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[G.R. No. 152259. July 29, 2004] brother-in-law of Ferdinand E.

Marcos, former President of the Philippines, and


ALFREDO T. ROMUALDEZ, petitioner, vs. The Honorable SANDIGANBAYAN therefore, related to the latter by affinity within the third civil degree, did then and there
(Fifth Division) and the PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES,respondents. wil[l]fully and unlawfully, and with evident bad faith, for the purpose of promoting his
DECISION self-interested [sic] and/or that of others, intervene directly or indirectly, in a contract
PANGANIBAN, J.: between the National Shipyard and Steel Corporation (NASSCO), a government-owned
and controlled corporation and the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company
Repetitive motions to invalidate or summarily terminate a criminal indictment prior (BASECO), a private corporation, the majority stocks of which is owned by former
to plea and trial, however they may be named or identified -- whether as a motion to President Ferdinand E. Marcos, whereby the NASSCO sold, transferred and conveyed to
quash or motion to dismiss or by any other nomenclature -- delay the administration of the BASECO its ownership and all its titles and interests over all equipment and facilities
justice and unduly burden the court system. Grounds not included in the first of such including structures, buildings, shops, quarters, houses, plants and expendable and semi-
repetitive motions are generally deemed waived and can no longer be used as bases of expendable assets, located at the Engineer Island known as the Engineer Island Shops
similar motions subsequently filed. including some of its equipment and machineries from Jose Panganiban, Camarines
Section 5 of the Anti-Graft Law is constitutional. It penalizes certain presidential Norte needed by BASECO in its shipbuilding and ship repair program for the amount
relatives who “intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract or of P5,000,000.00.
application with the Government.” This provision is not vague or “impermissibly broad,”
because it can easily be understood with the use of simple statutory construction. Neither ‘Contrary to law.’
may the constitutionality of a criminal statute such as this be challenged on the basis of
the “overbreadth” and the “void-for-vagueness” doctrines, which apply only to free- “On December 27, 1996, the accused filed his first ‘MOTION TO DISMISS AND TO
speech cases. DEFER ARRAIGNMENT’ claiming that no valid preliminary investigation was
conducted in the instant case. He asserts that if a preliminary investigation could be said
to have been conducted, the same was null and void having been undertaken by a biased
The Case and partial investigative body.

“On January 9, 1997, [the Sandiganbayan], through the First Division, issued an order
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari[1] under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking giving the accused fifteen days to file a Motion for Reinvestigation with the Office of the
to set aside the November 20, 2001[2] and the March 1, 2002[3] Resolutions of the Special Prosecutor.
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 13736. The first Resolution disposed thus:
“[Petitioner] questioned said order before the Supreme Court via a petition for Certiorari
“WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the Motion to Dismiss is hereby DENIED. The and Prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order. On January 21, 1998, the
arraignment of the accused and the pre-trial of the case shall proceed as scheduled.”[4] Supreme Court dismissed the petition for failure to show that [the Sandiganbayan]
committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed order.
The second Resolution denied reconsideration.
“On November 9, 1998, the [petitioner] filed with the Office of the Special Prosecutor a
Motion to Quash.

The Facts
“On September 22, 1999, x x x Special Prosecution Officer (SPO) III Victorio U.
Tabanguil, manifested that the prosecution had already concluded the reinvestigation of
The facts of the case are narrated by the Sandiganbayan as follows: the case. He recommended the dismissal of the instant case. Both the Deputy Special
Prosecutor and the Special Prosecutor approved the recommendation. However,
Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto disagreed and directed the prosecutors to let the
“[The People of the Philippines], through the Presidential Commission on Good [petitioner] present his evidence in Court.
Government (PCGG), filed on July 12, 1989 an information before [the anti-graft court]
charging the accused [with] violation of Section 5, Republic Act No. 3019, [5] as
amended. The Information reads: “Subsequently, [petitioner] filed on October 8, 1999 his second ‘MOTION TO QUASH
AND TO DEFER ARRAIGNMENT’.
‘That on or about and during the period from July 16, 1975 to July 29, 1975, in Metro
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of [the Sandiganbayan], said [petitioner], “On February 9, 2000, the [Sandiganbayan] denied the motion for lack of merit.
“On June 19, 2001, [the] accused filed a ‘MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE MOTION The Issues
TO DISMISS’. On June 29, 2001, the [Sandiganbayan] admitted the motion and
admitted the attached (third) Motion to Dismiss.
In his Memorandum, petitioner assigns the following errors for our consideration:
“The [Motion to Dismiss] raise[d] the following grounds:
“Whether or not the Honorable Sandiganbayan erred and gravely abused its discretion
‘I. THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW OF amounting to lack of, or in excess of jurisdiction –
[PETITIONER] WAS VIOLATED DURING THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION
STAGE IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS: I. In not dismissing and/or quashing Criminal Case No. 13736 despite
clear and incontrovertible evidence that:
‘A. NO VALID PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED IN
THE INSTANT CASE; AND A. Section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019 is unconstitutional because
its vagueness violates the due process right of an individual
‘B. THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED BY A to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation
BIASED AND PARTIAL INVESTIGATOR against him;

‘II. THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF [PETITIONER] TO BE INFORMED OF B. Section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019 is unconstitutional because
THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM WAS it violates the due process right of an individual to be
VIOLATED presumed innocent until the contrary is proved;

‘III. PURSUANT TO ARTICLE VII, SECTION 17 OF THE 1973 CONSTITUTION, C. The constitutional right of petitioner x x x to be informed of
[PETITIONER] IS IMMUNE FROM CRIMINAL PROSECUTION the nature and the cause of the accusation against him was
violated;
‘IV. THE CRIMINAL ACTION OR LIABILITY HAS BEEN EXTINGUISHED BY
PRESCRIPTION’”[6] D. The constitutional right to due process of law of petitioner x x
x was violated during the preliminary investigation stage in
the following ways:

Ruling of the Sandiganbayan [i] No valid preliminary investigation was con-ducted


for Criminal Case No. 13736; and
The Sandiganbayan explained that all the grounds invoked by petitioner, except the
third one, had already been raised by him and passed upon in its previous [ii] The preliminary investigation was conducted by a
Resolutions.[7] In resolving the third ground, the anti-graft court pointed out that Section biased and partial investigator.
17 of the 1973 Constitution became effective only in 1981 when the basic law was
amended. Since his alleged illegal intervention had been committed on or about 1975, E. The criminal action or liability has been extinguished by
the amended provision was inapplicable to him.[8] prescription; and

In denying the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioner, the Sandiganbayan


F. Pursuant to Article VII, Section 17 of the 1973
passed upon the other grounds he had raised. It ruled that his right to a preliminary
Constitution, petitioner x x x is immune from criminal
investigation was not violated, because he had been granted a reinvestigation.[9] It further
prosecution.
held that his right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation was not
trampled upon, either, inasmuch as the Information had set forth the essential elements of
the offense charged.[10] And

Hence, this Petition.[11]


II. In light of the foregoing, in denying petitioner[’s] x x x right to equal
protection of the laws.”[12]
Simply stated, the issues are as follows: (1) whether Section 5 of Republic Act In the present case, however, both the “Motion to Quash” and the “Motion to
3019 is unconstitutional; (2) whether the Information is vague; (3) whether there was a Dismiss” are anchored on basically the same grounds and pray for the same relief. The
valid preliminary investigation; (4) whether the criminal action or liability has been hairsplitting distinction posited by petitioner does not really make a difference.
extinguished by prescription; and (5) whether petitioner is immune from criminal
prosecution under then Section 17 of Article VII of the 1973 Constitution. By filing a Motion to Dismiss, petitioner submitted in effect a prohibited second
motion to quash. A party is not permitted to raise issues, whether similar or different, by
installment. The Rules abhor repetitive motions. Otherwise, there would be no end to
preliminary objections, and trial would never commence. A second motion to quash
The Court’s Ruling delays the administration of justice and unduly burdens the courts. Moreover, Rule 117
provides that grounds not raised in the first motion to quash are generally deemed
waived.[19] Petitioner’s “Motion to Dismiss” violates this rule.
The Petition has no merit.

Constitutionality of
First Issue: the Challenged Provision
Constitutionality of Section 5,
Republic Act 3019
If only for the foregoing procedural lapses, the Petition deserves to be dismissed
outright. However, given the importance of this case in curtailing graft and corruption,
Petitioner challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 of RA 3019 for the first time the Court will nevertheless address the other issues on their merit. Petitioner challenges
in the Sandiganbayan through a Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. Attached to his the validity of Section 5 of Republic Act 3019, a penal statute, on the ground that the act
December 7, 2001 Motion for Reconsideration of the Order denying his Motion to constituting the offense is allegedly vague and “impermissibly broad.”
Dismiss was this Supplemental Motion which was, in effect, his third motion to
quash.[13] We note that the Petition for Certiorari before us challenges the denial of his It is best to stress at the outset that the overbreadth [20] and the
original, not his Supplemental, Motion to Dismiss. vagueness[21] doctrines have special application only to free-speech cases. They are not
appropriate for testing the validity of penal statutes. Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza
Upon the denial of his original Motion to Quash on February 9, 2000, petitioner explained the reason as follows:
could have filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial. Had reconsideration been
turned down, the next proper remedy would have been either (1) a petition for “A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is
certiorari[14] -- if there was grave abuse of discretion -- which should be filed within 60 overbroad because of possible ‘chilling effect’ upon protected speech. The theory is that
days from notice of the assailed order;[15] or (2) to proceed to trial without prejudice to his ‘[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction
right, if final judgment is rendered against him, to raise the same questions before the suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the
proper appellate court.[16] But instead of availing himself of these remedies, he filed a transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to
“Motion to Dismiss” on June 19, 2001. justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person
making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute
drawn with narrow specificity.’ The possible harm to society in permitting some
Impropriety of unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected
Repetitive Motions speech of others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of
possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.

There is no substantial distinction between a “motion to quash” and a “motion to This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general
dismiss.” Both pray for an identical relief, which is the dismissal of the case. Such in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed
motions are employed to raise preliminary objections, so as to avoid the necessity of for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially
proceeding to trial. A motion to quash is generally used in criminal proceedings to annul harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area
a defective indictment. A motion to dismiss, the nomenclature ordinarily used in civil of free speech.
proceedings, is aimed at summarily defeating a complaint. Thus, our Rules of Court use
the term “motion to quash” in criminal,[17] and “motion to dismiss” in civil, xxx xxx xxx
proceedings.[18]
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools The questioned provision reads as follows:
developed for testing “on their faces” statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in
American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is “Section 5. Prohibition on certain relatives. — It shall be unlawful for the spouse or for
involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that any relative, by consanguinity or affinity, within the third civil degree, of the President of
‘one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the the Philippines, the Vice-President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate, or the
statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or Speaker of the House of Representatives, to intervene, directly or indirectly, in any
other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional.’ As has been pointed business, transaction, contract or application with the Government: Provided, That this
out, ‘vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges section shall not apply to any person who, prior to the assumption of office of any of the
typically produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due above officials to whom he is related, has been already dealing with the Government
process typically are invalidated [only] ‘as applied’ to a particular along the same line of business, nor to any transaction, contract or application already
defendant.’”[22] (underscoring supplied) existing or pending at the time of such assumption of public office, nor to any application
filed by him the approval of which is not discretionary on the part of the official or
“To this date, the Court has not declared any penal law unconstitutional on the officials concerned but depends upon compliance with requisites provided by law, or
ground of ambiguity.”[23] While mentioned in passing in some cases, the void-for- rules or regulations issued pursuant to law, nor to any act lawfully performed in an
vagueness concept has yet to find direct application in our jurisdiction. In Yu Cong Eng official capacity or in the exercise of a profession.”
v. Trinidad,[24] the Bookkeeping Act was found unconstitutional because it violated the
equal protection clause, not because it was vague. Adiong v. Comelec[25] decreed as void Petitioner also claims that the phrase “to intervene directly or indirectly, in any
a mere Comelec Resolution, not a statute. Finally, Santiago v. Comelec[26] held that a business, transaction, contract or application with the Government” is vague and violates
portion of RA 6735 was unconstitutional because of undue delegation of legislative his right to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation against him. [29] He
powers, not because of vagueness. further complains that the provision does not specify what acts are punishable under the
Indeed, an “on-its-face” invalidation of criminal statutes would result in a mass term intervene, and thus transgresses his right to be presumed innocent. [30] We disagree.
acquittal of parties whose cases may not have even reached the courts. Such invalidation Every statute is presumed valid.[31] On the party challenging its validity weighs
would constitute a departure from the usual requirement of “actual case and controversy” heavily the onerous task of rebutting this presumption.[32] Any reasonable doubt about the
and permit decisions to be made in a sterile abstract context having no factual validity of the law should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality. [33] To doubt is to
concreteness. InYounger v. Harris, this evil was aptly pointed out by the U.S. Supreme sustain, as tersely put by Justice George Malcolm. In Garcia v. Executive
Court in these words:[27] Secretary,[34] the rationale for the presumption of constitutionality was explained by this
Court thus:

“The policy of the courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to presume
“[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring that the acts of the political departments are valid in the absence of a clear and
correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an unmistakable showing to the contrary. To doubt is to sustain. This presumption is based
appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the on the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon each department a becoming
controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the respect for the acts of the other departments. The theory is that as the joint act of
speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed Congress and the President of the Philippines, a law has been carefully studied and
statutes, x x x ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for determined to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was finally
deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.” enacted.”[35]

For this reason, generally disfavored is an on-its-face invalidation of statutes, In the instant case, petitioner has miserably failed to overcome such presumption.
described as a “manifestly strong medicine” to be employed “sparingly and only as a last This Court has previously laid down the test for determining whether a statute is vague,
resort.” In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions that as follows:
have allegedly been violated must be examined in the light of the conduct with which the
defendant has been charged.[28] “x x x [A] statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient
definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is
As conduct -- not speech -- is its object, the challenged provision must be examined prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that species of legislation that is
only “as applied” to the defendant, herein petitioner, and should not be declared utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving clause or
unconstitutional for overbreadth or vagueness. by construction.
“A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that statutory construction. The absence of a statutory definition of a term used in a statute
men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its will not render the law “void for vagueness,” if the meaning can be determined through
application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) the judicial function of construction.[43] Elementary is the principle that words should be
respects - it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties construed in their ordinary and usual meaning.
targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled
discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the “x x x. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are
Government muscle.[36] But the doctrine does not apply as against legislations that are used therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them; [44] much less
merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify a standard though do we have to define every word we use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or
defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to statutory command requiring the legislature to define each and every word in an
certain types of activities. The first may be ‘saved’ by proper construction, while no enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its
challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed against such inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the
activities.[37] With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can
is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case. be gathered from the whole act x x x.

“The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the “x x x [I]t is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be
language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, [45] unless it
measured by common understanding and practice.[38] It must be stressed, however, that is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those
the ‘vagueness’ doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute words.[46] The intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and
to be upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to lexicographers - to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed.” [47]
suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the
metes and bounds of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid
merely because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its The term intervene should therefore be understood in its ordinary acceptation,
provisions, especially where, because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to which is to “to come between.”[48] Criminally liable is anyone covered in the enumeration
provide all the details in advance as in all other statutes.”[39] of Section 5 of RA 3019 -- any person who intervenes in any manner in any business,
transaction, contract or application with the government. As we have explained, it is
impossible for the law to provide in advance details of how such acts of intervention
A simpler test was decreed in Dans v. People,[40] in which the Court said that there could be performed. But the courts may pass upon those details once trial is concluded.
was nothing vague about a penal law that adequately answered the basic query “What is Thus, the alleged vagueness ofintervene is not a ground to quash the information prior to
the violation?”[41] Anything beyond -- the hows and the whys -- are evidentiary matters the commencement of the trial.
that the law itself cannot possibly disclose, in view of the uniqueness of every case. [42]
In sum, the Court holds that the challenged provision is not vague, and that in any
The question “What is the violation?” is sufficiently answered by Section 5 of RA event, the “overbreath” and “void for vagueness” doctrines are not applicable to this case.
3019, as follows:

1. The offender is a spouse or any relative by consanguinity or affinity within the


third civil degree of the President of the Philippines, the Vice-President of the Second Issue:
Philippines, the President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of Allegedly Vague Information
Representatives; and
Other than arguing on the alleged intrinsic vagueness of intervene, petitioner further
2. The offender intervened directly or indirectly in any business, transaction, contends that the Information itself is also unconstitutionally vague, because it does not
contract or application with the government. specify the acts of intervention that he supposedly performed. [49] Again, we disagree.
When allegations in the information are vague or indefinite, the remedy of the
accused is not a motion to quash, but a motion for a bill of particulars. [50] The pertinent
Applicability of provision in the Rules of Court is Section 9 of Rule 116, which we quote:
Statutory Construction
“Section 9. Bill of particulars. -- The accused may, before arraignment, move for a bill
As to petitioner’s claim that the term intervene is vague, this Court agrees with the of particulars to enable him properly to plead and prepare for trial. The motion shall
Office of the Solicitor General that the word can easily be understood through simple specify the alleged defects of the complaint or information and the details desired.”
The rule merely requires the information to describe the offense with sufficient Fourth Issue:
particularity as to apprise the accused of what they are being charged with and to enable Prescription
the court to pronounce judgment. [51] The particularity must be such that persons of
ordinary intelligence may immediately know what is meant by the information. [52]
The issue of prescription was the principal basis of the Motion to Quash filed by
While it is fundamental that every element of the offense must be alleged in the petitioner with the Sandiganbayan on October 8, 1999. [62] Such issue should be
information,[53] matters of evidence -- as distinguished from the facts essential to the disregarded at this stage, since he failed to challenge its ruling debunking his Motion
nature of the offense -- need not be averred.[54] Whatever facts and circumstances must within the 60-day period for the filing of a petition for certiorari. A party may not
necessarily be alleged are to be determined by reference to the definition and the essential circumvent this rule by filing a subsequent motion that raises the same issue and the same
elements of the specific crimes.[55] arguments.
In the instant case, a cursory reading of the Information shows that the elements of Furthermore, it is easy to see why this argument being raised by petitioner is utterly
a violation of Section 5 of RA 3019 have been stated sufficiently. Likewise, the unmeritorious. He points out that according to the Information, the offense was
allegations describe the offense committed by petitioner with such particularity as to committed “during the period from July 16, 1975 to July 29, 1975.” He argues that when
enable him to prepare an intelligent defense. Details of the acts he committed are the Information was filed on July 12, 1989,[63] prescription had already set in, because the
evidentiary matters that need not be alleged in the Information. prescriptive period for a violation of Republic Act No. 3019 is only ten (10) years from
the time the offense was allegedly committed. The increase of this prescriptive period to
fifteen (15) years took effect only on March 16, 1982, upon the enactment of Batas
Third Issue: Pambansa Blg. 195.[64]
Preliminary Investigation Act No. 3326, as amended,[65] governs the prescription of offenses penalized by
special laws. Its pertinent provision reads:
Clearly, petitioner already brought the issue of lack of preliminary investigation
when he questioned before this Court in GR No. 128317 the Sandiganbayan’s Order “Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the
giving him 15 days to file a Motion for Reinvestigation with the Office of the Special violation of the law, and if the same not be known at the time, from the discovery thereof
Prosecutor.[56] Citing Cojuangco v. Presidential Commission on Good Government,[57] he and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment.
undauntedly averred that he was deprived of his right to a preliminary investigation,
because the PCGG acted both as complainant and as investigator. [58] “The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty
person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not
In the case cited above, this Court declared that while PCGG had the power to constituting jeopardy.”
conduct a preliminary investigation, the latter could not do so with the “cold neutrality of
an impartial judge” in cases in which it was the agency that had gathered evidence and
Consistent with the provision quoted above, this Court has previously reckoned the
subsequently filed the complaint.[59] On that basis, this Court nullified the preliminary
prescriptive period of cases involving RA 3019 (committed prior to the February 1986
investigation conducted by PCGG and directed the transmittal of the records to the
EDSA Revolution) from the discovery of the violation.[66] In Republic v. Desierto, the
Ombudsman for appropriate action.
Court explained:
It is readily apparent that Cojuangco does not support the quashal of the
Information against herein petitioner. True, the PCGG initiated the present Complaint “This issue confronted this Court anew, albeit in a larger scale, in Presidential Ad Hoc
against him; hence, it could not properly conduct the preliminary investigation. Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto. In the said recent case, the Board
However, he was accorded his rights -- the Sandiganbayan suspended the trial and of Directors of the Philippine Seeds, Inc. and Development Bank of the Philippines were
afforded him a reinvestigation by the Ombudsman. The procedure outlined charged with violation of paragraphs (e) and (g) of Section 3 of RA No. 3019, by the
in Cojuangco was thus followed. Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans, created by then President
Fidel V. Ramos to investigate and to recover the so-called ‘Behest Loans’, where the
The Sandiganbayan’s actions are in accord also with Raro v.
Philippine Government guaranteed several foreign loans to corporations and entities
Sandiganbayan,[60] which held that the failure to conduct a valid preliminary investigation
connected with the former President Marcos. x x x In holding that the case had not yet
would not warrant the quashal of an information. If the information has already been
prescribed, this Court ruled that:
filed, the proper procedure is for the Sandiganbayan to hold the trial in abeyance while
the preliminary investigation is being conducted or completed. [61]
‘In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the State, the aggrieved party, to
have known the violations of RA No. 3019 at the time the questioned transactions were
made because, as alleged, the public officials concerned connived or conspired with the exhaustive investigations that the alleged crime was discovered. This led to the initiation
‘beneficiaries of the loans.’ Thus, we agree with the COMMITTEE that the prescriptive on November 29, 1988 of a Complaint against former President Marcos and petitioner for
period for the offenses with which the respondents in OMB-0-96-0968 were violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Consequently, the filing of the
charged should be computed from the discovery of the commission thereof and not from Information on July 12, 1989 was well within the prescriptive period of ten years from
the day of such commission. the discovery of the offense.

xxx xxx xxx


Fifth Issue
‘People v. Duque is more in point, and what was stated there stands reiteration: In the Immunity from Prosecution
nature of things, acts made criminal by special laws are frequently not immoral or
obviously criminal in themselves; for this reason, the applicable statute requires that if the
violation of the special law is not known at the time, the prescription begins to run only Petitioner argues that he enjoys derivative immunity, because he allegedly served as
from the discovery thereof, i.e., discovery of the unlawful nature of the constitutive act or a high-ranking naval officer -- specifically, as naval aide-de-camp -- of former President
acts.’ (Italics supplied) Marcos.[70] He relies on Section 17 of Article VII of the 1973 Constitution, as amended,
which we quote:
“There are striking parallelisms between the said Behest Loans Case and the present one
which lead us to apply the ruling of the former to the latter. First, both cases arose out of “The President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit
seemingly innocent business transactions; second, both were ‘discovered’ only after the whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others pursuant to his specific
government created bodies to investigate these anomalous transactions; third, both orders during his tenure.
involve prosecutions for violations of RA No. 3019; and, fourth,in both cases, it was
sufficiently raised in the pleadings that the respondents conspired and connived with one “x x x xxx x x x”
another in order to keep the alleged violations hidden from public scrutiny.
As the Sandiganbayan aptly pointed out, the above provision is not applicable to
“This Court’s pronouncement in the case of Domingo v. Sandiganbayan is quite relevant petitioner because the immunity amendment became effective only in 1981 while the
and instructive as to the date when the discovery of the offense should be reckoned, thus: alleged crime happened in 1975.

‘In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the government, the aggrieved party, In Estrada v. Desierto,[71] this Court exhaustively traced the origin of executive
to have known the violations committed at the time the questioned transactions were immunity in order to determine the extent of its applicability. We explained therein that
made because both parties to the transactions were allegedly in conspiracy to perpetuate executive immunity applied only during the incumbency of a President. It could not be
fraud against the government. The alleged anomalous transactions could only have been used to shield a non-sitting President from prosecution for alleged criminal acts done
discovered after the February 1986 Revolution when one of the original respondents, then while sitting in office. The reasoning of petitioner must therefore fail, since he derives
President Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted from office. Prior to said date, no person would his immunity from one who is no longer sitting as President. Verily, the felonious acts of
have dared to question the legality or propriety of those transactions. Hence, the counting public officials and their close relatives “are not acts of the State, and the officer who acts
of the prescriptive period would commence from the date of discovery of the offense, illegally is not acting as such but stands on the same footing as any other trespasser.”
which could have been between February 1986 after the EDSA Revolution and 26 May In sum, petitioner utterly fails to show that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its
1987 when the initiatory complaint was filed.’”[67] discretion in issuing the assailed Resolutions. [72] On the contrary, it acted prudently, in
accordance with law and jurisprudence.
The above pronouncement is squarely applicable to the present case. The general
rule that prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the crime WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED, and the questioned Resolutions of the
cannot apply to the present case. It is not legally prudent to charge the State, the Sandiganbayan AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
aggrieved party, with knowledge of the violation of RA 3019 at the time the alleged SO ORDERED.
intervention was made. The accused is the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ brother-
in-law. He was charged with intervening in a sale involving a private corporation, the
majority stocks of which was allegedly owned by President Marcos.
Prior to February 1986, no person was expected to have seriously dared question
the legality of the sale or would even have thought of investigating petitioner’s alleged
involvement in the transaction. It was only after the creation[68] of PCGG[69] and its
SECOND DIVISION As a result of this acquisition, private respondents shut down the operation of the Patalon
Coconut Estate and the employment of the petitioners was severed on July 31, 1994.
[G.R. No. 127718. March 2, 2000] Petitioners did not receive any separation pay.

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR, ABELARDO SANGADAN, LUCIANO On August 1, 1994, the cooperative took over the estate. A certain Abelardo Sangadan
RAMOS, NESTOR TILASAN, GREGORIO TILASAN, JOAQUIN GARCIA, informed respondents of such takeover via a letter which was received by the respondents
ROGELIO SABAITAN, CASTRO LEONARDO, PILARDO POTENCIANO, on July 26, 1994. Being beneficiaries of the Patalon Coconut Estate pursuant to the
RONILLO POTENCIANO, SANTIAGO SABAITAN, JOVENCIO BARTOLOME, CARP, the petitioners became part-owners of the land.[4]
JUANITO CONCERMAN, GEORGE TUMILAS, PATROCINIO DOMINGO,
AVELINO FRANCISCO, MELITON SANGADAN, ALEXANDER GERONIMO, On April 25, 1995, petitioners filed individual complaints before the Regional Arbitration
JOAQUIN GERONIMO, RAMIL MACASO, LAMBERTO JOVEN, CRISTINO Branch (RAB) of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Zamboanga City,
GARINA, SAMMY GANTAAN, NACIAL USTALAN, EDWIN USTALAN, praying for their reinstatement with full backwages on the ground that they were illegally
ROLAND POTENCIANO, RODY CONCERMAN, ELMER DOMINGO, dismissed. The petitioners were represented by their labor organization, the NFL.
ARNAGUEZ SANGADAN, UNDING BOLENG, EDUARDO BOLENG,
ROBERTO PANEO and HENRY SANGADAN, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL On December 12, 1995, the RAB rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which
LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (5th Division), PATALON COCONUT provides:
ESTATE and/or CHARLIE REITH as General Manager and SUSIE GALLE
REITH, as owner, respondents.
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby
rendered dismissing complainants’ charge for illegal dismissal for lack
DECISION of merit, but ordering respondents thru [sic] its owner-manager or its
duly authorized representative to pay complainants’ separation pay in
DE LEON, JR., J.: view of the latter’s cessation of operations or forced sale, and for 13th
month differential pay in the amount, as follows, for:
Before us is a special civil action for certiorari to set aside and annul two (2) resolutions
of the National Labor Relations Commission[1] promulgated on April 24, 1996[2] and Names Separation Pay 13th Mo. Pay
August 29, 1996[3] denying the award of separation pay to petitioners. Diff. Total

The pertinent facts are as follows: Abelardo Sangadan P23,879.06 Non


e P23,879.06
Petitioners are bona fide members of the National Federation of Labor (NFL), a
legitimate labor organization duly registered with the Department of Labor and Luciano
Employment. They were employed by private respondents Charlie Reith and Susie Galle Ramos 43,605.24 P711.25 44
Reith, general manager and owner, respectively, of the 354-hectare Patalon Coconut ,316.49
Estate located at Patalon, Zamboanga City. Patalon Coconut Estate was engaged in
growing agricultural products and in raising livestock. Nestor
Tilasan 19,726.18 401.46
In 1988, Congress enacted into law Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657, otherwise known as 20,127.64
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), which mandated the compulsory
acquisition of all covered agricultural lands for distribution to qualified farmer Gregorio Tilasan 25,955.50 Non
beneficiaries under the so-called Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme (CARP). e 25,955.50

Pursuant to R.A. No. 6657, the Patalon Coconut Estate was awarded to the Patalon Estate Joaquin
Agrarian Reform Association (PEARA), a cooperative accredited by the Department of Garcia 7,267.54 1,211.25 8,
Agrarian Reform (DAR), of which petitioners are members and co-owners. 478.79
Rogelio Joaquin
Sabaitan 21,798.00 1,211.25 23,009. Geronimo 24,917.28 1,211.25 26,128.5
25 3

Castro Leonardo, Ramil


Jr. 25,955.50 63.10 26,018.60 Macaso 6,229.32 861.25
7,090.57
Pilardo
Potenciano 5,191.10 911.25 Lamberto
6,102.35 Joven 16,611.62 1,011.25 17,62
2.77
Ronillo Potenciano 7,267.54 Non
e 7,267.54 Cristino
Garina 35,299.48 849.65
Jovencio 36,149.13
Bartolome 8,305.76 477.25 8
,783.01 Sammy
Gantaan 14,535.08 961.25 15,49
Santiago 6.33
Sabaitan 4,152.88 1,011.25 5,164.13
Nacial
Juanito Ustalan 38,414.14 79.95
Concerman 7,267.54 611.25 38,494.09
7,928.79
Edwin
George Ustalan 7,267.54 1,011.25 8,27
Tumilas 16,611.52 1,011.25 1 8.79
7,622.77
Roland
Patrocinio Potenciano 5,191.10 911.25 6,
Domingo 2,076.44 1,011.25 3,087.6 102.35
9
Rody
Avelino Concerman 7,267.54 691.25 7,
Francisco 3,114.66 1,211.25 4,325.9 958.79
1
Elmer
Meliton Domingo 3,114.66 1,211.25 4,
Sangadan 15,573.30 392.50 15, 325.91
965.80
Aranquez
Alexander Geronimo 15,573.00 Non Sangada 45,681.68 711.25 46,39
e 15,573.30 2.93

Unding Boleng 31,146.60 Non


e 31,146.60
Eduardo The issue is whether or not an employer that was compelled to cease its operation
Boleng 35,299.48 759.30 because of the compulsory acquisition by the government of its land for purposes of
36,058.78 agrarian reform, is liable to pay separation pay to its affected employees.

Roberto The petition is bereft of merit.


Paneo 23,876.06 911.25
24,787.31 Petitioners contend that they are entitled to separation pay citing Article 283 of the Labor
Code which reads:
Henry
Sangadan 16,611.52 1,011.25 17,622.77 "ART. 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. –
The employer may also terminate the employment of any employee
Total due to the installation of labor saving devices, redundancy,
Benefits P586,774.22 retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation
of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the
"FURTHER, complainants’ claim for Muslim Holiday, overtime pay purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a
and rest day pay should be dismissed for lack of merit, too." [5] written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and
Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof.
In case of termination due to the installation of labor saving devices or
Appeal was taken by private respondents to public respondent NLRC. [6]
redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a
separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at
On April 24, 1996, the NLRC issued a resolution, the dispositive portion of which least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher.
provides: In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or
cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to
"WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby modified in serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall
favor of the following findings: be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (½) month pay
for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six
1) Respondents are not guilty of illegally dismissing (6) months shall be considered as one (1) whole year."
complainants. Respondents’ cessation of operation was not due to a
unilateral action on their part resulting in the cutting off of the It is clear that Article 283 of the Labor Code applies in cases of closures of establishment
employment relationship between the parties. The severance of and reduction of personnel. The peculiar circumstances in the case at bar, however,
employer-employee relationship between the parties came about involves neither the closure of an establishment nor a reduction of personnel as
INVOLUNTARILY, as a result of an act of the State. Consequently, contemplated under the aforesaid article. When the Patalon Coconut Estate was closed
complainants are not entitled to any separation pay. because a large portion of the estate was acquired by DAR pursuant to CARP, the
ownership of that large portion of the estate was precisely transferred to PEARA and
2) The award of 13th month pay differential is, however, Set ultimately to the petitioners as members thereof and as agrarian lot beneficiaries. Hence,
Aside. Any award of 13th month pay differentials to complainants Article 283 of the Labor Code is not applicable to the case at bench.
should be computed strictly based on their reduced pay, equivalent to
six (6) hours work, Monday to Friday, pursuant to what the parties Even assuming, arguendo, that the situation in this case were a closure of the business
agreed in the November 18, 1991 Compromise Agreement." establishment called Patalon Coconut Estate of private respondents, still the
petitioners/employees are not entitled to separation pay. The closure contemplated under
SO ORDERED.[7] Article 283 of the Labor Code is a unilateral and voluntary act on the part of the
employer to close the business establishment as may be gleaned from the wording of the
said legal provision that "The employer may also terminate the employment of any
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the NLRC in its employee due to...".[9]The use of the word "may," in a statute, denotes that it is directory
resolution[8] dated August 29, 1996. in nature and generally permissive only.[10] The "plain meaning rule" or verba legis in
statutory construction is thus applicable in this case. Where the words of a statute are
Hence, this petition. clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied
without attempted interpretation.[11]
In other words, Article 283 of the Labor Code does not contemplate a situation where the
closure of the business establishment is forced upon the employer and ultimately for the
benefit of the employees.

As earlier stated, the Patalon Coconut Estate was closed down because a large portion of
the said estate was acquired by the DAR pursuant to the CARP. Hence, the closure of the
Patalon Coconut Estate was not effected voluntarily by private respondents who even
filed a petition to have said estate exempted from the coverage of RA 6657.
Unfortunately, their petition was denied by the Department of Agrarain Reform. Since
the closure was due to the act of the government to benefit the petitioners, as members of
the Patalon Estate Agrarian Reform Association, by making them agrarian lot
beneficiaries of said estate, the petitioners are not entitled to separation pay. The
termination of their employment was not caused by the private respondents. The blame, if
any, for the termination of petitioners’ employment can even be laid upon the petitioner-
employees themselves inasmuch as they formed themselves into a cooperative, PEARA,
ultimately to take over, as agrarian lot beneficiaries, of private respondents’ landed estate
pursuant to RA 6657. The resulting closure of the business establishment, Patalon
Coconut Estate, when it was placed under CARP, occurred through no fault of the private
respondents.

While the Constitution provides that "the State x x x shall protect the rights of workers
and promote their welfare", that constitutional policy of providing full protection to labor
is not intended to oppress or destroy capital and management. Thus, the capital and
management sectors must also be protected under a regime of justice and the rule of law.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The Resolutions of the National Labor


Relations Commission dated April 24, 1996 and August 29, 1996 are hereby
AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena JJ., concur.


Republic of the Philippines work accorded to citizens and aliens alike. The lower court issued a writ of preliminary
SUPREME COURT injunction ex parte upon petitioners' filing a bond in the amount of
Manila P5,000.00.1äwphï1.ñët

EN BANC Respondents filed an answer setting up certain affirmative and special defenses tending to
show that the petition does not allege facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. With
G.R. No. L-14859 March 31, 1962 regard to the declaratory relief, respondents claim that such remedy is not available to
petitioners because they have already committed a breach of the statute which is apparent
on the face of the petition, meaning that the employment of the three Chinese as salesmen
MACARIO KING, ET AL., petitioners-appellees,
and purchaser in the store of Macario King is a violation of the Section 1 of the Retail
vs.
Trade Act which provides that only citizens of the Philippines can engage in retail trade,
PEDRO S. HERNAEZ, ETC., ET AL., respondents-appellants.
as well as of Section 2-A of the Anti-Dummy Law which prohibits Chinese citizens to
intervene in the management, operation, administration or control of such business,
Sycip, Salazar and Associates for petitioners-appellees. whether as an officer, employee or laborer with or without remuneration. Respondents
Office of the Solicitor General for respondents-appellants. further claim that the three Chinese employees are not technical men who are exempted
from the operation of the law, and even if they are, they need the authorization of the
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: President which they failed to obtain in their case.

On January 1, 1957, Macario King, a naturalized Filipino citizen, became the owner of With regard to the petition for preliminary injunction, respondents contend that the
the business establishment known as "Import Meat and Produce", a grocery wholesale requisites for its issuance have not been satisfied. And with regard to the petition for
and retail business, previously owned by the Philippine Cold Stores, Inc. In the business mandamus, respondents alleged that petitioners have failed to show that respondents have
15 persons were employed 12 of whom are Filipinos and the other 3 Chinese. The three unlawfully neglected any duty which they are called upon to perform and which would
Chinese were old employees of the previous owner, the Philippine Cold Stores, Inc., one make them liable for such relief. Hence, respondents prayed that the petition be dismissed
having been employed as purchaser and the other two as salesmen. and that the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the court ex parte be lifted.

Three weeks after King had acquired the business as aforesaid, he sought permission To this answer, petitioners filed a reply, which was followed by a rejoinder and sur-
from the President of the Philippines to retain the services of the three Chinese employees rejoinder, with a detailed discussion of the arguments advanced in support thereof. And
pursuant to Section 2-A of Commonwealth Act 108, coursing his letter thru the Secretary because the motion to dismiss filed by respondents had been denied for lack of merit, trial
of Commerce and Industry. This official recommended to the President the disapproval proceeded, after which the lower court entered judgment holding "that petitioner Macario
of King's request on the ground that aliens may not be appointed to operate or administer King may employ any person, although not a citizen of the Philippines or of the United
a retail business under Section 1 of Republic Act No. 1180 which requires that its capital States of America, including the three petitioners herein as purchaser and salesmen, in
be wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines, the only exception thereto being the any position in his retail business not involving participation, or intervention in the
employment of technical personnel which may be allowed after securing to that effect an management, operation, administration or control of said business; that petitioners Lim
authorization from the President. The President approved the recommendation of the Pin, Chang Pak and Ng See Keng are entitled to continue as purchaser and salesmen,
Secretary of Commerce and Industry since the positions of purchaser and salesmen respectively, in Macario King's Import Meat and Produce or in any other retail
occupied by the three Chinese employees are not technical positions within the meaning establishment; that the writ of preliminary injunction issued against respondents ordering
of Section 2-A of Commonwealth Act 108, as amended by Republic Act No. 134. the to desist from interfering by criminal and/or administrative action with the rights of
the petitioners as above defined, is hereby declared final; and, finally, respondents are
As a result of such adverse ruling, Macario King and his three Chinese employees filed a hereby ordered to allow and permit petitioners to enjoy and exercise their rights in the
petition for declaratory relief, injunction and mandamus on August 25, 1958 against the manner and to the extent aforestated." Respondents took the present appeal before this
Secretary of Commerce and Industry and the Executive Secretary before the Court of Court.
First Instance of Manila praying that they be given relief because they are "uncertain and
in doubt as to their rights and duties under Republic Act No. 1180 and Commonwealth The center of controversy between petitioners-appellees and respondents-appellants
Act No. 108, as amended by Republic Act No. 134, in view of the aforesaid rulings of the hinges on the interpretation be given to Section 1, Republic Act No. 1180, in relation to
Department of Commerce and Industry and of the Executive Secretary." They alleged Section 2-A, Commonwealth Act 108, as amended by Republic Act No. 134. For ready
that said rulings are illegal in view of the respective situations and positions of petitioners reference we quote the pertinent provisions: .
in the retail establishment, the purpose and language of the laws abovementioned, and the
constitutional guarantee of the rights of an employer to employ and of an employee to
SECTION 1. No person who is not a citizen of the Philippines, and no the fixing of prices, the determination of the amount of goods or articles to be
association, partnership, or corporation the capital of which is not wholly owned made available in the market, and even the choice of the goods or articles they
by citizens of the Philippines, shall engage directly or indirectly in the retail would or would not patronize or distribute, that fears of dislocation of the
business: ... (Emphasis supplied) . national economy and of the complete subservience of national retailers and of
the producers and consumers alike, can be placed completely at their mercy...
SEC. 2-A. Any person, corporation, or association which, having in its name or
under its control, a right, franchise, privilege, property or business, the exercise "... Grave abuses have characterized the exercise of the retail trade by aliens. It
or enjoyment of which is expressly reserved by the Constitution or the laws to is a fact within judicial notice, which courts of justice may not properly
citizens of the Philippines, or of any other specific country, or to corporations or overlook or ignore in the interests of truth and justice, that there exists a general
associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such feeling on the part of the public that alien participation in the retail trade has
citizens, permits or allows the use, exploitation or enjoyment thereof by a been attended by a pernicious and intolerable practices, the mention of a few of
person, corporation or association not possessing the requisites prescribed by which would suffice for our purposes; that at some time or other they have
the Constitution or the laws of the Philippines; or leases, or in any other way cornered the market of essential commodities, like corn and rice, creating
transfers or conveys said right, franchise, privilege, property or business to a artificial scarcities to justify and enhance profits to unreasonable proportions;
person, corporation or association not otherwise qualified under the that they have hoarded essential foods to the inconvenience and prejudice of the
Constitution, or the provisions of the existing laws; or in any manner permits or consuming public, so much so that the Government has had to establish the
allows any person, not possessing the qualifications required by the Constitution National Rice and Corn Corporation to save the public from their continuous
or existing laws to acquire, use, exploit or enjoy a right, franchise, privilege, hoarding practices and tendencies; that they have violated price control laws,
property or business, the exercise and enjoyment of which are expressly especially on foods and essential commodities, such that the legislature had to
reserved by the Constitution or existing laws to citizens of the Philippines or of enact a law (Sec. 9, Republic Act No. 1168), authorizing their immediate and
any other specific country, to intervene in the management, operation, automatic deportation for price control convictions; that they have secret
administration or control thereof, whether as an officer, employee or laborer combinations among themselves to control prices, cheating the operation of the
therein, with or without remuneration except technical personnel whose law of supply and demand; that they have connived to boycott honest merchants
employment may be specifically authorized by the President of the Philippines and traders who would not cater or yield to their demands, in unlawful restraint
upon recommendation of the Department Head concerned.... (emphasis of freedom of trade and enterprise. They are believed by the public to have
supplied) . evaded tax laws, smuggled goods and money into and out of the land, violated
import and export prohibitions, control laws and the like, in derision and
With regard to the Retail Trade Law, this Court had already occasion to rule on its contempt of lawful authority. It is also believed that they have engaged in
constitutionality. We held that the same is valid and that its purpose is to completely corrupting public officials with fabulous bribes, indirectly causing the
nationalize the retail trade in the Philippines. In other words, its primordial purpose is to prevalence of graft and corruption in the Government. As a matter of fact
confine the privilege to engage in retail trade to Filipino citizens by prohibiting any appeals to unscrupulous aliens have been made both by the Government and by
person who is not a Filipino citizen or any entity whose capital is not wholly owned by their own lawful diplomatic representatives, action which impliedly admits a
citizens of the Philippines from engaging, directly or indirectly, in the retail business. The prevailing feeling about the existence of many of the above practices.
nationalization of retail trade is, therefore, complete in the sense that it must be wholly
owned by a Filipino citizen or Filipino controlled entity in order that it may be licensed to The circumstances above set forth create well founded fears that worse things
operate. The law seeks a complete ban to aliens who may not engage in it directly or may come in the future. The present dominance of the alien retailer, especially
indirectly. And the reasons behind such ban are the pernicious and intolerable practices of in the big centers of population, therefore, becomes a potential source of danger
alien retailers who in the past have either individually or in organized groups contrived in on occasions of war or other calamity. We do not have here in this country
many dubious ways to control the trade and dominate the distribution of goods vital to isolated groups of harmless aliens retailing goods among nationals; what we
the life of our people thereby resulting not only in the increasing dominance of alien have are well organized and powerful groups that dominate the distribution of
control in retail trade but at times in the strangle hold on our economic life. These reasons goods and commodities in the communities and big centers of population. They
were well expressed by Mr. Justice Labrador in the following wise: . owe no allegiance or loyalty to the State, and the State cannot rely upon them in
times of crisis or emergency. While the national holds his life, his person and
"But the dangers arising from alien participation in the retail trade does not his property subject to the needs of his country, the alien may even become the
seem to lie in the predominance alone; there is a prevailing feeling that such potential enemy of the State. (Lao H. Ichong v. Hernandez, et al., G.R. No. L-
predominance may truly endanger the national interest. With ample capital, 7995, May 31, 1957).
unity of purpose and action and thorough organization, alien retailers and
merchants can act in such complete unison and concert on such vital matters as
The purpose of the enactment of the Retail Trade Law, therefore, is clear. As expressed employed as buyer declared that his duties include no more than buying the groceries
by this Court, it is to translate the general preoccupation of the Filipinos against the threat appearing in a list prepared and given to him from time to time by Macario King, and at
and danger to our national economy caused by alien dominance and control of the retail no more than the prices indicated in said list. Respondents did not present any evidence to
business by weeding out such threat and danger and thus prevent aliens from having a contradict these facts, as they merely relied their motion to dismiss.
strangle hold upon our economic life. But in so doing the legislature did not intend to
deprive aliens of their means of livelihood. This is clearly pointed out in the explanatory It is evident that petitioners' theory is that since they do not intervene in the management,
note of the law: . operation, administration or control of the retail establishment of Macario King they are
not covered by the Anti-Dummy Law. Indeed, they contend, Section 1 of Republic Act
This bill proposes to regulate the retail business. Its purpose is to prevent No. 1180 mirrors the legislative intent to nationalize the retail trade merely thru the
persons who are not citizens of the Philippines from having a strangle hold upon ownership by Filipinos of the business, and as stated by this Court in the Ichong case, the
our economic life. If the persons who control this vital artery of our economic ownership of the retail business by non-citizens lies at the foundation of the prohibition,
life are those who owe no allegiance to this Republic, who have no profound and since there is nothing in the Retail Trade Law which prohibits a Filipino-owned retail
devotion to our free institutions and who have no permanent state in our enterprise from employing an alien and the dummy law merely limits the prohibition to
people's welfare, we are not really the masters of our own country. All aspects any position that relates to management, operation, administration or control, petitioners
of our life, even our national security, will be at the mercy of other people. contend that they may be allowed to continue in their positions without doing violence to
both the Retail Trade Law and the Anti-Dummy Law. In other words, they draw a line of
In seeking to accomplish the foregoing purpose, we do not propose to deprive distinction between one class of alien employees occupying positions of control and
persons who are not citizens of the Philippines of their means of livelihood. another class occupying non-control positions.
While this bill seeks to take away from the hands of persons who are not
citizens of the Philippines a power that can be wielded to paralyze all aspects of Respondents, on the other hand, sustain a different view. They hold that the language of
our national life and endanger our national security, it respects existing rights. the Anti-Dummy Law bans aliens' employment in both control and non-control positions.
They contend that the words management, operation, administration and control,
It is in the light of this view of the Retail Trade Law that the issue was posed whether the followed by and blended with the words "whether as an officer, employee or laborer
prohibition to aliens from engaging in such trade is intended merely to ban them from its therein", signify the legislative intent to cover the entire scale of personnel activity so that
ownership and not from its management control or operation. However, from the context even laborers are excluded from employment, the only exemption being technical
of the law as well as from the decision of this Court in the Ichong case, it may be safely personnel whose employment may be allowed with the previous authorization of the
inferred that the nationalization of the retail trade is merely confined to its ownership and President. This contention, according to respondents, results from the application of the
not its management, control, or operation. Nevertheless, this apparent flaw in the Retail rule known in statutory construction as redendo singula singulis. This means that the
Trade Law cannot be availed of by an unscrupulous alien as a convenient pretext to antecedents "management, operation, administration and control" and the consequents
employ in the management of his business persons of his ilk to flout the law or subvert its "officer, employee, and laborer" should be read distributively to the effect that each word
nationalistic purpose, for in pari materia with such law we have the Anti-Dummy Law is to be applied to the subject to which it appears by context most properly relate and to
(Commonwealth Act No. 108, as amended by Republic Act No. 134), which seeks "to which it is most applicable (Vol. 2, Sutherland, Statutory Construction, Section 4819).
punish acts of evasion of the laws of nationalization of certain rights, franchises or
privileges." Read in connection with the Retail Trade Law, the Anti-Dummy Law would We agree to this contention of respondents not only because the context of the law seems
punish acts intended to circumvent the provisions of the former law which nationalize the to be clear on what its extent and scope seem to prohibit but also because the same is in
retail business. full accord with the main objective that permeates both the Retail Trade Law and the
Anti-Dummy Law. The one advocates the complete nationalization of the retail trade by
The question that now arises is: Is the employment of aliens in non-control positions in a denying its ownership to any alien, while the other limits its management, operation,
retail establishment or trade prohibited by the Anti-Dummy Law? administration and control to Filipino citizens. The prevailing idea is to secure both
ownership and management of the retail business in Filipino hands. It prohibits a person
not a Filipino from engaging in retail trade directly or indirectly while it limits the
Petitioners contend that their employment is not prohibited either by the Retail Trade management, operation, administration and control to Filipino citizens. These words may
Law or the Anti-Dummy Law. The three Chinese petitioners testified that they had be technically synonymous in the sense that they all refer to the exercise of a directing,
nothing to do with the management and control of the business, nor do they participate in restraining or governing influence over an affair or business to which they relate, but it
its profits outside of their monthly salaries. They had been employed long before the cannot be denied that by reading them in connection with the positions therein
enactment of Republic Act No. 1180. They only wait for customers and sell according to enumerated one cannot draw any other conclusion than that they cover the entire range of
the prices appearing on the tags previously fixed by their manager Macario King. They employment regardless of whether they involve control or non-control activities. When
desire to continue in the employ of Macario King in his business and their job is their the law says that you cannot employ an alien in any position pertaining to management,
only means of earning support for themselves and their families. Lim Pin who is
operation, administration and control, "whether as an officer, employee, or laborer There is no need of any lengthy discussion as to the rights of a Filipino citizen
therein", it only means one thing: the employment of a person who is not a Filipino to employ any person in his business provided the latter is not a criminal,
citizen even in a minor or clerical or non-control position is prohibited. The reason is affected with some contagious disease, or a recognized human derelict. The
obvious: to plug any loophole or close any avenue that an unscrupulous alien may resort right to employ is the same as the right to associate. The right to associate is
to flout the law or defeat its purpose, for no one can deny that while one may be admittedly one of the most sacred privileges of a Filipino citizen. If a Filipino
employed in a non-control position who apparently is harmless he may later turn out to citizen has the right to employ any person in his business, has a naturalized
be a mere tool to further the evil designs of the employer. It is imperative that the law be citizen the same rights? We hold and sustain that under the Constitution and
interpreted in a manner that would stave off any attempt at circumvention of this laws of this country, there is no difference between a natural-born citizen and a
legislative purpose. naturalized citizen, with the possible exception, as provided by the Constitution,
that while the former can be President, Vice-President or member of Congress,
In this respect, we agree with the following remark of the Solicitor General: "Summing the latter cannot. But outside of these exceptions, they have the same rights and
up, there is no point in distinguishing employments in positions of control from privileges.
employments in non-control positions except to facilitate violations of the Anti-Dummy
Law. It does not require ingenuity to realize that the law is framed up the way we find it It is hard to see how the nationalization of employment in the Philippines can run counter
so that no difficulties will be encountered in its enforcement. This is not the first time to to any provision of our Constitution considering that its aim is not exactly to deprive
use the words of the United States Supreme Court ... that a government wants to know, citizen of a right that he may exercise under it but rather to promote enhance and protect
without being put to a search, that what it forbids is carried out effectively." . those that are expressly accorded to a citizen such as the right to life, liberty and pursuit
of happiness. The nationalization of an economic measure when founded on grounds of
There is an intimation in the decision of the trial court that if the employment of aliens in public policy cannot be branded as unjust, arbitrary or oppressive or contrary to the
non-control positions is prohibited as respondents so advocate, it may impair the right of Constitution because its aim is merely to further the material progress and welfare of the
a citizen under our Constitution to select, pick and employ any one who in his opinion citizens of a country. This is what we expressed in no uncertain terms in the Ichong Case
may be amenable to his business provided he is not a criminal, a communist, or affected when we declared constitutional the nationalization of the retail trade. Indeed, we said
by a contagious disease, in the same manner as one may not be deprived of his right to there that it is a law "clearly in the interest of the public, nay of the national security
associate with people of his own choice because those are rights that are guaranteed by itself, and indisputability falls within the scope police power, thru which and by which
our Constitution. The language of the trial court on this matter follows: . the State insures its existence and security and the supreme welfare of its citizens." True,
this fundamental policy was expressed in a decision the subject of which concerns the
constitutionality of the Retail Trade Act, but since the Anti-Dummy Law is but a mere
There is no question that a Filipino citizen has a right under the Constitution
complement of the former in the sense that it is designed to make effective its aims and
and the laws of this Republic to engage in any lawful business, to select, pick
purposes and both tend to accomplish the same objective either by excluding aliens from
and employ anyone who in his opinion may be amenable, congenial, friendly,
owning any retail trade or by banning their employment if the trade is owned by
understanding and profitable to his business provided that they are not originals,
Filipinos, and the target of both is "the removal and eradication of the shackles of foreign
say communists, or affected by some contagious disease or morally unfit. The
economic control and domination" thru the nationalization of the retail trade both in
right to associate with our friends or people of our choice cannot be seriously
ownership and employment, the pronouncement made in one regarding its
contested in a democratic form of government. This is one of the most
constitutionality applies equally if not with greater reason to the other both being
cherished privileges of a citizen. Nullify it and it will produce a communist
complementary one to the other. Indeed, in nationalizing employment in retail trade the
control of action in our free movement and intercourse with our fellow citizens
right of choice of an employer is not impaired but its sphere is merely limited to the
as now prevails in Russia and other Soviet satellites History has amply citizens to the exclusion of those of other nationalities.
demonstrated that in countries where personal liberties are limited, curtailed or
hampered, communism thrives; while in the lands where personal liberties are
protected, democracy lives. We need but look at the horizon and see terrible and We note that the case cited by the trial court to substantiate its conclusion that freedom to
sinister shadows of some catastrophic events threatening to annihilate all our employ is guaranteed by our Constitution is Meyer v. Nebraska, 67 Law Ed. 1042, which
hopes and love for liberty if we are to traffic with our rights as citizens like any is also the same case relied upon by petitioners in support of their proposition that "the
other ordinary commodities. It is our sacred and bounden duty to protect liberty guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to engage in any of the common
individual rights so that by their benign influence real democracy may be occupations of life". We also note that this is the same case cited by counsel for Lao
nurtured to full maturity. Itchong to support the same proposition in his advocacy of the unconstitutionality of the
nationalization of the Retail Trade Law which did not deserve favorable consideration by
this Court in the Itchong case. To refute counsel's argument that the retail trade is a
xxx xxx xxx
common occupation the pursuit of which cannot be impaired and consequently the right
to employ therein is guaranteed by our Constitution, suffice it to state that we brushed
aside such theory in the Itchong case in view of the monopolistic control exercised by It appears, however, that alien petitioners were already in the employ of the establishment
aliens in the retail business and their "deadly strangle hold on the national economy known as "Import Meat and Produce" previously owned by the Philippine Cold Stores,
endangering the national security in times of crisis and emergency". The circumstances Inc. when Macario King acquired the ownership of said establishment and because of the
surrounding the enforcement of the Retail Trade Law being the very foundation of the doubt he entertained as regards the scope of the prohibition of the law King wrote the
Anti-Dummy Law the same circumstances that justify the rejection of counsel's President of the Philippines to request permission to continue said petitioners in his
proposition in the Itchong case should also apply with regard to the application of the employment, and immediately after the request was denied, he instituted the present
Meyer case in the consideration of the constitutionality of the Anti-Dummy Law. petition for declaratory relief. It cannot, therefore, be said that King has already breached
the law when he filed the present action..
The thinking of the lower court that the nationalization of employment in retail trade
produces communistic control or impairs a right guaranteed by the Constitution to a WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed. This preliminary injunction
citizen seems to have as basis its pronouncement that "the right to employ is the same as issued by the trial court on December 6, 1958 is hereby lifted. The petition for mandamus
the right to associate". This promise has no foundation in law for it confuses the right of is dismissed, with costs against appellees.
employment with the right of association embodied in the Bill of Rights of our
Constitution. Section 1, paragraph 6, of said Bill of Rights, provides that "the right to Bengzon, C.J., Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon and De
form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law, shall not be abridged", Leon, JJ., concur.
and this has as its main purpose "to encourage the formation of voluntary associations so Padilla, J., took no part.
that thru the cooperative activities of individuals the welfare of the nation may be
advanced."1Petitioners have never been denied the right to form voluntary associations.
In fact, they can so organize to engage in any business venture of their own choosing
provided that they comply with the limitations prescribed by our regulatory laws. These
laws cannot be assailed as abridging our Constitution because they were adopted in the
exercise of the police power of the State (Lao Itchong case, supra).

Against the charge that this nationalization movement initiated by Congress in


connection with several measures that affect the economic life of our people places the
Philippines in a unique position in the free world, we have only to cite the cases
of Commonwealth v. Hans, 81 N.E. 149, and Bloomfield v. State, 99 N.E. 309, which this
Court considered as basic authorities for nationalization of legislative measures in the
Lao Ichong case. Similar laws had been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court of
California and the United States Supreme Court in a series of cases involving contracts
under the Alien Land Law, and because of the similarities of the facts and laws involved
therein we can consider the decisions rendered in said cases of persuasive force and effect
in the determination of the present case.2

We wish to add one word with regard to the procedural aspect raised in respondents'
brief. It is respondents' theory that a complaint for declaratory relief will not prosper if
filed after a contract or statute has been breached. The law does not even require that
there shall be an actual pending case. It is sufficient that there is a breach of the law, or an
actionable violation, to bar a complaint for declaratory judgment (Vol. 2, Moran,
Comments on the Rules of Court, 1957 Ed., 145). The pertinent provisions of the Anti-
Dummy Law postulate that aliens cannot be employed by Filipino retailers except for
technical positions with previous authority of the President, and it is contended that
Macario King had in his employ his Chinese co-petitioners for a period of more than 2
years in violation of Section 2-A of Republic Act No. 134. Hence, respondents contend,
due to their breach of the law petitioners have forfeited their right to file the present
action for declaratory relief.
Republic of the Philippines B/GEN. DEMETRIO CAMUA COL. HERMINIO A. MENDOZA, COL.
SUPREME COURT ERNESTO B. YU, COL. ROMEO ODI COL. WILLY FLORENDO, COL. DIONY
Manila A. VENTURA, and CAPT. FRANCISCO T. MALLILLIN PRESIDENT AND
MEMBERS OF GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL NO. 14, respondents.
EN BANC
No. 97454 August 2, 1991
G.R. No. 93177 August 2, 1991
AFP CHIEF OF STAFF LT. GEN. RODOLFO BIAZON, DEPUTY CHIEF OF
B/GEN. JOSE COMENDADOR, B/GEN, MARIELO BLANDO, CAPT. DANILO STAFF MAJOR GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, PNP DIRECTOR GENERAL
PIZARRO, CAPT. MANUEL ISON, COL. LUISITO SANCHEZ, LTC. MAJOR GEN. CESAR NAZARENO and LT. COL. ALBERTO OLARIO,
ROMELINO GOJO, LTC. ARSENIO TECSON, LTC. RAFAEL GALVEZ, LTC. Commanding Officer of the PNP/INP Detention Center/Jail, petitioners,
TIBURCIO FUSILLERO, LTC. ERICSON AURELIO, LTC. JACINTO LIGOT vs.
LTC. FRANKLIN BRAWNER, MAJ. ALFREDO OLIVEROS, MAJ. CESAR DE HON. ANTONIO P. SOLANO, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Quezon
LA PERA, MAJ. LEUVINO VALENCIA, CAPT. FLORENCIO FLORES, CAPT. City, Branch 86, CAPTAIN REYNALDO S. RAFAEL, 1 LT SERVANDO A.
JAIME JUNIO, CAPT. DANILO LIM, CAPT. ELMER AMON, CAPT. VERGEL BAOANAN PN(M), 1 LT. WILFREDO JIMENEZ PAF 1 LT. ATANACIO T.
NACINO, and LT. JOEY SARROZA, petitioners, MACALAN JR PMM 2LT ELISEO T. RASCO PC, 2LT JONAS CALLEJA PC,
vs. 2LT JAIRUS JS GELVEZON III PMM 2LT JOSELITO CABREROS PMM 2LT
GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, CHIEF OF STAFF, AFP, THE PTI MEMEL ROJAS PN(M) and 2LT HERMINIO L. CANTACO PC, respondents.
INVESTIGATING PANEL COMPOSED OF: COL. MANUEL S. MENDIOLA,
COL. VIRTUD NORBERTO L. DAGZA MAJ. FELIX V. BALDONADO and Armando M. Marcelo and Rainier L. Madrid for petitioners Luisito Sanchez, Tiburcio
MAJ. ESTELITO L. PORNEA and GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL NO. 14 Fusillero, Ericson Aurelio, Levino Valencia, Danilo Arnon Vergel Nacino, Florencio
COMPOSED OF: B/GEN. DEMETRIO CAMUA COL. HERMINIO A. Flores, Benigno Junio and Joey Sarroza.
MENDOZA, COL. ERNESTO B. YU, COL. ROMEO ODI, COL. WILLY Manuel Q. Malvar for Rafael Galvez and Danny Lim.
FLORENDO, COL. DIONY A. VENTURA and CAPT. FRANCISCO T. Manuel E. Valenzuela for Arsenio Tecson
MALLILLIN, respondents. Mariano R. Santiago for Alfredo Oliveros.
Ricardo J.M. Rivera for Manuel Ison.
No. 95020 August 2, 1991 Castillo, Laman, Tan and Pantaleon for Danilo Pizarro.
Alfredo Lazaro for Romelino Gojo.
Manuel A. Barcelona, Jr. for Jose Comendador.
B/GEN. DEMETRIO CAMUA, COL. HERMIMO A. MENDOZA, COL. Jonathan B.S. Rebong and Efren C. Carag for Marcelo Blando.
ERNESTO B. YU, COL. ROMEO ODI, COL. WILLY FLORENDO, COL. DIONY Pablito V. Sanidad for Franklin Brawner and Ericson Aurelio.
A. VENTURA, and CAPT. FRANCISCO T. MALLILLIN, petitioners,
Efren C. Moncupa for All Tecson.
vs.
M.M. Lazaro & Associates for respondents Ligot and Ison .
HON. MIANO C. ASUNCION, Presiding Judge, Branch 104, REGIONAL TRIAL Baldomero S.P. Gatbonton, Jr. for Jacinto Ligot.
COURT, Q.C., LTC. JACINTO LIGOT PA., respondents.
Salvador B. Britanico for Cesar de la Pena.
Gilbert R.T. Reyes for Danilo Pizarro.
No. 96948 August 2, 1991 Ponce Enrile, Cayetano, Reyes & Manalastas for petitioners in G.R. No. 93177.
The Solicitor General for respondents.
B/GEN. JOSE COMENDADOR, B/GEN. MARCELO BLANDO, CAPT. DANILO
PIZARRO PN, CAPT. MANUEL ISON PN, LTC. ROMELINO GOJO PN (M), CRUZ, J.:p
LTC. ARSENIO TECSON PA, LTC. RAFAEL GALVEZ PA, LTC. TIBURCIO
FUSILLERO PA, LTC. ERICSON AURELIO PA, LTC. JACINTO LIGOT PA, These four cases have been consolidated because they involve practically the same
LTC. FRANKLIN BRAWNER PA, MAJ. ALFREDO OLIVEROS PA, MAJ. parties and related issues arising from the same incident.
CESAR DE LA PENA PN (M): MAJ. LEUVINO VALENCIA PA, CAPT.
FLORENCIO FLORES PA, CAPT. JAIME JUNIO PA, CAPT. DANILO LIM PA, The petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948 and the private respondents in G.R. Nos.
CAPT. ELMER AMON PAF CAPT. VERGEL NACINO, and LT. JOEY 95020 and 97454 are officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines facing prosecution
SARROZA, petitioners,
for their alleged participation in the failed coup d' etat that took place on December 1 to
vs. 9, 1989.
The charges against them are violation of Articles of War (AW) 67 (Mutiny), AW 96 At the first scheduled hearing, the petitioners challenged the proceedings on various
(Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman) and AW 94 (Various Crimes) in grounds, prompting the PTI Panel to grant them 10 days within which to file their
relation to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (Murder). objections in writing This was done through a Motion for Summary Dismissal dated
February 21, 1990.
In G.R. No. 93177, which is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, they are
questioning the conduct of the Pre-Trial Investigation PTI Panel constituted to investigate In a resolution dated February 27,1990, the PTI Panel denied the motion and gave the
the charges against them and the creation of the General Court Martial GCM convened to petitioners 5 days from notice to submit their respective counter-affidavits and the
try them. affidavits of their witnesses.

In G.R. No. 96948, the petitioners, besides challenging the legality of GCM No. 14, On March 7, 1990, the petitioners verbally moved for reconsideration of the foregoing
seek certiorari against its ruling denying them the right to peremptory challenge as denial and the PTI Panel gave them 7 days within which to reduce their motion to
granted by Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408. writing. This was done on March 14,1990.

In G.R. No. 95020, the orders of the respondent judge of the Regional Trial Court of The petitioners now claim that there was no pre-trial investigation of the charges as
Quezon City are assailed oncertiorari on the ground that he has no jurisdiction over mandated by Article of War 71, which provides:
GCM No. 14 and no authority either to set aside its ruling denying bail to the private
respondents. Art. 71. Charges Action upon. — Charges and specifications must be
signed by a person subject to military law, and under the oath either
In G.R. No. 97454, certiorari is also sought against the decision of the Regional Trial that he has personal knowledge of, or has investigated, the matters set
Court of Quezon City in a petition for habeas corpus directing the release of the private forth therein and that the same are true in fact, to the best of his
respondents. Jurisdictional objections are likewise raised as in G.R. No. 95020. knowledge and belief.

I No charge will be referred to a general court-martial for trial until


after a thorough and impartial investigation thereof shall have been
Before the charges were referred to GCM No. 14, a Pre-Trial Investigation PTI Panel had made. This investigation will include inquiries as to the truth of the
been constituted pursuant to Office Order No. 16 dated January 14, 1990, to investigate matter set forth in said charges, form of charges, and what disposition
the petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948. The PTI Panel issued a uniform subpoena of the case should be made in the interest of justice and discipline. At
dated January 30, 1990, individually addressed to the petitioners, to wit: such investigation full opportunity shall be given to the accused to
cross-examine witnesses against him if they are available and to
present anything he may desire in his own behalf, either in defense or
You are hereby directed to appear in person before the undersigned
mitigation, and the investigating officer shall examine available
Pre-Trial Investigating Officers on 12 Feb 90 9:00 a.m. at Kiangan
witnesses requested by the accused. If the charges are forwarded after
Hall, Camp Crame Quezon City, then and there to submit your
such investigation, they shall be accompanied by a statement of the
counter-affidavit and the affidavits of your witnesses, if any, in the substance of the testimony taken on both sides. (Emphasis supplied.)
pre-trial investigation of the charge/charges against you for violence of
AWs _______________. DO NOT SUBMIT A MOTION TO
DISMISS. They also allege that the initial hearing of the charges consisted merely of a roll call and
that no prosecution witnesses were presented to reaffirm their affidavits. while the motion
for summary dismissal was denied, the motion for reconsideration remains unresolved to
Failure to submit the aforementioned counter-affidavits on the date date and they have not been able to submit their counter-affidavits.
above specified shall be deemed a waiver of your right to submit
controverting evidence.
At the hearing of May 15, 1990, the petitioners in G.R. No. 96948 manifested that they
were exercising their right to raise peremptory challenges against the president and
On the same date, the petitioners acknowledged receipt of a copy of the charge sheet,
members of GCM No.14. They invoked Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408 for this purpose.
sworn statements of witnesses, and death and medical certificates of victims of the
GCM No. 14 ruled, however, that peremptory challenges had been discontinued under
rebellion.
P.D. No. 39.
In G.R. No. 95020, Ltc Jacinto Ligot applied for bail on June 5, 1990, but the application It appears that the petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948 were given several
was denied by GCM No.14. He thereupon filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon opportunities to present their side at the pre-trial investigation, first at the scheduled
City a petition for certiorari and mandamus with prayer for provisional liberty and a writ hearing of February 12, 1990, and then again after the denial of their motion of February
of preliminary injunction. After considering the petition and the answer thereto filed by 21, 1990, when they were given until March 7, 1990, to submit their counter-affidavits.
the president and members of GCM No.14, Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion issued an On that date, they filed instead a verbal motion for reconsideration which they were again
order granting provisional liberty to Ligot. asked to submit in writing. This they did on March 13, 1990. The motion was in effect
denied when the PTI Panel resolved to recommend that the charges be referred to the
On July 28, 1990, Ligot filed an urgent omnibus motion to enforce the order for his General Court Martial for trial.
release and to declare in contempt the commanding officer of the PC/INP Jail for disobey
'ng the said order. He later also complained that Generals De Villa and Aguirre had The said petitioners cannot now claim they have been denied due process because the
refused to release him "pending final resolution of the appeal to be taken" to this Court. investigation was resolved against them owing to their own failure to submit their
counter-affidavits. They had been expressly warned In the subpoena sent them that
After hearing, the trial court reiterated its order for the provisional liberty of Ligot, as "failure to submit the aforementioned counter-affidavits on the date above specified shall
well as of intervenors Ltc Franklin Brawner, Lt/Col. Arsenio Tecson and Maj. Alfredo be deemed a waiver of (their) right to submit controverting evidence." They chose not to
Oliveros, and later of additional intervenors Ltc Romelino Gojo and Capt. Manuel Ison. heed the warning. As their motions appeared to be dilatory, the PTI Panel was justified in
referring the charges to GCM No. 14 without waiting for the petitioners to submit their
defense.
On August 22, 1990, the trial court rendered judgment inter alia:
Due process is satisfied as long as the party is accorded an opportunity to be heard. If it is
(a) Declaring, that Section 13, Article III of the Constitution granting not availed of, it is deemed waived or forfeited without violation of the Bill of Rights.
the right to bail to all persons with the defined exception is applicable
and covers all military men facing court-martial proceedings.
Accordingly, the assailed orders of General Court- Martial No. 14 There was in our view substantial compliance with Article of War 71 by the PTI Panel.
denying bail to petitioner and intervenors on the mistaken assumption Moreover, it is now settled that "even a failure to conduct a pre-trial investigation does
that bail does not apply to military men facing court-martial not deprive a general court- martial of jurisdiction." We so held in Arula v. Espino, 1 thus:
proceedings on the ground that there is no precedent, are hereby set
aside and declared null and void. Respondent General Court-Martial xxx xxx xxx
No. 14 is hereby directed to conduct proceedings on the applications
of bail of the petitioner, intervenors and which may as well include But even a failure to conduct a pre-trial investigation does not deprive
other persons facing charges before General Court-Martial No. 14. a general court-martial of jurisdiction.

Pending the proceedings on the applications for bail before General The better accepted concept of pre-trial investigation is that it is
Court-Martial No. 14, this Court reiterates its orders of release on the directory, not mandatory, and in no way affects the jurisdiction of a
provisional liberty of petitioner Jacinto Ligot as well as intervenors court-martial. In Humphrey v. Smith, 336 U.S. 695, 93 L ed 986
Franklin Brawner and Arsenio Tecson. (1949), the Court said:

On February 18, 1991, the private respondents in G.R. No. 97454 filed with this Court a We do not think that the pre-trial investigation
petition for habeas corpuson the ground that they were being detained in Camp Crame procedure by Article 70 (The Philippine counter-
without charges. The petition was referred to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, part is article of war 71, Commonwealth Act 408)
where it was raffled to respondent Judge Antonio P. Solano. Finding after hearing that no can properly be construed as an indispensable pre-
formal charges had been filed against the petitioners after more than a year after their requisite to the exercise of the Army General court
arrest, the trial court ordered their release. martial jurisdiction.. The Article does serve
important functions in the administration of court-
II martial procedures and does provide safeguards to
an accused. Its language is clearly such that a
The Court has examined the records of this case and rules as follows. defendant could object to trial in the absence of the
required investigation. In that event the court-
martial could itself postpone trial pending the
investigation. And the military reviewing respondents with mutiny and conduct unbecoming an officer, were
authorities could consider the same contention, signed by Maj. Antonio Ruiz, a person subject to military law, after he
reversing a court- martial conviction where failure had investigated the matter through an evaluation of the pertinent
to comply with Article 70 has substantially injured records, including the reports of respondent AFP Board of Officers,
an accused. But we are not persuaded that Congress and was convinced of the truth of the testimonies on record. The
intended to make otherwise valid court-martial charge sheets were sworn to by Maj. Ruiz, the "accuser," in
judgments wholly void because pre-trial accordance with and in the manner provided under Art. 71 of the
investigations fall short of the standards prescribed Articles of War. Considering that P.D. No. 77, as amended by P.D.
by Article 70. That Congress has not required No. 911, is only of suppletory application, the fact that the charge
analogous pre-trial procedure for Navy court- sheets were not certified in the manner provided under said decrees,
martial is an indication that the investigatory plan i.e., that the officer administering the oath has personally examined the
was not intended to be exalted to the jurisdictional affiant and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and
level. understood its affidavit, does not invalidate said charge sheets.
Thereafter, a "pretrial investigation" was conducted by respondent
xxx xxx xxx Maj. Baldonado, wherein, pursuant to P.D. No. 77, as amended by
P.D. No. 911, petitioners were subpoenaed and required to file their
counter-affidavit. However, instead of doing so, they filed an untitled
Shortly after enactment of Article 70 in 1920 the
pleading seeking the dismissal of the charges against them. That
Judge Advocate General of the Army did hold that
petitioners were not able to confront the witnesses against them was
where there had been no pre-trial investigation,
their own doing, for they never even asked Maj. Baldonado to
court-martial proceedings were void ab initio. But
subpoena said witnesses so that they may be made to answer
this holding has been expressly repudiated in later
clarificatory questions in accordance with P. D, No. 77, as amended by
holdings of the Judge Advocate General. This later P.D. No. 911.
interpretation has been that the pre-trial
requirements of Article 70 are directory, not
mandatory, and in no way effect the jurisdiction of The petitioners also allege that GCM No. 14 has not been constitute in accordance with
a court-martial. The War Department's Article 8 of the Articles of War because General Order No. M-6, which supposedly
interpretation was pointedly called to the attention convened the body, was not signed by Gen. Renato de Villa as Chief of Staff.
of Congress in 1947 after which Congress amended
Article 70 but left unchanged the language here Article of War No. 8 reads:
under consideration. compensable pre-requisite to
the exercise of Army general court-martial Art. 8. General Courts-Martial. — The President of the Philippines,
jurisdiction the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Chief of
Constabulary and, when empowered by the President, the
A trial before a general court-martial convened without any pretrial commanding officer of a major command or task force, the
investigation under article of war 71 would of course be altogether commanding officer of a division, the commanding officer of a
irregular but the court-martial might nevertheless have jurisdiction. military area, the superintendent of the Military Academy, the
Significantly, this rule is similar to the one obtaining in criminal commanding officer of a separate brigade or body of troops may
procedure in the civil courts to the effect that absence of preliminary appoint general courts-martial; but when any such commander is the
investigation does not go into the jurisdiction of the court but merely accuser or the prosecutor of the person or persons to be tried, the court
to the regularity of the proceedings. shall be appointed by superior competent authority. ...

As to what law should govern the conduct of the preliminary investigation, that issue was While it is true that General Order No. M-6 was not signed by Gen. De Villa, there is no
resolved more than two years ago in Kapunan v. De Villa, 2 where we declared: doubt that he authorized it because the order itself said it was issued "By Command of
General De Villa" and it has not been shown to be spurious. As observed by the Solicitor
The Court finds that, contrary to the contention of petitioners, there General, the Summary Disposition Form showed that Gen. De Villa, as Chief of Staff,
was substantial compliance with the requirements of law as provided AFP, actually constituted GCM No. 14 and appointed its president and members. It is
in the Articles of War and P.D. No. 77, as amended by P.D. No. 911. significant that General De Villa has not disauthorized or revoked or in any way
The amended charge sheets, charging petitioners and their co- disowned the said order, as he would certainly have done if his authority had been
improperly invoked. On the contrary, as the principal respondent in G.R. No. 93177, he On September 27,1972, President Marcos issued General Order No. 8, empowering the
sustained General Order No. M 6 in the Comment filed for him and the other respondents Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces to create military tribunals "to try and decide cases of
by the Solicitor General. military personnel and such other cases as may be referred to them.

Coming now to the right to peremptory challenge, we note that this was originally On November 7,1972, he promulgated P.D. No. 39 (Governing the Creation,
provided for under Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408 (Articles of War), as amended by Composition, Jurisdiction, Procedure, and other matters relevant to military Tribunals).
Rep. Act No. 242, on June 12, 1948, to wit: This decree disallowed the peremptory challenge, thus:

Art. 18. Challenges. — Members of general or special courts-martial No peremptory challenge shall be allowed. Challenges for cause may
may be challenged by the accused or the trial judge advocate for cause be entertained to insure impartiality and good faith. Challenges shall
stated to the court. The court shall determine the relevancy and immediately be heard and determined by a majority of the members
validity thereof, and shall not receive a challenge to more than one excluding the challenged member. A tie vote does not disqualify the
member at a time. Challenges by the trial judge advocate shall challenged member. A successfully challenged member shall be
ordinarily be presented and decided before those by the accused are immediately replaced.
offered. Each side shall be entitled to the peremptory challenge, but
the law member of the court shall not be challenged except for cause. On June 11, 1978, President Marcos promulgated P.D. No. 1498, or the National Security
Code, which was a compilation and codification of decrees, general orders, LOI and
The history of peremptory challenge was traced in Martelino v. Alejandro, 3 thus: policies intended "to meet the continuing threats to the existence, security and stability of
the State." The modified rule on challenges under P.D. No. 39 was embodied in this
In the early formative years of the infant Philippine Army, after the decree.
passage in 1935 of Commonwealth Act No. 1 (otherwise known as the
National Defense Act), except for a handful of Philippine Scout On January 17,1981, President Marcos issued Proc. No. 2045 proclaiming the
officers and graduates of the United States military and naval termination of the state of martial law throughout the Philippines. The proclamation
academies who were on duty with the Philippine Army, there was a revoked General Order No. 8 and declared the dissolution of the military tribunals created
complete dearth of officers learned in military law, its aside from the pursuant thereto upon final determination of the cases pending therein.
fact that the officer corps of the developing army was numerically
made equate for the demands of the strictly military aspects of the P.D. No. 39 was issued to implement General Order No. 8 and the other general orders
national defense program. Because of these considerations it was then mentioned therein. With the termination of martial law and the dissolution of the military
felt that peremptory challenges should not in the meanwhile be tribunals created thereunder, the reason for the existence of P.D. No. 39 ceased
permitted and that only challenges for cause, in any number, would be automatically.
allowed. Thus Article 18 of the Articles of War (Commonwealth Act
No. 408), as worded on September 14, 1938, the date of the approval
It is a basic canon of statutory construction that when the reason of the law ceases, the
of the Act, made no mention or reference to any peremptory challenge
law itself ceases.Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex. This principle is also expressed in
by either the trial judge advocate of a court- martial or by the accused.
the maxim ratio legis est anima: the reason of law is its soul.
After December 17,1958, when the Manual for Courts-Martial of the
Philippine Army became effective, the Judge Advocate General's
Service of the Philippine Army conducted a continuing and intensive Applying these rules, we hold that the withdrawal of the right to peremptory challenge in
program of training and education in military law, encompassing the L P.D. No. 39 became ineffective when the apparatus of martial law was dismantled with
length and breadth of the Philippines. This program was pursued until the issuance of Proclamation No. 2045, As a result, the old rule embodied in Article 18 of
the outbreak of World War 11 in the Pacific on December 7, 1941. Com. Act No. 408 was automatically revived and now again allows the right to
After the formal surrender of Japan to the allies in 1945, the officer peremptory challenge.
corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had expanded to a very
large number, and a great many of the officers had been indoctrinated We do not agree with the respondents in G.R. No. 96948 that the right to peremptory
in military law. It was in these environmental circumstances that challenge remains withdrawn under P.D. No. 39. To repeat for emphasis, this decree was
Article of War 18 was amended on June 12,1948 to entitle "each side" itself withdrawn when martial law was lifted on January 17, 1981. Indeed, even if not so
to one peremptory challenge, with the sole proviso that "the law withdrawn, it could still be considered no longer operative, having been cast out under
member of court shall not be challenged except for cause. the new dispensation as, in the words of the Freedom Constitution, one of the "iniquitous
vestiges of the previous regime.
The military tribunal was one of the most oppressive instruments of martial law. It is Office of the Chief of Staff can be questioned only before the Court of Appeals and the
curious that the present government should invoke the rules of that discredited body to Supreme Court, we hold that the Regional Trial Court can exercise similar jurisdiction.
justify its action against the accused officers.
We find that the right to bail invoked by the private respondents in G.R. Nos. 95020 has
The Court realizes that the recognition of the right to peremptory challenge may be traditionally not been recognized and is not available in the military, as an exception to
exploited by a respondent in a court-martial trial to delay the proceedings and defer his the general rule embodied in the Bill of Rights. This much was suggested in Arula, where
deserved Punishment. It is hoped that the accused officers in the cases at bar will not be we observed that "the right to a speedy trial is given more emphasis in the military where
so motivated. At any rate, the wisdom of Com. Act No. 408, in the light of present the right to bail does not exist.
circumstances, is a matter addressed to the law-makers and not to this Court. The
judiciary can only interpret and apply the laws without regard to its own misgivings on The justification for this exception was well explained by the Solicitor General as
their adverse effects. This is a problem only the political departments can resolve. follows:

The petitioners in G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454 question the propriety of the petition for The unique structure of the military should be enough reason to
certiorari and mandamus and the petition for habeas corpus filed by the private exempt military men from the constitutional coverage on the right to
respondents with the Regional Trial Courts of Quezon City. It is argued that since the bail.
private respondents are officers of the Armed Forces accused of violations of the Articles
of War, the respondent courts have no authority to order their release and otherwise
interfere with the court-martial proceedings. Aside from structural peculiarity, it is vital to note that mutinous
soldiers operate within the framework of democratic system, are
allowed the fiduciary use of firearms by the government for the
The petitioners further contend that under Sec. 9(3) of BP 1 29, the Court of Appeals is discharge of their duties and responsibilities and are paid out of
vested with "exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, revenues collected from the people. All other insurgent elements carry
resolutions, orders, or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, out their activities outside of and against the existing political system.
instrumentalities, boards or commissions." Rather irrelevantly, the petitioners also cite
the case of Yang v. Court of Appeals 4 where this Court held that "appeals from the
xxx xxx xxx
Professional Regulation Commission are now exclusively cognizable by the Court of
Appeals.
National security considerations should also impress upon this
It should be noted that the aforecited provision and the case cited refer to ordinary Honorable Court that release on bail of respondents constitutes a
appeals and not to the remedies employed by the accused officers before the respondent damaging precedent. Imagine a scenario of say 1,000 putschists
courts. roaming the streets of the Metropolis on bail, or if the assailed July
25,1990 Order were sustained, on "provisional" bail. The sheer
number alone is already discomforting. But, the truly disquieting
In Martelino, we observed as follows: thought is that they could freely resume their heinous activity which
could very well result in the overthrow of duly constituted authorities,
It is true that civil courts as a rule exercise no supervision or correcting including this Honorable Court, and replace the same with a system
power over the proceedings of courts-martial, and that mere errors in consonant with their own concept of government and justice.
their proceedings are not open to consideration. The single inquiry, the
test, is jurisdiction. But it is equally true that in the exercise of their The argument that denial from the military of the right to bail would violate the equal
undoubted discretion, courts-martial may commit such an abuse of protection clause is not acceptable. This guaranty requires equal treatment only of
discretion — what in the language of Rule 65 is referred to as "grave persons or things similarly situated and does not apply where the subject of the treatment
abuse of discretion" — as to give rise to a defect in their jurisdiction. is substantially different from others. The accused officers can complain if they are
This is precisely the point at issue in this action suggested by its nature denied bail and other members of the military are not. But they cannot say they have been
as one for certiorari and prohibition ... . discriminated against because they are not allowed the same right that is extended to
civilians.
The Regional Trial Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals and the
Supreme Court over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against inferior On the contention of the private respondents in G.R. No. 97454 that they had not been
courts and other bodies and on petitions forhabeas corpus and quo warranto. 5 In the charged after more than one year from their arrest, our finding is that there was
absence of a law providing that the decisions, orders and ruling of a court-martial or the
substantial compliance with the requirements of due process and the right to a speedy until after notice of such denial was received by the petitioners on March 12, 1991.
trial. Contrary to the private respondents' contention, therefore, the decision had not yet
become final and executory when the special civil action in G.R. No. 97454 was filed
The petition for habeas corpus was directly filed with this Court on February 18, 1991, with this Court on March 12, 1991.
and was referred to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for raffle, hearing and
decision. It was heard on February 26, 1991, by the respondent court, where the III
petitioners submitted the charge memorandum and specifications against the private
respondents dated January 30, 1991. On February 12, 1991, pursuant to Office Order No. Regarding the propriety of the petitions at bar, it is well to reiterate the following
31-91, the PTI panel was created and initial investigation was scheduled on March 12, observations of the Court in Arula:
1991 at 2:00 p.m. On March 20, 1991, the private respondents received the copies of the
charges, charge sheets and specifications and were required to submit their counter-
The referral of charges to a court-martial involves the exercise of
affidavits on or before April 11, 1991. There was indeed a delay of more than one year in
judgment and discretion (AW 71). A petition for certiorari, in order to
the investigation and preparation of the charges against the private respondents.
However, this was explained by the Solicitor General thus: prosper, must be based on jurisdictional grounds because, as long as
the respondent acted with jurisdiction, any error committed by him or
it in the exercise thereof will amount to nothing more than an error of
... The AFP Special Investigating Committee was able to complete it judgment which may be reviewed or corrected only by appeal. Even
pre-charge investigation only after one (1) year because hundreds of an abuse of discretion is not sufficient by itself to justify the issuance
officers and thousands of enlisted men were involved in the failed of a writ ofcertiorari.
coup. All of them, as well as other witnesses, had to be interviewed or
investigated, and these inevitably took months to finish. The pre-
As in that case, we find that the respondents in G.R. No. 93177 have not acted with grave
charge investigation was rendered doubly difficult by the fact that
abuse of discretion or without or in excess of jurisdiction to justify the intervention of the
those involved were dispersed and scattered throughout the
Court and the reversal of the acts complained of by the petitioners. Such action is
Philippines. In some cases, command units, such as the Scout Rangers,
indicated, however, in G.R. No. 96948, where we find that the right to peremptory
have already been disbanded. After the charges were completed, the
same still had to pass review and approval by the AFP Chief of Staff. challenge should not have been denied, and in G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454, where the
private respondents should not have been ordered released.

While accepting this explanation, the Court nevertheless must reiterate the following
admonition: ACCORDINGLY, in G.R. No. 93177, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. In
G.R. No. 96948, the petition is GRANTED, and the respondents are DIRECTED to allow
the petitioners to exercise the right of peremptory challenge under Article 18 of the
This Court as protector of the rights of the people, must stress the Articles of War. In G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454, the petitions are also GRANTED, and
point that if the participation of petitioner in several coup attempts for the orders of the respondent courts for the release of the private respondents are hereby
which he is confined on orders of Adjutant General Jorge Agcaoili REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs.
cannot be established and no charges can be filed against him or the
existence of a prima facie case warranting trial before a military
SO ORDERED.
commission is wanting, it behooves respondent then Major General
Rodolfo Biazon (now General) to release petitioner. Respondents must
also be reminded that even if a military officer is arrested pursuant to Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco,
Article 70 of then Articles of War, indefinite confinement is not Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
sanctioned, as Article 71 thereof mandates that immediate steps must
be taken to try the person accused or to dissmiss the charge and release
him. Any officer who is responsible for unnecessary delay in
investigating or carrying the case to a final conclusion may even be
punished as a court martial may direct. 6
Separate Opinions
It should be noted, finally, that after the decision was rendered by Judge Solano on
February 26, 1991, the government filed a notice of appeal ad cautelam and a motion for
reconsideration, the latter was ultimately denied, after hearing, on March 4, 1991. The
48- hour period for appeal under Rule 41, Section 18, of the Rules of Court did not run
SARMIENTO, J., concurring: The Constitution explicitly grants the right to bail to "all persons" before conviction, with
the only exception of "those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
I concur with the ponencia of my esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Cruz, but I dissent perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong." 1 The Charter also states that "[T]he right to
insofar as he would deny bail to accused military personnel. bail shall not be impaired even if the writ of habeas corpus is suspended." 2 To deny the
military officers here concerned of the right to bail is to circumscribe the inclusive
meaning of "all persons" — the coverage of the right.
The Constitution explicitly grants the right to bail to "all persons" before conviction, with
the only exception of "those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong." 1 The Charter also states that "[T]he right to I believe that military officers fall within "persons".
bail shall not be impaired even if the writ of habeas corpus is suspended." 2 To deny the
military officers here concerned of the right to bail is to circumscribe the inclusive The picture conjured up by the Solicitor General of "a scenario of say 1,000 putschists
meaning of "all persons" — the coverage of the right. roaming the streets of the Metropolis on bail, or if the assailed July 25, 1990 Order were
sustained, on "provisional" bail [t]he sheer number alone is already discomforting . . .
I believe that military officers fall within "persons". [b]ut, the truly disquieting thought is that they could freely resume their heinous activity
which could very well result in the overthrow of duly constituted authorities, including
this Honorable Court, and replace the same with a system consonant with their own
The picture conjured up by the Solicitor General of "a scenario of say 1,000 putschists
concept of government and justice." 3 But would a scenario of 1,000 murderers or drug
roaming the streets of the Metropolis on bail, or if the assailed July 25, 1990 Order were
pushers roaming the streets of the metropolis justify a denial of the right to bail? Would
sustained, on "provisional" bail [t]he sheer number alone is already discomforting . . .
not that dark picture painted by the Solicitor General be reproduced by 1,000 "equally
[b]ut, the truly disquieting thought is that they could freely resume their heinous activity dangerous" elements of society?
which could very well result in the overthrow of duly constituted authorities, including
this Honorable Court, and replace the same with a system consonant with their own
concept of government and justice." 3 But would a scenario of 1,000 murderers or drug We gave bail Senator Enrile and General Brawner. I find no reason why the petitioners
pushers roaming the streets of the metropolis justify a denial of the right to bail? Would should not be granted the same right.
not that dark picture painted by the Solicitor General be reproduced by 1,000 "equally
dangerous" elements of society? The majority would point to tradition, supposed to be firmly settled, as an argument to
deny bail. I submit, however, that tradition is no argument. First, the Constitution does
We gave bail Senator Enrile and General Brawner. I find no reason why the petitioners not say it. Second, we are a government of laws, not tradition.
should not be granted the same right.
If there are precedents that attest to the contrary, I submit that a reexamination is in order.
The majority would point to tradition, supposed to be firmly settled, as an argument to
deny bail. I submit, however, that tradition is no argument. First, the Constitution does
not say it. Second, we are a government of laws, not tradition.

If there are precedents that attest to the contrary, I submit that a reexamination is in order.

Separate Opinions

SARMIENTO, J., concurring:

I concur with the ponencia of my esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Cruz, but I dissent
insofar as he would deny bail to accused military personnel.
Republic of the Philippines Upon arraignment, however, the parties, with the acquiescence of the Public Prosecutor
SUPREME COURT and the consent of the offended party, entered into plea bargaining where it was agreed
Manila that the accused would plead guilty to the lesser offense of Attempted Homicide instead
of homicide as originally charged in the information, and would incur the penalty of "four
FIRST DIVISION (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision correccional as minimum to six (6)
year ofprision correccional maximum as maximum." 2 Consequently, in his decision
promulgated on the 27th of June 1990, respondent judge found the accused, Rodrigo
Umpad, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the lesser crime of Attempted Homicide and
sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of four years, two months and one day of prision
A.M. No. RTJ-93-956 September 27, 1995 correccional maximum, as minimum to six years of prision correccional maximum, as
the maximum period, exactly in accordance with the plea bargaining agreement. 3
PANFILO S. AMATAN, complainant,
vs. On October 16, 1992, a letter-complaint addressed to the Chief Justice and signed by
JUDGE VICENTE AUJERIO, respondent. Pedro S. Amatan, a brother-in-law of the deceased, accused Judge Vicente Aujero of
gross incompetence, gross ignorance of the law and gross misconduct, relative to his
RESOLUTION disposition of Crim. Case No. H-223 entitled People v. Rodrigo Umpad alias "Meon." In
said letter-complaint, complainant contends that the sentence of respondent judge finding
the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the lesser offense of Attempted Homicide
and not Homicide as charged is proof indicative, "on its face, of gross incompetence,
gross ignorance of the law or gross misconduct.
KAPUNAN, J.:
Responding to the complaint, respondent Judge asserts that he relied on Sec. 2, Rule 116
A criminal complaint accusing Rodrigo Umpad, alias "Meon" of the crime of murder of the 1985 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, which allows an accused
under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code was filed by the Philippine National Police individual — with the consent of the offended party — to plead guilty to a lesser offense,
Station Commander in Bato, Leyte for the fatal shooting of Genaro Tagsip in the regardless of whether or not such offense is necessarily included in the crime charged, or
afternoon of September 14, 1987. 1 After preliminary investigation by the office of the is cognizable by a court of lesser jurisdiction. He explains that during the May 3, 1990
provincial fiscal, an information charged Umpad with the crime of Homicide as follows: hearing, accused and his counsel, with the acquiescence and in the presence of the
prosecutor, informed the Court of the defendant's desire to plea bargain pursuant to the
The undersigned Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Leyte accused Rodrigo aforestated rule. Moreover, he avers that in a conference on June 27, 1990, the wife of the
Umpad alias "Meon" of the crime of Homicide committed as follows: victim herself agreed to the accused's plea of guilty to attempted homicide, instead of
homicide as she needed the monetary indemnity to raise her two orphaned children. In a
That on or about the 14th day of September 1987, Memorandum dated February 5, 1993, the Deputy Court Administrator recommended
in the Island of Dawahon, Municipality of Bato, that the complaint be dismissed, explaining that:
Province of Leyte, Philippines and within the
preliminary jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, Section 2 116 is more liberalized as it allows the accused to plead
the above-named accused, with deliberate intent, guilty to a lesser offense whether or not it is included in the offense
with intent to kill did then and there willfully, charged in the complaint or information, with the consent of the
unlawfully and feloniously shot one GENARO offended party and the fiscal. In this regard, it is inferred that the fiscal
TAGSIP, with a revolver .38 Cal. Snub Nose Smith consented to abbreviate the proceedings and in order not to run the
and Wesson (Paltik) which the accused had risk of the accused being acquitted, because there was no conclusive
provided himself for the purpose, thereby causing evidence to obtain the conviction of the accused to the offense charged
and inflicting upon the victim fatal gunshot wound in the complaint of information.
on his head which was the direct and immediate
cause of the death of Genaro Tagsip. It may be stated in this connection that unlike in the crime of murder
where the accused may plead to the lesser offense of homicide, in
CONTRARY TO LAW. homicide a misinterpretation may arise, as in this case, when the
accused pleads guilty to attempted homicide, because here the fact of
Hilongos, Leyte, October 20, 1987. the death of the victim, which is the principal element of the crime is
obliterated. This is specially so because the decision/sentence does not possible misinterpretation. This observation is bolstered by the fact that the same
contain findings of fact and conclusions of law but merely an account provision prompted the Department of Justice, on July 31, 1990, or three months after
that the accused pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and the penalty respondent judge took cognizance of the case on April 17, 1990, to issue Circular No.
imposed. 4 35, 8 later amended by Circular No. 55 dated December 11, 1990, clarifying and setting
limitations on the application of Sec. 2, Rule 116. The fact also that respondent reached
Section 2, Rule, 116 of the 1985 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, compulsory retirement age on April 5, 1995 after a long period of service in the judiciary
allows the accused in criminal case to plead guilty "to lesser offense regardless of entitles him to a certain measure of leniency. Nonetheless, the case at bench stands
whether or not it is necessarily included in the crime charged." The fact of death of the unique because of the potently absurd result of respondent's application of the law.
victim for which the accused Rodrigo Umpad was criminally liable, cannot by simple
logic and plain common sense be reconciled with the plea of guilty to the lower offense ACCORDINGLY, we are constrained to find the respondent judge GUILTY of gross
of attempted homicide. The crime of homicide as defined in Article 249 of the Revised ignorance of the law for which he is hereby REPRIMANDED na FINED ONE
Penal Code necessarily produces death; attempted homicide does not. Concededly, hiatus THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS. Let this decision appear in respondent's record of
in the law exists in the case before us, which could either lead to a misapprehension of service.
Section 2 of Rule 116 or to outright confusion. Such a result was itself recognized by the
Deputy Court Administrator when he recommended an amendment to the provision in his SO ORDERED.
Memorandum.
Padilla, Davide, Jr. and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.
However, the law is not entirely bereft of solutions in such cases. In instances where a
literal application of a provision of law would lead to injustice or to a result so directly in
Hermosisima, Jr., J., is on leave.
opposition with the dictates of logic and everyday common sense as to be
unconscionable, the Civil Code 5 admonishes judges to take principles of right and justice
at heart. In case of doubt the intent is to promote right and justice. Fiat justice ruat Footnotes
coelum. Stated differently, when a provision of law is silent or ambiguous, judges ought
to invoke a solution responsive to the vehement urge of conscience.

These are fundamental tenets of law. In the case at bench, the fact of the victim's death, a
clear negation of frustrated or attempted homicide, ought to have alerted the judge not
only to a possibly inconsistent result but to an injustice. The failure to recognize such
principles so cardinal to our body of laws amounts to ignorance of the law and reflects
respondent judge's lack of prudence, if not competence, in the performance of his duties.
While it is true, as respondent judge contends, that he merely applied the rule to the letter,
the palpably incongruous result ought to have been a "red flag" alerting him of the
possibility of injustice. The death of an identified individual, the gravamen of the charge
against the defendant in the criminal case, cannot and should not be ignored in favor of a
more expedient plea of either attempted or frustrated homicide. We have held before that
if the law is so elementary, not to know it or to act as if one does not know it, constitutes
gross ignorance of the law.6

Finally, every judge must be the embodiment of competence, integrity and


independence. 7 A judge should not only be aware of the bare outlines of the law but also
its nuances and ramifications, otherwise, he would not be able to come up with decisions
which are intrinsically fair. In failing to exercise even ordinary common sense, a judge
could be held administratively liable for a verdict that could in no way be legally or
factually sustained or justified.

We note, however, that under the circumstances of the case, respondent judge's erroneous
exercise of his judicial prerogative was neither tainted with malice nor bad faith. The
phraseology of Sec. 2, Rule 116 is not crafted with such precision as to entirely eliminate
FIRST DIVISION which was the name of the messenger of his lawyer who should have brought the
[G.R. No. 112170. April 10, 1996] letter to that office in the first place instead of petitioner. He did so while merely
serving the request of his lawyer to obtain a copy of the complaint in which
CESARIO URSUA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND PEOPLE OF petitioner was a respondent. There is no question then that “Oscar Perez” is not an
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. alias name of petitioner. There is no evidence showing that he had used or was
intending to use that name as his second name in addition to his real name. The use
SYLLABUS of the name “Oscar Perez” was made by petitioner in an isolated transaction where
1. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; STATUTES; CONSTRUED WITH he was not even legally required to expose his real identity. For, even if he had
REFERENCE TO THE INTENDED SCOPE AND PURPOSE. - Time and identified himself properly at the Office of the Ombudsman, petitioner would still
again we have decreed that statutes are to be construed in the light of the purposes be able to get a copy of the complaint as a matter of right, and the Office of the
to be achieved and the evils sought to be remedied. Thus in construing a statute the Ombudsman could not refuse him because the complaint was part of public records
reason for its enactment should be kept in mind and the statute should be construed hence open to inspection and examination by anyone under the proper
with reference to the intended scope and purpose. The court may consider the spirit circumstances. While the act of petitioner may be covered by other provisions of
and reason of the statute, where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity, law, such does not constitute an offense within the concept of C.A. No. 142 as
contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of the lawmakers. amended under which he is prosecuted. The confusion and fraud in business
2. ID.; COMMONWEALTH ACT 142, AS AMENDED (AN ACT TO transactions which the anti-alias law and its related statutes seek to prevent are not
REGULATE THE USE OF ALIASES); PURPOSE IS TO REGULATE THE present here as the circumstances are peculiar and distinct from those contemplated
USE OF ALIASES IN BUSINESS TRANSACTION. - The objective and by the legislature in enacting C.A. No. 142 as amended. There exists a valid
purpose of C.A. No. 142 have their origin and basis in Act No. 3883, An Act to presumption that undesirable consequences were never intended by a legislative
Regulate the Use in Business Transactions of Names other than True Names, measure and that a construction of which the statute is fairly susceptible is favored,
Prescribing the Duties of the Director of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry in which will avoid all objectionable, mischievous, indefensible, wrongful, evil and
its Enforcement, Providing Penalties for Violations thereof, and for other purposes, injurious consequences. Indeed, our mind cannot rest easy on the proposition that
which was approved on 14 November 1931 and amended by Act No. 4147, petitioner should be convicted on a law that does not clearly penalize the act done
approved on 28 November 1934. The enactment of C.A. No. 142 as amended was by him.
made primarily to curb the common practice among the Chinese of adopting scores Wherefore, the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the
of different names and aliases which created tremendous confusion in the field of Regional Trial Court of Davao City is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and petitioner
trade. Such a practice almost bordered on the crime of using fictitious names which CESARIO URSUA is ACQUITTED of the crime charged.
for obvious reasons could not be successfully maintained against the Chinese who, 6. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; A PENAL STATUTE LIKE
rightly or wrongly, claimed they possessed a thousand and one names. C.A. No. COMMONWEALTH ACT 142, AS AMENDED, CONSTRUED STRICTLY
142 thus penalized the act of using an alias name, unless such alias was duly AGAINST THE STATE AND IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED. - As C.A. No.
authorized by proper judicial proceedings and recorded in the civil register. 142 is a penal statute, it should be construed strictly against the State and in favor
3. CRIMINAL LAW; COMMONWEALTH ACT 142, AS AMENDED (AN ACT of the accused. The reason for this principle is the tenderness of the law for the
TO REGULATE THE USE OF ALIASES); ALIAS, DEFINED. - An alias is a rights of individuals and the object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to
name or names used by a person or intended to be used by him publicly and which mankind would be safe, and the discretion of the court limited.
habitually usually in business transactions in addition to his real name by which he
is registered at birth or baptized the first time or substitute name authorized by a APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL
competent authority. A man’s name is simply the sound or sounds by which he is Ceferino Padua Law Office for petitioner.
commonly designated by his fellows and by which they distinguish him but The Solicitor General for respondents.
sometimes a man is known by several different names and thse are known as DECISION
aliases. BELLOSILLO, J.:
4. ID.; ID.; USE OF FICTITIOUS NAME IN A SINGLE TRANSACTION This is a petition for a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals which
WITHOUT INTENDING TO BE KNOWN BY THIS NAME IN ADDITION affirmed the conviction of petitioner by the Regional Trial Court of Davao City for
TO HIS REAL NAME, NOT A VIOLATION THEREOF. - The use of a violation of Sec. 1 of C.A. No. 142, as amended by R.A. No. 6085, otherwise known
fictitious name or a different name belonging to another person in a single instance as “An Act to Regulate the Use of Alliases.”[1]
without any sign or indication that the user intends to be known by this name in Petitioner Cesario Ursua was a Community Environment and Natural Resources
addition to his real name from that day forth does not fall within the prohibition Officer assigned in Kidapawan, Cotabato. On 9 May 1989 the Provincial Governor of
contained in C.A. No. 142 as amended. Cotabato requested the Office of the Ombudsman in Manila to conduct an investigation
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. - This is so in the case at bench. It is not disputed that on a complaint for bribery, dishonesty, abuse of authority and giving of unwarranted
petitioner introduced himself in the Office of the Ombudsman as “Oscar Perez,” benefits by petitioner and other officials of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources. The complaint was initiated by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cotabato a conviction under C.A. No. 142 as amended by R. A. No. 6085 has not been complied
through a resolution advising the Governor to report the involvement of petitioner and with when the prosecution failed to prove that his supposed alias was different from his
others in the illegal cutting of mahogany trees and hauling of illegally-cut logs in the registered name in the Registry of Births. He further argues that the Court of Appeals
area.[2] erred in not considering the defense theory that he was charged under the wrong law. [5]
On 1 August 1989 Atty. Francis Palmones, counsel for petitioner, wrote the Office Time and again we have decreed that statutes are to be construed in the light of the
of the Ombudsman in Davao City requesting that he be furnished copy of the complaint purposes to be achieved and the evils sought to be remedied. Thus in construing a statute
against petitioner. Atty. Palmones then asked his client Ursua to take his letter-request to the reason for its enactment should be kept in mind and the statute should be construed
the Office of the Ombudsman because his law firm’s messenger, Oscar Perez, had to with reference to the intended scope and purpose.[6] The court may consider the spirit and
attend to some personal matters. Before proceeding to the Office of the Ombudsman reason of the statute, where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction,
petitioner talked to Oscar Perez and told him that he was reluctant to personally ask for injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of the lawmakers. [7]
the document since he was one of the respondents before the Ombudsman. However, For a clear understanding of the purpose of C.A. No. 142 as amended, which was
Perez advised him not to worry as he could just sign his (Perez) name if ever he would be allegedly violated by petitioner, and the surrounding circumstances under which the law
required to acknowledge receipt of the complaint.[3] was enacted, the pertinent provisions thereof, its amendments and related statutes are
When petitioner arrived at the Office of the Ombudsman in Davao City he was herein cited. C.A. No. 142, which was approved on 7 November 1936, and before its
instructed by the security officer to register in the visitors’ logbook. Instead of writing amendment by R. A. No. 6085, is entitled An Act to Regulate the Use of Aliases. It
down his name petitioner wrote the name “Oscar Perez” after which he was told to provides as follows:
proceed to the Administrative Division for the copy of the complaint he needed. He Section 1. Except as a pseudonym for literary purposes, no person shall use any name
handed the letter of Atty. Palmones to the Chief of the Administrative Division, Ms. different from the one with which he was christened or by which he has been known
Loida Kahulugan, who then gave him a copy of the complaint, receipt of which he since his childhood, or such substitute name as may have been authorized by a competent
acknowledged by writing the name “Oscar Perez.”[4] court. The name shall comprise the patronymic name and one or two surnames.
Before petitioner could leave the premises he was greeted by an acquaintance, Section 2. Any person desiring to use an alias or aliases shall apply for authority therefor
Josefa Amparo, who also worked in the same office. They conversed for a while then he in proceedings like those legally provided to obtain judicial authority for a change of
left. When Loida learned that the person who introduced himself as “Oscar Perez” was name. Separate proceedings shall be had for each alias, and each new petition shall set
actually petitioner Cesario Ursua, a customer of Josefa Amparo in her gasoline station, forth the original name and the alias or aliases for the use of which judicial authority has
Loida reported the matter to the Deputy Ombudsman who recommended that petitioner been obtained, specifying the proceedings and the date on which such authority was
be accordingly charged. granted. Judicial authorities for the use of aliases shall be recorded in the proper civil
On 18 December 1990, after the prosecution had completed the presentation of its register x x x.
evidence, petitioner without leave of court filed a demurrer to evidence alleging that the The above law was subsequently amended by R. A. No. 6085, approved on 4
failure of the prosecution to prove that his supposed alias was different from his August 1969. As amended, C.A. No. 142 now reads:
registered name in the local civil registry was fatal to its cause. Petitioner argued that no Section 1. Except as a pseudonym solely for literary, cinema, television, radio or other
document from the local civil registry was presented to show the registered name of entertainment purposes and in athletic events where the use of pseudonym is a normally
accused which according to him was a condition sine qua non for the validity of his accepted practice, no person shall use any name different from the one with which he was
conviction. registered at birth in the office of the local civil registry or with which he was baptized
The trial court rejected his contentions and found him guilty of violating Sec. 1 of for the first time, or in case of an alien, with which he was registered in the bureau of
C.A. No. 142 as amended by R. A. No. 6085. He was sentenced to suffer a prison term immigration upon entry; or such substitute name as may have been authorized by a
of one (1) year and one (1) day of prision correccional minimum as minimum, to four (4) competent court: Provided, That persons whose births have not been registered in any
years of prision correccional medium as maximum, with all the accessory penalties local civil registry and who have not been baptized, have one year from the approval of
provided for by law, and to pay a fine of P4,000.00 plus costs. this act within which to register their names in the civil registry of their residence. The
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. name shall comprise the patronymic name and one or two surnames.
On 31 May 1993 the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of petitioner but Sec. 2. Any person desiring to use an alias shall apply for authority therefor in
modified the penalty by imposing an indeterminate term of one (1) year as minimum to proceedings like those legally provided to obtain judicial authority for a change of name
three (3) years as maximum and a fine of P5,000.00. and no person shall be allowed to secure such judicial authority for more than
Petitioner now comes to us for review of his conviction as. he reasserts his one alias. The petition for an alias shall set forth the person’s baptismal and family name
innocence. He contends that he has not violated C.A. No. 142 as amended by R. A. No. and the name recorded in the civil registry, if different, his immigrant’s name, if an alien,
6085 as he never used any alias name; neither is “Oscar Perez” and his pseudonym, if he has such names other than his original or real name, specifying
his alias. An alias, according to him, is a term which connotes the habitual use of another the reason or reasons for the desired alias. The judicial authority for the use of alias, the
name by which a person is also known. He claims that he has never been known as christian name and the alien immigrant’s name shall be recorded in the proper local civil
“Oscar Perez” and that he only used such name on one occasion and it was with the registry, and no person shall use any name or names other than his original or real name
express consent of Oscar Perez himself. It is his position that an essential requirement for unless the same is or are duly recorded in the proper local civil registry.
The objective and purpose of C. A. No. 142 have their origin and basis in Act No. Commonwealth Act No. 142 and the Rules of Court, to warrant the grant of his petition
3883, An Act to Regulate the Use in Business Transactions of Names other than True for the use of an alias name.
Names, Prescribing the Duties of the Director of the Bureau of Commerce And Industry Clearly therefore an alias is a name or names used by a person or intended to be
in its Enforcement, Providing Penalties for Violations thereof, and for other purposes, used by him publicly and habitually usually in business transactions in addition to his real
which was approved on 14 November 1931 and amended by Act No. 4147, approved on name by which he is registered at birth or baptized the first time or substitute name
28 November 1934.[8] The pertinent provisions of Act No. 3883 as amended follow - authorized by a competent authority. A man’s name is simply the sound or sounds by
Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person to use or sign, on any written or printed which he is commonly designated by his fellows and by which they distinguish him but
receipt including receipt for tax or business or any written or printed contract not verified sometimes a man is known by several different names and these are known
by a notary public or on any written or printed evidence of any agreement or business as aliases.[11] Hence, the use of a fictitious name or a different name belonging to another
transactions, any name used in connection with his business other than his true name, or person in a single instance without any sign or indication that the user intends to be
keep conspicuously exhibited in plain view in or at the place where his business is known by this name in addition to his real name from that day forth does not fall within
conducted, if he is engaged in a business, any sign announcing a firm name or business the prohibition contained in C.A. No. 142 as amended. This is so in the case at bench.
name or style without first registering such other name, or such firm name, or business It is not disputed that petitioner introduced himself in the Office of the Ombudsman
name or style in the Bureau of Commerce together with his true name and that of any as “Oscar Perez,” which was the name of the messenger of his lawyer who should have
other person having a joint or common interest with him in such contract agreement, brought the letter to that office in the first place instead of petitioner. He did so while
business transaction, or business x x x. merely serving the request of his lawyer to obtain a copy of the complaint in which
For a bit of history, the enactment of C.A. No. 142 as amended was made primarily petitioner was a respondent. There is no question then that “Oscar Perez” is not
to curb the common practice among the Chinese of adopting scores of different names an alias name of petitioner. There is no evidence showing that he had used or was
andaliases which created tremendous confusion in the field of trade. Such a practice intending to use that name as his second name in addition to his real name. The use of
almost bordered on the crime of using fictitious names which for obvious reasons could the name “Oscar Perez” was made by petitioner in an isolated transaction where he was
not be successfully maintained against the Chinese who, rightly or wrongly, claimed they not even legally required to expose his real identity. For, even if he had identified
possessed a thousand and one names. CA. No. 142 thus penalized the act of using an himself properly at the Office of the Ombudsman, petitioner would still be able to get a
alias name, unless such alias was duly authorized by proper judicial proceedings and copy of the complaint as a matter of right, and the Office of the Ombudsman could not
recorded in the civil register.[9] refuse him because the complaint was part of public records hence open to inspection and
In Yu Kheng Chiau v. Republic[10] the Court had occasion to explain the meaning, examination by anyone under the proper circumstances.
concept and ill effects of the use of an alias within the purview of C.A. No. 142 when we While the act of petitioner may be covered by other provisions of law, such does
ruled – not constitute an offense within the concept of C.A. No. 142 as amended under which he
There can hardly be any doubt that petitioner’s use of alias ‘Kheng Chiau Young’ in is prosecuted. The confusion and fraud in business transactions which the anti-alias
addition to his real name ‘Yu Cheng Chiau’ would add to more confusion. That he is law and its related statutes seek to prevent are not present here as the circumstances are
known in his business, as manager of the Robert Reid, Inc., by the former name, is not peculiar and distinct from those contemplated by the legislature in enacting C.A. No. 142
sufficient reason to allow him its use. After all, petitioner admitted that he is known to as amended. There exists a valid presumption that undesirable consequences were never
his associates by both names. In fact, the Anselmo Trinidad, Inc., of which he is a intended by a legislative measure and that a construction of which the statute is fairly
customer, knows him by his real name. Neither would the fact that he had encountered susceptible is favored, which will avoid all objectionable, mischievous, indefensible,
certain difficulties in his transactions with government offices which required him to wrongful, evil and injurious consequences.[12] Moreover, as C.A. No. 142 is a penal
explain why he bore two names, justify the grant of his petition, for petitioner could statute, it should be construed strictly against the State and in favor of the accused.[13] The
easily avoid said difficulties by simply using and sticking only to his real name ‘Yu reason for this principle is the tenderness of the law for the rights of individuals and the
Cheng Chiau.’ object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to which mankind would be safe, and
The fact that petitioner intends to reside permanently in the Philippines, as shown by his the discretion of the court limited.[14]Indeed, our mind cannot rest easy on the proposition
having filed a petition for naturalization in Branch V of the abovementioned court, argues that petitioner should be convicted on a law that does not clearly penalize the act done by
the more against the grant of his petition, because if naturalized as a Filipino citizen, him.
there would then be no necessity for his further using said alias, as it would be contrary WHEREFORE, the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of
to the usual Filipino way and practice of using only one name in ordinary as well as the Regional Trial Court of Davao City is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and petitioner
business transactions. And, as the lower court correctly observed, if he believes (after he CESARIO URSUA is ACQUITTED of the crime charged.
is naturalized) that it would be better for him to write his name following the Occidental SO ORDERED.
method, ‘he can easily file a petition for change of name, so that in lieu of the name ‘Yu Padilla (Chairman), Vitug, Kapunan, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Kheng Chian,’ he can, abandoning the same, ask for authority to adopt the name ‘Kheng
Chiau Young.’
All things considered, we are of the opinion and so hold, that petitioner has not
shown satisfactory proper and reasonable grounds under the aforequoted provisions of
EN BANC On February 4, 1989, Greg Bartelli y Northcott, an American tourist, coaxed and
[G.R. No. 94723. August 21, 1997] lured petitioner Karen Salvacion, then 12 years old to go with him to his
apartment. Therein, Greg Bartelli detained Karen Salvacion for four days, or up to
KAREN E. SALVACION, minor, thru Federico N. Salvacion, Jr., father and February 7, 1989 and was able to rape the child once on February 4, and three times each
Natural Guardian, and Spouses FEDERICO N. SALVACION, JR., and day on February 5, 6, and 7, 1989. On February 7, 1989, after policemen and people
EVELINA E. SALVACION, petitioners, vs. CENTRAL BANK OF THE living nearby, rescued Karen, Greg Bartelli was arrested and detained at the Makati
PHILIPPINES, CHINA BANKING CORPORATION and GREG Municipal Jail. The policemen recovered from Bartelli the following items: 1.) Dollar
BARTELLI y NORTHCOTT, respondents. Check No. 368, Control No. 021000678-1166111303, US 3,903.20; 2.) COCOBANK
DECISION Bank Book No. 104-108758-8 (Peso Acct.); 3.) Dollar Account – China Banking Corp.,
TORRES, JR., J.: US $/A#54105028-2; 4.) ID-122-30-8877; 5.) Philippine Money (P234.00)
In our predisposition to discover the “original intent” of a statute, courts become the cash; 6.) Door Keys 6 pieces; 7.) Stuffed Doll (Teddy Bear) used in seducing the
unfeeling pillars of the status quo. Little do we realize that statutes or even constitutions complainant.
are bundles of compromises thrown our way by their framers. Unless we exercise
vigilance, the statute may already be out of tune and irrelevant to our day. On February 16, 1989, Makati Investigating Fiscal Edwin G. Condaya filed against
Greg Bartelli, Criminal Case No. 801 for Serious Illegal Detention and Criminal Cases
The petition is for declaratory relief. It prays for the following reliefs: Nos. 802, 803, 804, and 805 for four (4) counts of Rape. On the same day, petitioners
filed with the Regional Trial Court of Makati Civil Case No. 89-3214 for damages with
a.) Immediately upon the filing of this petition, an Order be issued restraining preliminary attachment against Greg Bartelli. On February 24, 1989, the day there was a
the respondents from applying and enforcing Section 113 of Central Bank scheduled hearing for Bartelli’s petition for bail the latter escaped from jail.
Circular No. 960;
On February 28, 1989, the court granted the fiscal’s Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for the
b.) After hearing, judgment be rendered: Issuance of Warrant of Arrest and Hold Departure Order. Pending the arrest of the
1.) Declaring the respective rights and duties of petitioners and accused Greg Bartelli y Northcott, the criminal cases were archived in an Order dated
respondents; February 28, 1989.

2.) Adjudging Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 as Meanwhile, in Civil Case No. 89-3214, the Judge issued an Order dated February
contrary to the provision of the Constitution, hence void; because 22, 1989 granting the application of herein petitioners, for the issuance of the writ of
its provision that “Foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from preliminary attachment. After petitioners gave Bond No. JCL (4) 1981 by FGU
attachment, garnishment, or any other order to process of any Insurance Corporation in the amount P100,000.00, a Writ of Preliminary Attachment was
court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative issued by the trial court on February 28, 1989.
body whatsoever” On March 1, 1989, the Deputy Sheriff of Makati served a Notice of Garnishment on
i.) has taken away the right of petitioners to have the bank China Banking Corporation. In a letter dated March 13, 1989 to the Deputy Sheriff of
deposit of defendant Greg Bartelli y Northcott garnished to Makati, China Banking Corporation invoked Republic Act No. 1405 as its answer to the
satisfy the judgment rendered in petitioners’ favor in notice of garnishment served on it. On March 15, 1989, Deputy Sheriff of Makati
violation of substantive due process guaranteed by the Armando de Guzman sent his reply to China Banking Corporation saying that the
Constitution; garnishment did not violate the secrecy of bank deposits since the disclosure is merely
incidental to a garnishment properly and legally made by virtue of a court order which
ii.) has given foreign currency depositors an undue favor or a has placed the subject deposits in custodia legis. In answer to this letter of the Deputy
class privilege in violation of the equal protection clause of Sheriff of Makati, China Banking Corporation, in a letter dated March 20, 1989, invoked
the Constitution; Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 to the effect that the dollar deposits of
defendant Greg Bartelli are exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or
iii.) has provided a safe haven for criminals like the herein process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body,
respondent Greg Bartelli y Northcott since criminals could whatsoever.
escape civil liability for their wrongful acts by merely
converting their money to a foreign currency and depositing This prompted the counsel for petitioners to make an inquiry with the Central Bank
it in a foreign currency deposit account with an authorized in a letter dated April 25, 1989 on whether Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960 has any
bank. exception or whether said section has been repealed or amended since said section has
rendered nugatory the substantive right of the plaintiff to have the claim sought to be
The antecedents facts: enforced by the civil action secured by way of the writ of preliminary attachment as
granted to the plaintiff under Rule 57 of the Revised Rules of Court. The Central Bank “4. To pay attorney’s fees in an amount equivalent to 25% of the total amount
responded as follows: of damages herein awarded;
“5. To pay litigation expenses of P10,000.00; plus
“May 26, 1989
“6. Costs of the suit.
“Ms. Erlinda S. Carolino “SO ORDERED.”
12 Pres. Osmeña Avenue
South Admiral Village The heinous acts of respondents Greg Bartelli which gave rise to the award were
Paranaque, Metro Manila related in graphic detail by the trial court in its decision as follows:
“Dear Ms. Carolino: “The defendant in this case was originally detained in the municipal jail of
Makati but was able to escape therefrom on February 24, 1989 as per report of
“This is in reply to your letter dated April 25, 1989 regarding your inquiry on the Jail Warden of Makati to the Presiding Judge, Honorable Manuel M.
Section 113, CB Circular No. 960 (1983). Cosico of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 136, where he was
charged with four counts of Rape and Serious Illegal Detention (Crim. Cases
“The cited provision is absolute in application. It does not admit of any Nos. 802 to 805). Accordingly, upon motion of plaintiffs, through counsel,
exception, nor has the same been repealed nor amended. summons was served upon defendant by publication in the Manila Times, a
“The purpose of the law is to encourage dollar accounts within the country’s newspaper of general circulation as attested by the Advertising Manager of the
banking system which would help in the development of the economy. There Metro Media Times, Inc., the publisher of the said newspaper. Defendant,
is no intention to render futile the basic rights of a person as was suggested in however, failed to file his answer to the complaint despite the lapse of the
your subject letter. The law may be harsh as some perceive it, but it is still the period of sixty (60) days from the last publication; hence, upon motion of the
law. Compliance is, therefore, enjoined. plaintiffs through counsel, defendant was declared in default and plaintiffs
were authorized to present their evidence ex parte.
“Very truly
yours, “In support of the complaint, plaintiffs presented as witness the minor Karen
(SGD) E. Salvacion, her father, Federico N. Salacion, Jr., a certain Joseph Aguilar and
AGAPITO S. FAJARDO a certain Liberato Mandulio, who gave the following testimony:
D “Karen took her first year high school in St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay City but has
irector”[1] recently transferred to Arellano University for her second year.
Meanwhile, on April 10, 1989, the trial court granted petitioners’ motion for leave
to serve summons by publication in the Civil Case No. 89-3214 entitled “Karen
Salvacion. et al. vs. Greg Bartelli y Northcott.” Summons with the complaint was “In the afternoon of February 4, 1989, Karen was at the Plaza Fair Makati Cinema
published in the Manila Times once a week for three consecutive weeks. Greg Bartelli Square, with her friend Edna Tangile whiling away her free time. At about 3:30 p.m.
failed to file his answer to the complaint and was declared in default on August 7, while she was finishing her snack on a concrete bench in front of Plaza Fair, an American
1989. After hearing the case ex-parte, the court rendered judgment in favor of petitioners approached her. She was then alone because Edna Tangile had already left, and she was
on March 29, 1990, the dispositive portion of which reads: about to go home. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 2 to 5)

“WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs and against “The American asked her name and introduced himself as Greg Bartelli. He sat beside
defendant, ordering the latter: her when he talked to her. He said he was a Math teacher and told her that he has a sister
“1. To pay plaintiff Karen E. Salvacion the amount of P500,000.00 as moral who is a nurse in New York. His sister allegedly has a daughter who is about Karen’s age
damages; and who was with him in his house along Kalayaan Avenue. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 4-
5).
“2. To pay her parents, plaintiffs spouses Federico N. Salvacion, Jr., and
Evelina E. Salvacion the amount of P150,000.00 each or a total “The American asked Karen what was her favorite subject and she told him it’s
of P300,000.00 for both of them; Pilipino. He then invited her to go with him to his house where she could teach Pilipino
“3. To pay plaintiffs exemplary damages of P100,000.00; and to his niece. He even gave her a stuffed toy to persuade her to teach his niece. (Id., pp.5-
6)
“They walked from Plaza Fair along Pasong Tamo, turning right to reach the defendant’s “Karen did not see any firearm or any bladed weapon. The defendant did not tie her
house along Kalayaan Avenue. (Id., p.6) hands and feet nor put a tape on her mouth anymore but she did not cry for help for fear
that she might be killed; besides, all those windows and doors were closed. And even if
“When they reached the apartment house, Karen notices that defendant’s alleged niece she shouted for help, nobody would hear her. She was so afraid that if somebody would
was not outside the house but defendant told her maybe his niece was inside. When hear her and would be able to call a police, it was still possible that as she was still inside
Karen did not see the alleged niece inside the house, defendant told her maybe his niece the house, defendant might kill her. Besides, the defendant did not leave that Sunday,
was upstairs, and invited Karen to go upstairs. (Id., p. 7) ruling out her chance to call for help. At nighttime he slept with her again. (TSN, Aug.
15, 1989, pp. 12-14)
“Upon entering the bedroom defendant suddenly locked the door. Karen became nervous
because his niece was not there. Defendant got a piece of cotton cord and tied Karen’s “On February 6, 1989, Monday, Karen was raped three times, once in the morning for
hands with it, and then he undressed her. Karen cried for help but defendant strangled thirty minutes after breakfast of biscuits; again in the afternoon; and again in the
her. He took a packing tape and he covered her mouth with it and he circled it around her evening. At first, Karen did not know that there was a window because everything was
head. (Id., p. 7) covered by a carpet, until defendant opened the window for around fifteen minutes or less
to let some air in, and she found that the window was covered by styrofoam and
plywood. After that, he again closed the window with a hammer and he put the
“Then, defendant suddenly pushed Karen towards the bed which was just near the styrofoam, plywood, and carpet back. (Id., pp. 14-15)
door. He tied her feet and hands spread apart to the bed posts. He knelt in front of her
and inserted his finger in her sex organ. She felt severe pain. She tried to shout but no
sound could come out because there were tapes on her mouth. When defendant withdrew “That Monday evening, Karen had a chance to call for help, although defendant left but
his finger it was full of blood and Karen felt more pain after the withdrawal of the finger. kept the door closed. She went to the bathroom and saw a small window covered by
(Id., p.8) styrofoam and she also spotted a small hole. She stepped on the bowl and she cried for
help through the hole. She cried: ‘Maawa na po kayo sa akin. Tulungan n’yo akong
makalabas dito. Kinidnap ako!’ Somebody heard her. It was a woman, probably a
“He then got a Johnsons Baby Oil and he applied it to his sex organ as well as to her sex
neighbor, but she got angry and said she was ‘istorbo.’ Karen pleaded for help and the
organ. After that he forced his sex organ into her but he was not able to do so. While he
woman told her to sleep and she will call the police. She finally fell asleep but no
was doing it, Karen found it difficult to breathe and she perspired a lot while feeling policeman came. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 15-16)
severe pain. She merely presumed that he was able to insert his sex organ a little,
because she could not see. Karen could not recall how long the defendant was in that
position. (Id., pp. 8-9) “She woke up at 6:00 o’clock the following morning, and she saw defendant in bed, this
time sleeping. She waited for him to wake up. When he woke up, he again got some
food but he always kept the door locked. As usual, she was merely fed with biscuit and
“After that, he stood up and went to the bathroom to wash. He also told Karen to take a
coke. On that day, February 7, 1989, she was again raped three times. The first at about
shower and he untied her hands. Karen could only hear the sound of the water while the
6:30 to 7:00 a.m., the second at about 8:30 – 9:00, and the third was after lunch at 12:00
defendant, she presumed, was in the bathroom washing his sex organ. When she took a
noon. After he had raped her for the second time he left but only for a short while. Upon
shower more blood came out from her. In the meantime, defendant changed the mattress
his return, he caught her shouting for help but he did not understand what she was
because it was full of blood. After the shower, Karen was allowed by defendant to
shouting about. After she was raped the third time, he left the house. (TSN, Aug. 15,
sleep. She fell asleep because she got tired crying. The incident happened at about 4:00
1989, pp. 16-17) She again went to the bathroom and shouted for help. After shouting
p.m. Karen had no way of determining the exact time because defendant removed her
for about five minutes, she heard many voices. The voices were asking for her name and
watch. Defendant did not care to give her food before she went to sleep. Karen woke up
she gave her name as Karen Salvacion. After a while, she heard a voice of a woman
at about 8:00 o’clock the following morning. (Id., pp. 9-10)
saying they will just call the police. They were also telling her to change her
clothes. She went from the bathroom to the room but she did not change her clothes
“The following day, February 5, 1989, a Sunday, after breakfast of biscuit and coke at being afraid that should the neighbors call the police and the defendant see her in
about 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. defendant raped Karen while she was still bleeding. For lunch, different clothes, he might kill her. At that time she was wearing a T-shirt of the
they also took biscuit and coke. She was raped for the second time at about 12:00 to 2:00 American bacause the latter washed her dress. (Id., p. 16)
p.m. In the evening, they had rice for dinner which defendant had stored downstairs; it
was he who cooked the rice that is why it looks like “lugaw”. For the third time, Karen
“Afterwards, defendant arrived and opened the door. He asked her if she had asked for
was raped again during the night. During those three times defendant succeeded in
help because there were many policemen outside and she denied it. He told her to change
inserting his sex organ but she could not say whether the organ was inserted wholly.
her clothes, and she did change to the one she was wearing on Saturday. He instructed
her to tell the police that she left home and willingly; then he went downstairs but he
locked the door. She could hear people conversing but she could not understand what Bartelli’s dollar deposit with China Banking Corporation. Likewise, the bank invoked
they were saying. (Id., p. 19) Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960.
Thus, petitioners decided to seek relief from this Court.
“When she heard the voices of many people who were conversing downstairs, she
knocked repeatedly at the door as hard as she could. She heard somebody going upstairs The issues raised and the arguments articulated by the parties boil down to two:
and when the door was opened, she saw a policeman. The policeman asked her name and
the reason why she was there. She told him she was kidnapped. Downstairs, he saw May this Court entertain the instant petition despite the fact that original jurisdiction
about five policemen in uniform and the defendant was talking to them. ‘Nakikipag- in petitions for declaratory relief rests with the lower court? She Section 113 of Central
areglo po sa mga pulis,’ Karen added. “The policeman told him to just explain at the Bank Circular No. 960 and Section 8 of R.A. 6426, as amended by P.D. 1246, otherwise
precinct. (Id., p. 20) known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act be made applicable to a foreign transient?
Petitioners aver as heretofore stated that Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No.
“They went out of the house and she saw some of her neighbors in front of the 960 providing that “Foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment,
house. They rode the car of a certain person she called Kuya Boy together with garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government
defendant, the policeman, and two of her neighbors whom she called Kuya Bong Lacson agency or any administrative body whatsoever.” should be adjudged as unconstitutional
and one Ate Nita. They were brought to Sub-Station I and there she was investigated by on the grounds that: 1.) it has taken away the right of petitioners to have the bank deposit
a policeman. At about 2:00 a.m., her father arrived, followed by her mother together with of defendant Greg Bartelli y Northcott garnished to satisfy the judgment rendered in
some of their neighbors. Then they were brought to the second floor of the police petitioners’ favor in violation of substantive due process guaranteed by the
headquarters. (Id., p. 21) Constitution; 2.) it has given foreign currency depositors an undue favor or a class
privilege n violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution; 3.) it has
“At the headquarters, she was asked several questions by the investigator. The written provided a safe haven for criminals like the herein respondent Greg Bartelli y Northcott
statement she gave to the police was marked Exhibit A. Then they proceeded to the since criminal could escape civil liability for their wrongful acts by merely converting
National Bureau of Investigation together with the investigator and her parents. At the their money to a foreign currency and depositing it in a foreign currency deposit account
NBI, a doctor, a medico-legal officer, examined her private parts. It was already 3:00 in with an authorized bank; and 4.) The Monetary Board, in issuing Section 113 of Central
early morning, of the following day when they reached the NBI, (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, p. Bank Circular No. 960 has exceeded its delegated quasi- legislative power when it took
22) The findings of the medico-legal officer has been marked as Exhibit B. away: a.) the plaintiff’s substantive right to have the claim sought to be enforced by the
civil action secured by way of the writ of preliminary attachment as granted by Rule 57
of the Revised Rules of Court; b.) the plaintiff’s substantive right to have the judgment
“She was studying at the St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay City at the time of the Incident
credit satisfied by way of the writ of execution out of the bank deposit of the judgment
but she subsequently transferred to Apolinario Mabini, Arellano University, situated
debtor as granted to the judgment creditor by Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court,
along Taft Avenue, because she was ashamed to be the subject of conversation in the
which is beyond its power to do so.
school. She first applied for transfer to Jose Abad Santos, Arellano University along Taft
Avenue near the Light Rail Transit Station but she was denied admission after she told On the other hand, respondent Central Bank, in its Comment alleges that the
the school the true reason for her transfer. The reason for their denial was that they might Monetary Board in issuing Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960 did not exceed its power
be implicated in the case. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, p. 46) or authority because the subject Section is copied verbatim from a portion of R.A. No.
6426 as amended by P.D. 1246. Hence, it was not the Monetary Board that grants
xxx xxx xxx exemption from attachment or garnishment to foreign currency deposits, but the law
(R.A. 6426 as amended) itself; that it does not violate the substantive due process
“After the incident, Karen has changed a lot. She does not play with her brother and guaranteed by the Constitution because a.) it was based on a law; b.) the law seems to
sister anymore, and she is always in a state of shock; she has been absent-minded and is be reasonable; c.) it is enforced according to regular methods of procedure; and d.) it
ashamed even to go out of the house. (TSN, Sept. 12, 1989, p. 10) She appears to be applies to all members of a class.
restless or sad. (Id., p. 11) The father prays for P500,000.00 moral damages for Karen
for this shocking experience which probably, she would always recall until she reaches Expanding, the Central Bank said; that one reason for exempting the foreign
old age, and he is not sure if she could ever recover from this experience.” (TSN, Sept. currency deposits from attachment, garnishment or any other order process of any court,
24, 1989, pp. 10-11) is to assure the development and speedy growth of the Foreign Currency Deposit System
and the Offshore Banking System in the Philippines; that another reason is to encourage
Pursuant to an Order granting leave to publish notice of decision, said notice was the inflow of foreign currency deposits into the banking institutions thereby placing such
published in the Manila Bulletin once a week for three consecutive weeks. After the institutions more in a position to properly channel the same to loans and investments in
lapse of fifteen (15) days from the date of the last publication of the notice of judgment the Philippines, thus directly contributing to the economic development of the country;
and the decision of the trial court had become final, petitioners tried to execute on that the subject section is being enforced according to the regular methods of procedure;
and that it applies to all currency deposits made by any person and therefore does not “Indeed, after hearing the testimony of Karen, the Court believes that it was
violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. indoubtedly a shocking and traumatic experience she had undergone which
could haunt her mind for a long, long time, the mere recall of which could
Respondent Central Bank further avers that the questioned provision is needed to make her feel so humiliated, as in fact she had been actually humiliated once
promote the public interest and the general welfare; that the State cannot just stand idly when she was refused admission at the Abad Santos High School, Arellano
by while a considerable segment of the society suffers from economic distress; that the University, where she sought to transfer from another school, simply because
State had to take some measures to encourage economic development; and that in so the school authorities of the said High School learned about what happened to
doing persons and property may be subjected to some kinds of restraints or burdens to her and allegedly feared that they might be implicated in the case.
secure the general welfare or public interest. Respondent Central Bank also alleges that
Rule 39 and Rule 57 of the Revised Rules of Court provide that some properties are xxx
exempted from execution/attachment especially provided by law and R.A. No. 6426 as
amended is such a law, in that it specifically provides, among others, that foreign The reason for imposing exemplary or corrective damages is due to the wanton
currency deposits shall be exempted from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or and bestial manner defendant had committed the acts of rape during a period of
process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body serious illegal detention of his hapless victim, the minor Karen Salvacion
whatsoever. whose only fault was in her being so naive and credulous to believe easily that
defendant, an American national, could not have such a bestial desire on her
For its part, respondent China Banking Corporation, aside from giving reasons nor capable of committing such heinous crime. Being only 12 years old when
similar to that of respondent Central Bank, also stated that respondent China Bank is not that unfortunate incident happened, she has never heard of an old Filipino
unmindful of the inhuman sufferings experienced by the minor Karen E. Salvacion from adage that in every forest there is a snake, xxx.”[4]
the beastly hands of Greg Bartelli; that it is not only too willing to release the dollar
deposit of Bartelli which may perhaps partly mitigate the sufferings petitioner has If Karen’s sad fate had happened to anybody’s own kin, it would be difficult for
undergone; but it is restrained from doing so in view of R.A. No. 6426 and Section 113 of him to fathom how the incentive for foreign currency deposit could be more important
Central Bank Circular No. 960; and that despite the harsh effect to these laws on than his child’s right to said award of damages; in this case, the victim’s claim for
petitioners, CBC has no other alternative but to follow the same. damages from this alien who had the gall to wrong a child of tender years of a country
where he is mere visitor. This further illustrates the flaw in the questioned provisions.
This court finds the petition to be partly meritorious.
It is worth mentioning that R.A. No. 6426 was enacted in 1983 or at a time when
Petitioner deserves to receive the damages awarded to her by the court. But this the country’s economy was in a shambles; when foreign investments were minimal and
petition for declaratory relief can only be entertained and treated as a petition for presumably, this was the reason why said statute was enacted. But the realities of the
mandamus to require respondents to honor and comply with the writ of execution in Civil present times show that the country has recovered economically; and even if not, the
Case No. 89-3214. questioned law still denies those entitled to due process of law for being unreasonable
and oppressive. The intention of the questioned law may be good when enacted. The
The Court has no original and exclusive jurisdiction over a petition for declatory law failed to anticipate the inquitous effects producing outright injustice and inequality
relief.[2] However, exceptions to this rule have been recognized. Thus, where the petition such as as the case before us.
has far-reaching implications and raises questions that should be resolved, it may be
treated as one for mandamus.[3] It has thus been said that-
Here is a child, a 12-year old girl, who in her belief that all Americans are good and “But I also know,[5] that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the
in her gesture of kindness by teaching his alleged niece the Filipino language as requested progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more
by the American, trustingly went with said stranger to his apartment, and there she was enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths are disclosed and
raped by said American tourist Greg Bartelli. Not once, but ten times. She was detained manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions
therein for four (4) days. This American tourist was able to escape from the jail and must advance also, and keep pace with the times… We might as well require a
avoid punishment. On the other hand, the child, having received a favorable judgment in man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to
the Civil Case for damages in the amount of more than P1,000,000.00, which amount remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
could alleviate the humiliation, anxiety, and besmirched reputation she had suffered and
may continue to suffer for a long, long time; and knowing that this person who had In his comment, the Solicitor General correctly opined, thus:
wronged her has the money, could not, however get the award of damages because of this "The present petition has far-reaching implications on the right of a national to
unreasonable law. This questioned law, therefore makes futile the favorable judgment obtain redress for a wrong committed by an alien who takes refuge under a law
and award of damages that she and her parents fully deserve. As stated by the trial court and regulation promulgated for a purpose which does not contemplate the
in its decision, application thereof envisaged by the allien. More specifically, the petition
raises the question whether the protection against attachment, garnishment or
other court process accorded to foreign currency deposits PD No. 1246 and CB “The purpose of PD 1246 in according protection against attachment,
Circular No. 960 applies when the deposit does not come from a lender or garnishment and other court process to foreign currency deposits is stated in its
investor but from a mere transient who is not expected to maintain the deposit whereases, viz.:
in the bank for long.
‘WHEREAS, under Republic Act No. 6426, as amended by
“The resolution of this question is important for the protection of nationals Presidential Decree No. 1035, certain Philippine banking
who are victimized in the forum by foreigners who are merely passing through. institutions and branches of foreign banks are authorized to accept
deposits in foreign currency;
xxx
‘WHEREAS, under provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1034
“xxx Respondents China Banking Corporation and Central Bank of the authorizing the establishment of an offshore banking system in
Philippines refused to honor the writ of execution issued in Civil Case No. 89- the Philippines, offshore banking units are also authorized to
3214 on the strength of the following provision of Central Bank Circular No. receive foreign currency deposits in certain cases;
960:
‘WHEREAS, in order to assure the development and
‘Sec. 113 Exemption from attachment. – Foreign currency speedy growth of the Foreign Currency Deposit System and the
deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any Offshore Banking System in the Philippines, certain incentives
other order or process of any court, legislative body, government were provided for under the two Systems such as confidentiality
agency or any administrative body whatsoever.’ subject to certain exceptions and tax exemptions on the interest
“Central Bank Circular No. 960 was issued pursuant to Section 7 of Republic Act No. income of depositors who are nonresidents and are not engaged in
6426: trade or business in the Philippines;
‘WHEREAS, making absolute the protective cloak of
‘Sec. 7. Rules and Regulations. The Monetary Board of the confidentiality over such foreign currency deposits, exempting
Central Bank shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may such deposits from tax, and guaranteeing the vested right of
be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act which shall depositors would better encourage the inflow of foreign currency
take effect after the publication of such rules and regulations in deposits into the banking institutions authorized to accept such
the Official Gazette and in a newspaper of national circulation for deposits in the Philippines thereby placing such institutions more
at least once a week for three consecutive weeks. In case the in a position to properly channel the same to loans and
Central Bank promulgates new rules and regulations decreasing investments in the Philippines, thus directly contributing to the
the rights of depositors, the rules and regulations at the time the economic development of the country;’
deposit was made shall govern.”
“Thus, one of the principal purposes of the protection accorded to foreign
“The aforecited Section 113 was copied from Section 8 of Republic Act No. currency deposits is to assure the development and speedy growth of the
6426. As amended by P.D. 1246, thus: Foreign Currency Deposit system and the Offshore Banking in the Philippines’
(3rd Whereas).
‘Sec. 8. Secrecy of Foreign Currency Deposits. -- All foreign
currency deposits authorized under this Act, as amended by “The Offshore Banking System was established by PD No. 1034. In turn, the
Presidential Decree No. 1035, as well as foreign currency purposes of PD No. 1034 are as follows:
deposits authorized under Presidential Decree No. 1034, are
hereby declared as and considered of an absolutely confidential ‘WHEREAS, conditions conducive to the establishment of an
nature and, except upon the written permission of the depositor, offshore banking system, such as political stability, a growing
in no instance shall such foreign currency deposits be examined, economy and adequate communication facilities, among others,
inquired or looked into by any person, government official, exist in the Philippines;
bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative ‘WHEREAS, it is in the interest of developing countries to have
or any other entity whether public or private: Provided, however, as wide access as possible to the sources of capital funds for
that said foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from economic development;
attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any
court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative ‘WHEREAS, an offshore banking system based in the Philippines
body whatsoever.’ will be advantageous and beneficial to the country by increasing
our links with foreign lenders, facilitating the flow of desired
investments into the Philippines, creating employment which provides that “in case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is
opportunities and expertise in international finance, and presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. “Ninguno non
contributing to the national development effort. deue enriquecerse tortizerzmente con damo de otro.” Simply stated, when the statute is
silent or ambiguous, this is one of those fundamental solutions that would respond to the
‘WHEREAS, the geographical location, physical and human vehement urge of conscience. (Padilla vs. Padilla, 74 Phil. 377)
resources, and other positive factors provide the Philippines with
the clear potential to develop as another financial center in Asia;’ It would be unthinkable, that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank No. 960
would be used as a device by accused Greg Bartelli for wrongdoing, and in so doing,
“On the other hand, the Foreign Currency Deposit system was created by PD acquitting the guilty at the expense of the innocent.
No. 1035. Its purpose are as follows:
Call it what it may – but is there no conflict of legal policy here? Dollar against
‘WHEREAS, the establishment of an offshore banking system in Peso? Upholding the final and executory judgment of the lower court against the Central
the Philippines has been authorized under a separate decree; Bank Circular protecting the foreign depositor? Shielding or protecting the dollar deposit
‘WHEREAS, a number of local commercial banks, as depository of a transient alien depositor against injustice to a national and victim of a crime? This
bank under the Foreign Currency Deposit Act (RA No. 6426), situation calls for fairness legal tyranny.
have the resources and managerial competence to more actively We definitely cannot have both ways and rest in the belief that we have served the
engage in foreign exchange transactions and participate in the ends of justice.
grant of foreign currency loans to resident corporations and firms;
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the provisions of Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960 and
‘WHEREAS, it is timely to expand the foreign currency lending PD No. 1246, insofar as it amends Section 8 of R.A. 6426 are hereby held to
authority of the said depository banks under RA 6426 and apply be INAPPLICABLE to this case because of its peculiar circumstances. Respondents are
to their transactions the same taxes as would be applicable to hereby REQUIRED to COMPLY with the writ of execution issued in Civil Case No. 89-
transaction of the proposed offshore banking units;’ 3214, “Karen Salvacion, et al. vs. Greg Bartelli y Northcott, by Branch CXLIV, RTC
“It is evident from the above [Whereas clauses] that the Offshore Banking Makati and to RELEASE to petitioners the dollar deposit of respondent Greg Bartelli y
System and the Foreign Currency Deposit System were designed to draw Northcott in such amount as would satisfy the judgment.
deposits from foreign lenders and investors (Vide second Whereas of PD No. SO ORDERED.
1034; third Whereas of PD No. 1035). It is these depositors that are induced
by the two laws and given protection and incentives by them. Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug,
Kapunan, Francisco, and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
“Obviously, the foreign currency deposit made by a transient or a tourist is not Padilla, J., no part.
the kind of deposit encourage by PD Nos. 1034 and 1035 and given incentives Mendoza, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., on leave.
and protection by said laws because such depositor stays only for a few days in
the country and, therefore, will maintain his deposit in the bank only for a
short time.
“Respondent Greg Bartelli, as stated, is just a tourist or a transient. He
deposited his dollars with respondent China Banking Corporation only for
safekeeping during his temporary stay in the Philippines.
“For the reasons stated above, the Solicitor General thus submits that the dollar
deposit of respondent Greg Bartelli is not entitled to the protection of Section
113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and PD No. 1246 against attachment,
garnishment or other court processes.”[6]
In fine, the application of the law depends on the extent of its justice. Eventually, if
we rule that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 which exempts
from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court. Legislative
body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever, is applicable to a
foreign transient, injustice would result especially to a citizen aggrieved by a foreign
guest like accused Greg Bartelli. This would negate Article 10 of the New Civil Code
Republic of the Philippines 4. Four days afterwards, Emma Imperial addressed a letter to the Board of Judges
SUPREME COURT protesting the verdict, and alleging that one of the Judges had committed a mathematical
Manila mistake, resulting in her second place only, instead of the first, which she therefore
claimed.
EN BANC
5. Upon refusal of the Board to amend their award, she filed a complaint in the court of
G.R. No. L-4606 May 30, 1952 first instance.

RAMON B. FELIPE, SR., as Chairman, Board of Judges, petitioner, 6. At the contest the five judges were each furnished a blank form wherein he give the
vs. participants grades according to his estimate of their abilities, giving number 1 to the
HON. JOSE N. LEUTERIO, Judge, Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur, best, number 2 to the second best etc., down to number 8. Then the grades were added,
EMMA IMPERIAL, represented by her guardian-ad-litem JUSTO V. IMPERIAL, and the contestant receiving the lowest number got first prize, the next second prize, etc.
and SOUTHERN LUZON COLLEGE,respondents.
7. The sums for the first four winners were: Nosce 10; Imperial 10; Benevides 17,
Ramon Felipe, Jr., and L. B. Karingal for petitioner. General 17, the Board of judges having voted as follows:
Ezequiel S. Grageda and Victoriano Yamson for respondents Judge Leuterio and Emma
Imperial. Judge Nosce Imperial Buenavides General
Padilla and San Juan for respondent Southern Luzon College.
Felipe Sr. ......... 3 1 2 4
BENGZON, J.: Obias .............. 1 2 4 3
Rodriguez .......... 1 4 5 3
Statement of the case. The issue in the litigation is whether the courts have the authority Prado .............. 3 2 1 3
to reverse the award of the board of judges of an oratorical competition.
Moll ............... 2 1 5 4
In an oratorical contest held in Naga, Camarines Sur, first honor was given by the board 10 10 17 17
of five judges to Nestor Nosce, and second honor to Emma Imperial. Six days later,
Emma asked the court of the first instance of that province to reversed that award, 8. It appearing that Nestor Nosce and Emma Imperial had tied for the first place, the
alleging that one of the judges had fallen to error in grading her performance. After a Chairman, apparently with the consent of the board, broke the tie awarding first honors to
hearing, and over the objection of the other four judges of the contest, the court declared Nosce and second honors to Imperial.
Emma Imperial winner of the first place. Hence this special civil action challenging the
court's power to modify the board's verdict.
9. For the convenience of the judges the typewritten forms contained blank spaces in
which, after the names of the rival orators and their respective orations, the judge could
The facts. There is no dispute about the facts: not jot down the grades he thought the contestants deserved according to "Originality",
"Timeliness", "English", "Stage Personality", "Pronunciation and Enunciation" and
1. On March 12, 1950 a benefit inter-collegiate oratorical contest was held in Naga City. "Voice". From such data he made up his vote.
The contestants were eight, among them Nestor Nosce, Emma Imperial, and Luis
General, Jr. 10. It was discovered later that the form filed by Delfin Rodriguez, one of the Judges,
gave Imperial and General the following ratings under the above headings; Imperial 19-
2. There were five judges of the competition, the petitioner Ramon B. Felipe, Sr. being 15-15-18-14-14 Total 94-Place 4th General 19-15-15 or 14-19-14-14 Total 95-Place 3rd.
the Chairman.
11. Imperial asserts that her total should be 95 instead of 94 and therefore should rank 3rd
3. After the orators had delivered their respective pieces, and after the judges had place in Rodriguez' vote. And if she got 3 from Rodriguez, her total vote should have
expressed their votes, the Chairman publicly announced their decision awarding first been 9 instead of ten, with the result that she copped first place in the speaking joust.
price to Nestor Nosce, second price to Emma Imperial, third price to Menandro
Benavides and fourth place to Luis General, Jr. 12. Rodriguez testified that he made a mistake in adding up Imperial's ratings; that she
should have been given a total of 95, or placed No. 3, the same as General; that he was
not disposed to break the tie between her and General and insisted that he wanted to give unless and until they were proclaimed winners of the competition by the appointed
rank 3 to Imperial and rank 3 also to General. arbiters or referees or judges.

Discussion. Although it would seem anomalous for one judge to give the same rank to Incidentally, these school activities have been imported from the United States. We found
two contestants, we will concede for the moment that Delfin Rodriguez could have given in American jurisprudence no litigation questioning the determination of the board of
3 to Imperial to General. judges.

However if deductions are to be made from his recorded vote (Exhibit 3) one may infer Now, the fact that a particular action has had no precedent during a long period affords
that after the contest and before submitting his vote he decided to give General an edge some reason for doubting the existence of the right sought to be enforced, especially
over Imperial. How? Under the caption "English" General was given by himself at first where occasion for its assertion must have often arisen; and courts are cautious before
"14", later increased to "15". Evidently because after he had added the ratings of Imperial allowing it, being loath to establish a new legal principle not in harmony with the
and (erroneously) reached the sum of 94, he added the ratings of General (which were the generally accepted views thereon. (See C.J.S. Vol. 1, p. 1012).
same as Imperial with 14 under "English") and (mistakenly) reached 94 also. So what did
he also? He raised the 14 to 15 and thus gave general 95 to place him over Imperial's 94. We observe that in assuming jurisdiction over the matter, the respondent judge reasoned
(Mistakingly again, because with 15 General got 96 instead of 95). out that where there is a wrong there is a remedy and that courts of first instance are
courts of general jurisdiction.
But to us the important thing is Rodriguez' vote during and immediately after the affair.
His vote in Exhibit 3 definitely gave General place No. 3 and Imperial place No. 4. His The flaw in his reasoning lies in the assumption that Imperial suffered some wrong at the
calculations recorded on Exhibit 3 were not material. In fact the Chairman did not bother hands of the board of judges. If at all, there was error on the part of one judge, at most.
to fill out the blank spaces in his own form, and merely set down his conclusions giving Error and wrong do not mean the same thing. "Wrong" as used in the aforesaid legal
one to Imperial, 2 to Benavides etc. without specifying the ratings for "Voice", "English", principle is the deprivation or violation of a right. As stated before, a contestant has no
"Stage Personality" etc. In other words what counted was the vote. right to the prize unless and until he or she is declared winner by the board of referees or
judges.
Probably for the above reasons the board refused to "correct" the alleged error.
Granting that Imperial suffered some loss or injury, yet in law there are instances of
The situation then is this: Days after a contest has been conducted and the winners "damnum absque injuria". This is one of them. If fraud or malice had been proven, it
announced, one of the judges confesses he made a mistake, that the ratings he gave the would be a different proposition. But then her action should be directed against the
second place winner should have been such as would entitle her to first place. The other individual judge or judges who fraudulently or maliciously injured her. Not against the
judges refuse to alter their verdict. May the matter be brought to the court to obtain a new other judges.
award, reversing the decision of the board of judges?
By the way what is here in stated must not be understood as applying to those activities
For more than thirty years oratorical tilts have been held periodically by schools and which the government has chosen to regulate with the creation of the Games and
colleges in these islands. Inter-collegiate oratorical competitions are of more recent Amusements Board in Executive Order No. 392, Series 1950.
origin. Members of this court have taken part in them either as contestants in their school
days1, or as members of the board of judges afterwards. They know some (few) verdicts Judgment. In view of all the foregoing, we are of the opinion and so declare, that the
did not reflect the audience's preference and that errors have sometimes been ascribed to judiciary has no power to reverse the award of the board of judges of an oratorical
the award of the judges. Yet no party ever presumed to invoke judicial intervention; for it contest. For that matter it would not interfere in literary contests, beauty contests and
is unwritten law in such contests that the board's decision is final and unappealable. similar competitions.

Like the ancient tournaments of the Sword, these tournaments of the Word apply the Wherefore the order in controversy is hereby set aside. No costs.
highest tenets of sportmanship: finally of the referee's verdict. No alibis, no murmurs of
protest. The participants are supposed to join the competition to contribute to its success
by striving their utmost: the prizes are secondary. Paras, C.J., Pablo, Tuason, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo and Ladrador, JJ., concur.
Feria, J., concurs in the result.

No rights to the prizes may be asserted by the contestants, because their's was merely the
privilege to compete for the prize, and that privilege did not ripen into a demandable right
Republic of the Philippines Statement of Contributions and Expenditures: Effect of Failure to File
SUPREME COURT Statement. Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall,
Manila within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file in duplicate
EN BANC with the offices of the Commission the full, true and itemized
statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the
G.R. No. 115245 July 11, 1995 election.
JUANITO C. PILAR, petitioner,
vs. No person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent. his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and
expenditures herein required.

The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which


QUIASON, J.: nominated the winning candidate fails to file the statement required
herein within the period prescribed by this Act.
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the
Resolution dated April 28, 1994 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in UND Except candidates for elective barangay office, failure to file the
No. 94-040. statements or reports in connection with electoral contributions and
expenditures as required herein shall constitute an administrative
I offense for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an administrative
fine ranging from One Thousand Pesos ( P1,000.00) to Thirty
Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), in the discretion of the Commission.
On March 22, 1992, petitioner Juanito C. Pilar filed his certificate of candidacy for the
position of member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Isabela.
The fine shall be paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of
such failure; otherwise, it shall be enforceable by a writ of execution
On March 25, 1992, petitioner withdrew his certificate of candidacy. issued by the Commission against the properties of the offender.

In M.R. Nos. 93-2654 and 94-0065 dated November 3, 1993 and February 13, 1994
It shall be the duty of every city or municipal election registrar to
respectively, the COMELEC imposed upon petitioner the fine of Ten Thousand Pesos
advise in writing, by personal delivery or registered mail, within five
(P10,000.00) for failure to file his statement of contributions and expenditures.
(5) days from the date of election all candidates residing in his
jurisdiction to comply with their obligation to file their statements of
In M.R. No. 94-0594 dated February 24, 1994, the COMELEC denied the motion for contributions and expenditures.
reconsideration of petitioner and deemed final M.R. Nos. 93-2654 and 94-0065 (Rollo, p.
14).
For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this
Section, the administrative fine shall be from Two Thousand Pesos
Petitioner went to the COMELEC En Banc (UND No. 94-040), which denied the petition (P2,000.00) to Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000.00), in the discretion of
in a Resolution dated April 28, 1994 (Rollo, pp. 10-13). the Commission. In addition, the offender shall be subject to perpetual
disqualification to hold public office (Emphasis supplied).
Hence, this petition for certiorari.
To implement the provisions of law relative to election contributions and expenditures,
We dismiss the petition. the COMELEC promulgated on January 13, 1992 Resolution No. 2348 (Re: Rules and
Regulations Governing Electoral Contributions and Expenditures in Connection with the
II National and Local Elections on
May 11, 1992). The pertinent provisions of said Resolution are:
Section 14 of R.A. No. 7166 entitled "An Act Providing for Synchronized National and
Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and for Sec. 13. Statement of contributions and expenditures: Reminders to
Other Purposes" provides as follows: candidates to file statements. Within five (5) days from the day of the
election, the Law Department of the Commission, the regional election
director of the National Capital Region, the provincial election Well-recognized is the rule that where the law does not distinguish, courts should not
supervisors and the election registrars shall advise in writing by distinguish, Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos (Philippine British
personal delivery or registered mail all candidates who filed their Assurance Co. Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 150 SCRA 520 [1987]; cf Olfato v.
certificates of candidacy with them to comply with their obligation to Commission on Elections, 103 SCRA 741 [1981]). No distinction is to be made in the
file their statements of contributions and expenditures in connection application of a law where none is indicated (Lo Cham v. Ocampo, 77 Phil. 636 [1946]).
with the elections. Every election registrar shall also advise all
candidates residing in his jurisdiction to comply with said obligation In the case at bench, as the law makes no distinction or qualification as to whether the
(Emphasis supplied). candidate pursued his candidacy or withdrew the same, the term "every candidate" must
be deemed to refer not only to a candidate who pursued his campaign, but also to one
Sec. 17. Effect of failure to file statement. (a) No person elected to any who withdrew his candidacy.
public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed
the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required. The COMELEC, the body tasked with the enforcement and administration of all laws and
regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and
The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which recall (The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Art. IX(C), Sec. 2[1]), issued
nominated the winning candidates fails to file the statement required Resolution No. 2348 in implementation or interpretation of the provisions of Republic
within the period prescribed by law. Act No. 7166 on election contributions and expenditures. Section 13 of Resolution No.
2348 categorically refers to "all candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy."
(b) Except candidates for elective barangay office, failure to file
statements or reports in connection with the electoral contributions and Furthermore, Section 14 of the law uses the word "shall." As a general rule, the use of the
expenditures as required herein shall constitute an administrative word "shall" in a statute implies that the statute is mandatory, and imposes a duty which
offense for which the offenders shall be liable to pay an administrative may be enforced , particularly if public policy is in favor of this meaning or where public
fine ranging from One Thousand Pesos (P1,000) to Thirty Thousand interest is involved. We apply the general rule (Baranda v. Gustilo, 165 SCRA 757
Pesos (P30,000), in the discretion of the Commission. [1988]; Diokno v. Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, 91 Phil. 608 [1952]).

The fine shall be paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of The state has an interest in seeing that the electoral process is clean, and ultimately
such failure; otherwise, it shall be enforceable by a writ of execution expressive of the true will of the electorate. One way of attaining such objective is to pass
issued by the Commission against the properties of the offender. legislation regulating contributions and expenditures of candidates, and compelling the
publication of the same. Admittedly, contributions and expenditures are made for the
For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this purpose of influencing the results of the elections (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 94; Resolution No.
section, the administrative fine shall be from Two Thousand Pesos 2348, Sec. 1). Thus, laws and regulations prescribe what contributions are prohibited
(P2,000) to Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000), in the discretion of the (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 95, Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 4), or unlawful (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec.
Commission. In addition, the offender shall be subject to perpetual 96), and what expenditures are authorized (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 102; R.A. No. 7166, Sec.
disqualification to hold public office. 13; Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 7) or lawful (Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 8).

Petitioner argues that he cannot be held liable for failure to file a statement of Such statutes are not peculiar to the Philippines. In "corrupt and illegal practices acts" of
contributions and expenditures because he was a "non-candidate," having withdrawn his several states in the United States, as well as in federal statutes, expenditures of
certificates of candidacy three days after its filing. Petitioner posits that "it is . . . clear candidates are regulated by requiring the filing of statements of expenses and by limiting
from the law that candidate must have entered the political contest, and should have the amount of money that may be spent by a candidate. Some statutes also regulate the
either won or lost" (Rollo, p. 39). solicitation of campaign contributions (26 Am Jur 2d, Elections § 287). These laws are
designed to compel publicity with respect to matters contained in the statements and to
prevent, by such publicity, the improper use of moneys devoted by candidates to the
Petitioner's argument is without merit.
furtherance of their ambitions (26 Am Jur 2d, Elections § 289). These statutes also enable
voters to evaluate the influences exerted on behalf of candidates by the contributors, and
Section 14 of R.A. No. 7166 states that "every candidate" has the obligation to file his to furnish evidence of corrupt practices for annulment of elections (Sparkman v. Saylor
statement of contributions and expenditures. [Court of Appeals of Kentucky], 180 Ky. 263, 202 S.W. 649 [1918]).
State courts have also ruled that such provisions are mandatory as to the requirement of our election (Santos vs. Miranda, 35 Phil. 643, 648 (1916) citing State vs. Hirsch, 125
filing (State ex rel. Butchofsky v. Crawford [Court of Civil Appeals of Texas], 269 S.W. Ind., 207; 9 L.R.A. 107; Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 2nd ed., p. 84)
2d 536 [1954]; Best v. Sidebottom, 270 Ky. 423,109 S.W. 2d 826 [1937]; Sparkman v. Certainly, one who withdraws his certificate of candidacy 3 days after the filing thereof,
Saylor, supra.) can not be voted for at an election. And considering the shortness of the period of 3 days
from the filing to the withdrawal of the certificate of candidacy, petitioner cannot be
It is not improbable that a candidate who withdrew his candidacy has accepted accused, as indeed there is no such charge, of utilizing his aborted candidacy for purposes
contributions and incurred expenditures, even in the short span of his campaign. The evil to raise funds or to extort money from other candidates in exchange for the withdrawal.
sought to be prevented by the law is not all too remote.
I, therefore, vote to grant the petition.
It is notesworthy that Resolution No. 2348 even contemplates the situation where a
candidate may not have received any contribution or made any expenditure. Such a Padilla, J., concurs.
candidate is not excused from filing a statement, and is in fact required to file a statement
to that effect. Under Section 15 of Resolution No. 2348, it is provided that "[i]f a
candidate or treasurer of the party has received no contribution, made no expenditure, or
has no pending obligation, the statement shall reflect such fact."
Separate Opinions
Lastly, we note that under the fourth paragraph of Section 73 of the B.P. Blg. 881 or the
MELO, J., dissenting:
Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, it is provided that "[t]he filing or withdrawal
of certificate of candidacy shall not affect whatever civil, criminal or administrative
liabilities which a candidate may have incurred." Petitioner's withdrawal of his candidacy The majority opinion is to the effect that every candidate, including one who has
did not extinguish his liability for the administrative fine. withdrawn his certificate of candidacy, is obliged to file his statement of contributions
and expenditures in line with Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166 vis-a-vis the pertinent
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. portions of Comelec Resolution No. 2348. I must concede that the use of the word "shall"
in the main statute as well as the implementing rules generally suggest mandatoriness as
to cover all candidates.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug,
Mendoza and Francisco, JJ., concur.
But is an aspirant for public office who had a sudden change of heart, so to speak, still
considered a candidate to begin with? I am of the impression that he is not and is thus not
Kapunan, J., is on leave. bound to render an accounting subsequent to election for the simple reason that the term
'candidate' is used to designate a person who actually submits himself and is voted for at
Separate Opinions our election (Santos vs. Miranda, 35 Phil. 643, 648 (1916) citing State vs. Hirsch, 125
Ind., 207; 9 L.R.A. 107; Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 2nd ed., p. 84)
Certainly, one who withdraws his certificate of candidacy 3 days after the filing thereof,
can not be voted for at an election. And considering the shortness of the period of 3 days
from the filing to the withdrawal of the certificate of candidacy, petitioner cannot be
MELO, J., dissenting:
accused, as indeed there is no such charge, of utilizing his aborted candidacy for purposes
to raise funds or to extort money from other candidates in exchange for the withdrawal.
The majority opinion is to the effect that every candidate, including one who has
withdrawn his certificate of candidacy, is obliged to file his statement of contributions I, therefore, vote to grant the petition.
and expenditures in line with Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166 vis-a-vis the pertinent
portions of Comelec Resolution No. 2348. I must concede that the use of the word "shall"
in the main statute as well as the implementing rules generally suggest mandatoriness as Padilla, J., concurs.
to cover all candidates.

But is an anspirant for public office who had a sudden change of heart, so to speak, still
considered a candidate to begin with? I am of the impression that he is not and is thus not
bound to render an accounting subsequent to election for the simple reason that the term
'candidate' is used to designate a person who actually submits himself and is voted for at
Republic of the Philippines filed against him, i.e., Crim. Cases Nos. 105206, 105207, 105209 and 105210, sentenced
SUPREME COURT him to a prison term of one (1) year and one (l) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months
Manila of prision correccional "in each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleqed in
the information(s)," ordered him to indemnify each of the offended parties, Victoria
EN BANC Gatchalian, Rowena Ruiz, Linda Marie Ayala Pigar and Marie Solis, P10,000.00 as
exemplary damages, and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, plus costs of suit. 1 He was
however acquitted in Crim. Case No. 105208 for persistent failure of the offended party,
G.R. No. 108747 April 6, 1995 Edgar Colindres, to appear and testify.

PABLO C. FRANCISCO, petitioner,


Not satisfied with the Decision of the MeTC, and insisting on his innocence, petitioner
vs. elevated his case to the Regional Trial Court.
COURT OF APPEALS AND THE HONORABLE MAXIMO C.
CONTRERAS, respondents.
On 5 August 1991 the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Br. 59, affirmed his conviction but
appreciated in his favor a mitigating circumstance analogous to passion or obfuscation.
Thus —

BELLOSILLO, J.: . . . (he) was angry and shouting when he uttered the defamatory
words complained of . . . . he must have been angry and worried
Probation is a special privilege granted by the state to a penitent qualified offender. It "about some missing documents . . . as well as the letter of the
essentially rejects appeals and encourages an otherwise eligible convict to immediately Department of Tourism advising ASPAC about its delinquent tax of
admit his liability and save the state of time, effort and expenses to jettison an appeal. P1.2 million . . . . " the said defamatory words must have been uttered
The law expressly requires that an accused must not have appealed his conviction before in the heat of anger which is a mitigating circumstance analogous to
he can avail of probation. This outlaws the element of speculation on the part of the passion or obfuscation. 2
accused — to wager on the result of his appeal — that when his conviction is finally
affirmed on appeal, the moment of truth well-nigh at hand, and the service of his sentence Accordingly, petitioner was sentenced "in each case to a STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT
inevitable, he now applies for probation as an "escape hatch" thus rendering nugatory the (8) MONTHS imprisonment . . . . " 3 After he failed to interpose an appeal therefrom the
appellate court's affirmance of his conviction. Consequently, probation should be availed decision.of the RTC became final. The case was then set for execution of judgment by
of at the first opportunity by convicts who are willing to be reformed and rehabilitated, the MeTC which, as a consequence, issued a warrant of arrest. But·before he could be
who manifest spontaneity, contrition and remorse.
arrested petitioner filed an application for probation which the MeTC denied "in the light
of the ruling of the Supreme Court in Llamado v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No, 84850, 29
As conceptualized, is petitioner entitled to probation within the purview of P.D. 968, as June 1989, 174 SCRA 566 . . . ." 4
amended by P.D. 1257 and P.D. 1990?
Forthwith he went to the Court of Appeals on certiorari which on 2 July 1992 dismissed
Petitioner's woes started when as President and General Manager of ASPAC Trans. his petition on the following grounds —
Company he failed to control his outburst and blurted —
Initially, the Court notes that the petitioner has failed to comply with
You employees in this office are all tanga, son of a bitches (sic), the provisions of Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91 of September 4,
bullshit. Puro kayo walang utak . . . .Mga anak ng puta . . . . Magkano 1991. Violation of the circular is sufficient cause for dismissal of the
ba kayo . . . God damn you all. petition.

Thus for humiliating his employees he was accused of multiple grave oral defamation in Secondly, the petitioner does not allege anywhere in the petition that
five (5) separate Informations instituted by five (5) of his employees, each Information he had asked the respondent court to reconsider its above order; in
charging him with gravely maligning them on four different days, i.e., from 9 to 12 April fact, he had failed to give the court an.opportunity to correct itself if it
1980. had, in fact, committed any error on the matter. He is, however,
required to move for reconsideration of the questioned
On 2 January 1990, after nearly ten (10) years, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, order before filing a petition for certiorari (Sy It v. Tiangco, 4 SCRA
Br. 61, found petitioner guilty of grave oral defamation in four (4) of the five (5) cases 436). This failure is fatal to his cause. It is a ground for dismissal of
his petition (Santos v. Vda. de Cerdenola, 5 SCRA 823; Acquiao v. Neither Sec. 4 of the Probation Law, as amended, which clearly mandates that "no
Estenso, 14 SCRA 18; Del Pilar Transit, Inc. v. Public Service application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the
Commission, 31-SCRA 372). appeal from the judgment of conviction," nor Llamado v. Court of Appeals 11 which
interprets the quoted provision, offers any ambiguity or qualification. As such, the
Thirdly, it is obvious that respondent court did not commit any application of the law should not be subjected to any to suit the case of petitioner. While
capricious, arbitrary, despotic or whimsical exercise of power in the proposition that an appeal should not bar the accused from applying for probation if
denying the petitioner's application for probation . . . . the appealis solely to reduce the penalty to within the probationable limit may be
equitable, we are not yet prepared to accept this interpretation under existing law and
jurisprudence. Accordingly, we quote Mr. Justice Feliciano speaking for the Court en
Fourthly, the petition for probation was filed by the petitioner out of banc in Llamado v. Court of Appeals—
time . . . .
. . . we note at the outset that Probation Law is not a penal statute. We,
Fifthly, the Court notes that Section 4 of PD 968 allows the trial court to grant probation
however, understand petitioner's argument to be really that any
after conviction, upon an application by the defendant within the period of appeal, upon
statutory language that appears to favor the accused in acriminal case
terms and conditions and period appropriate to each case, but expressly rules out
should be given.a "liberal interpretation." Courts . . . have no authority
probation where an appeal has been taken . . . . 5
to invoke "liberal interpretation" or "the spirit of the law" where the
words of the statute themselves, and·as illuminated by the history of
The motion for reconsideration was likewise denied. that statute, leave no room for doubt or interpretation. We do not
believe that "the spirit of·the law" may legitimately be invoked to set
In the present recourse, petitioner squirms out of each ground and seeks this Court's at naught words which have a clear and definite meaning imparted to
compassion in dispensing with the minor technicalities which may militate against his them by our procedural law. The "true legislative intent" must
petition as he now argues before us that he has not yet lost his right to avail of probation obviously be given effect by judges and all others who are charged
notwithstanding his appeal from the MeTC to the RTC since "[t]he reason for his appeal with the application and implementation of a statute. It is absolutely
was precisely to enable him to avail himself of the benefits of the Probation Law because essential to bear in mind, however, that the spirit of the law and the
the original Decision of the (Metropolitan) Trial Court was such that he would not then intent that is to be given effect are derived from the words actually
be entitled to probation." 6 He contends that "he appealed from the judgment of the trial used by the law-maker, and not from some external, mystical or
court precisely for the purpose of reducing the penalties imposed upon him by the said metajuridical source independent of and transcending the words of the
court to enable him to qualify for probation." 7 legislature.

The central issue therefore is whether petitioneris still qualified to avail of probation even The Court is not here to be understood as giving a "strict
after appealing his conviction to the RTC which affirmed the MeTC except with regard to interpretation" rather than a "liberal" one to Section 4 of the Probation
the duration of the penalties imposed. Law of 1976 as amended by P.D. No. 1990. "Strict" and "liberal" are
adjectives which too frequently impede a disciplined and principled
Petitioner is no longer eligible for probation. search for the meaning which the law-making authority projected
when it promulgated the language which we must apply. That meaning
is clearly visible in the text of Section 4, as plain and unmistakable as
First. Probation is a mere privilege, not a right. 8 Its benefits cannot extend to those not the nose on a man's face. The Courtis simply·reading Section 4 as it is
expressly included. Probation is not a right of an accused, but rather an act of grace and in fact written. There is no need for the involved process of
clemency or immunity conferred by the state which may be granted by the court to a construction that petitioner invites us to engage in, a process made
seemingly deserving defendant who thereby escapes the extreme rigors of the penalty necessary only because petitioner rejects the conclusion or meaning
imposed by law for the offense of which he stands convicted. 9 It is a special prerogative which shines through the words of the statute. The first duty of the
granted by law to a person or group of persons not enjoyed by others or by all. judge is to take and apply a statute as he finds it, not as he would
Accordingly, the grant of probation rests solely upon the discretion of the court which is like·it to be. Otherwise, as this Court in Yangco v. Court of First
to be exercised primarily for the benefit of organized society, and only incidentally for Instance warned, confusion and uncertainty will surely follow,
the benefit of the accused. 10 The Probation Law should not therefore be permitted to making, we might add, stability and continuity in the law much more
divest the state or its government of any of the latter's prerogatives, rights or remedies, difficult to achieve:
unless the intention of the legislature to this end is clearly expressed, and no person
should benefit from the terms of the law who is not clearly within them.
. . . [w]here language is plain, subtle refinements is otherwise specifically disqualified. The number of offenses is immaterial as long as all
which tinge words as to give them the color of a the penalties imposed, taken separately, are within the probationable period. For, Sec. 9,
particular judicial theory are not only unnecessary par. (a), P.D. 968, as amended, uses the word maximum not total when it says that "[t]he
but decidedly harmful. That which has caused so benefits of this Decree shall not be extended to those . . . . sentenced to serve
much confusion in the law, which has made it so a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years." Evidently, the law does not
difficult for the public to understand and know intend to sum up the penalties imposed but to take each penalty separately and distinctly
what the law is with respect to a given matter, is in with the others. Consequently, even if petitioner was supposed to have served his prison
considerable measure the unwarranted interference term of one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision
by judicial tribunals with the English language as correccional sixteen (16) times as he was sentenced to serve the prison term for "each
found in statutes and contracts, cutting the words crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the information(s)," and in each
here and inserting them there, making them fit of the four (4) informations, he was charged with.having defamed the four (4) private
personal ideas of what the legislature ought to have complainants on four (4) different, separate days, he was still·eligible for probation, as
done or what parties should have agreed upon, each prison term imposed on petitioner was probationable.
giving them meanings which they do not ordinarily
have cutting, trimming, fitting, changing and Fixing the cut-off point at a maximum term of six (6) years imprisonment for probation is
coloring until lawyers themselves are unable to based on the assumption that those sentenced to higher penalties pose too great a risk to
advise their clients as to the meaning of a given society, not just because of their demonstrated capability for serious wrong doing but
statute or contract until it has been submitted to because of the gravity and serious consequences of the offense they might further
some court for its interpretation and construction. commit. 14 The Probation Law, as amended, disqualifies only those who have been
convicted of grave felonies as defined in Art. 9 in relation to Art. 25 of The Revised
The point in this warning may be expected to become sharper as our Penal Code, 15 and not necessarily those who have been convicted of multiple offenses in
people's grasp of English is steadily attenuated. 12 a single proceeding who are deemed to be less perverse. Hence, the basis of the
disqualification is principally the gravity of the offense committed and the concomitant
Therefore, that an appeal should not·bar the accused from applying for probation if the degree of penalty imposed. Those sentenced to a maximum term not exceeding six (6)
appeal is taken solely to reduce the penalty is simply contrary to the clear and express years are not generally considered callous, hard core criminals, and thus may avail of
mandate of Sec, 4 of the Probation Law, as amended, which opens with a negativeclause, probation.
"no application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has
perfected the appeal from the judgment of conviction." In Bersabal v. Salvador, 13 we To demonstrate the point, let ustake for instance one who is convicted in a single decision
said — of, say, thirteen (13) counts of grave oral defamation (for having defamed thirteen [13]
individuals in one outburst) and sentenced to atotal prison term of thirteen (13) years, and
By its very language, the Rule is mandatory. Under the rule of another who has been found guilty of mutilation and sentenced to six (6) years and one (l)
statutory construction. negative words and phrases are to be regarded day of prision mayor minimum as minimum to twelve (l2) years and one (1) day
as mandatory while those in the affirmative are merely directory. . . . of reclusion temporal minimum as maximuin. Obviously, the latter offender is more
the use of the term "shall" further emphasizes its mandatory character perverse and is disqualified from availing of probation.
and means that it is imperative, operating to impose a duty which may
be enforced. Petitioner thus proceeds on an erroneous assumption that under the MeTC Decision he
could not have availed of the benefits of probation. Since he could have, although he did
And where the law does not distinguish the courts should not distinguish; where the law not, his appeal now precludes him from applying for probation.
does not make exception the court should not except.
And, even if we go along with the premise of petitioner, however erroneous it may be,
Second. At the outset, the penalties imposed by the MeTC were already probationable. that the penalties imposed against him should be summed up, still he would not have
Hence, there was no need to appeal if only to reduce the penalties to within the qualified under the Decision rendered by the RTC since if the "STRAIGHT penalty of
probationable period. Multiple prison terms imposed against an accused found guilty of EIGHT (8) MONTHS imprisonment" imposed by the RTC is multiplied sixteen (16)
several offenses in one decision are not, and should not be, added up. And, the sum of the times, the total imposable penalty would be ten (10) years and eight (8) months, which is
multiple prison terms imposed against an applicant should not be determinative of his still way beyond the limit of not more than six (6) years provided for in the Probation
eligibility for, nay his disqualification from, probation. The multiple prison terms are Law, as amended. To illustrate: 8 months multiplied by 16 cases = 128 months; 128
distinct from each other, and if none of the terms exceeds the limit set out in the months divided by 12 months (in a year) = 10 years and 8 months, hence, following his
Probation Law,i.e., not more than six (6) years, then he is entitled to probation, unless he
argument, petitioner cannot still be eligible for probation as the total of his penalties appealed his conviction to the RTC not for the sole purpose of reducing his penalties to
exceeds six (6) years. make him eligible for probation — since he was already qualified under the MeTC
Decision — but rather to insist on his innocence. The appeal record is wanting of any
The assertion that the Decision of the RTC should be multiplied only four (4) times since other purpose. Thus, in his Memorandum before the RTC, he raised only three (3)
there are only four (4) Informations thereby allowing petitioner to qualify for probation, statements of error purportedly committed by the MeTC all aimed at his acquittal: (a) in
instead of sixteen (16) times, is quite difficult to understand. The penalties imposed by finding that the guilt of the accused has been established because of his positive
the MeTC cannot be any clearer — "one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and identification by the witness for the prosecution; (b) in giving full faith and credence to
eight (8) months of prision correccional, in each crime committed on each date of each the bare statements of the private complainants despite the absence of corroborating
case, as alleged in the information(s). "Hence, petitioner should suffer the imposed testimonies; and, (c)in not acquitting him in all the cases," 18 Consequently, petitioner
penalties sixteen (16) times. On the other hand, the RTC affirmed, the judgment of insisted that the trial court committed an error in relying on his positive identification
conviction and merely reduced the duration of each penalty imposed by the MeTC "in considering that private complainants could not have missed identifying him who was
each case to a STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT (8) MONTHS imprisonment" on account their President and General Manager with whom they worked for a good number of
of a mitigating circumstance for each case, count or incident of grave oral years. Petitioner further argued that although the alleged defamatory words were uttered
defamation·There is no valid reason therefore why the penalties imposed by the RTC in the presence of other persons, mostly private complainants, co-employees and clients,
should be multiplied only four (4) times, and not sixteen (16) times, considering that the not one of them was presented as a witness. Hence, according to petitioner, the trial court
RTC merely affirmed the MeTC as regards the culpability of petitioner in each of the could not have convicted him on the basis of the uncorroborative testimony of private
sixteen (16) cases and reducing only the duration of the penalties imposed therein. Thus complainants. 19

Certainly, the protestations of petitioner connote profession of guiltlessness, if not
Premises considered, the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial complete innocence, and do not simply put in issue the propriety of the penalties
court is AFFIRMED with modification, as follows: imposed. For sure, the accused never manifested that he was appealing only for the
purpose of correcting a wrong penalty — to reduce it to within the probationable range.
Hence, upon interposing an appeal, more so after asserting his innocence therein,
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds the accused Pablo C. Francisco petitioner should be precluded from seeking probation. By perfecting his appeal,
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt in each of the above entitled cases petitioner ipso facto relinquished his alternative remedy of availing of the Probation Law
and appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstance which is the purpose of which is simply to prevent speculation or opportunism on the part of an
analogous to passion or obfuscation, the Court hereby sentences the
accused who although already eligible does not at once apply for probation, but doing so
said accused in each case to a straight penalty of EIGHT (8) only after failing in his appeal.
MONTHS imprisonment, with the accessory penalties prescribed by
law; and to pay the costs. 16
The fact that petitioner did not elevate the affirmance of his conviction by the RTC to the
Court of Appeals does not necessarily mean that his appeal to the RTC was solely to
Nowhere in the RTC Decision is it stated or even hinted at that the accused was acquitted reduce his penalties. Conversely, he was afraid that the Court of Appeals would increase
or absolved in any of the four (4) counts under each of the four (4) Informatfons, or that his penalties, which could be worse for him. Besides, the RTC Decision had already
any part of thejudgment of conviction was reversed, or that any of the cases, counts or become final and executory because of the negligence, according to him, of his former
incidents was dismissed. Otherwise, we will have to account for the twelve (12) other counsel who failed to seek possible remedies within the period allowed by law.
penalties imposed by the MeTC. Can we? What is clear is that the judgment of conviction
rendered by the was affirmed with the sole modification on the duration of the penalties.
Perhaps it should be mentioned that at the outset petitioner, in accordance with Sec 3, par.
(e), Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, 20 should have moved to quash as each of the four (4)
In fine, considering that the multiple prison terms should not be summed up but taken
Informations filed against him charged four (4) separate crimes of grave oral defamation,
separately as the totality of all the penalties is not the test, petitioner should have
committed on four (4) separate days. His failure to do so however may now be deemed a
immediately filed an application for probation as he was already qualified after being
waiver under Sec. 8 of the same Rule 21 and he can be validly convicted, as in the instant
convicted by the MeTC, if indeed thereafter he felt humbled, was ready to case, of as many crimes charged in the Information.
unconditionally accept the verdict of the court and admit his liability. Consequently, in
appealing the Decision of the MeTC to the RTC, petitioner lost his right to probation.
For, plainly, the law considers appeal and probation mutually exclusive remedies. 17 Fourth. The application for probation was filed way beyond the period allowed by law.
This is vital way beyond the period allowed by law and crucial. From the records it is
clear that the application for probation was filed "only after a warrant for the arrest of
Third. Petitioner appealed to the RTC not to reduce or even correct the penalties imposed
petitioner had been issued . . . (and) almost two months after (his) receipt of the
by the MeTC, but to assert his innocence. Nothing more. The cold fact is that petitioner
Decision" 22 of the RTC. This is a significant fact which militates against the instant
petition. We quote with affirmance the well-written, albeit assailed, ponencia of now SO ORDERED.
Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals Nathanael P. De Pano, Jr., on the specific issue
— Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin and Regalado, JJ., concur.

. . . the petition for probation was filed by the petitioner out of time.
The law in point, Section 4 of P.D. 968, as amended, provides thus:

Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. — Subject to the


provisions of this Decree, the trial court may, after
it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant,
and upon application by said defendant within the
period for perfecting an appeal. . . . place the Separate Opinions
defendant on probation . . . .

Going to the extreme, and assuming that an application for probation


from one who had appealed the trial court's judgment is allowed by MENDOZA, J., dissenting:
law, the petitioner's plea for probation was filed out of time. In the
petition is a clear statement that the petitioner was up for execution of I vote to reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals in this case.
judgment before he filed his application for probation. P.D. No. 968
says that the application for probation must be filed "within the period
for perfecting an appeal;" but in this case, such period for appeal had I.
passed, meaning to say that the Regional Trial Court's decision had
attained finality, and no appeal therefrom was possible under the law. The principal basis for the affirmance of the decision of the Court of Appeals denying
Even granting that an appeal from the appellate court's judgment is probation is the fact that petitioner had appealed his sentence before filing his application
contemplated by P.D. 968, in addition to the judgment rendered by the for probation. Reliance is placed on the literal application of § 4 of the Probation Law of
trial court, that appellate judgment had become final and was, in fact, 1976 ,as amended, which provides as follows:
up for actual execution before the application for probation was
attempted by the petitioner. The petitioner did not file his application Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. — Subject to the provisions of this
for probation before the finality of the said judgment; therefore, the Decree, the trial court may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced
petitioner's attempt at probation was filed too late. a defendant, and upon application by said defendant within the period
for perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution of the sentence and
Our minds cannot simply rest easy on. the proposition that an application for probation place the defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms
may yet be granted even if it was filed only after judgment has become final, the and conditions as it may deem best; Provided, That no application for
conviction already set for execution and a warrant of arrest issued for service of sentence. probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected
the appeal from the judgment of conviction.
The argument that petitioner had to await the remand of the case to the MeTC, which
necessarily must be after the decision of the RTC had become final, for him to file the Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of
application for probation with the trial court, is to stretch the law beyond comprehension. imprisonment or a fine only probation shall be filed with the trial court
The law, simply, does not allow probation after an appeal has been perfected. application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal.

Accordingly, considering that prevailing jurisprudence treats appeal and probation as An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable.
mutually exclusive remedies, and petitioner appealed from his conviction by the MeTC
although the imposed penalties were already probationable, and in his appeal, he asserted Thus, under § 4 the accused is given the choice of appealing his sentence or applying for
only his innocence and did not even raise the issue of the propriety of the penalties probation. If he appeals, he cannot later apply for probation. If he opts for probation, he
imposed on him, and finally, he filed an application for probation outside the period for can not appeal. Implicit in the choice, however, is that the accused is not disqualified for
perfecting an appeal granting he was otherwise eligible for probation, the instant petition probation under any of the cases mentioned in § 9, to wit:
for review should be as it is hereby DENIED.
Sec. 9. Disqualified Offenders. — The benefits of this Decree shall not had originally sentenced him to 1 year and 1 day to 1 year and 8 months of prision
be extended to those: correccional for "each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the
information[s]." This meant, as the majority opinion points out, that petitioner had to
(a) sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than suffer the prison term of 1 year and 1 day to 1 year and 8 months sixteen times, since he
six years; was found guilty of four crimes of grave oral defamation in each of four cases. The
totality of the penalties imposed on petitioner (26 years and 8 months) thus exceeded the
limit of six (6) years of imprisonment allowed by § 9(a) and disqualified him for
(b) convicted of subversion or any crime against the national security
probation. It was only after this penalty was reduced on appeal to a straight penalty of
or the public order;
eight months imprisonment in each case or to a total term of 2 years and 8 months in the
four cases that petitioner became eligible for probation. Then he did not appeal further
(c) who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an although he could have done so.
offense punished by imprisonment of not less than one month and one
day and/or a fine of not less than Two Hundred Pesos.
The Court of Appeals, while acknowledging that "there may be some space not covered
by the present law on probation . . . where in its original state, the petitioner was
(d) who have been once on probation under the provisions of this disqualified from applying for probation under Sec. 9 of the Decree, becoming eligible
Decree; and for probation only under the terms of the judgment on appeal," nevertheless felt bound by
the letter of § 4: "No application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the
(e) who are already serving sentence at the time the substantive defendant has perfected the appeal from the judgment of conviction." The majority
provisions of this Decree became applicable pursuant to Section 33 opinion, affirming the ruling, states that to allow probation in this case would be to go
hereof. against the "clear and express mandate of sec. 4 of the Probation Law, as amended." (p.
9)
Consequently, if under the sentence given to him an accused is not qualified for
probation, as when the penalty imposed on him by the court singly or in their totality To regard probation, however, as a mere privilege, to be given to the accused only where
exceeds six (6) years but on appeal the sentence is modified so that he becomes qualified, it clearly appears he comes within its letter is to disregard the teaching in many cases that
I believe that the accused should not be denied the benefit of probation. the Probation Law should be applied in favor of the accused not because it is a criminal
law — it is not — but to achieve its beneficent purpose. (Santos To v. Paño, 120 SCRA
Before its amendment by P.D. No. 1990, the law allowed — even encouraged — 8, 14 (1983)). The niggardly application of the law would defeat its purpose to "help the
speculation on the outcome of appeals by permitting the accused to apply for probation probationer develop into a law-abiding and self-respecting individual" (Baclayon v.
after he had appealed and failed to obtain an acquittal. 1It was to change this that § 4 was Mutia, 129 SCRA 148, 149 (1984), per Teehankee, J.) or "afford [him] a chance to
amended by P.D. No. 1990 by expressly providing that "no application for probation reform and rehabilitate himself without the stigma of a prison record, to save government
shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the appeal from the funds that may otherwise be spent for his food and maintenance while incarcerated, and
judgment of conviction." For an accused, despite the fact that he is eligible for probation, to decongest the jails of the country." (Del Rosario v. Rosero, 126 SCRA 228, 232
may be tempted to appeal in the hope of obtaining an acquittal if he knows he can any (1983), per Makasiar, J.)
way apply for probation in the event his conviction is affirmed. 2
The approach followed by the Court in Atienza v. Court of Appeals, 140 SCRA 391, 395
There is, however, nothing in the amendatory Decree to suggest that in limiting the (1985) instead commends itself to me:
accused to the choice of either appealing from the decision of the trial court or applying
for probation, the purpose is to deny him the right to probation in cases like the one at bar Regarding this, it suffices to state that the Probation Law was never
where he becomes eligible for probation only because on appeal his sentence is reduced. intended to limit the right of an accused person to present all relevant
The purpose of the amendment, it bears repeating, is simply to prevent speculation or evidence he can avail of in order to secure a verdict of acquittal or a
opportunism on the part of an accused who; although eligible for probation, does not at reduction of the penalty. Neither does the law require a plea of guilty
once apply for probation, doing so only after failing in his appeal. on the part of the accused to enable him to avail of the benefits of
probation. A contrary view would certainly negate the constitutional
In the case at bar, it cannot be said that in appealing the decision MeTC petitioner was right of an accused to be presumed innocent until the contrary is
principally motivated by a desire to be acquitted. While acquittal might have been an proved.
alluring prospect for him, what is clear is that he had a reason for appealing because
under the sentence given to him he was disqualified to apply for probation. The MeTC As already stated, petitioner did not appeal primarily to seek acquittal. Proof of this is
that after the penalty imposed on him by the MeTC had been reduced by the RTC so that
he thereby became qualified for probation, he did not appeal further. The majority says The policy of the law indeed appears to be to treat as only one multiple sentences
that this was because he was afraid that if he did the penalty could be increased. That imposed in cases which are jointly tried and decided. For example, § 9(c) disqualifies
possibility, however, was also there when he appealed from the MeTC to the RTC. For from probation persons "who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an
by appealing the sentence of the MeTC, petitioner took as much risk that the penalty offense punished by imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and/or a fine
would be raised as the chance that he would he acquitted. of not less than Two Hundred Pesos. It was held in Rura v. Lopena, 137 SCRA 121
(1985) that the accused, who had been found guilty of estafa in five criminal cases, was
It is true that in appealing the sentence of the MeTC petitioner professed his innocence qualified for probation because although the crimes had been committed on different
and not simply questioned the propriety of his sentence, but no more so does an accused dates he was found guilty of each crime on the same day. As this Court noted, "Rura was
who, upon being arraigned, pleads, "Not Guilty." And yet the latter cannot be denied sentenced to a total prison term of seventeen (l7) months and twenty-five (25) days. In
probation if he is otherwise eligible for probation. each criminal case the sentence was three (3) months and fifteen (15) days.

It is argued that there is a difference because an accused who pleads "not guilty'' in the That the duration of a convict's sentence is determined by considering the totality of
beginning, later acknowledges his guilt and shows contrition after he is found guilty. So several penalties for different offenses committed is also implicit in the provisions of the
does an accused who appeals a sentence because under it he is not qualified for probation, Revised Penal Code on the accumulation of penalties. (See e.g., arts. 48 and 70)
but after the penalty is reduced, instead of appealing further, accepts the new sentence
and applies for probation. It is said that the basis of disqualification under § 9 is the gravity of the offense
committed and the penalty imposed. I agree. That is why I contend that a person who is
This case is thus distinguishable from Llamado v. Court of Appeals, 174 SCRA 566 convicted of multiple grave oral defamation for which the total prison term is, say, 6
(1989), in which it was held that because the petitioner had appealed his sentence, he years and 8 months, is guilty of a graver offense than another who is guilty of only
could not subsequently apply for probation. For, unlike petitioner in the case at bar, the offense of grave oral defamation and sentenced to a single penalty of 1 year and 8
accused in that case could have applied for probation as his original sentence of one year months. The relevant comparison is between an accused convicted of one offense of
of prision correccional did not disqualify him for probation. That case fell squarely grave oral defamation and another one convicted of the same offense, say four or more
within the ambit of the prohibition in § 4 that one who applies for probation must not times. The relevant comparison is not, as the majority says, between an accused found
"have perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction." guilty of grave oral defamation four or more times and another one found guilty of
mutilation and sentenced to an indeterminate term of 6 years and 1 day of prision
mayor to 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal.
II.
III.
It is contended that petitioner did not have to appeal because under the original sentence
meted out to him he was not disqualified for probation. The issue here is whether the
multiple prison terms imposed on petitioner are to be considered singly or in their totality Finally, it is said that there is a more fundamental reason for denying probation in this
for the purpose of § 9(a) which disqualifies from probation those "sentenced to serve a case and that is that petitioner applied for probation only after his case had been
maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years." remanded to the MeTC for the execution of its decision as modified. But that is because §
4 provides that "an application for probation shall be filed with the trial court." In the
circumstances of this case, petitioner had to await the remand of the case to the MeTC,
I submit that they should be taken in their totality. As the sentence originally imposed on which necessarily must be after the decision of the RTC had become final.
petitioner was for "one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months
of prision correccional in each crime committed on each date of each case" and as there
are four offenses of grave oral defamation against petitioner in each of the four cases, the The decision of the Court of Appeals should be REVERSED and respondent judge of the
total prison term which he would have to serve was 26 years and 8 months. This is clearly Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila should be ORDERED to GRANT
beyond the probationable maximum allowed by law. petitioner's application for probation.

It is said, however, that even if the totality of the prison terms is the test, the modified VITUG, J., concurring:
sentence imposed by the RTC would not qualify the petitioner for probation because he
has to suffer imprisonment of eight months sixteen times. That is not so. The RTC only While I subscribe to the observation made by Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in his
"sentence[d] the said accused in each case to STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT (8) dissenting opinion that an accused, who originally is not qualified for probation because
MONTHS imprisonment." This means eight (8) months times four (4), since there are the penalty imposed on him by a court a quoexceeds six (6) years, should not be denied
four cases, or 32 months or 2 years and 8 months. that benefit of probation if on appeal the sentence is ultimately reduced to within the
prescribed limit, I am unable, however, to second the other proposition that multiple
prison terms imposed by a court should be taken in their totality for purposes of Section 9 can not appeal. Implicit in the choice, however, is that the accused is not disqualified for
(a), P.D. No. 968. In this respect, I concur with Mr. Justice Josue Bellosillo in probation under any of the cases mentioned in § 9, to wit:
his ponencia that in determining the eligibility or disqualification of an applicant for
probation charged with, and sentenced to serve multiple prison terms for, several Sec. 9. Disqualified Offenders. — The benefits of this Decree shall not
offenses, "the number of offenses is immaterial as long as all the penalties imposed, taken be extended to those:
separately, are within the probationable period." The use of the word maximum instead of
the word total in Section 9, paragraph (a) of P.D. 968, as amended, should be enough to
reveal that such has been the legislative intent. (a) sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than
six years;
Thus, I still must vote for the denial of the petition.
(b) convicted of subversion or any crime against the national security
or the public order;

(c) who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an


offense punished by imprisonment of not less than one month and one
day and/or a fine of not less than Two Hundred Pesos.
Separate Opinions
(d) who have been once on probation under the provisions of this
MENDOZA, J., dissenting: Decree; and

I vote to reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals in this case. (e) who are already serving sentence at the time the substantive
provisions of this Decree became applicable pursuant to Section 33
I. hereof.

The principal basis for the affirmance of the decision of the Court of Appeals denying Consequently, if under the sentence given to him an accused is not qualified for
probation is the fact that petitioner had appealed his sentence before filing his application probation, as when the penalty imposed on him by the court singly or in their totality
for probation. Reliance is placed on the literal application of § 4 of the Probation Law of exceeds six (6) years but on appeal the sentence is modified so that he becomes qualified,
1976 ,as amended, which provides as follows: I believe that the accused should not be denied the benefit of probation.

Sec. 4. Grant of Probation. — Subject to the provisions of this Before its amendment by P.D. No. 1990, the law allowed — even encouraged —
Decree, the trial court may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced speculation on the outcome of appeals by permitting the accused to apply for probation
a defendant, and upon application by said defendant within the period after he had appealed and failed to obtain an acquittal. 1It was to change this that § 4 was
for perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution of the sentence and amended by P.D. No. 1990 by expressly providing that "no application for probation
place the defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the appeal from the
and conditions as it may deem best; Provided, That no application for judgment of conviction." For an accused, despite the fact that he is eligible for probation,
probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected may be tempted to appeal in the hope of obtaining an acquittal if he knows he can any
the appeal from the judgment of conviction. way apply for probation in the event his conviction is affirmed. 2

Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of There is, however, nothing in the amendatory Decree to suggest that in limiting the
imprisonment or a fine only probation shall be filed with the trial court accused to the choice of either appealing from the decision of the trial court or applying
application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal. for probation, the purpose is to deny him the right to probation in cases like the one at bar
where he becomes eligible for probation only because on appeal his sentence is reduced.
The purpose of the amendment, it bears repeating, is simply to prevent speculation or
An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable.
opportunism on the part of an accused who; although eligible for probation, does not at
once apply for probation, doing so only after failing in his appeal.
Thus, under § 4 the accused is given the choice of appealing his sentence or applying for
probation. If he appeals, he cannot later apply for probation. If he opts for probation, he
In the case at bar, it cannot be said that in appealing the decision MeTC petitioner was right of an accused to be presumed innocent until the contrary is
principally motivated by a desire to be acquitted. While acquittal might have been an proved.
alluring prospect for him, what is clear is that he had a reason for appealing because
under the sentence given to him he was disqualified to apply for probation. The MeTC As already stated, petitioner did not appeal primarily to seek acquittal. Proof of this is
had originally sentenced him to 1 year and 1 day to 1 year and 8 months of prision that after the penalty imposed on him by the MeTC had been reduced by the RTC so that
correccional for "each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the he thereby became qualified for probation, he did not appeal further. The majority says
information[s]." This meant, as the majority opinion points out, that petitioner had to that this was because he was afraid that if he did the penalty could be increased. That
suffer the prison term of 1 year and 1 day to 1 year and 8 months sixteen times, since he possibility, however, was also there when he appealed from the MeTC to the RTC. For
was found guilty of four crimes of grave oral defamation in each of four cases. The by appealing the sentence of the MeTC, petitioner took as much risk that the penalty
totality of the penalties imposed on petitioner (26 years and 8 months) thus exceeded the would be raised as the chance that he would he acquitted.
limit of six (6) years of imprisonment allowed by § 9(a) and disqualified him for
probation. It was only after this penalty was reduced on appeal to a straight penalty of
eight months imprisonment in each case or to a total term of 2 years and 8 months in the It is true that in appealing the sentence of the MeTC petitioner professed his innocence
four cases that petitioner became eligible for probation. Then he did not appeal further and not simply questioned the propriety of his sentence, but no more so does an accused
although he could have done so. who, upon being arraigned, pleads, "Not Guilty." And yet the latter cannot be denied
probation if he is otherwise eligible for probation.
The Court of Appeals, while acknowledging that "there may be some space not covered
It is argued that there is a difference because an accused who pleads "not guilty'' in the
by the present law on probation . . . where in its original state, the petitioner was
beginning, later acknowledges his guilt and shows contrition after he is found guilty. So
disqualified from applying for probation under Sec. 9 of the Decree, becoming eligible
for probation only under the terms of the judgment on appeal," nevertheless felt bound by does an accused who appeals a sentence because under it he is not qualified for probation,
the letter of § 4: "No application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the but after the penalty is reduced, instead of appealing further, accepts the new sentence
and applies for probation.
defendant has perfected the appeal from the judgment of conviction." The majority
opinion, affirming the ruling, states that to allow probation in this case would be to go
against the "clear and express mandate of sec. 4 of the Probation Law, as amended." (p. This case is thus distinguishable from Llamado v. Court of Appeals, 174 SCRA 566
9) (1989), in which it was held that because the petitioner had appealed his sentence, he
could not subsequently apply for probation. For, unlike petitioner in the case at bar, the
accused in that case could have applied for probation as his original sentence of one year
To regard probation, however, as a mere privilege, to be given to the accused only where
of prision correccional did not disqualify him for probation. That case fell squarely
it clearly appears he comes within its letter is to disregard the teaching in many cases that
within the ambit of the prohibition in § 4 that one who applies for probation must not
the Probation Law should be applied in favor of the accused not because it is a criminal
"have perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction."
law — it is not — but to achieve its beneficent purpose. (Santos To v. Paño, 120 SCRA
8, 14 (1983)). The niggardly application of the law would defeat its purpose to "help the
probationer develop into a law-abiding and self-respecting individual" (Baclayon v. II.
Mutia, 129 SCRA 148, 149 (1984), per Teehankee, J.) or "afford [him] a chance to
reform and rehabilitate himself without the stigma of a prison record, to save government It is contended that petitioner did not have to appeal because under the original sentence
funds that may otherwise be spent for his food and maintenance while incarcerated, and meted out to him he was not disqualified for probation. The issue here is whether the
to decongest the jails of the country." (Del Rosario v. Rosero, 126 SCRA 228, 232 multiple prison terms imposed on petitioner are to be considered singly or in their totality
(1983), per Makasiar, J.) for the purpose of § 9(a) which disqualifies from probation those "sentenced to serve a
maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years."
The approach followed by the Court in Atienza v. Court of Appeals, 140 SCRA 391, 395
(1985) instead commends itself to me: I submit that they should be taken in their totality. As the sentence originally imposed on
petitioner was for "one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months
Regarding this, it suffices to state that the Probation Law was never of prision correccional in each crime committed on each date of each case" and as there
intended to limit the right of an accused person to present all relevant are four offenses of grave oral defamation against petitioner in each of the four cases, the
evidence he can avail of in order to secure a verdict of acquittal or a total prison term which he would have to serve was 26 years and 8 months. This is clearly
reduction of the penalty. Neither does the law require a plea of guilty beyond the probationable maximum allowed by law.
on the part of the accused to enable him to avail of the benefits of
probation. A contrary view would certainly negate the constitutional It is said, however, that even if the totality of the prison terms is the test, the modified
sentence imposed by the RTC would not qualify the petitioner for probation because he
has to suffer imprisonment of eight months sixteen times. That is not so. The RTC only While I subscribe to the observation made by Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in his
"sentence[d] the said accused in each case to STRAIGHT penalty of EIGHT (8) dissenting opinion that an accused, who originally is not qualified for probation because
MONTHS imprisonment." This means eight (8) months times four (4), since there are the penalty imposed on him by a court a quoexceeds six (6) years, should not be denied
four cases, or 32 months or 2 years and 8 months. that benefit of probation if on appeal the sentence is ultimately reduced to within the
prescribed limit, I am unable, however, to second the other proposition that multiple
The policy of the law indeed appears to be to treat as only one multiple sentences prison terms imposed by a court should be taken in their totality for purposes of Section 9
imposed in cases which are jointly tried and decided. For example, § 9(c) disqualifies (a), P.D. No. 968. In this respect, I concur with Mr. Justice Josue Bellosillo in
from probation persons "who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an his ponencia that in determining the eligibility or disqualification of an applicant for
offense punished by imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and/or a fine probation charged with, and sentenced to serve multiple prison terms for, several
of not less than Two Hundred Pesos. It was held in Rura v. Lopena, 137 SCRA 121 offenses, "the number of offenses is immaterial as long as all the penalties imposed, taken
(1985) that the accused, who had been found guilty of estafa in five criminal cases, was separately, are within the probationable period." The use of the word maximum instead of
qualified for probation because although the crimes had been committed on different the word total in Section 9, paragraph (a) of P.D. 968, as amended, should be enough to
dates he was found guilty of each crime on the same day. As this Court noted, "Rura was reveal that such has been the legislative intent.
sentenced to a total prison term of seventeen (l7) months and twenty-five (25) days. In
each criminal case the sentence was three (3) months and fifteen (15) days. Thus, I still must vote for the denial of the petition.

That the duration of a convict's sentence is determined by considering the totality of


several penalties for different offenses committed is also implicit in the provisions of the
Revised Penal Code on the accumulation of penalties. (See e.g., arts. 48 and 70)

It is said that the basis of disqualification under § 9 is the gravity of the offense
committed and the penalty imposed. I agree. That is why I contend that a person who is
convicted of multiple grave oral defamation for which the total prison term is, say, 6
years and 8 months, is guilty of a graver offense than another who is guilty of only
offense of grave oral defamation and sentenced to a single penalty of 1 year and 8
months. The relevant comparison is between an accused convicted of one offense of
grave oral defamation and another one convicted of the same offense, say four or more
times. The relevant comparison is not, as the majority says, between an accused found
guilty of grave oral defamation four or more times and another one found guilty of
mutilation and sentenced to an indeterminate term of 6 years and 1 day of prision
mayor to 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal.

III.

Finally, it is said that there is a more fundamental reason for denying probation in this
case and that is that petitioner applied for probation only after his case had been
remanded to the MeTC for the execution of its decision as modified. But that is because §
4 provides that "an application for probation shall be filed with the trial court." In the
circumstances of this case, petitioner had to await the remand of the case to the MeTC,
which necessarily must be after the decision of the RTC had become final.

The decision of the Court of Appeals should be REVERSED and respondent judge of the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila should be ORDERED to GRANT
petitioner's application for probation.

VITUG, J., concurring:


Republic of the Philippines law (Reports of the Code Commission, pp. 46-47). But respondents argue that the term
SUPREME COURT "physical injuries" is used to designate a specific crime defined in the Revised Penal
Manila Code, and therefore said term should be understood in its peculiar and technical sense, in
accordance with the rules statutory construction (Sec. 578, 59 C. J. 979).
EN BANC
In the case at bar, the accused was charged with and convicted of the crime of frustrated
G.R. No. L-8238 May 25, 1955 homicide, and while it was found in the criminal case that a wound was inflicted by the
defendant on the body of the petitioner herein Cesar Carandang, which wound is bodily
injury, the crime committed is not physical injuries but frustrated homicide, for the
CESAR M. CARANDANG, petitioner,
reason that the infliction of the wound is attended by the intent to kill. So the question
vs.
arises whether the term "physical injuries" used in Article 33 means physical injuries in
VICENTE SANTIAGO, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of the Revised Penal Code only, or any physical injury or bodily injury, whether inflicted
Manila and TOMAS VALENTON, Sr. and TOMAS VALENTON, Jr., respondents.
with intent to kill or not.

S. Mejia-Panganiban for petitioner.


The Article in question uses the words "defamation", "fraud" and "physical injuries."
Evangelista and Valenton for respondents.
Defamation and fraud are used in their ordinary sense because there are no specific
provisions in the Revised Penal Code using these terms as means of offenses defined
LABRADOR, J.: therein, so that these two terms defamation and fraud must have been used not to impart
to them any technical meaning in the laws of the Philippines, but in their generic sense.
This is a petition for certiorari against Honorable Vicente Santiago, Judge of the Court of With this apparent circumstance in mind, it is evident that the term "physical injuries"
First Instance of Manila, to annul his order in Civil Case No. 21173, entitled Cesar M. could not have been used in its specific sense as a crime defined in the Revised Penal
Carandang vs. Tomas Valenton, Sr. et al., suspending the trial of said civil case to await Code, for it is difficult to believe that the Code Commission would have used terms in the
the result of the criminal Case No. 534, Court of First Instance of Batangas. In this same article — some in their general and another in its technical sense. In other words,
criminal case, Tomas Valenton, Jr. was found guilty of the crime of frustrated homicide the term "physical injuries" should be understood to mean bodily injury, not the crime of
committed against the person of Cesar Carandang, petitioner herein. Tomas Valenton, Jr. physical injuries, because the terms used with the latter are general terms. In any case the
appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals where the case is now pending. Code Commission recommended that the civil for assault and battery in American Law,
and this recommendation must have been accepted by the Legislature when it approved
The decision of the Court of First Instance of Batangas in the criminal case was rendered the article intact as recommended. If the intent has been to establish a civil action for the
on September 1, 1953 and petitioner herein filed a complaint in the Court of First bodily harm received by the complainant similar to the civil action for assault and
Instance of Manila to recover from the defendant Tomas Valenton, Jr. and his parents, battery, as the Code Commission states, the civil action should lie whether the offense
damages, both actual and moral, for the bodily injuries received by him on occasion of committed is that of physical injuries, or frustrated homicide, or attempted homicide, or
the commission of the crime of frustrated homicide by said accused Tomas Valenton Jr. even death.
After the defendants submitted their answer, they presented a motion to suspend the trial
of the civil case, pending the termination of the criminal case against Tomas Valenton, Jr. A parallel case arose in that of Bixby vs Sioux City, 164 N. W. 641, 643. In that case, the
in the Court of Appeals. The judge ruled that the trial of the civil action must await the appellant sought to take his case from the scope of the statute by pointing out that
result of the criminal case on appeal. A motion for reconsideration was submitted, but the inasmuch as notice is required where the cause of action is founded on injury to the
court denied the same; hence this petition for certiorari. person, it has no application when the damages sought are for the death of the
person. The court ruled that a claim to recover for death resulting from personal injury is
Petitioner invokes Article 33 of the new Civil Code, which is as follows: as certainly "founded on injury to the person" as would be a claim to recover damages for
a non-fatal injury resulting in a crippled body.
In cases of defamation, fraud and physical injuries, a civil action for damages,
entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the For the foregoing considerations, we find that the respondent judge committed an error in
injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal suspending the trial of the civil case, and his order to that affect is hereby revoked, and he
prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. is hereby ordered to proceed with the trial of said civil case without awaiting the result of
the pending criminal case. With costs against the defendant-appellees.
The Code Commission itself states that the civil action allowed (under Article 33) is
similar to the action in tort for libel or slander and assault and battery under American Pablo, Acting C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo,
Concepcion and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ.,concur.
Republic of the Philippines painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar
SUPREME COURT means, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium
Manila periods or a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the
EN BANC civil action which may be brought by the offended party.
G.R. No. L-17663 May 30, 1962
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, ART. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is a public and malicious imputation of
vs. a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission,
ISAURO SANTIAGO, defendant-appellee. condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellant. contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who
Roces, Alidio and Ceguera for defendant-appellee. is dead.
CONCEPCION, J.:
The information herein alleges that defendant Isauro Santiago has committed the crime of
"libel" as follows: The prosecution maintains that "the medium of an amplifier system", thru which the
defamatory statements imputed to the accused were allegedly made, falls within the
purview of the terms "writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph,
That on or about the 5th day of October 1959, in the City of Manila, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means",
Philippines, the said accused, for the evident purpose of injuring the name and appearing in said Article 355, in the sense, at least, that in "amplifier system" is a means
reputation of Arsenio H. Lacson, and of impeaching and besmirching the latter's "similar" to "radio".
virtue, honesty, honor and reputation, and with the malicious intent of exposing
him to public hatred, contempt and ridicule, did then and there wilfully,
feloniously, maliciously and publicly call said Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson, in the This pretense is untenable. To begin with, as correctly stated in defendant's brief, "radio
course of a political speech delivered at 392 Fraternal, Quiapo, in said city, thru as a means of publication is "the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves
the medium of an amplifier system and before a crowd of around a hundred without conducting wires intervening between transmitter and receiver" (Library of
persons, the following, to wit: "Arsenio Hayop Lacson, pinakawalang hiyang Universal Knowledge)" (see, also, 18 Encyclopedia Britanica, p. 285), "while
Alkalde, Mayor Lacson raped a woman at the Aroma Cafe and another City transmission of words by means of an amplifier system", such as the one mentioned in
Hall employee in Shellborne Hotel", which are false, malicious and highly the information, "is not thru "electromagnetic waves" and is with the use of "conducting
wires" intervening between the transmitter . . . and the receiver . . . .
defamatory statements against Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson, delivered with no
good intentions or justifiable motive, but solely for the purpose of injuring the
name and reputation of said Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson and to expose him to Secondly, even the word "radio" used in said Article 355, should be considered in
public hatred, contempt and ridicule. relation to the terms with which it is associated — "writing, printing, lithography,
engraving . . . phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition or cinematographical
Defendant moved to quash this information upon the ground that the crime charged exhibition" — all of which have a common characteristic, namely, their permanent nature
therein is, not libel, but oral defamation, which has already prescribed, it having been as a means of publication, and this explains the graver penalty for libel than that
allegedly committed on October 5, 1959, or more than six (6) months prior to the filing of prescribed for oral defamation. Thus, it has been held that slanderous statements forming
the information on August 11, 1960. The Court of First Instance of Manila granted this part of a manuscript read by a speaker over the radio constitute libel (Sorensen vs. Wood,
motion and, accordingly, quashed the information, with costs de oficio. Hence, this 243 N.W. 82, 82 A.L.R. 1109; Nules vs. Wasner, 20 P. [2d] 487, 104 A.L.R. 877),
appeal by the prosecution. whereas the rules governing such offense were declared inapplicable to extemporaneous
remarks of scurrilous nature, made ad libitum in the course of a radio broadcast by a
person hired to read a prepared text, but not appearing thereon (Summit Hotel Co. vs.
The only issue in this case is whether the crime charged in the information is oral National Broadcasting Co., PA-124 A.L.R. 963).1äwphï1.ñët
defamation, under Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, or libel, under Article 355, in
relation to Article 353, of the same Code. Said provisions read:
IN SHORT, the facts alleged in the information constitute the crime of oral defamation
punished in Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, which prescribed six (6) months after
ART. 358. Slander. — Oral defamation shall be punished by arresto mayor in its commission, or on April 5, 1960 (Articles 90 and 91, Revised Penal Code), over four
its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period if it is of a (4) months before the filing of said information, in view of which the order appealed
serious and insulting nature; otherwise the penalty shall bearresto menor or a from is affirmed, without special pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.
fine not exceeding 200 pesos".
Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.
ART. 355. Libel by means of writings or similar means. — A libel committed Bengzon, C.J., is on leave.
by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph,
Republic of the Philippines forth in the petition, but the justification for the prohibition was premised on a provision
SUPREME COURT of the Constitutional Convention Act, 2which made it unlawful for candidates "to
Manila purchase, produce, request or distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda gadgets
such as pens, lighters, fans (of whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials,
EN BANC wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or
foreign origin." 3It was its contention that the jingle proposed to be used by petitioner is
the recorded or taped voice of a singer and therefore a tangible propaganda material,
G.R. No. L-32717 November 26, 1970
under the above statute subject to confiscation. It prayed that the petition be denied for
lack of merit. The case was argued, on November 3, 1970, with petitioner appearing in
AMELITO R. MUTUC, petitioner, his behalf and Attorney Romulo C. Felizmena arguing in behalf of respondent.
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
This Court, after deliberation and taking into account the need for urgency, the election
being barely a week away, issued on the afternoon of the same day, a minute resolution
Amelito R. Mutuc in his own behalf. granting the writ of prohibition, setting forth the absence of statutory authority on the part
of respondent to impose such a ban in the light of the doctrine ofejusdem generis as well
Romulo C. Felizmena for respondent. as the principle that the construction placed on the statute by respondent Commission on
Elections would raise serious doubts about its validity, considering the infringement of
the right of free speech of petitioner. Its concluding portion was worded thus:
"Accordingly, as prayed for, respondent Commission on Elections is permanently
restrained and prohibited from enforcing or implementing or demanding compliance with
FERNANDO, J.: its aforesaid order banning the use of political jingles by candidates. This resolution is
immediately executory." 4
The invocation of his right to free speech by petitioner Amelito Mutuc, then a candidate
for delegate to the Constitutional Convention, in this special civil action for prohibition to 1. As made clear in our resolution of November 3, 1970, the question before us was one
assail the validity of a ruling of respondent Commission on Elections enjoining the use of of power. Respondent Commission on Elections was called upon to justify such a
a taped jingle for campaign purposes, was not in vain. Nor could it be considering the prohibition imposed on petitioner. To repeat, no such authority was granted by the
conceded absence of any express power granted to respondent by the Constitutional Constitutional Convention Act. It did contend, however, that one of its provisions
Convention Act to so require and the bar to any such implication arising from any referred to above makes unlawful the distribution of electoral propaganda gadgets,
provision found therein, if deference be paid to the principle that a statute is to be mention being made of pens, lighters, fans, flashlights, athletic goods or materials,
construed consistently with the fundamental law, which accords the utmost priority to wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, and cigarettes, and concluding with the words
freedom of expression, much more so when utilized for electoral purposes. On November "and the like." 5 For respondent Commission, the last three words sufficed to justify such
3, 1970, the very same day the case was orally argued, five days after its filing, with the an order. We view the matter differently. What was done cannot merit our approval under
election barely a week away, we issued a minute resolution granting the writ of the well-known principle of ejusdem generis, the general words following any
prohibition prayed for. This opinion is intended to explain more fully our decision. enumeration being applicable only to things of the same kind or class as those
specifically referred to. 6 It is quite apparent that what was contemplated in the Act was
In this special civil action for prohibition filed on October 29, 1970, petitioner, after the distribution of gadgets of the kind referred to as a means of inducement to obtain a
setting forth his being a resident of Arayat, Pampanga, and his candidacy for the position favorable vote for the candidate responsible for its distribution.
of delegate to the Constitutional Convention, alleged that respondent Commission on
Elections, by a telegram sent to him five days previously, informed him that his The more serious objection, however, to the ruling of respondent Commission was its
certificate of candidacy was given due course but prohibited him from using jingles in his failure to manifest fealty to a cardinal principle of construction that a statute should be
mobile units equipped with sound systems and loud speakers, an order which, according interpreted to assure its being in consonance with, rather than repugnant to, any
to him, is "violative of [his] constitutional right ... to freedom of speech." 1 There being constitutional command or prescription. 7 Thus, certain Administrative Code provisions
no plain, speedy and adequate remedy, according to petitioner, he would seek a writ of were given a "construction which should be more in harmony with the tenets of the
prohibition, at the same time praying for a preliminary injunction. On the very next day, fundamental law." 8 The desirability of removing in that fashion the taint of constitutional
this Court adopted a resolution requiring respondent Commission on Elections to file an infirmity from legislative enactments has always commended itself. The judiciary may
answer not later than November 2, 1970, at the same time setting the case for hearing for even strain the ordinary meaning of words to avert any collision between what a statute
Tuesday November 3, 1970. No preliminary injunction was issued. There was no denial provides and what the Constitution requires. The objective is to reach an interpretation
in the answer filed by respondent on November 2, 1970, of the factual allegations set rendering it free from constitutional defects. To paraphrase Justice Cardozo, if at all
possible, the conclusion reached must avoid not only that it is unconstitutional, but also orderly and honest elections be adequately fulfilled. 13 There could be no justification
grave doubts upon that score. 9 then for lending approval to any ruling or order issuing from respondent Commission, the
effect of which would be to nullify so vital a constitutional right as free speech.
2. Petitioner's submission of his side of the controversy, then, has in its favor obeisance to Petitioner's case, as was obvious from the time of its filing, stood on solid footing.
such a cardinal precept. The view advanced by him that if the above provision of the
Constitutional Convention Act were to lend itself to the view that the use of the taped WHEREFORE, as set forth in our resolution of November 3, 1970, respondent
jingle could be prohibited, then the challenge of unconstitutionality would be difficult to Commission is permanently restrained and prohibited from enforcing or implementing or
meet. For, in unequivocal language, the Constitution prohibits an abridgment of free demanding compliance with its aforesaid order banning the use of political taped jingles.
speech or a free press. It has been our constant holding that this preferred freedom calls Without pronouncement as to costs.
all the more for the utmost respect when what may be curtailed is the dissemination of
information to make more meaningful the equally vital right of suffrage. What Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Barredo and Villamor, JJ.,
respondent Commission did, in effect, was to impose censorship on petitioner, an evil concur.
against which this constitutional right is directed. Nor could respondent Commission
justify its action by the assertion that petitioner, if he would not resort to taped jingle,
Dizon and Makasiar, JJ., are on leave.
would be free, either by himself or through others, to use his mobile loudspeakers.
Precisely, the constitutional guarantee is not to be emasculated by confining it to a
speaker having his say, but not perpetuating what is uttered by him through tape or other Separate Opinions
mechanical contrivances. If this Court were to sustain respondent Commission, then the
effect would hardly be distinguishable from a previous restraint. That cannot be validly TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
done. It would negate indirectly what the Constitution in express terms assures. 10
In line with my separate opinion in Badoy vs. Ferrer 1 on the unconstitutionality of the
3. Nor is this all. The concept of the Constitution as the fundamental law, setting forth the challenged provisions of the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, I concur with the views
criterion for the validity of any public act whether proceeding from the highest official or of Mr. Justice Fernando in the main opinion that "there could be no justification .... for
the lowest functionary, is a postulate of our system of government. That is to manifest lending approval to any ruling or order issuing from respondent Commission, the effect
fealty to the rule of law, with priority accorded to that which occupies the topmost rung of which would be to nullify so vital a constitutional right as free speech." I would only
in the legal hierarchy. The three departments of government in the discharge of the add the following observations:
functions with which it is entrusted have no choice but to yield obedience to its
commands. Whatever limits it imposes must be observed. Congress in the enactment of This case once again calls for application of the constitutional test of reasonableness
statutes must ever be on guard lest the restrictions on its authority, whether substantive or required by the due process clause of our Constitution. Originally, respondent
formal, be transcended. The Presidency in the execution of the laws cannot ignore or Commission in its guidelines prescribed summarily that the use by a candidate of a
disregard what it ordains. In its task of applying the law to the facts as found in deciding "mobile unit — roaming around and announcing a meeting and the name of the candidate
cases, the judiciary is called upon to maintain inviolate what is decreed by the ... is prohibited. If it is used only for a certain place for a meeting and he uses his sound
fundamental law. Even its power of judicial review to pass upon the validity of the acts of system at the meeting itself, there is no violation." 2Acting upon petitioner's application,
the coordinate branches in the course of adjudication is a logical corollary of this basic however, respondent Commission ruled that "the use of a sound system by anyone be he
principle that the Constitution is paramount. It overrides any governmental measure that a candidate or not whether stationary or part of a mobile unit is not prohibited by the
fails to live up to its mandates. Thereby there is a recognition of its being the supreme 1971 Constitutional Convention Act" but imposed the condition — "provided that there
law. are no jingles and no streamers or posters placed in carriers."

To be more specific, the competence entrusted to respondent Commission was aptly Respondent Commission's narrow view is that "the use of a 'jingle,' a verbally recorded
summed up by the present Chief Justice thus: "Lastly, as the branch of form of election propaganda, is no different from the use of a 'streamer' or 'poster,' a
the executive department — although independent of the President — to which the printed form of election propaganda, and both forms of election advertisement fall under
Constitution has given the 'exclusive charge' of the 'enforcement and administration of all the prohibition contained in sec. 12 of R.A. 6132," and "the record disc or tape where
laws relative to the conduct of elections,' the power of decision of the Commission is said 'jingle' has been recorded can be subject of confiscation by the respondent
limited to purely 'administrative questions.'"11 It has been the constant holding of this Commission under par. (E) of sec. 12 of R.A. 6132." In this modern day and age of the
Court, as it could not have been otherwise, that respondent Commission cannot exercise electronically recorded or taped voice which may be easily and inexpensively
any authority in conflict with or outside of the law, and there is no higher law than the disseminated through a mobile sound system throughout the candidate's district,
Constitution.12 Our decisions which liberally construe its powers are precisely inspired by respondent Commission would outlaw "recorded or taped voices" and would exact of the
the thought that only thus may its responsibility under the Constitution to insure free, candidate that he make use of the mobile sound system only by personal
transmission and repeatedly personally sing his "jingle" or deliver his spoken message to ... is prohibited. If it is used only for a certain place for a meeting and he uses his sound
the voters even if he loses his voice in the process or employ another person to do so system at the meeting itself, there is no violation." 2Acting upon petitioner's application,
personally even if this should prove more expensive and less effective than using a however, respondent Commission ruled that "the use of a sound system by anyone be he
recorded or taped voice. a candidate or not whether stationary or part of a mobile unit is not prohibited by the
1971 Constitutional Convention Act" but imposed the condition — "provided that there
Respondent Commission's strictures clearly violate, therefore, petitioner's basic freedom are no jingles and no streamers or posters placed in carriers."
of speech and expression. They cannot pass the constitutional test of reasonableness in
that they go far beyond a reasonable relation to the proper governmental object and are Respondent Commission's narrow view is that "the use of a 'jingle,' a verbally recorded
manifestly unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary. form of election propaganda, is no different from the use of a 'streamer' or 'poster,' a
printed form of election propaganda, and both forms of election advertisement fall under
Insofar as the placing of the candidate's "streamers" or posters on the mobile unit or the prohibition contained in sec. 12 of R.A. 6132," and "the record disc or tape where
carrier is concerned, respondent Commission's adverse ruling that the same falls within said 'jingle' has been recorded can be subject of confiscation by the respondent
the prohibition of section 12, paragraphs (C) and (E) has not been appealed by petitioner. Commission under par. (E) of sec. 12 of R.A. 6132." In this modern day and age of the
I would note that respondent Commission's premise that "the use of a 'jingle' ... is no electronically recorded or taped voice which may be easily and inexpensively
different from the use of a 'streamer' or 'poster' "in that these both represent forms of disseminated through a mobile sound system throughout the candidate's district,
election advertisements — to make the candidate and the fact of his candidacy known to respondent Commission would outlaw "recorded or taped voices" and would exact of the
the voters — is correct, but its conclusion is not. The campaign appeal of the "jingle" is candidate that he make use of the mobile sound system only by personal
through the voters' ears while that of the "streamers" is through the voters' eyes. But if it transmission and repeatedly personally sing his "jingle" or deliver his spoken message to
be held that the Commission's ban on "jingles" abridges unreasonably, oppressively and the voters even if he loses his voice in the process or employ another person to do so
arbitrarily the candidate's right of free expression, even though such "jingles" may personally even if this should prove more expensive and less effective than using a
occasionally offend some sensitive ears, the Commission's ban on "streamers" being recorded or taped voice.
placed on the candidate's mobile unit or carrier, which "streamers" are less likely to
offend the voters' sense of sight should likewise be held to be an unreasonable, Respondent Commission's strictures clearly violate, therefore, petitioner's basic freedom
oppressive and arbitrary curtailment of the candidate's same constitutional right. of speech and expression. They cannot pass the constitutional test of reasonableness in
that they go far beyond a reasonable relation to the proper governmental object and are
The intent of the law to minimize election expenses as invoked by respondent manifestly unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary.
Commission, laudable as it may be, should not be sought at the cost of the candidate's
constitutional rights in the earnest pursuit of his candidacy, but is to be fulfilled in the Insofar as the placing of the candidate's "streamers" or posters on the mobile unit or
strict and effective implementation of the Act's limitation in section 12(G) on the total carrier is concerned, respondent Commission's adverse ruling that the same falls within
expenditures that may be made by a candidate or by another person with his knowledge the prohibition of section 12, paragraphs (C) and (E) has not been appealed by petitioner.
and consent. I would note that respondent Commission's premise that "the use of a 'jingle' ... is no
different from the use of a 'streamer' or 'poster' "in that these both represent forms of
# Separate Opinions election advertisements — to make the candidate and the fact of his candidacy known to
the voters — is correct, but its conclusion is not. The campaign appeal of the "jingle" is
through the voters' ears while that of the "streamers" is through the voters' eyes. But if it
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
be held that the Commission's ban on "jingles" abridges unreasonably, oppressively and
arbitrarily the candidate's right of free expression, even though such "jingles" may
In line with my separate opinion in Badoy vs. Ferrer 1 on the unconstitutionality of the occasionally offend some sensitive ears, the Commission's ban on "streamers" being
challenged provisions of the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, I concur with the views placed on the candidate's mobile unit or carrier, which "streamers" are less likely to
of Mr. Justice Fernando in the main opinion that "there could be no justification .... for offend the voters' sense of sight should likewise be held to be an unreasonable,
lending approval to any ruling or order issuing from respondent Commission, the effect oppressive and arbitrary curtailment of the candidate's same constitutional right.
of which would be to nullify so vital a constitutional right as free speech." I would only
add the following observations:
The intent of the law to minimize election expenses as invoked by respondent
Commission, laudable as it may be, should not be sought at the cost of the candidate's
This case once again calls for application of the constitutional test of reasonableness constitutional rights in the earnest pursuit of his candidacy, but is to be fulfilled in the
required by the due process clause of our Constitution. Originally, respondent strict and effective implementation of the Act's limitation in section 12(G) on the total
Commission in its guidelines prescribed summarily that the use by a candidate of a expenditures that may be made by a candidate or by another person with his knowledge
"mobile unit — roaming around and announcing a meeting and the name of the candidate and consent.
Republic of the Philippines marked, with the words, "This milk is not suitable for nourishment for
SUPREME COURT infants less than one year of age," or with other equivalent words.
Manila
FIRST DIVISION The Court issued a writ of preliminary injunction dated February 16, 1963 restraining the
G.R. No. L-33693-94 May 31, 1979 Commissioner of Internal Revenue from requiring plaintiffs' private respondents to print
MISAEL P. VERA, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and THE FAIR TRADE on the labels of their rifled milk products the words, "This milk is not suitable for
BOARD, petitioner, nourishment for infants less than one year of age or words of similar import, " as directed
vs. by the above quoted provision of Law, and from taking any action to enforce the above
HON. SERAFIN R. CUEVAS, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, legal provision against the plaintiffs' private respondents in connection with their rifled
Branch IV, INSTITUTE OF EVAPORATED FILLED MILK MANUFACTURERS milk products, pending the final determination of the case, Civil Case No. 52276, on the
OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., CONSOLIDATED MILK COMPANY (PHIL.) merits.
INC., and MILK INDUSTRIES, INC., respondents.
Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio and Solicitor Bernardo P. Pardo for petitioners.
Sycip, Salazar, Luna, Manalo & Feliciano for private respondents. On July 25, 1969, however, the Office of the Solicitor General brought an appeal from
the said order by way of certiorari to the Supreme Court. 1 In view thereof, the respondent
court in the meantime suspended disposition of these cases but in view of the absence of
DE CASTRO, J.:
any injunction or restraining order from the Supreme Court, it resumed action on them
This is a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction to review the decision
until their final disposition therein.
rendered by respondent judge, in Civil Case No. 52276 and in Special Civil Action No.
52383 both of the Court of First Instance of Manila.
Special Civil Action No. 52383, on the other hand, is an action for prohibition and
Plaintiffs, in Civil Case No. 52276 private respondents herein, are engaged in the injunction with a petition for preliminary injunction. Petitioners therein pray that the
manufacture, sale and distribution of filled milk products throughout the Philippines. The respondent Fair Trade Board desist from further proceeding with FTB I.S. No. I . entitled
products of private respondent, Consolidated Philippines Inc. are marketed and sold "Antonio R. de Joya vs. Institute of Evaporated Milk Manufacturers of the Philippines,
under the brand Darigold whereas those of private respondent, General Milk Company etc." pending final determination of Civil Case No. 52276. The facts of this special civil
(Phil.), Inc., under the brand "Liberty;" and those of private respondent, Milk Industries action show that on December 7, 1962, Antonio R. de Joya and Sufronio Carrasco, both
Inc., under the brand "Dutch Baby." Private respondent, Institute of Evaporated Filled in their individual capacities and in their capacities as Public Relations Counsel and
President of the Philippine Association of Nutrition, respectively, filed FTB I.S. No. 1
Milk Manufacturers of the Philippines, is a corporation organized for the principal
with Fair Trade Board for misleading advertisement, mislabeling and/or misbranding.
purpose of upholding and maintaining at its highest the standards of local filled milk
industry, of which all the other private respondents are members. Among other things, the complaint filed include the charge of omitting to state in their
labels any statement sufficient to Identify their filled milk products as "imitation milk" or
as an imitation of genuine cows milk. and omitting to mark the immediate containers of
Civil Case No. 52276 is an action for declaratory relief with ex-parte petition for their filled milk products with the words: "This milk is not suitable for nourishment for
preliminary injunction wherein plaintiffs pray for an adjudication of their respective infants less than one year of age or with other equivalent words as required under Section
rights and obligations in relation to the enforcement of Section 169 of the Tax Code 169 of the Tax Code. The Board proceeded to hear the complaint until it received the writ
against their filled milk products. of preliminary injunction issued by the Court of First Instance on March 19, 1963.

The controversy arose from the order of defendant, Commissioner of Internal Revenue Upon agreement of the parties, Civil Case No. 52276 and Special Civil Action No. 52383
now petitioner herein, requiring plaintiffs- private respondents to withdraw from the were heard jointly being intimately related with each other, with common facts and issues
market all of their filled milk products which do not bear the inscription required by being also involved therein. On April 16, 1971, the respondent court issued its decision,
Section 169 of the Tax Code within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the order with the the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
explicit warning that failure of plaintiffs' private respondents to comply with said order
will result in the institution of the necessary action against any violation of the aforesaid
order. Section 169 of the Tax Code reads as follows: Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered:

In Civil Case No. 52276:


Section 169. Inscription to be placed on skimmed milk. — All
condensed skimmed milk and all milk in whatever form, from which
the fatty part has been removed totally or in part, sold or put on sale in (a) Perpetually restraining the defendant, Commissioner of Internal
the Philippines shall be clearly and legibly marked on its immediate Revenue, his agents, or employees from requiring plaintiffs to print on
containers, and in all the language in which such containers are the labels of their filled milk products the words: "This milk is not
suitable for nourishment for infants less than one year of age" or skimmed milk without payment of the specific tax and without the legend required by
words with equivalent import and declaring as nun and void and Section 169). However, Section 141 was expressly repealed by Section 1 of Republic Act
without authority in law, the order of said defendant dated September No. 344, and Section 177, by Section 1 of Republic Act No. 463. By the express repeal of
28, 1961, Annex A of the complaint, and the Ruling of the Secretary Sections 141 and 177, Section 169 became a merely declaratory provision, without a tax
of Finance, dated November 12, 1962, Annex G of the complaint; and purpose, or a penal sanction.

In Special Civil Action No. 52383: Moreover, it seems apparent that Section 169 of the Tax Code does not apply to filled
milk. The use of the specific and qualifying terms "skimmed milk" in the headnote and
(b) Restraining perpetually the respondent Fair Trade Board, its agents "condensed skimmed milk" in the text of the cited section, would restrict the scope of the
or employees from continuing in the investigation of the complaints general clause "all milk, in whatever form, from which the fatty pat has been removed
against petitioners docketed as FTB I.S. No. 2, or any charges related totally or in part." In other words, the general clause is restricted by the specific term
to the manufacture or sale by the petitioners of their filled milk "skimmed milk" under the familiar rule of ejusdem generis that general and unlimited
products and declaring as null the proceedings so far undertaken by terms are restrained and limited by the particular terms they follow in the statute.
the respondent Board on said complaints. (pp. 20- 21, Rollo).
Skimmed milk is different from filled milk. According to the "Definitions, Standards of
From the above decision of the respondent court, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue Purity, Rules and Regulations of the Board of Food Inspection," skimmed milk is milk in
and the Fair Trade Board joined together to file the present petition for certiorari with whatever form from which the fatty part has been removed. Filled milk, on the other
preliminary injunction, assigning the following errors: hand, is any milk, whether or not condensed, evaporated concentrated, powdered, dried,
dessicated, to which has been added or which has been blended or compounded with any
fat or oil other than milk fat so that the resulting product is an imitation or semblance of
I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT SEC. TION
milk cream or skim milk." The difference, therefore, between skimmed milk and filled
169 OF THE TAX CODE HAS BEEN REPEALED BY
milk is that in the former, the fatty part has been removed while in the latter, the fatty part
IMPLICATION.
is likewise removed but is substituted with refined coconut oil or corn oil or both. It
cannot then be readily or safely assumed that Section 169 applies both to skimmed milk
II. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT SECTION and filled milk.
169 OF THE TAX CODE HAS LOST ITS TAX PURPOSE, AND
THAT COMMISSIONER NECESSARILY LOST HIS AUTHORITY
The Board of Food Inspection way back in 1961 rendered an opinion that filled milk does
TO ENFORCE THE SAME AND THAT THE PROPER
not come within the purview of Section 169, it being a product distinct from those
AUTHORITY TO PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF INFANTS IS THE
specified in the said Section since the removed fat portion of the milk has been replaced
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, THE SECRETARY OF
with coconut oil and Vitamins A and D as fortifying substances (p. 58, Rollo). This
HEALTH AND THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, AS PROVIDED
opinion bolsters the Court's stand as to its interpretation of the scope of Section 169.
FOR IN RA 3720, NOT THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
Opinions and rulings of officials of the government called upon to execute or implement
REVENUE.
administrative laws command much respect and weight. (Asturias Sugar Central Inc. vs.
Commissioner of Customs, G. R. No. L-19337, September 30, 1969, 29 SCRA 617; Tan,
III. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE et. al. vs. The Municipality of Pagbilao et. al., L-14264, April 30, 1963, 7 SCRA 887;
POWER TO INVESTIGATE AND TO PROSECUTE VIOLATIONS Grapilon vs. Municipal Council of Carigara L-12347, May 30, 1961, 2 SCRA 103).
OF FOOD LAWS IS ENTRUSTED TO THE FOOD AND DRUG
INSPECTION, THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, THE
This Court is, likewise, induced to the belief that filled milk is suitable for nourishment
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE,
for infants of all ages. The Petitioners themselves admitted that: "the filled milk products
AND THAT THE FAIR TRADE BOARD IS WITHOUT
of the petitioners (now private respondents) are safe, nutritious, wholesome and suitable
JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE ALLEGED
for feeding infants of all ages" (p. 44, Rollo) and that "up to the present, Filipino infants
MISBRANDING, MISLABELLING AND/OR MISLEADING
fed since birth with filled milk have not suffered any defects, illness or disease
ADVERTISEMENT OF FILLED MILK PRODUCTS. (pp, 4-5, attributable to their having been fed with filled milk." (p. 45, Rollo).
Rollo).

There would seem, therefore, to be no dispute that filled milk is suitable for feeding
The lower court did not err in ruling that Section 169 of the Tax Code has been repealed
infants of all ages. Being so, the declaration required by Section 169 of the Tax Code that
by implication. Section 169 was enacted in 1939, together with Section 141 (which
filled milk is not suitable for nourishment for infants less than one year of age would, in
imposed a Specific tax on skimmed milk) and Section 177 (which penalized the sale of effect, constitute a deprivation of property without due. process of law.
Section 169 is being enforced only against respondent manufacturers of filled milk xxx xxx xxx
product and not as against manufacturers, distributors or sellers of condensed skimmed
milk such as SIMILAC, SMA, BREMIL, ENFAMIL, OLAC, in which, as admitted by (c) Hearing authorized or required by this Act shall be conducted by
the petitioner, the fatty part has been removed and substituted with vegetable or corn oil. the Board of Food and Drug Inspection which shall submit
The enforcement of Section 169 against the private respondents only but not against other recommendation to the Food and Drug Administrator.
persons similarly situated as the private respondents amounts to an unconstitutional
denial of the equal pro petition of the laws, for the law, equally enforced, would similarly
offend against the Constitution. Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356,30 L. ed. 220). (d) When it appears to the Food and Drug Administrator from the
reports of the Food and Drug Laboratory that any article of food or
any drug or cosmetic secured pursuant to Section 28 of this Act is
As stated in the early part of this decision, with the repeal of Sections 141 and 177 of the adulterated or branded he shall cause notice thereof to be given to the
Tax Code, Section 169 has lost its tax purpose. Since Section 169 is devoid of any tax person or persons concerned and such person or persons shall be given
purpose, petitioner Commissioner necessarily lost his authority to enforce the same. This an opportunity to subject evidence impeaching the correctness of the
was so held by his predecessor immediately after Sections 141 and 177 were repealed in finding or charge in question.
General Circular No. V-85 as stated in paragraph IX of the Partial Stipulation of facts
entered into by the parties, to wit:
(e) When a violation of any provisions of this Act comes to the
knowledge of the Food and Drug Administrator of such character that
... As the act of sewing skimmed milk without first paying the specific a criminal prosecution ought to be instituted against the offender, he
tax thereon is no longer unlawful and the enforcement of the shall certify the facts to the Secretary of Justice through the Secretary
requirement in regard to the placing of the proper legend on its of Health, together with the chemists' report, the findings of the Board
immediate containers is a subject which does not come within the of Food and Drug Inspection, or other documentary evidence on which
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the penal provisions of the charge is based.
Section 177 of the said Code having been repealed by Republic Act
No. 463. (p. 102, Rollo).
(f) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as requiring the Food and
Drug Administrator to certify for prosecution pursuant to
Petitioner's contention that he still has jurisdiction to enforce Section 169 by virtue of subparagraph (e) hereof, minor violations of this Act whenever he
Section 3 of the Tax Code which provides that the Bureau of Internal Revenue shall also believes that public interest will be adequately served by a suitable
"give effect to and administer the supervisory and police power conferred to it by this written notice or warning.
Code or other laws" is untenable. The Bureau of Internal Revenue may claim police
power only when necessary in the enforcement of its principal powers and duties
The aforequoted provisions of law clearly show that petitioners, Commissioner of
consisting of the "collection of all national internal revenue taxes, fees and charges, and
Internal Revenue and the Fair Trade Board, are without jurisdiction to investigate and to
the enforcement of all forfeitures, penalties and fines connected therewith." The
prosecute alleged misbranding, mislabeling and/or misleading advertisements of filled
enforcement of Section 169 entails the promotion of the health of the nation and is thus
milk. The jurisdiction on the matters cited is vested upon the Board of Food and Drug
unconnected with any tax purpose. This is the exclusive function of the Food and Drug
inspection and the Food and Drug Administrator, with the Secretary of Health and the
Administration of the Department of Health as provided for in Republic Act No. 3720. In
particular, Republic Act No. 3720 provides: Secretary of Justice, also intervening in case criminal prosecution has to be instituted. To
hold that the petitioners have also jurisdiction as would be the result were their instant
petition granted, would only cause overlapping of powers and functions likely to produce
Section 9. ... It shall be the duty of the Board (Food and Drug confusion and conflict of official action which is neither practical nor desirable.
Inspection), conformably with the rules and regulations, to hold
hearings and conduct investigations relative to matters touching the
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed en toto. No costs.
Administration of this Act, to investigate processes of food, drug and
cosmetic manufacture and to subject reports to the Food and Drug
Administrator, recommending food and drug standards for adoption. SO ORDERED.
Said Board shall also perform such additional functions, properly
within the scope of the administration thereof, as maybe assigned to it Teehankee, (Chairman), Fernandez, Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.
by the Food and Drug Administrator. The decisions of the Board shall
be advisory to the Food and Drug Administrator.

Section 26. ...


Republic of the Philippines 1. LTI has no cause of action due to its failure to comply with Section
SUPREME COURT 21 of Republic Act No. 166 which requires the giving of notice that its
Manila aforesaid marks are registered by displaying and printing the words
"Registered in the Phil. Patent Office" or "Reg Phil. Pat. Off.," hence
SECOND DIVISION no suit, civil or criminal, can be filed against Cagayan;

G.R. No. 78413 November 8, 1989 2. LTI is not entitled to any protection under Republic Act No. 623, as
amended by Republic Act No. 5700, because its products, consisting
of hard liquor, are not among those contemplated therein. What is
CAGAYAN VALLEY ENTERPRISES, INC., Represented by its President, Rogelio protected under said law are beverages like Coca-cola, Royal Tru-
Q. Lim, petitioner,
Orange, Lem-o-Lime and similar beverages the bottles whereof bear
vs. the words "Reg Phil. Pat. Off.;"
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and LA TONDEÑA, INC., respondents.

3. No reservation of ownership on its bottles was made by LTI in its sales invoices nor
Efren M. Cacatian for petitioners.
does it require any deposit for the retention of said bottles; and

San Jose, Enrique, Lacas, Santos and Borje for private respondent.
4. There was no infringement of the goods or products of LTI since Cagayan uses its own
labels and trademark on its product.

In its subsequent pleadings, Cagayan contended that the bottles they are using are not the
REGALADO, J.: registered bottles of LTI since the former was using the bottles marked with "La
Tondeña, Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" but without the words "property of" indicated
This petition for review on certiorari seeks the nullification of the decision of the Court of in said bottles as stated in the sworn statement attached to the certificate of registration of
Appeals of December 5, 1986 in CA-G.R. CV No. 06685 which reversed the decision of LTI for said bottles.
the trial court, and its resolution dated May 5, 1987 denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration. On December 18, 1981, the lower court issued a writ of preliminary injunction, upon the
filing of a bond by LTI in the sum of P50,000.00, enjoining Cagayan, its officers and
The following antecedent facts generative of the present controversy are not in dispute. agents from using the aforesaid registered bottles of LTI. 6

Sometime in 1953, La Tondeña, Inc. (hereafter, LTI for short) registered with the After a protracted trial, which entailed five (5) motions for contempt filed by LTI against
Philippine Patent Office pursuant to Republic Act No. 623 1 the 350 c.c. white flint Cagayan, the trial court rendered judgment 7 in favor of Cagayan, ruling that the
bottles it has been using for its gin popularly known as "Ginebra San Miguel". This complaint does not state a cause of action and that Cagayan was not guilty of contempt.
registration was subsequently renewed on December 4, 1974. 2 Furthermore, it awarded damages in favor of Cagayan.

On November 10, 1981, LTI filed Civil Case No. 2668 for injunction and damages in the LTI appealed to the Court of Appeals which, on December 5, 1986 rendered a decision in
then Branch 1, Court of First Instance of Isabela against Cagayan Valley Enterprises, Inc. favor of said appellant, the dispositive portion whereof reads:
(Cagayan, for brevity) for using the 350 c.c., white flint bottles with the mark "La
Tondeña Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" stamped or blown-in therein by filling the same WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby SET ASIDE and
with Cagayan's liquor product bearing the label "Sonny Boy" for commercial sale and judgment is rendered permanently enjoining the defendant, its officers
distribution, without LTI's written consent and in violation of Section 2 of Republic Act and agents from using the 350 c.c. white flint bottles with the marks of
No. 623, as amended by Republic Act No. 5700. On the same date, LTI further filed ownership "La Tondeña, Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel", blown-in or
an ex parte petition for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the stamped on said bottles as containers for defendant's products.
defendant therein. 3 On November 16, 1981, the court a quo issued a temporary
restraining order against Cagayan and its officers and employees from using the 350 c.c.
The writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court is therefore
bottles with the marks "La Tondeña" and "Ginebra San Miguel." 4
made permanent.

Cagayan, in its answer, 5 alleged the following defenses:


Defendant is ordered to pay the amounts of: marks "La Tondeña, Inc." alone, short for the
description contained in the sworn statement of Mr.
(1) P15,000.00 as nominal or temperate damages; Carlos Palanca, Jr., which was a requisite of its
original and renewal registrations.
(2) P50,000.00 as exemplary damages;
V. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred
in accommodating the appeal on the dismissals of
(3) P10,000.00 as attorney's fees; and
the five (5) contempt charges.

(4) Costs of suit. 8


VI. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred
in deciding that the award of damages in favor of
On December 23, 1986, Cagayan filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the defendant-appellee, petitioner herein, is not in
the respondent court in its resolution dated May 5, 1987, hence the present petition, with order. Instead it awarded nominal or temperate,
the following assignment of errors: exemplary damages and attorney's fees without
proof of bad faith. 9
I. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in the
decision granting that "there is, therefore, no need The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 623, as amended by Republic Act No.
for plaintiff to display the words "Reg. Phil. Pat. 5700, provides:
Off." in order for it to succeed in bringing any
injunction suit against defendant for the illegal use
SECTION 1. Persons engaged or licensed to engage in the
of its bottles. Rep. Act No. 623, as amended by
manufacture, bottling, or selling of soda water, mineral or aerated
Rep. Act No. 5700 simply provides and requires
waters, cider, milk, cream or other lawful beverages in bottles, boxes,
that the marks or names shall be stamped or marked casks, kegs, or barrels and other similar containers, or in the
on the containers."
manufacturing, compressing or selling of gases such as oxygen,
acytelene, nitrogen, carbon dioxide ammonia, hydrogen, chloride,
II. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in deciding helium, sulphur, dioxide, butane, propane, freon, melthyl chloride or
that "neither is there a reason to distinguish similar gases contained in steel cylinders, tanks, flasks, accumulators
between the two (2) sets of marked bottles-those or similar containers, with the name or the names of their principals or
which contain the marks "Property of La Tondeña, products, or other marks of ownership stamped or marked thereon,
Inc., Ginebra San Miguel," and those simply may register with the Philippine Patent Office a description of the
marked La Tondeña Inc., Ginebra San Miguel'. By names or marks, and the purpose for which the containers so marked
omitting the words "property of" plaintiff did not and used by them, under the same conditions, rules, and regulations,
open itself to violation of Republic Act No. 623, as made applicable by law or regulation to the issuance of trademarks.
amended, as having registered its marks or names it
is protected under the law."
SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful for any person, without the written
consent of the manufacturer, bottler, or seller, who has succesfully
III. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred registered the marks of ownership in accordance with the provisions of
in deciding that the words "La Tondeña, Inc. and the next preceding section, to fill such bottles, boxes, kegs, barrels,
Ginebra San Miguel" are sufficient notice to the steel cylinders, tanks, flasks, accumulators or other similar containers
defendant which should have inquired from the so marked or stamped, for the purpose of sale, or to sell, disposed of,
plaintiff or the Philippine Patent Office, if it was buy or traffic in, or wantonly destroy the same, whether filled or not,
lawful for it to re-use the empty bottles of the to use the same, for drinking vessels or glasses or drain pipes,
plaintiff. foundation pipes, for any other purpose than that registered by the
manufacturer, bottler or seller. Any violation of this section shall be
IV. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred punished by a fine of not more than one thousand pesos or
in deciding that defendant-appellee cannot claim imprisonment of not more than one year or both.
good faith from using the bottles of plaintiff with
SEC. 3. The use by any person other than the registered manufacturer, The claim of petitioner that hard liquor is not included under the term "other lawful
bottler or seller, without written permission of the latter of any such beverages" as provided in Section I of Republic Act No. 623, as amended by Republic
bottle, cask, barrel, keg, box, steel cylinders, tanks, flask, Act No. 5700, is without merit. The title of the law itself, which reads " An Act to
accumulators, or other similar containers, or the possession thereof Regulate the Use of Duly Stamped or Marked Bottles, Boxes, Casks, Kegs, Barrels and
without written permission of the manufacturer, by any junk dealer or Other Similar Containers" clearly shows the legislative intent to give protection to all
dealer in casks, barrels, kegs boxes, steel cylinders, tanks, flasks, marked bottles and containers of all lawful beverages regardless of the nature of their
accumulators or other similar containers, the same being duly marked contents. The words "other lawful beverages" is used in its general sense, referring to all
or stamped and registered as herein provided, shall give rise to a prima beverages not prohibited by law. Beverage is defined as a liquor or liquid for
facie presumption that such use or possession is unlawful. drinking. 14 Hard liquor, although regulated, is not prohibited by law, hence it is within
the purview and coverage of Republic Act No. 623, as amended.
The above-quoted provisions grant protection to a qualified manufacturer who
successfully registered with the Philippine Patent Office its duly stamped or marked Republic Act No. 623, as amended, has for its purpose the protection of the health of the
bottles, boxes, casks and other similar containers. The mere use of registered bottles or general public and the prevention of the spread of contagious diseases. It further seeks to
containers without the written consent of the manufacturer is prohibited, the only safeguard the property rights of an important sector of Philippine industry. 15 As held by
exceptions being when they are used as containers for "sisi," bagoong," "patis" and this Court in Destileria Ayala, Inc. vs. Tan Tay & Co., 16 the purpose of then Act 3070,
similar native products. 10 was to afford a person a means of Identifying the containers he uses in the manufacture,
preservation, packing or sale of his products so that he may secure their registration with
It is an admitted fact that herein petitioner Cagayan buys from junk dealers and retailers the Bureau of Commerce and Industry and thus prevent other persons from using them.
bottles which bear the marks or names La Tondeña Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" and Said Act 3070 was substantially reenacted as Republic Act No. 623. 17
uses them as containers for its own liquor products. The contention of Cagayan that the
aforementioned bottles without the words "property of" indicated thereon are not the The proposition that Republic Act No. 623, as amended, protects only the containers of
registered bottles of LTI, since they do not conform with the statement or description in the soft drinks enumerated by petitioner and those similar thereto, is unwarranted and
the supporting affidavits attached to the original registration certificate and renewal, is specious. The rule of ejusdem generiscannot be applied in this case. To limit the coverage
untenable. of the law only to those enumerated or of the same kind or class as those specifically
mentioned will defeat the very purpose of the law. Such rule of ejusdem generis is to be
Republic Act No. 623 which governs the registration of marked bottles and containers resorted to only for the purpose of determining what the intent of the legislature was in
merely requires that the bottles, in order to be eligible for registration, must be stamped enacting the law. If that intent clearly appears from other parts of the law, and such intent
or marked with the names of the manufacturers or the names of their principals or thus clearly manifested is contrary to the result which would be reached by the
products, or other marks of ownership. No drawings or labels are required but, instead, appreciation of the rule of ejusdem generis, the latter must give way. 18
two photographs of the container, duly signed by the applicant, showing clearly and
legibly the names and other marks of ownership sought to be registered and a bottle Moreover, the above conclusions are supported by the fact that the Philippine Patent
showing the name or other mark or ownership, irremovably stamped or marked, shall be Office, which is the proper and competent government agency vested with the authority
submitted. 11 to enforce and implement Republic Act No. 623, registered the bottles of respondent LTI
as containers for gin and issued in its name a certificate of registration with the following
The term "Name or Other Mark of Ownership" 12 means the name of the applicant or the findings:
name of his principal, or of the product, or other mark of ownership. The second set of
bottles of LTI without the words "property of" substantially complied with the It appearing, upon due examination that the applicant is entitled to
requirements of Republic Act No. 623, as amended, since they bear the name of the have the said MARKS OR NAMES registered under R.A. No. 623,
principal, La Tondeña Inc., and of its product, Ginebra San Miguel. The omitted words the said marks or names have been duly registered this day in the
"property of" are not of such vital indispensability such that the omission thereof will PATENT OFFICE under the said Act, for gin, Ginebra San Miguel. 19
remove the bottles from the protection of the law. The owner of a trade-mark or trade-
name, and in this case the marked containers, does not abandon it by making minor While executive construction is not necessarily binding upon the courts, it is entitled to
modifications in the mark or name itself. 13 With much more reason will this be true great weight and consideration. The reason for this is that such construction comes from
where what is involved is the mere omission of the words "property of" since even the particular branch of government called upon to implement the particular law
without said words the ownership of the bottles is easily Identifiable. The words "La involved. 20
Tondeña Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" stamped on the bottles, even without the words
"property of," are sufficient notice to the public that those bottles so marked are owned
by LTI.
Just as impuissant is petitioners contention that respondent court erred in holding that with the blown-in marks "La Tondeña Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" are duly
there is no need for LTI to display the words "Reg Phil. Pat. Off." in order to succeed in registered. In Civil Case No. 102859 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled "La
its injunction suit against Cagayan for the illegal use of the bottles. To repeat, Republic Tondeña Inc. versus Diego Lim, doing business under the name and style 'Cagayan
Act No. 623 governs the registration of marked bottles and containers and merely Valley Distillery,' " a decision was rendered in favor of plaintiff therein on the basis of
requires that the bottles and/or containers be marked or stamped by the names of the the admission and/or acknowledgment made by the defendant that the bottles marked
manufacturer or the names of their principals or products or other marks of ownership. only with the words "La Tondeña Inc." and "Ginebra San Miguel" are registered bottles
The owner upon registration of its marked bottles, is vested by law with an exclusive of LTI. 22
right to use the same to the exclusion of others, except as a container for native products.
A violation of said right gives use to a cause of action against the violator or infringer. Petitioner cannot avoid the effect of the admission and/or acknowledgment made by
Diego Lim in the said case. While a corporation is an entity separate and distinct from its
While Republic Act No. 623, as amended, provides for a criminal action in case of stock-holders and from other corporations with which it may be connected, where the
violation, a civil action for damages is proper under Article 20 of the Civil Code which discreteness of its personality is used to defeat public convenience, justify wrong, protect
provides that every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to fraud, or defend crime, the law will regard the corporation as an association of persons, or
another, shall indemnify the latter for the same. This particular provision of the Civil in the case of two corporations, merge them into one. When the corporation is the
Case was clearly meant to complement all legal provisions which may have inadvertently mere alter ego or business conduit of a person, it may be disregaded. 23
failed to provide for indemnification or reparation of damages when proper or called for.
In the language of the Code Commission "(t)he foregoing rule pervades the entire legal Petitioner's claim that it is separate and distinct from the former Cagayan Valley
system, and renders it impossible that a person who suffers damage because another has Distillery is belied by the evidence on record. The following facts warrant the conclusion
violated some legal provisions, should find himself without relief." 21 Moreover, under that petitioner, as a corporate entity, and Cagayan Valley Distillery are one and the same.
Section 23 of Republic Act No. 166, as amended, a person entitled to the exclusive use of to wit: (1) petitioner is being managed by Rogelio Lim, the son of Diego Lim, the owner
a registered mark or tradename may recover damages in a civil action from any person and manager of Cagayan Valley Distellery; (2) it is a family corporation; 24 (3) it is an
who infringes his rights. He may also, upon proper showing, be granted injunction. admitted fact that before petitioner was incorporated it was under a single
proprietorship; 25 (4) petitioner is engaged in the same business as Cagayan Valley
It is true that the aforesaid law on trademarks provides: Distillery, the manufacture of wines and liquors; and (5) the factory of petitioner is
located in the same place as the factory of the former Cagayan Valley Distillery.
SEC. 21. Requirements of notice of registration of trade-mark.-The
registrant of a trade-mark, heretofore registered or registered under the It is thus clear that herein petitioner is a mere continuation and successor of Cagayan
provisions of this Act, shall give notice that his mark is registered by Valley Distillery. It is likewise indubitable that the admission made in the former case, as
displaying with the same as used the words 'Registered in the earlier explained, is binding on it as cogent proof that even before the filing of this case it
Philippines Patent Office' or 'Reg Phil. Pat. Off.'; and in any suit for had actual knowledge that the bottles in dispute were registered containers of LTI As held
infringement under this Act by a registrant failing so to mark the in La Campana Coffee Factory, Inc., et al. vs. Kaisahan Ng Mga Manggagawa sa La
goods bearing the registered trade-mark, no damages shall be Campana (KKM), et al., 26 where the main purpose in forming the corporation was to
recovered under the provisions of this Act, unless the defendant has evade one's subsidiary liability for damages in a criminal case, the corporation may not
actual notice of the registration. be heard to say that it has a personality separate and distinct from its members, because to
allow it to do so would be to sanction the use of the fiction of corporate entity as a shield
to further an end subversive of justice.

Even assuming that said provision is applicable in this case, the failure of LTI to make Anent the several motions of private respondent LTI to have petitioner cited for
said marking will not bar civil action against petitioner Cagayan. The aforesaid contempt, we reject the argument of petitioner that an appeal from a verdict of acquittal
requirement is not a condition sine qua non for filing of a civil action against the infringer in a contempt, proceeding constitutes double jeopardy. A failure to do something ordered
for other reliefs to which the plaintiff may be entitled. The failure to give notice of by the court for the benefit of a party constitutes civil contempt. 27 As we held inConverse
registration will not deprive the aggrieved party of a cause of action against the infringer Rubber Corporation vs. Jacinto Rubber & Plastics Co., Inc.:
but, at the most, such failure may bar recovery of damages but only under the provisions
of Republic Act No. 166. ...True it is that generally, contempt proceedings are characterized as
criminal in nature, but the more accurate juridical concept is that
However, in this case an award of damages to LTI is ineluctably called for. Petitioner contempt proceedings may actually be either civil or criminal, even if
cannot claim good faith. The record shows that it had actual knowledge that the bottles the distinction between one and the other may be so thin as to be
almost imperceptible. But it does exist in law. It is criminal when the
purpose is to vindicate the authority of the court and protect its in contempt of court and ORDERED to pay a fine of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00),
outraged dignity. It is civil when there is failure to do something with costs.
ordered by a court to be done for the benefit of a party (3 Moran Rules
of Court, pp. 343-344, 1970 ed.; see also Perkins vs. Director of SO ORDERED.
Prisons, 58 Phil. 272; Harden vs. Director of Prisons, 81 Phil. 741.)
And with this distinction in mind, the fact that the injunction in the
Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
instant case is manifestly for the benefit of plaintiffs makes of the
contempt herein involved civil, not criminal. Accordingly, the
conclusion is inevitable that appellees have been virtually found by the Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), J., is on leave.
trial court guilty of civil contempt, not criminal contempt, hence, the
rule on double jeopardy may not be invoked. 28

The contempt involved in this case is civil and constructive in nature, it having arisen
from the act of Cagayan in violating the writ of preliminary injunction of the lower court
which clearly defined the forbidden act, to wit:

NOW THEREFORE, pending the resolution of this case by the court,


you are enjoined from using the 350 c.c. white flint bottles with the
marks La Tondeña Inc.,' and 'Ginebra San Miguel' blown-in or
stamped into the bottles as containers for the defendant's products. 19

On this incident, two considerations must be borne in mind. Firstly, an injunction duly
issued must be obeyed, however erroneous the action of the court may be, until its
decision is overruled by itself or by a higher court. 30Secondly, the American rule that the
power to judge a contempt rests exclusively with the court contemned does not apply in
this Jurisdiction. The provision of the present Section 4, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court as
to where the charge may be filed is permissive in nature and is merely declaratory of the
inherent power of courts to punish contumacious conduct. Said rules do not extend to the
determination of the jurisdiction of Philippine courts. 31 In appropriate case therefore, this
Court may, in the interest of expedient justice, impose sanctions on contemners of the
lower courts.

Section 3 of Republic Act No. 623, as amended, creates a prima facie presumption
against Cagayan for its unlawful use of the bottles registered in the name of LTI
Corollarily, the writ of injunction directing petitioner to desist from using the subject
bottles was properly issued by the trial court. Hence, said writ could not be simply
disregarded by Cagayan without adducing proof sufficient to overcome the aforesaid
presumption. Also, based on the findings of respondent court, and the records before us
being sufficient for arbitrament without remanding the incident to the court
a quo petitioner can be adjudged guilty of contempt and imposed a sanction in this appeal
since it is a cherished rule of procedure for this Court to always strive to settle the entire
controversy in a single proceeding, 32 We so impose such penalty concordant with the
preservative principle and as demanded by the respect due the orders, writs and processes
of the courts of justice.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered DENYING the petition in this case and
AFFIRMING the decision of respondent Court of Appeals. Petitioner is hereby declared
Republic of the Philippines On February 6, 1958 the petitioner, thru its agent Theo. H. Davies & Co., Far East,
SUPREME COURT Ltd., requested the Commissioner of Customs for a week's extension of Re-exportation
Manila and Special Import Tax Bond no. 6 which was to expire the following day, giving the
following as the reasons for its failure to export the remaining jute bags within the period
EN BANC of one year: (a) typhoons and severe floods; (b) picketing of the Central railroad line
from November 6 to December 21, 1957 by certain union elements in the employ of the
Philippine Railway Company, which hampered normal operations; and (c) delay in the
G.R. No. L-19337 September 30, 1969
arrival of the vessel aboard which the petitioner was to ship its sugar which was then
ready for loading. This request was denied by the Commissioner per his letter of April
ASTURIAS SUGAR CENTRAL, INC., petitioner, 15, 1958.
vs.
COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS and COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents.
Due to the petitioner's failure to show proof of the exportation of the balance of
86,353 jute bags within one year from their importation, the Collector of Customs of
Laurea, Laurea and Associates for petitioner. Iloilo, on March 17, 1958, required it to pay the amount of P28,629.42 representing the
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Esmeraldo customs duties and special import tax due thereon, which amount the petitioner paid
Umali and Solicitor Sumilang V. Bernardo for respondents. under protest.

In its letter of April 10, 1958, supplemented by its letter of May 12, 1958, the
petitioner demanded the refund of the amount it had paid, on the ground that its request
CASTRO, J.: for extension of the period of one year was filed on time, and that its failure to export the
jute bags within the required one-year period was due to delay in the arrival of the vessel
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals of on which they were to be loaded and to the picketing of the Central railroad line.
November 20, 1961, which denied recovery of the sum of P28,629.42, paid by the Alternatively, the petitioner asked for refund of the same amount in the form of a
petitioner, under protest, in the concept of customs duties and special import tax, as well drawback under section 106(b) in relation to section 105(x) of the Tariff and Customs
as the petitioner's alternative remedy to recover the said amount minus one per cent Code.
thereof by way of a drawback under sec. 106 (b) of the Tariff and Customs Code.
After hearing, the Collector of Customs of Iloilo rendered judgment on January 21,
The petitioner Asturias Sugar Central, Inc. is engaged in the production and milling 1960 denying the claim for refund. From his action, appeal was taken to the
of centrifugal sugar for exert, the sugar so produced being placed in containers known as Commissioner of Customs who upheld the decision of the Collector. Upon a petition for
jute bags. In 1957 it made two importations of jute bags. The first shipment consisting of review the Court of Tax Appeals affirmed the decision of the Commissioner of Customs.
44,800 jute bags and declared under entry 48 on January 8, 1967, entered free of customs
duties and special import tax upon the petitioner's filing of Re-exportation and Special The petitioner imputes three errors to the Court of Tax Appeals, namely:
Import Tax Bond no. 1 in the amounts of P25,088 and P2,464.50, conditioned upon the
exportation of the jute bags within one year from the date of importation. The second 1. In not declaring that force majeure and/or fortuitous event is a sufficient
shipment consisting of 75,200 jute bags and declared under entry 243 on February 8, justification for the failure of the petitioner to export the jute bags in question
1957, likewise entered free of customs duties and special import tax upon the petitioner's within the time required by the bonds.
filing of Re-exportation and Special Import Tax Bond no. 6 in the amounts of P42,112
and P7,984.44, with the same conditions as stated in bond no. 1.
2. In not declaring that it is within the power of the Collector of Customs and/or
the Commissioner of Customs to extend the period of one (1) year within which
Of the 44,800 jute bags declared under entry 48, only 8,647 were exported within the jute bags should be exported.
one year from the date of importation as containers of centrifugal sugar. Of the 75,200
jute bags declared under entry 243, only 25,000 were exported within the said period of
3. In not declaring that the petitioner is entitled to a refund by way of a
one year. In other words, of the total number of imported jute bags only 33,647 bags were
drawback under the provisions of section 106, par. (b), of the Tariff and
exported within one year after their importation. The remaining 86,353 bags were Customs Code.
exported after the expiration of the one-year period but within three years from their
importation.
1. The basic issue tendered for resolution is whether the Commissioner of Customs The formal or informal interpretation or practical construction of an
is vested, under the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909, the then applicable law, with discretion ambiguous or uncertain statute or law by the executive department or other
to extend the period of one year provided for in section 23 of the Act. Section 23 reads: agency charged with its administration or enforcement is entitled to
consideration and the highest respect from the courts, and must be accorded
SEC. 23. That containers, such as casks, large metal, glass, or other appropriate weight in determining the meaning of the law, especially when the
receptacles which are, in the opinion of the collector of customs, of such a construction or interpretation is long continued and uniform or is
character as to be readily identifiable may be delivered to the importer thereof contemporaneous with the first workings of the statute, or when the enactment
upon identification and the giving of a bond with sureties satisfactory to the of the statute was suggested by such agency.5
collector of customs in an amount equal to double the estimated duties thereon,
conditioned for the exportation thereof or payment of the corresponding duties The administrative orders in question appear to be in consonance with the intention
thereon within one year from the date of importation, under such rules and of the legislature to limit the period within which to export imported containers to one
regulations as the Insular Collector of Customs shall provide. 1 year, without extension, from the date of importation. Otherwise, in enacting the Tariff
and Customs Code to supersede the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909, Congress would have
To implement the said section 23, Customs Administrative Order 389 dated amended section 23 of the latter law so as to overrule the long-standing view of the
December 6, 1940 was promulgated, paragraph XXVIII of which provides that "bonds Commissioner of Customs that the one-year period therein mentioned is not extendible.
for the re-exportation of cylinders and other containers are good for 12 months without
extension," and paragraph XXXI, that "bonds for customs brokers, commercial samples, Implied legislative approval by failure to change a long-standing
repairs and those filed to guarantee the re-exportation of cylinders and other containers administrative construction is not essential to judicial respect for the
are not extendible." construction but is an element which greatly increases the weight given such
construction.6
And insofar as jute bags as containers are concerned, Customs Administrative
Order 66 dated August 25, 1948 was issued, prescribing rules and regulations governing The correctness of the interpretation given a statute by the agency
the importation, exportation and identification thereof under section 23 of the Philippine charged with administering its provision is indicated where it appears that
Tariff Act of 1909. Said administrative order provides: Congress, with full knowledge of the agency's interpretation, has made
significant additions to the statute without amending it to depart from the
That importation of jute bags intended for use as containers of Philippine agency's view.7
products for exportation to foreign countries shall be declared in a regular
import entry supported by a surety bond in an amount equal to double the Considering that the Bureau of Customs is the office charged with implementing
estimated duties, conditioned for the exportation or payment of the and enforcing the provisions of our Tariff and Customs Code, the construction placed by
corresponding duties thereon within one year from the date of importation. it thereon should be given controlling weight.1awphîl.nèt

It will be noted that section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909 and the In applying the doctrine or principle of respect for administrative or practical
superseding sec. 105(x) of the Tariff and Customs Code, while fixing at one year the construction, the courts often refer to several factors which may be regarded as bases of
period within which the containers therein mentioned must be exported, are silent as to the principle, as factors leading the courts to give the principle controlling weight in
whether the said period may be extended. It was surely by reason of this silence that the particular instances, or as independent rules in themselves. These factors are the respect
Bureau of Customs issued Administrative Orders 389 and 66, already adverted to, to due the governmental agencies charged with administration, their competence,
eliminate confusion and provide a guide as to how it shall apply the law, 2 and, more expertness, experience, and informed judgment and the fact that they frequently are the
specifically, to make officially known its policy to consider the one-year period drafters of the law they interpret; that the agency is the one on which the legislature must
mentioned in the law as non-extendible. rely to advise it as to the practical working out of the statute, and practical application of
the statute presents the agency with unique opportunity and experiences for discovering
Considering that the statutory provisions in question have not been the subject of deficiencies, inaccuracies, or improvements in the statute; ... 8
previous judicial interpretation, then the application of the doctrine of "judicial respect
for administrative construction," 3 would, initially, be in order. If it is further considered that exemptions from taxation are not favored, 9 and that
tax statutes are to be construed in strictissimi juris against the taxpayer and liberally in
Only where the court of last resort has not previously interpreted the statute is the favor of the taxing authority, 10 then we are hard put to sustain the petitioner's stand that it
rule applicable that courts will give consideration to construction by administrative or was entitled to an extension of time within which to export the jute bags and,
executive departments of the state.41awphîl.nèt consequently, to a refund of the amount it had paid as customs duties.
In the light of the foregoing, it is our considered view that the one-year period manufactured or produced in the Philippines, including the packing, covering,
prescribed in section 23 of the Philippine Tariff Act of 1909 is non-extendible and putting up, marking or labeling thereof, either in whole or in part of imported
compliance therewith is mandatory. materials, or from similar domestic materials of equal quantity and productive
manufacturing quality and value, such question to be determined by the
The petitioner's argument that force majeure and/or fortuitous events prevented it Collector of Customs, there shall be allowed a drawback equal in amount to the
from exporting the jute bags within the one-year period cannot be accorded credit, for duties paid on the imported materials so used, or where similar domestic
several reasons. In the first place, in its decision of November 20, 1961, the Court of Tax materials are used, to the duties paid on the equivalent imported similar
Appeals made absolutely no mention of or reference to this argument of the petitioner, materials, less one per cent thereof: Provided, That the exportation shall be
which can only be interpreted to mean that the court did not believe that the "typhoons, made within three years after the importation of the foreign material used or
floods and picketing" adverted to by the petitioner in its brief were of such magnitude or constituting the basis for drawback ... .
nature as to effectively prevent the exportation of the jute bags within the required one-
year period. In point of fact nowhere in the record does the petitioner convincingly show The petitioner argues that not having availed itself of the full exemption granted by
that the so-called fortuitous events or force majeure referred to by it precluded the timely sec. 105(x) of the Tariff and Customs Code due to its failure to export the jute bags
exportation of the jute bags. In the second place, assuming, arguendo, that the one-year within one year, it is nevertheless, by authority of the above-quoted provision, entitled to
period is extendible, the jute bags were not actually exported within the one-week a 99% drawback of the duties it had paid, averring further that sec. 106(b) does not
extension the petitioner sought. The record shows that although of the remaining 86,353 presuppose immediate payment of duties and taxes at the time of importation.
jute bags 21,944 were exported within the period of one week after the request for
extension was filed, the rest of the bags, amounting to a total of 64,409, were actually The contention is palpably devoid of merit.
exported only during the period from February 16 to May 24, 1958, long after the
expiration of the one-week extension sought by the petitioner. Finally, it is clear from the
record that the typhoons and floods which, according to the petitioner, helped render The provisions invoked by the petitioner (to sustain his claim for refund) offer two
impossible the fulfillment of its obligation to export within the one-year period, assuming options to an importer. The first, under sec. 105 (x), gives him the privilege of importing,
that they may be placed in the category of fortuitous events or force majeure, all occurred free from import duties, the containers mentioned therein as long as he exports them
prior to the execution of the bonds in question, or prior to the commencement of the one- within one year from the date of acceptance of the import entry, which period as shown
year period within which the petitioner was in law required to export the jute bags. above, is not extendible. The second, presented by sec. 106 (b), contemplates a case
where import duties are first paid, subject to refund to the extent of 99% of the amount
paid, provided the articles mentioned therein are exported within three years from
2. The next argument of the petitioner is that granting that Customs Administrative importation.
Order 389 is valid and binding, yet "jute bags" cannot be included in the phrase
"cylinders and other containers" mentioned therein. It will be noted, however, that the
It would seem then that the Government would forego collecting duties on the
Philippine Tariff Act of 1909 and the Tariff and Customs Code, which Administrative
Order 389 seeks to implement, speak of "containers" in general. The enumeration articles mentioned in section 105(x) of Tariff and Customs Code as long as it is assured,
following the word "containers" in the said statutes serves merely to give examples of by the filing of a bond, that the same shall be exported within the relatively short period
containers and not to specify the particular kinds thereof. Thus, sec. 23 of the Philippine of one year from the date of acceptance of the import entry. Where an importer cannot
Tariff Act states, "containers such as casks large metals, glass or other receptacles," and provide such assurance, then the Government, under sec. 106(b) of said Code, would
sec. 105 (x) of the Tariff and Customs Code mentions "large containers," giving as require payment of the corresponding duties first. The basic purpose of the two
examples "demijohn cylinders, drums, casks and other similar receptacles of metal, glass provisions is the same, which is, to enable a local manufacturer to compete in foreign
or other materials." (emphasis supplied) There is, therefore, no reason to suppose that the markets, by relieving him of the disadvantages resulting from having to pay duties on
imported merchandise, thereby building up export trade and encouraging manufacture in
customs authorities had intended, in Customs Administrative Order 389 to circumscribe
the country. 12But there is a difference, and it is this: under section 105(x) full exemption
the scope of the word "container," any more than the statures sought to be implemented
actually intended to do. is granted to an importer who justifies the grant of exemption by exporting within one-
year. The petitioner, having opted to take advantage of the provisions of section 105(x),
may not, after having failed to comply with the conditions imposed thereby, avoid the
3. Finally, the petitioner claims entitlement to a drawback of the duties it had paid, consequences of such failure by being allowed a drawback under section 106(b) of the
by virtue of section 106 (b) of the Tariff and Customs Code, 11 which reads: same Act without having complied with the conditions of the latter section.

SEC. 106. Drawbacks: ... For it is not to be supposed that the legislature had intended to defeat compliance
with the terms of section 105(x) thru a refuge under the provisions of section 106(b). A
b. On Articles Made from Imported Materials or Similar Domestic construction should be avoided which affords an opportunity to defeat compliance with
Materials and Wastes Thereof. — Upon the exportation of articles
the terms of a statute. 13 Rather courts should proceed on the theory that parts of a statute
may be harmonized and reconciled with each other.

A construction of a statute which creates an inconsistency should be avoided when


a reasonable interpretation can be adopted which will not do violence to the plain words
of the act and will carry out the intention of Congress.

In the construction of statutes, the courts start with the assumption that
the legislature intended to enact an effective law, and the legislature is not to be
presumed to have done a vain thing in the enactment of a statute. Hence, it is a
general principle, embodied in the maxim, "ut res magis valeat quam pereat,"
that the courts should, if reasonably possible to do so without violence to the
spirit and language of an act, so interpret the statute to give it efficient operation
and effect as a whole. An interpretation should, if possible, be avoided under
which a statute or provision being construed is defeated, or as otherwise
expressed, nullified, destroyed, emasculated, repealed, explained away, or
rendered insignificant, meaningless, inoperative, or nugatory. 14

ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the Court of Tax Appeals of November 20,


1961 is affirmed, at petitioner's cost.

Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Zaldivar, Fernando, Capistrano, Teehankee and Barredo, JJ.,
concur.
Makalintal and Sanchez, JJ., took no part.
Reyes, J.B.L., J., is on leave.
EN BANC and are presumed to embrace only things or persons of the kind
designated by them. ’“
[G. R. No. 5000. March 11, 1909.]
In short, the court below held that the carrying of a revolver concealed about the person
THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. VICTOR SANTO
would not be a violation of this Act. The rule of construction above referred to is resorted
NIÑO, Defendant-Appellee.
to only for the purpose of determining what the intent of the legislature was in enacting
the law. If that intent clearly appears from other parts of the law, and such intent thus
clearly manifested is contrary to the result which would reached by application of the rule
DECISION of ejusdem generis, the latter must give way. In this case the proviso of the Act clearly
WILLARD, J.: indicates that in the view of the legislature the carrying of an unlicensed revolver would
be a violation of the Act. By the proviso it manifested its intention to include in the
Act No. 1780 is entitled as follows: chanrobles virtualawlibrary “An Act to regulate the prohibition weapons other than the armas blancas therein specified.
importation, acquisition, possession, use, and transfer of firearms, and to prohibit the
possession of same except in compliance with the provisions of this Act. ” The judgment of the court below is reversed, and the case is remanded for further
proceedings.
Section 26 of this Act is in part as follows: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
No costs will be allowed to either party in this court. SO ORDERED.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to carry concealed about his person any
bowie knife, dirk, dagger, kris, or other deadly weapon: chanrobles Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson and Carson, JJ., concur.
virtualawlibrary Provided, That this prohibition shall not apply to firearms in
possession of persons who have secured a license therefor or who are entitled to
carry same under the provisions of this Act. ”
The amended complaint in this case is as follows: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
“The undersigned accuses Victor Santo Nino of the violation of Act No. 1780,
committed as follows: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
“That on or about the 16th day of August, 1908, in the city of Manila,
Philippine Islands, the said Victor Santo Nino, voluntarily, unlawfully, and
criminally, had in his possession and concealed about his person a deadly
weapon, to wit: chanrobles virtualawlibrary One (1) iron bar, about 15 inches in
length provided with an iron ball on one end and a string on the other to tie to
the wrist, which weapon had been designed and made for use in fighting, and as
a deadly weapon.
“With violation of the provisions of section 26 of Act No. 1780 of the
Philippine Commission. ”
A demurrer to this complaint was sustained in the court below the Government has
appealed.
The basis for the holding of the court below was that —
“The words or other deadly weapon’ only signify a kind of weapon included
within the preceding classification. In other words, the rule of ejusdem generis
must be applied in the interpretation of this law, which rule is as
follows: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
“‘The most frequent application of this rule is found where specific
and generic terms of the same nature are employed in the same act, the
latter following the former. While in the abstract, general terms are to
be given their natural and full signification, yet where they follow
specific words of a like nature they take their meaning from the latter,
THIRD DIVISION On June 22, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to
[G.R. No. 136426. August 6, 1999] Dismiss[6] alleging that the records show that defendant, through its branch manager,
E. B. VILLAROSA & PARTNER CO., LTD., petitioner, vs. HON. HERMINIO I. Engr. Wendell Sabulbero actually received the summons and the complaint on May 8,
BENITO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 132, Makati 1998 as evidenced by the signature appearing on the copy of the summons and not on
City and IMPERIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent. May 5, 1998 as stated in the Sheriff’s Return nor on May 6, 1998 as stated in the motion
DECISION to dismiss; that defendant has transferred its office from Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de
GONZAGA-REYES, J.: Oro to its new office address at Villa Gonzalo, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro; and that the
purpose of the rule is to bring home to the corporation notice of the filing of the action.
Before this Court is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction seeking to On August 5, 1998, the trial court issued an Order[7] denying defendant’s Motion to
annul and set aside the Orders dated August 5, 1998 and November 20, 1998 of the Dismiss as well as plaintiff’s Motion to Declare Defendant in Default. Defendant was
public respondent Judge Herminio I. Benito of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, given ten (10) days within which to file a responsive pleading. The trial court stated that
Branch 132 and praying that the public respondent court be ordered to desist from further since the summons and copy of the complaint were in fact received by the corporation
proceeding with Civil Case No. 98-824. through its branch manager Wendell Sabulbero, there was substantial compliance with
the rule on service of summons and consequently, it validly acquired jurisdiction over the
Petitioner E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. is a limited partnership with principal person of the defendant.
office address at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branch offices at 2492 Bay
View Drive, Tambo, Parañaque, Metro Manila and Kolambog, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro On August 19, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a Motion for
City. Petitioner and private respondent executed a Deed of Sale with Development Reconsideration[8] alleging that Section 11, Rule 14 of the new Rules did not liberalize
Agreement wherein the former agreed to develop certain parcels of land located at Barrio but, on the contrary, restricted the service of summons on persons enumerated therein;
Carmen, Cagayan de Oro belonging to the latter into a housing subdivision for the and that the new provision is very specific and clear in that the word “manager” was
construction of low cost housing units. They further agreed that in case of litigation changed to “general manager”, “secretary” to “corporate secretary”, and excluding
regarding any dispute arising therefrom, the venue shall be in the proper courts of Makati. therefrom agent and director.
On April 3, 1998, private respondent, as plaintiff, filed a Complaint for Breach of On August 27, 1998, plaintiff filed an Opposition to defendant’s Motion for
Contract and Damages against petitioner, as defendant, before the Regional Trial Court of Reconsideration[9] alleging that defendant’s branch manager “did bring home” to the
Makati allegedly for failure of the latter to comply with its contractual obligation in that, defendant-corporation the notice of the filing of the action and by virtue of which a
other than a few unfinished low cost houses, there were no substantial developments motion to dismiss was filed; and that it was one (1) month after receipt of the summons
therein.[1] and the complaint that defendant chose to file a motion to dismiss.
Summons, together with the complaint, were served upon the defendant, through its On September 4, 1998, defendant, by Special Appearance, filed a
Branch Manager Engr. Wendell Sabulbero at the stated address at Kolambog, Lapasan, Reply[10] contending that the changes in the new rules are substantial and not just general
Cagayan de Oro City[2] but the Sheriff’s Return of Service[3] stated that the summons was semantics.
duly served “upon defendant E. B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd. thru its Branch Manager
Engr. WENDELL SALBULBERO on May 5, 1998 at their new office Villa Gonzalo, Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied in the Order dated November
Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro City, and evidenced by the signature on the face of the 20, 1998.[11]
original copy of the summons.” Hence, the present petition alleging that respondent court gravely abused its
On June 9, 1998, defendant filed a Special Appearance with Motion to discretion tantamount to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in denying petitioner’s motions
Dismiss[4]alleging that on May 6, 1998, “summons intended for defendant” was served to dismiss and for reconsideration, despite the fact that the trial court did not acquire
upon Engr. Wendell Sabulbero, an employee of defendant at its branch office at Cagayan jurisdiction over the person of petitioner because the summons intended for it was
de Oro City. Defendant prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of improperly served. Petitioner invokes Section 11 of Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
improper service of summons and for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the Procedure.
defendant. Defendant contends that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over its Private respondent filed its Comment to the petition citing the cases of Kanlaon
person since the summons was improperly served upon its employee in its branch office Construction Enterprises Co., Inc. vs. NLRC[12] wherein it was held that service upon a
at Cagayan de Oro City who is not one of those persons named in Section 11, Rule 14 of construction project manager is valid and in Gesulgon vs. NLRC [13] which held that a
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure upon whom service of summons may be made. corporation is bound by the service of summons upon its assistant manager.
Meanwhile, on June 10, 1998, plaintiff filed a Motion to Declare Defendant in The only issue for resolution is whether or not the trial court acquired jurisdiction
Default[5] alleging that defendant has failed to file an Answer despite its receipt allegedly over the person of petitioner upon service of summons on its Branch Manager.
on May 5, 1998 of the summons and the complaint, as shown in the Sheriff’s Return.
When the complaint was filed by Petitioner on April 3, 1998, the 1997 Rules of and under Section 13 of Rule 14 (old rule), summons may be made upon the clerk who is
Civil Procedure was already in force.[14] regarded as agent within the contemplation of the rule.
Section 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that: The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for a
domestic corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in Section
“When the defendant is a corporation, partnership or association organized under the 11, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The rule now states “general manager”
laws of the Philippines with a juridical personality, service may be made on the president, instead of only “manager”; “corporate secretary” instead of “secretary”; and “treasurer”
managing partner, general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel.” instead of “cashier.” The phrase “agent, or any of its directors” is conspicuously deleted
(underscoring supplied). in the new rule.
The particular revision under Section 11 of Rule 14 was explained by retired
This provision revised the former Section 13, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court which Supreme Court Justice Florenz Regalado, thus:[23]
provided that:
“x x x the then Sec. 13 of this Rule allowed service upon a defendant corporation to ‘be
“SEC. 13. Service upon private domestic corporation or partnership. – If the defendant is made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent or any of its directors.’ The
a corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines or a partnership duly registered, aforesaid terms were obviously ambiguous and susceptible of broad and sometimes
service may be made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its illogical interpretations, especially the word ‘agent’ of the corporation. The Filoil case,
directors.” (underscoring supplied). involving the litigation lawyer of the corporation who precisely appeared to challenge the
validity of service of summons but whose very appearance for that purpose was seized
Petitioner contends that the enumeration of persons to whom summons may be upon to validate the defective service, is an illustration of the need for this revised section
served is “restricted, limited and exclusive” following the rule on statutory with limited scope and specific terminology. Thus the absurd result in the Filoil case
construction expressio unios est exclusio alterius and argues that if the Rules of Court necessitated the amendment permitting service only on the in-house counsel of the
Revision Committee intended to liberalize the rule on service of summons, it could have corporation who is in effect an employee of the corporation, as distinguished from an
easily done so by clear and concise language. independent practitioner.” (underscoring supplied)

We agree with petitioner.


Retired Justice Oscar Herrera, who is also a consultant of the Rules of Court
Earlier cases have uphold service of summons upon a construction project Revision Committee, stated that “(T)he rule must be strictly observed. Service must be
manager[15]; a corporation’s assistant manager[16]; ordinary clerk of a corporation[17]; made to one named in (the) statute x x x”.[24]
private secretary of corporate executives[18]; retained counsel[19]; officials who had charge
It should be noted that even prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil
or control of the operations of the corporation, like the assistant general manager [20]; or
Procedure, strict compliance with the rules has been enjoined. In the case of Delta Motor
the corporation’s Chief Finance and Administrative Officer[21]. In these cases, these
Sales Corporation vs. Mangosing,[25] the Court held:
persons were considered as “agent” within the contemplation of the old rule. [22] Notably,
under the new Rules, service of summons upon an agent of the corporation is no longer
authorized. “A strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer jurisdiction of the
court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one who is
The cases cited by private respondent are therefore not in point. named in the statute; otherwise the service is insufficient. x x x.
In the Kanlaon case, this Court ruled that under the NLRC Rules of Procedure,
summons on the respondent shall be served personally or by registered mail on the party The purpose is to render it reasonably certain that the corporation will receive prompt and
himself; if the party is represented by counsel or any other authorized representative or proper notice in an action against it or to insure that the summons be served on a
agent, summons shall be served on such person. In said case, summons was served on representative so integrated with the corporation that such person will know what to do
one Engr. Estacio who managed and supervised the construction project in Iligan City with the legal papers served on him. In other words, ‘to bring home to the corporation
(although the principal address of the corporation is in Quezon City) and supervised the notice of the filing of the action.’ x x x.
work of the employees. It was held that as manager, he had sufficient responsibility and
discretion to realize the importance of the legal papers served on him and to relay the The liberal construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a substitute for the plain
same to the president or other responsible officer of petitioner such that summons for legal requirements as to the manner in which summons should be served on a domestic
petitioner was validly served on him as agent and authorized representative of corporation. x x x.” (underscoring supplied).
petitioner. Also in the Gesulgon case cited by private respondent, the summons was
received by the clerk in the office of the Assistant Manager (at principal office address)
Service of summons upon persons other than those mentioned in Section 13 of Rule
14 (old rule) has been held as improper.[26] Even under the old rule, service upon a
general manager of a firm’s branch office has been held as improper as summons should
have been served at the firm’s principal office. In First Integrated Bonding & Ins. Co.,
Inc. vs. Dizon,[27] it was held that the service of summons on the general manager of the
insurance firm’s Cebu branch was improper; default order could have been obviated had
the summons been served at the firm’s principal office.
And in the case of Solar Team Entertainment, Inc. vs. Hon. Helen Bautista Ricafort,
et al.[28] the Court succinctly clarified that, for the guidance of the Bench and Bar,
“strictest” compliance with Section 11 of Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
(on Priorities in modes of service and filing) is mandated and the Court cannot rule
otherwise, lest we allow circumvention of the innovation by the 1997 Rules in order to
obviate delay in the administration of justice.
Accordingly, we rule that the service of summons upon the branch manager of
petitioner at its branch office at Cagayan de Oro, instead of upon the general manager at
its principal office at Davao City is improper. Consequently, the trial court did not
acquire jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner.
The fact that defendant filed a belated motion to dismiss did not operate to confer
jurisdiction upon its person. There is no question that the defendant’s voluntary
appearance in the action is equivalent to service of summons. [29] Before, the rule was that
a party may challenge the jurisdiction of the court over his person by making a special
appearance through a motion to dismiss and if in the same motion, the movant raised
other grounds or invoked affirmative relief which necessarily involves the exercise of the
jurisdiction of the court, the party is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction
of the court.[30]This doctrine has been abandoned in the case of La Naval Drug
Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, et al.,[31] which became the basis of the adoption of a
new provision in the former Section 23, which is now Section 20 of Rule 14 of the 1997
Rules. Section 20 now provides that “the inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other
grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant shall not be
deemed a voluntary appearance.” The emplacement of this rule clearly underscores the
purpose to enforce strict enforcement of the rules on summons. Accordingly, the filing of
a motion to dismiss, whether or not belatedly filed by the defendant, his authorized agent
or attorney, precisely objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the
defendant can by no means be deemed a submission to the jurisdiction of the
court. There being no proper service of summons, the trial court cannot take cognizance
of a case for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Any proceeding
undertaken by the trial court will consequently be null and void.[32]
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Orders of the
public respondent trial court are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The public respondent
Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 132 is declared without jurisdiction to take
cognizance of Civil Case No. 98-824, and all its orders and issuances in connection
therewith are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, Panganiban, and Purisima, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines 1. In holding that Assistant Fiscal Alfonso Felix of the City of Manila was
SUPREME COURT authorized to appear and institute administrative proceedings against Dr.
Manila Dominador Gomez before the Board of Medical Examiners of the Philippines.

EN BANC 2. In not holding that Assistant Fiscal Alfonso Felix, of the City of Manila, had
personality nor power to institute administrative proceedings against Dr.
G.R. No. L-32441 March 29, 1930 Dominador Gomez before the Board of Medical Examiners of the Philippines.

DOMINADOR GOMEZ, plaintiff-appellant, 3. In admitting in its decision that section 9 of Act No. 2381, known as the
vs. Opium Law, is valid.
HONORIO VENTURA, Secretary of the Interior of the Government of the
Philippine Islands, and the 4. In not holding that section 9 of Act No. 2381, known as the Opium Law, is
BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS OF THE PHILIPPINE unconstitutional, and therefore null and void.
ISLANDS, defendants-appellees.
5. In holding that section 9 Act No. 2381, known as the Opium Law, is in force.
Jose Varela Calderon for appellant.
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellees. 6. In not holding that section 9 Act No. 2381 has been repealed, even on the
supposition that it was valid.
ROMUALDEZ, J.:
7. In rendering the judgment appealed from.
In this cause, the plaintiff prays for judgment, as follows:
8. In denying the motion for avoidance, and for a new trial, filed by appellant.
1. Annulling and setting aside the aforementioned investigation proceedings,
and particularly the decision of the Board of Medical Examiners of the The first two assignments of error relate to the validity of the charges against the plaintiff,
Philippine Islands dated March 30, 1926, forever revoking the plaintiff's license preferred by Assistant Fiscal Alfonso Felix of the City of Manila, who, according to the
to practice medicine and surgery. plaintiff is not authorized by law to file charges with the Board of Medical Examiners,
which therefore acquired no jurisdiction over the matter.
2. Ordering the defendants to restore the plaintiff to his status before the
investigation and the decision of March 30, 1926, that is, as if there had never According to section 780 of Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3111, the
been an investigation and an adverse decision. procedure to be observed in revoking a certificate of registration is the following:

3. Ordering said defendants to issue in favor of the plaintiff a license for the Proceedings for revocation of a certificate of registration shall be begun by
practice of medicine and surgery in the Philippine Islands, such as he had prior filing a written charge or charges against the accused. These charges may be
to the investigation and adverse decision. preferred by any person or persons, firm or corporation, or the Board of Medical
Examiners itself may direct its executive officer to prepare said charges. Said
4. Granting the plaintiff any proper legal remedy. (Pages 5 and 6, bill of charges shall be filed with the executive officer of the Board of Medical
exemptions.) Examiners and a copy thereof, together with written notice of the time and place
when they will be heared and determined, shall be served upon the accused or
The defendants answered with a general denial and prayed that the complaint be his counsel, at least two weeks before the date actually fixed for said hearing.
dismissed. (Sec. 12, Act No. 3111.)

After trial the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissed the complaint with costs The law does not require that the charges be preferred by a public officer or by any
against the plaintiff. specified person; it even permits the Board of Medical Examiners itself to require its
executive officer to prefer said charges. From the wording of the law we infer that any
person, including a public officer, may prefer the charges referred to in the above-quoted
Counsel for plaintiff contends that the court below erred:
provision. Wherefore, the fact that the charges were filed by Assistant Fiscal Alfonso
Felix of the City of Manila, does not deprive the Board of Medical Examiners of to the same subject, have natural connection, and are not foreign to the subject
jurisdiction to hear said charges and to take the proper action according to law. expressed in the title. As very frequently expressed by the courts, any
provisions that are germane to the subject expressed in the title may properly be
The appellant contends in his third and fourth assignments of error that section 9 of Act included in the act. (I Sutherland on Stat. Const., par. 118.)
No. 2381 is null and void on the ground of unconstitutionality, since said section is
foreign to the subject of said Act, in violation of section 3 of the Jones Law prohibiting In order to hold that section 9 of Act No. 2381 is unconstitutional on the ground alleged
the enactment of any bill embracing more than one subject and providing that the subject by the plaintiff, the violation of the constitutional provision must be substantial and
be expressed in the title of the bill. manifest. It is not so in the case at bar.

Our opinion is that the matter contained in section 9 of Act No. 2381 is not foreign to the 2. To warrant the setting aside of statutes because their subjects are not
end pursued in said Act, and that in view in the provision of said section it cannot be expressed in the titles, the violation of the rule must be substantial and plain.
maintained that Act No. 2381 includes more than one subject. The penalty provided in (Posadas vs. Menzi, Decision of the United States Supreme Court, page 388,
said section for the physician or dentist who prescribes opium for a patient whose No. 11, May 15, 1929, United States Supreme Court Advance Opinions.)
physical condition does not require the use of said drug, is one of the means employed by
the Legislature to attain the purpose of Act No. 2381, which is, to prohibit unnecessary At all events the validity of this Opium Law, Act No. 2381, has already been upheld by
use of opium; it is one of the details subordinate to the purpose in view. Such punishment this court, not only in the above cited case, United States vs. Wayne Shoup, supra, but
is not the end contemplated in Act No. 2381, but, as we have just said, it is a means also in the subsequent case of United States vs. Jao Li Sing (37 Phil., 211).
employed to regulate the use of opium.
Passing to the fifth and sixth assignments of error, wherein counsel for appellant contends
In passing said Act No. 2381, the Legislature merely exercised the police power that even granting that section 9 of Act No. 2381 is valid, it was repealed by Act No.
expressly granted by the Act of Congress of March 3, 1905, for the protection of the 2493 and later by section 780 of the Administrative Code, we note, first, that there is no
health, comfort, and general welfare of the people of the Philippine Islands. express repeal of section 9 of Act No. 2381. Secondly, it cannot be held that it has been
impliedly repealed, for the reason that the provisions of section 9, Act No. 2381, are
ID.; ID.; POWER OF PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE TO LEGISLATE UPON neither contrary to, nor incompatible with, the provisions of section 780 of the
THE SUBJECT. — The Philippine Legislature is expressly authorized by the Administrative Code, as amended. Upon this point, we approve and adopt the following
Act of Congress of March 3, 1905, to adopt legislation upon the importation and statements made by the trial judge:
sale of opium in the Philippine Islands. The purpose of such legislation was to
protect the health, comfort, and general welfare of the people of the Philippine Counsel contends, in support of the above, that Act No. 2493 being complete,
Islands. Such legislation was an exercise of the police power of the State. and "covering the field" by implication repealed all laws relating to the practice
(United States vs. Wayne Shoup, 35 Phil., 56.) of medicine, powers of the Board of Medical Examiners and allied matters;
hence, the said law, expressly providing the causes for revocation of medical
And, as we have stated, the provisions contained in section 9 of Act No. 2381 relative to licenses, necessarily excluded all others, even though embodied in prior
the physicians and dentist are simply detailes and means conducive to the ultimate enactments.
purpose of said Act, which details and means need not be stated in the title of the Act for
the very reason that properly speaking, they are not foreign matter. Act No. 310 provided that the Board of medical Examiners could revoke
licenses for "unprofessional conduct," without defining the term. Act No. 1761
The general purpose of these provisions is accomplished when a law has but (the Opium Law) provided that illegaly prescribing opium should be cause for
one general object, which is fairly indicated by its title. To require every end revocation of medical licenses. Clearly, the Opium Law did not repeal Act No.
and means necessary or convenient for the accomplishment of this general 310. Act No. 2381 — also an Opium Law — in its section 9, repeated the
object to be provided for by a separate act relating to that alone, would not only provision as to doctors and dentists. The repetition did not repeal Act No. 310.
be unreasonable, but would actually render legislation impossible. (Cooley on Act No. 2493, section 11 (Ad. Code, sec. 780), provided that certificates of
Constitutional Limitations, pp. 296-297.) physicians are revocable for "unprofessional conduct," without defining the
phrase. In other words, so far as revocation of licenses is concerned, Act No.
The constitutional requirement is addressed to the subject, not to the details of 2493 is mere reenactment of Act No. 310. The reenactment of the said portion
the act. The subject must be single; the provisions, to accomplished the object of Act No. 310 did not repeal section 9 of the Opium Law. If said section 9 has
involved in that subject, may be multifarious. . . . None of the provisions of a been repealed, it must be by Act No. 3111, which amends Act No. 2493 (Ad.
statute will be held unconstitutional when they all relate, directly or indirectly,
Code, sec. 780), by an addition after the words "unprofessional conduct" of the That this action is really a mandamus proceeding, appears clearly from the terms of the
following: complaint filed herein.

"The words "unprofessional conduct, immoral, or dishonorable Finding no merit in the assignments of error, the judgment appealed from is affirmed,
conduct" as used in this chapter shall be construed to include the with costs against the appellant. So ordered.
following acts: (1) Procuring, aiding or abeting a criminal abortion; (2)
advertising, either in his own name or in the name of any other person, Malcolm, Ostrand, Johns and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.
firm, association, or corporation, in any written or printed paper, or Villamor, J., reserves his vote.
document, of medical business in which untruthful or improbable
promises are made, or being employed by, or in the service of any
person, firm, association or corporation so advertising, or advertising
in any obscene manner derogatory to good morals; (3) habitual
intemperance or addition to the use of morphine, opium, cocaine or
other drugs having a similar effect; (4) conviction of a crime or
misdemeanor involving dishonorable conduct; and (5) willfully
betraying a professional secret."

It cannot be seriously contended that aside from the five examples specified
there can be no other conduct of a physician deemed "unprofessional" conduct
theretofore deemed grounds for revocation licenses. The maxim expressio unius
est exclussio alterius should be applied only as a means of discovering
legislative intent and should not be permitted to defeat the plain indicated
purpose of the Legislature. It does not apply when words are mentioned by way
of example, or to remove doubts. (See Cyc., 1122.) If, therefore, there exists,
"unprofessional conduct" not specified in the laws, with more reason does the
criminal use of opium remain a specific cause for revocation of license. (Pages
11, 12 and 13, bill of exceptions.)

As to the seventh and eighth assignments of error, we find the judgment and appealed
from correctly rendered, and the motion of avoidance and new trial properly denied.

As the Attorney-General correctly observes, the powers vested in the Board of Medical
Examiners to suspend or revoke a physician's certificate of registration and the authority
granted the Secretary of the Interior of confirming or reversing the decision of said board
of examiners, partake of a quasi-judicial character, that is, involve the use of discretion.
For this reason, the exercise thereof cannot be reviewed by mandamus, which is the
nature of this cause on its merits.

As in the case of courts and judicial officers, it is a rule of general application


that mandamus will not lie to review or control the acts of executive officers
and boards of state and federal governments in respect of matters as to which
they are vested with discretion. In other words, they cannot be compelled to act
or render a decision in any particular way, and this is so, even though the
exercise of this discretion requires the construction and interpretation of
statutes. Where public officials exercise their discretion, it is said that their
conclusions, although disputable, are impregnable to mandamus. (38 C. J., 659-
660.)
SPECIAL SECOND DIVISION met. Consequently, the case should be referred to and be decided by this Court en banc,
[G.R. No. 131457. August 19, 1999] relying on the following constitutional provision:
HON. CARLOS O. FORTICH, PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR OF BUKIDNON,
HON. REY B. BAULA, MUNICIPAL MAYOR OF SUMILAO, “Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence
BUKIDNON, NQSR MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in
CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. HON. RENATO C. CORONA, DEPUTY the case and voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence of at least three of
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, HON. ERNESTO D. GARILAO, such Members. When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision
REFORM, respondents. rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the Court
RESOLUTION sitting en banc.”[4]
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This resolves the pending incidents before us, namely, respondents’ and A careful reading of the above constitutional provision, however, reveals the
intervenors’ separate motions for reconsideration of our Resolution dated November 17, intention of the framers to draw a distinction between cases, on the one hand, and
1998, as well as their motions to refer this case to this Court en banc. matters, on the other hand, such that casesare “decided” while matters, which include
motions, are “resolved”. Otherwise put, the word “decided” must refer to “cases”; while
Respondents and intervenors jointly argue, in fine, that our Resolution dated the word “resolved” must refer to “matters”, applying the rule of reddendo singula
November 17, 1998, wherein we voted two-two on the separate motions for singulis. This is true not only in the interpretation of the above-quoted Article VIII,
reconsideration of our earlier Decision of April 24, 1998, as a result of which the Section 4(3), but also of the other provisions of the Constitution where these words
Decision was deemed affirmed, did not effectively resolve the said motions for appear.[5]
reconsideration inasmuch as the matter should have been referred to the Court sitting en
banc, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 4(3) of the Constitution. Respondents and With the aforesaid rule of construction in mind, it is clear that only cases are
intervenors also assail our Resolution dated January 27, 1999, wherein we noted without referred to the Court en banc for decision whenever the required number of votes is not
action the intervenors’ “Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter obtained. Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the required three
To The Court En Banc” filed on December 3, 1998, on the following considerations, to votes is not obtained in the resolution of a motion for reconsideration. Hence, the second
wit: sentence of the aforequoted provision speaks only of “case” and not “matter”. The
reason is simple. The above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3) pertains to the disposition
“the movants have no legal personality to further seek redress before the Court after their of cases by a division. If there is a tie in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to
motion for leave to intervene in this case was denied in the April 24, 1998 dispose of the case then is to refer it to the Court en banc. On the other hand, if a case
Decision. Their subsequent motion for reconsideration of the said decision, with a prayer has already been decided by the division and the losing party files a motion for
to resolve the motion to the Court En Banc, was also denied in the November 17, 1998 reconsideration, the failure of the division to resolve the motion because of a tie in the
Resolution of the Court. Besides, their aforesaid motion of December 3, 1998 is in the voting does not leave the case undecided. There is still the decision which must stand in
nature of a second motion for reconsideration which is a forbidden motion (Section 2, view of the failure of the members of the division to muster the necessary vote for its
Rule 52 in relation to Section 4, Rule 56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). The reconsideration. Quite plainly, if the voting results in a tie, the motion for
impropriety of movants’ December 3, 1998 motion becomes all the more glaring reconsideration is lost. The assailed decision is not reconsidered and must therefore be
considering that all the respondents in this case did not anymore join them (movants) in deemed affirmed. Such was the ruling of this Court in the Resolution of November 17,
seeking a reconsideration of the November 17, 1998 Resolution.” [1] 1998.
It is the movants’ further contention in support of their plea for the referral of this
Subsequently, respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed their case to the Court en banc that the issues submitted in their separate motions are of first
“Motion For Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For impression. In the opinion penned by Mr. Justice Antonio M. Martinez during the
Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer For resolution of the motions for reconsideration on November 17, 1998, the following was
Issuance Of A Restraining Order)” on December 3, 1998, accompanied by a expressed:
“Manifestation and Motion”[2] and a copy of the Registered Mail Bill[3]evidencing filing
of the said motion for reconsideration to this Court by registered mail. “Regrettably, the issues presented before us by the movants are matters of no
In their respective motions for reconsideration, both respondents and intervenors extraordinary import to merit the attention of the Court en banc. Specifically, the issue of
pray that this case be referred to this Court en banc. They contend that inasmuch as their whether or not the power of the local government units to reclassify lands is subject to the
earlier motions for reconsideration (of the Decision dated April 24, 1998) were resolved approval of the DAR is no longer novel, this having been decided by this Court in the
by a vote of two-two, the required number to carry a decision, i.e., three, was not case of Province of Camarines Sur, et al. vs. Court of Appealswherein we held that local
government units need not obtain the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify lands
from agricultural to non-agricultural use. The dispositive portion of the Decision in the procedural rule pertaining to the reglementary period to appeal or move for
aforecited case states: reconsideration, the underlying consideration therefor was the protection of the
substantive rights of petitioners. The succinct words of Mr. Justice Artemio V.
‘WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned decision of the Court of Panganiban are quoted in the November 17, 1998 opinion of Mr. Justice
Appeals is set aside insofar as it (a) nullifies the trial court’s order allowing the Martinez, viz: “Just as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed
Province of Camarines Sur to take possession of private respondents’ property; (b) orders period, the winning party also has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the
the trial court to suspend the expropriation proceedings; and (c) requires the Province of resolution of his/her case.”[8]
Camarines Sur to obtain the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform to In other words, the finality of the March 29, 1996 OP Decision accordingly vested
convert or reclassify private respondents’ property from agricultural to non- appurtenant rights to the land in dispute on petitioners as well as on the people of
agricultural use. Bukidnon and other parts of the country who stand to be benefited by the development of
the property. The issue in this case, therefore, is not a question of technicality but of
‘xxx xxx xxx’ (Emphasis supplied) substance and merit.[9]
Before finally disposing of these pending matters, we feel it necessary to rule once
“Moreover, the Decision sought to be reconsidered was arrived at by a unanimous vote of
and for all on the legal standing of intervenors in this case. In their present motions,
all five (5) members of the Second Division of this Court. Stated otherwise, this Second
intervenors insist that they are real parties in interest inasmuch as they have already been
Division is of the opinion that the matters raised by movants are nothing new and do not
issued certificates of land ownership award, or CLOAs, and that while they are seasonal
deserve the consideration of the Court en banc. Thus, the participation of the full Court
farmworkers at the plantation, they have been identified by the DAR as qualified
in the resolution of movants’ motions for reconsideration would be inappropriate.” [6]
beneficiaries of the property. These arguments are, however, nothing new as in fact they
have already been raised in intervenors’ earlier motion for reconsideration of our April
The contention, therefore, that our Resolution of November 17, 1998 did not 24, 1998 Decision. Again as expressed in the opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez,
dispose of the earlier motions for reconsideration of the Decision dated April 24, 1998 is intervenors, who are admittedly not regular but seasonal farmworkers, have no legal or
flawed. Consequently, the present motions for reconsideration necessarily partake of the actual and substantive interest over the subject land inasmuch as they have no right to
nature of a second motion for reconsideration which, according to the clear and own the land. Rather, their right is limited only to a just share of the fruits of the
unambiguous language of Rule 56, Section 4, in relation to Rule 52, Section 2, of the land.[10] Moreover, the “Win-Win” Resolution itself states that the qualified beneficiaries
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is prohibited. have yet to be carefully and meticulously determined by the Department of Agrarian
Reform.[11] Absent any definitive finding of the Department of Agrarian Reform,
True, there are exceptional cases when this Court may entertain a second motion for
intervenors cannot as yet be deemed vested with sufficient interest in the controversy as
reconsideration, such as where there are extraordinarily persuasive reasons. Even then,
to be qualified to intervene in this case. Likewise, the issuance of the CLOA's to them
we have ruled that such second motions for reconsideration must be filed with express
does not grant them the requisite standing in view of the nullity of the “Win-Win”
leave of court first obtained.[7] In this case, not only did movants fail to ask for prior leave
Resolution. No legal rights can emanate from a resolution that is null and void.
of court, but more importantly, they have been unable to show that there are exceptional
reasons for us to give due course to their second motions for reconsideration. Stripped of WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the following incidents, namely:
the arguments for referral of this incident to the Court en banc, the motions subject of this intervenors’ “Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter To The
resolution are nothing more but rehashes of the motions for reconsideration which have Court En Banc,” dated December 3, 1998; respondents’ “Motion For Reconsideration Of
been denied in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. To be sure, the allegations The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For Referral Of The Case To This
contained therein have already been raised before and passed upon by this Court in the Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order),”
said Resolution. dated December 2, 1998; and intervenors’ “Urgent Omnibus Motion For The Supreme
Court Sitting En Banc To Annul The Second Division’s Resolution Dated 27 January
The crux of the controversy is the validity of the “Win-Win” Resolution dated
1999 And Immediately Resolve The 28 May 1998 Motion For Reconsideration Filed By
November 7, 1997. We maintain that the same is void and of no legal effect considering
The Intervenors,” dated March 2, 1999; are all DENIED with FINALITY. No further
that the March 29, 1996 decision of the Office of the President had already become final
motion, pleading, or paper will be entertained in this case.
and executory even prior to the filing of the motion for reconsideration which became the
basis of the said “Win-Win” Resolution. This ruling, quite understandably, sparked a SO ORDERED.
litany of protestations on the part of respondents and intervenors including entreaties for
a liberal interpretation of the rules. The sentiment was that notwithstanding its Melo, J., see separate opinion.
importance and far-reaching effects, the case was disposed of on a technicality. The Puno, J., in the result, he maintain his original position that the case should go to
situation, however, is not as simple as what the movants purport it to be. While it may be CA for further proceedings.
true that on its face the nullification of the “Win-Win” Resolution was grounded on a Mendoza, J., in the result.
SEPARATE OPINION
Let us take the smallest division of 3 and the vote is 2-1. So, it is less than 3
votes. Should it immediately go to the court en banc of 15 justices or should it
first go to a bigger division?
MELO, J.:
MR. CONCEPCION: Yes.
On the merits, I still maintain my vote with Mr. Justice Puno that this case should MR. RODRIGO: They immediately go to the court en banc?
be referred to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings.
MR. SUAREZ: Yes, Madam President.
Since what is now before us is a second motion for reconsideration, which under
the rules is generally proscribed, the majority deemed it pertinent to limit its resolution in MR. RODRIGO: Is that automatic? Let us say that in the division of 3, the vote is
regard to cogent procedural points. 2-1, automatically it goes to the court en banc?

At the outset, I wish to point out that inasmuch as I am bound to abide by the MR. SUAREZ: Yes, because the required number of 3 is not obtained. So, this
Court En Banc’s Resolution No. 99-1-09-SC dated January 22, 1999, which settled the last phrase would operate automatically – “WHEN THE REQUIRED
issue of an even (2-2) vote in a division, I am constrained to vote with the majority in NUMBER IS NOT OBTAINED, THE CASE SHALL BE DECIDED EN
denying all of the subject motions in the above-captioned case. Nevertheless, I wish to BANC.”
express my views on this issue and put them on record, so, in the event that the Court xxx xxx xxx
decides to re-open and re-discuss this issue at some future time, these considerations may
be referred to.
(V Record 635, Oct. 8, 1986)
I continue to have some reservations regarding the majority’s position regarding an
even (2-2) vote in a division, due to the following considerations: Explicit, therefore, is the requirement that at least 3 members must concur in any
By mandate of the Constitution, cases heard by a division when the required case or matter heard by a division. Failing thus, or, when the required number of 3
majority of at least 3 votes in the division is not obtained are to be heard and decided votes is not obtained, the case or matter will have to be decided by the Court En Banc.
by the Court En Banc. Specifically, Paragraph 3, Section 4, Article VIII of the In a situation where a division of 5 has only 4 members, the 5th member having
Constitution provides that: inhibited himself or is otherwise not in a position to participate, or has retired, a
xxx minimum of 3 votes would still be required before there can be any valid decision or
resolution by that division. There may, then, be instances when a deadlock may occur,
i.e., the votes tied at 2-2. It is my humble view that under the clear and unequivocal
(3) Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the provisions of the 1986 Constitution, if the required majority is not reached in a division,
concurrence of a majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations on the case should automatically go to Court En Banc.
the issues in the case and voted thereon, and in no case, without the concurrence of at
least three of such members. When the required number is not obtained, the case A distinction has been made between “cases” and “matters” referred to in the
shall be decided en banc: provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the above-quoted constitutional provision. “Cases” being decided, and “matters” being
court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by resolved. Only “cases” are referred to the Court En Banc for decision whenever the
the court sitting en banc. required number of votes is not obtained. “Matters” are not referred anymore.
I regret I cannot square with such position.
The deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission disclose that if the case is
not decided in a division by a majority vote, it goes to the Court En Banc and not to a The majority view is that “cases” would only refer to deliberations at first instance
larger division. Moreover, the elevation of a case to the Banc shall be automatic. Thus, on the merits of a case filed with the Court, and other deliberations, such as motions,
including motions for reconsideration, are “matters” to be resolved. To give flesh to this
MR. RODRIGO: Madam President, may I ask some questions for clarification. distinction, it is cited that if a tie occurs in the voting on deliberations of “cases”, no
MR. PRESIDENT: Commissioner Rodrigo is recognized. decision is passed, whereas, if a tie occurs in the voting on motions for reconsideration,
the decision which had already been passed stands.
MR. RODRIGO: Under these provisions, there are 3 kinds of divisions : one would
be a division composed of 3 justices in which case there will be 5 divisions; This is not true all the time. It may be true only in original cases, as opposed to
another division is composed of 5 justices each, in which case there will be 3 appealed cases, filed with the Court. However, because of the doctrine of hierarchy of
divisions; and the other is composed of 7 members each, in which case, there courts, the only original cases which are taken cognizance of by this Court are those
will be 2 divisions. wherein it has exclusive jurisdiction. But, invariably, these cases are all required by the
Constitution to be heard by the Court En Banc. So, there will be no instance when a
division will be ever taking cognizance of an original action filed with this Court.
It may be noted that cases taken cognizance of by the divisions are either petitions
for review on certiorari under Rule 45 or petitions for certiorari, prohibition
or mandamus, under Rule 65. Under Rule 45, appeal by way of petition for review
on certiorari is not a matter of right. Thus, should there be a tie in the voting on
deliberation of a “case” by the division, although apparently no action is passed, a
decision may still be rendered-the petition is hereby DENIED due course, and it is
forthwith DISMISSED. This is definitely in consonance with the majority’s line of
reasoning in the 2-2 vote on motions for reconsideration. But why is that, the 2-2 vote in
the deliberation of the “case” at the first instance should still be referred to the Court En
Banc? The reason is simple. Because the express provision of the Constitution requires
a vote of at least three justices for there to be a valid and binding decision of the
Court. But, why do we not apply the same rule to motions for reconsideration? Even on
this score alone, it is my view that, in all instances, whether it be in the deliberations of a
case at first instance or on a motion for reconsideration, a division having a 2-2 vote
cannot pass action.
I submit that the requirement of 3 votes equally applies to motions for
reconsideration because the provision contemplates “cases” or “matters” (which for me
has no material distinction insofar as divisions are concerned) heard by a division, and a
motion for reconsideration cannot be divorced from the decision in a case that it seeks to
be reconsidered. Consequently, if the required minimum majority of 3 votes is not met,
the matter of the motion for reconsideration has to be heard by the Court En Banc, as
mandated by the Constitution (par. 3, Sec. 4, Art. VIII). To say that the motion is lost in
the division on a 2-2 vote, is to construe something which cannot be sustained by a
reading of the Constitution. To argue that a motion for reconsideration is not a “case” but
only a “matter” which does not concern a case, so that, even though the vote thereon in
the division is 2-2, the matter or issue is not required to elevated to the Court En Banc, is
to engage in a lot of unfounded hairsplitting.
Furthermore, I humbly submit that the theory of leaving the issue hanging on a 2-2
vote or any even vote may be sustained only in cases where there is no recourse to a
higher assemblage.
In the Court of Appeals, for instance, an even vote in a division of 5 (2-2, with 1
abstaining) would result in the motion not being carried, but only because there is and
there cannot be recourse to the Court of Appeals En Banc which, does not act on judicial
matters. In a legislative body, an even vote results in the failure of the proposition, only
because there is no higher body which can take over. In our own Court En Banc, if the
voting is evenly split, on a 7-7 vote with 1 slot vacant, or with 1 justice inhibiting or
disqualifying himself, the motion shall, of course, not be carried because that is the end of
the line.
But in the situation now facing us, the even vote is in a division, and there being
recourse to the Court En Banc, and more so, this being expressly directed by the
Constitution, the matter of the motion for reconsideration should, by all means, be
decided by the Court En Banc.
EN BANC GSIS filed a comment[2] to respondents’ amendatory motion, as directed by the
[G.R. No. 138381. November 10, 2004] Court in a resolution dated September 3, 2002. GSIS posited that the other benefits not
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION passed upon in the main judgment should be understood by respondents as having been
ON AUDIT, respondent. impliedly denied by this Court. It also sought clarification of our decision insofar as it
[G.R. No. 141625. November 10, 2004] declared that there was no identity of subject matter between the COA proceedings, from
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, petitioner, vs. ALFREDO D. which the first petition stemmed, and respondents’ claim under the second petition, which
PINEDA, DANIEL GO, FELINO BULANDUS, FELICIMO J. emanated from an order of the GSIS Board of Trustees (“Board”). As for the damages
FERRARIS, JR., BEN HUR PORLUCAS, LUIS HIPONIA, MARIA claimed by respondents, GSIS insists that it made the deductions in good faith for these
LUISA A. FERNANDEZ, VICTORINA JOVEN, CORAZON S. were done in accordance with COA directives.
ALIWANAG, SILVER L. MARTINES, SR., RENATO PEREZ, LOLITA
CAYLAN, DOUGLAS VALLEJO and LETICIA ALMAZAN, on their Respondents filed a reply[3] to the comment of GSIS on September 9, 2002.
own behalf and on behalf of all GSIS retirees with all of whom they share a Meanwhile, respondents filed a second motion, this time for leave to file a motion
common and general interest, respondents. for discretionary and partial execution[4] (“motion for execution”). They prayed that GSIS
RESOLUTION be ordered to effect the refund, as finally adjudged in our decision, pending resolution of
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: their amendatory motion as to the other deducted amounts. We granted the motion for
execution on September 3, 2002.
On April 16, 2002, the Court promulgated a decision on these two consolidated Subsequently, on December 26, 2002, counsel for respondents, Atty. Agustin
cases partially granting the petition in G.R. No. 138381 (“first petition”) thereby Sundiam, filed a motion for entry and enforcement of attorney’s lien [5] (“motion for
reversing the Commission on Audit’s (COA) disallowance of certain fringe benefits charging lien”) and a supplement[6] to this motion on January 10, 2003. He sought entry
granted to GSIS employees. As a result, the Court ordered the refund of amounts of a charging lien in the records of this case pursuant to Section 37 of Rule 138. He
representing fringe benefits corresponding to those allowed in the first petition in favor of prayed for an order directing the GSIS to deduct, as his professional fees, 15% from
the respondents in G.R. No. 141625 (“second petition”). respondents’ refund vouchers since the GSIS was already in the process of releasing his
clients’ checks in compliance with our judgment in the first petition. The payment
The benefits which the Court ordered to be refunded included increases in longevity scheme was allegedly authorized by the Board of Directors of his clients, the GSIS
pay, children’s allowance and management contribution to the Provident Fund as well as Retirees Association, Inc. (GRIA), through a board resolution [7] that he has attached to
premiums for group personal accident insurance. On the other hand, the Court affirmed the motion.
the COA disallowance of loyalty and service cash award as well as housing allowance in
excess of that approved by the COA. Amounts corresponding to these benefits were Atty. Sundiam’s motion for charging lien was opposed by petitioner GSIS on the
previously deducted by GSIS from respondents’ retirement benefits in view of the COA ground that it was through its efforts, and not Atty. Sundiam’s, that the retirees were able
disallowance in the first petition. COA did not seek reconsideration of the judgment to obtain a refund.[8] Meanwhile, the GRIA confirmed the payment scheme it adopted
ordering said refund, which thus became final and executory. with Atty. Sundiam and prayed for its approval.[9]
On August 7, 2002, the respondents in the second petition, all GSIS retirees, filed a Thereafter, on January 10, 2003, respondents filed another manifestation and
motion for amendatory and clarificatory judgment (“amendatory motion”). [1] They motion as well as supplement thereto, claiming that GSIS was deducting new and
averred that we did not categorically resolve the issue raised in the second petition, unspecified sums from the amount it was refunding to respondents. These new
namely: whether or not the GSIS may lawfully deduct any amount from their retirement deductions purportedly pertain to another set of COA disallowances. [10]
benefits in light of Section 39 of Republic Act No. 8291.
On January 21, 2003, respondents again filed a motion [11] praying for the inclusion
According to respondents, said provision of law clearly states that no amount in the refundable amount of dividends on the management contribution to the Provident
whatsoever could be legally deducted from retirement benefits, even those amounts Fund (“motion for payment of dividends”). Respondents claimed that the contribution,
representing COA disallowances. They posit that we should have ordered refund not which amounted to Fifty Million Pesos (P50M), was retained by GSIS for more than five
only of benefits allowed in the first petition, but all amounts claimed, regardless of years and thus earned a considerable sum of income while under its control. GSIS
whether or not these were allowed by the COA. These include items which were declared and paid dividends on said contribution to incumbent officials and employees,
correctly disallowed by the COA in the first petition, as well as disallowed benefits under but refused to extend the same benefits to respondents/retirees.
the second petition. The latter consists of initial payment of productivity bonus,
accelerated implementation of the new salary schedule effective August 1, 1995, 1995 On March 6, 2003, GSIS filed a joint comment[12] to respondents’ two foregoing
mid-year financial assistance and increase in clothing, rice and meal allowances. motions contending that the new deductions are legitimate. The deductions pertain to car
Respondents further insist that we should have awarded damages in their favor, citing the loan arrearages, disallowed employees’ compensation claims and the like. As for the
GSIS’ alleged bad faith in making the deductions. dividends on the Provident Fund contributions, respondents are not entitled to the same
because while the first petition was pending, the contributions were not actually remitted Under certain exceptional circumstances, we have taken cognizance of questions of
to the fund but were withheld by COA pursuant to its earlier disallowance. law even in the absence of an initial determination by a lower court or administrative
body. InChina Banking Corporation v. Court of Appeals,[18] the Court held:
On October 2, 2003, respondents filed another motion [13] for an order to compel the
GSIS to pay dividends on the Provident Fund contributions pending resolution of their
other motions. They also sought refund of Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits At the outset, the Court’s attention is drawn to the fact that since the filing of this suit
that GSIS supposedly paid to some of the respondents, but once again arbitrarily before the trial court, none of the substantial issues have been resolved. To avoid and
deducted from the amount which the Court ordered to be refunded. gloss over the issues raised by the parties, as what the trial court and respondent Court of
Appeals did, would unduly prolong this litigation involving a rather simple case of
In a minute resolution[14] dated November 11, 2003, we denied the last motion for foreclosure of mortgage. Undoubtedly, this will run counter to the avowed purpose of the
lack of merit. We likewise denied with finality respondents’ motion for reconsideration rules, i.e., to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy and inexpensive determination of
from the denial of said motion.[15] every action or proceeding. The Court, therefore, feels that the central issues of the case,
albeit unresolved by the courts below, should now be settled specially as they involved
We now resolve the matters raised by the parties. pure questions of law. Furthermore, the pleadings of the respective parties on file have
On the amendatory motion, it must be clarified that the question raised before this amply ventilated their various positions and arguments on the matter necessitating
Court in the second petition was the issue of the Board’s jurisdiction to resolve prompt adjudication.
respondents’ claim for refund of amounts representing deductions from their retirement
benefits. What was assailed in the second petition was the appellate court’s ruling that In Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila v. Court of Appeals,[19] the Court likewise
the Board had jurisdiction over respondents’ claim since there was no identity of subject held that the remand of a case is not necessary where the court is in a position to resolve
matter between the proceedings then pending before the COA and the petition brought by the dispute based on the records before it. The Court will decide actions on the merits in
respondents before the Board. The Court of Appeals did not rule on the main controversy order to expedite the settlement of a controversy and if the ends of justice would not be
of whether COA disallowances could be deducted from retirement benefits because the subserved by a remand of the case.
Board ordered the dismissal of respondents’ claim for alleged lack of jurisdiction, before
it could even decide on the principal issue. Here, the primary issue calls for an application of a specific provision of RA 8291
as well as relevant jurisprudence on the matter. No useful purpose will indeed be served
Consequently, the only matter that was properly elevated to this Court was the issue if we remand the matter to the Board, only for its decision to be elevated again to the
of whether or not the Board had jurisdiction over respondents’ demands. We did not Court of Appeals and subsequently to this Court. Hence, we deem it sound to rule on the
resolve the issue of whether or not the deductions were valid under Section 39 of RA merits of the controversy rather than to remand the case for further proceedings.
8291, for the simple reason that the Board, as well as the appellate court, did not tackle
the issue. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction[16] would ordinarily preclude us from The last paragraph of Section 39, RA 8291 specifically provides:
resolving the matter, which calls for a ruling to be first made by the Board. It is the latter
that is vested by law with exclusive and original jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien.-
under RA 8291, as well as other matters related thereto. [17]
xxx xxx xxx
However, both the GSIS and respondents have extensively discussed the merits of
the case in their respective pleadings and did not confine their arguments to the issue of
jurisdiction. Respondents, in fact, submit that we should resolve the main issue on the The funds and/or the properties referred to herein as well as the benefits, sums or monies
ground that it is a purely legal question. Respondents further state that a remand of the corresponding to the benefits under this Act shall be exempt from attachment,
case to the Board would merely result in unnecessary delay and needless expense for the garnishment, execution, levy or other processes issued by the courts, quasi-judicial
parties. They thus urge the Court to decide the main question in order to finally put an agencies or administrative bodies including Commission on Audit (COA)
end to the controversy. disallowances and from all financial obligations of the members, including his pecuniary
accountability arising from or caused or occasioned by his exercise or performance of his
Indeed, the principal issue pending before the Board does not involve any factual official functions or duties, or incurred relative to or in connection with his position or
question, as it concerns only the correct application of the last paragraph of Section 39, work except when his monetary liability, contractual or otherwise, is in favor of the
RA 8291. The parties agreed that the lone issue is whether COA disallowances could be GSIS.
legally deducted from retirement benefits on the ground that these were respondents’
monetary liabilities to the GSIS under the said provision. There is no dispute that the It is clear from the above provision that COA disallowances cannot be deducted
amounts deducted by GSIS represented COA disallowances. Thus, the only question left from benefits under RA 8291, as the same are explicitly made exempt by law from such
for the Board to decide is whether the deductions are allowed under RA 8291. deductions. Retirement benefits cannot be diminished by COA disallowances in view of
the clear mandate of the foregoing provision. It is a basic rule in statutory construction
that if a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning The law which established the GSIS, Commonwealth Act No. 186 (“CA No.
and applied without interpretation. This is what is known as plain-meaning rule or verba 186”),[26] went further by providing as follows:
legis.[20]
Accordingly, the GSIS’ interpretation of Section 39 that COA disallowances have SEC. 23. Exemptions from legal process and liens. – No policy of life insurance issued
become monetary liabilities of respondents to the GSIS and therefore fall under the under this Act, or the proceeds thereof, except those corresponding to the annual
exception stated in the law is wrong. No interpretation of the said provision is necessary premium thereon in excess of five hundred pesos per annum, when paid to any member
given the clear language of the statute. A meaning that does not appear nor is intended or thereunder, shall be liable to attachment, garnishment, or other process, or to be seized,
reflected in the very language of the statute cannot be placed therein by construction. [21] taken, appropriated, or applied by any legal or equitable process or operation of law to
pay any debt or liability of such member, or his beneficiary, or any other person who may
Moreover, if we are to accept the GSIS’ interpretation, then it would be have a right thereunder, either before or after payment; nor shall the proceeds thereof,
unnecessary to single out COA disallowances as among those from which benefits under when not made payable to a named beneficiary, constitute a part of the estate of the
RA 8291 are exempt. In such a case, the inclusion of COA disallowances in the member for payment of his debt.
enumeration of exemptions would be a mere surplusage since the GSIS could simply
consider COA disallowances as monetary liabilities in its favor. Such a construction Presidential Decree No. 1146,[27] which amended CA No. 186, likewise contained a
would empower the GSIS to withdraw, at its option, an exemption expressly granted by provision exempting benefits from attachment, garnishment, levy or other processes.
law. This could not have been the intention of the statute. However, the exemption was expressly made inapplicable to “obligations of the member
That retirement pay accruing to a public officer may not be withheld and applied to to the System, or to the employer, or when the benefits granted are assigned by the
his indebtedness to the government has been settled in several cases. In Cruz v. Tantuico, member with the authority of the System.”[28]
Jr.,[22] the Court, citing Hunt v. Hernandez,[23] explained the reason for such policy thus: The latest GSIS enactment, RA 8291,[29] provides for a more detailed and wider
range of exemptions under Section 39. Aside from exempting benefits from judicial
x x x we are of the opinion that the exemption should be liberally construed in favor of processes, it likewise unconditionally exempts benefits from quasi-judicial and
the pensioner. Pension in this case is a bounty flowing from the graciousness of the administrative processes, including COA disallowances, as well as all financial
Government intended to reward past services and, at the same time, to provide the obligations of the member. The latter includes any pecuniary accountability of the
pensioner with the means with which to support himself and his family. Unless otherwise member which arose out of the exercise or performance of his official functions or duties
clearly provided, the pension should inure wholly to the benefit of the pensioner. It is true or incurred relative to his position or work. The only exception to such pecuniary
that the withholding and application of the amount involved was had under section 624 of accountability is when the same is in favor of the GSIS.
the Administrative Code and not by any judicial process, but if the gratuity could not be
attached or levied upon execution in view of the prohibition of section 3 of Act No. 4051, Thus, “monetary liability in favor of GSIS” refers to indebtedness of the member to
the appropriation thereof by administrative action, if allowed, would lead to the same the System other than those which fall under the categories of pecuniary accountabilities
prohibited result and enable the respondents to do indirectly what they can not do directly exempted under the law. Such liability may include unpaid social insurance premiums
under section 3 of Act No. 4051. Act No. 4051 is a later statute having been approved and balances on loans obtained by the retiree from the System, which do not arise in the
on February 21, 1933, whereas the Administrative Code of 1917 which embodies section performance of his duties and are not incurred relative to his work. The general policy, as
624 relied upon by the respondents was approved on March 10 of that year. Considering reflected in our retirement laws and jurisprudence, is to exempt benefits from all legal
section 3 of Act No. 4051 as an exception to the general authority granted in section 624 processes or liens, but not from outstanding obligations of the member to the
of the Administrative Code, antagonism between the two provisions is avoided. System. This is to ensure maintenance of the GSIS’ fund reserves in order to guarantee
(Underscoring supplied) fulfillment of all its obligations under RA 8291.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, we find it necessary to nonetheless
The above ruling was reiterated in Tantuico, Jr. v. Domingo,[24] where the Court differentiate between those benefits which were properly disallowed by the COA and
similarly declared that benefits under retirement laws cannot be withheld regardless of those which were not.
the petitioner’s monetary liability to the government.
Anent the benefits which were improperly disallowed, the same rightfully belong to
The policy of exempting retirement benefits from attachment, levy and execution, respondents without qualification. As for benefits which were justifiably disallowed by
as well as unwarranted deductions, has been embodied in a long line of retirement the COA, the same were erroneously granted to and received by respondents who now
statutes. Act No. 4051,[25] which provides for the payment of gratuity to officers and have the obligation to return the same to the System.
employees of the Insular Government upon retirement due to reorganization, expressly
provides in its Section 3 that “(t)he gratuity provided for in this Act shall not be attached It cannot be denied that respondents were recipients of benefits that were properly
or levied upon execution.” disallowed by the COA. These COA disallowances would otherwise have been deducted
from their salaries, were it not for the fact that respondents retired before such deductions
could be effected. The GSIS can no longer recover these amounts by any administrative dividends should be the subject of a separate claim where the parties can present evidence
means due to the specific exemption of retirement benefits from COA disallowances. to prove their respective assertions. The Court is in no position to resolve the matter
Respondents resultantly retained benefits to which they were not legally entitled which, since the material facts that would prove or disprove the claim are not on record.
in turn, gave rise to an obligation on their part to return the amounts under the principle
of solutio indebiti. In the interest of clarity, we reiterate herein our ruling that there is no identity of
subject matter between the COA proceedings, from which the first petition stemmed, and
Under Article 2154 of the Civil Code,[30] if something is received and unduly respondents’ claim of refund before the Board. While the first petition referred to the
delivered through mistake when there is no right to demand it, the obligation to return the propriety of the COA disallowances per se, respondents’ claim before the Board
thing arises. Payment by reason of mistake in the construction or application of a pertained to the legality of deducting the COA disallowances from retirement benefits
doubtful or difficult question of law also comes within the scope of solutio indebiti.[31] under Section 39 of RA 8291.
In the instant case, the confusion about the increase and payment of benefits to Finally, on respondents claim that the GSIS acted in bad faith when it deducted the
GSIS employees and executives, as well as its subsequent disallowance by the COA, COA disallowances from their retirement benefits, except for bare allegations, there is no
arose on account of the application of RA 6758 or the Salary Standardization Law and its proof or evidence of the alleged bad faith and partiality of the GSIS. Moreover, the latter
implementing rules, CCC No. 10. The complexity in the application of these laws is cannot be faulted for taking measures to ensure recovery of the COA disallowances since
manifested by the several cases that have reached the Court since its passage in respondents have already retired and would be beyond its administrative reach. The GSIS
1989.[32] The application of RA 6758 was made even more difficult when its merely acted upon its best judgment and chose to err in the side of prudence rather than
implementing rules were nullified for non-publication.[33] Consequently, the delivery of suffer the consequence of not being able to account for the COA disallowances. It
benefits to respondents under an erroneous interpretation of RA 6758 gave rise to an concededly erred in taking this recourse but it can hardly be accused of malice or bad
actionable obligation for them to return the same. faith in doing so.
While the GSIS cannot directly proceed against respondents’ retirement benefits, it WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the April 16, 2002 Decision in G.R. Nos.
can nonetheless seek restoration of the amounts by means of a proper court action for its 138381 and 141625 is AMENDED. In addition to the refund of amounts corresponding
recovery. Respondents themselves submit that this should be the case, [34] although any to benefits allowed in G.R. No. 138381, the GSIS is ordered to REFUND all deductions
judgment rendered therein cannot be enforced against retirement benefits due to the from retirement benefits EXCEPT amounts representing monetary liability of the
exemption provided in Section 39 of RA 8291. However, there is no prohibition against respondents to the GSIS as well as all other amounts mutually agreed upon by the parties.
enforcing a final monetary judgment against respondents’ other assets and
properties. This is only fair and consistent with basic principles of due process. SO ORDERED.

As such, a proper accounting of the amounts due and refundable is in order. In Davide, Jr., C.J., Panganiban, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-
rendering such accounting, the parties must observe the following guidelines: Martinez, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, Chico-Nazario, and Garcia, JJ., concur.
Puno, J. on official leave.
(1) All deductions from respondents’ retirement benefits should be refunded Corona and Tinga, JJ., on leave.
except those amounts which may properly be defined as “monetary Callejo, Sr., J., no part, Ponente in CA Decision.
liability to the GSIS”;
(2) Any other amount to be deducted from retirement benefits must be
agreed upon by and between the parties; and
(3) Refusal on the part of respondents to return disallowed benefits shall give
rise to a right of action in favor of GSIS before the courts of law.
Conformably, any fees due to Atty. Sundiam for his professional services may be
charged against respondents’ retirement benefits. The arrangement, however, must be
covered by a proper agreement between him and his clients under (2) above.
As to whether respondents are entitled to dividends on the provident fund
contributions, the same is not within the issues raised before the Court. The second
petition refers only to the legality of the deductions made by GSIS from respondents’
retirement benefits. There are factual matters that need to be threshed out in determining
respondents’ right to the payment of dividends, in view of the GSIS’ assertion that the
management contributions were not actually remitted to the fund. Thus, the payment of
EN BANC In its comment on the omnibus motion, the Office of the Special Prosecutor asserted that
[G.R. No. 143047. July 14, 2004] the petitioner was, at the time of the commission of the crime, a member of theSangguniang
RICARDO S. INDING, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN and Panlungsod of Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, one of those public officers who, by
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. express provision of Section 4 a.(1)(b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Rep. Act No.
DECISION 7975,[5] is classified as SG 27. Hence, the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, has original
CALLEJO, SR., J.: jurisdiction over the case, regardless of his salary grade under Adm. Order No. 270.
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure for On September 23, 1999, the respondent Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying the
the nullification of the September 23, 1999 Resolution[1] of the Sandiganbayan (Second petitioner’s omnibus motion. According to the court, the Information alleged that the
Division), which denied the petitioner’s omnibus motion with supplemental motion, and its petitioner has a salary grade of 27. Furthermore, Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, which
Resolution dated April 25, 2000, denying the petitioner’s motion for the reconsideration of the amended Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, provides that the petitioner, as a member of
same. the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dapitan City, has a salary grade of 27.[6]
On October 27, 1999, the petitioner filed a Supplemental Motion to his omnibus
motion,[7] citing Rep. Act No. 8294 and the ruling of this Court in Organo v.
The Antecedents Sandiganbayan,[8]where it was declared that Rep. Act No. 8249, the latest amendment to the
law creating the Sandiganbayan, “collated the provisions on the exclusive jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan,” and that “the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as a trial court was
On January 27, 1999, an Information was filed with the Sandiganbayan charging made to depend not on the penalty imposed by law on the crimes and offenses within its
petitioner Ricardo S. Inding, a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dapitan City, with jurisdiction but on the rank and salary grade of accused government officials and employees.”
violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019,[2] committed as follows:
In the meantime, the petitioner was conditionally arraigned on October 28, 1999 and
entered a plea of not guilty.[9]
That from the period 3 January 1997 up to 9 August 1997 and for sometime prior or
subsequent thereto, in Dapitan City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable On November 18, 1999, the petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
Court, the above-named accused Ricardo S. Inding, a high-ranking public officer, being a Sandiganbayan’s September 23, 1999 Resolution.[10] The motion was, however, denied by the
Councilor of Dapitan City and as such, while in the performance of his official functions, Sandiganbayan in a Resolution promulgated on April 25, 2000.[11]
particularly in the operation against drug abuse, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality,
Dissatisfied, the petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari, contending as follows:
did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally, faked buy-bust operations against
alleged pushers or users to enable him to claim or collect from the coffers of the city A. That Republic Act [No.] 8249 which took effect last 05 February 1997 made
government a total amount of P30,500.00, as reimbursement for actual expenses incurred the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as a trial court depend not only on the
during the alleged buy-bust operations, knowing fully well that he had no participation in the penalty imposed by law on the crimes and offenses within its jurisdiction but
said police operations against drugs but enabling him to collect from the coffers of the city on the rank and salary grade of accused government officials and employees.
government a total amount of P30,500.00, thereby causing undue injury to the government as
well as the public interest.[3] B. That the ruling of the Supreme Court in “Lilia B. Organo versus The
Sandiganbayan and the People of the Philippines,” G.R. No. 133535, 09
The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 25116 and raffled to the Second Division September 1999, settles the matter on the original jurisdiction of the
of the Sandiganbayan. Sandiganbayan as a trial court which is over public officials and employees
with rank and salary grade 27 and above.
On June 2, 1999, the petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion[4] for the dismissal of the case
for lack of jurisdiction over the officers charged or, in the alternative, for the referral of the The petitioner contends that, at the time the offense charged was allegedly committed,
case either to the Regional Trial Court or the Municipal Trial Court for appropriate he was already occupying the position of Sangguniang Panlungsod Member I with SG
proceedings. The petitioner alleged therein that under Administrative Order No. 270 which 25. Hence, under Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 8249, amending Rep. Act No. 7975, it is the RTC
prescribes the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, he is and not the Sandiganbayan that has jurisdiction over the offense lodged against him. He
a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dapitan City with Salary Grade (SG) 25. He asserts that under Adm. Order No. 270,[12] Dapitan City is only a component city, and the
asserted that under Republic Act No. 7975, which amended Presidential Decree No. 1606, the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod are classified as Sangguniang PanlungsodMembers
Sandiganbayan exercises original jurisdiction to try cases involving crimes committed by I with SG 25. Thus, Section 4 a.(1)(b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act
officials of local government units only if such officials occupy positions with SG 27 or No. 7975, and retained by Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 8249, does not apply to him.
higher, based on Rep. Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the “Compensation and Position On the other hand, the respondents, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor,
Classification Act of 1989.” He contended that under Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended contend that Section 4 a.(1)(b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No.
by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, the RTC, not the Sandiganbayan, has original jurisdiction 7975, expressly provides that the Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction over violations of
over the crime charged against him. The petitioner urged the trial court to take judicial notice Rep. Act No. 3019, as amended, committed by the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod,
of Adm. Order No. 270.
without qualification and regardless of salary grade. They argue that when Congress offense.[14] Generally, the jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is to be determined by
approved Rep. Act No. 7975 and Rep. Act No. 8249, it was aware that not all the positions the law in force at the time of the institution of the action, not at the time of the commission of
specifically mentioned in Section 4, subparagraph (1) were classified as SG 27, and yet were the crime.[15] However, Rep. Act No. 7975, as well as Rep. Act No. 8249, constitutes an
specifically included therein, viz: exception thereto as it expressly states that to determine the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
in cases involving violations of Rep. Act No. 3019, the reckoning period is the time of the
It is very clear from the aforecited provisions of law that the members of the sangguniang commission of the offense. This is plain from the last clause of the opening sentence of
panlungsod are specifically included as among those falling within the exclusive original paragraph (a) of these two provisions which reads:
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise [exclusive] [16] original jurisdiction in all
A reading of the aforesaid provisions, likewise, show that the qualification as to Salary Grade cases involving:
27 and higher applies only to such officials of the executive branch other than the regional
director and higher and those specifically enumerated. To rule, otherwise, is to give a a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
different interpretation to what the law clearly is. and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, [Book
II][17] of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials
Moreover, had there been an intention to make Salary Grade 27 and higher as the sole factor to occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or
determine the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan then the lawmakers could interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:
have simply stated that the officials of the executive branch, to fall within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, should have been occupying the positions with a …
Salary Grade of 27 and higher. But the express wordings in both RA No. 7975 and RA No.
8249 specifically including the members of the sangguniang panlungsod, among others, as In this case, as gleaned from the Information filed in the Sandiganbayan, the crime
those within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan only means that the charged was committed from the period of January 3, 1997 up to August 9, 1997. The
said sangguniang members shall be within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the said court applicable law, therefore, is Rep. Act No. 7975. Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975 expanded the
regardless of their Salary Grade. jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as defined in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, thus:

In this connection too, it is well to state that the lawmakers are very well aware that not all the Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases
positions specifically mentioned as those within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the involving:[18]
Sandiganbayan have a Salary Grade of 27 and higher. Yet, the legislature has explicitly made
the officials so enumerated in RA No. 7975 and RA No. 8249 as falling within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan because of the nature of these officials’ functions a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
and responsibilities as well as the power they can wield over their respective area of and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the
jurisdiction.[13] Revised Penal Code,[19] where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at
the time of the commission of the offense:
The threshold issue for the Court’s resolution is whether the Sandiganbayan has original
jurisdiction over the petitioner, a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of DapitanCity,
who was charged with violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
The Court rules in the affirmative.
Rep. Act No. 7975, entitled “An Act to Strengthen the Functional and Structural (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
Organization of the Sandiganbayan, Amending for that Purpose Presidential Decree No. provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
1606,” took effect on May 16, 1995. Section 2 thereof enumerates the cases falling within the
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Subsequently, Rep. Act No. 7975 was amended by (b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
Rep. Act No. 8249, entitled “An Act Further Defining the Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;[20]
Amending for the Purpose Presidential Decree No. 1606, as Amended, Providing Funds
Therefor, and for Other Purposes.” The amendatory law took effect on February 23, 1997 and (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
Section 4 thereof enumerates the cases now falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan.
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
For purposes of determining which of the two laws, Rep. Act No. 7975 or Rep. Act No.
8249, applies in the present case, the reckoning period is the time of the commission of the
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank; [21] (5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade “27” and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor; With respect to the first category, i.e., officials of the executive branch with SG 27 or
higher, Rep. Act No. 7975 further specifically included the following officials as falling within
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan:
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade “27” and up under the provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
provisions of the Constitution; and
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade “27” and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. (e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;

b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees (f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office. [22] Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;

c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order (g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled
Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;

In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary The specific inclusion of the foregoing officials constitutes an exception to the general
grade “27” or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers qualification relating to officials of the executive branch as “occupying the positions of
occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation
thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal and Position Classification Act of 1989.” In other words, violation of Rep. Act No. 3019
Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective committed by officials in the executive branch with SG 27 or higher, and the officials
jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.[23] specifically enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section 4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by
Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, regardless of their salary grades, likewise fall within the
A plain reading of the above provision shows that, for purposes of determining the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
government officials that fall within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in cases Had it been the intention of Congress to confine the original jurisdiction of the
involving violations of Rep. Act No. 3019 and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Sandiganbayan to violations of Rep. Act No. 3019 only to officials in the executive branch
Penal Code, Rep. Act No. 7975 has grouped them into five categories, to wit: with SG 27 or higher, then it could just have ended paragraph (1) of Section 4 a. of P.D. No.
1606, as amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, with the phrase “officials of the
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified
otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher. . . as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.” Or the
category in paragraph (5) of the same provision relating to “[a]ll other national and local
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade “27” and up under the officials classified as Grade ‘27’ and up under the Compensation and Classification Act of
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989; 1989” would have sufficed. Instead, under paragraph (1) of Section 4 a. of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, Congress included specific officials,without any
reference as to their salary grades. Clearly, therefore, Congress intended these officials,
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; regardless of their salary grades, to be specifically included within the Sandiganbayan’s
original jurisdiction, for had it been otherwise, then there would have been no need for such
(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the enumeration. It is axiomatic in legal hermeneutics that words in a statute should not be
provisions of the Constitution; and
construed as surplusage if a reasonable construction which will give them some force and It divested the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over public officials whose salary grades were at
meaning is possible.[24] Grade “26” or lower, devolving thereby these cases to the lower courts, and retaining the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan only over public officials whose salary grades were at Grade
That the legislators intended to include certain public officials, regardless of their salary “27” or higher and over other specific public officials holding important positions in
grades, within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is apparent from the legislative government regardless of salary grade;[26]
history of both Rep. Acts Nos. 7975 and 8249. In his sponsorship speech of Senate Bill No.
1353, which was substantially adopted by both Houses of Congress and became Rep. Act No.
7975, Senator Raul S. Roco, then Chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Evidently, the officials enumerated in (a) to (g) Section 4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606,
explained: amended Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, were specifically included within the original
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan because the lawmakers considered them “big fish” and their
positions important, regardless of their salary grades.
Senate Bill No. 1353 modifies the present jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan such that only
those occupying high positions in the government and the military fall under the jurisdiction of This conclusion is further bolstered by the fact that some of the officials enumerated in
the court. (a) to (g) are not classified as SG 27 or higher under the Index of Occupational Services,
Position Titles and Salary Grades issued by the Department of Budget and Management in
As proposed by the Committee, the Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction over 1989, then in effect at the time that Rep. Act No. 7975 was approved. For example:
cases assigned to it only in instances where one or more of the principal accused are officials
occupying the positions of regional director and higher or are otherwise classified as Grade 27 Category New Position Title Grade
and higher by the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989, whether in a permanent,
acting or interim capacity at the time of the commission of the offense. The jurisdiction, 16. FOREIGN RELATIONS SERVICE
therefore, refers to a certain grade upwards, which shall remain with the Sandiganbayan.

The President of the Philippines and other impeachable officers such as the justices of the
Supreme Court and constitutional commissions are not subject to the original jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan during their incumbency. Foreign Service

The bill provides for an extensive listing of other public officers who will be subject to the …
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. It includes, among others, Members of Congress,
judges and justices of all courts.[25] Foreign Service Officer, Class II[27] 23[28]
Foreign Service Officer, Class I[29] 24[30]
More instructive is the sponsorship speech, again, of Senator Roco, of Senate Bill No.
844, which was substantially adopted by both Houses of Congress and became Rep. Act No. …
8249. Senator Roco explained the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in Rep. Act No. 7975,
thus: 18. EXECUTIVE SERVICE


SPONSORSHIP OF SENATOR ROCO
Local Executives


By way of sponsorship, Mr. President – we will issue the full sponsorship speech to the
members because it is fairly technical – may we say the following things: City Government Department Head I 24[31]
City Government Department Head II 26[32]

To speed up trial in the Sandiganbayan, Republic Act No. 7975 was enacted for that Court to
concentrate on the “larger fish” and leave the “small fry” to the lower courts. This law …
became effective on May 6, 1995 and it provided a two-pronged solution to the clogging of
the dockets of that court, to wit: Provincial Government Department Head 25[33]
… the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction, all other public officials below SG 27 shall be under the
jurisdiction of the proper trial courts “where none of the principal accused are occupying
City Vice Mayor I 26 positions corresponding to SG 27 or higher.” By this construction, the entire Section 4 is
City Vice Mayor II 28 given effect. The cardinal rule, after all, in statutory construction is that the particular words,
City Mayor I 28[34] clauses and phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole
City Mayor II 30 and every part of the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in
order to produce a harmonious whole.[39] And courts should adopt a construction that will give
effect to every part of a statute, if at all possible. Ut magis valeat quam pereat or that
19. LEGISLATIVE SERVICE construction is to be sought which gives effect to the whole of the statute – its every word.[40]

Sangguniang Members In this case, there is no dispute that the petitioner is a member of the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Dapitan City and he is charged with violation of Section 3 (e) of Rep. Act No.
3019. Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod are specifically included as among those
… within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in Section 4 a.(1) (b) of P.D. No. 1606,
as amended by Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975,[41] or even Section 4 of Rep. Act No.
Sangguniang Panlungsod Member I 25 8249[42] for that matter. The Sandiganbayan, therefore, has original jurisdiction over the
Sangguniang Panlungsod Member II 27 petitioner’s case docketed as Criminal Case No. 25116.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member 26[35]
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DISMISSED. The
Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan dated September 23, 1999 and April 25, 2000 are
Office of the City and Provincial Prosecutors[36] AFFIRMED. No costs.

Prosecutor IV 29 SO ORDERED.
Prosecutor III 28 Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-
Prosecutor II 27 Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, and Tinga, JJ.,concur.
Prosecutor I 26
Noticeably, the vice mayors, members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and
prosecutors, without any distinction or qualification, were specifically included in Rep. Act
No. 7975 as falling within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Moreover, the
consuls, city department heads, provincial department heads and members of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan, albeit classified as having salary grades 26 or lower, were also specifically
included within the Sandiganbayan’s original jurisdiction. As correctly posited by the
respondents, Congress is presumed to have been aware of, and had taken into account, these
officials’ respective salary grades when it deliberated upon the amendments to the
Sandiganbayan jurisdiction. Nonetheless, Congress passed into law Rep. Act No. 7975,
specifically including them within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. By doing
so, it obviously intended cases mentioned in Section 4 a. of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by
Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, when committed by the officials enumerated in (1) (a) to (g)
thereof, regardless of their salary grades, to be tried by the Sandiganbayan.
Indeed, it is a basic precept in statutory construction that the intent of the legislature is
the controlling factor in the interpretation of a statute.[37] From the congressional records and
the text of Rep. Acts No. 7975 and 8294, the legislature undoubtedly intended the officials
enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section 4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by the aforesaid
subsequent laws, to be included within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Following this disquisition, the paragraph of Section 4 which provides that if the
accused is occupying a position lower than SG 27, the proper trial court has
jurisdiction,[38] can only be properly interpreted as applying to those cases where the principal
accused is occupying a position lower than SG 27 and not among those specifically included
in the enumeration in Section 4 a. (1)(a) to (g). Stated otherwise, except for those officials
specifically included in Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g), regardless of their salary grades, over whom