Galo Monge, vs. People of the Philippines G.R. No.

170308 March 7, 2008
Facts: The barangay tanods in Iriga City found petitioner Monge and Potencio transporting
three pieces of mahogany lumber. When asked for the necessary permit from the DENR,
Monge and Potencio were not able to give one. Both of them were charged with violation of
Section 68 of the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines providing for the criminal offense of
cutting, gathering and/or collecting timber or other products without license.
Both Monge and Potencio pleaded not guilty during the arraignment. During trial, Potencio was
discharged as state witness testifying that it was Monge who owned the lumber, and that the
latter merely asked him to help him transport it from the mountain. The trial court found Monge
guilty. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Monge questioned the discharge of Potencio as state
witness since “the latter was not the least guilty of the offense and that there was no absolute
necessity for his testimony.” The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal and affirmed the
decision of the trial court. Hence, Monge filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether Monge is guilty of violating Section 68 of the Revised Forestry Code.
Ruling: Yes. Monge is guilty of violating Section 68 of PD No. 705, as amended by EO No. 277.
The mere possession of Monge and Potencio of the lumber without the required permit had
already consummated their criminal liability under Section 68 of the Revised Forestry Code. The
Revised Forestry Code “is a special penal statute that punishes acts essentially malum
prohibitum.” Regardless of the good faith of Monge, the commission of the prohibited act
consummated his criminal liability. Good faith, which is the absence of malice or criminal intent,
is not a defense. It is also immaterial as to whether Potencio or Monge owned the lumber as the
mere possession thereof without the proper documents is unlawful and punishable
Additional info: “Section 68 of PD 705, as amended by E.O. No. 277, criminalizes two distinct
and separate offenses, namely: (a) the cutting, gathering, collecting and removing of timber or
other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or
from private land without any authority; and (b) the possession of timber or other forest products
without the legal documents required under existing laws and regulations. DENR Administrative
Order No. 59 series of 1993 specifies the documents required for the transport of timber and
other forest products. Section 3 thereof materially requires for the transport of lumber be
accompanied by a certificate of lumber origin duly issued by the DENR-CENRO. In the first
offense, the legality of the acts of cutting, gathering, collecting or removing timber or other forest
products may be proven by the authorization duly issued by the DENR. In the second offense,
however, it is immaterial whether or not the cutting gathering, collecting and removal of forest
products are legal precisely because mere possession of forest products without the
requisite documents consummates the crime.

Merida v. Merida made extrajudicial admissions that he did cut the tree but claimed that he did so with the permission of one Vicar Calix. The trial court found Merida guilty as charged. Tansiongco filed a complaint with the Provincial Prosecutor charging Merida with violation of Section 68 of PD No. Merida constantly represented to the authorities that he cut a narra tree in the Mayod Property. as amended. this time with the DENR. No. June 12. . The Prosecutor found probable cause and filed the information with the trial court. People of the Philippines G. During that meeting. 158182. his extrajudicial admissions are binding on him. Moreover. Merida is guilty of violating Section 68 of PD No. bought the Mayod Property from Tansiongco. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment. “Section 80 of PD No. the list of cases which must be initiated by the complainant does not include cases concerning Section 68 of PD No. 705 does not prohibit an interested person from filing a complaint before any qualified officer for violation of Section 68 of PD No. Issues: (1) Whether the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the case considering that it was filed by a private individual and not by a DENR forest officer. 705. 705 Ruling: (1) Yes. he alleges. Therefore. The trial court acquired jurisdiction. Merida made the same extrajudicial admissions. 705. According to the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Tansiongco again reported the matter. who.R. 2008. (2) Whether Merida is guilty of violating Section 68 of PD No. Tansiongco reported the matter to the punong barangay who summoned petitioner to a meeting. 554 SCRA Facts: A certain Tansiongco discovered that Sesinando Merida cut a narra tree in his private land.” (2) Yes. the Mayod Property. 705. 705.

It is in accordance with Admin Circular 16-931 : Promulgation of judgment in CA and SC is effected by filing a signed copy of the judgment with the Clerk of Cour . Ila and Lloren guilty. a judgment is entered 15 days after its promulgation.34 Thus. 705. RPC should be imposed. he contends that his earlier acquittal by the CA was proper. Whether the Decision of the RTC convicting petitioner Almuete of the charge against him passed the requisite conviction beyond reasonable doubt. 277.R. RPC) Petitioner maintains his innocence and asserts that he was wrongly convicted by the RTC because his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. each are sentenced to suffer the penalty of 18years. the records are remanded to the .Section 68 of P. vs. NO. Almuete. RPC which is two degrees higher than those specified in Article 309. otherwise known as the "Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines. People G.O. with violation of Section 68 of Presidential Decree (P. Whether or not the penalty as prescribed in Article 310.  The practice of requiring the convict to appear before the trial court for promulgation of judgment is therefore immediately discontinued The procedure for the promulgation of judgments in the trial courts in criminal cases.) No. 179611 March 12. and 10 days thereafter.D. No.36 Issue: 1. This is not for promulgation or reading thereof to the defendant but for the execution of the judgment against him. Almuete (petitioner). 2 months and 21 days of reclusion temporal.35 and that his acquittal can no longer be assailed without violating the principle of double jeopardy. 2013 FACTS: Efren D. Ruling: 1. to wit: By sections 8 and 9 of Rule 53 (now Sections 10 and 11 of Rule 51) in relation to section 17 of Rule 120 (now Section 17 of Rule 124). The Director of Prisons. provides that: Cutting. The procedural consequence of this distinction was reiterated in Jesus Alvarado. or Other Forest Products without License shall be punished with the penalties imposed under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code. No. differs from that prescribed for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals where promulgation is effected by filing the signed copy of the judgment with the Clerk of Court who causes true copies thereof to be served upon the parties. etc. as minimum period to 40 years of reclusion perpetua as maximum period.Almuete vs. (as prescribed in Article 310. The RTC held the accused.D. The duty of the RTC (court of first instance) in respect to such judgment is merely to see that it is duly executed when in their nature the intervention of the court of first instance is necessary to that end." as amended by Executive Order (E. 2. Johnny Ila (Ila) and Joel Lloren (Lloren) were charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Nueva Vizcaya. Gathering and/or collecting Timber. 705.) No.33 He argues that his conviction was based on circumstantial and hearsay evidence as he was convicted only because he owns the truck containing the lumber.

volcanic eruption. or b) if the stolen property is motor vehicle. the proper imposable penalty should be that which is prescribed under Article 309. Accordingly.000. as minimum. it was explained that “the certified copy of the judgment is sent by the clerk of the appellate court to the lower court under section 9 of rule 53. No. of the same Rules 53 (now sections 9 and 10 of Rule 51). RPC would apply only if the theft was committed under any the following circumstances: a) by a domestic servant. the Decision of the RTC was modified insofar as the penalty of imprisonment is concerned.00. as maximum. It cannot be gainsaid that what is involved is the life and liberty of petitioner hence. the amount of the timber involved is P57. 881. Since the amount exceeds P22. the minimum penalty should be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. . not for the promulgation or reading thereof to the defendant. 77 Phil. 2. In the case of People vs. Ila and Lloren are each sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six ( 6) years of prision correccional. or any other calamity. 883. earthquake. Gaz. as amended. typhoon. which is anywhere between two (2) years.” and that the duty of the court of first instance in respect to such judgment is merely to see that it is duly executed when in their nature the intervention of the court of first instance is necessary to that end.” it “not being necessary to promulgate or read it to the defendant.. Thus.012. or with grave abuse of confidence. In this case. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. The accused Almuete.00 or three more years. vehicular accident or civil disturbance. the Court’s "primordial and most important duty is to render justice”.00. Article 310. eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal. None of these circumstances is present in the instant case. Thus. but for the execution of the judgment against him. to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal.000. 764). or consists of coconuts taken from the premises of the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery. In this case. the correct imposable maximum penalty is anywhere between eleven (11) years. mail matter or large cattle. or c) if the property is taken on the occasion of fire. the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods should be imposed in its maximum period plus an additional one (1) year for each additional P10.000 pesos in excess of P22. the minimum penalty is one degree lower than that prescribed by the law. four (4) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. Sumilang (44 Off. because it is to be presumed that accused or his attorney had already been notified thereof in accordance with sections 7 and 8.court below including a certified copy of the judgment for execution.

a forest ranger from CENRO. He claimed that he could not prevent the overcutting of trees because he was just alone and that he feared one of the sawyers. the Executive Director of the DENR issued a permit allowing the cutting of 14 trees. In this case. gather. Petitioner may have been remiss in his duties when he failed to restrain the sawyers from cutting trees more than what was covered by the permit. out of which only 12 were covered by the permit. They went to the site where they found petitioner Aquino. petitioner was charged by CENRO to supervise the implementation of the permit. He was not the one who cut. The forest rangers found 23 tree stumps. Petitioner could not likewise be convicted of conspiracy to commit the offense because all his co-accused were acquitted of the charges against them. An information was then filed against the five individuals for cutting without permit the nine (9) pine trees in conspiracy. Petitioner’s defense was that he was merely sent to supervise the cutting of trees at the Teacher’s Camp and he was not aware of the trees covered by the permit. The trial court ruled that despite the existence of a permit. .Thereafter. this could only make petitioner administratively liable for his acts. gathered. Santiago. another forest ranger. collect or remove timber or other forest products from any forest land. ISSUE: WoN petitioner is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 68 of PD 705 RULING: NO. Section 68 of PD 705 punishes anyone who shall cut. petitioner could have informed his superiors if he was really intimidated by Santiago.AQUINO v. a group of forest rangers received information that pine trees were being cut without proper authority at the Teacher’s Camp. If at all. all of the accused have been acquitted in the trial court and on appeal. or timber from alienable or disposable public land. 165448 July 27. It is not enough to convict him under Section 68 of PD 705. without any authority. Nonetheless. PEOPLE GR No. 2009 FACTS: The Teacher’s Camp filed with the DENR an application to cut down 14 dead Benguet pine trees within their area in Baguio City. two supervisors. As the CA ruled. the trees cut exceeded the allowed number of the trees authorized to be cut and that the cutting of trees went beyond the period stated in the permit. The trees were to be used for the repairs of Teachers Camp. collected or removed the pine trees within the contemplation of Section 68 of PD 705. he still supervised the cutting of trees without procuring a copy of the vicinity map used in the inspection of the trees to be cut. except for the petitioner. or from private land. However. After the inspection of the trees to be cut. He was not in possession of the cut trees because the lumber was used by Teachers Camp for repairs. and two sawyers.

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the inadvertence of counsel cannot be considered as an adequate excuse as to call for the appellate court's indulgence except: (1) where the reckless or gross negligence of the counsel deprives the client of due process of law (2) when the application of the rule will result in outright deprivation of the clients's Liberty or property (3) when the interest of justice so requires The Supreme Court agrees that the CA should have taken a liberal view of the rules and ruled on the merits of the appeal. Upon arriving thereat. Petitioner appealed the decision to the CA. However. 9. one of which is seizure of evidence in the "plain view". especially when what is involved is no less than petitioner's Liberty. papers. When the DENR personnel asked for documents to support the petitioner's claim of ownership. the Chief of the Forest Protection unit of DENR together with other Forest Rangers. G. 7. they found out that the dimensions and species of the lumber did not tally with the items mentioned in the receipt. 8. Thereafter. 2014 Facts: 1.MA.D. 6. when the DENR scaled the lumber. the CA dismissed the appeal outright because the petitioner failed to furnish the OSG a copy of the appellants brief in violation of the rules of court. 3. However. they saw forest products lying under the house of petitioner and at the shoreline about two meters away from the house petitioner's house. (The petitioner submits that the outright denial of her appeal is due to to the incompetence and ignorance of her former counsel who even lied about the fact that he has indeed filed an Appellant's Brief) As a general rule. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. objects . The constitution recognizes the right of the people to be secured in their persons. DENR personnel entered the premises of the petitioner's house without a search warrant. MIMIE CRESCENCIO Vs. Eufemio Abaniel. 4. went to the petitioner's house. Issues: 1. 2. 5. 2. Under the plain view doctrine. November 19. the petitioner admitted its ownership. Abaniel ordered the confiscation of the lumber and told petitioner that they were going to transport the same to the DENR office for safekeeping. No. 2. Whether or not the seizure of the lumber is valid Ruling: 1. 705. Nonetheless. 11. As the DENR personnel tried to investigate from the neighborhood as to who was the owner of the lumber. the latter showed to them an official receipt issued by Pengavitor Enterprises where she allegedly bought the said lumber. Petitioner was charged with violation of section 68 of P. Whether or not the outright dismissal is justified. and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Since petitioner could not present any other receipt. RTC rendered judgment convicting petitioner. 10. the constitutional prohibition against warrant less search and seizures admits of certain exceptions. houses.R. 205015.

. There is no question that the DENR personnel were not armed with a search warrant. the DENR personnel had the authority to arrest the petitioner. are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence. Besides. even without a warrant.falling in the plain view of an officer. The decision of the RTC is affirmed. who has the right to be in the position to have that view. It is clear. Section 80 of the Forestry Code authorizes the forestry officer of employee of the DENR to arrest. the lumbers were lying under the latter's house and at the shoreline about two meters away from the house of the petitioner. the seizure falls within the purview of the plain view doctrine. therefore. that the said lumber is plainly exposed to sight. Hence. When they arrived at the petitioner's house. even without a warrant. any person who has committed or is committing in his presence any of the offenses defined in the Forestry Code.