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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 158996. November 14, 2008.]

SPOUSES FREDELICTO FLORES (deceased) and FELICISIMA FLORES, petitioners, vs. SPOUSES
DOMINADOR PINEDA and VIRGINIA SACLOLO, and FLORENCIO, CANDIDA, MARTA, GODOFREDO,
BALTAZAR and LUCENA, all surnamed PINEDA, as heirs of the deceased TERESITA S. PINEDA, and
UNITED DOCTORS MEDICAL CENTER, INC., respondents.

Civil Law; Negligence; Medical Negligence; A medical is a type of claim to redress a wrong
committed by a medical professional, that has caused bodily harm to or the death of a patient; Elements
Involved in a Medical Negligence Case; A physician is expected to use at least the same level of care that
any other reasonably competent doctor would use under the same circumstances; Breach of duty occurs
when the physician fails to comply with these professional standards. - A medical negligence case is a
type of claim to redress a wrong committed by a medical professional, that has caused bodily harm to or
the death of a patient. There are four elements involved in a medical negligence case, namely: duty,
breach, injury, and proximate causation. Duty refers to the standard of behavior which imposes
restrictions on one's conduct. The standard in turn refers to the amount of competence associated with
the proper discharge of the profession. A physician is expected to use at least the same level of care that
any other reasonably competent doctor would use under the same circumstances. Breach of duty occurs
when the physician fails to comply with these professional standards. If injury results to the patient as a
result of this breach, the physician is answerable for negligence.

Same; Same; Same; To successfully pursue a claim, the plaintiff must prove by preponderance of
evidence that, one, the physician either failed to do something which a reasonable prudent health care
provider would have done, or that he did something that a reasonably prudent provider would not have
done and two, the failure or action caused injury to the patient; Expert testimony is therefore essential. -
As in any civil action, the burden to prove the existence of the necessary elements rests with the plaintiff.
To successfully pursue a claim, the plaintiff must prove by preponderance of evidence that, one, the
physician either failed to do something which a reasonably prudent health care provider would have
done, or that he did something that a reasonably prudent provider would not have done; and two, the
failure or action caused injury to the patient. Expert testimony is therefore essential since the factual
issue of whether a physician or surgeon has exercised the requisite degree of skill and care in the
treatment of his patient is generally a matter of expert opinion.

Same; Same; Same; If a patient suffers from some disability that increases the magnitude of risk
to him, that disability must be taken into account so long as it is or should have been known to the
physician. - Taken together, we find that reasonable prudence would have shown that diabetes and its
complications were foreseeable harm that should have been taken into consideration by the petitioner
spouses. If a patient suffers from some disability that increases the magnitude of risk to him, that
disability must be taken into account so long as it is or should have been known to the physician. And
when the patient is exposed to an increased risk, it is incumbent upon the physician to take
commensurate and adequate precautions.

Same; Same; Same; The critical and clinching factor in a medical negligence case is proof of the
causal connection between the negligence which the evidence established and the plaintiff's injuries;
Causation must be proven within a reasonable medical probability based upon competent expert
testimony. - the critical and clinching factor in a medical negligence case is proof of the causal connection
between the negligence which the evidence established and the plaintiff's injuries; the plaintiff must
plead and prove not only that he had been injured and defendant has been at fault, but also that the
defendant's fault caused the injury. A verdict in a malpractice action cannot be based on speculation or
conjecture. Causation must be proven within a reasonable medical probability based upon competent
expert testimony.

Same; Same; Damages; The settled rule is that a plaintiff is entitled to be compensated for
proven pecuniary loss. - Both the trial and the appellate court awarded actual damages as compensation
for the pecuniary loss the respondents suffered. The loss was presented in terms of the hospital bills and
expenses the respondents incurred on account of Teresita's confinement and death. The settled rule is
that a plaintiff is entitled to be compensated for proven pecuniary loss. This proof the respondents
successfully presented. Thus, we affirm the award of actual damages of P36,000.00 representing the
hospital expenses the patient incurred.

Same; Same; Same; Article 2206 of the Civil Code allows the recovery of moral damages in case
of death caused by a quasi-delict and enumerates the spouse, legitimate or illegitimate ascendants or
descendants as the persons entitled thereto. - The same article allows the recovery of moral damages in
case of death caused by a quasi-delict and enumerates the spouse, legitimate or illegitimate ascendants
or descendants as the persons entitled thereto. Moral damages are designed to compensate the
claimant for the injury suffered, that is, for the mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings which
the respondents herein must have surely felt with the unexpected loss of their daughter. We affirm the
appellate court's award of P400,000.00 by way of moral damages to the respondents.

Same; Same; Same; Damages; Exemplary Damages. The Supreme Court similarly affirm the
grant of exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the
public good. Because of the petitioner spouses' negligence in subjecting Teresita to an operation without
first recognizing and addressing her diabetic condition, the appellate court awarded exemplary damages
to the respondents in the amount of P100,000.00. Public policy requires such imposition to suppress the
wanton acts of an offender. We therefore affirm the CA's award as an example to the medical profession
and to stress that the public good requires stricter measures to avoid the repetition of the type of
medical malpractice that happened in this case
SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 174641. November 11, 2008.]

NATIONAL MINES and ALLIED WORKERS UNION (NAMAWU), petitioner, vs. MARCOPPER MINING
CORPORATION, respondent.

Labor Law; Court does not agree with National Mines and Allied Workers Unions (NAMAWUs)
position that the illegal strike case between it and MARCOPPER CA-G.R. SP No. 51059 is an entirely
separate and distinct case not connected with the case under consideration; If they differ at all, the
difference lies only in the grounds and circumstances of termination. - We state at the outset that we do
not agree with NAMAWU's position that the illegal strike case between it and MARCOPPER CA-G.R. SP
No. 51059; later, this Court's G.R. No. 143282, July 12, 2000) is "an entirely separate and distinct case
not connected with the case under consideration." In the first place, both the previous and the present
cases are between the same parties NAMAWU and MARCOPPER. Both cases refer to termination of
employment and its consequences. In fact, the payment of separation pay that NAMAWU seeks in the
present case was considered by the NLRC in its decision in the illegal strike case, although the award was
stricken out by the CA when the illegal strike case was brought to it for review. Thus, the two cases are
intimately intertwined in the consideration made by the tribunals a quo as well as in point of time as our
discussions below will show. If they differ at all, the difference lies only in the grounds and circumstances
of termination since the illegality of NAMAWU's strike of February 27, 1995 is not under consideration in
the present case, having been laid to rest by the final and executory decision of this Court of July 12,
2000.

Same; Under the sequence of rulings, the Labor Arbiter effectively restored in the environmental
incident case the same separation pay award that the Court of Appeals (CA) struck off from the National
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) decision in the illegal strike case. - The environmental incident
referred to in this illegal strike ruling is the same environmental incident that gave rise to the present
complaint (In Re: Dispute in Marcopper Mining, NLRC Case No. 106-95) that NAMAWU filed on April 10,
1996. While the NLRC had not yet ruled on the illegal strike case when the present environmental
incident complaint was filed, the Labor Arbiter's ruling on the latter complaint came very much later, in
fact long after both the NLRC and the CA had ruled on the illegal strike case. The NLRC denied the motion
for reconsideration of its November 11, 1996 decision in the illegal strike case on June 11, 1997, while
the CA issued its decision on the same case on May 28, 1999. The Labor Arbiter issued his decision on
the present environmental incident case only on March 14, 2000. Under this sequence of rulings, the
Labor Arbiter effectively restored in the environmental incident case the same separation pay award
that the CA struck off from the NLRC decision in the illegal strike case. In effect, the Labor Arbiter
disregarded the CA ruling and actually reversed it.

Same; The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) was already burdened with knowledge
of the final and executor decision of no less than the Court when the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) issued its decision in the present case dismissing the MARCOPPER appeal for failure
to file an appeal bond for the already dismissed workers. - as respondent MARCOPPER alleged in its
submissions, is the fact that MARCOPPER's appeal to the NLRC was filed on April 10, 2000. The appeal
was supported by a Motion to Dispense with the Filing of an Appeal Bond with respect to 615 NAMAWU
members who were former MARCOPPER employees who had been dismissed for participation in an
illegal strike. The NLRC did not directly resolve MARCOPPER's motion but simply dismissed the appeal
two years later (or on February 28, 2002). In relation with this dismissal date, we find it significant that
the CA issued its decision declaring the NAMAWU strike illegal and decreeing the dismissal of NAMAWU
officers and members as early as May 28, 1999 in CA G.R. SP No. 51059. Our own Decision on the illegal
strike case came on July 12, 2000 and was entered in the Book of Entries of Judgment on December 27,
2000. Thus, the NLRC was already burdened with knowledge of the final and executory decision of no less
than this Court (confirming the March 7, 1995 dismissal of the striking NAMAWU members) when the
NLRC issued its decision in the present case dismissing the MARCOPPER appeal for failure to file an
appeal bond for the already dismissed workers. Thus, like the Labor Arbiter below, the NLRC in effect
sought to negate what a higher tribunal, this Court no less, had already affirmed and confirmed, i.e., the
termination of employment of 615 NAMAWU members.

Same; When the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) dismissed MARCOPPERs appeal
for failure to file the requisite appeal bond corresponding to the 615 National Mines and Allied Workers
Union (NAMAWU) members, the termination of employment of these NAMAWU members was already a
settled matter that the NLRC was in no position to disregard. - In the context of the NLRC appeal bond
that is directly at issue, MARCOPPER had every reason to claim in its April 10, 2000 appeal to the NLRC
that it should be excused from filing an appeal bond with respect to the NAMAWU members who were
no longer company employees. The CA decision decreeing the termination of employment of those
involved in the illegal strike case had already been issued at that time. We subsequently ruled on the
same issue during the time the environmental incident case was pending before the NLRC. Thus, when
the NLRC dismissed MARCOPPER's appeal for failure to file the requisite appeal bond corresponding to
the 615 NAMAWU members, the termination of employment of these NAMAWU members was already
a settled matter that the NLRC was in no position to disregard. In this light, the CA was correct in
reversing the dismissal of MARCOPPER's appeal for failure to file an appeal bond. Pursued to its logical
end, the CA conclusions should lead to the dismissal of NAMAWU's complaint with respect to its 615
previously dismissed members.

Same; Suspension of Operation; In Labor Code terms, the cancellation of the Employees
Compensation Commission (ECC) on June 21, 1996 amounted to a company closure governed by Article
283 of the Labor Code the provision that governs the relationship of employers and employees in
closure situations. - Separately from this Order, the DENR Secretary ordered on June 21, 1996 the
cancellation of MARCOPPER's ECC without which MARCOPPER could not continue to undertake its
mining operations. Thus, as of that date (June 21, 1996), the temporary suspension of operations that
started on April 12, 1996 became permanent so that MARCOPPER did not have to wait for the end of the
six-month suspension of operations before the services of the three employees were deemed
terminated. In Labor Code terms, the cancellation of the ECC on June 21, 1996 amounted to a company
closure governed by Article 283 of the Labor Code the provision that governs the relationship of
employers and employees in closure situations.

Same; Collective Bargaining Agreements; Specifically, there was no ruling or directive from the
DOLE that the environmental incident was a workplace health and safety concern that required a
suspension of operation. There is likewise nothing in the laws applicable to pollution, specifically, P.D. No.
984 and P.D. No. 1586 and their implementing rules, that speak of the consequences of a DENR-ordered
suspension of operations on employment relationships. Neither does the CBA between MARCOPPER and
NAMAWU provide for the consequences of a suspension of operation due to environmental causes.
Under the circumstances, we can only conclude that the general "no work, no pay" rule should prevail
with respect to employees' wages during the suspension period, subject to existing CBA terms on leave
credits and similar benefits of employees. - The rule that NAMAWU cites in its claim for wages is Rule X,
Book III, Section 3 (b) of the Rules and Regulations implementing the Labor Code. This rule, however,
specifically relates to suspension of operations due to health and safety concerns. It states: Enforcement
power on health and safety of workers. (a) The Regional Director may likewise order stoppage of work
or suspension of operation of any unit or department of an establishment when non-compliance with
the law, safety order or implementing rules and regulations poses grave and imminent danger to the
health and safety of workers in the workplace. (b) . . . In case the violation is attributable to the fault of
the employer, he shall pay the employees concerned their salaries or wages during the period of such
stoppage of work or suspension of operation. While the mine tailing leakage and pollution of the Boac
River cannot but affect the health and safety of those in the MARCOPPER vicinity, particularly its
employees, we find that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Director at
whose initiative a suspension of operation must originate for the above-quoted provision to apply did
not act as envisioned by the above rule. Specifically, there was no ruling or directive from the DOLE that
the environmental incident was a workplace health and safety concern that required a suspension of
operation. There is likewise nothing in the laws applicable to pollution, specifically, P.D. No. 984 and P.D.
No. 1586 and their implementing rules, that speak of the consequences of a DENR-ordered suspension
of operations on employment relationships. Neither does the CBA between MARCOPPER and NAMAWU
provide for the consequences of a suspension of operation due to environmental causes. Under the
circumstances, we can only conclude that the general "no work, no pay" rule should prevail with respect
to employees' wages during the suspension period, subject to existing CBA terms on leave credits and
similar benefits of employees.

Same; Same; Termination of Employment; Separation Pay; The termination of employment date,
for separation pay purposes, should be computed from June 21, 1996 and not from October 12, 1996. -
Because the initial suspension of operations that the DENR imposed eventually turned into an
involuntary closure as discussed above, Article 283 of the Labor Code comes into play entitling the three
remaining employees the payment of separation pay computed under the terms of that Article. The
termination of employment date, for separation pay purposes, should be computed from June 21, 1996
and not from October 12, 1996 (or six months from the April 12, 1996 suspension of operation date);
June 21, 1996 must be the closure date as it is from this date that MARCOPPER, by law, ceased to have
any authority to conduct its mining operations.
SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 173248. November 3, 2008.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DANTE NUEVA y SAMARO, accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Murder; Evidence; Witnesses; The credibility of witnesses is a matter best left to
the determination of the trial court because it had the unique advantage of having personally observed
the witnesses, their demeanor, conduct, and attitude. - Time and again, we have ruled that the credibility
of witnesses is a matter best left to the determination of the trial court because it had the unique
advantage of having personally observed the witnesses, their demeanor, conduct, and attitude. As a
consequence, we have considered the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses to be
binding except when the lower court had patently overlooked facts and circumstances of weight and
influence that could alter the results of the case.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Motives; In the absence of evidence showing any reason or motive for
the prosecution witness to perjure himself or herself, Court can conclude that no improper motive exists
and his or her testimony is worthy of full faith and credit. - We carefully scrutinized the records of this
case and found no reason to disbelieve Alfonso's straightforward narration of the events surrounding the
death of the victim. Nor did we see anything on record showing any improper motive that would lead
Alfonso to testify as he did. In fact, in his testimony of July 31, 2001, he categorically stated that he had
no misunderstanding with the appellant and his two (2) co-accused prior to the stabbing incident. Thus,
we adhere to the established rule that in the absence of evidence showing any reason or motive for the
prosecution witness to perjure himself or herself, we can conclude that no improper motive exists and
his or her testimony is worthy of full faith and credit. Moreover, Alfonso testified that he knew the
appellant prior to the stabbing incident for more or less four (4) years already; hence there could not
have been any doubt regarding his positive identification of the appellant as one of the assailants.

Same; Same; Same; Denial and Alibi; Denial must be supported by strong evidence of non-
culpability; otherwise, it is purely self-serving; For the defense of alibi to prosper, appellant should have
proven that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime when it was
committed; By physical impossibility, Court refers to the distance and the facility of access between the
situs criminis and the place where he says he was when the crime was committed. - To be believed,
denial must be supported by strong evidence of non-culpability; otherwise, it is purely self-serving. Alibi,
on the other hand, is one of the weakest defenses in a criminal case and should be rejected when the
identity of the accused is sufficiently and positively established by the prosecution. For the appellant's
defense of alibi to prosper, he should have proven that it was physically impossible for him to have been
at the scene of the crime when it was committed. By physical impossibility we refer to the distance and
the facility of access between the situs criminis and the place where he says he was when the crime was
committed.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Positive identification, made categorically and consistently, almost
always prevails over alibi and denial. - In a long line of cases, this Court has held that positive
identification, made categorically and consistently, almost always prevails over alibi and denial. These
defenses, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving and are
undeserving of weight in law. We see no reason in this case to deviate from these established rules.
Same; Same; Qualifying Circumstances; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; Treachery is not
presumed; The circumstances surrounding the murder must be proved as indubitably as the crime itself;
Two Conditions to Constitute Treachery. - Treachery is not presumed. The circumstances surrounding the
murder must be proved as indubitably as the crime itself. There is treachery when the offender commits
any of the crimes against persons, employing means, method or forms which tend directly and especially
to insure its execution, without risk to the offender, arising from the defense that the offended party
might make. To constitute treachery, two conditions must concur: (1) the employment of means,
methods or manner of execution that would ensure the offender's safety from any defense or retaliatory
act on the part of the offended party; and (2) the offender's deliberate or conscious choice of the
means, method or manner of execution.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Treachery cannot be considered when there is no evidence that the
accused had resolved to commit the crime prior to the moment of the killing, or that the death of the
victim was the result of premeditation, calculation or reflection. - In People v. Antonio, we held that it is
not only the sudden attack that qualifies a killing into murder. There must be a conscious and deliberate
adoption of the mode of attack for a specific purpose. Likewise, in People v. Catbagan, we ruled that
treachery cannot be considered when there is no evidence that the accused had resolved to commit the
crime prior to the moment of the killing, or that the death of the victim was the result of premeditation,
calculation or reflection.

Same; Same; Same; Abuse of Superior Strength; It is present whenever there is inequality of
forces between the victim and the aggressor so that the superiority of strength is notoriously
advantageous for the latter who took advantage of this superiority in committing the crime. - We agree,
however, that abuse of superior strength attended the killing of the victim. To take advantage of superior
strength means to use purposely excessive force, or force out of proportion to the means of defense
available to the person attacked. The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength depends on
the age, size and strength of the parties. It is present whenever there is inequality of forces between the
victim and the aggressor so that the superiority of strength is notoriously advantageous for the latter
who took advantage of this superiority in committing the crime.

Same; Same; Same; Evident Premeditation; Elements for Evident Premeditation to be


Appreciated. - For evident premeditation to be appreciated, the following elements must be established:
(1) the time when the accused determined to commit the crime; (2) an overt act manifestly indicating
that the accused has clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between decision and
execution to allow the accused to reflect on the consequences of his act. Significantly, the prosecution
did not even attempt to prove the presence of these elements; Alfonso, the principal eyewitness, was
not even aware of any prior incident or any possible reason that could have led the appellant and his co-
accused to attack the victim.

Same; Same; Conspiracy; Proof of the agreement, in conspiracy, need not rest on direct evidence
as the same may be inferred from the conduct of the parties indicating a common understanding among
them with respect to the commission of the offense. - A conspiracy exists when two or more persons
come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. Proof of the
agreement need not rest on direct evidence as the same may be inferred from the conduct of the parties
indicating a common understanding among them with respect to the commission of the offense. It is not
necessary to show that two or more persons met together and entered into an explicit agreement
setting out the details of an unlawful scheme or the details by which an illegal objective is to be carried
out. It may be deduced from the mode and manner by which the offense was perpetrated or inferred
from the acts of the accused showing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action and
community of interest.

Same; Damages; To be entitled to actual damages, it is necessary to prove the actual amount of
loss with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence
obtainable to the injured party. - The RTC awarded the amount of P56,112.00 to the victim's heirs as
actual damages. It appears that out of the said amount, only P55,438.00 was duly supported by receipts.
To be entitled to actual damages, it is necessary to prove the actual amount of loss with a reasonable
degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable to the injured
party.
SECOND DIVISION

[A.M. No. MTJ-08-1721. October 24, 2008.]

(Formerly A.M. No. IPI-03-1464-MTJ)

MICHAEL GAMALIEL PLATA, complainant, vs. JUDGE LIZABETH G. TORRES, respondent.

Courts; Judges; Speedy Disposition of Cases; As a general principle, rules prescribing the time
within which certain acts must be done or certain proceedings taken, are considered absolutely
indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and to the orderly and speedy discharge of official
business. - The Court agrees with the findings of OCA Consultant Quimbo. As a general principle, rules
prescribing the time within which certain acts must be done or certain proceedings taken, are
considered absolutely indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and to the orderly and speedy
discharge of official business. By their very nature, these rules are regarded as mandatory. The 1987
Constitution requires trial judges to dispose of the court's business promptly and to decide cases and
matters within three (3) months from the filing of the last pleading, brief or memorandum. In the
disposition of cases, members of the bench have always been exhorted to strictly adhere to this rule to
prevent delay, a major culprit in the erosion of public faith and confidence in our justice system. The
speedy disposition of cases by judges is in fact unequivocally directed by Canon 6 of the Code of Judicial
Ethics: "He should be prompt in disposing of all matters submitted to him, remembering that justice
delayed is often justice denied." In the present case, it took respondent Judge more than five (5) years
before she resolved a simple motion to withdraw the information against the complainant. This is
indicative of the gross inefficiency that undermines the people's faith in the judiciary and reinforces in
the mind of the litigants the impression that the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow. We cannot
allow this to happen, particularly at a time when the clogging of the court dockets is one of the main
complaints against the judiciary.

Same; Same; Same; If it becomes unavoidable for a judge to render a decision or resolve a
matter beyond the reglementary period, he or she may always seek additional time by simply filing a
request for extension with us, citing the good reasons for the request. - While the respondent Judge's
justifications for the delay in her sala are not without merit, the circumstances she cited are not
sufficient to exonerate her from liability. As we have repeatedly stressed, if it becomes unavoidable for a
judge to render a decision or resolve a matter beyond the reglementary period, he or she may always
seek additional time by simply filing a request for extension with us, citing the good reasons for the
request. The Court, cognizant of the heavy caseload of some judges and mindful of the difficulties they
encounter in the discharge of their adjudicatory duties, has always been liberal in recognizing
meritorious grounds and in granting these requests.

Same; Same; A resolution of the Supreme Court requiring that specific acts be done or
undertaken with respect to the performance of judicial duties, is not a mere request but a directive that
should be complied with promptly and completely. - The respondent Judge's liability for repeatedly
disregarding the orders of this Court is, however, another matter. She showed disrespect, if not actual
contempt of this Court, by her extended indifference to the resolutions requiring her to comment on the
accusations against her. A resolution of this Court requiring that specific acts be done or undertaken with
respect to the performance of judicial duties, is not a mere request but a directive that should be
complied with promptly and completely. It took the respondent Judge the whole of one year (from
November 2005 to November 2006) to respond to our "show cause" order. This kind of resistance to our
orders betrays not only a recalcitrant streak in character, but also a direct disrespect and indifference to
this Court that we cannot tolerate.

Same; Same; The last person to refuse to adhere to the directives of the Court, or in its stead, the
Office of the Court Administrator, is the judge himself. - The respondent Judge's extended and repeated
failure to comply with the Court's directives constitutes gross misconduct and insubordination. The last
person to refuse to adhere to the directives of the Court, or, in its stead, the Office of the Court
Administrator, is the judge himself. No position is more demanding as regards moral righteousness and
uprightness of any individual than a judge on the bench. The respondent Judge miserably failed to live
up to this expectation.
EN BANC

[G.R. No. 178024. October 17, 2008.]

LAWRENCE B. WACNANG, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FLOYDELIA R. DIASEN,


respondents.

Actions; Forum Shopping; Words and Phrases; Forum shopping is the institution of two or more
actions or proceedings involving the same parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or
successively, on the supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. - We
resolve to dismiss the petition for violation of the rules on forum shopping.

Forum shopping is the institution of two or more actions or proceedings involving the same parties for
the same cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, on the supposition that one or the other
court would make a favorable disposition. This Court has duly recognized as early as 1989 that forum
shopping has very harmful and deleterious effects on the orderly administration of justice. The practice
trifles with the courts and their processes, degrades the administration of justice, and results in the
congestion of court dockets; it opens our system to the possibility of manipulation, to uncertainties as
conflict of rulings ensues, and at least to vexation for complications other than conflict of rulings. Thus,
in 1991, we issued Circular No. 28-91 on forum shopping for application to cases filed in the Court of
Appeals and the Supreme Court, followed by Administrative Circular No. 04-94 in 1994 to include cases
filed in all courts and agencies other than the Supreme Court. Finally, we incorporated the rule on forum
shopping as Rule 7, Section 5 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, today, we have a well-
entrenched rule as guide and mandate and we have no choice but to decisively act; we have to slay the
dragon of forum shopping on sight as we see it rear its ugly head.

Same; Same; Forum shopping may come in various permutations as they apply to varied
situations at its most basic, prohibited forum shopping refers to actions involving the same issues. -
forum shopping refers "to any other action involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of
Appeals or different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency." The Court has recognized that
forum shopping may come in various permutations as they apply to varied situations. At its most basic,
however, prohibited forum shopping refers to "actions involving the same issues". We stress this
characterization since it describes the exact situation obtaining in the present case.
SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 175832. October 15, 2008.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SALVADOR SANCHEZ y ESPIRITU, accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (R.A. No. 9165); Buy-Bust
Operations; Chain of Custody Rule; Because of the built-in danger for abuse that a buy-bust operation
carries, it is governed by specific procedures on the seizure and custody of drugs, separately from the
general law procedures geared to ensure that the rights of people under criminal investigation and of the
accused facing a criminal charge are safeguarded; The required procedure on the seizure and custody of
drugs is embodied in Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of R.A. No. 9165. - A buy-bust operation is a form
of entrapment employed by peace officers to apprehend prohibited drug law violators in the act of
committing a drug-related offense. 20 Because of the built-in danger for abuse that a buy-bust operation
carries, it is governed by specific procedures on the seizure and custody of drugs, separately from the
general law procedures geared to ensure that the rights of people under criminal investigation and of
the accused facing a criminal charge are safeguarded. We expressed this concern in People v. Tan, when
we recognized that "by the very nature of anti-narcotic operations, the need for entrapment procedures,
the use of shady characters as informants, the ease with which sticks of marijuana or grams of heroin
can be planted in the pockets or hands of unsuspecting provincial hicks, and the secrecy that inevitably
shrouds all drug deals, the possibility of abuse is great. Thus, the courts have been exhorted to be extra
vigilant in trying drug cases lest an innocent person is made to suffer the unusually severe penalties for
drug offenses." The required procedure on the seizure and custody of drugs is embodied in Section 21,
paragraph 1, Article II of R.A. No. 9165

Same; Same; Same; Same; Non-compliance with the strict directive of Section 21 of R.A. No.
9165 is not necessarily fatal to the prosecutions case; but these lapses must be recognized and explained
in terms of their justifiable grounds and the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence seized must
be shown to have been preserved. - We recognize that the strict compliance with the requirements of
Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 may not always be possible under field conditions; the police operates under
varied conditions, many of them far from ideal, and cannot at all times attend to all the niceties of the
procedures in the handling of confiscated evidence. The participation of a representative from the DOJ,
the media or an elected official alone can be problematic. For this reason, the last sentence of the
implementing rules provides that "non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as
long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the
apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said
items". Thus, non-compliance with the strict directive of Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 is not necessarily
fatal to the prosecution's case; police procedures in the handling of confiscated evidence may still have
some lapses, as in the present case. These lapses, however, must be recognized and explained in terms
of their justifiable grounds and the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence seized must be shown
to have been preserved.

Same; Same; Illegal Sale of Shabu; Elements. - Under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, the
elements necessary in every prosecution for the illegal sale of shabu are: (1) the identity of the buyer
and the seller, the object and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor. Implicit in all these is the need for proof that the transaction or sale actually took place,
coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti the body of the crime whose core
is the confiscated illicit drug.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Presumption of Innocence; Words and Phrases; Proof beyond
reasonable doubt demands that unwavering exactitude be observed in establishing the corpus delicti
every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be established; In evidence, the one who offers real
evidence, such as narcotics in a trial of drug case, must account for the custody of the evidence from the
moment in which it reaches his custody until the moment in which it is offered in evidence, and such
evidence goes to the weight not to admissibility of evidence. - Proof beyond reasonable doubt demands
that unwavering exactitude be observed in establishing the corpus delicti: every fact necessary to
constitute the crime must be established. The chain of custody requirement performs this function in
buy-bust operations as it ensures that doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. In a
long line of cases, we have considered it fatal for the prosecution to fail to prove that the specimen
submitted for laboratory examination was the same one allegedly seized from the accused. Black's Law
Dictionary explains chain of custody in this wise: In evidence, the one who offers real evidence, such as
narcotics in a trial of drug case, must account for the custody of the evidence from the moment in which
it reaches his custody until the moment in which it is offered in evidence, and such evidence goes to the
weight not to admissibility of evidence. Com. V. White, 353 Mass. 409, 232 N.E.2d 335.

Same; Same; Same; Same; As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule
requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the
matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. - The recent case of Lopez v. People is
particularly instructive on how we expect the chain of custody or "movement" of the seized evidence to
be maintained and why this must be shown by evidence: As a method of authenticating evidence, the
chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to
support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include
testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is
offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and
from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the
condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the
chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no
change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession
of the same. While testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost
always impossible to obtain, an unbroken chain of custody becomes indispensable and essential when
the item of real evidence is not distinctive and is not really identifiable, or when its condition at the time
of testing or trial is critical, or when a witness has failed to observe its uniqueness. The same standard
likewise obtains in case the evidence is susceptible to alteration, tampering, contamination and even
substitution and exchange. In other words, the exhibit's level of susceptibility to fungibility, alteration or
tampering without regard to whether the same is advertent or otherwise not dictates the level of
strictness in the application of the chain of custody rule.

Same; Same; Same; Same; The venues of the physical inventory and photography of the seized
items differ and depend on whether the seizure was made by virtue of a search warrant or through a
warrantless seizure such as a buy-bust operation in seizures covered by search warrants, the physical
inventory and photograph must be conducted in the place where the search warrant was served, while in
case of warrantless seizures such as a buy-bust operation, the physical inventory and photograph shall
be conducted at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is
practicable. - The venues of the physical inventory and photography of the seized items differ and
depend on whether the seizure was made by virtue of a search warrant or through a warrantless seizure
such as a buy-bust operation.In seizures covered by search warrants, the physical inventory and
photograph must be conducted in the place where the search warrant was served. On the other hand, in
case of warrantless seizures such as a buy-bust operation, the physical inventory and photograph shall be
conducted at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is
practicable; however, nothing prevents the apprehending officer/team from immediately conducting the
physical inventory and photography of the items at the place where they were seized, as it is more in
keeping with the law's intent of preserving their integrity and evidentiary value.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Consistency with the chain of custody rule requires that the
marking of the seized items to truly ensure that they are the same items that enter the chain and are
eventually the ones offered in evidence should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator
(2) immediately upon confiscation. - What Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 and its implementing rule do not
expressly specify is the matter of "marking" of the seized items in warrantless seizures to ensure that the
evidence seized upon apprehension is the same evidence subjected to inventory and photography when
these activities are undertaken at the police station rather than at the place of arrest. Consistency with
the "chain of custody" rule requires that the "marking" of the seized items to truly ensure that they
are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence should be
done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator (2) immediately upon confiscation. This step
initiates the process of protecting innocent persons from dubious and concocted searches, and of
protecting as well the apprehending officers from harassment suits based on planting of evidence under
Section 29 and on allegations of robbery or theft.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Evidence; Words and Phrases; Marking means the placing by the
apprehending officer or the poseur buyer of his/her initials and signature on the item/s seized. - For
greater specificity, "marking" means the placing by the apprehending officer or the poseur-buyer of
his/her initials and signature on the item/s seized. If the physical inventory and photograph are made at
the nearest police station or office as allowed by the rules, the inventory and photography of the seized
items must be made in accordance with Sec. 2 of Board Resolution No. 1, Series of 2002, but in every
case, the apprehended violator or counsel must be present. Again, this is in keeping with the desired
level of integrity that the handling process requires. Thereafter, the seized items shall be placed in an
envelope or an evidence bag unless the type and quantity of the seized items require a different type of
handling and/or container. The evidence bag or container shall accordingly be signed by the handling
officer and turned over to the next officer in the chain of custody.

Same; Evidence; Witnesses; Due Process; Where the trial court simply considered the person and
past performance of the witness, and decided on this basis that he was a credible witness, rather than
look at the merits of his testimony, such act, by itself, was a major error, a violation of due process a
court must always decide on the basis of the evidence presented, not on the basis of any other
extraneous consideration not before it. - The evidentiary gap in identifying the specimen that the forensic
laboratory analyzed brings us back to where we started in analyzing the case to the presumption of
innocence that the Constitution accords the appellant. To reiterate, starting from this point, the
prosecution must proceed to establish the guilt of the accused by proof beyond reasonable doubt. To do
this, the prosecution presented its lone witness, SPO2 Sevilla, whom the lower court believed because
the witness had testified before the court before. Thus, rather than look at the merits of his testimony,
the lower court simply considered his person and past performance, and decided on this basis that he
was a credible witness. This, by itself, is a major error a violation of due process on the part of the
lower court that the appellate court apparently did not fully appreciate. A court must always decide on
the basis of the evidence presented, not on the basis of any other extraneous consideration not before
the court.

Same; Presumption of Innocence; Presumption of Regularity; Any taint of irregularity affects the
whole performance by police officers and should make the presumption of regularity in the performance
of official duties unavailable there can be no ifs and buts regarding this consequence considering the
effects of the evidentiary presumption of regularity on the constitutional presumption of innocence. - The
court apparently banked also on the presumption of regularity in the performance that a police officer
like SPO2 Sevilla enjoys in the absence of any taint of irregularity and of ill motive that would induce him
to falsify his testimony. Admittedly, the defense did not adduce any evidence showing that SPO2 Sevilla
had any motive to falsify. The regularity of the performance of his duties, however, leaves much to be
desired given the lapses in his handling of the allegedly confiscated drugs as heretofore shown. An effect
of this lapse, as we held in Lopez v. People, is to negate the presumption that official duties have been
regularly performed by the police officers. Any taint of irregularity affects the whole performance and
should make the presumption unavailable. There can be no ifs and buts regarding this consequence
considering the effect of the evidentiary presumption of regularity on the constitutional presumption of
innocence.

Same; Same; If the prosecution cannot establish, in the first place, the guilt of the accused
beyond reasonable doubt, the need for the defense to adduce evidence in its behalf in fact never arises. -
From the perspective of the defense, we cannot help but note that the evidence for the defense is far
from strong; the appellant merely denied that a buy-bust operation took place and claimed that the
evidence against him was a planted evidence. In this jurisdiction, the defense of denial or frame-up, like
alibi, has been viewed with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and is a common defense ploy in most
prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Likewise, the testimony of the other defense
witness, Nida, fails to fully corroborate the appellant's testimony due to inconsistencies in their
respective statements. These weaknesses, however, do not add any strength nor can they help the
prosecution's cause. If the prosecution cannot establish, in the first place, the appellant's guilt beyond
reasonable doubt, the need for the defense to adduce evidence in its behalf in fact never arises. Thus,
however weak the defense evidence might be, the prosecution's whole case still falls. To hark back to the
well-entrenched dictum in criminal and constitution law: the evidence for the prosecution must stand or
fall on its own weight and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the defense. Thus,
we return to the conclusion that we should acquit the accused for failure of the prosecution due the
gap-induced weaknesses of its case to prove the appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
SECOND DIVISION

[A.M. No. P-06-2165. October 10, 2008.]

(Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 05-2220-P)

DOLORES V. MOLINA and APRONIANO TIMBOL, complainants, vs. Atty. GITANJALI BONDOC, Clerk of
Court V, Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, Manila, respondent.

Administrative Law; Courts; Court Personnel; While it is our duty to investigate and determine
the truth behind every matter in complaints against judges and other court personnel, it is also our duty
to see to it that they are protected and exonerated from baseless administrative charges. - While it is our
duty to investigate and determine the truth behind every matter in complaints against judges and other
court personnel, it is also our duty to see to it that they are protected and exonerated from baseless
administrative charges. The Court will not shirk from its responsibility of imposing discipline upon erring
employees and members of the bench. At the same time, however, the Court should not hesitate to
shield them from unfounded suits that only serve to disrupt rather than promote the orderly
administration of justice. This Court will not be the instrument to destroy the reputation of any member
or staff of the Judiciary by pronouncing his or her guilt on the basis of tall tales and speculation.
SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 168448. October 8, 2008.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FAJARDO NAPUDO, accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Rape; Evidence; Sweetheart Theory; As an affirmative defense, the allegation of a
love affair must be supported by convincing proof than the self-serving assertions of the accused. - We
fully support these findings. As we emphasized in People v. Apostol, the "sweetheart" defense is a much-
abused defense. As an affirmative defense, the allegation of a love affair must be supported by
convincing proof other than the self-serving assertions of the accused. It cannot be given credence in the
absence of evidence, such as notes, gifts, pictures, mementos or other tokens independently proving its
existence; nor can it be given weight where no other witness was presented to testify that the accused
and the complainant were indeed sweethearts. The sweetheart defense is considered an uncommonly
weak defense because its presence does not automatically negate the commission of rape. The
gravamen of the crime of rape is sexual congress of a man with a woman without her consent. Hence,
notwithstanding the existence of a romantic relationship, a woman cannot be forced to engage in sexual
intercourse against her will.

Same; Same; Same; Actual resistance on the part of the victim is not essential element of rape. -
The defense likewise argued that there is no direct evidence linking AAA's suicide to the rape. That is
correct. In fact, AAA in her deathbed never mentioned any such linkage, as testified to by BBB; AAA
simply cried when asked why she drank poison. However, the lack of direct evidence does not
necessarily negate the existence of a link. The attendant circumstances in the case showed that prior to
the rape, AAA was a normally happy lass. As testified to by BBB, AAA's condition after the rape showed a
person who had lost her zest for life. More importantly, the suicide came on November 15, 1999, a mere
eighteen days after she completed her court testimony. This timing, we believe, speaks for itself. The
defense lastly capitalized on the victim's alleged lack of tenacious resistance to the sexual intercourse.
Such lack of resistance does not make the sexual congress voluntary; neither is it necessary for a victim
to resist to the point of inviting death or physical injuries for rape to exist. It is sufficient if the sexual
intercourse took place against the victim's will, or that she yielded to a genuine apprehension of great
harm. What the victim should adequately prove is the use of force or intimidation by the rapist, which
the prosecution adequately did in this case. Actual resistance on the part of the victim is not an essential
element of rape. Force and intimidation are likewise relative terms depending on the age, size, strength
and other external factors such as relationship. Both must be viewed in light of the complainant's
judgment and perception. Force needs not to be irresistible, nor should it be identified with violence, as
all that is required is that the force exerted be sufficient to consummate the evil design. Neither is proof
of injury indispensable in prosecutions for rape; the presence of injury only confirms that a violent
assault took place. Intimidation, on the other hand, produces fear that if the victim does not yield to the
lustful demands of her attacker, something would happen to her at that point or thereafter.
SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 172933. October 6, 2008.]

JESUS E. VERGARA, petitioner, vs. HAMMONIA MARITIME SERVICES, INC. and ATLANTIC MARINE LTD.,
respondents.

Labor Law; Seafarers; Disability Benefits; Philippine Overseas Employment Administration


(POEA); Standard Employment Contracts; Entitlement to disability benefits by seaman on overseas work
is a matter governed, not only by medical findings but, by law and by contract by contract, Department
Order No. 4, series of 2000 of the Department of Labor and Employment (the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA) Standard Employment Contract) and the parties Collective
Bargaining Agreement (CBA) bind the seaman and his employer to each other. - Entitlement to disability
benefits by seamen on overseas work is a matter governed, not only by medical findings but, by law and
by contract. The material statutory provisions are Articles 191 to 193 under Chapter VI (Disability
Benefits) of the Labor Code, in relation with Rule X of the Rules and Regulations Implementing Book IV of
the Labor Code. By contract, Department Order No. 4, series of 2000 of the Department of Labor and
Employment (the POEA Standard Employment Contract) and the parties' CBA bind the seaman and his
employer to each other. By way of background, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
through the POEA, has simplified the determination of liability for work-related death, illness or injury in
the case of Filipino seamen working on foreign ocean-going vessels. Every seaman and the vessel owner
(directly or represented by a local manning agency) are required to execute the POEA Standard
Employment Contract as a condition sine qua non prior to the deployment for overseas work. The POEA
Standard Employment Contract is supplemented by the CBA between the owner of the vessel and the
covered seamen.

Same; Same; Same; Same; With the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
Standard Employment Contract, there is no doubt that in case of any unresolved dispute, claim or
grievance arising out of or in connection with the contract, Philippine laws shall apply. - A notable feature
of the POEA Standard Employment Contract is Section 31 its provision on the Applicable Law. It
provides: Any unresolved dispute, claim or grievance arising out of or in connection with this Contract,
including the annexes shall be governed by the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, international
conventions, treaties and convenants where the Philippines is a signatory. Through this provision, the
DOLE skirted any possible issue regarding the law that should govern the terms and conditions of
employment of Filipino seamen working in ocean-going vessels that have no significant Philippine
presence and that hardly see Philippine waters. Thus, with the POEA Standard Employment Contract,
there is no doubt that in case of any unresolved dispute, claim or grievance arising out of or in
connection with the contract, Philippine laws shall apply.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; In real terms, the shipowner an employer operating outside
Philippine jurisdiction does not subject itself to Philippine laws, except to the extent that it concedes the
coverage and application of these laws under the Philippine Overseas Employment Adminstration (POEA)
Standard Employment Contract. - In real terms, this means that the shipowner an employer operating
outside Philippine jurisdiction does not subject itself to Philippine laws, except to the extent that it
concedes the coverage and application of these laws under the POEA Standard Employment Contract.
On the matter of disability, the employer is not subject to Philippine jurisdiction in terms of being
compelled to contribute to the State Insurance Fund that, under the Labor Code, Philippine employers
are obliged to support. (This Fund, administered by the Employees' Compensation Commission, is the
source of work-related compensation payments for work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses.) Instead,
the POEA Standard Employment Contract provides its own system of disability compensation that
approximates (and even exceeds) the benefits provided under Philippine law. The standard terms agreed
upon, as above pointed out, are intended to be read and understood in accordance with Philippine laws,
particularly, Articles 191 to 193 of the Labor Code and the applicable implementing rules and regulations
in case of any dispute, claim or grievance.

Same; Same; Same; A temporary total disability only becomes permanent when so declared by
the company physician within the periods he is allowed to do so, or upon the expiration of the maximum
240-day medical treatment period without a declaration of either fitness to work or the existence of a
permanent disability. - A temporary total disability only becomes permanent when so declared by the
company physician within the periods he is allowed to do so, or upon the expiration of the maximum
240-day medical treatment period without a declaration of either fitness to work or the existence of a
permanent disability. In the present case, while the initial 120-day treatment or temporary total
disability period was exceeded, the company-designated doctor duly made a declaration well within the
extended 240-day period that the petitioner was fit to work. Viewed from this perspective, both the
NLRC and CA were legally correct when they refused to recognize any disability because the petitioner
had already been declared fit to resume his duties. In the absence of any disability after his temporary
total disability was addressed, any further discussion of permanent partial and total disability, their
existence, distinctions and consequences, becomes a surplusage that serves no useful purpose.
EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-26112. October 6, 2008.]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, MIGUEL TOLENTINO, SR., ZOILA DE CHAVEZ, DEOGRACIAS MERCADO,
MARIANO PONTOJA, GUILLERMO MERCADO, AGAPITO REYES, ISIDRO BESAS, LEONA LACHICA, ELENO
MACALINDONG, DIONISIO MACALINDONG, DOROTEO SARA, JOAQUIN CAUANCERAN, VIRGILIO
AGUILAR, FELIX DUMAN, PIO BACULI, ANTERO APOLINAR, FLAVIANO CURZADO, ROSENDO IBAEZ,
ARCADIO GONZALES, FELIX BORJA, and BLAS BASCO, petitioners, vs. HON. JAIME DELOS ANGELES,
Judge of the Court of First Instance, Branch III, Balayan, Batangas, AYALA Y CIA and/or HACIENDA
CALATAGAN, and ALFONSO ZOBEL, respondents.

Actions; Judgments; Interlocutory Orders; There is no provision in the Revised Rules of Court for
the entry of judgment of supposedly final interlocutory orders and execution stage orders, and no such
orders are accepted by any court for entry under Section 2, Rule 36 of the Revised Rules of Court. - the
Makalintal Orders are post-judgment orders, i.e., orders issued after the adjudicative task of the court
has ended, the court having declared the parties' rights and obligations with respect to the matter under
litigation. They draw their life from the final and executory judgment they are implementing and thus
cannot limit, vary, interpret, or re-adjudicate the dispositions made by this judgment. Second, they do
not have the effect of res adjudicata in the same manner that pre-judgment interlocutory orders do not.
They do not involve any final "ruling on the merits" as they only implement the court's judgment strictly
according to the terms of that judgment. No "finality" is involved since, subject to the time limits
prescribed by the Rules, the matter of execution is always open for as long as the implementation of the
judgment remains incomplete. For this reason, there is no provision in the Revised Rules of Court for the
entry of judgment of supposedly final interlocutory orders and execution stage orders, and no such
orders are accepted by any court for entry under Section 2, Rule 36 of the Revised Rules of Court the
provision on Entry of Judgments and Final Orders.

Same; Same; Lower courts have no jurisdiction to interpret, much less reverse, the Supreme
Courts final and executor judgments. - the lower court has no jurisdiction to interpret, much less
reverse, this Court's final and executory judgment. We enunciated this principle as early as 1922 in Shioji
v. Harvey. "The inferior court is bound by the decree as the law of the case, and must carry it into
execution according to its mandate. They cannot vary it, or examine it for any other purpose than
execution, or give any other or further relief, or review it upon any matter decided on appeal for error
apparent, or intermeddle with it, further than to settle so much as has been remanded." An order of
execution which varies the tenor of the judgment or exceeds the terms thereof is a nullity.

Same; Same; Orders of a judge committed with grave abuse of discretion and even patently
without jurisdiction merited, in the recent past, not only with nullification of the ultra vires orders, but
administrative sanctions as well for the issuer. - Following these established rules, the Makalintal Orders
cannot vary the terms of the CFI decision that we consistently affirmed, among them: (1) the nullification
of all subdivision titles that were issued in favor of Ayala y Cia and/or Hacienda Calatagan (and/or its
successors-in-interest) over the areas outside its private land covered by TCT No. 722; and (2) the
declaration that all lands or areas covered by these nullified titles are reverted to the public domain.
These Orders are likewise wrong in concluding that, with the nullification and/or cancellation of TCT No.
T-9550, nothing more is needed to be done to execute the CFI decision. TCT No. T-9550 was merely cited
as one of the derivative titles. The cancellation of all the affected derivative titles, all of them sufficiently
described, and their reversion to the State remain to be completed. With his orders, Judge Makalintal
committed the gravest abuse of discretion and even patently acted without jurisdiction. These are acts
that in the recent past merited, not only the nullification of the ultra vires orders, but administrative
sanctions as well for the issuer, as we did in the case of a Labor Arbiter and a retired Commissioner of
the National Labor Relations Commission who were suspended in Quijano v. Bartolabac for taking the
liberty of deviating from this Court's final and executory judgment.