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and stomach resulting to the death of said Renato Suba to

EDGAR CRISOSTOMO, petitioner, vs. the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the latter.
SANDIGANBAYAN, respondent.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
DECISION

CARPIO, J.: Arraignment and Plea

The Case On 15 December 1993, Crisostomo assisted by


counsel, pleaded not guilty to the crime
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 65 of the charged.[3] Thereafter, trial ensued.
Revised Rules on Civil Procedure of
the Sandiganbayan Resolutions promulgated on 17 Version of the Prosecution
September 2001 and 14 January 2002, denying the Motion
for Reconsideration filed by petitioner SPO1 Edgar On 13 February 1989, Renato was detained at the
Crisostomo (Crisostomo) assailing the courts municipal jail in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya for allegedly hitting
Decision[1] promulgated on 28 November 2000. The the head of one Diosdado Lacangan. The following day, 14
Decision found Crisostomo guilty of the crime of murder February 1989, at 5:00 p.m., Renatos brother Rizalino Suba
and sentenced him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of (Rizalino) visited him at the municipal jail. Renato asked
twelve (12) years, five (5) months and eleven (11) days Rizalino to bring him blanket, toothbrush, clothes and food.
of prision mayor as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight Rizalino left the municipal jail that day at 5:20 p.m. At that
(8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as time, Renato was in good physical condition and did not
maximum. complain of any bodily pain. Renato was 26 years old,
single, and was employed in a logging concession.
The Charge
At 9:00 p.m., a barangay councilman informed
Rizalino that policemen assigned at the Solano municipal
On 19 October 1993, Crisostomo, a member of the jail wanted Rizalino to go to the municipal building. Rizalino
Philippine National Police and a jail guard at the Solano arrived at the municipal jail at 9:10 p.m. and saw his brother
Municipal Jail was charged with the murder of Renato Suba Renato already dead on the floor outside his cell.
(Renato), a detention prisoner at the Solano Municipal Jail.
The Information alleged that Crisostomo conspired with his Renato was detained alone in the third cell, one of the
co-accused, Dominador C. dela Cruz (dela Cruz), Efren M. four cells at the municipal jail. Although each of the four
Perez (Perez), Raki T. Anggo (Anggo), Randy A. Lumabo cells had an iron grill door equipped with a padlock, the
(Lumabo), Rolando M. Norberte (Norberte) and Mario doors were usually left open. The keys to the padlocks were
Calingayan (Calingayan), all inmates at the Solano Municipal with the jail guard. There was a common front door, which
Jail, in murdering Renato. The Information reads in full: no one could enter but the jail guard. Only one jail guard at
a time was assigned at the municipal jail. Crisostomo was
That on or about the 14th day of February 1989, in Solano, the one on duty at the time of the death of Renato. At no
Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of time was Renato brought out of the cell during his
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused Pat. Edgar detention on 13 February 1989 until his death in the
T. Crisostomo, a public officer, being then a member of the evening of the following day. Crisostomos position in
Philippine National Police (PNP) stationed at Solano Police relation to the cell where the victim was killed was such that
Station and a jailer thereat, taking advantage of his public Crisostomo as jail guard could have heard if not seen what
position and thus committing the offense in relation to his was going on inside the cell at the time that Renato was
office, conspiring, confederating and conniving with his co- killed.
accused who are inmates of the Solano Municipal Jail, There are unexplained discrepancies in the list of
namely: Dominador C. dela Cruz, Efren M. Perez, Raki T. detainees/prisoners and police blotter. The list of
Anggo, Randy A. Lumabo, Rolando M. Norberte and Mario detainees/prisoners dated 20 February 1989 shows that
B. Calingayan, with intent to kill and with treachery, taking there were eight prisoners on 14 February 1989, including
advantage of superior strength and with the aid of armed Renato, but after Renatos death, only six were turned over
men or employing means to weaken the defense or of by Crisostomo to the incoming jail guard. On 15 February
means or persons to insure or afford impunity, did then 1989, nine prisoners/detainees were on the list, including
and there wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously attack and Renato who was already dead. However, the police blotter
assault one Renato Suba, a detention prisoner, with the shows that only six prisoners were under custody. The
use of rough-surfaced instruments, including fist blows, persons who were detained with Renato at the time of his
inflicting upon him serious injuries causing his internal death were released without being investigated by the
organs to be badly damaged such as his liver, messentery Solano police.
Renato did not commit suicide. His body bore dark place. The other inmates ran towards the place and
extensive injuries that could have been inflicted by several shouted si kuwan, si kuwan. Crisostomo was in the room at
persons. The exhumation and autopsy reports ruled out the left side from where Calingayan was detained, about
suicide as the cause of Renatos death. The deafening silence fifteen meters away. Upon hearing the shouts, Crisostomo
of the inmates and the jail guard, Crisostomo, point to a opened the main door. Once inside the cell, Crisostomo
conspiracy. Crisostomos guilt is made apparent when he instructed the inmates to bring down Renatos body that
jumped bail during trial. was hanging from the iron bars of the window of the cell. At
that time, Calingayan did not notice what was used in
Version of the Defense hanging Renato but when the body was brought outside,
Calingayan saw that Renato had hanged himself with a thin
blanket.
The presentation of evidence for Crisostomos
defense was deemed waived for his failure to appear at the The four cells are not similar in area and size. The cell
scheduled hearings despite notice. where Renato stayed is the smallest. The cells are separated
by a partition made of hollow blocks as high as the ceiling.
Calingayan, Crisostomos co-accused, was the sole The four cells are in one line so that if you are in one cell
witness for the defense. Calingayan was only 16 years old you cannot see what is happening in the other cells. The
at the time that he was charged with the murder of Renato. inmates could go to any of the four cells in the prison but
Calingayan denied killing Renato. they could not get out of the main door without the
Calingayan was detained at the Solano Municipal Jail permission of the jail guard. The comfort room is in the
on 12 February 1989 because his brother-in-law, Patrolman fourth cell, which is also open so that the inmates would not
Feliciano Leal (Leal), also a jail guard, had him arrested for anymore ask for the key from the office of the jail guard.
pawning some of the belongings of Leal. Leal told The blanket that Renato used to hang himself was
Calingayan that he had him detained for safekeeping to tied to the iron grills of the window of the cell. The window
teach him a lesson. is small, only about two feet by one and one-half feet with
Renato was detained on 13 February 1989. eight iron bars. The window is nine feet from the floor.
Calingayan learned that Renato was detained for hitting No other person was admitted on 14 February 1989.
somebodys head. Calingayan does not have a grudge against Renato. He could
There were four cells at the municipal jail. Calingayan not recall if there was any untoward incident between
was detained with five other inmates in the second cell. Renato and the other inmates. The Solano police
Renato was detained alone in the third cell. The four cells investigated Calingayan the next morning.
had their own separate doors with padlocks but each door
was always open. It was up to the inmates to close the The Ruling of the Sandiganbayan
doors. A common door leading to the four cells was always
padlocked and no one could enter the door without the jail Only Crisostomo and Calingayan stood trial. The other
guards permission. The jail guard had the keys to the cells accused, dela Cruz, Perez, Anggo, Lumabo and Norberte
and the common door. Only one jail guard was assigned to were at large. The Sandiganbayan found sufficient
guard the cells. Crisostomo was the jail guard on duty at the circumstantial evidence to convict Crisostomo and
time that Renato died. Calingayan of murder. The Sandiganbayan relied on the
Calingayan was in jail for three days or until 15 autopsy and exhumation reports in disregarding the
February 1989. Calingayan last saw Renato alive between 5 defense theory that Renato committed suicide by hanging
to 6 p.m. of 14 February 1989. Just as Calingayan was about himself with a blanket. The Sandiganbayan thus held:
to take a bath after 6 p.m., he saw Renato lying down. One
of the inmates asked for Renatos food because he did not Premises considered, accused Edgar Crisostomo and Mario
like to eat his food. After taking a bath, Calingayan went Calingayan are hereby found guilty of the crime of murder.
back to his cell and played cards with his three cellmates
whose names he could not recall. Calingayan did not leave xxx
his cell during the four hours that he played cards but one
of his cellmates went out.
There being no attending mitigating or aggravating
Calingayan discovered Renatos body on 14 February circumstance in the case of accused Edgar Crisostomo, and
1989 between 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Calingayan went to taking into consideration the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
the fourth cell, where the comfort room was located, to he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of
urinate. While urinating, Calingayan saw at the corner of imprisonment for the period from twelve (12) years, five
the cell a shadow beside him. A bulb at the alley lighted the (5) months and eleven (11) days of prision mayor,
cell. Calingayan ran away and called the other inmates, minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months and
telling them that the person in cell number four was in the one (1) day of reclusion temporal, maximum.
xxx factual averments is merely a conclusion of law, not a
factual averment that would show the close intimacy
As to the other accused, Dominador C. Dela Cruz, Efren M. between the offense charged and the discharge of
Perez, Raki T. Anggo, Randy A. Lumabo and Rolando M. Crisostomos official duties.
Norberte, considering they are still at-large up to the
present time, let an alias warrant of arrest be issued
against them. In the meantime, the cases against them are We are not convinced.
hereby ordered archived.
Since the crime was committed on 14 February 1989,
the applicable provision of law is Section 4 of PD 1606, as
SO ORDERED.[4] amended by Presidential Decree No. 1861 (PD 1861), which
took effect on 23 March 1983. The amended provision
The Issues reads:

Crisostomo continues to assail the Sandiganbayans Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
jurisdiction. He raises the following issues: (a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

WHETHER THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS JURISDICTION OVER xxx


THE CRIME OF MURDER CHARGED AGAINST CRISOSTOMO
WHO IS A SENIOR POLICE OFFICER 1 (SPO1) AT THE TIME (2) Other offenses or felonies committed
OF THE FILING OF THE INFORMATION AGAINST HIM. by public officers and employees in relation to
their office, including those employed in
EVEN ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE RESPONDENT government-owned or controlled corporations,
COURT HAS JURISDICTION, WHETHER THE whether simple or complexed with other crimes,
SANDIGANBAYAN COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF where the penalty prescribed by law is higher
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF than prision correccional or imprisonment for six
JURISDICTION WHEN IT RULED THAT CRISOSTOMO IS (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00: PROVIDED,
GUILTY OF HAVING CONSPIRED IN THE MURDER OF HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned
RENATO DESPITE THE SANDIGANBAYANS ADMISSION IN in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed
ITS DECISION THAT THERE IS NO DIRECT EVIDENCE THAT by law does not exceed prision correccional or
WILL SHOW THE PARTICIPATION OF CRISOSTOMO IN THE imprisonment for six (6) years or a fine
DEATH OF THE VICTIM.[5] of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial
The Courts Ruling
Court.

The Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction to try the case. Crisostomo was charged with murder, the penalty for which
However, the prosecution failed to prove Crisostomo and is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, a
Calingayans guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, we acquit penalty within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Crisostomo and Calingayan.
Crisostomo would have the Court believe that being a
The Sandiganbayan had Jurisdiction to Try the Case jail guard is a mere incidental circumstance that bears no
Crisostomo argues that the Sandiganbayan was close intimacy with the commission of murder. Crisostomos
without jurisdiction to try the case. Crisostomo points out theory would have been tenable if the murdered victim was
that the crime of murder is not listed in Section 4 of not a prisoner under his custody as a jail guard. The function
Presidential Decree No. 1606 (PD 1606) as one of the crimes of a jail guard is to insure the safe custody and
that the Sandiganbayan can try. Crisostomo faults the proper confinement of persons detained in the jail. In this
Sandiganbayan for not applying the ruling in Sanchez v. case, the Information alleges that the victim was a
Demetriou[6] to this case. In Sanchez v. Demetriou, the detention prisoner when Crisostomo, the jail guard,
Court ruled that public office must be a constituent element conspired with the inmates to kill him.
of the crime as defined in the statute before the Indeed, murder and homicide will never be the main
Sandiganbayan could acquire jurisdiction over a case. function of any public office. No public office will ever be a
Crisostomo insists that there is no direct relation between constituent element of murder. When then would murder
the commission of murder and Crisostomos public office. or homicide, committed by a public officer, fall within the
Crisostomo further contends that the mere allegation in the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the
Information that the offense was committed in relation to Sandiganbayan? People v. Montejo[7] provides the answer.
Crisostomos office is not sufficient to confer jurisdiction on The Court explained that a public officer commits an
the Sandiganbayan. Such allegation without the specific
offense in relation to his office if he perpetrates the offense should allege that the accused public officer committed the
while performing, though in an improper or irregular offense in relation to his office before the Sandiganbayan
manner, his official functions and he cannot commit the could assume jurisdiction over the case. The ruling
offense without holding his public office. In such a case, in Deloso v. Domingo relied solely on PD 1606.
there is an intimate connection between the offense and
the office of the accused. If the information alleges the Aguinaldo v. Domagas,[9] promulgated on 26
close connection between the offense charged and the September 1991, modified Deloso v. Domingo. Aguinaldo
office of the accused, the case falls within the jurisdiction of v. Domagas clarified that offenses specified in Section
the Sandiganbayan. People v. Montejo is an exception 4(a)(2) of PD 1606, as amended by PD 1861, must be
that Sanchez v. Demetriou recognized. committed by public officers and employees in relation to
their office and the information must allege this fact. The
Thus, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over this succeeding cases of Sanchez v.
case will stand or fall on this test: Does the Information Demetriou[10] and Natividad v. Felix,[11] reiterated
allege a close or intimate connection between the offense the Aguinaldo v. Domagas ruling.
charged and Crisostomos public office?
However, despite the subsequent cases
The Information passes the test. clarifying Deloso v. Domingo, the Court in Republic v.
Asuncion,[12] promulgated on 11 March 1994, applied the
The Information alleged that Crisostomo a public ruling in Deloso v. Domingo. Since the effects of the
officer, being then a member of the Philippine National misapprehension of Deloso v. Domingo doctrine were still
Police (PNP) stationed at Solano Police Station and persistent, the Court set out the following directives
a jailer thereat, taking advantage of his public position and in Republic v. Asuncion:
thus committing the offense in relation to his office
conspired, confederated and connived with his co-accused
who are inmates of the Solano Municipal Jail to kill Renato, The dismissal then of Criminal Case No. Q-91-23224 solely
a detention prisoner. on the basis of Deloso vs. Domingo was erroneous. In the
light of Aguinaldo and Sanchez, and considering the
If the victim were not a prisoner, the Information absence of any allegation in the information that the
would have to state particularly the intimate relationship offense was committed by private respondent in relation
between the offense charged and the accused public to his office, it would even appear that the RTC has
officers office to vest jurisdiction on the Sandiganbayan. exclusive jurisdiction over the case. However, it may yet be
This is not the case here. The law restrains the liberty of a true that the crime of homicide charged therein was
prisoner and puts him under the custody and watchful eyes committed by the private respondent in relation to his
of his jail guard. Again, the two-fold duties of a jail guard are office, which fact, however, was not alleged in the
to insure the safe custody and proper confinement of information probably because Deloso vs. Domingo did not
persons detained in the jail. The law restricts access to a require such an allegation. In view of this eventuality and
prisoner. However, because of the very nature of the work the special circumstances of this case, and to avoid further
of a jail guard, he has access to the prisoner. Crisostomo, as delay, if not confusion, we shall direct the court a quo to
the jail guard, could not have conspired with the inmates conduct a preliminary hearing in this case to determine
to murder the detention prisoner in his cell if Crisostomo whether the crime charged in Criminal Case No. Q-91-
were not a jailer. 23224 was committed by the private respondent in
relation to his office. If it be determined in the affirmative,
The Information accused Crisostomo of murdering a then it shall order the transfer of the case to the
detention prisoner, a crime that collides directly with Sandiganbayan which shall forthwith docket and proceed
Crisostomos office as a jail guard who has the duty to insure with the case as if the same were originally filed with it.
the safe custody of the prisoner. Crisostomos purported act Otherwise, the court a quo shall set aside the challenged
of killing a detention prisoner, while irregular and contrary orders, proceed with the trial of the case, and render
to Crisostomos duties, was committed while he was judgment thereon.
performing his official functions. The Information
sufficiently apprised Crisostomo that he stood accused of
Republic v. Asuncion ordered the trial court to conduct a
committing the crime in relation to his office, a case that is
preliminary hearing to determine whether the accused
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, not the Regional Trial
public officer committed the crime charged while
Court. There was no prejudice to Crisostomos substantive
performing his office. If so, the trial court must order the
rights.
transfer of the case to the Sandiganbayan as if the same
Assuming that the Information failed to allege that were originally filed with the Sandiganbayan.
Crisostomo committed the crime in relation to his office,
In the present case, the Information was filed with the
the Sandiganbayan still had jurisdiction to try the case. The
Sandiganbayan upon the recommendation of the Office of
Information was filed with the Sandiganbayan on 19
the Deputy Ombudsman in a Resolution dated 30 June
October 1993. Deloso v. Domingo,[8] promulgated on 21
1993. That Crisostomo committed the crime in relation to
November 1990, did not require that the information
his office can be gleaned from the Deputy Ombudsmans deliberate act of the malefactor, intent to kill is conclusively
resolution as it stated that: (1) Crisostomo was the jail guard presumed.[19]
on duty at the time that Renato was killed; (2) from the time
that Crisostomo assumed his duty up to the discovery of The prosecution established that Renato did not
Renatos body, no one had entered the jail and no one could commit suicide. Witnesses for the prosecution vouched
enter the jail, as it was always locked, without the that Renato was in good health prior to his death.
permission of the jail guard; (3) the key is always with the Calingayan, the sole witness for the defense, did not point
jail guard; (4) Renato sustained severe and multiple injuries out that there was any thing wrong with Renato prior to his
inflicted by two or more persons indicating conspiracy; and death. The autopsy and exhumation reports debunked the
(5) the relative position of the jail guard to the cell is in such defenses theory that Renato hanged himself to death.
a way that any activity inside the cell could be heard if not Renatos injuries were so massive and grave that it would
seen by the jail guard. have been impossible for these injuries to have been self-
inflicted by Renato.
Based on the foregoing findings, as well as on
the Deloso v. Domingo ruling and the Courts instructions The extent of Renatos injuries indicates the
in Republic v. Asuncion, the Sandiganbayan had every perpetrators deliberate intent to kill him. Dr. Ruben M.
reason to assume jurisdiction over this case. Crisostomo Agobung (Dr. Agobung), the NBI Medico Legal
waited until the very last stage of this case, the rendition of Officer[20] who exhumed and re-autopsied Renatos body,
the verdict, before he questioned the Sandiganbayans stated in his affidavit[21] that Renato sustained several
jurisdiction. Crisostomo is already estopped from external and internal injuries, the most significant of which
questioning the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.[13] are the ruptured liver, torn messentery and torn stomach.
The injuries caused massive intra-abdominal hemorrhage
Crisostomos Guilt was not Proven Beyond that ultimately caused Renatos death. Dr. Agobung further
Reasonable Doubt declared that Renatos injuries could bring about death in a
matter of minutes to a few hours from the time of infliction,
In the exercise of the Courts judicial discretion, this if not promptly and properly attended to by a competent
petition for certiorari will be treated as an appeal from the surgeon.
decision of the Sandiganbayan to prevent the manifest
miscarriage of justice[14] in a criminal case involving a capital Renatos internal injuries were so severe that the
offense. An appeal in a criminal case opens the entire case injuries could not have been sustained prior to his
for review.[15] The reviewing tribunal can correct errors detention at the Solano Municipal Jail. If this were so,
though unassigned in the appeal, or even reverse the lower Renato would have experienced continuous and severe
courts decision on grounds other than those the parties body pains and he would have fallen into shock, which
raised as errors.[16] could have been obvious even to those who are not
doctors. Dr. Agobung also concluded that Renatos injuries
In this case, the prosecution had the burden to prove could have been inflicted by the application of considerable
first, the conspiracy to murder Renato, and second, force with the use of a hard and rough surface as well as
Crisostomos complicity in the conspiracy. The prosecution hard smooth surface instruments, fist blows included.
must prove that Renatos death was not the result of suicide
but was produced by a deliberate intent to kill him with the While the blanket that was tied around Renatos neck
attendant circumstances that would qualify the killing to caused abrasion and contusion on the neck area, these
murder. Since Crisostomo had no direct hand in the killing injuries, however, did not cause Renatos death because the
of Renato, the conviction could only be sustained if the blood vessels on his neck were still intact.[22] The
murder was carried out through a conspiracy between Exhumation Report[23] and Exhumation Findings[24] stated
Crisostomo and his co-accused, the inmates. It must be that Renato died due to hemorrhagic shock, secondary to
proven beyond reasonable doubt that Crisostomos action multiple internal organ injuries. These findings lead to the
and inaction were all part of a scheme to murder Renato. inevitable conclusion that Renato was killed with deliberate
intent and his body was hanged just to simulate suicide.
Renato was Killed with Deliberate Intent Prosecution Failed to Prove Crisostomos
Involvement in the Killing
To prove that Renatos death is a case of homicide or
No direct evidence linked Crisostomo to the killing of
murder, there must be incontrovertible evidence, direct or
Renato. The prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence
circumstantial, that he was deliberately killed.[17] Intent to
to prove that there was a conspiracy to kill Renato and
kill can be deduced from the weapons used by the
Crisostomo participated in carrying out the conspiracy.
malefactors, the nature, location and number of wounds
Circumstantial evidence consists of proof of collateral facts
sustained by the victim and the words uttered by the
and circumstances from which the existence of the main
malefactors before, at the time or immediately after the
fact may be inferred according to reason and common
killing of the victim.[18] If the victim dies because of a
experience.[25] Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of
Evidence states that circumstantial evidence is sufficient if:
(a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from 8. The four (4) cells, although having their own separate
which the inferences are derived are proven; (c) the doors, made of iron grills and equipped each with a
combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce padlock, were always open; that it was up to them
a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. whether to close the doors; that the keys of the padlocks
are held by the guard; and that any detention prisoner
In convicting Crisostomo, the Sandiganbayan cited could go to any cell inside the prison (ibid, pp. 7-8, 21, 23).
the following circumstantial evidence:
9. There was a common door located in front, leading
1. The deceased, Renato Suba, was brought to the police inside to the cells which no one could enter because it is
station on the night of February 13, 1989 for investigation padlocked, except with the jail guards permission; and that
for allegedly hitting the head of a certain Diosdado the comfort room is located in the 4thcell which is not
Lacangan; and that after investigation, the deceased was equipped with a padlock so that if you want to go to the
brought to the detention cell (tsn, hearing of April 21, comfort room, you do not anymore need the key in the
1994, pp. 5-11). office of the jail guard (ibid, p. 22).

2. On the following day at 5:00 oclock in the afternoon, the 10. There is only one guard assigned in the cells and
deceased was visited by his brother, Rizalino Suba; that accused Edgar Crisostomo was the one who was rendering
the deceased asked his brother to bring him a blanket, duty at the time of the death of the victim (ibid, pp. 9, 13).
toothbrush, clothes and foods (ibid, pp. 13-14).
11. There was no other person who was admitted on
3. Rizalino Suba left the municipal jail on February 14, February 12, 13 and 14, 1989, and there was no instance
1989, at almost 5:20 p.m., while his other brother, when Suba was brought out of the prison cell from the
Rolando, brought the things to the deceased in jail; and time he was detained on February 14, 1989 (ibid, p. 29).
that Rolando left their house at about 5:30 p.m. and came
back at 6:00 oclock in which Rizalino asked him (Rolando)
if he (Renato Suba) was able to finish the food that he sent 12. The persons who were detained together with the
and he answered in the affirmative (ibid, pp. 16, 18-19). deceased at the time of his death were released without
any investigation having been conducted by the local
police (tsn, hearing of April 21, 1994, pp. 28-29).
4. At that time, the deceased was in good health and in
good condition and that he was not complaining anything
about his body; and that the deceased was then 26 years 13. The apparent inconsistency in the list of
old, single and had finished advance ROTC and worked in a detainees/prisoners dated February 20, 1989 (Exhibit I)
logging concession (ibid, pp. 16-18). and the police blotter (Exhibits J and J-1) whereby in the
former there were eight prisoners on February 14, 1989
including the victim but only six were turned over by
5. Accused Mario Calingayan saw the deceased still alive accused Crisostomo to the incoming jail guard after the
lying down after 6:00 p.m. when he was about to take a death of the victim; the list contains nine (9)
bath; and that after taking a bath, he (witness) went to his detainees/prisoners on February 15, 1989 which includes
cell and played cards with his three (3) cellmates (whose the victim, who was then dead, while the police blotter
names he could not recall) for about four (4) hours (tsn, shows that only six prisoners were under their custody.
hearing of April 4, 1995, pp. 16-17). Why the apparent inconsistency?

6. At around 9:00 oclock of the same day, Mr. Baldovino, a 14. Accused Mario Calingayans claim that he was detained
barangay councilman, informed them that they should go on February 12, 1989, which is contrary to the master list
to the municipal building as per request of the policemen; of detainees showing that he was detained only on
that Rizalino Suba, first asked his uncle David Suba and February 14, 1989 (tsn, hearing of April 4, 1995, p. 19).
Manuel Rollo, a barangay councilman, to accompany him;
that they arrived at the municipal building at 9:10 p.m. and
they saw that the deceased was already lying dead on the 15. Accused Mario Calingayans allegation that when
cement floor outside the cell 1 in the municipal building Renato Suba was brought outside, he saw that he hanged
(tsn, hearing of April 21, 1994, pp. 20-22). himself with a thin blanket (tsn, hearing of April 4, 1995,
pp. 12-13) which was what the policemen also told the
brother of the victim (tsn, hearing of April 21, 1994, pp.
7. Accused Mario Calingayan was detained with five (5) 23-24).
others at the second cell among four (4) cells in the jail;
that the deceased, Renato Suba, was detained alone at the
third cell (tsn, hearing of April 4, 1995, pp. 6-7). 16. After the prosecution rested its case and after co-
accused Mario Calingayan was finished with his testimony
in court, accused Edgar Crisostomo jumped bail and up to 10. That the jailer Pat. Edgar Crisostomo from
this day had remained at large (Rollo, pp. 297-298, 305). the time he assumed his tour of duty from
4:00 oclock p.m. on 14 February 1989, up
17. The fact that accused Dominador C. Dela Cruz, Efren to the time the victim was discovered
M. Perez, Raki T. Anggo, Randy A. Lumabo and Rolando M. allegedly dead and hanging inside the jail
Norberte are also still at-large.[26] at 9:00 oclock p.m. on that same day,
nobody entered the jail and no one would
enter said jail, as it was always locked,
The Sandiganbayan also relied on the Memorandum
without the permission of the jailer. The
Report[27] dated 22 October 1991 of Oscar Oida, then
key is always with the jailer;
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Regional Director for
Region II, who evaluated the NBIs investigation of the case. 11. That the only companions of the victim at
The Sandiganbayan quoted the following portions of the the time of the discovery of his death on
report: 14 February 1989 at around 9:00 p.m.
were his six (6) co-inmates namely:
xxx Dominador C. dela Cruz, Edren M. Perez,
Raki T. Anggo, Randy A. Luma[b]o,
Rolando M. Norbert[e] and Mario
5. That when he [victim] was brought to the
Calingayan;
Solano Municipal Jail at around 12:00
midnight on 14 February 1989 (the same 12. That definitely the cause of death was not
was corrected by witness Oscar Oida to be suicide by hanging but due to several
February 13, 1989 when he testified in injuries sustained by the victim. The most
open court), he was accompanied by his significant and remarkable of which are
brother, Rizalino Suba, his cousin, Rodolfo the ruptured liver, torn messentery and a
Suba and Brgy. Councilman Manuel torn stomach which injuries resulted into
Rulloda in good physical condition with no massive intra-abdominal hemorrhage that
injuries[;] ultimately caused the death of said victim
per autopsy examination;
6. That when Luis Suba, father of the victim,
Renato Suba, visited him in jail at around 13. That said injuries can bring about death in a
8:00 a.m., on February 14, 1989 and matter of minutes to a few hours if not
brought food for his breakfast, he was in promptly and properly attended by a
good physical condition, and did not competent surgeon;
complain of any physical injury or pain. In
fact, he was able to eat all the food[;] 14. That said injuries could not have been
sustained by victim before he was
7. That when Rizalino Suba, brother of the detained at the Solano Municipal Jail as he
victim, visited the latter at around 5:00 could have been experiencing continuous
oclock p.m. on 14 February 1989, victim severe pain which can easily be observed
was in good spirit and never complained of by the policemen who arrested him on 14
any injury or bodily pain. He was in good February 1989 at around 12:00 midnight
physical condition. He even requested and therefore should have been brought
that he be brought his clothes, beddings to the hospital and not confined in the
and food[;] detention cell;
8. That when Rolando Suba, another brother of 15. That the several injuries sustained by victim
victim, brought the clothes, bedding and were caused by hard rough-surfaced as
food as requested by the latter at around well as hard smooth surfaced instruments,
6:00 oclock p.m. on 14 February 1989, he fist blows included;
was in good physical condition and did not
complain of any injury or body pain[;] 16. That the multiple injuries and the gravity of
the injuries sustained by victim indicate
9. That the good physical condition of victim, that they were inflicted by more than two
Renato Suba was even corroborated by his persons;
four co-inmates, namely, Arki Anggo,
Randy A. Lumabo, Rolando M. Norberte 17. That the nature of the injuries sustained by
and Mario B. Calingayan and by the jailer, victim were almost in one particular part
Pat. Edgar T. Crisostomo, when he was of the body, shown by the fact that the
placed under detention in the Solano internal organs badly damaged were the
Municipal Jail; liver, messentery and stomach indicating
that the victim was defenseless and In sum, the Sandiganbayan believed that Crisostomo
helpless thus affording the assailants to took part in the conspiracy to kill Renato because of these
pounce on continuously with impunity three circumstances: 1) Crisostomo as the jail guard on duty
almost on one spot of the body of the at the time of Renatos killing had in his possession the keys
victim. The victim could have been held by to the main door and the cells; (2) Crisostomo was in such a
two or more assailants while the others position that he could have seen or heard the killing of
were alternately or giving victim blows on Renato; and (3) there are discrepancies between the list of
his body with hard rough surfaced as well detainees/prisoners and the police blotter. According to the
as hard smooth surfaced instruments, fist Sandiganbayan, there is a prima facie case against
blows included; Crisostomo.

18. That with the location and gravity of the Except for the extensive injuries that Renatos body
injuries sustained by victim, the persons bore, there is no other evidence that proves that there was
who inflicted the injuries know fully well a prior agreement between Crisostomo and the six inmates
that victim will die and knew the to kill Renato. In People v. Corpuz,[29] one of the inmates
consequences of their acts; killed by the other inmates sustained stab wounds that
were possibly inflicted by ten persons. The Court ruled that
19. That the motive was revenge, as victim conspiracy could not be inferred from the manner that the
before he was killed, hit in the head a accused inmates attacked their fellow inmate because
certain Diosdado Lacangan with a wood there was no sufficient showing that all the accused
causing serious injury. Lacangan was in inmates acted pursuant to a previous common accord. Each
serious condition at the time victim was of the accused inmates was held liable for his individual act.
killed[;]
Although no formal agreement is necessary to
20. That the claims of the Solano police and the establish conspiracy because conspiracy may be inferred
six (6) co-inmates of victim that the latter from the circumstances attending the commission of the
committed suicide by hanging is only a crime, yet conspiracy must be established by clear and
cover up to hide a heinous offense[;] convincing evidence.[30] Even if all the malefactors joined in
21. That the extreme silence of the suspects the killing, such circumstance alone does not satisfy the
regarding the death of victim is so requirement of conspiracy because the rule is that neither
deafening that it established only one joint nor simultaneous action is per se sufficient proof of
thing, conspiracy. It is unusual for a person conspiracy.[31] Conspiracy must be shown to exist as clearly
not to volunteer information as to who and convincingly as the commission of the offense itself.[32]
could be the author of the offense if he is Thus, even assuming that Renato was simultaneously
not a participant to a heinous offense attacked, this does not prove conspiracy. The malefactors
particularly in this case where the who inflicted the fatal injuries may have intended by their
circumstances show that there can be no own separate acts to bring about the death of the
other person responsible for the death of victim.[33] No evidence was presented to show that
the victim except the suspects in this Crisostomo and the inmates planned to kill Renato or that
instant case[;] Crisostomos overt acts or inaction facilitated the alleged
22. That the victim was killed between 6:00 PM plan to kill Renato. The prosecution had the burden to show
to 9:00 PM on 14 February 1989 inside the Crisostomos intentional participation to the furtherance of
Solano Municipal Jail[;] the common design and purpose.

The pieces of circumstantial evidence are not


xxx sufficient to create a prima facie case against Crisostomo.
When the three circumstances are examined with the other
The relative position of the jailer to the cell where victim evidence on record, it becomes all the more clear that these
was killed was such that the jailer and the policemen circumstances do not lead to a logical conclusion that
present, could hear if not see what was going inside the Crisostomo lent support to an alleged conspiracy to murder
cell at the time the victim was killed. The injuries sustained Renato.
by victim could not be inflicted without victim shouting
First, while Crisostomo as jail guard had in his
and crying for help. Even the assailants when they inflicted
possession the keys to the main door and individual cells,
these injuries on victim could not avoid making loud noises
there is no proof that Crisostomo allowed an outsider inside
that could attract the attention of the police officers
the prison. Calingayan, the sole witness for the defense,
present. Conspiracy to kill the victim among the inmates
testified that no new detainee was admitted from 13 to 14
and the police officers was clearly established from the
of February 1989.[34] The NBI Report[35] relied upon by the
circumstances preceding and after the killing of victim.[28]
Sandiganbayan confirms Calingayans testimony that
nobody entered the jail and that Renatos only companions burden to limit the possibilities to only one: that Crisostomo
inside the jail were the six inmates.[36] conspired with the inmates to kill Renato. The prosecution
failed to do so.
There is also no proof that Crisostomo purposely left
the individual cells open to allow the inmates to attack Third, the prosecution was not clear as to the
Renato who was alone in the third cell. Calingayan, who was implication of the discrepancies between the list of
detained ahead of Renato,[37] testified that while each of detainees/prisoners and police blotter to the conspiracy to
the four cells had a padlock, the cells had always been kept murder Renato. The prosecution did not even pinpoint
open.[38] The inmates had always been allowed to enter the which of the two documents is the accurate document. The
cells and it was up to the inmates to close the doors of the prosecution merely asked: why the apparent
cells.[39] The inmates could freely go to the fourth cell, inconsistency?[49]
which was the inmates comfort room so that they would no
longer ask for the key from the jail guard every time the Courts must judge the guilt or innocence of the
inmates would use the comfort room.[40] accused based on facts and not on mere conjectures,
presumptions or suspicions.[50] The inconsistency between
Second, the Sandiganbayan should not have the two documents without anything more remains as
absolutely relied on the NBI Report[41] stating that merely that an inconsistency. The inconsistency does not
Crisostomo as jail guard was in such a position that he could even have any bearing on the prosecutions conspiracy
have seen or heard the killing. The prosecution failed to theory. The NBI Report and Calingayans testimony stated
establish that Crisostomo actually saw and heard the killing that six inmates were with Renato inside the jail. This was
of Renato. also the same number of inmates turned over by
Crisostomo to the incoming jail guard after Renatos
Based on Calingayans testimony, it was not death.[51]
impossible for Crisostomo not to have actually seen and
heard the killing of Renato. On cross-examination, The alleged motive for Renatos killing was to avenge
Calingayan testified that all of the cells were in one the attack on Lacangan who was then in a serious condition
line.[42] Crisostomos office was at the left side of the cells because Renato hit him on the head with a piece of wood.
about 15 meters away from cell number two, the cell where No evidence was presented to link Crisostomo to Lacangan
Calingayan was detained.[43] Hollow blocks from the floor to or to show what compelling motive made Crisostomo, a jail
the ceiling separated each of the four cells.[44] With the guard, abandon his duty and instead facilitate the killing of
partition, an inmate in one cell could not see what was an inmate under his custody. Motive is generally held to be
happening in the other cells.[45] Calingayan further testified immaterial because it is not an element of the
that Renatos body was in a dark place,[46] as it was lighted crime.[52] However, motive becomes important when the
from outside only by a bulb at the alley, at the corridor.[47] evidence on the commission of the crime is purely
circumstantial or inconclusive.[53] Motive is thus vital in this
Since Renatos body was found in cell number four, case.
this would make the distance between Crisostomos office
and the crime scene more than 15 meters. Crisostomo Clearly, the Sandiganbayan had no basis to convict
could not have had a full view of cell number four because Crisostomo because the prosecution failed to produce the
of the distance between Crisostomos office and cell number evidence necessary to overturn the presumption of
four, the partitions of the four cells and poor lighting in the innocence. The insufficiency of evidence was the same
jail. reason why the National Police Commission dismissed the
administrative case for grave misconduct (murder) against
Calingayans description of the jail, the cells, the Crisostomo on 24 October 1990.[54] The circumstances in
location of Renatos body and Crisostomos actual position this case did not constitute an unbroken chain that would
was not contradicted by the prosecution. There is no other lead to a reasonable conclusion that Crisostomo played a
evidence on record that describes the layout and conditions role in the inmates supposed preconceived effort to kill
of the jail at the time of Renatos death. Renato. Thus, Crisostomo must be acquitted.
The prosecution had the burden to present evidence The deafening silence of all of the accused does not
that Crisostomo indeed saw and heard Renatos killing and necessarily point to a conspiracy. In the first place, not all of
Crisostomo consented to the killing as part of the plan to kill the accused remained silent. Calingayan put himself on the
Renato. The absence of such evidence does not preclude witness stand. Calingayan further claimed that the Solano
the possibility that Renato was covertly killed and the police investigated him and his handwritten statements
sounds were muffled to conceal the crime from Crisostomo, were taken the morning following Renatos
the jail guard. Or Crisostomo as jail guard was simply death.[55] Secondly, an accused has the constitutional right
negligent in securing the safety of the inmates under his to remain silent and to be exempt from being compelled to
custody. If Crisostomo were negligent, this would be be a witness against himself.[56]
incompatible with conspiracy because negligence denotes
the absence of intent while conspiracy involves a meeting A judgment of conviction must be predicated on the
of the minds to commit a crime.[48] It was the prosecutions strength of the evidence for the prosecution and not on the
weakness of the evidence for the defense.[57] The Moreover, Crisostomos absence on the 22 June 1995
circumstantial evidence in this case is not sufficient to hearing should not have been deemed as a waiver of his
create a prima facie case to shift the burden of evidence to right to present evidence. While constitutional rights may
Crisostomo. Moreover, Calingayans testimony inured to be waived, such waiver must be clear and must be coupled
Crisostomos favor. The supposed waiver of presentation of with an actual intention to relinquish the
evidence did not work against Crisostomo because the right.[63] Crisostomo did not voluntarily waive in person or
prosecution failed to prove Crisostomos guilt beyond even through his counsel the right to present evidence. The
reasonable doubt. Sandiganbayan imposed the waiver due to the agreement
of the prosecution, Calingayan, and Calingayans counsel.
In Salvatierra v. CA,[58] upon ruling for the defendants
acquittal, the Court disregarded the issue of whether the In criminal cases where the imposable penalty may be
defendants jumped bail for failing to attend trial and death, as in the present case, the court is called upon to see
whether their absence should be considered as flight and as to it that the accused is personally made aware of the
evidence of guilt. Even with this ruling in Salvatierra v. CA, consequences of a waiver of the right to present
which is applicable to this case, and Crisostomos failure to evidence.[64] In fact, it is not enough that the accused is
question the violation of his right to procedural due process simply warned of the consequences of another failure to
before the Court, we cannot simply ignore the attend the succeeding hearings.[65] The court must first
Sandiganbayans grave abuse of discretion. explain to the accused personally in clear terms the exact
nature and consequences of a waiver.[66] Crisostomo was
The records show that the Sandiganbayan set the not even forewarned. The Sandiganbayan simply went
hearing of the defenses presentation of evidence on 21, 22 ahead to deprive Crisostomo of his right to present
and 23 June 1995. The 21 June 1995 hearing was cancelled evidence without even allowing Crisostomo to explain his
because of lack of quorum in the regular membership of the absence on the 22 June 1995 hearing.
Sandiganbayans Second Division and upon the agreement
of the parties.[59] The hearing was reset the next day, 22 Clearly, the waiver of the right to present evidence in
June 1995. Crisostomo and his counsel failed to attend the a criminal case involving a grave penalty is not assumed and
22 June 1995 hearing. The Sandiganbayan, on the very taken lightly. The presence of the accused and his counsel
same day, issued an order[60] directing the issuance of a is indispensable so that the court could personally conduct
warrant for the arrest of Crisostomo and ordering the a searching inquiry into the waiver.[67] Moreover, the
confiscation of his surety bond. The order further declared searching inquiry must conform to the procedure recently
that Crisostomo had waived his right to present evidence reiterated in People v. Beriber,[68] to wit:
because of his non-appearance at yesterdays and todays
scheduled hearings.[61] The Sandiganbayan terminated the 1. The trial court shall hear both the prosecution and the
trial and gave the parties thirty days within which to file accused with their respective counsel on the desire or
their memoranda, after which, with or without the manifestation of the accused to waive the right to present
memoranda, the case would still be deemed submitted for evidence and be heard.
decision.

The Sandiganbayans error is obvious. Strictly 2. The trial court shall ensure the attendance of the
speaking, Crisostomo failed to appear only on the 22 June prosecution and especially the accused with their
1995 hearing. Crisostomos appearance on the 21 June 1995 respective counsel in the hearing which must be recorded.
hearing would not have mattered because the hearing on Their presence must be duly entered in the minutes of the
this date was cancelled for lack of quorum of justices in the proceedings.
Sandiganbayans Second Division.
3. During the hearing, it shall be the task of the trial court
Under Section 2(c), Rule 114 and Section 1(c), Rule
to
115 of the Rules of Court, Crisostomos non-appearance
during the 22 June 1995 trial was merely a waiver of his
right to be present for trial on such date only and not for a. ask the defense counsel a series of
the succeeding trial dates.[62] Section 1(c) of Rule 115 clearly question[s] to determine whether he
states that: had conferred with and completely
explained to the accused that he had
the right to present evidence and be
xxx The absence of the accused without any justifiable
heard as well as its meaning and
cause at the trial on a particular date of which he had
consequences, together with the
notice shall be considered a waiver of his right to be
significance and outcome of the
present during that trial. When an accused under custody
waiver of such right. If the lawyer for
had been notified of the date of the trial and escapes, he
the accused has not done so, the trial
shall be deemed to have waived his right to be present on
court shall give the latter enough
said date and on all subsequent trial dates until custody is
regained.
time to fulfill this professional Crisostomo of his new office address. Upon notification of
obligation. the promulgation of the case scheduled on 28 November
2000, Crisostomo voluntarily appeared before the
b. inquire from the defense counsel with Sandiganbayan. Crisostomo then terminated the services of
conformity of the accused whether Atty. Guades and engaged the services of another counsel.
he wants to present evidence or In the omnibus motion for new trial filed by Crisostomos
submit a memorandum elucidating new counsel, Crisostomo denied that he went into hiding. If
on the contradictions and given the chance, Crisostomo would have presented his pay
insufficiency of the prosecution slips and certificates of attendance to prove that he had
evidence, if any or in default thereof, been reporting for work at the Police Station in Solano,
file a demurrer to evidence with prior Nueva Vizcaya.[70]
leave of court, if he so believes that We could not absolutely fault the Sandiganbayan for
the prosecution evidence is so weak not correcting its 22 June 1995 Order. The Sandiganbayan
that it need not even be rebutted. If lost the opportunity to review the order when Crisostomos
there is a desire to do so, the trial new counsel changed his legal strategy by withdrawing the
court shall give the defense enough omnibus motion for new trial and instead sought the
time for this purpose. nullification of the Sandiganbayans decision for lack of
jurisdiction over the case.
c. elicit information about the
personality profile of the accused, However, the withdrawal of the omnibus motion
such as his age, socio-economic could not erase the Sandiganbayans violation of
status, and educational background, Crisostomos right to procedural due process and Atty.
which may serve as a trustworthy Guades gross negligence. Atty. Guades failed to protect his
index of his capacity to give a free clients interest when he did not notify Crisostomo of the
and informed waiver. scheduled hearings and just vanished without informing
Crisostomo and the Sandiganbayan of his new office
address. The 22 June 1995 Order was served on Atty.
d. all questions posed to the accused
Guades but he did not even comply with the directive in the
should be in a language known and
Order to explain in writing his absence at the 21 and 22 June
understood by the latter, hence, the
1995 hearings. Atty. Guades did not file the memorandum
record must state the language used
in Crisostomos behalf required by the same Order. Atty.
for this purpose as well as reflect the
Guades did not also question the violation of Crisostomos
corresponding translation thereof in
right to procedural due process. The subsequent notices of
English.
hearing and promulgation were not served on Atty. Guades
as he could not be located in the building where his office
If no waiver of the right to present evidence could be was located.[71]
presumed from Crisostomos failure to attend the 22 June
1995 hearing, with more reason that flight could not be Clearly, Atty. Guadess negligence was so gross that it
logically inferred from Crisostomos absence at that hearing. should not prejudice Crisostomos constitutional right to be
Crisostomos absence did not even justify the forfeiture of heard,[72] especially in this case when the imposable penalty
his bail bond. A bail bond may be forfeited only in instances may be death. At any rate, the remand of the case is no
where the presence of the accused is specifically required longer necessary.[73] The prosecutions evidence failed to
by the court or the Rules of Court and, despite due notice overturn the constitutional presumption of innocence
to the bondsmen to produce him before the court on a warranting Crisostomos acquittal.
given date, the accused fails to appear in person as so
The Sandiganbayan imposed an indeterminate
required.[69] Crisostomo was not specifically required by the
sentence on Crisostomo. The Indeterminate Sentence Law
Sandiganbayan or the Rules of Court to appear on the 22
(ISL) is not applicable to persons convicted of offenses
June 1995 hearing. Thus, there was no basis for the
punished with the death penalty or reclusion
Sandiganbayan to order the confiscation of Crisostomos
perpetua.[74] Since Crisostomo was accused of murder, the
surety bond and assume that Crisostomo had jumped bail.
penalty for which is reclusion temporal in its maximum
Prior to his absence on the 22 June 1995 hearing, period to death, the Sandiganbayan should have imposed
Crisostomo had regularly attended the hearings of the case. the penalty in its medium period since it found no
When it was Crisostomos turn to present his evidence, Atty. aggravating circumstance.[75] The medium period of the
Anecio R. Guades (Atty. Guades), Crisostomos former penalty is reclusion perpertua.
counsel, instructed Crisostomo to wait for the notice of
hearing from him and the Sandiganbayan. Crisostomo did Calingayan must be also Acquitted
not receive any notice from the Sandiganbayan or from
Atty. Guades who disappeared without informing
The Sandiganbayan cited only two circumstances as
evidence of Calingayans guilt. The Sandiganbayan held that
Calingayans claim that he was detained on 12 February
1989 is contrary to the master list of detainees showing that
Calingayan was detained on 14 February 1989.[76] Second is
Calingayans allegation that when Renato Suba was brought
outside, he saw that he hanged himself with a thin blanket,
which was what the policemen also told the brother of the
victim.[77] The Sandiganbayan did not elaborate on this
circumstance. The Sandiganbayan was apparently
suspicious of Renatos knowledge of the material that was
used to hang Renato.

Renato could have been killed by two or more


inmates or possibly even by all of the inmates. However,
since no conspiracy was proven to exist in this case, the
perpetrators of the crime needed to be identified and their
independent acts had to be proven.[78] The two
circumstances that were held against Calingayan are not
sufficient proof that Calingayan was one of the inmates who
killed Renato. Thus, Calingayan must be also acquitted.

Section 11(a) of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court


provides that [a]n appeal taken by one or more [of] several
accused shall not affect those who did not appeal, except
insofar as the judgment of the appellant court is favorable
and applicable to the latter. In this case, only Crisostomo
questioned the jurisdiction and decision of the
Sandiganbayan. However, the evidence against Crisostomo
and Calingayan are inextricably linked as their conviction
hinged on the prosecutions unproven theory of conspiracy.
Thus, Crisostomos acquittal, which is favorable and
applicable to Calingayan, should benefit Calingayan.[79]

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Sandiganbayan in


Criminal Case No. 19780 convicting appellant EDGAR
CRISOSTOMO and co-accused MARIO B. CALINGAYAN is
hereby REVERSED. EDGAR CRISOSTOMO and co-accused
MARIO B. CALINGAYAN are ACQUITTED of the crime of
murder and ordered immediately released from prison,
unless held for another lawful cause. The Director of Prisons
is directed to report to this Court compliance within five (5)
days from receipt of this Decision. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Quisumbing, Ynares-


Santiago and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
PETER ANDRADA, petitioner, vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE While they were waiting to be served, a woman
PHILIPPINES, respondent. passed by their table. While Cpl. Ugerio was talking to her,
a man, later identified as Peter Andrada, herein petitioner,
DECISION approached the former and scolded him. Sgt. Sumabong,
identifying himself as a PC non-commissioned officer,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: advised petitioner to pay his bill and go home as he was
apparently drunk.
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Petitioner heeded Sgt. Sumabongs advice for he paid
Peter Andrada, petitioner, assailing the Decision[1] of the his bill and left the restaurant with his companions. While
Court of Appeals dated September 18, 1997 in CA-G.R. CR Sgt. Sumabong was paying his bill, he heard Cpl. Ugerio,
No. 15851 and its Resolution[2] dated August 13, 1998. seated about a meter away, moaning in pain. When Sgt.
In an Information dated January 7, 1987, the Office of Sumabong turned around, he saw Cpl. Ugerio sprawled on
the City Prosecutor of Baguio City charged petitioner with the floor. Petitioner was hacking him on the head with a
frustrated murder committed as follows: bolo. Sgt. Sumabong approached them but petitioner ran
away, followed by a companion. Sgt. Sumabong chased
them but to no avail.
That on or about the 24th day of September 1986, in the
City of Baguio, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of Upon Sgt. Sumabongs instruction, Sgt. Gaces brought
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with Cpl. Ugerio, the victim, to the St. Louis University Hospital.
intent to kill, with evident premeditation and with Then Sgt. Sumabong reported the incident to the police
treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and station at Camdas Road and thereafter proceeded to the
feloniously attack, assault and hack one ARSENIO UGERIO hospital. When he returned to the police station, he learned
on the head twice with a bolo thereby inflicting upon that petitioner was arrested in a waiting shed at the corner
latter: hacking wound, head, resulting in 1) skull and scalp of Camdas Road and Magsaysay Avenue.
avulsion vertex; 2) depressed comminuted skull fracture,
right parieto occipital with significant brain laceration; The arresting officers then brought petitioner back to
operation done; craniectomy; vertex debridement; the restaurant where they recovered the bolo used in
craniectomy; right parieto occipital; dural repair; hacking the victim. Witnesses to the incident were
debridement, thus performing all the acts of execution interviewed by the police and they pointed to petitioner as
which would produce the crime of Murder as a the culprit.
consequence thereof, but nevertheless, the felony was not
Dr. Francisco Fernandez, a neuro-surgery consultant,
consummated by reason of causes independent of the will
found that the victim suffered two (2) major injuries. The
of the accused, that is, by the timely medical attendance
first was a scalping avulsion, around 5 centimeters wide,
extended to Arsenio Ugerio which prevented his death.
i.e., the chopping off of a part of the victims skull. The
second was a depressed fracture, about 6 centimeters
CONTRARY TO LAW.[3] wide, found on the right parieto occipital area of the skull.
Either wound, being fatal, would have caused the death of
When arraigned on February 9, 1987, petitioner, with the victim had it not been for a timely medical treatment.
the assistance of counsel de parte, pleaded not guilty to the After three (3) days, the victim was transferred to the V.
crime charged. The hearing of the case ensued. Luna Hospital in Quezon City. Because of the injuries he
sustained, he has remained incapable to remember or recall
Evidence for the prosecution shows that on visual stimuli or information.
September 23, 1986, at around 11:30 in the evening, T/Sgt.
Teodolfo Sumabong, of the defunct Philippine Constabulary Petitioner interposed self-defense and invoked the
(PC), was resting in the PC barracks at Camp Dado Dangwa, mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. His version
La Trinidad, Benguet when one Rommel Alcate called up is that he and one Romy Ramos were drinking beer with a
requesting police assistance. Alcate claimed that a group of hospitality girl named Liza inside Morlows Restaurant,
persons was suspiciously roaming around his boarding when three military men occupied the table next to them.
house in Ferguson Street, Baguio City. They had pistols tucked in their waists. Without any
warning or provocation, two of the men, whom he
Sgt. Sumabong and two of his companions, Sgt. Gaces identified as Cpl. Ugerio and Sgt. Sumabong, approached
and Cpl. Arsenio Ugerio, went to Alcetes boarding house, him, slapped his face several times and pointed their guns
arriving there past midnight. However, according to Alcate, to his head. They cursed him and threatened to summarily
the suspicious persons have left. execute him because he was so boastful. Cpl. Ugerio then
collared him and dragged him outside the restaurant, while
On their way back to the camp at around 1:15 in the
Sgt. Sumabing followed. Fearful that he might be killed,
morning, the group dropped by Morlows Restaurant,
petitioner pulled out his bolo, wrapped in a newspaper,
Bokawkan Street, Baguio City, for a snack. They ordered
from his waist and swung it at the two military men. He did
coffee and sandwiches.
not see if he hit any of them. Then he ran to his house in constitutional right to due process. He contends that his
Camdas Subdivision. He checked to see if his mother or counsel:
grandmother was at home so either of them could assist
him in surrendering to the police. But neither was present. 1. Failed to present all the witnesses who
On his way to surrender to the police, he met his mother could have testified that he is innocent
accompanied by a policeman. They then proceeded to the of the crime charged;
police sub-station at Magsaysay Avenue where he
surrendered.
2. Failed to present the medical certificate
After hearing, the trial court rendered its Decision, showing the injuries inflicted upon him
the dispositive portion of which is quoted below, thus: by the victim;

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the 3. Did not notify him to attend the hearing
accused PETER ANDRADA guilty beyond reasonable doubt when Sgt. Sumabong was cross-
of the crime of frustrated murder. examined; and

The Court hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of 4. Failed to submit a memorandum.
imprisonment of 8 years and 20 days as MINIMUM to 14
years, 10 months and 20 days as MAXIMUM; to indemnify In sum, petitioner ascribes gross incompetence or gross
the sum of P3,000.00, representing part of the victims negligence to his counsel.
expenses for medical services and medicine, and to pay
the costs. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters
that there was no violation of petitioners right to due
process. Petitioner was represented by counsel of his
SO ORDERED.[4]
choice. If the latters performance and competence fell
short of petitioners expectations, then he should not blame
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed with either the trial court or the Court of Appeals.
modification the trial courts Decision, thus:
In criminal cases, the negligence or incompetence of
WHEREFORE, THE DECISION APPEALED FROM IS HEREBY counsel to be deemed gross must have prejudiced the
AFFIRMED WITH THE MODIFICATION THAT THE constitutional right of an accused to be heard. [6]
APPELLANT IS SENTENCED TO AN INDETERMINATE In the following cases, we held that there has been
PENALTY OF FOUR (4) YEARS AND TWO (2) MONTHS gross negligence or incompetence on the part of counsel for
OF PRISION CORRECIONAL, AS MINIMUM, TO EIGHT (8) the accused, thus:
YEARS AND TWENTY (20) DAYS OF PRISION MAYOR, AS
MAXIMUM. In US v. Gimenez,[7] we remanded a criminal case for
new trial when counsel for an accused inadvertently
SO ORDERED.[5] substituted a plea of guilty for an earlier plea of not guilty,
thus resulting in the precipitate conviction of his client.
The Court of Appeals, in modifying the imposable In Aguilar v. Court of Appeals and People,[8] we
penalty, found that petitioner is entitled to the privileged ordered a dismissed appeal from a conviction for estafa to
mitigating circumstance of minority as he was only 17 years, be reinstated after it was shown that the failure to file the
9 months and 20 days old at the time of the incident. appellants brief on time was due to sheer irresponsibility on
the part of appellants counsel.
Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration, but
this was denied by the Appellate Court in its Resolution In De Guzman v. Sandiganbayan,[9] we remanded the
dated August 13, 1998. case for reception of evidence after counsel for the accused
filed a demurrer to the evidence notwithstanding that his
Hence, the instant petition.
motion for leave of court was denied, thus precluding the
The issues for our resolution are: (1) whether accused to present his evidence.
petitioners right to due process was violated; (2) whether
In Reyes v. Court of Appeals,[10] we ordered a new trial
his plea of self-defense is in order; (3) whether the crime
after a showing that counsel for the accused abandoned her
committed is frustrated murder or frustrated homicide; and
without explanation.
(4) whether he is entitled to any mitigating circumstance,
assuming he is guilty. In People v. Bascuiguin,[11] we held that the
arraignment is not valid. The accused was not properly
On the first issue, petitioner argues that the Court of
represented by counsel de officio since he merely conferred
Appeals erred in not holding that the trial court violated his
with his client for a few minutes and advised him to plead established that it was petitioner who unexpectedly
guilty to the crime of rape with homicide. attacked the victim from behind. Clearly, the aggressor was
petitioner. Since the first element of self-defense is not
None of the foregoing incidents is present in the present here, such defense must fail.
instant case. Instead, records show that counsel for
petitioner actively participated in the cross-examination of On the third issue, petitioner contends that assuming
the witnesses for the prosecution to test their credibility. At he is guilty, he should only be convicted of frustrated
any rate, the fact that he did not choose to present other homicide, not frustrated murder. He insists that treachery
witnesses did not affect any of petitioners substantial was not present. His hacking the victim was a spur-of-the-
rights. Besides, said counsel might have valid reasons why moment act prompted by self-preservation.
he did not call to the witness stand those witnesses.
We are not persuaded. There is alevosia when the
We note that petitioner was present during the offender commits any of the crimes against persons
hearing. If he believed that his counsel de parte was not employing means, methods, or forms in the execution
competent, he could have secured the services of a new thereof which tend directly and especially to ensure the
counsel. He did not. Having decided to retain the services of execution of the crime without risk to himself from any
his counsel during the entire proceedings, petitioner must defense which the offended party might make.[17] We agree
be deemed bound by any mistake committed by him. For if with the lower courts that the petitioner planned to kill the
an accused feels that his counsel is inept, he should take victim with treachery in mind. At that time, the victim was
action by discharging him earlier, instead of waiting until an seated, having just finished a meal at a late hour. His back
adverse decision is rendered and thereupon blame his was towards petitioner when the latter, without warning,
counsel for incompetence.[12] hacked him twice on his head with a bolo. The attack was
so sudden and unexpected that the victim had no
The long-standing rule in this jurisdiction is that a opportunity either to avert the attack or to defend himself.
client is bound by the mistakes of his lawyer. Mistakes of
attorneys as to the competency of a witness, the Considering that petitioner had performed all the acts
sufficiency, relevancy or irrelevancy of certain evidence, the of execution which would have resulted in the death of the
proper defense or the burden of proof, failure to introduce victim, had it not been for timely medical assistance, a
evidence, to summon witnesses, and to argue the case, cause not of the will of the petitioner, and considering
unless they prejudice the client and prevent him from further the presence of treachery, then, the crime
properly presenting his case, do not constitute gross committed is frustrated murder, not frustrated homicide.
incompetence or negligence.[13]
On the fourth issue, petitioner insists that the
Having found that petitioners counsel was not so mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender should have
inept or motivated by bad faith, or so careless and negligent been appreciated in his favor.
of his duties as to seriously prejudice the substantial rights
of petitioner or prevent him from putting up a proper Evidence for the prosecution shows that petitioner,
defense, we hold that he is bound by the decisions of his after attacking the victim, ran away. He was apprehended
counsel regarding the conduct of the case.[14] by responding police officers in the waiting shed at the
corner of Cambas Road and Magsaysay Avenue. For
On the second issue, petitioner invokes self-defense. voluntary surrender to be appreciated, the surrender must
Hence, it is incumbent upon him to prove by clear and be spontaneous, made in such a manner that it shows the
convincing evidence that he indeed acted in defense of interest of the accused to surrender unconditionally to the
himself. For in invoking self-defense, the accused admits authorities, either because he acknowledges his guilt or
killing or seriously wounding the victim and thus, has the wishes to save them the trouble and expenses that would
burden to justify his act.[15] The requisites of self-defense be necessarily incurred in his search and capture.[18] Here,
are: (1) unlawful aggression; (2) reasonable necessity of the the surrender was not spontaneous.
means employed to repel or prevent it; and (3) lack of
sufficient provocation of the part of the person defending Anent the modification of the penalty by the Court of
himself.[16] Appeals, the same is in order.

We find that the petitioner has not adequately WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of
discharged his burden of proving the elements of self- the Court of Appeals dated September 18, 1997 and its
defense. The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that Resolution dated August 13, 1998 in CA-G.R. CR No. 15851
at the time he hacked the victim, the latter was still are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
seated while he (petitioner) was behind him. Indeed, how SO ORDERED.
could there be an unlawful aggression on the part of the
victim at that instance? Petitioners bare assertions that the Panganiban, (Chairman), Corona, Carpio-
victim slapped him, poked a handgun at him, and Morales, and Garcia, JJ., concur.
threatened to salvage him were not duly proved by the
evidence for the defense. Rather, the prosecution
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

For review is the Court of Appeals decision in CA-

G.R. CR No. 22860[1] which affirmed the

judgment[2] rendered by the Regional Trial Court of San

Pedro, Laguna, Branch 93,[3] in Crim. Case No. 0505-SPL

finding petitioner Isidro Olivarez guilty of violating Section

5, Republic Act No. 7610;[4] and its resolution denying

reconsideration thereof.[5]

The case originated from a complaint filed by the

offended party with the Municipal Trial Court of San Pedro,


Laguna which was the basis upon which an information for

ISIDRO OLIVAREZ, G.R. No. 163866 violation of R.A. 7610 was filed against Isidro Olivarez, to
Petitioner,
wit:
Present:
Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman),
- versus - Quisumbing, The undersigned 4th Assistant
Ynares-Santiago, Provincial Prosecution (sic) of Laguna
C upon a sworn complaint filed by the
a private complainant, CRISTINA B.
r ELITIONG, hereby accuses ISIDRO
p OLIVAREZ of the crime of VIOLATION OF
i RA 7610, committed as follows:
o
, That on or about
a July 20, 1997, in the
n Municipality of San
d Pedro, Province of
A Laguna, within the
z jurisdiction of this
c Honorable Court,
u said accused
n actuated by lewd
a design did then and
, there wilfully,
unlawfully and
J feloniously by
J means of force and
. intimidation
COURT OF APPEALS and commit acts of
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, lasciviousness on
Respondents. Promulgated: the person of one
July 29, 2005 CRISTINA B.
x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ELITIONG, by
------------ x touching her
breasts and kissing
DECISION her lips, against her
will, to her damage
and prejudice.
When Isidro woke up in the early
CONTRARY TO LAW.[6] morning to relieve himself, he saw the
girl sleeping on the sofa. He
admonished her to join her brothers in
The established facts of this case are as follows: the basement. He went back to his
room and slept until 8 A.M. Two hours
later, at 10 A.M., he left for the Caltex
... The offended party Cristina Elitiong Service Station which was only a five
was a 16-year old high school student minute ride from his home by tricycle.
who with her brothers were employed His daughter Analee Olivarez was
by the accused, 64-year old Isidro staying in another house in the
Olivarez, in the making of sampaguita compound and attended a morning
garlands. For one year she had been mass. When she returned at 10:30
reporting for work during weekends at A.M., she no longer saw her father.
the residence of the accused. Within Maritess Buen, the laundrywoman,
the compound and at about three who was washing clothes outside the
armslength from the main door of the kitchen, saw the accused earlier. By 10
house was her workplace. A.M., when she entered the house, he
already left. He returned by noontime.
At about 11:30 oclock in the morning of
July 20, 1997, Cristina, her two brothers The accused testified that he was at the
Macoy and Dodong, and one named Caltex station for two and a half hours
Liezel were at their work when the waiting for the shipment of flowers
accused who was near the main door from Pampanga. The goods arrived at
called for her. She dutifully approached 12:15 P.M. He left shortly thereafter
him. The accused asked her if she had and passed by the market before going
told her mother that he gave her home. He arrived at 12:30 P.M. The
money, and when she said that she did next several days were uneventful for
not, he embraced her and held her him until his laundrywoman Maritess
breast. The workers were facing the told him that there was a complaint
street so that the two were not seen. against him at the barangay office. A
He pulled her to the kitchen and, closing meeting took place between him and
the kitchen door, kissed her on the lips. the girls family in the presence of the
She pushed him away and went back to barangay authorities. The girls mother
her station. Her brother Macoy saw her was demanding P30,000 for the
crying when she came out of the house. settlement of the case, but he refused
She did not say a word, but went to the to cave in and told a barangay official
faucet and washed her face. Jaime Ramos that he would rather see
his accusers in court than give a centavo
The offended party continued to finish because he did not commit the crime.[7]
the garlands she was working on, and
waited until the afternoon for her
wages. When she arrived at her home, The trial court found Olivarez guilty of violating
she first told her mother that she no
longer wished to go back. When Section 5 of R.A. 7610 and sentenced him to suffer an
pressed for a reason, she said basta po
mama ayaw ko ng magtuhog. Finally, indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from eight (8) years
she told her mother what happened. and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen

Aurora Elitiong, the mother, (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion
accompanied the offended party to the
temporal as maximum, to indemnify the minor Cristina
San Vicente Barangay Hall on July 26 to
report the incident and give a Elitiong in the amount of P15,000.00 as moral damages and
statement. Days later, Cristina gave
another statement to the local police. to pay the costs.

In the defense version, the offended


party and her brothers had slept
overnight in the house of the accused.
On appeal, the decision of the trial court[8] was affirmed by Section 5, Article III of R.A. 7610 states:

the Court of Appeals. The motion for reconsideration[9] filed


SEC. 5. Child Prostitution and
by the accused was denied.[10] Hence, this petition for Other Sexual Abuse. Children, whether
review[11] on the following grounds: male or female, who for money, profit,
or any other consideration or due to the
coercion or influence of any adult,
I. The Honorable Court of Appeals syndicate or group, indulge in sexual
committed grave abuse of intercourse or lascivious conduct, are
discretion in not holding that deemed to be children exploited in
the essential elements in prostitution and other sexual abuse.
Violation of Section 5, Article
III of Republic Act 7610, which The penalty of reclusion
are age of the offended party temporal in its medium period
and that she is an abused or to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed
exploited child as defined in upon the following:
the law, not having been
alleged in the Information, ...
petitioner/accused cannot be (b) Those who commit the act
found guilty of said offense of sexual intercourse or lascivious
and must be acquitted. conduct with a child exploited in
prostitution or subjected to other
II. The Honorable Court of Appeals sexual abuse: Provided, That when the
erred and committed grave victim is under twelve (12) years of age,
abuse of discretion in holding the perpetrators shall be prosecuted
that the Information charging under Article 335, paragraph 3, for rape
petitioner/accused of and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as
Violation of Section 5, amended, the Revised Penal Code, for
Republic Act 7610, but failing rape or lascivious conduct, as the case
to allege the essential may be: Provided, That the penalty for
elements of said offense, had lascivious conduct when the victim is
substantially complied with under twelve (12) years of age shall
the requirements of due be reclusion temporal in its medium
process for the accused. period; ... (Italics supplied)

III. The Honorable Court of Appeals


erred and gravely abused its
discretion in not reversing the
judgment of the trial court The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5,
convicting the
accused/petitioner and Article III of R.A. 7610 are as follows:
sentencing him to suffer the
penalty of imprisonment for 1. The accused commits the act of
alleged Violation of Section 5, sexual intercourse
Republic Act 7610, which was or lascivious conduct.
not alleged in the 2. The said act is performed with a child
Information.[12] exploited in prostitution or
subjected to other sexual
abuse.
Petitioner alleges that his right to be informed of 3. The child, whether male or female, is
below 18 years of age.[13]
the nature and cause of the accusation against him was

violated for failure to allege in the information the essential


Section 32, Article XIII, of the Implementing Rules
elements of the offense for which he is being charged.
and Regulations of R.A. 7610 defines lascivious conduct as

follows:
conduct through coercion or
intimidation...
[T]he intentional touching,
either directly or through clothing, of
the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner
thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction Thus, a child is deemed subjected to other sexual
of any object into the genitalia, anus or abuse when the child indulges in lascivious conduct under
mouth, of any person, whether of the
same or opposite sex, with an intent to the coercion or influence of any adult. In this case, Cristina
abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or
was sexually abused because she was coerced or
arouse or gratify the sexual desire of
any person, bestiality, masturbation, intimidated by petitioner to indulge in a lascivious conduct.
lascivious exhibition of the genitals or
pubic area of a person.[14] (Emphasis Furthermore, it is inconsequential that the sexual abuse
supplied)
occurred only once. As expressly provided in Section 3 (b)

of R.A. 7610, the abuse may be habitual or not. It must be


The first element obtains in this case. It was
observed that Article III of R.A. 7610 is captioned as Child
established beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner kissed
Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse because Congress
Cristina and touched her breasts with lewd designs as
really intended to cover a situation where the minor may
inferred from the nature of the acts themselves and the
have been coerced or intimidated into lascivious conduct,
environmental circumstances.[15]
not necessarily for money or profit. The law covers not only

child prostitution but also other forms of sexual abuse. This


The second element, i.e., that the act is
is clear from the deliberations of the Senate:
performed with a child exploited in prostitution or

subjected to other sexual abuse, is likewise present. As Senator Angara. I refer to line
9, who for money or profit. I would like
succinctly explained in People v. Larin:[16] to amend this, Mr. President, to cover a
situation where the minor may have
been coerced or intimidated into this
A child is deemed exploited
lascivious conduct, not necessarily for
in prostitution or subjected to other
money or profit, so that we can cover
sexual abuse, when the child indulges
those situations and not leave loophole
in sexual intercourse or lascivious
in this section.
conduct (a) for money, profit, or any
other consideration; or (b) under the
The proposal I have is
coercion or influence of any adult,
something like this: WHO FOR MONEY,
syndicate or group. ...
PROFIT, OR ANY OTHER
CONSIDERATION OR DUE TO THE
It must be noted that the law
COERCION OR INFLUENCE OF ANY
covers not only a situation in which a
ADULT, SYNDICATE OR GROUP
child is abused for profit, but also one in
INDULGE, et cetera.
which a child, through coercion or
intimidation, engages in lascivious
The President Pro Tempore. I
conduct. (Emphasis supplied)
see. That would mean also changing the
subtitle of Section 4. Will it no longer be
child prostitution?
We reiterated this ruling in Amployo v. People:[17]
Senator Angara. No, no. Not
... As we observed in People v. Larin, necessarily, Mr. President, because we
Section 5 of Rep. Act No. 7610 does not are still talking of the child who is being
merely cover a situation of a child being misused for sexual purposes either for
abused for profit, but also one in which money or for consideration. What I am
a child engages in any lascivious trying to cover is the other
consideration. Because, here, it is The President Pro Tempore.
limited only to the child being abused or Subject to rewording. Is there any
misused for sexual purposes, only for objection? [Silence] Hearing none, the
money or profit. amendment is approved. x x x.
(Italicization supplied)[18]
I am contending, Mr.
President, that there may be situations
where the child may not have been used Petitioner makes much of the failure to allege in
for profit or ...
the information that Cristina was a child below 18 years of
The President Pro
age at the time the offense was committed. He insists that
Tempore. So, it is no longer prostitution.
Because the essence of prostitution is the Court of Appeals mistakenly relied on the case of People
profit.
v. Rosare[19] because unlike in Rosare, he had no personal
Senator Angara. Well, the
knowledge of Cristinas age, which he claims was not proven
Gentleman is right. Maybe the heading
ought to be expanded. But, still, the beyond reasonable doubt.
President will agree that that is a form
or manner of child abuse.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused is
The President Pro Tempore.
What does the Sponsor say? Will the entitled to be informed of the nature and cause of the
Gentleman kindly restate the
amendment? accusation against him.[20] A complaint is sufficient if it

states the name of the accused; the designation of the


ANGARA AMENDMENT
offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions
Senator Angara. The new
complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the
section will read something like this,
Mr. President: MINORS, WHETHER offended party; the approximate date of the commission of
MALE OR FEMALE, WHO FOR MONEY,
PROFIT, OR ANY OTHER the offense; and the place where the offense was
CONSIDERATION OR INFLUENCE OF
committed.[21]
ANY ADULT, SYNDICATE OR GROUP
INDULGE IN SEXUAL INTERCOURSE, et
cetera.
The complaint or information shall state the designation of
Senator Lina. It is accepted,
the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions
Mr. President.
constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and
The President Pro Tempore. Is
there any objection? [Silence] Hearing aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the
none, the amendment is approved. offense, reference shall be made to the section or

How about the title, Child subsection of the statute punishing it.[22] The acts or
Prostitution, shall we change that too?
omissions complained of as constituting the offense and the
Senator Angara. Yes, Mr. qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be stated in
President, to cover the expanded scope.
ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the
The President Pro Tempore. Is
language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to
that not what we would call probable
child abuse? enable a person of common understanding to know what

Senator Angara. Yes, Mr. offense is being charged as well as its qualifying and
President.
was fully apprised of the accusation
aggravating circumstances and for the court to pronounce against him. The purpose and objective
judgment.[23] of the constitutional mandate are
discharged and satisfied. The accused
may not be said to be taken by surprise
by the failure of the information to
In the present case, the Court of Appeals found
state the age of the offended party,
the information to be sufficient. Relying on the principle laid when he had received the initiatory
complaint where he was told how old
down in People v. Rosare, it held: the offended party was.[24]

Before us is an information for violation


We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals.
of RA 7610 that, as in Rosare, fails to
mention an indispensable element of In People v. Rosare, the information did not allege that the
the offense, the age of the offended
party, but makes allusion to another victim was a mental retardate which is an essential element
document, the sworn complaint of the of the crime of statutory rape. This Court however
offended party, and declares it to be
the basis upon which the information sustained the trial courts judgment of conviction holding
was filed. This instrument is the
complaint filed by the offended party that the resolution of the investigating prosecutor which
with the Municipal Trial Court of San formed the basis of the information, a copy of which is
Pedro, Laguna in which she stated that
she was 16 years old at the time of the attached thereto, stated that the offended party is suffering
offense. It forms part of the initial
from mental retardation. It ruled that there was substantial
records of the case and comes before
the posting of bail and entry of the plea compliance with the mandate that an accused be informed
of not guilty before the RTC. It appears
that after the charge was filed with the of the nature of the charge against him. Thus:
MTC, and as the preliminary
investigation went underway, the
Appellant contends that he
accused filed a manifestation stating
cannot be convicted of statutory rape
that he had filed a counter-affidavit to
because the fact that the victim was a
the charge and reserved the right to file
mental retardate was never alleged in
a motion to quash the information if it
the information and, absent this
was filed. The MTC found probable
element, the acts charged negate the
cause against him and elevated the
commission of the offense for which he
records to the provincial prosecutor for
was convicted by the lower court.
filing of the information.
Pursuant to Section 8, Rule
A complaint is under the Rules one of
112 of the Rules of Court, we have
the two charging instruments for the
decided to motu proprio take
offense of which the accused was tried
cognizance of the resolution issued by
and convicted here. While the criminal
the investigating prosecutor in I.S. No.
action was instituted by the complaint
92-0197 dated June 2, 1992, which
of the offended party, the information
formed the basis of and a copy of which
signed only by the fiscal ushered in the
was attached to the information for
formal trial process. But both are
rape filed against herein appellant.
accusations in writing against the
Therein, it is clearly stated that the
accused and serve the purpose of
offended party is suffering from mental
enabling him to take the necessary legal
retardation. We hold, therefore, that
steps for his defense. What is important
this should be deemed a substantial
is that the information states that the
compliance with the constitutional
accused is being charged of an offense
mandate that an accused be informed
under RA 7610 based on the complaint
of the nature of the charge against him.
of the offended party, to which the
...[25]
accused had adequately responded.
Under these conditions, the accused
clearly charged in the complaint or
In People v. Villamor,[26] the information failed to information. Otherwise, their
allege the age of the offended party but since a copy of the constitutional right to be informed of
the nature and cause of the accusation
order issued by the investigating judge was attached in the against them would be violated.
record of the preliminary investigation clearly stating that
In the present case, appellant
the complainant was nine years old, it was held that there correctly pointed out that the element
of force or intimidation should have
was substantial compliance with the mandate to inform the been expressly alleged in the
Informations. This omission is not fatal,
accused of the nature of the accusation. It was also declared
however, because the Complaint
that the defense cannot invoke the element of surprise as specifically accused him of three counts
of rape committed by means of force
to deprive it of the opportunity to suitably prepare for the and intimidation...[29]
accuseds defense, thus:

The same ground was adopted in People v.


... Furthermore, even if the information
filed did not allege that the complainant Mendez[30] which involved an information for rape that
was nine years old, there was
failed to allege force or intimidation. We ruled therein that
substantial compliance with the
constitutional mandate that an accused it was not a fatal omission because it was stated in the
be informed of the nature of the charge
against him when the Order issued by complaint that accused Rosendo raped Virginita by means
the investigating judge, a copy of which
of force.
was attached in the record of the
preliminary investigation, clearly stated
that the complainant was nine years
In People v. Torellos,[31] the Court treated the
old. Consequently, the defense cannot
invoke the element of surprise as to information for rape which failed to allege force and
deprive it of the opportunity to suitably intimidation as merely defective and that the deficiency
prepare for the accuseds defense.[27]
was cured by the failure of the accused to assail the
insufficiency of the allegations in the Information and by
In People v. Galido,[28] the information for rape competent evidence presented during trial.

failed to allege the element of force or intimidation. The

Court ruled that this omission is not fatal since the Thus, while it is necessary to allege the essential

complaint specifically charged the accused with three elements of the crime in the information, the failure to do

counts of rape committed by means of force and so is not an irremediable vice. When the complaint or the

intimidation. Thus: resolution by the public prosecutor which contain the

missing averments is attached to the information and form


Appellant avers that because
the Informations on which he was part of the records, the defect in the latter is effectively
arraigned and convicted did not allege cured, and the accused cannot successfully invoke the
the element of force or intimidation, he
was deprived of his constitutional right defense that his right to be informed is violated.
to be informed of the nature and cause
of the accusation against him. He insists
that such failure was a fatal defect that In the instant case, the missing averment in the
rendered the Informations void.
information is supplied by the Complaint which reads in full:
As a rule, the accused cannot
be convicted of an offense, unless it is
COMPLAINT
The undersigned caption or other parts of the information but by the
complainant, accuses ISIDRO OLIVAREZ, narration of facts and circumstances which adequately
of the crime of VIOLATION OF RA 7610,
committed as follows: depicts a crime and sufficiently apprise the accused of the

nature and cause of the accusation against him.


That on or about 11:30 A.M.
of July 20, 1997 at Brgy. San Vicente,
San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable True, the information herein may not refer to
Court the said accused with lewd design
specific section/s of R.A. 7610 alleged to have been violated
did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously commit an act of by the petitioner, but it is all to evident that the body of the
lasciviousness against one CRISTINA
ELITIONG Y BALDONO, 16 years old, by information contains an averment of the acts alleged to
kissing and touching her private parts have been performed by petitioner which unmistakably
and embracing her against her will.
refers to acts punishable under Section 5 of R.A. 7610. As to
CONTRARY TO LAW.[32]
which section of R.A. 7610 is being violated by petitioner is

inconsequential. What is determinative of the offense is the


Petitioner was furnished a copy of the Complaint
recital of the ultimate facts and circumstances in the
which was mentioned in the information, hence he was
complaint or information.
adequately informed of the age of the complainant. The
The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable
prosecution has also established the minority of the
doubt that petitioner committed acts of sexual abuse
offended party through competent evidence. Cristina
against Cristina. The trial court found Cristinas testimony to
testified that she was 16 years old and a certification from
be clear, candid, and straightforward.[35] Her testimony,
the Office of the Local Registrar of San Pedro, Laguna was
given in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and
presented showing that she was born on October 17,
candid manner, is worthy of faith and belief.[36] In the face
1980.[33] The third element of sexual abuse is therefore
of the accusations against him, petitioner could only
present.
interpose uncorroborated alibi and denial. Denial, like alibi,

is an inherently weak defense and cannot prevail over the


The information merely states that petitioner was
positive and categorical identification provided by
being charged for the crime of violation of R.A. 7610
eyewitnesses.[37] Not only did Cristina identify the
without citing the specific sections alleged to have been
petitioner as her assailant but no ill-motive was adduced
violated by petitioner. Nonetheless, we do not find this
why she would impute against him so grave a charge. This
omission sufficient to invalidate the information. The
Court will not interfere with the trial courts assessment of
character of the crime is not determined by the caption or
the credibility of witnesses, absent any indication that some
preamble of the information nor from the specification of
material fact was overlooked or a grave abuse of discretion
the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they may
committed. None of the exceptions obtain in the instant
be conclusions of law, but by the recital of the ultimate facts
case.[38]
and circumstances in the complaint or information.[34] The
sufficiency of an information is not negated by an

incomplete or defective designation of the crime in the


and psychological
In addition to moral damages, a fine in the recovery and social
amount of P15,000.00 should likewise be imposed pursuant reintegration of
abused and
to our ruling in Amployo v. People:[39] exploited children
in an environment
which fosters their
It does not end
self-respect and
there. In People v. Abadies, and with
human dignity.
respect specifically to lascivious
conduct amounting to child abuse
With the case of Abadies as
under Section 5(b) of Rep. Act No. 7610,
guidepost, we impose a fine of Fifteen
we imposed a fine of P30,000 for each
Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00) on
count of lascivious conduct in addition
petitioner.
to the award of moral damages on the
justification that

It will be
noted that Section WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The
5, Article II of
Republic Act No. decision of the Court of Appeals dated January 9, 2004 in
7610 provides for
the penalty of CA-G.R. CR No. 22860 and its resolution dated June 4, 2004,
imprisonment. Ne
vertheless, Section are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. In addition to the
31(f), Article XII
(Common Penal award of P15,000.00 as moral damages, petitioner Isidro
Provisions) thereof
Olivarez is also ordered to pay a fine in the amount of
allows the
imposition of a fine
P15,000.00.
subject to the
discretion of the
court, provided
that the same is to SO ORDERED.
be administered as
a cash fund by the
Department of
Social Welfare and
Development and CONSUELO YNARES-
disbursed for the
rehabilitation of
each child victim, or
any immediate
member of his
family if the latter is
the perpetrator of
the offense. This
provision is in
accord with Article
39 of the
Convention on the
Rights of the Child,
to which the
Philippines became
a party on August
21, 1990, which
stresses the duty of
states parties to
ensure the physical
JOEL P. LIBUIT, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE When private complainant del Mundo returned to
PHILIPPINES, respondent. the motor shop in January 1994, he saw his car by the
roadside while the engine was inside the shop. Bautista
DECISION explained that the engine was pulled out because it also
needed repairs. Nevertheless, the petitioner and Bautista
QUISUMBING, J.: assured him that they would finish the repair work and
deliver the car to del Mundos house after two weeks.
Before us is the petition for review on certiorari filed However, the petitioner failed to deliver the car to the
by Joel P. Libuit, seeking to reverse and set aside owner. Private complainant gave him another two weeks to
the Decision[1] dated March 11, 2002, of the Court of finish the repairs. Thereafter, the private complainant
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 22766. The assailed decision returned to the motor shop and found that his car was
affirmed the petitioners conviction by the Regional Trial already missing. He reported the matter to the police, who
Court of Lipa City, Branch 85, for estafa as defined and discovered that the petitioner had sold the cars differential
penalized under Article 315 1(b) of the Revised Penal and cylinder head, while the engine could no longer be
Code.[2] found.

The Amended Information filed against the petitioner The petitioner (Libuit) testified on direct examination.
reads as follows: However, his defense counsel, Atty. Glenn P. Mendoza of
De Jesus Linatoc and Associates, withdrew from the case
after his initial cross-examination.[4] On motion of the
That during the period from May 1993 to August 31, 1994,
petitioner, the continuation of his cross-examination was
at Lipa City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
reset to give him time to engage the services of another
Honorable Court, the above-named accused wilfully,
counsel.[5] The petitioner eventually secured the services of
unlawfully and feloniously committed the crime of estafa
Atty. Jose Dimayuga.
in the manner, to wit: sometime in May 1993, Domingo
del Mundo delivered and brought his car, described as At the subsequent hearings on October 13, 1997, and
follows: Make & Type Chevy 2dr. HT: Plate No. EDD-725, November 26, 1997, Atty. Dimayuga failed to appear
Motor No. 18R-9597750, Chassis No. 1Y17H4W151340 despite notices. On motion of the prosecution, the trial
valued at P60,000.00, to the motor shop located at Brgy. court issued an Order dated November 26, 1997,[6] striking
Sico, Lipa City, and owned and/or operated by Joel Libuit from the records the petitioners direct testimony and
and Julius Libuit for repair of its damaged parts, which car declaring the case submitted for decision on the basis of the
was received by Jose Bautista, then mechanic in the said evidence already on record.
motor shop, but accused Joel Libuit, once in possession of
the said car, and far from complying with his obl[i]gation After further proceedings, the trial court rendered
or duty to make the appropriate repairs and to return or judgment on January 27, 1999, finding herein petitioner
deliver the said car as properly repaired to Domingo del guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa. The
Mundo, with intent to defraud and with abuse of dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:
confidence, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
misappropriated, converted and/or misapplied the said car WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered,
to his own personal use and benefit and despite repeated judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused JOEL
demands to return the said car to the owner thereof, LIBUIT guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
accused refused and failed to do so, to the damage and Estafa, as the same is defined and penalized under Article
prejudice of Domingo del Mundo, owner of the said car, in 315 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, and, with the
the amount of P60,000.00, Philippine Currency. application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the Court
sentences him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment
Contrary to law.[3] ranging from Eight (8) years and Eight (8) months of
Prision Mayor as minimum to Fourteen (14) years and Ten
(10) months of Reclusion Temporal as maximum. The
On arraignment, the petitioner, assisted by counsel,
accused is moreover ordered to pay Domingo del Mundo
pleaded not guilty.
the amount of P60,000.00 representing the value of the
It appears from the prosecution evidence that car, plus costs of suit.
sometime in May 1993, the private complainant, Domingo
del Mundo, brought his car for repair at the Paeng SO ORDERED.[7]
Motorworks operated by the petitioner. The car was
received by Jose Bautista, a mechanic, in the presence of On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the
the petitioner who assured the private complainant that it decision of the trial court. The appellate court gave
would be safe in his motor shop. credence to the trial courts findings that the elements of
the crime of estafa with abuse of confidence were present.
The private complainants car was received at the motor
shop operated by the petitioner who was under the present. He stresses that the car was not entrusted to him
obligation to repair and deliver it to the private and that he had no duty to deliver it to the private
complainants house. Although it was Bautista, the complainant. He adds that the private complainant did not
petitioners mechanic, who personally received the car, the demand for the return of his car.
fact remained that the petitioner was then present and
even assured the private complainant that the car would be The elements of estafa under Article 315 1(b) of the
safe in his motor shop. Like the trial court, the Court of Revised Penal Code are as follows: (1) that money, goods,
Appeals ruled that the private complainant would not have or other personal properties are received by the offender in
returned to the petitioners motor shop after the two-week trust, or on commission, or for administration, or under any
extension were it not precisely to demand for the return of other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or
his car. to return, the same; (2) that there is a misappropriation or
conversion of such money or property by the offender or
The Court of Appeals likewise held that the trial court denial on his part of such receipt; (3) that such
never deprived the petitioner of his right to counsel as he misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice
was represented by a counsel de parte, Atty. Glenn P. of another; and, (4) that there is a demand made by the
Mendoza. When said counsel withdrew, the trial court offended party on the offender.[9]
allowed the resetting of the petitioners cross-examination
to give him time to engage the services of another counsel. Based on the evidence, we entertain no doubt that
It ordered the striking of his testimony from the records petitioner operated the Paeng Motorworks. Private
only after his new counsel failed to appear at the complainant Domingo del Mundo categorically identified
subsequent hearings. the petitioner as the owner.[10] There is no denying that
Jose Bautista, to whom the car was entrusted, was a
Before us, the petitioner raises now the following mechanic in petitioners shop. Petitioner could not disclaim
issues: responsibility for the return of the car simply because it was
his mechanic who received it. In fact, when the car was left
I with Bautista, the petitioner was present, and petitioner
even assured the private complainant that it would be safe
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN in his motor shop.[11]
IT DID NOT CONSIDER THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO
PROVE THAT THE SUBJECT VEHICLE WAS ENTRUSTED TO Even if we give credence to petitioners allegation that
THE PETITIONER-ACCUSED. at the time the car was left, it was Bautista who operated
the motor shop by virtue of a verbal lease with his mother,
he is still liable for estafa. As alleged by the petitioner
II
himself, Bautista abandoned the motor shop on October
1993. Yet, he never denied the fact that when the private
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN complainant returned to the motor shop in January 1994,
IT AFFIRMED THE TRIAL COURTS FINDING OF GUILT the car and its engine were still there. By then, the
AGAINST THE PETITIONER-ACCUSED DESPITE THE ABSENCE petitioner should have been put on notice as to the cars
OF FORMAL DEMAND FOR THE PETITIONER-ACCUSED TO ownership. Notwithstanding this information, however,
FULFILL THE TRUST OR TO RETURN THE THING RECEIVED. petitioner still sold its differential and cylinder head.

On the issue of demand, it is our view that demand


III
was properly made when the private complainant returned
to the motor shop after giving the petitioner a two-week
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN extension to complete the cars repair. When the private
IT RULED THAT THE TRIAL COURT NEVER DEPRIVED THE complainant went to the motor shop on January 1994, the
PETITIONER-ACCUSED OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO petitioner promised to deliver the car after two weeks.
COUNSEL.[8] When he failed in his promise, petitioner was given by the
private complainant another two-week extension. It was
Simply put: the issues for our resolution are: (1) Was only when the car was still not delivered to the private
there sufficient evidence to sustain the petitioners complainant, that he went back to the motor shop again,
conviction? (2) Was petitioner deprived of his right to and finally discovered that his car was missing there.
counsel?
Given the circumstances on record, we find the
Petitioner argues on the first issue, that the Court of petitioners acts inexcusable and his testimony on the
Appeals committed a reversible error in convicting him witness stand unconvincing. Petitioners allegations now are
without sufficient evidence of his guilt. He contends that nothing but a rehash of arguments he unsuccessfully raised
the trial court gravely misapprehended the facts in finding before the trial court and the Court of Appeals. It must be
that the elements of estafa with abuse of confidence, stressed that except for the petitioners claim that he was
under Article 315 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, were deprived of his constitutional right to counsel, all the
grounds raised by him now involve factual issues already that such liberality removes any doubt that its order was
passed upon twice below, and are inappropriate in a tainted with grave abuse of discretion.
petition for review under Rule 45, which allows only
questions of law to be raised. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The
decision dated March 11, 2002, of the Court of Appeals
Factual findings and conclusions of the trial court and upholding the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Lipa
the Court of Appeals are entitled to great weight and City, Branch 85, in Criminal Case No. 972-94 is
respect, and will not be disturbed on review by us, in the hereby AFFIRMED.
absence of any clear showing that the lower courts
overlooked certain facts or circumstances which would No pronouncement as to costs.
substantially affect the disposition of the case. The SO ORDERED.
jurisdiction of this Court over cases elevated from the Court
of Appeals is limited to reviewing or revising errors of law Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Ynares-Santiago,
ascribed to the Court of Appeals. The factual findings of the Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
appellate court generally are conclusive, and carry even
more weight when said court affirms the findings of the trial
court, absent any showing that the findings are totally
devoid of support in the record or that they are so glaringly
erroneous as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.[12]

Now, in this case, the only question of law properly


raised is whether the petitioner was deprived of his CIELITO M. SALUD,
constitutional right to counsel. In his Reply,[13] petitioner CLERK IV, COURT OF APPEALS, Promulgated:
contends that the trial court should have appointed a Respondent.
counsel de oficio when his counsel consistently failed to
appear for his cross-examination. e
The duty of the court to appoint a counsel de p
oficio for the accused who has no counsel of choice and t
desires to employ the services of one is mandatory only at e
the time of arraignment. No such duty exists where the m
accused has proceeded to arraignment and then trial with b
a counsel of his own choice. Worth noting, when the time e
for the presentation of evidence for the defense arrived, r
and the defendant appeared by himself alone, the absence 9
of his counsel was inexcusable.[14] ,
2
In the present case, since the petitioner was 0
represented by counsel de parte at the arraignment and 0
trial, the trial court could not be deemed duty-bound to 5
appoint a counsel de oficiofor the continuation of his cross- x--------------------------------------------
examination. Indeed, after his initial cross-examination, the ------x
trial court granted the petitioners motion to postpone, DECISION
giving him sufficient time to engage the services of another
counsel. The failure of Atty. Jose Dimayuga, his newly hired
lawyer, to appear at the subsequent hearings without CALLEJO, SR., J.:
reason was sufficient legal basis for the trial court to order
the striking from the records of his direct testimony, and
thereafter render judgment upon the evidence already
presented. In fact, the repeated failure to appear of Cielito Salud, Clerk IV, Mailing Section of the
defendants counsel at the trial may even be taken as a
deliberate attempt to delay the courts proceedings. Judicial Records Division, Court of Appeals (CA) stands
At the most, the appointment of a counsel de oficio in
a situation like the present case would be discretionary with charged with the following offenses:
the trial court, which discretion will not be interfered with
in the absence of grave abuse.[15] This Court is convinced 1. Inefficiency and incompetence in
that the trial court had been liberal in granting the performance of official duties;
postponements asked by the petitioner himself. We think 2. Conduct grossly prejudicial to the
best interest of the service; and
3. Directly or indirectly having
financial and material order of release in the said case and was initially told there
interest in an official
transaction, under Section was none yet. Due to his persistence, the records of the
22, paragraphs (p), (t) and (u),
Rule XIV of the Omnibus
case were eventually found.[4] Atty. Madarang then
Rules Implementing the Civil
Service Law.[1]
directed the typing of the Order of Release Upon

The Facts Bond,[5] and to notify the mailing section that there were

orders requiring personal service.[6] At around 4:00 p.m.,

Melchor Lagua was found guilty of homicide in the respondent then went to Atty. Madarangs office and

Criminal Case Nos. 118032-H and 118033-H before the assisted in arranging and stapling the papers for release. He

Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 163.[2] On appeal, brought the said resolutions and other papers himself to

the case was assigned to the Sixth Division of the Court of the Mailing Section.[7]

Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 27423. Lagua, who


On November 7, 2003, the respondent went to
was then detained at the Bureau of Prisons National
the National Penitentiary to serve the resolution and order
Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City, filed a Very Urgent Petition
of release in the Lagua case. The respondent left the prison
for Bail. Finding the petition well-taken, the appellate court
compound at around 2:30 p.m.[8]
issued a Resolution on October 9, 2003, directing him to

post a P200,000.00 bond. In the meantime, Atty. Madarang received a

telephone call from a certain Melissa Melchor, who


Laguas bond was approved in a
introduced herself as Laguas relative. It was about 2:00 p.m.
Resolution[3] dated November 6, 2003, where the appellate
The caller asked her how much more they had to give to
court also directed the issuance of an order of release in
facilitate Laguas provisional liberty. The caller also told Atty.
favor of Lagua. The resolution was then brought to the
Madarang that they had sought the help of a certain
Office of the Division Clerk of Court, Atty. Maria Isabel M.
Rhodora Valdez of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig,
Pattugalan-Madarang, for promulgation.
where the criminal case originated, but were told that they

Irma Del Rosario, Utility Worker, noticed the still had a balance to be given to Justice Magtolis and Atty.

respondents unusual interest in the Lagua case. The Madarang through the respondent. Atty. Madarang then

respondent had apparently been making inquiries whether called the said court and asked to speak to Ms. Valdez,

the appellate court had already directed the issuance of an pretending to be Laguas relative.
C.R. No. 27423) in the late
afternoon of November 7, 2003
What transpired thereafter is contained in Atty. while reporting to her this
incident. Those stored in my
Madarangs Affidavit dated December 8, 2003, as follows: phone are the following:

4. That upon telephone queries 1. bkit, C rhodora


made with the office of the Clerk to. 639204439082.
of Court of RTC Pasig, I learned Nov. 2003,
that Rhodora Valdez is the 15:36:15
incumbent Process Server of RTC,
[Branch] 163, Pasig City, from 2. CNO
which the original case against KAMAGANAK AT
accused-appellant Lagua ANONG PANGALAN
originated. Disguising myself as MO
accused-appellant Laguas relative, 639204439082, 7
I dialed [Branch] 163, RTC, Pasig Nov 2003 16:14:47
(6314273) but Rhodora Valdez did
not report for work that day, 3. SINO K KC
according to Baby (also known as NAGHIWALAY N
Ester), her officemate (who) KAMI
answered my call. She added that 639204439082, 7
Rhodora Valdez has been waiting Nov 2003 16:40:21
for us (Laguas relatives) to call. Her
exact words were these: Wala si 4. TAWAG K S AKIN
Rhodora. Meron lang siyang 639204439082 7
nilakad. Pero kahapon pa nya Nov 2003 17:18:47
hinihintay ang tawag nyo. May
kulang pa kayo eh. Kailangan 5. NARELEASE N C
kasing i-en banc sa Court of MR. LAGUA.
Appeals ang kaso ni Lagua. NAGKITA N B KAYO
639204439082-7
5. That I coordinated with Ms. Cecil Nov 2003 19:44:52
Secarro, the Acting Chief of the
Mailing Section, to inquire if it was 6. Magkano b and
usual/normal for her to text her binigay nyo sa
process servers on the field for an middle nyo. Puede
update of their deliveries, to which bang malaman
she answered in the affirmative. 639184470111-7
While she was in the office, she Nov 2003 20:32:05
texted Salud for his whereabouts
and he replied, that he was on his 7. Gud evening.
way back to Quezon City. That was May gusto lng
before 4 p.m., adding that his akong malaman.
deliveries were ok. Sana alang
makaalam kahit
6. That I got Saluds mobile phone cino. Lito
number from Ms. Secarro and 6391844701117
started texting him at about the Nov. 2003 19:54:20
same time Ms. Secarro did. I
represented myself as Arlyn, 8. Cno ang kausap n
Laguas relative. Most of his text Rhodora. Pwede
messages are still stored in my bang malaman
mobile phone. In fact, I received 639184470111-7
one text message from him while I Nov 2003 20:37:57
was at the office of Justice
Magtolis, (the Chairman of the 9. May landline ka.
6th Division and the ponente of Tawagan kta bukas
nang umaga
639184470111-7 19. 3 PM PUWEDE
Nov 2003 20:56:31 KB 639004039082
10 Nov 2003
10. Wag s Court of 12:09:32
Appeal. Txt na lang
kta kung saan. 20. Kilala mo b c
639184470111-7 rhodora. Nagkita na
Nov 2003 20:52:58 b kayo. Ala naman
problema sa kanya.
11. Gusto mo bukas Ok naman
nang umaga 639184470111 7
magkita tyo. Nov 2003, 21:57:13
639184470111 7
Nov 2003 20:57:10 21. MAGKITA N
LANG TAYO
12. D ba pwede 639204439082 10
bukas tyo kita. May Nov. 2003,
gusto lang ako 12:20:16
malaman
639184470111 7 22. A, OK, NAGKITA
Nov 2003 21:02:41 N B KAYO NG
KAMAGANAK MO
13. D 2ngkol kay 639204439082 10
rhodora duon sa Nov 2003 15:12:14
kasama ko
kaninang lalakeng 23. D TALAGA AKO
pinsan DARATING DAHIL
639184470111 7 WALA AKONG
Nov 2003, 21:04:28 KAILANGAN S IYO.
639204439082 10
14. Ala po ako sa Nov 2003 18:36:03
Lunes sa opis. Sa
hapon po puede 7. That Salud called me up in the
kyo 639184470111, morning of November 8, 2003 at
7 Nov 2003 around 7:33 but I purposely did
21:07:23 not answer him. Why did he need
to call me up?
15. Kay Melchor
Lagua 8. That I personally called up the
639184470111 7 Bureau of Prisons for the exact
Nov 2003 21:08:19 time the Order of Release was
delivered and when accused
16. Kasama ko cya appellant Lagua was released. I
kanina nang learned that the Order of Release
lumabas was received at 9:15 A.M. and that
639184470111 7 Lagua was released between 5-
Nov. 2003 21:13:05 5:30 P.M. of November 7, 2003.

17. Ano m ba 9. That I was able to talk to Rhodora


Melchor Lagua Valdez the following Monday,
639184470111 7 November 10, 2003. Again, I
Nov 2003 21:15:52 introduced myself as Laguas
relative, Arlyn and told her I only
18. Between 5 and wanted to know how much more
5:30 ng hapon. Bkit. we had to pay for Laguas release.
639184470111 7 She refused to entertain me
Nov. 2003 21:54:24 because according to her, Hindi
ikaw ang kausap ko. Duda ako sa
yo. Kung gusto mo, puntahan mo Lagua and his counsel to Art Baluran.[10] Justice Magtolis
ako dito bukas, para magkita tayo.
Pero lumabas na si Lagua. Itinawag then called the respondent to a meeting with Clerk of Court
sa akin ni Lito Salud. Then, she
[hung] up.
Atty. Tessie L. Gatmaitan, who stated that she would
10. That on Tuesday, November 11,
2003, I brought Salud, transfer the respondent to another office which has nothing
accompanied by Ms. Secarro to
Justice Magtolis. Out of the to do with cases.
confrontation, we discovered that
Salud did not properly serve the
copies of the Resolution and Order Justice Magtolis lodged the complaint against the
of Release upon the accused-
appellant and his counsel, Atty. respondent in a Letter dated November 14, 2003,
Salvador C. Quimpo of the Quimpo
Dingayan-Quimpo and Associates.
containing, among others, the following allegations:
He gave them to a certain Art,
The delivery of
allegedly Laguas relative who he
resolutions/orders to unauthorized
claimed approached him at the
persons and complete strangers who
Bureau of Prisons in the morning
promised to take care thereof (siya na
of November 7, 2003. He told
raw ang bahala) constitutes not only
Justice Magtolis that he gave these
neglect of duty but also conduct
documents to Art, who promised
prejudicial to the best interest of the
to take care of them, even before
service. Staying for the whole day
he could deliver the copy
within the vicinity of the National Bilibid
addressed to the Director of
Prisons to the point of failing to fulfill
Prisons. He never mentioned that
his other duties for the day constitutes
this Art was connected with the
inefficiency and incompetence in the
office of accused-appellants
performance of official duties. On the
counsel. Because of this
other hand, the use of my name and
information from Salud himself, I
that of our Division Clerk of Court to
did not sign the Certificate of
illegally solicit financial or material
Service, Annex C.
benefit from parties with pending cases
before this Court is illegal per se.
11. That several days later, Salud
accompanied by Ms. Secarro,
In view of the foregoing, it is
came to my office to apologize.
respectfully requested that Cielito
But before he could even say a
Salud be subjected to an administrative
word, he broke down in [wails]. In
investigation and disciplinary action.[11]
between his loud cries, he uttered,
Boss, patawad po, alang-alang sa
aking mga anak.[9] Attached to the complaint were the following documents to

support the charges:

On November 11, 2003, Justice Magtolis called ANNEX A - Record of the cases received
by Salud on November 6, 2003 for
delivery/service the following day,
the respondent to her office. When confronted, the
November 7, 2003. Please note that in
each of the 3 cases assigned to him,
respondent denied extorting or receiving money for Laguas there are several parties/counsels to be
served.
release, or in any other case. He, however, admitted serving
ANNEX B - Certificate of Service signed
the copies of resolution and order of release intended for by Salud, attested by the Acting Chief of
the Mailing Section and Division Clerk
of Court Ma. Ramona L. Ledesma,
showing that the parties/counsel in SP- ANNEX H - Copy of the Order of Release
67586 were served only on November upon Bond, which Salud was supposed
10, 2003 (not on November 7, 2003). to deliver, among others on November
7, 2003 to the defense counsel, the
ANNEX C - Certificate of Service for CR- appellant and the OSG.[12]
27423, and corresponding Delivery
Receipts.

C-1 - Delivery Receipts for Defense In his counter-affidavit,[13] the respondent


Counsel Salvador Quimpo signed by
someone whose signature was vehemently denied the charges. He never demanded
identified by Salud [as] Art a cousin of
appellant Melchor Lagua.
money from Laguas relative; his name had been used by
C-2 - Delivery Receipt for the accused-
appellant, received by the same Art and someone and was, thus, a mere victim of the
not served thru the Director of Prisons.
circumstances. Moreover, the fact that he immediately
C-3 - Delivery Receipt for the
OSG, showing that it was released the CA order in question was clear proof that he
delivered/received by the said office on
November 10, 2003, not on November had no financial interest in the transaction. His version of
7, 2003.
the events that occurred that day is as follows:
C-4 - Delivery Receipt for the Director of
Prisons showing receipt on November
4.1 That on November 6, 2003
7, 2003.
at around 1:38 p.m. the
Acting Chief of the Mailing
ANNEX D - Record of Resolutions in 3
Section gave me an
other cases (SP-80241, SP-65404 and
assignment to deliver the
SP-77957) received for service by Salud
Writ of Habeas Corpus
on November 10, 2003. The
(hearing on November 26,
resolutions/processes in these 3 cases
2003 at RTC, Zamboanga) for
were delivered/served to the
CA-G.R. SP No. 80238 for
parties/counsel on November 10, 2003
delivery to NBI, PAO, Quezon
together with undelivered resolutions
City, Muntinlupa;
left unserved/undelivered on
November 7, 2003.
4.2 That I delivered a copy of the
Writ of Habeas Corpus to [the
ANNEX E - Certification signed by Salud
National] Bureau of
showing service to parties/counsel in
Investigation (NBI);
SP-65404 (received by Salud on
November 10, 2003) on November 10,
4.3 That while I was at the NBI, I
2003 (same date)
received a text message from
my boss, requesting me to
ANNEX F, F-1 & F-2 - Delivery Receipts
return to the office
for parties/counsel in SP-65404,
immediately because there is
showing service/delivery on November
another notice of resolution
10, 2003 in contrast to his minimal
coming from Atty. Ledesma
delivery/services on November 7, 2003
which I have to serve to
only in Muntinlupa.
Quezon City and Las Pias;
ANNEX G - Copy of the resolution dated
4.4 In compliance with the
November 6, 2003 of the 6th Division
request, I returned to the
approving the appellants bond and
Office and arrived at around
directing the issuance of an order of
3:15 p.m.;
release.
4.5 That when I received the Monday if I cannot finish
resolution, I read the same delivering them on
and found out that the November 7, 2003. She
hearing is still scheduled on agreed but told me to be sure
December 10, 2003 at 10:30 that the Order of Release will
a.m.; be served first and the others
be served not later than
4.6 That when I was about to Monday, November 10, 2003.
leave to deliver the Writ of Thereafter, I went home.
Habeas Corpus and the
Notice of Hearing to the PAO, 4.13 That on November 7, 2003, I
Quezon City, my officemate went straight to [the] New
Jun Vicencio told me to wait Bilibid Prison and arrived
because Irma, the staff of there before 8:00 [a.m.]
Atty. Madarang requested Unfortunately, all the staff
me to standby because I need wearing white uniforms and
to deliver the Order of the security guards were
Release to the New Bilibid falling in line in front of the
Prison, Muntinlupa; building of the New Bilibid
Prison. So I could not enter
4.7 That because of the request the administration office.
I waited until 4:00 p.m.;
4.14 That while I was standing in
4.8 That because its already front of the building where
late, I decided to go to Atty. the administrative office is
Madarangs office to inquire located, a certain ART
about the Order of Release approached me and asked
which I need to deliver to the me if I am the personnel of
New Bilibid Prison, the Court of Appeals who will
Muntinlupa; deliver the Order of Release.

4.9 That Atty. Madarang told me 4.15 That I said yes, and he told me
to wait a little while because his name and said that he is a
the order is about to be relative of MELCHOR LAGUA
finished. So I waited. (prisoner) and is connected
with the office of Atty.
4.10 That Atty. Madarang gave to [Quimpo].
me the Order of Release at
4:15 p.m. 4.16 That at around 9:30 [a.m.] I
was able to enter the
4.11 That because I am aware that administrative offices but
I may not reach [the] New because there was no staff
Bilibid Prison on time, I told inside I went to the
Atty. Madarang that I can documentation office. The
deliver it on November 7, staff in the documentation
2003, early in the morning. office told me to submit the
She agreed and told me Order of Release to the
THANK YOU Ikaw na ang administrative office. He said
bahala; that they will prepare the
documents of MELCHOR
4.12 That I informed my boss LAGUA (prisoner) but also
about the Order of Release told me that the prisoner
that was assigned to me and might be released on Monday
she had it listed in our yet because the signatories
logbook. I asked my boss are busy attending the
[Cecil Secarro] if I can deliver ongoing 98 anniversary
the Notice of Hearing for SP celebration;
67586 and the others on
4.17 That I returned to the incomplete, I found a hard
administrative office and was time locating the address of
able to find Mr. JUANITO the addressee and when I
TORRES, Administrative found Purok I, 6A, the
Officer III, who received the persons thereat do not know
copy for the Director but JOEL DE LA PAZ. I asked for
refused to receive the copy of their help but nobody in the
Mr. LAGUA. He told me to place knew JOEL DE LA PAZ;
wait for his staff to receive
the copy of Mr. LAGUA; 4.25 That I left Muntinlupa late in
the afternoon and due to the
4.18 That because the staff were lack of time I decided to
not around, I went to the deliver the other documents
canteen to buy softdrinks to on the next working day
quench my thirst; which is Monday, November
10, 2003;
4.19 That Mr. ART followed me in
the canteen and told me to 4.26 That I delivered the other
assist in the release of Mr. documents on Monday,
LAGUA because there were November 10, 2003, without
no personnel attending to the any problem;
Order of Release;
4.27 That I was surprised when
4.20 That since my boss told me to Atty. Madarang later on
insure the release of the accused me that I used her
prisoner, I waited for my staff name and the name of Justice
to arrive who will attend to Magtolis to demand money
the matter; from Mr. LAGUAS relative.[14]

4.21 That I delivered the copy of


Mr. LAGUA to the staff. But
ART told them he can receive Considering the gravity of the charges, then
the copy of Mr. LAGUA
because he is his relative so, Acting Presiding Justice Cancio C. Garcia[15] referred the
the staff told me to give the
copy to ART.
matter to Atty. Elisa B. Pilar-Longalong, Assistant Clerk of
4.22 That I gave the copy of the
Order of Release for the Court, for investigation, report, and recommendation.
accused to ART. ART also told
me that he is authorized to
receive the copy for Atty.
Quimpo because he is also The Investigation
the representative of the law
office. Hence, I also gave the
copy for Atty. Quimpo to ART;
The requisite hearings were held from December
4.23 That I was able to finish my
duty at the New Bilibid Prison 12, 2003 to August 4, 2004.
at around 2:30 [p.m.] and I
proceeded to Purok I, 6A
Bayanan, Muntinlupa to
Atty. Madarang affirmed the contents of her
serve the Writ of Habeas
Corpus in CA-G.R. SP No.
80238; Affidavit[16] dated December 8, 2003. She testified that the

4.24 That because of [sic] the respondent later came to her office along with Ms. Secarro.
address of the addressee was
Amidst his cries, he pleaded, Boss, patawad po, alang-alang Another witness was Cristy Flores, convicted of

sa aking mga anak. She replied, Wait, wala ka namang three counts of estafa who served time at the Correctional

kasalanan sa akin. Ikaw ang nagpasimuno ng lahat ng Institute for Women in Batangas City. She testified that the

ito. The respondent repeated, Boss, patawad po alang respondent was introduced to her in December 1998 by a

alang sa aking mga anak, and Atty. Madarang certain Crisanta Gamil.[20] Gamil was also detained at the

answered, Okey lang, pinatawad na kita. Hindi naman ako correctional facility; the respondent had worked on her

galit sa iyo.[17] appeal bond papers and asked for P20,000.00 to facilitate

the issuance of the appeal bond.[21] The payment was made


Justice Magtolis testified that Atty. Madarang
right in front of her, and the respondent issued a
reported having received a telephone call from the alleged
receipt.[22] The witness also testified that Gamil told her, O,
relative of Lagua. She narrated that she gave the name
at least dyan mo ipalakad ang papel mo. Okay ′yan,
Arlyn to the caller, and, thereafter, exchanged text
sigurado.[23] The respondent visited her in May 1999, as she
messages with the respondent. Justice Magtolis instructed
had asked him to fix her appeal bond. During the visit, the
Atty. Madarang to continue communicating with the
respondent took the pertinent documents from her. [24] The
respondent and, if possible, to see it through a possible pay-
witness also stated that she gave the respondent a partial
off where a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent
payment of P7,000.00[25] on May 16, 1999 and he issued a
would be asked to assist them. However, the entrapment
receipt.[26] They then proceeded to the Documents Section
did not materialize. The respondent thereafter came to her
where they secured copies of the court decision, certificate
office, where he was asked why he was unable to serve all
of manifestation and her picture. She made the last
the other papers and documents that day.[18] He also
payment of P13,000.00 in June 13, 1999, and also issued a
admitted that he served a copy of the resolution to the
receipt. The respondent was also asking for an additional
wrong person (Baluran). Justice Magtolis also stated that
payment of P15,000.00, which she was unable to give.
she threatened to transfer the respondent, and that the
Flores narrated that she introduced another
latter vehemently objected, pleaded, and cried
detainee to the respondent, Dalawangbayan, whom the
saying, Huwag naman pong pa-transfer. When asked why,
latter was also able to help. She stated that according to
the respondent said that he has children in school and
Dalawangbayan, the respondent asked for P200,000.00.
something like, Dyan po ako kumikita.[19]
She further testified that she knew the respondent as
Joselito M. Salud, and not Cielito Salud.[27] After the visited Dalawangbayan, the respondent replied that Flores

incident, she wrote a letter to Associate Justice Conrado had written a letter to him (which he dubbed

Vasquez, Jr. to ask for assistance regarding her appeal bond. as maintrigang sulat)[31]addressed Lito Salud, Mailing

Section, Court of Appeals. In the said letter, Flores asked


Atty. Salvador Quimpo, Laguas counsel, testified
him to help Dalawangbayan, just like he had helped Gamil.
that it was Engineer Art Baluran who hired him as counsel
The respondent then showed the letter to then Chief of
of the said accused. He stated that he gave an oral
Office Prudencio B. Aguilar, who told him, Puntahan mo
authorization to Baluran to get the CA resolutions or orders;
yan, Lito at maintriga ′yang sulat na yan, baka tayo
Baluran was the one who furnished him a copy of the
mapahamak dyan.[32] Thus, he went to the Correctional
resolution.[28] He called Mr. Baluran to say that an order for
Institute in Mandaluyong City to sort things out with
Laguas release had already been issued by the appellate
Dalawangbayan and Gamil. The respondent, however,
court. The witness stated, however, that he had never seen
stated that he could not find the letter anywhere and had
the respondent before.[29]
already been lost.[33]
The respondent testified that he has been a CA

employee since 1991. He admitted that he knew Flores, and During his May 16, 1999 visit to the correctional

met her in January 1999 when he brought Gamils order of facility, Flores approached him in the visiting hall, and said

release in the Batangas City Jail. He claimed that he was suddenly, Sandali lang, Kuya, then left. He then talked to

waiting for the relatives of Gamil as they were the ones who Dalawangbayan about the controversial letter, explaining

would pay for his fare home, and while waiting, he talked that his job in the Court of Appeals was only to remand the

to the jailguard/warden. Flores then approached him and records and deliver the Orders for release, just like what he

asked him if he was from the CA. When the respondent did in Gamils case. [34] He again visited Dalawangbayan on

answered in the affirmative, Flores replied that Justice June 13, 1999[35] as evidenced by the entries in the visitors

Vasquez was her neighbor in Bian, Laguna. logbook. He was no longer able to speak to Flores, but made

five other such visits to Dalawangbayan in the correctional


The respondent admitted that he was in the
facility.
Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City on

May 16, 1999, as he was then visiting Vilma The Findings of the Investigating Officer

Dalawangbayan. He also saw Flores.[30] When asked why he


most serious charge and the rest shall
In her Report dated January 21, 2005, Atty. be considered as aggravating
circumstances. Section 54-c of the same
Longalong found that the respondent was guilty as charged, Memorandum Circular provides that
the maximum of the penalty shall be
imposed where only aggravating and no
and made the following recommendation:
mitigating circumstances are present.
Since in this case, the penalty is the
In view of all the foregoing,
same for all 3 offenses, the maximum of
there is substantial evidence to hold
the penalty for the first offense which is
respondent liable for the offenses
suspension for 1 year [may be] imposed
charged. He is liable for inefficiency and
on the respondent.
incompetence in the performance of
his official duties and for conduct
2. Considering that the
prejudicial to the best interest of the
prescribed penalty for the offense
service when he admittedly served the
exceeds one month suspension, the
copies of the resolution and order of
case may now be referred to the
release in the Lagua case intended for
Supreme Court for appropriate action,
detained appellant and his counsel on
pursuant to Circular No. 30-91 of the
Mr. Baluran whom he admitted to have
Office of the Court Administrator.[36]
met only on that day, against the rules
and normal office procedure on
personal service. His long stay in the
Bureau of Prisons also caused the delay
in the service of other court processes
assigned to him for service on that day.
He is also liable for having financial or The Ruling of the Court
material interest in an official
transaction considering his undue
interest in the service of the order of On the charge of inefficiency, the respondent is
release and actual release of Lagua to
the point of staying almost the whole clearly administratively liable. After serving Laguas copy of
day in the Bureau of Prisons and the
aborted deal as can be concluded from the resolution and order of release to the prison Director,
the phone call of Melissa Melchor to
Atty. Madarang and subsequent he should have immediately returned to his station or
exchange of text messages with Atty.
Madarang disguising as Laguas relative.
served the other resolutions and documents for personal
RECOMMENDATION:
service. As an officer of the court, the respondent plays an
1. Rule IV, Section 52 of Civil
Service Commission Memorandum essential part in the administration of justice. He is required
Circular No. 19, S. 1999, issued
pursuant to Book V of the to live up to the stringent standards of his office, and his
Administrative Code of 1987, provides
that the penalty for the first offense of conduct must, at all times, be above reproach and
inefficiency and incompetence in the
performance of official duties, for
suspicion. He must steer clear of any act which would tend
conduct prejudicial to the best interest
of the service and for directly or
indirectly having financial and material to undermine his integrity, or erode somehow the peoples
interest in any official transaction is
suspension for a period of 6 months, 1 faith and trust in the courts.[37] As the respondent himself
day to 1 year. Pursuant to Section 55 of
the same Memorandum Circular, if the admitted, he stayed on until 2:30 p.m. without any valid
respondent is found guilty of 2 or more
charges, the penalty to be imposed reason, despite the fact that he knew he still had to serve
should be that corresponding to the
several orders and resolutions. As pointed out by the considered in its entirety and not in truncated parts. To

Investigating Officer, inefficiency and incompetence in the determine which contradicting statements of a witness is to

performance of official duties is classified as a grave prevail as to the truth, the other evidence received must be

offense, and is punishable by suspension for six months and considered.[42] Thus, while it is true that there is no direct

one day to one year.[38] evidence that the respondent received any money to

facilitate the release of detained Lagua, the following


Indeed, the complainant in administrative
circumstances must be taken as contrary to the
proceedings has the burden of proving the allegations in the
respondents plea of innocence:
complaint by substantial evidence. If a court employee is to

be disciplined for a grave offense, the evidence against him First. The respondent admitted that he was the

must be competent and derived from direct knowledge; as sender of the first three text messages in Atty. Madarangs

such, charges based on mere suspicion and speculation cellphone: bkit, C rhodora to; CNO KAMAGANAK AT

cannot be given credence. Thus, if the complainant fails to ANONG PANGALAN MO; and SINO K KC NAGHIWALAY N

substantiate a claim of corruption and bribery, relying on KAMI. The respondents testimony on the matter is as

mere conjectures and suppositions, the administrative follows:

complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit.[39] However, Q: In the hearing of December 2, 2003,
in the TSN on page 32
in administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof onwards

ATTY. ROSERO:
required to establish malfeasance is not proof beyond
Is that the testimony of Atty. Madarang,
reasonable doubt but substantial evidence, i.e., that Justice?

amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:

accept as adequate to support a conclusion, is Oo. I will just refer to your


admission through your
required.[40] The findings of investigating magistrates on the counsel that Cellphone No.
6392044390[8]2 is yours. You
admitted that?
credibility of witnesses are given great weight by reason of
ATTY. ROSERO:
their unmatched opportunity to see the deportment of the
I think we made an admission
witnesses as they testified.[41] as to that matter, Justice.
Well just check the affidavit
of Atty. Madarang.
To determine the credibility and probative weight
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
of the testimony of a witness, such testimony must be Here, admitted. Basahin mo.
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
ATTY. ROSERO:
All these text messages were
Yes, Justice, admitted but not the checked by us with your
cellphone number counsel in the cellphone of
Atty. Madarang which were
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS: preserved until we allowed
her to erase these. There are
Sige, ulitin natin, exchanges here:
6392044390[9]2. 6392044390[8]2, November
7. When she texted she
ATTY. ROSERO: answered, Bkit c Rhodora 2
Yes, admitted. That is his cellphone. and then second was, Cnong
kamaganak anong pangalan
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS: mo? This is addressed to you,
this is your telephone?
This cellphone is yours. A: Opo.

Q: Do you also admit that you called Q: But the one who answered is
Atty. Madarang several times Rhodora?
on November 7, 2003? A: Ako po ′yun.

ATTY. ROSERO: Q: Ikaw ang sumasagot. Why did you


say that you are Rhodora?
November 7 is a Friday. A: Justice, nung ma-receive ko po ′yong
Tumawag ka daw several text niya apat na beses ko
times kay Atty. Madarang, pong na-receive ang text ni
November 7? Arlene.

JUSTICE MAGTOLIS: INVESTIGATOR:

Texted, Im sorry I will correct that, Who is Arlene?


texted.
A: Atty. Madarang. Arlene, sa text po
A: Nauna po siyang magtext sa akin, niya sa akin, Sir Lito,
Justice, hindi po ako nagtext kamaganak po ito ni Mr.
sa kanya. Nagtext po siya sa Lagua. Magkano pa po ba ang
akin sumagot po ako sa kakulangang pera para ibigay
kanya. ko sa inyo. Si Rhodora ba
kasama? Hindi ko po sinagot
Q: There was an exchange several yon. Pangalawa, ′yun din po
times? ang message nya. Ano ito? Sa
A: Nuong pong text niya sa akin hindi po akin pong kuan, sa pag-iisip
several times dahil kung ko lang po, bakit dahil si Mr.
makita ′nyo po dyan. Art Baluran kamag-anak na,
ano ito? Text pa ulit pa sya ng
pangatlo. Nang-iintriga na ′to.
Pang-apat, intriga ′to. Text ko
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS: nga rin ′to, lokohan lang tayo.
Bkit si Rhodora ′to yun po ang
Let me see the affidavit of Atty. sagot ko sa kanya.
Madarang. After this question, may I
ask for a continuance? Q: So at that time you already knew
about Rhodora?
ATTY. ROSERO: A: Hindi po, dun, duon po sa text niya
nakalagay po dun eh, Si
No objection, Your Honor. Rhodora kasama ba? So
ikinuan ko po na si Rhodora
′to, dun po sa text nya. This was also the ruling of the Court in the recent

Q: Nakipaglokohan ka? case of Zaldy Nuez v. Elvira Cruz-Apao.[46] In that case, the
A: Sa text niya nakalagay dun na Si
Rhodora ba kasama kaya po
Court, in finding the respondent therein guilty of dishonesty
ako nakipaglokohan dun.[43]

and grave misconduct, considered text messages addressed

to the complainant asking for a million pesos in exchange


As pointed out by the Investigating Officer, the

for a favorable decision in a case pending before the CA. The


respondents claim of joking around (nakipaglokohan) with

Court had the occasion to state:


an unknown sender of a text message by replying thereto is
The text messages were
contrary to a normal persons reaction. This is made even properly admitted by the Committee
since the same are now covered by
more apparent by the fact that the respondent even Section 1(k), Rule 2 of the Rules on
Electronic Evidence, which provides:
admitted that he called Atty. Madarang twice, and when
Ephemeral electronic
asked why, gave a vague answer, and, when further communication refers to
telephone conversations,
questioned, even broke down in tears.[44] text messages and other
electronic forms of
communication the
evidence of which is not
The respondents claim that the admission of the
recorded or retained.

text messages as evidence against him constitutes a Under Section 2, Rule 11 of


the [said rules], Ephemeral electronic
violation of his right to privacy is unavailing. Text messages communications shall be proven by the
testimony of a person who was a party
have been classified as ephemeral electronic to the same or who has personal
knowledge thereof . In this case,
communication under Section 1(k), Rule 2 of the Rules on complainant who was the recipient of
the said messages and therefore had
personal knowledge thereof testified
Electronic Evidence,[45] and shall be proven by the
on their contents and import.
Respondent herself admitted that the
testimony of a person who was a party to the same or has cellphone number reflected in
complainants cellphone from which the
personal knowledge thereof. Any question as to the messages originated was hers.
Moreover, any doubt respondent may
admissibility of such messages is now moot and academic, have had as to the admissibility of the
text messages had been laid to rest
as the respondent himself, as well as his counsel, already when she and her counsel signed and
attested to the veracity of the text
admitted that he was the sender of the first three messages messages between her and
complainant. It is also well to
remember that in administrative cases,
on Atty. Madarangs cell phone.
technical rules of procedure and
evidence are not strictly applied. We
have no doubt as to the probative value
of the text messages as evidence in
determining the guilt or lack thereof of malaman po dito sa CA na ako
respondent in this case. ay kinasuhan ninyo tumawag
po siya sa Personnel.

JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
Second. The respondents testimony during the
Q: Who is siya?
hearings held before Investigating Officer Atty. Longalong is A: Ay hindi po siya nagpakilala.

INVESTIGATOR:
replete with inconsistencies and loopholes. He claimed that
Lalaki o babae?
he made inquiries from other CA staff and learned that
A: Una po babae tapos ′yong pangalawa
there was indeed a deal between someone in the criminal po lalaki.

section and a certain Rhodora of the RTC, Pasig. He further INVESTIGATOR:

claimed that the said parties wanted to get back at him for Sinong kinakausap?

A: Ako po.
immediately serving the release order which prevented
INVESTIGATOR:
them from demanding the balance of the deal from Laguas
Hinahanap ka?
relative. However, this bare claim was not corroborated by
A: Hinahanap po nila ako.
any witness. Moreover, the respondent alleged that two
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
anonymous callers claimed to know something about the
Q: What did he tell you? He, lalaki, ano?
case against him; when asked about it, he stated that he no A: Sa babae muna po?

Q: Oo, babaet lalake ba?


longer exerted efforts to find out who they were as they did
A: Opo.

not give out their names: Q: Who was the first caller, the lady or
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS: the gentleman?
A: Babae po.
Q: On page 5 of your affidavit, you said
in paragraph 8 That I made Q: Were you the one who answered the
some inquiry and some phone?
personnel of the Court of A: Hindi po.
Appeals told me that there is
indeed a deal between a staff INVESTIGATOR:
in the Criminal Section and
Rhodora of RTC, Pasig. Can Hinahanap daw siya.
you tell us who is this staff?
A: Ah dito po Justice, hindi po siya JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
nagpakilala, sa telephono po.
Q: Hinahanap ka, okay, when you
answered the phone, what
did you say?
INVESTIGATOR: A: Ang sabi ko po sa kanya, pupuwede
mo ba akong matulungan sa
Sino siya? paggawa ng affidavit dahil
kinasuhan nga ako ni Justice
A: Hindi po siya ′yong tawag po niya sa Magtolis.
akin sa telepono nang
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:

Q: But you do not know who you were Q: Anong sagot niya sa tulungan kasi
talking to? nakakarinig siyang tsismis?
A: Tinanong ko nga po kung sino siya eh
tumutulong lang daw siya sa INVESTIGATOR:
akin dahil ang naririnig niyang
tsismis din dyan eh baka po si Q Ano ang sagot mo?
Rhodora ang may ka-kuan sa A: Eh iyon nga ang gusto kong malaman,
Criminal. ang katotohanan. Baka
naman pupuwede mo akong
Q: Saan ′yong ka-kuan? matulungan. Sino ba ′to?
A: Ang may kausap sa Criminal.
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
Q: Who said na baka si Rhodora ang
may kausap sa Criminal? Q: Di ba she was the one who offered to
A: ′Yon pong kausap ko sa kabilang help?
linya. A: Ay ayaw daw po naman niyang
masabit po ang pangalan niya.
Q: The name you do not know?
A: Eh tinanong ko naman po kung sino Q: But she was the one who called you?
siya ayaw naman po niyang A: Opo.
magpakilala. Matutulungan Q: Okay. How did your talk end with this
mo ba ako, ibinaba na po ang girl or lady?
telepono. A: Nung pagsalita ko nga pong baka
pupuwede akong tulungan,
INVESTIGATOR: wala na.

Anonymous caller. Q: How about the man, the gentleman


or the boy who called?
JUSTICE MAGTOLIS: A: Same kuan din po ang kanilang kuan
e.
You are very fond of answering calls.
You dont even know the JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
name.
Dont use kuan.
Q: That anonymous caller told you that
there must be some deals ATTY. ROSERO:
between Rhodora and
someone from the Criminal Sige, Lito, ipaliwanag mo.
Section?
A: ′Yun din daw po ang naririnig niyang A: Same kuento rin po, sinabi niya na
tsismis dyan sa labas. ganuon din po na narinig din
po niya sa labas.
Q: Tsismis, that was that the caller told
you? JUSTICE MAGTOLIS:
A: Opo.
Q: Alright, you were not the one who
Q: And she wanted to help you? answered the call?
A: Kaya po sinabi din sa akin na tsismis A: Hindi po.
eh hindi pa po pwedeng
Q: Somebody called you that theres a
Q: What did you answer her? phone call?
A: Opo.
INVESTIGATOR:
Q: When you answered, what was your
Anong sagot mo raw? first word?
A: Hello! Q: You did not. But I thought you
wanted help from those
Q: What was the answer at the other people who can help you?
end of the line? A: Eh hindi na nga po sila nagbanggit po
A: Hello rin po. ng pangalan dahil po sabi ng
unang babae ayaw nga rin po
Q: What next? niyang sumabit sa kaso.[47]
A: Alam mo, ang sabi po niya sa akin
ganito po

Q: Who was the first one who said This respondents actuation on this matter, if at all
something other than hello?
A: Siya po ang nauna. true, is again contrary to the normal reaction of one who
Q: What did she say, the exact words?
has been administratively charged, and wants to clear his
A: Exact words, sa naalala kong sinabi
niya Alam mo, Mr. Salud,
Salud po ang kuan niya sa name of any wrongdoing.
akin, narinig ko sa labas,
istoryahan dyan sa labas na
baka si Rhodora ang may ka- The respondent also admitted visiting an inmate
kuan dito sa Criminal. Ang
sabi ko po sa kanya Iyan din (Vilma Dalawangbayan) at the correctional facility eight
ang itinawag sa akin kahapon.
Eh dalawa na kayo eh baka times for no apparent reason. This admission lends some
naman pupuwede nyo akong
matulungan. Puede ko bang
credence to the testimony of Flores, that she was the one
malaman ang pangalan mo?
Ganun din po, ayaw na pong
magsalita ibinaba na [ang] who introduced him to Dalawangbayan, the person he was
telepono.
visiting. When asked why he frequently visited, he stated
Q: Do you know Rhodora?
A: Hindi po. that he found her beautiful (Maganda po siya, Justice), and

Q: You never met her? was on the verge of courting her (Para na nga po akong
A: Hindi po.
nanliligaw). The Court believes that this allegation was
Q: You never talked to her?
A: Nung pong ipinakiusap nyo sa akin
sa telepono po nung tayo concocted by the respondent as a mere afterthought, to
poy
cover up for his misdeeds.
Q: After the conversation with the lady
and that gentleman who
called you to offer some help The Investigating Officer also found that the
and afterwards did not help
at all, what happened? respondent was high-strung during his testimony, and this
A: Wala na po.
finding must be accorded respect. Indeed, when the issue is
Q: Did you not check with Rhodora,
What is this they are talking
the credibility of witnesses, the function of evaluating it is
about that it might be
between you and someone in
the Criminal Section? You primarily lodged in the investigating judge. The rule which
never asked her that?
A: Hindi ko na rin po concedes due respect, and even finality, to the assessment
testimonies than the nervous and [high-
of the credibility of witnesses by trial judges in civil and strung] demeanor of respondent during
his testimony. Moreover, complainant
criminal cases where preponderance of evidence and proof and her witnesses, including the
superiors of respondent, have no
reason or motive whatsoever to testify
beyond reasonable doubt, respectively, are required,
falsely against him. Respondents
defense of denial is inherently a weak
applies a fortiori in administrative cases where the defense. It is well settled that denial, to
be believed, must be buttressed by
quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence. The strong evidence of non-culpability,
otherwise the denial is purely self-
investigating judge is in a better position to pass judgment serving and with nil evidentiary value
(People of the Philippines v. Arlee, 323
on the credibility of witnesses, having personally heard SCRA 201). Like the defense of alibi,
denial crumbles in the light of positive
declarations (People of the Philippines
them when they testified, and observed their deportment
vs. Ricafranca, 323 SCRA 652).

and manner of testifying.[48] Thus, the following findings of


Indeed, the Court is looked upon by people with high

Atty. Longalong are well taken:


respect, a sacred place where litigants are heard, rights and
However, respondent
denied receiving P20,000 from Gamil
and P15,000 from Flores and signing LM conflicts settled and justice solemnly dispensed with.
Salud on Flores notebooks (Exhibits E-1
and F-1) but admitted visiting Vilma at Misbehavior within or around the vicinity diminishes its
the Correctional Institute for Women 8
times from May to August 1999. sanctity and dignity. The conduct and behavior required of
Respondents denial here appears self-
serving and incredible considering his every court personnel, from the presiding judge to the
admission of going to the Correctional
Institute for Women several times for
lowliest clerk, must always be beyond reproach and
no valid official reason. Moreover,
although Flores is a convict for estafa,
her circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility.
testimony on the matter was more
consistent and credible. Likewise, Their conduct must, at all times, be characterized by,
respondent admitted seeing Flores at
the Correctional Institute for Women among other things, propriety and decorum so as to earn
and that Flores mailed her letter to him
on May 16, 1999 which he called and keep the publics respect and confidence in the judicial
maintriga. He also admitted that he told
Flores to seek the help of Justice service.[49] Public service requires the utmost integrity and
Vasquez on her case. The foregoing,
plus the fact that Flores eventually
strictest discipline. Thus, a public servant must exhibit at all
wrote Justice Vasquez, confirms the
truth of Flores testimony on the matter.
times the highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in
With the aforecited
admissions by respondent, the the performance of his official duties but in his personal and
substantial evidence presented by the
complainant and her witnesses with private dealings with other people.[50]
their positive and forthright
testimonies deserve more credence While there is no direct evidence to suggest that
than respondents self-serving denial
and inconsistent and vague testimony.
he actually extorted money to facilitate the issuance of the
Even the demeanor of complainant and
her witnesses give credence to their
appeal bond and release order which he himself served, the and the peoples confidence in it.[53] Thus, any conduct

surrounding circumstances, as well as the inconsistencies in which tends to diminish the image of the Judiciary cannot

his testimony, point towards administrative culpability. The be countenanced.

respondents actuations fall short of the standard required


IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, respondent
of a public servant. He is guilty of gross or grave
Cielito M. Salud is found GUILTY of inefficiency and gross
misconduct. Misconduct is a transgression of some
misconduct. He is SUSPENDED for a period of One (1) Year
established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a
and Six (6) Months, effective immediately. He is
dereliction from duty, unlawful behavior, willful in
further DIRECTED to inform the Court as to the date of his
character, improper or wrong behavior,[51] while gross, has
receipt of this Decision to determine when his suspension
been defined as out of all measure; beyond allowance;
shall have taken effect.
flagrant; shameful; such conduct as is not to be

excused.[52] Under the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and The Office of the Court Administrator is

Regulations, grave misconduct is punishable by dismissal also DIRECTED to conduct a discreet investigation on the

from the service even for the first offense, as it is classified possible involvement of Rhodora Valdez (Utility Worker),

as a grave offense. However, considering that the and other personnel of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City,

respondent has not been previously charged nor Branch 163.

administratively sanctioned, the Court finds that a penalty SO ORDERED.

of suspension for one year and six months will serve the

purpose of disciplining the respondent.

Court personnel, from the lowliest employee to

the clerk of court or any position lower than that of a judge

or justice, are involved in the dispensation of justice, and

parties seeking redress from the courts for grievances look

upon them as part of the Judiciary. They serve as sentinels

of justice, and any act of impropriety on their part

immeasurably affect the honor and dignity of the Judiciary


The Ruling of the Trial Court

ROSENDO HERRERA, petitioner, vs. ROSENDO ALBA,


minor, represented by his mother ARMI A. ALBA, In an Order dated 3 February 2000, the trial court
and HON. NIMFA CUESTA-VILCHES, Presiding granted respondents motion to conduct DNA paternity
Judge, Branch 48, Regional Trial Court, testing on petitioner, respondent and Armi Alba. Thus:
Manila, respondents.
In view of the foregoing, the motion of the petitioner
DECISION is GRANTED and the relevant individuals, namely: the
petitioner, the minor child, and respondent are directed
CARPIO, J.: to undergo DNA paternity testing in a laboratory of their
common choice within a period of thirty (30) days from
receipt of the Order, and to submit the results thereof
within a period of ninety (90) days from completion. The
The Case parties are further reminded of the hearing set on 24
February 2000 for the reception of other evidence in
support of the petition.
This is a petition for review[1] to set aside the
Decision[2] dated 29 November 2000 of the Court of Appeals IT IS SO ORDERED.[5] (Emphasis in the original)
(appellate court) in CA-G.R. SP No. 59766. The appellate
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the 3
court affirmed two Orders[3] issued by Branch 48 of the
February 2000 Order. He asserted that under the present
Regional Trial Court of Manila (trial court) in SP No. 98-
circumstances, the DNA test [he] is compelled to take would
88759. The Order dated 3 February 2000 directed Rosendo
be inconclusive, irrelevant and the coercive process to
Herrera (petitioner) to submit to deoxyribonucleic acid
obtain the requisite specimen, unconstitutional.
(DNA) paternity testing, while the Order dated 8 June 2000
denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. In an Order dated 8 June 2000, the trial court denied
petitioners motion for reconsideration.[6]

On 18 July 2000, petitioner filed before the appellate


The Facts court a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure. He asserted that the trial court
rendered the Orders dated 3 February 2000 and 8 June
On 14 May 1998, then thirteen-year-old Rosendo 2000 in excess of, or without jurisdiction and/or with grave
Alba (respondent), represented by his mother Armi Alba, abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
filed before the trial court a petition for compulsory jurisdiction. Petitioner further contended that there is no
recognition, support and damages against petitioner. On 7 appeal nor any [other] plain, adequate and speedy remedy
August 1998, petitioner filed his answer with counterclaim in the ordinary course of law. Petitioner maintained his
where he denied that he is the biological father of previous objections to the taking of DNA paternity testing.
respondent. Petitioner also denied physical contact with He submitted the following grounds to support his
respondents mother. objection:
Respondent filed a motion to direct the taking of DNA 1. Public respondent misread and misapplied the
paternity testing to abbreviate the proceedings. To support ruling in Lim vs. Court of Appeals (270 SCRA
the motion, respondent presented the testimony of 2).
Saturnina C. Halos, Ph.D. When she testified, Dr. Halos was
an Associate Professor at De La Salle University where she 2. Public respondent ruled to accept DNA test
taught Cell Biology. She was also head of the University of without considering the limitations on, and
the Philippines Natural Sciences Research Institute (UP- conditions precedent for the admissibility of
NSRI), a DNA analysis laboratory. She was a former DNA testing and ignoring the serious
professor at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, constraints affecting the reliability of the test
Quezon City, where she developed the Molecular Biology as admitted by private respondents expert
Program and taught Molecular Biology. In her testimony, witness.
Dr. Halos described the process for DNA paternity testing 3. Subject Orders lack legal and factual support,
and asserted that the test had an accuracy rate of 99.9999% with public respondent relying on scientific
in establishing paternity.[4] findings and conclusions unfit for judicial
notice and unsupported by experts in the
Petitioner opposed DNA paternity testing and
field and scientific treatises.
contended that it has not gained acceptability. Petitioner
further argued that DNA paternity testing violates his right 4. Under the present circumstances the DNA
against self-incrimination. testing petitioner [is] compelled to take will
be inconclusive, irrelevant and the coercive The petition has no merit.
process to obtain the requisite specimen
from the petitioner, unconstitutional.[7] Before discussing the issues on DNA paternity testing,
we deem it appropriate to give an overview of a paternity
suit and apply it to the facts of this case. We shall consider
the requirements of the Family Code and of the Rules of
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals Evidence to establish paternity and filiation.

On 29 November 2000, the appellate court issued a


decision denying the petition and affirming the questioned An Overview of the Paternity and Filiation Suit
Orders of the trial court. The appellate court stated that
petitioner merely desires to correct the trial courts
evaluation of evidence. Thus, appeal is an available remedy Filiation proceedings are usually filed not just to
for an error of judgment that the court may commit in the adjudicate paternity but also to secure a legal right
exercise of its jurisdiction. The appellate court also stated associated with paternity, such as citizenship,[13] support
that the proposed DNA paternity testing does not violate (as in the present case), or inheritance. The burden of
his right against self-incrimination because the right applies proving paternity is on the person who alleges that the
only to testimonial compulsion. Finally, the appellate court putative father is the biological father of the child. There are
pointed out that petitioner can still refute a possible four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity
adverse result of the DNA paternity testing. The dispositive action which parties have to face: a prima facie case,
portion of the appellate courts decision reads: affirmative defenses, presumption of legitimacy, and
physical resemblance between the putative father and
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Petition child.[14]
is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE, and ordered dismissed,
and the challenged orders of the Trial Court AFFIRMED, A prima facie case exists if a woman declares that she
with costs to Petitioner. had sexual relations with the putative father. In our
jurisdiction, corroborative proof is required to carry the
SO ORDERED.[8] burden forward and shift it to the putative father.[15]
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which the There are two affirmative defenses available to the
appellate court denied in its Resolution dated 23 May putative father. The putative father may show incapability
2001.[9] of sexual relations with the mother, because of either
physical absence or impotency.[16] The putative father may
also show that the mother had sexual relations with other
men at the time of conception.
Issues
A child born to a husband and wife during a valid
marriage is presumed legitimate.[17] The childs legitimacy
Petitioner raises the issue of whether a DNA test is a may be impugned only under the strict standards provided
valid probative tool in this jurisdiction to determine by law.[18]
filiation. Petitioner asks for the conditions under which DNA
technology may be integrated into our judicial system and Finally, physical resemblance between the putative
the prerequisites for the admissibility of DNA test results in father and child may be offered as part of evidence of
a paternity suit.[10] paternity. Resemblance is a trial technique unique to a
paternity proceeding. However, although likeness is a
Petitioner further submits that the appellate court function of heredity, there is no mathematical formula that
gravely abused its discretion when it authorized the trial could quantify how much a child must or must not look like
court to embark in [sic] a new procedure xxx to determine his biological father.[19] This kind of evidence appeals to the
filiation despite the absence of legislation to ensure its emotions of the trier of fact.
reliability and integrity, want of official recognition as made
clear in Lim vs. Court of Appeals and the presence of In the present case, the trial court encountered three
technical and legal constraints in respect of [sic] its of the four aspects. Armi Alba, respondents mother, put
implementation.[11] Petitioner maintains that the proposed forward a prima facie case when she asserted that
DNA paternity testing violates his right against self- petitioner is respondents biological father. Aware that her
incrimination.[12] assertion is not enough to convince the trial court, she
offered corroborative proof in the form of letters and
pictures. Petitioner, on the other hand, denied Armi Albas
assertion. He denied ever having sexual relations with Armi
The Ruling of the Court Alba and stated that respondent is Armi Albas child with
another man. Armi Alba countered petitioners denial by
submitting pictures of respondent and petitioner side by family, either by consanguinity or affinity. Entries in
side, to show how much they resemble each other. family bibles or other family books or charts, engraving
on rings, family portraits and the like, may be received as
Paternity and filiation disputes can easily become evidence of pedigree.
credibility contests. We now look to the law, rules, and
governing jurisprudence to help us determine what This Courts rulings further specify what incriminating
evidence of incriminating acts on paternity and filiation are acts are acceptable as evidence to establish filiation. In Pe
allowed in this jurisdiction. Lim v. CA,[20] a case petitioner often cites, we stated that
the issue of paternity still has to be resolved by such
conventional evidence as the relevant incriminating verbal
and written acts by the putative father. Under Article 278
Laws, Rules, and Jurisprudence of the New Civil Code, voluntary recognition by a parent
Establishing Filiation shall be made in the record of birth, a will, a statement
before a court of record, or in any authentic writing. To be
effective, the claim of filiation must be made by the
The relevant provisions of the Family Code provide as
putative father himself and the writing must be the writing
follows: of the putative father.[21] A notarial agreement to support a
ART. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their child whose filiation is admitted by the putative father was
illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same considered acceptable evidence.[22] Letters to the mother
evidence as legitimate children. vowing to be a good father to the child and pictures of the
putative father cuddling the child on various occasions,
xxx together with the certificate of live birth, proved
ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is filiation.[23] However, a student permanent record, a
established by any of the following: written consent to a fathers operation, or a marriage
contract where the putative father gave consent, cannot be
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil taken as authentic writing.[24] Standing alone, neither a
register or a final judgment; or certificate of baptism[25] nor family pictures[26] are sufficient
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a to establish filiation.
public document or a private
handwritten instrument and signed by So far, the laws, rules, and jurisprudence seemingly
limit evidence of paternity and filiation to incriminating acts
the parent concerned.
alone. However, advances in science show that sources of
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate evidence of paternity and filiation need not be limited to
filiation shall be proved by: incriminating acts. There is now almost universal scientific
(1) The open and continuous possession of agreement that blood grouping tests are conclusive on non-
the status of a legitimate child; or paternity, although inconclusive on paternity.[27]

(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of In Co Tao v. Court of Appeals,[28] the result of the
Court and special laws. blood grouping test showed that the putative father was a
possible father of the child. Paternity was imputed to the
The Rules on Evidence include provisions on pedigree. putative father after the possibility of paternity was proven
The relevant sections of Rule 130 provide: on presentation during trial of facts and circumstances
other than the results of the blood grouping test.
SEC. 39. Act or declaration about pedigree.The act or
declaration of a person deceased, or unable to testify, in In Jao v. Court of Appeals,[29] the child, the mother,
respect to the pedigree of another person related to him and the putative father agreed to submit themselves to a
by birth or marriage, may be received in evidence where blood grouping test. The National Bureau of Investigation
it occurred before the controversy, and the relationship (NBI) conducted the test, which indicated that the child
between the two persons is shown by evidence other could not have been the possible offspring of the mother
than such act or declaration. The word pedigree includes and the putative father. We held that the result of the blood
relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, grouping test was conclusive on the non-paternity of the
the dates when and the places where these facts putative father.
occurred, and the names of the relatives. It embraces
also facts of family history intimately connected with The present case asks us to go one step further. We
pedigree. are now asked whether DNA analysis may be admitted as
evidence to prove paternity.
SEC. 40. Family reputation or tradition regarding
pedigree.The reputation or tradition existing in a family
previous to the controversy, in respect to the pedigree of
any one of its members, may be received in evidence if DNA Analysis as Evidence
the witness testifying thereon be also a member of the
DNA is the fundamental building block of a persons Just like in fingerprint analysis, in DNA
entire genetic make-up. DNA is found in all human cells and typing, matches are determined. To illustrate, when DNA
is the same in every cell of the same person. Genetic or fingerprint tests are done to identify a suspect in a
identity is unique. Hence, a persons DNA profile can criminal case, the evidence collected from the crime
determine his identity.[30] scene is compared with the known print. If a substantial
amount of the identifying features are the same, the DNA
DNA analysis is a procedure in which DNA extracted or fingerprint is deemed to be a match. But then, even if
from a biological sample obtained from an individual is only one feature of the DNA or fingerprint is different, it
examined. The DNA is processed to generate a pattern, or a is deemed not to have come from the suspect.
DNA profile, for the individual from whom the sample is
taken. This DNA profile is unique for each person, except for As earlier stated, certain regions of human DNA show
identical twins.[31] We quote relevant portions of the trial variations between people. In each of these regions, a
courts 3 February 2000 Order with approval: person possesses two genetic types called allele, one
inherited from each parent. In [a] paternity test, the
Everyone is born with a distinct genetic blueprint forensic scientist looks at a number of these variable
called DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). It is exclusive to an regions in an individual to produce a DNA profile.
individual (except in the rare occurrence of identical Comparing next the DNA profiles of the mother and child,
twins that share a single, fertilized egg), and DNA is it is possible to determine which half of the childs DNA
unchanging throughout life. Being a component of every was inherited from the mother. The other half must have
cell in the human body, the DNA of an individuals blood been inherited from the biological father. The alleged
is the very DNA in his or her skin cells, hair follicles, fathers profile is then examined to ascertain whether he
muscles, semen, samples from buccal swabs, saliva, or has the DNA types in his profile, which match the
other body parts. paternal types in the child. If the mans DNA types do not
The chemical structure of DNA has four bases. They are match that of the child, the man is excluded as the
known as A (adenine), G (guanine), C (cystosine) father. If the DNA types match, then he is not excluded as
and T (thymine). The order in which the four bases the father.[32] (Emphasis in the original)
appear in an individuals DNA determines his or her Although the term DNA testing was mentioned in the
physical makeup. And since DNA is a double-stranded 1995 case of People v. Teehankee, Jr.,[33] it was only in the
molecule, it is composed of two specific paired bases, A- 2001 case of Tijing v. Court of Appeals[34] that more than a
T or T-A and G-C or C-G. These are called genes. passing mention was given to DNA analysis. In Tijing, we
Every gene has a certain number of the above base pairs issued a writ of habeas corpus against respondent who
distributed in a particular sequence. This gives a person abducted petitioners youngest son. Testimonial and
his or her genetic code. Somewhere in the DNA documentary evidence and physical resemblance were
framework, nonetheless, are sections that differ. They used to establish parentage. However, we observed that:
are known as polymorphic loci, which are the areas
Parentage will still be resolved using conventional
analyzed in DNA typing (profiling, tests, fingerprinting, or
methods unless we adopt the modern and scientific ways
analysis/DNA fingerprinting/genetic tests or
available. Fortunately, we have now the facility and
fingerprinting). In other words, DNA typing simply means
expertise in using DNA test for identification and
determining the polymorphic loci.
parentage testing. The University of the Philippines
How is DNA typing performed? From a DNA sample Natural Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA
obtained or extracted, a molecular biologist may proceed Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct
to analyze it in several ways. There are five (5) techniques DNA typing using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. xxx
to conduct DNA typing. They are: the RFLP (restriction For it was said, that courts should apply the results of
fragment length polymorphism); reverse dot blot or HLA science when completely obtained in aid of situations
DQ a/Pm loci which was used in 287 cases that were presented, since to reject said result is to deny progress.
admitted as evidence by 37 courts in the U.S. as of Though it is not necessary in this case to resort to DNA
November 1994; mtDNA process; VNTR (variable number testing, in [the] future it would be useful to all concerned
tandem repeats); and the most recent which is known as in the prompt resolution of parentage and identity issues.
the PCR-([polymerase] chain reaction) based STR (short
tandem repeats) method which, as of 1996, was availed
of by most forensic laboratories in the world. PCR is the
process of replicating or copying DNA in an evidence Admissibility of
sample a million times through repeated cycling of a DNA Analysis as Evidence
reaction involving the so-called DNA polymerize
enzyme. STR, on the other hand, takes measurements in
13 separate places and can match two (2) samples with a The 2002 case of People v. Vallejo[35] discussed DNA
reported theoretical error rate of less than one (1) in a analysis as evidence. This may be considered a 180 degree
trillion. turn from the Courts wary attitude towards DNA testing in
the 1997 Pe Lim case,[36] where we stated that DNA, being Just when a scientific principle or discovery crosses the
a relatively new science, xxx has not yet been accorded line between the experimental and demonstrable stages
official recognition by our courts. In Vallejo, the DNA profile is difficult to define. Somewhere in this twilight zone the
from the vaginal swabs taken from the rape victim matched evidential force of the principle must be recognized, and
the accuseds DNA profile. We affirmed the accuseds while courts will go a long way in admitting expert
conviction of rape with homicide and sentenced him to testimony deduced from a well recognized scientific
death. We declared: principle or discovery, the thing from which the
deduction is made must be sufficiently established to
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, have gained general acceptance in the particular field in
therefore, courts should consider, among other things, which it belongs.
the following data: how the samples were collected, how
they were handled, the possibility of contamination of In 1989, State v.
the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the Schwartz[43] modified the Frye standard. Schwartz was
samples, whether the proper standards and procedures charged with stabbing and murder. Bloodstained articles
were followed in conducting the tests, and the and blood samples of the accused and the victim were
qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.[37] submitted for DNA testing to a government facility and a
private facility. The prosecution introduced the private
Vallejo discussed the probative value, not testing facilitys results over Schwartzs objection. One of the
admissibility, of DNA evidence. By 2002, there was no issues brought before the state Supreme Court included the
longer any question on the validity of the use of DNA admissibility of DNA test results in a criminal proceeding.
analysis as evidence. The Court moved from the issue of The state Supreme Court concluded that:
according official recognition to DNA analysis as evidence to
the issue of observance of procedures in conducting DNA While we agree with the trial court that forensic DNA
analysis. typing has gained general acceptance in the scientific
community, we hold that admissibility of specific test
In 2004, there were two other cases that had a results in a particular case hinges on the laboratorys
significant impact on jurisprudence on DNA testing: People compliance with appropriate standards and controls, and
v. Yatar[38] and In re: The Writ of Habeas Corpus for the availability of their testing data and results.[44]
Reynaldo de Villa.[39]In Yatar, a match existed between the
DNA profile of the semen found in the victim and the DNA In 1993, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals,
profile of the blood sample given by appellant in open Inc.[45] further modified the Frye-
court. The Court, following Vallejosfootsteps, affirmed the Schwartz standard. Daubert was a product liability case
conviction of appellant because the physical evidence, where both the trial and appellate courts denied the
corroborated by circumstantial evidence, showed appellant admissibility of an experts testimony because it failed to
guilty of rape with homicide. In De Villa, the convict- meet the Frye standard of general acceptance. The United
petitioner presented DNA test results to prove that he is not States Supreme Court ruled that in federal trials, the
the father of the child conceived at the time of commission Federal Rules of Evidence have superseded
of the rape. The Court ruled that a difference between the the Frye standard. Rule 401 defines relevant evidence,
DNA profile of the convict-petitioner and the DNA profile of while Rule 402 provides the foundation for admissibility of
the victims child does not preclude the convict-petitioners evidence. Thus:
commission of rape.
Rule 401. Relevant evidence is defined as that which has
In the present case, the various pleadings filed by any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of
petitioner and respondent refer to two United States cases consequence to the determination of the action more
to support their respective positions on the admissibility probable or less probable than it would be without the
of DNA analysis as evidence: Frye v. U.S.[40] and Daubert v. evidence.
Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals.[41] In Frye v. U.S., the trial
Rule 402. All relevant evidence is admissible, except as
court convicted Frye of murder. Frye appealed his
otherwise provided by the Constitution of the United
conviction to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.
States, by Act of Congress, by these rules, or by other
During trial, Fryes counsel offered an expert witness to
rules prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to
testify on the result of a systolic blood pressure deception
statutory authority. Evidence which is not relevant is not
test[42] made on defendant. The state Supreme Court
admissible.
affirmed Fryes conviction and ruled that the systolic blood
pressure deception test has not yet gained such standing Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governing
and scientific recognition among physiological and expert testimony provides:
psychological authorities as would justify the courts in
admitting expert testimony deduced from the discovery, If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will
development, and experiments thus far made. assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to
The Frye standard of general acceptance states as follows: determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert
by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education,
may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or Schwartz and Daubert-Kumho go into the weight of the
otherwise. evidence.

Daubert cautions that departure from


the Frye standard of general acceptance does not mean
that the Federal Rules do not place limits on the Probative Value of
admissibility of scientific evidence. Rather, the judge must DNA Analysis as Evidence
ensure that the testimonys reasoning or method is
scientifically valid and is relevant to the issue. Admissibility
would depend on factors such as (1) whether the theory or Despite our relatively liberal rules on admissibility,
technique can be or has been tested; (2) whether the theory trial courts should be cautious in giving credence to DNA
or technique has been subjected to peer review and analysis as evidence. We reiterate our statement in Vallejo:
publication; (3) the known or potential rate of error; (4) the
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence,
existence and maintenance of standards controlling the
therefore, courts should consider, among other things,
techniques operation; and (5) whether the theory or
the following data: how the samples were collected, how
technique is generally accepted in the scientific community.
they were handled, the possibility of contamination of
Another product liability case, Kumho Tires Co. v. the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the
Carmichael,[46] further modified the Daubert standard. This samples, whether the proper standards and procedures
led to the amendment of Rule 702 in 2000 and which now were followed in conducting the tests, and the
reads as follows: qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.[51]

If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will We also repeat the trial courts explanation of DNA
assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to analysis used in paternity cases:
determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert
In [a] paternity test, the forensic scientist looks at a
by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education,
number of these variable regions in an individual to
may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or
otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient produce a DNA profile. Comparing next the DNA profiles
of the mother and child, it is possible to determine which
facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable
principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied half of the childs DNA was inherited from the mother.
The other half must have been inherited from the
the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the
case. biological father. The alleged fathers profile is then
examined to ascertain whether he has the DNA types in
We now determine the applicability in this his profile, which match the paternal types in the child. If
jurisdiction of these American cases. Obviously, neither the mans DNA types do not match that of the child, the
the Frye-Schwartz standard nor the Daubert- man is excluded as the father. If the DNA types match,
Kumho standard is controlling in the Philippines.[47] At best, then he is not excluded as the father.[52]
American jurisprudence merely has a persuasive effect on
It is not enough to state that the childs DNA profile matches
our decisions. Here, evidence is admissible when it is
relevant to the fact in issue and is not otherwise excluded that of the putative father. A complete match between the
DNA profile of the child and the DNA profile of the putative
by statute or the Rules of Court.[48] Evidence is relevant
when it has such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce father does not necessarily establish paternity. For this
reason, following the highest standard adopted in an
belief in its existence or non-existence.[49] Section 49 of Rule
American jurisdiction,[53] trial courts should require at least
130, which governs the admissibility of expert testimony,
99.9% as a minimum value of the Probability of Paternity
provides as follows:
(W) prior to a paternity inclusion. W is a numerical estimate
The opinion of a witness on a matter requiring special for the likelihood of paternity of a putative father compared
knowledge, skill, experience or training which he is to the probability of a random match of two unrelated
shown to possess may be received in evidence. individuals. An appropriate reference population database,
such as the Philippine population database, is required to
This Rule does not pose any legal obstacle to the compute for W. Due to the probabilistic nature of paternity
admissibility of DNA analysis as evidence. Indeed, even inclusions, W will never equal to 100%. However, the
evidence on collateral matters is allowed when it tends in accuracy of W estimates is higher when the putative father,
any reasonable degree to establish the probability or mother and child are subjected to DNA analysis compared
improbability of the fact in issue.[50] to those conducted between the putative father and child
Indeed, it would have been convenient to merely alone.[54]
refer petitioner to our decisions in Tijing, DNA analysis that excludes the putative father from
Vallejo and Yatar to illustrate that DNA analysis is paternity should be conclusive proof of non-paternity. If the
admissible as evidence. In our jurisdiction, the restrictive value of W is less than 99.9%, the results of the DNA analysis
tests for admissibility established by Frye- should be considered as corroborative evidence. If the
value of W is 99.9% or higher, then there SO ORDERED.
is refutable presumption of paternity.[55] This refutable
presumption of paternity should be subjected to Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Quisumbing, Ynares-
the Vallejo standards. Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

Right Against
Self-Incrimination

Section 17, Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution provides


that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against
himself. Petitioner asserts that obtaining samples from him
for DNA testing violates his right against self-incrimination.
Petitioner ignores our earlier pronouncements that the
privilege is applicable only to testimonial evidence. Again,
we quote relevant portions of the trial courts 3 February
2000 Order with approval:

Obtaining DNA samples from an accused in a criminal


case or from the respondent in a paternity case, contrary
to the belief of respondent in this action, will not violate
the right against self-incrimination. This privilege applies
only to evidence that is communicative in essence taken
under duress (People vs. Olvis, 154 SCRA 513, 1987). The
Supreme Court has ruled that the right against self-
incrimination is just a prohibition on the use of physical
or moral compulsion to extort communication
(testimonial evidence) from a defendant, not an
exclusion of evidence taken from his body when it may
be material. As such, a defendant can be required to
submit to a test to extract virus from his body (as cited in
People vs. Olvis, Supra); the substance emitting from the
body of the accused was received as evidence for acts of
lasciviousness (US vs. Tan Teng, 23 Phil. 145); morphine
forced out of the mouth was received as proof (US vs.
Ong Siu Hong, 36 Phil. 735); an order by the judge for the
witness to put on pair of pants for size was allowed
(People vs. Otadora, 86 Phil. 244); and the court can
compel a woman accused of adultery to submit for
pregnancy test (Villaflor vs. Summers, 41 Phil. 62), since
the gist of the privilege is the restriction on testimonial
compulsion.[56]

The policy of the Family Code to liberalize the rule on


the investigation of the paternity and filiation of children,
especially of illegitimate children, is without prejudice to
the right of the putative parent to claim his or her own
defenses.[57] Where the evidence to aid this investigation is
obtainable through the facilities of modern science and
technology, such evidence should be considered subject to
the limits established by the law, rules, and jurisprudence.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition. We AFFIRM


the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 29 November
2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 59766. We also AFFIRM the Orders
dated 3 February 2000 and 8 June 2000 issued by Branch 48
of the Regional Trial Court of Manila in Civil Case No. SP-98-
88759.