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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-54904 January 29, 1988
HEIRS OF TITO RILLORTA, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ROMEO N. FIRME, Presiding Judge, Court of
First Instance of La Union, Branch IV, Bauang, La
Union; and ANDREW COSTALES, respondents.
CRUZ, J.:
May the civil award in a criminal case be appealed by the
heirs of the offended party? Of course. May the criminal
aspect of the decision be modified as a basis for the increase
in the civil award? Certainly not. Is the case at bar covered
by the rule on double jeopardy or by the exception? We shall
come to that.
Accused of killing Tito Rillorta, Andrew Costales, was held
guilty only of less serious physical injuries and sentenced to
twenty days of arresto menor and to indemnify the heirs of
the deceased in the sum of P500.00. The trial court said the
defendant could not be held liable for homicide because the
wound inflicted on the victim was only superficial. The
certified cause of death was pneumonia, and this was
obviously induced by the exploratory surgery which was
needlessly performed upon him. In short, the victim had
succumbed not to the skin-deep wound that did not affect
any vital organ but as a result of the attending physician's
gross incompetence. 1
The heirs of the deceased, herein petitioners, did not agree.
Through their counsel acting "under the direct control and
supervision of the provincial fiscal," they filed a motion for
reconsideration of the decision notified to them on January

23, 1980. 2 This motion was sent by registered mail on


February 2, 1980. 3 Heard on February 26, it was denied on
February 28, 1980, in an order that was communicated to
the private prosecutor on March 18, 1980. 4 On March 20,
1980, a notice of appeal was filed with the trial court under
the signatures of the prosecuting fiscal and the private
prosecutor. 5 After considering the opposition to the notice
and the reply thereto, the respondent judge dismissed the
appeal on April 14, 1980, for tardiness. 6 Both the fiscal and
the private prosecutor filed separate motions for
reconsideration, but these were denied on May 12,
1980. 7 The dismissal of the appeal is now the subject of this
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
It is clear that the notice of appeal was filed within the 15day reglementary period. The motion for reconsideration of
the decision rendered in open court on January 23, 1980,
was filed on February 2, 1980, date of its posting by
registered mail. Only ten days had elapsed from the earlier
date. The running of the period was suspended while the
motion was under study and until a copy of the order
denying the same was furnished the private prosecutor on
March 18, 1980. When two days later, on March 20, the
fiscal and the private prosecutor jointly filed a notice of
appeal, only 12 days of the period of appeal had been
consumed. The appeal was thus perfected on time,
conformably to Rule 122, Section 6, of the Rules of Court,
reading as follows:
SEC. 6. When appeal to be taken. - An appeal
must be taken within fifteen (15) days from
promulgation or notice of the judgment or
order appealed from. This period for perfecting
an appeal shall be interrupted from the time a
motion for new trial is filed until notice of the
order overruling the motion shall have been
served upon the defendant or his attorney.
The trial court thus lost jurisdiction over the appealed case
on March 20, 1980, and was obligated to elevate the records

thereof to the appellate court. Having become functus


officio, it could no longer issue the challenged orders of
April 14, 1980, and May 12, 1980, dismissing the appeal.
The question of whether or not the civil award in a criminal
case may be appealed is not new and has been resolved
earlier by this Court. It is settled that this can be done by
the private prosecutor on behalf of the offended party or his
successors. The adequacy of the award may be challenged
on the ground that it is not commensurate with the gravity
of the injuries sustained as a result of the offense committed
by the accused, Thus, we have held that
... The offended party, be he the owner of the
stolen or misappropriated property, or the
owner of the pawnshop, may appeal from the
judgment of the trial court with reference to the
payment of the indemnity resulting from the
commission of the offense. The pawnbrokers in
this case are deemed to have been prejudiced
by the commission of the crime, because by
reason of the fact that the jewels pledged to
them had been stolen they will now be deprived
of their possession without first having a
declaration of indemnity for the amount of the
pledges. 8
xxx xxx xxx
In this instance, this court, in its resolution
dated November 28, 1933, declared the appeal
of the accused abandoned. Therefore, the only
question left to be decided is the appeal of the
private prosecution with regard to the civil
liability of the accused.
The trial courts resolution that, because the
cause had been appealed by the accused, it had
lost its jurisdiction to pass upon the motion for
reconsideration filed by the private prosecution

rune days after the date of the judgment, is


unfounded.
The right of the injured persons in an offense to
take part in its prosecution and to appeal for
purpose of the civil liability of the accused
(section 107, General Orders, No. 58),
necessarily implies that such right is protected
in the same manner as the right of the accused
to his defense. If the accused has the right
within fifteen days to appeal from the judgment
of conviction, the offended party should have
the right within the same period to appeal from
so much of the judgment as is prejudicial to
him, and his appeal should not be made
dependent on that of the accused. 9
However, the civil indemnity may be increased only if it will
not require an aggravation of the decision in the criminal
case on which it is based. In other words, the accused may
not, on appeal by the adverse party, be convicted of a more
serious offense or sentenced to a higher penalty to justify
the increase in the civil indemnity. This rule is applicable in
the present case.
The petitioners are urging that the civil award in the sum of
only P500.00 be increased because the accused should not
have been found guilty of only less serious physical injuries
but of homicide. They are not confining themselves to the
civil aspect of the challenged decision. In their own words,
their appeal involves "both the criminal aspect and the civil
liabilities in the criminal cases." 10 This is not permitted
under the rule on double jeopardy. 11
Section 2 of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that
"the People of the Philippines cannot appeal if the defendant
would be placed thereby in double jeopardy." This provision
is based on the old case of Kepner v. United States, 12 where
the U.S. Supreme Court, reviewing a decision of the
Philippine Supreme Court in 1904, declared by a 5-4 vote
that appeal of the prosecution from a judgment of acquittal

(or for the purpose of increasing the penalty imposed upon


the convict) would place him in double jeopardy. It has been
consistently applied since then in this jurisdiction.
It need only be stressed that if the government itself cannot
appeal, much less then can the offended party or his heirs,
who are mainly concerned only with the civil indemnity.
The prohibition operates as a "bar to another prosecution for
the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same
or frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily
includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in
the former complaint or information." 13 There is no question
that the crime of less serious physical injuries, of which the
accused in this case was convicted, is necessarily included in
the offense of homicide.
But the petitioners argue that double jeopardy will not
attach because the judgment convicting the accused of less
serious physical injuries is tainted with grave abuse of
discretion and therefore null and void. This argument is
flawed because whatever error may have been committed by
the lower court was merely an error of judgment and not of
jurisdiction. It did not affect the intrinsic validity of the
decision. This is the kind of error that can no longer be
rectified on appeal by the prosecution no matter how
obvious the error may be.
In People v. City Court of Silay, 14 the trial court granted the
defendant's motion to dimiss a charge for falsification after
the prosecution had rested, holding that the guilt of the
accused had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The
Court disagreed. Nevertheless, it held through Justice
Munoz-Palma that "however erroneous the order of the
respondent court is, and although a miscarriage of justice
resulted from said order, such error cannot now be lighted
because of the timely plea of double jeopardy."
We have made similar rulings in several other cases, among
them People v. Hernando, 108 SCRA 121, People v.

Francisco, 128 SCRA 110, and People v. Villarin, 11 SCRA


550.
The cases cited by the petitioners are not in point because
they all involve not errors of judgment but denial of due
process resulting in loss or lack of jurisdiction. 15 The
prosecution in each of these cases was allowed to appeal
because it had not been given its day in court. In the present
case, a full trial was held and both the prosecution and the
defense were accorded the right to be heard before the
judgment was reached. There is no doubt at all that the trial
court had the requisite jurisdiction to pronounce the
challenged sentence. Even assuming it was incorrect, it was
certainly not invalid.
It follows that the appeal should be limited to the civil award
corresponding only to the offense found against the accused,
to wit, less serious physical injuries. The award cannot be
related to the victim's death, of which the defendant has
been absolved by the trial court. The problem then is
whether or not the sum of P500.00 was sufficient
indemnification for the wound which, the trial court has
held, was not the proximate cause of the victim's death.
The determination of this question should normally be made
by the appellate court after examining the factual issues as
originally resolved by the trial court. This would require
elevation of the records of the case to the Court of Appeals
in accordance with the usual procedure and an exchange
again of pleadings and arguments between the parties that
will further prolong this case. But we do not believe that
such delay is necessary. We can decide the appeal ourselves
to expedite decision of this case. We have carefully studied
the pros and cons of this problem and can rule on it directly
on the basis of the record before us and in the interest of
speedy justice.
Accordingly, we hold that the sum awarded by the trial court
to the petitioners, for the less serious physical injuries
inflicted upon the victim and not for his death is

sufficient recompense. Therefore, the increase sought is


denied.
While the Court sympathizes with the petitioners for their
tragic loss, it is unable to accord them a more satisfactory
material settlement because it is limited by the findings of
the trial court and inhibitions of double jeopardy. If an error
has been committed somewhere and on this it is not
necessary for us to rule that error will nonetheless not
relax the application of the salutary rule on double jeopardy.
It must be, as it is here, upheld.
WHEREFORE, the orders of the respondent court dated
April 14, 1980, and May 20, 1980, are SET ASIDE. However,
the appeal sought shall no longer be necessary because the
questioned civil award in the amount of P500.00 is hereby
directly AFFIRMED. No costs.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 101557-58. April 28, 1993.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and SPS. AMADO and
TERESA RUBITE, petitioners,
vs.
HON. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC,
BR. 51, PALAWAN, and LEONARDO SALDE, SR.,
LEONARDO SALDE, JR., FLORESITA SALDE, GLORIA
SALDE-PANAGUITON, and JOJETA PANAGUITON,
respondent.
V. Dennis for petitioners.

Perfecto delos Reyes and Roberto delos Reyes for private


respondents.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J p:

On 19 September 1988, when the cases were initially called


for trial, the Prosecuting Fiscal together with counsel for
accused jointly moved for the suspension of the hearing
pending the outcome of the motion filed by the accused for
reinvestigation of the cases against them, which Provincial
Fiscal Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr., later resolved in their favor.

Jeopardy is the peril in which an accused is placed when put


on trial before a court of competent jurisdiction upon an
indictment or information which is sufficient in form and
substance to sustain a conviction. No person can be twice
put in this peril for the same offense. The Constitution
prohibits it. Nemo debet bis puniri pro uno delicto. This is
the defense raised by accused-private respondents after
respondent Judge, upon motion of the Provincial Fiscal,
ordered without notice and hearing the dismissal of Crim.
Cases Nos. 7396 and 7397 both for frustrated murder, which
thereafter were reinstated upon initiative of the Secretary of
Justice and docketed anew as Crim: Cases Nos. 8572 and
8573.

On 12 December 1988, counsel for the offended parties


gave, notice to the Provincial Fiscal of their intention to
appeal the latter's resolution to the Department of Justice.
On 2 February 1989, pending appeal to the Department of
Justice, Provincial Fiscal Gacott, Jr., moved for the dismissal
of the cases on the ground that the reinvestigation disclosed
that petitioner-spouses Amado and Teresa Rubite were the
real aggressors and that the accused only acted in selfdefense.

It appears that on 7 April 1988, 3rd Asst. Provincial Fiscal


Luis E. Estiller of Puerto Princesa City filed Crim. Cases
Nos. 7396 and 7397 for frustrated murder against accused
Leonardo Salde, Sr., Leonardo Salde, Jr., Floresita Salde,
Gloria Salde-Panaguiton and Jojeta Panaguiton for allegedly
conspiring together in attacking and taking turns in
assaulting complainants, the spouses Teresa and Amado
Rubite, by throwing stones at Amado Rubite and hacking
him with a bladed weapon, hitting him on the left frontoparietal area which would have caused his death in Crim.
Case No. 8572 (G.R. No. 101557), and by striking Teresa
with wood and stones and hacking her with a bolo which
would have caused her death in Crim. Case No. 8573 (G.R.
No. 101558).

Meanwhile, on 1 March 1990, the Secretary of Justice


ordered the Provincial Prosecutor to refile the Informations.
Hence, on 6 April 1990, two (2) new Informations for
frustrated murder against the same accused were filed by
Acting Provincial Prosecutor Clarito A. Demaala, docketed
as Crim. Cases Nos. 8572 and 8573.

On 3 June 1988, accused Leonardo Salde, Sr., Leonardo


Salde, Jr., Floresita Salde and Gloria Salde-Panaguiton were
arraigned. They all pleaded "not guilty." On 2 August 1988,
accused Jojeta Panaguiton was also arraigned and likewise
entered a plea of "not guilty."

On 9 February 1989, acting on the motion of the Provincial


Fiscal, the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, Br. 52, ordered
the dismissal of Crim. Cases Nos. 7396 and 7397.

On 13 May 1991, after pleading "not guilty" to the new


Informations, the accused moved to quash on the ground of
double jeopardy, which was opposed by the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor. On 10 July 1991, the trial court
granted the motion and dismissed Crim. Cases Nos. 8572
and 8573. The motion to reconsider the order of 10 July
1991 filed by Acting Provincial Prosecutor Demaala was
denied on 16 August 1991. Hence, this petition for certiorari
filed by private petitioners Amado and Teresa Rubite,
complainants in the court below.
Petitioners contend that the filing of the two (2) new
Informations did not place accused-private respondents in

double jeopardy since the dismissal of the previous cases


was made with the latter's express consent, which can be
equated with their motion for reinvestigation of the cases,
dismissal of the cases being their ultimate intention in
moving for reinvestigation. It is the position of petitioners
that when the dismissal is with the express consent of the
accused, such dismissal cannot be the basis of a claim of
double jeopardy.
Petitioners further submit that the dismissal of the previous
cases is null and void as the motion to dismiss filed by the
Provincial Prosecutor which led to the dismissal of the cases
did not contain a notice of hearing; hence, it was then a
"mere scrap of paper" which the lower court should not even
have entertained.
Finally, petitioners maintain that where the prosecution has
been deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove
its case, its right to due process is violated.
In this regard, the Solicitor General, interestingly, concurs
with petitioners. Instead of filing a Comment as We required
him to do, he filed a Manifestation, citing Gumabon v. Dir. of
the Bureau of Prisons, and submitting that "[c]onsidering
that the Order of respondent judge dated February 9, 1989
favorably granting the Motion to Dismiss without notice and
hearing constituted a violation of basic constitutional rights,
the respondent court was consequently ousted of its
jurisdiction when its Order violated the right of the
prosecution to due process." In effect, the first jeopardy
never terminated as the respondent trial court was not
competent to issue the 9 February 1989 Order.

laid down the requisites of a valid defense of double


jeopardy: (a) a first jeopardy must have attached prior to the
second; (b) the first jeopardy must have been validly
terminated; and, (c) the second jeopardy must be for the
same offense as that in the first. Consequently, there being
no valid termination of the first jeopardy, the defense of
double jeopardy must fail.
Private respondents on the other hand, invoking the now
repealed Sec. 9, Rule 117, of the Rules of Court, asseverate
that the "rules provide and speak of EXPRESS CONSENT"
which cannot be equated with intention. Hence, while they
may have intended to have their cases dismissed upon
moving for reinvestigation, they never gave their express
consent to the dismissal of the cases. In fact, they never
sought the dismissal of the charges against them.
Furthermore, private respondents, in response to the
allegation that the orders of respondent judge dismissing
the first two cases were null and void, argue that if indeed
the dismissal orders were null and void, petitioners should
not have waited for the filing of the new Informations and
their subsequent quashal. They should have immediately
challenged the dismissal order. After sleeping on their
rights, they cannot belatedly say that they were denied due
process.
The cases at bar raise two (2) fundamental issues: (a)
whether private respondents gave their express consent to
the dismissal of the original Informations; and, (b) whether
the first jeopardy was invalidly terminated.
We answer both in the negative. Then, double jeopardy lies.

While the Solicitor General concedes that "[w]hat should


have been done by the new Provincial Prosecutor was to
refile the Informations in Crim. Cases Nos. 7396 and 7397
and not to file new Informations which were docketed as
Crim. Cases Nos. 8572 and 8573," he nevertheless avers
that the filing of the new Informations amounted merely to a
continuation of the first jeopardy and did not expose the
private respondents to a second jeopardy. People v. Bocar

The right against double jeopardy prohibits any subsequent


prosecution of any person for a crime of which he has
previously been acquitted or convicted. The objective is to
set the effects of the first prosecution forever at rest,
assuring the accused that he shall not thereafter be
subjected to the peril and anxiety of a second charge against

him for the same offense. This Court, as early as ninety (90)
years back, in Julia v. Sotto, said
"Without the safeguard this article establishes in favor of the
accused, his fortune, safety, and peace of mind would be
entirely at the mercy of the complaining witness, who might
repeat his accusation as often as dismissed by the court and
whenever he might see fit, subject to no other limitation or
restriction than his own will and pleasure. The accused
would never be free from the cruel and constant menace of a
never-ending charge, which the malice of the complaining
witness might hold indefinitely suspended over his head . . ."
Que v. Cosico enumerates the requisites which must concur
for double jeopardy to attach: (a) a valid complaint or
information; (b) a court of competent jurisdiction; (c) the
accused has pleaded to the charge; and, (d) the accused has
been convicted or acquitted or the case dismissed or
terminated without the express consent of the accused.
The concurrence of all these circumstances constitutes a bar
to a second prosecution for the same offense, an attempt to
commit the said offense, a frustration of the said offense, or
any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily
included in the first offense charged.
In the cases before Us, it is undisputed that valid
Informations for frustrated murder, i.e., Crim. Cases Nos.
7396 and 7397 were filed against private respondents before
the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, a court of competent
jurisdiction. It is likewise admitted that private respondents,
after being properly arraigned, entered a plea of not guilty.
The only question then remaining is whether the cases
against them were dismissed with their express consent.
Express consent has been defined as that which is directly
given either viva voce or in writing. It is a positive, direct,
unequivocal consent requiring no inference or implication to
supply its meaning. This is hardly what private respondents
gave. What they did was merely to move for reinvestigation
of the case before the prosecutor. To equate this with

express consent of the accused to the dismissal of the case


in the lower court is to strain the meaning of "express
consent" too far. Simply, there was no express consent of the
accused when the prosecutor moved for the dismissal of the
original Informations.
The Solicitor General then claims that there can be no valid
defense of double jeopardy since one of the requisites for its
valid defense, i.e., that there be a valid termination of the
first jeopardy, is unavailing. He further argues that the
motion to dismiss filed by the public prosecutor should not
have been entertained, much less granted, since there was
no notice of hearing, nor was it actually set for hearing.
We do not agree.
While it may be true that, as a general rule, all motions
should contain a notice of hearing under Rule 15 of the
Rules of Court, these cases present an unusual situation
where the motion to dismiss filed negates the necessity of a
hearing. Here, it was the public prosecutor himself who
after instituting Crim. Cases Nos. 7396 and 7397 filed a
motion to dismiss on the ground that after a reinvestigation
it was found that
". . . the evidence in these cases clearly tilts in favor of both
accused. The spouses Amado and Teresa Rubite were the
aggressors and the accused Salde, Sr. and his co-accused
merely defended themselves from the attack of the Rubites.
Consequently, it would be unfair, arbitrary and unjustified to
prosecute the accused in the above-entitled case."
Besides, who should invoke "lack of notice" but the party
deprived of due notice or due process. And when the
Provincial Prosecutor moved to dismiss on the ground that
the complaining witnesses were instead the aggressors and
the accused simply acted in self-defense, would the accused
have opposed the motion as to require that he be first
notified before the cases against him be dismissed?

Section 5 of Rule 110 of the New Rules of Criminal


Procedure expressly provides that "[a]ll criminal actions
either commenced by complaint or by information shall be
under the direction and control of the fiscal." It must be
remembered that as public prosecutor he is the
"representative not of the ordinary party to a controversy,
but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially
is as compelling as its obligation to govern all; and whose
interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it
shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such , he
is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the
law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or
innocence suffer."
Hence, the fiscal or public prosecutor always assumes and
retains full direction and control of the prosecution. The
institution of a criminal action depends upon his sound
discretion. He has the quasi-judicial discretion to determine
whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court;
whether a prima facie case exists to sustain the filing of an
Information; whether to include in the charge those who
appear to be responsible for the crime; whether to present
such evidence which he may consider necessary; whether to
call such witnesses he may consider material; whether to
move for dismissal of the case for insufficiency of evidence.
As in the case at bar, he may move for the dismissal of the
case if he believes that there is no cause of action to sustain
its prosecution, which was what in fact he did after being
convinced that it would be "unfair, arbitrary and unjustified
to prosecute the accused" who were really the victims, as
the reinvestigation showed.
Since it was the prosecuting officer who instituted the cases,
and who thereafter moved for their dismissal, a hearing on
his motion to dismiss was not necessary at all. It is axiomatic
that a hearing is necessary only in cases of contentious
motions. The motion filed in this case has ceased to be
contentious. Definitely, it would be to his best interest if the
accused did not oppose the motion. The private
complainants, on the other hand, are precluded from

questioning the discretion of the fiscal in moving for the


dismissal of the criminal action. Hence, a hearing on the
motion to dismiss would be useless and futile.
On the other hand, the order of the court granting the
motion to dismiss, notwithstanding the absence of a notice
and hearing on the motion, cannot be challenged in this
petition for certiorari which assails the dismissal of the two
(2) cases on the ground of double jeopardy. Petitioners can
no longer question the dismissal of the previous cases as the
order has already become final there being no appeal
therefrom.
It has been repeatedly held that once an Information is filed
with the court, it acquires jurisdiction over the case, and the
consequent discretion to dismiss it. While the prosecutor
retains full control over the prosecution, he loses jurisdiction
over the entire proceedings. Hence, what petitioners should
have done was to appeal the dismissal of the cases on the
ground that the said motion failed to include a notice of
hearing, and should not have waited for the dismissal of the
subsequent cases on the ground of double jeopardy, and
thereafter question the first dismissal, which by then had
already become final, erroneous though it may be.
The order of the court granting the motion to dismiss
despite absence of a notice of hearing, or proof of service
thereof, is merely an irregularity in the proceedings. It
cannot deprive a competent court of jurisdiction over the
case. The court still retains its authority to pass on the
merits of the motion. The remedy of the aggrieved party in
such cases is either to have the order set aside or the
irregularity otherwise cured by the court which dismissed
the complaint, or to appeal from the dismissal order, and not
certiorari.
It must be stressed that after a court has obtained
jurisdiction over the case, the failure to give notice of a
subsequent step in the proceedings does not deprive the
court of jurisdiction. If substantial injury results from failure
of notice and complaint is duly made thereof, the act of the

court may be held to be erroneous and will be corrected in


the proper proceeding, but it is not an act without or in
excess of jurisdiction and is not void. There is a great
difference in the results which follow the failure to give the
notice, which is necessary to confer on the court jurisdiction
over the person and the subject matter of the action, and
that which follows a failure to give notice of a step taken
after the court has obtained such jurisdiction and is
proceeding with the action.
Hence, the conditions for a valid defense of double jeopardy,
i.e., (a) a first jeopardy must have attached prior to the
second; (b) the first jeopardy must have been validly
terminated; and, (c) the second jeopardy must be for the
same offense as that of the first, all being present in these
cases, the defense of double jeopardy must prevail.
WHEREFORE, finding no abuse of discretion, much less
grave, committed by public respondent, and, for lack of
merit, the instant petition is DISMISSED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-80778 June 20, 1989
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE PEDRO T. SANTIAGO, in his capacity as
Presiding Judge of Branch 101 of the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City and SEGUNDINA ROSARIO y
SEMBRANO, respondents.
U.P. Office of Legal Services for petitioner University of the
Philippines.
Candido G. Del Rosario & Associates for private respondent.

GANCAYCO, J.:
In this special civil action for certiorari seeking to declare
null and void the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Quezon City dated October 27, 1987 in Criminal Case No.
051672 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Segundina
Rosario y Sembrano," the issues raised are (1) whether or
not double jeopardy attaches in the event of a judgment of
acquittal of the accused without a trial on the merits; and (2)
whether or not the complainant or private offended party in
a criminal case can file a special civil action for certiorari
questioning the validity of said judgment of acquittal without
the intervention of the Solicitor General.
On June 2, 1987 an information for violation of P.D. No. 772
was filed by the Assistant City Fiscal of Quezon City, with
the approval of the city fiscal, in the RTC of the same city
against Segundina Rosario y Sembrano, which reads, among
others, as follows:
That on or about 16th day of December, 1986,
and for sometime prior thereto and persisting
up to the present, in Quezon City, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the said accused taking advantage of the
absence or tolerance of the University of the
Philippines, the registered owner of a parcel of
land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
9462 of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City,
did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously succeed in occupying and/or
possessing a portion of the said property, by
then and there construct his/her house therein
for residential purposes, without the consent
and against the will of the said offended party. 1
Upon arraignment the accused pleaded not guilty and a pretrial conference was held on August 14, 1987 wherein the
accused informed the court that she has a title, a building
permit and survey plan covering the subject land. The trial

court then issued an order on the same day that reads as


follows:
Considering that the accused has a title,
building permit and a survey plan on the
subject land, the Court instructs both parties to
submit their respective proffer of documentary
exhibits together with their positions as to
whether this case will be heard or dismissed. 2
The private prosecutor presented a position paper showing
that the said property belongs to the University of the
Philippines (U.P.) as shown by TCT No. 9462 covering about
493 hectares at Diliman, Quezon City which includes the
area in question; that a plan was submitted of the entire
area; 3 that the ownership of the so-called U.P. campus under
TCT No. 9462 has been sustained by several decisions of the
Supreme Court; that the supposed title of the accused, TCT
No. 5762 has been cancelled by TCT No. 126671 in the
name of Bughay Construction and Development
Corporation; that granting the accused had a title thereto,
the issue is whether or not the property described in the
title is at Pook Amorsolo, U.P. Campus which is adjacent to
Bo. Kruz-na-Ligas, Diliman, Quezon City; that the alleged
title of the accused shows that the property is situated in Bo.
Gulod, Municipality of Marikina, Province of Rizal; that this
is also shown in the tax declaration presented by her; 4 that
in fact the accused paid the corresponding real estate tax at
Marikina; 5 and that the criminal case should proceed as it
has been shown that the area on which the accused made
the construction belongs to the U.P. without the knowledge
and consent of the latter and in violation of P.D. No. 772.
On the other hand, the accused submitted a proffer of
exhibits with a manifestation tending to show that the
accused applied for a building permit to construct on the lot;
that the lot is covered by a title in the name of the accused;
that a copy of the building permit was also submitted for
which the accused paid for the fee; that the relocation plan
of the land and the field notes were also submitted; and that

she informed U.P. of her claim and asked them not to intrude
into her property.

(c) Marking for Identification of


evidence of the parties;

An opposition thereto was filed by U.P. stating that the


proffer of exhibits is irregular and without basis as in fact
the evidence was not marked in the pre-trial; that the proffer
of exhibits is not covered by Rule 118, Sections 1 and 2 of
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure; that what is allowed
only in Section 2 thereof is the marking of the exhibits for
Identification purposes of documentary evidence; that the
manifestation submitting the case for resolution has no legal
basis; and thus it is prayed that the proffer of exhibits and
manifestation be denied for being irregular or not pursuant
to the rules.

(d) Waiver of objections to


admissibility of evidence; and

On October 27, 1978, the questioned decision was rendered


by the respondent judge acquitting the accused of the
offense charged with costs de oficio. Hence, the herein
petition for certiorari filed by the counsel for the private
offended party, U.P., in behalf of the People of the
Philippines. The petition seeks to render null and void the
aforesaid decision for want of due process as the acquittal of
the accused was rendered without a trial on the merits.
The petition is impressed with merit. Sections 1, 2, and 3 of
Rule 118 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure provide
as follows:
SECTION 1. Pre-trial: when proper.-To expedite
the trial, where the accused and counsel agree,
the court shall conduct a pretrial conference on
the matters enumerated in Section 2 hereof,
without impairing the rights of the accused.
SEC. 2. Pre-trial conference; subjects.-The pretrial conference shall consider the following:
(a) Plea bargaining;
(b) Stipulation of facts;

(e) Such other matters as will


promote a fair and expeditious
trial. (n)
SEC. 3. Pre-trial order.-After the pre-trial
conference, the court shall issue an order
reciting the actions taken, the facts stipulated,
and evidence marked. Such order shall bind the
parties, limit the trial to matters not disposed of
and control the course of the action during the
trial, unless modified by the court to prevent
manifest injustice.
From the foregoing provisions, it is clear that in criminal
cases a pre-trial may be held by the trial court only where
the accused and his counsel agree. Such pre-trial shall cover
plea bargaining, stipulation of facts, marking for
Identification of evidence of the parties, waiver of objections
to admissibility of evidence and such other matters as may
promote a fair and expeditious trial. After the pre-trial, the
trial court shall issue an order reciting the actions taken, the
facts stipulated, and evidence marked, and thereafter the
trial on the merits shall proceed which shall be limited to
matters not disposed of during the pre-trial.
In this case, a pre-trial was held wherein the accused
alleged that she has a title covering the property in
question. The respondent judge thus required the parties to
submit their proffer of documentary exhibits and their
position paper as to whether or not the case would be heard
or dismissed. Under the aforestated provisions of the Rules
on Criminal Procedure, particulary Section 2 thereof, what is
specified is the marking for identification of evidence for the
parties and the waiver of objections to admissibility of
evidence. A proffer of exhibits or evidence is not among

those enumerated. Such proffer of evidence or more


specifically in offer of evidence is generally made at the time
a party closes the presentation of his evidence in which case
the adverse party is given the opportunity to object thereto
and the court rules on the same. When evidence proposed to
be presented is rejected by the court a proffer of evidence is
usually made stating its nature and purpose had it been
admitted.
Assuming that such proffer of evidence, as directed by the
respondent judge, may be made at the pre-trial in a criminal
case, the prosecution should be given the opportunity to
object to the admissibility. In this case, the prosecution filed
its opposition to the proffer of its exhibits stating that it is
not authorized under section 1 and 2 of Rule 118 of the 1985
Rules on Criminal Procedure; that the documentary
evidence were not presented for marking at the pre-trial;
and that the manifestation submitting the case for the
resolution with the proffer of exhibits has no legal basis. In it
position paper, U.P. also pointed out that the alleged title of
the accused covers property in Marikina and not in U.P.
Campus, Quezon City wherein the accused built her
structure. The trial court did not even rule on the
admissibility of the exhibits of the accused.

Documents presented by the defense


established that accused has a title over the
land on which she built the structure; that she
has a building permit for the structure; that she
paid the corresponding fees for the building
permit; that she has a relocation plan with
supporting data of field notes and lot data
computation (Exhs. "1", "2", "2-A", "3", "4", "5",
"5-A," "6-B", "5-B-1", "5-B-2", and "5-B-3").
Actually, there is now a collision between the
claim of the prosecution and the defense on
rights of ownership to the land in question. It
may be noted that both land titles are torrens
titles.

With all the documents of the prosecution and


the defense on record, it may now be asked:
MAY THE ACCUSED BE CONVICTED OF THE
CRIME OF VIOLATION OF PRESIDENTIAL
DECREE NUMBER 772?

Under these well established facts, it cannot be


stated with certainty that the accused built her
structure illegally. If somehow it is discernible
that it is more the inadequacy of details in the
states evidence that makes it difficult for us to
arrive at definite conclusions rather than,
perhaps, the actual facts themselves, still we
cannot pin responsibility on appellant (sic).
That moral conviction that may serve as basis
of a finding of guilt in criminal cases is only that
and which is the logical and inevitable result of
the evidence on record, exclusive of any other
consideration. Short of this, it is not only the
right of the accused to be freed, it is, even
more, our constitutional duty to acquit him."
So, said the Supreme Court in People vs.
Maisug, 27 SCRA 753. The same holds true to
the instant case. The scanty and/or inadequate
evidence of the prosecution is insufficient to
sustain conviction.

Prosecution of the accused is anchored on the


postulate that accused built a structure over
land belonging to the University of the
Philippines and titled in the name of the latter.

It may be added that the torrens title of


accused over the property on which she built
her structure cannot be collaterally attacked.
The issue on the validity of her title can only be

The respondent judge despite the conflicting positions of the


parties and the objection of the U.P. to the resolution of the
case without a trial on the merits, nevertheless rendered a
decision acquitting the accused by making the following
disquisition:

raised in an action expressly instituted for that


purpose (Magay vs. Estiandan, 69 SCRA 456).
The same doctrine has been reiterated in
Director of Lands vs. CFI of Misamis Oriental,
Br. 1, No. L-58823, March 18, 1985, 135 SCRA
392). 6
This Court finds that the respondent judge committed a
grave abuse of discretion in rendering the aforestated
decision without affording the prosecution the opportunity
to have its day in court. The issue before the Court is
whether or not the accused built the structure on the land
belonging to U.P. At the pre-trial, U.P. presented its title and
plan showing that the accused built a structure within its
property. The accused by her proffer of exhibits and
manifestation pretended to have a title to the questioned
land. However, as stressed by U.P., the titled property of
accused is located in Marikina and not in Quezon City and
said title could not cover the very lot in question which is at
Pook Amorsolo, U.P. Campus where the structure of accused
was built. This issue cannot be determined by a mere
examination of the titles and documents submitted by the
parties. A trial on the merits should be undertaken to
determine once and for all whether the place where the
structure was built by the accused belongs to U.P. or to the
accused. The conclusion of the trial court that the accused
did not build her structure illegally as she has a title to the
property in question is without any factual or legal basis.
Indeed, the observation of respondent judge in the
questioned decision as to "the inadequacy in details of the
state's evidence" simply demonstrates that a trial on the
merits should have been held to enable the prosecution to
establish its case. No doubt, the acquittal of the accused is a
nullity for want of due process. The prosecution was not
given the opportunity to present its evidence or even to
rebut the representations of the accused. The prosecution is
as much entitled to due process as the accused in a criminal
case.
Double jeopardy cannot be invoked as a bar to another
prosecution in this case. 7 There is double jeopardy only

when: 1) there is a valid complaint or information; 2) filed


before a competent court; 3) to which defendant had
pleaded; and 4) of which he has previously been convicted
or acquitted or which was dismissed or terminated without
his express consent. 8
In this case, the prosecution was deprived of an opportunity
to prosecute and prove its case. The decision that was
rendered in disregard of such imperative is void for lack of
jurisdiction. 9 It was not a court of competent jurisdiction
when it precipitately rendered a decision of acquittal after a
pre-trial. A trial should follow a pre-trial. That is the
mandate of the rules. 10 Obviously, double jeopardy has not
set in this case.
The question as to whether or not U.P., as the private
offended party, can file this special civil action for certiorari
questioning the validity of said decision of the trial court
should be answered in the affirmative.
It is well-settled that in criminal cases where the offended
party is the State, the interest of the private complainant or
the private offended party is limited to the civil liability.
Thus, in the prosecution of the offense, the complainant's
role is limited to that of a witness for the prosecution. If a
criminal case is dismissed by the trial court or if there is an
acquittal, an appeal therefrom on the criminal aspect may
be undertaken only by the State through the Solicitor
General. Only the Solicitor General may represent the
People of the Philippines on appeal. 11 The private offended
party or complainant may not take such appeal. However,
the said offended party or complainant may appeal the civil
aspect despite the acquittal of the accused. 12
In a special civil action for certiorari filed under Section 1,
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court wherein it is alleged that the
trial court committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack of jurisdiction or on other jurisdictional grounds, the
rules state that the petition may be filed by the person
aggrieved. In such case, the aggrieved parties are the State
and the private offended party or complainant. The

complainant has an interest in the civil aspect of the case so


he may file such special civil action questioning the decision
or action respondent court on jurisdictional grounds. In so
doing, complainant should not bring the action in the name
of the People of the Philippines. The action may be
prosecuted in name of said complainant. 13
In this case, the Solicitor General upheld the right of U.P. to
file the petition as an aggrieved party. Inasmuch as the
prosecution was deprived of due process, the questioned
decision of the respondent judge acquitting the accused is
null and void as it was rendered in grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned
decision of the respondent judge dated October 27, 1987 is
set aside and declared null and void. The respondent judge
is hereby directed to proceed with the trial on the merits of
the case, and thereafter, to decide the same on the basis of
the evidence adduced, without pronouncement as to costs.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-45129 March 6, 1987
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN RELOVA, in his capacity
as Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of

Batangas, Second Branch, and MANUEL


OPULENCIA, respondents.

FELICIANO, J.:
In this petition for certiorari and mandamus, the People of
the Philippines seek to set aside the orders of the
respondent Judge of the Court of First Instance of Batangas
in Criminal Case No. 266, dated 12 August 1976 and 8
November 1976, respectively, quashing an information for
theft filed against private respondent Manuel Opulencia on
the ground of double jeopardy and denying the petitioner's
motion for reconsideration.
On 1 February 1975, members of the Batangas City Police
together with personnel of the Batangas Electric Light
System, equipped with a search warrant issued by a city
judge of Batangas City, searched and examined the premises
of the Opulencia Carpena Ice Plant and Cold Storage owned
and operated by the private respondent Manuel Opulencia.
The police discovered that electric wiring, devices and
contraptions had been installed, without the necessary
authority from the city government, and "architecturally
concealed inside the walls of the building" 1owned by the
private respondent. These electric devices and contraptions
were, in the allegation of the petitioner "designed purposely
to lower or decrease the readings of electric current
consumption in the electric meter of the said electric [ice
and cold storage] plant." 2 During the subsequent
investigation, Manuel Opulencia admitted in a written
statement that he had caused the installation of the
electrical devices "in order to lower or decrease the
readings of his electric meter. 3
On 24 November 1975, an Assistant City Fiscal of Batangas
City filed before the City Court of Batangas City an
information against Manuel Opulencia for violation of
Ordinance No. 1, Series of 1974, Batangas City. A violation
of this ordinance was, under its terms, punishable by a fine

"ranging from Five Pesos (P5.00) to Fifty Pesos (P50.00) or


imprisonment, which shall not exceed thirty (30) days, or
both, at the discretion of the court." 4 This information reads
as follows:
The undersigned, Assistant City Fiscal, accuses
Manuel Opulencia y Lat of violation of Sec. 3
(b) in relation to Sec. 6 (d) and Sec. 10 Article
II, Title IV of ordinance No. 1, S. 1974, with
damage to the City Government of Batangas,
and penalized by the said ordinance, committed
as follows:
That from November, 1974 to February, 1975 at
Batangas City, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, with intent to defraud the City
Government of Batangas, without proper
authorization from any lawful and/or permit
from the proper authorities, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously make
unauthorized installations of electric wirings
and devices to lower or decrease the
consumption of electric fluid at the Opulencia
Ice Plant situated at Kumintang, Ibaba, this city
and as a result of such unathorized installations
of electric wirings and devices made by the
accused, the City Government of Batangas was
damaged and prejudiced in the total amount of
FORTY ONE THOUSAND, SIXTY TWO PESOS
AND SIXTEEN CENTAVOS (P41,062.16)
Philippine currency, covering the period from
November 1974 to February, 1975, to the
damage and prejudice of the City Government
of Batangas in the aforestated amount of
P41,062.16, Philippine currency.
The accused Manuel Opulencia pleaded not guilty to the
above information. On 2 February 1976, he filed a motion to
dismiss the information upon the grounds that the crime
there charged had already prescribed and that the civil

indemnity there sought to be recovered was beyond the


jurisdiction of the Batangas City Court to award. In an order
dated 6 April 1976, the Batangas City Court granted the
motion to dismiss on the ground of prescription, it appearing
that the offense charged was a light felony which prescribes
two months from the time of discovery thereof, and it
appearing further that the information was filed by the fiscal
more than nine months after discovery of the offense
charged in February 1975.
Fourteen (14) days later, on 20 April 1976, the Acting City
Fiscal of Batangas City filed before the Court of First
Instance of Batangas, Branch 11, another information
against Manuel Opulencia, this time for theft of electric
power under Article 308 in relation to Article 309,
paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code. This information
read as follows:
The undersigned Acting City Fiscal accuses
Manuel Opulencia y Lat of the crime of theft,
defined and penalized by Article 308, in relation
to Article 309, paragraph (1) of the Revised
Penal Code, committed as follows:
That on, during, and between the month of
November, 1974, and the 21st day of February,
1975, at Kumintang, lbaba, Batangas City,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
with intent of gain and without the knowledge
and consent of the Batangas Electric Light
System, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously take, steal and appropriate
electric current valued in the total amount of
FORTY ONE THOUSAND, SIXTY TWO PESOS
AND SIXTEEN CENTAVOS (P41,062.16)
Philippine Currency, to the damage and
prejudice of the said Batangas Electric Light
System, owned and operated by the City
Government of Batangas, in the aforementioned
sum of P41,062.16.

The above information was docketed as Criminal Case No.


266 before the Court of First Instance of Batangas, Branch
II. Before he could be arraigned thereon, Manuel Opulencia
filed a Motion to Quash, dated 5 May 1976, alleging that he
had been previously acquitted of the offense charged in the
second information and that the filing thereof was violative
of his constitutional right against double jeopardy. By Order
dated 16 August 1976, the respondent Judge granted the
accused's Motion to Quash and ordered the case dismissed.
The gist of this Order is set forth in the following
paragraphs:
The only question here is whether the dismissal
of the first case can be properly pleaded by the
accused in the motion to quash.
In the first paragraph of the earlier information,
it alleges that the prosecution "accuses Manuel
Opulencia y Lat of violation of Sec. 3(b) in
relation to Sec. 6(d) and Sec. 10 Article II, Title
IV of Ordinance No. 1, s. 1974, with damage to
the City Government of Batangas, etc. "
(Emphasis supplied). The first case, as it
appears, was not simply one of illegal electrical
connections. It also covered an amount of
P41,062.16 which the accused, in effect,
allegedly with intent to defraud, deprived the
city government of Batangas. If the charge had
meant illegal electric installations only, it could
have alleged illegal connections which were
done at one instance on a particular date
between November, 1974, to February 21,
1975. But as the information states "that from
November, 1974 to February 1975 at Batangas
City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused with intent to defraud the City
Government of Batangas, without proper
authorization from any lawful and/or permit
from the proper authorities, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously make
unauthorized installations of electric wirings

and devices, etc." (Emphasis supplied), it was


meant to include the P 41,062.16 which the
accused had, in effect, defrauded the city
government. The information could not have
meant that from November 1974 to 21
February 1975, he had daily committed
unlawful installations.
When, therefore, he was arraigned and he
faced the indictment before the City Court, he
had already been exposed, or he felt he was
exposed to consequences of what allegedly
happened between November 1974 to February
21, 1975 which had allegedly resulted in
defrauding the City of Batangas in the amount
of P 41,062.16. (Emphases and parentheses in
the original)
A Motion for Reconsideration of the above-quoted Order
filed by the petitioner was denied by the respondent Judge
in an Order dated 18 November 1976.
On 1 December 1976, the present Petition for certiorari and
mandamus was filed in this Court by the Acting City Fiscal
of Batangas City on behalf of the People.
The basic premise of the petitioner's position is that the
constitutional protection against double jeopardy is
protection against a second or later jeopardy of conviction
for the same offense. The petitioner stresses that the first
information filed before the City Court of Batangas City was
one for unlawful or unauthorized installation of electrical
wiring and devices, acts which were in violation of an
ordinance of the City Government of Batangas. Only two
elements are needed to constitute an offense under this City
Ordinance: (1) that there was such an installation; and (2)
no authority therefor had been obtained from the
Superintendent of the Batangas City Electrical System or
the District Engineer. The petitioner urges that the relevant
terms of the City Ordinance which read as follows:

Section 3.-Connection and Installation


(a) x x x
(b) The work and installation in the houses and
building and their connection with the
Electrical System shall be done either by the
employee of the system duly authorized by its
Superintendent or by persons adept in the
matter duly authorized by the District Engineer.
Applicants for electrical service permitting the
works of installation or connection with the
system to be undertaken by the persons not
duly authorized therefor shall be considered
guilty of violation of the ordinance.
would show that:
The principal purpose for (sic) such a provision
is to ensure that electrical installations on
residences or buildings be done by persons duly
authorized or adept in the matter, to avoid fires
and accidents due to faulty electrical wirings. It
is primarily a regulatory measure and not
intended to punish or curb theft of electric fluid
which is already covered by the Revised Penal
Code. 5
The gist of the offense under the City Ordinance, the
petitioner's argument continues, is the installing of electric
wiring and devices without authority from the proper
officials of the city government. To constitute an offense
under the city ordinance, it is not essential to establish
any mens rea on the part of the offender generally speaking,
nor, more specifically, an intent to appropriate and steal
electric fluid.
In contrast, the petitioner goes on, the offense of theft under
Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code filed before the Court
of First Instance of Batangas in Criminal Case No. 266 has
quite different essential elements. These elements are:

1. That personal property be taken;


2. That the personal property (taken) belongs to
another;
3. That the taking be done with intent of gain;
4. That the taking be done without the consent
of the owner; and
5. That the taking be accomplished without
violence against or intimidation of persons or
force upon things. 6
The petitioner also alleges, correctly, in our view, that theft
of electricity can be effected even without illegal or
unauthorized installations of any kind by, for instance, any of
the following means:
1. Turning back the dials of the electric meter;
2. Fixing the electric meter in such a manner
that it will not register the actual electrical
consumption;
3. Under-reading of electrical consumption; and
4. By tightening the screw of the rotary blade to
slow down the rotation of the same. 7
The petitioner concludes that:
The unauthorized installation punished by the
ordinance [of Batangas City] is not the same as
theft of electricity [under the Revised Penal
Code]; that the second offense is not an
attempt to commit the first or a frustration
thereof and that the second offense is
not necessarily included in the offense charged
in the first inforrnation 8

The above arguments made by the petitioner are of course


correct. This is clear both from the express terms of the
constitutional provision involved which reads as follows:
No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of
punishment for the same offense. If an act is
punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction
or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar
to another prosecution for the same act.
(Emphasis supplied; Article IV (22), 1973
Constitution) 9
and from our case law on this point. 10 The basic difficulty
with the petitioner's position is that it must be examined, not
under the terms of the first sentence of Article IV (22) of the
1973 Constitution, but rather under the second sentence of
the same section. The first sentence of Article IV (22) sets
forth the general rule: the constitutional protection against
double jeopardy is not available where the second
prosecution is for an offense that is different from the
offense charged in the first or prior prosecution, although
both the first and second offenses may be based upon the
same act or set of acts. The second sentence of Article IV
(22) embodies an exception to the general proposition: the
constitutional protection, against double
jeopardy is available although the prior offense charged
under an ordinance be different from the offense charged
subsequently under a national statute such as the Revised
Penal Code, provided that both offenses spring from the
same act or set of acts. This was made clear sometime ago
in Yap vs. Lutero. 11
In Yap, petitioner Manuel Yap was charged in Criminal Case
No. 16054 of the Municipal Court of Iloilo City, with violation
of Article 14 of Ordinance No. 22, Series of 1951, in relation
to Ordinance No. 15, Series of 1954, of the City of Iloilo. The
information charged him with having "wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously drive[n] and operate[d]" an automobile
"recklessly and without reasonable caution thereby
endangering other vehicles and pedestrians passing in said
street." Three months later, Yap was again charged in

Criminal Case No. 16443 of the same Municipal Court, this


time with serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence. The information charged him with violation of
the Revised Motor Vehicle Law (Act No. 3992 as amended by
Republic Act No. 587) committed by driving and operating
an automobile in a reckless and negligent manner and as a
result thereof inflicting injuries upon an unfortunate
pedestrian. Yap moved to quash the second information
upon the ground that it placed him twice in jeopardy of
punishment for the same act. This motion was denied by the
respondent municipal judge. Meantime, another municipal
judge had acquitted Yap in Criminal Case No. 16054. Yap
then instituted a petition for certiorari in the Court of First
Instance of Iloilo to set aside the order of the respondent
municipal judge. The Court of First Instance of Iloilo having
reversed the respondent municipal judge and having
directed him to desist from continuing with Criminal Case
No. 16443, the respondent Judge brought the case to the
Supreme Court for review on appeal. In affirming the
decision appealed from and holding that the constitutional
protection against double jeopardy was available to
petitioner Yap, then Associate Justice and later Chief Justice
Roberto Concepcion wrote:
To begin with, the crime of damage to property
through reckless driving with which Diaz
stood charged in the court of first instance is
a violation of the Revised Penal Code (third
paragraph of Article 365), not the Automobile
Law (Act No. 3992, as amended by Republic Act
No. 587). Hence, Diaz was not twice accused of
a violation of the same law. Secondly, reckless
driving and certain crimes committed through
reckless driving are punishable under different
provisions of said Automobile Law. Hence
from the view point of Criminal Law, as
distinguished from political or Constitutional
Law they constitute, strictly, different
offenses, although under certain conditions,
one offense may include the other, and,
accordingly, once placed in jeopardy for one,
the plea of double jeopardy may be in order as

regards the other, as in the Diaz case.


(Emphases in the original)
Thirdly, our Bill of Rights deals with two (2)
kinds of double jeopardy. The first sentence of
clause 20, section 1, Article III of the
Constitution, ordains that "no person shall be
twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the
same offense." (Emphasis in the original) The
second sentence of said clause provides that "if
an act is punishable by a law and an ordinance,
conviction or acquittal under either shall
constitute a bar to another prosecution for the
same act." Thus, the first sentence prohibits
double jeopardy of punishment for the same
offense, whereas the second contemplates
double jeopardy of punishment for the same
act. Under the first sentence, one may be twice
put in jeopardy of punishment of the same act
provided that he is charged with different
offenses, or the offense charged in one case is
not included in or does not include, the crime
charged in the other case. The second sentence
applies, even if the offenses charged are not
the same, owing to the fact that one constitutes
a violation of an ordinance and the other a
violation of a statute. If the two charges are
based on one and the same act conviction or
acquittal under either the law or the ordinance
shall bar a prosecution under the
other. 12 Incidentally, such conviction or
acquittal is not indispensable to sustain the
plea of double jeopardy of punishment for the
same offense. So long as jeopardy has attached
under one of the informations charging said
offense, the defense may be availed of in the
other case involving the same offense, even if
there has been neither conviction nor acquittal
in either case.

The issue in the case at bar hinges, therefore,


on whether or not, under the information in
case No. 16443, petitioner could if he failed
to plead double jeopardy be convicted of the
same act charged in case No. 16054, in which
he has already been acquitted. The information
in case No. 16054 alleges, substantially, that on
the date and in the place therein stated,
petitioner herein had wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously driven and operated "recklessly and
without reasonable caution" an automobile
described in said information. Upon the other
hand, the information in case No. 16443,
similarly states that, on the same date and in
the same place, petitioner drove and operated
the aforementioned automobile in a "reckless
and negligent manner at an excessive rate of
speed and in violation of the Revised Motor
Vehicle Law (Act No. 3992), as amended by
Republic Act No. 587, and existing city
ordinances." Thus, if the theories mentioned in
the second information were not established by
the evidence, petitioner could be convicted in
case No. 16443 of the very same violation of
municipal ordinance charged in case No.
16054, unless he pleaded double jeopardy.
It is clear, therefore, that the lower court has
not erred eventually sustaining the theory of
petitioner herein.
Put a little differently, where the offenses charged are
penalized either by different sections of the same statute or
by different statutes, the important inquiry relates to
the identity of offenses charge: the constitutional protection
against double jeopardy is available only where an Identity
is shown to exist between the earlier and the subsequent
offenses charged. In contrast, where one offense is charged
under a municipal ordinance while the other is penalized by
a statute, the critical inquiry is to the identity of the
acts which the accused is said to have committed and which
are alleged to have given rise to the two offenses: the

constitutional protection against double jeopardy is available


so long as the acts which constitute or have given rise to the
first offense under a municipal ordinance are the same acts
which constitute or have given rise to the offense charged
under a statute.
The question may be raised why one rule should exist where
two offenses under two different sections of the same statute
or under different statutes are charged, and another rule for
the situation where one offense is charged under a
municipal ordinance and another offense under a national
statute. If the second sentence of the double jeopardy
provision had not been written into the Constitution,
conviction or acquittal under a municipal ordinance would
never constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same
act under a national statute. An offense penalized by
municipal ordinance is, by definition, different from an
offense under a statute. The two offenses would never
constitute the same offense having been promulgated by
different rule-making authorities though one be
subordinate to the other and the plea of double jeopardy
would never lie. The discussions during the 1934-1935
Constitutional Convention show that the second sentence
was inserted precisely for the purpose of extending the
constitutional protection against double jeopardy to a
situation which would not otherwise be covered by the first
sentence. 13
The question of Identity or lack of Identity of offenses is
addressed by examining the essential elements of each of
the two offenses charged, as such elements are set out in
the respective legislative definitions of the offenses involved.
The question of Identity of the acts which are claimed to
have generated liability both under a municipal ordinance
and a national statute must be addressed, in the first
instance, by examining the location of such acts in time and
space. When the acts of the accused as set out in the two
informations are so related to each other in time and space
as to be reasonably regarded as having taken place on the
same occasion and where those acts have been moved by
one and the same, or a continuing, intent or voluntary

design or negligence, such acts may be appropriately


characterized as an integral whole capable of giving rise to
penal liability simultaneously under different legal
enactments (a municipal ordinance and a national statute).
In Yap, the Court regarded the offense of reckless driving
under the Iloilo City Ordinance and serious physical injuries
through reckless imprudence under the Revised Motor
Vehicle Law as derived from the same act or sets of acts
that is, the operation of an automobile in a reckless manner.
The additional technical element of serious physical injuries
related to the physical consequences of the operation of the
automobile by the accused, i.e., the impact of the automobile
upon the body of the offended party. Clearly, such
consequence occurred in the same occasion that the
accused operated the automobile (recklessly). The moral
element of negligence permeated the acts of the accused
throughout that occasion.
In the instant case, the relevant acts took place within the
same time frame: from November 1974 to February 1975.
During this period, the accused Manuel Opulencia installed
or permitted the installation of electrical wiring and devices
in his ice plant without obtaining the necessary permit or
authorization from the municipal authorities. The accused
conceded that he effected or permitted such unauthorized
installation for the very purpose of reducing electric power
bill. This corrupt intent was thus present from the very
moment that such unauthorized installation began. The
immediate physical effect of the unauthorized installation
was the inward flow of electric current into Opulencia's ice
plant without the corresponding recording thereof in his
electric meter. In other words, the "taking" of electric
current was integral with the unauthorized installation of
electric wiring and devices.
It is perhaps important to note that the rule limiting the
constitutional protection against double jeopardy to a
subsequent prosecution for the same offense is not to be
understood with absolute literalness. The Identity of
offenses that must be shown need not be absolute Identity:

the first and second offenses may be regarded as the "same


offense" where the second offense necessarily includes the
first offense or is necessarily included in such first offense or
where the second offense is an attempt to commit the first
or a frustration thereof. 14 Thus, for the constitutional plea
of double jeopardy to be available, not all the technical
elements constituting the first offense need be present in the
technical definition of the second offense. The law here
seeks to prevent harrassment of an accused person by
multiple prosecutions for offenses which though different
from one another are nonetheless each constituted by a
common set or overlapping sets of technical elements. As
Associate Justice and later Chief Justice Ricardo Paras
cautioned in People vs. del Carmen et al., 88 Phil. 51 (1951):
While the rule against double jeopardy
prohibits prosecution for the same offense, it
seems elementary that an accused should be
shielded against being prosecuted for several
offenses made out from a single act. Otherwise,
an unlawful act or omission may give use to
several prosecutions depending upon the ability
of the prosecuting officer to imagine or concoct
as many offenses as can be justified by said act
or omission, by simply adding or subtracting
essential elements. Under the theory of
appellant, the crime of rape may be converted
into a crime of coercion, by merely alleging
that by force and intimidation the accused
prevented the offended girl from remaining a
virgin. (88 Phil. at 53; emphases supplied)
By the same token, acts of a person which physically occur
on the same occasion and are infused by a common intent or
design or negligence and therefore form a moral unity,
should not be segmented and sliced, as it were, to produce
as many different acts as there are offenses under municipal
ordinances or statutes that an enterprising prosecutor can
find

It remains to point out that the dismissal by the Batangas


City Court of the information for violation of the Batangas
City Ordinance upon the ground that such offense had
already prescribed, amounts to an acquittal of the accused
of that offense. Under Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code,
"prescription of the crime" is one of the grounds for "total
extinction of criminal liability." Under the Rules of Court, an
order sustaining a motion to quash based on prescription is
a bar to another prosecution for the same offense. 15

both by the City Court and by the Court of First Instance


(from which dismissals the Batangas City electric light
system could not have appealed 17) before trial could begin.
Accordingly, the related civil action which has not been
waived expressly or impliedly, should be remanded to the
Court of First Instance of Batangas City for reception of
evidence on the amount or value of the electric power
appropriated and converted by Manuel Opulencia and
rendition of judgment conformably with such evidence.

It is not without reluctance that we deny the people's


petition for certiorari and mandamus in this case. It is
difficult to summon any empathy for a businessman who
would make or enlarge his profit by stealing from the
community. Manuel Opulencia is able to escape criminal
punishment because an Assistant City Fiscal by
inadvertence or otherwise chose to file an information for an
offense which he should have known had already prescribed.
We are, however, compelled by the fundamental law to hold
the protection of the right against double jeopardy available
even to the private respondent in this case.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and mandamus is


DENIED. Let the civil action for related civil liability be
remanded to the Court of First Instance of Batangas City for
further proceedings as indicated above. No pronouncement
as to costs.

The civil liability aspects of this case are another matter.


Because no reservation of the right to file a separate civil
action was made by the Batangas City electric light system,
the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising from the
offense charged was impliedly instituted with the criminal
action both before the City Court of Batangas City and the
Court of First Instance of Batangas. The extinction of
criminal liability whether by prescription or by the bar of
double jeopardy does not carry with it the extinction of civil
liability arising from the offense charged. In the present
case, as we noted earlier, 16 accused Manuel Opulencia
freely admitted during the police investigation having stolen
electric current through the installation and use of
unauthorized elibctrical connections or devices. While the
accused pleaded not guilty before the City Court of Batangas
City, he did not deny having appropriated electric power.
However, there is no evidence in the record as to the amount
or value of the electric power appropriated by Manuel
Opulencia, the criminal informations having been dismissed

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. Nos. 59568-76 January 11, 1990
PETER NIERRAS, petitioner,
vs.
HON. AUXENCIO C. DACUYCUY and HON. ANTONIO S.
LOPEZ, in their capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch IV,
Court of First Instance of Leyte, Palo, Leyte, and City
Fiscal of Tacloban City, Leyte, respectively, respondents.
Victor C. Veloso for petitioner.

PARAS, J.:
Before Us is a petition for certiorari with preliminary
injunction for the annulment of the resolution dated
September 17, 1981 of the respondent Judge Auxencio C.
Dacuycuy in nine (9) criminal cases, entitled "People of the
Philippines v. Peter Nierras" docketed as Criminal Cases
Nos. 4379, 4380, 4381, 4382, 4383, 4384, 4385, 4386 and
4387, for estafa under Article 315 (2-d) of the Revised Penal
Code which denied petitioner's motion to quash. Said motion
to quash was filed by petitioner on the ground of double
jeopardy as these offenses were already included in Criminal
Cases Nos. 3790, 3791, 3792, 3793, 4085, 4122, 4123, 4124,
and 4125, entitled "People of the Philippines v. Peter
Nierras," for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law or Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22, pending before the lower court. In both
sets of criminal cases, petitioner entered a plea of not guilty
upon arraignment before the lower court. However,
immediately after his plea of not guilty in these estafa cases,
petitioner moved in open court to be allowed to withdraw his
plea of not guilty upon his filing of a motion to quash, which
was denied by respondent Judge ruling as follows:
The motion to quash should be and is hereby
denied. Accused Peter Nierras allegedly issued
the checks in favor of complainant Pilipinas
Shell Petroleum Corporation in payment of oil
products which the latter delivered to him
simultaneously with the issuance of the checks.
xxx xxx xxx
. . . The crime of estafa committed by means of
bouncing checks is not committed by mere
issuance of a check. Under Art. 315, par. 2 (d)
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Republic Act 4885, the following are the
elements of estafa: (1) the postdating or
issuance of a check in payment of an obligation
contracted at the time the check was issued; (2)
lack of or insufficiency of funds to cover the

check; and (3) damage to the payee thereof


(People v. Sabio, 86 SCRA 568). Under Batas
Pambansa Bilang 22 (1979) the mere issuance
of a check without sufficient funds issued in
payment of a simultaneous obligation and the
check was dishonored upon presentation for
that estafa is committed under the Revised
Penal Code. At the same time, the drawer will
also be liable under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22
for offense of issuing a check without sufficient
funds (pp. 1-2, Resolution On Motion To Quash
dated September 17, 1981; Annex "MM",
Petition). (p. 100, Rollo)
The issue now submitted for Our consideration is whether
the filing of the nine (9) other informations for estafa against
petitioner under the Revised Penal Code after he had earlier
been charged with violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 for
issuing the same bouncing checks will put him in jeopardy of
being convicted twice for the same offenses. In other words,
can petitioner be held liable for the nine criminal cases for
violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, and separately also be
held liable for the crime of estafa under Article 315 (2-d) of
the Revised Penal Code for the issuance of the same
bouncing checks?
It appears that petitioner, a customer of Pilipinas Shell
Petroleum Corporation, purchased oil products from it.
Simultaneous with the delivery of the products, he issued
nine (9) checks in payment thereof. Upon presentation to the
Philippine National Bank at Naval, Leyte, said checks were
dishonored for the reason that his account was already
closed. Thereafter, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation
repeatedly demanded of petitioner either to deposit funds
for his checks or pay for the oil products he had purchased
but he failed and refused to do either.
Petitioner argues that he would be placed in double jeopardy
as all the elements of estafa under Article 315 (2-d) of the
Revised Penal Code are also present in that crime
punishable under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 namely (1) "the

postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an


obligation contracted at the time the check was issued; (2)
lack or insufficiency of funds to cover the check and (3)
damage to the payee thereof."

or simultaneously with the commission of the


fraud;

Petitioner's contentions are devoid of merit.

(d) By postdating a check or issuing a check in


payment of an obligation when the offender had
no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited
therein were not sufficient to cover the amount
of the check.

Petitioner is charged with two (2) distinct and separate


offenses, first under Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22
approved on April 3, 1979 which provides that:
Any person who makes or draws and issues any
check to apply on account or for value, knowing
at the time of issue that he does not have
sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee
bank for the payment of such check in full upon
its presentment, which check is subsequently
dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency
of funds or credit or would have been
dishonored for the same reason had not the
drawer, without any valid reason ordered the
bank to stop payment, shall be punished by
imprisonment of not less than thirty days but
not more than one (1) year or by a fine of not
less than but not more than double the amount
of the check which fine shall in no case exceed
TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS or both
such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of
the court.
and, second, under Article 315, (2-d) of the Revised
Penal Code which states as follows:
Art. 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who
shall defraud another by any of the means
mentioned herein below . . .
xxx xxx xxx
2. By means of any of the following false
pretenses or fraudulent acts, executed prior to

xxx xxx xxx

What petitioner failed to mention in his argument is the fact


that deceit and damage are essential elements in Article 315
(2-d) Revised Penal Code, but are not required in Batas
Pambansa Bilang 22. Under the latter law, mere issuance of
a check that is dishonored gives rise to the presumption of
knowledge on the part of the drawer that he issued the same
without sufficient funds and hence punishable (People v.
Veridiano, 132 SCRA 523) which is not so under the Penal
Code. Other differences between the two also include the
following: (1) a drawer of a dishonored check may be
convicted under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 even if he had
issued the same for apre-existing obligation, while under
Article 315 (2-d) of the Revised Penal Code such
circumstance negates criminal liability; (2) specific and
different penalties are imposed in each of the two offenses;
(3) estafa is essentially a crime against property, while
violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 is principally a crime
against public interest as it does injury to the entire banking
system; (4) violations of Article 315 of the Revised Penal
Code are mala in se, while those of Batas Pambansa Bilang
22 are mala prohibita.
These differences are better understood by presenting the
pertinent discussions on the passage of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 22 between the author of the bill, former Solicitor
General and Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the
Honorable Estelito P. Mendoza, presented in the
memorandum for the government as follows:

MR. MENDOZA. If there is


evidence demonstrating that the
act committed does not only
violate this proposed Act but also
the Revised Penal Code, there will
be further prosecution under the
Revised Penal Code. That is why it
is proposed in this Act that there
be a single uniform penalty for all
violations in this Act. However the
court is given the discretion
whether to impose imprisonment
or fine or both or also in whatever
severity the court may consider
appropriate under the
circumstances.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. VELOSO, F. The other way
around, it is not so. So precisely, if
I file a case for estafa against a
particular person for issuance of a
bouncing check, then necessarily I
can also be prosecuted under this
proposed bill. On the other hand, if
a person is prosecuted under the
proposed bill, it does not
necessarily follow that he can be
prosecuted for estafa.
MR. MENDOZA. This is simply
because that in a certain set of
circumstances, the offense under
this Act is the only offense
committed while under a different
set of circumstances, not only the
offense described in this Act is
committed but also estafa. So that,
for example, if a check with
sufficient funds is issued in

payment of a pre-existing
obligation and the position of the
Government should turn out to be
correct that there is no estafa,
then the drawer of the check
would only be liable under this Act
but not under the Revised Penal
Code. But if he issues a check in
payment, or contemporaneously
with incurring, of an obligation,
then he will be liable not only for
estafa but also for violation for this
Act. There is a difference between
the two cases. In that situation
where the check was issued in
payment of a pre-existing
obligation, the issuance of the
check does not cause damage to
the payee and so it is but
appropriate that he should not be
held for estafa but only for
violating this Act. But if he issued
a check to induce another, to part
with a valuable consideration and
the check bounces, then he does
inflict an injury to the payee of the
check apart from violating this
law. In that case, it should be but
fair that he be subject to
prosecution not only for estafa but
also for violating this law.
MR. VELOSO, F. Yes, I agree with
the Solicitor General on that point
but my worry is with respect to
situations where there is
prosecution first to estafa.
MR. MENDOZA. Well, if there is
estafa . . .

MR. VELOSO, F. Estafa committed


by the issuance of a bouncing
check, in which case it will be
mandatory on the part of the
prosecuting official to also file a
case for violation of this offense
under the proposed bill.
MR. MENDOZA. Yes, that is
correct. In such a situation
because if the offender did not
only cause injury on account of the
issuance of the check but did issue
a bouncing check penalized under
this Act, then he will be liable for
prosecution under both laws. I
would admit that perhaps in such
situation, the penalty may be
somewhat severe. As a matter of
fact, in other jurisdictions, the
issuance of bouncing checks is
penalized with substantially lower
penalty. However, because of the
situation in the Philippines, the
situation being now relatively
grave that practically everybody is
complaining about bouncing
checks, may be it is necessary at
least initially, at this point in time
for us to impose a rather severe
penalty and even allow liability not
only under this Act but also for
estafa. Then perhaps, after the
necessary discipline has been
inculcated in our people and that
the incidence of the offense has
been reduced, we may then decide
to amend the law and reduce the
penalty. But at this time, shall we
say the evil is of such magnitude
that only a dramatic and
expeditious effort to prosecute

persons who issue bouncing


checks may be necessary to curb
quickly this evil. (explanations
given by Solicitor General
ESTELITO P. MENDOZA at the
Batasan Pambansa during his
sponsorship speech of BP 22 which
he authored, pages 1037-1038,
Record of the Batasan, Plenary
Session No. 70, Dec. 4, 1978).
(Emphasis supplied). (pp. 115117, Rollo or pp. 9-11,
Memorandum for respondents).
Furthermore, Section 5 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22
provides that:
Prosecution under this Act shall be without
prejudice to any liability for violation of any
provision of the Revised Penal Code.
While the filing of the two sets of Information under the
provisions of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 and under the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, on estafa,
may refer to identical acts committed by petitioner, the
prosecution thereof cannot be limited to one offense,
because a single criminal act may give rise to a multiplicity
of offenses and where there is variance or differences
between the elements of an offense in one law and another
law as in the case at bar there will be no double jeopardy
because what the rule on double jeopardy prohibits refers to
identity of elements in the two (2) offenses. Otherwise stated
prosecution for the same act is not prohibited. What is
forbidden is prosecution for the same offense. Hence, the
mere filing of the two (2) sets of information does not itself
give rise to double jeopardy (People v. Miraflores, 115 SCRA
570).
In the instant petition, certiorari is not the proper remedy.
We have held in Acharon v. Purisima, et al. (13 SCRA 309)
that "when a motion to quash a criminal case is denied,

remedy is not certiorari but to go to court without prejudice


to reiterating special defenses invoked in the motion, and if
after trial on the merits, an adverse decision is rendered, to
appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law," invoking
the rule laid down in People v.Magdaluyo (1 SCRA 990). If
the petitioner cannot appeal at this state of the proceeding,
it is because there is still a necessity for the trial on the
merits wherein the parties may present proofs in support of
their contentions and not because the remedy of appeal is
unavailing.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition
for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 99287 June 23, 1992

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
HON. MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR., AND JAIME
MANUEL, respondents.

MEDIALDEA, J.:
This petition for certiorari seeks to reverse the decision and
the order of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital
Region at Pasig, Metro Manila dated February 25 and March
13, 1991, respectively in Criminal Case No. 1345-D entitled
"People of the Philippines v. Jaime Manuel y Ohide" for
violation of Section 16, Article 111, RA 6425, as amended.
Briefly, the antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
On August 24, 1990, Jaime Manuel y Ohide was charged
with violation of Section 16, Republic Act No. 6425, as
amended. The penalty prescribed in the said section
is imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to
twelve years and a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve
thousand pesos. The information against him reads:
That on or about the 21st day of August, 1990,
in the Municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
without the corresponding license or
prescription did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have in his
possession, custody and control 0.08 grams of
Methamphetamin Hydrocloride (Shabu)
wrapped with an aluminum foil, which is a
regulated drug.
CONTRARY TO LAW. (p. 15, Rollo)
During the arraignment, the accused entered a plea of not
guilty. Thereafter, trial ensued. On November 21, 1990, the

prosecution rested its case. On January 9, 1991, counsel for


private respondent verbally manifested in open court that
private respondent was willing to change his former plea of
"not guilty" to that of "guilty" to the lesser offense of
violation of Section 17, R.A. No. 6425, as amended. The said
section provides a penalty of imprisonment ranging from six
months and one day to four years and a fine ranging from
six hundred to four thousand pesos shall be imposed upon
any pharmacist, physician, dentist, veterinarian,
manufacturer, wholesaler who violates or fails to keep the
records required under Section 25 of the Act; if the violation
or failure involves a regulated drug. That same day, the
respondent Judge issued an order (Annex "B," p. 17, Rollo)
directing private respondent to secure the consent of the
prosecutor to the change of plea, and set the promulgation
of decision on January 30, 1991. On January 30, 1991,
respondent Judge postponed the promulgation of the
decision to February 18, 1991 to give private respondent
another opportunity to secure the consent of the prosecutor.
Also, on the said date, the private respondent filed his
Request to Plead Guilty to a Lesser Offense. On February 18,
1991, respondent Judge issued another order (Annex "D," p.
19, Rollo) postponing the promulgation of decision to
February 25, 1991 to give private respondent further
opportunity to secure the consent of the prosecutor. On
February 20, 1991, the prosecutor filed his Opposition to the
Request to Plead Guilty to a Lesser Offense (annex "E," p.
20, Rollo) on the grounds that: (1) the prosecution already
rested its case on November 21, 1990; (2) the possibility of
conviction of private respondent of the crime originally
charged was high because of the strong evidence of the
prosecution; and (3) the valuable time which the court and
the prosecutor had expended would be put to waste. On
February 21, 1991, private respondent filed his Reply to
Opposition with Leave of Court to Plead Guilty to a Lesser
Offense (annex F, p. 21, Rollo), alleging therein, among other
matters, that the Rules on Criminal Procedure does not fix a
specific period within which an accused is allowed to plead
guilty to a lesser offense. Subsequently, on February 25,
1991, respondent Judge rendered a decision granting the
accused's motion, to wit:

It may well be appropriate at this time to state


that the accused is not availing of the
"voluntary plea of guilt" as a mitigating
circumstance envisioned under Article 13,
paragraph 7 of the Revised Penal Code. The
accused simply wants to avail of Section 2, Rule
116 of the Rules. As pointed out by Atty.
Fernando Fernandez of the PAO, there is
nothing in the said provision which requires
that the same be availed of prior to the
presentation of the evidence for the
prosecution. It is conceded though, as pointed
out by the prosecution, that such is a waste of
time on the part of the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor and of the Court, nonetheless, this
Court, having in mind Section 2 of Rule 1 which
provides that the rules shall be liberally
construed in order to promote their object and
to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy
and inexpensive determination of every action
and proceeding and also for humanitarian
considerations, hereby APPROVES and
GRANTS the Motion at bar.
Moreover, such an admission of guilt by the
accused indicates his submission to the law and
a moral disposition on his part to reform. (Vide:
People vs. Coronel, G.R. No. L-19091, June 30,
1966)
Let it be made of record however that the Court
is not putting a premium on the change of heart
of the accused in mid-stream.
WHEREFORE, finding the accused JAIME
MANUEL Y CHIDE @ Manny guilty beyond
reasonable-doubt of the crime of violation of
Section 17, Article III, Republic Act No. 6425,
as amended, he is hereby sentenced to a
straight prison term of two (2) years and one
(1) day of prision correccional, to pay a fine of

Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) with


subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency
and to pay the costs.
In the service of his sentence, the accused shall
be credited in full with the period of his
preventive imprisonment.
Pursuant to Section 20, Article IV of Republic
Act No. 6425, as amended, let the 0.08 grams
of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu)
subject matter of this case be confiscated and
forfeited in favor of the Government and be
turned over to the Dangerous Drugs Board
Custodian, NBI, to be disposed of according to
law.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, pp. 24-25)
Forthwith, the prosecutor filed a Motion for Reconsideration
of the aforestated decision but the same was denied in the
order of March 13, 1991, which states:
It is the considered view of this Court that
Section 2, Rule 116 of the Rules should not be
interpreted to the letter in "victimless crimes"
such as this case, possession of regulated
drugs, which is more of a "social disease" case
so to speak and in the light of (the) provision
itself that "with the consent of the offended
party and the fiscal." Is the fiscal the offended
party?
Moreover as the records show, the Office of the
Provincial Fiscal has not been very consistent
on this "lesser offense plea" thing. It would
perhaps be in consonance with justice that a
guideline be laid down by the said Office, if only
to apprise the public, the Court and the
accused on when said consent is to be given by
the fiscal as a matter of course and when it will

be withheld. For to leave the same undefined is


in the mind of this Court, not conducive to a
"just, speedy and inexpensive determination of
every action and proceeding.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, pp. 41-42)
Hence, this petition raising the following issues:
I. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT JUDGE
ERRED IN GRANTING PRIVATE
RESPONDENT'S REQUEST TO PLEAD GUILTY
TO A LESSER OFFENSE BECAUSE THE
REQUEST WAS FILED OUT OF TIME AND THE
CONSENT THERETO OF THE PROSECUTOR
AND THE OFFENDED PARTY WAS NOT
OBTAINED.
II. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT JUDGE
ERRED IN CONVICTING PRIVATE
RESPONDENT OF THE LESSER OFFENSE OF
VIOLATION OF SECTION 17, REPUBLIC ACT
NO. 6425, AS AMENDED, INSTEAD OF THE
OFFENSE ORIGINALLY CHARGED OF
VIOLATION OF SECTION 16 OF THE SAME
LAW, IN VIEW OF THE ABSENCE OF A VALID
CHANGE OF PLEA. (Rollo, pp. 74-75)
In the resolution of January 20, 1992, We issued a temporary
restraining order to enjoin the respondent Judge from
enforcing the questioned judgment in the aforesaid criminal
case (Rollo, p. 86).
The petition is meritorious.
Plea bargaining in criminal cases, is a process whereby the
accused and the prosecution work out a mutually
satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court approval
(see Black Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., 1979, p. 1037). It usually
involves the defendant's pleading guilty to a lesser offense
or to only one or some of the counts of a multi-count

indictment in return for a lighter sentence than that for the


graver charge (ibid). Ordinarily, plea-bargaining is made
during the pre-trial stage of the criminal proceedings.
However, the law still permits the accused sufficient
opportunity to change his plea thereafter. Thus, Rule 116 of
the Rules of Court, Section 2 thereof, provides:
Sec. 2. Plea of guilty to a lesser offense. The
accused, with the consent of the offended party
and the fiscal, may be allowed by the trial court
to plead guilty to a lesser offense, regardless of
whether or not it is necessarily included in the
crime charged, or is cognizable by a court of
lesser jurisdiction than the trial court. No
amendment of the complaint or information is
necessary.
A conviction under this plea, shall be equivalent
to a conviction of the offense charged for
purposes of double jeopardy.
However, the acceptance of an offer to plead guilty to a
lesser offense under the aforequoted rule is not demandable
by the accused as a matter of right but is a matter that is
addressed entirely to the sound discretion of the trial court
(Manuel v. Velasco, et al., G.R. No. 94732, February 26,
1991, En Banc Resolution).
In the case at bar, the private respondent (accused) moved
to plead guilty to a lesser offense after the prosecution had
already rested its case. In such situation, jurisprudence has
provided the trial court and the Office of the Prosecutor with
yardstick within which their discretion may be properly
exercised. Thus, in People v. Kayanan (L-39355, May 31,
1978, 83 SCRA 437, 450), We held that the rules allow such
a plea only when the prosecution does not have sufficient
evidence to establish guilt of the crime charged. In his
concurring opinion in People v. Parohinog (G.R. No. L-47462,
February 28, 1980, 96 SCRA 373, 377), then Justice Antonio
Barredo explained clearly and tersely the rationale of the
law:

. . . (A)fter the prosecution had already


rested, the only basis on which the fiscal and
the court could rightfully act in allowing the
appellant to charge his former plea of not guilty
to murder to guilty to the lesser crime of
homicide could be nothing more nothing less
than the evidence already in the record. The
reason for this being that Section 4 of Rule 118
(now Section 2, Rule 116) under which a plea
for a lesser offense is allowed was not and
could not have been intended as a procedure
for compromise, much less bargaining.
As evident from the foregoing, the trial court need not wait
for a guideline from the Office of the Prosecutor before it
could act on the accused's motion to change plea. As soon as
the fiscal has submitted his comment whether for or against
the said motion, it behooves the trial court to assiduously
study the prosecution's evidence as well as all the
circumstances upon which the accused made his change of
plea to the end that the interests of justice and of the public
will be served. A reading of the disputed rulings in this case
failed to disclose the strength or weakness of the
prosecution's evidence. Apparently, the judgment under
review dwelt solely on only one of the three objections
(i.e. waste of valuable time already spent by the court and
prosecution) interposed by the Fiscal which was the least
persuasive. It must be recalled that the other two grounds of
objection were that the prosecution had already rested its
case and that the possibility of conviction of the private
respondent of the crime originally charged was high
because of the strong evidence of the prosecution. Absent
any finding on the weight of the evidence in hand, the
respondent judge's acceptance of the private respondent's
change of plea is improper and irregular.
The counsel for the private respondent argues that only the
consent of the fiscal is needed in crimes involving, violation
of RA 6425 as amended because there is no offended party
to speak Of and that even the latter's consent is not an
absolute requirement before the trial court could allow the
accused to change his plea.

We do not agree. The provision of Section 2, Rule 116 is


clear. The consent of both the Fiscal and the offended party
is a condition precedent to a valid plea of guilty to a lesser
offense (see Manuel v. Velasco, et al., supra, p. 6). The
reason for this is obvious. The Fiscal has full control of the
prosecution of criminal actions (Cinco, et al. v.
Sandiganbayan, et al., G.R. Nos. 92362-67, October 15,
1991). Consequently, it is his duty to always prosecute the
proper offense, not any lesser or graver one, when the
evidence in his hands can only sustain the former (seePeople
v. Parohinog, supra, concurring opinion of then Justice
Barredo, p. 377; also Vda. de Bagatua, et al. v. Revilla, et al.,
104 Phil. 393, 395-396).
It would not also be correct to state that there is no offended
party in crimes under RA 6425 as amended. While the acts
constituting the crimes are not wrong in themselves, they
are made so by law because they infringe upon the rights of
others. The threat posed by drugs against human dignity
and the integrity of society is malevolent and incessant
(People v. Ale, G.R. No. 70998, October 14, 1986, 145 SCRA
50, 58). Such pernicious effect is felt not only by the addicts
themselves but also by their families. As a result, society's
survival is endangered because its basic unit, the family, is
the ultimate victim of the drug menace. The state is,
therefore, the offended party in this case. As guardian of the
rights of the people, the government files the criminal action
in the name of the People of the Philippines. The Fiscal who
represents the government is duty bound to defend the
public interests, threatened by crime, to the point that it is
as though he were the person directly injured by the offense
(see United States v. Samio, 3 Phil. 691, 696). Viewed in this
light, the consent of the offended party, i.e. the state, will
have to be secured from the Fiscal who acts in behalf of the
government.
Lastly, the counsel for the private respondent maintains that
the private respondent's change of plea and his conviction to
the lesser offense of violation of Section 17, RA No. 6425 as
amended is no longer open to review otherwise his
constitutional right against double jeopardy will be violated.

Such supposition has no basis. The right against double


jeopardy given to the accused in Section 2, Rule 116 of the
Rules of Court applies in cases where both the fiscal and the
offended party consent to the private respondent's change of
plea. Since this is not the situation here, the private
respondent cannot claim this privilege. Instead, the more
pertinent and applicable provision is that found in Section 7,
Rule 117 which states:

(People v. Manuel y Ohide) are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.


The said criminal case is hereby remanded to the trial court
for continuation of trial on the original charge of violation of
Section 16 of Republic Act No. 6425 as amended. The
temporary restraining order issued in this case is made
permanent. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Sec. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double


jeopardy.
xxx xxx xxx
However, the conviction of the accused shall
not be a bar to another prosecution for an
offense which necessarily includes the offense
charged in the former complaint or information
under any of the following instances:
(a) . . . ;
(b) . . . ;
(c) the plea of guilty to the lesser offense was
made without the consent of the Fiscal and of
the offended party;
xxx xxx xxx
Under this rule, the private respondent could still be
prosecuted under the original charge of violation of Section
16 of RA 6425 as amended because of the lack of consent of
the Fiscal who also represents the offended party, i.e., the
state. More importantly, the trial court's approval of his
change of plea was irregular and improper.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The


judgment and order of the Regional Trial Court, National
Capital Region at Pasig, Branch 156 dated February 25 and
March 13, 1991, respectively in Criminal Case No. 1345-D

G.R. No. L-14639

March 25, 1919

ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., respondents.
Alfonso Mendoza for petitioners.
City Fiscal Diaz for respondents.
MALCOLM, J.:
The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as
remarkable as the one which this application for habeas
corpus submits for decision. While hardly to be expected to
be met with in this modern epoch of triumphant democracy,
yet, after all, the cause presents no great difficulty if there is
kept in the forefront of our minds the basic principles of
popular government, and if we give expression to the
paramount purpose for which the courts, as an independent
power of such a government, were constituted. The primary
question is Shall the judiciary permit a government of the
men instead of a government of laws to be set up in the
Philippine Islands?
Omitting much extraneous matter, of no moment to these
proceedings, but which might prove profitable reading for
other departments of the government, the facts are these:
The Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best
of all reasons, to exterminate vice, ordered the segregated
district for women of ill repute, which had been permitted
for a number of years in the city of Manila, closed. Between
October 16 and October 25, 1918, the women were kept
confined to their houses in the district by the police.
Presumably, during this period, the city authorities quietly
perfected arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for
sending the women to Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with
some government office for the use of the coastguard
cutters Corregidor and Negros, and with the Constabulary
for a guard of soldiers. At any rate, about midnight of
October 25, the police, acting pursuant to orders from the
chief of police, Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of
Manila, Justo Lukban, descended upon the houses, hustled
some 170 inmates into patrol wagons, and placed them

aboard the steamers that awaited their arrival. The women


were given no opportunity to collect their belongings, and
apparently were under the impression that they were being
taken to a police station for an investigation. They had no
knowledge that they were destined for a life in Mindanao.
They had not been asked if they wished to depart from that
region and had neither directly nor indirectly given their
consent to the deportation. The involuntary guests were
received on board the steamers by a representative of the
Bureau of Labor and a detachment of Constabulary soldiers.
The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for
Davao during the night of October 25.
The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October
29. The women were landed and receipted for as laborers by
Francisco Sales, provincial governor of Davao, and by
Feliciano Yigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor and
the hacendero Yigo, who appear as parties in the case, had
no previous notification that the women were prostitutes
who had been expelled from the city of Manila. The further
happenings to these women and the serious charges
growing out of alleged ill-treatment are of public interest,
but are not essential to the disposition of this case. Suffice it
to say, generally, that some of the women married, others
assumed more or less clandestine relations with men, others
went to work in different capacities, others assumed a life
unknown and disappeared, and a goodly portion found
means to return to Manila.
To turn back in our narrative, just about the time
the Corregidor and the Negros were putting in to Davao, the
attorney for the relatives and friends of a considerable
number of the deportees presented an application
for habeas corpus to a member of the Supreme Court.
Subsequently, the application, through stipulation of the
parties, was made to include all of the women who were sent
away from Manila to Davao and, as the same questions
concerned them all, the application will be considered as
including them. The application set forth the salient facts,
which need not be repeated, and alleged that the women
were illegally restrained of their liberty by Justo Lukban,
Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police

of the city of Manila, and by certain unknown parties. The


writ was made returnable before the full court. The city
fiscal appeared for the respondents, Lukban and Hohmann,
admitted certain facts relative to sequestration and
deportation, and prayed that the writ should not be granted
because the petitioners were not proper parties, because the
action should have been begun in the Court of First Instance
for Davao, Department of Mindanao and Sulu, because the
respondents did not have any of the women under their
custody or control, and because their jurisdiction did not
extend beyond the boundaries of the city of Manila.
According to an exhibit attached to the answer of the fiscal,
the 170 women were destined to be laborers, at good
salaries, on the haciendas of Yigo and Governor Sales. In
open court, the fiscal admitted, in answer to question of a
member of the court, that these women had been sent out of
Manila without their consent. The court awarded the writ, in
an order of November 4, that directed Justo Lukban, Mayor
of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the
city of Manila, Francisco Sales, governor of the province of
Davao, and Feliciano Yigo, an hacendero of Davao, to bring
before the court the persons therein named, alleged to be
deprived of their liberty, on December 2, 1918.
Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had
returned to Manila at their own expense. On motion of
counsel for petitioners, their testimony was taken before the
clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioners. On the
day named in the order, December 2nd, 1918, none of the
persons in whose behalf the writ was issued were produced
in court by the respondents. It has been shown that three of
those who had been able to come back to Manila through
their own efforts, were notified by the police and the secret
service to appear before the court. The fiscal appeared,
repeated the facts more comprehensively, reiterated the
stand taken by him when pleading to the original petition
copied a telegram from the Mayor of the city of Manila to
the provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto,
and telegrams that had passed between the Director of
Labor and the attorney for that Bureau then in Davao, and
offered certain affidavits showing that the women were
contained with their life in Mindanao and did not wish to

return to Manila. Respondents Sales answered alleging that


it was not possible to fulfill the order of the Supreme Court
because the women had never been under his control,
because they were at liberty in the Province of Davao, and
because they had married or signed contracts as laborers.
Respondent Yigo answered alleging that he did not have
any of the women under his control and that therefore it was
impossible for him to obey the mandate. The court, after due
deliberation, on December 10, 1918, promulgated a second
order, which related that the respondents had not complied
with the original order to the satisfaction of the court nor
explained their failure to do so, and therefore directed that
those of the women not in Manila be brought before the
court by respondents Lukban, Hohmann, Sales, and Yigo
on January 13, 1919, unless the women should, in written
statements voluntarily made before the judge of first
instance of Davao or the clerk of that court, renounce the
right, or unless the respondents should demonstrate some
other legal motives that made compliance impossible. It was
further stated that the question of whether the respondents
were in contempt of court would later be decided and the
reasons for the order announced in the final decision.
Before January 13, 1919, further testimony including that of
a number of the women, of certain detectives and
policemen, and of the provincial governor of Davao, was
taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as
commissioner and the clerk of the Court of First Instance of
Davao acting in the same capacity. On January 13, 1919, the
respondents technically presented before the Court the
women who had returned to the city through their own
efforts and eight others who had been brought to Manila by
the respondents. Attorneys for the respondents, by their
returns, once again recounted the facts and further
endeavored to account for all of the persons involved in
the habeas corpus. In substance, it was stated that the
respondents, through their representatives and agents, had
succeeded in bringing from Davao with their consent eight
women; that eighty-one women were found in Davao who, on
notice that if they desired they could return to Manila,
transportation fee, renounced the right through sworn
statements; that fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by

other means, and that despite all efforts to find them twentysix could not be located. Both counsel for petitioners and the
city fiscal were permitted to submit memoranda. The first
formally asked the court to find Justo Lukban, Mayor of the
city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of
Manila, Jose Rodriguez and Fernando Ordax, members of
the police force of the city of Manila, Feliciano Yigo,
an hacendero of Davao, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for
the Bureau of Labor, and Anacleto Diaz, fiscal of the city of
Manila, in contempt of court. The city fiscal requested that
the replica al memorandum de los recurridos, (reply to
respondents' memorandum) dated January 25, 1919, be
struck from the record.
In the second order, the court promised to give the reasons
for granting the writ of habeas corpus in the final decision.
We will now proceed to do so.
One fact, and one fact only, need be recalled these one
hundred and seventy women were isolated from society, and
then at night, without their consent and without any
opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their rights,
were forcibly hustled on board steamers for transportation
to regions unknown. Despite the feeble attempt to prove
that the women left voluntarily and gladly, that such was not
the case is shown by the mere fact that the presence of the
police and the constabulary was deemed necessary and that
these officers of the law chose the shades of night to cloak
their secret and stealthy acts. Indeed, this is a fact
impossible to refute and practically admitted by the
respondents.
With this situation, a court would next expect to resolve the
question By authority of what law did the Mayor and the
Chief of Police presume to act in deporting by duress these
persons from Manila to another distant locality within the
Philippine Islands? We turn to the statutes and we find
Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands
in conformity with an Act of congress. The Governor-General
can order the eviction of undesirable aliens after a hearing

from the Islands. Act No. 519 of the Philippine Commission


and section 733 of the Revised Ordinances of the city of
Manila provide for the conviction and punishment by a court
of justice of any person who is a common prostitute. Act No.
899 authorizes the return of any citizen of the United States,
who may have been convicted of vagrancy, to the homeland.
New York and other States have statutes providing for the
commitment to the House of Refuge of women convicted of
being common prostitutes. Always a law! Even when the
health authorities compel vaccination, or establish a
quarantine, or place a leprous person in the Culion leper
colony, it is done pursuant to some law or order. But one can
search in vain for any law, order, or regulation, which even
hints at the right of the Mayor of the city of Manila or the
chief of police of that city to force citizens of the Philippine
Islands and these women despite their being in a sense
lepers of society are nevertheless not chattels but Philippine
citizens protected by the same constitutional guaranties as
are other citizens to change their domicile from Manila to
another locality. On the contrary, Philippine penal law
specifically punishes any public officer who, not being
expressly authorized by law or regulation, compels any
person to change his residence.
In other countries, as in Spain and Japan, the privilege of
domicile is deemed so important as to be found in the Bill of
Rights of the Constitution. Under the American
constitutional system, liberty of abode is a principle so
deeply imbedded in jurisprudence and considered so
elementary in nature as not even to require a constitutional
sanction. Even the Governor-General of the Philippine
Islands, even the President of the United States, who has
often been said to exercise more power than any king or
potentate, has no such arbitrary prerogative, either inherent
or express. Much less, therefore, has the executive of a
municipality, who acts within a sphere of delegated powers.
If the mayor and the chief of police could, at their mere
behest or even for the most praiseworthy of motives, render
the liberty of the citizen so insecure, then the presidents and
chiefs of police of one thousand other municipalities of the
Philippines have the same privilege. If these officials can
take to themselves such power, then any other official can do

the same. And if any official can exercise the power, then all
persons would have just as much right to do so. And if a
prostitute could be sent against her wishes and under no law
from one locality to another within the country, then
officialdom can hold the same club over the head of any
citizen.
Law defines power. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed
that "No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be
disseized of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be
outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will we
pass upon him nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of
his peers or by the law of the land. We will sell to no man,
we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right."
(Magna Charta, 9 Hen., 111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 eng. stat. at
Large, 7.) No official, no matter how high, is above the law.
The courts are the forum which functionate to safeguard
individual liberty and to punish official transgressors. "The
law," said Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of the
Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only supreme
power in our system of government, and every man who by
accepting office participates in its functions is only the more
strongly bound to submit to that supremacy, and to observe
the limitations which it imposes upon the exercise of the
authority which it gives." (U.S. vs. Lee [1882], 106 U.S., 196,
220.) "The very idea," said Justice Matthews of the same
high tribunal in another case, "that one man may be
compelled to hold his life, or the means of living, or any
material right essential to the enjoyment of life, at the mere
will of another, seems to be intolerable in any country where
freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery itself."
(Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356, 370.) All this
explains the motive in issuing the writ of habeas corpus, and
makes clear why we said in the very beginning that the
primary question was whether the courts should permit a
government of men or a government of laws to be
established in the Philippine Islands.
What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official
oppression? The remedies of the citizen are three: (1) Civil
action; (2) criminal action, and (3) habeas corpus.

The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the


aggrieved party may recoup money damages. It may still
rest with the parties in interest to pursue such an action, but
it was never intended effectively and promptly to meet any
such situation as that now before us.
As to criminal responsibility, it is true that the Penal Code in
force in these Islands provides:
Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or
by regulations of a general character in force in the
Philippines who shall banish any person to a place
more than two hundred kilometers distant from his
domicile, except it be by virtue of the judgment of a
court, shall be punished by a fine of not less than
three hundred and twenty-five and not more than
three thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas.
Any public officer not thereunto expressly authorized
by law or by regulation of a general character in force
in the Philippines who shall compel any person to
change his domicile or residence shall suffer the
penalty of destierro and a fine of not less than six
hundred and twenty-five and not more than six
thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. (Art. 211.)
We entertain no doubt but that, if, after due investigation,
the proper prosecuting officers find that any public officer
has violated this provision of law, these prosecutors will
institute and press a criminal prosecution just as vigorously
as they have defended the same official in this action.
Nevertheless, that the act may be a crime and that the
persons guilty thereof can be proceeded against, is no bar to
the instant proceedings. To quote the words of Judge Cooley
in a case which will later be referred to "It would be a
monstrous anomaly in the law if to an application by one
unlawfully confined, ta be restored to his liberty, it could be
a sufficient answer that the confinement was a crime, and
therefore might be continued indefinitely until the guilty
party was tried and punished therefor by the slow process of
criminal procedure." (In the matter of Jackson [1867], 15

Mich., 416, 434.) The writ of habeas corpus was devised and
exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons
from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient
defense of personal freedom. Any further rights of the
parties are left untouched by decision on the writ, whose
principal purpose is to set the individual at liberty.
Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy,
respondents have raised three specific objections to its
issuance in this instance. The fiscal has argued (l) that there
is a defect in parties petitioners, (2) that the Supreme Court
should not a assume jurisdiction, and (3) that the person in
question are not restrained of their liberty by respondents. It
was finally suggested that the jurisdiction of the Mayor and
the chief of police of the city of Manila only extends to the
city limits and that perforce they could not bring the women
from Davao.
The first defense was not presented with any vigor by
counsel. The petitioners were relatives and friends of the
deportees. The way the expulsion was conducted by the city
officials made it impossible for the women to sign a petition
for habeas corpus. It was consequently proper for the writ to
be submitted by persons in their behalf. (Code of Criminal
Procedure, sec. 78; Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 527.) The
law, in its zealous regard for personal liberty, even makes it
the duty of a court or judge to grant a writ of habeas
corpus if there is evidence that within the court's
jurisdiction a person is unjustly imprisoned or restrained of
his liberty, though no application be made therefor. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 93.) Petitioners had standing in
court.
The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been
asked for in the Court of First Instance of Davao or should
have been made returnable before that court. It is a general
rule of good practice that, to avoid unnecessary expense and
inconvenience, petitions for habeas corpus should be
presented to the nearest judge of the court of first instance.
But this is not a hard and fast rule. The writ of habeas
corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court or any judge

thereof enforcible anywhere in the Philippine Islands. (Code


of Criminal Procedure, sec. 79; Code of Civil Procedure, sec.
526.) Whether the writ shall be made returnable before the
Supreme Court or before an inferior court rests in the
discretion of the Supreme Court and is dependent on the
particular circumstances. In this instance it was not shown
that the Court of First Instance of Davao was in session, or
that the women had any means by which to advance their
plea before that court. On the other hand, it was shown that
the petitioners with their attorneys, and the two original
respondents with their attorney, were in Manila; it was
shown that the case involved parties situated in different
parts of the Islands; it was shown that the women might still
be imprisoned or restrained of their liberty; and it was
shown that if the writ was to accomplish its purpose, it must
be taken cognizance of and decided immediately by the
appellate court. The failure of the superior court to consider
the application and then to grant the writ would have
amounted to a denial of the benefits of the writ.
The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more
difficult to meet. When the writ was prayed for, says counsel,
the parties in whose behalf it was asked were under no
restraint; the women, it is claimed, were free in Davao, and
the jurisdiction of the mayor and the chief of police did not
extend beyond the city limits. At first blush, this is a tenable
position. On closer examination, acceptance of such dictum
is found to be perversive of the first principles of the writ
of habeas corpus.
A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas
corpus is restraint of liberty. The essential object and
purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all
manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from
voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint
is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of
action is sufficient. The forcible taking of these women from
Manila by officials of that city, who handed them over to
other parties, who deposited them in a distant region,
deprived these women of freedom of locomotion just as
effectively as if they had been imprisoned. Placed in Davao
without either money or personal belongings, they were

prevented from exercising the liberty of going when and


where they pleased. The restraint of liberty which began in
Manila continued until the aggrieved parties were returned
to Manila and released or until they freely and truly waived
his right.
Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a
defense would mean. The chief executive of any municipality
in the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take a private
citizen and place him beyond the boundaries of the
municipality, and then, when called upon to defend his
official action, could calmly fold his hands and claim that the
person was under no restraint and that he, the official, had
no jurisdiction over this other municipality. We believe the
true principle should be that, if the respondent is within the
jurisdiction of the court and has it in his power to obey the
order of the court and thus to undo the wrong that he has
inflicted, he should be compelled to do so. Even if the party
to whom the writ is addressed has illegally parted with the
custody of a person before the application for the writ is no
reason why the writ should not issue. If the mayor and the
chief of police, acting under no authority of law, could
deport these women from the city of Manila to Davao, the
same officials must necessarily have the same means to
return them from Davao to Manila. The respondents, within
the reach of process, may not be permitted to restrain a
fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her
domicile and to avow the act with impunity in the courts,
while the person who has lost her birthright of liberty has no
effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be
easily evaded.
It must be that some such question has heretofore been
presented to the courts for decision. Nevertheless, strange
as it may seem, a close examination of the authorities fails to
reveal any analogous case. Certain decisions of respectable
courts are however very persuasive in nature.
A question came before the Supreme Court of the State of
Michigan at an early date as to whether or not a writ
of habeas corpus would issue from the Supreme Court to a

person within the jurisdiction of the State to bring into the


State a minor child under guardianship in the State, who has
been and continues to be detained in another State. The
membership of the Michigan Supreme Court at this time
was notable. It was composed of Martin, chief justice, and
Cooley, Campbell, and Christiancy, justices. On the question
presented the court was equally divided. Campbell, J., with
whom concurred Martin, C. J., held that the writ should be
quashed. Cooley, J., one of the most distinguished American
judges and law-writers, with whom concurred Christiancy, J.,
held that the writ should issue. Since the opinion of Justice
Campbell was predicated to a large extent on his conception
of the English decisions, and since, as will hereafter appear,
the English courts have taken a contrary view, only the
following eloquent passages from the opinion of Justice
Cooley are quoted:
I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the
power of this court to issue the present writ on the
petition which was laid before us. . . .
It would be strange indeed if, at this late day, after the
eulogiums of six centuries and a half have been
expended upon the Magna Charta, and rivers of blood
shed for its establishment; after its many
confirmations, until Coke could declare in his speech
on the petition of right that "Magna Charta was such
a fellow that he will have no sovereign," and after the
extension of its benefits and securities by the petition
of right, bill of rights and habeas corpus acts, it
should now be discovered that evasion of that great
clause for the protection of personal liberty, which is
the life and soul of the whole instrument, is so easy as
is claimed here. If it is so, it is important that it be
determined without delay, that the legislature may
apply the proper remedy, as I can not doubt they
would, on the subject being brought to their notice. . .
.
The second proposition that the statutory
provisions are confined to the case of imprisonment

within the state seems to me to be based upon a


misconception as to the source of our jurisdiction. It
was never the case in England that the court of king's
bench derived its jurisdiction to issue and enforce this
writ from the statute. Statutes were not passed to
give the right, but to compel the observance of rights
which existed. . . .
The important fact to be observed in regard to the
mode of procedure upon this writ is, that it is directed
to and served upon, not the person confined, but his
jailor. It does not reach the former except through the
latter. The officer or person who serves it does not
unbar the prison doors, and set the prisoner free, but
the court relieves him by compelling the oppressor to
release his constraint. The whole force of the writ is
spent upon the respondent, and if he fails to obey it,
the means to be resorted to for the purposes of
compulsion are fine and imprisonment. This is the
ordinary mode of affording relief, and if any other
means are resorted to, they are only auxiliary to those
which are usual. The place of confinement is,
therefore, not important to the relief, if the guilty
party is within reach of process, so that by the power
of the court he can be compelled to release his grasp.
The difficulty of affording redress is not increased by
the confinement being beyond the limits of the state,
except as greater distance may affect it. The
important question is, where the power of control
exercised? And I am aware of no other remedy. (In the
matter of Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416.)
The opinion of Judge Cooley has since been accepted as
authoritative by other courts. (Rivers vs. Mitchell [1881], 57
Iowa, 193; Breene vs. People [1911], Colo., 117 Pac. Rep.,
1000; Ex parte Young [1892], 50 Fed., 526.)
The English courts have given careful consideration to the
subject. Thus, a child had been taken out of English by the
respondent. A writ of habeas corpus was issued by the
Queen's Bench Division upon the application of the mother

and her husband directing the defendant to produce the


child. The judge at chambers gave defendant until a certain
date to produce the child, but he did not do so. His return
stated that the child before the issuance of the writ had
been handed over by him to another; that it was no longer in
his custody or control, and that it was impossible for him to
obey the writ. He was found in contempt of court. On
appeal, the court, through Lord Esher, M. R., said:
A writ of habeas corpus was ordered to issue, and was
issued on January 22. That writ commanded the
defendant to have the body of the child before a judge
in chambers at the Royal Courts of Justice
immediately after the receipt of the writ, together
with the cause of her being taken and detained. That
is a command to bring the child before the judge and
must be obeyed, unless some lawful reason can be
shown to excuse the nonproduction of the child. If it
could be shown that by reason of his having lawfully
parted with the possession of the child before the
issuing of the writ, the defendant had no longer
power to produce the child, that might be an answer;
but in the absence of any lawful reason he is bound to
produce the child, and, if he does not, he is in
contempt of the Court for not obeying the writ
without lawful excuse. Many efforts have been made
in argument to shift the question of contempt to some
anterior period for the purpose of showing that what
was done at some time prior to the writ cannot be a
contempt. But the question is not as to what was done
before the issue of the writ. The question is whether
there has been a contempt in disobeying the writ it
was issued by not producing the child in obedience to
its commands. (The Queen vs. Bernardo [1889], 23 Q.
B. D., 305. See also to the same effect the Irish case
of In re Matthews, 12 Ir. Com. Law Rep. [N. S.], 233;
The Queen vs. Barnardo, Gossage's Case [1890], 24 Q.
B. D., 283.)
A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of
interest. A habeas corpus was directed to the defendant to
have before the circuit court of the District of Columbia

three colored persons, with the cause of their detention.


Davis, in his return to the writ, stated on oath that he had
purchased the negroes as slaves in the city of Washington;
that, as he believed, they were removed beyond the District
of Columbia before the service of the writ of habeas corpus,
and that they were then beyond his control and out of his
custody. The evidence tended to show that Davis had
removed the negroes because he suspected they would
apply for a writ of habeas corpus. The court held the return
to be evasive and insufficient, and that Davis was bound to
produce the negroes, and Davis being present in court, and
refusing to produce them, ordered that he be committed to
the custody of the marshall until he should produce the
negroes, or be otherwise discharged in due course of law.
The court afterwards ordered that Davis be released upon
the production of two of the negroes, for one of the negroes
had run away and been lodged in jail in Maryland. Davis
produced the two negroes on the last day of the term.
(United States vs. Davis [1839], 5 Cranch C.C., 622, Fed.
Cas. No. 14926. See also Robb vs. Connolly [1883], 111 U.S.,
624; Church on Habeas, 2nd ed., p. 170.)
We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one
of the defense offered by the respondents constituted a
legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas corpus.
There remains to be considered whether the respondent
complied with the two orders of the Supreme Court
awarding the writ of habeas corpus, and if it be found that
they did not, whether the contempt should be punished or
be taken as purged.
The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban,
Anton Hohmann, Francisco Sales, and Feliciano Yigo to
present the persons named in the writ before the court on
December 2, 1918. The order was dated November 4, 1918.
The respondents were thus given ample time, practically one
month, to comply with the writ. As far as the record
discloses, the Mayor of the city of Manila waited until the
21st of November before sending a telegram to the
provincial governor of Davao. According to the response of

the attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the telegram of his


chief, there were then in Davao women who desired to
return to Manila, but who should not be permitted to do so
because of having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort
naturally resulted in none of the parties in question being
brought before the court on the day named.
For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three
optional courses were open: (1) They could have produced
the bodies of the persons according to the command of the
writ; or (2) they could have shown by affidavit that on
account of sickness or infirmity those persons could not
safely be brought before the court; or (3) they could have
presented affidavits to show that the parties in question or
their attorney waived the right to be present. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 87.) They did not produce the
bodies of the persons in whose behalf the writ was granted;
they did not show impossibility of performance; and they did
not present writings that waived the right to be present by
those interested. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits
purporting to show that the women were contended with
their life in Davao, some of which have since been
repudiated by the signers, were appended to the return.
That through ordinary diligence a considerable number of
the women, at least sixty, could have been brought back to
Manila is demonstrated to be found in the municipality of
Davao, and that about this number either returned at their
own expense or were produced at the second hearing by the
respondents.
The court, at the time the return to its first order was made,
would have been warranted summarily in finding the
respondents guilty of contempt of court, and in sending
them to jail until they obeyed the order. Their excuses for
the non-production of the persons were far from sufficient.
The, authorities cited herein pertaining to somewhat similar
facts all tend to indicate with what exactitude a habeas
corpus writ must be fulfilled. For example, in Gossage's
case, supra, the Magistrate in referring to an earlier
decision of the Court, said: "We thought that, having
brought about that state of things by his own illegal act, he
must take the consequences; and we said that he was bound

to use every effort to get the child back; that he must do


much more than write letters for the purpose; that he must
advertise in America, and even if necessary himself go after
the child, and do everything that mortal man could do in the
matter; and that the court would only accept clear proof of
an absolute impossibility by way of excuse." In other words,
the return did not show that every possible effort to produce
the women was made by the respondents. That the court
forebore at this time to take drastic action was because it
did not wish to see presented to the public gaze the
spectacle of a clash between executive officials and the
judiciary, and because it desired to give the respondents
another chance to demonstrate their good faith and to
mitigate their wrong.
In response to the second order of the court, the
respondents appear to have become more zealous and to
have shown a better spirit. Agents were dispatched to
Mindanao, placards were posted, the constabulary and the
municipal police joined in rounding up the women, and a
steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided.
While charges and counter-charges in such a bitterly
contested case are to be expected, and while a critical
reading of the record might reveal a failure of literal
fulfillment with our mandate, we come to conclude that
there is a substantial compliance with it. Our finding to this
effect may be influenced somewhat by our sincere desire to
see this unhappy incident finally closed. If any wrong is now
being perpetrated in Davao, it should receive an executive
investigation. If any particular individual is still restrained of
her liberty, it can be made the object of separate habeas
corpus proceedings.
Since the writ has already been granted, and since we find a
substantial compliance with it, nothing further in this
connection remains to be done.
The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in
contempt of court Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila,
Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose
Rodriguez, and Fernando Ordax, members of the police

force of the city of Manila, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for


the Bureau of Labor, Feliciano Yigo, an hacendero of
Davao, and Anacleto Diaz, Fiscal of the city of Manila.
The power to punish for contempt of court should be
exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive
principle. Only occasionally should the court invoke its
inherent power in order to retain that respect without which
the administration of justice must falter or fail. Nevertheless
when one is commanded to produce a certain person and
does not do so, and does not offer a valid excuse, a court
must, to vindicate its authority, adjudge the respondent to be
guilty of contempt, and must order him either imprisoned or
fined. An officer's failure to produce the body of a person in
obedience to a writ of habeas corpus when he has power to
do so, is a contempt committed in the face of the court. (Ex
parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In re Patterson [1888], 99
N. C., 407.)
With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with
judicial regard for human imperfections, we cannot say that
any of the respondents, with the possible exception of the
first named, has flatly disobeyed the court by acting in
opposition to its authority. Respondents Hohmann,
Rodriguez, Ordax, and Joaquin only followed the orders of
their chiefs, and while, under the law of public officers, this
does not exonerate them entirely, it is nevertheless a
powerful mitigating circumstance. The hacendero Yigo
appears to have been drawn into the case through a
misconstruction by counsel of telegraphic communications.
The city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would seem to have done no
more than to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the
city government. Finding him innocent of any disrespect to
the court, his counter-motion to strike from the record the
memorandum of attorney for the petitioners, which brings
him into this undesirable position, must be granted. When
all is said and done, as far as this record discloses, the
official who was primarily responsible for the unlawful
deportation, who ordered the police to accomplish the same,
who made arrangements for the steamers and the
constabulary, who conducted the negotiations with the
Bureau of Labor, and who later, as the head of the city

government, had it within his power to facilitate the return


of the unfortunate women to Manila, was Justo Lukban, the
Mayor of the city of Manila. His intention to suppress the
social evil was commendable. His methods were unlawful.
His regard for the writ of habeas corpus issued by the court
was only tardily and reluctantly acknowledged.
It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546
of the Code of Civil Procedure, which relates to the penalty
for disobeying the writ, and in pursuance thereof to require
respondent Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as
much as P400 each, which would reach to many thousands
of pesos, and in addition to deal with him as for a contempt.
Some members of the court are inclined to this stern view. It
would also be possible to find that since respondent Lukban
did comply substantially with the second order of the court,
he has purged his contempt of the first order. Some
members of the court are inclined to this merciful view.
Between the two extremes appears to lie the correct finding.
The failure of respondent Lukban to obey the first mandate
of the court tended to belittle and embarrass the
administration of justice to such an extent that his later
activity may be considered only as extenuating his conduct.
A nominal fine will at once command such respect without
being unduly oppressive such an amount is P100.
In resume as before stated, no further action on the writ
of habeas corpus is necessary. The respondents Hohmann,
Rodriguez, Ordax, Joaquin, Yigo, and Diaz are found not to
be in contempt of court. Respondent Lukban is found in
contempt of court and shall pay into the office of the clerk of
the Supreme Court within five days the sum of one hundred
pesos (P100). The motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to
strike from the record the Replica al Memorandum de los
Recurridos of January 25, 1919, is granted. Costs shall be
taxed against respondents. So ordered.

In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task, may we


not be permitted to express the hope that this decision may
serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly government
of laws and to protect individual liberty from illegal
encroachment.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, FABIAN C. VER, GALILEO


KINTANAR, FERNANDO GOROSPE, AND JOSE
CASTRO,respondents.
Lorenzo M. Tanada, Jose W. Diokno and Joker Arroyo for
petitioner,

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


As early as 1919, in the leading case of Villavicencio v.
Lukban (39 Phil. 778, 790), this Court ruled:
A prime specification of al application for a writ
of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The
essential object and purpose of the writ of
habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of
involuntary restraint as distinguished from
voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if
such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will
preclude freedom of action is sufficient. ...

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-63345 January 30, 1986
EFREN C. MONCUPA, petitioner,
vs.

This latitudinarian scope of the writ of habeas-corpus has, in


law, remained undiminished up to the present. The
respondents' contention that the petition has become moot
and academic must necessarily be denied. Efren C. Moncupa
may have been released from his detention cell. The
restraints attached to his temporary release, however,
preclude freedom of action and under the Villavicencio v.
Lukban rule warrant this Court's inquiry into the nature of
his involuntary restraint and our relieving him of such
restraints as may be illegal.
Petitioner Efren C. Moncupa, together with others, was
arrested on April 22, 1982 at about 10:50 P.M., at the corner
of D. Street and Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. Moncupa D.
Tuazon was brought to MIG-15 Camp Bago Bantay, Quezon
City where he was detained. On April 23, 1982, on the
allegation that he was a National Democratic Front (NDF)

staff member, a Presidential Commitment Order (PCO) was


issued against him and eight (8) other persons.
After two separate investigations, conducted first, by
Lieutenant Colonel Gerardo Lantoria, Jr., Chief of Task Force
Makabansa Investigation Group and second, by
Investigating Fiscal Amado Costales of Quezon City, it was
ascertained that the petitioner was not a member of any
subversive organization. Both investigators recommended
the prosecution of the petitioner only for illegal possession
of firearms and illegal possession of subversive documents
under Presidential Decree No. 33.
Consequently, two separate informations were filed against
the petitioner, one, for illegal possession of firearms before
the Court of First Instance of Rizal and the other for
violation of P.D. 33 before the City Court of Quezon City.
Against the other accused, however, the cases filed were for
violation of P.D. 885 as amended. Significantly, the petitioner
was excluded from the charge under the Revised AntiSubversion Law. During the pendency of this petition, it is
significant that his arraignment and further proceedings
have not been pursued. And yet, the petitioner's motions for
bail were denied by the lower court.
Hence, the petitioner filed the instant petition.
The respondents, in their return of the writ justified the
validity of petitioner's detention on the ground that the
privilege of the writ had been suspended as to the petitioner.
However, on August 30, 1983, the respondents filed a
motion to dismiss stating that on May 11, 1983, the
petitioner was temporarily released from detention on
orders of the Minister temporary of National Defense with
the approval of the President. The respondents stated.
"Since the petitioner is free and no longer under the custody
of the respondents, the present petition for habeas corpus
may be deemed moot and academic as in similar cases.

The issue to be resolved is whether or not the instant


petition has become moot and academic in view of the
petitioner's temporary release.
It is to be noted that attached to the petitioner's temporary
release are restrictions imposed on him. These are:
1) His freedom of movement is curtailed by the condition
that petitioner gets the approval of respondents for any
travel outside Metro Manila.
2) His liberty of abode is restricted because prior approval
of respondents is also required in case petitioner wants to
change his place of residence.
3) His freedom of speech is muffled by the prohibition that
he should not "participate in any interview conducted by any
local or foreign mass media representatives nor give any
press release or information that is inimical to the interest of
national security."
4) He is required to report regularly to respondents or their
representatives.
The petitioner argues that although admittedly his
temporary release is an improvement upon his actual
detention, the restrictions imposed by the respondents
constitute an involuntary and illegal restraint on his
freedom.
The petitioner stresses that his temporary release did not
render the instant petitioner moot and academic but that "it
merely shifted the inquiry from the legality of his actual
detention to the legality of the conditions imposed by the
respondents."
We agree with the petitioner.
The reservation of the military in the form of restrictions
attached to the temporary release of the petitioner
constitute restraints on the liberty of Mr. Moncupa. Such

restrictions limit the freedom of movement of the petitioner.


It is not physical restraint alone which is inquired into by the
writ of habeas corpus.
In Villavicencio v. Lukban, the women who had been illegally
seized and transported against their will to Davao were no
longer under any official restraint. Unlike petitioner
Moncupa, they were free to change their domicile without
asking for official permission. Indeed, some of them
managed to return to Manila. Yet, the Court condemned the
involuntary restraints caused by the official action, fined the
Mayor of Manila and expressed the hope that its "decision
may serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly
government of laws and to protect individual liberty from
Megal encroachment."
In the light of the above ruling, the present petition for
habeas corpus has not become moot and academic. Other
precedents for such a conclusion are not wanting.
The decision in Caunca v. Salazar (82 Phil. 851) states:
An employment agency, regardless of the
amount it may advance to a prospective
employee or maid, has absolutely no power to
curtail her freedom of movement. The fact that
no physical force has been exerted to keep her
in the house of the respondent does not make
less real the deprivation of her personal
freedom of movement, freedom to transfer from
one place to another, from to choose one's
residence. Freedom may be lost due to external
moral compulsion, to founded or groundless
fear, to erroneous belief in the existence of the
will. If the actual effect of such psychological
spell is to place a person at the mercy of
another, the victim is entitled to the protection
of courts of justice as much as the individual
who is illigally deprived of liberty by deprived
or physical coercion.

In Tibo v. The Provincial Commander (85 SCRA 564), this


Court ruled:
Although the release in the custody of the
Deputy Minister did not signify that petitioners
could once again enjoy their full freedom, the
application could have been dismissed, as it
could be withdrawn by the parties themselves.
That is a purely voluntary act. When the
hearing was held on September 7, 1978, it
turned out that counsel for petitioner Bonifacio
V. Tupaz could have academic in a hasty
manner when he set forth the above allegations
in his manifestation of August 30, 1978, for
Attorney Jose C. Espinas, who appeared for
petitioners, while conceding that there was
such a release from confinement, also alleged
that it was conditioned on their restricting their
activities as labor union leaders to the premises
of the Trade Unions of the Philippines and
ABSOLUTE Services, presumably in Macaraig
as well as the Ministry of labor. As the voting
was to take place in the business firm in
Bataan, the acts set would nullify whatever
efforts they could have exerted. To that extent,
and with the prohibition against their going to
Bataan, the restraint on liberty was undeniable.
If so, the moot and academic character of the
petition was far from clear.
More recently, we had occasion to rule squarely on whether
or not a temporary release from detention renders the
petition for writ of habeas corpus moot and academic. As in
this case of Moncupa, the petitioners in Toyoto, et al v. Hon.
Fidel Ramos, et al, G.R. No. 69270, October 15, 1985, were
temporarily released from detention. The respondents filed a
motion to dismiss the petition for habeas corpus on the
ground that the petitioners had been temporarily released
and their case had, therefore, become moot and academic.
The petitioners insisted, however, that their case may be
considered moot and academic only "if their release would
be permanent." In ruling for the petitioners, we said:

Ordinarily, a petition for habeas corpus


becomes moot and academic when the restraint
on the liberty of the petitioners is lifted either
temporarily or permanently. We have so held in
a number of cases. But the instant case
presents a different situation. The question to
be resolved is whether the State can reserve
the power to re-arrest a person for an offense
after a court of competent jurisdiction has
absolved him of the offense. An affirmative
answer is the one suggested by the respondents
because the release of the petitioners being
merely 'temporary' it follows that they can be
re-arrested at anytime despite their acquittal by
a court of competent jurisdiction. We hold that
such a reservation is repugnant to the
government of laws and not of men principle.
Under this principle the moment a person is
acquitted on a criminal charge he can no longer
be detained or re-arrested for the same offense.
This concept is so basic and elementary that it
needs no elaboration.
In effect the principle is clear. A release that renders a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus moot and academic must
be one which is free from involuntary restraints. Where a
person continues to be unlawfully denied one or more of his
constitutional freedoms, where there is present a denial of
due process, where the restraints are not merely involuntary
but appear to be unnecessary, and where a deprivation of
freedom originally valid has, in the light of subsequent
developments, become arbitrary, the person concerned or
those applying in his behalf may still avail themselves of the
privilege of the writ.
The respondents have failed to show why the writ may not
issue and why the restraints on the petitioner's freedom of
movement should not be lifted.

WHEREFORE, the PETITION is GRANTED. The conditions


attached to the temporary release of the petitioner are
declared null and void. The temporary release of the
petitioner is declared ABSOLUTE. No costs,

Once again we see the sad tale of a prominent family


shattered by conflicts on expectancy in fabled fortune.
On March 11, 1999, Erlinda K. Ilusorio, the matriarch who
was so lovingly inseparable from her husband some years
ago, filed a petition with the Court of Appeals1 for habeas
corpus to have custody of her husband in consortium.
On April 5, 1999, the Court of Appeals promulgated its
decision dismissing the petition for lack of unlawful restraint
or detention of the subject, Potenciano Ilusorio.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 139789

July 19, 2001

Thus, on October 11, 1999, Erlinda K. Ilusorio filed with the


Supreme Court an appeal via certiorari pursuing her desire
to have custody of her husband Potenciano Ilusorio. 2 This
case was consolidated with another case3 filed by Potenciano
Ilusorio and his children, Erlinda I. Bildner and Sylvia K.
Ilusorio appealing from the order giving visitation rights to
his wife, asserting that he never refused to see her.

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS


CORPUS OF POTENCIANO ILUSORIO, ERLINDA K.
ILUSORIO, petitioner,
vs.
ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO-BILDNER, SYLVIA K.
ILUSORIO-YAP, JOHN DOES and JANE
DOES, respondents.

On May 12, 2000, we dismissed the petition for habeas


corpus4 for lack of merit, and granted the petition5 to nullify
the Court of Appeals' ruling6 giving visitation rights to
Erlinda K. Ilusorio.7

x---------------------------------------------------------x

On September 20, 2000, we set the case for preliminary


conference on October 11, 2000, at 10:00 a. m., without
requiring the mandatory presence of the parties.

G.R. No. 139808 July 19, 2001


POTENCIANO ILUSORIO, MA. ERLINDA I. BILDNER
and SYLVIA K. ILUSORIO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ERLINDA K.
ILUSORIO, respondents.
RESOLUTION
PARDO, J.:

What is now before the Court is Erlinda's motion to


reconsider the decision.8

In that conference, the Court laid down the issues to be


resolved, to wit:
(a) To determine the propriety of a physical and
medical examination of petitioner Potenciano Ilusorio;
(b) Whether the same is relevant; and
(c) If relevant, how the Court will conduct the same. 9

The parties extensively discussed the issues. The Court, in


its resolution, enjoined the parties and their lawyers to
initiate steps towards an amicable settlement of the case
through mediation and other means.
On November 29, 2000, the Court noted the manifestation
and compliance of the parties with the resolution of October
11, 2000.10
On January 31, 2001, the Court denied Erlinda Ilusorio's
manifestation and motion praying that Potenciano Ilusorio
be produced before the Court and be medically examined by
a team of medical experts appointed by the Court.11
On March 27, 2001, we denied with finality Erlinda's motion
to reconsider the Court's order of January 31 , 2001. 12
The issues raised by Erlinda K. Ilusorio in her motion for
reconsideration are mere reiterations of her arguments that
have been resolved in the decision.
Nevertheless, for emphasis, we shall discuss the issues thus:
First. Erlinda K. Ilusorio claimed that she was not
compelling Potenciano to live with her in consortium and
that Potenciano's mental state was not an issue. However,
the very root cause of the entire petition is her desire to
have her husband's custody.13 Clearly, Erlinda cannot now
deny that she wanted Potenciano Ilusorio to live with her.

Second. One reason why Erlinda K. Ilusorio sought custody


of her husband was that respondents Lin and Sylvia were
illegally restraining Potenciano Ilusorio to fraudulently
deprive her of property rights out of pure greed.14 She
claimed that her two children were using their sick and frail
father to sign away Potenciano and Erlinda's property to
companies controlled by Lin and Sylvia. She also argued
that since Potenciano retired as director and officer of
Baguio Country Club and Philippine Oversees
Telecommunications, she would logically assume his position
and control. Yet, Lin and Sylvia were the ones controlling
the corporations.15
The fact of illegal restraint has not been proved during the
hearing at the Court of Appeals on March 23,
1999.16Potenciano himself declared that he was not
prevented by his children from seeing anybody and that he
had no objection to seeing his wife and other children whom
he loved.
Erlinda highlighted that her husband suffered from various
ailments. Thus, Potenciano Ilusorio did not have the mental
capacity to decide for himself. Hence, Erlinda argued that
Potenciano be brought before the Supreme Court so that we
could determine his mental state.
We were not convinced that Potenciano Ilusorio was
mentally incapacitated to choose whether to see his wife or
not. Again, this is a question of fact that has been decided in
the Court of Appeals.
As to whether the children were in fact taking control of the
corporation, these are matters that may be threshed out in a
separate proceeding, irrelevant in habeas corpus.
Third. Petitioner failed to sufficiently convince the Court
why we should not rely on the facts found by the Court of
Appeals. Erlinda claimed that the facts mentioned in the
decision were erroneous and incomplete. We see no reason
why the High Court of the land need go to such length. The
hornbook doctrine states that findings of fact of the lower

courts are conclusive on the Supreme Court.17 We


emphasize, it is not for the Court to weigh evidence all over
again.18 Although there are exceptions to the rule,19 Erlinda
failed to show that this is an exceptional instance.
Fourth. Erlinda states that Article XII of the 1987
Constitution and Articles 68 and 69 of the Family Code
support her position that as spouses, they (Potenciano and
Erlinda) are duty bound to live together and care for each
other. We agree.
The law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged
to live together, observe mutual love, respect and
fidelity.20 The sanction therefor is the "spontaneous, mutual
affection between husband and wife and not any legal
mandate or court order" to enforce consortium.21
Obviously, there was absence of empathy between spouses
Erlinda and Potenciano, having separated from bed and
board since 1972. We defined empathy as a shared feeling
between husband and wife experienced not only by having
spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual
communion. Marital union is a two-way process.
Marriage is definitely for two loving adults who view the
relationship with "amor gignit amorem" respect, sacrifice
and a continuing commitment to togetherness, conscious of
its value as a sublime social institution.22
On June 28, 2001, Potenciano Ilusorio gave his soul to the
Almighty, his Creator and Supreme Judge. Let his soul rest
in peace and his survivors continue the much prolonged
fracas ex aequo et bono.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 189155

September 7, 2010

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE WRIT


OF AMPARO AND THE WRIT OF HABEAS DATA IN
FAVOR OF MELISSA C. ROXAS, MELISSA C.
ROXAS, Petitioner,
vs.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, GILBERT TEODORO,
GEN. VICTOR S. IBRADO, P/DIR. GEN. JESUS AME
VERZOSA, LT. GEN. DELFIN N. BANGIT, PC/SUPT.
LEON NILO A. DELA CRUZ, MAJ. GEN. RALPH
VILLANUEVA, PS/SUPT. RUDY GAMIDO LACADIN, AND
CERTAIN PERSONS WHO GO BY THE NAME[S] DEX,
RC AND ROSE, Respondents.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, we DENY Erlinda's motion for


reconsideration. At any rate, the case has been rendered
moot by the death of subject.

DECISION
PEREZ, J.:

At bench is a Petition For Review on Certiorari1 assailing the


Decision2 dated 26 August 2009 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 00036-WRA a petition that was
commenced jointly under the Rules on the Writ of Amparo
(Amparo Rule) and Habeas Data (Habeas Data Rule). In its
decision, the Court of Appeals extended to the petitioner,
Melissa C. Roxas, the privilege of the writs of amparo and
habeas data but denied the latters prayers for an inspection
order, production order and return of specified personal
belongings. The fallo of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTIALLY MERITORIOUS.
This Court hereby grants Petitioner the privilege of the Writ
of Amparo and Habeas Data.
Accordingly, Respondents are enjoined to refrain from
distributing or causing the distribution to the public of any
records in whatever form, reports, documents or similar
papers relative to Petitioners Melissa C. Roxas, and/or
Melissa Roxas; alleged ties to the CPP-NPA or pertinently
related to the complained incident. Petitioners prayers for
an inspection order, production order and for the return of
the specified personal belongings are denied for lack of
merit. Although there is no evidence that Respondents are
responsible for the abduction, detention or torture of the
Petitioner, said Respondents pursuant to their legally
mandated duties are, nonetheless, ordered to
continue/complete the investigation of this incident with the
end in view of prosecuting those who are responsible.
Respondents are also ordered to provide protection to the
Petitioner and her family while in the Philippines against any
and all forms of harassment, intimidation and coercion as
may be relevant to the grant of these reliefs.3
We begin with the petitioners allegations.

Petitioner is an American citizen of Filipino descent.4 While


in the United States, petitioner enrolled in an exposure
program to the Philippines with the group Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan-United States of America (BAYANUSA) of which she is a member.5 During the course of her
immersion, petitioner toured various provinces and towns of
Central Luzon and, in April of 2009, she volunteered to join
members of BAYAN-Tarlac6 in conducting an initial health
survey in La Paz, Tarlac for a future medical mission. 7
In pursuit of her volunteer work, petitioner brought her
passport, wallet with Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00)
in cash, journal, digital camera with memory card, laptop
computer, external hard disk, IPOD,8 wristwatch,
sphygmomanometer, stethoscope and medicines.9
After doing survey work on 19 May 2009, petitioner and her
companions, Juanito Carabeo (Carabeo) and John Edward
Jandoc (Jandoc), decided to rest in the house of one Mr.
Jesus Paolo (Mr. Paolo)
in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Barangay Kapanikian, La Paz,
Tarlac.10 At around 1:30 in the afternoon, however,
petitioner, her companions and Mr. Paolo were startled by
the loud sounds of someone banging at the front door and a
voice demanding that they open up.11
Suddenly, fifteen (15) heavily armed men forcibly opened the
door, barged inside and ordered petitioner and her
companions to lie on the ground face down.12 The armed
men were all in civilian clothes and, with the exception of
their leader, were also wearing bonnets to conceal their
faces.13
Petitioner tried to protest the intrusion, but five (5) of the
armed men ganged up on her and tied her hands. 14 At this
juncture, petitioner saw the other armed men herding
Carabeo and Jandoc, already blindfolded and taped at their

mouths, to a nearby blue van. Petitioner started to shout her


name.15 Against her vigorous resistance, the armed men
dragged petitioner towards the vanbruising her arms, legs
and knees.16 Once inside the van, but before she can be
blindfolded, petitioner was able to see the face of one of the
armed men sitting beside her.17The van then sped away.
After about an hour of traveling, the van
stopped.18 Petitioner, Carabeo and Jandoc were ordered to
alight.19After she was informed that she is being detained for
being a member of the Communist Party of the PhilippinesNew Peoples Army (CPP-NPA), petitioner was separated
from her companions and was escorted to a room that she
believed was a jail cell from the sound of its metal
doors.20 From there, she could hear the sounds of gunfire,
the noise of planes taking off and landing and some
construction bustle.21 She inferred that she was taken to the
military camp of Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija.22
What followed was five (5) straight days of interrogation
coupled with torture.23 The thrust of the interrogations was
to convince petitioner to abandon her communist beliefs in
favor of returning to "the fold."24 The torture, on the other
hand, consisted of taunting, choking, boxing and suffocating
the petitioner.25
Throughout the entirety of her ordeal, petitioner was made
to suffer in blindfolds even in her sleep.26 Petitioner was only
relieved of her blindfolds when she was allowed to take a
bath, during which she became acquainted with a woman
named "Rose" who bathed her.27 There were also a few times
when she cheated her blindfold and was able to peek at her
surroundings.28
Despite being deprived of sight, however, petitioner was still
able to learn the names of three of her interrogators who
introduced themselves to her as "Dex," "James" and

"RC."29 "RC" even told petitioner that those who tortured her
came from the "Special Operations Group," and that she was
abducted because her name is included in the "Order of
Battle."30
On 25 May 2009, petitioner was finally released and
returned to her uncles house in Quezon City. 31 Before being
released, however, the abductors gave petitioner a cellular
phone with a SIM32 card, a slip of paper containing an e-mail
address with password,33 a plastic bag containing biscuits
and books,34 the handcuffs used on her, a blouse and a pair
of shoes.35 Petitioner was also sternly warned not to report
the incident to the group Karapatan or something untoward
will happen to her and her family.36
Sometime after her release, petitioner continued to receive
calls from RC via the cellular phone given to her.37Out of
apprehension that she was being monitored and also fearing
for the safety of her family, petitioner threw away the
cellular phone with a SIM card.
Seeking sanctuary against the threat of future harm as well
as the suppression of any existing government files or
records linking her to the communist movement, petitioner
filed a Petition for the Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data
before this Court on 1 June 2009.38 Petitioner impleaded
public officials occupying the uppermost echelons of the
military and police hierarchy as respondents, on the belief
that it was government agents who were behind her
abduction and torture. Petitioner likewise included in her
suit "Rose," "Dex" and "RC."39
The Amparo and Habeas Data petition prays that: (1)
respondents be enjoined from harming or even approaching
petitioner and her family; (2) an order be issued allowing the
inspection of detention areas in the 7th Infantry Division,
Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija; (3) respondents be

ordered to produce documents relating to any report on the


case of petitioner including, but not limited to, intelligence
report and operation reports of the 7th Infantry Division, the
Special Operations Group of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) and its subsidiaries or branch/es prior to,
during and subsequent to 19 May 2009; (4) respondents be
ordered to expunge from the records of the respondents any
document pertinent or connected to Melissa C. Roxas,
Melissa Roxas or any name which sounds the same; and (5)
respondents be ordered to return to petitioner her journal,
digital camera with memory card, laptop computer, external
hard disk, IPOD, wristwatch, sphygmomanometer,
stethoscope, medicines and her P15,000.00 cash.40
In a Resolution dated 9 June 2009, this Court issued the
desired writs and referred the case to the Court of Appeals
for hearing, reception of evidence and appropriate
action.41 The Resolution also directed the respondents to file
their verified written return.42
On 18 June 2009, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),
filed a Return of the Writs43 on behalf of the public officials
impleaded as respondents.
We now turn to the defenses interposed by the public
respondents.
The public respondents label petitioners alleged abduction
and torture as "stage managed." 44 In support of their
accusation, the public respondents principally rely on the
statement of Mr. Paolo, as contained in the Special
Report45 of the La Paz Police Station. In the Special Report,
Mr. Paolo disclosed that, prior to the purported abduction,
petitioner and her companions instructed him and his two
sons to avoid leaving the house.46 From this statement, the
public respondents drew the distinct possibility that, except
for those already inside Mr. Paolos house, nobody else has

any way of knowing where petitioner and her companions


were at the time they were supposedly abducted.47 This can
only mean, the public respondents concluded, that if ever
there was any "abduction" it must necessarily have been
planned by, or done with the consent of, the petitioner and
her companions themselves.48
Public respondents also cited the Medical Certificate49 of the
petitioner, as actually belying her claims that she was
subjected to serious torture for five (5) days. The public
respondents noted that while the petitioner alleges that she
was choked and boxed by her abductorsinflictions that
could have easily produced remarkable bruisesher Medical
Certificate only shows abrasions in her wrists and knee
caps.50
For the public respondents, the above anomalies put in
question the very authenticity of petitioners alleged
abduction and torture, more so any military or police
involvement therein. Hence, public respondents conclude
that the claims of abduction and torture was no more than a
charade fabricated by the petitioner to put the government
in bad light, and at the same time, bring great media
mileage to her and the group that she represents. 51
Nevertheless, even assuming the abduction and torture to
be genuine, the public respondents insist on the dismissal of
the Amparo and Habeas Data petition based on the following
grounds: (a) as against respondent President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, in particular, because of her immunity
from suit,52 and (b) as against all of the public respondents,
in general, in view of the absence of any specific allegation
in the petition that they had participated in, or at least
authorized, the commission of such atrocities.53
Finally, the public respondents posit that they had not been
remiss in their duty to ascertain the truth behind the

allegations of the petitioner.54 In both the police and military


arms of the government machinery, inquiries were set-up in
the following manner:

Supt. Lacadin, in turn, informed the Regional Police Office of


Region 3 about the abduction.62 Follow-up investigations
were, at the same time, pursued.63

Police Action

On 26 May 2009, public respondent PC/Supt. Leon Nilo Dela


Cruz, as Director of the Regional Police Office for Region 3,
caused the creation of Special Investigation Task Group
CAROJAN (Task Group CAROJAN) to conduct an in-depth
investigation on the abduction of the petitioner, Carabeo and
Jandoc.64

Police authorities first learned of the purported abduction


around 4:30 oclock in the afternoon of 19 May 2009,
when Barangay Captain Michael M. Manuel came to the La
Paz Municipal Police Station to report the presence of
heavily armed men somewhere
in Barangay Kapanikian.55 Acting on the report, the police
station launched an initial investigation.56
The initial investigation revolved around the statement of
Mr. Paolo, who informed the investigators of an abduction
incident involving three (3) personslater identified as
petitioner Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward
Jandocwho were all staying in his house.57 Mr. Paolo
disclosed that the abduction occurred around 1:30 oclock in
the afternoon, and was perpetrated by about eight (8)
heavily armed men who forced their way inside his
house.58 Other witnesses to the abduction also confirmed
that the armed men used a dark blue van with an unknown
plate number and two (2) Honda XRM motorcycles with no
plate numbers.59
At 5:00 oclock in the afternoon of 19 May 2009, the
investigators sent a Flash Message to the different police
stations surrounding La Paz, Tarlac, in an effort to track and
locate the van and motorcycles of the suspects.
Unfortunately, the effort yielded negative results.60
On 20 May 2009, the results of the initial investigation were
included in a Special Report61 that was transmitted to the
Tarlac Police Provincial Office, headed by public respondent
P/S Supt. Rudy Lacadin (Supt. Lacadin). Public respondent

Task Group CAROJAN started its inquiry by making a series


of background examinations on the victims of the purported
abduction, in order to reveal the motive behind the
abduction and, ultimately, the identity of the
perpetrators.65 Task Group CAROJAN also maintained
liaisons with Karapatan and the Alliance for Advancement of
Peoples Rightsorganizations trusted by petitionerin the
hopes of obtaining the latters participation in the ongoing
investigations.66 Unfortunately, the letters sent by the
investigators requesting for the availability of the petitioner
for inquiries were left unheeded.67
The progress of the investigations conducted by Task Group
CAROJAN had been detailed in the reports68 that it
submitted to public respondent General Jesus Ame Verzosa,
the Chief of the Philippine National Police. However, as of
their latest report dated 29 June 2009, Task Group
CAROJAN is still unable to make a definitive finding as to the
true identity and affiliation of the abductorsa fact that task
group CAROJAN attributes to the refusal of the petitioner, or
any of her fellow victims, to cooperate in their investigative
efforts.69
Military Action

Public respondent Gilbert Teodoro, the Secretary of National


Defense, first came to know about the alleged abduction and
torture of the petitioner upon receipt of the Resolution of
this Court directing him and the other respondents to file
their return.70 Immediately thereafter, he issued a
Memorandum Directive71 addressed to the Chief of Staff of
the AFP, ordering the latter, among others, to conduct an
inquiry to determine the validity of the accusation of military
involvement in the abduction.72
Acting pursuant to the Memorandum Directive, public
respondent General Victor S. Ibrado, the AFP Chief of Staff,
sent an AFP Radio Message73 addressed to public
respondent Lieutenant General Delfin N. Bangit (Lt. Gen.
Bangit), the Commanding General of the Army, relaying the
order to cause an investigation on the abduction of the
petitioner.74
For his part, and taking cue from the allegations in the
amparo petition, public respondent Lt. Gen. Bangit
instructed public respondent Major General Ralph A.
Villanueva (Maj. Gen. Villanueva), the Commander of the 7th
Infantry Division of the Army based in Fort Magsaysay, to set
in motion an investigation regarding the possible
involvement of any personnel assigned at the camp in the
purported abduction of the petitioner.75 In turn, public
respondent Maj. Gen. Villanueva tapped the Office of the
Provost Marshal (OPV) of the 7th Infantry Division, to
conduct the investigation.76
On 23 June 2009, the OPV of the 7th Infantry Division
released an Investigation Report77 detailing the results of its
inquiry. In substance, the report described petitioners
allegations as "opinionated" and thereby cleared the military
from any involvement in her alleged abduction and torture.78
The Decision of the Court of Appeals

In its Decision,79 the Court of Appeals gave due weight and


consideration to the petitioners version that she was indeed
abducted and then subjected to torture for five (5) straight
days. The appellate court noted the sincerity and resolve by
which the petitioner affirmed the contents of her affidavits
in open court, and was thereby convinced that the latter was
telling the truth.80
On the other hand, the Court of Appeals disregarded the
argument of the public respondents that the abduction of
the petitioner was "stage managed," as it is merely based on
an unfounded speculation that only the latter and her
companions knew where they were staying at the time they
were forcibly taken.81 The Court of Appeals further stressed
that the Medical Certificate of the petitioner can only affirm
the existence of a true abduction, as its findings are
reflective of the very injuries the latter claims to have
sustained during her harrowing ordeal, particularly when
she was handcuffed and then dragged by her abductors onto
their van.82
The Court of Appeals also recognized the existence of an
ongoing threat against the security of the petitioner, as
manifested in the attempts of "RC" to contact and monitor
her, even after she was released.83 This threat, according to
the Court of Appeals, is all the more compounded by the
failure of the police authorities to identify the material
perpetrators who are still at large.84 Thus, the appellate
court extended to the petitioner the privilege of the writ of
amparo by directing the public respondents to afford
protection to the former, as well as continuing, under the
norm of extraordinary diligence, their existing investigations
involving the abduction.85
The Court of Appeals likewise observed a transgression of
the right to informational privacy of the petitioner, noting
the existence of "records of investigations" that concerns the

petitioner as a suspected member of the CPP-NPA.86 The


appellate court derived the existence of such records from a
photograph and video file presented in a press conference
by party-list representatives Jovito Palparan (Palparan) and
Pastor Alcover (Alcover), which allegedly show the petitioner
participating in rebel exercises. Representative Alcover also
revealed that the photograph and video came from a female
CPP-NPA member who wanted out of the organization.
According to the Court of Appeals, the proliferation of the
photograph and video, as well as any form of media,
insinuating that petitioner is part of the CPP-NPA does not
only constitute a violation of the right to privacy of the
petitioner but also puts further strain on her already volatile
security.87 To this end, the appellate court granted the
privilege of the writ of habeas data mandating the public
respondents to refrain from distributing to the public any
records, in whatever form, relative to petitioners alleged
ties with the CPP-NPA or pertinently related to her
abduction and torture.88
The foregoing notwithstanding, however, the Court of
Appeals was not convinced that the military or any other
person acting under the acquiescence of the government,
were responsible for the abduction and torture of the
petitioner.89 The appellate court stressed that, judging by
her own statements, the petitioner merely "believed" that
the military was behind her abduction.90 Thus, the Court of
Appeals absolved the public respondents from any
complicity in the abduction and torture of petitioner.91 The
petition was likewise dismissed as against public respondent
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in view of her immunity
from suit.92

Accordingly, the petitioners prayers for the return of her


personal belongings were denied.93 Petitioners prayers for
an inspection order and production order also met the same
fate.94
Hence, this appeal by the petitioner.
AMPARO
A.
Petitioner first contends that the Court of Appeals erred in
absolving the public respondents from any responsibility in
her abduction and torture.95 Corollary to this, petitioner also
finds fault on the part of Court of Appeals in denying her
prayer for the return of her personal belongings. 96
Petitioner insists that the manner by which her abduction
and torture was carried out, as well as the sounds of
construction, gun-fire and airplanes that she heard while in
detention, as these were detailed in her two affidavits and
affirmed by her in open court, are already sufficient
evidence to prove government involvement.97
Proceeding from such assumption, petitioner invokes the
doctrine of command responsibility to implicate the highranking civilian and military authorities she impleaded as
respondents in her amparo petition.98 Thus, petitioner seeks
from this Court a pronouncement holding the respondents
as complicit in her abduction and torture, as well as liable
for the return of her belongings.99
Command Responsibility in Amparo Proceedings
It must be stated at the outset that the use by the petitioner
of the doctrine of command responsibility as the justification
in impleading the public respondents in her amparo petition,

is legally inaccurate, if not incorrect. The doctrine of


command responsibility is a rule of substantive law that
establishes liability and, by this account, cannot be a proper
legal basis to implead a party-respondent in an amparo
petition.100
The case of Rubrico v. Arroyo,101 which was the first to
examine command responsibility in the context of an amparo
proceeding, observed that the doctrine is used to pinpoint
liability. Rubrico notes that:102
The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds
its context in the development of laws of war and armed
combats. According to Fr. Bernas, "command responsibility,"
in its simplest terms, means the "responsibility of
commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members
of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control
in international wars or domestic conflict." 103 In this sense,
command responsibility is properly a form of criminal
complicity. The Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the
doctrine of command responsibility,104 foreshadowing the
present-day precept of holding a superior accountable for
the atrocities committed by his subordinates should he be
remiss in his duty of control over them. As then formulated,
command responsibility is "an omission mode of
individual criminal liability," whereby the superior is
made responsible for crimes committed by his
subordinates for failing to prevent or punish the
perpetrators105 (as opposed to crimes he ordered).
(Emphasis in the orginal, underscoring supplied)
Since the application of command responsibility
presupposes an imputation of individual liability, it is more
aptly invoked in a full-blown criminal or administrative case
rather than in a summary amparo proceeding. The obvious
reason lies in the nature of the writ itself:

The writ of amparo is a protective remedy aimed at


providing judicial relief consisting of the appropriate
remedial measures and directives that may be crafted by the
court, in order to address specific violations or threats of
violation of the constitutional rights to life, liberty or
security.106 While the principal objective of its proceedings is
the initial determination of whether an enforced
disappearance, extralegal killing or threats thereof had
transpiredthe writ does not, by so doing, fix liability for
such disappearance, killing or threats, whether that may be
criminal, civil or administrative under the applicable
substantive law.107 The rationale underpinning this peculiar
nature of an amparo writ has been, in turn, clearly set forth
in the landmark case of The Secretary of National Defense v.
Manalo:108
x x x The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes
of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial
evidence to make the appropriate reliefs available to the
petitioner; it is not an action to determine criminal guilt
requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for
damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or
administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence
that will require full and exhaustive
proceedings.109(Emphasis supplied)
It must be clarified, however, that the inapplicability of the
doctrine of command responsibility in an amparo proceeding
does not, by any measure, preclude impleading military or
police commanders on the ground that the complained acts
in the petition were committed with their direct or indirect
acquiescence. In which case, commanders may be
impleadednot actually on the basis of command
responsibilitybut rather on the ground of their
responsibility, or at least accountability. In Razon v.
Tagitis,110 the distinct, but interrelated concepts of

responsibility and accountability were given special and


unique significations in relation to an amparo proceeding, to
wit:
x x x Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have
been established by substantial evidence to have
participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an
enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this
Court shall craft, among them, the directive to file the
appropriate criminal and civil cases against the responsible
parties in the proper courts. Accountability, on the other
hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be
addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the
enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their
complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or
who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced
disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or
those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of
extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced
disappearance.
Responsibility of Public Respondents
At any rate, it is clear from the records of the case that the
intent of the petitioner in impleading the public respondents
is to ascribe some form of responsibility on their part, based
on her assumption that they, in one way or the other, had
condoned her abduction and torture.111
To establish such assumption, petitioner attempted to show
that it was government agents who were behind her ordeal.
Thus, the petitioner calls attention to the circumstances
surrounding her abduction and torturei.e., the forcible
taking in broad daylight; use of vehicles with no license
plates; utilization of blindfolds; conducting interrogations to
elicit communist inclinations; and the infliction of physical
abusewhich, according to her, is consistent with the way

enforced disappearances are being practiced by the military


or other state forces.112
Moreover, petitioner also claims that she was held inside the
military camp Fort Magsaysaya conclusion that she was
able to infer from the travel time required to reach the place
where she was actually detained, and also from the sounds
of construction, gun-fire and airplanes she heard while
thereat.113
We are not impressed. The totality of the evidence presented
by the petitioner does not inspire reasonable conclusion that
her abductors were military or police personnel and that she
was detained at Fort Magsaysay.
First. The similarity between the circumstances attending a
particular case of abduction with those surrounding
previous instances of enforced disappearances does not,
necessarily, carry sufficient weight to prove that the
government orchestrated such abduction. We opine that
insofar as the present case is concerned, the perceived
similarity cannot stand as substantial evidence of the
involvement of the government.
In amparo proceedings, the weight that may be accorded to
parallel circumstances as evidence of military involvement
depends largely on the availability or non-availability of
other pieces of evidence that has the potential of directly
proving the identity and affiliation of the perpetrators.
Direct evidence of identity, when obtainable, must be
preferred over mere circumstantial evidence based on
patterns and similarity, because the former indubitably
offers greater certainty as to the true identity and affiliation
of the perpetrators. An amparo court cannot simply leave to
remote and hazy inference what it could otherwise clearly
and directly ascertain.

In the case at bench, petitioner was, in fact, able to include


in her Offer of Exhibits,114 the cartographic sketches115 of
several of her abductors whose faces she managed to see. To
the mind of this Court, these cartographic sketches have the
undeniable potential of giving the greatest certainty as to
the true identity and affiliation of petitioners abductors.
Unfortunately for the petitioner, this potential has not been
realized in view of the fact that the faces described in such
sketches remain unidentified, much less have been shown to
be that of any military or police personnel. Bluntly stated,
the abductors were not proven to be part of either the
military or the police chain of command.
Second. The claim of the petitioner that she was taken to
Fort Magsaysay was not adequately established by her mere
estimate of the time it took to reach the place where she was
detained and by the sounds that she heard while thereat.
Like the Court of Appeals, We are not inclined to take the
estimate and observations of the petitioner as accurate on
its facenot only because they were made mostly while she
was in blindfolds, but also in view of the fact that she was a
mere sojourner in the Philippines, whose familiarity with
Fort Magsaysay and the travel time required to reach it is in
itself doubtful.116 With nothing else but obscure observations
to support it, petitioners claim that she was taken to Fort
Magsaysay remains a mere speculation.
In sum, the petitioner was not able to establish to a concrete
point that her abductors were actually affiliated, whether
formally or informally, with the military or the police
organizations. Neither does the evidence at hand prove that
petitioner was indeed taken to the military camp Fort
Magsaysay to the exclusion of other places. These
evidentiary gaps, in turn, make it virtually impossible to
determine whether the abduction and torture of the
petitioner was in fact committed with the acquiescence of

the public respondents. On account of this insufficiency in


evidence, a pronouncement of responsibility on the part of
the public respondents, therefore, cannot be made.
Prayer for the Return of Personal Belongings
This brings Us to the prayer of the petitioner for the return
of her personal belongings.
In its decision, the Court of Appeals denied the above prayer
of the petitioner by reason of the failure of the latter to
prove that the public respondents were involved in her
abduction and torture.117 We agree with the conclusion of
the Court of Appeals, but not entirely with the reason used
to support it. To the mind of this Court, the prayer of the
petitioner for the return of her belongings is doomed to fail
regardless of whether there is sufficient evidence to hold
public respondents responsible for the abduction of the
petitioner.
In the first place, an order directing the public respondents
to return the personal belongings of the petitioner is already
equivalent to a conclusive pronouncement of liability. The
order itself is a substantial relief that can only be granted
once the liability of the public respondents has been fixed in
a full and exhaustive proceeding. As already discussed
above, matters of liability are not determinable in a mere
summary amparo proceeding.118
But perhaps the more fundamental reason in denying the
prayer of the petitioner, lies with the fact that a persons
right to be restituted of his property is already subsumed
under the general rubric of property rightswhich are no
longer protected by the writ of amparo.119 Section 1 of the
Amparo Rule,120 which defines the scope and extent of the
writ, clearly excludes the protection of property rights.

B.
The next error raised by the petitioner is the denial by the
Court of Appeals of her prayer for an inspection of the
detention areas of Fort Magsaysay.121
Considering the dearth of evidence concretely pointing to
any military involvement in petitioners ordeal, this Court
finds no error on the part of the Court of Appeals in denying
an inspection of the military camp at Fort Magsaysay. We
agree with the appellate court that a contrary stance would
be equivalent to sanctioning a "fishing expedition," which
was never intended by the Amparo Rule in providing for the
interim relief of inspection order.122 Contrary to the explicit
position123 espoused by the petitioner, the Amparo Rule does
not allow a "fishing expedition" for evidence.
An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give
support or strengthen the claim of a petitioner in an amparo
petition, in order to aid the court before making a
decision.124 A basic requirement before an amparo court may
grant an inspection order is that the place to be inspected is
reasonably determinable from the allegations of the party
seeking the order. While the Amparo Rule does not require
that the place to be inspected be identified with clarity and
precision, it is, nevertheless, a minimum for the issuance of
an inspection order that the supporting allegations of a
party be sufficient in itself, so as to make a prima facie case.
This, as was shown above, petitioner failed to do.
Since the very estimates and observations of the petitioner
are not strong enough to make out a prima facie case that
she was detained in Fort Magsaysay, an inspection of the
military camp cannot be ordered. An inspection order
cannot issue on the basis of allegations that are, in
themselves, unreliable and doubtful.

HABEAS DATA
As earlier intimated, the Court of Appeals granted to the
petitioner the privilege of the writ of habeas data, by
enjoining the public respondents from "distributing or
causing the distribution to the public any records in
whatever form, reports, documents or similar papers"
relative to the petitioners "alleged ties with the CPP-NPA or
pertinently related to her abduction and torture." Though
not raised as an issue in this appeal, this Court is
constrained to pass upon and review this particular ruling of
the Court of Appeals in order to rectify, what appears to Us,
an error infecting the grant.
For the proper appreciation of the rationale used by the
Court of Appeals in granting the privilege of the writ of
habeas data, We quote hereunder the relevant portion 125 of
its decision:
Under these premises, Petitioner prayed that all the records,
intelligence reports and reports on the investigations
conducted on Melissa C. Roxas or Melissa Roxas be
produced and eventually expunged from the records.
Petitioner claimed to be included in the Governments Order
of Battle under Oplan Bantay Laya which listed political
opponents against whom false criminal charges were filed
based on made up and perjured information.
Pending resolution of this petition and before Petitioner
could testify before Us, Ex-army general Jovito Palaparan,
Bantay party-list, and Pastor Alcover of the Alliance for
Nationalism and Democracy party-list held a press
conference where they revealed that they received an
information from a female NPA rebel who wanted out of the
organization, that Petitioner was a communist rebel. Alcover
claimed that said information reached them thru a letter

with photo of Petitioner holding firearms at an NPA training


camp and a video CD of the training exercises.

victim.127 This, in the case at bench, the petitioner failed to


do.

Clearly, and notwithstanding Petitioners denial that she was


the person in said video, there were records of other
investigations on Melissa C. Roxas or Melissa Roxas which
violate her right to privacy. Without a doubt, reports of such
nature have reasonable connections, one way or another, to
petitioners abduction where she claimed she had been
subjected to cruelties and dehumanizing acts which nearly
caused her life precisely due to allegation of her alleged
membership in the CPP-NPA. And if said report or similar
reports are to be continuously made available to the public,
Petitioners security and privacy will certainly be in danger
of being violated or transgressed by persons who have
strong sentiments or aversion against members of this
group. The unregulated dissemination of said unverified
video CD or reports of Petitioners alleged ties with the CPPNPA indiscriminately made available for public consumption
without evidence of its authenticity or veracity certainly
violates Petitioners right to privacy which must be
protected by this Court. We, thus, deem it necessary to grant
Petitioner the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Data.
(Emphasis supplied).

The main problem behind the ruling of the Court of Appeals


is that there is actually no evidence on record that shows
that any of the public respondents had violated or
threatened the right to privacy of the petitioner. The act
ascribed by the Court of Appeals to the public respondents
that would have violated or threatened the right to privacy
of the petitioner, i.e., keeping records of investigations and
other reports about the petitioners ties with the CPP-NPA,
was not adequately provenconsidering that the origin of
such records were virtually unexplained and its existence,
clearly, only inferred by the appellate court from the video
and photograph released by Representatives Palparan and
Alcover in their press conference. No evidence on record
even shows that any of the public respondents had access to
such video or photograph.

The writ of habeas data was conceptualized as a judicial


remedy enforcing the right to privacy, most especially the
right to informational privacy of individuals.126 The writ
operates to protect a persons right to control information
regarding himself, particularly in the instances where such
information is being collected through unlawful means in
order to achieve unlawful ends.
Needless to state, an indispensable requirement before the
privilege of the writ may be extended is the showing, at least
by substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation
of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the

In view of the above considerations, the directive by the


Court of Appeals enjoining the public respondents from
"distributing or causing the distribution to the public any
records in whatever form, reports, documents or similar
papers" relative to the petitioners "alleged ties with the
CPP-NPA," appears to be devoid of any legal basis. The
public respondents cannot be ordered to refrain from
distributing something that, in the first place, it was not
proven to have.
Verily, until such time that any of the public respondents
were found to be actually responsible for the abduction and
torture of the petitioner, any inference regarding the
existence of reports being kept in violation of the
petitioners right to privacy becomes farfetched, and
premature.

For these reasons, this Court must, at least in the meantime,


strike down the grant of the privilege of the writ of habeas
data.
DISPOSITION OF THE CASE
Our review of the evidence of the petitioner, while telling of
its innate insufficiency to impute any form of responsibility
on the part of the public respondents, revealed two
important things that can guide Us to a proper disposition of
this case. One, that further investigation with the use of
extraordinary diligence must be made in order to identify
the perpetrators behind the abduction and torture of the
petitioner; and two, that the Commission on Human Rights
(CHR), pursuant to its Constitutional mandate to
"investigate all forms of human rights violations involving
civil and political rights and to provide appropriate legal
measures for the protection of human rights," 128must be
tapped in order to fill certain investigative and remedial
voids.
Further Investigation Must Be Undertaken
Ironic as it seems, but part and parcel of the reason why the
petitioner was not able to adduce substantial evidence
proving her allegations of government complicity in her
abduction and torture, may be attributed to the incomplete
and one-sided investigations conducted by the government
itself. This "awkward" situation, wherein the very persons
alleged to be involved in an enforced disappearance or
extralegal killing are, at the same time, the very ones tasked
by law to investigate the matter, is a unique characteristic of
these proceedings and is the main source of the "evidentiary
difficulties" faced by any petitioner in any amparo case. 129
Cognizant of this situation, however, the Amparo Rule
placed a potent safeguardrequiring the "respondent who is

a public official or employee" to prove that no less than


"extraordinary diligence as required by applicable laws,
rules and regulations was observed in the performance of
duty."130 Thus, unless and until any of the public respondents
is able to show to the satisfaction of the amparo court that
extraordinary diligence has been observed in their
investigations, they cannot shed the allegations of
responsibility despite the prevailing scarcity of evidence to
that effect.
With this in mind, We note that extraordinary diligence, as
required by the Amparo Rule, was not fully observed in the
conduct of the police and military investigations in the case
at bar.
A perusal of the investigation reports submitted by Task
Group CAROJAN shows modest effort on the part of the
police investigators to identify the perpetrators of the
abduction. To be sure, said reports are replete with
background checks on the victims of the abduction, but are,
at the same time, comparatively silent as to other concrete
steps the investigators have been taking to ascertain the
authors of the crime. Although conducting a background
investigation on the victims is a logical first step in exposing
the motive behind the abductionits necessity is clearly
outweighed by the need to identify the perpetrators,
especially in light of the fact that the petitioner, who was no
longer in captivity, already came up with allegations about
the motive of her captors.
Instead, Task Group CAROJAN placed the fate of their
investigations solely on the cooperation or non-cooperation
of the petitionerwho, they claim, was less than
enthusiastic in participating in their investigative
efforts.131 While it may be conceded that the participation of
the petitioner would have facilitated the progress of Task
Group CAROJANs investigation, this Court believes that the

formers reticence to cooperate is hardly an excuse for Task


Group CAROJAN not to explore other means or avenues
from which they could obtain relevant leads.132 Indeed, while
the allegations of government complicity by the petitioner
cannot, by themselves, hold up as adequate evidence before
a court of lawthey are, nonetheless, a vital source of
valuable investigative leads that must be pursued and
verified, if only to comply with the high standard of diligence
required by the Amparo Rule in the conduct of
investigations.
Assuming the non-cooperation of the petitioner, Task Group
CAROJANs reports still failed to explain why it never
considered seeking the assistance of Mr. Jesus Paolowho,
along with the victims, is a central witness to the abduction.
The reports of Task Group CAROJAN is silent in any attempt
to obtain from Mr. Paolo, a cartographic sketch of the
abductors or, at the very least, of the one who, by
petitioners account, was not wearing any mask.1avvphi1
The recollection of Mr. Paolo could have served as a
comparative material to the sketches included in petitioners
offer of exhibits that, it may be pointed out, were prepared
under the direction of, and first submitted to, the CHR
pursuant to the latters independent investigation on the
abduction and torture of the petitioner.133 But as mentioned
earlier, the CHR sketches remain to be unidentified as of this
date.
In light of these considerations, We agree with the Court of
Appeals that further investigation under the norm of
extraordinary diligence should be undertaken. This Court
simply cannot write finis to this case, on the basis of an
incomplete investigation conducted by the police and the
military. In a very real sense, the right to security of the
petitioner is continuously put in jeopardy because of the

deficient investigation that directly contributes to the delay


in bringing the real perpetrators before the bar of justice.
To add teeth to the appellate courts directive, however, We
find it fitting, nay, necessary to shift the primary task of
conducting further investigations on the abduction and
torture of the petitioner upon the CHR.134 We note that the
CHR, unlike the police or the military, seems to enjoy the
trust and confidence of the petitioneras evidenced by her
attendance and participation in the hearings already
conducted by the commission.135 Certainly, it would be
reasonable to assume from such cooperation that the
investigations of the CHR have advanced, or at the very
least, bears the most promise of advancing farther, in terms
of locating the perpetrators of the abduction, and is thus,
vital for a final resolution of this petition. From this
perspective, We also deem it just and appropriate to relegate
the task of affording interim protection to the petitioner, also
to the CHR.
Hence, We modify the directive of the Court of the Appeals
for further investigation, as follows
1.) Appointing the CHR as the lead agency tasked
with conducting further investigation regarding the
abduction and torture of the petitioner. Accordingly,
the CHR shall, under the norm of extraordinary
diligence, take or continue to take the necessary
steps: (a) to identify the persons described in the
cartographic sketches submitted by the petitioner, as
well as their whereabouts; and (b) to pursue any other
leads relevant to petitioners abduction and torture.
2.) Directing the incumbent Chief of the Philippine
National Police (PNP), or his successor, and the
incumbent Chief of Staff of the AFP, or his successor,
to extend assistance to the ongoing investigation of

the CHR, including but not limited to furnishing the


latter a copy of its personnel records circa the time of
the petitioners abduction and torture, subject to
reasonable regulations consistent with the
Constitution and existing laws.
3.) Further directing the incumbent Chief of the PNP,
or his successor, to furnish to this Court, the Court of
Appeals, and the petitioner or her representative, a
copy of the reports of its investigations and their
recommendations, other than those that are already
part of the records of this case, within ninety (90)
days from receipt of this decision.
4.) Further directing the CHR to (a) furnish to the
Court of Appeals within ninety (90) days from receipt
of this decision, a copy of the reports on its
investigation and its corresponding recommendations;
and to (b) provide or continue to provide protection to
the petitioner during her stay or visit to the
Philippines, until such time as may hereinafter be
determined by this Court.
Accordingly, this case must be referred back to the Court of
Appeals, for the purposes of monitoring compliance with the
above directives and determining whether, in light of any
recent reports or recommendations, there would already be
sufficient evidence to hold any of the public respondents
responsible or, at least, accountable. After making such
determination, the Court of Appeals shall submit its own
report with recommendation to this Court for final action.
The Court of Appeals will continue to have jurisdiction over
this case in order to accomplish its tasks under this decision.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is PARTIALLY
MERITORIOUS. We hereby render a decision:

1.) AFFIRMING the denial of the petitioners prayer


for the return of her personal belongings;
2.) AFFIRMING the denial of the petitioners prayer
for an inspection of the detention areas of Fort
Magsaysay.
3.) REVERSING the grant of the privilege of habeas
data, without prejudice, however, to any modification
that this Court may make on the basis of the
investigation reports and recommendations submitted
to it under this decision.
4.) MODIFYING the directive that further
investigation must be undertaken, as follows
a. APPOINTING the Commission on Human
Rights as the lead agency tasked with
conducting further investigation regarding the
abduction and torture of the petitioner.
Accordingly, the Commission on Human Rights
shall, under the norm of extraordinary
diligence, take or continue to take the
necessary steps: (a) to identify the persons
described in the cartographic sketches
submitted by the petitioner, as well as their
whereabouts; and (b) to pursue any other leads
relevant to petitioners abduction and torture.
b. DIRECTING the incumbent Chief of the
Philippine National Police, or his successor, and
the incumbent Chief of Staff of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines, or his successor, to
extend assistance to the ongoing investigation
of the Commission on Human Rights, including
but not limited to furnishing the latter a copy of
its personnel records circa the time of the

petitioners abduction and torture, subject to


reasonable regulations consistent with the
Constitution and existing laws.
c. Further DIRECTING the incumbent Chief of
the Philippine National Police, or his successor,
to furnish to this Court, the Court of Appeals,
and the petitioner or her representative, a copy
of the reports of its investigations and their
recommendations, other than those that are
already part of the records of this case, within
ninety (90) days from receipt of this decision.
d. Further DIRECTING the Commission on
Human Rights (a) to furnish to the Court of
Appeals within ninety (90) days from receipt of
this decision, a copy of the reports on its
investigation and its corresponding
recommendations; and (b) to provide or
continue to provide protection to the petitioner
during her stay or visit to the Philippines, until
such time as may hereinafter be determined by
this Court.
5.) REFERRING BACK the instant case to the Court of
Appeals for the following purposes:
a. To MONITOR the investigations and actions
taken by the PNP, AFP, and the CHR;

b. To DETERMINE whether, in light of the


reports and recommendations of the CHR, the
abduction and torture of the petitioner was
committed by persons acting under any of the
public respondents; and on the basis of this
determination
c. To SUBMIT to this Court within ten (10) days
from receipt of the report and recommendation
of the Commission on Human Rightsits own
report, which shall include a recommendation
either for the DISMISSAL of the petition as
against the public respondents who were found
not responsible and/or accountable, or for the
APPROPRIATE REMEDIAL MEASURES, AS
MAY BE ALLOWED BY THE AMPARO AND
HABEAS DATA RULES, TO BE UNDERTAKEN
as against those found responsible and/or
accountable.
Accordingly, the public respondents shall remain personally
impleaded in this petition to answer for any responsibilities
and/or accountabilities they may have incurred during their
incumbencies.
Other findings of the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated
26 August 2009 in CA-G.R. SP No. 00036-WRA that are not
contrary to this decision are AFFIRMED.