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Enrile v. People, G.R. No.

213455, [August 11, 2015]


Constitutional Law; Right to be Informed; Under the Constitution, a person who stands charged
of a criminal offense has the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him. Under the Constitution, a person who stands charged of a criminal offense has the
right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. This right has long
been established in English law, and is the same right expressly guaranteed in our 1987
Constitution. This right requires that the offense charged be stated with clarity and with certainty
to inform the accused of the crime he is facing in sufficient detail to enable him to prepare his
defense.
The right to be informed of the cause of the accusation in a criminal case has deep constitutional
roots that, rather than being cavalierly disregarded, should be carefully protected. The general
grant and recognition of a protected right emanates from Section 1, Article III of the 1987
Constitution which states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due
process of law. The purpose of the guaranty is to prevent governmental encroachment against the life,
liberty, and property of individuals; to secure the individual from the arbitrary exercise of the powers of
the government, unrestrained by the established principles of private rights and distributive justice . . .;
and to secure to all persons equal and impartial justice and the benefit of the general law.

Separately from Section 1, Article III is the specific and direct underlying root of the right to
information in criminal proceedings Section 14 (1), Article III which provides that "No
person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law." Thus, no
doubt exists that the right to be informed of the cause of the accusation in a criminal case has
deep constitutional roots that, rather than being cavalierly disregarded, should be carefully
protected.

Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Information; The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, in
implementing the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him, specifically require certain matters to be stated in the Information for its
sufficiency. An Information is an accusation in writing charging a person with an offense,
signed by the prosecutor and filed with the court. The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, in
implementing the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him, specifically require certain matters to be stated in the Information for its
sufficiency. The requirement aims to enable the accused to properly prepare for his defense
since he is presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts constituting the offense
charged.

Criminal Law; Plunder; In the crime of plunder, the amount of ill-gotten wealth acquired by each
accused in a conspiracy is immaterial for as long as the total amount amassed, acquired or
accumulated is at least P50 million. The law on plunder provides that it is committed by "a public
officer who acts by himself or in connivance with . . . ." The term "connivance" suggests an agreement or
consent to commit an unlawful act or deed with another; to connive is to cooperate or take part secretly
with another. It implies both knowledge and assent that may either be active or passive.

Since the crime of plunder may be done in connivance or in conspiracy with other persons, and
the Information filed clearly alleged that Enrile and Jessica Lucila Reyes conspired with one
another and with Janet Lim Napoles, Ronald John Lim and John Raymund De Asis, then it is
unnecessary to specify, as an essential element of the offense, whether the ill-gotten wealth
amounting to at least P172,834,500.00 had been acquired by one, by two or by all of the
accused. In the crime of plunder, the amount of ill-gotten wealth acquired by each accused in
a conspiracy is immaterial for as long as the total amount amassed, acquired or accumulated
is at least P50 million.
It is not sufficient to simply allege that the amount of ill-gotten wealth amassed amounted to at
least P50 million; the manner of amassing the ill-gotten wealthwhether through a combination
or series of overt acts under Section 1(d) of RA No. 7080is an important element that must be
alleged.
Plunder is the crime committed by public officers when they amass wealth involving at least P50
million by means of a combination or series of overt acts. Under these terms, it is not sufficient
to simply allege that the amount of ill-gotten wealth amassed amounted to at least P50 million;
the manner of amassing the ill-gotten wealth whether through a combination or series of
overt acts under Section 1 (d) of R.A. No. 7080 is an important element that must be alleged.
When the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it refers to at least two (2) acts falling
under different categories listed in Section 1, paragraph (d) of R.A. No. 7080 [for example, raids
on the public treasury under Section 1, paragraph (d), subparagraph (1), and fraudulent
conveyance of assets belonging to the National Government under Section 1, paragraph (d),
subparagraph (3)].
To prove plunder, the prosecution must weave a web out of the six (6) ways of illegally amassing
wealth and show how the various acts reveal a combination or series of means or schemes that
reveal a pattern of criminality.
Plunder is a crime composed of several predicate criminal acts. To prove plunder, the
prosecution must weave a web out of the six ways of illegally amassing wealth and show
how the various acts reveal a combination or series of means or schemes that reveal a
pattern of criminality. The interrelationship of the separate acts must be shown and be
established as a scheme to accumulate ill-gotten wealth amounting to at least P50 million.
Plunder thus involves intricate predicate criminal acts and numerous transactions and schemes
that span a period of time. Naturally, in its prosecution, the State possesses an "effective
flexibility" of proving a predicate criminal act or transaction, not originally contemplated in the
Information, but is otherwise included in the broad statutory definition, in light of subsequently
discovered evidence. The unwarranted use of the flexibility is what the bill of particulars guards
against.
Coronel v. Cunanan, A.C. No. 6738 , [August 12, 2015]
Administrative Cases; An administrative case proceeds independently from the interest, or lack
thereof, of the complainant, who only sets the case in motion through the filing of the
complaint.
An administrative case proceeds independently from the interest, or lack thereof, of the
complainant, who only sets the case in motion through the filing of the complaint. Upon her
doing so, she becomes a witness to testify against the respondent lawyer. The disciplinary
proceedings against the lawyer do not involve private interests, but only how the lawyer
conducts himself in his public and private lives. Accordingly, neither the affidavit of desistance
nor the Joint Motion to Dismiss should bear any weight, or be relevant in determining whether or
not the respondent was fit to remain as a member of the Law Profession. The desistance by the
complainant was a matter that was the concern only of the parties, and was non-binding on the
Court. What will be decisive in this administrative proceeding are the facts borne out by the
evidence competently adduced herein.

Spouses Saunders v. Pagano-Calde, A.C. No. 8708, [August 12, 2015]


Attorneys; Disbarment; The pendency of the criminal case should not be a reason to dismiss the
complaint of the client against the lawyer.
The pendency of the criminal case should not be a reason to dismiss the complaint of the client
against the lawyer. The Court must make a separate determination of the administrative liability
of the lawyer to preserve the integrity of the legal profession.
At this point, we cannot yet ascertain the full liability of respondent with respect to the money
entrusted to respondent, as this proceeding should not preempt the outcome of the factual
determination of the estafa case. Nonetheless, a determination of whether a violation of the
lawyer's oath was committed by respondent may still be made.
Attorneys; Legal Ethics; Lawyers have the duty to apprise their client of the status and
developments of the account they are handling.
Lawyers have the duty to apprise their client of the status and developments of the account they
are handling. They must be consistently mindful of their obligation to respond promptly, should
there be queries or requests for information from the client. The Code exacts from lawyers not
only a firm respect for law, legal processes and the courts, but also mandates the utmost degree
of fidelity and good faith in dealing with the moneys entrusted to them pursuant to their fiduciary
relationship. Respondent clearly fell short of the demands required of her as a member of the bar.
Her inability to properly discharge her duty to her clients makes her answerable not just to them,
but also to this Court, to the legal profession, and to the general public. Given the crucial
importance of her role in the administration of justice, her misconduct diminishes the confidence
of the public in the integrity and dignity of the profession.
Attorneys; Legal Ethics; Every case that lawyers accept deserves their full attention, diligence,
skill and competence regardless of its importance.
Lawyers are bound to protect their client's interest to the best of their ability and with utmost
diligence. Respondent should know that every case that lawyers accept deserves their full
attention, diligence, skill and competence regardless of its importance. It is their sworn duty to
protect the interest of their client and to defend it within the authority of the law.

Garcia v. Tolentino, G.R. Nos. 153810 & 167297, [August 12, 2015]
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Forum Shopping; The commonality of interests among the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Government Service Insurance System
(GSIS) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cannot be denied.
The pleadings filed from the inception of the case will show that they have essentially the same
arguments and defenses and seek the same reliefs.
The commonality of interests among the DBM, the GSIS and the DENR cannot be denied. The
pleadings filed from the inception of the case will show that they have essentially the same
arguments and defenses and seek the same reliefs. More, in terms of the issuance of JC No. 99-3,
these agencies have equal stakes should the challenged circular be declared invalid. Without a
doubt, the different modes of appeal taken by the GSIS and the DBM will, in the process, create
the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by different fora upon the same issue.
Indeed, a final decision in one would constitute res judicata in the other. For this reason, we
dismiss the petition in G.R. No. 153810, with a warning to the GSIS that a repetition of the same
or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Appeals; Petition for Review; In case a party feels aggrieved by
an order, ruling or decision of the GSIS Board, he may file a petition for review under Rule 43 of
the Rules of Court before the Court of Appeals.
In case a party feels aggrieved by an order, ruling or decision of the GSIS Board, he may file a
petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court before the Court of Appeals.
The main issue raised by Tolentino, et al. in their petition before the trial court was the validity
of JC No. 99-3 insofar as it provided for the deduction of the government's share on GSIS
contributions from the 20% premium given to contractual employees, in lieu of leave benefits.
Such issue, pertaining as it does to the coverage, collection and payment of GSIS contributions,
is a dispute over which the GSIS exercises exclusive and original jurisdiction. This jurisdiction
of the GSIS was also recognized by this Court in Government Service Insurance System v.
Commission on Audit. It was therefore error for the trial court, though it is a court of general
jurisdiction, to assume jurisdiction over the same.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Appeals; Doctrine of Primary Jurisdiction; Under the doctrine
of primary jurisdiction, a remedy within the administrative machinery must be resorted to give
the administrative officer every opportunity to decide a matter that comes within his jurisdiction.
Such remedy must be exhausted first before the court's power of judicial review can be
sought.
Under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, a remedy within the administrative machinery must
be resorted to give the administrative officer every opportunity to decide a matter that comes
within his jurisdiction. Such remedy must be exhausted first before the court's power of judicial
review can be sought. Thus, under this doctrine, Tolentino, et al. should have first brought the
dispute regarding the validity of a circular implementing the GSIS Law to the GSIS Board (and
not the courts) for resolution as required by law. Contrary to what Tolentino, et al. assert, the
doctrine of primary jurisdiction precludes the courts from resolving a controversy over which
jurisdiction has initially been lodged with an administrative body of special competence.

Administrative Law; Contractual Employees; Leave Privileges; Due to the nature of their
employment, contractual employees (unlike their counterparts in the regular government service)
were previously not entitled to leave credits as a matter of right. To balance this seemingly
inequitable situation, contractual employees, under CSC Resolution No. 983142 (otherwise
known as the Omnibus Rules on Leave) were allowed to receive compensation twenty percent
(20%) higher than the salaries of regular employees occupying equivalent positions.
Due to the nature of their employment, contractual employees (unlike their counterparts in the
regular government service) were previously not entitled to leave credits as a matter of right. To
balance this seemingly inequitable situation, contractual employees, under CSC Resolution No.
983142 (otherwise known as the Omnibus Rules on Leave) were allowed to receive
compensation twenty percent (20%) higher than the salaries of regular employees occupying
equivalent positions. The grant of one benefit, however, appears to preclude entitlement to the
other:
SEC. 4. Contractual employees are not entitled to leave credits as a matter of right. In view
of the nature of their employment, employees hired on contractual basis are not entitled to
vacation, sick, and other special leave privileges. To offset their non-entitlement to leave
benefits, contractual employees may be paid compensation twenty percent (20%) higher than the
salaries of regular employees occupying equivalent positions. If contractual employees are not
given the 20% premium, they should be entitled to vacation and sick leave.
Administrative Law; Contractual Employees; Leave Privileges.
On August 23, 1999, the Omnibus Rules on Leave were amended, which included the grant of
leave privileges not previously given to contractual personnel. Perforce, contractual employees
who are now granted leave benefits are no longer entitled as a matter of right to the twenty
percent (20%) premium pay. This position finds support in the GAAs passed by Congress for the
years subsequent, which no longer included provisions for said premium pay.
Since the expense for premium pay was rendered unnecessary by the grant of leave benefits to
contractual employees, funds initially set aside under the 1999 GAA for said purpose remain
public funds (under the appropriation for DENR Personal Services) and may, as correctly argued
by the DBM and the DENR, be legally rechanneled to answer for other personnel benefits costs,
including government share in GSIS contributions.
Administrative Law; Government Employees; The Government Service Insurance System Act of
1997; Section 3 of RA 8291 is clear in that save for specified officials of the Government,
membership in the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) shall be compulsory for
employees, regardless of employment status.
We reject Tolentino, et al.'s claim of exemption from RA 8291. Section 3 of RA 8291 is clear
that, save for specified officials of the Government, membership in the GSIS shall be
compulsory for all employees, regardless of employment status. Neither can they claim
exemption based on the letter dated January 8, 1998 sent by then GSIS SVP Patag advising them
of their non-coverage. We agree with the OSG's argument thus:
[Tolentino, et al.] cannot invoke the letter dated January 12, 1998 of Atty. Quilatan citing the
letter-opinion of Senior Vice President Lourdes G. Patag of the GSIS as basis for claiming that
they are exempted from the coverage of compulsory membership with the GSIS.
To begin with, R.A. No. 8291 does not provide any exception to the applicability of the
compulsory membership of government employees with the GSIS.
Assuming arguendo that such an issue may be legitimately raised, the same can only be passed
upon by the GSIS Board of Trustees pursuant to Section 30 of R.A. No. 8291:
xxx xxx xxx
Thus, Senior Vice President Patag is absolutely devoid of authority to make an official
determination of whether [Tolentino, et al.] are exempt from compulsory membership with
the GSIS.

Statutes; Statutory Construction; Section 5 of RA 8291 shows a clear intent to divide the
responsibility for payment of the required Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)
premiums between the government employer and the covered employee. The pertinent Civil
Service Commission (CSC) rules, on the other hand, show a clear policy to equitably balance the
benefits given to regular and contractual personnel of the governments.
The policies behind the pertinent laws and regulations in this case show that the same can be
harmonized to give effect to every relevant provision of law or regulation. Section 5 of RA
8291 shows a clear intent to divide responsibility for payment of the required GSIS premiums
between the government employer and the covered employee. The pertinent CSC rules, on the
other hand, show a clear policy to equitably balance the benefits given to regular and contractual
personnel of the government. This was evident, first, in the provision of premium pay to
contractual employees in lieu of leave benefits and, ultimately, in the eventual grant of leave
benefits to such personnel.
In light of the above policies, JC No. 99-3 should be understood to have meant to apply
prospectively, that is, payment of the government share out of the twenty percent (20%)
premium pay should start only after the contractual employees' entitlement to said pay was
considered withdrawn with the grant of leave benefits. Thus, payment of the government share in
GSIS contributions from the premium pay of contractual employees cannot be made earlier than
the effectivity of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 14, s. 1999.

Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association v. Fil-Estate Properties, Inc., G.R. Nos. 163598,
164660 & 164779, [August 12, 2015]
Agrarian Reform; Tenancy Relationship; Under General Order No. 34, utilization of empty or
idle lots by an adjoining resident or individual may only be made with the express consent of the
owner, if he is in the area, or his implied consent, if he cannot be located.
While petitioners alleged themselves as the occupants and tillers of the subject land, they did not
allege that they have a tenurial arrangement or tenancy relationship either with the respondents
or with the registered landowners, and not even with anyone purporting to be the landowner.
Petitioners invoke General Order No. 34 as their license to enter and cultivate the subject land.
The fact remains, however, that under General Order No. 34, utilization of empty or idle lots by
an adjoining resident or individual may only be made with the express consent of the owner, if
he is in the area, or his implied consent, if he cannot be located. Petitioners neither alleged that
the respondents or landowners consented to their cultivation of the subject land for agricultural
production, either expressly or impliedly; nor was there an allegation of any arrangement as to
how the harvests shall be shared between them. The conclusion then is that petitioners were not
the tenants of the respondents.
Agrarian Reform; Tenancy Relationship; That petitioners may have been actual occupants or
tillers of the land, which may make them potential CARP beneficiaries, does not give rise to a
tenancy relationship.
Agrarian Reform; Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board; Jurisdiction.
The DARAB overstepped its jurisdictional boundaries when it declared petitioners as qualified
beneficiaries under CARP. In Lercana v. Jalandoni, we ruled that the identification and selection
of CARP beneficiaries are matters involving strictly the administrative implementation of the
CARP, a matter exclusively cognizable by the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform,
and beyond the jurisdiction of the DARAB.
Agrarian Reform; Tenancy Relationship.
There is no tenancy relationship or agrarian dispute between the parties because the subject land
is not agricultural. It has ceased to be so under Presidential Proclamation No. 1637. The Court of
Appeals in CA G.R. No. 82322 and CA G.R. 70717 and the DARAB found that the land is
included within the Lungsod Silangan Townsite by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1637,
which took effect on April 18, 1977, thereby reclassifying said land from agricultural to
residential. The interpretation of the DARAB is that the inclusion of land in the townsite
reservation does not mean that it can be used for residential purposes only. However, the case
of Natalia Realty, Inc. v. DAR, has long held that lots included in the Lungsod Silangan Townsite
Reservation were intended exclusively for residential use. They ceased to be agricultural lands
upon approval of their inclusion in the Lungsod Silangan Reservation by virtue of Presidential
Proclamation No. 1637.
Agrarian Reform; Tenancy Relationship; Jurisdiction.
Clearly, apart from Presidential Proclamation No. 1637, the zoning ordinance issued by the
Municipality of Antipolo, and approved by the Sangguniang Bayan and the HLURB, also
effectively reclassified and converted the subject land to non-agricultural. The zoning ordinance
was approved in 1982, way before the CARL took effect. The Supreme Court has repeatedly
ruled that lands already classified as commercial, industrial or residential before the effectivity of
the CARL, or June 15, 1988, are outside its coverage, and that an order or approval from DAR
converting the subject land from agricultural to residential is no longer necessary. Only land
classifications or reclassifications which occur from June 15, 1988 onwards require conversion
clearance from the DAR.

Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Forum Shopping.


We hold that respondents' certifications against forum-shopping are inaccurate because they do
not disclose the pendency and/or filing of the other petitions that raise the same issues and assail
the similar decision and order of the DARAB. Respondents also obviously sought different fora
when they filed similar petitions before the Court of Appeals separately.
Forum shopping is the act of a litigant who repetitively availed of several judicial remedies in
different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same
transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same
issues, either pending in or already resolved adversely by some other court, to increase his
chances of obtaining a favorable decision if not in one court, then in another.
Forum shopping can be committed in three ways: (1) by filing multiple cases based on the same
cause of action and with the same prayer, the previous case not having been resolved yet (where
the ground for dismissal is litis pendentia); (2) by filing multiple cases based on the same cause
of action and with the same prayer, the previous case having been finally resolved (where the
ground for dismissal is res judicata); and (3) by filing multiple cases based on the same cause of
action but with different prayers (splitting of causes of action, where the ground for dismissal is
also either litis pendentia or res judicata).
More particularly, the elements of forum-shopping are: (a) identity of parties or at least such
parties that represent the same interests in both actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and reliefs
prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; (c) identity of the two preceding
particulars, such that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is
successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Forum Shopping.
In Silahis International Hotel, Inc. v. The National Labor Relations Commission, et al., we
reiterated our consistent rule that a party should not be allowed to pursue simultaneous remedies
in two different forums. Although most of the cases that we have ruled upon regarding forum
shopping involved petitions in the courts and administrative agencies, the rule prohibiting it
applies equally to multiple petitions in the same tribunal or agency. We concluded that by filing
another petition involving the same essential facts and circumstances in the same agency, i.e.
where respondents filed their appeal and injunction case separately in the NLRC, respondents
approached two different fora in order to increase their chances obtaining a favorable decision or
action. We affirmed that this practice cannot be tolerated and should be condemned.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Forum Shopping; Parties; Indispensable Parties.
We hold that Kingsville, as the owner of Forest Hills Residential Estates Phase I, is an
indispensable party without whom no final determination can be had of the action. It should have
been joined as petitioner in CA G.R. No. 70717 either by FEPI or by the Court of Appeals at its
own initiative. We rectify this defect now on the principle that the omission to include Kingsville
"is a mere technical defect which can be cured at any stage of the proceedings even after
judgment"; and that, particularly in the case of indispensable parties, since their presence and
participation is essential to the very life of the action, for without them no judgment may be
rendered, amendments of the complaint in order to implead them should be freely allowed, even
on appeal, in fact even after rendition of judgment by this Court, where it appears that the
complaint otherwise indicates their identity and character as such indispensable parties."

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Baguio Country Club Corp., G.R. Nos. 165146 &
165209 , [August 12, 2015]
Judicial Review; Actual Case or Controversy.
As can be gleaned from the SEC's Order, the calling of the meeting for the conduct of an election
was made to rectify the inadvertent approval of the two (2) year term for the members of the
board. With the return of the one (1) year term, there is no more actual controversy that warrants
the exercise of our judicial power. An actual case or controversy exists when there is a conflict of
legal rights or an assertion of opposite legal claims, which can be resolved on the basis of
existing law and jurisprudence. A justiciable controversy admits of specific relief through a
decree that is conclusive in character, whereas an opinion only advises what the law would be
upon a hypothetical state of facts.

United Dumangas Port Development Corp. v. Phil. Ports Authority, G.R. No. 192943,
[August 12, 2015]
Local Government Code; Mayors.
Even granting that the subject resolutions need not be submitted to the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan for review, these resolutions purportedly authorizing Municipal Mayor Golez to
enter into the Compromise Agreement still cannot be given credence. Under Section 444 (b) (1)
(vi) of the LGC,the municipal mayor may represent the municipality in all its business
transactions and sign, on its behalf, contracts and obligations made pursuant to law or ordinance.
However, a mere resolution, such as those issued by the Sangguniang Bayan herein, does not
suffice to approve PPA's claim of Php111,930,282.28 against MOD for no rights can be
conferred by and be inferred from a resolution, which is nothing but an embodiment of what the
law-making body has to say in the light of attendant circumstances. Contrary to the appellate
court's stance, that Mayor Golez was elected by the people of MOD does not excuse him from
acting within the parameters set by law. Thus, while it is true that compromise agreements
between the parties in civil cases are not only allowed but even encouraged, in order for them to
be binding on the parties, however, they must be executed in accordance with applicable law and
jurisprudence.
Ports; Administrative Jurisdiction.
It bears stressing that apart from the unsustainable Compromise Agreement, PPA failed to
provide the Court with sufficient basis, legal or otherwise, in support of its alleged authority to
take-over the operation of the Dumangas Port. While the PPA was indeed, authorized by EO No.
171 to exercise its administrative jurisdiction over the Dumangas Port, DOTC Department Order
No. 2002-18, issued after EO No. 171, effectively rescinded the latter for as correctly ruled by
the trial court, acts of the secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in the
regular course of business are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive,
presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive. Consequently, PPA's authority to administer the
Port of Dumangas was effectively superseded by the directive mandated by the DOTC
Department Order to transfer the operation of the same to the MOD.
Ports; Administrative Jurisdiction.
Similarly in this case, the series of hold-over authorities as well as the final holdover permit
granting UDPDC a three (3)-month extension was clearly temporary in nature. As aptly found by
the trial court, UDPDC's continued operation of the port was merely by PPA's tolerance, having
no valid and existing permit, and that UDPDC's status was merely on the basis of a holdover
authority, temporary in nature, which may be recalled by PPA at any time. As such, the holdover
permits should have served as adequate notice to UDPDC that, at any time, its authority to
remain within the premises of the port of Dumangas may be terminated. That PPA arbitrarily
revoked UDPDC's permit upon the dictates of a powerful politician in the fourth congressional
district of Iloilo is a mere speculation, unsupported in evidence. Thus, in view of the expiration
of UDPDC's permit to operate the port, and in the absence of any contract renewing the same,
UDPDC cannot claim to have any right to the administration thereof.

Marina Port Services, Inc. v. American Assurance Corp., G.R. No. 201822, [August 12,
2015]
Mercantile Law; Common Carriers; Warehouse Receipts Act; Arrastre Operators.
As held in International Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. Prudential Guarantee & Assurance
Co., Inc., the signature of the consignee's representative on the gate pass is evidence of receipt of
the shipment in good order and condition.
Also, that MPSI delivered the subject shipment to MSC's representative in good and complete
condition and with lock and seals intact is established by the testimonies of MPSI's employees
who were directly involved in the processing of the subject shipment. Mr. Ponciano De Leon
testified that as MPSI's delivery checker, he personally examined the subject container vans and
issued the corresponding gate passes that were, in turn, countersigned by the consignee's
representative. MPSI's other witness, Chief Claims Officer Sergio Icasiano (Icasiano), testified
that the broker, as the consignee's representative, neither registered any complaints nor requested
for an inspection.
Remedial Law; Evidence; Hearsay Evidence Rule.
The person who prepared the said report was not presented in court to testify on the same. Thus,
the said survey report has no probative value for being hearsay. "It is a basic rule that evidence,
whether oral or documentary, is hearsay, if its probative value is not based on the personal
knowledge of the witness but on the knowledge of another person who is not on the witness
stand." Moreover, "an unverified and unidentified private document cannot be accorded
probative value. It is precluded because the party against whom it is presented is deprived of the
right and opportunity to cross-examine the person to whom the statements or writings are
attributed. Its executor or author should be presented as a witness to provide the other party to
the litigation the opportunity to question its contents. Being mere hearsay evidence, failure to
present the author of the letter renders its contents suspect and of no probative value."
Mercantile Law; Common Carriers.
MPSI cannot just the same be held liable for the missing bags of flour since the consigned goods
were shipped under "Shipper's Load and Count" arrangement. "This means that the shipper was
solely responsible for the loading of the container, while the carrier was oblivious to the contents
of the shipment. Protection against pilferage of the shipment was the consignee's lookout. The
arrastre operator was, like any ordinary depositary, duty-bound to take good care of the goods
received from the vessel and to turn the same over to the party entitled to their possession,
subject to such qualifications as may have validly been imposed in the contract between the
parties. The arrastre operator was not required to verify the contents of the container received
and to compare them with those declared by the shipper because, as earlier stated, the cargo was
at the shipper's load and count. The arrastre operator was expected to deliver to the consignee
only the container received from the carrier."

People v. Omilig y Mancia, G.R. No. 206296, [August 12, 2015]


Criminal Law; Corpus Delicti; Words and Phrases.
Corpus delicti is the body, foundation or substance of a crime. It refers to the fact of the
commission of the crime, not to the physical body of the deceased. Because corpus delicti may
be proven by circumstantial evidence, it is not necessary for the prosecution to present direct
evidence to prove the corpus delicti. Nevertheless, the prosecution must present the following
elements: (a) that a certain result or fact has been established, i.e., that a man has died; and (b)
that some person is criminally responsible for it. In murder cases, such as in the case at bar,
the corpus delicti, the fact of murder of Betonio, was established through physical evidence,
corroborated by several witnesses' testimonies.
Constitutional Law; Custodial Investigation and Preliminary Investigation, Distinguished.
As correctly found by the lower courts, accused-appellant Peaflor executed his extrajudicial
confession not during custodial investigation, but during the preliminary investigation.
In Ladiana v. People, the Court defined the difference between custodial investigation and
preliminary investigation: Custodial Interrogation/Investigation "is the questioning initiated
by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of
his freedom of action in any significant way"; on the other hand, Preliminary Investigation "is
an inquiry or a proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-
founded belief that a crime has been committed, and that the respondent is probably guilty
thereof and should be held for trial." In Ladiana, this Court has unequivocally declared that a
person undergoing preliminary investigation cannot be considered as being under custodial
investigation.
Constitutional Law; Custodial Investigation.
The import of the distinction between custodial interrogation and preliminary investigation
relates to the inherently coercive nature of a custodial interrogation which is conducted by the
police authorities. Due to the interrogatory procedures employed by police authorities, which are
conducive to physical and psychological coercion, the law affords arrested persons constitutional
rights to guarantee the voluntariness of their confessions and admissions, and to act as deterrent
from coercion by police authorities. These safeguards are found in Article III, Section 12 (1) of
the Constitution and Section 2 of R.A. No. 7438. Sans proper safeguards, custodial investigation
is a fertile means to obtain confessions and admissions in duress.
Constitutional Law; Custodial Investigation; Extrajudicial Confessions.
Resultingly, as pronounced in Ladiana, the claim by the accused of inadmissibility of his
extrajudicial confession is unavailing because his confessions were obtained during a
preliminary investigation.
And even if accused-appellant Peaflor's extrajudicial confessions were obtained under custodial
investigation, these are admissible. To be admissible, a confession must comply with the
following requirements: it "must be (a) voluntary; b) made with the assistance of a competent
and independent counsel; c) express; and d) in writing." In the case at bar, the prosecution did
not present proof of the absence of any of these requirements.
Constitutional Law; Custodial Investigation; Extrajudicial Confessions.
There was also neither evidence nor allegation that accused-appellant Peaflor was coerced to
confess and that the nature and consequence of his extrajudicial confessions in relation to his
constitutional rights were not thoroughly discussed to him. As correctly observed by the RTC,
the preliminary investigations were conducted in a neutral place; it was conducted at the
Prosecutor's office and in the presence of accused-appellant Peaflor's relatives, which facts were
never refuted by the defense.
What needs to be noted here is that "a confession is admissible until the accused successfully
proves that it was given as a result of violence, intimidation, threat or promise of reward or
leniency." The prosecution in this case failed to adduce evidence to prove the presence of any
circumstance that would negate the admissibility of his confession. The presumption of
regularity in the performance of duty prevails over mere allegations.
The presumption of regularity operates when the prosecution proffers that government officials
tasked with responsibilities regarding the enforcement of our laws and procedures submit that the
crime has been duly proven, which, however, may be refuted by the defense. It is upon the
defense to disprove such presumption by adducing no less than clear and convincing evidence,
showing that the performance of functions was tainted with irregularity and that the official had
motive to falsify, such that, any taint of irregularity renders the presumption unavailable. In the
case at bar, the defense failed to refute such presumption.

AQA Global Construction, Inc. v. Planters Development Bank, G.R. Nos. 211649 &
211742, [August 12, 2015]
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Third-Party Claims.
The Court would like to take exception to the CA's ruling, limiting the remedies of the adverse
third party to vindicate his claim of ownership and/or possession over the foreclosed property to
a terceria and an independent separate action once a writ of possession had already been issued,
as in this case. In Gagoomal v. Spouses Villacorta, the Court ruled that aside from such
remedies, the adverse third party may take other legal remedies to prosecute his claim, such
as invoking the supervisory power of the RTC to enjoin the enforcement/implementation of the
writ of possession, as what petitioners did in this case. Unquestionably, the RTC has a general
supervisory control over the entire execution process, and such authority carries with it the right
to determine every question which may be invariably involved in the execution, and ensure that
it is enforcing its judgment only against properties irrefutably belonging to the judgment
debtor. However, in such instances, the RTC does not and cannot pass upon the question of title
to the property, with any character of finality, and can treat of the matter only as may be
necessary to decide the question of whether or not the person in possession holds the property
adversely to the judgment obligor. If the claimant's proofs do not persuade the court of the
validity of his title or right of possession thereto, the claim will be denied.

People v. Cayas, G.R. No. 215714 , [August 12, 2015]


Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses; Presumption of Regularity.
The Court gives full faith and credence to the testimonies of the police officers and upholds the
presumption of regularity in the apprehending officers' performance of official duty. It is a
settled rule that in cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act, credence is given to
prosecution witnesses who are police officers, for they are presumed to have performed their
duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
On the other hand, appellant failed to present clear and convincing evidence to overturn the
presumption that the apprehending officers regularly performed their duties. Except for his bare
allegations of denial and frame-up because he failed to divulge the identities of the persons
involved in selling illegal drugs in the area of A. Lopez Street to the said police officers, nothing
supports his claim that the latter were impelled by improper motives to testify against him. This
Court has invariably viewed with disfavor the defenses of denial and frame-up. Such defenses
can easily be fabricated and are common ploy in prosecution for the illegal sale of dangerous
drugs. In order to prosper, such defenses must be proved with strong and convincing evidence.
Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Illegal Sale of Dangerous Durg; Chain of Custody Rule.
It has been ruled time and again that non-compliance with Section 21 of the IRR does not make the
items seized inadmissible. What is imperative is "the preservation of the integrity and the evidential
value of the seized items as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of
the accused."
In this case, the chain of custody can be easily established through the following link: (1) PO1
Blones marked the seized sachet of shabu handed to him by SPO1 Toring with "ECB-04-19-
05." Nothing in the records will show that SPO1 Toring yielded, at any instance, possession of
the subject sachet to another person, after he acquired custody thereof from the civilian
informant on their way to the police station until he gave it to PO1 Blones for marking; (2) the
letter-request for laboratory examination of the seized item marked "ECB-04-19-05" was signed
by Police Superintendent Anthony Lao Obenza; (3) the said request and the marked item seized,
which were personally delivered by PO1 Blones and SPO1 Toring, were duly received by the
PNP Crime Laboratory; (4) Chemistry Report No. D-491-2005 confirmed that the marked item
seized from appellant was methylamphetamine hydrochloride; and (5) the marked item was
offered in evidence.

Office of the Court Administrator v. Abarintos, A.M. No. CA-12-26-P, [August 17, 2015]
Administrative Liability.
At first blush, the circumstances enumerated by OCA are enough to raise a quizzical eyebrow.
But administrative liability cannot rest on mere suspicion or speculation. There must be
substantial evidence to support a finding that respondent is responsible for the reprehensible act
imputed against her. "Substantial evidence in an administrative case consists of that amount of
relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion."
Administrative Law; Court Personnel; Presumption of Regularity.
We cannot subscribe to the recommendation of the OCA that respondent's receipt of subject
pleading several minutes after office hours raises a presumption that she used her office to
extend a favor to a litigant. There is simply no such presumption that exists in the Rules on
Evidence or in statute books. On the other hand, it is basic that court officials and personnel are
presumed to have regularly performed their official duties. At this point, it may not be amiss to
state that the circulars issued by this Court pertaining to the observance of prescribed working
hours are intended to promote punctuality and prevent tardiness or absenteeism "if only to
recompense the government and, ultimately, the people, who shoulder the cost of maintaining the
Judiciary." They are not intended to deny public service to the same people who come to court to
transact business, even if they arrive a few minutes after the prescribed working hours, when
there are still court personnel present who could serve them. Neither should they be construed as
to prohibit dedicated court personnel to render genuine public service beyond the regular office
hours. "Truly, public servants at times should share a part of their extra time and skills in order to
facilitate swift delivery of service to the public."
Administrative Law; Court Personnel.
As head of the Judicial Records Division, and involved in the administration of justice,
respondent "ought to live up to the strictest standards of honesty and integrity in public
service." Indeed, "[n]o position demands greater moral righteousness and uprightness from its
holder than an office in the judiciary. Court employees should be models of uprightness, fairness
and honesty to maintain the people's respect and faith in the judiciary." "[A]ny conduct, act or
omission on the part of those who would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish
or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary shall not be countenanced."
Administrative Law; Court Personnel; Resignation.
The resignation of respondent from the service on February 14, 2011 is of no moment.
Resignation from the service will not extricate court employees from the consequences of their
acts. It is settled that the cessation from office neither warrants the dismissal of the
administrative complaint filed against the respondent; while they were still in the service nor
does it render the case moot and academic. "A contrary rule would be fraught with injustices and
pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications," as nothing "would prevent a corrupt and
unscrupulous government employee from committing abuses and other condemnable acts
knowing fully well that they would soon be beyond the pale of the law and immune to all
administrative penalties[.]" The only effect of respondent's resignation is that it rendered moot
the imposition of the penalty of dismissal.
Administrative Law; Court Personnel; Resignation; Dishonesty; Grave Misconduct; Penalties.
Under Section 52(A) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service,
dishonesty and grave misconduct are classified as grave offenses meriting the supreme penalty of
dismissal from service even for the first offense, with the accessory penalties of forfeiture of
retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification from re-
employment in the government service. In view of respondent's resignation, however, the penalty
that can be imposed against her is a fine with the same accessory penalties of forfeiture and
disqualification. Although the OCA recommended a fine of P20,000.00, circumstances in this
case warrant a lesser amount. While We do not condone the lamentable act of respondent in
making an unauthorized withdrawal, it does not escape Our attention that respondent is a first-
time offender. She eventually admitted to Gilos that she took the money which she returned,
albeit partially. After consulting her family, respondent did not present controverting evidence in
this case and effectively submitted her fate to the judicious resolution of this case. Finally, to
save her family from embarrassment and unnecessary emotional stress, respondent resigned. To
Our mind, these circumstances evince her sincere remorse and wholehearted repentance for
committing a regrettable misstep in her life.

Pamintuan v. Comuyog, Jr., A.M. No. P-11-2982, [August 17, 2015]


Administrative Law; Court Personnel; Insubordination.
At the outset, the facts of the case show that respondent clearly committed insubordination to the
directives of the OCA. It took respondent more than two (2) years to comply, and it was only
after a show-cause order that he complied with the filing of the required comment. He exhibited
disrespect not just for the OCA, but also for the Court, which exercises direct administrative
supervision over trial court officers and employees through the OCA. In fact, it can be said that
his noncompliance with the OCA directives is tantamount to insubordination to the Court
itself. Worse, he had the audacity to make excuses in claiming that he had already filed his
comment sometime in September 2008 when in fact, on two occasions, he had asked for
extensions of time to file the required comment. Moreover, he was not able to produce any
evidence of a courier's receipt of the comment. The conduct exhibited by respondent constitutes
no less than a clear act of disrespect for the authority of the Court.
Administrative Law; Court Personnel; Utility.
According to the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court, it is the primary function of the
court's utility to sew originals of records, pleadings/documents as directed by the branch clerk of
court, docket clerk and clerk-in-charge, strictly according to the order of the dates on which they
were received and in the correct expediente. However, as Clerk III, respondent was designated as
a Branch 3 civil case clerk who was in charge of civil cases and their dockets. Therefore, it was
his primary responsibility to see to it that the originals of the civil case records were sewn in the
correct expediente of each case. His failure to explain the loss of the original copy of the Order
dated 20 September 2007 in Special Proceedings Case No. 1750-R, in addition to the alleged
copies of the Orders dated 31 July 2007 and 15 January 2008 in Special Proceedings No. 1757-
R, shows that he was remiss in his duty as a court custodian of case records. His failure to prove
that he exercised this duty constitutes negligence, which warrants disciplinary action. He must be
assiduous in performing his official duties and in managing court dockets and records.
Administrative Law; Personnel; Clerks of Court.
It bears to stress that "the clerk of court of a court of justice is an essential officer in any judicial
system. The office is the hub of activities both adjudicative and administrative. The clerk of
court keeps its records and seal, issues processes, enters judgments and orders, and gives upon
request, certified copies from the records. While an officer of the court, a public officer and an
officer of the law, the position is not that of a judicial officer, nor is it synonymous with the
court. The office is essentially a ministerial one. Hence, in entering judgments and orders, the
clerk of court acts in a purely ministerial capacity and exercises no judicial functions." Since his
position is purely ministerial, respondent cannot cause the publication or the re-publication of an
Order without the authorization of his superior, the Presiding Judge.

Paderanga v. Paderanga, A.M. Nos. RTJ-14-2383 & RTJ-07-2033, [August 17, 2015]
Administrative Law; Judges; Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge.
Based on the findings of Justice Del Castillo, the appropriation of Lot 12910 by the respondent
was really prejudicial to Dra. Corazon because he erected a fence around the property and
introduced improvements thereon without the conformity of the latter. He did so at a time when
he was still an active member of the Bench, and despite knowing that he was expected to uphold
the legal rights of others in their exclusive property, whether the rights were under litigation in
his court or elsewhere. Such conduct on his part was unbecoming of any judge like him. He
thereby disregarded the sworn obligation of every judge to observe respect for the rights of
others at all times if he expected others to respect the courts and its judges, as well as the
Judiciary as an institution. His failure in this regard merited him the condign administrative
penalty.
Administrative Law; Judges; Inhibition and Disqualification of Judges; Compulsory
Disqualification of Judges.
The Court has been clear about the compulsory disqualification of judges related by
consanguinity or affinity to a party being a duty designed to free the adjudication of cases from
suspicion as to its fairness and integrity. In Garcia v. Dela Pena, for instance, the Court has
plainly but emphatically reminded:
The rule on compulsory disqualification of a judge to hear a case where, as in the instant case,
the respondent judge is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity
rests on the salutary principle that no judge should preside in a case in which he is not wholly
free, disinterested, impartial and independent. A judge has both the duty of rendering a just
decision and the duty of doing it in a manner completely free from suspicion as to its fairness and
as to his integrity. The law conclusively presumes that a judge cannot objectively or impartially
sit in such a case and, for that reason, prohibits him and strikes at his authority to hear and decide
it, in the absence of written consent of all parties concerned. The purpose is to preserve the
people's faith and confidence in the courts of justice.
The respondent's issuance of the warrant of arrest against his own sister was an outright violation
of the stringent rules on compulsory disqualification. For him, self-disqualification was absolute
and should have been immediate. It did not matter that he presided in a single-sala station.
Neither was it an excuse that the private complainant in the criminal case against his sister could
protest unless he acted as promptly as he did on the case. No protest would be justified should
self-disqualification be mandatory. Consequently, he was not exempt from administrative
liability for acting upon the criminal case involving his own sister, and issuing the warrant of
arrest against her.
Administrative Law; Judges; Inhibition and Disqualification of Judges; Compulsory
Disqualification of Judges.
His eventual self-disqualification from the criminal case did not render his liability any less. He
still did not act in good faith in issuing the warrant of arrest against Patria. Worthy of note is that
he inhibited himself only after Patria filed her Motion for Disqualification. If he was acting in
good faith, he needed no one to remind him about the compulsory disqualification. Rather, he
manifested his bad faith and ill will towards Patria by letting the warrant of arrest be served on
her in the school where she worked. His obvious objective in so doing was to cause her greater
embarrassment.

Padiernos y Quejada v. People, G.R. No. 181111, [August 17, 2015]


Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Nature of the Offense.
The well-settled doctrine is that the allegations in the Information determine the nature of the
offense, and not the technical name that the public prosecutor assigns in the preamble of the
Information. From a legal point of view, and in a very real sense, the accused is not concerned
with the technical name of the crime of which he stands charged. It in no way aids him in a
defense on the merits. His attention should be directed and his interest should be on the facts
alleged. The real question is not "did he commit a crime given in the law with some technical
and specific name," but "did he perform the acts alleged in the body of the information in
the manner therein set forth."
Applying the doctrine, the controlling charge against the petitioners is not the allegation that they
were accessories to the crime, which is merely the public prosecutor's conclusion of law or
the technical name of an accused's criminal participation under Article 19 of the RPC, but
the factual charges against them. In short, their alleged acts control in defining the crime for
which they should stand trial.
These material factual allegations pertain to their act of conspiring with each other to take and
carry away the subject truck so that it could not be used as evidence and to avoid its confiscation
and forfeiture in favor of the government as tool or instrument of the crime. Notably, the
petitioners had been sufficiently apprised of these factual allegations, against which they should
defend themselves.
Criminal Law; Obstruction of Justice (Presidential Decree 1829; Elements of.
The factual allegations in the Information, as duly proved during trial, show that the
petitioners' acts actually constituted a violation of Section 1 (b) above.
First, the Information duly alleges all the essential elements of the crime of obstruction of justice
under Section 1 (b).
The factual allegations in the Information clearly charge the accused of taking and carrying
away the truck so that it could not be used as evidence and to avoid its confiscation and
forfeiture in favor of the government as a tool or instrument of the crime.
In the present case, the truck that carried the undocumented lumber serves as material evidence
that is indispensable in the criminal investigation and prosecution for violation of P.D. 705.
Particularly, the truck is an indispensable link to the persons involved in the illegal
possession/transportation of the seized lumber as the permit for the transportation of the lumber
necessarily involves the truck and the lumber. According to DENR forest ranger Rogelio
Pajimna, the transport of lumber should be covered with supporting documents that should be in
the possession of the transporter.

Anlud Metal Recycling Corp. v. Ang, G.R. No. 182157, [August 17, 2015]
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Notice of Hearing.
Citing Rule 15, Section 5 of the Rules of Court,petitioner regards the Notice of Hearing
appended to respondent's Omnibus Motion as defective. This is because the notice was addressed
only to the public prosecutor and the clerk of court, and not to the private offended party
petitioner herein.
By having a defective Notice of Hearing, petitioner concludes that the Omnibus Motion was a
mere scrap of paper, which the RTC should have instantly disregarded. Thus, when the RTC, as
affirmed by the CA, gave due course to the motion, petitioner believes that its right to due
process was oppressed.
Petitioner correctly argues that a notice of hearing must be addressed to all the parties
concerned; and that failure to comply with this directive results in a motion that should be treated
as a mere scrap of paper. However, this general requirement of a valid notice of hearing is one of
those procedural rules that admit of various exceptions.

Nation Petroleum Gas, Inc. v. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., G.R. No. 183370 , [August
17, 2015]
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Service of Summons.
Service of summons on domestic corporation, partnership or other juridical entity is governed by
Section 11, Rule 14 of theRules, which states:
SECTION 11. Service upon domestic private juridical entity. When the defendant is a
corporation, partnership or association organized under the laws of the Philippines with a
juridical personality, service may be made on the president, managing partner, general manager,
corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel.
When the defendant is a domestic corporation like herein petitioner, service of summons may be
made only upon the persons enumerated in Section 11, Rule 14 of the Rules. The enumeration of
persons to whom summons may be served is restricted, limited and exclusive following the rule
on statutory construction expressio unios est exclusio alterius. Substantial compliance cannot be
invoked. Service of summons upon persons other than those officers specifically mentioned in
Section 11, Rule 14 is void, defective and not binding to said corporation.
Basic is the rule that a strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer
jurisdiction of the court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one
who is named in the statute; otherwise, the service is insufficient. The purpose is to render it
reasonably certain that the corporation will receive prompt and proper notice in an action against
it or to insure that the summons be served on a representative so integrated with the corporation
that such person will know what to do with the legal papers served on him.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Substituted Service of Summons.
In the instant case, it appears that the sheriff hastily and capriciously resorted to substituted
service of summons without actually exerting any genuine effort to locate the individual
petitioners. The "reasonable time" within which to personally serve the summons 7 days for
the plaintiff or 15-30 days for the sheriff as stated in Manotoc has not yet elapsed at the time
the substituted service was opted to. Remarkably, based on the Sheriff's Report and the narration
of petitioners, the personal service of summons upon the corporation and the individual
petitioners as well as the levy of their personal and real properties were all done in just one
day. Manotoc stresses that for substituted service of summons to be available, there must be
several attempts by the sheriff to personally serve the summons within a reasonable period which
eventually resulted in failure in order to prove impossibility of prompt service. To reiterate,
"several attempts" means at least three (3) tries, preferably on at least two different dates.
Further, except for the Quezon Province, there is, in fact, no considerable distance between the
residences of the individual petitioners since the cities of Makati and Quezon are part of the
National Capital Region; hence, accessible either by private or public modes of transportation.
Assuming that there is, the distance would not have been insurmountable had respondent took its
time and not unnecessarily rushed to accomplish personal service in just a single day.
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Jurisdiction.
In the present case, the individual petitioners prayed, among others, for the following: (1)
discharge of the writ of attachment on their properties; (2) denial of the motion to declare them
in default; (3) admission of the Comment/Opposition (to the motion to declare them in default)
filed on December 19, 2006; and (4) denial of respondent's motion to strike off from the records
(their opposition to the motion to declare them in default). By seeking affirmative reliefs from
the trial court, the individual petitioners are deemed to have voluntarily submitted to the
jurisdiction of said court. A party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative
relief against his opponent and after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or
question that same jurisdiction. Therefore, the CA cannot be considered to have erred in
affirming the trial court's denial of the Special Appearance with Motion to Dismiss for alleged
improper service of summons.

Manulat, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 190892, [August 17, 2015]


Remedial Law; Evidence; Hearsay Evidence Rule; Res Gestae.
In order to discredit the evidence of the prosecution, petitioner claims that the testimony of
Carmen was purely hearsay and not reliable since the prosecution never presented the children as
witnesses to testify as what was told by them to Carmen, their own grandmother. Hence,
inadmissible in evidence being hearsay and not statements as part of the res gestae. Said
argument is untenable.
The res gestae exception to the hearsay rule provides that the declarations must have been
"voluntarily and spontaneously made so nearly contemporaneous as to be in the presence of the
transaction which they illustrate and explain, and were made under such circumstances as
necessarily to exclude the idea of design or deliberation."
There are three essential requisites to admit evidence as part of the res gestae, namely: (1) that
the principal act, the res gestae be a startling occurrence; (2) the statements were made before
the declarant had the time to contrive or devise a falsehood; and (3) that the statements must
concern the occurrence in question and its immediate attending circumstances.
Remedial Law; Evidence; Hearsay Evidence Rule; Res Gestae.
In this case, this Court finds that the statements of the petitioner and victim's three-year-old son
and two-year-old daughter were spontaneously made. They had no opportunity or chance to
invent a story although they made the statements the morning after the occurrence while being
bathed by their grandmother Carmen. Their statements were unreflected and instinctive since a
three-year-old and a two-year-old children, given their age, do not have the capability,
sophistication or malice to fabricate such an incredible story of a violent altercation between
their parents and to impute their own father to the killing of their mother.
Thus, this court finds the above requites* of res gestae present. First, the principal act, which by
any measure was undoubtedly a startling occurrence, was the violent altercation between
petitioner and the victim, as witnessed by their young children, which led to the killing of his
own wife of which he is being charged. Second, the statements were made spontaneously to
which we ruled that given the tender age of the children, they could not have contrived or
concocted such a story. Lastly, the statements refer to the violent altercation that led to the killing
of the victim.
Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses.
Petitioner avers that the testimony of Dr. Dimaandal, Jr., an expert witness, is not very certain
nor persuasive and that the ligature mark on the victim's neck can be caused by manual
strangulation. Finally, petitioner alleges that the single ligature mark on the victim's neck clearly
infers that his wife had committed suicide.
This Court is not persuaded. There is nothing on record that would compel this Court to believe
that said prosecution witness, Dr. Dimaandal, Jr., has improper motive to falsely testify against
the petitioner nor was his testimony not very certain. In the absence of evidence of an improper
motive actuating the witness, his testimony is worthy of full faith and credit. Furthermore, his
straightforward and consistent testimonies bear the earmarks of credibility.