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EN BANC

G.R. No. L-856 April 18, 1949

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
SUSANO PEREZ (alias KID PEREZ), defendant-appellant.

TUASON, J.:

Susano Perez alias Kid Perez alias Kid Perez was convicted of treason by the 5th Division of the People's Court sitting in Cebu City and sentenced to death by
electrocution.

Seven counts were alleged in the information but the prosecution offered evidence only on counts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, all of which, according to the court, were
substantiated. In a unanimous decision, the trial court found as follows:

"As regards count No. 1

Count No. 1 alleges that the accused, together with the other Filipinos, recruited, apprehended and commandeered numerous girls and women against
their will for the purpose of using them, as in fact they were used, to satisfy the immoral purpose and sexual desire of Colonel Mini, and among such
unfortunate victims, were Felina Laput, Eriberta Ramo alias Miami Ramo, Eduarda Daohog, Eutiquia Lamay, Feliciana Bonalos and Flaviana Bonalos.

It would be unnecessary to recite here the testimonies of all the victims of the accused; it sufficient to reproduce here succinctly the testimony of Eriberta
Ramo. She testified that on June 15, 1942, the accused came to her house to get her and told her that she was wanted in the house of her aunt, but
instead, she was brought to the house of the Puppet Governor Agapito Hontanosas; that she escaped and returned to Baclayon her hometown; that the
accused came again and told her that Colonel Mini wanted her to be his Information Clerk; that she did not accept the job; that a week later the accused
came to Baclayon to get her, and succeeded in taking some other girls Puppet Governor Agapito Hontanosas; that Governor Hontanosas told her that
Colonel Mini wanted her to be his wife; that when she was brought to Colonel Mini the latter had nothing on but a "G" string; that he, Colonel Mini
threatened her with a sword tied her to a bed and with force succeeded in having carnal knowledge with her; that on the following night, again she was
brought to Colonel Mini and again she was raped; that finally she was able to escape and stayed in hiding for three weeks and only came out from the
hiding when Colonel Mini left Tagbilaran.

"As regards count No. 2

Count No. 2 of the information substantially alleges: That accused in company with some Japanese and Filipinos took Eriberta Ramo and her sister
Cleopatra Ramo from their home in Baclayon to attend a banquet and a dance organized in honor of Colonel Mini by the Puppet Governor, Agapito
Hontanosas in order that said Japanese Colonel might select those first who would later be taken to satisfy his carnal appetite and that by means of threat,
force and intimidation, the above mentioned two sister were brought to the headquarters of the Japanese Commander at the Mission Hospital in Tagbilaran
where Eriberta Ramo was forced to lived a life of shame. All these facts alleged in count No. 2 were testified to by said witnesses Eriberta Ramo her mother
Mercedes de Ramo. It is not necessary here to recite once more their testimony in support of the allegations in court No. 2; this Court is fully convinced that
the allegation in said count No. 2 were fully substantiated by the evidence adduced.

"As regards count No. 4

Count No. 4 substantially alleges that on July 16, 1942, the two girls named Eduardo S. Daohog and Eutiquia Lamay, were taken from their homes in
Corella, Bohol, by the accused and his companion named Vicente Bullecer, and delivered to the Japanese Officer, Dr. Takibayas to satisfy his carnal
appetite, but these two, the accused Susano Perez and his companion Vicente Bullecer, before delivering them to said Japanese Officer, satisfied first their
lust; the accused Susano Perez raping Eduarda S. Daohog and his companion, Vicente Bullecer, the other girl Eutiquia Lamay. Eduarda S. Daohog,
testifying, said: that while on the way to Tagbilaran, the accused though force and intimidation, raped her in an uninhabited house; that she resisted with all
her force against the desire of the accused, but of no avail; that upon arriving in Tagbilaran, she was delivered to the Japanese Officer named Takibayas
who also raped her. Eutiquia Lamay testified that on July 16, 1942, the accused and his companion, Bullecer, went to her house to take her and her sister;
that her sister was then out of the house; that the accused threatened her with a revolved if she refuses to go; that she was placed in a car where Eduarda
Daohog was; that while they were in the car, the accused carried Eduarda out of the car, and their companion Bullecer took the other witness (Eutiquia
Lamay); that when the accused and Eduarda returned to the car, the latter; Eduarda, covered her face, crying; that later, she and Eduarda were taken to
the Governor's house; that on arriving and in the presence of the Puppet Governor Hontanosas, the Governor exclaimed: "I did not call for these girls": but
the accused replied saying: "These girls talked bad against the Japanese , and that is why we arrested them"; that the said Governor Hontaosas then,
said: "Take them to the Japanese "; that the accused and Bullecer brought the two girls to the Japanese headquarters; that Eduarda was taken to one room
by the Japanese Captain called Dr. Takibayas, and she (Eutiquia Lamay) was taken to another room by another Japanese living in that house; that she
was raped by that Jap while in the room; that she resisted all she could, but of no avail.

In the light of the testimonies of these two witnesses, Eduarda S. Daohog and Eutiquia Lamay, all the allegations in Court No. 4 were fully proven beyond
reasonable doubt.

"As regards count No. 5

Count No. 5 alleges: That on or about June 4, 1942, the said accused commandeered Feliciana Bonalos and her sister Flaviana Bonalos on the pretext
that they were to bee taken as witnesses before a Japanese Colonel in the investigation of a case against a certain Chinese (Insik Eping), and uponarriving
at Tagbilaran, Bohol, the accused brought the aforesaid two girls to the residence of Colonel Mini, Commander of the Japanese Armed Forces in Bohol and
by means of violence threat and intimidation, said Japanese Colonel abused and had sexual intercourse with Flaviana Bonalos; that the accused
subsequently of Colonel Mini and through violence, threat and intimidation, succeeded in having carnal knowledge with her against her will; that two days,
later, upon the pretext of conducting the unfortunate girls to their home, said accused brought the other girls Feliciana Bonalos to a secluded place in
Tagbilaran, Bohol, and in the darkness, by mean of threat and violence had carnal knowledge with her against her will.
Feliciana Bonalos testifying in this count, declared that the accused came to get her on the pretext that she was to be used as witness in a case affecting
certain Chinaman before Colonel Mini; that she and her younger sister Flaviana were brought in a car driven by the accused; they were brought to the
house of Colonel Mini; that sister Flaviana was conducted into a room and after remaining in the same for about an hour, she came out with her hair and
her dress in disorder; that Flaviana told her immediately that she was raped against her will by Colonel Mini; that she (Feliciana), after leaving the residence
of said Jap officer, was taken by Perez to an uninhabited house and there by threat and intimidation, the accused succeeded in raping her; that when she
returned to her (the witness), Flaviana was crying; that the following day while conducting the two girls back to their hometown, she (Feliciana) was also
raped by the accused in an uninhabited house, against her will.

Victoriana Arayan (mother of Feliciana and Flaviana Bonalos) testified as following: That on June 15, 1942, the accused came and told her that the
Japanese needed her daughters to be witnesses; that accordingly, he daughters, under that understanding, started for Tagbilaran; that later, she went to
Tagbilaran to look for her daughters and she found them in the office of the Puppet Governor; that on seeing her, both daughters wept and told her that
they were turned over to the Japanese and raped them; that her daughter Flaviana told her (the witness) that after the Japanese had raped her the
accused also raped her (Flaviana) in an uninhabited house; that the accused did not permit her two daughter to return home on the pretext that the Puppet
Governor was then absent and in the meanwhile they stayed in the house of the accused Perez; that when her daughter returned to her house ultimately,
they related to her (mother) what happened; that both daughters told her they would have preferred death rather than to have gone to Tagbilaran; that
Feliciana told her (the mother) that the accused had raped her.

The information give by Feliciana to her mother is admitted in evidence as a part of the res gestae regardless of the time that had elapsed between the
occurrence and the time of the information. In the manner these two witnesses testified in court, there could be no doubt that they were telling the absolute
truth. It is hard to conceived that these girls would assume and admit the ignominy they have gone through if they were not true. The Court is fully
convinced that all the allegations contained in Court No. 5 have been proven by the testimonies of these two witnesses beyond reasonable doubt.

"As regards count No. 6

Count No. 6, alleges: That the accused, together with his Filipino companion apprehended Natividad Barcinas, Nicanora Ralameda and Teotima Barcinas,
nurses of the provincial hospital, for not having attended a dance and reception organized by the Puppet Governor in honor of Colonel Mini and other
Japanese high ranking officers, which was held in Tagbilaran market on June 25, 1942; that upon being brought the Puppet Governor, they were severely
reprimanded by the latter; that on July 8, 1942, against said nurses were forced to attend another banquet and dance in order that the Jap officers Mini and
Takibayas might make a selection which girls would suit best their fancy; that the real purpose behind those forcible invitations was to lure them to the
residence of said Japanese Officer Mini for immoral purposes.

Natividad Barcinas, a Lieutenant of the P.A., testified at length. She declared: That on June 29, 1942, she and companion nurses, saw the accused coming
to the hospital with a revolver and took them on a car to the office of the Puppet Governor where they were severely reprimanded by the latter for not
attending the dance held on June and receptions was to select from among them the best girl that would suit the fancy of Colonel Mini for immoral
purposes that she and her companions were always afraid of the accused Perez whenever he came to said hospital; that on one occasion, one of the
nurses on perceiving the approach of the accused, ran up into her room, laid down on bed and simulated to be sick; that said accused, not satisfied, went
up into the room of that particular nurse and pulled out the blanket which covered her and telling her that it was only her pretext that she was sick.

The testimony of Lt. Natividad Barcinas is fully corroborated by that of Nicanora Ralameda. Said testimony need not be reproduced here.

In a carefully written brief for the appellant these findings are not questioned, but it is contended that the deeds committed by the accused do not constitute treason. The
Solicitor General submits the opposite view, and argues that "to maintain and preserve the morale of the soldiers has always been, and will always be, a fundamental
concern of army authorities, for the efficiency of rests not only on its physical attributes but also, mainly, on the morale of its soldiers" (citing the annual report of the
Chief of Staff, United State Army, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1933).

If furnishing women for immoral purposes to the enemies was treason because women's company kept up their morale, so fraternizing with them, entertaining them at
parties, selling them food and drinks, and kindred acts, would be treason. For any act of hospitality without doubt produces the same general result. yet by common
agreement those and similar manifestation of sympathy and attachment are not the kind of disloyalty that are punished as treason.

In a broad sense, the law of treason does not prescribe all kinds of social, business and political intercourse between the belligerent occupants of the invaded country
and its inhabitants. In the nature of things, the occupation of a country by the enemy is bound to create relations of all sorts between the invaders and the natives. What
aid and comfort constitute treason must depend upon their nature degree and purpose. To draw a line between treasonable and untreasonable assistance is not always
easy. The scope of adherence to the enemy is comprehensive, its requirement indeterminate as was said Cramer vs. United States. 89 Law. ed., 1441.

As general rule, to be treasonous the extent of the aid and comfort given to the enemies must be to render assistance to them as enemies and not merely as
individuals and in addition, be directly in furtherance of the enemies' hostile designs. To make a simple distinction: To lend or give money to an enemy as a friend or
out of charity to the beneficiary so that he may buy personal necessities is to assist him as individual and is not technically traitorous. On the other hand, to lend or give
him money to enable him to buy arms or ammunition to use in waging war against the giver's country enhance his strength and by same count injures the interest of the
government of the giver. That is treason. (See United States vs. Fricke, 259 F., 673; 63 C.J., 816, 817.)

Applying these principles to the case at bar, appellant's first assignment of error is correct. His "commandeering" of women to satisfy the lust of Japanese officers or
men or to enliven the entertainment held in their honor was not treason even though the women and the entertainment helped to make life more pleasant for the
enemies and boost their spirit; he was not guilty any more than the women themselves would have been if they voluntarily and willingly had surrendered their bodies or
organized the entertainment. Sexual and social relations with the Japanese did not directly and materially tend to improve their war efforts or to weaken the power of the
United State. The acts herein charged were not, by fair implication, calculated to strengthen the Japanese Empire or its army or to cripple the defense and resistance of
the other side. Whatever favorable effect the defendant's collaboration with the Japanese might have in their prosecution of the war was trivial, imperceptible, and
unintentional. Intent of disloyalty is a vital ingredient in the crime of treason, which, in the absence of admission, may be gathered from the nature and circumstances of
each particular case.

But the accused may be punished for the rape of Eriberta Ramo, Eduarda Daohog, Eutiquia Lamay and Flaviana Bonalos as principal by direct participation. Without
his cooperation in the manner above stated, these rapes could not have been committed.

Conviction of the accused of rapes instead of treason finds express sanction in section 2 of Commonwealth Act No. 682, which says:
Provided further, That where, in its opinion, the evidence is not sufficient to support the offense (treason) charged, the People's Court may, nevertheless,
convict and sentence the accused for any crime included in the acts alleged in the information and established by the evidence.

All the above mentioned rapes are alleged in the information and substantiated by the evidence.

Counsel assails the constitutionality of this of his provision as violative of section 1, paragraph 17, Article III of the Constitution, which guarantees to an accused the
right "to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him." The contention is not well taken. The provision in requires that the private crimes of which
an accused of treason may be convicted must be averred in the information and sustained by evidence. In the light of this enactment, the defendant was warned of the
hazard that he might be founded guilty of rapes if he was innocent of treason and thus afforded an opportunity to prepare and meet them. There is no element of
surprise or anomaly involved. In facts under the general law of criminal procedure convicted for crime different from that designated in the complaint or information is
allowed and practiced, provided only that such crime "is included or described in the body of the information, and afterwards justified by the proof presented during the
trial." (People vs. Perez, 45 Phil., 599.)

The defendant personally assaulted and abused two of the offended girls but these assaults are not charged against him and should be ruled out. The crime of coercion
alleged and founded on count No. 6. need not be noticed in view of the severity of the penalty for the other crimes which he must suffer.

We find the defendant guilty of four separate crimes of rape and sentence him for each of them to an indeterminate penalty of from 10 year of prision mayor to 17 year
and 4 months of reclusion temporal, with the accessories of law, to indemnify each of the offended women in the sum of P3,000, and to pay the costs; it being
understood that the total duration of these penalties shall not exceed forty years.
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-409 January 30, 1947

ANASTACIO LAUREL, petitioner,


vs.
ERIBERTO MISA, respondent.

Claro M. Recto and Querube C. Makalintal for petitioner.


First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes and Solicitor Hernandez, Jr., for respondent.

RESOLUTION

In G.R. No. L-409, Anastacio Laurel vs. Eriberto Misa, etc., the Court, acting on the petition for habeas corpusfiled by Anastacio Laurel and based on a
theory that a Filipino citizen who adhered to the enemy giving the latter aid and comfort during the Japanese occupation cannot be prosecuted for the crime
of treason defined and penalized by article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, for the reason (1) that the sovereignty of the legitimate government in the
Philippines and, consequently, the correlative allegiance of Filipino citizens thereto was then suspended; and (2) that there was a change of sovereignty
over these Islands upon the proclamation of the Philippine Republic:

(1) Considering that a citizen or subject owes, not a qualified and temporary, but an absolute and permanent allegiance, which consists in the obligation of
fidelity and obedience to his government or sovereign; and that this absolute and permanent allegiance should not be confused with the qualified and
temporary allegiance which a foreigner owes to the government or sovereign of the territory wherein he resides, so long as he remains there, in return for
the protection he receives, and which consists in the obedience to the laws of the government or sovereign. (Carlisle vs. Unite States, 21 Law. ed., 429;
Secretary of State Webster Report to the President of the United States in the case of Thraser, 6 Web. Works, 526);

Considering that the absolute and permanent allegiance of the inhabitants of a territory occupied by the enemy of their legitimate government or sovereign
is not abrogated or severed by the enemy occupation, because the sovereignty of the government or sovereign de jure is not transferred thereby to the
occupier, as we have held in the cases of Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon (75 Phil., 113) and of Peralta vs. Director of Prisons (75 Phil., 285),
and if it is not transferred to the occupant it must necessarily remain vested in the legitimate government; that the sovereignty vested in the titular
government (which is the supreme power which governs a body politic or society which constitute the state) must be distinguished from the exercise of the
rights inherent thereto, and may be destroyed, or severed and transferred to another, but it cannot be suspended because the existence of sovereignty
cannot be suspended without putting it out of existence or divesting the possessor thereof at least during the so-called period of suspension; that what may
be suspended is the exercise of the rights of sovereignty with the control and government of the territory occupied by the enemy passes temporarily to the
occupant; that the subsistence of the sovereignty of the legitimate government in a territory occupied by the military forces of the enemy during the war,
"although the former is in fact prevented from exercising the supremacy over them" is one of the "rules of international law of our times"; (II Oppenheim, 6th
Lauterpacht ed., 1944, p. 482), recognized, by necessary implication, in articles 23, 44, 45, and 52 of Hague Regulation; and that, as a corollary of the
conclusion that the sovereignty itself is not suspended and subsists during the enemy occupation, the allegiance of the inhabitants to their legitimate
government or sovereign subsists, and therefore there is no such thing as suspended allegiance, the basic theory on which the whole fabric of the
petitioner's contention rests;

Considering that the conclusion that the sovereignty of the United State was suspended in Castine, set forth in the decision in the case of United
States vs. Rice, 4 Wheaton, 246, 253, decided in 1819, and quoted in our decision in the cases of Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon and Peralta
vs. Director of Prisons, supra, in connection with the question, not of sovereignty, but of the existence of a government de factotherein and its power to
promulgate rules and laws in the occupied territory, must have been based, either on the theory adopted subsequently in the Hague Convention of 1907,
that the military occupation of an enemy territory does not transfer the sovereignty to the occupant; that, in the first case, the word "sovereignty" used
therein should be construed to mean the exercise of the rights of sovereignty, because as this remains vested in the legitimate government and is not
transferred to the occupier, it cannot be suspended without putting it out of existence or divesting said government thereof; and that in the second case,
that is, if the said conclusion or doctrine refers to the suspension of the sovereignty itself, it has become obsolete after the adoption of the Hague
Regulations in 1907, and therefore it can not be applied to the present case;

Considering that even adopting the words "temporarily allegiance," repudiated by Oppenheim and other publicists, as descriptive of the relations borne by
the inhabitants of the territory occupied by the enemy toward the military government established over them, such allegiance may, at most, be considered
similar to the temporary allegiance which a foreigner owes to the government or sovereign of the territory wherein he resides in return for the protection he
receives as above described, and does not do away with the absolute and permanent allegiance which the citizen residing in a foreign country owes to his
own government or sovereign; that just as a citizen or subject of a government or sovereign may be prosecuted for and convicted of treason committed in a
foreign country, in the same way an inhabitant of a territory occupied by the military forces of the enemy may commit treason against his own legitimate
government or sovereign if he adheres to the enemies of the latter by giving them aid and comfort; and that if the allegiance of a citizen or subject to his
government or sovereign is nothing more than obedience to its laws in return for the protection he receives, it would necessarily follow that a citizen who
resides in a foreign country or state would, on one hand, ipso factoacquire the citizenship thereof since he has enforce public order and regulate the social
and commercial life, in return for the protection he receives, and would, on the other hand, lose his original citizenship, because he would not be bound to
obey most of the laws of his own government or sovereign, and would not receive, while in a foreign country, the protection he is entitled to in his own;

Considering that, as a corollary of the suspension of the exercise of the rights of sovereignty by the legitimate government in the territory occupied by the
enemy military forces, because the authority of the legitimate power to govern has passed into the hands of the occupant (Article 43, Hague Regulations),
the political laws which prescribe the reciprocal rights, duties and obligation of government and citizens, are suspended or in abeyance during military
occupation (Co Kim cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and dizon, supra), for the only reason that as they exclusively bear relation to the ousted legitimate
government, they are inoperative or not applicable to the government established by the occupant; that the crimes against national security, such as
treason and espionage; inciting to war, correspondence with hostile country, flight to enemy's country, as well as those against public order, such as
rebellion, sedition, and disloyalty, illegal possession of firearms, which are of political complexion because they bear relation to, and are penalized by our
Revised Penal Code as crimes against the legitimate government, are also suspended or become inapplicable as against the occupant, because they can
not be committed against the latter (Peralta vs. Director of Prisons, supra); and that, while the offenses against public order to be preserved by the
legitimate government were inapplicable as offenses against the invader for the reason above stated, unless adopted by him, were also inoperative as
against the ousted government for the latter was not responsible for the preservation of the public order in the occupied territory, yet article 114 of the said
Revised Penal Code, was applicable to treason committed against the national security of the legitimate government, because the inhabitants of the
occupied territory were still bound by their allegiance to the latter during the enemy occupation;

Considering that, although the military occupant is enjoined to respect or continue in force, unless absolutely prevented by the circumstances, those laws
that enforce public order and regulate the social and commercial life of the country, he has, nevertheless, all the powers of de facto government and may,
at his pleasure, either change the existing laws or make new ones when the exigencies of the military service demand such action, that is, when it is
necessary for the occupier to do so for the control of the country and the protection of his army, subject to the restrictions or limitations imposed by the
Hague Regulations, the usages established by civilized nations, the laws of humanity and the requirements of public conscience (Peralta vs.Director of
Prisons, supra; 1940 United States Rules of Land Warfare 76, 77); and that, consequently, all acts of the military occupant dictated within these limitations
are obligatory upon the inhabitants of the territory, who are bound to obey them, and the laws of the legitimate government which have not been adopted,
as well and those which, though continued in force, are in conflict with such laws and orders of the occupier, shall be considered as suspended or not in
force and binding upon said inhabitants;

Considering that, since the preservation of the allegiance or the obligation of fidelity and obedience of a citizen or subject to his government or sovereign
does not demand from him a positive action, but only passive attitude or forbearance from adhering to the enemy by giving the latter aid and comfort, the
occupant has no power, as a corollary of the preceding consideration, to repeal or suspend the operation of the law of treason, essential for the
preservation of the allegiance owed by the inhabitants to their legitimate government, or compel them to adhere and give aid and comfort to him; because it
is evident that such action is not demanded by the exigencies of the military service or not necessary for the control of the inhabitants and the safety and
protection of his army, and because it is tantamount to practically transfer temporarily to the occupant their allegiance to the titular government or
sovereign; and that, therefore, if an inhabitant of the occupied territory were compelled illegally by the military occupant, through force, threat or
intimidation, to give him aid and comfort, the former may lawfully resist and die if necessary as a hero, or submit thereto without becoming a traitor;

Considering that adoption of the petitioner's theory of suspended allegiance would lead to disastrous consequences for small and weak nations or states,
and would be repugnant to the laws of humanity and requirements of public conscience, for it would allow invaders to legally recruit or enlist the Quisling
inhabitants of the occupied territory to fight against their own government without the latter incurring the risk of being prosecuted for treason, and even
compel those who are not aid them in their military operation against the resisting enemy forces in order to completely subdue and conquer the whole
nation, and thus deprive them all of their own independence or sovereignty such theory would sanction the action of invaders in forcing the people of a
free and sovereign country to be a party in the nefarious task of depriving themselves of their own freedom and independence and repressing the exercise
by them of their own sovereignty; in other words, to commit a political suicide;

(2) Considering that the crime of treason against the government of the Philippines defined and penalized in article 114 of the Penal Code, though originally
intended to be a crime against said government as then organized by authority of the sovereign people of the United States, exercised through their
authorized representative, the Congress and the President of the United States, was made, upon the establishment of the Commonwealth Government in
1935, a crime against the Government of the Philippines established by authority of the people of the Philippines, in whom the sovereignty resides
according to section 1, Article II, of the Constitution of the Philippines, by virtue of the provision of section 2, Article XVI thereof, which provides that "All
laws of the Philippine Islands . . . shall remain operative, unless inconsistent with this Constitution . . . and all references in such laws to the Government or
officials of the Philippine Islands, shall be construed, in so far as applicable, to refer to the Government and corresponding officials under this constitution;

Considering that the Commonwealth of the Philippines was a sovereign government, though not absolute but subject to certain limitations imposed in the
Independence Act and incorporated as Ordinance appended to our Constitution, was recognized not only by the Legislative Department or Congress of the
United States in approving the Independence Law above quoted and the Constitution of the Philippines, which contains the declaration that "Sovereignty
resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them" (section 1, Article II), but also by the Executive Department of the United States;
that the late President Roosevelt in one of his messages to Congress said, among others, "As I stated on August 12, 1943, the United States in practice
regards the Philippines as having now the status as a government of other independent nations in fact all the attributes of complete and respected
nationhood" (Congressional Record, Vol. 29, part 6, page 8173); and that it is a principle upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in many cases,
among them in the case of Jones vs. United States (137 U.S., 202; 34 Law. ed., 691, 696) that the question of sovereignty is "a purely political question, the
determination of which by the legislative and executive departments of any government conclusively binds the judges, as well as all other officers, citizens
and subjects of the country.

Considering that section I (1) of the Ordinance appended to the Constitution which provides that pending the final and complete withdrawal of the
sovereignty of the United States "All citizens of the Philippines shall owe allegiance to the United States", was one of the few limitations of the sovereignty
of the Filipino people retained by the United States, but these limitations do not away or are not inconsistent with said sovereignty, in the same way that the
people of each State of the Union preserves its own sovereignty although limited by that of the United States conferred upon the latter by the States; that
just as to reason may be committed against the Federal as well as against the State Government, in the same way treason may have been committed
during the Japanese occupation against the sovereignty of the United States as well as against the sovereignty of the Philippine Commonwealth; and that
the change of our form of government from Commonwealth to Republic does not affect the prosecution of those charged with the crime of treason
committed during the Commonwealth, because it is an offense against the same government and the same sovereign people, for Article XVIII of our
Constitution provides that "The government established by this constitution shall be known as the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Upon the final and
complete withdrawal of the sovereignty of the United States and the proclamation of Philippine independence, the Commonwealth of the Philippines shall
thenceforth be known as the Republic of the Philippines";

This Court resolves, without prejudice to write later on a more extended opinion, to deny the petitioner's petition, as it is hereby denied, for the reasons
above set forth and for others to be stated in the said opinion, without prejudice to concurring opinion therein, if any. Messrs. Justices Paras and Hontiveros
dissent in a separate opinion. Mr. justice Perfecto concurs in a separate opinion.

Separate Opinions

PERFECTO, J., concurring:

Treason is a war crime. It is not an all-time offense. It cannot be committed in peace time. While there is peace, there are no traitors. Treason may be incubated when
peace reigns. Treasonable acts may actually be perpetrated during peace, but there are no traitors until war has started.
As treason is basically a war crime, it is punished by the state as a measure of self-defense and self-preservation. The law of treason is an emergency measure. It
remains dormant until the emergency arises. But as soon as war starts, it is relentlessly put into effect. Any lukewarm attitude in its enforcement will only be consistent
with national harakiri. All war efforts would be of no avail if they should be allowed to be sabotaged by fifth columnists, by citizens who have sold their country out to the
enemy, or any other kind of traitors, and this would certainly be the case if he law cannot be enforced under the theory of suspension.

Petitioner's thesis that allegiance to our government was suspended during enemy occupation is advanced in support of the proposition that, since allegiance is
identical with obedience to law, during the enemy occupation, the laws of the Commonwealth were suspended. Article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, the law
punishing treason, under the theory, was one of the laws obedience to which was also suspended.

Allegiance has been defined as the obligation for fidelity and obedience which the individual owes to his government or his sovereign in return for the protection which
he receives.

"Allegiance", as the return is generally used, means fealty or fidelity to the government of which the person is either a citizen or subject. Murray vs. The
Charming Betsy, 6 U.S. (2 Cranch), 64, 120; 2 Law. ed., 208.

"Allegiance" was said by Mr. Justice Story to be "nothing more than the tie or duty of obedience of a subject to the sovereign, under whose protection he
is." United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, 18 S. Ct., 461; 169 U.S., 649; 42 Law. ed., 890.

Allegiance is that duty which is due from every citizen to the state, a political duty binding on him who enjoys the protection of the Commonwealth, to render
service and fealty to the federal government. It is that duty which is reciprocal to the right of protection, arising from the political relations between the
government and the citizen. Wallace vs. Harmstad, 44 Pa. (8 Wright), 492, 501.

By "allegiance" is meant the obligation to fidelity and obedience which the individual owes to the government under which he lives, or to his sovereign, in
return for the protection which he receives. It may be an absolute and permanent obligation, or it may be a qualified and temporary one. A citizen or subject
owes an absolute and permanent allegiance to his government or sovereign, or at least until, by some open and distinct act, he renounces it and becomes
a citizen or subject of another government or sovereign, and an alien while domiciled in a country owes it a temporary allegiance, which is continuous
during his residence. Carlisle vs.United States, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.), 147, 154; 21 Law ed., 426.

"Allegiance," as defined by Blackstone, "is the tie or ligament which binds the subject to the King, in return for that protection which the King affords the
subject. Allegiance, both expressed and implied, is of two sorts, the one natural, the other local, the former being perpetual, the latter temporary. Natural
allegiance is such as is due from all men born within the King's dominions immediately upon their birth, for immediately upon their birth they are under the
King's protection. Natural allegiance is perpetual, and for this reason, evidently founded on the nature of government. Allegiance is a debt due from the
subject upon an implied contract with the prince that so long as the one affords protection the other will demean himself faithfully. Natural-born subjects
have a great variety of rights which they acquire by being born within the King's liegance, which can never be forfeited but by their own misbehaviour; but
the rights of aliens are much more circumscribed, being acquired only by residence, and lost whenever they remove. If an alien could acquire a permanent
property in lands, he must owe an allegiance equally permanent to the King, which would probably be inconsistent with that which he owes his natural liege
lord; besides, that thereby the nation might, in time, be subject to foreign influence and feel many other inconveniences." Indians within the state are not
aliens, but citizens owing allegiance to the government of a state, for they receive protection from the government and are subject to its laws. They are born
in allegiance to the government of the state. Jackson vs. Goodell, 20 Johns., 188, 911. (3 Words and Phrases, Permanent ed., 226-227.)

Allegiance. Fealty or fidelity to the government of which the person is either a citizen or subject; the duty which is due from every citizen to the state; a
political duty, binding on him who enjoys the protection of the commonwealth, to render service and fealty to the federal government; the obligation of
fidelity and obedience which the individual owes to the government or to the sovereign under which he lives in return for the protection he receives; that
duty is reciprocal to the right of protection he receives; that duty which is reciprocal to the right of protection, arising from the political relations between the
government and the citizen.

Classification. Allegiance is of four kinds, namely: (1) Natural allegiance that which arises by nature and birth; (2) acquired allegiance that arising
through some circumstance or act other than birth, namely, by denization or naturalization; (3) local allegiance-- that arising from residence simply within
the country, for however short a time; and (4) legal allegiance that arising from oath, taken usually at the town or leet, for, by the common law, the oath
of allegiance might be tendered to every one upon attaining the age of twelve years. (3 C.J.S., p.885.)

Allegiance. the obligation of fidelity and obedience which the individual owes to the government under which he lives, or to his sovereign in return for the
protection he receives. 15 R.C.L., 140. (Ballentine Law Dictionary, p. 68.).

"Allegiance," as its etymology indicates, is the name for the tie which binds the citizen to his state the obligation of obedience and support which he owes
to it. The state is the political person to whom this liege fealty is due. Its substance is the aggregate of persons owing this allegiance. The machinery
through which it operates is its government. The persons who operate this machinery constitute its magistracy. The rules of conduct which the state utters
or enforces are its law, and manifest its will. This will, viewed as legally supreme, is its sovereignty. (W.W. Willoughby, Citizenship and Allegiance in
Constitutional and International Law, 1 American Journal of International Law, p. 915.).

The obligations flowing from the relation of a state and its nationals are reciprocal in character. This principle had been aptly stated by the Supreme Court
of the United States in its opinion in the case of Luria vs. United States:

Citizenship is membership in a political society and implies a duty of allegiance on the part of the member and a duty protection on the part of the society.
These are reciprocal obligations, one being a compensation for the other. (3 Hackworth, Digest of International Law, 1942 ed., p.6.)

Allegiance. The tie which binds the citizen to the government, in return for the protection which the government affords him. The duty which the subject
owes to the sovereign, correlative with the protection received.

It is a comparatively modern corruption of ligeance (ligeantia), which is derived from liege (ligius), meaning absolute or unqualified. It signified originally
liege fealty, i. e., absolute and qualified fealty. 18 L. Q. Rev., 47.
xxx xxx xxx

Allegiance may be an absolute and permanent obligation, or it may be a qualified and temporary one; the citizen or subject owes the former to his
government or sovereign, until by some act he distinctly renounces it, whilst the alien domiciled in the country owes a temporary and local allegiance
continuing during such residence. (Carlisle vs. United States, 16 Wall. [U.S.], 154; 21 Law. ed., 426. (1 Bouvier's Law Dictionary, p. 179.).

The above quotations express ideas that do not fit exactly into the Philippine pattern in view of the revolutionary insertion in our Constitution of the fundamental principle
that "sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them." (Section 1, Article II.) The authorities above quoted, judges and juridical
publicists define allegiance with the idea that sovereignty resides somewhere else, on symbols or subjects other than the people themselves. Although it is possible that
they had already discovered that the people and only the people are the true sovereign, their minds were not yet free from the shackles of the tradition that the powers
of sovereignty have been exercised by princes and monarchs, by sultans and emperors, by absolute and tyrannical rules whose ideology was best expressed in the
famous words of one of the kings of France: "L'etat c'est moi," or such other persons or group of persons posing as the government, as an entity different and in
opposition to the people themselves. Although democracy has been known ever since old Greece, and modern democracies in the people, nowhere is such principle
more imperative than in the pronouncement embodied in the fundamental law of our people.

To those who think that sovereignty is an attribute of government, and not of the people, there may be some plausibility in the proposition that sovereignty was
suspended during the enemy occupation, with the consequence that allegiance must also have been suspended, because our government stopped to function in the
country. But the idea cannot have any place under our Constitution. If sovereignty is an essential attribute of our people, according to the basic philosophy of Philippine
democracy, it could not have been suspended during the enemy occupation. Sovereignty is the very life of our people, and there is no such thing as "suspended life."
There is no possible middle situation between life and death. Sovereignty is the very essence of the personality and existence of our people. Can anyone imagine the
possibility of "suspended personality" or "suspended existence" of a people? In no time during enemy occupation have the Filipino people ceased to be what they are.

The idea of suspended sovereignty or suspended allegiance is incompatible with our Constitution.

There is similarity in characteristics between allegiance to the sovereign and a wife's loyalty to her husband. Because some external and insurmountable force
precludes the husband from exercising his marital powers, functions, and duties and the wife is thereby deprived of the benefits of his protection, may the wife invoke
the theory of suspended loyalty and may she freely share her bed with the assailant of their home? After giving aid and comfort to the assailant and allowing him to
enjoy her charms during the former's stay in the invaded home, may the wife allege as defense for her adultery the principle of suspended conjugal fidelity?

Petitioner's thesis on change of sovereignty at the advent of independence on July 4, 1946, is unacceptable. We have already decided in Brodett vs. De la Rosa and
Vda. de Escaler (p. 752, ante) that the Constitution of the Republic is the same as that of the Commonwealth. The advent of independence had the effect of changing
the name of our Government and the withdrawal by the United States of her power to exercise functions of sovereignty in the Philippines. Such facts did not change the
sovereignty of the Filipino people. That sovereignty, following our constitutional philosophy, has existed ever since our people began to exist. It has been recognized by
the United States of America, at least since 1935, when President Roosevelt approved our Constitution. By such act, President Roosevelt, as spokesman of the
American people, accepted and recognized the principle that sovereignty resides in the people that is, that Philippine sovereignty resides in the Filipino people.

The same sovereignty had been internationally recognized long before the proclamation of independence on July 4, 1946. Since the early part of the Pacific war,
President Quezon had been sitting as representative of a sovereign people in the Allied War Council, and in June, 1945, the same Filipino people took part
outstanding and brilliant, it may be added in the drafting and adoption of the charter of the United Nations, the unmistakable forerunner of the future democratic
federal constitution of the world government envisioned by all those who adhere to the principle of unity of all mankind, the early realization of which is anxiously desired
by all who want to be spared the sufferings, misery and disaster of another war.

Under our Constitution, the power to suspend laws is of legislative nature and is lodged in Congress. Sometimes it is delegated to the Chief Executive, such as the
power granted by the Election Code to the President to suspend the election in certain districts and areas for strong reasons, such as when there is rebellion, or a public
calamity, but it has never been exercised by tribunals. The Supreme Court has the power to declare null and void all laws violative of the Constitution, but it has no
power, authority, or jurisdiction to suspend or declare suspended any valid law, such as the one on treason which petitioner wants to be included among the laws of the
Commonwealth which, by his theory of suspended allegiance and suspended sovereignty, he claims have been suspended during the Japanese occupation.

Suppose President Quezon and his government, instead of going from Corregidor to Australia, and later to Washington, had fled to the mountains of Luzon, and a
group of Filipino renegades should have killed them to serve the interests of the Japanese imperial forces. By petitioner's theory, those renegades cannot be
prosecuted for treason or for rebellion or sedition, as the laws punishing them were suspended. Such absurd result betrays the untenability of the theory.

"The defense of the State is a prime duty of Government, and in the fulfillment of that duty all citizens may be required by law to render personal, military or civil
service." Thus, section 2 of Article II of the Constitution provides: That duty of defense becomes more imperative in time of war and when the country is invaded by an
aggressor nation. How can it be fulfilled if the allegiance of the citizens to the sovereign people is suspended during enemy occupation? The framers of the Constitution
surely did not entertain even for the moment the absurdity that when the allegiance of the citizens to the sovereign people is more needed in the defense of the survival
of the state, the same should be suspended, and that upon such suspension those who may be required to render personal, military or civil service may claim
exemption from the indispensable duty of serving their country in distress.

Petitioner advances the theory that protection in the consideration of allegiance. He argues that the Commonwealth Government having been incapacitated during
enemy occupation to protect the citizens, the latter were relieved of their allegiance to said government. The proposition is untenable. Allegiance to the sovereign is an
indispensable bond for the existence of society. If that bond is dissolved, society has to disintegrate. Whether or not the existence of the latter is the result of the social
compact mentioned by Roseau, there can be no question that organized society would be dissolved if it is not united by the cohesive power of the citizen's allegiance.
Of course, the citizens are entitled to the protection of their government, but whether or not that government fulfills that duty, is immaterial to the need of maintaning the
loyalty and fidelity of allegiance, in the same way that the physical forces of attraction should be kept unhampered if the life of an individual should continue, irrespective
of the ability or inability of his mind to choose the most effective measures of personal protection.

After declaring that all legislative, executive, and judicial processes had during and under the Japanese regime, whether executed by the Japanese themselves or by
Filipino officers of the puppet government they had set up, are null and void, as we have done in our opinions in Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon (75 Phil.,
113), in Peralta vs. Director of Prison (75, Phil., 285), and in several other cases where the same question has been mentioned, we cannot consistently accept
petitioner's theory.
If all laws or legislative acts of the enemy during the occupation were null and void, and as we cannot imagine the existence of organized society, such as the one
constituted by the Filipino people, without laws of the Commonwealth were the ones in effect during the occupation and the only ones that could claim obedience from
our citizens.

Petitioner would want us to accept the thesis that during the occupation we owed allegiance to the enemy. To give way to that paradoxical and disconcerting allegiance,
it is suggested that we accept that our allegiance to our legitimate government was suspended. Petitioner's proposition has to fall by its own weight, because of its
glaring absurdities. Allegiance, like its synonyms, loyalty and fidelity, is based on feelings of attraction, love, sympathy, admiration, respect, veneration, gratitude, amity,
understanding, friendliness. These are the feelings or some of the feelings that bind us to our own people, and are the natural roots of the duty of allegiance we owe
them. The enemy only provokes repelling and repulsive feelings hate, anger, vexation, chagrin, mortification, resentment, contempt, spitefulness. The natural
incompatibility of political, social and ethical ideologies between our people and the Japanese, making impossible the existence of any feeling of attraction between
them, aside from the initial fact that the Japanese invaded our country as our enemy, was aggravated by the morbid complexities of haughtiness, braggadocio and
beastly brutality of the Nippon soldiers and officers in their dealings with even the most inoffensive of our citizens.

Giving bread to our enemy, and, after slapping one side of our face, offer him the other to be further slapped, may appear to be divinely charitable, but to make them a
reality, it is necessary to change human nature. Political actions, legal rules and judicial decisions deal with human relations, taking man as he is, not as he should be.
To love the enemy is not natural. As long as human pyschology remains as it is, the enemy shall always be hated. Is it possible to conceive an allegiance based on
hatred?

The Japanese, having waged against us an illegal war condemned by prevailing principles of international law, could not have established in our country any
government that can be legally recognized as de facto. They came as bandits and ruffians, and it is inconceivable that banditry and ruffianism can claim any duty of
allegiance even a temporary one from a decent people.

One of the implications of petitioner's theory, as intimated somewhere, is that the citizens, in case of invasion, are free to do anything not forbidden by the Hague
Conventions. Anybody will notice immediately that the result will be the doom of small nations and peoples, by whetting the covetousness of strong powers prone on
imperialistic practices. In the imminence of invasion, weak-hearted soldiers of the smaller nations will readily throw away their arms to rally behind the paladium of the
invaders.

Two of the three great departments of our Government have already rejected petitioner's theory since September 25, 1945, the day when Commonwealth Act No. 682
took effect. By said act, creating the People's Court to try and decide all cases of crime against national security "committed between December 8, 1941 and September
2, 1945," (section 2), the legislative and executive departments have jointly declared that during the period above mentioned, including the time of Japanese
occupation, all laws punishing crimes against national security, including article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, punishing treason, had remained in full effect and
should be enforced.

That no one raised a voice in protest against the enactment of said act and that no one, at the time the act was being considered by the Senate and the House of
Representatives, ever dared to expose the uselessness of creating a People's Court to try crime which, as claimed by petitioner, could not have been committed as the
laws punishing them have been suspended, is a historical fact of which the Supreme Court may take judicial notice. This fact shows universal and unanimous
agreement of our people that the laws of the Commonwealth were not suspended and that the theory of suspended allegiance is just an afterthought provoked by a
desperate effort to help quash the pending treason cases at any cost.

Among the arguments adduced in favor of petitioner's theory is that it is based on generally accepted principles of international law, although this argument becomes
futile by petitioner's admission that the theory is advantageous to strong powers but harmful to small and weak nations, thus hinting that the latter cannot accept it by
heart. Suppose we accept at face value the premise that the theories, urged by petitioner, of suspended allegiance and suspended sovereignty are based on generally
accepted principles of international law. As the latter forms part of our laws by virtue of the provisions of section 3 of Article II of the Constitution, it seems that there is
no alternative but to accept the theory. But the theory has the effect of suspending the laws, especially those political in nature. There is no law more political in nature
than the Constitution of the Philippines. The result is an inverted reproduction of the Greek myth of Saturn devouring his own children. Here, under petitioner's theory,
the offspring devours its parent.

Can we conceive of an instance in which the Constitution was suspended even for a moment?

There is conclusive evidence that the legislature, as policy-determining agency of government, even since the Pacific war started on December 7, 1941, intimated that it
would not accept the idea that our laws should be suspended during enemy occupation. It must be remembered that in the middle of December, 1941, when Manila and
other parts of the archipelago were under constant bombing by Japanese aircraft and enemy forces had already set foot somewhere in the Philippines, the Second
National Assembly passed Commonwealth Act No. 671, which came into effect on December 16, 1941. When we approved said act, we started from the premise that
all our laws shall continue in effect during the emergency, and in said act we even went to the extent of authorizing the President "to continue in force laws and
appropriations which would lapse or otherwise become inoperative," (section 2, [d]), and also to "promulgate such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary to
carry out the national policy," (section 2), that "the existence of war between the United States and other countries of Europe and Asia, which involves the Philippines,
makes it necessary to invest the President with extraordinary powers in order to meet the resulting emergency." (Section 1.) To give emphasis to the intimation, we
provided that the rules and regulations provided "shall be in force and effect until the Congress of the Philippines shall otherwise provide," foreseeing the possibility that
Congress may not meet as scheduled as a result of the emergency, including invasion and occupation by the enemy. Everybody was then convinced that we did not
have available the necessary means of repelling effectivity the enemy invasion.

Maybe it is not out of place to consider that the acceptance of petitioner's theory of suspended allegiance will cause a great injustice to those who, although innocent,
are now under indictment for treason and other crimes involving disloyalty to their country, because their cases will be dismissed without the opportunity for them to
revindicate themselves. Having been acquitted upon a mere legal technicality which appears to us to be wrong, history will indiscriminality classify them with the other
accused who were really traitors to their country. Our conscience revolts against the idea of allowing the innocent ones to go down in the memory of future generations
with the infamous stigma of having betrayed their own people. They should not be deprived of the opportunity to show through the due process of law that they are free
from all blame and that, if they were really patriots, they acted as such during the critical period of test.

HILADO, J., concurring:


I concur in the result reached in the majority opinion to the effect that during the so-called Japanese occupation of the Philippines (which was nothing more than the
occupation of Manila and certain other specific regions of the Islands which constituted the minor area of the Archipelago) the allegiance of the citizens of this country to
their legitimate government and to the United States was not suspended, as well as the ruling that during the same period there was no change of sovereignty here; but
my reasons are different and I proceed to set them forth:

I. SUSPENDED ALLEGIANCE.

(a) Before the horror and atrocities of World War I, which were multiplied more than a hundred-fold in World War II, the nations had evolved certain rules and principles
which came to be known as International Law, governing their conduct with each other and toward their respective citizens and inhabitants, in the armed forces or
civilian life, in time of peace or in time of war. During the ages which preceded that first world conflict the civilized governments had no realization of the potential
excesses of which "men's inhumanity to man" could be capable. Up to that time war was, at least under certain conditions, considered as sufficiently justified, and the
nations had not on that account, proscribed nor renounced it as an instrument of national policy, or as a means of settling international disputes. It is not for us now to
dwell upon the reasons accounting for this historical fact. Suffice it to recognize its existence in history.

But when in World War I civilized humanity saw that war could be, as it actually was, employed for entirely different reasons and from entirely different motives,
compared to previous wars, and the instruments and methods of warfare had been so materially changed as not only to involve the contending armed forces on well
defined battlefields or areas, on land, in the sea, and in the air, but to spread death and destruction to the innocent civilian populations and to their properties, not only in
the countries engaged in the conflict but also in neutral ones, no less than 61 civilized nations and governments, among them Japan, had to formulate and solemnly
subscribe to the now famous Briand-Kellogg Pact in the year 1928. As said by Justice Jackson of the United States Supreme Court, as chief counsel for the United
States in the prosecution of "Axis war criminals," in his report to President Truman of June 7, 1945:

International law is not capable of development by legislation, for there is no continuously sitting international legislature. Innovations and revisions in
international law are brought about by the action of governments designed to meet a change circumstances. It grows, as did the common law, through
decisions reached from time to time in adopting settled principles to new situations.

xxx xxx xxx

After the shock to civilization of the war of 1914-1918, however, a marked reversion to the earlier and sounder doctrines of international law took place. By
the time the Nazis came to power it was thoroughly established that launching an aggressive war or the institution of war by treachery was illegal and that
the defense of legitimate warfare was no longer available to those who engaged in such an enterprise. It is high time that we act on the juridical principle
that aggressive war-making is illegal and criminal.

The re-establishment of the principle of justifiable war is traceable in many steps. One of the most significant is the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928 by which
Germany, Italy, and Japan, in common with the United States and practically all the nations of the world, renounced war as an instrument of national policy,
bound themselves to seek the settlement of disputes only by pacific means, and condemned recourse to war for the solution of international controversies.

Unless this Pact altered the legal status of wars of aggression, it has no meaning at all and comes close to being an act of deception. In 1932 Mr. Henry L.
Stimson, as United States Secretary of State, gave voice to the American concept of its effect. He said, "war between nations was renounced by the
signatories of the Briand-Kellogg Treaty. This means that it has become illegal throughout practically the entire world. It is no longer to be the source and
subject of rights. It is no longer to be the principle around which the duties, the conduct, and the rights of nations revolve. It is an illegal thing. . . . By that
very act we have made obsolete many legal precedents and have given the legal profession the task of re-examining many of its Codes and treaties.

This Pact constitutes only one reversal of the viewpoint that all war is legal and has brought international law into harmony with the common sense of
mankind that unjustifiable war is a crime.

Without attempting an exhaustive catalogue, we may mention the Geneva Protocol of 1924 for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, signed by
the representatives of forty-eight governments, which declared that "a war of aggression constitutes .. an International crime. . . .

The Eight Assembly of the League of Nations in 1927, on unanimous resolution of the representatives of forty-eight member-nations, including Germany,
declared that a war of aggression constitutes an international crime. At the Sixth Pan-American Conference of 1928, the twenty-one American Republics
unanimously adopted a resolution stating that "war of aggression constitutes an international crime against the human species."

xxx xxx xxx

We therefore propose to change that a war of aggression is a crime, and that modern international law has abolished the defense that those who incite or
wage it are engaged in legitimate business. Thus may the forces of the law be mobilized on the side of peace. ("U.S.A. An American Review," published
by the United States Office of War Information, Vol. 2, No. 10; emphasis supplied.).

When Justice Jackson speaks of "a marked reversion to the earlier and sounder doctrines of international law" and "the re-establishment of the principle of justifiable
war," he has in mind no other than "the doctrine taught by Grotius, the father of international law, that there is a distinction between the just and the unjust war the
war of defense and the war of aggression" to which he alludes in an earlier paragraph of the same report.

In the paragraph of said report immediately preceding the one last above mentioned Justice Jackson says that "international law as taught in the 19th and the early part
of the 20th century generally declared that war-making was not illegal and no crime at law." But, as he says in one of the paragraphs hereinabove quoted from that
report, the Briand-Kellogg Pact constitutes a reversal of the view-point that all war is legal and has brought international law into harmony with the common sense of
mankind that unjustifiable war is a crime. Then he mentions as other reversals of the same viewpoint, the Geneva Protocol of 1924 for the Pacific Settlement of
International Disputes, declaring that a war of aggression constitutes an international crime; the 8th assembly of the League of Nations in 1927, declaring that a war of
aggression constitutes an international crime; and the 6th Pan-American conference of 1928, which unanimously adopted a resolution stating that war of aggression
constitutes an international crime against the human species: which enumeration, he says, is not an attempt at an exhaustive catalogue.
It is not disputed that the war started by Japan in the Pacific, first, against the United States, and later, in rapid succession, against other allied nations, was a war of
aggression and utterly unjustifiable. More aggressive still, and more unjustifiable, as admitted on all sides, was its attack against the Philippines and its consequent
invasion and occupation of certain areas thereof.

Some of the rules and principles of international law which have been cited for petitioner herein in support of his theory of suspended allegiance, have been evolved
and accepted during those periods of the history of nations when all war was considered legal, as stated by Justice Jackson, and the others have reference to military
occupation in the course of really justifiable war.

Japan in subscribing the Briand-Kellogg Pact thirteen years before she started the aggressive war which threw the entire Pacific area into a seething cauldron from the
last month of 1941 of the first week of September, 1945, expressly agreed to outlaw, proscribe and renounce war as an instrument of national policy, and bound herself
to seek the settlement of her disputes with other nations only by pacific means. Thus she expressly gave her consent to that modification of the then existing rules and
principles of international law governing the matter. With the modification, all the signatories to the pact necessarily accepted and bound themselves to abide by all its
implications, among them the outlawing, prescription and renunciation of military occupation of another nation's territory in the course of a war thus outlawed, proscribed
and renounced. This is only one way of saving that the rules and principles of international law therefore existing on the subject of military occupation were
automatically abrogated and rendered ineffective in all future cases of war coming under the ban and condemnation of the pact.

If an unjustifiable war is a crime; if a war of aggression constitutes an international crime; if such a war is an international crime against the human species: a nation
which occupies a foreign territory in the course of such a war cannot possibly, under any principle of natural or positive law, acquire or posses any legitimate power or
right growing out or incident to such occupation. Concretely, Japan in criminally invading the Philippines and occupying certain portions of its territory during the Pacific
war, could not have nor exercise, in the legal sense and only this sense should we speak here with respect to this country and its citizens, any more than could a
burglar breaking through a man's house pretends to have or to exercise any legal power or right within that house with respect either to the person of the owner or to his
property. To recognize in the first instance any legal power or right on the part of the invader, and in the second any legal power or right on the part of the burglar, the
same as in case of a military occupant in the course of a justifiable war, would be nothing short of legalizing the crime itself. It would be the most monstrous and
unpardonable contradiction to prosecute, condemn and hang the appropriately called war criminals of Germany, Italy, and Japan, and at the same time recognize any
lawfulness in their occupation invaded. And let it not be forgotten that the Philippines is a member of the United Nations who have instituted and conducted the so-
called war crimes trials. Neither should we lose sight of the further fact that this government has a representative in the international commission currently trying the
Japanese war criminals in Tokyo. These facts leave no room for doubt that this government is in entire accord with the other United Nations in considering the Pacific
war started by Japan as a crime. Not only this, but this country had six years before the outbreak of the Pacific war already renounced war as an instrument of national
policy (Constitution, Article II, section 2), thus in consequence adopting the doctrine of the Briand-Kellogg Pact.

Consequently, it is submitted that it would be absolutely wrong and improper for this Court to apply to the occupation by Japan of certain areas of the Philippines during
that war the rules and principles of international law which might be applicable to a military occupation occurring in the course of a justifiable war. How can this Court
recognize any lawfulness or validity in that occupation when our own government has sent a representative to said international commission in Tokyo trying the
Japanese "war criminals" precisely for the "crimes against humanity and peace" committed by them during World War II of which said occupation was but part and
parcel? In such circumstances how could such occupation produce no less an effect than the suspension of the allegiance of our people to their country and
government?

(b) But even in the hypothesis and not more than a mere hypothesis that when Japan occupied the City of Manila and certain other areas of the Philippines she
was engaged in a justifiable war, still the theory of suspended allegiance would not hold good. The continuance of the allegiance owed to a notion by its citizens is one
of those high privileges of citizenship which the law of nations denies to the occupant the power to interfere with.

. . . His (of occupant) rights are not, however, commensurate with his power. He is thus forbidden to take certain measures which he may be able to apply,
and that irrespective of their efficacy. The restrictions imposed upon him are in theory designed to protect the individual in the enjoyment of some highly
important privileges. These concern his allegiance to the de jure sovereign, his family honor and domestic relations, religious convictions, personal service,
and connection with or residence in the occupied territory.

The Hague Regulations declare that the occupant is forbidden to compel the inhabitants to swear allegiance to the hostile power. . . . (III Hyde, International
Law, 2d revised ed., pp. 1898-1899.)

. . . Nor may he (occupant) compel them (inhabitants) to take an oath of allegiance. Since the authority of the occupant is not sovereignty, the inhabitants
owe no temporary allegiance to him. . . . (II Oppenheim, International Law, pp. 341-344.)

The occupant's lack of the authority to exact an oath of allegiance from the inhabitants of the occupied territory is but a corollary of the continuance of their allegiance to
their own lawful sovereign. This allegiance does not consist merely in obedience to the laws of the lawful sovereign, but more essentially consists in loyalty or fealty to
him. In the same volume and pages of Oppenheim's work above cited, after the passage to the effect that the inhabitants of the occupied territory owe no temporary
allegiance to the occupant it is said that "On the other hand, he may compel them to take an oath sometimes called an 'oath of neutrality' . . . willingly to submit to
his 'legitimate commands.' Since, naturally, such "legitimate commands" include the occupant's laws, it follows that said occupant, where the rule is applicable, has the
right to compel the inhabitants to take an oath of obedience to his laws; and since according to the same rule, he cannot exact from the inhabitants an oath of
obedience to his laws; and since, according to the same rule, he cannot exact from the inhabitants an oath of allegiance, it follows that obedience to his laws, which he
can exact from them, does not constitute allegiance.

(c) The theory of suspended allegiance is unpatriotic to the last degree. To say that when the one's country is unable to afford him in its protection, he ceases to be
bound to it by the sacred ties of allegiance, is to advocate the doctrine that precisely when his country is in such distress, and therefore most needs his loyalty, he is
absolved from the loyalty. Love of country should be something permanent and lasting, ending only in death; loyalty should be its worth offspring. The outward
manifestation of one or the other may for a time be prevented or thwarted by the irresistible action of the occupant; but this should not in the least extinguish nor
obliterate the invisible feelings, and promptings of the spirit. And beyond the unavoidable consequences of the enemy's irresistible pressure, those invisible feelings and
promptings of the spirit of the people should never allow them to act, to speak, nor even to think a whit contrary to their love and loyalty to the Fatherland. For them,
indicted, to face their country and say to it that, because when it was overrun and vanquished by the barbarous invader and, in consequence was disabled from
affording them protection, they were released from their sacred obligation of allegiance and loyalty, and could therefore freely adhere to its enemy, giving him aid and
comfort, incurring no criminal responsibility therefor, would only tend to aggravate their crime.

II. CHANGE OF SOVEREIGNTY


Article II, section 1, of the Constitution provides that "Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them." The Filipino people are the
self-same people before and after Philippine Independence, proclaimed on July 4, 1946. During the life of the Commonwealth sovereignty resided in them under the
Constitution; after the proclamation of independence that sovereignty remained with them under the very same fundamental law. Article XVIII of the said Constitution
stipulates that the government established thereby shall be known as the Commonwealth of the Philippines; and that upon the final and complete withdrawal of the
sovereignty of the United States and the proclamation of Philippine independence, "The Commonwealth of the Philippines shall thenceforth be known as the Republic
of the Philippines." Under this provision the Government of the Philippines immediately prior to independence was essentially to be the identical government thereafter
only the name of that government was to be changed.

Both before and after the adoption of the Philippine Constitution the people of the Philippines were and are always the plaintiff in all criminal prosecutions, the case
being entitled: "The People of the Philippines vs. (the defendant or defendants)." This was already true in prosecutions under the Revised Penal Code containing the
law of treason. "The Government of the Philippines" spoken of in article 114 of said Code merely represents the people of the Philippines. Said code was continued,
along with the other laws, by Article XVI, section 2, of the Constitution which constitutional provision further directs that "all references in such laws to the Government
or officials of the Philippine Islands shall be construed, in so far as applicable, to refer to the Government and corresponding officials under this Constitution" of
course, meaning the Commonwealth of the Philippines before, and the Republic of the Philippines after, independence (Article XVIII). Under both governments
sovereignty resided and resides in the people (Article II, section 1). Said sovereignty was never transferred from that people they are the same people who preserve
it to this day. There has never been any change in its respect.

If one committed treason againsts the People of the Philippines before July 4, 1946, he continues to be criminally liable for the crime to the same people now. And if,
following the literal wording of the Revised Penal Code, as continued by the Constitution, that accused owed allegiance upon the commission of the crime to the
"Government of the Philippines," in the textual words of the Constitution (Article XVI, section 2, and XVIII) that was the same government which after independence
became known as the "Republic of the Philippines." The most that can be said is that the sovereignty of the people became complete and absolute after independence
that they became, politically, fully of age, to use a metaphor. But if the responsibility for a crime against a minor is not extinguished by the mere fact of his becoming
of age, why should the responsibility for the crime of treason committed against the Filipino people when they were not fully politically independent be extinguished after
they acquire this status? The offended party continues to be the same only his status has changed.

PARAS, J., dissenting:

During the long period of Japanese occupation, all the political laws of the Philippines were suspended. This is full harmony with the generally accepted principles of the
international law adopted by our Constitution(Article II, section 3) as a part of the law of the Nation. Accordingly, we have on more than one occasion already stated that
"laws of a political nature or affecting political relations, . . . are considered as suspended or in abeyance during the military occupation" (Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan
Keh and Dizon, 75 Phil., 113, 124), and that the rule "that laws of political nature or affecting political relations are considered suspended or in abeyance during the
military occupation, is intended for the governing of the civil inhabitants of the occupied territory." (Ruffy vs. Chief of Staff, Philippine Army, 75, Phil., 875, 881.)

The principle is recognized by the United States of America, which admits that the occupant will naturally suspends all laws of a political nature and all laws which affect
the welfare and safety of his command, such action to be made known to the inhabitants.(United States Rules of Land Welfare, 1940, Article 287.) As allegiance to the
United States is an essential element in the crime of treason under article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, and in view of its position in our political structure prior to the
independence of the Philippines, the rule as interpreted and practiced in the United States necessarily has a binding force and effect in the Philippines, to the exclusion
of any other construction followed elsewhere, such as may be inferred, rightly or wrongly, from the isolated cases 1 brought to our attention, which, moreover, have
entirely different factual bases.

Corresponding notice was given by the Japanese occupying army, first, in the proclamation of its Commander in chief of January 2, 1942, to the effect that as a "result
of the Japanese Military operations, the sovereignty of the United States of America over the Philippines has completely disappeared and the Army hereby proclaims
the Military Administration under martial law over the district occupied by the Army;" secondly, in Order No. 3 of the said Commander in Chief of February 20, 1942,
providing that "activities of the administrative organs and judicial courts in the Philippines shall be based upon the existing statutes, orders, ordinances and customs
until further orders provided that they are not inconsistent with the present circumstances under the Japanese Military Administration;" and, thirdly, in the explanation to
Order No. 3 reminding that "all laws and regulations of the Philippines has been suspended since Japanese occupation," and excepting the application of "laws and
regulations which are not proper act under the present situation of the Japanese Military Administration," especially those "provided with some political purposes."

The suspension of the political law during enemy occupation is logical, wise and humane. The latter phase outweighs all other aspects of the principle aimed more or
less at promoting the necessarily selfish motives and purposes of a military occupant. It thus consoling to note that the powers instrumental in the crystallization of the
Hague Conventions of 1907 did not forget to declare that they were "animated by the desire to serve . . . the interest of the humanity and the over progressive needs of
civilization," and that "in case not included in the Regulations adopted by them, the inhabitants and the belligerents remain under the protection and the rule of the
principles of international law, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience."
These saving statements come to the aid of the inhabitants in the occupied territory in a situation wherein, even before the belligerent occupant "takes a further step
and by appropriate affirmative action undertakes to acquire the right of sovereignty for himself, . . . the occupant is likely to regard to himself as clothed with freedom to
endeavor to impregnate the people who inhabit the area concerned with his own political ideology, and to make that endeavor successful by various forms of pressure
exerted upon enemy officials who are permitted to retain the exercise of normal governmental functions." (Hyde, International Law, Vol. III, Second Revised Edition,
1945, p. 1879.)

The inhabitants of the occupied territory should necessarily be bound to the sole authority of the invading power, whose interest and requirements are naturally in
conflict with those of the displaced government, if it is legitimate for the military occupant to demand and enforce from the inhabitants such obedience as may be
necessary for the security of his forces, for the maintenance of law and order, and for the proper administration of the country (United States Rules of Land Warfare,
1940, article 297), and to demand all kinds of services "of such a nature as not to involve the population in the obligation of taking part in military operations against
their own country" (Hague Regulations, article 52);and if, as we have in effect said, by the surrender the inhabitants pass under a temporary allegiance to the
government of the occupant and are bound by such laws, and such only, as it chooses to recognize and impose, and the belligerent occupant `is totally independent of
the constitution and the laws of the territory, since occupation is an aim of warfare, and the maintenance and safety of his forces, and the purpose of war, stand in the
foreground of his interest and must be promoted under all circumstances or conditions." (Peralta vs. Director of Prisons, 75 Phil., 285, 295), citing United
States vs. Rice, 4 Wheaton, 246, and quoting Oppenheim, International Law, Vol. II. Sixth Edition, Revised, 1944,p. 432.)
He would be a bigot who cannot or would refuse to see the cruel result if the people in an occupied territory were required to obey two antagonistic and opposite
powers. To emphasize our point, we would adopt the argument, in a reverse order, of Mr. Justice Hilado in Peralta vs. Director of Prisons (75 Phil., 285, 358), contained
in the following passage:

To have bound those of our people who constituted the great majority who never submitted to the Japanese oppressors, by the laws, regulations,
processes and other acts of those two puppet governments, would not only have been utterly unjust and downright illegal, but would have placed them in
the absurd and impossible condition of being simultaneously submitted to two mutually hostile governments, with their respective constitutional and
legislative enactments and institutions on the one hand bound to continue owing allegiance to the United States and the Commonwealth Government,
and, on the other, to owe allegiance, if only temporary, to Japan.

The only sensible purpose of the treason law which is of political complexion and taken out of the territorial law and penalized as a new offense committed against
the belligerent occupant, incident to a state of war and necessary for the control of the occupant (Alcantara vs. Director of Prisons, 75 Phil., 494), must be the
preservation of the nation, certainly not its destruction or extermination. And yet the latter is unwittingly wished by those who are fond of the theory that what is
suspended is merely the exercise of sovereignty by the de jure government or the latter's authority to impose penal sanctions or that, otherwise stated, the suspension
refers only to the military occupant. If this were to be the only effect, the rule would be a meaningless and superfluous optical illusion, since it is obvious that the fleeing
or displaced government cannot, even if it should want, physically assert its authority in a territory actually beyond its reach, and that the occupant, on the other hand,
will not take the absurd step of prosecuting and punishing the inhabitants for adhering to and aiding it. If we were to believe the opponents of the rule in question, we
have to accept the absurd proposition that the guerrillas can all be prosecuted with illegal possession of firearms. It should be borne in the mind that "the possession by
the belligerent occupant of the right to control, maintain or modify the laws that are to obtain within the occupied area is an exclusive one. The territorial sovereign
driven therefrom, can not compete with it on an even plane. Thus, if the latter attempt interference, its action is a mere manifestation of belligerent effort to weaken the
enemy. It has no bearing upon the legal quality of what the occupant exacts, while it retains control. Thus, if the absent territorial sovereign, through some quasi-
legislative decree, forbids its nationals to comply with what the occupant has ordained obedience to such command within the occupied territory would not safeguard
the individual from the prosecution by the occupant." (Hyde, International Law, Vol. III, Second Revised Edition, 1945, p. 1886.)

As long as we have not outlawed the right of the belligerent occupant to prosecute and punish the inhabitants for "war treason" or "war crimes," as an incident of the
state of war and necessity for the control of the occupied territory and the protection of the army of the occupant, against which prosecution and punishment such
inhabitants cannot obviously be protected by their native sovereign, it is hard to understand how we can justly rule that they may at the same time be prosecuted and
punished for an act penalized by the Revised Penal Code, but already taken out of the territorial law and penalized as a new offense committed against the belligerent
occupant.

In Peralta vs. Director of Prisons, 75 Phil., 285, 296), we held that "the Constitution of the Commonwealth Government was suspended during the occupation of the
Philippines by the Japanese forces or the belligerent occupant at regular war with the United States," and the meaning of the term "suspended" is very plainly
expressed in the following passage (page 298):

No objection can be set up to the legality of its provisions in the light of the precepts of our Commonwealth Constitution relating to the rights of the accused
under that Constitution, because the latter was not in force during the period of the Japanese military occupation, as we have already stated. Nor may said
Constitution be applied upon its revival at the time of the re-occupation of the Philippines by the virtue of the priciple of postliminium, because "a
constitution should operate prospectively only, unless the words employed show a clear intention that it should have a retrospective effect," (Cooley's
Constitutional Limitations, seventh edition, page 97, and a case quoted and cited in the foot-note), especially as regards laws of procedure applied to cases
already terminated completely.

In much the same way, we should hold that no treason could have been committed during the Japanese military occupation against the United States or the
Commonwealth Government, because article 114 of the Revised Penal Code was not then in force. Nor may this penal provision be applied upon its revival at the time
of the reoccupation of the Philippines by virtue of the principle of postliminium, because of the constitutional inhibition against any ex post facto law and because, under
article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal laws shall have a retroactive effect only in so far as they favor the accused. Why did we refuse to enforce the
Constitution, more essential to sovereignty than article 114 of the Revised Penal Code in the aforesaid of Peralta vs. Director of Prisons if, as alleged by the majority,
the suspension was good only as to the military occupant?

The decision in the United States vs. Rice (4 Wheaton, 246), conclusively supports our position. As analyzed and described in United States vs. Reiter (27 Fed. Cas.,
773), that case "was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States the court of highest human authority on that subject and as the decision was against the
United States, and in favor of the authority of Great Britain, its enemy in the war, and was made shortly after the occurrence of the war out of which it grew; and while no
department of this Government was inclined to magnify the rights of Great Britain or disparage those of its own government, there can be no suspicion of bias in the
mind of the court in favor of the conclusion at which it arrived, and no doubt that the law seemed to the court to warrant and demand such a decision. That case grew
out of the war of 1812, between the United States and Great Britain. It appeared that in September, 1814, the British forces had taken the port of Castine, in the State of
Maine, and held it in military occupation; and that while it was so held, foreign goods, by the laws of the United States subject to duty, had been introduced into that port
without paying duties to the United States. At the close of the war the place by treaty restored to the United States, and after that was done Government of the United
States sought to recover from the persons so introducing the goods there while in possession of the British, the duties to which by the laws of the United States, they
would have been liable. The claim of the United States was that its laws were properly in force there, although the place was at the time held by the British forces in
hostility to the United States, and the laws, therefore, could not at the time be enforced there; and that a court of the United States (the power of that government there
having since been restored) was bound so to decide. But this illusion of the prosecuting officer there was dispelled by the court in the most summary manner. Mr.
Justice Story, that great luminary of the American bench, being the organ of the court in delivering its opinion, said: 'The single question is whether goods imported into
Castine during its occupation by the enemy are liable to the duties imposed by the revenue laws upon goods imported into the United States.. We are all of opinion that
the claim for duties cannot be sustained. . . . The sovereignty of the United States over the territory was, of course, suspended, and the laws of the United States could
no longer be rightfully enforced there, or be obligatory upon the inhabitants who remained and submitted to the conquerors. By the surrender the inhabitants passed
under a temporary allegiance of the British Government, and were bound by such laws, and such only, as it chose to recognize and impose. From the nature of the
case no other laws could be obligatory upon them. . . . Castine was therefore, during this period, as far as respected our revenue laws, to be deemed a foreign port, and
goods imported into it by the inhabitants were subjects to such duties only as the British Government chose to require. Such goods were in no correct sense imported
into the Unites States.' The court then proceeded to say, that the case is the same as if the port of Castine had been foreign territory, ceded by treaty to the United
States, and the goods had been imported there previous to its cession. In this case they say there would be no pretense to say that American duties could be
demanded; and upon principles of public or municipal law, the cases are not distinguishable. They add at the conclusion of the opinion: 'The authorities cited at the bar
would, if there were any doubt, be decisive of the question. But we think it too clear to require any aid from authority.' Does this case leave room for a doubt whether a
country held as this was in armed belligerents occupation, is to be governed by him who holds it, and by him alone? Does it not so decide in terms as plain as can be
stated? It is asserted by the Supreme Court of the United States with entire unanimity, the great and venerated Marshall presiding, and the erudite and accomplished
Story delivering the opinion of the court, that such is the law, and it is so adjudged in this case. Nay, more: it is even adjudged that no other laws could be obligatory;
that such country, so held, is for the purpose of the application of the law off its former government to be deemed foreign territory, and that goods imported there (and
by parity of reasoning other acts done there) are in no correct sense done within the territory of its former sovereign, the United States."
But it is alleged by the majority that the sovereignty spoken of in the decision of the United States vs. Rice should be construed to refer to the exercise of sovereignty,
and that, if sovereignty itself was meant, the doctrine has become obsolete after the adoption of the Hague Regulations in 1907. In answer, we may state that
sovereignty can have any important significance only when it may be exercised; and, to our way of thinking, it is immaterial whether the thing held in abeyance is the
sovereignty itself or its exercise, because the point cannot nullify, vary, or otherwise vitiate the plain meaning of the doctrinal words "the laws of the United States could
no longer be rightfully enforced there, or be obligatory upon the inhabitants who remained and submitted to the conquerors." We cannot accept the theory of the
majority, without in effect violating the rule of international law, hereinabove adverted to, that the possession by the belligerent occupant of the right to control, maintain
or modify the laws that are to obtain within the occupied area is an exclusive one, and that the territorial sovereign driven therefrom cannot compete with it on an even
plane. Neither may the doctrine in the United States vs. Rice be said to have become obsolete, without repudiating the actual rule prescribed and followed by the United
States, allowing the military occupant to suspend all laws of a political nature and even require public officials and inhabitants to take an oath of fidelity (United States
Rules of Land Warfare, 1940, article 309). In fact, it is a recognized doctrine of American Constitutional Law that mere conquest or military occupation of a territory of
another State does not operate to annex such territory to occupying State, but that the inhabitants of the occupied district, no longer receiving the protection of their
native State, for the time being owe no allegiance to it, and, being under the control and protection of the victorious power, owe to that power fealty and obedience.
(Willoughby, The Fundamental Concepts of Public Law [1931], p.364.)

The majority have resorted to distinctions, more apparent than real, if not immaterial, in trying to argue that the law of treason was obligatory on the Filipinos during the
Japanese occupation. Thus it is insisted that a citizen or subject owes not a qualified and temporary, but an absolute and permanent allegiance, and that "temporary
allegiance" to the military occupant may be likened to the temporary allegiance which a foreigner owes to the government or sovereign to the territory wherein he
resides in return for the protection he receives therefrom. The comparison is most unfortunate. Said foreigner is in the territory of a power not hostile to or in actual war
with his own government; he is in the territory of a power which has not suspended, under the rules of international law, the laws of political nature of his own
government; and the protections received by him from that friendly or neutral power is real, not the kind of protection which the inhabitants of an occupied territory can
expect from a belligerent army. "It is but reasonable that States, when they concede to other States the right to exercise jurisdiction over such of their own nationals as
are within the territorial limits of such other States, should insist that States should provide system of law and of courts, and in actual practice, so administer them, as to
furnish substantial legal justice to alien residents. This does not mean that a State must or should extend to aliens within its borders all the civil, or much less, all the
political rights or privileges which it grants to its own citizens; but it does mean that aliens must or should be given adequate opportunity to have such legal rights as are
granted to them by the local law impartially and judicially determined, and, when thus determined, protected." (Willoughby, The Fundamental Concepts of Public Law
[1931], p. 360.)

When it is therefore said that a citizen of a sovereign may be prosecuted for and convicted of treason committed in a foreign country or, in the language of article 114 of
the Revised Penal Code, "elsewhere," a territory other than one under belligerent occupation must have been contemplated. This would make sense, because treason
is a crime "the direct or indirect purpose of which is the delivery, in whole or in part, of the country to a foreign power, or to pave the way for the enemy to obtain
dominion over the national territory" (Albert, The Revised Penal Code, citing 3 Groizard, 14); and, very evidently, a territory already under occupation can no longer be
"delivered."

The majority likewise argue that the theory of suspended sovereignty or allegiance will enable the military occupant to legally recruit the inhabitants to fight against their
own government, without said inhabitants being liable for treason. This argument is not correct, because the suspension does not exempt the occupant from complying
with the Hague Regulations (article 52) that allows it to demand all kinds of services provided that they do not involve the population "in the obligation of taking part
military operations against their own country." Neither does the suspension prevent the inhabitants from assuming a passive attitude, much less from dying and
becoming heroes if compelled by the occupant to fight against their own country. Any imperfection in the present state of international law should be corrected by such
world agency as the United Nations organizations.

It is of common knowledge that even with the alleged cooperation imputed to the collaborators, an alarming number of Filipinos were killed or otherwise tortured by the
ruthless, or we may say savage, Japanese Army. Which leads to the conclusion that if the Filipinos did not obey the Japanese commands and feign cooperation, there
would not be any Filipino nation that could have been liberated. Assuming that the entire population could go to and live in the mountains, or otherwise fight as guerrillas
after the formal surrender of our and the American regular fighting forces, they would have faced certain annihilation by the Japanese, considering that the latter's
military strength at the time and the long period during which they were left military unmolested by America. In this connection, we hate to make reference to the atomic
bomb as a possible means of destruction.

If a substantial number of guerrillas were able to survive and ultimately help in the liberation of the Philippines, it was because the feigned cooperation of their
countrymen enabled them to get food and other aid necessary in the resistance movement. If they were able to survive, it was because they could camouflage
themselves in the midst of the civilian population in cities and towns. It is easy to argue now that the people could have merely followed their ordinary pursuits of life or
otherwise be indifferent to the occupant. The fundamental defect of this line of thought is that the Japanese assumed to be so stupid and dumb as not to notice any
such attitude. During belligerent occupation, "the outstanding fact to be reckoned with is the sharp opposition between the inhabitants of the occupied areas and the
hostile military force exercising control over them. At heart they remain at war with each other. Fear for their own safety may not serve to deter the inhabitants from
taking advantage of opportunities to interfere with the safety and success of the occupant, and in so doing they may arouse its passions and cause to take vengeance
in cruel fashion. Again, even when it is untainted by such conduct, the occupant as a means of attaining ultimate success in its major conflict may, under plea of military
necessity, and regardless of conventional or customary prohibitions, proceed to utilize the inhabitants within its grip as a convenient means of military achievement."
(Hyde, International Law, Vol. III, Second Revised Edition [1945], p. 1912.) It should be stressed that the Japanese occupation was not a matter of a few months; it
extended over a little more than three years. Said occupation was a fact, in spite of the "presence of guerrilla bands in barrios and mountains, and even in towns of the
Philippines whenever these towns were left by Japanese garrisons or by the detachments of troops sent on patrol to those places." (Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh
and Dizon, 75 Phil., 371, 373.) The law of nations accepts belligerent occupation as a fact to be reckoned with, regardless of the merits of the occupant's cause. (Hyde,
International Law, Second Revised Edition [1945], Vol. III, p. 1879.)

Those who contend or fear that the doctrine herein adhere to will lead to an over-production of traitors, have a wrong and low conception of the psychology and
patriotism of their countrymen. Patriots are such after their birth in the first place, and no amount of laws or judicial decisions can make or unmake them. On the other
hand, the Filipinos are not so base as to be insensitive to the thought that the real traitor is cursed everywhere and in all ages. Our patriots who fought and died during
the last war, and the brave guerrillas who have survived, were undoubtedly motivated by their inborn love of country, and not by such a thing as the treason law. The
Filipino people as a whole, passively opposed the Japanese regime, not out of fear of a treason statute but because they preferred and will prefer the democratic and
civilized way of life and American altruism to Japanese barbaric and totalitarian designs. Of course, there are those who might at heart have been pro-Japanese; but
they met and will unavoidably meet the necessary consequences. The regular soldiers faced the risks of warfare; the spies and informers subjected themselves to the
perils of military operations, likely received summary liquidation or punishments from the guerrillas and the parties injured by their acts, and may be prosecuted as war
spies by the military authorities of the returning sovereign; those who committed other common crimes, directly or through the Japanese army, may be prosecuted
under the municipal law, and under this group even the spies and informers, Makapili or otherwise, are included, for they can be made answerable for any act offensive
to person or property; the buy-and-sell opportunists have the war profits tax to reckon with. We cannot close our eyes to the conspicuous fact that, in the majority of
cases, those responsible for the death of, or injury to, any Filipino or American at the hands of the Japanese, were prompted more by personal motives than by a desire
to levy war against the United States or to adhere to the occupant. The alleged spies and informers found in the Japanese occupation the royal road to vengeance
against personal or political enemies. The recent amnesty granted to the guerrillas for acts, otherwise criminal, committed in the furtherance of their resistance
movement has in a way legalized the penal sanctions imposed by them upon the real traitors.

It is only from a realistic, practical and common-sense point of view, and by remembering that the obedience and cooperation of the Filipinos were effected while the
Japanese were in complete control and occupation of the Philippines, when their mere physical presence implied force and pressure and not after the American
forces of liberation had restored the Philippine Government that we will come to realize that, apart from any rule of international law, it was necessary to release the
Filipinos temporarily from the old political tie in the sense indicated herein. Otherwise, one is prone to dismiss the reason for such cooperation and obedience. If there
were those who did not in any wise cooperate or obey, they can be counted by the fingers, and let their names adorn the pages of Philippine history. Essentially,
however, everybody who took advantage, to any extent and degree, of the peace and order prevailing during the occupation, for the safety and survival of himself and
his family, gave aid and comfort to the enemy.

Our great liberator himself, General Douglas MacArthur, had considered the laws of the Philippines ineffective during the occupation, and restored to their full vigor and
force only after the liberation. Thus, in his proclamation of October 23, 1944, he ordained that "the laws now existing on the statute books of the Commonwealth of the
Philippines . . . are in full force and effect and legally binding upon the people in areas of the Philippines free of enemy occupation and control," and that "all laws . . . of
any other government in the Philippines than that of the said Commonwealth are null and void and without legal effect in areas of the Philippines free of enemy
occupation and control." Repeating what we have said in Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon (75 Phil., 113, 133), "it is to be presumed that General Douglas
MacArthur, who was acting as an agent or a representative of the Government and the President of the United States, constitutional Commander-in-Chief of the United
States Army, did not intend to act against the principles of the law of nations asserted by the Supreme Court of the United States from the early period of its existence,
applied by the President of the United States, and later embodied in the Hague Conventions of 1907."

The prohibition in the Hague Conventions (Article 45) against "any pressure on the population to take oath to the hostile power," was inserted for the moral protection
and benefit of the inhabitants, and does not necessarily carry the implication that the latter continue to be bound to the political laws of the displaced government. The
United States, a signatory to the Hague Conventions, has made the point clear, by admitting that the military occupant can suspend all the laws of a political nature and
even require public officials and the inhabitants to take an oath of fidelity (United States Rules of Land Warfare, 1940, article 309), and as already stated, it is a doctrine
of American Constitutional Law that the inhabitants, no longer receiving the protection of their native state, for the time being owe no allegiance to it, and, being under
the control and protection of the victorious power, owe to that power fealty and obedience. Indeed, what is prohibited is the application of force by the occupant, from
which it is fair to deduce that the Conventions do not altogether outlaw voluntary submission by the population. The only strong reason for this is undoubtedly the desire
of the authors of the Conventions to give as much freedom and allowance to the inhabitants as are necessary for their survival. This is wise and humane, because the
people should be in a better position to know what will save them during the military occupation than any exile government.

"Before he was appointed prosecutor, Justice Jackson made a speech in which he warned against the use of judicial process for non judicial ends, and attacked cynics
who "see no reason why courts, just like other agencies, should not be policy weapons. If we want to shoot Germans as a matter of policy, let it be done as such, said
he, but don't hide the deed behind a court. If you are determined to execute a man in any case there is no occasion for a trial; the word yields no respect for courts that
are merely organized to convict." Mussoloni may have got his just desserts, but nobody supposes he got a fair trial. . . . Let us bear that in mind as we go about
punishing criminals. There are enough laws on the books to convict guilty Nazis without risking the prestige of our legal system. It is far, far better that some guilty men
escape than that the idea of law be endangered. In the long run the idea of law is our best defense against Nazism in all its forms." These passages were taken from
the editorial appearing in the Life, May 28, 1945, page 34, and convey ideas worthy of some reflection.

If the Filipinos in fact committed any errors in feigning cooperation and obedience during the Japanese military occupation, they were at most borrowing the famous
and significant words of President Roxas errors of the mind and not of the heart. We advisedly said "feigning" not as an admission of the fallacy of the theory of
suspended allegiance or sovereignty, but as an affirmation that the Filipinos, contrary to their outward attitude, had always remained loyal by feeling and conscience to
their country.

Assuming that article 114 of the Revised Penal Code was in force during the Japanese military occupation, the present Republic of the Philippines has no right to
prosecute treason committed against the former sovereignty existing during the Commonwealth Government which was none other than the sovereignty of the United
States. This court has already held that, upon a change of sovereignty, the provisions of the Penal Code having to do with such subjects as treason, rebellion and
sedition are no longer in force (People vs. Perfecto, 43 Phil., 887). It is true that, as contended by the majority, section 1 of Article II of the Constitution of the Philippines
provides that "sovereignty resides in the people," but this did not make the Commonwealth Government or the Filipino people sovereign, because said declaration of
principle, prior to the independence of the Philippines, was subervient to and controlled by the Ordinance appended to the Constitution under which, in addition to its
many provisions essentially destructive of the concept of sovereignty, it is expressly made clear that the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines had not
then been withdrawn. The framers of the Constitution had to make said declaration of principle because the document was ultimately intended for the independent
Philippines. Otherwise, the Preamble should not have announced that one of the purposes of the Constitution is to secure to the Filipino people and their posterity the
"blessings of independence." No one, we suppose, will dare allege that the Philippines was an independent country under the Commonwealth Government.

The Commonwealth Government might have been more autonomous than that existing under the Jones Law, but its non-sovereign status nevertheless remained
unaltered; and what was enjoyed was the exercise of sovereignty over the Philippines continued to be complete.

The exercise of Sovereignty May be Delegated. It has already been seen that the exercise of sovereignty is conceived of as delegated by a State to the
various organs which, collectively, constitute the Government. For practical political reasons which can be easily appreciated, it is desirable that the public
policies of a State should be formulated and executed by governmental agencies of its own creation and which are not subject to the control of other
States. There is, however, nothing in a nature of sovereignty or of State life which prevents one State from entrusting the exercise of certain powers to the
governmental agencies of another State. Theoretically, indeed, a sovereign State may go to any extent in the delegation of the exercise of its power to the
governmental agencies of other States, those governmental agencies thus becoming quoad hoc parts of the governmental machinery of the State whose
sovereignty is exercised. At the same time these agencies do not cease to be Instrumentalities for the expression of the will of the State by which they were
originally created.

By this allegation the agent State is authorized to express the will of the delegating State, and the legal hypothesis is that this State possesses the legal
competence again to draw to itself the exercise, through organs of its own creation, of the powers it has granted. Thus, States may concede to colonies
almost complete autonomy of government and reserve to themselves a right of control of so slight and so negative a character as to make its exercise a
rare and improbable occurence; yet, so long as such right of control is recognized to exist, and the autonomy of the colonies is conceded to be founded
upon a grant and the continuing consent of the mother countries the sovereignty of those mother countries over them is complete and they are to be
considered as possessing only administrative autonomy and not political independence. Again, as will be more fully discussed in a later chapter, in the so-
called Confederate or Composite State, the cooperating States may yield to the central Government the exercise of almost all of their powers of
Government and yet retain their several sovereignties. Or, on the other hand, a State may, without parting with its sovereignty of lessening its territorial
application, yield to the governing organs of particular areas such an amplitude of powers as to create of them bodies-politic endowed with almost all of the
characteristics of independent States. In all States, indeed, when of any considerable size, efficiency of administration demands that certain autonomous
powers of local self-government be granted to particular districts. (Willoughby, The Fundamental Concepts of Public Law [1931], pp. 74, 75.).

The majority have drawn an analogy between the Commonwealth Government and the States of the American Union which, it is alleged, preserve their own
sovereignty although limited by the United States. This is not true for it has been authoritatively stated that the Constituent States have no sovereignty of their own, that
such autonomous powers as they now possess are had and exercised by the express will or by the constitutional forbearance of the national sovereignty, and that the
sovereignty of the United States and the non-sovereign status of the individual States is no longer contested.

It is therefore plain that the constituent States have no sovereignty of their own, and that such autonomous powers as they now possess are had and
exercised by the express will or by the constitutional forbearance of the national sovereignty. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that, even
when selecting members for the national legislature, or electing the President, or ratifying proposed amendments to the federal constitution, the States
act, ad hoc, as agents of the National Government. (Willoughby, the Fundamental Concepts of Public Law [1931], p.250.)

This is the situation at the present time. The sovereignty of the United States and the non-sovereign status of the individual States is no longer contested.
(Willoughby, The Fundamental Concepts of Public Law [1931], pp. 251, 252.)

Article XVIII of the Constitution provides that "The government established by this Constitution shall be known as the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Upon the final
and complete withdrawal of the sovereignty of the United States and the proclamation of Philippine independence, the Commonwealth of the Philippines shall
thenceforth be known as the Republic of the Philippines." From this, the deduction is made that the Government under the Republic of the Philippines and under the
Commonwealth is the same. We cannot agree. While the Commonwealth Government possessed administrative autonomy and exercised the sovereignty delegated by
the United States and did not cease to be an instrumentality of the latter (Willoughby, The Fundamental Concepts of Public Law [1931], pp. 74, 75), the Republic of the
Philippines is an independent State not receiving its power or sovereignty from the United States. Treason committed against the United States or against its
instrumentality, the Commonwealth Government, which exercised, but did not possess, sovereignty (id., p. 49), is therefore not treason against the sovereign and
independent Republic of the Philippines. Article XVIII was inserted in order, merely, to make the Constitution applicable to the Republic.

Reliance is also placed on section 2 of the Constitution which provides that all laws of the Philippines Islands shall remain operative, unless inconsistent therewith, until
amended, altered, modified or repealed by the Congress of the Philippines, and on section 3 which is to the effect that all cases pending in courts shall be heard, tried,
and determined under the laws then in force, thereby insinuating that these constitutional provisions authorize the Republic of the Philippines to enforce article 114 of
the Revised Penal Code. The error is obvious. The latter article can remain operative under the present regime if it is not inconsistent with the Constitution. The fact
remains, however, that said penal provision is fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution, in that those liable for treason thereunder should owe allegiance to the
United States or the government of the Philippines, the latter being, as we have already pointed out, a mere instrumentality of the former, whereas under the
Constitution of the present Republic, the citizens of the Philippines do not and are not required to owe allegiance to the United States. To contend that article 114 must
be deemed to have been modified in the sense that allegiance to the United States is deleted, and, as thus modified, should be applied to prior acts, would be to
sanction the enactment and application of an ex post facto law.

In reply to the contention of the respondent that the Supreme Court of the United States has held in the case of Bradford vs. Chase National Bank (24 Fed. Supp., 38),
that the Philippines had a sovereign status, though with restrictions, it is sufficient to state that said case must be taken in the light of a subsequent decision of the same
court in Cincinnati Soap Co. vs. United States (301 U.S., 308), rendered in May, 1937, wherein it was affirmed that the sovereignty of the United States over the
Philippines had not been withdrawn, with the result that the earlier case only be interpreted to refer to the exercise of sovereignty by the Philippines as delegated by the
mother country, the United States.

No conclusiveness may be conceded to the statement of President Roosevelt on August 12, 1943, that "the United States in practice regards the Philippines as having
now the status as a government of other independent nations--in fact all the attributes of complete and respected nationhood," since said statement was not meant as
having accelerated the date, much less as a formal proclamation of, the Philippine Independence as contemplated in the Tydings-McDuffie Law, it appearing that (1) no
less also than the President of the United States had to issue the proclamation of July 4, 1946, withdrawing the sovereignty of the United States and recognizing
Philippine Independence; (2) it was General MacArthur, and not President Osmea who was with him, that proclaimed on October 23, 1944, the restoration of the
Commonwealth Government; (3) the Philippines was not given official participation in the signing of the Japanese surrender; (4) the United States Congress, and not
the Commonwealth Government, extended the tenure of office of the President and Vice-President of the Philippines.

The suggestion that as treason may be committed against the Federal as well as against the State Government, in the same way treason may have been committed
against the sovereignty of the United States as well as against the sovereignty of the Philippine Commonwealth, is immaterial because, as we have already explained,
treason against either is not and cannot be treason against the new and different sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines.
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-399 January 29, 1948

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
EDUARDO PRIETO (alias EDDIE VALENCIA), defendant-appellant.

Alfonso E. Mendoza for appellant.


First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Isidro C. Borromeo for appellee.

TUASON, J.:

The appellant was prosecuted in the People's Court for treason on 7 counts. After pleading not guilty he entered a plea of guilty to counts 1, 2, 3 and 7, and maintained
the original plea to counts 4, 5, and 6. The special prosecutor introduced evidence only on count 4, stating with reference to counts 5 and 6 that he did not have
sufficient evidence to sustain them. The defendant was found guilty on count 4 as well as counts 1, 2, 3, and 7 and was sentenced to death and to pay the fine of
P20,000.

Two witnesses gave evidence on count 4 but their statements do not coincide on any single detail. Juanito Albano, the first witness, testified that in March, 1945, the
accused with other Filipino undercovers and Japanese soldiers caught an American aviator and had the witness carry the American to town on a sled pulled by a
carabao; that on the way, the accused walked behind the sled and asked the prisoner if the sled was faster than the airplane; that the American was taken to the
Kempetai headquarters, after which he did not know what happened to the flier. Valentin Cuison, the next witness, testified that one day in March, 1945, he saw the
accused following an American and the accused were Japanese and other Filipinos.

These witnesses evidently referred to two different occasions. The last witness stated that the American was walking as well as his captors. And there was no sled, he
said, nor did he see Juanito Albano, except at night when he and Albano had a drink of tuba together.

This evidence does not testify the two-witness principle. The two witnesses failed to corroborate each other not only on the whole overt act but on any part of it.
(People vs. Adriano, 44 Off. Gaz., 4300; Cramer vs. U. S., 65 S. Ct. 918.)

The lower court believes that the accused is "guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of treason complexed by murder and physical injuries," with "the aggravating
circumstances mentioned above." Apparently, the court has regarded the murders and physical injuries charged in the information, not only as crimes distinct from
treason but also as modifying circumstances. The Solicitor General agrees with the decision except as to technical designation of the crime. In his opinion, the offense
committed by the appellant is a "complex crime of treason with homicide."

Counts 1, 2, 3 and 7 are as follows:

1. On or about October 15, 1944, in the municipality of Mandaue, Province of Cebu, Philippines, said accused being a member of the Japanese Military
Police and acting as undercover man for the Japanese forces with the purpose of giving and with the intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy did, then
and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably lead, guide and accompany a patrol of Japanese soldiers and Filipino undercovers to the barrio of
Poknaon, for the purpose of apprehending guerrillas and locating their hideouts; that said accused and his companions did apprehended Abraham Puno,
tie his hands behind him and give him fist blows; thereafter said Abraham Puno was taken by the accused and his Japanese companions to Yati, Liloan,
Cebu, where he was severely tortured by placing red hot iron on his shoulders, legs and back and from there he was sent back to the Japanese detention
camp in Mandaue and detained for 7 days;

2. On or about October 28, 1944, in the municipality of Mandaue, Province of Cebu, Philippines, said accused acting as an informer and agent for the
Japanese Military Police, with the purpose of giving and with the intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy, did, the, and there willfully, unlawfully,
feloniously and treasonably lead, guide and accompany a group of Filipino undercovers for the purpose of apprehending guerrillas and guerrilla suspects;
that the herein accused and his companions did in fact apprehend Guillermo Ponce and Macario Ponce from their house; that said accused and his
companions did tie the hands of said Guillermo Ponce and Macario Ponce behind their backs, giving them first blows on the face and in other parts of the
body and thereafter detained them at the Kempei Tai Headquarters; that Guillermo Ponce was released the following day while his brother was detained
and thereafter nothing more was heard of him nor his whereabouts known;

3. Sometime during the month of November, 1944, in the Municipality of Mandaue, Province of Cebu, Philippines, for the purpose of giving and with the
intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy and her military forces, said accused acting as an enemy undercover did, then and there wilfully, unlawfully,
feloniously, and treasonably lead, guide and accompany a patrol of some 6 Filipinos and 2 Japanese soldiers to barrio Pakna-an, municipality of Mandaue
for the purpose of apprehending guerrillas and guerrilla suspects, and said patrol did in fact apprehend as guerrilla suspects Damian Alilin and Santiago
Alilin who were forthwith tied with a rope, tortured and detained for 6 days; that on the 7th day said Damian Alilin and Santiago Alilin were taken about 1/2
kilometer from their home and the accused did bayonet them to death;

7. In or about November 16, 1944, in Mandaue, in conspiracy with the enemy and other Filipinos undercovers, said accused did cause the torture of
Antonio Soco and the killing of Gil Soco for guerrilla activities.

The execution of some of the guerrilla suspects mentioned in these counts and the infliction of physical injuries on others are not offenses separate from treason. Under
the Philippine treason law and under the United States constitution defining treason, after which the former was patterned, there must concur both adherence to the
enemy and giving him aid and comfort. One without the other does not make treason.

In the nature of things, the giving of aid and comfort can only be accomplished by some kind of action. Its very nature partakes of a deed or physical activity as opposed
to a mental operation. (Cramer vs. U.S., ante.) This deed or physical activity may be, and often is, in itself a criminal offense under another penal statute or provision.
Even so, when the deed is charged as an element of treason it becomes identified with the latter crime and can not be the subject of a separate punishment, or used in
combination with treason to increase the penalty as article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides. Just as one can not be punished for possessing opium in a
prosecution for smoking the identical drug, and a robber cannot be held guilty of coercion or trespass to a dwelling in a prosecution for robbery, because possession of
opium and force and trespass are inherent in smoking and in robbery respectively, so may not a defendant be made liable for murder as a separate crime or in
conjunction with another offense where, as in this case, it is averred as a constitutive ingredient of treason. This rule would not, of course, preclude the punishment of
murder or physical injuries as such if the government should elect to prosecute the culprit specifically for those crimes instead on relying on them as an element of
treason. it is where murder or physical injuries are charged as overt acts of treason that they can not be regarded separately under their general denomination.

However, the brutality with which the killing or physical injuries were carried out may be taken as an aggravating circumstance. Thus, the use of torture and other
atrocities on the victims instead of the usual and less painful method of execution will be taken into account to increase the penalty under the provision of article 14,
paragraph 21, of the Revised Penal Code, since they, as in this case, augmented the sufferings of the offended parties unnecessarily to the attainment of the criminal
objective.

This aggravating circumstance is compensated by the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty. it is true that the accused pleaded not guilty to counts 4, 5 and 6 but
count 4 has not be substantiated while counts 5 and 6 were abandoned.

In this first assignment of error, counsel seeks reversal of the judgment because of the trial court's failure to appoint "another attorney de oficio for the accused in spite
of the manifestation of the attorney de oficio (who defended the accused at the trial) that he would like to be relieved for obvious reasons."

The appellate tribunal will indulge reasonable presumptions in favor of the legality and regularity of all the proceedings of the trial court, including the presumption that
the accused was not denied the right to have counsel. (U.S. vs. Labial, 27 Phil., 82.) It is presumed that the procedure prescribed by law has been observed unless it is
made to appear expressly to the contrary. (U.S. vs. Escalante, 36 Phil., 743.) The fact that the attorney appointed by the trial court to aid the defendant in his defense
expressed reluctance to accept the designation because, as the present counsel assumes, he did not sympathize with the defendant's cause, is not sufficient to
overcome this presumption. The statement of the counsel in the court below did no necessarily imply that he did not perform his duty to protect the interest of the
accused. As a matter of fact, the present counsel "sincerely believes that the said Attorney Carin did his best, although it was not the best of a willing worker." We do
not discern in the record any indication that the former counsel did not conduct the defense to the best of his ability. if Attorney Carin did his best as a sworn member of
the bar, as the present attorney admits, that was enough; his sentiments did not cut any influence in the result of the case and did not imperil the rights of the appellant.

In conclusion, we find the defendant not guilty of count 4 and guilty of treason as charged in counts 1,2,3 and 7. There being an aggravating circumstance, the penalty
to be imposed is reclusion perpetua. The judgment of the lower court will be modified in this respect accordingly. In all other particulars, the same will be affirmed. it is
so ordered, with costs of this instance against the appellant.
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-322 July 28, 1947

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
PEDRO MANAYAO, ET AL., defendants.
PEDRO MANAYAO, appellant.

J. Antonio Araneta for appellant.


First Assistant Solicitor General Jose B. L. Reyes and Solicitor Ramon L. Avancea for appellee.

HILADO, J.:

Appellant Pedro Manayao and Filomeno Flores and Raymundo Flores were charged with the high crime of treason with multiple murder in the People's Court. The
Floreses not having been apprehended, only Manayao was tried. Convicted of the offense charged against him with the aggravating circumstances of (1) the aid of
armed men and (2) the employment or presence of a band in the commission of the crime, he was sentenced to death, to pay a fine of P20,000, an indemnity of P2,000
to the heirs of each of the persons named in the third paragraph of the decision, and the costs. He has appealed from that decision to this Court.

On or about the 27th of January, 1945, the guerrillas raided the Japanese in Sitio Pulong Tindahan, Municipality of Angat, Province of Bulacan. In reprisal, Japanese
soldiers and a number of Filipinos affiliated with the Makapili, among them the instant appellant, conceived the diabolical idea of killing the residents of Barrio Banaban
of the same municipality (Exhibits A, C, and C-1). Pursuant to this plan, said Japanese soldiers and their Filipino companions, armed with rifles and bayonets, gathered
the residents of Banaban behind the barrio chapel on January 29, 1945. Numbering about sixty or seventy, the residents thus assembled included men, women and
children mostly women (Exhibits A, C, amd C-1; pp. 3-16, 29, 30, 65, 102, t.s.n.).

The children were placed in a separate group from the men and women the prosecution star witnesses, Maria Paulino and Clarita Perez, were among the children
(pp. 3, 40, t.s.n. ). Presently, the Japanese and their Filipino comrades set the surrounding houses on fire (pp. 14, 48, 70, 71, 103, t.s.n.), and proceeded to butcher all
the persons assembled, excepting the small children, thus killing, among others, those known by the following names: Patricia, Dodi, Banda, Tana, Uyang, Mina, Marta,
Sana, Eufemia, Doroteo, Andres, Perly, Tisiang, Urado, Pisan, Dorang, Felisa, and Eulalia (pp. 8, 10, 13, 14, 31, 32, 47, 48, 61, 63, t.s.n.).

Appellant alone killed about six women, two of whom were Patricia and Dodi whom he bayoneted to death in the presence of their daughters, Maria Paulino and Clarita
Perez, respectively (pp. 8, 10, 13, 31, 32, 35, 47, 48, t.s.n.). Patricia and Dodi pleaded with appellant for mercy, he being their relative, but he gave the callous answer
that no mercy would be given them because they were wives of guerrillas (pp. 10, 42, 43, 49, t.s.n.).

Appellant would also have killed the small children including Clarita Perez and Maria Paulino if he had been allowed to have his way. For when all but the small ones
had been butchered, he proposed to kill them too, but the Japanese soldiers interceded, saying that the children knew nothing of the matter (pp. 15, 49, 51, 66, 67,
t.s.n.). Appellant insisted in his proposal, arguing that the children would be wives of guerrillas later when they grew up, but the Japanese decided to spare them (p. 22,
t.s.n.).

The foregoing facts have been clearly established by the testimony of eye-witnesses Clarita Paulino, Maria Perez, and Policarpio Tigas to the ruthless massacre
of Banaban. There is a complete absence of evidence tending to show motive on the part of these witnesses for falsely testifying against appellant such a motive is
not even insinuated by the defendant. Indeed, appellant's counsel frankly states (p. 3, brief) that he "does not dispute the findings of fact of the People's Court."
Speaking of the testimony of Clarita and Maria, both aged ten years, the People's Court, who heard, observed and saw them testify, had the following to say:

The testimony of the last two in particular is entitled to very great weight. They are simple barrio girls, only ten years old, whose minds have not yet been
tainted by feelings of hatred or revenge or by any desire to be spectacular or to exaggerate. They were straight-forward and frank in their testimony and did
not show any intention to appeal to the sentiments of the court. They could not have been mistaken as to the presence and identity of the accused for they
know him so well that they referred to him by his pet name of "Indong Pintor" or Pedro, the painter. They could not have erred in the narration of the salient
phases of the tragic events of January 29, 1945, in Banaban, for they were forced eye-witnesses to and were involved in the whole tragedy, the burning of
the houses and the massacre committed by the accused and his Japanese masters took place in broad daylight and were not consummated in a fleeting
moment but during a time sufficient for even girls of tender age to retain a trustworthy mental picture of the unusual event they could not help but witness.

Not only this, but the testimony of Clarita Perez and Maria Paulino is so clear, positive and convincing that it would be sufficient for conviction without any further
corroboration. Yet, there is ample corroborative proof. Thus, Tomas M. Pablo declared that he had seen the corpses of the massacred residents of Banaban shortly
after the happening of the heinous crime (p. 136, t.s.n.). And appellant himself admitted his participation in the massacre in two sworn statements one made on
August 28, 1945, before Lt. Jesus Cacahit, Detachment Commander of the Angat 23d MP Command (Exhibit A; pp. 75-77, t.s.n.) and another made on September 5,
1945 before Feliciano F. Torres, Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan (Exhibits C, C-1; pp. 150-159, t.s.n.).

In No. 1 of his assignment of errors, appellant's counsel contends that appellant was a member of the Armed Forces of Japan, was subject to military law, and not
subject to the jurisdiction of the People's Court; and in No. 2 he advances the theory that appellant had lost his Philippine citizenship and was therefore not amenable to
the Philippine law of treason. We cannot uphold either contention. We are of the considered opinion that the Makapili, although organized to render military aid to the
Japanese Army in the Philippines during the late war, was not a part of said army. It was an organization of Filipino traitors, pure and simple. As to loss of Philippine
citizenship by appellant, counsel's theory is absolutely untenable. He invokes in its support paragraphs 3, 4, and 6 of section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 63, providing:

. . . A Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any of the following ways and/or events:

xxx xxx xxx

(3) By subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the constitution or laws of a foreign country upon attaining twenty-one years of age or more;

(4) By accepting commission in the military, naval or air service of a foreign country;
xxx xxx xxx

(6) By having been declared, by competent authority, a deserter of the Philippine Army, Navy, or Air Corps in time of war, unless subsequently a plenary
pardon or amnesty has been granted.

There is no evidence that appellant has subscribed to an oath of allegiance to support the constitution or laws of Japan. His counsel cites (Brief, 4) the fact that in
Exhibit A "he subscribed an oath before he was admitted into the Makapili association, "the aim of which was to help Japan in its fight against the Americans and her
allies.'" And the counsel contends from this that the oath was in fact one of allegiance to support the constitution and laws of Japan. We cannot uphold such a far-
fetched deduction. The members of the Makapili could have sworn to help Japan in the war without necessarily swearing to support her constitution and laws. The
famed "Flying Tiger" who so bravely and resolutely aided China in her war with Japan certainly did not need to swear to support the Chinese constitution and laws, even
if they had to help China fight Japan. During the first World War the "National Volunteers" were organized in the Philippines, pledged to go to Europe and fight on the
side of the Allies, particularly of the United States. In order to carry out that mission although the war ended before this could be done they surely did not have to
take an oath to support the constitution or laws of the United States or any of its allies. We do not multiply these examples, for they illustrate a proposition which seems
self-evident.

Neither is there any showing of the acceptance by appellant of a commission "in the military, naval, or air service" of Japan.

Much less is there a scintilla of evidence that appellant had ever been declared a deserter in the Philippine Army, Navy or Air Corps nor even that he was a member
of said Army, Navy, or Air Corps.

Further, appellant's contention is repugnant to the most fundamental and elementary principles governing the duties of a citizen toward his country under our
Constitution. Article II, section 2, of said constitution ordains:

"SEC. 2. The defense of the State is a prime duty of government, and in the fulfillment of this duty all citizens may be required by law to render personal,
military or civil service." (Emphasis supplied.).

This constitutional provision covers both time of peace and time of war, but it is brought more immediately and peremptorily into play when the country is involved in
war. During such a period of stress, under a constitution enshrining such tenets, the citizen cannot be considered free to cast off his loyalty and obligations toward the
Fatherland. And it cannot be supposed, without reflecting on the patriotism and intelligence of the Legislature, that in promulgating Commonwealth Act No. 63, under
the aegis of our Constitution, it intended (but did not declare) that the duties of the citizen solemnly proclaimed in the above-quoted constitutional precept could be
effectively cast off by him even when his country is at war, by the simple expedient of subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the constitution or laws of a foreign
country, and an enemy country at that, or by accepting a commission in the military, naval or air service of such country, or by deserting from the Philippine Army, Navy,
or Air Corps.

It would shock the conscience of any enlightened citizenry to say that this appellant, by the very fact of committing the treasonous acts charged against him, the doing
of which under the circumstances of record he does not deny, divested himself of his Philippine citizenship and thereby placed himself beyond the arm of our treason
law. For if this were so, his very crime would be the shield that would protect him from punishment.

But the laws do no admit that the bare commission of a crime amounts of itself to a divestment of the character of citizen, and withdraws the criminal from
their coercion. They would never prescribe an illegal act among the legal modes by which a citizen might disfranchise himself; nor render treason, for
instance, innocent, by giving it the force of a dissolution of the obligation of the criminal to his country. (Moore, International Law Digest, Vol. III, p. 731.)

696. No person, even when he has renounced or incurred the loss of his nationality, shall take up arms against his native country; he shall be held guilty of
a felony and treason, if he does not strictly observe this duty. (Fiore's International Law Codified, translation from Fifth Italian Edition by Borchard.)

As to the third assignment of error, the Solicitor General agrees with counsel that it is improper to separately take into account against appellant he aggravating
circumstances of (1) the aid of armed men and (2) the employment of a band in appraising the gravity of the crime. We likewise are of the same opinion, considering
that under paragraph 6 of article 14 of the Revised Penal Code providing that "whenever more than three armed malefactors shall have acted together in the
commission of an offense it shall be deemed to have been committed by a band," the employment of more than three armed men is an essential element of and
inherent in a band. So that in appreciating the existence of a band the employment of more than three armed men is automatically included, there being only the
aggravating circumstance of band to be considered.

As to appellant's fourth assignment of error, the contention is clearly unacceptable that appellant acted in obedience to an order issued by a superior and is therefore
exempt from criminal liability, because he allegedly acted in the fulfillment of a duty incidental to his service for Japan as a member of the Makapili. It is obvious that
paragraphs 5 and 6 of article 11 of our Revised Penal Code compliance with duties to or orders from a foreign sovereign, any more than obedience to an illegal order.
The construction contended for by appellant could entail in its potentialities even the destruction of this Republic.

The contention that as a member of the Makapili appellant had to obey his Japanese masters under pain of severe penalty, and that therefore his acts should be
considered as committed under the impulse of an irresistible force or uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater injury, is no less repulsive. Appellant voluntarily joined
the Makapili with full knowledge of its avowed purpose of rendering military aid to Japan. He knew the consequences to be expected if the alleged irresistible force or
uncontrollable fear subsequently arose, he brought them about himself freely and voluntarily. But this is not all; the truth of the matter is, as the Solicitor General well
remarks, that "the appellant actually acted with gusto during the butchery of Banaban." He was on that occasion even bent on more cruelty than the very ruthless
Japanese masters so fate willed it were the very ones who saved the little girls, Clarita Perez and Maria Paulino, who were destined to become the star witnesses
against him on the day of reckoning.

Conformably to the recommendation of the Solicitor General, we find appellant guilty of the crime of treason with multiple murder committed with the attendance of one
aggravating circumstance, that of "armed band," thus discarding the first aggravating circumstance considered by the trial court. A majority of the Court voted to affirm
the judgment appealed from, imposing the death penalty, convicting defendant and appellant to pay a fine of P20,000, an indemnity of P2,000 to the heirs of each of the
victims named in the third paragraph of the lower court's decision, and the costs. But due to the dissent of Mr. Justice Perfecto from the imposition of the death penalty,
in accordance with the applicable legal provisions we modify the judgment appealed from as regards the punishment to be inflicted, and sentence defendant and
appellant Pedro Manayao to the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the accessories of article 41 of the Revised Penal Code, to pay a fine of P20,000, an indemnity of
P2,000 to the heirs of each of the victims named in the third paragraph of the lower court's decision, and the costs. So ordered.
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-477 June 30, 1947

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
APOLINARIO ADRIANO, defendant-appellant.

Remedios P. Nufable for appellant.


Assistant Solicitor General Kapunan, Jr., and Solicitor Lacson for appellee.

TUASON, J.:

This is an appeal from a judgment of conviction for treason by the People's Court sentencing the accused to life imprisonment, P10,000 fine, and the costs.

The information charged:

That between January and April, 1945 or thereabout, during the occupation of the Philippines by the Japanese Imperial Forces, in the Province of Nueva
Ecija and in the mountains in the Island of Luzon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Apolinario Adriano, who is
not a foreigner, but a Filipino citizen owing allegiance to the United States and the Commonwealth of the Philippines, in violation of said allegiance, did then
and there willfully, criminally and treasonably adhere to the Military Forces of Japan in the Philippines, against which the Philippines and the United States
were then at war, giving the said enemy aid and comfort in the manner as follows:

That as a member of the Makapili, a military organization established and designed to assist and aid militarily the Japanese Imperial forces in the
Philippines in the said enemy's war efforts and operations against the United States and the Philippines, the herein accused bore arm and joined and
assisted the Japanese Military Forces and the Makapili Army in armed conflicts and engagements against the United States armed forces and the
Guerrillas of the Philippine Commonwealth in the Municipalities of San Leonardo and Gapan, Province of Nueva Ecija, and in the mountains of Luzon,
Philippines, sometime between January and April, 1945. Contrary to Law.

The prosecution did not introduce any evidence to substantiate any of the facts alleged except that of defendant's having joined the Makapili organization. What the
People's Court found is that the accused participated with Japanese soldiers in certain raids and in confiscation of personal property. The court below, however, said
these acts had not been established by the testimony of two witnesses, and so regarded them merely as evidence of adherence to the enemy. But the court did find
established under the two-witness rule, so we infer, "that the accused and other Makapilis had their headquarters in the enemy garrison at Gapan, Nueva Ecija; that the
accused was in Makapili military uniform; that he was armed with rifle; and that he drilled with other Makapilis under a Japanese instructor; . . . that during the same
period, the accused in Makapili military uniform and with a rifle, performed duties as sentry at the Japanese garrison and Makapili headquarters in Gapan, Nueva Ecija;"
"that upon the liberation of Gapan, Nueva Ecija, by the American forces, the accused and other Makapilis retreated to the mountains with the enemy;" and that "the
accused, rifle in hand, later surrendered to the Americans."

Even the findings of the court recited above in quotations are not borne out by the proof of two witnesses. No two of the prosecution witnesses testified to a single one
of the various acts of treason imputed by them to the appellant. Those who gave evidence that the accused took part in raids and seizure of personal property, and
performed sentry duties and military drills, referred to acts allegedly committed on different dates without any two witnesses coinciding in any one specified deed. There
is only one item on which the witnesses agree: it is that the defendant was a Makapili and was seen by them in Makapili uniform carrying arms. Yet, again, on this point
it cannot be said that one witness is corroborated by another if corroboration means that two witnesses have seen the accused doing at least one particular thing, it a
routine military chore, or just walking or eating.

We take it that the mere fact of having joined a Makapili organization is evidence of both adherence to the enemy and giving him aid and comfort. Unless forced upon
one against his will, membership in the Makapili organization imports treasonable intent, considering the purposes for which the organization was created, which,
according to the evidence, were "to accomplish the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the Philippines in the Pact of Alliance with the Empire of Japan;" "to shed
blood and sacrifice the lives of our people in order to eradicate Anglo-Saxon influence in East Asia;" "to collaborate unreservedly and unstintedly with the Imperial
Japanese Army and Navy in the Philippines;" and "to fight the common enemies." Adherence, unlike overt acts, need not be proved by the oaths of two witnesses.
Criminal intent and knowledge may be gather from the testimony of one witness, or from the nature of the act itself, or from the circumstances surrounding the act.
(Cramer vs. U.S., 65 Sup. Ct., 918.)

At the same time, being a Makapili is in itself constitutive of an overt act. It is not necessary, except for the purpose of increasing the punishment, that the defendant
actually went to battle or committed nefarious acts against his country or countrymen. The crime of treason was committed if he placed himself at the enemy's call to
fight side by side with him when the opportune time came even though an opportunity never presented itself. Such membership by its very nature gave the enemy aid
and comfort. The enemy derived psychological comfort in the knowledge that he had on his side nationals of the country with which his was at war. It furnished the
enemy aid in that his cause was advanced, his forces augmented, and his courage was enhanced by the knowledge that he could count on men such as the accused
and his kind who were ready to strike at their own people. The principal effect of it was no difference from that of enlisting in the invader's army.

But membership as a Makapili, as an overt act, must be established by the deposition of two witnesses. Does the evidence in the present case meet this statutory test?
Is two-witness requirement fulfilled by the testimony of one witness who saw the appellant in Makapili uniform bearing a gun one day, another witness another day, and
so forth?

The Philippine law on treason is of Anglo-American origin and so we have to look for guidance from American sources on its meaning and scope. Judicial interpretation
has been placed on the two-witness principle by American courts, and authoritative text writers have commented on it. We cull from American materials the following
excerpts which appear to carry the stamp of authority.

Wharton's Criminal Evidence, Vol. 3, section 1396, p. 2282, says:


In England the original Statute of Edward, although requiring both witnesses to be to the same overt act, was held to mean that there might be one witness
to an overt act and another witness to another overt act of the same species of treason; and, in one case it has been intimated that the same construction
might apply in this country. But, as Mr. Wigmore so succinctly observes: "The opportunity of detecting the falsity of the testimony, by sequestering the two
witnesses and exposing their variance in details, is wholly destroyed by permitting them to speak to different acts." The rule as adopted in this country by all
the constitutional provisions, both state and Federal, properly requires that two witnesses shall testify to the same overt act. This also is now the rule in
England.

More to the point is this statement from VII Wigmore on Evidence, 3d ed., section 2038, p. 271:

Each of the witnesses must testify to the whole of the overt act; or, if it is separable, there must be two witnesses to each part of the overt act.

Learned Hand, J., in United States vs. Robinson (D.C.S.D., N.Y., 259 Fed., 685), expressed the same idea: "It is necessary to produce two direct witnesses to
the whole overt act. It may be possible to piece bits together of the overt act; but, if so, each bit must have the support of two oaths; . . .." (Copied as footnote in
Wigmore on Evidence,ante.) And in the recent case of Cramer vs. United States (65 Sup. Ct., 918), decide during the recent World War, the Federal Supreme Court
lays down this doctrine: "The very minimum function that an overt act must perform in a treason prosecution is that it shows sufficient action by the accused, in its
setting, to sustain a finding that the accused actually gave aid and comfort to the enemy. Every act, movement, deed, and word of the defendant charged to constitute
treason must be supported by the testimony of two witnesses."

In the light of these decisions and opinions we have to set aside the judgment of the trial court. To the possible objection that the reasoning by which we have reached
this conclusion savors of sophism, we have only to say that the authors of the constitutional provision of which our treason law is a copy purposely made conviction for
treason difficult, the rule "severely restrictive." This provision is so exacting and so uncompromising in regard to the amount of evidence that where two or more
witnesses give oaths to an overt act and only one of them is believed by the court or jury, the defendant, it has been said and held, is entitled to discharge, regardless of
any moral conviction of the culprit's guilt as gauged and tested by the ordinary and natural methods, with which we are familiar, of finding the truth. Natural inferences,
however strong or conclusive, flowing from other testimony of a most trustworthy witness or from other sources are unavailing as a substitute for the needed
corroboration in the form of direct testimony of another eyewitness to the same overt act.

The United States Supreme Court saw the obstacles placed in the path of the prosecution by a literal interpretation of the rule of two witnesses but said that the
founders of the American government fully realized the difficulties and went ahead not merely in spite but because of the objections. (Cramer vs. United States, ante.)
More, the rule, it is said, attracted the members of the Constitutional Convention "as one of the few doctrines of Evidence entitled to be guaranteed against legislative
change." (Wigmore on Evidence, ante, section 2039, p. 272, citing Madison's Journal of the Federal Convention, Scott's ed., II, 564, 566.) Mr. Justice Jackson, who
delivered the majority opinion in the celebrated Cramer case, said: "It is not difficult to find grounds upon which to quarrel with this Constitutional provision. Perhaps the
farmers placed rather more reliance on direct testimony than modern researchers in psychology warrant. Or it may be considered that such a quantitative measure of
proof, such a mechanical calibration of evidence is a crude device at best or that its protection of innocence is too fortuitous to warrant so unselective an obstacle to
conviction. Certainly the treason rule, whether wisely or not, is severely restrictive." It must be remembered, however, that the Constitutional Convention was warned by
James Wilson that "'Treason may sometimes be practiced in such a manner, as to render proof extremely difficult as in a traitorous correspondence with an enemy.'
The provision was adopted not merely in spite of the difficulties it put in the way of prosecution but because of them. And it was not by whim or by accident, but because
one of the most venerated of that venerated group considered that "prosecutions for treason were generally virulent.'"

Such is the clear meaning of the two-witness provision of the American Constitution. By extension, the lawmakers who introduced that provision into the Philippine
statute books must be understood to have intended that the law should operate with the same inflexibility and rigidity as the American forefathers meant.

The judgment is reversed and the appellant acquitted with costs charged de oficio.
EN BANC

G.R. No. 17958 February 27, 1922

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
LOL-LO and SARAW, defendants-appellants.

Thos. D. Aitken for appellants.


Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee.

MALCOLM, J.:

The days when pirates roamed the seas, when picturesque buccaneers like Captain Avery and Captain Kidd and Bartholomew Roberts gripped the imagination, when
grostesque brutes like Blackbeard flourished, seem far away in the pages of history and romance. Nevertheless, the record before us tells a tale of twentieth century
piracy in the south seas, but stripped of all touches of chivalry or of generosity, so as to present a horrible case of rapine and near murder.

On or about June 30, 1920, two boats left matuta, a Dutch possession, for Peta, another Dutch possession. In one of the boats was one individual, a Dutch subject, and
in the other boat eleven men, women, and children, likewise subjects of Holland. After a number of days of navigation, at about 7 o'clock in the evening, the second
boat arrived between the Islands of Buang and Bukid in the Dutch East Indies. There the boat was surrounded by six vintas manned by twenty-four Moros all armed.
The Moros first asked for food, but once on the Dutch boat, too for themselves all of the cargo, attacked some of the men, and brutally violated two of the women by
methods too horrible to the described. All of the persons on the Dutch boat, with the exception of the two young women, were again placed on it and holes were made
in it, the idea that it would submerge, although as a matter of fact, these people, after eleven days of hardship and privation, were succored violating them, the Moros
finally arrived at Maruro, a Dutch possession. Two of the Moro marauder were Lol-lo, who also raped one of the women, and Saraw. At Maruro the two women were
able to escape.

Lol-lo and Saraw later returned to their home in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Philippine Islands. There they were arrested and were charged in the Court of First
Instance of Sulu with the crime of piracy. A demurrer was interposed by counsel de officio for the Moros, based on the grounds that the offense charged was not within
the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, nor of any court of the Philippine Islands, and that the facts did not constitute a public offense, under the laws in force in
the Philippine Islands. After the demurrer was overruled by the trial judge, trial was had, and a judgment was rendered finding the two defendants guilty and sentencing
each of them to life imprisonment (cadena perpetua), to return together with Kinawalang and Maulanis, defendants in another case, to the offended parties, the thirty-
nine sacks of copras which had been robbed, or to indemnify them in the amount of 924 rupees, and to pay a one-half part of the costs.

A very learned and exhaustive brief has been filed in this court by the attorney de officio. By a process of elimination, however, certain questions can be quickly
disposed of.

The proven facts are not disputed. All of the elements of the crime of piracy are present. Piracy is robbery or forcible depredation on the high seas, without lawful
authority and done animo furandi, and in the spirit and intention of universal hostility.

It cannot be contended with any degree of force as was done in the lover court and as is again done in this court, that the Court of First Instance was without jurisdiction
of the case. Pirates are in law hostes humani generis. Piracy is a crime not against any particular state but against all mankind. It may be punished in the competent
tribunal of any country where the offender may be found or into which he may be carried. The jurisdiction of piracy unlike all other crimes has no territorial limits. As it is
against all so may it be punished by all. Nor does it matter that the crime was committed within the jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state, "for those limits, though
neutral to war, are not neutral to crimes." (U.S. vs. Furlong [1820], 5 Wheat., 184.)

The most serious question which is squarely presented to this court for decision for the first time is whether or not the provisions of the Penal Code dealing with the
crime of piracy are still in force. Article 153 to 156 of the Penal Code reads as follows:

ART. 153. The crime of piracy committed against Spaniards, or the subjects of another nation not at war with Spain, shall be punished with a penalty
ranging from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua.

If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war with Spain, it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor.

ART. 154. Those who commit the crimes referred to in the first paragraph of the next preceding article shall suffer the penalty of cadena perpetua or death,
and those who commit the crimes referred to in the second paragraph of the same article, from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua:

1. Whenever they have seized some vessel by boarding or firing upon the same.

2. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, or by any of the physical injuries specified in articles four hundred and fourteen
and four hundred and fifteen and in paragraphs one and two of article four hundred and sixteen.

3. Whenever it is accompanied by any of the offenses against chastity specified in Chapter II, Title IX, of this book.

4. Whenever the pirates have abandoned any persons without means of saving themselves.

5. In every case, the captain or skipper of the pirates.

ART. 155. With respect to the provisions of this title, as well as all others of this code, when Spain is mentioned it shall be understood as including any part
of the national territory.
ART. 156. For the purpose of applying the provisions of this code, every person, who, according to the Constitution of the Monarchy, has the status of a
Spaniard shall be considered as such.

The general rules of public law recognized and acted on by the United States relating to the effect of a transfer of territory from another State to the United States are
well-known. The political law of the former sovereignty is necessarily changed. The municipal law in so far as it is consistent with the Constitution, the laws of the United
States, or the characteristics and institutions of the government, remains in force. As a corollary to the main rules, laws subsisting at the time of transfer, designed to
secure good order and peace in the community, which are strictly of a municipal character, continue until by direct action of the new government they are altered or
repealed. (Chicago, Rock Islands, etc., R. Co. vs. McGlinn [1885], 114 U.S., 542.)

These principles of the public law were given specific application to the Philippines by the Instructions of President McKinley of May 19, 1898, to General Wesley Meritt,
the Commanding General of the Army of Occupation in the Philippines, when he said:

Though the powers of the military occupant are absolute and supreme, and immediately operate upon the political condition of the inhabitants, the
municipal laws of the conquered territory, such as affect private rights of person and property, and provide for the punishment of crime, are considered as
continuing in force, so far as they are compatible with the new order of things, until they are suspended or superseded by the occupying belligerent; and
practice they are not usually abrogated, but are allowed to remain in force, and to be administered by the ordinary tribunals, substantially as they were
before the occupations. This enlightened practice is so far as possible, to be adhered to on the present occasion. (Official Gazette, Preliminary Number,
Jan. 1, 1903, p. 1. See also General Merritt Proclamation of August 14, 1898.)

It cannot admit of doubt that the articles of the Spanish Penal Code dealing with piracy were meant to include the Philippine Islands. Article 156 of the Penal Code in
relation to article 1 of the Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, would also make the provisions of the Code applicable not only to Spaniards but to Filipinos.

The opinion of Grotius was that piracy by the law of nations is the same thing as piracy by the civil law, and he has never been disputed. The specific provisions of the
Penal Code are similar in tenor to statutory provisions elsewhere and to the concepts of the public law. This must necessarily be so, considering that the Penal Code
finds its inspiration in this respect in the Novelas, the Partidas, and the Novisima Recopilacion.

The Constitution of the United States declares that the Congress shall have the power to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and
offenses against the law of nations. (U.S. Const. Art. I, sec. 8, cl. 10.) The Congress, in putting on the statute books the necessary ancillary legislation, provided that
whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be
imprisoned for life. (U.S. Crim. Code, sec. 290; penalty formerly death: U.S. Rev. Stat., sec. 5368.) The framers of the Constitution and the members of Congress were
content to let a definition of piracy rest on its universal conception under the law of nations.

It is evident that the provisions of the Penal Code now in force in the Philippines relating to piracy are not inconsistent with the corresponding provisions in force in the
United States.

By the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the United States. A logical construction of articles of the Penal Code, like the articles dealing with the
crime of piracy, would be that wherever "Spain" is mentioned, it should be substituted by the words "United States" and wherever "Spaniards" are mentioned, the word
should be substituted by the expression "citizens of the United States and citizens of the Philippine Islands." somewhat similar reasoning led this court in the case of
United States vs. Smith ([1919], 39 Phil., 533) to give to the word "authority" as found in the Penal Code a limited meaning, which would no longer comprehend all
religious, military, and civil officers, but only public officers in the Government of the Philippine Islands.

Under the construction above indicated, article 153 of the Penal Code would read as follows:

The crime of piracy committed against citizens of the United States and citizens of the Philippine Islands, or the subjects of another nation not at war with
the United States, shall be punished with a penalty ranging from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua.

If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war with the United States, it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio
mayor.

We hold those provisions of the Penal code dealing with the crime of piracy, notably articles 153 and 154, to be still in force in the Philippines.

The crime falls under the first paragraph of article 153 of the Penal Code in relation to article 154. There are present at least two of the circumstances named in the last
cited article as authorizing either cadena perpetua or death. The crime of piracy was accompanied by (1) an offense against chastity and (2) the abandonment of
persons without apparent means of saving themselves. It is, therefore, only necessary for us to determine as to whether the penalty of cadena perpetua or death should
be imposed. In this connection, the trial court, finding present the one aggravating circumstance of nocturnity, and compensating the same by the one mitigating
circumstance of lack of instruction provided by article 11, as amended, of the Penal Code, sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. At least three aggravating
circumstances, that the wrong done in the commission of the crime was deliberately augmented by causing other wrongs not necessary for its commission, that
advantage was taken of superior strength, and that means were employed which added ignominy to the natural effects of the act, must also be taken into consideration
in fixing the penalty. Considering, therefore, the number and importance of the qualifying and aggravating circumstances here present, which cannot be offset by the
sole mitigating circumstance of lack of instruction, and the horrible nature of the crime committed, it becomes our duty to impose capital punishment.

The vote upon the sentence is unanimous with regard to the propriety of the imposition of the death penalty upon the defendant and appellant Lo-lo (the accused who
raped on of the women), but is not unanimous with regard to the court, Mr. Justice Romualdez, registers his nonconformity. In accordance with provisions of Act No.
2726, it results, therefore, that the judgment of the trial court as to the defendant and appellant Saraw is affirmed, and is reversed as to the defendant and appellant Lol-
lo, who is found guilty of the crime of piracy and is sentenced therefor to be hung until dead, at such time and place as shall be fixed by the judge of first instance of the
Twenty-sixth Judicial District. The two appellants together with Kinawalang and Maulanis, defendants in another case, shall indemnify jointly and severally the offended
parties in the equivalent of 924 rupees, and shall pay a one-half part of the costs of both instances. So ordered.
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-60100 March 20, 1985

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JAIME RODRIGUEZ alias JIMMY alias WILFRED DE LARA y MEDRANO and RICO LOPEZ, accused-appellants.

G.R. No. L-60768 March 20, 1985

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
DARIO DE REYES alias DARIO DECE RAYMUNDO y ELAUSA, accused- appellant.

G.R. No. L-61069 March 20, l985

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
PETER PONCE y BULAYBULAY alias PETER POWE, accused-appellant.

PER CURIAM:

Appellants Jaime Rodriguez alias Jimmy alias Wilfred de Lara y Medrano, Rico Lopez, Davao Reyes alias Dario Dece Raymundo y Elausa and Peter Ponce y
Bulaybulay alias Peter Power were charged of the crime of piracy in an information filed before the then Court of First Instance of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, which reads:

That on or about 3:15 in the morning of August 31, 1981, at the vicinity of Muligin Island and within the territorial waters of the Municipality of
Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi, Province of Tawi-Tawi, and within the jurisdiction of this honorable Court, the above-named accused Wilfred de Lara y
Medrano, alias Jaime Rodriguez (Jimmy) Dario Dece Raymundo y Elausa; Rico Lopez y Fernandez and Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay alias Peter
Power being crew members of the M/V Noria 767, a barter trade vessel of Philippine registry, conspiring and confederating together and
mutually helping one another and armed with bladed weapons and high caliber firearms, to wit: three (3) daggers, two (2) M-14, one (1) garand
and one (1) Browning Automatic Rifle, with intent of gain and by means of violence and intimidation upon persons, did then and there willfully
and unlawfuflly, and feloniously take, steal and carry away against the consent of the owners thereof, the equipments and other persona)
properties belonging to the crew members and passengers of the said M/V Noria 767, consisting of cash money amounting to Three Million
Five Hundred Seventeen Thousand Three Hundred Pesos (P3,517,300.00), personal belongings of passengers and crew amounting to One
Hundred Thirty Thousand Pesos (P130,000.00), the vessel's compass, navigational charts and instruments amounting to Forty Thousand
Pesos (P40,000.00) to the damage and prejudice of the aforementioned owners in the total amount of THREE MILLION SIX HUNDRED
EIGHTY SEVEN THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED PESOS (P3,687,300.00) Philippine Currency; that by reason of and on the occasion of the
said piracy and for the purpose of enabling the abovenamed accused to take, steal and carry away the properties abovementioned, the herein
accused in pursuance to their conspiracy, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent to kill and with evident
premeditation, treacherously attack, assault, stab, shot and, taking advantage of superior strength, use personal violence upon the persons of
Abdusador Sumihag, Vicente America, Perhan Tan, Marcos Que, Ismael Turabin, Mabar Abdurahman, Wadi Aduk Rasdi Alfad, Kasmir Tan,
Peter Paul Chiong, Juaini Husini Ismael Ombra, Sabturani Ulag, Mutalib Sarahadil, Bajubar Adam, Quillermo Wee, Reuben Segovia Ho,
Michael Lao, Yusop Abubakar, Hahji Hussin Kulavan, Amjad Quezon, Rebuan Majid Edgar Tan, Abdurasul Alialam Federico Canizares, Omar
Tahil Gilbert Que, Arajul Salialam, Masihul Bandahala, Asola Mohammaddin, Batoto Sulpicio, Sakirani Bassal, Ibrahim Jamil, Saupi Malang
and Gulam Sahiddan, thereby inflicting upon them multiple gunshot wounds which caused their instantaneous death and likewise causing
physical injuries upon the persons of Inggal Issao Abduhasan Indasan Hadji Yusop H. Alfad and Hadji Mahalail Alfad, thus performing all acts
of execution which could have produced the death of said persons, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason or cause independent of the
will of said accused, that is, by the timely and able medical assistance rendered to said victims which prevented death.

CONTRARY TO LAW, with the aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident premeditation, night time and the use of superior strength. (pp.
97-98, Rollo of L-61069)

Upon arraignment on February 25, 1982, Jaime Rodriguez and Rico Lopez, assisted by their counsel, pleaded guilty to the charge, were convicted on March 5, 1982
and sentenced each "to suffer the extreme penalty of death."

Dario Dece Raymundo, upon arraignment, interposed a plea of not guilty. However, he withdrew his plea and substituted it with that of guilty. On March 10, 1982 he
was convicted of the crime charged and sentenced "to suffer the extreme penalty of death."

Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay entered the plea of not guilty.

After trial, he was found guilty and was also sentenced "to suffer the extreme penalty of death."

No pronouncement was made with respect to the civil liabilities of the four defendants because "there was a separate civil action for breach of contract and damages
filed with the same trial court in Civil Case No. N-85 against the several defendants, including the four accused aforementioned." (p. 26, L-61069)

The case of the four convicted defendants is now before Us on automatic review.
Evidence shows that on August 29, 1981, at about 7:30 in the evening, the vessel M/V Noria 767, owned and registered in the name of Hadji Noria Indasan left Jolo
wharf for Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi. It arrived at the port of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi the following day, August 30, 1981, at around 2:00 in the afternoon. In the evening of
the same date, the vessel left for Labuan. On board the vessel were several traders and crew members. Two or three hours after its departure, while sailing about 25
miles from Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi, a commotion occurred in one of the cabins of the vessel.

Three witnesses testified on what they saw and heard.

Mr. Clyde Que, a passenger, heard noises inside a cabin and, after awhile, he heard shots being fired. He rushed to the motor launch to hide and on his way through
the engine room, he saw appellant Peter Ponce. Then appellants Jaime Rodriguez, Dario Dece and Rico Lopez, all armed with rifles, started firing towards Que's
companions after which they brought Que to the pilot's house to handle the steering wheel. He was substituted by Usman, another passenger, while Que and the other
crew members were ordered to throw overboard sacks of copra and the dead bodies of Peter Chiong, Michael Lao, Casmin Tan and Vicente America. At the time,
appellant Peter Ponce, armed with a M-14 rifle, stood guard.

Hadji Mahalail Alfad, another passenger, heard commotions from the motor launch, followed by gunfire. He hid by laying down among the sacks of copra. He saw
appellants Peter Ponce, Jaime Rodriguez, Rico Lopez and Dario Dece coming down the stairs as they were firing shots until Fred Canizares and Guilbert Que were hit,
their bodies falling upon him. When he tried to move, he realized that he was also hit on the right side of his stomach. Thereafter, he pretended to be dead till daytime.

Emil Macasaet, Jr., the skipper of the vessel heard the commotion from one of the cabins. He ordered his men to open the door but it could not be opened. After awhile,
the door opened and he saw a gun pointed at them. Whereupon, he hid behind the bags of copra until appellant Jaime Rodriguez came and fired at him. Luckily, he
was not hit. He and some of his men crawled and they took cover in the bodega of copra. While in hiding there were gunfires coming from Dario Dece and Peter Ponce.
About four (4) hours later, his Chief Mate Usman persuaded him to come out otherwise something worse would happen. He saw Jaime Rodriguez who ordered him to
direct his men to throw the copras as well as the dead bodies overboard.

About ten o'clock in the morning of the same day, the vessel reached an island where the four appellants were able to secure pumpboats. Macasaet was ordered to
load in one of the pumpboats nine (9) attache cases which were full of money. Rico Lopez and Jaime Rodriguez boarded one pumpboat, while Peter Ponce and Dario
Dece boarded another, bringing with them: dressed chicken, softdrinks, durian, boxes of ammunitions, gallons of water and some meat, as well as rifles.

Municipal Health Officer Leopoldo Lao went aboard the vessel M/V Noria when it arrived at Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi on September 2, 1981 and saw at the wharf ten
dead bodies, all victims of the sea-jacking, namely: Gulam Sahiddan, Arajul Naran Salialam, Mallang Saupi, Guilbert Que, Frederico Canizares, Masihul Bandahala,
Ribowan Majid Edgar Tan, Omar Sabdani Tahir and Abdurasul Salialam.

In their brief, appellants Jaime Rodriguez, Rico Lopez and Dario Dece claim that the trial court erred (1) in imposing the death penalty to the accused-appellants Jaime
Rodriguez alias Wilfred de Lara, Rico Lopez y Fernandez and Davao de Reyes, alias Dario Dece Raymundo y Elausa despite their plea of guilty; (2) in giving weight to
the alleged sworn statements of Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay, Identified as Exhibits "C" to "C-10" and Exhibits "I to I-5", as evidence against Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay; (3)
in holding that accused-appellant Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay is guilty of the crime of piracy; (4) in holding that the defense of Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay was merely a
denial; and, (5) in holding that Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay entrusted the P1,700.00 which was his personal money to Atty. Efren Capulong of the National Bureau of
Investigation.

There is no merit in this appeal of the three named defendants, namely: Jaime Rodriguez and Rico Lopez in G.R. No. L-60100, and Dario Dece in G.R. No. L-60768.

Anent the first assigned error, suffice it to say that Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy Law, amending Article 134 of the Revised Penal
Code and which took effect on August 8, 1974, provides:

SEC. 3. Penalties.Any person who commits piracy or highway robbery/brigandage as herein defined, shall, upon conviction by competent
court be punished by:

a) Piracy.The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed. If physical injuries or other crimes are
committed as a result or on the occasion thereof, the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed. If rape, murder or no homocide is
committed as a result or on the occasion of piracy, or when the offenders abandoned the victims without means of saving themselves, or when
the seizure is accomplished by firing upon or boarding a vessel, the mandatory penalty of death shall be imposed. (Emphasis supplied)

Clearly, the penalty imposable upon persons found guilty of the crime of piracy where rape, murder or homicide is committed is mandatory death penalty. Thus, the
lower court committed no error in not considering the plea of the three (3) defendants as a mitigating circumstance. Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code states that:

b) ART. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties.In all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shag be
applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed.

With respect to the other assigned errors, We also find them to be devoid of merit. Appellants Peter Ponce gave a statement (Exhibits "C" to "C-11") to the Malaysian
authorities and another statement (Exhibits "I" to "I-15") before the National Bureau of Investigation of Manila. When said statement (Exhibits "C" to "C-11") was offered
in evidence by the prosecution, the same was not objected to by the defense, aside from the fact that Peter Ponce, on cross examination, admitted the truthfulness of
said declarations, thus:

Q And the investigation was reduced into writing is that correct?

A Yes. sir.

Q And you were investigated by the police authority of Kudat and Kota Kinabalo, is that right?

A Yes, sir. Only in Kudat.


Q And that statement you gave to the authority at Kudat, you have signed that statement, is that correct?

A Yes, sir.

Q And what you stated is all the truth before the authority in Kudat?

A Yes, sir. (pp. 33-34, tsn, May 28, 1982)

Relative to the appeal of appellant Peter Ponce (G.R. No. L-61069), which We likewise declare to be without merit, evidence shows that his participation in the
commission of the offense was positively testified to by the master of the vessel, Emil Macasaet, Jr., and a passenger, Hadji Mahalail Alfad. Another witness, passenger
Clyde Que also pointed to have seen him (Peter Ponce) armed with an M-14 rifle.

Considering the testimonies of Clyde Que and Emil Macasaet, Jr. who actually saw appellant Peter Ponce firing his weapon indiscriminately at the passengers and
crew members in wanton disregard of human lives and the fact that after the looting and killing, appellant Peter Ponce, still armed, joined Dario Dece in one pumpboat,
there can be no question that he was in conspiracy with the three other defendants. After his arrest, Ponce gave a statement to the authorities stating therein his
participation as well as those of his companions (Exhibits "I" to "I-1").

The four (4) appellants were arrested and detained by the Malaysian authorities. On January 8, 1982, the National Bureau of Investigation authorities fetched and
brought them to Manila where they executed their respective statements after Rico Lopez and Peter Ponce delivered to the NBI, P3,700.00 and P1,700.00,
respectively, aside from the P527,595.00 and one Rolex watch which the Malaysian authorities also turned over to the Acting In-Charge of the NBI in Jolo.

The statement of Ponce (Exhibit " I ") contains the questions and answers pertinent to Section 20 of the 1973 Constitution, to wit:

l. QUESTION: Mr. Peter Ponce, we are informing you that you are under investigation here in connection with the
robbery committed on the M/V Noria last August 31, 1981, where you are an Assistant Engineer. You have a right to
remain silent and to refuse to answer any of our questions here. You have the right to be represented by counsel of
your choice in this investigation. Should you decide to be represented by a lawyer but cannot afford one we will
provide a lawyer for you free. Should you decide to give a sworn statement, the same shall be voluntary and free from
force or intimidation or promise of reward or leniency and anything that you saw here maybe used for or against you in
any court in the Philippines. Now do you understand an these rights of yours?

ANSWER: Yes, sir.

2. Q: Do you need the services of a lawyer?

A: No, sir.

3. Q: Are you willing to affix your signature hereinbelow to signify that you so understand all your rights as above
stated and that you do not need the services of a lawyer?

A: Yes, sir. (p. 11 6, Rollo)

Thus, it is clear that Peter Ponce was fully advised of his constitutional right to remain silent and his right to counsel.

Considering the written statements of all the appellants, (Exhibits "E", "F", "G", "H", "J" and "K"), interlocking as they are with each other as each admits his participation
and those of the other co-accused, there is no room for doubt that conspiracy existed among them. The conduct of appellant

Peter Ponce before, during and after the commission of the crime is a circumstance showing the presence of conspiracy in the commission of the crime. As a
consequence, every one is responsible for the crime committed.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED.


EN BANC

G.R. No. L-57292 February 18, 1986

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JULAIDE SIYOH, OMAR-KAYAM KIRAM, NAMLI INDANAN and ANDAW JAMAHALI, accused-appellants.

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

This is an automatic review of the decision of the defunct Court of First Instance of Basilan, Judge Jainal D. Rasul as ponente, imposing the death penalty.

In Criminal Case No. 318 of the aforesaid court, JULAIDE SIYOH, OMARKAYAM KIRAM, NAMLI INDANAN and ANDAW JAMAHALI were accused of qualified piracy
with triple murder and frustrated murder said to have been committed according to the information as follows:

That on or about the 14th day of July, 1979, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, viz., at Mataja Is., Municipality of Lantawan,
Province of Basilan, Philippines, the above named accused, being strangers and without lawful authority, armed with firearms and taking
advantage of their superior strength, conspiring and confederating together, aiding and assisting one with the other, with intent to gain and by
the use of violence or intimidation against persons and force upon things, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, fire their guns
into the air and stop the pumpboat wherein Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen, Anastacio de Guzman and Antonio de Guzman were riding,
traveling at that time from the island of Baluk-Baluk towards Pilas, boarded the said pumpboat and take, steal and carry away all their cash
money, wrist watches, stereo sets, merchandise and other personal belongings amounting to the total amount of P 18,342.00, Philippine
Currency; that the said accused, on the occasion of the crime herein above-described, taking advantage that the said victims were at their
mercy, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill, ordered them to jump into the water, whereupon, the said
accused, fired their guns at them which caused the death of Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen, Anastacio de Guzman and wounding one
Antonio de Guzman; thus the accused have performed all the acts of execution which would have produced the crime of Qualified Piracy with
Quadruple Murder, but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reasons of causes in dependent of their will, that is, said Antonio de Guzman
was able to swim to the shore and hid himself, and due to the timely medical assistance rendered to said victim, Antonio de Guzman which
prevented his death. (Expediente, pp. 1-2.)

An order of arrest was issued against all of the accused but only Julaide Siyoh and Omar-kayam Kiram were apprehended. (Id, p. 8.)

After trial, the court a quo rendered a decision with the following dispositive portion.

WHEREFORE, in view of the fore going considerations, this Court finds the accused Omar-kayam Kiram and Julaide Siyoh guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Piracy with Triple Murder and Frustrated Murder as defined and penalized under the provision of
Presidential Decree No. 532, and hereby sentences each one of them to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH. However, considering the
provision of Section 106 of the Code of Mindanao and Sulu, the illiteracy or ignorance or extreme poverty of the accused who are members of
the cultural minorities, under a regime of so called compassionate society, a commutation to life imprisonment is recommended. (Id, p. 130.)

In their appeal, Siyoh and Kiram make only one assignment of error:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS OMAR-KAYAM KIRAM AND JULAIDE
SIYOH HAS BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. (Brief, p. 8.)

The People's version of the facts is as follows:

Alberto Aurea was a businessman engaged in selling dry goods at the Larmitan Public Market, in the province of Basilan (pp. 2-3, tsn). On July
7, 1979 and on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman, Danilo Hiolen, Rodolfo de Castro and Anastacio de Guzman received goods from his store
consisting of mosquito nets, blankets, wrist watch sets and stereophono with total value of P15,000 more or less (pp. 4-6, tsn). The goods were
received under an agreement that they would be sold by the above-named persons and thereafter they would pay the value of said goods to
Aurea and keep part of the profits for themselves. However these people neither paid the value of the goods to Aurea nor returned the goods
to him (pp. 6-7, tsn). On July 15, 1979, Aurea was informed by Antonio de Guzman that his group was held up near Baluk- Baluk Island and
that his companions were hacked (p. 8, tsn). On July 16, 1979, the bodies of Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen and Anastacio de Guzman were
brought by the PC seaborne patrol to Isabela, Basilan (pp. 17-18, 29, tsn). Only Antonio de Guzman survived the incident that caused the
death of his companions.

It appears that on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman together with his friends who were also travelling merchants like him, were on their way
to Pilas Island, Province of Basilan, to sell the goods they received from Alberto Aurea. The goods they brought with them had a total value of
P18,000.00 (pp- 36-37, tsn). They left for Pilas Island at 2:00 p.m. of July 10, 1979 on a pumpboat. They took their dinner and slept that night
in the house of Omar-kayam Kiram at Pilas Island (pp. 37-38, tsn).

The following day, July 11, 1979, de Guzman's group, together with Kiram and Julaide Siyoh, started selling their goods, They were able to sell
goods worth P 3,500.00. On July 12, 1979, the group, again accompanied by Kiram and Siyoh, went to sell their goods at another place,
Sangbay, where they sold goods worth P 12,000.00 (pp. 40-42, tsn). They returned to Pilas Island at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon and again
slept at Kiram's house. However that night Kiram did not sleep in his house, and upon inquiry the following day when Antonio de Guzman saw
him, Kiram told the former that he slept at the house of Siyoh.
On that day, July 13, 1979, the group of Antonio de Guzman went to Baluk-Baluk, a place suggested by Kiram. They were able to sell goods
worth P3,000.00 (pp. 43-46, tsn). They returned to Pilas Island for the night but Kiram did not sleep with them (p. 47, tsn).

The following day, July 14, 1979, the group again went to Baluk-Baluk accompanied by Kiram and Siyoh (pp. 48, 50 t.s.n), They used the
pumpboat of Kiram. Kiram and Siyoh were at that time armed with 'barongs'. They arrived at Baluk-Baluk at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning
and upon arrival at the place Kiram and Siyoh going ahead of the group went to a house about 15 meters away from the place where the group
was selling its goods (pp. 50-53, tsn). Kiram and Siyoh were seen by the group talking with two persons whose faces the group saw but could
not recognize (pp. 53-54, tsn). After selling their goods, the members of the group, together with Kiram and Siyoh, prepared to return to Pilas
Island. They rode on a pumpboat where Siyoh positioned himself at the front while Kiram operated the engine. On the way to Pilas Island,
Antonio de Guzman saw another pumpboat painted red and green about 200 meters away from their pumpboat (pp. 55, tsn). Shortly after"
Kiram turned off the engine of their pumpboat. Thereafter two shots were fired from the other pumpboat as it moved towards them (pp. 57-58,
tsn). There were two persons on the other pumpboat who were armed with armantes. De Guzman recognized them to be the same persons he
saw Kiram conversing with in a house at Baluk-Baluk Island. When the boat came close to them, Kiram threw a rope to the other pumpboat
which towed de Guzman's pumpboat towards Mataja Island. On the way to Mataja Island, Antonio de Guzman and his companions were
divested of their money and their goods by Kiram (pp. 59-61, tsn). Thereafter Kiram and his companions ordered the group of de Guzman to
undress. Taking fancy on the pants of Antonio de Guzman, Kiram put it on. With everybody undressed, Kiram said 'It was good to kill all of
you'. After that remark, Siyoh hacked Danilo Hiolen while Kiram hacked Rodolfo de Castro. Antonio de Guzman jumped into the water. As he
was swimming away from the pumpboat, the two companions of Kiram fired at him, injuring his back (pp. 62-65, tsn). But he was able to reach
a mangrove where he stayed till nightfall. When he left the mangrove, he saw the dead bodies of Anastacio de Guzman, Danilo Hiolen and
Rodolfo de Castro. He was picked up by a fishing boat and brought to the Philippine Army station at Maluso where he received first aid
treatment. Later he was brought to the J.S. Alano Memorial Hospital at Isabela, Basilan province (pp. 66-68, tsn).

On July 15, 1979, while waiting for the dead bodies of his companions at the wharf, de Guzman saw Siyoh and Kiram. He pointed them out to
the PC and the two were arrested before they could run. When arrested, Kiram was wearing the pants he took from de Guzman and de
Guzman had to ask Pat. Bayabas at the Provincial Jail to get back his pants from Kiram (pp. 69-72, tsn).

Antonio de Guzman was physically examined at the J.S. Alano Memorial Hospital at Isabela, Basilan and findings showed: 'gunshot wound,
scapular area, bilateral, tangenital' (Exh. C, prosecution). (pp. 134-136, tsn). Dr. Jaime M. Junio, Provincial Health Officer of Basilan, examined
the dead bodies of Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen and issued the corresponding death certificates (Exhs. D and E, prosecution). (pp.
137-138; 140-141, tsn). (Brief, pp. 5-11.)

As can be seen from the lone assignment of error, the issue is the credibility of witnesses. Who should be believed Antonio de Guzman who was the lone prosecution
eye-witness or Siyoh and Kiram the accused-appellants who claims that they were also the victims of the crime? The trial court which had the opportunity of observing
the demeanor of the witnesses and how they testified assigned credibility to the former and an examination of the record does not reveal any fact or circumstance of
weight and influence which was overlooked or the significance of which was misinterpreted as would justify a reversal of the trial court's determination. Additionally, the
following claims of the appellants are not convincing:

1. That if they were the culprits they could have easily robbed their victims at the Kiram house or on any of the occasions when they were travelling together. Suffice it
to say that robbing the victims at Kiram's house would make Kiram and his family immediately suspect and robbing the victims before they had sold all their goods
would be premature. However, robbing and killing the victims while at sea and after they had sold all their goods was both timely and provided safety from prying eyes.

2. That the accused immediately reported the incident to the PC. The record does not support this assertion. For as the prosecution stated: "It is of important
consequence to mention that the witness presented by the defense are all from Pilas Island and friends of the accused. They claimed to be members of retrieving team
for the dead bodies but no PC soldiers were ever presented to attest this fact. The defense may counter why the prosecution also failed to present the Maluso Police
Daily Event book? This matter has been brought by Antonio not to the attention of the PC or Police but to an army detachment. The Army is known to have no docket
book, so why take the pain in locating the army soldiers with whom the report was made? (Memorandum, p. 7.) And Judge Rasul also makes this observation: "..., this
Court is puzzled, assuming the version of the defense to be true, why the lone survivor Antonio de Guzman as having been allegedly helped by the accused testified
against them. Indeed, no evidence was presented and nothing can be inferred from the evidence of the defense so far presented showing reason why the lone survivor
should pervert the truth or fabricate or manufacture such heinous crime as qualified piracy with triple murders and frustrated murder? The point which makes us doubt
the version of the defense is the role taken by the PC to whom the report was allegedly made by the accused immediately after the commission of the offense. Instead
of helping the accused, the PC law enforcement agency in Isabela, perhaps not crediting the report of the accused or believing in the version of the report made by the
lone survivor Antonio de Guzman, acted consistently with the latter's report and placed the accused under detention for investigation." (Expediente, pp. 127-128.)

3. That the affidavits of Dolores de Guzman, wife of the deceased Anastacio de Guzman, and Primitiva de Castro, wife of the deceased Rodolfo de Castro, state that
Antonio de Guzman informed them shortly after the incident that their husbands were killed by the companions of Siyoh and Kiram. The thrust of the appellants' claim,
therefore, is that Namli Indanan and Andaw Jamahali were the killers and not the former. But this claim is baseless in the face of the proven conspiracy among the
accused for as Judge Rasul has stated:

It is believed that conspiracy as alleged in the information is sufficiently proved in this case. In fact the following facts appear to have been
established to show clearly conspiracy: A) On July 14, 1979, while peddling, the survivor-witness Tony de Guzman noticed that near the
window of a dilapidated house, both accused were talking to two (2) armed strange-looking men at Baluk-Baluk Island; B) When the pumpboat
was chased and overtaken, the survivor-witness Tony de Guzman recognized their captors to be the same two (2) armed strangers to whom
the two accused talked in Baluk- Baluk Island near the dilapidated house; C) The two accused, without order from the two armed strangers
transferred the unsold goods to the captors' banca; D) That Tony de Guzman and companion peddlers were divested of their jewelries and
cash and undressed while the two accused remained unharmed or not molested. These concerted actions on their part prove conspiracy and
make them equally liable for the same crime (People vs. Pedro, 16 SCRA 57; People vs. lndic 10 SCRA 130). The convergence of the will of
the conspirators in the scheming and execution of the crime amply justifies the imputation of all of them the act of any of them (People vs.
Peralta, 25 SCRA, 759). (Id., pp. 128-129.)

4. That there is no evidence Anastacio de Guzman was killed together with Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen because his remains were never recovered. There is
no reason to suppose that Anastacio de Guzman is still alive or that he died in a manner different from his companions. The incident took place on July 14, 1979 and
when the trial court decided the case on June 8, 1981 Anastacio de Guzman was still missing. But the number of persons killed on the occasion of piracy is not
material. P.D. No. 532 considers qualified piracy, i.e. rape, murder or homicide is committed as a result or on the occasion of piracy, as a special complex crime
punishable by death regardless of the number of victims.
5. That the death certificates are vague as to the nature of the injuries sustained by the victims; were they hacked wounds or gunshot wounds? The cause of death
stated for Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen is: "Hemorrhage due to hacked wounds, possible gunshot wounds." (Exhs. D and E.) The cause is consistent with the
testimony of Antonio de Guzman that the victims were hacked; that the appellants were armed with "barongs" while Indanan and Jamahali were armed with armalites.

WHEREFORE, finding the decision under review to be in accord with both the facts and the law, it is affirmed with the following modifications: (a) for lack of necessary
votes the penalty imposed shall be reclusion perpetua; and (b) each of the appellants shall pay in solidum to the heirs of each of the deceased indemnity in the amount
of P30,000.00. No special pronouncement as to costs.
G.R. No. L-37007 July 20, 1987

RAMON S. MILO, in his capacity as Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Pangasinan, and ARMANDO VALDEZ,petitioners,
vs.
ANGELITO C. SALANGA, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan (Branch IV), and JUAN TUVERA, SR., respondents.

GANCAYCO, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of an order of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Third Judicial District, in Criminal Case No. D-529 entitled "The People
of the Philippines versus Juan Tuvera, Sr., et al.," granting the motion to quash the information filed by accused Juan Tuvera, Sr., herein respondent. The issue is
whether a barrio captain can be charged of arbitrary detention.

The facts are as follows:

On October 12, 1972, an information for Arbitrary Detention was filed against Juan Tuvera, Sr., Tomas Mendoza and Rodolfo Mangsat, in the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, which reads as follows:

The undersigned Assistant Provincial Fiscal accuses Juan Tuvera, Sr., Tomas Mendoza and Rodolfo Mangsat alias Rudy, all of Manaoag, Pangasinan, of
the crime of ARBITRARY DETENTION, committed as follows:

That on or about the 21st day of April 1973, at around 10:00 o'clock in the evening, in barrio Baguinay, Manaoag, Pangasinan, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Juan Tuvera, Sr., a barrio captain, with the aid of some other private persons, namely Juan Tuvera, Jr., Bertillo
Bataoil and one Dianong, maltreated one Armando Valdez by hitting with butts of their guns and fists blows and immediately thereafter, without legal
grounds, with deliberate intent to deprive said Armando Valdez of his constitutional liberty, accused Barrio captain Juan Tuvera, Sr., Cpl. Tomas Mendoza
and Pat. Rodolfo Mangsat, members of the police force of Mangsat, Pangasinan conspiring, confederating and helping one another, did, then and there,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, lodge and lock said Armando Valdez inside the municipal jail of Manaoag, Pangasinan for about eleven (11)
hours. (Emphasis supplied.)

CONTRARY TO ARTICLE 124 of the R.P.C.

Dagupan City, October 12, 1972.

(SGD.) VICENTE C. CALDONA


Assistant Provincial Fiscal

All the accused, including respondent Juan Tuvera, Sr., were arraigned and pleaded not guilty.

On April 4, 1973, Tuvera filed a motion to quash the information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense and that the proofs adduced at the
investigation are not sufficient to support the filing of the information. Petitioner Assistant Provincial Fiscal Ramon S. Milo filed an opposition thereto.

Finding that respondent Juan Tuvera, Sr. was not a public officer who can be charged with Arbitrary Detention, respondent Judge Angelito C. Salanga granted the
motion to quash in an order dated April 25, 1973.

Hence, this petition.

Arbitrary Detention is committed by a public officer who, without legal grounds, detains a person.1 The elements of this crime are the following:

1. That the offender is a public officer or employee.

2. That he detains a person.

3. That the detention is without legal grounds.2

The ground relied upon by private respondent Tuvera for his motion to quash the information which was sustained by respondent Judge, is that the facts charged do not
constitute an offense,3 that is, that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute the elements of Arbitrary Detention.

The Information charges Tuvera, a barrio captain, to have conspired with Cpl. Mendoza and Pat. Mangsat, who are members of the police force of Manaoag,
Pangasinan in detaining petitioner Valdez for about eleven (11) hours in the municipal jail without legal ground. No doubt the last two elements of the crime are present.

The only question is whether or not Tuvera, Sr., a barrio captain is a public officer who can be liable for the crime of Arbitrary Detention.

The public officers liable for Arbitrary Detention must be vested with authority to detain or order the detention of persons accused of a crime. Such public officers are the
policemen and other agents of the law, the judges or mayors.4

Respondent Judge Salanga did not consider private respondent Tuvera as such public officer when the former made this finding in the questioned order:
Apparently, if Armando Valdez was ever jailed and detained more than six (6) hours, Juan Tuvera, Sr., has nothing to do with the same because he is not
in any way connected with the Police Force of Manaoag, Pangasinan. Granting that it was Tuvera, Sr., who ordered Valdez arrested, it was not he who
detained and jailed him because he has no such authority vested in him as a mere Barrio Captain of Barrio Baguinay, Manaoag, Pangasinan. 5

In line with the above finding of respondent Judge Salanga, private respondent Tuvera asserts that the motion to quash was properly sustained for the following
reasons: (1) That he did not have the authority to make arrest, nor jail and detain petitioner Valdez as a mere barrio captain;6 (2) That he is neither a peace officer nor a
policeman,7 (3) That he was not a public official;8 (4) That he had nothing to do with the detention of petitioner Valdez;9 (5) That he is not connected directly or indirectly
in the administration of the Manaoag Police Force;10 (6) That barrio captains on April 21, 1972 were not yet considered as persons in authority and that it was only upon
the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 299 that Barrio Captain and Heads of Barangays were decreed among those who are persons in authority;11 and that the
proper charge was Illegal Detention and Not Arbitrary Detention.12

We disagree.

Long before Presidential Decree 299 was signed into law, barrio lieutenants (who were later named barrio captains and now barangay captains) were recognized as
persons in authority. In various cases, this Court deemed them as persons in authority, and convicted them of Arbitrary Detention.

In U.S. vs. Braganza,13 Martin Salibio, a barrio lieutenant, and Hilario Braganza, a municipal councilor, arrested Father Feliciano Gomez while he was in his church.
They made him pass through the door of the vestry and afterwards took him to the municipal building. There, they told him that he was under arrest. The priest had not
committed any crime. The two public officials were convicted of Arbitrary Detention.14

In U.S. vs. Gellada,15 Geronimo Gellada, a barrio lieutenant, with the help of Filoteo Soliman, bound and tied his houseboy Sixto Gentugas with a rope at around 6:00
p.m. and delivered him to the justice of the peace. Sixto was detained during the whole night and until 9:00 a.m. of the next day when he was ordered released by the
justice of the peace because he had not committed any crime, Gellada was convicted of Arbitrary Detention.16

Under Republic Act No. 3590, otherwise known as The Revised Barrio Charter, the powers and duties of a barrio captain include the following: to look after the
maintenance of public order in the barrio and to assist the municipal mayor and the municipal councilor in charge of the district in the performance of their duties in such
barrio;17 to look after the general welfare of the barrio;18 to enforce all laws and ordinances which are operative within the barrio;19and to organize and lead an
emergency group whenever the same may be necessary for the maintenance of peace and order within the barrio.20

In his treatise on Barrio Government Law and Administration, Professor Jose M. Aruego has this to say about the above-mentioned powers and duties of a Barrio
Captain, to wit:

"Upon the barrio captain depends in the main the maintenance of public order in the barrio. For public disorder therein, inevitably people blame him.

"In the event that there be a disturbing act to said public order or a threat to disturb public order, what can the barrio captain do? Understandably, he first resorts to
peaceful measures. He may take preventive measures like placing the offenders under surveillance and persuading them, where possible, to behave well, but when
necessary, he may subject them to the full force of law.

"He is a peace officer in the barrio considered under the law as a person in authority. As such, he may make arrest and detain persons within legal limits.21 (Emphasis
supplied.)

One need not be a police officer to be chargeable with Arbitrary Detention. It is accepted that other public officers like judges and mayors, who act with abuse of their
functions, may be guilty of this crime.22 A perusal of the powers and function vested in mayors would show that they are similar to those of a barrio captain 23 except that
in the case of the latter, his territorial jurisdiction is smaller. Having the same duty of maintaining peace and order, both must be and are given the authority to detain or
order detention. Noteworthy is the fact that even private respondent Tuvera himself admitted that with the aid of his rural police, he as a barrio captain, could have led
the arrest of petitioner Valdez.24

From the foregoing, there is no doubt that a barrio captain, like private respondent Tuvera, Sr., can be held liable for Arbitrary Detention.

Next, private respondent Tuvera, Sr. contends that the motion to quash was validly granted as the facts and evidence on record show that there was no crime of
Arbitrary Detention;25 that he only sought the aid and assistance of the Manaoag Police Force;26 and that he only accompanied petitioner Valdez to town for the latter's
personal safety.27

Suffice it to say that the above allegations can only be raised as a defense at the trial as they traverse what is alleged in the Information. We have repeatedly held that
Courts, in resolving a motion to quash, cannot consider facts contrary to those alleged in the information or which do not appear on the face of the information. This is
because a motion to quash is a hypothetical admission of the facts alleged in the information.28 Matters of defense cannot be proved during the hearing of such a
motion, except where the Rules expressly permit, such as extinction of criminal liability, prescription, and former jeopardy.29 In the case of U.S. vs. Perez,30 this Court
held that a motion to quash on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense cannot allege new facts not only different but diametrically opposed to
those alleged in the complaint. This rule admits of only one exception and that is when such facts are admitted by the prosecution.31 lawphi1

Lastly, private respondent claims that by the lower court's granting of the motion to quash jeopardy has already attached in his favor32 on the ground that here, the case
was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.

Respondent's contention holds no water. An order granting a motion to quash, unlike one of denial, is a final order. It is not merely interlocutory and is therefore
immediately appealable. The accused cannot claim double jeopardy as the dismissal was secured not only with his consent but at his instance.33

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The questioned Order of April 25, 1973 in Criminal Case No. D-529 is hereby set aside.
Let this case be remanded to the appropriate trial court for further proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.
EN BANC

A.M. No. MTJ-93-813 September 15, 1993

FERNANDO CAYAO, complainant,


vs.
JUDGE JUSTINIANO A. DEL MUNDO, respondent.

PER CURIAM:

This is an administrative complaint filed by Fernando R. Cayao with the Office of the Court Administrator charging respondent Judge Justiniano A. Del Mundo, MTC,
Indang Cavite with abuse of authority.

Acting on said complaint, the Office of the Court Administrator directed Judge Enrique M. Almario, Regional trial Court Branch XV, Naic, Cavite, to conduct an
investigation and to submit his report and recommendation thereon.

Based on the records as well as the report submitted by the investigating Judge, it appears that on or about October 22, 1992 at 9:25 a.m., while traversing the stretch
of Mataas na Lupa, Alulod, Indang, Cavite, complainant, as driver of Donny's Transit Bus with Plate No. DWB 315, overtook a Sto. Nio Liner with Body No. 5282
driven by one Arnel Ranes Muloy. As a consequence thereof, the bus driven by complainant almost collided head-on with an oncoming owner-type jeepney with Plate
No. PJT 752. It turned out later that the jeepney was registered in the name of respondent Judge Del Mundo who, at the time of the incident, was one of the passengers
therein along with his sons Rommel and June and one Edward Rommen. Respondent's son Rommel was behind the wheel.

At 3:30 p.m. of the same day, even before complainant could properly park his bus, he was picked up by policemen of the Philippine National Police Station of Indang,
Cavite at the Indang Public Plaza and was immediately brought before the sala of respondent judge. There, complainant was confronted by respondent judge and
accused by the latter of nearly causing an accident that morning. Without giving complainant any opportunity to explain, respondent judge insisted that complainant be
punished for the incident. Whereupon, complainant was compelled by respondent judge to choose from three (3) alternative punishments none of which is pleasant, to
wit: (a) to face a charge of multiple attempted homicide; (b) revocation of his driver's license; or (c) to be put in jail for three (3) days. Of the three choices, complainant
chose the third, i.e., confinement for three (3) days, as a consequence of which he was forced to sign a "waiver of detention" by respondent judge. Thereafter,
complainant was immediately escorted by policemen to the municipal jail. Though not actually incarcerated complainant remained in the premises of the municipal jail
for three (3) days, from October 22 up to October 25, 1992, by way of serving his "sentence". On the third day, complainant was released by SPO1 Manolo Dilig to the
custody of Geronimo Cayao, complainant's co-driver and cousin.

The fact of detention of complainant in the premises of the municipal jail for three (3) days was confirmed and corroborated by the testimony of the jail warden of
Indang, Cavite, SP04 Adelaida Nova. The fact of complainant's release therefrom after three (3) days detention was testified to by SPO1 Manolo Dilig who prepared the
corresponding document of release. For his defense, respondent judge merely made general denials.

The actuations of respondent judge herein complained of, constitute abuse of authority. To begin with, respondent's verbal order for the arrest of complainant at the
Indang Public Plaza without the requisite complaint having been filed and the corresponding warrant of arrest having been issued in order that complainant may be
brought to his sala is characteristic of personal vengeance and the abusive attitude of respondent. Being a judge, respondent above all, should be the first to abide by
the law and weave an example for others to follow (Ompoc vs. Torres, 178 SCRA 14 [1989]). Instead, respondent judge opted to avail of his judicial authority in excess
of what is allowed by law to gratify his vindictive purposes.

If respondent honestly believes that complainant committed violations of traffic rules and regulations which nearly caused the accident involving their respective
vehicles, respondent judge should have caused the filing of the appropriate criminal charges against complainant and left it at that. On the contrary, respondent is not
one to let the law run its own course. This is a classic case where respondent took it upon himself to be the accuser, prosecutor, judge and executioner at the same
time to condemn complainant for his alleged wrongdoing without the benefit of due process. Without even an opportunity to air his side, complainant was
unceremoniously made to choose his own penalty. Left with no other choice but to face his predicament and overpowered by the imposing authority of respondent,
complainant picked the lesser evil of the three alternatives given to him. Complainant can hardly be blamed for so doing. A perusal of the two (2) other choices
presented to him will illustrate why.

The first choice given to complainant was to face a charge of multiple attempted homicide. To threaten complainant with a criminal case for multiple attempted homicide
is indicative of respondent's gross ignorance of the law. As a judge, he should know very well that such at charge will not hold water in any court of law considering that
no accident per se ever occurred and hence, no life threatening injury was even sustained. To a mere bus driver who is not at all familiar with the intricacies of the law,
such a threat spelled not only the possibility of long-term imprisonment and all the hardship it entails but also the onus and shame that will forever attach to his name.
Surely, to his mind, a threat of prosecution coming from a municipal trial court judge is alarming enough.

The second alternative punishment offered to complainant to choose from involves his very means of livelihood revocation of his driver's license. This is tantamount
to economic death penalty and just as repulsive as the first alternative.

Faced with these grim prospects complainant voluntarily submitted himself to the jail warden of the Indang Municipal Jail for detention after executing his "waiver of
detention," complainant felt that he had no other choice but to serve out the "penalty" forcibly and arbitrarily imposed upon him by respondent.

While it is true that complainant was not put behind bare as respondent had intended, however, complainant was not allowed to leave the premises of the jail house.
The idea of confinement is not synonymous only with incarceration inside a jail cell. It is enough to qualify as confinement that a man be restrained, either morally or
physically, of his personal liberty (Black's Law Dictionary, 270 [1979]). Under the circumstances, respondent judge was in fact guilty of arbitrary detention when he, as a
public officer, ordered the arrest and detention of complainant without legal grounds (Article 124, Revised Penal Code; U.S. vs. Battallones 23 Phil. 46 [1912]). In
overtaking another vehicle, complainant-driver was not committing or had not actually committed a crime in the presence of respondent judge (Section 6, Rule 113,
Rules of Court). Such being the case, the warrantless arrest and subsequent detention of complainant were illegal. In the case at bar, no less than the testimony of the
jail warden herself confirmed that complainant was indeed deprived of his liberty for three (3) days:

xxx xxx xxx

COURT:

Q Alright, did you or did you not in fact detain Fernando Cayao on that premises? On the ground of that premises?

WITNESS (jail warden):

A I did not put him inside the jail, your Honor, but he was inside the police station.

xxx xxx xxx

COURT:

Q Alright, as a police officer, I ask you again, did you or did you not detain Fernando Cayao based on the premises
that you said under oath before this Court?

A Yes, your Honor, inside the police station.

Q Does it mean that he could not have gone freely of his own volition outside the police station without your authority
or permission?

A He can move freely.

COURT:

Q When you said that, you meant he could have gone home, he could have gone eating in restaurant, he could have
gone to a theatre or in any public place. Is that what you mean?

WITNESS:

A No, your Honor. Only inside the police station.

Q Why only in the police station? Inside? What is your order? What did you tell him?

A Because he voluntarily went to the police station to be detained.

Q Alright, so, had he told you that he would have gone to other places, you will have no objection? You will have no
interpolation or you would not feel that you have a right to have him under your custody. Is that correct?

xxx xxx xxx

WITNESS:

A I will still prevent him.

(TSN, November 19, 1992, pp. 9-10)

Of equal importance is the perception of complainant himself as to whether his liberty, was actually restricted or not:

xxx xxx xxx

Q So, summarily speaking, you feel that you were detained in the municipal jail of the station of Indang, Cavite?

A Yes, your Honor, because I was not able to get out from the police station from the time that I was detained.

(TSN, November 19, 1992, p. 16)

It would be well to emphasize at this point that the gravity of the misconduct of respondent is not alone centered on his order for the detention of complainant. Rather, it
is ingrained in the fact that complainant was so detained without affording him his constitutional rights.
As previously mentioned, complainant was condemned by his own accuser without the benefit of due process. Complainant was not even accorded any of the basic
rights to which an accused is entitled. When respondent insisted on punishing hire without a chance to air his side, complainant was deprived of the presumption of
innocence, the right to be heard by himself and counsel, the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him as well as the right to an
impartial and public trial. Moreover, complainant was made to execute a waiver of detention without the assistance of counsel. Worse, the aforesaid waiver was even
subscribed by complainant before the very same judge who was his accuser. Certainly, such intentional and blatant violations of one's constitutional rights committed by
respondent cannot be tolerated by this Court.

As public servants, judges are appointed to the judiciary to serve as the visible representation of the law, and more importantly, of justice. From them, the people draw
their will and awareness to obey the law (De la Paz vs. Inutan, 64 SCRA 540 (1975)). If judges, who swore to obey and uphold the constitution, would conduct
themselves in the way that respondent did in wanton disregard and violation of the rights of complainant, then the people, especially those with whom they come in
direct contact, would lose all their respect and high regard for the institution of the judiciary itself, not to mention, cause the breakdown of the moral fiber on which the
judiciary is founded.

Undoubtedly, the actuations of respondent judge represent the kind of gross and flaunting misconduct on the part of those who are charged with the responsibility of
administering the law and rendering justice that so quickly and severely corrodes the respect for law and the courts without which the government cannot continue and
that tears apart the very bonds of our polity (Ompoc vs. Judge Torres, 178 SCRA 14 [1989]).

Furthermore, the reprehensible conduct exhibited by respondent judge in the case at bar exposed his total disregard of, or indifference to, or even ignorance of the
procedure prescribed by law. His act of intentionally violating the law and disregarding well-known legal procedures can be characterized as gross misconduct, nay a
criminal misconduct on his part (Babatio vs. Tan, 157 SCRA 277 [1988]). He used and abused his position of authority in intimidating the complainant as well as the
members of the Indang police force into submitting to his excesses. Likewise, he closed his eyes to the mandates of the Code of Judicial Conduct to always conduct
himself as to be beyond reproach and suspicion not only in the performance of his duties but also outside his sala and as a private individual. (Castillo vs. Calanog, Jr.
199 SCRA 75 [1991]).

Clearly, there is not, an iota of doubt that respondent, through his oppressive and vindictive actuations, has committed a disservice to the cause of justice. He has
unequivocably demonstrated his unfitness to continue as a member of the judiciary and should accordingly be removed from the service.

WHEREFORE, respondent judge Justiniano A. Del Mundo of the Municipal Trial Court of Indang, Cavite is hereby DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all
benefits except accrued leave credits with prejudice to reinstatement or reappointment to any public office including government-owned or controlled corporations.
[G.R. No. 154130. October 1, 2003]

BENITO ASTORGA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

DECISION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking the reversal of a Decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 24986, dated
July 5, 2001,[1] as well as its Resolutions dated September 28, 2001 and July 10, 2002.

On October 28, 1998, the Office of the Ombudsman filed the following Information against Benito Astorga, Mayor of Daram, Samar, as well as a number of his
men for Arbitrary Detention:

That on or about the 1st day of September, 1997, and for sometime subsequent thereto, at the Municipality of Daram, Province of Samar, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a public officer, being the Municipal Mayor of Daram, Samar, in such capacity and committing the
offense in relation to office, conniving, confederating and mutually helping with unidentified persons, who are herein referred to under fictitious names JOHN DOES,
who were armed with firearms of different calibers, with deliberate intent, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously detain Elpidio Simon, Moises dela Cruz,
Wenifredo Maniscan, Renato Militante and Crisanto Pelias, DENR Employees, at the Municipality of Daram, by not allowing them to leave the place, without any legal
and valid grounds thereby restraining and depriving them of their personal liberty for nine (9) hours, but without exceeding three (3) days.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]

On September 1, 1997, Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Office No. 8, Tacloban
City sent a team to the island of Daram, Western Samar to conduct intelligence gathering and forest protection operations in line with the governments campaign
against illegal logging. The team was composed of Forester II Moises dela Cruz, Scaler Wenifredo Maniscan, Forest Ranger Renato Militante, and Tree Marker
Crisanto Pelias, with Elpidio E. Simon, Chief of the Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Section, as team leader. The team was escorted by SPO3 Andres B. Cinco,
Jr. and SPO1 Rufo Capoquian.[3]

The team stopped at Brgy. Bagacay, Daram, Western Samar at 2:00 p.m., where they saw two yacht-like boats being constructed. After consulting with the
local barangay officials, the team learned that the boats belonged to a certain Michael Figueroa. However, since Figueroa was not around at the time, the team left
Brgy. Bagacay.[4]

En route to Brgy. Manungca, Sta. Rita, Samar, the team spotted two more boats being constructed in the vicinity of Brgy. Lucob-Lucob, Daram, Samar, between
4:30-5:00 p.m., prompting them to stop and investigate. Thus, Maniscan and Militante disembarked from the DENRs service pump boat and proceeded to the site of the
boat construction. There, they met Mayor Astorga. After conversing with the mayor, Militante returned to their boat for the purpose of fetching Simon, at the request of
Mayor Astorga.[5]

When Simon, accompanied by dela Cruz, SPO3 Cinco, and SPO1 Capoquian, approached Mayor Astorga to try and explain the purpose of their mission, Simon
was suddenly slapped hard twice on the shoulder by Mayor Astorga, who exclaimed, Puwede ko kamo papaglanguyon pag-uli ha Tacloban. Ano, di ka maaram nga
natupa ako? Natupa baya ako. Diri kamo makauli yana kay puwede kame e charge ha misencounter. (I can make you swim back to Tacloban. Dont you know that I can
box? I can box. Dont you know that I can declare this a misencounter?)[6] Mayor Astorga then ordered someone to fetch reinforcements, and forty-five (45) minutes
later, or between 5:00-6:00 p.m., a banca arrived bearing ten (10) men, some of them dressed in fatigue uniforms. The men were armed with M-16 and M14 rifles, and
they promptly surrounded the team, guns pointed at the team members.[7] At this, Simon tried to explain to Astorga the purpose of his teams mission.[8] He then took out
his handheld ICOM radio, saying that he was going to contact his people at the DENR in Catbalogan to inform them of the teams whereabouts. Suddenly, Mayor
Astorga forcibly grabbed Simons radio, saying, Maupay nga waray kamo radio bis diri somabut an iyo opisina kon hain kamo, bis diri kamo maka aro hin bulig. (Its
better if you have no radio so that your office would not know your whereabouts and so that you cannot ask for help). [9] Mayor Astorga again slapped the right shoulder
of Simon, adding, Kong siga kamo ha Leyte ayaw pagdad-a dinhi ha Samar kay diri kamo puwede ha akon. (If you are tough guys in Leyte, do not bring it to Samar
because I will not tolerate it here.)[10] Simon then asked Mayor Astorga to allow the team to go home, at which Mayor Astorga retorted that they would not be allowed to
go home and that they would instead be brought to Daram.[11] Mayor Astorga then addressed the team, saying, Kon magdakop man la kamo, unahon an mga
dagko. Kon madakop niyo an mga dagko, an kan Figueroa dida ha Bagacay puwede ko liwat ipadakop an akon. (If you really want to confiscate anything, you start with
the big-time. If you confiscate the boats of Figueroa at Brgy. Bagacay, I will surrender mine.)[12] Simon then tried to reiterate his request for permission to leave, which
just succeeded in irking Mayor Astorga, who angrily said, Diri kamo maka uli yana kay dad on ko kamo ha Daram, para didto kita mag uro istorya. (You cannot go home
now because I will bring you to Daram. We will have many things to discuss there.)[13]

The team was brought to a house where they were told that they would be served dinner. The team had dinner with Mayor Astorga and several others at a long
table, and the meal lasted between 7:00-8:00 p.m.[14] After dinner, Militante, Maniscan and SPO1 Capoquian were allowed to go down from the house, but not to leave
the barangay.[15] On the other hand, SPO3 Cinco and the rest just sat in the house until 2:00 a.m. when the team was finally allowed to leave.[16]

Complainants filed a criminal complaint for arbitrary detention against Mayor Astorga and his men, which led to the filing of the above-quoted Information.

Mayor Astorga was subsequently arraigned on July 3, 2000, wherein he pleaded not guilty to the offenses charged. [17] At the trial, the prosecution presented the
testimonies of SPO1 Capoquian and SPO3 Cinco, as well as their Joint Affidavit. [18] However, the presentation of Simons testimony was not completed, and none of his
fellow team members came forward to testify. Instead, the members of the team sent by the DENR RSOG executed a Joint Affidavit of Desistance.[19]

On July 5, 2001, the Sandiganbayan promulgated its Decision, disposing of the case as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused BENITO ASTORGA Y BOCATCAT guilty of Arbitrary Detention, and in the
absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of four (4) months
of arresto mayor as minimum to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correctional as maximum.

SO ORDERED.[20]
The accused filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated July 11, 2001[21] which was denied by the Sandiganabayan in a Resolution dated September 28,
2001.[22] A Second Motion for Reconsideration dated October 24, 2001[23] was also filed, and this was similarly denied in a Resolution dated July 10, 2002.[24]

Hence, the present petition, wherein the petitioner assigns a sole error for review:

5.1. The trial court grievously erred in finding the accused guilty of Arbitrary Detention as defined and penalized under Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code, based on
mere speculations, surmises and conjectures and, worse, notwithstanding the Affidavit of Desistance executed by the five (5) complaining witnesses wherein the latter
categorically declared petitioners innocence of the crime charged.[25]

Petitioner contends that the prosecution failed to establish the required quantum of evidence to prove the guilt of the accused,[26] especially in light of the fact
that the private complainants executed a Joint Affidavit of Desistance.[27] Petitioner asserts that nowhere in the records of the case is there any competent evidence that
could sufficiently establish the fact that restraint was employed upon the persons of the team members.[28] Furthermore, he claims that the mere presence of armed men
at the scene does not qualify as competent evidence to prove that fear was in fact instilled in the minds of the team members, to the extent that they would feel
compelled to stay in Brgy. Lucob-Lucob.[29]

Arbitrary Detention is committed by any public officer or employee who, without legal grounds, detains a person. [30] The elements of the crime are:

1. That the offender is a public officer or employee.


2. That he detains a person.
3. That the detention is without legal grounds.[31]

That petitioner, at the time he committed the acts assailed herein, was then Mayor of Daram, Samar is not disputed. Hence, the first element of Arbitrary
Detention, that the offender is a public officer or employee, is undeniably present.

Also, the records are bereft of any allegation on the part of petitioner that his acts were spurred by some legal purpose. On the contrary, he admitted that his
acts were motivated by his instinct for self-preservation and the feeling that he was being singled out.[32] The detention was thus without legal grounds, thereby
satisfying the third element enumerated above.

What remains is the determination of whether or not the team was actually detained.

In the case of People v. Acosta,[33] which involved the illegal detention of a child, we found the accused-appellant therein guilty of kidnapping despite the lack of
evidence to show that any physical restraint was employed upon the victim. However, because the victim was a boy of tender age and he was warned not to leave until
his godmother, the accused-appellant, had returned, he was practically a captive in the sense that he could not leave because of his fear to violate such instruction.[34]

In the case of People v. Cortez,[35] we held that, in establishing the intent to deprive the victim of his liberty, it is not necessary that the offended party be kept
within an enclosure to restrict her freedom of locomotion. At the time of her rescue, the offended party in said case was found outside talking to the owner of the house
where she had been taken. She explained that she did not attempt to leave the premises for fear that the kidnappers would make good their threats to kill her should
she do so. We ruled therein that her fear was not baseless as the kidnappers knew where she resided and they had earlier announced that their intention in looking for
her cousin was to kill him on sight. Thus, we concluded that fear has been known to render people immobile and that appeals to the fears of an individual, such as by
threats to kill or similar threats, are equivalent to the use of actual force or violence.[36]

The prevailing jurisprudence on kidnapping and illegal detention is that the curtailment of the victims liberty need not involve any physical restraint upon the
victims person. If the acts and actuations of the accused can produce such fear in the mind of the victim sufficient to paralyze the latter, to the extent that the victim is
compelled to limit his own actions and movements in accordance with the wishes of the accused, then the victim is, for all intents and purposes, detained against his
will.

In the case at bar, the restraint resulting from fear is evident. Inspite of their pleas, the witnesses and the complainants were not allowed by petitioner to go
home.[37] This refusal was quickly followed by the call for and arrival of almost a dozen reinforcements, all armed with military-issue rifles, who proceeded to encircle the
team, weapons pointed at the complainants and the witnesses.[38] Given such circumstances, we give credence to SPO1 Capoquians statement that it was not safe to
refuse Mayor Astorgas orders.[39] It was not just the presence of the armed men, but also the evident effect these gunmen had on the actions of the team which proves
that fear was indeed instilled in the minds of the team members, to the extent that they felt compelled to stay in Brgy. Lucob-Lucob. The intent to prevent the departure
of the complainants and witnesses against their will is thus clear.

Regarding the Joint Affidavit of Desistance executed by the private complainants, suffice it to say that the principles governing the use of such instruments in the
adjudication of other crimes can be applied here. Thus, in People v. Ballabare, it was held that an affidavit of desistance is merely an additional ground to buttress the
defenses of the accused, not the sole consideration that can result in acquittal. There must be other circumstances which, when coupled with the retraction or
desistance, create doubts as to the truth of the testimony given by the witnesses at the trial and accepted by the judge. Here, there are no such
circumstances.[40] Indeed, the belated claims made in the Joint Affidavit of Desistance, such as the allegations that the incident was the result of a misunderstanding
and that the team acceded to Mayor Astorgas orders out of respect, are belied by petitioners own admissions to the contrary. [41] The Joint Affidavit of Desistance of the
private complainants is evidently not a clear repudiation of the material points alleged in the information and proven at the trial, but a mere expression of the lack of
interest of private complainants to pursue the case. This conclusion is supported by one of its latter paragraphs, which reads:

11. That this affidavit was executed by us if only to prove our sincerity and improving DENR relations with the local Chiefs Executive and other official of
Daram, Islands so that DENR programs and project can be effectively implemented through the support of the local officials for the betterment
of the residence living conditions who are facing difficulties and are much dependent on government support.[42]

Petitioner also assails the weight given by the trial court to the evidence, pointing out that the Sandiganbayans reliance on the testimony of SPO1 Capoquian is
misplaced, for the reason that SPO1 Capoquian is not one of the private complainants in the case.[43] He also makes much of the fact that prosecution witness SPO1
Capoquian was allegedly not exactly privy to, and knowledgeable of, what exactly transpired between herein accused and the DENR team leader Mr. Elpidio E. Simon,
from their alleged confrontation, until they left Barangay Lucob-Lucob in the early morning of 2 September 1997.[44]

It is a time-honored doctrine that the trial courts factual findings are conclusive and binding upon appellate courts unless some facts or circumstances of weight
and substance have been overlooked, misapprehended or misinterpreted.[45] Nothing in the case at bar prompts us to deviate from this doctrine. Indeed, the fact that
SPO1 Capoquian is not one of the private complainants is completely irrelevant. Neither penal law nor the rules of evidence requires damning testimony to be
exclusively supplied by the private complainants in cases of Arbitrary Detention. Furthermore, Mayor Astorgas claim that SPO1 Capoquian was not exactly privy to what
transpired between Simon and himself is belied by the evidence. SPO1 Capoquian testified that he accompanied Simon when the latter went to talk to petitioner.[46] He
heard all of Mayor Astorgas threatening remarks.[47] He was with Simon when they were encircled by the men dressed in fatigues and wielding M-16 and M-14
rifles.[48] In sum, SPO1 Capoquian witnessed all the circumstances which led to the Arbitrary Detention of the team at the hands of Mayor Astorga.
Petitioner submits that it is unclear whether the team was in fact prevented from leaving Brgy. Lucob-Lucob or whether they had simply decided to while away
the time and take advantage of the purported hospitality of the accused.[49] On the contrary, SPO3 Cinco clearly and categorically denied that they were simply whiling
away the time between their dinner with Mayor Astorga and their departure early the following morning. [50] SPO1 Capoquian gave similar testimony, saying that they did
not use the time between their dinner with Mayor Astorga and their departure early the following morning to enjoy the place and that, given a choice, they would have
gone home.[51]

Petitioner argues that he was denied the cold neutrality of an impartial judge, because the ponente of the assailed decision acted both as magistrate and
advocate when he propounded very extensive clarificatory questions on the witnesses. Surely, the Sandiganbayan, as a trial court, is not an idle arbiter during a trial. It
can propound clarificatory questions to witnesses in order to ferret out the truth. The impartiality of the court cannot be assailed on the ground that clarificatory
questions were asked during the trial.[52]

Thus, we affirm the judgment of the Sandiganbayan finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Arbitrary Detention. Article 124 (1) of the Revised Penal
Code provides that, where the detention has not exceeded three days, the penalty shall be arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum
period, which has a range of four (4) months and one (1) day to two (2) years and four (4) months. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, petitioner is entitled to a
minimum term to be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, or arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, which has a range of one (1) month and one (1)
day to four (4) months. Hence, the Sandiganbayan was correct in imposing the indeterminate penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year
and eight (8) months of prision correccional, as maximum.

Before closing, it may not be amiss to quote the words of Justice Perfecto in his concurring opinion in Lino v. Fugoso, wherein he decried the impunity enjoyed
by public officials in committing arbitrary or illegal detention, and called for the intensification of efforts towards bringing them to justice:

The provisions of law punishing arbitrary or illegal detention committed by government officers form part of our statute books even before the advent of American
sovereignty in our country. Those provisions were already in effect during the Spanish regime; they remained in effect under American rule; continued in effect under
the Commonwealth. Even under the Japanese regime they were not repealed. The same provisions continue in the statute books of the free and sovereign Republic of
the Philippines. This notwithstanding, and the complaints often heard of violations of said provisions, it is very seldom that prosecutions under them have been instituted
due to the fact that the erring individuals happened to belong to the same government to which the prosecuting officers belong. It is high time that every one must do his
duty, without fear or favor, and that prosecuting officers should not answer with cold shrugging of the shoulders the complaints of the victims of arbitrary or illegal
detention.

Only by an earnest enforcement of the provisions of articles 124 and 125 of the Revised Penal Code will it be possible to reduce to its minimum such wanton trampling
of personal freedom as depicted in this case. The responsible officials should be prosecuted, without prejudice to the detainees right to the indemnity to which they may
be entitled for the unjustified violation of their fundamental rights.[53]

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 24986, dated July 5, 2001
finding petitioner BENITO ASTORGA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Arbitrary Detention and sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of four
(4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correccional, as maximum, is AFFIRMED in toto.

Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.
EN BANC

[G.R. No. 126252. August 30, 1999]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JESUS GARCIA y MANABAT, accused-appellant.

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

For review is the conviction of accused-appellant JESUS GARCIA y MANABAT for illegal possession of five (5) kilos of marijuana for which he
was initially sentenced to death. The Information[1]against him reads:

That on or about the 28th day of November, 1994, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control five (5) kilos of compressed marijuana dried leaves, without the authority
of law to do so, in violation of the abovecited provision of the law.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pled not guilty.

The prosecutions case hinges on the testimony of Senior Inspector OLIVER ENMODIAS. He recounted that on November 28, 1994, he and SPO3 JOSE
PANGANIBAN boarded a passenger jeepney from their office in Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet, en route to Baguio City. He took the seat behind the jeepney
driver while SPO3 Panganiban sat opposite him. They were in civilian attire. When the jeepney reached km. 4 or 5, accused JESUS GARCIA boarded the jeepney
carrying a plastic bag. He occupied the front seat, beside the driver and placed the plastic bag on his lap. After a couple of minutes, the policemen smelled marijuana
which seemed to emanate from accuseds bag. To confirm their suspicion, they decided to follow accused when he gets off the jeepney.[2]

The accused alighted at the Baguio City hall and the police officers trailed him. The accused proceeded to Rizal Park and sat by the monument. Half a meter
away, the police officers saw the accused retrieve a green travelling bag from the back pocket of his pants. He then transferred five (5) packages wrapped in newspaper
from the plastic bag to the green bag. As the newspaper wrapper of one of the packages was partially torn, the police officers saw the content of the package. It
appeared to be marijuana.[3] Forthwith, the policemen approached the accused and identified themselves. The accused appeared to be nervous and did not
immediately respond. The policemen then asked the accused if they could inspect his travelling bag. The accused surrendered his bag and the inspection revealed that
it contained five (5) bricks of what appeared to be dried marijuana leaves. The police officers then arrested the accused and seized his bag. The accused was turned
over to the CIS office at the Baguio Water District Compound for further investigation. He was appraised of his custodial rights. At about 5 p.m., the arresting
officers left for the crime laboratory at Camp Dangwa, Benguet, for chemical analysis of the items seized from the accused. The next day, the policemen executed
their joint affidavit of arrest and transferred the accused to the Baguio city jail. Verification by the arresting officers of the records at the Narcotics Command
revealed that the accuseds name was in the list of drug dealers.[4] The result of chemical analysis of the five (5) items seized from the accused confirmed that they were
dried marijuana fruiting tops, weighing a total of five (5) kilos.[5]

For his part, the accused admitted being at the locus criminis but denied possessing marijuana or carrying any bag on November 28, 1994. He alleged that on
said day, at about 8:00 a.m., he left his residence in Angeles City to visit his brother, NICK GARCIA, whom he had not seen for ten (10) years. He arrived in Baguio
City at 12:30 p.m. Before proceeding to his brothers house, he took a stroll at the Rizal Park. At about 2:00 p.m., two (2) men accosted him at the park. They did not
identify themselves as police officers. They held his hands and ordered him to go with them. Despite his protestations, he was forcibly taken to a waiting car[6] and
brought to a safehouse. There, he was asked about the source of his supply of illicit drugs. When he denied knowledge of the crime imputed to him, he was brought to a
dark room where his hands were tied, his feet bound to a chair, his mouth covered by tape and his eyes blindfolded. They started mauling him. Initially, he claimed he
was kicked and punchedon the chest and thighs. When asked further whether he suffered bruises and broken ribs, he answered in the negative. Thereafter, he
explained that there were no visible signs of physical abuse on his body as he was only punched, not kicked. Notwithstanding the maltreatment he suffered, the
accused claimed he stood firm on his denial that he was dealing with illicit drugs.[7]

To corroborate accuseds testimony, the defense presented MANUEL DE GUZMAN, a resident of Baguio City and a neighbor of accuseds brother Nick
Garcia. He came to know the accused in 1994 when accused visited his brother Nick, a few months before accused was arrested in November that same year. He
recounted that in the afternoon of November 28, 1994, while he was walking along Rizal Park, he noticed two (2) men holding the accuseds hands and forcing him to a
car. He was then about 8-10 meters away. He did not see the accused or any of the two men carrying a bag.[8]

In a Decision, dated January 29, 1996, RTC Judge Pastor de Guzman, Jr.[9] found the accused guilty of illegal possession of prohibited drugs and sentenced
him to suffer the maximum penalty of death. The dispositive portion reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the accused Jesus Garcia y Manabat guilty of the violation of Section 8, Art. II of R.A. 6425 as amended by R.A.
7659, involving possession of marijuana weighing 5 kilograms, beyond reasonable doubt.

The penalty for the possession of marijuana weighing 5 kilograms as provided under R.A. 6425 as amended by R.A. 7659 is Death. The Court has no recourse but to
sentence the accused Jesus Garcia y Manabat to suffer the death penalty. The law is harsh but it must be followed and obeyed, dura lex sed lex.

SO ORDERED.

The decision was promulgated on February 20, 1996.

On February 26, 1996, the accused moved for reconsideration.[10] He reiterated his position that the uncorroborated testimony of prosecution witness
Inspector Enmodias was insufficient to establish his guilt. He further contended that he should only be punished with reclusion perpetua.
On April 12, 1996, Judge de Guzman, Jr. filed an application for disability retirement. This Court, in its en banc Resolution,[11] dated June 18, 1996,
approved his application. The effectivity of his retirement was made retroactive to February 16, 1996.

On August 6, 1996, Acting Presiding Judge Eulogio Juan R. Bautista issued an Order[12] granting in part accuseds Motion for Reconsideration. For lack of
aggravating circumstance, the accuseds penalty for illegal possession of marijuana was reduced from death to reclusion perpetua.

In the case at bar, appellant impugns his conviction on the following grounds: (a) the decision convicting him of the crime charged was not validly promulgated
as the promulgation was made (4) days after the retirement of the judge who penned the decision; (b) the uncorroborated testimony of prosecution witness Senior
Inspector Enmodias is insufficient to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

First, we shall thresh out the procedural matter raised by appellant.

In his Motion for Clarification,[13] appellant contends that since the decision under review was promulgated on February 20, 1996, four (4) days after the
approved retirement of Judge de Guzman, Jr., his decision is void and has no binding effect.[14]

We reject this contention. Undisputably, a decision promulgated after the retirement of the judge who signed it is null and void. Under the Rules on Criminal
Procedure,[15] a decision is valid and binding only if penned and promulgated by the judge during his incumbency. To be precise, a judgment has legal effect only
when it is rendered: (a) by a court legally constituted and in the actual exercise of judicial powers, and (b) by a judge legally appointed, duly qualified and actually
acting either de jure or de facto.[16] A judge de jure is one who exercises the office of a judge as a matter of right, fully invested with all the powers and functions
conceded to him under the law. A judge de facto is one who exercises the office of judge under some color of right. He has the reputation of the officer he assumes to
be, yet he has some defect in his right to exercise judicial functions at the particular time.[17]

In the case at bar, the decision under review was validly promulgated. Although the effectivity of Judge de Guzman, Jr.s disability retirement was made
retroactive to February 16, 1996, it cannot be denied that at the time his subject decision was promulgated on February 20, 1996, he was still the incumbent
judge of the RTC, Branch LX of Baguio City, and has in fact continued to hold said office and act as judge thereof until his application for retirement was
approved in June 1996. Thus, as of February 20, 1996 when the decision convicting appellant was promulgated, Judge de Guzman, Jr. was actually discharging his
duties as a de facto judge. In fact, as of that time, he has yet to file his application for disability retirement. To be sure, as early as 1918, we laid down the principle
that where the term of the judge has terminated and he has ceased to act as judge, his subsequent acts in attempting to dispose of business he left unfinished before
the expiration of his term are void.[18] However, in the present case, as Judge de Guzman, Jr. was a de facto judge in the actual exercise of his office at the time the
decision under review was promulgated on February 20, 1996, said decision is legal and has a valid and binding effect on appellant.[19]

On the merits, we likewise affirm appellants conviction.

In his Memorandum[20] before the trial court, appellant insisted that the prosecution was unable to discharge its onus of establishing his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt. He maintained that the uncorroborated testimony of the prosecutions main witness, Senior Inspector Enmodias, is incredible and unreliable. Firstly, appellant
pointed out that if the police officers indeed smell and the marijuana he was allegedly carrying while they were all on board the jeepney, they should have immediately
arrested him instead of waiting for him to alight and stroll at the Rizal Park. Secondly, appellant faulted the procedure adopted by the arresting officers who, after the
arrest, took him to the CIS Office at the Baguio Water District Compound for investigation instead of bringing him to the nearest police station, as mandated under
Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. Finally, appellant theorized that the prosecutions omission or failure to present the other arresting officer,
SPO3 Panganiban, to corroborate the testimony of its witness Senior Inspector Enmodias was fatal to the prosecutions case as the lone testimony of Enmodias failed to
prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

These contentions of appellant fail to persuade. The prosecution was able to prove appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt. There is nothing irregular in the
manner appellant was apprehended by the police authorities. On the contrary, we find that, without compromising their sworn duty to enforce the law, the police officers
exercised reasonable prudence and caution in desisting to apprehend appellant inside the jeepney when they initially suspected he was in possession of
marijuana. They sought to verify further their suspicion and decided to trail appellant when the latter alighted from the jeepney. It was only after they saw that one of the
packages with the torn wrapper contained what looked like marijuana fruiting tops did they accost appellant and make the arrest. At that precise time, they had obtained
personal knowledge of circumstances indicating that appellant had illicit drugs in his possession. They had reasonable ground upon which to base a lawful arrest
without a warrant.

Neither do we find anything irregular with the turn over of appellant to the CIS Office. At the trial, it was sufficiently clarified that this has been the practice of the
arresting officers as their office had previously arranged with the CIS for assistance with respect to investigations of suspected criminals, the CIS office being more
specialized in the area of investigation.[21] Neither can the police officers be held liable for arbitrarily detaining appellant at the CIS office. Article 125 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, penalizes a public officer who shall detain another for some legal ground and fail to deliver him to the proper authorities for 36 hours
for crimes punishable by afflictive or capital penalties. In the present case, the record bears that appellant was arrested for possession of five (5) kilos of
marijuana on November 28, 1994 at 2 p.m., a crime punishable with reclusion perpetua to death. He was detained for further investigation and delivered by the
arresting officers to the court in the afternoon of the next day. Clearly, the detention of appellant for purposes of investigation did not exceed the duration allowed
by law, i.e., 36 hours from the time of his arrest.

Coming now to appellants defense, we find that his simplistic version of what transpired that fateful day utterly failed to rebut the overwhelming evidence
presented by the prosecution. His testimony is not worthy of credence. Firstly, appellant insists he did not bring any travelling bag or personal items with
him.[22] However, we find it baffling that one would visit a relative in a distant province and fail to bring clothes and other personal belongings for the duration of his
stay. Secondly, while appellant repeatedly emphasized that he went to Baguio City to visit his brother whom he had not seen for ten years,[23] his corroborating
witness, de Guzman, adamantly insisted that the first time he met appellant was only months before the arrest.[24] Thirdly, we find it altogether disturbing
that appellant, without compunction, acknowledged in open court that he lied when he initially claimed he was kicked by the police officers while under their
custody. After testifying that he was kicked and punched on the chest and thighs, appellant unwittingly declared that he suffered no broken ribs or internal injury as a
result of the alleged mauling. Realizing the improbability of his claim of maltreatment, he promptly altered his previous testimony. He sought to explain the lack of visible
signs of physical abuse on his body by clarifying that he was only punched, not kicked, by the police authorities.[25] Lastly, it runs counter to common experience that
an innocent person, wrongly accused of a crime and subjected to alleged physical abuse by the authorities would keep mum about his plight. Yet, appellant, through all
the sufferings he supposedly underwent, would have us believe that he has not confided to anyone, not even to his brother, his version of the incident, not to mention
the maltreatment he supposedly endured in the hands of the police authorities.[26] In sum, appellants defense lacks the ring of truth.

Neither did the testimony of appellants corroborating witness aid the defense as it is equally flawed. De Guzman testified that he saw appellant being held by
two men and being forced into a car, yet he never revealed what he saw to appellants brother Nick. No explanation was offered for this omission. Although de Guzman
thought that the two men harbored ill intentions in abducting appellant, he never reported the incident to the police nor told Nick, appellants brother, about what he
witnessed. In fact, it was when Nick told him that appellant was in jail that de Guzman allegedly mentioned to Nick what he saw days earlier.[27]

Treated separately, the incongruent details in the defense theory may appear innocuous at first blush. However, the inconsistencies eventually add up, striking
at the very core of appellants defense -- the real purpose of his presence at the crime scene. The contradictions become disturbing as they remain unsatisfactorily
explained by the defense and unrebutted on record.
In sum, we find the testimony of Senior Inspector Enmodias credible to sustain a judgment of conviction. We reiterate the familiar rule that the testimony of a
single witness, if positive and credible, is enough to convict an accused. For indeed, criminals are convicted not on the number of witnesses presented against them,
but on the credibility of the testimony of even one witness.[28] It bears stress that it is the quality, not the quantity, of testimony that counts.[29] To be sure, a corroborative
testimony is not necessary where the details of the crime have been testified to with sufficient clarity. [30] As there was nothing to indicate in this case that police officer
Enmodias was inspired by ill-motive to testify mendaciously against appellant, the trial court had every reason to accord full faith and credit to his testimony.[31]

On a final note: The death sentence originally imposed on appellant was correctly modified by the trial court and reduced to reclusion perpetua as there was no
aggravating circumstance present in the commission of the crime. However, both the Decision and Order of the trial court omitted to impose the penalty of fine.[32]

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Order, dated August 6, 1996, affirming the conviction of appellant JESUS GARCIA y MANABAT for violation of Section 8, Article II of
R.A. 6425, as amended by R.A. 7659, but reducing his penalty to reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED, subject to the modification that additional penalty of fine in the
amount of ten million (P10,000,000.00) pesos is likewise imposed on him.Costs against appellant.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 134503 July 2, 1999

JASPER AGBAY, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR THE MILITARY, SPO4 NEMESIO NATIVIDAD, JR. and SPO2 ELEAZAR M. SOLOMON, respondent.

GONZAGA-REYES, J.:

This petition for certiorari seeks to nullify the Resolution of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military dated 19 January 19981 which recommended the dismissal of the
criminal complaint filed by petitioner against herein private respondents for violation of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code for delay in the delivery of detained
persons, and the Order of April 13, 19982 which denied his motion for reconsideration.

The pertinent facts leading to the filing of the petition at bar are as follows:

On September 7, 1997, petitioner, together with a certain Sherwin Jugalbot, was arrested and detained at the Liloan Police Station, Metro Cebu for an alleged violation
of R.A. 7610, the "Special Protection of Children Against Child abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."3 The following day, or on September 8, 1997, a Complaint
for violation of R.A. 7610 was filed against petitioner and Jugalbot before the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Metro Cebu by one Joan Gicaraya for and in
behalf of her daughter Gayle4 . The complaint, insofar as pertinent, reads as follows:

That on the 7th day of September 1997 at Sitio Bonbon, Brgy. Catarman, Liloan, Metro Cebu, Philippines and within the Preliminary
Jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there, willfully, feloniously and unlawfully, conspiring,
confederating, helping with one another, while accused JASPER AGBAY manipulating to finger the vagina of GAYLE FATIMA AMIGABLE
GICAYARA, his companion block the sight of the Private Complainant, Mrs. JOAN A. GICAYARA, while on board a tricycle going their
destinations. Upon initial investigation of the Bgy, Captain of Bgy. Catarman, accused SHERWIN JUGALBOT was released and accused
JASPER AGBAY is presently detain Liloan Police Station Jail. Medical Certificate issued from Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center,
Cebu City is hereto attached.

On September 10, 1997, counsel for petitioner wrote the Chief of Police of Liloan demanding the immediate release of petitioner considering that the latter had "failed to
deliver the detained Jasper Agbay to the proper judicial authority within thirty-six (36) hours from September 7, 1997."5 Private respondents did not act on this letter and
continued to detain petitioner.6

On September 12; 1997, the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Metro Cebu issued an order, denominated as "Detention During the Pendency of the Case",
committing petitioner to the jail warden of Cebu City.7 Five (5) days later, or on September 17, 1997, petitioner was ordered released by the said court after he had
posted bond.8

On September 26, 1997, petitioner filed a complaint for delay in the delivery of detained persons against herein private respondents SPO4 Nemesio Natividad, Jr.,
SPO2 Eleazar M. Salomon and other unidentified police officers stationed at the Liloan Police Substation, before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas.9

Regarding the complaint for violation of R.A. 7610, it is alleged by petitioner that on November 10, 1997, the 7th MCTC of Liloan, Metro Cebu issued a resolution
containing the following dispositive portion:

WHEREFORE, finding probable cause for the crime in Violation of Republic Act 7610, it is hereby recommended that an INFORMATION be
filed against the two aforenamed accused.

Forward the record of this case to the Provincial Fiscal's Office for appropriate action.10

By virtue of Memorandum Circular No. 14, Series of 1995, dated 10 October 1995 of the Office of the Ombudsman,11 the case for delay in delivery filed by petitioner
against herein private respondents before the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas was transferred to the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military for its proper disposition.
Thus, it was this office which acted on the complaint, now denominated as OMB-VIS-CRIM-97-0786, and which issued the questioned Resolution dated January 19,
1998 recommending its dismissal against herein private respondents. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of this Resolution but this motion was denied in an Order
dated April 13, 1998.

Hence, this petition for certiorari.

The grounds relied upon in the present petition12 are as follows:

I.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN RELYING ON MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 14, SERIES OF
1995, DATED 10 OCTOBER 1995, OF THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN IN HOLDING THAT IT HAS COMPETENCE TO ACT ON THE
ABOVE-ENTITLED CASE BEFORE IT, THE SAID CIRCULAR BEING UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL, HENCE, NULL AND VOID.

II.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT HOLDING THAT IT IS BEYOND ITS COMPENCE TO
DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT OF LILOAN-COMPOSTELA HAS IN FACT NO JURISDICTION
TO TRY THE CASE FILED AGAINST HEREIN PETITIONER.
III.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE MCTC, WHILE HAVING AUTHORITY TO
CONDUCT A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, IS NOT THE "PROPER JUDICIAL AUTHORITY " CONTEMPLATED IN ARTICLE 125 OF
THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND, HENCE, THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT BEFORE IT FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING A
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION DID NOT INTERRUPT THE PERIOD PRESCRIBED BY ART. 125.

IV.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN HOLIDING THAT THE ISSUE OF THE VALIDITY OF THE ORDER
OF DETENTION IS IRRELEVANT TO THE ISSUE OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR DELAY IN THE DELIVERY
OF DETAINED PERSONS.

V.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT THE DUTY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO FILE
THE NECESSARY COMPLAINT IN COURT WAS FULFILLED WHEN THEY FILED A FORMAL COMPLAINT ON 8 SEPTEMBER 1997 WITH
THE 7TH MCTC OF LILOAN-COMPOSTELA.

On the first issue, petitioner argues that due to the civilian character of the Philippine National Police, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, by virtue of
the description of the Office, has no competence or jurisdiction to act on his complaint against private respondents who are members of the PNP. Petitioner also
questions the constitutionality of Memorandum Circular No. 14 insofar as it purports to vest the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs with jurisdiction to
investigate all cases against personnel of the Philippine National Police.1wphi1.nt

There is no dispute as to the civilian character of our police force. The 1987 Constitution, in Section 6, Article XVI, has mandated the establishment of "one police force,
which shall be national in scope and civilian character (emphasis supplied)." Likewise, R.A. 697513 is categorical in describing the civilian character of the police
force.14The only question now is whether Memorandum Circular No. 14, in vesting the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military with jurisdiction to investigate
complaints against members of the PNP, violates the latter's civilian character.

As opined by the Office of the Solicitor General in its Comment dated 7 December 199815, the issue as to whether the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military has the
authority to investigate civilian personnel of the government was resolved in the affirmative in the case of Acop v. Office of the Ombudsman.16 In that case, the
petitioners, who were members of the Philippine National Police questioned the jurisdiction of the Deputy Ombudsman to investigate the alleged shootout of certain
suspected members of the "Kuratong Baleleng" robbery gang; this Court held that:

The deliberations on the Deputy for the military establishment do not yield conclusive evidence that such deputy is prohibited from performing
other functions or duties affecting non-military personnel. On the contrary, a review of the relevant Constitutional provisions reveal otherwise.

As previously established, the Ombudsman "may exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties" as Congress may prescribe
through legisiation. Therefore, nothing can prevent Congress from giving the Ombudsman supervision and control over the Ombudsman's
deputies, one being the deputy for the military establishment. In this light, Section 11 of R.A. No. 6770 provides:

Sec. 11. Structural Organization. The authority and responsibility for the exercise of the mandate of the Office of
the Ombudsman and for the discharge of its powers and functions shall be vested in the Ombudsman, who shall have
supervision and control of the said Office.

While Section 31 thereof declares:

Sec. 31. Designation of Investigators and Prosecutors. The Ombudsman may utilize the personnel of his office
and/or designate or deputize any fiscal, state prosecutor to assist in the investigation and prosecution of certain cases.
Those designated or deputized to assist him herein shall be under his supervision and control.

Accordingly, the Ombudsman may refer cases involving non-military personnel for investigation by the Deputy for Military Affairs. In these
cases at bench, therefore, no irregularity attended the referral by the Acting Ombudsman of the Kurutong Baleleng case to respondent
Casaclang who, in turn, created a panel of investigators.17

The cited case is determinative of the issue. However, petitioner, in his Reply to Comment dated February 1, 1999, argues that the ruling in the Acop case is not on all
fours with the case at bar18. Petitioner states that the doctrine laid down in the said case is simply that "the Ombudsman may refer cases involving non-military
personnel for investigation by the Deputy for Military Affairs. This doctrine, petitioner argues, "applies only to isolated or individual cases involving non-military personnel
referred by the Ombudsman to the Deputy for Military Affairs" and does not apply when, as in this case, there is a wholesale or indiscriminate referral of such cases to
the Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs in the form of an Office Memorandum Circular.

Petitioner's arguments do not convince as there is no basis for the distinction.

There is no basis in the above-cited decision to limit the referral of cases involving non-military personnel to the Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs to isolated or
individual cases. The Office of the Ombudsman, in issuing Memorandum Circular No. 15, is simply exercising the power vested in the Ombudsman "to utilize the
personnel of his office and/or designate or deputize any fiscal, state prosecutor or the or lawyer in the government service to act as special investigator or prosecutor to
assist in the investigation and prosecution of certain cases." This Court, absent any grave abuse of discretion, may not enterfere with the exercise by the Ombudsman
of his power of supervision and control over the said Office.
Petitioner further argues that Memorandum Circular No. 14 violates the clear intent and policy of the Constitution and of R.A. 6975 to maintain the civilian character of
the police force and "would render nugatory and meaningless the distinction between cases involving civilian and military personnel and the creation of separate
divisions of the Ombudsman."19

Said contentions are misplaced.

The Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, despite his designation as such, is by no means a member of the military establishment. The said Office was established "to
extend the Office of the Ombudsman to the military establishment just as it champions the common people against bureaucratic indifference". The Office was intended
to help the "ordinary foot soldiers" to obtain redress for their grievances against higher authorities and the drafters of the Constitution were aware that the creation of the
Office, which is seemingly independent of the President, to perform functions which constitutionally should be performed by the President, might be in derogation of the
powers of the President as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces20.

It must be borne in mind that the Office of the Ombudsman was envisioned by the framers of the 1987 Constitution as the "eyes and ears of the people"21 and "a
champion of the citizen.22" Sec. 12, Art. XI of the 1987 Constitution describes the Ombudsman and his deputies as "protectors of the people." Thus, first and foremost,
the Ombudsman and his deputies, including the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military owe their allegiance to the people and ordinary citizens, it is clearly not a part of the
military. We fail to see how the assumption of jurisdiction by the said office over the investigation of cases involving the PNP would detract from or violate the civilian
character of the police force when precisely the Office of the Ombudsman is a civilian office.

The other issues raised by petitioner concerns the application of Art. 125 of the Revised Penal Code which provides as follows:

Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. The penalties provided in the next preceding article shall
be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person for the
proper judicial authorities within the period of: twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent;
eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent; and thirty-six hours (36) hours, for crimes
or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.

In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be allowed, upon his request, to communicate and
confer at any time with his attorney or counsel.

In the case at bar, petitioner was arrested and detained at the Liloan Police Station on 7 September 1997 for an alleged violation of R.A. 7610, specifically section 5 (b)
thereof23. This crime carries a penalty of reclusion temporalin its medium period to reclusion perpetua, an afflictive penalty. Under these circumstances, a criminal
complaint or information should be filed with the proper judicial authorities within thirty six (36) hours of his arrest.

As borne by the records before us the mother of private complainant, Joan Gicaraya, filed a complaint on 8 September 1997 against petitioner for violation of R.A. 7610
before the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Metro Cebu.

Petitioner contends that the act of private complainant in filing the complaint before the MCTC was for purposes of preliminary investigation as the MCTC has no
jurisdiction to try the offense. This act of private complainant petitioner argues, was unnecessary, a surplusage which did not interrupt the period prescribed by Art.
12524 considering that under the Rules it is the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction to try the case against him. As such, upon the lapse of the thirty-six hours
given to the arresting officers to effect his delivery to the proper Regional Trial Court, private respondents were already guilty of violating Art. 125. Thus, petitioner
argues, when the Judge-Designate of the 7th MCTC issued a Commitment Order on September 12, 1997, he was acting contrary to law since by then there was no
basis for the continued detention of petitioner.25

In addressing the issue, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military in its 13 April 1998 Order, stated that the duty of filing the corresponding complaint in court
was "fulfille by respondent when the formal complaint was filed on September 8, 1997 with the 7th MCTC of Liloan-Compostela, barely 20 hours after the arrest of
herein complainant of September 7, 1997."26 The Solicitor General, for his part, argues that while a municipal court judge may conduct preliminary investigations as an
exception to his normal judicial duties, he still retains the authority to issue an order of release or commitment. As such, upon the filing of the complaint with the MCTC,
there was already compliance with the very purpose and intent of Art. 12527.

The core issue is whether the filing of the complaint with the Municipal Trial Court constitutes to a "proper judicial authority" as contemplated by Art. 125 of the Revised
Penal Code.

Art. 125 of the Revised Penal Code is intended to prevent any abuse resulting from confining a person without informing him of his offense and without permitting him to
go on bail28. More specifically, it punishes public officials or employees who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the
proper judicial authorities within the periods prescribed by law. The continued detention of the accused becomes illegal upon the expiration of the periods provided for
by Art. 125 without such detainee having been delivered to the corresponding judicial authorities29.

The words "judicial authority" as contemplated by Art. 125 mean "the courts of justices or judges of said courts vested with judicial power to order the temporary
detention or confinement of a person charged with having committed a public offense, that is, the Supreme Court and other such inferior courts as may be established
by law.30"

Petitioner takes great pains in arguing that when a municipal trial court judge, as in the instant case, conducts a preliminary investigation, he is not acting as a judge but
as a fiscal. In support, petitioner cites the cases of Sangguniang Bayan ng Batac, Ilocos Norte vs. Albano, 260 SCRA 561, and Castillo vs. Villaluz, 171 SCRA 39,
where it was held that "when a preliminary investigation is conducted by a judge, he performs a non-judicial function as an exception to his usual duties." Thus,
petitioner opines, the ruling in Sayo v. Chief of Police of Manila, 80 Phil. 862, that the city fiscal is not the proper judicial authority referred to in Art. 125 is applicable.

Petitioner's reliance on the cited cases is misplaced. The cited cases of Sangguniang Bayan and Castillo dealt with the issue of whether or not the findings of the
Municipal Court Judge in a preliminary investigation are subject to review by provincial and city fiscals. There was no pronoucement in these cases as to whether or not
a municipal trial court, in the exercise of its power to conduct preliminary investigations, is a proper judicial authority as contemplated by Art. 125.
Neither can petitioner rely on the doctrine enunciated in Sayo vs. Chief of Police, supra, since the facts of this case are different. In Sayo, the complainant was filed with
the city fiscal of Manila who could not issue an order of release or commitment while in the instant case, the complaint was filed with a judge who had the power to
issue such an order. Furthermore, in the Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration of the Sayo case 31, this Court even made a pronouncement that the
delivery of a detained person "is a legal one and consists in making a charge or filing a complaint against the prisoner with the proper justice of the peace or judge of
Court of First Instance in provinces, and in filing by the city fiscal of an information with the corresponding city courts after an investigation if the evidence against said
person warrants."

The power to order the release or confinement of an accused is determinative of the issue. In contrast with a city fiscal, it is undisputed that a municipal court judge,
even in the performance of his function to conduct preliminary investigations, retains the power to issue an order of release or commitment32. Furthermore, upon the
filing of the complaint with the Municipal Trial Court, the intent behind art. 125 is satisfied considering that by such act, the detained person is informed of the crime
imputed against him and, upon his application with the court, he may be released on bail33. Petitioner himself acknowledged this power of the MCTC to order his
release when he applied for and was granted his release upon posting bail34. Thus, the very purpose underlying Article 125 has been duly served with the filing of the
complaint with the MCTC. We agree with the postion of the Ombudsman that such filing of the complaint with the MCTC interrupted the period prescribed in said Article.

Finally, we note that it was the mother of private complainant who filed the complaint against petitioner with the 7th MCTC of Liloan, Metro Cebu. If tere was any error in
this procedure, private respondents should not be held liable. In the same manner, petitioner's argument that the controversial orders issued by the MCTC are contrary'
to law does not give rise to criminal liability on the part of the respondents. Respondent police officers may have rendered themselves open to sanctions if they had
released petitioners without the order of the court, knowing fully well that a complainant was a already filed with it.

WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of the assailed January 19, 1998 Resolution and the April 13, 1998 Order of the Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, the Court resolves to DISMISS the petition. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.