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CR12 David v.

Macapagal-Arroyo GR No 171396
MAINPOINT: Even without an operative law specifically defining terrorism, the State already
has the power to suppress and punish such acts of terrorism, insofar as such acts are already
punishable, as they almost always are, in our extant general penal laws.

FACTS: On February 24, 2006, as the nation celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the EDSA People
Power I, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in a move to suppress alleged plans to overthrow
the government, issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1017 (PP 1017), declaring a state of national
emergency. She cited as factual bases for the said issuance the escape of the Magdalo Group and
their audacious threat of the Magdalo D-Day; the defections in the military, particularly in the
Philippine Marines; and the reproving statements from the communist leaders. On the same day,
she issued General Order No. 5 (G.O. No. 5) setting the standards which the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) should follow in the suppression and
prevention of acts of lawless violence. The following were considered as additional factual bases
for the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5: the bombing of telecommunication towers and cell
sites in Bulacan and Bataan; the raid of an army outpost in Benguet resulting in the death of three
soldiers; and the directive of the Communist Party of the Philippines ordering its front
organizations to join 5,000 Metro Manila radicals and 25,000 more from the provinces in mass
protests. Immediately, the Office of the President announced the cancellation of all programs and
activities related to the 20th People Power I anniversary celebration. It revoked permits to hold
rallies. Members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the National Federation of Labor Unions-
Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU), who marched from various parts of Metro Manila to
converge at the EDSA Shrine, were violently dispersed by anti-riot police. Professor Randolf
David, Akbayan partylist president Ronald Llamas, and members of the KMU and NAFLU-KMU
were arrested without a warrant. In the early morning of February 25, 2006, operatives of the
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) raided the Daily Tribune offices in Manila
and confiscated news stories, documents, pictures, and mock-ups of the Saturday issue. Policemen
were stationed inside the editorial and business offices, as well as outside the building. A few
minutes after the search and seizure at the Daily Tribune offices, the police surrounded the
premises of another pro-opposition paper, Malaya, and its sister publication, the tabloid Abante.
The PNP warned that it would take over any media organization that would not follow “standards
set by the government during the state of national emergency.” On March 3, 2006, exactly one
week from the declaration of a state of national emergency and after all the present petitions had
been filed, President Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1021 (PP 1021), declaring that
the state of national emergency has ceased to exist and lifting PP 1017. These consolidated
petitions for certiorari and prohibition allege that in issuing PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, President
Arroyo committed grave abuse of discretion. It is contended that respondent officials of the
Government, in their professed efforts to defend and preserve democratic institutions, are actually
trampling upon the very freedom guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. Hence, such
issuances are void for being unconstitutional.

ISSUE: W/N the provisions which defines “acts of terrorism” under GO No. 5 is constitutional?

RULING: NO. it is partly unconstitutional, the “acts of terrorism” portion of G.O. No. 5 is,
however, unconstitutional. G.O. No. 5 mandates the AFP and the PNP to immediately carry out
the “necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and
lawless violence.” The phrase “acts of terrorism” is still an amorphous and vague concept. Since
there is no law defining “acts of terrorism,” it is President Arroyo alone, under G.O. No. 5, who
has the discretion to determine what acts constitute terrorism. Her judgment on this aspect is
absolute, without restrictions. Consequently, there can be indiscriminate arrest without warrants,
breaking into offices and residences, taking over the media enterprises, prohibition and dispersal
of all assemblies and gatherings unfriendly to the administration. All these can be effected in the
name of G.O. No. 5. These acts go far beyond the calling-out power of the President. Certainly,
they violate the due process clause of the Constitution.

The majority correctly concludes that General Order No. 5 is generally constitutional. However,
they make an unnecessary distinction with regard to “acts of terrorism,” pointing out that Congress
has not yet passed a law defining and punishing terrorism or acts of terrorism. That may be the
case, but does the majority seriously suggest that the President or the State is powerless to suppress
acts of terrorism until the word “terrorism” is defined by law? Terrorism has a widely accepted
meaning that encompasses many acts already punishable by our general penal laws. There are
several United Nations and multilateral conventions on terrorism, as well as declarations made by
the United Nations General Assembly denouncing and seeking to combat terrorism. There is a
general sense in international law as to what constitutes terrorism, even if no precise definition has
been adopted as binding on all nations. Even without an operative law specifically defining
terrorism, the State already has the power to suppress and punish such acts of terrorism, insofar as
such acts are already punishable, as they almost always are, in our extant general penal laws. The
President, tasked with the execution of all existing laws, already has a sufficient mandate to order
the Armed Forces to combat those acts of terrorism that are already punishable in our Revised
Penal Code, such as rebellion, coup d’etat, murder, homicide, arson, physical injuries, grave
threats, and the like. Indeed, those acts which under normal contemplation would constitute
terrorism are associated anyway with or subsumed under lawless violence, which is a term found
in the Constitution itself. Thus long ago, the State has already seen it fit to punish such acts.

G.O. No. 5 is CONSTITUTIONAL since it provides a standard by which the AFP and the PNP
should implement PP 1017, i.e. whatever is “necessary and appropriate actions and measures
to suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence.” Considering that “acts of terrorism” have not
yet been defined and made punishable by the Legislature, such portion of G.O. No. 5 is declared

CR12.1 Pp v. Sabalones GR No. 123485

MP: It is well-established that “the flight of an accused is competent evidence to indicate his guilt,
and flight, when unexplained, is a circumstance from which an inference of guilt may be drawn.”

FACTS: Beronga, Sabalones, Alegarbes, and Cabanero were convicted after a shooting incident
in Cebu in 1985 which led to the death of Glenn Tiempo and Alfredo Nardo, and fatal injuries of
Nelson Tiempo, Rey Bolo and Rogelio Presores. The victims were asked to bring the car of a
certain Stephen Lim who also attended a wedding party. Nelson Tiempo drove the car with Rogelio
Presores. Alfredo Nardo drove the owner-type jeep along with Glenn Tiempo and Rey Bolo to aid
the group back to the party after parking the car at Lim’s house. When they reached the gate, they
were met with a sudden burst of gunfire. The accused were identified as the gunmen. The Court
of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. Sabalones and Beronga appealed.

Crime Committed: Two counts of murder, and three counts of frustrated murder

Contention of the People: Prosecution witnesses Edwin Santos and Rogelio Presores testified
about the shooting and identified the faces of the accused. Presores was riding in the car that is
behind the jeep. He positively identified Sabalones as one of the gunmen. When the gunmen fired
at the car, driver Nelson Tiempo immediately maneuvered and arrived at Major Juan Tiempo’s
house from which they have escaped death.

Contention of the Accused: Accused-appellants Sabalones and Beronga denied their presence
during the commission of the crime. Sabalones presented numerous witnesses who stated that he
was sound asleep when the incident took place [since he got tired watching over his brother’s
wake]. While Beronga testified that he attended a cock-derby in Cebu, and was fetched by his wife
at 7 pm, arrived home by 10:30 pm to sleep. Sabalones even escaped from place to place to flee
from the wrath of Maj. Juan Tiempo, the father of the two victims. The defense even pointed out
errors from the testimonies of the witnesses arguing that the place where the incident happened is
dim and not lighted.

ISSUES: 1. Whether the prosecution witnesses and evidences are credible?

2. Whether the alibis are acceptable?
3. Whether the correct penalty is imposed?


1. Yes. RTC findings were binding to court with appreciated testimonies of two witnesses. There
was positive identification by survivors who saw them when they peered during lulls in gunfire.
The headlights of a car or a jeep are sufficient to enable eyewitnesses to identify malefactors at
the distance of 4 to 10 meters. The place was well-lit, whether from post of car’s headlights. The
extrajudicial confession has no bearing because the conviction was based on positive
identification. It is binding though to the co-accused because it is used as cirmustancial evidence
corroborated by one witness. The inconcistencies are minor and inconsequential which strengthen
credibility of testimony. Furthermore, in aberratio ictus [mistake in blow], mistake does not
diminish culpability; same gravity applies, more proper to use error in personae. Alibi cannot
prevail over positive identification by the prosecution witnesses.

2. No. It was still quite near the crime scene. It is overruled by positive identification. Using the
case of People v. Nescio, Alibi is not credible when the accused-appellant is only a short distance
from the scene of the crime. Furthermore, flight indicates guilt. It is well-established that “the
flight of an accused is competent evidence to indicate his guilt, and flight, when unexplained, is a
circumstance from which an inference of guilt may be drawn.”
3. No. Under Article 248 of the RPC, the imposable penalty is reclusion temporal in its maximum
period, to death. There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance, aside from the qualifying
circumstance of treachery, the appellate court correctly imposed reclusion perpetua for murder.
The CA erred in computing the penalty for each of the three counts of frustrated murder. Under
Article 50 of the RPC, the penalty for frustrated felony is next lower in degree than that prescribed
by law for the consummated felony. Because there are no mitigating or aggravating conspiracy
between the two accused. It does not matter that the prosecution has failed to show who was
between the two who actually pulled the trigger that killed the child. They are liable as co-
conspirators since the act of a conspirator becomes the act of another regardless of the precise
degree of participation in the act.