[G.R. No. 130487.

June 19, 2000]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBERTO
ESTRADA, accused-appellant.

DECISION
PUNO, J.:

This is an automatic review of the death penalty imposed on accused-
appellant by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44, Dagupan City in Criminal
Case No. 94-00860-D. We nullify the proceedings in the court a quo and
[1]

remand the case for proper disposition.
In an Information dated December 29, 1994, accused-appellant Roberto Estrada y
Lopez was charged with the crime of murder for the killing of one Rogelio P. Mararac, a
security guard. The Information reads:

That on or about the 27th day of December 1994 in the City of Dagupan,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, ROBERTO ESTRADA Y LOPEZ, being then armed with a
butchers knife, with intent to kill one ROGELIO P. MARARAC with treachery
and committed in a holy place of worship, did then and there, wilfully,
unlawfully and criminally, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the
latter by stabbing him, hitting him on vital parts of his body with the said
weapon, thereby causing his death shortly thereafter due to Cardiorespiratory
Arrest, Massive Intrathoracic Hemorrhage, Stab Wound as per Autopsy
Report and Certificate of Death both issued by Dr. Tomas G. Cornel, Assistant
City Health Officer, this City, to the damage and prejudice of the legal heirs of
said deceased ROGELIO P. MARARAC in the amount of not less than FIFTY
THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), Philippine currency, and other
consequential damages.

Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.

Dagupan City, Philippines, December 29, 1994. [2]

At the arraignment on January 6, 1995, accused-appellants counsel, the
Public Attorneys Office, filed an Urgent Motion to Suspend Arraignment and to
Commit Accused to Psychiatric Ward at Baguio General Hospital. It was
alleged that accused-appellant could not properly and intelligently enter a plea

because he was suffering from a mental defect; that before the commission of
the crime, he was confined at the psychiatric ward of the Baguio General
Hospital in Baguio City. He prayed for the suspension of his arraignment and
the issuance of an order confining him at the said hospital. [3]

The motion was opposed by the City Prosecutor. The trial court, motu proprio,
propounded several questions on accused-appellant. Finding that the
questions were understood and answered by him intelligently, the court
denied the motion that same day. [4]

The arraignment proceeded and a plea of not guilty was entered by the court
on accused-appellants behalf. [5]

The prosecution presented four (4) witnesses, namely: (1) Dr. Tomas Cornel, the
Assistant Health Officer of Dagupan City who issued the death certificate and
conducted the autopsy on the victim; (2) Crisanto Santillan, an eyewitness to the
incident; (3) SPO1 Conrado Francisco, one of the policemen who apprehended
accused-appellant; and (4) Rosalinda Sobremonte, the victims sister. The prosecution
established the following facts:
In the morning of December 27, 1994, at the St. Johns Cathedral, Dagupan
City, the sacrament of confirmation was being performed by the Roman
Catholic Bishop of Dagupan City on the children of Dagupan. The cathedral
was filled with more than a thousand people. At 11:00 A.M., nearing the close
of the rites, the Bishop went down the altar to give his final blessing to the
children in the front rows. While the Bishop was giving his blessing, a man
from the crowd went up and walked towards the center of the altar. He
stopped beside the Bishops chair, turned around and, in full view of the
Catholic faithful, sat on the Bishops chair. The man was accused-
appellant. Crisanto Santillan, who was assisting the Bishop at the rites, saw
accused-appellant. Santillan approached accused-appellant and requested
him to vacate the Bishops chair. Gripping the chairs armrest, accused-
appellant replied in Pangasinese: No matter what will happen, I will not move
out! Hearing this, Santillan moved away. [6]

Some of the churchgoers summoned Rogelio Mararac, the security guard at
the cathedral. Mararac went near accused-appellant and told him to vacate
the Bishops chair. Accused-appellant stared intensely at the guard. Mararac
grabbed his nightstick and used it to tap accused-appellants hand on the
armrest. Appellant did not budge. Again, Mararac tapped the latters hand. Still
no reaction. Mararac was about to strike again when suddenly accused-
appellant drew a knife from his back, lunged at Mararac and stabbed him,
hitting him below his left throat. Mararac fell. Accused-appellant went over the
victim and tried to stab him again but Mararac parried his thrust. Accused-
appellant looked up and around him. He got up, went to the microphone and
shouted: Anggapuy nayan dia! (No one can beat me here!). He returned to the

Bishops chair and sat on it again. Mararac, wounded and bleeding, slowly
dragged himself down the altar. [7]

Meanwhile, SPO1 Conrado Francisco, who was directing traffic outside,
received a report of a commotion inside the cathedral. Rushing to the
cathedral, SPO1 Francisco saw a man, accused-appellant, with red stains on
his shirt and a knife in one hand sitting on a chair at the center of the altar. He
ran to accused-appellant and advised him to drop the knife. Accused-
appellant obeyed. He dropped the knife and raised his hands. Thereupon,
Chief Inspector Wendy Rosario, Deputy Police Chief, Dagupan City, who was
attending the confirmation rites at the Cathedral, went near accused-appellant
to pick up the knife. Suddenly, accused-appellant embraced Chief Inspector
Rosario and the two wrestled with each other. Chief Inspector Rosario was
able to subdue accused-appellant. The police came and when they frisked
appellant, they found a leather scabbard tucked around his waist. He was [8]

brought to the police station and placed in jail.
In the meantime, Mararac, the security guard, was brought to the hospital
where he expired a few minutes upon arrival. He died of cardio-respiratory
arrest, massive, intra-thoracic hemorrhage, stab wound. He was found to
[9]

have sustained two (2) stab wounds: one just below the left throat and the
other on the left arm. The autopsy reported the following findings:

EXTERNAL FINDINGS

1. Stab wound, along the parasternal line, level of the 2nd intercostal space, left, 1 x 1
penetrating. The edge of one side of the wound is sharp and pointed.
2. Stab wound, antero-lateral aspect, distal 3rd, arm, left, x x . The edge of one side of
the wound is sharp and pointed.

INTERNAL FINDINGS

Massive intrathoracic, left, hemorrhage with perforation of the upper and lower
lobe of the left lung. The left pulmonary blood vessel was severely cut. [10]

After the prosecution rested its case, accused-appellant, with leave of court,
filed a Demurrer to Evidence. He claimed that the prosecution failed to prove
the crime of murder because there was no evidence of the qualifying
circumstance of treachery; that there was unlawful aggression by the victim
when he tapped accused-appellants hand with his nightstick; and that
accused-appellant did not have sufficient ability to calculate his defensive acts
because he was of unsound mind. [11]

The Demurrer to Evidence was opposed by the public prosecutor. He alleged
that the accused pretended to be weak, tame and of unsound mind; that after
he made the first stab, he furiously continued stabbing and slashing the victim

to finish him off undeterred by the fact that he was in a holy place where a
religious ceremony was being conducted; and the plea of unsound mind had
already been ruled upon by the trial court in its order of January 6, 1995.
[12]

On February 21, 1995, a letter was sent by Inspector Wilfredo F. Valdez, Jail
Warden of Dagupan City to the trial court. Inspector Valdez requested the
court to allow accused-appellant, who was confined at the city jail, to be
treated at the Baguio General Hospital to determine whether he should remain
in jail or be transferred to some other institution. The other prisoners were
allegedly not comfortable with appellant because he had been exhibiting
unusual behavior. He tried to climb up the jail roof so he could escape and see
his family.
[13]

As ordered by the trial court, the public prosecutor filed a Comment to the jail
wardens letter. He reiterated that the mental condition of accused-appellant to
stand trial had already been determined; unless a competent government
agency certifies otherwise, the trial should proceed; and the city jail warden
was not the proper person to determine whether accused-appellant was
mentally ill or not.
[14]

In an order dated August 21, 1995, the trial court denied the Demurrer to
Evidence. Accused-appellant moved for reconsideration.
[15]

While the motion for reconsideration was pending, on February 26, 1996,
counsel for accused-appellant filed a Motion to Confine Accused for Physical,
Mental and Psychiatric Examination. Appellants counsel informed the court
that accused-appellant had been exhibiting abnormal behavior for the past
weeks; he would shout at the top of his voice and cause panic among the jail
inmates and personnel; that appellant had not been eating and sleeping; that
his co-inmates had been complaining of not getting enough sleep for fear of
being attacked by him while asleep; that once, while they were sleeping,
appellant took out all his personal effects and waste matter and burned them
inside the cell which again caused panic among the inmates. Appellants
counsel prayed that his client be confined at the National Center for Mental
Health in Manila or at the Baguio General Hospital. Attached to the motion
[16]

were two (2) letters.One, dated February 19, 1996, was from Inspector Pedrito
Llopis, Jail Warden, Dagupan City, addressed to the trial court judge informing
him of appellants irrational behavior and seeking the issuance of a court order
for the immediate psychiatric and mental examination of accused-appellant.
The second letter, dated February 21, 1996, was addressed to Inspector
[17]

Llopis from the Bukang Liwayway Association, an association of inmates in
the Dagupan City Jail. The letter, signed by the president, secretary and
adviser of said association, informed the jail warden of appellants unusual
behavior and requested that immediate action be taken against him to avoid
future violent incidents in the jail.
[18]

On September 18, 1996, the trial court denied reconsideration of the order
denying the Demurrer to Evidence. The court ordered accused-appellant to
present his evidence on October 15, 1996. [19]

Accused-appellant did not take the witness stand. Instead, his counsel
presented the testimony of Dr. Maria Soledad Gawidan, a resident physician [20]

in the Department of Psychiatry at the Baguio General Hospital, and accused-
appellants medical and clinical records at the said hospital. Dr. Gawidan [21]

testified that appellant had been confined at the BGH from February 18, 1993
to February 22, 1993 and that he suffered from Schizophrenic Psychosis,
Paranoid Typeschizophrenia, paranoid, chronic, paranoid type; and after four [22]

(4) days of confinement, he was discharged in improved physical and mental
condition. The medical and clinical records consisted of the following: (1)
[23]

letter of Dr. Alfredo Sy, Municipal Health Officer, Calasiao, Pangasinan to Dr.
Jesus del Prado, Director, BGH referring accused-appellant for admission and
treatment after a relapse of his violent behavior; (2) the clinical cover sheet
[24]

of appellant at the BGH; (3) the consent slip of appellants wife voluntarily
[25]

entrusting appellant to the BGH; (4) the Patients Record; (5) the Consent
[26] [27]

for Discharge signed by appellants wife; (6) the Summary and Discharges of
[28]

appellant; (7) appellants clinical case history; (8) the admitting notes; (9)
[29] [30] [31]

Physicians Order Form; (10) the Treatment Form/ medication sheet; and
[32] [33]

(11) Nurses Notes. [34]

The trial court rendered a decision on June 23, 1997. It upheld the prosecution
evidence and found accused-appellant guilty of the crime charged and thereby
sentenced him to death, viz:

WHEREFORE, the court finds accused Roberto Estrada y Lopez guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and in view of the presence
of the aggravating circumstance of cruelty which is not offset by any mitigating
circumstance, the accused is sentenced to suffer the Death Penalty and to
indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the amount of P50,000.00.

The accused is ordered to pay the sum of P18,870.00 representing actual
expenses and P100,000.00 as moral damages.

SO ORDERED. [35]

In this appeal, accused-appellant assigns the following errors:
I

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT
GUILTY OF THE CRIME CHARGED, DESPITE CLEAR AND

and one of these is insanity which exempts the actor from criminal liability. the law presumes that every person is of sound mind and that all acts are voluntary. When he commits a felonious or criminal act (delito doloso). [46] The Revised Penal Code in Article 12 (1) provides: ART. Under the classical theory on which our penal code [37] is mainly based. CONVINCING EVIDENCE ON RECORD. When the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines as a felony (delito). GRANTING ARGUENDO THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANTS PLEA OF INSANITY CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AN EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCE. II THE LOWER COURT LIKEWISE ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE STABBING TO DEATH OF ROGELIO MARARAC WAS ATTENDED WITH TREACHERY AND AGGRAVATED BY CRUELTY. The moral and legal [43] [44] presumption under our law is that freedom and intelligence constitute the normal condition of a person. the court shall order his confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums established for persons thus afflicted. with freedom. Man is [38] essentially a moral creature with an absolutely free will to choose between good and evil. [40] intelligence and intent. [39] the act is presumed to have been done voluntarily. which he shall not be permitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same court.e. may be [45] overthrown by other factors. unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval. should be adjudged or held [41] accountable for wrongful acts so long as free will appears unimpaired. however. SUPPORTING HIS PLEA OF INSANITY. he shall be acquitted but the court shall order his confinement in a hospital or asylum for treatment until he may be released without danger. An insane person is exempt from criminal liability unless he has acted during a lucid interval. i. therefore. An acquittal of the accused does not result in his outright . [42] In the absence of evidence to the contrary. This presumption.The following are exempt from criminal liability: 1. An imbecile or an insane person.. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. the basis of criminal liability is human free will. 12. [36] The basic principle in our criminal law is that a person is criminally liable for a felony committed by him. Man. If the court therefore finds the accused insane when the alleged crime was committed.

He then returned to the Bishops chair and sat there as if nothing happened. It goes against normal and ordinary behavior for appellant. [50] Since the presumption is always in favor of sanity. Mere abnormality of the mental faculties will not exclude imputability. it is permissible to receive evidence of the condition of his mind within a reasonable period both before and after that time. Circumstantial evidence. nevertheless. A persons thoughts. uttered words to the faithful which no rational person would have made. He must be deprived of reason and act [49] without the least discernment because there is a complete absence of the power to discern or a total deprivation of freedom of the will. The absence of direct proof. during sacramental rites and in front of all the Catholic faithful to witness. does not entirely discount the probability that appellant was not of sound mind at that time. suffices. insanity exists when there is a complete deprivation of intelligence in committing the act. there is no direct proof that accused-appellant was afflicted with insanity at the time he killed Mararac. motives. From the affidavit of Crisanto Santillan attached [57] to the Information. over the public address system. Appellant did not flee. [52] To ascertain a persons mental condition at the time of the act. he who invokes insanity as an exempting circumstance must prove it by clear and positive evidence. for the [55] unfathomable mind can only be known by overt acts. there are certain circumstances that should have placed the trial court on notice that appellant may not have been in full possession of his mental faculties when he attacked Mararac. [56] In the case at bar. but rather in a verdict which is followed by commitment of the accused to a mental institution.release. without sufficient provocation from the security guard. It was highly unusual for a sane person to go up to the altar and sit on the Bishops chair while the Bishop was administering the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation to children in a jampacked cathedral. if clear and convincing. and emotions may be evaluated only by outward acts to determine whether these conform to the practice of people of sound mind. to stab the latter at the altar. And the evidence on this point must refer to the time preceding the act [51] under prosecution or to the very moment of its execution. Accused-appellants history of mental illness was brought to the courts attention on the day of the arraignment. or at least attempt to flee after the stabbing. The accused must be so insane as to be incapable [48] of entertaining a criminal intent. Neither are [53] [54] specific acts of derangement essential to establish insanity as a defense. He nonchalantly approached the microphone and. Counsel for accused-appellant moved for suspension of the arraignment on the ground that his client could not properly and intelligently enter a plea . Direct testimony is not required. [47] In the eyes of the law.

order such confinement and examination. even with the assistance of counsel. (b) x x x. for he can neither comprehend the full import of the charge nor can he give an intelligent plea thereto. If the accused is not in full possession of his mental faculties at the time he is informed at the arraignment of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.The arraignment shall be suspended. In the American jurisdiction. and it is obvious that under a system of procedure like ours where every accused person has legal counsel. .due to his mental condition. The defense of insanity in a criminal trial concerns the defendants mental condition at the time of the crimes commission. the process is itself a felo de se. Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides: Sec. the judges should bear in mind that not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency is sufficient to justify such suspension. Suspension of arraignment. 12. thus: In passing on the question of the propriety of suspending the proceedings against an accused person on the ground of present insanity. In such case. The arraignment of an accused shall be suspended if at the time thereof he appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition of such nature as to render him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. [60] the issue of the accuseds present insanity or insanity at the time of the court proceedings is separate and distinct from his criminal responsibility at the time of commission of the act. Under these circumstances. [58] The question of suspending the arraignment lies within the discretion of the trial court. would have a fair trial. And the test to determine whether the proceedings will be suspended depends [59] on the question of whether the accused. his confinement for such purpose. if necessary. The Motion for Suspension is authorized under Section 12. the court must suspend the proceedings and order the mental examination of the accused. with the assistance which the law secures or gives. and if confinement be necessary for examination. if at the time thereof: (a) The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. The test is to be found in the question whether the accused would have a fair trial. This rule was laid down as early as 1917. it is not necessary to be so particular as it used to be in England where the accused had no advocate but himself. the court shall order his mental examination and.

Moreover. To put a legally incompetent person on trial or to convict and [70] sentence him is a violation of the constitutional rights to a fair trial and due [71] process of law. The first [67] requisite is the relation between the defendant and his counsel such that the defendant must be able to confer coherently with his counsel. For one. understand the nature and object of the proceedings against him. Thus:[65] [I]t is not enough for the x x x judge to find that the defendant [is] oriented to time and place. [66] There are two distinct matters to be determined under this test: (1) whether the defendant is sufficiently coherent to provide his counsel with information necessary or relevant to constructing a defense. the right to effectively consult with counsel. [68] The rule barring trial or sentence of an insane person is for the protection of the accused. it merely postpones the trial. the right to testify in his own behalf. This test is prescribed by [64] state law but it exists generally as a statutory recognition of the rule at common law. However.g. if he is found incompetent to stand trial. he is not in a position to exercise many of the rights afforded a defendant in a criminal case. In [62] competency cases. i.. rather than of the public.Present insanity is commonly referred to as competency to stand trial and [61] relates to the appropriateness of conducting the criminal proceeding in light of the defendants present inability to participate meaningfully and effectively. the accused may have been sane or insane during the commission of the offense which relates to a determination of his guilt. the fairness of the . communicate with. and (2) whether he is able to comprehend the significance of the trial and his relation to it. the trial is simply postponed until such time as he may be found competent. Incompetency to stand trial is not a defense. and to cooperate. that he must have a rational as well as a factual understanding of the proceedings. but that the test must be whether he has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understandingand whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him. as an incompetent defendant who cannot comprehend the proceedings may not appreciate what information is relevant to the proof of his innocence. the [72] [73] accuracy of the proceedings may not be assured. The second is the relation of the defendant vis-a-vis the court proceedings. e. the test is whether he has the capacity to comprehend his position. [63] In determining a defendants competency to stand trial. Second. to conduct his defense in a rational manner. and assist his counsel to the end that any available defense may be interposed. and [has] some recollection of events. and the right to confront opposing witnesses. and this has several reasons underlying it. which rights are safeguards for the accuracy of the trial result.e.. It has been held that it is inhuman to [69] require an accused disabled by act of God to make a just defense for his life or liberty.

in Tayug. The societal goal of institutionalized retribution may be frustrated when the force of the state is brought to bear against one who cannot comprehend its significance. and psychiatric or even lay testimony bearing on the issue of competency in a particular case. previous confinement for mental disturbance. a comprehension which is greatly dependent upon his understanding of what occurs at trial.proceedings may be questioned. as there are certain basic decisions in the course of a criminal proceeding which a defendant is expected to make for himself. Among the factors a judge may consider is evidence of the defendants irrational behavior. If the defendant is not a conscious and intelligent participant. his lack of comprehension fundamentally impairs the functioning of the trial process. [74] The determination of whether a sanity investigation or hearing should be ordered rests generally in the discretion of the trial court. the trial court denied the motion after finding that the questions propounded on appellant were intelligently answered by him. A criminal proceeding is essentially an adversarial proceeding. He could understand the questions asked of him. is hereby DENIED. Fourth. when asked where he was born. demeanor of the defendant. it is important that the defendant knows why he is being punished. Mere allegation of [75] insanity is insufficient. [78] In the case at bar. The court declared:: xxx It should be noted that when this case was called. for an incompetent defendant is likely to conduct himself in the courtroom in a manner which may destroy the decorum of the court. and he (accused) answered intelligently. when accused-appellant moved for suspension of the arraignment on the ground of accuseds mental condition. Third. he answered. the Urgent Motion to Suspend Arraignment and to Commit Accused to Psychiatric Ward at Baguio General Hospital. the Presiding Judge asked questions on the accused. the adjudication loses its character as a reasoned interaction between an individual and his community and becomes an invective against an insensible object. . for lack of merit. As a matter of fact. The accused could answer intelligently. the dignity of the proceedings may be disrupted. An incompetent defendant may not realize the moral reprehensibility of his conduct. history of mental illness or behavioral abnormalities. There must be evidence or circumstances that raise a reasonable doubt or a bona fide doubt as to defendants competence to [76] [77] stand trial. Even if the defendant remains passive. WHEREFORE. and one of these is his plea.

the Jail Warden of Dagupan City wrote the trial judge informing him of accused-appellants unusual behavior and requesting that he be examined at the hospital to determine whether he should remain in jail or be placed in some other institution. not even for a check-up. [80] The trial court took it solely upon itself to determine the sanity of accused-appellant. If the medical history was not enough to create a reasonable doubt in the judges mind of accused-appellants competency to stand trial. [84] Accused-appellant did not take the witness stand. Despite the two (2) attached letters. After accused-appellant was discharged on [83] February 22. It is also not certain whether his plea was made intelligently. One month after the prosecution rested its case. To determine the accused-appellants competency to stand trial.e.. One year later. This manifestation was made in open [85] court more than two (2) years after the crime. The trial judge is not a psychiatrist or psychologist or some other expert equipped with the specialized knowledge of determining the state of a persons mental health.SO ORDERED. paranoid type. Mental and Psychiatric Examination. i. The trial court instead ordered accused-appellant to present his evidence. [82] Dr. subsequent events should have done so. the claim of mental illness was ignored by the trial court. [79] The fact that accused-appellant was able to answer the questions asked by the trial court is not conclusive evidence that he was competent enough to stand trial and assist in his defense. His counsel manifested that accused-appellant was waiving the right to testify in his own behalf because he was suffering from mental illness. in the instant case. The plea of not guilty was not made by accused-appellant but by the trial court because of his refusal to plead. It is not clear whether accused-appellant was of such sound mind as to fully understand the charge against him. Attached to this motion was a second letter by the new Jail Warden of Dagupan City accompanied by a letter- complaint of the members of the Bukang Liwayway Association of the city jail. should have at least ordered the examination of accused-appellant. accused-appellants counsel filed a Motion to Confine Accused for Physical. 1993. The records are barren of any order disposing of the said motion. Gawidan testified that the illness of accused-appellant. and still. Mental and Psychiatric Examination. the court. he never returned to the hospital. The trial judge ignored this letter. especially in the light of the latters history of mental illness. Section 12. is a lifetime illness and that this requires maintenance medication to avoid relapses. the judge ignored the Motion to Confine [81] Accused for Physical. And despite all the overwhelming . Rule 116 speaks of an unsound mental condition that effectively renders [the accused] unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. schizophrenia.

an intelligent determination of an [87] accuseds capacity for rational understanding ought to rest on a deeper and more comprehensive diagnosis of his mental condition than laymen can make through observation of his overt behavior. The human mind is an entity. In People v. Dagupan City in Criminal Case No. it may have served a dual purpose by determining both his [89] competency to stand trial and his sanity at the time of the offense. [93] IN VIEW WHEREOF. The trial courts negligence was a violation of the basic requirements of due process. The accused. the trial court effectively deprived appellant of a fair trial.indications of accused-appellants state of mind. and thereby ordered that he be subjected to the necessary medical examination to determine his degree of insanity at the time of commission of the crime. we ordered that [92] the joint decision of the trial court be vacated and the cases remanded to the court a quo for proper proceeding. By this time. Once a medical or psychiatric diagnosis is made. 94-00860-D convicting accused-appellant Roberto Estrada and sentencing him to death is vacated and the case is remanded to the court a quo for . the judge found appellant guilty and sentenced him to death! Section 12. Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure speaks of a mental examination. who was charged with two (2) counts of murder and one (1) count of frustrated murder. At this late hour. Nonetheless. We found that the accuseds plea was not an unconditional admission of guilt because he was not in full possession of his mental faculties when he killed the victim. entered a plea of guilty to all three charges and was sentenced to death. under the present [91] circumstances. By depriving appellant of a mental examination. then can the legal question of incompetency be determined by the trial court. Thus. Serafica. a medical finding alone may make it impossible for us to evaluate appellants mental condition at the time of the crimes commission for him to avail of the exempting circumstance of insanity. and understanding it is not [86] purely an intellectual process but depends to a large degree upon emotional and psychological appreciation. and for this reason. Branch 44. the accuseds abilities may be measured against the specific demands a trial will make upon him. almost six (6) years ago. the proceedings before the said court must be nullified. In some Philippine cases. the decision of the Regional Trial Court. the medical and clinical findings of insanity made immediately after the commission of the crime served as one of the bases for the acquittal of the accused. accused-appellants competence to stand trial must be properly ascertained to enable him to participate in his trial meaningfully. The crime in the instant case was committed [90] way back in December 1994. the judge persisted in his personal assessment and never even considered subjecting accused- appellant to a medical examination. [88] If the mental examination on accused-appellant had been promptly and properly made. To top it all.

CHIEF. vs. and for further proceedings. Section 1) b. 2. the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved.the conduct of a proper mental examination on accused-appellant. 1985 RICARDO C. Hildawa and Ricardo C. VER AND GEN. No. G. SO ORDERED. No person shall be deprived of life. MINISTER OF DEFENSE. 70881 August 14. trail may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustified. holduppers.. JUAN PONCE ENRILE." pray that a "preliminary injunction issue directing respondents to recall the crimebusters and restraining them from fielding police teams or any of this sort with authority/license to kill and after hearing. CHIEF OF STAFF. INTEGRATED NATIONAL POLICE AND BRIG. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. However. FABIAN C.: Petitioners Isidro T.R. In all criminal prosecutions. J. (Id. respondents. VALMONTE. to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. PROSPERO OLIVAS. pickpockets and slashers are violative of the provisions of the New Constitution. and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel. Section 17) c. (Constitution. a determination of his competency to stand trial. GEN. to meet the witnesses face to face. Section 19) . (Id. liberty or property without due process of law nor shall any persons be denied the equal protection of the laws. and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and production of evidence in his behalf. THE PC METROCOM & METROPOLITAN POLICE FORCE. L-67766 August 14. to wit: a." They alleged that the formation and fielding of secret marshalsand/or crimebusters with absolute authority to kill thieves. G. respondents. to have a speedy. HON. petitioner. Article IV. petitioner.. Valmonte in these Special Civil Actions for "Declaration of Nullity of Executive/Administrative Order Creating Secret Marshals with Prayer for Restraining Order" and for "Certiorari/Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction/Restraining Order. RELOVA. after arraignment.R. HILDAWA. GEN. declaring the order of respondents fielding crimebusters null and void and making the injunction permanent. robbers. impartial and public trial. No. vs. NARCISO CABRERA. 1985 ISIDRO T.

read one.. There is nothing wrong in the creation and deployment of special operation teams to counter the resurgence of criminality. if in maintaining peace and order.. What is bad is if kill these "criminals" because then they are not only law enforcers but also the prosecutors. upon notice to him. They have the support. liberty or property. Section 5) In their comment. threat. For. (Id. much less. drug addiction. No forced. Violence does not find support in a democratic society where the rule of law prevails. the judges and the executioners. and only punished after inquiry and investigation. or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Section 21) f. as there is nothing wrong in the formation by the police of special teams/squads to prevent the proliferation of vices. Respondents' Comment in G.. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Excessive fines shall not be imposed nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted. modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may provide. They are subject to the same law as other peace officers. reverse. That is the basic job of the police. respondents denied the existence of an executive or administrative order authorizing secret marshals or crimebusters to shoot and disable suspected criminals. (Id. It is our way of life that a man is entitled to due process which simply means that before he can be deprived of his life. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxx xxx xxx (2) Review and revise. final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in- xxxxxxxxx (d) all criminals cases in which the penalty imposed is death or life imprisonment. 70881) Petitioner failed to present copies of the alleged executive or administrative order. It is the alleged use of violence in the implementation of the objectives of the special squads that the court is concerned about.." (p. (Id. Section 20) e. . he must be given an opportunity to defend himself. Due process of law requires that the accused must be heard in court of competent jurisdiction. with an . Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel. commendation and applause of the people when they. the peace of becomes the person to be feared the citizen will find himself between the criminal and the lawless public official. pornography and the like. prostitution. No. The formation and fielding of these special operation teams in Metro Manila. They even admitted in Court that they have not seen. or the crimebusters as they are now known "was impelled by the proliferation of robbery/holdups and other crimes against passengers of public conveyance. 4. proceeded against under the orderly process of law. d. violence. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence. intimidation.R.. and to be informed of such right. apprehend violators of the law to be brought to the courts of justice for their prosecution and punishment it found guilty. They do not enjoy any more immunity than are enjoyed by all law enforcement officials.

(3) he employed reasonable means to prevent or repel the aggression. in his COMPLIANCE to the resolution of this Court. It becomes his duty to establish this justifying circumstance by evidence clear and convincing. the said policemen involved have been ordered released. dated June 11. par. the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) should investigate to find out who the assailant was and the reason for the death of the victim. and. should comply strictly with the law. (2) there was lack of sufficient provocation on his part. and the person arrested shall not be subject to any greater restraint that is necessary for his detention (Section 2. U. defense of stranger or in the fulfillment of a duty. when a person is killed by another the burden of proving self-defense is on the assailant. defense of relatives. that the cases against the latter have been filed with the Judge Advocate General's Office (JAGO)." reports that from May 4. 1985. that in the meantime. "no violence or unnecessary force shall be used in making an arrest. In fact. We repeat that it is lawful on the part of respondents to form special operation teams of whatever name they may be called to combat the upsurge of crimes against passengers of public utility vehicles. Considering the allegations of the petition as well as the comment of the respondents and after hearing the parties. SO ORDERED. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence. should death or injury result from the apprehension of the suspected criminal(s). respondents are hereby enjoined to immediately report the matter to their superior officers and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) for investigation and appropriate action. 1985 to May 9.. and. It need not wait for a formal complaint to be lodged by the relatives of the deceased. for it is uncivilized. (Ong Chang Wing vs. members of these special teams are ordered that in making arrests they should not use unnecessary force. the respondents are directed to exercise strict supervision and control over these special operation teams.S. 1985. representing the respondents. Once the Identity of the killer(s) has been established and the latter having admitted that he is the author of the death of the deceased. 2. the investigating officer should file a case in the proper court or tribunal which will determine whether or not the killing was made in self-defense. is the license to kill because it is violative of our fundamental law and the universal human right. . the alleged killings by the special operation teams (popularly known as crimebusters) as reported in the dailies should be looked into for determination of the truth of the reports and for proper action. He must show that (1) he is not the unlawful aggressor. It matters not that the People's evidence is weak. and accord to the suspects all their constitutional rights. fifteen (15) alleged holduppers were killed by Policemen. taxis and all other forms of public conveyance and. Further. In fact. What is disagreeable and cannot be tolerated." The Solicitor General.opportunity to be heard. Rule113 of the Rules of Court). 1049) Thus. requiring him "to submit the data and updated report(s) conducted thereon by the authorities relative to the killing of the victims by the 'Secret Marshals' or 'Crime Busters' operations. buses. 40 Phil. In this connection. whenever a person suspected of a crime is killed under the circumstances alleged during the hearing. and a judgment awarded within the authority of a constitutional law. WHEREFORE. formed to conduct a concentrated campaign against criminal elements preying on passengers of jeepneys.

R. petitioners. THE TRIAL COUNSEL OF MILITARY COMMISSION NO. Reynaldo Maclang. RENE J. Lorenzo M. G. OLAGUER. L-69882 May 22. Marciano. ESTER MISA-JIMENEZ. Joker P. Arroyo. L-54558 May 22. AMADO and MAC ACERON. JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL. 34. Joaquin Misa for petitioner Ester Misa-Jimenez. Diesmos. OTHONIEL JIMENEZ. THE CHIEF OF STAFF. Danilo R. Jr. 1987 EDUARDO B. Sabino Padilla. MILITARY COMMISSION NO. petitioners. Amado were arrested by the military authorities. CARLOS LAZARO. de Ocampo. Carlos Lazaro. Tanada and Rene Sarmiento for petitioners Eduardo Olaguer and Othoniel Jimenez. DE OCAMPO. OTHONIEL V. vs. De Ocampo and Victoriano C. MILITARY COMMISSION NO. MARCIANO.3. Jaime Villanueua for petitioner Danilo R. Rene J. Teodorico N. 34.: Filed with this Court are two Petitions wherein the fundamental question is whether or not a military tribunal has the jurisdiction to try civilians while the civil courts are open and functioning. respondents. JIMENEZ. AFP. Magdalena De Los Santos Maclang. No. Jimenez. MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS. REYNALDO MACLANG and ESTER MISA- JIMENEZ. They were . TEODORICO N. 1987 EDUARDO OLAGUER. On December 24. DANILO R. No. They were all initially detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City. respondents. and THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE. Wigberto Tanada for petitioners Olaguer and Maclang GANCAYCO. AFP. Olaguer. Ester Misa- Jimenez. DIESMOS. 34. J. MAGDALENA DE LOS SANTOS-MACLANG. and Jose B. Jejomar Binay for petitioners Reynaldo Maclang and Magdalena de los Santos-Maclang. VICTORIANO C. the herein petitioners Eduardo B. The two Petitions have been consolidated inasmuch as the issues raised therein are interrelated. REYNALDO MACLANG. Othoniel V. vs. 1979. Fulgencio Factoran for petitioners Maclang and Magdalena de los Santos-Maclang Rene Saguisag for petitioner Mac Aceron. Puerto for petitioner Othoniel Jimenez.

8 In a Motion filed with this Court on July 25. 34 are in gross violation of their constitutional right to due process of law. 11 On December 4. prohibition and mandamus. (2) conspiracy to assassinate President. The petitioners also seek the return of all property taken from them by the respondents concerned. (4) conspiracy to assassinate Messrs." 6 They sought to enjoin the respondent Military Commission No. All of the petitioners are civilians. In sum. On August 9. 1985. Arturo Tangco. 1980. the respondent Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines 3 created the respondent Military Commission No 34 to try tile criminal case filed against the petitioners. On June 13. 34. 12 The respondents named in the Petition are the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They also sought the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. In the course of the proceedings. the respondents filed a Rejoinder to the Reply submitted by the petitioners. this Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the respondents from executing the Decision of the respondent Military Commission No. Teodoro Valencia and Generals Romeo Espino and Fabian Ver. 34 passed sentence convicting the petitioners and imposed upon them the penalty of death by electrocution. MC-34-1. 1981. They also maintain that the proceedings before the respondent Military Commission No. 1980. and (7) conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion. also incarcerated at Camp Bagong Diwa. trial ensued. the Judge Advocate General. pending the resolution of the Petition. the petitioners were charged for subversion 1 upon the recommendation of the respondent Judge Advocate General and the approval of the respondent Minister of National Defense. (3) conspiracy to assassinate cabinet members Juan Ponce Enrile. 9 In the Resolution of this Court dated July 30. 1980." 10 On August 31. 1984. 34 for the reason that the same is null and void. (6) attempted murder of Messrs. thereafter. 4 On July 30. The thrust of their arguments is that military commissions have no jurisdiction to try civilians for offenses alleged to have been committed during the period of martial law. the cases were submitted for decision. 34 from proceeding with the trial of their case. Petitioner Mac Aceron voluntarily surrendered to the authorities sometime in June.subsequently transferred to the detention center at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan except for petitioner Olaguer who remained in detention at Camp Crame. 7 On November 20. certiorari. and in due time. Their other arguments in the earlier Petition are stressed anew. . on February 14. the respondents filed their Answer to the Petition. namely: (1) unlawful possession of explosives and incendiary devices. 1980. and Mrs. Jose Roño and Onofre Corpus. 1985. this time for habeas corpus. petitioner Olaguer requested that the Petition be considered withdrawn as far as he is concerned. 34 14 On February 18. Military Commission No. 1981. 1985. 13 On September 12. 1980. and from implementing the judgment of conviction rendered by the respondent Military Commission No. the respondent Military Commission No. particularly on August 19. 1980. 5 Sometime thereafter. 1980 and was. the petitioners submmitted their reply to the Answer. the second Petition seeks to enjoin the said respondents from taking any further action on the case against the petitioners. On May 30. 1984. the said prayer was granted. Maclang and Othoniel and Ester Jimenez went to this Court and filed the other instant Petition. Marcos. 1986. the respondents filed their Answer to the Petition. Leonardo Perez. On September 23. the petitioners went to this Court and filed the instant Petition for prohibition and habeas corpus. petitioners Olaguer. an amended charge sheet was filed for seven (7) offenses. 2 The case was designated as Criminal Case No. (5) arson of nine buildings. Francisco Tatad and Vicente Paterno. Thus. They likewise sought their release from detention by way of a writ of habeas corpus. the petitioners submitted an extensive Brief. the Minister of National Defense and the Director of the Bureau of Prisons. 15 Thereafter. and inciting to rebellion.

are directly related to the . Armed Forces of the Philippines.. l. President Ferdinand E. On the basis of this. have been ruled upon by a divided Supreme Court in Aquino. or other circumstances which render prosecution of the cases difficult. The issue on the jurisdiction of military commissions or tribunals to try civilians for offenses allegedly committed before. to create military tribunals to try and decide cases "of military personnel and such other cases as may be referred to them. 1986. . violations of the laws on firearms. . 17 When the release of the persons in whose behalf the application for a writ of habeas corpus was filed is effected. contend otherwise. on September 21. to wit — (1) On January 17. the Chief of Staff. 34 are in gross violation of their constitutional right to due process of law. 2 has been lawfully constituted and validly vested with jurisdiction to hear the cases against civilians. 2. over crimes against public order. 12 . including the petitioner. We have taken into account several supervening events which have occurred hitherto. The main issue raised by the petitioners is whether or not military commissions or tribunals have the jurisdiction to try civilians for offenses allegedly committed during martial law when civil courts are open and functioning. The petitioners maintain that military commissions or tribunals do not have such jurisdiction and that the proceedings before the respondent Military Commission No. 8 . The Court has previously declared that the proclamation of Martial Law .. We come now to the other matters raised in the two Petitions. 1986. however. in the face of the emergency. petitioners Eduardo Olaguer and Othoniel Jimenez obtained provisional liberty on January 23. 8 (creating military tribunals) and directed that "the military tribunals created pursuant thereto are hereby dissolved upon final determination of case's pending therein which may not be transferred to the civil courts without irreparable prejudice to the state in view of the rules on double jeopardy. Jr. 18 Inasmuch as the herein petitioners have been released from their confinement in military detention centers.In resolving these two Petitions. 20 2. To preserve the safety of the nation in times of national peril. The sole issue in habeas corpus proceedings is detention. 1981. he has authorized in General Order No. 16 The rest of the petitioners have been released sometime before or after President Corazon C. the President of the Philippines necessarily possesses broad authority compatible with the imperative requirements of the emergency. v. . . 1981. The respondents. 2045 officially lifting martial law in the Philippines. and (2) Petitioner Ester Misa-Jimenez was granted provisional liberty in January. Marcos issued Proclamation No.. violations of the Anti-Subversion Act.. the military tribunals were vested with jurisdiction "exclusive of the civil courts. the Petition for the issuance of the writ becomes moot and academic.. and other crimes which.. On the other hand. is valid and constitutional and that its continuance is justified by the danger posed to the public safety." among others. The same Proclamation revoked General Order No. as well as the other issues raised by the petitioners." In General Order No. Aquino assumed office in February. 1972.". Military Commission No. the instant Petitions for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus should be dismissed for having become moot and academic. 19 The pertinent portions of the main opinion of the Court are as follows — We hold that the respondent Military Commission No. if not impossible. and more particularly during a period of martial law.

. 29 Luneta v. 1. essential that in a martial law situation. Leopando.. A military tribunal of competent jurisdiction.. martial law . 26 . 6 and 25. adequately meet the due process requirement. Jr. to wit: Gumaua v.. give way in areas governed by martial law. Petitioner nevertheless insists that he being a civilian.. In De Guzman v.Espino. Due process of law does not necessarily mean a judicial proceeding in the regular courts. triable. 1982. Enrile.. although not unanimously. to the defense of the political and social liberties of the people and to the institution of reforms to prevent the resurgence of the rebellion or insurrection or secession or the threat thereof . 33 an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and several other persons were charged with Serious Illegal Detention before the Court of First Instance of Maguindanao sometime in October. 23 "Public danger warrants the substitution of executive process for judicial process. Military Commission Nos. the martial law administrator must have ample and sufficient means to quell the rebellion and restore civil order. his trial by military commission deprives him of his right to due process. legal processes can be superseded and military tribunals authorized to exercise the jurisdiction normally vested in courts.. 28 Sison v. however. had the authority to "promulgate proclamations. be appraised anew and abandoned or modified accordingly. .. Prompt and effective trial and punishment of offenders have been considered as necessary in a state of martial law. . 25.. orders and decrees during the period of martial law essential to the security and preservation of the Republic. since this Court recognized that the incumbent President (President Marcos). of course. since in his view the due process guaranteed by the Constitution to persons accused of "ordinary" crimes means judicial process. It is. quelling of the rebellion and preservation of the safety and security of the Republic. We find cogent basis for re-examining the same. 27Buscayno v. and renders offenses against the law of war...." xxx xxx xxx 5. creates an exception to the general rule of exclusive subjection to the civil jurisdiction. 1. The military officer sought to effect the transfer of the case against him to the General Court Martial for trial pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. .. 2.. 32 These rulings notwithstanding.. notice and opportunity to defend and trial before an impartial tribunal. accusation in due form. Military Commission No. This ruling has been affirmed. Special Military Commission No. When it is absolutely imperative for public safety. 25 . These measures he had the authority to promulgate. as a mere power of detention may be wholly inadequate for the exigency.. Hon.. the petitioners anchor their argument on their prayer that the ruling in Aquino. in at least six other cases. under paragraphs 1 and 2 of Section 3 of Article XVII of the new (1973) Constitution. After a thorough deliberation on the matter. 31 and Buscayno v. "The immunity of civilians from military jurisdiction must. as well as those of a civil character.. . . by military tribunals. Some recent pronouncements of this Court could be considered as attempts to either abandon or modify the ruling in Aquino.. " 21 3. 22 " . The guarantee of due process is not a guarantee of any particular form of tribunal in criminal cases. et al. Enrile. This argument ignores the reality of the rebellion and the existence of martial law." 24 .. Jr. 30 Ocampo v.

. Justice Hugo E. When the matter was elevated to this Court by way of a Petition for certiorari.. the accused shall be entitled to. In Animas v. the integrity and independence of the judiciary.. Gutierrez. this Court relied on the enunciated policy of normalization in upholding the primacy of civil courts. in relation to the Charter as a whole. now Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee 35 and Madame Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma 36 in Aquino. is a trial by judicial process. and martial law is a thing of the past. long before the proclamation of martial law. The Court was also of the view that the crime alleged to have been committed did not have any political complexion. as a general rule. They stressed that the alleged murder was devoid of any political complexion. there is no more reason why a murder committed in 1971 should still be retained. the presumption was in favor of civil courts always trying civilian accused. be transferred to the civil courts. as well as the constitutional provisions on social justice. at this time. Now that it is already late 1986. by a military tribunal. the republican form of government. Jr. Military commissions or tribunals. 37 The trial contemplated by the due process clause of the Constitution. all cases pending before the military tribunals should.1850. a trial.. the said accused went to this Court on a Petition for certiorari and challenged the jurisdiction of the military tribunal over their case. ordered the transfer of the criminal proceedings to the civil courts after noting that with martial law having been lifted in the country in 1981. In case of doubt.. prohibition and mandamus. The Minister of National Defense. to wit — Inspite or because of the ambiguous nature of . All of the said accused were recommended for prosecution before a military tribunal. hopefully never more to return.. With the view that practical and procedural difficulties will result from the transfer sought. We agree with the dissenting views of then Justice. the speedy disposition of cases. speaking through Mr. this Court resolved to dismiss the Petition for lack of merit. Jr. 34 a military officer and several civilians were charged with murder alleged to have been committed sometime in November. . Due process of law demands that in all criminal prosecutions (where the accused stands to lose either his life or his liberty). 1971. xxx xxx xxx The crime for which the petitioners were charged was committed . We quote the pertinent portions of the Decision of the Court. the Court decided that a ruling on the constitutional issues raised was not necessary. in so far as they hold that military commissions or tribunals have no jurisdiction to try civilians for alleged offenses when the civil courts are open and functioning. not by executive or military process. and the supremacy of civilian authority over the military. among others. The petitioners contended that General Order No. civilian takeover of jurisdiction was concerned and notwithstanding the shilly-shallying and vacillation characteristic of its implementation. This Court.. The trial court disallowed such transfer for the reason that the said Decree is unconstitutional inasmuch as it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. This policy meant that as many cases as possible involving civilians being tried by military tribunals as could be transferred to civil courts should be turned over immediately. in the course of the proceedings. by whatever . 59 upon which the jurisdiction of the military tribunal is anchored refers only to the crime of illegal possession of firearms and explosives in relation to other crimes committed with a political complexion.

Free countries of the world have tried to restrict military tribunals to the narrowest jurisdiction deemed absolutely essential to maintaining discipline among troops in active service. . Substantially different rules of evidence and procedure apply in military trials. the power and the duty of interpreting the laws as when an individual should be . And in Toth v. Moreover. Supreme Court aptly pointed out .name they are called. Apart from these differences." and that ex- servicemen should be given "the benefits of a civilian court trial when they are actually civilians . are not courts within the Philippine judicial system. provided by the legislature for the President as Commander-in-Chief to aid him in properly commanding the army and navy and enforcing discipline therein. As explained by Justice Teehankee in his separate dissenting opinion- . military tribunals pertain to the Executive Department of the Government and are simply instrumentalities of the executive power.. and utilized under his orders or those of his authorized military representatives. Quarles.S.. xxx xxx xxx The U.5 million) could not be rendered "helpless before some latter-day revival of old military charges" and subjected to military trials for offenses committed while they were in the military service prior to their discharge. despite strenuous efforts to eliminate the danger. Judicial power exists only in the courts. Civilians like (the) petitioner placed on trial for civil offenses under general law are entitled to trial by judicial process.S.. the military tribunals cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over civilians for civil offenses committed by them which are properly cognizable by the civil courts that have remained open and have been regularly functioning. the suggestion of the possibility of influence on the actions of the court martial by the officer who convenes it. which have "exclusive power to hear and determine those matters which affect the life or liberty or property of a citizen." The late Justice Black . 38 Since we are not enemy-occupied territory nor are we under a military government and even on the premise that martial law continues in force. selects its members and the counsel on both sides. and who usually has direct command authority over its members is a pervasive one in military law. 39 . in ruling that discharged army veterans (estimated to number more than 22. that "the presiding officer at a court martial is not a judge whose objectivity and independence are protected by tenure and undiminished salary and nurtured by the judicial tradition.. but is a military law officer. added that (A) Court-Martial is not yet an independent instrument of justice but remains to a significant degree a specialized part of the over-all mechanism by which military discipline is preserved... 40 the U. Judicial power is vested by the Constitution exclusively in the Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as are duly established by law.. 41 Following the principle of separation of powers underlying the existing constitutional organization of the Government of the Philippines.. Supreme Court furtherstressed that the assertion of military authority over civilians cannot rest on the President's power as Commander-in- Chief or on any theory of martial law... not by executive or military process.

were to present their evidence after the first one. In addition to this pronouncement. According to petitioners. the session was resumed and the Commission rendered its sentence finding petitioners guilty of all the charges against them and imposing upon them the penalty of death by electrocution. they needed the documents to adequately prepare for their defense. it is well-settled that once a deprivation of a constitutional right is shown to exist. December 4. But in spite of that. 1984. We quote the pertinent portions of the Manifestation submitted by the Solicitor General. But on that fateful day. as observed by the Solicitor General. the Commission abruptly decided that petitioners are deemed to have waived the presentation of evidence in their behalf. 1984 the prosecution suddenly furnished them with certain transcripts of the proceedings which were not complete. because as shown by the records. 44 Thus. But a few days before December 4. After a recess of only twenty-five (25) minutes. when the respondent Commission rendered its sentence. and that the other petitioners were not ready because it was not yet their turn to do so. has finished presenting his evidence. and in complete disregard of their constitutional right to adduce evidence on their behalf. Indeed. the tribunal that rendered the judgment in question is deemed ousted of jurisdiction. military tribunals cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over civilians for offenses committed by them and which are properly cognizable by the civil courts. even assuming arguendo that the respondent Military Commission No. petitioners have requested the prosecution to provide them with copies of the complete record of trial. as they do so today and as they did during the period of martial law in the country. The other petitioners. he was not even served with the requested subpoena. to wit — Prior to the session of December 4. the Commission should be deemed ousted of its jurisdiction when. and it cannot be the function of the Executive Department. Despite their explanation that Othoniel Jimenez cannot proceed because the prosecution. through the military authorities. 1984. 34 does have the jurisdiction to try the petitioners. but the prosecution dillydallied and failed to provide them with the document requested. 42 It is not. respondent Military Commission proceeded to ask each one of the petitioners if they are ready to present their evidence. as agreed upon. 34 appears to have been rendered too hastily to the prejudice to the petitioners. We take note of the observation made by the Solicitor General to the effect that the death penalty imposed upon the petitioners by the respondent Military Commission No. which performs the duties and functions of clerk of court. 45 . the witness requested to be served with subpoena was not around. Othoniel Jimenez.considered to have violated the law) is primarily a function of the judiciary. the said tribunal acted in disregard of the constitutional rights of the accused. Petitioner Othoniel Jimenez was scheduled to start with the presentation of his evidence on said date and he requested that his first witness be served with subpoena. failed to subpoena his witness. 43 To have it otherwise would be a violation of the constitutional right to due process of the civilian concerned. including the evidences presented against them. And as long as the civil courts in the land remain open and are regularly functioning. and considered the case submitted for resolution.

Undoubtedly.) This provision in the fundamental law is just one of the many steps taken by the Filipino people towards the restoration of the vital role of the judiciary in a free country-that of the guardian of the Constitution and the dispenser of justice without fear or favor. The Minister of National Defense . Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. military tribunals cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over civilians for offenses committed by them. The main opinion in Aquino. Thereafter. We take this opportunity to reiterate that as long as the civil courts in the land are open and functioning. nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies. all military tribunals should henceforth be considered functus officio in their relationship with civilians. nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function. No longer should military tribunals or commissions exercise jurisdiction over civilians for offenses allegedly committed by them when the civil courts are open and functioning. No longer may the exclusive judicial power of the civil courts. following the theory relied upon in the main opinion. beginning with the Supreme Court down to the lower courts 47 be appropriate by any military body or tribunal. the instability and insecurity felt by many members of the judiciary due to various . We find that Proclamation No. including the herein petitioners. The principle of double jeopardy would not be an obstacle to such transfer because an indispensable element of double jeopardy is that the first tribunal which tried the case must be of competent jurisdiction. national security and other similar labels. 2045 (dated January 17. nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ. 34 (and all military tribunals for that matter) of its supposed authority to try civilians. Whether or not martial law has been proclaimed throughout the country or over a part thereof is of no moment. (Emphasis supplied. The downgrading of judicial prestige caused by the glorification of military tribunals. the military tribunals are devoid of the required jurisdiction. The imprimatur for this observation is found in Section 18. Jr. does not suspend the operation of the Constitution. Proclamation No. all cases against civilians pending therein should eventually be transferred to the civil courts for proper disposition. 46 As discussed earlier. At this juncture. 2045 is an acknowledgment on the part of the Executive Department of the Government that the national emergency no longer exists. 1981) officially lifting martial law in the Philippines and abolishing all military tribunals created pursuant to the national emergency effectively divests the respondent Military Commission No. We find it appropriate to quote a few paragraphs from the ponencia of Mr. is premised on the theory that military tribunals have the jurisdiction to try civilians as long as the period of national emergency (brought about by public disorder and similar causes) lasts. Justice Gutierrez in Animas v.Moreover. or even diluted under the guise of a state of martial law. to wit — A state of martial law. By virtue of the proclamation itself. 48 viz — The jurisdiction given to military tribunals over common crimes and civilian(s) accused at a time when all civil courts were fully operational and freely functioning constitutes one of the saddest chapters in the history of the Philippine judiciary.

. Jr. statutory and procedural safeguards embodied in the judicial process and presided over not by military officers. Aquino. and (4) of the right to appeal to the regular appellate courts and to judicial review by this Court in the event of conviction and imposition of a sentence of death or life imprisonment which the charges carry and wherein a qualified majority of ten (10) votes for affirmance of the death penalty is required. Aquino. he was denied due process of law as guaranteed under the Bill of Rights which further ordains that "No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. Military Commission No.A. xxx xxx xxx The terrible consequences of subjecting civilians to trial by military process is best exemplified in the sham military trial of the martyred former Senator Benigno S. are not courts and do not form part of the judicial system. And in his separate concurring opinion in Animas. his trial by a military tribunal created by the then President and composed of the said President's own military subordinates without tenure and of non-lawyers (except the law member) and of whose decision the President is the final reviewing authority as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces deprived him of a basic constitutional right to be heard by a fair and impartial tribunal. whereby he was deprived (1) by the summary ex parte investigation by the Chief prosecution staff of the JAGO of his right to be informed of the charges against him and of his right to counsel as expressly recognized by Section 20 of the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution."Worse. Mr. that "Civilians placed on trial for offenses under general law are entitled to trial by judicial process. or tribunals. and the many judicial problems spawned by extended authoritarian rule which effectively eroded judicial independence and self- respect will require plenty of time and determined efforts to cure. 1700 and of the other charges against him before the proper civilian officials and to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him under R.A. In fine. Judicial power is vested by the Constitution exclusively in the Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as are duly established by law. 5180. vs. Military commissions. Jr. et al. The immediate return to civil courts of all cases which properly belong to them is only a beginning. causes both real and imagined. by the regular independent courts of justice. Since we are not enemy-occupied territory nor are we under a military government and even on the premise that martial law continues in force. 2. with all the specific constitutional. considering that the said President had publicly declared the evidence . the military tribunals cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over civilians for civil offenses committed by them which are properly cognizable by the civil courts that have remained open and have been regularly functioning. R. (3) of the right to be tried by judicial process. Chief Justice Teehankee had this to say — I only wish to add that the great significance of our judgment in this case is that we reestablish and reinstate the fundamental principle based on civilian supremacy over the military as urged in vain in my dissent in the case of Benigno S. not by executive or military process. (2) of his vested statutory right to a preliminary investigation of the subversion charges against him before the proper court of first instance as required under Section 5 of the Anti-Subversion Act.

VICENTE JAYME. MARAMBA. FRANCISCO I. 1986 SATURNINA GALMAN. FELIX PEREZ. an these aberrations now belong to the dead and nightmarish past. over civilians for offenses allegedly committed by them as long as the civil courts are open and functioning. even during the period of martial law. CRISTINA TAN. Our pronouncement in Aquino. Thus. RAMON DEL ROSARIO. 34 is hereby made permanent and the said respondents are permanently prohibited from further pursuing Criminal Case No. SO ORDERED. LOPEZ.R. 2 52 and all decided cases affirming the same.. The temporary restraining order issued against the respondents enjoining them from executing the Decision of the respondent Military Commission No. O. a doctrine which should be abandoned or modified should be abandoned or modified accordingly. petitioners. Nonetheless. reverence for precedent. that a military commission or tribunal cannot try and exercise jurisdiction. BELLARMINE BERNAS. simply as precedent. No. BERNARDO M. it is Our considered opinion. MARCELO B. JR. more important than anything else is that this Court should be right. the Petitions for habeas corpus are DISMISSED for having become moot and academic. JOSE C.. G. ENRIQUE SYQUIA. to borrow a phrase from the then Chief Justice. 72670 September 12. SANTIAGO DUMLAO. RICARDO J. BENGZON.. * ANDREW GONZALEZ. 4. . in view of the foregoing. 50 Accordingly.L. M. EMMANUEL V. JAIME V. against petitioner "not only strong (but) overwhelming" and thereby prejudged and predetermined his guilt.. SORIANO. VILLEGAS. JOSE B. DAVID SYCIP. LAURETA. JR. JR. the rule of stare decisis is entitled to respect because stability in jurisprudence is desirable. JOAQUIN G. "shrivelled in the effulgence of the overpowering rays of martial rule. The Petitions for certiorari and prohibition are hereby GRANTED. and none of his military subordinates could be expected to go against their Commander-in-Chief's declaration. cannot prevail when constitutionalism and the public interest demand otherwise. Certainly. After all. MC-34-1 against the petitioners. AUGUSTO SANCHEZ. 49 As stated earlier.S. 51 For the same reasons. ROMERO. **. SOLITA COLLAS-MONSOD. SALVADOR P. FRANCISCO GARCHITORENA. S.B. The creation of the respondent Military Commission No. FERNAN. in so far as they are inconsistent with this pronouncement. JR. WHEREFORE. REYES. v. JESUS VARGAS. 34 to try civilians like the petitioners is hereby declared unconstitutional and all its proceedings are deemed null and void. The sentence rendered by the respondent Military Commission No. We have been asked to re-examine a previous ruling of the Court with a view towards abandoning or modifying the same. MARY CONCEPCION BAUTISTA.. Hopefully. Jr. ROMULO. FELIX K. We do so now but not without careful reflection and deliberation on Our part. should be deemed abandoned.J. Military Commission No.. ONGPIN. REYNALDO GALMAN and JOSE P. No pronouncement as to costs. MARIA FERIA. CHAVEZ. BERNAS. JOSE E. and that any judgment rendered by such body relating to a civilian is null and void for lack of jurisdiction on the part of the military tribunal concerned. CECILIA MUÑOZ PALMA. and We so hold. and all the items or properties taken from the petitioners in relation to the said criminal case should be returned to them immediately. 34 imposing the death penalty on the petitioners is hereby vacated for being null and void. when time-tested doctrines.

ARMANDO DELA CRUZ. SGT. DESOLONG. CLARO LAT. Ninoy pleaded in vain that the military tribunals are admittedly not courts but mere instruments and subject to the control of the President as created by him under the General Orders issued by him as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. BAUTISTA. Members). Pamaran. FELIPE VALERIO. Lupino Lazaro and Arturo M. and that he had already been publicly indicted and adjudged guilty by the President of the charges in a nationwide press conference held on August 24. CIC MARIO LAZAGA. Alfonso S. JESUS CASTRO. 1972 by then President Ferdinand E. VICENTE B. GEN. Ver and Col. 1971 of the . GEN. Bernaldo for respondent H. TOMAS FERNANDEZ. SGT. he was sentenced to death by firing squad by a military tribunal for common offenses alleged to have been committed long before the declaration of martial law and whose jurisdiction over him as a civilian entitled to trial by judicial process by civil courts he repudiated. JR. Cruz for B. Quisumbing for respondent P. ARTURO G. BRIG. ROLANDO C. OLIVAS. MAJ. SGT. SGT. FABIAN C. respondents. CIC ROGELIO MORENO. Jimenez for respondent Brig. Chairman. Vera Cruz. FILOMENO MIRANDA. Norberto J. CAPT. 2nd LT. Jr. BONA. LUFHER A. CAPT. ERNESTO M.. VER. RODOLFO M. Marcos. MATEO. and Justices Augusto Amores and Bienvenido Vera Cruz. PEPITO TORIO. SGT. ESTELO.J. SGT. C. Gosuico. COL. Gen. DE GUZMAN. Antonio R. SGT. AIC CORDOVA G. Gayos for M. SGT. COL.: Last August 21st. TIGAS. SGT. CUSTODIO. SGT. Romulo Quimbo for respondent B." 1 This followed the Plaza Miranda bombing of August 21. imprisoned for almost eight years since the imposition of martial law in September. Edgardo B.vs. de Castro for petitioners. LLEWELYN KAVINTA. Fernandez. FIRST DIVISION (represented by Justice Manuel Pamaran. PABLO MARTINEZ. RESOLUTION TEEHANKEE. Olivas. PROSPERO A. 1971 when he declared the evidence against Ninoy "not only strong but overwhelming . LEONARDO MOJICA. ARNULFO DE MESA. Jr. CUSTODIO. Tigas. Rodolfo U. Coronel for respondents Gen. Felix Solomon for respondent Col. our nation marked with solemnity and for the first time in freedom the third anniversary of the treacherous assassination of foremost opposition leader former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino. PROSPERO A. A. Custodio. AIC ANICETO ACUPIDO and HERMILO GOSUICO. SGT. SGT. CAPT. *** . ROMEO M. SANDIGANBAYAN. Ramon M. JUSTICE BERNARDO FERNANDEZ (Ombudsman) and GEN. Custodio.

1983 which held 125 hearing days commencing November 3. independent and dispassionate investigation by prestigious and free investigators. 1983 (including 3 hearings in Tokyo and 8 hearings in Los Angeles. in turn. The large masses of people who joined in the ten-day period of national mourning and came out in millions in the largest and most orderly public turnout for Ninoy's funeral reflected their grief for his martyrdom and their yearning for the truth. 1983) was a communist-hired gunman. Ninoy Aquino was nevertheless thereafter allowed in May. Jr. it (was) technically impossible to get inside (such) a cordon. the military's "fall guy" was "not the assassin of Sen. 5 he finally constituted the Board 6 on October 22. notwithstanding that the airport was ringed by airtight security of close to 2. 1971 elections (when eight persons were killed and practically all of the opposition candidates headed by Senator Jovito Salonga and many more were seriously injured). and that the military escorts gunned him down in turn." while the chairman's minority report would exclude nineteen of them and limit as plotters "the six persons who were on the service stairs while Senator Aquino was descending" and "General . the chairman. Arturo Custodio who picked him up from his house on August 17. After three years of exile and despite the regime's refusal to give him a passport. who was received congenially and cordially by the then President who treated the report as if it were the majority report instead of a minority report of one and forthwith referred it to respondent Tanodbayan "for final resolution through the legal system" and for trial in the Sandiganbayan which was better known as a graft court." After two false starts. 1983." 2 The military investigators reported within a span of three hours that the man who shot Aquino (whose identity was then supposed to be unknown and was revealed only days later as Rolando Galman. on August 21. deliberately and in conspiracy with one another. that "if the purpose was to eliminate Aquino. wherein he said. Aquino down the service stairs. until the submission of their minority and majority reports to the President on October 23 and 24. This was to mark another first anywhere in the world wherein the minority report was submitted one day ahead by the ponente thereof. although he was the personal friend of accused Col. Olivas. 889 on August 23." in short. Aquino and that "the SWAT troopers who gunned down Galman and the soldiers who escorted Sen." that Galman.377 pages of transcripts. Ver involved in the military conspiracy and therefore "indictable for the premeditated killing of Senator Benigno S.m. The then President was constrained to create a Fact Finding Board 3 to investigate "the treacherous and vicious assassination of former Senator Benigno S.000 soldiers and "from a military viewpoint. that Rolando Galman was the NPA- hired assassin. The then President instantly accepted the military version and repeated it in a nationally televised press conference that he gave late in the evening of August 22. gave a perjured story to us regarding the alleged shooting by Galman of Sen. in order to induce disbelief that the military had a hand in the killing. respondent Gen. that Ninoy's assassination was the product of a military conspiracy. and Rolando Galman at the MIA on August 21." He was to be cold-bloodedly killed while under escort away by soldiers from his plane that had just landed at the Manila International Airport on that fateful day at past 1 p. The military later filmed a re- enactment of the killing scripted according to this version and continuously replayed it on all TV channels as if it were taken live on the spot. 1983 [which] has to all Filipinos become a national tragedy and national shame specially because of the early distortions and exaggerations in both foreign and local media 4 so that all right thinking and honest men desire to ventilate the truth through fare. Jr. Aquino could have shot him." They were in agreement that "only the soldiers in the staircase with Sen.proclamation rally of the opposition Liberal Party candidates for the November. California) and heard the testimonies of 194 witnesses recorded in 20. he sought to return home "to strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice. 1971. But the then President never filed the said charges against Ninoy in the civil courts. 1983." The national tragedy shocked the conscience of the entire nation and outraged the free world. Aquino and the mowing down." The fact is that both majority and minority reports were one in rejecting the military version as propounded by the chief investigator. 1984. this was not the way to do it. 1980 to leave the country to undergo successful heart surgery. and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under Proclamation No. The massacre was instantly attributed to the communists but the truth has never been known. and the majority report of the four other members was submitted on the following day to the then President who coldly received them and could scarcely conceal his instant rejection of their report with the grim statement that "I hope you can live with your conscience with what you have done. not a communist plot The only difference between the two reports is that the majority report found all the twenty-six private respondents abovenamed in the title of the case headed by then AFP Chief General Fabian C. of Galman himself. justice and freedom. Aquino. Aquino. His brain was smashed by a bullet fired point blank into the back of his head by a murderous assassin. stating that "the evidence shows [to the contrary] that Rolando Galman had no subversive affiliations.

the great majority of the officers and men of these institutions have remained decent and honorable. It was the concretization of the horror that has been haunting this country for decades.Luther Custodio . freedom. To assert our proper place in the civilized world." The chairman wrote in her minority report (somewhat prophetically) that "The epilogue to our work lies in what will transpire in accordance with the action that the Office of the President may thereafter direct to be taken. rationality over irrationality. This task was not only to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of the late former Senator. routinely manifested by the breakdown of peace and order. the ills pervading Philippine society. It is equally the fact that the then President through all his recorded public acts and statements from the beginning disdained and rejected his own Board's above findings and insisted on the military version of Galman being Ninoy's assassin. economic instability. the killing of the late former Senator Aquino has brought into sharper focus. A tragedy like that which happened on August 21. "Nobody who has great authority can be trusted not to go beyond its proper limits. . however. because the criminal plot could not have been planned and implemented without his intervention. would have normally caused the resignation of the Chief of the Armed Forces in a country where public office is viewed with highest esteem and respect and where the moral responsibilities of public officials transcend all other considerations. that "the tragedy opened our eyes and for the first time confirmed our worst fears of what unchecked evil would be capable of doing. it is imperative that public officials should regard public service as a reflection of human Ideals in which the highest sense of moral values and integrity are strictly required. passivity and indifference and neglect have spawned in secret a dark force that is bent on destroying the values held sacred by freedom- loving people. graft and corruption." he told David Briscoe (then AP Manila Bureau Chief . dedicated to their noble mission in the service of our country and people." They wrote: The task of the Board was clear and unequivocal. and justice are a way of life. and an increasing number of abusive elements in what are otherwise noble institutions in our country-the military and law enforcement agencies. The tragedy opened our eyes and for the first time confirmed our worst fears of what unchecked evil would be capable of doing. by and large." Social apathy. More than any other event in contemporary Philippine history. justice over injustice. 1983. the inevitable result of which will restore our country's honored place among the sovereign nations of the free world where peace. In upholding this view that "there is no involvement of anyone in his government in the assassination. law and order. and the crisis that followed. The task was indeed a painful test. convinced that. Of greater significance is the awesome responsibility of the Board to uphold righteousness over evil. subversion. We are. humaneness over inhumanity. "The four-member majority report (also prophetically) wrote in the epilogue (after warning the forces who adhere to an alien and intolerable political ideology against unscrupulously using the report "to discredit our traditionally revered institutions"). . As former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban observes.

a former AFP Chief of Staff. he wrote that "(W)e are even more aware. ." In an interview on June 4. namely. five incumbent and former university presidents. the signature page of which alone had been submitted to the Court as Annex 5 of his comment." Petitioners prayed for the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order restraining the respondent Sandiganbayan from rendering a decision on the merits in the pending criminal cases which it had scheduled on November 20. The evidence still proves that Galman was the killer. and twenty-nine (29) other petitioners. 1985 petitioners Saturnina Galman and Reynaldo Galman. I would have known. 1984 to General Ver's letter of the same date going on leave of absence upon release of the Board's majority report implicating him. 10-a At the hearing on November 18. the recent evidence seems to indicate that some of the guards may have been responsible (for shooting Ninoy)." 7 He told CBS in another interview in May. as respondent court was hearing the cases." 10 It was against this setting that on November 11. you have been so accused by some members of the Board. those witnesses (against the accused) are perjured witnesses. 1985 of petitioners' prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order enjoining respondent court from rendering a decision in the two criminal cases before it. outstanding members of the Philippine Bar and solid citizens of the community. And we are deeply disturbed that on the basis of so-called evidence. general. MARCOS: Well. mother and son. respectively. Even at a fairly low level. filed the present action alleging that respondents Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan committed serious irregularities constituting mistrial and resulting in miscarriage of justice and gross violation of the constitutional rights of the petitioners and the sovereign people of the Philippines to due process of law." and extended "My very best wishes to you and your family for a speedy resolution of your case. The evidence also shows that there were intelligence reports connecting the communist party to the killing. 8 In his reply of October 25. 1985 and that judgment be rendered declaring a mistrial and nullifying the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan and ordering a re-trial before an impartial tribunal by an unbiased prosecutor. 1985 with the Gamma Photo Agency. you are of course wrong. prejudiced and partial in favor of the accused.. he was quoted as saying that "as will probably be shown. composed of three former Justices of this Court. I know how they think.. I would have known somehow . and that their acts "clouded with the gravest doubts the sincerity of government to find out the truth about the Aquino assassination. 1983 that "I am convinced that if any member of my government were involved. What you have been reading are the newspapers and the newspaper reports have been biased. I know what they are thinking of. that the circumstances under which the board has chosen to implicate you in its findings are fraught with doubt and great contradictions of opinion and testimony. 1984 (as his Fact Finding Board was holding its hearings) the following: CBS: But indeed there has been recent evidence that seems to contradict earlier reports. the Court resolved by nine-to-two votes 11 to issue the restraining order prayed for. The Court also granted petitioners a five-day period to file a reply to respondents' separate comments and respondent Tanodbayan a three-day period to submit a copy of his 84-page memorandum for the prosecution as filed in the Sandiganbayan. They asserted that the Tanodbayan did not represent the interest of the people when he failed to exert genuine and earnest efforts to present vital and important testimonial and documentary evidence for the prosecution and that the Sandiganbayan Justices were biased.in a Radio-TV interview on September 9." 9 even as he announced that he would return the general to his position as AFP Chief "if he is acquitted by the Sandiganbayan. of the late Rolando Galman.

That there were pressures can hardly be denied. alleging that the dismissal did not indicate the legal ground for such action and urging that the case be set for a full hearing on the merits because if the charge of partiality and bias against the respondents and suppression of vital evidence by the prosecution are proven. the instant case had become moot and academic. 1985. respondent Sandiganbayan issued its decision acquitting all the accused of the crime charged. If the State is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and convict because certain material evidence is suppressed by the prosecution and the tribunal is not impartial. he added "relative to the reported alleged revelations of Deputy Tanodbayan Manuel Herrera. This marked another unusual first in that respondent Sandiganbayan in effect convicted the very victim Rolando Galman (who was not on trial) as the assassin of Ninoy contrary to the very information and evidence submitted by the prosecution. 1986 issue of the Manila Times entitled "Aquino Trial a Sham. 13 The same Court majority denied petitioners' motion for a new 5-day period counted from receipt of respondent Tanodbayan's memorandum for the prosecution (which apparently was not served on them and which they alleged was "very material to the question of his partiality. then the entire proceedings would be null and void. the Court required the respondents to comment on the motion for reconsideration but issued no restraining order. 1986. 14 On November 29. having instead successfully resisted perceived attempts to exert pressure to drop the case after preliminary investigation. Petitioners prayed that the Sandiganbayan be restrained from promulgating their decision as scheduled anew on December 2. Raul M. the Court granted the motion to admit the second motion for reconsideration and ordered the respondents to comment thereon. The thrust of the second motion for reconsideration was the startling and theretofore unknown revelations of Deputy Tanodbayan Manuel Herrera as reported in the March 6. . bias and prejudice" within which to file a consolidated reply thereto and to respondents' separate comments. should this Honorable Court find sufficient cause to justify the reopening and retrial of the cases below. 15 Respondent Tanodbayan Bernardo Fernandez stated in his Manifestation filed on April 11. the Court by the same nine-to. declaring them innocent and totally absolving them of any civil liability. 1986. . 1985. in fact. 1985. . the same Court majority denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.But ten days later on November 28. with the writer and Justice Abad Santos maintaining our dissent. On December 5. with Justice Gutierrez joining the dissenters." 15-a He submitted that "even as he vehemently denies insinuations of any direct or indirect complicity or participation in any alleged attempt to supposedly whitewash the cases below. by an eight-to-three vote. 12 resolved to dismiss the petition and to lift the temporary restraining order issued ten days earlier enjoining the Sandiganbayan from rendering its decision. herein respondent never succumbed to any alleged attempts to influence his actuations in the premises. 1986. the petitioners would be entitled to the reliefs demanded: The People are entitled to due process which requires an impartial tribunal and an unbiased prosecutor. and actually ordered the filing and prosecution of the two (2) murder cases below against herein private party respondents. In opposition. as scheduled. Gonzales. On March 20.two-vote ratio in reverse. 1986 that he had ceased to hold office as Tanodbayan as of April 8. 1985. petitioners filed their motion to admit their second motion for reconsideration attached therewith. petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. respondents submitted that with the Sandiganbayan's verdict of acquittal. 1985. he would welcome such . it has never been denied. but reiterating his position in his comment on the petition." that the then President had ordered the respondents Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan Bernardo Fernandez and the prosecution panel headed by Herrera to whitewash the criminal cases against the 26 respondents accused and produce a verdict of acquittal. Thus. On April 3. On February 4. on December 2." He candidly admitted also in his memorandum: "There is not much that need be said about the existence of pressure. 1986 when he was replaced by the new Tanodbayan.

Malacanang wanted dismissal-to the extent that a prepared resolution was sent to the Investigating Panel (composed of the undersigned. Marcos.development so that any wrong that had been caused may be righted and so that. Answering Respondents would not interpose any objection to the reopening of those cases. and with prepared notes on the contents thereof. he urged that the said cases be reopened in order that justice could take its course. The former President had a copy of the panel's signed resolution (charging all accused as principals). 1986 stated that the trial of the criminal cases by them was valid and regular and decided on the basis of evidence presented and the law applicable. . evidently furnished him in advance. he had nothing to do with the writing of the note or of any note of any kind intended for any lawyer of the defense or even of the prosecution. MALACAÑANG CONFERENCE PLANNED SCENARIO OF TRIAL At 6:00 p. of course. and requested for an investigation by this Court to settle the note passing issue once and for all. 2. confident as he is that the end will show that he had done nothing in the premises that violated his trust as Tanodbayan (Ombudsman). 1985. ." Respondent Sandiganbayan Justice Bienvenido C. Chief of the Prosecution Panel. . in a separate comment. Gonzales in his comment of April 14. who left earlier. as. Albeit initially the undersigned argued against the theory. Vera Cruz. if only to allow justice to take its course.m. to remain silent was the more discreet posture when the former President became emotional (he was quite sick then). asserted that he passed no note to anyone. of said date (January 10) Mr. Deputy Tanodbayan Manuel Herrera. the note being bandied about is not in his handwriting. Imelda R. at the very least the actuations of herein respondent in the premises may be reviewed and reexamined." Respondents Justices of the Sandiganbayan First Division in their collective comment of April 9. Marcos (the former President) summoned to Malacañang Justice Bernardo Fernandez (the Tanodbayan). was resisted by the panel. 1986 "interposed no objection to the reopening of the trial of the cases ." New Tanodbayan Raul M. in his comment of April 14. AB INITIO. A. He amplified his revelations. as follows: 1. Ferdinand E. This. 1983 was doomed to an ignominous end. in fact. The former President started by vehemently maintaining that Galman shot Aquino at the tarmac. came back and left again. and a resolution charging all the respondents as principals was forwarded to the Tanodbayan on January 10. Fiscals Ernesto Bernabe and Leonardo Tamayo) for signature. but manifested that "if it is true that the former Tanodbayan and the Deputy Tanodbayan. 1986 affirmed the allegations in the second motion for reconsideration that he revealed that the Sandiganbayan Justices and Tanodbayan prosecutors were ordered by Marcos to whitewash the Aquino-Galman murder case. were pressured into suppressing vital evidence which would probably alter the result of the trial. VERDICT OF ACQUITTAL! Incidents during the preliminary investigation showed ominous signs that the fate of the criminal case on the death of Ex-Senator Benigno Aquino and Rolando Galman on August 21. Sandiganbayan Justice Manuel Pamaran (the Presiding Justice) and an the members of the Panel Also present at the meeting were Justice Manuel Lazaro (the Coordinator) and Mrs.

had always been refused. legally. Ramos. as well as other moves to this effect. Airforce men about the "scrambling" of Ninoy's plane. the former President talked about Aquino and the communists. 1950 (giving custody to commanding officers of members of AFP charged in court) was never mentioned. but he is becoming ambitious "the boys were frantic when they heard that they will be charged in court. Vicente Eduardo and Director Jolly Bugarin to put on record that they had no place in their respective institutions. . it was perceived that after (not IF) they are acquitted. Ramos is that his stint is only temporary. . the undersigned opted to say on. and thereby ease public demonstrations. attempts to direct and stifle witnesses for the prosecution. During a good part of the conference. as it will become evident that the government was serious in pursuing the case towards its logical conclusion. its cavalier disregard of his plea that it "should not decide these cases on the merits without first making a final ruling on the Motion for Inhibition. I know how to reciprocate. with the recent effectivity of the New Rules on Criminal Procedure. the undersigned manifested his desire to the Tanodbayan to resign from the panel." While still in the palace grounds on the way out. though close to me. pointing out that. Narciso Cabrera. The former President more or less conceded that for political and legal reasons all the respondents should be charged in court. Politically. . the suppression of the evidence that could be given by U. while there were no members of the media. and wig be detained at city jail. Shifting to the military he rumbled on such statements as: "It will be bloody . on the other hand. 1985." such as the holding of a "make- believe raffle" within 18 minutes of the filing of the Informations with the Sandiganbayan at noon of January 23.S. Hoping that with sufficient evidence sincerely and efficiently presented by the prosecution. The former President ordered then that the resolution be revised by categorizing the participation of each respondent. or even the office. The existence of PD No. the sentiment veered towards a more pragmatic approach. all involves in the trial would be conscience-pricked and realize the futility and injustice of proceeding in accordance with the script. the suppression of rebuttal witnesses and the bias and partiality of the Sandiganbayan. specially the Legal Panel. double jeopardy would inure. is getting ambitious and poor Johnny does not know what to do". the former President uttered: "Mag moro-moro na lang kayo." The parting words of the former President were: "Thank you for your cooperation. the trial could be expedited. Towards the end of the two-hour meeting and after the script had been tacitly mapped out. and assurance was made by him that it would be finished in four to six months. It was decided that the presiding justice (First Division) would personally handle the trial. Herrera further added details on the "implementation of the script. This. ." and the . the installation of a "war room" occupied by the military. 'our understanding with Gen." From outright dismissal. Gen. the installation of TV monitors directly beamed to Malacanang. Gen. lambasting the Agrava Board. In the matter of custody of the accused pendente lite the Coordinator was ordered to get in touch with Gen.

President Marcos summoned . When Malacanang learned of the impending filing of the said charge before the Sandiganbayan. it submitted its extensive 64-page Report 16wherein it discussed fully the evidence received by it and made a recapitulation of its findings in capsulized form. and that if petitioners' claim were substantiated. He submitted that this would require reception of evidence by a Court- appointed or designated commissioner or body of commissioners (as was done in G. No. 2." adding that "in the almost twenty years that the undersigned has been the prosecutor in the sala of the Presiding Justice this is the only occasion where civil liability is pronounced in a decision of acquittal. as well as Olivas. they incur neither criminal nor civil liability. Respondent Olivas contended that the proper step for the government was to file a direct action to annul the judgment of acquittal and at a regular trial present its evidence of collusion and pressures. upon prior notice to all parties. 1986 and ending on July 16. " He "associated himself with the motion for reconsideration and likewise prayed that the proceedings in the Sandiganbayan and its decision be declared null and void. all the other respondents raised the issue of double jeopardy. Romano case. and to submit their findings to this Court for proper disposition. testimonial and documentary. On the said last day. Morales case. to hear and receive evidence. Respondents-accused opposed the second motion for reconsideration and prayed for its denial. 71316. and G. The Office of the Tanodbayan. and invoked that the issues had become moot and academic because of the rendition of the Sandiganbayan's judgment of acquittal of all respondents. After Petitioners had filed their consolidated reply. with counsels for respondents Ver and Tigas.R. 61016. chairman. as follows: 1. and G. 1986. No. Banco Filipino case). Fr. and accordingly. Fiscal Bernabe and Special Prosecutor Tamayo. On July 31. As a whole. the Special Investigating Panel having already prepared a draft Resolution recommending such course of action. the Court resolved per its resolution of June 5. The Commission conducted hearings on 19 days. particularly Justice Fernandez and the Special Investigating Panel composed of Justice Herrera. further arguing that assuming that the judgment of acquittal is void for any reason.R. starting on June 16. No.Presiding Justice's over-kill with the declaration that "the Court finds all accused innocent of the crimes charged in the two informations. 1985. a reopening of the double murder case is proper to avoid a miscarriage of justice since the verdict of acquittal would no longer be a valid basis for a double jeopardy claim. 70054. of the charges of collusion and pressures and relevant matters.accused on December 2. and retired Intermediate Appellate Court Justices Milagros German and Eduardo Caguioa as members. was originally of the view that all of the twenty-six (26) respondents named in the Agrava Board majority report should all be charged as principals of the crime of double murder for the death of Senator Benigno Aquino and Rolando Galman. as his testimony would be merely corroborative of the testimonies of respondents Justice Pamaran and Tanodbayan Fernandez. 1986.R. 1986 submitted that a declaration of mistrial will depend on the veracity of the evidence supportive of petitioners' claim of suppression of evidence and collusion." New Solicitor General Sedfrey Ordoñez' comment of April 25. the remedy is a direct action to annul the judgment where the burden of proof falls upon the plaintiff to establish by clear. 1986 to appoint a three-member commission composed of retired Supreme Court Justice Conrado Vasquez. respondents announced in open hearing that they decided to forego the taking of the projected deposition of former President Marcos. competent and convincing evidence the cause of the nullity.

9. President Marcos was convinced of the advisability of filing the murder charge in court so that. coaching of defense counsels. 6. the filing of the case with the Sandiganbayan and its assignment to Justice Pamaran. justice Herrera played his role with manifestly ambivalent feelings. Later in the conference. recantation of witneses who gave adverse testimony before the Agrava Board. 7. the tree members of the Special Investigating Panel. President Marcos directed that the several accused be "categorized" so that some of them would merely be charged as accomplices and accessories. That that expression of President Marcos' desire as to how he wanted the Aquino- Galman case to be handled and disposed of constituted sufficient pressure on those involved in said task to comply with the same in the subsequent course of the proceedings. Presumably in order to be assured that not all of the accused would be denied bail during the trial. Justice Fernandez. 8. after being acquitted as planned. as stage- managed from Malacañang and performed by willing dramatis personnae as well as by recalcitrant ones whipped into line by the omnipresent influence of an authoritarian ruler. 5. President Marcos ordered that the case be handled personally by Justice Pamaran who should dispose of it in the earliest possible time. such as. 3. 10. and compliance therewith manifested itself in several specific instances in the course of the proceedings. In addition to said directive. and justice Pamaran to a conference in Malacanang in the early evening of January 10. In said conference. 4. the changing of the resolution of the special investigating panel. Sufficient evidence has been ventilated to show a scripted and pre-determined manner of handling and disposing of the Aquino-Galman murder case. the accused may no longer be prosecuted in view of the doctrine of double jeopardy. That while Justice Pamaran and Justice Fernandez manifested no revulsion against complying with the Malacañang directive. Considering the existence of adequate credible evidence showing that the prosecution in the Aquino-Galman case and the Justices who tried and decided the same acted under the compulsion of some pressure which proved to be beyond their . suppression of some vital evidence. and even in the very decision rendered in the case. The instructions given in the Malacanang conference were followed to the letter. the hasty trial. monitoring of proceedings. harassment of witnesses. however. President Marcos initially expressed his disagreement with the recommendation of the Special Investigating Panel and disputed the findings of the Agrava Board that it was not Galman who shot Benigno Aquino. 1985. considering that they would be charged with capital offenses. The Commission submitted the following recommendation.

" and that "the prosecution in the Aquino Galman case and the Justices who tried and decided the same acted under the compulsion of some pressure which proved to be beyond their capacity to resist'. The case had stirred unprecedented public outcry and wide international attention. thus: The desire of President Marcos to have the Aquino-Galman case disposed of in a manner suitable to his purposes was quite understandable and was but to be expected. capacity to resist. therefore. President Marcos made no bones to conceal his purpose for calling them.." be granted. not a source of wonder that President Marcos would want the case disposed of in a manner consistent with his announced theory thereof which. the finger of suspicion pointed to those then in power who supposedly had the means and the most compelling motive to eliminate Senator Aquino. the Commission is of the considered thinking and belief. at the same time. . experts at sifting the chaff from the grain. but also predetermined the final outcome of the case. but by a communist hired gun. The Court finds that the Commission's Report (incorporated herein by reference) and findings and conclusions are duly substantiated by the evidence and facts of public record. He insisted that it was Galman who shot Senator Aquino. The calling of the conference was undoubtedly to accomplish this purpose. that the then President (code named Olympus) had stage-managed in and from Malacanang Palace "a scripted and pre-determined manner of handling and disposing of the Aquino-Galman murder case. 1986 and the matter was submitted for the Court's resolution. . and which not only prevented the prosecution to fully ventilate its position and to offer all the evidences which it could have otherwise presented. President Marcos came up with a public statement aired over television that Senator Aquino was killed not by his military escorts. 1986 furnished all the parties with copies of the Report and required them to submit their objections thereto. Composed of distinguished members of proven integrity with a combined total of 141 years of experience in the practice of law (55 years) and in the prosecutoral and judicial services (86 years in the trial and appellate courts). A day or so after the assassination. It thereafter heard the parties and their objections at the hearing of August 26. The Court adopts and approves the Report and its findings and holds on the basis thereof and of the evidence received and appreciated by the Commission and duly supported by the facts of public record and knowledge set forth above and hereinafter. From the start. he expressed irritation and displeasure at the recommendation of the investigating panel to charge all of the twenty-six (26) respondents as principals of the crime of double murder. and hereby respectfully recommends that the prayer in the petition for a declaration of a mistrial in Sandiganbayan Cases Nos. subject to the better opinion and judgment of this Honorable Court that the proceedings in the said case have been vitiated by lack of due process. 17 the Commission properly appraised the evidences presented and denials made by public respondents. would clear his name and his administration of any suspected guilty participation in the assassination. The Court per its Resolution of July 31. . but also pre-determined the final outcome of the case" of total absolution of the twenty-six respondents accused of all criminal and civil liability. 10010 and 10011 entitled "People vs. Luther Custodia et al. and which not only prevented the prosecution to fully ventilate its position and to offer all the evidences which it could have otherwise presented. and that the findings of the Agrava Board were not supported by evidence that could . Not invariably. It was.

cases therein are assigned by raffle to a division and not to a particular Justice thereof. but with some of the accused to be charged merely as accomplices or accessories. Despite an earlier manifestation by the respondents of their intention to present Fiscal Bernabe and Prosecutor Tamayo. His denial. He discussed and argued with Justice Herrera on this point. instead of dismissing it. The testimony of Justice Herrera that. President Marcos took up the matter of who would try the case and how long it would take to be finished. and after an agreement was reached on filing the case and subsequently acquitting the accused. The giving of such directive to Justice Pamaran may also be inferred from his admission that he gave President Marcos the possible time frame when asked as to how long it would take him to finish the case. This was denied by Justice Pamaran." and that on their way out of the room President Marcos expressed his thanks to the group and uttered "I know how to reciprocate. besides. . the only conclusion that may be drawn therefrom is that pressure from Malacanang had indeed been made to bear on both the court and the . In the mind of the Commission. (No other person present in the conference was presented by the respondents. . if the accused are charged in court and subsequently acquitted. No similar denial was voiced by Justice Fernandez in the entire course of his two-day testimony. they may claim the benefit of the doctrine of double jeopardy and thereby avoid another prosecution if some other witnesses shall appear when President Marcos is no longer in office. Midway in the course of the discussion. It was further pointed out that such a procedure would be a better arrangement because. mag moro-moro na lamang kayo. however. such move was abandoned without any reason having been given therefor. President Marcos told them "Okay. mention was made that the filing of the charge in court would at least mollify public demands and possibly prevent further street demonstrations. According to Justice Herrera." did not receive any denial or contradiction either on the part of justice Fernandez or justice Pamaran. xxx xxx xxx After an agreement was reached as to filing the case. and the question of preventive custody of the accused having thereby received satisfactory solution. It was preposterous to expect Justice Pamaran to admit having received such presidential directive. A supposition of mere coincidence is at once dispelled by the circumstance that he was the only one from the Sandiganbayan called to the Malacanang conference wherein the said directive was given. Justice Pamaran explained that such order could not have been given inasmuch as it was not yet certain then that the Sandiganbayan would try the case and.) The facts set forth above are all supported by the evidence on record. during the conference.stand in court. President Marcos told Justice Pamaran 'point blank' to personally handle the case. . falls to pieces in the light of the fact that the case was indeed handled by him after being assigned to the division headed by him.

his moral and official ascendancy over those to whom his instructions were directed. on the lame excuses that they went there out of "curiosity. the then head of state to exercise authoritarian powers. The changing of the original Herrera panel draft Resolution charging all the twenty-six accused as principals by conspiracy by categorizing and charging 17 as principals. the motivation behind such instructions. 1985. That the conference called to script or stage-manage the prosecution and trial of the Aquino-Galman case was considered as something anomalous that should be kept away from the public eye is shown by the effort to assure its secrecy. The conferees were told to take the back door in going to the room where the meeting was held. Verily. Only the First Lady and Presidential Legal Assistant Justice Lazaro were with the President. not having been given seats during the two-hour conference (Justice Fernandez said it was not that long. The intensity of this pressure is readily deductible from the personality of the one who exerted it." Suffice it to give hereinbelow brief excerpts:— 1. 18 The Commission pinpointed the crucial factual issue thus: "the more significant inquiry is on whether the Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Tanodbayan actually succumbed to such pressure. President Marcos undoubtedly realized the importance of the matter he wanted to take up with the officials he asked to be summoned. as may be gauged by their subsequent actuations in their respective handling of the case.' Such frame of mind only reveals their susceptibility to presidential pressure and lack of capacity to resist the same. prosecution in the handling and disposition of the Aquino-Galman case. No effort to resist was made. despite the existence of a most valid reason to beg off. and not merely through trusted assistants." or "out of respect to the Office of the President. Generals Ver and Olivas and . but did not say how long) in which President Marcos did the talking most of the time. are in themselves pressure dramatized and exemplified Their abject deference to President Marcos may likewise be inferred from the admitted fact that. The very acts of being summoned to Malacanang and their ready acquiescence thereto under the circumstances then obtaining. and the nature of the government prevailing at that time which enabled. He had to do it personally. Actually. The meeting was held in an inner room of the Palace. they listened to him on their feet." It duly concluded that "the pressure exerted by President Marcos in the conference held on January 10." or that it would be 'unbecoming to refuse a summons from the President. it can be said that any avowal of independent action or resistance to presidential pressure became illusory from the very moment they stepped inside Malacanang Palace on January 10. The lack of will or determination on the part of Justice Fernandez and Justice Pamaran to resist the presidential summons despite their realization of its unwholesome implications on their handling of the celebrated murder case may be easily inferred from their unquestioned obedience thereto. presumably to escape notice by the visitors in the reception hall waiting to see the President. None but those directly involved were caned to attend. no public mention alas ever made of this conference until Justice Herrera made his expose some fifteen (15) months later when the former president was no longer around. 1985 pervaded the entire proceedings of the Aquino Galman [murder] cases" as manifested in several specific incidents and instances it enumerated in the Report under the heading of "Manifestations of Pressure and Manipulation.

As it turned out. that a party's case is as strong as the evidence it can present. 1983 and described them as "palpable. Adverse witnesses were harassed. 1984 to participate in the first death anniversary of Ninoy but was deported as an undesirable alien and had to leave on the next plane for Tokyo. Ver's counsel. 1984. in case of doubt. and ejected therefrom when she ignored the request of its manager to talk with her about her proposed testimony.. that their house in Tabaco. was inaccurate and did not correctly reflect the testimony he gave "although there was no clear showing of the discrepancy from the original transcription which was in Nippongo. PAL employee. that. no doubt. She recounted that she was in constant fear of her life. Witnesses Viesca and Rañas who also testified before the Board "disappeared all of a sudden and could not be located by the police. "a shot was fired and a soldier was seen running away by media men who sought to protect Wakamiya from harm by surrounding him. if crude and display(ing) sheer abuse of power. not surprisingly. admit(ted) that. as prepared by an official of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo. as of that time. Rudy and William Fariñas offered . Undoubtedly in view of the considerable significance of her proposed testimony and its unfavorable effect on the cause of the defense. In the case of principal eyewitness Rebecca Quijano." 19 As the Commission further noted. Unfavorable evidences were sought to be suppressed. to charge all the accused as principals. his own view was in conformity with that of the Special Investigating Panel to charge all of the twenty-six (26) respondents as principals of the crime of double murder." Wakamiya was not even allowed to return to Manila on August 20. cajoled. was in consonance with the Malacañang instruction. Justice Fernandez readily opted for categorization which. having been hunted by armed men. the efforts exerted to suppress the same was as much as. if not more than those in the case of Wakamiya. and recommending bail for the latter two categories: "The categorization may not be completely justified by saying that. Galman's step-daughter who recanted their testimonies before the Fact Finding Board and had to be discarded as prosecution witnesses before at the trial. as originally recommended by the Herrera panel. in the mind of Justice Fernandez. 1985 on invitation of Justice Herrera to testify at the ongoing trial. Atty. The Commission narrated the efforts to stifle Kiyoshi Wakamiya eyewitness who accompanied Ninoy on his fateful flight on August 21." 20 2." The Report specified the ordeals of the prosecution witnesses: 21 Cesar Loterina. . her family harassed by the foreclosure of the mortgage on their house by the local Rural Bank. The Board had to go to Tokyo to hear Wakamiya give his testimony before the Japanese police in accordance with their law and Wakamiya claimed before the Commission that the English transcription of his testimony. Albay was ransacked. Without going into the merit of such finding. Suppression of vital evidence and harassment of witnesses:" Realizing.. the most logical and practical course of action should have been. [the Malacanang conference on January 10. "Justice Fernandez never denied the claim of Justice Herrera that the draft resolution of January 10. it may hardly be disputed that. later. and in accordance with the standard practice of the prosecution to charge accused with the most serious possible offense or in the highest category so as to prevent an incurable injustice in the event that the evidence presented in the trial will show his guilt of the graver charge. Roberta Masibay. and "Justice Fernandez himself. that Mayor Rudy Fariñas of Laoag City kept on calling her sister in the United States to warn her not to testify. the Commission reported that .." Wakamiya was forced by immigration officials to leave the country by Saturday (August 24th) notwithstanding Herrera's request to let him stay until he could testify the following Monday (August 26th). there was no sufficient evidence to justify that all of the accused be charged as principals. The majority of the Agrava Board found the existence of conspiracy and recommended that all of the accused be charged accordingly. perjured or threatened either to refrain from testifying or to testify in a manner favorable to the defense." It is too much to attribute to coincidence that such unusual categorization came only after the then President's instruction at Malacanang when Gen. and some were indeed prevented from being ventilated.. 1985]. unmistakable and persistent efforts were exerted in behalf of the accused to weaken the case of the prosecution and thereby assure and justify [the accused's] eventual scripted acquittal.6 others as accessories and the civilian as accomplice. had been asking the same of Tanodbayan Fernandez since November. that a certain William Fariñas offered her plane tickets for a trip abroad. Upon his arrival at the MIA on August 21. Coronel. 1985 (Exhibit 'B-1') [charging all 26 accused as principals] was to have been the subject of a press conference on the afternoon of said date which did not go through due to the summons for them to go to Malacanang in the early evening of said date.

According to him. And the informant.' it being possibly just one of two or three other plans designed to accomplish the same purpose of liquidating Senator Aquino. 3. Lina Galman. and Ms. Justice Herrera was told by justice Fernandez of the displeasure expressed by Olympus at justice Herrera's going out of his way to make Ms. even assuming that the said piece of evidence could go either way. Quijano's testimony on May 2. by the name of Evelyn (also a hospitality girl) who jotted down the number of the car that took them away. her two million pesos supposedly coming from Bongbong Marcos. it may not be successfully contended that it was prudent or wise on the part of the prosecution to totally discard the said piece of evidence. the defense counsel who cross-examined her. airmen "While it is true that the U. or that it would even favor the defense. one of which suggested that she be asked more questions about Dean Narvasa who was suspected of having coached her as to what to declare (Exhibit "D"). also disappeared. its introduction could have helped the cause of the prosecution. Despite minor inconsistencies contained therein. Atty. as on the eve of Ms. such showing would not necessarily contravene the theory of the prosecution. Justice Herrera declared that the main switchboard of the Sandiganbayan electrical system was located beside the room occupied by Malacañang people who were keeping track of the proceedings. and making most of those present to scamper for safety. Rodolfo Jimenez. The discarding of the affidavits executed by U. 1985. however. that despite such cajolery and harassments. Lupino Lazaro for petitioners further made of record at that August 26th hearing that the two Olivas sisters." . which lasted for about twenty minutes. It is a matter of record. the dropping of her estafa case in Hongkong. In any event. if she would refrain from testifying. Quijano eventually testified before the Sandiganbayan." And he appealed to the new leadership for its assistance in learning their fate. Quijano to testify. Justice Herrera had accurately pointed out that such attempt of scrambling Aquino's plane merely showed a 'wider range of conspiracy. It was verified that the brownout was limited to the building housing the Sandiganbayan. two weeks after Ninoy's assassination. a house and lot in Baguio. and for his refusal to honor the invitation to attend the birthday party of the First Lady on May 1. still no one is looking for these people.S. the common-law wife of Rolando Galman. nor the actual fact that Senator Aquino was killed at the Manila International Airport. a power brownout occurred. during the proceedings of the Board. Quijano to pass over the railing of the rostrum so as to be able to leave the courtroom. airmen's proposed testimonies would show an attempt of the Philippine Air Force to divert the plane to Basa Airfield or some other place. The insiduous attempts to tamper with her testimony. the determined effort to suppress the same would have been totally uncalled for. as averred by Justice Fernandez. throwing the courtroom into darkness. They have been missing since then. Ms. despite his attempts to find any of them. it not having affected the nearby Manila City Hall and the Finance Building. at a crucial point in her testimony. Today.S. or perhaps because of them. did not end with her taking the witness stand. 1984. On January 29. If it were not so. 1985. Ana and Catherine (hospitality girls) disappeared on September 4. was kidnapped together with a neighbor named Rogelio Taruc. "nobody was looking for these five persons because they said Marcos was in Power [despite his appeal to the Minister of National Defense to locate them]. 1984. and the punishment of the persons responsible for the death of her father. however. In the course of her testimony several notes were passed to Atty. and on another occasion.

the latter issued an order directing the confinement of the accused in the City Jail of Manila.." 6. . . if not extraordinary. No reason was given why Justice Escarel could not. The custody of the accused their confinement in a military camp. . The assignment of the case to Presiding Justice Pamaran: "Justice Herrera testified that President Marcos ordered Justice Pamaran point-blank to handle the case. 5. such was not done. is.. and not by any one of the two other members of his division. indicative that he was living up to the instruction of finishing the trial of the case as soon as possible. What is more intriguing is the fact that although a raffle might have been actually conducted which resulted in the assignment of the case to the First Division of the Sandiganbayan. instead of in a civilian jail: "When the question of custody came up after the case was filed in the Sandiganbayan.m.. if not of something else. "There was no evidence at all that the assignment was indeed by virtue of a regular raffle. . there is need for a certain amount of paper work to be undertaken. Nine proposed rebuttal witnesses not presented. at 12:02 p.m.. The pro-forma denial by Justice Pamaran of such instruction crumbles under the actuality of such directive having been complied with to the letter. 1985. were present during the supposed raffle. The evidence before the Comission on how the case happened to be assigned to Justice Pamaran evinces a strong indication that such assignment was not done fairly or regularly. but to a division thereof. or only 18 minutes after the filing of the two Informations. except the uncorroborated testimony of Justice Pamaran. or would not like to testify. the charge that the raffle was rushed to avoid the presence of media people would ring with truth. This order was not carried out in view of the information given by the Warden of the City Jail that there was no space for the . "Justice Pamaran sought to discredit the claim that he was ordered by President Marcos to handle the case personally by explaining that cases in the Sandiganbayan are assigned by raffle and not to a particular Justice. Neither was any one of the officials or employees of the Sandiganbayan who... . considering that before a case filed may be included in the raffle. Such speed in the actual assignment of the case can truly be categorized as unusual. His posture .4. If such preliminary requirements were done in this case within the limited time available therefor. 7. in the least. the Commission did not receive any evidence on how or why it was handled personally by Justice Pamaran who wrote the decision thereof. The failure to exhaust available remedies against adverse developments: "When the Supreme Court denied the petition of Justice Fernandez [against the exclusion of the testimonies given by the military respondents headed by Gen. according to Justice Pamaran. and the members of the Raffle Committee were summoned at 12:20 p. ... Despite an announcement that Justice Escareal would be presented by the respondents to testify on the contents of his aforesaid Memorandum. the latter almost immediately announced to media that he was not filing a motion for the reconsideration of said denial for the reason that it would be futile to do so and foolhardy to expect a favorable action on the same.. Ver before the Fact Finding Board]. presented to corroborate the claim of Justice xxx xxx xxx "It is also an admitted fact that the two Informations in the double murder case were filed by Justice Herrera on January 23.

suddenly appeared at the National Bureau of Investigation office when the "crying lady" Rebecca Quijano was brought there by NBI agents for interrogation and therein sought to obtain custody of her. and [2] the foreclosure of any possibility that they may again be prosecuted for the same offense in the event that President Marcos shall no longer be in power. and accordingly. It was deemed not sufficient to simply acquit all of the twenty-six accused on the standard ground that their guilt had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. when the decision was being prepared. mischievously caned 'war room'. The same information was given when the custody was proposed to be given to the National Penitentiary in Muntinglupa and to the National Bureau of Investigation." the Commission noted "that several military personnel pretended to be deputy sheriffs of the Sandiganbayan and attended the trials thereof in the prescribed deputy sheriffs' uniforms. The evidence presented by the prosecution was totally ignored and disregarded. but favorable both to then administration and to the accused. 1985 and forestalled the giving of his testimony by having the Japanese Embassy advise Wakamiya to leave the country at once. The monitoring of proceedings and developments from Malacañang and by Malacañang personnel: "There is an uncontradicted evidence that the progress of the proceedings in the Sandiganbayan as well as the developments of the case outside the Court had been monitored by Malacañang presumably for it to know what was happening and to take remedial measures as may be necessary. [1] the satisfaction of the public clamor for the suspected killers of Senator Aquino to be charged in court. seemingly conflicting in themselves.. to wit. The disposal of the case in said manner is an integral part of the scenario which was cleverly designed to accomplish two principal objectives. 1985. "It is likewise an undisputed fact. wherein military and Malacañang personnel stayed to keep track of the proceedings. the defense came up with Presidential Decree No. Its bias and partiality in favor of the accused was glaringly obvious. "In rendering its decision the Sandiganbayan overdid itself in favoring the presidential directive." 8. The decision had to pronounce them 'innocent of the crime charged on the two informations.' It is a rare phenomenon to see a person accused of a crime to be favored with such total absolution." the close monitoring by Malacañang showed its results on several occasions specified in the Report. " It is abundantly clear that President Marcos did not only give instructions as to how the case should be handled He saw to it that he would know if his instructions will be complied with. Malacañang was immediately aware of the Japanese witness Wakamiya's presence injustice Herrera's office on August 21. Partiality of Sandiganbayan betrayed by its decision: "That President Marcos had wanted all of the twenty-six accused to be acquitted may not be denied. and was given such copy only after sometime." 9." The Commission's inescapable finding.. Malacañang intelligence chief. . there not being a total absence of evidence that could show guilt on the part of the accused.. Justice Pamaran had candidly admitted that television cameras "boldly carrying the label of 'Office of the President of the Philippines' " were installed in the courtroom for that purpose. . 1950A which authorizes the custody of the accused military personnel with their respective Commanding Officers. Justice Herrera claimed that the said Presidential Decree was not known even to the Tanodbayan Justice Fernandez who had to call up the then Minister of Justice Estelito Mendoza to request a copy of the same. Col. There was a room in the Sandiganbayan. Justice Agusto Amores told him that . they incur neither criminal nor civil liability.. Doubt on the soundness of the decision entertained by one of the two justices who concurred with the majority decision penned by Justice Pamaran was revealed by Justice Herrera who testified that in October. Likewise. as was the most logical and appropriate way of justifying the acquittal in the case. At that point.. Balbino Diego. .twenty-six accused in said jail..

his Presidential Assistant on Legal Affairs. however. He turned his back on and repudiated the findings of the very Fact Finding Board that he himself appointed to investigate the "national tragedy and national shame" of the "treacherous and vicious assassination of Ninoy Aquino and "to ventilate the truth through free. p. 1975 letter withdrawing his petition for habeas corpus. he totally disregarded the Board's majority and minority findings of fact and publicly insisted that the military's "fall guy" Rolando Galman was the killer of Ninoy Aquino and sought futilely to justify the soldiers' incompetence and gross negligence to provide any security for Ninoy in contrast to their alacrity in gunning down the alleged assassin Galman and searing his lips. ponente) in effect convicted Rolando Galman as Ninoy's assassin notwithstanding that he was not on trial but the victim according to the very information filed. and rebuked the four majority members when they presented to him the next day their report calling for the indictment of all 26 respondents headed by Gens. Ver and Olivas (instead of the lesser seven under the chairman's minority report). 1986. pp. 3. July 17. 1986. by the Herrera prosecution panel. From the day after the Aquino assassination to the dictated verdict of acquittal. J. the secret Malacanang conference at which the authoritarian President called together the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan Fernandez and the entire prosecution panel headed by Deputy Tanodbayan Herrera and told them how to handle and rig (moro-moro) the trial and the close monitoring of the entire proceedings to assure the pre-determined ignominious final outcome are without parallel and precedent in our annals and jurisprudence. 49). for the Tanodbayan's dismissal of the cases against all accused was unpalatable (it would summon the demonstrators back to the streets 23 ) and at any rate was not acceptable to the Herrera prosecution panel. June 19. To borrow a phrase from Ninoy's April 14. As graphically depicted in the Report. would accomplish the two principal objectives of satisfaction of the public clamor for the suspected killers to be charged in court and of giving them through their acquittal the legal shield of double jeopardy. misused the overwhelming resources of the government and his authoritarian powers to corrupt and make a mockery of the judicial process in the Aquino-Galman murder cases.he was of the view that some of the accused should be convicted he having found difficulty in acquitting all of them. The Sandiganbayan's decision (Pamaran." Our Penal Code penalizes "any executive officer who shall address any order or suggestion to any judicial authority with respect to any case or business coming within the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of justice. 24 Indeed. 92-93). and 5." Manuel Lazaro. the then President used. He cordially received the chairman with her minority report one day ahead of the four majority members and instantly referred it to respondents "for final resolution through the legal system" as if it were the majority and controlling report. and evidence to the contrary submitted. supra." 26 His obsession for "the boys' " acquittal led to several first which would otherwise be inexplicable:— 1. or more precisely. Justice Amores also told Justice Herrera that he would confirm this statement (which was mentioned in Justice Herrera's comment to the Second Motion for Reconsideration) if asked about it (TSN. and borne out by the happenings (res ipsa loquitur 22) since the resolution prepared by his "Coordinator. independent and dispassionate investigation by prestigious and free investigators. 25 "This is the evil of one-man rule at its very worst. the unholy scenario for acquittal of all 26 accused after the rigged trial as ordered at the Malacanang conference. This testimony Justice Herrera remained unrebutted " (Emphasis supplied) The record shows suffocatingly that from beginning to end. Justice Pamaran's ponencia (despite reservations expressed by Justice Amores who wanted to convict some of the accused) granted all 26 accused total absolution and pronounced them ." 2. 4. he confided to Justice Herrera that Justice Pamaran made it clear to him and Justice Vera Cruz that Malacañang had instructions to acquit all of the twenty-six accused (TSN.

given deliberately and in conspiracy with one another. The Court is constrained to declare the sham trial a mock trial the non-trial of the century-and that the pre-determined judgment of acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio." No court whose Presiding Justice has received "orders or suggestions" from the very President who by an amendatory decree (disclosed only at the hearing of oral arguments on November 8. as an accused before the military tribunal. "jurisdiction over cases should be determined by law. Verily. in the case at bar where the people and the world are entitled to know the truth. 1. The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial and verdict and travesty of justice to stand unrectified. supra. Ninoy. and accordingly. can be an impartial court. deception and duplicity to subvert and suppress the truth. In death. they incur neither criminal nor civil liability." The fact of the secret Malacañang conference of January 10. They would have no reason to exist if they were allowed to be used as mere tools of injustice." notwithstanding the evidence on the basis of which the Fact Finding Board had unanimously declared the soldiers' version of Galman being Aquino's killer a "perjured story.-It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against this Court's setting aside of the trial courts' judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the prosecution . More so. 1985. . As the writer then wrote. 1984 on a petition challenging the referral of the Aquino-Galman murder cases to the Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan instead of to a court martial. 26-b "This criminal collusion as to the handling and treatment of the cases by public respondents at the secret Malacanang conference (and revealed only after fifteen months by Justice Manuel Herrera) completely disqualified respondent Sandiganbayan and voided ab initio its verdict. As the Commission noted: "The very acts of being summoned to Malacañang and their ready acquiescence thereto under the circumstances then obtaining. In life. that there has been no evidence or witness suppressed against them. as mandatory required by the known P. There will be time and opportunity to present all these arguments and considerations at the remand and retrial of the cases herein ordered before a neutral and impartial court. 1850 at the time providing for exclusive jurisdiction of courts martial over criminal offenses committed by military men 26-a) made it possible to refer the cases to the Sandiganbayan. Ninoy had pleaded in vain that as a civilian he was entitled to due process of law and trial in the regular civil courts before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. No double jeopardy. 1985 at which the authoritarian President discussed with the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan and the entire prosecution panel the matter of the imminent filing of the criminal charges against all the twenty-six accused (as admitted by respondent Justice Fernandez to have been confirmed by him to the then President's "Coordinator" Manuel Lazaro on the preceding day) is not denied. This renders moot and irrelevant for now the extensive arguments of respondents accused. as the victim of the "treacherous and vicious assassination" and the relatives and sovereign people as the aggrieved parties plead once more for due process of law and a retrial before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. which is the very essence of due process of law. instead of repositories of judicial power whose judges are sworn and committed to render impartial justice to all alike who seek the enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong. that the erroneous conclusions of Olivas as police investigator do not make him an accessory of the crimes he investigated and the appraisal and evaluation of the testimonies of the witnesses presented and suppressed. and the integrity of our judicial system is at stake. This illegality vitiated from the very beginning all proceedings in the Sandiganbayan court headed by the very Presiding Justice who attended.D. particularly Generals Ver and Olivas and those categorized as accessories. without fear or favor and removed from the pressures of politics and prejudice. The courts of the land under its aegis are courts of law and justice and equity. It is without precedent. which could be much too easily transformed into a means of predetermining the outcome of individual cases. This was illegal under our penal laws.. it can be said that any avowal of independent action or resistance to presidential pressure became illusory from the very moment they stepped inside Malacanang Palace on January 10. are in themselves pressure dramatized and exemplified. and not by preselection of the Executive.."innocent of the crimes charged in the two informations.

a decision rendered in disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction (Aducayen vs. Flores. (b) before a competent court. 58 Phil. supra). 37 SCRA 420 [Jan. More so does the rule against the invoking of double jeopardy hold in the cases at bar where as we have held. Fully aware of the prosecution's difficulties in locating witnesses and overcoming their natural fear and reluctance to appear and testify. Ylagan. In effect the first jeopardy was never terminated. which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight. 1971]which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. 1967 being null and void for lack of jurisdiction. 49 SCRA 416 [Feb. 851). Zosa. Notwithstanding the laudable efforts of Justice Herrera which saw him near the end "deactivating" himself from the case. 27-a The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights. L- 30111-12. Enage. the violation of the State's right to due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue (Gumabon vs. secure their recantation or prevent them from testifying. Director of the Bureau of Prisons. 27 Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case its right to due process is thereby violated.which represents the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due process. courts are ousted of their jurisdiction. Respondent Judge's dismissal order dated July 7. respondent Sandiganbayan maintained a "dizzying tempo" of the proceedings and announced its intention to terminate the proceedings in about 6 months time or less than a year. (d) a valid plea having been entered. (c) after arraignment. 1973]). Flores. As the Court stressed in the 1985 case of People vs. vs. 1973]. and (e) the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express consent of the accused (People vs. 51 SCRA 78. Any judgment or decision rendered notwithstanding such violation may be regarded as a "lawless thing. to suppress its evidence. supra). they could not cope with the misuse and abuse of the overwhelming powers of the authoritarian President to weaken the case of the prosecution. Shell Co. Where the denial of the fundamental right of due process is apparent. The prosecution complained of "the Presiding Justice's seemingly hostile attitude towards (it)" and their being the subject of . or ignored wherever it exhibits its head" (Aducayen vs. the same does not constitute a proper basis for a claim of double jeopardy (Serino vs. 30. L-30370 [May 25. the sham trial was but a mock trial where the authoritarian president ordered respondents Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan to rig the trial and closely monitored the entire proceedings to assure the pre-determined final outcome of acquittal and total absolution as innocent of an the respondents-accused. Thus. harass. and the remand of the criminal case for further hearing and/or trial before the lower courts amounts merely to a continuation of the first jeopardy. 27. The lower court was not competent as it was ousted of its jurisdiction when it violated the right of the prosecution to due process. L-30026. pursuant to the scripted scenario. as it was his belief that its eventual resolution was already a foregone conclusion. Bocar. and does not expose the accused to a second jeopardy. intimidate and threaten its witnesses. xxx xxx xxx Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment.

in legal effect. Through it. A judgment of conviction is not necessarily a denial of justice. respondent Courts' Resolution of acquittal was a void judgment for having been issued without jurisdiction. As earlier pointed out. It neither binds nor bars anyone. HERRERA I think more important than the decision of the case. no rights can be attained. After all. Such a judgment is "a lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw". without being put in double jeopardy was forcefully disposed of by the Court in People vs. To the party wronged. the prosecution and the sovereign people were denied due process of law with a partial court and biased Tanodbayan under the constant and pervasive monitoring and pressure exerted by the authoritarian President to assure the carrying out of his instructions. 1985 and in the prosecution memorandum that respondent Sandiganbayan "should not decide the case on the merits without first making a final ruling on the Motion for Inhibition. is the capacity of the justices to sit in judgment. all proceedings founded upon it are equally worthless. as follows: "That is the general rule and presupposes a valid judgment. he invites anarchy. the most important thing here is. Your Honor. PJ PAMARAN Well the court believes that we should proceed with the trial and then deal later on with that. For justice to prevail the scales must balance. shall we say. 30 2. however. therefore. he invites every man to become a law unto himself.warnings. Motion to Disqualify/Inhibit should have been resolved Ahead. To paraphrase Brandeis: 29 If the authoritarian head of the government becomes the law-breaker. which is fully applicable here. (now Tanodbayan) Raul M. it is no judgment at all. no judgment at all By it no rights are divested. In legal contemplation. |lang1033 xxx xxx xxx "Private respondent invoke 'justice for the innocent'. They render justice where justice is due." Herrera quoted the exchange between him and the Presiding Justice to show the latter's "following the script of Malacanang. coerced and scripted verdict of acquittal such as that in the case at bar is a void judgment. No double jeopardy attaches. The interests of the society.-The private prosecutors had filed a motion to disqualify and for inhibition of respondents Justices of the Sandiganbayan on grounds of manifest bias and partiality to the defense and arising from then Atty. Herrera likewise complained of being "cajoled into producing witnesses and pressed on making assurances that if given a certain period. It is not to be dispensed for the accused alone. he breeds contempt for the law. Respondents-accused's contention that the Sandiganbayan judgment of acquittal ends the case which cannot be appealed or re-opened. Being worthless. It neither binds nor bars anyone. Justice Herrera had joined the motion and pleaded at the hearing of June 25. J. All acts performed under it and all claims flowing out of it are void. reprimand and contempt proceedings as compared to the nil situation for the defense. which they have wronged must also be equally considered. This is where the Courts play a vital role. A dictated. to the society offended. Court of Appeals. the decision of the case. Gonzales' charge that Justice Vera-Cruz had been passing coaching notes to defense counsel. A verdict of acquittal neither necessarily spells a triumph of justice. they will be able to produce their witnesses Herrera pleaded for "a reasonable period of preparation of its evidence" and cited other pending cases before respondent court that were pending trial for a much longer time where the "dizzying tempo" and "fast pace" were not maintained by the court. it could also mean injustice. A void judgment is. That is more important . It is a terrible and unspeakable affront to the society and the people. 28 Manifestly.

not to mention the overiding and transcendental public interest that would make out a case of denial of due process to the People if the alleged failure on the part of the Tanodbayan to present the complete evidence for the prosecution is substantiated. (c) The contention of one of defense counsel that the State and the sovereign people are not entitled to due process is clearly erroneous and contrary to the basic principles and jurisprudence cited hereinabove. Decision). 31 But the Sandiganbayan brushed aside Herrera's pleas and then wrongly blamed him. 34 In this case. (b) It is manifest that this does not involve a case of mere irregularities in the conduct of the proceedings or errors of judgment which do not affect the integrity or validity of the judgment or verdict. Too. comments. including the Sandiganbayan's. 13 TSN. 1985) (Emphasis supplied by Herrera). for supposedly not having joined the petition for inhibition. Re: Objections of respondents. To do it now is not alone out of season but is also a confession of official insouciance (Page 22. leaving the offended party without any remedy nor appeal in view of the double jeopardy rule. petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the abrupt dismissal of their petition and lifting of the temporary restraining order enjoining the Sandiganbayan from rendering its decision had been taken cognizance of by the Court which had required the respondents'. And after the hasty rendition of such judgment for the declaration of its nullity. All of the acts of the respondent judge manifest grave abuse of discretion on his part amounting to lack of jurisdiction which substantively prejudiced the petitioner. the motion for inhibition above referred to related exclusively for the contempt proceeding. contrary to the facts above-stated. nor did it at any time manifest a desire to file a similar motion prior to the submission of these cases for decision. it must be remembered that the prosecution neither joined that petition. 32 The action for prohibition was filed in the Court to seek the disqualification of respondents Justices pursuant to the procedure recognized by the Court in the 1969 case of Paredes vs. . respondent Sandiganbayan should not have precipitately issued its decision of total absolution of all the accused pending the final action of this Court. instead of the present action which was timely filed initially to declare a mistrial and to enjoin the rendition of the void judgment.-The other related objections of respondents' counsels must be rejected in the face of the Court's declaration that the trial was a mock trial and that the pre- determined judgment of acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio. Gopengco 33 since an adverse ruling by respondent court might result in a verdict of acquittal. following the presentation of competent proof heard by the Commission and the Court's findings therefrom that the proceedings were from the beginning vitiated not only by lack of due process but also by the collusion between the public respondents (court and Tanodbayan) for the rendition of a pre-determined verdict of acquitting all the twenty-six respondents-accused.. Wherein the court in setting aside the hasty convictions. ruled that "prudence dictated that (respondent judge) refrain from deciding the cases or at the very least to hold in abeyance the promulgation of his decision pending action by this Court. But prudence gave way to imprudence. June 25.. in the decision. than anything else. Although no restraining order was issued anew. This is the teaching of Valdez vs. Aquilizan35.(p. the respondent judge acted precipitately by deciding the cases [hastily without awaiting this Court's action]. (a) It follows that there is no need to resort to a direct action to annul the judgment. as follows: ." 3.

With this Court's judgment today declaring the nullity of the questioned judgment or acquittal and directing a new trial. since public policy and sound practice demand that litigation be put to an end and no second pro forma motion for reconsideration reiterating the same arguments should be kept pending so long (for over six (6) years and one (1) month since the denial of the first motion for reconsideration). This has been built on its cherished traditions of objectivity and impartiallity integrity and fairness and unswerving loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law which compels acceptance as well by the leadership as by the people. Inc. 1972 of then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile (as now admitted by Enrile himself was staged to trigger the imposition of martial law and authoritarian one-man rule. i. The notion nurtured under the past regime that those appointed to public office owe their primary allegiance to the appointing authority and are accountable to him alone and not to the people or the Constitution must be discarded. morality was overwhelmed by technicality. since the fake ambush in September. This opinion cannot be properly invoked. As recently retired Senior Justice Vicente Abad Santos recalled in his valedictory to the new members of the Bar last May. In the end. The function of the appointing authority with the mandate of the people. The lower courts draw their bearings from the Supreme Court. The writer therein held that a party should be entitled to only one Supreme Court and may not speculate on vital changes in the Court's membership for review of his lost case once more." Now that the light is emerging. 1986 and is now being resolved within five months of its filing after the Commission had received the evidence of the parties who were heard by the Court only last August 26th. The Supreme Court enjoys neither the power of the sword nor of the purse. 1986 following the denial under date of February 4th of the first motion for reconsideration and the same was admitted per the Court's Resolution of April 3. under our system of government..e. the appointing authority becomes functus officio and the primary loyalty of the appointed must be rendered to the . With the declaration of nullity of the proceedings. Co. 1985 which came to light only fifteen months later in March. the secret Malacañang conference on January 10. based on the truth and moral force of its judgments. the ten members of the Court (without any new appointees) unanimously voted to admit the second motion for reconsideration. so that the latter emerged ugly and naked in its true manifestation. is to fill the public posts. Hence.. Inc. because here. 36 is inappropriate. Its strength lies mainly in public confidence. "In the past few years. Maritime Bldg. with the padlocking of Congress and the abolition of the office of the Vice-President. the cases must now be tried before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. petitioners' second motion for reconsideration was filed promptly on March 20. vs. While the appointee may acknowledge with gratitude the opportunity thus given of rendering public service. This simply means that the respondents accused must now face trial for the crimes charged against them before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor with all due process. there must be a rejection of the temptation of becoming instruments of injustice as vigorously as we rejected becoming its victims. lawyers both in and outside the judiciary perceptively surrendered to the animus of technicality. What the past regime had denied the people and the aggrieved parties in the sham trial must now be assured as much to the accused as to the aggrieved parties. (e) Respondents' invocation of the writer's opinion in Luzon Brokerage Co. the Supreme Court faces the task of restoring public faith and confidence in the courts. 1986 and showed beyond per adventure (as proved in the Commission hearings) the merits of the petition and that the authoritarian president had dictated and pre-determined the final outcome of acquittal. 37 4. The end of one form of injustice should not become simply the beginning of another. The people will assuredly have a way of knowing when justice has prevailed as well as when it has failed.(d) The submittal of respondents-accused that they had not exerted the pressure applied by the authoritarian president on public respondents and that no evidence was suppressed against them must be held to be untenable in the wake of the evil plot now exposed for their preordained wholesale exoneration.-There has been the long dark night of authoritarian regime. The second motion for reconsideration is based on an entirely new material ground which was not known at the time of the denial of the petition and filing of the first motion for reconsideration. the judiciary was under heavy attack by an extremely powerful executive. During this state of judicial siege.

petitioners' second motion for reconsideration is granted.R. and its [2] Order dated January 14. DECISION CALLEJO. chairman. To paraphrase the late Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court. so that the truth may be finally known and justice done to an This resolution is immediately executory. Legazpi City. 7474 which reads as follows: .The Court expresses its appreciation with thanks for the invaluable services rendered by the Commission composed of retired Supreme Court Justice Conrado M. 1985 dismissing the petition and of February 4. On June 11. 1986 denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration are hereby set aside and in lieu thereof. In the pure spirit of public service. docketed as Criminal Case No. 5th Judicial [1] Region. respondents. 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration of the [3] decision of the said court on the civil aspect thereof and to allow her to present evidence thereon. 151931. dated November 19. No. Vasquez. [G. 5. the Constitution and their own conscience and honor.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Criminal Procedure of the Order of the Regional Trial Court... THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and J. serve no majority nor minority but serve only the public interest as they see it in accordance with their oath of office. 2003] ANAMER SALAZAR. SO ORDERED. The resolutions of November 28. the Justices and judges must ever realize that they have no constituency. 5. evaluating the same and submitting their Report and findings to the Court within the scheduled period and greatly easing the Court's burden." and ordering a re-trial of the said cases which should be conducted with deliberate dispatch and with careful regard for the requirements of due process. Salazar and co-accused Nena Jaucian Timario with the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City. SR. Branch 5. 2001. J. ACCORDINGLY.Constitution and the sovereign people in accordance with his sacred oath of office. Gen. an Information for estafa was filed against herein petitioner Anamer D. vs. judgment is hereby rendered nullifying the proceedings in respondent Sandiganbayan and its judgment of acquittal in Criminal Cases Nos. they rendered selflessly and without remuneration thorough competent and dedicated service in discharging their tasks of hearing and receiving the evidence. Note of Commendation. and retired Court of Appeals Justices Milagros German and Eduardo Caguioa as members. guided only. Luther Custodia et al. BROTHERS MARKETING CORPORATION.Y. petitioner. 10010 and 10011 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. September 23. 1997.

Jerson Yao accepted the check upon the petitioners assurance that it was a good check. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. by one Nena Jaucian Timario in the amount of P214. 1996.Y. She replaced the Prudential Bank check with Check No. drew and issue[d] PRUDENTIAL BANK. the same was consequently dishonored and refused payment for the reason of ACCOUNT CLOSED. dated October 15. LEGASPI CITY BRANCH CHECK NO. dated October 15.00 in favor of J. which. entered a plea of not guilty. Nena Jaucian Timario did not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank to cover the amount called for therein and without informing the payee of such circumstance. 1996. petitioner Anamer Salazar purchased 300 cavans of rice from J. was returned with the word DAUD (Drawn Against Uncollected Deposit).Y.000. the check was dishonored because it was drawn under a closed account (Account Closed). on the part of accused NENA JAUCIAN TIMARIO.Y. knowing fully well that at that time said check was issued and endorsed. the petitioner gave the private complainant Check No. The Evidence of the Prosecution On October 15. 365704 drawn against the Solid Bank. accused failed and refused and still fail and refuse to pay and/or make arrangement for the payment of the said check. in the amount of P214. 067481. Philippines. JERSON O. 067481 drawn against the Prudential Bank. to the damage and prejudice of said J. unlawfully and feloniously. Legazpi City Branch. As payment for these cavans of rice. BROTHERS MARKETING CORPORATION. BROTHERS MARKETING CORPORATION. did then and there wilfully. with intent to defraud by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. the above named-accused. 1996. Trial thereafter ensued. that despite demands.Y. Jerson Yao. conspiring and confederating with each other.000. YAO. that when said check was presented to the drawee bank for payment. CONTRARY TO LAW. Brothers Marketing Corporation. through Mr. however. Legazpi Branch. and accused ANAMER D. assisted by counsel. [4] Upon arraignment. The cavans of rice were picked up the next day by the petitioner. the petitioner. in the City of Legazpi. Upon presentment. The petitioner was informed of such dishonor. 1996. SALAZAR endorsed and negotiated said check as payment of 300 cavans of rice obtained from J. . BROTHERS MARKETING CORPORATION.That sometime in the month of October. represented by its Branch Manager.

Jerson Yao.00. Accused Anamer D. the petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence with Leave of Court alleging that she could not be guilty of the [5] crime as charged for the following reasons: (a) she was merely an indorser of the check issued by Nena Timario. the private complainant. (b) there is no sufficient evidence to prove that the petitioner conspired with the issuer of the check. After the prosecution rested its case. the petitioner replaced it with a second one. and Article 315. The decretal portion of the trial courts judgment reads as follows: WHEREFORE. the trial court rendered judgment acquitting the petitioner of the crime charged but ordering her to remit to the private complainant the amount of the check as payment for her purchase. On November 19. Brothers Marketing Corporation the sum of P214. usually a check. premises considered. the petitioners breach of the warranty that the check was a good one is not synonymous with the fraudulent act of falsely pretending to possess credit under Article 315(2)(d). The prosecution filed its comment/opposition to the petitioners demurrer to evidence. According to the petitioner.[6] Within the reglementary period therefor. Costs against the accused. this means that the account had sufficient funds but was still restricted because the deposit. (c) after the first check was dishonored. The trial court ruled that the evidence for the prosecution did not establish the existence of conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt between the petitioner and the issuer of the check. her personal check was dishonored not for insufficiency of funds. The first transaction had therefore been effectively novated by the issuance of the second check. for the purpose of defrauding the private complainant.000. which in banking parlance means drawn against uncollected deposit. but for DAUD.Y. Salazar is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged but is hereby held liable for the value of the 300 bags of rice. Unfortunately. the accused Anamer D. in order to defraud the private complainant. 2001. In fact. the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration on the civil aspect of the decision with a plea that he be . her co-accused Nena Jaucian Timario. Salazar is therefore ordered to pay J. paragraph 2(d) on estafa penalizes only the issuer of the check and not the indorser thereof. admitted that he had never met Nena Jaucian Timario who remained at large. had not yet been cleared. As a mere indorser of the check. Nena Jaucian Timario.

The petitioner invokes the applicability of Rule 33 of the Rules of Civil Procedure in this case. In her petition at bar. 2002. Where the amount of damages. Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure SECTION 1. nominal. no filing fees shall be required for actual damages. the filing fees therefor shall constitute a first lien on the judgment awarding such damages. the petitioner assails the orders of the trial court claiming that after her demurrer to evidence was granted by the trial court. she was denied due process as she was not given the opportunity to adduce evidence to prove that she was not civilly liable to the private respondent. reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action. The Petition Is Meritorious According to Section 1. .allowed to present evidence pursuant to Rule 33 of the Rules of Court. Institution of criminal and civil actions. On January 14. Except as otherwise provided in these Rules. she should have been first accorded the procedural relief granted in Rule 33. the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon the filing thereof in court. (a) When a criminal action is instituted. When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by way of moral. other than actual. contending that before being adjudged liable to the private offended party. The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. is specified in the complaint or information. temperate. the court issued an order denying the motion. or exemplary damages without specifying the amount thereof in the complaint or information.

it may be consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter case. moral. If the application is granted. 22 shall be deemed to include the corresponding civil action. Where the complaint or information also seeks to recover liquidated. [7] The criminal action has a dual purpose. Moreover. nominal. the offended party shall pay in full the filing fees based on the amount of the check involved. On the other hand. the punishment of the offender and indemnity to the offended party.No counterclaim. (b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. the trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing consolidation of the civil and criminal actions. The last paragraph of Section 2 of the said rule provides that the extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of the civil action. No reservation to file such civil action separately shall be allowed. which shall be considered as the actual damages claimed. The reason for this is that criminal actions are primarily intended to vindicate an outrage against the sovereignty of the state and to impose the appropriate penalty for the vindication of the disturbance to the social order caused by the offender. the filing fees based on the amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the judgment. Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet commenced. the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist. namely. cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal case. Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil actions. the offended party shall pay additional filing fees based on the amounts alleged therein. The civil action is merely incidental to and consequent to the conviction of the accused. the action between the private complainant and the accused is intended solely to indemnify the former. If the amounts are not so alleged but any of these damages are subsequently awarded by the court. [8] . The dominant and primordial objective of the criminal action is the punishment of the offender. temperate or exemplary damages.

the quantum of evidence is preponderance of evidence. whether as principal. In case the judgment is of acquittal. accomplice. Under Section 3. If the judgment is of conviction. (2) the participation of the accused in the offense. In either case. There is a merger of the trial of the two cases to avoid multiplicity of suits. or accessory after the fact. [10] . the judgment shall determine if the act or omission from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. it shall state whether the evidence of the prosecution absolutely failed to prove the guilt of the accused or merely failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Unless the offended party waives the civil action or reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. and (4) the civil liability or damages caused by his wrongful act or omission to be recovered from the accused by the offended party. Contents of the judgment. (3) the penalty imposed upon the accused. In a criminal action. The quantum of evidence on the criminal aspect of the case is proof beyond reasonable doubt. At the conclusion of the trial. The prosecution presents its evidence not only to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt but also to prove the civil liability of the accused to the offended party. After the prosecution has rested its case. civil or criminal. The first is the criminal action for the punishment of the offender. it shall state (1) the legal qualification of the offense constituted by the acts committed by the accused and the aggravating or mitigating circumstances which attended its commission. the accused shall adduce its evidence not only on the criminal but also on the civil aspect of the case. The second is the civil action arising from the delict. the court should render judgment not only on the criminal aspect of the case but also on the civil aspect thereof: SEC. Rule 1 of the [9] 1997 Rules of Criminal Procedure. The parties are the People of the Philippines as the plaintiff and the accused. if there is any. unless the enforcement of the civil liability by a separate civil action has been reserved or waived. while in the civil aspect of the action. the said rules shall govern the procedure to be observed in action. 2. The private complainant is the plaintiff and the accused is the defendant. the private complainant is merely a witness for the State on the criminal aspect of the action. there are two actions involved in a criminal case.

The prosecution may oppose the motion within a non- extendible period of five (5) days from its receipt. However. (b) where the court declared that the liability of the accused is only civil. the accused may adduce evidence in his defense. the accused waives his right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution. or to (b) adduce his evidence unless he waives the same. the court may dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence (1) on its own initiative after giving the prosecution the opportunity to be heard or (2) upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court. the aggrieved party. After the prosecution has rested its case. When the demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court. 23. The motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be filed within a non-extendible period of five (5) days after the prosecution rests its case. If leave of court is granted. Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. If the court denies the demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court. After the prosecution rests its case. The acquittal of the accused does not prevent a judgment against him on the civil aspect of the case where (a) the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required. the civil action based on the delict is extinguished if there is a finding in the final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist or where the accused did not commit the acts or omission imputed to him. the accused has the option either to (a) file a demurrer to evidence with or without leave of court under Section 23. Demurrer to evidence. the offended party or the accused or both may appeal from the judgment on the civil aspect of the case within the period therefor. If the accused is acquitted on reasonable doubt but the court renders judgment on the civil aspect of the criminal case. the accused shall file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice. The aforecited rule reads: Sec. (c) where the civil liability of the accused does not arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused was acquitted. The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a similar period from its receipt. Moreover. . the prosecution cannot appeal from the judgment of acquittal as it would place the accused in double jeopardy.

if the accused is granted leave to file a demurrer to evidence. (2) In all criminal prosecutions. Savellano. said judgment on the civil aspect of the case would be a nullity for the reason that the constitutional right of the accused to due process is thereby violated. impartial. Jurisprudence acknowledges that due process in criminal proceedings. and public trial. On the other hand. the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel. after arraignment. in particular. require (a) that the court or tribunal trying the case is properly clothed with judicial . to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable. and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. the accused has the right to adduce evidence on the civil aspect of the case unless the court also declares that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist. In criminal cases. to meet the witnesses face to face. (1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.The order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself shall not be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before the judgment. paragraphs (1) and (2). to have a speedy. If the trial court issues an order or renders judgment not only granting the demurrer to evidence of the accused and acquitting him but also on the civil liability of the accused to the private offended party. the demurrer to evidence partakes of the nature of a motion to dismiss the case for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In a case where the accused files a demurrer to evidence without leave of court. If demurrer is granted and the accused is acquitted by the court. he thereby waives his right to present evidence and submits the case for decision on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution. Jr. of Article III.: [11] Section 14. he has the right to adduce evidence not only on the criminal aspect but also on the civil aspect of the case if his demurrer is denied by the court. However. of the Constitution provides the fundamentals. As we held in Alonte v.

by now elementary and deeply imbedded in our own criminal justice system. are mandatory and indispensable. (b) that jurisdiction is lawfully acquired by it over the person of the accused. if any. The above constitutional and jurisprudentially postulates. the case shall be deemed submitted for decision unless the court directs them to argue orally or to submit written memoranda. arising from the issuance of a provisional remedy in the case.[12] This is so because when the accused files a demurrer to evidence. (c) that the accused is given an opportunity to be heard. and set the case for continuation of trial for the petitioner to adduce evidence on the civil aspect of the case. The trial shall proceed in the following order: (a) The prosecution shall present evidence to prove the charge and. (c) The prosecution and the defense may. The only evidence on record is the evidence for the prosecution. (d) Upon admission of the evidence of the parties. (b) The accused may present evidence to prove his defense and damages. 11. The principles find universal acceptance and are tersely expressed in the oft-quoted statement that procedural due process cannot possibly be met without a law which hears before it condemns. . and (d) that judgment is rendered only upon lawful hearing. in furtherance of justice. in the proper case. and for the private complainant to adduce evidence by way of rebuttal after which the parties may adduce their sur- rebuttal evidence as provided for in Section 11. Order of trial. the civil liability. (e) When the accused admits the act or omission charged in the complaint or information but interposes a lawful defense. What the trial court should do is to issue an order or partial judgment granting the demurrer to evidence and acquitting the accused. permits them to present additional evidence bearing upon the main issue. Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure: Sec.power to hear and determine the matter before it. the order of trial may be modified. which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial. present rebuttal and sur- rebuttal evidence unless the court. the accused has not yet adduced evidence both on the criminal and civil aspects of the case. in that order.

the court shall render judgment on the civil aspect of the case on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution and the accused. 7474 for the continuation of trial for the reception of the evidence-in-chief of the petitioner on the civil aspect of the case and for the rebuttal evidence of the private complainant and the sur- rebuttal evidence of the parties if they opt to adduce any. The Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City. The petitioner was granted leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence. therefore. IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING. The court issued an order granting the demurrer on its finding that the liability of the petitioner was not criminal but only civil. the petitioner was charged with estafa under Article 315. the Petition is GRANTED. The Orders dated November 19. SO ORDERED. Thereafter. is hereby DIRECTED to set Criminal Case No. In this case. Neither did he file a civil action before the institution of the criminal action. paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code. The civil action arising from the delict was impliedly instituted since there was no waiver by the private offended party of the civil liability nor a reservation of the civil action. Branch 5. Patently. However. the court rendered judgment on the civil aspect of the case and ordered the petitioner to pay for her purchases from the private complainant even before the petitioner could adduce evidence thereon. . 2002 are SET ASIDE AND NULLIFIED. 2001 and January 14. the petitioner was denied her right to due process.