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142396 February 11, 2003)


Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, was filed against Minucher following a buy-bust
operation conducted by Philippine police narcotic agents accompanied by Scalzo in the house of
Minucher, an Iranian national, where heroin was said to have been seized. Minucher was later acquitted
by the court.

Minucher later on filed for damages due to trumped-up charges of drug trafficking made by Arthur

Scalzo on his counterclaims that he had acted in the discharge of his official duties as being merely an
agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States Department of Justice.

Scalzo subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that, being a special agent of
the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, he was entitled to diplomatic immunity. He
attached to his motion Diplomatic Note of the United States Embassy addressed to DOJ of the
Philippines and a Certification of Vice Consul Donna Woodward, certifying that the note is a true and
faithful copy of its original. Trial court denied the motion to dismiss.


Whether or not Arthur Scalzo is indeed entitled to diplomatic immunity.



A foreign agent, operating within a territory, can be cloaked with immunity from suit as long as it can be
established that he is acting within the directives of the sending state.

The consent or imprimatur of the Philippine government to the activities of the United States Drug
Enforcement Agency, however, can be gleaned from the undisputed facts in the case.

The official exchanges of communication between agencies of the government of the two countries

Certifications from officials of both the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the United States

Participation of members of the Philippine Narcotics Command in the buy-bust operation conducted
at the residence of Minucher at the behest of Scalzo

These may be inadequate to support the diplomatic status of the latter but they give enough
indication that the Philippine government has given its imprimatur, if not consent, to the activities
within Philippine territory of agent Scalzo of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.
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The job description of Scalzo has tasked him to conduct surveillance on suspected drug suppliers and,
after having ascertained the target, to inform local law enforcers who would then be expected to make
the arrest.

In conducting surveillance activities on Minucher, later acting as the poseur-buyer during the buy-bust
operation, and then becoming a principal witness in the criminal case against Minucher,

Scalzo hardly can be said to have acted beyond the scope of his official function or duties.

LIANG VS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES GR no. 125865 January 28, 2000

Petitioner: Jeffrey Liang Respondent: People of the Philippines


Petitioner is an economist working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Sometime in 1994, for
allegedly uttering defamatory words against fellow ADB worker Joyce Cabal, he was charged before the
MeTC of Mandaluyong City with two counts of oral defamation. Petitioner was arrested by virtue of a
warrant issued by the MeTC. After fixing petitioners bail, the MeTC released him to the custody of the
Security Officer of ADB. The next day, the MeTC judge received an office of protocol from the DFA
stating that petitioner is covered by immunity from legal process under section 45 of the Agreement
between the ADB and the Philippine Government regarding the Headquarters of the ADB in the country.
Based on the said protocol communication that petitioner is immune from suit, the MeTC judge without
notice to the prosecution dismissed the criminal cases. The latter filed a motion for reconsideration
which was opposed by the DFA. When its motion was denied, the prosecution filed a petition for
certiorari and mandamus with the RTC of Pasig City which set aside the MeTC rulings and ordered the
latter court to enforce the warrant of arrest it earlier issued. After the motion for reconsideration was
denied, the petitioner elevated the case to the SC via a petition for review arguing that he is covered by
immunity under the Agreement and that no preliminary investigation was held before the criminal case.


(1) Whether or not the petitioners case is covered with immunity from legal process with regard to
Section 45 of the Agreement between the ADB and the Philippine Govt.

(2) Whether or not the conduct of preliminary investigation was imperative.


(1) NO. The petitioners case is not covered by the immunity. Courts cannot blindly adhere to the
communication from the DFA that the petitioner is covered by any immunity. It has no binding effect in
courts. The court needs to protect the right to due process not only of the accused but also of the
prosecution. Secondly, the immunity under Section 45 of the Agreement is not absolute, but subject to
the exception that the acts must be done in official capacity. Hence, slandering a person could not
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possibly be covered by the immunity agreement because our laws do not allow the commission of a
crime, such as defamation, in the name of official duty.

(2) NO. Preliminary Investigation is not a matter of right in cases cognizable by the MeTC such as this
case. Being purely a statutory right, preliminary investigation may be invoked only when specifically
granted by law. The rule on criminal procedure is clear that no preliminary investigation is required in
cases falling within the jurisdiction of the MeTC.

Hence, SC denied the petition.

G.R. No. 111709 August 30, 2001



In the evening of March 2, 1991, "M/T Tabangao," a cargo vessel owned by the PNOC Shipping and
Transport Corporation, loaded with barrels of kerosene, regular gasoline, and diesel oil, was boarded by
7 fully armed pirates. The pirates including the accused Roger P. Tulin, Virgilio Loyola, and Andres
Infante Jr. detained the crew and completely took over the vessel. The vessel was directed to proceed to
Singapore where the cargoes were unloaded transferred and sold under the direct supervision of
accused Cheong San Hiong. Thereafter, the captive vessel returned to the Philippines. A series of arrests
was thereafter affected and all the accused were charged with qualified piracy or violation of
Presidential Decree No. 532 (Piracy in Philippine Waters). They were subsequently convicted of the
crime charged. Hence, this appeal. Meanwhile accused Cheong argues that the trial court erred in
convicting and punishing him as an accomplice when the acts allegedly committed by him were done or
executed outside of Philippine waters and territory, stripping the Philippine courts of jurisdiction to hold
him for trial, to convict, and sentence.

ISSUE: WON the Philippines is without jurisdiction to try a crime committed outside the Philippine
waters and territory?

RULING: We affirm the conviction of all the accused-appellants. Article 122 of the Revised Penal Code,
before its amendment, provided that piracy must be committed on the high seas by any person not a
member of its complement nor a passenger thereof. Upon its amendment by Republic Act No. 7659, the
coverage of the pertinent provision was widened to include offenses committed "in Philippine waters."
On the other hand, under Presidential Decree No. 532 (issued in 1974), the coverage of the law on
piracy embraces any person including "a passenger or member of the complement of said vessel in
Philippine waters." Hence, passenger or not, a member of the complement or not, any person is covered
by the law. Republic Act No. 7659 neither superseded nor amended the provisions on piracy under
Presidential Decree No. 532. There is no contradiction between the two laws. There is likewise no
ambiguity and hence, there is no need to construe or interpret the law. All the presidential decree did
was to widen the coverage of the law, in keeping with the intent to protect the citizenry as well as
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neighbouring states from crimes against the law of nations. As expressed in one of the "whereas"
clauses of Presidential Decree No. 532, piracy is "among the highest forms of lawlessness condemned by
the penal statutes of all countries." For this reason, piracy under the Article 122, as amended, and piracy
under Presidential Decree No. 532 exist harmoniously as separate laws.

As regards the contention that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of accused-
appellant Hiong since the crime was committed outside Philippine waters, suffice it to state that
unquestionably, the attack on and seizure of "M/T Tabangao" (renamed "M/T Galilee" by the pirates)
and its cargo were committed in Philippine waters, although the captive vessel was later brought by the
pirates to Singapore where its cargo was off-loaded, transferred, and sold. And such transfer was done
under accused-appellant Hiong's direct supervision. Although Presidential Decree No. 532 requires that
the attack and seizure of the vessel and its cargo be committed in Philippine waters, the disposition by
the pirates of the vessel and its cargo is still deemed part of the act of piracy, hence, the same need not
be committed in Philippine waters.

White Light Corp., vs City of Manila

Police Power Not Validly Exercised Infringement of Private Rights

On 3 Dec 1992, then Mayor Lim signed into law Ord 7774 entitled An Ordinance prohibiting short time
admission in hotels, motels, lodging houses, pension houses and similar establishments in the City of
Manila. White Light Corp is an operator of mini hotels and motels who sought to have the Ordinance be
nullified as the said Ordinance infringes on the private rights of their patrons. The RTC ruled in favor of
WLC. It ruled that the Ordinance strikes at the personal liberty of the individual guaranteed by the
Constitution. The City maintains that the ordinance is valid as it is a valid exercise of police power. Under
the LGC, the City is empowered to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of cafes,
restaurants, beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses and other similar
establishments, including tourist guides and transports. The CA ruled in favor of the City.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ord 7774 is valid.

HELD: The SC ruled that the said ordinance is null and void as it indeed infringes upon individual liberty.
It also violates the due process clause which serves as a guaranty for protection against arbitrary
regulation or seizure. The said ordinance invades private rights. Note that not all who goes into motels
and hotels for wash up rate are really there for obscene purposes only. Some are tourists who needed
rest or to wash up or to freshen up. Hence, the infidelity sought to be avoided by the said ordinance is
more or less subjected only to a limited group of people. The SC reiterates that individual rights may be
adversely affected only to the extent that may fairly be required by the legitimate demands of public
interest or public welfare.
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G.R. No. 179267 GARCIA v. DRILON 699 SCRA 352

FACTS: Petitioner Jesus Garcia (husband) admitted having an affair with a bank manager. His infidelity
emotionally wounded private respondent which spawned several quarrels that left respondent
wounded. Petitioner also unconscionably beat up their daughter, Jo-ann.

The private respondent was determined to separate from petitioner. But she was afraid he would take
away their children and deprive her of financial support. He warned her that if she pursued legal battle,
she would not get a single centavo from him. After she confronted him of his affair, he forbade her to
hold office. This deprived her of access to full information about their businesses. Hence, no source of

Thus, the RTC found reasonable ground to believe there was imminent danger of violence against
respondent and her children and issued a series of Temporary Protection Orders (TPO) pursuant to RA

Republic Act No. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against
women and their children (VAWC) perpetrated by women's intimate partners.

Petitioner hence, challenged the constitutionality of RA 9262 on making a gender-based classification.

ISSUE: Whether or not RA 9262 is discriminatory, unjust, and violative of the equal protection clause.

RULING: No. The equal protection clause in our Constitution does not guarantee an absolute prohibition
against classification. The non-identical treatment of women and men under RA 9262 is justified to put
them on equal footing and to give substance to the policy and aim of the state to ensure the equality of
women and men in light of the biological, historical, social, and culturally endowed differences between
men and women.

RA 9262, by affording special and exclusive protection to women and children, who are vulnerable
victims of domestic violence, undoubtedly serves the important governmental objectives of protecting
human rights, insuring gender equality, and empowering women. The gender-based classification and
the special remedies prescribed by said law in favor of women and children are substantially related, in
fact essentially necessary, to achieve such objectives. Hence, said Act survives the intermediate review
or middle-tier judicial scrutiny. The gender-based classification therein is therefore not violative of the
equal protection clause embodied in the 1987 Constitution.

Case Digest: Estrada vs Escritor 492 SCRA 1 AM No P-02-1651


Escritor is the Court Interpreter of RTC Branch 253 of Las Pias City. Estrada requested an investigation
of respondent for cohabiting with a man not her husband and having a child with the latter while she
was still married.Estrada believes that Escritor is committing a grossly immoral act which tarnishes the
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image of the judiciary, thus she should not be allowed to remain employed therein as it might appear
that the court condones her act.

Escritor admitted the above-mentioned allegations but denies any liability for the alleged gross immoral
conduct for the reason that she is a member of the religious sect Jehovahs Witness and Watch Tower
Society and her conjugal arrangement is approved and is in conformity with her religious beliefs. She
further alleged that they executed a Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness in accordance with her
religion which allows members of Jehovahs Witnesses who have been abandoned by their spouses to
enter into marital relations. The Declaration makes the union moral and binding within the congregation
throughout the world except in countries where divorce is allowed.


Is Escritor guilty of gross immorality for having an illicit relationship?

Does her religious belief justify such act?


Yes the act was grossly immoral. In a catena of cases, the Court has ruled that government employees
engaged in illicit relations are guilty of "disgraceful and immoral conduct" for which he/she may be held
administratively liable. In these cases, there was not one dissent to the majority's ruling that their
conduct was immoral. The respondents themselves did not foist the defense that their conduct was not
immoral, but instead sought to prove that they did not commit the alleged act or have abated from
committing the act.

No, Escritor is not guilty of gross immorality and she cannot be penalized for her freedom of religion
justifies her conjugal arraignment. In interpreting the Free Exercise Clause, the realm of belief poses no
difficulty. The early case of Gerona v. Secretary of Education is instructive on the matter, viz:

The realm of belief and creed is infinite and limitless bounded only by one's imagination and thought. So
is the freedom of belief, including religious belief, limitless and without bounds. One may believe in
most anything, however strange, bizarre and unreasonable the same may appear to others, even
heretical when weighed in the scales of orthodoxy or doctrinal standards. But between the freedom of
belief and the exercise of said belief, there is quite a stretch of road to travel.

The Court recognizes that state interests must be upheld in order that freedom, including religious
freedom, may be enjoyed.
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Guinguing v People


Cirser Torralba, a radio broadcaster of DYLA and DYFX based in Cebu City, filed a libel complaint
against Guingguing and Lim.

Lim published a paid article at Sunday Post and published the records and pictures of estafa cases
filed against Torralba.

Lim said that Torralba makes scurillous attacks against him and his family over his programs, he
opted for paid advertisements to answer the attacks.

Lower court found the publication libelous

Issue: WON the petitioners is guilty of libel

Ruling: NO. Cirser Torralba is a public figure as established in the case of Ayer Productions.

People v Echegaray G.R. No. 117472. February 7, 1997

Per Curiam


The SC rendered a decision in the instant case affirming the conviction of the accused-appellant for the
crime of raping his ten-year old daughter. The crime having been committed sometime in April, 1994,
during which time Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7659, commonly known as the Death Penalty Law, was already
in effect, accused-appellant was inevitably meted out the supreme penalty of death.

The accused-appellant timely filed a Motion for Reconsideration which focused on the sinister motive of
the victim's grandmother that precipitated the filing of the alleged false accusation of rape against the
accused. This was dismissed.

On August 6, 1996, accused-appellant discharged the defense counsel, Atty. Julian R. Vitug, and retained
the services of the Anti-Death Penalty Task Force of the Free Legal Assistance Group of the Philippines.

A supplemental Motion for Reconsideration prepared by the FLAG on behalf of accused-appellant.

In sum, the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration raises three (3) main issues: (1) mixed factual and
legal matters relating to the trial proceedings and findings; (2) alleged incompetence of accused-
appellant's former counsel; and (3) purely legal question of the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7659.

Issue: Whether or not Article III, Section 19 (1) absolutely abolished the death penalty.
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One of the indispensable powers of the state is the power to secure society against threatened and
actual evil. Pursuant to this, the legislative arm of government enacts criminal laws that define and
punish illegal acts that may be committed by its own subjects, the executive agencies enforce these
laws, and the judiciary tries and sentences the criminals in accordance with these laws.

The opposition to the death penalty uniformly took the form of a constitutional question of whether or
not the death penalty is a cruel, unjust, excessive or unusual punishment in violation of the
constitutional proscription against cruel and unusualpunishments.

Harden- "The penalty complained of is neither cruel, unjust nor excessive. In Ex-parte Kemmler, 136
U.S., 436, the United States Supreme Court said that 'punishments are cruel when they involve torture
or a lingering death, but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used
in the constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous, something more than the mere
extinguishment of life.

Limaco- "x x x there are quite a number of people who honestly believe that the supreme penalty is
either morally wrong or unwise or ineffective. However, as long as that penalty remains in the statute
books, and as long as our criminal law provides for its imposition in certain cases, it is the duty of judicial
officers to respect and apply the law regardless of their private opinions,"

Munoz- A reading of Section 19 (1) of Article III will readily show that there is really nothing therein
which expressly declares the abolition of the death penalty. The provision merely says that the death
penalty shall not be imposed unless for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes the Congress
hereafter provides for it and, if already imposed, shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua. The language,
while rather awkward, is still plain enough

Nothing is more defining of the true content of Article III, Section 19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution
than the form in which the legislature took the initiative in re-imposing the death penalty.

The Senate never doubted its power as vested in it by the constitution, to enact legislation re-imposing
the death penalty for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes. Pursuant to this constitutional
mandate, the Senate proceeded to a two-step process consisting of: first, the decision, as a matter of
policy, to re-impose the death penalty or not; and second, the vote to pass on the third reading the bill
re-imposing the death penalty for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes.

With seventeen (17) affirmative votes and seven (7) negative votes and no abstention, the Chair
declared that the Senate has voted to re-incorporate death as a penalty in the scale of penalties as
provided in the Revised Penal Code.

The import of this amendment is unmistakable. By this amendment, the death penalty was not
completely abolished by the 1987 Constitution. Rather, it merely suspended the death penalty and gave
Congress the discretion to review it at the propitious time.
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We have no doubt, therefore, that insofar as the element of heinousness is concerned, R.A. No. 7659
has correctly identified crimes warranting the mandatory penalty of death. As to the other crimes in
R.A. No. 7659 punished by reclusion perpetua to death, they are admittingly no less abominable than
those mandatorily penalized by death. The proper time to determine their heinousness
in contemplation of law, is when on automatic review, we are called to pass on a death sentence
involving crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death under R.A. No. 7659, with the trial court
meting out the death sentence in exercise of judicial discretion. This is not to say, however, that the
aggravating circumstances under the Revised Penal Code need be additionally alleged as establishing the
heinousness of the crime for the trial court to validly impose the death penalty in the crimes under R.A.
No. 7659 which are punished with the flexible penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.

A studious comparison of the legislative proceedings in the Senate and in the House of Representatives
reveals that, while both Chambers were not wanting of oppositors to the death penalty, the Lower
House seemed less quarrelsome about the form of the death penalty bill as a special law specifying
certain heinous crimes without regard to the provisions of the Revised Penal Code and more unified in
the perception of what crimes are heinous and that the fact of their very heinousness involves the
compulsion and the imperative to suppress, if not completely eradicate, their occurrence. Be it the
foregoing general statement of Representative Sanchez or the following details of the nature of the
heinous crimes enumerated in House Bill No. 62 by Representative Miguel L. Romero of Negros Oriental,
there was clearly, among the hundred or so re-impositionists in the Lower House, no doubt as to their

Article III, Section 19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution plainly vests in Congress the power to re-impose the
death penalty "for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes". This power is not subsumed in the
plenary legislative power of Congress, for it is subject to a clear showing of "compelling reasons
involving heinous crimes."

The constitutional exercise of this limited power to re-impose the death penalty entails (1) that Congress
define or describe what is meant by heinous crimes; (2) that Congress specify and penalize by death,
only crimes that qualify as heinous in accordance with the definition or description set in the death
penalty bill and/or designate crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death in which latter case,
death can only be imposed upon the attendance of circumstances duly proven in court that characterize
the crime to be heinous in accordance with the definition or description set in the death penalty bill; and
(3) that Congress, in enacting this death penalty bill be singularly motivated by "compelling reasons
involving heinous crimes."

It is specifically against the foregoing capital crimes that the test of heinousness must be squarely

We believe, however, that the elements of heinousness and compulsion are inseparable and are, in fact,
interspersed with each other. Because the subject crimes are either so revolting and debasing as to
violate the most minimum of the human standards of decency or its effects, repercussions, implications
and consequences so destructive, destabilizing, debilitating, or aggravating in the context of our socio-
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political and economic agenda as a developing nation, these crimes must be frustrated, curtailed and
altogether eradicated.

Article III, Section 19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution simply states that congress, for compelling reasons
involving heinous crimes, may re-impose the death penalty. Nothing in the said provision imposes a
requirement that for a death penalty bill to be valid, a positive manifestation in the form of a higher
incidence of crime should first be perceived and statistically proven following the suspension of the
death penalty. Neither does the said provision require that the death penalty be resorted to as a last
recourse when all other criminal reforms have failed to abate criminality in society.

It is immaterial and irrelevant that R.A. No. 7659 cites that there has been an "alarming upsurge of such
crimes", for the same was never intended by said law to be the yardstick to determine the existence of
compelling reasons involving heinous crimes. Fittingly, thus, what R.A. No. 7659 states is that "the
Congress, in the interest of justice, public order and rule of law, and the need to rationalize and
harmonize the penal sanctions for heinous crimes, finds compelling reasons to impose the death penalty
for said crimes."


G.R. Nos. L-32613-14 December 27, 1972

On March 5, 1970 a criminal complaint for violation of Sec. 4 of the Anti-Subversion Act was filed against
the respondent Feliciano Co in the CFI of Tarlac. Respondent was an officer and/or ranking leader of the
Communists Party of the Philippines (CPP), an outlawed and illegal organization aimed to overthrow the
Government of the Philippines by means of illegal means for the purpose of establisihing a totalitarian
regime. He is an instructor in the Mao Tse Tung University, the training school of recruits of the NPA,
the military arm of the CPP. Judge Jose C. de Guzman conducted a preliminary investigation and, finding
a prima facie case against Co, directed the Government prosecutors to file the corresponding
information. Co moved to quash thee information on the ground that the Anti-Subversion Acts is a bill of
Anther criminal complaint was filed with the same court, charging the respondent Nilo Tayag and five
others with subversion. The above accused were officers and/or ranking leaders of the Kabatasang
Makabayan (KM), a subversive organization as defined in RA 1700. Tayag moved to quash on the
ground that the statute is a bill of attainder.

ISSUE: WON the Acts violates the right to freedom of speech and association?

HELD: Article III, section 1 (11) of the Constitution states that "No bill of attainder or ex port facto law
shall be enacted." A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial. Its
essence is the substitution of a legislative for a judicial determination of guilt. The constitutional ban
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against bills of attainder serves to implement the principle of separation of powers by confining
legislatures to rule-making and thereby forestalling legislative usurpation of the judicial
function. History in perspective, bills of attainder were employed to suppress unpopular causes and
political minorities, and it is against this evil that the constitutional prohibition is directed. The singling
out of a definite class, the imposition of a burden on it, and a legislative intent, suffice to stigmatize a
statute as a bill of attainder.

Even assuming, however, that the Act specifies individuals and not activities, this feature is not enough
to render it a bill of attainder. A statute prohibiting partners or employees of securities underwriting
firms from serving as officers or employees of national banks on the basis of a legislative finding that the
persons mentioned would be subject to the temptation to commit acts deemed inimical to the national
economy, has been declared not to be a bill of attainder. Similarly, a statute requiring every secret,
oath-bound society having a membership of at least twenty to register, and punishing any person who
becomes a member of such society which fails to register or remains a member thereof, was declared
valid even if in its operation it was shown to apply only to the members of the Ku Klux Klan.

the Act is aimed against conspiracies to overthrow the Government by force, violence or other illegal
means. Whatever interest in freedom of speech and freedom of association is infringed by the
prohibition against knowing membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines, is so indirect and so
insubstantial as to be clearly and heavily outweighed by the overriding considerations of national
security and the preservation of democratic institutions in his country.

The membership clause of the U.S. Federal Smith Act is similar in many respects to the membership
provision of the Anti-Subversion Act. The former provides:

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who
teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or
violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliated with, any such society, group or assembly of
persons, knowing the purpose thereof

Shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be
ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years
next following his conviction....

In sustaining the validity of this provision, the "Court said in Scales vs. United States:

It was settled in Dennis that advocacy with which we are here concerned is not constitutionally
protected speech, and it was further established that a combination to promote such advocacy, albeit
under the aegis of what purports to be a political party, is not such association as is protected by the
first Amendment. We can discern no reason why membership, when it constitutes a purposeful form of
complicity in a group engaging in this same forbidden advocacy, should receive any greater degree of
protection from the guarantees of that Amendment.
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Accused Corpuz received from complainant Tangcoy pieces of jewelry with an obligation to sell the same
and remit the proceeds of the sale or to return the same if not sold, after the expiration of 30 days.

The period expired without Corpuz remitting anything to Tangcoy.

When Corpuz and Tangcoy met, Corpuz promised that he will pay, but to no avail.

Tangcoy filed a case for estafa with abuse of confidence against Corpuz.

Corpuz argued as follows:

a. The proof submitted by Tangcoy (receipt) is inadmissible for being a mere photocopy.

b. The information was defective because the date when the jewelry should be returned and the date
when crime occurred is different from the one testified to by Tangcoy.

c. Fourth element of estafa or demand is not proved.

d. Sole testimony of Tangcoy is not sufficient for conviction


Can the court admit as evidence a photocopy of document without violating the best evidence rule (only
original documents, as a general rule, is admissible as evidence)?

Yes. The established doctrine is that when a party failed to interpose a timely objection to evidence at
the time they were offered in evidence, such objection shall be considered as waived.

Here, Corpuz never objected to the admissibility of the said evidence at the time it was identified,
marked and testified upon in court by Tangcoy. Corpuz also failed to raise an objection in his Comment
to the prosecutions formal offer of evidence and even admitted having signed the said receipt.

Is the date of occurrence of time material in estafa cases with abuse of confidence?

No. It is true that the gravamen of the crime of estafa with abuse of confidence under Article 315,
paragraph 1, subparagraph (b) of the RPC is the appropriation or conversion of money or property
received to the prejudice of the owner and that the time of occurrence is not a material ingredient of
the crime. Hence, the exclusion of the period and the wrong date of the occurrence of the crime, as
reflected in the Information, do not make the latter fatally defective.

Further, the following satisfies the sufficiency of information:

1. The designation of the offense by the statute;

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2. The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense;

3. The name of the offended party; and

4. The approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was

The 4th element is satisfied. Even though the information indicates that the time of offense was
committed on or about the 5th of July 1991, such is not fatal to the prosecutions cause considering
that Section 11 of the same Rule requires a statement of the precise time only when the same is a
material ingredient of the offense.

What is the form of demand required in estafa with abuse of confidence?

Note first that the elements of estafa with abuse of confidence are as follows:

(a) that money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust, or on commission,
or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return
the same;

(b) that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender or denial on
his part of such receipt;

(c) that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and

(d) that there is a demand made by the offended party on the offender.

No specific type of proof is required to show that there was demand. Demand need not even be formal;
it may be verbal. The specific word demand need not even be used to show that it has indeed been
made upon the person charged, since even a mere query as to the whereabouts of the money [in this
case, property], would be tantamount to a demand.

In Tubb v. People, where the complainant merely verbally inquired about the money entrusted to the
accused, the query was tantamount to a demand.

May a sole witness be considered credible?

Yes. Note first that settled is the rule that in assessing the credibility of witnesses, SC gives great respect
to the evaluation of the trial court for it had the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of
witnesses and their deportment on the witness stand, an opportunity denied the appellate courts,
which merely rely on the records of the case.

The assessment by the trial court is even conclusive and binding if not tainted with arbitrariness or
oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence, especially when such finding is affirmed
by the CA. Truth is established not by the number of witnesses, but by the quality of their testimonies,
for in determining the value and credibility of evidence, the witnesses are to be weighed not numbered.
Kriz Abeja | Crim Case Digests

US vs. Diaz-Conde (42 Phil 766)


On December 30, 1915, complainants Bartolome Oliveros and Engracia Lianco entered into a contract
with the defendants concerning a debt of P300. Oliveros and co. were obligated to pay five percent
interest per month within the first ten days of every month. On May 6, 1921, Vicente Diaz Conde and
Apolinaria R. De Conde were charged with violating the Usury Law in the Court of First Instance of the
city of Manila. They were found guilty, sentenced to pay a fine of P120 and in case of insolvency, to
suffer subsidiary imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of law. They took it to SC to plead.


WoN the Usury Law has a retroactive effect in this case

WoN the law impaired the contract

Held and Ratio:

No. The Usury Law, a penal law, cannot become retroactive unless it is favorable to the person accused.
(Art. 21 and 22 Penal Code)

Yes. If a contract is legal at its inception, it cannot be rendered illegal by any subsequent legislation.

Decision: Judgment reversed, defendants acquitted.


Plaintiff-appellee: THE UNITED STATES

Defendants-appellants: Vicente Diaz Conde and Apolinaria R. De Conde

What happened:

On December 30, 1915, Bartolome Oliveros and Engracia Lianco accomplished and delivered to the
defendants a contract (named Exhibit B) which stated that the Oliveros and Lianco had borrowed from
the latter a sum of three hundred pesos (Php 300), and by virtue of the terms of said contract, Oliveros
and Lianco obligated themselves to pay to the defendants interest at the rate of five percent (5%) per
month, payable within the first ten days of each and every month, the first payment to be made on the
January 10, 1916.

On May 1, 1916, Act no. 2655 or the Usury Law came into effect. The law stated that that the legal
rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credits, [] shall be 12% per annum.
Any amount of interest paid or to be paid in excess of that fixed by law is considered usurious, therefore
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A complaint was filed in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila on May 6, 1921, charging the
defendants with a violation of the Usury Law (Act No. 2655). Upon said complaint they were arrested,
charged, and pleaded not guilty. On September 1, 1921, the case was finally brought on for trial. At the
end of the trial, with consideration to the evidences cited in court, Hon. M. V. del Rosario, judge, found
that the defendants were guilty of the crime charged in the complaint and sentenced each of them to
pay a fine of P120 and, if they cannot meet their debt obligations, the defendants would suffer
subsidiary imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of the law. From that sentence each of the
defendants made an appeal.

Contention of the State:

The lower court, in the course of its opinion, stated that at the time of the execution and delivery of said
contract, there was no law in force in the Philippine Islands that punishes usury. However, the
defendants had collected a usurious rate of interest after the adoption of the Usury Law in the
Philippine Islands (Act No. 2655), Therefore, they were guilty in the violation of that law and should be
punished in accordance with its provisions.
Contention of the Accused:
(a) The contract upon which the alleged usurious interest was collected was executed before Act No.
2655 was adopted.

(b) The time that the said contract was made (December 30, 1915), there was no usury law in force in
the Philippine Islands.

(c) Act No. 2655 did not become effective until the May 1, 1916, or four months and a half after the
contract was executed.

(d) The said law could have no retroactive effect or operation

(e) The said law impairs the obligation of a contract.

For all of said reasons the judgment imposed by the lower court should be revoked; that the complaint
should be dismissed, and that they should each be discharged from the custody of the law.

Ruling of the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court en banc promulgated on February 14, 1922 its ruling on the case of The United
States vs Vicente Diaz Conde and Apolinaria R. De Conde (G.R. No. L-18208). The court has decided that
the acts complained of by the defendants did not constitute a crime at the time they were
committed. A law imposing a new penalty, liability or disability, or giving a new right of action, must not
be construed as having a retroactive effect. It is an elementary rule of contract that the laws in force at
the time of the contract was made must govern its interpretation and application. Laws must be
construed prospectively and not retrospectively. If a contract is legal at its commencement, it cannot be
rendered illegal by any subsequent legislation. If that were permitted, then the obligations of a contract
might be impaired, which is prohibited by Philippine law.
Kriz Abeja | Crim Case Digests

Ex post facto laws, unless they are favorable to the defendant, are prohibited in this jurisdiction. Every
law that makes an action, done before the passage of the law, and which was innocent when done,
criminal, and punishes such action, is an ex post facto law. The Legislature is prohibited from adopting a
law which will make an act done before its adoption a crime, as in the case of Act No. 2655. A law may
be given a retroactive effect in civil action, providing it is curative in character, but ex post facto laws are
absolutely prohibited unless its retroactive effect is favorable to the defendant.
The complaint was therefore dismissed, and the defendants were discharged from the custody of the
law with costs.

EN BANC [G.R. No. L-1960. November 26, 1948.]THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,plaintiff-
appellee, vs. FLORENTINOABILONG, defendant-appellant.


That on or about the 17th day of September,

1947, in the City of Manila, Philippines,Florentino Abilong, the accused, being thena convict sentenced a
nd ordered to servedestierro during which he should not enter any place within the radius of 100
kilometres from the City of Manila for attempted robbery, evaded the service of said sentence by going
beyond the limits made against him and commit vagrancy.


Whether the lower court erred in imposing apenalty on the accused under article 157
of the Revised Penal Code, which does notcover evasion of service of "destierro."


It is clear that the word "imprisonment" used in the English text is a wrong or erroneous translation
of the phrase "sufriendo privacionde libertad" used in the Spanish text. It
isequally clear that although the SolicitorGeneral impliedly admits destierro as notconstituting
imprisonment, it is a deprivation of liberty, though partial, in the sense that
asin the present case, the appellant by hissentence of destierro was deprived of theliberty to enter the
City of Manila. Under the case of People vs. Samonte, as quoted in the brief of the Solicitor General that
"it is clear that a person under sentence of destierro issuffering deprivation of his liberty and escapes
from the restrictions of the penalty when he enters the prohibited area."

November 29, 1950 (G.R. No. L-3246)

defendant-appellant: ABELARDO FORMIGONES
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From November to December 1946, defendant Abelardo Formigones together with his wife Julia
Agricola, and his five children lived in the house of his half-brother, Zacarias Formigones to find
employment as harvesters. One afternoon, the accused, without any previous quarrel or provocation
whatsoever, took his bolo from the wall of the house and stabbed his wife at the back, the blade
penetrating the right lung which latter caused her death. When she fall ont he ground the defendant
carried her up the house, laid her on the floor of the living room and then lay down beside her. He was
convicted of parricide and was sentenced to prison. The defendant entered a plea of not guilty. His
counsel presented testimonies of two guards of the provincial jail where defendant was confined. They
said that he behaved like an insane person, that sometimes he would remove his clothes in front of
others, would not take a bath, and remained silent and indifferent to his surroundings. His counsel
claimed that e is an imbecile therefore exempt from criminal liability. Dr. Francisco Gomez told that
Abelardo was suffering only from feeblemindedness and not imbecility and that he could distinguish
right from wrong. An imbecile so as to be exempt from criminal liability, he must be deprived completely
of reason or discernment and freedom of the will at the time of committing the crime.

ISSUE: WON the defendant who is suffering from feeblemindedness is exempt from criminal liability.

No. In order that an exempting circumstance may be taken into account, it is necessary that there be a
complete deprivation of intelligence in committing the act, that is, that the accused be deprived of
reason; that there be no responsibility for his own acts; that he acts without the least discernment; that
there be a complete absence of the power to discern, or that there be a total deprivation of freedom of
the will. As to the strange behaviour of the accused during his confinement, assuming that it was not
feigned to stimulate insanity, it may be attributed either to his being feebleminded or eccentric, or to a
morbid mental condition produced by remorse at having killed his wife. He could distinguish right from
Kriz Abeja | Crim Case Digests