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PEOPLE vs.

CATANTAN
G.R. No. 118075 September 5, 1997

BRIEF
This is an appeal of the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu on the conviction of accused Catantan and Ursalof
the crime of Piracy.

FACTS
The Pilapil brothers - Eugene and Juan Jr. were fishing in the sea some 3 kilometers away from the shores of Tabogon,
Cebu when accused Emiliano Catantan and Jose Macven Ursal, boarded the pumpboat of the Pilapils and Catantan
leveled his gun on the Pilapils.

As the pumpboat of the Pilapil breaks donw, Catantan boarded another pumpboat and ordered the operator Juanito to
take them to Mungaz, Cebu.

The new pumpboat ran out of gas and the accused were apprehended by the police soon after the Pilapils reported the
matter to the local authorities.

ISSUE/S of the CASE


Whether accused-appellant committed grave coercion or Piracy under PD 532.

ACTIONS of the COURT


RTC: Appellants were convicted of the crime of Piracy under PD532.
Sentenced them to reclusion perpetua.
SC: The decision of the RTC is AFFIRMED.

COURT RATIONALE ON THE ABOVE FACTS

Accused-appellant argues that in order that piracy may be committed it is essential that there be an attack on or seizure of
a vessel. He claims that he and his companion did not attack or seize the fishing boat of the Pilapil brothers by using force
or intimidation but merely boarded the boat, and it was only when they were already on board that they used force to
compel the Pilapils to take them to some other place. Appellant also insists that he and Ursal had no intention of
permanently taking possession or depriving complainants of their boat. As a matter of fact, when they saw another
pumpboat they ordered the brothers right away to approach that boat so they could leave the Pilapils behind in their boat.
Accordingly, appellant claims, he simply committed grave coercion and not piracy.

The Court does not agree on the contention of the appellant that the facts constitute grave coercion defined in Art. 286 of
the Revised Penal Code and not piracy under PD No. 532.

Under the definition of piracy in PD No. 532 as well as grave coercion as penalized in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code,
this case falls squarely within the purview of piracy. While it may be true that Pilapil brothers were compelled to go
elsewhere other than their place of destination, such compulsion was obviously part of the act of seizing their boat.

Section 2, par. (d), of PD No. 532, defines piracy as "any attack upon or seizure of any vessel, xxx by means of violence
against or intimidation of persons or force upon things, committed by any person, xxx in Philippine waters, shall be
considered as piracy. The offenders shall be considered as pirates and punished as hereinafter provided."

On the other hand, grave coercion as defined in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code is committed by "any person who,
without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent another from doing something not prohibited by law, or
compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong."

To sustain the defense and convert this case of piracy into one of grave coercion would be to ignore the fact that a fishing
vessel cruising in Philippine waters was seized by the accused by means of violence against or intimidation of persons.

The fact that the revolver used by the appellant to seize the boat was not produced in evidence cannot exculpate him from
the crime. The fact remains, and we state it again, that Catantan and his co-accused Ursal seized through force and
intimidation the pumpboat of the Pilapils while the latter were fishing in Philippine waters.

SUPREME COURT RULING:


WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the conviction of accused-appellant EMILIANO
CATANTAN y TAYONG for the crime of piracy penalized under PD No. 532 and sentencing him accordingly to reclusion
perpetua, is AFFIRMED. Costs against accused-appellant.
PEOPLE vs. TULIN
G.R. No. 111709, 30 August 2001

FACTS
M/T Tabangao, a cargo vessel (loaded with P40.427M petroleum products) owned by the PNOC Shipping and Transport
Corporation, was sailing off the coast of Mindoro near Silonay Island when it was suddenly boarded by seven (7) armed
pirates led by Emilio Changco, older brother of accused-appellant Cecilio Changco. The pirates detained the crew and
took complete control of the vessel. Accused-appellant Loyola ordered three crew members to paint over “M/T Tabangao”
and the PNOC logo with the name “M/T Galilee”, with registry at San Lorenzo, Honduras. The crew was forced to sail to
Singapore while sneding misleading radio messages to PNOC that the ship was undergoing repairs.

Upon losing contact with the vessel, PNOC reported its disappearance with the Phil. Coast Guard, Phil. Air Force and
Phil. Navy, who conducted a search and rescue operation to no avail. The ship finally arrived in the vicinity of Singapore
and cruised around the area but was forced to return to the Philippines upon failure of an awaited vessel to arrive. They
arrived at Calatagan, Batangas on 20 March 1991 where vessel remained at sea. Subsequently, “M/T Tabangao” (now
“M/T Galilee”) sailed again and anchored 10-18 nautical miles from Singapore’s shoreline. Another vessel called “Navi
Pride” anchored beside it. Emilio Changco ordered “M/T Tabangao’s” crew to transfer the vessel’s cargo to the hold of
“Navi Pride”, supervised by accused-appellant Cheong San Hiong. The transfer was completed on 30 March 1991, after
which “M/T Tabangao” let for Calatagan. Batangas, which arrived on 08 Apri 1991. The vessel remained at sea.

The members of the crew were then released by batches, with a warning not to report the incident to PNOC until 12 April
1991, under threats of death. They were fetched by Cecilio Changco and given P20,000 for their fare. Two days after, the
Chief Engineer and some crew members reported the incident to PNOC and the NBI. Accused-appellants Tulin, Infante,
Jr., Loyola, Hiong, and Changco were charged with qualified piracy or violation of PD No. 532 (Piracy in Philippine
Waters). They were convicted by the RTC Manila. The matter was then elevated to this Court.

Cheong argues that the trial court erred in convicting and punishing him as an accomplice when the acts allegedly
committed by him were done or executed outside of Philippine waters and territory, stripping the Philippine courts of
jurisdiction to hold him for trial, to convict, and sentence. As legal basis for his appeal, he explains that he was charged
under the information with qualified piracy as principal under Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 532 which refers to
Philippine waters. In the case at bar, he argues that he was convicted for acts done outside Philippine waters or territory.
For the State to have criminal jurisdiction, the act must have been committed within its territory.

RELEVANT ISSUE AND RULING


Can accused-appellant Cheong be convicted when the acts allegedly committed by him were done or executed outside
Philippine waters and territory? - YES

RATIO
The attack on and seizure of "M/T Tabangao" (renamed "M/T Galilee" by the pirates) and its cargo were committed in
Philippine waters, although the captive vessel was later brought by the pirates to Singapore where its cargo was off-
loaded, transferred, and sold. And such transfer was done under accused-appellant Hiong's direct supervision. Although
Presidential Decree No. 532 requires that the attack and seizure of the vessel and its cargo be committed in Philippine
waters, the disposition by the pirates of the vessel and its cargo is still deemed part of the act of piracy, hence, the same
need not be committed in Philippine waters.

Moreover, piracy falls under Title One of Book Two of the Revised Penal Code. As such, it is an exception to the rule on
territoriality in criminal law. The same principle applies even if Hiong, in the instant case, were charged, not with a
violation of qualified piracy under the penal code but under a special law, Presidential Decree No. 532 which penalizes
piracy in Philippine waters. Verily, Presidential Decree No. 532 should be applied with more force here since its purpose is
precisely to discourage and prevent piracy in Philippine waters. It is likewise, well-settled that regardless of the law
penalizing the same, piracy is a reprehensible crime against the whole world.

DISPOSITION
WHEREFORE, finding the conviction of accused-appellants justified by the evidence on record, the Court hereby
AFFIRMS the judgment of the trial court in toto.
People vs. Puno
G.R. No. 97471 February 17, 1993

Topic: Mental Element (Mens rea) -- Deliberate intent (Dolo) -- General and specific intent

Facts:
 January 13, 1988 in QC, at around 5:00 pm: the accused Isabelo Puno, who is the personal driver of Mrs.
Sarmiento's husband (who was then away in Davao purportedly on account of local election there) arrived at Mrs.
Sarmiento's bakeshop in Araneta Ave, QC
 He told Mrs. Sarmiento that her own driver Fred had to go to Pampanga on an emergency so Isabelo will
temporarily take his place
 When it was time for Mrs. Sarmiento to go home to Valle Verde in Pasig, she got into her husband's Mercedes
Benz with Isabelo driving
 After the car turned right on a corner of Araneta Ave, it stopped and a young man, accused Enrique Amurao,
boarded the car beside the driver
 Enrique pointed a gun at Mrs. Sarmiento as Isabelo told her that he needs to "get money" from her
 Mrs. Sarmiento had P7,000 on her bag which she handed to the accused
 But the accused said that they wanted P100,000 more
 The car sped off north towards the North superhighway where Isabelo asked Mrs. Sarmiento to issue a check for
P100,000
 Mrs. Sarmiento drafted 3 checks: two P30,000 checks and one P40,000 check
 Isabelo then turned the car around towards Metro Manila; later, he changed his mind and turned the car again
towards Pampanga
 According to her, Mrs. Sarmiento jumped out of the car then, crossed to the other side of the superhighway and
was able to flag down a fish vendor's van, her dress had blood because according to her, she fell down on the
ground and was injured when she jumped out of the car
 The defense does not dispute the above narrative of the complainant except that according to Isabelo, he stopped
the car at North Diversion and freely allowed Mrs. Sarmiento to step out of the car
 He said he even slowed the car down as he drove away, until he saw that his employer had gotten a ride
 He claimed that she fell down when she stubbed her toe while running across the highway

Issue:
1. Whether or not the accused can be convicted of kidnapping for ransom as charged
2. Whether or not the said robbery can be classified as "highway robbery" under PD No. 532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-
Highway Robbery Law of 1974)

Holding:
1. No.
2. No.

Ratio:
1. There is no showing whatsoever that appellants had any motive, nurtured prior to or at the time they
committed the wrongful acts against complainant, other than the extortion of money from her under the
compulsion of threats or intimidation.
 For this crime to exist, there must be indubitable proof that the actual intent of the malefactors was to
deprive the offended party of her liberty
 In the case, the restraint of her freedom of action was merely an incident in the commission of another
offense primarily intended by the offenders
 This does not constitute kidnapping or serious illegal detention
2. Jurisprudence reveals that during the early part of the American occupation of our country, roving bands were
organized for robbery and pillage and since the then existing law against robbery was inadequate to cope with
such moving bands of outlaws, the Brigandage Law was passed (this is the origin of the law on highway robbery)
 PD No. 532 punishes as highway robbery only acts of robbery perpetrated by outlaws indiscriminately
against any person or persons on Philippine highways and not acts of robbery committed against only a
predetermined or particular victim
 The mere fact that the robbery was committed inside a car which was casually operating on a
highway does not make PD No 532 applicable to the case
 This is not justified by the accused's intention
Accused-appellants convicted of robbery (indeterminate sentence of 4 years and 2 months or prision correccional, as
minimum, to 10 years of prision mayor. Accused to pay Mrs. Sarmiento P7,000 as actual damages and P20,000 as moral
damages.)