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Republic of the Philippines Fontanilla forthwith appealed to the Court of Appeals which

SUPREME COURT subsequently certified the case to us in a resolution dated September


Manila 25, 1965, on the ground that the jurisdiction of the court a quo, inter
alia, is in issue.
EN BANC
The following, in paraphrase, are the assigned errors:
G.R. No. L-25354 June 28, 1968
1. The justice of the peace court of San Fernando, La Union
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, had no jurisdiction to try and decide this case because the
vs. alleged offense was committed outside its territorial jurisdiction
MARIANO FONTANILLA, defendant-appellant. and at the same time does not fall within the compass of its
original jurisdiction;
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Elias Reyes for defendant-appellant. 2. The lower court erred in finding that the accused had sexual
intercourse with Fe Castro repeatedly and that he had told her
CASTRO, J.: a number of times that he will separate from his wife
Magdalena Copio and will marry her, which was the reason
why Fe Castro consented to the sexual intercourse;
The appellant Mariano Fontanilla was prosecuted in the justice of the
peace court (now municipal court) of San Fernando, La Union for
qualified seduction. The criminal complaint, signed by the offended 3. The lower court erred in relying heavily on the testimony of
woman Fe Castro and filed on February 28, 1961, charged. Fe Castro, considering that her testimony is hazy and self-
contradictory;
That on or about the month of September, 1960, and for
sometime subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of San Juan, 4. The lower court erred in totally disregarding the evidence
Province of La Union, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of adduced by the appellant;
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with grave abuse 5. The lower court erred in failing to consider in favor of the
of confidence and authority, seduce and have sexual accused the delay in the filing of the complaint, which delay is
intercourse with the offended party Fe Castro, a domestic in not convincingly explained and which renders the accusation
the house of the said accused, located at Allangigan, San suspicious; and
Juan, La Union, the offended party being then a virgin over 12
years but under 18 years of age. 6. The lower court erred in ordering the appellant to pay the
sum of P500 in moral damages to the offended party or to her
After trial, the court, on November 27, 1962, found that "the guilt of the parents.
accused has been proved beyond reasonable doubt," and
accordingly sentenced him to "an indeterminate prison term from four The evidence for the prosecution discloses that in September, 1960 Fe
(4) months of arresto mayor as maximum to two (2) years and four (4) Castro, a fifteen-year old virgin, was brought by her mother to the
months of prison correccional and to pay the costs." The accused was house of the appellant and his second wife, Magdalena Copio, a
further ordered "to pay the sum of Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) as sister of the complaining witness' mother, to serve as a helper. The
moral damages to the offended party or to her parents." Fontanilla spouses had been married for two years but were childless,
although the appellant had grown-up children by his first marriage
who were domiciled elsewhere.
Fe Castro testified that during her stay in the house of Fontanilla for ward, because at night her room was locked and during the day he
about three months from September to shortly before Christmas of was out in the farm.
December, 1960, the accused succeeded in having carnal
knowledge of her repeatedly, the total number of times she could not Q. When the offended party testified before the Court she
recall. She was certain, however, that the accused consummated the stated that the first time you had sexual intercourse with her
first sexual intercourse with her one night in September, about a week was a certain night in September and you said to her, "You are
after her arrival, when the accused intruded into her bedroom, very beautiful. Come let us play." What do you say to this
placed himself on top of her and fondled her nipples. She added that allegation?
he was able to gain access to her room because the wooden bar
used to lock the door did not prevent the said door from being A. I did not do that, sir.
opened when pushed from the outside. She also declared that prior to
this incident, the accused had made amorous overtures and
Q. How is it possible or will circumstances afford you of
advances toward her. Aside from giving her money, the accused
getting inside her room and take advantage of her being a
repeatedly promised to abandon his wife to live with her.
woman?

Q. You told us that Mariano Fontanilla had been giving you


A. No, sir. It cannot be.
money. Are there other circumstances that led you to the
sexual intercourse?
Q. Why could it not be that you could enter the room and
take advantage of her womanhood?
A. He told me, "Come now let us play. I am going to
separate your aunt because I love you more than my wife."
A. Because the room is locked.
Q. For how many times had Mariano Fontanilla been
xxx xxx xxx
promising you this?

Q. The offended party further testified in Court that you did


A. He was telling me all the time.
the sexual intercourse daily, one in the day time and one in the
nighttime. Will you mention before this Honorable Court if you
Fe Castro further testified that she subsequently repeatedly yielded to
can commit sexual intercourse in the day time?
the carnal desires of the accused, as she was induced by his promises
of marriage and frightened by his acts of intimidation. The accused
A. That cannot be, sir.
made love to her during the day when his wife was away and at night
when the latter was already asleep. Their intimacies lasted for almost
three months until her aunt, the wife of the accused, caught them in Q. Why could you not possibly do the sexual intercourse in
flagrante on the kitchen floor. The following day she returned to her the day time?
parents, and revealed everything to her mother two days later.
A. Because I am in the farm, sir.
Mariano Fontanilla, testifying in his defense, admitted that Fe Castro
actually lived in his house from September to December, 1960, not as Q. Sometimes when you are in the farm, during lunch time
a helper, however, but in consideration of her being a niece of his Fe Castro would bring your food in the farm?
wife, and was treated as their own child. He vehemently denied
having had carnal knowledge of her, as there was never an occasion A. No, sir.
during which he could have taken advantage of the chastity of his
Q. And when you go home to your house in the day time for For the first time on appeal, Fontanilla challenges the jurisdiction of the
example you take your lunch. So it is possible for you to have court a quo the justice of the peace court of San Fernando, the
sexual intercourse with the offended party? capital of La Union - alleging that it had no jurisdiction to try and
decide this case, for two reasons: (1) the crime charged according to
A. No, sir. It is not possible during day time. the indictment was committed in San Juan, a municipality outside the
territorial jurisdiction of the court a quo; and (2) original jurisdiction
Q. Who are your companions in your house in the day time? over the crime of qualified seduction belongs exclusively to the court
of first instance, and not to the justice of the peace court of the
provincial capital.
A. My wife and also our neighbor who used to come.

The appellant's theory finds no basis in the then governing provisions of


Fontanilla declared that another reason why it was not possible for him
the Judiciary Act when the instant action was commenced on
to seduce Fe Castro was that his sexual capabilities had waned
February 28, 1961. It is a settled rule that the jurisdiction of a court is
considerably because of old age, as he was already 52 years old at
determined by the statute in force at the time of the commencement
the time of the supposed commission of the crime charged. He
of the action.1 The pertinent statutory provision then in force was
admitted that despite the fact that he had been married for only two
section 87(c), paragraph 3, of Republic Act 296, as amended by
years to his second wife, he made love to her only once a week.
Republic Act 2613, which unequivocably provided that "Justices of the
Under these circumstances, it was impossible for him to have indulged
peace in the capitals of provinces and Judges of Municipal Courts
in sexual intercourse with Fe Castro twice daily.
shall have like jurisdiction as the Court of First Instance to try parties
charged with an offense committed within the province in which the
The accused advances the theory that the instant case was filed
penalty provided by law do not exceed prision correccional or
against him upon the malevolent instigation of one Avelino Gapasin,
imprisonment for not more than six years or fine not exceeding three
an uncle of Fe Castro, who wielded strong influence over her, adding
thousand pesos or both ..." (Emphasis supplied.) It is therefore beyond
that the complainant herself was envious of his (Fontanilla's) children
dispute that under the then existing law all offenses committed within
of the first marriage who received some salary from their employment.
the province, provided that the penalty prescribed did not
This allegation was indirectly corroborated by a witness for the
exceed prision correccional or a fine not exceeding P3,000 or both,
defense, Mayor Antonio Aquino of San Juan, La Union, who testified
were triable by the justice of the peace courts of provincial capitals.
that he endeavored to settle the case by proposing that the accused
Since the penalty prescribed for qualified seduction under article 337
pay P50 which was due to Fe Castro as her share in the cultivation of
of the Revised Penal Code is prision correccional in its minimum and
tobacco, but the complaining witness through Avelino Gapasin
medium periods, the instant case was clearly within the periphery of
refused the offer and the latter then insinuated that the amount of
the concurrent jurisdiction of the court a quo.
P2,000 should be paid, which sum he believed would be sufficient
reparation for "the honor destroyed."
It was only on June 22, 1963, more than two years after the institution
of the case at bar, that the above-cited provision of the Judiciary Act
Magdalena Copio 51-year old wife of the accuse, corroborated her
was amended by Republic Act 3828. The pertinent provision is now
husband's statement that they indulged in sexual intercourse only
section 87(c), paragraph 4, which, as amended, reads:
once a week. She also stated that during the three months that Fe
Castro stayed with them, there was no unusual incident or sexual
Municipal judges in the capitals of provinces and subprovinces
relation between her husband and her niece. She denied having
and judges of city courts shall have like jurisdiction as the Court
caught the accused in a compromising situation with the offended
of First Instance to try parties charged with an
party. She also testified that she slept regularly from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00
offense committed within their respective jurisdictions, in which
midnight, after which she seldom could go back to sleep, and that
the penalty provided by law does not exceed prision
she was easily awakened by the slightest noise. She categorically
declared that her husband slept with her in the same bed every night.
correcional or imprisonment for not more than six years or fine years or fine not exceeding P3,000 (now P6,000). This concurrence of
not exceeding six thousand pesos or both.... jurisdiction is based upon the duration of the imprisonment and/or the
amount of the fine imposable, irrespective of the civil incidents or
Republic Act 3828 introduced two significant changes: (1) the obligations which may attach to the offense charged. So that any civil
concurrent jurisdiction of municipal courts in the capitals of provinces liability attaching to the offense concurrently cognizable by the courts
and sub-provinces and of city courts with the courts of first instance of first instance and the justice of the peace courts of provincial
has been territorially localized and limited to the proper offenses capitals can also be imposed by the latter because these have been
committed "within their respective jurisdictions," while previously said conferred jurisdictional parity.
courts could take cognizance of the proper offense committed "within
the province;" and (2) the proper offenses cognizable include those The appellant cites as authority for his theory the case of U.S. vs.
where the pecuniary penalty (fine) does not exceed P6,000, an Bernardo,2 a seduction case in which this Court, with a slim majority of
increase over the previous P3,000 limit. four justices (three justices dissented), said:

The first of the above-mentioned changes unmasks the fallacy of the These obligations imposed upon the culprit ordinarily exceed
appellant's theory that even under the then existing provision, the the amount of the penalty fixed by the law as being within the
concurrent jurisdiction of the justice of the peace courts of provincial jurisdiction of the justice of the peace court and compromise,
capitals with the courts of first instance was already confined to their moreover, by virtue of the forced recognition imposed by
respective territorial limits. If this were true, then Congress would have article 135 of the Civil Code, the special determination of
had no reason to enact the foregoing amendment which eliminated offspring which resulted from the crime, consequently,
the phrase "within the province" and in its place substituted the although the said crime of seduction is only punished by the
delimiting phrase "within their respective jurisdictions." penalty of arresto mayor, a judgement of conviction cannot
be pronounced by a justice of the peace, on account of his
The foregoing notwithstanding, the appellant insists that justice of the lack of jurisdiction..
peace courts of provincial capitals, like the court a quo, have no
jurisdiction over the crime of qualified seduction because of the But disregarding the amount of the indemnity, whatever it be,
provisions of article 345 of the Revised Penal Code by virtue of which according to the conditions and circumstances of the
the court must, in addition to the imposition of a prison term ( prision offended party and of the one obliged to furnish the same,
correccional minimum to medium in case of qualified seduction) which amount might be greater than that fixed by law as
which the accused must suffer, require him to indemnify the offended within the jurisdiction of justice of the peace courts, the
woman, to acknowledge the offspring unless the law should prevent acknowledgement of the resulting offspring, one of the
him from so doing, and in every case to support the offspring. The findings which the sentence must contain, establishes by force
theory of the appellant is that the imposition of the enumerated civil of law the civil status of the child whose acknowledgment is
liabilities increases the punishment, thereby divesting the justice of the necessarily upon the guilty party; so with much less reason
peace courts of the capitals of provinces of jurisdiction and could the crime fall within the jurisdiction of the justice of the
consequently confining original and exclusive jurisdiction over the peace court, inasmuch as, in accordance with specific legal
offense to courts of first instance. provisions, only the judge of the Court of First Instance can
make such pronouncements.
This contention is obviously untenable because section 37(c),
paragraph 3 [now sec. 87(c), paragraph 4] of the Judiciary Act grants As correctly contended by the Solicitor General, however, "there is a
the justice of the peace courts (now municipal courts) of provincial big difference between the case of U.S. vs. Bernardo, supra, and the
capitals concurrent jurisdiction with courts of first instance over present case, in that while the Bernardo case involved the original
offenses for which the penalty provided by law does not exclusive jurisdiction of the justice of the peace courts, the present
exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for not more than six case touches a concurrent jurisdiction of the justice of the peace
courts in the capitals of the provinces and Courts of First Instance." Q. When you were with the Fontanillas, do you know if there
Furthermore, "It would be going a long way to say that an was anything unusual that took place?
indemnification or a restitution or a reparation is a fine or an
imprisonment under any definition found in the criminal law of any A. He fooled me.
country. The jurisdiction of the court is determined by the amount of
the fine and imprisonment. An indemnification or a reparation or a Q. Who fooled you?
restitution is merely an incident of the crime. The jurisdiction of the
court is not fixed by the incident but by the nature of the crime itself.
A. Mariano Fontanilla.
Legally speaking, the nature of the crime is determined by the
punishment imposed... The jurisdiction of courts of justice of the peace
Q. What do you mean by fooled you?
over crimes being determined exclusively by the amount of the fine
and imprisonment imposed by law, that is by the legal nature of the
crime, and in no manner and to no extent whatever by the civil A. He had sexual intercourse with me.
incidents which accrue to the person injured by the commission of
said crime, such courts have jurisdiction of the crime presented in the xxx xxx xxx
case at bar, the punishment prescribed by law for such crime being
(then) simply arresto mayor."3 Q. When did Mariano Fontanilla start having sexual
intercourse with you?
We now proceed to the merits of the case.
A. One week after my arrival in their house.
The atmosphere of secrecy and privacy which pervades the
commission of crimes against chastity, coupled with the consequent Q. For how many times did Mariano Fontanilla have sexual
dearth or even absence of witnesses, constrains the courts to rely in no intercourse with you?
small measure upon the uncorroborated testimony of the complaining
woman whose testimonial and personal credibility assumes pivotal A. Very often when I was in their house.
importance. It is against this situational backdrop that we proceed to
discuss the issues of fact posed by the appellant. xxx xxx xxx

Fontanilla contends, among others, that the court a quo erred in Q. For how many times after September?
finding there that there is evidence to show that he had sexual
intercourse many times with the complainant Fe Castro. We disagree.
A. I could not count anymore, sir.
After a thorough study of the record, we find that the complainant's
testimony, in direct as well as in cross-examination, is entitled to
xxx xxx xxx
essential credence. She declared that Fontanilla had carnal
knowledge of her one night in September, 1960 in the house of the
former where she was staying as a maid, and that since then up to Q. Do you mean to tell us that he had been having sexual
December of the same year, Fontanilla had sexual intercourse with intercourse with you during the three (3) months you stayed
her repeatedly, sometimes at night. sometimes in the daytime, but with them?
always when his wife was asleep or away. Significantly, convincing
proof of the first sexual intercourse would suffice to affirm the A. Always.
conviction of the appellant without necessity of proving the
subsequent instances of carnal liaison. The following frank and COURT:
revealing testimony of the offended woman appears on record:
Q. Now, usually what time did you have that sexual A. When I woke up, he was on top of me holding my
intercourse? nipples.

A. Day and night. xxx xxx xxx

Q. And where did you do sexual intercourse during the day Q. Can you remember the date of the week when Mariano
time? Fontanilla consummated his first sexual intercourse with you?

A. When I iron their clothes in their house. A. I don't remember the date.

Q. Was there no other person in that house during the day Q. Do you remember what time? In the morning or
when you have been ironing clothes? afternoon?

A. The wife is not there. A. Night time.

Q. Do they have any children? Q. Do you remember what were the actual words of
Mariano Fontanilla when he consummated his first sexual
A. They have no children. intercourse with you?

xxx xxx xxx A. "How beautiful you are, my daughter! I wish I could marry
one as beautiful as you. Come let us play.
Q. When you left the house of Mariano Fontanilla and
returned to your house in barrio Allangigan, was it with the Q. After he uttered those words, what did he do to you?
consent of Mr. and Mrs. Mariano Fontanilla?
A. He was placing his private parts in mine.
A. They allowed me to go home.
Q. Do you mean to say he did not remove your panties first?
Q. Why did you go home?
A. He removed it.
A. I left sir, because the wife of Mariano Fontanilla
discovered what we have been doing. Q. Did you offer any objection when he made those acts to
you?
When asked upon cross-examination to narrate the circumstances
surrounding the first intercourse, Fe Castro testified thus: A. He told that "If you are going to move, I am going to club
you."
Q. Now, what were you doing in your room when Mariano
Fontanilla first came in? Q. And you never uttered a word of what he is doing?

A. I was already sleeping. A. I did not complain anymore because I was afraid."

Q. And how were you awakened from your sleep? xxx xxx xxx
Q. Now, it was in the evening of that day when he started carnal knowledge of her. Aquino also claimed that Gapasin
caressing you in the kitchen when he had that first sexual insinuated that any compromise amount must be equal to the "honor
intercourse with you, is that right? destroyed" and he, Gapasin, suggested P2,000.

A. Yes, sir, the same night he came to the room. The foregoing testimony was presented by the defense to prove its
allegation that Fe Castro was pressured into filing the case at bar.
xxx xxx xxx Standing alone, Gapasin's objection to the proposed compromise
does not prove that he induced the victim to denounce Fontanilla in
Q. This room where you had your intercourse with the court. On the contrary, from the actuations of Gapasin it can be
accused was there a lock in the door? inferred that he was just trying to protect the interest of his niece who
was offered so meager an amount as settlement for an offense which
caused the latter the irredeemable loss of her virginity. Furthermore, it
A. There is a piece of wood that is used as a bar but if you
is on record that prior to the overtures at settlement, the complaining
push it, it will be opened.
witness had already gone to the office of the provincial fiscal of La
Union to file charges against Fontanilla. Aquino himself admitted upon
The foregoing testimony of the aggrieved woman belies the
cross-examination that he had requested Fiscal Crisogono Bautista to
contention of Fontanilla that there is no evidence showing that he had
postpone the filing of the complaint to enable him to settle the case,
carnal knowledge of Fe Castro. Of course no other witness was
and that the proposed compromise was his idea and made upon his
presented by the prosecution to corroborate the testimony of the
own initiative. This admission shows that the filing of the instant case
victim with respect to the actual act of seduction, nor to the amorous
preceded, and was not due to, the failure of the alleged proposed
overtures of the accused before the first sexual intercourse, nor to their
compromise.
subsequent carnal acts. But this is quite understandable because
aside from Fontanilla and Fe Castro, there was only one other person
The appellant further contends that the complainant's testimony does
in the house of the accused his wife, who was either asleep or
not merit credence because it is hazy and self-contradictory. He
away when the two indulged in their illicit love-making. As previously
argues that if it is true that he repeatedly promised to marry Fe Castro
intimated, the final verdict would principally hinge on the testimonial
in order to deceive her into submitting to his carnal designs, why did
and personal credibility of the complaining witness.
the latter allegedly consent to the continuance of their illicit liaison
even after it was evident that he would not fulfill his promise to marry
Assailing the credibility of the complainant, Fontanilla contends that
her? A situation like this, says the appellant, borders on the incredible
Fe Castro has malevolent and ulterior motives for filing this case
and suggests that there was actually no promise of marriage and
against him. He alleged that Fe Castro was envious of his children by
consequently there was no resultant carnal relation between him and
his first marriage who had some income. In our view, this is a flimsy
the complaining woman.
rationalization which the accused, significantly, did not even attempt
to substantiate.
This "unthinkable" situation pointed out by the appellant was quite
reasonably explained by the complainant in a frank, albeit
Fontanilla also argues that Fe Castro was induced and pressured by
embarrassing, reply contained in her sworn statement (exh. A-1) taken
her uncle Avelino Gapasin to file the criminal complaint. Testifying on
in the office of the provincial fiscal of La Union on January 31, 1961.
this point, Mayor Antonio Aquino of San Juan, La Union, stated that he
Upon interrogation, Fe Castro declared:
tried to settle the case by proposing that the accused pay the
complainant P50 as the latter's alleged share in the tobacco harvest;
Q. Despite his many promises which he never fulfilled, why
and that this proposal was refused, however, by Fe Castro, thru
did you still continue to have relationship with him?
Gapasin, on the ground that the amount offered would not even be
sufficient to defray the expenses for the delivery of the child which the
victim mistakenly thought she was conceiving as a result of Fontanilla's
A. Because I was beginning to like him and enjoy this sexual Fontanilla also challenges the credibility of Fe Castro's account
intercourse. regarding his having been discovered by his wife in the act of sexual
intercourse with the complainant on the kitchen floor. He argues that
Underscoring the above statement of Fe Castro, Fontanilla claims that had such a discovery actually been made, the natural reaction of his
it exposes in fact the fabricated nature of the case against him, wife would have been to lay hands on both of them (Fe Castro and
because for a woman to continue having sexual relations with a man himself), with the complainant taking the most punishment since
even after a patent breach of the latter's promise of marriage, is women are inherently possessive and are merciless upon those who
unthinkable and alien to human experience. We believe, on the attempt to take away their loved ones. Fe Castro did not testify on
contrary, however, that the said statement of the aggrieved woman such a hostile reaction.
does not make her testimony incredible for it evinces basic honesty
and sincerity on her part, even to the extent of admitting something We are inclined to believe, however, that women are bound to react
which could conceivably put her to shame and ridicule. differently to the same or similar situations. There is no sufficient reason
to discredit Fe Castro's testimony that when they were discovered in
Anent the said marital promise, Fontanilla also claims that there is no flagrante by Magdalena Copio, the appellant's wife and her aunt, the
evidence on record supporting its veracity. Granting this to be correct, latter verbally chastised Fontanilla for having "fool(ed) this little girl."
it is nevertheless settled that deceit, although an essential element of
ordinary or simple seduction, does not need to be proved or The appellant's wife, then 51 years old and twice married, most
established in a charge of qualified seduction. It is replaced by abuse probably knew that it was her 52-year old second husband, the herein
of confidence. When the offender is a public officer, a priest or appellant, who was at fault and thus spared her 15-year old niece
minister, a servant, domestic, tutor, teacher, or under any title is in from any punishment.
charge of the education or keeping of the offended woman, as in the
present case, the act is punishable although fraud or deceit may not It is conceded that the testimony of Fe Castro suffers from some
have been used or, if employed, has not been proved.4 The seduction inconsistencies; these, however, could be attributed to her minority
of a virgin over twelve and under eighteen years of age, committed (she was barely 16 years old at the time of the trial), lack of education
by any of the persons enumerated in art. 337 "is constitutive of the (she had reached only grade III), perceptibly low intelligence, and to
crime of qualified seduction ... even though no deceit intervenes or the understandable partiality of a litigant to her cause. On the whole,
even when such carnal knowledge were voluntary on the part of the we find that the complainant's testimony is credible and convincing.
virgin, because in such a case, the law takes for granted the existence Furthermore, we believe that no other reason impelled Fe Castro in
of the deceit as an integral element of the said crime and punishes it instituting this case against her very kin, and exposing thereby her
with greater severity than it does the simple seduction ... taking into sordid experience to public scrutiny and suffering as a consequence
account the abuse of confidence on the part of the agent (culprit), the travail of trial, than to seek justice for herself.
an abuse of confidence which implies deceit or fraud."5
The appellant further claims that the court a quo erred in failing to
It is likewise contended for the appellant that the testimony of the consider the unexplained delay in the filing of the complaint, which
complainant is unbelievable because while she denounced the delay renders the accusation suspicious. It is relevant to note that the
perverse and criminal conduct of the accused, in the same breath accused did not raise this issue before the court a quo. Anent the
she described the relation between the accused and his wife as alleged delay, the Solicitor General states that it can easily be
harmonious and cordial. The alleged inconsistency in this regard is explained "by the fact that the complainant was not accusing a
more apparent than real. A man could hide his evil motives and person who was a total stranger to her but the husband of her
immoral conduct behind a deceptive facade. And it stands to reason mother's sister. The attempt of the older people to thresh out their
that a husband who has illicit relations with a woman who resides in differences and to settle the case amicably had brought about the
the same house where he dwells with his wife would even be over- said delay." It appears on record that Fe Castro left the house of
solicitous with the latter to camouflage his infidelity. Fontanilla on December 18, 1960, and two days thereafter she
informed her parents of what Fontanilla had done. Forthwith she and once his wife had left. Thus, the very record of the case belies the
her parents decided to bring the case to court, and on January 13, defense of the appellant that there was no occasion when he could
1961 Fe Castro had herself examined in the La Union Provincial have violated the chastity of his ward.
Hospital, with the name of Fiscal Bautista appearing in the medical
certificate as the requesting officer, which means that prior to January The appellant also contends that it was impossible for him to have
13, 1961 Fe Castro had already gone to the office of the provincial indulged in sexual intercourse with the complainant twice a day,
fiscal presumably to complain against Fontanilla. The criminal because even with his wife he made love only once a week.
complaint was filed only on February 28, 1961 because as previously Fontanilla attributed his diminished virility to old age as he was already
stated, Mayor Aquino had requested Fiscal Bautista to postpone the 52 years old at the time of the commission of the alleged crime. This
filing of the indictment to give the former sufficient time to attempt at declaration was corroborated by his wife, Magdalena Copio who
an amicable settlement of the case. went to the extent of vouching that two years after their marriage
they did not indulge anymore in sexual relations. We believe,
We now come to the basic defense set up by Fontanilla, which is a nonetheless, that the appellant's claim is untenable. In the first place,
denial of his having had carnal knowledge of Fe Castro whom he the complainant did not say that Fontanilla had her twice a day
admits was once his ward. His denial is anchored on two grounds: (1) during the three months that she stayed with him and his wife. When
there was no occasion during which he could have violated the asked what time they indulged in sexual intercourse, she replied "Day
chastity of the complainant because during the night the room of the and night." (t.s.n., p. 6) This answer of the complainant cannot be
latter was locked and during the day he was always out in the fields; interpreted to mean that they had sexual intercourse twice daily (one
and (2) at the age of 52, his sexual potency had considerably waned in the daytime and another at night), for said statement was in reply to
as proved by the fact that he had sexual intercourse with his own wife a question with respect to the time when they engaged in carnal
only once a week. The court a quo did not accord credence to this intercourse and not the frequency of their illicit love making. In the
defense, and we are of the view that in this regard the court did not second place, there is a presumption that an adult male has normal
err. powers of virility and the burden of proving the contrary rests on the
party asserting it.6 We believe that the declarations of Fontanilla and
The complainant testified that the wooden bar which she used to lock his wife on the former's alleged weakening potency are not sufficient
the door of her room did not prevent the said door from being to rebut this presumption. Alfred W. Herzog has cautioned that "one
opened when pushed from the outside. Thus, Fontanilla had easy must be very careful not to express the opinion that a man on
access at night to Fe Castro's sleeping quarters. Considering the account of his age is either sterile or impotent."7 Hence, a party who
general make-up of residential houses in the barrios, we believe that claims loss of virility, or waning potency for that matter, must bolster his
the complainant's statement is essentially true. assertion clinically with the aid of a competent and expert witness.

With respect to the appellant's argument that during the day he had On the other hand, the prosecution presented Dr. Magno K. Guerrero,
no opportunity of being alone with the complainant, he himself the physician at the La Union Provincial Hospital who examined the
admitted upon cross-examination that there were times when he victim. Dr. Guerrero testified that the hymen of Fe Castro showed
would be home earlier than his wife and would ask Fe Castro to serve "incomplete healed lacerations at 9 & 3 o'clock positions on the face
him food. As there was no other person in the house during such of a watch, edges of which are sharp and easily coaptable." He
occasions Fe Castro and Fontanilla naturally would be alone together. explained that healed lacerations would suggest that the injury
The appellant also admitted that whenever his wife went to market happened six months, more or less, prior to the date of examination. In
she would be away for two or three hours. He hastened to add, the case at bar, since per medical findings the hymen of the
however, that each time his wife left for the market she advised Fe complainant showed "incomplete healed lacerations," then this fact
Castro to stay with their neighbor. Granting that Fe Castro would really would indicate that the injury occurred less than six months before
go to their neighbor's place which was only five meters away from February 12, 1961, the date of the medical examination of Fe Castro.
their house, it is not improbable that Fontanilla would call her back Significantly, said period corresponds to the time when Fe Castro
stayed as a helper in the house of the Fontanilla spouses. Upon cross- is in accord with the presumption of innocence which "includes, also,
examination, Dr. Guerrero testified: that of morality and decency, and, as a consequence, of chastity."9

Q. Dr. Guerrero, you stated that it (the laceration) should last We are of the considered opinion that the findings of fact reached by
less than six (6) months counting from? the court a quo are substantially correct. This, apart from the rule that
"as far as credibility and veracity of witnesses are concerned, the
A. From the time I examined. conclusions of the lower court command great weight and respect,
on the ground that the trustworthiness of witnesses and the merit of
xxx xxx xxx the defenses by the accused, are in the peculiar domain of the trial
court."10 In the case at bar, we see no reason for departing from this
doctrine, there being no showing that "some fact or circumstance of
Q. Disregarding the history of the patient, from your
great importance to the case has been overlooked in the records or
observation of the patient, how many sexual intercourses
misapplied or its significance misunderstood by the lower court."11
could have caused the lacerations taking into consideration
the condition of the hymen?
The appellant finally contends that the lower court erred in ordering
him to pay P500 in moral damages to the offended party or to her
A. Several intercourse because of the laxity of the vaginal
parents. Ironically, this contention is correct in two respects. The first is
canal and it admits three (3), fingers.
that the award of P500 in moral damages is inadequate. We have
heretofore stated that the complainant was a virgin, there being no
Q. How many intercourses could have caused that?
proof to the contrary, and that she was deflowered by the appellant.
The loss of her virginity, at the hands of the appellant, together with
A. Several. More than ten (10) times. the attendant shame and scandal, entitles her, in the view of this
Court, to the sum of P2,500 in moral damages. Her future as a woman
xxx xxx xxx is definitely impaired, and the resultant prejudice against her
engendered in the male population of the barrio where she resides
Q. And those lacerations could be caused ten (10) times or cannot be blinked away. The second error of the lower court is in
more? making the award payable to the offended party or to her parents,
which award is, by the very wording of the judgment, in the
A. Ten times or more. alternative. Article 2219 of the New Civil Code provides that moral
damages are recoverable by the offended party in the cases of
Q. How many more? "seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts" and that the
"parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused ... may
also recover moral damages." (Emphasis supplied). The conviction of
A. Another ten (10) times more.
the accused suffices as a basis to adjudge him, in the same action,
liable for an award of moral damages, without independent proof
It is clear from the above testimony that Fe Castro had experienced
thereof, to the victim and her parents, because the law presumes that
numerous distinct acts of sexual intercourse, a fact which affirms her
not only the woman who was seduced, abducted, raped or abused,
claim that the appellant had carnal knowledge of her repeatedly
but as well her parents, naturally suffer besmirched reputation, social
during her three-month stay in his house. There is no evidence on
humiliation, mental anguish, and wounded feelings. In the case at bar,
record that Fe Castro, then a 15-year old single girl, was unchaste prior
moral damages must be awarded to the offended woman and her
to her living with the Fontanilla spouses. Such being the case, her
parents, not to either of them, as ordered by the court a quo.
virginity before she was seduced by the appellant must be presumed.
Presumption of a woman's virginity arises whenever it is shown that she
is single, and continues until overthrown by proof to the contrary.8 This
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment appealed from is affirmed, with the
modification that the appellant is ordered to pay the sum of P2,500 in
moral damages to the offended party and her parents. Costs against
the appellant.
This is not to say that the appellant did nothing wrong.
With promises of marriage, appellant succeeded in
Republic of the Philippines having sexual intercourse with her, twice, that night
SUPREME COURT before they returned. She was seduced by appellant,
Manila as it turned out that he made those promises just to
accomplish his lewd designs That was "seduction
THIRD DIVISION and not abduction," as explained by Justice Ramon
Aquino. (Rollo, p. 40.)
G.R. No. L-80838 November 29, 1988
xxx xxx xxx
ELEUTERIO C. PEREZ, petitioner,
vs. Subsequent to petitioner's acquittal complainant Yolanda Mendoza
COURT OF APPEALS and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. filed another criminal complaint against Perez on July 22, 1983, this
time for Qualified Seduction, docketed as Criminal Case No. 83-8228
of the Municipal Trial Court of Pampanga, Branch VI. * Petitioner Perez
Esteban C. Manuel for petitioner.
filed a motion to quash invoking double jeopardy and waiver and/or
estoppel on the part of the complainant. However, this motion and
The Solicitor General for respondents.
petitioner's motion for reconsideration were denied.

Whereupon, petitioner Perez filed a petition for certiorari and


prohibition with the Supreme Court docketed as G.R. No. 68122
CORTES, J.: questioning the denial of his motions to quash and for reconsideration
filed with the Municipal Trial Court in Criminal Case No.
Petitioner Eleuterio Perez raises both procedural and substantive issues 83-8228. In a resolution of the Second Division dated August 8, 1984,
in this petition to review the decision of respondent Court of Appeals the Court referred the case to the Intermediate Appellate Court.
in CA-G.R. CR No. 04789 dated October 8, 1987 and its resolution of
November 12, 1987 denying his motion for reconsideration. On December 16, 1985 the Intermediate Appellate Court dismissed
the petition, without prejudice to its refiling in the proper Regional Trial
The facts of this case are undisputed. Court. Said the Intermediate Appellate Court:

On October 21, 1974 Yolanda Mendoza filed a criminal complaint As the order sought to be annulled is that of an inferior
against Eleuterio Perez for Consented Abduction docketed as court, the petition in this case should have been filed
Criminal Case No. 618 of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, with the appropriate Regional Trial Court in
Branch VI. The accused pleaded not guilty and trial on the merits accordance with Rule 65, Sec. 4. We have already
ensued. On June 28, 1980 a judgment of conviction was rendered ruled in several cases that BP 129, See. 9, in giving this
against Perez. court jurisdiction over applications for writs of certiorari
and prohibition "whether or not in aid of its appellate
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed, and acquitted Perez of the jurisdiction," was never meant to authorize the filing of
crime of Consented Abduction. In said decision, promulgated on petitions which, conformably to Rule 65, Sec. 4, should
October 29, 1982, the Court of Appeals made the following statement: be filed with the Regional Trial Courts because they
relate to acts of inferior courts. The purpose of BP 129 is
xxx xxx xxx to enable this Court to take cognizance of petitions
which, because of the limitation imposed by the
requirement that the petition must be "in aid of its Visayan Electric Co., 19 SCRA 696, 698) on July 12, 1987,
appellate jurisdiction" could or only be filed before with fifteen (15) days after receipt by petitioner of the
the Supreme Court (Diocese of Cabanatuan v. Delizo, decision of said court on May 18, 1987, deducting the
AC-G.R. SP No. 06410, Oct. 28, 1985; Uy v. Antonio, AC period during which his motion for reconsideration of
G.R R. SP No. 05568, March 7, 1985; De Guzman v. said decision was pending resolution before said court.
Andres, AC-G.R. SP No. 04494, Oct. 25, 1984). [Rollo p. ... Petitioner might plead liberality in the interpretation
70.] of the rules of procedure, but this plea cannot be
conceded because it involves the appellate jurisdiction
Complying with this, Perez filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition of this Court. It has been repeatedly held that
with the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga docketed as Special Civil compliance with the manner and period for perfecting
Case No. 7623. Upon evaluation of the case, the court dismissed this an appeal is mandatory and jurisdictional Garganta vs.
petition and Perez' motion for reconsideration. Cabangon, 109 Phil. 150 [1960]; Bilbao vs. Republic, 80
SCRA, 177 [1977]; Volkschen Labor Union vs. National
Petitioner Perez thereafter filed a petition for review with the Court of Labor Relations Commission, 98 SCRA 314, 322 [1980])
Appeals. In a decision dated October 8, 1987 this petition was denied, [Rollo, pp. 93-94.]
being inappropriate, aside from the fact that the decision sought to
be reviewed had become final and executory. As explained by the Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, this petition
Court of Appeals: for review.

xxx xxx xxx I. Petitioner claims that what he filed with the Regional Trial Court was
not an original petition for certiorari and prohibition but an appeal
... it is to be observed that what petitioner filed in the from the resolutions of the Municipal Trial Court in Criminal Case No.
Regional Trial Court was an original petition for certiorari 83-8228 denying his motions to quash and for reconsideration. Hence,
and prohibition which was dismissed by the Regional when the Regional Trial Court dismissed his certiorari and prohibition
Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga. The case, he invoked the proper remedy which is a petition for review.
appropriate remedy for such dismissal is an appeal
from said decision (by filing a notice of appeal with the There is no merit in petitioner's claim.
RTC concerned), and not a petition for review. Under
the 1983 Interim Rules of Court, all appeals, except in Well-established is the rule that appeal is not the proper remedy from
habeas corpus cases and in the cases where a record a denial of a motion to quash [People v. Macandog, G.R. Nos. 18601-
on appeal is required, must be taken within fifteen (15) 2, January 31, 1963, 7 SCRA 195; Newsweek, Inc. v. Intermediate
days from notice of the judgment, order, resolution or Appellate Court, G.R. No. 63559, May 30, 1986,142 SCRA 171; Milo v.
award appealed from. (par. 19).<re||an1w> An Salanga, G.R. No. 37007, July 20, 1987, 152 SCRA 113.] This is so
appeal from the Regional Trial Courts to the Court of because an order denying a motion to quash is an interlocutory order
Appeals in actions or proceedings originally filed in the and does not finally dispose of a case. Under the Rules on Criminal
former shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with Procedure prior to its amendment in 1985, ** after the denial of
the court that rendered the judgment or order defendant's motion to quash, he should immediately enter his plea
appealed from (par. 20, 1983 Interim Rules of Court) ... and go to trial and, if convicted, raise on appeal the same question
covered by his motion to quash [See Sec. 1 of Rule 117 of the Rules of
For not having filed a notice of appeal with the Court and Chuatoco v. Aragon, G.R. No. 20316, January 30, 1 968, 22
Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, the SCRA 346.]
decision of said court in the petition for certiorari and
prohibition ... has become final and executory (CIR v.
Further, the record shows that what petitioner actually filed was a dismissal on mere technicality, thereby depriving [him] of his right to
special civil action for certiorari and prohibition as evidenced by his constitutional due process" [Rollo, p. 133.]
prayer for (1) the annulment and setting aside of the municipal trial
judge's resolutions of April 11, 1984 and June 11, 1984 denying his Petitioner's assertion that he was consequently denied due process in
motions to quash and for reconsideration, respectively, and, (2) the unfounded. Respondent court did not foreclose his right to seek his
prohibition of the same judge from further taking cognizance of the remedy elsewhere as it is clear from its decision that "the petition for
criminal case for Qualified Seduction [Annexes "K" and "L".] certiorari and prohibition is DISMISSED, without prejudice to its refiling in
the proper Regional Trial Court" [Rollo. p. 70.] Thus, petitioner was
A special civil action for certiorari is an original or independent action never denied recourse to the appropriate court. On the contrary, the
and not a continuation or a part of the trial resulting in the rendition of Intermediate Appellate Court pointed the direction for petitioner to
the judgment complained of [Palomares v. Jimenez, 90 Phil. 773, 776 take.
(1952).] The same holds true in case of a special civil action for
prohibition. These writs may be issued by the Supreme Court, the Court II. Petitioner invokes double jeopardy to question the filing against him
of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court [Art. X, Sec. 5 (1) of the 1987 of an information for Qualified Seduction after he was acquitted for
Constitution and Secs. 9 (1) and 21 (1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.] Consented Abduction.

In a special civil action for certiorari, the petitioner seeks to annul or The rule on double jeopardy is that, "No person shall be twice put in
modify the proceedings of any tribunal, board, or officer exercising jeopardy of punishment for the same offense" [Article IV, Sec. 22 of the
judicial functions that has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or 1973 Constitution, Article III, Sec 21 of the 1987 Constitution.] The term
with grave abuse of discretion [Rule 65, sec. 1.] On the other hand, in "same offense" means Identical offense or any attempt to commit the
a petition for prohibition directed against any tribunal, corporation, same or frustration thereof or any offense which necessarily includes or
board, or person whether exercising judicial or ministerial functions is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint
who has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse or information. The rule on double jeopardy under the Rules of Court is
of discretion, the petitioner prays that judgment be rendered explicit:
commanding the respondent to desist from further proceeding in the
action or matter specified in the petition [Rule 65, Sec. 2] Sec. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double
jeopardy.When an accused has been convicted or
From a denial of a petition for certiorari and prohibition by the trial acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or
court, as in this case, the losing party's remedy is an ordinary appeal to otherwise terminated without his express consent by a
the Court of Appeals by filing a notice of appeal with the court that court of competent jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint
rendered the judgment or order appealed from [Sec. 20, Interim Rules or information or other formal charge sufficient in form
of Court.] Failure to appeal within fifteen (15) days from rendition of and substance to sustain a conviction and after the
judgment renders the appealed decision final and executory. accused had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or
acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case
A petition for review of a judgment of the regional trial court is proper shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense
only when the judgment sought to be reviewed is an appeal from the charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or
final judgment or order of a municipal, metropolitan or municipal frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily
circuit trial court [Sec. 22 (b), Interim Rules of Court]. includes or is necessarily included in the offense
charged in the former complaint or information. [Sec. 9,
Petitioner likewise faults the respondent Court of Appeals for dismissing Rule 117 of the Rules of Court Procedure, now Sec. 7,
his petition for certiorari which "gave rise to the confusion caused by Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.]
the case being tossed around from one court to another ending in its
xxx xxx xxx
There is no question that petitioner was validly charged with the crime conviction or a dismissal of the information under one
of Consented Abduction before a court of competent jurisdiction. does not bar prosecution under the other. Phrased
That he had been arraigned and had pleaded not guilty to the elsewise, where two different laws (or articles of the
charge for which he was subsequently acquitted is likewise same code) define two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one
undisputed. In the case at bar, the only issue posed by petitioner of them is no obstacle to a prosecution of the other,
relates to the Identity of the two offenses of Consented Abduction although both offenses arise from the same facts, if
and Qualified Seduction. each crime involves some important act which is not
an essential element of the other. [People v. Doriquez,
In support of his argument that the filing of the subsequent information G.R. Nos. 24444-45, July 29, 1968, 24 SCRA 163, 171-172;
for Qualified Seduction is barred by his acquittal in the case for Emphasis supplied.]
Consented Abduction, petitioner maintains that since the same
evidence would support charges for both offenses a trial and xxx xxx xxx
conviction for one, after he was acquitted for the other, would
constitute double jeopardy. Stated otherwise, petitioner would rely on An examination of the elements of these two crimes would show that
the "same evidence" test in support of his claim of double jeopardy. although they may have arisen from the same set of facts, they are
not Identical offenses as would make applicable the rule on double
It is true that the two offenses for which petitioner was charged arose jeopardy.
from the same facts. This, however, does not preclude the filing of
another information against him if from those facts, two distinct There are similar elements between Consented Abduction and
offenses, each requiring different elements, arose. As this Court stated: Qualified Seduction, namely: (1) that the offended party is a virgin,
and, (2) that she must be over twelve (12) and under eighteen (18)
xxx xxx xxx years of age. However, two elements differentiate the two crimes.
Consented Abduction, in addition to the two common elements,
A single act may be an offense against two statutes requires that: (1) the taking away of the offended party must be with
and if each statute requires proof of an additional fact her consent, after solicitation or cajolery from the offender, and, (2)
which the other does not, an acquittal or conviction the taking away of the offended party must be with lewd designs. On
under either statute does not exempt the defendant the other hand, an information for Qualified Seduction also requires
from prosecution and conviction under the other. [U.S. that: (1) the crime be committed by abuse of authority, confidence or
v. Capurro, 7 Phil. 24, 34 (9106) citing In re Hans Neilsen relationship, and, (2) the offender has sexual intercourse with the
(131 U.S. 176); Emphasis supplied.] woman.

xxx xxx xxx Moreover, the very nature of these two offenses would negate any
Identity between them. As this Court has stated:
The plea of double jeopardy cannot therefore be
accorded merit, as the two indictments are perfectly xxx xxx xxx
distinct in point of law howsoever closely they may
appear to be connected in fact. It is a cardinal rule ... the gravamen of the offense of the abduction of a
that the protection against double jeopardy may be woman with her own consent, who is still under the
invoked only for the same offense or Identical offense. control of her parents or guardians is "the alarm and
A single act may offend against two (or more) entirely perturbance to the parents and family" of the
distinct and unrelated provisions of law, and if one abducted person, and the infringement of the rights of
provision requires proof of an additional fact or the parent or guardian. But-in cases of seduction, the
element which the other does not, an acquittal or gravamen of the offense is the wrong done the young
woman who is seduced. ... [U.S. v. Jayme, 24 Phil. 90, 94
(1913).]

xxx xxx xxx

III. Finally, petitioner avers that the complaint for Qualified Seduction is
barred by waiver and/or estoppel on the part of Yolanda Mendoza,
the latter having opted to consider the case as Consented
Abduction. He also alleges that her delay of more than nine (9) years
before filing the second case against him is tantamount to pardon by
the offended party.

Petitioner's stance is unmeritorious. The complainant's filing of a


subsequent case against him belies his allegation that she has waived
or is estopped from filing the second charge against petitioner.
Neither could she be deemed to have pardoned him, for the rules
require that in cases of seduction, abduction, rape and acts of
lasciviousness, pardon by the offended party, to be effective, must be
expressly given [Rule 110, Sec. 4 of the Rules of Court, Ruled 110, Sec. 5
of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.] Moreover the length of time
it took her to file the second case is of no moment considering that
she filed it within the ten (10)-year prescriptive period provided by
Article 90 par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code for crimes punishable by a
correctional penalty such as Qualified Seduction [See Article 24 of the
Revised Penal Code.]

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of


Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
The undersigned complainant accuses JAIME JOSE Y
GOMEZ, BASILIO PINEDA, JR. Alias "BOY," EDUARDO
Republic of the Philippines AQUINO Y PAYUMO alias "EDDIE" and ROGELIO CAAL
SUPREME COURT Y SEVILLA alias "ROGER," as principals, WONG LAY
Manila PUENG, SILVERIO GUANZON Y ROMERO and JESSIE
GUION Y ENVOLTARIO as accomplices, of the crime of
EN BANC Forcible Abduction with rape, committed as follows:

That on or about the 26th day of June, 1967, in Quezon


City, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named principal accused, conspiring
G.R. No. L-28232 February 6, 1971
together, confederating with and mutually helping one
another, did, then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, feloniously, with lewd design, forcibly abduct the
vs. undersigned complainant against her will, and did,
JAIME JOSE Y GOMEZ, ET AL., defendants. JAIME JOSE Y GOMEZ, then and there take her, pursuant to their common
BASILIO PINEDA, JR., alias "BOY," EDGARDO AQUINO Y PAYUMO and criminal design, to the Swanky Hotel in Pasay City,
ROGELIO CAAL Y SEVILLA, defendants-appellants. where each of the four (4) accused, by means of force
and intimidation, and with the use of a deadly
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo and Solicitor Augusto weapon, have carnal knowledge of the undersigned
M. Amores for plaintiff-appellee. complainant against her will, to her damage and
prejudice in such amount as may be awarded to her
Baizas, Alberto and Associates, Andreciano F. Caballero and Lota, under the provisions of the civil code.
Paraiso, Garcia and Dueas for defendant-appellant Jaime G. Jose.
That WONG LAY PUENG, SILVERIO GUANZON y
Mabanag, Eliger and Associates for defendant-appellant Basilio ROMERO, and JESSIE GUION y ENVOLTARIO without
Pineda, Jr. taking a direct part in the execution of the offense
either by forcing, inducing the principal accused to
Sycip, Salazar, Luna, Manalo and Feliciano for defendant-appellant execute, or cooperating in its execution by an
Edgardo P. Aquino. indispensable act, did, then and there cooperate in
the execution of the offense by previous or
Antonio Coronel Law Office and Roberto J. Ignacio for defendant- simultaneous acts, that is, by cooperating, aiding,
appellant Rogelio S. Canial. abetting and permitting the principal accused in
sequestering the undersigned complainant in one of
the rooms of the Swanky Hotel then under the control
of the accused Wong Lay Pueng, Silverio Guanzon y
Romero and Jessie Guion y Envoltario, thus supplying
PER CURIAM:
material and moral aid in the consummation of the
offense.
The amended complaint filed in this case in the court below, reads as
follows:
That the aforestated offense has been attended by the
following aggravating circumstances:
1. Use of a motor vehicle. Insofar as the car used in the abduction of the victim
which Jaime Jose identified by pointing to it from the
2. Night time sought purposely to facilitate the window of the courtroom and pictures of which were
commission of the crime and to make its discovery submitted and marked as Exhibits "M" and "M-1," and
difficult; which Jaime Jose in his testimony admitted belonged
to him, pursuant to Art. 45 of the Revised Penal Code,
3. Abuse of superior strength; which requires the confiscation and forfeiture of the
proceeds or instruments of the crime, the Court hereby
orders its confiscation.
4. That means were employed or circumstances
brought about which added ignominy to the natural
effects of the act; and This case is now before us by virtue of the appeal interposed by Basilio
Pineda, Jr., Edgardo Aquino, and Jaime Jose, and for automatic
review as regards Rogelio Caal. However, for practical purposes all
5. That the wrong done in the commission of the crime
of them shall hereafter be referred to as appellants.
be deliberately augmented by causing other wrong
not necessary for the commission.
The complainant, Magdalena "Maggie" de la Riva, was, at the time of
the incident, 25 years old and single; she graduated from high school
CONTRARY TO LAW.
in 1958 at Maryknoll College and finished the secretarial course in 1960
at St. Theresa's College. Movie actress by profession, she was receiving
Upon arraignment, Basilio Pineda, Jr. pleaded guilty to the charge
P8,000.00 per picture. It was part of her work to perform in radio
imputed in the above-quoted amended complaint; however, in an
broadcasts and television shows, where she was paid P800.00 per
order dated July 11, 1967, the court reserved judgment "until such time
month in permanent shows, P300.00 per month in live promotional
as the prosecution shall have concluded presenting all of its evidence
shows, and from P100.00 to P200.00 per appearance as guest in other
to prove the aggravating circumstances listed in the complaint." Upon
shows.
the other hand, the rest of the defendants went to trial on their
respective pleas of not guilty. After the merits, the court below
So it was that at about 4:30 o'clock in the morning of June 26, 1967,
rendered its decision on October 2, 1967, the dispositive portion of
Miss De la Riva, homeward bound from the ABS Studio on Roxas Blvd.,
which reads as follows:
Pasay City, was driving her bantam car accompanied by her maid
Helen Calderon, who was also at the front seat. Her house was at No.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Jaime Jose,
48, 12th Street, New Manila, Quezon City. She was already near her
Rogelio Caal, Eduardo Aquino and Basilio Pineda, Jr.
destination when a Pontiac two-door convertible car with four men
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of forcible
aboard (later identified as the four appellants) came abreast of her
abduction with rape as described under Art. 335 of the
car and tried to bump it. She stepped on her brakes to avoid a
Revised Penal Code, as amended, and hereby
collision, and then pressed on the gas and swerved her car to the left,
sentences each of them to the death penalty to be
at which moment she was already in front of her house gate; but
executed at a date to be set and in the manner
because the driver of the other car (Basilio Pineda, Jr.) also
provided for by law; and each to indemnify the
accelerated his speed, the two cars almost collided for the second
complainant in the amount of ten thousand pesos. On
time. This prompted Miss De la Riva, who was justifiably annoyed, to
the ground that the prosecution has failed to establish
ask: "Ano ba?" Forthwith, Pineda stopped the car which he was
a prima facie case against the accomplices Wong Lay
driving, jumped out of it and rushed towards her.
Pueng, Silverio Guanzon y Romero, and Jessie Guion y
Envoltario, the Motion to Dismiss filed for and in their
The girl became so frightened at this turn of events that she tooted the
behalf is hereby granted, and the case dismissed
horn of her car continuously. Undaunted, Pineda opened the door of
against the aforementioned accused.
Miss De la Riva's car and grabbed the lady's left arm. The girl held on took a handkerchief from his pocket and, with the help of Jose,
tenaciously to her car's steering wheel and, together with her maid, blindfolded Miss De la Riva. The latter was told not to shout or else she
started to scream. Her strength, however, proved no match to that of would be stabbed or shot with a Thompson. Not long after, the car
Pineda, who succeeded in pulling her out of her car. Seeing her came to a stop at the Swanky Hotel in Pasay City The blindfolded lady
mistress' predicament, the maid jumped out of the car and took hold was led out of the car to one of the rooms on the second floor of the
of Miss De la Riva's right arm in an effort to free her from Pineda's grip. hotel.
The latter, however, was able to drag Miss De la Riva toward the
Pontiac convertible car, whose motor was all the while running. Inside the room Miss De la Riva was made to sit on a bed. Her blindfold
was removed. She saw Pineda and Aquino standing in front of her,
When Miss De la Riva, who was being pulled by Pineda, was very near and Jose and Caal sitting beside her, all of them smiling
the Pontiac car, the three men inside started to assist their friend: one meaningfully. Pineda told the complainant: "Magburlesque ka para sa
of them held her by the neck, while the two others held her arms and amin." The other three expressed their approval and ordered Miss De
legs. All three were now pulling Miss De la Riva inside the car. Before la Riva to disrobe. The complainant ignored the command. One of
she was completely in, appellant Pineda jumped unto the driver's seat the appellants suggested putting off the light so that the complainant
and sped away in the direction of Broadway Street. The maid was left would not be ashamed. The idea, however, was rejected by the
behind. others, who said that it would be more pleasurable for them if the light
was on. Miss De la Riva was told to remove her stocking in order,
The complainant was made to sit between Jaime Jose and Edgardo according to them, to make the proceedings more exciting.
Aquino at the back seat; Basilio Pineda, Jr. was at the wheel, while Reluctantly, she did as directed, but so slowly did she proceed with
Rogelio Caal was seated beside him. Miss De la Riva entreated the the assigned task that the appellants cursed her and threatened her
appellants to release her; but all she got in response were jeers, again with the Thompson and the acid. They started pushing Miss De
abusive and impolite language that the appellants and threats that la Riva around. One of them pulled down the zipper of her dress;
the appellants would finish her with their Thompson and throw acid at another unhooked her brassiere. She held on tightly to her dress to
her face if she did not keep quiet. In the meantime, the two men prevent it from being pulled down, but her efforts were in vain: her
seated on each side of Miss De la Riva started to get busy with her dress, together with her brassiere, fell on the floor.
body: Jose put one arm around the complainant and forced his lips
upon hers, while Aquino placed his arms on her thighs and lifted her The complainant was now completely naked before the four men,
skirt. The girl tried to resist them. She continuously implored her captors who were kneeling in front of her and feasting their eyes on her private
to release her, telling them that she was the only breadwinner in the parts. This ordeal lasted for about ten minutes, during which the
family and that her mother was alone at home and needed her complainant, in all her nakedness, was asked twice or thrice to turn
company because her father was already dead. Upon learning of the around. Then Pineda picked up her clothes and left the room with his
demise of Miss De la Riva's father, Aquino remarked that the situation other companions. The complainant tried to look for a blanket with
was much better than he thought since no one could take revenge which to cover herself, but she could not find one.
against them. By now Miss De la Riva was beginning to realize the
futility of her pleas. She made the sign of the cross and started to pray. Very soon, Jose reentered the room and began undressing himself.
The appellants became angry and cursed her. Every now and then Miss De la Riva, who was sitting on the bed trying to cover her
Aquino would stand up and talk in whispers with Pineda, after which bareness with her hands, implored him to ask his friends to release her.
the two would exchange knowing glances with Caal and Jose. Instead of answering her, he pushed her backward and pinned her
down on the bed. Miss De la Riva and Jose struggled against each
The car reached a dead-end street. Pineda turned the car around other; and because the complainant was putting up stiff resistance,
and headed towards Victoria Street. Then the car proceeded to Jose cursed her and hit her several times on the stomach and other
Araneta Avenue, Sta. Mesa Street, Shaw Boulevard, thence to parts of the body. The complainant crossed her legs tightly, but her
Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. When the car reached Makati, Aquino
attacker was able to force them open. Jose succeeded in having Meanwhile, the four appellants were discussing the question of where
carnal knowledge of the complainant. He then left the room. to drop Miss De la Riva. They finally decided on a spot in front of the
Free Press Building not far from Epifanio de los Santos Avenue near
The other three took their turns. Aquino entered the room next. A Channel 5 to make it appear, according to them, that the
struggle ensued between him and Miss De la Riva during which he hit, complainant had just come from the studio. Pineda asked Jose to
her on different parts of the body. Like Jose, Aquino succeeded in alight and call a taxicab, but to choose one which did not come from
abusing the complainant. The girl was now in a state of shock. Aquino a well-known company. Jose did as requested, letting several
called the others into the room. They poured water on her face and taxicabs pass by before flagging a UBL taxicab. After they warned
slapped her to revive her. Afterwards, three of the accused left the again Miss De la Riva not to inform anyone of what had happened to
room, leaving Pineda and the complainant After some struggle during her, appellant Canal accompanied her to the taxicab. The time was
which Pineda hit her, the former succeeded in forcing his carnal desire a little past 6:00 o'clock. When Miss De la Riva was already inside the
on the latter. When the complainant went into a state of shock for the cab and alone with the driver, Miguel F. Campos, she broke down
second time, the three other men went into the room again poured and cried. She kept asking the driver if a car was following them; and
water on the complainant's face and slapped her several times. The each time the driver answered her in the negative.
complainant heard them say that they had to revive her so she would
know what was happening. Jose, Aquino and Pineda then left the It was 6:30 o'clock or some two hours after the abduction when
room. It was now appellant Canal's turn. There was a struggle Miss De la Riva reached home. Her mother, her brother-in-law Ben
between him and Miss De la Riva. Like the other three appellants Suba, as well as several PC officers, policemen and reporters, were at
before him, he hit the complainant on different parts of the body and the house. Upon seeing her mother, the complainant ran toward her
succeeded in forcing his carnal lust on her. and said, "Mommy, Mommy, I have been raped. All four of them
raped me." The mother brought her daughter upstairs. Upon her
Mention must be made of the fact that while each of mention must mother's instruction, the complainant immediately took a bath and a
be made the four appellants was struggling with the complainant, the douche. The older woman also instructed her daughter to douche
other three were outside the room, just behind the door, threatening himself two or three times daily with a strong solution to prevent
the complainant with acid and telling her to give in because she infection and pregnancy. The family doctor, who was afterwards
could not, after all, escape what with their presence. summoned, treated the complainant for external physical injuries. The
doctor was not, however, told about the sexual assaults. Neither was
After the appellants had been through with the sexual carnage, they Pat. Pablo Pascual, the police officer who had been sent by the desk
gave Miss De la Riva her clothes, told her to get dressed and put on officer, Sgt. Dimla, to the De la Riva residence when the latter
her stockings, and to wash her face and comb her hair, to give the received from a mobile patrol a report of the snatching. When Miss De
impression that nothing had happened to her. They told her to tell her la Riva arrived home from her harrowing experience, Pat. Pascual
mother that she was mistaken by a group of men for a hostess, and attempted to question her, but Ben Suba requested him to postpone
that when the group found out that she was a movie actress, she was the interrogation until she could be ready for it. At that time, mother
released without being harmed. She was warned not to inform the and daughter were still undecided on what to do.
police; for if she did and they were apprehended, they would simply
post bail and later hunt her up and disfigure her face with acid. The On the afternoon of June 28, 1967, the complainant family gathered
appellants then blindfolded Miss De la Riva again and led her down to discuss what steps, if any, should be taken. After some agonizing
from the hotel room. Because she was stumbling, she had to be moments, a decision was reached: the authorities had to be informed.
carried into the car. Inside the car, a appellant Jose held her head Thus, early on the morning of June 29, 1967, or on the fourth day after
down on his lap, and kept it in that position during the trip, to prevent the incident, Miss De la Riva, accompanied by her lawyer, Atty.
her from being seen by others. Regina O. Benitez, and by some members of the family, went to the
Quezon City Police Department Headquarters, filed a complaint and
executed a statement (Exh. "B") wherein she narrated the incident and
gave descriptions of the four men who abused her. In the afternoon of tattoo marks on his right hip. After the identification, one of the
the same day, the complainant submitted herself ito a medico- policemen took appellant Caal downstairs and undressed him, and
internal examination by Dr. Ernesto Brion, NBI Chief Medico-Legal he saw, imprinted on the said appellant's right hip, the words "Bahala
Officer. na Gang."

During the physical examination of the complainant by Dr. Brion on Appellant Caal and Pineda executed and swore to separate
June 29, 1967, Pat. Pascual was also at the NBI office. There he statements on the day of their arrest. In his statement (Exh. "G"),
received a telephone call from the police headquarters to the effect appellant Caal confirmed the information previously given by Jose
that one of the suspects had been apprehended. That evening, the that the four of them waited for Miss De la Riva to come down from
complainant and Pat. Pascual proceeded to the headquarters where the ABS Studio, and that they had planned to abduct and rape her.
Miss De la Riva identified appellant Jaime Jose from among a group Appellant Caal admitted that all four of them participated in the
of persons inside the Office of the Chief of Police of Quezon City as commission of the crime, but he would make it appear that insofar as
one of the four men he abducted and raped her. She executed he was concerned the complainant yielded her body to him on
another statement (Exh. "B-1") wherein she made a formal condition that he would release her. Pineda executed a statement
identification of Jose and related the role played by him. (Exh. "J") stating that he and his other three companions wept to the
ABS Studio, and that, on learning that Miss De la Riva was there, they
At about 9:00 o'clock of the same evening, appellant Jose executed made plans to wait for her and to follow her. He admitted that his
a statement (Exh. "I") before Pat. Marcos G. Vias. In his statement, group followed her car and snatched her and took her to the Swanky
which was duly sworn. Jose admitted that he knew about, and was Hotel. He would make it appear, however, that the complainant
involved in, the June 26 incident. He named the other line appellants voluntarily acceded to having sexual intercourse with him.
as his companions. Jose stated, among other things, that upon the
initiative of Pineda, he and the other three waited for Miss De la Riva In his medical report (Exh. "K"), Dr. Brion noted the presence of multiple
to come out of the ABS Studio; that his group gave chase to the contusions and bruises on different parts of the complainant's body, as
complainant's car; that it was Pineda who blindfolded her and that well as of genital injuries. On the witness stand the doctor was shown
only Pineda and Aquino criminally assaulted the complainant. several photographs of the complainant taken in his presence and
under his supervision. With the aid of the photographs and the
After Exh, "I" was executed by Jose, an informant furnished Pat. Vinas medical reports, the doctor explained to the court that he found
with a picture of appellant Edgardo Aquino. The picture was shown to contusions or bruises on the complainant's chest, shoulders, arms and
Miss De la Riva, who declared in her sworn statement (Exh. "B-3") that fore-arms, right arm index finger, thighs, right knee and legs. He also
the man in the picture was one of her abductors and rapists. The same declared that when he was examining her, Miss De la Riva
picture was shown to Jose, who, in another sworn statement (Exh. "I-l"), complained of slight tenderness around the neck, on the abdominal
identified the man in the picture as appellant Aquino. wall and at the sites of the extragenital physical injuries, and that on
pressing the said injuries, he elicited a sigh of pain or tenderness on the
After the apprehension of Jose, the other three soon fell into the hands part of the subject. The injuries, according to Dr. Brion, could have
of the authorities: Pineda and Caal on July 1, 1967, in Lipa City, and been caused blows administered by a closed fist or by the palm of the
Aquino on July 5, 1967, in the province of Batangas. On the evening of hand, and could have been inflicted on the subject while she was
July 1, 1967. Miss De la Riva pointed to Pineda and Caal as among being raped. It was the doctor's opinion that they could have been
the four persons who abducted and raped her. She picked them out sustained on or about June 26, 1967. In connection with the genital
from among several person in the Office of the Chief of Police of examination, the doctor declared that he found injuries on the
Quezon City. Later in the same evening, Miss De la Riva executed a subject's genitalia which could have been produced by sexual
sworn statement (Exh. B-2)wherein she made the same identification intercourse committed on June 26, 1967. He said that he failed to find
of the two appellants from among a group of persons in the Office of spermatozoa. He explained, however, that spermatozoa are not
the Chief of the Detective Bureau, adding that appellant Caal had usually found in the vagina after the lapse of three days from the last
intercourse, not to mention the possibility that the subject might have Now the defense contends that Pineda cruised around
douched herself. and around the area just to scare the girl who was in
truth so scared that she begged them to let her be and
The three appellants who pleaded not guilty (Jose, Aquino and return her to her home. She turned to Jose in appeal,
Caal) took the witness stand. We quote hereunder the portions of the but this one told her he could net do anything as the
decision under review relative to the theory of the defense: "boss" was Pineda. Aquino heard her plead with Jose
"do you not have a sister yourself?" but did not bear the
Their story is that they and their co-accused Pineda other plea 'do you not have a mother?' Then Pineda
had gone to the Ulog Cocktail Lounge somewhere in stopped at the corner of the street where he had
Mabini street in Manila, and there killed time from 9:30 forcibly snatched the girl presumably to return her, but
in the evening of June 25 until closing time, which was then suddenly changing his mind he said, 'why don't
about 3:30 in the early morning of the next day. At the you do a strip tease for us. I'll pay you P1,000.00 and the
cocktail lounge they had listened to the music while girl taunted, 'are you kidding?': that after a little while
enjoying some drinks. Between them they had she consented to do the performance as long as it
consumed a whole bottle of whisky, so much so that at would not last too long and provided the spectators
least Aquino became drunk, according to his own were limited to the four of them.
testimony. They had been joined at their table by a
certain Frankie whom they met only that night. Come Pineda sped the car until they got to Swanky Hotel
time to go home, their new acquaintance asked to be where he and Maggie alighted first, but not before
dropped at his home in Cubao. The five men piled into Maggie had borrowed a handkerchief from one of
the red-bodied, black topped two-door convertible them to cover her face as she went up the Hotel. The
Plymouth (Pontiac) car of Jaime Jose, and with Pineda three followed, and when they saw the pair enter a
at the wheel repaired to Cubao After dislodging their room, they quickly caught up. All the three accused
new friend, Pineda steered the car to Espaa Extension testify that as soon as they got into the room, Maggie
to bring Aquino to his home in Mayon Street. But de la Riva asked the boys to close the windows before
somewhere in Espaa Extension before the Rotonda a she. undressed in front of them. They themselves also
small car whizzed to them almost hitting them. They saw removed their clothing. Two of them removed their
that the driver was a woman. Pineda gave chase and pants retaining their briefs, while Boy Pineda and Caal
coming abreast of the small car he shouted, "Putang stripped to the skin "because it was hot." The three
ina mo, kamuntik na kaming mamatay." The woman accused declared that they saw Boy Pineda hand
continued on her way. Now Pineda saying "let us teach P100.00 to Maggie and they heard him promise her
her a lesson," sped after her and when she swerved that he would pay the balance of P900.00 later.
ostensibly to enter a gate, Pineda stopped his car Whereupon, the show which lasted about 10 minutes
behind being hurriedly got down, striding to the small began with the naked girl walking back and forth the
car, opened the door and started dragging the girl out. room about 4 to 5 times. This accomplished, all of them
Both Jose and Aquino confirm the presence of another dressed up once more and the three accused (Jaime
woman inside the girl's car, who helped the girl struggle Jose, Eduardo Aquino and Rogelio Caal) left the room
to get free from Pineda's grip; and that the struggle to wait in the car for Boy Pineda and Maggie de la Riva
lasted about ten minutes before Pineda finally who were apparently still discussing the mode of
succeeded in pushing the girl into the red convertible. payment of the balance. Three minutes later Maggie
All the three accused insist they did nothing to aid de la Riva and Boy Pineda joined them. Now, the
Pineda: but they also admit that they did nothing to question of how and where to drop Maggie came up
stop him. and it is testified to by the accused that it was Maggie's
idea that they should drop her near the ABS Studio so of entertainment (which Maggie de la Riva has not
that it would appear as if she had just come from her been proven to be) who would consent (and as easily
work. and promptly as defense claims) to do a performance,
not even for all money in the worlds after the rough
Jaime Jose was picked by the police on the morning of handling she experienced from these wolves in men's
June 29 along Buendia Avenue. Aquino testifies how, clothing who now hungered for a show. There is no fury
on June 29 Pineda went to him with a problem. He did to match a woman stirred to indignation. A woman's
not have the P900.00 with which to pay Maggie the pride is far stronger than her yen for money, and her
balance of her "show" and he was afraid that if he did revenge much more keen. The Court cannot believe
not pay, Maggie would have her goons after him. He that after the rudeness and meanness of these men to
wanted Aquino to go with him to Lipa City where he her, Maggie would in so short an interval of time forget
had relatives and where he could help raise the her indignation and so readily consent to satisfy their
money. Aquino readily obliged, and to make the immoral curiosity about her. The woman in her would
company complete they invited Caal to join them. urge her to turn the men's hankering as a weapon of
They used another car of Jaime Jose, different from the revenge by denying them their pleasure.
one they had used the day before. At Lipa, Aquino
detached himself from his compassions and Besides, the manner of payment offered for the
proceeded alone to the barrio allegedly to visit his performance is again something beyond even the
relatives. In the meantime his two companions had wildest expectations. Assuming that the woman whom
remained in the City and had, according to Canal, the accused had abducted was in this kind of trade
gone to live in a house very close to the municipal hall assuming that the price offered was to her satisfaction,
building. They later moved to another house where the whom woman would be willing to perform first and be
PC and Quezon City police posse found and arrested paid later? It is simply preposterous to believe that
them. Aquino was the last to be apprehended, when Maggie de la Riva should have consent to do a
having read in the newspapers that he was wanted, he striptease act for a measly down-payment of P100.00
surrendered on July 5 to Mrs. Aurelia Leviste, wife of the and the balance to be paid God knows when. Since
governor of Batangas. when are exposition of the flesh paid on the installment
basis? By the very precautious nature of their pitiful
The striptease-act-for-a-fee story on which the defense theory is calling, women who sell their attractions are usually
anchored, defies one's credulity and reason, and had utterly to very shrewed and it is to be expected that they could
counteract the evidence for the prosecution, particularly the demand full payment before curtain call. How was
complainant's testimony and Dr. Brion's medical report and testimony. Maggie to collect later when she did not even know
We quote with approval the able dissertion of the trial judge on this who these man were, where they lived, whether they
point: could be trusted with a promise to pay later (!) whether
she could ever find them again? If there is anything
As main defense in the charge of rape, the three that had struck the Court about the complaint, it is her
accused advance the proposition that nothing courage, her intelligence and her alertness. Only a
happened in Swanky Hotel except a strip-tease stupid woman, and a most stupid one that, could have
exhibition which the complaint agreed to do for them been persuaded to do what the defense want this
for fee of P1,000.00, P100.00 down and the balance to Court to believe Maggie de la Riva consented to do.
be paid "later." The flaw in this connection lies in its utter
inverisimilitude. The Court cannot believe that any Finally, it is odd that not one of these men should have
woman exists, even one habitual engaged in this kind mentioned this circumstances during their interview
with anyone, either the press, their police interrogator, three after three or four minutes! It is physically
the person who negotiated their surrender (as in the impossible, in such a short time, for Boy Pineda to have
case of Aquino) or even their counsel. One cannot attacked the girl and inflicted on her all of these
escape the very strong suspicion that this story is a last injuries; (2) it was suggested by the defense that
ditch, desperate attempt to save the day for the Maggie de la Riva could have inflicted all of those
accused. It truly underscores the hopelessness of their injuries upon herself just to make out a case against the
stand and projects all the more clearly their guilt. accused. The examining physician rules out this
preposterous proposition, verily it does not take much
Then there is the incident of the men's stripping stretch of the imagination to see how utterly impossible
themselves. Why was there need for this? The Court this would be, and for what purpose? Was P900.00
realizes that in its desperate need of an explanation for which she had failed to collect worth that much self-
Maggie's positive identification of Caal as the man torture? And what about all the shame, embarrassment
with the tattoo mark on his right buttock, the defense and publicity she would (as she eventually did) expose
concocted the sickeningly incident story that the four herself to? If she really had not been raped would she
men removed their underclothing in the presence of a have gone thru all of these tribulation?
woman simply "because it was hot." What kind of men
were these who were so devoid of any sense of A woman does not easily trump up rape charges for
decency that they thought nothing of adding insult to she has much more to lose in the notoriety the case will
injury by not only inducing a woman a strip before reap her, her honor and that of her family, than in the
them, but for forcing her to perform before redress she demands (Canastre 82-480; Medina, C.A.
a naked audience? And then they have gall to argue 1943 O.G. 151; Medina y Puno, CA O.G. 338; CA 55
that "nothing" happened. For males of cold and O.G. 7666; Galamito, L-6302, August 25, 1954); (3) it
phlegmatic blood and disposition it could be credible, could also be argued that the contusions and bruises
but not for men of torrid regions like ours where quick could have been inflicted on Maggie during her
passions and hot tempers are the rule rather than the struggle with Pineda when the latter pulled and pushed
exception! her into the red convertible car. The telltale injuries,
however, discount this possibility, for the location in
All of these consideration set aside, notwithstanding, it is quite obvious which many of the bruises and traumas were located
that the version of the defense has not been able to explain away a (particularly on the inner portion of her thighs) could
very vital piece of evidence of prosecution which, if unexplained, not have been cause by any struggle save by those of
cannot but reduce any defense unavailing. The result of the physical a woman trying to resists the brutal and bestial attack
(external and internal) examination conducted on the person of on her honor.
Maggie de la Riva in the afternoon of June 29, the pertinent findings
of which quoted earlier in this decision, establish beyond doubt that at In their Memorandum the accused contend that
the time that Maggie de la Riva was examined she bore on her body Maggie's sole and uncorroborated testimony should
traces of physical and sexual assault. not be rated any credence at all as against the
concerted declaration of the the accused. In the first
The only attempt to an explanation made by the place, it is not correct to say that Maggie's declaration
defense is either one of the following: (1) the insinuation was uncorroborated she has for corroboration
that when Maggie de la Riva and Boy Pineda were left nothing less than the written extra-judicial statements of
behind in the hotel room the bruises and the sexual Jose and Canal. But even assuming that Maggie stood
attack could have taken place then. But then, the alone in her statements, the cases cited by the
defense itself says that these two persons rejoined the accused in their Memorandum notwithstanding which
the Court does not consider in point anyway, appellants' protestation that they were not motivated by lewd designs
jurisprudence has confirmed the ruling that numbers is must be rejected as absolutely without factual basis.
the least vital element in gauging the weight of
evidence. What is more important is which of the 2. The commission of rape by each of the appellants has, as held by
declarations is the more credible, the more logical, the the court below, likewise been clearly established. Jose, Aquino and
more reasonable, the more prone to be biased or Canal contend that the absence of semen in the complainant's
polluted. (Ricarte 44 OG 2234; Damian CA-GR No. vagina disproves the fact of rape. The contention is untenable. Dr.
25523, April 24, 1959). Besides, it should be borne in Brion of the NBI, who testified as an expert, declared that semen is not
maid that in the most detestable crime of rape in which usually found in the vagina after three days from the last intercourse,
a man is at his worst the testimony of the offended especially if the subject has douched herself within that period. In the
party most often is the only one available to prove present case, the examination was conducted on the fourth day after
directly its commission and that corroboration by other the incident, and the complainant had douched herself to avoid
eyewitnesses would in certain cases place a serious infection and pregnancy. Furthermore, the absence of spermatozoa
doubt as to the probability of its commission, so trial does not disprove the consummation of rape, the important
courts of justice are most often placed in a position of consideration being, not the emission of semen, but penetration
having to accept such uncorroborated testimony if the (People vs Hernandez, 49 Phil., 980). Aquino's suggestion that the
same is in regards conclusive, logical and probable abrasions on the cervix were caused by the tough tip of a noozle
(Landicho, VIII ACR 530). deliberately used by the complainant to strengthen her alleged
fabricated tale of rape, is absurd, if not cruel. It is difficult to imagine
We shall now consider the points raised by the appellants in their that any sane woman, who is single and earning as much Miss Dela
briefs. Riva did, would inflict injuries on her genital organ by puncturing the
same with a sharply-pointed instrument in order to strike back at four
1. Appellants Jose, Aquino and Caal deny having had anything to strangers who allegedly would not pay her the sum of P900.00 due her
do with the abduction of Miss De la Riva. They point to Pineda (who for a striptease act. Besides, Dr. Brion testified that the insertion of such
entered a plea of guilty) as the sole author thereof, but they an instrument in the genital organ would not result in the kind of injuries
generously contend that even as to him the act was purged at any he found in the mucosa of the cervix.
taint of criminality by the complainant's subsequent consent to
perform a striptease show for a fee, a circumstance which, it is 3. Other evidence and considerations exist which indubitably establish
claimed, negated the existence of the element of lewd design. This the commission of successive rapes by the four appellants. Upon Miss
line of defense has evidently leg no to stand on. The evidence is clear De la Riva's arrival at her house in the morning of June 26, 1967, she
and overwhelming that all the appellants participated in the forcible immediately told her mother, " Mommy Mommy, I have been raped.
abduction. Miss De la Riva declared on the witness stand, as well as in All four of them raped me." This utterance, which is part of the res
her sworn statements, that they helped one another in dragging her gestae, commands strong probative value, considering that it was
into the car against her will; that she did not know them personally; made by the complainant to her mother who, in cases of this nature
that while inside the car, Jose and Aquino, between whom she was was the most logical person in whom a daughter would confide the
seated, toyed with her body, the former forcing his lips on hers, and truth. Aquino and Canal would make capital of the fact that Miss De
the latter touching her thighs and raising her skirt; that meaningful and la Riva stated to the reporters on the morning of June 26, that she was
knowing glances were in the meanwhile being exchanged among not abused. Her statement to the press is understandable. At that time
the four; and that all of them later took turns in ravishing her at the the complainant, who had not yet consulted her family on a matter
Swanky Hotel. This testimony, whose evidentiary weight has not in the which concerned her reputation as well as that of her family, and her
least been overthrown by the defense, more than suffices to establish career, was not then in a position to reveal publicly what had
the crimes charged in the amended complaint. In the light thereof, happened to her. This is one reason why the complainant did not
immediately inform the authorities of the tragedy that befell her.
Another reason is that she was threatened with disfiguration. And that one of his arms was burned with a cigarette lighter. In the
there were, of course, the traumas found by Dr. Brion on different parts circumstances, and considering, further, that the police officers who
of the complainant's body. Could they, too, have been self-inflicted? took down their statements categorically denied on the witness stand
Or, as suggested, could they possibly have been inflicted by appellant that the two appellants were tortured, or that any detail in the
Pineda alone, when the story given by the other three is that Pineda statements was supplied by them or by anyone other than the affiants
and the complainant were left in the hotel room for only three or four themselves, We see no reason to depart from the trial court's well-
minutes, and that they came out to join them in what they would considered conclusion that the statements were voluntarily given.
picture to be a cordial atmosphere, the complainant even allegedly However, even disregarding the in-custody statements of Jose and
suggesting that she be dropped on a spot where people would Canal, We find that the mass of evidence for the prosecution on
reasonably presume her to have come from a studio? Equally record will suffice to secure the conviction of the two.
important is the complainant's public disclosure of her tragedy, which
led to the examination of her private parts and lay her open to risks of The admissibility of his extrajudicial statements is likewise being
future public ridicule and diminution of popularity and earnings as a questioned by Jose on the other ground that he was not assisted by
movie actress. counsel during the custodial interrogations. He cites the decisions of
the Supreme Court of the United States in Messiah vs. U.S. (377 U.S.
4. Jose and Canal seek the exclusion of their extrajudicial statements 201), Escobedo vs. Illinois (378 U.S. 478) and Miranda vs. Arizona (384
from the mass of evidence on the grounds that they were secured U.S. 436).
from them by force and intimidation, and that the incriminating details
therein were supplied by the police investigators. We are not The provision of the Constitution of the Philippines in point is Article III
convinced that the statements were involuntarily given, or that the (Bill of Rights), Section 1, par. 17 of which provides: "In all criminal
details recited therein were concocted by the authorities. The prosecutions the accused shall ... enjoy the right to be heard by
statements were given in the presence of several people and himself and counsel ..." While the said provision is identical to that in
subscribed and sworn to before the City Fiscal of Quezon City, to the Constitution of the United States, in this jurisdiction the
whom neither of the aforesaid appellants intimated the use of term criminal prosecutions was interpreted by this Court, in U.S. vs.
inordinate methods by the police. They are replete with details which Beecham, 23 Phil., 258 (1912), in connection with a similar provision in
could hardly be known to the police; and although it is suggested that the Philippine Bill of Rights (Section 5 of Act of Congress of July 1, 1902)
the authorities could have secured such details from their various to mean proceedings before the trial court from arraignment to
informers, no evidence at all was presented to establish the truth of rendition of the judgment. Implementing the said constitutional
such allegation. While in their statements Jose and Canal admitted provision, We have provided in Section 1, Rule 115 of the Rules of
having waited together with the two other appellants for Miss De Court that "In all criminal prosecutions the defendant shall be entitled
la Riva at the ABS Studio, each of them attempted in the same ... (b) to be present and defend in person and by attorney at every
statements to exculpate himself: appellant Jose stated that only stage of the proceedings, that is, from the arraignment to the
Pineda and Aquino criminally abused the complainant; while promulgation of the judgment." The only instances where an accused
appellant Canal would make it appear that the complainant willingly is entitled to counsel before arraignment, if he so requests, are during
allowed him to have sexual intercourse with her. Had the statements the second stage of the preliminary investigation (Rule 112, Section 11)
been prepared by the authorities, they would hardly have contained and after the arrest (Rule 113, Section 18). The rule in the United States
matters which were apparently designed to exculpate the affiants. It is need not be unquestioningly adhered to in this jurisdiction, not only
significant, too, that the said two appellants did not see it fit to inform because it has no binding effect here, but also because in interpreting
any of their friends or relatives of the alleged use of force and a provision of the Constitution the meaning attached thereto at the
intimidation by the police. Dr. Mariano Nario of the Quezon City Police time of the adoption thereof should be considered. And even there
Department, who examined appellant Canal after the latter made his the said rule is not yet quite settled, as can be deduced from the
statement, found no trace of injury on any part of the said appellant's absence of unanimity in the voting by the members of the United
body in spite of the claims that he was boxed on the stomach and States Supreme Court in all the three above-cited cases.
5. Appellant Pineda claims that insofar as he is concerned there was a does not bind the Court. The situation here, therefore, is far different
mistrial resulting in gross miscarriage of justice. He contends that from that obtaining in U.S. vs. Agcaoili, supra.
because the charge against him and his co-appellants is a capital
offense and the amended complaint cited aggravating 6. Two of the appellants Jose and Caal bewail the enormous
circumstances, which, if proved, would raise the penalty to death, it publicity that attended the case from the start of investigation to the
was the duty of the court to insist on his presence during all stages of trial. In spite of the said publicity, however, it appears that the court a
the trial. The contention is untenable. While a plea of guilty is quo was able to give the appellants a fair hearing. For one thing,
mitigating, at the same time it constitutes an admission of all the three of the seven (7) original accused were acquitted. For another
material facts alleged in the information, including the aggravating thing, Jose himself admits in his brief that the Trial Judge "had not been
circumstances, and it matters not that the offense is capital, for the influenced by adverse and unfair comments of the press, unmindful of
admission (plea of guilty) covers both the crime and its attendant the rights of the accused to a presumption of innocence and to fair
circumstances qualifying and/or aggravating the crime (People vs. trial."
Boyles, et al., L-15308, May 29, 1964, citing People vs. Ama, L-14783,
April 29, 1961, and People vs. Parete, L-15515, April 29, 1961). Because We are convinced that the herein four appellants have conspired
of the aforesaid legal effect of Pineda's plea of guilty, it was not together to commit the crimes imputed to them in the amended
incumbent upon the trial court to receive his evidence, much less to information quoted at the beginning of this decision. There is no doubt
require his presence in court. It would be different had appellant at all that the forcible abduction of the complainant from in front of
Pineda requested the court to allow him to prove mitigating her house in Quezon City, was a necessary if not indispensable means
circumstances, for then it would be the better part of discretion on the which enabled them to commit the various and the successive acts of
part of the trial court to grant his request. (Cf. People vs. Arconado, L- rape upon her person. It bears noting, however, that even while the
16175, February 28, 1962.) The case of U.S. vs. Agcaoili (31 Phil., 91), first act of rape was being performed, the crime of forcible abduction
cited by Pineda, is not in point, for there this Court ordered a new trial had already been consummated, so that each of the three
because it found for a fact that the accused, who had pleaded succeeding (crimes of the same nature can not legally be considered
guilty, "did not intend to admit that he committed the offense with the as still connected with the abduction in other words, they should be
aggravating circumstances" mentioned in the information. We are not detached from, and considered independently of, that of forcible
in a position to make a similar finding here. The transcript of the abduction and, therefore, the former can no longer be complexed
proceedings during the arraignment shows that Pineda's counsel, Atty. with the latter.
Lota prefaced his client's plea of guilty with the statement that .
What kind of rape was committed? Undoubtedly, it is that which is
I have advised him (Pineda) about the technicalities in punishable by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, under
plain simple language of the contents of aggravating paragraph 3, Article 335, as amended by Republic Act No. 4111 which
circumstances and apprised him of the penalty he took effect on June 20, 1964, and which provides as follows:
would get, and we have given said accused time to
think. After a while I consulted him for three times
ART. 335. When and how rape committed.Rape is
and his decision was still the same.
committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman
under any of the following circumstances:
Three days after the arraignment, the same counsel stated in court
that he had always been averse to Pineda's idea of pleading guilty,
1. By using force or intimidation;
because "I know the circumstances called for the imposition of the
maximum penalty considering the aggravating circumstances," but
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise
that he acceded to his client's wish only after the fiscal had stated
unconscious; and
that he would recommend to the court the imposition of life
imprisonment on his client. To be sure, any such recommendation
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age, even of a motor vehicle. With respect to appellants Jose, Aquino and
though neither of the circumstances mentioned in the Ca__al, none of these aggravating circumstances has been offset by
two next preceding paragraphs shall be present. any mitigating circumstance. Appellant Pineda should, however, be
credited with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary plea of guilty, a
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion factor which does not in the least affect the nature of the proper
perpetua. penalties to be imposed, for the reason that there would still be three
aggravating circumstances remaining. As a result, appellants should
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use likewise be made to suffer the extreme penalty of death in each of
of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the these three simple crimes of rape. (Art. 63, par. 2, Revised Penal
penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. Code.)

When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the In refusing to impose as many death penalties as there are offenses
victim has become insane, the penalty shall be death. committed, the trial court applied by analogy Article 70 of the Revised
Penal Code, which provides that "the maximum duration of all the
penalties therein imposed upon the appellant shall not be more than
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a
threefold the length of time corresponding to the most severe of the
homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion
penalties imposed upon the appellant, which should not exceed forty
thereof, the penalty shall be likewise death.
years." The said court is of the opinion that since a man has only one
life to pay for a wrong, the ends of justice would be served, and
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a
society and the victim would be vindicated just as well, if only one
homicide is committed, the penalty shall be death.
death penalty were imposed on each of the appellants.

As regards, therefore, the complex crime of forcible abduction with


We cannot agree with the trial court. Article 70 of the Revised Penal
rape, the first of the crimes committed, the latter is definitely the more
Code can only be taken into account in connection with the service
serious; hence, pursuant the provision of Art. 48 of the Revised Penal
of the sentence imposed, not in the imposition of the penalty (People
Code, the penalty prescribed shall be imposed in its maximum period.
vs. Escares, 55 Off. Gaz., 623). In holding that only one death penalty
Consequently, the appellants should suffer the extreme penalty of
should be imposed because man has only one life, the trial court
death. In this regard, there is hardly any necessity to consider the
ignored the principle enunciated in the very case it cited, namely, U.S.
attendance of aggravating circumstances, for the same would not
vs. Balaba, 37 Phil., 260, where this Court, in affirming the judgment of
alter the nature of the penalty to be imposed.
the trial court, found the accused guilty of two murders and one
homicide and imposed upon him two death sentences for the
Nevertheless, to put matters in their proper perspective and for the murders and a prison term for the homicide. In not applying the said
purpose of determining the proper penalty to be imposed in each of principle, the court a quo said that the case of Balaba is different from
the other three crimes of simple rape, it behooves Us to make a the present case, for while in the former case the accused was found
definite finding in this connection to the effect that the commission of to have committed three distinct offenses, here only one offense is
said crimes was attended with the following aggravating charged, even if complex. As We have explained earlier herein, four
circumstances: (a) nighttime, appellants having purposely sought such crimes were committed, charged and proved. There is, therefore, no
circumstance to facilitate the commission of these crimes; (b) abuse substantial difference between the two cases insofar as the basic
of superior strength, the crime having been committed by the four philosophy involved is concerned, for the fact remains that in the case
appellants in conspiracy with one another (Cf. People vs. De Guzman, of Balaba this Court did not hesitate to affirm the two death sentences
et al., 51 Phil., 105, 113); (c) ignominy, since the appellants in ordering imposed on the accused by the trial court. In People vs. Peralta, et al.,
the complainant to exhibit to them her complete nakedness for about L-19060, October 29, 1968, in which this Court imposed on each of the
ten minutes, before raping her, brought about a circumstance which six accused three death penalties for three distinct and separate
tended to make the effects of the crime more humiliating; and (d) use
crimes of murder, We said that "since it is the settled rule that once offenses charged and proved and the corresponding
conspiracy is established, the act of one conspirator is attributable to penalties prescribed by law.
all, then each conspirator must be held liable for each of the felonious
acts committed as a result of the conspiracy, regardless of the nature Multiple death penalties are not impossible to serve
and severity of the appropriate penalties prescribed by law." In the because they will have to be executed simultaneously.
said case (which was promulgated after the decision of the court a A cursory reading of article 70 will show that there are
quo had been handed down) We had occasion to discuss at length only two moves of serving two or more (multiple)
the legality and practicality of imposing multiple death penalties, thus: penalties: simultaneously or successively. The first rule is
that two or more penalties shall be served
The imposition of multiple death penalties is decried by simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so
some as a useless formality, an exercise in futility. It is permit. In the case of multiple capital penalties, the
contended, undeniably enough, that a death convict, nature of said penal sanctions does not only permit but
like all mortals, has only one life to forfeit. And because actually necessitates simultaneous service.
of this physiological and biological attribute of man, it is
reasoned that the imposition of multiple death The imposition of multiple death penalties, far from
penalties is impractical and futile because after the being a useless formality, has practical importance. The
service of one capital penalty, the execution of the rest sentencing of an accused to several capital penalties
of the death penalties will naturally be rendered is an indelible badge of his extreme criminal perversity,
impossible. The foregoing opposition to the multiple which may not be accurately projected by the
imposition of death penalties suffers from four basic imposition of only one death sentence irrespective of
flaws: (1) it fails to consider the legality of imposing the number of capital felonies for which he is liable.
multiple capital penalties; (2) it fails to distinguish Showing thus the reprehensible character of the
between imposition of penalty and service of convict in its real dimensions, the possibility of a grant of
sentence; (3) it ignores the fact that multiple death executive clemency is justifiably reduced in no small
sentences could be served simultaneously; and (4) it measure. Hence, the imposition of multiple death
overlooks the practical merits of imposing multiple penalties could effectively serve as deterrent to an
death penalties. improvident grant of pardon or commutation. Faced
with the utter delinquency of such a convict, the
The imposition of a penalty and the service of a proper penitentiary authorities would exercise judicious
sentence are two distinct, though related, concepts. restraint in recommending clemency or leniency in his
The imposition of the proper penalty or penalties is behalf.
determined by the nature, gravity and number of
offenses charged and proved, whereas service of Granting, however, that the Chief Executive, in the
sentence is determined by the severity and character exercise of his constitutional power to pardon (one of
of the penalty or penalties imposed. In the imposition of the presidential prerogatives which is almost absolute)
the proper penalty or penalties, the court does not deems it proper to commute the multiple death
concern itself with the possibility or practicality of the penalties to multiple life imprisonments, then the
service of the sentence, since actual service is a practical effect is that the convict has to serve the
contingency subject to varied factors like the maximum forty (40) years of multiple life sentences. If
successful escape of the convict, grant of executive only one death penalty is imposed, and then is
clemency or natural death of the prisoner. All that go commuted to life imprisonment, the convict will have to
into the imposition of the proper penalty or penalties, to serve a maximum of only thirty years corresponding to
reiterate, are the nature, gravity and number of the a single life sentence.
We are, therefore, of the opinion that in view of the existence of who refused to surrender it to the sheriff on the ground that it would be
conspiracy among them and of our finding as regards the nature and used as evidence in the trial of the criminal case.
number of the crimes committed, as well as of the presence of
aggravating circumstances, four death penalties should be imposed During the pendency of that criminal case in the court below, or on
in the premises. July 26, 1967, the intervenor filed with the said court a petition for
intervention. The said petition was not, however, acted upon. On
October 2, 1967, the trial court rendered its judgment in the present
case ordering the car's confiscation as an instrument of the crime.
Before Us is a petition for intervention filed by Filipinas Investment & Although not notified of the said decision, the intervenor filed, on
Finance Corporation asking for reversal of that portion of the October 17, 1967, a motion for reconsideration of the order of
judgment of the court below ordering the confiscation of the car used confiscation; but the same was denied on October 31, 1967, on the
by the appellants in abducting the complainant. The aforesaid car is a ground that the trial court had lost jurisdiction over the case in view of
1965 two-door Pontiac sedan with Motor No. WT-222410, Serial No. the automatic elevation thereof to this Court. The intervenor then filed
2376752110777, Plate No. H-33284, File No. 11584171, alleged by the a petition for relief from judgement, but the same was also denied.
intervenor to be in the custody of Major Ernesto San Diego of the
Quezon City Police Department. The car is registered in the name of On February 5, 1968, judgement was rendered in the replevin case
Mrs. Dolores Gomez. ordering Mrs. Gomez to deliver the car to the intervenor so that the
chattel mortgage thereon could be foreclosed, or, in the alternative,
On April 4, 1967, Mrs. Dolores Gomez, mother of an appellant Jaime G. to pay the intervenor the sum of P13,200 with interest thereon at 12%
Jose, bought the car from the Malayan Motors Corporation and per annum from July 5, 1968, the premium bond, attorney's fees, and
simultaneously executed a chattel mortgage thereon to secure the costs of suit. The judgment became final and executory. Attempts
payment of the purchase price of P13,200, which was stipulated to be to execute the judgment against the properties of Mrs. Gomez were
payable in 24 monthly installments of P550 beginning May 4, 1967 up unavailing; the writ of execution was returned by the sheriff unsatisfied.
to April 4, 1969. The mortgage was duly registered with the Land On July 26, 1968, the present petition for intervention was filed with this
Transportation Commission and inscribed in the Chattel Mortgage Court, which allowed the intervenor to file a brief. In his brief the
Registry. The mortgage lien was annotated on the motor registration Solicitor General contends, among others, that the court a quo having
certificate. On April 17, 1967, for value received and with notice to found that appellant Jose is the owner of the car, the order of
Mrs. Gomez, the Malayan Motors Corporation assigned its credit confiscation is correct.
against Mrs. Gomez, as well as the chattel mortgage, to the
intervenor. The assignment was duly registered with the Land Considering that the car in question is registered in the name of Mrs.
Transportation Commission and annotated on the registration Dolores Gomez, who, in the absence of strong evidence to the
certificate. contrary, must be considered as the lawful owner thereof; that the
only basis of the court a quo in concluding that the said car belongs
Mrs. Gomez failed to pay any of the installments due, in view of which to appellant Jose were the latter's statements during the trial of the
the intervenor filed on July 5, 1967, an action for replevin against her criminal case to that effect; that the said statement were not,
(Civil Case No. 69993, Court of First Instance of Manila) as a preliminary however, intended to be, nor could constitute, a claim of ownership
step to foreclosure of the chattel mortgage. On July 7, 1967, the court over the car adverse to his mother, but were made simply in answer to
issued an order for the seizure of the car. The sheriff, however, could questions propounded in court for the sole purpose of establishing the
not enforce the writ of replevin because the car was not in Mrs. identity of the defendant who furnished the car used by the
Gomez' possession, the same having been used by her son, appellant appellants in the commission of the crime; that the chattel mortgage
Jaime G. Jose, together with the other appellants in this case, in the on the car and its assignment in the favor of the intervenor were
abduction of Miss De la Riva, as a result of which the car was seized by made several months before the date of commission of the crimes
the Quezon City police and placed in the custody of Major San Diego, charged, which circumstance forecloses the possibility of collusion to
prevent the State from confiscating the car; that the final judgement
in the replevin case can only be executed by delivering the possession
of the car to the intervenor for foreclosure of the chattel mortgage;
and the Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code bars the confiscation
and forfeiture of an instrument or tool used in the commission of the
crime if such "be the property of a third person not liable for the
offense," it is the sense of this Court that the order of the court below
for confiscation of the car in question should be set aside and that the
said car should be ordered delivered to the intervenor for foreclosure
as decreed in the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila in
the replevin case, Civil Case No. 69993.

Before the actual promulgation of this decision, this Court received a


formal manifestation on the part of the Solicitor General to the effect
that Rogelio Caal, one of the herein appellants, died in prison on
December 28, 1970. As a result of this development, this case is hereby
dismissed as to him alone, and only insofar as his criminal liability is
concerned, with one-fourth (1/4) of the costs declared de oficio.

WHEREFORE, the judgment under review is hereby modified as follows:


appellants Jaime G. Jose, Basilio Pineda, Jr., and Edgardo P. Aquino
are pronounced guilty of the complex crime of forcible abduction
with rape, and each and every one of them is likewise convicted of
three (3) other crimes of rape. As a consequence thereof, each of
them is hereby sentenced to four (4) death penalties; all of them shall,
jointly and severally, indemnify the complainant of the sum of
P10,000.00 in each of the four crimes, or a total of 40,000.00; and each
shall pay one-fourth (1/4) of the costs.

Insofar as the car used in the commission of the crime is concerned,


the order of the court a quo for its confiscation is hereby set aside;
and whoever is in custody thereof is hereby ordered to deliver its
possession to intervenor Filipinas Investment & Finance Corporation in
accordance with the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila
in Civil Case No. 69993 thereof.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro,


Fernando, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur.

Barredo and Teehankee, JJ., took no part.


and preventing the latter from disembarking from the jeep
driven by accused Ronilo Alburo took her to Beverly Hills
Republic of the Philippines against her will and once there, said accused Ronilo Alburo, by
SUPREME COURT means of force and intimidation, did then and there have
Manila carnal knowledge of said Evelyn Cantina without the consent
and against the will of the latter. (p. 1, Original Record)
SECOND DIVISION
Accused John Doe was subsequently identified as Dionisio Sumalinog.
G.R. No. 85822 April 26, 1990
Upon being arraigned, the accused individually entered pleas of not
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, guilty. Towards the end of the presentation of the prosecution
vs. evidence, the prosecution moved for the dismissal of the complaint
RONILO ALBURO, ZALDY RODRIGUEZ, AND JOHN DOE, accused, against Zaldy Rodriguez and Dionisio Sumalinog. The motion was
RONILO ALBURO, accused-appellant. granted and trial proceeded against Ronilo Alburo.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. The prosecution evidence upon which the Trial Court based its finding
Florido & Associates for accused-appellant. of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is summarized in the People's Brief
as follows:

At or about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of January 27, 1986,


Evelyn Cantina was already dismissed from her classes at the
Abellana National High School, located at Jones Avenue,
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
Cebu City. From there, her classmates, Priscilla Atillo and
Aniceta Bringuila, accompanied her in walking towards Colon
We affirm the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Street, Cebu City, to buy some medicine. Not long after, a
Branch XIX, 1 finding Ronilo Alburo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of passenger jeepney plying the Guadalupe. Carbon market
the crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape and sentencing him to route stopped by the side of the road. The driver, Ronilo
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with all the accessories of the Alburo, invited the three girls to board his jeepney. As Colon
law; to indemnify Evelyn Cantina in the sum of P10,000.00 as moral Street is very near, Evelyn Cantina declined the invitation at
damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and first. Alburo was however, insistent in giving the three girls a lift.
to pay the costs. Finally, the latter accepted the invitation by taking the front
seat, with Evelyn sitting right beside the driver. At that time
On 3 February 1986, Evelyn Cantina filed a complaint for Forcible however', Zaldy Rodriguez and Dionisio Sumalinog were
Abduction with Rape against Ronilo Alburo, Zaldy Rodriguez and John already seated at the passengers' area at the back (t.s.n., pp.
Doe. The complaint reads: 18-21, April 24, 1986, Priscilla Atillo).

That on or about the 27th day of January, 1986 at about 6:00 Upon reaching the corner of Jones Avenue and Colon Street,
P.M., in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction the jeepney driven by Alburo stopped at the red traffic light. At
of this Honorable Court, accused Ronilo Alburo, who was this juncture, Bringuila and Atillo disembarked. Evelyn was also
armed with a butcher's knife, conniving and confederating about to alight but she was prevented by Alburo who
together with Zaldy Rodriguez and John Doe and mutually threatened to raise her skirt if she insists on alighting and
helping one another, with deliberate intent, by the accused, following her two companions. Bringuila and Atillo tried to help
Zaldy Rodriguez and John Doe holding one Evelyn Cantina Evelyn by pulling her out but meanwhile, the green light turned
on and the jeepney sped off towards Juan Luna Street (t.s.n., her. However, only Evelyn's mother was there. They then
pp. 17-26, April 24, 1986, Priscilla Atillo). realized that Evelyn was really in trouble and so they related to
her mother what happened. Alarmed by such information, the
Reaching Juan Luna, the jeepney then made a U-turn on its latter sought the help of Ester Dakay, a neighbor and close
return trip to Guadalupe. Meanwhile, Zaldy Rodriguez friend (t.s.n., pp. 5-10, May 13, 1986, Priscilla Atillo).
transferred to the front seat beside Evelyn (t.s.n., p. 20, August
6, 1986, Evelyn Cantina). The husband of Ester Dakay, a jeepney driver who fully knew
Ronilo Alburo and the latter's route from Guadalupe to
Anticipating that the jeepney driven by Alburo would make a downtown, Cebu City, called up by phone Evelyn's father,
return trip to Guadalupe, Atillo and Bringuila posted who came home not long after (t.s.n., p. 26, May 13, 1986,
themselves beside the corner of Colon and Juan Luna Streets Ester Dakay). Together, they then formed search teams to look
near the Cebu City Savings Bank, where vehicles would stop at for Evelyn. Lourdes Cantina and Ester Dakay went as search
the red light signal (t.s.n., p. 34, April 24, 1986, Priscilla Atillo). team No. 1. Riding on a taxi, they searched the reclamation
area and made inquiries from the motels. On the other hand,
Indeed, on its way to Guadalupe, the jeepney driven by Evelyn's father as well as her uncle, rode on two separate
Alburo stopped at the corner of Colon and Juan Luna Streets motorcycles, making up search teams 2 and 3, and scoured
when the red light signaled. Evelyn attempted to go down the streets of the city. However, the search proved futile (t.s.n.,
from the jeepney but, she was prevented by Zaldy Rodriguez pp. 2932, May 13, 1986, Ester Dakay).
who placed his leg as barricade. Realizing that Evelyn was
being prevented from disembarking, Atillo and Bringuila who In an isolated area at barangay OPPRA (Capitol Hills), Alburo
stood by the roadside, close to the jeepney, attempted to pull stopped the jeepney. Holding the knife, he went down from
Evelyn from the vehicle. However, they did not succeed. Then the jeepney and threateningly came close to Evelyn. He then
the jeepney again sped off and headed towards Jones pointed the knife at her and told her that at something would
Avenue when the green light turned on (t.s.n., p. 22, August 6, happen to her if she would shout. Then he pushed Evelyn's
1986, Evelyn Cantina). head against the steering wheel which rendered the latter
unconscious.
On the way to the Capitol and upon reaching the Fuente
Osmea Police Station, the jeepney turned left along B. When Evelyn regained her senses she found herself without her
Rodriguez Street. When it was already near the Southern panty anymore. Blood was on her vagina and she felt pain on
Medical Center, Zaldy Rodriguez and Dionisio Sumalinog got her stomach. She saw Ronilo Alburo with his face close to hers,
off from the jeepney, leaving only Alburo and Evelyn on board. getting up from her then raising his pants. She cried and asked
Alburo then drove off, turning right at V. Rama Avenue, Alburo what he had done to her. He did not answer her
passing thru Englis, he place where Evelyn resides. The latter inquiries. Instead, he made her walk for a while, outside of the
then begged Alburo that she be allowed to disembark. Alburo jeepney, accordingly, to ease the pain she felt. Then he made
did not heed Evelyn's plea. Instead, he pulled a knife and her sit back on the front seat with him, still under threat of
threatened to slash her side if she would disembark. The death (t.s.n., pp. 11-19, August 15, 1986, Evelyn Cantina).
jeepney then proceeded to Beverly Hills (t.s.n., pp. 27-30,
August 16, 1986, Evelyn Cantina). It was already dark when Alburo drove back to the City. Still
under threat of death, Evelyn remained seated beside him. To
Thinking that Evelyn might have been dropped by Alburo at make it appear that nothing really happened, Alburo even
her residence in Englis Atillo and Bringuila boarded another picked up some passengers along the way (t.s.n., p. 33, August
jeep. They were hoping that Evelyn was already home and 15, 1986, Evelyn Cantina).
that they could get the notebook which one of them left with
At about seven o'clock in the evening, while Lourdes and Ester who came later and drove them to Fuente Osmena Police
were standing near Power Foods Restaurant at Jones Avenue, Station (t.s.n., p. 60, p. 65, May 13, 1986, Ester Dakay).
Ester spotted the jeepney coming from the Capitol heading
towards downtown. Ester signaled the jeepney to stop. As the When Ester and Evelyn arrived at the Fuente Osmea Police
jeepney slowed down, she saw Evelyn seated between Alburo Station, Lourdes was already there. The two women then
and a male passenger (t.s.n., pp. 40-41, May 13, 1986, Ester reported to the police the abduction of Evelyn by Rodriguez,
Dakay). Sumalinog and Alburo. Ester also submitted the knife (Exhibit
"A") to the police. Thereafter, Lourdes and Ester accompanied
Evelyn who appeared very weak and who was in tears, Evelyn to the Southern Islands Medical Center for the latter's
alighted from the vehicle upon order from her mother Lourdes medical examination. As they could not be accommodated
Cantina. As she was embraced by Ester, she whispered to Ester there immediately, they went to the Cebu City Medical Center
that Alburo should not be allowed to abscond because he (t.s.n., pp. 52-53, August 15, 1986, Evelyn Cantina). At the Cebu
had raped her (t.s.n., pp. 42-43, May 13, 1986, Ester Dakay). A City Medical Center where Evelyn was examined by Dra. Juliet
commotion followed as an altercation between Lourdes and Lastimosa and was found to have fresh lacerations on her
Alburo started. The passengers at the back area disembarked. vagina with positive presence of spermatozoa (t.s.n., pp. 52-53,
Ester and Evelyn then sat down at the passenger's area with a August 15, 1986, Evelyn Cantina). The medical certification
certain Boyet Junio a Barangay Tanod (t.s.n., p. 48, May 13, (Exhibit "B") was issued by Dra. Lastimosa on the following
1986, Ester Dakay). morning.

During the confrontation, Lourdes demanded that Alburo On that same evening, Ester, Lourdes and Evelyn made a
should bring Evelyn and Ester to the Fuente Osmea Police second appearance at the police station and the complaint
Station. At first, Alburo refused claiming that nothing wrong for abduction with rape was formally lodged by Evelyn. Her
had happened between him and Evelyn. When Ester told him affidavit was initially taken by the Investigator. The knife.
he had nothing to be afraid of if he was telling the truth he (Exhibit "A") which was submitted earlier that night remained in
however, relented and drove the jeepney towards Fuente the possession of the police. As the panty (Exhibit "E") and the
Osmea (t.s.n., pp. 43-45, August 15, 1986, Evelyn Cantina). skirt (Exhibit "D" were still worn by Evelyn, they were submitted
only the following day. The skirt was torn on the right side
Lourdes did not board the jeepney as she decided to look for (Exhibit "D-2") and had some blood stains (Exhibit "D-1"). The
her husband in order to inform him that they had already panty also had some blood stains (Exhibit "E-1"). (pp. 3-1 1, Brief
found Evelyn. While the jeepney was proceeding towards for the Appellee)
Fuente Osmea, Alburo changed his mind. He made a left turn
at Visitacion Street on the pretext that he would pick up a Appellant, on the other hand, presented five (5) witnesses and offered
friend who could accompany him to the police station. At several documentary exhibits in his defense. His theory runs thus:
Visitation Street, Alburo parked the jeepney. He took out the
engine key and the cash collections, then left the vehicle. As Accused Alburo's theory or main line of defense is that he and
Alburo had gone, Evelyn narrated to Ester how she was raped Evelyn Cantina were sweethearts, thus, if ever there was sexual
by Alburo. She even gave to Ester the knife which was left in intercourse between Ronilo and Evelyn on 27 January 1986, it
the jeepney by Alburo (t.s.n., pp. D-4-57, May 13, 1986, Ester was with the free and voluntary consent of complainant Evelyn
Dakay). Cantina. The defense witnesses testified to the fact that on
several occasions they saw Evelyn riding the jeepney driven by
After about 15 minutes, Ester realized that Alburo would not Ronilo and the former was seating beside the accused at the
return anymore. She then called by phone the jeepney owner front seat of the motor vehicle.
One of the witnesses even testified to the effect that she saw they were, surely, Evelyn would not have jeopardized their relationship
Evelyn visiting Ronilo at the latter's rented room for a number of by accusing him of having deflowered her and, on top of it all, filing a
times. In short, the accused tried to convey before the trial criminal charge against him. Evelyn's picture, allegedly given to
court that it is of public knowledge in the neighborhood of Appellant as a remembrance of their romantic relationship, was
Ronilo that the accused and Evelyn were lovers." (pp. 5-6, Brief actually given to Ruel Sipi her former boyfriend. She emphatically
for the Accused-Appellant) denies having given Appellant any such token. Neither was Appellant
able to present any convincing evidence to substantiate his claim like
The Trial Court gave no credence to the defense version and, as love letters, notes and other symbols of affection.
heretofore stated, sentenced Appellant to reclusion perpetua. Before
us now, Appellant maintains: Moreover, if, in fact, they had been lovers, Evelyn would have
boarded Appellant's jeep voluntarily and alone unaccompanied by
I. The lower court erred in giving credit to the claim of the her two classmates. If the latter had any inkling that Evelyn did want to
prosecution that the alleged offended victim Evelyn Cantina go with Appellant, they would not have shown so much concern for
was forcibly raped by the accused-appellant Ronilo Alburo. her welfare and safety like following the passenger jeepney driven by
Appellant to the traffic lights, trying to pull Evelyn down from the
II. The trial court erred in giving credit to the testimony of the jeepney, failing in which, they eventually reported the incident to
offended party which lacks candor or credibility and Evelyn's mother.
probability, and in not considering that her testimony was due
to fear of her parents that they would castigate and punish her Appellant's argument that Evelyn charged him with the crime out of
if found that she and Ronilo were lovers. fear of her parents who did not approve of their relationship is
unconvincing because, if it had been so, Evelyn could have easily told
III. The trial court erred in considering that the facts and her mother after the latter had successfully traced their whereabouts
circumstances presented as evidence by the prosecution that nothing untoward had happened between her and Appellant.
militates against a finding of rape. Her normal reaction would have been to cover-up for the man she
loved and had a clandestine affair with. But, on the contrary, Evelyn
lost no time in denouncing Appellant and exposing to her family and
IV. The trial court erred in not believing that the accused-
the authorities the disgrace that had befallen her.
appellant Ronilo Alburo and Evelyn Cantina were sweethearts
and lovers, and that the carnal act done by them on 27
January 1986 was motivated by mutual passion and love and Appellant's other assigned errors focus on the issue of credibility of
therefore voluntary. witnesses in respect of which it is well settled that Appellate Courts will
not generally disturb the factual findings of Trial Courts which are in a
better position to weigh the conflicting testimonies, having heard the
V. The trial court erred in not believing the testimonies of the
witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of
appellant Ronilo Alburo and of Dina Lopez, Placido Alegrado
testifying during the trial unless it is found that the Trial Courts have
Manuel Rama and Corazon Gabato defense witnesses, who
plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if
declared that on several occasions they saw Evelyn riding the
considered, might affect the result of the case (People vs. Cruz, Sr.,
jeepney.
G.R. No. L-71462, June 30, 1987, 151 SCRA 609, citing other cases).
VI. The trial court erred in not acquitting the accused-appellant
In reviewing the evidence adduced by the prosecution for this crime
at least on the ground of reasonable doubt. (pp. 7-8, Ibid.)
of Rape, we have likewise been guided by three well-known
principles, namely, (1) that an accusation of rape can be made with
After evaluation of the evidence in its totality, we are not persuaded
facility, is difficult to prove, but more difficult for the person accused,
by the theory that Appellant and Evelyn were sweethearts.1wphi1 If
though innocent, to disprove; (2) that in view of the intrinsic nature of
the crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved, the
testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme
caution; and (3) that the evidence for the prosecution must stand or
fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from
the weaknesses of the evidence for the defense (Reyes, Revised Penal
Code, Book II, 1981 ed., p. 850).

The factual milieu of this criminal charge before us gives us no reason


to depart from these established rules. On the contrary, we find that
Appellant had taken Evelyn away against her will, with lewd designs,
subsequently forced her to submit to his lust and rendering her
unconscious in the process, thereby justifying his conviction for the
complex crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape under Article 48 in
relation to Articles 335 and 342 of the Revised Penal Code, with which
he has herein been charged.

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, with


the modification of the amount of indemnity to be paid the offended
party, which is hereby increased to P20,000.00, in line with decisional
jurisprudence.

Costs against accused-appellant Ronilo Alburo.

SO ORDERED.

Paras, Padilla, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1 Penned by Leoncio P. Abarquez.


Republic of the Philippines defendants-appellants talking to the couple. Godines eventually
SUPREME COURT hacked Milagros. Moreno stood by the window to serve as a lookout
Manila person. The couple's son Vicente ran away from the house after
seeing Godines hack Milagros. Godines got some money from the
FIRST DIVISION couple. Thereafter, the appellants prepared to leave the house. In the
meantime, Ancajas tried to escape from the house with her small
G.R. No. 93410 May 7, 1991 child. The appellants, however, saw her and grabbed her. The two
men dragged Ancajas and the child out of the house and forcibly
brought them to a nearby vacant lot with tall grasses, about 600
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
meters away from the Vilaksi residence. Both men were apparently
vs.
armed; Godines had a pistol and Moreno had a knife. They
ROLANDO GODINES and DANNY MORENO, defendants-appellants.
threatened to kill Ancajas if she resisted their advances. As they were
dragging her to the vacant lot, they fondled her private parts. Upon
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
their arrival at the vacant lot, the appellants took turns in having
Ruben A. Songco for defendants-appellants.
carnal knowledge of Ancajas. Godines did it first. While one was
raping the girl, the other was holding on to the child. All the while, the
appellants threatened to kill Ancajas if she put up any resistance.
Ancajas tried to resist but the appellants simply overpowered her.
After the appellants had finished satisfying their carnal desires, they
GANCAYCO, J.: threatened her anew with death because they suspected that
Ancajas recognized them. Ancajas knew who they were but for fear
The herein defendants-appellants were convicted of the crime of of losing her life, she denied knowing any of them. Thus, the appellants
rape by the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, Masbate and, warned her not to report the incident to the authorities if she valued
accordingly, sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion her life. Ancajas took refuge in the house of a neighbor, Elpidio Aballe.
perpetua and to pay P20,000.00 moral damages to the offended She fell unconscious there. She eventually regained her consciousness
party. They appealed their case to this Court seeking an acquittal. after which she narrated to Aballe the ordeal she went through.
Under the circumstances obtaining in this case, and considering the Ancajas later informed her parents and the authorities about the
evidence on record, their acquittal is well-nigh beyond realization. incident.

In an information filed with the trial court on September 28, 1988, the Ancajas submitted herself to a medical examination. Rizaliano
provincial prosecutor of Masbate accused the defendants-appellants Deliarte, the municipal health officer of San Pascual, Masbate
Rolando Godines and Danny Moreno of having conspired in the prepared the following report
commission of the crime of forcible abduction with rape as penalized
under the Revised Penal Code. 1 Thereafter, the appellants were (1) Scant pubic hair;
arraigned accordingly and they pleaded not guilty to the offense
charged. In due time, a trial ensued. (2) Labia Majora partially coaptate, which means that outer lip
of sexual organ of the woman is partially opened;
Esther Ancajas, the private complainant, testified as follows: In the
evening of March 17, 1988, she was sleeping in the house of one (3) Vagina easily admits two fingers, the forefinger and the
Alejandro Vilaksi at Sitio Sincamas, Sta. Cruz, San Pascual, Masbate. middle finger; and
She was awakened by a commotion emanating from an adjacent
room occupied by Vilaksi and his wife Milagros. She lit a kerosone
(4) Physical ExaminationAbrasion multi-linear or lateral
lamp to ascertain what was going on. Thereafter, she saw the
aspect of left shoulder joint, which means that the abrasions
were located on the lateral aspect and run across the chest, The trial court did not sustain the version of the defense. The trial court
left shoulder joint, and this could have been caused by a hard observed that there were serious inconsistencies in the testimonies of
object hitting the skin of the persons, such as stone, tip of the witnesses for the defense and that a distance of a few kilometers
wood, sand and even finger nails. 2 from the scene of the crime is not a sufficient basis upon which to
conclude that it was impossible for the accused to have committed
Deliarte later on testified that on account of these manifestations, it is the crime. Moreover, the trial court invited attention to the fact that
possible that Ancajas had been raped. alibi is a defense which is easily concocted and that the same cannot
prevail against positive identification by credible witnesses. The trial
The defense, however, had a different version of the story. The witness court also found the version of the prosecution credible in that no
for the defense testified as follows: Sometime in the afternoon of Filipino woman will publicly admit that she has been raped unless the
March 17, 1988, the two accused attended a religious service at the same is true because her natural disposition is to protect her honor. In
local Iglesia Ni Cristo church with a number of friends and relatives. addition, the trial court held that the crime of forcible abduction is
They were together with a certain Felomino Moreno, the wife of absorbed in the crime of rape if the main purpose of the accused is to
Godines, and two children. When the religious service was over, they rape the victim.
proceeded to the house of Felomino Moreno. They passed for a
certain Generoso Umpad along the way. Before they reached their As stated earlier, the trial court found both accused guilty of rape.
destination, Godines declared that he was feeling ill. Upon their arrival
at the house of Felomino Moreno, everyone in the household Both accused filed a motion for reconsideration on March 5, 1990. The
attended to Godines. Umpad gathered some medicinal herbs for him. trial court denied the motion on March 7, 1990.
Godines and his wife spent the night in the said house. They went
home at 7 o'clock the following morning. Danny Moreno stayed up to The case was elevated to this Court by way of this appeal. The
10 o'clock in the evening. He slept in the house of Generoso Umpad appellants raise the following errors allegedly committed by the trial
from 11 o'clock p.m. The next day, Vicente Vilaksi went to see Godines court
at the latter's house in order to borrow a hammock. Godines then
accompanied Vicente to the Vilaksi residence. There, he saw Ancajas I.
and Elpidio Aballe. Later on in the afternoon of the same day, police
authorities arrested the accused.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE CRIME OF RAPE WAS
COMMITTED ON THE VICTIM.
Godines asserted that he could not have committed the crime
because he had to stay in the house of Felomino Moreno to
II.
recuperate from his illness and that he was able to go home the next
day. He also asserted that the house of Felomino Moreno is about two
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE TESTIMONIES OF THE
kilometers away from the house of Alejandro Vilaksi where the incident
ACCUSED AND THEIR WITNESSES WERE INCONSISTENT AND
in question took place. Godines likewise intimated that he knew Esther
CONTRADICTED EACH OTHER.
Ancajas since they were small children and that they never had a
misunderstanding. For his part, Danny Moreno maintained that the
house of Generoso Umpad is about three kilometers away from the III.
house of Vilaksi. He also admitted that, like Danny Moreno, he knew
Ancajas and that there was never any unpleasant relationship THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE TESTIMONY OF THE
between them in the past. Both accused related that Ancajas knew COMPLAINANT AND HER WITNESSES WERE INSUFFICIENT AND
the two of them as well. INCREDIBLE.

IV.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THERE WAS A DELAY IN the private complainant categorically identified the authors of the
THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT. crime. She had no motive to conjure up a serious charge against the
appellants. The appellants themselves admit that before the incident
V. in question took place, there was no unpleasant relationship between
the accused on the one hand and the private complainant on the
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE COMPLAINANT AND other. The record, as a matter of fact, is devoid of inconsistencies on
HER WITNESS HAS (SIC) A MOTIVE IN FILING THE CHARGE OF RAPE. the part of the prosecution witnesses. The actuations of the private
complainant after the commission of the rape upon her are consistent
with that of a rape victim. What remains as the decisive factor is the
VI.
positive identification of the appellants as the perpetrators of the
rape.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN MISAPPREHENDING THE FACTS OF THIS CASE.
The Court reiterates its oft-mentioned observation that it is very difficult
VII.
to believe that a woman would be willing to undergo the expense,
trouble, inconvenience and scandal of a public prosecution for rape,
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE as well as an examination of the private parts of her anatomy, if her
ACCUSED WERE (SIC) NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. 3 intention is not to bring her rapists to justice. 6 Besides, the trial court
had the opportunity of a first hand assessment of the testimonies of the
After a careful evaluation of the entire record of the case, the Court witnesses, an opportunity that is not available to this Court. Thus, the
finds no reason to reverse the decision appealed from. findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses in a prosecution
of a crime against chastity commands the highest respect from the
Inasmuch as the assigned errors are interrelated, the Court will Supreme Court, 7 in the absence of valid reasons for holding
consider them altogether. otherwise. No valid reasons have been presented by the appellants to
merit a deviation from this principle.
The appellants insist that there are no conclusive medical findings that
the complainant had indeed been raped. This assertion is untenable. The defense of alibi raised by the appellants is of no value in the case
A medical examination is not an indispensable element in a at bar. In order for the appellants to establish alibi, they must show
prosecution for rape. 4 At any rate, the medical evidence discloses that it was impossible for them to have been present at the place
that the private complainant suffered abrasions on her body thereby where the crime was committed at the time of the commission of the
confirming that she had been physically violated through the use of same.8 Alibi must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. 9 In
force. the case at bar, the defense of alibi relied upon by the appellants
does not preclude the possibility that they were present at the scene
The appellants contend that the testimonies of the prosecution of the crime and at the time the same was committed. The distance
witnesses were inconsistent and as such do not serve as valid grounds between the alleged whereabouts of the appellants at the time of the
for their conviction. commission of the crime and the scene of the crime itself may be
easily negotiated by ordinary means. The defense witnesses
The contention is untenable. themselves testified that Godines was not too ill to preclude his
moving about the premises. As stated earlier, the material factor is
that there is positive identification of the accused as the authors of the
It is true that an accusation for rape can easily be fabricated because
crime. Alibi cannot prevail over positive identification. 10Needless to
the nature of the crime is that it is difficult to prove. More often than
say, alibi is an issue of fact which is best resolved by the trial court. 11
not, only the victim and the accused are in a position to testify on the
matter so much so that the conviction or acquittal of the accused
hinges solely upon the credibility of the witnesses. 5 In the case at bar,
In view of these observations, the Court does not find it necessary to imprisonment for each rape and each to indemnify the offended
pass upon the assigned error as to the alleged delay in the filing of the party P50,000.00 with costs against defendants-appellants.
complaint.
SO ORDERED.
As to the crime committed by the appellants, the trial court correctly
held that forcible abduction is absorbed in the crime of rape if the Narvasa, Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
main objective of the appellant is to rape the victim.

The appellants are charged of conspiring and confederating with


each other in the commission of the offense charged. No doubt the
evidence show the appellants through force and intimidation and
conspiring with each other successfully raped the victim by taking
turns in raping her while the other held the child of the victim and
threatened her against resisting. Obviously two (2) rapes were
committed by the appellants. In a conspiracy the act of one is the act
of all. 12

Under Section 3 of Rule 120 of the Rules of Court, it is provided:

Sec. 3. Judgment for two or more offenses. When two or


more offenses are charged in a single complaint or
information, and the accused fails to object to it before trial,
the court may convict the accused of as many offenses as are
charged and proved, and impose on him the penalty for each
and every one of them setting out separately the findings of
fact and law in each case.

In this case the appellants failed to object to the information filed and
the evidence presented against them. Consequently the Court may
convict them of as many offenses as has been charged and proven
and may impose on them the penalty for the offenses committed.

An appeal in a criminal case opens the whole case for review and this
includes the review of the penalty, indemnity and damages. 13 It may
also include the nature and number of the offenses committed. Each
of the appellants is guilty as principal of two (2) rapes, namely the
rape he himself committed and the rape which his co-accused
committed with his active and indispensable cooperation.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby modifies the appealed judgment by


finding each of the appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two
(2) rapes, so each of them is hereby imposed the penalty of life
Republic of the Philippines Petitioner, on the other hand, filed an action for legal separation,
SUPREME COURT support and separation of property before the Regional Trial Court of
Manila Manila, Branch XXXII, on January 23, 1983 where the same is still
pending as Civil Case No. 83-15866. 3
SECOND DIVISION
On January 15, 1986, Division 20 of the Schoneberg Local Court,
G.R. No. 80116 June 30, 1989 Federal Republic of Germany, promulgated a decree of divorce on
the ground of failure of marriage of the spouses. The custody of the
IMELDA MANALAYSAY PILAPIL, petitioner, child was granted to petitioner. The records show that under German
vs. law said court was locally and internationally competent for the
HON. CORONA IBAY-SOMERA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of divorce proceeding and that the dissolution of said marriage was
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XXVI; HON. LUIS C. VICTOR, legally founded on and authorized by the applicable law of that
in his capacity as the City Fiscal of Manila; and ERICH EKKEHARD foreign jurisdiction. 4
GEILING, respondents.
On June 27, 1986, or more than five months after the issuance of the
divorce decree, private respondent filed two complaints for adultery
before the City Fiscal of Manila alleging that, while still married to said
respondent, petitioner "had an affair with a certain William Chia as
REGALADO, J.:
early as 1982 and with yet another man named Jesus Chua sometime
in 1983". Assistant Fiscal Jacinto A. de los Reyes, Jr., after the
An ill-starred marriage of a Filipina and a foreigner which ended in a
corresponding investigation, recommended the dismissal of the cases
foreign absolute divorce, only to be followed by a criminal infidelity
on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. 5 However, upon review,
suit of the latter against the former, provides Us the opportunity to lay
the respondent city fiscal approved a resolution, dated January 8,
down a decisional rule on what hitherto appears to be an unresolved
1986, directing the filing of two complaints for adultery against the
jurisdictional question.
petitioner. 6 The complaints were accordingly filed and were
eventually raffled to two branches of the Regional Trial Court of
On September 7, 1979, petitioner Imelda Manalaysay Pilapil, a Filipino Manila. The case entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Imelda Pilapil
citizen, and private respondent Erich Ekkehard Geiling, a German and William Chia", docketed as Criminal Case No. 87-52435, was
national, were married before the Registrar of Births, Marriages and assigned to Branch XXVI presided by the respondent judge; while the
Deaths at Friedensweiler in the Federal Republic of Germany. The other case, "People of the Philippines vs. Imelda Pilapil and James
marriage started auspiciously enough, and the couple lived together Chua", docketed as Criminal Case No. 87-52434 went to the sala of
for some time in Malate, Manila where their only child, Isabella Pilapil Judge Leonardo Cruz, Branch XXV, of the same court. 7
Geiling, was born on April 20, 1980. 1
On March 14, 1987, petitioner filed a petition with the Secretary of
Thereafter, marital discord set in, with mutual recriminations between Justice asking that the aforesaid resolution of respondent fiscal be set
the spouses, followed by a separation de facto between them. aside and the cases against her be dismissed. 8 A similar petition was
filed by James Chua, her co-accused in Criminal Case No. 87-52434.
After about three and a half years of marriage, such connubial The Secretary of Justice, through the Chief State Prosecutor, gave due
disharmony eventuated in private respondent initiating a divorce course to both petitions and directed the respondent city fiscal to
proceeding against petitioner in Germany before the Schoneberg inform the Department of Justice "if the accused have already been
Local Court in January, 1983. He claimed that there was failure of their arraigned and if not yet arraigned, to move to defer further
marriage and that they had been living apart since April, 1982. 2 proceedings" and to elevate the entire records of both cases to his
office for review. 9
Petitioner thereafter filed a motion in both criminal cases to defer her Under Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, 17 the crime of adultery,
arraignment and to suspend further proceedings thereon. 10 As a as well as four other crimes against chastity, cannot be prosecuted
consequence, Judge Leonardo Cruz suspended proceedings in except upon a sworn written complaint filed by the offended spouse.
Criminal Case No. 87-52434. On the other hand, respondent judge It has long since been established, with unwavering consistency, that
merely reset the date of the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 87- compliance with this rule is a jurisdictional, and not merely a formal,
52435 to April 6, 1987. Before such scheduled date, petitioner moved requirement. 18 While in point of strict law the jurisdiction of the court
for the cancellation of the arraignment and for the suspension of over the offense is vested in it by the Judiciary Law, the requirement
proceedings in said Criminal Case No. 87-52435 until after the for a sworn written complaint is just as jurisdictional a mandate since it
resolution of the petition for review then pending before the Secretary is that complaint which starts the prosecutory proceeding 19 and
of Justice. 11 A motion to quash was also filed in the same case on the without which the court cannot exercise its jurisdiction to try the case.
ground of lack of jurisdiction, 12 which motion was denied by the
respondent judge in an order dated September 8, 1987. The same Now, the law specifically provides that in prosecutions for adultery and
order also directed the arraignment of both accused therein, that is, concubinage the person who can legally file the complaint should be
petitioner and William Chia. The latter entered a plea of not guilty the offended spouse, and nobody else. Unlike the offenses of
while the petitioner refused to be arraigned. Such refusal of the seduction, abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness, no provision is
petitioner being considered by respondent judge as direct contempt, made for the prosecution of the crimes of adultery and concubinage
she and her counsel were fined and the former was ordered detained by the parents, grandparents or guardian of the offended party. The
until she submitted herself for arraignment. 13 Later, private respondent so-called exclusive and successive rule in the prosecution of the first
entered a plea of not guilty. 14 four offenses above mentioned do not apply to adultery and
concubinage. It is significant that while the State, as parens patriae,
On October 27, 1987, petitioner filed this special civil action was added and vested by the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure with
for certiorari and prohibition, with a prayer for a temporary restraining the power to initiate the criminal action for a deceased or
order, seeking the annulment of the order of the lower court denying incapacitated victim in the aforesaid offenses of seduction,
her motion to quash. The petition is anchored on the main ground that abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness, in default of her parents,
the court is without jurisdiction "to try and decide the charge of grandparents or guardian, such amendment did not include the
adultery, which is a private offense that cannot be prosecuted de crimes of adultery and concubinage. In other words, only the
officio (sic), since the purported complainant, a foreigner, does not offended spouse, and no other, is authorized by law to initiate the
qualify as an offended spouse having obtained a final divorce decree action therefor.
under his national law prior to his filing the criminal complaint." 15
Corollary to such exclusive grant of power to the offended spouse to
On October 21, 1987, this Court issued a temporary restraining order institute the action, it necessarily follows that such initiator must have
enjoining the respondents from implementing the aforesaid order of the status, capacity or legal representation to do so at the time of the
September 8, 1987 and from further proceeding with Criminal Case filing of the criminal action. This is a familiar and express rule in civil
No. 87-52435. Subsequently, on March 23, 1988 Secretary of Justice actions; in fact, lack of legal capacity to sue, as a ground for a motion
Sedfrey A. Ordoez acted on the aforesaid petitions for review and, to dismiss in civil cases, is determined as of the filing of the complaint
upholding petitioner's ratiocinations, issued a resolution directing the or petition.
respondent city fiscal to move for the dismissal of the complaints
against the petitioner. 16 The absence of an equivalent explicit rule in the prosecution of
criminal cases does not mean that the same requirement and
We find this petition meritorious. The writs prayed for shall accordingly rationale would not apply. Understandably, it may not have been
issue. found necessary since criminal actions are generally and
fundamentally commenced by the State, through the People of the
Philippines, the offended party being merely the complaining witness
therein. However, in the so-called "private crimes" or those which that the innocent spouse shall have the exclusive right to institute a
cannot be prosecuted de oficio, and the present prosecution for prosecution for adultery. Where, however, proceedings have been
adultery is of such genre, the offended spouse assumes a more properly commenced, a divorce subsequently granted can have no
predominant role since the right to commence the action, or to refrain legal effect on the prosecution of the criminal proceedings to a
therefrom, is a matter exclusively within his power and option. conclusion. 22

This policy was adopted out of consideration for the aggrieved party In the cited Loftus case, the Supreme Court of Iowa held that
who might prefer to suffer the outrage in silence rather than go
through the scandal of a public trial. 20 Hence, as cogently argued by 'No prosecution for adultery can be commenced
petitioner, Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code thus presupposes except on the complaint of the husband or wife.'
that the marital relationship is still subsisting at the time of the institution Section 4932, Code. Though Loftus was husband of
of the criminal action for, adultery. This is a logical consequence since defendant when the offense is said to have been
the raison d'etre of said provision of law would be absent where the committed, he had ceased to be such when the
supposed offended party had ceased to be the spouse of the alleged prosecution was begun; and appellant insists that his
offender at the time of the filing of the criminal case. 21 status was not such as to entitle him to make the
complaint. We have repeatedly said that the offense is
In these cases, therefore, it is indispensable that the status and against the unoffending spouse, as well as the state, in
capacity of the complainant to commence the action be definitely explaining the reason for this provision in the statute;
established and, as already demonstrated, such status or capacity and we are of the opinion that the unoffending spouse
must indubitably exist as of the time he initiates the action. It would be must be such when the prosecution is commenced.
absurd if his capacity to bring the action would be determined by his (Emphasis supplied.)
status before or subsequent to the commencement thereof, where
such capacity or status existed prior to but ceased before, or was We see no reason why the same doctrinal rule should not apply in this
acquired subsequent to but did not exist at the time of, the institution case and in our jurisdiction, considering our statutory law and jural
of the case. We would thereby have the anomalous spectacle of a policy on the matter. We are convinced that in cases of such nature,
party bringing suit at the very time when he is without the legal the status of the complainant vis-a-vis the accused must be
capacity to do so. determined as of the time the complaint was filed. Thus, the person
who initiates the adultery case must be an offended spouse, and by
To repeat, there does not appear to be any local precedential this is meant that he is still married to the accused spouse, at the time
jurisprudence on the specific issue as to when precisely the status of a of the filing of the complaint.
complainant as an offended spouse must exist where a criminal
prosecution can be commenced only by one who in law can be In the present case, the fact that private respondent obtained a valid
categorized as possessed of such status. Stated differently and with divorce in his country, the Federal Republic of Germany, is admitted.
reference to the present case, the inquiry ;would be whether it is Said divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines
necessary in the commencement of a criminal action for adultery that insofar as private respondent is concerned 23 in view of the nationality
the marital bonds between the complainant and the accused be principle in our civil law on the matter of status of persons.
unsevered and existing at the time of the institution of the action by
the former against the latter. Thus, in the recent case of Van Dorn vs. Romillo, Jr., et al., 24 after a
divorce was granted by a United States court between Alice Van
American jurisprudence, on cases involving statutes in that jurisdiction Dornja Filipina, and her American husband, the latter filed a civil case
which are in pari materia with ours, yields the rule that after a divorce in a trial court here alleging that her business concern was conjugal
has been decreed, the innocent spouse no longer has the right to property and praying that she be ordered to render an accounting
institute proceedings against the offenders where the statute provides and that the plaintiff be granted the right to manage the business.
Rejecting his pretensions, this Court perspicuously demonstrated the The aforecited case of United States vs. Mata cannot be successfully
error of such stance, thus: relied upon by private respondent. In applying Article 433 of the old
Penal Code, substantially the same as Article 333 of the Revised Penal
There can be no question as to the validity of that Code, which punished adultery "although the marriage be afterwards
Nevada divorce in any of the States of the United declared void", the Court merely stated that "the lawmakers intended
States. The decree is binding on private respondent as to declare adulterous the infidelity of a married woman to her marital
an American citizen. For instance, private respondent vows, even though it should be made to appear that she is entitled to
cannot sue petitioner, as her husband, in any State of have her marriage contract declared null and void, until and unless
the Union. ... she actually secures a formal judicial declaration to that effect".
Definitely, it cannot be logically inferred therefrom that the complaint
It is true that owing to the nationality principle can still be filed after the declaration of nullity because such
embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine declaration that the marriage is void ab initio is equivalent to stating
nationals are covered by the policy against absolute that it never existed. There being no marriage from the beginning, any
divorces the same being considered contrary to our complaint for adultery filed after said declaration of nullity would no
concept of public policy and morality. However, aliens longer have a leg to stand on. Moreover, what was consequently
may obtain divorces abroad, which may be contemplated and within the purview of the decision in said case is
recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid the situation where the criminal action for adultery was
according to their national law. ... filed before the termination of the marriage by a judicial declaration
of its nullity ab initio. The same rule and requisite would necessarily
apply where the termination of the marriage was effected, as in this
Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is
case, by a valid foreign divorce.
no longer the husband of petitioner. He would have no
standing to sue in the case below as petitioner's
husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal Private respondent's invocation of Donio-Teves, et al. vs.
assets. ... 25 Vamenta, hereinbefore cited, 27 must suffer the same fate of
inapplicability. A cursory reading of said case reveals that the
offended spouse therein had duly and seasonably filed a complaint
Under the same considerations and rationale, private respondent,
for adultery, although an issue was raised as to its sufficiency but
being no longer the husband of petitioner, had no legal standing to
which was resolved in favor of the complainant. Said case did not
commence the adultery case under the imposture that he was the
involve a factual situation akin to the one at bar or any issue
offended spouse at the time he filed suit.
determinative of the controversy herein.
The allegation of private respondent that he could not have brought
WHEREFORE, the questioned order denying petitioner's motion to
this case before the decree of divorce for lack of knowledge, even if
quash is SET ASIDE and another one entered DISMISSING the complaint
true, is of no legal significance or consequence in this case. When said
in Criminal Case No. 87-52435 for lack of jurisdiction. The temporary
respondent initiated the divorce proceeding, he obviously knew that
restraining order issued in this case on October 21, 1987 is hereby
there would no longer be a family nor marriage vows to protect once
made permanent.
a dissolution of the marriage is decreed. Neither would there be a
danger of introducing spurious heirs into the family, which is said to be
one of the reasons for the particular formulation of our law on SO ORDERED.
adultery, 26 since there would thenceforth be no spousal relationship
to speak of. The severance of the marital bond had the effect of Melencio-Herrera, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur
dissociating the former spouses from each other, hence the
actuations of one would not affect or cast obloquy on the other.
Republic of the Philippines brought Maria Faicol to Cebu City in 1940, where she worked
SUPREME COURT as a teacher-nurse.
Manila
It would seem that the accused and Maria Faicol did not live a
EN BANC happy marital life in Cebu, for it appears that in 1949 and 1950,
Maria Faicol suffered injuries to her eyes because of physical
G.R. No. L-10016 February 28, 1957 maltreatment in the hands of the accused. On January 22,
1953, the accused sent Maria Faicol to Iloilo, allegedly for the
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appelle, purpose of undergoing treatment of her eyesight. During her
vs. absence, the accused contracted a third marriage with a
PROCESO S. ARAGON, defendant-appellant. certain Jesusa C. Maglasang on October 3, 1953, in Sibonga,
Cebu. (See Exhibits "C", "D", "E" and "F")
Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Adolfo
Brillantes for appellee. The accused admitted having contracted marriage with
Prospero V. Manuel, Fernando Moncada and Antonio Abad Tornis for Jesusa C. Maglasangin Sibonga, Cebu, on October 3, 1953,
defendant and appellant. Although the accused made an attempt to deny his previous
marriage with Maria Faicol, the Court, however, believes that
the attempt is futile for the fact of the said second marriage
LABRADOR, J.:
was fully established not only by the certificate of the said
marriage, but also by the testimony of Maria Faicol and of
Appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu finding
Eulogio Giroy, one of the sponsors of the wedding, and the
appellant guilty of bigamy. The facts are not disputed and, as found
identification of the accused made by Maria Faicol. (See
by the trial court, are as follows:
Exhibits "A" and "B"; t.s.n. pp. 32-33, 40, 41, hearing of April 27,
1954).
On September 28, 1925, the accused, under the name of
Proceso Rosima, contracted marriage with a certain Maria
The Court of First Instance of Cebu held that even in the absence of
Gorrea in the Philippine Independent Church in Cebu (Exhibits
an express provision in Act No. 3613 authorizing the filing of an action
"1" and "1-A"). While his marriage with Maria Gorrea was
for judicial declaration of nullity of a marriage void ab initio,
subsisting, the accused under the name of Proceso Aragon,
defendant could not legally contract marriage with Jesusa C.
contracted a canonical marriage with Maria Faicol on August
Maglasang without the dissolution of his marriage to Maria Faicol,
27, 1934, in the Santa Teresita Church in Iloilo City.
either by the death of the latter or by the judicial declaration of the
nullity of such marriage, at the instance of the latter. Authorities given
The sponsors of the accused and Maria Faicol were Eulogio for this ruling are 5 Viada, 5th edition, 651; 35 American Jurisprudence,
Giroy, who was then an employee of the Office of the Marriage, Sec. 46, p. 212; Bickford vs. Bickford, 74 N. H. 466, 69 A. 579.
Municipal Treasurer of Iloilo, and a certain Emilio Tomesa, a
clerk in the said office (Exhibit "A" and testimonies of Eulogio
Appellant in this Court relies on the case of People vs. Mendoza, (95
Giroy and complainant Maria Faicol). After the said marriage,
Phil., 845; 50 Off. Gaz., [10] 4767). In this case the majority of this Court
the accused and Maria Faicol established residence in Iloilo.
declared:
As the accused was then a traveling salesman, he commuted
between Iloilo where he maintained Maria Faicol, and Cebu
The statutory provision (section 29 of the Marriage Law or Act
where he maintained his first wife, Maria Gorrea died in Cebu
No. 3613) plainly makes a subsequent marriage contracted by
City on August 5, 1939 (Exhibit "2"). After Maria Gorrea's death,
any person during the lifetime of his first spouse illegal and void
and seeing that the coast was dear in Cebu, the accused
from its performance, and no judicial decree is necessary to
establish its invalidity, as distinguished from mere annullable
marriages. There is here no pretense that appellant's second
marriage with Olga Lema was contracted in the belief that the
first spouse, Jovita de Asis, had been absent for seven
consecutive years or generally considered as dead, so as to
render said marriage valid until declared null and void by a
subsequent court.

We are of the very weighty reasons by Justice Alex Reyes in the dissent
in the case above-quoted But this weighty reasons notwithstanding,
the very fundamental principle of strict construction of penal laws in
favor of the accused, which principle we may not ignore, seems to
justify our stand in the above-cited case of People vs. Mendoza. Our
Revised Penal Code is of recent enactment and had the rule
enunciated in Spain and in America requiring judicial declaration of
nullity of ab initio void marriages been within the contemplation of the
legislature, an express provision to that effect would or should have
been inserted in the law. In its absence, we are bound by said rule of
strict interpretation already adverted to.

It is to be noted that the action was instituted upon complaint of the


second wife, whose marriage with the appellant was not renewed
after the death of the first wife and before the third marriage was
entered into. Hence, the last marriage was a valid one and
appellant's prosecution for contracting this marriage can not prosper.

For the foregoing considerations, the judgment appealed from is


hereby reversed and the defendant-appellant acquitted, with
costs de oficio, without prejudice to his prosecution for having
contracted the second bigamous marriage. So ordered.

Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J. B. L., Endencia, and


Felix, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines That on or about the 17th day of January, 1980 in
SUPREME COURT Caloocan City, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction
Manila of this Honorable Court, the above- named accused
without any justifiable cause, did then and there
FIRST DIVISION willfully, unlawfully and feloniously vex and annoy one
Corazon I. Macaspac, by then and there uttering the
G.R. No. L-58681 May 31, 1982 following remarks directly addressed to the latter:

ALFREDO P. MALIT, petitioner, I DOUBT HOW DID YOU BECOME A DOCTOR to her
vs. great annoyance, vexation and disgust.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE HON. JUDGE CARLOS C. OFILADA,
in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of the City Court of Caloocan Petitioner filed a motion to quash on the ground that "the facts
City, Branch IV, respondents. charged do not constitute an offense. "

Respondent Judge denied the motion to quash, as well as the motion


for reconsideration raising the ground that the court has no jurisdiction
RELOVA, J.: because the facts charged in the information are privileged
communication.
Petition for certiorari and prohibition to review the order of respondent
Judge, dated February 20, 1981, denying petitioner's motion to quash It is the position of petitioner that the statement "I doubt how did you
in Criminal Case No. 126521, entitled: "People of the Philippines vs. become a doctor" does not constitute an offense as it was uttered at
Atty. Alfredo Malit", as well as the order of same respondent, dated the time he was conducting the cross-examination of Dr. Macaspac;
May 5, 1981, which denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. that utterances made in the course of judicial proceedings, including
all kinds of pleadings and motions belong to the class of
communication that are absolutely privileged.
It appears on record that herein petitioner was counsel of Miss Ruth
Fernandez in an administrative case filed against her by Dr.
Macaspac. At the hearing of the case on January 17, 1980, Dr. On the other hand, respondents maintain that an order denying a
Macaspac Identified certain exhibits on the witness stand. On cross- motion to quash cannot be the subject of certiorari which is a remedy
examination by herein petitioner, Atty. Malit, if she knew the person to keep an inferior court within the limits of its jurisdiction; that the
who "made" a certain exhibit, Dr. Macaspac evaded the question by delimitation of the correctness, if at all, should be brought on appeal,
saying she did not understand the word "made." Petitioner tried to after the trial of the raise and not in certiorari; that petitioner's
explain by saying that it means "prepared." Notwithstanding, Dr. contention that the act complained of does not constitute an offense
Macaspac would not answer and, instead, asked petitioner for because it is protected by the mantle of privilege is strictly a matter of
clarification. This prompted Atty. Malit to say: "I doubt how did you defense.
become a Doctor." As a consequence, Dr. Macaspac instituted a
complaint for slander against herein petitioner with the Fiscal's Office Petitioner's contention should be sustained. Well settled is the rule that
of Caloocan City. parties, counsel and witnesses are exempted from liability in libel or
slander cases for words otherwise defamatory, uttered or published in
On February 28, 1980, an information for unjust vexation docketed as the course of judicial proceedings, provided the statements are
Criminal Case No. 126521 was filed by Special Counsel Apolinario A. pertinent or relevant to the case.
Exevea which reads:
Where the libelous or slanderous words published in the
course of judicial proceedings are connected with, or
relevant, pertinent or material to, the cause in hand or that members of the legislature, judges of courts, jurors,
subject of inquiry, the same may be considered lawyers, and witnesses may speak their minds freely
privileged communication and the counsel, parties, or and exercise their respective functions without incurring
witnesses therein are exempt from liability. (See 53 the risk of a criminal prosecution or an action for the
C.J.S. 170-171; Tupas vs. Parreo, et al. G.R. No. L-12545, recovery of damages. (33 Am. Jur. 123-124)
April 30, 1959, and authorities cited therein). (Tolentino
vs. Baylosis, 110 Phil. 1010) Generally, certiorari does not lie to question the propriety of an
interlocutory order of the trial court. Interlocutory orders ordinarily
And, as to the degree of relevancy or pertinency necessary to make should be reviewed when an appeal is taken from the trial court's
alleged defamatory matter privileged, the courts are inclined to be judgment. Not every procedural error or erroneous legal or factual
liberal. The matter to which the privilege does not extend must be so conclusion amounts to grave abuse of discretion. However, as this
palpably wanting in relation to the subject matter of the controversy Court ruled in Sanchez, et al vs. Hon. Mariano A. Zosa, et al., (L-27043,
that no reasonable man can doubt its irrelevance and impropriety. November 28, 1975), "when a grave abuse of discretion was patently
(People vs. Andres, 107 Phil. 1046). committed, or the lower court acted capriciously and whimsically,
then it devolves upon this Court in a certiorari proceeding to exercise
In the case at bar, petitioner was prompted to say: "I doubt how did its supervisory authority and to correct the error committed which, in
you become a doctor" when Dr. Macaspac would not answer the such a case, is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. "
question as to who prepared the document presented to her, and
when the witness repeatedly evaded the question by saying that she WHEREFORE, the trial court's orders of February 20, 1981 and May 5,
did not understand the word "made." 1981 are reversed and set aside. Respondent is hereby ordered to
desist and refrain from proceeding with the trial of Criminal Case No.
Newel in his work on The Law of Slander and Libel, 4th ed., uses the 126521.
following language:
SO ORDERED.
Absolute Privilege.In this class of cases it is considered
in the interest of public welfare that all persons should Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Vasquez
be allowed to express their sentiments and speak their and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
minds fully and fearlessly upon all questions and
subjects; and all actions for words so spoken are
absolutely forbidden, even if it be alleged and proved
that the words were spoken falsely, knowingly and with
express malice. (Section 350, pp. 387-388).

It is, thus, clear that utterances made in the course of judicial or


administrative proceedings belong to the class of communications
that are absolutely privileged. Stated otherwise, the privilege is
granted in aid and for the advantage of the administration of justice.
As this Court observed in Sison vs. David (Supra):

... The privilege is not intended so much for the


protection of those engaged in the public service and
in the enactment and administration of law, as for the
promotion of the public welfare, the purpose being
Republic of the Philippines was first a motion to dismiss filed by petitioner Ramon Mercado on the
SUPREME COURT ground of the telegram being a privileged communication. It was
Manila denied by the lower court.t@lF Thereafter, through another counsel,
came a motion to quash, alleging that the facts charged do not
SECOND DIVISION "constitute an offense." Again, it met with a denial. A motion for
reconsideration having proved futile, the present proceeding was
G.R. No. L-38753 August 25, 1982 instituted.

RAFAEL S. MERCADO, petitioner, This Court required comment from respondents. In the comment
vs. submitted, the stress was on the absence of any privilege, there being
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF RIZAL, BRANCH V, CITY FISCAL OF malice and bad faith. As stated therein: "The communication in issue
QUEZON CITY and VIRGINIA M. MERCADO, respondents. was made by the petitioner with evident malice and bad faith, a
matter explicitly stated in the information filed with the respondent
Court, and the pretense that it was made allegedly in line with the
Francisco R. Sotto for petitioner.
President's appeal to give information on undesirable employees in
the government service, cannot cover up such fact. Malice in fact
Clemente M. Soriano for respondents.
and bad faith on the part of the petitioner, and/or that he was
motivated by vengeance and ill-will in making the said
& communication, is shown by, and can be established by the
prosecution thru the testimony of the private respondent and the
FERNANDO, C.J.:1wph1.t following documentary evidence: a) On October 14, 1972, petitioner
filed a letter-complaint with the Chairman of the Board of
The relevant question in this suit is whether or not the landmark case Transportation, against the private respondent, for alleged grave
of United States v. Bustos, 1 enunciating the doctrine that the free violations of the Rep. Act No. 2260 and civil service rules [with a true
speech and free press guarantees of the Constitution constitute a bar copy of the said complaint attached]; b) Fourteen (14) days after the
to prosecutions for libel arising from a communication addressed to a filing of the aforementioned administrative complaint by petitioner
superior complaining against the conduct of a subordinate, is against the private respondent, the said petitioner sent the subject
impressed with significance. The information in this certiorari, libelous telegram or communication to the Secretary of Public Works
mandamus and prohibition proceeding to quash an information for and Communication, which was indorsed for investigation to the said
libel quoted in full the alleged offensive telegram. Thus: "[Secretary Board of Transportation on October 31, 1972, by first endorsement of
David Consunji Department of Public Works and [Communications] the said Department Secretary, dated Oct. 31, 1972 to the Chairman
Manila In line with President Marcos appeal to give information on of the Board of Transportation [with a true copy of the said first
undesirable employees in the government service to achieve the indorsement attached]; c) On November 23, 1972, the petitioner filed
objectives of the New Society request that investigation image of the an amended administrative complaint against the private respondent
activities of Mrs. Virginia Mercado of Public Service Commission as we with the same Board of Transportation docketed therein as Adm. Case
have reason to believe that she has enriched herself thru corrupt No. 72-1, charging the private respondent with dishonesty, pursuit of
practices considering that she has properties and spending above private business or corrupt practices, and misconduct or discourtesy
what her salary can afford with the husband jobless stop If [with a true copy of the said amended compliant attached]; d) The
investigation confirms this we trust you take necessary action stop In private respondent, submitted her answer to the said administrative
case you need further details wire me at 101 Mariano Cuenco Quezon charges, and after due hearing, the Board of Transportation rendered
City and I will give further details stop Expecting prompt action on this a decision on June 26, 1973, finding the herein private respondent as
matter. Rafael Mercado]" 2 It closed with the assertion that Virginia innocent of the charges, and dismissing the complaint filed against
Mercado, private respondent, "never enriched herself in office." There her [with a true copy of the said decision attached]; e) On July 17,
1973 petitioner, as complainant therein, filed a motion for well as the motion for reconsideration does not lie. Neither should
reconsideration of the decision of the Board of Transportation, but the respondent court be ordered to dismiss Criminal Case No. Q-2936, the
said Board, in an order issued on August 29, 1973, denied said motion criminal complaint for libel against petitioner. Nor should the court be
for reconsideration for lack of merit [with a copy of said order prohibited from hearing the aforesaid criminal action. This petition
attached]; f) While the Administrative Case No. 72-1 was pending lacks merit.
determination before the Board of Transportation, petitioner, to further
harass and malign the good character and reputation of the private 1. United States v. Bustos, 4 as mentioned at the outset, is a landmark
respondent, filed with the Constabulary Highway Patrol Group decision. It is to the credit of the Supreme Court of the Philippines that
(CHPG), a complaint against the private respondent and her husband such a ruling antedated by thirty-six years, a similar doctrine
Lorenzo M. Mercado accusing them of selling a Ford Willys engine, announced by the United States Supreme Court, 5 to the effect that a
which was carnapped. The said office, however, after due hearing, libel prosecution must likewise survive the test of whether or not the
issued a resolution on February 9, 1973, recommending that the said offending publication is within the guarantees of free speech and free
case be closed for lack of evidence [with a copy of the said resolution press. To keep such guarantees, if not inviolate, at the very least truly
attached]; g) Also during the pendency of the administrative meaningful, certainly calls for such an approach.t@lF The judiciary
complaint filed by petitioner against the private respondent in the lives up to its mission by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional
Board of Transportation, petitioner filed with the Criminal Investigation rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so.
Service (CIS), PC, Camp Crame, Quezon City, a complaint for corrupt
practices against the private respondent; and after due investigation 2. Justice Malcolm, however, is careful to point out that qualified
the CIS, in answer to the letter of private respondent's counsel, dated privilege, and this is one such instance, may be "lost by proof of
March 24, 1973 [with a true copy attached]. requesting information malice." 6 His opinion continues: " 'A communication made bona
about the result of the said investigation, sent a letter to said counsel, fide upon any subject matter in which the party communicating has
dated March 27, 1973, advising him that the said case is considered an interest, or in reference to which he has a duty, is privileged, if
closed for insufficiency of evidence [with a copy of the said letter made to a person having a corresponding interest or duty, although it
attached]." 3 contained criminatory matter which without this privilege would be
slanderous and actionable.' (Harrison vs. Bush, 5 E. & B., 344; 1 Jur.
The comment was considered as answer and the case was set for [N.S.], 846; 25 L. J. Q. B. 25; 3 W.R., 474; 85 E.C.L., 344.)" 7 He then gave
hearing. Prior to such hearing, there was a motion by petitioner to file what was referred to by him as a "pertinent illustration of the
memorandum in lieu of oral argument. As the motion was not acted application of qualified privilege, " namely, "a complaint made in
upon before the date set for hearing, the parties appeared. good faith and without malice in regard to the character or conduct
Preliminary questions were asked. They were then required to file of a public official when addressed to an officer or a board having
simultaneously their memoranda. Instead of just filing a memorandum, some interest or duty in the matter. Even when the statements are
petitioner had a motion to admit amended petition enclosing with found to be false, if there is probable cause for belief in their
such motion the amended petition. The memorandum filed by him truthfulness and the charge is made in good faith, the mantle of
was on the basis thereof. The amendments, however, did not affect privilege may still cover the mistake of the individual. But the
the fundamental question raised as to whether or not the telegram statements must be made under an honest sense of duty; a self-
being qualifiedly privileged should be the basis for the special civil seeking motive is destructive. Personal injury is not necessary. All
action for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition. Respondents in due persons have an interest in the pure and efficient administration of
time, after seeking an extension, filed their memorandum. Thereafter, justice and of public affairs. The duty under which a party is privileged
petitioner even submitted a manifestation, in effect reiterating is sufficient if it is social or moral in its nature and this person in good
contentions previously made. faith believes he is acting in pursuance thereof although in fact he is
mistaken. The privilege is not defeated by the mere fact that the
In the light of the above pleadings, this Court after a careful study, communication is made in intemperate terms. A further element of
holds that certiorari to annul the order denying the motion to quash as the law of privilege concerns the person to whom the complaint
should be made. The rule is that if a party applies to the wrong person defendants, appellees here, wrote and sent the subject letter to the
through some natural and honest mistake as to the respective President 'with malicious intent and evil motive of attacking, injuring
functions of various officials such unintentional error will not take the and impeaching the character, honesty, integrity, virtue and
case out of the privilege." 8 What casts doubt on the good faith of reputation of one Jose J. Monteclaro ... and with malicious intent of
petitioner is a summary of his conduct, viz a viz private respondent: a exposing (him) to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, discredit and
letter complaint for grave violation of Republic Act No. 2260 and civil dishonor, without any justifiable motive.' Under the foregoing
service rules was filed by him with the Chairman of the Board of allegation, the prosecution is entitled to go to trial and present the
Transportation on October 14, 1972. Fourteen days later, on October necessary evidence to prove malice; and the denial, to it of the
28, 1972, the telegram subject of this litigation, was sent to the opportunity to do so, upon the defendants' motion to quash,
Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Then on November constitutes reversible error." 12
23, 1972, there was an amended complaint with the Board of
Transportation to include such charges as dishonesty, pursuit of private
business or corrupt practices and misconduct. The Board of
Transportation found private respondent innocent, in an order of June
26, 1973. There was a motion for reconsideration on July 17, 1973 filed
by petitioner. It was denied on August 29, 1973 and during the
pendency of such administrative case, petitioner not content, filed
with the Constabulary Highway Patrol Group a complaint against
private respondent and her husband, a relation, accusing them of
selling a Ford Willys engine, which was carnapped. After due hearing,
a resolution was issued recommending that said case be closed for
lack of evidence. Again, during the pendency of such administrative
complaint, petitioner filed with the Criminal Investigation Service, a
complaint for corrupt practices against private respondent, likewise
found without support in the evidence submitted. The tenacity with
which petitioner had pursued a course of conduct on its face would
seem to indicate that a doubt could reasonably be entertained as to
the bona fides of petitioner.t@lF The prosecution should be given
the opportunity then of proving malice.

3. Respondents have in their favor a decision of this Court supporting


their stand. In People v. Monton, 9 the question of whether or not a
motion to quash based on a qualified privilege should be upheld was
decided adversely against the claim of those accused of libel, This
Court made clear that malice can be shown. It "simply puts the
burden of doing so on the prosecution." 10 The ponencia of then
Justice, later Chief Justice, Makalintal distinguished the Bustos
decision, thus: "That case is not here applicable, because the
acquittal of the accused therein on the ground that the defamatory
imputation was qualifiedly privileged was adjudged only after trial,
wherein the prosecution tried to establish, although unsuccessfully, the
element of malice." 11 Further, the opinion stated: " It need only be
added that in the instant case the information alleges that the
Republic of the Philippines On July 23, 1976, the provincial fiscal of Nueva Vizcaya filed in the
SUPREME COURT Court of First Instance of that province an information for libel
Manila charging Agbayani, Bautista, Pascual and Dugay with having
maliciously made defamatory imputations against Mahinan on or
SECOND DIVISION about February 17, 1976 in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya (Criminal Case
No. 509).
G.R. No. L-47880 April 30, 1979
Quoted in the information were the affidavits of Pascual and Bautista
WILSON AGBAYANI, CARMELO BAUTISTA, PABLO PASCUAL and RENATO signed at Cauayan, Isabela on October 6, 1975; Bautista's undated
ROMEO DUGAY, petitioners, letter asking for Mahinan's dismissal, and Agbayani's "unusual incident
vs. report" of October 3, 1975 subscribed and sworn to before a Manila
HONORABLE SOFRONIO G. SAYO, Presiding Judge of Court of First notary and enclosing documentary evidence to support his charges
Instance of Nueva Vizcaya, Branch I, the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES of malversation and falsification against Mahinan and praying for the
And CONRADO B. MAHINAN, respondents. latter's separation from the service.

AQUINO, J.: According to the information, all those documents allegedly


depicated Mahinan "as an incorrigible managerial misfit, despoiler of
public office, spendthrift of GSIS funds, inveterate gambler, chronic
This case is about the venue of a criminal action for written
falsifier', and an unreformed ex-convict".
defamation. Conrado B. Mahinan, a lawyer, was the manager since
September 24, 1973 of the Cagayan Valley Branch of the Government
Service Insurance System (GSIS) stationed at Cauayan, Isabela. The four accused filed a motion to quash. They contended that the
Among his subordinates in that branch office were Wilson Agbayani, Court of First Instance of Nueva Vizcaya has no jurisdiction over the
chief of the investment unit; Carmelo N. Bautista, chief of the offense charged because Mahinan was a public officer holding office
production and premium unit; Pablo R. Pascual, officer-in-charge of at Cauayan, Isabela when the alleged libel was committed and,
the legal and claims unit, and Renato Romeo P. Dugay, an employee under Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, the offense charged
of the claims unit. comes within the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Isabela.
They argued that the provincial fiscal of Nueva Ecija had no authority
to conduct the preliminary investigation and to file the information.
On March 8, 1976, Mahinan filed with the fiscal's office at Bayombong,
Nueva Vizcaya a complaint for written defamation against Agbayani,
Bautista, Pascual and Dugay. That motion was opposed by the fiscal. It was denied by the trial court
in its order of April 25, 1977 on the ground that Mahinan was not a
public officer within the meaning of article 203 of the Revised Penal
Two days later, or on March 10, 1976, the Board of Trustees of the GSIS
Code since the insurance business of the GSIS is not an inherently
in its Resolution No. 373 considered Mahinan as resigned from the
governmental function. The court, reasoned out that since Mahinan
service as of the close of business hours on that date. Mahinan
was not a public officer, his residence, which was allegedly in
appealed to the Civil Service Commission which later directed the
Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, and not Cauayan, Isabela, where he had
GSIS Board of Trustees to reinstate him "to his former position, or at the
his office, would be the criterion for determining the venue of the
discretion of the proper official and in the interest of the service, he
criminal action for libel.
may be assigned to another station or branch without demotion in
rank, salary and privileges". So, Mahinan is back in the service (pp. 2-3,
Memorandum of Mahinan, pp. 200-1, Rollo). On March 2, 1978, or after petitioners' motion for the reconsideration
of that order was denied, they filed in this Court the instant petition for
certiorari and prohibition to enjoin the prosecution of the libel case on
the ground of improper venue.
The issue is whether the venue of the criminal action for written libelous article is printed and first published and in case
defamation filed by Mahinan is Nueva Vizcaya or Isabela. There is no one of the offended parties is a private individual, the
issue as to whether Mahinan is a public officer. As GSIS branch action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the
manager, he is unquestionably a public officer. (See Sec. 1[1][B], Art. province or city where he actually resides at the time of
XII and Sec. 5, Art. XIII, Constitution and sec. 2[a] and [b], Republic Act the commission of the offense or where the libelous
No. 3019.) matter is printed and first published:

Mahinan in his memorandum does not support the trial court's theory Provided, further, That the civil action shall be filed in
that he was not a public officer at the time of the commission of the the same court where the criminal action is filed and
alleged libel. Instead, he relies on the rule that the trial court's vice versa:
jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the information and
since it was alleged that the libel was committed in Bambang, Nueva Provided furthermore, That the court where the criminal
Vizcaya, he argues that the trial court, prima facie, has jurisdiction action or civil action for damages is first filed, shall
over the case. This contention is devoid of merit and shows acquire jurisdiction to the exclusion of other courts:
unawareness of the provisions of article 360 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended. And provided finally, That this amendment shall not
apply to cases of written defamations, the civil and/or
Article 360, which lays down the rules on venue in cases of written criminal actions to which have been filed in court at
defamation and which specifies the officer or court that should the time of the effectivity of this law.
conduct the preliminary investigation, reads as follows:
Preliminary investigation of criminal actions for written
ART. 360. Persons responsible. - x x x defamations as provided for in the chapter shall be
conducted by the provincial or city fiscal of the
xxx xxx xxx province or city, or by the municipal court of the city or
capital of the province where such actions may be
The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of instituted in accordance with the provisions of this
written defamations as provided for in this chapter, shall article.
be filed simultaneously or separately with the court of
first instance of the province or city where the libelous xxx xxx xxx
article is printed and first published or where any of the
offended parties actually resides at the time of the (As amended by Republic Act Nos. 1289 and 4363
commission of the offense: which were approved on June 15, 1955 and June 19,
1965, respectively.)
Provided however, That where one of the offended
parties is a public officer whose office is in the City of Article 360 in its original form provided that the venue of the criminal
Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, and civil actions for written defamations is the province wherein the
the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of libel was published, displayed or exhibited, regardless of the place
the City of Manila or of the city or province where the where the same was written, printed or composed. Article 360
libelous article is printed and first published, and in case originally did not specify the public officers and the courts that may
such public officer does not hold office in the City of conduct the preliminary investigation of complaints for libel.
Manila, the action shall be filed in the Court of First
Instance of the province or city where he held office at
the time of the commission of the offense or where the
Before article 360 was amended, the rule was that a criminal action As a corollary and in view of the legislative intent to prevent the
for libel may be instituted in any jurisdiction where the libelous article harassment of the accused by means of criminal complaints in remote
was published or circulated, irrespective of where it was written or municipal courts, the preliminary investigation of the criminal action
printed (People vs. Borja, 43 Phil. 618). Under that rule, the criminal for written defamation shall be conducted by the provincial or city
action is transitory and the injured party has a choice of venue. fiscal of the province or city, or by the municipal court of the city or
capital of the province where such action may be instituted.
Experience had shown that under that old rule the offended party
could harass the accused in a libel case by laying the venue of the The Court of First Instance of the province or city where the criminal
criminal action in a remote or distant place. action may be filed may also conduct the preliminary investigation of
the case pursuant to section 13, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court
Thus, in connection with an article published in the Daily Mirror and (Escribano vs. Avila, L-30375, September 12, 1978).
the Philippine Free Press, Pio Pedrosa, Manuel V. Villareal and Joaquin
Roces were charged with libel in the justice of the peace court of San Applying the foregoing rules to this case, we hold that the proper
Fabian, Pangasinan (Amansec vs. De Guzman, 93 Phil. 933). venue of Mahinan's criminal action for written defamation against the
petitioners is the Court of First Instance of Isabela, since as a GSIS
To forestall such harassment, Republic Act No. 4363 was enacted. It branch manager, he was a public official stationed at Cauayan,
lays down specific rules as to the venue of the criminal action so as to Isabela and the alleged libel was committed when he was (as he still)
prevent the offended party in written defamation cases from in the public service. The preliminary investigation of the complaint
inconveniencing the accused by means of out-of-town libel suits, should have been conducted by the provincial fiscal of Isabela, or by
meaning complaints filed in remote municipal courts (Explanatory the municipal judge of ILAGAN, the provincial capital, or by the Court
Note for the bill which became Republic Act No. 4363, Congressional of First Instance of the same province.
Record of May 20, 1965, pp. 424-5; Time, Inc. vs. Reyes, L-28882, May
31, 1971, 39 SCRA 303, 311). The criminal action could have been filed also in the Court of First
Instance of the province or in the city court of the city where the libel
The rules on venue in article 360 may be restated thus: was printed and first published.

1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a private person, In order to obviate controversies as to the venue of the criminal action
the criminal action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the for written defamation, the complaint or information should contain
province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published. allegations as to whether, at the time the offense was committed, the
offended party was a public officer or a private individual and where
2. If the offended party is a private individual, the criminal action may he was actually residing at that time. Whenever possible, the place
also be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province where he where the written defamation was printed and first published should
actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense. likewise be alleged. That allegation would be a sine qua non if the
circumstance as to where the libel was printed and first published is
used as the basis of the venue of the action.
3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is in Manila at
the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in
the Court of First Instance of Manila. In the instant case, the venue was laid in Nueva Vizcaya. It was
alleged in the information that the libel was committed in Bambang, a
town located in that province. It was not alleged that at the time the
4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of
libel was committed Bambang was the actual residence of
Manila, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the
complainant Mahinan or that it was the place where the libel was
province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of
printed and first published or where Mahinan held his office.
the offense.
The alleged defamatory documents quoted in the information do not WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of April 25, 1977, denying petitioners'
justify the filing of the information in the Court of First Instance of motion to quash is set aside. It is directed to dismiss Criminal Case No.
Nueva Vizcaya. Thus, as already noted, the affidavits of the accused, 509, the libel case against the petitioners, without prejudice to the
Bautista and Pascual, both dated October 6, 1975, were subscribed filing of another criminal action for written defamation in the Court of
and sworn to at Cagayan Isabela before the municipal judge thereof. First Instance of Isabela within the remainder of the prescriptive period,
The "Unusual Incident Report" submitted by the accused, Agbayani, if warranted according to the result of a proper and duly conducted
also quoted in the information and likewise alleged to be defamatory, preliminary investigation. Costs against respondent Mahinan.
was subscribed and sworn to before a Manila notary on October 3,
1975. That report indicates Cauayan, Isabela as the place where SO ORDERED.
Mahinan held office. Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya was not mentioned at
all in those alleged defamatory documents. Fernando, C.J., Barredo, Antonio, Concepcion Jr., and Santos, JJ.,
concur.
We hold that the information in this case is defective or deficient
because it does not show that the Court of First Instance of Nueva Abad Santos, J., took no part.
Vizcaya, where it was filed, has jurisdiction to entertain the criminal
action for written defamation initiated by Mahinan against the
petitioners and that the provincial fiscal of that province had the
authority to conduct the preliminary investigation.

Consequently, the trial court erred in not sustaining petitioners' motion


to quash on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction and lack of authority to
file the information (Sec. 2[b] and [c], Rule 117, Rules of Court).

The allegation in the information that the libel was committed in


Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya is not sufficient to show that the Court of
First Instance of that province has jurisdiction over the case. The
alleged libelous documents quoted in the information show that
Nueva Vizcaya is not the proper venue of the criminal action.

Venue in criminal cases is an essential element of jurisdiction (Lopez vs.


City Judge, L-25795, October 29, 1966, 18 SCRA 616; U. S. vs.
Pagdayuman, 5 Phil. 265; U. S. vs. Reyes, 1 Phil. 249; Ragpala vs. J. P. of
Tubod, Lanao, 109 Phil. 373, 378).

The trial court in its questioned order admits that if Mahinan was a
public officer at the time the written defamation was committed, it
would have no jurisdiction to try the case since the venue of the
action should be Isabela where Mahinan held office at the time of the
commission of the offense. In this memorandum, Mahinan has not
questioned Ms status as a public officer and he admits that Cauayan,
Isabela was his official station.
Republic of the Philippines Island of Fear" in the February 23, 1981 issue of petitioner's weekly news
SUPREME COURT magazine Newsweek. The article supposedly portrayed the island
Manila province of Negros Occidental as a place dominated by big
landowners or sugarcane planters who not only exploited the
EN BANC impoverished and underpaid sugarcane workers/laborers, but also
brutalized and killed them with imprunity. Complainants therein
G.R. No. L-63559 May 30, 1986 alleged that said article, taken as a whole, showed a deliberate and
malicious use of falsehood, slanted presentation and/or
misrepresentation of facts intended to put them (sugarcane planters)
NEWSWEEK, INC., petitioner,
in bad light, expose them to public ridicule, discredit and humiliation
vs.
here in the Philippines and abroad, and make them objects of hatred,
THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, and NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
contempt and hostility of their agricultural workers and of the public in
SUGARCANE PLANTERS INC., BINALBAGAN-ISABELA PLANTERS
general. They prayed that defendants be ordered to pay them PlM as
ASSOCIATION, INC., ASOCIACION DE AGRICULTORES DE LA CARLOTA,
actual and compensatory damages, and such amounts for moral,
LA CASTELLANA y PONTEVEDRA, INC., DONEDCO PLANTERS
exemplary and corrective damages as the court may determine, plus
ASSOCIATION INC., ARMANDO GUSTILO, ENRIQUE ROJAS, ALFREDO
expenses of litigation, attorney's fees and costs of suit. A photo copy
MONTELIBANO, JR., PABLO SOLA, JOSE MONTALVO, VICENTE GUSTILO,
of the article was attached to the complaint.
JOSEPH MARANON, ROBERTO CUENCA, JOSE SICANGCO, FLORENCIO
ALONSO, MIGUEL GATUSLAO, PEDRO YULO, MARINO RUBIN and
BENJAMIN BAUTISTA, respondents. On November 5, 1981, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss on the
grounds that (1) the printed article sued upon is not actionable in fact
and in law; and (2) the complaint is bereft of allegations that state,
San Juan, Africa, Gonzales & San Agustin Law Offices for private
much less support a cause of action. It pointed out the non-libelous
respondents.
nature of the article and, consequently, the failure of the complaint to
state a cause of action. Private respondents filed an Opposition to the
FERIA, J.:
motion to dismiss and petitioner filed a reply.

Petitioner, Newsweek, Inc., a foreign corporation licensed to do


On March 17, 1982, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss, stating
business in the Philippines, in this special action for certiorari,
that the grounds on which the motion to dismiss are predicated are
prohibition with preliminary injunction, seeks to annul the decision of
not indubitable as the complaint on its face states a valid cause of
the Intermediate Appellate Court dated December 17, 1982
action; and the question as to whether the printed article sued upon
sustaining the Order of the then Court of First Instance of Bacolod City
its actionable or not is a matter of evidence. Petitioner's motion for
which denied petitioner's Motion to Dismiss the complaint for libel filed
reconsideration was denied on May 28, 1982.
by private respondents (Civil Case No. 15812), and the Resolution
dated March 10, 1983 which denied its Motion for Reconsideration.
On June 18, 1982, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with
respondent Court (CA-G. R. No. 14406) seeking the annulment of the
It appears that on March 5, 1981, private respondents, incorporated
aforecited trial court's Orders for having been issued with such a grave
associations of sugarcane planters in Negros Occidental claiming to
abuse of discretion as amounting to lack of jurisdiction and praying for
have 8,500 members and several individual sugar planters, filed Civil
the dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a cause of action.
Case No. 15812 in their own behalf and/or as a class suit in behalf of
all sugarcane planters in the province of Negros Occidental, against
As earlier stated, respondent Court affirmed the trial court's Orders in a
petitioner and two of petitioners' non-resident
Decision dated December 17, 1982 and ordered the case to be tried
correspondents/reporters Fred Bruning and Barry Came. The
on the merits on the grounds that -(1) the complaint contains
complaint alleged that petitioner and the other defendants
allegations of fact which called for the presentation of evidence; and
committed libel against them by the publication of the article "An
(2) certiorari under Rule 65 cannot be made to substitute for an collectivity, the more difficult it is for the individual member to prove
appeal where an appeal would lie at a proper time. Subsequently, on that the defamatory remarks apply to him. (Cf. 70 ALR 2d. 1384).
March 10, 1983, the respondent Court denied petitioner's Motion for
Reconsideration of the aforesaid decision, hence this petition. In the case of Uy Tioco vs. Yang Shu Wen , 32 Phil. 624, this Court held
as follows:
The proper remedy which petitioner should have taken from the
decision of respondent Court is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 Defamatory remarks directed at a class or group of
of the Rules of Court and not the special civil action of certiorari and persons in general language only, are not actionable
prohibition under Rule 65 of said Rules. However, since the petition was by individuals composing the class or group unless the
filed on time within fifteen days from notice of the Resolution denying statements are sweeping; and it is very probable that
the motion for reconsideration, we shall treat the same as a petition even then no action would lie where the body is
for review on certiorari. The two (2) issues raised in the petition are: (1) composed of so large a number of persons that
whether or not the private respondents' complaint failed to state a common sense would tell those to whom the
cause of action; and (2) whether or not the petition for certiorari and publication was made that there was room for persons
prohibition is proper to question the denial of a motion to dismiss for connected with the body to pursue an upright and law
failure to state a cause of action. abiding course and that it would be unreasonable and
absurd to condemn all because of the actions of a
First, petitioner argues that private respondents' complaint failed to part. (supra p. 628).
state a cause of action because the complaint made no allegation
that anything contained in the article complained of regarding It is evident from the above ruling that where the defamation is
sugarcane planters referred specifically to any one of the private alleged to have been directed at a group or class, it is essential that
respondents; that libel can be committed only against individual the statement must be so sweeping or all-embracing as to apply to
reputation; and that in cases where libel is claimed to have been every individual in that group or class, or sufficiently specific so that
directed at a group, there is actionable defamation only if the libel each individual in the class or group can prove that the defamatory
can be said to reach beyond the mere collectivity to do damage to a statement specifically pointed to him, so that he can bring the action
specific, individual group member's reputation. separately, if need be.

We agree with petitioner. We note that private respondents filed a "class suit" in representation
of all the 8,500 sugarcane planters of Negros Occidental. Petitioner
In the case of Corpus vs. Cuaderno, Sr. (16 SCRA 807) this Court ruled disagrees and argues that the absence of any actionable basis in the
that "in order to maintain a libel suit, it is essential that the victim be complaint cannot be cured by the filing of a class suit on behalf of the
identifiable (People vs. Monton, L-16772, November 30, 1962), aforesaid sugar planters.
although it is not necessary that he be named (19 A.L.R. 116)." In an
earlier case, this Court declared that" ... defamatory matter which We find petitioner's contention meritorious.
does not reveal the Identity of the person upon whom the imputation
is cast, affords no ground of action unless it be shown that the readers The case at bar is not a class suit. It is not a case where one or more
of the libel could have Identified the personality of the individual may sue for the benefit of all (Mathay vs. Consolidated Bank and Trust
defamed." (Kunkle vs. Cablenews-American and Lyons 42 Phil. 760). Company, 58 SCRA 559) or where the representation of class interest
affected by the judgment or decree is indispensable to make each
This principle has been recognized to be of vital importance, member of the class an actual party (Borlaza vs. Polistico, 47 Phil. 348).
especially where a group or class of persons, as in the case at bar, We have here a case where each of the plaintiffs has a separate and
claim to have been defamed, for it is evident that the larger the distinct reputation in the community. They do not have a common or
general interest in the subject matter of the controversy.
The disputed portion of the article which refers to plaintiff Sola and Court of Manila and directed the respondent court to dismiss the
which was claimed to be libelous never singled out plaintiff Sola as a case.
sugar planter. The news report merely stated that the victim had been
arrested by members of a special police unit brought into the area by In Lopez vs. City Judge (18 SCRA 616), upon the denial of a motion to
Pablo Sola, the mayor of Kabankalan. Hence, the report, referring as it quash based on lack of jurisdiction over the offense, this Court
does to an official act performed by an elective public official, is granted the petition for prohibition and enjoined the respondent court
within the realm of privilege and protected by the constitutional from further proceeding in the case.
guarantees of free speech and press.
In Enriquez vs. Macadaeg (84 Phil. 674), upon the denial of a motion to
The article further stated that Sola and the commander of the special dismiss based on improper venue, this Court granted the petition for
police unit were arrested. The Court takes judicial notice of this fact. prohibition and enjoined the respondent judge from taking
(People vs. Sola, 103 SCRA 393.) cognizance of the case except to dismiss the same.

The second issue to be resolved here is whether or not the special civil In Manalo vs. Mariano (69 SCRA 80), upon the denial of a motion to
action of certiorari or prohibition is available to petitioner whose dismiss based on bar by prior judgment, this Court granted the petition
motion to dismiss the complaint and subsequent motion for for certiorari and directed the respondent judge to dismiss the case.
reconsideration were denied.
In Yuviengco vs. Dacuycuy (105 SCRA 668), upon the denial of a
As a general rule, an order denying a motion to dismiss is merely motion to dismiss based on the Statute of Frauds, this Court granted
interlocutory and cannot be subject of appeal until final judgment or the petition for certiorari and dismissed the amended complaint.
order is rendered. (Sec. 2 of Rule 4 1). The ordinary procedure to be
followed in such a case is to file an answer, go to trial and if the In Tacas vs. Cariaso (72 SCRA 527), this Court granted the petition for
decision is adverse, reiterate the issue on appeal from the final certiorari after the motion to quash based on double jeopardy was
judgment. The same rule applies to an order denying a motion to denied by respondent judge and ordered him to desist from further
quash, except that instead of filing an answer a plea is entered and action in the criminal case except to dismiss the same.
no appeal lies from a judgment of acquittal.
In People vs. Ramos (83 SCRA 11), the order denying the motion to
This general rule is subject to certain exceptions. If the court, in quash based on prescription was set aside on certiorari and the
denying the motion to dismiss or motion to quash, acts without or in criminal case was dismissed by this Court.
excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, then certiorari
or prohibition lies. The reason is that it would be unfair to require the
Respondent Court correctly stated the general rule and its exceptions.
defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if
However, it ruled that none of the exceptions is present in the case at
the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter or offense, or is
bar and that the case appears complex and complicated,
not the court of proper venue, or if the denial of the motion to dismiss
necessitating a full-blown trial to get to the bottom of the controversy.
or motion to quash is made with grave abuse of discretion or a
whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment. In such cases, the
Petitioner's motion to dismiss is based on the ground that the
ordinary remedy of appeal cannot be plain and adequate. The
complaint states no cause of action against it by pointing out the non-
following are a few examples of the exceptions to the general rule.
libelous nature of the article sued upon. There is no need of a trial in
view of the conclusion of this Court that the article in question is not
In De Jesus vs. Garcia (19 SCRA 554), upon the denial of a motion to
libelous. The specific allegation in the complaint, to the effect that the
dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, this Court
article attributed to the sugarcane planters the deaths and
granted the petition for certiorari and prohibition against the City
brutalization of sugarcane workers, is not borne out by a perusal of the
actual text.

The complaint contains a recital of the favorable working conditions


of the agricultural workers in the sugar industry and the various
foundations and programs supported by planters' associations for the
benefit of their workers. Undoubtedly, the statements in the article in
question are sweeping and exaggerated; but, paraphrasing the ruling
in the Uy Tioco case above quoted, it would be unreasonable and
absurd to condemn the majority of the sugarcane planters, who have
at heart the welfare of their workers, because of the actions of a part.
Nonetheless, articles such as the one in question may also serve to
prick the consciences of those who have but are not doing anything
or enough for those who do not have.

On the other hand, petitioner would do well to heed the admonition


of the President to media that they should check the sources of their
information to ensure the publication of the truth. Freedom of the
press, like all freedoms, should be exercised with responsibility.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court is


reversed and the complaint in Civil Case No. 15812 of the Court of First
Instance of Negros Occidental is dismissed, without pronouncement
as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Teehankee, C.J., Abad Santos, Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-


Herrera, Alampay, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz and Paras, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines discovered in the course of his work that Marquez was a mere
SUPREME COURT associate member of the association. As such, the petitioner
Manila questioned the qualification of Marquez to hold the presidency of the
association inasmuch as only proprietary members thereof can be
SECOND DIVISION voted to the said position. Thus, purporting to espouse the interest and
welfare of the association and its members, the petitioner, on
G.R. No. 74907 May 23, 1988 December 21, 1978, wrote a letter to the Board of Directors impugning
the status of Marquez as a proprietary member and as president of
the association. In that letter, the petitioner contended that the
PEDRO S. LACSA, petitioner,
issuance of Certificate No. D-44 (for proprietary membership) to
vs.
Marquez, without the prior knowledge and authority of the
HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and PEOPLE OF THE
association's Board of Directors, was erroneous. On January 2, 1979,
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
the petitioner likewise sent a letter to the private complainant asking
the latter to yield the presidency for having failed to show that he was
San Jose, Enriquez, Lacsa, Santos & Borje for petitioner.
entitled to a proprietary certificate membership which is one of the
qualifications for the position. The petitioner, through his letter, likewise
The Solicitor General for respondents. branded the private complainant as a "de facto president." The letter,
which the petitioner eventually caused to be published and
circulated among the members of the association, reads:

SARMIENTO, J.:

Convicted on July 9, 1982 by the Court of First Instance of Manila of


the crime of libel and sentenced to pay a fine of Two Thousand
(P2,000.00) Pesos, 1 the accused-petitioner, Pedro S. Lacsa, appealed
to the former Intermediate Appellate Court. The respondent appellate
court, however, in its decision 2 claw March 12,1986, affirmed in
toto the judgment of the trial court. Still unsatisfied, the petitioner is
now before us through a petition for review on certiorari, seeking the
reversal and setting aside of the respondent court's decision and his
acquittal from the crime charged.

We deny the petition. The undisputed facts of this case are as follows:

The petitioner is a Certified Public Accountant by profession. Being a


representative of an institutional member of the Philippine Columbian
Association and as a former member of the latter's Board of Directors, Mr. Ponciano C. Marquez
the petitioner volunteered to act as auditor and offered his services
free in connection with the association's move to offer pre-emptive Philippine Columbian Association
rights to its members. In his capacity as auditor, the petitioner had
access to the records of the association's members including the 350 Taft Avenue, Manila
personal folder of the private complainant, Ponciano C. Marquez,
who was then the President. According to the petitioner, he
Subject: Erroneous following: (1) your as associate membership status has
issuance of Membership been definitely established, (2) with more than enough
time, you failed to show that you are entitled to a
C proprietary certificate, (3) only propriety member can
e hold and occupy the position you have been holding
r and occupying for three years (as de facto president),
t and (4) to afford the Board a chance to decide the
i manner of rectifying the unauthorized and erroneous
f issuance of Membership Certificate No. D-44 in your
i name.
c
a Your cooperation on this matter will go a long way
t towards the attairmenthe of true camaraderie and
e understanding among members of the Club.

N V
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Dear Sir: )

In connection with my 21 December 1978 letter to the P


PCA Board of Directors, I strongly urge you to yield the E
Presidency. This has become necessary in view of the D
R Not content with what he had already done, the petitioner, on
O January 9, 1978, again caused the publication in a newsletter
circulated to the association's members, of an item entitled "Doubt As
S To the Legitimacy Of The Incumbent President."
.
Due to these imputations of the petitioner, the private complainant,
L Ponciano C. Marquez, instituted separate criminal complaint and civil
A action against the former, Marquez claimed that he was maligned,
C defamed, and exposed to public ridicule by the petitionees actions.
S
A The basic question to be answered is whether or not, under the
instances related, the petitioner is guilty of the crime of libel.
PSL/egl
The petitioner insists that the term "de facto president," which he used
cc: Dr. Jose N. Villanueva, to describe the private complainant, is not libelous per se. The
petitioner asserts that even assuming that the said term is indeed
Jr. Atty. Antonio de las Alas, Jr. libelous, the letter and newsletter in which it appeared nevertheless
constitute privileged communication and cannot give rise to a libel
Atty. Alfonso C. Roldan conviction. Besides, he claims that the letter and newsletter which
caused the present discord were written by him pursuant to his moral,
Justice Claudio Teehankee social, and legal responsibility as a member of the Philippine
Columbian Association. These being so, the petitioner argues, he
should be exonerated from the criminal charge.
Director Victor Buencamino, Jr.

We disagree.
Director Oscar J. Hilado

Six decades ago, in the case of U.S. vs. O' Connell, the Court laid
Dr. Vicente D. Limoso
down the test for libelous meaning:
Director Angel Dayao
xxx xxx xxx
Don Carlos T. Fernandez
Defendant has imputed nothing wrong to the
complainants in certain and express terms. But this is
Mr. Baldomero T. Olivero
not necessary. Words calculated to induce suspicion
are sometimes more effective to destroy reputation
Mr. Ramon Ordoveza than false charges directly made. Ironical and
metaphorical language is a favored vehicle for slander.
Mr. Jorge Vargas A charge is sufficient if the words are calculated to
induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the
Atty. Lino Patajo person or persons against whom they were uttered
were guilty of certain offenses, or are sufficient to
Dr. Jose M. Barcelona Prof. Renato Constantino. 3 impeach their honesty, virtue, or reputation, or to hold
the person or persons up to public ridicule. Said Chief
Justice Shaw of the Supreme Court of xxx xxx xxx
Massachusetts:"The rule is a sound one that the law
cannot shut its eyes to what all the rest of the world can 1. Considering that there are two classes of membership in the
see; and let the slanderer his language, and wrap up Philippine Columbian Association associate and proprietary and
his meaning in ambiguous givings out, as he will, and it it is only those of the latter who are qualified to be voted as president
shall not avail him, because courts will understand of the association, the act of the petitioner in branding complainant
language, in whatever form it is used, as all mandkind Marquez as a mere de facto president and insinuating imperfection in
understands it." (Carter vs. Andrews [1834], 16 Pick. the latter's status as a proprietary member, most certainly exposed
[Mass.], 1.) Marquez to public contempt and ridicule. No amount of subtlety
designed to camouflage the ill-effect of the petitioner's misdeed
Said another court much more recently: would erase the impression already created in the minds of the
readers of the libelous materials. The Solicitor General is correct in
The test of libelous meanings is not the analysis of a stating that calling Marquez a de facto president "is equivalent to
sentence into component phrases with the meticulous saying that he is a pretender, a fraud, and impostor and he is
care of the grammarian or stylist, but the import arrogating unto himself certain powers, rights, and privileges to which
conveyed by the entirety of the language to the he is not entitled. 6
ordinary reader." (Mller vs. O' Connell, City Ct., 57 L. J.,
1768, Sept. 12, 1917.) 4 2. We cannot likewise subscribe to the assertion of the petitioner that
the letter and newsletter article complained of partake of privileged
xxx xxx xxx communication. To be classified as a privileged communication, the
disputed letter and article must be absolutely free from any taint of
The rule was further elucidated in U.S. vs. Sotto where we stated: malice which, unfortunately, is not the case here.

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

In the case of Jimenez vs. Reyes (27 Phil. Rep., 52), at ... Granting that, under Section 9, private
Page 59, Justice Trent, writing the opinion of the court, communication is made and published, in good faith,
laid down the rule that for the purpose of determining with sole purpose of the protection mentioned in said
the meaning of any publication alleged to be libelous section, but is false and malicious, is it entitled to the
"that construction must be adopted which will give to privilege mentioned in said section, and is the party
the matter such a meaning as is natural and obvious in relieved from liability when the communication was
the plain and ordinary sense in which the public would made "with good motives" and 'for justifiable ends" or
naturally understand what was uttered. The published "with justifiable motives?" Malicious motives are
matter alleged to be libelous must be construed as a inconsistent with "good motives" for "justifiable ends"
whole. In applying these rules to the language of an and "with justifiable motives." It was not the intention of
alleged libel, the court will disregard any subtle or the Legislature to make the "privileged communication"
ingenious explanation offered by the publisher on in Section 9, absolutely privileged. Such
being called to account. The whole question being the communication must also be free from malice. 7
effect the publication had upon the minds of the
readers, and they not having been assisted by the xxx xxx xxx
offered explanation in reading the article, it comes too
late to have the effect of removing the sting, if any The petitioner, even before he embarked on his crusade against
there be, from the word used in the publication. 5 Marquez, knew that the latter was already a proprietary member of
the association. He (the petitioner) had personal knowledge of the character as such when the matter was published in the newsletter
issuance and existence of Certificate of Membership, Series B, No. 44, and circulated among the general membership of the Philippine
for proprietary membership in the name of Marquez. This fact finds Columbian Association. When he undertook to be the auditor of the
support in the respondent court's decision: association, the petitioner was under the obligation to keep his
findings in strict confidence between him and the association's Board
xxx xxx xxx of Directors. The fact that the petitioner rendered his
services gratis can not justify the violation of that confidence. His
... And to show further that the accused had contention that he reviewed the records of the association exercising
knowledge of the conversion of the associate his right as a member thereof and thus not bound by any
membership of Ponciano Marquez into proprietary as confidentiality is untenable. He stated in his petition that he undertook
contained in the minutes of April 22, 1968, Exh. A-16, the the job as a service to the association. For this reason, he was duty
prosecution called attention to the fact that the bound to report his discoveries first to the Board of Directors which
accused placed his initials "PSL" and dated "9/28/78" on represents the association and is the only body that can make the
the left hand bottom comer of said Exhibit "A-1 6" and necessary correction in case there was really a mistake in the
marked the Pages on which the Id document may be membership records. The petitioner's precipitate act of immediately
found with encircled number "63." The accused admits going public with his alleged findings is unpardonable.
that the initials and dates and the paging were made
by him when he examined said document, but claims The petitioner further contests the authenticity and propriety of the
that said document is not an authentic document, unsigned minutes of the meeting of the association's Board of
because it is unsigned and he did not bother to inquire Directors which showed the approval of the private complainant's
from Atty. Reynoso about it because it was unsigned. application for conversion of membership status from associate to
However, Atty. Reynoso, who had been the secretary proprietary. Upon review of the records of this case, we however find
of the club from 1941 to 1942 and from 1951 to 1971, the said minutes to be proper evidence. Their authenticity has been
testified that the minutes were prepared under his sufficiently established by the testimony 9 of the association's former
instruction and supervision at the club office, the secretary, Atty. Jose Reynoso.
original was contained in book form but was lost at the
office sometime in 1975-76. The accused, therefore, Another circumstance which militates against the petitioner's
should have inquired from Mr. Reynoso as to the pretensions of good faith and performance of a moral and social duty
authenticity of said copy of the minutes before making was his irresponsible act of letter writing to expose his alleged
his claim that there is doubt as to the legitimacy of the discovery of what he perceived to be an anomaly. When he saw the
presidency. Apparently, Justice Lino Patajo, in stating unsigned minutes of the association's Board of Directors, he
that the minutes were still in the club custody until April immediately sent out the assailed letters eventually culminating in the
10, 1980, was referring to the copy of the minutes and publication of the subject newsletter sans the verification which
not the original minutes which were lost sometime in ordinary prudence demands.
1975 or 1976. There was, therefore, no sufficient ground
to claim that there was no basis for the conversion of Finally, the petitioner maintains that the actions against him are pure
the associate membership of Ponciano Marquez into harassment. This accusation finds no support in the records of this
proprietary membership. 8 case. On the other hand, we accept the finding of the respondent
court that the motive of the petitioner in maligning the reputation of
xxx xxx xxx the Marquez has been amply established. Said that court:

In any case, even assuming, ex gratia argumenti, that the petitioner's xxx xxx xxx
letter dated January 2, 1979 is privileged communication, it lost its
... .It is apparent from the circumstances brought out in
the case that because the accused was not extended
appointment to his position as member of the steering
committee of the club, which committee is very
important because it was created to implement the
terms and conditions of their memorandum of
agreement with Permaline, Inc. for the construction of
the Philippine Columbian Sports Complex, which, at
that time, is worth P30,000,000.00 but merely to the
chairmanship of the finance committee which Mr.
Lacsa rejected and which rejection Mr. Marquez
accepted, the accused felt aggrieved and then
began taking steps to find cause criticizing Marquez'
actuations as president of the association. 10

xxx xxx xxx

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED; and the decision of the


Intermediate Appellate Court is hereby AFFIRMED Costs against the
petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Yap, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Paras and Padilla, JJ., concur.


Republic of the Philippines That during the period from May 26, 1984 to June 1,
SUPREME COURT 1984, in the City of Tacloban, Philippines and within the
Manila jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, conspiring and confederating together and
THIRD DIVISION mutually helping one another, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, without justifiable
G.R. No. 72383 November 9, 1988 motive and with malicious intent of impeaching the
reputation, honesty and virtue of Commission on Audit
Chairman Francisco S. Tantuico, Jr., and with the
MARCELO SORIANO, petitioner,
malicious intent of injuring and exposing the latter to
vs.
public hatred, contempt and ridicule,
INTERMEDIATE APPELATE COURT, HON. AUXENCIO DACUYCUY, and
published/republished in the "THE GUARDIAN" dated
HON. FRANCISCO TANTUICO, JR. respondents.
May 26-June 1, 1984, a weekly newspaper/ magazine
circulated in Tacloban City and nationwide, of which
R. D. Bagatsing & Associates for petitioner.
accused Marcelo B. Soriano and Bobby de la Cruz are
the Editor Publisher and Associate Editor, respectively,
The Solicitor General for respondents. the press release of accused Cesar G. Villegas
written/printed and first circulated/published in
Tacloban City dated May 19, 1984, copy of which is
hereto attached as part of this Information, publicly
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: imputing the crime of falsification of public documents
and/or violation of election laws to said Chairman
Where is the proper venue of a libel case for the purpose of conferring Francisco S. Tantuico, Jr., publication in the said
jurisdiction on a trial court when the complainant is a public officer? newspaper is captioned "IMPEACH TANTUICO CASE
LOOMS", quoted verbatim to wit:
On complaint of private respondent Francisco S. Tantuico, Jr. the then
Chairman of the Commission on Audit (COA), an information for libel Unido lawyers are studying the filing of impeachment
was filed against petitioner Marcelo Soriano and six (6) others in proceedings against Commission on Audit regional
connection with press releases and articles imputing to Tantuico the head Francisco Tantuico, Jr. because election returns
tampering by COA personnel of election returns in the May 14, 1984 were reportedly talled at his COA Regional Office and
Batasan elections at his residence in Tacloban City and in the COA at his residence.
Regional Office in Palo, Leyte. This election offense was allegedly
committed at Tantuico's behest to assure the victory of certain The tamper hunt trail started when a "sympathetic"
candidates in the said Batasan elections. The information which was COA employee informed Con-Con delegate Roy
filed with the Regional Trial Court of Leyte states: Montejo of the 'new' tally sites.

The undersigned City Fiscal of the City of Tacloban If you want to raid or to know where the election
accuses Marcelo B. Soriano, Bobby de la Cruz, Cesar returns are being changed, proceed immediately to
Villegas Cirilo "Roy" Montojo, Emmanuel "Butch" Veloso, the Tantuico residence of the Commission on Audit,
Valenta U. Quintero and John "Doe", of the crime of said a telephone tip received by Montejo.
Libel, committed as follows:
Tente U. Quintero former Leyte vice-mayor reported
that, with fellow candidates, Atty. Cesar Villegas and
Emmanuel Veloso, all Unido bets for the five-slot 1984 the tampering of the election returns for the May
Batasan race in Leyte, Montejo and their supporters 14, 1984 elections in Leyte to assure the victory of
went to the Tantuico residence some 2.5 kms., from the certain candidates in said elections, when in truth and
city proper. Having no warrant of arrest (sic) barred in fact he has no knowledge of the alleged
their entry. wrongdoing imputed to him as at said time he was in
Quezon City holding office as such Chairman of the
At the regional COA office at Candahug Palo, Leyte, Commission on Audit.
around 11 kms., from Tacloban, they were able to enter
and were told to wait for the regional director. Contrary to law. (pp. 24-26, Rollo)

People coming in and out of the conference room The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 6136 of the Leyte court.
attracted their attention. The open door revealed The petitioner filed a motion to quash the information on the ground of
election returns being opened by persons inside, improper venue. The petitioner contended that the court has no
Identified later as COA personnel who were "shocked" jurisdiction over the offense charged because under Article 360 of the
to see the candidates query that they were "merely Revised Penal Code, the libel case should have been filed at Quezon
tallying the votes for the five KBL candidates", the City where Tantuico holds office and where the publication house of
personnel later added that they "did not know" who the "Guardian" is located.
instructed them to do so.
The trial court denied the motion in a resolution dated May 16, 1985,
When the photographer called by one of Mr. Veloso's the dispositive portion of which reads:
assistants came, the COA personnel drifted off one by
one; leaving only the conference room, the election Wherefore, considering that the libelous article
returns and the envelopes ready to be photographed. complained contained in a press release was printed
It was assumed that the personnel were wary of being and first published in the City of Tacloban and venue
photographed with the election returns. for this case has been Properly laid in accordance with
Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, the motion to
Lack of sufficient basis for comparison led to the quash the information herein filed by defendant
uncertainty of the returns being declared as tampered Marcelo Soriano is hereby denied. (p. 6, Rollo)
or not. However, Montejo said that the returns were
supposed to have been with the Provincial Comelec The petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari prohibition with prayer
supervisor, Filomeno Azeta, as the provincial for a writ of preliminary injunction with the then Intermediate
canvassing at the Leyte Provincial Capitol was still in Appellate Court raising the same question of jurisdiction of the
progress at the time of the raid. Regional Trial Court of Leyte to hear and decide the libel case on the
merits.
COA Regional Director Sofronio Flores, Jr., upon seeing
the three candidates, tried to explain things. But, Unido The appellate court dismissed the petition in a decision dated
supporters said, he failed to answer certain questions. September 12, 1985. It held that the Regional Trial Court of Leyte had
jurisdiction over the libel case. The appellate court also denied a
The Unido lawyers, meanwhile, started preparing legal motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition.
charges against the parties seen guilty wherein said
Chairman Francisco S. Tantuico, Jr., is portrayed in the The only issue to be threshed out in the instant petition is whether or
aforequoted newspaper/magazine publication as not the Regional Trial Court of Leyte may try the libel case or whether
directing and/or orchestrating on or about May 17, or not it should be tried elsewhere.
The applicable law is Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, as 1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a
amended by Republic Act No. 1289 and Republic Act No. 4363. It private person, the criminal action may be filed in the
provides: Court of First Instance of the province or city where the
libelous article is printed and first published.
Persons responsible.Any person who shall publish
exhibit or cause the publication or exhibition of any 2. If the offended party is a private individual, the
defamation in writing or by similar means shall be criminal action may also be filed in the Court of First
responsible for the same. Instance of the province where he actually resided at
the time of the commission of the offense.
The author or editor of a book or pamphlet, or the
editor or business manager of a daily newspaper, 3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is
magazine or serial publication, shall be responsible for in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense,
the defamations contained therein to the same extent the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of
as if he were the author thereof. Manila.

The criminal action and civil action for damages in 4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office
cases of written defamations as provided for in this outside of Manila, the action may be filed in the Court
chapter shall be filed simultaneously or separately with of First Instance of the province or city where he held
the court of first instance of the province or city where office at the time of the commission of the offense. (at
the libelous article is printed and first published or where P. 705)
any of the offended parties actually resides at the time
of the commission on of the offense: Provided, Both the trial court and the appellate court applied the rule that the
however, That where one of the offended parties is a jurisdiction of a court to try an offense is determined by the allegations
public officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the of the complaint or information (People v. Delfin, 2 SCRA 911, [1961])
time of the commission of the offense, the action shall and since the information alleged that the libelous article was printed
be filed in the Court of First Instance of the City of and first published in Tacloban City, the offense should be tried in
Manila or of the city, or province where the libelous Leyte. The petition is impressed with merit.
article is printed and first published, and in case such
public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, We follow the "multiple publication" rule in the Philippines. Thus, in the
the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of cases of Montinola v. Montalvo (34 Phil. 662, [1916]) and United States
the province or city where he held office at the time of v. Sotto (36 Phil. 389 9171), this Court ruled that each and every
the commission of the offense or where the libelous publication of the same libel constitutes a distinct offense. Stated
article is printed and first published and in case one of more succinctly for purposes of ascertaining jurisdiction under Art. 360
the offended parties is a private individual, the action of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, every time the same written
shad be filed in the Court of First Instance of the matter is communicated such communication is considered a distinct
province or city where he actually resides at the time of and separate publication of the libel.
the commission of the offense or where the libelous
matter is printed and first published: ...
We explained this as follows:

This Court in Agbayani v. Sayo (89 SCRA 699, [1979]) recapitulated the
The common law as to causes of action for tort arising
law as follows:
out of a single publication was to the effect that each
communication of a written or printed matter was a
distinct and separate publication of a libel contained
therein, giving rise to a separate cause of action. This publication. The amendments to Art. 360 were intended to free media
rule ("multiple publication" rule) is still followed in several persons from the intimidating harassment of libel suits filed in any place
American jurisdictions, and seems to be favored by the where a newspaper happens to be sold or circulated. The purpose
American Law Institute. Other jurisdictions have behind the law would be negated or violated if the interpretation
adopted the "single publication" rule which originated made by the trial court and appellate court is followed.
in New York, under which any single integrated
publication, such as one edition of a newspaper, book, The May 26-June 1, 1984 issue of THE GUARDIAN shows that the
or magazine, or one broadcast, is treated as a unit, newspaper is published every Wednesday and Saturday with editorial
giving rise to only one- of action, regardless of the and business offices located at Room 201, Llames Building, 694 E. de
number of times it is exposed to different people... (50 los Santos Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City. The intended circulation is
Am. Jur. 2d 659 cited in Time, Inc. v. Reyes) (39 SCRA nationwide. There is no indication from the records before us, apart
301,:313 [1971]).<re||an1w> from the petitioner's receiving the press release and publishing it in the
GUARDIAN, that he had a hand in its preparation and distribution from
Petitioner Marcelo B. Soriano was included as one of the accused in Tacloban City.
the libel case in his capacity as editor-publisher of the "Guardian."
Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code provides that "the editor or As the respondent COA Chairman held office in Quezon City and the
business manager of a daily newspaper, magazine ... shall be offending newspaper is published in Quezon City, the case should be
responsible for the defamations contained therein to the same extent filed with a Quezon City court.
as if he were the author thereof." Soriano's criminal liability, thereof,
was based on a press release prepared in Tacloban City and mailed The Solicitor General, assisted by Assistant Solicitor General Oswaldo D.
or delivered to various newspapers. The press release was the basis of Agcaoili and Solicitor Aurora Cortes-Jorge, disagree with the
the alleged libelous article contained in the "GUARDIAN." Thus, as far prosecution in this case. He states:
as Soriano is concerned, his criminal liability, if any, allegedly stemmed
from the publication in the May 26-June 1, 1984 issue of the GUARDIAN
A more circumspect reading of the information, insofar
of an article captioned "IMPEACH TANTUICO CASE LOOMS" wherein
as petitioner Soriano and co-accused Bobby de la
the full text of the press release prepared by accused Cesar G.
Cruz, Editor Publisher and Associate Editor, respectively,
Villegas in Tacloban was reproduced. Obviously, as far as petitioner
of The Guardian are concerned, shows that the
Marcelo B. Soriano is concerned, the requirement as regards the
criminal charges does not at all state that the libelous
place where the libelous article was printed and first published must
article against Tantuico was printed and first published
be construed as referring to the publication of the press release of
in Tacloban City. Indeed, what the information merely
accused Cesar Villegas in Soriano's newpaper "THE GUARDIAN."
recites is that said accused "published/republished in
"The Guardian" dated May 26-June 1, 1984, a weekly
The error of the trial court lies in its confusing the publication, whether newspaper/magazine circulated in Tacloban City and
mimeographed or otherwise, of a press release by Villegas in Tacloban nationwide, of which accused Marcelo B. Soriano and
City with the publication by a Metro Manila newspaper of that same Bobby de la Cruz are the Editor Publisher and Associate
press release together with various press releases or dispatches from Editor, respectively, ... publicly imputing the crime of
other parts of the country. For purposes of complying with the falsification of public documents and/ or violation of
jurisdictional requirements of Art. 360 of the Revised Penal Code, the election laws to said Chairman Francisco S. Tantuico,
liability of a Manila or Quezon City editor must be deemed as Jr., which publication in the said newspaper is
commencing with the publication of the allegedly libelous material in captioned "IMPEACH TANTUICO CASE LOOMS", quoted
his newspaper and not with the typing or mimeographing of press verbatim to wit: ...
releases by interested persons in different municipalities or cities,
copies of which are sent to metropolitan newspapers for national
As a matter of fact, what the crime information does This decision, in helping or making it easier for media people to meet
clearly asserts as having been written / printed and first their occupational hazard of libel suits, should by no means be viewed
circulated/published in Tacloban City dated May 19, as encouraging irresponsible or licentious publications.
1984 was the press release of accused Cesar G.
Villegas which the city fiscal to have likewise contained Public officers and private individuals who are wronged through an
the malicious imputation against Tantuico. Apparently, inordinate exercise by newspapermen or media of freedom of speech
this was made the basis, albeit mistakenly, by the dent and of the press have every right to avail themselves of the legal
trial court in vesting jurisdiction upon itself over the libel remedies for libel. Media cannot hide behind the constitutional
mm against petitioner whose only involvement in the guarantee of a free press to maliciously and recklessly malign the
imputed offense refers to the publication of the persons and reputations of public or private figures through the
Guardian and not to the press release of the accused publication of falsehoods or fabrications, the sordid distortion of half-
Villegas. The error is made more apparent even from a truths, or the playing up of human frailties for no justifiable end but to
reading of the information itself which shows that the malign and titillate.
Villegas press release was issued on May 19, 1984 which
was earlier than the questioned publication of The At the same time, the Court should be vigilant against all attempts to
Guardian which is dated May 26-June 1, 1984. harass or persecute an independent press or to restrain and chill the
free expression of opinions. In this case, the intent of the amendment is
Even a recall of a copy of said issue of The Guardian to avoid the harassment of media persons through libel suits instituted
(May 26-June 1, 1984) will easily yield the fact that said in distant or out-of the-way towns by public officers who could more
newspaper was printed and first published in Quezon conveniently file cases in their places of work.
City where its publishing house is located. As such, the
publication in The Guardian constituted a separate WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned
case of action for libel which should have been filed in decision and resolution of the appellate court are REVERSED and SET
Quezon City. It is a settled jurisprudence that each ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of Leyte, Branch 7, Palo, Leyte is
separate publication of a libel constitutes a distinct DIRECTED TO DISMISS Criminal Case No. 6136 in so far its petitioner
crime of libel, although two libelous publications arose Marcelo Soriano is concerned.
out of the same controversy and even if one was a
partial reiteration of the first. (People v. Vicente Sotto,
SO ORDERED.
36 Phil. 389; Montinola v. Montalvo, 34 Phil. 662)
Fernan C.J., Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.
The foregoing having failed to evince any finding that
the alleged libelous statements were printed and first
published in Tacloban City, but were in fact printed
and first published in Quezon City, and considering the
admitted fact that Tantuico, at the time of the
commission of the offense, was a public official whose
office is located in Quezon City, the application of the
provisions of Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code
constrain a conclusion that the venue and jurisdiction
over subject criminal case for libel should be lodged
not in Tacloban City but in Quezon City. (pp. 75-77,
Rollo)
Republic of the Philippines (docketed as Civil Case No. 81-86) before Branch 8 of the Regional
SUPREME COURT Trial Court of Marawi City charging petitioners with libel. Private
Manila respondents' action was anchored on a feature article written by
Jamil Maidan Flores entitled "A Changing of the Guard," which
EN BANC appeared in the 22 June 1986 issue of Philippine Panorama, a
publication of petitioner Bulletin Publishing Corporation. In particular,
G.R. No. 76565 November 9, 1988 exception was taken to the following excerpt:

BULLETIN PUBLISHING CORPORATION, represented by its President, The division of Lanao into Sur and Norte in 1959 only
MARTIN ISIDRO and its Publisher, APOLONIO BATALLA, BEN F. emphasized the feudal nature of Maranaw politics. Talk
RODRIGUEZ, FRED J. REYES, JAMIL MAIDAN FLORES and JOHN of Lanao politics and you find yourself confined to a
DOES, petitioners, small circle of the Alonto, Dimaporo, Dimakuta,
vs. Dianalan, Lucman families and a few more. These are
HON. JUDGE EDILBERTO NOEL, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of big, royal families. If you are a Maranaw with
Branch VIII of the Regional Trial Court, 12th Judicial Region with station aspirations for political leadership, you better be a
in Marawi City, ATTY. DIMATIMPOS MINDALANO, ATTY. MANGORSI A. certified bona fide member of one or several of these
MINDALANO, SHIEK EDRES MINDALANO, SULTAN GUINAR MINDALANO, clans.
FAROUK CALIPA MINDALANO, SULTAN MAHADI MINDALANO, SULTAN
KHALID MINDALANO, SULTAN MA-AMOR MINDALANO, DR. TAHER xxx xxx xxx
MINDALANO, DATU MAGUIDALA MINDALANO, SOBAIDA MAGUMPARA
VDA. DE MINDALANO, RAISHA MINDALANO MANDANGAN, ATTY. About the only time that one who was not of any royal
KIMAL M. SALACOP, DATU KAMAR M. MINDALANO, MAYOR RASLANI house became a leader of consequence in the
MINDALANO, VICE-MAYOR ALIDADI A. MINDALANO, ENG. RASHDI A. province was during the American era when the late
MINDALANO, MRS. PAISHA MINDALANO AGUAM, DATU AZIS Amir Mindalano held some sway. That was
MINDALANO AGUAM, MRS. MOOMINA MINDALANO OMAR, DATU because Mindalano had the advantage of having
AMINOLA MINDALANO OMAR, in behalf of the Mindalano lived with an American family and was therefore fluent
Clan, respondents. and literate in English. But as soon as the datus woke up
to the blessings of the transplanted American public
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo and Ongsiako for petitioners. school system, as soon as they could speak and read
and write in English, political leadership again became
Kimal M. Salacop, Mahadi Pimping, Dimatimpos Mindalano, Mangorsi virtually their exclusive domain. There must be some
Mindalano, Linang Mandangan, Abdul S. Aguam and Dagoroan Q. irony in that. 2(Emphasis supplied)
Macarambon for private respondents.
Private respondents alleged in their complaint that, contrary to the
above portion of the article, the Mindalanos "belong to no less than
four (4) of the 16 Royal Houses of Lanao del Sur." Private respondents
likewise objected to the statement that the late Amir Mindalano,
FELICIANO, J.:
grand patriarch of the Mindalano clan, had lived with an American
family, a statement which, they alleged, apart from being absolutely
On 3 July 1986 the twenty-one (21) private respondents (plaintiffs
false, "has a distinct repugnant connotation in Maranao society."
below), claiming to be the nearest relatives of the late Amir
Contending finally that petitioners had with malice inflicted "so much
Mindalano, suing on their own behalf and on behalf of the entire
damage upon the social standing of the plaintiffs" as to "irreparably
Mindalano clan of Mindanao, filed a Complaint 1 for damages
injure" the Mindalano name and reputation, private respondents
interposed a claim for the award of moral and exemplary damages, proceedings undertaken there. Petitioners' argument that venue was
attorney's fees, and litigation expenses, all in the aggregate amount improperly laid simply because the twelve (12) other complainants
of P2,350,000.00. were non-residents of Marawi at the time of publication is, therefore,
without merit. It is to the benefit of petitioners that the twelve (12) non-
Reacting to the complaint, petitioners filed on 6 August 1986 a Motion residents of Marawi chose to go along with the suit in Marawi instead
to Dismiss 3 urging that (a) venue had been improperly laid, (b) the of commencing a separate suit elsewhere. The Court is not, however,
complaint failed to state a cause of action, and (c) the complainants to be understood as saying that the 21 complainants, if residents in 21
lacked the capacity to bring the suit. In an Order 4 dated 30 October different places, could have sued in 21 differing courts and still claim
1986, however, respondent Judge denied the Motion to Dismiss and that venue had been properly laid in each instance. Such a situation
directed petitioners (defendants below) to file their answer to the may well indicate a pattern of harassment of the defendant
complaint. newspaper which could justify intervention on the part of this Court to
avoid a potential paralysing effect upon the exercise of press
In the present Petition for certiorari and Prohibition, petitioners assail freedom.
the 30 October 1986 order of respondent Judge, reiterating basically
the arguments raised in their Motion to Dismiss filed with the trial court. Coming now to the principal issue of whether or not the complaint
states a valid cause of action, the Court finds that libel has not here
On 4 December 1986, the court issued a Temporary Restraining Order been committed; the civil suit for damages must fail.
enjoining respondent Judge from conducting further proceedings in
Civil Case No. 81-86. 5 Petitioners and private respondents have since It is axiomatic in actions for damages for libel that the published work
then filed responsive pleadings. alleged to contain libelous material must be examined and viewed as
a whole. 6 We have accordingly examined in its entirety the subject
On the question of venue raised by petitioners, paragraph 2 of Article article "A Changing of the Guard" which is in essence a popular essay
360 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. on the general nature and character of Mindanao politics and the
4363, provides in part: recent emergence of a new political leader in the province of Lanao
del Sur. We note firstly that the essay is not focused on the late Amir
Mindalano nor his family. Save in the excerpts complained about and
The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of
quoted above, the name of the Mindalano family or clan is not
written defamations, as provided for in this Chapter,
mentioned or alluded to in the essay. The Identification of Amir
shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the court
Mindalano is thus merely illustrative or incidental in the course of the
of first instance (now Regional Trial Court) of the
development of the theme of the article. The language utilized by the
province or city where the libelous article was printed
article in general and the above excerpts in particular appears simply
and first published or where any of the offended parties
declaratory or expository in character, matter-of-fact and
actually resides at the time of the commission of the
unemotional in tone and tenor. No derogatory or derisive implications
offense ... (Emphasis supplied)
or nuances appear detectable at all, however closely one may
scrutinize the above excerpts. We find in the quoted excerpts no
The law specifically designates as proper venue in criminal and civil
evidence of malevolent intent either on the part of the author or the
actions for libel the Regional Trial Court of the province or city "where
publisher of the article here involved.
any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the
commission of the offense;" upon the other hand, the record of this
Private respondents, however, argue that petitioners had in the article
case shows that at the time the allegedly libelous Panorama article
falsely and maliciously ascribed to the late Amir Mindalano, and to
was published, nine (9) of the twenty-one (21) complainants (private
the rest of the extended Mindalano family, an inferior status or
respondents) were then residents of Marawi City. Filing of the
conditioni.e., that of not belonging to any of the royal Muslim houses
complaint (Civil Case No. 81-86) with the Marawi Regional Trial Court
of the Lanao provinces which respondents assert substantially injured
thus did not result in any procedural infirmity as would vitiate the
their good family name and reputation. In their complaint before the The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that titles of royalty or
trial court, private respondents asserted their affiliations with at least nobility have been maintained and appear to be accorded some
five (5) royal houses: value among some members of certain cultural groups in our society.
At the same time, such titles of royalty or nobility are
11. The late Amir Mindalano, as well as plaintiffs from not generally recognized or acknowledged socially in the national
their heritage from the Mindalano genealogy, belong community. No legal rights or privileges are contingent upon grant or
to no less than four (4) of the 16 royal Houses of Lanao possession of a title of nobility or royalty and the Constitution expressly
del Sur, namely; (1) the Sultanate of Ramain; (2) the forbids the enactment of any law conferring such a title. 9 Thus, the
Sultanate of Butig, (3) the Sultanate of Masiu and (4) status of a commoner carries with it no legal disability. Assuming for
the Sultanate of Bayang. They also are distinctly present purposes only the falsity (in the sense of being inaccurate or
favored for being scions of the Royal House of Noron of non-factual) of the description in the Panorama article of Amir
Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte. Noron was the sister of Mindalano as not belonging to a royal house, we believe that such a
Pagayawan and Diwan of the Royal Houses of description cannot in this day and age be regarded as defamatory,
Pagayawan and Bayang respectively; as an imputation of "a vice or defect," or as tending to cause
"dishonor, discredit or contempt," or to "blacken the memory of one
12. Intermarrying with the Mindalano clan, who are also who is dead" 10 in the eyes of an average person in our community.
represented in this suit, are scions of the other royal The above excerpts complained of do not disparage or deprecate
families of the two Lanao provinces, all of whom, Maranao titles of royalty or nobility, neither do they hold up to scorn
together with the nominal plaintiffs and the others and disrespect those who, Maranao or not, are commoners. There is
represented in this suit, have been provoked to wrath, here no visible effort on the part of petitioners to cast contempt and
exposed to public contempt and ridicule, and their ridicule upon an institution or tradition of members of a cultural or
social standing and reputation besmirched and ethnic minority group, an "indigenous cultural community" in the
humiliated by the defamation subject matter of this suit language of the Constitution, whose traditions and institutions the
that blackened and vilified the memory of their State is required to respect and protect. 11 What private respondents
departed patriarch, the late Amir Mindalano; assert is defamatory is the simple failure to ascribe to the late Amir
membership in a Maranao royal house, the ascription, in other words,
to him of a factual condition shared by the overwhelming majority of
xxx xxx xxx 7
the population of this country, both Maranao and non-Maranao,
Muslim and non-Muslim. In a community like ours which is by
It is also claimed by private respondents that the excerpts objected to
constitutional principle both republican in character 12 and egalitarian
falsely asserted that
in inspiration, 13 such an ascription, whether correct or not, cannot be
defamatory.
the late Amir Mindalano has acquired his fluency and
literacy by living with an American family [which] has a
The Court is similarly unable to see anything defamatory in a
distinct repugnant connotation in Maranao society in
statement (even if inaccurate) that private respondents' patriarch
that during the American time the royal families of
once lived with an American family. Since the early decades of this
Lanao hid their children from the public school system
century a great many young Filipinos (including Muslim Filipinos) have
and the Americans. Only the lowliest commoners were
been going abroad for study and many of them share the experience
sent to school or allowed to live with any American
of staying with a foreign family, improving their language skills and
family. Amir Manalao Mindalano has received his
learning something about the culture and mores of the people. Once
education at the Lumbatan High School, was a student
more, from the viewpoint of the average person in our present day
leader thereat, and has not lived with an American
community, the statement complained of is not defamatory.
family. 8
Private respondents' feelings and sensibilities have obviously been hurt certiorari and prohibition. 16 This conclusion renders the third and last
and offended by the reference to Amir Mindalano as a commoner issue raised by petitioners quite moot.
and as having lived for a time with an American family. Personal hurt
or embarassment or offense, even if real, is not, however, WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari and Prohibition is GRANTED. The
automatically equivalent to defamation. The law against defamation Order of respondent Judge dated 30 October 1986 in Civil Case No.
protects one's interest in acquiring, retaining and enjoying a 81-86 denying the defendants' Motion to Dismiss is SET ASIDE, and
reputation "as good as one's character and conduct warrant," 14 in respondent Judge is hereby DIRECTED to dismiss Case No. 81-86
the community and it is to community standards-not personal or family forthwith upon notice hereof. The Temporary Restraining Order issued
standards-that a court must refer in evaluating a publication claimed by this Court on 4 December 1986 is made permanent. No
to be defamatory. pronouncement as to costs.

The term "community" may of course be drawn as narrowly or as SO ORDERED.


broadly as the user of the term and his purposes may require. The
reason why for purposes of the law on libel the more general meaning Fernan C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras,
of community must be adopted in the ascertainment of relevant Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Grio-Aquino and
standards, is rooted deep in our constitutional law. That reason relates Medialdea, JJ., concur.
to the fundamental public interest in the protection and promotion of
free speech and expression, an interest shared by all members of the
Regalado, J., took no part.
body politic and territorial community. A newspaper especially one
national in reach and coverage, should be free to report on events
and developments in which the public has a legitimate interest,
wherever they may take place within the nation and as well in the
outside world, with minimum fear of being hauled to court by one
group or another (however defined in scope) on criminal or civil
charges for libel, so long as the newspaper respects and keeps within
the standards of morality and civility prevailing within the general
community. Any other rule on defamation, in a national community
like ours with many, diverse cultural, social, religious and other
groupings, is likely to produce an unwholesome "chilling effect" upon
the constitutionally protected operations of the press and other
instruments of information and education. 15

Applying the foregoing to the facts of the present Petition, we note


that the subject matter of the article "A Changing of the Guard" is
clearly one of legitimate public interest. As pointed out earlier,
petitioners in the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press have
kept well within the generally accepted moral and civil standards of
the community as to what may be characterized as defamatory. The
complaint in the court below failed to state a cause of action and
should have been dismissed by respondent Judge. We hold that such
dismissal, in the circumstances of this case, including in particular the
nature of the basic issue here at stake, may be compelled by
Republic of the Philippines On the very day that the news item appeared, Carlos Moran Sison
SUPREME COURT sought a meeting with petitioner Santos so that he could submit to the
Manila columnist his reply which he wanted published "the very next day" and
in the same column. They met at about 6:15 in the evening at the
THIRD DIVISION Andres-Soriano Executive Center in Makati, Rizal where petitioner
promised Sison that he would have the reply published, not on the
G.R. No. L-45031 October 21, 1991 next day, but in the February 25, 1970 issue of the Manila Daily
Bulletin because " it was already past the deadline for the next day's
issue."
NANERICO D. SANTOS, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. The reply was not published on February 25, 1970 as petitioner had
promised and so Carlos Moran Sison called petitioner by phone to tell
him not to publish the reply anymore as it would only rekindle the talks.
Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Offices for petitioner.
Sison also informed petitioner that he would be sued for libel, to which
statement petitioner retorted: "Well, sue me for libel." 2

About a week later when Carlos Moran Sison chanced upon


FERNAN, C.J.:p
petitioner at the Hotel Intercontinental lobby, the latter asked Sison:
"When will you sue me?" Petitioner received his answer on March
Petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeal promulgated 4,1970 when the appropriate complaint for libel was lodged against
on August 25, 1976 which affirmed the judgment of the then Court of him by Carlos Moran Sison and Luis F. Sison before the Office of the
First Instance of Rizal, Branch VIII (Pasig) convicting Nanerico D. Santos Provincial Fiscal of Rizal. Charge together with petitioner were Mariano
of the crime of libel and sentencing him to pay a fine of P6,000.00 with B. Quimson, Jr., Hans M. Menzi, M.M. de los Reyes, Felix G. Gonzales
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, to indemnify the private and Ben Rodriguez, also of the Manila Daily Bulletin. Subsequently, the
offended parties Carlos Moran Sison and Luis F. Sison in the amount of corresponding information was filed before the Court of First Instance
P50,000.00 by way of actual, consequential and exemplary damages of Rizal (Pasig) on November 16, 1970. 3 It is interesting to note that a
and costs. 1 few weeks following the publication of the complaint, Santos' weekly
column was stopped, ostensibly to cut down on overhead expenses
The instant petition raises the ultimate issue of whether or not the brought about by the adoption of the floating rate in foreign
publication of a complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange exchange .4
Commission before any judicial action is taken thereon is privileged as
a report of a judicial proceeding. On January 26, 1971, upon motion of the trial fiscal and with the
conformity of the offended parties, the lower court dismissed the case
On February 23, 1970, petitioner Nanerico D. Santos as a columnist of against all the accused, with the exception of petitioner Nanerico D.
the then Manila Daily Bulletin wrote and published in his weekly Santos.
column an article entitled "Charges Against CMS Stock Brokerage,
Inc." which article was quoted verbatim from an unverified complaint In due time, the trial court rendered its judgment of conviction. In
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February affirming the decision, respondent Appellate Court declared:
13,1970 by Rosario Sison Sandejas and her daughters charging CMS
Stock Brokerage Inc., particularly its board chairman and controlling
The article in question is not a privileged
stockholder Carlos Moran Sison and its president-general manager Luis
communication. At the time the complaint filed with
F. Sison, of engaging in fraudulent practices in the stock market.
the Securities and Exchange Commission was published
in the column of the accused there was as yet no
proceeding at which both parties had an opportunity Generally, malice is presumed (malice in law) in every defamatory
to be present and to be heard. (Barreto vs. Philippine imputation. This presumption, however, does not arise if the
Publishing Co., 30 Phil. 88). Publishing an article based communication is privileged under Article 354.
upon a complaint filed in a Court of First Instance
before any judicial action is taken thereon is not Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 354 refer to qualifiedly privileged
privileged as a report of a judicial proceeding. (Choa communications. 5 The character of the privilege is a matter of
Tek Hee vs. Philippine Publishing Co., 34 Phil, 447). defense which may be lost by positive proof of express malice. In
other words, the onus of proving actual malice is placed on the
The article in question is libelous. It imputes a crime to plaintiff who must then convince the court that the offender was
the private offended parties, that of 'willful violation of prompted by malice or ill will. Once this is accomplished, the defense
the provisions of the Securities Act and the of privilege is unavailing. Thus, under Article 362 of the Revised Penal
implementing Rules and Regulations issued by the Code, it is provided that:
commission'which is penalized by imprisonment or fine
or both and said published article of the accused Art. 362. Libelous remarks. Libelous remarks or
imputes to the private offended parties, as comments connected with the matter privileged under
stockbrokers, fraudulent acts and illegal the provisions of article 354, if made with malice, shall
purchases/sales and manipulations of securities to the not exempt the author nor the editor or managing
prejudice of their customers and the general investing editor of a newspaper from criminal liability. (Emphasis
public, which acts actually caused the dishonor, supplied)
discredit or contempt of the private offended parties.
(Annex "D", Rollo, pp. 6-7). Petitioner now insists that the published article is privileged, being a fair
and true report of a judicial proceeding, without comments or
The case is now before us for resolution. remarks, and therefore not punishable. He maintains that the alleged
libelous news report which came out in the Manila Daily Bulletin was
The applicable provision of law is Article 354 of the Revised Penal merely lifted from a complaint word for word, except for the last
Code which states as follows: innocuous paragraph which he added to the effect that "(i)nvestors
and Sison's fellow brokers are eagerly awaiting developments on these
Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. Every defamatory charges". Moreover, he contends that the cited rulings in the cases
imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be of Barreto vs. Philippine Publishing Co., 30 Phil. 88 and Choa Tek Hee
true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for vs. Philippine Publishing Co., 34 Phil. 447, are no longer valid.
making it is shown, except in the following cases: Petitioner's arguments are well-taken.

1. A private communication made by any person to It must be recalled that in holding petitioner liable for libel, both the
another in the performance of any legal, moral or trial court and the Appellate Court applied the doctrine established in
social duty; and the aforementioned 1915-1916 cases. Briefly:

2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without An answer to a complaint filed in court, containing
any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or libelous matter, is not privileged so as to exempt a
other official proceedings which are of confidential newspaper from prosecution under the Libel Act for a
nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered publication thereof, no action having been taken by
in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by the court thereon. (Barretto vs. Philippine Publishing
public officers in the exercise of their functions. Co., supra).
Publishing an article based upon a complaint filed in a files or publish the contents of their matters in litigation.
Court of First Instance before any judicial action. is The parties, and none but the parties, control them.
taken thereon is not privileged as a report of a judicial One of the reasons why parties are privileged from suit
proceeding. (Choa Tek Hee vs. Philippine Publishing for accusations made in their pleadings is that the
Co., supra). pleadings are addressed to courts where the facts can
be fairly tried, and to no other readers. If pleadings and
The Court, through Justice Moreland, gave the rationale: the documents can be published to the world by any
one who gets access to them, no more effectual way
The foundation of the right of the public to know what of doing malicious mischief with impunity could be
is going on in the courts is not the fact that the public, devised than filling papers containing false and
or a portion of it, is curious, or that what goes on in the scurrilous charges, and getting these printed news. . . .
court is news, or would be interesting, or would furnish (Barreto vs. Philippine Publishing Co., supra, pp. 92-93,
topics of conversation; but is simply that it has a right to 105-106).
know whether a public officer is properly performing his
duty. In other words, the right of the public to be However, it would seem that the passage of time has worked to
informed of the proceedings in court is not founded in petitioner's great advantage. In 1976, the doctrine so fervently and
the desire or necessity of people to know about the eloquently espoused by Justice Moreland in the Barreto case was
doings of others, but in the necessity of knowing overturned by this Court through Justice Esguerra in Cuenco vs,
whether its servant, the judge, is properly performing his Cuenco, No. L-29560, March 31, 1976 70 SCRA 212, 234-235. Thus:
duty. Only clear provisions of law can justify a
newspaper, or an individual, in spreading baseless The reason for the rule that pleadings in judicial
charges of fraud or corruption made by one man proceedings are considered privileged is not only
against another, wherever such charges may be because said pleadings have become part of public
found. The fact that such charges are contained in a record open to the public to scrutinize, but also due to
paper filed in court gives no inherent right to an the undeniable fact that said pleadings are presumed
individual to peddle its contents from door to door or to contain allegations and assertions lawful and legal in
spread them broadcast; and a newspaper has no nature, appropriate to the disposition of issues
more privileges than an individual. Between the ventilated before the courts for the proper
newspaper and the individual there is no difference of administration of justice and, therefore, of general
right. The real difference between them lies in the public concern. Moreover, pleadings are presumed to
ability of the one to spread the publication more contain allegations substantially true because they can
quickly, more extensively, and more thoroughly than be supported by evidence presented in good faith, the
the other. Unless, therefore, the statute plainly confers contents of which would be under the scrutiny of
that right, the publication of such charges is actionable courts, and therefore, subject to be purged of all
unless justified. . . . improprieties and illegal statements contained therein.

It is generally agreed that the privilege, the right to We are firmly convinced that the correct rule on the
publish without liability for damages, does not extend matter should be that a fair and true report of a
to mere pleadings filed in court, as, for example, bills in complaint filed in court without remarks nor comments
equity, upon which there has been no action. (Cited even before an answer is filed or a decision
cases). The reason for this rule is thus stated in Park v promulgated should be covered by the privilege.
Detroit Free Press Co.: There is no rule of law which
authorizes any but the parties interested to handle the
In Manuel vs. Pano, supra, the Court, speaking through Justice Cruz, Article 354 (2). It follows that he cannot be held criminally liable for
categorically stated that the publication of a complaint, being a true libel.
and fair report of a judicial proceeding, made in good faith and
without comments or remarks, is privileged and comes under Item 2 of WHEREFORE, the conviction of petitioner Nanerico D. Santos is SET
Article 354. It is no longer correct to state that Article 354 is not ASIDE and he is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime of libel. No costs.
applicable because the published complaint as filed would not by
itself constitute a judicial proceeding, as the issues have not as yet SO ORDERED.
been joined. That doctrine established in the Barretto and Choa Tek
Hee cases is no longer controlling and has been superseded by the
Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
Cuenco case. Moreover, it could also be argued that the complaint,
by itself, is a public record and may be published as such under Rule
135, Section 2 of the Rules of Court unless the court directs otherwise in
the interest of morality or decency.

We now come to the all-important consideration of whether the


prosecution, in an effort to remove the protection of privilege, was
able to establish that the columnist charged with libel was in fact
motivated by malice.

It is plainly evident from a reading of the published article itself that it is


but a faithful reproduction of a pleading filed before a quasi-
judicial body. There are no embellishments, wild imputations,
distortions or defamatory comments calculated to damage the
reputation of the offended parties and expose them to public
contempt. What petitioner has done was to simply furnish the readers
with the information that a complaint has been filed against a
brokerage firm. Then he proceeded to reproduce that
pleading verbatim in his column. Now this is decidely part and parcel
of petitioner's job as a columnist whose "beat" happens to be the
stock market. He is obligated to keep the public abreast of the current
news in that particular field. On this crucial point, the Court is inclined
to resolve all doubts in favor of petitioner and declare that there is no
libel. It may be well for us to keep in mind that the rule on privileged
communications in defamation cases developed because "public
policy, the welfare of society and the orderly administration of justice"
have demanded protection for public opinion. Therefore, they should
not be subjected to microscopic examination to discover grounds of
malice and falsehood. Such excessive scrutiny would defeat the
protection which the law throws over privileged communications. 6

The controversial publication being a fair and true report of a judicial


proceeding and made without malice, we find the author entitled to
the protection and immunity of the rule on privileged matters under
FIRST DIVISION On January 18, 1984, the private complainant wrote his co-
homeowners explaining to them his election protest and urging them
not to recognize the petitioner and the other members who won in
the election.
[G.R. No. 120715. March 29, 1996]
Meanwhile, in response to the election protest, the EMO-HFC
ordered the PML-BLCA to conduct a referendum to be supervised by
the EMO-HFC. The private complainant then notified his co-
FERNANDO SAZON y RAMOS, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS homeowners about this development and requested them to attend
and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. a general meeting with the representatives of the EMO-HFC which
was to be held before the referendum.
DECISION Soon after the general meeting, several copies of a leaflet called
the PML Scoop were received by the homeowners. The leaflet was
HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:
entitled Supalpal si Sazon, obviously referring to the affirmative action
taken by the EMO-HFC in connection with the private respondents
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the election protest. At about the same time, the phrase Sazon, nasaan
decision of the Court of Appeals (Special Third Division) in CA-G.R. C.R. ang pondo ng simbahan? was seen boldly written on the walls near
No. 13777 which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court, the entrance gate of the subdivision. There was no proof, however, as
Branch 161 of Pasig City, in Criminal Case No. 58939, convicting the to who was responsible for these writings.
petitioner of the crime of libel.
Thinking that only private complainant was capable of these acts,
The relevant antecedents are not disputed. petitioner Sazon started writing, publishing, and circulating newsletters
Petitioner Fernando Sazon and private complainant Abdon Reyes to his co-homeowners, culminating in the appearance in the February
were both residents of the PML Homes in East Drive, Parang Marikina, 10, 1984 issue of the PML-Homemakers of the following article:
Metro Manila. They were likewise members of the PML-Parang Bagong
Lipunan Community Association, Inc. (PML-BLCA), an association of USAPAN NG BOARD v. ABDON NAG-COLLAPSE SA ESTATE
homeowners of PML Homes. The association had a monthly MANAGEMENT OFFICE
newsletter, the PML-Homemaker, of which the petitioner was the
editor. Dala ng mahigpit na pakiusap ng Estate Management Office (EMO)
na gawin ang lahat na nararapat upang magkaroon ng katahimikan
On December 11, 1983, the PML-BLCA held an election for the
at pagkakaisa ang mga tiga PML Homes, ang Board Secretary, Mr.
members of its board of directors. Among those who ran in the
Pacis at President F.R. Sazon ay nagpaunlak na pagbigyan ang
election were the private complainant and the petitioner. The
kahilingan ng ating kasama na si Abdon Reyes.
petitioner was elected as a director. He was likewise elected by the
new board as president of the homeowners association. The private
complainant lost in said election. Ang kahilingan: Anyayahan ang EMO-HFC na magconduct ng
Plebiscite or Referendum para sa possibility ng isa pang halalan ng
Unable to accept defeat, the private complainant, on January Board of Directors.
16, 1984, wrote a letter to the Estate Management Office of the Home
Financing Corporation (EMO-HFC) protesting the election of the Sa meeting na dinaluhan ni Abdon Reyes na nagdala ng isang
petitioner as a director and president of the homeowners association. cameraman at may kasamang pagyayabang at kaunting
He alleged that the election was a nullity because of: (1) the lack of panggolpe de gulat (na tila baga puro tanga yata ang akala niya sa
authority of the petitioner to call for such an election; (2) the absence mga kausap), ipinipilit pa rin nitong ang Board sa PML Parang ay
of a quorum; and (3) lack of the required notice to the homeowners. - binubuo pa rin nuong mga taong inilukluk ng developer na nag 1-2-3.
Halos pag-pupukpukin ng bag ng mga kababaihang nagsisama sa On March 18, 1992, the trial court rendered its decision finding the
miting ang ating pobreng super kulit na walang pakialam sa mga petitioner guilty of the crime charged, and accordingly sentenced
taga atin. him, thus:

Ang mga nagsipagbigay suporta sa Pangulo at Board Secretary ay WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the accused is found guilty
sina Gng. Cavarosa, Gng. Triffie Ladisla, Gng. Nitz Rodriguez at Dra. beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and is hereby
Sazon. sentenced to suffer imprisonment of FOUR (4) months and ONE (1) day
of arresto mayor as minimum to TWO (2) years, FOUR (4) months and
Kung di dahil sa pakiusap nina Messrrs. ABNER PACAIGUE at HOMER ONE (1) day of prision correccional as maximum, with the accessory
AGNOTE, kasama na ng Board Secretary at Pangulo, malamang ay penalties provided by law, and to pay a fine of P200.00 in
nagulpi sana ang mandurugas. accordance with Art. 353, in relation to Art. 355 of the Revised Penal
Code.
Dahil sa patuloy na kabulastugan ni Abdon, ang meeting na
ginaganap sa EMO kaninang umaga ay nag-collapse nang malaman With costs against the accused.
na may ikinalat na liham ang mandurugas, na nagsasabing di umano
ay hindi tutoo ang ibinabalita ng Homemaker na siya ay turned-down SO ORDERED.2
sa HFC.
The petitioner appealed said decision to the Court of Appeals.
Matagal na po tayong niloloko ng magkasamang Abdon at On June 19, 1995, the appellate court dismissed the appeal and
Evangeline Lopez. Dahil sa tagal ay alam na tuloy natin kung affirmed the decision of the trial court.
papaanong maipapatigil ang kanilang kabulastugan.
Hence, petitioner brought the present action, and in seeking a
reversal of the challenged decision, he claims that the Court of
Sila rin ang mastermind sa paninirang pun sa Pangulo sa
Appeals, erred:
pamamagitan ng pag-susulat ng panira sa mga pader natin.
Diumanoy itinatanong daw nila kung saan dinala ang pondo ng
1. x x x IN NOT HOLD1NG THAT THE QUESTIONED ARTICLE (EXHIBIT A) IS
simbahan. Bakit hindi sila tumungo sa kinauukulan: Treasurer, Auditor,
IN THE NATURE OF A PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATION AND HENCE,
at iba pang officials.
PROTECTED AND NOT ACTIONABLE.
UPHELD PO ANG ATING BOARD, ITO AY MABUBUWAG LANG KUNG
2. x x x IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE WORDS IN CONTROVERSY ARE NOT
INYONG NANAISIN.
DEFAMATORY OF PRIVATE COMPLAINANT AS THEY ARE NON-
ACTIONABLE EPITHETS WRITTEN WITHOUT MALICE.
Mag-iingat po tayo sa panlilinlang ng mga taong gaya ni Abdon at
Vangie.
3. x x x IN NOT HOLD1NG THAT THE QUESTIONED ARTICLE DID NOT
CAUSE DAMAGE TO PRIVATE COMPLAINANTS REPUTATION.
UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL LETS UNITE AND FIGHT EVIL!!!
4. GRANTING ARGUENDO THAT ACCUSED-PETITIONERS CONVICTION IS
F. R. SAZON - Editor1
WARRANTED, x x x IN NOT LIMITING THE PENALTY IMPOSED UPON HIM
TO FINE ALONE WITHOUT IMPRISONMENT x x x.3
Aggrieved by the aforequoted article, the private complainant
initiated the necessary complaint against the petitioner, and
In fine, the principal issue posited in this petition is whether or not
on May 25, 1984, an Information was filed before the trial court
the questioned article written by the petitioner is libelous.
charging the petitioner with libel.
We rule in the affirmative. super kulit, patuloy na kabulastugan, mastermind sa paninirang puri,
etc.6 Jurisprudence has laid down a test to determine the defamatory
Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code defines libel in this wise:
character of words used in the following manner, viz:

ART. 353. Definition of libel. - A libel is a public and malicious


Words calculated to induce suspicion are sometimes more effective
imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any
to destroy reputation than false charges directly made. Ironical and
act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the
metaphorical language is a favored vehicle for slander. A charge is
dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, on to
sufficient if the words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose
blacken the memory of one who is dead.
and understand that the person or persons against whom they were
uttered were guilty of certain offenses, or are sufficient to impeach
For an imputation then to be libelous, the following requisites must their honesty, virtue, or reputation, or to hold the person or persons up
concur: to public ridicule. x x x.7

(a) it must be defamatory; This test was satisfied in the case at bench. Branding private
complainant Reyes mandurugas, et al. most certainly exposed him to
(b) it must be malicious; public contempt and ridicule. No amount of sophistical explanation
on the part of petitioner can hide, much less erase, the negative
(c) it must be given publicity; and impression already created in the minds of the readers of the libelous
material towards private complainant. Respondent Court of Appeals
(d) the victim must be identifiable.4 is, thus, correct in holding that these words and phrases (mandurugas,
et al.) are indisputably defamatory for they impute upon the private
Petitioner concedes the existence of the third and fourth complainant a condition that is dishonorable and shameful, since they
requisites in the case at bench. Accordingly, only the first and second tend to describe him as a swindler and/or a deceiver. (Italics Ours).8
elements need to be discussed herein. Petitioner also maintains that there was no malice in this case. He
Petitioner insists that the allegedly offensive words found in the argues that the prosecution failed to present evidence demonstrating
subject article are not actually defamatory. According to petitioner, that the accused was prompted by personal ill-will or spite or that he
the word mandurugas and other words and phrases used in the did not act in response to duty but acted merely to cause harm to
questioned article do not impute to private complainant any crime, private complainant. Consequently, the prosecution failed to
vice or defect which would be injurious or damaging to his name and discharge its burden of proving malice on the part of the accused
reputation. As far as petitioner is concerned, the descriptive words beyond all reasonable doubt.
and phrases used should be considered as mere epithets which are a We are not persuaded. The general rule laid down in Article 354
form of non-actionable opinion, because while they may express of the Revised Penal Code provides that:
petitioners strong emotional feelings of dislike, they do not mean to
reflect adversely on private complainants reputation.
Art. 354. Requirement of publicity. - Every defamatory imputation is
We do not agree. In libel cases, the question is not what the writer presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and
of an alleged libel means, but what the words used by him justifiable motive for making it is shown. x x x -
mean.5 Here, the defamatory character of the words used by the
petitioner are shown by the very recitals thereof in the questioned Prescinding from this provision, when the imputation is
article. No evidence aliunde need be adduced to prove it. Petitioner defamatory, as in this case, the prosecution need not prove malice on
used the following words and phrases in describing the private the part of the defendant (malice in fact), for the law already
complainant: mandurugas, mag-ingat sa panlilinlang, matagal na presumes that the defendants imputation is malicious (malice in
tayong niloloko, may kasamang pagyayabang, ang ating pobreng law). The burden is on the side of the defendant to show good
intention and justifiable motive in order to overcome the legal libelous matter cannot be classified as privileged when it is published
inference of malice. Unfortunately, petitioner miserably failed to and circulated among the public,10as what the petitioner did in this
discharge this burden in the case before us. case.
Petitioner however submits that malice should not be presumed in In his final attempt to come under the protective mantle of
the instant case, but must be proved as a fact (malice in fact), since privileged communication, petitioner alleges that the subject article
the questioned article is a privileged communication covered under likewise constitutes a fair and true report on the actuations of a public
the two exceptions enumerated under Article 354, viz: official falling under the second exception of Article 354, since private
complainant was a public relations consultant in the Department of
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the Trade and Industry at the time the allegedly libelous article was
performance of any legal, moral or social duty; and, published on February 10, 1984.11
On this point, the rule is that defamatory remarks and comments
2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or on the conduct or acts of public officers which are related to the
remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which discharge of their official duties will not constitute libel if the defendant
are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech proves the truth of the imputation. But any attack upon the private
delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public character of the public officer on matters which are not related to the
officers in the exercise of their functions. discharge of their official functions may constitute libel.12 This is clear
by express provision of Article 354, exception number two (2) which
Petitioner avers that he wrote the article not to malign the private refers to any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of
complainant, but merely to correct the misinformation being their functions.
circulated by Reyes and some quarters within the community about
the petitioner and the association he heads. He did it therefore, in A perusal of the petitioners article reveals that it has no reference
response to some moral, social or civic duty as he was at that time the whatsoever to the performance of private complainants position as a
President of their homeowners association and editor of its public relations consultant in the Department of Trade and
newsletter. Hence, the article falls under the first exception of Article Industry. The article attacked solely the private character of the
354. complainant and delved on matters completely unrelated to his
official functions. It cannot therefore fall under the protective
The argument has no basis. In Daez v. Court of Appeals9 we held coverage of privileged communication.
that:
However, even assuming, ex gratia argumenti, that petitioners
As a rule, it is the right and duty of a citizen to make a complaint of article qualifies under the category of privileged communication, this
any misconduct on the pant of public officials, which comes to his does not still negate the presence of malice in the instant case. It is
notice, to those charged with supervision over them. Such a well to note that the existence of malice in fact may be shown by
communication is qualifiedly privileged and the author is not guilty of extrinsic evidence that the defendant bore a grudge against the
libel. The rule on privilege, however, imposes an additional offended party, or that there was rivalry or ill-feeling between them
requirement. Such complaints should be addressed solely to some which existed at the date of the publication of the defamatory
official having jurisdiction to inquire into the charges, or power to imputation or that the defendant had an intention to injure the
redress the grievance or has some duty to perform or interest in reputation of the offended party as shown by the words used and the
connection therewith. circumstances attending the publication of the defamatory
imputation.13 The circumstances under which the subject article was
published by the petitioner serve to buttress the inference that
In the instant case, none of the homeowners for whom the
petitioner was animated solely by revenge towards the private
newsletter was published was vested with the power of supervision
complainant on account of the leaflet entitled Supalpal si Sazon,
over the private complainant or the authority to investigate the
earlier circulated among the homeowners as well as the writings near
charges made against the latter. Moreover, a written letter containing
the entrance gate of the subdivision, all of which petitioner believes to
be the handiwork of the private complainant. Furthermore, the words
used in the questioned article were mostly uncalled for, strongly
sending the message that petitioners objective was merely to malign
and injure the reputation of the private complainant.This is certainly
indicative of malice in fact on the part of the petitioner.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby


AFFIRMED with the modification that, in lieu of imprisonment and fine,
the penalty to be imposed upon the petitioner shall be a fine of Three
Thousand (P3,000.00) PESOS with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency.
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Bellosillo, Vitug, and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines personnel of the naval station and the civilian population of Cavite
SUPREME COURT City. Capt. McAllister requested Col. Monzon to join him at the main
Manila gate of the base to meet the demonstrators. Col. Monzon went to the
place and talked to Rosauro Reyes and one Luis Buenaventura upon
EN BANC learning that the demonstration was not directed against the naval
station but against Agustin Hallare and a certain Frank Nolan for their
G.R. Nos. L-21528 and L-21529 March 28, 1969 having allegedly caused the dismissal of Rosauro Reyes from the Navy
Exchange, Col. Monzon suggested to them to demonstrate in front of
Hallare's residence, but they told him that they would like the people
ROSAURO REYES, petitioner,
in the station to know how they felt about Hallare and Nolan. They
vs.
assured him, however, that they did not intend to use violence, as
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
"they just wanted to blow off steam."
Jose F. Maacop for petitioner.
At that time Agustin Hallare was in his office inside the naval station.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor
When he learned about the demonstration he became apprehensive
General Pacifico P. de Castro and Solicitor Antonio M. Martinez for
about his safety, so he sought Col. Monzon's protection. The colonel
respondent.
thereupon escorted Hallare, his brother, and another person in going
out of the station, using his (Monzon's) car for the purpose. Once
MAKALINTAL, J.:
outside, Col. Monzon purpose slowed down to accommodate the
request of Reyes. He told Hallare to take a good look at the
This case is before us on appeal by certiorari, from the decision of the demonstrators and at the placards they were carrying. When the
Court of Appeals affirming that a the municipal court of Cavite City, demonstrators saw Hallare they shouted, "Mabuhay si Agustin." Then
convicting Rosauro Reyes of the crimes of grave threats and grave they boarded their jeeps and followed the car. One jeep overtook
oral defamation, and sentencing him, in the first case (Criminal Case passed the car while the other to led behind. After Hallare and his
No. 2594), to four (4) months and ten (10) days of arresto mayor and companions had alighted in front of his residence at 967 Burgos St.,
to pay a fine of P300, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of Cavite City, Col. Monzon sped away.
insolvency; and in the second case (Criminal Case No. 2595), to an
indeterminate penalty of from four (4) months of arresto mayor to one
The three jeeps carrying the demonstrators parked in front of Hallare's
(1) year and eight (8) months of prison correccional and to pay
residence after having gone by it twice Rosauro Reyes got off his jeep
Agustin Hallare the sum of P800 as moral damages, with costs in both
and posted himself at the gate, and with his right hand inside his
cases.
pocket and his left holding the gate-door, he shouted repeatedly,
"Agustin, putang ina mo. Agustin, mawawala ka. Agustin lumabas ka,
The petitioner herein, Rosauro Reyes, was a former civilian employee papatayin kita." Thereafter, he boarded his jeep and the motorcade
of the Navy Exchange, Sangley Point, Cavite City, whose services left the premises. Meanwhile, Hallare, frightened by the demeanor of
were terminated on May 6, 1961. In the afternoon of June 6, 1961, he Reyes and the other demonstrators, stayed inside the
led a group of about 20 to 30 persons in a demonstration staged in house.lwphi1.et
front of the main gate of the United States Naval Station at Sangley
Point. They carried placards bearing statements such as, "Agustin,
On the basis of the foregoing events Rosauro Reyes was charged on
mamatay ka;" "To, alla boss con Nolan;" "Frank do not be a common
July 24 and 25, 1961 with grave threats and grave oral defamation,
funk;" "Agustin, mamamatay ka rin"; "Agustin, Nolan for you;" "Agustin
respectively (Criminal Cases Nos. 2594 and 2595, Municipal Court of
alla bos con Nolan;" "Agustin, dillega, el dia di quida rin bo chiquiting;"
Cavite City), as follows;
and others. The base commander, Capt. McAllister, called up Col.
Patricia Monzon, who as Philippine Military Liaison Officer at Sangley
Point was in charge of preserving harmonious relations between
The undersigned City Fiscal of the City of Cavite accuses (SGD.) AGUSTIN HALLARE
Rosauro Reyes of the crime of Grave Threats, as defined by Complainant
Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code and penalized by
paragraph 2 of the same Article, committed as follows: Subscribed and sworn to before me this. 25th day of July,
1961, in the City of Cavite, Philippines.
That on or about June 6, 1961, in the City of Cavite, Republic
of the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable (SGD.) BUEN N. GUTIERREZ
Court, the above named accused, did then and there, Special Counsel
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, orally threaten to kill, one
Agustin Hallare. Upon arraignment, the accused pleaded not guilty to both charges
and the cases were set for joint trial. On the day of the hearing the
Contrary to law. prosecution moved to amend the information in Criminal Case No.
2594 for grave threats by deleting therefrom the word "orally". The
Cavite City, July 24, 1961. defense counsel objected to the motion on the ground that the
accused had already been arraigned on the original information and
DEOGRACIAS S. SOLIS that the amendment "would affect materially the interest of the
City Fiscal accused." Nevertheless, the amendment was allowed and the joint
trial proceeded.
BY: (SGD.) BUEN N. GUTIERREZ
Special Counsel From the judgment of conviction the accused appeal to the Court of
Appeals, which returned a verdict of affirmance. A motion for
The undersigned complainant, after being duly sworn to an reconsideration having been denied, the accused brought this
oath in accordance with law, accuses Rosauro Reyes of the appeal by certiorari.
crime of Grave Oral Defamation, as defined and penalized by
Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows: Petitioner avers that the Court of Appeals erred: (1) in affirming the
proceedings in the lower court allowing the substantial amendment of
That on or about June 6, 1961, in the City of Cavite, Republic the information for grave threats after petitioner had been arraigned
of the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable on the original information; (2) in proceeding with the trial of the case
Court, the above named accused, without any justifiable of grave threats without first requiring petitioner to enter his plea on
motive but with the intention to cause dishonor, discredit and the amended information; (3) in convicting petitioner of both offenses
contempt to the undersigned complainant, in the presence of when he could legally be convicted of only one offense, thereby
and within hearing of several persons, did then and there, putting him in jeopardy of being penalized twice for the same offense;
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously utter to the undersigned (4) in convicting petitioner of grave threats when the evidence
complainant the following insulting and serious defamatory adduced and considered by the court tend to establish the offense of
remarks, to wit: "AGUSIN, PUTANG INA MO". which if translated light threats only; and (5) in convicting petitioner of grave oral
into English are as follows: "Agustin, Your mother is a whore." defamation when the evidence tend to establish that of simple
slander only.
Contrary to law.
On the first error assigned, the rule is that after the accused has
pleaded the information may be amended as to all matters of form
Cavite City, July 25, 1961.
by leave and at the discretion of the court when the same can be
done without prejudice to the rights of the defendant (Section 13, Rule
110, New Rules of Court). Amendments that touch upon matters of The demonstration led by petitioner Agustin Hallare in front of the
substance cannot be permitted after the plea is entered. main gate of the naval station; the fact that placards with threatening
statements were carried by the demonstrators; their persistence in
After a careful consideration of the original information, we find that trailing Hallare in a motorcade up to his residence; and the
all the elements of the crime of grave threats as defined in Article 282 demonstration conducted in front thereof, culminating in repeated
1 of the Revised Penal Code and penalized by its paragraph 2 were threats flung by petitioner in a loud voice, give rise to only one
alleged therein namely: (1) that the offender threatened another conclusion: that the threats were made "with the deliberate purpose
person with the infliction upon his person of a wrong; (2) that such of creating in the mind of the person threatened the belief that the
wrong amounted to a crime; and (3) that the threat was not subject threat would be carried into effect." 2Indeed, Hallare became so
to a condition. Hence, petitioner could have been convicted apprehensive of his safety that he sought the protection of Col.
thereunder. It is to be noted that under the aforementioned provision Monzon, who had to escort him home, wherein he stayed while the
the particular manner in which the threat is made not a qualifying demonstration was going on. It cannot be denied that the threats
ingredient of the offense, such that the deletion of the word "orally" were made deliberately and not merely in a temporary fit of anger,
did not affect the nature and essence of the crime as charged motivated as they were by the dismissal of petitioner one month
originally. Neither did it change the basic theory of the prosecution before the incident. We, therefore, hold that the appellate court was
that the accused threatened to kill Rosauro Reyes so as to require the correct in upholding petitioner's conviction for the offense of grave
petitioner to undergo any material change or modification in his threats.
defense. Contrary to his claim, made with the concurrence of the
Solicitor General, petitioner was not exposed after the amendment to The charge of oral defamation stemmed from the utterance of the
the danger of conviction under paragraph 1 of Article 282, which words, "Agustin, putang ina mo". This is a common enough expression
provides for a different penalty, since there was no allegation in the in the dialect that is often employed, not really to slander but rather to
amended information that the threat was made subject to a express anger or displeasure. It is seldom, if ever, taken in its literal
condition. In our view the deletion of the word "orally" was effected in sense by the hearer, that is, as a reflection on the virtues of a mother.
order to make the information conformable to the evidence to be In the instant case, it should be viewed as part of the threats voiced
presented during the trial. It was merely a formal amendment which in by appellant against Agustin Hallare, evidently to make the same
no way prejudiced petitioner's rights. more emphatic. In the case of Yebra, G.R. No. L-14348, Sept. 30, 1960,
this Court said:
Petitioner next contends that even assuming that the amendment
was properly allowed, the trial court committed a reversible error in The letter containing the allegedly libelous remarks is more
proceeding with the trial on the merits without first requiring him to threatening than libelous and the intent to threaten is the
enter his plea to the amended information. Considering, however, principal aim and object to the letter. The libelous remarks
that the amendment was not substantial, no second plea was contained in the letter, if so they be considered, are merely
necessary at all. preparatory remarks culminating in the final threat. In other
words, the libelous remarks express the beat of passion which
The third and fourth issues are related and will be discussed together. engulfs the writer of the letter, which heat of passion in the
Petitioner avers that the appellate court erred in affirming the decision latter part of the letter culminates into a threat. This is the more
of the trial court erred in affirming him of grave threats and of grave important and serious offense committed by the accused.
oral defamation when he could legally be convicted of only one Under the circumstances the Court believes, after the study of
offense, and in convicting him of grave threats at all when the the whole letter, that the offense committed therein is clearly
evidence adduced and considered by the court indicates the and principally that of threats and that the statements therein
commission of light threats only. derogatory to the person named do not constitute an
independent crime of libel, for which the writer maybe
prosecuted separately from the threats and which should be
considered as part of the more important offense of threats.

The foregoing ruling applies with equal force to the facts of the
present case.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and


petitioner is acquitted, with costs de oficio, insofar as Criminal Case
No. 2595 of the Court a quo (for oral defamation) is concerned; and
affirmed with respect to Criminal Case No. 2594, for grave threats, with
costs against petitioner.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Zaldivar, Santos, Sanchez,


Fernando, Teehankee and Barredo, JJ., concur.
Castro and Capistrano, JJ., took no part.

Footnotes

1ART. 282. Grave threats. Any person who shall threaten


another with the infliction upon the person, honor or property
of the latter or of his family of any wrong amounting to a crime,
shall suffer:

1. The penalty next lower in degree than that


prescribed by law for the crime he threatened to
commit, if the offender shall have made the threat
demanding money or imposing any other condition,
even though not unlawful, and said offender shall have
attained his purpose. If the offender shall not have
attained his purpose, the penalty lower by two degrees
shall be imposed.

If the threat made in writing or through a middleman,


the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period.

2. The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not


exceeding 500 pesos, if the threat shall not have been
made subject to a condition.

2U.S. vs. Sevilla, 1 Phil. 143; U.S. vs. Paguirigan, 14 Phil. 450.
G.R. Nos. L-32836-37 May 3, 1989 and his collaborator Judge Alfredo Guiang, then Municipal Judge of
Guimba, Nueva Ecija. Exequiel Victorio and his wife afterwards filed an
DANIEL VICTORIO and EXEQUIEL VICTORIO, petitioners, administrative charge against Judge Guiang which was assigned to
vs. Judge Ramon Avancena, Presiding Judge of the Court of First
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and THE PEOPLE OF THE Instance of Nueva Ecija, for investigation and disbarment proceedings
PHILIPPINES, respondents. against Atty. Ruiz, then pending in the Office of the Solicitor General.
Petitioner Daniel Victorio is the son of Exequiel Victoria.
Ellis F. Jacoba and Jose Ma. Abola for petitioners.
During the hearing of the administrative case on that particular
The Office of the Solicitor General for respondents. afternoon of January 9, 1964 in the sala of Judge Avancea, Atty.
Castillo, counsel of the Victorios, presented an urgent motion to
disqualify Judge Avancea to hear the administrative case, who
apparently taken aback, called down Atty. Castillo and gave him a
lecture, while Atty. Ruiz, as counsel for respondent Judge Guiang in
BIDIN, J.:
the administrative case, moved that Atty. Castillo be cited for
contempt of court.
This is a petition for review by certiorari of the decision** of the Court of
Appeals dated July 27, 1970 in Criminal Cases Nos. 09243 and 09244
After the said hearing and while the two accused were later walking
entitled "People of the Philippines v. Exequiel Victorio and Daniel
down the corridor leading to the stairs from the sala of Judge
Victoria", affirming the lower court's judgment of conviction of the
Avancea, the incident that gave rise to the criminal prosecution for
petitioners for grave oral defamation with modification of sentence
oral defamation took place. Petitioners were overheard by Emiliano
and the appellate court's resolution dated October 28, 1970 denying
Manuzon, a policeman of Cabanatuan City and one of the witnesses
herein petitioners' motion for rehearing and/or new trial as well as their
for the prosecution, to have uttered the following defamatory words:
urgent motion for reconsideration filed on October 19, 1970. The
dispositive portion of the appealed decision reads as follows:
Daniel: "Kayabang ng putang-inang
abogadong Ruiz na iyan, tunaw naman
IN VIEW HEREOF, with the modification that appellants
ang utak, suwapang at estapador."
are sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of one (1)
month and one (1) day of arresto mayor to one (1)
Exequiel: "Lastog ta ukinnanata
year and one (1) day of prision correccional, the
abogado Ruiz, suwapang, estapador,
judgment appealed from is affirmed in all respects with
paltogak ta ukinana ta abogado Ruiz,
costs." (as amended by the resolution dated August 7,
suwapang ken estapador." (Translated
1970, Rollo, p. 19).
in Tagalog as, Mayabang yang putang-
inang abogado Ruiz na iyan, babarilin
The facts of the case taken from the decision of the Court of Appeals
ko ang putang inang iyan, suwapang at
are as follows:
estapador.")

Atty. Vivencio Ruiz, a practising lawyer since 1926, one time Justice of
On February 8, 1964, Daniel Victorio and Exequiel Victorio were
the Peace and member of the Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, a
separately charged with the crime of Serious Oral Defamation in the
professor of law and for sometime president of the Nueva Ecija Bar
City Court of Cabanatuan City, in Identical informations (Original
Association, has been the attorney of petitioner Exequiel Victorio in
Record, p. 1) indicting the accused as follows:
certain civil cases from 1953 until 1963 when petitioner decided to hire
the services of another lawyer, Atty. L. Castillo in place of Atty. Ruiz
That on or about the 9th day of January, 1964, in the (1) day of arresto mayor as minimum to one (1) year and one (1) day
City of Cabanatuan, Republic of the Philippines, and of prisIon correccional as maximum (Resolution of August 7, 1970;
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the Rollo, p. 19). The motion for hearing and/or reconsideration filed on
abovenamed accused moved by resentment and October 15, 1970 as well as their urgent motion for reconsideration
hatred which he entertained against the person of one filed on October 19, 1970 were denied by the Court of Appeals in its
Vivencio Ruiz, and in order to put him into public resolution dated October 28, 1970. Thus, this petition for review
ridicule, discredit, and contempt, did then and there by certiorari filed with the Court on December 18, 1970 (Rollo, P. 9).
willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, and in the the
presence of many persons, uttered the following On February 11, 1971, the Court resolved to deny the petition for
defamatory words, to wit: insufficient showing that findings of facts are unsupported by
substantial evidence and for lack of merit (Rollo, p. 43). However, in its
LASTOG TA UKINANATA ABOGADO RUIZ, SWAPANG, Resolution of April 15, 1971, the Court, considering the grounds of the
ESTAPADOR, PALTOGAK TA UKINNANATA. 1 motion of petitioners for reconsideration of the resolution of February
11, 1971, resolved to: (a) reconsider said resolution; and (b) to give
and other words of similar import to the great due course to the petition for review on certiorari of the decision of
embarrassment of said Vivencio Ruiz. the Court of Appeals (Rollo, p. 56).

Contrary to law. On October 15, 1974, counsel for petitioners-appellants filed a motion
to dismiss G.R. No. L-32836 (Criminal Case No. 9469 of the City Court of
Both accused pleaded not guilty upon arraignment (Original Record, Cabanatuan City and CA-G.R. No. 09243-44-CR), manifesting that the
p. 10; p. 4) and the cases were tried jointly. petitioner-appellant Exequiel Victorio died on April 14, 1974 at
Guimba, Nueva Ecija where he was then residing (Rollo, p. 131). There
being no objection interposed by the Solicitor General in his comment
After trial, both accused were convicted in a decision of the the City
filed with the Court on December 11, 1974, the death of petitioner-
Court dated April 10, 1968,*** the dispositive portion of which reads:
appellant having occurred prior to the rendition of final judgment
(Rollo,p. 154), the Court resolved on December 18, 1974 to dismiss L-
WHEREFORE, the prosecution having proved the guilt of
32836-37 only insofar as appellant Exequiel Victorio is concerned
the accused beyond reasonable doubt, the accused,
(Rollo, p. 157).
Exequiel Victoria is hereby found guilty of Grave Oral
Defamation and is hereby sentenced to suffer an
The lone assignment of error (Brief for the Petitioners, p. 91), is as
imprisonment of SIX (6) MONTHS & ONE (1) DAY, and
follows:
the accused Daniel Victorio is hereby sentenced to
suffer an imprisonment of (6) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY
and to pay the costs proportionately. THAT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
FINDING THAT THE WORDS UTTERED BY THE PETITIONERS
IN CONVERSATION WITH EACH OTHER AND WHILE IN THE
SO ORDERED. (Original Record, p. 179).
HEAT OF ANGER CONSTITUTE GRAVE ORAL
DEFAMATION INSTEAD OF MERELY LIGHT ORAL
Their motion for reconsideration and/or modification of judgment
DEFAMATION.
(Original Record, p. 181) filed on the same date was denied in an
order of the trial court dated September 25, 1968 (Original Record, p.
In effect, counsel for petitioners abandoned all the assignments of
189). On appeal, the Court of Appeals, on October 9, 1968 (Original
error in the Court of Appeals, confined himself to only one, and
Record, p. 201) affirmed the decision of the trial court but modified
practically admitted that the accused committed the crime charged
the penalty to the indeterminate sentence of one (1) month and one
although of a lesser degree that of slight oral defamation only, instead and another P6,000.00'; He 'is engaged in racketeering
of grave oral defamation. and enriching himself with the capitalists'; He 'has spent
the funds of the union for his personal use.'
There is no dispute regarding the main facts that had given rise to the
present case. Appellant-petitioner in this instant appeal, does not No amount of sophistry will take these statements out of
deny that the accused, on the occasion in question, uttered the the compass of grave oral defamation. They are serious
defamatory words alleged in the information. Thus, the sole issue that and insulting. No circumstances need to be shown to
the Court has to resolve is whether or not the defamatory words upgrade the slander. . . .
constitute serious oral defamation or simply slight oral defamation.
In another case where a woman of violent temper hurled offensive
The term oral defamation or slander as now understood, has been and scurrilous epithets including words imputing unchastity against a
defined as the speaking of base and defamatory words which tend to respectable married lady and tending to injure the character of her
prejudice another in his reputation, office, trade, business or means of young daughters, the Court ruled that the crime committed was
livelihood (33 Am. Jur. 39). Article 358, Revised Penal Code, spells out grave slander:
the demarcation line, between serious and slight oral defamations, as
follows: "Oral defamation shall be punished by arresto mayor in its The language used by the defendant was deliberately
maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if it is of applied by her to the complainant. The words were
a serious and insulting nature, otherwise, the penalty shall be arresto uttered with evident intent to injure complainant, to ruin
menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos." (Balite v. People, 18 SCRA her reputation, and to hold her in public contempt, for
280 [1966]). the sake of revenge. One who will thus seek to impute
vice or immorality to another, the consequences of
To determine whether the offense committed is serious or slight oral which might gravely prejudice the reputation of the
defamation, the Court adopted the following guidelines: person insulted, in this instance apparently an
honorable and respectable lady and her young
. . . We are to be guided by a doctrine of ancient daughters, all prominent in social circles, deserves little
respectability that defamatory words will fall under one judicial sympathy. Certainly, it is time for the courts to
or the other, depending upon, as Viada puts it, '...upon put the stamp of their disapproval on this practice of
their sense and grammatical meaning judging them vile and loud slander. (U.S. v. Tolosa, 37 Phil. 166 [1917]).
separately, but also upon the special circumstances of
the case, antecedents or relationship between the In a case where the accused, a priest, called the offended party a
offended party and the offender, which might tend to gangster, in the middle of a sermon, the court affirmed the conviction
prove the intention of the offender at the time: ... Balite of the accused for slight slander (People v. Arcand 68 Phil. 601 [1939]).
v. People, Ibid., quoting Viada, Codigo Penal, Quinta There was no imputation of a crime nor a vice or immorality in said
edicion, page 494). case.

Thus, in the same case cited where scurrilous words imputed to the In the instant case, appellant-petitioner admitted having uttered the
offended party the crime of estafa, the Court ruled: defamatory words against Atty. Vivencio Ruiz. Among others he called
Atty. Ruiz, "estapador", which attributes to the latter the crime of
The scurrilous words imputed to the offended party the estafa, a serious and insulting imputation. As stated by the Court
crime estafa. The language of the indictment strikes in Balite v. People, supra, "no amount of sophistry will take these
deep into the character of the victim; He 'has sold the statements out of the compass of grave oral defamation . . . No
union; he 'has swindled the money of the vendees; he circumstances need to be shown to upgrade the slander."
'received bribe money in the amount of P10,000.00 ...
Defamatory words uttered specifically against a lawyer when for sometime a president of the Nueva Ecija Bar Association. As the
touching on his profession are libelous per se. Thus, in Kleeberg v. Sipser scurrilous imputation strikes deep into the character of the victim, no
(191 NY 845 [1934]), it was held that "where statements concerning special circumstance need be shown for the defamatory words
plaintiff in his professional capacity as attorney are susceptible, in their uttered to be considered grave oral defamation Balite v.
ordinary meaning, of such construction as would tend to injure him in People, supra. In addition, the fact that the offended party is a lawyer,
that capacity, they are libelous per se and (the) complaint, even in the totality of such words as "kayabang", "tunaw ang utak", "swapang
the absence of allegation of special damage, states cause of action." at estapador", imputed against him has the import of charging him
Oral statements that a certain lawyer is 'unethical,' or a false charge, with dishonesty or improper practice in the performance of his duties,
dealing with office, trade, occupation, business or profession of a hence, actionable per se.
person charged, are slanderous per se (Kraushaar v. LaVin, 42 N.Y.S.
2d 857 [1943]; Mains v. Whiting 49 NW 559 [1891]; Greenburg v. De Petitioner argues that this Court in People v. Doronila (40 O.G. No. 15,
Salvo, 216 So. 2d 638 [1968]). Supp. 11, p. 231 [1941]) and People v. Modesto (40 O.G. No. 15, Supp.
11, p. 128 [1941]) ruled that defamatory words uttered in the heat of
In Pollard v. Lyon (91 US 225 [1876]), the court there had occasion to anger could only give rise to slight oral defamation (Rono, p. 13).
divide oral slander, as a cause of action, into several classes, as
follows: We disagree.

(1) Words falsely spoken of a person which impute to An examination of the rulings relied upon by petitioner showed that
the party the commission of some criminal offense said cases were decided not by this Court but by the respondent
involving moral turpitude for which the party, if the court. Suffice it to say that said decisions do not bind this Court.
charge is true, may be indicted and punished;
Nevertheless, the cases adverted to by petitioner would not in any
(2) Words falsely spoken of a person which impute that manner help his cause. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, there
the party is infected with some contagious disease, was no reason for the petitioner to be angry at the offended party
where, if the charge is true, it would exclude the party who was merely performing his duties as a lawyer in defense of his
from society; client. Petitioner's anger was not lawfully caused. (Brief for the
Appellee, p. 7). The fact that the defamatory words were uttered by
(3) Defamatory words falsely spoken of a person which the petitioner without provocation by private respondent and taken
impute to the party unfitness to perform the duties of an seriously by the latter, renders inapplicable the cases relied upon by
office or employment, or the want of integrity in the petitioner.
discharge of the duties of such office or employment;
As a matter of fact, the scurrilous remarks were found by the
(4) Defamatory words falsely spoken of a party which respondent court to have been uttered in a loud voice, in the
prejudice such party in his or her profession or trade; presence of at least ten (10) persons, taken seriously by the offended
and party and without provocation on his part.

(5) Defamatory words falsely spoken of a person, WHEREFORE, the petition is Denied for lack of merit and the appealed
which, though not in themselves actionable, occasion decision Affirmed in toto.
the party special damage."
SO ORDERED.
In the instant case, appellant-petitioner imputed the crime of estafa
against a prominent lawyer one-time Justice of the Peace and Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Cortes, JJ., concur.
member of the Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, a professor of law and
Republic of the Philippines Lydia Flores, in the presence and with the hearing of
SUPREME COURT many people, well-knowing that what she uttered were
Manila not only defamatory but downright false, causing the
offended party by said utterance to suffer undue
FIRST DIVISION shame, public ridicule, disrepute, discredit and
contempt, to the great damage and prejudice of the
G.R. No. L-57103 January 30, 1982 said Lydia Flores.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, Contrary to Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code.
vs.
HON. ANTONIO A. ORCULLO, as Acting City Judge of Cagayan de Oro Cagayan de Oro City, September 1, 1978.
City, and VENIDA PERALTA alias EDAT PERALTA, respondents.

FERNANDEZ, J.:

This is a petition for certiorari filed by the City Fiscal and Assistant City
Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City praying that the order of the
respondent Judge, Hon. Antonio A. Orcullo, dismissing Criminal Case
No. 40117 be set aside and that said case be ordered reinstated and
tried on the merits.

The petition alleges that on September 4, 1978, a special counsel in


the Office of the City Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City filed an
information with the City Court of Cagayan de Oro, Branch I, charging
the respondent Venida Peralta alias Edat Peralta with oral defamation
committed as follows:

That on or about August 17, 1978, at 7:00 o'clock in the


evening, at Gumamela Extension Street, Carmen,
Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, with deliberate intent to cast undue shame,
public ridicule, discredit, disrepute and contempt
against one Lydia Flores, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously speak and shouted the
following words towards the latter: "Hostess ug
nangabit, bisan unsa lang oten and nakapaslak ";
which approximately means in English.- "A hostess and
has a paramour, any kind of penis had penetrated your
vagina", or words of similar import, directed to the said
C or prostitution. Petitioner submits that the remarks
o impute prostitution rather than adultery. The word
u "hostess" has acquired a notorious connotation. It has a
n peculiar reference to one who works in nightclubs and
s "misters to the pleasures of men for fee". The expression
e "any kind of penis had penetrated your vagina"
l definitely describes and only refers to the work of a
prostitute, and not that of a mere adulteress.
1

It is alleged by accused-respondent that the remarks


which information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 40117; that on imputed adultery, because the word "paramour" was
November 3, 1978, Criminal Case No. 40117 was set for arraignment mentioned, thereby implying complainant to be a
and the accused- respondent pleaded not guilty; that on February 2, married woman who was carrying on an affair with a
1981, the accused-respondent filed a motion to quash on the ground man not her husband. It must be pointed out that since
that the crime alleged constituted an imputation of a crime which the information does not allege the civil status of
cannot be prosecuted de oficio; that on February 10, 1981, the complainant as married, she should be presumed to be
respondent judge, Hon. Antonio A. Orcullo, issued an order dismissing single, and therefore the remarks must be understood
Criminal Case No. 40117 on the ground that the offense alleged in the as imputing prostitution, and not adultery.
information is a private crime which can be instituted or filed only by Assuming arguendo that complainant is married and
the offended party; that on February 27, 1981, the City Fiscal filed a that the remarks, while imputing acts of prostitution to
motion for reconsideration of the order dismissing Criminal Case No. her and in effect charged her with adultery, the
40117; and that on March 11, 1981, the respondent judge denied the information can still be filed without her complaint. The
motion for reconsideration. 2 case of People vs. Hong Din Chu, 33 SCRA 199, 202 is in
point.
In his comment filed on November 3, 1981, the private respondent
contended that the wordings "Hostess and has a paramour, any kind As thus alleged it is clear that, while the
of penis had penetrated your vagina" are in unequivocal terms and utterance in effect also imputed on her
can be readily understood as imputing to the offended party the the commission of adultery, the
commission of the act of adultery, she being a married woman, offended party being a married woman,
hence the crime charged consists in the imputation of an offense the disreputable conduct she was
which cannot be prosecuted de oficio and can be brought only upon particularly charged with was the crime
complaint filed by the offended party as provided in paragraph 5, of prostitution, not adultery. And it may
Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code. 3 be pointed out that prostitution and
adultery are not one and the same
The Solicitor General was required to comment on the petition and on thing, the first is a crime against public
the opposition of the accused. 4 morals, committed by a woman,
whether married or not, who, for money
The pertinent portion of the comment of the Solicitor General filed on or profit, habitually indulges in sexual
December 18, 1981, reads: intercourse or lascivious conduct,
whereas adultery is in the nature of a
private offense committed by a married
The main issue to be resolved is whether the derogatory
woman who shall have sexual
remarks "A hostess and has a paramour, any kind of
intercourse with a man not her husband.
penis had penetrated your vagina" imputes adultery
In short, the essential element in the offended party be necessary to commence
prostitution is not simply a woman's prosecution (People v. Padilla, 105 Phil. 45). In this case,
entering into marital relations with a man however, the derogatory remarks of accused-
other than her husband, if she happens respondent, not only do not clearly show the elements
to be married, but the existence of of adultery, but on the contrary, such remarks
pecuniary or financial gain as indubitably impute the crime of prostitution. Therefore,
inducement to, or consideration for, that the information for libel can be filed without the
woman's engaging in sexual complaint of the offended party. 5
activities. Thus, to call a married woman
a prostitute is not merely to proclaim her The submission of the Solicitor General is well taken. Indeed, the words
an adulteress a violator of her marital quoted in the information are indubitably an imputation of the crime
vows: it is to charge her of having of prostitution which can be prosecuted de oficio.
committed an offense against public
morals, of moral degeneracy far WHEREFORE, the petition is granted, the order dismissing Criminal Case
exceeding that involved in the No. 40117 of the City Court of Cagayan de Oro City is set aside, and
maintenance of adulterous relations. the respondent judge, Hon. Antonio A. Orcullo, is ordered to reinstate
said criminal case and to try the same on the merits.
It appearing from the recital of the
information that the alleged defamatory SO ORDERED.
remark by the accused specifically
imputed upon the offended party the
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Guerrero, Melencio-Herrera and
commission of prostitution, which is a
Plana JJ., concur.
public crime that can be prosecuted de
oficio, the information filed under the
signature of the Assistant City Fiscal duly
conferred jurisdiction upon the lower
court to try the case. (Emphasis
supplied)

This ruling is a mere reiteration of previous


pronouncements made by this Honorable Court
in People v. Santos, 98 Phil. 11 and Mangila v. Lantik, 30
SCRA 82. Still for another reason, assuming arguendo
that adultery which is a private crime, and prostitution
which is a public crime, are both imputed to
complainant, criminal action may still be instituted
without her complaint because public interest, which is
always paramount to private interest, so requires
(People v. Yu, 1 SCRA 199).

It must be noted that it is only when derogatory remarks


clearly and categorically reflect the elements
constituting adultery would the complaint for libel by
Republic of the Philippines On February 6, 1958, after trial, petitioner was found guilty of slight and
SUPREME COURT less serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence and
Manila sentenced "to suffer imprisonment from one (1) month and one (1)
day to two (2) months and to pay the cost of the suit." He appealed
FIRST DIVISION the decision to the Court of First Instance of Rizal where the case was
docketed as Criminal Case No. 7772.
G.R. No. L-30269 July 19, 1982
On May 2, 1962, the Court of First Instance of Rizal affirmed the
EPITACIO BUERANO, petitioner, decision of the Municipal Court and sentenced petitioner to suffer four
vs. months of Arresto Mayor and to pay the costs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
In the meantime, the Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Rizal filed against
herein petitioner Criminal Case No. 7965 in the Court of First Instance
charging him with the Crime of Damage to property through reckless
imprudence. He filed a Motion to Quash on the ground of double
RELOVA, J.:
jeopardy in that because he has been previously convicted of the
offense charged, referring to the judgment of conviction by the
Petitioner Epitacio Buerano was the driver of LTB bus with Plate No. 22-
Municipal Court and the Court of First Instance. Opposition was filed
900 which collided with the Mabuhay Bakery delivery panel bearing
by the Provincial Fiscal contending that the crime for which petitioner
Plate No. T-13016 driven by Hipolito Vismonte and owned by Chu Yu in
was convicted was for less serious physical injuries through reckless
Tanay, Rizal on September 20, 1957.
imprudence, whereas the second case was for damages to property
through reckless imprudence which are distinct offenses. In support
On December 3, 1957, the Chief of Police of Tanay, filed with the thereof, he cited the case of People vs. Estipona, 70 Phil. 513, which
Municipal Judge of that municipality Criminal Case No. 251 against held that the two (2) offenses are entirely distinct from one another,
herein petitioner for the crime of "Slight and Serious Physical Injuries punishable under two (2) different provisions of the code and that
through Reckless Imprudence." In said Criminal Case No. 251, the more evidence are necessary to sustain the complaint for injuries than
complaint alleged, among other things, "causing by such negligence, those submitted in the case for damage.
carelessness and imprudence that the said bus, driven and operated
by him (petitioner) to collide with the delivery truck of Mabuhay
The Court of First Instance denied the motion to quash and, after trial,
Bakery owned by Mr. Chu Yu alias Mariano of Tanay, Rizal, bearing
found petitioner guilty in Criminal Case No. 7965 of the crime of
Plate No. T-13016, the result of which the right front side of the said
damage to property through reckless imprudence. Petitioner
truck (Mabuhay Bakery) was greatly damaged and the driver, Hipolito
appealed to the Court of Appeals which sustained the Court of First
Vismonte, including the two (2) helpers, namely, Bonifacio Virtudazo
Instance and sentenced herein petitioner "to pay a fine of P4,387.00
and Sy Tian alias Martin, suffered physical injuries on the different parts
which is double the amount of damages suffered by the delivery truck
of the body which required medical attention as follows:
with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; to indemnify the
offended party, the owner of the delivery truck in the amount of
Hipolito Vismontefive (5) days P2,193.50, representing the amount of damages suffered by the said
delivery truck, and to pay the costs." The Court of Appeals held that
Bonifacio Virtudazoten (10) days there was no double jeopardy because

Sy Tian alias Martinone (1) month ... First. Neither in the JP Court nor in the CFI on appeal
was the appellant convicted or acquitted of the
offense of Damage to Property Thru Reckless
Imprudence or the case against him for that offense Imprudence under the Information filed in Criminal
dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express Case No. 7722, the first case, for it charges only the
consent. Second. The JP Court which found him guilty offense of Less Serious Physical Injury Thru Reckless
of Slight and Less Serious Physical injuries was not a Imprudence. Obvious is the fact that no case for
court of competent jurisdiction to try the offense of damage to property thru reckless imprudence was
Damage to Property Thru Reckless Imprudence tried in which appellant could be convicted or
involving P2,193.50 because the imposable penalty acquitted or the case against him dismissed or
may be three times the aforesaid otherwise terminated without his express consent.
amount. Third Appellant could not have validly Furthermore, under Sec. 9 of Revised Rule 117, in order
pleaded before the JP Court to the said offense of for jeopardy to be available as bar, the second
Damage to Property Thru Reckless offense, Criminal Case No. 7965, must necessarily
Imprudence. Fourth The offense of Damage to Property include or is necessarily included in the offense
Thru Reckless Imprudence was alleged in the charged in the first case, Criminal Case No. 7722.
Information in Criminal Case No. 7965 (the second Considering that the decision of the JP in Criminal Case
case) does not include and is not necessarily included No. 251 was vacated and the information filed by the
in the first charge of Slight and Less Serious Physical Fiscal in Criminal Case 7722 (the continuation of
Injuries Thru Reckless Imprudence, as alleged in the Criminal Case 251) charges only the offense of Less
Information filed in Criminal Case No. 7722, the Serious Physical Injuries, it is evident that the first offense
continuation of Criminal Case 251; and Fifth: Appellant does not include the second,nor the second, the first.
was never tried at all in the JP Court of Tanay in
Criminal Case No. 7722 for the crime of Damage to This view of the Court of Appeals was inspired by the ruling of this
Property Thru Reckless Imprudence. Court in the pre-war case of People vs. Estipona decided on
November 14, 1940. However, in the case of People vs. Buan, 22 SCRA
We have read the case of People vs. Jose Belga, 53 1383 (March 29, 1968), this Court, speaking thru Justice J. B. L. Reyes,
O.G. (10) 3081, May 31, 1957, cited by appellant, and held that
are of the opinion that the basic reason relied therein is
not found in the case at bar, first because there were Reason and precedent both coincide in that once
three (3) cases filed in that case, to wit, Criminal Case convicted or acquitted of a specific act of reckless
No. 88, Reckless Imprudence with Physical Injury; imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted
Criminal Case No. 95, Damage to Property Thru again for that same act. For the essence of the quasi
Reckless Imprudence, and Criminal Case No. 96, for offense of criminal negligence under Article 365 of the
Multiple Physical Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence, and Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an
accused Jose Belga was acquitted in the first case No. imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done,
88, after due trial charging both physical injuries and would be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus
damage to property thru reckless imprudence. In the the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The
case at bar, the offense of damage to property thru gravity of the consequence is only taken into account
reckless imprudence arising out of the collision has not to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the
been passed upon or dealt with in both Criminal Case substance of the offense. And, as the careless act is
No. 251, JP Court of Tanay, and in Criminal Case No. single, whether the injurious result should affect one
7722 of the CFI, whereas Criminal Case No. 7965, the person or several persons, the offense (criminal
present case, is solely for damage to property thru negligence) remains one and the same, and can not
reckless imprudence. In fact, appellant could not have be split into different crimes and prosecutions.
been convicted of Damage to Property Thru Reckless
xxx xxx xxx

... the exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the


Justice of the Peace (now Municipal) Court of
Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the charge of slight physical
injuries through reckless imprudence, prevents his being
prosecuted for serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the
province, where both charges are derived from the
consequences of one and the same vehicular
accident, because the second accusation places the
appellant in second jeopardy for the same offense.

Then Solicitor General, now Justice Felix V. Makasiar, in his


MANIFESTATION dated December 12, 1969 (page 82 of the Rollo)
admits that the Court of Appeals erred in not sustaining petitioner's
plea of double jeopardy and submits that "its affirmatory decision
dated January 28, 1969, in Criminal Case No. 05123-CR finding
petitioner guilty of damage to property through reckless imprudence
should be set aside, without costs." He stressed that "if double jeopardy
exists where the reckless act resulted into homicide and physical
injuries. then the same consequence must perforce follow where the
same reckless act caused merely damage to propertynot death
and physical injuries. Verily, the value of a human life lost as a result of
a vehicular collision cannot be equated with any amount of damages
caused to a motors vehicle arising from the same mishap."

WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction in Criminal Case No. CA-G.R.


No. 05123-CR is hereby set aside and petitioner is acquitted of the
offense charged therein.

SO ORDERED.

Teehankee (Acting C.J.), Plana and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

Makasiar and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., took no part.

Vasquez, J., concur in the result.


Republic of the Philippines the road, one following the other about two to three
SUPREME COURT meters from each other. As the car driven by the
Manila accused approached the place where the two
vehicles were parked, there was a vehicle coming from
THIRD DIVISION the opposite direction, followed by another which tried
to overtake and bypass the one in front of it and
G.R. No. L-44264 September 19, 1988 thereby encroached the lane of the car driven by the
accused. To avoid a head-on collision with the
oncoming vehicle, the defendant swerved to the right
HEDY GAN y YU, petitioner,
and as a consequence, the front bumper of the Toyota
vs.
Crown Sedan hit an old man who was about to cross
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE
the boulevard from south to north, pinning him against
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
the rear of the parked jeepney. The force of the impact
caused the parked jeepney to move forward hitting
Pacis, Baluyot, Reyes & De Leon for petitioner.
the rear of the parts truck ahead of it. The pedestrian
was injured, the Toyota Sedan was damaged on its
The Solicitor General for respondents. front, the jeep suffered damages on its rear and front
paints, and the truck sustained scratches at the
wooden portion of its rear. The body of the old man
who was later Identified as Isidoro Casino was
FERNAN, C.J.: immediately brought to the Jose Reyes Memorial
Hospital but was (pronounced) dead on arrival. 2
Petitioner Hedy Gan was convicted of the crime of Homicide thru
Reckless Imprudence in Criminal Case No. 10201 of the then Court of An information for Homicide thru Reckless Imprudence was filed
First Instance of Manila, Branch XXII presided by Judge Federico C. against petitioner in view of the above incident. She entered a plea of
Alikpala. She was sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of four (4) not guilty upon arraignment and the case was set for trial.
months and one (1) day of arresto mayor as minimum and two (2)
years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional as Meanwhile, petitioner sought and was granted a re-investigation by
maximum and was made to indemnify the heirs of the victim the sum the City Fiscal, as a result of which the trial fiscal moved for the
of P12,000.00 without any subsidiary imprisonment in case of dismissal of the case against petitioner during the resumption of
insolvency and to pay the costs. On appeal, the trial court's decision hearing on September 7, 1972. The grounds cited therefor were lack of
was modified and petitioner was convicted only of Homicide thru interest on the part of the complaining witness to prosecute the case
Simple Imprudence. Still unsatisfied with the decision of the Court of as evidenced by an affidavit of desistance submitted to the trial court
Appeals, 1 petitioner has come to this Court for a complete reversal of and lack of eyewitness to sustain the charge.
the judgment below.
The motion to dismiss filed by the fiscal was never resolved. The Court
The facts of the case as found by the appellate court are as follows: instead ordered the prosecution to present its evidence. After the
prosecution rested its case, the petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the
In the morning of July 4, 1972 at about 8:00 o'clock, the case on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.
accused Hedy Gan was driving a Toyota car along
North Bay Boulevard, Tondo, Manila. While in front of On December 22, 1972, the trial court rendered judgment finding
house no. 694 of North Bay Boulevard, there were two petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the of- offense charged.
vehicles, a truck and a jeepney parked on one side of
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 14472-CR. another is this: Would a prudent man in the position of the person to
On May 3, 1976, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision, the whom negligence is attributed foresee harm to the person injured as a
dispositive portion of which reads as follows: reasonable consequence of the course about to be pursued? If so,
the law imposes the duty oil the doer to take precaution against its
Wherefore, as modified, the accused Hedy Gan is mischievous results and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. 5
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
homicide thru simple imprudence and, pursuant to A corollary rule is what is known in the law as the emergency rule.
paragraph 2, Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, "Under that rule, one who suddenly finds himself in a place of danger,
she is hereby sentenced to the indeterminate penalty and is required to act without time to consider the best means that
of three (3) months and eleven (11) days of arresto may be adopted to avoid the impending danger, is not guilty of
mayor and to indemnify the heirs of Isidoro Casino in negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently and upon reflection
the sum of Twelve Thousand Pesos (Pl2,000.00) without, may appear to have been a better method, unless the emergency in
however, any subsidiary imprisonment in case of which he finds himself is brought about by his own negligence." 6
insolvency, and to pay the costs. 3
Applying the above test to the case at bar, we find the petitioner not
Petitioner now appeals to this Court on the following assignments of guilty of the crime of Simple Imprudence resulting in Homicide.
errors:
The appellate court in finding the petitioner guilty said:
I
The accused should have stepped on the brakes when
The Court of Appeals erred in holding that when the she saw the car going in the opposite direction
petitioner saw a car travelling directly towards her, she followed by another which overtook the first by passing
should have stepped on the brakes immediately or in towards its left. She should not only have swerved the
swerving her vehicle to the right should have also car she was driving to the right but should have also
stepped on the brakes or lessened her speed, to avoid tried to stop or lessen her speed so that she would not
the death of a pedestrian. bump into the pedestrian who was crossing at the time
but also the jeepney which was then parked along the
II street. 7

The Court of Appeals erred in convicting the petitioner The course of action suggested by the appellate court would seem
of the crime of Homicide thru Simple Imprudence. reasonable were it not for the fact that such suggestion did not take
into account the amount of time afforded petitioner to react to the
III situation she was in. For it is undeniable that the suggested course of
action presupposes sufficient time for appellant to analyze the
situation confronting her and to ponder on which of the different
The Court of Appeals erred in adjudging the petitioner
courses of action would result in the least possible harm to herself and
liable to indemnify the deceased in the sum of
to others.
P12,000.00. 4

Due to the lack of eyewitnesses, no evidence was presented by the


We reverse.
prosecution with respect to the relative distances of petitioner to the
parked jeepney and the oncoming overtaking vehicle that would
The test for determining whether or not a person is negligent in doing
tend to prove that petitioner did have sufficient time to reflect on the
an act whereby injury or damage results to the person or property of
consequences of her instant decision to swerve her car to the light
without stepping on her brakes. In fact, the evidence presented by Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.
the prosecution on this point is the petitioner's statement to the
police 8 stating::

And masasabi ko lang ho umiwas ho ako sa isang


sasakyan na biglang nagovertake sa sasakyan na
aking kasalubong kung kaya ay aking kinabig sa kanan
ang akin kotse subalit siya naman biglang pagtawid ng
tao o victim at hindi ko na ho naiwasan at ako ay wala
ng magawa . Iyan ho ang buong pangyayari nang
nasabing aksidente. 9 (Emphasis supplied)

The prosecution having presented this exhibit as its own evidence, we


cannot but deem its veracity to have been admitted by it. Thus, under
the circumstances narrated by petitioner, we find that the appellate
court is asking too much from a mere mortal like the petitioner who in
the blink of an eye had to exercise her best judgment to extricate
herself from a difficult and dangerous situation caused by the driver of
the overtaking vehicle. Petitioner certainly could not be expected to
act with all the coolness of a person under normal conditions. 10 The
danger confronting petitioner was real and imminent, threatening her
very existence. She had no opportunity for rational thinking but only
enough time to heed the very powerfull instinct of self-preservation.

Also, the respondent court itself pronounced that the petitioner was
driving her car within the legal limits. We therefore rule that the
"emergency rule" enunciated above applies with full force to the case
at bar and consequently absolve petitioner from any criminal
negligence in connection with the incident under consideration.

We further set aside the award of damages to the heirs of the victim,
who by executing a release of the claim due them, had effectively
and clearly waived their right thereto.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered acquitting petitioner HEDY


GAN y YU of the crime of Homicide thru Simple Imprudence. She is no
longer liable for the P12,000.00 civil indemnity awarded by the
appellate court to the heirs of the victim.

SO ORDERED.

Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.


Republic of the Philippines another, without taking the necessary care and
SUPREME COURT precaution to avoid injury to person, did then and there
Manila willfully, unlawfully and feloniously operate, in a
reckless, careless and imprudent manner and
THIRD DIVISION neglected to exercise their respective medical
knowhow and tasks and/or departed from the
recognized standard in their treatment, diagnosis of the
condition, and operation of the patient, one Catherine
Acosta, 13 years old, which negligence caused the
G.R. No. 86890 January 21, 1994
death of the said Catherine Acosta. 2
LEANDRO CARILLO, petitioner,
Petitioner and Dr. Emilio Madrid entered pleas of not guilty at
vs.
arraignment and the case proceeded to trail with Judge Job B.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
Madayag presiding. 3
Balane, Tamase, Alampay Law Office for petitioner.
The prosecution presented as its principal evidence the testimony of
four (4) witnesses, namely: 1) Yolanda Acosta, Catherine's mother,
The Solicitor General for the people.
who was able to observe the conduct of the accused outside the
operating theater before, during and after the appendectomy
procedure carried out on her daughter; 4 2) Domingo Acosta,
Catherine's father, who corroborated some parts of his wife's
FELICIANO, J.: testimony; 5 3) Dr. Horacio Buendia, an expert witness who described
before the trial court the relationship between a surgeon and an
Petitioner Dr. Leandro Carillo, an anesthetist, seeks review of the anesthetist in the course of a surgical operation, as well as define the
Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28 November 1988, which likelihood of cardiac arrest as a post operative complication; 6 and 4)
affirmed his conviction by the Regional Trial Court of the crime of Dr. Nieto Salvador, an expert witness who analyzed and explained the
simple negligence resulting in homicide, for the death of his thirteen significance of the results of the pathological study and autopsy
(13) year old patient conducted on Catherine's body by one Dr. Alberto Reyes. 7
Catherine Acosta. The trial court had sentenced him to suffer the
penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period (four [4] months' After the prosecution had rested its case, the defense was granted
imprisonment), as well as to pay the heirs of his patient an indemnity of leave to file a demurrer to the evidence. 8 After failing to file the
P30,000.00 for her death, P10,000.00 as reimbursement for actual demurrer within the reglementary period, Judge Manuel Yuzon, who
expenses incurred, P50,000.00 as moral damages and to pay the costs had in the meantime taken over as presiding judge of the sala where
of the suit. 1 this case was pending, denied the defense motion for extension of
time to file demurrer and declared the case submitted for decision. 9
The information filed against petitioner and his co-accused, the
surgeon Dr. Emilio Madrid, alleged the following: On 19 September 1985, the trial court promulgated its decision
convicting both the accused of the crime charged. 10
That on or about the 31st of May 1981, in the
municipality of Paraaque, Metro Manila, Philippines On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of conviction,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the and specified that the civil liability of the two (2) accused was solidary
above-named accused, conspiring and confederating in nature. 11
together and mutually helping and aiding with one
Petitioner Dr. Carillo alone filed the present Petition for Review with the Yolanda asked one of the nurses if she could enter the
Court, seeking reversal of his conviction, or in the alternative, the grant operating room but she was refused.
of a new trial. Dr. Madrid did not try to appeal further the Court of
Appeals Decision. Accordingly, the judgment of conviction became At around 6:30 p.m., Dr. Emilio Madrid went outside the
final insofar as the accused surgeon Dr. Madrid is concerned. operating room and Yolanda Acosta was allowed to
enter the first door.
The facts of the case as established by the Court of Appeals are as
follows: The appendicitis (sic) was shown to them by Dr. Madrid,
because, according to Dr. Madrid, they might be
The deceased, Catherine Acosta, a 13 year old girl, wondering because he was going to install drainage
daughter of spouses Domingo and Yolanda Acosta, near the operating (sic) portion of the child.
complained to her father at about 10:30 o'clock in the
morning of May 31, 1981 of pains in the lower part of When asked, the doctor told them the child was
her abdomen. Catherine was then brought to Dr. Elva already out of danger but the operation was not yet
Pea. Dra. Pea called for Dr. Emilio Madrid and the finished.
latter examined Catherine Acosta. According to Dr.
Madrid, his findings might be appendicitis. Then Dr. It has also been established that the deceased was not
Pea told Catherine's parents to bring the child to the weighed before the administration of anesthesia on
hospital in Baclaran so that the child will be observed. her.

At the Baclaran General Hospital, a nurse took blood The operation was finished at 7:00 o'clock in the
sample form the child. The findings became known at evening and when the child was brought out from the
around 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon and the child was operating room, she was observed to be
scheduled for operation at 5:00 o'clock in the shivering (nanginginig); her heart beat was not normal;
afternoon. The operation took place at 5:45 p.m. she was asleep and did not wake up; she was pale;
because Dr. Madrid arrived only at that time. and as if she had difficulty in breathing and Dr. Emilio
Madrid suggested that she placed under oxygen tank;
When brought inside the operating room, the child was that oxygen was administered to the child when she
feeling very well and they did not subject the child to was already in the room.
ECG (electrocardiogram) and
X-ray. Witness Yolanda Acosta further testified that shortly
before the child was transferred from the operating
The appellant Dr. Emilio Madrid, a surgeon, operated room to her room, she (witness) was requested by the
on Catherine. He was assisted by appellant, Dr. anesthesiologist to go home and get a blanket.
Leandro Carillo, an anesthesiologists. A portion of Yolanda Acosta's testimony on what
happened when she returned to the hospital are
During the operation, while Yolanda Acosta, reproduced hereunder as follows:
Catherine's mother, was staying outside the operating
room, she "noticed something very unfamiliar." The Q What happened afterward?
three nurses who assisted in the operation were going
in and out of the operating room, they were not A When I arrived in the hospital, my child was being transferred to her
carrying anything, but in going out of the operating bed.
room, they were already holding something.
Q What else happened? Q Did this doctor arrived?

Q I noticed that the heartbeat of my daughter was not normal. And I A Yes.
noticed that her hospital gown is rising up and down.
Q What transpired after the doctor arrived?
Q What transpired after that?
A They examined the child.
A I asked Dr. Madrid why it was like that, that the heartbeat of my
daughter is not normal. Q After they examined the child, did they inform you of the result of
the examination?
Q And did the doctor make any reply?
A The cardiologist was the one whom informed us after he stepped
A The doctor said because of the lesion of the child. out of the room when we followed him. The doctor told us that she
suffered severe infection which went up to her head.
Q What else happened?
Q After you were informed of the result of his examination, what
A After they have revived the heartbeat of the child, Dr. Carillo and transpired next?
Dr. Madrid left.
A According to them, they will do their best for the child and that they
Q Now do you remember what time was it when Dr. Carillo stepped will call for Dr. Carillo.
out?
Q Did Dr. Carillo arrived?
A Only a minute after they have transferred the child to the bed.
A At around 10:30 in the evening.
Q What happened later on after Dr. Carillo and Dr. Madrid stepped
out of the hospital? Q Did Dr. Carillo do anything when he arrived on 31 May 1981?

A After 15 or 30 minutes has lapsed at about 7:15 or 7:30, the child A When he arrived, he noticed that there were two small bottles and
had developed convulsion and stiffening of the body. big bottles of dextrose which were hanging above the bed of the
child. Then he said, "What is this? Christmas tree or what?" He told us
Q When you observed convulsion and stiffening of the body, did you that one bottle of dextrose be removed. And the big one will remain.
do anything?
Q What happened after that?
A We requested the nurse who was attending to her to call for a
doctor. A After that we talked to Dr. Carillo and asked him how did this
happen to the child.
Q And the nurse who was attending to the patient called for a
doctor? Q What did Dr. Carillo reply (sic) to you?

A They called for Dra. Pea, their family physician. A He answered "that is nothing, the child will regain consciousness
and if the child will not regain consciousness, I will resign (sic) as a
Q What transpired afterwards? doctor." 12

A What Dra. Pea did was call for Dr. Madrid and the cardiologist. (Emphasis supplied)
When Catherine remained unconscious until noontime the next day, a Two (2) related issues are thus posed for the Court's consideration. The
neurologist examined her and she was diagnosed as first is whether the Court of Appeals so drastically "misapprehended"
comatose. 13 Three (3) days later, Catherine died without regaining the relevant, operative facts in this case as to compel this Court to
consciousness. 14 examine and resolve question(s) of fact which would have a decisive
significance for the disposition of the case. The rule is too firmly settled
The Court of Appeals held that Catherine had suffered from an to require much documentation that only questions of law may be
overdose of, or an adverse reaction to, anesthesia, particularly the raised before this Court in a petition for review on certiorari, subject to
arbitrary administration of Nubain, a pain killer, without benefit of prior certain well-known exceptions. 23 After careful scrutiny of petitioner's
weighing of the patient's body mass, which weight determines the contentions before us and the record of this case, we do not believe
dosage of Nubain which can safely be given to a patient. 15 The Court that petitioner has shown "misapprehension of facts" on the part of the
of Appeals held that this condition triggered off a heart attack as a Court of Appeals which would require this Court to overturn the
post-operative complication, depriving Catherine's brain of oxygen, judgment reached by the former.
leading to the brain's hemorrhage. 16 The Court of Appeals identified
such cardiac arrest as the immediate cause of Catherine's death. 17 The second issue is whether or not the findings of fact of the Court of
Appeals adequately support the conclusion that petitioner Dr. Carillo
The Court of Appeals found criminal negligence on the part of was, along with Dr. Madrid, guilty of simple negligence which resulted
petitioner Dr. Carillo and his co-accused Dr. Madrid, holding that both in homicide. Our review of the record leads us to an affirmative
had failed to observe the required standard of diligence in the answer.
examination of Catherine prior to the actual administration of
anesthesia; 18 that it was "a bit rash" on the part of the accused Dr. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals seriously erred in finding
Carillo "to have administered Nubain without first weighing that an overdose of, or an allergic reaction to, the anesthetic drug
Catherine"; 19 and that it was an act of negligence on the part of both Nubain had led to the death of Catherine Acosta and that the true
doctors when, (a) they failed to monitor Catherine's heartbeat after cause of Catherine's death was that set out in the death certificate of
the operation and Catherine: "Septicemia (or blood poisoning) due to perforated
(b) they left the hospital immediately after reviving Catherine's appendix with peritonitis." 24 The concept of causation in general, and
heartbeat, depriving the latter of immediate and expert medical the cause of death in human beings in particular, are complex and
assistance when she suffered a heart attack approximately fifteen (15) difficult notions. What is fairly clear is that death, understood as a
to thirty (30) minutes later. 20 physical condition involving cessation of vital signs in the brain and
heart, is preceded by a series of physiological events, any one of
Since neither petitioner nor his co-accused presented evidence in which events can, with equal cogency, be described as a "cause of
their own behalf, the present Petition seeks to question the soundness death". The Court of Appeals found that an overdose of, or an
of the factual conclusions drawn by the Court of Appeals, upon which adverse reaction to, Nubain, an anesthetic or
the affirmance of petitioner's conviction was based. pain-killing drug the appropriate dose of which depends on the body
weight or mass of the patient, had generated or triggered off cardiac
Close examination of the instant Petition for Review shows that arrest, which in
petitioner's main arguments are two-fold: (1) the Court of Appeals turn led to lack of oxygen in Catherine's brain, which then brought
"completely brushed aside" and "misapprehended" Catherine's death about hemorrhaging in the brain. Vital activity in the brain thereupon
certificate and biopsy report which allegedly showed that the cause ceased. The medical evidence presented at the trial was quite
of death was a ruptured appendix, which led to blood consistent with the findings of the Court of Appeals which concluded
poisoning, 21rather than faulty anesthetic treatment; that cardiac arrest was the cause of Catherine's death. 25
and (2) there was no direct evidence of record showing that Nubain
was administered to Catherine either during the appendectomy For his part, petitioner insists that cardiac arrest is not the only cause of
procedure or after such operation. 22 oxygen-starvation of the brain, that septicemia with peritonitis or
severe infection which had "gone up to the head" of Catherine was post-operative facilities of the hospital. We do not, of course, seek to
an equally efficient cause of deprivation of the brain of oxygen and hold petitioner responsible for the inadequate facilities of the Baclaran
hence of brain hemorrhage. The medical testimony of the expert General Hospital. We consider, however, that the inadequate nature
witnesses for the prosecution on which petitioner relies is also of those facilities did impose a somewhat higher standard of
consistent with petitioner's theory that septicemia with peritonitis was, professional diligence upon the accused surgeon and anesthetist
or at least could have been, the cause of Catherine's death. 26 personally than would have been called for in a modern fully-
equipped hospital.
Indeed, it appears to the Court that there was no medical proof
submitted to the trial court to show that one or the other "cause" While Dr. Madrid and a cardiologist were containing the patient's
was necessarily an exclusive cause of death in the case of Catherine convulsions, and after the latter had diagnosed that infection had
Acosta; that an overdose or allergic reaction to Nubain could not reached the patient's head, these two (2) apparently after
have combined with septicemia and peritonitis in bringing about consultation, decided to call-in the petitioner. 32 There is here a strong
Catherine's death. implication that the patient's post-operative condition must have
been considered by the two (2) doctors as in some way related to the
What is of critical importance for present purposes is not so much the anesthetic treatment she had received from the petitioner either
identification of the "true cause" or "real cause" of Catherine's death during or after the surgical procedure.
but rather the set of circumstances which both the trial court and the
Court of Appeals found constituted simple (as distinguished from Once summoned, petitioner anesthesiologist could not be readily
reckless) negligence on the part of the two accused Dr. Madrid and found. When he finally appeared at 10:30 in the evening, he was
Dr. Carillo leading to the death of Catherine. evidently in a bad temper, commenting critically on the dextrose
bottles before ordering their removal. 33 This circumstance indicated
When the patient was wheeled out of the operating room after he was not disposed to attend to this unexpected call, in violation of
completion of surgery, she manifested signs of medical instability (i.e., the canons of his profession that as a physician, he should serve the
shivering, paleness, irregular breathing and weak heart beat). 27 She interest of his patient "with the greatest of solicitude, giving them
was not brought to a properly equipped recovery room, or intensive always his best talent and skill." 34 Indeed, when petitioner finally saw
care until which the hospital lacked. 28 Such facilities and their his patient, he offered the unprofessional bluster to the parents of
professional staffs, of which an anesthetist is commonly a part, are Catherine that he would resign if the patient will not regain
essential for providing close observation and patient care while a consciousness. 35 The canons of medical ethics require a physician to
post-surgery patient is recovering from the effects of anesthesia and "attend to his patients faithfully and conscientiously." He should secure
while the normal protective mechanisms are still dull or for them all possible benefits that may depend upon his professional
obtunded. 29 Instead, the patient was merely brought to her assigned skill and care. As the sole tribunal to adjudge the physician's failure to
hospital bed and was provided oxygen on the instructions of Dr. fulfill his obligation to his patient is, in most cases, his own conscience,
Madrid then "revived" her heartbeat. 30 Both doctors then left their violation of this rule on his part is "discreditable and inexcusable". 36
patient and the hospital; approximately fifteen minutes later, she
suffered convulsions and cardiac arrest. 31 Nubain was an experimental drug for anesthesia and post-operative
pain and the medical literature required that a patient be weighed
The conduct of Dr. Madrid and of the petitioner constituted first before it is administered and warned that there was no (or
inadequate care of their patient in view of her vulnerable condition. inadequate) experience relating to the administration thereof to a
Both doctors failed to appreciate the serious condition of their patient patient less that eighteen (18) ears of age. 37 Yet, the doctor's order
whose adverse physical signs were quite manifest right after surgery. sheet (Exhibit "C") did not contain this precaution but instead directed
And after reviving her heartbeat, both doctors failed to monitor their a reader to apply the drug only when warranted by the
patient closely or extend further medical care to her; such conduct circumstances. 38 During the offer of Exhibit "C" by the prosecution, Dr.
was especially necessary in view of the inadequate, Madrid admitted that this prescription, which was unsigned, was
made in his own handwriting. 39 It must be observed that the decisively what needed to be done in respect of the patient. 45This
instruction was open-ended in that some other individual still had to circumstance must be considered in conjunction with other related
determine if circumstances existed warranting administration of the circumstances which the prosecution had proven: that the patient
drug to the patient. The document thus indicated the abdication of was ambulatory when brought to the operating room; 46 that she left
medical responsibility on an extremely critical matter. the operating room two (2) hours later in obviously serious condition;
Since petitioner anesthesiologist entered subsequent prescriptions or and that an appendectomy accompanied or followed by sustained
orders in the same order sheet, which were signed by him, at 7:15 antibiotic treatment is a fairly common and generally accepted
p.m. on the same evening of 31 May 1981, he was in a position to medical procedure for dealing with ruptured appendix and
appreciate the dangers inherent in the prior prescription, which was peritonitis, 47 a fact of which judicial note may be taken.
within his (petitioner's) area of specialization, and to order measures to
correct this anomaly and protect his patient's well-being. So far as the As early as in People v. Vistan, 48 the Court defined simple negligence,
condition of the evidence shows, he failed to do so. In sum, only a low penalized under what is now Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, as
level of diligence was exhibited by petitioner and Dr. Madrid in the "a mere lack of prevision in a situation where either the threatened
prescription of medication for their patient. harm is
not immediate or the danger not openly visible." Put in a slightly
As noted earlier, petitioner relied heavily in this proceeding on the different way, the gravamen of the offense of simple negligence is the
testimony on cross-examination of the expert witnesses for the failure to exercise the diligence necessitated or called for the situation
prosecution to show that blood poisoning resulting from a ruptured which was not immediately
appendix could also be responsible for the patient's death. life-destructive but which culminated, in the present case, in the
death of a human being three (3) days later. Such failure to exercise
No suggestion has been made that the rupture of the patient's the necessary degree of care and diligence is a negative ingredient
occurred prior to surgery. After her blood sample was examined, the of the offense charged. The rule in such cases is that while the
patient was merely diagnosed as a case of appendicitis, without prosecution must prove the negative ingredient of the offense, it
further elaboration. 40 No intensive preoperative preparations, like the needs only to present the best evidence procurable under the
immediate administration of antibiotics, was thereafter undertaken on circumstances, in order to shift the burden of disproving or countering
the patient. This is a standard procedure for patients who are, after the proof of the negative ingredient to the accused, provided that
being diagnosed, suspected of suffering from a perforated appendix such initial evidence establishes at least on a prima facie basis the
and consequent peritonitis. 41 The mother also testified that petitioner guilt of the accused. 49 This rule is particularly applicable where the
anesthesiologist merely injected a drug, "pre-anesthesia" intended to negative ingredient of the offense is of such a nature or character as,
put the patient to sleep, into the container of fluids being under the circumstances, to be specially within the knowledge or
administered to her daughter intravenously at her room, prior to control of the accused. 50 In the instant case, the Court is bound to
surgery. 42 We note further that the surgeon Dr. Madrid was forty-five observe that the events which occurred during the surgical procedure
minutes late in arriving at the operating theater. 43 Considering that (including whether or not Nubain had in fact been administered as an
delay in treatment of appendicitis increases the morbidity of the anesthesia immediately before or during the surgery) were peculiarly
patient, 44 Dr. Madrid's conduct can only be explained by a pre- within the knowledge and control of Dr. Carillo and Dr. Madrid. It was,
operative diagnosis on his part that the condition of appendicitis therefore, incumbent upon the two (2) accused to overturn the prima
was not yet attended by complications (i.e., a ruptured appendix and facie case which the prosecution had established, by reciting the
peritonitis). measures which they had actually taken to prevent or to counter the
obviously serious condition of Catherine Acosta which was evident
The above circumstances do strongly indicate that the rupture of the right after surgery. This they failed or refused to do so.
patient's appendix occurred during the appendectomy procedure,
that is, at a time and place the operating room where the two Still another circumstance of which account must be taken is that
(2) accused were in full control of the situation and could determine both petitioner and Dr. Madrid failed to inform the parents of their
minor patient of the nature of her illness, or to explain to them either These contentions do not persuade. An examination of the record
during the surgery indicates that Atty. Puerto represented petitioner during trial with
(if feasible) or at any time after the surgery, the events which reasonable competence. Except for the two hearing sessions when
comprised the dramatic deterioration of her condition immediately witnesses Domingo Acosta was cross-examined and recross-examined
after surgery as compared with her pre-surgery condition. To give a by Atty. Puerto, petitioner was present during all the sessions when the
truthful explanation to the parents was a duty imposed upon them by other prosecution witnesses were presented and during which Atty.
the canons of their profession. 51 Petitioner should have explained to Puerto extensively cross-examined them in behalf of petitioner and Dr.
Catherine's parents the actual circumstances surrounding Catherine's Madrid. This counsel elicited from the two (2) expert witnesses for the
death, how, in other words, a simple appendectomy procedure upon prosecution testimony favorable to petitioner and which was relied
an ambulatory patient could have led to such fatal consequences. upon by the latter in this proceeding. 54 The record further indicates
that if petitioner indeed entertained substantial doubts about the
By way of resume, in the case at bar, we consider that the chain of capability of Atty. Puerto, he could have easily terminated the
circumstances above noted, namely: (1) the failure of petitioner and services of that counsel and retained a new one, or sought from the
Dr. Madrid to appreciate the serious post-surgery condition of their trial court the appointment of counsel
patient and to monitor her condition and provide close patient care de oficio, during the ample opportunity given from the time Atty.
to her; (2) the summons of petitioner by Dr. Madrid and the Puerto manifested his intent to file a demurrer on 16 October 1985, to
cardiologist after the patient's heart attack on the very evening that the submission of the case for decision on 25 June 1986 and before
the surgery was completed; (3) the low level of care and diligence the promulgation of judgment on 19 September 1986. 55 During all this
exhibited by petitioner in failing to correct Dr. Madrid's prescription of time, petitioner could have obtained leave of court to present
Nubain for post-operative pain; (4) the extraordinary failure or refusal evidence in his behalf in lieu of a demurrer, or to submit a
of petitioner and Dr. Madrid to inform the parents of Catherine Acosta memorandum for the defense. After promulgation of the judgment of
of her true condition after surgery, in disregard of the requirements of conviction, petitioner did not seek a new trial, but permitted Atty.
the Code of Medical Ethics; and (5) the failure of petitioner and Dr. Puerto to obtain leave from the trial court to continue on bail during
Madrid to prove that they had in fact exercised the necessary and the pendency of the proceedings before the Court of
appropriate degree of care and diligence to prevent the sudden Appeals. 56 Indeed, petitioner replaced
decline in the condition of Catherine Acosta and her death three (3) Atty. Puerto as counsel only upon institution of the present petition. 57
days later, leads the Court to the conclusion, with moral certainty, that
petitioner and Dr. Madrid were guilty of simple negligence resulting in Petitioner's constitutional objection is plainly an afterthought.
homicide.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28 November
In addition to the main arguments raised by petitioner earlier, he also 1988 is hereby AFFIRMED, subject only to the modification that the
raised an ancillary, constitutional claim of denial of due process. He indemnity for the death of Catherine Acosta is hereby increased to
contends that he was deprived of his right to have competent P50,000.00, in line with current jurisprudence. 58
representation at trial, and to have his cause adequately heard,
because his counsel of record, Atty. Jose B. Puerto, was "incompetent" SO ORDERED.
and exhibited "gross negligence" by manifesting an intent to file a
demurrer to the evidence, in failing to present evidence in his behalf
and in omitting to file a defense memorandum for the benefit of
Judge Yuzon, after the latter took over the case at the end of trial and
before the Judge rendered his decision. 52Petitioner submits he is
entitled to a new trial. 53
Republic of the Philippines Rabbit Bus with body No. 257, bearing Plate No. TPU-25589
SUPREME COURT (Tarlac '60), then driven by Clemente Calixto y Onia, thereby
Manila causing damages to the said Philippine Rabbit Bus in the
amount of P5,023.55, to the damage and prejudice of the
EN BANC owner, the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc., in the said amount
of P5,023.55, Philippines Currency, and on the same occasion
G.R. No. L-19660 May 24, 1966 inflicting physical injuries to the passengers of said buses,
namely, Francisco Feliciano, Hilario Pasamonte Linda Ongria,
Lorenzo Calixto, whose physical injuries, barring complications,
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellant,
required and will require medical attendance for a period of
vs.
not less than three (3) months; Regina Mendoza de Gacuain,
AMBROCIO CANO Y PINEDA, defendant and appellee.
Virginia Camba, Francisco Guevarra, George Sebastian,
Francisco Rabago, Oscar Favorito, Lida Toledo, whose physical
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor
injuries, barring complications, required and will require
General Pacifico P. de Castro and Solicitor R. I. Goco for plaintiff and
medical attendance for a period ranging from one week to
appellant.
one month; Adelaida Buenconsejo Vda. de Shaup, Eulogio
Angel A. Sison for plaintiff and appellant as private prosecutor.
Catalico, Marina Gonzales, Abraham Serrano, Epifanio Payas,
G. F. Yabut, R. Monterey and F. R. Sotto for defendant and appellee.
Seprando Fontanilla, Pedro Bingcang, Tomas Ortega, Mateo
Estaris, Andres Espinosa, Ligaya Garcia, Romeo Rivera, Mateo
CONCEPCION, J.: Estacio, Jaime Castillo, Clemente Calixto, Dedicacion San
Juan, Antonio Calixto, Teofilo Raon, Francisco Mallari, Alfonso
Appeal, taken by the prosecution, from an order of the Court of First Aquino, Esmeralda Cayasi, Salvacion Vda. de Ortega,
Instance of Pampanga. Patrocinio Caasi, Lily Ortarsa, Eulogio Canlas, Esperanza de la
Cruz, Benita Cesar, Laulita Batalia, Miguela Quilay, Benjamin
On or about August 2, 1961, the Provincial Fiscal of Pampanga filed Tiglao, Ligaya Garcia Bindua, Marlita Balmonte, Geronimo
with the said court an information accusing defendant-appellee Briones, Juan Velasco, Tomasa Mateo, and Bobby Galhoun
Ambrocio Cano y Pineda of the crime of damage to property with whose physical injuries, barring complications required and will
multiple physical injuries, thru reckless imprudence, alleging: require medical attendance for a period ranging from seven
to nine days, and incapacitate said injured persons from
That on or about the 21st day of September, 1960, on the performing their customary labor for the same period of time,
National Highway at San Isidro, municipality of San Fernando, respectively.1wph1.t
Province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above named accused Ambrocio All contrary to law.
Cano y Pineda, being then the driver and person in charge of
La Mallorca Pambusco bus with body No. 846, Plate No. TPU Upon arraignment,1 defendant entered a plea of not guilty. Months
23177 (Pampanga '60), in utter disregard of traffic rules and later,2 he filed a motion to quash the information upon the ground:
regulations and without exercising due precaution to avoid
accident to persons and/or damage to property, and by 1. That the crime charged, slight physical injuries thru reckless
driving at a speed more than that allowed by law and on the imprudence, has already prescribed;
wrong side of the road, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously drive, manage and operate said vehicle in a
2. That this Honorable Court has no jurisdiction of the crime
careless, negligent and imprudent manner, causing, as a result
charged, slight physical injuries thru reckless imprudence; and
thereof the said bus driven by him to hit and bump a Philippine
3. That the crime of slight physical injuries thru reckless The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code)
imprudence cannot be complexed with damage to property, that "reckless imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a
serious and less serious physical injuries thru reckless way of committing it and merely determines a lower degree of
imprudence. criminal liability" is too broad to deserve unqualified assent.
There are crimes that by their structure can not be committed
After due hearing, the lower court issued an order3 holding that, through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious
"without discussing whether or not this particular misdemeanor of slight mischief, etc. In truth, criminal negligence in our Revised Penal
physical injuries" through reckless imprudence "has prescribed ... Code is treated as a mere quasi-offense, and dealt separately
it is clear that said misdemeanor cannot validly be complexed with from wilful offenses. It is not a mere question of classification or
grave or less grave felonies", and, accordingly, granting the motion to terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in
quash and ordering the prosecution "to amend the information within negligence or imprudence, what is principally penalized is the
ten (10) days" from notice, by "deleting therefrom all reference to mental attitude or condition behind the act, the dangerous
slight physical injuries". A reconsideration of this order having been recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the "imprudencia
denied, the prosecution interposed the present appeal. punible." Much of the confusion has arisen from the common
use of such descriptive phrases as "homicide through reckless
The order appealed from is predicated upon the theory that the imprudence", and the like; when the strict technical offense is
offense of slight physical injuries thru reckless negligence cannot be more accurately, "reckless imprudence resulting in homicide",
complexed with that of damage to property with multiple physical or "simple imprudence causing damages to property."
injuries thru reckless imprudence, because "misdemeanor" may not,
under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, be complexed with grave Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of
or less grave felonies. felonies, operating only to reduce the penalty therefor, then it
would be absorbed in the mitigating circumstances of Article
However, the information herein does not purport to complex the 13, specially the lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as
offense of slight physical injuries with reckless negligence with that of the one actually committed. Furthermore, tile theory would
damage to property and serious and less serious physical injuries thru require that the corresponding penalty should be fixed in
reckless imprudence. It is merely alleged in the information that, thru proportion to the penalty prescribed for each crime when
reckless negligence of the defendant, the bus driven by him hit committed wilfully. For each penalty for the wilful offense,
another bus causing upon some of its passengers serious physical there would then be a corresponding penalty for the negligent
injuries, upon others less serious physical injuries and upon still others variety. But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the
slight physical injuries, in addition to damage to property. Appellee penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto mayor maximum,
and the lower court have seemingly assumed that said information to prision correccional minimum if the wilful act would
thereby charges two offenses, namely (1) slight physical injuries thru constitute a grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for
reckless imprudence; and (2) damage to property, and serious and the latter could range all the way from prision mayor to death,
less serious physical injuries, thru reckless negligence which are according to the case. It can be seen that the actual penalty
sought to be complexed. This assumption is, in turn, apparently for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual wilful
premised upon the predicate that the effect or consequence of crime, but is set in relation to a whole class, or series, of crimes.
defendants negligence, not the negligence itself, is the principal or
vital factor in said offenses. Such predicate is not altogether accurate. Thirdly, regardless of whether the issue adverted to above should be
decided in the affirmative or in the negative the proper procedure for
As early as July 28, 1955 this Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice J.B.L. the lower court was to reserve the resolution thereof until after the
Reyes, had the occasion to state, in Quizon vs. Justice of the Peace of case has been heard on the merits, when decision is rendered
Bacolor, Pampanga (G.R. No. L-6641), that: thereon, there being no question that the court has jurisdiction and
can properly try the defendant for damage to property and serious or
less serious physical injuries thru reckless negligence. It may not be
amiss to add that the purpose of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code
in complexing several felonies resulting from a single act, or one which
is a necessary means to commit another, is to favor the accused by
prescribing the imposition of the penalty for the most serious crime,
instead of the penalties for each one of the aforesaid crimes which,
put together, may be graver than the penalty for the most serious
offense.

Fourthly, from the viewpoint both of trial practices and justice, it is, to
say the least, doubtful whether the prosecution should split the action
against the defendant, by filing against him several informations,
namely, one for damage to property and serious and less serious
physical injuries, thru, reckless negligence, before the court of first
instance, and another for slight physical injuries thru reckless
negligence, before the justice of the peace of municipal court. One
thing is, however, certain. Such splitting of the action would work
unnecessary inconvenience to the administration of justice in general
and to the accused in particular, for it would require the presentation
of substantially the same evidence before two different courts, the
municipal court and the court of first instance. Worse, still, in the event
of conviction in the municipal court and appeal to the court of first
instance, said evidence would still have to be introduced once more
in the latter court.

Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby set aside and the case
remanded to the lower court for trial on the merits and the rendition of
the judgment that the facts proven and the applicable law may
warrant, with the costs of this instance against the defendant-
appellee, It is so ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala,


Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar and Sanchez, JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1On August 23, 1961.

2On January 18, 1962.

3On March 6, 1962.


Republic of the Philippines After trial, the City Court rendered a verdict of conviction thus:
SUPREME COURT
Manila In the case at bar, there appears no cogent or
sufficient reason for the accused not to lend aid on the
FIRST DIVISION spot to the fatally injured victim of the accident. As
such, applying the foregoing provisions the next
G.R. No. L-36957 September 28, 1984 penalty next higher in degree is prision correccional in
its medium and maximum period shall be followed.
ANICETO IBABAO, petitioner, Furthermore, the heirs of the deceased are lawfully
vs. entitled to indemnity and moral damages.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the herein accused is hereby
pronounced guilty beyond rational doubt of the
Wenceslao E. Ibabao for petitioner. offense charged. And applying the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, said accused is hereby sentenced to
undergo a prison term of from one year eight months
The Solicitor General for respondents.
and twenty days of prision correccional as minimum
to four years, two months and one day of prision
correccional as maximum, and to pay the costs, with
accessories prescribed by law.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
Said accused is further sentenced to indemnify the
A Petition for Review on certiorari of the Decision of the then Court of heirs of the deceased in the sum of Six Thousand Pesos
Appeals, in CA-G.R. No. 12784-CR, increasing the penalty imposed on (P6,000.00), plus moral damages in the sum of Two
petitioner in People of the Philippines vs. Aniceto Ibabao, for Homicide Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00), with subsidiary
thru Reckless Imprudence, for his failure to lend aid to the victim. imprisonment in case of insolvency in accordance with
Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code. 1
Before the City Court of Davao, in Criminal Case No. 3091C, petitioner
was charged with Homicide thru Reckless Imprudence. The Upon appeal, the then Court of Appeals modified the aforecited
Information did not allege that the accused had failed to lend on the Decision by increasing the penalty as follows:
spot to the injured person such help as was in his hands to give.
However, we notice that the decision a quo only
Among the witnesses presented by the prosecution was Jose awards the amount of P6,000.00 as indemnity.
Patalinghog, Jr., a bystander, who testified that on April 30, 1967, at Following the doctrine laid down in the cases of People
about 11:00 p.m., while he was at Bankerohan terminal, he clearly saw vs. Pantoja, L-19793, October 11, 1968 and People vs.
an owner-type jeep bump a person; that the said jeep did not stop; Ompad, et al. L-23513, January 31, 1969, the same
that upon request of a security guard, he gave chase, wrote down should be increased to P12,000. 00.
the plate No. 57675, overtook it, and recognized the driver as the
petitioner, and thereafter reported the incident to the Matina Police
The imposable penalty is prision correccional in its
Sub-Station.
medium and maximum periods (Article 365, Revised
Penal Code). Considering that appellant failed to stop
For his part, petitioner presented two witnesses in support of his and give aid to the victim, the penalty should be one
defense of alibi. degree higher which is prision mayor in its minimum and
medium periods (R.A. 1790). Applying the grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in
Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty should be its medium and maximum periods; if it would have
from three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty one (21) constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto
days of prision correccional as minimum, to seven (7) mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed.
years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision mayor.
The P2,000.00 moral damages is hereby eliminated xxx xxx xxx
considering that the same is already included in the
P12,000.00 indemnity. No subsidiary imprisonment in In the imposition of these penalties, the courts shall
case of insolvency. (Republic Act No. 5465). exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the
rules prescribed in article sixty-four.
WHEREFORE, modified as indicated above, the
appealed decision is hereby affirmed at appellant's The provisions contained in this article shall not be
Costs. 2 applicable:

Before us now, petitioner has interposed this appeal by certiorari 1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to
praying for the modification of the penalty. Subsequently, he filed a or lower than those provided in the first two paragraphs
Motion for New Trial based on alleged newly discovered evidence, of this article, in which case the courts shall impose the
particularly, the recantation by prosecution eyewitness Jose penalty next lower in degree than that which should be
Patalinghog. imposed, in the period which they may deem proper to
apply.
The legal issues raised are: 1) whether or not the failure of petitioner to
lend aid to his victim justifies the imposition of the penalty next higher 2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with
in degree to that provided for in paragraph 2 of Article 365, as violation of the Automobile Law, the death of a person
amended, of the Revised Penal Code even though such shall be caused, in which case the defendant shall be
circumstance was not alleged in the Information; and 2) whether or punished by prision correccional in its medium and
not Patalinghog's affidavit of recantation is "newly discovered maximum periods.
evidence" warranting new trial. The pertinent provision of Article 365 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, reads:
xxx xxx xxx

Art. 365. Imprudence and negligence. Any person


The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for
who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act
in this article shall be imposed upon the offender who
which, had it been intentional, would constitute a
fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such help
grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in
as may be in his hands to give. (As amended by Rep.
its maximum period to prision correccional in its
Act No. 1790).
medium period; if it would have constituted a less
grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its
Petitioner submits that the last paragraph of the aforequoted Article
minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it
365 is not applicable to offenses under paragraph "2" of the same
would have constituted a light felony, the penalty
Article because of the opening statement that "the provisions
of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be
contained in this article shall not be applicable implying that
imposed.
paragraph "2" is in a class by itself and is not affected by the rest of the
provisions of the same Article
Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence,
shall commit an act which would otherwise constitute a
The argument is flawed. The proviso that "the provisions contained in reason or another, for such a rule would make solemn trials a mockery
this article shall not be applicable" clearly refers to the preceding and place the investigation of truth at the mercy of unscrupulous
paragraphs. Paragraphs "1" and "2" are exceptions to the application witnesses. Affidavits of retraction can be easily secured from poor and
of the said preceding paragraphs under the circumstances ignorant witnesses usually for a monetary consideration. Recanted
mentioned. The last paragraph on failure to lend aid on the spot testimony is exceedingly unreliable. There is always the probability that
necessarily applies to all situations envisioned in the said Article it may later be repudiated. So courts are wary or reluctant to allow a
whenever there is an injured party. new trial based on retracted testimony.

We find merit in petitioner's contention, however, that the increased WHEREFORE, the penalty imposed by respondent Appellate Court is
penalty is inapplicable to him because the failure to give aid to the hereby modified and petitioner-accused is hereby sentenced, without
injured on the spot has not been alleged in the Information. So far as regard to the rules prescribed in Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code
we have been able to ascertain, this question has not been definitely as mandated by Article 365 of the same Code, to suffer an
passed upon by this Court. But, we agree with the then Court of indeterminate sentence of two (2) years and four (4) months of prision
Appeals when it ruled in People vs. Beduya 3 that "the failure to render correccional as minimum, to four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1)
assistance, constitutes a qualifying circumstances because the day, also of prision correccional as maximum; to indemnify the
presence thereof raises the penalty by one degree (like treachery offended party in the sum of P30,000.00, and to pay the costs.
which qualifies homicide to murder). The same must be alleged in the
information to apprise the defendant of this charge unlike an ordinary SO ORDERED.
aggravating circumstance which even if not alleged in the
information, can be taken into account if proved at the trial without Teehankee (Chairman), Plana, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr. and De la Fuente,
objection. JJ., concur.

We are neither inclined to consider such failure to lend assistance as a


generic aggravating circumstance that would justify the imposition of
the penalty in its maximum period, since it is not an aggravating
circumstance listed in Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code.

Coming now to the Affidavit of recantation of Jose Patalinghog, Jr.,


suffice it to state that at this stage of the proceeding, the same
cannot be considered as newly discovered evidence to warrant new
trial. In the first place, the Affidavit was thought of only after this
petition was initially denied for lack of merit. Secondly, as has been
the consistent ruling of this Court recantations should be taken with
great caution. The reason is that if new trial should be granted at such
instance where an interested party succeeds in inducing some of the
witnesses to vary their testimony outside of court after trial, there would
be no end to every litigation. 4 As held in People vs. Saliling, et al., 5

Affidavits of retraction executed by witnesses who had previously


testified in court will not be countenanced for the purpose of securing
a new trial. It would be a dangerous rule for courts to reject
testimonies solemnly taken before courts of justice simply because the
witnesses who had given them later on change their mind for one