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Republic of the Philippines This Act is attacked on account of the amendments that it

SUPREME COURT introduces in General Orders No. 58, the defense arguing that
Manila the Philippine Legislature was, and is, not authorized to amend
General Orders No. 58, as it did by amending section 2 thereof
EN BANC because its provisions have the character of constitutional law.
Said section 2 provides as follows:
G.R. No. 17584 March 8, 1922
All prosecutions for public offenses shall be in the
name of the United States against the persons
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES ISLANDS, plaintiff- charged with the offenses. (G. O. No. 58, sec. 2 ).
appellee,
vs.
GREGORIO SANTIAGO, defendant-appellant. Act No. 2886, which amends it, by virtue of which the People of
the Philippine Island is made the plaintiff in this information,
contains the following provisions in section 1:
L. Porter Hamilton for appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee.
SECTION 1. Section two of General Orders,
Numbered Fifty-eight, series of nineteen hundred, is
ROMUALDEZ, J.: hereby amended to read as follows:

Having caused the death of Porfirio Parondo, a boy 7 years "SEC. 2. All prosecutions for public offenses
old, by striking him with automobile that he was driving, the shall be in the name of the People of the
herein appellant was prosecuted for the crime of homicide by Philippine Islands against the persons
reckless negligence and was sentenced to suffer one year and charged with the offense."
one day of prision correccional, and to pay the costs of the trial.
Let us examine the question.
Not agreeable with that sentence he now comes to this court
alleging that the court below committed four errors, to wit:
For practical reasons, the procedure in criminal matters is not
incorporated in the Constitutions of the States, but is left in the
1. The trial court erred in not taking judicial notice of hand of the legislatures, so that it falls within the realm of public
the fact that the appellant was being prosecuted in statutory law.
conformity with Act No. 2886 of the Philippine
Legislature and that the Act is unconstitutional and
gave no jurisdiction in this case. As has been said by Chief Justice Marshall:

2. The lower court erred in not dismissing the A constitution, to contain an accurate detail of all the
complaint after the presentation of the evidence in the Subdivisions of which its great powers will admit, and
case, if not before, for the reason that said Act No. of all the means by which they may be carried into
2886 is unconstitutional and the proceedings had in execution, would partake of a prolixity of a legal code,
the case under the provisions of the Act constitute a and could scarcely be embraced by the human mind.
prosecution of appellant without due process of law. It would probably never be understood by the public.
(M'Culloch vs. Maryland [1819], 4 Wheat., 316, 407; 4
L. ed., 579.)
3. The court a quo erred in not finding that it lacked
jurisdiction over the person of the accused and over
the subject- matter of the complaint. That is why, in pursuance of the Constitution of the United
States, each States, each State has the authority, under its
police power, to define and punish crimes and to lay down the
4. The trial court erred in finding the appellant guilty of rules of criminal procedure.
the crime charged and in sentencing him to one year
and one day of prison correccional and to the
payment of costs. The states, as a part of their police power, have a
large measure of discretion in creating and defining
criminal offenses. . . .
With regard to the questions of fact, we have to say that we
have examined the record and find that the conclusions of the
trial judge, as contained in his well-written decision, are A Statute relating to criminal procedure is void as a
sufficiently sustained by the evidence submitted. denial of the equal protection of the laws if it
prescribes a different procedure in the case of
persons in like situation. Subject to this limitation,
The accused was driving an automobile at the rate of 30 miles however, the legislature has large measure of
an hour on a highway 6 meter wide, notwithstanding the fact discretion in prescribing the modes of criminal
that he had to pass a narrow space between a wagon standing procedure. . . . (12 C.J., 1185, 1186. See Collins vs.
on one side of the road and a heap of stones on the other side Johnston, 237 U.S., 502; 35 s. Ct. Rep. 649; 59 L.
where the were two young boys, the appellant did not take the ed., 1071; Shevlin-Carpenter Co. vs. Minnesota, 218
precaution required by the circumstances by slowing his U.S., 57; 30 S. Ct. Rep., 663; 54 L. ed., 930; Lynn vs.
machine, and did not proceed with the vigilant care that under Flancders, 141 Ga., 500; 81 S.E., 205.)
the circumstances an ordinary prudent man would take in order
to avoid possible accidents that might occur, as unfortunately
did occur, as his automobile ran over the boy Porfirio Parondo This power of the States of the North American Union was also
who was instantly killed as the result of the accident. granted to its territories such as the Philippines:

These facts are so well established in the records that there The plenary legislative power which Congress
cannot be a shade of doubt about them. possesses over the territories and possessions of the
United States may be exercised by that body itself, or,
as is much more often the case, it may be delegated
Coming now to the other assignments of error, it will be seen to a local agency, such as a legislature, the
that they deal with the fundamental questions as to whether or organization of which proceeds upon much the same
not Act No. 2886, under which the complaint in the present lines as in the several States or in Congress, which is
case was filed, is valid and constitutional. often taken as a model, and whose powers are limited
by the Organic Act; but within the scope of such act is
has complete authority to legislate, . . . and in general,
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to legislate upon all subjects within the police power of investigation, Act No. 440 relating to counsels de oficio and Act
the territory. (38 Cyc., 205-207.) No. 590 about preliminary investigations by justices of the
peace of provincial capitals. Later on, and before the
The powers of the territorial legislatures are derived enactment of Act No. 2886, herein controverted, the
from Congress. By act of Congress their power Legislature had also amended this General Orders No. 58 by
extends "to all rightful subjects of legislation not the enactment of Act No. 2677 regarding appeals to the
inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the Supreme Court of causes originating in the justice of the peace
United States;" and this includes the power to define courts and by Act No. 2709 which deals with the exclusion of
and punish crimes. (16 C. J., 62.) accused persons from the information in order to be utilized as
state's witnesses.
And in the exercise of such powers the military government of
the army of occupation, functioning as a territorial legislature, These amendments repeatedly made by the Philippine
thought it convenient to establish new rules of procedure in Commission as well as by our present Legislature are perfectly
criminal matters, by the issuance of General Orders No. 58, the within the scope of the powers of the said legislative bodies as
preamble of which reads: the successors of the Military Government that promulgated
General Orders No. 58.
In the interests of justice, and to safeguard the civil
liberties of the inhabitants of these Islands, the No proof is required to demonstrate that the present
criminal code of procedure now in force therein is Legislature had, and had, the power to enact and amend laws.
hereby amended in certain of its important provisions, (U.S. vs. Bull. 15 Phil., 7.) That it has the power to legislate on
as indicated in the following enumerated sections. criminal matters is very evident from the wording of section 7 of
(Emphasis ours.) the Jones Law which says:

Its main purpose is, therefore, limited to criminal procedure and That the legislative authority herein provided shall
its intention is to give to its provisions the effect of law in have power, when not inconsistent with this Act, by
criminal matters. For that reason it provides in section 1 that: due enactment to amend, alter, modify, or repeal any
law, civil or criminal, continued in force by this Act as
it may from time to time see fit.
The following provisions shall have the force and
effect of law in criminal matters in the Philippine
Islands from and after the 15th day of May, 1900, but It is urged the right to prosecute and punish crimes is an
existing laws on the same subjects shall remain valid attributed of sovereignty. This assertion is right; but it is also
except in so far as hereinafter modified or repealed true that by reason of the principle of territoriality as applied in
expressly or by necessary implication. the supression, of crimes, such power is delegated to
subordinate government subdivisions such as territories. As we
have seen in the beginning, the territorial legislatures have the
From what has been said it clearly follows that the provisions of power to define and punish crimes, a power also possessed by
this General Order do not the nature of constitutional law either the Philippine Legislature by virtue of the provisions of sections
by reason of its character or by reason of the authority that 7, already quoted, of the Jones Law. These territorial
enacted it into law. governments are local agencies of the Federal Government,
wherein sovereignty resides; and when the territorial
It cannot be said that it has acquired this character because government of the Philippines prosecutes and punishes public
this order was made its own by the Congress of the United crimes it does so by virtue of the authority delegated to it by the
States for, as a mater of fact, this body never adopted it as a supreme power of the Nation.
law of its own creation either before the promulgation of Act
No. 2886, herein discussed, or, to our knowledge, to this date. This delegation may be made either expressly as in the case of
the several States of the Union and incorporated territories like
Since the provisions of this General Order have the character Porto Rico and Hawaii, or tacitly as is the case with the
of statutory law, the power of the Legislature to amend it is self- Philippines, which is an organized territory though not
evident, even if the question is considered only on principle. incorporated with the Union. (Malcolm, Philippine Constitutional
Our present Legislature, which has enacted Act No. 2886, the Law, 181-205.)
subject of our inquiry, is the legal successor to the Military
Government as a legislative body. This tacit delegation to our Government needs no
demonstration. As a matter of fact, the crimes committed within
Since the advent of the American sovereignty in the Philippines our territory, even before section 2 of General Orders No. 58
the legislative branch of our government has undergone was amended, were prosecuted and punished in this
transformations and has developed itself until it attained its jurisdiction as is done at present; but then as now the
present form. Firstly, it was the Military Government of the repression of crimes was done, and is still done, under the
army of occupation which, in accordance with international law sovereign authority of the United States, whose name appears
and practice, was vested with legislative functions and in fact as the heading in all pleadings in criminal causes and in other
did legislate; afterwards, complying with the instructions of judicial papers and notarial acts.
President McKinley which later were ratified by Congress (sec.
1 of the Act of July 1, 1902) the legislative powers of the The use of such a heading is prescribed for civil cases in form
Military Government were transferred to the Philippine 1 of section 784 of the Code of Civil Procedure; in criminal
Commission; then, under the provisions of section 7 of the Act causes the constant practice followed in this jurisdiction
of Congress of July 1, 1902, the Philippine Assembly was established its use; and in notarial matters its use is provided
created and it functioned as a colegislative body with the by section 127 of Act No. 496. This long continued practice in
Philippine Commission. Finally, by virtue of the provisions of criminal matters and the legal provision relating to civil cases
sections 12 of the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, known and notarial acts have not been amended by any law, much
as the Jones Law, the Philippine Commission gave way to the less by Act No. 2886, the subject of the present inquiry.
Philippine Senate, the Philippine Assembly became the House
of Representatives, and thus was formed the present
Legislature composed of two Houses which has enacted the There is not a single constitutional provision applicable to the
aforesaid Act No. 2886. Philippines prescribing the name to be used as party plaintiff in
criminal cases.
As a matter of fact, Act No. 2886 is not the first law that
amends General Orders No. 58. The Philippine Commission, at The fact that the political status of this country is as yet
various times, had amended it by the enactment of laws among undetermined and in a transitory stage, is, in our opinion,
which we may cite Act No. 194, regarding preliminary responsible for the fact that there is no positive provision in our

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constitutional law regarding the use of the name of the People An indictment must, in many states under express
of the Philippine Islands, as party plaintiff, in criminal statutory or constitutional provision, show by its title or
prosecutions, as is otherwise the case in the respective by proper recitals in the caption or elsewhere that the
constitutional charters of the States of the Union and prosecution is in the name and by the authority of the
incorporated territories — a situation which must not be state, the commonwealth, or the people of the state,
understood as depriving the Government of the Philippines of according to the practice in the particular jurisdictions;
its power, however delegated, to prosecute public crimes. The but omissions or defects in this respect may be
fact is undeniable that the present government of the supplied or cured by other parts of the records, and
Philippines, created by the Congress of the United States, is the omissions of such a recital or defects therein,
autonomous. even when required by the constitution or by statute,
is a defect of form within a statute requiring
This autonomy of the Government of the Philippines reaches exceptions for defect of form to be made before trial.
all judicial actions, the case at bar being one of them; as an (23 Cyc., 237, 238.)
example of such autonomy, this Government, the same as that
of Hawaii and Porto Rico (People of Porto Rico vs. Rosaly y We hold that the provisions of sections 2 of General Orders
Castillo [1913], 227 U.S., 270; 57 L. ed., 507; 33 Sup. Ct. Rep., No. 58, as amended by Act No. 2886, do not partake of the
352) cannot be sued without its consent. (Merritt vs. same character as the provisions of a constitution; that the said
Government of the Philippine Islands, 34 Phil., 311; L. S. Moon Act No. 2886 is valid and is not violative of any constitutional
& Co. vs. Harrison, p. 27, ante.) The doctrine, laid down in provisions and that the court a quo did not commit any of the
these cases, acknowledges the prerogative of personality in errors assigned.
the Government of the Philippines, which, if it is sufficient to
shield it from any responsibility in court in its own name unless The sentence appealed from is hereby affirmed, the appellant
it consents thereto, it should be also, as sufficiently being furthermore sentenced to the accessory penalties
authoritative in law, to give that government the right to prescribed in article 61 of the Penal Code, and to indemnify the
prosecute in court in its own name whomsoever violates within heirs of the deceased in the sum of P1,000 and to the payment
its territory the penal laws in force therein. of the costs of both instances. So ordered.

However, limiting ourselves to the question relative to the form Republic of the Philippines
of the complaint in criminal matters, it is within the power of the SUPREME COURT
Legislature to prescribe the form of the criminal complaint as Manila
long as the constitutional provision of the accused to be
informed of the nature of the accusation is not violated.
EN BANC
Under the Constitution of the United States and by
like provisions in the constitutions of the various G.R. No. L-11676 October 17, 1916
states, the accused is entitled to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him . . . THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
It is within the power of the legislatures under such a ANDRES PABLO, defendant-appellant.
constitutional provision to prescribe the form of the
indictment or information, and such form may omit Alfonso E. Mendoza for appellant.
averments regarded as necessary at common law. Attorney-General Avanceña for appellee.
(22 Cyc., 285.)

All these considerations a priori are strengthened a


posteriori by the important reason disclosed by the following TORRES, J.:
fact — that the Congress has tacitly approved Act No. 2886.
Both the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, section 86, and the At about noon of the 21st of October, 1915, Andres Pablo, a
Jones Law, last paragraph of section 19, provide that all the policeman of the municipality of Balanga, went by order of his
laws enacted by the Government of the Philippines or its chief to the barrio of Tuyo to raid a jueteng game which,
Legislature shall be forwarded to the Congress of the United according to the information lodged, was being conducted in
States, which body reserves the right and power to annul them. that place; but before the said officer arrived there the players,
And presuming, as legally we must, that the provisions of these perhaps advised of his approach by a spy, left and ran away;
laws have been complied with, it is undisputed that the however, on his arrival at a vacant lot the defendant there
Congress of the United States did not annul any of those acts found Francisco Dato and, at a short distance away, a low
already adverted to — Nos. 194, 440, 490 (of the Philippine table. After a search of the premises he also found thereon
Commission), and 2677, 2709 and the one now in question No. a tambiolo (receptacle) and 37 bolas (balls). Notwithstanding
2886 (of the present Legislature) — all of which were that the officer had seen the men Maximo Malicsi and Antonio
amendatory of General Orders No. 58. The Act now under Rodrigo leave the said lot, yet, as at first he had seen no
discussion (No. 2886) took effect on February 24, 1920, and material proof that the game was being played, he refrained
the criminal complaint in this case was filed on May 10, 1920. from arresting them, and on leaving the place only arrested
The silence of Congress regarding those laws amendatory of Francisco Daro, who had remained there.
the said General Order must be considered as an act of
approval.
In reporting to his chief what had occurred, the policeman
presented a memorandum containing the following statement:
If Congress fails to notice or take action on any "In the barrio of Tuyo I raided a jueteng na bilat game, seized
territorial legislation the reasonable inference is that it a tambiolo and bolas, and saw the cabecillas Maximo MAlicsi
approves such act. (26 R.C.L., 679; vide Clinton vs. and Antonio Rodrigo and the gambler Francisco Dato. I saw
Englebrcht, 13 Wall., 434; 20 [L. ed.] 659; Tiaco vs. the two cabecillas escape."
Forbes, 228 U.S., 549; 33 S. Ct. Rep., 585; 57 [L.
ed.], 960; Nixon vs. Reid, 8 S.d., 507; 67 N.W., 57; 32
L.R.A., 315.) In consequence, chief of police Jose D. Reyes, on October 22,
1915, filed a complaint in the court of justice of the peace
charging the said Rodrigo, Malicsi, and Dato with having
Furthermore, supposing for the sake of argument, that the
gambled at jueteng, in violation of municipal ordinance No. 5.
mention of the People of the Philippine Islands as plaintiff in As a result of this complaint the accused were arrested, but
the title of the information constitutes a vice or defect, the same were afterwards admitted to bail.
is not fatal when, as in the present case, it was not objected to
in the court below.
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At the hearing of the case Francisco Dato pleaded guilty. The policemen he told them who the gamblers were who had run
other two accused, Maximo Malicsi and Antonio Rodrigo, away and whom Andres Pablo could have seen.
pleaded not guilty; therefore, during the trial the chief of police
presented the memorandum exhibited by the policeman Maximo Malicsi corroborated the foregoing testimony and
Andres Pablo, who testified under oath that on the date further stated that, on the arrival of the policemen who made
mentioned he and Tomas de Leon went to the said barrio to the arrest and while they were looking for the tambiolo, he
raid a jueteng game, but that before they arrived there they succeeded in escaping; that Andres Pablo had known him for a
saw from afar that some persons started to run toward the hills; long time and could have arrested him had he wished to do so;
that when witness and his companion arrived at a vacant lot that prior to the hearing he and his codefendants, ROdrigo and
they saw Francisco Dato and a low table there, and the table Dato, did in fact meet in the house of Valentin Sioson, on which
caused them to suspect that a jueteng game was being carried occasion they agreed that they would give the policemen
on; that in fact they did find on one side of the lot Andres Pablo P20, provided witness and Rodrigo were
a tambiolo and 37 bolas, but that they did not see the accused excluded from the charge; and that only P15 was delivered to
Rodrigo and Malicsi on the said lot, nor did they see them run; the said Pablo, through Gregorio Ganzon. This statement was
and that only afterwards did the witness learn that these latter corroborated by the latter, though he said nothing about what
were the cabecillas or ringleaders in the jueteng game, from amount of money he delivered to the policeman Pablo.
information given him by an unknown person. In view of this
testimony by the police officer who made the arrest and of the
other evidence adduced at the trial the court acquitted the The defendant Andres Pablo testified under oath that, on his
defendants Antonio Rodrigo and Maximo Malicsi and being asked by the justice of the peace how he could have
sentenced only Francisco Dato, as a gambler. seen Maximo Malicsi and Antonio Rodrigo, he replied that he
did not see them at the place where the game was being
conducted nor did he see them run away from there, for he
Before the case came to trial in the justice of the peace court only found the table, the tambiolo, the bolas, and Francisco
the policeman Andres Pablo had an interview and conference Dato; that he did not surprise the game because the players
with the accused Malicsi and ROdrigo in the house of Valentin ran away before he arrived on the lot where, after fifteen
Sioson. On this occasion he was instructed not to testify minutes' search, he found only the tambiolo and the bolas; that
against Malicsi and Rodrigo, and in fact received through on arriving at the place where the game was played, they
Gregorio Ganzon the sum of P5. found only Francisco Dato and some women in the Street, and
as Dato had already gone away, witness' companion, the
By reason of the foregoing and after making a preliminary policeman Tomas de Leon, got on his bicycle and went after
investigation the provincial fiscal, on December 1, 1915, filed him; and that he found the tambiolo at a distance of about 6
an information in the Court of First Instance of Bataan charging meters from a low table standing on the lot.
Andres Pablo with the crime of perjury, under the provisions of
section 3 of Act No. 1697. The following is an extract from the From the facts above related, it is concluded that the defendant
complaint: Andres Pablo, who pleaded not guilty, falsely testified under
oath in the justice of the peace court of Balanga, Bataan, in
That on or about November 6, 1915, in the saying he had not seen the alleged gamblers Maximo Malicsi
municipality of Balanga, Bataan, P.I., and within the and Antonio Rodrigo in the place where, according to the
jurisdiction of this court, the said accused, Andres complaint filed, the game of jueteng was being played and
Pablo, during the hearing in the justice of the peace where the defendant and his companion, the policeman Tomas
court of Balanga of the criminal cause No. 787, de Leon, had found a table, tambiolo and bolas, used in the
entitled the United States vs. Antonio Rodrigo and game of jueteng, while it was proved at the trial that he did not
Maximo Malicsi, for violation of Municipal Ordinance them and did overtake them while they were still in the place
No. 5 of the municipality of Balanga, did, willfully, where the game was being played. But notwithstanding his
unlawfully and feloniously affirm and swear in legal having seen them there, upon testifying in the cause
form before the justice of the peace court as follow: prosecuted against these men and another for gambling, he
`We did not there overtake the accused Antonio stated that he had not seen them there, knowing that he was
Rodrigo and Maximo Malicsi, nor did we even see not telling the truth and was false to the oath he had taken, and
them run,' the said statement being utterly false, as he did so willfully and deliberately on account of his agreement
the accused well knew that it was, and material to the with the men, Malicsi and Rodrigo, and in consideration of a
decision of the said criminal cause No. 787, United bribe of P15 which he had received in payment for his false
States vs. Antonio Rodrigo and Maximo Malicsi. An testimony he afterwards gave.
act committed with violation of law.
Francisco Dato and Gregorio Ganzon corroborated the
The case came to trial and on December 28, 1915, the court assertion that the policeman Andres Pablo undertook to
rendered judgment therein sentencing the defendant to the exclude the gamblers, Malicsi and Rodrigo, from the charge
penalty of two years' imprisonment, to pay a fine of P100 and, and from his testimony in consideration for P15 which he
in case of insolvency, to the corresponding subsidiary received through Gregorio Ganzon.
imprisonment, and to pay the costs. The defendant was also
disqualified from thereafter holding any public office and from Andres Pablo was charged with the crime of perjury and was
testifying in the courts of the Philippine Islands until the said afterwards convicted under Act No. 1697, which (according to
disqualification should be removed. From this judgment he the principle laid down by this court in various decisions that
appealed. are already well-settled rules of law) repealed the provisions
contained in articles 318 to 324 of the Penal Code relative to
Francisco Dato, on testifying as a witness, said that when the false testimony.
policemen Andres Pablo and Tomas de Leon arrived at the
place where the jueteng was being played, they found the By the second paragraph of the final section of the last article
defendant gamblers, Malicsi and Rodrigo; that, prior to the of the Administrative Code, or Act No. 2657, there was
hearing of the case in the justice of the peace court, Malicsi repealed, among the other statutes therein mentioned, the said
and Rodrigo ordered him to call Andres Pablo, who, together Act No. 1697 relating to perjury, and the repealing clause of the
with witness, went to the house of Valentin Sioson, where they said Administrative Code does not say under what other penal
held a conference; that witness pleaded guilty in the justice of law in force the crime of false testimony, at least, if not that of
the peace court, in fulfillment of his part of an agreement made perjury, shall be punished.
between himself and his two coaccused, Malicsi and Rodrigo,
who promised him that they would support his family during the
time he might be a prisoner in jail; that Andres Pablo did not Under these circumstances, may the crime of perjury or of
know that they were gamblers, because he did not find them in false testimony go unpunished, and is there no penal sanction
the place where the game was in progress, but that when whatever in this country for this crime? May the truth be freely
witness was being taken to the municipal building by the perverted in testimony given under oath and which, for the very
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reason that it may save a guilty person from punishment, may It is, then, assumed that the said articles of the Penal Code are
also result in the conviction and punishment of an innocent in force and are properly applicable to crimes of false
person? If all this is not possible and is not right before the law testimony. Therefore, in consideration of the fact that in the
and good morals in a society of even mediocre culture, it must case at bar the evidence shows it to have been duly proven
be acknowledged that it is imperatively necessary to punish the that the defendant, Andres Pablo, in testifying in the cause
crime of perjury or of false testimony — a crime which can prosecuted for gambling at jueteng, perverted the truth, for the
produce incalculable and far-reaching harm to society and purpose of favoring the alleged gamblers, Maximo Malicsi and
cause infinite disturbance of social order. Antonio Rodrigo, with the aggravating circumstance of the
crime being committed through bribery, for it was also proved
The right of prosecution and punishment for a crime is one of that the defendant Pablo received P15 in order that he should
the attributes that by a natural law belongs to the sovereign make no mention of the said two gamblers in his sworn
power instinctively charged by the common will of the members testimony, whereby he knowingly perverted the truth, we hold
of society to look after, guard and defend the interests of the that, in the commission of the crime of false testimony, there
community, the individual and social rights and the liberties of concurred the aggravating circumstance of price or reward, No.
every citizen and the guaranty of the exercise of his rights. 3 of article 10 of the Code, with no mitigating circumstance to
offset the effects of the said aggravating one; wherefore the
defendant has incurred the maximum period of the penalty
The power to punish evildoers has never been attacked or of arresto mayor in its maximum degree to prision
challenged, as the necessity for its existence has been correccional in its medium degree, and a fine.
recognized even by the most backward peoples. At times the
criticism has been made that certain penalties are cruel,
barbarous, and atrocious; at other, that they are light and For the foregoing reasons, we hereby reverse the judgment
inadequate to the nature and gravity of the offense, but the appealed from and sentence Andres Pablo to the penalty of
imposition of punishment is admitted to be just by the whole two years four months and one day of prision correccional, to
human race, and even barbarians and savages themselves, pay a fine of 1,000 pesetas, and, in case of insolvency, to
who are ignorant of all civilization, are no exception.lawphil.net suffer the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment, which shall
not exceed one-third of the principal penalty. He shall also pay
the costs of both instances. So ordered.
Notwithstanding that the said Act No. 1697 (which, as
interpreted by this court in its decisions, was deemed to have
repealed the aforementioned article of the Penal Code relating Republic of the Philippines
to false testimony, comprised within the term of perjury) did not SUPREME COURT
expressly repeal the said articles of the Penal Code; and as the Manila
said final article of the Administrative Code, in totally repealing
Act No. 1697, does not explicitly provide that the mentioned SECOND DIVISION
articles of the Penal Code are also repealed, the will of the
legislation not being expressly and clearly stated with respect G.R. No. L-46228 January 17, 1978
to the complete or partial repeal of the said articles of the Penal
Code, in the manner that it has totally repealed the said Act
No. 1697 relating its perjury; and, furthermore, as it is THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
imperative that society punish those of its members who are vs.
guilty of perjury or false testimony, and it cannot be conceived HON. ROLANDO R. VILLARAZA (as City Judge of Cagayan
that these crimes should go unpunished or be freely committed de Oro City), and CAESAR PUERTO, respondents.
without punishment of any kind, it must be conceded that there
must be in this country some prior, preexistent law that Francisco P. Rabanes, Edgardo Y. Raagas, Casiano A.
punishes perjury or false testimony. Gamotin, Jr., Office of the City Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City
for petitioner.
There certainly are laws which deal with perjury or false
testimony, like Law 7 et seq. of Title 2, third Partida. Eric Menchavez for respondent Caesar Puerto.

However, since the Penal Code went into force, the crime of
false testimony has been punished under the said articles of AQUINO, J.:
the said Code, which as we have already said, have not been
specifically repealed by the said Act No. 1697, but since its This case is about the jurisdiction of a city court in estafa
enactment, have not been applied, by the mere interpretation cases.
given to them by this court in its decisions; yet, from the
moment that Act was repealed by the Administrative Code, the
needs of society have made it necessary that the said articles On December 3, 1975 an assistant city fiscal charged Caesar
318 to 324 should be deemed to be in force, inasmuch as the Puerto with estafa in the city court of Cagayan de Oro City for
Administrative Code, in repealing the said Act relating to having issued on October 16, 1974 two bouncing checks for
perjury, has not explicitly provided that the said articles of the the total sum of P4, 966. 63 (Criminal Case No. 32140).
Penal Code have likewise been repealed.
City Judge Rolando R. Villaraza in his order March 31, 1976
This manner of understanding and construing the statutes noted that the accused had waived the second stage of the
applicable to the crime of false testimony or perjury is in preliminary investigation. He directed that the case be
harmony with the provision of Law 11, Title 2, Book 3, of elevated, for trial, to the court of First Instance or the Circuit
the Novisima Recopilacion which says:: Criminal Court.

All the laws of the kingdom, not expressly repealed by Upon petition of the prosecution, the Court of first Instance of
other subsequent laws, must be literally obeyed and Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro Branch VIII, in its order of
the excuse that they are not in use cannot avail; for February 3, 1977 returned the case to the city court because in
the Catholic kings and their successors so ordered in its opinion the case falls within the concurrent jurisdiction of the
numerous laws, and so also have I ordered on two courts and, the city court, as the first court which took
different occasions, and even though they were cognizance of the case, should try it.
repealed, it is seen that they have been revived by the
decree which I issued in conformity with them Disagreeing with the Court of First Instance, respondent city
although they were not expressly designated. The judge in his order of April 21, 1977 directed the re-elevation of
council will be informed thereof and will take account the case. His view is that the case falls within the exclusive
of the importance of the matter. original jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance because
estafa committed by the accused is punishable by prision
Page 5 of 119
mayor medium under Presidential Decree No. 818 which took The Solicitor General for respondents.
effect on October 22, 1975 and which amended article 315 of
the Revised Penal Code.
AQUINO, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1
That order of respondent judge is assailed in the petition for
certiorari filed in this Court on May 27, 1977 by the office of the At issue in this case is the enforceability, before publication in
city fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City. the Official Gazette of June 14, 1982, of Presidential Executive
Order No. 626-A dated October 25, 1980, providing for
We hold that the case was properly filed with the city court the confiscation and forfeiture by the government of carabaos
which has original jurisdiction over it. The estafa imputed to transported from one province to another.
Caesar Puerto is punishable under article 315 of the Revised
Penal Code by arresto mayor maximum to prision Anselmo L. Pesigan and Marcelo L. Pesigan, carabao dealers,
correccional minimum or four months and one day to two years transported in an Isuzu ten-wheeler truck in the evening of April
and four months. 2, 1982 twenty-six carabaos and a calf from Sipocot,
Camarines Sur with Padre Garcia, Batangas, as the
The penalty of prision mayor medium, or eight years and one destination.
day to ten years, imposed by Presidential Decree No. 818,
applies only to swindling by means of issuing bouncing checks They were provided with (1) a health certificate from the
which was committed or after October 22, 1975. provincial veterinarian of Camarines Sur, issued under the
Revised Administrative Code and Presidential Decree No. 533,
That increased penalty does not apply to the estafa committed the Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974; (2) a permit to transport
by Puerto on October 16, 1974. To apply it to Puerto would large cattle issued under the authority of the provincial
make the decree an ex post facto law. Its retroactive commander; and (3) three certificates of inspection, one from
application is prohibited by articles 21 and 22 of the Revised the Constabulary command attesting that the carabaos were
Penal Code and section 12, Article IV of the Constitution. not included in the list of lost, stolen and questionable animals;
one from the LIvestock inspector, Bureau of Animal Industry of
The city court has original jurisdiction over the case because Libmanan, Camarines Sur and one from the mayor of Sipocot.
the penultimate paragraph or section 87 of the Judiciary Law,
as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 2613 and 3828, provides In spite of the permit to transport and the said four certificates,
that "judges of city courts shall have like jurisdiction as the the carabaos, while passing at Basud, Camarines Norte, were
Court of First Instance to try parties charged with an offense confiscated by Lieutenant Arnulfo V. Zenarosa, the town's
committed within their respective jurisdictions, in which the police station commander, and by Doctor Bella S. Miranda,
penalty provided by law does not exceed prision provincial veterinarian. The confiscation was basis on the
correccional or imprisonment for not more than six years or fine aforementioned Executive Order No. 626-A which provides
not exceeding six thousand pesos or both." "that henceforth, no carabao, regardless of age, sex, physical
condition or purpose and no carabeef shall be transported from
As section 87 itself shows, that jurisdiction is concurrent with one province to another. The carabaos or carabeef transported
the court of First Instance which is empowered to try "all in violation of this Executive Order as amended shall be
criminal cases in which the penalty provided by law is subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the government to be
imprisonment for more than six months, or a fine of more than distributed ... to deserving farmers through dispersal as the
two hundred pesos" (Sec. 44[f], Judiciary Law. See People vs. Director of Animal Industry may see fit, in the case of
Nazareno, L-40037, April 30, 1976, 70 SCRA 531). carabaos" (78 OG 3144).

It was not necessary for the city court to have conducted the Doctor Miranda distributed the carabaos among twenty-five
preliminary investigation of the case. The filing of the farmers of Basud, and to a farmer from the Vinzons municipal
information by the fiscal presupposes that he had conducted nursery (Annex 1).
the requisite preliminary investigation pursuant to Rule 112 of
the Rules of Court and Republic Act No. 5180, as amended by The Pesigans filed against Zenarosa and Doctor Miranda an
Presidential Decree No. 77. action for replevin for the recovery of the carabaos allegedly
valued at P70,000 and damages of P92,000. The replevin
WHEREFORE, the order of the Court of First Instance, order could not be executed by the sheriff. In his order of April
returning the case to the city court, is affirmed and the two 25, 1983 Judge Domingo Medina Angeles, who heard the case
orders of the respondent city judge, elevating the case to the at Daet and who was later transferred to Caloocan City,
Court of First Instance, are set aside. The city court is directed dismissed the case for lack of cause of action.
to try the case. No costs.
The Pesigans appealed to this Court under Rule 45 of the
SO ORDERED. Rules of Court and section 25 of the Interim Rules and
pursuant to Republic Act No. 5440, a 1968 law which
superseded Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.
Fernando (Chairman), Barredo, Antonio and Concepcion Jr.,
JJ., concur.
We hold that the said executive order should not be enforced
against the Pesigans on April 2, 1982 because, as already
Santos, J., is on leave. noted, it is a penal regulation published more than two months
later in the Official Gazette dated June 14, 1982. It became
G.R. No. L-64279 April 30, 1984 effective only fifteen days thereafter as provided in article 2 of
the Civil Code and section 11 of the Revised Administrative
ANSELMO L. PESIGAN and MARCELINO L. Code.
PESIGAN, petitioners,
vs. The word "laws" in article 2 (article 1 of the old Civil Code)
JUDGE DOMINGO MEDINA ANGELES, Regional Trial includes circulars and regulations which prescribe penalties.
Court, Caloocan City Branch 129, acting for REGIONAL Publication is necessary to apprise the public of the contents of
TRIAL COURT of Camarines Norte, now presided over by the regulations and make the said penalties binding on the
JUDGE NICANOR ORIÑO, Daet Branch 40; DRA. BELLA S. persons affected thereby. (People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil.
MIRANDA, ARNULFO V. ZENAROSA, ET AL., respondents. 640; Lim Hoa Ting vs. Central Bank of the Phils., 104 Phil. 573;
Balbuna vs. Secretary of Education, 110 Phil. 150.)
Quiazon, De Guzman Makalintal and Barot for petitioners.

Page 6 of 119
The Spanish Supreme Court ruled that "bajo la denominacion
generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los reglamentos,
Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordenes ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en
uso de su potestad (1 Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th Ed., p. 146.)
The Pesigans are entitled to the return of their carabaos or the
value of each carabao which is not returned for any reason.
Thus, in the Que Po Lay case, a person, convicted by the trial The Pesigans are also entitled to a reasonable rental for each
court of having violated Central Bank Circular No. 20 and carabao from the twenty six farmers who used them. The
sentenced to six months' imprisonment and to pay a fine of farmers should not enrich themselves at the expense of the
P1,000, was acquitted by this Court because the circular was Pesigans.
published in the Official Gazette three months after his
conviction. He was not bound by the circular.

That ruling applies to a violation of Executive Order No. 626-A


because its confiscation and forfeiture provision or sanction
makes it a penal statute. Justice and fairness dictate that the
public must be informed of that provision by means of Separate Opinions
publication in the Gazette before violators of the executive
order can be bound thereby. ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:

The cases of Police Commission vs. Bello, L-29960, January The Pesigans are entitled to the return of their carabaos or the
30, 1971, 37 SCRA 230 and Philippine Blooming Mills vs. value of each carabao which is not returned for any reason.
Social Security System, 124 Phil. 499, cited by the The Pesigans are also entitled to a reasonable rental for each
respondents, do not involve the enforcement of any penal carabao from the twenty six farmers who used them. The
regulation. farmers should not enrich themselves at the expense of the
Pesigans.
Commonwealth Act No. 638 requires that all Presidential
executive orders having general applicability should be G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985
published in the Official Gazette. It provides that "every order
or document which shag prescribe a penalty shall be deemed
to have general applicability and legal effect." LORENZO M. TAÑADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and
MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD,
INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. [MABINI], petitioners,
Indeed, the practice has always been to publish executive
vs.
orders in the Gazette. Section 551 of the Revised HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive
Administrative Code provides that even bureau "regulations
Assistant to the President, HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his
and orders shall become effective only when approved by the capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President ,
Department Head and published in the Official Gazette or MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Director,
otherwise publicly promulgated". (See Commissioner of Civil Malacañang Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in
Service vs. Cruz, 122 Phil. 1015.) his capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents.

In the instant case, the livestock inspector and the provincial


veterinarian of Camarines Norte and the head of the Public ESCOLIN, J.:
Affairs Office of the Ministry of Agriculture were unaware of
Executive Order No. 626-A. The Pesigans could not have been
expected to be cognizant of such an executive order. Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public
concern, a right recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973
Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to be
It results that they have a cause of action for the recovery of valid and enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette
the carabaos. The summary confiscation was not in order. The or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of
recipients of the carabaos should return them to the Pesigans. mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish,
However, they cannot transport the carabaos to Batangas and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette of various
because they are now bound by the said executive order. presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders,
Neither can they recover damages. Doctor Miranda and proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and
Zenarosa acted in good faith in ordering the forfeiture and administrative orders.
dispersal of the carabaos.

Specifically, the publication of the following presidential


WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of dismissal and the
issuances is sought:
confiscation and dispersal of the carabaos are reversed and
set aside. Respondents Miranda and Zenarosa are ordered to
restore the carabaos, with the requisite documents, to the a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38,
petitioners, who as owners are entitled to possess the same, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234,
with the right to dispose of them in Basud or Sipocot, 265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337,
Camarines Sur. No costs. 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415,
427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504,
521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, 599, 644,
SO ORDERED.1äwphï1.ñët
658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835,
836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060-
Makasiar, (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, and Escolin, 1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246,
JJ., concur. 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808,
1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840,
De Castro, J., took no part. 1842-1847.

b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72,


107, 108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, 155,
161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202,
204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228,
231-239, 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263-
Separate Opinions 269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293,

Page 7 of 119
297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the
343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, 1910 case of Severino vs. Governor General, 3 this Court held
385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, that while the general rule is that "a writ of mandamus would
473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, be granted to a private individual only in those cases where he
587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, has some private or particular interest to be subserved, or
615, 641, 642, 665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837- some particular right to be protected, independent of that which
839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940, he holds with the public at large," and "it is for the public
964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278. officers exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are
to be subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469],"
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, nevertheless, "when the question is one of public right and the
62, 63, 64 & 65. object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a
public duty, the people are regarded as the real party in
interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, are instituted need not show that he has any legal or special
1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529, interest in the result, it being sufficient to show that he is a
1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, citizen and as such interested in the execution of the laws
1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606- [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431].
1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695,
1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-
1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope
1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802- Severino, a private individual, as a proper party to the
1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825- mandamus proceedings brought to compel the Governor
1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839- General to call a special election for the position of municipal
1840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853- president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for
1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-1889, this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said:
1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963,
1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030- We are therefore of the opinion that the
2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244. weight of authority supports the proposition
that the relator is a proper party to
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, proceedings of this character when a public
427, 429-454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507, right is sought to be enforced. If the general
509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, rule in America were otherwise, we think that
543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, it would not be applicable to the case at bar
570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647, for the reason 'that it is always dangerous to
649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788- apply a general rule to a particular case
852, 854-857. without keeping in mind the reason for the
rule, because, if under the particular
circumstances the reason for the rule does
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, not exist, the rule itself is not applicable and
11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, reliance upon the rule may well lead to error'
94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
No reason exists in the case at bar for
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, applying the general rule insisted upon by
352-354, 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439. counsel for the respondent. The
circumstances which surround this case are
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have different from those in the United States,
this case dismissed outright on the ground that petitioners have inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper
no legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. party to these proceedings no other person
The view is submitted that in the absence of any showing that could be, as we have seen that it is not the
petitioners are personally and directly affected or prejudiced by duty of the law officer of the Government to
the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in appear and represent the people in cases of
question 2 said petitioners are without the requisite legal this character.
personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not
being "aggrieved parties" within the meaning of Section 3, Rule The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private
65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote: citizen's legal personality in the aforementioned case apply
squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right sought to be
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.—When any enforced by petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no
tribunal, corporation, board or person less than the fundamental law of the land. If petitioners were
unlawfully neglects the performance of an not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be
act which the law specifically enjoins as a difficult to conceive of any other person to initiate the same,
duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer
or unlawfully excludes another from the use generally empowered to represent the people, has entered his
a rd enjoyment of a right or office to which appearance for respondents in this case.
such other is entitled, and there is no other
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the Respondents further contend that publication in the Official
ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement for the effectivity of
thereby may file a verified petition in the laws where the laws themselves provide for their own
proper court alleging the facts with certainty effectivity dates. It is thus submitted that since the presidential
and praying that judgment be rendered issuances in question contain special provisions as to the date
commanding the defendant, immediately or they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not
at some other specified time, to do the act indispensable for their effectivity. The point stressed is
required to be done to Protect the rights of anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
the petitioner, and to pay the damages
sustained by the petitioner by reason of the
wrongful acts of the defendant. Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen
days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject otherwise provided, ...
of the petition concerns a public right and its object is to
compel the performance of a public duty, they need not show
any specific interest for their petition to be given due course.
Page 8 of 119
The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall within this
Court's construction of said article. In a long line of category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to
decisions,4 this Court has ruled that publication in the Official particular persons or class of persons such as administrative
Gazette is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself and executive orders need not be published on the assumption
does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of that they have been circularized to all concerned. 6
publication is material for determining its date of effectivity,
which is the fifteenth day following its publication-but not when It is needless to add that the publication of presidential
the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect. issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is a
requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only person may be bound by law, he must first be officially and
insofar as it equates the effectivity of laws with the fact of specifically informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio
publication. Considered in the light of other statutes applicable Teehankee said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:
to the issue at hand, the conclusion is easily reached that said
Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in the In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and
Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its letters of instructions which all form part of
effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638 provides the law of the land, the requirement of due
as follows: process and the Rule of Law demand that
the Official Gazette as the official
Section 1. There shall be published in the government repository promulgate and
Official Gazette [1] all important legisiative publish the texts of all such decrees, orders
acts and resolutions of a public nature of the, and instructions so that the people may know
Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive where to obtain their official and specific
and administrative orders and proclamations, contents.
except such as have no general applicability;
[3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of
Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as general application, which have not been published, shall have
may be deemed by said courts of sufficient no force and effect. Some members of the Court, quite
importance to be so published; [4] such apprehensive about the possible unsettling effect this decision
documents or classes of documents as may might have on acts done in reliance of the validity of those
be required so to be published by law; and presidential decrees which were published only during the
[5] such documents or classes of documents pendency of this petition, have put the question as to whether
as the President of the Philippines shall the Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had
determine from time to time to have general been enforced or implemented prior to their publication. The
applicability and legal effect, or which he answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past this
may authorize so to be published. ... Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth
in Chicot County Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit:
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the
general public adequate notice of the various laws which are to The courts below have proceeded on the
regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such theory that the Act of Congress, having been
notice and publication, there would be no basis for the found to be unconstitutional, was not a law;
application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It that it was inoperative, conferring no rights
would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a and imposing no duties, and hence affording
citizen for the transgression of a law of which he had no notice no basis for the challenged decree. Norton v.
whatsoever, not even a constructive one. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago,
1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559,
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine 566. It is quite clear, however, that such
Republic has the publication of laws taken so vital significance broad statements as to the effect of a
that at this time when the people have bestowed upon the determination of unconstitutionality must be
President a power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature. taken with qualifications. The actual
While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of the existence of a statute, prior to such a
debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansa—and for determination, is an operative fact and may
the diligent ones, ready access to the legislative records—no have consequences which cannot justly be
such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the ignored. The past cannot always be erased
President. Thus, without publication, the people have no by a new judicial declaration. The effect of
means of knowing what presidential decrees have actually the subsequent ruling as to invalidity may
been promulgated, much less a definite way of informing have to be considered in various aspects-
themselves of the specific contents and texts of such decrees. with respect to particular conduct, private
As the Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion and official. Questions of rights claimed to
generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los reglamentos, have become vested, of status, of prior
Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordines determinations deemed to have finality and
dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en acted upon accordingly, of public policy in
uso de su potestad.5 the light of the nature both of the statute and
of its previous application, demand
The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 examination. These questions are among the
reads: "There shall be published in the Official Gazette ... ." most difficult of those which have engaged
The word "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent the attention of courts, state and federal and
officials an imperative duty. That duty must be enforced if the it is manifest from numerous decisions that
Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of an all-inclusive statement of a principle of
public concern is to be given substance and reality. The law absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be
itself makes a list of what should be published in the Official justified.
Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no
discretion whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs.
from such publication. Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party under the Moratorium
Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" was declared unconstitutional by this Court.
or "of general applicability" is mandated by law. Obviously,
presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential
penalties for their violation or otherwise impose a burden or. decrees prior to their publication in the Official Gazette is "an

Page 9 of 119
operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be have, with certain exceptions which it is not material to state,
justly ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new exclusive cognizance of all offenses, whether of a purely
judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a military nature or otherwise, committed by military persons. But
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified." the fact that the acts charged in the complaint would be
punishable as an offense under the Spanish military legislation
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it does not render them any less an offense under the article of
appears that of the presidential decrees sought by petitioners the Penal Code above cited. There is nothing in the language
to be published in the Official Gazette, only Presidential of that article to indicate that it does not apply to all persons
Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, within the territorial jurisdiction of the law. Under articles 4 and
inclusive, have not been so published. 10 Neither the subject 5 of the Code of Military Justice above cited a military person
matters nor the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no could not be brought to trial before a civil tribunal for an assault
copies thereof are available. But whatever their subject matter upon a prisoner of war, but by the commission of that offense
may be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs he incurred a criminal responsibility for which he was amenable
has ever been implemented or enforced by the government. only to the military jurisdiction. That criminal responsibility,
In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court, through Justice Ramon however, arose from an infraction of the general penal laws,
Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the although the same acts, viewed in another aspect, might also,
public of the contents of [penal] regulations and make the said if committed in time of war, constitute an infraction of the
penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The military code. We are unable to see how these provisions of
cogency of this holding is apparently recognized by respondent the Spanish Military Code, no longer in force here and which
officials considering the manifestation in their comment that indeed never had any application to the Army of the United
"the government, as a matter of policy, refrains from States, can in any possible view have the effect claimed for
prosecuting violations of criminal laws until the same shall have them by counsel for the appellant.
been published in the Official Gazette or in some other
publication, even though some criminal laws provide that they The second question is, Does the fact that the alleged offense
shall take effect immediately. was committed by an employee of the United States military
authorities deprive the court of jurisdiction? We have been
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish cited to no provision in the legislation of Congress, and to none
in the Official Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances in the local legislation, which has the effect of limiting, as
which are of general application, and unless so published, they respects employees of the United States military
shall have no binding force and effect. establishment, the general jurisdiction conferred upon the
Courts of First Instance by Act No. 136 of the United States
Philippine Commission above cited, and we are not aware of
SO ORDERED. the existence of any such provision. The case is therefore open
to the application of the general principle that the jurisdiction of
THE UNITED STATES, complainant-appellee, the civil tribunals is unaffected by the military or other special
vs. character of the person brought before them for trial, a principle
PHILIP K. SWEET, defendant-appellant. firmly established in the law of England and America and which
must, we think, prevail under any system of jurisprudence
Theofilus B. Steele, for appellant. unless controlled by express legislation to the contrary. (United
Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta, for appellee. States vs. Clark, 31 Fed. Rep., 710.) The appellant's claim that
the acts alleged to constitute the offense were performed by
him in the execution of the orders of his military superiors may,
LADD, J.: if true, be available by way of defense upon the merits in the
trial in the court below, but can not under this principle affect
The offense charged in the complaint is punishable under the the right of that court to take jurisdiction of the case.
Penal Code now in force by arresto mayor and a fine of from
325 to 3,250 pesetas. (Art. 418.) By Act No. 136 of the United Whether under a similar state of facts to that which appears in
States Philippine Commission, section 56 (6), Courts of First this case a court of one of the United States would have
Instance are given original jurisdiction "in all criminal cases in jurisdiction to try the offender against the State laws (see In
which a penalty of more than six months' imprisonment or a re Fair, 100 Fed. Rep., 149), it is not necessary to consider.
fine exceeding one hundred dollars may be imposed." The The present is not a case where the courts of one government
offense was therefore cognizable by the court below unless the are attempting to exercise jurisdiction over the military agents
fact that the appellant was at the time of its alleged commission or employees of another and distinct government, because the
an employee of the United States military authorities in the court asserting jurisdiction here derives its existence and
Philippine Islands, and the further fact that the person upon powers from the same Government under the authority of
whom it is alleged to have been committed was a prisoner of which the acts alleged to constitute the offense are claimed to
war in the custody of such authorities, are sufficient to deprive have been performed.
it of jurisdiction. We must assume that both these facts are
true, as found, either upon sufficient evidence or upon the
It may be proper to add that there is no actual conflict between
admissions of the prosecuting attorney, by the court below.
the two jurisdictions in the present case nor any claim of
jurisdiction on the part of the military tribunals. On the contrary
Setting aside the claim that the appellant was "acting in the line it appears from the findings of the court below that the
of duty" at the time the alleged offense was committed, which complaint was entered by order of the commanding general of
is not supported by the findings or by any evidence which the Division of the Philippines, a fact not important, perhaps, as
appears in the record, the contention that the court was without regards the technical question of jurisdiction, but which relieves
jurisdiction, as we understand it, is reducible to two the case from any practical embarrassment which might result
propositions: First, that an assault committed by a soldier or from a claim on the part of the military tribunals to exclusive
military employee upon a prisoner of war is not an offense cognizance of the offense.
under the Penal Code; and second, that if it is an offense under
the Code, nevertheless the military character sustained by the
person charged with the offense at the time of its commission The order of the court below is affirmed with costs to the
exempts him from the ordinary jurisdiction of the civil tribunals. appellant.

As to the first proposition, it is true, as pointed out by counsel, G.R. No. 125865 March 26, 2001
that an assault of the character charged in the complaint
committed in time of war by a military person upon a prisoner JEFFREY LIANG (HUEFENG), petitioner,
of war is punishable as an offense under the Spanish Code of vs.
Military Justice (art. 232), and it is also true that under the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
provisions of the same Code (arts. 4, 5) the military tribunals

Page 10 of 119
RESOLUTION Officers and staff of the Bank, including for the
purpose of this Article experts and consultants
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: performing missions for the Bank, shall enjoy the
following privileges and immunities:
This resolves petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of our
Decision dated January 28, 2000, denying the petition for (a) Immunity from legal process with respect
review. to acts performed by them in their official
capacity except when the Bank waives the
immunity.
The Motion is anchored on the following arguments:
After a careful deliberation of the arguments raised in
1) THE DFA'S DETERMINATION OF IMMUNITY IS A petitioner's and intervenor's Motions for Reconsideration, we
POLITICAL QUESTION TO BE MADE BY THE find no cogent reason to disturb our Decision of January 28,
EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT AND 2000. As we have stated therein, the slander of a person, by
IS CONCLUSIVE UPON THE COURTS. any stretch, cannot be considered as falling within the purview
of the immunity granted to ADB officers and personnel.
2) THE IMMUNITY OF INTERNATIONAL Petitioner argues that the Decision had the effect of prejudging
ORGANIZATIONS IS ABSOLUTE. the criminal case for oral defamation against him. We wish to
stress that it did not. What we merely stated therein is that
3) THE IMMUNITY EXTENDS TO ALL STAFF OF slander, in general, cannot be considered as an act performed
THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB). in an official capacity. The issue of whether or not petitioner's
utterances constituted oral defamation is still for the trial court
to determine.
4) DUE PROCESS WAS FULLY AFFORDED THE
COMPLAINANT TO REBUT THE DFA PROTOCOL.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Motions for
Reconsideration filed by petitioner and intervenor Department
5) THE DECISION OF JANUARY 28, 2000 of Foreign Affairs are DENIED with FINALITY.
ERRONEOUSLY MADE A FINDING OF FACT ON
THE MERITS, NAMELY, THE SLANDERING OF A
SO ORDERED.
PERSON WHICH PREJUDGED PETITIONER'S
CASE BEFORE THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL
COURT (MTC)-MANDALUYONG. G.R. No. L-13005 October 10, 1917

6) THE VIENNA CONVENTION ON DIPLOMATIC THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


RELATIONS IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THIS CASE. vs.
AH SING, defendant-appellant.
This case has its origin in two criminal Informations 1 for grave
oral defamation filed against petitioner, a Chinese national who Antonio Sanz for appellant.
was employed as an Economist by the Asian Development Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.
Bank (ADB), alleging that on separate occasions on January
28 and January 31, 1994, petitioner allegedly uttered
defamatory words to Joyce V. Cabal, a member of the clerical
staff of ADB. On April 13, 1994, the Metropolitan Trial Court of MALCOLM, J.:
Mandaluyong City, acting pursuant to an advice from the
Department of Foreign Affairs that petitioner enjoyed immunity
from legal processes, dismissed the criminal Informations This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance
against him. On a petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by of Cebu finding the defendant guilty of a violation of section 4
the People, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 160, of Act No. 2381 (the Opium Law), and sentencing him to two
annulled and set aside the order of the Metropolitan Trial Court years imprisonment, to pay a fine of P300 or to suffer
dismissing the criminal cases. 2 subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the
costs.
Petitioner, thus, brought a petition for review with this Court.
On January 28, 2000, we rendered the assailed Decision The following facts are fully proven: The defendant is a subject
denying the petition for review. We ruled, in essence, that the of China employed as a fireman on the steamship Shun
immunity granted to officers and staff of the ADB is not Chang. The Shun Chang is a foreign steamer which arrived at
absolute; it is limited to acts performed in an official capacity. the port of Cebu on April 25, 1917, after a voyage direct from
Furthermore, we held that the immunity cannot cover the the port of Saigon. The defendant bought eight cans of opium
commission of a crime such as slander or oral defamation in in Saigon, brought them on board the steamship Shun Chang,
the name of official duty. and had them in his possession during the trip from Saigon to
Cebu. When the steamer anchored in the port of Cebu on April
25, 1917, the authorities on making a search found the eight
On October 18, 2000, the oral arguments of the parties were cans of opium above mentioned hidden in the ashes below the
heard. This Court also granted the Motion for Intervention of boiler of the steamer's engine. The defendant confessed that
the Department of Foreign Affairs. Thereafter, the parties were he was the owner of this opium, and that he had purchased it
directed to submit their respective memorandum. in Saigon. He did not confess, however, as to his purpose in
buying the opium. He did not say that it was his intention to
For the most part, petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration deals import the prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands. No other
with the diplomatic immunity of the ADB, its officials and staff, evidence direct or indirect, to show that the intention of the
from legal and judicial processes in the Philippines, as well as accused was to import illegally this opium into the Philippine
the constitutional and political bases thereof. It should be made Islands, was introduced.
clear that nowhere in the assailed Decision is diplomatic
immunity denied, even remotely. The issue in this case, rather, Has the crime of illegal importation of opium into the Philippine
boils down to whether or not the statements allegedly made by Islands been proven?
petitioner were uttered while in the performance of his official
functions, in order for this case to fall squarely under the
provisions of Section 45 (a) of the "Agreement Between the Two decisions of this Court are cited in the judgment of the trial
Asian Development Bank and the Government of the Republic court, but with the intimation that there exists inconsistently
of the Philippines Regarding the Headquarters of the Asian between the doctrines laid down in the two cases. However,
Development Bank," to wit: neither decision is directly a precedent on the facts before us.

Page 11 of 119
In the case of United States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], 18 Phil., intended this opium to be brought into the Philippine Islands.
573), in the opinion handed down by the Chief Justice, it is We accordingly find that there was illegal importation of opium
found — from a foreign country into the Philippine Islands. To anticipate
any possible misunderstanding, let it be said that these
That, although the mere possession of a thing of statements do not relate to foreign vessels in transit, a situation
prohibited use in these Islands, aboard a foreign not present.
vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a
general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of The defendant and appellant, having been proved guilty
this country, on account of such vessel being beyond a reasonable doubt as charged and the sentence of
considered as an extension of its own nationality, the the trial court being within the limits provided by law, it results
same rule does no apply when the article, whose use that the judgment must be affirmed with the costs of this
is prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the instance against the appellant. So ordered.
present case a can of opium, is landed from the
vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing an open JESUS MIQUIABAS, petitioner,
violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which, vs.
as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINE-RYUKYUS
of the commission of the crime, only the court COMMAND, UNITED STATES ARMY, respondents.
established in the said place itself has competent
jurisdiction, in the absence of an agreement under an
international treaty.1awphil.net Lorenzo Sumulong and Esteban P. Garcia for petitioner.
J. A. Wolfson for respondent.
A marked difference between the facts in the Look Chaw case
and the facts in the present instance is readily observable. In MORAN, C.J.:
the Look Chaw case, the charge case the illegal possession
and sale of opium — in the present case the charge as illegal This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Jesus
importation of opium; in the Look Chaw case the foreign vessel Miquiabas against the Commanding General Philippine-
was in transit — in the present case the foreign vessel was not Ryukyus Command, United States Army, who is alleged to
in transit; in the Look Chaw case the opium was landed from have petitioner under custody and to have appointed a General
the vessel upon Philippine soil — in the present case of United Court-Martial to try petitioner in connection with an offense
States vs. Jose ([1916], 34 Phil., 840), the main point, and the over which the said court has no jurisdiction.
one on which resolution turned, was that in a prosecution
based on the illegal importation of opium or other prohibited Petitioner is a Filipino citizen and a civilian employee of the
drug, the Government must prove, or offer evidence sufficient United States Army in the Philippines, who has been charged
to raise a presumption, that the vessel from which the drug is with disposing in the Port of Manila Area of things belonging to
discharged came into Philippine waters from a foreign the United States Army, in violation of the 94th Article of War of
country with the drug on board. In the Jose case, the the United States. He has been arrested for that reason and a
defendants were acquitted because it was not proved that the General Court-Martial appointed by respondent tried and found
opium was imported from a foreign country; in the present case him guilty and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. This
there is no question but what the opium came from Saigon to sentence, however, is not yet final for it is still subject to review.
Cebu. However, in the opinion in the Jose case, we find the
following which may be obiter dicta, but which at least is
interesting as showing the view of the writer of the opinion: It may be stated as a rule that the Philippines, being a
sovereign nation, has jurisdiction over all offenses committed
within its territory, but it may, by treaty or by agreement,
The importation was complete, to say the least, when
consent that the United States or any other foreign nation, shall
the ship carrying it anchored in Subic Bay. It was not exercise jurisdiction over certain offenses committed within
necessary that the opium discharged or that it be certain portions of said territory. On March 11, 1947, the
taken from the ship. It was sufficient that the opium Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United
was brought into the waters of the Philippine Islands States of America, entered into an agreement concerning
on a boat destined for a Philippine port and which military bases, and Article XIII thereof is as follows:
subsequently anchored in a port of the Philippine
Islands with intent to discharge its cargo.
JURISDICTION
Resolving whatever doubt was exist as to the authority of the
views just quoted, we return to an examination of the 1. The Philippines consents that the United States
applicable provisions of the law. It is to be noted that section 4 shall have the right to exercise jurisdiction over the
of Act No. 2381 begins, "Any person who shall unlawfully following offenses:
import or bring any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands."
"Import" and "bring" are synonymous terms. The Federal (a) Any offense committed by any person
Courts of the United States have held that the mere act of within any base except where the offender
going into a port, without breaking bulk, is prima facie evidence and offended parties are both Philippine
of importation. (The Mary [U. S.], 16 Fed. Cas., 932, 933.) And citizens (not members of the armed forces of
again, the importation is not the making entry of goods at the the United States on active duty) or the
custom house, but merely the bringing them into port; and the offense is against the security of the
importation is complete before entry of the Custom House. (U. Philippines;
S. vs. Lyman [U. S.], 26, Fed. Cas., 1024, 1028; Perots vs. U.
S., 19 Fed. Cas., 258.) As applied to the Opium Law, we
(b) Any offense committed outside the bases
expressly hold that any person unlawfully imports or brings any
by any member of the armed forces of the
prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands, when the prohibited
United States in which the offended party is
drug is found under this person's control on a vessel which has
also a member of the armed forces of the
come direct from a foreign country and is within the
United States; and
jurisdictional limits of the Philippine Islands. In such case, a
person is guilty of illegal importation of the drug unless contrary
circumstances exist or the defense proves otherwise. Applied (c) Any offense committed outside the bases
to the facts herein, it would be absurb to think that the accused by any member of the armed forces of the
was merely carrying opium back and forth between Saigon and United States against the security of the
Cebu for the mere pleasure of so doing. It would likewise be United States.
impossible to conceive that the accused needed so large an
amount of opium for his personal use. No better explanation 2. The Philippines shall have the right to exercise
being possible, the logical deduction is that the defendant jurisdiction over all other offenses committed outside
Page 12 of 119
the bases by any member of the armed forces of the Under paragraph 1 (a), the General Court-Martial would have
United States. jurisdiction over the criminal case against petitioner if the
offense had been committed within a base. Under paragraph 1
3. Whenever for special reasons the United States (b), if the offense had been committed outside a base, still the
may desire not to exercise the jurisdiction reserved to General Court-Martial would have jurisdiction if the offense had
it in paragraphs 1 and 6 of this Article, the officer been committed by a "member of the armed forces of the
holding the offender in custody shall so notify the United States" there being no question that the offended party
fiscal (prosecuting attorney) of the city or province in in this case is the United States. It is not necessary therefore,
which the offense has been committed within ten days to consider whether the offense is against "the security of the
after his arrest, and in such case the Philippines shall United States" under paragraph 1 (c), or whether petitioner
exercise jurisdiction. committed it in "the actual performance of a specific military
duty" or in time of a declared "national emergency" under
paragraph 4, or whether we are still in a state of war under
4. Whenever for special reasons the Philippines may paragraph 6, for in all these instances the military jurisdiction
desire not to exercise the jurisdiction reserved to it in depends also upon whether the offender is a member of the
paragraph 2 of this Article, the fiscal (prosecuting armed forces of the United States. We shall then determine in
attorney) of the city or province where the offense has this case (1) whether the offense has been committed within or
been committed shall so notify the officer holding the without a base, and, in the second instance, (2) whether the
offender in custody within ten days after his arrest, offender is or is not a member of the armed forces of the
and in such a case the United States shall be free to United States.
exercise jurisdiction. If any offense falling under
paragraph 2 of this article is committed by any
member of the armed forces of the United States. As to the first question, Article XXVI of the Agreement provides
that "bases are those area named in Annex A and Annex B
and such additional areas as may be acquired for military
(a) While engaged in the actual performance purposes pursuant to the terms of this Agreement." Among the
of a specific military duty, or areas specified in Annexes A and B, there is none that has
reference to the Port Area of Manila where the offense has
(b) during a period of national emergency allegedly been committed. On the contrary, it appears in Annex
declared by either Government and the fiscal A that "army communications system" is included, but with "the
(prosecuting attorney) so finds from the deletion of all stations in the Port of Manila Area."
evidence, he shall immediately notify the
officer holding the offender in custody that Paragraph 2 of Article XXI is invoked by respondent. The
the United States is free to exercise whole article is as follows:
jurisdiction. In the event the fiscal
(prosecuting attorney) finds that the offense
was not committed in the actual performance TEMPORARY INSTALLATIONS
of a specific military duty, the offender's
commanding officer shall have the right to 1. It is mutually agreed that the United States shall
appeal from such finding to the Secretary of retain the right to occupy temporary quarters and
Justice within ten days from the receipt of the installations now existing outside the bases
decision of the fiscal and the decision of the mentioned in Annex A and Annex B, for such
Secretary of Justice shall be final. reasonable time, not exceeding two years, as may be
necessary to develop adequate facilities within the
5. In all cases over which the Philippines exercises bases for the United States armed forces. If
jurisdiction the custody of the accused, pending trial circumstances require an extension of time, such a
and final judgment, shall be entrusted without delay to period will be fixed by mutual agreement of the two
the commanding officer of the nearest base, who shall Governments; but such extension shall not apply to
acknowledge in writing that such accused has been the existing temporary quarters and installations
delivered to him for custody pending trial in a within the limits of the City of Manila and shall in no
competent court of the Philippines and that he will be case exceed a period of three years.
held ready to appear and will be produced before said
court when required by it. The commanding officer 2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding
shall be furnished by the fiscal (prosecuting attorney) paragraph, the Port of Manila reservation with
with a copy of the information against the accused boundaries as of 1941 will be available for use to the
upon the filing of the original in the competent court. United States armed forces until such time as other
arrangements can be made for the supply of the
6. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, it is bases by mutual agreement of the two Governments.
naturally agreed that in time of war the United States
shall have the right to exercise exclusive jurisdiction 3. The terms of this agreement pertaining to bases
over any offenses which may be committed by shall be applicable to temporary quarters and
members of the armed forces of the United States in installations referred to in paragraph 1 of this article
the Philippines. while they are so occupied by the armed forces of the
United States; provided, that offenses committed
7. The United States agrees that it will not grant within the temporary quarters and installations located
asylum in any of the bases to any person fleeing from within the present limits of the City of Manila shall not
the lawful jurisdiction of the Philippines. Should such be considered as offenses within the bases but shall
person be found in any base, he will be surrendered be governed by the provisions of Article XIII,
on demand to the competent authorities of the paragraphs 2 and 4, except that the election not to
Philippines. exercise the jurisdiction reserved to the Philippines
shall be made by the Secretary of Justice. It is agreed
that the United States shall have full use and full
8. In every case in which jurisdiction over an offense control of all these quarters and installations while
is exercised by the United States, the offended party they are occupied by the armed forces of the United
may institute a separate civil action against the States, including the exercise of such measures as
offender in the proper court of the Philippines to may be necessary to police said quarters for the
enforce the civil liability which under the laws of the security of the personnel and property therein.
Philippines may arise from the offense.
The subject matter of this article, as indicated by its heading, is
"Temporary Installations." Paragraph 1 refers to temporary
Page 13 of 119
quarters and installations existing outside the bases specified It is ordered that petitioner be released immediately by
in Annex A and Annex B, which may be retained by the United respondent without prejudice to any criminal action which may
States armed forces for such reasonable time as may be be instituted in the proper court of the Philippines.
necessary not exceeding two years in duration, extendible fro
not more than three years, the extension not being applicable Let a copy of this decision be sent immediately to the
to existing temporary quarters and installations within the limits Honorable, Secretary of Justice.
of the City of Manila.
G.R. No. L-30026 January 30, 1971
Paragraph 2, of Article XXI, refers to the Port of Manila
Reservation, which will be available for use to the United
States armed forces, also as a temporary quarters and MARIO GUMABON, BLAS BAGOLBAGOL, GAUDENCIO
installations, its temporariness not being for a definite period of AGAPITO, EPIFANIO PADUA and PATERNO
time, but "until such time as other arrangements can be made PALMARES, petitioners,
for supply of the bases by mutual agreement of the two vs.
Governments." There is in paragraph 2 absolutely nothing that THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF
may be construed as placing the Port of Manila Reservation in PRISONS, respondent.
the category of a permanent base.
Jose W. Diokno for petitioners.
Paragraph 3, of Article XXI, provides "that offenses committed
within the temporary quarters and installations located within Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Assistant
the present limits of the City of Manila shall not be considered Solicitor General Antonio A. Torres and Solicitor Eduardo C.
as offenses within the bases but shall be governed by the Abaya for respondent.
provisions of Article XIII, paragraphs 2 and 4." Therefore, the
offense at bar cannot be considered as committed within, but
without, a base, since it has been committed in the Port of FERNANDO, J.:
Manila Area, which is not one of the bases mentioned in
Annexes A and B to the Agreement, and is merely temporary
quarters located within the present limits of the City of Manila. Habeas corpus, the great writ of liberty, is relied upon by
petitioners, five in number, for their release from imprisonment.
Meted out life terms for the complex crime of rebellion with
The next inquiry is whether or not the offender may be
murder and other crimes, they would invoke the People v.
considered as a member of the armed forces of the United Hernandez1 doctrine, negating the existence of such an
States under Article XIII, paragraph 1 (b). As above stated, offense, a ruling that unfortunately for them was not handed
petitioner is a Filipino citizen and a civilian employee of the down until after their convictions had become final. Nor is this
United States Army in the Philippines. Under the terms of the the first instance, a proceeding of this character was instituted,
Agreement, a civilian employee cannot be considered as a as in Pomeroy v. Director of Prisons, 2 likewise a petition for
member of the armed forces of the United States. Articles XI, habeas corpus, a similar question was presented. The answer
XVI and XVIII of the Agreement make mention of civilian given was in the negative. Petitioners plead for a new look on
employees separately from members of the armed forces of the matter. They would premise their stand on the denial of
the United States, which is a conclusive indication that under equal protection if their plea would not be granted. Moreover
said Agreement armed forces do not include civilian they did invoke the codal provision that judicial decisions shall
employees. form part of the legal system of the Philippines,3 necessarily
resulting in the conclusion that the Hernandez decision once
Respondent invokes Articles II of the Articles of War of the promulgated calls for a retroactive effect under the explicit
United States, which enumerates, among the persons subject mandate of the Revised Penal Code as to penal laws having
to military law, persons accompanying or serving with the such character even if at the time of their application a final
armies of the United States. But this case should be decided sentence has been rendered "and the convict is serving the
not under the Articles of War, but under the terms of the Base same."4 These arguments carry considerable persuasion.
Agreement between the United States and the Philippines. And Accordingly we find for petitioners, without going so far as to
not because a person is subject to military law under the overrule Pomeroy.
Articles of War does he become, for that reason alone, a
member of the armed forces under the Base Agreement. And Petitioner Mario Gumabon, after pleading guilty, was
even under the Articles of War, the mere fact that a civilian sentenced on May 5, 1953 to suffer reclusion perpetua for the
employee is in the service of the United States Army does not complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, robbery, arson
make him a member of the armed forces of the United States. and kidnapping. Petitioners Gaudencio Agapito, Paterno
Otherwise, it would have been necessary for said Article to Palmares and Epifanio Padua, likewise pleaded guilty to the
enumerate civilian employees separately from members of the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder and other
armed forces of the United States. offenses, and were similarly made to suffer the same penalty in
decisions rendered, as to the first two, on March 8, 1954 and,
Respondent maintains that petitioner has no cause of action as to the third, on December 15, 1955. The last petitioner, Blas
because the Secretary of Justice had not notified the officer Bagolbagol, stood trial also for the complex crime of rebellion
holding the petitioner in custody whether or not the Philippines with multiple murder and other offenses and on January 12,
desired to retain jurisdiction under Article XXI, paragraph 3, of 1954 penalized with reclusion perpetua. Each of the petitioners
the Military Base Agreement. It is sufficient to state in this has been since then imprisoned by virtue of the above
connection that in cases like the present where the offender is convictions. Each of them has served more than 13 years. 5
a civilian employee and not a member of the Unites States
armed forces, no waiver can be made either by the prosecuting Subsequently, in People v. Hernandez,6 as above noted, this
attorney of by the Secretary of Justice, under paragraphs 2 and Court ruled that the information against the accused in that
4 of Article XIII in connection with paragraph 3 of Article XXI, of case for rebellion complexed with murder, arson and robbery
the Agreement. was not warranted under Article 134 of the Revised Penal
Code, there being no such complex offense. 7 In the recently-
We are, therefore, of the opinion and so hold, that the General decided case of People vs. Lava,8 we expressly reaffirmed the
Court-Martial appointed by respondent has no jurisdiction to try ruling in the Hernandez case rejecting the plea of the Solicitor
petitioner for the offense allegedly committed by him and, General for the abandonment of such doctrine. It is the
consequently, the judgment rendered by said court sentencing contention of each of the petitioners that he has served, in the
the petitioner to 15 years' imprisonment is null and void for lack light of the above, more than the maximum penalty that could
of jurisdiction. have been imposed upon him. He is thus entitled to freedom,
his continued detention being illegal. 9

Page 14 of 119
The fear that the Pomeroy ruling stands as an obstacle to their the great object of which is the liberation of those who may be
release on a habeas corpus proceeding prompted petitioners, imprisoned without sufficient cause." Then there is this
as had been mentioned, to ask that it be appraised anew and, affirmation from an 1869 decision 28 of the then Chief Justice
if necessary, discarded. We can resolve the present petition Chase: "The great writ of habeas corpus has been for
without doing so. The plea there made was unconvincing, there centuries esteemed the best and only sufficient defense of
being a failure to invoke the contentions now pressed personal freedom." The passing of the years has only served
vigorously by their counsel, Attorney Jose W. Diokno, as to the to confirm its primacy as a weapon on in the cause of liberty.
existence of a denial of a constitutional right that would suffice Only the other year, Justice Fortas spoke for the United States
to raise a serious jurisdictional question and the retroactive Supreme Court thus: "The writ of habeas corpus is the
effect to be given a judicial decision favorable to one already fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom
sentenced to a final judgment under Art. 22 of the Revised against arbitrary and lawless state action. ... The scope and
Penal Code. To repeat, these two grounds carry weight. We flexibility of the writ — its capacity to reach all manner of illegal
have to grant this petition. detention — its ability to cut through barriers of form and
procedural mazes — have always been emphasized and
1. The fundamental issue, to repeat, is the availability of the jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers. The very nature of
writ of habeas corpus under the circumstances disclosed. Its the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative and
latitudinarian scope to assure that illegality of restraint and flexibility essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within
detention be avoided is one of the truisms of the law. It is not its reach are surfaced and corrected." 29 Justice Fortas
known as the writ of liberty for nothing. The writ imposes on explicitly made reference to Blackstone, who spoke of it as "the
judges the grave responsibility of ascertaining whether there is great and efficacious writ, in all manner of illegal confinement."
any legal justification for a deprivation of physical freedom. Implicit in his just estimate of its pre-eminent role is his
Unless there be such a showing, the confinement must thereby adoption of Holmes' famous dissent in Frank v.
cease. If there be a valid sentence it cannot, even for a Mangum: 30 "But habeas corpus cuts through all forms and
moment, be extended beyond the period provided for by law. goes to the very tissue of the structure."
Any deviation from the legal norms call for the termination of
the imprisonment. 2. Where, however, the detention complained of finds its origin
in what has been judicially ordained, the range of inquiry in a
Rightly then could Chafee refer to the writ as "the most habeas corpus proceeding is considerably narrowed. For if "the
important human rights provision" in the fundamental person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of
law. 10Nor is such praise unique. Cooley spoke of it as "one of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue
the principal safeguards to personal liberty." 11 For Willoughby, of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or
it is "the greatest of the safeguards erected by the civil law judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the
against arbitrary and illegal imprisonment by whomsoever judgment, or make the order," the writ does not lie. 31 That
detention may be exercised or ordered." 12 Burdick echoed a principle dates back to 1902, 32 when this Court announced
similar sentiment, referring to it as "one of the most important that habeas corpus was unavailing where the person detained
bulwarks of liberty." 13 Fraenkel made it unanimous, for to him, was in the custody of an officer under process issued by a
"without it much else would be of no avail." 14 Thereby the rule court or magistrate. This is understandable, as during the time
of law is assured. the Philippines was under American rule, there was necessarily
an adherence to authoritative doctrines of constitutional law
there followed.
A full awareness of the potentialities of the writ of habeas
corpus in the defense of liberty coupled with its limitations may
be detected in the opinions of former Chief Justices One such principle is the requirement that there be a finding of
Arellano, 15 Avanceña, 16 Abad jurisdictional defect. As summarized by Justice Bradley in Ex
Santos, 17 Paras, 18Bengzon, 19 and the present Chief parte Siebold, an 1880 decision: "The only ground on which
Justice. 20 It fell to Justice Malcolm's lot, however to emphasize this court, or any court, without some special statute
quite a few times the breadth of its amplitude and of its reach. authorizing it, will give relief on habeas corpus to a prisoner
In Villavicencio v. Lukban, 21 the remedy came in handy to under conviction and sentence of another court is the want of
challenge the validity of the order of the then respondent Mayor jurisdiction in such court over the person or the cause, or some
of Manila who, for the best of reasons but without legal other matter rendering its proceedings void." 33
justification, ordered the transportation of more than 150
inmates of houses of ill-repute to Davao. After referring to the There is the fundamental exception though, that must ever be
writ of habeas corpus as having been devised and existing "as kept in mind. Once a deprivation of a constitutional right is
a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from shown to exist, the court that rendered the judgment is deemed
unlawful restraint" the opinion of Justice Malcolm continued: ousted of jurisdiction and habeas corpus is the appropriate
"The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus remedy to assail the legality of the detention. 34
is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as
distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom 3. Petitioners precisely assert a deprivation of a constitutional
if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude right, namely, the denial of equal protection. According to their
freedom of action is sufficient." 22 petition: "In the case at bar, the petitioners were convicted by
Courts of First Instance for the very same rebellion for which
The liberality with which the judiciary is to construe habeas Hernandez, Geronimo, and others were convicted. The law
corpus petitions even if presented in pleadings on their face under which they were convicted is the very same law under
devoid of merit was demonstrated in Ganaway v. which the latter were convicted. It had not and has not been
Quilen, 23 where this Court, again through Justice Malcolm, changed. For the same crime, committed under the same law,
stated: "As standing alone the petition for habeas corpus was how can we, in conscience, allow petitioners to suffer life
fatally defective in its allegations, this court, on its motion, imprisonment, while others can suffer only prision mayor?" 35
ordered before it the record of the lower court in the case
entitled Thomas Casey, et al. v. George Ganaway." 24 It is to They would thus stress that, contrary to the mandate of equal
Justice Malcolm likewise in Conde v. Rivera, 25 to whom is protection, people similarly situated were not similarly dealt
traceable the doctrine, one that broadens the field of the with. What is required under this required constitutional
operation of the writ, that a disregard of the constitutional right guarantee is the uniform operation of legal norms so that all
to speedy trial ousts the court of jurisdiction and entitles the persons under similar circumstances would be accorded the
accused if "restrained of his liberty, by habeas corpus to obtain same treatment both in the privileges conferred and the
his liabilities imposed. As was noted in a recent decision:
freedom." 26 "Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed. For the
principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to
So it is in the United States. An 1830 decision 27 of Chief every person under circumstances, which if not identical are
Justice Marshall put the matter thus: "The writ of habeas analogous. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or
corpus is a high prerogative writ, known to the common law, charges, those that fall within a class should be treated in the
Page 15 of 119
same fashion, whatever restrictions cast on some in the group ISIDRO BERNARDO and CAYETANO
equally binding on the rest." 36 BERNARDO, petitioners,
vs.
The argument of petitioners thus possesses a persuasive ring. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
The continued incarceration after the twelve-year period when
such is the maximum length of imprisonment in accordance Alberto Mala, Jr. for petitioners.
with our controlling doctrine, when others similarly convicted
have been freed, is fraught with implications at war with equal The Solicitor General for respondent.
protection. That is not to give it life. On the contrary, it would
render it nugatory. Otherwise, what would happen is that for an
identical offense, the only distinction lying in the finality of the
conviction of one being before the Hernandez ruling and the RELOVA, J.:
other after, a person duly sentenced for the same crime would
be made to suffer different penalties. Moreover, as noted in the FIRST DIVISION
petition before us, after our ruling in People v. Lava, petitioners
who were mere followers would be made to languish in jail for Petitioner Isidro Bernardo was a tenant of Ledda Sta. Rosa in
perhaps the rest of their natural lives when the leaders had her riceland in Plaridel, Bulacan from October 1972 to August
been duly considered as having paid their penalty to society, 1974. At the time, petitioner constructed a house therein for his
and freed. Such a deplorable result is to be avoided. family's dwelling. His son, co-petitioner Cayetano Bernardo,
was staying with him in said house as his helper in tilling the
4. Petitioners likewise, as was made mention at the outset, land. Subsequently, Isidro left the landholding and transferred
would rely on Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code which to San Nicolas, Bulacan without the knowledge of the
requires that penal judgment be given a retroactive effect. In landowner Ledda Sta. Rosa. Before leaving the landholding,
support of their contention, petitioners cite U.S. v. however, Isidro transferred his tenancy rights to his son, co-
Macasaet, 37 U.S. vs.Parrone, 38 U.S. v. Almencion, 39 People petitioner Cayetano Bernardo, who continued to reside in
v. Moran, 40 and People v. Parel. 41 While reference in the subject house. Eventually, Ledda Sta. Rosa took possession of
above provision is made not to judicial decisions but to the whole riceland, through her overseer Dr. Patricio E. Cruz.
legislative acts, petitioners entertain the view that it would be
merely an exaltation of the literal to deny its application to a A case of forcible entry was filed by Ledda Sta. Rosa against
case like the present. Such a belief has a firmer foundation. As herein petitioners, Isidro Bernardo and Cayetano Bernardo,
was previously noted, the Civil Code provides that judicial before the Municipal Court of Plaridel, Bulacan. Petitioners lost
decisions applying or interpreting the Constitution, as well as
before the inferior court as well as in the Court of First Instance
legislation, form part of our legal system. Petitioners would of Bulacan. Likewise, petitioners lost in their petition for
even find support in the well-known dictum of Bishop Hoadley: certiorari and mandamus before the Court of Appeals.

"Whoever hath an absolute authority to interpret any written or Thereafter, Ledda Sta. Rosa sent a letter of demand to
spoken laws, it is he who is truly the law-giver to all intents and petitioners telling them to vacate the house and the land. When
purposes, and not the person who first thought or spoke them." the latter failed to leave, a criminal complaint was filed against
It is to be admitted that constitutional law scholars, notably them for violation of Presidential Decree No. 772 with the
Frankfurter, 42 Powell, 43 and Thayer, 44 in discussing judicial fiscal's office. After a preliminary investigation of the case, the
review as well as the jurist John Chipman Gray, were much provincial fiscal filed the corresponding information with the
impressed with the truth and the soundness of the above Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch VI, docketed as
observations. We do not have to go that far though. Enough for Criminal Case No. 3022-M, as follows:
present purposes that both the Civil Code and the Revised
Penal Code allow, if they do not call for, a retroactive
application. That on or about the 22nd day of April 1974,
in the municipality of Plaridel, province of
Bulacan, Philippines, and within the
It being undeniable that if the Hernandez ruling were to be jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
given a retroactive effect petitioners had served the full term for accused Isidro Bernardo and Cayetano
which they could have been legally committed, is habeas Bernardo, did then and there willfully,
corpus the appropriate remedy? The answer cannot be in unlawfully and feloniously, without the
doubt. As far back as 1910 the prevailing doctrine was knowledge and taking advantage of the
announced in Cruz v. Director of Prisons. 45Thus: "The courts tolerance of the owner Ledda Sta. Rosa y
uniformly hold that where a sentence imposes punishment in Cruz, succeed and/or continue in possessing
excess of the power of the court to impose, such sentence is and squatting on a parcel of land of the said
void as to the excess, and some of the courts hold that the owner, by erecting thereon their residential
sentence is void in toto; but the weight of authority sustains the house and failing to remove the said
proposition that such a sentence is void only as to the excess residential house despite demand to do so
imposed in case the parts are separable, the rule being that the made by the said owner.
petitioner is not entitled to his discharge on a writ of habeas
corpus unless he has served out so much of the sentence as
was valid." 46 There is a reiteration of such a principle Upon arraignment, herein petitioners, father and son, entered a
in Director v. Director of Prisons 47 where it was explicitly plea of not guilty. Trial on the merits of the case proceeded
announced by this Court "that the only means of giving and, after both parties have submitted their cases, herein
retroactive effect to a penal provision favorable to the accused petitioners, through counsel, filed a motion to dismiss on the
... is the writ of habeas corpus." 48 While the above decision ground of lack of jurisdiction of the court to entertain a case for
speaks of a trial judge losing jurisdiction over the case, insofar violation of Presidential Decree No. 772, inasmuch as the
as the remedy of habeas corpus is concerned, the emphatic same applies to squatters in urban communities only and not to
affirmation that it is the only means of benefiting the accused agricultural lands; that in the case of People vs. Echaves, 95
by the retroactive character of a favorable decision holds true. SCRA 663, it was held that "Presidential Decree No. 772 does
Petitioners clearly have thus successfully sustained the burden not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it
of justifying their release. was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or
more particularly to illegal construction in squatter areas made
by well-to-do individuals."
WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is granted, and it
is ordered that petitioners be forthwith set at liberty.
The motion to dismiss was denied and the trial court rendered
judgment convicting herein petitioners of the crime charged
G.R. No. L-62114 July 5, 1983
and sentencing them to pay a fine of P2,500.00 each, with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Hence, this
Page 16 of 119
petition for certiorari to set aside the decision of the lower court the Court of Appeals (Sixteenth Division) dated May 27, 1991,
on the ground that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the criminal in CA-G.R. SP No. 24273, entitled THE PEOPLE OF THE
case for alleged violation of Presidential Decree No. 772 since PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, versus HON. OSCAR B. PIMENTEL,
the facts obtaining in the case do not constitute an offense or as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 and
violation of said law. ANTONIO A. TUJAN, Respondents.
The record discloses the following antecedent facts:
Indeed, in the case of People vs. Echaves, supra, this Court, As early as 1983, private respondent Antonio Tujan was
speaking through Mr. Justice Ramon C. Aquino, held that charged with Subversion under Republic Act No. 1700 (the
Presidential Decree No. 772 does not apply to pasture lands. Anti-Subversion Law), as amended, before the Regional Trial
The preamble of the decree is quoted below: Court of Manila (Branch 45), National Capital Region, docketed
as Criminal Case No. 64079.[2] As a consequence thereof, a
warrant for his arrest was issued on July 29, 1983,[3] but it
WHEREAS, it came to my knowledge that remained unserved as he could not be found.
despite the issuance of Letter of Instruction Almost seven (7) years thereafter, or on June 5, 1990, Antonio
No. 19 dated October 2, 1972, directing the Tujan was arrested on the basis of the warrant of arrest in the
Secretaries of National Defense, Public subversion case.[4] When arrested, an unlicensed .38 caliber
Works and Communications, Social Welfare special revolver and six (6) rounds of live ammunition were
and the Director of Public Works, the PHHC found in his possession.[5]
General Manager, the Presidential Assistant Consequently, on June 14, 1990, Antonio Tujan was charged
on Housing and Rehabilitation Agency, with Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in
Governors, City and Municipal Mayors, and Furtherance of Subversion under Presidential Decree No.
City and District Engineers, 'to remove all 1866, as amended, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati
illegal constructions including buildings on (Branch 148), docketed as Criminal Case No. 1789. The
and along esteros and river banks, those Information reads:
along railroad tracks and those built without That on or about the 5th day of June, 1990, in the Municipality
permits on public and private property,' of Paraaque, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the
squatting is still a major problem in urban jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
communities all over the country; being a member of a communist party of the Philippines, and
its front organization, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
WHEREAS, many persons or entities found feloniously have in his possession, control and custody, in
to have been unlawfully occupying public furtherance of or incident to, or in connection with the crime of
and private lands belong to the affluent subversion, a special edition ARMSCOR PHILS. caliber .38
class; special revolver with Serial No. 1026387 and with six (6) live
ammunitions, without first securing the necessary license or
WHEREAS, there is a need to further permit thereof from competent government authority.[6]
intensify the government's drive against this The above Information recommended no bail for Antonio
illegal and nefarious practice. Tujan, which recommendation was approved by the trial court
in an Order dated June 19, 1990.[7] The same order also
directed the continued detention of Antonio Tujan at MIG 15 of
The intent of the decree is unmistakable. It is intended to apply the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
only to urban communities, particularly to illegal constructions. (ISAFP), Bago Bantay, Quezon City, while his case is pending.
On June 26, 1990, Antonio Tujan, through counsel, filed a
The Solicitor General in his comment to the petition manifests motion[8] invoking his right to a preliminary investigation
that "the intent and purpose of PD 772 is to prohibit and pursuant to Section 7, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Court
penalize squatting or similar acts on public and private lands and praying that his arraignment be held in abeyance until the
located in urban communities. ... ['that no person should be preliminary investigation is terminated.
brought within the terms of a penal statute who is not clearly However, on June 27, 1990, during the hearing of Antonio
within them, nor should any act be pronounced criminal which Tujans motion for preliminary investigation, his counsel
is not clearly made so by the statute (US vs. Abad Santos, 36 withdrew the motion since he would file a motion to quash the
Phil. 243). ... Consequently, the decision of the lower court in Information, for which reason counsel requested a period of
Criminal Case No. 3022- M, convicting herein petitioners of the twenty (20) days to do so. This was granted by the trial court
offense of violation of PD No. 772, is null and void and should, on that same day.[9]
therefore, be set aside." On July 16, 1990, Antonio Tujan did file the motion to
quash[10] the Information in Criminal Case No. 1789 on the
ground that he has been previously in jeopardy of being
ACCORDINGLY, this petition for certiorari is GRANTED, the
convicted of the offense charged in Criminal Case No. 64079
judgment of conviction is SET ASIDE, and said Criminal Case
(for subversion) of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch
No. 3022-M is hereby DISMISSED.
45). The said ground is based on Sections 3 (h) and 7, Rule
117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. In support of the
SO ORDERED. motion, Antonio Tujan contends that common crimes such as
[G.R. No. 100210. April 1, 1998] illegal possession of firearms and ammunition should actually
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. be deemed absorbed in subversion,[11] citing the cases
OSCAR B. PIMENTEL, as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro of Misolas vs. Panga, et al. (G. R. No. 83341, January 30,
Manila, Branch 148 and ANTONIO A. TUJAN, respondents. 1990, 181 SCRA 648) and Enrile vs. Salazar, et al. (G. R. No.
DECISION 92163, June 5, 1990, 186 SCRA 217). Antonio Tujan then
MARTINEZ, J.: avers that the present case is the twin prosecution of the
Is the Court of Appeals, in affirming the order of the Regional earlier subversion case and, therefore, he is entitled to invoke
Trial Court, correct in ruling that Subversion is the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.[12]
the main offense in a charge of Illegal Possession of Firearm The petitioner opposed[13] the motion to quash, arguing that
and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion under P.D. Antonio Tujan does not stand in jeopardy of being convicted a
No. 1866, as amended, and that, therefore, the said charge second time because: (a) he has not even been arraigned in
should be quashed in view of a previous charge the subversion case, and (b) the offense charged against him
of Subversion under R.A. No. 1700, as amended by P.D. No. in Criminal Case No. 64079 is for Subversion, punishable
885, against the same accused pending in another court? under Republic Act No. 1700; while the present case is for
Stated differently, is the accused charged with Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance
the same offense in both cases, which would justify the of Subversion, punishable under a different law (Presidential
dismissal of the second charge on the ground of double Decree No. 1866). Moreover, petitioner contends that Antonio
jeopardy? Tujans reliance on the Misolas and Enrile cases is
This is the pith issue presented before us in this appeal misplaced.[14] Tujan merely relies on the dissenting
by certiorari interposed by the People under Rule 45 of the opinions in the Misolas case. Also, the Enrile case which
Revised Rules of Court, seeking a review of the decision[1] of
Page 17 of 119
involved a complex crime of rebellion with murder is The petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals
inapplicable to the instant case which is not a complex through a petition for certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
offense. Thus, the absorption rule as held applicable in 24273. However, the appellate court found that the trial court
the Enrile ruling has no room for application in the present case did not commit any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
because (illegal) possession of firearm and ammunition is not a or excess of jurisdiction in quashing the questioned
necessary means of committing the offense of subversion, nor Information. In dismissing the petition, the appellate court, in its
is subversion a necessary means of committing the crime of decision dated May 27, 1991, basically reiterated the
illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.[15] aforequoted ruling of the trial court.
The trial court, in an order dated October 12, 1990, granted the Petitioner now comes to this Court, claiming that: (1) the
motion to quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 1789, the decision of the Court of Appeals is not in accord with the law
dispositive portion of the order reading: and applicable jurisprudence; and (2) it was deprived of due
WHEREFORE, the motion to quash the information is hereby process to prosecute and prove its case against private
GRANTED, but only in so far as the accused may be placed in respondent Antonio Tujan in Criminal Case No. 1789.
jeopardy or in danger of being convicted or acquitted of the We agree with the petitioner.
crime of Subversion and as a consequence the Information is The Court of Appeals considered as duplicitous the Information
hereby quashed and the case dismissed without prejudice to for violation of P.D. No. 1866 filed against private respondent
the filing of Illegal Possession of Firearm. Antonio Tujan. It ruled:
SO ORDERED.[16] The foregoing information (for Illegal Possession of Firearm
It is best to quote the disquisition of the respondent court in and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion) filed before the
quashing the information and dismissing the case: Makati court shows that the main case is subversion
xxxxxxxxx considering that there is an allegation that the alleged illegal
In other words, the main offense the accused is being possession of firearms was made in furtherance of or incident
charged in this case is also Subversion considering that to, or in connection with the crime of subversion. Also, the
the alleged Illegal Possession of the Firearm and information alleged likewise that the accused is a member of a
Ammunition is only in furtherance thereof. communist party of the Philippines and its front
Now, subversion being a continuing offense as has been organization. Basically, the information refers to the crime of
previously held by the Supreme Court, the fact that the Subversion qualified by Illegal Possession of Firearms. x x x.[20]
accused has been previously charged of Subversion before The ruling of the Court of Appeals is erroneous.
another court before the institution of this instant case is just a Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, under which
continuing offense of his former charge or that his acts Antonio Tujan is charged in Criminal Case No. 1789 before the
constituting subversion is a continuation of the acts he Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148), provides as
committed before. follows:
The court therefore cannot subscribe to the position taken by Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sales, Acquisition,
the prosecution that this case is very different from the other Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or
case and that double jeopardy will attach in this particular case. Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of
This court agrees with the position taken by the defense that Firearms or Ammunition. The penalty of reclusion temporal in
double jeopardy will attach to the accusation of subversion, its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed
punishable now under Republic Act 1700, as Rule 117 of the upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in,
Rules of Court particularly Section 1 thereof, provides: acquire, dispose, or possess any firearms, part of firearm,
Time to move to quash- At any time before entering his plea, ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended
the accused may move to quash the complaint or to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition.
information.(1a) If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an
In other words, there is no necessity that the accused should unlicensed firearms, the penalty of death shall be imposed.
be arraigned first before he can move to quash the If the violation of this Section is in furtherance of, or
information. It is before he pleads which the accused did in this incident to, or in connection with the crimes of rebellion,
case. insurrection or subversion, the penalty of death shall be
On the other submissions by the prosecution, that the imposed.
possession of firearms and ammunitions is not a necessary The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period
means of committing the offense of subversion or vice versa, to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the owner,
then if the court follows such argument, there could be no president, manager, director or other responsible officer of any
offense of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in public or private firm, company, corporation or entity, who shall
furtherance of Subversion, for even the prosecution admits willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms owned by such
also that in subversion which is an offense involving firm, company, corporation or entity to be used by any person
propaganda, counter propaganda, a battle of the hearts and or persons found guilty of violating the provisions of the
mind of the people does not need the possession or use of preceding paragraphs.
firearms and ammunitions. The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any
The prosecution even admits and to quote: person who shall carry any licensed firearm outside his
The defense of double jeopardy, while unquestionably residence without legal authority therefor. (Emphasis ours)
available to the accused, had not been clearly shown to be The above-quoted provisions of P.D. No. 1866 are plain and
invokable(sic) at this point in time. simple. Under the first paragraph of Section 1, the mere
But the rule says otherwise as previously stated as provided for possession of an unlicensed firearm or ammunition is the
under Section 1 of Rule 117 of the Rules of Court. crime itself which carries the penalty of reclusion temporal in
Thus, if ever the accused is caught in possession of a its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. The third paragraph
firearm and ammunition which is separate and distinct of the same Section makes the use of said firearm and
from the crime of subversion and is not a necessary ammunition in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection
ingredient thereof and the court believed so, the with the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion a
prosecution will have to file another information as they circumstance to increase the penalty to death. Thus, the
may wish. The court therefore has to grant the motion to allegation in the Information in Criminal Case No. 1789 that the
quash on the aforestated grounds, subject to Section 5 of unlicensed firearm found in the possession of Antonio Tujan, a
Rule 117, considering that the only offense to which the member of the communist party of the Philippines and its front
accused in this case may be placed in jeopardy is organization, was used in furtherance of or incident to, or in
Subversion and not Illegal Possession of Firearms and connection with the crime of subversion does not charge him
Ammunitions. with the separate and distinct crime of Subversion in the
The prosecution may file any information as warranted within same Information, but simply describes the mode or
ten (10) days from receipt of this order otherwise the court will manner by which the violation of Section 1 of P.D. No.
order the release of the accused, unless he is in custody for 1866 was committed[21] so as to qualify the penalty to
some other offense.[17] (Emphasis ours) death.
Petitioners motion for reconsideration[18] was also denied in an There is, therefore, only one offense charged in the questioned
order dated December 28, 1990.[19] information, that is, the illegal possession of firearm and
ammunition, qualified by its being used in furtherance of

Page 18 of 119
subversion.[22] There is nothing in P.D. No. 1866, specifically It is clear from the foregoing, that the assailed decision of the
Section 1 thereof, which decrees categorically or by implication Court of Appeals is not in accordance with the law and
that the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion are the jurisprudence and thus should be reversed.
very acts that are being penalized. This is clear from the title of While we hold that both the subversion charge under R.A. No.
the law itself which boldly indicates the specific acts penalized 1700, as amended, and the one for illegal possession of
under it: firearm and ammunition in furtherance of subversion under
CODIFYING THE LAWS ON ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL P.D. No. 1866, as amended, can co-exist,
POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, DEALING the subsequent enactment of Republic Act No. 7636 on
IN, ACQUISITION OR DISPOSITION, OF FIREARMS, September 22, 1992, totally repealing R.A. No. 1700, as
AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES OR INSTRUMENTS USED amended, has substantially changed the complexion of the
IN THE MANUFACTURE OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR present case, inasmuch as the said repealing law being
EXPLOSIVES, AND IMPOSING STIFFER PENALTIES FOR favorable to the accused-private respondent, who is not a
CERTAIN VIOLATIONS THEREOF AND FOR RELEVANT habitual delinquent, should be given retroactive effect.[26]
PURPOSES. (Emphasis ours) Although this legal effect of R.A. No. 7636 on private-
On the other hand, the previous subversion charge against respondents case has never been raised as an issue by the
Antonio Tujan in Criminal Case No. 64079, before the Regional parties obviously because the said law came out only several
Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45), is based on a different law, months after the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals
that is, Republic Act No. 1700, as amended. Section 3 thereof was promulgated and while the present petition is pending with
penalizes any person who knowingly, wilfully and by overt act this Court we should nonetheless fulfill our duty as a court of
affiliates with, becomes or remains a member of a subversive justice by applying the law to whomsoever is benefited by it
association or organization x x x. Section 4 of said law further regardless of whether or not the accused or any party has
penalizes such member [of the Communist Party of the sought the application of the beneficent provisions of the
Philippines and/or its successor or of any subversive repealing law.[27]
association] (who) takes up arms against the That R.A. No. 7636 should apply retroactively to accused-
Government. Thus, in the present case, private respondent private respondent is beyond question. The repeal by said law
Antonio Tujan could be charged either under P.D. No. 1866 or of R.A. No. 1700, as amended, was categorical, definite and
R.A. No. 1700,[23] or both. absolute. There was no saving clause in the repeal. The
This leads us to the issue of whether or not private respondent legislative intent of totally abrogating the old anti-subversion
Antonio Tujan was placed in double jeopardy with the filing of law is clear. Thus, it would be illogical for the trial courts to try
the second Information for Illegal Possession of Firearm and and sentence the accused-private respondent for an offense
Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion. that no longer exists.[28]
We rule in the negative. As early as 1935, we ruled in People vs. Tamayo:[29]
Article III of the Constitution provides: There is no question that at common law and in America a
Sec. 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of much more favorable attitude towards the accused exists
punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a relative to statutes that have been repealed than has been
law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall adopted here. Our rule is more in conformity with the Spanish
constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act. doctrine, but even in Spain, where the offense ceases to be
(Emphasis ours) criminal, prosecution cannot be had. (1 Pacheco
Complementing the above constitutional provision, Rule 117 of Commentaries, 296) (Emphasis ours)
the Revised Rules of Court states: Where, as here, the repeal of a penal law is total and absolute
SEC. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy. When and the act which was penalized by a prior law ceases to be
an accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case criminal under the new law, the previous offense is
against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without his obliterated.[30] It is a recognized rule in this jurisdiction that a
express consent by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a total repeal deprives the courts of jurisdiction to try, convict and
valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient sentence persons charged with violation of the old law prior to
in form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the the repeal.[31]
accused had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal With the enactment of R.A. No. 7636, the charge of subversion
of the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to against the accused-private respondent has no more legal
another prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt basis and should be dismissed.
to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for any offense As regards the other charge of illegal possession of firearm
which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the and ammunition, qualified by subversion, this charge should be
offense charged in the former complaint or information. amended to simple illegal possession of firearm and
x x x x x x x x x. ammunition since, as earlier discussed, subversion is no longer
The right of an accused against double jeopardy is a matter a crime.
which he may raise in a motion to quash to defeat a Moreover, the offense of simple illegal possession of firearm
subsequent prosecution for the same offense. The pertinent and ammunition is now bailable under Republic Act No. 8294
provision of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: which was enacted on June 6, 1997. R.A. No. 8294 has
SEC. 3. Grounds. The accused may move to quash the amended Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, by
complaint or information on any of the following grounds: eliminating the provision in said P.D. that if the unlicensed
xxxxxxxxx firearm is used in furtherance of subversion, the penalty of
(h) That the accused has been previously convicted or in death shall be imposed.[32] Under the new law (R.A. No. 8294),
jeopardy of being convicted, or acquitted of the offense the penalty prescribed for simple illegal possession of firearm
charged. (2a) (Emphasis ours) (.38 caliber) is now reduced to prision correccional in its
In order that the protection against double jeopardy may inure maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand
to the benefit of an accused, the following requisites must have pesos (P15,000.00).[33]The reduced penalty of imprisonment -
obtained in the first criminal action: (a) a valid complaint or which is four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six
information; (b) a competent court; (c) the defendant had (6) years - entitles the accused-private respondent to
pleaded to the charge;[24] and (d) the defendant was acquitted, bail. Considering, however, that the accused-private
or convicted, or the case against him was dismissed or respondent has been detained since his arrest on June 5, 1990
otherwise terminated without his express consent.[25] up to the present (as far as our record has shown), or more
Suffice it to say that in the present case, private respondents than seven (7) years now, his immediate release is in
motion to quash filed in the trial court did not actually raise the order. This is so because even if he were convicted for illegal
issue of double jeopardy simply because it had not arisen possession of firearm and ammunition, the length of his
yet. It is noteworthy that the private respondent has not even detention while his case is pending has already exceeded the
been arraigned in the first criminal action for penalty prescribed by the new law.
subversion. Besides, as earlier discussed, the two criminal WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals
charges against private respondent are not of dated May 27, 1991, in CA-G.R. SP No. 24273, including the
the same offense as required by Section 21, Article III of the orders dated October 12, 1990 and December 28, 1990 of the
Constitution. Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148), National Capital

Page 19 of 119
Region, in Criminal Case No. 1789, are hereby REVERSED KMU), REPRESENTED BY ITS NATIONAL PRESIDENT,
and SET ASIDE. JOSELITO V. USTAREZ, ANTONIO C. PASCUAL,
The subversion charge against accused-private respondent SALVADOR T. CARRANZA, EMILIA P. DAPULANG,
Antonio A. Tujan in Criminal Case No. 64079 of the Regional MARTIN CUSTODIO, JR., AND ROQUE M. TAN, Petitioners,
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 45, is hereby DISMISSED. vs.
The other Information for illegal possession of firearm and HER EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-
ammunition in furtherance of subversion against the same ARROYO, THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
accused in Criminal Case No. 1789 of the Regional Trial Court EDUARDO ERMITA, THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED
of Makati, Branch 148, is DEEMED AMENDED to Simple FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, GENEROSO SENGA, AND
Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition. The THE PNP DIRECTOR GENERAL, ARTURO
accused-appellant is hereby ordered RELEASED LOMIBAO, Respondents.
IMMEDIATELY from detention for the reason stated above,
unless he is being detained for any other offense. x-------------------------------------x
This decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 171400 May 3, 2006

G.R. No. 171396 May 3, 2006 ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS, INC. (ALG), Petitioner,
vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, LT. GEN.
PROF. RANDOLF S. DAVID, LORENZO TAÑADA III, GENEROSO SENGA, AND DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO
RONALD LLAMAS, H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ LOMIBAO, Respondents.
BUTUYAN, ROGER R. RAYEL, GARY S. MALLARI, ROMEL
REGALADO BAGARES, CHRISTOPHER F.C.
BOLASTIG, Petitioners, G.R. No. 171489 May 3, 2006
vs.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, AS PRESIDENT AND JOSE ANSELMO I. CADIZ, FELICIANO M. BAUTISTA,
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ROMULO R. RIVERA, JOSE AMOR M. AMORADO, ALICIA
EDUARDO ERMITA, HON. AVELINO CRUZ II, SECRETARY A. RISOS-VIDAL, FELIMON C. ABELITA III, MANUEL P.
OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, GENERAL GENEROSO SENGA, LEGASPI, J.B. JOVY C. BERNABE, BERNARD L.
CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, DAGCUTA, ROGELIO V. GARCIA AND INTEGRATED BAR
DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO LOMIBAO, CHIEF, OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), Petitioners,
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, Respondents. vs.
HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA,
x-------------------------------------x GENERAL GENEROSO SENGA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS AFP
CHIEF OF STAFF, AND DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO
LOMIBAO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PNP CHIEF, Respondents.
G.R. No. 171409 May 3, 2006
x-------------------------------------x
NIÑEZ CACHO-OLIVARES AND TRIBUNE PUBLISHING
CO., INC., Petitioners,
vs. G.R. No. 171424 May 3, 2006
HONORABLE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND
HONORABLE DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO C. LOREN B. LEGARDA, Petitioner,
LOMIBAO, Respondents. vs.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, IN HER CAPACITY AS
x-------------------------------------x PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF; ARTURO
LOMIBAO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE (PNP); GENEROSO
G.R. No. 171485 May 3, 2006 SENGA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE
ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (AFP); AND
FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO, JOSEPH A. SANTIAGO, EDUARDO ERMITA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE
TEODORO A. CASINO, AGAPITO A. AQUINO, MARIO J. SECRETARY, Respondents.
AGUJA, SATUR C. OCAMPO, MUJIV S. HATAMAN, JUAN
EDGARDO ANGARA, TEOFISTO DL. GUINGONA III, DECISION
EMMANUEL JOSEL J. VILLANUEVA, LIZA L. MAZA, IMEE
R. MARCOS, RENATO B. MAGTUBO, JUSTIN MARC SB.
CHIPECO, ROILO GOLEZ, DARLENE ANTONINO- SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
CUSTODIO, LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, JOSEL G.
VIRADOR, RAFAEL V. MARIANO, GILBERT C. REMULLA, All powers need some restraint; practical adjustments rather
FLORENCIO G. NOEL, ANA THERESIA HONTIVEROS- than rigid formula are necessary. 1 Superior strength – the use
BARAQUEL, IMELDA C. NICOLAS, MARVIC M.V.F. of force – cannot make wrongs into rights. In this regard, the
LEONEN, NERI JAVIER COLMENARES, MOVEMENT OF courts should be vigilant in safeguarding the constitutional
CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES rights of the citizens, specifically their liberty.
REPRESENTED BY AMADO GAT INCIONG, Petitioners,
vs. Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s philosophy of liberty is
EDUARDO R. ERMITA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, thus most relevant. He said: "In cases involving liberty, the
AVELINO J. CRUZ, JR., SECRETARY, DND RONALDO V. scales of justice should weigh heavily against government
PUNO, SECRETARY, DILG, GENEROSO SENGA, AFP and in favor of the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized,
CHIEF OF STAFF, ARTURO LOMIBAO, CHIEF the dispossessed and the weak." Laws and actions that
PNP, Respondents. restrict fundamental rights come to the courts "with a heavy
presumption against their constitutional validity." 2
x-------------------------------------x
These seven (7) consolidated petitions for certiorari and
G.R. No. 171483 May 3, 2006 prohibition allege that in issuing Presidential Proclamation No.
1017 (PP 1017) and General Order No. 5 (G.O. No. 5),
KILUSANG MAYO UNO, REPRESENTED BY ITS President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo committed grave abuse of
CHAIRPERSON ELMER C. LABOG AND SECRETARY discretion. Petitioners contend that respondent officials of the
GENERAL JOEL MAGLUNSOD, NATIONAL FEDERATION Government, in their professed efforts to defend and preserve
OF LABOR UNIONS – KILUSANG MAYO UNO (NAFLU- democratic institutions, are actually trampling upon the very
Page 20 of 119
freedom guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. Hence, Left, represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme
such issuances are void for being unconstitutional. Right, represented by military adventurists - the historical
enemies of the democratic Philippine State – and who are now
Once again, the Court is faced with an age-old but persistently in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and
modern problem. How does the Constitution of a free people systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the
combine the degree of liberty, without which, law becomes duly-constituted Government elected in May 2004;
tyranny, with the degree of law, without which, liberty becomes
license?3 WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring
down our republican government;
On February 24, 2006, as the nation celebrated the 20th
Anniversary of the Edsa People Power I, President Arroyo WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly
issued PP 1017 declaring a state of national emergency, thus: magnified by certain segments of the national media;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of WHEREAS, these series of actions is hurting the Philippine
the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the State by obstructing governance, including hindering the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence
upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution in the government and their faith in the future of this country;
which states that: "The President. . . whenever it becomes
necessary, . . . may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the
suppress. . .rebellion. . .," and in my capacity as their economy;
Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed
Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order
throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces; of both the
of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensify their
rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;
all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me
personally or upon my direction; and as provided in WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the
Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the
declare a State of National Emergency. State the primary duty of Government;

She cited the following facts as bases: WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their
consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a
WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the
opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;
extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the
extreme Right, represented by military adventurists – the WHEREAS, Proclamation 1017 date February 24, 2006 has
historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State – been issued declaring a State of National Emergency;
who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted
and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down NOW, THEREFORE, I GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by
the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004; virtue of the powers vested in me under the Constitution as
President of the Republic of the Philippines, and Commander-
WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring in-Chief of the Republic of the Philippines, and pursuant to
down the President; Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, do hereby
call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the
WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been Philippine National Police (PNP), to prevent and suppress acts
recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national of terrorism and lawless violence in the country;
media;
I hereby direct the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Chief of
WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State the PNP, as well as the officers and men of the AFP and
– by obstructing governance including hindering the growth PNP, to immediately carry out the necessary and
of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in appropriate actions and measures to suppress and
government and their faith in the future of this country; prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence.

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the On March 3, 2006, exactly one week after the declaration of a
economy; state of national emergency and after all these petitions had
been filed, the President lifted PP 1017. She issued
Proclamation No. 1021 which reads:
WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both
the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to
intensify their avowed aims to bring down the democratic WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 18, Article VII and Section 17,
Philippine State; Article XII of the Constitution, Proclamation No. 1017 dated
February 24, 2006, was issued declaring a state of national
emergency;
WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of the our Constitution makes
the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and
the State the primary duty of Government; WHEREAS, by virtue of General Order No.5 and No.6 dated
February 24, 2006, which were issued on the basis of
Proclamation No. 1017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines
WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), were directed
consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent
a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of and suppress all form of lawless violence as well as any act of
the Philippine State and of the Filipino people; rebellion and to undertake such action as may be necessary;

On the same day, the President issued G. O. No. 5 WHEREAS, the AFP and PNP have effectively prevented,
implementing PP 1017, thus: suppressed and quelled the acts lawless violence and
rebellion;
WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political
opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme

Page 21 of 119
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL- B/Gen. Danilo Lim and Brigade Commander Col. Ariel
ARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by Querubin confided to Gen. Generoso Senga, Chief of Staff of
virtue of the powers vested in me by law, hereby declare that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), that a huge number
the state of national emergency has ceased to exist. of soldiers would join the rallies to provide a critical mass and
armed component to the Anti-Arroyo protests to be held on
In their presentation of the factual bases of PP 1017 and G.O. February 24, 2005. According to these two (2) officers, there
No. 5, respondents stated that the proximate cause behind the was no way they could possibly stop the soldiers because they
executive issuances was the conspiracy among some military too, were breaking the chain of command to join the forces
officers, leftist insurgents of the New People’s Army (NPA), and foist to unseat the President. However, Gen. Senga has
some members of the political opposition in a plot to unseat or remained faithful to his Commander-in-Chief and to the chain
assassinate President Arroyo. 4 They considered the aim to of command. He immediately took custody of B/Gen. Lim and
oust or assassinate the President and take-over the reigns of directed Col. Querubin to return to the Philippine Marines
government as a clear and present danger. Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio.

During the oral arguments held on March 7, 2006, the Solicitor Earlier, the CPP-NPA called for intensification of political and
General specified the facts leading to the issuance of PP 1017 revolutionary work within the military and the police
and G.O. No. 5. Significantly, there was no refutation from establishments in order to forge alliances with its members and
petitioners’ counsels. key officials. NPA spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal
declared: "The Communist Party and revolutionary movement
and the entire people look forward to the possibility in the
The Solicitor General argued that the intent of the Constitution coming year of accomplishing its immediate task of bringing
is to give full discretionary powers to the President in down the Arroyo regime; of rendering it to weaken and unable
determining the necessity of calling out the armed forces. He to rule that it will not take much longer to end it." 9
emphasized that none of the petitioners has shown that PP
1017 was without factual bases. While he explained that it is
not respondents’ task to state the facts behind the questioned On the other hand, Cesar Renerio, spokesman for the National
Proclamation, however, they are presenting the same, narrated Democratic Front (NDF) at North Central Mindanao, publicly
hereunder, for the elucidation of the issues. announced: "Anti-Arroyo groups within the military and police
are growing rapidly, hastened by the economic difficulties
suffered by the families of AFP officers and enlisted personnel
On January 17, 2006, Captain Nathaniel Rabonza and First who undertake counter-insurgency operations in the field." He
Lieutenants Sonny Sarmiento, Lawrence San Juan and claimed that with the forces of the national democratic
Patricio Bumidang, members of the Magdalo Group indicted in movement, the anti-Arroyo conservative political parties,
the Oakwood mutiny, escaped their detention cell in Fort coalitions, plus the groups that have been reinforcing since
Bonifacio, Taguig City. In a public statement, they vowed to June 2005, it is probable that the President’s ouster is nearing
remain defiant and to elude arrest at all costs. They called its concluding stage in the first half of 2006.
upon the people to "show and proclaim our displeasure at the
sham regime. Let us demonstrate our disgust, not only by
going to the streets in protest, but also by wearing red bands Respondents further claimed that the bombing of
on our left arms." 5 telecommunication towers and cell sites in Bulacan and Bataan
was also considered as additional factual basis for the
issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. So is the raid of an army
On February 17, 2006, the authorities got hold of a document outpost in Benguet resulting in the death of three (3) soldiers.
entitled "Oplan Hackle I " which detailed plans for bombings And also the directive of the Communist Party of the
and attacks during the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Philippines ordering its front organizations to join 5,000 Metro
Homecoming in Baguio City. The plot was to assassinate Manila radicals and 25,000 more from the provinces in mass
selected targets including some cabinet members and protests.10
President Arroyo herself. 6 Upon the advice of her security,
President Arroyo decided not to attend the Alumni
Homecoming. The next day, at the height of the celebration, a By midnight of February 23, 2006, the President convened her
bomb was found and detonated at the PMA parade ground. security advisers and several cabinet members to assess the
gravity of the fermenting peace and order situation. She
directed both the AFP and the PNP to account for all their men
On February 21, 2006, Lt. San Juan was recaptured in a and ensure that the chain of command remains solid and
communist safehouse in Batangas province. Found in his undivided. To protect the young students from any possible
possession were two (2) flash disks containing minutes of the trouble that might break loose on the streets, the President
meetings between members of the Magdalo Group and the suspended classes in all levels in the entire National Capital
National People’s Army (NPA), a tape recorder, audio cassette Region.
cartridges, diskettes, and copies of subversive
documents.7 Prior to his arrest, Lt. San Juan announced
through DZRH that the "Magdalo’s D-Day would be on For their part, petitioners cited the events that followed
February 24, 2006, the 20th Anniversary of Edsa I." after the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.

On February 23, 2006, PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao intercepted Immediately, the Office of the President announced the
information that members of the PNP- Special Action Force cancellation of all programs and activities related to the 20th
were planning to defect. Thus, he immediately ordered SAF anniversary celebration of Edsa People Power I; and revoked
Commanding General Marcelino Franco, Jr. to "disavow" any the permits to hold rallies issued earlier by the local
defection. The latter promptly obeyed and issued a public governments. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales stated that
statement: "All SAF units are under the effective control of political rallies, which to the President’s mind were organized
responsible and trustworthy officers with proven integrity and for purposes of destabilization, are cancelled.Presidential Chief
unquestionable loyalty." of Staff Michael Defensor announced that "warrantless arrests
and take-over of facilities, including media, can already be
implemented."11
On the same day, at the house of former Congressman Peping
Cojuangco, President Cory Aquino’s brother, businessmen and
mid-level government officials plotted moves to bring down the Undeterred by the announcements that rallies and public
Arroyo administration. Nelly Sindayen of TIME Magazine assemblies would not be allowed, groups of protesters
reported that Pastor Saycon, longtime Arroyo critic, called a (members of Kilusang Mayo Uno [KMU] and National
U.S. government official about his group’s plans if President Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno [NAFLU-
Arroyo is ousted. Saycon also phoned a man code-named KMU]), marched from various parts of Metro Manila with the
Delta. Saycon identified him as B/Gen. Danilo Lim, intention of converging at the EDSA shrine. Those who were
Commander of the Army’s elite Scout Ranger. Lim said "it was already near the EDSA site were violently dispersed by huge
all systems go for the planned movement against Arroyo." 8 clusters of anti-riot police. The well-trained policemen used
Page 22 of 119
truncheons, big fiber glass shields, water cannons, and tear Attempts were made to arrest Anakpawis Representative Satur
gas to stop and break up the marching groups, and scatter the Ocampo, Representative Rafael Mariano, Bayan
massed participants. The same police action was used against Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela
the protesters marching forward to Cubao, Quezon City and to Representative Liza Maza. Bayan Muna Representative Josel
the corner of Santolan Street and EDSA. That same evening, Virador was arrested at the PAL Ticket Office in Davao City.
hundreds of riot policemen broke up an EDSA celebration rally Later, he was turned over to the custody of the House of
held along Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas Street in Makati Representatives where the "Batasan 5" decided to stay
City.12 indefinitely.

According to petitioner Kilusang Mayo Uno, the police cited PP Let it be stressed at this point that the alleged violations of the
1017 as the ground for the dispersal of their assemblies. rights of Representatives Beltran, Satur Ocampo, et al., are not
being raised in these petitions.
During the dispersal of the rallyists along EDSA, police
arrested (without warrant) petitioner Randolf S. David, a On March 3, 2006, President Arroyo issued PP 1021 declaring
professor at the University of the Philippines and newspaper that the state of national emergency has ceased to exist.
columnist. Also arrested was his companion, Ronald Llamas,
president of party-list Akbayan. In the interim, these seven (7) petitions challenging the
constitutionality of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 were filed with this
At around 12:20 in the early morning of February 25, 2006, Court against the above-named respondents. Three (3) of
operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group these petitions impleaded President Arroyo as respondent.
(CIDG) of the PNP, on the basis of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5,
raided the Daily Tribune offices in Manila. The raiding team In G.R. No. 171396, petitioners Randolf S. David, et al.
confiscated news stories by reporters, documents, pictures, assailed PP 1017 on the grounds that (1) it encroaches on the
and mock-ups of the Saturday issue. Policemen from Camp emergency powers of Congress; (2) itis a subterfuge to avoid
Crame in Quezon City were stationed inside the editorial and the constitutional requirements for the imposition of martial law;
business offices of the newspaper; while policemen from the and (3) it violates the constitutional guarantees of freedom of
Manila Police District were stationed outside the building. 13 the press, of speech and of assembly.

A few minutes after the search and seizure at the Daily In G.R. No. 171409, petitioners Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Tribune offices, the police surrounded the premises of another and Tribune Publishing Co., Inc. challenged the CIDG’s act of
pro-opposition paper, Malaya, and its sister publication, the raiding the Daily Tribune offices as a clear case of "censorship"
tabloid Abante. or "prior restraint." They also claimed that the term
"emergency" refers only to tsunami, typhoon, hurricane and
The raid, according to Presidential Chief of Staff Michael similar occurrences, hence, there is "absolutely no emergency"
Defensor, is "meant to show a ‘strong presence,’ to tell media that warrants the issuance of PP 1017.
outlets not to connive or do anything that would help the rebels
in bringing down this government." The PNP warned that it In G.R. No. 171485, petitioners herein are Representative
would take over any media organization that would not Francis Joseph G. Escudero, and twenty one (21) other
follow "standards set by the government during the state of members of the House of Representatives, including
national emergency." Director General Lomibao stated that "if Representatives Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Teodoro
they do not follow the standards – and the standards are - if Casiño, Liza Maza, and Josel Virador. They asserted that PP
they would contribute to instability in the government, or if they 1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitute "usurpation of legislative
do not subscribe to what is in General Order No. 5 and Proc. powers"; "violation of freedom of expression" and "a
No. 1017 – we will recommend a ‘takeover.’" National declaration of martial law." They alleged that President Arroyo
Telecommunications’ Commissioner Ronald Solis urged "gravely abused her discretion in calling out the armed forces
television and radio networks to "cooperate" with the without clear and verifiable factual basis of the possibility of
government for the duration of the state of national emergency. lawless violence and a showing that there is necessity to do
He asked for "balanced reporting" from broadcasters when so."
covering the events surrounding the coup attempt foiled by the
government. He warned that his agency will not hesitate to
recommend the closure of any broadcast outfit that violates In G.R. No. 171483,petitioners KMU, NAFLU-KMU, and their
rules set out for media coverage when the national security is members averred that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are
threatened.14 unconstitutional because (1) they arrogate unto President
Arroyo the power to enact laws and decrees; (2) their issuance
was without factual basis; and (3) they violate freedom of
Also, on February 25, 2006, the police arrested Congressman expression and the right of the people to peaceably assemble
Crispin Beltran, representing the Anakpawis Party and to redress their grievances.
Chairman of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), while leaving his
farmhouse in Bulacan. The police showed a warrant for his
arrest dated 1985. Beltran’s lawyer explained that the warrant, In G.R. No. 171400, petitioner Alternative Law Groups, Inc.
which stemmed from a case of inciting to rebellion filed during (ALGI) alleged that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are
the Marcos regime, had long been quashed. Beltran, however, unconstitutional because they violate (a) Section 4 15 of Article
is not a party in any of these petitions. II, (b) Sections 1,16 2,17 and 418 of Article III, (c)Section 23 19 of
Article VI, and (d) Section 17 20 of Article XII of the Constitution.
When members of petitioner KMU went to Camp Crame to visit
Beltran, they were told they could not be admitted because of In G.R. No. 171489, petitioners Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz et
PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. Two members were arrested and al., alleged that PP 1017 is an "arbitrary and unlawful exercise
detained, while the rest were dispersed by the police. by the President of her Martial Law powers." And assuming
that PP 1017 is not really a declaration of Martial Law,
petitioners argued that "it amounts to an exercise by the
Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo eluded arrest President of emergency powers without congressional
when the police went after him during a public forum at the approval." In addition, petitioners asserted that PP 1017 "goes
Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. But his two drivers, identified as beyond the nature and function of a proclamation as defined
Roel and Art, were taken into custody. under the Revised Administrative Code."

Retired Major General Ramon Montaño, former head of the And lastly, in G.R. No. 171424,petitionerLoren B. Legarda
Philippine Constabulary, was arrested while with his wife and maintained that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are "unconstitutional
golfmates at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in for being violative of the freedom of expression, including its
Dasmariñas, Cavite. cognate rights such as freedom of the press and the right to
Page 23 of 119
access to information on matters of public concern, all constitutional question must be necessary to the determination
guaranteed under Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 of the case itself.24
Constitution." In this regard, she stated that these issuances
prevented her from fully prosecuting her election protest Respondents maintain that the first and second requisites are
pending before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. absent, hence, we shall limit our discussion thereon.

In respondents’ Consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal right,
countered that: first, the petitions should be dismissed for being an opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution. It is
moot; second,petitioners in G.R. Nos. 171400 (ALGI), 171424 "definite and concrete, touching the legal relations of parties
(Legarda), 171483 (KMU et al.), 171485 (Escudero et al.) and having adverse legal interest;" a real and substantial
171489 (Cadiz et al.) have no legal standing; third, it is not controversy admitting of specific relief. 25 The Solicitor General
necessary for petitioners to implead President Arroyo as refutes the existence of such actual case or controversy,
respondent; fourth, PP 1017 has constitutional and legal basis; contending that the present petitions were rendered "moot and
and fifth, PP 1017 does not violate the people’s right to free academic" by President Arroyo’s issuance of PP 1021.
expression and redress of grievances.
Such contention lacks merit.
On March 7, 2006, the Court conducted oral arguments and
heard the parties on the above interlocking issues which may
be summarized as follows: A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a
justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, 26so that
a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or
A. PROCEDURAL: value.27 Generally, courts decline jurisdiction over such
case28 or dismiss it on ground of mootness.29
1) Whether the issuance of PP 1021 renders the
petitions moot and academic. The Court holds that President Arroyo’s issuance of PP 1021
did not render the present petitions moot and academic. During
2) Whether petitioners in 171485 (Escudero et the eight (8) days that PP 1017 was operative, the police
al.), G.R. Nos. 171400 (ALGI), 171483 (KMU et officers, according to petitioners, committed illegal acts in
al.), 171489(Cadiz et al.), and 171424 (Legarda) have implementing it. Are PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitutional
legal standing. or valid? Do they justify these alleged illegal acts? These
are the vital issues that must be resolved in the present
B. SUBSTANTIVE: petitions. It must be stressed that "an unconstitutional act is
not a law, it confers no rights, it imposes no duties, it
affords no protection; it is in legal contemplation,
1) Whetherthe Supreme Court can review the factual inoperative."30
bases of PP 1017.
The "moot and academic" principle is not a magical formula
2) Whether PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are that can automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case.
unconstitutional. Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic,
if: first, there is a grave violation of the Constitution; 31second,
a. Facial Challenge the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount
public interest is involved; 32 third, when constitutional issue
b. Constitutional Basis raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the
bench, the bar, and the public; 33and fourth, the case is capable
of repetition yet evading review. 34
c. As Applied Challenge
All the foregoing exceptions are present here and justify this
A. PROCEDURAL Court’s assumption of jurisdiction over the instant petitions.
Petitioners alleged that the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No.
First, we must resolve the procedural roadblocks. 5 violates the Constitution. There is no question that the issues
being raised affect the public’s interest, involving as they do the
people’s basic rights to freedom of expression, of assembly
I- Moot and Academic Principle
and of the press. Moreover, the Court has the duty to formulate
guiding and controlling constitutional precepts, doctrines or
One of the greatest contributions of the American system to rules. It has the symbolic function of educating the bench and
this country is the concept of judicial review enunciated the bar, and in the present petitions, the military and the
in Marbury v. Madison.21 This concept rests on the police, on the extent of the protection given by constitutional
extraordinary simple foundation -- guarantees.35 And lastly, respondents’ contested actions are
capable of repetition. Certainly, the petitions are subject to
The Constitution is the supreme law. It was ordained by the judicial review.
people, the ultimate source of all political authority. It confers
limited powers on the national government. x x x If the In their attempt to prove the alleged mootness of this case,
government consciously or unconsciously oversteps respondents cited Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s
these limitations there must be some authority competent Separate Opinion in Sanlakas v. Executive
to hold it in control, to thwart its unconstitutional attempt, Secretary.36 However, they failed to take into account the Chief
and thus to vindicate and preserve inviolate the will of the Justice’s very statement that an otherwise "moot" case may
people as expressed in the Constitution. This power the still be decided "provided the party raising it in a proper case
courts exercise. This is the beginning and the end of the has been and/or continues to be prejudiced or damaged as a
theory of judicial review.22 direct result of its issuance." The present case falls right within
this exception to the mootness rule pointed out by the Chief
But the power of judicial review does not repose upon the Justice.
courts a "self-starting capacity."23 Courts may exercise such
power only when the following requisites are II- Legal Standing
present: first, there must be an actual case or
controversy; second, petitioners have to raise a question of
In view of the number of petitioners suing in various
constitutionality; third, the constitutional question must be
personalities, the Court deems it imperative to have a more
raised at the earliest opportunity; and fourth, the decision of the
than passing discussion on legal standing or locus standi.

Page 24 of 119
Locus standi is defined as "a right of appearance in a court of Thus, the Court has adopted a rule that even where the
justice on a given question."37 In private suits, standing is petitioners have failed to show direct injury, they have been
governed by the "real-parties-in interest" rule as contained in allowed to sue under the principle of "transcendental
Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as importance." Pertinent are the following cases:
amended. It provides that "every action must be prosecuted
or defended in the name of the real party in interest." (1) Chavez v. Public Estates Authority,52 where the
Accordingly, the "real-party-in interest" is "the party who Court ruled that the enforcement of the
stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the constitutional right to information and the
suit or the party entitled to the avails of the equitable diffusion of natural resources are
suit."38 Succinctly put, the plaintiff’s standing is based on his matters of transcendental importance which
own right to the relief sought. clothe the petitioner with locus standi;

The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. (2) Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v.
Here, the plaintiff who asserts a "public right" in assailing an Zamora,53 wherein the Court held that "given the
allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of transcendental importance of the issues involved,
the general public. He may be a person who is affected no the Court may relax the standing requirements
differently from any other person. He could be suing as a and allow the suit to prosper despite the lack of
"stranger," or in the category of a "citizen," or ‘taxpayer." In direct injury to the parties seeking judicial
either case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to review" of the Visiting Forces Agreement;
seek judicial protection. In other words, he has to make out a
sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order and the
securing of relief as a "citizen" or "taxpayer. (3) Lim v. Executive Secretary,54 while the Court
noted that the petitioners may not file suit in their
capacity as taxpayers absent a showing that
Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both "citizen" and "Balikatan 02-01" involves the exercise of Congress’
"taxpayer" standing in public actions. The distinction was first taxing or spending powers, it reiterated its ruling
laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk,39 where it was held that the in Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v. Zamora, 55that in
plaintiff in a taxpayer’s suit is in a different category from the cases of transcendental importance, the cases
plaintiff in a citizen’s suit. In the former, the plaintiff is must be settled promptly and definitely and
affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the standing requirements may be relaxed.
latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public
concern. As held by the New York Supreme Court in People
ex rel Case v. Collins:40 "In matter of mere public right, By way of summary, the following rules may be culled from the
however…the people are the real parties…It is at least the cases decided by this Court. Taxpayers, voters, concerned
right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see citizens, and legislators may be accorded standing to sue,
that a public offence be properly pursued and punished, provided that the following requirements are met:
and that a public grievance be remedied." With respect to
taxpayer’s suits, Terr v. Jordan41 held that "the right of a (1) the cases involve constitutional issues;
citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to
restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury (2) for taxpayers, there must be a claim of illegal
cannot be denied." disbursement of public funds or that the tax measure
is unconstitutional;
However, to prevent just about any person from seeking
judicial interference in any official policy or act with which he (3) for voters, there must be a showing of obvious
disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental interest in the validity of the election law in question;
agencies engaged in public service, the United State Supreme
Court laid down the more stringent "direct injury" test in Ex
Parte Levitt,42 later reaffirmed in Tileston v. Ullman.43 The (4) for concerned citizens, there must be a showing
same Court ruled that for a private individual to invoke the that the issues raised are of transcendental
judicial power to determine the validity of an executive or importance which must be settled early; and
legislative action, he must show that he has sustained a
direct injury as a result of that action, and it is not (5) for legislators, there must be a claim that the
sufficient that he has a general interest common to all official action complained of infringes upon their
members of the public. prerogatives as legislators.

This Court adopted the "direct injury" test in our jurisdiction. Significantly, recent decisions show a certain toughening in the
In People v. Vera,44 it held that the person who impugns the Court’s attitude toward legal standing.
validity of a statute must have "a personal and substantial
interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will In Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato,56 the Court ruled that the status
sustain direct injury as a result." The Vera doctrine was
of Kilosbayan as a people’s organization does not give it the
upheld in a litany of cases, such as, Custodio v. President of
requisite personality to question the validity of the on-line
the Senate,45 Manila Race Horse Trainers’ Association v. De la
lottery contract, more so where it does not raise any issue of
Fuente,46 Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works47 and Anti-
constitutionality. Moreover, it cannot sue as a taxpayer absent
Chinese League of the Philippines v. Felix.48
any allegation that public funds are being misused. Nor can it
sue as a concerned citizen as it does not allege any specific
However, being a mere procedural technicality, the injury it has suffered.
requirement of locus standi may be waived by the Court in the
exercise of its discretion. This was done in the 1949
In Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the
Emergency Powers Cases, Araneta v. Dinglasan,49 where the
Philippines, Inc. v. Comelec,57 the Court reiterated the "direct
"transcendental importance" of the cases prompted the
injury" test with respect to concerned citizens’ cases involving
Court to act liberally. Such liberality was neither a rarity nor
constitutional issues. It held that "there must be a showing that
accidental. In Aquino v. Comelec,50 this Court resolved to pass
the citizen personally suffered some actual or threatened injury
upon the issues raised due to the "far-reaching implications"
arising from the alleged illegal official act."
of the petition notwithstanding its categorical statement that
petitioner therein had no personality to file the suit. Indeed,
there is a chain of cases where this liberal policy has been In Lacson v. Perez,58 the Court ruled that one of the
observed, allowing ordinary citizens, members of Congress, petitioners, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), is not a
and civic organizations to prosecute actions involving the real party-in-interest as it had not demonstrated any injury to
constitutionality or validity of laws, regulations and rulings. 51 itself or to its leaders, members or supporters.

Page 25 of 119
In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,59 the Court ruled that only It must always be borne in mind that the question of locus
the petitioners who are members of Congress have standing to standi is but corollary to the bigger question of proper exercise
sue, as they claim that the President’s declaration of a state of of judicial power. This is the underlying legal tenet of the
rebellion is a usurpation of the emergency powers of "liberality doctrine" on legal standing. It cannot be doubted that
Congress, thus impairing their legislative powers. As to the validity of PP No. 1017 and G.O. No. 5 is a judicial question
petitioners Sanlakas, Partido Manggagawa, and Social Justice which is of paramount importance to the Filipino people. To
Society, the Court declared them to be devoid of standing, paraphrase Justice Laurel, the whole of Philippine society now
equating them with the LDP in Lacson. waits with bated breath the ruling of this Court on this very
critical matter. The petitions thus call for the application of the
Now, the application of the above principles to the present "transcendental importance" doctrine, a relaxation of the
petitions. standing requirements for the petitioners in the "PP 1017
cases."1avvphil.net
The locus standi of petitioners in G.R. No. 171396, particularly
David and Llamas, is beyond doubt. The same holds true with This Court holds that all the petitioners herein have locus
petitioners in G.R. No. 171409, Cacho-Olivares standi.
and Tribune Publishing Co. Inc. They alleged "direct injury"
resulting from "illegal arrest" and "unlawful search" committed Incidentally, it is not proper to implead President Arroyo as
by police operatives pursuant to PP 1017. Rightly so, the respondent. Settled is the doctrine that the President, during
Solicitor General does not question their legal standing. his tenure of office or actual incumbency, 67 may not be sued
in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for
In G.R. No. 171485, the opposition Congressmen alleged there it in the Constitution or law. It will degrade the dignity of the
was usurpation of legislative powers. They also raised the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can be
issue of whether or not the concurrence of Congress is dragged into court litigations while serving as such.
necessary whenever the alarming powers incident to Martial Furthermore, it is important that he be freed from any form of
Law are used. Moreover, it is in the interest of justice that those harassment, hindrance or distraction to enable him to fully
affected by PP 1017 can be represented by their Congressmen attend to the performance of his official duties and functions.
in bringing to the attention of the Court the alleged violations of Unlike the legislative and judicial branch, only one constitutes
their basic rights. the executive branch and anything which impairs his
usefulness in the discharge of the many great and important
duties imposed upon him by the Constitution necessarily
In G.R. No. 171400, (ALGI), this Court applied the liberality impairs the operation of the Government. However, this does
rule in Philconsa v. Enriquez,60 Kapatiran Ng Mga Naglilingkod not mean that the President is not accountable to anyone. Like
sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan,61 Association of Small any other official, he remains accountable to the people68 but
Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian he may be removed from office only in the mode provided by
Reform,62 Basco v. Philippine Amusement and Gaming law and that is by impeachment. 69
Corporation,63 and Tañada v. Tuvera,64 that when the issue
concerns a public right, it is sufficient that the petitioner is a
citizen and has an interest in the execution of the laws. B. SUBSTANTIVE

In G.R. No. 171483, KMU’s assertion that PP 1017 and G.O. I. Review of Factual Bases
No. 5 violated its right to peaceful assembly may be deemed
sufficient to give it legal standing. Organizations may be Petitioners maintain that PP 1017 has no factual basis. Hence,
granted standing to assert the rights of their it was not "necessary" for President Arroyo to issue such
members.65 We take judicial notice of the announcement by Proclamation.
the Office of the President banning all rallies and canceling all
permits for public assemblies following the issuance of PP The issue of whether the Court may review the factual bases of
1017 and G.O. No. 5. the President’s exercise of his Commander-in-Chief power has
reached its distilled point - from the indulgent days of Barcelon
In G.R. No. 171489, petitioners, Cadiz et al., who are national v. Baker70 and Montenegro v. Castaneda71 to the volatile era
officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) have no of Lansang v. Garcia,72 Aquino, Jr. v. Enrile,73 and Garcia-
legal standing, having failed to allege any direct or potential Padilla v. Enrile.74 The tug-of-war always cuts across the line
injury which the IBP as an institution or its members may suffer defining "political questions," particularly those questions "in
as a consequence of the issuance of PP No. 1017 and G.O. regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated
No. 5. In Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora, 66 the to the legislative or executive branch of the
Court held that the mere invocation by the IBP of its duty to government."75 Barcelon and Montenegro were in unison in
preserve the rule of law and nothing more, while undoubtedly declaring that the authority to decide whether an exigency
true, is not sufficient to clothe it with standing in this case. This has arisen belongs to the President and his decision is
is too general an interest which is shared by other groups and final and conclusive on the courts. Lansang took the
the whole citizenry. However, in view of the transcendental opposite view. There, the members of the Court were
importance of the issue, this Court declares that petitioner unanimous in the conviction that the Court has the authority to
have locus standi. inquire into the existence of factual bases in order to determine
their constitutional sufficiency. From the principle of
In G.R. No. 171424, Loren Legarda has no personality as a separation of powers, it shifted the focus to the system of
taxpayer to file the instant petition as there are no allegations checks and balances, "under which the President is
of illegal disbursement of public funds. The fact that she is a supreme, x x x only if and when he acts within the sphere
former Senator is of no consequence. She can no longer sue allotted to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to
as a legislator on the allegation that her prerogatives as a determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the
lawmaker have been impaired by PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. Her Judicial Department, which in this respect, is, in turn,
claim that she is a media personality will not likewise aid her constitutionally supreme."76 In 1973, the unanimous Court
because there was no showing that the enforcement of these of Lansang was divided in Aquino v. Enrile. 77 There, the Court
issuances prevented her from pursuing her occupation. Her was almost evenly divided on the issue of whether the validity
submission that she has pending electoral protest before the of the imposition of Martial Law is a political or justiciable
Presidential Electoral Tribunal is likewise of no relevance. She question.78 Then came Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile which greatly
has not sufficiently shown that PP 1017 will affect the diluted Lansang. It declared that there is a need to re-examine
proceedings or result of her case. But considering once more the latter case, ratiocinating that "in times of war or national
the transcendental importance of the issue involved, this Court emergency, the President must be given absolute control
may relax the standing rules. for the very life of the nation and the government is in
great peril. The President, it intoned, is answerable only to
his conscience, the People, and God."79

Page 26 of 119
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora 80 -- a recent powers. Who shall judge the need for resorting to the
case most pertinent to these cases at bar -- echoed a principle prerogative and how may its abuse be avoided? Here,
similar to Lansang. While the Court considered the President’s Locke readily admitted defeat, suggesting that "the people
"calling-out" power as a discretionary power solely vested in have no other remedy in this, as in all other cases where
his wisdom, it stressed that "this does not prevent an they have no judge on earth, but to appeal to Heaven."85
examination of whether such power was exercised within
permissible constitutional limits or whether it was Jean-Jacques Rousseau also assumed the need for temporary
exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of suspension of democratic processes of government in time of
discretion."This ruling is mainly a result of the Court’s reliance emergency. According to him:
on Section 1, Article VIII of 1987 Constitution which fortifies the
authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the
validity of the acts of the political departments. Under the new The inflexibility of the laws, which prevents them from adopting
definition of judicial power, the courts are authorized not only themselves to circumstances, may, in certain cases, render
"to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally them disastrous and make them bring about, at a time of crisis,
demandable and enforceable," but also "to determine the ruin of the State…
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of It is wrong therefore to wish to make political institutions as
any branch or instrumentality of the government." The strong as to render it impossible to suspend their operation.
latter part of the authority represents a broadening of judicial Even Sparta allowed its law to lapse...
power to enable the courts of justice to review what was before
a forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the political If the peril is of such a kind that the paraphernalia of the laws
departments of the government. 81 It speaks of judicial are an obstacle to their preservation, the method is to nominate
prerogative not only in terms of power but also of duty.82 a supreme lawyer, who shall silence all the laws and suspend
for a moment the sovereign authority. In such a case, there is
As to how the Court may inquire into the President’s exercise no doubt about the general will, and it clear that the people’s
of power, Lansang adopted the test that "judicial inquiry can go first intention is that the State shall not perish. 86
no further than to satisfy the Court not that the President’s
decision is correct," but that "the President did not Rosseau did not fear the abuse of the emergency dictatorship
act arbitrarily." Thus, the standard laid down is not correctness, or "supreme magistracy" as he termed it. For him, it would
but arbitrariness.83 In Integrated Bar of the Philippines, this more likely be cheapened by "indiscreet use." He was unwilling
Court further ruled that "it is incumbent upon the petitioner
to rely upon an "appeal to heaven." Instead, he relied upon a
to show that the President’s decision is totally bereft of tenure of office of prescribed duration to avoid perpetuation of
factual basis" and that if he fails, by way of proof, to support the dictatorship.87
his assertion, then "this Court cannot undertake an
independent investigation beyond the pleadings."
John Stuart Mill concluded his ardent defense of representative
government: "I am far from condemning, in cases of
Petitioners failed to show that President Arroyo’s exercise of
extreme necessity, the assumption of absolute power in
the calling-out power, by issuing PP 1017, is totally bereft of the form of a temporary dictatorship."88
factual basis. A reading of the Solicitor General’s Consolidated
Comment and Memorandum shows a detailed narration of the
events leading to the issuance of PP 1017, with supporting Nicollo Machiavelli’s view of emergency powers, as one
reports forming part of the records. Mentioned are the escape element in the whole scheme of limited government, furnished
of the Magdalo Group, their audacious threat of the Magdalo an ironic contrast to the Lockean theory of prerogative. He
D-Day, the defections in the military, particularly in the recognized and attempted to bridge this chasm in democratic
Philippine Marines, and the reproving statements from the political theory, thus:
communist leaders. There was also the Minutes of the
Intelligence Report and Security Group of the Philippine Army Now, in a well-ordered society, it should never be necessary to
showing the growing alliance between the NPA and the resort to extra –constitutional measures; for although they may
military. Petitioners presented nothing to refute such events. for a time be beneficial, yet the precedent is pernicious, for if
Thus, absent any contrary allegations, the Court is convinced the practice is once established for good objects, they will in a
that the President was justified in issuing PP 1017 calling for little while be disregarded under that pretext but for evil
military aid. purposes. Thus, no republic will ever be perfect if she has not
by law provided for everything, having a remedy for every
Indeed, judging the seriousness of the incidents, President emergency and fixed rules for applying it. 89
Arroyo was not expected to simply fold her arms and do
nothing to prevent or suppress what she believed was lawless Machiavelli – in contrast to Locke, Rosseau and Mill – sought
violence, invasion or rebellion. However, the exercise of such to incorporate into the constitution a regularized system of
power or duty must not stifle liberty. standby emergency powers to be invoked with suitable checks
and controls in time of national danger. He attempted
II. Constitutionality of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 forthrightly to meet the problem of combining a capacious
Doctrines of Several Political Theorists reserve of power and speed and vigor in its application in time
on the Power of the President in Times of Emergency of emergency, with effective constitutional restraints. 90

This case brings to fore a contentious subject -- the power of Contemporary political theorists, addressing themselves to the
the President in times of emergency. A glimpse at the various problem of response to emergency by constitutional
political theories relating to this subject provides an adequate democracies, have employed the doctrine of constitutional
backdrop for our ensuing discussion. dictatorship.91 Frederick M. Watkins saw "no reason why
absolutism should not be used as a means for the defense
of liberal institutions," provided it "serves to protect
John Locke, describing the architecture of civil government, established institutions from the danger of permanent
called upon the English doctrine of prerogative to cope with the injury in a period of temporary emergency and is followed
problem of emergency. In times of danger to the nation, by a prompt return to the previous forms of political
positive law enacted by the legislature might be inadequate or life."92 He recognized the two (2) key elements of the problem
even a fatal obstacle to the promptness of action necessary to of emergency governance, as well as all constitutional
avert catastrophe. In these situations, the Crown retained a governance: increasing administrative powers of the
prerogative "power to act according to discretion for the executive, while at the same time "imposing limitation
public good, without the proscription of the law and upon that power."93Watkins placed his real faith in a scheme
sometimes even against it."84 But Locke recognized that this of constitutional dictatorship. These are the conditions of
moral restraint might not suffice to avoid abuse of prerogative success of such a dictatorship: "The period of dictatorship
Page 27 of 119
must be relatively short…Dictatorship should always be 11) …the termination of the crisis must be followed by
strictly legitimate in character…Final authority to a complete return as possible to the political and
determine the need for dictatorship in any given case must governmental conditions existing prior to the initiation
never rest with the dictator himself…"94 and the objective of of the constitutional dictatorship… 99
such an emergency dictatorship should be "strict political
conservatism." Rossiter accorded to legislature a far greater role in the
oversight exercise of emergency powers than did Watkins. He
Carl J. Friedrich cast his analysis in terms similar to those of would secure to Congress final responsibility for declaring the
Watkins.95 "It is a problem of concentrating power – in a existence or termination of an emergency, and he places great
government where power has consciously been divided – to faith in the effectiveness of congressional investigating
cope with… situations of unprecedented magnitude and committees.100
gravity. There must be a broad grant of powers, subject to
equally strong limitations as to who shall exercise such powers, Scott and Cotter, in analyzing the above contemporary theories
when, for how long, and to what end." 96 Friedrich, too, offered in light of recent experience, were one in saying that, "the
criteria for judging the adequacy of any of scheme of suggestion that democracies surrender the control of
emergency powers, to wit: "The emergency executive must government to an authoritarian ruler in time of grave
be appointed by constitutional means – i.e., he must be danger to the nation is not based upon sound
legitimate; he should not enjoy power to determine the constitutional theory." To appraise emergency power in
existence of an emergency; emergency powers should be terms of constitutional dictatorship serves merely to distort the
exercised under a strict time limitation; and last, the problem and hinder realistic analysis. It matters not whether
objective of emergency action must be the defense of the the term "dictator" is used in its normal sense (as applied to
constitutional order."97 authoritarian rulers) or is employed to embrace all chief
executives administering emergency powers. However used,
Clinton L. Rossiter, after surveying the history of the "constitutional dictatorship" cannot be divorced from the
employment of emergency powers in Great Britain, France, implication of suspension of the processes of constitutionalism.
Weimar, Germany and the United States, reverted to a Thus, they favored instead the "concept of constitutionalism"
description of a scheme of "constitutional dictatorship" as articulated by Charles H. McIlwain:
solution to the vexing problems presented by
emergency.98 Like Watkins and Friedrich, he stated a priori the A concept of constitutionalism which is less misleading in the
conditions of success of the "constitutional dictatorship," thus: analysis of problems of emergency powers, and which is
consistent with the findings of this study, is that formulated by
1) No general regime or particular institution of Charles H. McIlwain. While it does not by any means
constitutional dictatorship should be initiated unless it necessarily exclude some indeterminate limitations upon the
is necessary or even indispensable to the substantive powers of government, full emphasis is placed
preservation of the State and its constitutional order… upon procedural limitations, and political responsibility.
McIlwain clearly recognized the need to repose adequate
2) …the decision to institute a constitutional power in government. And in discussing the meaning of
dictatorship should never be in the hands of the man constitutionalism, he insisted that the historical and proper
or men who will constitute the dictator… test of constitutionalism was the existence of adequate
processes for keeping government responsible. He refused
to equate constitutionalism with the enfeebling of government
3) No government should initiate a constitutional by an exaggerated emphasis upon separation of powers and
dictatorship without making specific provisions for its substantive limitations on governmental power. He found that
termination… the really effective checks on despotism have consisted not in
the weakening of government but, but rather in the limiting of
4) …all uses of emergency powers and all it; between which there is a great and very significant
readjustments in the organization of the government difference. In associating constitutionalism with "limited"
should be effected in pursuit of constitutional or legal as distinguished from "weak" government, McIlwain meant
requirements… government limited to the orderly procedure of law as
opposed to the processes of force. The two fundamental
5) … no dictatorial institution should be adopted, no correlative elements of constitutionalism for which all
right invaded, no regular procedure altered any more lovers of liberty must yet fight are the legal limits to
than is absolutely necessary for the conquest of the arbitrary power and a complete political responsibility of
particular crisis . . . government to the governed.101

6) The measures adopted in the prosecution of the a In the final analysis, the various approaches to emergency of
constitutional dictatorship should never be permanent the above political theorists –- from Lock’s "theory of
in character or effect… prerogative," to Watkins’ doctrine of "constitutional dictatorship"
and, eventually, to McIlwain’s "principle of constitutionalism" ---
ultimately aim to solve one real problem in emergency
7) The dictatorship should be carried on by persons governance, i.e., that of allotting increasing areas of
representative of every part of the citizenry interested discretionary power to the Chief Executive, while insuring
in the defense of the existing constitutional order. . . that such powers will be exercised with a sense of political
responsibility and under effective limitations and checks.
8) Ultimate responsibility should be maintained for
every action taken under a constitutional dictatorship. Our Constitution has fairly coped with this problem. Fresh from
.. the fetters of a repressive regime, the 1986 Constitutional
Commission, in drafting the 1987 Constitution, endeavored to
9) The decision to terminate a constitutional create a government in the concept of Justice Jackson’s
dictatorship, like the decision to institute one should "balanced power structure."102 Executive, legislative, and
never be in the hands of the man or men who judicial powers are dispersed to the President, the Congress,
constitute the dictator. . . and the Supreme Court, respectively. Each is supreme within
its own sphere. But none has the monopoly of power in
10) No constitutional dictatorship should extend times of emergency. Each branch is given a role to serve
as limitation or check upon the other. This system does
beyond the termination of the crisis for which it was
not weaken the President, it just limits his power, using the
instituted…
language of McIlwain. In other words, in times of emergency,
our Constitution reasonably demands that we repose a certain
amount of faith in the basic integrity and wisdom of the Chief
Page 28 of 119
Executive but, at the same time, it obliges him to operate third parties and can only assert their own interests. In
within carefully prescribed procedural limitations. overbreadth analysis, those rules give way; challenges are
permitted to raise the rights of third parties; and the court
a. "Facial Challenge" invalidates the entire statute "on its face," not merely "as
applied for" so that the overbroad law becomes unenforceable
until a properly authorized court construes it more narrowly.
Petitioners contend that PP 1017 is void on its face because of The factor that motivates courts to depart from the normal
its "overbreadth." They claim that its enforcement encroached adjudicatory rules is the concern with the "chilling;" deterrent
on both unprotected and protected rights under Section 4, effect of the overbroad statute on third parties not courageous
Article III of the Constitution and sent a "chilling effect" to the enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad
citizens. law’s "very existence may cause others not before the court to
refrain from constitutionally protected speech or expression."
A facial review of PP 1017, using the overbreadth doctrine, is An overbreadth ruling is designed to remove that deterrent
uncalled for. effect on the speech of those third parties.

First and foremost, the overbreadth doctrine is an analytical In other words, a facial challenge using the overbreadth
tool developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free doctrine will require the Court to examine PP 1017 and pinpoint
speech cases, also known under the American Law as First its flaws and defects, not on the basis of its actual operation to
Amendment cases.103 petitioners, but on the assumption or prediction that its very
existence may cause others not before the Court to refrain
A plain reading of PP 1017 shows that it is not primarily from constitutionally protected speech or expression.
directed to speech or even speech-related conduct. It is In Younger v. Harris,109 it was held that:
actually a call upon the AFP to prevent or suppress all forms
of lawless violence. In United States v. Salerno,104the US [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its
Supreme Court held that "we have not recognized an deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies
‘overbreadth’ doctrine outside the limited context of the before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an
First Amendment" (freedom of speech). appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of
the relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on
Moreover, the overbreadth doctrine is not intended for testing the legislative process of the relief sought, and above
the validity of a law that "reflects legitimate state interest in all the speculative and amorphous nature of the required
maintaining comprehensive control over harmful, line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes,...ordinarily results
in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding
constitutionally unprotected conduct." Undoubtedly, lawless
violence, insurrection and rebellion are considered "harmful" constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.
and "constitutionally unprotected conduct." In Broadrick v.
Oklahoma,105 it was held: And third, a facial challenge on the ground of overbreadth is
the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the
It remains a ‘matter of no little difficulty’ to determine when a challenger must establish that there can be no instance
law may properly be held void on its face and when ‘such when the assailed law may be valid. Here, petitioners did not
summary action’ is inappropriate. But the plain import of our even attempt to show whether this situation exists.
cases is, at the very least, that facial overbreadth
adjudication is an exception to our traditional rules of Petitioners likewise seek a facial review of PP 1017 on the
practice and that its function, a limited one at the outset, ground of vagueness. This, too, is unwarranted.
attenuates as the otherwise unprotected behavior that it
forbids the State to sanction moves from ‘pure speech’ Related to the "overbreadth" doctrine is the "void for
toward conduct and that conduct –even if expressive – vagueness doctrine" which holds that "a law is facially invalid
falls within the scope of otherwise valid criminal laws that if men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at
reflect legitimate state interests in maintaining its meaning and differ as to its application."110 It is subject
comprehensive controls over harmful, constitutionally to the same principles governing overbreadth doctrine. For
unprotected conduct. one, it is also an analytical tool for testing "on their
faces" statutes in free speech cases. And like overbreadth, it
Thus, claims of facial overbreadth are entertained in cases is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if
involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only it is vague in all its possible applications. Again,
"spoken words" and again, that "overbreadth claims, if petitioners did not even attempt to show that PP 1017 is
entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked vague in all its application. They also failed to establish that
against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be men of common intelligence cannot understand the meaning
applied to protected conduct."106 Here, the incontrovertible and application of PP 1017.
fact remains that PP 1017 pertains to a spectrum of conduct,
not free speech, which is manifestly subject to state regulation. b. Constitutional Basis of PP 1017

Second, facial invalidation of laws is considered as Now on the constitutional foundation of PP 1017.
"manifestly strong medicine," to be used "sparingly and
only as a last resort," and is "generally disfavored;"107 The
reason for this is obvious. Embedded in the traditional rules The operative portion of PP 1017 may be divided into three
governing constitutional adjudication is the principle that a important provisions, thus:
person to whom a law may be applied will not be heard to
challenge a law on the ground that it may conceivably be First provision:
applied unconstitutionally to others, i.e., in other situations
not before the Court.108 A writer and scholar in Constitutional "by virtue of the power vested upon me by Section 18, Artilce
Law explains further: VII … do hereby command the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the
The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence
is that it marks an exception to some of the usual rules of as well any act of insurrection or rebellion"
constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a particular litigant
claims that a statute is unconstitutional as applied to him Second provision:
or her; if the litigant prevails, the courts carve away the
unconstitutional aspects of the law by invalidating its
improper applications on a case to case basis. Moreover,
challengers to a law are not permitted to raise the rights of
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"and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, Under the calling-out power, the President may summon the
orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon armed forces to aid him in suppressing lawless violence,
my direction;" invasion and rebellion. This involves ordinary police action.
But every act that goes beyond the President’s calling-out
Third provision: power is considered illegal or ultra vires. For this reason, a
President must be careful in the exercise of his powers. He
cannot invoke a greater power when he wishes to act under a
"as provided in Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution do lesser power. There lies the wisdom of our Constitution, the
hereby declare a State of National Emergency." greater the power, the greater are the limitations.

First Provision: Calling-out Power It is pertinent to state, however, that there is a distinction
between the President’s authority to declare a "state of
The first provision pertains to the President’s calling-out power. rebellion" (in Sanlakas) and the authority to proclaim a state of
In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,111 this Court, through Mr. national emergency. While President Arroyo’s authority to
Justice Dante O. Tinga, held that Section 18, Article VII of the declare a "state of rebellion" emanates from her powers as
Constitution reproduced as follows: Chief Executive, the statutory authority cited in Sanlakas was
Section 4, Chapter 2, Book II of the Revised Administrative
Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all Code of 1987, which provides:
armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes
necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent SEC. 4. – Proclamations. – Acts of the President fixing a date
or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case or declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest,
of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or
may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the regulation is made to depend, shall be promulgated in
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.
or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours
from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the President Arroyo’s declaration of a "state of rebellion" was
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall merely an act declaring a status or condition of public moment
submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The or interest, a declaration allowed under Section 4 cited above.
Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Such declaration, in the words of Sanlakas, is harmless,
Members in regular or special session, may revoke such without legal significance, and deemed not written. In these
proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set cases, PP 1017 is more than that. In declaring a state of
aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the national emergency, President Arroyo did not only rely on
Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, a provision calling on
or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or
the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires rebellion. She also relied on Section 17, Article XII, a provision
it. on the State’s extraordinary power to take over privately-owned
public utility and business affected with public interest. Indeed,
The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty-four hours PP 1017 calls for the exercise of an awesome power.
following such proclamation or suspension, convene in Obviously, such Proclamation cannot be deemed harmless,
accordance with its rules without need of a call. without legal significance, or not written, as in the case
of Sanlakas.
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding
filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual bases of the Some of the petitioners vehemently maintain that PP 1017 is
proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of actually a declaration of Martial Law. It is no so. What defines
the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its the character of PP 1017 are its wordings. It is plain therein
decision thereon within thirty days from its filing. that what the President invoked was her calling-out power.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the The declaration of Martial Law is a "warn[ing] to citizens that
Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or the military power has been called upon by the executive to
legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of assist in the maintenance of law and order, and that, while the
jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where emergency lasts, they must, upon pain of arrest and
civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the punishment, not commit any acts which will in any way render
privilege of the writ. more difficult the restoration of order and the enforcement of
law."113
The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to
persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in In his "Statement before the Senate Committee on Justice" on
or directly connected with invasion. March 13, 2006, Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, 114an
authority in constitutional law, said that of the three powers of
During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person the President as Commander-in-Chief, the power to declare
thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within Martial Law poses the most severe threat to civil liberties. It is a
three days, otherwise he shall be released. strong medicine which should not be resorted to lightly. It
cannot be used to stifle or persecute critics of the government.
It is placed in the keeping of the President for the purpose of
grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a "sequence" of enabling him to secure the people from harm and to restore
graduated powers. From the most to the least benign, these order so that they can enjoy their individual freedoms. In fact,
are: the calling-out power, the power to suspend the privilege Section 18, Art. VII, provides:
of the writ of habeas corpus, and the power to declare Martial
Law. Citing Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora,112 the
Court ruled that the only criterion for the exercise of the calling- A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the
out power is that "whenever it becomes necessary," the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or
President may call the armed forces "to prevent or suppress legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion." Are these jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where
conditions present in the instant cases? As stated earlier, civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the
considering the circumstances then prevailing, President privilege of the writ.
Arroyo found it necessary to issue PP 1017. Owing to her
Office’s vast intelligence network, she is in the best position to Justice Mendoza also stated that PP 1017 is not a declaration
determine the actual condition of the country. of Martial Law. It is no more than a call by the President to the
armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence. As such,
it cannot be used to justify acts that only under a valid
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declaration of Martial Law can be done. Its use for any other all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations
purpose is a perversion of its nature and scope, and any act promulgated by me personally or upon my direction."
done contrary to its command is ultra vires.
Is it within the domain of President Arroyo to promulgate
Justice Mendoza further stated that specifically, (a) arrests and "decrees"?
seizures without judicial warrants; (b) ban on public
assemblies; (c) take-over of news media and agencies and PP 1017 states in part: "to enforce obedience to all the laws
press censorship; and (d) issuance of Presidential Decrees, and decrees x x x promulgated by me personally or upon
are powers which can be exercised by the President as my direction."
Commander-in-Chief only where there is a valid declaration of
Martial Law or suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.
The President is granted an Ordinance Power under Chapter
2, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of
Based on the above disquisition, it is clear that PP 1017 is not 1987). She may issue any of the following:
a declaration of Martial Law. It is merely an exercise of
President Arroyo’s calling-out power for the armed forces to
assist her in preventing or suppressing lawless violence. Sec. 2. Executive Orders. — Acts of the President providing for
rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or
execution of constitutional or statutory powers shall be
Second Provision: "Take Care" Power promulgated in executive orders.

The second provision pertains to the power of the President to Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. — Acts of the President which
ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. This is based on relate to particular aspect of governmental operations in
Section 17, Article VII which reads: pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be
promulgated in administrative orders.
SEC. 17. The President shall have control of all the executive
departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall ensure that the Sec. 4. Proclamations. — Acts of the President fixing a date or
laws be faithfully executed. declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest,
upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or
As the Executive in whom the executive power is vested, 115 the regulation is made to depend, shall be promulgated in
primary function of the President is to enforce the laws as well proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.
as to formulate policies to be embodied in existing laws. He
sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and Sec. 5. Memorandum Orders. — Acts of the President on
employees of his department. Before assuming office, he is matters of administrative detail or of subordinate or temporary
required to take an oath or affirmation to the effect that as interest which only concern a particular officer or office of the
President of the Philippines, he will, among others, "execute its Government shall be embodied in memorandum orders.
laws."116 In the exercise of such function, the President, if
needed, may employ the powers attached to his office as the
Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces of the Sec. 6. Memorandum Circulars. — Acts of the President on
country,117 including the Philippine National Police118 under the matters relating to internal administration, which the President
Department of Interior and Local Government. 119 desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the
departments, agencies, bureaus or offices of the Government,
for information or compliance, shall be embodied in
Petitioners, especially Representatives Francis Joseph G. memorandum circulars.
Escudero, Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Teodoro Casiño,
Liza Maza, and Josel Virador argue that PP 1017 is
unconstitutional as it arrogated upon President Arroyo the Sec. 7. General or Special Orders. — Acts and commands of
power to enact laws and decrees in violation of Section 1, the President in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the
Article VI of the Constitution, which vests the power to enact Armed Forces of the Philippines shall be issued as general or
laws in Congress. They assail the clause "to enforce special orders.
obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and
regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my President Arroyo’s ordinance power is limited to the foregoing
direction." issuances. She cannot issue decrees similar to those issued
by Former President Marcos under PP 1081. Presidential
\ Decrees are laws which are of the same category and binding
force as statutes because they were issued by the President in
the exercise of his legislative power during the period of Martial
Petitioners’ contention is understandable. A reading of PP Law under the 1973 Constitution. 121
1017 operative clause shows that it was lifted 120 from Former
President Marcos’ Proclamation No. 1081, which partly reads:
This Court rules that the assailed PP 1017 is
unconstitutional insofar as it grants President Arroyo the
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President authority to promulgate "decrees." Legislative power is
of the Philippines by virtue of the powers vested upon me by peculiarly within the province of the Legislature. Section 1,
Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do Article VI categorically states that "[t]he legislative power
hereby place the entire Philippines as defined in Article 1, shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which
Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law and, in my shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives."
capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command To be sure, neither Martial Law nor a state of rebellion nor a
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and state of emergency can justify President Arroyo’s exercise of
order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all legislative power by issuing decrees.
forms of lawless violence as well as any act of
insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all
the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated Can President Arroyo enforce obedience to all decrees and
by me personally or upon my direction. laws through the military?

We all know that it was PP 1081 which granted President As this Court stated earlier, President Arroyo has no authority
Marcos legislative power. Its enabling clause states: "to to enact decrees. It follows that these decrees are void and,
enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and therefore, cannot be enforced. With respect to "laws," she
regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my cannot call the military to enforce or implement certain laws,
direction." Upon the other hand, the enabling clause of PP such as customs laws, laws governing family and property
1017 issued by President Arroyo is: to enforce obedience to relations, laws on obligations and contracts and the like. She

Page 31 of 119
can only order the military, under PP 1017, to enforce laws It may be pointed out that the second paragraph of the above
pertinent to its duty to suppress lawless violence. provision refers not only to war but also to "other national
emergency." If the intention of the Framers of our Constitution
Third Provision: Power to Take Over was to withhold from the President the authority to declare a
"state of national emergency" pursuant to Section 18, Article
VII (calling-out power) and grant it to Congress (like the
The pertinent provision of PP 1017 states: declaration of the existence of a state of war), then the
Framers could have provided so. Clearly, they did not intend
x x x and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all that Congress should first authorize the President before he
decrees, orders, and regulations promulgated by me personally can declare a "state of national emergency." The logical
or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article conclusion then is that President Arroyo could validly declare
XII of the Constitution do hereby declare a state of national the existence of a state of national emergency even in the
emergency. absence of a Congressional enactment.

The import of this provision is that President Arroyo, during the But the exercise of emergency powers, such as the taking
state of national emergency under PP 1017, can call the over of privately owned public utility or business affected with
military not only to enforce obedience "to all the laws and to all public interest, is a different matter. This requires a delegation
decrees x x x" but also to act pursuant to the provision of from Congress.
Section 17, Article XII which reads:
Courts have often said that constitutional provisions in pari
Sec. 17. In times of national emergency, when the public materia are to be construed together. Otherwise stated,
interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and different clauses, sections, and provisions of a constitution
under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over which relate to the same subject matter will be construed
or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or together and considered in the light of each
business affected with public interest. other.123 Considering that Section 17 of Article XII and Section
23 of Article VI, previously quoted, relate to national
What could be the reason of President Arroyo in invoking the emergencies, they must be read together to determine the
above provision when she issued PP 1017? limitation of the exercise of emergency powers.

The answer is simple. During the existence of the state of Generally, Congress is the repository of emergency
national emergency, PP 1017 purports to grant the President, powers. This is evident in the tenor of Section 23 (2), Article VI
without any authority or delegation from Congress, to take over authorizing it to delegate such powers to the
or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or President. Certainly, a body cannot delegate a power not
business affected with public interest. reposed upon it. However, knowing that during grave
emergencies, it may not be possible or practicable for
Congress to meet and exercise its powers, the Framers of our
This provision was first introduced in the 1973 Constitution, as Constitution deemed it wise to allow Congress to grant
a product of the "martial law" thinking of the 1971 emergency powers to the President, subject to certain
Constitutional Convention. 122 In effect at the time of its conditions, thus:
approval was President Marcos’ Letter of Instruction No. 2
dated September 22, 1972 instructing the Secretary of National
Defense to take over "the management, control and operation (1) There must be a war or other emergency.
of the Manila Electric Company, the Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Company, the National Waterworks and Sewerage (2) The delegation must be for a limited period only.
Authority, the Philippine National Railways, the Philippine Air
Lines, Air Manila (and) Filipinas Orient Airways . . . for the (3) The delegation must be subject to such
successful prosecution by the Government of its effort to restrictions as the Congress may prescribe.
contain, solve and end the present national emergency."
(4) The emergency powers must be exercised
Petitioners, particularly the members of the House of to carry out a national policy declared by
Representatives, claim that President Arroyo’s inclusion of Congress.124
Section 17, Article XII in PP 1017 is an encroachment on the
legislature’s emergency powers.
Section 17, Article XII must be understood as an aspect of the
emergency powers clause. The taking over of private business
This is an area that needs delineation. affected with public interest is just another facet of the
emergency powers generally reposed upon Congress. Thus,
A distinction must be drawn between the President’s authority when Section 17 states that the "the State may, during the
to declare "a state of national emergency" and emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it,
to exercise emergency powers. To the first, as elucidated by temporarily take over or direct the operation of any
the Court, Section 18, Article VII grants the President such privately owned public utility or business affected with
power, hence, no legitimate constitutional objection can be public interest," it refers to Congress, not the President. Now,
raised. But to the second, manifold constitutional issues arise. whether or not the President may exercise such power is
dependent on whether Congress may delegate it to him
Section 23, Article VI of the Constitution reads: pursuant to a law prescribing the reasonable terms
thereof. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. et al. v.
Sawyer,125 held:
SEC. 23. (1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both
Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall
It is clear that if the President had authority to issue the order
have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of
war. he did, it must be found in some provision of the Constitution.
And it is not claimed that express constitutional language
grants this power to the President. The contention is that
(2) In times of war or other national emergency, the presidential power should be implied from the aggregate of his
Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited powers under the Constitution. Particular reliance is placed on
period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to provisions in Article II which say that "The executive Power
exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared shall be vested in a President . . . .;" that "he shall take Care
national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the that the Laws be faithfully executed;" and that he "shall be
Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
thereof. States.

Page 32 of 119
The order cannot properly be sustained as an exercise of the MR. VILLEGAS. Yes, it could refer to both military or
President’s military power as Commander-in-Chief of the economic dislocations.
Armed Forces. The Government attempts to do so by citing a
number of cases upholding broad powers in military MR. TINGSON. Thank you very much.133
commanders engaged in day-to-day fighting in a theater of
war. Such cases need not concern us here. Even though
"theater of war" be an expanding concept, we cannot with It may be argued that when there is national emergency,
faithfulness to our constitutional system hold that the Congress may not be able to convene and, therefore, unable to
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has the ultimate delegate to the President the power to take over privately-
power as such to take possession of private property in owned public utility or business affected with public interest.
order to keep labor disputes from stopping production.
This is a job for the nation’s lawmakers, not for its military In Araneta v. Dinglasan,134 this Court emphasized that
authorities. legislative power, through which extraordinary measures are
exercised, remains in Congress even in times of crisis.
Nor can the seizure order be sustained because of the
several constitutional provisions that grant executive "x x x
power to the President. In the framework of our
Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws After all the criticisms that have been made against the
are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a efficiency of the system of the separation of powers, the fact
lawmaker. The Constitution limits his functions in the remains that the Constitution has set up this form of
lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks government, with all its defects and shortcomings, in
wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad. And the preference to the commingling of powers in one man or group
Constitution is neither silent nor equivocal about who of men. The Filipino people by adopting parliamentary
shall make laws which the President is to execute. The government have given notice that they share the faith of other
first section of the first article says that "All legislative democracy-loving peoples in this system, with all its faults, as
Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the ideal. The point is, under this framework of government,
the United States. . ."126 legislation is preserved for Congress all the time, not excepting
periods of crisis no matter how serious. Never in the history of
Petitioner Cacho-Olivares, et al. contends that the term the United States, the basic features of whose Constitution
"emergency" under Section 17, Article XII refers to "tsunami," have been copied in ours, have specific functions of the
"typhoon," "hurricane"and"similar occurrences." This is a legislative branch of enacting laws been surrendered to
limited view of "emergency." another department – unless we regard as legislating the
carrying out of a legislative policy according to prescribed
Emergency, as a generic term, connotes the existence of standards; no, not even when that Republic was fighting a total
conditions suddenly intensifying the degree of existing danger war, or when it was engaged in a life-and-death struggle to
to life or well-being beyond that which is accepted as normal. preserve the Union. The truth is that under our concept of
Implicit in this definitions are the elements of intensity, variety, constitutional government, in times of extreme perils more than
and perception. 127 Emergencies, as perceived by legislature or in normal circumstances ‘the various branches, executive,
executive in the United Sates since 1933, have been legislative, and judicial,’ given the ability to act, are called upon
occasioned by a wide range of situations, classifiable under ‘to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities
three (3) principal heads: a)economic,128 b) natural committed to them respectively."
disaster,129 and c) national security.130
Following our interpretation of Section 17, Article XII, invoked
"Emergency," as contemplated in our Constitution, is of the by President Arroyo in issuing PP 1017, this Court rules that
same breadth. It may include rebellion, economic crisis, such Proclamation does not authorize her during the
pestilence or epidemic, typhoon, flood, or other similar emergency to temporarily take over or direct the operation of
catastrophe of nationwide proportions or effect. 131 This is any privately owned public utility or business affected with
evident in the Records of the Constitutional Commission, thus: public interest without authority from Congress.

MR. GASCON. Yes. What is the Committee’s definition of Let it be emphasized that while the President alone can
"national emergency" which appears in Section 13, page 5? It declare a state of national emergency, however, without
reads: legislation, he has no power to take over privately-owned
public utility or business affected with public interest. The
President cannot decide whether exceptional circumstances
When the common good so requires, the State may exist warranting the take over of privately-owned public utility
temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately or business affected with public interest. Nor can he determine
owned public utility or business affected with public interest. when such exceptional circumstances have ceased.
Likewise, without legislation, the President has no power to
MR. VILLEGAS. What I mean is threat from external point out the types of businesses affected with public interest
aggression, for example, calamities or natural disasters. that should be taken over. In short, the President has no
absolute authority to exercise all the powers of the State under
MR. GASCON. There is a question by Commissioner de los Section 17, Article VII in the absence of an emergency powers
Reyes. What about strikes and riots? act passed by Congress.

MR. VILLEGAS. Strikes, no; those would not be covered by the c. "AS APPLIED CHALLENGE"
term "national emergency."
One of the misfortunes of an emergency, particularly, that
MR. BENGZON. Unless they are of such proportions such that which pertains to security, is that military necessity and the
they would paralyze government service. 132 guaranteed rights of the individual are often not compatible.
Our history reveals that in the crucible of conflict, many rights
are curtailed and trampled upon. Here, the right against
xxxxxx unreasonable search and seizure; the right against
warrantless arrest; and the freedom of speech, of
MR. TINGSON. May I ask the committee if "national expression, of the press, and of assembly under the Bill of
emergency" refers to military national emergency or could Rights suffered the greatest blow.
this be economic emergency?"
Of the seven (7) petitions, three (3) indicate "direct injury."

Page 33 of 119
In G.R. No. 171396, petitioners David and Llamas alleged that, "acts of terrorism" is still an amorphous and vague concept.
on February 24, 2006, they were arrested without warrants on Congress has yet to enact a law defining and punishing acts of
their way to EDSA to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of People terrorism.
Power I. The arresting officers cited PP 1017 as basis of the
arrest. In fact, this "definitional predicament" or the "absence of an
agreed definition of terrorism" confronts not only our country,
In G.R. No. 171409, petitioners Cacho-Olivares but the international community as well. The following
and Tribune Publishing Co., Inc. claimed that on February 25, observations are quite apropos:
2006, the CIDG operatives "raided and ransacked without
warrant" their office. Three policemen were assigned to guard In the actual unipolar context of international relations, the
their office as a possible "source of destabilization." Again, the "fight against terrorism" has become one of the basic slogans
basis was PP 1017. when it comes to the justification of the use of force against
certain states and against groups operating internationally.
And in G.R. No. 171483, petitioners KMU and NAFLU-KMU et Lists of states "sponsoring terrorism" and of terrorist
al. alleged that their members were "turned away and organizations are set up and constantly being updated
dispersed" when they went to EDSA and later, to Ayala according to criteria that are not always known to the public,
Avenue, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of People Power I. but are clearly determined by strategic interests.

A perusal of the "direct injuries" allegedly suffered by the said The basic problem underlying all these military actions – or
petitioners shows that they resulted from the implementation, threats of the use of force as the most recent by the United
pursuant to G.O. No. 5, of PP 1017. States against Iraq – consists in the absence of an agreed
definition of terrorism.
Can this Court adjudge as unconstitutional PP 1017 and G.O.
No 5 on the basis of these illegal acts? In general, does the Remarkable confusion persists in regard to the legal
illegal implementation of a law render it unconstitutional? categorization of acts of violence either by states, by armed
groups such as liberation movements, or by individuals.
Settled is the rule that courts are not at liberty to declare
statutes invalid although they may be abused and The dilemma can by summarized in the saying "One country’s
misabused135 and may afford an opportunity for abuse in terrorist is another country’s freedom fighter." The apparent
the manner of application.136 The validity of a statute or contradiction or lack of consistency in the use of the term
ordinance is to be determined from its general purpose and its "terrorism" may further be demonstrated by the historical fact
efficiency to accomplish the end desired, not from its effects that leaders of national liberation movements such as Nelson
in a particular case.137 PP 1017 is merely an invocation of the Mandela in South Africa, Habib Bourgouiba in Tunisia, or
President’s calling-out power. Its general purpose is to Ahmed Ben Bella in Algeria, to mention only a few, were
command the AFP to suppress all forms of lawless violence, originally labeled as terrorists by those who controlled the
invasion or rebellion. It had accomplished the end desired territory at the time, but later became internationally respected
which prompted President Arroyo to issue PP 1021. But there statesmen.
is nothing in PP 1017 allowing the police, expressly or
impliedly, to conduct illegal arrest, search or violate the What, then, is the defining criterion for terrorist acts –
citizens’ constitutional rights. the differentia specifica distinguishing those acts from
eventually legitimate acts of national resistance or self-
Now, may this Court adjudge a law or ordinance defense?
unconstitutional on the ground that its implementor committed
illegal acts? The answer is no. The criterion by which the Since the times of the Cold War the United Nations
validity of the statute or ordinance is to be measured is the Organization has been trying in vain to reach a consensus on
essential basis for the exercise of power, and not a mere the basic issue of definition. The organization has intensified its
incidental result arising from its exertion.138 This is logical. efforts recently, but has been unable to bridge the gap between
Just imagine the absurdity of situations when laws maybe those who associate "terrorism" with any violent act by non-
declared unconstitutional just because the officers state groups against civilians, state functionaries or
implementing them have acted arbitrarily. If this were so, infrastructure or military installations, and those who believe in
judging from the blunders committed by policemen in the cases the concept of the legitimate use of force when resistance
passed upon by the Court, majority of the provisions of the against foreign occupation or against systematic oppression of
Revised Penal Code would have been declared ethnic and/or religious groups within a state is concerned.
unconstitutional a long time ago.
The dilemma facing the international community can best be
President Arroyo issued G.O. No. 5 to carry into effect the illustrated by reference to the contradicting categorization of
provisions of PP 1017. General orders are "acts and organizations and movements such as Palestine Liberation
commands of the President in his capacity as Commander-in- Organization (PLO) – which is a terrorist group for Israel and a
Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines." They are internal liberation movement for Arabs and Muslims – the Kashmiri
rules issued by the executive officer to his subordinates resistance groups – who are terrorists in the perception of
precisely for the proper and efficientadministration of India, liberation fighters in that of Pakistan – the earlier Contras
law. Such rules and regulations create no relation except in Nicaragua – freedom fighters for the United States, terrorists
between the official who issues them and the official who for the Socialist camp – or, most drastically, the Afghani
receives them.139 They are based on and are the product of, a Mujahedeen (later to become the Taliban movement): during
relationship in which power is their source, and obedience, the Cold War period they were a group of freedom fighters for
their object.140 For these reasons, one requirement for these the West, nurtured by the United States, and a terrorist gang
rules to be valid is that they must be reasonable, not arbitrary for the Soviet Union. One could go on and on in enumerating
or capricious. examples of conflicting categorizations that cannot be
reconciled in any way – because of opposing political interests
G.O. No. 5 mandates the AFP and the PNP to immediately that are at the roots of those perceptions.
carry out the "necessary and appropriate actions and
measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and How, then, can those contradicting definitions and conflicting
lawless violence." perceptions and evaluations of one and the same group and its
actions be explained? In our analysis, the basic reason for
Unlike the term "lawless violence" which is unarguably extant these striking inconsistencies lies in the divergent interest of
in our statutes and the Constitution, and which is invariably states. Depending on whether a state is in the position of an
associated with "invasion, insurrection or rebellion," the phrase occupying power or in that of a rival, or adversary, of an

Page 34 of 119
occupying power in a given territory, the definition of terrorism be determined personally by the judge after examination under
will "fluctuate" accordingly. A state may eventually see itself as oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
protector of the rights of a certain ethnic group outside its may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
territory and will therefore speak of a "liberation struggle," not searched and the persons or things to be seized."142 The plain
of "terrorism" when acts of violence by this group are import of the language of the Constitution is that searches,
concerned, and vice-versa. seizures and arrests are normally unreasonable unless
authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant of
The United Nations Organization has been unable to reach a arrest. Thus, the fundamental protection given by this provision
decision on the definition of terrorism exactly because of these is that between person and police must stand the protective
conflicting interests of sovereign states that determine in each authority of a magistrate clothed with power to issue or refuse
and every instance how a particular armed movement (i.e. a to issue search warrants or warrants of arrest. 143
non-state actor) is labeled in regard to the terrorists-freedom
fighter dichotomy. A "policy of double standards" on this vital In the Brief Account 144 submitted by petitioner David, certain
issue of international affairs has been the unavoidable facts are established: first, he was arrested without
consequence. warrant; second, the PNP operatives arrested him on the basis
of PP 1017; third, he was brought at Camp Karingal, Quezon
This "definitional predicament" of an organization consisting of City where he was fingerprinted, photographed and booked like
sovereign states – and not of peoples, in spite of the emphasis a criminal suspect; fourth,he was treated brusquely by
in the Preamble to the United Nations Charter! – has become policemen who "held his head and tried to push him" inside an
even more serious in the present global power constellation: unmarked car; fifth, he was charged with Violation of Batas
one superpower exercises the decisive role in the Security Pambansa Bilang No. 880145 and Inciting to
Council, former great powers of the Cold War era as well as Sedition; sixth, he was detained for seven (7) hours;
medium powers are increasingly being marginalized; and the and seventh,he was eventually released for insufficiency of
problem has become even more acute since the terrorist evidence.
attacks of 11 September 2001 I the United States. 141
Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
The absence of a law defining "acts of terrorism" may result in Procedure provides:
abuse and oppression on the part of the police or military. An
illustration is when a group of persons are merely engaged in a Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace
drinking spree. Yet the military or the police may consider the officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
act as an act of terrorism and immediately arrest them person:
pursuant to G.O. No. 5. Obviously, this is abuse and
oppression on their part. It must be remembered that an act (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested
can only be considered a crime if there is a law defining the has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting
same as such and imposing the corresponding penalty to commit an offense.
thereon.
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he
So far, the word "terrorism" appears only once in our criminal has probable cause to believe based on personal
laws, i.e., in P.D. No. 1835 dated January 16, 1981 enacted by knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person
President Marcos during the Martial Law regime. This decree is to be arrested has committed it; and
entitled "Codifying The Various Laws on Anti-Subversion and
Increasing The Penalties for Membership in Subversive
Organizations." The word "terrorism" is mentioned in the x x x.
following provision: "That one who conspires with any other
person for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Neither of the two (2) exceptions mentioned above justifies
Philippines x x x by force, violence, terrorism, x x x shall be petitioner David’s warrantless arrest. During the inquest for the
punished by reclusion temporal x x x." charges of inciting to sedition and violation of BP 880, all
that the arresting officers could invoke was their observation
P.D. No. 1835 was repealed by E.O. No. 167 (which outlaws that some rallyists were wearing t-shirts with the
the Communist Party of the Philippines) enacted by President invective "Oust Gloria Now" and their erroneous assumption
Corazon Aquino on May 5, 1985. These two (2) laws, however, that petitioner David was the leader of the
do not define "acts of terrorism." Since there is no law defining rally.146 Consequently, the Inquest Prosecutor ordered his
"acts of terrorism," it is President Arroyo alone, under G.O. No. immediate release on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.
5, who has the discretion to determine what acts constitute He noted that petitioner David was not wearing the subject t-
terrorism. Her judgment on this aspect is absolute, without shirt and even if he was wearing it, such fact is insufficient to
restrictions. Consequently, there can be indiscriminate arrest charge him with inciting to sedition. Further, he also stated
without warrants, breaking into offices and residences, taking that there is insufficient evidence for the charge of violation of
over the media enterprises, prohibition and dispersal of all BP 880 as it was not even known whether petitioner David was
assemblies and gatherings unfriendly to the administration. All the leader of the rally. 147
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, But what made it doubly worse for petitioners David et al. is
they violate the due process clause of the Constitution. Thus, that not only was their right against warrantless arrest violated,
this Court declares that the "acts of terrorism" portion of G.O. but also their right to peaceably assemble.
No. 5 is unconstitutional.
Section 4 of Article III guarantees:
Significantly, there is nothing in G.O. No. 5 authorizing the
military or police to commit acts beyond what are necessary No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of
and appropriate to suppress and prevent lawless violence, expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably
the limitation of their authority in pursuing the Order. to assemble and petition the government for redress of
Otherwise, such acts are considered illegal. grievances.

We first examine G.R. No. 171396 (David et al.) "Assembly" means a right on the part of the citizens to meet
peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs. It is a
The Constitution provides that "the right of the people to be necessary consequence of our republican institution and
secured in their persons, houses, papers and effects against complements the right of speech. As in the case of freedom of
unreasonable search and seizure of whatever nature and for expression, this right is not to be limited, much less denied,
any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant except on a showing of a clear and present danger of a
or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to substantive evil that Congress has a right to prevent. In other
Page 35 of 119
words, like other rights embraced in the freedom of expression, guard of the building; and fifth, policemen stationed themselves
the right to assemble is not subject to previous restraint or at the vicinity of the Daily Tribune offices.
censorship. It may not be conditioned upon the prior issuance
of a permit or authorization from the government authorities Thereafter, a wave of warning came from government officials.
except, of course, if the assembly is intended to be held in a Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor was quoted as
public place, a permit for the use of such place, and not for the saying that such raid was "meant to show a ‘strong
assembly itself, may be validly required. presence,’ to tell media outlets not to connive or do
anything that would help the rebels in bringing down this
The ringing truth here is that petitioner David, et al. were government." Director General Lomibao further stated that "if
arrested while they were exercising their right to peaceful they do not follow the standards –and the standards are if
assembly. They were not committing any crime, neither was they would contribute to instability in the government, or if
there a showing of a clear and present danger that warranted they do not subscribe to what is in General Order No. 5
the limitation of that right. As can be gleaned from and Proc. No. 1017 – we will recommend a ‘takeover.’"
circumstances, the charges of inciting to National Telecommunications Commissioner Ronald Solis
sedition and violation of BP 880 were mere afterthought. urged television and radio networks to "cooperate" with the
Even the Solicitor General, during the oral argument, failed to government for the duration of the state of national
justify the arresting officers’ conduct. In De Jonge v. emergency. He warned that his agency will not hesitate to
Oregon,148 it was held that peaceable assembly cannot be recommend the closure of any broadcast outfit that
made a crime, thus: violates rules set out for media coverage during times
when the national security is threatened.151
Peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a
crime. The holding of meetings for peaceable political action The search is illegal. Rule 126 of The Revised Rules on
cannot be proscribed. Those who assist in the conduct of such Criminal Procedure lays down the steps in the conduct of
meetings cannot be branded as criminals on that score. The search and seizure. Section 4 requires that a search
question, if the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly warrant be issued upon probable cause in connection with one
are not to be preserved, is not as to the auspices under which specific offence to be determined personally by the judge after
the meeting was held but as to its purpose; not as to the examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and
relations of the speakers, but whether their utterances the witnesses he may produce. Section 8 mandates that the
transcend the bounds of the freedom of speech which the search of a house, room, or any other premise be made in the
Constitution protects. If the persons assembling have presence of the lawful occupant thereof or any member of
committed crimes elsewhere, if they have formed or are his family or in the absence of the latter, in the presence of two
engaged in a conspiracy against the public peace and order, (2) witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the
they may be prosecuted for their conspiracy or other violations same locality. And Section 9 states that the warrant must
of valid laws. But it is a different matter when the State, direct that it be served in the daytime, unless the property is
instead of prosecuting them for such offenses, seizes on the person or in the place ordered to be searched, in which
upon mere participation in a peaceable assembly and a case a direction may be inserted that it be served at any time
lawful public discussion as the basis for a criminal charge. of the day or night. All these rules were violated by the CIDG
operatives.
On the basis of the above principles, the Court likewise
considers the dispersal and arrest of the members of KMU et Not only that, the search violated petitioners’ freedom of the
al. (G.R. No. 171483) unwarranted. Apparently, their dispersal press. The best gauge of a free and democratic society rests in
was done merely on the basis of Malacañang’s directive the degree of freedom enjoyed by its media. In the Burgos v.
canceling all permits previously issued by local government Chief of Staff152 this Court held that --
units. This is arbitrary. The wholesale cancellation of all permits
to rally is a blatant disregard of the principle that "freedom of As heretofore stated, the premises searched were the business
assembly is not to be limited, much less denied, except on and printing offices of the "Metropolitan Mail" and the "We
a showing of a clear and present danger of a substantive Forum" newspapers. As a consequence of the search and
evil that the State has a right to prevent."149 Tolerance is the seizure, these premises were padlocked and sealed, with
rule and limitation is the exception. Only upon a showing that the further result that the printing and publication of said
an assembly presents a clear and present danger that the newspapers were discontinued.
State may deny the citizens’ right to exercise it. Indeed,
respondents failed to show or convince the Court that the
rallyists committed acts amounting to lawless violence, Such closure is in the nature of previous restraint or
invasion or rebellion. With the blanket revocation of permits, censorship abhorrent to the freedom of the press
the distinction between protected and unprotected assemblies guaranteed under the fundamental law, and constitutes a
was eliminated. virtual denial of petitioners' freedom to express
themselves in print. This state of being is patently
anathematic to a democratic framework where a free, alert
Moreover, under BP 880, the authority to regulate assemblies and even militant press is essential for the political
and rallies is lodged with the local government units. They enlightenment and growth of the citizenry.
have the power to issue permits and to revoke such
permits after due notice and hearing on the determination of
the presence of clear and present danger. Here, petitioners While admittedly, the Daily Tribune was not padlocked and
were not even notified and heard on the revocation of their sealed like the "Metropolitan Mail" and "We Forum"
permits.150 The first time they learned of it was at the time of newspapers in the above case, yet it cannot be denied that the
the dispersal. Such absence of notice is a fatal defect. When a CIDG operatives exceeded their enforcement duties. The
person’s right is restricted by government action, it behooves a search and seizure of materials for publication, the stationing of
democratic government to see to it that the restriction is fair, policemen in the vicinity of the The Daily Tribune offices, and
reasonable, and according to procedure. the arrogant warning of government officials to media, are plain
censorship. It is that officious functionary of the repressive
government who tells the citizen that he may speak only if
G.R. No. 171409, (Cacho-Olivares, et al.) presents another allowed to do so, and no more and no less than what he is
facet of freedom of speech i.e., the freedom of the press. permitted to say on pain of punishment should he be so rash
Petitioners’ narration of facts, which the Solicitor General failed as to disobey.153Undoubtedly, the The Daily Tribune was
to refute, established the following: first, the Daily subjected to these arbitrary intrusions because of its anti-
Tribune’s offices were searched without warrant;second, the government sentiments. This Court cannot tolerate the blatant
police operatives seized several materials for publication; third, disregard of a constitutional right even if it involves the most
the search was conducted at about 1:00 o’ clock in the morning defiant of our citizens. Freedom to comment on public affairs is
of February 25, 2006; fourth, the search was conducted in the essential to the vitality of a representative democracy. It is the
absence of any official of the Daily Tribune except the security duty of the courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of

Page 36 of 119
the citizen, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon. Likewise, the warrantless arrests and seizures executed by the
The motto should always be obsta principiis.154 police were, according to the Solicitor General, illegal and
cannot be condoned, thus:
Incidentally, during the oral arguments, the Solicitor General
admitted that the search of the Tribune’s offices and the CHIEF JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
seizure of its materials for publication and other papers are
illegal; and that the same are inadmissible "for any purpose," There seems to be some confusions if not contradiction in your
thus: theory.

JUSTICE CALLEJO: SOLICITOR GENERAL BENIPAYO:

You made quite a mouthful of admission when you said that I don’t know whether this will clarify. The acts, the supposed
the policemen, when inspected the Tribune for the purpose of illegal or unlawful acts committed on the occasion of 1017, as I
gathering evidence and you admitted that the policemen were said, it cannot be condoned. You cannot blame the President
able to get the clippings. Is that not in admission of the for, as you said, a misapplication of the law. These are acts of
admissibility of these clippings that were taken from the the police officers, that is their responsibility. 157
Tribune?
The Dissenting Opinion states that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5
SOLICITOR GENERAL BENIPAYO: are constitutional in every aspect and "should result in no
constitutional or statutory breaches if applied according to their
Under the law they would seem to be, if they were illegally letter."
seized, I think and I know, Your Honor, and these are
inadmissible for any purpose. 155 The Court has passed upon the constitutionality of these
issuances. Its ratiocination has been exhaustively presented.
xxxxxxxxx At this point, suffice it to reiterate that PP 1017 is limited to the
calling out by the President of the military to prevent or
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO: suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. When in
implementing its provisions, pursuant to G.O. No. 5, the military
and the police committed acts which violate the citizens’ rights
These have been published in the past issues of the Daily under the Constitution, this Court has to declare such acts
Tribune; all you have to do is to get those past issues. So why unconstitutional and illegal.
do you have to go there at 1 o’clock in the morning and without
any search warrant? Did they become suddenly part of the
evidence of rebellion or inciting to sedition or what? In this connection, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban’s
concurring opinion, attached hereto, is considered an integral
part of this ponencia.
SOLGEN BENIPAYO:
SUMMATION
Well, it was the police that did that, Your Honor. Not upon my
instructions.
In sum, the lifting of PP 1017 through the issuance of PP 1021
– a supervening event – would have normally rendered this
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO: case moot and academic. However, while PP 1017 was still
operative, illegal acts were committed allegedly in pursuance
Are you saying that the act of the policeman is illegal, it is not thereof. Besides, there is no guarantee that PP 1017, or one
based on any law, and it is not based on Proclamation 1017. similar to it, may not again be issued. Already, there have been
media reports on April 30, 2006 that allegedly PP 1017 would
SOLGEN BENIPAYO: be reimposed "if the May 1 rallies" become "unruly and
violent." Consequently, the transcendental issues raised by the
parties should not be "evaded;" they must now be resolved to
It is not based on Proclamation 1017, Your Honor, because prevent future constitutional aberration.
there is nothing in 1017 which says that the police could go
and inspect and gather clippings from Daily Tribune or any
The Court finds and so holds that PP 1017 is constitutional
other newspaper.
insofar as it constitutes a call by the President for the AFP to
prevent or suppress lawless violence. The proclamation is
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO: sustained by Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution and the
relevant jurisprudence discussed earlier. However, PP 1017’s
Is it based on any law? extraneous provisions giving the President express or implied
power (1) to issue decrees; (2) to direct the AFP to enforce
obedience to all laws even those not related to lawless
SOLGEN BENIPAYO:
violence as well as decrees promulgated by the President; and
(3) to impose standards on media or any form of prior restraint
As far as I know, no, Your Honor, from the facts, no. on the press, are ultra vires and unconstitutional. The Court
also rules that under Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution,
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO: the President, in the absence of a legislation, cannot take over
privately-owned public utility and private business affected with
public interest.
So, it has no basis, no legal basis whatsoever?

In the same vein, the Court finds G.O. No. 5 valid. It is an


SOLGEN BENIPAYO:
Order issued by the President – acting as Commander-in-Chief
– addressed to subalterns in the AFP to carry out the
Maybe so, Your Honor. Maybe so, that is why I said, I don’t provisions of PP 1017. Significantly, it also provides a valid
know if it is premature to say this, we do not condone this. If standard – that the military and the police should take only the
the people who have been injured by this would want to "necessary and appropriate actions and measures to
sue them, they can sue and there are remedies for this.156 suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence."But the
words "acts of terrorism" found in G.O. No. 5 have not been
legally defined and made punishable by Congress and should
thus be deemed deleted from the said G.O. While "terrorism"
has been denounced generally in media, no law has been
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enacted to guide the military, and eventually the courts, to SO ORDERED.
determine the limits of the AFP’s authority in carrying out this
portion of G.O. No. 5. G.R. No. L-25018 May 26, 1969

On the basis of the relevant and uncontested facts narrated ARSENIO PASCUAL, JR., petitioner-appellee,
earlier, it is also pristine clear that (1) the warrantless arrest of vs.
petitioners Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; (2) the BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS, respondent-appellant,
dispersal of the rallies and warrantless arrest of the KMU and SALVADOR GATBONTON and ENRIQUETA GATBONTON,
NAFLU-KMU members; (3) the imposition of standards on intervenors-appellants.
media or any prior restraint on the press; and (4) the
warrantless search of the Tribune offices and the whimsical
seizures of some articles for publication and other materials, Conrado B. Enriquez for petitioner-appellee.
are not authorized by the Constitution, the law and Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant
jurisprudence. Not even by the valid provisions of PP 1017 and Solicitor General Antonio A. Torres and Solicitor Pedro A.
G.O. No. 5. Ramirez for respondent-appellant.
Bausa, Ampil and Suarez for intervenors-appellants.
Other than this declaration of invalidity, this Court cannot
impose any civil, criminal or administrative sanctions on the FERNANDO, J.:
individual police officers concerned. They have not been
individually identified and given their day in court. The civil The broad, all-embracing sweep of the self-incrimination
complaints or causes of action and/or relevant criminal clause,1 whenever appropriately invoked, has been accorded
Informations have not been presented before this Court. due recognition by this Court ever since the adoption of the
Elementary due process bars this Court from making any Constitution.2 Bermudez v. Castillo,3 decided in 1937, was
specific pronouncement of civil, criminal or administrative quite categorical. As we there stated: "This Court is of the
liabilities. opinion that in order that the constitutional provision under
consideration may prove to be a real protection and not a dead
It is well to remember that military power is a means to an letter, it must be given a liberal and broad interpretation
end and substantive civil rights are ends in themselves. favorable to the person invoking it." As phrased by Justice
How to give the military the power it needs to protect the Laurel in his concurring opinion: "The provision, as doubtless it
Republic without unnecessarily trampling individual rights was designed, would be construed with the utmost liberality in
is one of the eternal balancing tasks of a democratic favor of the right of the individual intended to be served." 4
state.During emergency, governmental action may vary in
breadth and intensity from normal times, yet they should not be Even more relevant, considering the precise point at issue, is
arbitrary as to unduly restrain our people’s liberty. the recent case of Cabal v. Kapunan,5where it was held that a
respondent in an administrative proceeding under the Anti-
Perhaps, the vital lesson that we must learn from the theorists Graft Law 6 cannot be required to take the witness stand at the
who studied the various competing political philosophies is instance of the complainant. So it must be in this case, where
that, it is possible to grant government the authority to cope petitioner was sustained by the lower court in his plea that he
with crises without surrendering the two vital principles of could not be compelled to be the first witness of the
constitutionalism: the maintenance of legal limits to complainants, he being the party proceeded against in an
arbitrary power, and political responsibility of the administrative charge for malpractice. That was a correct
government to the governed.158 decision; we affirm it on appeal.

WHEREFORE, the Petitions are partly granted. The Court Arsenio Pascual, Jr., petitioner-appellee, filed on February 1,
rules that PP 1017 is CONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it 1965 with the Court of First Instance of Manila an action for
constitutes a call by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the prohibition with prayer for preliminary injunction against the
AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence. However, the Board of Medical Examiners, now respondent-appellant. It was
provisions of PP 1017 commanding the AFP to enforce laws alleged therein that at the initial hearing of an administrative
not related to lawless violence, as well as decrees promulgated case7 for alleged immorality, counsel for complainants
by the President, are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. In announced that he would present as his first witness herein
addition, the provision in PP 1017 declaring national petitioner-appellee, who was the respondent in such
emergency under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution malpractice charge. Thereupon, petitioner-appellee, through
is CONSTITUTIONAL, but such declaration does not authorize counsel, made of record his objection, relying on the
the President to take over privately-owned public utility or constitutional right to be exempt from being a witness against
business affected with public interest without prior legislation. himself. Respondent-appellant, the Board of Examiners, took
note of such a plea, at the same time stating that at the next
scheduled hearing, on February 12, 1965, petitioner-appellee
G.O. No. 5 is CONSTITUTIONAL since it provides a standard would be called upon to testify as such witness, unless in the
by which the AFP and the PNP should implement PP 1017, i.e. meantime he could secure a restraining order from a
whatever is "necessary and appropriate actions and competent authority.
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 Petitioner-appellee then alleged that in thus ruling to compel
portion of G.O. No. 5 is declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. him to take the witness stand, the Board of Examiners was
guilty, at the very least, of grave abuse of discretion for failure
to respect the constitutional right against self-incrimination, the
The warrantless arrest of Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; administrative proceeding against him, which could result in
the dispersal and warrantless arrest of the KMU and NAFLU- forfeiture or loss of a privilege, being quasi-criminal in
KMU members during their rallies, in the absence of proof that character. With his assertion that he was entitled to the relief
these petitioners were committing acts constituting lawless demanded consisting of perpetually restraining the respondent
violence, invasion or rebellion and violating BP 880; the Board from compelling him to testify as witness for his
imposition of standards on media or any form of prior restraint adversary and his readiness or his willingness to put a bond,
on the press, as well as the warrantless search of he prayed for a writ of preliminary injunction and after a hearing
the Tribune offices and whimsical seizure of its articles for or trial, for a writ of prohibition.
publication and other materials, are
declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
On February 9, 1965, the lower court ordered that a writ of
preliminary injunction issue against the respondent Board
No costs. commanding it to refrain from hearing or further proceeding
with such an administrative case, to await the judicial

Page 38 of 119
disposition of the matter upon petitioner-appellee posting a 2. The appeal apparently proceeds on the mistaken
bond in the amount of P500.00. assumption by respondent Board and intervenors-appellants
that the constitutional guarantee against self-incrimination
The answer of respondent Board, while admitting the facts should be limited to allowing a witness to object to questions
stressed that it could call petitioner-appellee to the witness the answers to which could lead to a penal liability being
stand and interrogate him, the right against self-incrimination subsequently incurred. It is true that one aspect of such a right,
being available only when a question calling for an to follow the language of another American decision, 11 is the
incriminating answer is asked of a witness. It further elaborated protection against "any disclosures which the witness may
the matter in the affirmative defenses interposed, stating that reasonably apprehend could be used in a criminal prosecution
petitioner-appellee's remedy is to object once he is in the or which could lead to other evidence that might be so used." If
witness stand, for respondent "a plain, speedy and adequate that were all there is then it becomes diluted.lawphi1.ñet
remedy in the ordinary course of law," precluding the issuance
of the relief sought. Respondent Board, therefore, denied that it The constitutional guarantee protects as well the right to
acted with grave abuse of discretion. silence. As far back as 1905, we had occasion to declare: "The
accused has a perfect right to remain silent and his silence
There was a motion for intervention by Salvador Gatbonton cannot be used as a presumption of his guilt." 12Only last year,
and Enriqueta Gatbonton, the complainants in the in Chavez v. Court of Appeals, 13 speaking through Justice
administrative case for malpractice against petitioner-appellee, Sanchez, we reaffirmed the doctrine anew that it is the right of
asking that they be allowed to file an answer as intervenors. a defendant "to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he
Such a motion was granted and an answer in intervention was chooses to take the witness stand — with undiluted, unfettered
duly filed by them on March 23, 1965 sustaining the power of exercise of his own free genuine will."
respondent Board, which for them is limited to compelling the
witness to take the stand, to be distinguished, in their opinion, Why it should be thus is not difficult to discern. The
from the power to compel a witness to incriminate himself. constitutional guarantee, along with other rights granted an
They likewise alleged that the right against self-incrimination accused, stands for a belief that while crime should not go
cannot be availed of in an administrative hearing. unpunished and that the truth must be revealed, such desirable
objectives should not be accomplished according to means or
A decision was rendered by the lower court on August 2, 1965, methods offensive to the high sense of respect accorded the
finding the claim of petitioner-appellee to be well-founded and human personality. More and more in line with the democratic
prohibiting respondent Board "from compelling the petitioner to creed, the deference accorded an individual even those
act and testify as a witness for the complainant in said suspected of the most heinous crimes is given due weight. To
investigation without his consent and against himself." Hence quote from Chief Justice Warren, "the constitutional foundation
this appeal both by respondent Board and intervenors, the underlying the privilege is the respect a government ... must
Gatbontons. As noted at the outset, we find for the petitioner- accord to the dignity and integrity of its citizens." 14
appellee.
It is likewise of interest to note that while earlier decisions
1. We affirm the lower court decision on appeal as it does stressed the principle of humanity on which this right is
manifest fealty to the principle announced by us in Cabal v. predicated, precluding as it does all resort to force or
Kapunan. 8 In that proceeding for certiorari and prohibition to compulsion, whether physical or mental, current judicial opinion
annul an order of Judge Kapunan, it appeared that an places equal emphasis on its identification with the right to
administrative charge for unexplained wealth having been filed privacy. Thus according to Justice Douglas: "The Fifth
against petitioner under the Anti-Graft Act,9the complainant Amendment in its Self-Incrimination clause enables the citizen
requested the investigating committee that petitioner be to create a zone of privacy which government may not force to
ordered to take the witness stand, which request was granted. surrender to his detriment." 15 So also with the observation of
Upon petitioner's refusal to be sworn as such witness, a charge the late Judge Frank who spoke of "a right to a private enclave
for contempt was filed against him in the sala of respondent where he may lead a private life. That right is the hallmark of
Judge. He filed a motion to quash and upon its denial, he our democracy." 16 In the light of the above, it could thus clearly
initiated this proceeding. We found for the petitioner in appear that no possible objection could be legitimately raised
accordance with the well-settled principle that "the accused in against the correctness of the decision now on appeal. We
a criminal case may refuse, not only to answer incriminatory hold that in an administrative hearing against a medical
questions, but, also, to take the witness stand." practitioner for alleged malpractice, respondent Board of
Medical Examiners cannot, consistently with the self-
incrimination clause, compel the person proceeded against to
It was noted in the opinion penned by the present Chief Justice take the witness stand without his consent.
that while the matter referred to an a administrative charge of
unexplained wealth, with the Anti-Graft Act authorizing the
forfeiture of whatever property a public officer or employee may WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court of August 2,
acquire, manifestly out proportion to his salary and his other 1965 is affirmed. Without pronouncement as to costs.
lawful income, there is clearly the imposition of a penalty. The
proceeding for forfeiture while administrative in character thus G.R. No. 181409 February 11, 2010
possesses a criminal or penal aspect. The case before us is
not dissimilar; petitioner would be similarly disadvantaged. He INTESTATE ESTATE OF MANOLITA GONZALES VDA. DE
could suffer not the forfeiture of property but the revocation of CARUNGCONG, represented by MEDIATRIX
his license as a medical practitioner, for some an even greater CARUNGCONG, as Administratrix, Petitioner,
deprivation. vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and WILLIAM
To the argument that Cabal v. Kapunan could thus SATO, Respondents.
distinguished, it suffices to refer to an American Supreme
Court opinion highly persuasive in character. 10 In the language DECISION
of Justice Douglas: "We conclude ... that the Self-Incrimination
Clause of the Fifth Amendment has been absorbed in the
Fourteenth, that it extends its protection to lawyers as well as CORONA, J.:
to other individuals, and that it should not be watered down by
imposing the dishonor of disbarment and the deprivation of a Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
livelihood as a price for asserting it." We reiterate that such a
principle is equally applicable to a proceeding that could ART. 332. Persons exempt from criminal liability. – No criminal,
possibly result in the loss of the privilege to practice the but only civil liability shall result from the commission of the
medical profession. crime of theft, swindling, or malicious mischief committed or
caused mutually by the following persons:
Page 39 of 119
1. Spouses, ascendants and descendants, 5. The aforesaid Special Power of Attorney was
or relatives by affinity in the same line; signed by my mother in the presence of Wendy, my
other niece Belinda Kiku Sato, our maid Mana
2. The widowed spouse with respect to the property Tingzon, and Governor Josephine Ramirez who later
which belonged to the deceased spouse before the became the second wife of my sister’s widower
same shall have passed into the possession of William Sato.
another; and
6. Wendy Mitsuko Sato attests to the fact that my
3. Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and mother signed the document in the belief that they
sisters-in-law, if living together. were in connection with her taxes, not knowing, since
she was blind, that the same was in fact a Special
Power of Attorney to sell her Tagaytay properties.
The exemption established by this article shall not be
applicable to strangers participating in the commission of the
crime. (emphasis supplied) 7. On the basis of the aforesaid Special Power of
Attorney, William Sato found buyers for the property
and made my niece Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign three
For purposes of the aforementioned provision, is the (3) deeds of absolute sale in favor of (a) Anita Ng
relationship by affinity created between the husband and the (Doc. 2194, Page No. 41, Book No. V, Series of 1992
blood relatives of his wife (as well as between the wife and the of Notary Public Vicente B. Custodio), (b) Anita Ng
blood relatives of her husband) dissolved by the death of one (Doc. No. 2331, Page No. 68, Book No. V, Series of
spouse, thus ending the marriage which created such 1992 of Notary Public Vicente B. Custodio) and (c)
relationship by affinity? Does the beneficial application of Ruby Lee Tsai (Doc. No. II, Page No. 65, Book No. II,
Article 332 cover the complex crime of estafa thru falsification? Series of 1993 of Notary Public Toribio D. Labid). x x
x
Mediatrix G. Carungcong, in her capacity as the duly appointed
administratrix1 of petitioner intestate estate of her deceased 8. Per the statement of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, the
mother Manolita Gonzales vda. de Carungcong, filed a considerations appearing on the deeds of absolute
complaint-affidavit2 for estafa against her brother-in-law, sale were not the true and actual considerations
William Sato, a Japanese national. Her complaint-affidavit received by her father William Sato from the buyers of
read: her grandmother’s properties. She attests that Anita
Ng actually paid ₱7,000,000.00 for the property
I, MEDIATRIX CARUNGCONG Y GONZALE[S], Filipino, of covered by TCT No. 3148 and ₱7,034,000.00 for the
legal age, single, and resident of Unit 1111, Prince Gregory property covered by TCT No. 3149. All the aforesaid
Condominium, 105 12th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, after proceeds were turned over to William Sato who
being duly sworn, depose and state that: undertook to make the proper accounting thereof to
my mother, Manolita Carungcong Gonzale[s].
1. I am the duly appointed Administratrix of the
Intestate Estate of Manolita Carungcong Y 9. Again, per the statement of Wendy Mitsuko C.
Gonzale[s], docketed as Spec. Procs. No. [Q]-95- Sato, Ruby Lee Tsai paid ₱8,000,000.00 for the
23621[,] Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch property covered by Tax Declaration No. GR-016-
104, being one (1) of her surviving daughters. Copy of 0735, and the proceeds thereof were likewise turned
the Letters of Administration dated June 22, 1995 is over to William Sato.
hereto attached as Annex "A" to form an integral part
hereof. 10. The considerations appearing on the deeds of
sale were falsified as Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato has
2. As such Administratrix, I am duty bound not only to actual knowledge of the true amounts paid by the
preserve the properties of the Intestate Estate of buyers, as stated in her Affidavit, since she was the
Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s], but also to signatory thereto as the attorney-in-fact of Manolita
recover such funds and/or properties as property Carungcong Y Gonzale[s].
belonging to the estate but are presently in the
possession or control of other parties. 11. Wendy was only 20 years old at the time and was
not in any position to oppose or to refuse her father’s
3. After my appointment as Administratrix, I was able orders.
to confer with some of the children of my sister
Zenaida Carungcong Sato[,] who predeceased our 12. After receiving the total considerations for the
mother Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzales, having died properties sold under the power of attorney
in Japan in 1991. fraudulently secured from my mother, which total
₱22,034,000.00, William Sato failed to account for the
4. In my conference with my nieces Karen Rose Sato same and never delivered the proceeds to Manolita
and Wendy Mitsuko Sato, age[d] 27 and 24 Carungcong Y Gonzale[s] until the latter died on June
respectively, I was able to learn that prior to the death 8, 1994.
of my mother Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s],
[s]pecifically on o[r] about November 24, 1992, their 13. Demands have been made for William Sato to
father William Sato, through fraudulent make an accounting and to deliver the proceeds of
misrepresentations, was able to secure the signature the sales to me as Administratrix of my mother’s
and thumbmark of my mother on a Special Power of estate, but he refused and failed, and continues to
Attorney whereby my niece Wendy Mitsuko Sato, who refuse and to fail to do so, to the damage and
was then only twenty (20) years old, was made her prejudice of the estate of the deceased Manolita
attorney-in-fact, to sell and dispose four (4) valuable Carungcong Y Gonzale[s] and of the heirs which
pieces of land in Tagaytay City. Said Special Power of include his six (6) children with my sister Zenaida
Attorney, copy of which is attached as ANNEX "A" of Carungcong Sato. x x x3
the Affidavit of Wendy Mitsuko Sato, was signed and
thumbmark[ed] by my mother because William Sato
told her that the documents she was being made to Wendy Mitsuko Sato’s supporting affidavit and the special
sign involved her taxes. At that time, my mother was power of attorney allegedly issued by the deceased Manolita
completely blind, having gone blind almost ten (10) Gonzales vda. de Carungcong in favor of Wendy were
years prior to November, 1992. attached to the complaint-affidavit of Mediatrix.

Page 40 of 119
In a resolution dated March 25, 1997, the City Prosecutor of In an order dated April 17, 2006, 8 the trial court granted Sato’s
Quezon City dismissed the complaint. 4 On appeal, however, motion and ordered the dismissal of the criminal case:
the Secretary of Justice reversed and set aside the resolution
dated March 25, 1997 and directed the City Prosecutor of The Trial Prosecutor’s contention is that the death of the wife of
Quezon City to file an Information against Sato for violation of the accused severed the relationship of affinity between
Article 315, paragraph 3(a) of the Revised Penal Code.5 Thus, accused and his mother-in-law. Therefore, the mantle of
the following Information was filed against Sato in the Regional protection provided to the accused by the relationship is no
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 87: 6 longer obtaining.

INFORMATION A judicious and thorough examination of Article 332 of the


Revised Penal Code convinces this Court of the correctness of
The undersigned accuses WILLIAM SATO of the crime of the contention of the [d]efense. While it is true that the death of
ESTAFA under Article 315[,] par. 3(a) of the Revised Penal Zenaida Carungcong-Sato has extinguished the marriage of
Code, committed as follows: accused with her, it does not erase the fact that accused and
Zenaida’s mother, herein complainant, are still son[-in-law] and
That on or about the 24th day of November, 1992, in Quezon mother-in-law and they remained son[-in-law] and mother-in-
City, Philippines, the above-named accused, by means of law even beyond the death of Zenaida.
deceit, did, then and there, wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously
defraud MANOLITA GONZALES VDA. DE CARUNGCONG in Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code, is very explicit and
the following manner, to wit: the said accused induced said states no proviso. "No criminal, but only civil liability[,] shall
Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong[,] who was already result from the commission of the crime of theft, swindling or
then blind and 79 years old[,] to sign and thumbmark a special malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by xxx 1)
power of attorney dated November 24, 1992 in favor of Wendy spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by affinity
Mitsuko C. Sato, daughter of said accused, making her believe in the same line."
that said document involved only her taxes, accused knowing
fully well that said document authorizes Wendy Mitsuko C. Article 332, according to Aquino, in his Commentaries [to]
Sato, then a minor, to sell, assign, transfer or otherwise Revised Penal Code, preserves family harmony and obviates
dispose of to any person or entity of her properties all located scandal, hence even in cases of theft and malicious mischief,
at Tagaytay City, as follows: where the crime is committed by a stepfather against his
stepson, by a grandson against his grandfather, by a son
1. One Thousand Eight Hundred Seven(ty) One against his mother, no criminal liability is incurred by the
(1,871) square meters more or less and covered by accused only civil (Vicente Alavare, 52 Phil. 65; Adame, CA 40
T.C.T. No. 3147; OG 12th Supp. 63; Cristobal, 84 Phil. 473).

2. Five Hundred Forty (540) square meters more or Such exempting circumstance is applicable herein.
less and covered by T.C.T. No. 3148 with Tax
Declaration No. GR-016-0722, Cadastral Lot No. WHEREFORE, finding the Motion to Quash Original
7106; Information meritorious, the same is GRANTED and, as prayed
for, case is hereby DISMISSED.
3. Five Hundred Forty (540) square meters more or
less and covered by T.C.T. No. 3149 with Tax SO ORDERED.9 (underlining supplied in the original)
Declaration No. GR-016-0721, Cadastral Lot No.
7104;
The prosecution’s motion for reconsideration10 was denied in
an order dated June 2, 2006. 11
4. Eight Hundred Eighty Eight (888) square meters
more or less with Tax Declaration No. GR-016-1735,
Cadastral Lot No. 7062; Dissatisfied with the trial court’s rulings, the intestate estate of
Manolita, represented by Mediatrix, filed a petition for certiorari
in the Court of Appeals 12 which, however, in a decision13 dated
registered in the name of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De August 9, 2007, dismissed it. It ruled:
Carungcong, and once in the possession of the said special
power of attorney and other pertinent documents, said accused
made Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign the three (3) Deeds of [W]e sustain the finding of [the trial court] that the death of
Absolute Sale covering Transfer Certificate of Title [TCT] No. Zenaida did not extinguish the relationship by affinity between
3148 for ₱250,000.00, [TCT] No. 3149 for ₱250,000.00 and her husband, private respondent Sato, and her mother
[Tax Declaration] GR-016-0735 for ₱650,000.00 and once in Manolita, and does not bar the application of the exempting
possession of the proceeds of the sale of the above properties, circumstance under Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code
said accused, misapplied, misappropriated and converted the in favor of private respondent Sato.
same to his own personal use and benefit, to the damage and
prejudice of the heirs of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De We further agree with the submission of the [Office of the
Carungcong who died in 1994. Solicitor General (OSG)] that nothing in the law and/or existing
jurisprudence supports the argument of petitioner that the fact
Contrary to law.7 of death of Zenaida dissolved the relationship by affinity
between Manolita and private respondent Sato, and thus
removed the protective mantle of Article 332 of the Revised
Subsequently, the prosecution moved for the amendment of Penal Code from said private respondent; and that
the Information so as to increase the amount of damages from notwithstanding the death of Zenaida, private respondent Sato
₱1,150,000, the total amount stated in the deeds of sale, to remains to be the son-in-law of Manolita, and a brother-in-law
₱22,034,000, the actual amount received by Sato. of petitioner administratrix. As further pointed out by the OSG,
the filing of the criminal case for estafa against private
Sato moved for the quashal of the Information, claiming that respondent Sato already created havoc among members of the
under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, his relationship Carungcong and Sato families as private respondent’s
to the person allegedly defrauded, the deceased Manolita who daughter Wendy Mitsuko Sato joined cause with her aunt
was his mother-in-law, was an exempting circumstance. [Mediatrix] Carungcong y Gonzales, while two (2) other
children of private respondent, William Francis and Belinda
The prosecution disputed Sato’s motion in an opposition dated Sato, took the side of their father.
March 29, 2006.

Page 41 of 119
There is a dearth of jurisprudence and/or commentaries the blood relatives of the deceased spouse and (2) the extent
elaborating on the provision of Article 332 of the Revised Penal of the coverage of Article 332.
Code. However, from the plain language of the law, it is clear
that the exemption from criminal liability for the crime of Effect of Death on Relationship By Affinity as Absolutory
swindling (estafa) under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code Cause
applies to private respondent Sato, as son-in-law of Manolita,
they being "relatives by affinity in the same line" under Article
332(1) of the same Code. We cannot draw the distinction that Article 332 provides for an absolutory cause16in the crimes of
following the death of Zenaida in 1991, private respondent theft, estafa (or swindling) and malicious mischief. It limits the
Sato is no longer the son-in-law of Manolita, so as to exclude responsibility of the offender to civil liability and frees him from
the former from the exempting circumstance provided for in criminal liability by virtue of his relationship to the offended
Article 332 (1) of the Revised Penal Code. party.

Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos. Basic is In connection with the relatives mentioned in the first
the rule in statutory construction that where the law does not paragraph, it has been held that included in the exemptions are
distinguish, the courts should not distinguish. There should be parents-in-law, stepparents and adopted children. 17 By virtue
no distinction in the application of law where none is indicated. thereof, no criminal liability is incurred by the stepfather who
The courts could only distinguish where there are facts or commits malicious mischief against his stepson; 18 by the
circumstances showing that the lawgiver intended a distinction stepmother who commits theft against her stepson; 19 by the
or qualification. In such a case, the courts would merely give stepfather who steals something from his stepson;20 by the
effect to the lawgiver’s intent. The solemn power and duty of grandson who steals from his grandfather; 21 by the accused
the Court to interpret and apply the law does not include the who swindles his sister-in-law living with him;22 and by the son
power to correct by reading into the law what is not written who steals a ring from his mother. 23
therein.
Affinity is the relation that one spouse has to the blood relatives
Further, it is an established principle of statutory construction of the other spouse. It is a relationship by marriage or
that penal laws are strictly construed against the State and
liberally in favor of the accused. Any reasonable doubt must be a familial relation resulting from marriage.24 It is a fictive
resolved in favor of the accused. In this case, the plain kinship, a fiction created by law in connection with the
meaning of Article 332 (1) of the Revised Penal Code’s simple institution of marriage and family relations.
language is most favorable to Sato. 14
If marriage gives rise to one’s relationship by affinity to the
The appellate court denied reconsideration. 15 Hence, this blood relatives of one’s spouse, does the extinguishment of
petition. marriage by the death of the spouse dissolve the relationship
by affinity?
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in not
reversing the orders of the trial court. It cites the commentary Philippine jurisprudence has no previous encounter with the
of Justice Luis B. Reyes in his book on criminal law that the issue that confronts us in this case. That is why the trial and
rationale of Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code exempting appellate courts acknowledged the "dearth of jurisprudence
the persons mentioned therein from criminal liability is that the and/or commentaries" on the matter. In contrast, in the
law recognizes the presumed co-ownership of the American legal system, there are two views on the subject. As
property between the offender and the offended party. one Filipino author observed:
Here, the properties subject of the estafa case were owned by
Manolita whose daughter, Zenaida Carungcong-Sato (Sato’s In case a marriage is terminated by the death of one of the
wife), died on January 28, 1991. Hence, Zenaida never spouses, there are conflicting views. There are some who
became a co-owner because, under the law, her right to believe that relationship by affinity is not terminated whether
the three parcels of land could have arisen only after her there are children or not in the marriage (Carman vs. Newell,
mother’s death. Since Zenaida predeceased her mother, N.Y. 1 [Denio] 25, 26). However, the better view supported by
Manolita, no such right came about and the mantle of most judicial authorities in other jurisdictions is that, if the
protection provided to Sato by the relationship no longer spouses have no living issues or children and one of the
existed. spouses dies, the relationship by affinity is dissolved. It follows
the rule that relationship by affinity ceases with the dissolution
Sato counters that Article 332 makes no distinction that the of the marriage which produces it (Kelly v. Neely, 12 Ark. 657,
relationship may not be invoked in case of death of the spouse 659, 56 Am Dec. 288). On the other hand, the relationship by
at the time the crime was allegedly committed. Thus, while the affinity is continued despite the death of one of the spouses
death of Zenaida extinguished her marriage with Sato, it did where there are living issues or children of the marriage "in
not dissolve the son-in-law and mother-in-law relationship whose veins the blood of the parties are commingled, since the
between Sato and Zenaida’s mother, Manolita. relationship of affinity was continued through the medium of the
issue of the marriage" (Paddock vs. Wells, 2 Barb. Ch. 331,
For his part, the Solicitor General maintains that Sato is 333).25
covered by the exemption from criminal liability provided under
Article 332. Nothing in the law and jurisprudence supports The first view (the terminated affinity view) holds that
petitioner’s claim that Zenaida’s death dissolved the relationship by affinity terminates with the dissolution of the
relationship by affinity between Sato and Manolita. As it is, the marriage either by death or divorce which gave rise to the
criminal case against Sato created havoc among the members relationship of affinity between the parties. 26 Under this view,
of the Carungcong and Sato families, a situation sought to be the relationship by affinity is simply coextensive and coexistent
particularly avoided by Article 332’s provision exempting a with the marriage that produced it. Its duration is indispensably
family member committing theft, estafa or malicious mischief and necessarily determined by the marriage that created it.
from criminal liability and reducing his/her liability to the civil Thus, it exists only for so long as the marriage subsists, such
aspect only. that the death of a spouse ipso facto ends the relationship by
affinity of the surviving spouse to the deceased spouse’s blood
The petition has merit. relatives.

The resolution of this case rests on the interpretation of Article The first view admits of an exception. The relationship by
332 of the Revised Penal Code. In particular, it calls for the affinity continues even after the death of one spouse when
determination of the following: (1) the effect of death on the there is a surviving issue. 27 The rationale is that the
relationship by affinity created between a surviving spouse and relationship is preserved because of the living issue of the

Page 42 of 119
marriage in whose veins the blood of both parties is Thus, for purposes of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal
commingled.28 Code, we hold that the relationship by affinity created between
the surviving spouse and the blood relatives of the deceased
The second view (the continuing affinity view) maintains that spouse survives the death of either party to the marriage which
relationship by affinity between the surviving spouse and the created the affinity. (The same principle applies to the justifying
kindred of the deceased spouse continues even after the death circumstance of defense of one’s relatives under Article 11[2]
of the deceased spouse, regardless of whether the marriage of the Revised Penal Code, the mitigating circumstance of
produced children or not. 29 Under this view, the relationship by immediate vindication of grave offense committed against
affinity endures even after the dissolution of the marriage that one’s relatives under Article 13[5] of the same Code and the
produced it as a result of the death of one of the parties to the absolutory cause of relationship in favor of accessories under
said marriage. This view considers that, where statutes have Article 20 also of the same Code.)
indicated an intent to benefit step-relatives or in-laws, the "tie
of affinity" between these people and their relatives-by- Scope of Article 332 of The Revised Penal Code
marriage is not to be regarded as terminated upon the death of
one of the married parties. 30 The absolutory cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal
Code only applies to the felonies of theft, swindling and
After due consideration and evaluation of the relative merits of malicious mischief. Under the said provision, the State
the two views, we hold that the second view is more consistent condones the criminal responsibility of the offender in cases of
with the language and spirit of Article 332(1) of the Revised theft, swindling and malicious mischief. As an act of grace, the
Penal Code. State waives its right to prosecute the offender for the said
crimes but leaves the private offended party with the option to
First, the terminated affinity view is generally applied hold the offender civilly liable.
in cases of jury disqualification and incest. 31 On the
other hand, the continuing affinity view has been However, the coverage of Article 332 is strictly limited to the
applied in the interpretation of laws that intend to felonies mentioned therein. The plain, categorical and
benefit step-relatives or in-laws. Since the purpose of unmistakable language of the provision shows that it applies
the absolutory cause in Article 332(1) is meant to be exclusively to the simple crimes of theft, swindling and
beneficial to relatives by affinity within the degree malicious mischief. It does not apply where any of the crimes
covered under the said provision, the continuing mentioned under Article 332 is complexed with another crime,
affinity view is more appropriate. such as theft through falsification or estafa through
falsification.39
Second, the language of Article 332(1) which speaks
of "relatives by affinity in the same line" is couched in The Information against Sato charges him with estafa.
general language. The legislative intent to make no However, the real nature of the offense is determined by the
distinction between the spouse of one’s living child facts alleged in the Information, not by the designation of the
and the surviving spouse of one’s deceased child (in offense.40 What controls is not the title of the Information or the
case of a son-in-law or daughter-in-law with respect to designation of the offense but the actual facts recited in the
his or her parents-in-law)32 can be drawn from Article Information.41 In other words, it is the recital of facts of the
332(1) of the Revised Penal Code without doing commission of the offense, not the nomenclature of the
violence to its language. offense, that determines the crime being charged in the
Information.42 It is the exclusive province of the court to say
Third, the Constitution declares that the protection what the crime is or what it is named.43 The determination by
and strengthening of the family as a basic the prosecutor who signs the Information of the crime
autonomous social institution are policies of the State committed is merely an opinion which is not binding on the
and that it is the duty of the State to strengthen the court.44
solidarity of the family.33 Congress has also affirmed
as a State and national policy that courts shall A reading of the facts alleged in the Information reveals that
preserve the solidarity of the family. 34 In this Sato is being charged not with simple estafa but with
connection, the spirit of Article 332 is to preserve the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public
family harmony and obviate scandal. 35The view that documents. In particular, the Information states that Sato, by
relationship by affinity is not affected by the death of means of deceit, intentionally defrauded Manolita committed as
one of the parties to the marriage that created it is follows:
more in accord with family solidarity and harmony.
(a) Sato presented a document to Manolita (who was
Fourth, the fundamental principle in applying and in already blind at that time) and induced her to sign and
interpreting criminal laws is to resolve all doubts in thumbmark the same;
favor of the accused. In dubio pro reo. When in doubt,
rule for the accused. 36 This is in consonance with the (b) he made Manolita believe that the said document
constitutional guarantee that the accused shall be was in connection with her taxes when it was in fact a
presumed innocent unless and until his guilt is special power of attorney (SPA) authorizing his minor
established beyond reasonable doubt. 37 daughter Wendy to sell, assign, transfer or otherwise
dispose of Manolita’s properties in Tagaytay City;
Intimately related to the in dubio pro reo principle is the rule of
lenity.38 The rule applies when the court is faced with two (c) relying on Sato’s inducement and representation,
possible interpretations of a penal statute, one that is Manolita signed and thumbmarked the SPA in favor of
prejudicial to the accused and another that is favorable to him. Wendy Mitsuko Sato, daughter of Sato;
The rule calls for the adoption of an interpretation which is
more lenient to the accused.
(d) using the document, he sold the properties to third
parties but he neither delivered the proceeds to
Lenity becomes all the more appropriate when this case is Manolita nor accounted for the same and
viewed through the lens of the basic purpose of Article 332 of
the Revised Penal Code to preserve family harmony by
providing an absolutory cause. Since the goal of Article 332(1) (d) despite repeated demands, he failed and refused
is to benefit the accused, the Court should adopt an application to deliver the proceeds, to the damage and prejudice
or interpretation that is more favorable to the accused. In this of the estate of Manolita.
case, that interpretation is the continuing affinity view.
The above averments in the Information show that the estafa
was committed by attributing to Manolita (who participated in
Page 43 of 119
the execution of the document) statements other than those in proper conviction for the complex crime of estafa through
fact made by her. Manolita’s acts of signing the SPA and falsification of public document. That is the ruling in Gonzaludo
affixing her thumbmark to that document were the very v. People.46 It means that the prosecution must establish that
expression of her specific intention that something be done the accused resorted to the falsification of a public document
about her taxes. Her signature and thumbmark were the as a necessary means to commit the crime of estafa.
affirmation of her statement on such intention as she only
signed and thumbmarked the SPA (a document which she However, a proper appreciation of the scope and application of
could not have read) because of Sato’s representation that the Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code and of the nature of a
document pertained to her taxes. In signing and thumbmarking complex crime would negate exemption from criminal liability
the document, Manolita showed that she believed and adopted for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public
the representations of Sato as to what the document was all documents, simply because the accused may not be held
about, i.e., that it involved her taxes. Her signature and criminally liable for simple estafa by virtue of the absolutory
thumbmark, therefore, served as her conformity to Sato’s cause under Article 332.
proposal that she execute a document to settle her taxes.
The absolutory cause under Article 332 is meant to address
Thus, by inducing Manolita to sign the SPA, Sato made it specific crimes against property, namely, the simple crimes of
appear that Manolita granted his daughter Wendy a special theft, swindling and malicious mischief. Thus, all other crimes,
power of attorney for the purpose of selling, assigning, whether simple or complex, are not affected by the absolutory
transferring or otherwise disposing of Manolita’s Tagaytay cause provided by the said provision. To apply the absolutory
properties when the fact was that Manolita signed and cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code to one of
thumbmarked the document presented by Sato in the belief the component crimes of a complex crime for the purpose of
that it pertained to her taxes. Indeed, the document itself, the negating the existence of that complex crime is to unduly
SPA, and everything that it contained were falsely attributed to expand the scope of Article 332. In other words, to apply Article
Manolita when she was made to sign the SPA. 332 to the complex crime of estafa through falsification of
public document would be to mistakenly treat the crime of
Moreover, the allegations in the Information that estafa as a separate simple crime, not as the component crime
that it is in that situation. It would wrongly consider the
(1) "once in the possession of the said special power indictment as separate charges of estafa and falsification of
of attorney and other pertinent documents, [Sato] public document, not as a single charge for the single
made Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign the three (3) Deeds (complex) crime of estafa through falsification of public
of Absolute Sale" and document.

(2) "once in possession of the proceeds of the sale of Under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, the State waives
the above properties, said accused, misapplied, its right to hold the offender criminally liable for the simple
misappropriated and converted the same to his own crimes of theft, swindling and malicious mischief and considers
personal use and benefit" raise the presumption that the violation of the juridical right to property committed by the
Sato, as the possessor of the falsified document and offender against certain family members as a private matter
the one who benefited therefrom, was the author and therefore subject only to civil liability. The waiver does not
thereof. apply when the violation of the right to property is achieved
through (and therefore inseparably intertwined with) a breach
of the public interest in the integrity and presumed authenticity
Furthermore, it should be noted that the prosecution moved for of public documents. For, in the latter instance, what is
the amendment of the Information so as to increase the involved is no longer simply the property right of a family
amount of damages from ₱1,150,000 to ₱22,034,000. This relation but a paramount public interest.
was granted by the trial court and was affirmed by the Court of
Appeals on certiorari. This meant that the amended Information
would now state that, while the total amount of consideration The purpose of Article 332 is to preserve family harmony and
stated in the deeds of absolute sale was only ₱1,150,000, Sato obviate scandal. 47 Thus, the action provided under the said
actually received the total amount of ₱22,034,000 as proceeds provision simply concerns the private relations of the parties as
of the sale of Manolita’s properties. 45 This also meant that the family members and is limited to the civil aspect between the
deeds of sale (which were public documents) were also offender and the offended party. When estafa is committed
falsified by making untruthful statements as to the amounts of through falsification of a public document, however, the matter
consideration stated in the deeds. acquires a very serious public dimension and goes beyond the
respective rights and liabilities of family members among
themselves. Effectively, when the offender resorts to an act
Therefore, the allegations in the Information essentially that breaches public interest in the integrity of public
charged a crime that was not simple estafa. Sato resorted to documents as a means to violate the property rights of a family
falsification of public documents (particularly, the special power member, he is removed from the protective mantle of the
of attorney and the deeds of sale) as a necessary means to absolutory cause under Article 332.
commit the estafa.
In considering whether the accused is liable for the complex
Since the crime with which respondent was charged was not crime of estafa through falsification of public documents, it
simple estafa but the complex crime of estafa through would be wrong to consider the component crimes separately
falsification of public documents, Sato cannot avail himself of from each other. While there may be two component crimes
the absolutory cause provided under Article 332 of the Revised (estafa and falsification of documents), both felonies are
Penal Code in his favor. animated by and result from one and the same criminal intent
for which there is only one criminal liability. 48 That is the
Effect of Absolutory Cause Under Article 332 on Criminal concept of a complex crime. In other words, while there are two
Liability For The Complex Crime of Estafa Through crimes, they are treated only as one, subject to a single
Falsification of Public Documents criminal liability.

The question may be asked: if the accused may not be held As opposed to a simple crime where only one juridical right or
criminally liable for simple estafa by virtue of the absolutory interest is violated (e.g., homicide which violates the right to
cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, should he life, theft which violates the right to property), 49 a complex
not be absolved also from criminal liability for the complex crime constitutes a violation of diverse juridical rights or
crime of estafa through falsification of public documents? No. interests by means of diverse acts, each of which is a simple
crime in itself.50 Since only a single criminal intent underlies the
True, the concurrence of all the elements of the two crimes of diverse acts, however, the component crimes are considered
estafa and falsification of public document is required for a as elements of a single crime, the complex crime. This is the

Page 44 of 119
correct interpretation of a complex crime as treated under for the consummation thereof, it does not mean that the
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. falsification of the document cannot be considered as a
necessary means to commit the estafa under that provision.
In the case of a complex crime, therefore, there is a formal (or
ideal) plurality of crimes where the same criminal intent results The phrase "necessary means" does not connote
in two or more component crimes constituting a complex crime indispensable means for if it did, then the offense as a
for which there is only one criminal liability. 51 (The complex "necessary means" to commit another would be an
crime of estafa through falsification of public document falls indispensable element of the latter and would be an ingredient
under this category.) This is different from a material (or real) thereof.55 In People v. Salvilla,56 the phrase "necessary means"
plurality of crimes where different criminal intents result in two merely signifies that one crime is committed to facilitate and
or more crimes, for each of which the accused incurs criminal insure the commission of the other. 57 In this case, the crime of
liability.52 The latter category is covered neither by the concept falsification of public document, the SPA, was such a
of complex crimes nor by Article 48. "necessary means" as it was resorted to by Sato to facilitate
and carry out more effectively his evil design to swindle his
Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, the formal mother-in-law. In particular, he used the SPA to sell the
plurality of crimes (concursus delictuorum or concurso de Tagaytay properties of Manolita to unsuspecting third persons.
delitos) gives rise to a single criminal liability and requires the
imposition of a single penalty: When the offender commits in a public document any of the
acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171 of the Revised
Although [a] complex crime quantitatively consists of two or Penal Code as a necessary means to commit another crime,
more crimes, it is only one crime in law on which a single like estafa, theft or malversation, the two crimes form a
penalty is imposed and the two or more crimes constituting the complex crime under Article 48 of the same Code.58 The
same are more conveniently termed as component falsification of a public, official or commercial document may be
crimes.53 (emphasis supplied) a means of committing estafa because, before the falsified
document is actually utilized to defraud another, the crime of
falsification has already been consummated, damage or intent
—∞——∞——∞— to cause damage not being an element of the crime of
falsification of a public, official or commercial document. 59 In
In [a] complex crime, although two or more crimes are actually other words, the crime of falsification was committed prior to
committed, they constitute only one crime in the eyes of the the consummation of the crime of estafa.60 Actually utilizing the
law as well as in the conscience of the offender. The offender falsified public, official or commercial document to defraud
has only one criminal intent. Even in the case where an offense another is estafa. 61 The damage to another is caused by the
is a necessary means for committing the other, the evil intent of commission of estafa, not by the falsification of the
the offender is only one. 54 document.621avvphi1

For this reason, while a conviction for estafa through Applying the above principles to this case, the allegations in
falsification of public document requires that the elements of the Information show that the falsification of public document
both estafa and falsification exist, it does not mean that the was consummated when Sato presented a ready-made SPA to
criminal liability for estafa may be determined and considered Manolita who signed the same as a statement of her intention
independently of that for falsification. The two crimes of estafa in connection with her taxes. While the falsification was
and falsification of public documents are not separate crimes consummated upon the execution of the SPA, the
but component crimes of the single complex crime of estafa consummation of the estafa occurred only when Sato later
and falsification of public documents. utilized the SPA. He did so particularly when he had the
properties sold and thereafter pocketed the proceeds of the
Therefore, it would be incorrect to claim that, to be criminally sale. Damage or prejudice to Manolita was caused not by the
liable for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of falsification of the SPA (as no damage was yet caused to the
public document, the liability for estafa should be considered property rights of Manolita at the time she was made to sign
separately from the liability for falsification of public document. the document) but by the subsequent use of the said
Such approach would disregard the nature of a complex crime document. That is why the falsification of the public document
and contradict the letter and spirit of Article 48 of the Revised was used to facilitate and ensure (that is, as a necessary
Penal Code. It would wrongly disregard the distinction between means for) the commission of the estafa.
formal plurality and material plurality, as it improperly treats the
plurality of crimes in the complex crime of estafa through The situation would have been different if Sato, using the same
falsification of public document as a mere material plurality inducement, had made Manolita sign a deed of sale of the
where the felonies are considered as separate crimes to be properties either in his favor or in favor of third parties. In that
punished individually. case, the damage would have been caused by, and at exactly
the same time as, the execution of the document, not prior
Falsification of Public Documents May Be a Necessary thereto. Therefore, the crime committed would only have been
Means for Committing Estafa Even Under Article 315 (3[a]) the simple crime of estafa.63 On the other hand, absent any
inducement (such as if Manolita herself had been the one who
asked that a document pertaining to her taxes be prepared for
The elements of the offense of estafa punished under Article her signature, but what was presented to her for her signature
315 (3[a]) of the Revised Penal Code are as follows: was an SPA), the crime would have only been the simple crime
of falsification.64
(1) the offender induced the offended party to sign a
document; WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision
dated August 9, 2007 and the resolution dated January 23,
(2) deceit was employed to make the offended party 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. S.P. No. 95260
sign the document; are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is remanded to the
trial court which is directed to try the accused with dispatch for
the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public
(3) the offended party personally signed the document
documents.
and

SO ORDERED.
(4) prejudice is caused to the offended party.

G.R. No. 186080 August 14, 2009


While in estafa under Article 315(a) of the Revised Penal
Code, the law does not require that the document be falsified

Page 45 of 119
JULIUS AMANQUITON, Petitioner, this Honorable Court, the above-named accused in conspiracy
vs. with one another, armed with nightstick, did then and there
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and use
personal violence, a form of physical abuse, upon the person
DECISION of Leoselie John A. [Bañaga], seventeen (17) years old, a
minor, by then and there manhandling him and hitting him with
their nightsticks, thus, constituting other acts of child abuse,
CORONA, J.: which is inimical or prejudicial to child’s development, in
violation of the above-mentioned law.
Petitioner Julius Amanquiton was a purok leader of Barangay
Western Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila. As a purokleader and CONTRARY TO LAW.
barangay tanod, he was responsible for the maintenance of
cleanliness, peace and order of the community.
On arraignment, petitioner and Amante both pleaded not guilty.
Gepulane remains at-large.
At 10:45 p.m. on October 30, 2001, petitioner heard an
explosion. He, together with two auxiliary tanod, Dominador
Amante1 and a certain Cabisudo, proceeded to Sambong During the trial, the prosecution presented the following
Street where the explosion took place. Thereafter, they saw witnesses: Dr. Paulito Cruz, medico-legal officer of the Taguig-
complainant Leoselie John Bañaga being chased by a certain Pateros District Hospital who attended to Bañaga on October
Gil Gepulane. Upon learning that Bañaga was the one who 30, 2001, Bañaga himself, Alimpuyo and Rachelle Bañaga
threw the pillbox2 that caused the explosion, petitioner and his (complainant’s mother).
companions also went after him.
The defense presented the testimonies of petitioner, Amante
On reaching Bañaga’s house, petitioner, Cabisudo and Amante and Briccio Cuyos, then deputy chief barangay tanodof the
knocked on the door. When no one answered, they decided to same barangay. Cuyos testified that the blotter notation
hide some distance away. After five minutes, Bañaga came out entered by Gepulane and Bañaga was signed in his presence
of the house. At this juncture, petitioner and his companions and that they read the contents thereof before affixing their
immediately apprehended him. Bañaga's aunt, Marilyn signatures.
Alimpuyo, followed them to the barangay hall.
On May 10, 2005, the RTC found petitioner and Amante guilty
Bañaga was later brought to the police station. On the way to beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged.7 The
the police station, Gepulane suddenly appeared from nowhere dispositive portion of the RTC decision read:
and boxed Bañaga in the face. This caused petitioner to order
Gepulane’s apprehension along with Bañaga. An incident WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court finds the
report was made.3 accused JULIUS AMANQUITON and DOMINADOR AMANTE
"GUILTY" beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Article VI
During the investigation, petitioner learned Bañaga had been Sec. 10 (a) of Republic Act 7610 in relation to Section 3 (j) of
previously mauled by a group made up of a certain Raul, Boyet Republic Act 8369, hereby sentences accused JULIUS
and Cris but failed to identify two others. The mauling was the AMANQUITON and DOMINADOR AMANTE a straight penalty
result of gang trouble in a certain residental compound in of thirty (30) days of Arresto Menor.1avvphi1
Taguig City. Bañaga’s mauling was recorded in a barangay
blotter which read: Both accused Julius Amanquiton and Dominador Amante are
hereby directed to pay Leoselie John A. Banaga the following:
10-30-201
Time: 10-15 p.m. 1. Actual damages in the amount of P5,000.00;

RECORD purposes 2. Moral Damages in the amount of P 30,000.00; and

Dumating dito sa Barangay Head Quarters si Dossen4 Bañaga 3. Exemplary damages in the amount of P 20,000.00.
is Alimpuyo 16 years old student nakatira sa 10 B Kalachuchi
St. M.B.T. M.M. The case against the accused Gil Gepulane is hereby sent to
the ARCHIVES to be revived upon the arrest of the accused.
Upang ireklamo yong sumapak sa akin sina Raul[,] Boyet [at] Let [a] warrant of arrest be issued against him.
Cris at yong dalawang sumapak ay hindi ko kilala. Nang yari ito
kaninang 10:p.m. araw ng [M]artes taong kasalukuyan at yong SO ORDERED.
labi ko pumutok at yong kabilang mata ko ay namaga sa
bandang kanan. Ang iyong kaliwang mukha at pati yong likod
ko ay may tama sa sapak. Amanquiton’s motion for reconsideration was denied. 8

Patunay dito ang aking lagda. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal which was given due course.
On August 28, 2008, the CA rendered a decision9which
affirmed the conviction but increased the penalty. The
Dossen Banaga (sgd.) dispositive portion of the assailed CA decision read:

Thereafter, an Information for violation of Section 10 (a), Article WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing the Decision appealed
VI, RA5 71606 in relation to Section 5 (j) of R.A. 8369 was filed from is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The accused-
against petitioner, Amante and Gepulane. The Information appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of four (4) years,
read: two (2) months and one (1) day of prision
correccional maximum up to eight (8) years of prision mayor
The undersigned 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor accuses minimum as maximum. In addition to the damages already
Julius Amanquiton, Dominador Amante and Gil Gepulane of awarded, a fine of thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) is
the crime of Violations of Section 10 (a) Article VI, Republic Act hereby solidarily imposed the proceeds of which shall be
No. 7610 in relation to Section 5 (j) of R.A. No. 8369 committed administered as a cash fund by the DSWD.
as follows:
IT IS SO ORDERED.
That on the 30th day of October, 2001, in the Municipality of
Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
Page 46 of 119
Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was denied. 10 appear in the records facts and circumstances of real weight
which might have been overlooked or misapprehended, this
Hence, this petition. Petitioner principally argues that the facts Court cannot shirk from its duty to sift fact from fiction.
of the case as established did not constitute a violation of
Section 10 (a), Article VI of RA 7160 and definitely did not We apply the pro reo principle and the equipoise rule in this
prove the guilt of petitioner beyond reasonable doubt. case. Where the evidence on an issue of fact is in question or
there is doubt on which side the evidence weighs, the doubt
The Constitution itself provides that in all criminal prosecutions, should be resolved in favor of the accused. 18 If inculpatory
the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is facts and circumstances are capable of two or more
proved.11 An accused is entitled to an acquittal unless his guilt explanations, one consistent with the innocence of the accused
is shown beyond reasonable doubt. 12 It is the primordial duty of and the other consistent with his guilt, then the evidence does
the prosecution to present its side with clarity and persuasion, not fulfill the test of moral certainty and will not justify a
so that conviction becomes the only logical and inevitable conviction.19
conclusion, with moral certainty. 13
Time and again, we have held that:
The necessity for proof beyond reasonable doubt was
discussed in People v. Berroya:14 Republic Act No. 7610 is a measure geared towards the
implementation of a national comprehensive program for the
[Proof beyond reasonable doubt] lies in the fact that in a survival of the most vulnerable members of the population, the
criminal prosecution, the State is arrayed against the subject; it Filipino children, in keeping with the Constitutional mandate
enters the contest with a prior inculpatory finding in its hands; under Article XV, Section 3, paragraph 2, that "The State shall
with unlimited means of command; with counsel usually of defend the right of the children to assistance, including
authority and capacity, who are regarded as public officers, as proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all
therefore as speaking semi-judicially, and with an attitude of forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other
tranquil majesty often in striking contrast to that of defendant conditions prejudicial to their development." This piece of
engaged in a perturbed and distracting struggle for liberty if not legislation supplies the inadequacies of existing laws treating
for life. These inequalities of position, the law strives to meet by crimes committed against children, namely, the Revised Penal
the rule that there is to be no conviction where there is Code and Presidential Decree No. 603 or the Child and Youth
reasonable doubt of guilt. However, proof beyond reasonable Welfare Code. As a statute that provides for a mechanism for
doubt requires only moral certainty or that degree of proof strong deterrence against the commission of child abuse and
which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind. exploitation, the law has stiffer penalties for their commission,
and a means by which child traffickers could easily be
prosecuted and penalized. Also, the definition of child abuse is
The RTC and CA hinged their finding of petitioner’s guilt expanded to encompass not only those specific acts of child
beyond reasonable doubt (of the crime of child abuse) solely abuse under existing laws but includes also "other acts of
on the supposed positive identification by the complainant and neglect, abuse, cruelty or exploitation and other conditions
his witness (Alimpuyo) of petitioner and his co-accused as the prejudicial to the child’s development."20
perpetrators of the crime.
However, this noble statute should not be used as a sharp
We note Bañaga’s statement that, when he was apprehended sword, ready to be brandished against an accused even if
by petitioner and Amante, there were many people there is a patent lack of proof to convict him of the crime. The
around.15 Yet, the prosecution presented only Bañaga and his right of an accused to liberty is as important as a minor’s right
aunt, Alimpuyo, as witnesses to the mauling incident itself. not to be subjected to any form of abuse. Both are enshrined in
Where were the other people who could have testified, in an the Constitution. One need not be sacrificed for the other.
unbiased manner, on the alleged mauling of Bañaga by
petitioner and Amante, as supposedly witnessed by
Alimpuyo?16 The testimonies of the two other prosecution There is no dearth of law, rules and regulations protecting a
witnesses, Dr. Paulito Cruz and Rachelle Bañaga, did not child from any and all forms of abuse. While unfortunately,
fortify Bañaga’s claim that petitioner mauled him, for the incidents of maltreatment of children abound amidst social ills,
following reasons: Dr. Cruz merely attended to Bañaga’s care has to be likewise taken that wayward youths should not
injuries, while Rachelle testified that she saw Bañaga only after be cuddled by a misapplication of the law. Society, through its
the injuries have been inflicted on him. laws, should correct the deviant conduct of the youth rather
than take the cudgels for them. Lest we regress to a culture of
juvenile delinquency and errant behavior, laws for the
We note furthermore that, Bañaga failed to controvert the protection of children against abuse should be applied only and
validity of the barangay blotter he signed regarding the mauling strictly to actual abusers.
incident which happened prior to his apprehension by
petitioner. Neither did he ever deny the allegation that he
figured in a prior battery by gang members. The objective of this seemingly catch-all provision on abuses
against children will be best achieved if parameters are set in
the law itself, if only to prevent baseless accusations against
All this raises serious doubt on whether Bañaga’s injuries were innocent individuals. Perhaps the time has come for Congress
really inflicted by petitioner, et al., to the exclusion of other to review this matter and institute the safeguards necessary for
people. In fact, petitioner testified clearly that Gepulane, who the attainment of its laudable ends.
had been harboring a grudge against Bañaga, came out of
nowhere and punched Bañaga while the latter was being
brought to the police station. Gepulane, not petitioner, could We reiterate our ruling in People v. Mamalias:21
very well have caused Bañaga's injuries.
We emphasize that the great goal of our criminal law and
Alimpuyo admitted that she did not see who actually caused procedure is not to send people to the gaol but to do justice.
the bloodied condition of Bañaga’s face because she had to The prosecution’s job is to prove that the accused is guilty
first put down the baby she was then carrying when the melee beyond reasonable doubt. Conviction must be based on the
started.17 More importantly, Alimpuyo stated that she was told strength of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the
by Bañaga that, while he was allegedly being held by the neck defense. Thus, when the evidence of the prosecution is not
by petitioner, others were hitting him. Alimpuyo was obviously enough to sustain a conviction, it must be rejected and the
testifying not on what she personally saw but on what Bañaga accused absolved and released at once.
told her.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The August
While we ordinarily do not interfere with the findings of the 28, 2008 decision and January 15, 2009 resolution of Court of
lower courts on the trustworthiness of witnesses, when there Appeals are reversed and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Julius

Page 47 of 119
Amanquiton is hereby ACQUITTED of violation of Section 10 The accused's defense was an alibi. He alleged that from 4:00
(a), Article VI of RA 7160. o'clock in the afternoon of December 30, 1980, he and his
father had been in the house of Silverio Perol in Barangay
SO ORDERED. Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, where they spent the
night drinking over a slaughtered dog as "pulutan," until 8:00
o'clock in the morning of the following day, December 31,
G.R. No. L-66884 May 28, 1988 1980.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, The accused and his companion, admittedly members of the
vs. dreaded NPA (New People's Army) were not apprehended
VICENTE TEMBLOR alias "RONALD," defendant-appellant. earlier because they hid in the mountains of Malapong with
other members- followers of the New People's Army. Temblor
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. surrendered to Mayor Dick Carmona of Nasipit during the mass
surrender of dissidents in August, 1981. He was arrested by
Wilfred D. Asis for defendant-appellant. the Buenavista Police at the Buenavista public market on
November 26, 1981 and detained at the Buenavista municipal
jail.

GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:
The accused capitalized the fact that the victim's widow,
Victorina, did not know him by name. That circumstance
The accused-appellant Vicente Temblor alias "Ronald" was allegedly renders the Identification of the accused, as the
charged with the crime of murder in Criminal Case No. 1809 of perpetrator of her husband's killing, insufficient. However,
the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of during the trial, the accused was positively identified by the
Agusan del Norte and Butuan City for shooting to death Julius widow who recognized him because she was less than a meter
Cagampang. The information alleged: away from him inside the store which was well lighted inside by
a 40-watt flourescent lamp and by an incandescent lamp
That on or about the evening of December outside. Her testimony was corroborated by another
30, 1980 at Talo-ao, Buenavista, Agusan del prosecution witness — a tricycle driver, Claudio Sabanal —
Norte, Philippines and within the jurisdiction who was a long-time acquaintance of the accused and who
of this Honorable Court, the said accused knew him as "Ronald." He saw the accused in the store of
conspiring, and confederating with one Cagampang at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening of December
another with Anecito Ellevera who is at large, 30, 1980. He heard the gunshots coming from inside the store,
did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and and saw the people scampering away.
feloniously, with treachery and with intent to
kill, attack, assault and shoot with firearms Dr. Alfredo Salonga who issued the post-mortem examination
one Julius Cagampang, hitting the latter on report certified that the victim sustained three (3) gunshot
the vital parts of the body thereby inflicting wounds.
mortal wounds, causing the direct and
instantaneous death of the said Julius
Rebutting the accused's alibi, the prosecution presented a
Cagampang.
Certification of the Nasipit Lumber Company's Personnel
Officer, Jose F. Tinga (Exh. D), and the NALCO Daily Time
CONTRARY TO LAW: Article 248 of the Record of Silverio Perol (Exh. D), showing that Perol was not
Revised Penal Code. at home drinking with the accused and his father, but was at
work on December 30, 1980 from 10:50 o'clock in the evening
Upon arraignment on June 8, 1982, he entered a plea of not up to 7:00 o'clock in the morning of December 31, 1980. The
guilty. After trial, he was convicted and sentenced to suffer the accused did not bother to overcome this piece of rebuttal
penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties evidence.
thereof under Articles 41 and 42 of the Revised Penal Code,
and to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of In this appeal, the appellant alleges that the court a quo erred:
P12,000 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
He appealed.
1. in finding that he was positively identified
by the prosecution witness as the killer of the
The evidence of the prosecution showed that at about 7:30 in deceased Julius Cagampang; and
the evening of December 30, 1980, while Cagampang, his wife
and their two children, were conversing in the store adjacent to
their house in Barangay Talo-ao, Buenavista, Province of 2. in rejecting his defense of allbi.
Agusan del Norte, the accused Vicente Temblor alias Ronald,
arrived and asked to buy a half-pack of Hope cigarettes. While The appeal deserves no merit. Was the accused positively
Cagampang was opening a pack of cigarettes, there was a Identified as the killer of Cagampang? The settled rule is that
sudden burst of gunfire and Cagampang instantly fell on the the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses while
floor, wounded and bleeding on the head. His wife Victorina, testifying is generally binding on the appellate court because of
upon seeing that her husband had been shot, shouted her its superior advantage in observing their conduct and
husband's name "Jul" Two persons, one of whom she later demeanor and its findings, when supported by convincingly
Identified as the accused, barged into the interior of the store credible evidence as in the case at bar, shall not be disturbed
through the main door and demanded that she brings out her on appeal (People vs. Dava, 149 SCRA, 582).<äre||anº•1àw>
husband's firearm. "Igawas mo ang iyang armas!" ("You let out
his firearm!") they shouted. The accused fired two more shots The minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the eyewitness
at the fallen victim. Terrified, Victorina hurried to get the Victorina Vda. de Cagampang did not diminish her credibility,
"maleta" (suitcase) where her husband's firearm was hidden. especially because she had positively Identified the accused as
She gave the suitcase to the accused who, after inspecting its her husband's assailant, and her testimony is corroborated by
contents, took her husband's .38 caliber revolver, and fled. the other witnesses. Her testimony is credible, probable and
entirely in accord with human experience.
In 1981, some months after the incident, Victorina was
summoned to the Buenavista police station by the Station Appellant's self-serving and uncorroborated alibi cannot prevail
Commander Milan, where she saw and Identified the accused over the positive Identification made by the prosecution
as the man who killed her husband. witnesses who had no base motives to falsely accuse him of
the crime. Furthermore, the rule is that in order for an alibi to
be acceptable as a defense, it is not enough that the appellant
Page 48 of 119
was somewhere else when the crime was committed; it must because the Samal tribe, to which he belongs, does not see
be demonstrated beyond doubt that it was physically the importance of registering births and deaths.
impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. Here it was
admitted that Perol's house in barrio Camagong, Nasipit is Usman was convicted on the bases of the testimony of a lone
accessible to barrio Talo-ao in Buenavista by jeep or tricycle eyewitness for the prosecution and the sloppiness of the
via a well-paved road in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. The investigation conducted by the police investigator, Police
testimony of the witnesses who had positively Identified him Corporal Rogelio Carpio of the Homicide and Arson Section of
could not be overcome by the defendant's alibi. (People vs. the Zamboanga City Police Station, who also testified for the
Mercado, 97 SCRA 232; People vs. Venancio Ramilo, 146 prosecution.
SCRA 258.)
We rule that Usman Hassan's guilt was not proved beyond
Appellant's alleged lack of motive for killing Cagampang was reasonable doubt and that Usman Hassan must, therefore, be
rejected by the trial court which opined that the defendant's set free.
knowledge that Cagampang possessed a firearm was motive
enough to kill him as killings perpetrated by members of the
New People's Army for the sole purpose of acquiring more The lone eyewitness for the prosecution is Jose Samson, 24
arms and ammunition for their group are prevalent not only in years old when he testified, married, and a resident of
Agusan del Norte but elsewhere in the country. It is known as Zamboanga City. On the day of the killing, he was employed at
the NPA's "agaw armas" campaign. Moreover, proof of motive the sand and gravel business of the father of the deceased but
is not essential when the culprit has been positively Identified was jobless at the time of his examination-in-chief on February
(People vs. Tan, Jr., 145 SCRA 615). 3, 1982.

The records further show that the accused and his companion He testified that he was with Ramon Pichel, Jr. at about 7:00
fled after killing Cagampang and taking his firearm. They hid in o'clock in the evening of July 23, 1981; that he was a backrider
the mountains of Agusan del Norte. Their flight was an implied in the motorcycle of Ramon when they went to buy mangoes at
admission of guilt (People vs. Dante Astor, 149 SCRA 325; Fruit Paradise near the Barter Trade Zone in Zamboanga City
People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 422). that while he was selecting mangoes, he saw a person stab
Ramon who was seated at his red Honda motorcycle which
was parked about two or three meters from the fruit stand
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all where he Samson) was selecting mangoes; that he saw the
respects, except as to the civil indemnity payable to the heirs of assailant stab Ramon "only once" and that after the stabbing,
the Julius Cagampang which is increased to P30,000.00. the assailant ran towards the PNB Building. When asked at the
cross-examination if he knew the assailant, Samson said, "I
SO ORDERED. know him by face but I do not know his name." 5

G.R. No. L-68969 January 22, 1988 This sole eyewitness recounted the stabbing thus: "While
Ramoncito Pichel, Jr. was holding the motorcycle with both of
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, his hands, the assailant come from behind, held his left hand
vs. and stabbed him from behind on his chest while the victim was
USMAN HASSAN y AYUN, respondent. sitting on the motorcycle." He claimed that he was able to see
the assailant because it was very bright there that Ramon was
facing the light of a petromax lamp, and that all these
happened in front of the fruit stand a — distance of about 6 to 7
SARMIENTO, J.: meters from the side of the road.

This is a pauper's appeal of the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Samson described the assailant as wearing a white, short-
Court of Zamboanga City, Ninth Judicial Region Branch XIII, sleeved t-shirt and maong pants, but "he did not see if the
dated January 25, 1984, which "finds the accused USMAN aggressor was wearing shoes," that the assailant stabbed
HASSAN y AYUN guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal Ramon with a knife but "he did not exactly see what kind of
of the Crime of MURDER, and there being neither aggravating knife it was, and he did not see how long the knife was He said
nor mitigating circumstance attending the commission of the he brought the wounded Ramon to the Zamboanga City
crime, and pursuant to Paragraph No. 1 of Article 64 of the General Hospital in a tricycle.
Revised Penal Code, hereby imposes upon the said accused
the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and all its accessory
penalties; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased victim Ramon On cross-examination, Samson testified:
Pichel, Jr. y Uro the amount of P12,000.00 and to pay the
costs." 2 xxx xxx xxx

Usman Hassan was accused of murder for stabbing to death Q When you rushed
Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro, 24, single, and a resident of Ramon Pichel, Jr. to the
Zamboanga City. 3 At the time of his death on July 23,1981, hospital you came to know
the deceased was employed as manager of the sand and that he was already dead,
gravel business of his father. On the other hand, Hassan was is that correct?
an illiterate, 15-year-old pushcart cargador. 4
A Yes, sir, I learned that he was already
The quality of justice and the majesty of the law shine ever dead.
brightest when they are applied with more jealousy to the poor,
the marginalized, and the disadvantaged. Usman Hassan, the Q In the hospital, were you investigated by
herein accused-appellant, belongs to this class. At the time of the police?
the alleged commission of the crime, he was poor,
marginalized, and disadvantaged. He was a flotsam in a sea of
violence, following the odyssey of his widowed mother from A They just asked the
one poverty-stricken area to another in order to escape the description of that person
ravages of internicine war and rebellion in Zamboanga del Sur. as to his attire and his
In the 15 years of Hassan's existence, he and his family had to appearance.
evacuate to other places for fear of their lives, six times. His
existence in this world has not even been officially recorded; Q And it was while in the
his birth has not been registered in the Registry of Births hospital that you told them
the description of the one
Page 49 of 119
who stabbed Ramon other and immediately
Pichel, Jr.? thereafter, he fled the area
toward the Philippine
A Yes, Sir. National Bank (PNB). That
this unidentified person
was sporting a semi-long
Q And the body of Ramon Pichel, Jr., was hair, dressed in White
brought to the Funeraria La Merced? Polo-Shirt (Short sleeve),
maong pants height to
A Yes, sir, more or less 5'5, Dark
Complexion. That as this
Q Can you recall what time was that? unidentified person fled the
area I immediately came to
aid my companion, Ramon
A I do not know what time was that. Pitcher, Jr., and rushed
him to Zamboanga
Q And it was all La Merced Funeraria that General Hospital, on board
the police brought to you the accused? a Tricycle. That may
companion (Ramon) did
not whispered (sic) any
A...
words to me for he was in
serious condition and few
Q For Identification? minutes later, he expired.

A Yes, sir. Q-15. Was tills unidentified


person was with
Q And he was alone when you Identified companion when he attack
him? (sic) Ramon Pitcher Jr.?

A Yes he was alone. A-15. He was alone Sir.

Q Aside from working with the Pichel family Q-16. Can you really
in their sand and gravel business, do you Identified (sic) this person
have any blood relationship with them? who attacked and stabbed
your companion, Ramon
Pitcher, Jr., that evening in
A Yes. sir. 6
question?

(Emphas
A-16. Yes, Sir,
is
supplied
) Q-17. Do you still
remember that
confrontation we made at
xxx xxx xxx
the Office of La Merced
Funeral Homes, wherein
What comes as a surprise is that Samson's statement 7 which you were confronted with
was taken only on July 25, 1981, two days after the stabbing, one Usman Hassan, whom
and sworn to only on July 27, 1981, also two days after it was this Officer brought along?
taken, or four days after the killing, was never presented or
mentioned by the prosecution at all. The information was
A-17. Yes, Sir.
practically forced out of Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, a
witness for the People, during his cross-examination. 8 The
sworn statement contained the following questions and Q-18. Was he the very
answers: person, who attacked and
stabbed your companion,
Ramon Pitcher, Jr.?
xxx xxx xxx

A-18. Yes, Sir, he was the


Q-14. What and please
very person who attacked
narrate it to me briefly in
and stabbed my
your own words, the
companion, Ramon
incident you are referring?
Pitcher, Jr., that evening in
question.
A-14. While I was busy
selecting some mangoes, I Q-19. Why?
saw unidentified person
whom I can recognize by
face if seen again A-19. Because his face
embraced my companion and other physical
Ramon Pitcher Jr. while appearance were fully
the latter was aboard his noted by me and this I
motorcycle parked within cannot forget for the rest of
the area. That this person my life.
without much ado, and
armed with a knife Q-20. Before this incident,
suddenly stabbed him was there any altercation
(Ramon). That by that had ensued while in
coincidence to this the process of buying
incident, our eye met each
Page 50 of 119
some mangoes in that We hold that the evidence for the prosecution in its entirety
area? does not satisfy the quantum of proof — beyond reasonable
doubt — required by the Constitution, the law, and applicable
A-20. None Sir. jurisprudence to convict an accused person. The said evidence
denies us the moral certainty which would allow us to
pronounce, without uneasiness of conscience. Usman Hassan
Q-21. Were you able to y Ayun guilty of the killing of the deceased Ramon Pichel, Jr. y
note what kind of knife Uro, and condemn him to life imprisonment and in effect
used by said Usman turning him into a flotsam again in a sea of convicted felons in
Hassan in stabbing your which he would be a very young stranger.
companion, Ramon
Pitcher Jr.?
In evaluating the worth of the testimony of the lone eyewitness
for the prosecution against the denial and alibi of the accused,
A-21: None Sir, value judgment must not be separated from the constitutionally
guaranteed presumption of innocence.
Q-22. Well, I have nothing
more to ask of you, do you When the evidence for the prosecution and
have anything more to say, the evidence for the accused are weighed,
add or alter in this the scales must be tipped in favor of the
statement? latter. This is because of the constitutional
presumtion of innocence the accused enjoys
A-22. No more Sir. as a counter-foil to the awesome authority of
the State that is prosecuting him.
Q-23. Are you willing to
give a supplemental The element of doubt, if reasonable in this
statement if needed in the case, must operate against the inference of
future? guilt the prosecution would draw from its
evidence. That evidence, as it happens,
A-23. Yes, Sir. 9 consists only of the uncorroborated
statement of the two policemen which, as
previously observed, is flawed and therefore
(Emphasis supplied) suspect. 12

xxx xxx xxx The testimony of Jose Samson, the lone eyewitness, is weak
and unconvincing. And so with the evidence sought to be
The version of the sole eyewitness appearing in his introduced by Police Corporal Carpio. We discover, for
statement 10 is substantially the same as that embodied in the example, that the expert testimony of the medico-legal officer
"Case Report," Exhibit it "C", by Police Corporal Carpio, also of the National Bureau of Investigation, Dr. Valentin Bernalez,
admitted a s Exhibit "2." This exhibit for the prosecution presented by the prosecution, contradicted, on material points,
confirms the sworn statement of witness Samson that an the testimony of the one eyewitness, Jose Samson. While
unidentified person, whom he recognized only by face, Samson averred on the witness stand that he saw the assailant
appeared and without any provocation, the latter embraced the stab the deceased "from behind on his chest" 13 only once, the
victim and stabbed the same allegedly with a knife." The rest of NBI medico-legal officer Identified two stab wounds, one at the
the Case Report: is also significant in that it confirms the front portion of the chest at the level and third rib, (sic) and
confrontation between the accused and Jose Samson in the another stab wound located at the left arm posterior
funeral parlor arranged by the police Investigator and aspect." 14 The same medical expert also concluded from the
prosecution witness, Corporal Carpio. nature and location of the chest wound, which was the cause
of death, that the same was inflicted on the victim while the
alleged accused was in front of him." 15
xxx xxx xxx

The investigation of this case by the Homicide/Arson Section of


From this end, a follow-up was made within
the Zamboanga Southern Police Sector, 16 at Zamboanga City,
the premises of the Old Barter Trade,
particularly by Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, leaves much
wherein the person of USMAN HASSAN Y
to be desired. For one, we are not satisfied with the procedure
AYUN, of Paso Bolong, this City, was
adopted by the police investigators in the Identification of the
arrested in connection with the above stated
accused as the assailant. We have no doubt that Usman
incident. That this Officer and companions
Hassan was "presented" alone 17 to Jose Samson by the police
arrested this person Usman due to his
investigator and prosecution witness, Police Corporal Carpio,
physical appearance, which was fully
and his police companions, at the office of the La Merced
described by victim's companion. Jose
Funeral Homes in Zamboanga City. As correctly termed by the
Samson. During his arrest, a knife,
very evidence 18 of the prosecution, the procedure adopted by
measuring to more or less seven (7) inches
the police investigators was a confrontation" between Jose
in blade was confiscated in his possession.
Samson, Jr. and Usman. Earlier, on direct examination,
The person of Usman Hassan was brought
Corporal Carpio testified that Usman was alone when he was
along at the La Merced Funeral Homes for a
brought to Samson for confrontation in the funeral parlor.
confrontation with victims companion, Jose
However, on cross-examination, Carpio made a turnabout by
Samson and in this confrontation, Jose
saying that the accused was Identified by Samson in a "police
Samson positively Identified said Usman
line-up;" this tergiversation we dare say, was an afterthought,
Hassan as the very person who stabbed the
more the result of an over or careless cross-examination,
victim.
augmented by the leading questions 19 of the trial judge rather
than a fastidiousness if not sincerity, on the part of the police
Usman Hassan, on the other hand, denied investigator, to honestly correct erroneous statements in his
the charges levelled against hub and examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson and
admitted ownership of said knife; claiming the accused testified clearly and unequivocably that Usman
among other things that he used said knife was alone when presented to Samson by Carpio. There was
for slicing mangoes. 11 no such police line-up as the police investigator, to honestly
correct erreoneous statements in his examination-in-chief. The
xxx xxx xxx fact remains that both Samson and the accused testified
clearly and unequivocably that Usman was alone when
Page 51 of 119
presented to Samson by Carpio. There was no such police The trial of Usman Hassan began on October 27, 1981.
investigator claimed on second thought. Benhar Isa himself was killed by a policeman on August 28,
1981, while he (Isa) "was apparently under the influence of
The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to confront liquor armed with a knife (was) molesting and extorting money
and Identify the accused alone at the funeral parlor, without from innocent civilians' and "making trouble." 28 The records of
being placed in the police line-up, was "pointedly suggsestive, the case at bar do not show any attempt on the part of
generated confidence where there was none, activated visual Corporal Carpio, or any other police officer, to investigate or
imagination, and, all told, subserted his reliability as question Benhar Isa in connection with the killing of Pichel, Jr.
eyewitness. This unusual, coarse, and highly singular method Was it fear of the notorious police character that made the
of Identification, which revolts against the accepted principles police officers disregard the possible connection between the
of scientific crime detection, alienates the esteem of every just slaying of Ramon and that of the person (Harun Acan y Arang
man, and commands neither our respect nor acceptance." 20 of the Ministry of National Defense) 29 who was allegedly
stabbed by Benhar Isa a day after the killing of Ramon Jr.?
And yet questioning Isa might have provided that vital link to
Moreover, the confrontation arranged by the police investigator the resolution of Usman's guilt or innocence. But why should
between the self-proclaimed eyewitness and the accused did the police officers investigate Isa when Usman Hassan was
violence to the right of the latter to counsel in all stages of the already in custody and could be an available fall guy? Usman
investigation into the commission of a crime especially at its Hassan, instead, became a victim of a grave injustice. Indeed,
most crucial stage — the Identification of the accused. Usman Hassan is too poor to wage a legal fight to prove his
innocence. And he is so marginalized as to claim and deserve
As it turned out, the method of Identification became just a an honest-to-goodness, thorough, and fair police investigation
confrontation. At that critical and decisive moment, the scales with all angles and leads pursued to their logical, if not
of justice tipped unevenly against the young, poor, and scientific, conclusions. Sadly circumstanced as he is, the
disadvantaged accused. The police procedure adopted in this authority of the State was too awesome for him to counteract.
case in which only the accused was presented to witness
Samson, in the funeral parlor, and in the presence of the The appealed decision made much ado of the admission by
grieving relatives of the victim, is as tainted as an uncounselled Usman "that he was arrested at the former barter trade, which
confession and thus falls within the same ambit of the is a place just across the place of the stabbing at the Fruit
constitutionally entrenched protection. For this infringement Paradise." 30 The trial judge found it "therefore strange that on
alone, the accused-appellant should be acquitted. the very evening of the stabbing incident he was still at the
barter trade area by 8:00 o'clock in the evening when he
Moreover, aside from this slipshod Identification procedure, the usually comes to the city proper at about 6:00 o'clock in the
rest of the investigation of the crime and the preparation of the morning and goes home at past 5:00 o'clock and sometimes
evidence for prosecution were done haphazardly, perfunctorily, 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon." 31 Usman's explanation — that,
and superficially. Samson was not investigated thoroughly and at around 7:00 o'clock P.M., he was waiting for transportation
immediately after the incident. As previously mentioned, his to take him home — was found by the trial court as 'flimsy and
statement was taken by the investigator only two days after the weak since he did not explain why he had to go home late that
murder of Ramon Pichel, Jr. and sworn only two days after it evening." 32 But the whole trouble is nobody asked him. The
had been taken. Similarly, there is nothing in the record to trial judge did not propound any single question to the accused,
show that the fruit vendor—from whom Samson and the and only three to his mother on innocuous matters, by way of
deceased were buying mangoes that fateful evening and who clarification, if only to put on record what the mother and son
certainly must have witnessed the fatal stabbing—was could articulate with clarity. Taking into account their poverty
investigated, or why he was not investigated. Nor is any and illiteracy, the mother and son needed as much, if not more,
explanation given as to why the companion 21 of the accused help, than the trial judge extended to the prosecution witnesses
at the time Corporal Carpio arrested him (accused) 'sitting on a during their examination by asking them clarificatory and
pushcart " 22 at about 8:00 P.M. (around 7:00 P.M., according mostly leading questions. In that sense and to that extent, the
to Usman) of that same evening near the scene of the crime, accused was disadvantaged.
was not also investigated when he could have been a material
witness of the killing or of the innocence of the accused. In A fact that looms large, though mutely to testify on the
addition, the knife and its scabbard, 23Confiscated by Carpio innocence of the accused but the importance of which was
from Usman (tucked on the right side of his waist") at the time brushed away by the trial judge was the presence of the
of his arrest, were not even subjected to any testing at all to accused near the scene (about 100 to 150 meters away) soon
determine the presence of human blood which could be typed after the stabbing (he testified at around 7:00 P.M. although
and compared with the blood type of the deceased. A crime Police Corporal Carpio stated it was 8:00 P.M.) where he was
laboratory test — had Carpio or the prosecuting fiscal, or even found sitting on his pushcart with a companion. If he were the
the trial judge, insisted on it — would have revealed whether or assailant, he would have fled. But the trial court instead
not the knife in question (confiscated from the accused by indulged in conjecture, foisting the probability that the accused
Carpio one hour after the alleged commission of the crime) had 'was lulled by a false sense of security in returning to the place
indeed been the weapon used to kill Ramon. The police (of the stabbing), when no police officers immediately
investigator instead nonchalantly dismissed this sin of omission responded and appeared at the scene of the crime," adding
by saying that the knife could have been cleaned or the 'there are numerous cases in the past where criminals return to
bloodstain could have been taken away. 24 This presumption of the scene of their crimes, for reasons only psychologist can
the deadly weapon's having been "cleaned" of bloodstains is explain." 33 It must have escaped the trial court's attention that
tantamount to pronouncing the accused of being guilty. Usman has no criminal record, and, therefore, he could not be
generally classed with criminals. In the second place, the trial
Our doubt about the guilt of the accused is further deepened by court's rationalization ignores the biblical truism recognized by
a resolution, 25 in a separate case, 26 of Assistant City Fiscal of human nature and endorsed with approval by this Court that
Zamboanga City and deputized Tanod bayan Prosecutor Pablo "(T)he wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous are
Murillo, which clearly reveals that on July 24, 1981, a day after as bold as a lion." 34
the killing of Ramon Pichel, Jr., a similar stabbing took place at
Plaza Pershing near the place of the earlier incident, with the And now as a penultimate observation, we could not help but
suspect in that frustrated homicide case being a certain Benhar note the total absence of motive ascribed to Usman for
Isa, 'a notorious and a deadly police character" in Zamboanga stabbing Ramon, a complete stranger to him. While, as a
City, with a long record of arrests. In that resolution, Fiscal general rule, motive is not essential in order to arrive at a
Murillo said the same Benhar Isa was tagged as 'also a conviction, because, after all, motive is a state of
suspect in the stabbing of Ramon Pichel, Jr. to death and the mind, 35 procedurally, however, for purposes of complying with
stabbing of Pastor Henry Villagracia at the Fruit Paradise, this the requirement that a judgment of guilty must stem from proof
City." The said resolution further states that "with regards to beyond reasonable doubt, the lack of motive on the part of the
this incident or witnesses ever testified for fear of possible accused plays a pivotal role towards his acquittal. This is
reprisals." 27
Page 52 of 119
especially true where there is doubt as to the Identity of the this would not be of any moment now, considering the acquittal
culprit 36 as when 'the Identification is extremely tenuous," 37 as of the accused herein ordered.
in this case.
WHEREFORE, the decision is hereby REVERSED, and the
We can not end this travail without adverting to the cavalier accused Usman Hassan y Ayun is ACQUITTED of the crime
manner in which the trial court disregarded the claimed young charged. His release from confinement is hereby Ordered,
age of Usman Hassan. unless he is held for another legal cause. With costs de oficio.

The defense claims that the accused Usman SO ORDERED.


Hassan is a minor, basing such claim on the
testimony of Lahunay Hassan, the mother of G.R. No. 135919 May 9, 2003
said accused, who declared that her son
Usman Hassan, who is one of her four (4)
children, was born in the year 1967. She PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,
testified that she was just told by a person vs.
coming from their place about the year of the DANNY DELOS SANTOS Y FERNANDEZ, appellant.
birth of her son Usman. However on cross-
examination, Lahunay Hassan cannot even SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
remember the date or year of birth of her
other children. The failure of Lahunay For automatic review is the Decision1 dated October 2, 1998 of
Hassan to remember the date or year of birth the Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Malolos, Bulacan, in
of her children is of course understandable, Criminal Case No. 3551798, finding appellant Danny delos
considering that she is unschooled and she Santos guilty of the crime of murder and sentencing him to
belongs to a tribe that does not register suffer the penalty of death.
births, deaths or marriages, however, it is
strange that she only took pains to find out
the year of birth of her son Usman. For this In the Information2 dated February 23, 1998, appellant was
reason, the Court granted a motion of the charged with murder, thus:
defense on September 13, 1982, to have the
herein accused examined by a competent "That on or about the 6th day of November 1997, in
dentist to determine his age. However, the the Municipality of San Jose, Del Monte, Province of
findings of the dentist of Zamboanga General Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Hospital which is marked as Exhibit "5" Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed
shows the following: "age cannot be with a kitchen knife, with intent to kill one Rod Flores y
determined accurately under present mouth Juanitas, with evident premeditation, treachery and
conditions. Approximately, he can be from 14 taking advantage of superior strength, did then and
to 21 years of age." This simply means that there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
the herein accused could either be 14 years assault and stab with the said kitchen knife said Rod
of age or 21 years of age, or any age in Flores y Juanitas, hitting him on the different parts of
between those aforestated years. From the his body, thereby inflicting upon him mortal wounds
observation of this court, the accused Usman which directly caused his death."
Hassan was about 18 years of age at the
time he committed this crime and this
Upon arraignment, appellant pleaded "not guilty."3 Thereafter,
observation is based on his personal
trial on the merits ensued. The prosecution presented
appearance, his size and facial features and
Marcelino de Leon, Marvin Tablate, Dr. Benito Caballero and
other personal characteristics, hence he can
Romeo Flores as its witnesses. Appellant and Sonny Bautista
not be classified as a youthful offender under
took the witness stand for the defense.
Article. 189 of Presendential Decree No.
603, as ammended by Presedential Decree
No. 1179. In the case of U.S. vs. Mallari, 29 Marcelino De Leon testified that at around 8:00 p.m. of
Phil. 13 and People vs. Reyes and November 6, 1997, he saw Rod Flores drinking "gin" with
Panganiban, CA 48 O.G. 1022, cited in the Narciso Salvador, Marvin Tablate and Jayvee Rainier at the
Edition, Page 680, it was ruled by the latter's house in Sarmiento Homes, San Jose del Monte,
Supreme Court that "In cases where the age Bulacan.4 As he was about to fetch water from a nearby faucet,
of the culprit is at issue as a basis for he approached them and borrowed Flores' cart. 5 While waiting
claiming an exempting mitigating for the cart, he stood across Flores who was then seated and
circumstance, it is incumbent upon the conversing with the group. 6Suddenly, appellant emerged from
accused to establish that circumstance ad the back of Flores and stabbed him with a knife, 7 making an
any other elements of defense. 38 upward and downward thrust. 8 Flores ran after he was stabbed
twice.9 Appellant pursued him and stabbed him many
times.10As a result, Flores' intestines bulged out of his
Considering that the age of the accused could exempt him
stomach.11 Appellant ceased stabbing Flores only after he saw
from punishment or cause the suspension of his sentence
him dead. Thereafter, he turned his ire against Jayvee Rainier
under Articles 12 and 80, respectively of the Revised Penal
and chased him. Fearful for his life, witness De Leon hid
Code, if found guilty, more meticulousness and care should
himself and later on reported the incident to the police.12
have been demanded of medical or scientific sources, and less
reliance on the observation of the judge as had happened in
this case. The preliminary findings of the dentist that the Marvin Tablate corroborated De Leon's testimony. On cross-
accused could be anywhere between fourteen to twenty one examination, Tablate testified that he tried to help Flores by
years, despite the difficulty of arriving at an accurate separating him from the appellant who ran away. 13 He also
determination due to Hassan's mouth condition, would have testified that the latter joined his group at about 11:00 a.m. and
placed the trial judge on notice that there is the probability that kept on "coming back and forth."
the accused might be exempted from criminal liability due to
his young age. All the foregoing indicates that the accused had Dr. Caballero declared on the witness stand that Flores
not been granted the concern and compassion with which the suffered twenty-one (21) stab wounds in the frontal, posterior
poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged so critically deserve. It and lateral side of his body, eleven (11) of which were fatal. Dr.
is when judicial and police processes and procedures are Caballero said it was possible that appellant was behind Flores
thoughtlessly and haphazardly observed that cries of the law considering the stab wounds inflicted at his back.14 According
and justice being denied the poor are heard. In any event, all to the doctor, Flores died because of "massive external/internal
hemorrhages due to multiple stab wounds in the thorax and

Page 53 of 119
abdomen penetrating both lungs, heart, stomach, liver, spleen "I
and intestines."15
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING
Romeo Flores testified that his son Rod Flores was then FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE
working at Vitarich, Marilao, Bulacan, earning P600.00 every TESTIMONY OF THE ALLEGED EYEWITNESSES,
15th day of the month; 16 that he spent P100,000.00 for his AND IN NOT ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT
son's burial and wake; that he has receipts in the amount of ON GROUND OF REASONABLE DOUBT.
P19,110.00 spent for the funeral services and the cost of the
cemetery lot17 and a list of other expenses in the amount of "II
P35,960.00;18 and that his family has been grieving for the loss
of a loved one.
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ORDERING
ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO INDEMNIFY THE
Appellant had a different version of the events. He denied the HEIRS OF VICTIM THE AMOUNT OF P50,000.00
accusation and declared that on November 6, 1997 at 8:00 FOR VICTIM'S DEATH; P264,000.00 FOR LOSS OF
p.m., he was in his auntie's house in Muson, San Jose del EARNING CAPACITY; P55,070.00 FOR ACTUAL
Monte, Bulacan, 19 forty (40) meters away from the scene of the AND COMPENSATORY DAMAGES; P50,000.00
crime. He was then fetching water. 20 Earlier, at about 5:30 FOR MORAL DAMAGES; AND P50,000.00 FOR
p.m., he and Flores met but they did not greet each other. EXEMPLARY DAMAGES."23
There was no altercation between them. Hence, he could not
understand why De Leon and Tablate testified against him.
Appellant contends that there are some inconsistencies
between the testimonies of De Leon and Tablate, the
Sonny Bautista testified that on that particular date and time, prosecution witnesses. Also, there is no evidence that he has a
he and appellant were in their auntie's house in San Jose del motive to kill Flores. In fact, there was no previous heated
Monte, Bulacan. 21 They watched television up to 8:30 p.m. and argument or altercation between them. That the prosecution
then went home. At about 10:00 p.m., appellant was arrested. witnesses executed their sworn statements only after two
Bautista did not inform the policemen that they were watching months from the commission of the crime raises doubt as to
television in their auntie's house at the time the crime took their credibility. Finally, the evidence for the prosecution failed
place. Neither did he accompany appellant to the police to meet the exacting test of moral certainty, hence, the trial
station.22 court should not have ordered him to indemnify the heirs of
Flores.
On October 2, 1998, the trial court rendered a Decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads: The Solicitor General, in the Appellee's brief, counters that: (a)
the inconsistencies pointed out by appellant are minor and do
"All premises considered, this Court resolves and so not vitiate the fact that he was the one who killed Flores; (b)
holds that the prosecution has been able to establish appellant's defenses of alibi and denial are worthless since he
the criminal culpability of the accused beyond was positively identified by the prosecution witnesses; (c) he
reasonable doubt. Accordingly, Danny delos Santos is failed to proffer any explanation why the prosecution witnesses
hereby found guilty of the crime of Murder with the implicated him; (d) the crime was aggravated by cruelty
qualifying circumstance of treachery. because he "butchered" Flores until his intestines bulged out of
his stomach; and (e) the heirs of Flores are entitled to
"In the imposition of the penalty, the Court hereby indemnification as it has been shown beyond reasonable doubt
takes into account the brutality in the manner by that appellant killed him.
which the life of the victim was taken, and if only to
serve as deterrent to others who might be similarly The first assigned error involves a determination of the
obsessed, it is believed that the higher of the two credibility of the prosecution witnesses. Settled is the rule that
penalties provided should be meted to the accused when it comes to credibility of witnesses, appellate courts
herein. Absent any circumstance that would mitigate generally do not overturn the findings of trial courts. The latter
the severity of his criminal act and pursuant to Articles are in a best position to ascertain and measure the sincerity
248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by and spontaneity of witnesses through their actual observation
Section 6, Republic Act no. 7659, the accused Danny of the witnesses' manner of testifying, demeanor and behavior
delos Santos y Fernandez is hereby sentenced to in court.24
suffer the penalty of Death by lethal injection.
We see no reason to deviate from this rule.
"Further, the accused is condemned to indemnify the
heirs of the deceased the amount of P50,000.00 for Appellant maintains that there are inconsistencies in the
the victim's death. Moreover, accused delos Santos is testimonies of De Leon and Tablate. While De Leon testified
ordered to pay the said heirs of the deceased Rod that appellant did not join Flores' group, however, Tablate
Flores the following sums of money: declared that he was drinking "gin" with them at about 11:00
a.m. De Leon testified that no one assisted Flores when he
1. P264,000.00 for loss of earning capacity; was being attacked by appellant. However, Tablate stated that
he attempted to separate Flores from appellant after the former
2. P55,070.00 for actual and compensatory had sustained two stab wounds.
damages;
The first alleged inconsistency is understandable. Unlike
3. P50,000.00 for moral damages; Tablate who was with the group in a drinking spree, De Leon
approached Flores only when he borrowed the cart from the
latter at about 8:00 p.m. He stayed with Flores' group only for
4. P50,000.00 for exemplary damages. about thirty minutes, 25 or up to 8:30 p.m. Thus, he could not
have observed that appellant joined the group earlier, or at
"With costs against the accused. about 11: 00 a.m.

"SO ORDERED." The second alleged inconsistency is a minor one that does not
enfeeble the prosecution's theory that appellant killed Flores.
In his Appellant's brief, appellant ascribes to the trial court the Evident from De Leon's testimony is the fact that he was so
following errors: shocked in witnessing the gruesome killing of his companion.
With such a state of mind, it would be too much to demand
from him a full recollection of the details surrounding the event.
Page 54 of 119
Many times we have ruled that inconsistencies in the testimony A Yes, sir.
of witnesses when referring only to minor details and collateral
matters do not affect the substance of their declaration, their Q What did the accused do?
veracity, or the weight of their testimony. 26 They only serve to
strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of witnesses for
they erase the suspicion of a rehearsed testimony. 27 What we A Again, he started stabbing at the back, sir.
find important in the case at bar is that the two prosecution
witnesses were one in saying that it was appellant who Q So the stabbing was inflicted at the back of
stabbed Flores with a knife. We quote the clear and the victim?
straightforward account of the incident by De Leon and
Tablate. During cross-examination, De Leon testified as A Not all, sir, because he turned him face up
follows: and stabbed him again, sir." 28

"Atty. De la Cruz: Tablate's direct testimony reads:

Q You did not see the accused because it "Fiscal Vicente:


was dark in that place, is it not?

xxx xxx xxx


A No, sir, he suddenly appeared from the
back of Rod Flores and started stabbing Rod that
is why we were surprised. Q How did Danny delos Santos stab Rod
Flores?
Court:
A "Patalikod," sir.
Q How did the accused thrust the weapon to
the victim? Q What do you mean?

A (Witness demonstrating by making upward, A Danny delos Santos stabbed Rod Flores at
downward thrust at the back of the victim) the back, sir.

Atty. De la Cruz: Q When you said Danny delos Santos


stabbed Rod Flores at the back, are you saying
that Danny delos Santos was at the back of Rod
Q Where was Rod Flores hit, if you know? Flores at the time?

A At the back, sir. A Yes, sir.

Q How many times? Q How many times did the accused stab Rod
Flores?
A At first, twice, sir.
A I saw him stabbed the victim twice, sir.
Court: (Witness demonstrated in downward position as if
he was holding something).
Q That was the time when Rod Flores ran away
after having been stabbed twice. Q What was he holding?

A Yes, Your Honor. A A knife, sir.

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

Court: Court:

Q How did the accused thrust for the second xxx xxx xxx
time the weapon at the back of the victim.
Q Are you sure that when Rod Flores fell to
A Both at the back, sir. the ground, he was not able to rise nor was he
able to run away?
xxx xxx xxx
A He was able to run but then he was drunk
Atty. De la Cruz: and the accused was able to catch and stab him
again, sir.
Q Was Rod Flores able to ran away?
xxx xxx xxx
A Yes, sir.
Q Are you positive to the identity of Danny
delos Santos that he was the one who stabbed
Q Where were you when Rod Flores was Rod Flores?
running away?
A Yes, sir." 29
A We were left behind, sir. I was not able to
move anymore.
Appellant argues that since the prosecution witnesses testified
that there was no altercation between him and Flores, it follows
Q And was the accused able to reach Flores? that no motive to kill can be attributed to him. This is an

Page 55 of 119
inconsequential argument. Proof of motive is not Under Article 24841 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for
indispensable for a conviction, particularly where the the consummated crime of murder is reclusion perpetua to
accused is positively identified by an eyewitness and his death. In this case, the lesser of the two indivisible penalties
participation is adequately established.30 In People vs. shall be imposed, there being neither mitigating nor
Galano,31 we ruled that in the crime of murder, motive is not an aggravating circumstances attending the crime.42
element of the offense, it becomes material only when the
evidence is circumstantial or inconclusive and there is some In keeping with the current jurisprudence, the heirs of Flores
doubt on whether the accused had committed it. In the case are entitled to the amount of P50,000.00 by way of civil
before us, no such doubt exits as De Leon and Tablate indemnity ex delicto.43 As regards the actual damages, it
positively identified appellant. appears that out of the P55,070.00 awarded by the trial court,
only P19,170.0044 was actually supported by receipts. The
In a last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on the testimonies of the other amounts were based solely on a list prepared by Romeo
prosecution witnesses, appellant questions why their Flores. To be entitled to actual damages, it is necessary to
statements were taken only on January 29, 1998 when the prove the actual amount of loss with a reasonable degree of
incident happened on November 6, 1997. The two-month delay certainty, premised upon competent proof and on the best
is hardly an indicium of a concocted story. It is but natural for evidence obtainable to the injured party. 45 In the case at bar,
witnesses to avoid being involved in a criminal proceeding the prosecution failed to present receipts for the other
particularly when the crime committed is of such gravity as to expenses incurred. Thus, in light of the recent case of People
show the cruelty of the perpetrator. Born of human experience, vs. Abrazaldo,46 we grant the award of P25,000.00 as
the fear of retaliation can have a paralyzing effect to the temperate damages inasmuch as the proven actual damages
witnesses.32 Thus, in People vs. Dacibar,33 we held that the is less than P25,000.00. The moral damages awarded in the
initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer information about a amount of P50,000.00 is affirmed, there being proofs that
criminal case is of common knowledge and has been judicially because of Flores' death, his heirs suffered wounded feelings,
declared as insufficient to affect credibility, especially when a mental anguish, anxiety and similar injury. 47 However, we
valid reason exists for such hesitance. reduce to P25,000.00 only the trial court's award of P50,000.00
as exemplary damages.48
Anent the second error, appellant contends that the trial court
erred in indemnifying the heirs of Flores since his guilt was not The amount of indemnity for loss of earning capacity is based
proved beyond reasonable doubt. Suffice it to state at this point on the income at the time of death and the probable life
that the evidence for the prosecution produces moral certainty expectancy of the victim. In the case at bar, the trial court
that appellant is guilty of the crime charged, hence, should be found that Flores' annual gross income is P14,400.00
answerable for all its consequences. computed at the rate of P1,200.00 a month for twelve (12)
months. From this amount is deducted the necessary and
As earlier mentioned, appellant's defenses are mere alibi and incidental expenses, estimated at 50%, leaving a balance of
denial. He testified that at the time the crime took place, he P7,200.00. His net income would then be multiplied by his life
was in his auntie's house in Muson; San Jose del Monte, expectancy, using the following formula: 2/3 x 80 - 25 (age of
Bulacan. When probed by the trial court, he categorically the victim at time of death). Considering that he was 25 years
stated that the house is only 40 meters away from the scene of old when he died, his life expectancy would be 37. Multiplying
the crime and may be traveled in about three or five the net balance of his annual income by his life expectancy, the
minutes.34 For the defense of alibi to prosper, it must be loss of his earning is P266,400.00, thus:
convincing enough to preclude any doubt on the physical
impossibility of the presence of the accused at the locus "In computing the life expectancy and loss of earning
criminis at the time of the incident. 35 Certainly, the required capacity of a person the following formula is used:
impossibility does not exist here.
Life expectancy -
Weighing the evidence of the prosecution vis-à-vis that of the
defense, the scale of justice must tilt in favor of the former. 2/3 x (80 - the age of the victim at the time of death)
Time and again, we ruled that positive identification, where
categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill-
motive on the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter, 2/3 x (80 - 25)
prevails over alibi and denial which, if not substantiated by
clear and convincing proof, are negative and self-serving 2/3 x 55
evidence undeserving of weight in law. 36 With marked
relevance is the fact that appellant did not present any = 36.66 or 37
evidence to show that the prosecution witnesses, in testifying
against him, have improper motive.
Loss of earning capacity -
The prosecution was able to establish that appellant's attack
on Flores was from behind without any slightest provocation on net annual income x life expectancy
his part37 and that it was sudden and unexpected. This is a
clear case of treachery. Where the victim was totally P7,200 x 37
unprepared for the unexpected attack from behind with no
weapon to resist it, the stabbing could only be described as
= P266,400.00" 49
treacherous.38 There being treachery, appellant's conviction for
murder is in order.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated October 2, 1998 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Malolos, Bulacan, in Criminal
However, in the imposition of penalty, we cannot appreciate
Case No. 3551798, finding appellant Danny delos Santos y
the aggravating circumstance of cruelty considered by the trial
Fernandez guilty of the crime of murder is AFFIRMED with
court. Pursuant to the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal
MODIFICATION in the sense that he is sentenced to suffer the
Procedure, every Information must state not only the qualifying
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the late
but also the aggravating circumstances. 39 This rule may be
Rod Flores y Juanitas the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil
given retroactive effect in the light of the well-established rule
indemnity, P25,0000.00 as temperate damages, P50,000.00 as
that statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be
moral damages, P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, and
construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined
P266,400.00 for loss of earning capacity.
at the time of their passage. 40 The aggravating circumstance of
cruelty, not having been alleged in the Information, may not be
appreciated to enhance the liability of appellant. Costs de oficio.

Page 56 of 119
SO ORDERED. took place in a house in which the defendant was employed as
cook; and as defendant alleges, it was because of these
repeated robberies he kept a knife under his pillow for his
personal protection.

G.R. No. L-5272 March 19, 1910 The deceased and the accused, who roomed together and who
appear to have on friendly and amicable terms prior to the fatal
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, incident, had an understanding that when either returned at
vs. night, he should knock at the door and acquiant his companion
AH CHONG, defendant-appellant. with his identity. Pascual had left the house early in the
evening and gone for a walk with his friends, Celestino
Quiambao and Mariano Ibañez, servants employed at officers'
Gibb & Gale, for appellant. quarters No. 28, the nearest house to the mess hall. The three
Attorney-General Villamor, for appellee. returned from their walk at about 10 o'clock, and Celestino and
Mariano stopped at their room at No. 28, Pascual going on to
CARSON, J.: his room at No. 27. A few moments after the party separated,
Celestino and Mariano heard cries for assistance and upon
The evidence as to many of the essential and vital facts in this returning to No. 27 found Pascual sitting on the back steps
case is limited to the testimony of the accused himself, fatally wounded in the stomach, whereupon one of them ran
because from the very nature of these facts and from the back to No. 28 and called Liuetenants Jacobs and Healy, who
circumstances surrounding the incident upon which these immediately went to the aid of the wounded man.
proceedings rest, no other evidence as to these facts was
available either to the prosecution or to the defense. We think, The defendant then and there admitted that he had stabbed his
however, that, giving the accused the benefit of the doubt as to roommate, but said that he did it under the impression that
the weight of the evidence touching those details of the Pascual was "a ladron" because he forced open the door of
incident as to which there can be said to be any doubt, the their sleeping room, despite defendant's warnings.
following statement of the material facts disclose by the record
may be taken to be substantially correct: No reasonable explanation of the remarkable conduct on the
part of Pascuals suggests itself, unless it be that the boy in a
The defendant, Ah Chong, was employed as a cook at spirit of mischief was playing a trick on his Chinese roommate,
"Officers' quarters, No. 27," Fort Mc Kinley, Rizal Province, and and sought to frightened him by forcing his way into the room,
at the same place Pascual Gualberto, deceased, was refusing to give his name or say who he was, in order to make
employed as a house boy or muchacho. "Officers' quarters No. Ah Chong believe that he was being attacked by a robber.
27" as a detached house situates some 40 meters from the
nearest building, and in August, 19087, was occupied solely as Defendant was placed under arrest forthwith, and Pascual was
an officers' mess or club. No one slept in the house except the conveyed to the military hospital, where he died from the
two servants, who jointly occupied a small room toward the effects of the wound on the following day.
rear of the building, the door of which opened upon a narrow
porch running along the side of the building, by which
communication was had with the other part of the house. This The defendant was charged with the crime of assassination,
porch was covered by a heavy growth of vines for its entire tried, and found guilty by the trial court of simple homicide, with
length and height. The door of the room was not furnished with extenuating circumstances, and sentenced to six years and
a permanent bolt or lock, and occupants, as a measure of one day presidio mayor, the minimum penalty prescribed by
security, had attached a small hook or catch on the inside of law.
the door, and were in the habit of reinforcing this somewhat
insecure means of fastening the door by placing against it a At the trial in the court below the defendant admitted that he
chair. In the room there was but one small window, which, like killed his roommate, Pascual Gualberto, but insisted that he
the door, opened on the porch. Aside from the door and struck the fatal blow without any intent to do a wrongful act, in
window, there were no other openings of any kind in the room. the exercise of his lawful right of self-defense.

On the night of August 14, 1908, at about 10 o'clock, the Article 8 of the Penal Code provides that —
defendant, who had received for the night, was suddenly
awakened by some trying to force open the door of the room. The following are not delinquent and are therefore
He sat up in bed and called out twice, "Who is there?" He exempt from criminal liability:
heard no answer and was convinced by the noise at the door
that it was being pushed open by someone bent upon forcing
his way into the room. Due to the heavy growth of vines along xxx xxx xxx
the front of the porch, the room was very dark, and the
defendant, fearing that the intruder was a robber or a thief, 4 He who acts in defense of his person or rights,
leaped to his feet and called out. "If you enter the room, I will provided there are the following attendant
kill you." At that moment he was struck just above the knee by circumstances:
the edge of the chair which had been placed against the door.
In the darkness and confusion the defendant thought that the (1) Illegal aggression.
blow had been inflicted by the person who had forced the door
open, whom he supposed to be a burglar, though in the light of
after events, it is probable that the chair was merely thrown (2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to
back into the room by the sudden opening of the door against prevent or repel it.
which it rested. Seizing a common kitchen knife which he kept
under his pillow, the defendant struck out wildly at the intruder (3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the
who, it afterwards turned out, was his roommate, Pascual. person defending himself.
Pascual ran out upon the porch and fell down on the steps in a
desperately wounded condition, followed by the defendant,
Under these provisions we think that there can be no doubt
who immediately recognized him in the moonlight. Seeing that
that defendant would be entitle to complete exception from
Pascual was wounded, he called to his employers who slept in
criminal liability for the death of the victim of his fatal blow, if
the next house, No. 28, and ran back to his room to secure
the intruder who forced open the door of his room had been in
bandages to bind up Pascual's wounds.
fact a dangerous thief or "ladron," as the defendant believed
him to be. No one, under such circumstances, would doubt the
There had been several robberies in Fort McKinley not long right of the defendant to resist and repel such an intrusion, and
prior to the date of the incident just described, one of which
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the thief having forced open the door notwithstanding wrongful thing and indifference whether it is done or not.
defendant's thrice-repeated warning to desist, and his threat Therefore carelessness is criminal, and within limits supplies
that he would kill the intruder if he persisted in his attempt, it the place of the affirmative criminal intent" (Bishop's New
will not be questioned that in the darkness of the night, in a Criminal Law, vol. 1, s. 313); and, again, "There is so little
small room, with no means of escape, with the thief advancing difference between a disposition to do a great harm and a
upon him despite his warnings defendant would have been disposition to do harm that one of them may very well be
wholly justified in using any available weapon to defend himself looked upon as the measure of the other. Since, therefore, the
from such an assault, and in striking promptly, without waiting guilt of a crime consists in the disposition to do harm, which the
for the thief to discover his whereabouts and deliver the first criminal shows by committing it, and since this disposition is
blow. greater or less in proportion to the harm which is done by the
crime, the consequence is that the guilt of the crime follows the
But the evidence clearly discloses that the intruder was not a same proportion; it is greater or less according as the crime in
thief or a "ladron." That neither the defendant nor his property its own nature does greater or less harm" (Ruth. Ints. C. 18, p.
nor any of the property under his charge was in real danger at 11); or, as it has been otherwise stated, the thing done, having
the time when he struck the fatal blow. That there was no such proceeded from a corrupt mid, is to be viewed the same
"unlawful aggression" on the part of a thief or "ladron" as whether the corruption was of one particular form or another.
defendant believed he was repelling and resisting, and that
there was no real "necessity" for the use of the knife to defend Article 1 of the Penal Code is as follows:
his person or his property or the property under his charge.
Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and
The question then squarely presents it self, whether in this ommissions punished by law.
jurisdiction one can be held criminally responsible who, by
reason of a mistake as to the facts, does an act for which he Acts and omissions punished by law are always
would be exempt from criminal liability if the facts were as he presumed to be voluntarily unless the contrary shall
supposed them to be, but which would constitute the crime of appear.
homicide or assassination if the actor had known the true state
of the facts at the time when he committed the act. To this
question we think there can be but one answer, and we hold An person voluntarily committing a crime or
that under such circumstances there is no criminal liability, misdemeanor shall incur criminal liability, even though
provided always that the alleged ignorance or mistake or fact the wrongful act committed be different from that
was not due to negligence or bad faith. which he had intended to commit.

In broader terms, ignorance or mistake of fact, if such The celebrated Spanish jurist Pacheco, discussing the
ignorance or mistake of fact is sufficient to negative a particular meaning of the word "voluntary" as used in this article, say that
intent which under the law is a necessary ingredient of the a voluntary act is a free, intelligent, and intentional act, and
offense charged (e.g., in larcerny, animus furendi; in murder, roundly asserts that without intention (intention to do wrong or
malice; in crimes intent) "cancels the presumption of intent," criminal intention) there can be no crime; and that the word
and works an acquittal; except in those cases where the "voluntary" implies and includes the words "con malicia," which
circumstances demand a conviction under the penal provisions were expressly set out in the definition of the word "crime" in
touching criminal negligence; and in cases where, under the the code of 1822, but omitted from the code of 1870, because,
provisions of article 1 of the Penal Code one voluntarily as Pacheco insists, their use in the former code was
committing a crime or misdeamor incurs criminal liability for redundant, being implied and included in the word "voluntary."
any wrongful act committed by him, even though it be different (Pacheco, Codigo Penal, vol. 1, p. 74.)
from that which he intended to commit. (Wharton's Criminal
Law, sec. 87 and cases cited; McClain's Crim. Law, sec. 133 Viada, while insisting that the absence of intention to commit
and cases cited; Pettit vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 240; the crime can only be said to exempt from criminal
Commonwealth vs. Power, 7 Met., 596; Yates vs. People, 32 responsibility when the act which was actually intended to be
N.Y., 509; Isham vs. State, 38 Ala., 213; done was in itself a lawful one, and in the absence of
Commonwealth vs. Rogers, 7 Met., 500.) negligence or imprudence, nevertheless admits and recognizes
in his discussion of the provisions of this article of the code that
The general proposition thus stated hardly admits of in general without intention there can be no crime. (Viada, vol.
discussion, and the only question worthy of consideration is 1, p. 16.) And, as we have shown above, the exceptions
whether malice or criminal intent is an essential element or insisted upon by Viada are more apparent than real.
ingredient of the crimes of homicide and assassination as
defined and penalized in the Penal Code. It has been said that Silvela, in discussing the doctrine herein laid down, says:
since the definitions there given of these as well as most other
crimes and offense therein defined, do not specifically and In fact, it is sufficient to remember the first article,
expressly declare that the acts constituting the crime or offense which declared that where there is no intention there
must be committed with malice or with criminal intent in order is no crime . . . in order to affirm, without fear of
that the actor may be held criminally liable, the commission of mistake, that under our code there can be no crime if
the acts set out in the various definitions subjects the actor to there is no act, an act which must fall within the
the penalties described therein, unless it appears that he is sphere of ethics if there is no moral injury. (Vol. 2, the
exempted from liability under one or other of the express Criminal Law, folio 169.)
provisions of article 8 of the code, which treats of exemption.
But while it is true that contrary to the general rule of legislative
enactment in the United States, the definitions of crimes and And to the same effect are various decisions of the supreme
offenses as set out in the Penal Code rarely contain provisions court of Spain, as, for example in its sentence of May 31, 1882,
expressly declaring that malice or criminal intent is an essential in which it made use of the following language:
ingredient of the crime, nevertheless, the general provisions of
article 1 of the code clearly indicate that malice, or criminal It is necessary that this act, in order to constitute a
intent in some form, is an essential requisite of all crimes and crime, involve all the malice which is supposed from
offense therein defined, in the absence of express provisions the operation of the will and an intent to cause the
modifying the general rule, such as are those touching liability injury which may be the object of the crime.
resulting from acts negligently or imprudently committed, and
acts done by one voluntarily committing a crime or
And again in its sentence of March 16, 1892, wherein it held
misdemeanor, where the act committed is different from that
that "considering that, whatever may be the civil effects of the
which he intended to commit. And it is to be observed that
inscription of his three sons, made by the appellant in the civil
even these exceptions are more apparent than real, for "There
registry and in the parochial church, there can be no crime
is little distinction, except in degree, between a will to do a
because of the lack of the necessary element or criminal
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intention, which characterizes every action or ommission an act. Mr. Bishop, who supports his position with numerous
punished by law; nor is he guilty of criminal negligence." citations from the decided cases, thus forcely present this
doctrine:
And to the same effect in its sentence of December 30, 1896, it
made use of the following language: In no one thing does criminal jurisprudence differ
more from civil than in the rule as to the intent. In
. . . Considering that the moral element of the crime, controversies between private parties the quo
that is, intent or malice or their absence in the animo with which a thing was done is sometimes
commission of an act defined and punished by law as important, not always; but crime proceeds only from a
criminal, is not a necessary question of fact submitted criminal mind. So that —
to the exclusive judgment and decision of the trial
court. There can be no crime, large or small, without an evil
mind. In other words, punishment is the sentence of
That the author of the Penal Code deemed criminal intent or wickedness, without which it can not be. And neither
malice to be an essential element of the various crimes and in philosophical speculation nor in religious or mortal
misdemeanors therein defined becomes clear also from an sentiment would any people in any age allow that a
examination of the provisions of article 568, which are as man should be deemed guilty unless his mind was so.
follows: It is therefore a principle of our legal system, as
probably it is of every other, that the essence of an
offense is the wrongful intent, without which it can not
He who shall execute through reckless negligence an exists. We find this doctrine confirmed by —
act that, if done with malice, would constitute a grave
crime, shall be punished with the penalty of arresto
mayor in its maximum degree, to prision Legal maxims. — The ancient wisdom of the law,
correccional in its minimum degrees if it shall equally with the modern, is distinct on this subject. It
constitute a less grave crime. consequently has supplied to us such maxims
as Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, "the act
itself does not make man guilty unless his intention
He who in violation of the regulations shall commit a were so;" Actus me incito factus non est meus actus,
crime through simple imprudence or negligence shall "an act done by me against my will is not my act;" and
incur the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and others of the like sort. In this, as just said, criminal
maximum degrees. jurisprudence differs from civil. So also —

In the application of these penalties the courts shall Moral science and moral sentiment teach the same
proceed according to their discretion, without being thing. "By reference to the intention, we inculpate or
subject to the rules prescribed in article 81. exculpate others or ourselves without any respect to
the happiness or misery actually produced. Let the
The provisions of this article shall not be applicable if result of an action be what it may, we hold a man
the penalty prescribed for the crime is equal to or less guilty simply on the ground of intention; or, on the
than those contained in the first paragraph thereof, in dame ground, we hold him innocent." The calm
which case the courts shall apply the next one thereto judgment of mankind keeps this doctrine among its
in the degree which they may consider proper. jewels. In times of excitement, when vengeance takes
the place of justice, every guard around the innocent
The word "malice" in this article is manifestly substantially is cast down. But with the return of reason comes the
equivalent to the words "criminal intent," and the direct public voice that where the mind is pure, he who
inference from its provisions is that the commission of the acts differs in act from his neighbors does not offend. And
contemplated therein, in the absence of malice (criminal —
intent), negligence, and imprudence, does not impose any
criminal liability on the actor. In the spontaneous judgment which springs from the
nature given by God to man, no one deems another to
The word "voluntary" as used in article 1 of the Penal Code deserve punishment for what he did from an upright
would seem to approximate in meaning the word "willful" as mind, destitute of every form of evil. And whenever a
used in English and American statute to designate a form of person is made to suffer a punishment which the
criminal intent. It has been said that while the word "willful" community deems not his due, so far from its placing
sometimes means little more than intentionally or designedly, an evil mark upon him, it elevates him to the seat of
yet it is more frequently understood to extent a little further and the martyr. Even infancy itself spontaneously pleads
approximate the idea of the milder kind of legal malice; that is, the want of bad intent in justification of what has the
it signifies an evil intent without justifiable excuse. In one case appearance of wrong, with the utmost confidence that
it was said to mean, as employed in a statute in contemplation, the plea, if its truth is credited, will be accepted as
"wantonly" or "causelessly;" in another, "without reasonable good. Now these facts are only the voice of nature
grounds to believe the thing lawful." And Shaw, C. J., once uttering one of her immutable truths. It is, then, the
said that ordinarily in a statute it means "not merely `voluntarily' doctrine of the law, superior to all other doctrines,
but with a bad purpose; in other words, corruptly." In English because first in nature from which the law itself
and the American statutes defining crimes "malice," proceeds, that no man is to be punished as a criminal
"malicious," "maliciously," and "malice aforethought" are words unless his intent is wrong. (Bishop's New Criminal
indicating intent, more purely technical than "willful" or willfully," Law, vol. 1, secs. 286 to 290.)
but "the difference between them is not great;" the word
"malice" not often being understood to require general Compelled by necessity, "the great master of all things," an
malevolence toward a particular individual, and signifying apparent departure from this doctrine of abstract justice result
rather the intent from our legal justification. (Bishop's New from the adoption of the arbitrary rule that Ignorantia juris non
Criminal Law, vol. 1, secs. 428 and 429, and cases cited.) excusat ("Ignorance of the law excuses no man"), without
which justice could not be administered in our tribunals; and
But even in the absence of express words in a statute, setting compelled also by the same doctrine of necessity, the courts
out a condition in the definition of a crime that it be committed have recognized the power of the legislature to forbid, in a
"voluntarily," willfully," "maliciously" "with malice aforethought," limited class of cases, the doing of certain acts, and to make
or in one of the various modes generally construed to imply a their commission criminal without regard to the intent of the
criminal intent, we think that reasoning from general principles doer. Without discussing these exceptional cases at length, it is
it will always be found that with the rare exceptions hereinafter sufficient here to say that the courts have always held that
mentioned, to constitute a crime evil intent must combine with unless the intention of the lawmaker to make the commission

Page 59 of 119
of certain acts criminal without regard to the intent of the doer presumption established in article 1 of the code, that the "act
is clear and beyond question the statute will not be so punished by law" was committed "voluntarily."
construed (cases cited in Cyc., vol. 12, p. 158, notes 76 and
77); and the rule that ignorance of the law excuses no man has Parson, C.J., in the Massachusetts court, once said:
been said not to be a real departure from the law's
fundamental principle that crime exists only where the mind is
at fault, because "the evil purpose need not be to break the If the party killing had reasonable grounds for
law, and if suffices if it is simply to do the thing which the law in believing that the person slain had a felonious design
fact forbids." (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 300, and cases against him, and under that supposition killed him,
cited.) although it should afterwards appear that there was
no such design, it will not be murder, but it will be
either manslaughter or excusable homicide, according
But, however this may be, there is no technical rule, and no to the degree of caution used and the probable
pressing necessity therefore, requiring mistake in fact to be grounds of such belief. (Charge to the grand jury in
dealt with otherwise that in strict accord with the principles of Selfridge's case, Whart, Hom., 417, 418, Lloyd's
abstract justice. On the contrary, the maxim here is Ignorantia report of the case, p.7.)
facti excusat ("Ignorance or mistake in point of fact is, in all
cases of supposed offense, a sufficient excuse"). (Brown's Leg.
Max., 2d ed., 190.) In this case, Parker, J., charging the petit jury, enforced the
doctrine as follows:
Since evil intent is in general an inseparable element in every
crime, any such mistake of fact as shows the act committed to A, in the peaceable pursuit of his affairs, sees B
have proceeded from no sort of evil in the mind necessarily rushing rapidly toward him, with an outstretched arms
relieves the actor from criminal liability provided always there is and a pistol in his hand, and using violent menaces
no fault or negligence on his part; and as laid down by Baron against his life as he advances. Having approached
Parke, "The guilt of the accused must depend on the near enough in the same attitude, A, who has a club
circumstances as they appear to him." (Reg. vs. Thurborn, 1 in his hand, strikes B over the head before or at the
Den. C., 387; P. vs. Anderson, 44 Cal.., 65; P. vs. Lamb, 54 instant the pistol is discharged; and of the wound B
Barb., 342; Yates vs. P., 32 N. Y., 509; Patterson vs. P., 46 dies. It turns out the pistol was loaded with powder
Barb., 625; Reg. vs. Cohen, 8 Cox C. C., 41; P. vs. Miles, 55 only, and that the real design of B was only
Cal., 207, 209; Nalley vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 387.) That is to say, to terrify A. Will any reasonable man say that A is
the question as to whether he honestly, in good faith, and more criminal that he would have been if there had
without fault or negligence fell into the mistake is to be been a bullet in the pistol? Those who hold such
determined by the circumstances as they appeared to him at doctrine must require that a man so attacked must,
the time when the mistake was made, and the effect which the before he strikes the assailant, stop and ascertain
surrounding circumstances might reasonably be expected to how the pistol is loaded — a doctrine which would
have on his mind, in forming the intent, criminal or other wise, entirely take away the essential right of self-defense.
upon which he acted. And when it is considered that the jury who try the
cause, and not the party killing, are to judge of the
reasonable grounds of his apprehension, no danger
If, in language not uncommon in the cases, one can be supposed to flow from this principle. (Lloyd's
has reasonable cause to believe the existence of facts Rep., p. 160.)
which will justify a killing — or, in terms more nicely in
accord with the principles on which the rule is
founded, if without fault or carelessness he does To the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court
believe them — he is legally guiltless of the homicide; of Spain, cited by Viada, a few of which are here set out in full
though he mistook the facts, and so the life of an because the facts are somewhat analogous to those in the
innocent person is unfortunately extinguished. In other case at bar.
words, and with reference to the right of self-defense
and the not quite harmonious authorities, it is the QUESTION III. When it is shown that the accused
doctrine of reason and sufficiently sustained in was sitting at his hearth, at night, in company only of
adjudication, that notwithstanding some decisions his wife, without other light than reflected from the fire,
apparently adverse, whenever a man undertakes self- and that the man with his back to the door was
defense, he is justified in acting on the facts as they attending to the fire, there suddenly entered a person
appear to him. If, without fault or carelessness, he is whom he did not see or know, who struck him one or
misled concerning them, and defends himself two blows, producing a contusion on the shoulder,
correctly according to what he thus supposes the because of which he turned, seized the person and
facts to be the law will not punish him though they are took from his the stick with which he had undoubtedly
in truth otherwise, and he was really no occassion for been struck, and gave the unknown person a blow,
the extreme measures. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, knocking him to the floor, and afterwards striking him
sec. 305, and large array of cases there cited.) another blow on the head, leaving the unknown lying
on the floor, and left the house. It turned out the
The common illustration in the American and English textbooks unknown person was his father-in-law, to whom he
of the application of this rule is the case where a man, masked rendered assistance as soon as he learned his
and disguised as a footpad, at night and on a lonely road, identity, and who died in about six days in
"holds up" his friends in a spirit of mischief, and with leveled consequence of cerebral congestion resulting from
pistol demands his money or his life, but is killed by his friend the blow. The accused, who confessed the facts, had
under the mistaken belief that the attack is a real one, that the always sustained pleasant relations with his father-in-
pistol leveled at his head is loaded, and that his life and law, whom he visited during his sickness,
property are in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. demonstrating great grief over the occurrence. Shall
No one will doubt that if the facts were such as the slayer he be considered free from criminal responsibility, as
believed them to be he would be innocent of the commission of having acted in self-defense, with all the
any crime and wholly exempt from criminal liability, although if circumstances related in paragraph 4, article 8, of the
he knew the real state of the facts when he took the life of his Penal Code? The criminal branch of the Audiencia of
friend he would undoubtedly be guilty of the crime of homicide Valladolid found that he was an illegal aggressor,
or assassination. Under such circumstances, proof of his without sufficient provocation, and that there did not
innocent mistake of the facts overcomes the presumption of exists rational necessity for the employment of the
malice or criminal intent, and (since malice or criminal intent is force used, and in accordance with articles 419 and
a necessary ingredient of the "act punished by law" in cases of 87 of the Penal Code condemned him to twenty
homicide or assassination) overcomes at the same time the months of imprisonment, with accessory penalty and
costs. Upon appeal by the accused, he was acquitted

Page 60 of 119
by the supreme court, under the following sentence: favor of the accused a majority of the requisites to
"Considering, from the facts found by the sentence to exempt him from criminal responsibility, but not that of
have been proven, that the accused was surprised reasonable necessity for the means, employed, and
from behind, at night, in his house beside his wife who condemned the accused to twelve months of prision
was nursing her child, was attacked, struck, and correctional for the homicide committed. Upon appeal,
beaten, without being able to distinguish with which the supreme court acquitted the condemned, finding
they might have executed their criminal intent, that the accused, in firing at the malefactors, who
because of the there was no other than fire light in the attack his mill at night in a remote spot by threatening
room, and considering that in such a situation and robbery and incendiarism, was acting in just self-
when the acts executed demonstrated that they might defense of his person, property, and family. (Sentence
endanger his existence, and possibly that of his wife of May 23, 1877). (I Viada, p. 128.)
and child, more especially because his assailant was
unknown, he should have defended himself, and in A careful examination of the facts as disclosed in the case at
doing so with the same stick with which he was bar convinces us that the defendant Chinaman struck the fatal
attacked, he did not exceed the limits of self-defense, blow alleged in the information in the firm belief that the
nor did he use means which were not rationally intruder who forced open the door of his sleeping room was a
necessary, particularly because the instrument with thief, from whose assault he was in imminent peril, both of his
which he killed was the one which he took from his life and of his property and of the property committed to his
assailant, and was capable of producing death, and in charge; that in view of all the circumstances, as they must have
the darkness of the house and the consteration which presented themselves to the defendant at the time, he acted in
naturally resulted from such strong aggression, it was good faith, without malice, or criminal intent, in the belief that
not given him to known or distinguish whether there he was doing no more than exercising his legitimate right of
was one or more assailants, nor the arms which they self-defense; that had the facts been as he believed them to be
might bear, not that which they might accomplish, and he would have been wholly exempt from criminal liability on
considering that the lower court did not find from the account of his act; and that he can not be said to have been
accepted facts that there existed rational necessity for guilty of negligence or recklessness or even carelessness in
the means employed, and that it did not apply falling into his mistake as to the facts, or in the means adopted
paragraph 4 of article 8 of the Penal Code, it erred, by him to defend himself from the imminent danger which he
etc." (Sentence of supreme court of Spain, February believe threatened his person and his property and the
28, 1876.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 266.) . property under his charge.

QUESTION XIX. A person returning, at night, to his The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by the
house, which was situated in a retired part of the city, trial court should be reversed, and the defendant acquitted of
upon arriving at a point where there was no light, the crime with which he is charged and his bail bond
heard the voice of a man, at a distance of some 8 exonerated, with the costs of both instance de oficio. So
paces, saying: "Face down, hand over you money!" ordered.
because of which, and almost at the same money, he
fired two shots from his pistol, distinguishing
immediately the voice of one of his friends (who had G.R. No. L-47722 July 27, 1943
before simulated a different voice) saying, "Oh! they
have killed me," and hastening to his assistance, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
finding the body lying upon the ground, he cried, vs.
"Miguel, Miguel, speak, for God's sake, or I am ANTONIO Z. OANIS and ALBERTO GALANTA, defendants-
ruined," realizing that he had been the victim of a appellants.
joke, and not receiving a reply, and observing that his
friend was a corpse, he retired from the place. Shall Antonio Z. Oanis in his own behalf.
he be declared exempt in toto from responsibility as Maximo L. Valenzuela for appellant Galanta.
the author of this homicide, as having acted in just Acting Solicitor-General Ibañez and Assistant Attorney Torres
self-defense under the circumstances defined in for appellee.
paragraph 4, article 8, Penal Code? The criminal
branch of the Audiencia of Malaga did not so find, but
only found in favor of the accused two of the MORAN, J.:
requisites of said article, but not that of the
reasonableness of the means employed to repel the Charged with the crime of murder of one Serapio Tecson, the
attack, and, therefore, condemned the accused to accused Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto Galanta, chief of police
eight years and one day of prison mayor, etc. The of Cabanatuan and corporal of the Philippine Constabulary,
supreme court acquitted the accused on his appeal respectively, were, after due trial, found guilty by the lower
from this sentence, holding that the accused was court of homicide through reckless imprudence and were
acting under a justifiable and excusable mistake of sentenced each to an indeterminate penalty of from one year
fact as to the identity of the person calling to him, and and six months to two years and two months of prison
that under the circumstances, the darkness and correccional and to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of
remoteness, etc., the means employed were rational the deceased in the amount of P1,000. Defendants appealed
and the shooting justifiable. (Sentence supreme court, separately from this judgment.
March 17, 1885.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 136.)
In the afternoon of December 24, 1938. Captain Godofredo
QUESTION VI. The owner of a mill, situated in a Monsod, Constabulary Provincial Inspector at Cabanatuan,
remote spot, is awakened, at night, by a large stone Nueva Ecija, received from Major Guido a telegram of the
thrown against his window — at this, he puts his head following tenor: "Information received escaped convict
out of the window and inquires what is wanted, and is Anselmo Balagtas with bailarina and Irene in Cabanatuan get
answered "the delivery of all of his money, otherwise him dead or alive." Captain Monsod accordingly called for his
his house would be burned" — because of which, and first sergeant and asked that he be given four men. Defendant
observing in an alley adjacent to the mill four corporal Alberto Galanta, and privates Nicomedes Oralo,
individuals, one of whom addressed him with Venancio Serna and D. Fernandez, upon order of their
blasphemy, he fired his pistol at one the men, who, on sergeant, reported at the office of the Provincial Inspector
the next morning was found dead on the same spot. where they were shown a copy of the above-quoted telegram
Shall this man be declared exempt from criminal and a newspaper clipping containing a picture of Balagtas.
responsibility as having acted in just self-defense with They were instructed to arrest Balagtas and, if overpowered, to
all of the requisites of law? The criminal branch of the follow the instruction contained in the telegram. The same
requisites of law? The criminal branch of instruction was given to the chief of police Oanis who was
the Audiencia of Zaragoza finds that there existed in likewise called by the Provincial Inspector. When the chief of
Page 61 of 119
police was asked whether he knew one Irene, a bailarina, he extent, is confirmed by both appellants themselves in their
answered that he knew one of loose morals of the same name. mutual recriminations. According, to Galanta, Oanis shot
Upon request of the Provincial Inspector, the chief of police Tecson when the latter was still in bed about to sit up just after
tried to locate some of his men to guide the constabulary he was awakened by a noise. And Oanis assured that when
soldiers in ascertaining Balagtas' whereabouts, and failing to Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was still lying in bed. Thus
see anyone of them he volunteered to go with the party. The corroborated, and considering that the trial court had the
Provincial Inspector divided the party into two groups with opportunity to observe her demeanor on the stand, we believe
defendants Oanis and Galanta, and private Fernandez taking and so hold that no error was committed in accepting her
the route to Rizal street leading to the house where Irene was testimony and in rejecting the exculpatory pretensions of the
supposedly living. When this group arrived at Irene's house, two appellants. Furthermore, a careful examination of Irene's
Oanis approached one Brigida Mallare, who was then stripping testimony will show not only that her version of the tragedy is
banana stalks, and asked her where Irene's room was. Brigida not concocted but that it contains all indicia of veracity. In her
indicated the place and upon further inquiry also said that Irene cross-examination, even misleading questions had been put
was sleeping with her paramour. Brigida trembling, which were unsuccessful, the witness having stuck to the truth
immediately returned to her own room which was very near in every detail of the occurrence. Under these circumstances,
that occupied by Irene and her paramour. Defendants Oanis we do not feel ourselves justified in disturbing the findings of
and Galanta then went to the room of Irene, and an seeing a fact made by the trial court.
man sleeping with his back towards the door where they were,
simultaneously or successively fired at him with their .32 and The true fact, therefore, of the case is that, while Tecson was
.45 caliber revolvers. Awakened by the gunshots, Irene saw sleeping in his room with his back towards the door, Oanis and
her paramour already wounded, and looking at the door where Galanta, on sight, fired at him simultaneously or successively,
the shots came, she saw the defendants still firing at him. believing him to be Anselmo Balagtas but without having made
Shocked by the entire scene. Irene fainted; it turned out later previously any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. And the
that the person shot and killed was not the notorious criminal question is whether or not they may, upon such fact, be held
Anselmo Balagtas but a peaceful and innocent citizen named responsible for the death thus caused to Tecson. It is
Serapio Tecson, Irene's paramour. The Provincial Inspector, contended that, as appellants acted in innocent mistake of fact
informed of the killing, repaired to the scene and when he in the honest performance of their official duties, both of them
asked as to who killed the deceased. Galanta, referring to believing that Tecson was Balagtas, they incur no criminal
himself and to Oanis, answered: "We two, sir." The corpse was liability. Sustaining this theory in part, the lower court held and
thereafter brought to the provincial hospital and upon autopsy so declared them guilty of the crime of homicide through
by Dr. Ricardo de Castro, multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by reckless imprudence. We are of the opinion, however, that,
a .32 and a .45 caliber revolvers were found on Tecson's body under the circumstances of the case, the crime committed by
which caused his death. appellants is murder through specially mitigated by
circumstances to be mentioned below.
These are the facts as found by the trial court and fully
supported by the evidence, particularly by the testimony of In support of the theory of non-liability by reasons of honest
Irene Requinea. Appellants gave, however, a different version mistake of fact, appellants rely on the case of U.S. v. Ah
of the tragedy. According to Appellant Galanta, when he and Chong, 15 Phil., 488. The maxim is ignorantia facti excusat, but
chief of police Oanis arrived at the house, the latter asked this applies only when the mistake is committed without fault or
Brigida where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place, carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after
and upon further inquiry as to the whereabouts of Anselmo having gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open
Balagtas, she said that he too was sleeping in the same room. the door. He called out twice, "who is there," but received no
Oanis went to the room thus indicated and upon opening the answer. Fearing that the intruder was a robber, he leaped from
curtain covering the door, he said: "If you are Balagtas, stand his bed and called out again., "If you enter the room I will kill
up." Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, and Irene woke up and you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a chair
as the former was about to sit up in bed. Oanis fired at him. which had been placed against the door and believing that he
Wounded, Tecson leaned towards the door, and Oanis was then being attacked, he seized a kitchen knife and struck
receded and shouted: "That is Balagtas." Galanta then fired at and fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be his
Tecson. room-mate. A common illustration of innocent mistake of fact is
the case of a man who was marked as a footpad at night and
On the other hand, Oanis testified that after he had opened the in a lonely road held up a friend in a spirit of mischief, and with
curtain covering the door and after having said, "if you are leveled, pistol demanded his money or life. He was killed by his
Balagtas stand up." Galanta at once fired at Tecson, the friend under the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that
supposed Balagtas, while the latter was still lying on bed, and the pistol leveled at his head was loaded and that his life and
continued firing until he had exhausted his bullets: that it was property were in imminent danger at the hands of the
only thereafter that he, Oanis, entered the door and upon aggressor. In these instances, there is an innocent mistake of
seeing the supposed Balagtas, who was then apparently fact committed without any fault or carelessness because the
watching and picking up something from the floor, he fired at accused, having no time or opportunity to make a further
him. inquiry, and being pressed by circumstances to act
immediately, had no alternative but to take the facts as they
The trial court refused to believe the appellants. Their then appeared to him, and such facts justified his act of killing.
testimonies are certainly incredible not only because they are In the instant case, appellants, unlike the accused in the
vitiated by a natural urge to exculpate themselves of the crime, instances cited, found no circumstances whatsoever which
but also because they are materially contradictory. Oasis would press them to immediate action. The person in the room
averred that be fired at Tecson when the latter was apparently being then asleep, appellants had ample time and opportunity
watching somebody in an attitudes of picking up something to ascertain his identity without hazard to themselves, and
from the floor; on the other hand, Galanta testified that Oasis could even effect a bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort to
shot Tecson while the latter was about to sit up in bed that end had been made, as the victim was unarmed,
immediately after he was awakened by a noise. Galanta according to Irene Requinea. This, indeed, is the only
testified that he fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, when legitimate course of action for appellants to follow even if the
the latter was rushing at him. But Oanis assured that when victim was really Balagtas, as they were instructed not to kill
Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was still lying on bed. It is Balagtas at sight but to arrest him, and to get him dead or alive
apparent from these contradictions that when each of the only if resistance or aggression is offered by him.
appellants tries to exculpate himself of the crime charged, he is
at once belied by the other; but their mutual incriminating Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using
averments dovetail with and corroborate substantially, the such force as is reasonably necessary to secure and detain the
testimony of Irene Requinea. It should be recalled that, offender, overcome his resistance, prevent his escape,
according to Requinea, Tecson was still sleeping in bed when recapture him if he escapes, and protect himself from bodily
he was shot to death by appellants. And this, to a certain harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil, 738), yet he is never justified

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in using unnecessary force or in treating him with wanton According to article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty
violence, or in resorting to dangerous means when the arrest lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall,
could be effected otherwise (6 C.J.S., par. 13, p. 612). The in such case, be imposed.
doctrine is restated in the new Rules of Court thus: "No
unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be used in making an For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants
arrest, and the person arrested shall not be subject to any are hereby declared guilty of murder with the mitigating
greater restraint than is necessary for his detention." (Rule circumstance above mentioned, and accordingly sentenced to
109, sec. 2, par. 2). And a peace officer cannot claim an indeterminate penalty of from five (5) years of prision
exemption from criminal liability if he uses unnecessary force correctional to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal, with the
or violence in making an arrest (5 C.J., p. 753; accessories of the law, and to pay the heirs of the deceased
U.S. vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be true that Anselmo Serapio Tecson jointly and severally an indemnity of P2,000,
Balagtas was a notorious criminal, a life-termer, a fugitive from with costs.
justice and a menace to the peace of the community, but these
facts alone constitute no justification for killing him when in
effecting his arrest, he offers no resistance or in fact no G.R. No. 207175 November 26, 2014
resistance can be offered, as when he is asleep. This, in effect,
is the principle laid down, although upon different facts, in EDUARDO MAGSUMBOL, Petitioner,
U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234, 242). vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
It is, however, suggested that a notorious criminal "must be
taken by storm" without regard to his right to life which he has DECISION
by such notoriety already forfeited. We may approve of this
standard of official conduct where the criminal offers resistance MENDOZA, J.:
or does something which places his captors in danger of
imminent attack. Otherwise we cannot see how, as in the
present case, the mere fact of notoriety can make the life of a This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and
criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law. set aside the December 14, 2012 Decision1 and the May 6,
Notoriety rightly supplies a basis for redoubled official alertness 2013 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR
and vigilance; it never can justify precipitate action at the cost No. 34431 filed by Eduardo Magsumbol (Magsumbol),
of human life. Where, as here, the precipitate action of the questioning his conviction for Theft.
appellants has cost an innocent life and there exist no
circumstances whatsoever to warrant action of such character The Facts
in the mind of a reasonably prudent man, condemnation — not
condonation — should be the rule; otherwise we should offer a
Petitioner Magsumbol, together with Erasmo Magsino
premium to crime in the shelter of official actuation.
(Mogsino). Apolonio Inanoria (Jnanoria), and Bonifacio
Ramirez (Ramirez). vvas charged with the crime of Theft in the
The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal Information, dated August 30, 2002, filed before the Regional
negligence, the killing being intentional and not accidental. In Trial Court of Lucena City, Branch 55 (RTC) and docketed as
criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be Criminal Case No. 2002-1017. The Information indicting
unintentional, it being simply the incident of another act Magsumbol and his co-accused reads:
performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939). In
the words of Viada, "para que se celifique un hecho de
That on or about the 1st day of February 2002, at Barangay
imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado en el malicia ni
Kinatihan I, in the Munipality of Candelaria, Province of
intencion alguna de dañar; existiendo esa intencion, debera
Quezon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
calificarse el hecho del delito que ha producido, por mas que
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
no haya sido la intencion del agente el causar un mal de tanta
confederating together with seven (7) John Does whose true
gravedad como el que se produjo." (Tomo 7, Viada Codigo
names and real identities are still unknown and whose physical
Penal Comentado, 5.a ed. pag. 7). And, as once held by this
descriptions were not made known by available witnesses, and
Court, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially
who are all still at large, and mutually helping one another, with
inconsistent with the idea of reckless imprudence
intent togain and without the consent of the owner, Menandro
(People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232; People vs. Bindor, 56 Phil.,
Avanzado, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
16), and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in
feloniously cut, take, steal and carry away with them thirty
the identity of the intended victim cannot be considered as
three (33) coconut trees from the coconut plantation of the said
reckless imprudence (People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) to
owner, valued at FORTY FOUR THOUSAND FOUR
support a plea of mitigated liability.
HUNDRED PESOS (₱44,400.00), Philippine currency,
belonging to said Menandro Avanzado, to his damage and
As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed prejudice in the aforesaid amount. 3
is murder with the qualifying circumstance of alevosia. There
is, however, a mitigating circumstance of weight consisting in
Culled from the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Ernesto
the incomplete justifying circumstance defined in article 11, No.
Caringal (Caringal), private complainant Engr. Menandro
5, of the Revised Penal Code. According to such legal
Avanzado (Menandro), and SPO1 Florentino Manalo (SPO1
provision, a person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in
Manalo), it appears that at around 11:00 o’clock in the morning
the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or
of February 1, 2002, Caringal, the overseer of a one-hectare
office. There are two requisites in order that the circumstance
unregistered parcel of land located in Candelaria, Quezon, and
may be taken as a justifying one: (a) that the offender acted in
co-owned by Menandro, saw the four accused, along with
the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right;
seven others, cutting down the coconut trees on the said
and (b) that the injury or offense committed be the necessary
property. Later, the men turned the felled trees into coco
consequence of the due performance of such duty or the lawful
lumber. Caringal did not attempt to stop the men from cutting
exercise of such right or office. In the instance case, only the
down the coconut trees because he was outnumbered.
first requisite is present — appellants have acted in the
Instead, Caringal left the site and proceeded toSan Pablo City
performance of a duty. The second requisite is wanting for the
to inform Menandro about the incident.
crime by them committed is not the necessary consequence of
a due performance of their duty. Their duty was to arrest
Balagtas or to get him dead or alive if resistance is offered by On February 3, 2002, Menandro and Caringal reported the
him and they are overpowered. But through impatience or incident to the police. Thereafter, the two, accompanied by
over-anxiety or in their desire to take no chances, they have SPO1 Manalo, went to the coconut plantation only to discover
exceeded in the fulfillment of such duty by killing the person that about thirty three (33) coconut trees (subject trees) had
whom they believed to be Balagtas without any resistance from been cut down. The coco lumber were no longer in the area.
him and without making any previous inquiry as to his identity. They took photographs of the stumps left by the men.

Page 63 of 119
The defense, on the other hand, presented Atanacio Avanzado In its assailed Decision, dated December 14, 2012, the CA
(Atanacio),accused Ramirez, petitioner Magsumbol, Barangay sustained the findings of facts and conclusions of law by the
Captain Pedro Arguelles (Brgy. Captain Arguelles)and accused RTC and upheld the judgment of conviction rendered against
Inanoria, to substantiate its claim of innocence for all the the accused. The CA was of the view, however, that the crime
accused. committed in this case would not fall under the general
definition of theft under Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code
Atanacio testified that he authorized his brothers-in-law, (RPC), but rather under paragraph (2) of the same provision
Magsino and Magsumbol, to cut down the coconut trees within which penalizes theft of damaged property. The CA ruled that
the boundary of his property, which was adjacent to the land the RTC was correct in giving full faith and credence to the
co-owned by Menandro. Atanacio admitted that he had never testimony of Caringal who was not shown to have been
set foot on his property for about 20 years already and that he motivated by any ill will to testify falsely against the accused. It
was not present whenthe cutting incident happened. agreed with the RTC that Atanacio’s testimony should not be
given any evidentiary weight in view of his relationship with
Magsino and Magsumbol, which provided sufficient reason for
Defense witness Brgy. Captain Arguelles testified that on him to suppress or pervert the truth. Anent the element of
January 28, 2002, Magsumbol, Magsino, Ramirez, and intent to gain, the CA stated that the mere fact that the accused
Inanoria came to his office seeking permission to cut down the cut the coconut trees on Menandro’s land and made them into
coconut trees planted on the land of Atanacio. coco lumber, gave rise to the presumption that it was done with
intent to gain. The falloreads:
All the accused vehemently denied the charges against them.
Ramirez and Magsumbol claimed that only the coconut trees WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is hereby
which stood within the land owned by Atanacio, a relative of DENIED. The Decision dated March 15, 2011, of the Regional
the private complainant, were cut down on that morning of Trial Court, Branch 55, Lucena City is AFFIRMED with
February 1, 2002. Ramirez added that he was a coco lumber MODIFICATION in that the accused-appellants Erasmo
trader and that Atanacio offered to sell the coconut trees Magsino, Apolonio Inanoria, Eduardo Magsumbol and
planted on his lot. Magsumbol claimed that he took no part in Bonifacio Ramirez are sentenced to suffer imprisonment of tw0
the felling of the coconut trees but merely supervised the (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day as minimum, to
same. He claimed that he did not receive any remuneration for seven (7) years, four (4) months and one (1) day, as maximum;
the service he rendered or a share from the proceeds of the and to pay jointly and severally private complainant Menandro
coco lumbers sale. Inanoria likewise denied participation in the Avanzado the amount of Thirteen Thousand Two Hundred
cutting down of the coconut treesbut confirmed the presence of Pesos (₱13,200.00).
Magsumbol and Magsino at the site to supervise the
accomplishment of the work being done thereat. Inanoria
corroborated the narration of Magsumbol and Ramirez that all SO ORDERED.7
the felled trees were planted inside the lot owned by Atanacio.
Inanoria intimated that Menandro included him in the complaint The accused moved for reconsideration of the December 14,
for theft due to his refusal to accede to latter’s request for him 2012 Decision but their motion was denied by the CA on May
to testify against his co-accused in relation to the present 6, 2013.
criminal charge.4
Issues:
Ruling of the RTC
Bewailing his conviction, Magsumbolfiled the present petition
On March 15, 2011, the RTC rendered its decision5 stating that before this Court and imputes to the CA the following
the prosecution was able to establish with certitude the guilt of
all the accused for the crime of simple theft. The RTC rejected ERRORS:
the defense of denial invoked by the accused in the face of
positive identification by Caringal pointing to them as the
perpetrators of the crime. It did not believe the testimony of THE HONORABLE COURT OFAPPEALS COMMITTED
Atanacio and even branded him as biased witness on account SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW WHEN IT FOUND THE
of his relationship with accused Magsino and Magsumbol. The ACCUSED GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF THEFT UNDER
trial court adjudged: ARTICLE 308 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE, IN THAT:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding all the I


accused Erasmo Magsino, Apolonio Inanoria, Eduardo
Magsumbol and Bonifacio Ramirez guilty as charged and NO COMPETENT EVIDENCEWAS ADDUCED BY THE
applying the Indeterminate sentence law, the court hereby PROSECUTION TO PROVE THAT THE COCONUT TREES
sentences them to suffer an imprisonment of 2 years, 4 months THAT WERE CUT WERE BEYOND THE PROPERTY
and 1 day of Prision Correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 OWNED BY ATANACIO AVANZADO; and
day of Prision Mayor as maximum.
II
The accused are likewise directed to pay jointly and severally
Engr. Menandro Avanzado and the other heirs of Norberto MALICE AND INTENT TO GAIN, AS ELEMENTS OF THE
Avanzado the sum of ₱13,200.00 representing the value of the CRIME OF THEFT, ARE NOT PRESENT IN THE CASE AT
33 coconut trees they have cut and sold to accused Ramirez. HAND.8

SO ORDERED. The Court’s Ruling

Aggrieved, the accused appealed from the March 15, 2011 The petition is impressed with merit.
judgment of the RTC before the CA insisting that the
prosecution evidence did not meet the quantum of proof
necessary towarrant their conviction of the crime charged. It is a time-honored rule that the assessment of the trial court
They posited that the RTC erred in failing to appreciate the lack with regard to the credibility of witnesses deserves the utmost
of criminal intent on their part to commit the crime of simple respect, if not finality, for the reason that the trial judge has the
theft. They claimed that not a scintilla of evidence was prerogative, denied to appellate judges, of observing the
presented to prove the element of intent to gain.6 demeanor of the declarants in the course of their testimonies.
Though it is true that the trial court’s evaluation of the credibility
of witnesses and their testimonies is entitled to great respect
Ruling of the CA and will not be disturbed on appeal, this rule, however, is not a

Page 64 of 119
hard and fast one. The exception is observed if there is a mistakenly cut down in the process; that Menandro refused his
showing that the trial judge overlooked, misunderstood, or offer of compensation and replied that a case had already been
misapplied some factor circumstance of weight and substance filed against the four accused; and that he tried to seek an
that would have cast doubt on the guilt of the accused.9 The audience again from Menandro, but the latter refused to talk to
said exception apparently exists in the case at bench. him anymore.13

It is the statutory definition that generally furnishes the Both the RTC and the CA chose to brush aside the foregoing
elements of each crime under the RPC, while the elements in unrebutted testimony of Atanacio for being unreliable and
turn unravel the particular requisite acts of execution and considered him a biased witness simply because he is related
accompanying criminal intent. In the case at bench, petitioner by affinity to Magsumbol and Magsino. Family relationship,
Magsumbol and his co-accused were convicted by the CA of however, does not by itself render a witness’ testimony
the crime of theft of damaged property under paragraph (2) of inadmissible or devoid of evidentiary weight. 14To warrant
Article 308 of the RPC which provides: rejection of the testimony of a relative or friend, it must be
clearly shown that, independently of the relationship, the
Art. 308. Who are liable for theft.–: xxxx testimony was inherently improbable or defective, or that
improper or evil motives had moved the witness to incriminate
the accused falsely. 15
Theft is likewise committed by:
The relationship of Atanacio to the accused, per se, does not
1. xxxxx; impair his credibilty.1âwphi1 It bears stressing that while
Magsumbol and Magsino are Atanacio’s brothers-in-law,
2. Any person who, after having maliciously damaged Menandro ishis cousin. Considering that both the accused and
the property of another, shall remove or make use of the accuser are Atanacio’s relatives, and purportedly both have
the fruits or object of the damage caused by him; and bearing with regard to his decision, why would then Atanacio
xxx. support one over the other? The logical explanation could only
be that Atanacio had indeed ordered Magsumbol and Magsino
[Emphasis Supplied] to cut the trees on his land. The Court is convinced that
Atanacio was telling the truth.

To warrant a conviction under the aforecited provision for theft


If, indeed, in the course of executing Atanacio’s instructions,
of damaged property, the prosecution must prove beyond
reasonable that the accused maliciously damaged the property Magsumbol and his co-accused encroached on the land co-
belonging to another and, thereafter, removed or used the owned by Menandro, because they missed the undetectable
fruits or object thereof, with intent to gain. Evidently, theft of boundary between the two lots, and cut down some of
damaged property is an intentional felony for which criminal Menandro’s trees, such act merely constituted mistake or
liability attaches only when it is shown that the malefactor judgmental error. The following pronouncement in the case of
acted with criminal intent or malice. Criminal intent must be Lecaroz vs. Sandiganbayan16 may serve as a guidepost, to wit:
clearly established with the other elements of the crime;
otherwise, no crime is committed.10 Was criminal intent If what is proven is mere judgmental error on the part of the
substantiated tojustify the conviction of Magsumbol and his co- person committing the act, no malice or criminal intent can be
accused? rightfully imputed to him. x x x. Ordinarily, evil intent must unite
with an unlawful act for a crime to exist. Actus non facit reum,
It does not so appear in this case. nisi mens sit rea. There can be no crime when the criminal
mind is wanting. As a general rule, ignorance or mistake as to
particular facts, honest and real, will exempt the doer from
There is no dispute that the land co-owned by Menandro is felonious responsibility. The exception of course is neglect in
adjacent to the land owned by Atanacio. The prosecution the discharge of duty or indifference to consequences, which is
claimed that the thirty three (33) cut coconut trees were planted equivalent to criminal intent, for in this instance, the element of
within the land co-owned by Menandro. The defense, on the malicious intent is supplied by the element ofnegligence and
other hand, averred that only the coconut trees found within the imprudence.17
land of Atanacio were felled by Magsumbol and his co-
accused. Menandro testified that there were muniments that
[Emphasis supplied]
delimit the boundaries between the adjacent lots11 while
Atanacio claimed that there were none and that "x" marks were
just etched on the trunk of the trees to delineate the boundary The criminal mind is indeed wanting in the situation where
of his land.12 Apart from the bare allegations of these Magsumbol and his co-accused even sought prior permission
witnesses, no concrete and competent evidence was adduced from Brgy. Captain Arguelles to cut down the coconut trees
to substantiate their respective submissions. In view of such which was done openly and during broad daylight effectively
conflicting claims and considering the meager evidence on negated malice and criminal intent on their part. It defies
hand, the Court cannot determine with certainty the owner of reason that the accused would still approach the barangay
the 33 felled coconut trees. The uncertainty of the exact captain if their real intention was tosteal the coconut trees of
location of the coconut trees negates the presenceof the Menandro. Besides, criminals would usually execute their
criminal intent to gain. criminal activities clandestinely or through stealth or strategy to
avoid detection of the commission of a crime or a wrongdoing.
At any rate, granting arguendo that the said coconut trees were
within Menandro’s land, no malice or criminal intent could be The findings of this Court in this case should not create the
rightfully attributed to Magsumbol and his co-accused. The mistaken impression that the testimonies of the prosecution
RTC and the CA overlooked one important point in the present witnesses should always be looked at with askance. The point
case, to wit: Magsumbol and his co-accused went to Barangay is that courts should carefully scrutinize the prosecution
KinatihanI, Candelaria, Quezon, to cut down the coconut trees evidence to make sure that no innocent person is condemned.
belonging to Atanacio upon the latter’s instruction. An allegation, or even a testimony, that an act was done
should never be hastily accepted as proof that it was really
Such fact was confirmed by Atanacio who narrated that due to done. Evidence adduced must be closely examined under the
financial reversals, he sold all the coconut trees in his land to lens of a judicial microscope to ensure that conviction only
Ramirez, a coco lumber trader; that since he could not go to flows from moral certainty that guilt has been established by
the site due to health reasons, he authorized Magsumbol and proof beyond reasonable doubt.
Magsino to cut down his trees and to oversee the gathering of
the felled trees; that he informed Menandro about this and Here, that quantum of proof has not been
even offered to pay for the damages that he might have satisfied.1âwphi1 The prosecution miserably failed to establish
sustained as some of his (Menandro’s) trees could have been proof beyond reasonable doubt that Magsumbol, together with
Page 65 of 119
his co-accused, damaged the property or Menandro with Reason and precedent both coincide in that once
malice and deliberate intent and then removed the felled convicted or acquitted of a specific act of reckless imprudence,
coconut trees from the premises. the accused may not be prosecuted again for that same act.
For the essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence
Hence, we must reckon with a dictum of the law, in dubilis reus under article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the
est absolvendus. All doubts must be resolved in favor of the execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally
accused. done, would be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus
the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity
of the consequence is only taken into account to determine the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed penalty, it does not qualify the substance of the offense. And,
December 14, 2012 Decision and the May 6, 2013 Resolution as the careless act is single, whether the injurious result should
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 34431 are affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Eduardo Magsumbol negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split
is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt. into different crimes and prosecutions. This has been the
constant ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court, and is also that
SO ORDERED. of this Court in its most recent decisions on the matter.

G.R. No. L-25366 March 29, 1968 Thus, in People vs. Silva, L-15974, January 30, 1962,
where as the result of the same vehicular accident one man
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, died, two persons were seriously injured while another three
vs. suffered only slight physical injuries, we ruled that the acquittal
JOSE BUAN, accused-appellant. on a charge of slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence, was a bar to another prosecution for homicide
through reckless imprudence. In People vs. Diaz, L-6518,
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. March 30, 1954, the ruling was that the dismissal by the
Felipe C. Magat and Amado D. Dyoco for accused-appellant. Municipal Court of a charge of reckless driving barred a second
information of damage to property through reckless
REYES, J.B.L., Actg. C.J.: imprudence based on the same negligent act of the accused.
In People vs, Belga, 100 Phil. 996, dismissal of an information
for physical injuries through needless imprudence as a result of
Direct appeal by the accused from an order of the Court
a collision between two automobiles was declared, to block two
of First Instance of Bulacan, in its Criminal Case No. 5243 (for
other prosecutions, one for damage to property through
serious physical injuries and damage to property through
reckless imprudence and another for multiple physical injuries
reckless imprudence), overruling a motion to quash on the
arising from the same collision. The same doctrine was
ground of double jeopardy.
reasserted in Yap vs. Lutero, et al., L-12669, April 30, 1959. In
none of the cases cited did the Supreme Court regard as
Stripped to essentials, the case arose in this wise: material that the various offenses charged for the same
occurrence were triable in Courts of differing category, or that
The accused was driving a passenger bus of the La the complainants were not the individuals.
Mallorca Company on July 23, 1962, along the MacArthur
Highway in the municipality of Guiguinto, Bulacan. Allegedly As for the Spanish jurisprudence, Cuello Calon, in
because of his negligence — and recklessness, the vehicle his Derecho Penal (12th Ed.), Vol. I, p. 439, has this to
driven by him struck and collided with the passenger jeep of say:1äwphï1.ñët
Sergio Lumidao, damaging said jeep and causing it to turn
turtle, and injuring its passengers. Six of the latter suffered
Aun cuando de un solo hecho imprudente se
slight physical injuries requiring medical attendance for 5 to 9
originen males diversos, como el hecho culposo es
days: three other riders came out with serious bodily injuries
uno solo, existe un solo delito de imprudencia. Esta
that needed medical attention for 30 to 45 days; while the jeep
es jurisprudencia constante del Tribunal Supremo. De
was damaged to the extent of P1,395.00.
acuerdo con esta doctrinael automovilista imprudente
que atropella y causa lesiones a dos personas y
A charge was filed against the accused-appellant, one ademas daños, no respondera de dos delitos de
for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, in the lesiones y uno de daños por imprudencia, sino de un
Justice of the Peace Court of Guiguinto, for which he was tried solo delito culposo.
and acquitted on December 16, 1963. Prior to this acquittal,
however, the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan filed in the Court of
The said author cites in support of the text the following
First Instance the information in the case now before us, for
decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain (footnotes 2 and 3).
serious physical injuries, and damage to property through
reckless imprudence. Admittedly, both charges referred to the
same highway collision. 8 octubre 1887, 18 octubre 1927.

When the accused was arraigned in the Court of First Si con el hecho imprudente se causa la muerte
Instance, his counsel moved to quash the charges on the de una persona y ademas se ocasionan daños, existe
ground that he had already been acquitted of the same offense un solo hecho punible, pues uno solo fue el acto, aun
by the Justice of the Peace Court. The prosecution opposed cuando deben apreciarse dos enorden a la
the motion and the Court denied the motion quash. Unable to responsabilidad civil, 14 diciembre 1931 si a
secure reconsideration, the accused appealed to this Court. consecuencia de un solo acto imprudente se
produjeron tres delitos, dos de homicidio y uno de
daños, como todos son consecuencia de un solo acto
Sole issue before us, therefore, is whether the second
culposo, no cabe penarlos por separado, 2 abril 1932.
case placed the appellant twice in jeopardy for the same
offense, and is barred by the previous acquittal.
The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge
for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence could
We agree with the appellant that the Court below erred
not be joined with the accusation for serious physical injuries
in not dismissing the information for "serious physical injuries
through reckless imprudence, because Article 48 of the
and damage to property through reckless imprudence," in view
Revised Penal Code allows only the complexing of grave or
of the appellant's previous acquittal by the Justice of the Peace
less grave felonies. This same argument was considered and
Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, for the same imprudence.
rejected by this Court in the case of People vs. Diaz, supra:

Page 66 of 119
... The prosecution's contention might be true. augmented by causing another wrong, that is
But neither was the prosecution obliged to first the burning of the body of Bayani Miranda.
prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries
through reckless imprudence before pressing the CONTRARY TO LAW (p. 1, Records).
more serious charge of homicide with serious physical
injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first
prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in the Upon being arraigned, both accused pleaded not guilty to the
Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, offense charged. After trial, the trial court rendered a decision
which acquitted the defendant, the prosecuting finding both accused guilty on the crime of murder but crediting
attorney is not now in a position to press in this case in favor of the accused Pugay the mitigating circumstance of
the more serious charge of homicide with serious lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong, the dispositive
physical injuries through reckless imprudence which portion of which reads as follows:
arose out of the same alleged reckless imprudence of
which the defendant has been previously cleared by WHEREFORE, the accused Fernando
the inferior court. Pugay y Balcita and Benjamin Samson y
Magdalena are pronounced guilty beyond
In view of the foregoing, we must perforce rule that the reasonable doubt as principals by direct
exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the participation of the crime of murder for the
Peace (now Municipal) Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the death of Bayani Miranda, and appreciating
charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, the aforestated mitigating circumstance in
prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical injuries favor of Pugay, he is sentenced to a prison
through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of term ranging from twelve (12) years
the province, where both charges are derived from the of prision mayor, as minimum, to twenty (20)
consequences of one and the same vehicular accident, years of reclusion temporal, as maximum,
because the second accusation places the appellant in second and Samson to suffer the penalty
jeopardy for the same offense. of reclusion perpetua together with the
accessories of the law for both of them. The
accused are solidarily held liable to
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed, and indemnify the heirs of the victim in the
the Court of First Instance of Bulacan is directed to quash and amount of P13,940.00 plus moral damages
dismiss the charge in its Criminal Case No. 5243. No costs. So of P10,000.00 and exemplary damages of
ordered. P5,000.00.

G.R. No. L-74324 November 17, 1988 Let the preventive imprisonment of Pugay be
deducted from the principal penalty.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. Cost against both accused.
FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA, & BENJAMIN SAMSON y
MAGDALENA, accused-appellants.
SO ORDERED (p. 248, Records).
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Not satisfied with the decision, both accused interposed the
present appeal and assigned the following errors committed by
Citizens Legal Assistance Office for accused-appellants. the court a quo:

1. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN


MEDIALDEA, J.: UTILIZING THE STATEMENTS OF
ACCUSED-APPELLANTS IN ITS
For the death of Bayani Miranda, a retardate, FERNANDO APPRECIATION OF FACTS DESPITE ITS
PUGAY y BALCITA and BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA ADMISSION THAT THE ACCUSED-
were charged with the crime of MURDER in Criminal Case No. APPELLANTS WERE NOT ASSISTED BY A
L-175-82 of the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial COUNSEL DURING THE CUSTODIAL
Court) of Cavite, under an information which reads as follows: INVESTIGATION.

That on or about May 19, 1982 at the town 2. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT
plaza of the Municipality of Rosario, Province FINDING THAT THE SUPPRESSION BY
of Cavite, Philippines, and within the THE PROSECUTION OF SOME EVIDENCE
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the IS FATAL TO ITS CASE.
above-named accused, conspiring,
confederating and mutually helping and 3. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN
assisting one another, with treachery and LENDING CREDENCE TO THE
evident premeditation, taking advantage of INCREDIBLE TESTIMONY OF EDUARDO
their superior strength, and with the decided GABION WHO WAS ONE OF THE MANY
purpose to kill, poured gasoline, a SUSPECTS ARRESTED BY THE POLICE
combustible liquid to the body of Bayani (Accused-appellants' Brief, p. 48, Rollo).
Miranda and with the use of fire did then and
there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
burn the whole body of said Bayani Miranda The antecedent facts are as follows:
which caused his subsequent death, to the
damage and prejudice of the heirs of the The deceased Miranda, a 25-year old retardate, and the
aforenamed Bayani Miranda. accused Pugay were friends. Miranda used to run errands for
Pugay and at times they slept together. On the evening of May
That the crime was committed with the 19, 1982, a town fiesta fair was held in the public plaza of
qualifying circumstance of treachery and the Rosario, Cavite. There were different kinds of ride and one was
aggravating circumstances of evident a ferris wheel.
premeditation and superior strength, and the
means employed was to weaken the Sometime after midnight of the same date, Eduardo Gabion
defense; that the wrong done in the was sitting in the ferris wheel and reading a comic book with
commission of the crime was deliberately his friend Henry. Later, the accused Pugay and Samson with
Page 67 of 119
several companions arrived. These persons appeared to be on record (pp. 16-17, Records) the written statements of one
drunk as they were all happy and noisy. As the group saw the Abelardo Reyes and one Monico Alimorong alleging the same
deceased walking nearby, they started making fun of him. They facts and imputing the respective acts of pouring of gasoline
made the deceased dance by tickling him with a piece of wood. and setting the deceased on fire to the accused-appellants as
testified to by Gabion in open court. They were listed as
Not content with what they were doing with the deceased, the prosecution witnesses in the information filed. Considering that
accused Pugay suddenly took a can of gasoline from under the their testimonies would be merely corroborative, their non-
engine of the ferns wheel and poured its contents on the body presentation does not give rise to the presumption that
of the former. Gabion told Pugay not to do so while the latter evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced.
was already in the process of pouring the gasoline. Then, the This presumption does not apply to the suppression of merely
accused Samson set Miranda on fire making a human torch corroborative evidence (U.S. vs. Dinola, 37 Phil.
out of him. 797).<äre||anº•1àw> Besides, the matter as to whom to utilize
as witness is for the prosecution to decide.
The ferris wheel operator later arrived and doused with water
the burning body of the deceased. Some people around also Accused-appellants also attack the credibility of the eyewitness
poured sand on the burning body and others wrapped the Gabion alleging that not only was the latter requested by the
same with rags to extinguish the flame. mother of the deceased to testify for the prosecution in
exchange for his absolution from liability but also because his
testimony that he was reading a comic book during an unusual
The body of the deceased was still aflame when police officer event is contrary to human behavior and experience.
Rolando Silangcruz and other police officers of the Rosario
Police Force arrived at the scene of the incident. Upon
inquiring as to who were responsible for the dastardly act, the Gabion testified that it was his uncle and not the mother of the
persons around spontaneously pointed to Pugay and Samson deceased who asked him to testify and state the truth about
as the authors thereof. the incident. The mother of the deceased likewise testified that
she never talked to Gabion and that she saw the latter for the
first time when the instant case was tried. Besides, the
The deceased was later rushed to the Grace Hospital for accused Pugay admitted that Gabion was his friend and both
treatment. In the meantime, the police officers brought Gabion, Pugay and the other accused Samson testified that they had
the two accused and five other persons to the Rosario no previous misunderstanding with Gabion. Clearly, Gabion
municipal building for interrogation. Police officer Reynaldo had no reason to testify falsely against them.
Canlas took the written statements of Gabion and the two
accused, after which Gabion was released. The two accused
remained in custody. In support of their claim that the testimony of Gabion to the
effect that he saw Pugay pour gasoline on the deceased and
then Samson set him on fire is incredible, the accused-
After a careful review of the records, We find the grounds relied appellants quote Gabion's testimony on cross-examination
upon by the accused-appellants for the reversal of the decision that, after telling Pugay not to pour gasoline on the deceased,
of the court a quo to be without merit. he (Gabion) resumed reading comics; and that it was only
when the victim's body was on fire that he noticed a
It bears emphasis that barely a few hours after the incident, commotion.
accused-appellants gave their written statements to the police.
The accused Pugay admitted in his statement, Exhibit F, that However, explaining this testimony on re-direct examination,
he poured a can of gasoline on the deceased believing that the Gabion stated:
contents thereof was water and then the accused Samson set
the deceased on fire. The accused Samson, on the other hand,
alleged in his statement that he saw Pugay pour gasoline on Q. Mr. Gabion, you told the
Miranda but did not see the person who set him on fire. Worthy Court on cross-
of note is the fact that both statements did not impute any examination that you were
participation of eyewitness Gabion in the commission of the reading comics when you
offense. saw Pugay poured
gasoline unto Bayani
Miranda and lighted by
While testifying on their defense, the accused-appellants Samson. How could you
repudiated their written statements alleging that they were possibly see that incident
extracted by force. They claimed that the police maltreated while you were reading
them into admitting authorship of the crime. They also engaged comics?
in a concerted effort to lay the blame on Gabion for the
commission of the offense.
A. I put down the comics
which I am reading and I
Thus, while it is true that the written statements of the accused- saw what they were doing.
appellants were mentioned and discussed in the decision of
the court a quo, the contents thereof were not utilized as the
sole basis for the findings of facts in the decision rendered. The Q. According to you also
said court categorically stated that "even without Exhibits 'F' before Bayani was poured
and 'G', there is still Gabion's straightforward, positive and with gasoline and lighted
convincing testimony which remains unaffected by the and burned later you had a
uncorroborated, self-serving and unrealiable testimonies of talk with Pugay, is that
Pugay and Samson" (p. 247, Records). correct?

Accused-appellants next assert that the prosecution A. When he was pouring


suppressed the testimonies of other eyewitnesses to the gasoline on Bayani
incident. They claim that despite the fact that there were other Miranda I was trying to
persons investigated by the police, only Gabion was presented prevent him from doing so.
as an eyewitness during the trial of the case. They argue that
the deliberate non- presentation of these persons raises the Q. We want to clarify.
presumption that their testimonies would be adverse to the According to you a while
prosecution. ago you had a talk with
Pugay and as a matter of
There is no dispute that there were other persons who fact, you told him not to
witnessed the commission of the crime. In fact there appears pour gasoline. That is what

Page 68 of 119
I want to know from you, if It is thus clear that prior to the incident in question, Gabion was
that is true? reading a comic book; that Gabion stopped reading when the
group of Pugay started to make fun of the deceased; that
A. Yes, sir. Gabion saw Pugay get the can of gasoline from under the
engine of the ferris wheel; that it was while Pugay was in the
process of pouring the gasoline on the body of the deceased
Q. Aside from Bayani when Gabion warned him not to do so; and that Gabion later
being tickled with a stick saw Samson set the deceased on fire.
on his ass, do you mean to
say you come to know that
Pugay will pour gasoline However, there is nothing in the records showing that there
unto him? was previous conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and
intention between the two accused-appellants immediately
before the commission of the crime. There was no animosity
A. I do not know that would between the deceased and the accused Pugay or Samson.
be that incident. Their meeting at the scene of the incident was accidental. It is
also clear that the accused Pugay and his group merely
Q. Why did you as(k) wanted to make fun of the deceased. Hence, the respective
Pugay in the first place not criminal responsibility of Pugay and Samson arising from
to pour gasoline before he different acts directed against the deceased is individual and
did that actually? not collective, and each of them is liable only for the act
committed by him (U.S. vs. Magcomot, et. al. 13, Phil. 386;
A. Because I pity Bayani, U.S. vs. Abiog, et. al. 37 Phil. 1371).
sir.
The next question to be determined is the criminal
Q. When you saw Pugay responsibility of the accused Pugay. Having taken the can from
tickling Bayani with a stick under the engine of the ferris wheel and holding it before
on his ass you tried pouring its contents on the body of the deceased, this accused
according to you to ask knew that the can contained gasoline. The stinging smell of this
him not to and then later flammable liquid could not have escaped his notice even
you said you asked not to before pouring the same. Clearly, he failed to exercise all the
pour gasoline. Did Pugay diligence necessary to avoid every undesirable consequence
arising from any act that may be committed by his companions
tell you he was going to
pour gasoline on Bayani? who at the time were making fun of the deceased. We agree
with the Solicitor General that the accused is only guilty of
homicide through reckless imprudence defined in Article 365 of
A. I was not told, sir. the Revised Penal Code, as amended. In U.S. vs. Maleza, et.
al. 14 Phil. 468, 470, this Court ruled as follows:
Q. Did you come to
know..... how did you A man must use common sense and
come to know he was exercise due reflection in all his acts; it is his
going to pour gasoline that duty to be cautious, careful, and prudent, if
is why you prevent him? not from instinct, then through fear of
incurring punishment. He is responsible for
A. Because he was such results as anyone might foresee and for
holding on a container of acts which no one would have performed
gasoline. I thought it was except through culpable abandon. Otherwise
water but it was gasoline. his own person, rights and property, all those
of his fellow-beings, would ever be exposed
to all manner of danger and injury.
Q. It is clear that while
Pugay was tickling Bayani
with a stick on his ass, he The proper penalty that the accused Pugay must suffer is an
later got hold of a can of indeterminate one ranging from four (4) months of arresto
gasoline, is that correct? mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months
of prision correccional, as maximum. With respect to the
A. Yes, sir. accused Samson, the Solicitor General in his brief contends
that "his conviction of murder, is proper considering that his act
in setting the deceased on fire knowing that gasoline had just
Q. And when he pick up been poured on him is characterized by treachery as the victim
the can of gasoline, was was left completely helpless to defend and protect himself
that the time you told him against such an outrage" (p. 57, Rollo). We do not agree.
not to pour gasoline when
he merely pick up the can
There is entire absence of proof in the record that the accused
of gasoline.
Samson had some reason to kill the deceased before the
incident. On the contrary, there is adequate evidence showing
A. I saw him pouring the that his act was merely a part of their fun-making that evening.
gasoline on the body of For the circumstance of treachery to exist, the attack must be
Joe. deliberate and the culprit employed means, methods, or forms
in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to
Q. So, it is clear when you insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any
told Pugay not to pour defense which the offended party might make.
gasoline he was already in
the process of pouring There can be no doubt that the accused Samson knew very
gasoline on the body of well that the liquid poured on the body of the deceased was
Bayani? gasoline and a flammable substance for he would not have
committed the act of setting the latter on fire if it were
A. Yes, sir (Tsn, July 30, otherwise. Giving him the benefit of doubt, it call be conceded
1983, pp. 32-33). that as part of their fun-making he merely intended to set the
deceased's clothes on fire. His act, however, does not relieve

Page 69 of 119
him of criminal responsibility. Burning the clothes of the victim obeisance to its collective wisdom and inflict punishment for
would cause at the very least some kind of physical injuries on non-observance.
his person, a felony defined in the Revised Penal Code. If his
act resulted into a graver offense, as what took place in the The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic
instant case, he must be held responsible therefor. Article 4 of collectivism wrought changes in the social order, carrying with
the aforesaid code provides, inter alia, that criminal liability it a new formulation of fundamental rights and duties more
shall be incurred by any person committing a felony (delito) attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-political
although the wrongful act done be different from that which he ideologies. In the process, the web of rights and State
intended. impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed in
threads of multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular and
As no sufficient evidence appears in the record establishing broken. Antagonism, often outright collision, between the law
any qualifying circumstances, the accused Samson is only as the expression of the will of the State, and the zealous
guilty of the crime of homicide defined and penalized in Article attempts by its members to preserve their individuality and
249 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. We are disposed dignity, inevitably followed. It is when individual rights are pitted
to credit in his favor the ordinary mitigating circumstance of no against State authority that judicial conscience is put to its
intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed as severest test.
there is evidence of a fact from which such conclusion can be
drawn. The eyewitness Gabion testified that the accused Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official
Pugay and Samson were stunned when they noticed the to be prosecuted under RA 7080 (An Act Defining and
deceased burning (Tsn, June 1, 1983, pp. 16- Penalizing the Crime of Plunder),1 as amended by RA
17).<äre||anº•1àw> 7659,2 wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so
defectively fashioned that it crosses that thin but distinct line
The proper penalty that the accused Samson must suffer is an which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He
indeterminate one ranging from eight (8) years of prision therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the
mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years of reclusion Plunder Law to the crucible of constitutionality mainly because,
temporal, as maximum. according to him, (a) it suffers from the vice of vagueness; (b) it
dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal
The lower court held the accused solidarily liable for prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the element of mens rea in
P13,940.00, the amount spent by Miranda's parents for his crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code, all
hospitalization, wake and interment. The indemnity for death is of which are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental
P30,000.00. Hence, the indemnity to the heirs of the deceased rights of the accused to due process and to be informed of the
Miranda is increased to P43,940.00. nature and cause of the accusation against him.

Both accused shall be jointly and severally liable for the Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by
aforesaid amount plus the P10,000.00 as moral damages and petitioner to have transgressed constitutional boundaries are
P5,000.00 as exemplary damages as found by the court a quo. Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which are reproduced hereunder:

Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed with the modifications Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset,
above-indicated. Costs against the accused-appellants. property, business, enterprise or material possession of any
person within the purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired
by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees,
SO ORDERED. agents, subordinates and/or business associates by any
combination or series of the following means or similar
G.R. No. 148560 November 19, 2001 schemes:

JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, (1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or


vs. malversation of public funds or raids on the public
SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and PEOPLE OF THE treasury;
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
(2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any
DECISION commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any
other form of pecuniary benefit from any person
BELLOSILLO, J.: and/or entity in connection with any government
contract or project or by reason of the office or
position of the public office concerned;
JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the
full fury of his pen in defense of the rights of the individual from
the vast powers of the State and the inroads of societal (3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or
pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating disposition of assets belonging to the National
the limits on individuality beyond which the State cannot tread - Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or
asserting that "individual spontaneity" must be allowed to instrumentalities, or government owned or controlled
flourish with very little regard to social interference - he corporations and their subsidiaries;
veritably acknowledges that the exercise of rights and liberties
is imbued with a civic obligation, which society is justified in (4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or
enforcing at all cost, against those who would endeavor to indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form
withhold fulfillment. Thus he says - of interest or participation including the promise of
future employment in any business enterprise or
The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or undertaking;
collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their
number, is self-protection. The only purpose for which power (5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or
can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or
community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. implementation of decrees and orders intended to
benefit particular persons or special interests; or
Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of
the State to self-preservation. With the end of maintaining the (6) By taking advantage of official position, authority,
integrity and cohesiveness of the body politic, it behooves the relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich
State to formulate a system of laws that would compel himself or themselves at the expense and to the

Page 70 of 119
damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the Sandiganbayan denied
Republic of the Philippines. petitioner's Motion to Quash.

Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments
public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of on 18 September 2001, the issues for resolution in the instant
his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business petition for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder Law is
associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires
accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through less evidence for proving the predicate crimes of plunder and
a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process;
described in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the aggregate amount or and, (c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum
total value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within the power of
be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by Congress to so classify it.
reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with
the said public officer in the commission of an offense Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to
contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished the validity of legislation is predicated on the basic principle
for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony with
participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating the Constitution. 3 Courts invariably train their sights on this
circumstances as provided by the Revised Penal Code shall be fundamental rule whenever a legislative act is under a
considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill- constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional
gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets adjudication. This strong predilection for constitutionality takes
including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of the
deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State government to encroach upon the duties and powers of
(underscoring supplied). another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based
on the deference the judicial branch accords to its coordinate
Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the branch - the legislature.
crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and
every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may
the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or firmly rest, the courts must assume that the legislature is ever
acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and
beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the
acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare
conspiracy (underscoring supplied). of the majority. Hence in determining whether the acts of the
legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, courts should
On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and
Sandiganbayan eight (8) separate Informations, docketed as: forbearance. Every intendment of the law must be adjudged by
(a) Crim. Case No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080, as the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a
amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, measure of last resort. In construing therefore the provisions of
inclusive, for violation of Secs. 3, par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation
and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices is fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality.
Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation of
Sec. 7, par. (d), of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon 4 we held that
Standards for Public Officials and Employees); (d) Crim. Case as long as there is some basis for the decision of the court, the
No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The Revised Penal Code); constitutionality of the challenged law will not be touched and
and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the
No. 142, as amended by RA 6085). force of the presumption is not sufficient to catapult a
fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs of
On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably
remand of the case to the Ombudsman for preliminary transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must
investigation with respect to specification "d" of the charges in be struck down on sight lest the positive commands of the
the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for fundamental law be unduly eroded.
reconsideration/reinvestigation of the offenses under
specifications "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs
opportunity to file counter-affidavits and other documents heavily on the party challenging the validity of the statute. He
necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably, the must demonstrate beyond any tinge of doubt that there is
grounds raised were only lack of preliminary investigation, indeed an infringement of the constitution, for absent such a
reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and opportunity to showing, there can be no finding of unconstitutionality. A doubt,
prove lack of probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the even if well-founded, will hardly suffice. As tersely put by
charges and the vagueness of the law under which they are Justice Malcolm, "To doubt is to sustain."5 And petitioner has
charged were never raised in that Omnibus Motion thus miserably failed in the instant case to discharge his burden and
indicating the explicitness and comprehensibility of the Plunder overcome the presumption of constitutionality of the Plunder
Law. Law.

On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable
Resolution in Crim. Case No. 26558 finding that "a probable standards and well-defined parameters which would enable the
cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify the accused to determine the nature of his violation. Section 2 is
issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and
2001 petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied by the conditions required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements
Sandiganbayan. of the crime with reasonable certainty and particularity. Thus -

On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in 1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by
Crim. Case No. 26558 on the ground that the facts alleged himself or in connivance with members of his family,
therein did not constitute an indictable offense since the law on relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business
which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness, and associates, subordinates or other persons;
that the Amended Information for Plunder charged more than
one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the Government filed
its Opposition to the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days later or 2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-
on 26 June 2001 petitioner submitted his Reply to the gotten wealth through a combination or series of the
following overt or criminal acts: (a) through
misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation
Page 71 of 119
of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (b) by overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS,
receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, described as follows:
share, percentage, kickback or any other form of
pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in (a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly,
connection with any government contract or project or on SEVERAL INSTANCES, MONEY IN THE
by reason of the office or position of the public officer; AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED
(c) by the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or FORTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS (₱545,000,000.00),
disposition of assets belonging to the National MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN
Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE,
instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled KICKBACK OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY
corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connection with
receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares co-accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy'
of stock, equity or any other form of interest or Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Edward Serapio, AND
participation including the promise of future JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in consideration OF
employment in any business enterprise or TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL
undertaking; (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial GAMBLING;
or commercial monopolies or other combinations
and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended
to benefit particular persons or special interests; or (f) (b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating,
by taking advantage of official position, authority, converting OR misusing DIRECTLY OR
relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONAL gain
himself or themselves at the expense and to the and benefit, public funds in the amount of ONE
damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION PESOS
Republic of the Philippines; and, (₱130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a
portion of the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS
(₱200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share allocated
3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill- for the province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, by
gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired is at himself and/or in connivance with co-accused
least ₱50,000,000.00. Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE
a.k.a.Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a.
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE
that would inform those who are subject to it what conduct DOES; (italic supplied).
would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be
sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; (c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS
the counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and PERSONAL GAIN AND BENEFIT, the Government
more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE
proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little 351,878,000 SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR
difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a LESS, and the Social Security System (SSS),
public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at 329,855,000 SHARES OF STOCK, MORE OR LESS,
least ₱50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts OF THE BELLE CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT
enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law. OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION ONE HUNDRED
TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE
In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND
language of the law, indicating with reasonable certainty the FIFTY CENTAVOS (₱1,102,965,607.50) AND MORE
various elements of the offense which petitioner is alleged to OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR
have committed: MILLION SIX HUNDRED TWELVE THOUSAND
AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS
"The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, (₱744,612,450.00), RESPECTIVELY, OR A TOTAL
EPIB, Office of the Ombudsman, hereby accuses OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT
former PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE
PHILIPPINES, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIFTY
SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE VELARDE,' together with Jose SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS
'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio, (₱1,847,578,057.50); AND BY COLLECTING OR
Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BY
Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia HIMSELF AND/OR IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN
Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime of Plunder, DOES AND JANE DOES, COMMISSIONS OR
defined and penalized under R.A. No. 7080, as amended by PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF SAID
Sec. 12 of R.A. No. 7659, committed as follows: PURCHASES OF SHARES OF STOCK IN THE
AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE
MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the (₱189,700,000.00) MORE OR LESS, FROM THE
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, BELLE CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF
accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A PRESIDENT OF THE DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE;'
himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with his co-
accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY,
RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY, (d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM
BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES, PERCENTAGES,
OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE OF KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY
HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP, BENEFITS, IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES
CONNECTION, OR INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, AND JANE DOES, in the amount of MORE OR
unlawfully and criminally amass, accumulate and acquire BY LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY
HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten wealth in THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FOUR
the aggregate amount or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE
NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS
THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS (₱3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME
AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (₱4,097,804,173.17), more or UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE'
less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF OR AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK."
THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE
OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous
PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR A combination OR Aseries of - as there is obviously none - that will confuse petitioner in his
Page 72 of 119
defense. Although subject to proof, these factual assertions REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that -
clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily
understood and provide adequate contrast between the REP. GARCIA: Two.
innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal
assertions, petitioner is completely informed of the accusations
against him as to enable him to prepare for an intelligent REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of
defense. the enumerated means not twice of one enumeration.

Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice.
the statutory definition of the terms "combination" and "series"
in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or criminal REP. ISIDRO: Not twice?
acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word
"pattern" in Sec. 4. These omissions, according to petitioner, REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but
render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being combination, two acts.
impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right to
be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
him, hence, violative of his fundamental right to due process. REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, that’s it. When we say
combination, we mean, two different acts. It cannot be a
repetition of the same act.
The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute
is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general
terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah.
without defining them;6 much less do we have to define every
word we use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there
statutory command requiring the legislature to define each and are two.
every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the
form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the
REP. GARCIA: A series.
words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the
vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will
is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which REP. ISIDRO: That’s not series. Its a combination. Because
is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law. when we say combination or series, we seem to say that two or
more, di ba?
Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics
that words of a statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary
and ordinary acceptation and signification, 7 unless it is evident crimes. That is why, I said, that is a very good suggestion
that the legislature intended a technical or special legal because if it is only one act, it may fall under ordinary crime but
meaning to those words. 8 The intention of the lawmakers - who we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal acts.
are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - to So x x x x
use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always
presumed. Thus, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary contains REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di....
the following commonly accepted definition of the words
"combination" and "series:"
SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term "series?"

Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or


REP. GARCIA: Series, oo.
process of combining. To combine is to bring into such close
relationship as to obscure individual characters.
REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two
misappropriations....
Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming
one after another in spatial and temporal succession.
REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be
combination. Series.
That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series"
to be understood in their popular meanings is pristinely evident
from the legislative deliberations on the bill which eventually REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?
became RA 7080 or the Plunder Law:
REP. GARCIA: Yes.
DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON
JUSTICE, 7 May 1991 REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?

REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of REP. GARCIA: Yes.
plunder. We say THROUGH A COMBINATION OR SERIES
OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED IN
SEN. TANADA: Two different.
SECTION ONE HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we
actually mean to say, if there are two or more means, we mean
to say that number one and two or number one and something REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.
else are included, how about a series of the same act? For
example, through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, will REP. GARCIA: For example, ha...
these be included also?
REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series.
DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989
REP. ISIDRO: Series.
SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series. sometimes "one" or maybe even "two" acts may already result
in such a big amount, on line 25, would the Sponsor consider
REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination. deleting the words "a series of overt or," to read, therefore: "or
conspiracy COMMITTED by criminal acts such as." Remove
REP. GARCIA: Yes.
Page 73 of 119
the idea of necessitating "a series." Anyway, the criminal acts fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law
are in the plural. enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and
becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. 10 But
SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or the doctrine does not apply as against legislations that are
more of the acts mentioned in this. merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless
specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that
are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types
THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be.... of activities. The first may be "saved" by proper construction,
while no challenge may be mounted as against the second
SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because "a series" implies several whenever directed against such activities. 11 With more reason,
or many; two or more. the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is
clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case.
SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for
THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be uncertainty is whether the language conveys a sufficiently
prosecuted under the particular crime. But when we say "acts definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured
of plunder" there should be, at least, two or more. by common understanding and practice. 12It must be stressed,
however, that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a
reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld - not
SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner
by existing laws, Mr. President. seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity,
is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely
referring to at least two (2) acts falling under different because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or
categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the
raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the
fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to the National details in advance as in all other statutes.
Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3).
Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of
On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the
or more overt or criminal acts falling under the same category Court that the allegations that the Plunder Law is vague and
of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say, misappropriation, overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity -
malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall
under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which
intended a technical or distinctive meaning for "combination" either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague
and "series," it would have taken greater pains in specifically that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
providing for it in the law. meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first
essential of due process of law."13 The overbreadth doctrine,
As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose may
Sandiganbayan9 that this term is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly
in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 - and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms."14

x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and
least a combination or series of overt or criminal acts to one which is overbroad because of possible "chilling effect"
enumerated in subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly, upon protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen statutes
pursuant to Sec. 2 of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
acts is directed towards a common purpose or goal which is to construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the
enable the public officer to amass, accumulate or acquire ill- statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all
gotten wealth. And thirdly, there must either be an 'overall society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to
unlawful scheme' or 'conspiracy' to achieve said common goal. justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
As commonly understood, the term 'overall unlawful scheme' requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate
indicates a 'general plan of action or method' which the that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn
principal accused and public officer and others conniving with with narrow specificity."15 The possible harm to society in
him follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
alternative, if there is no such overall scheme or where the outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of
schemes or methods used by multiple accused vary, the overt others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester
or criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.
common goal.
This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal
Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not statutes have general in terrorem effect resulting from their
give a fair warning and sufficient notice of what it seeks to very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this
penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on the reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting
"void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The laws against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal
doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but is most law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.
commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a
criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special
definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing
understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it,
only be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not
vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context
saving clause or by construction. of the First Amendment."16 In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,17 the
Court ruled that "claims of facial overbreadth have been
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms,
comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that
must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed
application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to
Constitution in two (2) respects - it violates due process for be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been
failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most

Page 74 of 119
difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger support and give it effect. In that case,
must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which petitioners Gallego and Agoncillo challenged the
the Act would be valid."18 As for the vagueness doctrine, it is constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and
said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it Corrupt Practices Actfor being vague. Petitioners posited,
is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who among others, that the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise
engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot and elastic with no common law meaning or settled definition
complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct by prior judicial or administrative precedents; that, for its
of others."19 vagueness, Sec. 3, par. (e), violates due process in that it does
not give fair warning or sufficient notice of what it seeks to
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and penalize. Petitioners further argued that the Information
vagueness are analytical tools developed for testing "on their charged them with three (3) distinct offenses, to wit: (a) giving
faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in of "unwarranted" benefits through manifest partiality; (b) giving
American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made of "unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and, (c)
to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With giving of "unwarranted" benefits through gross inexcusable
respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to negligence while in the discharge of their official function and
whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard that their right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also accusation against them was violated because they were left to
be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in guess which of the three (3) offenses, if not all, they were being
which its application might be unconstitutional." 20 As has been charged and prosecuted.
pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First Amendment
context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e),
invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer
process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a from the constitutional defect of vagueness. The phrases
particular defendant."21 Consequently, there is no basis for "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and
petitioner's claim that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law inexcusable negligence" merely describe the different modes
on its face and in its entirety. by which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute
may be committed, and the use of all these phrases in the
Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking same Information does not mean that the indictment charges
them down entirely on the ground that they might be applied to three (3) distinct offenses.
parties not before the Court whose activities are constitutionally
protected.22 It constitutes a departure from the case and The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking
controversy requirement of the Constitution and permits adequate or official support; unjustified; unauthorized
decisions to be made without concrete factual settings and in (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. 2514); or without
sterile abstract contexts. 23 But, as the U.S. Supreme Court justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc.
pointed out in Younger v. Harris 24 v. US Dept. of Justice, C.D. Pa., 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in
Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978,
[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, p. 19).
deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies
before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the Act consider a corrupt practice and make unlawful the act of
relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the the public officer in:
legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the
speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits,
analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of advantage or preference in the discharge of his official,
case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality,
questions, whichever way they might be decided. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, x x x
(Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as amended).
For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has
been described as "manifestly strong medicine," to be It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted
employed "sparingly and only as a last resort,"25 and is penal provisions penalize is the act of a public officer, in the
generally disfavored. 26 In determining the constitutionality of a discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions, in
statute, therefore, its provisions which are alleged to have been giving any private party benefits, advantage or preference
violated in a case must be examined in the light of the conduct which is unjustified, unauthorized or without justification or
with which the defendant is charged. 27 adequate reason, through manifest partiality, evident bad faith
or gross inexcusable negligence.
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the
purported ambiguity of the Plunder Law, so tenaciously In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague
claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined or ambiguous in the use of the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3,
than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which was
dissecting parts and words in the statute to furnish support to understood in its primary and general acceptation.
critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Consequently, in that case, petitioners' objection thereto was
Every provision of the law should be construed in relation and held inadequate to declare the section unconstitutional.
with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take more
than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of
constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched
petitioner cannot feign ignorance of what the Plunder Law is all theory that Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law circumvents the
about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, immutable obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond
petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of
deliberated upon by the Senate and its appropriate committees plunder when it requires only proof of a pattern of overt or
by reason of which he even registered his affirmative vote with criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy -
full knowledge of its legal implications and sound constitutional
anchorage. SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the
crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and
The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan 28 must be every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the
mentioned if only to illustrate and emphasize the point that scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-
courts are loathed to declare a statute void for uncertainty gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond
unless the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative
and is susceptible of no reasonable construction that will of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.

Page 75 of 119
The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element
simplistic mind. In a criminal prosecution for plunder, as in all necessary to constitute the crime.
other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the
presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every
Rights, and unless the State succeeds in demonstrating by component of the crime suffers from a dismal misconception of
proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the the import of that provision. What the prosecution needs to
accused is entitled to an acquittal. 29 The use of the "reasonable prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts
doubt" standard is indispensable to command the respect and sufficient to form a combination or series which would
confidence of the community in the application of criminal law. constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at least
It is critical that the moral force of criminal law be not diluted by ₱50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each and every
a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt whether other act alleged in the Information to have been committed by
innocent men are being condemned. It is also important in our the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful scheme or
free society that every individual going about his ordinary conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth.
affairs has confidence that his government cannot adjudge him To illustrate, supposing that the accused is charged in an
guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper Information for plunder with having committed fifty (50) raids on
factfinder of his guilt with utmost certainty. This "reasonable the public treasury. The prosecution need not prove all these
doubt" standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm fifty (50) raids, it being sufficient to prove by pattern at least two
of constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process (2) of the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that
Clause which protects the accused against conviction except they amounted to at least ₱50,000,000.00. 31
upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to
constitute the crime with which he is charged. 30 The following
exchanges between Rep. Rodolfo Albano and Rep. Pablo A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the
Garcia on this score during the deliberations in the floor of the logical conclusion that "pattern of overt or criminal acts
House of Representatives are elucidating - indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy"
inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing
hidden wealth. Stated otherwise, such pattern arises where the
DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the
ON RA 7080, 9 October 1990 predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d). Pattern is merely a
by-product of the proof of the predicate acts. This conclusion is
MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our consistent with reason and common sense. There would be no
criminal law that what is alleged in the information must be other explanation for a combination or series of
proven beyond reasonable doubt. If we will prove only one act
and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the overt or criminal acts to stash ₱50,000,000.00 or more, than "a
information, does that not work against the right of the accused scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill
especially so if the amount committed, say, by falsification is gotten wealth." The prosecution is therefore not required to
less than ₱100 million, but the totality of the crime committed is make a deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it
₱100 million since there is malversation, bribery, falsification of necessarily follows with the establishment of a series or
public document, coercion, theft? combination of the predicate acts.

MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of
information needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Sec. 4 is his submission that "pattern" is "a very important
What is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is element of the crime of plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is "two
every element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive
Speaker, there is an enumeration of the things taken by the element of the crime," such that without it the accused cannot
robber in the information – three pairs of pants, pieces of be convicted of plunder -
jewelry. These need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt,
but these will not prevent the conviction of a crime for which he
was charged just because, say, instead of 3 pairs of diamond JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be
earrings the prosecution proved two. Now, what is required to convicted under the Plunder Law without applying Section 4 on
be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the element of the the Rule of Evidence if there is proof beyond reasonable doubt
offense. of the commission of the acts complained of?

MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual
considering that in the crime of plunder the totality of the crimes enumerated in the Revised Penal Code, but not
amount is very important, I feel that such a series of overt plunder.
criminal acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of
bribery, he was able to accumulate only ₱50,000 and in the JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of
crime of extortion, he was only able to accumulate ₱1 million. the crime are proved beyond reasonable doubt without
Now, when we add the totality of the other acts as required applying Section 4, can you not have a conviction under the
under this bill through the interpretation on the rule of evidence, Plunder Law?
it is just one single act, so how can we now convict him?
ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor.
MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of
proving an essential element of the crime, there is a need to JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application
prove that element beyond reasonable doubt. For example, of Sec. 4 in convicting an accused charged for violation of the
one essential element of the crime is that the amount involved Plunder Law?
is ₱100 million. Now, in a series of defalcations and other acts
of corruption in the enumeration the total amount would be
₱110 or ₱120 million, but there are certain acts that could not ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4
be proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those lays down a substantive element of the law x x x x
transactions which were proved. Now, if the amount involved in
these transactions, proved beyond reasonable doubt, is ₱100 JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of
million, then there is a crime of plunder (underscoring Section 4 when there is proof beyond reasonable doubt on the
supplied). acts charged constituting plunder?

It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two
any manner refashion the standard quantum of proof in the pronged, it contains a rule of evidence and it contains a
crime of plunder. The burden still remains with the prosecution substantive element of the crime of plunder. So, there is no
way by which we can avoid Section 4.

Page 76 of 119
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable SENATOR TAÑADA: Yes, Mr. President . . . 34
doubt insofar as the predicate crimes charged are concerned
that you do not have to go that far by applying Section 4? Senator Tañada was only saying that where the charge is
conspiracy to commit plunder, the prosecution need not prove
ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 each and every criminal act done to further the scheme or
contains a very important element of the crime of plunder and conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable
that cannot be avoided by the prosecution.32 doubt a pattern of overt or ciminal acts indicative of the overall
unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting
We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the the pattern are concerned, however, the elements of the crime
essential elements of plunder can be culled and understood must be proved and the requisite mens rea must be shown.
from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and
"pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and Indeed, §2 provides that -
opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and unequivocal:
Any person who participated with the said public officer in the
SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder
crime of plunder x x x x shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of
penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of
It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the
the prosecution of a criminal case for plunder. Being a purely Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court.
procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish any
substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in
furtherance of a remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to the Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-
substantive law. Indubitably, even without invoking Sec. 4, a Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element
conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is
prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that determined by his criminal intent. It is true that §2 refers to "any
moral certitude exacted by the fundamental law to prove the person who participates with the said public officer in the
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, even commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder."
granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4 is flawed and There is no reason to believe, however, that it does not apply
vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it may simply as well to the public officer as principal in the crime. As Justice
be severed from the rest of the provisions without necessarily Holmes said: "We agree to all the generalities about not
resulting in the demise of the law; after all, the existing rules on supplying criminal laws with what they omit, but there is no
evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than enough. Besides, canon against using common sense in construing laws as
Sec. 7 of RA 7080 provides for a separability clause - saying what they obviously mean."35

Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is
or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held a malum in se must be deemed to have been resolved in the
invalid, the remaining provisions of this Act and the application affirmative by the decision of Congress in 1993 to include it
of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to
be affected thereby. death. Other heinous crimes are punished with death as a
straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these groups of
Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act heinous crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray:36
from being declared invalid as a result of the nullity of some of
its provisions, assuming that to be the case although it is not The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes
really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be that are, by their very nature, despicable, either because life
treated independently of each other, especially if by doing so, was callously taken or the victim is treated like an animal and
the objectives of the statute can best be achieved. utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal
course of his or her growth as a human being . . . . Seen in this
As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice light, the capital crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal
Mendoza that plunder is a malum in se which requires proof of detention for ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the
criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his Concurring Opinion - victim is raped, tortured, or subjected to dehumanizing acts;
destructive arson resulting in death; and drug offenses
involving minors or resulting in the death of the victim in the
x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in case of other crimes; as well as murder, rape, parricide,
se the element of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, where the
for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information victim is detained for more than three days or serious physical
alleges that the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, injuries were inflicted on the victim or threats to kill him were
unlawfully and criminally." It thus alleges guilty knowledge on made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide, rape or
the part of petitioner. intentional mutilation, destructive arson, and carnapping where
the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed
In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the or raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua to death,
requirement of mens rea and that is the reason he claims the are clearly heinous by their very nature.
statute is void, petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator
Tañada made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733: There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the
significance and implications of the subject criminal acts in the
SENATOR TAÑADA . . . And the evidence that will be required scheme of the larger socio-political and economic context in
to convict him would not be evidence for each and every which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and
individual criminal act but only evidence sufficient to establish provide for its poor and underprivileged masses. Reeling from
the conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder. 33 decades of corrupt tyrannical rule that bankrupted the
government and impoverished the population, the Philippine
However, Senator Tañada was discussing §4 as shown by the Government must muster the political will to dismantle the
succeeding portion of the transcript quoted by petitioner: culture of corruption, dishonesty, greed and syndicated
criminality that so deeply entrenched itself in the structures of
society and the psyche of the populace. [With the government]
SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic
that it is contained in Section 4, Rule of Evidence, which, in the services to its people, any form of misappropriation or
Gentleman's view, would provide for a speedier and faster misapplication of government funds translates to an actual
process of attending to this kind of cases? threat to the very existence of government, and in turn, the
very survival of the people it governs over. Viewed in this
Page 77 of 119
context, no less heinous are the effects and repercussions of This is a petition for review1 of the Decision2 dated 5 November
crimes like qualified bribery, destructive arson resulting in 2001 and the Resolution dated 14 March 2002 of the Court of
death, and drug offenses involving government officials, Appeals. The 5 November 2001 Decision affirmed the ruling of
employees or officers, that their perpetrators must not be the Regional Trial Court, Boac, Marinduque, Branch 94, in a
allowed to cause further destruction and damage to society. suit to quash Informations filed against petitioners John Eric
Loney, Steven Paul Reid, and Pedro B. Hernandez
The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a ("petitioners"). The 14 March 2002 Resolution denied
heinous offense implies that it is a malum in se. For when the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration.
acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they
are mala in se37 and it does not matter that such acts are The Facts
punished in a special law, especially since in the case of
plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it Petitioners John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid, and Pedro B.
would be absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder as though Hernandez are the President and Chief Executive Officer,
they are mere prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing Senior Manager, and Resident Manager for Mining Operations,
Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against respectively, of Marcopper Mining Corporation ("Marcopper"), a
jaywalking, without regard to the inherent wrongness of the corporation engaged in mining in the province of Marinduque.
acts.
Marcopper had been storing tailings 3 from its operations in a pit
To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the in Mt. Tapian, Marinduque. At the base of the pit ran a
amendatory law of RA 7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice drainage tunnel leading to the Boac and Makalupnit rivers. It
it to say however that it is now too late in the day for him to appears that Marcopper had placed a concrete plug at the
resurrect this long dead issue, the same having been eternally tunnel’s end. On 24 March 1994, tailings gushed out of or near
consigned by People v. Echegaray 38 to the archives of the tunnel’s end. In a few days, the Mt. Tapian pit had
jurisprudential history. The declaration of this Court therein that discharged millions of tons of tailings into the Boac and
RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a declaration of the Makalupnit rivers.
State, and becomes, by necessary effect, assimilated in the
Constitution now as an integral part of it.
In August 1996, the Department of Justice separately charged
petitioners in the Municipal Trial Court of Boac, Marinduque
Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and ("MTC") with violation of Article 91(B),4 sub-paragraphs 5 and 6
obscene profligacy of officials in high places which have of Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the Water Code of the
shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of graft and Philippines ("PD 1067"),5 Section 8 6 of Presidential Decree No.
corruption has become more elaborate in the corridors of time 984 or the National Pollution Control Decree of 1976 ("PD
as unscrupulous people relentlessly contrive more and more 984"),7 Section 1088 of Republic Act No. 7942 or the Philippine
ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government. Drastic Mining Act of 1995 ("RA 7942"),9 and Article 365 10 of the
and radical measures are imperative to fight the increasingly Revised Penal Code ("RPC") for Reckless Imprudence
sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and economically Resulting in Damage to Property. 11
catastrophic looting of the national treasury. Such is the
Plunder Law, especially designed to disentangle those ghastly
tissues of grand-scale corruption which, if left unchecked, will Petitioners moved to quash the Informations on the following
spread like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the grounds: (1) the Informations were "duplicitous" as the
moral and institutional fiber of our nation. The Plunder Law, Department of Justice charged more than one offense for a
indeed, is a living testament to the will of the legislature to single act; (2) petitioners John Eric Loney and Steven Paul
ultimately eradicate this scourge and thus secure society Reid were not yet officers of Marcopper when the incident
against the avarice and other venalities in public office. subject of the Informations took place; and (3) the Informations
contain allegations which constitute legal excuse or
justification.
These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history
of this nation, few issues of national importance can equal the
amount of interest and passion generated by petitioner's The Ruling of the MTC
ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual
prosecution and trial under a virginal statute. This continuing In its Joint Order of 16 January 1997 ("Joint Order"), the
saga has driven a wedge of dissension among our people that MTC12 initially deferred ruling on petitioners’ motion for lack of
may linger for a long time. Only by responding to the clarion "indubitable ground for the quashing of the [I]nformations x x
call for patriotism, to rise above factionalism and prejudices, x." The MTC scheduled petitioners’ arraignment in February
shall we emerge triumphant in the midst of ferment. 1997. However, on petitioners’ motion, the MTC issued a
Consolidated Order on 28 April 1997 ("Consolidated Order"),
PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 granting partial reconsideration to its Joint Order and quashing
otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA the Informations for violation of PD 1067 and PD 984. The
7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to MTC maintained the Informations for violation of RA 7942 and
declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of Article 365 of the RPC. The MTC held:
merit.
[T]he 12 Informations have common allegations of pollutants
SO ORDERED. pointing to "mine tailings" which were precipitately discharged
into the Makulapnit and Boac Rivers due to breach caused on
the Tapian drainage/tunnel due to negligence or failure to
G.R. No. 152644 February 10, 2006 institute adequate measures to prevent pollution and siltation of
the Makulapnit and Boac River systems, the very term and
JOHN ERIC LONEY, STEVEN PAUL REID and PEDRO B. condition required to be undertaken under the Environmental
HERNANDEZ, Petitioners, Compliance Certificate issued on April 1, 1990.
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. The allegations in the informations point to same set [sic] of
evidence required to prove the single fact of pollution
DECISION constituting violation of the Water Code and the Pollution Law
which are the same set of evidence necessary to prove the
CARPIO, J.: same single fact of pollution, in proving the elements
constituting violation of the conditions of ECC, issued pursuant
to the Philippine Mining Act. In both instances, the terms and
The Case conditions of the Environmental Compliance Certificate were

Page 78 of 119
allegedly violated. In other words, the same set of evidence is an acquittal or conviction or a dismissal of the information
required in proving violations of the three (3) special laws. under one does not bar prosecution under the other. x x x."

After carefully analyzing and weighing the contending xxxx


arguments of the parties and after taking into consideration the
applicable laws and jurisprudence, the Court is convinced that [T]he different laws involve cannot absorb one another as the
as far as the three (3) aforesaid laws are concerned, only the elements of each crime are different from one another. Each of
Information for [v]iolation of Philippine Mining Act should be these laws require [sic] proof of an additional fact or element
maintained. In other words, the Informations for [v]iolation of which the other does not although they stemmed from a single
Anti-Pollution Law (PD 984) and the Water Code (PD 1067) act.15
should be dismissed/quashed because the elements
constituting the aforesaid violations are absorbed by the same
elements which constitute violation of the Philippine Mining Act Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of
(RA 7942). Appeals alleging that Branch 94 acted with grave abuse of
discretion because (1) the Informations for violation of PD
1067, PD 984, RA 7942 and the Article 365 of the RPC
Therefore, x x x Criminal Case[] Nos. 96-44, 96-45 and 96-46 "proceed from and are based on a single act or incident of
for [v]iolation of the Water Code; and Criminal Case[] Nos. 96- polluting the Boac and Makalupnit rivers thru dumping of mine
47, 96-48 and 96-49 for [v]iolation of the Anti-Pollution Law x x tailings" and (2) the duplicitous nature of the Informations
x are hereby DISMISSED or QUASHED and Criminal Case[] contravenes the ruling in People v. Relova. 16Petitioners further
Nos. 96-50, 96-51 and 96-52 for [v]iolation of the Philippine contended that since the acts complained of in the charges for
Mining Act are hereby retained to be tried on the merits. violation of PD 1067, PD 984, and RA 7942 are "the very same
acts complained of" in the charge for violation of Article 365 of
The Information for [v]iolation of Article 365 of the Revised the RPC, the latter absorbs the former. Hence, petitioners
Penal Code should also be maintained and heard in a full should only be prosecuted for violation of Article 365 of the
blown trial because the common accusation therein is reckless RPC.17
imprudence resulting to [sic] damage to property. It is the
damage to property which the law punishes not the negligent The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
act of polluting the water system. The prosecution for the
[v]iolation of Philippine Mining Act is not a bar to the
prosecution for reckless imprudence resulting to [sic] damage In its Decision of 5 November 2001, the Court of Appeals
to property.13 affirmed Branch 94’s ruling. The appellate court held:

The MTC re-scheduled petitioners’ arraignment on the The records of the case disclose that petitioners filed a motion
remaining charges on 28 and 29 May 1997. In the hearing of to quash the aforementioned Informations for being duplicitous
28 May 1997, petitioners manifested that they were willing to in nature. Section 3 of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court
be arraigned on the charge for violation of Article 365 of the specifically provides the grounds upon which an information
RPC but not on the charge for violation of RA 7942 as they may be quashed. x x x
intended to appeal the Consolidated Order in so far as it
maintained the Informations for that offense. After making of xxxx
record petitioners’ manifestation, the MTC proceeded with the
arraignment and ordered the entry of "not guilty" pleas on the [D]uplicity of Informations is not among those included in x x x
charges for violation of RA 7942 and Article 365 of the RPC. [Section 3, Rule 117].

Petitioners subsequently filed a petition for certiorari with the xxxx


Regional Trial Court, Boac, Marinduque, assailing that portion
of the Consolidated Order maintaining the Informations for
violation of RA 7942. Petitioners’ petition was raffled to Branch We now go to petitioners’ claim that the resolution of the public
94. For its part, public respondent filed an ordinary appeal with respondent contravened the doctrine laid down in People vs.
the same court assailing that portion of the Consolidated Order Relova for being violative of their right against multiple
quashing the Informations for violation of PD 1067 and PD 984. prosecutions.
Public respondent’s appeal was raffled to Branch 38. On public
respondent’s motion, Branch 38 ordered public respondent’s In the said case, the Supreme Court found the People’s
appeal consolidated with petitioners’ petition in Branch 94. argument with respect to the variances in the mens rea of the
two offenses being charged to be correct. The Court, however,
The Ruling of Branch 94 decided the case in the context of the second sentence of
Article IV (22) of the 1973 Constitution (now under Section 21
of Article III of the 1987 Constitution), rather than the first
In its Resolution14 of 20 March 1998, Branch 94 granted public sentence of the same section. x x x
respondent’s appeal but denied petitioners’ petition. Branch 94
set aside the Consolidated Order in so far as it quashed the
Informations for violation of PD 1067 and PD 984 and ordered xxxx
those charges reinstated. Branch 94 affirmed the Consolidated
Order in all other respects. Branch 94 held: [T]he doctrine laid down in the Relova case does not squarely
apply to the case at Bench since the Informations filed against
After a careful perusal of the laws concerned, this court is of the petitioners are for violation of four separate and distinct
the opinion that there can be no absorption by one offense of laws which are national in character.
the three other offenses, as [the] acts penalized by these laws
are separate and distinct from each other. The elements of xxxx
proving each violation are not the same with each other.
Concededly, the single act of dumping mine tailings which
This Court firmly agrees in the public respondent’s
resulted in the pollution of the Makulapnit and Boac rivers was
understanding that the laws by which the petitioners have been
the basis for the information[s] filed against the accused each
[charged] could not possibly absorb one another as the
charging a distinct offense. But it is also a well-established rule
elements of each crime are different. Each of these laws
in this jurisdiction that –
require [sic] proof of an additional fact or element which the
other does not, although they stemmed from a single act. x x x
"A single act may offend against two or more entirely distinct
and unrelated provisions of law, and if one provision requires
xxxx
proof of an additional fact or element which the other does not,

Page 79 of 119
[T]his Court finds that there is not even the slightest indicia of Duplicity of charges simply means a single complaint or
evidence that would give rise to any suspicion that public information charges more than one offense, as Section 13 of
respondent acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to Rule 11020 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure clearly
excess or lack of jurisdiction in reversing the Municipal Trial states:
Court’s quashal of the Informations against the petitioners for
violation of P.D. 1067 and P.D. 984. This Court equally finds no Duplicity of offense. – A complaint or information must charge
error in the trial court’s denial of the petitioner’s motion to but one offense, except only in those cases in which existing
quash R.A. 7942 and Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.18 laws prescribe a single punishment for various offenses.

Petitioners sought reconsideration but the Court of Appeals In short, there is duplicity (or multiplicity) of charges when a
denied their motion in its Resolution of 14 March 2002. single Information charges more than one offense. 21

Petitioners raise the following alleged errors of the Court of Under Section 3(e), Rule 117 22 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
Appeals: Procedure, duplicity of offenses in a single information is a
ground to quash the Information. The Rules prohibit the filing of
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A such Information to avoid confusing the accused in preparing
R[E]VERSIBLE ERROR IN MAINTAINING THE his defense.23 Here, however, the prosecution charged each
CHARGES FOR VIOLATION OF THE PHILIPPINE petitioner with four offenses, with each Information charging
MINING ACT (R.A. 7942) AND REINSTATING THE only one offense. Thus, petitioners erroneously invoke duplicity
CHARGES FOR VIOLATION OF THE WATER CODE of charges as a ground to quash the Informations. On this
(P.D. 1067) AND POLLUTION CONTROL LAW (P.D. score alone, the petition deserves outright denial.
984), CONSIDERING THAT:
The Filing of Several Charges is Proper
A. THE INFORMATIONS FOR VIOLATION
OF THE WATER CODE (P.D. 1067), THE Petitioners contend that they should be charged with one
POLLUTION CONTROL LAW (P.D. 984), offense only — Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to
THE PHILIPPINE MINING ACT (R.A. 7942) Property — because (1) all the charges filed against them
AND ARTICLE 365 OF THE REVISED "proceed from and are based on a single act or incident of
PENAL CODE PROCEED FROM AND ARE polluting the Boac and Makalupnit rivers thru dumping of mine
BASED ON A SINGLE ACT OR INCIDENT tailings" and (2) the charge for violation of Article 365 of the
OF POLLUTING THE BOAC AND RPC "absorbs" the other charges since the element of "lack of
MAKULAPNIT RIVERS THRU DUMPING necessary or adequate protection, negligence, recklessness
OF MINE TAILINGS. and imprudence" is common among them.

B. THE PROSECUTION OF PETITIONERS The contention has no merit.


FOR DUPLICITOUS AND MULTIPLE
CHARGES CONTRAVENES THE
DOCTRINE LAID DOWN IN PEOPLE VS. As early as the start of the last century, this Court had ruled
RELOVA, 148 SCRA 292 [1986 THAT "AN that a single act or incident might offend against two or more
ACCUSED SHOULD NOT BE HARASSED entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law thus justifying
BY MULTIPLE PROSECUTIONS FOR the prosecution of the accused for more than one
OFFENSES WHICH THOUGH DIFFERENT offense.24 The only limit to this rule is the Constitutional
FROM ONE ANOTHER ARE prohibition that no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of
NONETHELESS EACH CONSTITUTED BY punishment for "the same offense."25 In People v.
A COMMON SET OR OVERLAPPING SETS Doriquez,26 we held that two (or more) offenses arising from
OF TECHNICAL ELEMENTS." the same act are not "the same" —

II. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A x x x if one provision [of law] requires proof of an additional fact
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT THE or element which the other does not, x x x. Phrased elsewise,
ELEMENT OF LACK OF NECESSARY OR where two different laws (or articles of the same code) define
ADEQUATE PRECAUTION, NEGLIGENCE, two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one of them is no obstacle to a
RECKLESSNESS AND IMPRUDENCE UNDER prosecution of the other, although both offenses arise from the
ARTICLE 356 [sic] OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE same facts, if each crime involves some important act which is
DOES NOT FALL WITHIN THE AMBIT OF ANY OF not an essential element of the other. 27 (Emphasis supplied)
THE ELEMENTS OF THE PERTINENT
PROVISIONS OF THE WATER CODE, POLLUTION Here, double jeopardy is not at issue because not all of its
CONTROL LAW AND PHILIPPINE MINING ACT elements are present. 28 However, for the limited purpose of
CHARGED AGAINST PETITIONERS[.]19 controverting petitioners’ claim that they should be charged
with one offense only, we quote with approval Branch 94’s
The Issues comparative analysis of PD 1067, PD 984, RA 7942, and
Article 365 of the RPC showing that in each of these laws on
which petitioners were charged, there is one essential element
The petition raises these issues: not required of the others, thus:

(1) Whether all the charges filed against petitioners In P.D. 1067 (Philippines Water Code), the additional element
except one should be quashed for duplicity of charges to be established is the dumping of mine tailings into the
and only the charge for Reckless Imprudence Makulapnit River and the entire Boac River System without
Resulting in Damage to Property should stand; and prior permit from the authorities concerned. The gravamen of
the offense here is the absence of the proper permit to dump
(2) Whether Branch 94’s ruling, as affirmed by the said mine tailings. This element is not indispensable in the
Court of Appeals, contravenes People v. Relova. prosecution for violation of PD 984 (Anti-Pollution Law), [RA]
7942 (Philippine Mining Act) and Art. 365 of the Revised Penal
The Ruling of the Court Code. One can be validly prosecuted for violating the Water
Code even in the absence of actual pollution, or even [if] it has
complied with the terms of its Environmental Compliance
The petition has no merit. Certificate, or further, even [if] it did take the necessary
precautions to prevent damage to property.
No Duplicity of Charges in the Present Case
Page 80 of 119
In P.D. 984 (Anti-Pollution Law), the additional fact that must "The unauthorized installation punished by the ordinance [of
be proved is the existence of actual pollution. The gravamen is Batangas City] is not the same as theft of electricity [under the
the pollution itself. In the absence of any pollution, the accused Revised Penal Code]; that the second offense is not an
must be exonerated under this law although there was attempt to commit the first or a frustration thereofand that the
unauthorized dumping of mine tailings or lack of precaution on second offense is not necessarily included in the offense
its part to prevent damage to property. charged in the first information."

In R.A. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act), the additional fact that The above argument[ ] made by the petitioner [is] of course
must be established is the willful violation and gross neglect on correct. This is clear both from the express terms of the
the part of the accused to abide by the terms and conditions of constitutional provision involved – which reads as follows:
the Environmental Compliance Certificate, particularly that the
Marcopper should ensure the containment of run-off and silt "No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the
materials from reaching the Mogpog and Boac Rivers. If there same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance,
was no violation or neglect, and that the accused satisfactorily conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to
proved [sic] that Marcopper had done everything to ensure another prosecution for the same act." x x x
containment of the run-off and silt materials, they will not be
liable. It does not follow, however, that they cannot be
prosecuted under the Water Code, Anti-Pollution Law and the and from our case law on this point. The basic difficulty with the
Revised Penal Code because violation of the Environmental petitioner’s position is that it must be examined, not under the
Compliance Certificate is not an essential element of these terms of the first sentence of Article IV (22) of the 1973
laws. Constitution, but rather under the second sentence of the same
section. The first sentence of Article IV (22) sets forth the
general rule: the constitutional protection against double
On the other hand, the additional element that must be jeopardy is not available where the second prosecution is for
established in Art. 365 of the Revised Penal Code is the lack of an offense that is different from the offense charged in the first
necessary or adequate precaution, negligence, recklessness or prior prosecution, although both the first and second
and imprudence on the part of the accused to prevent damage offenses may be based upon the same act or set of acts. The
to property. This element is not required under the previous second sentence of Article IV (22) embodies an exception to
laws. Unquestionably, it is different from dumping of mine the general proposition: the constitutional protection, against
tailings without permit, or causing pollution to the Boac river double jeopardy is available although the prior offense charged
system, much more from violation or neglect to abide by the under an ordinance be different from the offense charged
terms of the Environmental Compliance Certificate. Moreover, subsequently under a national statute such as the Revised
the offenses punished by special law are mal[a] prohibita in Penal Code, provided that both offenses spring from the same
contrast with those punished by the Revised Penal Code which act or set of acts. x x x30 (Italicization in the original; boldfacing
are mala in se.29 supplied)

Consequently, the filing of the multiple charges against Thus, Relova is no authority for petitioners’ claim against
petitioners, although based on the same incident, is consistent multiple prosecutions based on a single act not only because
with settled doctrine. the question of double jeopardy is not at issue here, but also
because, as the Court of Appeals held, petitioners are being
On petitioners’ claim that the charge for violation of Article 365 prosecuted for an act or incident punished by four national
of the RPC "absorbs" the charges for violation of PD 1067, PD statutes and not by an ordinance and a national statute. In
984, and RA 7942, suffice it to say that a mala in se felony short, petitioners, if ever, fall under the first sentence of Section
(such as Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to 21, Article III which prohibits multiple prosecution for the same
Property) cannot absorb mala prohibita crimes (such as those offense, and not, as in Relova, for offenses arising from the
violating PD 1067, PD 984, and RA 7942). What makes the same incident.
former a felony is criminal intent (dolo) or negligence (culpa);
what makes the latter crimes are the special laws enacting WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the
them. Decision dated 5 November 2001 and the Resolution dated 14
March 2002 of the Court of Appeals.
People v. Relova not in Point
SO ORDERED.
Petitioners reiterate their contention in the Court of Appeals
that their prosecution contravenes this Court’s ruling in People G.R. No. 157171 March 14, 2006
v. Relova. In particular, petitioners cite the Court’s statement in
Relova that the law seeks to prevent harassment of the
accused by "multiple prosecutions for offenses which though ARSENIA B. GARCIA, Petitioner,
different from one another are nonetheless each constituted by vs.
a common set or overlapping sets of technical elements." HON. COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Respondents
This contention is also without merit.1avvphil.net
DECISION
The issue in Relova is whether the act of the Batangas Acting
City Fiscal in charging one Manuel Opulencia ("Opulencia") QUISUMBING, J.:
with theft of electric power under the RPC, after the latter had
been acquitted of violating a City Ordinance penalizing the This petition seeks the review of the judgment of the Court of
unauthorized installation of electrical wiring, violated Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 245471that affirmed the conviction
Opulencia’s right against double jeopardy. We held that it did, of petitioner by the Regional Trial Court 2of Alaminos City,
not because the offenses punished by those two laws were the Pangasinan, Branch 54, for violation of Section 27(b) of
same but because the act giving rise to the charges was Republic Act No. 6646. 3
punished by an ordinance and a national statute, thus falling
within the proscription against multiple prosecutions for the Based on the complaint-affidavit of Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.,
same act under the second sentence in Section 22, Article IV who ran in the 1995 senatorial elections, an information dated
of the 1973 Constitution, now Section 21, Article III of the 1987 March 30, 1998, was filed in the Regional Trial Court of
Constitution. We held: Alaminos, charging Herminio R. Romero, Renato R. Viray,
Rachel Palisoc and Francisca de Vera, and petitioner, with
The petitioner concludes that: violation of Section 27(b). The information reads:

Page 81 of 119
That on or about May 11, 1995, which was within the TABULATORS BECAUSE PETITIONER WAS THE ONE WHO
canvassing period during the May 8, 1995 elections, in the READ THE ADDING [MACHINE] TAPE.
Municipality of Alaminos, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- II
named accused, Election Officer Arsenia B. Garcia, Municipal
Treasurer Herminio R. Romero, Public School District
Supervisor Renato R. Viray, Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and ON THE THIRD GROUND, NAMELY, THAT PETITIONER DID
Member-Secretary, respectively, of the Municipal Board of NOT PRODUCE THE TAPES DURING THE TRIAL BECAUSE
Canvassers of Alaminos, Pangasinan, tabulators Rachel IF PRODUCED, IT IS GOING TO BE ADVERSE TO HER.
Palisoc and Francisca de Vera, conspiring with, confederating
together and mutually helping each other, did, then and there, III
willfully, and unlawfully decrease[d] the votes received by
senatorial candidate Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. from six ON THE FOURTH GROUND, NAMELY, THAT THE
thousand nine hundred ninety-eight (6,998) votes, as clearly PETITIONER WAS THE ONE WHO ENTERED THE
disclosed in the total number of votes in the one hundred fifty- REDUCED FIGURE OF 1,921 IN THE CERTIFICATE OF
nine (159) precincts of the Statement of Votes by Precincts of CANVASS (COC), Exh. "7", WHEN THE DUTY WAS THAT
said municipality, with Serial Nos. 008417, 008418, 008419, OF THE SECRETARY OF THE BOARD.
008420, 008421, 008422 and 008423 to one thousand nine
hundred twenty-one (1,921) votes as reflected in the Statement
of Votes by Precincts with Serial No. 008423 and Certificate of IV
Canvass with Serial No. 436156 with a difference of five
thousand seventy-seven (5,077) votes. THE REDUCTION OF THE VOTES OF CANDIDATE
PIMENTEL WAS CLEARLY NOT WILLFUL OR
CONTRARY TO LAW.4 INTENTIONAL.7

In a Decision dated September 11, 2000, the RTC acquitted all Petitioner contends that (1) the Court of Appeals’ judgment is
the accused for insufficiency of evidence, except petitioner who erroneous, based on speculations, surmises and conjectures,
was convicted as follows: instead of substantial evidence; and (2) there was no motive on
her part to reduce the votes of private complainant.
xxx
Respondent on the other hand contends that good faith is not a
defense in the violation of an election law, which falls under the
5. And finally, on the person of Arsenia B. Garcia, the Court class of mala prohibita.
pronounces her GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt, of the
crime defined under Republic Act 6646, Section 27 (b) for
decreasing the votes of Senator Pimentel in the total of 5,034 The main issue is, Is a violation of Section 27(b) of Rep. Act
and in relation to BP Blg. 881, considering that this finding is a No. 6646, classified under mala in se or mala prohibita? Could
violation of Election Offense, she is thus sentenced to suffer an good faith and lack of criminal intent be valid defenses?
imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS as maximum, but applying the
INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW, the minimum penalty is Generally, mala in se felonies are defined and penalized in the
the next degree lower which is SIX (6) MONTHS; however, Revised Penal Code. When the acts complained of are
accused Arsenia B. Garcia is not entitled to probation; further, inherently immoral, they are deemed mala in se, even if they
she is sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office are punished by a special law. 8Accordingly, criminal intent
and she is also deprived of her right of suffrage. must be clearly established with the other elements of the
crime; otherwise, no crime is committed. On the other hand, in
The bailbond posted by her is hereby ordered cancelled, and crimes that are mala prohibita, the criminal acts are not
the Provincial Warden is ordered to commit her person to the inherently immoral but become punishable only because the
Bureau of Correctional Institution for Women, at Metro Manila, law says they are forbidden. With these crimes, the sole issue
until further orders from the court. is whether the law has been violated. 9Criminal intent is not
necessary where the acts are prohibited for reasons of public
policy.10
No pronouncement as to costs.

Section 27(b) of Republic Act No. 6646 11provides:


IT IS SO ORDERED.5

SEC. 27. Election Offenses.- In addition to the prohibited acts


Petitioner appealed before the Court of Appeals which affirmed and election offenses enumerated in Sections 261 and 262 of
with modification the RTC Decision, thus, Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, as amended, the following shall be
guilty of an election offense:
WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the appealed decision is
hereby affirmed with modification, increasing the minimum xxx
penalty imposed by the trial court from six (6) months to one
(1) year.
(b) Any member of the board of election inspectors or board of
canvassers who tampers, increases, or decreases the votes
SO ORDERED.6
received by a candidate in any election or any member of the
board who refuses, after proper verification and hearing, to
The Court of Appeals likewise denied the motion for credit the correct votes or deduct such tampered votes.
reconsideration. Hence, this appeal assigning the following as
errors of the appellate court: xxx

I Clearly, the acts prohibited in Section 27(b) are mala in


se.12For otherwise, even errors and mistakes committed due to
ON THE FIRST AND SECOND GROUNDS RELIED UPON BY overwork and fatigue would be punishable. Given the volume
THE RESPONDENT COURT, NAMELY, THAT IT COULD of votes to be counted and canvassed within a limited amount
NOT HAVE BEEN SECRETARY VIRAY WHO DECREASED of time, errors and miscalculations are bound to happen. And it
THE VOTES OF COMPLAINANT PIMENTEL SINCE HE could not be the intent of the law to punish unintentional
MERELY RELIED ON WHAT THE PETITIONER DICTATED, election canvass errors. However, intentionally increasing or
AND THAT IT COULD NOT HAVE ALSO BEEN THE decreasing the number of votes received by a candidate is

Page 82 of 119
inherently immoral, since it is done with malice and intent to Neither can this Court accept petitioner’s explanation that the
injure another. Board of Canvassers had no idea how the SOV (Exhibit "6")
and the COC reflected that private complainant had only 1,921
Criminal intent is presumed to exist on the part of the person votes instead of 6,921 votes. As chairman of the Municipal
who executes an act which the law punishes, unless the Board of Canvassers, petitioner’s concern was to assure
contrary shall appear. 13Thus, whoever invokes good faith as a accurate, correct and authentic entry of the votes. Her failure to
defense has the burden of proving its existence. exercise maximum efficiency and fidelity to her trust deserves
not only censure but also the concomitant sanctions as a
matter of criminal responsibility pursuant to the dictates of the
Records show that the canvassing of votes on May 11, 1995 law.19
before the Board of Canvassers of the Municipality of
Alaminos, Pangasinan was conducted as follows:
The fact that the number of votes deducted from the actual
votes received by private complainant, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel,
1. After the votes in the 159 precincts of the Jr. was not added to any senatorial candidate does not relieve
municipality of Alaminos were tallied, the results petitioner of liability under Section 27(b) of Rep. Act No. 6646.
thereof were sealed and forwarded to the Municipal The mere decreasing of the votes received by a candidate in
Board of Canvassers for canvassing; an election is already punishable under the said provision.20

2. The number of votes received by each candidate in At this point, we see no valid reason to disturb the factual
each precinct was then recorded in the Statement of conclusions of the appellate court. The Court has consistently
Votes with appellant, in her capacity as Chairman, held that factual findings of the trial court, as well as of the
reading the figures appearing in the results from the Court of Appeals are final and conclusive and may not be
precincts and accused Viray, in his capacity as reviewed on appeal, particularly where the findings of both the
secretary of the Board, entering the number in the trial court and the appellate court on the matter coincide.21
Statements of Votes as read by the appellant. Six
Statements of Votes were filled up to reflect the votes
received by each candidate in the 159 precincts of the Public policy dictates that extraordinary diligence should be
Municipality of Alaminos, Pangasinan. exercised by the members of the board of canvassers in
canvassing the results of the elections. Any error on their part
would result in the disenfranchisement of the voters. The
3. After the number of votes received by each Certificate of Canvass for senatorial candidates and its
candidate for each precincts were entered by accused supporting statements of votes prepared by the municipal
Viray in the Statements of Votes, these votes were board of canvassers are sensitive election documents whose
added by the accused Palisoc and de Vera with the entries must be thoroughly scrutinized. 22
use of electrical adding machines.
In our review, the votes in the SOV should total 6,998.23
4. After the tabulation by accused Palisoc and de
Vera, the corresponding machine tapes were handed
to appellant who reads the subtotal of votes received As between the grand total of votes alleged to have been
by each candidate in the precincts listed in each received by private complainant of 6,921 votes and statement
Statement of Votes. Accused Viray [then] records the of his actual votes received of 6,998 is a difference of 77 votes.
subtotal in the proper column in the Statement of The discrepancy may be validly attributed to mistake or error
Votes. due to fatigue. However, a decrease of 5,000 votes as
reflected in the Statement of Votes and Certificate of Canvass
is substantial, it cannot be allowed to remain on record
5. After the subtotals had been entered by accused unchallenged, especially when the error results from the mere
Viray, tabulators accused Palisoc and de Vera added transfer of totals from one document to another.
all the subtotals appearing in all Statement of Votes.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed
6. After the computation, the corresponding machine Decision of the Court of Appeals sustaining petitioner’s
tape on which the grand total was reflected was conviction but increasing the minimum penalty in her sentence
handed to appellant who reads the same and accused to one year instead of six months is AFFIRMED.
Viray enters the figure read by appellant in the column
for grand total in the Statement of Votes. 14
SO ORDERED.
Neither the correctness of the number of votes entered in the
Statement of Votes (SOV) for each precinct, nor of the number Adm. Case No. 3086 February 23, 1988
of votes entered as subtotals of votes received in the precincts
listed in SOV Nos. 008417 to 008422 was raised as an issue. ALEXANDER PADILLA, complainant,
vs.
At first glance, however, there is a noticeable discrepancy in THE HON. BALTAZAR R. DIZON, Presiding Judge of the
the addition of the subtotals to arrive at the grand total of votes Regional Trial Court of Pasay City Branch 113, respondent.
received by each candidate for all 159 precincts in SOV No.
008423.15The grand total of the votes for private complainant, RESOLUTION
Senator Aquilino Pimentel, was only 1,921 instead of 6,921, or
5,000 votes less than the number of votes private complainant
actually received. This error is also evident in the Certificate of PER CURIAM:
Canvass (COC) No. 436156 signed by petitioner, Viray and
Romero.16
This is an administrative complaint, dated August 6, 1987, filed
by the then Commissioner of Customs, Alexander Padilla,
During trial of this case, petitioner admitted that she was against respondent Baltazar R. Dizon, RTC Judge, Branch
indeed the one who announced the figure of 1,921, which was 115, Pasay City, for rendering a manifestly erroneous decision
subsequently entered by then accused Viray in his capacity as due, at the very least, to gross incompetence and gross
secretary of the board.17Petitioner likewise admitted that she ignorance of the law, in Criminal Case No. 86- 10126-P,
was the one who prepared the COC (Exhibit A-7), though it entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Lo Chi Fai", acquitting
was not her duty. To our mind, preparing the COC even if it said accused of the offense charged, i.e., smuggling of foreign
was not her task, manifests an intention to perpetuate the currency out of the country.
erroneous entry in the COC.18

Page 83 of 119
Required by the Court to answer the complaint, the respondent
French Franc F/6,860.00
judge filed an Answer, dated October 6, 1987, reciting his
"commendable record as a fearless prosecutor" since his US Dollar US$ 73,950.00
appointment as Assistant City Fiscal of Manila on December 4,
1962, until his appointment eventually as RTC Judge onEnglish Pound 5,318.00
February 18, 1983; that at in the reorganization of the judiciary
after the February 26, 1986 revolution, he was reappointedMalaysian
to Dollar M$. 14,760.00
his present position; that his length of service as prosecutor
(in checks)
and judge is "tangible proof that would negate the allegations
of the petitioner" (should be complainant), whereas the latter
Australian Dollar A$ 7,750.00
did not last long in the service for reasons only known to him;
that the decision involved in the complaint was promulgated byPound
British 700.00
respondent on September 29, 1986, but the complaint against
him was filed only on August 6, 1987, a clear indication USof Dollar US$ 17,630.00
malice and ill-will of the complainant to subject respondent to
Canadian Dollar
harassment, humiliation and vindictiveness; that his decision, C$ 990.00
of which he submits a copy (Annex A) as part of his Answer, is
based on "fundamental principles and the foundation of rights
and justice" and that if there are mistakes or errors in the without authority from the
questioned decision, they are committed in good faith. Central Bank.
Accordingly, respondent prays for the dismissal of the petition
(should be complaint). Contrary to Law.

The issue before the Court is whether or not the respondent The case, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 86-
judge is guilty of gross incompetence or gross ignorance of the 10126-P, was subsequently raffled to Branch 113, presided by
law in rendering the decision in question. A judge can not be herein respondent Judge Baltazar A. Dizon.
held to account or answer, criminally, civilly or administratively,
for an erroneous decision rendered by him in good faith. Section 6 of Circular No. 960 of the Central Bank provides as
follows:
The case in which the respondent rendered a decision of
acquittal involved a tourist, Lo Chi Fai, who was caught by a Sec. 6. Export, import of foreign exchange;
Customs guard at the Manila International Airport while exceptions. — No person shall take out or
attempting to smuggle foreign currency and foreign exchange transmit or attempt to take out or transmit
instruments out of the country. Lo Chi Fai, was apprehended foreign exchange in any form, out of the
by a customs guard and two PAFSECOM officers on July 9, Philippines directly, through other persons,
1986, while on board Flight PR 300 of the Philippine Air Lines through the mails or through international
bound for Hongkong. At the time of his apprehension, he was carriers except when specifically authorized
found carrying with him foreign currency and foreign exchange by the Central Bank or allowed under
instruments (380 pieces) amounting to US$ 355,349.57, in existing international agreements or Central
various currency denominations, to wit: Japanese Yen, Swiss Bank regulations.
Franc, Australian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, HFL Guilder,
French Franc, U.S. Dollar, English Pound, Malaysian Dollar,
Deutsche Mark, Canadian Dollar and Hongkong Dollar, without Tourists and non-resident visitors may take
any authority as provided by law. At the time the accused was out or send out from the Philippine foreign
apprehended, he was able to exhibit two currency declarations exchange in amounts not exceeding such
which he was supposed to have accomplished upon his arrival amounts of foreign exchange brought in by
in Manila in previous trips, namely, CB Currency Declaration them. For purposes of establishing the
No. 05048, dated May 4, 1986 for US$39,600.00 and amount of foreign exchange brought in or out
Japanese Yen 4,000,000.00, and CB Currency Declaration No. of the Philippines, tourists and non-resident
06346, dated June 29, 1986 for Japanese Yen 6,600,000.00. temporary visitors bringing with them more
than US$3,000.00 or its equivalent in other
foreign currencies shall declare their foreign
An information was filed against Lo Chi Fai, with the RTC of exchange in the form prescribed by the
Pasay City for violation of Sec. 6, Central Bank Circular No. Central Bank at points of entries upon arrival
960, as follows: in the Philippines.

That on or about the 9th day of July, 1986, in The penal sanction is provided by Section 1, P.D. No. 1883,
the City of Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines which reads as follows:
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, Mr. LO
CHI FAI, did then and there wilfully, Section 1. Blackmarketing of Foreign
unlawfully and feloniously attempt to take out Exchange .— That any person who shall
of the Philippines through the Manila engage in the trading or purchase and sale
International Airport the following foreign of foreign currency in violation of existing
currencies in cash and in checks: laws or rules and regulations of the Central
Bank shall be guilty of the crime of
se Yen Y 32,800,000.00 blackmarketing of foreign exchange and
shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal,
ranc SW. FR 6,9000.00
(minimum of 12 years and I day and
an Dollar A$ 17,425.00 maximum of 20 years) and a fine of no less
than fifty thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos.
ore Dollar S$ 9,945.00
At the trial, the accused tried to establish that he was a
he Marck DM 18,595.00 businessman from Kowloon, Hongkong, engaged in the
an Dollar CS 13,330.00 garment business, in which he had invested 4 to 5 million
Hongkong Dollars; that he had come to the Philippines 9 to 1 0
ng Dollar HK$ 15,630.00 times, although the only dates he could remember were April 2,
1986, May 4, 1986, June 28,1986, and July 8, 1986; that the
ilder HFL 430.00 reason for his coming to the Philippines was to invest in
business in the Philippines and also to play in the casino; that
Page 84 of 119
he had a group of business associates who decided to invest in them to correspond to the amounts that
business with him, namely: Wakita Noboyuki, Kobayashi could be allowed to be taken out. Indeed,
Nabuo, Lee Shiang Pin, Lee Chin and Cze Kai Kwan, who had this Court is amazed and really has its
their own businesses in Japan and Hongkong; that when he misgivings in the manner currency
came to the Philippines on April 2,1986, he brought declarations were made as testified to by the
US$50,000.00 and 8,500,000.00 Japanese Yen which he tried Central Bank employees. Why the Bureau of
to declare but the Central Bank representative refused to Customs representative never took part in all
accept his declaration, until he could get a confirmation as to these declarations testified to by no less than
the source of the money, for which reason he contacted his five (5) Central Bank employees? Seemingly,
bank in Hongkong and a telex was sent to him on April 3,1986 these employees are the favorites of these
(Exh. 4). He also brought in with him US$39,000.00 and travellers. It is the hope of this Court that the
4,000,000.00 Japanese Yen when he arrived on May 4,1986 authorities must do something to remedy the
which he declared (Exh. 1). Again, he declared 8,600,000.00 evident flaw in the system for effective
Japanese Yen when he arrived on June 28, 1986 (Exh. 2). He implementation of the questioned Central
also testified that his business associates, as per their Bank Circular No. 960.
agreement to invest in some business with him in the
Philippines, started putting their money for this purpose in a But even with a doubtful mind this Court
common fund, hence, every time anyone of them came to the would not be able to pin criminal
Philippines, they would declare the money they were bringing responsibility on the accused. This is due to
in, and all declarations were handed to and kept by him; these its steadfast adherence and devotion to the
currency declarations were presented at the trial as exhibits for rule of law-a factor in restoring the almost
the defense. When asked by the court why he did not present lost faith and erosion of confidence of the
all of these declarations when he was apprehended at the people in the administration of justice. Courts
airport, his answer was that he was not asked to present the of Justice are guided only by the rule of
declaration papers of his associates, and besides, he does not evidence.
understand English and he was not told to do so. He also
testified on cross-examination that the reason he was going
back to Hongkong bringing with him all the money intended to The respondent-judge has shown gross incompetence or gross
be invested in the Philippines was because of the fear of his ignorance of the law in holding that to convict the accused for
group that the "revolution" taking place in Manila might become violation of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the prosecution
widespread. It was because of this fear that he was urged by must establish that the accused had the criminal intent to
his associates to come to Manila on July 8, 1986 to bring the violate the law. The respondent ought to know that proof of
money out of the Philippines. malice or deliberate intent (mens rea) is not essential in
offenses punished by special laws, which are mala prohibita. In
requiring proof of malice, the respondent has by his gross
The respondent judge, in his decision acquitting the accused, ignorance allowed the accused to go scot free. The accused at
stated: the time of his apprehension at the Manila International Airport
had in his possession the amount of US$355,349.57 in
The factual issue for this Court to determine assorted foreign currencies and foreign exchange instruments
is whether or not the accused wilfully violated (380 pieces), without any specific authority from the Central
Section 6 of Circular No. 960. The fact that Bank as required by law. At the time of his apprehension, he
the accused had in his possession the was able to exhibit only two foreign currency declarations in his
foreign currencies when he was about to possession. These were old declarations made by him on the
depart from the Philippines did not by that occasion of his previous trips to the Philippines.
act alone make him liable for Violation of
Section 6. Although lack of malice or wilfull intent is not a valid defense in
a case for violation of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the
What is imperative is the purpose for which respondent nonetheless chose to exonerate the accused
the act of bringing foreign currencies out of based on his defense that the foreign currency he was bringing
the country was done the very intention. It is out of the country at the time he was apprehended by the
that which qualifies the act as criminal or not. customs authorities were brought into the Philippines by him
There must be that clear intention to violate and his alleged business associates on several previous
and benefit from the act done. Intent is a occasions when they came to the Philippines, supposedly to be
mental state, the existence of which is shown used for the purpose of investing in some unspecified or
by overt acts of a person. undetermined business ventures; that this money was kept in
the Philippines and he precisely came to the Philippines to take
The respondent proceeded to analyze the evidence which, the money out as he and his alleged business associates were
according to him, tended to show that the accused had no afraid that the "attempted revolution" which occurred on July
wilfull intention to violate the law. According to the respondent 6,1986 might spread. Such fantastic tale, although totally
in his decision: irrelevant to the matter of the criminal liability of the accused
under the information, was swallowed by the respondent-judge
"hook, line and sinker." It did not matter to the respondent that
... this Court is persuaded to accept the the foreign currency and foreign currency instruments found in
explanation of the defense that the the possession of the accused when he was apprehended at
currencies confiscated and/or seized from the airport-380 pieces in all-and the amounts of such foreign
the accused belong to him and his business exchange did not correspond to the foreign currency
associates abovenamed. And from the declarations presented by the accused at the trial. It did not
unwavering and unequivocal testimonies of matter to the respondent that the accused by his own story
Mr. Templo and all of currencies in question admitted, in effect, that he was a carrier" of foreign currency for
came from abroad and not from the local other people. The respondent closed his eyes to the fact that
source which is what is being prohibited by the very substantial amounts of foreign exchange found in the
the government. Yes, simply reading the possession of the accused at the time of his apprehension
provisions of said circular will, readily show consisted of personal checks of other people, as well as cash
that the currency declaration is required for in various currency denominations (12 kinds of currency in all),
the purpose of establishing the amount of which clearly belied the claim of the accused that they were
currency being brought by tourist or part of the funds which he and his supposed associates had
temporary non-resident visitors into the brought in and kept in the Philippines for the purpose of
country. The currency declarations, investing in some business ventures. The respondent ignored
therefore, is already (sic) intended to serve the fact that most of the CB Currency declarations presented
as a guideline for the Customs authorities to by the defense at the trial were declarations belonging to other
determine the amounts actually brought in by
Page 85 of 119
people which could not be utilized by the accused to justify his
having the foreign exchange in his possession. Although
contrary to ordinary human experience and behavior, the FRANCISCO, J.:
respondent judge chose to give credence to the fantastic tale
of the accused that he and his alleged business associates had
brought in from time to time and accumulated and kept in the On October 26, 1992, high-powered firearms with live
Philippines foreign exchange (of very substantial amounts in ammunitions were found in the possession of petitioner Robin
cash and checks in various foreign currency denominations) for Padilla @ Robinhood Padilla, i.e.:
the purpose of investing in business even before they knew
and had come to an agreement as to the specific business (1) One .357 Caliber revolver, Smith and
venture in which they were going to invest. These and other Wesson, SN-32919 with six (6) live
circumstances which make the story concocted by the accused ammunitions;
so palpably unbelievable as to render the findings of the
respondent judge obviously contrived to favor the acquittal of (2) One M-16 Baby Armalite rifle, SN-RP
the accused, thereby clearly negating his claim that he 131120 with four (4) long and one (1) short
rendered the decision "in good faith." His actuations in this magazine with ammunitions;
case amount to grave misconduct prejudicial to the interest of
sound and fair administration of justice.
(3) One .380 Pietro Beretta, SN-A 35723 Y
with clip and eight (8) ammunitions; and
He not only acquitted the accused Lo Chi Fai, but directed in
his decision the release to the accused of at least the amount
of US$3,000.00, allowed, according to respondent, under (4) Six additional live double action
Central Bank Circular No. 960. This, in spite of the fact that ammunitions of .38 caliber revolver. 1
forfeiture proceedings had already been instituted by the
Bureau of Customs over the currency listed in the information, Petitioner was correspondingly charged on December 3, 1992,
which according to the respondent should be respected since before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Angeles City with
the Bureau of Customs "has the exclusive jurisdiction in the illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions under P.D.
matter of seizure and forfeiture of the property involved in the 18662 thru the following Information:3
alleged infringements of the aforesaid Central Bank Circular."
In invoking the provisions of CB Circular No. 960 to justify the
That on or about the 26th day of October,
release of US$ 3,000.00 to the accused, the respondent judge
1992, in the City of Angeles, Philippines, and
again displayed gross incompetence and gross ignorance of
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
the law. There is nothing in the said CB Circular which could be
Court, the above-named accused, did then
taken as authority for the trial court to release the said amount
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
of U.S. Currency to the accused. According to the above-cited
have in his possession and under his
CB Circular, tourists may take out or send out from the
custody and control one (1) M-16 Baby
Philippines foreign exchange in amounts not exceeding such
Armalite rifle, SN-RP 131120 with four (4)
amounts of foreign exchange brought in by them; for the
long and one (1) short magazines with
purpose of establishing such amount, tourists or non-resident
ammunitions, one (1) .357 caliber revolver
temporary visitors bringing with them more than US$3,000.00
Smith and Wesson, SN-32919 with six (6)
or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must declare their
live ammunitions and one (1) .380 Pietro
foreign exchange at points of entries upon arrival in the
Beretta, SN-A35723Y with clip and eight (8)
Philippines. In other words, CB Circular No. 960 merely
ammunitions, without having the necessary
provides that for the purpose of establishing the amount of
authority and permit to carry and possess the
foreign currency brought in or out of the Philippines, a tourist
same.
upon arrival is required to declare any foreign exchange he is
bringing in at the time of his arrival, if the same exceeds the
amount of US$3,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign ALL CONTRARY TO LAW. 4
currencies. There is nothing in said circular that would justify
returning to him the amount of at least US$3,000.00, if he is The lower court then ordered the arrest of
caught attempting to bring out foreign exchange in excess of petitioner,5 but granted his application for
said amount without specific authority from the Central Bank. bail. 6 During the arraignment on January 20, 1993, a
plea of not guilty was entered for petitioner after he
Accordingly, the Court finds the respondent Regional Trial refused, 7 upon advice of counsel, 8 to make any
Court Judge, Baltazar R. Dizon, guilty of gross incompetence, plea. 9 Petitioner waived in writing his right to be
gross ignorance of the law and grave and serious misconduct present in any and all stages of the case. 10
affecting his integrity and efficiency, and consistent with the
responsibility of this Court for the just and proper administration After trial, Angeles City RTC Judge David Rosete rendered
of justice and for the attainment of the objective of maintaining judgment dated April 25, 1994 convicting petitioner of the crime
the people's faith in the judiciary (People vs. Valenzuela, 135 charged and sentenced him to an "indeterminate penalty from
SCRA 712), it is hereby ordered that the Respondent Judge be 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal as
DISMISSED from the service. All leave and retirement benefits minimum, to 21 years of reclusion perpetua, as
and privileges to which he may be entitled are hereby forfeited maximum". 11 Petitioner filed his notice of appeal on April 28,
with prejudice to his being reinstated in any branch of 1994. 12 Pending the appeal in the respondent Court of
government service, including government-owned and/or Appeals, 13 the Solicitor-General, convinced that
controlled agencies or corporations. the conviction shows strong evidence of guilt, filed on
December 2, 1994 a motion to cancel petitioner's bail bond.
This resolution is immediately executory. The resolution of this motion was incorporated in the now
assailed respondent court's decision sustaining petitioner's
conviction 14 the dispositive portion of which reads:
SO ORDERED.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing circumstances


G.R. No. 121917 March 12, 1997
considered, the appealed decision is hereby
AFFIRMED, and furthermore, the
ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA @ ROBINHOOD P200,000.00 bailbond posted by accused-
PADILLA, petitioner, appellant for his provisional liberty, FGU
vs. Insurance Corporation Bond No. JCR (2)
COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE of the 6523, is hereby cancelled. The Regional
PHILIPPINES, respondents. Trial Court, Branch 61, Angeles City, is

Page 86 of 119
directed to issue the Order of Arrest of report the incident to the Philippine National
accused-appellant and thereafter his Police of Angeles City (p. 10, ibid). He took
transmittal to the National Bureau of Prisons out his radio and called the Viper, the radio
thru the Philippine National Police where the controller of the Philippine National Police of
said accused-appellant shall remain under Angeles City (p. 10, ibid). By the time
confinement pending resolution of his Manarang completed the call, the vehicle
appeal, should he appeal to the Supreme had started to leave the place of the accident
Court. This shall be immediately executory. taking the general direction to the north (p.
The Regional Trial Court is further directed to 11, ibid).
submit a report of compliance herewith.
Manarang went to the location of the
SO ORDERED. 15 accident and found out that the vehicle had
hit somebody (p. 11, ibid).
Petitioner received a copy of this decision on July 26,
1995. 16 On August 9, 1995 he filed a "motion for He asked Cruz to look after the victim while
reconsideration (and to recall the warrant of he went back to the restaurant, rode on his
arrest)" 17 but the same was denied by respondent motorcycle and chased the vehicle (p.
court in its September 20, 1995 Resolution 18 copy of 11 ibid). During the chase he was able to
which was received by petitioner on September 27, make out the plate number of the vehicle as
1995. The next day, September 28, petitioner filed the PMA 777 (p. 33, TSN, February 15, 1193).
instant petition for review on certiorari with application He called the Viper through the radio once
for bail 19followed by two "supplemental petitions" filed again (p. 34, ibid) reporting that a vehicle
by different counsels, 20 a "second supplemental heading north with plate number PMA 777
petition" 21 and an urgent motion for the separate was involved in a hit and run accident (p. 20,
resolution of his application for bail. Again, the TSN, June 8, 1993). The Viper, in the person
Solicitor-General 22 sought the denial of the of SP02 Ruby Buan, upon receipt of the
application for bail, to which the Court agreed in a second radio call flashed the message to all
Resolution promulgated on July 31, 1996. 23 The units of PNP Angeles City with the order to
Court also granted the Solicitor-General's motion to apprehend the vehicle (p. 20, ibid). One of
file a consolidated comment on the petitions and the units of the PNP Angeles City reached by
thereafter required the petitioner to file his the alarm was its Patrol Division at Jake
reply. 24 However, after his vigorous resistance and Gonzales Street near the Traffic Division (pp.
success on the intramural of bail (both in the 5-7, TSN, February 23, 1993). SPO2 Juan C.
respondent court and this Court) and thorough Borja III and SPO2 Emerlito Miranda
exposition of petitioner's guilt in his 55-page Brief in immediately borded a mobile patrol vehicle
the respondent court, the Solicitor-General now (Mobile No. 3) and positioned themselves
makes a complete turnabout by filing a "Manifestation near the south approach of Abacan bridge
In Lieu Of Comment" praying for petitioner's since it was the only passable way going to
acquittal. 25 the north (pp. 8-9, ibid). It took them about
ten (10) seconds to cover the distance
The People's detailed narration of facts, well-supported by between their office and the Abacan bridge
evidence on record and given credence by respondent court, is (p. 9, ibid).
as follows: 26
Another PNP mobile patrol vehicle that
At about 8:00 o'clock in the evening of responded to the flash message from SPO2
October 26, 1992, Enrique Manarang and his Buan was Mobile No. 7 of the
compadre Danny Perez were inside the Pulongmaragal Detachment which was then
Manukan sa Highway Restaurant in Sto. conducting patrol along Don Juico Avenue
Kristo, Angeles City where they took shelter (pp. 8-9, TSN, March 8, 1993). On board
from the heavy downpour (pp. 5-6, TSN, were SPO Ruben Mercado and SPO3 Tan
February 15, 1993) that had interrupted their and SPO2 Odejar (p. 8, ibid). SPO Ruben
ride on motorcycles (pp 5-6, ibid.) along Mercado immediately told SPO3 Tan to
McArthur Highway (ibid). While inside the proceed to the MacArthur Highway to
restaurant, Manarang noticed a vehicle, a intercept the vehicle with plate number PMA
Mitsubishi Pajero, running fast down the 777 (p. 10, ibid).
highway prompting him to remark that the
vehicle might get into an accident In the meantime, Manarang continued to
considering the inclement weather. (p. chase the vehicle which figured in the hit and
7, Ibid) In the local vernacular, he said thus: run incident, even passing through a flooded
"Ka bilis na, mumuran pa naman pota portion of the MacArthur Highway two (2)
makaaksidente ya." (p. 7, ibid). True enough, feet deep in front of the Iglesia ni Kristo
immediately after the vehicle had passed the church but he could not catch up with the
restaurant, Manarang and Perez heard a same vehicle (pp. 11-12, February 15, 1993).
screeching sound produced by the sudden When he saw that the car he was chasing
and hard braking of a vehicle running very went towards Magalang, he proceeded to
fast (pp. 7-8, ibid) followed by a sickening Abacan bridge because he knew
sound of the vehicle hitting something (p. Pulongmaragal was not passable (pp. 12-
8, ibid). Danny Cruz, quite sure of what had 14, ibid). When he reached the Abacan
happened, remarked "oy ta na" signifying bridge, he found Mobile No. 3 and SPO2
that Manarang had been right in his Borja and SPO2 Miranda watching all
observation (pp. 8-9, ibid). vehicles coming their way (p. 10, TSN,
February 23, 1993). He approached them
Manarang and Cruz went out to investigate and informed them that there was a hit and
and immediately saw the vehicle occupying run incident (p. 10, ibid). Upon learning that
the edge or shoulder of the highway giving it the two police officers already knew about
a slight tilt to its side (pp. 9-10, ibid). the incident, Manarang went back to where
Manarang, being a member of both the he came from (pp. 10-11; ibid). When
Spectrum, a civic group and the Barangay Manarang was in front of Tina's Restaurant,
Disaster Coordinating Council, decided to he saw the vehicle that had figured in the hit
Page 87 of 119
and run incident emerging from the corner the vehicle since he had a magazine, SPO2
adjoining Tina's Restaurant (p. 15, TSN, Mercado prevented appellant from going
February 15, 1993). He saw that the license back to his vehicle by opening himself the
plate hanging in front of the vehicle bore the door of appellant's vehicle (16-17, ibid). He
identifying number PMA 777 and he followed saw a baby armalite rifle (Exhibit D) lying
it (p. 15, ibid) towards the Abacan bridge. horizontally at the front by the driver 's seat.
It had a long magazine filled with live bullets
Soon the vehicle was within sight of SPO2 in a semi-automatic mode (pp. 17-21, ibid).
Borja and SPO2 Miranda of Mobile No. 3 (p. He asked appellant for the papers covering
10, TSN, February 23, 1993). When the the rifle and appellant answered angrily that
vehicle was about twelve (12) meters away they were at his home (pp. 26-27, ibid). SPO
from their position, the two police officers Mercado modified the arrest of appellant by
boarded their Mobile car, switched on the including as its ground illegal possession of
engine, operated the siren and strobe light firearms (p. 28, ibid). SPO Mercado then
and drove out to intercept the vehicle (p. read to appellant his constitutional rights (pp.
11, ibid). They cut into the path of the vehicle 28-29, ibid).
forcing it to stop (p. 11, ibid).
The police officers brought appellant to the
SPO2 Borja and SPO2 Miranda alighted Traffic Division at Jake Gonzales Boulevard
from Mobile No. 3 (P. 12, TSN, February 23, (pp. 31-32, ibid) where appellant voluntarily
1993). SPO2 Miranda went to the vehicle surrendered a third firearm, a pietro berreta
with plate number PMA 777 and instructed pistol (Exhibit "L") with a single round in its
its driver to alight (p. 12, ibid). The driver chamber and a magazine (pp. 33-35, ibid)
rolled down the window and put his head out loaded with seven (7) other live bullets.
while raising both his hands. They Appellant also voluntarily surrendered a
recognized the driver as Robin C. Padilla, black bag containing two additional long
appellant in this case (p. 13, ibid). There was magazines and one short magazine (Exhibits
no one else with him inside the vehicle (p. M, N, and O, pp. 36-37, ibid). After appellant
24). At that moment, Borja noticed that had been interrogated by the Chief of the
Manarang arrived and stopped his Traffic Division, he was transferred to the
motorcycle behind the vehicle of appellant Police Investigation Division at Sto. Rosario
(p. 14, ibid). SPO2 Miranda told appellant to Street beside the City Hall Building where he
alight to which appellant complied. Appellant and the firearms and ammunitions were
was wearing a short leather jacket (p. 16, turned over to SPO2 Rene Jesus Gregorio
TSN, March 8, 1993) such that when he (pp. 5-10, TSN, July 13, 1993). During the
alighted with both his hands raised, a gun investigation, appellant admitted possession
(Exhibit "C") tucked on the left side of his of the firearms stating that he used them for
waist was revealed (p. 15, TSN, February shooting (p. 14, ibid). He was not able to
23, 1993), its butt protruding (p. 15, ibid). produce any permit to carry or memorandum
SPO2 Borja made the move to confiscate the receipt to cover the three firearms (pp. 16-
gun but appellant held the former's hand 18, TSN, January 25, 1994).
alleging that the gun was covered by legal
papers (p. 16, ibid). SPO2 Borja, however, On November 28, 1992, a certification
insisted that if the gun really was covered by (Exhibit "F") was issued by Captain, Senior
legal papers, it would have to be shown in Inspector Mario Espino, PNP, Chief, Record
the office (p. 16, ibid). After disarming Branch of the Firearms and Explosives
appellant, SPO2 Borja told him about the hit Office (pp. 7-8, TSN, March 4, 1993). The
and run incident which was angrily denied by Certification stated that the three firearms
appellant (p. 17, ibid). By that time, a crowd confiscated from appellant, an M-16 Baby
had formed at the place (p. 19, ibid). SPO2 armalite rifle SN-RP 131280, a .357 caliber
Borja checked the cylinder of the gun and revolver Smith and Wesson SN 32919 and a
find six (6) live bullets inside (p. 20, ibid). .380 Pietro Beretta SN-A35720, were not
registered in the name of Robin C. Padilla (p.
While SPO2 Borja and appellant were 6, ibid). A second Certification dated
arguing, Mobile No. 7 with SPO Ruben December 11, 1992 issued by Captain
Mercado, SPO3 Tan and SPO2 Odejar on Espino stated that the three firearms were
board arrived (pp. 11-12, TSN, March 8, not also registered in the name of Robinhood
1993). As the most senior police officer in the C. Padilla (p. 10, ibid).
group, SPO Mercado took over the matter
and informed appellant that he was being Petitioner's defenses are as follows: (1) that his arrest was
arrested for the hit and run incident (p. illegal and consequently, the firearms and ammunitions taken
13, ibid). He pointed out to appellant the fact in the course thereof are inadmissible in evidence under the
that the plate number of his vehicle was exclusionary rule; (2) that he is a confidential agent authorized,
dangling and the railing and the hood were under a Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt, to carry the
dented (p. 12, ibid). Appellant, subject firearms; and (3) that the penalty for simple illegal
however, arrogantlydenied his misdeed and, possession constitutes excessive and cruel punishment
instead, played with the crowd by holding proscribed by the 1987 Constitution.
their hands with one hand and pointing to
SPO3 Borja with his right hand saying "iyan, After a careful review of the records 27 of this case, the Court is
kinuha ang baril ko" (pp. 13-15, ibid). convinced that petitioner's guilt of the crime charged stands
Because appellant's jacket was short, his on terra firma, notwithstanding the Solicitor-General's change
gesture exposed a long magazine of an of heart.
armalite rifle tucked in appellant 's back right,
pocket (p. 16, ibid). SPO Mercado saw this
and so when appellant turned around as he Anent the first defense, petitioner questions the legality of his
was talking and proceeding to his vehicle, arrest. There is no dispute that no warrant was issued for the
Mercado confiscated the magazine from arrest of petitioner, but that per se did not make his
appellant (pp. 16-17, ibid). Suspecting that apprehension at the Abacan bridge illegal.
appellant could also be carrying a rifle inside

Page 88 of 119
Warrantless arrests are sanctioned in the following than mere "reasonable and articulable" suspicion that the
instances: 28 occupant of the vehicle has been engaged in criminal
activity. 36 Moreover, when caught in flagrante delicto with
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. possession of an unlicensed firearm (Smith & Wesson) and
— A peace officer or a private person may, ammunition (M-16 magazine), petitioner's warrantless arrest
without a warrant, arrest a person: was proper as he was again actually committing another
offense (illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions) and
this time in the presence of a peace officer. 37
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be
arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an Besides, the policemen's warrantless arrest of petitioner could
offense; likewise be justified under paragraph (b) as he had in fact just
committed an offense. There was no supervening event or a
considerable lapse of time between the hit and run and the
(b) When an offense has in fact just been actual apprehension. Moreover, after having stationed
committed, and he has personal knowledge themselves at the Abacan bridge in response to Manarang's
of facts indicating that the person to be report, the policemen saw for themselves the fast approaching
arrested has committed it. Pajero of petitioner, 38 its dangling plate number (PMA 777 as
reported by Manarang), and the dented hood and railings
(c) When the person to be arrested is a thereof. 39 These formed part of the arresting police officer's
prisoner who has escaped from a penal personal knowledge of the facts indicating that petitioner's
establishment or place where he is serving Pajero was indeed the vehicle involved in the hit and run
final judgment or temporarily confined while incident. Verily then, the arresting police officers acted upon
his case is pending, or has escaped while verified personal knowledge and not on unreliable hearsay
being transferred from one confinement to information. 40
another.
Furthermore, in accordance with settled jurisprudence, any
Paragraph (a) requires that the person be arrested (i) objection, defect or irregularity attending an arrest must be
after he has committed or while he is actually made before the accused enters his plea. 41 Petitioner's
committing or is at least attempting to commit an belated challenge thereto aside from his failure to quash the
offense, (ii) in the presence of the arresting officer or information, his participation in the trial and by presenting his
private person. 29 Both elements concurred here, as it evidence, placed him in estoppel to assail the legality of his
has been established that petitioner's vehicle figured arrest. 42 Likewise, by applying for bail, petitioner patently
in a hit and run — an offense committed in the waived such irregularities and defects. 43
"presence" of Manarang, a private person, who then
sought to arrest petitioner. It must be stressed at this We now go to the firearms and ammunitions seized from
point that "presence" does not only require that the petitioner without a search warrant, the admissibility in
arresting person sees the offense, but also when he evidence of which, we uphold.
"hears the disturbance created thereby AND proceeds
at once to the scene." 30 As testified to by Manarang,
he heard the screeching of tires followed by a thud, The five (5) well-settled instances when a warrantless search
saw the sideswiped victim (balut vendor), reported the and seizure of property is valid, 44 are as follows:
incident to the police and thereafter gave chase to the
erring Pajero vehicle using his motorcycle in order to 1. warrantless search incidental to a lawful
apprehend its driver. After having sent a radio report arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule
to the PNP for assistance, Manarang proceeded to 126 of the Rules of Court 45 and by prevailing
the Abacan bridge where he found responding jurisprudence 46,
policemen SPO2 Borja and SPO2 Miranda already
positioned near the bridge who effected the actual 2. Seizure of evidence in "plain view", the
arrest of petitioner. 31 elements of which are: 47

Petitioner would nonetheless insist on the illegality of his arrest (a). a prior valid
by arguing that the policemen who actually arrested him were intrusion based on the
not at the scene of the hit and run. 32 We beg to disagree. That valid warrantless arrest in
Manarang decided to seek the aid of the policemen (who which the police are legally
admittedly were nowhere in the vicinity of the hit and run) in present in the pursuit of
effecting petitioner's arrest, did not in any way affect the their official duties;
propriety of the apprehension. It was in fact the most prudent
action Manarang could have taken rather than collaring
petitioner by himself, inasmuch as policemen are (b). the evidence
unquestionably better trained and well-equipped in effecting an was inadvertently
arrest of a suspect (like herein petitioner) who, in all probability, discovered by the police
could have put up a degree of resistance which an untrained who had the right to be
civilian may not be able to contain without endangering his own where they are;
life. Moreover, it is a reality that curbing lawlessness gains
more success when law enforcers function in collaboration with (c). the evidence must be
private citizens. It is precisely through this cooperation, that the immediately apparent, and
offense herein involved fortunately did not become an
additional entry to the long list of unreported and unsolved (d). "plain view" justified
crimes. mere seizure of evidence
without further search. 48
It is appropriate to state at this juncture that a suspect, like
petitioner herein, cannot defeat the arrest which has been set 3. search of a moving vehicle. 49 Highly
in motion in a public place for want of a warrant as the police regulated by the government, the vehicle's
was confronted by an urgent need to render aid or take inherent mobility reduces expectation of
action. 33 The exigent circumstances of — hot pursuit, 34 a privacy especially when its transit in public
fleeing suspect, a moving vehicle, the public place and the thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable
raining nighttime — all created a situation in which speed is suspicion amounting to probable cause that
essential and delay improvident. 35 The Court acknowledges the occupant committed a criminal activity. 50
police authority to make the forcible stop since they had more
Page 89 of 119
4. consented warrantless search, and search, identified and offered in evidence during trial. As to the
second element, the same was convincingly proven by the
5. customs search. prosecution. Indeed, petitioner's purported Mission Order and
Memorandum Receipt are inferior in the face of the more
formidable evidence for the prosecution as our meticulous
In conformity with respondent court's observation, it indeed review of the records reveals that the Mission Order and
appears that the authorities stumbled upon petitioner's firearms Memorandum Receipt were mere afterthoughts contrived and
and ammunitions without even undertaking any active search issued under suspicious circumstances. On this score, we lift
which, as it is commonly understood, is a prying into hidden from respondent court's incisive observation. Thus:
places for that which is concealed. 51 The seizure of the Smith
& Wesson revolver and an M-16 rifle magazine was justified for
they came within "plain view" of the policemen Appellant's contention is predicated on the
who inadvertently discovered the revolver and magazine assumption that the Memorandum Receipts
tucked in petitioner's waist and back pocket respectively, when and Mission Order were issued before the
he raised his hands after alighting from his Pajero. The same subject firearms were seized and confiscated
justification applies to the confiscation of the M-16 armalite rifle from him by the police officers in Angeles
which was immediately apparent to the policemen as they took City. That is not so. The evidence adduced
a casual glance at the Pajero and saw said rifle lying indicate that the Memorandum Receipts and
horizontally near the driver's seat. 52 Thus it has been held that: Mission Order were prepared and executed
long after appellant had been apprehended
on October 26, 1992.
(W)hen in pursuing an illegal action or in the
commission of a criminal offense, the . . .
police officers should happen to discover a Appellant, when apprehended, could not
criminal offense being committed by any show any document as proof of his authority
person, they are not precluded from to possess and carry the subject firearms.
performing their duties as police officers for During the preliminary investigation of the
the apprehension of the guilty person and charge against him for illegal possession of
the taking of the, corpus delicti. 53 firearms and ammunitions he could not,
despite the ample time given him, present
any proper document showing his authority.
Objects whose possession are prohibited by If he had, in actuality, the Memorandum
law inadvertently found in plain view are Receipts and Missions Order, he could have
subject to seizure even without a warrant. 54 produced those documents easily, if not at
the time of apprehension, at least during the
With respect to the Berreta pistol and a black bag preliminary investigation. But neither
containing assorted magazines, petitioner voluntarily appellant nor his counsel inform the
surrendered them to the police. 55 This latter gesture prosecutor that appellant is authorized to
of petitioner indicated a waiver of his right against the possess and carry the subject firearms under
alleged search and seizure 56, and that his failure to Memorandum Receipt and Mission Order. At
quash the information estopped him from assailing the initial presentation of his evidence in
any purported defect. 57 court, appellant could have produced these
documents to belie the charged against him.
Even assuming that the firearms and ammunitions were Appellant did not. He did not even take the
products of an active search done by the authorities on the witness stand to explain his possession of
person and vehicle of petitioner, their seizure without a search the subject firearms.
warrant nonetheless can still be justified under a search
incidental to a lawful arrest (first instance). Once the lawful Even in appellant's Demurrer to Evidence
arrest was effected, the police may undertake a protective filed after the prosecution rested contain no
search 58 of the passenger compartment and containers in the allegation of a Memorandum Receipts and
vehicle 59 which are within petitioner's grabbing distance Mission Order authorizing appellant to
regardless of the nature of the offense. 60 This satisfied the possess and carry the subject firearms.
two-tiered test of an incidental search: (i) the item to be
searched (vehicle) was within the arrestee's custody or area of At the initial presentation of appellant's
immediate control 61 and (ii) the search was contemporaneous evidence, the witness cited was one James
with the arrest. 62 The products of that search are admissible Neneng to whom a subpoena was issued.
evidence not excluded by the exclusionary rule. Another Superintendent Gumtang was not even
justification is a search of a moving vehicle (third instance). In mentioned. James Neneng appeared in court
connection therewith, a warrantless search is constitutionally but was not presented by the defense.
permissible when, as in this case, the officers conducting the Subsequent hearings were reset until the
search have reasonable or probable cause to believe, before defense found Superintendent Gumtang who
the search, that either the motorist is a law-offender (like herein appeared in court without subpoena on
petitioner with respect to the hit and run) or the contents or January 13, 1994. 67
cargo of the vehicle are or have been instruments or the
subject matter or the proceeds of some criminal offense. 63
The Court is baffled why petitioner failed to produce and
present the Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt if they
Anent his second defense, petitioner contends that he could were really issued and existing before his apprehension.
not be convicted of violating P.D. 1866 because he is an Petitioner's alternative excuses that the subject firearms were
appointed civilian agent authorized to possess and carry the intended for theatrical purposes, or that they were owned by
subject firearms and ammunition as evidenced by a Mission the Presidential Security Group, or that his Mission Order and
Order 64 and Memorandum Receipt duly issued by PNP Supt. Memorandum Receipt were left at home, further compound
Rodialo Gumtang, the deputy commander of Task Force their irregularity. As to be reasonably expected, an accused
Aguila, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. The contention lacks merit. claiming innocence, like herein petitioner, would grab the
earliest opportunity to present the Mission Order and
In crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, two requisites Memorandum Receipt in question and save himself from the
must be established, viz.: (1) the existence of the subject long and agonizing public trial and spare him from proffering
firearm and, (2) the fact that the accused who owned or inconsistent excuses. In fact, the Mission Order itself, as well
possessed the firearm does not have the corresponding as the Letter-Directive of the AFP Chief of Staff, is explicit in
license or permit to possess. 65 The first element is beyond providing that:
dispute as the subject firearms and ammunitions 66 were
seized from petitioner's possession via a valid warrantless
Page 90 of 119
VIII. c. When a Mission Order is requested approved at the PC Regional Command
for verification by enforcement level or its equivalent level in other major
units/personnels such as PNP, Military services of the AFP, INP and NBI, or at
Brigade and other Military Police Units of higher levels of command. 75Circular No. 1,
AFP, the Mission Order should be shown dated January 6, 1986, of the then Ministry
without resentment to avoid embarrassment of Justice likewise provides as follows:
and/or misunderstanding.
If mission orders are issued to civilians (not
IX. d. Implicit to this Mission Order is the members of the uniformed service), they
injunction that the confidential instruction will must be civilian agents included in the
be carried out through all legal means and regular plantilla of the government agency
do not cover an actuation in violation of laws. involved in law enforcement and are
In the latter event, this Mission Order is receiving regular compensation for the
rendered inoperative in respect to such service they are rendering.
violation. 68
That petitioner's Mission Order and Memorandum
which directive petitioner failed to heed without cogent Receipt were fabricated pieces of evidence is
explanation. accentuated all the more by the testimony and
certification of the Chief of the Records Branch of the
The authenticity and validity of the Mission Order and firearms and Explosives Office of the PNP declaring
Memorandum Receipt, moreover, were ably controverted. that petitioner's confiscated firearms are not licensed
Witness for the prosecution Police Supt. Durendes denied or registered in the name of the petitioner. 76 Thus:
under oath his signature on the dorsal side of the Mission
Order and declared further that he did not authorize anyone to Q. In all these files that
sign in his you have just mentioned
behalf. 69 His surname thereon, we note, was glaringly Mr. Witness, what did you
misspelled as find, if any?
"Durembes." 70 In addition, only Unit Commanders and Chief of
Offices have the authority to issue Mission Orders and A. I found that a certain
Memorandum Receipts under the Guidelines on the Issuance Robin C. Padilla is a
of MOs, MRs, & PCFORs. 71 PNP Supt. Rodialo Gumtang who licensed registered owner
issued petitioner's Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt is of one 9 mm pistol, Smith
neither a Unit Commander nor the Chief of Office, but a mere and Wesson with Serial
deputy commander. Having emanated from an unauthorized No. TCT 8214 and the
source, petitioner's Mission Order and Memorandum Receipt following firearms being
are infirm and lacking in force and effect. Besides, the Mission asked whether it is
Order covers "Recom 1-12-Baguio City," 72 areas outside Supt. registered or not, I did not
Gumtang's area of responsibility thereby needing prior find any records, the M-16
approval "by next higher Headquarters" 73 which is absent in and the caliber .357 and
this case. The Memorandum Receipt is also unsupported by a the caliber .380 but there
certification as required by the March 5, 1988 Memorandum of is a firearm with the same
the Secretary of Defense which pertinently provides that: serial number which is the
same as that licensed
No memorandum receipt shall be issued for and/or registered in the
a CCS firearms without corresponding name of one Albert
certification from the corresponding Villanueva Fallorina.
Responsible Supply Officer of the
appropriate AFP unit that such firearm has Q. So in short, the only
been officially taken up in that units property licensed firearms in the
book, and that report of such action has name of accused Robin C.
been reported to higher AFP authority. Padilla is a pistol, Smith
and Wesson, caliber 9 mm
Had petitioner's Memorandum Receipt been with Serial No. TCT 8214?
authentic, we see no reason why he cannot present
the corresponding certification as well. A. Yes, sir.

What is even more peculiar is that petitioner's name, as Q. And the firearms that
certified to by the Director for Personnel of the PNP, does not were the subject of this
even appear in the Plantilla of Non-Uniform Personnel or in the case are not listed in the
list of Civilian Agents or Employees of the PNP which could names of the accused in
justify the issuance of a Mission Order, a fact admitted by this case?
petitioner's counsel. 74 The implementing rules of P.D. 1866
issued by the then PC-INP Chief and Director-General Lt. Gen.
Fidel V. Ramos are clear and unambiguous, thus: A. Yes, sir. 77

No Mission Order shall be issued to any xxx xxx xxx


civilian agent authorizing the same to carry
firearms outside residence unless he/she is And the certification which provides as follows:
included in the regular plantilla of the
government agency involved in law Republic of the Philippines
enforcement and is receiving regular Department of the Interior and Local
compensation for the services he/she is Government
rendering in the agency. Further, the civilian GENERAL HEADQUARTERS PHILIPPINE
agent must be included in a specific law NATIONAL POLICE
enforcement/police/intelligence project FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES OFFICE
proposal or special project which specifically Camp Crame, Quezon City
required the use of firearms(s) to insure its
accomplishment and that the project is duly
Page 91 of 119
PNFEO5 28 November 1992 which abrogated the previous statutes adverted to by
petitioner.
CERTIFICATION
Equally lacking in merit is appellant's allegation that the penalty
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: for simple illegal possession is unconstitutional. The penalty for
simple possession of firearm, it should be stressed, ranges
from reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that Robin C. Padilla perpetua contrary to appellant's erroneous averment. The
of 59 Labo St., Quezon City is a severity of a penalty does not ipso facto make the same cruel
licensed/registered holder of Pistol Smith and excessive.
and Wesson Cal 9mm with serial number
TCT8214 covered by License No. RL
M76C4476687. It takes more than merely being harsh,
excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a
penalty to be obnoxious to the Constitution.
Further certify that the following firearms are "The fact that the punishment authorized by
not registered with this Office per verification the statute is severe does not make it cruel
from available records on file this Office as of and unusual." (24 C.J.S., 1187-1188).
this date: Expressed in other terms, it has been held
that to come under the ban, the punishment
M16 Baby Armalite SN-RP131120 must be "flagrantly and plainly oppressive",
"wholly disproportionate to the nature of the
Revolver Cal 357 SN-3219 offense as to shock the moral sense of the
community" 88

Pistol Cal 380 Pietro Beretta SN-35723


It is well-settled that as far as the constitutional
prohibition goes, it is not so much the extent as the
However, we have on file one Pistol Cal 380, nature of the punishment that determines whether it
Beretta with serial number 35723Y, is, or is not, cruel and unusual and that sentences of
licensed/registered to one Albert Villanueva imprisonment, though perceived to be harsh, are not
Fallorina of 29 San Juan St., Capitol Pasig, cruel or unusual if within statutory limits. 89
MM under Re-Registered License.
Moreover, every law has in its favor the presumption of
This certification is issued pursuant to constitutionality. The burden of proving the invalidity of the
Subpoena from City of Angeles. statute in question lies with the appellant which burden, we
note, was not convincingly discharged. To justify nullification of
FOR THE CHIEF, FEO:(Sgd.)OSE MARIO the law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the
M. ESPINO Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative
Sr. Inspector, PNP implication, 90 as in this case. In fact, the constitutionality of
Chief, Records Branch 78 P.D. 1866 has been upheld twice by this Court. 91 Just
recently, the Court declared that "the pertinent laws on illegal
possession of firearms [are not] contrary to any provision of the
In several occasions, the Court has ruled that either the
Constitution. . . " 92 Appellant's grievances on the wisdom of
testimony of a representative of, or a certification from, the
the prescribed penalty should not be addressed to us. Courts
PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) attesting that a
are not concerned with the wisdom, efficacy or morality of laws.
person is not a licensee of any firearm would suffice to prove
That question falls exclusively within the province of Congress
beyond reasonable doubt the second element of illegal
which enacts them and the Chief Executive who approves or
possession of firearm. 79 In People vs. Tobias, 80 we reiterated
vetoes them. The only function of the courts, we reiterate, is to
that such certification is sufficient to show that a person has in
interpret and apply the laws.
fact no license. From the foregoing discussion, the fact that
petitioner does not have the license or permit to possess was
overwhelmingly proven by the prosecution. The certification With respect to the penalty imposed by the trial court as
may even be dispensed with in the light of the evidences 81 that affirmed by respondent court (17 years 4 months and 1 day
an M-16 rifle and any short firearm higher than a .38 caliber of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to 21 years of reclusion
pistol, akin to the confiscated firearms, cannot be licensed to a perpetua, as maximum), we reduce the same in line with the
civilian, 82 as in the case of petitioner. The Court, therefore, fairly recent case of People v. Lian 93 where the Court en
entertains no doubt in affirming petitioner's conviction banc provided that the indeterminate penalty imposable for
especially as we find no plausible reason, and none was simple illegal possession of firearm, without any mitigating or
presented, to depart from the factual findings of both the trial aggravating circumstance, should be within the range of ten
court and respondent court which, as a rule, are accorded by (10) years and one (1) day to twelve years (12) of prision
the Court with respect and finality. 83 mayor, as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months
and one (1) day to twenty (20) of reclusion temporal, as
Anent his third defense, petitioner faults respondent court "in maximum. This is discernible from the following explanation by
the Court:
applying P.D. 1866 in a democratic ambience (sic) and a non-
subversive context" and adds that respondent court should
have applied instead the previous laws on illegal possession of In the case at bar, no mitigating or
firearms since the reason for the penalty imposed under P.D. aggravating circumstances have been
1866 no longer exists. 84 He stresses that the penalty of 17 alleged or proved, In accordance with the
years and 4 months to 21 years for simple illegal possession of doctrine regarding special laws explained
firearm is cruel and excessive in contravention of the in People v. Simon, 94 although Presidential
Constitution. 85 Decree No. 1866 is a special law, the
penalties therein were taken from the
Revised Penal Code, hence the rules in said
The contentions do not merit serious consideration. The trial
Code for graduating by degrees or
court and the respondent court are bound to apply the
determining the proper period should be
governing law at the time of appellant's commission of the
applied. Consequently, the penalty for the
offense for it is a rule that laws are repealed only by
offense of simple illegal possession of
subsequent ones. 86 Indeed, it is the duty of judicial officers to
firearm is the medium period of the complex
respect and apply the law as it stands. 87 And until its repeal,
penalty in said Section 1, that is, 18 years, 8
respondent court can not be faulted for applying P.D. 1866
months and 1 day to 20 years.

Page 92 of 119
This penalty, being that which is to be That in or about the month of December,
actually imposed in accordance with the 1991, and sometime prior to or
rules therefor and not merely imposable as a subsequent thereto, at Buyagan,
general prescription under the law, shall be Municipality of La Trinidad, Province of
the maximum of the range of the Benguet, Philippines, and within the
indeterminate sentence. The minimum jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
thereof shall be taken, as aforesaid, from any above-named accused, with intent to
period of the penalty next lower in degree, defraud ADELINE TIANGGE y MARCOS
which is, prision mayor in its maximum and by means of deceit through false
period to reclusion temporal in its medium representations and pretenses made by
period. 95 her prior to or simultaneous with the
commission of the fraud, did then and
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
of Appeals sustaining petitioner's conviction by the lower court defraud said ADELINE TIANGGE y
of the crime of simple illegal possession of firearms and MARCOS, by then and there representing
ammunitions is AFFIRMED EXCEPT that petitioner's herself as a duly authorized or licensed
indeterminate penalty is MODIFIED to "ten (10) years and one recruiter for overseas employment, when
(1) day, as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months in truth and in fact she was not, thereby
and one (1) day, as maximum. inducing the said ADELINE TIANGGE y
MARCOS to give and deliver to her the
total amount of EIGHTEEN THOUSAND
SO ORDERED. FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P18,500.00),
Philippine Currency, for placement
G.R. No. 121179 July 2, 1998 abroad and after having received it, she
appropriated and misappropriated the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, same for her own use and benefit and
despite-repeated demands made upon
(her) to return the same, she refused,
vs. failed, neglected, and still refuses, fails
and neglects to comply therewith, all to
ANTONINE B. SALEY a.k.a. ANNIE B. SALEY, accused- the damage and prejudice of ADELINE
appellant. TIANGGE y MARCOS in the total sum
aforesaid.

VITUG, J.: Contrary to law. 4

The case before the Court focuses on the practice of some For the violation of Article 38, in relation to Article 39, of
"illegal recruiters" who would even go to the extent of issuing the Labor Code, five separate informations were also
forged tourist visas to aspiring overseas contract workers. instituted against appellant on various dates. These cases
These unsuspecting job applicants are made to pay exorbitant (with the names of the complainants) include: (1) Criminal
"placement" fees for nothing really since, almost invariably, Case No. 92-CR-1396 (Francisco T. Labadchan); (2)
they find themselves unable to leave for their purported country Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1413 (Cherry Pi-ay); (3) Criminal
of employment or, if they are able to, soon find themselves Case No. 92-CR-1416 (Victoria Asil); (4) Criminal Case No.
unceremoniously repatriated. This Court once described their 92-CR-1425 (Corazon del Rosario) and (5) Criminal Case
plight in a local proverb as being "naghangad ng kagitna, isang No. 92-CR-1427 (Arthur Juan). The typical information in
salop ang nawala." 1 these indictments read:

In this appeal from the 3rd March 1995 decision of the That sometime in the month of April, 1991
Regional Trial Court of La Trinidad, Benguet, Branch and subsequent thereto at Buyagan,
10, 2appellant Antonine B. Saley, a.k.a. Annie B. Saley, Municipality of La Trinidad, Province of
seeks a reversal of the verdict finding her guilty beyond Benguet, Philippines, and within the
reasonable doubt of eleven counts of estafa punishable jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
under the Revised Penal Code and six counts of illegal above-named accused, did then and there
recruitment, one committed in large scale, proscribed by willfully, unlawfully and knowingly recruit
the Labor Code. one ARTHUR JUAN for overseas
employment, by then and there ably
Appellant was indicted in eleven separate informations for misrepresenting herself as a duly
authorized or licensed recruiter when in
estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(1), of the Revised
truth and in fact she fully knew it to be
Penal Code. The cases (naming the complainants and
false but by reason of her said
stating the amounts therein involved) include: (1) Criminal
misrepresentations which were
Case No. 92-CR-1397 3 (Francisco T. Labadchan —
completely relied upon by Arthur Juan,
P45,000.00); (2) Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1414 (Victoria
she was able to obtain from the latter the
Asil — P33,000.00); (3) Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1415
total amount of TWENTY FOUR
(Cherry Pi-ay — P18,000.00); (4) Criminal Case No. 92-CR-
THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED PESOS
1426 (Corazon del Rosario — P40,000.00); (5) Criminal
(P24,200.00), Philippine Currency, all to
Case No. 92-CR-1428 (Arthur Juan — P24,200.00); (6)
the damage and prejudice of Arthur Juan
Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1644 (Alfredo C. Arcega —
in the total sum aforesaid.
P25,000.00); (7) Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1646 (Brando B.
Salbino — P25,000.00); (8) Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1647
(Mariano Damolog — P25,000.00); (9) Criminal Case No. Contrary to Law. 5
93-CR-1649 (Lorenzo Belino — P25,000.00); (10) Criminal
Case No. 93-CR-1651 (Peter Arcega — P25,000.00) and (11) The information in Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1645 for illegal
Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1652 (Adeline Tiangge — recruitment in large scale under Article 38, paragraph 1, of
P18,500.00). Presidential Decree No. 442 (Labor Code), as amended,
filed on 16 April 1993, read:
Except for the name of the offended party, the amount
involved and the date of the commission of the crime, the That in or about the months of August
following information in Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1652 and September, 1992, in the Municipality
typified the other informations for the crime of estafa:
Page 93 of 119
of La Trinidad, Province of Benguet, On 11 October 1991, Labadchan returned to the airport
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of only to be told this time, however, that his passport was
this Honorable Court, the above-named still with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Appellant told
accused, did then and there willfully, her husband to accompany Labadchan to the Foreign
unlawfully and knowingly recruit the Affairs office. When Labadchan received the passport, he
following: PETER ARCEGA, LORENZO saw that while his picture appeared on it, the passport was
BELINO, MARIANO DAMOLOG, FIDEL made out in the name of a person from Negros Occidental.
OPDAS, BRANDO B. SALBINO, DEMBER Labadchan had to imitate the signature on the passport
LEON and ALFREDO C. ARCEGA for just so he could get it. Back at the airport, he was allowed
overseas employment, by then and there inside the terminal but only to be later sent out because
misrepresenting herself as a duly the ticket he had was one intended for passage from
authorized or licensed recruiter when in Korea and not to Korea. Asserting that he and company
truth and in fact she was not and by were mere "chance passengers," appellant sent them all
reason of her said misrepresentation home with a promise that another departure date would be
which was completely relied upon by the set. She also took back the "show money" of US$1,000.00.
said complainants whom she recruited,
either individually or as a group Appellant would repeatedly schedule a departure date but
amounting to illegal recruitment in large nothing tangible came out of her assurances. Finally,
scale causing economic sabotage, she Labadchan was able to get appellant to promise that the
was able to obtain and received from money he had given her would be refunded. When this
them the aggregate total amount of ONE promise neither materialized, Labadchan finally reported
HUNDRED SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND the matter to the National Bureau of Investigation ("NBI").
PESOS (P175,000.00), Philippine In that office, appellant executed a promissory note stating
Currency, all to the damage and prejudice that she would return the amount of P46,500.00, which
of the foregoing complainants in the total included the amount of P1,500.00 allegedly used for
sum aforesaid. getting a passport, to Labadchan. 7

Contrary to law. 6 In Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1414 and Criminal


Case No. 92-CR-1416
Appellant pleaded not guilty to all the charges of illegal
recruitment and estafa. The criminal cases filed were Victoria Asil, a 40-year-old housewife from Imelda Village,
raffled off to two (2) branches of the Regional Trial Court Roxas Street, Baguio City, heard from her elder sister,
of Benguet; later, however, the cases were consolidated at Feling Derecto, that appellant was recruiting workers for
the instance of the prosecution. abroad. During the second week of January 1992, she,
along with her husband Gabriel, went to appellant's house
Parenthetically, appellant jumped bail pending trial but she in Buyagan, La Trinidad. Appellant assured her that she
was soon arrested by agents of the Criminal Investigation could have a job in a factory in Korea. Appellant asked for
Service ("CIS"). an advance fee of P25,000.00 of the P40,000.00 agreed fee.
Victoria gave appellant the "advance fee" on 13 January
The Evidence for the Prosecution. — 1992 at her (Victoria's) shop in Shopper's Lane, Baguio
City which appellant acknowledged by issuing a receipt
for the amount. She told Victoria to be at appellant's house
In Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1397 and Criminal in Buyagan after three weeks.
Case No. 92-CR-1396
When Victoria went to appellant's house as so directed,
Francisco Labadchan, a 25-year-old employee in the Navy appellant told her that her flight had been postponed
Base in Pacdal, Baguio City, was introduced to appellant supposedly because prior applicants had to be
by Crispin Perez. In September 1991, the two went to the accommodated first. Victoria met appellant seven more
house of Conchita Tagle at Kilometer 3, La Trinidad, times only to be ultimately told that the latter had been
Benguet, who was known to be recruiting workers for allegedly "fooled" by the "main office" in Manila.
abroad. After Labadchan had expressed interest in Appellant, nevertheless, demanded an additional
applying for a job in Korea, Tagle told Labadchan to P5,000.00 from Victoria so that she could leave on 18 April
prepare P45,000.00, P30,000.00 of which was to be paid 1992. Victoria gave appellant the amount of P5,000.00 at
that month and the balance of P15,000.00 before his her shop on 31 March 1992 for which appellant gave a
departure for abroad. Labadchan paid Tagle the amount of corresponding receipt.
P30,000.00 on 23 September 1991. Appellant, in turn,
received that amount when she went to La Trinidad to
"brief" him. She told Labadchan that his flight would be on When on 18 April 1992 still "nothing happened," Victoria
the 9th of October 1991 and that he should have paid by demanded from appellant a refund. Appellant gave her an
then the balance of P15,000.00 of the fees. He paid Tagle "advance" of P15,000.00. An acknowledgment receipt with
the P15,000.00 balance on 05 October 1991. When he appellant's signature affixed thereon would evidence that
requested her to make a receipt, Tagle included the payment. Appellant, however, failed to return the rest of
amount in the old receipt for the P30,000.00 previously the promised refund. 8
given. Appellant handed over to Labadchan some papers
to fill up and gave last-minute instructions before she In Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1413 and Criminal
boarded a green-colored aircraft. Case No 92-CR-1415

On 08 October 1991, Labadchan and his wife went to Cherry Pi-ay, a 26-year-old nursing student from Acop,
Manila and stayed, as so instructed by Tagle, at the Prince Tublay, Benguet, was visited once in March 1991 by
Hotel near the terminal of the Dangwa bus company in appellant who encouraged Cherry to apply for work in a
Dimasalang, Manila. There, he met other people, among textile or a plastic factory in Korea with a monthly salary of
them, his co-complainant Arthur Juan. In the morning of US$800.00. Appellant told Cherry that the moment she
09 October 1991, Labadchan and the others were told to would pay the amount of P45,000.00, she could be
go to the airport with Tagle, where appellant was deployed in Korea. Cherry prepared her bio-data and gave
supposed to give the travel papers including passports it to appellant at the latter's residence during the first week
and plane tickets for Korea. At the airport, however, of April 1991.
appellant told the group that their flight had been re-
scheduled for 11 October 1991. Labadchan returned to Cherry was able to leave the country on 04 July 1991 after
Baguio City. having paid the total amount of P45,000.00. Appellant told
Page 94 of 119
her that a certain Ramil would meet her at the airport in and that some time in April 1991, Corazon withdrew
Korea. When she arrived, a Filipina, named Marlyn, instead P25,000.00 from the bank which she likewise paid to
met her. Marlyn introduced herself as appellant's friend appellant. 12
and accompanied Cherry to a certain house owned by a
Korean. There, Cherry met, among other compatriots, In Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1427 and Criminal
Corazon del Rosario and Jane Kipas. Cherry soon realized Case No. 92-CR-1428
that she was not going to have a job in the factory
promised by appellant. Instead, she was made to work for
the Korean applying rugby on and folding leather jackets. Arthur Juan, a 30-year-old farmer from Dumulpot, Tublay,
About a month later, men from the Korean Immigration Benguet, first met appellant in her house at Buyagan, La
accosted her and the others. Brought in for questioning by Trinidad, Benguet, when he, together with Maxima Gomez,
Immigration officials, Cherry and her companions were Tirso Gomez and Francisco Labadchan, went to see
informed that they were illegal workers. After the appellant who was said to be recruiting workers for Korea.
investigation, Cherry and her group were allowed to go but Juan promptly submitted his bio-data form after being told
on 08 August 1991, all were deported. that he could work in a factory in Korea at US$400.00 a
month. Appellant quoted a processing fee of P40,000.00.
Juan initially paid the amount of P6,500.00 in April 1991.
Back to the Philippines, the deportees were assured by On 09 October 1991, the scheduled date of the flight, Juan
appellant that they would get a refund of their money. went to the airport and gave appellant another P15,000.00;
Cherry executed a sworn statement narrating her the final balance of the fees were, by their agreement, to
experience in Korea. 9 be remitted to appellant on a salary deduction basis.
Appellant then told Juan that he could not leave on that
Ayson Acbaya-an, Cherry's "boyfriend" who later was to day (09 October 1991) because the airplane was already
become her husband, corroborated Cherry's testimony full. Appellant took back Juan's passport, telling Juan that
that appellant first received P18,000.00 from Cherry. he should be able to depart in a few days. Appellant,
Thereafter, appellant also received P27,000.00 from however, kept on rescheduling the flight for about five
Cherry, fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00) of which more times until it became clear to Juan that he had been
amount came from him. In both instances, appellant deceived. Juan paid out a total amount of P24,200.00,
signed receipts for the payments. The receipts were including the US$100.00 that would have been his pocket
among Cherry's papers confiscated in Korea. 10 money, to appellant. The latter executed receipts for the
amounts.
In Criminal Case No. 92-CR-1425 and Criminal
Case No. 92-CR-1426 Juan executed a sworn statement narrating the
unfortunate incident. 13
Corazon del Rosario, a 34-year-old housemaid from 48
Happy Homes, Baguio City, had known appellant, an In Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1652
acquaintance, since 1980. One day in December 1990, she
happened to chance upon appellant at a PLDT telephone Adeline Tiangge, a 43-year-old housekeeper from Bangao,
booth in Kilometer 4, La Trinidad, Baguio City. Appellant, Buguias, Benguet, learned that appellant was recruiting
representing herself to be an authorized recruiter, tried to workers for abroad. Adeline, accompanied by her sister,
persuade Corazon to work abroad. Corazon showed went to see appellant at her house in Buyagan some time
interest. From then on, appellant would visit Corazon in in December 1991. There were others, like her, who also
her brother's house in Kilometer 4. Ultimately, appellant went to see appellant. When she produced the required
was able to convince Corazon that, for a fee of P40,000.00, identification pictures and P1,500.00 for passport
she could be sent to Korea. Corazon gave appellant the processing, appellant told Adeline that she could be a
amount of P15,000.00. She paid the balance of P25,000.00 factory worker in Korea with a monthly salary of
in May 1991. The payments were both made in the US$350.00. Appellant agreed to be paid by Adeline the
presence of Cherry Pi-ay and Jane Kipas. Appellant issued additional P35,000.00 balance by installment. The first
the corresponding receipts for these amounts. installment of P17,000.00 was paid on 15 February 1992,
evidenced by a receipt signed by "Antonine Saley," with
Corazon took the flight for Korea on 28 June 1991. the remaining P18,000.00 being payable before getting on
Appellant had instructed Corazon, upon landing in Korea, her flight for abroad.
to call up a certain Ramil. At the airport, Corazon,
including her companions among them Jane Kipas, kept Adeline waited in Baguio City for word on her departure.
on dialing the number but each time only a Korean woman Adeline, together with some other applicants, thrice went
would answer the call. Later, that evening, a certain to appellant's office at the Shopper's Lane to check. She
Marlyn, who introduced herself as appellant's friend, took also went to Dimasalang, Manila, in front of the Dangwa
them to a hotel. There, Marlyn took their "show money" of terminal, for a like purpose. Appellant informed her that
US$1,000.00. The group stayed overnight in the hotel and she just had to wait for her flight. Adeline, exasperated,
the following morning, a Korean took them to a house finally demanded a refund of the amount she had paid but
proximately two hours away by car from the airport. For appellant merely gave her P100.00 for her fare back to
about a month, they did nothing but apply rugby on Benguet. 14
leather jackets, for which they were not paid, until a
policeman arrived and took all ten of them to the airport.
All that the immigration and airport personnel would tell —0—
them was that they should be thankful they were only
being repatriated home. Immigration and airport The sum of the evidence, infra., in Criminal Case No. 93-
authorities confiscated everything that they had. CR-1645 for illegal recruitment in large scale had been
submitted to likewise constitute the evidence to establish
At home, appellant promised to return Corazon's money. the People's case, respectively, in —
Not having received the promised refund, Corazon went to
the CIS stationed at Camp Dangwa where, on 28 July 1992, Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1644
she executed her sworn statement. 11
Alfredo Arcega, a 42-year-old hotel employee from 16 Q.M.
Avelina Velasco Samidan, a friend of Corazon and in Subdivision, Baguio City, heard from a former co-worker,
whose house the latter would stay whenever she was in Fidel Opdas, that appellant was recruiting workers for
Baguio, corroborated the testimony of Corazon that she overseas employment. Interested, he, in the company of
gave to appellant the amount of P15,000.00, ten thousand his nephew, Peter Arcega, went to appellant's house in
pesos of which amount Corazon borrowed from Avelina, Buyagan, La Trinidad. There, he met job applicants
Page 95 of 119
Dembert Leon, Mariano Damolog and Brando Salbino. back to Baguio City to raise the amount of P15,000.00
Appellant assured the group that they could get employed each. On 30 September 1992, he, together with Fred and
in Taiwan for a monthly salary of P12,000.00 to P15,000.00. Peter Arcega, Brando Salbino and Lorenzo Belino,
She told them that the processing and placement fees returned to Manila. Damolog handed over his P15,000.00
would amount to P40,000.00 each. Arcega and his to appellant who issued an acknowledgment receipt,
companions agreed. signed by "Annie Saley" which, according to appellant,
was her name. Appellant assured him that he would be
On 17 August 1992, Arcega paid appellant P10,000.00 in among the first to go to Taiwan by December 1992.
Dimasalang, Manila. Appellant issued a cash voucher for
the amount. She told Arcega to just wait "for the results." December 1992 came but no word was received prompting
On 30 September 1992, appellant asked Arcega for another Damolog and his companions to repair to appellant's
P15,000.00 which amount he paid. With him at the time house in Buyagan. She was not home. Damolog
were his nephew Peter Arcega, as well as Dembert Leon, proceeded to Manila where appellant told him to wait a few
Mariano Damolog, Lorenzo Belino and Brando Salbino. more days. When still "nothing happened," Damolog and
Appellant issued a receipt and affixed thereon her his companions went to the POEA office where Atty.
signature. Appellant told Arcega that with the payment, his Licnachan issued a certification stating that appellant was
employment abroad was assured. She stressed, however, not authorized to recruit workers. Damolog and his
that the balance of P15,000.00 should be paid before his companions filed a joint affidavit-complaint executed
departure for Taiwan. After following up the matter with before Atty. Licnachan 17against appellant.
appellant in October 1992 and then in December 1992, he
finally gave up. Arcega went to the POEA office in Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1649
Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City, and when he learned that
appellant had pending cases for illegal recruitment, he
also filed his own complaint and executed an affidavit Lorenzo Belino, a 37-year-old farmer from Tawang, La
before Atty. Justinian Licnachan. 15 Trinidad, Benguet, was in Manila in August 1992 looking
for employment. Fidel Opdas, a companion in his trip to
Manila, mentioned that perhaps appellant could help.
Criminal Case No. 93-CR-1646 Belino saw appellant who then told him about the prospect
of getting employed in Taiwan. Appellant invited him to
Brando Salbino, a 36-year-old resident of East Quirino Hill, see her on 20 September 1992 in Buyagan.
Baguio City, used to be a "forester" of the DENR. In July
1992, he met appellant at her Buyagan residence after his On the appointed date, Belino found Mariano Damolog,
brother-in-law, Fidel Opdas, had said that she was Fidel Opdas, Brando Salbino, Dembert Leon, Alfredo
recruiting workers for abroad. Appellant told him that she Arcega and Peter Arcega already in appellant's residence
could help him get employed in Taiwan with a P12,000.00 in Buyagan. Appellant asked P10,000.00 from each of them
monthly salary. Salbino submitted various documents if they wanted her to be "responsible for representing"
required by appellant. On 11 August 1992, Salbino paid them to get themselves employed in Taiwan with a
appellant the amount of P10,000.00 at her Dimasalang monthly income of P15,000.00. When the group agreed,
"temporary office" so that, according to her, his travel