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G.R. No.

L-31195 June 5, 1973 The questioned order dated September 15, 1969, of Associate
Judge Joaquin M. Salvador of the respondent Court reproduced
PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS EMPLOYMENT the following stipulation of facts of the parties — parties —
ORGANIZATION, NICANOR TOLENTINO, FLORENCIO,
PADRIGANO RUFINO, ROXAS MARIANO DE LEON, 3. That on March 2, 1969 complainant company
ASENCION PACIENTE, BONIFACIO VACUNA, BENJAMIN learned of the projected mass demonstration at
PAGCU and RODULFO MUNSOD, petitioners, Malacañang in protest against alleged abuses of
vs. the Pasig Police Department to be participated by
PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO., INC. and COURT OF the first shift (6:00 AM-2:00 PM) workers as well as
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents. those working in the regular shifts (7:00 A.M. to
4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) in the morning
L.S. Osorio & P.B. Castillo and J.C. Espinas & Associates for of March 4, 1969;
petitioners.
4. That a meeting was called by the Company on
Demetrio B. Salem & Associates for private respondent. March 3, 1969 at about 11:00 A.M. at the
Company's canteen, and those present were: for
the Company: (1) Mr. Arthur L. Ang (2) Atty. S. de
Leon, Jr., (3) and all department and section
MAKASIAR, J.: heads. For the PBMEO (1) Florencio Padrigano,
(2) Rufino Roxas, (3) Mariano de Leon, (4)
The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization Asencion Paciente, (5) Bonifacio Vacuna and (6)
(hereinafter referred to as PBMEO) is a legitimate labor union Benjamin Pagcu.
composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine
Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and petitioners Nicanor Tolentino, 5. That the Company asked the union panel to
Florencio Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion confirm or deny said projected mass demonstration
Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo at Malacañang on March 4, 1969. PBMEO thru
Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union. Benjamin Pagcu who acted as spokesman of the
union panel, confirmed the planned demonstration
Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a and stated that the demonstration or rally cannot
mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969, in protest be cancelled because it has already been agreed
against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be participated in upon in the meeting. Pagcu explained further that
by the workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as the demonstration has nothing to do with the
those in the regular second and third shifts (from 7 A.M. to 4 Company because the union has no quarrel or
P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., respectively); and that they dispute with Management;
informed the respondent Company of their proposed
demonstration. 6. That Management, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon,
Company personnel manager, informed PBMEO
that the demonstration is an inalienable right of the
union guaranteed by the Constitution but
emphasized, however, that any demonstration for 8. That a certain Mr. Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of
that matter should not unduly prejudice the normal PBMEO sent a cablegram to the Company which
operation of the Company. For which reason, the was received 9:50 A.M., March 4, 1969, the
Company, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon warned the contents of which are as follows: 'REITERATING
PBMEO representatives that workers who belong REQUEST EXCUSE DAY SHIFT EMPLOYEES
to the first and regular shifts, who without previous JOINING DEMONSTRATION MARCH 4, 1969.'
leave of absence approved by the Company, (Pars. 3-8, Annex "F", pp. 42-43, rec.)
particularly , the officers present who are the
organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to Because the petitioners and their members numbering about 400
report for work the following morning (March 4, proceeded with the demonstration despite the pleas of the
1969) shall be dismissed, because such failure is a respondent Company that the first shift workers should not be
violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would required to participate in the demonstration and that the workers
be amounting to an illegal strike; in the second and third shifts should be utilized for the
demonstration from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. on March 4, 1969,
7. That at about 5:00 P.M. on March 3, 1969, respondent Company prior notice of the mass demonstration on
another meeting was convoked Company March 4, 1969, with the respondent Court, a charge against
represented by Atty. C.S. de Leon, Jr. The Union petitioners and other employees who composed the first shift,
panel was composed of: Nicanor Tolentino, charging them with a "violation of Section 4(a)-6 in relation to
Rodolfo Munsod, Benjamin Pagcu and Florencio Sections 13 and 14, as well as Section 15, all of Republic Act
Padrigano. In this afternoon meeting of March 3, No. 875, and of the CBA providing for 'No Strike and No
1969, Company reiterated and appealed to the Lockout.' " (Annex "A", pp. 19-20, rec.). The charge was
PBMEO representatives that while all workers may accompanied by the joint affidavit of Arthur L. Ang and Cesareo
join the Malacañang demonstration, the workers for de Leon, Jr. (Annex "B", pp. 21-24, rec.). Thereafter, a
the first and regular shift of March 4, 1969 should corresponding complaint was filed, dated April 18, 1969, by
be excused from joining the demonstration and Acting Chief Prosecutor Antonio T. Tirona and Acting Prosecutor
should report for work; and thus utilize the workers Linda P. Ilagan (Annex "C", pp. 25-30, rec.)
in the 2nd and 3rd shifts in order not to violate the
provisions of the CBA, particularly Article XXIV: NO In their answer, dated May 9, 1969, herein petitioners claim that
LOCKOUT — NO STRIKE'. All those who will not they did not violate the existing CBA because they gave the
follow this warning of the Company shall be respondent Company prior notice of the mass demonstration on
dismiss; De Leon reiterated the Company's March 4, 1969; that the said mass demonstration was a valid
warning that the officers shall be primarily liable exercise of their constitutional freedom of speech against the
being the organizers of the mass demonstration. alleged abuses of some Pasig policemen; and that their mass
The union panel countered that it was rather too demonstration was not a declaration of strike because it was not
late to change their plans inasmuch as the directed against the respondent firm (Annex "D", pp. 31-34, rec.)
Malacañang demonstration will be held the
following morning; and After considering the aforementioned stipulation of facts
submitted by the parties, Judge Joaquin M. Salvador, in an order
dated September 15, 1969, found herein petitioner PBMEO
guilty of bargaining in bad faith and herein petitioners Florencio reglementary period prescribed by its Rules (Annex "J", pp. 74-
Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, 75, rec.), which herein petitioners received on October 28, 196
Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu, Nicanor Tolentino and (pp. 12 & 76, rec.).
Rodulfo Munsod as directly responsible for perpetrating the said
unfair labor practice and were, as a consequence, considered to At the bottom of the notice of the order dated October 9, 1969,
have lost their status as employees of the respondent Company which was released on October 24, 1969 and addressed to the
(Annex "F", pp. 42-56, rec.) counsels of the parties (pp. 75-76, rec.), appear the
requirements of Sections 15, 16 and 17, as amended, of the
Herein petitioners claim that they received on September 23, Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations, that a motion for
1969, the aforesaid order (p. 11, rec.); and that they filed on reconsideration shall be filed within five (5) days from receipt of
September 29, 1969, because September 28, 1969 fell on its decision or order and that an appeal from the decision,
Sunday (p. 59, rec.), a motion for reconsideration of said order resolution or order of the C.I.R., sitting en banc, shall be
dated September 15, 1969, on the ground that it is contrary to perfected within ten (10) days from receipt thereof (p. 76, rec.).
law and the evidence, as well as asked for ten (10) days within
which to file their arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 On October 31, 1969, herein petitioners filed with the respondent
of the Rules of the CIR, as amended (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec. court a petition for relief from the order dated October 9, 1969,
) on the ground that their failure to file their motion for
reconsideration on time was due to excusable negligence and
In its opposition dated October 7, 1969, filed on October 11, honest mistake committed by the president of the petitioner
1969 (p. 63, rec.), respondent Company averred that herein Union and of the office clerk of their counsel, attaching thereto
petitioners received on September 22, 1969, the order dated the affidavits of the said president and clerk (Annexes "K", "K-1"
September 17 (should be September 15), 1969; that under and "K-2", rec.).
Section 15 of the amended Rules of the Court of Industrial
Relations, herein petitioners had five (5) days from September Without waiting for any resolution on their petition for relief from
22, 1969 or until September 27, 1969, within which to file their the order dated October 9, 1969, herein petitioners filed on
motion for reconsideration; and that because their motion for November 3, 1969, with the Supreme Court, a notice of appeal
reconsideration was two (2) days late, it should be accordingly (Annex "L", pp. 88-89, rec.).
dismissed, invoking Bien vs. Castillo, 1 which held among others,
that a motion for extension of the five-day period for the filing of a I
motion for reconsideration should be filed before the said five-
day period elapses (Annex "M", pp. 61-64, rec.). There is need of briefly restating basic concepts and principles
which underlie the issues posed by the case at bar.
Subsequently, herein petitioners filed on October 14, 1969 their
written arguments dated October 11, 1969, in support of their (1) In a democracy, the preservation and enhancement of the
motion for reconsideration (Annex "I", pp. 65-73, rec.). dignity and worth of the human personality is the central core as
well as the cardinal article of faith of our civilization. The
In a resolution dated October 9, 1969, the respondent en inviolable character of man as an individual must be "protected
banc dismissed the motion for reconsideration of herein to the largest possible extent in his thoughts and in his beliefs as
petitioners for being pro forma as it was filed beyond the the citadel of his person." 2
(2) The Bill of Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of liberty, redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful
equality and security "against the assaults of opportunism, the sanctions on erring public officers and employees.
expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of small
encroachments, and the scorn and derision of those who have (5) While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the
no patience with general principles." 3 primacy of human rights over property rights is
recognized. 8 Because these freedoms are "delicate and
In the pithy language of Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, the purpose vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society" and the
of the Bill of Rights is to withdraw "certain subjects from the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently
vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the as the actual application of sanctions," they "need breathing
reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal space to survive," permitting government regulation only "with
principles to be applied by the courts. One's rights to life, liberty narrow specificity." 9
and property, to free speech, or free press, freedom of worship
and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but
submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no human rights are imprescriptible. If human rights are
elections." 4 Laski proclaimed that "the happiness of the extinguished by the passage of time, then the Bill of Rights is a
individual, not the well-being of the State, was the criterion by useless attempt to limit the power of government and ceases to
which its behaviour was to be judged. His interests, not its be an efficacious shield against the tyranny of officials, of
power, set the limits to the authority it was entitled to exercise." 5 majorities, of the influential and powerful, and of oligarchs —
political, economic or otherwise.
(3) The freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the
right to petition are included among the immunities reserved by In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and
the sovereign people, in the rhetorical aphorism of Justice of assembly occupy a preferred position as they are essential to
Holmes, to protect the ideas that we abhor or hate more than the the preservation and vitality of our civil and political
ideas we cherish; or as Socrates insinuated, not only to protect institutions; 10 and such priority "gives these liberties the sanctity
the minority who want to talk, but also to benefit the majority who and the sanction not permitting dubious intrusions." 11
refuse to listen. 6 And as Justice Douglas cogently stresses it, the
liberties of one are the liberties of all; and the liberties of one are The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is
not safe unless the liberties of all are protected. 7 underscored by the fact that a mere reasonable or rational
relation between the means employed by the law and its object
(4) The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are or purpose — that the law is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory
not only civil rights but also political rights essential to man's nor oppressive — would suffice to validate a law which restricts
enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and or impairs property rights. 12 On the other hand, a constitutional
complete fulfillment. Thru these freedoms the citizens can or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent
participate not merely in the periodic establishment of the criterion, namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a
government through their suffrage but also in the administration substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent. So it
of public affairs as well as in the discipline of abusive public has been stressed in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernando
officers. The citizen is accorded these rights so that he can in Gonzales vs. Comelec and reiterated by the writer of the
appeal to the appropriate governmental officers or agencies for opinion inImbong vs. Ferrer. 13 It should be added that Mr.
Justice Barredo in Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, like Justices
Douglas, Black and Goldberg in N.Y. Times Co. vs. enhance its productivity as well as profits. Herein respondent
Sullivan, 14 believes that the freedoms of speech and of the employer did not even offer to intercede for its employees with
press as well as of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress the local police. Was it securing peace for itself at the expenses
of grievances are absolute when directed against public officials of its workers? Was it also intimidated by the local police or did it
or "when exercised in relation to our right to choose the men and encourage the local police to terrorize or vex its workers? Its
women by whom we shall be governed," 15 even as Mr. Justice failure to defend its own employees all the more weakened the
Castro relies on the balancing-of-interests test. 16 Chief Justice position of its laborers the alleged oppressive police who might
Vinson is partial to the improbable danger rule formulated by have been all the more emboldened thereby subject its lowly
Chief Judge Learned Hand, viz. — whether the gravity of the employees to further indignities.
evil, discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free
expression as is necessary to avoid the danger. 17 In seeking sanctuary behind their freedom of expression well as
their right of assembly and of petition against alleged persecution
II of local officialdom, the employees and laborers of herein private
respondent firm were fighting for their very survival, utilizing only
The respondent Court of Industrial Relations, after opining that the weapons afforded them by the Constitution — the
the mass demonstration was not a declaration of strike, untrammelled enjoyment of their basic human rights. The
concluded that by their "concerted act and the occurrence pretension of their employer that it would suffer loss or damage
temporary stoppage of work," herein petitioners are guilty by reason of the absence of its employees from 6 o'clock in the
bargaining in bad faith and hence violated the collective morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon, is a plea for the
bargaining agreement with private respondent Philippine preservation merely of their property rights. Such apprehended
Blooming Mills Co., inc.. Set against and tested by foregoing loss or damage would not spell the difference between the life
principles governing a democratic society, such conclusion and death of the firm or its owners or its management. The
cannot be sustained. The demonstration held petitioners on employees' pathetic situation was a stark reality — abused,
March 4, 1969 before Malacañang was against alleged abuses harassment and persecuted as they believed they were by the
of some Pasig policemen, not against their employer, herein peace officers of the municipality. As above intimated, the
private respondent firm, said demonstrate was purely and condition in which the employees found themselves vis-a-vis the
completely an exercise of their freedom expression in general local police of Pasig, was a matter that vitally affected their right
and of their right of assembly and petition for redress of to individual existence as well as that of their families. Material
grievances in particular before appropriate governmental loss can be repaired or adequately compensated. The
agency, the Chief Executive, again the police officers of the debasement of the human being broken in morale and brutalized
municipality of Pasig. They exercise their civil and political rights in spirit-can never be fully evaluated in monetary terms. The
for their mutual aid protection from what they believe were police wounds fester and the scars remain to humiliate him to his dying
excesses. As matter of fact, it was the duty of herein private day, even as he cries in anguish for retribution, denial of which is
respondent firm to protect herein petitioner Union and its like rubbing salt on bruised tissues.
members fro the harassment of local police officers. It was to the
interest herein private respondent firm to rally to the defense of, As heretofore stated, the primacy of human rights — freedom of
and take up the cudgels for, its employees, so that they can expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress of
report to work free from harassment, vexation or peril and as grievances — over property rights has been
consequence perform more efficiently their respective tasks sustained. 18 Emphatic reiteration of this basic tenet as a coveted
boon — at once the shield and armor of the dignity and worth of A.M. to 2 P.M. should report for work in order that loss or
the human personality, the all-consuming ideal of our damage to the firm will be averted. This stand failed appreciate
enlightened civilization — becomes Our duty, if freedom and the sine qua non of an effective demonstration especially by a
social justice have any meaning at all for him who toils so that labor union, namely the complete unity of the Union members as
capital can produce economic goods that can generate well as their total presence at the demonstration site in order to
happiness for all. To regard the demonstration against police generate the maximum sympathy for the validity of their cause
officers, not against the employer, as evidence of bad faith in but also immediately action on the part of the corresponding
collective bargaining and hence a violation of the collective government agencies with jurisdiction over the issues they raised
bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from against the local police. Circulation is one of the aspects of
employment of the demonstrating employees, stretches unduly freedom of expression. 21 If demonstrators are reduced by one-
the compass of the collective bargaining agreement, is "a potent third, then by that much the circulation of the issues raised by the
means of inhibiting speech" and therefore inflicts a moral as well demonstration is diminished. The more the participants, the more
as mortal wound on the constitutional guarantees of free persons can be apprised of the purpose of the rally. Moreover,
expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition. 19 the absence of one-third of their members will be regarded as a
substantial indication of disunity in their ranks which will enervate
The collective bargaining agreement which fixes the working their position and abet continued alleged police persecution. At
shifts of the employees, according to the respondent Court any rate, the Union notified the company two days in advance of
Industrial Relations, in effect imposes on the workers the "duty ... their projected demonstration and the company could have made
to observe regular working hours." The strain construction of the arrangements to counteract or prevent whatever losses it might
Court of Industrial Relations that a stipulated working shifts deny sustain by reason of the absence of its workers for one day,
the workers the right to stage mass demonstration against police especially in this case when the Union requested it to excuse
abuses during working hours, constitutes a virtual tyranny over only the day-shift employees who will join the demonstration on
the mind and life the workers and deserves severe March 4, 1969 which request the Union reiterated in their
condemnation. Renunciation of the freedom should not be telegram received by the company at 9:50 in the morning of
predicated on such a slender ground. March 4, 1969, the day of the mass demonstration (pp. 42-43,
rec.). There was a lack of human understanding or compassion
The mass demonstration staged by the employees on March 4, on the part of the firm in rejecting the request of the Union for
1969 could not have been legally enjoined by any court, such an excuse from work for the day shifts in order to carry out its mass
injunction would be trenching upon the freedom expression of demonstration. And to regard as a ground for dismissal the mass
the workers, even if it legally appears to be illegal picketing or demonstration held against the Pasig police, not against the
strike. 20 The respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the case company, is gross vindictiveness on the part of the employer,
at bar concedes that the mass demonstration was not a which is as unchristian as it is unconstitutional.
declaration of a strike "as the same not rooted in any industrial
dispute although there is concerted act and the occurrence of a III
temporary stoppage work." (Annex "F", p. 45, rec.).
The respondent company is the one guilty of unfair labor
The respondent firm claims that there was no need for all its practice. Because the refusal on the part of the respondent firm
employees to participate in the demonstration and that they to permit all its employees and workers to join the mass
suggested to the Union that only the first and regular shift from 6 demonstration against alleged police abuses and the subsequent
separation of the eight (8) petitioners from the service constituted demonstration is an inalienable right of the Union guaranteed by
an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of expression, the Constitution," nonetheless emphasized that "any
freedom of assembly and freedom petition for redress of demonstration for that matter should not unduly prejudice the
grievances, the respondent firm committed an unfair labor normal operation of the company" and "warned the PBMEO
practice defined in Section 4(a-1) in relation to Section 3 of representatives that workers who belong to the first and regular
Republic Act No. 875, otherwise known as the Industrial Peace shifts, who without previous leave of absence approved by the
Act. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8 guarantees to the Company, particularly the officers present who are the
employees the right "to engage in concert activities for ... mutual organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for work
aid or protection"; while Section 4(a-1) regards as an unfair labor the following morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed,
practice for an employer interfere with, restrain or coerce because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and,
employees in the exercise their rights guaranteed in Section therefore, would be amounting to an illegal strike (;)" (p. III,
Three." petitioner's brief). Such threat of dismissal tended to coerce the
employees from joining the mass demonstration. However, the
We repeat that the obvious purpose of the mass demonstration issues that the employees raised against the local police, were
staged by the workers of the respondent firm on March 4, 1969, more important to them because they had the courage to
was for their mutual aid and protection against alleged police proceed with the demonstration, despite such threat of dismissal.
abuses, denial of which was interference with or restraint on the The most that could happen to them was to lose a day's wage by
right of the employees to engage in such common action to reason of their absence from work on the day of the
better shield themselves against such alleged police indignities. demonstration. One day's pay means much to a laborer, more
The insistence on the part of the respondent firm that the especially if he has a family to support. Yet, they were willing to
workers for the morning and regular shift should not participate in forego their one-day salary hoping that their demonstration
the mass demonstration, under pain of dismissal, was as would bring about the desired relief from police abuses. But
heretofore stated, "a potent means of inhibiting speech." 22 management was adamant in refusing to recognize the superior
legitimacy of their right of free speech, free assembly and the
Such a concerted action for their mutual help and protection right to petition for redress.
deserves at least equal protection as the concerted action of
employees in giving publicity to a letter complaint charging bank Because the respondent company ostensibly did not find it
president with immorality, nepotism, favoritism an discrimination necessary to demand from the workers proof of the truth of the
in the appointment and promotion of ban employees. 23 We alleged abuses inflicted on them by the local police, it thereby
further ruled in the Republic Savings Bank case, supra, that for concedes that the evidence of such abuses should properly be
the employees to come within the protective mantle of Section 3 submitted to the corresponding authorities having jurisdiction
in relation to Section 4(a-1) on Republic Act No. 875, "it is not over their complaint and to whom such complaint may be
necessary that union activity be involved or that collective referred by the President of the Philippines for proper
bargaining be contemplated," as long as the concerted activity is investigation and action with a view to disciplining the local police
for the furtherance of their interests. 24 officers involved.

As stated clearly in the stipulation of facts embodied in the On the other hand, while the respondent Court of Industrial
questioned order of respondent Court dated September 15, Relations found that the demonstration "paralyzed to a large
1969, the company, "while expressly acknowledging, that the extent the operations of the complainant company," the
respondent Court of Industrial Relations did not make any finding exercise by employees of their right to self-organization for the
as to the fact of loss actually sustained by the firm. This purpose of collective bargaining and for the promotion of their
significant circumstance can only mean that the firm did not moral, social and economic well-being." It is most unfortunate in
sustain any loss or damage. It did not present evidence as to the case at bar that respondent Court of Industrial Relations, the
whether it lost expected profits for failure to comply with very governmental agency designed therefor, failed to implement
purchase orders on that day; or that penalties were exacted from this policy and failed to keep faith with its avowed mission —
it by customers whose orders could not be filled that day of the its raison d'etre — as ordained and directed by the Constitution.
demonstration; or that purchase orders were cancelled by the
customers by reason of its failure to deliver the materials V
ordered; or that its own equipment or materials or products were
damaged due to absence of its workers on March 4, 1969. On It has been likewise established that a violation of a
the contrary, the company saved a sizable amount in the form of constitutional right divests the court of jurisdiction; and as a
wages for its hundreds of workers, cost of fuel, water and electric consequence its judgment is null and void and confers no rights.
consumption that day. Such savings could have amply Relief from a criminal conviction secured at the sacrifice of
compensated for unrealized profits or damages it might have constitutional liberties, may be obtained through habeas corpus
sustained by reason of the absence of its workers for only one proceedings even long after the finality of the judgment. Thus,
day. habeas corpus is the remedy to obtain the release of an
individual, who is convicted by final judgment through a forced
IV confession, which violated his constitutional right against self-
incrimination; 25or who is denied the right to present evidence in
Apart from violating the constitutional guarantees of free speech his defense as a deprivation of his liberty without due process of
and assembly as well as the right to petition for redress of law, 26even after the accused has already served sentence for
grievances of the employees, the dismissal of the eight (8) twenty-two years. 27
leaders of the workers for proceeding with the demonstration and
consequently being absent from work, constitutes a denial of Both the respondents Court of Industrial Relations and private
social justice likewise assured by the fundamental law to these firm trenched upon these constitutional immunities of petitioners.
lowly employees. Section 5 of Article II of the Constitution Both failed to accord preference to such rights and aggravated
imposes upon the State "the promotion of social justice to insure the inhumanity to which the aggrieved workers claimed they had
the well-being and economic security of all of the people," which been subjected by the municipal police. Having violated these
guarantee is emphasized by the other directive in Section 6 of basic human rights of the laborers, the Court of Industrial
Article XIV of the Constitution that "the State shall afford Relations ousted itself of jurisdiction and the questioned orders it
protection to labor ...". Respondent Court of Industrial Relations issued in the instant case are a nullity. Recognition and
as an agency of the State is under obligation at all times to give protection of such freedoms are imperative on all public offices
meaning and substance to these constitutional guarantees in including the courts 28 as well as private citizens and
favor of the working man; for otherwise these constitutional corporations, the exercise and enjoyment of which must not be
safeguards would be merely a lot of "meaningless constitutional nullified by mere procedural rule promulgated by the Court
patter." Under the Industrial Peace Act, the Court of Industrial Industrial Relations exercising a purely delegate legislative
Relations is enjoined to effect the policy of the law "to eliminate power, when even a law enacted by Congress must yield to the
the causes of industrial unrest by encouraging and protecting the untrammelled enjoyment of these human rights. There is no time
limit to the exercise of the freedoms. The right to enjoy them is supremacy to the foregoing rules of the Court of Industrial
not exhausted by the delivery of one speech, the printing of one Relations over basic human rights sheltered by the Constitution,
article or the staging of one demonstration. It is a continuing is not only incompatible with the basic tenet of constitutional
immunity to be invoked and exercised when exigent and government that the Constitution is superior to any statute or
expedient whenever there are errors to be rectified, abuses to be subordinate rules and regulations, but also does violence to
denounced, inhumanities to be condemned. Otherwise these natural reason and logic. The dominance and superiority of the
guarantees in the Bill of Rights would be vitiated by rule on constitutional right over the aforesaid Court of Industrial
procedure prescribing the period for appeal. The battle then Relations procedural rule of necessity should be affirmed. Such
would be reduced to a race for time. And in such a contest a Court of Industrial Relations rule as applied in this case does
between an employer and its laborer, the latter eventually loses not implement or reinforce or strengthen the constitutional rights
because he cannot employ the best an dedicated counsel who affected,' but instead constrict the same to the point of nullifying
can defend his interest with the required diligence and zeal, the enjoyment thereof by the petitioning employees. Said Court
bereft as he is of the financial resources with which to pay for of Industrial Relations rule, promulgated as it was pursuant to a
competent legal services. 28-a mere legislative delegation, is unreasonable and therefore is
beyond the authority granted by the Constitution and the law. A
VI period of five (5) days within which to file a motion for
reconsideration is too short, especially for the aggrieved workers,
The Court of Industrial Relations rule prescribes that motion for who usually do not have the ready funds to meet the necessary
reconsideration of its order or writ should filed within five (5) days expenses therefor. In case of the Court of Appeals and the
from notice thereof and that the arguments in support of said Supreme Court, a period of fifteen (15) days has been fixed for
motion shall be filed within ten (10) days from the date of filing of the filing of the motion for re hearing or reconsideration (See. 10,
such motion for reconsideration (Sec. 16). As above intimated, Rule 51; Sec. 1, Rule 52; Sec. 1, Rule 56, Revised Rules of
these rules of procedure were promulgated by the Court of Court). The delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration
Industrial Relations pursuant to a legislative delegation. 29 could have been only one day if September 28, 1969 was not a
Sunday. This fact accentuates the unreasonableness of the
The motion for reconsideration was filed on September 29, 1969, Court of Industrial are concerned.
or seven (7) days from notice on September 22, 1969 of the
order dated September 15, 1969 or two (2) days late. Petitioners It should be stressed here that the motion for reconsideration
claim that they could have filed it on September 28, 1969, but it dated September 27, 1969, is based on the ground that the order
was a Sunday. sought to be reconsidered "is not in accordance with law,
evidence and facts adduced during the hearing," and likewise
Does the mere fact that the motion for reconsideration was filed prays for an extension of ten (10) days within which to file
two (2) days late defeat the rights of the petitioning employees? arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of
Or more directly and concretely, does the inadvertent omission the Court of Industrial Relations (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec.);
to comply with a mere Court of Industrial Relations procedural although the arguments were actually filed by the herein
rule governing the period for filing a motion for reconsideration or petitioners on October 14, 1969 (Annex "I", pp. 70-73, rec.), long
appeal in labor cases, promulgated pursuant to a legislative after the 10-day period required for the filing of such supporting
delegation, prevail over constitutional rights? The answer should arguments counted from the filing of the motion for
be obvious in the light of the aforecited cases. To accord reconsideration. Herein petitioners received only on October 28,
1969 the resolution dated October 9, 1969 dismissing the motion in Estrada vs. Sto. Domingo. 30-c reiterated this principle and
for reconsideration for being pro forma since it was filed beyond added that
the reglementary period (Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.)
Under this authority, this Court is enabled to cove
It is true that We ruled in several cases that where a motion to with all situations without concerning itself about
reconsider is filed out of time, or where the arguments in suppf procedural niceties that do not square with the
such motion are filed beyond the 10 day reglementary period need to do justice, in any case, without further loss
provided for by the Court of Industrial Relations rules, the order of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full
or decision subject of 29-a reconsideration becomes final and day in court is not substantially impaired. Thus, this
unappealable. But in all these cases, the constitutional rights of Court may treat an appeal as a certiorari and vice-
free expression, free assembly and petition were not involved. versa. In other words, when all the material facts
are spread in the records before Us, and all the
It is a procedural rule that generally all causes of action and parties have been duly heard, it matters little that
defenses presently available must be specifically raised in the the error of the court a quo is of judgment or of
complaint or answer; so that any cause of action or defense not jurisdiction. We can then and there render the
raised in such pleadings, is deemed waived. However, a appropriate judgment. Is within the contemplation
constitutional issue can be raised any time, even for the first time of this doctrine that as it is perfectly legal and within
on appeal, if it appears that the determination of the the power of this Court to strike down in an appeal
constitutional issue is necessary to a decision of the case, the acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or
very lis mota of the case without the resolution of which no final committed with grave abuse of discretion, it cannot
and complete determination of the dispute can be made. 30 It is be beyond the admit of its authority, in appropriate
thus seen that a procedural rule of Congress or of the Supreme cases, to reverse in a certain proceed in any error
Court gives way to a constitutional right. In the instant case, the of judgment of a court a quo which cannot be
procedural rule of the Court of Industrial Relations, a creature of exactly categorized as a flaw of jurisdiction. If there
Congress, must likewise yield to the constitutional rights invoked can be any doubt, which I do not entertain, on
by herein petitioners even before the institution of the unfair labor whether or not the errors this Court has found in
practice charged against them and in their defense to the said the decision of the Court of Appeals are short of
charge. being jurisdiction nullities or excesses, this Court
would still be on firm legal grounds should it
In the case at bar, enforcement of the basic human freedoms choose to reverse said decision here and now even
sheltered no less by the organic law, is a most compelling if such errors can be considered as mere mistakes
reason to deny application of a Court of Industrial Relations rule of judgment or only as faults in the exercise of
which impinges on such human rights.30-a jurisdiction, so as to avoid the unnecessary return
of this case to the lower court for the sole purpose
It is an accepted principle that the Supreme Court has the of pursuing the ordinary course of an appeal.
inherent power to "suspend its own rules or to except a particular (Emphasis supplied). 30-d
case from its operation, whenever the purposes of justice
require." 30-b Mr. Justice Barredo in his concurring opinion Insistence on the application of the questioned Court industrial
Relations rule in this particular case at bar would an unreasoning
adherence to "Procedural niceties" which denies justice to the procedure and shall have such other powers as
herein laborers, whose basic human freedoms, including the generally pertain to a court of justice: Provided,
right to survive, must be according supremacy over the property however, That in the hearing, investigation and
rights of their employer firm which has been given a full hearing determination of any question or controversy and in
on this case, especially when, as in the case at bar, no actual exercising any duties and power under this Act, the
material damage has be demonstrated as having been inflicted Court shall act according to justice and equity and
on its property rights. substantial merits of the case, without regard to
technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound
If We can disregard our own rules when justice requires it, by any technical rules of legal evidence but may
obedience to the Constitution renders more imperative the inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just
suspension of a Court of Industrial Relations rule that clash with and equitable.' By this provision the industrial court
the human rights sanctioned and shielded with resolution is disengaged from the rigidity of the technicalities
concern by the specific guarantees outlined in the organic law. It applicable to ordinary courts. Said court is not even
should be stressed that the application in the instant case restricted to the specific relief demanded by the
Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules relied upon parties but may issue such orders as may be
by herein respondent firm is unreasonable and therefore such deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of
application becomes unconstitutional as it subverts the human settling the dispute or dispelling any doubts that
rights of petitioning labor union and workers in the light of the may give rise to future disputes. (Ang Tibay v.
peculiar facts and circumstances revealed by the record. C.I.R., G.R. No. 46496, Feb. 17, 1940; Manila
Trading & Supply Co. v. Phil. Labor, 71 Phil. 124.)
The suspension of the application of Section 15 of the Court of For these reasons, We believe that this provision is
Industrial Relations rules with reference to the case at is also ample enough to have enabled the respondent
authorized by Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, the court to consider whether or not its previous ruling
C.I.R. charter, which enjoins the Court of Industrial Relations to that petitioners constitute a minority was founded
"act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the on fact, without regard to the technical meaning of
case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms ..." newly discovered evidence. ... (Alonso v. Villamor,
16 Phil. 315; Chua Kiong v. Whitaker, 46 Phil. 578).
On several occasions, We emphasized this doctrine which was (emphasis supplied.)
re-stated by Mr. Justice Barredo, speaking for the Court, in the
1970 case of Kapisanan, etc. vs. Hamilton, etc., et. al., 30-e thus: To apply Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with
"pedantic rigor" in the instant case is to rule in effect that the
As to the point that the evidence being offered by poor workers, who can ill-afford an alert competent lawyer, can
the petitioners in the motion for new trial is not no longer seek the sanctuary of human freedoms secured to
"newly discovered," as such term is understood in them by the fundamental law, simply because their counsel —
the rules of procedure for the ordinary courts, We erroneously believing that he received a copy of the decision on
hold that such criterion is not binding upon the September 23, 1969, instead of September 22, 1969 - filed his
Court of Industrial Relations. Under Section 20 of motion for reconsideration September 29, 1969, which practically
Commonwealth Act No. 103, 'The Court of is only one day late considering that September 28, 1969 was a
Industrial Relations shall adopt its, rules or Sunday.
Many a time, this Court deviated from procedure technicalities SCRA 272.) Justice Zaldivar was partial to an
when they ceased to be instruments of justice, for the attainment earlier formulation of Justice Labrador that rules of
of which such rules have been devised. Summarizing the procedure "are not to be applied in a very rigid,
jurisprudence on this score, Mr. Justice Fernando, speaking for a technical sense"; but are intended "to help secure
unanimous Court in Palma vs. Oreta, 30-f Stated: substantial justice." (Ibid., p. 843) ... 30-g

As was so aptly expressed by Justice Moreland Even if the questioned Court of Industrial Relations orders and
in Alonso v. Villamor (16 Phil. 315 [1910]. The rule were to be given effect, the dismissal or termination of the
Villamor decision was cited with approval in employment of the petitioning eight (8) leaders of the Union is
Register of Deeds v. Phil. Nat. Bank, 84 Phil. 600 harsh for a one-day absence from work. The respondent Court
[1949]; Potenciano v. Court of Appeals, 104 Phil. itself recognized the severity of such a sanction when it did not
156 [1958] and Uy v. Uy, 14243, June 30, 1961, 2 include the dismissal of the other 393 employees who are
SCRA 675.), decided as far back as 1910, members of the same Union and who participated in the
"technicality. when it deserts its proper-office as an demonstration against the Pasig police. As a matter of fact, upon
aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and the intercession of the Secretary of Labor, the Union members
chief enemy, deserves scant consideration from who are not officers, were not dismissed and only the Union itself
courts." (Ibid., p, 322.) To that norm, this Court has and its thirteen (13) officers were specifically named as
remained committed. The late Justice Recto in respondents in the unfair labor practice charge filed against them
Blanco v. Bernabe, (63 Phil. 124 [1936]) was of a by the firm (pp. 16-20, respondent's Brief; Annexes "A", "B" and
similar mind. For him the interpretation of "C", pp. 20-30, rec.). Counsel for respondent firm insinuates that
procedural rule should never "sacrifice the ends not all the 400 or so employee participated in the demonstration,
justice." While "procedural laws are no other than for which reason only the Union and its thirteen (13) officers
technicalities" view them in their entirety, 'they were were specifically named in the unfair labor practice charge (p.
adopted not as ends themselves for the 20, respondent's brief). If that were so, then many, if not all, of
compliance with which courts have organized and the morning and regular shifts reported for work on March 4,
function, but as means conducive to the realization 1969 and that, as a consequence, the firm continued in operation
the administration of the law and of justice (Ibid., that day and did not sustain any damage.
p.,128). We have remained steadfastly opposed, in
the highly rhetorical language Justice Felix, to "a The appropriate penalty — if it deserves any penalty at all —
sacrifice of substantial rights of a litigant in altar of should have been simply to charge said one-day absence
sophisticated technicalities with impairment of the against their vacation or sick leave. But to dismiss the eight (8)
sacred principles of justice." (Potenciano v. Court leaders of the petitioner Union is a most cruel penalty, since as
of Appeals, 104 Phil. 156, 161 [1958]). As aforestated the Union leaders depend on their wages for their
succinctly put by Justice Makalintal, they "should daily sustenance as well as that of their respective families aside
give way to the realities of the situation." (Urbayan from the fact that it is a lethal blow to unionism, while at the
v. Caltex, L-15379, Aug. 31, 1962, 5 SCRA 1016, same time strengthening the oppressive hand of the petty tyrants
1019). In the latest decision in point promulgated in in the localities.
1968, (Udan v. Amon, (1968, 23 SCRA citing
McEntee v. Manotok, L-14968, Oct. 27, 1961, 3 Mr. Justice Douglas articulated this pointed reminder:
The challenge to our liberties comes frequently not firm to conserve its income or profits than to assist its employees
from those who consciously seek to destroy our in their fight for their freedoms and security against alleged petty
system of Government, but from men of goodwill — tyrannies of local police officers. This is sheer opportunism. Such
good men who allow their proper concerns to blind opportunism and expediency resorted to by the respondent
them to the fact that what they propose to company assaulted the immunities and welfare of its employees.
accomplish involves an impairment of liberty. It was pure and implement selfishness, if not greed.

... The Motives of these men are often Of happy relevance is the 1967 case of Republic Savings Bank
commendable. What we must remember, however, vs. C.I.R., 32 where the petitioner Bank dismissed eight (8)
is thatpreservation of liberties does not depend on employees for having written and published "a patently libelous
motives. A suppression of liberty has the same letter ... to the Bank president demanding his resignation on the
effect whether the suppress or be a reformer or an grounds of immorality, nepotism in the appointment and
outlaw. The only protection against misguided zeal favoritism as well as discrimination in the promotion of bank
is a constant alertness of the infractions of the employees." Therein, thru Mr. Justice Castro, We ruled:
guarantees of liberty contained in our
Constitution. Each surrender of liberty to the It will avail the Bank none to gloat over this
demands of the moment makes easier another, admission of the respondents. Assuming that the
larger surrender. The battle over the Bill of Rights latter acted in their individual capacities when they
is a never ending one. wrote the letter-charge they were nonetheless
protected for they were engaged in concerted
... The liberties of any person are the liberties of all activity, in the exercise of their right of self
of us. organization that includes concerted activity for
mutual aid and protection, (Section 3 of the
... In short, the Liberties of none are safe unless the Industrial Peace Act ...) This is the view of some
liberties of all are protected. members of this Court. For, as has been aptly
stated, the joining in protests or demands, even by
... But even if we should sense no danger to our a small group of employees, if in furtherance of
own liberties, even if we feel secure because we their interests as such, is a concerted activity
belong to a group that is important and respected, protected by the Industrial Peace Act. It is not
we must recognize that our Bill of Rights is a code necessary that union activity be involved or that
of fair play for the less fortunate that we in all honor collective bargaining be contemplated. (Annot., 6
and good conscience must be observe. 31 A.L.R. 2d 416 [1949]).

The case at bar is worse. xxx xxx xxx

Management has shown not only lack of good-will or good Instead of stifling criticism, the Bank should have
intention, but a complete lack of sympathetic understanding of allowed the respondents to air their grievances.
the plight of its laborers who claim that they are being subjected
to indignities by the local police, It was more expedient for the xxx xxx xxx
The Bank defends its action by invoking its right to (1) setting aside as null and void the orders of the respondent
discipline for what it calls the respondents' libel in Court of Industrial Relations dated September 15 and October 9,
giving undue publicity to their letter-charge. To be 1969; and
sure, the right of self-organization of employees is
not unlimited (Republic Aviation Corp. vs. NLRB (2) directing the re instatement of the herein eight (8) petitioners,
324 U.S. 793 [1945]), as the right of the employer with full back pay from the date of their separation from the
to discharge for cause (Philippine Education Co. v. service until re instated, minus one day's pay and whatever
Union of Phil. Educ. Employees, L-13773, April 29, earnings they might have realized from other sources during
1960) is undenied. The Industrial Peace Act does their separation from the service.
not touch the normal exercise of the right of the
employer to select his employees or to discharge With costs against private respondent Philippine Blooming
them. It is directed solely against the abuse of that Company, Inc.
right by interfering with the countervailing right of
self organization (Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
313 U.S. 177 [1941])...
Makalintal, C.J, took no part.
xxx xxx xxx

In the final sum and substance, this Court is in


unanimity that the Bank's conduct, identified as an
interference with the employees' right of self-
organization or as a retaliatory action, and/or as a
refusal to bargain collectively, constituted an unfair
labor practice within the meaning and intendment
of section 4(a) of the Industrial Peace Act.
(Emphasis supplied.) 33

If free expression was accorded recognition and protection to


fortify labor unionism in the Republic Savings case, supra, where
the complaint assailed the morality and integrity of the bank G.R. No. 81561 January 18, 1991
president no less, such recognition and protection for free
speech, free assembly and right to petition are rendered all the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee
more justifiable and more imperative in the case at bar, where vs.
the mass demonstration was not against the company nor any of ANDRE MARTI, accused-appellant.
its officers.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered:
Reynaldo B. Tatoy and Abelardo E. Rogacion for accused-
appellant.
Styro-foam was placed at the bottom and on top of
the packages before the box was sealed with
BIDIN, J.:p masking tape, thus making the box ready for
shipment (Decision, p. 8).
This is an appeal from a decision * rendered by the Special
Criminal Court of Manila (Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIX) Before delivery of appellant's box to the Bureau of
convicting accused-appellant of violation of Section 21 (b), Customs and/or Bureau of Posts, Mr. Job Reyes
Article IV in relation to Section 4, Article 11 and Section 2 (e) (i), (proprietor) and husband of Anita (Reyes),
Article 1 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known as following standard operating procedure, opened
the Dangerous Drugs Act. the boxes for final inspection. When he opened
appellant's box, a peculiar odor emitted
The facts as summarized in the brief of the prosecution are as therefrom. His curiousity aroused, he squeezed
follows: one of the bundles allegedly containing gloves and
felt dried leaves inside. Opening one of the
On August 14, 1987, between 10:00 and 11:00 bundles, he pulled out a cellophane wrapper
a.m., the appellant and his common-law wife, protruding from the opening of one of the
Shirley Reyes, went to the booth of the "Manila gloves. He made an opening on one of the
Packing and Export Forwarders" in the Pistang cellophane wrappers and took several grams of the
Pilipino Complex, Ermita, Manila, carrying with contents thereof (tsn, pp. 29-30, October 6, 1987;
them four (4) gift wrapped packages. Anita Reyes Emphasis supplied).
(the proprietress and no relation to Shirley Reyes)
attended to them. The appellant informed Anita Job Reyes forthwith prepared a letter reporting the
Reyes that he was sending the packages to a shipment to the NBI and requesting a laboratory
friend in Zurich, Switzerland. Appellant filled up the examination of the samples he extracted from the
contract necessary for the transaction, writing cellophane wrapper (tsn, pp. 5-6, October 6, 1987).
therein his name, passport number, the date of
shipment and the name and address of the He brought the letter and a sample of appellant's
consignee, namely, "WALTER FIERZ, Mattacketr shipment to the Narcotics Section of the National
II, 8052 Zurich, Switzerland" (Decision, p. 6) Bureau of Investigation (NBI), at about 1:30 o'clock
in the afternoon of that date, i.e., August 14, 1987.
Anita Reyes then asked the appellant if she could He was interviewed by the Chief of Narcotics
examine and inspect the packages. Appellant, Section. Job Reyes informed the NBI that the rest
however, refused, assuring her that the packages of the shipment was still in his office. Therefore,
simply contained books, cigars, and gloves and Job Reyes and three (3) NBI agents, and a
were gifts to his friend in Zurich. In view of photographer, went to the Reyes' office at Ermita,
appellant's representation, Anita Reyes no longer Manila (tsn, p. 30, October 6, 1987).
insisted on inspecting the packages. The four (4)
packages were then placed inside a brown Job Reyes brought out the box in which appellant's
corrugated box one by two feet in size (1' x 2'). packages were placed and, in the presence of the
NBI agents, opened the top flaps, removed the In this appeal, accused/appellant assigns the following errors, to
styro-foam and took out the cellophane wrappers wit:
from inside the gloves. Dried marijuana leaves
were found to have been contained inside the THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN
cellophane wrappers (tsn, p. 38, October 6, 1987; EVIDENCE THE ILLEGALLY SEARCHED AND
Emphasis supplied). SEIZED OBJECTS CONTAINED IN THE FOUR
PARCELS.
The package which allegedly contained books was
likewise opened by Job Reyes. He discovered that THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING
the package contained bricks or cake-like dried APPELLANT DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACT
marijuana leaves. The package which allegedly THAT HIS RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION
contained tabacalera cigars was also opened. It WHILE UNDER CUSTODIAL PROCEEDINGS
turned out that dried marijuana leaves were neatly WERE NOT OBSERVED.
stocked underneath the cigars (tsn, p. 39, October
6, 1987). THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING
CREDENCE TO THE EXPLANATION OF THE
The NBI agents made an inventory and took APPELLANT ON HOW THE FOUR PARCELS
charge of the box and of the contents thereof, after CAME INTO HIS POSSESSION (Appellant's Brief,
signing a "Receipt" acknowledging custody of the p. 1;Rollo, p. 55)
said effects (tsn, pp. 2-3, October 7, 1987).
1. Appellant contends that the evidence subject of the imputed
Thereupon, the NBI agents tried to locate appellant but to no offense had been obtained in violation of his constitutional rights
avail. Appellant's stated address in his passport being the Manila against unreasonable search and seizure and privacy of
Central Post Office, the agents requested assistance from the communication (Sec. 2 and 3, Art. III, Constitution) and therefore
latter's Chief Security. On August 27, 1987, appellant, while argues that the same should be held inadmissible in evidence
claiming his mail at the Central Post Office, was invited by the (Sec. 3 (2), Art. III).
NBI to shed light on the attempted shipment of the seized dried
leaves. On the same day the Narcotics Section of the NBI Sections 2 and 3, Article III of the Constitution provide:
submitted the dried leaves to the Forensic Chemistry Section for
laboratory examination. It turned out that the dried leaves were Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their
marijuana flowering tops as certified by the forensic chemist. persons, houses, papers and effects against
(Appellee's Brief, pp. 9-11, Rollo, pp. 132-134). unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever
nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and
Thereafter, an Information was filed against appellant for no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue
violation of RA 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs except upon probable cause to be determined
Act. personally by the judge after examination under
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
After trial, the court a quo rendered the assailed decision. witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the Court (80 Phil. 1 [1948]) wherein the admissibility of evidence
persons or things to be seized. was not affected by the illegality of its seizure. The 1973 Charter
(Sec. 4 [2], Art. IV) constitutionalized the Stonehill ruling and is
Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and carried over up to the present with the advent of the 1987
correspondence shall be inviolable except upon Constitution.
lawful order of the court, or when public safety or
order requires otherwise as prescribed by law. In a number of cases, the Court strictly adhered to the
exclusionary rule and has struck down the admissibility of
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional safeguard
preceding section shall be inadmissible for any against unreasonable searches and seizures. (Bache & Co.,
purpose in any proceeding. (Phil.), Inc., v. Ruiz, 37 SCRA 823 [1971]; Lim v. Ponce de Leon,
66 SCRA 299 [1975]; People v. Burgos, 144 SCRA 1 [1986];
Our present constitutional provision on the guarantee against Roan v. Gonzales, 145 SCRA 687 [1987]; See also Salazar v.
unreasonable search and seizure had its origin in the 1935 Hon. Achacoso, et al., GR No. 81510, March 14, 1990).
Charter which, worded as follows:
It must be noted, however, that in all those cases adverted to,
The right of the people to be secure in their the evidence so obtained were invariably procured by the State
persons, houses, papers and effects against acting through the medium of its law enforcers or other
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be authorized government agencies.
violated, and no warrants shall issue but
uponprobable cause, to be determined by the On the other hand, the case at bar assumes a peculiar character
judge after examination under oath or affirmation of since the evidence sought to be excluded was primarily
the complainant and the witnesses he may discovered and obtained by a private person, acting in a private
produce, and particularly describing the place to be capacity and without the intervention and participation of State
searched, and the persons or things to be seized. authorities. Under the circumstances, can accused/appellant
(Sec. 1 [3], Article III) validly claim that his constitutional right against unreasonable
searches and seizure has been violated? Stated otherwise, may
was in turn derived almost verbatim from the Fourth an act of a private individual, allegedly in violation of appellant's
Amendment ** to the United States Constitution. As such, the constitutional rights, be invoked against the State?
Court may turn to the pronouncements of the United States
Federal Supreme Court and State Appellate Courts which are We hold in the negative. In the absence of governmental
considered doctrinal in this jurisdiction. interference, the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution cannot
be invoked against the State.
Thus, following the exclusionary rule laid down in Mapp v. Ohio
by the US Federal Supreme Court (367 US 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 As this Court held in Villanueva v. Querubin (48 SCRA 345
L.Ed. 1081 [1961]), this Court, in Stonehill v. Diokno (20 SCRA [1972]:
383 [1967]), declared as inadmissible any evidence obtained by
virtue of a defective search and seizure warrant, abandoning in 1. This constitutional right (against unreasonable
the process the ruling earlier adopted in Moncado v. People's search and seizure) refers to the immunity of one's
person, whether citizen or alien, from interference And again in the 1969 case of Walker v. State (429 S.W.2d 121),
by government, included in which is his residence, it was held that the search and seizure clauses are restraints
his papers, and other possessions. . . . upon the government and its agents, not upon private individuals
(citing People v. Potter, 240 Cal. App.2d 621, 49 Cap. Rptr, 892
. . . There the state, however powerful, does not as (1966); State v. Brown, Mo., 391 S.W.2d 903 (1965); State v.
such have the access except under the Olsen, Or., 317 P.2d 938 (1957).
circumstances above noted, for in the traditional
formulation, his house, however humble, is his Likewise appropos is the case of Bernas v. US (373 F.2d 517
castle. Thus is outlawed any unwarranted intrusion (1967). The Court there said:
by government, which is called upon to refrain from
any invasion of his dwelling and to respect the The search of which appellant complains, however,
privacies of his life. . . . (Cf. Schermerber v. was made by a private citizen — the owner of a
California, 384 US 757 [1966] and Boyd v. United motel in which appellant stayed overnight and in
States, 116 US 616 [1886]; Emphasis supplied). which he left behind a travel case containing the
evidence*** complained of. The search was made
In Burdeau v. McDowell (256 US 465 (1921), 41 S Ct. 547; 65 on the motel owner's own initiative. Because of it,
L.Ed. 1048), the Court there in construing the right against he became suspicious, called the local police,
unreasonable searches and seizures declared that: informed them of the bag's contents, and made it
available to the authorities.
(t)he Fourth Amendment gives protection against
unlawful searches and seizures, and as shown in The fourth amendment and the case law applying it
previous cases, its protection applies to do not require exclusion of evidence obtained
governmental action. Its origin and history clearly through a search by a private citizen. Rather, the
show that it was intended as a restraint upon the amendment only proscribes governmental action."
activities of sovereign authority, and was not
intended to be a limitation upon other than The contraband in the case at bar having come into possession
governmental agencies; as against such authority it of the Government without the latter transgressing appellant's
was the purpose of the Fourth Amendment to rights against unreasonable search and seizure, the Court sees
secure the citizen in the right of unmolested no cogent reason why the same should not be admitted against
occupation of his dwelling and the possession of him in the prosecution of the offense charged.
his property, subject to the right of seizure by
process duly served. Appellant, however, would like this court to believe that NBI
agents made an illegal search and seizure of the evidence later
The above ruling was reiterated in State v. Bryan (457 P.2d 661 on used in prosecuting the case which resulted in his conviction.
[1968]) where a parking attendant who searched the automobile
to ascertain the owner thereof found marijuana instead, without The postulate advanced by accused/appellant needs to be
the knowledge and participation of police authorities, was clarified in two days. In both instances, the argument stands to
declared admissible in prosecution for illegal possession of fall on its own weight, or the lack of it.
narcotics.
First, the factual considerations of the case at bar readily the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. True, the
foreclose the proposition that NBI agents conducted an illegal liberties guaranteed by the fundamental law of the land must
search and seizure of the prohibited merchandise. Records of always be subject to protection. But protection against whom?
the case clearly indicate that it was Mr. Job Reyes, the proprietor Commissioner Bernas in his sponsorship speech in the Bill of
of the forwarding agency, who made search/inspection of the Rights answers the query which he himself posed, as follows:
packages. Said inspection was reasonable and a standard
operating procedure on the part of Mr. Reyes as a precautionary First, the general reflections. The protection of
measure before delivery of packages to the Bureau of Customs fundamental liberties in the essence of
or the Bureau of Posts (TSN, October 6 & 7, 1987, pp. 15-18; pp. constitutional democracy. Protection against
7-8; Original Records, pp. 119-122; 167-168). whom? Protection against the state. The Bill of
Rights governs the relationship between the
It will be recalled that after Reyes opened the box containing the individual and the state. Its concern is not the
illicit cargo, he took samples of the same to the NBI and later relation between individuals, between a private
summoned the agents to his place of business. Thereafter, he individual and other individuals. What the Bill of
opened the parcel containing the rest of the shipment and Rights does is to declare some forbidden zones in
entrusted the care and custody thereof to the NBI agents. the private sphere inaccessible to any power
Clearly, the NBI agents made no search and seizure, much less holder. (Sponsorship Speech of Commissioner
an illegal one, contrary to the postulate of accused/appellant. Bernas , Record of the Constitutional Commission,
Vol. 1, p. 674; July 17, 1986; Emphasis supplied)
Second, the mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the
reasonable search effected by Reyes into a warrantless search The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and
and seizure proscribed by the Constitution. Merely to observe seizures therefore applies as a restraint directed only against the
and look at that which is in plain sight is not a search. Having government and its agencies tasked with the enforcement of the
observed that which is open, where no trespass has been law. Thus, it could only be invoked against the State to whom the
committed in aid thereof, is not search (Chadwick v. State, 429 restraint against arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power is
SW2d 135). Where the contraband articles are identified without imposed.
a trespass on the part of the arresting officer, there is not the
search that is prohibited by the constitution (US v. Lee 274 US If the search is made upon the request of law enforcers, a
559, 71 L.Ed. 1202 [1927]; Ker v. State of California 374 US 23, warrant must generally be first secured if it is to pass the test of
10 L.Ed.2d. 726 [1963]; Moore v. State, 429 SW2d 122 [1968]). constitutionality. However, if the search is made at the behest or
initiative of the proprietor of a private establishment for its own
In Gandy v. Watkins (237 F. Supp. 266 [1964]), it was likewise and private purposes, as in the case at bar, and without the
held that where the property was taken into custody of the police intervention of police authorities, the right against unreasonable
at the specific request of the manager and where the search was search and seizure cannot be invoked for only the act of private
initially made by the owner there is no unreasonable search and individual, not the law enforcers, is involved. In sum, the
seizure within the constitutional meaning of the term. protection against unreasonable searches and seizures cannot
be extended to acts committed by private individuals so as to
That the Bill of Rights embodied in the Constitution is not meant bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the
to be invoked against acts of private individuals finds support in government.
Appellant argues, however, that since the provisions of the 1935 Again, the contention is without merit, We have carefully
Constitution has been modified by the present phraseology examined the records of the case and found nothing to indicate,
found in the 1987 Charter, expressly declaring as inadmissible as an "undisputed fact", that appellant was not informed of his
any evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional prohibition constitutional rights or that he gave statements without the
against illegal search and seizure, it matters not whether the assistance of counsel. The law enforcers testified that
evidence was procured by police authorities or private individuals accused/appellant was informed of his constitutional rights. It is
(Appellant's Brief, p. 8, Rollo, p. 62). presumed that they have regularly performed their duties (See.
5(m), Rule 131) and their testimonies should be given full faith
The argument is untenable. For one thing, the constitution, in and credence, there being no evidence to the contrary. What is
laying down the principles of the government and fundamental clear from the records, on the other hand, is that appellant
liberties of the people, does not govern relationships between refused to give any written statement while under investigation
individuals. Moreover, it must be emphasized that the as testified by Atty. Lastimoso of the NBI, Thus:
modifications introduced in the 1987 Constitution (re: Sec. 2, Art.
III) relate to the issuance of either a search warrant or warrant of Fiscal Formoso:
arrest vis-a-vis the responsibility of the judge in the issuance
thereof (SeeSoliven v. Makasiar, 167 SCRA 393 [1988]; Circular You said that you investigated Mr. and Mrs. Job
No. 13 [October 1, 1985] and Circular No. 12 [June 30, 1987]. Reyes. What about the accused here, did you
The modifications introduced deviate in no manner as to whom investigate the accused together with the girl?
the restriction or inhibition against unreasonable search and
seizure is directed against. The restraint stayed with the State WITNESS:
and did not shift to anyone else.
Yes, we have interviewed the accused together
Corolarilly, alleged violations against unreasonable search and with the girl but the accused availed of his
seizure may only be invoked against the State by an individual constitutional right not to give any written
unjustly traduced by the exercise of sovereign authority. To statement, sir. (TSN, October 8, 1987, p. 62;
agree with appellant that an act of a private individual in violation Original Records, p. 240)
of the Bill of Rights should also be construed as an act of the
State would result in serious legal complications and an absurd The above testimony of the witness for the prosecution was not
interpretation of the constitution. contradicted by the defense on cross-examination. As borne out
by the records, neither was there any proof by the defense that
Similarly, the admissibility of the evidence procured by an appellant gave uncounselled confession while being
individual effected through private seizure equally applies, in pari investigated. What is more, we have examined the assailed
passu, to the alleged violation, non-governmental as it is, of judgment of the trial court and nowhere is there any reference
appellant's constitutional rights to privacy and communication. made to the testimony of appellant while under custodial
investigation which was utilized in the finding of conviction.
2. In his second assignment of error, appellant contends that the Appellant's second assignment of error is therefore misplaced.
lower court erred in convicting him despite the undisputed fact
that his rights under the constitution while under custodial 3. Coming now to appellant's third assignment of error, appellant
investigation were not observed. would like us to believe that he was not the owner of the
packages which contained prohibited drugs but rather a certain Evidence to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth
Michael, a German national, whom appellant met in a pub along of a credible witness, but it must be credible in itself such as the
Ermita, Manila: that in the course of their 30-minute common experience and observation of mankind can approve as
conversation, Michael requested him to ship the packages and probable under the circumstances (People v. Alto, 26 SCRA 342
gave him P2,000.00 for the cost of the shipment since the [1968], citing Daggers v. Van Dyke, 37 N.J. Eg. 130; see
German national was about to leave the country the next day also People v. Sarda, 172 SCRA 651 [1989]; People v. Sunga,
(October 15, 1987, TSN, pp. 2-10). 123 SCRA 327 [1983]); Castañares v. CA, 92 SCRA 567 [1979]).
As records further show, appellant did not even bother to ask
Rather than give the appearance of veracity, we find appellant's Michael's full name, his complete address or passport number.
disclaimer as incredulous, self-serving and contrary to human Furthermore, if indeed, the German national was the owner of
experience. It can easily be fabricated. An acquaintance with a the merchandise, appellant should have so indicated in the
complete stranger struck in half an hour could not have pushed a contract of shipment (Exh. "B", Original Records, p. 40). On the
man to entrust the shipment of four (4) parcels and shell out contrary, appellant signed the contract as the owner and shipper
P2,000.00 for the purpose and for appellant to readily accede to thereof giving more weight to the presumption that things which
comply with the undertaking without first ascertaining its a person possesses, or exercises acts of ownership over, are
contents. As stated by the trial court, "(a) person would not owned by him (Sec. 5 [j], Rule 131). At this point, appellant is
simply entrust contraband and of considerable value at that as therefore estopped to claim otherwise.
the marijuana flowering tops, and the cash amount of P2,000.00
to a complete stranger like the Accused. The Accused, on the Premises considered, we see no error committed by the trial
other hand, would not simply accept such undertaking to take court in rendering the assailed judgment.
custody of the packages and ship the same from a complete
stranger on his mere say-so" (Decision, p. 19, Rollo, p. 91). As to WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction finding appellant
why he readily agreed to do the errand, appellant failed to guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged is hereby
explain. Denials, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing AFFIRMED. No costs.
evidence, are negative self-serving evidence which deserve no
weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary weight SO ORDERED.
than the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on
affirmative matters (People v. Esquillo, 171 SCRA 571 [1989];
People vs. Sariol, 174 SCRA 237 [1989]).
G.R. No. 113271 October 16, 1997
Appellant's bare denial is even made more suspect considering
that, as per records of the Interpol, he was previously convicted WATEROUS DRUG CORPORATION and MS. EMMA
of possession of hashish by the Kleve Court in the Federal CO, petitioners,
Republic of Germany on January 1, 1982 and that the consignee vs.
of the frustrated shipment, Walter Fierz, also a Swiss national, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and ANTONIA
was likewise convicted for drug abuse and is just about an hour's MELODIA CATOLICO, respondents.
drive from appellant's residence in Zurich, Switzerland (TSN,
October 8, 1987, p. 66; Original Records, p. 244; Decision, p.
21; Rollo, p. 93).
DAVIDE, JR., J.: In a memorandum 9 dated 21 November 1989, WATEROUS
Supervisor Luzviminda E. Bautro warned Catolico against the
Nor is he a true Servant [who] buys dear to share in the Profit "rush delivery of medicines without the proper documents."
with the Seller. 1
On 29 January 1990, WATEROUS Control Clerk Eugenio Valdez
This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court informed Co that he noticed an irregularity involving Catolico and
seeks to declare private respondent Antonia Melodia Catolico Yung Shin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (hereafter YSP), which he
(hereafter Catolico) not a "true Servant," thereby assailing the 30 described as follows:
September 1993 decision 2 and December 1993 Resolution 3 of
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC-NCR . . . A case in point is medicine purchased under our
CA No. 005160-93, which sustained the reinstatement and Purchase Order (P.O.) No. 19045 with YSP Sales Invoice
monetary awards in favor of private respondent 4 and denied the No. 266 representing purchase of ten (10) bottles of
petitioners' motion for reconsideration. 5 Voren tablets at P384.00 per unit. Previews P.O.s issued
to YSP, Inc. showed that the price per bottle is P320.00
The facts are as follows: while P.O. No. 19045 is priced at P384.00 or an over price
of P64.00 per bottle (or total of P640.00). WDRC paid the
Catolico was hired as a pharmacist by petitioner Waterous Drug amount of P3,840.00 thru MBTC Check No. 222832 dated
Corporation (hereafter WATEROUS) on 15 August 1988. December 15, 1988. Verification was made to YSP, Inc. to
determine the discrepancy and it was found that the cost
On 31 July 1989, Catolico received a memorandum 6 from per bottle was indeed overpriced. YSP, Inc. Accounting
WATEROUS Vice President-General Manager Emma R. Co Department (Ms. Estelita Reyes) confirmed that the
warning her not to dispense medicine to employees chargeable difference represents refund of jack-up price of ten bottles
to the latter's accounts because the same was a prohibited of Voren tablets per sales invoice no. 266 as per their
practice. On the same date, Co issued another memorandum 7 to check voucher no. 629552 (shown to the undersigned),
Catolico warning her not to negotiate with suppliers of medicine which was paid to Ms. Catolico through China Bank check
without consulting the Purchasing Department, as this would no. 892068 dated November 9, 1989 . . . .
impair the company's control of purchases and, besides she was
not authorized to deal directly with the suppliers. The undersigned talked to Ms. Catolico regarding the
check but she denied having received it and that she is
As regards the first memorandum, Catolico did not deny her unaware of the overprice. However, upon conversation
responsibility but explained that her act was "due to negligence," with Ms. Saldana, EDRC Espana Pharmacy Clerk, she
since fellow employee Irene Soliven "obtained the medicines in confirmed that the check amounting to P640.00 was
bad faith and through misrepresentation when she claimed that actually received by Ms. Catolico. As a matter of fact, Ms.
she was given a charge slip by the Admitting Dept." Catolico Catolico even asked Ms. Saldana if she opened the
then asked the company to look into the fraudulent activities of envelope containing the check but Ms. Saldana answered
Soliven. 8 her "talagang ganyan, bukas." It appears that the amount
in question (P640.00) had been pocketed by Ms.
Catolico. 10
Forthwith, in her memorandum 11 dated 37 January 1990, Co Your actuation constitutes an act of dishonesty
asked Catolico to explain, within twenty-four hours, her side of detrimental to the interest of the company. Accordingly,
the reported irregularity. Catolico asked for additional time to you are hereby terminated effective March 8, 1990.
give her explanation, 12 and she was granted a 48-hour
extension from 1 to 3 February 1990. However, on 2 February On 5 May 1990, Catolico filed before the Office of the Labor
1990, she was informed that effective 6 February 1990 to 7 Arbiter a complaint for unfair labor practice, illegal dismissal, and
March 1990, she would be placed on preventive suspension to illegal suspension. 17
protect the interests of the company. 13
In his decision 18 of 10 May 1993, Labor Arbiter Alex Arcadio
In a letter dated 2 February 1990, Catolico requested access to Lopez found no proof of unfair labor practice against petitioners.
the file containing Sales Invoice No. 266 for her to be able to Nevertheless, he decided in favor of Catolico because petitioners
make a satisfactory explanation. In said letter she protested failed to "prove what [they] alleged as complainant's dishonesty,"
Saldaña's invasion of her privacy when Saldaña opened an and to show that any investigation was conducted. Hence, the
envelope addressed to Catolico. 14 dismissal was without just cause and due process. He thus
declared the dismissal and suspension illegal but disallowed
In a letter 15 to Co dated 10 February 1990, Catolico, through her reinstatement, as it would not be to the best interest of the
counsel, explained that the check she received from YSP was a parties. Accordingly, he awarded separation pay to Catolico
Christmas gift and not a "refund of overprice." She also averred computed at one-half month's pay for every year of service; back
that the preventive suspension was ill-motivated, as it sprang wages for one year; and the additional sum of P2,000.00 for
from an earlier incident between her and Co's secretary, Irene illegal suspension "representing 30 days work." Arbiter Lopez
Soliven. computed the award in favor of Catolico as follows:

On 5 March 1990, WATEROUS Supervisor Luzviminda Bautro, 30 days Preventive Suspension P2,000.00
issued a memorandum 16 notifying Catolico of her termination; Backwages 26,858.50
thus: 1/12 of P26,858.50 2,238.21
Separation pay (3 years) 4,305.15
We received your letter of explanation and your lawyer's —————
letter dated Feb. 2, 1990 and Feb. 10, 1990 respectively TOTAL AWARD P35,401.86
regarding our imposition of preventive suspension on you —————
for acts of dishonesty. However, said letters failed to rebut
the evidences [sic] in our possession which clearly shows Petitioners seasonably appealed from the decision and urged the
that as a Pharmacist stationed at Espana Branch, you NLRC to set it aside because the Labor Arbiter erred in finding
actually made Purchase Orders at YSP Phils., Inc. for 10 that Catolico was denied due process and that there was no just
bottles of Voren tablets at P384.00/bottle with previous cause to terminate her services.
price of P320.00/bottle only. A check which you received
in the amount of P640.00 actually represents the refund of In its decision 19 of 30 September 1993, the NLRC affirmed the
over price of said medicines and this was confirmed by findings of the Labor Arbiter on the ground that petitioners were
Ms. Estelita Reyes, YSP Phils., Inc. Accounting not able to prove a just cause for Catolico's dismissal from her
Department. employment. It found that petitioner's evidence consisted only of
the check of P640.00 drawn by YSP in favor of complainant, to the findings of NLRC, Catolico was given ample opportunity to
which her co-employee saw when the latter opened the explain her side of the controversy.
envelope. But, it declared that the check was inadmissible in
evidence pursuant to Sections 2 and 3(1 and 2) of Article III of Anent the third ground, petitioners submit that, in light of the
the Constitution. 20 It concluded: decision in the People v. Marti, 21 the constitutional protection
against unreasonable searches and seizures refers to the
With the smoking gun evidence of respondents being immunity of one's person from interference by government and
rendered inadmissible, by virtue of the constitutional right cannot be extended to acts committed by private individuals so
invoked by complainants, respondents' case falls apart as as to bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the
it is bereft of evidence which cannot be used as a legal government.
basis for complainant's dismissal.
In its Manifestation in Lieu of Comment, the Office of the Solicitor
The NLRC then dismissed the appeal for lack of merit, but General (OSG) disagreed with the NLRC's decision, as it was of
modified the dispositive portion of the appealed decision by the persuasion that (a) the conclusions reached by public
deleting the award for illegal suspension as the same was respondent are inconsistent with its findings of fact; and (b) the
already included in the computation of the aggregate of the incident involving the opening of envelope addressed to private
awards in the amount of P35,401.86. respondent does not warrant the application of the constitutional
provisions. It observed that Catolico was given "several
Their motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioners opportunities" to explain her side of the check controversy, and
filed this special civil action for certiorari, which is anchored on concluded that the opportunities granted her and her subsequent
the following grounds: explanation "satisfy the requirements of just cause and due
process." The OSG was also convinced that Catolico's dismissal
I. Public respondent committed grave abuse was based on just cause and that Catolico's admission of the
of discretion in its findings of facts. existence of the check, as well as her "lame excuse" that it was a
Christmas gift from YSP, constituted substantial evidence of
II. Due process was duly accorded to private dishonesty. Finally, the OSG echoed petitioners' argument that
respondent. there was no violation of the right of privacy of communication in
this case, 22 adding that petitioner WATEROUS was justified in
III. Public respondent gravely erred in opening an envelope from one of its regular suppliers as it could
applying Section 3, Article III of the 1987 assume that the letter was a business communication in which it
Constitution. had an interest.

As to the first and second grounds, petitioners insist that Catolico In its Comment which we required to be filed in view of the
had been receiving "commissions" from YSP, or probably from adverse stand of the OSG, the NLRC contends that petitioners
other suppliers, and that the check issued to her on 9 November miserably failed to prove their claim that it committed grave
1989 was not the first or the last. They also maintained that abuse of discretion in its findings of fact. It then prays that we
Catolico occupied a confidential position and that Catolico's dismiss this petition.
receipt of YSP's check, aggravated by her "propensity to violate
company rules," constituted breach of confidence. And contrary
In her Comment, Catolico asserts that petitioners' evidence is prepare adequately for his defense, including legal
too "flimsy" to justify her dismissal. The check in issue was given representation. 24
to her, and she had no duty to turn it over to her employer.
Company rules do not prohibit an employee from accepting gifts In the case at bar, although Catolico was given an opportunity to
from clients, and there is no indication in the contentious check explain her side, she was dismissed from the service in the
that it was meant as a refund for overpriced medicines. Besides, memorandum of 5 March 1990 issued by her Supervisor after
the check was discovered in violation of the constitutional receipt of her letter and that of her counsel. No hearing was ever
provision on the right to privacy and communication; hence, as conducted after the issues were joined through said letters. The
correctly held by the NLRC, it was inadmissible in evidence. Supervisor's memorandum spoke of "evidences [sic] in
[WATEROUS] possession," which were not, however, submitted.
Catolico likewise disputes petitioners' claim that the audit report What the "evidences" [sic] other than the sales invoice and the
and her initial response that she never received a check were check were, only the Supervisor knew.
sufficient to justify her dismissal. When she denied having
received a check from YSP, she meant that she did not receive Catolico was also unjustly dismissed. It is settled that the burden
any refund of overprice, consistent with her position that what is on the employer to prove just and valid cause for dismissing
she received was a token gift. All that can be gathered from the an employee, and its failure to discharge that burden would
audit report is that there was apparently an overcharge, with no result in a finding that the dismissal is unjustified. 25 Here,
basis to conclude that Catolico pocketed the amount in collusion WATEROUS proved unequal to the task.
with YSP. She thus concluded that her dismissal was based on a
mere suspicion. It is evident from the Supervisor's memorandum that Catolico
was dismissed because of an alleged anomalous transaction
Finally, Catolico insists that she could not have breached the with YSP. Unfortunately for petitioners, their evidence does not
trust and confidence of WATEROUS because, being merely a establish that there was an overcharge. Control Clerk Eugenio C.
pharmacist, she did not handle "confidential information or Valdez, who claims to have discovered Catolico's inappropriate
sensitive properties." She was doing the task of a saleslady: transaction, stated in his affidavit: 26
selling drugs and making requisitions when supplies were low.
4. My findings revealed that on or before the month of July
A thorough review of the record leads us to no other conclusion 31, 1989, Ms. Catolico in violation of the [company]
than that, except as to the third ground, the instant petition must procedure, made an under the table deal with YSP Phils.
fail. to supply WDRC needed medicines like Voren tablets at a
jack-up price of P384.00 per bottle of 50 mg. which has a
Concededly, Catolico was denied due process. Procedural due previous price of only P320.00;
process requires that an employee be apprised of the charge
against him, given reasonable time to answer the charge, 5. I verified the matter to YSP Phils. to determine the
allowed ample opportunity to be heard and defend himself, and discrepancy and I found out that the cost per bottle was
assisted by a representative if the employee so indeed overpriced. The Accounting Department of YSP
desires. 23 Ample opportunity connotes every kind of assistance Phils. through Ms. Estelita Reyes confirmed that there
that management must accord the employee to enable him to was really an overprice and she said that the difference
was refunded through their check voucher no. 629552
which was shown to me and the payee is Melodia was not at all involved in the sale of the Voren tablets. There was
Catolico, through a China Bank Check No. 892068 dated no occasion for Catolico to initiate, much less benefit from, what
November 9, 1989. Valdez called an "under the table deal" with YSP.

It clearly appears then that Catolico's dismissal was based on Catolico's dismissal then was obviously grounded on mere
hearsay information. Estelita Reyes never testified nor executed suspicion, which in no case can justify an employee's dismissal.
an affidavit relative to this case; thus, we have to reject the Suspicion is not among the valid causes provided by the Labor
statements attributed to her by Valdez. Hearsay evidence carries Code for the termination of
no probative value. 27 employment; 31 and even the dismissal of an employee for loss
of trust and confidence must rest on substantial grounds and not
Besides, it was never shown that petitioners paid for the Voren on the employer's arbitrariness, whims, caprices, or
tablets. While Valdez informed Co, through the former's suspicion. 32 Besides, Catolico was not shown to be a
memorandum 28 of 29 January 1990, that WATEROUS paid YSP managerial employee, to which class of employees the term
P3,840.00 "thru MBTC Check No. 222832," the said check was "trust and confidence" is restricted. 33
never presented in evidence, nor was any receipt from YSP
offered by petitioners. As regards the constitutional violation upon which the NLRC
anchored its decision, we find no reason to revise the doctrine
Moreover, the two purchase orders for Voren tablets presented laid down in People vs. Marti 34 that the Bill of Rights does not
by petitioners do not indicate an overcharge. The purchase order protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures
dated 16 August 1989 29 stated that the Voren tablets cost perpetrated by private individuals. It is not true, as counsel for
P320.00 per box, while the purchase order dated 5 October Catolico claims, that the citizens have no recourse against such
1989 30 priced the Voren tablets at P384.00 per bottle. The assaults. On the contrary, and as said counsel admits, such an
difference in price may then be attributed to the different invasion gives rise to both criminal and civil liabilities.
packaging used in each purchase order.
Finally, since it has been determined by the Labor Arbiter that
Assuming that there was an overcharge, the two purchase Catolico's reinstatement would not be to the best interest of the
orders for the Voren tablets were recommended by Director- parties, he correctly awarded separation pay to Catolico.
MMG Mario R. Panuncio, verified by AVP-MNG Noli M. Lopez Separation pay in lieu of reinstatement is computed at one
and approved by Vice President-General Manager Emma R. Co. month's salary for every year of service. 35 In this case, however,
The purchase orders were silent as to Catolico's participation in Labor Arbiter Lopez computed the separation pay at one-half
the purchase. If the price increase was objectionable to month's salary for every year of service. Catolico did not oppose
petitioners, they or their officers should have disapproved the or raise an objection. As such, we will uphold the award of
transaction. Consequently, petitioners had no one to blame for separation pay as fixed by the Labor Arbiter.
their predicament but themselves. This set of facts emphasizes
the exceedingly incredible situation proposed by petitioners. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and
Despite the memorandum warning Catolico not to negotiate with the challenged decision and resolution of the National Labor
suppliers of medicine, there was no proof that she ever Relations Commission dated 30 September 1993 and 2
transacted, or that she had the opportunity to transact, with the December 1993, respectively, in NLRC-NCR CA No. 005160-93
said suppliers. Again, as the purchase orders indicate, Catolico are AFFIRMED, except as to its reason for upholding the Labor
Arbiter's decision, viz., that the evidence against private
respondent was inadmissible for having been obtained in
violation of her constitutional rights of privacy of communication BELLOSILLO, J.:
and against unreasonable searches and seizures which is
hereby set aside. The FiIipino First Policy enshrined in the 1987
Constitution, i.e., in the grant of rights, privileges, and
Costs against petitioners. concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the
State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos, 1 is in oked by
SO ORDERED. petitioner in its bid to acquire 51% of the shares of the Manila
Hotel Corporation (MHC) which owns the historic Manila Hotel.
Opposing, respondents maintain that the provision is not self-
executing but requires an implementing legislation for its
enforcement. Corollarily, they ask whether the 51% shares form
part of the national economy and patrimony covered by the
protective mantle of the Constitution.

The controversy arose when respondent Government Service


Insurance System (GSIS), pursuant to the privatization program
of the Philippine Government under Proclamation No. 50 dated 8
December 1986, decided to sell through public bidding 30% to
51% of the issued and outstanding shares of respondent MHC.
The winning bidder, or the eventual "strategic partner," is to
provide management expertise and/or an international
marketing/reservation system, and financial support to
strengthen the profitability and performance of the Manila
Hotel. 2 In a close bidding held on 18 September 1995 only two
(2) bidders participated: petitioner Manila Prince Hotel
Corporation, a Filipino corporation, which offered to buy 51% of
the MHC or 15,300,000 shares at P41.58 per share, and Renong
Berhad, a Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel
G.R. No. 122156 February 3, 1997 operator, which bid for the same number of shares at P44.00 per
share, or P2.42 more than the bid of petitioner.
MANILA PRINCE HOTEL petitioner,
vs. Pertinent provisions of the bidding rules prepared by respondent
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA GSIS state —
HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION
and OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATE I. EXECUTION OF THE
COUNSEL, respondents. NECESSARY CONTRACTS WITH
GSIS/MHC —
1. The Highest Bidder must comply with the Pending the declaration of Renong Berhad as the winning
conditions set forth below by October 23, 1995 bidder/strategic partner and the execution of the necessary
(reset to November 3, 1995) or the Highest Bidder contracts, petitioner in a letter to respondent GSIS dated 28
will lose the right to purchase the Block of Shares September 1995 matched the bid price of P44.00 per share
and GSIS will instead offer the Block of Shares to tendered by Renong Berhad. 4 In a subsequent letter dated 10
the other Qualified Bidders: October 1995 petitioner sent a manager's check issued by
Philtrust Bank for Thirty-three Million Pesos (P33.000.000.00)
a. The Highest Bidder must negotiate as Bid Security to match the bid of the Malaysian Group,
and execute with the GSIS/MHC the Messrs. Renong Berhad . . . 5 which respondent GSIS refused to
Management Contract, International accept.
Marketing/Reservation System
Contract or other type of contract On 17 October 1995, perhaps apprehensive that respondent
specified by the Highest Bidder in its GSIS has disregarded the tender of the matching bid and that
strategic plan for the Manila Hotel. . . the sale of 51% of the MHC may be hastened by respondent
. GSIS and consummated with Renong Berhad, petitioner came to
this Court on prohibition and mandamus. On 18 October 1995
b. The Highest Bidder must execute the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining
the Stock Purchase and Sale respondents from perfecting and consummating the sale to the
Agreement with GSIS . . . . Malaysian firm.

K. DECLARATION OF THE On 10 September 1996 the instant case was accepted by the
WINNING BIDDER/STRATEGIC Court En Banc after it was referred to it by the First Division. The
PARTNER — case was then set for oral arguments with former Chief Justice
Enrique M. Fernando and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., as amici
The Highest Bidder will be declared the Winning curiae.
Bidder/Strategic Partner after the following
conditions are met: In the main, petitioner invokes Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of
the 1987 Constitution and submits that the Manila Hotel has
a. Execution of the necessary been identified with the Filipino nation and has practically
contracts with GSIS/MHC not later become a historical monument which reflects the vibrancy of
than October 23, 1995 (reset to Philippine heritage and culture. It is a proud legacy of an earlier
November 3, 1995); and generation of Filipinos who believed in the nobility and
sacredness of independence and its power and capacity to
b. Requisite approvals from the release the full potential of the Filipino people. To all intents and
GSIS/MHC and COP (Committee on purposes, it has become a part of the national
Privatization)/OGCC (Office of the patrimony. 6 Petitioner also argues that since 51% of the shares
Government Corporate Counsel) are of the MHC carries with it the ownership of the business of the
obtained. 3 hotel which is owned by respondent GSIS, a government-owned
and controlled corporation, the hotel business of respondent
GSIS being a part of the tourism industry is unquestionably a Third, granting that the Manila Hotel forms part of the national
part of the national economy. Thus, any transaction involving patrimony, the constitutional provision invoked is still inapplicable
51% of the shares of stock of the MHC is clearly covered by the since what is being sold is only 51% of the outstanding shares of
term national economy, to which Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, the corporation, not the hotel building nor the land upon which
1987 Constitution, applies. 7 the building stands. Certainly, 51% of the equity of the MHC
cannot be considered part of the national patrimony. Moreover, if
It is also the thesis of petitioner that since Manila Hotel is part of the disposition of the shares of the MHC is really contrary to the
the national patrimony and its business also unquestionably part Constitution, petitioner should have questioned it right from the
of the national economy petitioner should be preferred after it beginning and not after it had lost in the bidding.
has matched the bid offer of the Malaysian firm. For the bidding
rules mandate that if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot Fourth, the reliance by petitioner on par. V., subpar. J. 1., of the
be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to the other bidding rules which provides that if for any reason, the Highest
Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer
these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in this to the other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted
terms of price per share. 8 bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing to match
the highest bid in terms of price per share, is misplaced.
Respondents except. They maintain that: First, Sec. 10, second Respondents postulate that the privilege of submitting a
par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution is merely a statement of matching bid has not yet arisen since it only takes place if for any
principle and policy since it is not a self-executing provision and reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of
requires implementing legislation(s) . . . Thus, for the said Shares. Thus the submission by petitioner of a matching bid is
provision to Operate, there must be existing laws "to lay down premature since Renong Berhad could still very well be awarded
conditions under which business may be done." 9 the block of shares and the condition giving rise to the exercise
of the privilege to submit a matching bid had not yet taken place.
Second, granting that this provision is self-executing, Manila
Hotel does not fall under the term national patrimony which only Finally, the prayer for prohibition grounded on grave abuse of
refers to lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, discretion should fail since respondent GSIS did not exercise its
petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, discretion in a capricious, whimsical manner, and if ever it did
fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna and all abuse its discretion it was not so patent and gross as to amount
marine wealth in its territorial sea, and exclusive marine zone as to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a
cited in the first and second paragraphs of Sec. 2, Art. XII, 1987 duty enjoined by law. Similarly, the petition for mandamus should
Constitution. According to respondents, while petitioner speaks fail as petitioner has no clear legal right to what it demands and
of the guests who have slept in the hotel and the events that respondents do not have an imperative duty to perform the act
have transpired therein which make the hotel historic, these required of them by petitioner.
alone do not make the hotel fall under the patrimonyof the
nation. What is more, the mandate of the Constitution is We now resolve. A constitution is a system of fundamental laws
addressed to the State, not to respondent GSIS which for the governance and administration of a nation. It is supreme,
possesses a personality of its own separate and distinct from the imperious, absolute and unalterable except by the authority from
Philippines as a State. which it emanates. It has been defined as the fundamental and
paramount law of the nation. 10 It prescribes the permanent
framework of a system of government, assigns to the different evolved into one more like that of a legislative body. Hence,
departments their respective powers and duties, and establishes unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary
certain fixed principles on which government is founded. The to enforce a constitutional mandate, the presumption now is that
fundamental conception in other words is that it is a supreme law all provisions of the constitution are self-executing If the
to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with constitutional provisions are treated as requiring legislation
which all private rights must be determined and all public instead of self-executing, the legislature would have the power to
authority administered.11 Under the doctrine of constitutional ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental
supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the law. 14 This can be cataclysmic. That is why the prevailing view
constitution that law or contract whether promulgated by the is, as it has always been, that —
legislative or by the executive branch or entered into by private
persons for private purposes is null and void and without any . . . in case of doubt, the Constitution should be
force and effect. Thus, since the Constitution is the fundamental, considered self-executing rather than non-self-
paramount and supreme law of the nation, it is deemed written in executing . . . . Unless the contrary is clearly
every statute and contract. intended, the provisions of the Constitution should
be considered self-executing, as a contrary rule
Admittedly, some constitutions are merely declarations of would give the legislature discretion to determine
policies and principles. Their provisions command the legislature when, or whether, they shall be effective. These
to enact laws and carry out the purposes of the framers who provisions would be subordinated to the will of the
merely establish an outline of government providing for the lawmaking body, which could make them entirely
different departments of the governmental machinery and meaningless by simply refusing to pass the needed
securing certain fundamental and inalienable rights of implementing statute. 15
citizens. 12 A provision which lays down a general principle, such
as those found in Art. II of the 1987 Constitution, is usually not Respondents argue that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the
self-executing. But a provision which is complete in itself and 1987 Constitution is clearly not self-executing, as they quote
becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling from discussions on the floor of the 1986 Constitutional
legislation, or that which supplies sufficient rule by means of Commission —
which the right it grants may be enjoyed or protected, is self-
executing. Thus a constitutional provision is self-executing if the MR. RODRIGO. Madam President, I
nature and extent of the right conferred and the liability imposed am asking this question as the
are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can be determined Chairman of the Committee on Style.
by an examination and construction of its terms, and there is no If the wording of "PREFERENCE" is
language indicating that the subject is referred to the legislature given to QUALIFIED FILIPINOS," can
for action. 13 it be understood as a preference to
qualified Filipinos vis-a-vis Filipinos
As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions have who are not qualified. So, why do we
been generally drafted upon a different principle and have often not make it clear? To qualified
become in effect extensive codes of laws intended to operate Filipinos as against aliens?
directly upon the people in a manner similar to that of statutory
enactments, and the function of constitutional conventions has
THE PRESIDENT. What is the provide a convenient remedy for the protection of the rights
question of Commissioner Rodrigo? secured or the determination thereof, or place reasonable
Is it to remove the word safeguards around the exercise of the right. The mere fact that
"QUALIFIED?". legislation may supplement and add to or prescribe a penalty for
the violation of a self-executing constitutional provision does not
MR. RODRIGO. No, no, but say render such a provision ineffective in the absence of such
definitely "TO QUALIFIED legislation. The omission from a constitution of any express
FILIPINOS" as against whom? As provision for a remedy for enforcing a right or liability is not
against aliens or over aliens? necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be self-
executing. The rule is that a self-executing provision of the
MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President, I constitution does not necessarily exhaust legislative power on
think that is understood. We use the the subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with the
word "QUALIFIED" because constitution, further the exercise of constitutional right and make
the existing laws or prospective laws it more available. 17 Subsequent legislation however does not
will always lay down conditions under necessarily mean that the subject constitutional provision is not,
which business may be done. For by itself, fully enforceable.
example, qualifications on the setting
up of other financial structures, et Respondents also argue that the non-self-executing nature of
cetera (emphasis supplied by Sec. 10, second par., of Art. XII is implied from the tenor of the
respondents) first and third paragraphs of the same section which undoubtedly
are not self-executing. 18 The argument is flawed. If the first and
MR. RODRIGO. It is just a matter of third paragraphs are not self-executing because Congress is still
style. to enact measures to encourage the formation and operation of
enterprises fully owned by Filipinos, as in the first paragraph, and
MR. NOLLEDO Yes, 16 the State still needs legislation to regulate and exercise authority
over foreign investments within its national jurisdiction, as in the
Quite apparently, Sec. 10, second par., of Art XII is couched in third paragraph, then a fortiori, by the same logic, the second
such a way as not to make it appear that it is non-self-executing paragraph can only be self-executing as it does not by its
but simply for purposes of style. But, certainly, the legislature is language require any legislation in order to give preference to
not precluded from enacting other further laws to enforce the qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights, privileges and
constitutional provision so long as the contemplated statute concessions covering the national economy and patrimony. A
squares with the Constitution. Minor details may be left to the constitutional provision may be self-executing in one part and
legislature without impairing the self-executing nature of non-self-executing in another. 19
constitutional provisions.
Even the cases cited by respondents holding that certain
In self-executing constitutional provisions, the legislature may constitutional provisions are merely statements of principles and
still enact legislation to facilitate the exercise of powers directly policies, which are basically not self-executing and only placed in
granted by the constitution, further the operation of such a the Constitution as moral incentives to legislation, not as
provision, prescribe a practice to be used for its enforcement, judicially enforceable rights — are simply not in point. Basco
v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation 20 speaks of The patrimony of the Nation that should be
constitutional provisions on personal dignity, 21 the sanctity of conserved and developed refers not only to out rich
family life, 22 the vital role of the youth in nation-building 23 the natural resources but also to the cultural heritage of
promotion of social justice, 24 and the values of out race. It also refers to our intelligence in arts,
education. 25Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance 26 refers to the sciences and letters. Therefore, we should develop
constitutional provisions on social justice and human not only our lands, forests, mines and other natural
rights 27 and on education. 28 Lastly, Kilosbayan, resources but also the mental ability or faculty of
Inc. v. Morato 29 cites provisions on the promotion of general our people.
welfare, 30 the sanctity of family life, 31 the vital role of the youth
in nation-building 32 and the promotion of total human liberation We agree. In its plain and ordinary meaning, the term patrimony
and development. 33A reading of these provisions indeed clearly pertains to heritage. 35 When the Constitution speaks of national
shows that they are not judicially enforceable constitutional rights patrimony, it refers not only to the natural resources of the
but merely guidelines for legislation. The very terms of the Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the
provisions manifest that they are only principles upon which the term natural resources, but also to the cultural heritage of the
legislations must be based. Res ipsa loquitur. Filipinos.

On the other hand, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the of the Manila Hotel has become a landmark — a living testimonial of
1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is Philippine heritage. While it was restrictively an American hotel
complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or when it first opened in 1912, it immediately evolved to be truly
implementing laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very Filipino, Formerly a concourse for the elite, it has since then
words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in become the venue of various significant events which have
operation. It is per se judicially enforceable When our shaped Philippine history. It was called the Cultural Center of the
Constitution mandates that [i]n the grant of rights, privileges, and 1930's. It was the site of the festivities during the inauguration of
concessions covering national economy and patrimony, the the Philippine Commonwealth. Dubbed as the Official Guest
State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos, it means just House of the Philippine Government. it plays host to dignitaries
that — qualified Filipinos shall be preferred. And when our and official visitors who are accorded the traditional Philippine
Constitution declares that a right exists in certain specified hospitality. 36
circumstances an action may be maintained to enforce such right
notwithstanding the absence of any legislation on the subject; The history of the hotel has been chronicled in the book The
consequently, if there is no statute especially enacted to enforce Manila Hotel: The Heart and Memory of a City. 37During World
such constitutional right, such right enforces itself by its own War II the hotel was converted by the Japanese Military
inherent potency and puissance, and from which all legislations Administration into a military headquarters. When the American
must take their bearings. Where there is a right there is a forces returned to recapture Manila the hotel was selected by the
remedy. Ubi jus ibi remedium. Japanese together with Intramuros as the two (2) places fro their
final stand. Thereafter, in the 1950's and 1960's, the hotel
As regards our national patrimony, a member of the 1986 became the center of political activities, playing host to almost
Constitutional Commission 34 explains — every political convention. In 1970 the hotel reopened after a
renovation and reaped numerous international recognitions, an
acknowledgment of the Filipino talent and ingenuity. In 1986 the
hotel was the site of a failed coup d' etatwhere an aspirant for WHOLLY OWNED BY SUCH
vice-president was "proclaimed" President of the Philippine CITIZENS.
Republic.
xxx xxx xxx
For more than eight (8) decades Manila Hotel has bore mute
witness to the triumphs and failures, loves and frustrations of the MR. MONSOD. Madam President,
Filipinos; its existence is impressed with public interest; its own apparently the proponent is
historicity associated with our struggle for sovereignty, agreeable, but we have to raise a
independence and nationhood. Verily, Manila Hotel has become question. Suppose it is a corporation
part of our national economy and patrimony. For sure, 51% of that is 80-percent Filipino, do we not
the equity of the MHC comes within the purview of the give it preference?
constitutional shelter for it comprises the majority and controlling
stock, so that anyone who acquires or owns the 51% will have MR. DAVIDE. The Nolledo
actual control and management of the hotel. In this instance, amendment would refer to an
51% of the MHC cannot be disassociated from the hotel and the individual Filipino. What about a
land on which the hotel edifice stands. Consequently, we cannot corporation wholly owned by Filipino
sustain respondents' claim that theFilipino First Policy provision citizens?
is not applicable since what is being sold is only 51% of
the outstanding shares of the corporation, not the Hotel building MR. MONSOD. At least 60 percent,
nor the land upon which the building stands. 38 Madam President.

The argument is pure sophistry. The term qualified Filipinos as MR. DAVIDE. Is that the intention?
used in Our Constitution also includes corporations at least 60%
of which is owned by Filipinos. This is very clear from the MR. MONSOD. Yes, because, in fact,
proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission we would be limiting it if we say that
the preference should only be 100-
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner percent Filipino.
Davide is recognized.
MR: DAVIDE. I want to get that
MR. DAVIDE. I would like to meaning clear because "QUALIFIED
introduce an amendment to the FILIPINOS" may refer only to
Nolledo amendment. And the individuals and not to juridical
amendment would consist in personalities or entities.
substituting the words "QUALIFIED
FILIPINOS" with the following: MR. MONSOD. We agree, Madam
"CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES President. 39
OR CORPORATIONS OR
ASSOCIATIONS WHOSE CAPITAL xxx xxx xxx
OR CONTROLLING STOCK IS
MR. RODRIGO. Before we vote, may MR. NOLLEDO. Obviously.
I request that the amendment be read
again. MR. FOZ. If the foreigner is more
qualified in some aspects than the
MR. NOLLEDO. The amendment will Filipino enterprise, will the Filipino still
read: "IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, be preferred?
PRIVILEGES AND CONCESSIONS
COVERING THE NATIONAL MR. NOLLEDO. The answer is "yes."
ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY, THE
STATE SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE MR. FOZ. Thank you, 41
TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." And the
word "Filipinos" here, as intended by Expounding further on the Filipino First Policy provision
the proponents, will include not only Commissioner Nolledo continues —
individual Filipinos but also Filipino-
controlled entities or entities fully- MR. NOLLEDO. Yes, Madam President. Instead of
controlled by Filipinos. 40 "MUST," it will be "SHALL — THE STATE SHALL
GlVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS.
The phrase preference to qualified Filipinos was explained This embodies the so-called "Filipino First" policy.
thus — That means that Filipinos should be given
preference in the grant of concessions, privileges
MR. FOZ. Madam President, I would and rights covering the national patrimony. 42
like to request Commissioner Nolledo
to please restate his amendment so The exchange of views in the sessions of the Constitutional
that I can ask a question. Commission regarding the subject provision was still further
clarified by Commissioner Nolledo 43 —
MR. NOLLEDO. "IN THE GRANT OF
RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND Paragraph 2 of Section 10 explicitly mandates the
CONCESSIONS COVERING THE "Pro-Filipino" bias in all economic concerns. It is
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND better known as the FILIPINO FIRST Policy . . .
PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL This provision was never found in previous
GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED Constitutions . . . .
FILIPINOS."
The term "qualified Filipinos" simply means that
MR FOZ. In connection with that preference shall be given to those citizens who can
amendment, if a foreign enterprise is make a viable contribution to the common good,
qualified and a Filipino enterprise is because of credible competence and efficiency. It
also qualified, will the Filipino certainly does NOT mandate the pampering and
enterprise still be given a preference? preferential treatment to Filipino citizens or
organizations that are incompetent or inefficient,
since such an indiscriminate preference would be own understanding of the constitutional command
counter productive and inimical to the common and of applicable laws. The responsibility for
good. reading and understanding the Constitution and the
laws is not the sole prerogative of Congress. If it
In the granting of economic rights, privileges, and were, the executive would have to ask Congress,
concessions, when a choice has to be made or perhaps the Court, for an interpretation every
between a "qualified foreigner" end a "qualified time the executive is confronted by a constitutional
Filipino," the latter shall be chosen over the command. That is not how constitutional
former." government operates. 45

Lastly, the word qualified is also determinable. Petitioner was so Respondents further argue that the constitutional provision is
considered by respondent GSIS and selected as one of addressed to the State, not to respondent GSIS which by itself
the qualified bidders. It was pre-qualified by respondent GSIS in possesses a separate and distinct personality. This argument
accordance with its own guidelines so that the sole inference again is at best specious. It is undisputed that the sale of 51% of
here is that petitioner has been found to be possessed of proven the MHC could only be carried out with the prior approval of the
management expertise in the hotel industry, or it has significant State acting through respondent Committee on Privatization. As
equity ownership in another hotel company, or it has an overall correctly pointed out by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., this fact
management and marketing proficiency to successfully operate alone makes the sale of the assets of respondents GSIS and
the Manila Hotel. 44 MHC a "state action." In constitutional jurisprudence, the acts of
persons distinct from the government are considered "state
The penchant to try to whittle away the mandate of the action" covered by the Constitution (1) when the activity it
Constitution by arguing that the subject provision is not self- engages in is a "public function;" (2) when the government is so
executory and requires implementing legislation is quite significantly involved with the private actor as to make the
disturbing. The attempt to violate a clear constitutional provision government responsible for his action; and, (3) when the
— by the government itself — is only too distressing. To adopt government has approved or authorized the action. It is evident
such a line of reasoning is to renounce the duty to ensure that the act of respondent GSIS in selling 51% of its share in
faithfulness to the Constitution. For, even some of the provisions respondent MHC comes under the second and third categories
of the Constitution which evidently need implementing legislation of "state action." Without doubt therefore the transaction.
have juridical life of their own and can be the source of a judicial although entered into by respondent GSIS, is in fact a
remedy. We cannot simply afford the government a defense that transaction of the State and therefore subject to the
arises out of the failure to enact further enabling, implementing constitutional command. 46
or guiding legislation. In fine, the discourse of Fr. Joaquin G.
Bernas, S.J., on constitutional government is apt — When the Constitution addresses the State it refers not only to
the people but also to the government as elements of the State.
The executive department has a constitutional duty After all, government is composed of three (3) divisions of power
to implement laws, including the Constitution, even — legislative, executive and judicial. Accordingly, a constitutional
before Congress acts — provided that there are mandate directed to the State is correspondingly directed to the
discoverable legal standards for executive action. three(3) branches of government. It is undeniable that in this
When the executive acts, it must be guided by its case the subject constitutional injunction is addressed among
others to the Executive Department and respondent GSIS, a concessions covering the national economy and patrimony,
government instrumentality deriving its authority from the State. thereby exceeding the bid of a Filipino, there is no question that
the Filipino will have to be allowed to match the bid of the foreign
It should be stressed that while the Malaysian firm offered the entity. And if the Filipino matches the bid of a foreign firm the
higher bid it is not yet the winning bidder. The bidding rules award should go to the Filipino. It must be so if we are to give life
expressly provide that the highest bidder shall only be declared and meaning to the Filipino First Policy provision of the 1987
the winning bidder after it has negotiated and executed the Constitution. For, while this may neither be expressly stated nor
necessary contracts, and secured the requisite approvals. Since contemplated in the bidding rules, the constitutional fiat is,
the "Filipino First Policy provision of the Constitution bestows omnipresent to be simply disregarded. To ignore it would be to
preference on qualified Filipinos the mere tending of the highest sanction a perilous skirting of the basic law.
bid is not an assurance that the highest bidder will be declared
the winning bidder. Resultantly, respondents are not bound to This Court does not discount the apprehension that this policy
make the award yet, nor are they under obligation to enter into may discourage foreign investors. But the Constitution and laws
one with the highest bidder. For in choosing the awardee of the Philippines are understood to be always open to public
respondents are mandated to abide by the dictates of the 1987 scrutiny. These are given factors which investors must consider
Constitution the provisions of which are presumed to be known when venturing into business in a foreign jurisdiction. Any person
to all the bidders and other interested parties. therefore desiring to do business in the Philippines or with any of
its agencies or instrumentalities is presumed to know his rights
Adhering to the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the subject and obligations under the Constitution and the laws of the forum.
constitutional provision is, as it should be, impliedly written in the
bidding rules issued by respondent GSIS, lest the bidding rules The argument of respondents that petitioner is now estopped
be nullified for being violative of the Constitution. It is a basic from questioning the sale to Renong Berhad since petitioner was
principle in constitutional law that all laws and contracts must well aware from the beginning that a foreigner could participate
conform with the fundamental law of the land. Those which in the bidding is meritless. Undoubtedly, Filipinos and foreigners
violate the Constitution lose their reason for being. alike were invited to the bidding. But foreigners may be awarded
the sale only if no Filipino qualifies, or if the qualified Filipino fails
Paragraph V. J. 1 of the bidding rules provides that [if] for any to match the highest bid tendered by the foreign entity. In the
reason the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of case before us, while petitioner was already preferred at the
Shares, GSIS may offer this to other Qualified Bidders that have inception of the bidding because of the constitutional mandate,
validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are petitioner had not yet matched the bid offered by Renong
willing to match the highest bid in terms of price per Berhad. Thus it did not have the right or personality then to
share. 47 Certainly, the constitutional mandate itself is reason compel respondent GSIS to accept its earlier bid. Rightly, only
enough not to award the block of shares immediately to the after it had matched the bid of the foreign firm and the apparent
foreign bidder notwithstanding its submission of a higher, or even disregard by respondent GSIS of petitioner's matching bid did
the highest, bid. In fact, we cannot conceive of a stronger reason the latter have a cause of action.
than the constitutional injunction itself.
Besides, there is no time frame for invoking the constitutional
In the instant case, where a foreign firm submits the highest bid safeguard unless perhaps the award has been finally made. To
in a public bidding concerning the grant of rights, privileges and insist on selling the Manila Hotel to foreigners when there is a
Filipino group willing to match the bid of the foreign group is to and feasibility of legislation economic in nature, the
insist that government be treated as any other ordinary market Supreme Court has not been spared criticism for
player, and bound by its mistakes or gross errors of judgment, decisions perceived as obstacles to economic
regardless of the consequences to the Filipino people. The progress and development . . . in connection with a
miscomprehension of the Constitution is regrettable. Thus we temporary injunction issued by the Court's First
would rather remedy the indiscretion while there is still an Division against the sale of the Manila Hotel to a
opportunity to do so than let the government develop the habit of Malaysian Firm and its partner, certain statements
forgetting that the Constitution lays down the basic conditions were published in a major daily to the effect that
and parameters for its actions. injunction "again demonstrates that the Philippine
legal system can be a major obstacle to doing
Since petitioner has already matched the bid price tendered by business here.
Renong Berhad pursuant to the bidding rules, respondent GSIS
is left with no alternative but to award to petitioner the block of Let it be stated for the record once again that while
shares of MHC and to execute the necessary agreements and it is no business of the Court to intervene in
documents to effect the sale in accordance not only with the contracts of the kind referred to or set itself up as
bidding guidelines and procedures but with the Constitution as the judge of whether they are viable or attainable, it
well. The refusal of respondent GSIS to execute the is its bounden duty to make sure that they do not
corresponding documents with petitioner as provided in the violate the Constitution or the laws, or are not
bidding rules after the latter has matched the bid of the adopted or implemented with grave abuse of
Malaysian firm clearly constitutes grave abuse of discretion. discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. It will never shirk that duty, no matter
The Filipino First Policy is a product of Philippine nationalism. It how buffeted by winds of unfair and ill-informed
is embodied in the 1987 Constitution not merely to be used as a criticism. 48
guideline for future legislation but primarily to be enforced; so
must it be enforced. This Court as the ultimate guardian of the Privatization of a business asset for purposes of enhancing its
Constitution will never shun, under any reasonable business viability and preventing further losses, regardless of the
circumstance, the duty of upholding the majesty of the character of the asset, should not take precedence over non-
Constitution which it is tasked to defend. It is worth emphasizing material values. A commercial, nay even a budgetary, objective
that it is not the intention of this Court to impede and diminish, should not be pursued at the expense of national pride and
much less undermine, the influx of foreign investments. Far from dignity. For the Constitution enshrines higher and nobler non-
it, the Court encourages and welcomes more business material values. Indeed, the Court will always defer to the
opportunities but avowedly sanctions the preference for Filipinos Constitution in the proper governance of a free society; after all,
whenever such preference is ordained by the Constitution. The there is nothing so sacrosanct in any economic policy as to draw
position of the Court on this matter could have not been more itself beyond judicial review when the Constitution is involved. 49
appropriately articulated by Chief Justice Narvasa —
Nationalism is inherent, in the very concept of the Philippines
As scrupulously as it has tried to observe that it is being a democratic and republican state, with sovereignty
not its function to substitute its judgment for that of residing in the Filipino people and from whom all government
the legislature or the executive about the wisdom authority emanates. In nationalism, the happiness and welfare of
the people must be the goal. The nation-state can have no duty of being the elderly watchman of the nation, will continue to
higher purpose. Any interpretation of any constitutional provision respect and protect the sanctity of the Constitution.
must adhere to such basic concept. Protection of foreign
investments, while laudible, is merely a policy. It cannot override WHEREFORE, respondents GOVERNMENT SERVICE
the demands of nationalism. 50 INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA HOTEL CORPORATION,
COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and OFFICE OF THE
The Manila Hotel or, for that matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL are directed to
any commodity to be sold to the highest bidder solely for the CEASE and DESIST from selling 51% of the shares of the
sake of privatization. We are not talking about an ordinary piece Manila Hotel Corporation to RENONG BERHAD, and to
of property in a commercial district. We are talking about a ACCEPT the matching bid of petitioner MANILA PRINCE
historic relic that has hosted many of the most important events HOTEL CORPORATION to purchase the subject 51% of the
in the short history of the Philippines as a nation. We are talking shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation at P44.00 per share and
about a hotel where heads of states would prefer to be housed thereafter to execute the necessary clearances and to do such
as a strong manifestation of their desire to cloak the dignity of other acts and deeds as may be necessary for purpose.
the highest state function to their official visits to the Philippines.
Thus the Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a SO ORDERED.
significant role as an authentic repository of twentieth century
Philippine history and culture. In this sense, it has become truly a
reflection of the Filipino soul — a place with a history of
grandeur; a most historical setting that has played a part in the G.R. No. 118295 May 2, 1997
shaping of a country. 51
WIGBERTO E. TAÑADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG,
This Court cannot extract rhyme nor reason from the determined as members of the Philippine Senate and as taxpayers;
efforts of respondents to sell the historical landmark — GREGORIO ANDOLANA and JOKER ARROYO as members
this Grand Old Dame of hotels in Asia — to a total stranger. For, of the House of Representatives and as taxpayers;
indeed, the conveyance of this epic exponent of the Filipino NICANOR P. PERLAS and HORACIO R. MORALES, both as
psyche to alien hands cannot be less than mephistophelian for it taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, NATIONAL ECONOMIC
is, in whatever manner viewed, a veritable alienation of a PROTECTIONISM ASSOCIATION, CENTER FOR
nation's soul for some pieces of foreign silver. And so we ask: ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES, LIKAS-
What advantage, which cannot be equally drawn from a qualified KAYANG KAUNLARAN FOUNDATION, INC., PHILIPPINE
Filipino, can be gained by the Filipinos Manila Hotel — and all RURAL RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT,
that it stands for — is sold to a non-Filipino? How much of DEMOKRATIKONG KILUSAN NG MAGBUBUKID NG
national pride will vanish if the nation's cultural heritage is PILIPINAS, INC., and PHILIPPINE PEASANT INSTITUTE, in
entrusted to a foreign entity? On the other hand, how much representation of various taxpayers and as non-
dignity will be preserved and realized if the national patrimony is governmental organizations, petitioners,
safekept in the hands of a qualified, zealous and well-meaning vs.
Filipino? This is the plain and simple meaning of the Filipino First EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-
Policy provision of the Philippine Constitution. And this Court, SHAHANI, HEHERSON ALVAREZ, AGAPITO AQUINO,
heeding the clarion call of the Constitution and accepting the
RODOLFO BIAZON, NEPTALI GONZALES, ERNESTO the well-known management guru, "Increased participation in the
HERRERA, JOSE LINA, GLORIA. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, world economy has become the key to domestic economic
ORLANDO MERCADO, BLAS OPLE, JOHN OSMEÑA, growth and prosperity."
SANTANINA RASUL, RAMON REVILLA, RAUL ROCO,
FRANCISCO TATAD and FREDDIE WEBB, in their respective Brief Historical Background
capacities as members of the Philippine Senate who
concurred in the ratification by the President of the To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by
Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade the Second World War, plans for the establishment of three
Organization; SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as multilateral institutions — inspired by that grand political body,
Secretary of Budget and Management; CARIDAD the United Nations — were discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and
VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National Treasurer; Bretton Woods. The first was the World Bank (WB) which was to
RIZALINO NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade address the rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-ravaged and
and Industry; ROBERTO SEBASTIAN, in his capacity as later developing countries; the second, the International
Secretary of Agriculture; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his Monetary Fund (IMF) which was to deal with currency problems;
capacity as Secretary of Finance; ROBERTO ROMULO, in and the third, the International Trade Organization (ITO), which
his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and TEOFISTO was to foster order and predictability in world trade and to
T. GUINGONA, in his capacity as Executive minimize unilateral protectionist policies that invite challenge,
Secretary, respondents. even retaliation, from other states. However, for a variety of
reasons, including its non-ratification by the United States, the
ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never took off. What remained was
only GATT — the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
PANGANIBAN, J.: GATT was a collection of treaties governing access to the
economies of treaty adherents with no institutionalized body
The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade administering the agreements or dependable system of dispute
Organization, abetted by the membership thereto of the vast settlement.
majority of countries has revolutionized international business
and economic relations amongst states. It has irreversibly After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations,
propelled the world towards trade liberalization and economic principally the Kennedy Round, the Tokyo Round and the
globalization. Liberalization, globalization, deregulation and Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth to that administering
privatization, the third-millennium buzz words, are ushering in a body — the World Trade Organization — with the signing of the
new borderless world of business by sweeping away as mere "Final Act" in Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the
historical relics the heretofore traditional modes of promoting and WTO Agreement by its members. 1
protecting national economies like tariffs, export subsidies,
import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions and Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined
currency controls. Finding market niches and becoming the best WTO as a founding member with the goal, as articulated by
in specific industries in a market-driven and export-oriented President Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate (infra), of
global scenario are replacing age-old "beggar-thy-neighbor" improving "Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its
policies that unilaterally protect weak and inefficient domestic major trading partners, through the reduction of tariffs on its
producers of goods and services. In the words of Peter Drucker, exports, particularly agricultural and industrial products." The
President also saw in the WTO the opening of "new for the prohibition of its implementation and enforcement through
opportunities for the services sector . . . , (the reduction of) costs the release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of
and uncertainty associated with exporting . . . , and (the public officials and employees, as well as the use of government
attraction of) more investments into the country." Although the properties and resources by respondent-heads of various
Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in his letter, the executive offices concerned therewith. This concurrence is
Philippines — and this is of special interest to the legal embodied in Senate Resolution No. 97, dated December 14,
profession — will benefit from the WTO system of dispute 1994.
settlement by judicial adjudication through the independent WTO
settlement bodies called (1) Dispute Settlement Panels and (2) The Facts
Appellate Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled
mainly through negotiations where solutions were arrived at On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary
frequently on the basis of relative bargaining strengths, and of The Department of Trade and Industry (Secretary Navarro, for
where naturally, weak and underdeveloped countries were at a brevity), representing the Government of the Republic of the
disadvantage. Philippines, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act
Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral
The Petition in Brief Negotiations (Final Act, for brevity).

Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines "to By signing the Final Act, 2 Secretary Navarro on behalf of the
place nationals and products of member-countries on the same Republic of the Philippines, agreed:
footing as Filipinos and local products" and (2) that the WTO
"intrudes, limits and/or impairs" the constitutional powers of both (a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement
Congress and the Supreme Court, the instant petition before this for the consideration of their respective competent
Court assails the WTO Agreement for violating the mandate of authorities, with a view to seeking approval of the
the 1987 Constitution to "develop a self-reliant and independent Agreement in accordance with their procedures;
national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos . . . (to) give and
preference to qualified Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential
use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced (b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and
goods." Decisions.

Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate
participation in worldwide trade liberalization and economic received a letter dated August 11, 1994 from the President of the
globalization? Does it proscribe Philippine integration into a Philippines, 3 stating among others that "the Uruguay Round
global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized? Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence
These are the main questions raised in this petition for certiorari, pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution."
prohibition andmandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
praying (1) for the nullification, on constitutional grounds, of the On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate
concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the received another letter from the President of the
President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the Philippines 4 likewise dated August 11, 1994, which stated
World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity) and (2) among others that "the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement
Establishing the World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection
Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding on Agreement on Rules of Origin
Commitments in Financial Services are hereby submitted to the Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures
Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating
the Constitution." Measures
Agreement on Safeguards
On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified
the necessity of the immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, a Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in
resolution entitled "Concurring in the Ratification of the Services and Annexes
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization." 5
Annex 1C: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects
On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted of Intellectual
Resolution No. 97 which "Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that Property Rights
the Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the ratification by the
President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the ANNEX 2
World Trade Organization." 6 The text of the WTO Agreement is
written on pages 137 et seq. of Volume I of the 36- Understanding on Rules and
volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and Procedures Governing
includes various agreements and associated legal instruments the Settlement of Disputes
(identified in the said Agreement as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto
and collectively referred to as Multilateral Trade Agreements, for ANNEX 3
brevity) as follows:
Trade Policy Review Mechanism
ANNEX 1
On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines
Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in signed 7 the Instrument of Ratification, declaring:
Goods
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V.
Agreement on Agriculture RAMOS, President of the Republic of the
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Philippines, after having seen and considered the
Phytosanitary Measures aforementioned Agreement Establishing the World
Agreement on Textiles and Clothing Trade Organization and the agreements and
Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade associated legal instruments included in Annexes
Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement
Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of he which are integral parts thereof, signed at
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April 1994, do hereby
1994 ratify and confirm the same and every Article and
Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the Clause thereof.
General on Tariffs and Trade 1994
To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of providing a historical background of and (2) summarizing the
the Philippines is composed of the Agreement Proper and "the said agreements.
associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two
(2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court
thereof." directed:

On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro (a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate
embodies not only the WTO Agreement (and its integral annexes Committee Report on the matter in controversy and
aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial Declarations and (2) the transcript of proceedings/hearings in the
Decisions and (2) the Understanding on Commitments in Senate; and
Financial Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13,
1996, 8 the Solicitor General describes these two latter (b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for
documents as follows: respondents, to file (1) a list of Philippine treaties
signed prior to the Philippine adherence to the
The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are WTO Agreement, which derogate from Philippine
twenty-five declarations and decisions on a wide sovereignty and (2) copies of the multi-volume
range of matters, such as measures in favor of WTO Agreement and other documents mentioned
least developed countries, notification procedures, in the Final Act, as soon as possible.
relationship of WTO with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), and agreements on technical barriers After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would
to trade and on dispute settlement. consider the case submitted for resolution. In a Compliance
dated September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General submitted a
The Understanding on Commitments in Financial printed copy of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral
Services dwell on, among other things, standstill or Trade Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October
limitations and qualifications of commitments to 24, 1996, he listed the various "bilateral or multilateral treaties or
existing non-conforming measures, market access, international instruments involving derogation of Philippine
national treatment, and definitions of non-resident sovereignty." Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their
supplier of financial services, commercial presence Compliance dated January 28, 1997, on January 30, 1997.
and new financial service.
The Issues
On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After
careful deliberation on respondents' comment and petitioners' In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners
reply thereto, the Court resolved on December 12, 1995, to give summarized the issues as follows:
due course to the petition, and the parties thereafter filed their
respective memoranda. The court also requested the Honorable A. Whether the petition presents a political question
Lilia R. Bautista, the Philippine Ambassador to the United or is otherwise not justiciable.
Nations stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper,
hereafter referred to as "Bautista Paper," 9 for brevity, (1) B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate
who participated in the deliberations and voting
leading to the concurrence are estopped from On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for
impugning the validity of the Agreement respondents "synthesized the several issues raised by
Establishing the World Trade Organization or of the petitioners into the following": 10
validity of the concurrence.
1. Whether or not the provisions of the "Agreement
C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the
Establishing the World Trade Organization Agreements and Associated Legal Instruments
contravene the provisions of Sec. 19, Article II, and included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3)
Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, all of the 1987 of that agreement" cited by petitioners directly
Philippine Constitution. contravene or undermine the letter, spirit and intent
of Section 19, Article II and Sections 10 and 12,
D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.
Establishing the World Trade Organization unduly
limit, restrict and impair Philippine sovereignty 2. Whether or not certain provisions of the
specifically the legislative power which, under Sec. Agreement unduly limit, restrict or impair the
2, Article VI, 1987 Philippine Constitution is "vested exercise of legislative power by Congress.
in the Congress of the Philippines";
3. Whether or not certain provisions of the
E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Agreement impair the exercise of judicial power by
Establishing the World Trade Organization interfere this Honorable Court in promulgating the rules of
with the exercise of judicial power. evidence.

F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate 4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate
acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to "in the ratification by the President of the
lack or excess of jurisdiction when they voted for Philippines of the Agreement establishing the
concurrence in the ratification of the World Trade Organization" implied rejection of the
constitutionally-infirm Agreement Establishing the treaty embodied in the Final Act.
World Trade Organization.
By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven
G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate presented by petitioners, the Solicitor General has effectively
acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to ignored three, namely: (1) whether the petition presents a
lack or excess of jurisdiction when they concurred political question or is otherwise not justiciable; (2) whether
only in the ratification of the Agreement petitioner-members of the Senate (Wigberto E. Tañada and
Establishing the World Trade Organization, and not Anna Dominique Coseteng) are estopped from joining this suit;
with the Presidential submission which included the and (3) whether the respondent-members of the Senate acted in
Final Act, Ministerial Declaration and Decisions, grave abuse of discretion when they voted for concurrence in the
and the Understanding on Commitments in ratification of the WTO Agreement. The foregoing
Financial Services. notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with these three
issues thus:
(1) The "political question" issue — being very fundamental and (3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT
vital, and being a matter that probes into the very jurisdiction of AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT, OR
this Court to hear and decide this case — was deliberated upon IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE
by the Court and will thus be ruled upon as the first issue; POWER BY CONGRESS?

(2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this (4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR
defense is waivable and the respondents have effectively waived INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL
it by not pursuing it in any of their pleadings; in any event, this POWER BY THIS COURT IN PROMULGATING
issue, even if ruled in respondents' favor, will not cause the RULES ON EVIDENCE?
petition's dismissal as there are petitioners other than the two
senators, who are not vulnerable to the defense of estoppel; and (5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE
IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES
(3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of SUFFICIENT AND/OR VALID, CONSIDERING
the respondent senators will be taken up as an integral part of THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT,
the disposition of the four issues raised by the Solicitor General. MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS,
AND THE UNDERSTANDING ON
During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?
respondents did not question the locus standi of petitioners.
Hence, they are also deemed to have waived the benefit of such The First Issue: Does the Court
issue. They probably realized that grave constitutional issues, Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy?
expenditures of public funds and serious international
commitments of the nation are involved here, and that In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground
transcendental public interest requires that the substantive that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a
issues be met head on and decided on the merits, rather than justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch
skirted or deflected by procedural matters. 11 is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes
not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the
To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are: dispute. "The question thus posed is judicial rather than political.
The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of
(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A the Constitution is upheld." 12 Once a "controversy as to the
JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE application or interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised
STATED, DOES THE PETITION INVOLVE A before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal
POLITICAL QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS issue which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to
COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION? decide." 13

(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters 14 raised in
AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES the petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution, 15 as
CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II, AND SECS. follows:
10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF THE PHILIPPINE
CONSTITUTION?
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of the President and the Senate in enlisting the country into the
justice to settle actual controversies involving rights WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy
which are legally demandable and enforceable, espoused by said international body. Neither will it rule on
and to determine whether or not there has been a the propriety of the government's economic policy of
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only
instrumentality of the government. exercise its constitutional duty "to determine whether or not there
had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial department's duty excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in ratifying the
and power to strike down grave abuse of discretion on the part of WTO Agreement and its three annexes.
any branch or instrumentality of government including Congress.
It is an innovation in our political law. 16 As explained by former Second Issue: The WTO Agreement
Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, 17 "the judiciary is the final and Economic Nationalism
arbiter on the question of whether or not a branch of government
or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.
jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of
discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a Petitioners vigorously argue that the "letter, spirit and intent" of
judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this the Constitution mandating "economic nationalism" are violated
nature." by the so-called "parity provisions" and "national treatment"
clauses scattered in various parts not only of the WTO
As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many Agreement and its annexes but also in the Ministerial Decisions
cases, 18 it will not shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and Declarations and in the Understanding on Commitments in
and authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve Financial Services.
grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases,
committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department Specifically, the "flagship" constitutional provisions referred to
of the government. are Sec 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, of the
Constitution, which are worded as follows:
As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is
no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary Article II
course of law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this
petition should be given due course and the vital questions DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
raised therein ruled upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. AND STATE POLICIES
Indeed, certiorari, prohibition andmandamus are appropriate
remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or xxx xxx xxx
prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive
officials. On this, we have no equivocation. Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and
independent national economy effectively
We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this controlled by Filipinos.
petition, this Court will not review the wisdom of the decision of
xxx xxx xxx inconsistent with the provisions of
Article II or Article XI of GATT 1994.
Article XII
2. An illustrative list of TRIMS that are
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY inconsistent with the obligations of
general elimination of quantitative
xxx xxx xxx restrictions provided for in paragraph
I of Article XI of GATT 1994 is
Sec. 10. . . . The Congress shall enact measures contained in the Annex to this
that will encourage the formation and operation of Agreement." (Agreement on Trade-
enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Related Investment Measures, Vol.
Filipinos. 27, Uruguay Round, Legal
Instruments, p. 22121, emphasis
In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions supplied).
covering the national economy and patrimony, the
State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos. The Annex referred to reads as follows:

xxx xxx xxx ANNEX

Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential Illustrative List
use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally
produced goods, and adopt measures that help 1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation
make them competitive. of national treatment provided for in paragraph 4 of
Article III of GATT 1994 include those which are
Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are mandatory or enforceable under domestic law or
desecrated by the following WTO provisions quoted in their under administrative rulings, or compliance with
memorandum: 19 which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and
which require:
a) In the area of investment measures related to
trade in goods (TRIMS, for brevity): (a) the purchase or use by an
enterprise of products of domestic
Article 2 origin or from any domestic source,
whether specified in terms of
National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions. particular products, in terms of
volume or value of products, or in
1. Without prejudice to other rights terms of proportion of volume or
and obligations under GATT 1994, no value of its local production; or
Member shall apply any TRIM that is
(b) that an enterprise's purchases or The products of the territory of any
use of imported products be limited to contracting party imported into the
an amount related to the volume or territory of any other contracting
value of local products that it exports. party shall be accorded treatment no
less favorable than that accorded to
2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations like products of national origin in
of general elimination of quantitative restrictions respect of laws, regulations and
provided for in paragraph 1 of Article XI of GATT requirements affecting their internal
1994 include those which are mandatory or sale, offering for sale, purchase,
enforceable under domestic laws or under transportation, distribution or use, the
administrative rulings, or compliance with which is provisions of this paragraph shall not
necessary to obtain an advantage, and which prevent the application of differential
restrict: internal transportation charges which
are based exclusively on the
(a) the importation by an enterprise of economic operation of the means of
products used in or related to the transport and not on the nationality of
local production that it exports; the product." (Article III, GATT 1947,
as amended by the Protocol
(b) the importation by an enterprise of Modifying Part II, and Article XXVI of
products used in or related to its local GATT, 14 September 1948, 62 UMTS
production by restricting its access to 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of
foreign exchange inflows attributable the General Agreement on Tariffs and
to the enterprise; or Trade 1994, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round,
Legal Instruments p. 177, emphasis
(c) the exportation or sale for export supplied).
specified in terms of particular
products, in terms of volume or value (b) In the area of trade related aspects of
of products, or in terms of a intellectual property rights (TRIPS, for brevity):
preparation of volume or value of its
local production. (Annex to the Each Member shall accord to the
Agreement on Trade-Related nationals of other Members treatment
Investment Measures, Vol. 27, no less favourable than that it
Uruguay Round Legal Documents, p. accords to its own nationals with
22125, emphasis supplied). regard to the protection of intellectual
property. . . (par. 1 Article 3,
The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect
referred to is quoted as follows: of Intellectual Property rights, Vol. 31,
Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments,
p. 25432 (emphasis supplied)
(c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade It is petitioners' position that the foregoing "national treatment"
in Services: and "parity provisions" of the WTO Agreement "place nationals
and products of member countries on the same footing as
National Treatment Filipinos and local products," in contravention of the "Filipino
First" policy of the Constitution. They allegedly render
1. In the sectors inscribed in its meaningless the phrase "effectively controlled by Filipinos." The
schedule, and subject to any constitutional conflict becomes more manifest when viewed in
conditions and qualifications set out the context of the clear duty imposed on the Philippines as a
therein, each Member shall accord to WTO member to ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations
services and service suppliers of any and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in
other Member, in respect of all the annexed agreements. 20 Petitioners further argue that these
measures affecting the supply of provisions contravene constitutional limitations on the role
services, treatment no less exports play in national development and negate the preferential
favourable than it accords to its own treatment accorded to Filipino labor, domestic materials and
like services and service suppliers. locally produced goods.

2. A Member may meet the On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General
requirement of paragraph I by counter (1) that such Charter provisions are not self-executing
according to services and service and merely set out general policies; (2) that these nationalistic
suppliers of any other Member, either portions of the Constitution invoked by petitioners should not be
formally suppliers of any other read in isolation but should be related to other relevant
Member, either formally identical provisions of Art. XII, particularly Secs. 1 and 13 thereof; (3) that
treatment or formally different read properly, the cited WTO clauses do not conflict with
treatment to that it accords to its own Constitution; and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient
like services and service suppliers. provisions to protect developing countries like the Philippines
from the harshness of sudden trade liberalization.
3. Formally identical or formally
different treatment shall be We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.
considered to be less favourable if it
modifies the conditions of completion Declaration of Principles
in favour of services or service Not Self-Executing
suppliers of the Member compared to
like services or service suppliers of By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a "declaration of
any other Member. (Article XVII, principles and state policies." The counterpart of this article in
General Agreement on Trade in the 1935 Constitution 21 is called the "basic political creed of the
Services, Vol. 28, Uruguay Round nation" by Dean Vicente Sinco. 22 These principles in Article II
Legal Instruments, p. 22610 are not intended to be self-executing principles ready for
emphasis supplied). enforcement through the courts. 23 They are used by the
judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its power of
judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged
held in the leading case of Kilosbayan, Incorporated infringement of board constitutional principles are sourced from
vs. Morato, 24 the principles and state policies enumerated in basic considerations of due process and the lack of judicial
Article II and some sections of Article XII are not "self-executing authority to wade "into the uncharted ocean of social and
provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of economic policy making." Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in
action in the courts. They do not embody judicially enforceable his concurring opinion inOposa vs. Factoran, Jr., 26 explained
constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation." these reasons as follows:

In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor 25 that broad My suggestion is simply that petitioners must,
constitutional principles need legislative enactments to before the trial court, show a more specific legal
implement the, thus: right — a right cast in language of a significantly
lower order of generality than Article II (15) of the
On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Constitution — that is or may be violated by the
Sections 11 (Personal Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 actions, or failures to act, imputed to the public
(Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13 (Social respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can
Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational validly render judgment grating all or part of the
Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, relief prayed for. To my mind, the court should be
suffice it to state also that these are merely understood as simply saying that such a more
statements of principles and policies. As such, they specific legal right or rights may well exist in our
are basically not self-executing, meaning a law corpus of law, considering the general policy
should be passed by Congress to clearly define principles found in the Constitution and the
and effectuate such principles. existence of the Philippine Environment Code, and
that the trial court should have given petitioners an
In general, therefore, the 1935 effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of
provisions were not intended to be aborting the proceedings on a motion to dismiss.
self-executing principles ready for
enforcement through the courts. They It seems to me important that the legal right which
were rather directives addressed to is an essential component of a cause of action be a
the executive and to the legislature. If specific, operable legal right, rather than a
the executive and the legislature constitutional or statutory policy, for at least two (2)
failed to heed the directives of the reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed
article, the available remedy was not to have been violated or disregarded is given
judicial but political. The electorate specification in operational terms, defendants may
could express their displeasure with well be unable to defend themselves intelligently
the failure of the executive and the and effectively; in other words, there are due
legislature through the language of process dimensions to this matter.
the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2).
The second is a broader-gauge consideration —
where a specific violation of law or applicable
regulation is not alleged or proved, petitioners can Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with
be expected to fall back on the expanded Other Constitutional Mandates to Attain
conception of judicial power in the second Balanced Development of Economy
paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII of the
Constitution which reads: On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from
merely laying down general principles relating to the national
Sec. 1. . . . economy and patrimony, should be read and understood in
relation to the other sections in said article, especially Secs. 1
Judicial power includes the duty of and 13 thereof which read:
the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which Sec. 1. The goals of the national economy are a
are legally demandable and more equitable distribution of opportunities,
enforceable, and to determine income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the
whether or not there has been a amount of goods and services produced by the
grave abuse of discretion amounting nation for the benefit of the people; and an
to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the expanding productivity as the key to raising the
part of any branch or instrumentality quality of life for all especially the underprivileged.
of the Government. (Emphasis
supplied) The State shall promote industrialization and full
employment based on sound agricultural
When substantive standards as general as "the development and agrarian reform, through
right to a balanced and healthy ecology" and "the industries that make full and efficient use of human
right to health" are combined with remedial and natural resources, and which are competitive
standards as broad ranging as "a grave abuse of in both domestic and foreign markets. However,
discretion amounting to lack or excess of the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against
jurisdiction," the result will be, it is respectfully unfair foreign competition and trade practices.
submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted
ocean of social and economic policy making. At In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the
least in respect of the vast area of environmental economy and all regions of the country shall be
protection and management, our courts have no given optimum opportunity to develop. . . .
claim to special technical competence and
experience and professional qualification. Where xxx xxx xxx
no specific, operable norms and standards are
shown to exist, then the policy making departments Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that
— the legislative and executive departments — serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms
must be given a real and effective opportunity to and arrangements of exchange on the basis of
fashion and promulgate those norms and equality and reciprocity.
standards, and to implement them before the
courts should intervene.
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down privileges and concessions covering national economy and
the basic goals of national economic development, as follows: patrimony" and not to every aspect of trade and commerce. It
refers to exceptions rather than the rule. The issue here is not
1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and whether this paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is self-executing or
wealth; not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule, there are enough
balancing provisions in the Constitution to allow the Senate to
2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services ratify the Philippine concurrence in the WTO Agreement. And we
provided by the nation for the benefit of the people; and hold that there are.

3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of
life for all especially the underprivileged. Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises, at the same time,
it recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the
With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits
ideals of economic nationalism (1) by expressing preference in protection of Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition
favor of qualified Filipinos "in the grant of rights, privileges and and trade practices that are unfair. 32 In other words, the
concessions covering the national economy and Constitution did not intend to pursue an isolationist policy. It did
patrimony" 27 and in the use of "Filipino labor, domestic materials not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the
and locally-produced goods"; (2) by mandating the State to development of the Philippine economy. While the Constitution
"adopt measures that help make them competitive; 28 and (3) by does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods,
requiring the State to "develop a self-reliant and independent services and investments into the country, it does not prohibit
national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos." 29 In similar them either. In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of
language, the Constitution takes into account the realities of the equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign competition that
outside world as it requires the pursuit of "a trade policy that is unfair.
serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and
arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality ad WTO Recognizes Need to
reciprocity"; 30 and speaks of industries "which are competitive in Protect Weak Economies
both domestic and foreign markets" as well as of the protection
of "Filipino enterprises againstunfair foreign competition and Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself
trade practices." has some built-in advantages to protect weak and developing
economies, which comprise the vast majority of its members.
It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel Unlike in the UN where major states have permanent seats and
vs. Government Service Insurance System, et al., 31 this Court veto powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are
held that "Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution made on the basis of sovereign equality, with each member's
is a mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and vote equal in weight to that of any other. There is no WTO
which needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rule equivalent of the UN Security Council.
for its enforcement. From its very words the provision does not
require any legislation to put it in operation. It is per se judicially WTO decides by consensus whenever possible,
enforceable." However, as the constitutional provision itself otherwise, decisions of the Ministerial Conference
states, it is enforceable only in regard to "the grants of rights, and the General Council shall be taken by the
majority of the votes cast, except in cases of Recognizing further that there is need for positive
interpretation of the Agreement or waiver of the efforts designed to ensure that developing
obligation of a member which would require three countries, and especially the least developed
fourths vote. Amendments would require two thirds among them, secure a share in the growth in
vote in general. Amendments to MFN provisions international trade commensurate with the needs of
and the Amendments provision will require assent their economic development,
of all members. Any member may withdraw from
the Agreement upon the expiration of six months Being desirous of contributing to these objectives
from the date of notice of withdrawals. 33 by entering into reciprocal and mutually
advantageous arrangements directed to the
Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to
effectively through the WTO than through one-on-one trade and to the elimination of discriminatory
negotiations with developed countries. Within the WTO, treatment in international trade relations,
developing countries can form powerful blocs to push their
economic agenda more decisively than outside the Organization. Resolved, therefore, to develop an integrated,
This is not merely a matter of practical alliances but a negotiating more viable and durable multilateral trading system
strategy rooted in law. Thus, the basic principles underlying the encompassing the General Agreement on Tariffs
WTO Agreement recognize the need of developing countries like and Trade, the results of past trade liberalization
the Philippines to "share in the growth in international efforts, and all of the results of the Uruguay Round
tradecommensurate with the needs of their economic of Multilateral Trade Negotiations,
development." These basic principles are found in the
preamble34 of the WTO Agreement as follows: Determined to preserve the basic principles and to
further the objectives underlying this multilateral
The Parties to this Agreement, trading system, . . . (emphasis supplied.)

Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade Specific WTO Provisos
and economic endeavour should be conducted with Protect Developing Countries
a view to raising standards of living, ensuring full
employment and a large and steadily growing So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and
volume of real income and effective demand, and consistent with the foregoing basic principles, the WTO
expanding the production of and trade in goods Agreement grants developing countries a more lenient treatment,
and services, while allowing for the optimal use of giving their domestic industries some protection from the rush of
the world's resources in accordance with the foreign competition. Thus, with respect to tariffs in general,
objective of sustainable development, seeking both preferential treatment is given to developing countries in terms of
to protect and preserve the environment and to the amount of tariff reduction and the period within which the
enhance the means for doing so in a manner reduction is to be spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an
consistent with their respective needs and average tariff reduction rate of 36% for developed countries to be
concerns at different levels of economic effected within a period of six (6) years while developing
development,
countries — including the Philippines — are required to effect an Constitution Does Not
average tariff reduction of only 24% within ten (10) years. Rule Out Foreign Competition

In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a "self-reliant and
countries to reduce domestic support to agricultural products independent national economy" 35 does not necessarily rule out
by 20% over six (6) years, as compared to only 13% for the entry of foreign investments, goods and services. It
developing countries to be effected within ten (10) years. contemplates neither "economic seclusion" nor "mendicancy in
the international community." As explained by Constitutional
In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, sponsor of this constitutional
requires developed countries to reduce their budgetary outlays policy:
for export subsidy by 36% and export volumes receiving export
subsidy by 21% within a period of six (6) years. For developing Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a
countries, however, the reduction rate is only two-thirds of that developing country that is keenly aware of
prescribed for developed countries and a longer period of ten overdependence on external assistance for even
(10) years within which to effect such reduction. its most basic needs. It does not mean autarky or
economic seclusion; rather, it means avoiding
Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair mendicancy in the international community.
foreign competition and trade practices including anti-dumping Independence refers to the freedom from undue
measures, countervailing measures and safeguards against foreign control of the national economy, especially
import surges. Where local businesses are jeopardized by unfair in such strategic industries as in the development
foreign competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures. of natural resources and public utilities. 36
There is hardly therefore any basis for the statement that under
the WTO, local industries and enterprises will all be wiped out The WTO reliance on "most favored nation," "national
and that Filipinos will be deprived of control of the economy. treatment," and "trade without discrimination" cannot be struck
Quite the contrary, the weaker situations of developing nations down as unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality and
like the Philippines have been taken into account; thus, there reciprocity that apply to all WTO members. Aside from
would be no basis to say that in joining the WTO, the envisioning a trade policy based on "equality and
respondents have gravely abused their discretion. True, they reciprocity," 37 the fundamental law encourages industries that
have made a bold decision to steer the ship of state into the yet are "competitive in both domestic and foreign markets," thereby
uncharted sea of economic liberalization. But such decision demonstrating a clear policy against a sheltered domestic trade
cannot be set aside on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, environment, but one in favor of the gradual development of
simply because we disagree with it or simply because we believe robust industries that can compete with the best in the foreign
only in other economic policies. As earlier stated, the Court in markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino enterprises have
taking jurisdiction of this case will not pass upon the advantages shown capability and tenacity to compete internationally. And
and disadvantages of trade liberalization as an economic policy. given a free trade environment, Filipino entrepreneurs and
It will only perform its constitutional duty of determining whether managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the Filipino capacity
the Senate committed grave abuse of discretion. to grow and to prosper against the best offered under a policy
of laissez faire.
Constitution Favors Consumers, became effective. Did that necessarily mean that the then
Not Industries or Enterprises Constitution might not have contemplated a diminution of the
absoluteness of sovereignty when the Philippines signed the UN
The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in Charter, thereby effectively surrendering part of its control over
favor of any business or enterprise, nor does it contain any its foreign relations to the decisions of various UN organs like the
specific pronouncement that Filipino companies should be Security Council?
pampered with a total proscription of foreign competition. On the
other hand, respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are
available to the Filipino consumer the best goods and services designed to meet not only the vagaries of contemporary events.
obtainable anywhere in the world at the most reasonable prices. They should be interpreted to cover even future and unknown
Consequently, the question boils down to whether WTO/GATT circumstances. It is to the credit of its drafters that a Constitution
will favor the general welfare of the public at large. can withstand the assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same
time bend with the refreshing winds of change necessitated by
Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the unfolding events. As one eminent political law writer and
general welfare) to reality? respected jurist 38 explains:

Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos' general The Constitution must be quintessential rather than
welfare because it will — as promised by its promoters — superficial, the root and not the blossom, the base
expand the country's exports and generate more employment? and frame-work only of the edifice that is yet to
rise. It is but the core of the dream that must take
Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and shape, not in a twinkling by mandate of our
quality products at the most reasonable rates to the Filipino delegates, but slowly "in the crucible of Filipino
public? minds and hearts," where it will in time develop its
sinews and gradually gather its strength and finally
The responses to these questions involve "judgment calls" by achieve its substance. In fine, the Constitution
our policy makers, for which they are answerable to our people cannot, like the goddess Athena, rise full-grown
during appropriate electoral exercises. Such questions and the from the brow of the Constitutional Convention, nor
answers thereto are not subject to judicial pronouncements can it conjure by mere fiat an instant Utopia. It must
based on grave abuse of discretion. grow with the society it seeks to re-structure and
march apace with the progress of the race, drawing
Constitution Designed to Meet from the vicissitudes of history the dynamism and
Future Events and Contingencies vitality that will keep it, far from becoming a
petrified rule, a pulsing, living law attuned to the
No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when heartbeat of the nation.
the Constitution was drafted and ratified in 1987. That does not
mean however that the Charter is necessarily flawed in the Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power
sense that its framers might not have anticipated the advent of a
borderless world of business. By the same token, the United The WTO Agreement provides that "(e)ach Member shall ensure
Nations was not yet in existence when the 1935 Constitution the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative
procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed law, which are considered to be automatically part of our own
Agreements." 39 Petitioners maintain that this undertaking laws. 44 One of the oldest and most fundamental rules in
"unduly limits, restricts and impairs Philippine sovereignty, international law is pacta sunt servanda — international
specifically the legislative power which under Sec. 2, Article VI of agreements must be performed in good faith. "A treaty
the 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the Congress of the engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a legally
Philippines. It is an assault on the sovereign powers of the binding obligation on the parties . . . A state which has
Philippines because this means that Congress could not pass contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its
legislation that will be good for our national interest and general legislations such modifications as may be necessary to ensure
welfare if such legislation will not conform with the WTO the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken." 45
Agreement, which not only relates to the trade in goods . . . but
also to the flow of investments and money . . . as well as to a By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the
whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters . . . 40 absoluteness of sovereignty. By their voluntary act, nations may
surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange for
More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso greater benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact.
derogates from the power to tax, which is lodged in the After all, states, like individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit
Congress. 41 And while the Constitution allows Congress to of mutually covenanted objectives and benefits, they also
authorize the President to fix tariff rates, import and export commonly agree to limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute
quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or rights. Thus, treaties have been used to record agreements
imposts, such authority is subject to "specified limits and . . . between States concerning such widely diverse matters as, for
such limitations and restrictions" as Congress may provide, 42 as example, the lease of naval bases, the sale or cession of
in fact it did under Sec. 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code. territory, the termination of war, the regulation of conduct of
hostilities, the formation of alliances, the regulation of
Sovereignty Limited by commercial relations, the settling of claims, the laying down of
International Law and Treaties rules governing conduct in peace and the establishment of
international organizations.46 The sovereignty of a state therefore
This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by cannot in fact and in reality be considered absolute. Certain
which petitioners stressed their arguments on this issue. restrictions enter into the picture: (1) limitations imposed by the
However, while sovereignty has traditionally been deemed very nature of membership in the family of nations and (2)
absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic level, it is limitations imposed by treaty stipulations. As aptly put by John F.
however subject to restrictions and limitations voluntarily agreed Kennedy, "Today, no nation can build its destiny alone. The age
to by the Philippines, expressly or impliedly, as a member of the of self-sufficient nationalism is over. The age of interdependence
family of nations. Unquestionably, the Constitution did not is here." 47
envision a hermit-type isolation of the country from the rest of the
world. In its Declaration of Principles and State Policies, the UN Charter and Other Treaties
Constitution "adopts the generally accepted principles of Limit Sovereignty
international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to
the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of
amity, with all nations." 43 By the doctrine of incorporation, the its 51 charter members, it consented to restrict its sovereign
country is bound by generally accepted principles of international rights under the "concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation." 47-
A Under Article 2 of the UN Charter, "(a)ll members shall give (a) Bilateral convention with the United States
the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in regarding taxes on income, where the Philippines
accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from agreed, among others, to exempt from tax, income
giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations received in the Philippines by, among others, the
is taking preventive or enforcement action." Such assistance Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the
includes payment of its corresponding share not merely in Export/Import Bank of the United States, the
administrative expenses but also in expenditures for the peace- Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the
keeping operations of the organization. In its advisory opinion of United States. Likewise, in said convention, wages,
July 20, 1961, the International Court of Justice held that money salaries and similar remunerations paid by the
used by the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East United States to its citizens for labor and personal
and in the Congo were "expenses of the United Nations" under services performed by them as employees or
Article 17, paragraph 2, of the UN Charter. Hence, all its officials of the United States are exempt from
members must bear their corresponding share in such expenses. income tax by the Philippines.
In this sense, the Philippine Congress is restricted in its power to
appropriate. It is compelled to appropriate funds whether it (b) Bilateral agreement with Belgium, providing,
agrees with such peace-keeping expenses or not. So too, under among others, for the avoidance of double taxation
Article 105 of the said Charter, the UN and its representatives with respect to taxes on income.
enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities, thereby limiting again
the exercise of sovereignty of members within their own territory. (c) Bilateral convention with the Kingdom of
Another example: although "sovereign equality" and "domestic Sweden for the avoidance of double taxation.
jurisdiction" of all members are set forth as underlying principles
in the UN Charter, such provisos are however subject to (d) Bilateral convention with the French Republic
enforcement measures decided by the Security Council for the for the avoidance of double taxation.
maintenance of international peace and security under Chapter
VII of the Charter. A final example: under Article 103, "(i)n the (e) Bilateral air transport agreement with Korea
event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the where the Philippines agreed to exempt from all
United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations customs duties, inspection fees and other duties or
under any other international agreement, their obligation under taxes aircrafts of South Korea and the regular
the present charter shall prevail," thus unquestionably denying equipment, spare parts and supplies arriving with
the Philippines — as a member — the sovereign power to make said aircrafts.
a choice as to which of conflicting obligations, if any, to honor.
(f) Bilateral air service agreement with Japan,
Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many where the Philippines agreed to exempt from
other international pacts — both bilateral and multilateral — that customs duties, excise taxes, inspection fees and
involve limitations on Philippine sovereignty. These are other similar duties, taxes or charges fuel,
enumerated by the Solicitor General in his Compliance dated lubricating oils, spare parts, regular equipment,
October 24, 1996, as follows: stores on board Japanese aircrafts while on
Philippine soil.
(g) Bilateral air service agreement with Belgium In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to
where the Philippines granted Belgian air carriers limit the exercise of its sovereign powers of taxation, eminent
the same privileges as those granted to Japanese domain and police power. The underlying consideration in this
and Korean air carriers under separate air service partial surrender of sovereignty is the reciprocal commitment of
agreements. the other contracting states in granting the same privilege and
immunities to the Philippines, its officials and its citizens. The
(h) Bilateral notes with Israel for the abolition of same reciprocity characterizes the Philippine commitments
transit and visitor visas where the Philippines under WTO-GATT.
exempted Israeli nationals from the requirement of
obtaining transit or visitor visas for a sojourn in the International treaties, whether relating to nuclear
Philippines not exceeding 59 days. disarmament, human rights, the environment, the
law of the sea, or trade, constrain domestic political
(i) Bilateral agreement with France exempting sovereignty through the assumption of external
French nationals from the requirement of obtaining obligations. But unless anarchy in international
transit and visitor visa for a sojourn not exceeding relations is preferred as an alternative, in most
59 days. cases we accept that the benefits of the reciprocal
obligations involved outweigh the costs associated
(j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, with any loss of political sovereignty. (T)rade
where the Philippines agreed that premises of treaties that structure relations by reference to
Special Missions in the Philippines are inviolable durable, well-defined substantive norms and
and its agents can not enter said premises without objective dispute resolution procedures reduce the
consent of the Head of Mission concerned. Special risks of larger countries exploiting raw economic
Missions are also exempted from customs duties, power to bully smaller countries, by subjecting
taxes and related charges. power relations to some form of legal ordering. In
addition, smaller countries typically stand to gain
(k) Multilateral convention on the Law of Treaties. disproportionately from trade liberalization. This is
In this convention, the Philippines agreed to be due to the simple fact that liberalization will provide
governed by the Vienna Convention on the Law of access to a larger set of potential new trading
Treaties. relationship than in case of the larger country
gaining enhanced success to the smaller country's
(l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines market. 48
accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the
International Court of Justice. The International The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of
Court of Justice has jurisdiction in all legal disputes sovereignty may be waived without violating the Constitution,
concerning the interpretation of a treaty, any based on the rationale that the Philippines "adopts the generally
question of international law, the existence of any accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the
fact which, if established, would constitute a breach land and adheres to the policy of . . . cooperation and amity with
"of international obligation." all nations."
Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and Judicial Power reasonable efforts to determine the
process actually used.
Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General
Provisions and Basic Principles of the Agreement on Trade- 2. Any Member shall be free to provide that the
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights burden of proof indicated in paragraph 1 shall be
(TRIPS) 49 intrudes on the power of the Supreme Court to on the alleged infringer only if the condition referred
promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and to in subparagraph (a) is fulfilled or only if the
procedures. 50 condition referred to in subparagraph (b) is fulfilled.

To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS, 51 it 3. In the adduction of proof to the contrary, the
will be fruitful to restate its full text as follows: legitimate interests of defendants in protecting their
manufacturing and business secrets shall be taken
Article 34 into account.

Process Patents: Burden of Proof From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of
disputable (not the words "in the absence of proof to the
1. For the purposes of civil proceedings in respect contrary") presumption that a product shown to be identical to
of the infringement of the rights of the owner one produced with the use of a patented process shall be
referred to in paragraph 1 (b) of Article 28, if the deemed to have been obtained by the (illegal) use of the said
subject matter of a patent is a process for obtaining patented process, (1) where such product obtained by the
a product, the judicial authorities shall have the patented product is new, or (2) where there is "substantial
authority to order the defendant to prove that the likelihood" that the identical product was made with the use of
process to obtain an identical product is different the said patented process but the owner of the patent could not
from the patented process. Therefore, Members determine the exact process used in obtaining such identical
shall provide, in at least one of the following product. Hence, the "burden of proof" contemplated by Article 34
circumstances, that any identical product when should actually be understood as the duty of the alleged patent
produced without the consent of the patent owner infringer to overthrow such presumption. Such burden, properly
shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be understood, actually refers to the "burden of evidence" (burden
deemed to have been obtained by the patented of going forward) placed on the producer of the identical (or fake)
process: product to show that his product was produced without the use of
the patented process.
(a) if the product obtained by the
patented process is new; The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the
"burden of proof" since, regardless of the presumption provided
(b) if there is a substantial likelihood under paragraph 1 of Article 34, such owner still has to introduce
that the identical product was made evidence of the existence of the alleged identical product, the
by the process and the owner of the fact that it is "identical" to the genuine one produced by the
patent has been unable through patented process and the fact of "newness" of the genuine
product or the fact of "substantial likelihood" that the identical So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international
product was made by the patented process. conventions on patents, trademarks and copyrights, the
adjustment in legislation and rules of procedure will not be
The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the substantial. 52
rules of evidence as the present law on the subject, Republic Act
No. 165, as amended, otherwise known as the Patent Law, Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in the WTO Agreement and
provides a similar presumption in cases of infringement of Not in Other Documents Contained in the Final Act
patented design or utility model, thus:
Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO
Sec. 60. Infringement. — Infringement of a design Agreement and its annexes — but not in the other documents
patent or of a patent for utility model shall consist in referred to in the Final Act, namely the Ministerial Declaration
unauthorized copying of the patented design or and Decisions and the Understanding on Commitments in
utility model for the purpose of trade or industry in Financial Services — is defective and insufficient and thus
the article or product and in the making, using or constitutes abuse of discretion. They submit that such
selling of the article or product copying the concurrence in the WTO Agreement alone is flawed because it is
patented design or utility model. Identity or in effect a rejection of the Final Act, which in turn was the
substantial identity with the patented design or document signed by Secretary Navarro, in representation of the
utility model shall constitute evidence of copying. Republic upon authority of the President. They contend that the
(emphasis supplied) second letter of the President to the Senate 53 which enumerated
what constitutes the Final Act should have been the subject of
Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to concurrence of the Senate.
provide a disputable presumption applies only if (1) the product
obtained by the patented process in NEW or (2) there is a "A final act, sometimes called protocol de cloture, is an
substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the instrument which records the winding up of the proceedings of a
process and the process owner has not been able through diplomatic conference and usually includes a reproduction of the
reasonable effort to determine the process used. Where either of texts of treaties, conventions, recommendations and other acts
these two provisos does not obtain, members shall be free to agreed upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the
determine the appropriate method of implementing the conference." 54 It is not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of
provisions of TRIPS within their own internal systems and the proceedings of a protracted conference which may have
processes. taken place over several years. The text of the "Final Act
Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral
By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our Trade Negotiations" is contained in just one page 55 in Vol. I of
disposition of the third issue — derogation of legislative power — the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
will apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to say that the Negotiations. By signing said Final Act, Secretary Navarro as
reciprocity clause more than justifies such intrusion, if any representative of the Republic of the Philippines undertook:
actually exists. Besides, Article 34 does not contain an
unreasonable burden, consistent as it is with due process and (a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement
the concept of adversarial dispute settlement inherent in our for the consideration of their respective competent
judicial system. authorities with a view to seeking approval of the
Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and associated legal instruments included in the
and Annexes to this Agreement.

(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and 2. The Agreements and associated legal
Decisions. instruments included in Annexes 1, 2, and 3,
(hereinafter referred to as "Multilateral
The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence Agreements") are integral parts of this Agreement,
in exactly what the Final Act required from its signatories, binding on all Members.
namely, concurrence of the Senate in the WTO Agreement.
3. The Agreements and associated legal
The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed instruments included in Annex 4 (hereinafter
adopted without need for ratification. They were approved by the referred to as "Plurilateral Trade Agreements") are
ministers by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT which provides that also part of this Agreement for those Members that
representatives of the members can meet "to give effect to those have accepted them, and are binding on those
provisions of this Agreement which invoke joint action, and Members. The Plurilateral Trade Agreements do
generally with a view to facilitating the operation and furthering not create either obligation or rights for Members
the objectives of this Agreement." 56 that have not accepted them.

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also 4. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
approved in Marrakesh does not apply to the Philippines. It 1994 as specified in annex 1A (hereinafter referred
applies only to those 27 Members which "have indicated in their to as "GATT 1994") is legally distinct from the
respective schedules of commitments on standstill, elimination of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, dated 30
monopoly, expansion of operation of existing financial service October 1947, annexed to the Final Act adopted at
suppliers, temporary entry of personnel, free transfer and the conclusion of the Second Session of the
processing of information, and national treatment with respect to Preparatory Committee of the United Nations
access to payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in Conference on Trade and Employment, as
the normal course of business." 57 subsequently rectified, amended or modified
(hereinafter referred to as "GATT 1947").
On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what
multilateral agreements are deemed included as its integral It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was
parts, 58 as follows: concurring in as shown by the members' deliberation on August
25, 1994. After reading the letter of President Ramos dated
Article II August 11, 1994, 59 the senators
of the Republic minutely dissected what the Senate was
Scope of the WTO concurring in, as follows: 60

1. The WTO shall provide the common institutional THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Now, the question of the
frame-work for the conduct of trade relations validity of the submission came up in the first day
among its Members in matters to the agreements hearing of this Committee yesterday. Was the
observation made by Senator Tañada that what Agreement on the World Trade Organization as
was submitted to the Senate was not the well as the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions,
agreement on establishing the World Trade and the Understanding and Commitments in
Organization by the final act of the Uruguay Round Financial Services.
which is not the same as the agreement
establishing the World Trade Organization? And on I am now satisfied with the wording of the new
that basis, Senator Tolentino raised a point of order submission of President Ramos.
which, however, he agreed to withdraw upon
understanding that his suggestion for an alternative SEN. TAÑADA. . . . of President Ramos, Mr.
solution at that time was acceptable. That Chairman.
suggestion was to treat the proceedings of the
Committee as being in the nature of briefings for THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tañada.
Senators until the question of the submission could Can we hear from Senator Tolentino? And after
be clarified. him Senator Neptali Gonzales and Senator Lina.

And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the SEN. TOLENTINO, Mr. Chairman, I have not seen
President submitting a new . . . is he making a new the new submission actually transmitted to us but I
submission which improves on the clarity of the first saw the draft of his earlier, and I think it now
submission? complies with the provisions of the Constitution,
and with the Final Act itself . The Constitution does
MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it not require us to ratify the Final Act. It requires us
is clear cut and there should be no to ratify the Agreement which is now being
misunderstanding, it was his intention to clarify all submitted. The Final Act itself specifies what is
matters by giving this letter. going to be submitted to with the governments of
the participants.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
In paragraph 2 of the Final Act, we read and I
Can this Committee hear from Senator Tañada and quote:
later on Senator Tolentino since they were the
ones that raised this question yesterday? By signing the present Final Act, the
representatives agree: (a) to submit as appropriate
Senator Tañada, please. the WTO Agreement for the consideration of the
respective competent authorities with a view to
SEN. TAÑADA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance
with their procedures.
Based on what Secretary Romulo has read, it
would now clearly appear that what is being In other words, it is not the Final Act that was
submitted to the Senate for ratification is not the agreed to be submitted to the governments for
Final Act of the Uruguay Round, but rather the ratification or acceptance as whatever their
constitutional procedures may provide but it is the issued by the Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when it
World Trade Organization Agreement. And if that is is amply shown that petitioners have no other plain, speedy and
the one that is being submitted now, I think it adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
satisfies both the Constitution and the Final Act
itself . By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and
whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. jurisdiction. 61 Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. It must
be grave abuse of discretion as when the power is exercised in
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tolentino, an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
May I call on Senator Gonzales. hostility, and must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an
evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the
SEN. GONZALES. Mr. Chairman, my views on this duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. 62 Failure on
matter are already a matter of record. And they had the part of the petitioner to show grave abuse of discretion will
been adequately reflected in the journal of result in the dismissal of the petition. 63
yesterday's session and I don't see any need for
repeating the same. In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the
Senate, whose act is under review, is one of two sovereign
Now, I would consider the new submission as an houses of Congress and is thus entitled to great respect in its
act ex abudante cautela. actions. It is itself a constitutional body independent and
coordinate, and thus its actions are presumed regular and done
THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Gonzales. in good faith. Unless convincing proof and persuasive arguments
Senator Lina, do you want to make any comment are presented to overthrow such presumptions, this Court will
on this? resolve every doubt in its favor. Using the foregoing well-
accepted definition of grave abuse of discretion and the
SEN. LINA. Mr. President, I agree with the presumption of regularity in the Senate's processes, this Court
observation just made by Senator Gonzales out of cannot find any cogent reason to impute grave abuse of
the abundance of question. Then the new discretion to the Senate's exercise of its power of concurrence in
submission is, I believe, stating the obvious and the WTO Agreement granted it by Sec. 21 of Article VII of the
therefore I have no further comment to make. Constitution. 64

Epilogue It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional


principles require the State to develop an independent national
In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the economy effectively controlled by Filipinos; and to protect and/or
WTO Agreement, petitioners are invoking this Court's prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic materials and locally
constitutionally imposed duty "to determine whether or not there produced goods. But it is equally true that such principles —
has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess while serving as judicial and legislative guides — are not in
of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in giving its concurrence themselves sources of causes of action. Moreover, there are
therein via Senate Resolution No. 97. Procedurally, a writ other equally fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by
of certiorari grounded on grave abuse of discretion may be the Senate which mandate the pursuit of a "trade policy that
serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia negotiating for
arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and membership in the WTO. Notwithstanding objections against
reciprocity" and the promotion of industries "which are possible limitations on national sovereignty, the WTO remains as
competitive in both domestic and foreign markets," thereby the only viable structure for multilateral trading and the veritable
justifying its acceptance of said treaty. So too, the alleged forum for the development of international trade law. The
impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative and alternative to WTO is isolation, stagnation, if not economic self-
judicial powers is balanced by the adoption of the generally destruction. Duly enriched with original membership, keenly
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the aware of the advantages and disadvantages of globalization with
land and the adherence of the Constitution to the policy of its on-line experience, and endowed with a vision of the future,
cooperation and amity with all nations. the Philippines now straddles the crossroads of an international
strategy for economic prosperity and stability in the new
That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and millennium. Let the people, through their duly authorized elected
overwhelmingly gave its consent to the WTO Agreement thereby officers, make their free choice.
making it "a part of the law of the land" is a legitimate exercise of
its sovereign duty and power. We find no "patent and gross" WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
arbitrariness or despotism "by reason of passion or personal
hostility" in such exercise. It is not impossible to surmise that this SO ORDERED.
Court, or at least some of its members, may even agree with
petitioners that it is more advantageous to the national interest to
strike down Senate Resolution No. 97. But that is not a legal
reason to attribute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate and to G.R. No. 130612 May 11, 1999
nullify its decision. To do so would constitute grave abuse in the
exercise of our own judicial power and duty. Ineludably, what the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
Senate did was a valid exercise of its authority. As to whether vs.
such exercise was wise, beneficial or viable is outside the realm BERNARDINO DOMANTAY, @ "JUNIOR OTOT," accused-
of judicial inquiry and review. That is a matter between the appellant.
elected policy makers and the people. As to whether the nation
should join the worldwide march toward trade liberalization and
economic globalization is a matter that our people should
determine in electing their policy makers. After all, the WTO MENDOZA, J.:
Agreement allows withdrawal of membership, should this be the
political desire of a member. This case is here on appeal from the decision 1 of the Regional
Trial Court of Dagupan City (Branch 57), finding accused-
The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best appellant guilty of rape with homicide and sentencing him to
seller Megatrends, predicts an Asian Renaissance 65 where "the death, and to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of
East will become the dominant region of the world economically, P480,000.00, and to pay the costs.
politically and culturally in the next century." He refers to the
"free market" espoused by WTO as the "catalyst" in this coming
Asian ascendancy. There are at present about 31 countries
The facts hark back to the afternoon of October 17, 1996, at Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Malasiqui. On October 25, 1996,
around 4 o'clock, when the body of six-year old Jennifer Dr. Ronald Bandonill, medico-legal expert of the NBI, performed
Domantay was found sprawled amidst a bamboo grove in Guilig, an autopsy on the embalmed body of Jennifer. The result of his
Malasiqui, Pangasinan. The child's body bore several stab examination of the victim's genitalia indicated that the child's
wounds. Jennifer had been missing since lunch time. hymen had been completely lacerated on the right side. Based
on this finding, SPO4 Carpizo amended the criminal complaint
The medical examination conducted the following day by Dr. Ma. against accused-appellant to rape with homicide. Subsequently,
Fe Leticia Macaranas, the rural health physician of Malasiqui, the following information was filed: 4
showed that Jennifer died of multiple organ failure and
hypovolemic shock secondary to 38 stab wounds at the back. Dr. That on or about the 17th day of October, 1996, in
Macaranas found no lacerations or signs of inflammation of the the afternoon, in barangay Guilig, Municipality of
outer and inner labia and the vaginal walls of the victim's Malasiqui, province of Pangasinan, Philippines and
genitalia, although the vaginal canal easily admitted the little within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
finger with minimal resistance. Noting possible commission of above-named accused, with lewd design and
acts of lasciviousness, Dr. Macaranas recommended an autopsy armed with a bayonnete, did then and there,
by a medico-legal expert of the NBI. 2 wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual
intercourse with Jennifer Domantay, a minor of 6
The investigation by the Malasiqui police pointed to accused- years old against her will and consent, and on the
appellant Bernardino Domantay, a cousin of the victim's same occasion, the said accused with intent to kill,
grandfather, as the lone suspect in the gruesome crime. At then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
around 6:30 in the evening of that day, police officers stab with the use of a bayonnete, the said Jennifer
Montemayor, de la Cruz, and de Guzman of the Malasiqui Domantay, inflicting upon her multiple stab
Philippine National Police (PNP) picked up accused-appellant at wounds, which resulted to her death, to the
the Malasiqui public market and took him to the police station damage and prejudice of her heirs.
where accused-appellant, upon questioning by SPO1 Antonio
Espinoza, confessed to killing Jennifer Domantay. He likewise At the trial, the prosecution presented seven witnesses, namely,
disclosed that at around 3:30 that afternoon, he had given the Edward, Jiezl, Lorenzo, all surnamed Domantay, Joselito Mejia,
fatal weapon used, a bayonet, to Elsa and Jorge Casingal, his Antonio Espinoza, Celso Manuel, and Dr. Ronald Bandonill, to
aunt and uncle respectively, in Poblacion Sur, Bayambang, establish its charge that accused-appellant had raped and killed
Pangasinan. The next day, October 18, 1996, SPO1 Espinoza Jennifer Domantay.
and another policeman took accused-appellant to Bayambang
and recovered the bayonet from a tricycle belonging to the Edward Domantay testified that in the morning of October 17,
Casingal spouses. The police officers executed a receipt to 1996, accused-appellant and his two brothers-in-law, Jaime
evidence the confiscation of the weapon. 3 Caballero and Daudencio Macasaeb, had a round of drinks in
front of the latter's house in Guilig, Malasiqui, Pangasinan.
On the basis of the post-mortem findings of Dr. Macaranas, Edward Domantay said that he was in front of Macasaeb's
SPO4 Juan Carpizo, the Philippine National Police chief house, tending to some pigeons in his yard. 5 After the group had
investigator at Malasiqui, filed, on October 21, 1996, a criminal consumed several bottles of San Miguel gin, accused-appellant
complaint for murder against accused-appellant before the gave money to Edward Domantay and asked him to buy two
bottles of gin and a bottle of Sprite. 6 Edward said he joined the him, saying they will not be gone for long. Mejia, therefore,
group and sat between Daudencio Macasaeb and accused- agreed. Mejia noticed that accused-appellant was nervous and
appellant. 7 Edward said that accused-appellant, who, apparently afraid. Accused-appellant later changed his mind. Instead of
had one too many then, rolled up his shirt and said: "No diad going to the town proper, he alighted near the Mormon's church,
Antipolo tan L[i]pa et walay massacre, diad Guilig wala, walay outside Malasiqui. 12
massacren kod dia, walay onakis-akis" ("In Antipolo and Lipa,
there were massacres; here in Guilig, there will also be a In addition, the prosecution presented SPO1 Antonio Espinoza
massacre. I will massacre somebody here, and they will cry and and Celso Manuel who testified that, on separate occasions,
cry"). Edward Domantay saw that tucked in the left side of accused-appellant had confessed to the brutal killing of Jennifer
accused-appellant's waistline was a bayonet without a cover Domantay.
handle. 8 It was not the first time that Edward had seen accused-
appellant with the knife as the latter usually carried it with him. 9 SPO1 Espinoza testified that he investigated accused-appellant
after the latter had been brought to the Malasiqui police station in
Jiezl Domantay, 10, likewise testified. She said that, at about 2 the evening of October 17, 1996. Before he commenced his
o'clock in the afternoon on October 17, 1996, she and four other questioning, he apprised accused-appellant of his constitutional
children were playing in front of their house in Guilig, Malasiqui, right to remain silent and to have competent and independent
Pangasinan. Jiezl saw accused-appellant and Jennifer counsel, in English, which was later translated into
Domantay walking towards the bamboo grove of Amparo Pangasinense. 13 According to SPO1 Espinoza, accused-
Domantay where Jennifer's body was later found. Accused- appellant agreed to answer the questions of the investigator
appellant was about two meters ahead of Jennifer. The bamboo even in the absence of counsel and admitted killing the victim.
grove was about 8 to 10 meters from the house of Jiezl Accused-appellant also disclosed the location of the bayonet he
Domantay. 10 used in killing the victim. 14 On cross-examination, Espinoza
admitted that at no time during the course of his questioning was
Lorenzo Domantay, a relative of the victim, corroborated Jiezl's accused-appellant assisted by counsel. Neither was accused-
testimony that accused-appellant had gone to Amparo appellant's confession reduced in writing. 15 Espinoza's
Domantay's bamboo grove in the afternoon of October 17, 1996. testimony was admitted by the trial court over the objection of the
Lorenzo said that afternoon, on his way to his farm, he saw defense.
accused-appellant about 30 meters away, standing at the spot in
the bamboo grove where Jennifer's body was later found. Celso Manuel, for his part, testified that he is a radio reporter of
Accused-appellant appeared restless and worried as he kept station DWPR, an AM station based in Dagupan City. He covers
looking around. However, as Lorenzo was in a hurry, he did not the third district of Pangasinan, including Malasiqui. Sometime in
try to find out why accused-appellant appeared to be nervous. 11 October 1996, an uncle of the victim came to Dagupan City and
informed the station about Jennifer Domantay's case. 16 On
Prosecution witness Joselito Mejia, a tricycle driver, said that, in October 23, 1996, Manuel went to Malasiqui to interview
the afternoon of October 17, 1996, he was about to take his accused-appellant who was then detained in the municipal jail.
lunch at home in Alacan, a neighboring barangay about half a He described what transpired during the interview thus: 17
kilometer from Guilig, when accused-appellant implored Mejia to
take him to Malasiqui at once. Mejia told accused-appellant that PROS. QUINIT:
he was going to take his lunch first, but the latter pleaded with
Q Did you introduce yourself as a of the crime, how did you ask him
media practitioner? that?

A Yes, sir. A I asked him very politely.

Q How did you introduce yourself to Q More or less what have you asked
the accused? him on that particular matter?

A I showed to Bernardino A I asked "Junior Otot," Bernardino


Domantay alias "Junior Otot" my I.D. Domantay, "Kung pinagsisisihan mo
card and I presented myself as a ba ang iyong ginawa?" "Opo" sabi
media practitioner with my tape niya, "Ibig mo bang sabihin Jun, ikaw
recorder [in] my hand, sir. ang pumatay kay Jennifer?", "Ako
nga po" The [l]ast part of my
Q What was his reaction to your interview, "Kung nakikinig ang mga
request for an interview? magulang ni Jennifer, ano ang gusto
mong iparating?", "kung gusto nilang
A He was willing to state what had makamtan ang hustisya ay
happened, sir. tatanggapin ko". That is what he said,
and I also asked Junior Otot, what
Q What are those matters which you was his purpose, and he said, it was
brought out in that interview with the about the boundary dispute, and he
accused Bernardino used that little girl in his revenge.
Domantay alias "Junior Otot"?
On cross-examination, Manuel explained that the interview was
A I asked him what was his purpose conducted in the jail, about two to three meters away from the
for human interest's sake as a police station. An uncle of the victim was with him and the
reporter, why did he commit that nearest policemen present were about two to three meters from
alleged crime. And I asked also if he him, including those who were in the radio room. 18 There was
committed the crime and he no lawyer present. Before interviewing accused-appellant,
answered "yes." That's it. Manuel said he talked to the chief of police and asked
permission to interview accused-appellant. 19 On questioning by
xxx xxx xxx the court, Manuel said that it was the first time he had been
called to testify regarding an interview he had conducted. 20 As in
PROS. QUINIT: the case of the testimony of SPO1 Espinoza, the defense
objected to the admission of Manuel's testimony, but the lower
Q You mentioned about accused court allowed it.
admitting to you on the commi[ssion]
Dr. Bandonill, the NBI medico-legal who conducted an autopsy Accused-appellant also confirmed that, at about 2 o'clock in the
of the victim on October 25, 1996, testified that Jennifer afternoon, he went to Alacan passing on the trail beside the
Domantay died as a result of the numerous stab wounds she bamboo grove of Amparo Domantay. But he said he did not
sustained on her back, 21 the average depth of which was six know that Jennifer Domantay was following him. He further
inches. 22 He opined that the wounds were probably caused by a confirmed that in Alacan, he took a tricycle to Malasiqui. The
"pointed sharp-edged instrument." 23 He also noted on the tricycle was driven by Joselito Mejia. He said he alighted near
aforehead, neck, and breast bone of the victim. 24 As for the the Mormon church, just outside of the town proper of Malasiqui
results of the genital examination of the victim, Dr. Bandonill said to meet his brother. As his brother did not come, accused-
he found that the laceration on the right side of the hymen was appellant proceeded to town and reported for work. That night,
caused within 24 hours of her death. He added that the genital while he was in the Malasiqui public market, he was picked up by
area showed signs of inflammation. 25 three policemen and brought to the Malasiqui police station
where he was interrogated by SPO1 Espinoza regarding the
Pacifico Bulatao, the photographer who took the pictures of the killing of Jennifer Domantay. He denied having owned to the
scene of the crime and of the victim after the latter's body was killing of Jennifer Domantay to SPO1 Espinoza. He denied he
brought to her parents' house, identified and authenticated the had a grudge against the victim's parents because of a boundary
five pictures (Exhibits A, B, C, D, and E) offered by the dispute. 28 With respect to his extrajudicial confession to Celso
prosecution. Manuel, he admitted that he had been interviewed by the latter,
but he denied that he ever admitted anything to the former. 29
The defense then presented accused-appellant as its lone
witness. Accused-appellant denied the allegation against him. As already stated, the trial court found accused-appellant guilty
He testified he is an uncle of Jennifer Domantay (he and her as charged. The dispositive portion of its decision reads: 30
grandfather are cousins) and that he worked as a janitor at the
Malasiqui Municipal Hall. He said that at around 1 o'clock in the WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, the
afternoon of October 17, 1996, he was bathing his pigs outside Court hereby finds the accused, Bernardino
in the house of his brother-in-law Daudencio Macasaeb in Guilig, Domantay @ "Junior Otot" guilty beyond
Malasiqui, Pangasinan. He confirmed that Daudencio was then reasonable doubt with the crime of Rape with
having drinks in front of his (Macasaeb's) house. Accused- Homicide defined and penalized under Article 335
appellant claimed, however, that he did not join in the drinking of the Revised Penal Code in relation and as
and that it was Edward Domantay, whom the prosecution had amended by Republic Act No. 7659 and
presented as witness, and a certain Jaime Caballero who joined accordingly, the Court hereby sentences him to
the party. He also claimed that it was he whom Macasaeb had suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection, and
requested to buy some more liquor, for which reason he gave to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the total
money to Edward Domantay so that the latter could get two amount of Four Hundred Eighty Thousand Pesos
bottles of gin, a bottle of Sprite, and a pack of cigarettes. 26 He (P480,000.00), 31 and to pay the costs.
denied Edward Domantay's claim that he (accused-appellant)
had raised his shirt to show a bayonet tucked in his waistline and SO ORDERED.
that he had said he would massacre someone in Guilig. 27
In this appeal, accused-appellant alleges that: 32
I This provision applies to the stage of custodial investigation, that
is, "when the investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN APPRECIATING unsolved crime but starts to focus on a particular person as a
THE EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSION[S] MADE suspect." 34 R.A. No. 7438 has extended the constitutional
BY THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT. guarantee to situations in which an individual has not been
formally arrested but has merely been "invited" for questioning. 35
II
Decisions 36 of this Court hold that for an extrajudicial confession
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING to be admissible, it must satisfy the following requirements: (1) it
THE ACCUSED DESPITE FAILURE OF THE must be voluntary; (2) it must be made with the assistance of
PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND competent and independent counsel; (3) it must be express; and
REASONABLE DOUBT. (4) it must be in writing.

First. Accused-appellant contends that his alleged confessions to In the case at bar, when accused-appellant was brought to the
SPO1 Antonio Espinoza and Celso Manuel are inadmissible in Malasiqui police station in the evening of October 17, 1996, 37 he
evidence because they had been obtained in violation of Art. III, was already a suspect, in fact the only one, in the brutal slaying
§ 12(1) of the Constitution and that, with these vital pieces of of Jennifer Domantay. He was, therefore, already under
evidence excluded, the remaining proof of his alleged guilt, custodial investigation and the rights guaranteed in Art. III, §
consisting of circumstantial evidence, is inadequate to establish 12(1) of the Constitution applied to him. SPO1 Espinoza narrated
his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 33 what transpired during accused-appellant's interrogation: 38

Art. III, § 12 of the Constitution in part provides: [I] interrogated Bernardino Domantay, prior to the
interrogation conducted to him, I informed him of
(1) Any person under investigation for the his constitutional right as follows; that he has the
commission of an offense shall have the right to be right to remain silent; that he has the right to a
informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent lawyer of his own choice and if he can
competent and independent counsel preferably of not afford [a counsel] then he will be provided with
his own choice. If the person cannot afford the one, and further informed [him] that all he will say
services of counsel, he must be provided with one. will be reduced into writing and will be used the
These rights cannot be waived except in writing same in the proceedings of the case, but he told
and in the presence of counsel. me that he will cooperate even in the absence of
his counsel; that he admitted to me that he killed
xxx xxx xxx Jennifer Domantay, and he revealed also the
weapon used [and] where he gave [it] to.
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in
violation of this section or section 17 hereof shall But though he waived the assistance of counsel, the waiver was
be inadmissible in evidence. neither put in writing nor made in the presence of counsel. For
this reason, the waiver is invalid and his confession is
inadmissible. SPO1 Espinoza's testimony on the alleged
confession of accused-appellant should have been excluded by investigation. 42 We are not persuaded. Accused-appellant was
the trial court. So is the bayonet inadmissible in evidence, being, interviewed while he was inside his cell. The interviewer stayed
as it were, the "fruit of the poisonous tree." As explained outside the cell and the only person besides him was an uncle of
in People v. Alicando: 39 the victim. Accused-appellant could have refused to be
interviewed, but instead, he agreed. He answered questions
. . . According to this rule, once the primary source freely and spontaneously. According to Celso Manuel, he said he
(the "tree") is shown to have been unlawfully was willing to accept the consequences of his act.
obtained, any secondary or derivative evidence
(the "fruit") derived from it is also inadmissible. Celso Manuel admitted that there were indeed some police
Stated otherwise, illegally seized evidence is officers around because about two to three meters from the jail
obtained as a direct result of the illegal act, were the police station and the radio room. 43 We do not think
whereas the "fruit of the poisonous tree" is at least the presence of the police officers exerted any undue pressure
once removed from the illegally seized evidence, or influence on accused-appellant and coerced him into giving
but it is equally inadmissible. The rule is based the his confession.
principle that evidence illegally obtained by the
State should not be used to gain other evidence Accused-appellant contends that "it is . . . not altogether
because the originally illegal obtained evidence improbable for the police investigators to ask the police reporter
taints all evidence subsequently obtained. (Manuel) to try to elicit some incriminating information from the
accused." 44 This is pure conjecture. Although he testified that he
We agree with the Solicitor General, however, that accused- had interviewed inmates before, there is no evidence to show
appellant's confession to the radio reporter, Celso Manuel, is that Celso was a police beat reporter. Even assuming that he
admissible. In People v. was, it has not been shown that, in conducting the interview in
Andan, 40 the accused in a rape with homicide case confessed to question, his purpose was to elicit incriminating information from
the crime during interviews with the media. In holding the accused-appellant. To the contrary, the media are known to take
confession admissible, despite the fact that the accused gave his an opposite stance against the government by exposing official
answers without the assistance of counsel, this Court said: 41 wrongdoings.

[A]ppellant's [oral] confessions to the newsmen are Indeed, there is no showing that the radio reporter was acting for
not covered by Section 12(1) and (3) of Article III of the police or that the interview was conducted under
the Constitution. The Bill of Rights does not circumstances where it is apparent that accused-appellant
concern itself with the relation between a private confessed to the killing our of fear. As already stated, the
individual and another individual. It governs the interview was conducted on October 23, 1996, 6 days after
relationship between the individual and the State. accused-appellant had already confessed to the killing to the
The prohibitions therein are primarily addressed to police.
the State and its agents.
Accused-appellant's extrajudicial confession is corroborated by
Accused-appellant claims, however, that the atmosphere in the evidence of corpus delicti, namely, the fact of death of Jennifer
jail when he was interviewed was "tense and intimidating" and Domantay. In addition, the circumstantial evidence furnished by
was similar to that which prevails in a custodial the other prosecution witnesses dovetails in material points with
his confession. He was seen walking toward the bamboo grove, they had seen "at around" 2 o'clock in the afternoon. There could
followed by the victim. Later, he was seen standing near the have been a between difference in time, however little it was,
bamboo grove where the child's body was found. Rule 133 of the between the time Jiezl saw accused-appellant and the victim
Revised Rules on Evidence provides: walking and the time Lorenzo saw accused-appellant near the
place where the victim's body was later found. Far from
§3. Extrajudicial confession, not sufficient ground contradicting each other, these witnesses confirmed what each
for conviction. — An extrajudicial confession made had said each one saw. What is striking about their testimonies
by an accused, shall not be sufficient ground for is that while Jiezl said she saw accused-appellant going toward
conviction, unless corroborated by evidence the bamboo grove followed by the victim "at around" 2 o'clock in
ofcorpus delicti. the afternoon on October 17, 1996, Lorenzo said he had seen
accused-appellant near the bamboo grove "at around" that time.
§4. Evidence necessary in treason cases. — No He described accused-appellant as nervous and worried. There
person charged with treason shall be convicted is no reason to doubt the claim of these witnesses. Lorenzo is a
unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the relative of accused-appellant. There is no reason he would
same overt act, or on confession in open court. testified falsely against the latter. Jiezl, on the other hand, is also
surnamed Domantay and could also be related to accused-
Accused-appellant argues that it was improbable for a brutal appellant and has not been shown to have any reason to testify
killing to have been committed without the children who were falsely against accused-appellant. At the time of the incident, she
playing about eight to ten meters from Amparo Domantay's was only 10 years old.
grove, where the crime took place, having heard any
commotion. 45 The contention has no merit. Accused-appellant For the foregoing reasons, the Court is convinced of accused-
could have covered the young child's mouth to prevent her from appellant's guilt with respect to the killing of the child. It is clear
making any sound. In fact, Dr. Bandonill noted a five by two inch that the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that
(5" x 2") contusion on the left side of the victim's forehead, which accused-appellant is guilty of homicide. Art. 249 of the Revised
he said could have been caused by a hard blunt instrument or by Penal Code provides:
impact as her head hit the ground.46 The blow could have
rendered her unconscious, thus precluding her from shouting or Any person who, not falling within the provisions of
crying. Article 246 [parricide] shall kill another without the
attendance of any of the circumstances
Accused-appellant also contends that the testimony of Jiezl enumerated in the next preceding article [murder],
Domantay contradicts that of Lorenzo Domantay because while shall be deemed guilty of homicide and be
Jiezl said she had seen accused-appellant walking towards the punished by reclusion temporal.
bamboo grove, followed by the victim, at around 2 o'clock in the
afternoon on October 17, 1996. Lorenzo said he saw accused- The killing was committed with the generic aggravating
appellant standing near the bamboo grove at about the same circumstance of abuse of superior strength. The record shows
time. that the victim, Jennifer Domantay, was six years old at the time
of the killing. She was a child of small build, 46" in height. 47 It is
These witnesses, however, did not testify concerning what they clear then that she could not have put up much of a defense
saw exactly the same time. What they told the court was what against accused-appellant's assault, the latter being a fully
grown man of 29 years. Indeed, the physical evidence supports woman. 52 For this purpose, it is enough if there was even
a finding of abuse of superior strength: accused-appellant had a the slightest contact of the male sex organ with the labia
weapon, while the victim was not shown to have had any; there of the victim's genitalia. 53 However, there must be proof,
were 38 stab wounds; and all the knife wounds are located at the by direct or indirect evidence, of such contact.
back of Jennifer's body.
Dr. Ronald Bandonill's report on the genital examination he had
But we think the lower court erred in finding that the killing was performed on the deceased reads: 54
committed with cruelty. 48 The trial court appears to have been
led to this conclusion by the number of wounds inflicted on the GENITAL EXAMINATION; showed a complete
victim. But the number of wounds is not a test for determining laceration of the right side of the hymen. The
whether there was circumstance. 49 "The rest . . . is whether the surrounding genital area shows signs of
accused deliberately and sadistically augmented the victim's inflammation.
suffering thus . . . there must be proof that the victim was made
to agonize before the [the accused] rendered the blow which xxx xxx xxx
snuffed out [her] life." 50 In this case, there is no such proof of
cruelty. Dr. Bandonill testified that any of the major wounds on REMARKS: 1) Findings at the genital area indicate
the victim's back could have caused her death as they the probability of penetration of that area by a hard,
penetrated her heart, lungs and liver, kidney and intestines. 51 rigid instrument.

Second. There is, however, no sufficient evidence to hold Hymenal laceration is not necessary to prove rape; 55 neither
accused-appellant guilty of raping Jennifer Domantay. Art. 335. does its presence prove its commission. As held inPeople
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in part provides: v. Ulili, 56 a medical certificate or the testimony of the physician is
presented not to prove that the victim was raped but to show that
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. — the latter had lost her virginity. Consequently, standing alone, a
Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of physician's finding that the hymen of the alleged victim was
a woman under any of the following circumstances. lacerated does not prove rape. It is only when this is
corroborated by other evidence proving carnal knowledge that
1. By using force or intimidation; rape may be deemed to have been established. 57

2. When the woman is deprive of reason or This conclusion is based on the medically accepted fact that a
otherwise unconscious; and hymenal tear may be caused by objects other than the male sex
organ 58 or may arise from other causes. 59 Dr. Bandonill himself
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or admitted this. He testified that the right side of the victim's hymen
is demented. had been completely lacerated while the surrounding genital
area showed signs of inflammation.60 He opined that the
As the victim here was six years old, only carnal laceration had been inflicted within 24 hours of the victim's death
knowledge had to be proved to establish rape. Carnal and that the inflammation was due to a trauma in that
knowledge is defined as the act of a man having sexual area. 61 When asked by the private prosecutor whether the
intercourse or sexual bodily connections with a lacerations of the hymen could have been caused by the
insertion of a male organ he said this was possible. But he also pointed and share rigid, it should be a
said when questioned by the defense that the lacerations could hard bl[u]nt instrument.
have been caused by something blunt other than the male
organ. Thus, he testified: 62 Q Do you consider a bolo a bl[u]
instrument, or a dagger?
PROS. F. QUINIT:
A The dagger is a sharp rigid but it is
Q Now, what might have caused the not a bl[u]nt instrument, sir.
complete laceration of the right side
of the hymen,doctor? Q This Genital Examination showed a
complete laceration of the right side
A Well, sir, if you look at my report of the hymen, this may have been
there is a remark and it says possibly caused by a dagger, is it
there; findings at the genital area not?
indicated the probability of
penetration of that area by a hard A No, sir. I won't say that this would
rigid instrument. have been caused by a dagger,
because a dagger would have made
Q Could it have been caused by a at its incision . . . not a laceration, sir.
human organ?
Q But this laceration may also have
A If the human male organ is been caused by other factors other
erect, fully erect and hard then it is the human male organ, is that
possible, sir. correct?

xxx xxx xxx A A hard bl[u]nt instrument, sir could


show.
ATTY. VALDEZ:
Q My question is other than the
Q In your remarks; finding at the human male organ?
genital area indicates the probability
of penetration of that area by a hard A Possible, sir.
rigid instrument, this may have also
been caused by a dagger used in the xxx xxx xxx
killing of Jennifer Domantay is that
correct? COURT:

A Well, sir when I say hard rigid


instrument it should not be sharp
Q You mentioned that the hymen was corroborated by the testimony given by
lacerated on the right side? complainant. Elizabeth that when she rushed
upstairs upon hearing her daughter suddenly cry
A Yes, your Honor. out, she found appellant Macalino beside the child
buttoning his own pants and that she found some
Q And if there is a complete erection sticky fluid on the child's buttocks and some blood
by a human organ is this possible that on her private part.(Emphasis in the original)
the laceration can only be on the right
side of the hymen? In contrast, in the case at bar, there is no circumstantial evidence
from which to infer that accused-appellant sexually abused the
A Yes, your Honor, its possible. victim. The only circumstance from which such inference might
be made is that accused-appellant was seen with the victim
Q How about if the penetration was walking toward the place where the girl's body was found. Maybe
done by a finger, was it the same as he raped the girl. Maybe he did not. Maybe he simply inserted a
the human organ? blunt object into her organ, thus causing the lacerations in the
hymen. Otherwise, there is no circumstance from which it might
A Well, it defends on the size of the reasonably be inferred that he abused her, e.g., that he was
finger that penetrat[es] that organ, if zipping up his pants, that there was spermatozoa in the girl's
the finger is small it could the vaginal canal.
superficial laceration, and if the finger
is large then it is possible your honor. Indeed, the very autopsy report of Dr. Bandonill militates against
the finding of rape. In describing the stab wounds on the body of
Q How about two fingers? the victim, he testified: 66

A Possible, sir. [A]fter examining the body I took note that were
several stab wounds . . . these were all found at the
To be sure, this Court has sustained a number of convictions for back area sir . . . extending from the back shoulder
rape with homicide based on purely circumstantial evidence. In down to the lower back area from the left to the
those instances, however, the prosecution was able to present right.
other tell-tale signs of rape such as the location and description
of the victim's clothings, especially her undergarments, the Considering the relative physical positions of the accused
position of the body when found and the and the victim in crimes of rape, the usual location of the
like. 63 In People v. Macalino, 64 for instance, the Court affirmed a external bodily injuries of the victim is on the
conviction for the rape of a two-year old child on the basis of face, 67 neck, 68 and anterior portion 69 of her body.
circumstantial evidence. 65 Although it is not unnatural to find contusions on the
posterior side, these are usually caused by the downward
The Court notes that the testimony or medical pressure on the victim's body during the sexual
opinion of Dr. Gajardo that the fresh laceration had assault. 70 It is unquestionably different when, as in this
been produced by sexual intercourse is case, all the stab wounds (except for a minor cut in the
lower left leg) had their entry points at the back running Code provides for the payment of exemplary damages when the
from the upper left shoulder to the lower right buttocks. crime is committed with one or more aggravating circumstance.
An amount of P25,000.00 is deemed appropriate. 74
It is noteworthy that the deceased was fully clothed in blue shorts
and white shirt when her body was immediately after it was In accordance with our rulings in People v. Robles 75 and People
found. 71 Furthermore, there is a huge bloodstain in the back v. Mengote, 76 the indemnity should be fixed at P50,000.00 and
portion of her shorts. 72 This must be because she wearing this the moral damages at P50,000.00. 77
piece of clothing when the stab wounds were inflicated or
immediately thereafter, thus allowing the blood to seep into her WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court is SET ASIDE and
shorts to such an extent. As accused-appellant would naturally another one is rendered FINDING accused-appellant guilty of
have to pull down the girl's lower garments in order to homicide with the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior
consummate the rape, then, he must have, regardless of when strength and sentencing him to a prison term of 12 years
the stab wounds were inflicted, pulled up the victim's shorts and of prision mayor, as minimum, to 20 years of reclusion temporal,
undergarments after the alleged rape, otherwise, the victim's as maximum, and ORDERING him to pay the heirs of Jennifer
shorts would not have been stained so extensively. Again, this is Domantay the amounts of P50,000.00, as indemnity,
contrary to ordinary human experience. P50,000.00, as moral damages, P25,000.00, as exemplary
damages, and P12,000.00, as actual damages, and the
Even assuming that Jennifer had been raped, there is no costs.1âwphi1.nêt
sufficient proof that it was accused-appellant who had raped her.
He did not confess to having raped the victim. SO ORDERED.

From the foregoing, we cannot find that accused-appellant also


committed rape. In the special complex crime of rape with
homicide, both the rape and the homicide must be established G.R. No. 109279 January 18, 1999
beyond reasonable doubt. 73
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
Third. The trial court ordered accused-appellant to pay the heirs vs.
of Jennifer Domantay the amount of P30,000.00 as actual OCTAVIO MENDOZA y LANDICHO, accused-appellant.
damages. However, the list of expenses produced by the victim's
father, Jaime Domantay, only totaled P28,430.00. Of this
amount, only P12,000.00 was supported by a receipt. Art. 2199
of the Civil Code provides that a party may recover actual or MELO, J.:
compensatory damages only for such loss as he has duly
proved. Therefore, the award of actual damages should be On the night of November 11, 1988, one Cecilia Eusebio
reduced to P12,000.00. Mendoza was shot to death. The trial court found her husband,
Octavio Mendoza, responsible for her death. However the real
In addition, the heirs of Jennifer Domantay are entitled to recover victim of this unfortunate occurrence is the spouses' only minor
exemplary damages in view of the presence of the aggravating
circumstance of abuse of superior strength. Art. 2230 of the Civil
child, Charmaine Mendoza, who is now left to the care of her
maternal grandparents.

For the death of his wife Cecilia Mendoza, accused-appellant


Octavio Mendoza was separately charged with parricide and
illegal possession of firearm and ammunition under two
Informations, to wit:

Criminal Case No. 636

That on or about the 11th day of November, 1988,


in the Municipality of Las Piñas, Metro Manila,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with
intent to kill and without justifiable motive, did, then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
assault and shot with a .38 caliber revolver one
Cecilia Eusebio Mendoza, his wife, thereby
inflicting upon her serious and mortal gunshot
wounds which directly caused her death.
Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges,
CONTRARY TO LAW. whereupon a joint trial on the merits commenced, following
which, a judgment of conviction was rendered, disposing:
Criminal Case No. 637
WHEREFORE, premises considered:
That on or about the 11th day of November, 1988,
in the municipality of Las Piñas, Metro Manila, 1. In Criminal Case No. 636, and finding accused
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Octavio Mendoza y Landicho guilty beyond
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did, reasonable doubt of the crime of PARRICIDE,
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defined and penalized under Article 246 of the
have in his possession, control and direct custody Revised Penal Code, he is hereby sentenced to
a firearm one .38 caliber revolver, Colt with Serial suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, with all
No. 41001 and four (4) live ammunitions use in the the accessory penalties attendant thereto.
crime of parricide, without first securing the
necessary license or permit therefor. He is further ordered to pay to Alipio Eusebio the
amount of P66,000.00 for the funeral, wake, burial
CONTRARY TO LAW. and incidental expenses that said Alipio Eusebio
spent by reason of the death of his daughter
Cecilia Eusebio Mendoza.
And to Charmaine Mendoza the accused is hereby Conformably with the Circular of the Honorable
ordered to pay her the following Supreme Court, the accused is hereby ordered
committed to the Bureau of Corrections.
1. P50,000.00 for causing the death
of her mother Cecilia Eusebio The accused, if he appeals the decision entitled to
Mendoza; Bail.

2. P100,000.00 for and as moral SO ORDERED


damages;

3. P25,000.00 for and as attorney's


fees.

Plus costs of the proceedings.

Accused Octavio Mendoza y Landicho is further


deprived of his civil and parental rights over his
child Charmaine Mendoza and he cannot inherit
from her.

2. In Criminal Case No. 637, and finding the


accused Octavio Mendoza y Landicho guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Illegal
Possession of Firearm and Ammunitions, used in
the Commission of Parricide, defined and
penalized under Secton 1 of Presidential Decree
No. 1866 as amended by Presidential decree No.
1878-A said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer
the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, with all the
accessories of the law. Dissatisfied, accused-appellant has interposed the instant
appeal, arguing that the trial court erred in —
The firearms and ammunitions used, a Colt
Revolver Cal. 38, with a Serial Number 41001 is I
hereby forfeited in favor of the government together
with all the ammunitions. . . . substantially and almost totally relying on
illegally procured and/or inadmissible,
With costs against the accused. unauthenticated, questionable documents, in grave
violation of accused's constitutional right to privacy
of communication and papers, and/or his right rule that Penal laws favorable to the accused shall
against unreasonable search and seizure. have retroactive effects.

II The facts as established by the evidence for the prosecution are


as follows.
. . . almost substantially and wholly relying in the
incredibly coached and unreliable direct testimony On November 11, 1988, accused-appellant, his wife Cecilia
of the minor daughter of accused and victim, Mendoza, and their then 10-year-old daughter attended the
Charmaine Mendoza, despite the evident grave birthday party of a relative of accused-appellant held at
conflicts or contradictions thereof to the facts McDonald's in Harrison Plaza. While the party was going on,
clearly and decisively testified by and/or findings of accused-appellant letf and proceeded to Kentucky Fried Chicken
the police investigators. Restaurant where he had some beer. When it was time for
Cecilia and Charmaine to go home, they could not find accused-
III appellant, hence, they decided to just leave, proceeding directly
to their residence at No. 2 Tramo Street, Camella Homes, Phase
. . . not believing the decisively clear and straight III, Pamplona, Las Piñas (p. 4, Appellee's Brief).
forward testimony of the accused as corroborated
by his witness. Cecilia and Charmaine arrived home at around 7 o'clock in the
evening but accused-appellant was not yet there. After a while,
IV mother and daughter left for the house of Cecilia's parents in
Bacoor, Cavite to bring some perfume for Cecilia's brother,
. . . ultimately convicting accused for the separate Francisco (p. 5, Ibid. ).
offenses of parricide and Illegal Possession of
Firearms despite the police investigator's At about 9 o'clock in the evening, Cecilia and Charmaine left
undisturbed findings of a shooting and stabbing Bacoor. They rode a jeepney and at the gate of the subdivision
incident, a situation consistent with the decisively where they live, they saw the car of Rowena Hernandez,
clear postulate of the defense. Cecilia's god-daughter, and they hitched a ride home. Finally
home, they saw their car already parked in the garage of their
V neighbor. All the lights in their house were on but the screen
door was locked. They knocked at the window but accused-
. . . not considering, even assuming merely for the appellant did not respond. A moment later, however, accused-
sake of argument, but without conceding, that the appellant opened the back door and mother and daughter went
crime of parricide was committed, the law and straight to the master's bedroom (Ibid.).
doctrine that if a firearm is used in the commission
of a killing (Homicide, parricide, etc.) the same, as While inside the master's bedroom, accused-appellant who was
now mandated by Republic Act No. 8294 (known drunk instructed Charmaine to get cold water and to douse him.
as Revilla Law) must only be considered an She willingly obliged, after which she was told to go to her room.
aggravating circumstance. This is consistent to the She changed her clothes and readied herself for bed. While in
her room, Charmaine heard her parents quarrelling over the
issue of Cecilia and Charmaine having left accused-appellant at iyang baril." Gabac immediately handed Cpl. Africa a .38 caliber
the party. Thereafter, Charmaine suddenly heard three gunshots. revolver with Serial No. 41001 and with two empty shells and two
Running out of her room, Charmaine saw her mother Cecilia live rounds. Gabac informed Africa that the gun was handed to
down on the floor of their living room, bleeding profusely. him by accused-appellant when Gabac arrived at the crime
Charmaine saw accused-appellant hiding a gun under the bed in scene to respond to the call of accused-appellant for assistance
her parents' room (pp. 5-6, Ibid.). (p. 7, Ibid.)

Charmaine ran towards her gasping and bleeding mother and Cecilia's father, Alipio Eusebio, having been informed of his
held her. Then, accused-appellant asked Charmaine to call her daughter's death, and that valuables were being taken out of his
Aunt Dolores Mendoza to inform her of the death of Cecilia. daughter's house, decided to remove, together with his sons, the
Dolores could not believe Charmaine and talked to accused- remaining pieces of property therein, including accused-
appellant instead (Ibid.). appellant's personal effects (p. 8, Ibid.)

Meanwhile, the victim bled to death on the floor. From the aforestated personal effects of accused-appellant,
Alipio found Mission Order No. 86-580-893 dated November 7,
Accused-appellant subsequently called his brother-in-law, Sgt. 1986 issued to accused-appellant by Col. Eladio Gonzales, PAF
Antonio Gabac, and told him that Cecilia had been shot and is (GSC), Acting Wing Commander, 580th Aircraft Central Warning
already dead. Gabac, on the other line, told accused-appellant Wing, Villamor Airbase, Pasay City, which authorized accused-
not to touch anything and that he would be arriving shortly. When appellant to carry a Colt Revolver, 38 Caliber with Serial No.
Gabac finally arrived, he and accused-appellant carried the 41001 from November 15, 1986 to December 15, 1986. There
lifeless body of Cecilia into accused-appellant's car and brought was also a Memorandum Receipt for Equipment, dated
her to the Perpetual Help Hospital. November 10, 1986, approved by Captain Luis L. Salanguit of
the Philippine Air Force and Lt. Col. Ramon Bandong and issued
Cecilia Mendoza was pronounced dead on arrival. The autopsy to one Octavio L. Mendoza, Captain, PAF, Assistant Director for
report indicated the cause of death as follows: Personnel which described the firearm as "One Colt Revolver
SN 41001" (p. 52, Rollo).
Hemorrhage, severe, secondary to gunshot
wounds of the back and left shoulder. Accused-appellant tested positive for the presence of nitrates (p.
50, Ibid.).
Upon receiving information about the shooting incident, Chief
Investigator Cpl. Leopoldo Africa, together with investigators Cpl. Accused-appellant's own account of the incident is to the effect
Prudencio Parejas, Cpl. Gorgonio Nortales, and Pfc. Rolando that before the shooting incident on the night of November 11,
Almario, proceeded to the hospital to investigate the incident, but 1988, he and his wife Cecilia were arguing about the latter
accused-appellant refused to give any statement or comment. carrying an unlicensed .38 caliber revolver, and that a few weeks
Thereafter, the policemen invited Antonio Gabac to accompany earlier they likewise argued because he found out that his wife
them to the crime scene at No. 2 Tramo Street, Camella Homes, was still supporting her parents as well as her brothers and
Phase III, Pamplona, Las Piñas. While they were inspecting the sisters.
premises, Cpl. Africa noticed something tucked inside Gabac's
waist. He promptly told Gabac "Pare, pakisurrender mo nga
Further, accused-appellant claimed that he saw men roaming Castillo, he never gave any statement to the police about the
near their house and that he had received death threats over the incident.
telephone because Cecilia owed $35,000.00 to some people, in
relation to her jewelry and perfumes business. She also allegedly Accused-appellant denied the charges against him. While he
owed people some cash which was coursed through her by admitted having been married to Cecilia on February 28, 1976,
workers from Saudi Arabia to be sent to their relatives in the he claimed that his wife was killed by somebody else. Further,
Philippines (tsn, November 16, 1992, pp. 14-19). even as he denied possession of a .38 caliber revolver, he
admitted to have been authorized to carry a .45 caliber between
Accused-appellant claimed that he went home alone at around 7 the years 1968 and 1969 (tsn, November 16, 1992, pp. 7 and
o'clock on the night of November 11, 1988, after his wife, Cecilia, 68).
and daughter, Charmaine, had left him at the party. When his
wife and Charmaine arrived, they proceeded to the master's Accused-appellant swore that he had no reason to kill his wife
bedroom, after which, her daughter kissed him goodnight. He because he loved her. However, he admitted to have sired
and his wife were then left alone in their room and at that children by another woman (tsn, November 16, 1992, p. 51).
moment, his wife showed him some money and uttered "Dad,
okey na". She also brought out the .38 caliber revolver from her The trial court did not give credence and weight to the defense's
bag then changed her clothes, and went to the bathroom, and he theory that the victim was engaged in illegal activities which
fell asleep (tsn, November 16, 1992, pp. 21-28). supposedly led to her death. Rather, the trial court found that
accused-appellant had the opportunity and the propensity to
Thereafter, accused-appellant declared, he was suddenly commit the crime (pp. 66-67, Rollo).
awakened by an unusual sound or shot outside their room.
When he went out, he saw his wife wounded and bleeding, and Accordingly, although the evidence was partly circumstantial, the
he felt and heard somebody run from the backdoor of their house trial court made a pronouncement that all elements which were
which banged. Consequently, he ran outside and pursued the needed to arrive at a conclusion that accused-appellant killed his
intruder who ran from the backdoor, but accused-appellant wife were present and that no proof had been established by him
claimed that he only went up to their gate because of his concern to overturn its findings (p. 67, ibid.).
over his wife's condition.
After going through the evidentiary record, we find no reasons to
When he went back, he woke up Charmaine, and seeing the disagree with the trial court and are convinced that the guilt of
condition of Cecilia, both of them cried. After a while, he called accused-appellant Octavio Mendoza has been duly established.
up his brother-in-law, policeman Antonio Gabac (tsn, November
16, 1992, p. 32, p. 34, p. 37) and the two of them then brought Although the judgment of conviction is based on circumstantial
Cecilia to the hospital. evidence, conviction is proper if the circumstances proven
constitute an unbroken chain which lead to one fair and
In the hospital, some police investigators from the Las Piñas reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion
Police Station asked accused-appellant about the incident, but of all others, as the guilty person (Pecho v. People, 262 SCRA
he refused to comment. He was later invited to the police station 518 [1996]). Direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not
for investigation, but due to the advice of his relative, Fiscal the only matrix wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusion
and finding of guilt (People vs. Damao, 253 SCRA 146 [1996]).
During the trial of the case, it was duly established that the only several occasions of altercation. Such fact was shown when
persons residing at No. 2 Tramo Street, Camella Homes, Phase accused-appellant left his wife and daughter at the party without
III, Pamplona, Las Piñas, were the Mendozas, namely, accused- informing them where he would be. The victim's father, Alipio
appellant Octavio, his daughter Charmaine, and his now Eusebio, attested to the fact that accused-appellant and his
deceased wife Cecilia. On the night Cecilia was shot to death, no daughter, Cecilia, had been quarrelling. Accused-appellant
one was there except these three person. Accused-appellant suspected that Cecilia was having an illicit relationship with
struggled to persuade the trial court of his innocence by denying another man. He contends that Alipio is not a credible witness for
that the killed his wife, insinuating that another person is the the prosecution in view of his relationship with the victim and that
killer. This stance of denial is negative self-serving evidence Alipio resents him on account of his having children with another
which deserves no evidentiary weight (People v. Gondora, 265 woman.
SCRA 408 [1996]). The insinuation of accused-appellant that
some convenient intruder perpetrated the killing is absolutely It is basic precept that relationship per se of a witness with the
without basis and unsubstantiated. It is plainly an afterthought, a victim does not necessarily mean he is biased. The Court finds
devised plot to escape just punishment. In fact, accused- improbable and contrary to human experience accused-
appellant even refused to give any statement or comment to the appellant's claim that Alipio testified for no other purpose but
police investigators to enlighten them about the shooting revenge. It was not shown that Alipio was actuated by improper
incident. If indeed, Cecilia was shot and killed by somebody else motive, thus, his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit.
as claimed by accused-appellant, it would surely have been but
natural for him, as a husband to cooperate with police authorities The testimony of Charmaine that she saw accused-appellant,
for the speedy apprehension of the gunman, by informing them her father, hide a gun under his bed, leads us to believe that
immediately of the alleged intruder-killer. But he did not and accused-appellant killed his own wife. Accused-appellant cannot
instead, he took the advice of his relative, Fiscal Castillo, to keep escape criminal liability on his theory that when Charmaine
silent about the incident when the police conducted the testified for the prosecution, her testimony did not appear to be a
investigation, which is rather odd if he really were innocent. naturally spontaneous narration, but rather evidently a coached
Verily it was only on November 16, 1992, or 2 years after the one. According to him, this theory was bolstered when she cried
incident that he came out with the story about the handy intruder. and suddenly, embraced accused-appellant in public view.
He kept silent for two long years.
On the contrary, the fact that Charmaine cried during her
Accused-appellant strives to persuade us that the trial court testimony is mute evidence of her credibility, this, being in accord
erred in giving full credence to the testimony of his father-in-law, with human behavior and nature. It must have been a most
Alipio Eusebio, and his own daughter, Charmaine Mendoza. But traumatic and painful experience for her, at a very tender age, to
having been in a better position to observe the witnesses, the testify in court against her own father whom she loves and
trial court's appreciation of their testimony, truthfulness, honesty, respects as shown by the act of embracing him.
and candor, deserves the highest respect (People vs. Del Prado,
253 SCRA 731 [1996]). Accused-appellant virtually banks, for acquittal, on Charmaine's
retraction. But the trial court correctly disregarded the same. The
As established by the prosecution, and this is admitted by first time Charmaine took the witness stand was in December,
accused-appellant, even before he and his family went to the 1988, barely a month after her mother's death. Her recantation
birthday party of his relative, he and the victim had already was made two years later when she was already in the custody
of accused-appellant who was allowed to go out on bail. But this claim is belied by the overwhelming evidence pointing to
Charmaine's first testimony was to the effect that she saw her accussed-appellant as the possessor of the fatal weapon.
father, accused-appellant, hiding a gun under the bed, and her Charmaine testified thal the fatal gun, when exhibited in court,
subsequent testimony was that she saw no such act. Such was the gun she saw on the night her mother was not shot. And
contradictory statements should not discredit Charmaine as a weeks earlier, she said, it was the same gun which she saw with
witness. The present rule is that testimony of a witness may be his father. Defense witness, Antonio Gabac, when asked by the
believed in part and disbelieved in part, depending upon the Las Piñas police investigators to surrender the gun, claimed that
corroborative evidence and probabilities and improbabilities of the same was surrendered to him by accused-appellant shortly
the case (People vs. Cura, 240 SCRA 234 [1995]). Moreover, after the shooting incident. The possession of the fatal gun by
mere retraction by a prosecution witness does not necessarily accused-appellant is further established by the memorandum
vitiate the original testimony. Testimony solemnly given in court receipt signed by accused-appellant himself and a mission order
should not be set aside and disregarded lightly, and before this authorizing him to carry the said weapon (p. 66, Rollo). But
can be done, both the previous testimony and the subsequent accused-appellant claims that these documents were illegally
one should be carefully compared and juxtaposed, the procured in grave violation of his constitutional right to privacy of
circumstances under which each was made carefully and keenly communication and papers, and/or his right against
scrutinized, and the reasons or motives for the change unreasonable search and seizure (p. 154, ibid.).
discriminalingly analyzed (Molina v. People, 259 SCRA 138
[1996]). The Solicitor General is correct in explaining that such rights
applies as a restraint directed only against the government and
The trial court believed that the testimony given by Charmaine its agencies. The case in piont is People vs. Marti (193 SCRA 57
for the defense did not alter her former testimony for the [1991]) where this Court had the occasion to rule that the
prosecution. The second declaration was received with caution, constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and
and it did not impressed the trial court. Neither are we persuaded seizures refers to the immunity of one's person from interference
to hold otherwise for it must be borne in mind that Charmaine by government and it cannot be extended to acts committed by
was living with and defendent upon her father, accused- private individuals so as to bring it within the ambit of alleged
appellant, at the time she gave her second declaration. unlawful intrusion.

Another fact which militates against accused-appellant's denial In the instant case, the memorandum receipt and mission order
that he killed his wife is that the palaffin test conducted on him were discovered by accused-appellant's father-in-law Alipio
yielded positive results. Notably, this test was conducted a day Eusebio, a private citizen. Certainly, a search warrant is
after the shooting incident. dispensable.

Accused-appellant also denied having and possessed the .38 Finally, contrary to accused-appellant's claim that he was
colt revolver with Serial Number 41001, the fatal weapon, and licensed and authorized to carry a .45 caliber pistol, the
even implied that the, gun belongs to the victim. According to certification of Captain Abraham Garcillano, Chief, Records,
accused-appellant, there had been a dispute between him and Legal and Research Branch of the Firearm and Explosive Unit,
his wife over the unlicensed .38 caliber gun which his wife dated December 29, 1989, shows that accused-appellant is not a
carried wherever she went, and not about the fact that his wife licensed fiream holder of any kind (p. 69, Rollo).
was having an illicit relationship with another man.
While admittedly there is no direct evidence presented by the
prosecution on the killing of Cecilia by accused-appellant, the
establishment abovestated, however, constitute an unbroken
chain, consistent with each other and with the hypotheses that
accused-appellant is guilty, to the exclusion of all other
hypotheses that he is not. And when circumstancial evidence
constitutes an unbroken chain of natural and rational
circumstances corroborating each other, it cannot be overcome
by inconcrete and doubtful evidence submitted by the accused
(People vs. Verano, 264 SCRA 546 [1996]). The unbelievable
story of accused-appellant that the killing was perpetrated by the G.R. No. 79543 October 16, 1996
"smuggling syndicate's man" is all too plainly a mere concoction
of accused-appellant designed to exculpate himself from criminal JOSE D. FILOTEO, JR., petitioner,
liability. vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN and THE PEOPLE OF THE
Although the prosecution duly established that the crime of illegal PHILIPPINES, respondents.
possession of firearm under Presidential Decree No. 1866 was
committed, fortunately for accussed-appellant, Republic Act No
8294 which took effect on July 7, 1997 amended the said decree
and the law now merely considers the use of an unlicensed PANGANIBAN, J.:p
firearm as an aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide,
and not as a separate offense (People vs. Molina, G.R. No. A person under investigation for the commission of an offense is
115835-36, July 22, 1998 ). constitutionally guaranteed certain rights. One of the most
cherished of these is the right "to have competent and
Withal, accused-apppellant may be held liable only for parricide independent counsel preferably of his choice". The 1987
with the special aggravating circumstance of use of an Constitution, unlike its predecessors, expressly covenants that
unlicensed firearm. This notwitastanding, that is, despite the such guarantee "cannot be waived except in writing and in the
presence of such aggravating circumstance, the penalty imposed presence of counsel". In the present case, petitioner claims that
for the crime of parricide which is reclusion perpetua, may no such proscription against an uncounselled waiver of the right to
longer be increased. The death penalty cannot be imposed upon counsel is applicable to him retroactively, even though his
accused-appellant since the killing occurred in November, 1988, custodial investigation took place in 1983 — long before the
when the imposition of the capital penalty was still proscribed. effectivity of the new Constitution. He also alleges that his arrest
was illegal, that his extrajudicial confession was extracted
WHEREFORE, except as above modified, the appealed decision through torture, and that the prosecution's evidence was
is hereby AFFIRMED, without special pronouncement as to insufficient to convict him. Finally, though not raised by
costs.1âwphi1.nêt petitioner, the question of what crime —- brigandage or robbery
— was committed is likewise motu proprio addressed by the
SO ORDERED. Court in this Decision.
Challenged in the instant amended petition is the Decision 1 of 2) Social Security System Medicare Checks and
respondent Sandiganbayan 2 in Criminal Case No. 8496 Vouchers
promulgated on June 19, 1987 convicting petitioner of
brigandage, and the Resolution 3 promulgated on July 27, 1987 3) Social Security System Pension Checks and
denying his motion for reconsideration. Vouchers

The Facts 4) Treasury Warrants

Petitioner Jose D. Filoteo, Jr. was a police investigator of the 5) Several Mail Matters from abroad
Western Police District in Metro Manila, an old hand at dealing
with suspected criminals. A recipient of various awards and in the total amount of P253,728.29 more or less,
commendations attesting to his competence and performance as belonging to US Government Pensionados, SSS
a police officer, he could not therefore imagine that one day he Pensionados, SSS Medicare Beneficiaries and
would be sitting on the other side of the investigation table as the Private Individuals from Bulacan, Pampanga,
suspected mastermind of the armed hijacking of a postal delivery Bataan, Zambales and Olongapo City, to the
van. damage and prejudice of the owners in the
aforementioned amount.
Along with his co-accused Martin Mateo, Jr. y Mijares, PC/Sgt.
Bernardo Relator, Jr. y Retino, CIC Ed Saguindel y Pabinguit, Contrary to law
Ex-PC/Sgt. Danilo Miravalles y Marcelo and civilians Ricardo
Perez, Reynaldo Frias, Raul Mendoza, Angel Liwanag, Severino On separate dates, accused Filoteo, Mateo, Saguindel, Relator
Castro and Gerardo Escalada, petitioner Filoteo was charged in and Miravalles, assisted by their respective counsel, pleaded not
the following Information: 4 guilty. Their co-accused Perez, Frias, Mendoza, Liwanag, Castro
and Escalada were never arrested and remained at large.
That on or about the 3rd day of May, 1982, in the Accused Mateo escaped from police custody and was tried in
municipality of Meycauayan, province of Bulacan, absentia in accordance with Article IV, Section 19 of the 1973
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Constitution. Accused Saguindel and Relator failed to appear
Honorable Court, the said accused, two of whom during the trial on February 21, 1985 and on March 31, 1986,
were armed with guns, conspiring, confederating respectively, and were thus ordered arrested but remained at
together and helping one another, did then and large since then. Like in the case of Mateo, proceedings against
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent them were held in absentia. 5 Only Filoteo filed this petition, after
of gain and by means of violence, threat and the respondent Court rendered its assailed Decision and
intimidation, stop the Postal Delivery Truck of the Resolution.
Bureau of Postal while it was travelling along the
MacArthur Highway of said municipality, at the Before trial commenced and upon the instance of the
point of their guns, and then take, rob and carry prosecution for a stipulation of facts, the defense admitted the
away with them the following, to wit: following: 6

1) Postal Delivery Truck


The existence of the bound record of Criminal deliver mail matters to and from Manila. On board the vehicle
Case No. 50737-B-82, consisting of 343 pages were Nerito Miranda, the driver, and two couriers named
from the Bulacan CFI (Exhibit A); in 1982 or Bernardo Bautista and Eminiano Tagudar who were seated
thereabouts, accused Bernardo Relator was a PC beside the driver. They arrived at around 9:40 that morning at
Sergeant at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Metro the Airmail Distribution Center of the Manila International Airport
Manila; as such PC Sergeant, accused Relator was where they were issued waybills 7 for the sacks of mail they
issued a service revolver, Smith & Wesson collected. They then proceeded to the Central Post Office where
Revolver, 32 (sic), with Serial No. 11707 (Exhibit B) they likewise gathered mail matters including 737 check
and holster (Exhibit B-1) with six (6) live ammo letters 8 sent by the United States Embassy. All the mail matters
(Exhibit B-2); in 1982 or thereabouts, accused were placed inside the delivery van, and its door padlocked.
Eddie Saguindel was a PC Constable First Class;
on May 30, 1982, accused Saguindel, together with As they had to deliver mail matters to several towns of Bulacan,
accused Relator and Danilo Miravalles, a former they took the MacArthur Highway on the return trip to
PC Sergeant, was invited for investigation in Pampanga. When they reached Kalvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan
connection with the hijacking of a delivery van by at about 4:30 in the afternoon, an old blue Mercedes Benz
the elements of the Special Operations Group, PC, sedan 9 overtook their van and cut across its path. The car had
and the three availed of their right to remain silent five (5) passengers — three seated in front and two at the back.
and to have counsel of their choice, as shown by The car's driver and the passenger beside him were in white
their Joint Affidavit (Exhibit A-20); and the shirts; the third man in front and the person immediately behind
existence of the sworn statement executed by him were both clad in fatigue uniforms, while the fifth man in the
accused Martin Mateo (Exhibit A-11) as well as the back had on a long-sleeved shirt. 10
Certification dated May 30, 1982, subject to the
qualification that said document was made under Two of the car passengers aimed an armalite and a hand gun at
duress. driver Nerito Miranda as someone uttered, "Are you not going to
stop this truck?" 11 Frightened, Miranda pulled over and stopped
The prosecution sought to prove its case with the testimonies of the van's engine. Alighting from the car, the armed group
Bernardo Bautista, Rodolfo Miranda, Capt. Rosendo Ferrer, identified themselves as policemen. 12 They ordered the postal
M/Sgt. Noel Alcazar and Capt. Samuel Pagdilao, Jr. 6-a and the employees to disembark from the van. As he stepped out of the
submission of Exhibits A to K. In their defense, accused Filoteo van, Miranda took the ignition key with him, but when threatened,
and Miravalles presented their respective testimonies plus those he surrendered it to one of the car passengers. 13 The three
of Gary Gallardo and Manolo Almogera. Filoteo also submitted postal employees were then ordered to board the Benz.
his Exhibits 1-14-Filoteo, but Miravalles filed no written evidence.
Thereafter, the prosecution proffered rebuttal evidence and As he was about to enter the car, Bautista looked back and saw
rested with the admission of Exhibits A-16-a, A-31 and L. one of the malefactors, who turned out to be Reynaldo Frias,
going up the van. Inside the car, the three delivery employees
Evidence for the Prosecution were ordered to lower their heads. They sat between two of their
captors at the back of the car while two others were in front.
At about 6:30 in the morning of May 3, 1982, Bureau of Post mail Later, Nerito Miranda asked permission to straighten up as he
van no. MVD 02 left San Fernando, Pampanga to pick up and was feeling dizzy for lack of air. As he stretched, he caught a
glimpse of the pimply face of the man to his left. He also conducted a "massive intelligence build-up" to monitor the drop
recognized the driver who had glanced back. These men turned points where the stolen checks could be sold or negotiated.
out to be Angel Liwanag and Reynaldo Frias, respectively. 14
On May 28, 1982, the SOG received a tip from a civilian informer
As the car started moving, Bautista complained about feeling that two persons were looking for buyers of stolen checks. Capt.
"densely confined." We was allowed to raise his head but with Ferrer requested the informer to arrange a meeting with them.
eyes closed. However, he sneaked a look and recognized the The meeting materialized at about 9:00 P.M. of May 29, 1982 at
driver of the car as Raul Mendoza and the fellow beside him who the Bughaw Restaurant in Cubao, Quezon City. With cash on
poked a "balisong" at him as Angel Liwanag. The man in uniform hand, Capt. Ferrer posed as the buyer. The informer introduced
on the front seat was Eddie Saguindel. Earlier, as he was about him to Rey Frias and Rafael Alcantara. Frias in turn showed
to enter the car, Bautista looked back and recognized Capt. Ferrer a sample Social Security System (SSS) pension
Frias. 15 These incidents yielded the pieces of information critical check and told him that the bulk of the checks were in the
to the subsequent identification of Mendoza, Liwanag, Saguindel possession of their companions in Obrero, Tondo, Manila. After
and Frias in the line-up of suspects at Camp Crame later on. some negotiations, they agreed to proceed to Tondo. Then as
they boarded a car, Capt. Ferrer introduced himself and his
The car seemed to move around in circles. When it finally came companions as lawmen investigating the hijacking incident.
to a stop, the captured men discovered that they were along Shocked and distressed, Frias calmed down only when assured
Kaimito Road in Kalookan City They were made to remove their that his penalty would be mitigated should he cooperate with the
pants and shoes and then told to run towards the shrubs with authorities. Frias thus volunteered to help crack the case and
their heads lowered. Upon realizing that the hijackers had left, lead the SOG team to Ricardo Perez and Raul Mendoza.
they put on their pants and reported the incident to the Kalookan
Police Station. Capt. Ferrer instructed Lt. Pagdilao, his assistant operations
officer who was in another car during the mission, to accompany
The Security and Intelligence Unit of the Bureau of Posts Frias to Obrero Tondo while he escorted Alcantara to their
recovered the postal van at the corner of Malindang and Angelo headquarters at Camp Crame. On the way to the headquarters,
Streets, La Loma, Quezon City on May 4, 1982. Discovered Alcantara denied participation in the hijacking although he
missing were several mail matters, 16 including checks and admitted living with Martin Mateo who allegedly was in
warrants, along with the van's battery, tools and fuel. 17 possession of several checks. Alcantara was turned over to the
investigation section of the SOG for further questioning.
In a letter-request dated May 6, 1982 to then Col. Ramon
Montaño, then Postmaster General Roilo S. Golez sought the Meanwhile, Lt. Pagdilao's group was able to corner Ricardo
assistance of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Perez in his house in Tondo. Confronted with the hijacking
Philippine Constabulary in the investigation of the hijacking incident, Perez admitted participation therein and expressed
incident. 18 Responding to the request, the SOG, which was disappointment over his inability to dispose of the checks even
tasked to detect, investigate and "neutralize" criminal syndicates after a month from the hijacking. He surrendered the checks in
in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces, organized two his possession to Lt. Pagdilao.'s. 19
investigative teams. One group was led by Capt. Rosendo Ferrer
and the other by 1st Lt. Samuel Pagdilao. Initially, they An hour and a half later, Capt. Ferrer received information over
their two-way radio that Ricardo Perez and Raul Mendoza were
in Lt. Pagdilao's custody. Capt. Ferrer ordered that, instead of the crime and pointed to three other soldiers, namely, Eddie
returning to headquarters, Lt. Pagdilao and his companions Saguindel, Bernardo Relator and Jack Miravalles (who turned
should meet him in Quirino, Novaliches to apprehend Martin out to be a discharged soldier), as his confederates. At 1:45 in
Mateo. They met at the designated place and proceeded to the afternoon of May 30, 1982, petitioner executed a sworn
Gulod, Novaliches arriving there at about 10:30 P.M. of May 29, statement in Tagalog before M/Sgt. Arsenio C. Carlos and Sgt.
1982. Romeo P. Espero which, quoted in full, reads as follows:

Walking atop a ricefield dike to the house of Mateo, they noticed BABALA
two men heading in their direction. Perez identified them as — Nais
Martin Mateo and Angel Liwanag. The latter threw something kong
into the ricefield which, when retrieved, turned out to be bundles ipaalam
of checks wrapped in cellophane inside a plastic bag. 20 As the sa iyo,
two were about to board the SOG teams's car, Mateo said, "Sir, Patrolman
Kung baga sa basketball, talo na kami. Ibibigay ko yong para sa Filoteo, na
panalo.Marami pa akong tseke doon sa bahay ko, sir, kunin na ang
natin para di na natin dahilan ng
babalikan." 21 Capt. Ferrer accompanied Mateo to his house pagsisiyas
where they retrieved several other checks in another plastic bag. at na ito
ay tungkol
On the way to the SOG headquarters in Camp Crame, Mateo sa isang
and Liwanag admitted participation in the postal hijacking. At a kasong
confrontation with Perez and Mendoza, all four of them pointed Robbery-
to petitioner, Jose D. Filoteo, Jr., as the mastermind of the crime. in-
Band/Hi-
Consequently, Capt. Ferrer directed Lt. Pagdilao to accompany Jacking na
Mateo to the house of petitioner in Tondo, Manila. The lawmen naganap
found petitioner at home. Upon being invited to Camp Crame to noong ika-
shed light on his participation in the hijacking, petitioner was 3 ng Mayo
dumbfounded (" parang nagulat). Pursuant to standard operating 1982 doon
procedure in arrests, petitioner was informed of his constitutional sa
rights, 22 whereupon they proceeded to Camp Crame. However, Meycauay
the group, including petitioner, returned to the latter's place to an,
recover the loot. It was "in the neighborhood," not in petitioner's Bulacan,
house, where the authorities located the checks. 23 mga
bandang
The authorities confronted Filoteo about his participation in the alas-4:00
hijacking, telling him that Frias, Mendoza and Perez had earlier ng hapon,
volunteered the information that petitioner furnished the Benz humigit-
used in the hijacking. Thereupon, Filoteo admitted involvement in kumulang,
kung b. Na ikaw ay may karapatang kumuha ng isang
saang abugadong sarili mong pili upang may magpapayo
maraming sa iyo habang ikaw ay sinisiyasat;
tsekeng
US, tseke c. Na ikaw ay may karapatang huwag sumagot sa
ng BIR at mga katanungang maaring makasira sa iyo sa
iba pang dahilang anumang iyong isasalaysay ay maaring
mga gamitin pabor or laban sa iyo sa kinauukulang
personal hukuman;
na tseke
ang d. Na kung ikaw ay walang maibabayad sa isang
nabawi abugado, ako mismo ang makipag-ugnayan sa
mula sa CLAO-IBP upang ikaw ay magkaroon ng isang
iyo. Nais abugadong walang bayad.
ko ring
ibigay sa 1. TANONG: — Ang mga bagay-
iyo ang bagay bang akin nang naipaliwanag
babala sa iyo ay iyong lubos na naiintindihan
alinsunod at nauunawaan?
sa mga
isinasaad SAGOT: —Opo.
ng Section
20, Article 2. T: — Handa mo bang lagdaan ang
IV ng ilalim ng katanungan at sagot na ito
Bagong bilang katibayan na iyo ngang
Saligang naiintindihan ang iyong mga
Batas ng karapatan at gayun na rin sa dahilan
Republika ng pagsisiyasat na ito, at ikaw din ay
ng nakahanda ngang magbigay ng isang
Pilipinas, malaya at kusang-loob na salaysay,
kagaya ng sumagot sa mga katanungan at
mga sumusumpang lahat ng iyong
sumusuno isasalaysay ay pawang mga
d: katotohanan lamang?

a. Na ikaw ay may karapatang tumahimik; S: — Opo, pipirma ako Ser.


g 3. T: — Maari bang sabihin mong
d mull ang iyong buong pangalan, edad
. at iba pang bagay-bagay na maaring
) mapagkakikilalanan sa iyo?

J S: — Jose Filoteo y Diendo, 30-


O anyos, may-asawa, isang Patrolman
S ng Western Police District,
E Metropolitan Police Force na
kasalukuyang nakatalaga sa General
D Assignment Section, Investigation
. Division ng naturang Distrito ng
Pulisya at kasalukuyang nakatira sa
F No. 810 Cabesas St., Dagupan,
I Tondo, Manila.
L
O 4. T: — Kailan ka pa na-appoint sa
T service bilang isang Kabatas?
E
O S: — Noon pong October 1978, hindi
ko maalaala ang exactong petsa,
( noong ako ay mapasok sa serbisyo.
A
f 5. T: — Kailan ka pa naman na-
f assign sa GAS, WPD, MPF?
i
a S: — Noon lamang pong January
n 1982.
t
) 6. T: — Patrolman Filoteo, ikaw ba ay
tubong saang bayan, lungsod or
MGA SAKSI: lalawigan?

(Sgd.) (Sgd.) S: — Pagkakaalam ko sa tatay ko ay


ROMEO P. ESPERO THERESA L. Bulacan samantalang ang aking ina
TOLENTINO naman ay Bisaya, pero ako ay
Ssg., PC C1C, WAC (PC) ipinanganak na sa Maynila noon July
17, 1951.
7. T: — Ano naman ang natapos Jr. who was seated in the
mong kurso sa pag-aaral? investigation room and asked the
name and was duly answered: Martin
S: — Undergraduate ako ng BS Mateo, Jr.); si Rey Frias, Raul
Criminology sa PCCr, dahil hindi ko Mendoza; Angelo Liwanag at ang
natapos ang second semester ng 4th mga taga LRP ng PC Brigade na sina
year ko. Sgt. Ed Saguindel, Sgt. Dan
Miravales at isa pang Sergeant na
8. T: — Ano naman ang iyong ang alam ko lang sa kanya ay JUN
specific designation sa GAS, ID, ang tawag namin. Walo (8) (corrected
WPD-MPF? and initialled by affiant to read as
"SIYAM [9]") kaming lahat doon noon
S: — Sa Follow-Up Unit ako. at ang mga gamit naman naming
kotse noon ay ang kotse ng kumpare
9. T: — At bilang miyembro ng follow- kong si Rudy Miranda na isang
up unit no GAS, ano naman ang Mercedes Benz na may plakang
iyong mga specific duties? NMJ-659 kung saang ang driver
namin noon ay si Raul Mendoza
S: — Kami po ang magsasagawa ng (corrected and initialled by affiant to
follow-up kung may mga at-large sa read as "AKO") at ang mga kasama
mga suspects namin sa mga kasong naman naming sakay ay sina Angelo
hawak ng investigation. Liwanag, Sgt. Ed Saguindel at Sgt.
Jun na parehong taga-LRP (affiant
10. T: — Noong ika-3 ng Mayo 1982, added and initialled this additional
mga bandang alas-4:00 ng hapon fact: "AT RAUL MENDOZA"). Ang
humigit-kumulang, saan ka naroroon isang kotse namang gamit namin ay
at ano ang iyong ginagawa? pag-aari daw ng pinsan ni Carding
Perez na kanya na rin mismong
S: — Nasa Plaza Lawton ho kami, minaneho na isang Lancer na dirty-
eh, at inaantay na namin iyong hi- white ang kulay at ang mga sakay
nayjack namin na Philippine Mail naman ni Carding Perez ay sina
delivery van. Junior Mateo, Rey Frias at Sgt. Dan
Miravalles ng LRP rin. Pero may
11. T: — Wika mo'y kami, sinu-sino kasama pa kaming contact ni Carding
ang tinutukoy mong mga Perez na taga-loob ng Post Office na
kasamahan? sina AliasNINOY na isang dispatcher
at Alias JERRY, dahil ang
S: — Si Carding Perez, ho; si Junior mastermind dito sa trabahong ito ay
ho (Affiant pointed to Martin Mateo, si Carding PEREZ at kami naman ng
mga sundalong taga-LRP ay kanila naman ay bumaba na sa aming kotse
lamang inimporta upang umeskort sa at sumakay ng delivery van at ako na
kaniia sa pag-hijack ng delivery van. mismo ang nagmaneho at sinamahan
naman ako nina Junior Mateo at si
12. T: — Anong oras naman noong Rey Frias, tatlo (3) rin kaming pumalit
umalis ang delivery van ng Post sa puwesto noong tatlong (3) taga-
Office patungong norte? Post Office na maydala ng delivery
van. Nag-Utturn (sic) kami ngayon at
S: — Kung hindi ako nagkakamali ay ibinalik na namin sa Manila ang van.
nasa pagitan na noon ng alas- 4:00 Iyong Mercedes Benz na minaneho
hanggang alas-5:00 ng hapon. pa rin ni Raul Mendoza ay dumeretso
pa norte samantalang ang Lancer
13. T: — Isalaysay mo nga ng buong- naman ay nag-U-turn din at sumunod
buo kung ano ang mga naganap sa amin. Noong makarating na kami
noong hapon na iyon? sa Malinta, Valenzuela, Metro Manila
ay inunahan na kami ng Lancer at
S: — Noon pong lumakad na ang iyon na nga, parang follow the leader
delivery van ng Central Post Office, na dahil siya na noon ang aming
sinundan na namin, una ang van, guide.
sumunod ang Lancer at huli ang
Mercedes Benz namin. Pagdating 14. T: — Ipagpatuloy mo ang iyong
namin sa Malinta, Valenzuela Metro pagsasalaysay?
Manila ay nagpalit kami ng puwesto
sa pagsunod, van naman ngayon, S: — Dumeretso kami ngayon sa
sunod ang Mercedes Benz at huli na may Obrero, sa bahay mismo nina
ang Lancer. Noong makapasok na Carding Perez, at noong nakarating
kami ng boundary ng Meycauayan, na kami roon ay iniyatras ko na ang
Bulacan ay kumuha na kami ng van sa kaniling garahe at doon ay
tiyempo at noon makatiyempo kami ibinaba namin lahat ang mga duffle
ay kinat namin ang delivery van. bag, hindi ko na ho alam kung ilan
Tumigil naman ito at bumaba kaagad lahat iyon, na siyang laman ng
sina Sgt. Ed Saguindel at Sgt. Jun ng delivery van at pagkatapos ay umalis
LRP datiil sila noon ang may hawak kaming muli ng mga kasama ko rin sa
ng kanilang Armalite Rifle pero may van papuntang Quezon City kung
service pa silang maiksing baril. saan namin inabandon ang delivery
Pinababa nila ang tatlong maydala ng van. Sa Retiro ho yata iyong lugar na
delivery van at pinasakay sa iyon, kung hindi ako nagkakamali.
Mercedes Benz, habang nakatutok
ang kanilang mga baril sa kanila. Ako
15. T: — Ano ang mga sumunod na inihatid namin sina Sgt. Saguindel at
nangyari? Sgt. Jun doon sa tinitirhan nitong
huling nabanggit na sundalo doon sa
S: — Sumakay kami ngayon ng taksi malapit sa Del Pan Bridge sa may
at bumalik na kami kina Carding Recto Avenue sa San Nicolas yata
Perez sa may bahay nila sa Obrero, iyon sa Manila. Kami naman ngayong
Tondo, Manila at inabutan na namin apat, sina Carding Perez, Angelo
sila na nagkakarga na noong mga Liwanag at si Raul Mendoza ay
duffle bag sa (sic), madilim na ho tumuloy na sa Bocaue, Bulacan.
noon, sa isang kotseng mamula-mula Dumaan kami sa North Diversion
o orange na Camaro at isa pang Road at paglabas namin sa exit
Mercedes Benz na brown, dahil ang papuntang Bocaue, Bulacan ay hindi
Lancer ay isinoli na raw nila sa may- na kalayuan doon, hindi ko alam ang
ari. Dinala nila ngayon ang mga duffle lugar pero alam kong puntahan.
bag sa Bocaue, Bulacan, iyon kasi Bahay daw yata ng kamag-anak ni
ang usapan namin noon dahil sumilip Carding Perez iyon pero hindi ko
lamang ako noon at kasama ko si alam ang pangalan. Naroon na
Carding Perez, kami naman ngayon ngayon ang buong tropa, maliban sa
ay pumunta sa bahay nina Rudy mga dalawang sundalong naihatid na
Miranda sa San Marcelino, Malate, namin sa may Manila, at may mga
Manila na sakay ng isang Toyota nadagdag pang ibang mukha pero
Corona na brown na si Carding Perez hindi ko ito mga kakilala. Si JACK o
ang nagmaneho. Pagdating namin Sgt. Dan Miravalles ay naroon din
doon sa kina Rudy Miranda ay noon. Kumain kami, pagkatapos ay
naroon na rin noon ang Mercedes nagbukasan na ng mga duffle bag.
Benz na ginamit namin, pero wala na Iyon na nga, nakita na namin ang
ang crew ng delivery van dahil mga tsekeng ito, (Affiant pointed to
ibinaba at iniwanan daw nila sa the checks he voluntarily
Caloocan City. Ang naroroon na surrendered) at aming inihiwalay
lamang noon ay sina Angelo ngayon sa mga sulat na naroon na
Liwanag, si Raul Mendoza, si Sgt. Ed sinunog lahat pagkatapos doon sa
Saguindel at si Sgt. Jun na parehong bahay ni Junior Mateo sa Novaliches.
taga-LRP. Naiwan na noon ang Di magdamag ngayon ang trabaho
Mercedes Benz namin doon kina namin, kinabukasan ay kanya-
Rudy Miranda at iniwan na rin ang kanyang uwian na, pagkatapos ay
susi doon sa kamag-anak, dahil hindi pahinga. Kinabukasan mull, gabi,
nila alam ang trabahong ito. Sumakay inilipat na namin doon sa bahay ni
na iyong apat naming kasama sa Junior Mateo ang mga tsekeng ito
Toyota Corona na sakay namin at (Affiant again referred to said
checks). Isinakay namin noon sa Factory sa Tondo, Manila at akin
isang cargo truck na pag-aari din daw munang ipinatago sa isang kumare
nina Carding. lyong mga tsekeng iyan ko doon, pansamantala, pero hindi
ngayon ay nakalagay noon doon sa alam nitong kumare ko ang laman
isang sikretong compartment sa gitna noon dahil mahigpit kong ipinagbilin
ng truck, doon ba sa may chassis. na huwag nilang bubuksan. Doon na
Sikretong compartment iyon, na rin namin kinuha iyon noong
mahirap mahalata. isurender ko ang mga tsekeng ito
kagabi, at hanggang sa kinuha na
16. T: — Ikaw ba naman ay namin ang supot na ito (the checks
mayroong dalang baril noon at kung placed in a plastic bag was again
ganoon, sabihin mo nga kung anong referred to) ay wala pa rin kamalay-
uring baril iyon? malay ang kumare ko.

S: — Wala po akong baril, Ser. 18. T: — Iyong sinasabi mong mga


kontak nina Carding Perez sa Central
17. T: — Paano naman napunta ang Post Office, mga kakilala mo rin ba
mga tsekeng ito (the checks ang mga ito?
recovered from the Affiant was
referred to) sa iyo? S: — Iyong araw lamang na iyon ko
sila nakita, dahil maghapon ko noon
S: — E, di ganoon na nga he, habang silang nakikita, itong si Alias NINOY
tumatagal ay umiinit ang situwasyon lamang ang dispatcher, dahil
sa aming grupo, dahil iyong partehan palabas-labas siya noon at nakikipag-
sana namin ay puro pangako ang usap kina Carding Perez, Raul
nangyari. Kaya napagpasyahan Mendoza at saka si Rey Frias.
namin na hatiin na lamang iyong mga Makikilala ko itong si AliasNINOY
tseke upang walang onsehan sa kung makita ko siyang muli.
amin. Ito ngayon ay parte namin nina
Sgt. Ed Saguindel, Sgt. Dan 19. T: — Sino naman ang kumontak
Miravalles Alias JACK at ni Sgt. Jun, sa iyo upang sumama sa trabahong
dahil noong una ay doon muna sa ito?
amin ito nakatago (The checks
recovered from the Affiant was S: — Si Junior Mateo po, ipinakilala
referred to). Pero habang tumatagal niya ako kina Carding at sa buong
ay umiinit at nalaman namin pati na tropa na namin.
may alarma na, kaya't inilipat namin
doon sa may Raxa Bago sa may likod 20. T: — Pansamantala ay wala na
ng Alhambra Cigar & Cigarette muna akong itatanong pa sa iyo,
mayroon ka bang nais na idagdag, MGA SAKSI SA LAGDA:
bawasin o palitan kaya sa salaysay
na ito? (Sgd.)
SSG ROMEO P. ESPERO PC
S: — Wala na po.
(Sgd.)
21. T: — Handa mo bang lagdaan C1C THERESA TOLENTINO WAC (PC) 24
ang iyong salaysay na ito bilang
patotoo sa katotohanan nito nang Petitioner executed two other documents on the same day, May
hindi ka pinilit, sinaktan or 30, 1982. One was a certification stating that he voluntarily
pinangakuan kaya ng anuman upang surrendered "voluminous assorted US checks and vouchers,"
lumagda lamang? that because of the "large number of pieces" of checks, he
affixed his signature upon the middle portion of the back of each
S: — Opo. check "to serve as identification in the future, prior to the
completion of its proper inventory and listing conducted by
WAKAS NG SALAYSAY: . . . ./ac elements of SOG" in his presence, and that he "guided the
elements of SOG" to the residence of Rodolfo C. Miranda, the
owner of the ( sky-blue Mercedes Benz car which was
surrendered S to the SOG Headquarters. 25 The other document
was a sworn g statement wherein petitioner attested to his waiver
of the provisions
d of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code and
the following) facts: (a) that he was apprised of his constitutional
rights under Section 20, Article IV of the (1973) Constitution, that
he understoodJ all his rights thereunder, and that the investigators
offered himOcounsel from the CLAO-IBP but he refused to avail
of the privilege;
S (b) that he was arrested by SOG men in his
house at around
E 11:00 p.m. of May 29, 1982" sa dahilang ako ay
kasangkot sa pagnanakaw ng mga US Treasury Warrants, SSS
Pension Checks
D and Vouchers at SSS Medicare Checks and
Vouchers mula. sa delivery van ng Philippine Mail;" (c) that the
SOG men confiscated from him numerous checks and a
Mercedes BenzF 200 colored sky-blue, and (d) that he was not
hurt or maltreated
I nor was anything taken from him which was
not duly receipted
L
for. 26 O
T
As certifiedEto by petitioner (in the above described document),
he led the SOG
O operatives to the house of Rodolfo Miranda on
Singalong where the latter admitted that petitioner was his friend.
He denied, however, having knowledge that his car was used in Aside from petitioner, Liwanag, Mateo and Perez executed
the hijacking until the authorities came to his house. According to sworn statements. 34 Prior to doing so, they waived their right to
Miranda, he was made to believe that his car would be used for counsel. Liwanag and Mateo admitted their participation and
surveillance purposes because petitioner's jeep was not implicated petitioner in the crime. Perez, on the other hand,
available. The car was not returned until the evening following denied having driven a Lancer car in the hijacking and stated
that when it was borrowed. 27 After the trip to Miranda's house, that he was implicated in the crime only because in one drinking
petitioner informed the investigators that some more checks spree with petitioner, Mateo and one alias "Buro" during that
could be recovered from his kumare. Said checks were retrieved month of May, they had a heated altercation. Like petitioner,
and turned over to headquarters along with the car surrendered Liwanag and Mendoza certified that they voluntarily surrendered
by Miranda who later executed a sworn statement dated May 31, vouchers and checks which were part of their loot in the
1992 at the SOG. 28 hijacking; they also executed waivers under Article 125 of the
Revised Penal Code. For his part, Relator executed a
Upon learning of the whereabouts of Miravalles, Eddie Saguindel certification to the effect that he voluntarily surrendered his .32
and Bernardo Relator, the team of Capt. Ferrer proceeded to caliber Smith & Wesson service revolver used in the commission
Taguig, Metro Manila in the afternoon of May 30, 1982. They met of the crime. In spite of the fact that his father-in-law was a
Miravalles along the way to his house. Informed by Capt. Ferrer lawyer, petitioner did not manifest that he needed the assistance
that six of his companions were already under custody and that of counsel. During the taking of his statement, petitioner was
they implicated him as one of their confederates, Miravalles visited by Jimmy Victorino and another comrade from the
reacted by saying, "Sir, ang hihina kasi ng mga loob General Assignment Section of the WPD.
niyan, eh." 29
For their part, Relator, Saguindel and Miravalles executed a joint
Capt. Ferrer later asked Miravalles to bring him to Eddie affidavit 35 manifesting their option to avail of their right to remain
Saguindel. At the barracks of the Long Range Patrol in Bicutan, silent until such time as they would have retained a counsel of
Metro Manila, Saguindel voluntarily accepted the invitation to their choice. Frias and Mendoza executed a similar joint
proceed to the SOG headquarters, after Miravalles initially affidavit. 36 Severino Castro, the postal employee implicated,
informed him of the facts obtained during the investigation. also chose to remain silent as he wanted to testify in court.
Saguindel was heard saying, "Hindi na kami interesado, sir, sa However, he linked to the crime a certain Gerardo Escalada, a
mga tsekeng iyan kasi isang buwan na hindi pa former clerk of the Central Post Office and son of a director of
nabebenta." 30 With Miravalles and Saguindel, Capt. Ferrer and the Bureau of Posts in Region I. 37
his team moved on to Binondo, Manila to look for Bernardo
Relator. When they found him at home, Relator excused himself, On May 31, 1982, then Postmaster General Golez summoned
went upstairs, returned with a .32 caliber revolver with six postal employees Miranda, Bautista and Tagudar and directed
bullets 31 and said, "Sir, ito yong baril na nagamit." 32 The three them to proceed to Camp Crame. At the office of the SOG, they
suspects were brought to Camp Crame for further investigation. were told to go over some pictures for identification of the
Thereafter, Capt. Ferrer submitted an after-operations report culprits. The three recognized and pointed to the suspects in a
about their mission and executed jointly with Lt. Pagdilao an line-up. Tagudar identified Saguindel and Liwanag. 38 Miranda
affidavit on the same matter. 33 pointed at Frias and Liwanag 39 while Bautista identified Frias,
Mendoza and Liwanag. 40 Petitioner himself, when told to identify
his alleged cohorts, pointed to Severino Castro as their contact
at the post office. 41 Five of the suspects who were not identified Of the ten other accused in this case, petitioner admitted
in the line-up were however implicated by Liwanag, Mateo and knowing only Martin Mateo whose name appeared in the initial
petitioner. follow-up operation he allegedly participated in regarding a
P250,000 qualified theft case on May 16, 1980 at the Shemberg
SOG Chief Investigator Jorge C. Mercado filed a complaint for Marketing Corporation. 49 Although a suspect, Mateo was not
robbery-in-band (hijacking) before the Municipal Court of charged in the information subsequently filed in that case.
Meycauayan, Bulacan against petitioner and ten (10) others, Sometime in March 1981, Mateo visited petitioner at the police
namely, Mateo, Saguindel, Relator, Miravalles, Perez, Frias, headquarters seeking assistance in his bid to lead a new life.
Mendoza, Liwanag, Castro and Escalada (Criminal Case No. Considering Mateo's familiarity with underworld characters,
7885). 42 petitioner readily made him an informer who was paid from time
to time out of the police intelligence fund. Mateo proved to be an
On August 8, 1983, the Information previously referred to and effective informer. In fact, he allegedly supplied vital information
aforequoted was filed with the Sandiganbayan and docketed as on the identities and whereabouts of suspects in robbery cases
Criminal Case No. 8496. at the La Elegancia Jewelry Store, at the Likha Antique and
Crafts, 50 and in an alleged racket in Aranque Market in Manila
On September 20, 1983, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice involving jewelries.
Romeo M. Escareal issued orders for the arrest of the
accused 43 and fixed bail at P13,000.00 each. Saguindel and As such informer, Mateo became accustomed to borrowing
Relator filed a motion to quash the Information asserting that petitioner's owner-type jeep whenever he was given an
under the Articles of War and Section 1 of P.D. 1850, they assignment. In one instance however, petitioner saw Mateo
should be tried by a court martial. 44 The Sandiganbayan denied using his jeep with some male companions. Because Mateo
the motion on January 3, 1984 45 on the ground that courts denied the occurrence of the incident, petitioner from then on
martial could no longer exercise jurisdiction over them by virtue refused to lend his jeep to Mateo. Instead, Mateo was given an
of their separation from military service. allowance to cover his traveling expenses.

Evidence for the Defense About a month prior to May 3, 1982, petitioner met Mateo and
requested the latter to give him a good project as he was
Testifying in his own defense, petitioner alleged that as a working for his transfer to the Metrocom Intelligence Security
patrolman since August 21, 1978 assigned to the Investigation Group (MISG). On May 2, 1982, Mateo urged petitioner to lend
Division or the Detective Bureau of the WPD to which the him his jeep in order that he could follow-up a bank robbery
General Assignment Section belonged, he was the recipient of case. That same evening, petitioner approached his kumpare,
several awards and recognitions starting with ranking fifth in the accused Rodolfo Miranda, to borrow the latter's old Mercedes
Final Order of Merit in the basic course for police officers. 46 He Benz since, if the jeep was used, Mateo could be identified as an
also claimed to have received a loyalty medal for meritorious informer. Petitioner left his jeep with Miranda and "went around
service above the call of boasting of the Mercedes Benz." 51
duty 47 and several commendations 48 for the distinguished
performance of his duties. On that fateful date of May 3, 1982, Mateo took the Benz in the morning of May 3, 1982. Petitioner
he was a member of the Special Task Force Unit covering the advised him to return the car between the hours of two and three
tourist belt area. in the afternoon at the Lakan Beer House at the corner of Rizal
Avenue and Zurbaran Streets in Sta. Cruz, Manila where recovered some checks. Thereafter, they proceeded to the
petitioner was to meet his friend Manolo Almoguera who would house of Miranda who was also invited for questioning. The latter
be celebrating his birthday there. Petitioner met Almoguera and surrendered his Benz to the group.
company at around 3:30 in the afternoon. He waited for Mateo
until shortly before 5:00 in the afternoon when he was At the SOG headquarters in Camp Crame, petitioner was
constrained to leave without seeing Mateo because he had to repeatedly coaxed to admit participation in the hijacking. As he
attend a mandatory regular troop formation at 5:00 P.M. at the vehemently denied the accusation against him, someone
police headquarters. From there, petitioner proceeded to his blindfolded him from behind, led him outside and loaded him in a
area of responsibility in the tourist belt. He returned to the beer car. He was taken to an unidentified place and made to lie flat on
house at about 6:00 in the evening hoping to find Mateo and the his back. An object was tied to his small finger to electrocute
automobile. A little before 8:00 o'clock, someone informed him him. While a wet handkerchief was stuffed in his mouth,
that Mateo had finally arrived. Petitioner went out and scolded someone mounted his chest and applied the "water cure"
Mateo for being late; the latter apologized and said that his ("tinutubig") through his nose. Because these ordeals were
surveillance bore good results. Petitioner then returned the car to simultaneously carried out, petitioner felt unbearable pain. He
Miranda, through the latter's cousin. sought permission to get in touch with his father-in-law, Atty.
Felix Rosacia, but his request was denied. They urged him to
At around 11:00 in the evening of May 29, 1982, Mateo, escorted cooperate otherwise something terrible would happen to him.
by a group of military men, went to petitioner's house at 810
Cabezas St., Tondo, Manila. The group refused to give any Meanwhile, petitioner's wife reported to the WPD General
reason for their visit but arrested him. Wearing only short pants, Assignment Section her husband's forcible abduction by armed
petitioner was made to board a car where he was handcuffed. men whom she mistook for CIS agents. A check with the CIS
The men asked him about the Benz and the identities of his yielded negative results. Thereafter, Lt. Reynaldo Dator went to
companions in an alleged hijacking incident. Petitioner admitted the SOG where he was informed that petitioner was being
having knowledge of the exact location of the car but denied investigated but no details were given thereon pending clearance
participation in the crime. Nobody apprised him of his with superior officers. 53 Consequently, a newspaper carried an
constitutional rights to remain silent and to be assisted by item on the SOG's refusal to allow petitioner's co-police officers
counsel. 52 to see him in his detention cell. 54

Petitioner was then instructed to accompany Lt. Pagdilao to the Among his comrades, only Jimmy Victorino, formerly of the WPD
residence of Miranda to get the Benz. They were on board two who was transferred to the SOG, was able to visit him. Petitioner
cars. When petitioner noticed that they were not heading for revealed to Victorino the maltreatment done him but the latter
Miranda's place, he clutched the hand of Lt. Pagdilao, pleading expressed helplessness about it. In fact, Victorino advised him to
for pity and thinking that he was about to be "salvaged". Lt. just cooperate so that the SOG would not incriminate him (" para
Pagdilao however informed him that they would be dropping by hindi ka pag-initan dito"). 55 The advice came after petitioner was
petitioner's house first per the investigator's information that warned that he, like Pat. Serrano of the WPD, would be
more checks could be recovered thereat. A warrantless search liquidated by the SOG, 56 should he refuse to cooperate. Later,
was then allegedly conducted in petitioner's house but nothing Mateo came to petitioner's cell and confided that he had been
was found. Suddenly, someone from the other car came out of a similarly maltreated and forced to implicate petitioner.
nearby house owned by Mateo and reported that they had
After Mateo left, a prepared statement was shown and read to WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered
petitioner. Because its contents were false, petitioner refused to finding accused Jose Filoteo, Jr. y Diendo, Martin
sign it. Placing his arm around petitioner, a certain Capt. Lagman Mateo, Jr. y Mijares, Bernardo Relator, Jr. y Retino
told petitioner that he thought they had an understanding and Eddie Saguindel y Pabinguit GUILTY as co-
already. Petitioner later discovered that Lagman was not principals beyond reasonable doubt of the violation
member of the military but an "agent" of the SOG, and a member of Section 2 (e), in relation to Section 3 (b) of
of the "Contreras gang". Petitioner was therefore constrained to Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as
sign the statement because of his excruciating experience the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of
("hirap na hirap"). He however admitted having read the 1974 and hereby sentences each of said accused
document before affixing his signature thereto and initialing the to suffer the indeterminate penalty ranging from
corrections therein. The waiver under Article 125 of the Revised TWELVE (12) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY as
Penal Code and the certification he executed were allegedly also minimum, to THIRTEEN (13) YEARS, ONE (1)
obtained by duress. Although he picked out one Severino Castro MONTH and ELEVEN (11) DAYS as maximum,
in a police line-up, he did not even know Castro. He implicated both of reclusion temporal, and to pay their
Castro because he was threatened by a certain Boy Zapanta. proportionate share of the costs of the action.
Accused Danilo Miravalles y Marcelo is hereby
Petitioner filed a complaint for grave coercion and maltreatment acquitted, with costs de oficio, for insufficiency of
against Lt. Rosendo Ferrer and several John Does. On August 4, evidence.
1982, Asst. City Fiscal Emelita H. Garayblas recommended its
dismissal for petitioner's failure to appear despite subpoenas and No civil indemnity is hereby awarded due to the
to answer clarificatory questions as well as to authenticate his complete dearth of any proof as to the actual
statement. 57However, petitioner swore that he never received damages suffered by the Bureau of Posts or the
the subpoenas. owners of the pilfered mail matters, and it further
appearing that the mail van which was hijacked
Petitioner's alibi was supported by Manolo Almoguera whose had been recovered, as well as most of the checks
birthday on May 3, 1995 was the reason for the celebration at and warrants which were surrendered by some of
the Lakan Beer House. While his baptismal certificate indicated the accused, without prejudice to the institution of
that he was born on May 4, 1956, 58a joint affidavit 59 also the proper civil action to recover damages should
attested that his birth date was actually May 3, 1956. Gary proof thereof be available.
Gallardo, the owner of the beer house, corroborated
Almoguera's testimony as to petitioner's alleged presence during Consequently, it is hereby ordered that Exhibits B,
the birthday celebration. B-l and B-2, which are the .32 Cal. Revolver, Smith
and Wesson, Serial No. 11707, its holster and six
The Respondent Court's Decision (6) live ammunition respectively, which were
surrendered by accused Relator, and Exhibits J, J-l
On June 18, 1987, the Sandiganbayan rendered the herein to J-5, consisting of 187, 222, 215, 197, 194 and 22
questioned 51-page Decision, the dispositive portion of which pieces, respectively, of Social Security System and
reads: Medicare checks and vouchers, be returned to the
Firearm and Explosives Unit (FEU), PC, Camp
Crame, Quezon City and the Social Security Second
System, respectively, upon proper receipts.
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its
Let copies of this decision be furnished the discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in
Postmaster-General, Central Post Office, Liwasang finding that petitioner's having borrowed the
Bonifacio, Metro Manila and the Commanding Mercedes Benz car utilized by the other accused in
General and Chief, PC-INP, Camp Crame, Quezon the hijacking of the mail van indubitably established
City for their information and guidance with respect his direct participation and/or indispensable
to the other accused who are still at-large. cooperation in the said hijacking, the same being
in gross disregard of basic Rules of Law.
SO ORDERED.
Third
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of said Decision was
denied by the Sandiganbayan in its challenged Resolution of The respondent court erred and gravely abused its
July 27, 1987. Hence, the instant alternative petition discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in
for certiorari and/or review on certioraricharging the finding that the voluminous SSS Medicare and
Sandiganbayan with having gravely abused its discretion Pension Checks were confiscated from and
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and with reversible surrendered by petitioner and three of the other
error in arriving at said Decision. accused and in finding the testimonies and
investigation reports relative thereto. "credible and
The Issues unrefuted", said findings being, insofar as petitioner
is concerned, absolutely without any basis in the
The amended petition raises the following: evidence and in fact contrary to the prosecution's
only evidence that has some measure of
Assignments of Error competency and admissibility.
and/or
Excess of Jurisdiction/Grave Abuse of Discretion Fourth

xxx xxx xxx The respondent court erred and gravely abused its
discretion in finding that dorsal portions of the
First checks and warrants allegedly taken from petitioner
were signed by him to indicate his admission of
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its accountability therefor and that his signatures
discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction when thereon confirm the confiscation from and/or
it made its determination of the alleged guilt of surrender by him of said checks, said findings
petitioner on the basis of mere preponderance of being absolutely without any support in the
evidence and not proof beyond reasonable doubt. evidence.

Fifth
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its Insofar as petitioner is concerned, the respondent
discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in court erred and gravely abused its discretion as
admitting and considering against petitioner his well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding
alleged extra judical confession, despite petitioner's that "accused Filoteo's ( petitioner's) and
uncontradicted testimony and documentary proof Mateo's [alleged]unexplained possession of the
that he was made to give or sign the same through stolen checks raised the presumption that "they
torture, maltreatment, physical compulsion, threats were responsible for the robbery in
and intimidation and without the presence and question", petitioner's alleged possession not being
assistance of counsel, his request for which was borne out but disputed by the prosecution's own
refused, in gross violation of Constitutional evidence.
Provisions and the prevailing jurisprudence.
Ninth
Sixth
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in
discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that "accused Filoteo's denials and alibi
finding that petitioner's participation in the hijacking cannot be entertained for being quite weak and
of the mail van is indubitably established "by the implausible". The truth of the matter being that they
manner by which the SOG operatives succeeded in should have been sustained since petitioner was
ferreting out the members of the hijacking not identified by direct victims-eyewitnesses as
syndicate one by one through patient sleuthing" among those who participated in or were present at
and in finding that they did so "without resorting to the hijack and none of the checks and treasury
extra-legal measures" and that "no evidence warrants were found in his possession or retrieved
having been adduced to show that they were from him.
actuated by improper motives to testify falsely
against the herein accused, then their testimonies Tenth
should be accorded full credence".
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its
Seventh discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in
finding that the participation of petitioner in the
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its criminal conspiracy has been proven beyond
discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in reasonable doubt by the evidence of record and
finding that "even setting aside the inter-locking that said evidence "not only confirms the
confessional statements of Filoteo, Mateo and conspiracy between [him and the other accused] as
Liwanag, . . substantial and sufficient evidence easily discernible from their conduct before, during
exist which indubitably prove the guilt of Filoteo" and after the commission of the offense, but also
(Petitioner). their participation and/or indispensable
cooperation".
Eighth
Eleventh Presidential Decree No. 1486, as amended by P.D.
No. 1606, which created the Sandiganbayan,
The respondent Court erred and gravely abused its specified that decisions and final orders of the
discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in Sandiganbayan shall be subject to review
cavalierly rejecting, through the use of pejorative on certiorariby this Court in accordance with Rule
words, and without stating the legal basis of such 45 of the Rules of Court. And Rule 45 of the
rejection, the various vital factual points raised by Revised Rules of Court provides, in Section 2, that
petitioner, in gross violation of the express only questions of law may be raised in the Petition
mandate of the 1987 Constitution. for Review and these must be distinctly set forth.
Thus, in principle, findings of fact of the
The Court believes that the above "errors" may be condensed Sandiganbayan are not to be reviewed by this
into four: Court in a petition for review on certiorari. There
are, of course, certain exceptions to this general
(1) Are the written statements, particularly the extra-judicial principle. Here, reading petitioner's Petition for
confession executed by the accused without the presence of his Review and Memorandum in the most favorable
lawyer, admissible in evidence against him? possible light, petitioner may be seen to be in effect
asserting that the Sandiganbayan misapprehended
(2) Were said statements obtained through torture, duress, certain (f)acts in arriving at its factual conclusions.
maltreatment and intimidation and therefore illegal and
inadmissible? As amended by Republic Act No. 7975, Section 7 of P.D. No.
1606 expressly provides that "(d)ecisions and final orders of the
(3) Was petitioner's warrantless arrest valid and proper? Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by
petition for review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in
(4) Is the evidence of the prosecution sufficient to find the accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court." However, in
petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt? exceptional cases, this Court has taken cognizance of questions
of fact in order to resolve legal issues, as where there was
The Court's Ruling palpable error or grave misapprehension of facts by the lower
court. Criminal cases elevated by convicted public officials from
Preliminary Issue: Rule 4 or Rule 65? the Sandiganbayan deserve the same thorough treatment by this
Court as criminal cases involving ordinary citizens simply
Before ruling on the foregoing issues, it is necessary to dwell on because the constitutional presumption of innocence must be
the procedural aspects of the case. Petitioner, a "segurista", overcome by proof beyond reasonable doubt. In all criminal
opted to file an (amended) "alternative petition" cases, a person's life and liberty are at stake. 61
for certiorari under Rule 65 and for review oncertiorari under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. We however hold that the instant As a petition for review under Rule 45 is the available remedy, a
petition must be considered as one for review on certiorari under petition for certiorari under Rule 65 would not prosper. Basic it is
Rule 45. In Jariol, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan, 60 this Court clearly that certiorari is invocable only where there is no other plain,
ruled: speedy or adequate remedy. For waffling on procedural matters,
petitioner could have lost this battle through a summary
dismissal of his "alternative" petition. But in view of the In comparison, the relevant rights of an accused under Article III,
importance of the issues raised, the Court decided to take Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution are, inter alia, as follows:
cognizance of the matter.
(1) Any person under investigation for the
First Issue: Uncounselled Waiver commission of an offense shall have the right to be
informed of his right to remain silent and to have
On the merits of the petition, we find that the pivotal issue here is competent and independent counsel preferably of
the admissibility of petitioner's extrajudicial confession which lays his own choice. If the person cannot afford the
out in detail his complicity in the crime. services of counsel, he must be provided with
one.These rights cannot be waived except in
Petitioner contends that respondent Court erred in admitting his writing and in the presence of counsel.
extrajudicial confession notwithstanding uncontradicted
testimony and documentary proof that he was made to sign the (2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation;
same through torture, maltreatment, physical compulsion, threats or any other means which vitiate the free will shall
and intimidation and without the presence and assistance of be used against him. Secret detention places,
counsel. He also claims that in executing the extrajudicial solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of
confession, he was denied the right to counsel in the sameway detention are prohibited.
that his waiver of the said right was likewise without the benefit
of counsel. Petitioner therefore questions the respondent Court's (3) Any confession or admission obtained in
admission evidence of his extrajudicial confession on the violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be
strength of cases 62 upholding the admissibility of extrajudicial inadmissible in evidence against him.
confessions notwithstanding the absence of counsel "especially
where the statements are replete with details and circumstances (4) The law shall provide for penal and civil
which are indicative of voluntariness." We shall first tackle the sanctions for violations of this section as well as
issue of his uncounselled waiver of his right to counsel. compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of
torture or similar practices and their families."
The pertinent provision of Article IV, Section 20 of the 1973 (emphasis supplied. Obviously, the 1973
Constitution reads as follows: Constitution did not contain the right against an
uncounselled waiver of the right to counsel which is
No person shall be compelled to be a witness provided under paragraph 1, Section 12, Article III
against himself. Any person under investigation for of the 1987 Constitution, above underscored.)
the commission of an offense shall have the right to
remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of In the landmark case of Magtoto vs. Manguera, 63 the Court
such rights. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, categorically held that the aforequoted provisions of the 1973
or any other means which vitiate the free will shall Constitution (which were not included in the 1935 Charter) must
be used against him. Any confession obtained in be prospectively applied. This Court said:
violation of this section shall be inadmissible in
evidence. We hold that this specific portion of this
constitutional mandate has and should be given a
prospective and not a retrospective effect. reiterated on 20 March 1985 in People vs. Galit. . .
Consequently, a confession obtained from a .
person under investigation for the commission of
an offense, who has not been informed of his right While the Morales-Galit doctrine eventually
(to silence and) to counsel, is inadmissible in became part of Section 12(1) of the 1987
evidence if the same had been obtained after the Constitution, that doctrine affords no comfort to
effectivity of the New Constitution on January 17, appellant Luvendino for the requirements and
1973. Conversely, such confession is admissible in restrictions outlined in Morales and Galit have no
evidence against the accused, if the same had retroactive effect and do not reach waivers made
been obtained before the effectivity of the New prior to 26 April 1983 the date of promulgation of
Constitution, even if presented after January 17, Morales.
1973, and even if he had not been informed of his
right to counsel, since no law gave the accused the Pursuant to the above doctrine, petitioner may not claim the
right to be so informed before that date. benefits of the Morales and Galit rulings because he executed
his extrajudicial confession and his waiver to the right to counsel
By parity of reasoning, the specific provision of the 1987 on May 30, 1982, or before April 26, 1983. The prospective
Constitution requiring that a waiver by an accused of his right to application of "judge-made" laws was underscored in Co
counsel during custodial investigation must be made with the vs. Court of Appeals 68 where the Court ruled thru Chief Justice
assistance of counsel may not be applied retroactively or in Andres R. Narvasa that in accordance with Article 8 of the Civil
cases where the extrajudicial confession was made prior to the Code which provides that "(j)udicial decisions applying or
effectivity of said Constitution. Accordingly, waivers of the right to interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form part of the
counsel during custodial investigation without the benefit of legal system of the Philippines," and Article 4 of the same Code
counsel during the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution should, by which states that "(l)aws shall have no retroactive effect unless
such argumentation, be admissible. Although a number of cases the contrary is provided," the principle of prospectivity of
held that extrajudicial confessions made while the 1973 statutes, original or amendatory, shall apply to judicial decisions,
Constitution was in force and effect, should have been made which, although in themselves are not laws, are nevertheless
with the assistance of counsel, 64 the definitive ruling was evidence of what the law means. 69
enunciated only on April 26, 1983 when this Court,
through Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, 65 issued the guidelines to be Petitioner's contention that Article III, Section 12 of the 1987
observed by law enforcers during custodial investigation. The Constitution should be given retroactive effect for being favorable
Court specifically ruled that "(t)he right to counsel may be waived to him as an accused, cannot be sustained. While Article 22 of
but the waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance the Revised Penal Code provides that "(p)enal laws shall have a
of counsel. 66 Thereafter, in People vs. Luvendino, 67 the Court retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a
through Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano vigorously taught: felony who is not a habitual criminal," what is being construed
here is a constitutional provision specifically contained in the Bill
. . . The doctrine that an uncounseled waiver of the of Rights which is obviously not a penal statute. A bill of rights is
right to counsel is not to be given legal effect was a declaration and enumeration of the individual rights and
initially a judge-made one and was first announced privileges which the Constitution is designed to protect against
on 26 April 1983 in Morales vs. Enrile and violations by the government, or by individuals or groups of
individuals. It is a charter of liberties for the individual and a xxx xxx xxx
limitation upon the power of the state. 70 Penal laws, on the other
hand, strictly and properly are those imposing punishment for an Na ako ay hindi sinaktan a minaltrato gayunding
offense committed against the state which the executive of the walang kinuha mula sa akin na hindi niresibohan;
state has the power to pardon. In other words, a penal law
denotes punishment imposed and enforced by the state for a xxx xxx xxx
crime or offense against its law. 71
Sgt. Arsenio Carlos, investigating officer, testified that he
Hence, petitioner's vigorous reliance on People vs. Sison 72 to apprised petitioner of his right to counsel even in waiving the
make his extrajudicial confession inadmissible is misplaced. In same right 77 but petitioner did not even inform him that his
that case, the extrajudicial confession was executed on May 19, father-in-law was a lawyer. Although allowed to talk for thirty
1983, clearly after the promulgation of Morales on April 26, 1983. minutes with Jimmy Victorino, who was his comrade at the WPD
General Assignment Section, 78 still, petitioner did not invoke his
The admissibility of petitioner's uncounselled waiver of the right right to counsel.
to counsel notwithstanding, the Court has still to determine
whether such waiver was made voluntarily and It should be emphasized that petitioner could not have been
intelligently. 73 The waiver must also be categorical and ignorant of his rights as an accused. He was a fourth year
definitive, 74 and must rest on clear evidence. 75 criminology student and a topnotch student in the police basic
course. 79 Having been in the police force since 1978, with stints
In his affidavit of May 30, 1982 waiving the provisions of Article at the investigation division or the detective bureau, he knew the
125 of the Revised Penal Code, 76 petitioner stated that: tactics used by investigators to incriminate criminal
suspects. 80 In other words, he was knowledgeable on the
. . . matapos akong mapagpaliwanagan ng mga matterof extrajudicial confessions.
imbestigador ng Special Operations Group, PC/INP
Central Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, Camp The Second Issue: Confession Extracted Through
Crame, Quezon City ng aking mga karapatan Torture?
alinsunod sa mga isinasaad ng Section 20, Article
IV ng Bagong Saligang Batas ng Republika ng Petitioner's claim that he was tortured into signing the confession
Pilipinas ay malaya at kusang-loob na appears incredible, or at least susceptible to serious doubts. The
nagsasalaysay ng mga sumusunod kahit na allegation of torture was negated by the medical
walang abugadong magpapayo sa akin sa report 81 showing no evidence of physical injuries upon his
pagsasagawa nito sa dahilang alam at person. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, there is
nauunawaan ko ang aking ginagawa at wala no reason to maltreat him in particular when the record shows
naman akong isasalaysay kung hindi mga that the investigating team respected the right of the other
katotohanan lamang, bagama't ako ay inalok ng suspects to remain silent. When he was presented before Judge
mga imbestigador na ikuha ng isang abugadong Mariano Mendieta of the municipal court in Meycauayan,
walang bayad mula sa CLAO-IBP na akin namang petitioner even waived his right to present evidence 82 instead of
tinanggihan: impugning his confession on account of the torture allegedly
inflicted upon him. If indeed he had been tortured, he would have
revived the case he filed against his alleged torturers upon filed against him, he pleaded not guilty upon
learning of its dismissal. arraignment, participated in the trial and presented
his evidence. Appellant is thus estopped from
Furthermore, an examination of his signatures in the different questioning the legality of his arrest. It is well-
documents on record bearing the same discloses an evenness settled that any objection involving a warrant of
of lines and strokes in his penmanship which is markedly arrest or procedure in the acquisition by the court
consistent in his certification, extrajudicial confession and waiver of jurisdiction over the person of an accused must
of detention. Human experience has proven that the lines and be made before he enters his plea, otherwise the
strokes of a person's handwriting reflect his disposition at a objection is deemed waived. Besides, this issue is
certain given time. In the present case, no handwriting expert is being raised for the first time by appellant. He did
needed to declare that petitioner's signatures were written not move for the quashal of the information before
voluntarily and not under compulsion of fear immediately after he the trial court on this ground. Consequently, any
had been subjected to maltreatment. In view of the foregoing, his irregularity attendant to his arrest, if any, was cured
extrajudicial confession is presumed to have been voluntarily when he voluntarily submitted himself to the
made, in the absence of conclusive evidence showing that jurisdiction of the trial court by entering a plea of
petitioner's consent in executing the same had been vitiated. 83 not guilty and by participating in the trial. Moreover,
the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient
Besides, the question of whether petitioner was indeed subjected cause for setting aside a valid judgment rendered
to torture or maltreatment is a factual question addressed upon a sufficient complaint after trial free from
primarily to trial courts, the findings of which are binding on this error.
Court whose function, as afore-discussed, is principally to review
only of questions of law. Moreover, we have pored over the The only move petitioner made in regard to his arrest was to file
assailed Decision and we are satisfied that respondent Court a complaint for "grave coercion, grave threat & maltreatment"
performed its duty in evaluating the evidence. More on this later. which was docketed as I.S. No. 82-12684 before the Fiscal's
Office of Quezon City. 86 The complaint was an offshoot of his
The Third Issue: Illegal Arrest? alleged maltreatment in the hands of the SOG upon his arrest.
However, as stated above, he did not lift a finger to revive it upon
Petitioner questions the manner of his arrest, stating that the its dismissal.
arresting officers "invited" him without a warrant of arrest and
brought him to Camp Crame where he was allegedly subjected The Fourth Issue: Sufficiency of the Prosecution's
to torture almost a month after the commission of the Evidence
crime. 84 Petitioner's claim is belatedly made. He should have
questioned the validity of his arrest before he entered his plea in Contrary to petitioner's claim, his culpability has been proven
the trial court. On this point, this Court explained in People beyond reasonable doubt. He borrowed a car to use in the
vs. Lopez, Jr.: 85 hijacking knowing fully well that his owner-type jeep would give
away his identity. Hecould not be identified by the postal
Finally, it is much too late for appellant to raise the employees in the postal van simply because after overtaking
question of his arrest without a warrant. When said vehicle and forcing its driver to pull over, he gave up driving
accused-appellant was arrested and a case was the Mercedes Benz where the postal employees were made to
ride, and commandeered the van. That the checks were not themselves and observed their deportment and
found in his own home is of no moment. Before the arrest and manner of testifying during the trial. 89
upon learning that the authorities had begun to nail down the
identities of the malefactors, hehad entrusted them to his The doctrine is firmly settled that the trial court's
"kumare". It was petitioner himself who led the team of Lt. conclusion on issues of credibility is accorded with
Pagdilao back to his place after he had admitted to Sgt. Arsenio highest respect by the appellate courts (People v.
Carlos that his share of the checks were in the possession of his Dominguez, 217 SCRA 170). Appellate courts will
"kumare" in the neighborhood. 87 generally respect the findings of trial courts on the
credibility of witnesses since trial courts are in a
In view of these facts, it is beyond dispute that petitioner was a better position to weigh conflicting testimonies.
direct participant in the commission of the crime. His alibi has They heard the witnesses themselves and
been correctly considered by the Sandiganbayan to be weak and observed their deportment and manner of
implausible. The distance between Kalvario, Meycauayan, testifying. . . . 90
Bulacan and downtown Manila where petitioner claimed to have
been at the crucial time was between fifteen (15) to twenty (20) So overwhelming is the prosecution's evidence that respondent
kilometers, which, through first-class roads, could be negotiated Court opined that even without the "inter-locking confessions of
during that time in approximately thirty (30) minutes. It could not Filoteo, Mateo and Liwanag" the remaining evidence would still
therefore have been physically impossible for him to be at the be sufficient for conviction. 91 Said the respondent tribunal:
crime scene or its immediate vicinity when the crime was
committed. 88 However, even setting aside the inter-locking
confessional statements of Filoteo, Mateo and
Having already ruled on the admissibility of petitioner's Liwanag, we are of the considered opinion that
confession, this Court holds that the full force of the totality of the substantial and sufficient evidence exist which
prosecution's evidence proves his guilt well beyond reasonable indubitably prove the guilt of Filoteo, Relator,
doubt. Weighing heavily against the defense is the well-settled Mateo and Saguindel who had submitted
doctrine that findings of facts of the trial courts — in this case, themselves to the jurisdiction of this Court. As
the Sandiganbayan itself — particularly in the assessment of the above-stated, Filoteo was responsible for securing
credibility of witnesses, is binding upon this Court, absent any the use of the Mercedes Benz car used by the co-
arbitrariness, abuse or palpable error. conspirators in the hi-jacking. Together with Mateo,
Liwanag and Mendoza, he surrendered voluminous
. . . It is well-settled that this Court will not interfere assorted checks which were part of the loot.
with the judgment of the trial court in passing on Relator admitted that his service firearm was used
the credibility of the witnesses, unless there by him in the hi-jacking, which firearm was
appears in the record some fact or circumstance of identified by prosecution witnesses Miranda and
weight and influence which has been overlooked or Bautista. Saguindel was identified in line-ups at the
the significance of which has been SOG office as the suspect clad in fatigue uniform
misapprehended or misinterpreted. The reason for and carrying an Armalite rifle by prosecution
this is that the trial court is in a better position to witnesses Tagudar and Bautista. All three (3)
decide the question, having heard the witnesses accused, namely, Mateo, Relator and Saguindel
also jumped bail during the trial and did not offer around 5:00 o'clock p.m. when Mateo failed to
any evidence to refute the evidence presented by show up. Thereafter, he tried to show through his
the prosecution against them. Such flight to evade witnesses Gary Gallardo and Manolo Almogera
prosecution constitutes an implied admission of that he was with them between 3:00 o'clock to 4:45
guilt. o'clock p.m., then from 6:00 o'clock to 8:30 o'clock
p.m. and, finally, from 10:45 o'clock p.m. to 11:00
Moreover, accused Filoteo's and Mateo's o'clock of the same date. It was through said
unexplained possession of the stolen checks raises witnesses that he tried to establish his
the presumption that they were responsible for the whereabouts between 4:30 o'clock to 7:30 o'clock
robbery in question. It is a rule established by an p.m. of May 2, 1982, the period from the time the
abundance of jurisprudence that when stolen mail van was hi-jacked up to when postal
property is found in the possession of one, not the employees Bautista, Miranda and Tagudar were
owner, without a satisfactory explanation of his brought to Caloocan City and freed by their
possession, he will be presumed the thief. This rule captors. Such alibi, however, fails to show that it
is in accordance with the disputable presumption was physically impossible for him to be present at
"that a person found in possession of a thing taken the scene of the hi-jacking. We take judicial notice
in the doing of a recent wrongful act is the taker that the distance between the crime scene and
and doer of the whole act." In the instant case, said down-town Manila is some 15-20 kilometers and
accused has not given such satisfactory negotiable over first- class roads in some thirty (30)
explanation, much more so when their possession minutes.
had been positively established by the testimonies
of prosecution witnesses Capt. Ferrer and Sgt. We are likewise convinced that there is sufficient evidence of
Carlos and by accused's own signatures at the conspiracy as convincing as the evidence of the participation of
back of said checks. each of the accused. As ratiocinated in the assailed Decision: 92

Furthermore, accused Filoteo's denials and alibi The participation of accused Filoteo, Mateo,
cannot be entertained for being quite weak and Relator and Saguindel in the criminal conspiracy
implausible. His claim that he merely borrowed the have (sic) been proved beyond reasonable doubt
Mercedes Bent car from Rodolfo Miranda to help by the evidence on record and which evidence not
out his co-accused Mateo, who had been utilized only confirms the existence of the conspiracy
by the police as an "informer" and was following up between them as easily discernible from their
tips in certain unsolved cases, appears to be conduct before, during and after the commission of
incredible and fantastic. He also claimed that he the offense, but also their participation therein as
could not have participated in the hi-jack because co-principals by direct participation and/or
after giving the car to Mateo in the morning of May indispensable cooperation. Their concerted efforts
2, 1982, he waited at the corner of Zurbaran St. were performed with closeness and coordination
and Avenida Rizal between 2-3:00 o'clock p.m. of indicating their common purpose. Hence, there
the same day and then went to the WPD being collective criminal responsibility, the act of
headquarters to attend the police formation at one is the act of all, and each of the participants
are responsible for what the others did in all the The offense described in the information and
stages of execution of the offense. established by the evidence presented by the
prosecution properly falls within the ambit of the
Final Question: Brigandage or Robbery? aforesaid special law. Therein, it was conclusively
proven that a postal van containing mail matters,
The Court believes that, though not raised as an issue and including checks and warrants, was hi-jacked along
though not argued by the parties in their pleadings, the question the national highway in Bulacan by the accused,
of which law was violated by the accused should be discussed with the attendant use of force, violence and
and passed upon. In fact, petitioner should have brought up such intimidation against the three (3) postal employees
question as it may benefit him with a reduced penalty. who were occupants thereof, resulting in the
unlawful taking and asportation of the entire van
The respondent Court convicted the accused of brigandage and its contents consisting of mail matters. Also the
punishable under Presidential Decree No. 532. 93 evidence further showed that the crime was
committed by the accused who were PC soldiers,
Justifying the above disposition, the assailed Decision policeman (sic) and private individuals in
ratiocinates: conspiracy with their co-accused Castro and
Escalada who were postal employees and who
Accused herein are charged with the violation of participated in the planning of the crime.
Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as Accordingly, all the essential requisites to
the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of constitute a consummated offense under the law in
1974. Under said decree, with respect to the point are present. (Emphasis in the original text.)
highway robbery aspect, the offense is committed
on a "Philippine Highway" which under Section 2 Obviously, the Court a quo labored under the belief that because
(c) thereof has been defined as "any road, street, the taking or robbery was perpetrated on anational
passage, highway and bridges or any part thereof, highway (McArthur Highway), ergo, Presidential Decree No. 532,
or railway or railroad within the Philippines, used by otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery
persons or vehicles, or locomotives or trains for the Law of 1974, must have been the statute violated. Such
movement or circulation of persons or reasoning has already been debunked by this Court in the case
transportation of goods, articles or property or of People vs. Isabelo Puno, 94 where it was ruled in unmistakable
both", while under Section 2 (e) thereof "Highway language that it takes more than the situs of the robbery to bring
Robbery/ Brigandage" has been defined as the "the it within the ambit of PD 532. Said the Court through Mr. Justice
seizure of any person for ransom, extortion or other Florenz D. Regalado:
unlawful purposes or the taking away of property of
another by means of violence against or The following salient distinctions between
intimidation of persons nor force upon things or brigandage and robbery are succinctly explained in
other unlawful means, committed by any person on a treatise on the subject and are of continuing
any Philippine Highway". (Emphasis supplied) validity:
The main object of the Brigandage been unaware of that distinction and is presumed
Law is to prevent the formation of to have adopted the same, there being no
bands of robbers. The heart of the indication to the contrary. This conclusion is
offense consists in the formation of a buttressed by the rule on contemporaneous
band by more than three armed construction, since it is one drawn from the time
persons for the purpose indicated in when and the circumstances under which the
art. 306. Such formation is sufficient decree to be construed originated.
to constitute a violation of art. 306. It Contemporaneous exposition or construction is the
would not be necessary to show, in a best and strongest in the law.
prosecution under it, that a member
or members of the band actually Further, that Presidential Decree No. 532 punishes
committed robbery or kidnapping or as highway robbery or brigandage only acts of
any other purpose attainable by robbery perpetrated by outlaws indiscriminately
violent means. The crime is proven against any person or persons on Philippine
when the organization and purpose of highways as defined therein, and not acts of
the band are shown to be such as are robbery committed against only a predetermined or
contemplated by art. 306. On the particular victim, is evident from the preambular
other hand, if robbery is committed by clauses thereof, to wit:
a band, whose members were not
primarily organized for the purpose of WHEREAS, reports from law-
committing robbery or enforcement agencies reveal that
kidnapping, etc., the crime would not lawless elements are still committing
be brigandage, but only robbery. acts of depredation upon the persons
Simply because robbery was and properties of innocent and
committed by a band of more than defenseless inhabitants who travel
three armed persons, it would not from one place to another, thereby
follow that it was committed by a disturbing the peace, order and
band of brigands. In the Spanish text tranquility of the nation and stunting
of art. 306, it is required that the band the economic and social progress of
"sala a los campos para dedicarse a the people:
robar." (Emphasis ours.)
WHEREAS, such acts of
In fine, the purpose of brigandage, is inter alia, depredations constitute . . . highway
indiscriminate highway robbery. If the purpose is robbery/brigandage which are among
only a particular robbery, the crime is only robbery, the highest forms of lawlessness
or robbery in band if there are at least four armed condemned by the penal statutes of
participants. The martial law legislator, in creating all countries:
and promulgating Presidential Decree No. 532 for
the objectives announced therein, could not have
WHEREAS, it is imperative that said any previous attempts at similar robberies by the accused to
lawless elements be discouraged show the "indiscriminate" commission thereof. 95
from perpetrating such acts of
depredations by imposing heavy Upon the other hand, the Information did not specifically mention
penalty on the offenders, with the end P.D. 532. 96 The facts alleged therein and proven by the
in view of eliminating all obstacles to evidence constitute the offense of robbery defined in Art. 293 in
the economic, social, educational and relation to Art. 295 and punished by Art. 244, par. 5, all of the
community progress of the people; Revised Penal Code. 97 From the facts, it was duly proven that:
(Emphasis supplied.)
* personal property (treasury warrants, checks, mail, van, tools,
Indeed, it is hard to conceive of how a single act of etc.)
robbery against a particular person chosen by the
accused as their specific victim could be * belonging to another were
considered as committed on the "innocent and
defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place * unlawfully taken by the accused
to another," and which single act of depredation
would be capable of "stunting the economic and * with intent to gain (animo lucrandi)
social progress of the people" as to be considered
"among the highest forms of lawlessness * with intimidation against three persons (Art. 293)
condemned by the penal statutes of all countries,
and would accordingly constitute an obstacle "to * in an uninhabited place, or
the economic, social, educational and community
progress of the people, such that said isolated act * by an band, or
would constitute the highway robbery or
brigandage contemplated and punished is said * by attacking a moving motor vehicle
decree. This would be an exaggeration bordering
on the ridiculous. * on a highway; and

From the above, it is clear that a finding of brigandage or * the intimidation was made with the use of firearms (Art. 295)
highway robbery involves not just the locus of the crime or the
fact that more than three (3) persons perpetrated it. It is essential Hence, the offender shall be punished by the maximum period of
to prove that the outlaws were purposely organized not just for the penalty provided under paragraph 5 of Art. 294, which is,
one act of robbery but for several indiscriminate commissions " prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in
thereof. In the present case, there had been no evidence its medium period".
presented that the accused were a band of outlaws organized for
the purpose of "depredation upon the persons and properties of Effectively, the penalty imposed by the Court a quo should be
innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place lightened. However, such lighter penalty shall benefit only herein
to another." What was duly proven in the present case is one
isolated hijacking of a postal van. There was also no evidence of
petitioner and not his co-accused who did not contest or appeal illegal dismissal and denied his motion for reconsideration. The
the Sandiganbayan's Decision. facts are as follows:

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, but the first paragraph of Petitioner was hired by private respondent Isetann Department
the dispositive portion of the assailed Decision is partially Store as a security checker to apprehend shoplifters and prevent
MODIFIED to read as follows: pilferage of merchandise.1 Initially hired on October 4, 1984 on
contractual basis, petitioner eventually became a regular
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered employee on April 4, 1985. In 1988, he became head of the
finding accused Jose Filoteo, Jr. y Diendo GUILTY Security Checkers Section of private respondent.2
beyond reasonable doubt as co-principal in the
crime of robbery as defined in Arts. 293 and 295 Sometime in 1991, as a cost-cutting measure, private
and penalized under Art. 294, paragraph 5, of the respondent decided to phase out its entire security section and
Revised Penal Code Code IMPOSING on him an engage the services of an independent security agency. For this
indeterminate sentence of four (4) years and two reason, it wrote petitioner the following memorandum:3
(2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to
ten (10) years of prision mayor as maximum, and October 11, 1991
to pay his proportionate share of the costs of the
action. MR. RUBEN SERRANO

All other parts of the disposition are hereby AFFIRMED. PRESENT

SO ORDERED. Dear Mr. Seranno,

In view of the retrenchment program of the company, we


hereby reiterate our verbal notice to you of your
G.R. No. 117040 January 27, 2000 termination as Security Section Head effective October
11, 1991.
RUBEN SERRANO, petitioner,
vs. Please secure your clearance from this office.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and ISETANN
DEPARTMENT STORE, respondents. Very truly yours,

MENDOZA, J.: [Sgd.] TERESITA A. VILLANUEVA


Human Resources Division Manager
This is a Petition seeking review of the resolutions, dated March
30, 1994 and August 26, 1994, of the National Labor Relations The loss of his employment prompted petitioner to file a
Commission (NLRC) which reversed the decision of the Labor complaint on December 3, 1991 for illegal dismissal,
Arbiter and dismissed petitioner Ruben Serrano's complaint for
illegal layoff, unfair labor practice, underpayment of (a) Finding the dismissal of the complainant to be illegal
wages, and nonpayment of salary and overtime pay.4 and concomitantly, Respondent is ordered to pay
complainant full backwages without qualification or
The parties were required to submit their position papers, deduction in the amount of P74,740.00 from the time of
on the basis of which the Labor Arbiter defined the issues his dismissal until reinstatement. (computed till
as follows:5 promulgation only) based on his monthly salary of
P4,040.00/month at the time of his termination but limited
Whether or not there is a valid ground for the dismissal of to (3) three years;
the complainant.
(b) Ordering the Respondent to immediately reinstate the
Whether or not complainant is entitled to his monetary complainant to his former position as security section
claims for underpayment of wages, nonpayment of head or to a reasonably equivalent supervisorial position
salaries, 13th month pay for 1991 and overtime pay. in charges of security without loss of seniority rights,
privileges and benefits. This order is immediately
Whether or not Respondent is guilty of unfair labor executory even pending appeal;
practice.
(c) Ordering the Respondent to pay complainant unpaid
Thereafter, the case was heard. On April 30, 1993, the Labor wages in the amount of P2,020.73 and proportionate 13th
Arbiter rendered a decision finding petitioner to have been month pay in the amount of P3,198.30;
illegally dismissed. He ruled that private respondent failed to
establish that it had retrenched its security section to prevent or (d) Ordering the Respondent to pay complainant the
minimize losses to its business; that private respondent failed to amount of P7,995.91, representing 10% attorney's fees
accord due process to petitioner; that private respondent failed to based on the total judgment award of P79,959.12.
use reasonable standards in selecting employees whose
employment would be terminated; that private respondent had All other claims of the complainant whether monetary or
not shown that petitioner and other employees in the security otherwise is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
section were so inefficient so as to justify their replacement by a
security agency, or that "cost-saving devices [such as] secret SO ORDERED.
video cameras (to monitor and prevent shoplifting) and secret
code tags on the merchandise" could not have been employed; Private respondent appealed to the NLRC which, in its resolution
instead, the day after petitioner's dismissal, private respondent of March 30, 1994; reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter
employed a safety and security supervisor with duties and and ordered petitioner to be given separation pay equivalent to
functions similar to those of petitioner.1âwphi1.nêt one month pay for every year of service, unpaid salary, and
proportionate 13th month pay. Petitioner filed a motion for
Accordingly, the Labor Arbiter ordered:6 reconsideration, but his motion was denied.

WHEREFORE, above premises considered, judgment is hereby The NLRC held that the phase-out of private respondent's
decreed: security section and the hiring of an independent security agency
constituted an exercise by private respondent of "[a] legitimate
business decision whose wisdom we do not intend to inquire into is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by
and for which we cannot substitute our judgment"; that the serving a written notice on the, workers and the Department of
distinction made by the Labor Arbiter between "retrenchment" Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the
and the employment of cost-saving devices" under Art. 283 of intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the
the Labor Code was insignificant because the company official installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker
who wrote the dismissal letter apparently used the term affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent
"retrenchment" in its "plain and ordinary sense: to layoff or to at least one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for
remove from one's job, regardless of the reason therefor"; that every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of
the rule of "reasonable criteria" in the selection of the employees retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closure or
to be retrenched did not apply because all positions in the cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due
security section had been abolished; and that the appointment of to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation
a safety and security supervisor referred to by petitioner to prove pay shall be equivalent to at least one (1) month pay or at least
bad faith on private respondent's part was of no moment one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is
because the position had long been in existence and was higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered
separate from petitioner's position as head of the Security as one (1) whole year.
Checkers Section.
In De Ocampo v. National Labor Relations Commission,8 this
Hence this petition. Petitioner raises the following issue: Court upheld the termination of employment of three mechanics
in a transportation company and their replacement by a company
IS THE HIRING OF AN INDEPENDENT SECURITY rendering maintenance and repair services. It held:
AGENCY BY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT TO
REPLACE ITS CURRENT SECURITY SECTION A In contracting the services of Gemac Machineries, as part
VALID GROUND FOR THE DISMISSAL OF THE of the company's cost-saving program, the services
EMPLOYEES CLASSED UNDER THE LATTER?7 rendered by the mechanics became redundant and
superfluous, and therefore properly terminable. The
Petitioner contends that abolition of private respondent's Security company merely exercised its business judgment or
Checkers Section and the employment of an independent management prerogative. And in the absence of any proof
security agency do not fall under any of the authorized causes that the management abused its discretion or acted in a
for dismissal under Art. 283 of the Labor Code. malicious or arbitrary manner, the court will not interfere
with the exercise of such prerogative.9
Petitioner Laid Off for Cause
In Asian Alcohol Corporation v. National Labor Relations
Petitioner's contention has no merit. Art. 283 provides: Commission,10 the Court likewise upheld the termination of
employment of water pump tenders and their replacement by
Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. — The independent contractors. It ruled that an employer's good faith in
employer may also terminate the employment of any employee implementing a redundancy program is not necessarily put in
due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, doubt by the availment of the services of an independent
retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of contractor to replace the services of the terminated employees to
operations of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing promote economy and efficiency.
Indeed, as we pointed out in another case, the "[management of notice of termination on October 11, 1991. On the same day, his
a company] cannot be denied the faculty of promoting efficiency services were terminated. He was thus denied his right to be
and attaining economy by a study of what units are essential for given written notice before the termination of his employment,
its operation. To it belongs the ultimate determination of whether and the question is the appropriate sanction for the violation of
services should be performed by its personnel or contracted to petitioner's right.
outside agencies . . . [While there] should be mutual
consultation, eventually deference is to be paid to what To be sure, this is not the first time this question has arisen.
management decides."11 Consequently, absent proof that In Subuguero v. NLRC,16 workers in a garment factory were
management acted in a malicious or arbitrary manner, the Court temporarily laid off due to the cancellation of orders and a
will not interfere with the exercise of judgment by an employer.12 garment embargo. The Labor Arbiter found that the workers had
been illegally dismissed and ordered the company to pay
In the case at bar, we have only the bare assertion of petitioner separation pay and backwages. The NLRC, on the other hand,
that, in abolishing the security section, private respondent's real found that this was a case of retrenchment due to business
purpose was to avoid payment to the security checkers of the losses and ordered the payment of separation pay without
wage increases provided in the collective bargaining agreement backwages. This Court sustained the NLRC's finding. However,
approved in 1990.13 Such an assertion is not sufficient basis for as the company did not comply with the 30-day written notice in
concluding that the termination of petitioner's employment was Art. 283 of the Labor Code, the Court ordered the employer to
not a bona fide decision of management to obtain reasonable pay the workers P2,000.00 each as indemnity.
return from its investment, which is a right guaranteed to
employers under the Constitution.14 Indeed, that the phase-out of The decision followed the ruling in several cases involving
the security section constituted a "legitimate business decision" dismissals which, although based on any of the just causes
is a factual finding of an administrative agency which must be under Art. 282,17 were effected without notice and hearing to the
accorded respect and even finality by this Court since nothing employee as required by the implementing rules.18 As this Court
can be found in the record which fairly detracts from such said: "It is now settled that where the dismissal of one employee
finding.15 is in fact for a just and valid cause and is so proven to be but he
is not accorded his right to due process, i.e., he was not
Accordingly, we hold that the termination of petitioner's services furnished the twin requirements of notice and opportunity to be
was for an authorized cause, i.e., redundancy. Hence, pursuant heard, the dismissal shall be upheld but the employer must be
to Art. 283 of the Labor Code, petitioner should be given sanctioned for non-compliance with the requirements of, or for
separation pay at the rate of one month pay for every year of failure to observe, due process."19
service.
The rule reversed a long standing policy theretofore followed that
Sanctions for Violations of the Notice Requirement even though the dismissal is based on a just cause or the
termination of employment is for an authorized cause, the
Art. 283 also provides that to terminate the employment of an dismissal or termination is illegal if effected without notice to the
employee for any of the authorized causes the employer must employee. The shift in doctrine took place in 1989 in Wenphil
serve "a written notice on the workers and the Department of Corp. v. NLRC.20 In announcing the change, this Court said:21
Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the
intended date thereof." In the case at bar, petitioner was given a
The Court holds that the policy of ordering the Today, we once again consider the question of appropriate
reinstatement to the service of an employee without loss sanctions for violations of the notice experience during the last
of seniority and the payment of his wages during the decade or so with the Wenphil doctrine. The number of cases
period of his separation until his actual reinstatement but involving dismissals without the requisite notice to the employee,
not exceeding three (3) years without qualification or although effected for just or authorized causes, suggest that the
deduction, when it appears he was not afforded due imposition of fine for violation of the notice requirement has not
process, although his dismissal was found to be for just been effective in deterring violations of the notice requirement.
and authorized cause in an appropriate proceeding in the Justice Panganiban finds the monetary sanctions "too
Ministry of Labor and Employment, should be re- insignificant, too niggardly, and sometimes even too late." On the
examined. It will be highly prejudicial to the interests of the other hand, Justice Puno says there has in effect been fostered
employer to impose on him the services of an employee a policy of "dismiss now; pay later" which moneyed employers
who has been shown to be guilty of the charges that find more convenient to comply with than the requirement to
warranted his dismissal from employment. Indeed, it will serve a 30-day written notice (in the case of termination of
demoralize the rank and file if the undeserving, if not employment for an authorized cause under Arts. 283-284) or to
undesirable, remains in the service. give notice and hearing (in the case of dismissals for just causes
under Art. 282).
xxx xxx xxx
For this reason, they regard any dismissal or layoff without the
However, the petitioner must nevertheless be held to requisite notice to be null and void even though there are just or
account for failure to extend to private respondent his right authorized cause for such dismissal or layoff. Consequently, in
to an investigation before causing his dismissal. The rule their view, the employee concerned should be reinstated and
is explicit as above discussed. The dismissal of an paid backwages.
employee must be for just or authorized cause and after
due process. Petitioner committed an infraction of the Validity of Petitioner's Layoff Not Affected by Lack of Notice
second requirement. Thus, it must be imposed a sanction
for its failure to give a formal notice and conduct an We agree with our esteemed colleagues, Justices Puno and
investigation as required by law before dismissing Panganiban, that we should rethink the sanction of fine for an
petitioner from employment. Considering the employer's disregard of the notice requirement. We do not
circumstances of this case petitioner must indemnify the agree, however, that disregard of this requirement by an
private respondent the amount of P1,000.00. The employer renders the dismissal or termination of employment
measure of this award depends on the facts of each case null and void. Such a stance is actually a reversion to the
and the gravity of the omission committed by the discredited pre-Wenphil rule of ordering an employee to be
employer. reinstated and paid backwages when it is shown that he has not
been given notice and hearing although his dismissal or layoff is
The fines imposed for violations of the notice requirement have later found to be for a just or authorized cause. Such rule was
varied from P1,000.0022 to P2,000.0023 to P5,000.0024 to abandoned in Wenphil because it is really unjust to require an
P10,000.00.25 employer to keep in his service one who is guilty, for example, of
an attempt on the life of the employer or the latter's family, or
Need for Reexamining the Wenphil Doctrine
when the employer is precisely retrenching in order to prevent an employee without notice and hearing, even if for a just cause,
losses. as provided in Art. 282, or for an authorized cause, as provided
in Arts. 283-284, is a nullity. Hence, even if just or authorized
The need is for a rule which, while recognizing the employee's cause exist, the employee should be reinstated with full back
right to notice before he is dismissed or laid off, at the same time pay. On the other hand, Justice Panganiban quotes from the
acknowledges the right of the employer to dismiss for any of the statement in People v. Bocar27 that "[w]here the denial of the
just causes enumerated in Art. 282 or to terminate employment fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision
for any of the authorized causes mentioned in Arts. 283-284. If rendered in disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction."
the Wenphil rule imposing a fine on an employer who is found to
have dismissed an employee for cause without prior notice is Violation of Notice Requirement Not a Denial of Due Process
deemed ineffective in deterring employer violations of the notice
requirement, the remedy is not to declare the dismissal void if The cases cited by both Justices Puno and Panganiban refer,
there are just or valid grounds for such dismissal or if the however, to the denial of due process by the State, which is not
termination is for an authorized cause. That would be to uphold the case here. There are three reasons why, on the other hand,
the right of the employee but deny the right of the employer to violation by the employer of the notice requirement cannot be
dismiss for cause. Rather, the remedy is to order the payment to considered a denial of due process resulting in the nullity of the
the employee of full backwages from the time of his dismissal employee's dismissal or layoff.
until the court finds that the dismissal was for a just cause. But,
otherwise, his dismissal must be upheld and he should not be The first is that the Due Process Clause of the Constitution is a
reinstated. This is because his dismissal is ineffectual. limitation on governmental powers. It does not apply to the
exercise of private power, such as the termination of
For the same reason, if an employee is laid off for any of the employment under the Labor Code. This is plain from the text of
causes in Arts. 283-284, i.e., installation of a labor-saving device, Art. III, §1 of the Constitution, viz.: "No person shall be deprived
but the employer did not give him and the DOLE a 30-day written of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. . . ." The
notice of termination in advance, then the termination of his reason is simple: Only the State has authority to take the life,
employment should be considered ineffectual and he should be liberty, or property of the individual. The purpose of the Due
paid backwages. However, the termination of his employment Process Clause is to ensure that the exercise of this power is
should not be considered void but he should simply be paid consistent with what are considered civilized methods.
separation pay as provided in Art. 283 in addition to backwages.
The second reason is that notice and hearing are required under
Justice Puno argues that an employer's failure to comply with the the Due Process Clause before the power of organized society
notice requirement constitutes a denial of the employee's right to are brought to bear upon the individual. This is obviously not the
due process. Prescinding from this premise, he quotes the case of termination of employment under Art. 283. Here the
statement of Chief Justice Concepcion Vda. de Cuaycong v. employee is not faced with an aspect of the adversary system.
Vda. de Sengbengco26 that "acts of Congress, as well as of the The purpose for requiring a 30-day written notice before an
Executive, can deny due process only under the pain of nullity, employee is laid off is not to afford him an opportunity to be
and judicial proceedings suffering from the same flaw are subject heard on any charge against him, for there is none. The purpose
to the same sanction, any statutory provision to the contrary rather is to give him time to prepare for the eventual loss of his
notwithstanding." Justice Puno concludes that the dismissal of
job and the DOLE an opportunity to determine whether economic an employee was for cause. This was made in the rules issued
causes do exist justifying the termination of his employment. by the then Minister of Labor and Employment to implement B.P.
Blg. 130 which amended the Labor Code. And it was still much
Even in cases of dismissal under Art. 282, the purpose for the later when the notice requirement was embodied in the law with
requirement of notice and hearing is not to comply with Due the amendment of Art. 277(b) by R.A. No. 6715 on March 2,
Process Clause of the Constitution. The time for notice and 1989. It cannot be that the former regime denied due process to
hearing is at the trial stage. Then that is the time we speak of the employee. Otherwise, there should now likewise be a rule
notice and hearing as the essence of procedural due process. that, in case an employee leaves his job without cause and
Thus, compliance by the employer with the notice requirement without prior notice to his employer, his act should be void
before he dismisses an employee does not foreclose the right of instead of simply making him liable for damages.
the latter to question the legality of his dismissal. As Art. 277(b)
provides, "Any decision taken by the employer shall be without The third reason why the notice requirement under Art. 283 can
prejudice to the right of the worker to contest the validity or not be considered a requirement of the Due Process Clause is
legality of his dismissal by filing a complaint with the regional that the employer cannot really be expected to be entirely an
branch of the National Labor Relations Commission." impartial judge of his own cause. This is also the case in
termination of employment for a just cause under Art. 282 (i.e.,
Indeed, to contend that the notice requirement in the Labor Code serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of
is an aspect of due process is to overlook the fact that Art. 283 the lawful orders of the employer, gross and habitual neglect of
had its origin in Art. 302 of the Spanish Code of Commerce of duties, fraud or willful breach of trust of the employer,
1882 which gave either party to the employer-employee commission of crime against the employer or the latter's
relationship the right to terminate their relationship by giving immediate family or duly authorized representatives, or other
notice to the other one month in advance. In lieu of notice, an analogous cases).
employee could be laid off by paying him a mesada equivalent to
his salary for one month.28 This provision was repealed by Art. Justice Puno disputes this. He says that "statistics in the DOLE
2270 of the Civil Code, which took effect on August 30, 1950. will prove that many cases have been won by employees before
But on June 12, 1954, R.A. No. 1052, otherwise known as the the grievance committees manned by impartial judges of the
Termination Pay Law, was enacted reviving the mesada. On company." The grievance machinery is, however, different
June 21, 1957, the law was amended by R.A. No. 1787 providing because it is established by agreement of the employer and the
for the giving of advance notice or the payment of compensation employees and composed of representatives from both sides.
at the rate of one-half month for every year of service.29 That is why, in Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. ·v. Court of
Appeals,31 which Justice Puno cites, it was held that "Since the
The Termination Pay Law was held not to be a substantive law right of [an employee] to his labor is in itself a property and that
but a regulatory measure, the purpose of which was to give the the labor agreement between him and [his employer] is the law
employer the opportunity to find a replacement or substitute, and between the parties, his summary and arbitrary dismissal
the employee the equal opportunity to look for another job or amounted to deprivation of his property without due process of
source of employment. Where the termination of employment law." But here we are dealing with dismissals and layoffs by
was for a just cause, no notice was required to be given to the, employers alone, without the intervention of any grievance
employee.30 It was only on September 4, 1981 that notice was machinery. Accordingly in Montemayor v. Araneta University
required to be given even where the dismissal or termination of Foundation,32 although a professor was dismissed without a
hearing by his university, his dismissal for having made Indeed, under the Labor Code, only the absence of a just cause
homosexual advances on a student was sustained, it appearing for the termination of employment can make the dismissal of an
that in the NLRC, the employee was fully heard in his defense. employee illegal. This is clear from Art. 279 which provides:

Lack of Notice Only Makes Termination Ineffectual Security of Tenure. — In cases of regular employment,
the employer shall not terminate the services of an
Not all notice requirements are requirements of due process. employee except for a just cause or when authorized by
Some are simply part of a procedure to be followed before a right this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissedfrom
granted to a party can be exercised. Others are simply an work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of
application of the Justinian precept, embodied in the Civil seniority rights and other privileges and to his full
Code,33 to act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other
honesty and good faith toward one's fellowmen. Such is the benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the
notice requirement in Arts. 282-283. The consequence of the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the
failure either of the employer or the employee to live up to this time of his actual reinstatement.37
precept is to make him liable in damages, not to render his act
(dismissal or resignation, as the case may be) void. The Thus, only if the termination of employment is not for any of the
measure of damages is the amount of wages the employee causes provided by law is it illegal and, therefore, the employee
should have received were it not for the termination of his should be reinstated and paid backwages. To contend, as
employment without prior notice. If warranted, nominal and moral Justices Puno and Panganiban do, that even if the termination is
damages may also be awarded. for a just or authorized cause the employee concerned should be
reinstated and paid backwages would be to amend Art. 279 by
We hold, therefore, that, with respect to Art. 283 of the Labor adding another ground for considering a dismissal illegal. What
Code, the employer's failure to comply with the notice is more, it would ignore the fact that under Art. 285, if it is the
requirement does not constitute a denial of due process but a employee who fails to give a written notice to the employer that
mere failure to observe a procedure for the termination of he is leaving the service of the latter, at least one month in
employment which makes the termination of employment merely advance, his failure to comply with the legal requirement does
ineffectual. It is similar to the failure to observe the provisions of not result in making his resignation void but only in making him
Art. 1592, in relation to Art. 1191, of the Civil Code34 in liable for damages.38 This disparity in legal treatment, which
rescinding a contract for the sale of immovable property. Under would result from the adoption of the theory of the minority
these provisions, while the power of a party to rescind a contract cannot simply be explained by invoking resident Ramon
is implied in reciprocal obligations, nonetheless, in cases Magsaysay's motto that "he who has less in life should have
involving the sale of immovable property, the vendor cannot more in law." That would be a misapplication of this noble phrase
exercise this power even though the vendee defaults in the originally from Professor Thomas Reed Powell of the Harvard
payment of the price, except by bringing an action in court or Law School.
giving notice of rescission by means of a notarial
demand.35 Consequently, a notice of rescission given in the Justice Panganiban cites Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. v. NLRC,39 in
letter of an attorney has no legal effect, and the vendee can support of his view that an illegal dismissal results not only from
make payment even after the due date since no valid notice of want of legal cause but also from the failure to observe "due
rescission has been given.36 process." The Pepsi-Cola case actually involved a dismissal for
an alleged loss of trust and confidence which, as found by the In sum, we hold that if in proceedings for reinstatement under
Court, was not proven. The dismissal was, therefore, illegal, not Art. 283, it is shown that the termination of employment was due
because there was a denial of due process, but because the to an authorized cause, then the employee concerned should not
dismissal was without cause. The statement that the failure of be ordered reinstated even though there is failure to comply with
management to comply with the notice requirement "taints the the 30-day notice requirement. Instead, he must be granted
dismissal with illegality" was merely a dictum thrown in as separation pay in accordance with Art. 283, to wit:
additional grounds for holding the dismissal to be illegal.
In case of termination due to the installation of labor-
Given the nature of the violation, therefore, the appropriate saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected
sanction for the failure to give notice is the payment of thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to
backwages for the period when the employee is considered not at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one month for
to have been effectively dismissed or his employment every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of
terminated. The sanction is not the payment alone of nominal retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures
damages as Justice Vitug contends. or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking
not due to serious business losses or financial reverses,
Unjust Results of Considering Dismissals/Layoffs Without Prior the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month
Notice As Illegal pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of
service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six
The refusal to look beyond the validity of the initial action taken months shall be considered one (1) whole year.
by the employer to terminate employment either for an
authorized or just cause can result in an injustice to the If the employee's separation is without cause, instead of being
employer. For not giving notice and hearing before dismissing an given separation pay, he should be reinstated. In either case,
employee, who is otherwise guilty of, say, theft, or even of an whether he is reinstated or only granted separation pay, he
attempt against the life of the employer, an employer will be should be paid full backwages if he has been laid off without
forced to keep in his employ such guilty employee. This is unjust. written notice at least 30 days in advance.

It is true the Constitution regards labor as "a primary social On the other hand, with respect to dismissals for cause under
economic force."40 But so does it declare that it "recognizes the Art. 282, if it is shown that the employee was dismissed for any
indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private of the just causes mentioned in said Art. 282, then, in
enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investment." 41 The accordance with that article, he should not be reinstated.
Constitution bids the State to "afford full protection to However, he must be paid backwages from the time his
labor."42 But it is equally true that "the law, in protecting the employment was terminated until it is determined that the
right's of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self- termination of employment is for a just cause because the failure
destruction of the employer."43 And it is oppression to compel the to hear him before he is dismissed renders the termination of his
employer to continue in employment one who is guilty or to force employment without legal effect.
the employer to remain in operation when it is not economically
in his interest to do so. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the resolution of
the National Labor Relations Commission is MODIFIED by
ordering private respondent Isetann Department Store, Inc. to
pay petitioner separation pay equivalent to one (1) month pay for On 25 March 1998, DOMINO filed his certificate of candidacy for
every year of service, his unpaid salary, and his proportionate the position of Representative of the Lone Legislative District of
13th month pay and, in addition, full backwages from the time his the Province of Sarangani indicating in item nine (9) of his
employment was terminated on October 11, 1991 up to the time certificate that he had resided in the constituency where he
the decision herein becomes final. For this purpose, this case is seeks to be elected for one (1) year and two (2) months
REMANDED to the Labor Arbiter for computation of the immediately preceding the election. 3
separation pay, backwages, and other monetary awards to
petitioner. On 30 March 1998, private respondents Narciso Ra. Grafilo, Jr.,
Eddy B. Java, Juan P. Bayonito, Jr., Rosario Samson and
SO ORDERED. Dionisio P. Lim, Sr., fied with the COMELEC a Petition to Deny
Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy, which was
docketed as SPA No. 98-022 and assigned to the Second
Division of the COMELEC. Private respondents alleged that
G.R. No. 134015 July 19, 1999 DOMINO, contrary to his declaration in the certificate of
candidacy, is not a resident, much less a registered voter, of the
JUAN DOMINO, petitioner, province of Sarangani where he seeks election. To substantiate
vs. their allegations, private respondents presented the following
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, NARCISO Ra. GRAFILO, JR., evidence:
EDDY B. JAVA, JUAN P. BAYONITO, JR., ROSARIO
SAMSON and DIONISIO P. LIM, SR., respondent, LUCILLE 1. Annex "A" — the Certificate of
CHIONGBIAN-SOLON, intervenor. Candidacy of respondent for the
position of Congressman of the Lone
District of the Province of Sarangani
filed with the Office of the Provincial
DAVIDE, JR., CJ.: Election Supervisor of Sarangani on
March 25, 1998, where in item 4
Challenged in this case for certiorari with a prayer for preliminary thereof he wrote his date of birth as
injunction are the Resolution of 6 May 1998 1 of the Second December 5, 1953; in item 9, he
Division of the Commission on Elections (hereafter COMELEC), claims he have resided in the
declaring petitioner Juan Domino (hereafter DOMINO) constituency where he seeks election
disqualified as candidate for representative of the Lone for one (1) year and two (2) months;
Legislative District of the Province of Sarangani in the 11 May and, in item 10, that he is registered
1998 elections, and the Decision of 29 May 1998 2 of the voter of Precinct No. 14A-1,
COMELEC en banc denying DOMINO's motion for Barangay Poblacion, Alabel,
reconsideration. Sarangani;

The antecedents are not disputed.1âwphi1.nêt 2. Annex "B" — Voter's Registration


Record with SN 31326504 dated
June 22, 1997 indicating
respondent's registration at Precinct Riego dated March 2, 1998
No. 4400-A, Old Balara, Quezon City; addressed to Mr. Herson D. Dema-
ala, Deputy Provincial Treasurer and
3. Annex "C" — Respondent's Municipal Treasurer of Alabel,
Community Tax Certificate No. Sarangani, which states:
11132214C dated January 15, 1997;
For easy reference, kindly turn-over
4. Annex "D" — Certified true copy of to the undersigned for safekeeping,
the letter of Herson D. Dema-ala, the stub of Community Tax Certificate
Deputy Provincial & Municipal containing Nos. 11132201C-
Treasurer of Alabel, Sarangani, dated 11132250C issued to you on June
February 26, 1998, addressed to Mr. 13, 1997 and paid under Official
Conrado G. Butil, which reads: Receipt No. 7854744.

In connection with your letter of even Upon request of Congressman


date, we are furnishing you herewith James L. Chiongbian.
certified xerox copy of the triplicate
copy of COMMUNITY TAX 7. Annex "G" — Certificate of
CERTIFICATE NO. 11132214C in the Candidacy of respondent for the
name of Juan Domino. position of Congressman in the 3rd
District of Quezon City for the 1995
Furthermore, Community Tax elections filed with the Office of the
Certificate No. 11132212C of the Regional Election Director, National
same stub was issued to Carlito Capital Region, on March 17, 1995,
Engcong on September 5, 1997, where, in item 4 thereof, he wrote his
while Certificate No. 11132213C was birth date as December 22, 1953; in
also issued to Mr. Juan Domino but item 8 thereof his "residence in the
was cancelled and serial no. constituency where I seek to be
11132215C was issued in the name elected immediately preceding the
of Marianita Letigio on September 8, election" as 3 years and 5 months;
1997. and, in item 9, that he is a registered
voter of Precinct No. 182, Barangay
5. Annex "E" — The triplicate copy of Balara, Quezon City;
the Community Tax Certificate No.
11132214C in the name of Juan 8. Annex "H" — a copy of the
Domino dated September 5, 1997; APPLICATION FOR TRANSFER OF
REGISTRATION RECORDS DUE
6. Annex "F" — Copy of the letter of TO CHANGE OF RESIDENCE of
Provincial Treasurer Lourdes P. respondent dated August 30, 1997
addressed to and received by 2. Annex "2" — Copy of the Extra-
Election Officer Mantil Alim, Alabel, Judicial Settlement of Estate with
Sarangani, on September 22, 1997, Absolute Deed of sale executed by
stating among others, that "[T]he and between the heirs of deceased
undersigned's previous residence is spouses Maximo and Remedios
at 24 Bonifacio Street, Ayala Heights, Dacaldacal, namely: Maria Lourdes,
Quezon City, III District, Quezon City; Jupiter and Beberlie and the
wherein he is a registered voter" and respondent on November 4, 1997,
"that for business and residence subscribed and sworn to before
purposes, the undersigned has Notary Public Jose A. Alegario;
transferred and conducts his
business and reside at Barangay 3. Annex "3" — True Carbon Xerox
Poblacion, Alabel, Province of copy of the Decision dated January
Sarangani prior to this application;" 19, 1998, of the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Metro Manila, Branch 35,
9. Annex "I" — Copy of the SWORN Quezon City, in Election Case NO.
APPLICATION FOR OF 725 captioned as "In the Matter of the
CANCELLATION OF THE VOTER'S Petition for the Exclusion from the List
[TRANSFER OF] PREVIOUS of voters of Precinct No. 4400-A Brgy.
REGISTRATION of respondent Old Balara, Quezon City, Spouses
subscribed and sworn to on 22 Juan and Zorayda Domino,
October 1997 before Election Officer Petitioners, -versus- Elmer M.
Mantil Allim at Alabel, Sarangani. 4 Kayanan, Election Officer, Quezon
City, District III, and the Board of
For his defense, DOMINO maintains that he had complied with Election Inspectors of Precinct No.
the one-year residence requirement and that he has been 4400-A, Old Balara, Quezon City,
residing in Sarangani since January 1997. In support of the said Respondents." The dispositive
contention, DOMINO presented before the COMELEC the portion of which reads:
following exhibits, to wit:
1. Declaring the
1. Annex "1" — Copy of the Contract registration of
of Lease between Nora Dacaldacal petitioners as voters of
as Lessor and Administrator of the Precinct No. 4400-A,
properties of deceased spouses Barangay Old Balara, in
Maximo and Remedios Dacaldacal District III Quezon City
and respondent as Lessee executed as completely
on January 15, 1997, subscribed and erroneous as petitioners
sworn to before Notary Public Johnny were no longer
P. Landero; residents of Quezon
City but of Alabel, are obviously qualified
Sarangani where they to excercise their
have been residing respective rights of
since December 1996; suffrage.

2. Declaring this 4. Annex "4" — Copy of the


erroneous registration Application for Transfer of
of petitioners in Quezon Registration Records due to Change
City as done in good of Residence addressed to Mantil
faith due to an honest Alim, COMELEC Registrar, Alabel,
mistake caused by Sarangani, dated August 30, 1997.
circumstances beyond
their control and without 5. Annex "5" — Certified True Copy
any fault of petitioners; of the Notice of Approval of
Application, the roster of applications
3. Approving the for registration approved by the
transfer of registration Election Registration Board on
of voters of petitioners October 20, 1997, showing the
from Precint No. 4400-A spouses Juan and Zorayda Bailon
of Barangay Old Balara, Domino listed as numbers 111 and
Quezon City to Precinct 112 both under Precinct No. 14A1,
No. 14A1 of Barangay the last two names in the slate
Poblacion of Alabel, indicated as transferees without VRR
Sarangani; and numbers and their application dated
August 30, 1997 and September 30,
4. Ordering the 1997, respectively.
respondents to
immediately transfer 6. Annex "6" — same as Annex "5"
and forward all the
election/voter's 7. Annex "6-a" — Copy of the Sworn
registration records of Application for Cancellation of Voter's
the petitioners in Previous Registration (Annex "I",
Quezon City to the Petition);
Election Officer, the
Election Registration 8. Annex "7" — Copy of claim card in
Board and other the name of respondent showing his
Comelec Offices of VRR No. 31326504 dated October
Alabel, Sarangani 20, 1997 as a registered voter of
where the petitioners
Precinct No. 14A1, Barangay Bonifacio, containing a listing of the
Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani; names of fifty-five (55) residents of
Alabel, Sarangani, declaring and
9. Annex "7-a" — Certification dated certifying under oath that they
April 16, 1998, issued by Atty. Elmer personally know the respondent as a
M. Kayanan, Election Officer IV, permanent resident of Alabel,
District III, Quezon City, which reads: Sarangani since January 1997 up to
present;
This is to certify that the spouses
JUAN and ZORAYDA DOMINO are 13. Annexes "9", "9-a" and "9-b" —
no longer registered voters of District Copies of Individual Income Tax
III, Quezon City. Their registration Return for the year 1997, BIR form
records (VRR) were transferred and 2316 and W-2, respectively, of
are now in the possession of the respondent; and,
Election Officer of Alabel, Sarangani.
14. Annex "10" — The affidavit of
This certification is being issued upon respondent reciting the chronology of
the request of Mr. JUAN DOMINO. events and circumstances leading to
his relocation to the Municipality of
10. Annex "8" — Affidavit of Nora Alabel, Sarangani, appending
Dacaldacal and Maria Lourdes Annexes "A", "B", "C", "D", "D-1", "E",
Dacaldacal stating the circumstances "F", "G" with sub-markings "G-1" and
and incidents detailing their alleged "G-2" and "H" his CTC No.
acquaintance with respondent. 111`32214C dated September 5,
1997, which are the same as
11. Annexes "8-a", "8-b", "8-c" and Annexes "1", "2", "4", "5", "6-a", "3",
"8-d" — Copies of the uniform "7", "9" with sub-markings "9-a" and
affidavits of witness Myrna Dalaguit, "9-b" except Annex "H". 5
Hilario Fuentes, Coraminda Lomibao
and Elena V. Piodos subscribed and On 6 May 1998, the COMELEC 2nd Division promulgated a
sworn to before Notary Public resolution declaring DOMINO disqualified as candidate for the
Bonifacio F. Doria, Jr., on April 18, position of representative of the lone district of Sarangani for lack
1998, embodying their alleged of the one-year residence requirement and likewise ordered the
personal knowledge of respondent's cancellation of his certificate of candidacy, on the basis of the
residency in Alabel, Sarangani; following findings:

12. Annex "8-e" — A certification What militates against respondent's claim that he
dated April 20, 1998, subscribed and has met the residency requirement for the position
sworn to before Notary Public sought is his own Voter's Registration Record No.
31326504 dated June 22, 1997 [Annex "B", DOMINO garnered the highest number of votes over his
Petition] and his address indicated as 24 Bonifacio opponents for the position of Congressman of the Province of
St., Ayala Heights, Old Balara, Quezon City. This Sarangani.
evidence, standing alone, negates all his
protestations that he established residence at On 15 May 1998, DOMINO filed a motion for reconsideration of
Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani, as early as the Resolution dated 6 May 1998, which was denied by the
January 1997. It is highly improbable, nay COMELEC en banc in its decision dated 29 May 1998. Hence,
incredible, for respondent who previously ran for the present Petition for Certiorari with prayer for Preliminary
the same position in the 3rd Legislative District of Mandatory Injunction alleging, in the main, that the COMELEC
Quezon City during the elections of 1995 to committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack
unwittingly forget the residency requirement for the of jurisdiction when it ruled that he did not meet the one-year
office sought. residence requirement.

Counting, therefore, from the day after June 22, On 14 July 1998, acting on DOMINO's Motion for Issuance of
1997 when respondent registered at Precinct No. Temporary Restraining Order, the Court directed the parties to
4400-A, up to and until the day of the elections on maintain the status quo prevailing at the time of the filing of the
May 11, 1998, respondent clearly lacks the one (1) instant petition. 9
year residency requirement provided for candidates
for Member of the House of Representatives under On 15 September 1998, Lucille L. Chiongbian-Solon, (hereafter
Section 6, Article VI of the Constitution. INTERVENOR), the candidate receiving the second highest
number of votes, was allowed by the Court to
All told, petitioner's evidence conspire to attest to Intervene. 10 INTERVENOR in her Motion for Leave to Intervene
respondent's lack of residence in the constituency and in her Comment in Intervention 11 is asking the Court to
where he seeks election and while it may be uphold the disqualification of petitioner Juan Domino and to
conceded that he is a registered voter as proclaim her as the duly elected representative of Sarangani in
contemplated under Section 12 of R.A. 8189, he the 11 May 1998 elections.
lacks the qualification to run for the position of
Congressman for the Lone District of the Province Before us DOMINO raised the following issues for resolution, to
of Sarangani. 6 wit:

On 11 May 1998, the day of the election, the COMELEC issued a. Whether or not the judgment of the
Supplemental Omnibus Resolution No. 3046, ordering that the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon
votes cast for DOMINO be counted but to suspend the City declaring petitioner as resident of
proclamation if winning, considering that the Resolution Sarangani and not of Quezon City is
disqualifying him as candidate had not yet become final and final, conclusive and binding upon the
executory. 7 whole world, including the
Commission on Elections.
The result of the election, per Statement of Votes certified by the
Chairman of the Provincial Board of Canvassers,8 shows that
b. Whether or not petitioner herein the COMELEC. Although the court in inclusion or exclusion
has resided in the subject proceedings may pass upon any question necessary to decide
congressional district for at least one the issue raised including the questions of citizenship and
(1) year immediately preceding the residence of the challenged voter, the authority to order the
May 11, 1998 elections; and inclusion in or exclusion from the list of voters necessarily caries
with it the power to inquire into and settle all matters essential to
c. Whether or not respondent the exercise of said authority. However, except for the right to
COMELEC has jurisdiction over the remain in the list of voters or for being excluded therefrom for the
petition a quo for the disqualification particular election in relation to which the proceedings had been
of petitioner. 12 held, a decision in an exclusion or inclusion proceeding, even if
final and unappealable, does not acquire the nature of res
The first issue. judicata. 13 In this sense, it does not operate as a bar to any
future action that a party may take concerning the subject
The contention of DOMINO that the decision of the Metropolitan passed upon in the proceeding. 14 Thus, a decision in an
Trial Court of Quezon City in the exclusion proceedings declaring exclusion proceeding would neither be conclusive on the voter's
him a resident of the Province of Sarangani and not of Quezon political status, nor bar subsequent proceedings on his right to
City is final and conclusive upon the COMELEC cannot be be registered as a voter in any other election. 15
sustained.
Thus, in Tan Cohon v. Election Registrar 16 we ruled that:
The COMELEC has jurisdiction as provided in Sec. 78, Art. IX of
the Omnibus Election Code, over a petition to deny due course . . . It is made clear that even as it is here held that
to or cancel certificate of candidacy. In the exercise of the said the order of the City Court in question has become
jurisdiction, it is within the competence of the COMELEC to final, the same does not constitute res
determine whether false representation as to material facts was adjudicata as to any of the matters therein
made in the certificate of candidacy, that will include, among contained. It is ridiculous to suppose that such an
others, the residence of the candidate. important and intricate matter of citizenship may be
passed upon and determined with finality in such a
The determination of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City summary and peremptory proceeding as that of
in the exclusion proceedings as to the right of DOMINO to be inclusion and exclusion of persons in the registry
included or excluded from the list of voters in the precinct within list of voters. Even if the City Court had granted
its territorial jurisdicton, does not preclude the COMELEC, in the appellant's petition for inclusion in the permanent
determination of DOMINO's qualification as a candidate, to pass list of voters on the allegation that she is a Filipino
upon the issue of compliance with the residency requirement. citizen qualified to vote, her alleged Filipino
citizenship would still have been left open to
The proceedings for the exclusion or inclusion of voters in the list question.
of voters are summary in character. Thus, the factual findings of
the trial court and its resultant conclusions in the exclusion Moreover, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City in its 18
proceedings on matters other than the right to vote in the January decision exceeded its jurisdiction when it declared
precinct within its territorial jurisdiction are not conclusive upon DOMINO a resident of the Province of Sarangani, approved and
ordered the transfer of his voter's registration from Precinct No. The question to be solved under the first
4400-A of Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City to precinct 14A1 of assignment of error is whether or not the judgment
Barangay Poblacion, Alabel, Sarangani. It is not within the rendered in the case of the petition for the
competence of the trial court, in an exclusion proceedings, to exclusion of Norberto Guray's name from the
declare the challenged voter a resident of another municipality. election list of Luna, isres judicata, so as to prevent
The jurisdiction of the lower court over exclusion cases is limited the institution and prosecution of an action
only to determining the right of voter to remain in the list of voters in quo warranto, which is now before us.
or to declare that the challenged voter is not qualified to vote in
the precint in which he is registered, specifying the ground of the The procedure prescribed by section 437 of the
voter's disqualification. The trial court has no power to order the Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3387,
change or transfer of registration from one place of residence to is of a summary character and the judgment
another for it is the function of the election Registration Board as rendered therein is not appealable except when the
provided under Section 12 of R.A. No. 8189. 17 The only effect of petition is tried before the justice of the peace of
the decision of the lower court excluding the challenged voter the capital or the circuit judge, in which case it may
from the list of voters, is for the Election Registration Board, be appealed to the judge of first instance, with
upon receipt of the final decision, to remove the voter's whom said two lower judges have concurrent
registration record from the corresponding book of voters, enter jurisdiction.
the order of exclusion therein, and thereafter place the record in
the inactive file. 18 The petition for exclusion was presented by
Gregorio Nuval in his dual capacity as qualified
Finally, the application of the rule on res judicata is unavailing. voter of the municipality of Luna, and as a duly
Identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action are registered candidate for the office of president of
indispensable requirements for the application of said doctrine. said municipality, against Norberto Guray as a
Neither herein Private Respondents nor INTERVENOR, is a registered voter in the election list of said
party in the exclusion proceedings. The Petition for Exclusion municipality. The present proceeding
was filed by DOMINDO himself and his wife, praying that he and of quo warranto was interposed by Gregorio Nuval
his wife be excluded from the Voter's List on the ground of in his capacity as a registered candidate voted for
erroneous registration while the Petition to Deny Due Course to the office of municipal president of Luna, against
or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy was filed by private Norberto Guray, as an elected candidate for the
respondents against DOMINO for alleged false representation in same office. Therefore, there is no identity of
his certificate of candidacy. For the decision to be a basis for the parties in the two cases, since it is not enough that
dismissal by reason of res judicata, it is essential that there must there be an identity of persons, but there must be
be between the first and the second action identity of parties, an identity of capacities in which said persons
identity of subject matter and identity of causes of action. 19 In litigate. (Art. 1259 of the Civil Code; Bowler vs.
the present case, the aforesaid essential requisites are not Estate of Alvarez, 23 Phil., 561; 34 Corpus Juris, p.
present. In the case of Nuval v. Guray, et al., 20 the Supreme 756, par. 1165)
Court in resolving a similar issue ruled that:
In said case of the petition for the exclusion, the
object of the litigation, or the litigious matter was
the exclusion of Norberto Guray as a voter from the only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal
election list of the municipality of Luna, while in the presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such
present que warranto proceeding, the object of the intention. 21 "Domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to
litigation, or the litigious matter is his exclusion or which, whenever absent for business, pleasure, or some other
expulsion from the office to which he has been reasons, one intends to return.22 "Domicile" is a question of
elected. Neither does there exist, then, any identity intention and circumstances. In the consideration of
in the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter. circumstances, three rules must be borne in mind, namely: (1)
that a man must have a residence or domicile somewhere; (2)
In said case of the petition for exclusion, the cause when once established it remains until a new one is acquired;
of action was that Norberto Guray had not the six and (3) a man can have but one residence or domicile at a
months' legal residence in the municipality of Luna time. 23
to be a qualified voter thereof, while in the present
proceeding of quo warranto, the cause of action is Records show that petitioner's domicile of origin was Candon,
that Norberto Guray has not the one year's legal Ilocos
residence required for eligibility to the office of Sur 24 and that sometime in 1991, he acquired a new domicile of
municipal president of Luna. Neither does there choice at 24 Bonifacio St. Ayala Heights, Old Balara, Quezon
exist therefore, identity of causes of action. City, as shown by his certificate of candidacy for the position of
representative of the 3rd District of Quezon City in the May 1995
In order that res judicata may exist the following election. Petitioner is now claiming that he had effectively
are necessary: (a) identity of parties; (b) identity of abandoned his "residence" in Quezon City and has established a
things; and (c) identity of issues (Aquino v. Director new "domicile" of choice at the Province of Sarangani.
of Lands, 39 Phil. 850). And as in the case of the
petition for excluision and in the A person's "domicile" once established is considered to continue
present quo warranto proceeding, as there is no and will not be deemed lost until a new one is established. 25 To
identity of parties, or of things or litigious matter, or successfully effect a change of domicile one must demonstrate
of issues or causes of action, there is no res an actual removal or an actual change of domicile; a bona
judicata. fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and
establishing a new one and definite acts which correspond with
The Second Issue. the
purpose. 26 In other words, there must basically
Was DOMINO a resident of the Province of Sarangani for at be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The
least one year immediately preceding the 11 May 1998 election purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an
as stated in his certificate of candidacy? indefinite period of time; the change of residence must be
voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new
We hold in the negative. domicile must be actual. 27

It is doctrinally settled that the term "residence," as used in the It is the contention of petitioner that his actual physical presence
law prescribing the qualifications for suffrage and for elective in Alabel, Sarangani since December 1996 was sufficiently
office, means the same thing as "domicile," which imports not established by the lease of a house and lot located therein in
January 1997 and by the affidavits and certifications under oath of residence especially in this case where DOMINO registered in
of the residents of that place that they have seen petitioner and his former barangay. Exercising the right of election franchise is
his family residing in their locality. a deliberate public assertion of the fact of residence, and is said
to have decided preponderance in a doubtful case upon the
While this may be so, actual and physical is not in itself sufficient place the elector claims as, or believes to be, his
to show that from said date he had transferred his residence in residence. 31 The fact that a party continously voted in a
that place. To establish a new domicile of choice, personal particular locality is a strong factor in assisting to determine the
presence in the place must be coupled with conduct indicative of status of his domicile. 32
that intention. While "residence" simply requires bodily presence
in a given place, "domicile" requires not only such bodily His claim that his registration in Quezon City was erroneous and
presence in that place but also a declared and probable intent to was caused by events over which he had no control cannot be
make it one's fixed and permanent place of abode, one's sustained. The general registration of voters for purposes of the
home. 28 May 1998 elections was scheduled for two (2) consecutive
weekends, viz.: June 14, 15, 21, and 22. 33
As a general rule, the principal elements of domicile, physical
presence in the locality involved and intention to adopt it as a While, Domino's intention to establish residence in Sarangani
domicile, must concur in order to establish a new domicile. No can be gleaned from the fact that be bought the house he was
change of domicile will result if either of these elements is renting on November 4, 1997, that he sought cancellation of his
absent. Intention to acquire a domicile without actual residence previous registration in Qezon City on 22 October 1997, 34 and
in the locality does not result in acquisition of domicile, nor does that he applied for transfer of registration from Quezon City to
the fact of physical presence without intention. 29 Sarangani by reason of change of residence on 30 August
1997, 35 DOMINO still falls short of the one year residency
The lease contract entered into sometime in January 1997, does requirement under the Constitution.
not adequately support a change of domicile. The lease contract
may be indicative of DOMINO's intention to reside in Sarangani In showing compliance with the residency requirement, both
but it does not engender the kind of permanency required to intent and actual presence in the district one intends to represent
prove abandonment of one's original domicile. The mere must satisfy the length of time prescribed by the fundamental
absence of individual from his permanent residence, no matter law. 36 Domino's failure to do so rendered him ineligible and his
how long, without the intention to abandon it does not result in election to office null and void. 37
loss or change of
domicile. 30 Thus the date of the contract of lease of a house and The Third Issue.
lot located in the province of Sarangani, i.e., 15 January 1997,
cannot be used, in the absence of other circumstances, as the DOMINO's contention that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction in
reckoning period of the one-year residence requirement. the present petition is bereft of merit.

Further, Domino's lack of intention to abandon his residence in As previously mentioned, the COMELEC, under Sec. 78, Art. IX
Quezon City is further strengthened by his act of registering as of the Omnibus Election Code, has jurisdiction over a petition to
voter in one of the precincts in Quezon City. While voting is not deny due course to or cancel certificate of candidacy. Such
conclusive of residence, it does give rise to a strong presumption jurisdiction continues even after election, if for any reason no
final judgment of disqualification is rendered before the election, After finding that DOMINO is disqualified as candidate for the
and the candidate facing disqualification is voted for and position of representative of the province of Sarangani, may
receives the highest number of votes 38 and provided further that INTERVENOR, as the candidate who received the next highest
the winning candidate has not been proclaimed or has taken his number of votes, be proclaimed as the winning candidate?
oath of office. 39
It is now settled doctrine that the candidate who obtains the
It has been repeatedly held in a number of cases, that the House second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner
of Representatives Electoral Tribunal's sole and exclusive in case the winning candidate is disqualified. 43 In every election,
jurisdiction over all contests relating to the election, returns and the people's choice is the paramount consideration and their
qualifications of members of Congress as provided under expressed will must, at all times, be given effect. When the
Section 17 of Article VI of the Constitution begins only after a majority speaks and elects into office a candidate by giving the
candidate has become a member of the House of highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, no
Representatives. 40 one can be declared elected in his place. 44

The fact of obtaining the highest number of votes in an election It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the
does not automatically vest the position in the winning constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who
candidate. 41 A candidate must be proclaimed and must have has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a
taken his oath of office before he can be considered a member winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the
of the House of Representatives. majority of which have positively declared through their ballots
that they do not choose him. 45 To simplistically assume that the
In the instant case, DOMINO was not proclaimed as second placer would have received the other votes would be to
Congressman-elect of the Lone Congressional District of the substitute our judgment for the mind of the voters. He could not
Province of Sarangani by reason of a Supplemental Omnibus be considered the first among qualified candidates because in a
Resolution issued by the COMELEC on the day of the election field which excludes the qualified candidate, the conditions would
ordering the suspension of DOMINO's proclamation should he have substantially changed. 46
obtain the winning number of votes. This resolution was issued
by the COMELEC in view of the non-finality of its 6 May 1998 Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by
resolution disqualifying DOMINO as candidate for the position. those who have received the highest number of votes cast in the
election for that office, and it is fundamental idea in all republican
Cosidering that DOMINO has not been proclaimed as forms of government that no one can be declared elected and no
Congressman-elect in the Lone Congressional District of the measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a
Province of Sarangani he cannot be deemed a member of the majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. 47
House of Representatives. Hence, it is the COMELEC and not
the Electoral Tribunal which has jurisdiction over the issue of his The effect of a decision declaring a person ineligible to hold an
ineligibility as a candidate. 42 office is only that the election fails entirely, that the wreath of
victory cannot be transferred 48 from the disqualified winner to
Issue raised by INTERVENOR. the repudiated loser because the law then as now only
authorizes a declaration of election in favor of the person who
has obtained a plurality of votes 49 and does not entitle the
candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be SO ORDERED.
declared elected. In such case, the electors have failed to make
a choice and the election is a nullity. 50 To allow the defeated and
repudiated candidate to take over the elective position despite
his rejection by the electorate is to disenfranchise the electorate
without any fault on their part and to undermine the importance
and meaning of democracy and the people's right to elect G.R. No. 161872 April 13, 2004
officials of their choice. 51
REV. ELLY CHAVEZ PAMATONG, ESQUIRE, petitioner,
INTERVENOR's plea that the votes cast in favor of DOMINO be vs.
considered stray votes cannot be sustained. INTERVENOR's COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
reliance on the opinion made in the Labo, Jr. case 52 to wit: if the
electorate, fully aware in fact and in law of a candidate's RESOLUTION
disqualification so as to bring such awareness within the realm of
notoriety, would nevertheless cast their votes in favor of the TINGA, J.:
ineligible candidate, the electorate may be said to have waived
the validity and efficacy of their votes by notoriously misapplying Petitioner Rev. Elly Velez Pamatong filed his Certificate of
their franchise or throwing away their votes, in which case, the Candidacy for President on December 17, 2003. Respondent
eligible candidate obtaining the next higher number of votes may Commission on Elections (COMELEC) refused to give due
be deemed elected, is misplaced. course to petitioner’s Certificate of Candidacy in its Resolution
No. 6558 dated January 17, 2004. The decision, however, was
Contrary to the claim of INTERVENOR, petitioner was not not unanimous since Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco
notoriously known by the public as an ineligible candidate. and Mehol K. Sadain voted to include petitioner as they believed
Although the resolution declaring him ineligible as candidate was he had parties or movements to back up his candidacy.
rendered before the election, however, the same is not yet final
and executory. In fact, it was no less than the COMELEC in its On January 15, 2004, petitioner moved for reconsideration
Supplemental Omnibus Resolution No. 3046 that allowed of Resolution No. 6558. Petitioner’s Motion for
DOMINO to be voted for the office and ordered that the votes Reconsideration was docketed as SPP (MP) No. 04-001. The
cast for him be counted as the Resolution declaring him ineligible COMELEC, acting on petitioner’s Motion for
has not yet attained finality. Thus the votes cast for DOMINO are Reconsideration and on similar motions filed by other aspirants
presumed to have been cast in the sincere belief that he was a for national elective positions, denied the same under the aegis
qualified candidate, without any intention to misapply their of Omnibus Resolution No. 6604 dated February 11, 2004. The
franchise. Thus, said votes can not be treated as stray, void, or COMELEC declared petitioner and thirty-five (35) others
meaningless. 53 nuisance candidates who could not wage a nationwide campaign
and/or are not nominated by a political party or are not supported
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The by a registered political party with a national constituency.
resolution dated 6 May 1998 of the COMELEC 2nd Division and Commissioner Sadain maintained his vote for petitioner. By then,
the decision dated 29 May 1998 of the COMELEC En Banc, are Commissioner Tancangco had retired.
hereby AFFIRMED.1âwphi1.nêt
In this Petition For Writ of Certiorari, petitioner seeks to reverse The "equal access" provision is a subsumed part of Article II of
the resolutions which were allegedly rendered in violation of his the Constitution, entitled "Declaration of Principles and State
right to "equal access to opportunities for public service" under Policies." The provisions under the Article are generally
Section 26, Article II of the 1987 considered not self-executing,2 and there is no plausible reason
for according a different treatment to the "equal access"
Constitution,1 by limiting the number of qualified candidates only provision. Like the rest of the policies enumerated in Article II,
to those who can afford to wage a nationwide campaign and/or the provision does not contain any judicially enforceable
are nominated by political parties. In so doing, petitioner argues constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative
that the COMELEC indirectly amended the constitutional or executive action.3 The disregard of the provision does not give
provisions on the electoral process and limited the power of the rise to any cause of action before the courts.4
sovereign people to choose their leaders. The COMELEC
supposedly erred in disqualifying him since he is the most An inquiry into the intent of the framers5 produces the same
qualified among all the presidential candidates, i.e., he determination that the provision is not self-executory. The
possesses all the constitutional and legal qualifications for the original wording of the present Section 26, Article II had read,
office of the president, he is capable of waging a national "The State shall broaden opportunities to public office and
campaign since he has numerous national organizations under prohibit public dynasties."6 Commissioner (now Chief Justice)
his leadership, he also has the capacity to wage an international Hilario Davide, Jr. successfully brought forth an amendment that
campaign since he has practiced law in other countries, and he changed the word "broaden" to the phrase "ensure equal
has a platform of government. Petitioner likewise attacks the access," and the substitution of the word "office" to "service." He
validity of the form for theCertificate of Candidacy prepared by explained his proposal in this wise:
the COMELEC. Petitioner claims that the form does not provide
clear and reasonable guidelines for determining the qualifications I changed the word "broaden" to "ENSURE EQUAL
of candidates since it does not ask for the candidate’s bio-data ACCESS TO" because what is important would be equal
and his program of government. access to the opportunity. If you broaden, it would
necessarily mean that the government would be
First, the constitutional and legal dimensions involved. mandated to create as many offices as are possible to
accommodate as many people as are also possible.
Implicit in the petitioner’s invocation of the constitutional That is the meaning of broadening opportunities to public
provision ensuring "equal access to opportunities for public service. So, in order that we should not mandate the
office" is the claim that there is a constitutional right to run for or State to make the government the number one
hold public office and, particularly in his case, to seek the employer and to limit offices only to what may be
presidency. There is none. What is recognized is merely a necessary and expedient yet offering equal
privilege subject to limitations imposed by law. Section 26, Article opportunities to access to it, I change the word
II of the Constitution neither bestows such a right nor elevates "broaden."7 (emphasis supplied)
the privilege to the level of an enforceable right. There is nothing
in the plain language of the provision which suggests such a Obviously, the provision is not intended to compel the State to
thrust or justifies an interpretation of the sort. enact positive measures that would accommodate as many
people as possible into public office. The approval of the "Davide
amendment" indicates the design of the framers to cast the
provision as simply enunciatory of a desired policy objective and Clearly, therefore, petitioner’s reliance on the equal access
not reflective of the imposition of a clear State burden. clause in Section 26, Article II of the Constitution is misplaced.

Moreover, the provision as written leaves much to be desired if it The rationale behind the prohibition against nuisance candidates
is to be regarded as the source of positive rights. It is difficult to and the disqualification of candidates who have not evinced
interpret the clause as operative in the absence of legislation a bona fide intention to run for office is easy to divine. The State
since its effective means and reach are not properly defined. has a compelling interest to ensure that its electoral exercises
Broadly written, the myriad of claims that can be subsumed are rational, objective, and orderly. Towards this end, the State
under this rubric appear to be entirely open-ended.8 Words and takes into account the practical considerations in conducting
phrases such as "equal access," "opportunities," and "public elections. Inevitably, the greater the number of candidates, the
service" are susceptible to countless interpretations owing to greater the opportunities for logistical confusion, not to mention
their inherent impreciseness. Certainly, it was not the intention of the increased allocation of time and resources in preparation for
the framers to inflict on the people an operative but amorphous the election. These practical difficulties should, of course, never
foundation from which innately unenforceable rights may be exempt the State from the conduct of a mandated electoral
sourced. exercise. At the same time, remedial actions should be available
to alleviate these logistical hardships, whenever necessary and
As earlier noted, the privilege of equal access to opportunities to proper. Ultimately, a disorderly election is not merely a textbook
public office may be subjected to limitations. Some valid example of inefficiency, but a rot that erodes faith in our
limitations specifically on the privilege to seek elective office are democratic institutions. As the United States Supreme Court
found in the provisions9 of the Omnibus Election Code on held:
"Nuisance Candidates" and COMELEC Resolution No.
645210 dated December 10, 2002 outlining the instances wherein [T]here is surely an important state interest in requiring
the COMELEC may motu proprio refuse to give due course to or some preliminary showing of a significant modicum of
cancel aCertificate of Candidacy. support before printing the name of a political organization
and its candidates on the ballot – the interest, if no other,
As long as the limitations apply to everybody equally without in avoiding confusion, deception and even frustration of
discrimination, however, the equal access clause is not violated. the democratic [process].11
Equality is not sacrificed as long as the burdens engendered by
the limitations are meant to be borne by any one who is minded The COMELEC itself recognized these practical considerations
to file a certificate of candidacy. In the case at bar, there is no when it promulgated Resolution No. 6558 on 17 January 2004,
showing that any person is exempt from the limitations or the adopting the study Memorandum of its Law Department dated 11
burdens which they create. January 2004. As observed in the COMELEC’s Comment:

Significantly, petitioner does not challenge the constitutionality or There is a need to limit the number of candidates
validity of Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code and especially in the case of candidates for national positions
COMELEC Resolution No. 6452 dated 10 December 2003. because the election process becomes a mockery even if
Thus, their presumed validity stands and has to be accorded due those who cannot clearly wage a national campaign are
weight. allowed to run. Their names would have to be printed in
the Certified List of Candidates, Voters Information Sheet
and the Official Ballots. These would entail additional orderly and credible elections by excising impediments thereto,
costs to the government. For the official ballots in such as nuisance candidacies that distract and detract from the
automated counting and canvassing of votes, an larger purpose. The COMELEC is mandated by the Constitution
additional page would amount to more or less FOUR with the administration of elections16 and endowed with
HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION PESOS (P450,000,000.00). considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will
ensure the promotion of free, orderly and honest
xxx[I]t serves no practical purpose to allow those elections.17 Moreover, the Constitution guarantees that
candidates to continue if they cannot wage a decent only bona fide candidates for public office shall be free from any
campaign enough to project the prospect of winning, no form of harassment and discrimination.18 The determination
matter how slim.12 of bona fidecandidates is governed by the statutes, and the
concept, to our mind is, satisfactorily defined in the Omnibus
The preparation of ballots is but one aspect that would be Election Code.
affected by allowance of "nuisance candidates" to run in the
elections. Our election laws provide various entitlements for Now, the needed factual premises.
candidates for public office, such as watchers in every polling
place,13 watchers in the board of canvassers,14 or even the However valid the law and the COMELEC issuance involved are,
receipt of electoral contributions.15Moreover, there are election their proper application in the case of the petitioner cannot be
rules and regulations the formulations of which are dependent on tested and reviewed by this Court on the basis of what is now
the number of candidates in a given election. before it. The assailed resolutions of the COMELEC do not direct
the Court to the evidence which it considered in determining that
Given these considerations, the ignominious nature of a petitioner was a nuisance candidate. This precludes the Court
nuisance candidacy becomes even more galling. The from reviewing at this instance whether the COMELEC
organization of an election with bona fide candidates standing is committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioner,
onerous enough. To add into the mix candidates with no serious since such a review would necessarily take into account the
intentions or capabilities to run a viable campaign would actually matters which the COMELEC considered in arriving at its
impair the electoral process. This is not to mention the decisions.
candidacies which are palpably ridiculous so as to constitute a
one-note joke. The poll body would be bogged by irrelevant Petitioner has submitted to this Court mere photocopies of
minutiae covering every step of the electoral process, most various documents purportedly evincing his credentials as an
probably posed at the instance of these nuisance candidates. It eligible candidate for the presidency. Yet this Court, not being a
would be a senseless sacrifice on the part of the State. trier of facts, can not properly pass upon the reproductions as
evidence at this level. Neither the COMELEC nor the Solicitor
Owing to the superior interest in ensuring a credible and orderly General appended any document to their respective Comments.
election, the State could exclude nuisance candidates and need
not indulge in, as the song goes, "their trips to the moon on The question of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or
gossamer wings." not is both legal and factual. The basis of the factual
determination is not before this Court. Thus, the remand of this
The Omnibus Election Code and COMELEC Resolution No. case for the reception of further evidence is in order.
6452 are cognizant of the compelling State interest to ensure
A word of caution is in order. What is at stake is petitioner’s THIS case portrays the peculiar story of an international flight
aspiration and offer to serve in the government. It deserves not a steward who was dismissed because of his failure to adhere to
cursory treatment but a hearing which conforms to the the weight standards of the airline company.
requirements of due process.
He is now before this Court via a petition for review on
As to petitioner’s attacks on the validity of the form for the certiorari claiming that he was illegally dismissed. To buttress his
certificate of candidacy, suffice it to say that the form strictly stance, he argues that (1) his dismissal does not fall under
complies with Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code. This 282(e) of the Labor Code; (2) continuing adherence to the weight
provision specifically enumerates what a certificate of candidacy standards of the company is not a bona fide occupational
should contain, with the required information tending to show qualification; and (3) he was discriminated against because other
that the candidate possesses the minimum qualifications for the overweight employees were promoted instead of being
position aspired for as established by the Constitution and other disciplined.
election laws.
After a meticulous consideration of all arguments pro and con,
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, COMELEC Case No. SPP We uphold the legality of dismissal. Separation pay, however,
(MP) No. 04-001 is hereby remanded to the COMELEC for the should be awarded in favor of the employee as an act of social
reception of further evidence, to determine the question on justice or based on equity. This is so because his dismissal is not
whether petitioner Elly Velez Lao Pamatong is a nuisance for serious misconduct. Neither is it reflective of his moral
candidate as contemplated in Section 69 of the Omnibus character.
Election Code.
The Facts
The COMELEC is directed to hold and complete the reception of
evidence and report its findings to this Court with deliberate Petitioner Armando G. Yrasuegui was a former international
dispatch. flight steward of Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL). He stands five
feet and eight inches (5’8") with a large body frame. The proper
SO ORDERED. weight for a man of his height and body structure is from 147 to
166 pounds, the ideal weight being 166 pounds, as mandated by
the Cabin and Crew Administration Manual1 of PAL.

G.R. No. 168081 October 17, 2008 The weight problem of petitioner dates back to 1984. Back then,
PAL advised him to go on an extended vacation leave from
ARMANDO G. YRASUEGUI, petitioners, December 29, 1984 to March 4, 1985 to address his weight
vs. concerns. Apparently, petitioner failed to meet the company’s
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., respondents. weight standards, prompting another leave without pay from
March 5, 1985 to November 1985.
DECISION
After meeting the required weight, petitioner was allowed to
REYES, R.T., J.: return to work. But petitioner’s weight problem recurred. He
again went on leave without pay from October 17, 1988 to Despite the lapse of a ninety-day period given him to reach his
February 1989. ideal weight, petitioner remained overweight. On January 3,
1990, he was informed of the PAL decision for him to remain
On April 26, 1989, petitioner weighed 209 pounds, 43 pounds grounded until such time that he satisfactorily complies with the
over his ideal weight. In line with company policy, he was weight standards. Again, he was directed to report every two
removed from flight duty effective May 6, 1989 to July 3, 1989. weeks for weight checks.
He was formally requested to trim down to his ideal weight and
report for weight checks on several dates. He was also told that Petitioner failed to report for weight checks. Despite that, he was
he may avail of the services of the company physician should he given one more month to comply with the weight requirement. As
wish to do so. He was advised that his case will be evaluated on usual, he was asked to report for weight check on different
July 3, 1989.2 dates. He was reminded that his grounding would continue
pending satisfactory compliance with the weight standards.5
On February 25, 1989, petitioner underwent weight check. It was
discovered that he gained, instead of losing, weight. He was Again, petitioner failed to report for weight checks, although he
overweight at 215 pounds, which is 49 pounds beyond the limit. was seen submitting his passport for processing at the PAL Staff
Consequently, his off-duty status was retained. Service Division.

On October 17, 1989, PAL Line Administrator Gloria Dizon On April 17, 1990, petitioner was formally warned that a
personally visited petitioner at his residence to check on the repeated refusal to report for weight check would be dealt with
progress of his effort to lose weight. Petitioner weighed 217 accordingly. He was given another set of weight check
pounds, gaining 2 pounds from his previous weight. After the dates.6 Again, petitioner ignored the directive and did not report
visit, petitioner made a commitment3 to reduce weight in a letter for weight checks. On June 26, 1990, petitioner was required to
addressed to Cabin Crew Group Manager Augusto Barrios. The explain his refusal to undergo weight checks.7
letter, in full, reads:
When petitioner tipped the scale on July 30, 1990, he weighed
Dear Sir: at 212 pounds. Clearly, he was still way over his ideal weight of
166 pounds.
I would like to guaranty my commitment towards a weight loss
from 217 pounds to 200 pounds from today until 31 Dec. 1989. From then on, nothing was heard from petitioner until he followed
up his case requesting for leniency on the latter part of 1992. He
From thereon, I promise to continue reducing at a reasonable weighed at 219 pounds on August 20, 1992 and 205 pounds on
percentage until such time that my ideal weight is achieved. November 5, 1992.

Likewise, I promise to personally report to your office at the On November 13, 1992, PAL finally served petitioner a Notice of
designated time schedule you will set for my weight check. Administrative Charge for violation of company standards on
weight requirements. He was given ten (10) days from receipt of
Respectfully Yours, the charge within which to file his answer and submit
controverting evidence.8
F/S Armando Yrasuegui4
On December 7, 1992, petitioner submitted his b. Attorney’s fees of five percent (5%) of the total award.
Answer.9 Notably, he did not deny being overweight. What he
claimed, instead, is that his violation, if any, had already been SO ORDERED.14
condoned by PAL since "no action has been taken by the
company" regarding his case "since 1988." He also claimed that The Labor Arbiter held that the weight standards of PAL are
PAL discriminated against him because "the company has not reasonable in view of the nature of the job of
been fair in treating the cabin crew members who are similarly petitioner.15 However, the weight standards need not be
situated." complied with under pain of dismissal since his weight did not
hamper the performance of his duties.16 Assuming that it did,
On December 8, 1992, a clarificatory hearing was held where petitioner could be transferred to other positions where his
petitioner manifested that he was undergoing a weight reduction weight would not be a negative factor.17 Notably, other
program to lose at least two (2) pounds per week so as to attain overweight employees, i.e., Mr. Palacios, Mr. Cui, and Mr.
his ideal weight.10 Barrios, were promoted instead of being disciplined.18

On June 15, 1993, petitioner was formally informed by PAL that Both parties appealed to the National Labor Relations
due to his inability to attain his ideal weight, "and considering the Commission (NLRC).19
utmost leniency" extended to him "which spanned a period
covering a total of almost five (5) years," his services were On October 8, 1999, the Labor Arbiter issued a writ of execution
considered terminated "effective immediately."11 directing the reinstatement of petitioner without loss of seniority
rights and other benefits.20
His motion for reconsideration having been denied,12 petitioner
filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against PAL. On February 1, 2000, the Labor Arbiter denied21 the Motion to
Quash Writ of Execution22 of PAL.
Labor Arbiter, NLRC and CA Dispositions
On March 6, 2000, PAL appealed the denial of its motion to
On November 18, 1998, Labor Arbiter Valentin C. Reyes quash to the NLRC.23
ruled13 that petitioner was illegally dismissed. The dispositive
part of the Arbiter ruling runs as follows: On June 23, 2000, the NLRC rendered judgment24 in the
following tenor:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby
rendered, declaring the complainant’s dismissal illegal, and WHEREFORE, premises considered[,] the Decision of the
ordering the respondent to reinstate him to his former position or Arbiter dated 18 November 1998 as modified by our findings
substantially equivalent one, and to pay him: herein, is hereby AFFIRMED and that part of the dispositive
portion of said decision concerning complainant’s entitlement to
a. Backwages of Php10,500.00 per month from his dismissal on backwages shall be deemed to refer to complainant’s entitlement
June 15, 1993 until reinstated, which for purposes of appeal is to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances and to his other
hereby set from June 15, 1993 up to August 15, 1998 benefits or their monetary equivalent instead of simply
at P651,000.00; backwages, from date of dismissal until his actual reinstatement
or finality hereof. Respondent is enjoined to manifests (sic) its
choice of the form of the reinstatement of complainant, whether considerations"33 in evaluating the evidence of the parties.
physical or through payroll within ten (10) days from notice failing Contrary to the NLRC ruling, the weight standards of PAL are
which, the same shall be deemed as complainant’s meant to be a continuing qualification for an employee’s
reinstatement through payroll and execution in case of non- position.34 The failure to adhere to the weight standards is
payment shall accordingly be issued by the Arbiter. Both appeals an analogous cause for the dismissal of an employee under
of respondent thus, are DISMISSEDfor utter lack of merit.25 Article 282(e) of the Labor Code in relation to Article 282(a). It is
not willful disobedience as the NLRC seemed to suggest.35 Said
According to the NLRC, "obesity, or the tendency to gain weight the CA, "the element of willfulness that the NLRC decision cites
uncontrollably regardless of the amount of food intake, is a is an irrelevant consideration in arriving at a conclusion on
disease in itself."26 As a consequence, there can be no whether the dismissal is legally proper."36 In other words, "the
intentional defiance or serious misconduct by petitioner to the relevant question to ask is not one of willfulness but one of
lawful order of PAL for him to lose weight.27 reasonableness of the standard and whether or not the
employee qualifies or continues to qualify under this standard." 37
Like the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC found the weight standards of
PAL to be reasonable. However, it found as unnecessary the Just like the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, the CA held that the
Labor Arbiter holding that petitioner was not remiss in the weight standards of PAL are reasonable.38 Thus, petitioner was
performance of his duties as flight steward despite being legally dismissed because he repeatedly failed to meet the
overweight. According to the NLRC, the Labor Arbiter should prescribed weight standards.39 It is obvious that the issue of
have limited himself to the issue of whether the failure of discrimination was only invoked by petitioner for purposes of
petitioner to attain his ideal weight constituted willful defiance of escaping the result of his dismissal for being overweight.40
the weight standards of PAL.28
On May 10, 2005, the CA denied petitioner’s motion for
PAL moved for reconsideration to no avail.29 Thus, PAL elevated reconsideration.41 Elaborating on its earlier ruling, the CA held
the matter to the Court of Appeals (CA) via a petition that the weight standards of PAL are a bona fide occupational
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil qualification which, in case of violation, "justifies an employee’s
Procedure.30 separation from the service."42

By Decision dated August 31, 2004, the CA reversed 31 the Issues


NLRC:
In this Rule 45 petition for review, the following issues are posed
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby GRANT the for resolution:
petition. The assailed NLRC decision is declared NULL and
VOID and is hereby SET ASIDE. The private respondent’s I.
complaint is hereby DISMISSED. No costs.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY
SO ORDERED.32 ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER’S OBESITY CAN BE
A GROUND FOR DISMISSAL UNDER PARAGRAPH (e) OF
The CA opined that there was grave abuse of discretion on the ARTICLE 282 OF THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES;
part of the NLRC because it "looked at wrong and irrelevant
II. that establish continuing qualifications for an employee’s
position. In this sense, the failure to maintain these standards
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY does not fall under Article 282(a) whose express terms require
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER’S DISMISSAL FOR the element of willfulness in order to be a ground for dismissal.
OBESITY CAN BE PREDICATED ON THE "BONA FIDE The failure to meet the employer’s qualifying standards is in
OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATION (BFOQ) DEFENSE"; fact a ground that does not squarely fall under grounds (a) to (d)
and is therefore one that falls under Article 282(e) – the "other
III. causes analogous to the foregoing."

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY By its nature, these "qualifying standards" are norms that
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER WAS NOT UNDULY apply prior to and after an employee is hired. They apply prior
DISCRIMINATED AGAINST WHEN HE WAS DISMISSED to employment because these are the standards a job applicant
WHILE OTHER OVERWEIGHT CABIN ATTENDANTS WERE must initially meet in order to be hired. They apply after
EITHER GIVEN FLYING DUTIES OR PROMOTED; hiring because an employee must continue to meet these
standards while on the job in order to keep his job. Under this
IV. perspective, a violation is not one of the faults for which an
employee can be dismissed pursuant to pars. (a) to (d) of Article
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY 282; the employee can be dismissed simply because he no
ERRED WHEN IT BRUSHED ASIDE PETITIONER’S CLAIMS longer "qualifies" for his job irrespective of whether or not the
FOR REINSTATEMENT [AND] WAGES ALLEGEDLY FOR failure to qualify was willful or intentional. x x x45
BEING MOOT AND ACADEMIC.43 (Underscoring supplied)
Petitioner, though, advances a very interesting argument. He
Our Ruling claims that obesity is a "physical abnormality and/or
illness."46 Relying on Nadura v. Benguet Consolidated, Inc.,47 he
I. The obesity of petitioner is a ground for dismissal under says his dismissal is illegal:
Article 282(e) 44 of the Labor Code.
Conscious of the fact that Nadura’s case cannot be made to fall
A reading of the weight standards of PAL would lead to no other squarely within the specific causes enumerated in
conclusion than that they constitute a continuing qualification of subparagraphs 1(a) to (e), Benguet invokes the provisions of
an employee in order to keep the job. Tersely put, an employee subparagraph 1(f) and says that Nadura’s illness – occasional
may be dismissed the moment he is unable to comply with his attacks of asthma – is a cause analogous to them.
ideal weight as prescribed by the weight standards. The
dismissal of the employee would thus fall under Article 282(e) of Even a cursory reading of the legal provision under consideration
the Labor Code. As explained by the CA: is sufficient to convince anyone that, as the trial court said,
"illness cannot be included as an analogous cause by any
x x x [T]he standards violated in this case were not mere "orders" stretch of imagination."
of the employer; they were the "prescribed weights" that a cabin
crew must maintain in order to qualify for and keep his or her It is clear that, except the just cause mentioned in sub-paragraph
position in the company. In other words, they were standards 1(a), all the others expressly enumerated in the law are due to
the voluntary and/or willful act of the employee. How Nadura’s Thus, his fluctuating weight indicates absence of willpower rather
illness could be considered as "analogous" to any of them is than an illness.
beyond our understanding, there being no claim or pretense that
the same was contracted through his own voluntary act. 48 Petitioner cites Bonnie Cook v. State of Rhode Island,
Department of Mental Health, Retardation and
The reliance on Nadura is off-tangent. The factual milieu Hospitals,52decided by the United States Court of Appeals (First
in Nadura is substantially different from the case at Circuit). In that case, Cook worked from 1978 to 1980 and from
bar.First, Nadura was not decided under the Labor Code. The 1981 to 1986 as an institutional attendant for the mentally
law applied in that case was Republic Act (RA) No. retarded at the Ladd Center that was being operated by
1787.Second, the issue of flight safety is absent in Nadura, thus, respondent. She twice resigned voluntarily with an unblemished
the rationale there cannot apply here. Third, in Nadura, the record. Even respondent admitted that her performance met the
employee who was a miner, was laid off from work because of Center’s legitimate expectations. In 1988, Cook re-applied for a
illness, i.e., asthma. Here, petitioner was dismissed for his failure similar position. At that time, "she stood 5’2" tall and weighed
to meet the weight standards of PAL. He was not dismissed due over 320 pounds." Respondent claimed that the morbid obesity
to illness. Fourth, the issue in Nadura is whether or not the of plaintiff compromised her ability to evacuate patients in case
dismissed employee is entitled to separation pay and damages. of emergency and it also put her at greater risk of serious
Here, the issue centers on the propriety of the dismissal of diseases.
petitioner for his failure to meet the weight standards of
PAL. Fifth, inNadura, the employee was not accorded due Cook contended that the action of respondent amounted to
process. Here, petitioner was accorded utmost leniency. He was discrimination on the basis of a handicap. This was in direct
given more than four (4) years to comply with the weight violation of Section 504(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of
standards of PAL. 1973,53 which incorporates the remedies contained in Title VI of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Respondent claimed, however, that
In the case at bar, the evidence on record militates against morbid obesity could never constitute a handicap within the
petitioner’s claims that obesity is a disease. That he was able to purview of the Rehabilitation Act. Among others, obesity is a
reduce his weight from 1984 to 1992 clearly shows that it is mutable condition, thus plaintiff could simply lose weight and rid
possible for him to lose weight given the proper attitude, herself of concomitant disability.
determination, and self-discipline. Indeed, during the clarificatory
hearing on December 8, 1992, petitioner himself claimed that The appellate Court disagreed and held that morbid obesity is a
"[t]he issue is could I bring my weight down to ideal weight which disability under the Rehabilitation Act and that respondent
is 172, then the answer is yes. I can do it now." 49 discriminated against Cook based on "perceived" disability. The
evidence included expert testimony that morbid obesity is a
True, petitioner claims that reducing weight is costing him "a lot physiological disorder. It involves a dysfunction of both the
of expenses."50 However, petitioner has only himself to blame. metabolic system and the neurological appetite – suppressing
He could have easily availed the assistance of the company signal system, which is capable of causing adverse effects within
physician, per the advice of PAL.51 He chose to ignore the the musculoskeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.
suggestion. In fact, he repeatedly failed to report when required Notably, the Court stated that "mutability is relevant only in
to undergo weight checks, without offering a valid explanation. determining the substantiality of the limitation flowing from a
given impairment," thus "mutability only precludes those
conditions that an individual can easily and quickly reverse by Petitioner contends that BFOQ is a statutory defense. It does not
behavioral alteration." exist if there is no statute providing for it.57Further, there is no
existing BFOQ statute that could justify his dismissal.58
Unlike Cook, however, petitioner is not morbidly obese. In the
words of the District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Cook Both arguments must fail.
was sometime before 1978 "at least one hundred pounds more
than what is considered appropriate of her height." According to First, the Constitution,59 the Labor Code,60 and RA No. 727761 or
the Circuit Judge, Cook weighed "over 320 pounds" in 1988. the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons62 contain provisions
Clearly, that is not the case here. At his heaviest, petitioner was similar to BFOQ.
only less than 50 pounds over his ideal weight.
Second, in British Columbia Public Service Employee
In fine, We hold that the obesity of petitioner, when placed in the Commission (BSPSERC) v. The British Columbia Government
context of his work as flight attendant, becomes an analogous and Service Employee’s Union (BCGSEU),63 the Supreme Court
cause under Article 282(e) of the Labor Code that justifies his of Canada adopted the so-called "Meiorin Test" in determining
dismissal from the service. His obesity may not be unintended, whether an employment policy is justified. Under this test, (1) the
but is nonetheless voluntary. As the CA correctly puts it, employer must show that it adopted the standard for a purpose
"[v]oluntariness basically means that the just cause is solely rationally connected to the performance of the job;64 (2) the
attributable to the employee without any external force employer must establish that the standard is reasonably
influencing or controlling his actions. This element runs through necessary65 to the accomplishment of that work-related purpose;
all just causes under Article 282, whether they be in the nature of and (3) the employer must establish that the standard is
a wrongful action or omission. Gross and habitual neglect, a reasonably necessary in order to accomplish the legitimate work-
recognized just cause, is considered voluntary although it lacks related purpose. Similarly, in Star Paper Corporation v.
the element of intent found in Article 282(a), (c), and (d)."54 Simbol,66 this Court held that in order to justify a BFOQ, the
employer must prove that (1) the employment qualification is
II. The dismissal of petitioner can be predicated on the bona fide reasonably related to the essential operation of the job involved;
occupational qualification defense. and (2) that there is factual basis for believing that all or
substantially all persons meeting the qualification would be
Employment in particular jobs may not be limited to persons of a unable to properly perform the duties of the job.67
particular sex, religion, or national origin unless the employer can
show that sex, religion, or national origin is an actual qualification In short, the test of reasonableness of the company policy is
for performing the job. The qualification is called a bona fide used because it is parallel to BFOQ.68 BFOQ is valid "provided it
occupational qualification (BFOQ).55 In the United States, there reflects an inherent quality reasonably necessary for satisfactory
are a few federal and many state job discrimination laws that job performance."69
contain an exception allowing an employer to engage in an
otherwise unlawful form of prohibited discrimination when the In Duncan Association of Detailman-PTGWTO v. Glaxo
action is based on a BFOQ necessary to the normal operation of Wellcome Philippines, Inc.,70 the Court did not hesitate to pass
a business or enterprise.56 upon the validity of a company policy which prohibits its
employees from marrying employees of a rival company. It was
held that the company policy is reasonable considering that its
purpose is the protection of the interests of the company against The task of a cabin crew or flight attendant is not limited to
possible competitor infiltration on its trade secrets and serving meals or attending to the whims and caprices of the
procedures. passengers. The most important activity of the cabin crew is to
care for the safety of passengers and the evacuation of the
Verily, there is no merit to the argument that BFOQ cannot be aircraft when an emergency occurs. Passenger safety goes to
applied if it has no supporting statute. Too, the Labor the core of the job of a cabin attendant. Truly, airlines need cabin
Arbiter,71 NLRC,72 and CA73 are one in holding that the weight attendants who have the necessary strength to open emergency
standards of PAL are reasonable. A common carrier, from the doors, the agility to attend to passengers in cramped working
nature of its business and for reasons of public policy, is bound conditions, and the stamina to withstand grueling flight
to observe extraordinary diligence for the safety of the schedules.
passengers it transports.74 It is bound to carry its passengers
safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the On board an aircraft, the body weight and size of a cabin
utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with due regard for all attendant are important factors to consider in case of
the circumstances.75 emergency. Aircrafts have constricted cabin space, and narrow
aisles and exit doors. Thus, the arguments of respondent that
The law leaves no room for mistake or oversight on the part of a "[w]hether the airline’s flight attendants are overweight or not has
common carrier. Thus, it is only logical to hold that the weight no direct relation to its mission of transporting passengers to
standards of PAL show its effort to comply with the exacting their destination"; and that the weight standards "has nothing to
obligations imposed upon it by law by virtue of being a common do with airworthiness of respondent’s airlines," must fail.
carrier.
The rationale in Western Air Lines v. Criswell76 relied upon by
The business of PAL is air transportation. As such, it has petitioner cannot apply to his case. What was involved there
committed itself to safely transport its passengers. In order to were two (2) airline pilots who were denied reassignment as
achieve this, it must necessarily rely on its employees, most flight engineers upon reaching the age of 60, and a flight
particularly the cabin flight deck crew who are on board the engineer who was forced to retire at age 60. They sued the
aircraft. The weight standards of PAL should be viewed as airline company, alleging that the age-60 retirement for flight
imposing strict norms of discipline upon its employees. engineers violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of
1967. Age-based BFOQ and being overweight are not the same.
In other words, the primary objective of PAL in the imposition of The case of overweight cabin attendants is another matter.
the weight standards for cabin crew is flight safety. It cannot be Given the cramped cabin space and narrow aisles and
gainsaid that cabin attendants must maintain agility at all times in emergency exit doors of the airplane, any overweight cabin
order to inspire passenger confidence on their ability to care for attendant would certainly have difficulty navigating the cramped
the passengers when something goes wrong. It is not farfetched cabin area.
to say that airline companies, just like all common carriers, thrive
due to public confidence on their safety records. People, In short, there is no need to individually evaluate their ability to
especially the riding public, expect no less than that airline perform their task. That an obese cabin attendant occupies more
companies transport their passengers to their respective space than a slim one is an unquestionable fact which courts can
destinations safely and soundly. A lesser performance is judicially recognize without introduction of evidence.77 It would
unacceptable. also be absurd to require airline companies to reconfigure the
aircraft in order to widen the aisles and exit doors just to escape the consequence of dismissal that being overweight
accommodate overweight cabin attendants like petitioner. entailed. It is a confession-and-avoidance position that impliedly
admitted the cause of dismissal, including the reasonableness of
The biggest problem with an overweight cabin attendant is the the applicable standard and the private respondent’s failure to
possibility of impeding passengers from evacuating the aircraft, comply."80 It is a basic rule in evidence that each party must
should the occasion call for it. The job of a cabin attendant prove his affirmative allegation.81
during emergencies is to speedily get the passengers out of the
aircraft safely. Being overweight necessarily impedes mobility. Since the burden of evidence lies with the party who asserts an
Indeed, in an emergency situation, seconds are what cabin affirmative allegation, petitioner has to prove his allegation with
attendants are dealing with, not minutes. Three lost seconds can particularity. There is nothing on the records which could support
translate into three lost lives. Evacuation might slow down just the finding of discriminatory treatment. Petitioner cannot
because a wide-bodied cabin attendant is blocking the narrow establish discrimination by simply naming the supposed cabin
aisles. These possibilities are not remote. attendants who are allegedly similarly situated with him.
Substantial proof must be shown as to how and why they are
Petitioner is also in estoppel. He does not dispute that the weight similarly situated and the differential treatment petitioner got from
standards of PAL were made known to him prior to his PAL despite the similarity of his situation with other employees.
employment. He is presumed to know the weight limit that he
must maintain at all times.78 In fact, never did he question the Indeed, except for pointing out the names of the supposed
authority of PAL when he was repeatedly asked to trim down his overweight cabin attendants, petitioner miserably failed to
weight. Bona fides exigit ut quod convenit fiat. Good faith indicate their respective ideal weights; weights over their ideal
demands that what is agreed upon shall be done. Kung ang tao weights; the periods they were allowed to fly despite their being
ay tapat kanyang tutuparin ang napagkasunduan. overweight; the particular flights assigned to them; the
discriminating treatment they got from PAL; and other relevant
Too, the weight standards of PAL provide for separate weight data that could have adequately established a case of
limitations based on height and body frame for both male and discriminatory treatment by PAL. In the words of the CA, "PAL
female cabin attendants. A progressive discipline is imposed to really had no substantial case of discrimination to meet."82
allow non-compliant cabin attendants sufficient opportunity to
meet the weight standards. Thus, the clear-cut rules obviate any We are not unmindful that findings of facts of administrative
possibility for the commission of abuse or arbitrary action on the agencies, like the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC, are accorded
part of PAL. respect, even finality.83 The reason is simple: administrative
agencies are experts in matters within their specific and
III. Petitioner failed to substantiate his claim that he was specialized jurisdiction.84 But the principle is not a hard and fast
discriminated against by PAL. rule. It only applies if the findings of facts are duly supported by
substantial evidence. If it can be shown that administrative
Petitioner next claims that PAL is using passenger safety as a bodies grossly misappreciated evidence of such nature so as to
convenient excuse to discriminate against him.79 We are compel a conclusion to the contrary, their findings of facts must
constrained, however, to hold otherwise. We agree with the CA necessarily be reversed. Factual findings of administrative
that "[t]he element of discrimination came into play in this case agencies do not have infallibility and must be set aside when
as a secondary position for the private respondent in order to they fail the test of arbitrariness.85
Here, the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC inexplicably reinstatement belongs to the employer. It does not belong to the
misappreciated evidence. We thus annul their findings. employee, to the labor tribunals, or even to the courts.

To make his claim more believable, petitioner invokes the equal Contrary to the allegation of petitioner that PAL "did everything
protection clause guaranty86 of the Constitution. However, in the under the sun" to frustrate his "immediate return to his previous
absence of governmental interference, the liberties guaranteed position,"94 there is evidence that PAL opted to physically
by the Constitution cannot be invoked.87 Put differently, the Bill of reinstate him to a substantially equivalent position in accordance
Rights is not meant to be invoked against acts of private with the order of the Labor Arbiter.95 In fact, petitioner duly
individuals.88 Indeed, the United States Supreme Court, in received the return to work notice on February 23, 2001, as
interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment,89 which is the source of shown by his signature.96
our equal protection guarantee, is consistent in saying that the
equal protection erects no shield against private conduct, Petitioner cannot take refuge in the pronouncements of the Court
however discriminatory or wrongful.90 Private actions, no matter in a case97 that "[t]he unjustified refusal of the employer to
how egregious, cannot violate the equal protection guarantee.91 reinstate the dismissed employee entitles him to payment of his
salaries effective from the time the employer failed to reinstate
IV. The claims of petitioner for reinstatement and wages are him despite the issuance of a writ of execution"98 and ""even if
moot. the order of reinstatement of the Labor Arbiter is reversed on
appeal, it is obligatory on the part of the employer to reinstate
As his last contention, petitioner avers that his claims for and pay the wages of the employee during the period of appeal
reinstatement and wages have not been mooted. He is entitled until reversal by the higher court."99 He failed to prove that he
to reinstatement and his full backwages, "from the time he was complied with the return to work order of PAL. Neither does it
illegally dismissed" up to the time that the NLRC was reversed appear on record that he actually rendered services for PAL from
by the CA.92 the moment he was dismissed, in order to insist on the payment
of his full backwages.
At this point, Article 223 of the Labor Code finds relevance:
In insisting that he be reinstated to his actual position despite
In any event, the decision of the Labor Arbiter reinstating a being overweight, petitioner in effect wants to render the issues
dismissed or separated employee, insofar as the reinstatement in the present case moot. He asks PAL to comply with the
aspect is concerned, shall immediately be executory, even impossible. Time and again, the Court ruled that the law does
pending appeal. The employee shall either be admitted back to not exact compliance with the impossible.100
work under the same terms and conditions prevailing prior to his
dismissal or separation or, at the option of the employer, merely V. Petitioner is entitled to separation pay.
reinstated in the payroll. The posting of a bond by the employer
shall not stay the execution for reinstatement provided herein. Be that as it may, all is not lost for petitioner.

The law is very clear. Although an award or order of Normally, a legally dismissed employee is not entitled to
reinstatement is self-executory and does not require a writ of separation pay. This may be deduced from the language of
execution,93 the option to exercise actual reinstatement or payroll Article 279 of the Labor Code that "[a]n employee who is unjustly
dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without
loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full
backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or
their monetary equivalent computed from the time his
compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual
reinstatement." Luckily for petitioner, this is not an ironclad rule.

Exceptionally, separation pay is granted to a legally dismissed


employee as an act "social justice,"101 or based on "equity."102 In
both instances, it is required that the dismissal (1) was not for
serious misconduct; and (2) does not reflect on the moral
character of the employee.103

Here, We grant petitioner separation pay equivalent to one-half


(1/2) month’s pay for every year of service.104 It should include
regular allowances which he might have been receiving.105 We
are not blind to the fact that he was not dismissed for any serious
misconduct or to any act which would reflect on his moral
character. We also recognize that his employment with PAL
lasted for more or less a decade.

WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals


is AFFIRMED but MODIFIED in that petitioner Armando G.
Yrasuegui is entitled to separation pay in an amount equivalent
to one-half (1/2) month’s pay for every year of service, which
should include his regular allowances.

SO ORDERED.