extrajudicial confession to be valid it should be voluntarily given,and now, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the
extrajudicial confession was voluntarily given (adopted from Miranda case).
In the case at bar, and the record shows that the interrogation was made incommunicado, wherein Vergara and Bernadas where each interrogated,
surrounded by the policemen.
With the testimony of Philippine Constabulary Sergeant, Oscar Ponce De Leon, assigned at the PC Medical Dispensary TESTIFIED that he treated
Bernadas for cigarette burns and Vergara for a wound at the tip of his right hand. Thus it cannot be discounted that the effect of incommunicado
questioning, lighted cigarettes and other means which leave physical marks were utilized to secure voluntary confession. Since the confessions were
inadmissible, Vergara and Bernadas must be acquitted.

G.R. No. 110289 October 7, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellants.

This case originated from the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 14, wherein the original three accused were charged with murder in
Criminal Case No. 1794-M-91 for the killing of one Romeo Abad on August 16, 1991 in Pandi, Bulacan, the information therefor alleging that said
accused acted in conspiracy and committed the felony with treachery and evident premeditation. 1
Upon arraignment, the three accused pleaded not guilty. During the trial of the case, the prosecution moved for the exclusion of accused Ernesto
Galvante from the information for murder so that he could become a witness for the Government as particeps criminis. 2 In an order dated April 22,
1992, the lower court discharged said accused from the information to be utilized as a state witness. 3
A year later, or on April 6, 1993, the trial court rendered its decision finding herein accused-appellant Salvador Balisteros and Nilo Avestro guilty as
charged, with the punitive fallo thereof disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered, finding the accused Salvador Balisteros and Nilo Avestroz guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crime of Murder committed with the attendant aggravating circumstances of Abuse of Superior strength, committed in an
uninhabited place, the killing augmented by another wrong not necessary for its commission (slashing of the intestines), the court
hereby sentences each of the accused to Reclusion Perpetua.
To indemnify the heirs of the victim P100,000.00 (as) compensatory damages. To pay P50,000.00 moral damage(s). With costs.
The provincial Warden of Malolos, Bulacan is ordered to commit the accused to the National Penitentiary (Muntinlupa)
immediately upon receipt hereof. 4
The material facts of this case are narrated in the aforestated decision of the court a quo which we find to be sustained by the evidence, hence we
adopt and reproduce the same at length hereunder, with some editing corrections:
On August 16, 1991 at around 7:00 o'clock in the morning Eliza Merceada ** reported for work at the store of Romeo Abad.
(U)pon arriving, she wiped and cleaned the tables and the places where the merchandise are placed. At about 8:00 o'clock, she
brought the merienda of the farm laborers of Romeo, who were busy working at the ricefield. (S)he had to walk alone. On her
way to the ricefield, she saw Nilo Avestros, Salvador Balisteros and Ernesto Galvante in the hut of Salvador Balisteros, whom
she call(ed) Mang Badong, drinking liquor (Gin). When she arrived in the ricefield she served the merienda to the farm laborers
and after the latter had finished their merienda, she returned to the house of Romeo at Engkanto. (I)t was about eleven o'clock
noon when she arrived. It did not take long, (and) she had to return to the ricefield. (T)his time she was bringing the food for
lunch of the laborers, aboard the truck with Romeo. When they reached the National Highway, they alighted from the truck after
parking it, and walked going to the ricefield. When they passed by the hut of Balisteros, Romeo was left in the hut while she
proceeded to the ricefield. (U)pon arrival, she served the lunch to the laborers. After the laborers ha(d) finished eating, Romeo
arrived, but he did not stay long because he went to ropegraze (sic) (isinuga) his horse. After several minutes passed, she left
and proceeded to the place where the truck was parked at the highway. That on her way, near the bamboo gr(o)ve, she heard

two shouts saying, "huwag, huwag", then she called for Nilo, whom she believed was in the hut, but no one answered her call so
she proceeded. (O)n the way, she saw the three (3), Mang Badong, Nilo and Ernesto coming out from the bamboo gr(o)ve. Mang
Badong was half-naked, wearing a pant (sic) and carrying a bolo. (H)e was in a hurry, followed by Nilo who was wearing a polo
shirt, a short (sic) and barefooted, so with Ernesto who was wearing a short pant (sic) and barefooted. (T)hey were all in a hurry
going to the hut of Mang Badong. When she saw Mang Badong, after she heard the two (2) shouts, Badong asked her where
Romeo Abad was, then she also asked Badong if they have seen Romeo Abad, but Badong did not answer. That while she was
walking going to the highway, she noticed Badong, Nilo and Ernesto were following her at a distance of about 4 meters. Badong
had his clothes on, carrying a bag. Nilo was wearing a T-shirt and short(s). Ernesto was wearing a T-shirt and shorts (and) both
were barefooted. When she reached the highway, she boarded the truck of Romeo and watched the three (3) accused going to
the highway. Then she left the truck and went to the store of Romeo but she did not see her Kuya Romy at home. At about 2:00
o'clock p.m., she and her comadre, Yolanda Herno, brought the merienda of the workers in the ricefield. (W)hen they arrived her
kuya Romy was not there, so she and Yolanda looked for Romy at the bamboo gr(o)ve where she previously heard the two
shouts and there, they saw blood and the body of Romeo Abad inside the bamboo gr(o)ve, his neck cut and a big wound on his
stomach. Then they asked Norberto de Leon to help them and Norberto called his companions Tony and Domeng who were in
the ricefield and when they arrived, they brought the body of Romeo Abad to the house of his brother, Amado Abad, at Engkanto,
Angat, Bulacan.
According to Eliza Mercaeda, Romeo had a hut on the ricefield aside from the hut of Balisteros. That the hut of Romeo is around
30 meters away from the bamboo gr(o)ve while the hut of Badong is 20 meters away from the bamboo gr(o)ve. That when she
heard the shouts from the bamboo gr(o)ve, she already became apprehensive that the voice was the voice of Romeo Abad but
she did not ask Badong when she saw him coming out of the bamboo gr(o)ve together with Nilo and Ernesto as to who shouted
because she was afraid.
The accused upon reaching the national highway proceeded to the store of Liberato Antonio located two (2) meters away from
the national road at Siling Matanda, Pandi, Bulacan, where Nilo and Ernesto bought
two (2) pairs of sandals. After buying sandals, they boarded the jeepney of Florencio dela Cruz near the (G)reenfield piggery
farm at Siling Matanda and alighted at a corner in Pandi going to Balagtas and Sta. Maria.
The death of Romeo Abad was reported to the police station of Pandi, Bulacan and also the suspects who boarded a bus. (T)hen
Policemen Alejandro Sagala, Camacho and Parulan boarded their service jeep and chased the bus where the suspects (were)
reported to have boarded but when they overtook the bus at Brgy. Pulong Gubat, Balagtas, Bulacan, the suspects were not on
board, so they fetch(ed) a photographer and proceeded to the house of Amado Abad where they took pictures of the victim. Then
they interviewed Eliza Merceada who informed them about the suspects Nilo Avestroz, Badong Balisteros and Nestor Galvante.
After the interview, they proceeded to the scene of the crime at the bamboo gr(o)ve where they saw bloodstains and recovered a
jungle bolo, Exhibit M.
The police then formed two (2) groups: one group composed of policemen from Angat and another group composed of
policemen from San Jose del Monte. Their group proceeded to Batangas while the group from San Jose del Monte proceeded to
Plaza Lawton, Manila.
Upon arrival in Manila, Policemen Sagala and Parulan proceeded to the terminal of JM Transit where they waited for the
passengers going to Mindoro. That around 2:00 o'clock in the morning, the suspects arrived riding in a taxi and immediately they
arrested the suspects Salvador Balisteros, Nilo Avestroz and Ernesto Galvante, whom he identified inside the courtroom. (T)hey
brought the suspects to their headquarters at Pandi, Bulacan. The following day, August 17, 1991, he went to the place of (the)
incident where they recovered a butcher('s) knife, Exhibit B, B-1 sheath. Then the statement of Eliza Mercaeda, (D)ela Cruz, and
Amado Abad were taken, Exhibits L, L-1, L-2, M, N, respectively.
Ernesto B. Galvante, who was discharged from the information to be a State witness, testified that:
On August 3, 1991 he went to his uncle's place (Salvador Balisteros) at Siling Matanda, Pandi, Bulacan and stayed with him until
August 16, 1991. In the morning of August 16, his uncle Salvador Balisteros, ordered two (2) bottles of beer and two (2) bottles of
gin then the three (3) of them, he, Salvador and Nilo and another whom he does not know, ha(d) a drinking spree in the hut of

While they were drinking, Salvador and Nilo were talking about the riceland which Romeo Abad bought and where the hut of
Salvador was erected. According to Salvador, Romeo gave him a grace period of one (1) month to remove his hut and vacate the
premises. During their conversation, he was beside the window, so he could hear what Salvador and Nilo (were) talking about.
He heard the plan of Salvador and Nilo to kill Romeo who was then in his house far from the hut of Salvador. That he could hear
all their conversation because he was just two (2) meters away from them.
After they ha(d) finished drinking, they rested for about 30 minutes then they proceeded to the ricefield near the bamboo gr(o)ve.
(T)his time Salvador was carrying a small knife (kampit) while Nilo ha(d) a "taris" which Ernesto identified in court. When they
arrived in the place, they waited for Romeo and after some few minutes, Romeo arrived. (H)e asked Nilo where is his horse and
Nilo told Romeo, his horse is tied in the place where it was rope-grazed (sic). That while Romeo was asking Nilo, he was walking
and when his back was turned towards Salvador, the latter suddenly held him by the neck and stabbed him three (3) times on the
stomach and Romeo shouted, "huwag, huwag", then he fell on the ground. While Romeo was lying on the ground, Nilo stabbed
him for more than three (3) times until his intestines came out, then Nilo slashed it
(hiniwa-hiwa). That he (Ernesto) vomi(t)ed because he could not bear watching Nilo slashing the intestine(s) of Romeo so he ran
(to) the back of the bamboo gr(o)ve where he saw Salvador coming out followed by Nilo, so he followed them and they
proceeded to the hut of Salvador.
Upon arrival in the hut, they took all their belongings and went to the store where they bought slippers then they boarded a
jeepney on the highway and alighted at Balagtas where they took a tricycle and proceeded to Bocaue. When they arrived in
Bocaue, they took their clothes from the house of Ernesto's mother and proceeded to Tondo, Manila. When they arrived in
Tondo, they went to the house of Nilo's mother where they rested for about three (3) hours before proceeding to Plaza Lawton,
Manila, where they will take a ride in going to Batangas and from there to Mindoro. After they ha(d) rested they took a taxi and
then they proceeded to Plaza Lawton. (U)pon arrival at Plaza Lawton they were arrested by the police the moment they alighted
from the taxi, then they were brought back to Pandi, Bulacan.
According to Ernesto, he failed to stop Salvador and Nilo from their plan to kill Romeo because he was then drunk but he could
understand what they were talking about. He also failed to warn Romeo of the impending danger to his life neither was he able to
call the barangay Captain or the police because Salvador was guarding him and sternly looking at him.
According to Amado Abad when he saw Romeo Abad, his brother, inside the bamboo gr(o)ve at Siling Matanda at around 3:00
o'clock in the afternoon of August 16, 1991, Romeo was already lifeless, his throat was slashed and his abdomen was cut and
his body bore plenty of stab wounds, so he boarded the body of Romeo in his car and brought him (to) his house at Engkanto,
Angat, Bulacan. That at 6:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day, August 16, 1991, his mother arrived and brought the body of
Romeo to their house at Malabon where Romeo was laid in wake for six (6) days and six (6) nights. (D)uring the wake, they
spent P2,000.00 a night. 5
xxx xxx xxx
The corpse of the victim was autopsied by Dr. Juan Zaldarriaga, Jr., a medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation, on August 17,
1991 at the Floresco Funeral Homes in Kalookan City. According to Autopsy Report No. 91-2097, which was introduced in evidence as Exhibit A-32
for the prosecution, the victim sustained twelve stab and hack wounds, eight of which were fatal. Dr. Zaldarriaga testified that the victim and his
assailant could have been at arms length from each other and that the assailant who inflicted the wounds in the back and front of victim was behind
and in front of the latter in doing so. 6
The defense presented appellants Salvador Balisteros and Nilo Avestro who denied the charges filed against them and interposed the defense of
alibi. Both appellants concurred in their version which was to the effect that on
August 16, 1991, Salvador was at Siling Matanda with his children and Nilo. At about 11:30 A.M., Salvador and Nilo, who had been joined by Ernesto
Galvante, left the house to proceed to Mindoro where, among other things, a job was supposedly waiting for Nilo. They first went to see Nilo's mother
at Salitre, Tondo, Manila, and they spent that night in her house. At around 3:00 A.M. the following day, they left the house and proceeded to Plaza
Lawton in the city to take a bus for Batangas. Upon reaching the bus station, the three were arrested by policemen and were brought to Pandi,
Bulacan. 7
The lower court gave full faith and credit to the prosecution's version and concluded that "the defense of denial and alibi of the accused has no
weight after Ernesto Galvante, an eyewitness, positively identified and pointed to Salvador Balisteros and Nilo Avestroz as the killers of the deceased

Romeo Abad. Besides, the accused ha(ve) not shown any motive why Ernesto Galvante, nephew of Salvador Balisteros and first cousin of Nilo
Avestroz, would testify against them." 8
Appellants now complain to us that the trial court gravely erred (1) in finding that the killing took place in an uninhabited place and was deliberately
augmented by another wrong not necessary for its commission; (2) in giving weight and substance to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses
and disregarding the theory of the accused-appellants; and (3) in finding the accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime. 9
A thorough examination of the evidence on record convinces us that we have no other recourse but to affirm the conviction of appellants. Their
appeal hinges on the issue of credibility and they have utterly failed to present convincing reasons why the respect which appellate courts give to
findings of trial courts should not be maintained in this case.
With reasoned consistency, we have reiterated that much leeway is given to the trial court in assessing the credibility of the person testifying before
it. Its conclusions on this matter are accorded great weight on appeal in the absence of a showing that they were reached arbitrarily. 10 It has had the
opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witness on the stand and is able to better ascertain therefrom whether he is telling the truth or lying.
Through its observations during the entire proceedings, it can be expected to determine, with reasonable discretion, whose testimony to accept and
which witness to disbelieve. 11
We agree with the court below that the prosecution's witnesses are more credible. None of these witnesses had any motive for testifying falsely
against appellants. When there is no evidence and nothing to indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper
motives, the presumption is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. 12 In the present case, that absence of ill
motive on the part of the prosecution witnesses was even affirmed by both appellants who testified that they do not know of any reason why said
witnesses would fabricate a serious charge like murder against them. 13
In an effort to impair the credibility of witness Eliza Marceada, the appellants maintain that her failure to tell anybody about the incident, after she
heard the words "huwag, huwag" coming from the bamboo grove, defies the common experience of mankind and thus renders her testimony
doubtful. 14 It is undeniable, however, that not every witness to or victim of a crime can be expected to act reasonably and conformably to the usual
expectations of everyone. Besides, as she explained on the witness stand, she was afraid. 15
Eliza Marceada's reaction on that occasion is to be expected from a simple 31-year old household helper who was walking alone when she heard
those words of remonstration and then saw the armed appellants suddenly emerge from the bamboo grove where the cry came from. Also, we have
ruled in a number of cases 16 that people may react differently to the same situation. One person's spontaneous or unthinking, or even instinctive,
response to a horrid and repulsive stimulus may be aggression, while another's may be cold indifference.
A careful review of the pertinent transcripts of the stenographic notes showed that Eliza Marceada remained consistent even during a very
exhaustive cross-examination conducted by the defense counsel. In fact, her narration was confirmed by government witness Galvante. Merceada
gave this detailed and graphic account on the witness stand:
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Where were you in particular when you heard the shouts "huwag, huwag"?
A. I was near the bamboo grove, sir.
Q. When you heard the shouts "huwag, huwag" what did you do, if any?
A. I called Nilo, sir.
Q. Who is that Nilo that you called for?
A. A helper of Kuya Romy, sir.
Q. Is that the same Nilo you pointed to in this Court a while ago?

A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you receive any reply from Nilo?
A. None, sir.
Q. Then, what happened thereafter?
A. While I was walking then and when I turned my face (to) my left side, I saw them coming out from the
bamboo grove, sir.
Q. And you said you saw them, who were they that you are referring to?
A. The three (3) of them, sir.
Q. Name them if you know?
A. The first one was Mang Badong, sir.
Q. Is he the same Badong that you pointed to earlier this morning?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And what was the physical appearance of Mang Badong when you saw him coming from the bamboo
A. He was naked up (sic) without T-shirt, sir.
Q. How about the lower position?
A. He was wearing long pants.
Q. Was he carrying anything?
xxx xxx xxx
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was he carrying?
A. A bolo, sir.
Q. Tell us, was he walking slowly, walking fast or running or standing when you saw him?
A. He was walking fast, sir.
Q. You said you saw those three (3), who were the other persons that you saw following Mang Badong?
A. The tall man, sir.
Q. Please point to him?

Q. Was he also walking fast or not?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How far was he from Mang Badong?
A. About three (3) meters away, sir.
Q. And can you describe his physical appearance?
A. No, it was only on that time when I saw him. He was wearing a T-shirt, sir.
Q. Was he with pants?
A. He was wearing short pants (puruntong).
Q. Was he wearing any shoes?
A. None, sir.
Q. Was he barefooted?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And to what direction was he going?
A. He was following Mang Badong, sir.
Q. You say you saw three (3) people, who was the third person that you saw on that particular occasion?
A. Nilo, sir.
Q. Is he the same Nilo that you pointed to a while ago?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And how far was he from Mang Badong at the time that you saw him?
A. About four (4) meters away, sir.
Q. Can you describe the physical appearance of Nilo while he was following Mang Badong?
A. He was wearing a polo shirt, sir.
Q. What about the lower portion?
A. He was also wearing a short (sic) called puruntong, sir.
Q. How about his feet, was he wearing anything?

A. He was barefooted at the time, sir. 17

xxx xxx xxx
Marceada's aforequoted testimony was corroborated by state witness Ernesto Galvante who pertinently testified in broader scope, to wit:
Q. Did you hear any conversation between the two (2), between Salvador Balisteros and Romeo Abad after
Romeo Abad has been stabbed at the stomach three (3) times?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you hear?
A. "Huwag."
Q. How many times?
A. Three (3) times, sir.
Q. Who said that "huwag, huwag" three (3) times?
A. Romeo Abad, sir.
Q. Then, what happened next?
A. Romeo Abad fell on his back, sir.
Q. Fell face upward?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And after that, what happened?
A. Nilo followed and stabbed Romeo, sir.
Q. How many times, if any?
xxx xxx xxx
A. More than three times, sir.
Q. What else happened after Nilo stabbed several times the fall(en) Romeo Abad?
xxx xxx xxx
A. Nilo slash(ed) the intestine(s) of Romeo Abad, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. After you vomi(t)ed, what happened next?
A. I saw Salvador Balisteros getting out of the bamboo grove, sir.

Q. And you, what did you do, if any?

A. I followed him, sir.
Q. Did you notice what Nilo did after you followed Salvador Balisteros?
A. Nilo was following me, sir.
Q. And where did you and Salvador Balisteros and Nilo go after coming from the bamboo gr(o)ve?
A. To the hut, sir. 18
Appellants likewise endeavored to impeach the credibility of Police Officer Alejandro Sagala who conducted the investigation of that gruesome killing.
Appellants argued that said police officer "appeared to be a very ideal and devoted investigator in his testimonies casting doubt on the same," and
that "the defense is just puzzled on the zealousness shown by Sagala in handling the investigation of the case." 19 This is preposterous.
The laudable efforts of police officer Sagala in investigating and eventually solving the case should even be commended and emulated, rather than
condemned or doubted. In fact, Sagala's demonstrated dedication to his duties is indicative of the strength of his character and fortifies his credibility
as a witness. Furthermore, credence is accorded to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses who are law enforcers for it is presumed that they have
regularly performed their duty, in the absence of convincing proof to the contrary. 20
Appellants end their diatribe with the generalized claim that the People failed to establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, on the theory that,
without the testimony of Galvante, the prosecution had not presented a witness who saw the actual killing of the victim. We are not at all persuaded
by this criticism.
As correctly submitted by the People:
It is axiomatic that a person's guilt may be established not only by direct evidence but also by circumstantial evidence, which is
sufficient to convict as long as: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are
proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt (People v.
Pajarito, G.R. No. 82770, October 19, 1992, 214 SCRA 678).
The following circumstances, borne out by the records, indubitably point to appellants as the culprits:
1. On August 16, 1991, at around 8:00 a.m., appellants were having a drinking spree in the hut of appellant Balisteros which is
located inside the victim's ricefield at Siling Matanda, Pandi, Bulacan (TSN, January 27, 1992, pp. 12-15).
2. The victim, Romeo Abad, dropped by the house of appellant Balisteros, then proceeded to the ricefield (Id., p. 18).
3. Upon arriving at his ricefield at past 12:00 noon, Abad left again to graze his horse near the bamboo grove (Id., p. 19).
4. The helper, Eliza Marceada, on her way home, heard two shouts "huwag, huwag" coming from the bamboo grove. Then, she
suddenly saw appellants coming out of the grove, Balisteros, carrying a bolo and walking fast and Avestroz and Galvante, both
barefooted (Id., pp. 21-25).
5. When Marceada found out that Abad was not home, nor was he at the ricefield, she went near the bamboo grove where she
heard the shouts and found the lifeless body of Abad (Id., pp. 30-33).
6. At past one 1:00 o'clock that day, appellants took a ride in a passenger jeepney driven by Florencio de la Cruz along the road
at Siling Matanda, then alighted at Pandi in a corner going to Balagtas and Sta. Maria, Bulacan (Id., February 3, 1992, pp. 5-10).
7. Liberato Antonio, a store vendor, also saw appellant Balisteros and Avestroz and Galvante, at his store at around 2:00 p.m.
that day, the latter two, both barefooted. They bought pairs of slippers from him and left thereafter (Id., pp. 24-31).

8. The policemen who chased appellants eventually caught them at Plaza Lawton, about to take a bus ride going to Mindoro (Id.,
February 12, 1992, pp. 25-26).
9. Galvante confessed to appellant's plan to kill the victim, who wanted to eject appellant Balisteros from his house inside said
victim's ricefield. (Id., April 29, 1992, pp. 12-16). He also claimed that appellants armed themselves with a "taris" and a small
knife; then, they all proceeded to the ricefield near the bamboo grove and waited until Abad came, asking for his horse from Nilo,
who replied that it was tied. All of a sudden, when Abad turned his back, appellant Balisteros held the victim by the neck and
when the latter turned around, Balisteros stabbed him three times on the stomach (Id., pp. 26-27). 21
It is said that circumstantial evidence consists of such incidental facts surrounding the main fact in issue and are compared to the strands in a rope,
where no one of them may be strong enough to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The entire conduct of the accused may
be looked to for corroborative circumstances, and if therefrom his connection with the commission of the crime may be fairly inferred, the
corroboration is legally sufficient. Moreover, circumstantial evidence may be sufficiently cogent to satisfy the judicial conscience, and may be as
potent as direct testimony in tending to connect the accused with the commission of the offense. 22
Another contention of appellants is the alleged violation of the Constitution, particularly Section 12 of Article III, when in accordance with the present
rule for the qualification of a state witness, 23 Galvante executed a sworn statement wherein he categorically admitted his guilt but without the
assistance of a counsel. Appellants also claim that Galvante "made his sworn statement in the presence of Atty. Alejandro, the counsel of the plaintiff
(sic), Mr. Matic, the two brothers of the deceased, the Mayor of Pandi and another person whom he did not know. With this battery of persons
surrounding him, we could imagine the pressure exerted on Galvante." 24
Appellants cannot seek solace in the provision they have invoked. What is provided by the modified formulation in the 1987 Constitution is that a
confession taken in violation of said Section 12 and Section 17 of the same Article "shall be inadmissible in evidence against him," meaning the
confessant. This objection can be raised only by the confessant whose rights have been violated as such right is personal in nature.
It should also be noted that Galvante repeated in court what he had stated in his affidavit and, although he was likewise subjected to a thorough
cross-examination, he stood fast on his confession and the revelations therein. Appellants' imputations of pressure and coercion are refuted thereby.
Also, by repeating his confession in court, Galvante converted it into a judicial confession which, having been allowed by the trial court, eliminated
the need for assistance of counsel which is required in extrajudicial confessions. Furthermore, even in extrajudicial confessions which under
jurisprudential doctrines have been held to be generally binding upon the confessant and not against his co-accused, Galvante's confession would
readily fall into the exceptions to that rule since appellants are charged as co-conspirators and said confession is used only as a corroborating
evidence, 25 or as circumstantial evidence to show the probability of participation by the co-conspirator, 26 or is corroborated by other evidence of
record. 27
Finally, appellant Balisteros testified that the father of Galvante harbored ill feelings against him because of the money sent to him by his sister which
was previously sent to said father of Galvante. He even presented a letter from Hawaii to substantiate his claim. 28 This is not only conjectural since,
additionally, a mere perusal of the letter 29 in question does not prove anything except that it came from a very concerned sister.
The lower court correctly convicted appellants of murder since the killing was attended by treachery. Where a victim was totally unprepared for the
unexpected attack from behind and had no weapon to resist it, the stabbing cannot but be considered as treacherous. 30 In the case at bar, appellant
Balisteros suddenly came from behind, held the victim by the neck and repeatedly stabbed him. He was then successively stabbed by appellant
Avestro as he lay helpless on the ground. Parenthetically, the abuse of superior strength, which was considered by the court below, should be
deemed absorbed in the treacherous mode of attack.
Aside from treachery, evident premeditation was also present since the evidence showed how and when appellants agreed and conspired to kill the
victim, followed by a sufficient interval of time during which they could reflect on the consequences of their felonious intent but during which period
they instead armed themselves and lay in wait for their unsuspecting prey. This circumstance, which can be either qualifying or aggravating, will have
to be considered here as having aggravated the liability of appellants.
We see no further need to pass upon the arguments of appellants questioning the lower court's appreciation of cruelty and despoblado. Presumably
because the same were not alleged in the information, although they could nevertheless be proved, the prosecution's evidence thereon would only
result in equivocal theories. Thus, assuming that the victim was still alive during the entire period of the ordeal to which he was subjected, there
could possibly be cruelty since appellants deliberately augmented the wrong they committed. On the other hand, if the victim died immediately after
he was stabbed, then appellants could be held to have outraged his corpse when they fiendishly slashed his intestines to pieces. 31 However, neither

of these alternative hypotheses was established and, further, the intervening time between the initial attack and subsequent acts were not sufficiently
established to enable the Court to determine whether they were one continuous series of acts or were so deliberately spaced as to constitute either
cruelty or outrage.
The same is true with respect to whether or not the locus delicti was an uninhabited place, since it is not only the distance to the nearest occupied
habitation but also the possibility of securing assistance that should be considered, 32 on either of which alternative bases, again, there is no
certitude. In any event, even if aggravating circumstances could be appreciated, under the Constitutional proscription and the penalty for murder
then, the penalty could not be higher than reclusion perpetua. On the other hand, even disregarding all the aggravating circumstances present or
which could have been considered in this case, since there is no mitigating circumstance the penalty would have to be imposed in the medium
period of that provided by law for murder, 33 which is likewise reclusion perpetua. The court below, therefore, did not err in the penalty it imposed.
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the court a quo is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against accused-appellants.
Narvasa, C.J., Puno and Mendoza JJ., concur.
Padilla J., is on leave.
YIELDING to mans brutish instinct for revenge, Edward Endino, with the aid of Gerry Galgarin alias Toto, slew Dennis Aquino in the presence
of a lady whose love they once shared.
On a busy street in Puerto Princesa City in the evening of 16 October 1991, an emboldened Gerry Galgarin, uncle of accused Edward Endino,
suddenly and without warning lunged at Dennis and stabbed him repeatedly on the chest. Dennis girlfriend Clara Agagas who was with him, stunned
by the unexpected attack, pleaded to Galgarin to stop. Dennis struggled and succeeded momentarily to free himself from his attacker. Dennis
dashed towards the nearby Midtown Sales but his escape was foiled when from out of nowhere Edward Endino appeared and fired at Dennis. As
Dennis staggered for safety, the two (2) assailants fled in the direction of the airport.
Meanwhile, Dennis, wounded and bleeding, sought refuge inside the Elohim Store where he collapsed on the floor. He was grasping for breath
and near death. Clara with the help of some onlookers took him to the hospital but Dennis expired even before he could receive medical
attention. According to the autopsy report of Dr. Josephine Goh-Cruz, cause of death was "cardio-respiratory arrest secondary to hypovolemic shock
secondary to a stab wound which penetrated the heart." [1]
On 18 October 1991, an Information for the murder of Dennis Aquino was filed against Edward Endino and accused-appellant Gerry Galgarin
and warrants were issued for their arrest. However, as both accused remained at large, the trial court issued on 26 December 1991 an order putting
the case in the archives without prejudice to its reinstatement upon their apprehension.
On 19 November 1992, Gerry Galgarin was arrested through the combined efforts of the Antipolo and Palawan police forces at a house in Sitio
Sto. Nio, Antipolo, Rizal. He was immediately taken into temporary custody by the Antipolo Police. Early in the evening of the following day, he was
fetched from the Antipolo Police Station by PO3 Gaudencio Manlavi and PO3 Edwin Magbanua of the Palawan police force to be taken to Palawan
and be tried accordingly.
On their way to the airport, they stopped at the ABS-CBN television station where accused Galgarin was interviewed by reporters. Video
footages of the interview were taken showing Galgarin admitting his guilt while pointing to his nephew Edward Endino as the gunman. According to
Galgarin, after attacking Aquino, they left for Roxas, Palawan, where his sister Langging who is Edward's mother, was waiting. Langging gave them
money for their fare for Manila. They took the boat for Batangas, where they stayed for a few days, and proceeded to Manila where they separated,
with him heading for Antipolo. Galgarin appealed for Edward to give himself up to the authorities. His interview was shown over the ABS-CBN
evening news program TV Patrol.
The case against accused-appellant Gerry Galgarin was established through the testimony of Clara Agagas who said that she was with the
victim Dennis Aquino standing outside the Soundlab Recording Studio, a barhouse owned by him, when Galgarin suddenly approached them and

without any prior warning stabbed Dennis. Dennis tried to run away, but Edward, a spurned lover who harbored ill-feelings towards her and Dennis,
shot Dennis. She recognized Edward and Gerry because the street was sufficiently lighted. [2]
The testimony of Clara Agagas was corroborated by Anita Leong, next-door neighbor of Dennis, who testified that a little past six oclock in the
evening of 16 October 1991 Gerry Galgarin together with a companion went to her house looking for Dennis. She instructed them to proceed to
the Soundlab Recording Studio as Dennis might still be there. But a few minutes later she heard a Instinctively, she instructed her two (2) young
daughters to duck for cover while she anxiously waited for her seven (7)-year old daughter Josephine who was out of the house for an errand for
her. Soon enough she heard Josephine knocking at their door. She was crying because she said her Kuya Dennis had been shot and stabbed.[3]
Josephine confirmed her mothers testimony and even said that she had seen Gerry Galgarin stab her Kuya Dennis and she could remember
Gerry very well because of the mole below his nose.[4]
For his part, accused-appellant Gerry Galgarin disclaimed having taking part in the slaying of Dennis. Gerry asserted that on 14 October 1991
he was in Antipolo to help his common-law wife Maria Marasigan give birth to their first born. He stayed with her until the 16th of October when she
was discharged from the Pedragoza Maternity Clinic.[5]
Clarita Florentino Pedragoza, the midwife who delivered his son, supported the alibi of accused-appellant. However, she admitted that when
she registered the childs birth on 13 December 1993 or more than two (2) years after the delivery, she informed the civil registrar that the childs
father was "unknown."[6] His story was also confirmed by Dolores Arciaga and Maria Tomenio, his co-workers at theKainan sa Kubo Sing Along
Restaurant, who testified that accused-appellant was fetched by a neighbor from the restaurant in the early afternoon of 14 October with the news
that his wife was having labor pains.[7]
Accused-appellant disowned the confession which he made over TV Patrol and claimed that it was induced by the threats of the arresting
police officers. He asserted that the videotaped confession was constitutionally infirmed and inadmissible under the exclusionary rule provided in
Sec.12, Art. III, of the Constitution.[8]
The trial court however admitted the video footages on the strength of the testimony of the police officers that no force or compulsion was
exerted on accused-appellant and upon a finding that his confession was made before a group of newsmen that could have dissipated any
semblance of hostility towards him. The court gave credence to the arresting officers assertion that it was even accused-appellant who pleaded with
them that he be allowed to air his appeal on national television for Edward to surrender.
The alibi of Galgarin was likewise rejected since there was no convincing evidence to support his allegation that he was not at the locus
criminis on the evening of 16 October 1991. Accordingly, accused-appellant Gerry Galgarin was convicted of murder qualified by treachery [9] and
sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Additionally, he was ordered to indemnify the heirs of Dennis Aquino P50,000.00 as compensatory damages
and P72,725.35 as actual damages. The case against his nephew and co-accused Edward Endino remained in the archives without prejudice to its
reinstatement as soon as he could be arrested.[10]
In his Appellants Brief, Gerry Galgarin assails the trial court for rejecting his alibi and admitting his videotaped confession as evidence against
The argument that accused-appellant could not be at the scene of the crime on 16 October 1991 as he was in Antipolo assisting his wife who
was giving birth on the 14th of that month, is not persuasive.Alibi is a weak defense. The testimony of Cornelio Tejero Jr.,[11] Philippine Airlines Load
Controller of the Puerto Princesa City, that the name of "Gerry Galgarin" did not appear on their passenger manifest for the 16 October 1991 ManilaPuerto Princesa flight, could not be relied upon inasmuch as he himself admitted that they could not be sure of their passengers real identities. The
testimonies of accused-appellants co-workers that he was in Antipolo on 14 October 1991 did not fortify his defense either since these witnesses did
not categorically state that they saw him in Antipolo in the evening of 16 October 1991.
With accused-appellant having been positively identified by the prosecution witnesses as the one who stabbed Dennis, his bare denial proves
futile and unavailing. Josephine Leongs identification of accused-appellant was given in a very categorical and spontaneous manner. Her confidence
as to the attackers identity was clearly shown by her vivid recollection of him having a mole below his nose, which is correct. Moreover, it is
inconceivable for Josephine and Anita to implicate accused-appellant, a complete stranger to them, if there was no truth to their assertion. As for
Clara, her naming of accused-appellant as her boyfriends assailant was not done out of spite, but was impelled by her desire to seek justice for

Corroborating further accused-appellants guilt, probably with intense incriminating effect, were his immediate flight after the slaying, and his
attempt at jailbreak[12] revealing a guilty conscience, hence, his persistent effort to evade the clutches of the law.
Apropos the court a quos admission of accused-appellants videotaped confession, we find such admission proper. The interview was recorded
on video and it showed accused-appellant unburdening his guilt willingly, openly and publicly in the presence of newsmen. Such confession does not
form part of custodial investigation as it was not given to police officers but to media men in an attempt to elicit sympathy and forgiveness from the
public. Besides, if he had indeed been forced into confessing, he could have easily sought succor from the newsmen who, in all likelihood, would
have been symphatetic with him. As the trial court stated in its Decision[13]Furthermore, accused, in his TV interview (Exh. H), freely admitted that he had stabbed Dennis Aquino, and that Edward Endino had shot him
(Aquino). There is no showing that the interview of accused was coerced or against his will. Hence, there is basis to accept the truth of his
statements therein.
We agree. However, because of the inherent danger in the use of television as a medium for admitting ones guilt, and the recurrence of this
phenomenon in several cases,[14] it is prudent that trial courts are reminded that extreme caution must be taken in further admitting similar
confessions. For in all probability, the police, with the connivance of unscrupulous media practitioners, may attempt to legitimize coerced extrajudicial
confessions and place them beyond the exclusionary rule by having an accused admit an offense on television. Such a situation would be
detrimental to the guaranteed rights of the accused and thus imperil our criminal justice system.
We do not suggest that videotaped confessions given before media men by an accused with the knowledge of and in the presence of police
officers are impermissible. Indeed, the line between proper and invalid police techniques and conduct is a difficult one to draw, particularly in cases
such as this where it is essential to make sharp judgments in determining whether a confession was given under coercive physical or psychological
A word of counsel then to lower courts: we should never presume that all media confessions described as voluntary have been freely
given. This type of confession always remains suspect and therefore should be thoroughly examined and scrutinized. Detection of coerced
confessions is admittedly a difficult and arduous task for the courts to make. It requires persistence and determination in separating polluted
confessions from untainted ones. We have a sworn duty to be vigilant and protective of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
With all the evidence tightly ringed around accused-appellant, the question that next presents itself is whether the trial court correctly
denominated the crime as murder qualified by treachery. Doubtless,the crime committed is one of murder considering that the victim was stabbed
while he was simply standing on the pavement with his girlfriend waiting for a ride, blissfully oblivious of the accused's criminal design. The
suddenness of the assault on an unsuspecting victim, without the slightest provocation from him who had no opportunity to parry the attack, certainly
qualifies the killing to murder.[15]
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the court a quo finding accused-appellant GERRY GALGARIN alias Toto guilty of Murder qualified by
Treachery, sentencing him to reclusion perpetua, and ordering him to indemnify the heirs of Dennis Aquino in the amount of P50,000.00 as
compensatory damages and P72,725.35 as actual damages, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused-appellant is further ordered to
compensate the decedents heirs P50,000.00 as moral damages for their emotional and mental anguish. Costs against accused-appellant.
Mendoza, Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

Marianne Guevarra, a second-year nursing student at Fatima was on her way to her school dormitory in Valenzuelal, Metro Manila when Pablito
Andan asked her to check the blood pressure of the grandmother of Andans wife but there was nobody inside the house. She was punched in the
abdomen by Andan and was brought to the kitchen where he raped her. She was left in the toilet until it was dark and was dragged to the backyard.

It was when Andan lifted her over the fence to the adjacent vacant lot where she started to move. Andan hit her head with a concrete block to silence
her and dragged her body to a shallow portion of the lot and abandoned it.
The death of Marianne drew public attention which prompted Baliuag Mayor Cornelio Trinidad to form a team of police officers to solve the case.
Apart from the vacant lot, they also searched Andans nearby house and found evidences linked to the crime. The occupants of the house were
interviewed and learned that accused-appellant was in Barangay Tangos, Baliuag, Bulacan. A police team lead by Mayor Trinidad located Andan and
took him to the police headquarters where he was interrogated where he said that Dizon killed the girl. The three were then brought to Andans
house where he showed the police where the bags of Marianne were hidden. They were then brought back to the police station while waiting for the
result of the investigation.
The gruesome crime attracted the media and as they were gathered at the police headquarters for the result of the investigation, Mayor Trinidad
arrived and proceeded to the investigation room. Upon seeing the mayor, appellant approved him and whispered a request that they talk privately to
which the mayor agreed. They went to another room and there, the Andan agreed to tell the truth and admitted that he was the one who killed
Marianne. The mayor opened the door of the room to let the public and the media representatives witness the confession. Mayor Trinidad first asked
for a lawyer to assist the appellant but since no lawyer was available he ordered the proceedings photographed and recorded in video. In the
presence of the media and his relatives, Andan admitted to the crime and disclosed how he killed Marianne and that he falsely implicated Larin and
Dizon because of ill-feelings against them.
However, appellant entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment. He provided an alibi why he was at his fathers house at another barangay
and testified that policemen tortured and coerced him to admit the crime but the trial court found him guilty and sentenced him to death.
Whether or not the admission of Andan to the mayor without the assistance of counsel is in violation of the constitution and cannot be admitted as
evidence in court.
Under these circumstances, it cannot be claimed that the appellants confession before the mayor is inadmissible. A municipal mayor has
operational supervision and control over the local police and may be deemed a law enforcement officer for purposes of applying Section 12 (1) and
(3) of Article III of the Constitution. However, Andans confession to the mayor was not made in response to any interrogation by the latter. In fact, the
mayor did not question appellant at all and no police authority ordered the appellant to talk to the mayor. It was the appellant who spontaneously,
freely and voluntarily sought the mayor for a private meeting. The mayor acted as a confidant and not as a law enforcer and therefore did not violate
his constitutional rights.
Constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, but
given in an ordinary manner whereby appellant orally admitted having committed the crime. What the constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure
of incriminating facts or confession. Hence, we hold that appellants confession to the mayor was correctly admitted by the trial court.
Andan was found guilty of the special complex crime of rape with homicide.
The accused-appellant appeals from the decision of the RTC, Branch 5, Baguio City, guilty of violating Republic Act No. 6425 otherwise known as
the Dangerous Drugs Act.
The accused-appellant, did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell and/or deliver to posing buyer, SPO2 DOROTHEO SUPA of the 14th Regional
Field Office, Narcotics Unit, about nine hundred fifty (950) grams of marijuana dried leaves in brick form, and knowing fully well that the article is a
prohibited drug, in violation of the aforecited provision of law.
However, the witnesses testified for the prosecution: PO2 Dorotheo Supa, Alma Margarita D. Villasenor, and PO2 Juan Piggangay, Jr. admitted to
have forgotten the affixing of their initials upon receipt of the marijuana, thereby deviating from narcotics field test standard operating procedure. PO2
Supa testified that he no longer gave the marked money to accused-appellant because he placed the latter under arrest. He recited to him his rights
but failed to include a crucial part of the Miranda Rights, if accused-appellant could not afford counsel, one would be assigned to him. The officers
also admitted to have made the accused affix his signature on the receipt of property seized without the assistance of a counsel, as well as whether
or not he was waiving his rights to remain silent at all.

Is deviation from standard operating procedures a violation of the constitutional rights of the accused?
First. With respect to the receipt of property seized from accused-appellant, the fact that there was a receipt of property seized issued by the police
which was signed by the accused does not affect the liability of the accused.
Second. Nor is there other credible evidence against accused-appellant. As he points out, he could not have been so careless as to call the
telephone number of the 14th Regional Narcotics Office and offer marijuana to the policemen there. Neither would he blatantly sell illegal drugs to
known police officers nor would he transact these illegal sales over the telephone, because these acts are usually done face to face.
Third. The prosecution failed to establish the identity of the prohibited drug which constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense, an essential
requirement in a drug-related case. In this case, the prosecution failed to prove the crucial first link in the chain of custody, they did not write their
initials on the brick of marijuana immediately after allegedly seizing it.
According to PO3 Piggangay, the bag that he saw was colored gray or blue, the same color as that of the bag sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory
Service for laboratory examination. Whereas PO2 Supa stated, however, that the bag of marijuana which he saw was colored brown. The
discrepancy in the testimony of these two police officers casts additional doubt on the identity of the prohibited drug which constitutes the corpus
Indeed, there is failure in this case to observe standard operating procedure for a buy-bust operation. It is precisely when the governments purposes
are beneficent that we should be most on our guard to protect these rights. Our desire to stamp out criminality cannot be achieved at the expense of
constitutional rights. For these reasons, we cannot uphold the conviction of accused-appellant.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Baguio City is REVERSED and accused-appellant Albert Casimiro is ACQUITTED
on the ground of reasonable doubt. Consequently, he is ordered forthwith released from custody, unless he is being lawfully held for another crime.
David Gutang, together with Noel Regala, Alex Jimenez and Oscar de Venecia, Jr. was arrested by policemen in connection with the enforcement of
a search warrant in his residence at Greenhills, San Juan. Several drug paraphernalia, which later tested positive for marijuana and
methamphetamine hydrochloride, were seized along with a small quantity of marijuana fruiting tops.
The four were brought to Camp Crame and were subjected to a drug-dependency test and were asked to give a sample of their urine to which they
complied. Their urine samples all tested positive for shabu.
De Venecia, Jr. voluntarily submitted himself for treatment, rehabilitation and confinement. Gutang, Regala and Jimenez pleaded not guilty. They
were found guilty of possession and use of prohibited drugs.
Gutang argued that the urine sample is inadmissible in evidence because he had no counsel during the custodial investigation when it was taken. In
effect, it is an uncounselled extra-judicial confession and a violation of the Constitution.
Whether or not the urine samples taken were admissible in evidence.
The Court ruled that it was admissible. The right to counsel begins from the time a person is taken into custody and placed under investigation for
the commission of crime. Such right is guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
However, what the Constitution prohibits is the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communication from the accused, but not an inclusion of
his body in evidence, when it may be material to ascertain physical attributes determinable by simple observation and not to unearth undisclosed

An accused may validly be compelled to be photographed or measured, or his garments or shoes removed or replaced, or to move his body to
enable the foregoing things to be done without going against the proscription against testimonial compulsion.
When Gilda Cinco search the bag of Ho Wai Pang in the Baggage Declaration at the arrival area, she found boxes of chocolate which when she saw
inside had white substance. They were then brought to the PNP after the procedures in the airport.
The RTC found Pang guilty of violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. The CA while affirming the RTC decision took note that their right to counsel
during custodial investigation was violated.
ISSUE: Whether the violation of the petitioner's right to counsel made the evidence taken from the petitioner inadmissible.
The SC held in the negative. The SC reiterated that infractions to the accused during the custodial investigation render only extrajudicial confession
or admissions of the suspect inadmissible as evidence.
Also, the guilt of Pang was based on the testimony of Cinco when she caught Pang in flagrante delicto transporting shabu.
If ever youre arrested, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
Enshrined under Section 12, Article III of the 1987 Constitution are the following rights:
Section 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and
to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided
with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places,
solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture or
similar practices, and their families.
In the case of Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, et al., the Supreme Court laid down the procedure to be followed in custodial investigations, to wit:
At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform him of the reason for the arrest and he must be shown the
warrant of arrest, if any. He shall be informed of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement he might make could
be used against him. The person arrested shall have the right to communicate with his lawyer, a relative, or anyone he chooses by the most
expedient means _ by telephone if possible _ or by letter or messenger. It shall be the duty of the arresting officer to see to it that this is
accomplished. No custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the presence of counsel engaged by the person arrested, by any person
on his behalf, or appointed by the court upon petition either of the detainee himself or by anyone on his behalf. The right to counsel may be waived
but the waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel. Any statement obtained in violation of the procedure herein laid down,
whether exculpatory or inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be inadmissible in evidence.
In addition, in the case of People vs Marra,, the Supreme Court defined the meaning of custodial investigation, It held that:

Custodial investigation involves any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise
deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. It is only after the investigation ceases to be a general inquiry into an unsolved crime and
begins to focus on a particular suspect, the suspect is taken into custody, and the police carries out a process of interrogations that lends itself to
eliciting incriminating statements that the rule begins to operate.
Also, in People vs Camat,, the Court held further that:
As interpreted in the jurisdiction of their origin, these rights begin to be available where the investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an
unsolved crime but has began to focus on a particular suspect, the suspect has been taken into police custody, and the police carry out a process of
interrogation that lends itself to eliciting incriminating statements.