You are on page 1of 62

8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

20 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

*
G.R. No. 149453. October 7, 2003.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE SECRETARY OF


JUSTICE, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINE
NATIONAL POLICE, CHIEF STATE PROSECUTOR
JOVENCITO ZUO, STATE PROSECUTORS PETER L.
ONG and RUBEN A. ZACARIAS 2ND ASSISTANT CITY
PROSECUTOR CONRADO M. JAMOLIN and CITY
PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY CLARO ARELLANO,
petitioners, vs. PANFILO M. LACSON, respondent.

Criminal Procedure Pleadings and Practice A motion for


disqualification must be denied when filed after a member of the
Court has already given an opinion on the merits of the case, the
rationale being that a litigant cannot be permitted to speculate
upon the action of the Court only to raise an objection of this sort
after a decision has been rendered.It is thus clear that the
grounds cited by the respondent in his omnibus motion had
already been passed upon and resolved by this Court. The
respondent did not make any new substantial arguments in his
motion to warrant a reconsideration of the aforesaid resolutions.
Besides, the respondent sought the inhibition of Justices Conchita
C. Morales and Adolfo S. Azcuna only

_______________

* EN BANC.

21

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 21

People vs. Lacson

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 1/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

after they had already concurred in the Courts Resolution dated


April 1, 2003. Case law has it that a motion for disqualification
must be denied when filed after a member of the Court has
already given an opinion on the merits of the case, the rationale
being that a litigant cannot be permitted to speculate upon the
action of the Court, only to raise an objection of this sort after a
decision has been rendered.
Same Same Court not mandated to apply Section 8, Rule 117
of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure retroactively simply
because it is favorable to the accused The timebar under the new
rule was fixed by the court to excise the malaise that plagued the
administration of the criminal justice system for the benefit of the
State and the Accused, not for the accused only.The Court is not
mandated to apply Section 8 retroactively simply because it is
favorable to the accused. It must be noted that the new rule was
approved by the Court not only to reinforce the constitutional
right of the accused to a speedy disposition of the case. The time
bar under the new rule was fixed by the Court to excise the
malaise that plagued the administration of the criminal justice
system for the benefit of the State and the accused not for the
accused only.
Same Same The retroactivity or nonretroactivity of a rule is
not automatically determined by the provision of the Constitution
on which the dictate is based.In criminal litigations concerning
constitutional issue claims, the Court, in the interest of justice,
may make the rule prospective where the exigencies of the
situation make the rule prospective. The retroactivity or non
retroactivity of a rule is not automatically determined by the
provision of the Constitution on which the dictate is based. Each
constitutional rule of criminal procedure has its own distinct
functions, its own background or precedent, and its own impact on
the administration of justice, and the way in which these factors
combine must inevitably vary with the dictate involved.
Same Same Under Rule 144 of the Rules of Court, the Court
may not apply the rules to actions pending before it if in its
opinion their application would not be feasible or would work
injustice in which event the former procedure shall apply.The
Court approved Section 8 pursuant to its power under Article
VIII, Section 5, paragraph 5 of the Constitution. This
constitutional grant to promulgate rules carries with it the power,
inter alia, to determine whether to give the said rules prospective
or retroactive effect. Moreover, under Rule 144 of the Rules of
Court, the Court may not apply the rules to actions pending
before it if in its opinion their application would not be feasible or
would work injustice, in which event, the former procedure shall
apply.

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 2/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

Same Same The State is entitled to due process in criminal


cases as much as the accused.The respondents contention that
the prospective

22

22 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

People vs. Lacson

application of the new rule would deny him due process and
would violate the equal protection of laws is barren of merit. It
proceeds from an erroneous assumption that the new rule was
approved by the Court solely for his benefit, in derogation of the
right of the State to due process. The new rule was approved by
the Court to enhance the right of due process of both the State
and the accused. The State is entitled to due process in criminal
cases as much as the accused.
Same Same Admissions A judicial admission is a formal
statement made either by a party or his or her attorney in the
course of judicial proceeding which removes an admitted fact from
the field of controversy An admission in open court is a judicial
admission.A judicial admission is a formal statement made
either by a party or his or her attorney, in the course of judicial
proceeding which removes an admitted fact from the field of
controversy. It is a voluntary concession of fact by a party or a
partys attorney during such judicial proceedings, including
admissions in pleadings made by a party. It may occur at any
point during the litigation process. An admission in open court is
a judicial admission. A judicial admission binds the client even if
made by his counsel.
Same Same Same Respondent is bound by the judicial
admissions he made in the Court of Appeals and such admissions
so hold him in the proceedings before the Court.The
respondents contention that his admissions made in his pleadings
and during the hearing in the CA cannot be used in the present
case as they were made in the course of a different proceeding
does not hold water. It should be borne in mind that the
proceedings before the Court was by way of an appeal under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court, as amended, from the proceedings in the
CA as such, the present recourse is but a mere continuation of
the proceedings in the appellate court. This is not a new trial, but
a review of proceedings which commenced from the trial court,
which later passed through the CA. The respondent is bound by
the judicial admissions he made in the CA, and such admissions
so hold him in the proceedings before this Court
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 3/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

SANDOVALGUTIERREZ, J., Dissenting Opinion:

Criminal Procedure Pleadings and Practice Whenever a new


statute dealing with crimes establishes conditions more lenient or
favorable to the accused, the statute becomes retroactive and the
accused must receive the benefit of the new condition Unless a
penal or criminal statute, expressly or by necessary implication,
provides that is shall not be regarded as retroactive, it becomes
subject to the rule laid down by that article.Thus, to justify the
retroactive application of Section 8, Rule 117 on the basis of
Article 22 is in order. Considering its genesis and its underlying
principles, there is no doubt that whenever a new statute dealing
with crimes establishes conditions more lenient or favorable to
the accused, the statute

23

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 23

People vs. Lacson

becomes retroactive and the accused must receive the benefits of


the new condition. As long as this provision so remains in force, it
is of general application to all penal statutes, past, present, future
and furnishes the rule for determining to what extent they are
retroactive or merely prospective. And unless a penal or criminal
statute, expressly or by necessary implication, provides that it shall
not be regarded as retroactive, it becomes subject to the rule laid
down by that article. Evidently, by ruling against the retroactive
application of Section 8, Rule 117, the majority casts aside one of
most basic principles in our legal system.
Same Same Section 8, Rule 117 was introduced not so much
for the interest of the State but precisely for the protection of the
accused against protracted prosecution.Section 8, Rule 117 was
introduced owing to the many instances where police agencies
have refused to issue clearances, for purposes of employment or
travel abroad, to persons having pending cases, on the ground
that the dismissal of such cases by the court was merely
provisional, notwithstanding the fact that such provisional
dismissal, more often than not, had been done five or ten years
ago. Obviously, Section 8, Rule 117 was introduced not so much
for the interest of the State but precisely for the protection of the
accused against protracted prosecution. This Courts Committee
on Revision of the Rules of Court clearly saw the prejudice to the
rights of the accused caused by a suspended provisional dismissal
of his case. Hence, if we are to follow the majoritys line of

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 4/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

reasoning that Section 8, Rule 117 must be read according to its


spirit or intent, then the logical conclusion is the retroactive
application of the rule. Certainly, it is the construction that will
advance the object and secure the benefits intended.
Same Same There is a distinction between the effect to be
given a retroactive statute when it relates to private rights and
when it relates to public rights, public rights may always be
modified or annulled by subsequent legislation without
contravening the Due Process Clause.The necessity, therefore, of
applying the favorable new rule to respondent rests upon the
principle that the sovereign power cannot exercise its right to
punish except only within those limits of justice which that
sovereign power has established as being just and equitable at the
time of exercising that right. Significantly, it has been held that
the constitutional provision barring the passage of retroactive
laws protects only the rights of citizens hence, a state may
constitutionally pass a retroactive law that impairs its own rights.
Only private, and not public, rights may become vested in a
constitutional sense. Otherwise stated, there is a distinction
between the effect to be given a retroactive statute when it relates
to private rights, and when it relates to public rights, public
rights may always be modified or annulled by subsequent
legislation without contravening the Due Process Clause.

24

24 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

People vs. Lacson

Same Same The statement of respondents counsel during the


proceedings in the Court of Appeals that the dismissal of
respondents case was without his express consent cannot be taken
as a judicial admission.The statement of respondents counsel
during the proceedings in the Court of Appeals that the dismissal
of respondents case was without his express consent cannot be
taken as a judicial admission. For one, the statement was uttered
merely to support a legal argument. One thing clear from the
pleadings of the contending parties is their vacillation on whether
or not respondent gave his express consent to the dismissal. When
respondents counsel was invoking double jeopardy, he submitted
that respondent did not give his express consent to the dismissal.
It was the Solicitor General who was arguing otherwise. Clearly,
respondents counsel made the statement as a legal strategy to
justify the application of double jeopardy.
Same Same The accused is not bound by the admissions
made by his attorney in the course of his argument.For another,

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 5/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

the statement was not made for the purpose of avoiding the
necessity of proof. It has been held that an admission of fact by
counsel for accused, to be admissible, must be voluntarily and
purposely made to avoid necessity of proof, or it must be distinct
and formal made for the express purpose of dispensing with proof
of a fact on the trial. An admission made by counsel in argument
does not take the place of testimony, and is not sufficient to justify
the trial court in assuming that accused admitted such matter.
Otherwise stated, only those admissions made by the attorney
during the trial of the case, which are solemnly and formally
made for the purpose of eliminating the proof of the fact admitted,
that will bind the client. This is without question the just and
proper rule to be followed, for human life and liberty are too
important to depend on the slip of an attorneys tongue during the
pressure and rapidity of the trial. Thus, the accused is not bound
by the admissions made by his attorney in the course of his
argument. His rights cannot be prejudiced by any statement made
by his counsel or any admission he may attempt to make and that
an attorney cannot admit away the life or liberty of accused in the
face of a plea of not guilty.

YNARESSANTIAGO, J., Dissenting Opinion:

Criminal Procedure Pleadings and Practice Rule 117, section


8 should be given retroactive application consistent with the
principle of statutory construction of procedural rules.
Regardless of the characterization of Criminal Cases Nos. Q99
81679 to Q9981689, I submit that Rule 117, Section 8 should be
given retroactive application, consistent with the principles of
statutory construction of procedural rules.
Same Same The retroactive application of procedural laws is
not violative of any right of a person who may feel that he is
adversely affected.Undoubtedly, there is no express exception to
the retroactive

25

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 25

People vs. Lacson

application of Rule 117, Section 8. Thus, unless vested rights are


disturbed, its retroactive application is clearly mandated. On this
point, it has been held that the retroactive application of
procedural laws is not violative of any right of a person who may
feel that he is adversely affected. This is because of the

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 6/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

fundamental principle that, as a general rule, no vested right may


attach to nor arise from procedural laws. This is a principle that
we have enunciated in a long line of cases. A person has no vested
right in any rule of law which entitles him to insist that it shall
remain unchanged for his benefit.

OMNIBUS MOTION, MOTION FOR


RECONSIDERATION, SUPPLEMENT TO MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION AND MOTION TO SET FOR ORAL
ARGUMENTS in the Supreme Court.

The facts are stated in the resolution of the Court.


The Solicitor General for petitioners.
Fortun, Narvasa & Salazar counsel for respondent P.
Lacson.
Saguisag, Carao & Associates cocounsel for
respondent.

RESOLUTION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

Before the Court are the following motions1


of the
respondent, to wit:
2
(a) Omnibus Motion (b) Motion for
Reconsideration3 (c) Supplement to Motion 4 for
Reconsideration (d) Motion To Set for Oral Arguments.

The Omnibus Motion


The respondent seeks the reconsideration of the April 29,
2003 Resolution of this Court which granted the
petitioners motion for reconsideration. The respondent
thereafter prays to allow Associate Justices Renato C.
Corona, Ma. Alicia AustriaMartinez, Conchita C. Morales,
Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., and Adolfo S. Azcuna to voluntarily
inhibit themselves or, absent their consent, rule that

_______________

1 Rollo, Vol. III, pp. 15631570.


2 Id., at pp. 13911491.
3 Id., at pp. 15131529.
4 Id., at p. 1493.

26

26 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 7/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

such inhibition is in order and to recuse them from further


deliberating, discussing or, in any manner, participating in
the resolution of the Motion for Reconsideration and the
Supplement to Motion for Reconsideration. The respondent
points out that the aforenamed members of the Court were
appointed by President Gloria MacapagalArroyo after the
February 19, 2002 oral arguments and after the case at bar
was submitted for the decision 5of the Court. He asserts that
although A.M. No. 99809SC specifically provides that it
applies only to the divisions of the Court, it should likewise
apply to this case, in light of the April 1, 2003 Resolution of
this Court which set aside its Resolution dated May 28,
2002, apart from the constitutional issues raised by the
respondent in his motion for reconsideration and its
supplement. As such, according to the respondent, the
instant case should be unloaded by Justice Callejo, Sr. and
reraffled to any other member of the Court.
The Court resolves to deny the respondents motion for
lack of merit.
The records show that as early as May 24, 2002, the
respondent filed an urgent motion for the recusation of
Justices Renato C. Corona and Ma. Alicia AustriaMartinez
for the reason that they were appointed to the Court after
the February 19, 2002 oral arguments and did not
participate in the integral portions of the proceedings.
Justices Corona and AustriaMartinez refused to inhibit
themselves and6 decided to participate in the deliberation
on the petition. On March 18, 2003, the respondent filed a
motion with the Court for the recusation of Justice Romeo
J. Callejo, Sr. on account of his voluntary inhibition when
the case was pending before the Court of Appeals.
On March 25, 2003, this Court issued a resolution
denying the respondents Motion dated March 18, 2003.
The respondent thereafter filed his motion for
reconsideration of the April 1, 2003 Resolution of the Court
in which he prayed, inter alia, for the inhibition of Justice
Callejo, Sr. under A.M. No. 99809SC and that the case be
reraffled to another member of the Court who had actually
participated in the deliberation and the rendition of its
May 28, 2002 Resolution. The respondent likewise sought
the inhi

_______________

5 Rules on Who Shall Resolve Motions for Reconsideration in Cases


Assigned to the Divisions of the Court, effective April 1, 2000.
6 Rollo, Vol. II, p. 1179.

27

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 8/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 27


People vs. Lacson

bition of Justices Conchita C. Morales and Adolfo S.


Azcuna, again for the reason that they were appointed to
the Court after the oral arguments on February 19, 2002
and after the case had already been submitted for decision.
On April 29, 2003, this Court issued a resolution 7
denying the aforesaid motions of the respondent. The
Court ruled that A.M. No. 99809SC is applicable only to
cases assigned to the divisions of the Court:

The respondents reliance on Supreme Court Circular No. 99809


is misplaced. As admitted by the respondent, the said circular is
applicable only to motions for reconsideration in cases assigned to
the Divisions of the Court. For cases assigned to the Court En
Banc, the policy of the Court had always been and still is, if the
ponente is no longer with the Court, his replacement will act upon
the motion for reconsideration of a party and participate in the
deliberations thereof. This is the reason why Justice Callejo, Sr.
who had replaced retired Justice De Leon, 8
prepared the draft of
the April 1, 2003 Resolution of the Court.

The Court also ruled that there was no need for its newest
members to inhibit themselves from participating in the
deliberation of the respondents Motion for
Reconsideration:

Although Justices Conchita CarpioMorales, Romeo J. Callejo, Sr.,


and Adolfo S. Azcuna were 9
not yet members of the Court during
the February 18, 2002 oral arguments before the Court,
nonetheless they were not disqualified to participate in the
deliberations on the petitioners motion for reconsideration of the
May 28, 2002 Resolution of the Court or of the instant motion for
reconsideration. Neither is Justice Callejo, Sr. disqualified to
prepare the resolution of the Court on the motion for
reconsideration of the respondent. When the Court deliberated on
petitioners motion for reconsideration, Justices Conchita Carpio
Morales, Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. and Adolfo S. Azcuna were already
members of the Court.
It bears stressing that transcripts of stenographic notes taken
during the February 18, 2002 hearing and oral arguments of the
parties are parts of the records of this case. Said transcripts are
available to the parties or to any member of the Court. Likewise,
Attys. Rene A.V. Saguisag and Felix Carao, Jr. may not yet have
been the counsel of the respondent on February 18, 2002 but by
reading the said transcripts and the records

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 9/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

_______________

7 Rollo, Vol. III, p. 1496.


8 Id., at p. 1501.
9 February 18, 2002 should read February 19, 2002.

28

28 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

of this case they are informed of what 10transpired during the


hearing and oral arguments of the parties.

It is thus clear that the grounds cited by the respondent in


his omnibus motion had already been passed upon and
resolved by this Court. The respondent did not make any
new substantial arguments in his motion to warrant a
reconsideration of the aforesaid resolutions.
Besides, the respondent sought the inhibition of Justices
Conchita C. Morales and Adolfo S. Azcuna only after they
had already concurred in the Courts Resolution dated
April 1, 2003. Case law has it that a motion for
disqualification must be denied when filed after a member
of the Court has already given an opinion on the merits of
the case, the rationale being that a litigant cannot be
permitted to speculate upon the action of the Court, only to
raise an 11objection of this sort after a decision has been
rendered.

The Motion to Set the Case for Oral Arguments


The Court denies the motion of the respondent. The parties
have already extensively discussed the issues involved in
the case. The respondents motion for reconsideration
consists of no less than a hundred pages, excluding the
supplement to his motion for reconsideration and his reply
to the petitioners comment on his motion. There is no
longer a need to set the instant case for oral arguments.

The Issue as to the Application of the Timebar under


Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
ProcedureWhether Prospective or Retroactive
The respondent seeks the reconsideration of the April 1,
2003 Resolution of the Court and thereafter reinstate its
Resolution of May 28, 2002.

_______________

10 Id., at pp. 15001501.


http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 10/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

11 Limpin, Jr. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 161 SCRA 83 (1988).

29

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 29


People vs. Lacson

He asserts that pursuant to a long line of jurisprudence


and a longstanding judicial practice in applying penal law,
Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure (RRCP) should be applied prospectively and
retroactively without reservations, only and solely on the
basis of its being favorable to the accused. He asserts that
case law on the retroactive application of penal laws should
likewise apply to criminal procedure, it being a branch of
criminal law. The respondent insists that Section 8 was
purposely crafted and included as a new provision to
reinforce the constitutional right of the accused to a speedy
disposition of his case. It is primarily a check on the State
to prosecute criminal cases diligently and continuously, lest
it loses its right to prosecute the accused anew. The
respondent argues that since Section 8 is indubitably a rule
of procedure, there can be no other conclusion: the rule
should have retroactive application, absent any provision
therein that it should be applied prospectively. Accordingly,
prospective application thereof would in effect give the
petitioners more than two years from March 29, 1999
within which to revive the criminal cases, thus violating
the respondents right to due process and equal protection
of the law.
The respondent asserts that Section 8 was meant to
reach back in time to provide relief to the accused. In this
case, the State had been given more than sufficient
opportunity to prosecute the respondent anew after the
March 29, 1999 dismissal of the cases by then Judge
Wenceslao Agnir, Jr. and before the RRCP took effect on
December 1, 2000. According to the respondent, the
petitioners filed the Informations with the RTC in Criminal
Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01101112 beyond the twoyear
bar, in violation of his right to a speedy trial, and that such
filing was designed to derail his bid for the Senate.
In their comment on the respondents motions, the
petitioners assert that the prospective application of
Section 8 is in keeping with Section 5(5), Article VIII of the
1987 Constitution, which provides in part that the rules of
procedure which the Court may promulgate shall not
diminish, increase or modify substantial rights. While
Section 8 secures the rights of the accused, it does not and
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 11/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

should not preclude the equally important right of the


State to public justice. If such right to public justice is
taken away, then Section 8 can no longer be said to be a
procedural rule. According to the petitioners, if a
procedural rule impairs a vested right, or

30

30 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

would work injustice, the said rule may not be given a


retroactive application. They contend that the right of the
accused to a speedy trial or disposition of the criminal cases
applies only to outstanding and pending cases and not to
cases already dismissed. The petitioners assert that the
refiling of the cases under Section 8 should be taken to
mean as the filing of the criminal complaint with the
appropriate office for the purpose of conducting a
preliminary investigation, and not the actual filing of the
criminal complaint or information in court for trial.
Furthermore, according to the petitioners, the offended
parties must be given notices of the motion for provisional
dismissal of the cases under Section 8 since the provision
so expressly states. Thus, if the requisite notices to the
heirs of the deceased would be taken into consideration, the
twoyear period had not yet even commenced to run.
In his consolidated reply to the comment of the
petitioners, the respondent asserts that the State is
proscribed from refiling a criminal case if it can be shown
that the delay resulted in a violation of the right of the
accused to due process. In this case, there was an
inordinate delay in the revival of the cases, considering
that the witnesses in the criminal cases for the State in
March 1999 are the same witnesses in 2001. The State had
reasonable opportunity to refile the cases before the two
year bar but failed to do so because of negligence and
perhaps institutional indolence. Contrary to the petitioners
contention, the respondent posits that the revival of the
cases contemplated in Section 8 refers to the filing of the
Informations or complaints in court for trial. The
operational act then is the refiling of the Informations with
the RTC, which was done only on June 6, 2001, clearly
beyond the twoyear bar.
The Court finds the respondents contentions to be
without merit.
First. The Court approved the RRCP pursuant to its
power under Article VIII, Section 5, paragraph 5 of the
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 12/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

Constitution which reads:

(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of


constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all
courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar,
and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall
provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy
disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same
grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify sub

31

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 31


People vs. Lacson

stantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi


judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the
Supreme Court.

The Court is not mandated to apply Section 8 retroactively


simply because it is favorable to the accused. It must be
noted that the new rule was approved by the Court not only
to reinforce the constitutional right of the accused to a
speedy disposition of the case. The timebar under the new
rule was fixed by the Court to excise the malaise that
plagued the administration of the criminal justice system
for the benefit of the State and the accused not for the
accused only. The Court emphasized in its assailed
resolution that:

In the new rule in question, as now construed by the Court, it has


fixed a timebar of one year or two years for the revival of
criminal cases provisionally dismissed with the express consent of
the accused and with a priori notice to the offended party. The
timebar may appear, on first impression, unreasonable compared
to the periods under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code.
However, in fixing the timebar, the Court balanced the societal
interests and those of the accused for the orderly and speedy
disposition of criminal cases with minimum prejudice to the State
and the accused. It took into account the substantial rights of both
the State and of the accused to due process. The Court believed
that the time limit is a reasonable period for the State to revive
provisionally dismissed cases with the consent of the accused and
notice to the offended parties. The timebar fixed by the Court
must be respected unless it is shown that the period is manifestly
12
short or insufficient that the rule becomes a denial of justice.

In criminal litigations concerning constitutional issue


claims, the Court, in the interest of justice, may make the
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 13/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

rule prospective where the exigencies of the situation make


the rule prospective. The retroactivity or nonretroactivity
of a rule is not automatically determined by the provision
of the Constitution on which the dictate is based. Each
constitutional rule of criminal procedure has its own
distinct functions, its own background or precedent, and its
own impact on the administration of justice, and the way in
which these factors
13
combine must inevitably vary with the
dictate involved.

_______________

12 Rollo, Vol. II, p. 1342.


13 Stovall v. Denno, 18 L.Ed.2d. 1199 (1967).

32

32 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

Matters of procedure are 14


not necessarily retrospective in
operation as a statute. To paraphrase the United States
Supreme Court per Justice Benjamin Cardozo, the Court in
defining the limits of adherence may make a choice for
itself between the15 principle of forward operation and that of
relating forward.
The Court approved Section 8 pursuant to its power
under Article VIII, Section 5, paragraph 5 of the
Constitution. This constitutional grant to promulgate rules
carries with it the power, inter alia, to determine whether
to give the said rules prospective or retroactive effect.
Moreover, under Rule 144 of the Rules of Court, the Court
may not apply the rules to actions pending before it if in its
opinion their application would not be feasible or would
work injustice,
16
in which event, the former procedure shall
apply.
The absence of a provision in Section 8 giving it
prospective application only does not proscribe the
prospective application thereof nor does it imply that the
Court intended the new rule to be given retroactive and
prospective effect. If the statutory purpose is clear, the
provisions of the law should be construed as is conducive to
fairness and justice, and in harmony with the general spirit
and policy of the rule. It should be construed so 17
as not to
defeat but to carry out such end or purpose. A statute
derives its vitality from the purpose for which it is
approved. To construe it in a manner that disregards 18
or
defeats such purpose is to nullify or destroy the law. In
19
Cometa v. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False that the 14/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413
19
Cometa v. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled that the
spirit rather than the letter of the statute determines its
construction hence, a statute must be read according to its
spirit or

_______________

14 United States Fidelity & Guarantee Company v. United States, 52


L.Ed. 804 (1908).
15 Great Northern Railway Company v. Sunburst Oil & Refining
Company, 11 L.Ed. 360 (1932).
16 Rule 144, Rules of Court, as amended:

These rules shall take effect on January 1, 1964. They shall govern all cases
brought after they take effect, and also all further proceedings in cases then
pending, except to the extent that in the opinion of the court their application
would not be feasible or would work injustice, in which event the former procedure
shall apply.

17 AgeHerald Publishing Co. v. Huddleston, 92 So. 193 (1921).


18 Pilipinas Kao, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 372 SCRA 548 (2001).
19 351 SCRA 294 (2001).

33

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 33


People vs. Lacson

20
intent. While we may not read into the law a purpose
that is not there, we nevertheless have the right to read out
of it the reason for its enactment. In doing so, we defer not
to the letter that killeth but to the
21
spirit that vivifieth, to
give effect to the lawmakers will.
In this case, when the Court approved Section 8, it
intended the new rule to be applied prospectively and not
retroactively, for if the intention of the Court were
otherwise, it would defeat the very purpose for which it was
intended, namely, to give the State a period of two years
from notice of the provisional dismissal of criminal cases
with the express consent of the accused. It would be a
denial of the States right to due process and a travesty of
justice for the Court to apply the new rule retroactively in
the present case as the respondent insists, considering that
the criminal cases were provisionally dismissed by Judge
Agnir, Jr. on March 29, 1999 before the new rule took effect
on December 1, 2000. A retroactive application of the time
bar will result in absurd, unjust and oppressive

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 15/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

consequences to the State and to the victims of crimes and


their heirs.
Consider this scenario: the trial court (RTC)
provisionally dismissed a criminal case with the express
consent of the accused in 1997. The prosecution had the
right to revive the case within the prescriptive period,
under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.
On December 1, 2000, the timebar rule under Section 8
took effect, the prosecution was unable to revive the
criminal case before then.
If the timebar fixed in Section 8 were to be applied
retroactively, this would mean that the State would be
barred from reviving the case for failure to comply with the
said timebar, which was yet to be approved by the Court
three years after the provisional dismissal of the criminal
case. In contrast, if the same case was dismissed
provisionally in December 2000, the State had the right to
revive the same within the timebar. In fine, to so hold
would imply that the State was presumed to foresee and
anticipate that three years after 1997, the Court would
approve and amend the RRCP. The State would thus be
sanctioned for its failure to comply with a rule yet to be
approved by the Court. It must be

_______________

20 Id., at p. 304.
21 Id.

34

34 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

stressed that the institution and prosecution of criminal


cases are governed by existing rules and not by rules yet to
exist. It would be the apex of injustice to hold that Section 8
had a platonic or ideal existence before it was approved by
the Court. The past cannot be erased by a capricious
retroactive application of the new rule.
In holding that the petitioners had until December 1,
2002 within which to revive the criminal cases
provisionally dismissed by Judge Agnir, Jr. on March 29,
1999, this Courtexplained, thus:

The Court agrees with the petitioners that to apply the timebar
retroactively so that the twoyear period commenced to run on
March 31, 1999 when the public prosecutor received his copy of

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 16/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

the resolution of Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing the criminal cases is


inconsistent with the intendment of the new rule. Instead of
giving the State two years to revive provisionally dismissed cases,
the State had considerably less than two years to do so. Thus,
Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissed Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q
9981689 on March 29, 1999. The new rule took effect on
December 1, 2000. If the Court applied the new timebar
retroactively, the State would have only one year and three
months or until March 31, 2001 within which to revive these
criminal cases. The period is short of the twoyear period fixed
under the new rule. On the other hand, if the time limit is applied
prospectively, the State would have two years from December 1,
2000 or until December 1, 2002 within which to revive the cases.
This is in consonance with the intendment of the new rule in
fixing the timebar and thus prevent injustice to the State and
avoid absurd, unreasonable, oppressive, injurious, and wrongful
results in the administration of justice. 22
The period from April 1, 1999 to November 30, 1999 should be
excluded in the computation of the twoyear period because the
rule prescribing it was not yet in effect at the time and the State
could not be expected to comply with the timebar. It cannot even
be argued that the State waived its right to revive the criminal
cases against respondent or that it was negligent for not reviving
them within the twoyear period under the new rule. As the
United States Supreme Court said, per Justice Felix Frankfurter,
in Griffin v. People, 351 US 12 (1956):

We should not indulge in the fiction that the law now announced has
always been the law and, therefore, that those who did not avail
themselves of it waived their rights . . .

The twoyear period fixed in the new rule is for the benefit of
both the State and the accused. It should not be emasculated and
reduced by an inordinate retroactive application of the timebar
therein provided merely to benefit the accused. For to do so would
cause an injustice of hardship

_______________

22 November 30, 1999 should read November 30, 2000.

35

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 35


People vs. Lacson

to the State and adversely affect the administration


23
of justice in
general and of criminal laws in particular.

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 17/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

Further quoting 24Justice Felix Frankfurters opinion in


Griffin v. People, he said, it is much more conducive to
laws selfrespect to recognize candidly the considerations
that give prospective content to a new pronouncement of
law. That this is consonant with the spirit of our law and
justified by those considerations of reason which should
dominate the law has been luminously expounded by Mr.
Justice Cardozo shortly before he came here and in an
opinion which he wrote for the Court.
Parenthetically, the respondent himself admitted in his
motion for reconsideration that Judge Agnir, Jr. could not
have been expected to comply with the notice requirement
under the new rule when it yet had to exist:

99. Respondent submits that the records are still in the same
state of inadequacy and incompletion. This however is not strange
considering that Section 8, Rule 117 had not existed on March 29,
1999, when the criminal cases were dismissed, and then Judge
Agnir did not have its text to guide his actions. How could the
good judge have complied 25
with the mandate of Section 8, Rule 117
when it yet had to exist?

Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be


construed as applicable to actions pending and
undetermined at the time of their passage. In that26 sense and
to that extent, procedural laws are retroactive. Criminal
Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689 had long been
dismissed by Judge Agnir, Jr. before the new rule took
effect on December 1, 2000. When the petitioners filed the
Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01
101112 on June 6, 2001, Criminal Cases. Nos. Q9981679
and Q9981689 had long since been terminated. The two
year bar in the new rule should not be reckoned from the
March 29, 1999 dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q99
81679 to Q9981689 but from December 1, 2000 when the
new rule took effect. While it is true that the Court applied

_______________

23 Resolution dated April 1, 2003, pp. 2526 Rollo, Vol. II, pp. 1343
1344.
24 Supra.
25 Rollo, Vol. III, p. 1448.
26 Tan, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 136368, January 16, 2002, 373
SCRA 524.

36

36 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 18/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

People vs. Lacson

27
Section 8 of Rule 110 of the RRCP retroactively, it did so
only to cases still pending with this Court and not to cases
already terminated with finality.
The records show that after the requisite preliminary
investigation conducted by the petitioners in accordance
with existing rules, eleven Informations in Criminal Cases
Nos. 01101102 to 01101112 were filed with the RTC on
June 6, 2001, very well within the timebar therefor. The
respondent cannot argue that his right to due process and
to a speedy disposition of the28cases as enshrined in the
Constitution had been violated.
The respondents plaint that he was being singled out by
the prospective application of the new rule simply because
before the Court issued its April 1, 2003 Resolution, he
announced his candidacy for the presidency of the Republic 29
for the 2004 elections has no factual basis whatsoever.
The bare and irrefutable fact is that

_______________

27 SEC. 8. Designation of the offense.The complaint or information


shall state the designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the
acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and
aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the offense,
reference shall be made to the section or subsection, of the statute
punishing it.
28 U.S. v. Panczko, 367 F. 2d. 737 (1966).
29 In its April 29, 2003 Resolution, the respondents allusion of loud
whispers caused by a suspicion that this Court or any member of this
Court had been manipulated by politics in this government was rejected
by the Court, thus:

The respondents allusion of loud whispers caused by a suspicion that this Court
or any member of the Court had been manipulated by politics in this government
when it resolved to set aside its 28 May 2002 Resolution is downright
irresponsible. Not too long ago, a distinguished member of the Court said:
Those who wear the black robes are enrolled in a noble mission become
different persons forfeit their past activities, friends and even relatives and
devote full time, attention and effort to the rather reclusive and exclusive world of
decisionmaking . . . .
Quoting Rufus Choate, in part, a judge or justice in administering justice shall
know nothing about the parties, everything about the case. He shall do everything
for justice nothing for himself nothing for his friend nothing for his patron
nothing for his sovereign. All members of the Court acted on and resolved
petitioners motion for reconsideration as well as respondents motion to recuse
Justice Callejo, Sr. in light of their respective study of the rec

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 19/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

37

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 37


People vs. Lacson

it was in this case where the issue of the


retroactive/prospective application of the new rule was first
raised before the Court. The ruling of the Court in its April
1, 2003 Resolution and its ruling today would be the same,
regardless of who the party or parties involved are,
whether a senator of the Republic or an ordinary citizen.
The respondents contention that the prospective
application of the new rule would deny him due process
and would violate the equal protection of laws is barren of
merit. It proceeds from an erroneous assumption that the
new rule was approved by the Court solely for his benefit,
in derogation of the right of the State to due process. The
new rule was approved by the Court to enhance the right of
due process of both the State and the accused. The State is
entitled to due process in criminal cases as much as the
accused.
Due process has never been and perhaps can never be
precisely defined. It is not a technical conception with a
fixed content unrelated to time, place and. circumstances.
The phrase expresses the requirement of fundamental
fairness, a requisite whose
30
meaning can be as opaque as its
importance is lofty. In determining what fundamental
fairness consists of in a particular situation, relevant
precedents must be considered and the interests that are at
stake private interests, as well as the interests of the
government must be assessed. In this case, in holding that
the new rule has prospective and not retroactive
application, the Court took into consideration not only the
interests of the respondent but all other accused, whatever
their station in life may be. The interest of the State in the
speedy, impartial and inexpensive disposition of criminal
cases was likewise considered.

The Respondent Failed to Comply with the Essential


Prerequisites of Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure
The respondent argues that the issue involved in the Court
of Appeals is entirely different from the issue involved in
the present

_______________

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 20/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

ords and the relevant laws and rules after due deliberation. . . . (Rollo,
Vol. III, p. 1499).
30 Lassite v. Department of Social Services, 68 L.Ed.2d. 640 (1981).

38

38 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

recourse hence, any admissions he made in the court below


are not judicial admissions in this case. He asserts that the
issue involved in the CA was whether or not he was placed
in double jeopardy when he was charged with murder in
Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01101112 despite the
dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q99
81689 whereas the issue in this Court is whether the
prosecution of Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01101112
was barred by Section 8, Rule 117 of the RRCP. The
respondent avers that the proceedings in the appellate
court are different from those in this Court.
The respondent posits that this Court erred in giving
considerable weight to the admissions he made in his
pleadings and during the proceedings in the CA. He
stresses that judicial admissions may only be used against
a party if such admissions are (a) made in the course of the
proceedings in the same case and (b) made regarding a
relevant fact, pursuant to Section 4, Rule 129 and Section
26, Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence. He contends that
contrary to the ruling of the Court, when he filed his
motion for the judicial determination of probable cause in
Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689, he thereby
prayed for the dismissal of the said cases. His motion
carried with it, at the very least, the prayer for the
dismissal of the criminal cases. Absent a finding of
probable cause, Judge Agnir, Jr. had no recourse but to
dismiss the criminal cases. Moreover, the respondent avers
that his motion included the general prayer for such other
reliefs as may be equitable in the premises. The
respondent also points out that the public prosecutor
agreed to the averments in his motion as the latter did not
even file any motion for the reconsideration of Judge Agnir,
Jr.s order dismissing the cases.
The respondent further contends that the Court is not a
trier of facts. It has no means to ascertain or verify as true
the contrasting claims of the parties on the factual issues, a
function best left to the trial court as the trier of facts. He
posits that there is a need for the case to be remanded to
the RTC to enable him to present evidence on whether or
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 21/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

not Judge Agnir, Jr. complied with the notice requirements


of Section 8. Echoing the May 28, 2002 ruling of this Court,
the respondent contends that it is not fair to expect the
element of notice under Section 8 to be litigated before
Judge Agnir, Jr., for the said rule was not yet in existence
at the time he filed his motion for a determination of
probable cause.
39

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 39


People vs. Lacson

The respondent avers that the requirement for notices to


the offended parties under Section 8 is a formal and not an
essential requisite. In criminal cases, the offended party is
the State and the role of the private complainant is limited
to the determination of the civil liability of the accused.
According to the respondent, notice to the prosecution
provides sufficient safeguard for the private complainant to
recover on the civil liability of the accused based on the
delicts after all, the prosecution of the offense is under the
control and direction of the public prosecutor.
The contentions of the respondent have no merit.
First. The issue posed by the respondent in the CA and
in this Court
31
are the same.32
To recall, in Civil Case No. 01
100933, the respondent sought injunctive relief from the
RTC of Manila on his claim that in conducting a
preliminary investigation in Criminal Cases Nos. 01
101102 to 01101112, the petitioners thereby placed him 33
in
double jeopardy under Section 7, Rule 117 of the RRCP.

_______________

31 Entitled and docketed as Lacson v. Department of Justice, Civil Case


No. 01100933 for prohibition with a prayer for a temporary restraining
order. (CA Rollo, p. 29).
32 There were 27 accused in Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q99
816S9. Except for Inspector Manuel Alvarez, the said accused were also
charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01101112. Only the
respondent filed his petition in said case.
33 SEC. 7. Former conviction or acquittal double jeopardy.When an
accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed
or otherwise terminated without his express consent by acourt of
competent jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other
formal charge sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction and
after the accused had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of
the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 22/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same
or frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is
necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or
information.
However, the conviction of the accused shall not be a bar to another
prosecution for an offense which necessarily includes the offense charged
in the former complaint or information under any of the following
instances:

(a) the greater offense developed due to supervening facts arising


from the same act or omission constituting the former charge

40

40 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

When the RTC denied his plea for injunctive relief, the
respondent filed his petition for certiorari in the CA, again
invoking his right against double jeopardy, praying that:

13. Inasmuch as the case subject of the preliminary


investigation was dismissed for the reasons mentioned, there
currently exists no complaint upon which a valid investigation can
be had in light of the clear provisions of Rule 110 which requires
the existence of a sworn written statement charging a person
with an offense as basis for the commencement of a preliminary
investigation under Rule 112.
For petitioner, the investigation covers exactly the same
offenses over which he had been duly arraigned and a plea validly
entered before the Sandiganbayan (in Criminal Cases Nos. 23047
to 57) before its remand to the QC RTC. Hence, to proceed
therewith on similar charges will put him in jeopardy 34
of being
twice punished therefor (Article HL 21, Constitution).

The respondent (petitioner therein) contended that the


dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689
by Judge Agnir, Jr. amounted to a judgment of acquittal
hence, he could no longer be charged and prosecuted anew
for the same offense without violating his right against
double jeopardy. However, the respondent filed a second
amended petition wherein he invoked for the first time
Section 8 of Rule 117 of the RRCP

(e) the new criminal cases for Murder filed by respondents against
petitioner and the other accused on June 6, 2001 (docketed as
Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01101112) and pending before
respondent Judge Yadao (Annex B) is dismissible on its face as
they involve exactly the same accused, facts, and offenses which
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 23/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

had previously been dismissed by the OC RTC in Criminal Cases


Nos. 09981679 to 89 on March 29, 1999, hence,

_______________

(b) the facts constituting the graver charge became known or were discovered
only after a plea was entered in the former complaint or information or
(c) the plea of guilty to the lesser offense was made without the consent of the
prosecutor and of the offended party except as provided in Section 1(f) of
Rule 116.

In any of the foregoing cases, where the accused satisfies or serves in whole or
in part the judgment, he shall be credited with the same in the event of conviction
for the graver offense.
34 CA Rollo, pp. 89. (Italics supplied).

41

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 41


People vs. Lacson

can no longer be revived two (2) years after such dismissal 35


in
accordance with the clear provisions of Section 8, Rule 117.

Indeed, the CA granted the respondents petition based on


Section 8, Rule 117 of the RRCP. In this case, the
respondent invoked the same rule and the Constitution.
Thus, during the oral arguments in this Court, the
respondent, through counsel, admitted that he was indeed
invoking Section 8 anew and the provisions of the
Constitution on double jeopardy:

JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
You are saying that Sen. Lacson can no longer be
prosecuted forever for that crime, for the killing of the
11 in 1995?
ATTY. FORTUN:
That is my submission, Your Honor.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
Let us see your reason for it?
36
ATTY. FORTUN:
First, are you saying that double jeopardy applies or
not?

37
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 24/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

Allow me to qualify the effects of double jeopardy occur


with permanent dismissal that is my submission.
38
ATTY. FORTUN:
No, no, I am not talking of the effects, I am talking of
the doctrine, you are not invoking the doctrine of
double jeopardy?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Your Honor, double jeopardy does not apply Section 8,
117 they are (interrupted)
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
That is right.
ATTY. FORTUN:
They are two different claims.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
That is what I am trying to rule out so that we do not
have to discuss it.

_______________

35 Id., at p. 110.
36 This should read Justice Panganiban.
37 This should read Atty. Fortun.
38 This should read Justice Panganiban.

42

42 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

ATTY. FORTUN:
Very well, Your Honor.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
You are not invoking double jeopardy?
ATTY. FORTUN:
As I mentioned we are saying that the effects of a
permanent dismissal vest the effects (interrupted)
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
No, I am not talking of the effects, I am asking about
the application, you are not asking the Court to apply
the doctrine of double jeopardy to prevent a
prosecution of Mr. Lacson?

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 25/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

ATTY. FORTUN:
Because the element of double jeopardy cannot apply
8, 117.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
So, the answer is yes?
ATTY. FORTUN:
No, Your Honor, we were saying that precisely a
permanent dismissal vests the rights of double
jeopardy upon the accused who invokes it.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
What you are saying is the effects, 1 am not asking
about the effects, I will ask that later.
ATTY. FORTUN:
They are two different (interrupted)
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
Later, I am asking about doctrines. Since you are not
invoking the doctrine of double jeopardy you are
resting your case win or lose, sink or sail on the
application of 8, 117?
ATTY. FORTUN:
On the constitutional right of the accused under
Section 16 of Article 3 which is speedy disposition of
cases which implemented 8, 117, that is our arguments
in this bar.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
Are you not resting on 8, 117?
ATTY. FORTUN:
That and the constitutional provision, Your Honor.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
So, you are resting on 8, 117?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Not exclusive. Your Honor.

43

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 43


People vs. Lacson

JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
And the Constitution?
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 26/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

ATTY. FORTUN:
The Constitution which gave life to 8, 117.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
To speedy disposition?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
Can a Court, let us see your theory thenyour
theory rest on two provisions: first, the Rules of
Court 8, 117 and Second, the Constitution on
speedy disposition?
39
ATTY. Yes, Your Honor.
FORTUN:

Second. The respondents answers to the questions of


Madame Justice Josefina Salonga during the hearing in
the CA where he admitted, through counsel, that he gave
no express conformity to the dismissal of the cases by
Judge Agnir, Jr., were in relation to Section 8 of Rule 117
and not to Section 7 of Rule 117 on double jeopardy, thus:

JUSTICE SALONGA:
Do we get it from you that it is your stand that this is
applicable to the case at bar?
ATTY. FORTUN:
It is my submission, that it is, Your Honor. In addition,
of course, to my proposition that Mr. Lacson is covered
by the rule on double jeopardy as well, because he had
already been arraigned before the Sandiganbayan
prior to the case being remanded to the RTC.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
You are referring to those cases which were dismissed
by the RTC of Quezon City.
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
And it is your stand that the dismissal made by the
Court was provisional in nature?
ATTY. FORTUN:
It was in that the accused did not ask for it. What they
wanted at the onset was simply a judicial
determination of probable

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 27/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

_______________

39 TSN, 19 February 2002, pp. 220225. (Italics supplied).

44

44 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

cause for warrants of arrest issued. Then Judge Agnir,


[Jr.] upon the presentation by the parties or their
witnesses, particularly those who had withdrawn their
affidavits, made one further conclusion that not only
was this case lacking in probable cause for purposes of
the issuance of an arrest warrant but also it did not
justify proceeding to trial.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
And it is expressly provided under Section 8 that a case
shall not be provisionally dismissed except [if] it is with
the express conformity of the accused.
ATTY. FORTUN:
That is correct, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
And with notice to the offended party.
ATTY. FORTUN:
That is correct, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
Was there an express conformity on the part of the
accused?

ATTY. FORTUN:
There was none, Your Honor. We were not asked to
sign any order, or any statement which would
normally be required by the Court on pretrial or on
other matters, including other provisional dismissal.
My very limited practice in criminal courts, Your
Honor, had taught me that a judge must be very
careful on this matter of provisional dismissal. In fact,
they ask the accused to come forward, and the judge
himself or herself explains
40
the implications of a
provisional dismissal.

The respondent, through counsel, even admitted that


despite his plea for equitable relief in his motion for a

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 28/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

judicial determination of probable cause in the RTC, he did


not agree to a provisional dismissal of the cases. The
respondent insisted that the only relief he prayed for before
Judge Agnir, Jr. was that warrants for his arrest be
withheld pending a finding of probable cause. He asserted
that the judge did not even require him to agree to a
provisional dismissal of the cases:

JUSTICE ROSARIO:
You were present during the proceedings?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.

_______________

40 TSN (CA Rollo), 31 July 2001, pp. 1214. (Italics supplied).

45

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 45


People vs. Lacson

JUSTICE ROSARIO:
You represented the petitioner in this case?
ATTY. FORTUN:
That is correct, Your Honor. And there was nothing of
that sort which the good Judge Agnir, [Jr.] who is most
knowledgeable in criminal law, had done in respect of
provisional dismissal or the matter of Mr. Lacson
agreeing to the provisional dismissal of the case.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Now, you filed a motion, the other accused then filed a
motion for a judicial determination of probable cause?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Did you make any alternative prayer in your motion
that if there is no probable cause what should the
Court do?
ATTY. FORTUN:
That the arrest warrants only be withheld. That was
the only prayer that we asked. In fact, I have a copy of
that particular motion, and if I may read my prayer
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 29/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

before the Court, it said: Wherefore, it is respectfully


prayed that (1) a judicial determination of probable
cause pursuant to Section 2, Article III of the
Constitution be conducted, and for this purpose, an
order be issued directing the prosecution to present
private comp lainants and their witnesses at the
scheduled hearing for that purpose and (2) the
warrants for the arrest of the accused be withheld, or,
if issued, recalled in the meantime until resolut ion of
this incident.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
There is no general prayer for any further relief?
ATTY. FORTUN:
There is but it simply says other equitable reliefs are
prayed for.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Dont you surmise Judge Agnir, [Jr.] now a member of
this Court, precisely addressed your prayer for just
and equitable relief to dismiss the case because what
would be the net effect of a situation where there is no
warrant of arrest being issued without dismissing the
case?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor. I will not second say (sic) yes the
Good Justice, but what is plain is we did not agree to
the provisional dismissal, neither were we asked to sign
any assent to the provisional dismissal.

46

46 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

JUSTICE GUERRERO:
If you did not agree to the provisional dismissal, did
you not file any motion for reconsideration of the order
of Judge Agnir, [Jr.] that the case should be dismissed?
ATTY. FORTUN:
I did not, Your Honor, because I knew fully well at that
time that my client had already been arraigned, and
the arraignment was valid as far as I was concerned.
So, the dismissal, Your Honor, by Judge Agnir
operated to benefit me, and therefore I did not take any
further step in addition to rocking the boat or clarifying

the matter further because it probably could


http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False prejudice 30/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

the matter further because it probably could prejudice


the interest of my client.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
41
Continue.

In his memorandum, in lieu of the oral argument filed with


the Court of Appeals, the respondent declared in no
uncertain terms that:

Soon thereafter, the SC in early 1999 rendered a decision


declaring the Sandiganbayan without jurisdiction over the cases.
The records were remanded to the QC RTC. Upon raffle, the case
was assigned to Branch 91. Petitioner and the others promptly
filed a motion for judicial determination of probable cause (Annex
B). He asked that warrants for his arrest not be issued. He did
not move for the dismissal42
of the Informations, contrary to
respondent OSGs claim.

Section 4, Rule 129 of the Revised Rules of Court reads:

Sec. 4. Judicial admissions.An admission, verbal or written,


made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case,
does not require proof. The admission may be contradicted only by
showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no
such admission was made.

A judicial admission is a formal statement made either by a


party or his or her attorney, in the course of judicial
proceeding which removes an admitted fact from the field
of controversy. It is a voluntary concession of fact by a
party or a partys attorney during such judicial
proceedings,
43
including admissions in pleadings made by a
party. It may occur at any point during the litigation

_______________

41 Ibid., pp. 1518. (Emphasis ours).


42 Memorandum of Petitioner CA Rollo, p. 378.
43 Am Jur, Evidence, 770.

47

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 47


People vs. Lacson

process. An
44
admission in open court is a judicial
admission. A judicial
45
admission binds the client even if
made by his counsel. As declared by this Court:
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 31/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

. . . [I]n fact, judicial admissions are frequently those of counsel


or of attorney of record, who is, for the purpose of the trial, the
agent of his client. When such admissions are made . . . for the
purpose of dispensing with proof of some fact, . . . they
46
bind the
client, whether made during, or even after the trial.

When the respondent admitted that he did not move for the
dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689
in his motion for a judicial determination of probable cause,
and that he did not give his express consent to the
provisional dismissal of the said cases, he in fact admitted
that one of the essential requisites of Section 8, Rule 117
was absent.
The respondents contention that his admissions made
in his pleadings and during the hearing in the CA cannot
be used in the present case as they were made in the course
of a different proceeding does not hold water. It should be
borne in mind that the proceedings before the Court was by
way of an appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as
amended, from the proceedings in the CA as such, the
present recourse is but a mere continuation of the
proceedings in the appellate court. This is not a new trial,
but a review of proceedings which commenced from the
trial court, which later passed through the CA. The
respondent is bound by the judicial admissions he made in
the CA, and such admissions so hold him in the
proceedings before this Court. As categorically
47
stated in
Habecker v. Clark Equipment Company:

. . . [J]udicial admissions on issues of fact, including those made


by counsel on behalf of a client during a trial, are binding for the
purpose of the case . . . including appeals.

While it may be true that the trial court may provisionally


dismiss a criminal case if it finds no probable cause, absent
the express consent of the accused to such provisional
dismissal, the

_______________

44 Ibid. 771.
45 Glick v. White Motor Company, 458 F.2d. 1287 (1972).
46 People v. Hernandez, 260 SCRA 25 (1996), citing 31 CJS 537.
47 797 F.Supp. 381 (1992), citing Glick v. White Motor Co., supra.

48

48 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 32/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

latter cannot thereafter invoke Section 8 to bar a revival


thereof. Neither may the accused do so simply because the
public prosecutor did not object to a motion of the accused
for a judicial determination of probable cause or file a
motion for the reconsideration of the order of dismissal of
the case. Even a cursory reading of the respondents motion
for a judicial determination of probable cause will show
that it contained no allegation that there was no probable
cause for the issuance of a warrant for the respondents
arrest as a prayer for the dismissal of the cases. . The
respondent was only asking the court to determine whether
or not there was probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant for his arrest and in the meantime, to hold in
abeyance the issuance of the said warrant. Case law has it
that a prayer for equitable relief is of no avail, unless the
petition states
48
facts which will authorize the court to grant
such relief. A court cannot set itself in motion, nor has it
power to decide questions except as presented by the
parties in their pleadings. Anything that is resolved
49
or
decided beyond them is coram nonjudice and void.
Third. There is no need for the Court to remand the
instant case to the trial court to enable the respondent to
adduce post facto evidence that the requisite notices under
Section 8 had been complied with by Judge Agnir, Jr. The
Court has thoroughly examined the 50voluminous records
from the Sandiganbayan and the RTC and found no proof
that the requisite notices were even served on all the heirs
of the victims. The respondent himself admitted that, as
held by this Court, in its May 28, 2002 Resolution, Judge
Agnir Jr. could not have complied with the51mandate under
Section 8 because said rule had yet to exist.
One final matter. The records show that Criminal Cases
Nos. 01101102 to 01101112 were assigned, through the
customary raffle of cases, to Branch 81 of the RTC of
Quezon City, the same branch which dismissed Criminal
Cases Nos. 9981679 to 99

_______________

48 Branz v. Hylton, 265 N.W. 16 (1936).


49 15 Ruling Case Law, 854 and 328.
50 The records from the Sandiganbayan and the RTC which were
elevated to this Court consisted of 11 volumes plus 11 additional folders
per Letter dated April 26, 2002.
51 Motion for Reconsideration, p. 33 Rollo, Vol. III, p. 1423
Consolidated Reply, p. 28.

49
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 33/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 49


People vs. Lacson

52
81689. In the April 1, 2003 Resolution of the Court, the
Presiding Judge of Branch 81 of the RTC of Quezon City
was directed to try and decide Criminal Cases Nos. 01
101102 to 01101112 with reasonable dispatch. The Court
notes, however, that in Administrative Order No. 10496,53
it
designated six branches of the RTC of Quezon City as
special courts, exclusively to try and decide heinous crimes
under Rep. Act No. 7659. Since the accused in the said
cases are charged with murder, which under Rep. Act No.
7659, is classified as a heinous crime, the above cases
should be consolidated and reraffled by the Executive
Judge of the RTC of Quezon City to a branch thereof
designated as a special court, exclusively to try and decide
heinous crimes.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, respondent
Panfilo M. Lacsons Omnibus Motion and Motion to Set for
Oral Arguments are DENIED. The respondents Motion for
Reconsideration and its Supplement are DENIED WITH
FINALITY. The Executive Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City is hereby DIRECTED to
CONSOLIDATE Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01
101112 and to RERAFFLE the same with dispatch to one
of the branches of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City
designated as a special court, exclusively to try and decide
heinous crimes.
SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr. (C.J.), Bellosillo, Panganiban,


Quisumbing, AustriaMartinez, CarpioMorales and
Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Puno, J., I maintain my Dissent.
Vitug, J., I maintain my dissent and reiterate my
opinion on the Courts resolution of 28 May 2002.
YnaresSantiago, J., Please see separate dissenting
opinion.
SandovalGutierrez, J., Please see my Dissent.
Carpio and Tinga, JJ., No Part.
Corona, J., On leave.

_______________

52 Rollo, Vol. I, p. 465.


53 Branches 76, 86, 95, 102, 103 and 219.

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 34/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

50

50 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

DISSENTING OPINION

SANDOVALGUTIERREZ, J.:

A new law is always enacted in the persuasion that it is better


than the former one. Its efficacy, therefore, must be extended as far
as possible, in order
1
to communicate the expected improvement in
the widest sphere.

On April 1, 2003, I stood apart from the rest of my brethren


in granting petitioners Motion for Reconsideration
2
of this
Courts Resolution dated May 28, 2002. So engrossed was
the Court then in determining the applicability of Section
8, Rule 117 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure to respondents case that it seems to overlook the
more fundamental concept of speedy trial and speedy
disposition of casesthe very foundation of respondents
right to be permanently discharged of the criminal cases
filed against him.
My first dissent rests mainly on the premise that the
circumstances surrounding respondents case, i.e. the
dismissal of Criminal Cases No. Q9981679 to 89 and their
refiling two years 3 after, effectively elicit a speedy trial
analysis or inquiry. The time inter

_______________

1 F. C. von Savigny, Private International Law and the Retrospective


Operation of Statutes, p. 344.
2 This Resolution remanded the present case to the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 81, Quezon City for a determination of several issues
relative to the application of Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure on the dismissal of respondents Criminal Cases Nos.
Q9981679 to 89.
3 While there are jurisprudence to the effect that once the charges are
dismissed, the speedy trial guarantee is no longer applicable, (State vs.
Marion, 404 U.S. 307 Dillingham vs. United States, 423 U.S. 64 Barker
vs. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514), however, I am convinced that the peculiar facts
of the present case render said jurisprudence inappropriate. On its face,
the Constitutional provision seems to apply to one who has been publicly

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 35/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

accused, has obtained dismissal of those charges, and has then been
charged once again with the same crime by the same sovereign. Nothing
therein suggests that an accused must be continuously charged in order to
obtain the benefits of the speedy trial right. A natural reading of the
language is that the Speedy Trial Clause continues to protect one who has
been accused of a crime until the government has completed its attempts
to try him for that crime. In Klopfer vs. North Carolina, 386 U.S. 213, the

51

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 51


People vs. Lacson

val between the dismissal of the initial charges and the


subsequent refiling thereof had crossed the threshold
dividing ordinary from presumptively prejudicial delay,
thus, before anything else, respondents predicament
should be weighed on the basis of the Constitutional
provisions on speedy trial and speedy disposition of cases.
Section 8, Rule 117 must come second only.
At this juncture, it bears reiterating that statutes (and
with more reason, rules) cannot be effective
4
to place any
limitation on the constitutional right, and therefore they
should not be regarded as definitions of the constitutional
provision, but5 merely as implementing statutes passed
pursuant to it. It is thus conceivable that the constitutional
provision
6
may be violated although an implementing statute
is not. With this Courts fixation on Section 8, Rule 117, it
in effect missed the bigger picture. Respondents repeated
invocation of his constitutional right to speedy trial and
speedy disposition of cases was drowned by arguments on
the applicability of the rule only implementing such right.
Contrary to the express provision of Section 10, Rule 119 of
the same Rules that no provision of law on speedy trial
and no rule implementing the same shall be interpreted as a
bar to any charge of denial of the right to speedy trial
guaranteed by section 14 (2), Article III of the

_______________

prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi with leave after the first trial
ended in a mistrial. Under that procedure, the defendant was discharged
from custody and subjected to no obligation to report to the court. It was
held that the indefinite postponement of the prosecution, over defendants
objection, clearly denied the defendant the right to a speedy trial. The
Court reasoned that the defendant may be denied an opportunity to
exonerate himself in the discretion of the solicitor and held subject to trial,
over his objection, throughout the unlimited period in which the solicitor
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 36/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

may restore the case to the calendar. During that period, there is no
means by which he can obtain a dismissal or have the case restored to the
calendar trial. The prosecutor was required to take affirmative steps to
reinstate the prosecution no charges were actively pending against
Klopfer, nevertheless, the court held that the speedy trial right applied.
4 Am Jur 2d 1031, citing Ex parte State ex rel Atty. Gen., 255 Ala. 443,
52 So. 2d 158 (1951) Hicks vs. People, 148 Colo. 26, 364 P. 2d 877 (1961)
State vs. Strong, 8 Kan. App. 2d 589, 663 P. 2d 668 (1983) State vs.
Stimson, 41 Was. App. 385, 704 P. 2d 1220 (Div. 3 1985).
5 State vs. Kuhnhausen, 201 Or. 478, 272 P. 2d 225 (1954).
6 Barela vs. People, 826 P. 2d 1249 (Colo. 1992) State vs. Russet, 108
Idaho 58, 696 P. 2d 909 (1985) State vs. Strong, supra.

52

52 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

1987 Constitution, Section 8, Rule 117 effectively operates


as a bar to respondents bid for a speedy trial analysis or
inquiry. This is very unfortunate.
Having fully articulated in my first dissent the
primordial reason why I cannot join the majority, I am
taking this second occasion to expound on the nagging
issue of whether Section 8, Rule 117 applies to respondents
case.
In denying respondents present Motion for
Reconsideration, the majority ruled that: (a) Section 8,
Rule 117 cannot be applied retroactively to respondents
case for to do so would result in absurd, unjust and
oppressive consequences to the State and the victims of
crimes and their heirs and (b) respondent failed to comply
with the essential prerequisites of Section 8, Rule 117
particularly that of accuseds express consent to the
provisional dismissal.
I dissent.

I Section 8, Rule 117 should be applied retroactively


Settled in our jurisprudence is the principle that when a
new law will be advantageous to the 7
accused, the same
shall be given retroactive effect. Favorabiliab sunt
amplianda, adiosa restrigenda. (Penal laws that 8
are
favorable to the accused are given retroactive effect). For a
long period, this has been the settled doctrine in countries
whose criminal laws are based on the Latin system. Article
22 of our Revised Penal Code reads:

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 37/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

Art. 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws.Penal laws shall have


retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a
felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in
Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the
publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and
the convict is serving the same.

_______________

7 Article 22, Revised Penal Code.


8 Both consistency and sound legal principles demand that we seek our
precedents in Latin rather than in American jurisprudence. In United
States vs. Cuna (12 Phil. 241 [1908]), it was held that neither English nor
American common law is in force in these islands, nor are the doctrines
derived therefrom binding upon our courts, save only insofar as they are
founded on sound principles applicable to local conditions, and are not in
conflict with existing law.

53

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 53


People vs. Lacson

This article is of Spanish origin and is based on Latin


principles, thus, in the interpretation thereof, this Court9
must have recourse to Spanish or Latin jurisprudence.
That the term penal laws or leyes penales as employed
in Article 22, relates not only to laws prescribing penalties
but also to limitations upon the bringing of penal actions, 10
was pronounced in the early case of People vs. Parel.
Thus, to justify the retroactive application of Section 8,
Rule 117 on the basis of Article 22 is in order. Considering
its genesis and its underlying principles, there is no doubt
that whenever a new statute dealing with crimes
establishes conditions more lenient or favorable to the
accused, the statute becomes retroactive and the accused
must receive the benefits of the new condition. As long as
this provision so remains in force, it is of general
application to all penal statutes, past, present, future and
furnishes the rule for determining to what extent they are
retroactive or merely prospective. And unless a penal or
criminal statute, expressly or by necessary implication,
provides that it shall not be regarded as retroactive, it 11
becomes subject to the rule laid down by that article.
Evidently, by ruling against the retroactive application of
Section 8, Rule 117, the majority casts aside one of most
basic principles in our legal system.

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 38/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

Now, in an attempt to justify its position, the majority


resorted to the alleged statutory purpose of Section 8, Rule
117. It argues that when the Court approved Section 8, it
intended the new rule to be applied prospectively and not
retroactively, for if the intention of the Court were otherwise,
it would defeat the very purpose for which it was intended,
namely, to give the State a period of two years from notice of
the provisional dismissal of criminal cases with the express
consent of the accused. I believe the purpose cited is
inaccurate. Section 8, Rule 117 was introduced owing to the
many instances where police agencies have refused to issue
clearances, for purposes of employment or travel abroad, to
persons having pending cases, on the ground that the
dismissal of such cases by the court was merely provisional,
notwithstanding the fact that such provisional dismissal, 12
more often than not, had been done five or ten years ago.
Obviously, Section 8, Rule 117 was introduced

_______________

9 People vs. Parel, 44 Phil. 437, 441 (1923).


10 Id.
11 Id.
12 Herrera, Remedial Law, Vol. IV, 2001 Ed. at p. 660.

54

54 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

not so much for the interest of the State but precisely for
the protection of the accused against protracted
prosecution. This Courts Committee on Revision of the
Rules of Court clearly saw the prejudice to the rights of the
accused caused by a suspended provisional dismissal of his
case. Hence, if we are to follow the majoritys line of
reasoning that Section 8, Rule 117 must be read according
to its spirit or intent, then the logical conclusion is the
retroactive application of the rule. Certainly, it is the
construction that will advance the object and secure the
benefits intended.
The Court, in setting a limit to the States right to re
prosecute, has recognized the injustice and the evil
accompanying suspended provisional dismissals. It has
impliedly acknowledged that the situation sought to be
remedied is unjust and undesirable. Now, is it not
inconsistent for this Court to suspend the application of the
new rule to respondents case just because the rule was
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 39/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

passed after the provisional dismissal of his cases? Note


that the situation sought to be remedied is present in
respondents case. To my mind, if this Court will refuse to
extend the benefit of the new rule to respondent, it will be
guilty of an inconsistency in view of its implied admission
that the situation sought to be remedied has caused
injustice to respondent.
In several cases, we applied the provisions13 of the 2000
Rules of Criminal Procedure retroactively. The same
should be done with Section 8, Rule 117 considering that it
is merely a reinforcement of the constitutional right to
speedy trial and speedy disposition of cases. With or
without it, petitioners are duty bound under the
Constitution to proceed with speed in prosecuting
respondents cases. Consequently, all the time prior to the
promulgation of Section 8, Rule 117, petitioners were not
precluded from refiling the cases against respondent. It
may be recalled that Criminal Cases 14Nos. Q9981679 to 89
were dismissed on March 29, 1999. The Department of
Justice (DOJ) reinvestigated the cases only upon its
receipt on March 29, 2001 of General Leandro Mendozas
letter indorsing the affidavits of P/S Ins. Abelardo Ramos
and P/Ins. Ysmael Yu. On June 6, 2001, new Informations
were filed against respondent. Clearly, from March 29,
1999 to March 29, 2001, peti

_______________

13 People vs. Arrojado, G.R. No. 130492, January 21, 2001, 350 SCRA
679.
14 Rollo at pp. 93102.

55

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 55


People vs. Lacson

tioners had the opportunity to refile the new Informations


against respondent. That they failed to do so, even after
acquiring knowledge of the rule on December 1, 2000 and
onwards, only speaks of official negligence and lethargy. It
cannot therefore be argued that the States right to
prosecute within the twoyear period has been reduced and
would cause injustice to it and the offended parties. If at
all, what was reduced was the States lackadaisical attitude
borne by this nations years of tolerance and indifference.
Surely, I cannot countenance official indolence by
holding that if only the State had known it would lose its
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 40/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

right to prosecute after the lapse of the twoyear period, it


would have immediately refiled the new Informations
against respondent. To hold so is to advance the view that
the States duty to prosecute promptly depends on the threat
of a punitive rule and not on the mandate of the
Constitution.
Corollarily, while there is truth to the statement that in
determining the retroactivity of legislation, elementary
considerations of fairness dictate that individuals should
have an opportunity to know what the law is and to
conform their conduct accordingly settled expectations
should not be lightly disrupted. However, legislations
readjusting rights and burdens cannot be adjudged
unlawful simply because it upsets settled expectations,
even15if it imposes a new duty or liability based on past
acts. That the State settled expectation, i.e. its
entitlement to the twoyear period, was to be disrupted by
a retroactive application of Section 8, Rule 117 does not
necessarily result to injustice. Section 8, Rule 117, by
limiting the states right to reprosecute, partakes of the
nature of a statute of limitations which is really an act of
grace or amnesty that must be liberally applied in favor of
the accused. Wharton, in his work on Criminal Pleading
and Practice, 9th ed., says in section 316:

We should at first observe that a mistake is sometimes made in


applying to statutes of limitation in criminal suits the
construction that has been given to statutes of limitation in civil
suits. The two classes of statutes, however, are essentially
different. In civil suits the statute is inter

_______________

15 16B Am Jur 2d 690, citing In re Lancy, 208 B. 481, 30 Bankr. Ct. dec. (CRR)
1018 (Bankr. D. Ariz, 1997) DIRECTV, Inc. vs. F.C.C, 110 F. 3d 816 (d.c. Civ.
1997) State vs. L.V.I Group, 1997 ME 25, 690 A. 2d 960 (Me. 1997).

56

56 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

posed by the legislature as an impartial arbiter between two


contending parties. In the construction of the statute, therefore,
there is no intendment to be made in favor of either party.
Neither grants the right to the other, there is therefore no grantor
against whom the ordinary presumptions of construction are to be
made. But it is otherwise when a statute of limitation is granted
by the State. Here the State is the grantor, surrendering by act of
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 41/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

grace its rights to prosecute, and declaring the offense to be no


longer the subject of prosecution. The statute is not a statute of
process, to be scantily or grudgingly applied, but an amnesty,
declaring that after a certain time oblivion shall be cast over the
offense that the offender shall be at liberty to return to his country,
and resume his immunities as a citizen and that from henceforth
he may cease to preserve the proofs of his innocence, for the proofs
of his guilt are blotted out. Hence, statutes of limitations are to be
liberally construed in favor of the defendant, not only because
ouch liberality of construction belongs to all acts of amnesty and
grace, but because the very existence of the statute is a
recognition and notification by the legislature of the fact that
time, while it gradually wears out proofs of innocence, has
assigned to it fixed and positive periods in which it destroys
proofs of guilt. Independently of these views, it must be
remembered that delay in instituting prosecutions is not only
productive of expense to the State, but of peril to public justice in
the attenuation and distortion, even by mere natural lapse of
memory, of testimony. It is the policy of the law that prosecutions
should be prompt, and that statutes enforcing such promptitude
should be vigorously maintained. They are not merely acts of
grace, but checks imposed by the State upon itself, to exact
vigilant activity from its subalterns, and to secure for criminal
trials the best evidence that can be obtained.

The necessity, therefore, of applying the favorable new rule


to respondent rests upon the principle that the sovereign
power cannot exercise its right to punish except only within
those limits of justice which that sovereign power has
established as being just and equitable at the time of
exercising that right. Significantly, it has been held that
the constitutional provision barring the passage of
retroactive laws protects only the rights of citizens hence,
a state may constitutionally
16
pass a retroactive law that
impairs its own rights. Only private, and not public, rights
may become

_______________

16 16B Am Jur 2d 697, citing Rousselle vs. Plaquemines Parish School


Bd., 633 So. 2d 1235, 90 Ed. Law Rep. 519 (La. 1994) rehg denied (Apr.
21, 1994) Town of Nottingham vs. Harvey, 120 N.H. 889, 424 A 2d 1125
(1980).

57

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 57


People vs. Lacson
17
vested in a constitutional sense. Otherwise stated,
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False there is 42/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413
17
vested in a constitutional sense. Otherwise stated, there is
a distinction between the effect to be given a retroactive
statute when it relates to private rights, and when it
relates to public rights, public rights may always be
modified or annulled by subsequent 18
legislation without
contravening the Due Process Clause.

II The statement of respondents counsel during the


proceedings in the Court of Appeals that the dismissal of
respondents case was without his express consent cannot
be taken as a judicial admission.
The statement of respondents counsel during the
proceedings in the Court of Appeals that the dismissal of
respondents case was without his express consent cannot
be taken as a judicial admission. For one, the statement was
uttered merely to support a legal argument. One thing clear
from the pleadings of the contending parties is their
vacillation on whether or not respondent gave his express
consent to the dismissal. When respondents counsel was
invoking double jeopardy, he submitted that respondent
did not give his express consent to the dismissal. It was the
Solicitor General who was arguing otherwise. Clearly,
respondents counsel made the statement as a legal
strategy to justify the application of double jeopardy. That
this was his intention is evident from his oral argument in
the Court of Appeals. Surely, this Court is dutybound to
determine the truth. The inconstancy in the positions
taken by both the prosecution and the defense only renders
imperative a more probing inquiry on the matter of express
consent.
For another, the statement was not made for the purpose
of avoiding the necessity of proof. It has been held that an
admission of fact by counsel for accused, to be admissible,
must be 19voluntarily and purposely made to avoid necessity
of proof, or it must be distinct and formal made for the
express purpose of dispensing with

_______________

17 Bradford vs. Suffolk Country, 257 A.D. 777 15 N.Y.S. 2d 353 (2d
Dept 1939), judgment affirmed as modified, 283 N.Y. 503, 28 N.E 2d 932
(1940).
18 Holen vs. MinneapolisSt. Apul Metropolitan Airports Commission,
250 Minn.
19 State vs. Thomas, 15 P. 2d 723, 726, 136 Kan. 400.

58

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 43/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

58 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

20
proof of a fact on the trial. An admission made by21 counsel
in argument does not take the place of testimony, and is
not sufficient to justify the trial court in assuming that
accused admitted such matter. Otherwise stated, only those
admissions made by the attorney during the trial of the
case, which are solemnly and formally made for the
purpose of eliminating the proof of the fact admitted, that
will bind the client. This is without question the just and
proper rule to be followed, for human life and liberty are too
important to depend on the slip of an attorneys tongue
during the pressure and rapidity of the trial. Thus, the
accused is not bound by the admissions 22
made by his
attorney in the course of his argument. His rights cannot
be prejudiced by any statement made 23
by his counsel or any
admission he may attempt to make and that an attorney
cannot admit away the 24
life or liberty of accused in the face
of a plea of not guilty.
Corollarily, the majoritys view that a cursory reading
of the respondents motion for judicial determination of
probable cause (filed with the trial court) will show x x x
that respondent was only asking the court to determine
whether or not there was probable cause for the issuance of
a warrant for his arrest and in the meantime, to hold in
abeyance the issuance of said warrant and not to dismiss
the case 25is hardly convincing. It appears from the
Resolution dated March 29, 1999 of the trial court that
respondents prayer was for that court to (1) make a
judicial determination of the existence of probable cause for
the issuance of warrants of arrest (2) hold in abeyance the
issuance of warrants in the meantime and (3) dismiss the
cases should the court find no probable cause. Clearly, this
third plea is a manifestation that the dismissal of the cases
was with respondents consent. While it is true that what
he filed was a mere motion for the judicial determination of
probable cause and for examination of prosecution
witnesses,
26
the same was anchored on the case of Allado vs.
Diokno. There, we ruled that [I]f upon the filing of the
information in court, the trial

_______________

20 State vs. Redman, 8 S.E. 2d 623, 217 N.C. 483.


21 State vs. Marx, 60 A. 690, 78 Conn. 18.
22 Whartons Criminal Evidence, 2, 12th Editing 415.
23 22A C.J.S. 739, citing State vs. Shuffl, 72 P. 664, 9 Idaho 115

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 44/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

24 Id., citing Pruitt vs. State, 294 P 629, 37 Ariz. 400.


25 Rollo at pp. 93103.
26 G.R. No. 113630, May 5, 1994, 232 SCRA 192.

59

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 59


People vs. Lacson

judge, after reviewing the information and the document


attached thereto, finds that no probable cause exists, he
must either call for the complainant and the witnesses
themselves or simply dismiss the case. There is no reason to
hold the accused for trial and further expose him to an open
and public accusation of the crime when no probable cause
exists. With this as respondents premise, I believe it is safe
to conclude that the dismissal was with his express
consent. He would not have anchored his case in Allado vs.
Diokno if he did not desire its legal consequences.
Finally, I find the reraffling of respondents cases to a
special heinous
27
court unnecessary. Supreme Court Circular
No. 774 expressly provides that when a case is dismissed
for any cause or reason whatsoever and the same is refiled,
it shall not be included in the raffle anymore but shall be
assigned to the branch to which the original case pertained.
If, by mistake or otherwise, such case is raffled and
assigned to another branch, the latter must transfer the case
to the branch to which it originally belonged, in which event
another case shall be assigned by raffle as replacement.
Considering that a provisional
28
dismissal of a criminal case
does not terminate it, it is more consistent with the
majoritys theory that Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to
89 be simply referred back to the branch to which they
originally belonged.
WHEREFORE, I vote to GRANT respondents motion
for reconsideration.

DISSENTING OPINION

YNARESSANTIAGO, J.:

This is to reiterate my dissent to the unbelievable about


face by the Court in the April 1, 2003 Resolution confirmed
and renewed in its latest Resolution.

_______________

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 45/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

27 September 23, 1974.


28 Jaca vs. Blanco, 86 Phil. 452 (1950).

60

60 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

The reasons for this continuing dissent are basically


similar to those expressed in 1 three Dissenting Opinions to
the April 1, 2003 Resolution. Nothing has changed in the
history of the charges against Senator Panfilo M. Lacson
except the disturbing and unusual ruling of this Court now.
If the charges against Senator Lacson are to be
relentlessly pursued, the pursuit must be done in a
constitutional and fair manner. It is the use of legal short
cuts, pained reasoning and the hasty procedure after
several years of inaction which constrain this dissent. If
Senator Lacson is to be found guilty of participation in
multiple murder, it should be only after due process is
followed.
The new majority Resolution is a volteface, a complete
turnaround from the previously unanimous judgment
dated May 28, 2002.
The 2002 Resolution of the Court remanded the
Governments petition to the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City to ascertain important factual issues. The
Resolution was concluded beyond doubt or ambiguity
without any dissenting vote.
The issues sought to be revived were all resolved two
years ago. What the Court unanimously retired should be
allowed to rest. Instead, the Court now wants to allow the
use of the strong arm of the law to oppressively prosecute
and persecute.
If the petitioners can show strong compelling reasons,
newly discovered, or some deeply held convictions based on
a genuine sense of justice or irresistible considerations of
equity, I could concur to ignore established procedure.
Unfortunately, all I can discern here is allowing the use
of the strong arm of the law to oppressively prosecute a
public officer whom the powersthatbe detest
2
and whom
they seek to render completely ineffective.
In the April 1, 2003 Resolution, I concurred with Mme.
Justice Angelina SandovalGutierrez who, like me, started
her long judicial career as a municipal trial judge and,
later, judge of a regional

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 46/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

_______________

1 Separate Dissenting Opinions of Justices Reynato S. Puno and


Angelina SandovalGutierrez, with which I concurred, and of Justice Jose
C. Vitug.
2 See Salonga v. Hon. Pao, et al., G.R. No. 59524, 18 February 1985,
134 SCRA 438.

61

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 61


People vs. Lacson

trial court. I agreed with the conclusion that the


petitioners right to speedy trial and speedy disposition of
cases were violated and the filing of new informations
constitute persecution. I concurred that in the prosecution
of an accused he must not be perceived as an intractable
enemy, and that the overeagerness to prosecute
respondent is a clear example of persecution.
There is nothing in the pleadings after our dissent to the
April 1, 2003 Resolution or in the discussions of the
respondents motion for reconsideration that shows our
May 28, 2002 Resolution was wrong or that the Court was
correcting an injustice when it suddenly reversed itself.
Respondent stresses the need for compliance with the
rule of law, the primacy of the Constitution over acts of
State, and the independence of the judiciary. When
respondent urges the Court to remember that it is not a
trier of facts, he raises a fundamental threshold question.
It involves the application of what3
has been described as an
immutable
4
principle of justice, the essence of ordered
liberty, so rooted in the traditions and 5
conscience of our
people as6 to be ranked as fundamental, a canon of civilized
decency, a guarantee against7 the oppressions and
usurpations of royal prerogatives, and a responsiveness to
the supremacy
8
of reason and obedience to the dictates of
justice. He is asking for due process.
Under the Constitution, this Court resolves cases 9
in
which only an error or question of law is involved. It is
therefore not a trier of facts.
The Court itself in the April 1, 2003 Resolution
summarized the facts to be resolved:

1. Whether the provisional dismissal of the cases


had the express consent of the accused

_______________
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 47/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

3 Twining v. New Jersey, 211 U.S. 78 (1908).


4 Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319 (1937).
5 Snyder v. Massachusetts, 219 U.S. 97 (1934).
6 Adamson v. California, 332 U.S. 46 (1947).
7 Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516 (1884).
8 ErmitaMalate Hotel and Motel Operators Association v. City Mayor,
127 Phil. 306 20 SCRA 849 (1967).
9 Constitution, Art. VIII, Sec. 5 (2) (e).

62

62 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

2. Whether it was ordered by the court after notice to


the offended party
3. Whether the twoyear period to revive it has
already lapsed
4. Whether there is any justification for the filing of
the cases beyond the two year period
5. Whether notices to the offended parties were given
before the cases were dismissed by then Judge
Agnir
6. Whether there were affidavits of desistance
executed by the relatives of the three other victims
and
7. Whether the multiple murder cases against
respondent are
10
being revived within or beyond the
twoyear bar.

The facts to be resolved requires submission of evidence.


They are material facts because proof of their actuality is
needed to enable the Court to render judgment on the basic
issues raised. Evidence to prove the facts in issue have to
be introduced in accordance with the principles of
substantive law and the rules of pleading, practice and
procedure. The facts are in dispute because one party
alleges their existence while
11
the other denies them, both
with some show of reason. If the unanimous judgment in
2002 is to be reversed by a new majority, a remand to
ascertain these facts outlined is imperative.
Facts have to be established by evidence, not by
inferences, not by suppositions, and certainly not by the
augury of divination. Yet, the majority precisely proceeded
to do it that way.

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 48/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

If the facts material to the Courts judgment were found


by the new majority from the records, how could the
unanimous Court have missed so many of these significant
facts in 2002?
If doubts are to be resolved and suppositions and
fallacies avoided, every method of getting the truth through
adversarial proceedings before a trial court must be
explored. Let the Regional Trial Court which is a trier of
facts do the job.
If, for instance, the Court suddenly discovers that there
has been no trial, not even a pretrial in the almost two
decades a case has been pending if the questions raised are
complicated, complex

_______________

10 Resolution, April 1, 2003, p. 3.


11 Ponce v. Sagario, 85 Phil. 84 (1949).

63

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 63


People vs. Lacson

and tricky if there is no evidence in the records, no


transcripts of stenographic notes and no exhibits the Court
would have to refer the factual issues to a trial court. It
should not arrive at a summary judgment based on the
pleadings before it. This is what the new majority has done.
A key factual issue is the applicability to the cases
against respondent of the rule on provisional dismissal
found in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Section
8 of Rule 117 thereof provides:

Provisional DismissalA case shall not be provisionally


dismissed except with the express consent of the accused and with
notice to the offended party.
The provisional dismissal of offenses punishable by
imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years or a fine of any amount,
or both, shall become permanent one (1) year after the issuance of
the order without the case having been reviewed. With respect to
offenses punishable by imprisonment of more than six (6) years,
their provisional dismissal shall become permanent two (2) years
after issuance of the order without the case having been revised.

The determination of whether or not the above rule applies


in this case entails factual issues. Has the twoyear period
expired? Was the dismissal of the cases with the express

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 49/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

consent of the accused? Was there notice to the offended


party? By their very nature, these questions justify a
remand to the trial court.
The new majority first tackles the application of the two
year time bar in Rule 117 to this case. The criminal cases
were dismissed by then Judge Wenceslao Agnir, Jr. on
March 29, 1999. The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
took effect the following year on December 1, 2000. If the
new rule is not applied retroactively, would the old rule,
where there was no time bar, apply?
The new majority rules that the time bar should apply
only prospectively. I find this decision disturbing if it is
indicative of a novel approach to individual liberties. The
Bill of Rights is a statement of the liberties of individuals
protected against exertions of government power. The
ponencia seeks to protect the rights of the State against
its citizens and invokes the Bill of Rights in the process.
The Bill of Rights refers to fundamental individual
rights and the guaranteed protection is against
Government or any of its
64

64 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

officials. It cannot be invoked against actions of private


parties unless private action is backed by government
power.
Government exercises powers not rights. When the
Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived12
of
life, liberty, or property without due process of law, the
person referred to is not the State. When we mention in
our decisions that the State also deserves due process, it is
merely a quaint way of saying that the law and the rules
should be followed if intended to protect State interests.
But never should the rights of a citizen be weighed against
the nonexistent rights of the State which should be
recognized and denominated as the powers of the State.
There is sometimes a balancing of individual rights
against State power where public interest is involved. The
individual is always at a terrific disadvantage when a basic
right is weighed against the awesome powers of a State.
There is no need for balancing in this case.
If the issue involved is protection of a citizen against
overzealous criminal prosecutions, the reason for ruling
against him should never be due process rights of the
State. The Dissenting Opinion of Mr. Justice Reynato S.
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 50/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

Puno in the April 1, 2003, with which I also concurred,


discusses the origin of the amended rule, its nuances and
reasons for being, and the inflexibility of the permanent
time bar once the twoyear period is reached. The Rule is
intended to protect the rights of the accused, not to make it
easier for the Government to prosecute him. Here, the
Court wants us to allow the use of a protection for the
citizen against that citizen. Its enactment becomes counter
productive. The extensive and learned discussion of the
Honorable Chairman of the Committee on the Revision of
the Rules of Court is glossed over. It should be reread.
The amended rule is intended to prod the Government
into a more faithful and accountable performance of duty,
to avoid the tyrannical Damocles sword hanging
indefinitely over a person whom the Government wants to
coerce into indeterminate submission, and to stop the
malaise of public officers who are shiftless and lethargic
and who are prodded into action only after the passage of
interminable time or when revenge or a desire to vex and
oppress suddenly surfaces.

_______________

12 Constitution, Art. III, Section 1.

65

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 65


People vs. Lacson

If the rule is a just rule, if its objectives are salutary and if


its enforcement will mean an enlargement of individual
rights, why should a recent accused enjoy it to the
exclusion of those with pending cases when it was enacted?
Justice should be for everyone especially those accused
where prosecution and trial have dragged for years and
years. A rule should not protect the incompetence or
lethargy of Government prosecutors.
I submit that the new rule should be made retroactive.
This interpretation is in line with simple justice. The
statement of the majority that the due process protections
of the State and those of the individual should be equal is
dangerous for a Supreme Court to utter.
With all due respect, the justifications in the ponencia
display an insensitivity to individual liberties. The spirited
defense of the powers of the State in the context of
individual freedoms is bewildering to say the least. It is
hoped that such a cavalier approach to the Bill of Rights is
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 51/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

a passing aberration and that the Court will again stand


firmly as the constitutional bulwark against State power
and oppression. The Court should not remain silent and,
more important, should take a firm stand when a citizen is
harassed and persecuted by the formidable powers of
Government.
The statement that the ruling of the Court in 2003 and
any ruling today would be the same, regardless of who the
parties involved are, whether a Senator, presidentiable, or
an ordinary citizen is, in the light of our judgment in this
case, is not believable.
The bedrock issue underlying all aspects of the about
face decision sought to be reconsidered involves the correct
approach to the Bill of Rights. If the interpretation of the
amended rule shows a backsliding of the Courts
traditional approach to individual liberty, that
interpretation must be avoided. The history of the due
process clause goes back to the beginning of the era of
enlightenment. It traces the stepbystep wresting of rights
from absolution and monarchy. There is no monarchy today
but claims of authority against liberty are vested in State
power. The ponencia unwittingly dilutes a guarantee of
liberty against a misinterpretation of State power.
In the resolution of whether the rule should be applied
retroactively, we must divorce the issue from the various
personalities involved, and focus simply on the principles of
interpretation that have governed this Court since its
inception.

66

66 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

The ponencia declares that there is no express requirement


for the revised rule to be given retroactive application. It
states that under Rule 144 of the Rules of Court, the Rules
shall not be applied to actions pending before it if in its
opinion their application would not be feasible or would
work injustice,
13
in which event, the former procedure shall
apply. Rule 144, for ready reference, provides:

These rules shall take effect on January 1, 1964. They shall


govern all cases brought after they take effect, and also all further
proceedings in cases then pending, except to the extent that in the
opinion of the court their application would not be feasible or
would work injustice, in which event the former procedure would
apply. (underscoring supplied.)

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 52/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

In the same breath, the ponencia expresses that [s]tatutes


regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as
applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time
of their passage. In that sense 14
and to that extent,
procedural laws are retroactive. Criminal Cases Nos. Q
9981679 to Q9981689 are then characterized as having
been long dismissed before the new rule took effect on
December 1, 2000. The ponencia goes on to state that:

[w]hen the petitioners filed the Informations in Criminal Cases


Nos. 01101102 to 01101112 on June 6, 2001, Criminal Cases
Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689 had long since been terminated.
The twoyear bar in the new rule should not be reckoned from the
March 29, 1999 dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to
Q9981689 but from December 1, 2000 when the new rule took
effect. While it is true that the Court applied Section 8 of Rule 110
of the RRCP retroactively, it did so only to cases still pending with
this Court and not to cases already 15
terminated with finality.
(Citations omitted, italics supplied.)

There is a fundamental inconsistency in the foregoing


statements. If one were to apply Rule 144, as the ponencia
has done, this would mean characterizing Criminal Cases
Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689 as being pending
proceedings as of the effective date of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, since this is what a plain

_______________

13 Resolution, p. 10.
14 Id., p. 14, citing Tan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 136368, 16
January 2002, 373 SCRA 524.
15 Id., pp. 1415.

67

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 67


People vs. Lacson

reading of Rule 144 would require. This would go


completely against the statement of the same ponencia that
characterizes Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q99
81689 as having long since been terminated when the
petitioner filed the Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01
101102 to 01101112. Were the proceedings pending as of
the effective date of the Revised Rules, or had they already
been terminated? It is not pure legal quibbling to demand a
consistent characterization of Criminal Cases Nos. Q99

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 53/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

81679 to Q9981689. One cannot characterize these cases


as pending, invoke their pendency as basis for the non
retroactive application of Rule 117, Section 8, and then
characterize them as having been terminated in order to
similarly deny the retroactive application of the new
procedural rules. The ponencias bases for the non
retroactive application of the revised rule are completely
impossible to reconcile.
Regardless of the characterization of Criminal Cases
Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689, I submit that Rule 117,
Section 8 should be given retroactive application,
consistent with the principles of statutory construction of
procedural rules.
Procedural laws, by definition, prescribe rules and forms
of procedure of enforcing rights or obtaining redress. They
include rules of pleadings, practice and evidence. As
applied to criminal law, procedural lawas distinguished
from substantive lawis that which provides or regulates
the steps 16by which one who commits a crime is to be
punished.
In interpreting procedural rules, this Court,
17
in the 1927
case of Hosana v. Diomano and Diomano, laid down the
rule that procedural rules will be construed as applicable to
causes of action accrued, and actions pending and
undetermined, at the time of their passage, unless: (1) such
actions are expressly excepted or (2) vested rights 18would
be disturbed by giving them a retroactive application.

_______________

16 Bustos v. Lucero, 81 Phil. 640, 650 (1948) Aquino v. Military


Commission No. 2, G.R. No. 37364, 9 May 1975, 63 SCRA 546 Subido, Jr.
v. Sandiganbayan, 334 Phil 346, 35556 266 SCRA 379 (1997) Tan v.
Court of Appeals, supra.
17 56 Phil. 741 (1927).
18 Hosana v. Diomano and Diomano, supra, citing Black on
Interpretation of Laws, p. 265. See also Onas v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No.
85999, 2 October 1989, 170 SCRA 261.

68

68 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

The causes of action in Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to


01101112in which the Informations allege essentially
the same operative facts as those alleged in Criminal Cases
Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689, with the primary
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 54/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

difference that respondent is charged as a principal and no


longer as an accessoryhad undoubtedly already accrued
as of December 1, 2000, the effective date of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure. Thus, whether the criminal
actions in question were pending, or the causes of action
had merely accrued, the retroactive application of the
RRCP is called for.
Undoubtedly, there is no express exception to the
retroactive application of Rule 117, Section 8. Thus, unless
vested rights are disturbed, its retroactive application is
clearly mandated.
On this point, it has been held that the retroactive
application of procedural laws is not violative of any right19
of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected.
This is because of the fundamental principle that, as a
general rule, no vested right may attach to nor arise from
procedural laws. This is a principle20
that we have
enunciated in a long line of cases. A person has no vested
right in any rule of law which entitles 21him to insist that it
shall remain unchanged for his benefit.
The ponencia seems to hold that vested rights would
indeed be disturbed if Rule 117, Section 8 were given
retroactive application. Specifically, this argument focuses
on the States right to due process, which purportedly
would be violated by the retroactive application of the
questioned procedural rule. Thus, the ponencia asserts
that:

when the Court approved Section 8, it intended the new rule to be


applied prospectively and not retroactively, for if the intention of
the Court were otherwise, it would defeat the very purpose for
which it was intended,

_______________

19 Gregorio v. Court of Appeals, 135 Phil. 224 26 SCRA 229 (1968) Tinio v.
Mina, 135 Phil. 504 26 SCRA 512 (1968).
20 Billones v. CIR, 122 Phil. 25 14 SCRA 674 (1965) Systems Factors
Corporation, et al. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 143789, 27 November 2000, 346
SCRA 149 Unity Fishing Corporation, et al. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 145415,
2 February 2001, 351 SCRA 140 Serrano v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 130420, 15
August 2001, 363 SCRA 223.
21 Benguet Consolidated Mining Co. v. Pineda, 98 Phil 711 (1956) Laurel v.
Misa, 76 Phil 372 (1946).

69

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 69


People vs. Lacson
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 55/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

namely, to give the State a period of two years from notice of the
provisional dismissal of criminal cases with the express consent of
the accused. It would be a denial of the States right to due
process and a travesty of justice for the Court to apply the new
rule retroactively in the present case as respondent insists,
considering that the criminal cases were provisionally dismissed
by Judge Agnir, Jr. on March 19, 1999 before the new rule took
effect on December 1, 2000. A retroactive application of the time
bar will result in absurd, unjust and oppressive consequences to
the State and to the victims of crimes and their heirs.
x x x x x x x x x
The State would thus be sanctioned for its failure to comply
with a rule yet to be approved by the Court. It must be stressed
that the institution and prosecution of criminal cases are
governed by existing rules and not by rules yet to exist. It would be
the apex of injustice to hold that Section 8 had a platonic or ideal
existence before it was approved by the Court. The past cannot 22
be
erased by a capricious retroactive application of the new rule.

In making these assertions, the ponencia has undoubtedly


placed a premium on the States right to procedural due
process.
The States right to due process must be viewed from
proper perspectives. It cannot be said that such right would
be violated by a retroactive application of Rule 117, Section
8. It appears clear that the invocation of due process is an
attempt to cloak a flawed argument using a Constitutional
precept. As earlier intimated, the ponencia is unable to
pinpoint with specificity exactly how the due process
right of the State had already vested as of the passage of
the Revised Rules, and how this vested right could be
violated by the retroactive application of Rule 117, Section
8.
Stripped to its basics, procedural due process is a matter
of nothing more or less than procedural fairness. There
would be nothing procedurally unfair about giving a
retroactive application to Rule 117, Section 8. Precisely,
this Court is specifically empowered by the Constitution to
promulgate such rules of procedure, and, in the past, we
have had no qualms about applying such rules of procedure
retroactively, ruling firmly that no vested rights are
impaired even if the effect of the retroactive application of
such rules would be to divest a court or tribunal of its
jurisdiction. In

_______________

22 Resolution, pp. 1112.


http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 56/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

70

70 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

such instances, we have advised the 23


partylitigants that
their rights have not been impaired.
There is no cogent reason to depart from this principle
even if, in this case, the People is one of the partylitigants.
Departing from the fundamental principle in this case
seems to be an instance of selective statutory construction
to achieve the desire to attain a particular result.
If anything, the fact that the People is one of the party
litigants should call for a more vigilant application of the
Rules strictly against the People or the State and liberally
in favor of the private individuals who might be benefited
by the retroactive application of the procedural rule.
Although it is true that the prosecutors would have no
inkling, as of the provisional dismissal of the case on March
29, 1999, that the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
would contain Rule 117, Section 8, they undoubtedly had
notice as of the effective date thereof on December 1, 2000.
From that date, they had almost four months in which to
revive Criminal Cases Nos. Q9981679 to Q9981689, had
there been a need to do so. In cases involving purely
private litigants, we have not hesitated in dismissing cases
when a party24 or parties have not been vigilant in protecting
their rights. At the risk of being repetitive, there is no
reason to depart from this principle simply because the
State is a litigant.
Moreover, it is an established principle of statutory
construction that penal laws are strictly construed against
25
the State and liberally in favor of the accused. Any 26
reasonable doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused.
By way of example, we have not hesitated in the
retroactive application of such laws as Republic Act No.
7659, which lowered the

_______________

23 Hosana v. Diomano and Diomano, supra Onas v. Sandiganbayan,


supra.
24 Hodges v. Yulo, 81 Phil. 622 (1954).
25 People v. Estapia, 37 Phil. 17 (1917) People v. Jackson, 54 Phil. 176
(1929) People v. Yu Jai, 99 Phil. 725 (1956) People v. Terrado, 211 Phil. 1
125 SCRA 648 (1983) People v. Deleverio, 352 Phil. 382 289 SCRA 547
(1998).

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 57/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

26 United States v. Abad Santos, 36 Phil. 243 (1917) United States v.


Madrigal, 27 Phil. 347 (1914) People v. Atop, 349 Phil. 825 286 SCRA 157
(1998).

71

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 71


People vs. Lacson

penalties for certain crimes, insofar as the lower penalty


was favorable
27
to the accused.28
In the cases of People v. 29
Simon, People v. Manalo, 30
Danao v. Court of Appeals,
and People v. Piasidad, judgment had already been
rendered by the respective trial courts against the
respective accused individuals in question. Pending appeal
of the cases, the legislature passed R.A. 7659, effective
December 31, 1993. In addition to reimposing the death
penalty, R.A. 7659 lowered the penalty imposable on
individuals who had violated the Dangerous Drugs Act.
This Court invariably applied the lower penalty
retroactively, even if the crimes had been consummated,
prosecution had been initiated, and a decision had in fact
already been rendered by the trial courts while the higher
penalties were still imposable.
As a more extreme example, in the 1996 case of Cruz 31
v.
Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong, the
accused therein was already serving a final and executory
penalty of reclusion perpetua. During her service of this
sentence, R.A. 7659 was passed, lowering the penalty
imposable for the crime for which she was convicted. Even
if her sentence was already being served, this Court
retroactively applied R.A. 7659 and ordered her immediate
release since she had already served the maximum of her
sentence.
From a particular perspective, granting the retroactive
application of penal laws would likewise impair the
vested rights of the State in seeing to it that criminals are
given just retribution. In such instances, though, we have
not hesitated in putting a primacy on the rights of the
private individuals. The retroactive application of Rule 117,
Section 8 is thus called for.
We move on to another factual issue to illustrate that, if
we have to change our mindsand I repeat that our
Resolution dated May 28, 2002 correctly resolved the issue
the Court should get the factual answers through a
remand.
Did the accused give express consent to the provisional
dismissal of his case?
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 58/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

_______________

27 G.R. No. 93028, 29 July 1994, 234 SCRA 555.


28 315 Phil. 547 245 SCRA 493 (1995).
29 313 Phil. 354 243 SCRA 494 (1995).
30 331 Phil. 274 262 SCRA 752 (1996).
31 331 Phil. 40 262 SCRA 552 (1996).

72

72 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

The Court in its first Resolution stated that (i)t was


respondent Lacson himself who moved to dismiss the
subject cases for lack of probable cause before then, Judge
Agnir, hence, it is beyond argument that their dismissal
bears his express consent.
Now, the majority finds the motion to dismiss as an
inadequate mode of expressing consent. Obviously, the
Court wants a formal manifestation filed in court where an
accused has to declare, I hereby consent to the provisional
dismissal of my case.
The majority is asking too much. The amended Rule
does not provide for a rigidly precise wording of consent.
There are no required magic words whose nonutterance
would be fatal. There are no fixed and supererogatory
incantations, no pigeonholes of ritual where set formalities
must be fitted. When an accused moves that his case be
dismissed, that is a stronger mode of consent than merely
saying, I hereby consent. When the respondents counsel
answered none to the question, was there an express
conformity?, he was referring to a formal manifestation of
yes, your Honor, the accused consents. There was no such
pleading or manifestation. However, the lawyers socalled
admission, taken out of context, cannot overrule the
indubitable fact that the accused moved for a dismissal of
his case. An implied admission of counsel cannot be given
greater weight than a consent given through a formal
motion to dismiss.
As Mr. Justice Cardozo said long ago: The law has
outgrown its primitive stage of formalism when the precise
word was the sovereign talisman,32
and every slip was fatal.
It takes a broader view today.
The majority is abetting harassment and oppression
when it rules that a motion to dismiss is not a consent to
dismissal. I have to dissent on this issue.
Was there notice to the offended party?
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 59/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

This is another factual issue that is best determined at


the trial level. It calls for evidence. The ponencia again
relies on an ambiguous admission of counsel in the course
of tricky crossexamination that there was no formal notice.

_______________

32 Quoted in the Dissenting Opinion of Justice Gregorio Perfecto in


Contreras and Gingco v. Felix and China Banking Corp., 78 Phil. 570, 583
(1947).

73

VOL. 413, OCTOBER 7, 2003 73


People vs. Lacson

It is probable that there was no formal notice in the form of


a letter with a registry return card accomplished by the
recipient. The purpose of notice under the Rule is to let the
offended party know and to avoid complicity to prejudice
the offended party. If the offended party was informed and
had knowledge of the forthcoming provisional dismissal,
there was notice to him.
The matter of notice should be elicited from the offended
party during trial. If the ponencia refuses to treat a notice
to the lawyer as a notice to his client, it should, at least,
ask the client himself to affirm or deny that he was
informed about the provisional dismissal. The remand is
called for in this regard. If a lawyer is given notice on a
material issue, he is assumed to have passed on the notice
to his client. The rule that notice to a lawyer is notice to the
client should apply when the basic protection of the
accused is involved and the protection is part of the
package of rights of an accused. There may be instances in
civil law or mercantile law where a formal notice, duly
acknowledged by the addressee, is required. In criminal
law, any statute or rule intended to protect the rights of an
accused should be interpreted in his favor.
There is no question that the amended rule on
provisional dismissal of criminal cases is intended to
protect the lights of an accused. The majority overlooks the
fact that if the rule was supposed to help or favor the State,
there would have been no reason to introduce the
amendment. The rule should have been left the way it was.
The rule was intended to curb inaction and abuses by
government prosecutors.
In deciding cases of constitutional significance, the
Court should be more concerned with substance rather
33
than form or some other consideration, with
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False general 60/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413
33
than form or some other consideration, with general
principles than technical points, to support judgments.
In one eloquent dissent of Mr. Justice Hugo Black of the
United States Supreme Court, he stated that not the least
of the virtues of a provision of the Bill of Rights is the
protection given to each
34
member of the smallest and most
unorthodox minority. Respondent in the present case may
not belong to the smallest minority but he is clearly
unorthodox and a member of the minority political

_______________

33 Fidelity Bank v. Swope, 274 U.S. 123.


34 American Communications Association (CIO) v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382.

74

74 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Lacson

party, We must avoid not only any political color in our


work but also the appearance of political color.
Appearances are unfortunately important in our
functions and somehow, the public image of the Court will
suffer because of the way the Court has decided the motion
for reconsideration of the respondent who has become the
target of powerful personalities in the political arena.
Equating the awesome powers of the State with individual
freedoms and formally extending the protections of the Bill
of Rights to the State is not a healthy development. The
Court should not give the impression that Bill of Rights
protections such as due process should equally extend to
and protect the State in the same way that they protect
individual persons. Again, this is not only error it is also
not healthy for the development of the law of the
Constitution.
At any rate it is well to listen to Mr. Justice Black when
he says that laws aimed at one political group and I may
add, at one political personage, however rational these laws
may be in their beginning, generate hatred and prejudices
which rapidly spread beyond control. Too often it is fear
which inspires such functions and nothing is more reckless
or contagious.
In the present case, the concern involves not a law
enacted by Congress but a judgment rendered by the
Supreme Court. The importance of these kinds of decisions
on national institutions and the development of law cannot
be ignored or denied.
http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 61/62
8/11/2016 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATEDVOLUME413

WHEREFORE, I dissent from the majority resolution. I


vote to grant the respondents Motion for Reconsideration
and to reinstate the Courts Resolution dated May 28, 2002.
Respondents Omnibus Motion and Motion to Set for
Oral Arguments denied. Respondents Motion for
Reconsideration and its Supplement denied with finality.

Note.Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts


will be construed as applicable to motions pending and
undetermined at the time of the passage. (Ruiz vs. Court of
Appeals, 303 SCRA 637 [1999])

o0o

75

Copyright2016CentralBookSupply,Inc.Allrightsreserved.

http://www.central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015679de72d9bf8fc528003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 62/62