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G.R. No.

L-2068 October 20, 1948 But we made it clear that the "defendant can not, as a matter of right, compel the
complaint and his witnesses to repeat in his presence what they had said at the
DOMINADOR B. BUSTOS, Petitioner, vs. ANTONIO G. LUCERO, Judge of First preliminary examination before the issuance of the order of arrest." We called
Instance of Pampanga, Respondent. attention to the fact that "the constitutional right of an accused to be confronted by
the witnesses against him does not apply to preliminary hearings' nor will the
TUASON, J.: chanrobles virtual law library absence of a preliminary examination be an infringement of his right to confront
witnesses." As a matter of fact, preliminary investigation may be done away with
entirely without infringing the constitutional right of an accused under the due
The petitioner herein, an accused in a criminal case, filed a motion with the Court of
process clause to a fair trial.
First Instance of Pampanga after he had been bound over to that court for trial,
praying that the record of the case be remanded to the justice of the peace court of
Masantol, the court of origin, in order that the petitioner might cross-examine the The foregoing decision was rendered by a divided court. The minority went farther
complainant and her witnesses in connection with their testimony, on the strength than the majority and denied even any discretion on the part of the justice of the
of which warrant was issued for the arrest of the accused. The motion was denied peace or judge holding the preliminary investigation to compel the complainant and
and that denial is the subject matter of this proceeding. his witnesses to testify anew. Upon the foregoing considerations, the present
petition is dismissed with costs against the petitioner.
According to the memorandum submitted by the petitioner's attorney to the Court
of First Instance in support of his motion, the accused, assisted by counsel, appeared Moran, C.J., Paras, Pablo, Bengzon, and Briones, JJ., concur.
at the preliminary investigation. In that investigation, the justice of the peace
informed him of the charges and asked him if he pleaded guilty or not guilty, upon
which he entered the plea of not guilty. "Then his counsel moved that the
complainant present her evidence so that she and her witnesses could be examined
and cross-examined in the manner and form provided by law." The fiscal and the
private prosecutor objected, invoking section 11 of rule 108, and the objection was
sustained. "In view thereof, the accused's counsel announced his intention to
renounce his right to present evidence," and the justice of the peace forwarded the
case to the court of first instance.

Leaving aside the question whether the accused, after renouncing his right to present
evidence, and by reason of that waiver he was committed to the corresponding court
for trial, is estopped, we are of the opinion that the respondent judge did not act in
excess of his jurisdiction or in abuse of discretion in refusing to grant the accused's
motion to return the record for the purpose set out therein. In Dequito and Saling
Buhay vs. Arellano, G.R. No. L-1336, recently promulgated, in which case the
respondent justice of the peace had allowed the accused, over the complaint's
objection, to recall the complainant and her witnesses at the preliminary
investigation so that they might be cross-examined, we sustained the justice of the
peace's order. We said that section 11 of Rule 108 does not curtail the sound
discretion of the justice of the peace on the matter. We said that "while section 11
of Rule 108 defines the bounds of the defendant's right in the preliminary
investigation, there is nothing in it or any other law restricting the authority, inherent
in a court of justice, to pursue a course of action reasonably calculated to bring out
the truth."chnrobles virtual law library
[G.R. No. 9726. December 8, 1914. ] countries in all of which both languages are spoken and written, having as such the
supervision and control of said newspaper, did then and there willfully, feloniously,
THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CARSON TAYLOR, Defendant-Appellant. maliciously, and with intent to impeach the honesty, virtue, and reputation of one
Ramon Sotelo as member of the bar of the Philippine Islands and as a private
C. W O’Brien, for Appellant. individual, and to expose him to public hatred, contempt and ridicule, compose,
print, edit, publish, and circulate and procure to be composed, printed, edited,
Solicitor-General Corpus, for Appellee. published, and circulated in said newspaper’s issue of the above mentioned date,
September 25, 1913, a certain false and malicious defamation and libel in the English
SYLLABUS language of and concerning the said Ramon Sotelo, which reads as follows. :

1. LIBEL AND SLANDER; PUBLICATION; EDITOR, AUTHOR, PROPRIETOR, MANAGER. — "‘OWNERS FIRED BUILDING TO COLLECT INSURANCE. — CRIMINAL CHARGES
Section 6 of the Libel Law (Act No. 277) provides a punishment only for the "author, FOLLOW CIVIL SUIT.
editor, or proprietor," for the publication of a libel in a newspaper. In the present
case no person was represented to be either the "author, the editor, or the "‘Conspiracy divulged in three sworn statements made by members of the party after
proprietor" of the newspaper in which the alleged libel was published. The proof a family disagreement. Sensational statement sworn to. Mystery of Calle O’Donnell
shows that the defendant was the "manager." There was not a word of proof showing fire solved and papers served.
that as "manager" he was the author of the article published or the editor or the
proprietor of the newspaper. The "manager" of a newspaper may be the author of "‘Conspiracy to defraud the insurance company.
the articles published or the editor or the publisher of the newspaper. His exact
relation to the newspaper or publication is a matter of proof. He can not avoid "‘The building was fired to collect the amount of insurance.
responsibility as the "author, editor, or proprietor" by using some other term or
word, when, as a matter of fact, he is the "author, editor, or proprietor." The "author, "‘The movable furniture of value was removed before the fire.
editor, or proprietor" of a newspaper or publication can not avoid responsibility by
simply calling himself the "manager" or "printer." He can not wear the toga of "‘The full amount of the insurance was collected, and the conspiracy was a success.
"author, editor, or proprietor" and hide his responsibility by giving himself some
other name. While the terms "author, editor, and proprietor" of a newspaper are "‘The above is the gist of the sworn statements of Vicente Sotelo and Eugenio Martin
terms well defined, the particular words "author, editor, or proprietor" are not in connection with the fire that destroyed house No. 2157 Calle O’Donnell on April
material or important, further than they are words which are intended to show the 4.
relation of the responsible party to the publication. That relation may as well exist
under some other name or denomination. "‘The case in question is a sensational one to say .he least, and the court is being
petitioned to set aside the ruling and cite the parties to show cause why they should
DECISION not be cited to answer charges of conspiracy to defraud.

JOHNSON, J. : "‘On April 4, 1913, the house located at 2157 Calle O’Donnell was destroyed by fire.
The house was insured for P5,000, the contents for an additional P5,000, with the
This was an action for criminal libel. West of Scotland Insurance Association, of which Lutz & Co. are the local agents, with
an additional P1,500 with Smith, Bell & Co.
The complaint alleged:
"‘The full amount of the insurance on the property was paid by the agents of the
"That on the 25th day of September, 1913, the said Carson Taylor, being then and insurance companies and the matter apparently dropped from the records.
there the acting editor and proprietor, manager, printer, and publisher in the city of
Manila, Philippine Islands, of a certain daily bilingual newspaper, edited in the English "‘Then there was internal trouble and information began to leak out which resulted
and Spanish languages, and known as the ’Manila Daily Bulletin,’ a paper of large in sensational statements to the effect that the destruction of the property had been
circulation throughout the Philippine Islands, as well as in the United States and other an act of incendiarism in order to collect the insurance. Then there was an
investigation started and it resulted in sworn statements of the three persons above read the same; that the statements and allegations made in said paragraph are
mentioned. wholly false and untrue, thus impeaching the honesty, virtue and reputation of the
said offended party as a member of the bar of the Philippine Islands and as a private
"‘Notarial returns were made yesterday by the sheriff, based on the sworn individual, and exposing him to public hatred, contempt and ridicule. Contrary to
statements and the parties are cited to appear in court and show cause. law."cralaw virtua1aw library

"‘The investigation also showed that the furniture, which was supposed to be in the Upon said complaint the defendant was arrested, arraigned, plead not guilty, was
house at the time of the conflagration and which was paid for by the insurance tried, found guilty of the crime charged, and sentenced by the Honorable George N.
agents, sworn statements having been made that it was destroyed in the fire, was in Hurd, judge, to pay a fine of P200. From that sentence the defendant appealed to this
a certain house in Montalban, where it was identified upon the sworn statements of court and made the following assignment of error:
the above mentioned. Implicated in the charges of conspiracy and fraud is the name
of the attorney for the plaintiff who made affidavit as to the burning of the house "First. The court erred in finding that the defendant was responsible for and guilty of
and against whom criminal proceedings will be brought as well as against the original the alleged libel.
owners.
"Second. The court erred in finding that the defendant was the proprietor and
"‘Attorney Burke, who represents Lutz & Co. in the proceedings, was seen last night publisher of the ’Manila Daily Bulletin.’
and asked for a statement as to the case. Mr. Burke refused to talk on the case and
stated that when it came to trial it would be time enough to obtain the facts. "Third. The court erred in finding that the alleged libelous article was libelous per se.

"‘The present action came before the court on a motion of Attorney Burke to set "Fourth. The court erred in holding that the article was libelous, while finding that
aside the judgment, which, in the original case, gave the owners of the property there was no malice.
judgment for the amount of the insurance.
"Fifth. The court erred in finding that the alleged libelous article referred to attorney
"‘Attorney Burke filed the sworn statements with the court and the notarial returns Ramon Sotelo.
to the same were made yesterday afternoon, the sworn statements as to the burning
of the house being in the hands of the sheriff. "Sixth. The court erred in finding that Ramon Sotelo was attorney for the plaintiffs in
case No. 10191, when the alleged libel was published."
"‘It was stated yesterday that a criminal action would follow the civil proceedings
instituted to recover the funds in the case entitled on the court records, Maria After a careful examination of the record and the arguments presented by the
Mortera de Eceiza and Manuel Eceiza versus the west of Scotland Association, appellant, we deem it necessary to discuss only the first and second assignments of
Limited, No. 10191 on the court records. error.

"‘It might be stated also that Eugenio Martin was one of the plaintiffs in the recent In the Philippine Islands there exist no crimes such as are known in the United States
suit brought against Ex Governor W. Cameron Forbes for lumber supplied for his and England as common law crimes. No act constitutes a crime here unless it is made
Boston home.’ so by law. Libel is made a crime here by Act No. 277 of the United States Philippine
Commission. Said Act (No. 277) not only defines the crime of libel and prescribes the
"That in this article is contained the following paragraph. to wit: particular conditions necessary to constitute it, but it also names the persons who
may be guilty of such crime. In the present case the complaint alleges that the
"‘ . . .Implicated in the charges of conspiracy and fraud is the name of the attorney defendant was, at the time of the publication of said alleged article "the acting editor,
for the plaintiff who made affidavit as to the burning of the house and against whom proprietor, manager, printer, publisher, etc. etc. of a certain bilingual newspaper,
criminal proceedings will be brought as well as against the original owners,’ by which etc., known as the ’Manila Daily Bulletin,’ a paper of large circulation throughout the
the said accused meant to refer and did refer to the said Ramon Sotelo, who then Philippine Islands, as well as in the United States and other countries."
and there was the attorney for the plaintiff in the case aforesaid, No. 10191 of the
Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, and so was understood by the public who It will be noted that the complaint charges the defendant as "the acting editor,
proprietor, manager, printer, and publisher." From an examination of said Act No. publication, when, as a matter of fact, he is the "author, the editor, or the proprietor"
277, we find that section 6 provides that: "Every author, editor, or proprietor of any of the same. His real relation to the said publication is a matter of proof. The Solicitor-
book, newspaper, or serial publication is chargeable with the publication of any General, in his brief, says that the defendant used the word "manager" with the hope
words contained in any part of said book or number of each newspaper or serial as of evading legal responsibility, as the Libel Law places the responsibility for publishing
fully as if he were the author of the same." a libel, on "every author, editor, or proprietor of any book, etc." Had the prosecuting
attorney in the trial of the cause believed that the defendant, even though he called
By an examination of said article, with reference to the persons who may be liable himself the "manager" was, in fact, the "author, editor, or proprietor" of said
for the publication of a libel in a newspaper, we find that it only provides for the publication, he should have presented some proof supporting that contention.
punishment of "the author, editor, or proprietor." It would follow, therefore, that Neither do we desire to be understood as holding that simply because a person
unless the proof shows that the defendant in the present case is the "author, editor, connected with the publication of a newspaper who calls himself the "manager" or
or proprietor" of the newspaper in which the libel was published, he can not be held "printer" may not, in fact and at the same time, be the "author, editor, or proprietor."
liable. The "author, editor, or proprietor" can not avoid responsibility for the writing and
publication of a libelous article, by simply calling himself the "manager" or the
In the present case the Solicitor-General in his brief said that — "No person is "printer" of a newspaper. That, however, is a question of proof. The burden is upon
represented to be either the ’author, editor, or proprietor.’" That statement of the the prosecution to show that the defendant is, by whatever name he may call himself,
Solicitor-General is fully sustained by the record. There is not a word of proof in the in truth and in fact, the "author, editor, or proprietor" of a newspaper. The courts
record showing that the defendant was either the "author, the editor, or the cannot assume, in the absence of proof, that one who called himself "manager" was
proprietor." The proof shows that the defendant was the "manager." He must, in fact the "author, editor, or proprietor." We might assume, perhaps, that the
therefore, be acquitted of the crime charged against him, unless it is shown by the ’’manager" of a newspaper plays an important part in the publication of the same by
proof that he, as "manager" of the newspaper, was in some way directly responsible virtue of the general signification of the word "manager." Men can not, however, be
for the writing, editing, or publishing of the matter contained in said alleged libelous sentenced upon the basis of a mere assumption. There must be some proof. The
article. The prosecution presented the newspaper, the "Manila Daily Bulletin," for the word "manage" has been defined by Webster to mean "to have under control and
purpose of showing the relation which the defendant had to it. That was the only direction; to conduct; to guide; to administer; to treat; to handle." Webster defines
proof presented by the prosecution to show the relation which the defendant had to "manager" to be "one who manages; a conductor or director; as, the manager of a
the publication of the libel in question. From an examination of the editorial page of theater." A manager, as that word is generally understood, we do not believe includes
said exhibit, we find that it shows that the "Manila Daily Bulletin" is owned by the the idea of ownership. Generally speaking it means one who is representing another
"Bulletin Publishing Company," and that the defendant was its manager. There is not as an agent. That being true, his powers and duties and obligations are generally
a word of proof in the record which shows what relation the manager had to the defined by contract. He may have expressed as well as implied powers, but whatever
publication of said newspaper. We might, by a series of presumptions and his powers and duties are they must be dependent upon the nature of the business
assumptions, conclude that the manager of a newspaper has some direct and the terms of his contract. There is no fixed rule which indicates particularly and
responsibility with its publication. We believe, however, that such presumptions and definitely his duties, powers and obligations. An examination into the character of
assumptions, in the absence of a single letter of proof relating thereto, would be the business and the contract of his employment must be made for the purpose of
unwarranted and unjustified. The prosecuting attorney had an opportunity to ascertaining definitely what his duties and obligations are. His exact relation is always
present proof upon that question. Either because he had no proof or because no such a matter of proof. It is incumbent upon the prosecution in a case like the present, to
proof was obtainable, he presented none. It certainly is not a difficult matter to show that whatever title, name or designation the defendant may bear, he was, in
ascertain who is the real person responsible for the publication of a newspaper which fact, the "author, the editor, or the proprietor" of the newspaper. If he was in fact
is published daily and has a wide circulation in a particular community. No question the "author, editor, or proprietor," he can not escape responsibility by calling himself
was asked the defendant concerning his particular relation to the publication of the the "manager" or "printer." It is the relation which he bears to the publication and
newspaper in question. We do not desire to be understood in our conclusions here not the name or title which he has assumed, which is important in an investigation.
as holding that the "manager" or the "printer" may not, under certain conditions and He can not wear the toga of author or editor and hide his responsibility by giving
proper proof, be held to be the "author, editor, or proprietor" of a newspaper. He himself some other name. While the terms "author, editor, and proprietor" of a
may denominate himself as "manager" or "printer" simply, and be at the same time newspaper are terms well defined, the particular words "author, editor, or
the "author, editor, or proprietor" of the newspaper. He can not avoid responsibility proprietor" are not material or important, further than that they are words which are
by using some other term or word, indicating his relation to the newspaper or the intended to show the relation of the responsible party to the publication. That
relation may as well exist under some other name or denomination.

For the foregoing reasons. therefore, there being no proof whatever in the record
showing that the defendant was the "author, the editor, or the proprietor" of the
newspaper in question, the sentence of the lower court must be reversed, the
complaint dismissed and the defendant discharged from the custody of the law, with
costs de officio. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Moreland, Trent and Araullo, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 180016 April 29, 2014 baht ladies' bracelet, 22k, worth ₱12,000.00, or in the total amount of Ninety-Eight
Thousand Pesos (₱98,000.00), Philippine currency, under expressed obligation on the
LITO CORPUZ, Petitioner, part of said accused to remit the proceeds of the sale of the said items or to return
vs. the same, if not sold, said accused, once in possession of the said items, with intent
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. to defraud, and with unfaithfulness and abuse of confidence, and far from complying
with his aforestated obligation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
DECISION misappropriate, misapply and convert to his own personal use and benefit the
aforesaid jewelries (sic) or the proceeds of the sale thereof, and despite repeated
demands, the accused failed and refused to return the said items or to remit the
PERALTA, J.:
amount of Ninety- Eight Thousand Pesos (₱98,000.00), Philippine currency, to the
damage and prejudice of said Danilo Tangcoy in the aforementioned amount.
This is to resolve the Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court, dated November 5, 2007, of petitioner Lito Corpuz (petitioner), seeking to
CONTRARY TO LAW.
reverse and set aside the Decision1 dated March 22, 2007 and Resolution2 dated
September 5, 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA), which affirmed with modification
the Decision3 dated July 30, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 46, San On January 28, 1992, petitioner, with the assistance of his counsel, entered a plea of
Fernando City, finding the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
Estafa under Article 315, paragraph (1), sub-paragraph (b) of the Revised Penal Code.
The prosecution, to prove the above-stated facts, presented the lone testimony of
The antecedent facts follow. Danilo Tangcoy. On the other hand, the defense presented the lone testimony of
petitioner, which can be summarized, as follows:
Private complainant Danilo Tangcoy and petitioner met at the Admiral Royale Casino
in Olongapo City sometime in 1990. Private complainant was then engaged in the Petitioner and private complainant were collecting agents of Antonio Balajadia, who
business of lending money to casino players and, upon hearing that the former had is engaged in the financing business of extending loans to Base employees. For every
some pieces of jewelry for sale, petitioner approached him on May 2, 1991 at the collection made, they earn a commission. Petitioner denied having transacted any
same casino and offered to sell the said pieces of jewelry on commission basis. business with private complainant.
Private complainant agreed, and as a consequence, he turned over to petitioner the
following items: an 18k diamond ring for men; a woman's bracelet; one (1) men's However, he admitted obtaining a loan from Balajadia sometime in 1989 for which
necklace and another men's bracelet, with an aggregate value of ₱98,000.00, as he was made to sign a blank receipt. He claimed that the same receipt was then dated
evidenced by a receipt of even date. They both agreed that petitioner shall remit the May 2, 1991 and used as evidence against him for the supposed agreement to sell
proceeds of the sale, and/or, if unsold, to return the same items, within a period of the subject pieces of jewelry, which he did not even see.
60 days. The period expired without petitioner remitting the proceeds of the sale or
returning the pieces of jewelry. When private complainant was able to meet After trial, the RTC found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
petitioner, the latter promised the former that he will pay the value of the said items charged in the Information. The dispositive portion of the decision states:
entrusted to him, but to no avail.
WHEREFORE, finding accused LITO CORPUZ GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
Thus, an Information was filed against petitioner for the crime of estafa, which reads felony of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph one (1), subparagraph (b) of the Revised
as follows: Penal Code;

That on or about the fifth (5th) day of July 1991, in the City of Olongapo, Philippines, there being no offsetting generic aggravating nor ordinary mitigating circumstance/s
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, after to vary the penalty imposable;
having received from one Danilo Tangcoy, one (1) men's diamond ring, 18k, worth
₱45,000.00; one (1) three-baht men's bracelet, 22k, worth ₱25,000.00; one (1) two-
accordingly, the accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of deprivation of ONE TESTIFIED TO BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT WHICH WAS 02 MAY
liberty consisting of an imprisonment under the Indeterminate Sentence Law of 1991;
FOUR (4) YEARS AND TWO (2) MONTHS of Prision Correccional in its medium period
AS MINIMUM, to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS AND EIGHT (8) MONTHS of Reclusion C. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE LOWER COURT'S
Temporal in its minimum period AS MAXIMUM; to indemnify private complainant FINDING THAT DEMAND TO RETURN THE SUBJECT [PIECES OF] JEWELRY, IF UNSOLD,
Danilo Tangcoy the amount of ₱98,000.00 as actual damages, and to pay the costs of OR REMIT THE PROCEEDS, IF SOLD – AN ELEMENT OF THE OFFENSE – WAS PROVED;
suit.
D. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE LOWER COURT'S
SO ORDERED. FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION'S CASE WAS PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT ALTHOUGH -
The case was elevated to the CA, however, the latter denied the appeal of petitioner
and affirmed the decision of the RTC, thus: 1. THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT TESTIFIED ON TWO (2) VERSIONS OF THE
INCIDENT;
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DENIED. The assailed Judgment dated July 30,
2004 of the RTC of San Fernando City (P), Branch 46, is hereby AFFIRMED with 2. THE VERSION OF THE PETITIONER – ACCUSED IS MORE
MODIFICATION on the imposable prison term, such that accused-appellant shall STRAIGHTFORWARD AND LOGICAL, CONSISTENT WITH HUMAN
suffer the indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional, as EXPERIENCE;
minimum, to 8 years of prision mayor, as maximum, plus 1 year for each additional
₱10,000.00, or a total of 7 years. The rest of the decision stands. 3. THE EQUIPOISE RULE WAS NOT APPRECIATED IN AND APPLIED TO THIS
CASE;
SO ORDERED.
4. PENAL STATUTES ARE STRICTLY CONSTRUED AGAINST THE STATE.
Petitioner, after the CA denied his motion for reconsideration, filed with this Court
the present petition stating the following grounds: In its Comment dated May 5, 2008, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) stated
the following counter-arguments:
A. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONFIRMING THE ADMISSION
AND APPRECIATION BY THE LOWER COURT OF PROSECUTION EVIDENCE, INCLUDING The exhibits were properly admitted inasmuch as petitioner failed to object to their
ITS EXHIBITS, WHICH ARE MERE MACHINE COPIES, AS THIS VIOLATES THE BEST admissibility.
EVIDENCE RULE;
The information was not defective inasmuch as it sufficiently established the
B. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE LOWER COURT'S designation of the offense and the acts complained of.
FINDING THAT THE CRIMINAL INFORMATION FOR ESTAFA WAS NOT FATALLY
DEFECTIVE ALTHOUGH THE SAME DID NOT CHARGE THE OFFENSE UNDER ARTICLE
The prosecution sufficiently established all the elements of the crime charged.
315 (1) (B) OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE IN THAT -
This Court finds the present petition devoid of any merit.
1. THE INFORMATION DID NOT FIX A PERIOD WITHIN WHICH THE SUBJECT
[PIECES OF] JEWELRY SHOULD BE RETURNED, IF UNSOLD, OR THE MONEY
The factual findings of the appellate court generally are conclusive, and carry even
TO BE REMITTED, IF SOLD;
more weight when said court affirms the findings of the trial court, absent any
showing that the findings are totally devoid of support in the records, or that they
2. THE DATE OF THE OCCURRENCE OF THE CRIME ALLEGED IN THE
are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.4 Petitioner is of
INFORMATION AS OF 05 JULY 1991 WAS MATERIALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE
the opinion that the CA erred in affirming the factual findings of the trial court. He
now comes to this Court raising both procedural and substantive issues.
According to petitioner, the CA erred in affirming the ruling of the trial court, Moreover, the said date is also near the due date within which accused-appellant
admitting in evidence a receipt dated May 2, 1991 marked as Exhibit "A" and its should have delivered the proceeds or returned the said [pieces of jewelry] as
submarkings, although the same was merely a photocopy, thus, violating the best testified upon by Tangkoy, hence, there was sufficient compliance with the rules.
evidence rule. However, the records show that petitioner never objected to the Accused-appellant, therefore, cannot now be allowed to claim that he was not
admissibility of the said evidence at the time it was identified, marked and testified properly apprised of the charges proferred against him.7
upon in court by private complainant. The CA also correctly pointed out that
petitioner also failed to raise an objection in his Comment to the prosecution's formal It must be remembered that petitioner was convicted of the crime of Estafa under
offer of evidence and even admitted having signed the said receipt. The established Article 315, paragraph 1 (b) of the RPC, which reads:
doctrine is that when a party failed to interpose a timely objection to evidence at the
time they were offered in evidence, such objection shall be considered as waived. 5 ART. 315. Swindling (estafa). – Any person who shall defraud another by any of the
means mentioned hereinbelow.
Another procedural issue raised is, as claimed by petitioner, the formally defective
Information filed against him. He contends that the Information does not contain the 1. With unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence, namely:
period when the pieces of jewelry were supposed to be returned and that the date
when the crime occurred was different from the one testified to by private
xxxx
complainant. This argument is untenable. The CA did not err in finding that the
Information was substantially complete and in reiterating that objections as to the
(b) By misappropriating or converting, to the prejudice of another, money, goods, or
matters of form and substance in the Information cannot be made for the first time
any other personal property received by the offender in trust or on commission, or
on appeal. It is true that the gravamen of the crime of estafa under Article 315,
for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery
paragraph 1, subparagraph (b) of the RPC is the appropriation or conversion of money
of or to return the same, even though such obligation be totally or partially
or property received to the prejudice of the owner6 and that the time of occurrence
guaranteed by a bond; or by denying having received such money, goods, or other
is not a material ingredient of the crime, hence, the exclusion of the period and the
property; x x x
wrong date of the occurrence of the crime, as reflected in the Information, do not
make the latter fatally defective. The CA ruled:
The elements of estafa with abuse of confidence are as follows: (a) that money, goods
or other personal property is received by the offender in trust, or on commission, or
x x x An information is legally viable as long as it distinctly states the statutory
for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery
designation of the offense and the acts or omissions constitutive thereof. Then
Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides that a complaint or information is of, or to return the same; (b) that there be misappropriation or conversion of such
money or property by the offender or denial on his part of such receipt; (c) that such
sufficient if it states the name of the accused;
misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and (d) that
there is a demand made by the offended party on the offender. 8
the designation of the offense by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of
Petitioner argues that the last element, which is, that there is a demand by the
the commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed. In
offended party on the offender, was not proved. This Court disagrees. In his
the case at bar, a reading of the subject Information shows compliance with the
foregoing rule. That the time of the commission of the offense was stated as " on or testimony, private complainant narrated how he was able to locate petitioner after
almost two (2) months from the time he gave the pieces of jewelry and asked
about the fifth (5th) day of July, 1991" is not likewise fatal to the prosecution's cause
petitioner about the same items with the latter promising to pay them. Thus:
considering that Section 11 of the same Rule requires a statement of the precise time
only when the same is a material ingredient of the offense. The gravamen of the
crime of estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) is PROS. MARTINEZ
the appropriation or conversion of money or property received to the prejudice of
the offender. Thus, aside from the fact that the date of the commission thereof is not q Now, Mr. Witness, this was executed on 2 May 1991, and this transaction could
an essential element of the crime herein charged, the failure of the prosecution to have been finished on 5 July 1991, the question is what happens (sic) when the
specify the exact date does not render the Information ipso facto defective. deadline came?
a I went looking for him, sir. a No, sir.9

q For whom? No specific type of proof is required to show that there was demand.10 Demand need
not even be formal; it may be verbal. 11 The specific word "demand" need not even
a Lito Corpuz, sir. be used to show that it has indeed been made upon the person charged, since even
a mere query as to the whereabouts of the money [in this case, property], would be
q Were you able to look (sic) for him? tantamount to a demand.12 As expounded in Asejo v. People:13

a I looked for him for a week, sir. With regard to the necessity of demand, we agree with the CA that demand under
this kind of estafa need not be formal or written. The appellate court observed that
the law is silent with regard to the form of demand in estafa under Art. 315 1(b), thus:
q Did you know his residence?

When the law does not qualify, We should not qualify. Should a written demand be
a Yes, sir.
necessary, the law would have stated so. Otherwise, the word "demand" should be
interpreted in its general meaning as to include both written and oral demand. Thus,
q Did you go there?
the failure of the prosecution to present a written demand as evidence is not fatal.

a Yes, sir.
In Tubb v. People, where the complainant merely verbally inquired about the money
entrusted to the accused, we held that the query was tantamount to a demand, thus:
q Did you find him?
x x x [T]he law does not require a demand as a condition precedent to the existence
a No, sir. of the crime of embezzlement. It so happens only that failure to account, upon
demand for funds or property held in trust, is circumstantial evidence of
q Were you able to talk to him since 5 July 1991? misappropriation. The same way, however, be established by other proof, such as
that introduced in the case at bar.14
a I talked to him, sir.
In view of the foregoing and based on the records, the prosecution was able to prove
q How many times? the existence of all the elements of the crime. Private complainant gave petitioner
the pieces of jewelry in trust, or on commission basis, as shown in the receipt dated
a Two times, sir. May 2, 1991 with an obligation to sell or return the same within sixty (60) days, if
unsold. There was misappropriation when petitioner failed to remit the proceeds of
q What did you talk (sic) to him? those pieces of jewelry sold, or if no sale took place, failed to return the same pieces
of jewelry within or after the agreed period despite demand from the private
complainant, to the prejudice of the latter.
a About the items I gave to (sic) him, sir.

Anent the credibility of the prosecution's sole witness, which is questioned by


q Referring to Exhibit A-2?
petitioner, the same is unmeritorious. Settled is the rule that in assessing the
credibility of witnesses, this Court gives great respect to the evaluation of the trial
a Yes, sir, and according to him he will take his obligation and I asked him where the court for it had the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and
items are and he promised me that he will pay these amount, sir. their deportment on the witness stand, an opportunity denied the appellate courts,
which merely rely on the records of the case.15 The assessment by the trial court is
q Up to this time that you were here, were you able to collect from him partially or even conclusive and binding if not tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact
full? or circumstance of weight and influence, especially when such finding is affirmed by
the CA.16 Truth is established not by the number of witnesses, but by the quality of The first paragraph of the above provision clearly states that for acts bourne out of a
their testimonies, for in determining the value and credibility of evidence, the case which is not punishable by law and the court finds it proper to repress, the
witnesses are to be weighed not numbered.17 remedy is to render the proper decision and thereafter, report to the Chief Executive,
through the Department of Justice, the reasons why the same act should be the
As regards the penalty, while this Court's Third Division was deliberating on this case, subject of penal legislation. The premise here is that a deplorable act is present but
the question of the continued validity of imposing on persons convicted of crimes is not the subject of any penal legislation, thus, the court is tasked to inform the Chief
involving property came up. The legislature apparently pegged these penalties to the Executive of the need to make that act punishable by law through legislation. The
value of the money and property in 1930 when it enacted the Revised Penal Code. second paragraph is similar to the first except for the situation wherein the act is
Since the members of the division reached no unanimity on this question and since already punishable by law but the corresponding penalty is deemed by the court as
the issues are of first impression, they decided to refer the case to the Court en banc excessive. The remedy therefore, as in the first paragraph is not to suspend the
for consideration and resolution. Thus, several amici curiae were invited at the execution of the sentence but to submit to the Chief Executive the reasons why the
behest of the Court to give their academic opinions on the matter. Among those that court considers the said penalty to be non-commensurate with the act committed.
graciously complied were Dean Jose Manuel Diokno, Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, Again, the court is tasked to inform the Chief Executive, this time, of the need for a
Professor Alfredo F. Tadiar, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of legislation to provide the proper penalty.
Representatives. The parties were later heard on oral arguments before the Court en
banc, with Atty. Mario L. Bautista appearing as counsel de oficio of the petitioner. In his book, Commentaries on the Revised Penal Code,19 Guillermo B. Guevara opined
that in Article 5, the duty of the court is merely to report to the Chief Executive, with
After a thorough consideration of the arguments presented on the matter, this Court a recommendation for an amendment or modification of the legal provisions which
finds the following: it believes to be harsh. Thus:

There seems to be a perceived injustice brought about by the range of penalties that This provision is based under the legal maxim "nullum crimen, nulla poena sige lege,"
the courts continue to impose on crimes against property committed today, based that is, that there can exist no punishable act except those previously and specifically
on the amount of damage measured by the value of money eighty years ago in 1932. provided for by penal statute.
However, this Court cannot modify the said range of penalties because that would
constitute judicial legislation. What the legislature's perceived failure in amending No matter how reprehensible an act is, if the law-making body does not deem it
the penalties provided for in the said crimes cannot be remedied through this Court's necessary to prohibit its perpetration with penal sanction, the Court of justice will be
decisions, as that would be encroaching upon the power of another branch of the entirely powerless to punish such act.
government. This, however, does not render the whole situation without any
remedy. It can be appropriately presumed that the framers of the Revised Penal Code Under the provisions of this article the Court cannot suspend the execution of a
(RPC) had anticipated this matter by including Article 5, which reads: sentence on the ground that the strict enforcement of the provisions of this Code
would cause excessive or harsh penalty. All that the Court could do in such
ART. 5. Duty of the court in connection with acts which should be repressed but which eventuality is to report the matter to the Chief Executive with a recommendation for
are not covered by the law, and in cases of excessive penalties. - Whenever a court an amendment or modification of the legal provisions which it believes to be harsh. 20
has knowledge of any act which it may deem proper to repress and which is not
punishable by law, it shall render the proper decision, and shall report to the Chief Anent the non-suspension of the execution of the sentence, retired Chief Justice
Executive, through the Department of Justice, the reasons which induce the court to Ramon C. Aquino and retired Associate Justice Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, in their
believe that said act should be made the subject of penal legislation. book, The Revised Penal Code,21 echoed the above-cited commentary, thus:

In the same way, the court shall submit to the Chief Executive, through the The second paragraph of Art. 5 is an application of the humanitarian principle that
Department of Justice, such statement as may be deemed proper, without justice must be tempered with mercy. Generally, the courts have nothing to do with
suspending the execution of the sentence, when a strict enforcement of the the wisdom or justness of the penalties fixed by law. "Whether or not the penalties
provisions of this Code would result in the imposition of a clearly excessive penalty, prescribed by law upon conviction of violations of particular statutes are too severe
taking into consideration the degree of malice and the injury caused by the offense. 18 or are not severe enough, are questions as to which commentators on the law may
fairly differ; but it is the duty of the courts to enforce the will of the legislator in all 2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods,
cases unless it clearly appears that a given penalty falls within the prohibited class of if the value of the thing stolen is more than 6,000 pesos but does not exceed
excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishment." A petition for clemency should be 12,000 pesos.
addressed to the Chief Executive.22
3. The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods,
There is an opinion that the penalties provided for in crimes against property be if the value of the property stolen is more than 200 pesos but does not
based on the current inflation rate or at the ratio of ₱1.00 is equal to ₱100.00 . exceed 6,000 pesos.
However, it would be dangerous as this would result in uncertainties, as opposed to
the definite imposition of the penalties. It must be remembered that the economy 4. Arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum
fluctuates and if the proposed imposition of the penalties in crimes against property period, if the value of the property stolen is over 50 pesos but does not
be adopted, the penalties will not cease to change, thus, making the RPC, a self- exceed 200 pesos.
amending law. Had the framers of the RPC intended that to be so, it should have
provided the same, instead, it included the earlier cited Article 5 as a remedy. It is 5. Arresto mayor to its full extent, if such value is over 5 pesos but does not
also improper to presume why the present legislature has not made any moves to exceed 50 pesos.
amend the subject penalties in order to conform with the present times. For all we
know, the legislature intends to retain the same penalties in order to deter the
6. Arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if such value does not
further commission of those punishable acts which have increased tremendously
exceed 5 pesos.
through the years. In fact, in recent moves of the legislature, it is apparent that it
aims to broaden the coverage of those who violate penal laws. In the crime of
7. Arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, if the theft is committed
Plunder, from its original minimum amount of ₱100,000,000.00 plundered, the
under the circumstances enumerated in paragraph 3 of the next preceding
legislature lowered it to ₱50,000,000.00. In the same way, the legislature lowered
article and the value of the thing stolen does not exceed 5 pesos. If such
the threshold amount upon which the Anti-Money Laundering Act may apply, from
value exceeds said amount, the provision of any of the five preceding
₱1,000,000.00 to ₱500,000.00.
subdivisions shall be made applicable.
It is also worth noting that in the crimes of Theft and Estafa, the present penalties do
8. Arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding 50 pesos,
not seem to be excessive compared to the proposed imposition of their
when the value of the thing stolen is not over 5 pesos, and the offender shall
corresponding penalties. In Theft, the provisions state that:
have acted under the impulse of hunger, poverty, or the difficulty of earning
a livelihood for the support of himself or his family.
Art. 309. Penalties. — Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:
In a case wherein the value of the thing stolen is ₱6,000.00, the above-provision
1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the
states that the penalty is prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods (6
value of the thing stolen is more than 12,000 pesos but does not exceed
months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months). Applying the proposal, if the value of the
22,000 pesos, but if the value of the thing stolen exceeds the latter amount
thing stolen is ₱6,000.00, the penalty is imprisonment of arresto mayor in its medium
the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one prescribed in this
period to prision correccional minimum period (2 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4
paragraph, and one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but the
months). It would seem that under the present law, the penalty imposed is almost
total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In
the same as the penalty proposed. In fact, after the application of the Indeterminate
such cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may be
Sentence Law under the existing law, the minimum penalty is still lowered by one
imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, the
degree; hence, the minimum penalty is arresto mayor in its medium period to
penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case
maximum period (2 months and 1 day to 6 months), making the offender qualified
may be.
for pardon or parole after serving the said minimum period and may even apply for
probation. Moreover, under the proposal, the minimum penalty after applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law is arresto menor in its maximum period to arresto
mayor in its minimum period (21 days to 2 months) is not too far from the minimum
period under the existing law. Thus, it would seem that the present penalty imposed 1st. ₱12,000.00 to ₱22,000.00, will become ₱1,200,000.00 to
under the law is not at all excessive. The same is also true in the crime of Estafa.23 ₱2,200,000.00, punishable by prision correccional maximum to prision
mayor minimum (4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 8 years).25
Moreover, if we apply the ratio of 1:100, as suggested to the value of the thing stolen
in the crime of Theft and the damage caused in the crime of Estafa, the gap between 2nd. ₱6,000.00 to ₱12,000.00 will become ₱600,000.00 to ₱1,200,000.00,
the minimum and the maximum amounts, which is the basis of determining the punishable by prision correccional minimum to prision correccional medium
proper penalty to be imposed, would be too wide and the penalty imposable would (6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months).26
no longer be commensurate to the act committed and the value of the thing stolen
or the damage caused: 3rd. ₱200.00 to ₱6,000.00 will become ₱20,000.00 to ₱600,000.00,
punishable by arresto mayor maximum to prision correccional minimum (4
I. Article 309, or the penalties for the crime of Theft, the value would be modified but months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months).
the penalties are not changed:
4th. ₱200.00 will become ₱20,000.00, punishable by arresto mayor
1. ₱12,000.00 to ₱22,000.00 will become ₱1,200,000.00 to ₱2,200,000.00, maximum (4 months and 1 day to 6 months).
punished by prision mayor minimum to prision mayor medium (6 years and
1 day to 10 years). An argument raised by Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno, one of our esteemed amici
curiae, is that the incremental penalty provided under Article 315 of the RPC violates
2. ₱6,000.00 to ₱12,000.00 will become ₱600,000.00 to ₱1,200,000.00, the Equal Protection Clause.
punished by prision correccional medium and to prision correccional
maximum (2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years).24 The equal protection clause requires equality among equals, which is determined
according to a valid classification. The test developed by jurisprudence here and
3. ₱200.00 to ₱6,000.00 will become ₱20,000.00 to ₱600,000.00, punishable yonder is that of reasonableness,27 which has four requisites:
by prision correccional minimum to prision correccional medium (6 months
and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months). (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions;

4. ₱50.00 to ₱200.00 will become ₱5,000.00 to ₱20,000.00, punishable by (2) It is germane to the purposes of the law;
arresto mayor medium to prision correccional minimum (2 months and 1
day to 2 years and 4 months). (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and

5. ₱5.00 to ₱50.00 will become ₱500.00 to ₱5,000.00, punishable by arresto (4) It applies equally to all members of the same class. 28
mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months).
According to Dean Diokno, the Incremental Penalty Rule (IPR) does not rest on
6. ₱5.00 will become ₱500.00, punishable by arresto mayor minimum to substantial distinctions as ₱10,000.00 may have been substantial in the past, but it is
arresto mayor medium. not so today, which violates the first requisite; the IPR was devised so that those who
commit estafa involving higher amounts would receive heavier penalties; however,
x x x x. this is no longer achieved, because a person who steals ₱142,000.00 would receive
the same penalty as someone who steals hundreds of millions, which violates the
II. Article 315, or the penalties for the crime of Estafa, the value would also be second requisite; and, the IPR violates requisite no. 3, considering that the IPR is
modified but the penalties are not changed, as follows: limited to existing conditions at the time the law was promulgated, conditions that
no longer exist today.
Assuming that the Court submits to the argument of Dean Diokno and declares the JUSTICE PERALTA:
incremental penalty in Article 315 unconstitutional for violating the equal protection
clause, what then is the penalty that should be applied in case the amount of the For every One Hundred Thousand (₱100,000.00) Pesos in excess of Twenty-Two
thing subject matter of the crime exceeds ₱22,000.00? It seems that the proposition Thousand (₱22,000.00) Pesos you were suggesting an additional penalty of one (1)
poses more questions than answers, which leads us even more to conclude that the year, did I get you right?
appropriate remedy is to refer these matters to Congress for them to exercise their
inherent power to legislate laws. DEAN DIOKNO:

Even Dean Diokno was of the opinion that if the Court declares the IPR Yes, Your Honor, that is, if the court will take the route of statutory interpretation.
unconstitutional, the remedy is to go to Congress. Thus:
JUSTICE PERALTA:
xxxx
Ah ...
JUSTICE PERALTA:
DEAN DIOKNO:
Now, your position is to declare that the incremental penalty should be struck down
as unconstitutional because it is absurd.
If the Court will say that they can go beyond the literal wording of the law...

DEAN DIOKNO:
JUSTICE PERALTA:

Absurd, it violates equal protection, Your Honor, and cruel and unusual punishment.
But if we de ... (interrupted)

JUSTICE PERALTA:
DEAN DIOKNO:

Then what will be the penalty that we are going to impose if the amount is more than
....then....
Twenty-Two Thousand (₱22,000.00) Pesos.
JUSTICE PERALTA:
DEAN DIOKNO:
Ah, yeah. But if we declare the incremental penalty as unsconstitutional, the court
Well, that would be for Congress to ... if this Court will declare the incremental
cannot fix the amount ...
penalty rule unconstitutional, then that would ... the void should be filled by
Congress.
DEAN DIOKNO:
JUSTICE PERALTA:
No, Your Honor.
But in your presentation, you were fixing the amount at One Hundred Thousand
JUSTICE PERALTA:
(₱100,000.00) Pesos ...

... as the equivalent of one, as an incremental penalty in excess of Twenty-Two


DEAN DIOKNO:
Thousand (₱22,000.00) Pesos.
Well, my presen ... (interrupted)
DEAN DIOKNO:
No, Your Honor. DEAN DIOKNO:

JUSTICE PERALTA: Thank you.

The Court cannot do that. x x x x29

DEAN DIOKNO: Dean Diokno also contends that Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code constitutes
cruel and unusual punishment. Citing Solem v. Helm, 30 Dean Diokno avers that the
Could not be. United States Federal Supreme Court has expanded the application of a similar
Constitutional provision prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, to the duration
JUSTICE PERALTA: of the penalty, and not just its form. The court therein ruled that three things must
be done to decide whether a sentence is proportional to a specific crime, viz.; (1)
Compare the nature and gravity of the offense, and the harshness of the penalty; (2)
The only remedy is to go to Congress...
Compare the sentences imposed on other criminals in the same jurisdiction, i.e.,
whether more serious crimes are subject to the same penalty or to less serious
DEAN DIOKNO:
penalties; and (3) Compare the sentences imposed for commission of the same crime
in other jurisdictions.
Yes, Your Honor.
However, the case of Solem v. Helm cannot be applied in the present case, because
JUSTICE PERALTA: in Solem what respondent therein deemed cruel was the penalty imposed by the
state court of South Dakota after it took into account the latter’s recidivist statute
... and determine the value or the amount. and not the original penalty for uttering a "no account" check. Normally, the
maximum punishment for the crime would have been five years imprisonment and a
DEAN DIOKNO: $5,000.00 fine. Nonetheless, respondent was sentenced to life imprisonment
without the possibility of parole under South Dakota’s recidivist statute because of
Yes, Your Honor. his six prior felony convictions. Surely, the factual antecedents of Solem are different
from the present controversy.
JUSTICE PERALTA:
With respect to the crime of Qualified Theft, however, it is true that the imposable
That will be equivalent to the incremental penalty of one (1) year in excess of Twenty- penalty for the offense is high. Nevertheless, the rationale for the imposition of a
Two Thousand (₱22,000.00) Pesos. higher penalty against a domestic servant is the fact that in the commission of the
crime, the helper will essentially gravely abuse the trust and confidence reposed
upon her by her employer. After accepting and allowing the helper to be a member
DEAN DIOKNO:
of the household, thus entrusting upon such person the protection and safekeeping
of the employer’s loved ones and properties, a subsequent betrayal of that trust is so
Yes, Your Honor. repulsive as to warrant the necessity of imposing a higher penalty to deter the
commission of such wrongful acts.
JUSTICE PERALTA:
There are other crimes where the penalty of fine and/or imprisonment are
The amount in excess of Twenty-Two Thousand (₱22,000.00) Pesos. dependent on the subject matter of the crime and which, by adopting the proposal,
may create serious implications. For example, in the crime of Malversation, the
Thank you, Dean. penalty imposed depends on the amount of the money malversed by the public
official, thus:
Art. 217. Malversation of public funds or property; Presumption of malversation. — case, because in the crime of malversation, the public official takes advantage of his
Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public public position to embezzle the fund or property of the government entrusted to him.
funds or property, shall appropriate the same or shall take or misappropriate or shall
consent, through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take The said inequity is also apparent in the crime of Robbery with force upon things
such public funds, or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the (inhabited or uninhabited) where the value of the thing unlawfully taken and the act
misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property, shall suffer: of unlawful entry are the bases of the penalty imposable, and also, in Malicious
Mischief, where the penalty of imprisonment or fine is dependent on the cost of the
1. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, damage caused.
if the amount involved in the misappropriation or malversation does not
exceed two hundred pesos. In Robbery with force upon things (inhabited or uninhabited), if we increase the value
of the thing unlawfully taken, as proposed in the ponencia, the sole basis of the
2. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the penalty will now be the value of the thing unlawfully taken and no longer the element
amount involved is more than two hundred pesos but does not exceed six of force employed in entering the premises. It may likewise cause an inequity
thousand pesos. between the crime of Qualified Trespass to Dwelling under Article 280, and this kind
of robbery because the former is punishable by prision correccional in its medium
3. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal and maximum periods (2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years) and a fine not
in its minimum period, if the amount involved is more than six thousand exceeding ₱1,000.00 (₱100,000.00 now if the ratio is 1:100) where entrance to the
pesos but is less than twelve thousand pesos. premises is with violence or intimidation, which is the main justification of the
penalty. Whereas in the crime of Robbery with force upon things, it is punished with
4. The penalty of reclusion temporal, in its medium and maximum periods, a penalty of prision mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) if the intruder is unarmed
if the amount involved is more than twelve thousand pesos but is less than without the penalty of Fine despite the fact that it is not merely the illegal entry that
twenty-two thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty is the basis of the penalty but likewise the unlawful taking.
shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.
Furthermore, in the crime of Other Mischiefs under Article 329, the highest penalty
In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual that can be imposed is arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods (2 months
special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or and 1 day to 6 months) if the value of the damage caused exceeds ₱1,000.00, but
equal to the total value of the property embezzled. under the proposal, the value of the damage will now become ₱100,000.00 (1:100),
and still punishable by arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months). And, if the
value of the damaged property does not exceed ₱200.00, the penalty is arresto
The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property
menor or a fine of not less than the value of the damage caused and not more than
with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be
₱200.00, if the amount involved does not exceed ₱200.00 or cannot be estimated.
prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use.
Under the proposal, ₱200.00 will now become ₱20,000.00, which simply means that
the fine of ₱200.00 under the existing law will now become ₱20,000.00. The amount
The above-provisions contemplate a situation wherein the Government loses money
of Fine under this situation will now become excessive and afflictive in nature despite
due to the unlawful acts of the offender. Thus, following the proposal, if the amount the fact that the offense is categorized as a light felony penalized with a light penalty
malversed is ₱200.00 (under the existing law), the amount now becomes ₱20,000.00
under Article 26 of the RPC.33 Unless we also amend Article 26 of the RPC, there will
and the penalty is prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods (2 years
be grave implications on the penalty of Fine, but changing the same through Court
4 months and 1 day to 6 years). The penalty may not be commensurate to the act of
decision, either expressly or impliedly, may not be legally and constitutionally
embezzlement of ₱20,000.00 compared to the acts committed by public officials
feasible.
punishable by a special law, i.e., Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, specifically Section 3,31 wherein the injury caused to the government is
There are other crimes against property and swindling in the RPC that may also be
not generally defined by any monetary amount, the penalty (6 years and 1 month to
affected by the proposal, such as those that impose imprisonment and/or Fine as a
15 years)32 under the Anti-Graft Law will now become higher. This should not be the
penalty based on the value of the damage caused, to wit: Article 311 (Theft of the
property of the National Library and National Museum), Article 312 (Occupation of archaic laws that were promulgated decades ago when the political, socio-economic,
real property or usurpation of real rights in property), Article 313 (Altering and cultural settings were far different from today’s conditions.
boundaries or landmarks), Article 316 (Other forms of swindling), Article 317
(Swindling a minor), Article 318 (Other deceits), Article 328 (Special cases of malicious Verily, the primordial duty of the Court is merely to apply the law in such a way that
mischief) and Article 331 (Destroying or damaging statues, public monuments or it shall not usurp legislative powers by judicial legislation and that in the course of
paintings). Other crimes that impose Fine as a penalty will also be affected, such as: such application or construction, it should not make or supervise legislation, or under
Article 213 (Frauds against the public treasury and similar offenses), Article 215 the guise of interpretation, modify, revise, amend, distort, remodel, or rewrite the
(Prohibited Transactions), law, or give the law a construction which is repugnant to its terms.38 The Court should
apply the law in a manner that would give effect to their letter and spirit, especially
Article 216 (Possession of prohibited interest by a public officer), Article 218 (Failure when the law is clear as to its intent and purpose. Succinctly put, the Court should
of accountable officer to render accounts), Article 219 (Failure of a responsible public shy away from encroaching upon the primary function of a co-equal branch of the
officer to render accounts before leaving the country). Government; otherwise, this would lead to an inexcusable breach of the doctrine of
separation of powers by means of judicial legislation.
In addition, the proposal will not only affect crimes under the RPC. It will also affect
crimes which are punishable by special penal laws, such as Illegal Logging or Violation Moreover, it is to be noted that civil indemnity is, technically, not a penalty or a Fine;
of Section 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705, as amended. 34The law treats cutting, hence, it can be increased by the Court when appropriate. Article 2206 of the Civil
gathering, collecting and possessing timber or other forest products without license Code provides:
as an offense as grave as and equivalent to the felony of qualified theft. 35 Under the
law, the offender shall be punished with the penalties imposed under Articles 309 Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall
and 31036 of the Revised Penal Code, which means that the penalty imposable for the be at least three thousand pesos, even though there may have been mitigating
offense is, again, based on the value of the timber or forest products involved in the circumstances. In addition:
offense. Now, if we accept the said proposal in the crime of Theft, will this particular
crime of Illegal Logging be amended also in so far as the penalty is concerned because (1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the
the penalty is dependent on Articles 309 and 310 of the RPC? The answer is in the deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such
negative because the soundness of this particular law is not in question. indemnity shall in every case be assessed and awarded by the court, unless
the deceased on account of permanent physical disability not caused by the
With the numerous crimes defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code and defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of his death;
Special Laws, and other related provisions of these laws affected by the proposal, a
thorough study is needed to determine its effectivity and necessity. There may be (2) If the deceased was obliged to give support according to the provisions
some provisions of the law that should be amended; nevertheless, this Court is in no of Article 291, the recipient who is not an heir called to the decedent's
position to conclude as to the intentions of the framers of the Revised Penal Code by inheritance by the law of testate or intestate succession, may demand
merely making a study of the applicability of the penalties imposable in the present support from the person causing the death, for a period not exceeding five
times. Such is not within the competence of the Court but of the Legislature which is years, the exact duration to be fixed by the court;
empowered to conduct public hearings on the matter, consult legal luminaries and
who, after due proceedings, can decide whether or not to amend or to revise the
(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of
questioned law or other laws, or even create a new legislation which will adopt to
the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason of
the times.
the death of the deceased.

Admittedly, Congress is aware that there is an urgent need to amend the Revised
In our jurisdiction, civil indemnity is awarded to the offended party as a kind of
Penal Code. During the oral arguments, counsel for the Senate informed the Court
monetary restitution or compensation to the victim for the damage or infraction that
that at present, fifty-six (56) bills are now pending in the Senate seeking to amend
was done to the latter by the accused, which in a sense only covers the civil aspect.
the Revised Penal Code,37 each one proposing much needed change and updates to
Precisely, it is civil indemnity. Thus, in a crime where a person dies, in addition to the
penalty of imprisonment imposed to the offender, the accused is also ordered to pay
the victim a sum of money as restitution. Clearly, this award of civil indemnity due to of the death penalty that led to its non-imposition and not via the intervention of the
the death of the victim could not be contemplated as akin to the value of a thing that Court.
is unlawfully taken which is the basis in the imposition of the proper penalty in certain
crimes. Thus, the reasoning in increasing the value of civil indemnity awarded in some Even if the imposable penalty amounts to cruel punishment, the Court cannot declare
offense cannot be the same reasoning that would sustain the adoption of the the provision of the law from which the proper penalty emanates unconstitutional in
suggested ratio. Also, it is apparent from Article 2206 that the law only imposes a the present action. Not only is it violative of due process, considering that the State
minimum amount for awards of civil indemnity, which is ₱3,000.00. The law did not and the concerned parties were not given the opportunity to comment on the subject
provide for a ceiling. Thus, although the minimum amount for the award cannot be matter, it is settled that the constitutionality of a statute cannot be attacked
changed, increasing the amount awarded as civil indemnity can be validly modified collaterally because constitutionality issues must be pleaded directly and not
and increased when the present circumstance warrants it. Corollarily, moral damages collaterally,43 more so in the present controversy wherein the issues never touched
under Article 222039 of the Civil Code also does not fix the amount of damages that upon the constitutionality of any of the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.
can be awarded. It is discretionary upon the court, depending on the mental anguish
or the suffering of the private offended party. The amount of moral damages can, in Besides, it has long been held that the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments
relation to civil indemnity, be adjusted so long as it does not exceed the award of civil is generally aimed at the form or character of the punishment rather than its severity
indemnity. in respect of duration or amount, and applies to punishments which public sentiment
has regarded as cruel or obsolete, for instance, those inflicted at the whipping post,
In addition, some may view the penalty provided by law for the offense committed or in the pillory, burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel, disemboweling, and the
as tantamount to cruel punishment. However, all penalties are generally harsh, being like. Fine and imprisonment would not thus be within the prohibition. 44
punitive in nature. Whether or not they are excessive or amount to cruel punishment
is a matter that should be left to lawmakers. It is the prerogative of the courts to It takes more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a
apply the law, especially when they are clear and not subject to any other penalty to be obnoxious to the Constitution. The fact that the punishment authorized
interpretation than that which is plainly written. by the statute is severe does not make it cruel and unusual. Expressed in other terms,
it has been held that to come under the ban, the punishment must be "flagrantly and
Similar to the argument of Dean Diokno, one of Justice Antonio Carpio’s opinions is plainly oppressive," "wholly disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to shock
that the incremental penalty provision should be declared unconstitutional and that the moral sense of the community."45
the courts should only impose the penalty corresponding to the amount of
₱22,000.00, regardless if the actual amount involved exceeds ₱22,000.00. As Cruel as it may be, as discussed above, it is for the Congress to amend the law and
suggested, however, from now until the law is properly amended by Congress, all adapt it to our modern time.
crimes of Estafa will no longer be punished by the appropriate penalty. A conundrum
in the regular course of criminal justice would occur when every accused convicted
The solution to the present controversy could not be solved by merely adjusting the
of the crime of estafa will be meted penalties different from the proper penalty that
questioned monetary values to the present value of money based only on the current
should be imposed. Such drastic twist in the application of the law has no legal basis
inflation rate. There are other factors and variables that need to be taken into
and directly runs counter to what the law provides.
consideration, researched, and deliberated upon before the said values could be
accurately and properly adjusted. The effects on the society, the injured party, the
It should be noted that the death penalty was reintroduced in the dispensation of accused, its socio-economic impact, and the likes must be painstakingly evaluated
criminal justice by the Ramos Administration by virtue of Republic Act No. 7659 40 in and weighed upon in order to arrive at a wholistic change that all of us believe should
December 1993. The said law has been questioned before this Court. There is, be made to our existing law. Dejectedly, the Court is ill-equipped, has no resources,
arguably, no punishment more cruel than that of death. Yet still, from the time the and lacks sufficient personnel to conduct public hearings and sponsor studies and
death penalty was re-imposed until its lifting in June 2006 by Republic Act No. surveys to validly effect these changes in our Revised Penal Code. This function clearly
9346,41 the Court did not impede the imposition of the death penalty on the ground and appropriately belongs to Congress. Even Professor Tadiar concedes to this
that it is a "cruel punishment" within the purview of Section 19 (1), 42 Article III of the conclusion, to wit:
Constitution. Ultimately, it was through an act of Congress suspending the imposition
xxxx
JUSTICE PERALTA: JUSTICE PERALTA:

Yeah, Just one question. You are suggesting that in order to determine the value of Yeah, but ...
Peso you have to take into consideration several factors.
PROFESSOR TADIAR:
PROFESSOR TADIAR:
And I don’t think it is within the power of the Supreme Court to pass upon and peg
Yes. the value to One Hundred (₱100.00) Pesos to ...

JUSTICE PERALTA: JUSTICE PERALTA:

Per capita income. Yeah.

PROFESSOR TADIAR: PROFESSOR TADIAR:

Per capita income. ... One (₱1.00.00) Peso in 1930.

JUSTICE PERALTA: JUSTICE PERALTA:

Consumer price index. That is legislative in nature.

PROFESSOR TADIAR: PROFESSOR TADIAR:

Yeah. That is my position that the Supreme Court ...

JUSTICE PERALTA: JUSTICE PERALTA:

Inflation ... Yeah, okay.

PROFESSOR TADIAR: PROFESSOR TADIAR:

Yes. ... has no power to utilize the power of judicial review to in order to adjust, to make
the adjustment that is a power that belongs to the legislature.
JUSTICE PERALTA:
JUSTICE PERALTA:
... and so on. Is the Supreme Court equipped to determine those factors?
Thank you, Professor.
PROFESSOR TADIAR:
PROFESSOR TADIAR:
There are many ways by which the value of the Philippine Peso can be determined
utilizing all of those economic terms. Thank you.46
Finally, the opinion advanced by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno echoes the ART. 315 Swindling (estafa). - Any person who shall defraud another by any of the
view that the role of the Court is not merely to dispense justice, but also the active means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
duty to prevent injustice. Thus, in order to prevent injustice in the present
controversy, the Court should not impose an obsolete penalty pegged eighty three 1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its
years ago, but consider the proposed ratio of 1:100 as simply compensating for minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 but does not exceed
inflation. Furthermore, the Court has in the past taken into consideration "changed 22,000 pesos, and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this
conditions" or "significant changes in circumstances" in its decisions. paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each
additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed
Similarly, the Chief Justice is of the view that the Court is not delving into the validity twenty years. In such case, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may
of the substance of a statute. The issue is no different from the Court’s adjustment be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall
of indemnity in crimes against persons, which the Court had previously adjusted in be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case may be.
light of current times, like in the case of People v. Pantoja.47 Besides, Article 10 of the
Civil Code mandates a presumption that the lawmaking body intended right and The penalty prescribed by Article 315 is composed of only two, not three, periods, in
justice to prevail. which case, Article 65 of the same Code requires the division of the time included in
the penalty into three equal portions of time included in the penalty prescribed,
With due respect to the opinions and proposals advanced by the Chief Justice and my forming one period of each of the three portions. Applying the latter provisions, the
Colleagues, all the proposals ultimately lead to prohibited judicial legislation. Short maximum, medium and minimum periods of the penalty prescribed are:
of being repetitious and as extensively discussed above, it is truly beyond the powers
of the Court to legislate laws, such immense power belongs to Congress and the Court Maximum - 6 years, 8 months, 21 days to 8 years
should refrain from crossing this clear-cut divide. With regard to civil indemnity, as
elucidated before, this refers to civil liability which is awarded to the offended party Medium - 5 years, 5 months, 11 days to 6 years, 8 months, 20 days
as a kind of monetary restitution. It is truly based on the value of money. The same
cannot be said on penalties because, as earlier stated, penalties are not only based
Minimum - 4 years, 2 months, 1 day to 5 years, 5 months, 10 days49
on the value of money, but on several other factors. Further, since the law is silent as
to the maximum amount that can be awarded and only pegged the minimum sum,
To compute the maximum period of the prescribed penalty, prisión correccional
increasing the amount granted as civil indemnity is not proscribed. Thus, it can be
maximum to prisión mayor minimum should be divided into three equal portions of
adjusted in light of current conditions.
time each of which portion shall be deemed to form one period in accordance with
Article 6550 of the RPC.51 In the present case, the amount involved is ₱98,000.00,
Now, with regard to the penalty imposed in the present case, the CA modified the
which exceeds ₱22,000.00, thus, the maximum penalty imposable should be within
ruling of the RTC. The RTC imposed the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and
the maximum period of 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years of prision mayor.
two (2) months of prision correccional in its medium period, as minimum, to fourteen
Article 315 also states that a period of one year shall be added to the penalty for
(14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal in its minimum period, as
every additional ₱10,000.00 defrauded in excess of ₱22,000.00, but in no case shall
maximum. However, the CA imposed the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and
the total penalty which may be imposed exceed 20 years.
two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years of prision
mayor, as maximum, plus one (1) year for each additional ₱10,000.00, or a total of
Considering that the amount of ₱98,000.00 is ₱76,000.00 more than the ₱22,000.00
seven (7) years.
ceiling set by law, then, adding one year for each additional ₱10,000.00, the
maximum period of 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years of prision mayor
In computing the penalty for this type of estafa, this Court's ruling in Cosme, Jr. v.
minimum would be increased by 7 years. Taking the maximum of the prescribed
People48 is highly instructive, thus:
penalty, which is 8 years, plus an additional 7 years, the maximum of the
indeterminate penalty is 15 years.
With respect to the imposable penalty, Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code
provides:
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, since the penalty prescribed by law for
the estafa charge against petitioner is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor
minimum, the penalty next lower would then be prision correccional in its minimum
and medium periods.

Thus, the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence should be anywhere from 6
months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months.

One final note, the Court should give Congress a chance to perform its primordial
duty of lawmaking. The Court should not pre-empt Congress and usurp its inherent
powers of making and enacting laws. While it may be the most expeditious approach,
a short cut by judicial fiat is a dangerous proposition, lest the Court dare trespass on
prohibited judicial legislation.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari dated November 5, 2007 of


petitioner Lito Corpuz is hereby DENIED. Consequently, the Decision dated March 22,
2007 and Resolution dated September 5, 2007 of the Court of Appeals, which
affirmed with modification the Decision dated July 30, 2004 of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 46, San Fernando City, finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph (1), sub-paragraph (b) of
the Revised Penal Code, are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the penalty
imposed is the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from THREE (3)
YEARS, TWO (2) MONTHS and ELEVEN DAYS of prision correccional, as minimum, to
FIFTEEN (15) YEARS of reclusion temporal as maximum.

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Revised Penal Code, let a Copy of this Decision be
furnished the President of the Republic of the Philippines, through the Department
of Justice.

Also, let a copy of this Decision be furnished the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 169364 September 18, 2009 2. Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places
or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, means of support;
vs.
EVANGELINE SITON y SACIL and KRYSTEL KATE SAGARANO y 3. Any idle or dissolute person who lodges in houses of ill fame; ruffians or
MEFANIA, Respondents. pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes;

DECISION 4. Any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles of
this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose;

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as 5. Prostitutes.


Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of Heaven and Earth will pause to For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge
say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.

– Martin Luther King, Jr. Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this articles shall be
punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the July 29, 2005 Order 1 of Branch recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its
11, Davao City Regional Trial Court in Special Civil Case No. 30-500-2004 granting minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion
respondents’ Petition for Certiorari and declaring paragraph 2 of Article 202 of the of the court.
Revised Penal Code unconstitutional.
Instead of submitting their counter-affidavits as directed, respondents filed separate
Respondents Evangeline Siton and Krystel Kate Sagarano were charged with vagrancy Motions to Quash3 on the ground that Article 202 (2) is unconstitutional for being
pursuant to Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code in two separate Informations vague and overbroad.
dated November 18, 2003, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 115,716-C-2003 and
115,717-C-2003 and raffled to Branch 3 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Davao In an Order4 dated April 28, 2004, the municipal trial court denied the motions and
City. The Informations, read: directed respondents anew to file their respective counter-affidavits. The municipal
trial court also declared that the law on vagrancy was enacted pursuant to the State’s
That on or about November 14, 2003, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within police power and justified by the Latin maxim "salus populi est suprem(a) lex," which
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-mentioned accused, willfully, calls for the subordination of individual benefit to the interest of the greater number,
unlawfully and feloniously wandered and loitered around San Pedro and Legaspi thus:
Streets, this City, without any visible means to support herself nor lawful and
justifiable purpose.2 Our law on vagrancy was enacted pursuant to the police power of the State. An
authority on police power, Professor Freund describes laconically police power "as
Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code provides: the power of promoting public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty
and property." (Citations omitted). In fact the person’s acts and acquisitions are
Art. 202. Vagrants and prostitutes; penalty. — The following are vagrants: hemmed in by the police power of the state. The justification found in the Latin
maxim, salus populi est supreme (sic) lex" (the god of the people is the Supreme Law).
This calls for the subordination of individual benefit to the interests of the greater
1. Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the
number.In the case at bar the affidavit of the arresting police officer, SPO1 JAY PLAZA
physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some
with Annex "A" lucidly shows that there was a prior surveillance conducted in view
lawful calling;
of the reports that vagrants and prostitutes proliferate in the place where the two
accused (among other women) were wandering and in the wee hours of night and Citing Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville,9 where an anti vagrancy ordinance was
soliciting male customer. Thus, on that basis the prosecution should be given a struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, the trial
leeway to prove its case. Thus, in the interest of substantial justice, both prosecution court ruled:
and defense must be given their day in Court: the prosecution proof of the crime, and
the author thereof; the defense, to show that the acts of the accused in the The U.S. Supreme Court’s justifications for striking down the Jacksonville Vagrancy
indictment can’t be categorized as a crime.5 Ordinance are equally applicable to paragraph 2 of Article 202 of the Revised Penal
Code.
The municipal trial court also noted that in the affidavit of the arresting police officer,
SPO1 Jay Plaza, it was stated that there was a prior surveillance conducted on the Indeed, to authorize a police officer to arrest a person for being "found loitering
two accused in an area reported to be frequented by vagrants and prostitutes who about public or semi-public buildings or places or tramping or wandering about the
solicited sexual favors. Hence, the prosecution should be given the opportunity to country or the streets without visible means of support" offers too wide a latitude
prove the crime, and the defense to rebut the evidence.1avvphi1 for arbitrary determinations as to who should be arrested and who should not.

Respondents thus filed an original petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Loitering about and wandering have become national pastimes particularly in these
Regional Trial Court of Davao City,6directly challenging the constitutionality of the times of recession when there are many who are "without visible means of support"
anti-vagrancy law, claiming that the definition of the crime of vagrancy under Article not by reason of choice but by force of circumstance as borne out by the high
202 (2), apart from being vague, results as well in an arbitrary identification of unemployment rate in the entire country.
violators, since the definition of the crime includes in its coverage persons who are
otherwise performing ordinary peaceful acts. They likewise claimed that Article 202 To authorize law enforcement authorities to arrest someone for nearly no other
(2) violated the equal protection clause under the Constitution because it reason than the fact that he cannot find gainful employment would indeed be adding
discriminates against the poor and unemployed, thus permitting an arbitrary and insult to injury.10
unreasonable classification.
On its pronouncement that Article 202 (2) violated the equal protection clause of the
The State, through the Office of the Solicitor General, argued that pursuant to the Constitution, the trial court declared:
Court’s ruling in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan,7 the overbreadth and vagueness
doctrines apply only to free speech cases and not to penal statutes. It also asserted
The application of the Anti-Vagrancy Law, crafted in the 1930s, to our situation at
that Article 202 (2) must be presumed valid and constitutional, since the respondents
present runs afoul of the equal protection clause of the constitution as it offers no
failed to overcome this presumption.
reasonable classification between those covered by the law and those who are not.

On July 29, 2005, the Regional Trial Court issued the assailed Order granting the
Class legislation is such legislation which denies rights to one which are accorded to
petition, the dispositive portion of which reads:
others, or inflicts upon one individual a more severe penalty than is imposed upon
another in like case offending.
WHEREFORE, PRESCINDING FROM THE FOREGOING, the instant Petition is hereby
GRANTED. Paragraph 2 of Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code is hereby declared
Applying this to the case at bar, since the definition of Vagrancy under Article 202 of
unconstitutional and the Order of the court a quo, dated April 28, 2004, denying the
the Revised Penal Code offers no guidelines or any other reasonable indicators to
petitioners’ Motion to Quash is set aside and the said court is ordered to dismiss the
differentiate those who have no visible means of support by force of circumstance
subject criminal cases against the petitioners pending before it.
and those who choose to loiter about and bum around, who are the proper subjects
of vagrancy legislation, it cannot pass a judicial scrutiny of its constitutionality.11
SO ORDERED.8
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari raising the sole issue of:
In declaring Article 202 (2) unconstitutional, the trial court opined that the law is
vague and it violated the equal protection clause. It held that the "void for vagueness"
doctrine is equally applicable in testing the validity of penal statutes.
WHETHER THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN relation to Sections 10 (g) and (j) of Republic Act No. 8189 – the provisions upon
DECLARING UNCONSTITUTIONAL ARTICLE 202 (2) OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE12 which petitioners are charged. An expanded examination of the law covering
provisions which are alien to petitioners’ case would be antagonistic to the rudiment
Petitioner argues that every statute is presumed valid and all reasonable doubts that for judicial review to be exercised, there must be an existing case or controversy
should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality; that, citing Romualdez v. that is appropriate or ripe for determination, and not conjectural or anticipatory. 18
Sandiganbayan,13 the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines have special application
to free-speech cases only and are not appropriate for testing the validity of penal The first statute punishing vagrancy – Act No. 519 – was modeled after American
statutes; that respondents failed to overcome the presumed validity of the statute, vagrancy statutes and passed by the Philippine Commission in 1902. The Penal Code
failing to prove that it was vague under the standards set out by the Courts; and that of Spain of 1870 which was in force in this country up to December 31, 1931 did not
the State may regulate individual conduct for the promotion of public welfare in the contain a provision on vagrancy.19 While historically an Anglo-American concept of
exercise of its police power. crime prevention, the law on vagrancy was included by the Philippine legislature as a
permanent feature of the Revised Penal Code in Article 202 thereof which, to repeat,
On the other hand, respondents argue against the limited application of the provides:
overbreadth and vagueness doctrines. They insist that Article 202 (2) on its face
violates the constitutionally-guaranteed rights to due process and the equal ART. 202. Vagrants and prostitutes; penalty. – The following are vagrants:
protection of the laws; that the due process vagueness standard, as distinguished
from the free speech vagueness doctrine, is adequate to declare Article 202 (2) 1. Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the
unconstitutional and void on its face; and that the presumption of constitutionality physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some
was adequately overthrown. lawful calling;

The Court finds for petitioner. 2. Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places,
or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible
The power to define crimes and prescribe their corresponding penalties is legislative means of support;
in nature and inherent in the sovereign power of the state to maintain social order
as an aspect of police power. The legislature may even forbid and penalize acts 3. Any idle or dissolute person who lodges in houses of ill-fame; ruffians or
formerly considered innocent and lawful provided that no constitutional rights have pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes;
been abridged.14 However, in exercising its power to declare what acts constitute a
crime, the legislature must inform the citizen with reasonable precision what acts it 4. Any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles of
intends to prohibit so that he may have a certain understandable rule of conduct and this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place
know what acts it is his duty to avoid.15 This requirement has come to be known as belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose;
the void-for-vagueness doctrine which states that "a statute which either forbids or
requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must
5. Prostitutes.
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first
essential of due process of law."16
For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge
in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.
In Spouses Romualdez v. COMELEC,17 the Court recognized the application of the
void-for-vagueness doctrine to criminal statutes in appropriate cases. The Court
Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this article shall be
therein held:
punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of
recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its
At the outset, we declare that under these terms, the opinions of the dissent which
minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion
seek to bring to the fore the purported ambiguities of a long list of provisions in
of the court.
Republic Act No. 8189 can be deemed as a facial challenge. An appropriate "as
applied" challenge in the instant Petition should be limited only to Section 45 (j) in
In the instant case, the assailed provision is paragraph (2), which defines a vagrant as xxxx
any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places, or
tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of Persons "wandering or strolling" from place to place have been extolled by Walt
support. This provision was based on the second clause of Section 1 of Act No. 519 Whitman and Vachel Lindsay. The qualification "without any lawful purpose or
which defined "vagrant" as "every person found loitering about saloons or dramshops object" may be a trap for innocent acts. Persons "neglecting all lawful business and
or gambling houses, or tramping or straying through the country without visible habitually spending their time by frequenting . . . places where alcoholic beverages
means of support." The second clause was essentially retained with the modification are sold or served" would literally embrace many members of golf clubs and city
that the places under which the offense might be committed is now expressed in clubs.
general terms – public or semi-public places.
Walkers and strollers and wanderers may be going to or coming from a burglary.
The Regional Trial Court, in asserting the unconstitutionality of Article 202 (2), take Loafers or loiterers may be "casing" a place for a holdup. Letting one's wife support
support mainly from the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in the Papachristou v. City of him is an intra-family matter, and normally of no concern to the police. Yet it may, of
Jacksonville20 case, which in essence declares: course, be the setting for numerous crimes.

Living under a rule of law entails various suppositions, one of which is that "[all The difficulty is that these activities are historically part of the amenities of life as we
persons] are entitled to be informed as to what the State commands or forbids." have known them. They are not mentioned in the Constitution or in the Bill of Rights.
Lanzetta v. New Jersey, 306 U. S. 451, 306 U. S. 453. These unwritten amenities have been, in part, responsible for giving our people the
feeling of independence and self-confidence, the feeling of creativity. These
Lanzetta is one of a well recognized group of cases insisting that the law give fair amenities have dignified the right of dissent, and have honored the right to be
notice of the offending conduct. See Connally v. General Construction Co., 269 U. S. nonconformists and the right to defy submissiveness. They have encouraged lives of
385, 269 U. S. 391; Cline v. Frink Dairy Co., 274 U. S. 445; United States v. Cohen high spirits, rather than hushed, suffocating silence.
Grocery Co., 255 U. S. 81. In the field of regulatory statutes governing business
activities, where the acts limited are in a narrow category, greater leeway is allowed. xxxx
Boyce Motor Lines, Inc. v. United States, 342 U. S. 337; United States v. National Dairy
Products Corp., 372 U. S. 29; United States v. Petrillo, 332 U. S. 1. Where the list of crimes is so all-inclusive and generalized as the one in this ordinance,
those convicted may be punished for no more than vindicating affronts to police
The poor among us, the minorities, the average householder, are not in business and authority:
not alerted to the regulatory schemes of vagrancy laws; and we assume they would
have no understanding of their meaning and impact if they read them. Nor are they "The common ground which brings such a motley assortment of human troubles
protected from being caught in the vagrancy net by the necessity of having a specific before the magistrates in vagrancy-type proceedings is the procedural laxity which
intent to commit an unlawful act. See Screws v. United States, 325 U. S. 91; Boyce permits 'conviction' for almost any kind of conduct and the existence of the House of
Motor Lines, Inc. v. United States, supra. Correction as an easy and convenient dumping-ground for problems that appear to
have no other immediate solution." Foote, Vagrancy-Type Law and Its
The Jacksonville ordinance makes criminal activities which, by modern standards, are Administration, 104 U.Pa.L.Rev. 603, 631.
normally innocent. "Nightwalking" is one. Florida construes the ordinance not to
make criminal one night's wandering, Johnson v. State, 202 So.2d at 855, only the xxxx
"habitual" wanderer or, as the ordinance describes it, "common night walkers." We
know, however, from experience that sleepless people often walk at night, perhaps
Another aspect of the ordinance's vagueness appears when we focus not on the lack
hopeful that sleep-inducing relaxation will result.
of notice given a potential offender, but on the effect of the unfettered discretion it
places in the hands of the Jacksonville police. Caleb Foote, an early student of this
Luis Munoz-Marin, former Governor of Puerto Rico, commented once that "loafing" subject, has called the vagrancy-type law as offering "punishment by analogy." Such
was a national virtue in his Commonwealth, and that it should be encouraged. It is, crimes, though long common in Russia, are not compatible with our constitutional
however, a crime in Jacksonville. system.
xxxx Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court in Jacksonville declared the ordinance unconstitutional,
because such activities or habits as nightwalking, wandering or strolling around
A presumption that people who might walk or loaf or loiter or stroll or frequent without any lawful purpose or object, habitual loafing, habitual spending of time at
houses where liquor is sold, or who are supported by their wives or who look places where alcoholic beverages are sold or served, and living upon the earnings of
suspicious to the police are to become future criminals is too precarious for a rule of wives or minor children, which are otherwise common and normal, were declared
law. The implicit presumption in these generalized vagrancy standards -- that crime illegal. But these are specific acts or activities not found in Article 202 (2). The
is being nipped in the bud -- is too extravagant to deserve extended treatment. Of closest to Article 202 (2) – "any person found loitering about public or semi-public
course, vagrancy statutes are useful to the police. Of course, they are nets making buildings or places, or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets
easy the roundup of so-called undesirables. But the rule of law implies equality and without visible means of support" – from the Jacksonville ordinance, would be
justice in its application. Vagrancy laws of the Jacksonville type teach that the scales "persons wandering or strolling around from place to place without any lawful
of justice are so tipped that even-handed administration of the law is not possible. purpose or object." But these two acts are still not the same: Article 202 (2) is
The rule of law, evenly applied to minorities as well as majorities, to the poor as well qualified by "without visible means of support" while the Jacksonville ordinance
as the rich, is the great mucilage that holds society together.21 prohibits wandering or strolling "without any lawful purpose or object," which was
held by the U.S. Supreme Court to constitute a "trap for innocent acts."
The underlying principles in Papachristou are that: 1) the assailed Jacksonville
ordinance "fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his Under the Constitution, the people are guaranteed the right to be secure in their
contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute;" and 2) it encourages or promotes persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
opportunities for the application of discriminatory law enforcement. whatever nature and for any purpose, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest
shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge
The said underlying principle in Papachristou that the Jacksonville ordinance, or after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
Article 202 (2) in this case, fails to give fair notice of what constitutes forbidden may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons
conduct, finds no application here because under our legal system, ignorance of the or things to be seized.24 Thus, as with any other act or offense, the requirement
law excuses no one from compliance therewith.22 This principle is of Spanish origin, of probable cause provides an acceptable limit on police or executive authority that
and we adopted it to govern and limit legal conduct in this jurisdiction. Under may otherwise be abused in relation to the search or arrest of persons found to be
American law, ignorance of the law is merely a traditional rule that admits of violating Article 202 (2). The fear exhibited by the respondents, echoing Jacksonville,
exceptions.23 that unfettered discretion is placed in the hands of the police to make an arrest or
search, is therefore assuaged by the constitutional requirement of probable cause,
which is one less than certainty or proof, but more than suspicion or possibility.25
Moreover, the Jacksonville ordinance was declared unconstitutional on account of
specific provisions thereof, which are not found in Article 202 (2). The ordinance
(Jacksonville Ordinance Code § 257) provided, as follows: Evidently, the requirement of probable cause cannot be done away with arbitrarily
without pain of punishment, for, absent this requirement, the authorities are
necessarily guilty of abuse. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the
Rogues and vagabonds, or dissolute persons who go about begging; common
absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be
gamblers, persons who use juggling or unlawful games or plays, common drunkards,
arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual facts, i.e.,
common night walkers, thieves, pilferers or pickpockets, traders in stolen property,
supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable
lewd, wanton and lascivious persons, keepers of gambling places, common railers
cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be
and brawlers, persons wandering or strolling around from place to place without any
founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith of the peace officers making the
lawful purpose or object, habitual loafers, disorderly persons, persons neglecting all
arrest.26
lawful business and habitually spending their time by frequenting houses of ill fame,
gaming houses, or places where alcoholic beverages are sold or served, persons able
to work but habitually living upon the earnings of their wives or minor children shall The State cannot in a cavalier fashion intrude into the persons of its citizens as well
be deemed vagrants and, upon conviction in the Municipal Court shall be punished as into their houses, papers and effects. The constitutional provision sheathes the
as provided for Class D offenses. private individual with an impenetrable armor against unreasonable searches and
seizures. It protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself against unlawful
arrests and other forms of restraint, and prevents him from being irreversibly cut off loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or
from that domestic security which renders the lives of the most unhappy in some public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.29 This provision is, together
measure agreeable.27 with the succeeding articles on human relations, intended to embody certain basic
principles "that are to be observed for the rightful relationship between human
As applied to the instant case, it appears that the police authorities have been beings and for the stability of the social order."30
conducting previous surveillance operations on respondents prior to their arrest. On
the surface, this satisfies the probable cause requirement under our Constitution. For In civil law, for example, the summary remedy of ejectment is intended to prevent
this reason, we are not moved by respondents’ trepidation that Article 202 (2) could criminal disorder and breaches of the peace and to discourage those who, believing
have been a source of police abuse in their case. themselves entitled to the possession of the property, resort to force rather than to
some appropriate action in court to assert their claims. 31 Any private person may
Since the Revised Penal Code took effect in 1932, no challenge has ever been made abate a public nuisance which is specially injurious to him by removing, or if
upon the constitutionality of Article 202 except now. Instead, throughout the years, necessary, by destroying the thing which constitutes the same, without committing
we have witnessed the streets and parks become dangerous and unsafe, a haven for a breach of the peace, or doing unnecessary injury.32
beggars, harassing "watch-your-car" boys, petty thieves and robbers, pickpockets,
swindlers, gangs, prostitutes, and individuals performing acts that go beyond decency Criminally, public order laws encompass a whole range of acts – from public
and morality, if not basic humanity. The streets and parks have become the training indecencies and immoralities, to public nuisances, to disorderly conduct. The acts
ground for petty offenders who graduate into hardened and battle-scarred criminals. punished are made illegal by their offensiveness to society’s basic sensibilities and
Everyday, the news is rife with reports of innocent and hardworking people being their adverse effect on the quality of life of the people of society. For example, the
robbed, swindled, harassed or mauled – if not killed – by the scourge of the streets. issuance or making of a bouncing check is deemed a public nuisance, a crime against
Blue collar workers are robbed straight from withdrawing hard-earned money from public order that must be abated.33 As a matter of public policy, the failure to turn
the ATMs (automated teller machines); students are held up for having to use and over the proceeds of the sale of the goods covered by a trust receipt or to return said
thus exhibit publicly their mobile phones; frail and helpless men are mauled by thrill- goods, if not sold, is a public nuisance to be abated by the imposition of penal
seeking gangs; innocent passers-by are stabbed to death by rowdy drunken men sanctions.34 Thus, public nuisances must be abated because they have the effect of
walking the streets; fair-looking or pretty women are stalked and harassed, if not interfering with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by members of a
abducted, raped and then killed; robbers, thieves, pickpockets and snatchers case community.
streets and parks for possible victims; the old are swindled of their life savings by
conniving streetsmart bilkers and con artists on the prowl; beggars endlessly pester Article 202 (2) does not violate the equal protection clause; neither does it
and panhandle pedestrians and commuters, posing a health threat and putting law- discriminate against the poor and the unemployed. Offenders of public order laws
abiding drivers and citizens at risk of running them over. All these happen on the are punished not for their status, as for being poor or unemployed, but for conducting
streets and in public places, day or night. themselves under such circumstances as to endanger the public peace or cause alarm
and apprehension in the community. Being poor or unemployed is not a license or a
The streets must be protected. Our people should never dread having to ply them justification to act indecently or to engage in immoral conduct.
each day, or else we can never say that we have performed our task to our brothers
and sisters. We must rid the streets of the scourge of humanity, and restore order, Vagrancy must not be so lightly treated as to be considered constitutionally offensive.
peace, civility, decency and morality in them. It is a public order crime which punishes persons for conducting themselves, at a
certain place and time which orderly society finds unusual, under such conditions
This is exactly why we have public order laws, to which Article 202 (2) belongs. These that are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency
laws were crafted to maintain minimum standards of decency, morality and civility and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society, as would engender a justifiable
in human society. These laws may be traced all the way back to ancient times, and concern for the safety and well-being of members of the community.
today, they have also come to be associated with the struggle to improve the citizens’
quality of life, which is guaranteed by our Constitution. 28 Civilly, they are covered by Instead of taking an active position declaring public order laws unconstitutional, the
the "abuse of rights" doctrine embodied in the preliminary articles of the Civil Code State should train its eye on their effective implementation, because it is in this area
concerning Human Relations, to the end, in part, that any person who willfully causes that the Court perceives difficulties. Red light districts abound, gangs work the streets
in the wee hours of the morning, dangerous robbers and thieves ply their trade in the CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
trains stations, drunken men terrorize law-abiding citizens late at night and urinate Associate Justice
on otherwise decent corners of our streets. Rugby-sniffing individuals crowd our
national parks and busy intersections. Prostitutes wait for customers by the roadside
all around the metropolis, some even venture in bars and restaurants. Drug-crazed
men loiter around dark avenues waiting to pounce on helpless citizens. Dangerous
groups wander around, casing homes and establishments for their next hit. The
streets must be made safe once more. Though a man’s house is his castle, 35 outside
on the streets, the king is fair game.

The dangerous streets must surrender to orderly society.

Finally, we agree with the position of the State that first and foremost, Article 202 (2)
should be presumed valid and constitutional. When confronted with a constitutional
question, it is elementary that every court must approach it with grave care and
considerable caution bearing in mind that every statute is presumed valid and every
reasonable doubt should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality. 36 The policy of
our courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to presume that the acts
of the political departments are valid in the absence of a clear and unmistakable
showing to the contrary. To doubt is to sustain, this presumption is based on the
doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon each department a becoming
respect for the acts of the other departments. The theory is that as the joint act of
Congress and the President of the Philippines, a law has been carefully studied,
crafted and determined to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was
finally enacted.37

It must not be forgotten that police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. It


has been defined as the power vested by the Constitution in the legislature to make,
ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and
ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the Constitution, as
they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and for the
subjects of the same. The power is plenary and its scope is vast and pervasive,
reaching and justifying measures for public health, public safety, public morals, and
the general welfare.38 As an obvious police power measure, Article 202 (2) must
therefore be viewed in a constitutional light.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of Branch 11 of the Regional


Trial Court of Davao City in Special Civil Case No. 30-500-2004 declaring Article 202,
paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code UNCONSTITUTIONAL is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE.

Let the proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 115,716-C-2003 and 115,717-C-2003 thus
continue.No costs.SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 111097 July 20, 1994 permit shall be issued to any person, partnership or corporation for
the operation of casino within the city limits.
MAYOR PABLO P. MAGTAJAS & THE CITY OF CAGAYAN DE ORO, petitioners,
vs. Sec. 2. — That it shall be a violation of existing business permit by
PRYCE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, INC. & PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING any persons, partnership or corporation to use its business
CORPORATION, respondents. establishment or portion thereof, or allow the use thereof by
others for casino operation and other gambling activities.
Aquilino G. Pimentel, Jr. and Associates for petitioners.
Sec. 3. — PENALTIES. — Any violation of such existing business
R.R. Torralba & Associates for private respondent. permit as defined in the preceding section shall suffer the following
penalties, to wit:

a) Suspension of the business


CRUZ, J.: permit for sixty (60) days for
the first offense and a fine of
P1,000.00/day
There was instant opposition when PAGCOR announced the opening of a casino in
Cagayan de Oro City. Civic organizations angrily denounced the project. The religious
elements echoed the objection and so did the women's groups and the youth. b) Suspension of the business
Demonstrations were led by the mayor and the city legislators. The media trumpeted permit for Six (6) months for
the protest, describing the casino as an affront to the welfare of the city. the second offense, and a fine
of P3,000.00/day
The trouble arose when in 1992, flush with its tremendous success in several cities,
PAGCOR decided to expand its operations to Cagayan de Oro City. To this end, it c) Permanent revocation of the
leased a portion of a building belonging to Pryce Properties Corporation, Inc., one of business permit and
the herein private respondents, renovated and equipped the same, and prepared to imprisonment of One (1) year,
inaugurate its casino there during the Christmas season. for the third and subsequent
offenses.
The reaction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City was swift and
hostile. On December 7, 1992, it enacted Ordinance No. 3353 reading as follows: Sec. 4. — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days from
publication thereof.
ORDINANCE NO. 3353
Nor was this all. On January 4, 1993, it adopted a sterner Ordinance No. 3375-93
reading as follows:
AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ISSUANCE OF BUSINESS PERMIT
AND CANCELLING EXISTING BUSINESS PERMIT TO ANY
ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE USING AND ALLOWING TO BE USED ITS ORDINANCE NO. 3375-93
PREMISES OR PORTION THEREOF FOR THE OPERATION OF CASINO.
AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE OPERATION OF CASINO AND
BE IT ORDAINED by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of PROVIDING PENALTY FOR VIOLATION THEREFOR.
Cagayan de Oro, in session assembled that:
WHEREAS, the City Council established a policy as early as 1990
Sec. 1. — That pursuant to the policy of the city banning the against CASINO under its Resolution No. 2295;
operation of casino within its territorial jurisdiction, no business
WHEREAS, on October 14, 1992, the City Council passed another Pryce assailed the ordinances before the Court of Appeals, where it was joined by
Resolution No. 2673, reiterating its policy against the PAGCOR as intervenor and supplemental petitioner. Their challenge succeeded. On
establishment of CASINO; March 31, 1993, the Court of Appeals declared the ordinances invalid and issued the
writ prayed for to prohibit their enforcement. 1 Reconsideration of this decision was
WHEREAS, subsequently, thereafter, it likewise passed Ordinance denied on July 13, 1993. 2
No. 3353, prohibiting the issuance of Business Permit and to cancel
existing Business Permit to any establishment for the using and Cagayan de Oro City and its mayor are now before us in this petition for review under
allowing to be used its premises or portion thereof for the Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 3 They aver that the respondent Court of Appeals erred
operation of CASINO; in holding that:

WHEREAS, under Art. 3, section 458, No. (4), sub paragraph VI of 1. Under existing laws, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of
the Local Government Code of 1991 (Rep. Act 7160) and under Art. Cagayan de Oro does not have the power and authority to prohibit
99, No. (4), Paragraph VI of the implementing rules of the Local the establishment and operation of a PAGCOR gambling casino
Government Code, the City Council as the Legislative Body shall within the City's territorial limits.
enact measure to suppress any activity inimical to public morals
and general welfare of the people and/or regulate or prohibit such 2. The phrase "gambling and other prohibited games of chance"
activity pertaining to amusement or entertainment in order to found in Sec. 458, par. (a), sub-par. (1) — (v) of R.A. 7160 could only
protect social and moral welfare of the community; mean "illegal gambling."

NOW THEREFORE, 3. The questioned Ordinances in effect annul P.D. 1869 and are
therefore invalid on that point.
BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council in session duly assembled that:
4. The questioned Ordinances are discriminatory to casino and
Sec. 1. — The operation of gambling CASINO in the City of Cagayan partial to cockfighting and are therefore invalid on that point.
de Oro is hereby prohibited.
5. The questioned Ordinances are not reasonable, not consonant
Sec. 2. — Any violation of this Ordinance shall be subject to the with the general powers and purposes of the instrumentality
following penalties: concerned and inconsistent with the laws or policy of the State.

a) Administrative fine of P5,000.00 shall be imposed against the 6. It had no option but to follow the ruling in the case of Basco, et
proprietor, partnership or corporation undertaking the operation, al. v. PAGCOR, G.R. No. 91649, May 14, 1991, 197 SCRA 53 in
conduct, maintenance of gambling CASINO in the City and closure disposing of the issues presented in this present case.
thereof;
PAGCOR is a corporation created directly by P.D. 1869 to help centralize and regulate
b) Imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than one all games of chance, including casinos on land and sea within the territorial
(1) year or a fine in the amount of P5,000.00 or both at the jurisdiction of the Philippines. In Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming
discretion of the court against the manager, supervisor, and/or any Corporation, 4 this Court sustained the constitutionality of the decree and even cited
person responsible in the establishment, conduct and maintenance the benefits of the entity to the national economy as the third highest revenue-
of gambling CASINO. earner in the government, next only to the BIR and the Bureau of Customs.

Sec. 3. — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days after its Cagayan de Oro City, like other local political subdivisions, is empowered to enact
publication in a local newspaper of general circulation. ordinances for the purposes indicated in the Local Government Code. It is expressly
vested with the police power under what is known as the General Welfare Clause prohibited games of chance,
now embodied in Section 16 as follows: fraudulent devices and ways to
obtain money or property,
Sec. 16. — General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall drug addiction, maintenance of
exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied drug dens, drug pushing,
therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental juvenile delinquency, the
for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are printing, distribution or
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their exhibition of obscene or
respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall pornographic materials or
ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and publications, and such other
enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the activities inimical to the
right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support welfare and morals of the
the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and inhabitants of the city;
technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment This section also authorizes the local government units to regulate properties and
among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the businesses within their territorial limits in the interest of the general welfare. 5
comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
The petitioners argue that by virtue of these provisions, the Sangguniang Panlungsod
In addition, Section 458 of the said Code specifically declares that: may prohibit the operation of casinos because they involve games of chance, which
are detrimental to the people. Gambling is not allowed by general law and even by
Sec. 458. — Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. — (a) the Constitution itself. The legislative power conferred upon local government units
The Sangguniang Panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, may be exercised over all kinds of gambling and not only over "illegal gambling" as
shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds the respondents erroneously argue. Even if the operation of casinos may have been
for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to permitted under P.D. 1869, the government of Cagayan de Oro City has the authority
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate to prohibit them within its territory pursuant to the authority entrusted to it by the
powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this Code, Local Government Code.
and shall:
It is submitted that this interpretation is consonant with the policy of local autonomy
(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an as mandated in Article II, Section 25, and Article X of the Constitution, as well as
efficient and effective city government, and in this connection, various other provisions therein seeking to strengthen the character of the nation. In
shall: giving the local government units the power to prevent or suppress gambling and
other social problems, the Local Government Code has recognized the competence
xxx xxx xxx of such communities to determine and adopt the measures best expected to
promote the general welfare of their inhabitants in line with the policies of the State.
(v) Enact ordinances intended
to prevent, suppress and The petitioners also stress that when the Code expressly authorized the local
impose appropriate penalties government units to prevent and suppress gambling and other prohibited games of
for habitual drunkenness in chance, like craps, baccarat, blackjack and roulette, it meant allforms of gambling
public places, vagrancy, without distinction. Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemos. 6 Otherwise,
mendicancy, prostitution, it would have expressly excluded from the scope of their power casinos and other
establishment and forms of gambling authorized by special law, as it could have easily done. The fact
maintenance of houses of ill that it did not do so simply means that the local government units are permitted to
repute, gamblingand other
prohibit all kinds of gambling within their territories, including the operation of attention to the old case of U.S. v. Salaveria,7 which sustained a municipal ordinance
casinos. prohibiting the playing of panguingue. The petitioners decry the immorality of
gambling. They also impugn the wisdom of P.D. 1869 (which they describe as "a
The adoption of the Local Government Code, it is pointed out, had the effect of martial law instrument") in creating PAGCOR and authorizing it to operate casinos
modifying the charter of the PAGCOR. The Code is not only a later enactment than "on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines."
P.D. 1869 and so is deemed to prevail in case of inconsistencies between them. More
than this, the powers of the PAGCOR under the decree are expressly discontinued by This is the opportune time to stress an important point.
the Code insofar as they do not conform to its philosophy and provisions, pursuant
to Par. (f) of its repealing clause reading as follows: The morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. While
it is generally considered inimical to the interests of the people, there is nothing in
(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, the Constitution categorically proscribing or penalizing gambling or, for that matter,
executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations, or even mentioning it at all. It is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit. In
part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the the exercise of its own discretion, the legislature may prohibit gambling altogether
provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified or allow it without limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling and allow
accordingly. others for whatever reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus, it has
prohibited jueteng and monte but permits lotteries, cockfighting and horse-racing. In
It is also maintained that assuming there is doubt regarding the effect of the Local making such choices, Congress has consulted its own wisdom, which this Court has
Government Code on P.D. 1869, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the no authority to review, much less reverse. Well has it been said that courts do not sit
petitioners, in accordance with the direction in the Code calling for its liberal to resolve the merits of conflicting theories. 8 That is the prerogative of the political
interpretation in favor of the local government units. Section 5 of the Code departments. It is settled that questions regarding the wisdom, morality, or
specifically provides: practicibility of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary but may be resolved only
by the legislative and executive departments, to which the function belongs in our
Sec. 5. Rules of Interpretation. — In the interpretation of the scheme of government. That function is exclusive. Whichever way these branches
provisions of this Code, the following rules shall apply: decide, they are answerable only to their own conscience and the constituents who
will ultimately judge their acts, and not to the courts of justice.
(a) Any provision on a power of a local government unit shall be
liberally interpreted in its favor, and in case of doubt, any question The only question we can and shall resolve in this petition is the validity of Ordinance
thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of powers and of the No. 3355 and Ordinance No. 3375-93 as enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
lower local government unit. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to Cagayan de Oro City. And we shall do so only by the criteria laid down by law and not
the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the local by our own convictions on the propriety of gambling.
government unit concerned;
The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions 9 has held
xxx xxx xxx that to be valid, an ordinance must conform to the following substantive
requirements:
(c) The general welfare provisions in this Code shall be liberally
interpreted to give more powers to local government units in 1) It must not contravene the constitution or any statute.
accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of
life for the people in the community; . . . (Emphasis supplied.) 2) It must not be unfair or oppressive.

Finally, the petitioners also attack gambling as intrinsically harmful and cite various 3) It must not be partial or discriminatory.
provisions of the Constitution and several decisions of this Court expressive of the
general and official disapprobation of the vice. They invoke the State policies on the 4) It must not prohibit but may regulate trade.
family and the proper upbringing of the youth and, as might be expected, call
5) It must be general and consistent with public policy. petitioners' view includes both legal and illegal gambling. Under this construction,
PAGCOR will have no more games of chance to regulate or centralize as they must all
6) It must not be unreasonable. be prohibited by the local government units pursuant to the mandatory duty imposed
upon them by the Code. In this situation, PAGCOR cannot continue to exist except
We begin by observing that under Sec. 458 of the Local Government Code, local only as a toothless tiger or a white elephant and will no longer be able to exercise its
government units are authorized to prevent or suppress, among others, "gambling powers as a prime source of government revenue through the operation of casinos.
and other prohibited games of chance." Obviously, this provision excludes games of
chance which are not prohibited but are in fact permitted by law. The petitioners are It is noteworthy that the petitioners have cited only Par. (f) of the repealing clause,
less than accurate in claiming that the Code could have excluded such games of conveniently discarding the rest of the provision which painstakingly mentions the
chance but did not. In fact it does. The language of the section is clear and specific laws or the parts thereof which are repealed (or modified) by the Code.
unmistakable. Under the rule of noscitur a sociis, a word or phrase should be Significantly, P.D. 1869 is not one of them. A reading of the entire repealing clause,
interpreted in relation to, or given the same meaning of, words with which it is which is reproduced below, will disclose the omission:
associated. Accordingly, we conclude that since the word "gambling" is associated
with "and other prohibited games of chance," the word should be read as referring Sec. 534. Repealing Clause. — (a) Batas Pambansa Blg. 337,
to only illegal gambling which, like the other prohibited games of chance, must be otherwise known as the "Local Government Code," Executive Order
prevented or suppressed. No. 112 (1987), and Executive Order No. 319 (1988) are hereby
repealed.
We could stop here as this interpretation should settle the problem quite
conclusively. But we will not. The vigorous efforts of the petitioners on behalf of the (b) Presidential Decree Nos. 684, 1191, 1508 and such other
inhabitants of Cagayan de Oro City, and the earnestness of their advocacy, deserve decrees, orders, instructions, memoranda and issuances related to
more than short shrift from this Court. or concerning the barangay are hereby repealed.

The apparent flaw in the ordinances in question is that they contravene P.D. 1869 (c) The provisions of Sections 2, 3, and 4 of Republic Act No. 1939
and the public policy embodied therein insofar as they prevent PAGCOR from regarding hospital fund; Section 3, a (3) and b (2) of Republic Act.
exercising the power conferred on it to operate a casino in Cagayan de Oro City. The No. 5447 regarding the Special Education Fund; Presidential Decree
petitioners have an ingenious answer to this misgiving. They deny that it is the No. 144 as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 559 and 1741;
ordinances that have changed P.D. 1869 for an ordinance admittedly cannot prevail Presidential Decree No. 231 as amended; Presidential Decree No.
against a statute. Their theory is that the change has been made by the Local 436 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 558; and Presidential
Government Code itself, which was also enacted by the national lawmaking Decree Nos. 381, 436, 464, 477, 526, 632, 752, and 1136 are hereby
authority. In their view, the decree has been, not really repealed by the Code, but repealed and rendered of no force and effect.
merely "modified pro tanto" in the sense that PAGCOR cannot now operate a casino
over the objection of the local government unit concerned. This modification of P.D. (d) Presidential Decree No. 1594 is hereby repealed insofar as it
1869 by the Local Government Code is permissible because one law can change or governs locally-funded projects.
repeal another law.
(e) The following provisions are hereby repealed or amended
It seems to us that the petitioners are playing with words. While insisting that the insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Code:
decree has only been "modifiedpro tanto," they are actually arguing that it is already Sections 2, 16, and 29 of Presidential Decree No. 704; Sections 12
dead, repealed and useless for all intents and purposes because the Code has shorn of Presidential Decree No. 87, as amended; Sections 52, 53, 66, 67,
PAGCOR of all power to centralize and regulate casinos. Strictly speaking, its 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74 of Presidential Decree No. 463, as
operations may now be not only prohibited by the local government unit; in fact, the amended; and Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 972, as
prohibition is not only discretionary but mandated by Section 458 of the Code if the amended, and
word "shall" as used therein is to be given its accepted meaning. Local government
units have now no choice but to prevent and suppress gambling, which in the
(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, This approach would also affirm that there are indeed two kinds of gambling, to wit,
executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations, or the illegal and those authorized by law. Legalized gambling is not a modern concept;
part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the it is probably as old as illegal gambling, if not indeed more so. The petitioners'
provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified suggestion that the Code authorizes them to prohibit all kinds of gambling would
accordingly. erase the distinction between these two forms of gambling without a clear indication
that this is the will of the legislature. Plausibly, following this theory, the City of
Furthermore, it is a familiar rule that implied repeals are not lightly presumed in the Manila could, by mere ordinance, prohibit the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office
absence of a clear and unmistakable showing of such intention. In Lichauco & Co. v. from conducting a lottery as authorized by R.A. 1169 and B.P. 42 or stop the races at
Apostol, 10 this Court explained: the San Lazaro Hippodrome as authorized by R.A. 309 and R.A. 983.

The cases relating to the subject of repeal by implication all In light of all the above considerations, we see no way of arriving at the conclusion
proceed on the assumption that if the act of later date clearly urged on us by the petitioners that the ordinances in question are valid. On the
reveals an intention on the part of the lawmaking power to contrary, we find that the ordinances violate P.D. 1869, which has the character and
abrogate the prior law, this intention must be given effect; but force of a statute, as well as the public policy expressed in the decree allowing the
there must always be a sufficient revelation of this intention, and it playing of certain games of chance despite the prohibition of gambling in general.
has become an unbending rule of statutory construction that the
intention to repeal a former law will not be imputed to the The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute
Legislature when it appears that the two statutes, or provisions, is obvious. Municipal governments are only agents of the national government. Local
with reference to which the question arises bear to each other the councils exercise only delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress
relation of general to special. as the national lawmaking body. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or
exercise powers higher than those of the latter. It is a heresy to suggest that the local
There is no sufficient indication of an implied repeal of P.D. 1869. On the contrary, as government units can undo the acts of Congress, from which they have derived their
the private respondent points out, PAGCOR is mentioned as the source of funding in power in the first place, and negate by mere ordinance the mandate of the statute.
two later enactments of Congress, to wit, R.A. 7309, creating a Board of Claims under
the Department of Justice for the benefit of victims of unjust punishment or Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers
detention or of violent crimes, and R.A. 7648, providing for measures for the solution and rights wholly from the legislature. It breathes into them the
of the power crisis. PAGCOR revenues are tapped by these two statutes. This would breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it creates, so it
show that the PAGCOR charter has not been repealed by the Local Government Code may destroy. As it may destroy, it may abridge and control. Unless
but has in fact been improved as it were to make the entity more responsive to the there is some constitutional limitation on the right, the legislature
fiscal problems of the government. might, by a single act, and if we can suppose it capable of so great
a folly and so great a wrong, sweep from existence all of the
It is a canon of legal hermeneutics that instead of pitting one statute against another municipal corporations in the State, and the corporation could not
in an inevitably destructive confrontation, courts must exert every effort to reconcile prevent it. We know of no limitation on the right so far as to the
them, remembering that both laws deserve a becoming respect as the handiwork of corporation themselves are concerned. They are, so to phrase it,
a coordinate branch of the government. On the assumption of a conflict between the mere tenants at will of the legislature. 11
P.D. 1869 and the Code, the proper action is not to uphold one and annul the other
but to give effect to both by harmonizing them if possible. This is possible in the case This basic relationship between the national legislature and the local government
before us. The proper resolution of the problem at hand is to hold that under the units has not been enfeebled by the new provisions in the Constitution strengthening
Local Government Code, local government units may (and indeed must) prevent and the policy of local autonomy. Without meaning to detract from that policy, we here
suppress all kinds of gambling within their territories except only those allowed by confirm that Congress retains control of the local government units although in
statutes like P.D. 1869. The exception reserved in such laws must be read into the significantly reduced degree now than under our previous Constitutions. The power
Code, to make both the Code and such laws equally effective and mutually to create still includes the power to destroy. The power to grant still includes the
complementary. power to withhold or recall. True, there are certain notable innovations in the
Constitution, like the direct conferment on the local government units of the power
to tax, 12 which cannot now be withdrawn by mere statute. By and large, however,
the national legislature is still the principal of the local government units, which
cannot defy its will or modify or violate it.

The Court understands and admires the concern of the petitioners for the welfare of
their constituents and their apprehensions that the welfare of Cagayan de Oro City
will be endangered by the opening of the casino. We share the view that "the hope
of large or easy gain, obtained without special effort, turns the head of the
workman" 13 and that "habitual gambling is a cause of laziness and ruin." 14 In People
v. Gorostiza, 15 we declared: "The social scourge of gambling must be stamped out.
The laws against gambling must be enforced to the limit." George Washington called
gambling "the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity and the father of mischief."
Nevertheless, we must recognize the power of the legislature to decide, in its own
wisdom, to legalize certain forms of gambling, as was done in P.D. 1869 and impliedly
affirmed in the Local Government Code. That decision can be revoked by this Court
only if it contravenes the Constitution as the touchstone of all official acts. We do not
find such contravention here.

We hold that the power of PAGCOR to centralize and regulate all games of chance,
including casinos on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines,
remains unimpaired. P.D. 1869 has not been modified by the Local Government
Code, which empowers the local government units to prevent or suppress only those
forms of gambling prohibited by law.

Casino gambling is authorized by P.D. 1869. This decree has the status of a statute
that cannot be amended or nullified by a mere ordinance. Hence, it was not
competent for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City to enact
Ordinance No. 3353 prohibiting the use of buildings for the operation of a casino and
Ordinance No. 3375-93 prohibiting the operation of casinos. For all their
praiseworthy motives, these ordinances are contrary to P.D. 1869 and the public
policy announced therein and are therefore ultra vires and void.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the challenged decision of the respondent
Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED, with costs against the petitioners. It is so ordered.

Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin, Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason,


Puno, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. 148560 November 19, 2001 infirm. He therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the Plunder Law
to the crucible of constitutionality mainly because, according to him, (a) it suffers
JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, from the vice of vagueness; (b) it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in
vs. criminal prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already
SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. punishable under The Revised Penal Code, all of which are purportedly clear
violations of the fundamental rights of the accused to due process and to be informed
DECISION of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

BELLOSILLO, J.: Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by petitioner to have
transgressed constitutional boundaries are Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which are
reproduced hereunder:
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 pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating the Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business,
limits on individuality beyond which the State cannot tread - asserting that "individual enterprise or material possession of any person within the purview of Section Two
spontaneity" must be allowed to flourish with very little regard to social interference (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents,
- he veritably acknowledges that the exercise of rights and liberties is imbued with a subordinates and/or business associates by any combination or series of the
civic obligation, which society is justified in enforcing at all cost, against those who following means or similar schemes:
would endeavor to withhold fulfillment. Thus he says -
(1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public
The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering funds or raids on the public treasury;
with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. The only purpose
for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, (2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share,
against his will, is to prevent harm to others. percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from any
person and/or entity in connection with any government contract or project
Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of the State to self- or by reason of the office or position of the public office concerned;
preservation. With the end of maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the body
politic, it behooves the State to formulate a system of laws that would compel (3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging
obeisance to its collective wisdom and inflict punishment for non-observance. to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or
instrumentalities, or government owned or controlled corporations and
The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic collectivism wrought their subsidiaries;
changes in the social order, carrying with it a new formulation of fundamental rights
and duties more attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-political (4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of
ideologies. In the process, the web of rights and State impositions became tangled stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the
and obscured, enmeshed in threads of multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking;
and broken. Antagonism, often outright collision, between the law as the expression
of the will of the State, and the zealous attempts by its members to preserve their (5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or
individuality and dignity, inevitably followed. It is when individual rights are pitted other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended
against State authority that judicial conscience is put to its severest test. to benefit particular persons or special interests; or

Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under (6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship,
RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder),1 as amended by RA connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the
7659,2 wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the
it crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally Republic of the Philippines.
Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public officer who, by that Omnibus Motion thus indicating the explicitness and comprehensibility of the
himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or Plunder Law.
consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses,
accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a Resolution in Crim. Case
or criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the aggregate amount or total No. 26558 finding that "a probable cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify
value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June 2001 petitioner's
plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who motion for reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan.
participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing
to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558
of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and on the ground that the facts alleged therein did not constitute an indictable offense
extenuating circumstances as provided by the Revised Penal Code shall be considered since the law on which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness, and that the
by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests Amended Information for Plunder charged more than one (1) offense. On 21 June
and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived 2001 the Government filed its Opposition to the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days
from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State (underscoring later or on 26 June 2001 petitioner submitted his Reply to the Opposition. On 9 July
supplied). 2001 the Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's Motion to Quash.

Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments on 18 September
not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in 2001, the issues for resolution in the instant petition for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder
furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten Law is unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires less evidence
wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt for proving the predicate crimes of plunder and therefore violates the rights of the
or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or accused to due process; and, (c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum
conspiracy (underscoring supplied). prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within the power of Congress to so classify it.

On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan eight Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of
(8) separate Informations, docketed as: (a) Crim. Case No. 26558, for violation of RA legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed
7080, as amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive, for to be in harmony with the Constitution.3 Courts invariably train their sights on this
violation of Secs. 3, par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti- fundamental rule whenever a legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation the postulate of constitutional adjudication. This strong predilection for
of Sec. 7, par. (d), of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of
Officials and Employees); (d) Crim. Case No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The the government to encroach upon the duties and powers of another. Thus it has been
Revised Penal Code); and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA No. said that the presumption is based on the deference the judicial branch accords to its
142, as amended by RA 6085). coordinate branch - the legislature.

On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the remand of the case to If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, the courts
the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation with respect to specification "d" of the must assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its
charges in the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for plenary powers, and has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the
reconsideration/reinvestigation of the offenses under specifications "a," "b," and "c" purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority. Hence
to give the accused an opportunity to file counter-affidavits and other documents in determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the fundamental
necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably, the grounds raised were only law, courts should proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and
lack of preliminary investigation, reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and forbearance. Every intendment of the law must be adjudged by the courts in favor of
opportunity to prove lack of probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the charges its constitutionality, invalidity being a measure of last resort. In construing therefore
and the vagueness of the law under which they are charged were never raised in the provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation is
fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality.
In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon4 we held that as long as there is some enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice
basis for the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the challenged law will not of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and,
be touched and the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the force of
the presumption is not sufficient to catapult a fundamentally deficient law into the 3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth
safe environs of constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably amassed, accumulated or acquired is at least ₱50,000,000.00.
transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight
lest the positive commands of the fundamental law be unduly eroded. As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform
those who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties,
Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs heavily on the party its validity will be sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the
challenging the validity of the statute. He must demonstrate beyond any tinge of counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and more importantly, the
doubt that there is indeed an infringement of the constitution, for absent such a accused, in identifying the realm of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be
showing, there can be no finding of unconstitutionality. A doubt, even if well- understood with little difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a
founded, will hardly suffice. As tersely put by Justice Malcolm, "To doubt is to public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least ₱50,000,000.00
sustain."5 And petitioner has miserably failed in the instant case to discharge his through a series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder
burden and overcome the presumption of constitutionality of the Plunder Law. Law.

As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the language of the law,
parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his violation. indicating with reasonable certainty the various elements of the offense which
Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and conditions petitioner is alleged to have committed:
required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable
certainty and particularity. Thus - "The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, EPIB, Office of the
Ombudsman, hereby accuses former PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance PHILIPPINES, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE
with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business VELARDE,' together with Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio,
associates, subordinates or other persons; Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos
Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime
2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a of Plunder, defined and penalized under R.A. No. 7080, as amended by Sec. 12 of R.A.
combination or series of the following overt or criminal acts: (a) through No. 7659, committed as follows:
misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or
raids on the public treasury; (b) by receiving, directly or indirectly, any That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the Philippines, and within
commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other form of pecuniary the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A
benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by
contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer; himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with his co-accused, WHO ARE
(c) by the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS
to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE
instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled corporations or their ADVANTAGE OF HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP,
subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any CONNECTION, OR INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally
shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including amass, accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten
the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; wealth in the aggregate amount or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION NINETY SEVEN
(e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS
combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (₱4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY
benefit particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking advantage of ENRICHING HIMSELF OR THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF
official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR
A combination OR Aseries of overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR (d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES,
MEANS, described as follows: PERCENTAGES, KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFITS, IN
CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in the amount of MORE
(a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES, OR LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THREE MILLION ONE
MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND
MILLION PESOS (₱545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (₱3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME
GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE' AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI
ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connection BANK."
with co-accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Yolanda T.
Ricaforte, Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous - as there is obviously
consideration OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING; none - that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Although subject to proof, these
factual assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily understood
(b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, and provide adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon
converting OR misusing DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR such unequivocal assertions, petitioner is completely informed of the accusations
PERSONAL gain and benefit, public funds in the amount of ONE HUNDRED against him as to enable him to prepare for an intelligent defense.
THIRTY MILLION PESOS (₱130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a
portion of the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS (₱200,000,000.00) tobacco Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory
excise tax share allocated for the province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. definition of the terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination
7171, by himself and/or in connivance with co-accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang, or series of overt or criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word
Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a.Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. "pattern" in Sec. 4. These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law
Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE DOES; (italic supplied). unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right
to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative
(c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND of his fundamental right to due process.
BENEFIT, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE
351,878,000 SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the Social Security The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered
System (SSS), 329,855,000 SHARES OF STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE BELLE uncertain and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the
CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION ONE employment of terms without defining them;6 much less do we have to define every
HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX word we use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory command
HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (₱1,102,965,607.50) AND requiring the legislature to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is
MORE OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED not restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the
TWELVE THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (₱744,612,450.00), words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity
RESPECTIVELY, OR A TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the
HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS
(₱1,847,578,057.50); AND BY COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute
INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF AND/OR IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and
JANE DOES, COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF SAID signification,7 unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special
PURCHASES OF SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED legal meaning to those words.8 The intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily,
EIGHTY NINE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS untrained philologists and lexicographers - to use statutory phraseology in such a
(₱189,700,000.00) MORE OR LESS, FROM THE BELLE CORPORATION manner is always presumed. Thus, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary contains the
WHICH BECAME PART OF THE DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK following commonly accepted definition of the words "combination" and "series:"
UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE;'
Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or process of combining. REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, that’s it. When we say combination, we mean, two
To combine is to bring into such close relationship as to obscure individual characters. different acts. It cannot be a repetition of the same act.

Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming one after another in REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah.
spatial and temporal succession.
REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there are two.
That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series" to be understood in
their popular meanings is pristinely evident from the legislative deliberations on the REP. GARCIA: A series.
bill which eventually became RA 7080 or the Plunder Law:
REP. ISIDRO: That’s not series. Its a combination. Because when we say combination
DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, 7 May 1991 or series, we seem to say that two or more, di ba?

REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of plunder. We say THROUGH REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary crimes. That is why, I said,
A COMBINATION OR SERIES OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED IN that is a very good suggestion because if it is only one act, it may fall under ordinary
SECTION ONE HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we actually mean to say, if crime but we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. So x x x x
there are two or more means, we mean to say that number one and two or number
one and something else are included, how about a series of the same act? For REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di....
example, through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, will these be included also?
SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term "series?"
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series.
REP. GARCIA: Series, oo.
REP. ISIDRO: Series.
REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two misappropriations....
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series.
REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be combination. Series.
REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination.
REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?
REP. GARCIA: Yes.
REP. GARCIA: Yes.
REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that -
REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?
REP. GARCIA: Two.
REP. GARCIA: Yes.
REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of the enumerated means
not twice of one enumeration.
SEN. TANADA: Two different.

REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice.


REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.

REP. ISIDRO: Not twice?


REP. GARCIA: For example, ha...

REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but combination, two acts.
REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...
DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989 accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. And thirdly, there must either be an 'overall
unlawful scheme' or 'conspiracy' to achieve said common goal. As commonly
SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that sometimes "one" or maybe understood, the term 'overall unlawful scheme' indicates a 'general plan of action or
even "two" acts may already result in such a big amount, on line 25, would the method' which the principal accused and public officer and others conniving with him
Sponsor consider deleting the words "a series of overt or," to read, therefore: "or follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the alternative, if there is no such
conspiracy COMMITTED by criminal acts such as." Remove the idea of necessitating overall scheme or where the schemes or methods used by multiple accused vary, the
"a series." Anyway, the criminal acts are in the plural. overt or criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a common goal.

SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or more of the acts Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair warning and
mentioned in this. sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner's
reliance on the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The doctrine
THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be.... has been formulated in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect that
a statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient
definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is
SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because "a series" implies several or many; two or more.
prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that specie of legislation that
is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving clause
SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x
or by construction.

THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be prosecuted under the particular
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that
crime. But when we say "acts of plunder" there should be, at least, two or more.
men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its
application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2)
SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered by existing laws, Mr. respects - it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties
President. targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers
unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is referring to at least two (2) the Government muscle.10 But the doctrine does not apply as against legislations that
acts falling under different categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., are merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify a standard
raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance though defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly
of assets belonging to the National Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3). applicable to certain types of activities. The first may be "saved" by proper
construction, while no challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever
On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) or more overt or directed against such activities.11 With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked
criminal acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), where the assailed statute is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case.
say, misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall
under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a technical or The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether
distinctive meaning for "combination" and "series," it would have taken greater pains the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct
in specifically providing for it in the law. when measured by common understanding and practice. 12It must be stressed,
however, that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of
As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan 9 that this term certainty for the statute to be upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical
is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 - exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous
specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly
x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least a combination or delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more
series of overt or criminal acts enumerated in subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the
Secondly, pursuant to Sec. 2 of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all
towards a common purpose or goal which is to enable the public officer to amass, other statutes.
Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice Vicente applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed
V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that the allegations that the cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others." 19
Plunder Law is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity -
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical
The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they
requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the
essential of due process of law."13 The overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, established rule is that "one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will
decrees that "a governmental purpose may not be achieved by means which sweep not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken
unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms." 14 as applying to other persons or other situations in which its application might be
unconstitutional."20 As has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial
overbroad because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The theory is invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are
that "[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant."21 Consequently, there is no
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and
prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected in its entirety.
expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on
could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity." 15 The possible the ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court whose activities
harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is are constitutionally protected.22 It constitutes a departure from the case and
outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred controversy requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made
and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly without concrete factual settings and in sterile abstract contexts.23 But, as the U.S.
broad statutes. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris24

This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring
terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever
for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of
socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as the controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above
in the area of free speech. all the speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of
detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory
The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free for deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.
speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S.
Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as
recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context of the First "manifestly strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a last
Amendment."16 In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,17 the Court ruled that "claims of facial resort,"25 and is generally disfavored.26 In determining the constitutionality of a
overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, statute, therefore, its provisions which are alleged to have been violated in a case
seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if must be examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant is charged.27
entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws
that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been held In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the
that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more
successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists imagined than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting
under which the Act would be valid."18 As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a parts and words in the statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of
litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible scientific precision in the law. Every provision of the law should be construed in
relation and with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take more than x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference
nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of constitutionality and in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest
validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance of what the partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, x x x (Section 3 [e], Rep.
Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, Act 3019, as amended).
petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the
Senate and its appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted penal provisions
affirmative vote with full knowledge of its legal implications and sound constitutional penalize is the act of a public officer, in the discharge of his official, administrative or
anchorage. judicial functions, in giving any private party benefits, advantage or preference which
is unjustified, unauthorized or without justification or adequate reason, through
The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan28 must be mentioned if only to manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
illustrate and emphasize the point that courts are loathed to declare a statute void
for uncertainty unless the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, and is In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague or ambiguous in the
susceptible of no reasonable construction that will support and give it effect. In that use of the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt
case, petitioners Gallego and Agoncillo challenged the constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. Practices Act, which was understood in its primary and general acceptation.
(e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Actfor being vague. Petitioners posited, Consequently, in that case, petitioners' objection thereto was held inadequate to
among others, that the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise and elastic with no declare the section unconstitutional.
common law meaning or settled definition by prior judicial or administrative
precedents; that, for its vagueness, Sec. 3, par. (e), violates due process in that it does On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched theory that Sec. 4 of
not give fair warning or sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Petitioners the Plunder Law circumvents the immutable obligation of the prosecution to prove
further argued that the Information charged them with three (3) distinct offenses, to beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of plunder when
wit: (a) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through manifest partiality; (b) giving of it requires only proof of a pattern of overt or criminal acts showing unlawful scheme
"unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and, (c) giving of "unwarranted" or conspiracy -
benefits through gross inexcusable negligence while in the discharge of their official
function and that their right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall
against them was violated because they were left to guess which of the three (3)
not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in
offenses, if not all, they were being charged and prosecuted.
furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten
wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or
In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.
Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer from the constitutional defect of vagueness. The
phrases "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and inexcusable
The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a criminal
negligence" merely describe the different modes by which the offense penalized in
prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the
Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute may be committed, and the use of all these phrases in
presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the
the same Information does not mean that the indictment charges three (3) distinct
State succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability
offenses.
lies, the accused is entitled to an acquittal.29 The use of the "reasonable doubt"
standard is indispensable to command the respect and confidence of the community
The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking adequate or official in the application of criminal law. It is critical that the moral force of criminal law be
support; unjustified; unauthorized (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. 2514); not diluted by a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt whether innocent men
or without justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. US are being condemned. It is also important in our free society that every individual
Dept. of Justice, C.D. Pa., 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in Words and Phrases, Permanent going about his ordinary affairs has confidence that his government cannot adjudge
Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978, Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, p. 19). him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper factfinder of his guilt with
utmost certainty. This "reasonable doubt" standard has acquired such exalted stature
The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act consider a corrupt in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process Clause which
practice and make unlawful the act of the public officer in: protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt
of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged. 30 The It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in any manner refashion
following exchanges between Rep. Rodolfo Albano and Rep. Pablo Garcia on this the standard quantum of proof in the crime of plunder. The burden still remains with
score during the deliberations in the floor of the House of Representatives are the prosecution to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element necessary
elucidating - to constitute the crime.

DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080, 9 October 1990 The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of the
crime suffers from a dismal misconception of the import of that provision. What the
MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our criminal law that what is prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts
alleged in the information must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. If we will prove sufficient to form a combination or series which would constitute a pattern and
only one act and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the information, does involving an amount of at least ₱50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each and
that not work against the right of the accused especially so if the amount committed, every other act alleged in the Information to have been committed by the accused in
say, by falsification is less than ₱100 million, but the totality of the crime committed furtherance of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or
is ₱100 million since there is malversation, bribery, falsification of public document, acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate, supposing that the accused is charged in an
coercion, theft? Information for plunder with having committed fifty (50) raids on the public treasury.
The prosecution need not prove all these fifty (50) raids, it being sufficient to prove
MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the information needs to be by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that
proved beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to be proved beyond reasonable they amounted to at least ₱50,000,000.00.31
doubt is every element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. Speaker, there is an
enumeration of the things taken by the robber in the information – three pairs of A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical conclusion that
pants, pieces of jewelry. These need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but "pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or
these will not prevent the conviction of a crime for which he was charged just because, conspiracy" inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden
say, instead of 3 pairs of diamond earrings the prosecution proved two. Now, what is wealth. Stated otherwise, such pattern arises where the prosecution is able to prove
required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the element of the offense. beyond reasonable doubt the 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 consistent
MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but considering that in the crime of with reason and common sense. There would be no other explanation for a
plunder the totality of the amount is very important, I feel that such a series of overt combination or series of
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 crime of extortion, he was only able to overt or criminal acts to stash ₱50,000,000.00 or more, than "a scheme or conspiracy
accumulate ₱1 million. Now, when we add the totality of the other acts as required to amass, accumulate or acquire ill gotten wealth." The prosecution is therefore not
under this bill through the interpretation on the rule of evidence, it is just one single required to make a deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily
act, so how can we now convict him? follows with the establishment of a series or combination of the predicate acts.

MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of proving an essential Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his
element of the crime, there is a need to prove that element beyond reasonable doubt. submission that "pattern" is "a very important element of the crime of plunder;" and
For example, one essential element of the crime is that the amount involved is ₱100 that Sec. 4 is "two pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive
million. Now, in a series of defalcations and other acts of corruption in the element of the crime," such that without it the accused cannot be convicted of
enumeration the total amount would be ₱110 or ₱120 million, but there are certain plunder -
acts that could not be proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those
transactions which were proved. Now, if the amount involved in these transactions, JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be convicted under the
proved beyond reasonable doubt, is ₱100 million, then there is a crime of Plunder Law without applying Section 4 on the Rule of Evidence if there is proof
plunder (underscoring supplied). beyond reasonable doubt of the commission of the acts complained of?
ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual crimes enumerated in moral certitude exacted by the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused
the Revised Penal Code, but not plunder. beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, even granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4
is flawed and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it may simply be
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of the crime are proved severed from the rest of the provisions without necessarily resulting in the demise of
beyond reasonable doubt without applying Section 4, can you not have a conviction the law; after all, the existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than
under the Plunder Law? enough. Besides, Sec. 7 of RA 7080 provides for a separability clause -

ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor. Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act or the application
thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions of this
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application of Sec. 4 in convicting an Act and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not
accused charged for violation of the Plunder Law? be affected thereby.

ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4 lays down a substantive Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act from being declared
element of the law x x x x invalid as a result of the nullity of some of its provisions, assuming that to be the case
although it is not really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be treated
independently of each other, especially if by doing so, the objectives of the statute
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of Section 4 when there is
can best be achieved.
proof beyond reasonable doubt on the acts charged constituting plunder?

As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder is
ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two pronged, it contains a rule
a malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his Concurring
of evidence and it contains a substantive element of the crime of plunder. So, there is
Opinion -
no way by which we can avoid Section 4.

x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable doubt insofar as the
rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended
predicate crimes charged are concerned that you do not have to go that far by
information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, unlawfully
applying Section 4?
and criminally." It thus alleges guilty knowledge on the part of petitioner.
ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 contains a very important
In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of mens
element of the crime of plunder and that cannot be avoided by the prosecution.32
rea and that is the reason he claims the statute is void, petitioner cites the following
remarks of Senator Tañada made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733:
We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of
plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec.
SENATOR TAÑADA . . . And the evidence that will be required to convict him would
1, par. (d), and "pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and opening
not be evidence for each and every individual criminal act but only evidence sufficient
clause of Sec. 4 is clear and unequivocal:
to establish the conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder.33
SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder x x x x
However, Senator Tañada was discussing §4 as shown by the succeeding portion of
the transcript quoted by petitioner:
It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a
criminal case for plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define
SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels that it is contained in
or establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in
Section 4, Rule of Evidence, which, in the Gentleman's view, would provide for a
furtherance of a remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to substantive law.
speedier and faster process of attending to this kind of cases?
Indubitably, even without invoking Sec. 4, a conviction for plunder may be had, for
what is crucial for the prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that
SENATOR TAÑADA: Yes, Mr. President . . .34 three days or serious physical injuries were inflicted on the victim or threats to kill
him were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide, rape or intentional
Senator Tañada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to commit mutilation, destructive arson, and carnapping where the owner, driver or occupant
plunder, the prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act done to further of the carnapped vehicle is killed or raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua
the scheme or conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a to death, are clearly heinous by their very nature.
pattern of overt or ciminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or
conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting the pattern are concerned, however, the There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the significance and
elements of the crime must be proved and the requisite mens rea must be shown. implications of the subject criminal acts in the scheme of the larger socio-political and
economic context in which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and
Indeed, §2 provides that - provide for its poor and underprivileged masses. Reeling from decades of corrupt
tyrannical rule that bankrupted the government and impoverished the population,
Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an the Philippine Government must muster the political will to dismantle the culture of
offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such corruption, dishonesty, greed and syndicated criminality that so deeply entrenched
offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the itself in the structures of society and the psyche of the populace. [With the
attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised government] terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic services to its
Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. people, any form of misappropriation or misapplication of government funds
translates to an actual threat to the very existence of government, and in turn, the
very survival of the people it governs over. Viewed in this context, no less heinous
The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal
are the effects and repercussions of crimes like qualified bribery, destructive arson
Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens
resulting in death, and drug offenses involving government officials, employees or
rea is an element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is
officers, that their perpetrators must not be allowed to cause further destruction and
determined by his criminal intent. It is true that §2 refers to "any person who
damage to society.
participates with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing
to the crime of plunder." There is no reason to believe, however, that it does not
apply as well to the public officer as principal in the crime. As Justice Holmes said: The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies
"We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws with what they that it is a malum in se. For when the acts punished are inherently immoral or
omit, but there is no canon against using common sense in construing laws as saying inherently wrong, they are mala in se37 and it does not matter that such acts are
what they obviously mean."35 punished in a special law, especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes
are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it would be absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder
as though they are mere prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P.
Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be
Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against jaywalking, without regard to the inherent
deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in 1993
wrongness of the acts.
to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death.
Other heinous crimes are punished with death as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659.
Referring to these groups of heinous crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray:36 To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory law of
RA 7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say however that it is now too late
in the day for him to resurrect this long dead issue, the same having been eternally
The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by their very
consigned by People v. Echegaray38 to the archives of jurisprudential history. The
nature, despicable, either because life was callously taken or the victim is treated like
declaration of this Court therein that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a
an animal and utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his
declaration of the State, and becomes, by necessary effect, assimilated in the
or her growth as a human being . . . . Seen in this light, the capital crimes of kidnapping
Constitution now as an integral part of it.
and serious illegal detention for ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the
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 Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene profligacy of
victim in the case of other crimes; as well as murder, rape, parricide, infanticide, officials in high places which have shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of graft
kidnapping and serious illegal detention, where the victim is detained for more than and corruption has become more elaborate in the corridors of time as unscrupulous
people relentlessly contrive more and more ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the
government. Drastic and radical measures are imperative to fight the increasingly
sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and economically 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 spread
like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of
our nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living testament to the will of the legislature
to ultimately eradicate this scourge and thus secure society against the avarice and
other venalities in public office.

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 ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual
prosecution and trial under a virginal statute. This continuing saga has driven a wedge
of dissension among our people that may linger for a long time. Only by responding
to the clarion call for patriotism, to rise above factionalism and prejudices, shall we
emerge triumphant in the midst of ferment.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known as the
Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the
petition to declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

Davide, Jr. C.J., Melo, Quisumbing, JJ., join concurring opinion of J. Mendoza.
Puno, Vitug, JJ., concurred and joins J. Mendoza's concurring opinion.
Kapunan, Pardo, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ynares-Santiago, JJ., see dissenting opinion.
Mendoza, J., please see concurring opinion.
Panganiban J., please see separate concurring opinion.
Carpio, J., no part. Was one of the complainants before Ombudsman.
G.R. No. 152259 July 29, 2004 The facts of the case are narrated by the Sandiganbayan as follows:

ALFREDO T. ROMUALDEZ, petitioner, "[The People of the Philippines], through the Presidential Commission on
vs. Good Government (PCGG), filed on July 12, 1989 an information before [the
THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (Fifth Division) and the PEOPLE of the anti-graft court] charging the accused [with] violation of Section 5, Republic
PHILIPPINES, respondents. Act No. 3019,5 as amended. The Information reads:

'That on or about and during the period from July 16, 1975 to July
29, 1975, in Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of [the Sandiganbayan], said [petitioner], brother-in-law of
DECISION Ferdinand E. Marcos, former President of the Philippines, and
therefore, related to the latter by affinity within the third civil
PANGANIBAN, J.: degree, did then and there wil[l]fully and unlawfully, and with
evident bad faith, for the purpose of promoting his self-interested
[sic] and/or that of others, intervene directly or indirectly, in a
Repetitive motions to invalidate or summarily terminate a criminal indictment prior
contract between the National Shipyard and Steel Corporation
to plea and trial, however they may be named or identified -- whether as a motion to
(NASSCO), a government-owned and controlled corporation and
quash or motion to dismiss or by any other nomenclature -- delay the administration
the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company (BASECO), a private
of justice and unduly burden the court system. Grounds not included in the first of
corporation, the majority stocks of which is owned by former
such repetitive motions are generally deemed waived and can no longer be used as
President Ferdinand E. Marcos, whereby the NASSCO sold,
bases of similar motions subsequently filed.
transferred and conveyed to the BASECO its ownership and all its
titles and interests over all equipment and facilities including
Section 5 of the Anti-Graft Law is constitutional. It penalizes certain presidential
structures, buildings, shops, quarters, houses, plants and
relatives who "intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract
expendable and semi-expendable assets, located at the Engineer
or application with the Government." This provision is not vague or "impermissibly
Island known as the Engineer Island Shops including some of its
broad," because it can easily be understood with the use of simple statutory
equipment and machineries from Jose Panganiban, Camarines
construction. Neither may the constitutionality of a criminal statute such as this be
Norte needed by BASECO in its shipbuilding and ship repair
challenged on the basis of the "overbreadth" and the "void-for-vagueness" doctrines, program for the amount of P5,000,000.00.
which apply only to free-speech cases.
'Contrary to law.'
The Case
"On December 27, 1996, the accused filed his first 'MOTION TO DISMISS
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari1 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to
AND TO DEFER ARRAIGNMENT' claiming that no valid preliminary
set aside the November 20, 20012 and the March 1, 20023 Resolutions of the
investigation was conducted in the instant case. He asserts that if a
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 13736. The first Resolution disposed thus:
preliminary investigation could be said to have been conducted, the same
was null and void having been undertaken by a biased and partial
"WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the Motion to Dismiss is hereby DENIED. The investigative body.
arraignment of the accused and the pre-trial of the case shall proceed as
scheduled."4
"On January 9, 1997, [the Sandiganbayan], through the First Division, issued
an order giving the accused fifteen days to file a Motion for Reinvestigation
The second Resolution denied reconsideration. with the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

The Facts
"[Petitioner] questioned said order before the Supreme Court via a petition 'III. PURSUANT TO ARTICLE VII, SECTION 17 OF THE 1973
for Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order. CONSTITUTION, [PETITIONER] IS IMMUNE FROM CRIMINAL
On January 21, 1998, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition for failure PROSECUTION
to show that [the Sandiganbayan] committed grave abuse of discretion in
issuing the assailed order. 'IV. THE CRIMINAL ACTION OR LIABILITY HAS BEEN EXTINGUISHED
BY PRESCRIPTION'"6
"On November 9, 1998, the [petitioner] filed with the Office of the Special
Prosecutor a Motion to Quash. Ruling of the Sandiganbayan

"On September 22, 1999, x x x Special Prosecution Officer (SPO) III Victorio The Sandiganbayan explained that all the grounds invoked by petitioner, except the
U. Tabanguil, manifested that the prosecution had already concluded the third one, had already been raised by him and passed upon in its previous
reinvestigation of the case. He recommended the dismissal of the instant Resolutions.7 In resolving the third ground, the anti-graft court pointed out that
case. Both the Deputy Special Prosecutor and the Special Prosecutor Section 17 of the 1973 Constitution became effective only in 1981 when the basic law
approved the recommendation. However, Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto was amended. Since his alleged illegal intervention had been committed on or about
disagreed and directed the prosecutors to let the [petitioner] present his 1975, the amended provision was inapplicable to him. 8
evidence in Court.
In denying the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioner, the Sandiganbayan
"Subsequently, [petitioner] filed on October 8, 1999 his second 'MOTION TO passed upon the other grounds he had raised. It ruled that his right to a preliminary
QUASH AND TO DEFER ARRAIGNMENT'. investigation was not violated, because he had been granted a reinvestigation. 9 It
further held that his right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
"On February 9, 2000, the [Sandiganbayan] denied the motion for lack of was not trampled upon, either, inasmuch as the Information had set forth the
merit. essential elements of the offense charged. 10

"On June 19, 2001, [the] accused filed a 'MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE Hence, this Petition.11
MOTION TO DISMISS'. On June 29, 2001, the [Sandiganbayan] admitted the
motion and admitted the attached (third) Motion to Dismiss. The Issues

"The [Motion to Dismiss] raise[d] the following grounds: In his Memorandum, petitioner assigns the following errors for our consideration:

'I. THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW OF "Whether or not the Honorable Sandiganbayan erred and gravely abused its
[PETITIONER] WAS VIOLATED DURING THE PRELIMINARY discretion amounting to lack of, or in excess of jurisdiction –
INVESTIGATION STAGE IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
I. In not dismissing and/or quashing Criminal Case No. 13736 despite clear
'A. NO VALID PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED IN and incontrovertible evidence that:
THE INSTANT CASE; AND
A. Section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019 is unconstitutional because
'B. THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED BY A its vagueness violates the due process right of an individual to be
BIASED AND PARTIAL INVESTIGATOR informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation against him;

'II. THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF [PETITIONER] TO BE INFORMED B. Section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019 is unconstitutional because it
OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM violates the due process right of an individual to be presumed
WAS VIOLATED innocent until the contrary is proved;
C. The constitutional right of petitioner x x x to be informed of the quash.13 We note that the Petition for Certiorari before us challenges the denial of his
nature and the cause of the accusation against him was violated; original, not his Supplemental, Motion to Dismiss.

D. The constitutional right to due process of law of petitioner x x x Upon the denial of his original Motion to Quash on February 9, 2000, petitioner could
was violated during the preliminary investigation stage in the have filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial. Had reconsideration been
following ways: turned down, the next proper remedy would have been either (1) a petition for
certiorari14 -- if there was grave abuse of discretion -- which should be filed within 60
[i] No valid preliminary investigation was con-ducted for days from notice of the assailed order;15 or (2) to proceed to trial without prejudice
Criminal Case No. 13736; and to his right, if final judgment is rendered against him, to raise the same questions
before the proper appellate court.16 But instead of availing himself of these remedies,
[ii] The preliminary investigation was conducted by a he filed a "Motion to Dismiss" on June 19, 2001.
biased and partial investigator.
Impropriety of
E. The criminal action or liability has been extinguished by Repetitive Motions
prescription; and
There is no substantial distinction between a "motion to quash" and a "motion to
F. Pursuant to Article VII, Section 17 of the 1973 Constitution, dismiss." Both pray for an identical relief, which is the dismissal of the case. Such
petitioner x x x is immune from criminal prosecution. motions are employed to raise preliminary objections, so as to avoid the necessity of
proceeding to trial. A motion to quash is generally used in criminal proceedings to
annul a defective indictment. A motion to dismiss, the nomenclature ordinarily used
And
in civil proceedings, is aimed at summarily defeating a complaint. Thus, our Rules of
Court use the term "motion to quash" in criminal, 17 and "motion to dismiss" in civil,
II. In light of the foregoing, in denying petitioner['s] x x x right to equal
proceedings.18
protection of the laws."12
In the present case, however, both the "Motion to Quash" and the "Motion to
Simply stated, the issues are as follows: (1) whether Section 5 of Republic Act 3019 is
Dismiss" are anchored on basically the same grounds and pray for the same relief.
unconstitutional; (2) whether the Information is vague; (3) whether there was a valid
The hairsplitting distinction posited by petitioner does not really make a difference.
preliminary investigation; (4) whether the criminal action or liability has been
extinguished by prescription; and (5) whether petitioner is immune from criminal
By filing a Motion to Dismiss, petitioner submitted in effect a prohibited second
prosecution under then Section 17 of Article VII of the 1973 Constitution.
motion to quash. A party is not permitted to raise issues, whether similar or different,
by installment. The Rules abhor repetitive motions. Otherwise, there would be no
The Court's Ruling
end to preliminary objections, and trial would never commence. A second motion to
quash delays the administration of justice and unduly burdens the courts. Moreover,
The Petition has no merit. Rule 117 provides that grounds not raised in the first motion to quash are generally
deemed waived.19 Petitioner's "Motion to Dismiss" violates this rule.
First Issue:
Constitutionality of Section 5, Constitutionality of
Republic Act 3019 the Challenged Provision

Petitioner challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 of RA 3019 for the first time If only for the foregoing procedural lapses, the Petition deserves to be dismissed
in the Sandiganbayan through a Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. Attached to his outright. However, given the importance of this case in curtailing graft and
December 7, 2001 Motion for Reconsideration of the Order denying his Motion to corruption, the Court will nevertheless address the other issues on their merit.
Dismiss was this Supplemental Motion which was, in effect, his third motion to Petitioner challenges the validity of Section 5 of Republic Act 3019, a penal statute,
on the ground that the act constituting the offense is allegedly vague and "To this date, the Court has not declared any penal law unconstitutional on
"impermissibly broad." the ground of ambiguity."23 While mentioned in passing in some cases, the
void-for-vagueness concept has yet to find direct application in our
It is best to stress at the outset that the overbreadth 20 and the vagueness21 doctrines jurisdiction. In Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad,24 the Bookkeeping Act was found
have special application only to free-speech cases. They are not appropriate for unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection clause, not
testing the validity of penal statutes. Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza explained the because it was vague. Adiong v. Comelec25 decreed as void a mere Comelec
reason as follows: Resolution, not a statute. Finally, Santiago v. Comelec26 held that a portion
of RA 6735 was unconstitutional because of undue delegation of legislative
"A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which powers, not because of vagueness.
is overbroad because of possible 'chilling effect' upon protected speech. The
theory is that '[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily Indeed, an "on-its-face" invalidation of criminal statutes would result in a mass
apparent construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the acquittal of parties whose cases may not have even reached the courts. Such
statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of invalidation would constitute a departure from the usual requirement of "actual case
constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks and controversy" and permit decisions to be made in a sterile abstract context having
on overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the no factual concreteness. In Younger v. Harris, this evil was aptly pointed out by the
attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute U.S. Supreme Court in these words:27
drawn with narrow specificity.' The possible harm to society in permitting
some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility "[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and
that the protected speech of others may be deterred and perceived requiring correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into
grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination
broad statutes. of the relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the legislative
process of the relief sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous
This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, x x x
general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding
challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided."
from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal
law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech. For this reason, generally disfavored is an on-its-face invalidation of statutes,
described as a "manifestly strong medicine" to be employed "sparingly and only as a
xxxxxxxxx last resort." In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions
that have allegedly been violated must be examined in the light of the conduct with
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are which the defendant has been charged.28
analytical tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech
cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They As conduct -- not speech -- is its object, the challenged provision must be examined
cannot be made to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. only "as applied" to the defendant, herein petitioner, and should not be declared
With respect to such statute, the established rule is that 'one to whom unconstitutional for overbreadth or vagueness.
application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the
statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to The questioned provision reads as follows:
other persons or other situations in which its application might be
unconstitutional.' As has been pointed out, 'vagueness challenges in the "Section 5. Prohibition on certain relatives. — It shall be unlawful for the
First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce spouse or for any relative, by consanguinity or affinity, within the third civil
facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process degree, of the President of the Philippines, the Vice-President of the
typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular Philippines, the President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of
defendant.'"22(underscoring supplied) Representatives, to intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business,
transaction, contract or application with the Government: Provided, That species of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot
this section shall not apply to any person who, prior to the assumption of be clarified either by a saving clause or by construction.
office of any of the above officials to whom he is related, has been already
dealing with the Government along the same line of business, nor to any "A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible
transaction, contract or application already existing or pending at the time standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
of such assumption of public office, nor to any application filed by him the meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute is
approval of which is not discretionary on the part of the official or officials repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects - it violates due process for
concerned but depends upon compliance with requisites provided by law, failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of
or rules or regulations issued pursuant to law, nor to any act lawfully what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in
performed in an official capacity or in the exercise of a profession." carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the
Government muscle.36 But the doctrine does not apply as against legislations
Petitioner also claims that the phrase "to intervene directly or indirectly, in any that are merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless
business, transaction, contract or application with the Government" is vague and specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are
violates his right to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation against apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The
him.29 He further complains that the provision does not specify what acts are first may be 'saved' by proper construction, while no challenge may be
punishable under the term intervene, and thus transgresses his right to be presumed mounted as against the second whenever directed against such
innocent.30 We disagree. activities.37 With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the
assailed statute is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case.
Every statute is presumed valid.31 On the party challenging its validity weighs heavily
the onerous task of rebutting this presumption. 32 Any reasonable doubt about the "The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is
validity of the law should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality.33 To doubt is to whether the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the
sustain, as tersely put by Justice George Malcolm. In Garcia v. Executive proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and
Secretary,34 the rationale for the presumption of constitutionality was explained by practice.38 It must be stressed, however, that the 'vagueness' doctrine
this Court thus: merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be
upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner
"The policy of the courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is
presume that the acts of the political departments are valid in the absence permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly
of a clear and unmistakable showing to the contrary. To doubt is to sustain. delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been
This presumption is based on the doctrine of separation of powers which more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where,
enjoins upon each department a becoming respect for the acts of the other because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the
departments. The theory is that as the joint act of Congress and the details in advance as in all other statutes."39
President of the Philippines, a law has been carefully studied and
determined to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was A simpler test was decreed in Dans v. People,40 in which the Court said that there was
finally enacted."35 nothing vague about a penal law that adequately answered the basic query "What is
the violation?"41 Anything beyond -- the hows and the whys -- are evidentiary matters
In the instant case, petitioner has miserably failed to overcome such presumption. that the law itself cannot possibly disclose, in view of the uniqueness of every case.42
This Court has previously laid down the test for determining whether a statute is
vague, as follows: The question "What is the violation?" is sufficiently answered by Section 5 of RA 3019,
as follows:
"x x x [A] statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with
sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand 1. The offender is a spouse or any relative by consanguinity or affinity within
what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that the third civil degree of the President of the Philippines, the Vice-President
of the Philippines, the President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House In sum, the Court holds that the challenged provision is not vague, and that in any
of Representatives; and event, the "overbreath" and "void for vagueness" doctrines are not applicable to this
case.
2. The offender intervened directly or indirectly in any business, transaction,
contract or application with the government. Second Issue:
Allegedly Vague Information
Applicability of
Statutory Construction Other than arguing on the alleged intrinsic vagueness of intervene, petitioner further
contends that the Information itself is also unconstitutionally vague, because it does
As to petitioner's claim that the term intervene is vague, this Court agrees with the not specify the acts of intervention that he supposedly performed. 49 Again, we
Office of the Solicitor General that the word can easily be understood through simple disagree.
statutory construction. The absence of a statutory definition of a term used in a
statute will not render the law "void for vagueness," if the meaning can be When allegations in the information are vague or indefinite, the remedy of the
determined through the judicial function of construction.43 Elementary is the accused is not a motion to quash, but a motion for a bill of particulars.50 The pertinent
principle that words should be construed in their ordinary and usual meaning. provision in the Rules of Court is Section 9 of Rule 116, which we quote:

"x x x. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general "Section 9. Bill of particulars. -- The accused may, before arraignment, move
terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms without for a bill of particulars to enable him properly to plead and prepare for trial.
defining them;44 much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides, The motion shall specify the alleged defects of the complaint or information
there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the and the details desired."
legislature to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not
restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define The rule merely requires the information to describe the offense with sufficient
the words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness particularity as to apprise the accused of what they are being charged with and to
or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can enable the court to pronounce judgment. 51 The particularity must be such that
be gathered from the whole act x x x. persons of ordinary intelligence may immediately know what is meant by the
information.52
"x x x [I]t is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a
statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation While it is fundamental that every element of the offense must be alleged in the
and signification,45 unless it is evident that the legislature intended a information,53 matters of evidence -- as distinguished from the facts essential to the
technical or special legal meaning to those words.46 The intention of the nature of the offense -- need not be averred.54 Whatever facts and circumstances
lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - must necessarily be alleged are to be determined by reference to the definition and
to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed."47 the essential elements of the specific crimes.55

The term intervene should therefore be understood in its ordinary acceptation, In the instant case, a cursory reading of the Information shows that the elements of
which is to "to come between."48Criminally liable is anyone covered in the a violation of Section 5 of RA 3019 have been stated sufficiently. Likewise, the
enumeration of Section 5 of RA 3019 -- any person who intervenes in any manner in allegations describe the offense committed by petitioner with such particularity as to
any business, transaction, contract or application with the government. As we have enable him to prepare an intelligent defense. Details of the acts he committed are
explained, it is impossible for the law to provide in advance details of how such acts evidentiary matters that need not be alleged in the Information.
of intervention could be performed. But the courts may pass upon those details once
trial is concluded. Thus, the alleged vagueness of intervene is not a ground to quash Third Issue:
the information prior to the commencement of the trial. Preliminary Investigation
Clearly, petitioner already brought the issue of lack of preliminary investigation when prescriptive period to fifteen (15) years took effect only on March 16, 1982, upon the
he questioned before this Court in GR No. 128317 the Sandiganbayan's Order giving enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 195.64
him 15 days to file a Motion for Reinvestigation with the Office of the Special
Prosecutor.56 Citing Cojuangco v. Presidential Commission on Good Government,57 he Act No. 3326, as amended,65 governs the prescription of offenses penalized by special
undauntedly averred that he was deprived of his right to a preliminary investigation, laws. Its pertinent provision reads:
because the PCGG acted both as complainant and as investigator. 58
"Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of
In the case cited above, this Court declared that while PCGG had the power to the violation of the law, and if the same not be known at the time, from the
conduct a preliminary investigation, the latter could not do so with the "cold discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its
neutrality of an impartial judge" in cases in which it was the agency that had gathered investigation and punishment.
evidence and subsequently filed the complaint.59 On that basis, this Court nullified
the preliminary investigation conducted by PCGG and directed the transmittal of the "The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted
records to the Ombudsman for appropriate action. against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are
dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy."
It is readily apparent that Cojuangco does not support the quashal of the Information
against herein petitioner. True, the PCGG initiated the present Complaint against Consistent with the provision quoted above, this Court has previously reckoned the
him; hence, it could not properly conduct the preliminary investigation. However, he prescriptive period of cases involving RA 3019 (committed prior to the February 1986
was accorded his rights -- the Sandiganbayan suspended the trial and afforded him a EDSA Revolution) from the discovery of the violation.66 In Republic v. Desierto, the
reinvestigation by the Ombudsman. The procedure outlined in Cojuangco was thus Court explained:
followed.
"This issue confronted this Court anew, albeit in a larger scale, in Presidential
The Sandiganbayan's actions are in accord also with Raro v. Sandiganbayan,60 which Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto. In the said
held that the failure to conduct a valid preliminary investigation would not warrant recent case, the Board of Directors of the Philippine Seeds, Inc. and
the quashal of an information. If the information has already been filed, the proper Development Bank of the Philippines were charged with violation of
procedure is for the Sandiganbayan to hold the trial in abeyance while the paragraphs (e) and (g) of Section 3 of RA No. 3019, by the Presidential Ad
preliminary investigation is being conducted or completed.61 Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans, created by then President
Fidel V. Ramos to investigate and to recover the so-called 'Behest Loans',
Fourth Issue: where the Philippine Government guaranteed several foreign loans to
Prescription corporations and entities connected with the former President Marcos. x x
x In holding that the case had not yet prescribed, this Court ruled that:
The issue of prescription was the principal basis of the Motion to Quash filed by
petitioner with the Sandiganbayan on October 8, 1999. 62 Such issue should be 'In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the State, the
disregarded at this stage, since he failed to challenge its ruling debunking his Motion aggrieved party, to have known the violations of RA No. 3019 at the
within the 60-day period for the filing of a petition for certiorari. A party may not time the questioned transactions were made because, as alleged,
circumvent this rule by filing a subsequent motion that raises the same issue and the the public officials concerned connived or conspired with the
same arguments. 'beneficiaries of the loans.' Thus, we agree with the COMMITTEE
that the prescriptive period for the offenses with which the
Furthermore, it is easy to see why this argument being raised by petitioner is utterly respondents in OMB-0-96-0968 were charged should be computed
unmeritorious. He points out that according to the Information, the offense was from the discovery of the commission thereof and not from the day
committed "during the period from July 16, 1975 to July 29, 1975." He argues that of such commission.
when the Information was filed on July 12, 1989,63 prescription had already set in,
because the prescriptive period for a violation of Republic Act No. 3019 is only ten xxx xxx xxx
(10) years from the time the offense was allegedly committed. The increase of this
'People v. Duque is more in point, and what was stated there stands brother-in-law. He was charged with intervening in a sale involving a private
reiteration: In the nature of things, acts made criminal by special corporation, the majority stocks of which was allegedly owned by President Marcos.
laws are frequently not immoral or obviously criminal in
themselves; for this reason, the applicable statute requires that if Prior to February 1986, no person was expected to have seriously dared question the
the violation of the special law is not known at the time, legality of the sale or would even have thought of investigating petitioner's alleged
the prescription begins to run only from the discovery thereof, i.e., involvement in the transaction. It was only after the creation68of PCGG69 and its
discovery of the unlawful nature of the constitutive act or exhaustive investigations that the alleged crime was discovered. This led to the
acts.' (Italics supplied) initiation on November 29, 1988 of a Complaint against former President Marcos and
petitioner for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Consequently, the
"There are striking parallelisms between the said Behest Loans Case and the filing of the Information on July 12, 1989 was well within the prescriptive period of
present one which lead us to apply the ruling of the former to the ten years from the discovery of the offense.
latter. First, both cases arose out of seemingly innocent business
transactions; second, both were 'discovered' only after the government Fifth Issue
created bodies to investigate these anomalous transactions; third, both Immunity from Prosecution
involve prosecutions for violations of RA No. 3019; and, fourth, in both
cases, it was sufficiently raised in the pleadings that the respondents Petitioner argues that he enjoys derivative immunity, because he allegedly served as
conspired and connived with one another in order to keep the alleged a high-ranking naval officer -- specifically, as naval aide-de-camp -- of former
violations hidden from public scrutiny. President Marcos.70 He relies on Section 17 of Article VII of the 1973 Constitution, as
amended, which we quote:
"This Court's pronouncement in the case of Domingo v. Sandiganbayan is
quite relevant and instructive as to the date when the discovery of the "The President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no
offense should be reckoned, thus: suit whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others pursuant
to his specific orders during his tenure.
'In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the
government, the aggrieved party, to have known the violations "x x x xxx x x x"
committed at the time the questioned transactions were made
because both parties to the transactions were allegedly in
As the Sandiganbayan aptly pointed out, the above provision is not applicable to
conspiracy to perpetuate fraud against the government. The
petitioner because the immunity amendment became effective only in 1981 while
alleged anomalous transactions could only have been discovered
the alleged crime happened in 1975.
after the February 1986 Revolution when one of the original
respondents, then President Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted from
In Estrada v. Desierto,71 this Court exhaustively traced the origin of executive
office. Prior to said date, no person would have dared to question
immunity in order to determine the extent of its applicability. We explained therein
the legality or propriety of those transactions. Hence, the counting
that executive immunity applied only during the incumbency of a President. It could
of the prescriptive period would commence from the date of
discovery of the offense, which could have been between February not be used to shield a non-sitting President from prosecution for alleged criminal
acts done while sitting in office. The reasoning of petitioner must therefore fail, since
1986 after the EDSA Revolution and 26 May 1987 when the
he derives his immunity from one who is no longer sitting as President. Verily, the
initiatory complaint was filed.'"67
felonious acts of public officials and their close relatives "are not acts of the State,
and the officer who acts illegally is not acting as such but stands on the same footing
The above pronouncement is squarely applicable to the present case. The general
as any other trespasser."
rule that prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the crime
cannot apply to the present case. It is not legally prudent to charge the State, the
In sum, petitioner utterly fails to show that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its
aggrieved party, with knowledge of the violation of RA 3019 at the time the alleged
discretion in issuing the assailed Resolutions.72 On the contrary, it acted prudently, in
intervention was made. The accused is the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos'
accordance with law and jurisprudence.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED, and the questioned Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Quisumbing, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr.,


and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Puno, Ynares-Santiago, and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., in the result.
Corona, J., on leave.
Tinga, J., in the result. Please see separate opinion.
Chico-Nazario, J., no part. Ponente of assailed SB Resolutions.
G.R. No. 178552 October 5, 2010 (HEAD), AGHAM, TEOFISTO GUINGONA, JR., DR. BIENVENIDO LUMBERA, RENATO
CONSTANTINO, JR., SISTER MARY JOHN MANANSAN OSB, DEAN CONSUELO PAZ,
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC., on behalf of the South- ATTY. JOSEFINA LICHAUCO, COL. GERRY CUNANAN (ret.), CARLITOS SIGUION-
South Network (SSN) for Non-State Armed Group Engagement, and ATTY. SOLIMAN REYNA, DR. CAROLINA PAGADUAN-ARAULLO, RENATO REYES, DANILO RAMOS,
M. SANTOS, JR., Petitioners, EMERENCIANA DE LESUS, RITA BAUA, REY CLARO CASAMBRE, Petitioners,
vs. vs.
ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL, THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and Commander-in-
JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL Chief, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DEFENSE, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY
SECRETARY OF FINANCE, THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, THE CHIEF OF STAFF ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY
OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
NATIONAL POLICE, Respondents. SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO. DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO
TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF CIVIL
DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 178554
(ISAFP), THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER
ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE GEN.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO (KMU), represented by its Chairperson Elmer Labog,
OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence and investigative elements,
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR UNIONS-KILUSANG MAYO UNO (NAFLU-KMU),
AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, Respondents.
represented by its National President Joselito V. Ustarez and Secretary General
Antonio C. Pascual, and CENTER FOR TRADE UNION AND HUMAN RIGHTS,
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
represented by its Executive Director Daisy Arago, Petitioners,
vs.
HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, NORBERTO G.R. No. 178890
GONZALES, in his capacity as Acting Secretary of National Defense, HON. RAUL
GONZALES, in his capacity as Secretary of Justice, HON. RONALDO PUNO, in his KARAPATAN, ALLIANCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PEOPLE'S RIGHTS, represented
capacity as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, GEN. HERMOGENES herein by Dr. Edelina de la Paz, and representing the following organizations:
ESPERON, in his capacity as AFP Chief of Staff, and DIRECTOR GENERAL OSCAR HUSTISYA, represented by Evangeline Hernandez and also on her own behalf;
CALDERON, in his capacity as PNP Chief of Staff, Respondents. DESAPARECIDOS, represented by Mary Guy Portajada and also on her own behalf,
SAMAHAN NG MGA EX-DETAINEES LABAN SA DETENSYON AT PARA SA AMNESTIYA
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x (SELDA), represented by Donato Continente and also on his own behalf,
ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE (EMJP), represented by Bishop
Elmer M. Bolocon, UCCP, and PROMOTION OF CHURCH PEOPLE'S RESPONSE,
G.R. No. 178581
represented by Fr. Gilbert Sabado, OCARM, Petitioners,
vs.
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN), GENERAL ALLIANCE BINDING
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and Commander-in-
WOMEN FOR REFORMS, INTEGRITY, EQUALITY, LEADERSHIP AND ACTION
Chief, EXECUTIVE SECRETARTY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
(GABRIELA), KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP), MOVEMENT OF
SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY
CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (MCCCL), CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY,
ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY
RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE),
NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP (KADAMAY), SOLIDARITY OF CAVITE
SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO
WORKERS, LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), ANAKBAYAN, PAMBANSANG
TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL
LAKAS NG KILUSANG MAMAMALAKAYA (PAMALAKAYA), ALLIANCE OF
INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
CONCERNED TEACHERS (ACT), MIGRANTE, HEALTH ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY
INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF CIVIL NORBERTO GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMEN T
DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF FINCANCE SECRETARY MARGARITO
(ISAFP), THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL
ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE GEN. INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence and investigative elements, INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF CIVIL
AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, Respondents. DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES
(ISAFP), THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE GEN.
OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, including its intelligence and investigative elements,
G.R. No. 179157 AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, Respondents.

THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), represented by Atty. Feliciano M. DECISION
Bautista, COUNSELS FOR THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY (CODAL), SEN. MA. ANA
CONSUELO A.S. MADRIGAL and FORMER SENATORS SERGIO OSMEÑA III and CARPIO MORALES, J.:
WIGBERTO E. TAÑADA, Petitioners,
vs. Before the Court are six petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND THE MEMBERS OF THE ANTI- 9372 (RA 9372), "An Act to Secure the State and Protect our People from Terrorism,"
TERRORISM COUNCIL (ATC), Respondents. otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007, 1signed into law on March 6,
2007.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
Following the effectivity of RA 9372 on July 15, 2007,2 petitioner Southern
G.R. No. 179461 Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc., a non-government organization, and Atty.
Soliman Santos, Jr., a concerned citizen, taxpayer and lawyer, filed a petition for
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN-SOUTHERN TAGALOG (BAYAN-ST), GABRIELA- certiorari and prohibition on July 16, 2007 docketed as G.R. No. 178552. On even
ST, KATIPUNAN NG MGA SAMAHYANG MAGSASAKA-TIMOG KATAGALUGAN date, petitioners Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), National Federation of Labor Unions-
(KASAMA-TK), MOVEMENT OF CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (MCCCL), Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU), and Center for Trade Union and Human Rights
PEOPLES MARTYRS, ANAKBAYAN-ST, PAMALAKAYA-ST, CONFEDERATION FOR (CTUHR), represented by their respective officers3 who are also bringing the action in
UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES their capacity as citizens, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as
(COURAGE-ST), PAGKAKAISA'T UGNAYAN NG MGA MAGBUBUKID SA LAGUNA G.R. No. 178554.
(PUMALAG), SAMAHAN NG MGA MAMAMAYAN SA TABING RILES (SMTR-ST),
LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), BAYAN MUNA-ST, KONGRESO NG MGA The following day, July 17, 2007, organizations Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
MAGBUBUKID PARA SA REPORMANG AGRARYO KOMPRA, BIGKIS AT LAKAS NG (BAYAN), General Alliance Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality,
MGA KATUTUBO SA TIMOG KATAGALUGAN (BALATIK), SAMAHAN AT UGNAYAN Leadership and Action (GABRIELA), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP),
NG MGA MAGSASAKANG KABABAIHAN SA TIMOG KATAGALUGAN (SUMAMAKA- Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL), Confederation for Unity,
TK), STARTER, LOSÑOS RURAL POOR ORGANIZATION FOR PROGRESS & EQUALITY, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), Kalipunan ng
CHRISTIAN NIÑO LAJARA, TEODORO REYES, FRANCESCA B. TOLENTINO, JANNETTE Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW), League of
E. BARRIENTOS, OSCAR T. LAPIDA, JR., DELFIN DE CLARO, SALLY P. ASTRERA, ARNEL Filipino Students (LFS), Anakbayan, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya
SEGUNE BELTRAN, Petitioners, (PAMALAKAYA), Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Migrante, Health Alliance for
vs. Democracy (HEAD), and Agham, represented by their respective officers,4 and joined
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as President and Commander-in- by concerned citizens and taxpayers Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera,
Chief, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Renato Constantino, Jr., Sister Mary John Manansan, OSB, Dean Consuelo Paz, Atty.
SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ, DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY Josefina Lichauco, Retired Col. Gerry Cunanan, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Dr. Carolina
ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY Pagaduan-Araullo, Renato Reyes, Danilo Ramos, Emerenciana de Jesus, Rita Baua and
Rey Claro Casambre filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. Preliminarily, certiorari does not lie against respondents who do not exercise judicial
No. 178581. or quasi-judicial functions. Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is clear:

On August 6, 2007, Karapatan and its alliance member organizations Hustisya, Section 1. Petition for certiorari.—When any tribunal, board or
Desaparecidos, Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functionshas acted without or in excess of
Amnestiya (SELDA), Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP), and its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), which were represented by their jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in
respective officers5who are also bringing action on their own behalf, filed a petition the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in
for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178890. the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be
rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer,
On August 29, 2007, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Counsels for the and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. (Emphasis and
Defense of Liberty (CODAL),6Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo A.S. Madrigal, Sergio Osmeña underscoring supplied)
III, and Wigberto E. Tañada filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as
G.R. No. 179157. Parenthetically, petitioners do not even allege with any modicum of particularity how
respondents acted without or in excess of their respective jurisdictions, or with grave
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST), other regional abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
chapters and organizations mostly based in the Southern Tagalog Region, 7 and
individuals8 followed suit by filing on September 19, 2007 a petition for certiorari and The impropriety of certiorari as a remedy aside, the petitions fail just the same.
prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 179461 that replicates the allegations raised in the
BAYAN petition in G.R. No. 178581. In constitutional litigations, the power of judicial review is limited by four exacting
requisites, viz: (a) there must be an actual case or controversy; (b) petitioners must
Impleaded as respondents in the various petitions are the Anti-Terrorism possess locus standi; (c) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the
Council9 composed of, at the time of the filing of the petitions, Executive Secretary earliest opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the lis mota of the
Eduardo Ermita as Chairperson, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales as Vice Chairperson, case.10
and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Acting Defense Secretary and National
Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Interior and Local Government Secretary In the present case, the dismal absence of the first two requisites, which are the most
Ronaldo Puno, and Finance Secretary Margarito Teves as members. All the petitions, essential, renders the discussion of the last two superfluous.
except that of the IBP, also impleaded Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of
Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Oscar Petitioners lack locus standi
Calderon.
Locus standi or legal standing requires a personal stake in the outcome of the
The Karapatan, BAYAN and BAYAN-ST petitions likewise impleaded President Gloria controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation
Macapagal-Arroyo and the support agencies for the Anti-Terrorism Council like the of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult
National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau constitutional questions.11
of Immigration, Office of Civil Defense, Intelligence Service of the AFP, Anti-Money
Laundering Center, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, and the PNP
Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. The Executive Secretary12 summarized the rule on
intelligence and investigative elements.
locus standi, thus:

The petitions fail.


Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and substantial interest
in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of
Petitioners’ resort to certiorari is improper the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question on standing is
whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to
assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon BAYAN, GABRIELA, KMP, MCCCL, COURAGE, KADAMAY, SCW, LFS, Anakbayan,
which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. PAMALAKAYA, ACT, Migrante, HEAD and Agham, petitioner-organizations in G.R. No.
178581, would like the Court to take judicial notice of respondents’ alleged action of
[A] party who assails the constitutionality of a statute must have a direct and personal tagging them as militant organizations fronting for the Communist Party of the
interest. It must show not only that the law or any governmental act is invalid, but Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the National People’s Army (NPA). The tagging,
also that it sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a according to petitioners, is tantamount to the effects of proscription without
result of its enforcement, and not merely that it suffers thereby in some indefinite following the procedure under the law.15 The petition of BAYAN-ST, et al. in G.R. No.
way. It must show that it has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to 179461 pleads the same allegations.
which it is lawfully entitled or that it is about to be subjected to some burdens or
penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of. The Court cannot take judicial notice of the alleged "tagging" of petitioners.

For a concerned party to be allowed to raise a constitutional question, it must show Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the
that (1) it has personally suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and
allegedly illegal conduct of the government, (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be
challenged action, and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in determining
(emphasis and underscoring supplied.) what facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. Hence, it can
be said that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of
Petitioner-organizations assert locus standi on the basis of being suspected general notoriety. Moreover, a judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to a
"communist fronts" by the government, especially the military; whereas individual reasonable dispute in that it is either: (1) generally known within the territorial
petitioners invariably invoke the "transcendental importance" doctrine and their jurisdiction of the trial court; or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by
status as citizens and taxpayers. resorting to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questionable.

While Chavez v. PCGG13 holds that transcendental public importance dispenses with Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial matters coming to the
the requirement that petitioner has experienced or is in actual danger of suffering knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life, or they
direct and personal injury, cases involving the constitutionality of penal legislation may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of
belong to an altogether different genus of constitutional litigation. Compelling State ready and unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally known, and
and societal interests in the proscription of harmful conduct, as will later be which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are judicially
elucidated, necessitate a closer judicial scrutiny of locus standi. noticed, provided, they are of such universal notoriety and so generally understood
that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every
Petitioners have not presented any personal stake in the outcome of the controversy. person. As the common knowledge of man ranges far and wide, a wide variety of
None of them faces any charge under RA 9372. particular facts have been judicially noticed as being matters of common knowledge.
But a court cannot take judicial notice of any fact which, in part, is dependent on the
existence or non-existence of a fact of which the court has no constructive
KARAPATAN, Hustisya, Desaparecidos, SELDA, EMJP and PCR, petitioners in G.R. No.
knowledge.16 (emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
178890, allege that they have been subjected to "close security surveillance by state
security forces," their members followed by "suspicious persons" and "vehicles with
dark windshields," and their offices monitored by "men with military build." They No ground was properly established by petitioners for the taking of judicial notice.
likewise claim that they have been branded as "enemies of the [S]tate." 14 Petitioners’ apprehension is insufficient to substantiate their plea. That no specific
charge or proscription under RA 9372 has been filed against them, three years after
its effectivity, belies any claim of imminence of their perceived threat emanating
Even conceding such gratuitous allegations, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
from the so-called tagging.
correctly points out that petitioners have yet to show any connection between the
purported "surveillance" and the implementation of RA 9372.
The same is true with petitioners KMU, NAFLU and CTUHR in G.R. No. 178554, who
merely harp as well on their supposed "link" to the CPP and NPA. They fail to
particularize how the implementation of specific provisions of RA 9372 would result The dismissed rebellion charges, however, do not save the day for petitioners. For
in direct injury to their organization and members. one, those charges were filed in 2006, prior to the enactment of RA 9372, and
dismissed by this Court. For another, rebellion is defined and punished under the
While in our jurisdiction there is still no judicially declared terrorist organization, the Revised Penal Code. Prosecution for rebellion is not made more imminent by the
United States of America17 (US) and the European Union18 (EU) have both classified enactment of RA 9372, nor does the enactment thereof make it easier to charge a
the CPP, NPA and Abu Sayyaf Group as foreign terrorist organizations. The Court person with rebellion, its elements not having been altered.
takes note of the joint statement of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Justice
Secretary Raul Gonzales that the Arroyo Administration would adopt the US and EU Conversely, previously filed but dismissed rebellion charges bear no relation to
classification of the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations.19 Such statement prospective charges under RA 9372. It cannot be overemphasized that three years
notwithstanding, there is yet to be filed before the courts an application to declare after the enactment of RA 9372, none of petitioners has been charged.
the CPP and NPA organizations as domestic terrorist or outlawed organizations under
RA 9372. Again, RA 9372 has been in effect for three years now. From July 2007 up Petitioners IBP and CODAL in G.R. No. 179157 base their claim of locus standi on their
to the present, petitioner-organizations have conducted their activities fully and sworn duty to uphold the Constitution. The IBP zeroes in on Section 21 of RA 9372
freely without any threat of, much less an actual, prosecution or proscription under directing it to render assistance to those arrested or detained under the law.
RA 9372.
The mere invocation of the duty to preserve the rule of law does not, however, suffice
Parenthetically, the Fourteenth Congress, in a resolution initiated by Party-list to clothe the IBP or any of its members with standing. 27 The IBP failed to sufficiently
Representatives Saturnino Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, Rafael Mariano and Luzviminda demonstrate how its mandate under the assailed statute revolts against its
Ilagan,20 urged the government to resume peace negotiations with the NDF by constitutional rights and duties. Moreover, both the IBP and CODAL have not pointed
removing the impediments thereto, one of which is the adoption of designation of to even a single arrest or detention effected under RA 9372.
the CPP and NPA by the US and EU as foreign terrorist organizations. Considering the
policy statement of the Aquino Administration 21 of resuming peace talks with the Former Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal, who claims to have been the subject of
NDF, the government is not imminently disposed to ask for the judicial proscription "political surveillance," also lacks locus standi. Prescinding from the veracity, let alone
of the CPP-NPA consortium and its allied organizations. legal basis, of the claim of "political surveillance," the Court finds that she has not
shown even the slightest threat of being charged under RA 9372. Similarly lacking in
More important, there are other parties not before the Court with direct and specific locus standi are former Senator Wigberto Tañada and Senator Sergio Osmeña III, who
interests in the questions being raised.22 Of recent development is the filing of cite their being respectively a human rights advocate and an oppositor to the passage
the first case for proscription under Section 1723 of RA 9372 by the Department of of RA 9372. Outside these gratuitous statements, no concrete injury to them has
Justice before the Basilan Regional Trial Court against the Abu Sayyaf been pinpointed.
Group.24 Petitioner-organizations do not in the least allege any link to the Abu Sayyaf
Group. Petitioners Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network and Atty. Soliman Santos Jr.
in G.R. No. 178552 also conveniently state that the issues they raise are of
Some petitioners attempt, in vain though, to show the imminence of a prosecution transcendental importance, "which must be settled early" and are of "far-reaching
under RA 9372 by alluding to past rebellion charges against them. implications," without mention of any specific provision of RA 9372 under which they
have been charged, or may be charged. Mere invocation of human rights advocacy
In Ladlad v. Velasco,25 the Court ordered the dismissal of rebellion charges filed in has nowhere been held sufficient to clothe litigants with locus standi. Petitioners
2006 against then Party-List Representatives Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano of must show an actual, or immediate danger of sustaining, direct injury as a result of
Anakpawis, Liza Maza of GABRIELA, and Joel Virador, Teodoro Casiño and Saturnino the law’s enforcement. To rule otherwise would be to corrupt the settled doctrine of
Ocampo of Bayan Muna. Also named in the dismissed rebellion charges were locus standi, as every worthy cause is an interest shared by the general public.
petitioners Rey Claro Casambre, Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo, Renato Reyes, Rita Baua,
Emerencia de Jesus and Danilo Ramos; and accused of being front organizations for Neither can locus standi be conferred upon individual petitioners as taxpayers and
the Communist movement were petitioner-organizations KMU, BAYAN, GABRIELA, citizens. A taxpayer suit is proper only when there is an exercise of the spending or
PAMALAKAYA, KMP, KADAMAY, LFS and COURAGE.26
taxing power of Congress,28 whereas citizen standing must rest on direct and of a legal right, on the one hand, and a denial thereof on the other hand; that is, it
personal interest in the proceeding.29 must concern a real and not merely a theoretical question or issue. There ought to
be an actual and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief through a decree
RA 9372 is a penal statute and does not even provide for any appropriation from conclusive in nature, as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would
Congress for its implementation, while none of the individual petitioner-citizens has be upon a hypothetical state of facts. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
alleged any direct and personal interest in the implementation of the law.
Thus, a petition to declare unconstitutional a law converting the Municipality of
It bears to stress that generalized interests, albeit accompanied by the assertion of a Makati into a Highly Urbanized City was held to be premature as it was tacked on
public right, do not establish locus standi. Evidence of a direct and personal interest uncertain, contingent events.34 Similarly, a petition that fails to allege that an
is key. application for a license to operate a radio or television station has been denied or
granted by the authorities does not present a justiciable controversy, and merely
Petitioners fail to present an actual case or controversy wheedles the Court to rule on a hypothetical problem.35

By constitutional fiat, judicial power operates only when there is an actual case or The Court dismissed the petition in Philippine Press Institute v. Commission on
controversy. Elections36 for failure to cite any specific affirmative action of the Commission on
Elections to implement the assailed resolution. It refused, in Abbas v. Commission on
Elections,37 to rule on the religious freedom claim of the therein petitioners based
Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
merely on a perceived potential conflict between the provisions of the Muslim Code
courts as may be established by law.
and those of the national law, there being no actual controversy between real
litigants.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to
The list of cases denying claims resting on purely hypothetical or anticipatory grounds
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
goes on ad infinitum.
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government.30(emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
The Court is not unaware that a reasonable certainty of the occurrence of a perceived
31 threat to any constitutional interest suffices to provide a basis for mounting a
As early as Angara v. Electoral Commission, the Court ruled that the power of
constitutional challenge. This, however, is qualified by the requirement that there
judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies to be exercised after full
must be sufficient facts to enable the Court to intelligently adjudicate the issues.38
opportunity of argument by the parties. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead
to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to
actualities. Very recently, the US Supreme Court, in Holder v. Humanitarian Law
Project,39 allowed the pre-enforcement review of a criminal statute, challenged on
vagueness grounds, since plaintiffs faced a "credible threat of prosecution" and
An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is
"should not be required to await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole
appropriate or ripe for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory, lest the
means of seeking relief."40 The plaintiffs therein filed an action before a federal court
decision of the court would amount to an advisory opinion.32
to assail the constitutionality of the material support statute, 18 U.S.C. §2339B (a)
(1),41 proscribing the provision of material support to organizations declared by the
Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines v. COMELEC33 cannot be more
Secretary of State as foreign terrorist organizations. They claimed that they intended
emphatic:
to provide support for the humanitarian and political activities of two such
organizations.
[C]ourts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly
interest, however intellectually challenging. The controversy must be justiciable—
Prevailing American jurisprudence allows an adjudication on the merits when an
definite and concrete, touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal
anticipatory petition clearly shows that the challenged prohibition forbids the
interests. In other words, the pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion
conduct or activity that a petitioner seeks to do, as there would then be a justiciable Respondents interpret recent jurisprudence as slanting toward the idea of limiting
controversy.42 the application of the two doctrines to free speech cases. They particularly
cite Romualdez v. Hon. Sandiganbayan47 and Estrada v. Sandiganbayan.48
Unlike the plaintiffs in Holder, however, herein petitioners have failed to show that
the challenged provisions of RA 9372 forbid constitutionally protected conduct or The Court clarifies.
activity that they seek to do. No demonstrable threat has been established, much
less a real and existing one. At issue in Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan was whether the word "intervene" in
Section 549 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was intrinsically vague and
Petitioners’ obscure allegations of sporadic "surveillance" and supposedly being impermissibly broad. The Court stated that "the overbreadth and the vagueness
tagged as "communist fronts" in no way approximate a credible threat of doctrines have special application only to free-speech cases," and are "not
prosecution. From these allegations, the Court is being lured to render an advisory appropriate for testing the validity of penal statutes."50 It added that, at any rate, the
opinion, which is not its function.43 challenged provision, under which the therein petitioner was charged, is not vague.51

Without any justiciable controversy, the petitions have become pleas for declaratory While in the subsequent case of Romualdez v. Commission on Elections,52 the Court
relief, over which the Court has no original jurisdiction. Then again, declaratory stated that a facial invalidation of criminal statutes is not appropriate, it nonetheless
actions characterized by "double contingency," where both the activity the proceeded to conduct a vagueness analysis, and concluded that the therein subject
petitioners intend to undertake and the anticipated reaction to it of a public official election offense53 under the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996, with which the therein
are merely theorized, lie beyond judicial review for lack of ripeness.44 petitioners were charged, is couched in precise language.54

The possibility of abuse in the implementation of RA 9372 does not avail to take the The two Romualdez cases rely heavily on the Separate Opinion55 of Justice Vicente V.
present petitions out of the realm of the surreal and merely imagined. Such possibility Mendoza in the Estradacase, where the Court found the Anti-Plunder Law (Republic
is not peculiar to RA 9372 since the exercise of any power granted by law may be Act No. 7080) clear and free from ambiguity respecting the definition of the crime of
abused.45 Allegations of abuse must be anchored on real events before courts may plunder.
step in to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable
and enforceable. The position taken by Justice Mendoza in Estrada relates these two doctrines to the
concept of a "facial" invalidation as opposed to an "as-applied" challenge. He
A facial invalidation of a statute is allowed only in free speech cases, wherein basically postulated that allegations that a penal statute is vague and overbroad do
certain rules of constitutional litigation are rightly excepted not justify a facial review of its validity. The pertinent portion of the Concurring
Opinion of Justice Mendoza, which was quoted at length in the main Estrada decision,
Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition reads:
of the crime of terrorism46under RA 9372 in that terms like "widespread and
extraordinary fear and panic among the populace" and "coerce the government to A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is
give in to an unlawful demand" are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with overbroad because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The theory is
no standard to measure the prohibited acts. that "[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single
Respondents, through the OSG, counter that the doctrines of void-for-vagueness and prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected
overbreadth find no application in the present case since these doctrines apply only expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
to free speech cases; and that RA 9372 regulates conduct, not speech. requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct
could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity." The possible harm
For a jurisprudentially guided understanding of these doctrines, it is imperative to to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed
outline the schools of thought on whether the void-for-vagueness and overbreadth by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred and perceived
doctrines are equally applicable grounds to assail a penal statute. grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad
statutes.
This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring
terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever
allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of
against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take the controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above
chances as in the area of free speech. all the speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of
detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory
The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free for deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.
speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S.
Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as
recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context of the First "manifestly strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort,"
Amendment." In Broadrick v. Oklahoma, the Court ruled that "claims of facial and is generally disfavored. In determining the constitutionality of a statute,
overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, therefore, its provisions which are alleged to have been violated in a case must be
seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant is
entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws charged.56 (Underscoring supplied.)
that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been held
that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount The confusion apparently stems from the interlocking relation of the overbreadth
successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists and vagueness doctrines as grounds for a facial or as-applied challenge against a
under which the Act would be valid." As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a penal statute (under a claim of violation of due process of law) or a speech regulation
litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible (under a claim of abridgement of the freedom of speech and cognate rights).
applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed
cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others." To be sure, the doctrine of vagueness and the doctrine of overbreadth do not operate
on the same plane.
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical
tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible
are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning
service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the and differ as to its application. It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1)
established rule is that "one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted
not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled
as applying to other persons or other situations in which its application might be discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the
unconstitutional." As has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First Government muscle.57 The overbreadth doctrine, meanwhile, decrees that a
Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to
invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are state regulations may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly
invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant." Consequently, there is no and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms. 58
basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and
in its entirety.
As distinguished from the vagueness doctrine, the overbreadth doctrine assumes
that individuals will understand what a statute prohibits and will accordingly refrain
Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on from that behavior, even though some of it is protected.59
the ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court whose activities
are constitutionally protected. It constitutes a departure from the case and
A "facial" challenge is likewise different from an "as-applied" challenge.
controversy requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made
without concrete factual settings and in sterile abstract contexts. But, as the U.S.
Distinguished from an as-applied challenge which considers only extant facts
Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris
affecting real litigants, a facialinvalidation is an examination of the entire law,
pinpointing its flaws and defects, not only on the basis of its actual operation to the
parties, but also on the assumption or prediction that its very existence may cause By its nature, the overbreadth doctrine has to necessarily apply a facial type of
others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or invalidation in order to plot areas of protected speech, inevitably almost
activities.60 always under situations not before the court, that are impermissibly swept by the
substantially overbroad regulation. Otherwise stated, a statute cannot be properly
Justice Mendoza accurately phrased the subtitle61 in his concurring opinion that the analyzed for being substantially overbroad if the court confines itself only to facts as
vagueness and overbreadth doctrines, as grounds for a facial challenge, are not applied to the litigants.
applicable to penal laws. A litigant cannot thus successfully mount a facial challenge
against a criminal statute on either vagueness or overbreadth grounds. The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it marks an
exception to some of the usual rules of constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a
The allowance of a facial challenge in free speech cases is justified by the aim to avert particular litigant claims that a statute is unconstitutional as applied to him or her; if
the "chilling effect" on protected speech, the exercise of which should not at all times the litigant prevails, the courts carve away the unconstitutional aspects of the law by
be abridged.62 As reflected earlier, this rationale is inapplicable to plain penal statutes invalidating its improper applications on a case to case basis. Moreover, challengers
that generally bear an "in terrorem effect" in deterring socially harmful conduct. In to a law are not permitted to raise the rights of third parties and can only assert their
fact, the legislature may even forbid and penalize acts formerly considered innocent own interests. In overbreadth analysis, those rules give way; challenges are
and lawful, so long as it refrains from diminishing or dissuading the exercise of permitted to raise the rights of third parties; and the court invalidates the entire
constitutionally protected rights.63 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. The
The Court reiterated that there are "critical limitations by which a criminal statute factor that motivates courts to depart from the normal adjudicatory rules is the
may be challenged" and "underscored that an ‘on-its-face’ invalidation of penal concern with the "chilling;" deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on third parties
statutes x x x may not be allowed."64 not courageous enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad law’s
"very existence may cause others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally
protected speech or expression." An overbreadth ruling is designed to remove that
[T]he rule established in our jurisdiction is, only statutes on free speech, religious
deterrent effect on the speech of those third parties. 66 (Emphasis in the original
freedom, and other fundamental rights may be facially challenged. Under no case
omitted; underscoring supplied.)
may ordinary penal statutes be subjected to a facial challenge. The rationale is
obvious. If a facial challenge to a penal statute is permitted, the prosecution of crimes
may be hampered. No prosecution would be possible. A strong criticism against In restricting the overbreadth doctrine to free speech claims, the Court, in at least
employing a facial challenge in the case of penal statutes, if the same is allowed, two cases,67 observed that the US Supreme Court has not recognized an overbreadth
would effectively go against the grain of the doctrinal requirement of an existing and doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment, 68and that claims of
concrete controversy before judicial power may be appropriately exercised. A facial facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their
challenge against a penal statute is, at best, amorphous and speculative. It would, terms, seek to regulate only spoken words.69 In Virginia v. Hicks,70 it was held that
essentially, force the court to consider third parties who are not before it. As I have rarely, if ever, will an overbreadth challenge succeed against a law or regulation that
said in my opposition to the allowance of a facial challenge to attack penal statutes, is not specifically addressed to speech or speech-related conduct. Attacks on overly
such a test will impair the State’s ability to deal with crime. If warranted, there would broad statutes are justified by the "transcendent value to all society of
be nothing that can hinder an accused from defeating the State’s power to prosecute constitutionally protected expression."71
on a mere showing that, as applied to third parties, the penal statute is vague or
overbroad, notwithstanding that the law is clear as applied to him. 65 (Emphasis and Since a penal statute may only be assailed for being vague as applied to petitioners,
underscoring supplied) a limited vagueness analysis of the definition of "terrorism" in RA 9372 is legally
impermissible absent an actual or imminent chargeagainst them
It is settled, on the other hand, that the application of the overbreadth doctrine is
limited to a facial kind of challenge and, owing to the given rationale of a facial While Estrada did not apply the overbreadth doctrine, it did not preclude the
challenge, applicable only to free speech cases. operation of the vagueness test on the Anti-Plunder Law as applied to the therein
petitioner, finding, however, that there was no basis to review the law "on its face
and in its entirety."72 It stressed that "statutes found vague as a matter of due attempt at singling out or highlighting the communicative component of the
process typically are invalidated only 'as applied' to a particular defendant."73 prohibition cannot recategorize the unprotected conduct into a protected speech.

American jurisprudence74 instructs that "vagueness challenges that do not involve Petitioners’ notion on the transmission of message is entirely inaccurate, as it unduly
the First Amendment must be examined in light of the specific facts of the case at focuses on just one particle of an element of the crime. Almost every commission of
hand and not with regard to the statute's facial validity." a crime entails some mincing of words on the part of the offender like in declaring to
launch overt criminal acts against a victim, in haggling on the amount of ransom or
For more than 125 years, the US Supreme Court has evaluated defendants’ claims conditions, or in negotiating a deceitful transaction. An analogy in one U.S.
that criminal statutes are unconstitutionally vague, developing a doctrine hailed as case78 illustrated that the fact that the prohibition on discrimination in hiring on the
"among the most important guarantees of liberty under law."75 basis of race will require an employer to take down a sign reading "White Applicants
Only" hardly means that the law should be analyzed as one regulating speech rather
In this jurisdiction, the void-for-vagueness doctrine asserted under the due process than conduct.
clause has been utilized in examining the constitutionality of criminal statutes. In at
least three cases,76 the Court brought the doctrine into play in analyzing an ordinance Utterances not elemental but inevitably incidental to the doing of the criminal
penalizing the non-payment of municipal tax on fishponds, the crime of illegal conduct alter neither the intent of the law to punish socially harmful conduct nor the
recruitment punishable under Article 132(b) of the Labor Code, and the vagrancy essence of the whole act as conduct and not speech. This holds true a fortiori in the
provision under Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code. Notably, the petitioners in present case where the expression figures only as an inevitable incident of making
these three cases, similar to those in the two Romualdez and Estrada cases, were the element of coercion perceptible.
actually charged with the therein assailed penal statute, unlike in the present case.
[I]t is true that the agreements and course of conduct here were as in most instances
There is no merit in the claim that RA 9372 regulates speech so as to permit a facial brought about through speaking or writing. But it has never been deemed an
analysis of its validity abridgement of freedom of speech or press to make a course of conduct illegal
merely because the conduct was, in part, initiated, evidenced, or carried out by
From the definition of the crime of terrorism in the earlier cited Section 3 of RA 9372, means of language, either spoken, written, or printed. Such an expansive
the following elements may be culled: (1) the offender commits an act punishable interpretation of the constitutional guaranties of speech and press would make it
under any of the cited provisions of the Revised Penal Code, or under any of the practically impossible ever to enforce laws against agreements in restraint of trade
enumerated special penal laws; (2) the commission of the predicate crime sows and as well as many other agreements and conspiracies deemed injurious to
creates a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the society.79 (italics and underscoring supplied)
populace; and (3) the offender is actuated by the desire to coerce the government to
give in to an unlawful demand. Certain kinds of speech have been treated as unprotected conduct, because they
merely evidence a prohibited conduct.80 Since speech is not involved here, the Court
In insisting on a facial challenge on the invocation that the law penalizes speech, cannot heed the call for a facial analysis.1avvphi1
petitioners contend that the element of "unlawful demand" in the definition of
terrorism77 must necessarily be transmitted through some form of expression IN FINE, Estrada and the other cited authorities engaged in a vagueness analysis of
protected by the free speech clause. the therein subject penal statute as applied to the therein petitioners inasmuch as
they were actually charged with the pertinent crimes challenged on vagueness
The argument does not persuade. What the law seeks to penalize is conduct, not grounds. The Court in said cases, however, found no basis to review the assailed
speech. penal statute on its face and in its entirety.

Before a charge for terrorism may be filed under RA 9372, there must first be a In Holder, on the other hand, the US Supreme Court allowed the pre-enforcement
predicate crime actually committed to trigger the operation of the key qualifying review of a criminal statute, challenged on vagueness grounds, since the therein
phrases in the other elements of the crime, including the coercion of the government plaintiffs faced a "credible threat of prosecution" and "should not be required to
to accede to an "unlawful demand." Given the presence of the first element, any await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of seeking relief."
As earlier reflected, petitioners have established neither an actual charge nor a
credible threat of prosecution under RA 9372. Even a limited vagueness analysis of
the assailed definition of "terrorism" is thus legally impermissible. The Court reminds
litigants that judicial power neither contemplates speculative counseling on a
statute’s future effect on hypothetical scenarios nor allows the courts to be used as
an extension of a failed legislative lobbying in Congress.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice
G.R. No. L-64279 April 30, 1984 as amended shall be subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the government to be
distributed ... to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal
ANSELMO L. PESIGAN and MARCELINO L. PESIGAN, petitioners, Industry may see fit, in the case of carabaos" (78 OG 3144).
vs.
JUDGE DOMINGO MEDINA ANGELES, Regional Trial Court, Caloocan City Branch Doctor Miranda distributed the carabaos among twenty-five farmers of Basud, and
129, acting for REGIONAL TRIAL COURT of Camarines Norte, now presided over by to a farmer from the Vinzons municipal nursery (Annex 1).
JUDGE NICANOR ORIÑO, Daet Branch 40; DRA. BELLA S. MIRANDA, ARNULFO V.
ZENAROSA, ET AL., respondents. The Pesigans filed against Zenarosa and Doctor Miranda an action for replevin for the
recovery of the carabaos allegedly valued at P70,000 and damages of P92,000. The
Quiazon, De Guzman Makalintal and Barot for petitioners. replevin order could not be executed by the sheriff. In his order of April 25, 1983
Judge Domingo Medina Angeles, who heard the case at Daet and who was later
The Solicitor General for respondents. transferred to Caloocan City, dismissed the case for lack of cause of action.

The Pesigans appealed to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court and section
25 of the Interim Rules and pursuant to Republic Act No. 5440, a 1968 law which
AQUINO, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1 superseded Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.

At issue in this case is the enforceability, before publication in the Official Gazette We hold that the said executive order should not be enforced against the Pesigans
of June 14, 1982, of Presidential Executive Order No. 626-A dated October 25, on April 2, 1982 because, as already noted, it is a penal regulation published more
1980, providing for the confiscation and forfeiture by the government of carabaos than two months later in the Official Gazette dated June 14, 1982. It became effective
transported from one province to another. only fifteen days thereafter as provided in article 2 of the Civil Code and section 11
of the Revised Administrative Code.
Anselmo L. Pesigan and Marcelo L. Pesigan, carabao dealers, transported in an Isuzu
ten-wheeler truck in the evening of April 2, 1982 twenty-six carabaos and a calf from The word "laws" in article 2 (article 1 of the old Civil Code) includes circulars and
Sipocot, Camarines Sur with Padre Garcia, Batangas, as the destination. regulations which prescribe penalties. Publication is necessary to apprise the public
of the contents of the regulations and make the said penalties binding on the persons
affected thereby. (People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640; Lim Hoa Ting vs. Central Bank
They were provided with (1) a health certificate from the provincial veterinarian of
of the Phils., 104 Phil. 573; Balbuna vs. Secretary of Education, 110 Phil. 150.)
Camarines Sur, issued under the Revised Administrative Code and Presidential
Decree No. 533, the Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974; (2) a permit to transport large
cattle issued under the authority of the provincial commander; and (3) three The Spanish Supreme Court ruled that "bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se
certificates of inspection, one from the Constabulary command attesting that the comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y
carabaos were not included in the list of lost, stolen and questionable animals; one Reales ordenes dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de
from the LIvestock inspector, Bureau of Animal Industry of Libmanan, Camarines Sur su potestad (1 Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th Ed., p. 146.)
and one from the mayor of Sipocot.
Thus, in the Que Po Lay case, a person, convicted by the trial court of having violated
In spite of the permit to transport and the said four certificates, the carabaos, while Central Bank Circular No. 20 and sentenced to six months' imprisonment and to pay
passing at Basud, Camarines Norte, were confiscated by Lieutenant Arnulfo V. a fine of P1,000, was acquitted by this Court because the circular was published in
Zenarosa, the town's police station commander, and by Doctor Bella S. Miranda, the Official Gazette three months after his conviction. He was not bound by the
provincial veterinarian. The confiscation was basis on the aforementioned Executive circular.
Order No. 626-A which provides "that henceforth, no carabao, regardless of age, sex,
physical condition or purpose and no carabeef shall be transported from one province That ruling applies to a violation of Executive Order No. 626-A because
to another. The carabaos or carabeef transported in violation of this Executive Order 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
publication in the Gazette before violators of the executive order can be bound
thereby.

The cases of Police Commission vs. Bello, L-29960, January 30, 1971, 37 SCRA 230
and Philippine Blooming Mills vs. Social Security System, 124 Phil. 499, cited by the
respondents, do not involve the enforcement of any penal regulation.

Commonwealth Act No. 638 requires that all Presidential executive orders having
general applicability should be 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."

Indeed, the practice has always been to publish executive orders in the Gazette.
Section 551 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that even bureau
"regulations and orders shall become effective only when approved by the
Department Head and published in the Official Gazette or otherwise publicly
promulgated". (See Commissioner of Civil Service vs. Cruz, 122 Phil. 1015.)

In the instant case, the livestock inspector and the provincial veterinarian of
Camarines Norte and the head of the Public 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.

It results that they have a cause of action for the recovery of the carabaos. The
summary confiscation was not in order. The recipients of the carabaos should return
them to the Pesigans. However, they cannot transport the carabaos to Batangas
because they are now bound by the said executive order. Neither can they recover
damages. Doctor Miranda and Zenarosa acted in good faith in ordering the forfeiture
and dispersal of the carabaos.

WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of dismissal and the 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 petitioners,
who as owners are entitled to possess the same, with the right to dispose of them in
Basud or Sipocot, Camarines Sur. No costs.

SO ORDERED.1äwphï1.ñët

Makasiar, (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, and Escolin, JJ., concur.

De Castro, J., took no part.


G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985 c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.

LORENZO M. TAÑADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281,
FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. [MABINI], petitioners, 1319-1526, 1529, 1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-
vs. 1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606-1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649,
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON. 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-1742, 1744,
JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President , 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800,
MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacañang Records Office, 1802-1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-
and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his capacity as Director, Bureau of 1832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-
Printing, respondents. 1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923,
1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030-2044,
2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244.

ESCOLIN, J.: e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471,
474-492, 494-507, 509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right 544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, 570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604,
recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788-852, 854-
principle that laws to be valid and enforceable must be published in the Official 857.
Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of mandamus
to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in the f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50,
Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought: 433, 436-439.

a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case dismissed
184, 197, 200, 234, 265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, outright on the ground that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring
358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, the instant petition. The view is submitted that in the absence of any showing that
491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, 599, 644, 658, 661, petitioners are personally and directly affected or prejudiced by the alleged non-
718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030, publication of the presidential issuances in question 2 said petitioners are without the
1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, requisite legal personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being
1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, 1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829- "aggrieved parties" within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
1840, 1842-1847. which we quote:

b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.—When any tribunal, corporation,
136, 141, 150, 153, 155, 161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, board or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act
204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228, 231-239, 241-245, 248, which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office,
251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293, 297- trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use a rd
299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and
367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473, 486, there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a
611, 612, 615, 641, 642, 665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty
881, 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278. and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the
defendant, immediately or at some other specified time, to do the States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these
act required to be done to Protect the rights of the petitioner, and proceedings no other person could be, as we have seen that it is
to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the not the duty of the law officer of the Government to appear and
wrongful acts of the defendant. represent the people in cases of this character.

Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal personality in
concerns a public right and its object is to compel the performance of a public duty, the aforementioned case apply squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right
they need not show any specific interest for their petition to be given due course. sought to be enforced by petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no less
than the fundamental law of the land. If petitioners were not allowed to institute this
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of Severino proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive of any other person to initiate
vs. Governor General, 3 this Court held that while the general rule is that "a writ of the same, considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer generally
mandamus would be granted to a private individual only in those cases where he has empowered to represent the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in
some private or particular interest to be subserved, or some particular right to be this case.
protected, independent of that which he holds with the public at large," and "it is for
the public officers exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua
subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question non requirement for the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for
is one of public right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement their own effectivity dates. It is thus submitted that since the presidential issuances
of a public duty, the people are regarded as the real party in interest and the relator in question contain special provisions as to the date they are to take effect,
at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted need not show that he has any publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity. The point
legal or special interest in the result, it being sufficient to show that he is a citizen and stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
as such interested in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies,
3rd ed., sec. 431]. Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private otherwise provided, ...
individual, as a proper party to the mandamus proceedings brought to compel the
Governor General to call a special election for the position of municipal president in The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's construction of
the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. said article. In a long line of decisions,4 this Court has ruled that publication in the
Trent said: Official Gazette is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself does not
provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of publication is material for
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority determining its date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its publication-
supports the proposition that the relator is a proper party to but not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect.
proceedings of this character when a public right is sought to be
enforced. If the general rule in America were otherwise, we think Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the
that it would not be applicable to the case at bar for the reason effectivity of laws with the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other
'that it is always dangerous to apply a general rule to a particular statutes applicable to the issue at hand, the conclusion is easily reached that said
case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule, because, if Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette,
under the particular circumstances the reason for the rule does not even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of
exist, the rule itself is not applicable and reliance upon the rule may Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
well lead to error'
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule important legisiative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the,
insisted upon by counsel for the respondent. The circumstances Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive and administrative
which surround this case are different from those in the United orders and proclamations, except such as have no general
applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the Supreme presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of persons such
Court and the Court of Appeals as may be deemed by said courts of as administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that
sufficient importance to be so published; [4] such documents or they have been circularized to all concerned. 6
classes of documents as may be required so to be published by law;
and [5] such documents or classes of documents as the President It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature"
of the Philippines shall determine from time to time to have general or "of general applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that
applicability and legal effect, or which he may authorize so to be before a person may be bound by law, he must first be officially and specifically
published. ... informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio Teehankee said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:

The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions
notice of the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. which all form part of the law of the land, the requirement of due
Without such notice and publication, there would be no basis for the application of process and the Rule of Law demand that the Official Gazette as
the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It would be the height of injustice to punish the official government repository promulgate and publish the
or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law of which he had no notice texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions so that the people
whatsoever, not even a constructive one. may know where to obtain their official and specific contents.

Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which
publication of laws taken so vital significance that at this time when the people have have not been published, shall have no force and effect. Some members of the Court,
bestowed upon the President a power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature. quite apprehensive about the possible unsettling effect this decision might have on
While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of the debates and acts done in reliance of the validity of those presidential decrees which were
deliberations in the Batasan Pambansa—and for the diligent ones, ready access to published only during the pendency of this petition, have put the question as to
the legislative records—no such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the whether the Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced
President. Thus, without publication, the people have no means of knowing what or implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In similar
presidential decrees have actually been promulgated, much less a definite way of situations in the past this Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth
informing themselves of the specific contents and texts of such decrees. As the in Chicot County Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit:
Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se
comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of
Reales ordines dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su Congress, having been found to be unconstitutional, was not a law;
potestad.5 that it was inoperative, conferring no rights and imposing no duties,
and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree. Norton v.
The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett,
published in the Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein imposes upon 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, however, that such broad
respondent officials an imperative duty. That duty must be enforced if the statements as to the effect of a determination of
Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern is to unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. The actual
be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list of what should be published existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an operative
in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no fact and may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored.
discretion whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded from such The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration. The
publication. effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to be
considered in various aspects-with respect to particular conduct,
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general private and official. Questions of rights claimed to have become
applicability" is mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for vested, of status, of prior determinations deemed to have finality
fines, forfeitures or penalties for their violation or otherwise impose a burden or. the and acted upon accordingly, of public policy in the light of the
people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall within this category. Other nature both of the statute and of its previous application, demand
examination. These questions are among the most difficult of those
which have engaged the attention of courts, state and federal and
it is manifest from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive
statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be
justified.

Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban 9 sustained the
right of a party under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor
before said law was declared unconstitutional by this Court.

Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their


publication in the Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences
which cannot be justly ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive
invalidity cannot be justified."

From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that of the
presidential decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the Official Gazette, only
Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive,
have not been so published. 10 Neither the subject matters nor the texts of these PDs
can be ascertained since no copies thereof are available. But whatever their subject
matter may be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever been
implemented or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court,
through Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the
public of the contents of [penal] regulations and make the said penalties binding on
the persons affected thereby. " The cogency of this holding is apparently recognized
by respondent officials considering the manifestation in their comment that "the
government, as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of criminal
laws until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette or in some other
publication, even though some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect
immediately.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette
all unpublished presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so
published, they shall have no binding force and effect.

SO ORDERED.

Relova, J., concurs.

Aquino, J., took no part.

Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.


G.R. No. L-63915 December 29, 1986 Resolving their own doubts, the petitioners suggest that there should be no
distinction between laws of general applicability and those which are not; that
LORENZO M. TAÑ;ADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS publication means complete publication; and that the publication must be made
FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. (MABINI), petitioners, forthwith in the Official Gazette. 2
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON. In the Comment 3 required of the then Solicitor General, he claimed first that the
JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President, motion was a request for an advisory opinion and should therefore be dismissed, and,
MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, ETC., ET AL., respondents. on the merits, that the clause "unless it is otherwise provided" in Article 2 of the Civil
Code meant that the publication required therein was not always imperative; that
RESOLUTION publication, when necessary, did not have to be made in the Official Gazette; and
that in any case the subject decision was concurred in only by three justices and
consequently not binding. This elicited a Reply 4 refuting these arguments. Came next
the February Revolution and the Court required the new Solicitor General to file a
Rejoinder in view of the supervening events, under Rule 3, Section 18, of the Rules of
CRUZ, J.:
Court. Responding, he submitted that issuances intended only for the internal
administration of a government agency or for particular persons did not have to be
Due process was invoked by the petitioners in demanding the disclosure of a number
'Published; that publication when necessary must be in full and in the Official Gazette;
of presidential decrees which they claimed had not been published as required by
and that, however, the decision under reconsideration was not binding because it
law. The government argued that while publication was necessary as a rule, it was
was not supported by eight members of this Court. 5
not so when it was "otherwise provided," as when the decrees themselves declared
that they were to become effective immediately upon their approval. In the decision
The subject of contention is Article 2 of the Civil Code providing as follows:
of this case on April 24, 1985, the Court affirmed the necessity for the publication of
some of these decrees, declaring in the dispositive portion as follows:
ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of
their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official
Code shall take effect one year after such publication.
Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances which are of general
application, and unless so published, they shall have no binding force and
effect. After a careful study of this provision and of the arguments of the parties, both on
the original petition and on the instant motion, we have come to the conclusion and
so hold, that the clause "unless it is otherwise provided" refers to the date of
The petitioners are now before us again, this time to move for
effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself, which cannot in any event
reconsideration/clarification of that decision. 1Specifically, they ask the following
be omitted. This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law
questions:
effective immediately upon approval, or on any other date, without its previous
publication.
1. What is meant by "law of public nature" or "general applicability"?
Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion
2. Must a distinction be made between laws of general applicability and laws which
provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended. An
are not?
example, as pointed out by the present Chief Justice in his separate concurrence in
the original decision, 6 is the Civil Code which did not become effective after fifteen
3. What is meant by "publication"? days from its publication in the Official Gazette but "one year after such publication."
The general rule did not apply because it was "otherwise provided. "
4. Where is the publication to be made?
It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause publication may be dispensed
5. When is the publication to be made? with altogether. The reason. is that such omission would offend due process insofar
as it would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern the administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their
legislature could validly provide that a law e effective immediately upon its approval subordinates in the performance of their duties.
notwithstanding the lack of publication (or after an unreasonably short period after
publication), it is not unlikely that persons not aware of it would be prejudiced as a Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it
result and they would be so not because of a failure to comply with but simply applies to only a portion of the national territory and directly affects only the
because they did not know of its existence, Significantly, this is not true only of penal inhabitants of that place. All presidential decrees must be published, including even,
laws as is commonly supposed. One can think of many non-penal measures, like a say, those naming a public place after a favored individual or exempting him from
law on prescription, which must also be communicated to the persons they may certain prohibitions or requirements. The circulars issued by the Monetary Board
affect before they can begin to operate. must be published if they are meant not merely to interpret but to "fill in the details"
of the Central Bank Act which that body is supposed to enforce.
We note at this point the conclusive presumption that every person knows the law,
which of course presupposes that the law has been published if the presumption is However, no publication is required of the instructions issued by, say, the Minister of
to have any legal justification at all. It is no less important to remember that Section Social Welfare on the case studies to be made in petitions for adoption or the rules
6 of the Bill of Rights recognizes "the right of the people to information on matters laid down by the head of a government agency on the assignments or workload of
of public concern," and this certainly applies to, among others, and indeed especially, his personnel or the wearing of office uniforms. Parenthetically, municipal ordinances
the legislative enactments of the government. are not covered by this rule but by the Local Government Code.

The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, We agree that publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose
for strictly speaking all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that is to inform the public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out by the
do not apply to them directly. An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular petitioners, the mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the title of
individual, like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization. such decree, its whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary Tuvera"), the supposed date of
It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although it effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy the
unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a publication requirement. This is not even substantial compliance. This was the
matter of public interest which any member of the body politic may question in the manner, incidentally, in which the General Appropriations Act for FY 1975, a
political forums or, if he is a proper party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, a law presidential decree undeniably of general applicability and interest, was "published"
without any bearing on the public would be invalid as an intrusion of privacy or as by the Marcos administration. 7 The evident purpose was to withhold rather than
class legislation or as an ultra vires act of the legislature. To be valid, the law must disclose information on this vital law.
invariably affect the public interest even if it might be directly applicable only to one
individual, or some of the people only, and t to the public as a whole. Coming now to the original decision, it is true that only four justices were
categorically for publication in the Official Gazette 8 and that six others felt that
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private publication could be made elsewhere as long as the people were sufficiently
laws, shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen informed. 9 One reserved his vote 10 and another merely acknowledged the need for
days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature. due publication without indicating where it should be made. 11 It is therefore
necessary for the present membership of this Court to arrive at a clear consensus on
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by this matter and to lay down a binding decision supported by the necessary vote.
the President in the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly
delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. There is much to be said of the view that the publication need not be made in the
administrative rules and regulations must a also be published if their purpose is to Official Gazette, considering its erratic releases and limited readership. Undoubtedly,
enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation. newspapers of general circulation could better perform the function of
communicating, the laws to the people as such periodicals are more easily available,
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only have a wider readership, and come out regularly. The trouble, though, is that this
the personnel of the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published. kind of publication is not the one required or authorized by existing law. As far as we
Neither is publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by know, no amendment has been made of Article 2 of the Civil Code. The Solicitor
General has not pointed to such a law, and we have no information that it exists. If it Official Gazette, to become effective only after fifteen days from their publication, or
does, it obviously has not yet been published. on another date specified by the legislature, in accordance with Article 2 of the Civil
Code.
At any rate, this Court is not called upon to rule upon the wisdom of a law or to repeal
or modify it if we find it impractical. That is not our function. That function belongs SO ORDERED.
to the legislature. Our task is merely to interpret and apply the law as conceived and
approved by the political departments of the government in accordance with the Teehankee, C.J., Feria, Yap, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay, Gutierrez, Jr., and
prescribed procedure. Consequently, we have no choice but to pronounce that under Paras, JJ., concur.
Article 2 of the Civil Code, the publication of laws must be made in the Official Gazett
and not elsewhere, as a requirement for their effectivity after fifteen days from such
publication or after a different period provided by the legislature.

We also hold that the publication must be made forthwith or at least as soon as
possible, to give effect to the law pursuant to the said Article 2. There is that
possibility, of course, although not suggested by the parties that a law could be
rendered unenforceable by a mere refusal of the executive, for whatever reason, to
cause its publication as required. This is a matter, however, that we do not need to
examine at this time.

Finally, the claim of the former Solicitor General that the instant motion is a request
for an advisory opinion is untenable, to say the least, and deserves no further
comment.

The days of the secret laws and the unpublished decrees are over. This is once again
an open society, with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and
available always to public cognizance. This has to be so if our country is to remain
democratic, with sovereignty residing in the people and all government authority
emanating from them.

Although they have delegated the power of legislation, they retain the authority to
review the work of their delegates and to ratify or reject it according to their lights,
through their freedom of expression and their right of suffrage. This they cannot do
if the acts of the legislature are concealed.

Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the
shadows with their dark, deep secrets. Mysterious pronouncements and rumored
rules cannot be recognized as binding unless their existence and contents are
confirmed by a valid publication intended to make full disclosure and give proper
notice to the people. The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that cannot feint parry
or cut unless the naked blade is drawn.

WHEREFORE, it is hereby declared that all laws as above defined shall immediately
upon their approval, or as soon thereafter as possible, be published in full in the
G.R. No. 187587 June 5, 2013 Again, on 7 January 1986, President Marcos issued Proclamation No. 2476, further
amending Proclamation No. 423, which excluded barangaysLower Bicutan, Upper
NAGKAKAISANG MARALITA NG SITIO MASIGASIG, INC., Petitioner, Bicutan and Signal Village from the operation of Proclamation No. 423 and declared
vs. it open for disposition under the provisions of Republic Act Nos. (R.A.) 274 and 730.
MILITARY SHRINE SERVICES - PHILIPPINE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE, DEPARTMENT
OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, Respondent. At the bottom of Proclamation No. 2476, President Marcos made a handwritten
addendum, which reads:
x-----------------------x
"P.S. – This includes Western Bicutan
G.R. No. 187654
(SGD.) Ferdinand E. Marcos"2
WESTERN BICUTAN LOT OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., represented by its Board of
Directors, Petitioner, The crux of the controversy started when Proclamation No. 2476 was published in
vs. the Official Gazette3 on 3 February 1986, without the above-quoted addendum.
MILITARY SHRINE SERVICES - PHILIPPINE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE, DEPARTMENT
OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, Respondent. Years later, on 16 October 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino (President Aquino)
issued Proclamation No. 172 which substantially reiterated Proclamation No. 2476,
DECISION as published, but this time excluded Lots 1 and 2 of Western Bicutan from the
operation of Proclamation No. 423 and declared the said lots open for disposition
SERENO, CJ.: under the provisions of R.A. 274 and 730.

Before us are consolidated Petitions for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court Memorandum Order No. 119, implementing Proclamation No. 172, was issued on the
assailing the Decision1promulgated on 29 April 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA- same day.
G.R. SP No. 97925.
Through the years, informal settlers increased and occupied some areas of Fort
THE FACTS Bonifacio including portions of the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Thus, Brigadier General
Fredelito Bautista issued General Order No. 1323 creating Task Force Bantay (TFB),
The facts, as culled from the records, are as follows: primarily to prevent further unauthorized occupation and to cause the demolition of
illegal structures at Fort Bonifacio.
On 12 July 1957, by virtue of Proclamation No. 423, President Carlos P. Garcia
reserved parcels of land in the Municipalities of Pasig, Taguig, Parañaque, Province On 27 August 1999, members of petitioner Nagkakaisang Maralita ng Sitio Masigasig,
of Rizal and Pasay City for a military reservation. The military reservation, then known Inc. (NMSMI) filed a Petition with the Commission on Settlement of Land Problems
as Fort William McKinley, was later on renamed Fort Andres Bonifacio (Fort (COSLAP), where it was docketed as COSLAP Case No. 99-434. The Petition prayed for
Bonifacio). the following: (1) the reclassification of the areas they occupied, covering Lot 3 of
SWO-13-000-298 of Western Bicutan, from public land to alienable and disposable
land pursuant to Proclamation No. 2476; (2) the subdivision of the subject lot by the
On 28 May 1967, President Ferdinand E. Marcos (President Marcos) issued
Director of Lands; and (3) the Land Management Bureau’s facilitation of the
Proclamation No. 208, amending Proclamation No. 423, which excluded a certain
distribution and sale of the subject lot to its bona fide occupants.4
area of Fort Bonifacio and reserved it for a national shrine. The excluded area is now
known as Libingan ng mga Bayani, which is under the administration of herein
respondent Military Shrine Services – Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (MSS-PVAO). On 1 September 2000, petitioner Western Bicutan Lot Owners Association, Inc.
(WBLOAI) filed a Petition-in-Intervention substantially praying for the same reliefs as
those prayed for by NMSMI with regard to the area the former then occupied DENIED. SO ORDERED.11 (Emphasis in the original)
covering Lot 7 of SWO-00-001302 in Western Bicutan.5
Both NMSMI12 and WBLOAI13 appealed the said Decision by filing their respective
Thus, on 1 September 2006, COSLAP issued a Resolution 6 granting the Petition and Petitions for Review with this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
declaring the portions of land in question alienable and disposable, with Associate
Commissioner Lina Aguilar-General dissenting.7 THE ISSUES

The COSLAP ruled that the handwritten addendum of President Marcos was an Petitioner NMSMI raises the following issues:
integral part of Proclamation No. 2476, and was therefore, controlling. The intention
of the President could not be defeated by the negligence or inadvertence of others. I
Further, considering that Proclamation
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN
No. 2476 was done while the former President was exercising legislative powers, it RULING THAT PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 DID NOT INCLUDE ANY PORTION OF
could not be amended, repealed or superseded, by a mere executive enactment. WESTERN BICUTAN AS THE HANDWRITTEN NOTATION BY PRESIDENT MARCOS ON
Thus, Proclamation No. 172 could not have superseded much less displaced THE SAID PROCLAMATION WAS NOT PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE.
Proclamation No. 2476, as the latter was issued on October 16, 1987 when President
Aquino’s legislative power had ceased.
II

In her Dissenting Opinion, Associate Commissioner Lina AguilarGeneral stressed that


WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN
pursuant to Article 2 of the Civil Code, publication is indispensable in every case.
RULING THAT PROCLAMATION NO. 172 LIKEWISE EXCLUDED THE PORTION OF LAND
Likewise, she held that when the provision of the law is clear and unambiguous so
OCCUPIED BY MEMBER OF HEREIN PETITIONER.
that there is no occasion for the court to look into legislative intent, the law must be
taken as it is, devoid of judicial addition or subtraction. 8 Finally, she maintained that
III
the Commission had no authority to supply the addendum originally omitted in the
published version of Proclamation No. 2476, as to do so would be tantamount to
encroaching on the field of the legislature. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
CONSIDERING THAT THE HON. COSLAP HAS BROAD POWERS TO RECOMMEND TO
THE PRESIDENT >INNOVATIVE MEASURES TO RESOLVE EXPEDITIOUSLY VARIOUS
Herein respondent MSS-PVAO filed a Motion for Reconsideration,9 which was denied
LAND CASES.14
by the COSLAP in a Resolution dated 24 January 2007.10

On the other hand, petitioner WBLOAI raises this sole issue:


MSS-PVAO filed a Petition with the Court of Appeals seeking to reverse the COSLAP
Resolutions dated 1 September 2006 and 24 January 2007.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
THE SUBJECT PROPERTY WAS NOT DECLARED ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE BY
Thus, on 29 April 2009, the then Court of Appeals First Division rendered the assailed
VIRTUE OF PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 BECAUSE THE HANDWRITTEN ADDENDUM OF
Decision granting MSS-PVAO’s Petition, the dispositive portion of which reads:
PRESIDENT FERDINAND E. MARCOS INCLUDING WESTERN BICUTAN IN
PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PUBLICATION.15
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The
Resolutions dated September 1, 2006 and January 24, 2007 issued by the Commission
Both Petitions boil down to the principal issue of whether the Court of Appeals erred
on the Settlement of Land Problems in COSLAP Case No. 99-434 are hereby REVERSED
in ruling that the subject lots were not alienable and disposable by virtue of
and SET ASIDE. In lieu thereof, the petitions of respondents in COSLAP Case No. 99-
Proclamation No. 2476 on the ground that the handwritten addendum of President
434 are DISMISSED, for lack of merit, as discussed herein. Further, pending urgent
Marcos was not included in the publication of the said law.
motions filed by respondents are likewise
THE COURT’S RULING unreasonably short period after publication), it is not unlikely that persons not aware
of it would be prejudiced as a result; and they would be so not because of a failure
We deny the Petitions for lack of merit. to comply with it but simply because they did not know of its existence. Significantly,
this is not true only of penal laws as is commonly supposed. One can think of many
Considering that petitioners were occupying Lots 3 and 7 of Western Bicutan (subject non-penal measures, like a law on prescription, which must also be communicated
lots), their claims were anchored on the handwritten addendum of President Marcos to the persons they may affect before they can begin to operate.
to Proclamation No. 2476. They allege that the former President intended to include
all Western Bicutan in the reclassification of portions of Fort Bonifacio as disposable xxxx
public land when he made a notation just below the printed version of Proclamation
No. 2476. The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application,
for strictly speaking all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that
However, it is undisputed that the handwritten addendum was not included when do not apply to them directly. An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular
Proclamation No. 2476 was published in the Official Gazette. individual, like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization.
It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although it
The resolution of whether the subject lots were declared as reclassified and unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a
disposable lies in the determination of whether the handwritten addendum of matter of public interest which any member of the body politic may question in the
President Marcos has the force and effect of law. In relation thereto, Article 2 of the political forums or, if he is a proper party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, a law
Civil Code expressly provides: without any bearing on the public would be invalid as an intrusion of privacy or as
class legislation or as an ultra vires act of the legislature. To be valid, the law must
invariably affect the public interest even if it might be directly applicable only to one
ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their
individual, or some of the people only, and not to the public as a whole.
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take
effect one year after such publication.
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private
laws, shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen
Under the above provision, the requirement of publication is indispensable to give
days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
effect to the law, unless the law itself has otherwise provided. The phrase "unless
otherwise provided" refers to a different effectivity date other than after fifteen days
following the completion of the law’s publication in the Official Gazette, but does not Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by
imply that the requirement of publication may be dispensed with. The issue of the the President in the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly
requirement of publication was already settled in the landmark case Tañada v. Hon. delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution.
Tuvera,16 in which we had the occasion to rule thus: Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to
enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.
Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion
provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended. An xxxx
example, as pointed out by the present Chief Justice in his separate concurrence in
the original decision, is the Civil Code which did not become effective after fifteen Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it
days from its publication in the Official Gazette but "one year after such publication." applies to only a portion of the national territory and directly affects only the
The general rule did not apply because it was "otherwise provided." inhabitants of that place. All presidential decrees must be published, including even,
say, those naming a public place after a favored individual or exempting him from
It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause publication may be dispensed certain prohibitions or requirements. The circulars issued by the Monetary Board
with altogether. The reason is that such omission would offend due process insofar must be published if they are meant not merely to interpret but to "fill in the details"
as it would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern it. of the Central Bank Act which that body is supposed to enforce.
Surely, if the legislature could validly provide that a law shall become effective
immediately upon its approval notwithstanding the lack of publication (or after an xxxx
We agree that the publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petitions are hereby DENIED for
purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out lack of merit. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 97925
by the petitioners, the mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the dated 29 April 2009 is AFFIRMED in toto. Accordingly, this Court's status quo order
title of such decree, its whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary Tuvera"), the supposed dated 17 June 2009 is hereby LIFTED. Likewise, all pending motions to cite respondent
date of effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy in contempt is DENIED, having been rendered moot. No costs.
the publication requirement.1âwphi1 This is not even substantial compliance. This
was the manner, incidentally, in which the General Appropriations Act for FY 1975, a SO ORDERED.
presidential decree undeniably of general applicability and interest, was "published"
by the Marcos administration. The evident purpose was to withhold rather than MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
disclose information on this vital law. Chief Justice, Chairperson

xxxx

Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the
shadows with their dark, deep secrets. Mysterious pronouncements and rumored
rules cannot be recognized as binding unless their existence and contents are
confirmed by a valid publication intended to make full disclosure and give proper
notice to the people. The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that cannot feint,
parry or cut unless the naked blade is drawn. (Emphases supplied)

Applying the foregoing ruling to the instant case, this Court cannot rely on a
handwritten note that was not part of Proclamation No. 2476 as published. Without
publication, the note never had any legal force and effect.

Furthermore, under Section 24, Chapter 6, Book I of the Administrative Code, "the
publication of any law, resolution or other official documents in the Official Gazette
shall be prima facie evidence of its authority." Thus, whether or not President Marcos
intended to include Western Bicutan is not only irrelevant but speculative. Simply
put, the courts may not speculate as to the probable intent of the legislature apart
from the words appearing in the law.17 This Court cannot rule that a word appears in
the law when, evidently, there is none. In Pagpalain Haulers, Inc. v. Hon. Trajano, 18 we
ruled that "under Article 8 of the Civil Code, 'judicial decisions applying or interpreting
the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines.'
This does not mean, however, that courts can create law. The courts exist for
interpreting the law, not for enacting it. To allow otherwise would be violative of the
principle of separation of powers, inasmuch as the sole function of our courts is to
apply or interpret the laws, particularly where gaps or lacunae exist or where
ambiguities becloud issues, but it will not arrogate unto itself the task of legislating."
The remedy sought in these Petitions is not judicial interpretation, but another
legislation that would amend the law ‘to include petitioners' lots in the
reclassification.
G.R. No. L-32485 October 22, 1970 (1) makes criminal an act done before the passage of the law and
which was innocent when done, and punishes such an act;
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF THE PETITIONER'S
RIGHTS AND DUTIES UNDER SEC. 8 OF R.A. No. 6132. (2) aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when
committed;
KAY VILLEGAS KAMI, INC., petitioner.
(3) changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than
MAKASIAR, J.:. the law annexed to the crime when committed;

This petition for declaratory relief was filed by Kay Villegas Kami, Inc., claiming to be (4) alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes conviction
a duly recognized and existing non-stock and non-profit corporation created under upon less or different testimony than the law required at the time
the laws of the land, and praying for a determination of the validity of Sec. 8 of R.A. of the commission of the offense;
No. 6132 and a declaration of petitioner's rights and duties thereunder. In paragraph
7 of its petition, petitioner avers that it has printed materials designed to propagate (5) assuming to regulate civil rights and remedies only, in effect
its ideology and program of government, which materials include Annex B; and that imposes penalty or deprivation of a right for something which
in paragraph 11 of said petition, petitioner intends to pursue its purposes by when done was lawful; and
supporting delegates to the Constitutional Convention who will propagate its
ideology. (6) deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection
to which he has become entitled, such as the protection of a former
Petitioner, in paragraph 7 of its petition, actually impugns because it quoted, only the conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty.3
first paragraph of Sec. 8(a) on the ground that it violates the due process clause, right
of association, and freedom of expression and that it is an ex post facto law. From the aforesaid definition as well as classification of ex post facto laws, the
constitutional inhibition refers only to criminal laws which are given retroactive
The first three grounds were overruled by this Court when it held that the questioned effect.4
provision is a valid limitation on the due process, freedom of expression, freedom of
association, freedom of assembly and equal protection clauses; for the same is While it is true that Sec. 18 penalizes a violation of any provision of R.A. No. 6132
designed to prevent the clear and present danger of the twin substantive evils, including Sec. 8(a) thereof, the penalty is imposed only for acts committed after the
namely, the prostitution of electoral process and denial of the equal protection of approval of the law and not those perpetrated prior thereto. There is nothing in the
the laws. Moreover, under the balancing-of-interests test, the cleansing of the law that remotely insinuates that Secs. 8(a) and 18, or any other provision thereof,
electoral process, the guarantee of equal change for all candidates, and the shall apply to acts carried out prior to its approval. On the contrary, See. 23 directs
independence of the delegates who must be "beholden to no one but to God, country that the entire law shall be effective upon its approval. It was approved on August
and conscience," are interests that should be accorded primacy.1 24, 1970.

The petitioner should therefore be accordingly guided by the pronouncements in the WHEREFORE, the prayer of the petition is hereby denied and paragraph 1 of Sec. 8(a)
cases of Imbong and Gonzales.2 of R.A. No. 6132 is not unconstitutional. Without costs.

The claim of petitioner that the challenged provision constitutes an ex post facto law Reyes, J.B.L., Actg. C.J., Dizon, Makalintal and Castro, JJ., concur.
is likewise untenable.
Zaldivar, J., reserves his vote.
An ex post facto law is one which:.
Concepcion, C.J., is on leave.
G.R. No. L-46228 January 17, 1978 We hold that the case was properly filed with the city court which has original
jurisdiction over it. The estafa imputed to Caesar Puerto is punishable under article
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, 315 of the Revised Penal Code by arresto mayor maximum to prision
vs. correccional minimum or four months and one day to two years and four months.
HON. ROLANDO R. VILLARAZA (as City Judge of Cagayan de Oro City), and CAESAR
PUERTO, respondents. The penalty of prision mayor medium, or eight years and one day to ten years,
imposed by Presidential Decree No. 818, applies only to swindling by means of issuing
Francisco P. Rabanes, Edgardo Y. Raagas, Casiano A. Gamotin, Jr., Office of the City bouncing checks which was committed or after October 22, 1975.
Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City for petitioner.
That increased penalty does not apply to the estafa committed by Puerto on October
Eric Menchavez for respondent Caesar Puerto. 16, 1974. To apply it to Puerto would make the decree an ex post facto law. Its
retroactive application is prohibited by articles 21 and 22 of the Revised Penal Code
and section 12, Article IV of the Constitution.

AQUINO, J.: The city court has original jurisdiction over the case because the penultimate
paragraph or section 87 of the Judiciary Law, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 2613
and 3828, provides that "judges of city courts shall have like jurisdiction as the Court
This case is about the jurisdiction of a city court in estafa cases.
of First Instance to try parties charged with an offense committed within their
respective jurisdictions, in which the penalty provided by law does not exceed prision
On December 3, 1975 an assistant city fiscal charged Caesar Puerto with estafa in the
correccional or imprisonment for not more than six years or fine not exceeding six
city court of Cagayan de Oro City for having issued on October 16, 1974 two bouncing
thousand pesos or both."
checks for the total sum of P4, 966. 63 (Criminal Case No. 32140).
As section 87 itself shows, that jurisdiction is concurrent with the court of First
City Judge Rolando R. Villaraza in his order March 31, 1976 noted that the accused
Instance which is empowered to try "all criminal cases in which the penalty provided
had waived the second stage of the preliminary investigation. He directed that the
by law is imprisonment for more than six months, or a fine of more than two hundred
case be elevated, for trial, to the court of First Instance or the Circuit Criminal Court.
pesos" (Sec. 44[f], Judiciary Law. See People vs. Nazareno, L-40037, April 30, 1976, 70
SCRA 531).
Upon petition of the prosecution, the Court of first Instance of Misamis Oriental,
Cagayan de Oro Branch VIII, in its order of February 3, 1977 returned the case to the
It was not necessary for the city court to have conducted the preliminary
city court because in its opinion the case falls within the concurrent jurisdiction of
investigation of the case. The filing of the information by the fiscal presupposes that
the two courts and, the city court, as the first court which took cognizance of the he had conducted the requisite preliminary investigation pursuant to Rule 112 of the
case, should try it.
Rules of Court and Republic Act No. 5180, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 77.

Disagreeing with the Court of First Instance, respondent city judge in his order of April
WHEREFORE, the order of the Court of First Instance, returning the case to the city
21, 1977 directed the re-elevation of the case. His view is that the case falls within
court, is affirmed and the two orders of the respondent city judge, elevating the case
the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance because estafa
to the Court of First Instance, are set aside. The city court is directed to try the case.
committed by the accused is punishable by prision mayor medium under Presidential
No costs. SO ORDERED.
Decree No. 818 which took effect on October 22, 1975 and which amended article
315 of the Revised Penal Code.
Fernando (Chairman), Barredo, Antonio and Concepcion Jr., JJ., concur.
That order of respondent judge is assailed in the petition for certiorari filed in this
Santos, J., is on leave.
Court on May 27, 1977 by the office of the city fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City.
G.R. No. L-18208 February 14, 1922 The lower court, in the course of its opinion, stated that at the time of the execution
and delivery of said contract (Exhibit B), there was no law in force in the Philippine
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, Islands punishing usury; but, inasmuch as the defendants had collected a usurious
vs. rate of interest after the adoption of the Usury Law in the Philippine Islands (Act No.
VICENTE DIAZ CONDE and APOLINARIA R. DE CONDE, defendants-appellants. 2655), they were guilty of a violation of that law and should be punished in
accordance with its provisions.
Araneta & Zaragoza for appellants.
Attorney-General Villareal for appellee. The law, we think, is well established that when a contract contains an obligation to
pay interest upon the principal, the interest thereby becomes part of the principal
JOHNSON, J.: and is included within the promise to pay. In other words, the obligation to pay
interest on money due under a contract, be it express or implied, is a part of the
obligation of the contract. Laws adopted after the execution of a contract, changing
It appears from the record that on the 6th day of May, 1921, a complaint was
or altering the rate of interest, cannot be made to apply to such contract without
presented in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, charging the defendants
violating the provisions of the constitution which prohibit the adoption of a law
with a violation of the Usury Law (Act No. 2655). Upon said complaint they were each
"impairing the obligation of contract." (8 Cyc., 996; 12 Corpus Juris, 1058-1059.)
arrested, arraigned, and pleaded not guilty. The cause was finally brought on for trial
on the 1st day of September, 1921. At the close of the trial, and after a consideration
of the evidence adduced, the Honorable M. V. del Rosario, judge, found that the The obligation of the contract is the law which binds the parties to perform their
defendants were guilty of the crime charged in the complaint and sentenced each of agreement if it is not contrary to the law of the land, morals or public order. That law
them to pay a fine of P120 and, in case of insolvency, to suffer subsidiary must govern and control the contract in every aspect in which it is intended to bear
imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of the law. From that sentence each upon it, whether it affect its validity, construction, or discharge. Any law which
of the defendants appealed to this court. enlarges, abridges, or in any manner changes the intention of the parties, necessarily
impairs the contract itself. If a law impairs the obligation of a contract, it is prohibited
by the Jones Law, and is null and void. The laws in force in the Philippine Islands prior
The appellants now contend: (a) That the contract upon which the alleged usurious
to any legislation by the American sovereignty, prohibited the Legislature from giving
interest was collected was executed before Act No. 2655 was adopted; (b) that at the
to any penal law a retroactive effect unless such law was favorable to the person
time said contract was made (December 30, 1915), there was no usury law in force
accused. (Articles 21 and 22, Penal Code.)
in the Philippine Islands; (c) that said Act No. 2655 did not become effective until the
1st day of May, 1916, or four months and a half after the contract in question was
executed; (d) that said law could have no retroactive effect or operation, and (e) that A law imposing a new penalty, or a new liability or disability, or giving a new right of
said law impairs the obligation of a contract, and that for all of said reasons the action, must not be construed as having a retroactive effect. It is an elementary rule
judgment imposed by the lower court should be revoked; that the complaint should of contract that the laws in force at the time the contract was made must govern its
be dismissed, and that they should each be discharged from the custody of the law. interpretation and application. Laws must be construed prospectively and not
retrospectively. If a contract is legal at its inception, it cannot be rendered illegal by
any subsequent legislation. If that were permitted then the obligations of a contract
The essential facts constituting the basis of the criminal action are not in dispute, and
might be impaired, which is prohibited by the organic law of the Philippine Islands.
may be stated as follows: (1) That on the 30th day of December, 1915, the alleged
(U.S. vs. Constantino Tan Quingco Chua, 39 Phil., 552; Aguilar vs. Rubiato and
offended persons Bartolome Oliveros and Engracia Lianco executed and delivered to
Gonzales Vila, 40 Phil., 570.)
the defendants a contract (Exhibit B) evidencing the fact that the former had
borrowed from the latter the sum of P300, and (2) that, by virtue of the terms of said
contract, the said Bartolome Oliveros and Engracia Lianco obligated themselves to Ex post facto laws, unless they are favorable to the defendant, are prohibited in this
pay to the defendants interest at the rate of five per cent (5%) per month, payable jurisdiction. Every law that makes an action, done before the passage of the law, and
within the first ten days of each and every month, the first payment to be made on which was innocent when done, criminal, and punishes such action, is an ex post
the 10th day of January, 1916. There were other terms in the contract which, facto law. In the present case Act No. 2655 made an act which had been done before
however, are not important for the decision in the present case. the law was adopted, a criminal act, and to make said Act applicable to the act
complained of would be to give it an ex post facto operation. The Legislature is
prohibited from adopting a law which will make an act done before its adoption a
crime. A law may be given a retroactive effect in civil action, providing it is curative in
character, but ex post facto laws are absolutely prohibited unless its retroactive
effect is favorable to the defendant.

For the reason, therefore, that the acts complained of in the present case were legal
at the time of their occurrence, they cannot be made criminal by any subsequent or
ex post facto legislation. What the courts may say, considering the provisions of
article 1255 of the Civil Code, when a civil action is brought upon said contract, cannot
now be determined. A contract may be annulled by the courts when it is shown that
it is against morals or public order.

For all of the foregoing reasons, we are of the opinion, and so decide, that the acts
complained of by the defendants did not constitute a crime at the time they were
committed, and therefore the sentence of the lower court should be, and is hereby,
revoked; and it is hereby ordered and decreed that the complaint be dismissed, and
that the defendants be discharged from the custody of the law, with costs de oficio.
So ordered.

Araullo, C.J., Street, Malcolm, Avanceña, Ostrand, Johns and Romualdez, JJ., concur.
G.R. Nos. L-32613-14 December 27, 1972 recruits of the New People's Army, the military arm of the said
Communist Party of the Philippines.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs. That in the commission of the above offense, the following
HON. SIMEON. FERRER (in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of aggravating circumstances are present, to wit:
Tarlac, Branch I), FELICIANO CO alias LEONCIO CO alias "Bob," and NILO S. TAYAG
alias Romy Reyes alias "Taba," respondents. (a) That the crime has been committed in contempt of or with insult
to public authorities;
Solicitor R. Mutuc for respondent Feliciano Co.
(b) That the crime was committed by a band; and afford impunity.
Jose W. Diokno for respondent Nilo Tayag.
(c) With the aid of armed men or persons who insure or afford
impunity.

CASTRO, J.:p Co moved to quash on the ground that the Anti-Subversion Act is a bill of attainder.

I. Statement of the Case Meanwhile, on May 25, 1970, another criminal complaint was filed with the same
court, sharing the respondent Nilo Tayag and five others with subversion. After
Posed in issue in these two cases is the constitutionality of the Anti-Subversion preliminary investigation was had, an information was filed, which, as amended,
Act,1 which outlaws the Communist Party of the Philippines and other "subversive reads:
associations," and punishes any person who "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts
affiliates himself with, becomes or remains a member" of the Party or of any other The undersigned provincial Fiscal of Tarlac and State Prosecutors
similar "subversive" organization. duly designated by the Secretary of Justice to collaborate with the
Provincial Fiscal of Tarlac, pursuant to the Order dated June 5,
On March 5, 1970 a criminal complaint for violation of section 4 of the Anti- above entitled case, hereby accuse Nilo S. Tayag, alias Romy Reyes
Subversion Act was filed against the respondent Feliciano Co in the Court of First alias TABA, ARTHUR GARCIA, RENATO (REY) CASIPE, ABELARDO
Instance of Tarlac. On March 10 Judge Jose C. de Guzman conducted a preliminary GARCIA, MANUEL ALAVADO, BENJAMIN BIE alias COMMANDER
investigation and, finding a prima facie case against Co, directed the Government MELODY and several JOHN DOES, whose identities are still
prosecutors to file the corresponding information. The twice-amended information, unknown, for violation of REPUBLIC ACT No. 1700, otherwise
docketed as Criminal Case No. 27, recites: known as the Anti-Subversion Law, committed as follows:

That on or about May 1969 to December 5, 1969, in the That in or about March 1969 and for sometime prior thereto and
Municipality of Capas, Province of Tarlac, Philippines, and within thereafter, in the Province of Tarlac, within the jurisdiction of this
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, Honorable Court, and elsewhere in the Philippines, the above-
feloniously became an officer and/or ranking leader of the named accused knowingly, willfully and by overt acts organized,
Communist Party of the Philippines, an outlawed and illegal joined and/or remained as offices and/or ranking leaders, of the
organization aimed to overthrow the Government of the KABATAANG MAKABAYAN, a subversive organization as defined in
Philippines by means of force, violence, deceit, subversion, or any Republic Act No. 1700; that BENJAMIN BIE and COMMANDER
other illegal means for the purpose of establishing in the MELODY, in addition thereto, knowingly, willfully and by over acts
Philippines a totalitarian regime and placing the government under joined and/or remained as a member and became an officer and/or
the control and domination of an alien power, by being an ranking leader not only of the Communist Party of the Philippines
instructor in the Mao Tse Tung University, the training school of but also of the New People's Army, the military arm of the
Communist Party of the Philippines; and that all the above-named
accused, as such officers and/or ranking leaders of the aforestated subject not expressed in the title thereof; and (4) it denied him the equal protection
subversive organizations, conspiring, confederating and mutually of the laws.
helping one another, did then and there knowingly, willfully and
feloniously commit subversive and/or seditious acts, by inciting, Resolving the constitutional issues raised, the trial court, in its resolution of
instigating and stirring the people to unite and rise publicly and September 15, 1970, declared the statute void on the grounds that it is a bill of
tumultuously and take up arms against the government, and/or attainder and that it is vague and overboard, and dismissed the informations against
engage in rebellious conspiracies and riots to overthrow the the two accused. The Government appealed. We resolved to treat its appeal as a
government of the Republic of the Philippines by force, violence, special civil action for certiorari.
deceit, subversion and/or other illegal means among which are the
following: II. Is the Act a Bill of Attainder?

1. On several occasions within the province of Tarlac, the accused Article III, section 1 (11) of the Constitution states that "No bill of attainder or ex port
conducted meetings and/or seminars wherein the said accused facto law shall be enacted."2 A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts
delivered speeches instigating and inciting the people to unite, rise punishment without trial.3 Its essence is the substitution of a legislative for a judicial
in arms and overthrow the Government of the Republic of the determination of guilt.4 The constitutional ban against bills of attainder serves to
Philippines, by force, violence, deceit, subversion and/or other implement the principle of separation of powers 5 by confining legislatures to
illegal means; and toward this end, the said accused organized, rule-making 6 and thereby forestalling legislative usurpation of the judicial
among others a chapter of the KABATAANG MAKABAYAN in barrio function.7 History in perspective, bills of attainder were employed to suppress
Motrico, La Paz, Tarlac for the avowed purpose of undertaking or unpopular causes and political minorities, 8 and it is against this evil that the
promoting an armed revolution, subversive and/or seditious constitutional prohibition is directed. The singling out of a definite class, the
propaganda, conspiracies, and/or riots and/or other illegal means imposition of a burden on it, and a legislative intent, suffice to stigmatizea statute as
to discredit and overthrow the Government of the Republic of the a bill of attainder. 9
Philippines and to established in the Philippines a Communist
regime.
In the case at bar, the Anti-Subversion Act was condemned by the court a quo as a
bill of attainder because it "tars and feathers" the Communist Party of the Philippines
2. The accused NILO TAYAG alias ROMY REYES alias TABA, together as a "continuing menace to the freedom and security of the country; its existence, a
with FRANCISCO PORTEM alias KIKO Gonzales and others, pursued 'clear, present and grave danger to the security of the Philippines.'" By means of the
the above subversive and/or seditious activities in San Pablo City Act, the trial court said, Congress usurped "the powers of the judge," and assumed
by recruiting members for the New People's Army, and/or by "judicial magistracy by pronouncing the guilt of the CCP without any of the forms or
instigating and inciting the people to organize and unite for the safeguards of judicial trial." Finally, according to the trial court, "if the only issue [to
purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the be determined] is whether or not the accused is a knowing and voluntary member,
Philippines through armed revolution, deceit, subversion and/or the law is still a bill of attainder because it has expressly created a presumption of
other illegal means, and establishing in the Philippines a organizational guilt which the accused can never hope to overthrow."
Communist Government.
1. When the Act is viewed in its actual operation, it will be seen that it does not specify
That the following aggravating circumstances attended the the Communist Party of the Philippines or the members thereof for the purpose of
commission of the offense: (a) aid of armed men or persons to punishment. What it does is simply to declare the Party to be an organized conspiracy
insure or afford impunity; and (b) craft, fraud, or disguise was for the overthrow of the Government for the purposes of the prohibition, stated in
employed. section 4, against membership in the outlawed organization. The term "Communist
Party of the Philippines" issued solely for definitional purposes. In fact the Act applies
On July 21, 1970 Tayag moved to quash, impugning the validity of the statute on the not only to the Communist Party of the Philippines but also to "any other organization
grounds that (1) it is a bill of attainder; (2) it is vague; (3) it embraces more than one having the same purpose and their successors." Its focus is not on individuals but on
conduct. 10
This feature of the Act distinguishes it from section 504 of the U.S. Federal Labor- Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 US 1,
Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 11 which, in U.S. vs. Brown, 12 was 6 L ed 2d 625, 81 S CT 1357, lend a support to our conclusion. That
held to be a bill of attainder and therefore unconstitutional. Section 504 provided in case involved an appeal from an order by the Control Board
its pertinent parts as follows: ordering the Communist Party to register as a "Communist-action
organization," under the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950,
(a) No person who is or has been a member of the Communist 64 Stat 987, 50 USC sec. 781 et seq. (1958 ed). The definition of
Party ... shall serve — "Communist-action organization" which the Board is to apply is set
forth in sec. 3 of the Act:
(1) as an officer, director, trustee, member of any executive board
or similar governing body, business agent, manager, organizer, or [A]ny organization in the United States ... which (i)is substantially
other employee (other than as an employee performing exclusively directed, dominated, or controlled by the foreign government or
clerical or custodial duties) of any labor organization. foreign organization controlling the world Communist movement
referred to in section 2 of this title, and(ii) operates primarily to
during or for five years after the termination of his membership in advance the objectives of such world Communist movement... 64
the Communist Party.... Stat 989, 50 USC sec. 782 (1958 ed.)

(b) Any person who willfully violates this section shall be fined not A majority of the Court rejected the argument that the Act was a
more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or bill of attainder, reasoning that sec. 3 does not specify the persons
both. or groups upon which the deprivations setforth in the Act are to be
imposed, but instead sets forth a general definition. Although the
Board has determined in 1953 that the Communist Party was a
This statute specified the Communist Party, and imposes disability and penalties on
"Communist-action organization," the Court found the statutory
its members. Membership in the Party, without more, ipso facto disqualifies a person
definition not to be so narrow as to insure that the Party would
from becoming an officer or a member of the governing body of any labor
always come within it:
organization. As the Supreme Court of the United States pointed out:

In this proceeding the Board had found, and the Court of Appeals
Under the line of cases just outlined, sec. 504 of the Labor
has sustained its conclusion, that the Communist Party, by virtud of
Management Reporting and Disclosure Act plainly constitutes a bill
the activities in which it now engages, comes within the terms of
of attainder. Congress undoubtedly possesses power under the
the Act. If the Party should at anytime choose to abandon these
Commerce Clause to enact legislation designed to keep from
activities, after it is once registered pursuant to sec. 7, the Act
positions affecting interstate commerce persons who may use of
provides adequate means of relief. (367 US, at 87, 6 L ed 2d at 683)
such positions to bring about political strikes. In section 504,
however, Congress has exceeded the authority granted it by the
Constitution. The statute does not set forth a generally applicable Indeed, were the Anti-Subversion Act a bill of attainder, it would be totally
rule decreeing that any person who commits certain acts or unnecessary to charge Communists in court, as the law alone, without more, would
possesses certain characteristics (acts and characteristics which, in suffice to secure their punishment. But the undeniable fact is that their guilt still has
Congress' view, make them likely to initiate political strikes) shall to be judicially established. The Government has yet to prove at the trial that the
not hold union office, and leaves to courts and juries the job of accused joined the Party knowingly, willfully and by overt acts, and that they joined
deciding what persons have committed the specified acts or the Party, knowing its subversive character and with specific intent to further its basic
possessed the specified characteristics. Instead, it designates in no objective, i.e., to overthrow the existing Government by force deceit, and other illegal
uncertain terms the persons who possess the feared means and place the country under the control and domination of a foreign power.
characteristics and therefore cannot hold union office without
incurring criminal liability — members of the Communist Party. As to the claim that under the statute organizationl guilt is nonetheless imputed
despite the requirement of proof of knowing membership in the Party, suffice it to
say that is precisely the nature of conspiracy, which has been referred to as a But when the judgment expressed in legislation is so universally acknowledged to be
"dragneet device" whereby all who participate in the criminal covenant are liable. certain as to be "judicially noticeable," the legislature may apply its own rules, and
The contention would be correct if the statute were construed as punishing mere judicial hearing is not needed fairly to make such determination. 25
membership devoid of any specific intent to further the unlawful goals of the
Party. 13 But the statute specifically required that membership must be knowing or In New York ex rel. Bryant vs. Zimmerman, 26 the New York legislature passed a law
active, with specific intent to further the illegal objectives of the Party. That is what requiring every secret, oath-bound society with a membership of at least twenty to
section 4 means when it requires that membership, to be unlawful, must be shown register, and punishing any person who joined or remained a member of such a
to have been acquired "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts." 14 The ingredient of society failing to register. While the statute did not specify the Ku Klux Klan, in its
specific intent to pursue the unlawful goals of the Party must be shown by "overt operation the law applied to the KKK exclusively. In sustaining the statute against the
acts." 15 This constitutes an element of "membership" distinct from the ingredient of claim that it discriminated against the Ku Klux Klan while exempting other secret,
guilty knowledge. The former requires proof of direct participation in the oath-bound organizations like masonic societies and the Knights of Columbus, the
organization's unlawful activities, while the latter requires proof of mere adherence United States Supreme Court relied on common knowledge of the nature and
to the organization's illegal objectives. activities of the Ku Klux Klan. The Court said:

2. Even assuming, however, that the Act specifies individuals and not activities, this The courts below recognized the principle shown in the cases just
feature is not enough to render it a bill of attainder. A statute prohibiting partners or cited and reached the conclusion that the classification was
employees of securities underwriting firms from serving as officers or employees of justified by a difference between the two classes of associations
national banks on the basis of a legislative finding that the persons mentioned would shown by experience, and that the difference consisted (a) in a
be subject to the temptation to commit acts deemed inimical to the national manifest tendency on the part of one class to make the secrecy
economy, has been declared not to be a bill of attainder. 16 Similarly, a statute surrounding its purpose and membership a cloak for acts and
requiring every secret, oath-bound society having a membership of at least twenty conduct inimical to personal rights and public welfare, and (b) in
to register, and punishing any person who becomes a member of such society which the absence of such a tendency on the part of the other class. In
fails to register or remains a member thereof, was declared valid even if in its pointing out this difference one of the courts said of the Ku Klux
operation it was shown to apply only to the members of the Ku Klux Klan. 17 Klan, the principal association in the included class: "It is a matter
of common knowledge that this organization functions largely at
In the Philippines the validity of section 23 (b) of the Industrial Peace Act, 18 requiring night, its members disguised by hoods and gowns and doing things
labor unions to file with the Department of Labor affidavits of union officers "to the calculated to strike terror into the minds of the people;" and later
effect that they are not members of the Communist Party and that they are not said of the other class: "These organizations and their purposes are
members of any organization which teaches the overthrow of the Government by well known, many of them having been in existence for many years.
force or by any illegal or unconstitutional method," was upheld by this Court. 19 Many of them are oath-bound and secret. But we hear no
complaint against them regarding violation of the peace or
Indeed, it is only when a statute applies either to named individuals or to easily interfering with the rights of others." Another of the courts said: "It
ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them is a matter of common knowledge that the association or
without a judicial trial does it become a bill of attainder. 20 It is upon this ground that organization of which the relator is concededly a member exercises
statutes which disqualified those who had taken part in the rebellion against the activities tending to the prejudice and intimidation of sundry
Government of the United States during the Civil War from holding office, 21 or from classes of our citizens. But the legislation is not confined to this
exercising their profession, 22 or which prohibited the payment of further society;" and later said of the other class: "Labor unions have a
compensation to individuals named in the Act on the basis of a finding that they had recognized lawful purpose. The benevolent orders mentioned in
engages in subversive activities, 23 or which made it a crime for a member of the the Benevolent Orders Law have already received legislative
Communist Party to serve as an officer or employee of a labor union, 24 have been scrutiny and have been granted special privileges so that the
invalidated as bills of attainder. legislature may well consider them beneficial rather than harmful
agencies." The third court, after recognizing "the potentialities of
evil in secret societies," and observing that "the danger of certain
organizations has been judicially demonstrated," — meaning in it must apply retroactively and reach past conduct. This requirement follows from
that state, — said: "Benevolent orders, labor unions and college the nature of a bill of attainder as a legislative adjudication of guilt. As Justice
fraternities have existed for many years, and, while not immune Frankfurter observed, "frequently a bill of attainder was ... doubly objectionable
from hostile criticism, have on the whole justified their existence." because of its ex post facto features. This is the historic explanation for uniting the
two mischiefs in one
We assume that the legislature had before it such information as clause — 'No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.' ... Therefore, if [a
was readily available including the published report of a hearing, statute] is a bill of attainder it is also an ex post facto law. But if it is not an ex post
before a committee of the House of Representatives of the 57th facto law, the reasons that establish that it is not are persuasive that it cannot be a
Congress relating to the formation, purposes and activities of the bill of attainder." 31
Klu Klux Klan. If so it was advised — putting aside controverted
evidence — that the order was a revival of the Ku Klux Klan of an Thus in Gardner vs. Board of Public Works, 32 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the
earlier time with additional features borrowed from the Know validity of the Charter of the City of Los Angeles which provided:
Nothing and the A. P. A. orders of other periods; that its
memberships was limited to native-born, gentile, protestant ... [N]o person shall hold or retain or be eligible for any public office
whites; that in part of its constitution and printed creed it or employment in the service of the City of Los Angeles, in any
proclaimed the widest freedom for all and full adherence to the office or department thereof, either elective or appointive, who
Constitution of the United States; in another exacted of its member has within five (5) years prior to the effective date of this section
an oath to shield and preserve "white supremacy;" and in still advised, advocated, or taught, or who may, after this section
another declared any person actively opposing its principles to be becomes effective, become a member of or affiliated with any
"a dangerous ingredient in the body politic of our country and an group, society, association, organization or party which advises,
enemy to the weal of our national commonwealth;" that it was advocates or teaches or has within said period of five (5) years
conducting a crusade against Catholics, Jews, and Negroes, and advised, advocated, or taught the overthrow by force or violence
stimulating hurtful religious and race prejudices; that it was striving of the Government of the United States of America or of the State
for political power and assuming a sort of guardianship over the of California.
administration of local, state and national affairs; and that at times
it was taking into its own hands the punishment of what some of In upholding the statute, the Court stressed the prospective application of the Act to
its members conceived to be crimes. 27 the petitioner therein, thus:

In the Philippines the character of the Communist Party has been the object of ... Immaterial here is any opinion we might have as to the charter
continuing scrutiny by this Court. In 1932 we found the Communist Party of the provision insofar as it purported to apply restrospectively for a five-
Philippines to be an illegal association. 28 In 1969 we again found that the objective year period to its effective date. We assume that under the Federal
of the Party was the "overthrow of the Philippine Government by armed struggle and Constitution the Charter Amendment is valid to the extent that it
to establish in the Philippines a communist form of government similar to that of bars from the city's public service persons who, subsequently to its
Soviet Russia and Red China." 29 More recently, in Lansang vs. Garcia, 30 we noted the adoption in 1941, advise, advocate, or reach the violent overthrow
growth of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the organization of Communist of the Government or who are or become affiliated with any group
fronts among youth organizations such as the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) and the doing so. The provisions operating thus prospectively were a
emergence of the New People's Army. After meticulously reviewing the evidence, we reasonable regulation to protect the municipal service by
said: "We entertain, therefore, no doubts about the existence of a sizeable group of establishing an employment qualification of loyalty to the State and
men who have publicly risen in arms to overthrow the government and have thus the United States.
been and still are engaged in rebellion against the Government of the Philippines.
... Unlike the provisions of the charter and ordinance under which
3. Nor is it enough that the statute specify persons or groups in order that it may fall petitioners were removed, the statute in the Lovett case did not
within the ambit of the prohibition against bills of attainder. It is also necessary that declare general and prospectively operative standards of
qualification and eligibility for public employment. Rather, by its constitutional values. 35 Accordingly, any limitation on their exercise mustbe justified
terms it prohibited any further payment of compensationto named by the existence of a substantive evil. This isthe reason why before enacting the
individuals or employees. Under these circumstances, viewed statute in question Congressconducted careful investigations and then stated
against the legislative background, the statutewas held to have itsfindings in the preamble, thus:
imposed penalties without judicial trial.
... [T]he Communist Party of the Philippines althoughpurportedly a
Indeed, if one objection to the bill of attainder is thatCongress thereby assumed political party, is in fact an organized conspiracyto overthrow the
judicial magistracy, them it mustbe demonstrated that the statute claimed to be a Government of the Republic of the Philippinesnot only by force and
bill of attainderreaches past conduct and that the penalties it imposesare violence but also by deceit, subversionand other illegal means, for
inescapable. As the U.S. Supreme Court observedwith respect to the U.S. Federal the purpose of establishing in thePhilippines a totalitarian regime
Subversive Activities ControlAct of 1950: subject to alien dominationand control;

Nor is the statute made an act of "outlawry" or of attainderby the ... [T]he continued existence and activities of the CommunistParty
fact that the conduct which it regulates is describedwith such of the Philippines constitutes a clear, present andgrave danger to
particularity that, in probability, few organizationswill come within the security of the Philippines;
the statutory terms. Legislatures may act tocurb behaviour which
they regard as harmful to the public welfare,whether that conduct ... [I]n the face of the organized, systematice and
is found to be engaged in by manypersons or by one. So long as the persistentsubversion, national in scope but international in
incidence of legislation issuch that the persons who engage in the direction,posed by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its
regulated conduct, bethey many or few, can escape regulation activities,there is urgent need for special legislation to cope
merely by altering thecourse of their own present activities, there withthis continuing menace to the freedom and security of the
can be no complaintof an attainder. 33 country.

This statement, mutatis mutandis, may be said of theAnti-Subversion Act. Section 4 In truth, the constitutionality of the Act would be opento question if, instead of
thereof expressly statesthat the prohibition therein applies only to acts making these findings in enactingthe statute, Congress omitted to do so.
committed"After the approval of this Act." Only those who "knowingly,willfully and
by overt acts affiliate themselves with,become or remain members of the Communist In saying that by means of the Act Congress has assumed judicial magistracy, the trial
Party of thePhilippines and/or its successors or of any subversive association"after courd failed to takeproper account of the distinction between legislative
June 20, 1957, are punished. Those whowere members of the Party or of any other fact and adjudicative fact. Professor Paul Freund elucidatesthe crucial distinction,
subversive associationat the time of the enactment of the law, weregiven the thus:
opportunity of purging themselves of liability byrenouncing in writing and under oath
their membershipin the Party. The law expressly provides that such renunciationshall
... A law forbidding the sale of beverages containingmore than 3.2
operate to exempt such persons from penalliability. 34 The penalties prescribed by
per cent of alcohol would raise a question of legislativefact, i.e.,
the Act are thereforenot inescapable.
whether this standard has a reasonable relationto public health,
morals, and the enforcement problem. Alaw forbidding the sale of
III. The Act and the Requirements of Due Process intoxicating beverages (assuming itis not so vague as to require
supplementation by rule-making)would raise a question of
1. As already stated, the legislative declaration in section 2 of the Act that the adjudicative fact, i.e., whether thisor that beverage is intoxicating
Communist Party of the Philippinesis an organized conspiracy for the overthrow of within the meaning of the statuteand the limits on governmental
theGovernment is inteded not to provide the basis for a legislativefinding of guilt of action imposed by the Constitution. Of course what we mean by
the members of the Party butrather to justify the proscription spelled out in section fact in each case is itselfan ultimate conclusion founded on
4. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are sofundamental that they underlying facts and oncriteria of judgment for weighing them.
are thought by some to occupy a"preferred position" in the hierarchy of
A conventional formulation is that legislative facts — those facts Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argumentthat
which are relevant to the legislative judgment — will not be there is a 'right' to rebellion against dictatorial governmentsis
canvassed save to determine whether there is a rationalbasis for without force where the existing structure of government provides
believing that they exist, while adjudicativefacts — those which tie for peaceful and orderly change. We rejectany principle of
the legislative enactment to the litigant — are to be demonstrated governmental helplessness in the face of preparationfor
and found according to the ordinarystandards prevailing for judicial revolution, which principle, carried to its logical conclusion,must
trials. 36 lead to anarchy. No one could conceive that it isnot within the
power of Congress to prohibit acts intended tooverthrow the
The test formulated in Nebbia vs. new York, 37 andadopted by this Court in Lansang government by force and violence.
vs. Garcia, 38 is that 'if laws are seen to have a reasonable relation to a
proper legislative purpose, and are neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the 2. By carefully delimiting the reach of the Act to conduct (as explicitly described in
requirements of due process are satisfied, and judicial determination to that effect sectin 4 thereof), Congressreaffirmed its respect for the rule that "even throughthe
renders a court functus officio." The recital of legislative findings implements this governmental purpose be legitimate and substantial,that purpose cannot be pursued
test. by means that broadly stiflefundamental personal liberties when the end can be
more narrowly achieved." 42 The requirement of knowing membership,as
With respect to a similar statement of legislative findingsin the U.S. Federal distinguished from nominal membership, hasbeen held as a sufficient basis for
Subversive Activities Control Actof 1950 (that "Communist-action organizations" are penalizing membershipin a subversive organization. 43 For, as has been stated:
controlledby the foreign government controlling the worldCommunist movement
and that they operate primarily to"advance the objectives of such world Communist Membership in an organization renders aid and encouragement to
movement"),the U.S. Supreme Court said: the organization; and when membership is acceptedor retained
with knowledge that the organization is engaged inan unlawful
It is not for the courts to reexamine the validity of theselegislative purpose, the one accepting or retaining membershipwith such
findings and reject them....They are the productof extensive knowledge makes himself a party to the unlawfulenterprise in
investigation by Committes of Congress over morethan a decade which it is engaged. 44
and a half. Cf. Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S.502, 516, 530. We
certainly cannot dismiss them as unfoundedirrational imaginings. 3. The argument that the Act is unconstitutionallyoverbroad because section 2
... And if we accept them, as we mustas a not unentertainable merely speaks of "overthrow"of the Government and overthrow may be achieved
appraisal by Congress of the threatwhich Communist organizations by peaceful means, misconceives the function of the phrase"knowingly, willfully and
pose not only to existing governmentin the United States, but to by overt acts" in section 4. Section 2 is merely a legislative declaration; the
the United States as asovereign, independent Nation. ...we must definitionsof and the penalties prescribed for the different acts prescribedare stated
recognize that thepower of Congress to regulate Communist in section 4 which requires that membershipin the Communist Party of the
organizations of thisnature is Philippines, to be unlawful, must be acquired "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts."
extensive. 39 Indeed, the first "whereas" clause makes clear thatthe overthrow contemplated is
"overthrow not only by forceand violence but also be deceit, subversion and other
This statement, mutatis mutandis, may be said of thelegislative findings articulated illegalmeans." The absence of this qualificatio in section 2 appearsto be due more to
in the Anti-Subversion Act. an oversight rather than to deliberateomission.

That the Government has a right to protect itself againstsubversion is a proposition Moreover, the word "overthrow' sufficiently connotesthe use of violent and other
too plain to require elaboration.Self-preservation is the "ultimate value" of society. illegal means. Only in a metaphoricalsense may one speak of peaceful overthrow
It surpasses and transcendes every other value, "forif a society cannot protect its very ofgovernments, and certainly the law does not speak in metaphors.In the case of the
structure from armedinternal attack, ...no subordinate value can be protected" 40 As Anti-Subversion Act, the use ofthe word "overthrow" in a metaphorical sense is
Chief Justice Vinson so aptly said in Dennis vs. United States: 41 hardlyconsistent with the clearly delineated objective of the "overthrow,"namely,
"establishing in the Philippines a totalitarianregime and place [sic] the Government
under thecontrol and domination of an alien power." What thisCourt once said in a discern no reason why membership, whenit constitutes a
prosecution for sedition is appropos: "The language used by the appellant clearly purposeful form of complicity in a group engagingin this same
imported anoverthrow of the Government by violence, and it should beinterpreted forbidden advocacy, should receive anygreater degree of
in the plain and obvious sense in which it wasevidently intended to be understood. protection from the guarantees of that Amendment.
The word 'overthrow'could not have been intended as referring to an ordinarychange
by the exercise of the elective franchise. The useof the whip [which the accused Moreover, as was held in another case, where the problemsof accommodating the
exhorted his audience to useagainst the Constabulary], an instrument designed exigencies of self-preservationand the values of liberty are as complex and intricate
toleave marks on the sides of adversaries, is inconsistentwith the mild interpretation as inthe situation described in the legislative findings stated inthe U.S. Federal
which the appellant wouldhave us impute to the language." 45 Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950,the legislative judgment as to how that
threat may best bemet consistently with the safeguards of personal freedomsis not
IV. The Act and the Guaranty of Free Expression to be set aside merely because the judgment of judgeswould, in the first instance,
have chosen other methods. 48 For in truth, legislation, "whether it restrains freedom
As already pointed out, the Act is aimed against conspiracies to overthrow the tohire or freedom to speak, is itself an effort at compromisebetween the claims of
Government by force, violence orother illegal means. Whatever interest in freedom the social order and individual freedom,and when the legislative compromise in
of speechand freedom of association is infringed by the prohibitionagainst knowing either case isbrought to the judicial test the court stands one step removedfrom the
membership in the Communist Party ofthe Philippines, is so indirect and so conflict and its resolution through law." 49
insubstantial as to beclearly and heavily outweighed by the overriding
considerationsof national security and the preservartion of democraticinstitutions in V. The Act and its Title
his country.
The respondent Tayag invokes the constitutional commandthat "no bill which may
The membership clause of the U.S. Federal Smith Actis similar in many respects to be enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed
the membership provision ofthe Anti-Subversion Act. The former provides: in the title of the bill." 50

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize anysociety, What is assailed as not germane to or embraced in thetitle of the Act is the last
group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, orencourage proviso of section 4 which reads:
the overthrow or destruction of any such governmentby force or
violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliatedwith, any such And provided, finally, That one who conspires with anyother person
society, group or assembly of persons, knowingthe purpose thereof to overthrow the Government of the Republic ofthe Philippines, or
— the government of any of its political subdivisionsby force,
violence, deceit, subversion or illegal means,for the purpose of
Shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned notmore than placing such Government or political subdivisionunder the control
twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for emplymentby the and domination of any lien power, shallbe punished by prision
United States or any department or agencythereof, for the five correccional to prision mayor with allthe accessory penalties
years next following his conviction.... 46 provided therefor in the same code.

In sustaining the validity of this provision, the "Court said in Scales vs. United It is argued that the said proviso, in reality, punishes notonly membership in the
States: 47 Communist Party of the Philippinesor similar associations, but as well "any
conspiracyby two persons to overthrow the national or any local governmentby
It was settled in Dennis that advocacy with which we arehere illegal means, even if their intent is not to establisha totalitarian regime, burt a
concerned is not constitutionally protected speech, and itwas democratic regime, evenif their purpose is not to place the nation under an
further established that a combination to promote suchadvocacy, aliencommunist power, but under an alien democratic power likethe United States
albeit under the aegis of what purports to be a politicalparty, is not or England or Malaysia or even an anti-communistpower like Spain, Japan, Thailand
such association as is protected by the firstAmendment. We can or Taiwanor Indonesia."
The Act, in addition to its main title ("An Act to Outlawthe Communist Party of the ACCORDINGLY, the questioned resolution of September15, 1970 is set aside, and
Philippines and SimilarAssociations, Penalizing Membership Therein, and forOther these two cases are herebyremanded to the court a quo for trial on the merits.
Purposes"), has a short title. Section 1 providesthat "This Act shall be known as the Costs de oficio.
Anti-Subversion Act."Together with the main title, the short title of the
statuteunequivocally indicates that the subject matter is subversionin general which Makalintal, Zaldivar, Teehankee, Barredo and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
has for its fundamental purpose the substitutionof a foreign totalitarian regime in
place of theexisting Government and not merely subversion by Concepcion, C.J., concurs in the result.
Communistconspiracies..
Makasiar and Antonio, JJ., took no part.
The title of a bill need not be a catalogue or an indexof its contents, and need not
recite the details of the Act. 51 It is a valid title if it indicates in broad but clear
termsthe nature, scope, and consequences of the proposed lawand its operation. 52 A
narrow or technical construction isto be avoided, and the statute will be read fairly
and reasonablyin order not to thwart the legislative intent. We holdthat the Anti-
Subversion Act fully satisfies these requirements.

VI. Conclusion and Guidelines

In conclusion, even as we uphold the validity of theAnti-Subversion Act, we cannot


overemphasize the needfor prudence and circumspection in its enforcement,
operatingas it does in the sensitive area of freedom of expressionand belief.
Accordingly, we set the following basic guidelines to be observed in any prosecution
under the Act.The Government, in addition to proving such circumstancesas may
affect liability, must establish the following elementsof the crime of joining the
Communist Party of the Philippinesor any other subversive association:

(1) In the case of subversive organizations other thanthe Communist Party of the
Philippines, (a) that thepurpose of the organization is to overthrow the
presentGovernment of the Philippines and to establish in thiscountry a totalitarian
regime under the domination of aforeign power; (b) that the accused joined such
organization;and (c) that he did so knowingly, willfully and byovert acts; and

(2) In the case of the Communist Party of the Philippines,(a) that the CPP continues
to pursue the objectiveswhich led Congress in 1957 to declare it to be an
organizedconspiracy for the overthrow of the Government by illegalmeans for the
purpose of placing the country under thecontrol of a foreign power; (b) that the
accused joined theCPP; and (c) that he did so willfully, knowingly and byovert acts.

We refrain from making any pronouncement as to thecrime or remaining a member


of the Communist Party ofthe Philippines or of any other subversive association:
weleave this matter to future determination.
G.R. No. 448 September 20, 1901 cited. There is nothing in the language of that article to indicate that it does not apply
to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction of the law. Under articles 4 and 5 of
THE UNITED STATES, complainant-appellee, the Code of Military Justice above cited a military person could not be brought to trial
vs. before a civil tribunal for an assault upon a prisoner of war, but by the commission of
PHILIP K. SWEET, defendant-appellant. that offense he incurred a criminal responsibility for which he was amenable only to
the military jurisdiction. That criminal responsibility, however, arose from an
Theofilus B. Steele, for appellant. infraction of the general penal laws, although the same acts, viewed in another
Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta, for appellee. aspect, might also, if committed in time of war, constitute an infraction of the military
code. We are unable to see how these provisions of the Spanish Military Code, no
longer in force here and which indeed never had any application to the Army of the
LADD, J.:
United States, can in any possible view have the effect claimed for them by counsel
for the appellant.
The offense charged in the complaint is punishable under the Penal Code now in force
by arresto mayor and a fine of from 325 to 3,250 pesetas. (Art. 418.) By Act No. 136
The second question is, Does the fact that the alleged offense was committed by an
of the United States Philippine Commission, section 56 (6), Courts of First Instance
employee of the United States military authorities deprive the court of jurisdiction?
are given original jurisdiction "in all criminal cases in which a penalty of more than six
We have been cited to no provision in the legislation of Congress, and to none in the
months' imprisonment or a fine exceeding one hundred dollars may be imposed."
local legislation, which has the effect of limiting, as respects employees of the United
The offense was therefore cognizable by the court below unless the fact that the
States military establishment, the general jurisdiction conferred upon the Courts of
appellant was at the time of its alleged commission an employee of the United States
First Instance by Act No. 136 of the United States Philippine Commission above cited,
military authorities in the Philippine Islands, and the further fact that the person upon
and we are not aware of the existence of any such provision. The case is therefore
whom it is alleged to have been committed was a prisoner of war in the custody of
open to the application of the general principle that the jurisdiction of the civil
such authorities, are sufficient to deprive it of jurisdiction. We must assume that both
tribunals is unaffected by the military or other special character of the person
these facts are true, as found, either upon sufficient evidence or upon the admissions
brought before them for trial, a principle firmly established in the law of England and
of the prosecuting attorney, by the court below.
America and which must, we think, prevail under any system of jurisprudence unless
controlled by express legislation to the contrary. (United States vs. Clark, 31 Fed.
Setting aside the claim that the appellant was "acting in the line of duty" at the time
Rep., 710.) The appellant's claim that the acts alleged to constitute the offense were
the alleged offense was committed, which is not supported by the findings or by any
performed by him in the execution of the orders of his military superiors may, if true,
evidence which appears in the record, the contention that the court was without
be available by way of defense upon the merits in the trial in the court below, but can
jurisdiction, as we understand it, is reducible to two propositions: First, that an
not under this principle affect the right of that court to take jurisdiction of the case.
assault committed by a soldier or military employee upon a prisoner of war is not an
offense under the Penal Code; and second, that if it is an offense under the Code,
Whether under a similar state of facts to that which appears in this case a court of
nevertheless the military character sustained by the person charged with the offense
one of the United States would have jurisdiction to try the offender against the State
at the time of its commission exempts him from the ordinary jurisdiction of the civil
laws (see In re Fair, 100 Fed. Rep., 149), it is not necessary to consider. The present is
tribunals.
not a case where the courts of one government are attempting to exercise
jurisdiction over the military agents or employees of another and distinct
As to the first proposition, it is true, as pointed out by counsel, that an assault of the
government, because the court asserting jurisdiction here derives its existence and
character charged in the complaint committed in time of war by a military person
powers from the same Government under the authority of which the acts alleged to
upon a prisoner of war is punishable as an offense under the Spanish Code of Military
constitute the offense are claimed to have been performed.
Justice (art. 232), and it is also true that under the provisions of the same Code (arts.
4, 5) the military tribunals have, with certain exceptions which it is not material to
It may be proper to add that there is no actual conflict between the two jurisdictions
state, exclusive cognizance of all offenses, whether of a purely military nature or
in the present case nor any claim of jurisdiction on the part of the military tribunals.
otherwise, committed by military persons. But the fact that the acts charged in the
On the contrary it appears from the findings of the court below that the complaint
complaint would be punishable as an offense under the Spanish military legislation
was entered by order of the commanding general of the Division of the Philippines,
does not render them any less an offense under the article of the Penal Code above
a fact not important, perhaps, as regards the technical question of jurisdiction, but
which relieves the case from any practical embarrassment which might result from a
claim on the part of the military tribunals to exclusive cognizance of the offense.

The order of the court below is affirmed with costs to the appellant.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Willard, and Mapa, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 125865 January 28, 2000 Second, under Section 45 of the Agreement which provides:

JEFFREY LIANG (HUEFENG), petitioner, Officers and staff of the Bank including for the purpose of this Article experts
vs. and consultants performing missions for the Bank shall enjoy the following
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. privileges and immunities:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: a.) immunity from legal process with respect to acts performed by
them in their official capacity except when the Bank waives the
Petitioner is an economist working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). immunity.
Sometime in 1994, for allegedly uttering defamatory words against fellow ADB
worker Joyce Cabal, he was charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of the immunity mentioned therein is not absolute, but subject to the exception that
Mandaluyong City with two counts of grave oral defamation docketed as Criminal the acts was done in "official capacity." It is therefore necessary to determine if
Cases Nos. 53170 and 53171. Petitioner was arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by petitioner's case falls within the ambit of Section 45(a). Thus, the prosecution should
the MeTC. After fixing petitioner's bail at P2,400.00 per criminal charge, the MeTC have been given the chance to rebut the DFA protocol and it must be accorded the
released him to the custody of the Security Officer of ADB. The next day, the MeTC opportunity to present its controverting evidence, should it so desire.
judge received an "office of protocol" from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
stating that petitioner is covered by immunity from legal process under Section 45 of Third, slandering a person could not possibly be covered by the immunity agreement
the Agreement between the ADB and the Philippine Government regarding the because our laws do not allow the commission of a crime, such as defamation, in the
Headquarters of the ADB (hereinafter Agreement) in the country. Based on the said name of official duty.3 The imputation of theft is ultra vires and cannot be part of
protocol communication that petitioner is immune from suit, the MeTC judge official functions. It is well-settled principle of law that a public official may be liable
without notice to the prosecution dismissed the two criminal cases. The latter filed a in his personal private capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act
motion for reconsideration which was opposed by the DFA. When its motion was done with malice or in bad faith or beyond the scope of his authority or jurisdiction. 4 It
denied, the prosecution filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the appears that even the government's chief legal counsel, the Solicitor General, does
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City which set aside the MeTC rulings and ordered not support the stand taken by petitioner and that of the DFA.
the latter court to enforce the warrant of arrest it earlier issued. After the motion for
reconsideration was denied, petitioner elevated the case to this Court viaa petition Fourth, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomatic agent,
for review arguing that he is covered by immunity under the Agreement and that no assuming petitioner is such, enjoys immunity from criminal jurisdiction of the
preliminary investigation was held before the criminal cases were filed in receiving state except in the case of an action relating to any professional or
court.1âwphi1.nêt commercial activity exercised by the diplomatic agent in the receiving state outside
his official functions.5 As already mentioned above, the commission of a crime is not
The petition is not impressed with merit. part of official duty.

First, courts cannot blindly adhere and take on its face the communication from the Finally, on the contention that there was no preliminary investigation conducted,
DFA that petitioner is covered by any immunity. The DFA's determination that a suffice it to say that preliminary investigation is not a matter of right in cases
certain person is covered by immunity is only preliminary which has no binding effect cognizable by the MeTC such as the one at bar.6 Being purely a statutory right,
in courts. In receiving ex-parte the DFA's advice and in motu propio dismissing the preliminary investigation may be invoked only when specifically granted by law.7 The
two criminal cases without notice to the prosecution, the latter's right to due process rule on the criminal procedure is clear that no preliminary investigation is required in
was violated. It should be noted that due process is a right of the accused as much as cases falling within the jurisdiction of the MeTC.8 Besides the absence of preliminary
it is of the prosecution. The needed inquiry in what capacity petitioner was acting at investigation does not affect the court's jurisdiction nor does it impair the validity of
the time of the alleged utterances requires for its resolution evidentiary basis that the information or otherwise render it defective.9
has yet to be presented at the proper time.1 At any rate, it has been ruled that the
mere invocation of the immunity clause does not ipso facto result in the dropping of WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Kapunan
the charges.2 and Pardo, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-44896 July 31, 1936 November 15, 1935, has brought about a fundamental change in the
political and legal status of the Philippines. On the date mentioned the
RODOLFO A. SCHNECKENBURGER, petitioner, Constitution of the Philippines went into full force and effect. This
vs. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Not only the members of this
MANUEL V. MORAN, Judge of First Instance of Manila, respondent. court but all other officers, legislative, executive and judicial, of the
Government of the Commonwealth, are bound by oath to support the
Cardenas and Casal for petitioner. Constitution. (Article XIII, section 2.) This court owes its own existence to the
Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for respondent. great instrument, and derives all its powers therefrom. In the exercise of its
powers and jurisdiction, this court is bound by the provisions of the
Constitution. The Constitution provides that the original jurisdiction of this
ABAD SANTOS, J.:
court "shall include all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers,
and consuls." In deciding the instant case this court cannot go beyond this
The petitioner was duly accredited honorary consul of Uruguay at Manila, Philippine
constitutional provision.
Islands on June 11, 1934. He was subsequently charged in the Court of First Instance
of Manila with the crime of falsification of a private document. He objected to the
2. It remains to consider whether the original jurisdiction thus conferred
jurisdiction of the court on the ground that both under the Constitution of the United
upon this court by the Constitution over cases affecting ambassadors, other
States and the Constitution of the Philippines the court below had no jurisdiction to
public ministers, and consuls, is exclusive. The Constitution does not define
try him. His objection having been overruled, he filed this petition for a writ of
the jurisdiction of this court in specific terms, but merely provides that "the
prohibition with a view to preventing the Court of First Instance of Manila from taking
Supreme Court shall have such original and appellate jurisdiction as may be
cognizance of the criminal action filed against him.
possessed and exercised by the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands at
the time of the adoption of this Constitution." It then goes on to provide that
In support of this petition counsel for the petitioner contend (1) That the Court of
the original jurisdiction of this court "shall include all cases affecting
First Instance of Manila is without jurisdiction to try the case filed against the
ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls."
petitioner for the reason that under Article III, section 2, of the Constitution of the
United States, the Supreme Court of the United States has original jurisdiction in all
In the light of the constitutional provisions above adverted to, the question arises
cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and such
whether the original jurisdiction possessed and exercised by the Supreme Court of
jurisdiction excludes the courts of the Philippines; and (2) that even under the
the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of the Constitution was exclusive.
Constitution of the Philippines original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors,
other public ministers, and consuls, is conferred exclusively upon the Supreme Court
of the Philippines. The original jurisdiction possessed and exercised by the Supreme Court of the
Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of the Constitution was derived from
section 17 of Act No. 136, which reads as follows: The Supreme Court shall have
This case involves no question of diplomatic immunity. It is well settled that a consul
original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, habeas
is not entitled to the privileges and immunities of an ambassador or minister, but is
corpus, and quo warrantoin the cases and in the manner prescribed in the Code of
subject to the laws and regulations of the country to which he is accredited. (Ex
Civil Procedure, and to hear and determine the controversies thus brought before it,
parte Baiz, 135 U. S., 403; 34 Law. ed., 222.) A consul is not exempt from criminal
and in other cases provided by law." Jurisdiction to issue writs of quo
prosecution for violations of the laws of the country where he resides. (U.
warranto, certiorari, mandamus, prohibition, and habeas corpus was also conferred
S. vs. Ravara, 2 Dall., 297; 1 Law. ed., 388; Wheaton's International Law [2d ed.], 423.)
on the Courts of First Instance by the Code of Civil Procedure. (Act No. 190, secs. 197,
The substantial question raised in this case is one of jurisdiction.
217, 222, 226, and 525.) It results that the original jurisdiction possessed and
exercised by the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption
1. We find no merit in the contention that Article III, section 2, of the
of the Constitution was not exclusive of, but concurrent with, that of the Courts of
Constitution of the United States governs this case. We do not deem it
First Instance. Inasmuch as this is the same original jurisdiction vested in this court
necessary to discuss the question whether the constitutional provision
by the Constitution and made to include all cases affecting ambassadors, other public
relied upon by the petitioner extended ex propio vigore over the Philippines.
Suffice it to say that the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth on
ministers, and consuls, it follows that the jurisdiction of this court over such cases is
not exclusive.

The conclusion we have reached upon this branch of the case finds support in the
pertinent decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Constitution of
the United States provides that the Supreme Court shall have "original jurisdiction"
in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls. In construing
this constitutional provision, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the
"original jurisdiction thus conferred upon the Supreme Court by the Constitution was
not exclusive jurisdiction, and that such grant of original jurisdiction did not prevent
Congress from conferring original jurisdiction in cases affecting consuls on the
subordinate courts of the Union. (U. S. vs. Ravara, supra; Bors vs. Preston, 111 U. S.,
252; 28 Law. ed., 419.)

3. The laws in force in the Philippines prior to the inauguration of the Commonwealth
conferred upon the Courts of the First Instance original jurisdiction in all criminal
cases to which a penalty of more than six months' imprisonment or a fine exceeding
one hundred dollars might be imposed. (Act No. 136, sec. 56.) Such jurisdiction
included the trial of criminal actions brought against consuls for, as we have already
indicated, consuls, not being entitled to the privileges and immunities of
ambassadors or ministers, are subject to the laws and regulations of the country
where they reside. By Article XV, section 2, of the Constitution, all laws of the
Philippine Islands in force at the time of the adoption of the Constitution were to
continue in force until the inauguration of the Commonwealth; thereafter, they were
to remain operative, unless inconsistent with the Constitution until amended,
altered, modified, or repealed by the National Assembly. The original jurisdiction
granted to the Courts of First Instance to try criminal cases was not made exclusively
by any, law in force prior to the inauguration of the Commonwealth, and having
reached the conclusion that the jurisdiction conferred upon this court by the
Constitution over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls,
is not an exclusive jurisdiction, the laws in force at the time of the adoption of the
Constitution, granting the Courts of First Instance jurisdiction in such cases, are not
inconsistent with the Constitution, and must be deemed to remain operative and in
force, subject to the power of the National Assembly to amend alter, modify, or
repeal the same. (Asiatic P. Co. vs. Insular Collector of Customs, U. S. Supreme Court
[Law. ed.], Adv. Ops., vol. 80, No. 12, pp. 620, 623.)

We conclude, therefore, that the Court of First Instance of Manila has jurisdiction to
try the petitioner, an that the petition for a writ of prohibition must be denied. So
ordered.

Avanceña, C. J., Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz, and Recto, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 142396 February 11, 2003 caviar, aside from that of Persian carpets, pistachio nuts and other Iranian products
was his business after the Khomeini government cut his pension of over $3,000.00
KHOSROW MINUCHER, petitioner, per month. During their introduction in that meeting, the defendant gave the plaintiff
vs. his calling card, which showed that he is working at the US Embassy in the Philippines,
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ARTHUR SCALZO, respondents. as a special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, of
the United States, and gave his address as US Embassy, Manila. At the back of the
DECISION card appears a telephone number in defendant’s own handwriting, the number of
which he can also be contacted.
VITUG, J.:
"It was also during this first meeting that plaintiff expressed his desire to obtain a US
Visa for his wife and the wife of a countryman named Abbas Torabian. The defendant
Sometime in May 1986, an Information for violation of Section 4 of Republic Act No.
told him that he [could] help plaintiff for a fee of $2,000.00 per visa. Their
6425, otherwise also known as the "Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972," was filed against
conversation, however, was more concentrated on politics, carpets and caviar.
petitioner Khosrow Minucher and one Abbas Torabian with the Regional Trial Court,
Thereafter, the defendant promised to see plaintiff again.
Branch 151, of Pasig City. The criminal charge followed a "buy-bust operation"
conducted by the Philippine police narcotic agents in the house of Minucher, an
Iranian national, where a quantity of heroin, a prohibited drug, was said to have been "On May 19, 1986, the defendant called the plaintiff and invited the latter for dinner
seized. The narcotic agents were accompanied by private respondent Arthur Scalzo at Mario's Restaurant at Makati. He wanted to buy 200 grams of caviar. Plaintiff
who would, in due time, become one of the principal witnesses for the prosecution. brought the merchandize but for the reason that the defendant was not yet there,
On 08 January 1988, Presiding Judge Eutropio Migrino rendered a decision acquitting he requested the restaurant people to x x x place the same in the refrigerator.
the two accused. Defendant, however, came and plaintiff gave him the caviar for which he was paid.
Then their conversation was again focused on politics and business.
On 03 August 1988, Minucher filed Civil Case No. 88-45691 before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 19, of Manila for damages on account of what he claimed to have "On May 26, 1986, defendant visited plaintiff again at the latter's residence for 18
been trumped-up charges of drug trafficking made by Arthur Scalzo. The Manila RTC years at Kapitolyo, Pasig. The defendant wanted to buy a pair of carpets which
detailed what it had found to be the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. plaintiff valued at $27,900.00. After some haggling, they agreed at $24,000.00. For
the reason that defendant did not yet have the money, they agreed that defendant
would come back the next day. The following day, at 1:00 p.m., he came back with
"The testimony of the plaintiff disclosed that he is an Iranian national. He came to the
his $24,000.00, which he gave to the plaintiff, and the latter, in turn, gave him the
Philippines to study in the University of the Philippines in 1974. In 1976, under the
pair of carpets.1awphi1.nét
regime of the Shah of Iran, he was appointed Labor Attaché for the Iranian Embassies
in Tokyo, Japan and Manila, Philippines. When the Shah of Iran was deposed by
Ayatollah Khomeini, plaintiff became a refugee of the United Nations and continued "At about 3:00 in the afternoon of May 27, 1986, the defendant came back again to
to stay in the Philippines. He headed the Iranian National Resistance Movement in plaintiff's house and directly proceeded to the latter's bedroom, where the latter and
the Philippines. his countryman, Abbas Torabian, were playing chess. Plaintiff opened his safe in the
bedroom and obtained $2,000.00 from it, gave it to the defendant for the latter's fee
in obtaining a visa for plaintiff's wife. The defendant told him that he would be leaving
"He came to know the defendant on May 13, 1986, when the latter was brought to
the Philippines very soon and requested him to come out of the house for a while so
his house and introduced to him by a certain Jose Iñigo, an informer of the
that he can introduce him to his cousin waiting in a cab. Without much ado, and
Intelligence Unit of the military. Jose Iñigo, on the other hand, was met by plaintiff at
without putting on his shirt as he was only in his pajama pants, he followed the
the office of Atty. Crisanto Saruca, a lawyer for several Iranians whom plaintiff
defendant where he saw a parked cab opposite the street. To his complete surprise,
assisted as head of the anti-Khomeini movement in the Philippines.
an American jumped out of the cab with a drawn high-powered gun. He was in the
company of about 30 to 40 Filipino soldiers with 6 Americans, all armed. He was
"During his first meeting with the defendant on May 13, 1986, upon the introduction
handcuffed and after about 20 minutes in the street, he was brought inside the house
of Jose Iñigo, the defendant expressed his interest in buying caviar. As a matter of
by the defendant. He was made to sit down while in handcuffs while the defendant
fact, he bought two kilos of caviar from plaintiff and paid P10,000.00 for it. Selling
was inside his bedroom. The defendant came out of the bedroom and out from a motion for an extension of time to file an answer was not a voluntary appearance
defendant's attaché case, he took something and placed it on the table in front of the equivalent to service of summons since it did not seek an affirmative relief. Scalzo
plaintiff. They also took plaintiff's wife who was at that time at the boutique near his argued that in cases involving the United States government, as well as its agencies
house and likewise arrested Torabian, who was playing chess with him in the and officials, a motion for extension was peculiarly unavoidable due to the need (1)
bedroom and both were handcuffed together. Plaintiff was not told why he was being for both the Department of State and the Department of Justice to agree on the
handcuffed and why the privacy of his house, especially his bedroom was invaded by defenses to be raised and (2) to refer the case to a Philippine lawyer who would be
defendant. He was not allowed to use the telephone. In fact, his telephone was expected to first review the case. The court a quo denied the motion for
unplugged. He asked for any warrant, but the defendant told him to `shut up.’ He was reconsideration in its order of 15 October 1989.
nevertheless told that he would be able to call for his lawyer who can defend him.
Scalzo filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, there docketed CA-G.R.
"The plaintiff took note of the fact that when the defendant invited him to come out No. 17023, assailing the denial. In a decision, dated 06 October 1989, the appellate
to meet his cousin, his safe was opened where he kept the $24,000.00 the defendant court denied the petition and affirmed the ruling of the trial court. Scalzo then
paid for the carpets and another $8,000.00 which he also placed in the safe together elevated the incident in a petition for review on certiorari, docketed G.R. No. 91173,
with a bracelet worth $15,000.00 and a pair of earrings worth $10,000.00. He also to this Court. The petition, however, was denied for its failure to comply with SC
discovered missing upon his release his 8 pieces hand-made Persian carpets, valued Circular No. 1-88; in any event, the Court added, Scalzo had failed to show that the
at $65,000.00, a painting he bought for P30,000.00 together with his TV and betamax appellate court was in error in its questioned judgment.
sets. He claimed that when he was handcuffed, the defendant took his keys from his
wallet. There was, therefore, nothing left in his house. Meanwhile, at the court a quo, an order, dated 09 February 1990, was issued (a)
declaring Scalzo in default for his failure to file a responsive pleading (answer) and (b)
"That his arrest as a heroin trafficker x x x had been well publicized throughout the setting the case for the reception of evidence. On 12 March 1990, Scalzo filed a
world, in various newspapers, particularly in Australia, America, Central Asia and in motion to set aside the order of default and to admit his answer to the complaint.
the Philippines. He was identified in the papers as an international drug trafficker. x Granting the motion, the trial court set the case for pre-trial. In his answer, Scalzo
xx denied the material allegations of the complaint and raised the affirmative defenses
(a) of Minucher’s failure to state a cause of action in his complaint and (b) that Scalzo
In fact, the arrest of defendant and Torabian was likewise on television, not only in had acted in the discharge of his official duties as being merely an agent of the Drug
the Philippines, but also in America and in Germany. His friends in said places Enforcement Administration of the United States Department of Justice. Scalzo
informed him that they saw him on TV with said news. interposed a counterclaim of P100,000.00 to answer for attorneys' fees and expenses
of litigation.
"After the arrest made on plaintiff and Torabian, they were brought to Camp Crame
handcuffed together, where they were detained for three days without food and Then, on 14 June 1990, after almost two years since the institution of the civil case,
water."1 Scalzo filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that, being a special
agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, he was entitled to
During the trial, the law firm of Luna, Sison and Manas, filed a special appearance for diplomatic immunity. He attached to his motion Diplomatic Note No. 414 of the
Scalzo and moved for extension of time to file an answer pending a supposed advice United States Embassy, dated 29 May 1990, addressed to the Department of Foreign
from the United States Department of State and Department of Justice on the Affairs of the Philippines and a Certification, dated 11 June 1990, of Vice Consul
defenses to be raised. The trial court granted the motion. On 27 October 1988, Scalzo Donna Woodward, certifying that the note is a true and faithful copy of its original.
filed another special appearance to quash the summons on the ground that he, not In an order of 25 June 1990, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss.
being a resident of the Philippines and the action being one in personam, was beyond
the processes of the court. The motion was denied by the court, in its order of 13 On 27 July 1990, Scalzo filed a petition for certiorari with injunction with this Court,
December 1988, holding that the filing by Scalzo of a motion for extension of time to docketed G.R. No. 94257 and entitled "Arthur W. Scalzo, Jr., vs. Hon. Wenceslao Polo,
file an answer to the complaint was a voluntary appearance equivalent to service of et al.," asking that the complaint in Civil Case No. 88-45691 be ordered dismissed.
summons which could likewise be construed a waiver of the requirement of formal The case was referred to the Court of Appeals, there docketed CA-G.R. SP No. 22505,
notice. Scalzo filed a motion for reconsideration of the court order, contending that per this Court’s resolution of 07 August 1990. On 31 October 1990, the Court of
Appeals promulgated its decision sustaining the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo and of Appeals from resolving the appeal to it in an entirely different manner, and (2)
ordering the dismissal of the complaint against him. Minucher filed a petition for whether or not Arthur Scalzo is indeed entitled to diplomatic immunity.
review with this Court, docketed G.R. No. 97765 and entitled "Khosrow Minucher vs.
the Honorable Court of Appeals, et. al." (cited in 214 SCRA 242), appealing the The doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment, or its kindred rule of res judicata, would
judgment of the Court of Appeals. In a decision, dated 24 September 1992, penned require 1) the finality of the prior judgment, 2) a valid jurisdiction over the subject
by Justice (now Chief Justice) Hilario Davide, Jr., this Court reversed the decision of matter and the parties on the part of the court that renders it, 3) a judgment on the
the appellate court and remanded the case to the lower court for trial. The remand merits, and 4) an identity of the parties, subject matter and causes of action.3 Even
was ordered on the theses (a) that the Court of Appeals erred in granting the motion while one of the issues submitted in G.R. No. 97765 - "whether or not public
to dismiss of Scalzo for lack of jurisdiction over his person without even considering respondent Court of Appeals erred in ruling that private respondent Scalzo is a
the issue of the authenticity of Diplomatic Note No. 414 and (b) that the complaint diplomat immune from civil suit conformably with the Vienna Convention on
contained sufficient allegations to the effect that Scalzo committed the imputed acts Diplomatic Relations" - is also a pivotal question raised in the instant petition, the
in his personal capacity and outside the scope of his official duties and, absent any ruling in G.R. No. 97765, however, has not resolved that point with finality. Indeed,
evidence to the contrary, the issue on Scalzo’s diplomatic immunity could not be the Court there has made this observation -
taken up.
"It may be mentioned in this regard that private respondent himself, in his Pre-trial
The Manila RTC thus continued with its hearings on the case. On 17 November 1995, Brief filed on 13 June 1990, unequivocally states that he would present documentary
the trial court reached a decision; it adjudged: evidence consisting of DEA records on his investigation and surveillance of plaintiff
and on his position and duties as DEA special agent in Manila. Having thus reserved
"WHEREFORE, and in view of all the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby his right to present evidence in support of his position, which is the basis for the
rendered for the plaintiff, who successfully established his claim by sufficient alleged diplomatic immunity, the barren self-serving claim in the belated motion to
evidence, against the defendant in the manner following: dismiss cannot be relied upon for a reasonable, intelligent and fair resolution of the
issue of diplomatic immunity."4
"`Adjudging defendant liable to plaintiff in actual and compensatory damages of
P520,000.00; moral damages in the sum of P10 million; exemplary damages in the Scalzo contends that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which the
sum of P100,000.00; attorney's fees in the sum of P200,000.00 plus costs. Philippines is a signatory, grants him absolute immunity from suit, describing his
functions as an agent of the United States Drugs Enforcement Agency as "conducting
`The Clerk of the Regional Trial Court, Manila, is ordered to take note of the lien of surveillance operations on suspected drug dealers in the Philippines believed to be
the Court on this judgment to answer for the unpaid docket fees considering that the the source of prohibited drugs being shipped to the U.S., (and) having ascertained
plaintiff in this case instituted this action as a pauper litigant.’"2 the target, (he then) would inform the Philippine narcotic agents (to) make the actual
arrest." Scalzo has submitted to the trial court a number of documents -
While the trial court gave credence to the claim of Scalzo and the evidence presented
by him that he was a diplomatic agent entitled to immunity as such, it ruled that he, 1. Exh. '2' - Diplomatic Note No. 414 dated 29 May 1990;
nevertheless, should be held accountable for the acts complained of committed
outside his official duties. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of 2. Exh. '1' - Certification of Vice Consul Donna K. Woodward dated 11 June
the trial court and sustained the defense of Scalzo that he was sufficiently clothed 1990;
with diplomatic immunity during his term of duty and thereby immune from the
criminal and civil jurisdiction of the "Receiving State" pursuant to the terms of the 3. Exh. '5' - Diplomatic Note No. 757 dated 25 October 1991;
Vienna Convention.
4. Exh. '6' - Diplomatic Note No. 791 dated 17 November 1992; and
Hence, this recourse by Minucher. The instant petition for review raises a two-fold
issue: (1) whether or not the doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment, following the 5. Exh. '7' - Diplomatic Note No. 833 dated 21 October 1988.
decision rendered by this Court in G.R. No. 97765, should have precluded the Court
6. Exh. '3' - 1st Indorsement of the Hon. Jorge R. Coquia, Legal Adviser, on narcotic and drug control programs upon the request of the host country, 2) to
Department of Foreign Affairs, dated 27 June 1990 forwarding Embassy establish and maintain liaison with the host country and counterpart foreign law
Note No. 414 to the Clerk of Court of RTC Manila, Branch 19 (the trial court); enforcement officials, and 3) to conduct complex criminal investigations involving
international criminal conspiracies which affect the interests of the United States.
7. Exh. '4' - Diplomatic Note No. 414, appended to the 1st Indorsement (Exh.
'3'); and The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was a codification of centuries-old
customary law and, by the time of its ratification on 18 April 1961, its rules of law had
8. Exh. '8' - Letter dated 18 November 1992 from the Office of the Protocol, long become stable. Among the city states of ancient Greece, among the peoples of
Department of Foreign Affairs, through Asst. Sec. Emmanuel Fernandez, the Mediterranean before the establishment of the Roman Empire, and among the
addressed to the Chief Justice of this Court.5 states of India, the person of the herald in time of war and the person of the
diplomatic envoy in time of peace were universally held sacrosanct. 7 By the end of
The documents, according to Scalzo, would show that: (1) the United States Embassy the 16th century, when the earliest treatises on diplomatic law were published, the
accordingly advised the Executive Department of the Philippine Government that inviolability of ambassadors was firmly established as a rule of customary
Scalzo was a member of the diplomatic staff of the United States diplomatic mission international law.8Traditionally, the exercise of diplomatic intercourse among states
from his arrival in the Philippines on 14 October 1985 until his departure on 10 August was undertaken by the head of state himself, as being the preeminent embodiment
1988; (2) that the United States Government was firm from the very beginning in of the state he represented, and the foreign secretary, the official usually entrusted
asserting the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo with respect to the case pursuant to the with the external affairs of the state. Where a state would wish to have a more
provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations; and (3) that the United prominent diplomatic presence in the receiving state, it would then send to the latter
States Embassy repeatedly urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to take a diplomatic mission. Conformably with the Vienna Convention, the functions of the
appropriate action to inform the trial court of Scalzo’s diplomatic immunity. The diplomatic mission involve, by and large, the representation of the interests of the
other documentary exhibits were presented to indicate that: (1) the Philippine sending state and promoting friendly relations with the receiving state.9
government itself, through its Executive Department, recognizing and respecting the
diplomatic status of Scalzo, formally advised the "Judicial Department" of his The Convention lists the classes of heads of diplomatic missions to include (a)
diplomatic status and his entitlement to all diplomatic privileges and immunities ambassadors or nuncios accredited to the heads of state, 10 (b) envoys,11 ministers
under the Vienna Convention; and (2) the Department of Foreign Affairs itself or internuncios accredited to the heads of states; and (c) charges d'
authenticated Diplomatic Note No. 414. Scalzo additionally presented Exhibits "9" to affairs12 accredited to the ministers of foreign affairs. 13 Comprising the "staff of the
"13" consisting of his reports of investigation on the surveillance and subsequent (diplomatic) mission" are the diplomatic staff, the administrative staff and the
arrest of Minucher, the certification of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the technical and service staff. Only the heads of missions, as well as members of the
United States Department of Justice that Scalzo was a special agent assigned to the diplomatic staff, excluding the members of the administrative, technical and service
Philippines at all times relevant to the complaint, and the special power of attorney staff of the mission, are accorded diplomatic rank. Even while the Vienna Convention
executed by him in favor of his previous counsel 6 to show (a) that the United States on Diplomatic Relations provides for immunity to the members of diplomatic
Embassy, affirmed by its Vice Consul, acknowledged Scalzo to be a member of the missions, it does so, nevertheless, with an understanding that the same be
diplomatic staff of the United States diplomatic mission from his arrival in the restrictively applied. Only "diplomatic agents," under the terms of the Convention,
Philippines on 14 October 1985 until his departure on 10 August 1988, (b) that, on are vested with blanket diplomatic immunity from civil and criminal suits. The
May 1986, with the cooperation of the Philippine law enforcement officials and in Convention defines "diplomatic agents" as the heads of missions or members of the
the exercise of his functions as member of the mission, he investigated Minucher for diplomatic staff, thus impliedly withholding the same privileges from all others. It
alleged trafficking in a prohibited drug, and (c) that the Philippine Department of might bear stressing that even consuls, who represent their respective states in
Foreign Affairs itself recognized that Scalzo during his tour of duty in the Philippines concerns of commerce and navigation and perform certain administrative and
(14 October 1985 up to 10 August 1988) was listed as being an Assistant Attaché of notarial duties, such as the issuance of passports and visas, authentication of
the United States diplomatic mission and accredited with diplomatic status by the documents, and administration of oaths, do not ordinarily enjoy the traditional
Government of the Philippines. In his Exhibit 12, Scalzo described the functions of the diplomatic immunities and privileges accorded diplomats, mainly for the reason that
overseas office of the United States Drugs Enforcement Agency, i.e., (1) to provide they are not charged with the duty of representing their states in political matters.
criminal investigative expertise and assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies Indeed, the main yardstick in ascertaining whether a person is a diplomat entitled to
immunity is the determination of whether or not he performs duties of diplomatic "x x x x x x x x x
nature.
"There is of course the claim of private respondent that the acts imputed to him were
Scalzo asserted, particularly in his Exhibits "9" to "13," that he was an Assistant done in his official capacity. Nothing supports this self-serving claim other than the
Attaché of the United States diplomatic mission and was accredited as such by the so-called Diplomatic Note. x x x. The public respondent then should have sustained
Philippine Government. An attaché belongs to a category of officers in the diplomatic the trial court's denial of the motion to dismiss. Verily, it should have been the most
establishment who may be in charge of its cultural, press, administrative or financial proper and appropriate recourse. It should not have been overwhelmed by the self-
affairs. There could also be a class of attaches belonging to certain ministries or serving Diplomatic Note whose belated issuance is even suspect and whose
departments of the government, other than the foreign ministry or department, who authenticity has not yet been proved. The undue haste with which respondent Court
are detailed by their respective ministries or departments with the embassies such yielded to the private respondent's claim is arbitrary."
as the military, naval, air, commercial, agricultural, labor, science, and customs
attaches, or the like. Attaches assist a chief of mission in his duties and are A significant document would appear to be Exhibit No. 08, dated 08 November 1992,
administratively under him, but their main function is to observe, analyze and issued by the Office of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs and signed by
interpret trends and developments in their respective fields in the host country and Emmanuel C. Fernandez, Assistant Secretary, certifying that "the records of the
submit reports to their own ministries or departments in the home Department (would) show that Mr. Arthur W. Scalzo, Jr., during his term of office in
government.14 These officials are not generally regarded as members of the the Philippines (from 14 October 1985 up to 10 August 1988) was listed as an
diplomatic mission, nor are they normally designated as having diplomatic rank. Assistant Attaché of the United States diplomatic mission and was, therefore,
accredited diplomatic status by the Government of the Philippines." No certified true
In an attempt to prove his diplomatic status, Scalzo presented Diplomatic Notes Nos. copy of such "records," the supposed bases for the belated issuance, was presented
414, 757 and 791, all issued post litem motam, respectively, on 29 May 1990, 25 in evidence.
October 1991 and 17 November 1992. The presentation did nothing much to alleviate
the Court's initial reservations in G.R. No. 97765, viz: Concededly, vesting a person with diplomatic immunity is a prerogative of the
executive branch of the government. In World Health Organization vs. Aquino, 15 the
"While the trial court denied the motion to dismiss, the public respondent gravely Court has recognized that, in such matters, the hands of the courts are virtually tied.
abused its discretion in dismissing Civil Case No. 88-45691 on the basis of an Amidst apprehensions of indiscriminate and incautious grant of immunity, designed
erroneous assumption that simply because of the diplomatic note, the private to gain exemption from the jurisdiction of courts, it should behoove the Philippine
respondent is clothed with diplomatic immunity, thereby divesting the trial court of government, specifically its Department of Foreign Affairs, to be most circumspect,
jurisdiction over his person. that should particularly be no less than compelling, in its post litem motam issuances.
It might be recalled that the privilege is not an immunity from the observance of the
"x x x x x x x x x law of the territorial sovereign or from ensuing legal liability; it is, rather, an immunity
from the exercise of territorial jurisdiction.16 The government of the United States
"And now, to the core issue - the alleged diplomatic immunity of the private itself, which Scalzo claims to be acting for, has formulated its standards for
respondent. Setting aside for the moment the issue of authenticity raised by the recognition of a diplomatic agent. The State Department policy is to only concede
petitioner and the doubts that surround such claim, in view of the fact that it took diplomatic status to a person who possesses an acknowledged diplomatic title and
private respondent one (1) year, eight (8) months and seventeen (17) days from the "performs duties of diplomatic nature."17 Supplementary criteria for accreditation
time his counsel filed on 12 September 1988 a Special Appearance and Motion asking are the possession of a valid diplomatic passport or, from States which do not issue
for a first extension of time to file the Answer because the Departments of State and such passports, a diplomatic note formally representing the intention to assign the
Justice of the United States of America were studying the case for the purpose of person to diplomatic duties, the holding of a non-immigrant visa, being over twenty-
determining his defenses, before he could secure the Diplomatic Note from the US one years of age, and performing diplomatic functions on an essentially full-time
Embassy in Manila, and even granting for the sake of argument that such note is basis.18 Diplomatic missions are requested to provide the most accurate and
authentic, the complaint for damages filed by petitioner cannot be peremptorily descriptive job title to that which currently applies to the duties performed. The
dismissed. Office of the Protocol would then assign each individual to the appropriate functional
category.19
But while the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo might thus remain contentious, it was This immunity principle, however, has its limitations. Thus, Shauf vs. Court of
sufficiently established that, indeed, he worked for the United States Drug Appeals26 elaborates:
Enforcement Agency and was tasked to conduct surveillance of suspected drug
activities within the country on the dates pertinent to this case. If it should be "It is a different matter where the public official is made to account in his capacity as
ascertained that Arthur Scalzo was acting well within his assigned functions when he such for acts contrary to law and injurious to the rights of the plaintiff. As was clearly
committed the acts alleged in the complaint, the present controversy could then be set forth by Justice Zaldivar in Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications, et al.,
resolved under the related doctrine of State Immunity from Suit. vs. Aligaen, et al. (33 SCRA 368): `Inasmuch as the State authorizes only legal acts by
its officers, unauthorized acts of government officials or officers are not acts of the
The precept that a State cannot be sued in the courts of a foreign state is a long- State, and an action against the officials or officers by one whose rights have been
standing rule of customary international law then closely identified with the personal invaded or violated by such acts, for the protection of his rights, is not a suit against
immunity of a foreign sovereign from suit20 and, with the emergence of democratic the State within the rule of immunity of the State from suit. In the same tenor, it has
states, made to attach not just to the person of the head of state, or his been said that an action at law or suit in equity against a State officer or the director
representative, but also distinctly to the state itself in its sovereign capacity. 21 If the of a State department on the ground that, while claiming to act for the State, he
acts giving rise to a suit are those of a foreign government done by its foreign agent, violates or invades the personal and property rights of the plaintiff, under an
although not necessarily a diplomatic personage, but acting in his official capacity, unconstitutional act or under an assumption of authority which he does not have, is
the complaint could be barred by the immunity of the foreign sovereign from suit not a suit against the State within the constitutional provision that the State may not
without its consent. Suing a representative of a state is believed to be, in effect, suing be sued without its consent. The rationale for this ruling is that the doctrine of state
the state itself. The proscription is not accorded for the benefit of an individual but immunity cannot be used as an instrument for perpetrating an injustice.
for the State, in whose service he is, under the maxim - par in parem, non habet
imperium - that all states are sovereign equals and cannot assert jurisdiction over one "x x x x x x x x x
another.22 The implication, in broad terms, is that if the judgment against an official
would require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the award, such "(T)he doctrine of immunity from suit will not apply and may not be invoked where
as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay the damages decreed against him, the public official is being sued in his private and personal capacity as an ordinary
the suit must be regarded as being against the state itself, although it has not been citizen. The cloak of protection afforded the officers and agents of the government is
formally impleaded.23 removed the moment they are sued in their individual capacity. This situation usually
arises where the public official acts without authority or in excess of the powers
In United States of America vs. Guinto,24 involving officers of the United States Air vested in him. It is a well-settled principle of law that a public official may be liable in
Force and special officers of the Air Force Office of Special Investigators charged with his personal private capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act
the duty of preventing the distribution, possession and use of prohibited drugs, this done with malice and in bad faith or beyond the scope of his authority and
Court has ruled - jurisdiction."27

"While the doctrine (of state immunity) appears to prohibit only suits against the A foreign agent, operating within a territory, can be cloaked with immunity from suit
state without its consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of but only as long as it can be established that he is acting within the directives of the
the state for acts allegedly performed by them in the discharge of their duties. x x x. sending state. The consent of the host state is an indispensable requirement of basic
It cannot for a moment be imagined that they were acting in their private or unofficial courtesy between the two sovereigns. Guinto and Shauf both involve officers and
capacity when they apprehended and later testified against the complainant. It personnel of the United States, stationed within Philippine territory, under the RP-
follows that for discharging their duties as agents of the United States, they cannot US Military Bases Agreement. While evidence is wanting to show any similar
be directly impleaded for acts imputable to their principal, which has not given its agreement between the governments of the Philippines and of the United States (for
consent to be sued. x x x As they have acted on behalf of the government, and within the latter to send its agents and to conduct surveillance and related activities of
the scope of their authority, it is that government, and not the petitioners personally, suspected drug dealers in the Philippines), the consent or imprimatur of the
[who were] responsible for their acts."25 Philippine government to the activities of the United States Drug Enforcement
Agency, however, can be gleaned from the facts heretofore elsewhere mentioned.
The official exchanges of communication between agencies of the government of the
two countries, certifications from officials of both the Philippine Department of
Foreign Affairs and the United States Embassy, as well as the participation of
members of the Philippine Narcotics Command in the "buy-bust operation"
conducted at the residence of Minucher at the behest of Scalzo, may be inadequate
to support the "diplomatic status" of the latter but they give enough indication that
the Philippine government has given its imprimatur, if not consent, to the activities
within Philippine territory of agent Scalzo of the United States Drug Enforcement
Agency. The job description of Scalzo has tasked him to conduct surveillance on
suspected drug suppliers and, after having ascertained the target, to inform local law
enforcers who would then be expected to make the arrest. In conducting surveillance
activities on Minucher, later acting as the poseur-buyer during the buy-bust
operation, and then becoming a principal witness in the criminal case against
Minucher, Scalzo hardly can be said to have acted beyond the scope of his official
function or duties.

All told, this Court is constrained to rule that respondent Arthur Scalzo, an agent of
the United States Drug Enforcement Agency allowed by the Philippine government
to conduct activities in the country to help contain the problem on the drug traffic, is
entitled to the defense of state immunity from suit.

WHEREFORE, on the foregoing premises, the petition is DENIED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Ynares-Santiago, Carpio and Azcuna, JJ., concur
G.R. No. L-1988 February 24, 1948 (b) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the
armed forces of the United States in which the offended party is
JESUS MIQUIABAS, petitioner, also a member of the armed forces of the United States; and
vs.
COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINE-RYUKYUS COMMAND, UNITED STATES (c) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the
ARMY, respondents. armed forces of the United States against the security of the United
States.
Lorenzo Sumulong and Esteban P. Garcia for petitioner.
J. A. Wolfson for respondent. 2. The Philippines shall have the right to exercise jurisdiction over all other
offenses committed outside the bases by any member of the armed forces
MORAN, C.J.: of the United States.

This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Jesus Miquiabas against the 3. Whenever for special reasons the United States may desire not to exercise
Commanding General Philippine-Ryukyus Command, United States Army, who is the jurisdiction reserved to it in paragraphs 1 and 6 of this Article, the officer
alleged to have petitioner under custody and to have appointed a General Court- holding the offender in custody shall so notify the fiscal (prosecuting
Martial to try petitioner in connection with an offense over which the said court has attorney) of the city or province in which the offense has been committed
no jurisdiction. within ten days after his arrest, and in such case the Philippines shall exercise
jurisdiction.
Petitioner is a Filipino citizen and a civilian employee of the United States Army in the
Philippines, who has been charged with disposing in the Port of Manila Area of things 4. Whenever for special reasons the Philippines may desire not to exercise
belonging to the United States Army, in violation of the 94th Article of War of the the jurisdiction reserved to it in paragraph 2 of this Article, the fiscal
United States. He has been arrested for that reason and a General Court-Martial (prosecuting attorney) of the city or province where the offense has been
appointed by respondent tried and found him guilty and sentenced him to 15 years committed shall so notify the officer holding the offender in custody within
imprisonment. This sentence, however, is not yet final for it is still subject to review. ten days after his arrest, and in such a case the United States shall be free to
exercise jurisdiction. If any offense falling under paragraph 2 of this article
It may be stated as a rule that the Philippines, being a sovereign nation, has is committed by any member of the armed forces of the United States.
jurisdiction over all offenses committed within its territory, but it may, by treaty or
by agreement, consent that the United States or any other foreign nation, shall (a) While engaged in the actual performance of a specific military
exercise jurisdiction over certain offenses committed within certain portions of said duty, or
territory. On March 11, 1947, the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of
the United States of America, entered into an agreement concerning military bases, (b) during a period of national emergency declared by either
and Article XIII thereof is as follows: Government and the fiscal (prosecuting attorney) so finds from the
evidence, he shall immediately notify the officer holding the
JURISDICTION offender in custody that the United States is free to exercise
jurisdiction. In the event the fiscal (prosecuting attorney) finds that
1. The Philippines consents that the United States shall have the right to the offense was not committed in the actual performance of a
exercise jurisdiction over the following offenses: specific military duty, the offender's commanding officer shall have
the right to appeal from such finding to the Secretary of Justice
within ten days from the receipt of the decision of the fiscal and the
(a) Any offense committed by any person within any base except
decision of the Secretary of Justice shall be final.
where the offender and offended parties are both Philippine
citizens (not members of the armed forces of the United States on
active duty) or the offense is against the security of the Philippines; 5. In all cases over which the Philippines exercises jurisdiction the custody of
the accused, pending trial and final judgment, shall be entrusted without
delay to the commanding officer of the nearest base, who shall acknowledge specified in Annexes A and B, there is none that has reference to the Port Area of
in writing that such accused has been delivered to him for custody pending Manila where the offense has allegedly been committed. On the contrary, it appears
trial in a competent court of the Philippines and that he will be held ready in Annex A that "army communications system" is included, but with "the deletion of
to appear and will be produced before said court when required by it. The all stations in the Port of Manila Area."
commanding officer shall be furnished by the fiscal (prosecuting attorney)
with a copy of the information against the accused upon the filing of the Paragraph 2 of Article XXI is invoked by respondent. The whole article is as follows:
original in the competent court.
TEMPORARY INSTALLATIONS
6. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, it is naturally agreed that in
time of war the United States shall have the right to exercise exclusive 1. It is mutually agreed that the United States shall retain the right to occupy
jurisdiction over any offenses which may be committed by members of the temporary quarters and installations now existing outside the bases
armed forces of the United States in the Philippines. mentioned in Annex A and Annex B, for such reasonable time, not exceeding
two years, as may be necessary to develop adequate facilities within the
7. The United States agrees that it will not grant asylum in any of the bases bases for the United States armed forces. If circumstances require an
to any person fleeing from the lawful jurisdiction of the Philippines. Should extension of time, such a period will be fixed by mutual agreement of the
such person be found in any base, he will be surrendered on demand to the two Governments; but such extension shall not apply to the existing
competent authorities of the Philippines. temporary quarters and installations within the limits of the City of Manila
and shall in no case exceed a period of three years.
8. In every case in which jurisdiction over an offense is exercised by the
United States, the offended party may institute a separate civil action 2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the Port of
against the offender in the proper court of the Philippines to enforce the Manila reservation with boundaries as of 1941 will be available for use to
civil liability which under the laws of the Philippines may arise from the the United States armed forces until such time as other arrangements can
offense. be made for the supply of the bases by mutual agreement of the two
Governments.
Under paragraph 1 (a), the General Court-Martial would have jurisdiction over the
criminal case against petitioner if the offense had been committed within a base. 3. The terms of this agreement pertaining to bases shall be applicable to
Under paragraph 1 (b), if the offense had been committed outside a base, still the temporary quarters and installations referred to in paragraph 1 of this article
General Court-Martial would have jurisdiction if the offense had been committed by while they are so occupied by the armed forces of the United States;
a "member of the armed forces of the United States" there being no question that provided, that offenses committed within the temporary quarters and
the offended party in this case is the United States. It is not necessary therefore, to installations located within the present limits of the City of Manila shall not
consider whether the offense is against "the security of the United States" under be considered as offenses within the bases but shall be governed by the
paragraph 1 (c), or whether petitioner committed it in "the actual performance of a provisions of Article XIII, paragraphs 2 and 4, except that the election not to
specific military duty" or in time of a declared "national emergency" under paragraph exercise the jurisdiction reserved to the Philippines shall be made by the
4, or whether we are still in a state of war under paragraph 6, for in all these instances Secretary of Justice. It is agreed that the United States shall have full use and
the military jurisdiction depends also upon whether the offender is a member of the full control of all these quarters and installations while they are occupied by
armed forces of the United States. We shall then determine in this case (1) whether the armed forces of the United States, including the exercise of such
the offense has been committed within or without a base, and, in the second measures as may be necessary to police said quarters for the security of the
instance, (2) whether the offender is or is not a member of the armed forces of the personnel and property therein.
United States.
The subject matter of this article, as indicated by its heading, is "Temporary
As to the first question, Article XXVI of the Agreement provides that "bases are those Installations." Paragraph 1 refers to temporary quarters and installations existing
area named in Annex A and Annex B and such additional areas as may be acquired outside the bases specified in Annex A and Annex B, which may be retained by the
for military purposes pursuant to the terms of this Agreement." Among the areas United States armed forces for such reasonable time as may be necessary not
exceeding two years in duration, extendible fro not more than three years, the Respondent maintains that petitioner has no cause of action because the Secretary
extension not being applicable to existing temporary quarters and installations within of Justice had not notified the officer holding the petitioner in custody whether or
the limits of the City of Manila. not the Philippines desired to retain jurisdiction under Article XXI, paragraph 3, of the
Military Base Agreement. It is sufficient to state in this connection that in cases like
Paragraph 2, of Article XXI, refers to the Port of Manila Reservation, which will be the present where the offender is a civilian employee and not a member of the Unites
available for use to the United States armed forces, also as a temporary quarters and States armed forces, no waiver can be made either by the prosecuting attorney of by
installations, its temporariness not being for a definite period of time, but "until such the Secretary of Justice, under paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article XIII in connection with
time as other arrangements can be made for supply of the bases by mutual paragraph 3 of Article XXI, of the Agreement.
agreement of the two Governments." There is in paragraph 2 absolutely nothing that
may be construed as placing the Port of Manila Reservation in the category of a We are, therefore, of the opinion and so hold, that the General Court-Martial
permanent base. appointed by respondent has no jurisdiction to try petitioner for the offense allegedly
committed by him and, consequently, the judgment rendered by said court
Paragraph 3, of Article XXI, provides "that offenses committed within the temporary sentencing the petitioner to 15 years' imprisonment is null and void for lack of
quarters and installations located within the present limits of the City of Manila shall jurisdiction.
not be considered as offenses within the bases but shall be governed by the
provisions of Article XIII, paragraphs 2 and 4." Therefore, the offense at bar cannot It is ordered that petitioner be released immediately by respondent without
be considered as committed within, but without, a base, since it has been committed prejudice to any criminal action which may be instituted in the proper court of the
in the Port of Manila Area, which is not one of the bases mentioned in Annexes A and Philippines.
B to the Agreement, and is merely temporary quarters located within the present
limits of the City of Manila. Let a copy of this decision be sent immediately to the Honorable, Secretary of Justice.

The next inquiry is whether or not the offender may be considered as a member of Paras, Feria, Pablo, Hilado, Bengzon, Briones, Padilla, and Tuason, JJ, concur.
the armed forces of the United States under Article XIII, paragraph 1 (b). As above
stated, petitioner is a Filipino citizen and a civilian employee of the United States
Army in the Philippines. Under the terms of the Agreement, a civilian employee
cannot be considered as a member of the armed forces of the United States. Articles
XI, XVI and XVIII of the Agreement make mention of civilian employees separately
from members of the armed forces of the United States, which is a conclusive
indication that under said Agreement armed forces do not include civilian employees.

Respondent invokes Articles II of the Articles of War of the United States, which
enumerates, among the persons subject to military law, persons accompanying or
serving with the armies of the United States. But this case should be decided not
under the Articles of War, but under the terms of the Base Agreement between the
United States and the Philippines. And not because a person is subject to military law
under the Articles of War does he become, for that reason alone, a member of the
armed forces under the Base Agreement. And even under the Articles of War, the
mere fact that a civilian employee is in the service of the United States Army does
not make him a member of the armed forces of the United States. Otherwise, it would
have been necessary for said Article to enumerate civilian employees separately from
members of the armed forces of the United States.
G.R. No. L-5270 January 15, 1910 were cruelly torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon the
decks and hold of said vessel, and cruelly wounded, bruised, and killed.
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. All contrary to the provisions of Acts No. 55 and No. 275 of the Philippine
H. N. BULL, defendant-appellant. Commission.

Bruce & Lawrence, for appellant. Section 1 of Act No. 55, which went into effect January 1, 1901, provides that —
Office of the Solicitor-General Harvey, for appellee.
The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or
ELLIOTT, J.: transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals, from one port in the
Philippine Islands to another, or from any foreign port to any port within the
The appellant was convicted in the Court of First Instance of a violation of section 1 Philippine Islands, shall carry with them, upon the vessels carrying such
of Act No. 55, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 275, and from the judgment animals, sufficient forage and fresh water to provide for the suitable
entered thereon appealed to this court, where under proper assignments of error he sustenance of such animals during the ordinary period occupied by the
contends: (1) that the complaint does not state facts sufficient to confer jurisdiction vessel in passage from the port of shipment to the port of debarkation, and
upon the court; (2) that under the evidence the trial court was without jurisdiction to shall cause such animals to be provided with adequate forage and fresh
hear and determine the case; (3) that Act No. 55 as amended is in violation of certain water at least once in every twenty-four hours from the time that the
provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and void as applied to the facts of animals are embarked to the time of their final debarkation.
this case; and (4) that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction.
By Act No. 275, enacted October 23, 1901, Act No. 55 was amended by adding to
The information alleges: section 1 thereof the following:

That on and for many months prior to the 2d day of December, 1908, the The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or
said H. N. Bull was then and there master of a steam sailing vessel known as transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals from one port in the
the steamship Standard, which vessel was then and there engaged in Philippine Islands to another, or from any foreign port to any port within the
carrying and transporting cattle, carabaos, and other animals from a foreign Philippine Islands, shall provide suitable means for securing such animals
port and city of Manila, Philippine Islands; that the said accused H. N. Bull, while in transit so as to avoid all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the
while master of said vessel, as aforesaid, on or about the 2d day of animals, and suitable and proper facilities for loading and unloading cattle
December, 1908, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and wrongly carry, or other animals upon or from vessels upon which they are transported,
transport, and bring into the port and city of Manila, aboard said vessel, without cruelty or unnecessary suffering. It is hereby made unlawful to load
from the port of Ampieng, Formosa, six hundred and seventy-seven (677) or unload cattle upon or from vessels by swinging them over the side by
head of cattle and carabaos, without providing suitable means for securing means of ropes or chains attached to the thorns.
said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering
to the said animals, in this, to wit, that the said H. N. Bull, master, as Section 3 of Act No. 55 provides that —
aforesaid, did then and there fail to provide stalls for said animals so in
transit and suitable means for trying and securing said animals in a proper Any owner or master of a vessel, or custodian of such animals, who
manner, and did then and there cause some of said animals to be tied by knowingly and willfully fails to comply with the provisions of section one,
means of rings passed through their noses, and allow and permit others to shall, for every such failure, be liable to pay a penalty of not less that one
be transported loose in the hold and on the deck of said vessel without being hundred dollars nor more that five hundred dollars, United States money,
tied or secured in stalls, and all without bedding; that by reason of the for each offense. Prosecution under this Act may be instituted in any Court
aforesaid neglect and failure of the accused to provide suitable means for of First Instance or any provost court organized in the province or port in
securing said animals while so in transit, the noses of some of said animals which such animals are disembarked.
1. It is contended that the information is insufficient because it does not state that The offense then was thus committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the court,
the court was sitting at a port where the cattle were disembarked, or that the offense but the objection to the jurisdiction raises the further question whether that
was committed on board a vessel registered and licensed under the laws of the jurisdiction is restricted by the fact of the nationality of the ship. Every. Every state
Philippine Islands. has complete control and jurisdiction over its territorial waters. According to strict
legal right, even public vessels may not enter the ports of a friendly power without
Act No. 55 confers jurisdiction over the offense created thereby on Courts of First permission, but it is now conceded that in the absence of a prohibition such ports are
Instance or any provost court organized in the province or port in which such animals considered as open to the public ship of all friendly powers. The exemption of such
are disembarked, and there is nothing inconsistent therewith in Act No. 136, which vessels from local jurisdiction while within such waters was not established until
provides generally for the organization of the courts of the Philippine Islands. Act No. within comparatively recent times. In 1794, Attorney-General Bradford, and in 1796
400 merely extends the general jurisdiction of the courts over certain offenses Attorney-General Lee, rendered opinions to the effect that "the laws of nations invest
committed on the high seas, or beyond the jurisdiction of any country, or within any the commander of a foreign ship of war with no exemption from the jurisdiction of
of the waters of the Philippine Islands on board a ship or water craft of any kind the country into which he comes." (1, Op. U.S. Attys. Gen., 46, 87.) This theory was
registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands, in accordance with the laws thereof. also supported by Lord Stowell in an opinion given by him to the British Government
(U.S. vs. Fowler, 1 Phil. Rep., 614.) This jurisdiction may be exercised by the Court of as late as 1820. In the leading case of the Schooner Exchange vs. McFadden (7 Cranch
First Instance in any province into which such ship or water upon which the offense (U.S.), 116, 144), Chief Justice Marshall said that the implied license under which such
or crime was committed shall come after the commission thereof. Had this offense vessels enter a friendly port may reasonably be construed as "containing exemption
been committed upon a ship carrying a Philippine registry, there could have been no from the jurisdiction of the sovereign within whose territory she claims the rights of
doubt of the Jurisdiction of the court, because it is expressly conferred, and the Act hospitality." The principle was accepted by the Geneva Arbitration Tribunal, which
is in accordance with well recognized and established public law. But announced that "the priviledge of exterritoriality accorded to vessels of war has been
the Standard was a Norwegian vessel, and it is conceded that it was not registered or admitted in the law of nations; not as an absolute right, but solely as a proceeding
licensed in the Philippine Islands under the laws thereof. We have then the question founded on the principle of courtesy and mutual deference between nations."
whether the court had jurisdiction over an offense of this character, committed on (2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., secs. 252 and 254; Hall, Int. Law, sec. 55; Taylor, Int. Law, sec.
board a foreign ship by the master thereof, when the neglect and omission which 256; Ortolan, Dip de la Mer, 2. C.X.)
constitutes the offense continued during the time the ship was within the territorial
waters of the United States. No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over Such vessels are therefore permitted during times of peace to come and go freely.
an offenses or crime committed on the high seas or within the territorial waters of Local official exercise but little control over their actions, and offenses committed by
any other country, but when she came within 3 miles of a line drawn from the their crew are justiciable by their own officers acting under the laws to which they
headlines which embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she was within territorial primarily owe allegiance. This limitation upon the general principle of territorial
waters, and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton, Int. Law (Dana ed.), sovereignty is based entirely upon comity and convenience, and finds its justification
p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., sec 490 et seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The in the fact that experience shows that such vessels are generally careful to respect
ship and her crew were then subject to the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign local laws and regulation which are essential to the health, order, and well-being of
subject through the proper political agency. This offense was committed within the port. But comity and convenience does not require the extension of the same
territorial waters. From the line which determines these waters the Standard must degree of exemption to merchant vessels. There are two well-defined theories as to
have traveled at least 25 miles before she came to anchor. During that part of her extent of the immunities ordinarily granted to them, According to the French theory
voyage the violation of the statue continued, and as far as the jurisdiction of the court and practice, matters happening on board a merchant ship which do not concern the
is concerned, it is immaterial that the same conditions may have existed while the tranquillity of the port or persons foreign to the crew, are justiciable only by the court
vessel was on the high seas. The offense, assuming that it originated at the port of of the country to which the vessel belongs. The French courts therefore claim
departure in Formosa, was a continuing one, and every element necessary to exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed on board French merchant vessels in
constitute it existed during the voyage across the territorial waters. The completed foreign ports by one member of the crew against another. (See Bonfils, Le Droit Int.
forbidden act was done within American waters, and the court therefore had (quat. ed.), secs. 624-628; Martens, Le Droit Int., tome 2, pp. 338, 339; Ortolan, Dip.
jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the offense and the person of the offender. de la Mer, tit. 1, p. 292; Masse, Droit Int., tome 2, p. 63.) Such jurisdiction has never
been admitted or claim by Great Britain as a right, although she has frequently
conceded it by treaties. (Halleck, Int. Law (Baker's ed.), vol. 1, 231; British Territorial
Waters Act, 1878.) Writers who consider exterritoriality as a fact instead of a theory
have sought to restrict local jurisdiction, but Hall, who is doubtless the leading English In 1876 the mates of the Swedish bark Frederike and Carolina engaged in a "quarrel"
authority, says that — on board the vessel in the port of Galveston, Texas. They were prosecuted before a
justice of the peace, but the United States district attorney was instructed by the
It is admitted by the most thoroughgoing asserters of the territoriality of Government to take the necessary steps to have the proceedings dismissed, and the
merchant vessels that so soon as the latter enter the ports of a foreign state aid of the governor of Texas was invoked with the view to "guard against a repetition
they become subject to the local jurisdiction on all points in which the of similar proceedings." (Mr. Fish, Secretary of State, to Mr. Grip, Swedish and
interests of the country are touched. (Hall, Int. Law, p. 263.) Norwegian charged, May 16, 1876; Moore, Int. Law Dig.) It does not appear that this
"quarrel" was of such a nature as to amount to a breach of the criminal laws of Texas,
The United States has adhered consistently to the view that when a merchant vessel but when in 1879 the mate for the Norwegian bark Livingston was prosecuted in the
enters a foreign port it is subject to the jurisdiction of the local authorities, unless the courts of Philadelphia County for an assault and battery committed on board the ship
local sovereignty has by act of acquiescence or through treaty arrangements while lying in the port of Philadelphia, it was held that there was nothing in the treaty
consented to waive a portion of such jurisdiction. (15 Op. Attys. Gen., U. S., 178; 2 which deprived the local courts of jurisdiction. (Commonwealth vs. Luckness, 14
Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 204; article by Dean Gregory, Mich. Law Review, Vol. II, No. Phila. (Pa.), 363.) Representations were made through diplomatic channels to the
5.) Chief Justice Marshall, in the case of the Exchange, said that — State Department, and on July 30, 1880, Mr. Evarts, Secretary of State, wrote to
Count Lewenhaupt, the Swedish and Norwegian minister, as follows:
When merchant vessels enter for the purpose of trade, in would be
obviously in convinient and dangerous to society and would subject the laws I have the honor to state that I have given the matter careful consideration
to continual infraction and the government to degradation if such individual in connection with the views and suggestion of your note and the provisions
merchants did not owe temporary and local allegiance, and were not of the thirteenth article of the treaty of 1827 between the United States and
amendable to the jurisdiction of the country. Sweden and Norway. The stipulations contained in the last clause of that
article . . . are those under which it is contended by you that jurisdiction is
conferred on the consular officers, not only in regard to such differences of
The Supreme Court of the United States has recently said that the merchant vessels
a civil nature growing out of the contract of engagement of the seamen, but
of one country visiting the ports of another for the purpose of trade, subject
also as to disposing of controversies resulting from personal violence
themselves to the laws which govern the ports they visit, so long as they remain; and
involving offense for which the party may be held amenable under the local
this as well in war as in peace, unless otherwise provided by treaty. (U.
criminal law.
S. vs. Diekelman, 92 U. S., 520-525.)

This Government does not view the article in question as susceptible of such
Certain limitations upon the jurisdiction of the local courts are imposed by article 13
broad interpretation. The jurisdiction conferred upon the consuls is
of the treaty of commerce and navigation between Sweden and Norway and the
conceived to be limited to their right to sit as judges or abitrators in such
United States, of July 4, 1827, which concedes to the consul, vice-consuls, or consular
differences as may arise between captains and crews of the vessels, where
agents of each country "The right to sit as judges and arbitrators in such differences
such differences do not involve on the part of the captain or crew a
as may arise between the captains and crews of the vessels belonging to the nation
disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country. When, however, a
whose interests are committed to their charge, without the interference of the local
complaint is made to a local magistrate, either by the captain or one or more
authorities, unless the conduct of the crews or of the captains should disturb the
of the crew of the vessel, involving the disturbance of the order or
order or tranquillity of the country." (Comp. of Treaties in Force, 1904, p. 754.) This
tranquillity of the country, it is competent for such magistrate to take
exception applies to controversies between the members of the ship's company, and
cognizance of the matter in furtherance of the local laws, and under such
particularly to disputes regarding wages. (2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 206, p. 318;
circumstances in the United States it becomes a public duty which the judge
Tellefsen vs. Fee, 168 Mass., 188.) The order and tranquillity of the country are
or magistrate is not at liberty voluntarily to forego. In all such cases it must
affected by many events which do not amount to a riot or general public disturbance.
necessarily be left to the local judicial authorities whether the procedure
Thus an assault by one member of the crew upon another, committed upon the ship,
shall take place in the United States or in Sweden to determine if in fact
of which the public may have no knowledge whatever, is not by this treaty withdrawn
there had been such disturbance of the local order and tranquillity, and if
from the cognizance of the local authorities.
the complaint is supported by such proof as results in the conviction of the
party accused, to visit upon the offenders such punishment as may be done." To the same effect is Johnson vs. The People (94 Ill., 505), which seems to be
defined against the offense by the municipal law of the place." (Moore, Int. on all fours with the present case.
Law Dig., vol. 2, p. 315.)
The evidence shows not only that the defendant's acts were knowingly done, but his
The treaty does not therefore deprive the local courts of jurisdiction over offenses defense rests upon the assertion that "according to his experience, the system of
committed on board a merchant vessel by one member of the crew against another carrying cattle loose upon the decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure to
which amount to a disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country, and a fair the life and comfort of the animals." It was conclusively proven that what was done
and reasonable construction of the language requires un to hold that any violation of was done knowingly and intentionally.
criminal laws disturbs the order or traquillity of the country. The offense with which
the appellant is charged had nothing to so with any difference between the captain In charging an offense under section 6 of General Orders, No. 58, paragraph 3, it is
and the crew. It was a violation by the master of the criminal law of the country into only necessary to state the act or omission complained of as constituting a crime or
whose port he came. We thus find that neither by reason of the nationality of the public offense in ordinary and concise language, without repitition. It need not
vessel, the place of the commission of the offense, or the prohibitions of any treaty necessarily be in the words of the statute, but it must be in such form as to enable a
or general principle of public law, are the court of the Philippine Islands deprived of person of common understanding to know what is intended and the court to
jurisdiction over the offense charged in the information in this case. pronounce judgment according to right. A complaint which complies with this
requirement is good. (U.S. vs. Sarabia, 4 Phil. Rep., 556.)
It is further contended that the complaint is defective because it does not allege that
the animals were disembarked at the port of Manila, an allegation which it is claimed The Act, which is in the English language, impose upon the master of a vessel the duty
is essential to the jurisdiction of the court sitting at that port. To hold with the to "provide suitable means for securing such animals while in transit, so as to avoid
appellant upon this issue would be to construe the language of the complaint very all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the animals." The allegation of the complaint
strictly against the Government. The disembarkation of the animals is not necessary as it reads in English is that the defendant willfully, unlawfully, and wrongfully carried
in order to constitute the completed offense, and a reasonable construction of the the cattle "without providing suitable means for securing said animals while in transit,
language of the statute confers jurisdiction upon the court sitting at the port into so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the said animals in this . . . that by
which the animals are bought. They are then within the territorial jurisdiction of the reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the accused to provide suitable means
court, and the mere fact of their disembarkation is immaterial so far as jurisdiction is for securing said animals were cruelty torn, and many of said animals were tossed
concerned. This might be different if the disembarkation of the animals constituted about upon the decks and hold of said vessels, and cruelty wounded, bruised, and
a constitutional element in the offense, but it does not. killed."

It is also contended that the information is insufficient because it fails to allege that The appellant contends that the language of the Spanish text of the information does
the defendant knowingly and willfully failed to provide suitable means for securing not charge him with failure to provide "sufficient" and "adequate" means. The words
said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering. The used are "medios suficientes" and "medios adecuados." In view of the fact that the
allegation of the complaint that the act was committed willfully includes the original complaint was prepared in English, and that the word "suitable" is
allegation that it was committed knowingly. As said in Woodhouse vs. Rio Grande translatable by the words "adecuado," "suficiente," and "conveniente," according to
R.R. Company (67 Texas, 416), "the word 'willfully' carries the idea, when used in the context and circumstances, we determine this point against the appellant,
connection with an act forbidden by law, that the act must be done knowingly or particularly in view of the fact that the objection was not made in the court below,
intentionally; that, with knowledge, the will consented to, designed, and directed the and that the evidence clearly shows a failure to provide "suitable means for the
act." So in Wong vs. City of Astoria (13 Oregon, 538), it was said: "The first one is that protection of the animals."
the complaint did not show, in the words of the ordinance, that the appellant
'knowingly' did the act complained of. This point, I think, was fully answered by the 2. The appellant's arguments against the constitutionality of Act No. 55 and the
respondent's counsel — that the words 'willfully' and 'knowingly' conveyed the same amendment thereto seems to rest upon a fundamentally erroneous conception of
meaning. To 'willfully' do an act implies that it was done by design — done for a the constitutional law of these Islands. The statute penalizes acts and ommissions
certain purpose; and I think that it would necessarily follow that it was 'knowingly' incidental to the transportation of live stock between foreign ports and ports of the
Philippine Islands, and had a similar statute regulating commerce with its ports been
enacted by the legislature of one of the States of the Union, it would doubtless have contiguous territory tended to create an impression upon the minds of many people
been in violation of Article I, section 3, of the Constitution of the United States. that it went there by its own force. (Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 289.) In legislating
(Stubbs vs. People (Colo.), 11 L. R. A., N. S., 1071.) with reference to this territory, the power of Congress is limited only by those
prohibitions of the Constitution which go to the very root of its power to act at all,
But the Philippine Islands is not a State, and its relation to the United States is irrespective of time or place. In all other respects it is plenary. (De Lima vs. Bidwell,
controlled by constitutional principles different from those which apply to States of 182 U. S., 1; Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 244; Hawaii vs. Mankichi, 190 U. S., 197;
the Union. The importance of the question thus presented requires a statement of Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138; Rassmussen vs. U. S., 197 U. S., 516.)
the principles which govern those relations, and consideration of the nature and
extent of the legislative power of the Philippine Commission and the Legislature of This power has been exercised by Congress throughout the whole history of the
the Philippines. After much discussion and considerable diversity of opinion certain United States, and legislation founded on the theory was enacted long prior to the
applicable constitutional doctrines are established. acquisition of the present Insular possessions. Section 1891 of the Revised Statutes
of 1878 provides that "The Constitution and all laws of the United States which are
The Constitution confers upon the United States the express power to make war and not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect within all the organized
treaties, and it has the power possessed by all nations to acquire territory by territories, and in every Territory hereafter organized, as elsewhere within the United
conquest or treaty. Territory thus acquired belongs to the United States, and to guard States." When Congress organized a civil government for the Philippines, it expressly
against the possibility of the power of Congress to provide for its government being provided that this section of the Revised Statutes should not apply to the Philippine
questioned, the framers of the Constitution provided in express terms that Congress Islands. (Sec. 1, Act of 1902.)
should have the power "to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations
respecting territory and other property belonging to the United States." (Art. IV, sec. In providing for the government of the territory which was acquired by the United
3, par. 3.) Upon the acquisition of the territory by the United States, and until it is States as a result of the war with Spain, the executive and legislative authorities have
formally incorporated into the Union, the duty of providing a government therefor consistently proceeded in conformity with the principles above state. The city of
devolves upon Congress. It may govern the territory by its direct acts, or it may create Manila was surrendered to the United States on August 13, 1898, and the military
a local government, and delegate thereto the ordinary powers required for local commander was directed to hold the city, bay, and harbor, pending the conclusion
government. (Binns vs. U. S., 194 U. S., 486.) This has been the usual procedure. of a peace which should determine the control, disposition, and government of the
Congress has provided such governments for territories which were within the Union, Islands. The duty then devolved upon the American authorities to preserve peace and
and for newly acquired territory not yet incorporated therein. It has been customary protect person and property within the occupied territory. Provision therefor was
to organize a government with the ordinary separation of powers into executive, made by proper orders, and on August 26 General Merritt assumed the duties of
legislative, and judicial, and to prescribe in an organic act certain general conditions military governor. The treaty of peace was signed December 10, 1898. On the 22d of
in accordance with which the local government should act. The organic act thus December, 1898, the President announced that the destruction of the Spanish fleet
became the constitution of the government of the territory which had not been and the surrender of the city had practically effected the conquest of the Philippine
formally incorporated into the Union, and the validity of legislation enacted by the Islands and the suspension of the Spanish sovereignty therein, and that by the treaty
local legislature was determined by its conformity with the requirements of such of peace the future control, disposition, and government of the Islands had been
organic act. (National Bank vs. Yankton, 11 Otto (U. S.), 129.) To the legislative body ceded to the United States. During the periods of strict military occupation, before
of the local government Congress has delegated that portion of legislative power the treaty of peace was ratified, and the interim thereafter, until Congress acted
which in its wisdom it deemed necessary for the government of the territory, (Santiago vs. Noueral, 214 U.S., 260), the territory was governed under the military
reserving, however, the right to annul the action of the local legislature and itself authority of the President as commander in chief. Long before Congress took any
legislate directly for the territory. This power has been exercised during the entire action, the President organized a civil government which, however, had its legal
period of the history of the United States. The right of Congress to delegate such justification, like the purely military government which it gradually superseded, in the
legislative power can no longer be seriously questioned. (Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138; war power. The military power of the President embraced legislative, executive
U. S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U. S., 370, 385.) personally, or through such military or civil agents as he chose to select. As stated by
Secretary Root in his report for 1901 —
The Constitution of the United States does not by its own force operate within such
territory, although the liberality of Congress in legislating the Constitution into
The military power in exercise in a territory under military occupation slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist except as a punishment for crime; that
includes executive, legislative, and judicial authority. It not infrequently no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed; that no law shall be passed
happens that in a single order of a military commander can be found the abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the people to
exercise of all three of these different powers — the exercise of the peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances; that no
legislative powers by provisions prescribing a rule of action; of judicial power law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free
by determination of right; and the executive power by the enforcement of exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession
the rules prescribed and the rights determined. and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be allowed."

President McKinley desired to transform military into civil government as rapidly as To prevent any question as to the legality of these proceedings being raised, the
conditions would permit. After full investigation, the organization of civil government Spooner amendment to the Army Appropriation Bill passed March 2, 1901, provided
was initiated by the appointment of a commission to which civil authority was to be that "all military, civil, and judicial powers necessary to govern the Philippine Islands
gradually transferred. On September 1, 1900, the authority to exercise, subject to the . . . shall until otherwise provided by Congress be vested in such person and persons,
approval of the President. "that part of the military power of the President in the and shall be exercised in such manner, as the President of the United States shall
Philippine Islands which is legislative in its character" was transferred from the direct, for the establishment of civil government, and for maintaining and protecting
military government to the Commission, to be exercised under such rules and the inhabitants of said Islands in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and
regulations as should be prescribed by the Secretary of War, until such time as religion." Thereafter, on July 4, 1901, the authority, which had been exercised
complete civil government should be established, or congress otherwise provided. previously by the military governor, was transferred to that official. The government
The legislative power thus conferred upon the Commission was declared to include thus created by virtue of the authority of the President as Commander in Chief of the
"the making of rules and orders having the effect of law for the raising of revenue by Army and Navy continued to administer the affairs of the Islands under the direction
taxes, customs duties, and imposts; the appropriation and expenditure of public of the President until by the Act of July 1, 1902, Congress assumed control of the
funds of the Islands; the establishment of an educational system to secure an efficient situation by the enactment of a law which, in connection with the instructions of April
civil service; the organization and establishment of courts; the organization and 7, 1900, constitutes the organic law of the Philippine Islands.
establishment of municipal and departmental government, and all other matters of
a civil nature which the military governor is now competent to provide by rules or The Act of July 1, 1902, made no substancial changes in the form of government
orders of a legislative character." This grant of legislative power to the Commission which the President had erected. Congress adopted the system which was in
was to be exercised in conformity with certain declared general principles, and operation, and approved the action of the President in organizing the government.
subject to certain specific restrictions for the protection of individual rights. The Substantially all the limitations which had been imposed on the legislative power by
Commission were to bear in mind that the government to be instituted was "not for the President's instructions were included in the law, Congress thus extending to the
our satisfaction or for the expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness, Islands by legislative act nor the Constitution, but all its provisions for the protection
peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Island, and the measures of the rights and privileges of individuals which were appropriate under the
adopted should be made to conforms to their customs, their habits, and even their conditions. The action of the President in creating the Commission with designated
prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of the powers of government, in creating the office of the Governor-General and Vice-
indispensable requisites of just and effective government." The specific restrictions Governor-General, and through the Commission establishing certain executive
upon legislative power were found in the declarations that "no person shall be departments, was expressly approved and ratified. Subsequently the action of the
deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; that private property President in imposing a tariff before and after the ratification of the treaty of peace
shall not be taken for public use without just compensation; that in all criminal was also ratified and approved by Congress. (Act of March 8, 1902; Act of July 1, 1902;
prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be U.S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U.S., 370; Lincoln vs. U.S., 197 U.S., 419.) Until otherwise
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the provided by law the Islands were to continue to be governed "as thereby and herein
witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his provided." In the future the enacting clause of all statutes should read "By authority
favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense; that excessive bail shall of the United States" instead of "By the authority of the President." In the course of
not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment time the legislative authority of the Commission in all parts of the Islands not
inflicted; that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense or be inhabited by Moros or non-Christian tribes was to be transferred to a legislature
compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; that the right to be consisting of two houses — the Philippine Commission and the Philippine Assembly.
secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; that neither
The government of the Islands was thus assumed by Congress under its power to other constitutional theory could there be that government of laws and not of men
govern newly acquired territory not incorporated into the United States. which is essential for the protection of rights under a free and orderly government.

This Government of the Philippine Islands is not a State or a Territory, although its Such being the constitutional theory of the Government of the Philippine Islands, it
form and organization somewhat resembles that of both. It stands outside of the is apparent that the courts must consider the question of the validity of an act of the
constitutional relation which unites the States and Territories into the Union. The Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, as a State court considers an act
authority for its creation and maintenance is derived from the Constitution of the of the State legislature. The Federal Government exercises such powers only as are
United States, which, however, operates on the President and Congress, and not expressly or impliedly granted to it by the Constitution of the United States, while the
directly on the Philippine Government. It is the creation of the United States, acting States exercise all powers which have not been granted to the central government.
through the President and Congress, both deriving power from the same source, but The former operates under grants, the latter subject to restrictions. The validity of an
from different parts thereof. For its powers and the limitations thereon the Act of Congress depends upon whether the Constitution of the United States contains
Government of the Philippines looked to the orders of the President before Congress a grant of express or implied authority to enact it. An act of a State legislature is valid
acted and the Acts of Congress after it assumed control. Its organic laws are derived unless the Federal or State constitution expressly or impliedly prohibits its enaction.
from the formally and legally expressed will of the President and Congress, instead An Act of the legislative authority of the Philippines Government which has not been
of the popular sovereign constituency which lies upon any subject relating to the expressly disapproved by Congress is valid unless its subject-matter has been covered
Philippines is primarily in Congress, and when it exercise such power its act is from by congressional legislation, or its enactment forbidden by some provision of the
the viewpoint of the Philippines the legal equivalent of an amendment of a organic laws.
constitution in the United States.
The legislative power of the Government of the Philippines is granted in general
Within the limits of its authority the Government of the Philippines is a complete terms subject to specific limitations. The general grant is not alone of power to
governmental organism with executive, legislative, and judicial departments legislate on certain subjects, but to exercise the legislative power subject to the
exercising the functions commonly assigned to such departments. The separation of restrictions stated. It is true that specific authority is conferred upon the Philippine
powers is as complete as in most governments. In neither Federal nor State Government relative to certain subjects of legislation, and that Congress has itself
governments is this separation such as is implied in the abstract statement of the legislated upon certain other subjects. These, however, should be viewed simply as
doctrine. For instance, in the Federal Government the Senate exercises executive enactments on matters wherein Congress was fully informed and ready to act, and
powers, and the President to some extent controls legislation through the veto not as implying any restriction upon the local legislative authority in other matters.
power. In a State the veto power enables him to exercise much control over (See Opinion of Atty. Gen. of U. S., April 16, 1908.)
legislation. The Governor-General, the head of the executive department in the
Philippine Government, is a member of the Philippine Commission, but as executive The fact that Congress reserved the power to annul specific acts of legislation by the
he has no veto power. The President and Congress framed the government on the Government of the Philippine tends strongly to confirm the view that for purposes of
model with which Americans are familiar, and which has proven best adapted for the construction the Government of the Philippines should be regarded as one of general
advancement of the public interests and the protection of individual rights and instead of enumerated legislative powers. The situation was unusual. The new
priviliges. government was to operate far from the source of its authority. To relieve Congress
from the necessity of legislating with reference to details, it was thought better to
In instituting this form of government of intention must have been to adopt the grant general legislative power to the new government, subject to broad and easily
general constitutional doctrined which are inherent in the system. Hence, under it understood prohibitions, and reserve to Congress the power to annul its acts if they
the Legislature must enact laws subject to the limitations of the organic laws, as met with disapproval. It was therefore provided "that all laws passed by the
Congress must act under the national Constitution, and the States under the national Government of the Philippine Islands shall be reported to Congress, which hereby
and state constitutions. The executive must execute such laws as are constitutionally reserves the power and authority to annul the same." (Act of Congress, July 1, 1902,
enacted. The judiciary, as in all governments operating under written constitutions, sec. 86.) This provision does not suspend the acts of the Legislature of the Philippines
must determine the validity of legislative enactments, as well as the legality of all until approved by Congress, or when approved, expressly or by acquiescence, make
private and official acts. In performing these functions it acts with the same them the laws of Congress. They are valid acts of the Government of the Philippine
independence as the Federal and State judiciaries in the United States. Under no Islands until annulled. (Miners Bank vs. Iowa, 12 How. (U. S.), 1.)
In order to determine the validity of Act No. 55 we must then ascertain whether the of cattle and carabaos from Chines and Japanese ports to and into the city
Legislature has been expressly or implication forbidden to enact it. Section 3, Article of Manila, Philippine Islands.
IV, of the Constitution of the United States operated only upon the States of the
Union. It has no application to the Government of the Philippine Islands. The power That on the 2d day of December, 1908, the defendant, as such master and
to regulate foreign commerce is vested in Congress, and by virtue of its power to captain as aforesaid, brought into the city of Manila, aboard said ship, a large
govern the territory belonging to the United States, it may regulate foreign number of cattle, which ship was anchored, under the directions of the said
commerce with such territory. It may do this directly, or indirectly through a defendant, behind the breakwaters in front of the city of Manila, in Manila
legislative body created by it, to which its power in this respect if delegate. Congress Bay, and within the jurisdiction of this court; and that fifteen of said cattle
has by direct legislation determined the duties which shall be paid upon goods then and there had broken legs and three others of said cattle were dead,
imported into the Philippines, and it has expressly authorized the Government of the having broken legs; and also that said cattle were transported and carried
Philippines to provide for the needs of commerce by improving harbors and navigable upon said ship as aforesaid by the defendant, upon the deck and in the hold
waters. A few other specific provisions relating to foreign commerce may be found in of said ship, without suitable precaution and care for the transportation of
the Acts of Congress, but its general regulation is left to the Government of the said animals, and to avoid danger and risk to their lives and security; and
Philippines, subject to the reserved power of Congress to annul such legislation as further that said cattle were so transported abroad said ship by the
does not meet with its approval. The express limitations upon the power of the defendant and brought into the said bay, and into the city of Manila, without
Commission and Legislature to legislate do not affect the authority with respect to any provisions being made whatever upon said decks of said ship and in the
the regulation of commerce with foreign countries. Act No. 55 was enacted before hold thereof to maintain said cattle in a suitable condition and position for
Congress took over the control of the Islands, and this act was amended by Act No. such transportation.
275 after the Spooner amendment of March 2, 1901, was passed. The military
government, and the civil government instituted by the President, had the power, That a suitable and practicable manner in which to transport cattle abroad
whether it be called legislative or administrative, to regulate commerce between steamship coming into Manila Bay and unloading in the city of Manila is by
foreign nations and the ports of the territory. (Cross vs. Harrison, 16 How. (U.S.), 164, way of individual stalls for such cattle, providing partitions between the
190; Hamilton vs. Dillin, 21 Wall. (U.S.), 73, 87.) This Act has remained in force since cattle and supports at the front sides, and rear thereof, and cross-cleats
its enactment without annulment or other action by Congress, and must be upon the floor on which they stand and are transported, of that in case of
presumed to have met with its approval. We are therefore satisfied that the storms, which are common in this community at sea, such cattle may be able
Commission had, and the Legislature now has, full constitutional power to enact laws to stand without slipping and pitching and falling, individually or collectively,
for the regulation of commerce between foreign countries and the ports of the and to avoid the production of panics and hazard to the animals on account
Philippine Islands, and that Act No. 55, as amended by Act No. 275, is valid. or cattle were transported in this case. Captain Summerville of the
steamship Taming, a very intelligent and experienced seaman, has testified,
3. Whether a certain method of handling cattle is suitable within the meaning of the as a witness in behalf of the Government, and stated positively that since
Act can not be left to the judgment of the master of the ship. It is a question which the introduction in the ships with which he is acquainted of the stall system
must be determined by the court from the evidence. On December 2, 1908, the for the transportation of animals and cattle he has suffered no loss whatever
defendant Bull brought into and disembarked in the port and city of Manila certain during the last year. The defendant has testified, as a witness in his own
cattle, which came from the port of Ampieng, Formosa, without providing suitable behalf, that according to his experience the system of carrying cattle loose
means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and upon the decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure to the life and
unnecessary suffering to said animals, contrary to the provisions of section 1 of Act comfort of the animals, but this theory of the case is not maintainable, either
No. 55, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 275. The trial court found the following by the proofs or common reason. It can not be urged with logic that, for
facts, all of which are fully sustained by the evidence: instance, three hundred cattle supports for the feet and without stalls or any
other protection for them individually can safely and suitably carried in
That the defendant, H. N. Bull, as captain and master of the Norwegian times of storm upon the decks and in the holds of ships; such a theory is
steamer known as the Standard, for a period of six months or thereabouts against the law of nature. One animal falling or pitching, if he is untied or
prior to the 2d day of December, 1908, was engaged in the transportation unprotected, might produce a serious panic and the wounding of half the
animals upon the ship if transported in the manner found in this case.
The defendant was found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of two hundred and fifty
pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The
sentence and judgment is affirmed. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Carson and Moreland, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. L-5887 December 16, 1910 It is to be taken into account that the two sacks of opium, designated as Exhibits A
and B, properly constitute the corpus delicti. Moreover, another lot of four cans of
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, opium, marked, as Exhibit C, was the subject matter of investigation at the trial, and
vs. with respect to which the chief of the department of the port of Cebu testified that
LOOK CHAW (alias LUK CHIU), defendant-appellant. they were found in the part of the ship where the firemen habitually sleep, and that
they were delivered to the first officer of the ship to be returned to the said firemen
Thos. D. Aitken for appellant. after the vessel should have left the Philippines, because the firemen and crew of
Attorney-General Villamor for appellee. foreign vessels, pursuant to the instructions he had from the Manila custom-house,
were permitted to retain certain amounts of opium, always provided it should not be
taken shore.
ARELLANO, C. J.:

And, finally, another can of opium, marked "Exhibit D," is also corpus delicti and
The first complaint filed against the defendant, in the Court of First Instance of Cebu,
important as evidence in this cause. With regard to this the internal-revenue agent
stated that he "carried, kept, possessed and had in his possession and control, 96
testified as follows:itc-alf
kilogrammes of opium," and that "he had been surprised in the act of selling 1,000
pesos worth prepared opium."
FISCAL. What is it?
The defense presented a demurrer based on two grounds, the second of which was
the more than one crime was charged in the complaint. The demurrer was sustained, WITNESS. It is a can opium which was bought from the defendant by a
as the court found that the complaint contained two charges, one, for the unlawful secret-service agent and taken to the office of the governor to prove that
possession of opium, and the other, for the unlawful sale of opium, and, consequence the accused had opium in his possession to sell.
of that ruling, it ordered that the fiscal should separated one charge from the other
and file a complaint for each violation; this, the fiscal did, and this cause concerns On motion by the defense, the court ruled that this answer might be stricken out
only the unlawful possession of opium. It is registered as No. 375, in the Court of First "because it refers to a sale." But, with respect to this answer, the chief of the
Instance of Cebu, and as No. 5887 on the general docket of this court. department of customs had already given this testimony, to wit:

The facts of the case are contained in the following finding of the trial court: FISCAL. Who asked you to search the vessel?

The evidence, it says, shows that between 11 and 12 o'clock a. m. on the WITNESS. The internal-revenue agent came to my office and said that a
present month (stated as August 19, 1909), several persons, among them party brought him a sample of opium and that the same party knew that
Messrs. Jacks and Milliron, chief of the department of the port of Cebu and there was more opium on board the steamer, and the agent asked that the
internal-revenue agent of Cebu, respectively, went abroad the vessel be searched.
steamship Erroll to inspect and search its cargo, and found, first in a cabin
near the saloon, one sack (Exhibit A) and afterwards in the hold, another The defense moved that this testimony be rejected, on the ground of its being
sack (Exhibit B). The sack referred to as Exhibit A contained 49 cans of opium, hearsay evidence, and the court only ordered that the part thereof "that there was
and the other, Exhibit B, the larger sack, also contained several cans of the more opium, on board the vessel" be stricken out.
same substance. The hold, in which the sack mentioned in Exhibit B was
found, was under the defendant's control, who moreover, freely and of his The defense, to abbreviate proceedings, admitted that the receptacles mentioned as
own will and accord admitted that this sack, as well as the other referred to Exhibits A, B, and C, contained opium and were found on board the steamship Erroll,
in Exhibit B and found in the cabin, belonged to him. The said defendant also a vessel of English nationality, and that it was true that the defendant stated that
stated, freely and voluntarily, that he had bought these sacks of opium, in these sacks of opium were his and that he had them in his possession.
Hongkong with the intention of selling them as contraband in Mexico or
Vera Cruz, and that, as his hold had already been searched several times for
opium, he ordered two other Chinamen to keep the sack. Exhibit A.
According to the testimony of the internal-revenue agent, the defendant stated to thus committing an open violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which, as
him, in the presence of the provincial fiscal, of a Chinese interpreter (who afterwards it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime,
was not needed, because the defendant spoke English), the warden of the jail, and only the court established in that said place itself had competent jurisdiction, in the
four guards, that the opium seized in the vessel had been bought by him in Hongkong, absence of an agreement under an international treaty.
at three pesos for each round can and five pesos for each one of the others, for the
purpose of selling it, as contraband, in Mexico and Puerto de Vera Cruz; that on the It is also found: That, even admitting that the quantity of the drug seized, the subject
15th the vessel arrived at Cebu, and on the same day he sold opium; that he had tried matter of the present case, was considerable, it does not appear that, on such
to sell opium for P16 a can; that he had a contract to sell an amount of the value of account, the two penalties fixed by the law on the subject, should be imposed in the
about P500; that the opium found in the room of the other two Chinamen prosecuted maximum degree.
in another cause, was his, and that he had left it in their stateroom to avoid its being
found in his room, which had already been searched many times; and that, according Therefore, reducing the imprisonment and the fine imposed to six months and
to the defendant, the contents of the large sack was 80 cans of opium, and of the P1,000, respectively, we affirm in all other respects the judgment appealed from,
small one, 49, and the total number, 129. with the costs of this instance against the appellant. So ordered.

It was established that the steamship Erroll was of English nationality, that it came Torres, Mapa, Johnson, Carson, Moreland and Trent, JJ., concur.
from Hongkong, and that it was bound for Mexico, via the call ports of Manila and
Cebu.

The defense moved for a dismissal of the case, on the grounds that the court had no
jurisdiction to try the same and the facts concerned therein did not constitute a
crime. The fiscal, at the conclusion of his argument, asked that the maximum penalty
of the law be imposed upon the defendant, in view of the considerable amount of
opium seized. The court ruled that it did not lack jurisdiction, inasmuch as the crime
had been committed within its district, on the wharf of Cebu.

The court sentenced the defendant to five years' imprisonment, to pay a fine of
P10,000, with additional subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, though not
to exceed one third of the principal penalty, and to the payment of the costs. It
further ordered the confiscation, in favor of the Insular Government, of the exhibits
presented in the case, and that, in the event of an appeal being taken or a bond given,
or when the sentenced should have been served, the defendant be not released from
custody, but turned over to the customs authorities for the purpose of the fulfillment
of the existing laws on immigration.

From this judgment, the defendant appealed to this court.lawphi1.net

The appeal having been heard, together with the allegations made therein by the
parties, it is found: That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in
these Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a
general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of this country, on account of
such vessel being considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule
does not apply when the article, whose use is prohibited within the Philippine Islands,
in the present case a can of opium, is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil,
G.R. No. L-13005 October 10, 1917 account of such vessel being considered as an extension of its own
nationality, the same rule does no apply when the article, whose use is
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of opium,
vs. is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing an open
AH SING, defendant-appellant. violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which, as it is a violation of
the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime, only the
Antonio Sanz for appellant. court established in the said place itself has competent jurisdiction, in the
Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee. absence of an agreement under an international treaty.1awphil.net

MALCOLM, J.: A marked difference between the facts in the Look Chaw case and the facts in the
present instance is readily observable. In the Look Chaw case, the charge case the
illegal possession and sale of opium — in the present case the charge as illegal
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu finding the
importation of opium; in the Look Chaw case the foreign vessel was in transit — in
defendant guilty of a violation of section 4 of Act No. 2381 (the Opium Law), and
the present case the foreign vessel was not in transit; in the Look Chaw case the
sentencing him to two years imprisonment, to pay a fine of P300 or to suffer
opium was landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil — in the present case of
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
United States vs. Jose ([1916], 34 Phil., 840), the main point, and the one on which
resolution turned, was that in a prosecution based on the illegal importation of opium
The following facts are fully proven: The defendant is a subject of China employed as
or other prohibited drug, the Government must prove, or offer evidence sufficient to
a fireman on the steamship Shun Chang. The Shun Chang is a foreign steamer which
raise a presumption, that the vessel from which the drug is discharged came into
arrived at the port of Cebu on April 25, 1917, after a voyage direct from the port of
Philippine waters from a foreign country with the drug on board. In the Jose case, the
Saigon. The defendant bought eight cans of opium in Saigon, brought them on board
defendants were acquitted because it was not proved that the opium was imported
the steamship Shun Chang, and had them in his possession during the trip from
from a foreign country; in the present case there is no question but what the opium
Saigon to Cebu. When the steamer anchored in the port of Cebu on April 25, 1917,
came from Saigon to Cebu. However, in the opinion in the Jose case, we find the
the authorities on making a search found the eight cans of opium above mentioned
following which may be obiter dicta, but which at least is interesting as showing the
hidden in the ashes below the boiler of the steamer's engine. The defendant
view of the writer of the opinion:
confessed that he was the owner of this opium, and that he had purchased it in
Saigon. He did not confess, however, as to his purpose in buying the opium. He did
The importation was complete, to say the least, when the ship carrying it
not say that it was his intention to import the prohibited drug into the Philippine
anchored in Subic Bay. It was not necessary that the opium discharged or
Islands. No other evidence direct or indirect, to show that the intention of the
that it be taken from the ship. It was sufficient that the opium was brought
accused was to import illegally this opium into the Philippine Islands, was introduced.
into the waters of the Philippine Islands on a boat destined for a Philippine
port and which subsequently anchored in a port of the Philippine Islands
Has the crime of illegal importation of opium into the Philippine Islands been proven?
with intent to discharge its cargo.

Two decisions of this Court are cited in the judgment of the trial court, but with the
Resolving whatever doubt was exist as to the authority of the views just quoted, we
intimation that there exists inconsistently between the doctrines laid down in the return to an examination of the applicable provisions of the law. It is to be noted that
two cases. However, neither decision is directly a precedent on the facts before us.
section 4 of Act No. 2381 begins, "Any person who shall unlawfully import or bring
any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands." "Import" and "bring" are
In the case of United States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], 18 Phil., 573), in the opinion synonymous terms. The Federal Courts of the United States have held that the mere
handed down by the Chief Justice, it is found — act of going into a port, without breaking bulk, is prima facie evidence of importation.
(The Mary [U. S.], 16 Fed. Cas., 932, 933.) And again, the importation is not the
That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these making entry of goods at the custom house, but merely the bringing them into port;
Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as and the importation is complete before entry of the Custom House. (U. S. vs. Lyman
a general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of this country, on [U. S.], 26, Fed. Cas., 1024, 1028; Perots vs. U. S., 19 Fed. Cas., 258.) As applied to the
Opium Law, we expressly hold that any person unlawfully imports or brings any
prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands, when the prohibited drug is found under
this person's control on a vessel which has come direct from a foreign country and is
within the 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 to the facts herein, it would be absurb to think that the
accused was merely carrying opium back and forth between Saigon and Cebu for the
mere pleasure of so doing. It would likewise be impossible to conceive that the
accused needed so large an amount of opium for his personal use. No better
explanation being possible, the logical deduction is that the defendant intended this
opium to be brought into the Philippine Islands. We accordingly find that there was
illegal importation of opium from a foreign country into the Philippine Islands. To
anticipate any possible misunderstanding, let it be said that these statements do not
relate to foreign vessels in transit, a situation not present.

The defendant and appellant, having been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
as charged and the sentence of the trial court being within the limits provided by law,
it results that the judgment must be affirmed with the costs of this instance against
the appellant. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Carson, Araullo and Street, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. L-18924 October 19, 1922 In the cases of The Schooner Exchange vs. M'Faddon and Others (7 Cranch [U. S.],
116), Chief Justice Marshall said:
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellant,
vs. . . . When merchant vessels enter for the purposes of trade, it would be
WONG CHENG (alias WONG CHUN), defendant-appellee. obviously inconvenient and dangerous to society, and would subject the
laws to continual infraction, and the government to degradation, if such
Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellant. individuals or merchants did not owe temporary and local allegiance, and
Eduardo Gutierrez Repide for appellee. were not amenable to the jurisdiction of the country. . . .

ROMUALDEZ, J.: In United States vs. Bull (15 Phil., 7), this court held:

In this appeal the Attorney-General urges the revocation of the order of the Court of . . . No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offense or
First Instance of Manila, sustaining the demurrer presented by the defendant to the crime committed on the high seas or within the territorial waters of any
information that initiated this case and in which the appellee is accused of having other country, but when she came within three miles of a line drawn from
illegally smoked opium, aboard the merchant vessel Changsa of English nationality the headlands, which embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she was within
while said vessel was anchored in Manila Bay two and a half miles from the shores of territorial waters, and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton,
the city. International Law [Dana ed.], p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., secs.
490 et seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The ship and her crew were then
The demurrer alleged lack of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court, which so held subject to the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign subject to such
and dismissed the case. limitations as have been conceded by that sovereignty through the proper
political agency. . . .
The question that presents itself for our consideration is whether such ruling is
erroneous or not; and it will or will not be erroneous according as said court has or It is true that in certain cases the comity of nations is observed, as in Mali and
has no jurisdiction over said offense. Wildenhus vs. Keeper of the Common Jail (120 U.., 1), wherein it was said that:

The point at issue is whether the courts of the Philippines have jurisdiction over . . . The principle which governs the whole matter is this: Disorder which
crime, like the one herein involved, committed aboard merchant vessels anchored in disturb only the peace of the ship or those on board are to be dealt with
our jurisdiction waters. 1awph!l.net exclusively by the sovereignty of the home of the ship, but those which
disturb the public peace may be suppressed, and, if need be, the offenders
punished by the proper authorities of the local jurisdiction. It may not be
There are two fundamental rules on this particular matter in connection with
easy at all times to determine which of the two jurisdictions a particular act
International Law; to wit, the French rule, according to which crimes committed
of disorder belongs. Much will undoubtedly depend on the attending
aboard a foreign merchant vessels should not be prosecuted in the courts of the
circumstances of the particular case, but all must concede that felonious
country within whose territorial jurisdiction they were committed, unless their
homicide is a subject for the local jurisdiction, and that if the proper
commission affects the peace and security of the territory; and the English rule, based
authorities are proceeding with the case in the regular way the consul has
on the territorial principle and followed in the United States, according to which,
no right to interfere to prevent it.
crimes perpetrated under such circumstances are in general triable in the courts of
the country within territory they were committed. Of this two rules, it is the last one
that obtains in this jurisdiction, because at present the theories and jurisprudence Hence in United States vs. Look Chaw (18 Phil., 573), this court held that:
prevailing in the United States on this matter are authority in the Philippines which is
now a territory of the United States. Although the mere possession of an article of prohibited use in the
Philippine Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit in any local port, does
not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of the Islands,
such vessels being considered as an extension of its own nationality, the
same rule does not apply when the article, the use of which is prohibited in are impotent to lay hands on him, is simply subversive of public order. It
the Islands, is landed from the vessels upon Philippine soil; in such a case an requires no unusual stretch of the imagination to conceive that a foreign
open violation of the laws of the land is committed with respect to which, ship may come into the port of Manila and allow or solicit Chinese residents
as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the commission of to smoke opium on board.
the crime, no court other than that established in the said place has
jurisdiction of the offense, in the absence of an agreement under an The order appealed from is revoked and the cause ordered remanded to the court of
international treaty. origin for further proceedings in accordance with law, without special findings as to
costs. So ordered.
As to whether the United States has ever consented by treaty or otherwise to
renouncing such jurisdiction or a part thereof, we find nothing to this effect so far as Araullo, C.J., Street, Malcolm, Avanceña, Villamor, Ostrand and Johns, JJ., concur.
England is concerned, to which nation the ship where the crime in question was
committed belongs. Besides, in his work "Treaties, Conventions, etc.," volume 1, page
625, Malloy says the following:

There shall be between the territories of the United States of America, and
all the territories of His Britanic Majesty in Europe, a reciprocal liberty of
commerce. The inhabitants of the two countries, respectively, shall have
liberty freely and securely to come with their ships and cargoes to all such
places, ports and rivers, in the territories aforesaid, to which other
foreigners are permitted to come, to enter into the same, and to remain and
reside in any parts of the said territories, respectively; also to hire and
occupy houses and warehouses for the purposes of their commerce; and,
generally, the merchants and traders of each nation respectively shall enjoy
the most complete protection and security for their commerce, but subject
always to the laws and statutes of the two countries, respectively. (Art. 1,
Commerce and Navigation Convention.)

We have seen that the mere possession of opium aboard a foreign vessel in transit
was held by this court not triable by or courts, because it being the primary object of
our Opium Law to protect the inhabitants of the Philippines against the disastrous
effects entailed by the use of this drug, its mere possession in such a ship, without
being used in our territory, does not being about in the said territory those effects
that our statute contemplates avoiding. Hence such a mere possession is not
considered a disturbance of the public order.

But to smoke opium within our territorial limits, even though aboard a foreign
merchant ship, is certainly a breach of the public order here established, because it
causes such drug to produce its pernicious effects within our territory. It seriously
contravenes the purpose that our Legislature has in mind in enacting the aforesaid
repressive statute. Moreover, as the Attorney-General aptly observes:

. . . The idea of a person smoking opium securely on board a foreign vessel


at anchor in the port of Manila in open defiance of the local authorities, who
G.R. No. 17958 February 27, 1922 the thirty-nine sacks of copras which had been robbed, or to indemnify them in the
amount of 924 rupees, and to pay a one-half part of the costs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. A very learned and exhaustive brief has been filed in this court by the attorney de
LOL-LO and SARAW, defendants-appellants. officio. By a process of elimination, however, certain questions can be quickly
disposed of.
Thos. D. Aitken for appellants.
Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee. The proven facts are not disputed. All of the elements of the crime of piracy are
present. Piracy is robbery or forcible depredation on the high seas, without lawful
MALCOLM, J.: authority and done animo furandi, and in the spirit and intention of universal
hostility.
The days when pirates roamed the seas, when picturesque buccaneers like Captain
Avery and Captain Kidd and Bartholomew Roberts gripped the imagination, when It cannot be contended with any degree of force as was done in the lover court and
grostesque brutes like Blackbeard flourished, seem far away in the pages of history as is again done in this court, that the Court of First Instance was without jurisdiction
and romance. Nevertheless, the record before us tells a tale of twentieth century of the case. Pirates are in law hostes humani generis. Piracy is a crime not against any
piracy in the south seas, but stripped of all touches of chivalry or of generosity, so as particular state but against all mankind. It may be punished in the competent tribunal
to present a horrible case of rapine and near murder. of any country where the offender may be found or into which he may be carried.
The jurisdiction of piracy unlike all other crimes has no territorial limits. As it is against
On or about June 30, 1920, two boats left matuta, a Dutch possession, for Peta, all so may it be punished by all. Nor does it matter that the crime was committed
another Dutch possession. In one of the boats was one individual, a Dutch subject, within the jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state, "for those limits, though
and in the other boat eleven men, women, and children, likewise subjects of Holland. neutral to war, are not neutral to crimes." (U.S. vs. Furlong [1820], 5 Wheat., 184.)
After a number of days of navigation, at about 7 o'clock in the evening, the second
boat arrived between the Islands of Buang and Bukid in the Dutch East Indies. There The most serious question which is squarely presented to this court for decision for
the boat was surrounded by six vintas manned by twenty-four Moros all armed. The the first time is whether or not the provisions of the Penal Code dealing with the
Moros first asked for food, but once on the Dutch boat, too for themselves all of the crime of piracy are still in force. Article 153 to 156 of the Penal Code reads as follows:
cargo, attacked some of the men, and brutally violated two of the women by methods
too horrible to the described. All of the persons on the Dutch boat, with the exception ART. 153. The crime of piracy committed against Spaniards, or the subjects
of the two young women, were again placed on it and holes were made in it, the idea of another nation not at war with Spain, shall be punished with a penalty
that it would submerge, although as a matter of fact, these people, after eleven days ranging from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua.
of hardship and privation, were succored violating them, the Moros finally arrived at
Maruro, a Dutch possession. Two of the Moro marauder were Lol-lo, who also raped If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation
one of the women, and Saraw. At Maruro the two women were able to escape. at war with Spain, it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor.

Lol-lo and Saraw later returned to their home in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, ART. 154. Those who commit the crimes referred to in the first paragraph of
Philippine Islands. There they were arrested and were charged in the Court of First the next preceding article shall suffer the penalty of cadena perpetua or
Instance of Sulu with the crime of piracy. A demurrer was interposed by counsel de death, and those who commit the crimes referred to in the second
officio for the Moros, based on the grounds that the offense charged was not within paragraph of the same article, from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua:
the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, nor of any court of the Philippine
Islands, and that the facts did not constitute a public offense, under the laws in force 1. Whenever they have seized some vessel by boarding or firing
in the Philippine Islands. After the demurrer was overruled by the trial judge, trial upon the same.
was had, and a judgment was rendered finding the two defendants guilty and
sentencing each of them to life imprisonment (cadena perpetua), to return together
with Kinawalang and Maulanis, defendants in another case, to the offended parties,
2. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, or by substantially as they were before the occupations. This enlightened practice
any of the physical injuries specified in articles four hundred and is so far as possible, to be adhered to on the present occasion. (Official
fourteen and four hundred and fifteen and in paragraphs one and Gazette, Preliminary Number, Jan. 1, 1903, p. 1. See also General Merritt
two of article four hundred and sixteen. Proclamation of August 14, 1898.)

3. Whenever it is accompanied by any of the offenses against It cannot admit of doubt that the articles of the Spanish Penal Code dealing with
chastity specified in Chapter II, Title IX, of this book. piracy were meant to include the Philippine Islands. Article 156 of the Penal Code in
relation to article 1 of the Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, would also make
4. Whenever the pirates have abandoned any persons without the provisions of the Code applicable not only to Spaniards but to Filipinos.
means of saving themselves.
The opinion of Grotius was that piracy by the law of nations is the same thing as piracy
5. In every case, the captain or skipper of the pirates. by the civil law, and he has never been disputed. The specific provisions of the Penal
Code are similar in tenor to statutory provisions elsewhere and to the concepts of
ART. 155. With respect to the provisions of this title, as well as all others of the public law. This must necessarily be so, considering that the Penal Code finds its
this code, when Spain is mentioned it shall be understood as including any inspiration in this respect in the Novelas, the Partidas, and the Novisima
part of the national territory. Recopilacion.

ART. 156. For the purpose of applying the provisions of this code, every The Constitution of the United States declares that the Congress shall have the power
person, who, according to the Constitution of the Monarchy, has the status to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses
of a Spaniard shall be considered as such. against the law of nations. (U.S. Const. Art. I, sec. 8, cl. 10.) The Congress, in putting
on the statute books the necessary ancillary legislation, provided that whoever, on
the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is
The general rules of public law recognized and acted on by the United States relating
afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
to the effect of a transfer of territory from another State to the United States are
(U.S. Crim. Code, sec. 290; penalty formerly death: U.S. Rev. Stat., sec. 5368.) The
well-known. The political law of the former sovereignty is necessarily changed. The
framers of the Constitution and the members of Congress were content to let a
municipal law in so far as it is consistent with the Constitution, the laws of the United
definition of piracy rest on its universal conception under the law of nations.
States, or the characteristics and institutions of the government, remains in force. As
a corollary to the main rules, laws subsisting at the time of transfer, designed to
secure good order and peace in the community, which are strictly of a municipal It is evident that the provisions of the Penal Code now in force in the Philippines
character, continue until by direct action of the new government they are altered or relating to piracy are not inconsistent with the corresponding provisions in force in
repealed. (Chicago, Rock Islands, etc., R. Co. vs. McGlinn [1885], 114 U.S., 542.) the United States.

These principles of the public law were given specific application to the Philippines By the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the United States. A
by the Instructions of President McKinley of May 19, 1898, to General Wesley Meritt, logical construction of articles of the Penal Code, like the articles dealing with the
the Commanding General of the Army of Occupation in the Philippines, when he said: crime of piracy, would be that wherever "Spain" is mentioned, it should be
substituted by the words "United States" and wherever "Spaniards" are mentioned,
the word should be substituted by the expression "citizens of the United States and
Though the powers of the military occupant are absolute and supreme, and
citizens of the Philippine Islands." somewhat similar reasoning led this court in the
immediately operate upon the political condition of the inhabitants, the
case of United States vs. Smith ([1919], 39 Phil., 533) to give to the word "authority"
municipal laws of the conquered territory, such as affect private rights of
as found in the Penal Code a limited meaning, which would no longer comprehend
person and property, and provide for the punishment of crime, are
all religious, military, and civil officers, but only public officers in the Government of
considered as continuing in force, so far as they are compatible with the new
the Philippine Islands.
order of things, until they are suspended or superseded by the occupying
belligerent; and practice they are not usually abrogated, but are allowed to
remain in force, and to be administered by the ordinary tribunals,
Under the construction above indicated, article 153 of the Penal Code would read as the Twenty-sixth Judicial District. The two appellants together with Kinawalang and
follows: Maulanis, defendants in another case, shall indemnify jointly and severally the
offended parties in the equivalent of 924 rupees, and shall pay a one-half part of the
The crime of piracy committed against citizens of the United States and costs of both instances. So ordered.
citizens of the Philippine Islands, or the subjects of another nation not at war
with the United States, shall be punished with a penalty ranging from cadena Araullo, C.J., Johnson, Avanceña, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns and Romualdez, JJ., concur.
temporal to cadena perpetua.

If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation


at war with the United States, it shall be punished with the penalty of
presidio mayor.

We hold those provisions of the Penal code dealing with the crime of piracy, notably
articles 153 and 154, to be still in force in the Philippines.

The crime falls under the first paragraph of article 153 of the Penal Code in relation
to article 154. There are present at least two of the circumstances named in the last
cited article as authorizing either cadena perpetua or death. The crime of piracy was
accompanied by (1) an offense against chastity and (2) the abandonment of persons
without apparent means of saving themselves. It is, therefore, only necessary for us
to determine as to whether the penalty of cadena perpetua or death should be
imposed. In this connection, the trial court, finding present the one aggravating
circumstance of nocturnity, and compensating the same by the one mitigating
circumstance of lack of instruction provided by article 11, as amended, of the Penal
Code, sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. At least three aggravating
circumstances, that the wrong done in the commission of the crime was deliberately
augmented by causing other wrongs not necessary for its commission, that
advantage was taken of superior strength, and that means were employed which
added ignominy to the natural effects of the act, must also be taken into
consideration in fixing the penalty. Considering, therefore, the number and
importance of the qualifying and aggravating circumstances here present, which
cannot be offset by the sole mitigating circumstance of lack of instruction, and the
horrible nature of the crime committed, it becomes our duty to impose capital
punishment.

The vote upon the sentence is unanimous with regard to the propriety of the
imposition of the death penalty upon the defendant and appellant Lo-lo (the accused
who raped on of the women), but is not unanimous with regard to the court, Mr.
Justice Romualdez, registers his nonconformity. In accordance with provisions of Act
No. 2726, it results, therefore, that the judgment of the trial court as to the defendant
and appellant Saraw is affirmed, and is reversed as to the defendant and appellant
Lol-lo, who is found guilty of the crime of piracy and is sentenced therefor to be hung
until dead, at such time and place as shall be fixed by the judge of first instance of
G.R. No. 123918 December 9, 1999 The accused Augusto Loreto Ringor is entitled to be credited in the
service of his sentence four fifth (4/5) of his preventive
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, imprisonment in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal
vs. Code.
AUGUSTO LORETO RINGOR, JR., accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.2

Filed on June 28, 1994, the Informations against accused-appellant, alleges:


PURISIMA, J.:
In Criminal Case No. 13102-R
For automatic review is the Decision 1 dated November 13, 1995 of Branch 6 of the
Regional Trial Court in Baguio City, finding accused-appellant Augusto Loreto Ringor, That on or about the 23rd day of June, 1994, in the City of Baguio,
Jr. guilty of the crime of murder and sentencing him to suffer the supreme penalty Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
death in Criminal Case No. 13102-R, also guilty of illegal possession of firearms under above-named accused, being then armed with a Caliber 38
P.D. No. 1866 in Criminal Case No. 13100-R for and disposing thus: handgun paltick with Serial Number 853169 and with intent to kill,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack,
WHEREFORE, Judgment is rendered as follows: assault and shoot MARCELINO BUSLAY FLORIDA, JR. thereby
inflicting upon the latter hypovolemic shock secondary to massive
1. In Criminal Case No. 13102, the Court Finds (sic) the accused hemorrhage; multiple gunshot wounds of the liver, stomach, small
Augusto Loreto Ringor Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the intestine and mesentric blood vessels, which injuries directly
crime of Murder defined and penalized under Article 248 of the caused his death.
Revised Penal Code as amended by Section 6, RA 7659, qualified by
Treachery and as further qualified by the use of an unlicensed That the qualifying circumstance of TREACHERY attended the
firearm and hereby sentences him to suffer the supreme penalty of commission of the crime when the accused suddenly attacked
Death; to indemnify the heirs of deceased Marcelino Florida, Jr., victim and shot him several times at the back, with the use of a
the sum of P50,000.00 for his death and the sum of P100,000.00 as handgun, thus employing means, methods of forms in the
Moral damages for his death, both indemnification being without execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs. execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which
the offended party might make.
2. In Criminal Case No. 13100-R, the Court Finds (sic) accused
Augusto Loreto Ringor Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the CONTRARY TO LAW.3
offense of Violation of Section 1 PD 1866 (Illegal Possession of
firearm and ammunitions) as charged in the Information and and in Criminal Case No. 13100-R
hereby sentences him, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
to an imprisonment ranging from 17 years 4 months and 1 day as That on or about the 23rd day of June, 1994, in the City of Baguio,
Minimum to 20 years as Maximum and to pay the costs. Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this honorable Court, the
above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
The subject gun, caliber .38 (Paltik) bearing Serial Number 853169 feloniously possess and carry outside of his residence, a firearm,
(Exh. A) being the subject of the offense is hereby declared Caliber .38 revolver (Paltik) bearing Serial Number 853169, without
confiscated and forfeited in favor of the State. any legal authority or permit from any government official or
authority concerned, in violation of the above cited provision of
law.
CONTRARY TO LAW. 4 NBI Forensic Chemist Ms. Carina Javier found both hands of
appellant positive for nitrates as stated in her Chemist Report No.
With the accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, entering a plea of Not C-94-22. She conducted a microscopic chemical examination on the
Guilty upon arraignment, a joint trial of the two cases ensued. subject firearm and found that the gun was fired within one week
prior to June 27, 1994.
The inculpatory facts and circumstances sued upon are succinctly summarized in the
Appellee's Brief as follows: Elmer Nelson Piedad, Ballistician of the Firearm Investigation
Division, NBI, Manila, tested and concluded that the slugs
On June 23, 1994, at around 6:00 P.M. (sic), Fely Batanes, a waitress recovered from the victim were fired from appellant's firearm.
at People's Restaurant located at Kalantiao St., Baguio City, saw Upon verification from the Firearms Explosive division, Camp
appellant Ringor and his two companions enter the restaurant. Crame, Quezon City, it was found that appellant is not a licensed
(Tsn, December 8, 1994, p. 4). After seating themselves, the group firearm holder nor, was the subject firearm duly registered with the
ordered a bottle of gin (ibid., p. 6). Minutes later, appellant said office (Exh. A). 5
approached one of the tables where Florida, the restaurant's cook
was drinking beer. Without any warning, appellant pulled Florida's The autopsy conducted by Dr. John Tinoyan on the cadaver of the deceased yielded
hair and poked a knife on the latter's throat. Florida stood up and a Necropsy Report, which states:
pleaded with appellant not to harm him (ibid., p. 7). Appellant
relented and released his grip on Florida. Thereafter, he left the POST MORTEM FINDINGS
restaurant together with his companions. However, a few minutes
latter he was back (ibid, p. 8). Body of a male, 1.66 m. height, medium built, with complete rigor
mortis, lividity well developed on the dependent parts, cloudy
Appellant brandished a gun and menacingly entered the cornea and dilated pupils with very pale papebral conjunctive.
restaurant. Not encountering any resistance, he thus proceeded to
the kitchen where Florida worked (ibid). Stealthily approaching Gunshot wounds: GSW no. 1 measuring 10 x 10 mm. serrated
Florida from behind, appellant fired six successive shots at Florida edges, positive powder burns located at the left mid clavicular line,
who fell down (ibid., p. 9). His evil deed accomplished, appellant posterior, 2 inches below the shoulder. It was directed downward
left the kitchen and fled (ibid). towards the mid-body, penetrating the skin. (sic) soft tissue, middle
3rd of the 3rd rib, the upper and lower lobes of the left lung to the
Appellant was chased by a man who while running, shouted at diaphragm, through and through the stomach, lacerating the
onlookers that the person he was running after was armed and had superior mesentric vessels, perforating the small intestine then
just killed somebody. Alerted, SPO2 Fernandez, who was then in lodged at the superior surface of the urinary bladder (slug was
the vicinity, went into action and nabbed appellant. He frisked recovered marked no. 1)
appellant and recovered from him a Paltik revolver, caliber. 38,
with Serial Number 853169 (Exh. A). He checked the revolver's GSW no. 2 measures 8 mm. diameter, positive powder burns,
cylinder and found six empty cartridges (Exhs. T to T-6). He noted located on the right shoulder near the s. joint posteriorly,
that it smelled of gunpowder. He and PO1 Ortega turned over penetrating the skin, soft tissue, then lodged at the surface of the
appellant and the confiscated firearm to the Investigation Division fractured surgical neck of the humorous (sic) (slug recovered).
of the Baguio Police and then executed a Joint Affidavit of Arrest Marked no. 2.
(Exhibit O). On the same night, Fely Batanes gave her sworn
statement (Exhibit E) to the Baguio Police wherein she positively GSW no. 3 measures 8 mm. Diameter, positive powder burns,
identified appellant as the assailant. located on the right shoulder posteriorly near the joint penetrating
the skin, soft tissues, and the head of the Humorous, (sic) then
xxx xxx xxx dislodged form the same entry point.
GSW no. 4 measures 8 x 10 mm, oval shaped, with abrasion companion, Virgilio, followed him and handed to him the gun he
superiorly located at the anterior left parasternal line at the level (appellant) left at the table. He then proceeded to surrender the
of the 6th ICS. It was directed downward towards the posterior of gun and report the incident at the nearest police station. (Ibid., pp.
the body, penetrating the skin, soft tissue, the left lobe of the liver 8-9)
with partial avulsion, then perforating the stomach through and
though the duodenum lumbar muscle then lodged underneath the 3.05 Before appellant could reach the police station, however,
skin, (1) paravertebral, level of L3 (slug recovered marked no. 4). appellant was already arrested by off-duty policeman who brought
him back to the People's Restaurant. Appellant was thereafter
CAUSE OF DEATH: incarcerated at the Baguio City Police Station. (Ibid., pp. 10-12) 7

HYPOVOLEMIC SHOCK SECONDARY TO MASSIVE HEMORRHAGE; On November 13, 1995, the trial court handed down decision under automatic
MULTIPLE GUNSHOT WOUND(S) OF THE LIVER, STOMACH, SMALL review. Accused-appellant contends that:
INTESTINE AND MESENTRIC BLOOD VESSELS. Multiple Gunshot
Wound(s) of the body. 6 I

Accused-appellant admitted shooting the victim but theorized that he acted in self- THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE APPELLANT FOR
defense. As embodied in the Appellant's Brief, the defense version runs thus: SIMPLE ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS AND SENTENCING HIM
TO SUFFER AN INDETERMINATE SENTENCE OF 17 YEARS AND 1 DAY
3.01 On June 23, 1994, at a little after five o'clock in the afternoon, AS MINIMUM TO 20 YEARS AS MAXIMUM.
appellant, together with two (2) other companions, entered the
People's Restaurant in Baguio City to order drinks. They sat at a II
table next to another then occupied by Marcelino B. Florida, Jr.
(Florida) and a woman companion (TSN, Testimony of Augusto THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED OF
Loreto G. Ringor, Jr., May 4, 1995, pp. 3-6). MURDER.

3. 02 Soon after receiving their orders, appellant's companion, III


Ramon Fernandez, stood up and approached Florida to inquire
about his (Fernandez') brother, Cesar. Florida angrily responded to
THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN SENTENCING THE ACCUSED
the query and said, "Putang ina ninyo! anong pakialam ko diyan!"
TO DEATH ON THE GROUNDS THAT: (i) THE CHARGE OF MURDER
WAS NOT PROVED BY THE PROSECUTION; AND (ii)
3.03 A quarrel thereafter ensued between Fernandez and Florida ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT MURDER WAS COMMITTED BY
prompting the appellant to intervene and pacify Fernandez. When APPELLANT, THE APPROPRIATE PENALTY FOR THE OFFENSE
Fernandez drew out a gun from his waist, appellant immediately IS RECLUSION PERPETUA THERE BEING NO AGGRAVATING
seized the same directing his friend to leave the restaurant before CIRCUMSTANCE TO RAISE THE PENALTY TO DEATH. 8
he started hurting other people with his gun. No sooner had
Fernandez stepped out, however, Florida, armed with a bolo, came
Well-settled is the rule that in interposing self-defense, the offender admits
charging in from the kitchen and headed towards the appellant.
authorship of the killing. The onus probandi is thus shifted to him to prove the
(Ibid., pp. 6-7)
elements of self-defense and that the killing was justified; 9 otherwise, having
admitted the killing, conviction is inescapable. Concomitantly, he must rely on the
3.04 Surprised, appellant shot Florida with the gun he was holding strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution's
just as the latter was about to hit him with the bolo. Thereafter, evidence. 10
appellant put the gun on the table and walked out of the
restaurant. Once already outside the restaurant, appellant's other
For self-defense to prosper, it must be established that: (1) there was unlawful stealthily approached the victim from behind and fired at him six successive shots,
aggression by the victim; (2) that the means employed to prevent or repel such four of which hit him, to ensure his death. 19 If he shot the victim merely to defend
aggression was reasonable; and (3) that there was lack of sufficient provocation on himself, there would have been no cause for accused-appellant to pump several
the part of person defending himself. 11 bullets into the body of the victim.

In the case at bar, accused-appellant failed to prove the element of unlawful In light of the foregoing, the imputation of unlawful aggression on the part of the
aggression. The allegation that the victim allegedly went out of the kitchen armed victim cannot be believed. Absent the element of unlawful aggression by the
with a bolo, and was about to hack him (accused-appellant) who was then at an deceased, there can be no self-defense, complete or incomplete. If there was no
almost prone lying position on the table he was occupying, 12 is a self-serving and unlawful aggression, there was nothing to prevent or repel and the second and third
unconvincing statement which did not anyway constitute the requisite quantum of requisites of self-defense would have no basis. 20
proof for unlawful aggression. Prosecution witness Fely Batanes, a waitress in the
restaurant where the shooting incident occurred, was firm in her declaration that the The Court a quo properly appreciated the aggravating circumstance of treachery
victim was in the kitchen unarmed 13 when the accused-appellant shot him. The which qualified the crime to murder. It was clearly established that the accused-
victim had no weapon or bolo. He was neither threatening to attack nor in any appellant fired six successive shots on the victim, suddenly, without warning, and
manner manifesting any aggressive act which could have imperiled accused- from behind, giving the victim no chance to flee or to prepare for his defense or to
appellant's safety and well-being. put up the least resistance to such sudden assault. There is treachery when the
means, manner or method of attack employed by the offender offered no risk to
No improper motive having been shown on the part of Fely Batanes to testify falsely himself from any defensive or retaliatory act which the victim might have taken. 21
against accused-appellant or to implicate him in the commission of the crime, the
logical conclusion is that there was no such improper motive and her testimony is All things studiedly considered and viewed in proper perspective, the mind of the
worthy of full faith and credit. 14 Court can rest easy on a finding that accused-appellant Augusto Loreto Ringor, Jr. is
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder, and did not act in self-
What is more, the testimony of Fely Batanes is buttressed by the fact that defense.
immediately after the incident, the body of the victim was found lying in the kitchen
and not outside; thus weakening further the theory of accused-appellant that he shot Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, prescribes the penalty of reclusion
the victim while they were at the dining area. 15 perpetua to death for the crime of murder. When, as in this case, neither aggravating
nor mitigating circumstance is attendant, the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua has
Then too, the nature, location and number of gunshot wounds inflicted on the to be applied, 22 in accordance with Article 63(2) of the Revised Penal Code.
deceased belie accused-appellant's theory of self-defense. 16 The deceased sustained
three gun shot wounds on the back and one in front. Dr. John Tinoyan, who With respect to the conviction of accused-appellant for illegal possession of firearms
conducted the autopsy on the cadaver of the victim, testified that the gunshot wound under P.D. No. 1866, it was held in the case of People vs.
on the frontal portion of the victim's body showed a downward trajectory of the Molina 23 and reiterated in the recent case of People vs. Ronaldo Valdez, 24 that in
bullet on his chest, penetrating the liver, perforating the stomach down to the small cases where murder or homicide is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm,
intestine, and then lodged underneath the skin. 17 Verily, such finding negates the there can be no separate conviction for the crime of illegal possession of firearms
claim of accused-appellant that he shot the victim while he was at an almost prone under P.D. No. 1866 in view of the amendments introduced by Republic Act No. 8294.
lying position and the victim was standing in front of him about to strike with a bolo. Thereunder, the use of unlicensed firearm in murder or homicide is simply considered
If this were true, the trajectory of the bullet should have been upward or better still, as an aggravating circumstance in the murder or homicide and no longer as a
it should have been at the level at which the gun was fired while he (accused- separate offense. Furthermore, the penalty for illegal possession of firearms shall be
appellant) was in a prone lying position. imposed provided that no other crime is committed. 25 In other words, where murder
or homicide was committed, the penalty for illegal possession of firearms is no longer
Rather telling are the three gunshot wounds on the back of the victim, which wounds imposable since it becomes merely a special aggravating circumstance. 26
showed traces of gunpowder which, according to Dr. Tinoyan, indicated that the
weapon used was at a distance of less than one meter. 18Evidently, accused-appellant
It bears stressing, however, that the dismissal of the present case for illegal A law may, of course, be enacted making the use of an unlicensed
possession of firearm should not be misinterpreted to mean that there can no longer firearm as a qualifying circumstance. 28 (Emphasis supplied)
be any prosecution for the offense of illegal possession of firearms. In general, all
pending cases involving illegal possession of firearms should continue to be Thus, before R.A. No. 8294 (which took effect on July 6, 1997) made the use of
prosecuted and tried if no other crimes expressly provided in R. A. No. 8294 are unlicensed firearm as an aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide, the
involved (murder or homicide, under Section 1, and rebellion, insurrection, sedition penalty for the murder committed by accused-appellant on June 23, 1994 was not
or attempted coup d' etat, under Section 3). 27 death, as erroneously imposed by the trial court. There was yet no such aggravating
circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm to raise the penalty for murder
Pursuant to Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, where the new law is favorable to from reclusion perpetua to death, at the time of commission of the crime.
the accused, it has to be applied retroactively. Thus, insofar as it spares accused-
appellant a separate conviction for illegal possession of firearms, Republic Act No. The amendatory law making the "use of an unlicensed firearm" as an aggravating
8294 has to be given retroactive application in Criminal Case No. 13100-R. circumstance in murder or homicide, cannot be applied here because the said
provision of R.A. No. 8294 is not favorable to accused-appellant, lest it becomes an ex
On the matter of the aggravating circumstance of "use of unlicensed firearm" in the post facto law. 29
commission of murder or homicide, the trial court erred in appreciating the same to
qualify to death the penalty for the murder committed by accused-appellant. It WHEREFORE, the decision in Criminal Case No. 13102-R is AFFIRMED with the
should be noted that at the time accused-appellant perpetrated the offense, the modification that accused-appellant Augusto Loreto Ringor, Jr. is hereby sentenced
unlicensed character of a firearm used in taking the life of another was not yet an to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. It is understood that the civil liabilities
aggravating circumstance in homicide or murder; to wit: imposed below are UPHELD.

Neither is the second paragraph of Section 1 meant to punish Criminal Case No. 13100-R instituted pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1866 is
homicide or murder with death if either crime is committed with DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.
the use of an unlicensed firearm, i.e., to consider such use merely
as a qualifying circumstance and not as an offense. That could not Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena,
have been the intention of the lawmaker because the term Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
"penalty" in the subject provision is obviously meant to be the
penalty for illegal possession of firearm and not the penalty for for
Davide, Jr., C.J. and Panganiban, J., in the result.
homicide or murder. We explicitly stated in Tac-an:

There is no law which renders the use of an


unlicensed firearm as an aggravating
circumstances in homicide or murder. Under an
information charging homicide or muder,the fact
that the death weapon was an unlicensed firearm
cannot be used to increase the penalty of the
second offense of homicide or murder to
death (or reclusion perpetua under 1987
Constitution). The essential point is that the
unlicensed character or condition of the
instrument used in destroying human life or
committing some other crime, is not included on
the inventory of aggravating circumstances set
out in Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code.
G.R. No. L-30026 January 30, 1971 since then imprisoned by virtue of the above convictions. Each of them has served
more than 13 years.5
MARIO GUMABON, BLAS BAGOLBAGOL, GAUDENCIO AGAPITO, EPIFANIO PADUA
and PATERNO PALMARES, petitioners, Subsequently, in People v. Hernandez,6 as above noted, this Court ruled that the
vs. information against the accused in that case for rebellion complexed with murder,
THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF PRISONS, respondent. arson and robbery was not warranted under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code,
there being no such complex offense.7 In the recently-decided case of People vs.
Jose W. Diokno for petitioners. Lava,8 we expressly reaffirmed the ruling in the Hernandez case rejecting the plea of
the Solicitor General for the abandonment of such doctrine. It is the contention of
Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Assistant Solicitor General Antonio A. each of the petitioners that he has served, in the light of the above, more than the
Torres and Solicitor Eduardo C. Abaya for respondent. maximum penalty that could have been imposed upon him. He is thus entitled to
freedom, his continued detention being illegal.9

The fear that the Pomeroy ruling stands as an obstacle to their release on a habeas
corpus proceeding prompted petitioners, as had been mentioned, to ask that it be
FERNANDO, J.:
appraised anew and, if necessary, discarded. We can resolve the present petition
without doing so. The plea there made was unconvincing, there being a failure to
Habeas corpus, the great writ of liberty, is relied upon by petitioners, five in number,
invoke the contentions now pressed vigorously by their counsel, Attorney Jose W.
for their release from imprisonment. Meted out life terms for the complex crime of
Diokno, as to the existence of a denial of a constitutional right that would suffice to
rebellion with murder and other crimes, they would invoke the People v.
raise a serious jurisdictional question and the retroactive effect to be given a judicial
Hernandez1 doctrine, negating the existence of such an offense, a ruling that
decision favorable to one already sentenced to a final judgment under Art. 22 of the
unfortunately for them was not handed down until after their convictions had
Revised Penal Code. To repeat, these two grounds carry weight. We have to grant
become final. Nor is this the first instance, a proceeding of this character was
this petition.
instituted, as in Pomeroy v. Director of Prisons,2 likewise a petition for habeas corpus,
a similar question was presented. The answer given was in the negative. Petitioners
1. The fundamental issue, to repeat, is the availability of the writ of habeas corpus
plead for a new look on the matter. They would premise their stand on the denial of
under the circumstances disclosed. Its latitudinarian scope to assure that illegality of
equal protection if their plea would not be granted. Moreover they did invoke the
restraint and detention be avoided is one of the truisms of the law. It is not known as
codal provision that judicial decisions shall form part of the legal system of the
the writ of liberty for nothing. The writ imposes on judges the grave responsibility of
Philippines,3 necessarily resulting in the conclusion that the Hernandez decision once
ascertaining whether there is any legal justification for a deprivation of physical
promulgated calls for a retroactive effect under the explicit mandate of the Revised
freedom. Unless there be such a showing, the confinement must thereby cease. If
Penal Code as to penal laws having such character even if at the time of their
there be a valid sentence it cannot, even for a moment, be extended beyond the
application a final sentence has been rendered "and the convict is serving the
period provided for by law. Any deviation from the legal norms call for the
same."4 These arguments carry considerable persuasion. Accordingly we find for
termination of the imprisonment.
petitioners, without going so far as to overrule Pomeroy.

Rightly then could Chafee refer to the writ as "the most important human rights
Petitioner Mario Gumabon, after pleading guilty, was sentenced on May 5, 1953 to
provision" in the fundamental law. 10Nor is such praise unique. Cooley spoke of it as
suffer reclusion perpetua for the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder,
"one of the principal safeguards to personal liberty." 11 For Willoughby, it is "the
robbery, arson and kidnapping. Petitioners Gaudencio Agapito, Paterno Palmares
greatest of the safeguards erected by the civil law against arbitrary and illegal
and Epifanio Padua, likewise pleaded guilty to the complex crime of rebellion with
imprisonment by whomsoever detention may be exercised or ordered." 12 Burdick
multiple murder and other offenses, and were similarly made to suffer the same
echoed a similar sentiment, referring to it as "one of the most important bulwarks of
penalty in decisions rendered, as to the first two, on March 8, 1954 and, as to the
liberty." 13 Fraenkel made it unanimous, for to him, "without it much else would be
third, on December 15, 1955. The last petitioner, Blas Bagolbagol, stood trial also for
of no avail." 14 Thereby the rule of law is assured.
the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder and other offenses and on
January 12, 1954 penalized with reclusion perpetua. Each of the petitioners has been
A full awareness of the potentialities of the writ of habeas corpus in the defense of as "the great and efficacious writ, in all manner of illegal confinement." Implicit in his
liberty coupled with its limitations may be detected in the opinions of former Chief just estimate of its pre-eminent role is his adoption of Holmes' famous dissent in
Justices Arellano, 15 Avanceña, 16 Abad Santos, 17 Paras, 18Bengzon, 19 and the Frank v. Mangum: 30 "But habeas corpus cuts through all forms and goes to the very
present Chief Justice. 20 It fell to Justice Malcolm's lot, however to emphasize quite a tissue of the structure."
few times the breadth of its amplitude and of its reach. In Villavicencio v.
Lukban, 21 the remedy came in handy to challenge the validity of the order of the then 2. Where, however, the detention complained of finds its origin in what has been
respondent Mayor of Manila who, for the best of reasons but without legal judicially ordained, the range of inquiry in a habeas corpus proceeding is considerably
justification, ordered the transportation of more than 150 inmates of houses of ill- narrowed. For if "the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody
repute to Davao. After referring to the writ of habeas corpus as having been devised of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or
and existing "as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the
restraint" the opinion of Justice Malcolm continued: "The essential object and process, render the judgment, or make the order," the writ does not lie. 31 That
purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary principle dates back to 1902, 32 when this Court announced that habeas corpus was
restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such unavailing where the person detained was in the custody of an officer under process
restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient." 22 issued by a court or magistrate. This is understandable, as during the time the
Philippines was under American rule, there was necessarily an adherence to
The liberality with which the judiciary is to construe habeas corpus petitions even if authoritative doctrines of constitutional law there followed.
presented in pleadings on their face devoid of merit was demonstrated in Ganaway
v. Quilen, 23 where this Court, again through Justice Malcolm, stated: "As standing One such principle is the requirement that there be a finding of jurisdictional defect.
alone the petition for habeas corpus was fatally defective in its allegations, this court, As summarized by Justice Bradley in Ex parte Siebold, an 1880 decision: "The only
on its motion, ordered before it the record of the lower court in the case ground on which this court, or any court, without some special statute authorizing it,
entitled Thomas Casey, et al. v. George Ganaway." 24 It is to Justice Malcolm likewise will give relief on habeas corpus to a prisoner under conviction and sentence of
in Conde v. Rivera, 25 to whom is traceable the doctrine, one that broadens the field another court is the want of jurisdiction in such court over the person or the cause,
of the operation of the writ, that a disregard of the constitutional right to speedy trial or some other matter rendering its proceedings void." 33
ousts the court of jurisdiction and entitles the accused if "restrained of his liberty, by
habeas corpus to obtain his There is the fundamental exception though, that must ever be kept in mind. Once a
freedom." 26 deprivation of a constitutional right is shown to exist, the court that rendered the
judgment is deemed ousted of jurisdiction and habeas corpus is the appropriate
So it is in the United States. An 1830 decision 27 of Chief Justice Marshall put the remedy to assail the legality of the detention. 34
matter thus: "The writ of habeas corpus is a high prerogative writ, known to the
common law, the great object of which is the liberation of those who may be 3. Petitioners precisely assert a deprivation of a constitutional right, namely, the
imprisoned without sufficient cause." Then there is this affirmation from an 1869 denial of equal protection. According to their petition: "In the case at bar, the
decision 28 of the then Chief Justice Chase: "The great writ of habeas corpus has been petitioners were convicted by Courts of First Instance for the very same rebellion for
for centuries esteemed the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom." which Hernandez, Geronimo, and others were convicted. The law under which they
The passing of the years has only served to confirm its primacy as a weapon on in the were convicted is the very same law under which the latter were convicted. It had
cause of liberty. Only the other year, Justice Fortas spoke for the United States not and has not been changed. For the same crime, committed under the same law,
Supreme Court thus: "The writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for how can we, in conscience, allow petitioners to suffer life imprisonment, while others
safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. ... The can suffer only prision mayor?" 35
scope and flexibility of the writ — its capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention
— its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural mazes — have always
They would thus stress that, contrary to the mandate of equal protection, people
been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers. The very nature
similarly situated were not similarly dealt with. What is required under this required
of the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative and flexibility essential
constitutional guarantee is the uniform operation of legal norms so that all persons
to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced and
under similar circumstances would be accorded the same treatment both in the
corrected." 29 Justice Fortas explicitly made reference to Blackstone, who spoke of it
privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed. As was noted in a recent decision:
"Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed. For the principle is that equal doubt. As far back as 1910 the prevailing doctrine was announced in Cruz v. Director
protection and security shall be given to every person under circumstances, which if of Prisons. 45Thus: "The courts uniformly hold that where a sentence imposes
not identical are analogous. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges, punishment in excess of the power of the court to impose, such sentence is void as
those that fall within a class should be treated in the same fashion, whatever to the excess, and some of the courts hold that the sentence is void in toto; but the
restrictions cast on some in the group equally binding on the rest." 36 weight of authority sustains the proposition that such a sentence is void only as to
the excess imposed in case the parts are separable, the rule being that the petitioner
The argument of petitioners thus possesses a persuasive ring. The continued is not entitled to his discharge on a writ of habeas corpus unless he has served out so
incarceration after the twelve-year period when such is the maximum length of much of the sentence as was valid." 46 There is a reiteration of such a principle
imprisonment in accordance with our controlling doctrine, when others similarly in Director v. Director of Prisons 47 where it was explicitly announced by this Court
convicted have been freed, is fraught with implications at war with equal protection. "that the only means of giving retroactive effect to a penal provision favorable to the
That is not to give it life. On the contrary, it would render it nugatory. Otherwise, accused ... is the writ of habeas corpus." 48 While the above decision speaks of a trial
what would happen is that for an identical offense, the only distinction lying in the judge losing jurisdiction over the case, insofar as the remedy of habeas corpus is
finality of the conviction of one being before the Hernandez ruling and the other concerned, the emphatic affirmation that it is the only means of benefiting the
after, a person duly sentenced for the same crime would be made to suffer different accused by the retroactive character of a favorable decision holds true. Petitioners
penalties. Moreover, as noted in the petition before us, after our ruling in People v. clearly have thus successfully sustained the burden of justifying their release.
Lava, petitioners who were mere followers would be made to languish in jail for
perhaps the rest of their natural lives when the leaders had been duly considered as WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is granted, and it is ordered that
having paid their penalty to society, and freed. Such a deplorable result is to be petitioners be forthwith set at liberty.
avoided.
Dizon and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.Concepcion, C.J., concurs in the result. Castro and
4. Petitioners likewise, as was made mention at the outset, would rely on Article 22 Makasiar, JJ., took no part.
of the Revised Penal Code which requires that penal judgment be given a retroactive
effect. In support of their contention, petitioners cite U.S. v. Macasaet, 37 U.S.
vs.Parrone, 38 U.S. v. Almencion, 39 People v. Moran, 40 and People v. Parel. 41 While
reference in the above provision is made not to judicial decisions but to legislative
acts, petitioners entertain the view that it would be merely an exaltation of the literal
to deny its application to a case like the present. Such a belief has a firmer foundation.
As was previously noted, the Civil Code provides that judicial decisions applying or
interpreting the Constitution, as well as legislation, form part of our legal system.
Petitioners would even find support in the well-known dictum of Bishop Hoadley:

"Whoever hath an absolute authority to interpret any written or spoken laws, it is he


who is truly the law-giver to all intents and purposes, and not the person who first
thought or spoke them." It is to be admitted that constitutional law scholars, notably
Frankfurter, 42 Powell, 43 and Thayer, 44 in discussing judicial review as well as the
jurist John Chipman Gray, were much impressed with the truth and the soundness of
the above observations. We do not have to go that far though. Enough for present
purposes that both the Civil Code and the Revised Penal Code allow, if they do not
call for, a retroactive application.

It being undeniable that if the Hernandez ruling were to be given a retroactive effect
petitioners had served the full term for which they could have been legally
committed, is habeas corpus the appropriate remedy? The answer cannot be in
G.R. No. 100210 April 1, 1998 No. 1866, as amended, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148),
docketed as Criminal Case No. 1789. The Information reads:
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs. That on or about the 5th day of June, 1990, in the Municipality of Parañaque,
HON. OSCAR B. PIMENTEL, as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 and Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
ANTONIO A. TUJAN, respondents. Court, the above-named accused, being a member of a communist party of
the Philippines, and its front organization, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, control and custody, in
MARTINEZ, J.: furtherance of or incident to, or in connection with the crime of subversion,
a special edition ARMSCOR PHILS. caliber .38 special revolver with Serial No.
Is the Court of Appeals, in affirming the order of the Regional Trial Court, correct in 1026387 and with six (6) live ammunitions, without first securing the
ruling that Subversion is the "main offense" in a charge of Illegal Possession of necessary license or permit thereof from competent government authority.6
Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion under P.D. No. 1866, as
amended, and that, therefore, the said charge should be quashed in view of a The above Information recommended no bail for Antonio Tujan, which
previous charge of Subversion under R.A. No. 1700, as amended by P.D. No. 885, recommendation was approved by the trial court in an Order dated June 19,
against the same accused pending in another court? 1990.7 The same order also directed the continued detention of Antonio Tujan at MIG
15 of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), Bago
Stated differently, is the accused charged with the same offense in both cases, which Bantay, Quezon City, while his case is pending.
would justify the dismissal of the second charge on the ground of double jeopardy?
On June 26, 1990, Antonio Tujan, through counsel, filed a motion 8 invoking his right
This is the pith issue presented before us in this appeal by certiorari interposed by to a preliminary investigation pursuant to Section 7, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of
the People under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, seeking a review of the Court and praying that his arraignment be held in abeyance until the preliminary
decision1 of the Court of Appeals (Sixteenth Division) dated May 27, 1991, in CA-G.R. investigation is terminated.
SP No. 24273, entitled "THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, versus HON.
OSCAR B. PIMENTEL, as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 and However, on June 27, 1990, during the hearing of Antonio Tujan's motion for
ANTONIO A. TUJAN, Respondents." preliminary investigation, his counsel withdrew the motion since he would file a
motion to quash the Information, for which reason counsel requested a period of
The record discloses the following antecedent facts: twenty (20) days to do so. This was granted by the trial court on that same day.9

As early as 1983, private respondent Antonio Tujan was charged with Subversion On July 16, 1990, Antonio Tujan did file the motion to quash 10 the Information in
under Republic Act No. 1700 (the Anti-Subversion Law), as amended, before the Criminal Case No. 1789 on the ground that he "has been previously in jeopardy of
Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45), National Capital Region, docketed as being convicted of the offense charged" in Criminal Case No. 64079 (for subversion)
Criminal Case No. 64079.2 As a consequence thereof, a warrant for his arrest was of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45). The said ground is based on Sections
issued on July 29, 1983,3 but it remained unserved as he could not be found. 3 (h) and 7, Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. In support of the
motion, Antonio Tujan contends that "common crimes such as illegal possession of
firearms and ammunition should actually be deemed absorbed in
Almost seven (7) years thereafter, or on June 5, 1990, Antonio Tujan was arrested on
subversion,"11 citing the cases of Misolas vs. Panga, et al. (G.R. No. 83341, January
the basis of the warrant of arrest in the subversion case.4 When arrested, an
30, 1990, 181 SCRA 648) and Enrile vs. Salazar, et al. (G.R. No. 92163, June 5, 1990,
unlicensed .38 caliber special revolver and six (6) rounds of live ammunition were
186 SCRA 217). Antonio Tujan then avers that "the present case is the twin
found in his possession.5
prosecution" of "the earlier subversion case" and, therefore, he "is entitled to invoke
the constitutional protection against double jeopardy."12
Consequently, on June 14, 1990, Antonio Tujan was charged with Illegal Possession
of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion under Presidential Decree
The petitioner opposed13 the motion to quash, arguing that Antonio Tujan does not The court therefore cannot subscribe to the position taken by the
stand in jeopardy of being convicted a second time because: (a) he has not even been prosecution that this case is very different from the other case and that
arraigned in the subversion case, and (b) the offense charged against him in Criminal double jeopardy will attach in this particular case.
Case No. 64079 is for Subversion, punishable under Republic Act No. 1700; while the
present case is for Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of This court agrees with the position taken by the defense that double
Subversion, punishable under a different law (Presidential Decree No. 1866). jeopardy will attach to the accusation of subversion, punishable now under
Moreover, petitioner contends that Antonio Tujan's reliance on the Misolas and Republic Act 1700, as Rule 117 of the Rules of Court particularly Section 1
Enrile cases "is misplaced."14 Tujan merely relies on the dissenting opinions in the thereof, provides:
Misolas case. Also, the Enrile case which involved a complex crime of rebellion with
murder is inapplicable to the instant case which is not a complex offense. Thus, the Time to move to quash — At anytime before entering his
"absorption rule" as held applicable in the Enrile ruling "has no room for application plea, the accused may move to quash the complaint or
in the present case because (illegal) possession of firearm and ammunition is not a information.(la)
necessary means of committing the offense of subversion, nor is subversion a
necessary means of committing the crime of illegal possession of firearm and
In other words, there is no necessity that the accused should be arraigned
ammunition."15
first before he can move to quash the information. It is before he pleads
which the accused did in this case.
The trial court, in an order dated October 12, 1990, granted the motion to quash the
Information in Criminal Case No. 1789, the dispositive portion of the order reading:
On the other submissions by the prosecution, that the possession of
firearms and ammunitions is not a necessary means of committing the
WHEREFORE, the motion to quash the information is hereby GRANTED, but offense of subversion or vice versa, then if the court follows such argument,
only in so far as the accused may be placed in jeopardy or in danger of being there could be no offense of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition
convicted or acquitted of the crime of Subversion and as a consequence the in furtherance of Subversion, for even the prosecution admits also that in
Information is hereby quashed and the case dismissed without prejudice to subversion which is an offense involving propaganda, counter propaganda,
the filing of Illegal Possession of Firearm. a battle of the hearts and mind of the people does not need the possession
or use of firearms and ammunitions.
SO ORDERED.16
The prosecution even admits and to quote:
It is best to quote the disquisition of the respondent court in quashing the
information and dismissing the case: The defense of double jeopardy. while unquestionably
available to the accused, had not been clearly shown to be
xxx xxx xxx invokable(sic) at this point in time.

In other words, the main offense the accused is being charged in this case is But the rule says otherwise as previously stated as provided for under
also Subversion considering that the alleged Illegal Possession of the Firearm Section 1 of Rule 117 of the Rules of Court.
and Ammunition is only in furtherance thereof.
Thus, if ever the accused is caught in possession of a firearm and ammunition
Now, subversion being a continuing offense as has been previously held by which is separate and distinct from the crime of subversion and is not a
the Supreme Court, the fact that the accused has been previously charged necessary ingredient thereof and the court believed so, the prosecution will
of Subversion before another court before the institution of this instant case have to file another information as they may wish. The court therefore has
is just a continuing offense of his former charge or that his acts constituting to grant the motion to quash on the aforestated grounds, subject to Section
subversion is a continuation of the acts he committed before. 5 of Rule 117, considering that the only offense to which the accused in this
case may be placed in jeopardy is Subversion and not Illegal Possession of
Firearms and Ammunitions.
The prosecution may file any information as warranted within ten (10) days the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. — The penalty of reclusion
from receipt of this order otherwise the court will order the release of the temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed
accused, unless he is in custody for some other offense. 17(Emphasis ours) upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire,
dispose, or posses any firearms, part of firearm, ammunition, or machinery,
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration18 was also denied in an order dated tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any
December 28, 1990.19 firearm or ammunition.

The petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals through a petition If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearms,
for certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 24273. However, the appellate court found the penalty of death shall be imposed.
that the trial court did not commit any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction in quashing the questioned Information. In dismissing the If the violation of this Section is in furtherance of, or incident to, or in
petition, the appellate court, in its decision dated May 27, 1991, basically reiterated connection with the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion, the
the aforequoted ruling of the trial court. penalty of death shall be imposed.

Petitioner now comes to this Court, claiming that: (1) the decision of the Court of The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion
Appeals is not in accord with the law and applicable jurisprudence; and (2) it was perpetua shall be imposed upon the owner, president, manager, director or
deprived of due process to prosecute and prove its case against private respondent other responsible officer of any public or private firm, company, corporation
Antonio Tujan in Criminal Case No. 1789. or entity, who shall willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms owned
by such firm, company, corporation or entity to be used by any person or
We agree with the petitioner. persons found guilty of violating the provisions of the preceding paragraphs.

The Court of Appeals considered as duplicitous the Information for violation of P.D. The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall
No. 1866 filed against private respondent Antonio Tujan. It ruled: carry any licensed firearm outside his residence without legal authority
therefor. (Emphasis ours)
The foregoing information (for Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition
in Furtherance of Subversion) filed before the Makati court shows that the The above-quoted provisions of P.D. No. 1866 are plain and simple. Under the first
main case is subversion considering that there is an allegation that the paragraph of Section 1, the mere possession of an unlicensed firearm or ammunition
alleged illegal possession of firearms was made "in furtherance of or is the crime itself which carries the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum
incident to, or in connection with the crime of subversion." Also, the period to reclusion perpetua. The third paragraph of the same Section makes
information alleged likewise that the accused is a member of a communist the use of said firearm and ammunition "in furtherance of, or incident to, or in
party of the Philippines and its front organization. Basically, the information connection with the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion" a circumstance
refers to the crime of Subversion qualified by Illegal Possession of Firearms. to increase the penalty to death. Thus, the allegation in the Information in Criminal
. . .20 Case No. 1789 that the unlicensed firearm found in the possession of Antonio Tujan,
"a member of the communist party of the Philippines and its front organization," was
The ruling of the Court of Appeals is erroneous. used "in furtherance of or incident to, or in connection with the crime of
subversion" does not charge him with the separate and distinct crime of Subversion
in the same Information, but simply describes the mode or manner by which the
Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, under which Antonio Tujan is charged in
violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 was committed21 so as to qualify the penalty to
Criminal Case No. 1789 before the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148),
death.
provides as follows:

There is, therefore, only one offense charged in the questioned information, that
Sec. 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sales, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession
is, the illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, qualified by its being used in
of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in
furtherance of subversion.22 There is nothing in P.D. No. 1866, specifically Section 1
thereof, which decrees categorically or by implication that the crimes of rebellion, jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge
insurrection or subversion are the very acts that are being penalized. This is clear sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the
from the title of the law itself which boldly indicates the specific acts penalized under accused had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the
it: accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution
for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or
CODIFYING THE LAWS ON ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is
POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, DEALING IN, ACQUISITION necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or
OR DISPOSITION, OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR information.
EXPLOSIVES OR INSTRUMENTS USED IN THE
MANUFACTURE OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR xxx xxx xxx
EXPLOSIVES, AND IMPOSING STIFFER PENALTIES FOR
CERTAIN VIOLATIONS THEREOFAND FOR RELEVANT The right of an accused against double jeopardy is a matter which he may raise in a
PURPOSES. (Emphasis ours) motion to quash to defeat a subsequent prosecution for the same offense. The
pertinent provision of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
On the other hand, the previous subversion charge against Antonio Tujan in Criminal
Case No. 64079, before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45), is based on a Sec. 3. Grounds. — The accused may move to quash the complaint or
different law, that is, Republic Act No. 1700, as amended. Section 3 thereof penalizes information on any of the following grounds:
any person who "knowingly, willfully and by overt act affiliates with, becomes or
remains a member of a subversive association or organization . . ." Section 4 of said xxx xxx xxx
law further penalizes "such member [of the Communist Party of the Philippines
and/or its successor or of any subversive association] (who) takes up arms against
(h) That the accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being
the Government." Thus, in the present case, private respondent Antonio Tujan could
convicted, or acquitted of the offense charged. (2a) (Emphasis ours)
be charged either under P.D. No. 1866 or R.A. No. 1700,23 or both.
In order that the protection against double jeopardy may inure to the benefit of an
This leads us to the issue of whether or not private respondent Antonio Tujan was
accused, the following requisites must have obtained in the first criminal action: (a)
placed in double jeopardy with the filing of the second Information for Illegal
a valid complaint or information; (b) a competent court; (c) the defendant had
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion.
pleaded to the charge;24 and (d) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted, or the
case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express
We rule in the negative. consent.25

Article III of the Constitution provides: Suffice it to say that in the present case, private respondent's motion to quash filed
in the trial court did not actually raise the issue of double jeopardy simply because it
Sec. 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same had not arisen yet. It is noteworthy that the private respondent has not even been
offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or arraigned in the first criminal action for subversion. Besides, as earlier discussed, the
acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the two criminal charges against private respondent are not of the same offense as
same act. (Emphasis ours) required by Section 21, Article III of the Constitution.

Complementing the above constitutional provision, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of It is clear from the foregoing, that the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is not
Court states: in accordance with the law and jurisprudence and thus should be reversed.

Sec. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy. — When an accused While we hold that both the subversion charge under R.A. No. 1700, as amended,
has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or and the one for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in furtherance of
otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent
subversion under P.D. No. 1866, as amended, can co-exist, Moreover, the offense of simple illegal possession of firearm and ammunition is now
the subsequent enactment of Republic Act No. 7636 on September 22, 1992, totally bailable under Republic Act No. 8294 which was enacted on June 6, 1997. R.A. No.
repealing R.A. No. 1700, as amended, has substantially changed the complexion of 8294 has amended Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, by eliminating the
the present case, inasmuch as the said repealing law being favorable to the accused- provision in said P.D. that if the unlicensed firearm is used in furtherance of
private respondent, who is not a habitual delinquent, should be given retroactive subversion, the penalty of death shall he imposed. 32 Under the new law (R.A. No.
effect.26 8294), the penalty prescribed for simple illegal possession of firearm (.38 caliber) is
now reduced to prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than
Although this legal effect of R.A. No. 7636 on private-respondent's case has never Fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00).33 The reduced penalty of imprisonment —
been raised as an issue by the parties — obviously because the said law came out which is four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) years — entitles the
only several months after the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals was accused-private respondent to bail. Considering, however, that the accused-private
promulgated and while the present petition is pending with this Court — we should respondent has been detained since his arrest on June 5, 1990 up to the present (as
nonetheless fulfill our duty as a court of justice by applying the law to whomsoever far as our record has shown), or more than seven (7) years now, his immediate
is benefited by it regardless of whether or not the accused or any party has sought release is in order. This is so because even if he were convicted for illegal possession
the application of the beneficent provisions of the repealing law.27 of firearm and ammunition, the length of his detention while his case is pending has
already exceeded the penalty prescribed by the new law.
That R.A. No. 7636 should apply retroactively to accused-private respondent is
beyond question. The repeal by said law of R.A. No. 1700, as amended, was WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 27, 1991, in
categorical, definite and absolute. There was no saving clause in the repeal. The CA-G.R. SP No. 24273, including the orders dated October 12, 1990 and December
legislative intent of totally abrogating the old anti-subversion law is clear. Thus, it 28, 1990 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148), National Capital Region,
would be illogical for the trial courts to try and sentence the accused-private in Criminal Case No. 1789, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
respondent for an offense that no longer exists.28
The subversion charge against accused-private respondent Antonio A. Tujan in
As early as 1935, we ruled in People vs. Tamayo:29 Criminal Case No. 64079 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 45, is hereby
DISMISSED.
There is no question that at common law and in America a much more
favorable attitude towards the accused exists relative to statutes that have The other Information for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in
been repealed than has been adopted here. Our rule is more in conformity furtherance of subversion against the same accused in Criminal Case No. 1789 of the
with the Spanish doctrine, but even in Spain, where the offense ceases to be Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 148, is DEEMED AMENDED to Simple Illegal
criminal, prosecution cannot be had. (1 Pacheco Commentaries, 296) Possession of Firearm and Ammunition. The accused-appellant is hereby ordered
(Emphasis ours) RELEASED IMMEDIATELY from detention for the reason stated above, unless he is
being detained for any other offense.
Where, as here, the repeal of a penal law is total and absolute and the act with was
penalized by a prior law ceases to be criminal under the new law, the previous offense This decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.
is obliterated.30 It is a recognized rule in this jurisdiction that a total repeal deprives
the courts of jurisdiction to try, convict and sentence persons charged with violation No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.
of the old law prior to the repeal.31
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
With the enactment of R.A. No. 7636, the charge of subversion against the accused- Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing and Purisima, JJ., concur.
private respondent has no more legal basis and should be dismissed.

As regards the other charge of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, qualified
by subversion, this charge should be amended to simple illegal possession of firearm
and ammunition since, as earlier discussed, subversion is no longer a crime.
G.R. No. L-2873 February 28, 1950 enacted in its amended form the amendment becomes a part of the original statute
as if it had always been contained therein, unless such amendment involves the
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, abrogation of contractual relations between the state and others. Where an
vs. amendment leaves certain portions of the original act unchanged, such portions are
EUGENIO GARCIA Y MADRIGAL, defendant-appellant. continued in force, with the same meaning and effect they had before the
amendment. So where an amendatory act provides that an existing statute shall be
Dominador A. Alafriz for appellant. amended to read as recited in the amendatory act, such portions of the existing law
First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Rafael P. Cañiza for as are retained, either literally or substantially, are regarded as a continuation of the
appellee. existing law, and not as a new enactment." (59 C. J., 1096, 1097.)

TUASON, J.: We find no irreconcilable conflict between article 68, paragraph 2, as it nowstands
and article 80 as amended. There is no incompatibility between granting accused of
the ages of 15 to 18 a privileged mitigating circumstance and fixing at 16 the
The sole question presented on this appeal is whether the appellant, being 17 years
maximum age of persons who are to be placed in a reformatory institution. In other
of age at the time of at the time of the commission of the crime, was entitled to the
words, there is no inconsistency between sending defendants of certain ages to
privileged mitigating circumstance of article 68, paragraph 2, of the Revised Penal
prison and giving them a penalty lower than the imposable one on adults under the
Code. The lower court, ignoring defendant's minority, sentenced him to an
same or similar circumstances. Let it be remember that the privilege of article
indeterminate penalty of from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day of prision correccional to
68, supra, is not by its nature inherent in age but purely statutory and conventional,
8 years of prision mayor for the crime of robbery of which he was found guilty. He
and that this privilege is granted adult offenders under given conditions.
was also sentenced to pay the offended party, jointly and severally with the other
accused, the sum of P85 as indemnity.
At least there is no clear intention on the part of the Congress to amend article 68.
Indeed the rational presumption is that if there had been such an intention the
Republic Act No. 47, which amended article 80 of the Revised Penal Code by reducing
lawmakers should have said so expressly, instead of leaving the change to inference.
from 18 to 16 the age below which accused have to "be committed to the custody or
care of a public or private, benevolent or charitable institution," instead of being
convicted and sentenced to prison, has given rise to the controversy. The Solicitor One other rule of interpretation that quarrels with the theory of implied repeal or
General believes that the amendment by implication has also amended paragraph 2 amendment is that penal law is to be construed, in case of doubt, strictly against the
of article 68 of the Revised Pena Code, which provides that when the offender is over state. "Criminal and penal statutes must be strictly construed, that is, they cannot be
fifteen and under eighteen years age, "The penalty next lower than that prescribed enlarged or extended by intendment, implication, or by any equitable considerations.
by law shall be imposed, but always in the proper period." In other words, the language cannot be enlarged beyond the ordinary meaning of its
terms in order to carry into effect the general purpose for which the statute was
enacted. Only those persons, offenses, and penalties, clearly included, beyond any
There are well recognized rules of statutory construction which are against the
reasonable doubt, will be considered within the statute's operation. They must come
Government's contention.
clearly within both the spirit and the letter of the statute, and where there is any
reasonable doubt, it must be resolved in favor of the person accused of violating the
One of these rules is that all parts of a statute are to be harmonized and reconciled statute; that is, all questions in doubt will be resolved in favor of those from whom
so that effect may be given to each and every part thereof, and that conflicting
the penalty is sought." (Statutory Construction, Crawford, pp. 460-462.)
intention in the same statute are never to be supposed or so regarded, unless forced
upon the court by an unambiguous language. (59 C. J., 999.)
The offense charged in the information of which the appellant was found guilty is
punishable under article 294, case No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
This rule applies in the construction of a statute and its amendment, both being read
section 6 of Republic Act No. 18, with prision correccional in its maximum period to
together as whole. "An amended act is ordinarily to be construed as if the original
prision mayor in its medium period. The penalty one degree lower than this is arresto
statute has been repealed, and a new and independent act in the amended form had
mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period. There
been adopted in its stead; or, as frequently stated by the courts, so far as regards any
being no modifying circumstance, the appropriate penalty in the present case is from
action after the adoption of the amendment, as if the statute had been originally
6 months and 1 day of arresto mayor to 2 years and 4 months ofprision 1. Upon a person under fifteen but over nine years of age, who is not
correccional. Being entitled to an indeterminate penalty as provided in section 1 of exempted from liability by reason of the court having declared that he acted
Act No. L-4103 as amended, the accused should be, and he is hereby sentenced to with discernment, a discretionary penalty shall be imposed, but always
imprisonment of not less than 4 months of arresto mayor and not more than 2 years lower by two degrees at least than that prescribed by law for the crime
and 4 months of prision correccional. In all other respect the appealed judgment is which he committed.
affirmed. The appellant will pay the costs of this appeal.
2. Upon a person over fifteen and under eighteen years of the penalty next
Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes and Torres, lower than that prescribed by law shall be imposed but always in the proper
JJ., concur. period.

Sub-paragraph 1 and 2 of the foregoing article are a reproduction of article 85 of the


RESOLUTION ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION Spanish Penal Code.

April 12, 1950 Into the Revised Penal Code, the Juvenile Delinquency Act was incorporated. It has
become in the new code article 80, the first paragraph of which provides that
"whenever a minor under 18 years of age, of either sex, be accused of a crime, the
TUASON, J.: court . . . shall commit such minor to the custody or care of a public or private,
benevolent or charitable, institution, etc." And in the paragraph immediately
This is a motion for reconsideration of our decision. preceding the last, it is further provided that "In case the minor fails to behave
properly or to comply with the regulation of the institution to which he has been
The main theme of the Solicitor General's argument is that articles 13 (2) and 68 (2) committed, or with the conditions imposed upon him when he was committed to the
of the Revised Penal code "complement each other;" that "the application of article care of a responsible person, or in case he should be found incorrigible or his
68 takes place only when the court has to render judgment and impose a penalty continued stay in such institution should be inadvisable, he shall be returned to the
upon a minor who has been proceeded against in accordance with article 80 and who court in order that the same may render the judgment corresponding to the crime
had misbehaved or is found incorrigible," and that "article 80 must be applied first committed by him."
before article 68 can come into operation, and the court can not apply the latter
article in total disregard of the former." In short, as we infer from this line of The latest legislation on the subject was Republic Act No. 47, which amended article
reasoning, what article 80 does not touch, article 68 can not touch. 80 of the Revised Penal Code so as to reduce to below 16 the age of minors coming
within its purview.
We do not think the premise and conclusion of the motion are correct. There seems
to be a confusion of ideas. A close examination of articles 68 and 80 will disclose that article 68, according to its
main paragraph, is to lay off and watch while the minor is in the hands of a charitable
It may do us well to make brief review of the legislation, past and present, relative to institution or person mentioned in article 80 trying to reform him or her. This has to
juvenile offenders and dissect and analyze its various provisions and the differences be so because article 68 is a rule for the application of penalties, and there is no
between them and the role assigned to each. . penalty when there is no judgment when the delinquent is in Welfareville or other
place of similar character or entrusted to the care of a private person. However, if
Article 68 of the Revised Penal code provides:. and when the minor turns out to be hopeless or incorrigible, he is returned to the
proper court and the court passes sentence on him or her. In other words, article 80
Penalty to be imposed upon a person under eighteen years of age. — When withdraws, as it were, and sub-paragraph 1 and 2, as the case maybe, of article 68
the offender is a minor under eighteen years and his case is one coming takes control.
under the provisions of the paragraph next to the last of article 80 of this
Code, the following rules shall be observed: From this it will be seen that article 68 is not dependent on article 80, nor do these
articles complement each other if by complement is meant that they are two
mutually completing parts so that article 68 could not stand without article 80. It is In fact, if Republic Act No. 47, instead of limiting the operation of article 80 to minors
more appropriate to say that article 68 merely adjusts itself to article 80 but is, in all under 16, had totally abolished the scheme of juvenile reformation, sub-paragraphs
other respects, self-sufficient and independent of the latter. Parts of one system of 1 and 2 of article 68 of the Revised Penal Code would, in our opinion, remain intact,
penology and working in coordination with each other, they pursue different ends. It with the only difference that, as before, they would have full sway, unhampered by
is to be noticed that article 68 falls under section 2 of Chapter IV entitled "Application any consideration of suspended judgment. The predecessor of article 68 was in the
of Penalties," while article 80 comes under section 1 of Chapter V entitled "Execution original Penal Code since that code was put in force in Spain in 1870 and in the
and Service of Penalties." Two different subjects, these. Philippines in 1884, long before the idea embodied in article 80 was conceived.
Before the Revised Penal Code went into effect, article 85 of the old Penal Code and
It will also be seen that article 68, sub-paragraphs 1 and 2, and article 80 of the the Juvenile Delinquency Act worked in the manner herein set forth although there
Revised Penal Code do not function at the same time and are designed for different was not any express provision coordinating their operation. It can safely be said that
purposes. Each has its assigned, separate sphere of action without in any way the main paragraph of article 68 was inserted merely to explain in clear and express
intermingling with the other. When article 80 operates, article 68 keeps out of the terms when it should stand aloof and when it should play its role. The Revised Penal
way; article 68 steps in when article 80 steps out. Code merely states the obvious as befits a scientific system of law.

While a minor is in the process of being reformed he is, in a manner of speaking, in In conclusion, when Republic Act No. 47 amended article 80 of the Revised Penal
an intermediate or indeterminate state, neither in prison nor free. Through Code by reducing the age of persons who may be placed on probation under that
repentance and by observing good conduct, he is rewarded with freedom, released article, the amendment did not change in any form or manner the degree of
upon reaching the age of majority or before, but if he shows no promise of turning a punishment that should be meted out to those who are to be committed to jail or
new leaf, Bilibid claims him. how they are to treated. After the minor is turned over to the court for sentence,
article 80 ceases to have any interest in him or her. In saying that the 16-and 18-year
It is the minors so situated; it is selection of two should be committed to are old should no longer be given a trial or placed on probation in a reformatory
formatory school or to the custody of a private person with which article 80 has to institution but should go straight to prison upon conviction, Republic Act No. 47 does
do, and no more. Article 80 does not concern itself with what should be done with not, by implication or otherwise, connote that such minors should also be deprived
minors when they are consigned to jail because of misbehavior; much less is it of a reduced penalty. In no standard of statutory construction is there support for the
concerned over minors who, after the passage of Republic Act No. 47, are proposition that the mitigating circumstance which minors between 16 and 18
condemned to prison without having been under the custody of a benevolent enjoyed before Republic Act No. 47 came into being, notwithstanding the fact that
institution or private person like youths between 16 and 18. On the other hand, they had shown evidence of incorrigibility, should be denied them now for no other
article 68 is intended for minors who are sent to jail, a matter foreign to the province reason than that the right to be committed to a reformatory school has been taken
of article 80. away from them; now that they are confined in jail without having committed any
fault other than the crime for which they were prosecuted in the first instance.
To press the argument further, article 85 of the original Penal Code conferred upon
minors under 18 the right to a penalty. Then came the Juvenile Delinquency Act giving Let it be remembered that by virtue of the amendment minors between 16 and 18
additional concession to juvenile delinquents. When, later, Republic Act No. 47 do not now come under the provisions of the paragraph next to the last of article 80.
amended article 80 so as to eliminate from its beneficent provisions minor of the age
of 16 or over and under 18, the logical effect of the amendment can no other than to Of course, the effect of a law amendment would different if the amendatory law had
correspondingly reduce the age of minors regarding whom the suspensory inhibition absorbed the law which it had amended. In that case, the original law become part
on article 68 is to be confined. Only to the extent and within the limits that article 80 and parcel of the new law, with the result that if the amendatory law be later
applies is article 68 bound to defer to that article. Where article 80 does not apply repealed, both that law and the law which it had superseded or amended would be
article 68 is supreme. When article 80 says that it will deal only with minors below considered abrogated. There was no law of its own force could survive. But, as we
16, it relinquishes authority over minors above that age in favor of article 68. When have indicated, article 68 as well as its predecessor is an independent provision and
and if article 80 should by amendment further reduce the age to 15, to that extent has not been merged with article 80 or any other article of the Revised Penal code. It
the operation of article 68 will be correspondingly enlarged. is an independent provision inoperative only during the suspension of the sentence
but possessing all the vigor which article 85 of Spanish Code had, when the minors
are sentenced to jail.

In the decision sought to be reconsidered, we emphasize the rule of statutory


construction to the effect that all parts of a statute are to be harmonized and
reconciled so that effect may be given to each and every part thereof, and that
conflicting intentions in the same statute are never to be supposed or so regarded,
unless forced upon the court by an unambiguous language. (59 C. J., 999.) The motion
for reconsideration has not pointed to any conflict, and we can not find any, between
the retention of the privileged or special mitigating circumstance in favor of minors
below 18 and over 16 and the fact that such minors are not entitled to the benefits
of article 80 under any circumstances. The motion for reconsideration is conspicuous
for its silence on any incongruity or absurdity that might result from our ruling on the
scope and extent of Republic Act No. 47.

The sole consideration that might commend itself in favor of the Government's
position is the general welfare. For the good of society it may have been better if
Republic Act No. 47 had amended articles 13 and 68 also by correspondingly reducing
the age of accused minors entitled to a mitigating circumstance by reason of age. But
it is write to say that we are not authorized to insert into a law what we think should
be in it or to supply what we think the legislature would have supplied if its attention
had been called to the omission. This is specially true in penal legislation which, as
we have repeatedly stressed in our decision, has to be construed strictly. But there is
not even room for construction in this case. The preamble or explanatory note to
Republic Act No. 47 can not be used as basis for giving it an meaning not apparent on
its face. A preamble or explanatory not is resorted to only for clarification in cases of
doubt. There is no ambiguity in Republic Act No. 47.

The motion and the request to set it for oral argument are denied.

Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Pablo, Bengzon, Montemayor, Reyes and Torres, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-38725 October 31, 1933 defendant or the subject matter of the action, because the complaint had not been
filed by the offended party, but by the chief of police (criminal case No. 1801).
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. On August 17, 1932, the offended girl subscribed and swore to a complaint charging
PEDRO MANABA, defendant-appellant. the defendant with the crime of rape. This complaint was filed in the Court of First
Instance (criminal case No. 1872), but was referred to the justice of the peace of
Jose Ma. Cavanna for appellant. Dumaguete for preliminary investigation. The defendant waived his right to the
Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for appellee. preliminary investigation, but asked for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground
that he had previously been placed in jeopardy for the same offense. This motion was
VICKERS, J.: denied by the justice of the peace, and the case was remanded to the Court of First
Instance, where the provincial fiscal in an information charged the defendant with
having committed the crime of rape as follows:1awphil.net
This is an appeal from a decision of Judge Eulalio Garcia in this Court of First Instance
of Oriental Negros in criminal case No. 1827 dated November 15, 1932, finding the
defendant guilty of rape and sentencing him to suffer seventeen years and four Que en o hacia la noche del dia 9 de mayo de 1932, en el Municipio de
months of reclusion temporal, and the accessory penalties of the law, to indemnify Dumaguete, Provincia de Negros Oriental, Islas Filipinas, y dentro de la
the offended party, Celestina Adapon, in the amount of P500, to maintain the jurisdiccion de este Juzgado. el referido acusado Pedro Manaba,
offspring, if any, at P5 a month until said offspring should become of age, and to pay aprovechandose de la oscuridad de la noche y mediante fuerza, violencia e
the costs. intimidacion, voluntaria, ilegal y criminalmente yacio y tuvo acceso carnal
con una niña llamada Celestina Adapon, contra la voluntad de esta. El
acusado Pedro Manaba ya ha sido convicto por Juzgado competente y en
The defendant appealed to this court, and his attorney de oficio now makes the
sentencia firme por este mismo delito de violacion.
following assignments of error:

Hecho cometido con infraccion de la ley.


1. El juzgado a quo erro al no estimar en favor del acusado apelante la
defensa de double jeopardy o legal jeopardy que ha interpuesto.
The defendant renewed his motion for dismissal in the case on the ground of double
jeopardy, but his motion was denied; and upon the termination of the trial the
2. El Juzgado a quo erro al no declarar insuficientes las pruebas de
defendant was found guilty and sentenced as hereinabove stated.
identificacion del acusado apelante.

Whether the defendant was placed in jeopardy for the second time or not when he
3. El Juzgado a quo tambien erro al pasar por alto las incoherencias de los
was tried in the present case depends on whether or not he was tried on a valid
testigos de la acusacion y al no declarar que no se ha establecido fuera de
complaint in the first case. The offense in question was committed on May 9, 1932,
toda duda la responsabilidad del apelante.
or subsequent to the date when the Revised Penal Code became effective.
4. El Juzgado a quo erro al condenar al acusado apelante por el delito de
The third paragraph of the article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, which relates to the
violacion y al no acceder a su mocion de nueva vista.
prosecution of the crimes of adultery, concubinage, seduction, rape and acts of
lasciviousness reads as follows:
It appears that on May 10, 1932, the chief of police of Dumaguete subscribed and
swore to a criminal complaint wherein he charged Pedro Manaba with the crime of
The offenses of seduction, abduction, rape or acts of lasciviousness, shall
rape, committed on the person of Celestina Adapon. This complaint was filed with
not be prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the offended party or
the justice of the peace of Dumaguete on June 1, 1932 and in due course the case
her parents, grandparents, or guardian, nor, in any case, if the offender has
reached the Court of First Instance. The accused was tried and convicted, but on
been expressly pardoned by the above-named persons, as the case may be.
motion of the attorney for the defendant the judgment was set aside and the case
dismissed on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction over the person of the
The Spanish text of this paragraph is as follows:
Tampoco puede procederse por causa de estupro, rapto, violacion o abusos
deshonestos, sino en virtud de denuncia de la parte agraviada, o de sus
padres, o abuelos o tutor, ni despues de haberse otorgado al ofensor,
perdon expreso por dicha partes, segun los casos.

It will be observed that the Spanish equivalent of the word "filed" is not found in the
Spanish text, which is controlling, as it was the Spanish text of the Revised Penal Code
that was approved by the Legislature.

The first complaint filed against the defendant was signed and sworn to by the chief
of police of Dumaguete. As it was not the complaint of the offended party, it was not
a valid complaint in accordance with the law. The judgment of the court was
therefore void for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, and the defendant was
never in jeopardy.

It might be observed in this connection that the judgment was set aside and the case
dismissed on the motion of defendant's attorney, who subsequently set up the plea
of double jeopardy in the present case.

The other assignments of error relate to the sufficiency of the evidence, which in our
opinion fully sustains the findings of the trial judge.

The recommendation of the Solicitor-General is erroneous in several respects, chiefly


due to the fact that it is based on the decision of July 30, 1932 that was set aside, and
not on the decision now under consideration. The accused should not be ordered to
acknowledge the offspring, if should there be any, because the record shows that the
accused is a married man.

It appears that the lower court should have taken into consideration the aggravating
circumstances of nocturnity. The defendant is therefore sentenced to suffer
seventeen years, four months, and one day of reclusion temporal, to indemnify the
offended party, Celestina Adapon, in the sum of P500, and to support the offspring,
if any. As thus modified, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with the costs of
both instances against the appellant.

Street, Abad Santos, Imperial, and Butte, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 138962 October 4, 2002 "1. That petitioners, being charged with Violation of Presidential Decree No.
772, the express repeal of said decree absolves the petitioners of any
PRESCILLA TUATES and ANDRES DE LA PAZ, petitioners, criminal or civil liability;
vs.
HON. LUCAS P. BERSAMIN, as Presiding Judge, Branch 96, RTC Quezon City, "2. That public respondent erred in holding that ‘the civil aspect of the
People of the Philippines and I.C. Construction, Inc., respondents. judgment rendered x x x shall be executory against the accused; and

DECISION "3. That the Honorable Court of Appeals, in affirming the Order of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 96), dated June 9, 1999, grossly
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: erred in ignoring applicable laws and jurisprudence."7

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, Petitioners argue that the repeal of P.D. 772 by R.A. 8368 carries with it the extinction
seeking to annul the following: (1) Decision dated April 30, 1999 and Resolution dated of both the criminal and civil aspects of the crime. Private respondent, however,
June 9, 1999, rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 46845;1 (2) Decision insists that public respondents were correct in ruling that only the criminal liability
dated September 10, 1997 and the Order dated January 28, 1998 issued by the was absolved and the civil liability remains inasmuch as it was not extinguished in
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 96) in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-97-70428 accordance with Article 113 of the Revised Penal Code, which reads:
and Q-97-70429;2 and (3) Decision dated December 16, 1996 of the Metropolitan
Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 38) in Criminal Cases Nos. 38-0130 and 38-0131.3 "ART. 113. Obligation to satisfy civil liability. -- Except in case of extinction of his civil
liability as provided in the next preceding article, the offender shall continue to be
The facts are as follows: obliged to satisfy the civil liability resulting from the crime committed by him,
notwithstanding the fact that he has served his sentence consisting of deprivation of
Convicted by the MTC-Quezon City (Branch 38) of the crime of Violation of liberty or other rights, or has not been required to serve the same by reason of
Presidential Decree No. 772 or the Anti-Squatting Law, petitioners Prescilla Tuates amnesty, pardon, commutation of sentence or any other reason."
and Andres de la Paz, appealed to the RTC of Quezon City (Branch 96). Their
conviction was affirmed in toto by the RTC in its decision dated September 10, 1997. In its Motion to Deny Due Course, private respondent also argues that the petition
Pending resolution of their motion for reconsideration, however, Republic Act No. should now be denied as its title to the land subject of this case has already been
8368, "An Act Repealing Presidential Decree No. 772, entitled ‘Penalizing Squatting adjudged in its favor. 8
and Other Similar Acts’" was enacted.
In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General, in behalf of public respondents,
In its Order, dated January 28, 1998, the RTC ruled that only petitioners’ criminal agrees with petitioners that both the criminal and civil liability were rendered extinct
convictions were extinguished by R.A. 8368, and the civil aspect, i.e., the removal of with the repeal of P.D. 772, and recommended that the assailed issuances be
petitioners’ illegally constructed house and improvements, shall remain executory reversed and set aside.
against them.4
We find the petition to be meritorious.
On a petition for review, the Court of Appeals sustained the ruling of the RTC and
denied due course to the petition per its Decision, dated April 30, 1999. 5 Petitioners’ Republic Act No. 8368, otherwise known as the "Anti-Squatting Law Repeal Act of
motion for reconsideration was likewise denied by the CA in its Resolution dated June 1997," provides:
9, 1999.6
"SECTION 1. Title. -- This Act shall be known as the ‘Anti-Squatting Law
Hence, the present recourse taken by petitioners, raising the following issues: Repeal Act of 1997.’
"SEC. 2. Repeal. -- Presidential Decree No. 772, entitled ‘Penalizing Squatting Other Similar Acts’ was "enacted. Section 3 of the said Act provides that ‘all pending
and Other Similar Acts’ is hereby repealed. cases under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 772 shall be dismissed upon
the effectivity of this Act.’"15
"SEC. 3. Effect on Pending Cases. -- All pending cases under the provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 772 shall be dismissed upon the effectivity of this This is not to say, however, that people now have the unbridled license to illegally
Act. occupy lands they do not own. R.A. No. 836816 was unanimously approved by the
members of the Senate of the Philippines present on its third reading. 17 The
"SEC. 4. Effect on Republic Act No. 7279. -- Nothing herein shall be construed legislature considered it a major piece of legislation on the country’s anti-poverty
to nullify, eliminate or diminish in any way Section 27 of Republic Act No. program18 as it sought to confront the perennial problem of poverty at its root,
7279 or any of its provisions relative to sanctions against professional abolish an otherwise inutile and oppressive law, and pave the way for a genuine
squatters and squatting syndicates. urban housing and land reform program. Senate records reveal that it is the manifest
intent of the authors of R.A. 8368 to decriminalize squatting but does not encourage
"SEC. 5. Effectivity. -- This Act shall take effect thirty (30) days after its or protect acts of squatting on somebody else’s land. 19 The law is not intended to
publication in two (2) newspapers of national circulation. compromise the property rights of legitimate landowners.20Recourse may be had in
cases of violation of their property rights, such as those provided for in Republic Act
No. 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act, penalizing professional
"Approved, October 27, 1997."9
squatters and squatting syndicates as defined therein, who commit nefarious and
illegal activities21; the Revised Penal Code providing for criminal prosecution in cases
The repeal of P.D. No. 772 under Section 2 of R.A. No. 8368 is explicit, categorical,
of Trespass to Property,22 Occupation of Real Property or Usurpation of Real Rights
definite and absolute. As such, the act that was penalized by P.D. 772, i.e., squatting,
in Property,23 and similar violations, and, cases for Forcible Entry and Unlawful
ceases to be criminal under R.A. 8368, and the previous offense is obliterated. 10
Detainer under the Rules of Court,24as well as civil liability for Damages under the
Civil Code.
In the same vein, the absolute repeal of P.D. 772 has the effect of depriving a court
of its authority to punish a person charged with violation of the old law prior to its
Considering that prosecution for criminal as well as civil liability under P.D. 772 has
repeal. This is because an unqualified repeal of a penal law constitutes a legislative
been rendered nugatory with the passage of R.A. 8368, both criminal and civil aspects
act of rendering legal what had been previously declared as illegal, such that the
of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-97-70428 and Q-97-70429 in the RTC as well as Criminal
offense no longer exists and it is as if the person who committed it never did
Cases Nos. 38-0130 and 38-0131 in the MTC filed against petitioners should be
so.11 Specially so, as in the present case where it is unconditionally stated in Section dismissed.
3 of R.A. No. 8368 that: "(A)ll pending cases under the provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 772 shall be dismissed upon the effectivity of this Act."12 Obviously, it was
WHEREFORE, finding the petition for review to be with merit, the Decision dated April
the clear intent of the law to decriminalize or do away with the crime of squatting.
30, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 46845, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Hence, there being no criminal liability, there is likewise no civil liability because the
A new judgment is hereby entered modifying the Decision dated September 10, 1997
latter is rooted in the former. Where an act or omission is not a crime, no person can
of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 96) in Criminal Cases No. Q-97-
be held liable for such act or omission. There being no delict, logically, civil liability ex
70428 and Q-97-70429 and the Decision dated December 16, 1996 issued by the
delicto is out of the question. 13
Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 38), to the effect that the dismissal
of the aforementioned criminal cases likewise include the dismissal of the civil
In fact, in People v. Leachon, Jr.14 we implicitly recognized the unconditional repeal
aspects thereof, without prejudice to the filing of civil and/or criminal actions under
of P.D. 772 by R.A. 8368 when we ordered the dismissal of the petition filed in said
the prevailing laws.
case, without any qualification whatsoever, because of the enactment of R.A. 8368,
viz.:
No costs. SO ORDERED.
"But the foregoing antecedent facts and proceedings notwithstanding, the petition
Bellosillo, Acting C.J., (Chairman), Quisumbing, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.
cannot now prosper because on October 27, 1997, Republic Act No. 8368, entitled
Mendoza, J., on official leave.
‘An Act Repealing Presidential Decree No. 772 Entitled ‘Penalizing Squatting and
G.R. No. 125359 September 4, 2001 That from September 1, 1983 up to 1987, both dates inclusive, and for
sometime thereafter, both accused, conspiring and confederating with each
ROBERTO S. BENEDICTO and HECTOR T. RIVERA, petitioners, other and with the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, all residents of
vs. Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, did
THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. GUILLERMO L. LOJA, SR., PRESIDING JUDGE, then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously fail to submit reports in
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH 26, and PEOPLE OF THE the prescribed form and/or register with the Foreign Exchange Department
PHILIPPINES, respondents. of the Central Bank within 90 days from October 21, 1983 as required of
them being residents habitually/customarily earning, acquiring or receiving
QUISUMBING, J.: foreign exchange from whatever source or from invisibles locally or from
abroad, despite the fact they actually earned interests regularly every six (6)
months for the first two years and then quarterly thereafter for their
Assailed in this petition is the consolidated decision rendered on May 23, 1996, by
investment of $50-million, later reduced to $25-million in December 1985,
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 35928 and CA-G.R. SP No. 35719. CA-G.R. SP
in Philippine-issued dollar denominated treasury notes with floating rates
No. 35928 had affirmed the order dated September 6, 1994, of the Regional Trial
and in bearer form, in the name of Bank Hofmann, AG, Zuring, Switzerland,
Court, Manila, Branch 26, insofar as it denied petitioners’ respective Motions to
for the benefit of Avertina Foundation, their front organization established
Quash the Informations in twenty-five (25) criminal cases for violation of Central Bank
for economic advancement purposes with secret foreign exchange account
Circular No. 960. Therein included were informations involving: (a) consolidated
Category (Rubric) C.A.R. No. 211925-02 in Swiss Credit Bank (also known as
Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-101883 filed against Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos,
SKA) in Zurich, Switzerland, which earned, acquired or received for the
Roberto S. Benedicto, and Hector T. Rivera; (b) consolidated Criminal Cases Nos. 91-
accused Imelda Romualdez Marcos and her late husband an interest of
101884 to 91-101892 filed against Mrs. Marcos and Benedicto; and (c) Criminal Cases
$2,267,892 as of December 16, 1985 which was remitted to Bank Hofmann,
Nos. 92-101959 to 92-101969 also against Mrs. Marcos and Benedicto. Note,
AG, through Citibank, New York, United States of America, for the credit of
however, that the Court of Appeals already dismissed Criminal Case No. 91-101884.
said Avertina account on December 19, 1985, aside from the redemption of
$25 million (one-half of the original $50-M) as of December 16, 1985 and
The factual antecedents of the instant petition are as follows:
outwardly remitted from the Philippines in the amounts of $7,495,297.49
and $17,489,062.50 on December 18, 1985 for further investment outside
On December 27, 1991, Mrs. Imelda Marcos and Messrs. Benedicto and Rivera were the Philippine without first complying with the Central Bank
indicted for violation of Section 10 of Circular No. 960 1 relation to Section 342 of the reporting/registering requirements.1âwphi1.nêt
Central Bank Act (Republic Act No. 265, as amended) in five Informations filed with
the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-
CONTRARY TO LAW.4
101883, the charge sheets alleged that the trio failed to submit reports of their
foreign exchange earnings from abroad and/or failed to register with the Foreign
The other charge sheets were similarly worded except the days of the commission of
Exchange Department of the Central Bank within the period mandated by Circular
the offenses, the name(s) of the alleged dummy or dummies, the amounts in the
No. 960. Said Circular prohibited natural and juridical persons from maintaining
foreign exchange accounts maintained, and the names of the foreign banks where
foreign exchange accounts abroad without prior authorization from the Central
such accounts were held by the accused.
Bank.3 It also required all residents of the Philippines who habitually earned or
received foreign currencies from invisibles, either locally or abroad, to report such
earnings or receipts to the Central Bank. Violations of the Circular were punishable On January 3, 1992, eleven more Informations accusing Mrs. Marcos and Benedicto
as a criminal offense under Section 34 of the Central Bank Act. of the same offense, again in relation to different accounts, were filed with the same
court, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 92-101959 to 92-101969. The Informations
were similarly worded as the earlier indictments, save for the details as to the dates
That same day, nine additional Informations charging Mrs. Marcos and Benedicto
of the violations of Circular No. 960, the identities of the dummies used, the balances
with the same offense, but involving different accounts, were filed with the Manila
and sources of the earnings, and the names of the foreign banks where these
RTC, which docketed these as Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101884 to 91-101892. The
accounts were maintained.
accusatory portion of the charge sheet in Criminal Case No. 91-101888 reads:
All of the aforementioned criminal cases were consolidated before Branch 26 of the On November 21, 1994, petitioners moved for leave to file a second motion for
said trial court. reconsideration. The trial court, in its order of November 23, 1994, denied
petitioners’ motion and set the consolidated cases for trial on January 5, 1995.
On the same day that Criminal Cases Nos. 92-101959 to 92-101969 were filed, the
Central Bank issued Circular No. 13185 which revised the rules governing non-trade Two separate petitions for certiorari and prohibition, with similar prayers for
foreign exchange transactions. It took effect on January 20, 1992. temporary restraining orders and/or writs of preliminary injunction, docketed as CA-
G.R. SP No. 35719 and CA-G.R. SP No. 35928, were respectively filed by Mrs. Marcos
On August 24, 1992, the Central Bank, pursuant to the government’s policy of further and petitioners with the Court of Appeals. Finding that both cases involved violations
liberalizing foreign exchange transactions, came out with Circular No. 1356,6 which of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the appellate court consolidated the two cases.
amended Circular No. 1318. Circular No. 1353 deleted the requirement of prior
Central Bank approval for foreign exchange-funded expenditures obtained from the On May 23, 1996, the Court of Appeals disposed of the consolidated cases as follows:
banking system.
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent
Both of the aforementioned circulars, however, contained a saving clause, excepting Judge in denying petitioners’ respective Motions to Quash, except that with
from their coverage pending criminal actions involving violations of Circular No. 960 respect to Criminal Case No. 91-101884, the instant petitions are hereby
and, in the case of Circular No. 1353, violations of both Circular No. 960 and Circular DISMISSED for lack of merit. The assailed September 6, 1994 Order, in so far
No. 1318. as it denied the Motion to Quash Criminal Case No. 91-101884 is hereby
nullified and set aside, and said case is hereby dismissed. Costs against
On September 19, 1993, the government allowed petitioners Benedicto and Rivera petitioners.
to return to the Philippines, on condition that they face the various criminal charges
instituted against them, including the dollar-salting cases. Petitioners posted bail in SO ORDERED.7
the latter cases.
Dissatisfied with the said decision of the court a quo, except with respect to the
On February 28, 1994, petitioners Benedicto and Rivera were arraigned. Both portion ordering the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 91-101884, petitioners filed the
pleaded not guilty to the charges of violating Central Bank Circular No. 960. Mrs. instant petition, attributing the following errors to the appellate court:
Marcos had earlier entered a similar plea during her arraignment for the same
offense on February 12, 1992. THAT THE COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE INFORMATIONS/CASES
FILED AGAINST PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS ARE QUASHABLE BASED ON THE
On August 11, 1994, petitioners moved to quash all the Informations filed against FOLLOWING GROUNDS:
them in Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-101883; 91-101884 to 91-101892, and
91-101959 to 91-101969. Their motion was grounded on lack of jurisdiction, forum (A) LACK OF JURISDICTION/FORUM SHOPPING/NO VALID
shopping, extinction of criminal liability with the repeal of Circular No. 960, PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION
prescription, exemption from the Central Bank’s reporting requirement, and the
grant of absolute immunity as a result of a compromise agreement entered into with (B) EXTINCTION OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY
the government.
1) REPEAL OF CB CIRCULAR NO. 960 BY CB CIRCULAR NO.
On September 6, 1994, the trial court denied petitioners’ motion. A similar motion 153;
filed on May 23, 1994 by Mrs. Marcos seeking to dismiss the dollar-salting cases
against her due to the repeal of Circular No. 960 had earlier been denied by the trial
2) REPEAL OF R.A. 265 BY R.A. 76538
court in its order dated June 9, 1994. Petitioners then filed a motion for
reconsideration, but the trial court likewise denied this motion on October 18, 1994.
(C) PRESCRIPTION
(D) EXEMPTION FROM CB REPORTING REQUIREMENT Circular No. 960 are, therefore cognizable by the trial court. No error may thus be
charged to the Court of Appeals when it held that the RTC of Manila had jurisdiction
GRANT OF ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY.9 to hear and try the dollar-salting cases.

Simply stated, the issues for our resolution are: Still on the first issue, petitioners next contend that the filing of the cases for
violations of Circular No. 960 before the RTC of Manila Constitutes forum shopping.
(1) Did the Court of Appeals err in denying the Motion to Quash for lack of Petitioners argue that the prosecution, in an attempt to seek a favorable verdict from
jurisdiction on the part of the trial court, forum shopping by the prosecution, more than one tribunal, filed separate cases involving virtually the same offenses
and absence of a valid preliminary investigation? before the regular trial courts and the Sandiganbayan. They fault the prosecution
with splitting the cases. Petitioners maintain that while the RTC c